Monday, March 28, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

The Summer Before (Baby-Sitter's Club) by Ann M. Martin -- Middle Grades Contemporary Fiction

This prequel to the beloved series brings back the characters from the original BSC books and shares the store of what happened before they formed the BSC. Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier and Claudia Kishi have always been best friends. Now, the summer before 7th grade, they seem to be growing up and growing apart. Kristy longs for acknowledgment from her absentee father and is trying to avoid her mom's new boyfriend, Watson. She has her baby-sitting and her friendship with Mary Anne to keep her busy, but still, she wants something more. Mary Anne is dying to grow up, and envious of Claudia who is so pretty and stylish. Mary Anne hopes her father will let her baby-sit this summer, which she sees as the first step towards becoming grown-up. Glamorous Claudia wants desperately to be seen as as sophisticated, which means not hanging out with Mary Anne and Kristy as much and experiencing her first crush. Stacey McGill and her parents are preparing to leave their New York City home to move to Stonybrook, CT. Stacey would have been devastated a year ago but now she can't wait to move and get away. Since she started experiencing symptoms of diabetes, her former best friend has turned mean-girl and Stacy is a social outcast. She'll be sad to leave her baby-sitting charges though and hopes she'll find some new kids to love and maybe a new friend or two. The events of this summer will change their lives forever. This book is a nice, simple read aimed at girls who are just now old enough to begin reading the books for the first time. The plot deals with the transitional time between childhood and teen years and teaches some important life lessons. I thought it was a bit too moralistic and corny for my adult tastes but I loved revisiting the BSC girls. I can still relate to Kristi and Mary Anne and their favorite kids and all the supporting characters were fresh in my mind, though I haven't read the books in years. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane and I think girls could read this book before or after reading the series. Adult fans of the series might like this story too. I'd love to see a sequel with Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey as adults with children of their own old enough to revive the BSC!

The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer, illustrated by Suejean Rim -- Middle Grades Contemporary Fiction

Soon-to-be-fourteen-year-old Annie loves hanging out at her grandmother Louisa's beautiful, old-fashioned tea shop. It's cozy and familiar and makes Annie happy, especially when she remembers how she and her two best friends Genna and Zoe, used to hang out every day sipping tea. They loved the ritual and the history of tea. They were inseparable and called themselves the Teashop girls. Now with high school fast approaching, Gen is busy chasing boys and doing theater and Zoe is obsessed with tennis. Only Annie seems to have time for the shop anymore. Annie is thrilled when she successfully convinces Louisa to hire her, especially since there is a cute sophomore boy helping out with shop inventory. But when the lights go out in the store, Annie realizes that the shop is in trouble. She's determined to save the place she loves, keep Louisa in town and win the admiration of the boy she likes. With the help of Genna and Zoe, Annie embarks on an ambitious plan to save the shop. They have very little time and fear that their archenemy's parents are going to bulldoze the shop in favor of condos. As Genna and Zoe turn more to outside interests, Annie is hurt and confused but still determined to do whatever it takes to save the place she loves most in the world. Annie is very realistic and she deals with her problems in a practical, mature way. Her friends are rather stereotypical though and I would have liked the book better without the friendship subplot. The teashop sounds fantastic and I would love to live there. The real charm of the book lies in the drawings, vintage tea advertisements, anecdotes and recipes.  This is a sweet, inspirational story for middle-school girls who may be going through that difficult transition period from childhood to young adulthood.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier, Read by Kate Atkinson -- Contemporary/Fantasy Young Adult

Fourteen-year-old Charlie is a B-string sports student at New Avalon Sports High. She loves the sports, the rules and the new cute boy, Steffi. She also has a long list of things she dislikes about her life:  growing "spoffs" (boobs), not being tall enough or good enough to make the basketball team, not knowing if the cute boy likes her, and the #1 thing that's "torpid" about her life - her car-parking fairy. In New Avalon, everyone has a fairy with a particular attribute. The fairies are invisible, but they manifest their power at the best and worst of times. Charlie's best friend Rochelle has a clothes shopping fairy -totally "doos"! Charlie's mom has a "always knowing what your kids are up to" fairy - totally "malodorous"! Charlie has a car-parking fairy which often results in her being "borrowed" by people to ensure the perfect parking spot. Charlie hates cars, she hates the smell of petrol and she hates it when people borrow her. Why can't she have a doos fairy like Ro or an "every boy will like you" fairy like her rival Fiorenze? It's totally not fair. So Charlie sets out to ditch her fairy. She thinks walking everywhere will do the trick and even when it gets her into trouble, she decides it's totally worth it to be rid of such an "injured" fairy. When her plans go awry, Charlie gets desperate to be rid of her fairy. She'll do ANYTHING to ditch her fairy, even if it means becoming allies with Fio, whose parents are fairy experts. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Charlie will go to any lengths to finally ditch her fairy. This is an odd mix of contemporary teen fiction and fantasy. It's set in a fictional world that's a sort-of cross between the U.S. and Australia, but I think more Australia. It's also a bit futuristic and fantastical. The world is described so well that it feels real. I liked the funny slang words but had a hard time understanding Kate Atkinson's Australian accent and the glossary would have been much appreciated had I known it was there. Charlie is a typical teen with a teenager's view of the world. Her problems are very real - both in a sense of being real for our world and being very real to her. At first I liked the way she dealt with her problems and thought she handled them well, but then she gets desperate and acts more her age. She learns a few lessons but not as many as I had hoped. I didn't really like the ending because I felt it wasn't deserved. The story lags a bit until near the end when it gets so crazy that I felt like I didn't want to read it because I knew that Charlie was going to make a mess of things. It's funny at times and very honest and real. It's a nice, lighthearted read that I would recommend to teenagers but not so much for adults. Kate Atkinson has a nice voice and she's able to pitch her voice differently for the different characters and make them distinguishable from one another, though her accent is hard to understand. I would also suggest the print version to go along with the audio so you know how to pronounce all the names and slang words but have the handy-dandy glossary to reference. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Movie Review: Creation


Starring Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, and Jeremy Northam

Paul Bettany stars as Charles Darwin, the author of On the Origin of Species. This story is based on a book by one of Darwin's descendants which in turn is based on the memories of Darwin's children. This fictional look at Darwin's life shows him as a middle-aged man, haunted by the memory of his 10-year-old daughter Annie, estranged from his wife and children, violently ill and struggling to continue his life's work. Darwin is also tormented by inner doubts about the existence of God.  No one understands his pain more than Annie. She's always there by his side (even after death) to calm him and to push him on. The story flashes back to Darwin's happier days as a father of a growing family and his fascination with scientific theory. 

Then flash forward back to the "present." He doesn't speak to his beloved wife Emma, who is deeply religious and also mourning the loss of their eldest daughter. Darwin wonders whether to give up his research or continue on. There will be severe reactions from his peers either way. His friends are urging him to publish, his enemies are accusing him of killing God and Darwin just can't deal with all the pressure. Finally, Darwin gains the courage he needs to face his future.

This movie is a nice piece of cinema. I liked the way it was filmed: moving in and out of the present, back to the past, to Darwin's memories and his fantasies. The make-up is excellent and the acting, by real-life husband and wife Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly is superb. They have an easy relationship with each other and with the youngsters who play the Darwin children. I can easily believe they are a family. Paul Bettany is amazing as the conflicted Darwin and Martha West who plays Annie, is the right amount of spunk and sweetness without being overly precocious and annoying. The orangutan Jenny is stellar and it's easy to see why Darwin was fascinated with great apes watching her. I especially liked the stories of Darwin's travels and early research that are interwoven into the story. I also loved when the dialogue was taken from real diaries and letters written by Charles Darwin. Victorian language is so beautiful and expressive.
I haven't read the book the movie was based and I don't know much about Darwin so I'll just review the movie as a story, I found the movie intriguing. It gives a good sense of the struggles Darwin had to deal with while working out his theories. However, the movie moves so slowly that I don't think it would hold the interest of most people. It would work better as a play. The strength of this movie really lies in the cinematography and the acting.

The DVD features director's commentary, a "Making Of" feature and several discussions on topics relating to Darwin's life and works as well as debates about creationism vs. Darwinism. 

For more on Charles Darwin, see my reviews of The True Adventures of Charley Darwin and my review of Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

Friday, March 18, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

The Madcap Heiress by Emily Henrickson --  Regency Romance

This book follows the adventures of the Hebert family. Previous novels include Lord Nick's Folly, Pruning Priscilla, Druscilla's Downfall, and Tabitha's Tangle. It is followed by My Lady Faire.

Adam Herbert, son of a country vicar, has finished his college degree and with no immediate plans, sets forth to visit his great-uncle, the Earl of Stanwell to see the place where his father spent his summers and discover if he can find a place as a land agent. Upon arriving in the village, Adam comes upon a beautiful young woman in an altercation with Claude Polkinstone, an unsavory character Adam knows from school. Adam intervenes, knowing how dangerous Claude can be, but the lady does not seem grateful. Miss Emma Lawrence, cousin to Claude, believes she can take care of herself. She finds Adam handsome and charming but mistrusts his motives. She fears he may be a fortune hunter. Adam falls instantly in love with the silly young girl. He can't believe the scrapes she gets in to, but feels the need to rescue her anyway. Emma is thrown into company with Adam while visiting with the Earl and Countess, who are like surrogate grandparents to her. Emma's negligent father is determined to marry her off to the despicable Claude and Claude won't take no for an answer, so Emma decides to act like the madcap everyone believes her to be in order to get Claude to leave her alone. Emma's plans don't work out as well as expected and she's in danger of losing her reputation all together. With some help from the Earl and Countess, their grandson, Emma's bosom friend Gussie and of course, Adam, she hopes to repair the damage. She doesn't count on falling in love with Adam. She isn't even sure he likes her. The dastardly Claude won't go away, however, and it looks like her father and Claude may win in the end. If only Adam had prospects and her father would look favorably upon his suit and if only Emma were not such a madcap. This is a pleasant little story that will stand alone from the rest of the series. Adam is quite unexceptionable. He's charming, handsome, humble and he knows what he wants and tries to get it without being overbearing. Emma is very young and very silly. She's badly in need of parenting rather than a husband. I felt sorry for her and her outrageous behavior provided a few chuckles, but she is just too young to interest me as a heroine of a romance novel. She'd make a great heroine of a young adult coming-of-age story though. The Earl and Countess are my favorite characters. Their story would be far more interesting than one about the young people. I'd also prefer a story about Gussie and the Viscount to Emma's story, which just didn't interest me. The plot was similar to A Chance Encounter and other traditional Regencies but lighter. If you're looking for a light, quick read then I suggest this book

The Incomparable Miss Compton by Regina Scott -- Regency Romance
Lord Malcolm Brekonridge, Parliamentarian crusader for reform, is in need of a wife. She must be capable of running a good household, intelligent and able to assist him with his work. Love has nothing to do with the matter, he doesn't believe in silly emotions, or so he thinks. At a ball in his honor, Malcolm is bowled over by the Incomparable Miss Persephone Compton, but before he can take his dance with her, her chaperone, cousin Sarah butts in. Sarah, almost thirty, had a disastrous first Season many years ago when she was a shy girl of only 18. Now she is happy to help her younger cousin through her first Season. Persephone is beautiful, spoiled and willful and absolutely not the wife for a politician. Sarah seeks to rescue both her cousin and Lord Breckonridge from disaster and finds herself gaining a new friend in Lord Breckonridge. The ton is all abuzz, thinking Malcolm is courting the younger girl, even Persy thinks he will ask her to marry him. Only Malcolm and Sarah know better. When Malcolm proposes, it's not what Sarah expected or dreamed of. Where is the romance, the passion, the love? How could Malcolm not believe in love? How could Sarah put her faith in something so silly? Never before thwarted at anything, Malcolm is determined to win. With some help from Anne and Chas Prestwick (from The Unflappable Miss Fairchild), Malcolm sets out to prove to Sarah just what a wonderful bride she will make him. Jealous, Persey sets out to win her own husband on her terms and may ruin everything with her youthful indiscretions. This is an unconventional Regency romance! It's quite refreshing to read about a hero who isn't a rake and I can't gush enough about a shy heroine! I can relate to Sarah more than any other character in any other Regency novel, even the bluestockings, and I loved her so much. She is very natural and realistic, most of the time. She gets a little annoying in the middle of the novel, for which I have to shave off a few points from my rating. Malcolm is an unusual hero. He knows what he wants and goes after it, yet he can't understand his feelings which is a little strange but it works within the framework of the story. Persey is a stereotypical spoiled teenage girl and her character development seems unrealistic within the time frame of the story. It's great to see Chas and Anne again and find out how they're dealing with the changes in their lives from their book. They're still funny and a lovely couple. The climax of the story is a bit unnecessary and silly but the romantic ending is so sweet it will make you squeal "Awww!" I loved this story so much and rate it 4 3/4 stars (out of 5). I also want to say Thank you, thank you, thank you Regina for a shy, intelligent heroine!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

A Chance Encounter by Emily Hendrickson -- Traditional Regency Romance
Miss Felicia Brook is forced by a carriage accident that killed her aunt and wounded her uncle, to temporarily take up residence at the Earl of Chessyre's country residence. As her uncle succumbs to internal injuries, he tells Felicia that she has been cheated. She ponders on the meaning of his words and vows to investigate if she can get to London. The Earl is most helpful in dealing with arrangements, but he's rather reserved and Felicia isn't sure she likes him. William, once thwarted in marriage prospects, now suspects all women of being conniving. At first he thinks Felicia arranged the carriage accident outside his gates on purpose, but once he meets Felicia's scheming cousins who would keep her on as an unpaid servant, he swears to himself that he will protect Felicia from them. When his eccentric Aunt Emma decides to spend the winter in London, William decides Felicia will make the perfect companion for his aunt. Felicia heads to London with Lady Emma and learns that her duty is to assist Lady Emma in winning the hand of her long-time, traveling beau who is now ready to settle down in England. Felicia is so busy she hardly has time to think about investigating her father's will. When William comes to town, he decides he is intrigued by the guileless Felicia and wants to protect her. When he discovers Felicia's slimy cousin Basil is also in town, William decides to ask his solicitor for help discovering whether Felicia's cheapskate relatives cheated her out of her father's fortune. The famous sculptress, Lady Anne Damer, decides she wants Lady Emma's beau to sit for her, Felicia decides to go along to Strawberry Hill and watch the sculptress at work with the intention of making sure that Lady Emma's beau doesn't succumb to the charms of Lady Anne. While visiting the gothic home of Horace Walople, the famous writer of The Castle of Otranto, Felicia finds herself participating in a play based on the novel. Her fellow actors include William, the Earl of Chessyre, his charming cousin Stephen and the lovely and a accomplished young debutante. The cast also includes a few surprises and when life begins to imitate art, the Earl is more convinced he needs to protect Felicia from harm and Felicia is convinced that the Earl's motives are purely brotherly. William must convince Felicia that only he can keep her safe before it's too late. 

The plot focuses more on the gothic than the romantic. As a result, I just didn't feel the romance between the two characters. The story is told mainly from Felicia's point of view, so that also added to the lack of chemistry between the two characters. Most of their interactions involve him wanting to protect her and her confused feelings for him. I preferred Lady Emma's story line. She's a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it, even if she is slightly unconventional. She made me chuckle a bit and relieved the tension of the gothic plot. There was too much going on and I often forgot that Felicia's uncle had told her that she had been cheated. The book isn't very tightly written but it's a quick, light read if you like the more traditional Regency plot. There a few kisses and chaste touching, nothing more.

Note: see pictures of Felicia's bed chamber at the official Strawberry Hill website.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . . 

Daughter of Winter by Pat Lowery Collins -- Middle Grades Historical Fiction

Twelve-year-old Addie and her family live in the shipping town of Essex, Massachusetts in 1849. Her father headed off to the gold fields of California just before an epidemic of the flux hit Essex. Addie's mother and little brother were both ill, but not Addie, who was determined to care for them all alone, without the interference of strangers. Addie is devastated when her mother and brother die of the flux and must gather her strength to take care of the bodies and do what it takes to survive until her father returns. Addie, like her mother, doesn't like strangers. Her mother always called them "interfering busybodies." Addie makes plans to disappear before the townspeople discover her secret and make her work as an unpaid servant. She's reluctant to give up school, which she enjoys, and the friendship of her only true friend John, but she is determined to take care of herself. Addie meets a mysterious old Indian woman, Nokummus, who takes in Addie and teaches the girl things she never learned in school. Nokummus also holds the key to a secret about Addie's past and she is convinced that Addie is the one she has been looking for to become a great leader of her people. At first Addie isn't convinced, but as she grows to love Nokummus, she is torn between her life in Essex and her life with Nokummus. She has to make a momentous decision about who she is and what she will do with her future. This beautifully written novel opens and closes with poems that frame the story. Addie is a plucky heroine that most girls can relate to. She's not perfect, she's not too noble and she's not too much of a hoyden to be unrealistic. She's been shaped by certain factors in her life that have made her stronger. I like her a lot because she seems realistic. There's a budding romance that's very sweet and unfolds nicely.  Nokummus is also an interesting character, though perhaps a bit stereotypical : the proud, wise, old Indian woman. The story is rich in detail and well-researched historical facts. I can easily see the story unfold in my head. This is a great coming-of-age/identity story and I highly recommend it for ages 11/12 +.

An Improper Suitor by Monica Fairview --Regency Romance
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady in possession of an independent fortune is not in need of a husband, or so Miss Julia Swifton thinks. She has no wish to be married and despises rakes, like her father, who abandoned her family years ago. Julia has a happy life with her Grannie in London where she has a reputation as a bluestocking and an old-maid. When Lady Bullfinch, Julia's Grannie, falls ill, she informs Julia that Julia is indeed in need of a husband. When Julia protests, her Grannie points out the misfortune that awaits a young lady without the protection of a male relative. Grannie gives Julia three months to find a proper suitor or Grannie will choose one for her. Grannie's idea of a husband for Julia is her friend's grandson, Lionel Blake, Earl of Thorwynn, a notorious rake. Julia is horrified at the prospect of marrying a rake. She still longs for her absentee father and hopes he will repent and return to her. The idea of doing the same thing to her own child is abhorrent to her. Before Julia can find herself a proper suitor she has an unusual first meeting with Lord Thorwynn that arouses feelings of mutual physical attraction. Together, they rescue a beautiful cherub from a fall in the park and Julia forges an unlikely friendship with the younger girl. Julia's idea of a more proper suitor is Captain Neave, a handsome officer of the Rifle Guards, whom Lord Thorwynn takes objection to. Determined not to be subjected to Thorwynn's opinions, Julia tries to avoid him and focus on Neave, but wherever she goes Thorwynn is there to remind her of her failings and her newly awakened feelings. Julia is forced to rely on Thorwynn for help and discovers that he seems to have a side of him that he doesn't show, though he is reluctant to share his true feelings with Julia. Thorwynn instead acts like a sulky schoolboy in the throes of his first crush, which makes his courtship of Julia quite awkward. Julia learns from her new friend Amelia how to have fun and realizes that her life has been to staid and proper. Determined to live life to the fullest for a change, Julia creates an embarrassing tension between herself and Thorwynn but she soon needs to rely on his protection again to affect a rescue and she discovers her true feelings at last. If only Thorwynn weren't such an improper suitor... This book has all the hallmarks of a cliched Regency romance. I wanted to like this book because I like older heroines and bluestockings. I feel this book suffers from a lot of problems though. First, there are too many plots going on in one story. There is also too much lust and not enough actual romance (as in courtship or wooing). Thorwynn and Julia don't really know much about each other even when the story ends. I can see why Thorwynn loved Julia and why she would be attracted to him but his lack of openness really bothers me. There are also mistakes in the names and ages of characters that caused confusion and inconsistent plot points that didn't add up. I did like Julia's outspoken Grannie, who is from an earlier, saltier, generation. I also liked Amelia and her character development. She's the only character who isn't a stereotype and I found myself wanting to know more about her. This book falls in between kisses only and subtle sensuality but closer to subtle sensuality than a chaste romance. Out of five stars, I would give this book 3 1/4 stars.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . . 

The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi -- Young Adult Historical Fiction
Tacy Stryker is the spoiled youngest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Stryker of Gettsyburg, PA, formerly of Virginia. Tacy's world was upended when her father and older brothers went off to join the Union Troops leaving her youngest brother, David, in charge of Tacy and her mother. David is being eaten up inside because he can't fight like the others due to a twisted leg. It's not easy being a teenage girl during the Civil War. Tacy laments the loss of her caring, kind brother she was close to before the war. She fears for her father and oldest brothers and now the Rebels are marching into town and she's afraid they'll take away her best friend Marvelous and sell Marvelous into slavery. Tacy does the best she can to get through the difficulties of the Battle of Gettysburg and deal with her family's personal problems as well. She tries to play matchmaker for her brother David and keep calm in the face of the battle. When it's all over and the bloody soldiers come staggering back through town, Tacy finally understands David's feelings of frustration and realizes there's something they can do to help. The conclusion is powerful and shocking. This is one of Ann Rinaldi's better novels but not up to the level of her earliest works in the 1990s. Tacy is a typical Ann Rinaldi bratty teenager and reminded me a lot of Harriet in The Letter Writer and Juliet in Juliet's Moon. I didn't dislike Tacy but I didn't really like her either. David is an interesting and complex character who might be more at home in an adult novel. I know the events of Gettysburg and have read other novels about the battle, but unlike others, Ann Rianaldi wanted to show how one family got through the tough times. This is more of an introspective novel than a plot-driven one. The ending is a bit summarized but not as badly as some of her previous recent novels. I liked it and would recommend it to young adults in their mid-teens who have an interest in social history.

The Irredeemable Miss Renfield by Regina Scott -- Regency Romance
Leslie Petersbourough, the charming sidekick in The Unflappable Miss Fairchild, is back in his own novel. Now that he's inherited the titled of Marquis of Hastings, his godmother Lady Agnes De Guis, has made him promise to marry a woman of her choosing. Les refuses to allow his aunt to play matchmaker but agrees to give some thought to marriage. Lady Agnes chooses Cleopatra Renfield, her goddaughter, as Leslie's bride. Cleo's older sisters want her to make an "advantageous" marriage, but if their own marriages are anything to go by, Cleo wants none of it. She is interested in the dashing Major Cutter. Her major rival, Elsie Watkins, is a former schoolmate who has a shocking secret that only Cleo knows. When Cleo learns that her godmother wants to marry her off to her childhood playmate, Leslie Petersbourough, she decides to talk Leslie into creating enough mischief to give her sisters a disgust of him. Leslie agrees to go along with Cleo's crazy plan but didn't anticipate his physical attraction to the woman his little pal has become. Cleo leads Les on a merry dance but learns that it's difficult to toe the line between shocking her sisters and shocking Society. By the time Les realizes the depth of his emotions for Cleo, it may be too late for Major Cutter also has an eye on Cleo and his motive may not be entirely innocent. Leslie has to decide how far he's willing to go to keep up the charade and Cleo gets a lesson in love and courtship she'll never forget. This is another light, fun novel. It's not quite as light as Miss Fairchild, but still fun. I liked Cleo well-enough though she is rather young and innocent and doesn't really understand the rules. Leslie is charming and a lot of fun. Though it seems like the romance could be resolved right away, it gets drawn out and ends up better and more interesting for the length of time it takes. The secondary characters are complex and interesting. My favorite character is Hector, the talking parrot, who made me howl with laughter. Fans of Regina's other novels and Zebra and Signet sweet Regencies will love this one.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Greetings Readers! I have entered the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge sponsored by Historical Tapestry. As you know it's not much of a challenge for me, but it will be fun. I'm aiming for "Severe Bookaholism": 20 books. I hope some of you will enter the challenge also.

Here's my list of books for March (links lead to my reviews):
  1.  The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi (YA)
  2. The Irredeemable Miss Renfield by Regina Scott
  3. Daughter of Winter by Pat Lowery Collins (YA)
  4. An Improper Suitor by Monica Fairview
  5. A Chance Encounter by Emily Henrickson 
  6. The Madcap Heiress by Emily Henrickson
  7. The Incomparable Miss Compton by Regina Scott 
  8. Mistletoe Kittens by JoAnn Ferguson, Judith A. Lansdowne and Regina Scott
  9. My Lady Faire by Emily Hendrickson