Monday, August 22, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

The Mischievous Spinster by Marian Lorraine -- Regency Romantic comedy

Miss Antonia Radcliffe is 29 and a spinster. She is not, however, a confirmed spinster and is open to the idea of marrying for love. Her younger sister Julia has found her love at the advanced age of 23. Julia's betrothed to Lord Colin Neville invites the sister's to visit his home and meet his family. Colin expects his mother to make a scene but he hopes for support from his older half-brother, the Duke of Sayer. Unfortunately for Colin, Derek opposes the match. He has made plans with his friend, the Earl of Atlee, for Colin to marry Atlee's sixteen-year-old daughter Emily. Colin stands his ground and with help from the mischievous Tonia, he plots to change his brother's mind. The schemers are in for another surprise when Atlee and Emily arrive, for Atlee is Tonia's most persistent suitor. Add to that an amorous neighbor, a social climbing widow and plotting mother, the story has all the makings of a farce. However, it doesn't quite get there. Most of the story surrounds convincing everyone that Julia and Colin are meant for each other with Tonia's relationship taking a backseat. When she finally gets to be the heroine, the plot is rushed and summarized. It is funny in spots and I liked the characters a lot. The primary characters are not stereotypes and I admired most of them. Derek's temper gets out of hand and he behaves in a very unpleasant manner which Tonia easily accepts. The supporting characters are typical stock characters for the lighthearted Regency plot. Some of them never really emerge as fully fleshed characters. I liked this story a lot though. It is one of the better Georgette Heyer copycats.

too good to be true by Kristan Higgins - Contemporary adult romantic fiction

Grace Emerson's ex-fiance is now dating her little sister. In order to spare her sister guilt and to keep her family off her back, Grace has invented the perfect boyfriend: he's a pediatric surgeon, kind, romantic and wrangles feral cats. Grace struggles to keep her family from wanting to meet her boyfriend as she tries to get over Andrew and tries Internet dating. One night after drinking a few gin & tonics, Grace sees a strange man prowling around next door. She calls 911 but before the cops arrive, the mysterious man shows up on her doorstep and she hits him in the face with a field hockey stick while her faithful Westie Angus bites the man. The man turns out to be her new neighbor, Callahan O'Shea, an ex-con. Cal served 18 months in prison for embezzling over 1 million dollars. Frequent encounters with Cal make Grace's girly bits all tingly  though she knows she should stay away from men like Cal and focus more on men of her own background. The problem is, most of the men she knows are already married, gay or playing dead during Civil War reenactments. In between dealing with her older sister's bitterness over the breakup of her marriage, trying to find the perfect man for herself and one for her gay best friend, dealing with her sister's wedding plans and flirting with Cal she learns to get over Andrew. Will Grace have the courage to follow her heart instead of her head? This book is almost a carbon copy of  all i ever wanted. Just like Callie, Grace has an eccentric, loving family and a sleazy ex who consume most of her thoughts when she's not lusting over the wrong man. There's very little chemistry between the hero and heroine and I failed to see why he was interested in her. I really wanted to like Grace because professionally, she is very admirable. Plus, I am also a history buff and a Civil War fanatic. I could not admire the way Grace dealt with her personal life. She let everyone else walk all over her and ignored her own advice to Stuart, following the example of her favorite heroine. (Let the records show that I can't stand that particular heroine either). I personally feel that Angus is the only man Grace needs and if my terrier hated a man, I wouldn't allow him anywhere near me or my terrier. Angus is funny and sometimes he's so true to Westie behavior but on the other hand he gives Westies a bad name. They are mostly all bark and no bite and a stranger coming to their home means first alert alert danger danger and then en enthusiastic greeting of kisses and belly rubs not growling and biting. /steps off soapbox/ This book is a nice, light read but it lacks originality and believability.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

The Trouble With May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Adam Gustavson -- Middle Grades Historical Fiction

In this sequel to Our Only May Amelia, it's 1900 and Amelia is 12 years old. Her Pappa still thinks Girls Are Useless and May Amelia Is Trouble. Amelia tries not to get in trouble but her 7 older brothers make it difficult to stay out of trouble with their constant teasing and tormenting. In Amelia's opinion, Boys Are Trouble! She longs for peace and quiet and admires her eldest brother who ran away. She is also dying for another girl to play with. Though she claims to hate boys, May Amelia prefers wearing overalls to dresses. She enjoys school with the prettiest, nicest teacher they've ever had who lets them do lessons in their underdrawers. Some big changes come to the Jackson farm and May Amelia is right in the middle of them. She gets her chance to prove herself to her Pappa by translating for a businessman who wants to buy their farm and make them rich. Pappa is a hard man though and it will take a lot of sisu (Finnish word that translates to guts or courage) to make her family notice her in a good way. This book is every bit as charming as the first. It's told from May Amelia's point-of-view. May's voice is colloquial and childlike, really suited to her character. The first-person narrative helps the story seem more realistic and adds to the charm. May Amelia is an engaging, plucky little heroine that girls and boys will like. Adults will enjoy the innocence of the story and the refreshing honest voice of May Amelia. This book can be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Our Only May Amelia

Violet Eyes  : A Retelling of "The Princess at the Pea" (Once Upon a Time) by Debbie Viguie' -- Young Adult Fairy Tale

Violet knows change is coming when a storm hits. Storms always bring about monumental changes to her life. This storm is no exception. A handsome, wounded stranger is brought to her father's farm where she nurses the young man back to health. The stranger is Prince Richard, heir to the throne of Cambria. Violet quickly falls in love. Prince Richard knows he must marry soon so he has invited numerous princesses to visit his castle where his parents will put them through a test to find the most delicate princess to be his bride. Violet knows true love doesn't matter in royal marriages but a secret about her birth makes her a contender after all. Violet goes to the castle to win the man she loves. She's determined to be his bride no matter what she has to do to win. Violet wonders whether the King and Queen's silly tests hide a deeper meaning Even with a little help from Richard and her new friends, Violet wonders if she has what it takes to be a queen. This is a light fairy tale for the 10-12 year old crowd. There's kissing but not much actual romance. Violet and Richard fall in love almost at first sight, despite being strangers. Violet's mysterious backstory is entirely too coincidental and the story would have been far better without it. I liked the King and Queen and the reasoning behind their tests. It fleshed out the story a lot more than the usual telling of the tale. However, the plot drags a bit in the middle and the actual pea part comes at the end and is a bit too quick. The ending is rushed and rather random. If you like impossible to believe fairy tales then you will probably like this book but I wouldn't recommend it for adults.

Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" by Cameron Dokey (Once Upon a Time) -- Young Adult Fairy Tale

Less a fairy tale than a legend, this book tells the story of Hua Mulan (Mulan means wild orchid), a tomboyish girl in ancient China. Her father is a great general serving the Emperor and her mother died in childbirth leaving her father devastated. As a consequence, Mulan has been alone all of her life, raised by an overprotective nanny. She learns how to read, write, shoot a bow and arrow and use a sword from her best friend Li Po. At almost marriageable age, Li Po's mother is horrified at his friendship with Mulan and worries her only son will marry the wrong woman. Li Po isn't sure of what he wants. Mulan knows she doesn't want to marry and be a dutiful wife. Her spirit is free and longs for adventure. When her father unexpectedly returns home, Mulan tries her hardest to make him proud of her. Changes come to the Hua family and to China. When the Emperor learns the Huns plan to attack China again, he calls for each family to send a man to fight. Mulan is determined her elderly, injured father should not have to fight so she runs off to the field of battle. Her friend Li Po is aide de camp to a great general who knows Mulan and her father. He allows her to stay though because her skill with the bow and arrow is much needed. Mulan proves her worth to the Emperor's son Prince Jian, the leader of the archers. Working alongside Prince Jian allows Mulan to see the gentle heart of the man who struggles with many of the same uncertainties as she does. She falls in love but knows such a love is never meant to be. He's a prince and she's a soldier. If she told him her secret, she would lose everything. This story is well known to those who have seen the Disney movie and others who study folk tales. This retelling lacks the comic relief of the secondary characters and focuses more on Mulan and her inner struggles. This Mulan is much like the Mulan in the movie and I think many teenagers and even adults can identify with her. My main problem with this book is that half of it is devoted to Mulan's growing up so when the important part occurs, it feels rushed. There's far more going on in the Disney movie than this short novel. The author could have used a lot more pages to develop the relationship between Mulan and Prince Jian and tell us about Mulan's time in the army. Overall though, I liked this book because it's different from the typical fairy tale.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

A Lady's Lament by Rebecca Ashley -- Regency Romance

Miss Cynthia Thornbury has carefully tended to her estate these last six years. She wants desperately to buy the neighboring estate to improve it, unfortunately, the new owner, Giles Blenhurst, seems to prefer the "rustic charm" of the place and refuses to sell. Not only that, he seems to refuse to take her offer seriously. How rude of him! Cynthia has been a prim and proper spinster and is well-qualified to care for more land. Giles tries to flirt with Cynthiaand he both irritates and intrigues her. She comes to rely on him for help dealing with her wayward teenage brother and Cynthia's thoughts turn to her first (and only) Season when she was young and gay. Cynthia finds herself wanting to be that girl again. Her relationship with Giles is starting to cause gossip among the neighbors and Cynthia refuses to be gossiped about. Secrets from the past begin to threaten Cynthia's hopes for future happiness. This book is a pale imitation of a Georgette Heyer with more sightly more sensuality. The reader does not really get to know the characters beyond what appears on the surface. This is very much Cynthia's story and not at all about Giles. None of the story is from his point of view and there's very little development of the relationship between him and Cynthia. The story isn't terrible but it's not that great. If you've already read Georgette Heyer than skip this one. If you're new to the genre and want something shorter and less well-written than Heyer, read this instead. 

Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart (Dear America) by Kristiana Gregory  -- Middle Grades Historical Fiction

This story picks up six months after The Winter of the Red Snow in 1779 with Abby and her family living in
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Her papa has joined the Continental Army to fight for freedom. He's a cobbler by trade and no longer young. Abby worries for his safety. When their home is burned in a terrible accident, the Stewart women and children have no choice but to leave Valley Forge and travel Philadelphia to be with family. The journey is difficult and dangerous and the Stewarts do not find what they expected. While Abby's older sister Elisabeth finds a reason to stay, Mrs. Stewart, Abby, Sally and little Johnny must leave Philadelphia and follow the army. Another difficult winter is on the way and Abby worries about being the oldest child at home and prays the war will end soon. The Stewarts soon bond with other camp followers and soldiers, including the handsome Willie Campbell, a blacksmith's son. As the months pass, Abby matures and grows into a woman who is capable of caring for her family through the most difficult times.  I would put this book in the Young Adult category, rather than Middle Grades. Gregory spares nothing from her details about the difficult conditions of army life in the 1770s. There's also quite a bit of romance, including some marriages and births which may not interest younger readers. I love this series because of the wonderful, realistic historical details and this book is no exception. I really felt for Abby's family and turned the pages wondering what would happen. The secondary characters are richly drawn as well and I cared a lot about them and hoped they would survive the brutal years of the war. This is another excellent book from one of my favorite historical fiction authors. I'm so pleased that Scholastic has brought back the series for a new generation. 

What I Read Last Week

What I Read Last Week

Everything But the Groom by Holly Jacobs -- Contemporary adult romantic fiction

Many years ago in Hungary, Vancy Bashdale was the most beautiful girl in her village and she was determined to marry the handsome Bela Salo. She had everything planned for her wedding but the groom failed to appear. In her heartbreak, Vancy cursed his descendants so that they would never have a big, fancy wedding until they understood that love triumphs over pageantry. The groom reappears with a good excuse and she marries him, regretting her hasty curse. Now her granddaughter Vancy is getting married and won't listen to her Nana and elope. Vancy has everything under control. She sees the wedding as a business opportunity for both her and the groom. However, the groom fails to appear and sends word that he ran off with some waitress he had just met. When the media gets a hold of the dual stories of Nana's curse and the runaway groom, they stalk Vancy. Matt Wilde, owner of Everything Wilde landscaping business has just discovered he has two young nephews he has never met. His twin brother abandoned the twins' mother and the mother in turn left the children to her mother who has dumped them on Matt. Rather than see them as an inconvenience, Matt falls in love with the boys at first sight. His path crosses Vancy's and he offers her a place to hide from the media. Vancy becomes a surrogate mother to Matt's nephews. She loves the charming twins despite their propensity for mischief, and she loves her domestic role. She realizes that her wedding to Alvin was just a wedding and not a true marriage. Matt realizes he loves Vancy but feels it's too soon after her failed wedding to make a move. Their families think otherwise and wonder if Vancy and Matt will ever realize their feelings for each other. Perhaps if they help things along a bit it will happen and Vancy will break the family curse. This is a light, fluffy novel that can be read in one sitting and promptly forgotten. I expected more of a family comedy but it's more of a 1950s domestic story than anything else. The dialogue is terrible and the introspective moments are too soon and too frequent. Vancy and Matt are stock characters and I could not relate to her or like her much at all. Likewise, Matt is too saintly to be realistic. The romance is sweet though. If you like clean, sweet romances and heartwarming stories more than a well-written book, this one is for you.

all i ever wanted by Kristan Higgins -- Contemporary adult romantic fiction 

All Callie Grey has ever wanted is to be loved and have a happily ever after. She thinks she's found that with her boss, Mark with whom she had a brief fling months ago. On her 30th birthday he informs her that he's seeing someone and it's fairly serious. Callie is devastated and holds a very loud phone conversation with her sister while waiting in line at the DMV. The guy behind Callie is disgusted with her behavior and tells her to get a grip. Callie's friends tell her to find a new man to make Mark jealous but it's hard when Mark's new girlfriend is the daughter of their biggest client, young, skinny and beautiful. There also aren't a lot of available men in Georgebury, Vermont that aren't creepy or old. Callie's faithful dog Bowie and her quirky family tries to help her through in their own individual ways. Callie decides to check out the new veterinarian Dr. Ian MacFarland, whom she had heard was single. Callie's inner Betty Boop urges her to pursue him but her inner Michelle Obama encourages her to be her own woman. Unfortunately for Callie, she should have listened to Michelle for the new vet happens to be the man from the DMV! Embarrassed, Callie invents a cover story involving her PR expertise. When Ian decides to take Callie up on her offer, she gets to know him better. Still, she finds him a bit stuff and formal but as they get to know one another, they each become a good influence on the other. Before Callie can find her happily ever after, she has to learn to get over her infatuation with Mark and learn to love herself. This book is a better rendition of stories like Bridget Jones and Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble and Heather Wells books. There's more depth to the story than Bridget Jones and Callie isn't quite as pathetic. The story was a bit hard to get into at first because I couldn't relate to or identify with Callie at all. It seemed like she was a train wreck waiting to happen. The story picks up more about halfway through. The book is long for a chick lit novel but it doesn't really drag much. The ending was a bit rushed and the epilogue isn't really necessary. This book contained more profanity and mentions of making love than I remember from Higgins's previous books. Unlike some of the reviewers on Amazon, I didn't see a political agenda in this book at all. I especially loved Callie's family. They provide the giggles in this story and make my insane family seem almost normal. The romance is not central to the story. Callie is at the center of the story and she has to find herself before she can find what's she's always wanted. This story will make you laugh and cry. Read if you want something light and fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What I Read This Week Part I

What I've Read This Week Part I. . .

Forgiven by Janet S. Fox -- Young Adult Historical Fiction

In this companion to Faithful, 17 year old Kula Baker's Pa, the outlaw Ned Baker, sends her out into the world alone when he discovers a dangerous stranger has been searching their camp for a secret hidden box. Kula first goes to Bozeman, Montana where she works for Mrs. Gale, the kind photographer. Kula is angry at her Pa for not coming with her and starting fresh. She dreams of a fine man to come and marry her and keep her in luxury for the rest of her life. Then Kula's Pa is arrested for a murder Kula is sure he didn't commit. He urges her to go to San Francisco and find the box. Mrs. Gale sends Kula to her sister-in-law Miss Everts in San Francisco. San Francisco in 1906 is a dangerous place and Kula finds herself lost and alone in The Barbary Coast, the most dangerous section in the city. She's rescued by a kind Chinese boy, David Wong. Though it is considered improper for a Chinese man to be seen with a non-Chinese woman, David asks to call on Kula, hoping they will become friends. Knowing what it feels like to be an outsider, Kula agrees. Miss Everts is a bit brusque but she's kind enough. She introduces Kula to high society as an artist's model. Kula realizes that perhaps she can make her own way in the world. However, Miss. Everts has secrets and Kula thinks the woman is died to the dangerous man who framed her father. Kula is also haunted by the faces of the girls she saw in the Barbary Coast. Girls who are exported from China to be slaves for the pleasure of men. Kula finds herself torn between wanting to help and wanting to be accepted into the society to which she dreams of belonging. She's drawn to David but the attractive wealthy young man Will Henderson who is paying her lots of attention. Kula discovers secrets all around her and she wants to put the clues together. She doesn't trust anyone least of all herself. When disaster strikes San Francisco, Kula realizes she will have to trust in order to save those she loves. Once she learns to trust, she can begin to forgive. This is an excellent novel. It's far better than Faithful. Kula is a more interesting character than Maggie. She's more complex but in many ways she's exactly the same. The plot is gripping and I just couldn't put it down. The story is gritty and realistic for the most part and I would not recommend this book for most people under 16. Though the book is a companion to Faithful and takes place a year and a half later, the author is careful not to reveal spoilers from the plot of Faithful. I really liked this book and I think readers of the Luxe novels who can't stand the melodrama will prefer Fox's novels.

Assassin by Anna Meyers -- Young Adult Historical Fiction

Bella Gretchel first meets John Wilkes Booth when she is just a child in Richmond. She's struck by his charm and gentlemanly nature. She dreams of joining the theatre like her idol but tragedy intervenes and she is sent to live with her grandmother in Washington City. Bella's grandmother is an assistant seamstress at the White House for President Buchanan's niece. There Bella meets Steven Browning, an intelligent, talkative boy who quickly becomes her best friend. Soon there's a new family in the White House and Bella is busier than ever helping her grandmother sew. She likes the boisterous Lincoln boys and the kind President but still dreams of a life in the theatre. Her opportunity finally comes when she finds a job in the costume department at Ford's Theater. With the help of the charming Wilkes Booth, she learns to recite poetry as so to be ready when the time comes for her to take the stage. John Wilkes Booth, or Wilkes as he prefers to be called, is the son and brother of a famous family of tragedians. His life has been a perfect tragedy, especially now that his beloved South is being invaded by upstart northerners. He blames Lincoln for the country's troubles and is determined to do something that will make him a hero in the South. First, he needs to charm Bella into helping him, no matter the cost. For Bella, this is her chance to catch and keep the attention of her crush. She little dreams that her acquiescence will place her beloved Mr. Lincoln and even herself in danger. This is a real sleeper of a novel. Not much happens in the first three quarters of the book. Bella and Wilkes tell the reader their life stories and rehash the events that led to the Civil War and the events of the war. Then finally the plot picks up when Bella meets Wilkes. Bella is very naive and she believes that Wilkes will love her if she goes along with his plan. She's a bit too innocent and gullible to be likable. Maybe younger readers can identify more with her. Wilkes is portrayed as a madman, blinded by his love for the South and desire for honor and glory. He's supposed to be charming but I found him sleezy and insincere. The last quarter of the novel is page-turning as Bella finds herself in danger. The ending is unrealistic though true to historical events. There were also some historical inaccuracies, though minor, that bothered me. This novel can be compared to one of Ann Rinaldi's more recent works. If you like those, you will like this one. I wouldn't recommend it to adults though, but maybe younger teens.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

The Rose Bride : A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride" (Once Upon a Time) by Nancy Holder -- Young Adult Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in the Land of Beyond, the Crown Prince Jean-Marc marries the lovely Lucienne. The priest of Zeus prophesies a son will be born and heal two broken hearts. Once upon a time in the Forested Land, Rose Marchand waits for her father to arrive home for her 13th birthday. Her loving father has been off chasing more gold for a very long time and Rose and her mother Celestine are left waiting for him to return. All Rose wants for is the love of her father. In the rose garden, Celestine prays to the statue of the goddess Artemis that her daughter will always know she is loved for true love never dies and when one has true love, one will always be safe. Celestine gets her wish and Rose must learn her lesson through extreme hardships. She must be brave and remember she is loved if she is to survive the wicked magical plotting of her step-mother and step-sister. Rose tries to remember those who loved her and when she needs a boost, Artemis is there to help. Finally, Rose must help another remember what it is to love and be loved. This story is a typical fairy tale similar to Cinderella. It's well-written and well-developed, but I'm not a big fan of traditional fairy tales so this book just didn't appeal to me. 

 The Crimson Thread :A Retelling of "Rumplestiltskin" (Once Upon a Time)  by Suzanne Weyn -- Young Adult Fairy Tale

In 1880, Bridget O'Malley and her family arrive in New York City, land of opportunity. They have the best apartment $5 can get, which happens to be in a dirty, smelly tenement. Bridget is horrified and disgusted with New York but her father, ever the dreamer, has big dreams and plans. When her father and brothers get in trouble for fighting at work, they must seek new identities and new jobs. Posing as a Welshman named Miller, her father talks his way into a job as a coachman for the wealthy textile manufacturer J.P. Wellington. Not content with that, her father then bluffs his way to getting jobs for the rest of the family, all except the youngest two children. Bridget, now called Bertie, will work as an apprentice seamstress to the Wellington family dressmaker. Bertie's head is turned by the handsome charming James Weelington. Bertie has to juggle working with caring for her younger siblings and when life gets rough, a young vagabond who calls himself Ray Stalls is there by her side. Ray offers his help when Bertie's father once again stretches the truth about Bertie's sewing abilities and claims she can practically spin straw into gold and create the beautiful fashions the Park Avenue girls desire. Ray asks for nothing in return for his help except a kiss. Bertie refuses to sell herself so Ray demands her first born child. Bertie takes his request as a joke and they part in anger. Bertie gets caught up in a whirlwind of success but when she loses the one that's most important to her, she fears Ray has claimed his payment. Now she must discover his real name and find out where she is to get her own back. This is more of a historical fiction novel than fairy tale. The prologue and epilogue seem tacked on to make it more fairy tale. Since I love historical fiction, I enjoyed this take on the familiar tale. It's realistic for the most part and there are some great period details. There's little to no magic so don't expect a traditional take on the tale. I liked Bertie and could relate to her. I found the secondary characters were pretty much stock characters. The ending is rushed and unrealistic and that was a big turn-off for me. The book isn't as good as Water Song but I liked it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

The Bluestocking on His Knee by Regina Scott -- Regency Romance

Kevin Whattling is close to being thrown in the poor house. The once wealthy handsome Corinthian has paid most of his late younger brother's debts but the bills keep coming. He has only one way to stay out of debtor's prison - marry an heiress. He decides on Miss Eugennia Welch, a wealthy bluestocking. Eugennia likes nothing better than to be studying something but she can't help wishing for a handsome prince to come and marry her. When Kevin announces his intentions, Eugennia is surprised but interested. She agrees to begin a friendship to see whether they would suit and discovers that her heart is telling her something different from her head. Kevin's enemy tries to come between them and it's up to Eugennia to figure out how to stop the villain. She also must decide whether she wants to follow her head or her heart while Kevin hopes desperately that the woman he has come to love will be the bluestocking on his knee. This novel is one of Regina Scott's best. I really liked and identified with Eugennia. Kevin is a little two-dimensional and a bit unlikable for his mercenary ways but as the story progresses, I came to like him better. There is great chemistry between Kevin and Eugennia without their feelings overpowering the story. (There's nothing more than kisses). The plot progresses quickly but is not rushed. My only quibble is that I wish Kevin had talked to Eugennia about Robbie but other than that, I really enjoyed the story. 

Ginny by Jennie Tremaine (Marion Chesney) -- Edwardian romance

Ginny Boggs, a coal merchant's daughter inherits a fortune and an estate from someone she's never met. The relatives of her benefactor Mr. Giles Frayne are angry at being snubbed in favor of someone from the middle-class. His will stipulates that they must stay on at Courtney and help Ginny go on in Society until her marriage. The four relatives are convinced Ginny will be nothing but a uncouth person and are determined to make her life miserable. Ginny arrives in full splendor turning malicious words and intentions on their head. Watching on the sidelines is Ginny's neighbor, Lord Gerald de Fremney. Gerald thinks Ginny is not his type - he prefers modern women like the cool, confident Alicia, but he is extremely physically attracted to Ginny. The more he meets of Ginny, the more he finds himself wondering what is going on in her head and finds it difficult to maintain a physical distance from the young woman who has turned the Kentish countryside upside down. When Ginny fears her life is in danger, why does Gerald feel the need to protect her? This is a screwball comedy similar to Georgette Heyer's The Unknown Ajax. It's typical Marion Chesney style: lighthearted and fun, for the most part. The Edwardians are a bit more racy than their Regency counterparts. There is a love scene but nothing is shown. Roles for women had drastically changed by the time this story is set. This novel presents both modern and old-fashioned women and favors the old-fashioned type. I enjoyed the novel but found it bothersome not to know what was going on in Ginny's head. If you like light novels without much substance and Marion Chesney's Regencies, you'll love this one too.

Wednesday, August 3, 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've already beaten that but I'd like to see how many I read. I hope some of you will enter the challenge also.

Here's my list of books for August  (links lead to my reviews):
  1. The Bluestocking on His Knee by Regina Scott 
  2. Ginny by Jennie Tremaine (Marion Chesney) 
  3. The Crimson Thread : A retelling of Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon a Time) by Suzanne Weyn (YA)
  4. Forgiven by Janet S. Fox (YA)
  5. Assassin by Anna Meyers (YA)
  6. A Lady's Lament by Rebecca Ashley
  7. Cannons at Dawn : The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart (Dear America) by Kristiana Gregory (Middle Grades)
  8. The Trouble With May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm (Middle Grades) 
  9. The Mischievous Spinster by Marian Lorraine 

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    What I Read This Weekend

    What I Read This Weekend . . .

    Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter -- Young Adult 

    Sequel to Heist Society

    Since pulling off the heist at the Henley last year, Kat has been traveling the world stealing back priceless treasures that were stolen by Nazis or otherwise illegal means, all in the name of Visili Romani. Now Kat is being approached by an older woman whose life mission has been to get back the Cleopatra Emerald her parents discovered in Egypt. It was stolen by their business partner and ruined their lives and all Margaret wants is the emerald back and the recognition her parents were robbed of. It just so happens that the rare emerald is being exhibited for the first time. Should be easy for a pro like Kat right? Not quite. First, the emerald is said to be cursed, second Uncle Eddie doesn't approve. With the family away in Paraguay (or is is Uruguay? Kat gets confused) Kat is on her own. She likes it that way. That no way no one can get close enough to her to get hurt. However, Kat's friends won't take no for an answer. Their wits are tested when nothing is at it seems and they are in more danger of than ever before. Plus, there's the whole issue of her feelings for the handsome Hale. For a smart thief, Kat is a stupid girl. She needs to trust herself and her friends like never before if she's going to pull off this heist. This is another great face-paced novel from Ally Carter. It didn't quite leave me breathless the way Heist Society did and I was able to put it down in spots. At first it reads like a short story but then some plot twists had me turning pages wondering what was going to happen next. It concludes nicely without leaving many loose ends hanging but I'd still love more books in the series. This is a great fun read for young and old!