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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Author Interview: Anne Barton, author of When She Was Wicked

Thank you for stopping by Books Like Breathing. Please tell us a bit about When She Was Wicked.
 
It’s my pleasure to be here! When She Was Wicked is sort of a Cinderella story. A penniless seamstress tries to blackmail a wealthy duke—and gets caught in the act. He offers her an alternative to prison and she of course takes it, even though it means she’s forced to live under the same roof as he for a few months.
 
2. Who would you cast as Anabelle and Owen? And why?
 
I think Jennifer Lawrence would be great as Anabelle, because like Katniss Everdeen, Anabelle exudes strength, loyalty, and passion. Owen’s extremely dedicated to his work and protective of his sisters. Hmm, let’s go with Chris Hemsworth. :)
3. Is there anything special that you must do when you're writing? Anything that particularly inspires you?
 
Not really. I like to write at my desk, in relative quiet. But that hardly ever happens! I write wherever and whenever I can.
 
4. Can you give us a hint about your next book? What are you working on now?
When She Was Wicked (Honeycote, #1)
Once She Was Tempted comes out in the fall. It features Daphne, Anabelle’s sister. Everyone thought Daphne was the sweet, innocent sister, but it turns out she has a couple secrets of her own...and they could be the scandal of the season. Right now I’m working on a story featuring Olivia, Owen’s wild and irrepressible sister.
 
5. Lightning Round:
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Author who inspires me the most: Lisa Kleypas
Favorite TV Show: Downton Abbey
Word I wish would disappear from the English language: literally
Favorite Word: freakish
Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride
Place I would most like to visit: Florence, Italy
If I was granted three wishes, I would wish: 1) that no child went to bed hungry; 2) that we all were kinder to each other; and 3) for literacy and access to books for all. (I’m pretty sure that the third wish would help with the first two!)
 You can find Anne Barton on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and at annebarton.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina

The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (Sydney Dovedale, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402266006
Pages: 402 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:   Sydney Dovedale-1
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

WHEN A SCANDALOUS LADY...
By night Ellie Vyne fleeces unsuspecting aristocrats as the dashing Count de Bonneville. By day she avoids her sisters' matchmaking schemes and dreams up torments for her childhood nemesis—the arrogant, far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good James Hartley. Her latest prank: "winning" the Hardey diamonds in a card game from James's mistress.

STEALS FROM A NOTORIOUS RAKE...
James finally has a lead on the thieving Count de Bonneville, tracking him to a disreputable inn. He bursts in on none other than the brazen, irritating, nearly naked Ellie Vyne. Convinced she is the count's mistress, James decides it's best to keep his enemies close. Very close. He must get those diamonds back, and seducing Ellie will be the perfect bait.

IT CAN ONLY END IN A WICKED WEDDING

 

My Review:

I am still in the midst of my epic reading slump of 2013. Will it ever end? It's now bleeding into my reviewing because you can't review what you have yet to finish reading. Luckily, I have managed to finish some books and The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne is one of the ones I have managed to finish in the last month. 

I don't quite know what to think of Ellie. I didn't while I was reading and I don't now while typing out this review. She had moments of pure obnoxious but there were times where she was the most relatable and likable heroine. She was foolhardy at times but suddenly towards the middle of the book she becomes a heroine that I actually wanted to read about. James was a bit of a putz but, to be honest, they both were. So in that way they were perfectly matched. I did like that he was kind of a scamp--it was difficult for me not to like him.

I liked The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne. I did. It did frustrate me at some points. For instance, the reason for Ellie and James' rivalry struck me as quite ridiculous and juvenile. They were ridiculous and juvenile when the rivalry started but for it to continue into adulthood was a bit extreme--but understandable because I can hold a grudge like nobody's business. I also got quite exhausted by the games they played with each other. Maybe I am getting old but I would not have had the energy for all that. I really did like this one. The characters were lively and vibrant and Ellie and James had such amazing chemistry. There was also a nice touch of humor that I really appreciated. I will definitely be following this series. I can't wait for the next book, Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas

Midnight Angel (Stokehurst, #1)Publisher: Avon
ISBN:0380773538
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:  Stokehurst-2
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Krazy Kleypas Reading Challenge, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

A noblewoman of frail beauty and exotic mystery fakes her own death to escape the gallows. And now she must flee. In disguise and under a false identity, she finds unexpected sanctuary in the arms of a handsome and arrogant yet gallant British lord—who must defy society to keep her safe . . . and overcome a tragic past to claim her as his own.

My Review:

I have this huge backlog of Lisa Kleypas reviews. I read them all this summer but I haven't found time to review all of them. And I loved most of them. I was really excited for this one because, as with most Lisa Kleypas books, I had heard very good things but I found myself mildly disappointed.

Tasia was a bit of a challenge for me. She had all of the traits that I often love in heroines. She was strong, smart and level-headed but she irked me at times. Mostly stemming from her religious beliefs. Not that I am against having them but she was quite hypocritical about them. Apparently, her faith was okay with sexing up a man before marriage but drew the line at sleeping in the same bed as him when married. Maybe I am wrong and that is normal behavior but the girl just confused me. Luke was awesome. He had a bit of the Beast or Mr. Rochester going. He is a good guy but he is scarred both physically and emotionally and becomes bitter. I loved him. I love the nasty and broken heroes. I also loved how he put up with Tasia's crazy--for the most part---with patience and tolerance. 

I think this may have been my first ever romance about a Russian hero or heroine. I could be wrong but I think it is. I find that I quite like it. It's a nice break from the typical. I loved both Tasia and Luke even though, on her own, Tasia befuddled me. This is definitely not my favorite of Lisa Kleypas' books or even of this series but in a pinch, it'll do. I do think if I was less annoyed with Tasia, I would have a much higher opinion of this book. 

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: The Officer Breaks the Rules by Jeanette Murray

The Officer Breaks The Rules (Semper Fi, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402265433
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Military
Series:  Semper Fi-1
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Some Rules Are Meant To Be Broken
He's Ruled by Loyalty...
Every man knows that you don't date your best friend's little sister, but Captain Jeremy Phillips can't seem to be convince Madison O'Shay to stay away. And he can't convince himself to stop thinking about her, either.

She's Ruled by Love...
Madison knows exactly what she wants...and whom. But she won't give up her career in the Navy for any man, not even Jeremy.
They're both about to learn that in the game of love, it's all about breaking the rules.

 

My Review:

I am in a reading slump. Even the books I like are taking me forever to finish. This one took me over a week to finish and I liked it. A lot. But for some reason every book I read is being polluted by my epic slumpiness. 

I liked Madison a lot. She was very normal and down to earth. She's the type of character that I can imagine meeting and liking in real life. I do wish she had been a little less forgiving of Jeremy. I think he should have been left to suffer for a little. He had moments of pure annoyance where I was screaming "Man Up!" at my book. I can't understand why a grown man would be willing to let the woman he loved go because his Daddy has expectations and the girl happens to be his BFF's sister. C'mon. Man up. Daddy and big brother pressure is just not hero behavior. I just wanted him to be a big boy and tell them where to shove it. 

I liked this book a lot. It took me a while to get into it. But I think that's my own failing rather than anything wrong with the book. Even a good book cannot combat my reading slumps. And this one may be my worst reading slump ever. It's going on over two weeks.  I loved the chemistry between Jeremy and Madison. It was very will they/won't they and it was so angsty at times. The secondary romance between Dwayne and Veronica was also great and I am awaiting their book very anxiously. I also loved that while this book was about people in the military, it was very much about their everyday lives which I greatly prefer over action sequences.
 
 Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The hero gave me fits at times but I loved the heroine. I am already fangirling the next book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Author Interview: Jennifer Kloester, author of Georgette Heyer

Thank you for stopping by Books Like Breathing. Why did you decide to write a biography of Georgette Heyer?
Thanks so much for having me on your wonderful Blog, Grace. A big motivation was seeing Georgette Heyer acknowledged as a writer of great ability. Although she's always been well-reviewed and she's loved by readers around the world I really felt she deserved much greater recognition for her achievements. I wanted a better understanding of the woman behind the books and to know how she wrote them. She's been a bestseller for nearly a century and I figured that was worth investigating!
 
What would readers be most surprised to learn about Georgette Heyer? What were you most surprised to learn?
Georgette HeyerI think many readers would be surprised to find just how much Georgette Heyer wrote herself into her novels. In some of the detective stories there are times when I'm sure she is letting herself speak through her characters. The tone of voice, the way she writes, sometimes it's just like her letters and, according to her son, she wrote those exactly as she spoke. I also loved finding her early short stories because some of them gave me quite a different view of her as a young woman. She was definitely romantic but she also had an ability to understand relationships that seemed pretty  unusual in a twenty-something of her class and upbringing.
 
What Heyer book is your favorite and why?
This is the most difficult question to answer because I have about a dozen favourites and it's almost impossible to pick just one. I recently re-read A Civil Contract which is a quiet, thoughtful novel about class and relationships and the sacrifices people make for love. I always find it a deeply intelligent book which never fails to move me. But for absolute comfort reading you can't go past Cotillion (or Frederica or Venetia or Sylvester… oops, sorry!)

If you could write a biography of another author/historical figure, who would it be and why?
I'd love to write a biography of Stephen Fry because he's another talented, complex person who has given millions of people tremendous pleasure through his words. He's had a bunch of personal problems in his life and yet he gives of himself all the time. He's a brilliant comedian and a genuine raconteur. A couple of years ago I saw him hold an audience of 2,500 people in complete thrall for over two hours and he was just standing on stage telling us stories about his life. He was wise and witty and self-deprecating and insightful and I think everyone went away feeling totally inspired and uplifted. He's also a huge Georgette Heyer fan (which shows his good taste). I'd love to interview him about his life and works.
 
Lightning Round:
Favorite Book: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (funny and evocative and such superb writing)
Author who inspires me the most: going by the number of books on my shelves it would have to be Georgette Heyer.
Favorite TV Show: Modern Family
Word I wish would disappear from the English language: gay or girl when used as an insult.
Favorite Word: cardigan
Favorite Movie: Random Harvest Beautifully written and acted and a great story
Place I would most like to visit: Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia where I could swim with the whale sharks.
If I was granted three wishes, I would wish for: A better world for women everywhere (which would mean a better world for people everywhere).
That every parent read aloud to their children from birth.
To be a guest at a country house weekend along with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry, Robert de Niro, Bette Midler and David Tennant. I'd be happy just to sit and listen to the conversation!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review: For the Love of a Goblin Warrior by Shona Husk

For the Love of a Goblin Warrior (Shadowlands, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402262094
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
Series:  Shadowlands-1,2
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

In a Faraway Land...
There lived a man who was trapped—his only companions a horde of goblins consumed by their lust for gold. He thought he was lost forever, thought that no one would ever remember he'd been noble.
A Fearless Warrior.
Now he has been thrust into the human world once again, but so much has changed. How can he ever be rid of the darkness after so long in the Shadowlands?
It Starts with Dreams of a Castle...
And a woman who takes his breath away and makes him forget the pain of his past. He knows he must protect her at all costs. And perhaps in saving her, he can finally learn to love again.

 

My Review:

I kind of love this series. It's one of my favorite fantasy romance series out there. Goblins are something I haven't come across a lot in my reading and I don't normally think of them as heroes. Probably because goblins bring to mind the Gringott's goblins from Harry Potter. But it really does work. Especially in this series.

I really liked Nadine. I don't think she goes on my favorite heroines list but she was definitely a good one. It was easy to identify with her and she measured up well to the awesome that is Meryn. I have been waiting for Meryn's book from the beginning of this series. He was my favorite of the three and he still is. He started out the book still deep within his goblin-ness but I really liked watching his progress as he acclimated to 21st century life. He was also rather unexpectedly sweet which I really appreciated because I have been reading many rakes and rogue romances lately.

I love this series. And when I started I didn't think I would because, well, goblins. They are all Gringott's goblins in my head. But this series drew me in from the first book and it has only gotten better. I loved that the focus in this one was almost solely on the development of the relationship between Nadine and Meryn. There were no distractions because their chemistry drove the story. If they didn't have amazing  chemistry this book would have been quite the bore but thankfully they were great together. 

I loved this book. I really hope that this series continues because I love the goblins. But I will continue to read whatever Shona Husk writes because she's awesome.

 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bout of Books Readathon 6.0: Goals and Updates

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

I have been looking forward to this readathon because I have a huge amount of reading to get done before the hockey season starts (YES!)and I have a huge amount of tea from David's Tea to try.

Currently Reading: Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Up Next: Master of Love by Catherine LaRoche
Tea: Fired Up Fennel--a fennel tea with chili peppers from David's Tea.

Day 2:

I have started off slow. Not my usual speed at all.

Currently Reading: Master of Love by Catherine LaRoche
Finished: Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Up Next: Sex and the Single Fireman by Jennifer Bernard
Tea:  Lapsang Souchong-definitely not for the faint of heart. Reminds me of Johnny Walker Double Black. I love it. My mother and sister told me to leave the room because they hated the smokey scent.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid by Grace Burrowes

The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (MacGregor Trilogy, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN:  1402268661
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander
Series:   MacGregor Trilogy
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

His Family or His Heart — One of Them Will Be Betrayed...

Ian MacGregor is wooing a woman who's wrong for him in every way. As the new Earl of Balfour, though, he must marry an English heiress to repair the family fortunes.

But in his intended's penniless chaperone, Augusta, Ian is finding everything he's ever wanted in a wife.

My Review:

Grace Burrowes is one of my favorites. All of her books have found their way onto my favorites pile. When I saw that she was releasing a Highlander romance, I just about did a dance of joy.

Augusta was just the perfect heroine. Yes, she was a bit eccentric and a bit of a plain jane but she was strong and smart and never let Ian have an easy time of it. She could have gone the easier, weepier route but she didn't and that made me love her. Ian was a great Highlander hero. He was strong and all that you would expect from a Highlander hero. But he also surprised me a little bit. He outright admitted that he would rather marry for love--most heroes I've come across in similar situations accept their fate with a shrug and an "Oh well. There's always mistresses." He was completely different and I liked it. 

I usually find it so frustrating when the hero is supposed to marry the heroine's prettier cousin/sister/whatever. It sometimes takes me straight out of a book depending on how much I was already frustrated. But in this one, it was never angsty or stressful because you knew they loved each other. It was just a question of duty. I also loved that this one wasn't solely focused on Augusta and Ian but had a very strong group of secondary characters. I definitely recommend this one and, really, all of Grace Burrowes' books--there's not a dud in the lot.

 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Challenges


Challenge Name/Site: 150+ Challenge/My Overstuffed Bookshelf
What is the Challenge: Read 150+ Books in 2013
Challenge Post
My Progress:


Challenge Name/Site: 2013 Read-A-Latte Challenge/Kimberly's Bookshelf
What is the Challenge: Double Espresso level- Read 150+ Books in 2013
Challenge Post
My Progress:

 
Challenge Name/Site: Romance Reading Challenge 2013/...the bookworm...
What is the Challenge: Read 5 preselected romance novels.
Challenge Post
My Progress:


herdingcats&burningsoup
Challenge Name/Site: Sports Romance Reading Challenge 2013/Herding Cats & Burning Soup
What is the Challenge: Total Sports Nut-52+
My Progress:


logo

Challenge Name/Site: Literary Exploration Reading Challenge/Literary Exploration
What is the Challenge: Insane Challenge 36 books
My Progress:

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen
Challenge Name/Site: Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge/The Book Vixen
What is the Challenge: Read more than last year.
My Progress-

2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

Last Year's Total-191

  1. Forever a Lord by Delilah Marvelle
  2. Master of Love by Catherine LaRoche
  3. When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton
  4. The Key by Lynsay Sands
  5. Sex and the Single Fireman by Jennifer Bernard
  6. Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
  7. The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney
  8. Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
  9. Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
  10. Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
  11. Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester
  12. Two Sinful Secrets by Laurel McKee
  13. Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas
  14. The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash
  15. India Fan by Victoria Holt
  16. Tempting the Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
  17. Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol
  18. And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle
  19. And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens
  20. Love is in the Heir by Kathryn Caskie
  21. Princess in Disguise by Karen Hawkins
  22. Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath
  23. Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare
  24. The Right Bride by Jennifer Ryan
  25. Undone by Sara Humpreys
  26. Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
  27. Smoking Hot by Karen Kelley
  28. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
  29. A Captain and a Corset by Mary Wine
  30. One Day in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand
  31. Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts With Scandal by Jayne Fresina
  32. What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston
  33. Jake by R.C. Ryan
  34. A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood


 

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