Mini Reviews of Summer 2016

Mystery, drama, oh my!

Newest novel by Lynn Austin

Book three in the Restoration Chronicles!

Welcome to Burton Book Review!

Historical fiction and Biblical fiction, reviewing since 2008

My epiphany of 2015

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Best of 2015

BBR's Top 2015 Reads!

May 31, 2009

The Sunday Salon: BEA, Awards & Winners!

The Sunday Salon.com

"What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...."

AHHHHH.... it's a gloriously gorgeous and warm Sunday here in Sunny Texas, without a chance of rain which has been rare lately. A perfect day to sit outside and listen to the birds as you read your favorite book... or in my reality, a day to sit outside with the sun in my eyes and my 7 year old whining to go play with her friends elsewhere as the toddler throws sand in my face while I re-read the same paragraph for the umpteenth time because I can't concentrate. AHHHH

MAY 31st today! This day marks my step-daughter's 15th birthday. Happy Birthday to her! And coincidentally enough, this day also marks the 15th anniversary of me stepping on Texan soil and calling it home sweet home. It was just a few years later that I met the love of my life, and then brainwashed him into loving me back and later marrying me in Vegas, baby.. But he doesn't like me getting all personal in my blog posts so I'll stop here but I'll add a big I love you to the husband.. I am so glad that I made that decision to leave New York and make my life here. I have never regretted it and never will.

It is also Lenore's birthday at Presenting Lenore! Happy Birthday, Lenore!

As many of you know, this was the weekend for the Book Expo America Event in New York City. I wish I could have gone just to meet up with the other bloggers that have been lucky enough to attend. I cannot wait to read some of the blog posts about who everyone met there and what books they have received! Apparently the BEA will have its home in NYC for quite awhile, but if it ever gets out of NY and closer to Texas, I would love to go. I did participate some in the BEA Twitter Party on Friday night, and on June 2 BlogTalk Radio will broadcast their Book Bloggers Panel at BEA with Book Club Girl. Sarah at Reading the Past has already posted about her Day One, and she was picky with the books she chose to bring home with her. And I must say she picked some wonderful ones! I need to go put all those on my wish list that aren't there already!

There is also an article about Book Bloggers and the BEA called "BookExpo America 2009: Bloggers Draw a Crowd" at Publisher's Weekly. Here is a great quote from it: "With the huge number of books being published, book bloggers are becoming even important gatekeepers, increasing awareness for readers and building buzz. To that end, publishers and authors are working more closely than ever with them, and on new ways of promotion, such as blog tours."

In other news, a wonderful thing happened to me this week. A NEW BOOKCASE!! (That should be in rotating electric lights)..And maybe a little one on the way (a bookcase mind you!) for my bedroom. I want to put my Jean Plaidy's in that little one, I have about 52 of those so far, still looking for some of the harder to find ones. I need most of the Plantagenet era, and 3 of the Georgian era and just a few more scattered throughout Plaidy's different series.
I've moved around some books and I've got ORDER to the mayhem. Medieval on top shelf, Tudor Era on second, and French Revolution on the third, etc. I have a special bookshelf in my bedroom that has my favorite Wars of the Roses and Tudor Era books, which there are still many to read! The other bookcase for the general fiction and the shelf of ARC's to review.. And with my new addition, I have room to expand... yeppers, I've got some holes to fill now WEEEEE.... And I also wondered how I'd accumulated 3 different books on Marie Antoinette that I've yet to read... didn't know I was that interested!

This week I have read The Sitting Swing by Irene Watson. The review will post on June 8 as Irene stops by for a virtual book tour. Some of you may recognize Irene as the managing editor from Reader Views. The book has been revised from an earlier edition but is a touching story of how Irene survived a rough childhood and what she has done to come to terms with that. She shares her insights without preaching and offers hope to the rest of us. This is a very good read, I recommend it. Be sure to return June 8 during her tour, because I will have an author post and a book giveaway for you which is for an autographed copy!

I also finished The Indiscretions of The Queen, by Jean Plaidy, (review here) which was book #6 for the Jean Plaidy Reading Challenge hosted by the lovely ladies Arleigh and Lucy at Royal Intrigue. This book was the Jean Plaidy Reading Group pick for the month of May, for which we have a little forum where we can talk about the book. The pick for the coming month is Victoria Holt's (pseudonym) My Enemy The Queen. I have already read that one, and it is AWESOME for any of the Elizabeth I fans out there. IF I had some extra reading time and wasn't bogged down in ARC books I would be re-reading this one for the discussion. But I'll definitely still be there to discuss it, I really enjoyed the characters in this book. (Lettice Knollys, Penelope Deveraux, Robert Dudley..)

Off my beaten path, I am now reading The Osiris Alliance by Jack Ford. It is a crime novel that reads like a Law and Order episode, with a historical twist regarding the Charles Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping Case. It is a debut novel by Ford, who was a Emmy and Peabody award winning news anchor. If you like crime novels then this is a pick for you, although you can make little comments to pick the writing style apart, but I won't. It is still a good read despite small flaws. I'll probably have my review later this week, God willing!

A new author, Anna Elliott, has done a guest post on Backstory last Thursday. She is a really sweet person and I cannot wait to read her book, Twilight of Avalon, which centers around Arthurian lore. Her second novel Dark Moon of Avalon is in the copy editing process now! Anna's website is here.

***AWARD TIME!**

I have gotten a few more blog awards lately, such as the Lemonade Award, The Kreative Blogger Award, The Literary Blogger Award... Check out my sidebar for links to who awarded them to me. I really appreciate you thinking of me and mentioning me in your award posts, it does mean a lot to me.

The Kreative Blogger Award is one that has not been three-peated throughout the blogosphere so I've picked that one to go ahead and redistribute. I know that are so many of these things it gets a bit cumbersome, although everyone loves the recognition! So today I am going to pass along the Kreative Blogger Award. Thanks to Melissa at Melissa's Bookshelf for thinking of me!


Rules:
Post 7 things you love.
Give award to 7 other bloggers who are creative.

Here are seven things I love:
My little Texan family!
My Blog Buddies
My books
The Texas Sky
A cup of tea
A slow day at work
Italian cannolis


I am awarding:
Sheri at A Novel Menagerie
Susie at
All Things Royal
Amy at Passages to the Past
Teddyrose at
So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Claire at
The Anne Boleyn Files
Dolleygurl at
The Maiden's Court
Virginie at
Virginie Says...

**Congrats to these wonderful blogger ladies!!**

**GIVEAWAY WINNERS**

The giveaway for Wild Highland Magic ended last night. I had a winner for an Advance Reader's copy, and a winner from the publisher Sourcebooks for the released version.

The ARC Winner is: HeatherZilla

The New Released winner is: Marie Lay

Congratulations!

And ONE more thing... tomorrow, June 1st begins a new reading challenge.. see my post about it here... I would love for you to join us! It is The Four Month Challenge, and pretty simple to participate :) Jean Plaidy is even mentioned!! Hope to see you there! Have a great day! (I feel like I just wrote a book!)

May 30, 2009

Book Review: "Indiscretions of the Queen: (#8 Georgian Saga) by Jean Plaidy



Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Fawcett (printed August 28, 1990)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0449217795
ISBN-13: 978-0449217795
The Burton Review Rating: 4 stars
Plaidy Reading Group June 1, 2009
Plaidy Reading Challenge #6 Completed

Synopsis:
"Princess Caroline of Brunswick was twenty-six years old and people were saying that she would never have married... But a grand destiny was about to unfold for the lively Princess, as bride of England's handsome Prince of Wales, soon to be Regent and later King George IV of England. Unfortunately, although Caroline fell madly in love with her charming royal spouse, his own affections had been stolen years before by the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert- to whom, it was whispered, he was actually secretly married.
So, as a lonely, unsophisticated outsider in her husband's dissipated circle, Caroline determines to live her own life. Her reckless search for affection infuriates the King, shocks the court, delights the common people, and culminates in one of the most famous court cases in history- in which the Queen of England stands trial, charged with adultery."

This is an interesting story of the 'injured' Queen of England, better known as Caroline of Brunswick. The novel opens up to Caroline as a young woman still at home with her family in Germany and her stubbornness and zest for childish antics shine through early on. Plaidy does a good job with her historical information and makes the most of the story with the characterization of the zany Caroline, although there were a few slow parts probably not due to Plaidy's writing precisely; history took its time being played out as we follow Caroline from her first love to her marriage to the highly acclaimed eligible bachelor the Prince of Wales, having a baby and then the silly antics throughout the remainder of her life.

Caroline was ill treated when she left Germany to become the wife of George the Prince of Wales, she did not listen to others when she was given advice on how to look more attractive or how to act; she was instantly disliked by her betrothed; probably also due to the fact he had a wife before her that he had still loved. The Prince did not marry his first wife under the sanctioning eyes of the courts, therefore the courts and England did not find it necessary to uphold the marriage George had made previously to the one woman he seemed to love, Maria Fitzherbert (she was also a Catholic which they did not approve of). George married his first-cousin Caroline purely to attempt to pay off some debts, and it proved disastrous twofold since he did not get any more money to actually line his own pockets with.

There were a few other royal figures that I enjoyed the back stories on, such as the Old King George III and his mean-spirited wife Queen Charlotte. They had 15 children together and 13 who lived to maturity, which seems astounding and tragically comical that they all seemed not fit to inherit the crown, therefore all eyes rested on the eccentric Caroline and the flamboyant Prince of Wales.

I found it most interesting that Caroline did not attempt to clean herself up to make herself more appealing, she clearly did not outwardly care how others thought of her. Through the course of the marriage though, she enjoyed the companionship of many other people, as people who disliked the Prince naturally gravitated towards Caroline. She seemed to live comfortably throughout the estrangement and finally towards the end of the novel the old King George III dies and the Prince becomes the next King George, but he is in no way about to accept the eccentric Caroline as England's Queen. He had placed spies in Caroline's midst so that they can report on all infidelities and unbecoming conduct and attempts to publicly defame her during a trial as he finally wants a divorce from her. The novel doesn't specifically state if they get divorced, it was a trial seeking to prove her adulterous. I did enjoy reading the story overall but since it seemed a little slow in some parts I give it 4 stars for making the Georgian era readable and the interesting way a myriad of characters were all brought into the story. This was my introduction to the Georgian Era and if possible I think it would be better for readers to start new to them eras with the beginning of a series and not something towards the end. Yet this was an endearing read of a unique woman and most unlike most of Plaidy's other heroines, so don't miss this one. Her antics are preposterous and make you shake your head, but leaves you smiling at Caroline's devil-may-care attitude as well.


I also posted two of the different covers of this book. The first one is the one I have, and honestly could not even imagine at any point where that was Caroline, and the second cover seems to depict her in a more honest light. She was probably large, as George IV was also.

Plaidy mentions Maria Fitzherbert, George's first wife in the story, and focuses on her a few times just enough to make me want to pick up another Plaidy novel "Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill" which focuses on the devout Maria and probably should have been read before this one. And the old king George III seemed a little odd in this novel, which is another life story that I will look forward to when reading "The Third George".

The original printing dates for the books in the Georgian Saga series are:

QUEEN IN WAITING (Robert Hale, 1967)

THE PRINCESS OF CELLE (Robert Hale, 1967)

THE PRINCE AND THE QUAKERESS (Robert Hale, 1968)

CAROLINE, THE QUEEN (Robert Hale, 1968)

THE THIRD GEORGE (Robert Hale, 1969)

PERDITA'S PRINCE (Robert Hale, 1969)

SWEET LASS OF RICHMOND HILL (Robert Hale, 1970)

INDISCRETIONS OF THE QUEEN (Robert Hale, 1970)

THE REGENT'S DAUGHTER (Robert Hale, 1971)

GODDESS OF THE GREEN ROOM (Robert Hale, 1971)

May 29, 2009

Friday Fill-In




:::Friday Fill-Ins is hosted by Janet::: She supplies the basics and we fill in the blanks:

And...here we go!


1. It's cold and I only like cold soda.
2.Salad is not complete without tomatoes.
3. My favorite health and beauty product is probably face powder.
4. From here to Vegas is a nice long ride.
5. Well, first of all we got married there.
6. Evil brother and sister in law; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was very unsettling.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to thanking my husband for working his arse off, tomorrow my plans include letting my husband sleep before work, and Sunday, I want to relax but I won't, instead I will do laundry and compose a Sunday Salon Post. Do you have any topics for a Sunday Salon Post?!

Happy Friday everyone.. :)



hee hee That pic really belongs on Last Week's Post, but here it is now anyway! Sometimes this is really reflective of my mood.

May 28, 2009

Booking Through Thursday




In the perfect follow-up to last week’s question, as suggested by C in DC:
Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?


Ok well I thought and thought and thought... but I just cannot get past this pick because it is fresh in my mind full of disappointment. And I know there A LOT of people who will disagree with me... and everyone is entitled to their opinion... so here's mine:
"The Other Queen" by Phillippa Gregory


And to be honest.. I bet if I read her romance genre those would replace this one... But in efforts to complete the question The Other Queen wins it this time.
I am a fan of Bess of Hardwick, and maybe a supporter of Mary Queen of Scots, but in the book I was disgusted with how the whole angle of Mary and Bess's husband George played out. I know that it is a novel, and there is the poetic license to spice stuff up.. but that just threw the book out the window for me. This was a rare time when I had anticipated the arrival of a book long before its release, and pre-ordered and paid full price for it, and I was let down. If I got it from the library maybe I wouldn't have felt so bad. But I drove the book to the used book store before I even finished reading the last few pages I just couldn't take it anymore.

What about you? Do you have one of those you wish you had skipped? I know Misfit from At Home with a good book and the cat has many to choose from, she has her Wednesday WallBangers that make me laugh every time!

May 27, 2009

Book Review:"Mating Rituals of The North American WASP" by Lauren Lipton and Intriguing Info from Lauren Lipton!

"Mating Rituals of The North American WASP" by Lauren Lipton
Publisher: 5 Spot/Hachette
ISBN: 978-0-446-19797-7
Pages: 302 Trade Paperback
Release: May 29, 2009

Welcome to the Blog Tour for "Mating Rituals of The North American WASP" by Lauren Lipton.
The Blogs that have signed up to participate in the tour are all listed at Drey's Library.
Some of my favorite haunts who are participating are (in no particular order):
S. Krishna's Books
Morbid Romantic
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
The Tome Traveler's Weblog
My Friend Amy
Peeking Between the Pages
Diary of an Eccentric
Savvy Verse & Wit

The author Lauren Lipton has kindly accepted my offer to compose a little something for my blog in honor of the virtual tour, which is just below. After her post, you can find my own review of the book and the special something for lucky readers at the end of the post.. so be sure to read all! :)

The Burton Review left a wide berth for Lauren, and she answers the question:

What intrigues you?

--People intrigue me. People and their stories, whether outrageous or commonplace. I will inevitably sit on a bus or subway and by journey's end know at least one interesting fact about the former stranger next to me. This happens to me two or three times a week. I don't know if I begin these conversations or if they do, but over the years I have met a psychic, a government special agent, an emergency medical technician, a homeless musician. One time, on a flight from New York to San Diego, I ended up next to a former military pilot who for six hours told me stories about the Iraq War I've never seen printed anywhere.

I am writing this guest post on Memorial Day, returning home from Connecticut on a train to New York City. It's hot and crowded, and the man across the aisle has kept up a running commentary to his traveling companions about every last celebrity in the People magazine he is reading. After an hour (it's hard not to listen in), I now know Lionel Richie was raised in Joliet, Illinois, and that Ralph Macchio was actually in his twenties when he played the teen lead in The Karate Kid. It's a pity. I'm wholly uninterested in celebrities. I wish I knew, though, what this man across the aisle will be doing in Manhattan, what he did for Memorial Day, and whether the large entourage he's traveling with is his family or his friends.

I'm an inveterate eavesdropper, an anthropological observer of peoples' outfits, haircuts, reading material and grocery-store shopping-cart contents. At parties, I'm the one "interviewing" other guests about their jobs, under the guise of making polite small talk. I've learned some interesting tidbits about things like zoology and organic farming.

I often worry about coming off as prying or nosy. I hope people don't see it that way. I'm just fascinated by them. And I guess, in a way, it's my job. --Lauren Lipton www.laurenlipton.com

Lauren Lipton is a freelance journalist and author of two novels who lives in Connecticut. Visit her website to read more about her and author news.

Now to prove you are reading, you need to answer this question in your comments, along with following the directions at the end in order to enter the book giveaway. :) I'm mean.
The question you must answer in your comment is "If you met Lauren on a subway, what do you think you would talk about, and WHY? Or, if you were sitting near her on a subway, what would she be hearing from you if she were eavesdropping?"

And now onwards to my book review (I normally separate these things our but I wanted to just see how this worked, so what do you think?):

Book Review: "Mating Rituals of The North American WASP" by Lauren Lipton
The Burton Review Rating: 3.5 stars
Read an Excerpt here of Chapter One.

The synopsis:
“After arguing with her live-in boyfriend about his inability to commit, Peggy Adams flies to a friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas, and wakes up next to a man she can’t remember. Hung over and miserable, she sneaks out of the sleeping man’s hotel room and returns home to New York, where her boyfriend apologizes for the fight and gives her a Tiffany box containing a pre-engagement ring. Not what she expected, but close enough.

But the next day she receives a phone call from the Las Vegas one-night stand, Luke Sedgwick, who claims she’s already married - to him! Both Peggy and Luke are ready for an annulment, until Peggy arrives in quaint New Nineveh, Connecticut, where Luke cares for his great aunt, and the old woman makes Peggy an offer she can’t refuse.”

So here's the Peggy gets married novel. Poor Peggy is feeling the sands of time and wants to get married, yet she did not expect to wake up married to a stranger after a drunk night in Vegas. They don't even know if they consummated their marriage, that's how drunk they were. OK so you don't really sympathize with Poor Peggy right off the bat. Then Peggy goes home to her knuckle-head-jock-not-ready-to-settle-down-boyfriend Brock and she pretends nothing happens. Nope, she doesn't tell her boyfriend what she's done; instead she decides to spend weekends with her new husband the WASP Luke in Connecticut and still run her soap shop in NYC, Jock-Brock has no idea for a year. Silly Silly Peggy.

With all these and more goofy events, we get sucked into Silly Peggy's story, and we want to yell at her to WAKE UP!! and be a little more realistic but the millions of dollars that could be at stake if she stays married to Luke is just too much of a draw for Poor Peggy; and her best friend supports her in this Silly decision... OK OK enough of the Silly Peggy and Poor Peggy. But that is what you feel as the reader feels as you skim through the book as she is such a nit-wit, yet it is a fun read despite Silly Peggy. The storyline I enjoyed the most was when we get to the history of Luke's WASP family. Luke of course doesn't want to actually be a WASP but he is the last of the Sedgewick line and therefore has a duty to its honor. Which of course he doesn't honor, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

This novel was a good read for those ready to get involved in a story where you sort of know what's going to happen, and you just have to sit through the main character making one foolish decision after the other. The shenanigans of this romantic comedy that Peggy gets herself into are laugh out loud funny. Although she is not someone you can really relate to, the story was overall an enjoyable and quick read for which I would recommend it for the women's general fiction and chick-lit readers. Lauren Lipton's writing was fast paced and I eagerly turned the pages to see what Silly and Poor Peggy (couldn't resist) would do next.

So how about it, are you ready to read all about Silly Peggy's Shenanigans? Miriam has graciously agreed to allow me to giveaway 3 of the Mating Rituals of The North American WASP to my lucky readers. Here are the rules:

1. For your First entry, Follow this blog Publicly, and leave a comment with your email address. If you are already a follower, let me know that too.
2. For Two Extra Entries, Blog This Contest. Leave me the link to your Blog post.
3. For One Extra Entry, Twitter about this Contest. Leave me your Twitter name so I can check up. (I am BurtonReview on Twitter)
4. Don't forget the special question!

You do not need to leave separate comments, all in one comment is fine. I will use Randomizer to select the winners, as long as you have completed the above requirements. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only. NO P.O. Boxes. One winner per household/IP address. I will email the winners and they must respond within 72 hours.

This giveaway will end on Thursday June 18th, Midnight E.S.T.

May 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday


Sponsored by "Breaking the Spine". This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Moving earlier in the timeline then my previous Waiting on Wednesday posts, is a book regarding the Wars of The Roses. While this may not be a light, fun quick read this may be quite interesting for those interested in another point of view of how and why the actual battles transpired; for which we know the ending of the Wars of the Roses signified the beginning of the Tudor rule.

There is always a bit of research to do online to uncover a mystery about an upcoming book. Many of my other wonderful blogger pals have beat me to the punch and have announced upcoming releases, so I wanted to find something a little more allusive. I found a book to be released in November of 2009 regarding The Wars of the Roses. I went to the author's website and found he has written many books on epic battles. That would mean he is pretty well versed in the field, and so without further ado:

The title I am waiting on is:
The Red Rose and the White: The Wars of the Roses, 1453-1487 (Hardcover)by John Sadler
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (November 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1405823607

I went to the Author's website and see this listed, so I am assuming this is the U.K. title:
Lancaster and York 1453 – 1487 – Longmans [2009]

Amazon's Product Description:
"The first comprehensive single volume history of the Wars of the Roses since 1981.
One of the most famous conflicts in British history.
Massive popular general readership interest in this area.
Virtually all other books in print focus on specific aspects, individuals or single battles and campaigns.
If Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England had not launched his precipitate charge against Henry Tudor from the vantage of Ambion Hill on Bosworth Field, how different might the history of England been?
The Wars of the Roses were a series of mini-wars, fought over 30 years between two branches of the Plantagenet royal family, and eventually won by the Tudors. The Red Rose and the White offers a complete, single volume history of the entire dynastic struggle covering all aspects, the social, economic, religious, political and military.

John Sadler is the author of Border Fury: England and Scotland at War, 1296-1603 (Longman, 2006) and Scottish Battles (2003). He has for some several years been employed as a lecturer on medieval and military history at the Continuing Education Centre of Newcastle and Sunderland Universities."


CONTENTS:
Chapter 1: The House of Lancaster
Chapter 2: Isle of Albion Chapter
Chapter 3: Clash of Arms
Chapter 4: The Unquiet Peace
Chapter 5: First Blood
Chapter 6: Blore Heath
Chapter 7: Northampton
Chapter 8: Wakefield
Chapter 9: The Parhelion
Chapter 10: Palm Sunday Field
Chapter 11: Hexham
Chapter 12: Edgecote
Chapter 13: Barnet
Chapter 14: Tewkesbury
Chapter 15: False, Perjured Clarence
Chapter 16: The White Boar
Chapter 17: Hand Upon his Dagger
Chapter 18: Bosworth
Chapter 19: Stoke
Chapter 20: Red Rose and White
At 304 pages, this should not entirely read like a drawn out history book, but I'm willing to give it a try as I always love an intelligent look at The Wars of The Roses. (If it was closer to 400 pages I might balk a bit). And of course I am interested in any light he may shed on the Princes in The Tower mystery, which may never be solved.
What are your favorite Wars of The Roses books, non-fiction or fiction?

Review: "The Convenient Marriage" by Georgette Heyer

"The Convenient Marriage" by Georgette Heyer
Product ISBN: 9781402217722
Price: $13.99
Publication Date: February 2009 through Sourcebooks
The Burton Review Rating: 4

The blurb:
"Horatia Winwood is simply helping her family: When the Earl of Rule proposes marriage to her sister Lizzie, Horatia offers herself instead. Her sister is already in love with someone else, and Horatia is willing to sacrifice herself for her family's happiness. Everyone knows she's no beauty, but she'll do her best to keep out of the Earl's way and make him a good wife. And then the Earl's archenemy, Sir Robert, sets out to ruin her reputation...
The Earl of Rule has found just the wife he wants; unbeknownst to Horatia, the Earl is enchanted by her. There's simply no way he's going to let her get into trouble. Overcoming some misguided help from Horatia's harebrained brother and a hired highwayman, the Earl routs his old enemy, and wins over his young wife, gifting her with a love that she never thought she could expect."



I love this author! Georgette Heyer has been around for a very long time, yet with the reissue of her many novels she is attracting a new generation. The Convenient Marriage is my third Heyer, and second romance that I have read of hers. The blurb above really tells the gist of the story, so I am not going to reiterate it here; with all the the simplistic and predictable events we still get pulled in a fantastic way. It is full of quaint scenes and fun romance set in earlier times, in Jane Austen fashion, but what I enjoy the most is the fact I find myself grinning to myself as I read her books. The Convenient Marriage is no exception to the grinning, sometimes it is laugh out loud funny with the hi-jinks of the heroine and her brother and his bosom buddies. There is a slew of interesting characters with Horry and her sisters and of course the obligatory numbskull character Mr Drelincourt who is upset the Earl of Rule has decided to marry after all these years which puts him further down the line in the inheritance.
Here is a fun teaser from the book:
p. 164:
"While the waiting -woman collected her scattered jewels and garments she sipped the chocolate, pondering her problem. What had seemed a mere prank twelve hours earlier had by now assumed gigantic proportions. There was first the episode of the curl."


Horatia is stuttering fool, her brother is a drunk gambler, and the older man she married is besotted with her yet she is too immature to realize it. Her new husband, The Earl of Rule, is portrayed as a doting and tolerant man with none of the typical 'rake' or roguish ways so typical of a Heyer romance. This romance is complete with a sword fight, kidnapping, parties and pinching diamond shoes. Since this is actually one of Heyer's earlier romances from 1936 she was still honing her writing skill and perhaps had not perfected the Heyer Genre as this is not one of her most popular books. I admit that it was a teensy bit slow in one or two parts but I really did enjoy the comical aspect of it and I do not hesitate to recommend this to anyone interested in the Jane Austen/Regency Romance genre. To try and explain the scrapes that the characters got into reminds me a lot of the Three Stooges with a leg up on the intelligence factor, and this book is the epitome of a comically charming period romance.

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

"The Sitting Swing" by Irene Watson
End of Page 19:

"One matter stood out most of all - one matter that would make the biggest difference in their point of view and would so profoundly impact me that it could be argued as the defining period of my life, even though it was my parents' issue, and even though it happened some time before I was born. That matter was my brother, Alexander."

This book is part of the Virtual Book Tour on June 8, 2009, where I will host a giveaway for this as well; stay tuned!

May 25, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Happy Memorial Day!! I hope you are all enjoying some yummy BBQ and family time as I am :)

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased. Here's what I received during the last week:

(and I am just not going to count, I do NOT want to know, but I have put in an official request to my most dearest husband for another bookcase)..

From an Awesome Giveaway for National Poetry Month of April, from Rachel Baker at Old Musty Books, I received 6 new books courtesy of Hachette!

They are:
The 100 Best Poems of All Time By Leslie Pockell ISBN: 0446676810
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson By Emily Dickinson ISBN: 0316184136
The Poets’ Corner By John Lithgow ISBN: 0446580023
Odes to Common Things By Pablo Neruda , Ken Krabbenhoft , Ferris Cook ISBN: 0821220802
American Primitive By Mary Oliver ISBN: 0316650048
Revolution on Canvas, Volume 1 By Rich Balling ISBN: 0446697869

From a Giveaway by Dan's Journal:
Do-Over by Robin Hemley "If only he could do them all over a few decades later, with an adult's wisdom, perspective, and giant-like height...Hemley reencounters paper mache, revisits his childhood home, and finally attends the prom--bringing readers the thrill of recapturing a misspent youth and discovering what's most important: simple pleasures, second chances, and the forgotten joys of recess."

From the Barnes & Noble First Look Club, which I thought I missed but boom it arrived:
Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
"Of Bees and Mist is a literary fantasy about three generations of women in two families. The world they inhabit is entirely imagined, woven from customs and mythologies I have had the privilege of encountering. The book is my attempt to give words to the daydreams that saturated the silences of my childhood, and to show that language-more than an instrument of division-can also embrace and emancipate." -Erick Setiawan

Another To Review:
Surviving High Society : Lots of Love Trumps Lots of Money by Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland
"To the outside world, Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland had it all. Adopted into a wealthy New England family, the young Elizabeth was afforded the luxury many people only realize in their dreams. She joined her family on lavish European vacations, lived in a finely decorated home, grew up in world heavily infiltrated by power and money, and hob-knobbed with celebrities. As a close friend of Katharine Hepburn's niece, she gained an inside look into Katherine Hepburn's guarded inner life which she details in Surviving High Society"

I purchased:
The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare by Brenda James , William Rubinstein
"'A startling and brave book which advances another author for Shakespeare's works - Sir Henry Neville, a well-educated nobleman who spent four years travelling Europe, and thus was familiar with the background of many of the plays.' "-Joan Bridgman, Contemporary Review"

"Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King" (Hardcover)by Antonia Fraser
"Adelaide of Savoy, a favorite companion of Louis XIV during his dotage, remarked, "Under a king, a country is really ruled by women." Fraser's history of the court of the Sun King, seen through the lens of the women closest to him, is a highly readable confection, and unfolds as a sequence of cameos. There is Queen Anne of Austria, Louis's steely moth"r and regent, who carefully molded the infant King into an Apollo adored by the court; and his wife, Marie-Therese of Spain, who gave him no trouble except by dying. Then comes a trio of mistresses: Louise de La Valliere, who became a nun as recompense for her sins; Athenais, voluptuous and fecund; and Madame de Maintenon, the discreet and redoubtable confidante of his later years. With vivid wit, Fraser demonstrates that within the edifice of the monarchy there were deep crannies of ordinary affection."

"The Kite Runner" (Paperback)by Khaled Hosseini "Hosseini's stunning debut novel starts as an eloquent Afghan version of the American immigrant experience in the late 20th century, but betrayal and redemption come to the forefront when the narrator, a writer, returns to his ravaged homeland to rescue the son of his childhood friend after the boy's parents are shot during the Taliban takeover in the mid '90s. Amir, the son of a well-to-do Kabul merchant, is the first-person narrator, who marries, moves to California and becomes a successful novelist. But he remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed the trust of his best friend, a Hazara boy named Hassan, who receives a brutal beating from some local bullies. After establishing himself in America, Amir learns that the Taliban have murdered Hassan and his wife, raising questions about the fate of his son, Sohrab. Spurred on by childhood guilt, Amir makes the difficult journey to Kabul, only to learn the boy has been enslaved by a former childhood bully who has become a prominent Taliban official. The price Amir must pay to recover the boy is just one of several brilliant, startling plot twists that make this book memorable both as a political chronicle and a deeply personal tale about how childhood choices affect our adult lives. The character studies alone would make this a noteworthy debut, from the portrait of the sensitive, insecure Amir to the multilayered development of his father, Baba, whose sacrifices and scandalous behavior are fully revealed only when Amir returns to Afghanistan and learns the true nature of his relationship to Hassan. Add an incisive, perceptive examination of recent Afghan history and its ramifications in both America and the Middle East, and the result is a complete work of literature that succeeds in exploring the culture of a previously obscure nation that has become a pivot point in the global politics of the new millennium."

From Paperbackswap, 30 days later it shows up.. hallelujah...
"Through a Glass Darkly" By Karleen Koen, the (edited to:) prequel to "Dark Angels" and "Face to Face"
"London caught up in the feverish excitement of the South Sea Bubble and Paris under the licentious influence of the Duc D'Orleans make a glittering background for Koen's first novel. Much of the plot young noblewoman in love with and married to charismatic older man enters society and is disillusioned and many of the characters willful, innocent heroine; adored, autocratic grandmother; and loveable, reckless brother are standard fare. Historic detail, though abundant and accurate, is often marred by didactic presentation. Still, there is action and intrigue enough to win a following who will demand this and further volumes in what is sure to become another sweeping saga. Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass."

And mighty quick from Paperbackswap, and now I am officially out of credits there..
"The Queen of Subtleties" by Suzannah Dunn
"From Publishers Weekly Fans of historical fiction will savor this colorful retelling of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn by British author Dunn. The novel (her eighth, and the first to be published in the U.S.) is narrated in turns by Anne, now imprisoned in the Tower, and Lucy Cornwallis, Henry VIII's confectioner, who observes the dramas of the court from the haven of her kitchen. Though their paths seldom cross, the two women's lives become fatefully linked through the scandalous liaisons of the English court. On the eve of her beheading, Anne documents her life's tale for her young daughter, Elizabeth, telling how she came to join the king's court as a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and caught the eye of the king. Ambitious and proud, she refuses to be his mistress, insisting instead on becoming his legitimate wife. Henry eventually succumbs to her pressures, but only after he breaks with Rome and declares himself the head of the Church of England. Meanwhile, Lucy falls desperately in love with Mark Smeaton, the angelic court musician who in turn is enamored with Anne. This reasonably accurate historical portrait of Anne is enlivened by Dunn's imaginative weaving of Lucy into the narrative, making for a delicious romp through the romance, politics and drama of 16th-century England."

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen (I know, it's a tragedy: haven't read any Austen!!)
"Elizabeth Bennet is the perfect Austen heroine: intelligent, generous, sensible, incapable of jealousy or any other major sin. That makes her sound like an insufferable goody-goody, but the truth is she's a completely hip character, who if provoked is not above skewering her antagonist with a piece of her exceptionally sharp -- but always polite -- 18th century wit. The point is, you spend the whole book absolutely fixated on the critical question: will Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy hook up?"

**sigh.... so many books..... yadda yadda yadda

May 24, 2009

The Sunday Salon *Giveaway Winners*


I did a quick contest for The Girl who Stopped Swimming, where for 1 week how many new followers could I get? I was bored, I know.. but I started with 90 last Saturday and ended with 125 the next Saturday. Interesting stuff. Thanks for all of your support, who doesn't love free books?! The winners for the 5 copies of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson are:

NFMGirl
Diane LaRue
RubyMoon
Marie Lay
MiniShoes

Update: NFMGirl was kind enough to let me know she has won this elsewhere, so the next one up is WENDY



The 3 winners of Follow Me by Joanna Scott are:
MJ Coward
MiniShoes
Diane LaRue

Congratulations to everyone, Please send me your Snail Mail address!

I finished The Mating Rituals of the North American WASP this week, and will post that review and offer a giveaway for that during the blog tour on May 27th. There are a lot of bloggers on the tour for this one so it should be an interesting tour with different opinions of the novel.

There have been very aggravating Technical Blogger Issues, causing IE to randomly popup with the hated Operation Aborted window, which shuts down the whole site. !! My question is there another free blog host that imports your site? I don't mind setting up a new blog as far as layout and sidebar etc, but to get the posts and links moved over are going to be an issue. Any ideas? Blogger on Twitter says to remove the Followers gadget, so I've done that albeit reluctantly. I have heard there are still issues even with the gadget removed. So if this blog is shutting down on you, somehow let me know.. oye vey.

This week also commemorated the anniversary of Anne Boleyn's execution. Some sites I visited are :The Anne Boleyn Files and I had some fun reading the ghost stories over at Unexplained Mysteries which talks about the ghosts of some of the Tudors at Hampton Court; and The Raucous Royals.

I have just begun to read Jean Plaidy's "Indiscretions of the Queen" which is a fictional account of the life Caroline of Brunswick and her farce of a marriage to the Prince of Wales, George IV (circa 1795). You may recall the name Maria Fitzherbert as the beloved mistress of the flamboyant George IV, so poor George was not even about to open his heart to anyone else besides the beloved ex-mistress and his newest conniving mistress Lady Jersey. Pretty much from the first look upon Caroline, George was disgusted.
Caroline the German was not as up to par on sanitary and hygienic conditions as the English were, she probably smelled a little pungent as she did not like to bathe. They had the one child, Charlotte and that is all. I have to read the rest of the story to see how the uncouth Caroline handles the fact that her husband's mistress was assigned as a Lady of the Bedchamber to Caroline and see what other social atrocities Caroline commits. The cover of the book I am reading does not quite accurately depict the story, I do not know who the pretty woman on the cover is supposed to be; Caroline is pictured here and not exactly a buxom beauty.

Enjoy your weekend folks, and let's hope the Blogger issues get solved soon (are you even able to read this?), so I can comment on everyone else's blogs again.

May 22, 2009

Friday Fill-In


:::Friday Fill-Ins is hosted by Janet:::

And...here we go!

1. Moving on with my life, and leaving the idiots who don't deserve my kindness behind.
2. The Truth Will Set You free.
3. My best quality is my patience.. but even that will wear thin after years of being used and abused.
4. Email me if you want all the details.
5. In nearly 10 years, I have felt used up and spit out by those New Yorkers who are only tied to me by blood. They don't even pretend to respect or honor the family code, so Good RIDDANCE!!.
6. Only those people who are not lying scheming wanna be's is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing in my newly fixed air conditioned home, and I may even enjoy a jacuzzi bath with candles, tomorrow my plans include visiting my dearest mum and Sunday, I want to survive the toddler's tantrums and the schooler's attitude!

I think I am feeling a little perturbed today, forgive me, as I draft a letter to my lawyer today. Grr.

May 21, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

This is a weekly meme sponsored by Deb at Booking Through Thursday


What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?
(Interestingly, I thought that I had thought this one up myself, but when I started scrolling through the Suggestions, found that
Rebecca had suggested almost exactly this question a couple months ago. So, we both get credit!)


I have always been a Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens fan. Those were the first 'big' books that I read as a child, and have always been favorite authors ever since. So I would love to re-read the sequels to Little Women such as Jo's Boys and Little Men, they sit on my shelf.. calling my name... 'come back.. come..back'.
I have always enjoyed the story Oliver Twist, (my son is called Oliver which is his middle name), but I would like to re-read David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, all by Dickens. I owned these at my old house but who knows where they are. :(
And I wouldn't mind re-reading "To Kill A Mockingbird"... oh, the list can go on and on.
How about you?

Review: "The Unfinished Clue" by Georgette Heyer



"The Unfinished Clue"
By: Georgette Heyer
Product ISBN: 9781402217968
Price: $12.99
Publication Date: March 2009 by Sourcebooks
The Burton Review Rating: 3.5 stars

"A houseful of people he loathes is not Sir Arthur's worst problem…
It should have been a lovely English country-house weekend. But the unfortunate guest-list is enough to exasperate a saint, and the host, Sir Arthur Billington-Smith, is an abusive wretch hated by everyone from his disinherited son to his wife's stoic would-be lover. When Sir Arthur is found stabbed to death, no one is particularly grieved—and no one has an alibi. The unhappy guests find themselves under the scrutiny of Scotland Yard's cool-headed Inspector Harding, who has solved tough cases before—but this time, the talented young inspector discovers much more than he's bargained for."


This is a charming mystery who-dun-it reminiscent of Agatha Christie. We meet a host of characters at a weekend party, setting up the scene for when the crotchety but quite rich Sir Arthur is found stabbed to death. As I was introduced to the characters I found myself smiling, their nuances were quite humorous. Heyer has a way with the dialogue between the characters that evoke a sense of watching an old movie in your head.

The suspects are many: There is the emotionally abused wife, the son who would never please his dad, the dapper but gambling nephew always needing money, the couple who are visiting but the wife has designs on the rich man's money, the shallow cabaret dancer.. oh and there are a few quaint romances within..
As the mystery unfolds we get a sense of the dysfunctional family attributes of the deceased's family, and even neighbors as well that we have to figure into the equation of suspects.

Although not entirely a pageturner, the story itself was a pleasure to read, entertaining, and the mystery was interesting as well as the resolution. It was the strong cast of characters that made this a worthwhile and classy mystery read. Given its first issue date of 1934, it was written quite well and seemed modern, and I have no problems recommending this to anyone who enjoys a mystery or the Agatha Christie style crime novels.

There is an excerpt from about the middle of the book here at Georgette Heyer.com


Georgette Heyer, born August 16, 1902 at Wimbledon, London; died July 4, 1974 in London of lung cancer. Her first published work was when she was 19 and she continued to write to help support her family, writing more than 50 books. She is known as the forerunner of the Regency Romance era. More information on her biography and titles can be found at The Historical Novel Society.


The image below is another cover from one of the past issues of the crime novel, which actually depicts it quite well (1937 by E. P. Dutton & Co.):

May 20, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Sponsored by "Breaking the Spine". This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Tracy Borman’s forthcoming book Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen’ is due to be published on September 24th 2009.

Amazon.uk Preorder

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (24 Sep 2009)
ISBN-10: 0224082264

Product Description:

"Elizabeth I was born into a world of women. As a child, she was served by a predominantly female household of servants and governesses, with occasional visits from her mother, Anne Bolyen, and the wives who later took her place. As Queen, Elizabeth was constantly attended by ladies of the bedchamber and maids of honor who clothed her, bathed her and watched her while she ate. Among her family, it was her female relations who had the greatest influence: from her sister Mary, who distrusted and later imprisoned her, to her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, who posed a constant and dangerous threat to her crown for almost thirty years. Despite the importance of women in Elizabeth's life, most historians and biographers have focused on her relationships with men. She has been portrayed as a 'man's woman' who loved to flirt with the many ambitious young men who frequented her court. Yet it is the women in her life who provide the most fascinating insight into the character of this remarkable monarch. With them she was jealous, spiteful and cruel, as well as loyal, kind and protective. She showed her frailties and her insecurities, but also her considerable shrewdness and strength. In short, she was more human than the public persona she presented to the rest of the court. It is her relationships with women that hold the key to the private Elizabeth.

In this original chronicling of the life of one of England's greatest monarchs, historian Tracy Borman explores Elizabeth's relationships with the key women in her life. Beginning with her mother and the governesses and stepmothers who cared for the young princess, including her beloved Kat Astley and the inspirational Katherine Parr, "Elizabeth's Women" sheds new light on her formative years. Elizabeth's turbulent relationships with her rivals are examined: from her sister, 'Bloody' Mary, to the sisters of Lady Jane Grey, and finally the most deadly of all her rivals, Mary, Queen of Scots who would give birth to the man Elizabeth would finally, inevitably have to recognize as heir to her throne. It is a chronicle of the servants, friends and 'flouting wenches' who brought out the best - and the worst - of Elizabeth's carefully cultivated image as Gloriana, the Virgin Queen, in the glittering world of her court."

Some of my favorite Elizabethan women include Lettice Knollys, Jane Grey, Bess of Hardwick and Bess' granddaughter, Arbella Stuart. I am always anxious to learn more about them and Elizabeth's interaction with the ladies of her time!

See Tracy Borman's site for upcoming events etc. She is also the author of Henrietta Howard: King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant.

May 19, 2009

Book Review: "Burnt Shadows" by Kamila Shamsie

A BEAUTIFUL COVER!
And this is a 2009 Orange Prize finalist


"Burnt Shadows" by Kamila Shamsie
Picador Published: April 2009 ISBN-10: 0-312-55187-8; 384 pages
The Burton Review Rating: can't decide between 4.5 stars or 4.75. Let's just say I enjoyed it!

The Blurb:
"Beginning on August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, and ending in a prison cell in the US in 2002, as a man is waiting to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of love and betrayal.

Hiroko Tanaka is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, two years later, Hiroko travels to Delhi. It is there that her life will become intertwined with that of Konrad's half sister, Elizabeth, her husband, James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu.

With the partition of India, and the creation of Pakistan, Hiroko will find herself displaced once again, in a world where old wars are replaced by new conflicts. But the shadows of history--personal and political--are cast over the interrelated worlds of the Burtons, the Ashrafs, and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York and, in the novel's astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound these families together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences."

Instead of repeating the sequence of events that are outlined in the blurb, I am going to skim the details. And for those of you who read my review of the new novel, "The Wish Maker", let me say that what I was hoping for in that novel has been deftly achieved here with Burnt Shadows. This novel's events begin with and then reflect upon the aftermath of the atomic bomb the USA dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 that alters Hiroko's life forever, and this is one of those stories that stays in your mind long after you read it. The novel follows Hiroko and her family as she moves from Nagasaki to Bombay, to Istanbul and to Karachi, Pakistan and ultimately to New York City; sadly, the wars of the nations following her.

The prose was just beautifully written and so very descriptive that I was easily imagining the landscape surrounding the characters. The grief from the loss of Hiroko's loved ones throughout the story was delicately palpable, without calling direct attention to it, yet the words are so powerful that I had to put the book down to savor the full meaning and to not lose the poetic prose of the moment.

Along with Hiroko, we also have Elizabeth and James Burton, and Sajjad who worked for the Burtons. The characters were all very well developed as the narration gracefully divides its time between all of the above characters. The Burtons' and Hiroko's lives become unexpectedly intersected upon the death of Konrad Weiss, Hiroko's first love in Nagasaki, and their new found relationship develops into a natural familial one. Sajjad then gets tangled among the web by falling in love with Hiroko and we feel pained for them as they each struggle to find a place in a society amongst a war torn country with its social conflicts between its political barriers. We easily transition from the different points of views of each of the characters, and I was pleased with how unbiased the view was on the war from the author; we see how each of the characters react to the effects of events so that we can better learn the truth of the political system and the cultural divides they faced. This novel spans generations, ending after the attacks of the Twin Towers in NYC. Although this event occurred during the timeline of the book, the author did not go into the details of the horrors, which is something that I was secretly glad for, due to being from New York that is indeed close to home.

I was very humbled and sorrowed in learning about the effects the Atomic bomb had on Nagasaki, when it was dropped in August of 1945. The followed quote from page 78 is regarding Hiroko to Sajjad, from just this one woman's point of view, when in reality it killed millions and affected many millions more:

"She could not tell anyone, not even this man with the gentle eyes and an understanding of the scent of the gods, how Yoshi had left her with the stone for a few minutes while he went in search of implements to dig with and she had lain down on Konrad's shadow, within Konrad's shadow, her mouth pressed against the darkness of his chest. 'Why didn't you stay?' she had whispered against the unyielding stone."


And the Burnt Shadows, which appear physically as burns in the shapes of birds on Hiroko's back, haunt Hiroko for the rest of her life, as she dreams of them and as she becomes an outcast due to the fact she survived the bomb, and millions did not. She is labeled as a Hibakusha, a victim of the bomb: she could have been carrying a disease and her child could have been also. In the story, when Hiroko is fearing for her teen-aged son Raza, the author writes: "The birds had their prey....She had not imagined the birds could fly outwards and enter the mind of this girl, and from her mind enter Raza's heart."

Along with Hiroko's life, we are following the story of The Burtons, and how these families befriend each other in the hard times and become friends for life, born in different countries, and with different nationalities, yet not really having a place to call home. Their offspring do not meet, yet they will always know that they are connected spiritually due to their parents' journeys together. It is their perceptions and their legacies that bring about the climax at the end of the book. There was a slow spot in the last third of the book, as the author was building up to the final moments and once we got there I found that the ending was a bit abrupt. I had not seen that exact outcome coming; I had a different mental picture that I thought was going to occur but I was wrong. It wasn't a bad ending, but I was a bit perturbed that I had gotten to the last sentence and yet still expected a bit more to be said. I guess I could have been selfish and just did not want the book end there, I had savored each sentence and let the story pull me in and I wasn't ready for such an ending.

This is definitely a book for the current events of our times; what can we learn from the wars and how can we turn this lesson into reaching something positive from the millions and millions of people that have been innocent victims? How should we consider national paranoia versus loyalty? Love versus hate? The author Kamila Shamsie has such a way of putting a sentence together which speaks volumes of the underlying nature; its multiple meanings dripping heavily from the words. Regret, remorse, grief, sorrow, symbolism and love shrouded in hope for a better future. This book leaves an imprint on your soul, much like the imprint the bomb left on Hiroko's scarred back.
A definite recommended read.

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be Reading:
♦Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page.
♦Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
♦You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendatons if they like the teaser you’ve given!
♦Please avoid spoilers!

page 78:
"She could not tell anyone, not even this man with the gentle eyes and an understanding of the scent of the gods, how Yoshi had left her with the stone for a few minutes while he went in search of implements to dig with and she had lain down on Konrad's shadow, within Konrad's shadow, her mouth pressed against the darkness of his chest. 'Why didn't you stay?' she had whispered against the unyielding stone."

Excellent Book, I really recommend this one! That was yesterday's read. Since I finished that one, which the review posts here in the next post, I also pulled the following from the book I am starting, "Mating Rituals of the North American WASP" by Lauren Lipton.
page 203
"Peggy no longer minded Luke's silence at the breakfast table - she'd grown almost comfortable with it - so when he spoke to her Sunday, it caught her unawares. She stuttered a greeting and and reached up to comb her bangs with her fingers."

May 18, 2009

It's A Week of Passion at My Friend Amy's!

My Friend Amy is doing a special something to help promote one of her favorite authors. She is hosting a WEEK OF PASSION at her blog, with lots of little updates concerning Julie Lessman and her Christian Fiction books. She is also trying to draw more readers to Julie Lessman by hosting an out-of-this-world giveaway for her books, an Amazon gift card etc. etc. So I have to direct you over to My Friend Amy's blog so that you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

I visited Julie Lessman's website, and she likes to call herself an "Edgy Inspirational" author, because, well, she likes to have some fun, passion and romance in her novels, which are the Daughters of Boston Trilogy.


Her first novel, "A Passion Most Pure" is Book One, released in January of 2008 and can be found on Amazon. Here is the Product description:

"Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page."

So this seems like a classy read, with romance, historical fiction genre, and keeps God in focus.

I am sold!

A Passion Redeemed
Book 2 is Charity's story, a woman who puts her faith in her beauty rather than in God. It is a story of redemption and faith rising from the ashes of temptation, desire and shame.

Book 3, A Passion Denied, which is brand new, is the story of Faith and Charity’s little sister, Lizzie, a shy bookworm who dreams of a fairy-tale romance. It unfolds a man’s dark past and a young girl’s shattered dreams … and the God who redeems it all.

Go visit Julie Lessman's website

And definitely visit My Friend Amy's Blog!

Mailbox Monday



Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased. Here's what I received during the last week:


From Alaine of Queen of Happy Endings (thank you!):
Oceans of Fire by Christine Feehan

"Abigail studies dolphins, and one evening she witnesses a shooting on a small boat. Unable to do anything for the Russian agent who has been killed, she rescues a local man who was also a victim. With the help of the dolphins and the added power of her sisters, she brings him to shore, where she finds Alexandr Volstov, the Interpol agent who once broke her heart. Like Feehan's Carpathian saga, the Drake series is a complex blend of fantasy and suspense with a substantial backstory. Readers unfamiliar with the Drake sisters will be left somewhat at sea trying to come up to speed on the sisters, their talents, their loves, and the intriguing setting."

From a giveaway on Raucous Royals:

Autographed copy of The King's Rose by Alisa Libby "Though well aware of her cousin Anne Boleyn’s fate only four years earlier, 15-year-old Catherine Howard acquiesces with her ambitious, conniving relatives’ plans and marries King Henry VIII. He calls her “my rose without a thorn,” but she is well aware of the thorny secrets she conceals: no virgin when she and the king married, she later begins a sexual liaison at court, partly in a desperate effort to produce an heir. Soon, Catherine begins a downward spiral toward madness and despair. An author’s note separates historical fact from conjecture in this account of Catherine’s short years as Henry’s “rose.” Libby offers a convincing, sympathetic portrayal of a young woman who relinquishes her hopes of marrying for love and finds herself doomed by her choices and deceptions. Hardly an active heroine, Catherine falls into a trap early on and, in the end, has little left but her dignity. This one’s for historical-fiction fans who will appreciate this character study of Henry’s fifth wife. "

From a giveaway from Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelf (thank you!):
The Turnaround by George Pelacanos "One summer day in 1972, three teenage white boys—Alex Pappas and his friends Billy Cachoris and Pete Whitten—drive into a poor Washington, D.C., neighborhood, high on booze and weed, looking for trouble. They confront three young black men, Billy winds up dead and Alex badly beaten. In 2007, Alex runs the family coffee shop, as did his father, and grieves for his son, recently killed in Iraq. Then, one of the black survivors of the incident contacts Alex, opening a door that may finally put the trauma of the past to rest. At the same time, another survivor, the man who beat Alex, has gotten out of prison and has extortion on his mind. The result is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging and redemption."


For Reviewing:
Beach Trip: A Novel (Hardcover)by Cathy Holton
"A reunion of four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’s luminous new novel.Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college during the early 1980s. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, is grappling with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave behind the regrets of her youth. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absentminded, whiles away her hours–and her husband’s money–on little pills that keep her happy.Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s lavish North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, these four friends learn that they must inevitably confront their shared past: a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever. Darkly comic and deeply poignant, Beach Trip is an unforgettable tale of lifelong friendship, heartbreak, and happiness."


The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
"Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne."

and saving the best for last:
"The Twilight of Avalon" Book One in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy, by Anna Elliott.. This was a recent Waiting on Wednesday post, so I am soo excited.
"She is a healer, a storyteller, a warrior, and a queen without a throne. In the shadow of King Arthur's Britain, one woman knows the truth that could save a kingdom from the hands of a tyrant...
Ancient grudges, old wounds, and the quest for power rule in the newly widowed Queen Isolde's court. Hardly a generation after the downfall of Camelot, Isolde grieves for her slain husband, King Constantine, a man she secretly knows to have been murdered by the scheming Lord Marche -- the man who has just assumed his title as High King. Though her skills as a healer are renowned throughout the kingdom, in the wake of Con's death, accusations of witchcraft and sorcery threaten her freedom and her ability to bring Marche to justice. Burdened by their suspicion and her own grief, Isolde must conquer the court's distrust and superstition to protect her throne and the future of Britain.
One of her few allies is Trystan, a prisoner with a lonely and troubled past. Neither Saxon nor Briton, he is unmoved by the political scheming, rumors, and accusations swirling around the fair queen. Together they escape, and as their companionship turns from friendship to love, they must find a way to prove what they know to be true -- that Marche's deceptions threaten not only their lives but the sovereignty of the British kingdom.
In Twilight of Avalon, Anna Elliott returns to the roots of the legend of Trystan and Isolde to shape a very different story -- one based in the earliest written versions of the Arthurian tales -- a captivating epic brimming with historic authenticity, sweeping romance, and the powerful magic of legend."
.............I think I may quit my day job..............................