Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper
I'm really looking forward to reading this one! It's the true story of a blind cat, Homer, and his adventures.
Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory:
I've heard some great things about this new author!! I'm always looking for new historical romance authors!
French Kiss by Aimee Friedman:
I was so happy to find this book by one of my very favorite YA authors!! Everything else I've read by Aimee Friedman has been awesome!
I can't wait to see what books everyone else got this week!!
"Wed Him Before You Bed Him"
by Sabrina Jeffries
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Mrs. Charlotte Harris, widow and owner of the girls' school featured in the "School for Heiresses" series, is disappointed to lose contact with her dear pen pal and benefactor, Cousin Michael. He was offended by her persistence on learning his identity and stopped answering her letters. Also troubling, is the reappearance of David Masters, Viscount of Kirkwood, into her life. David should want nothing to do with her after the scandal she caused for his family years ago when they were teenagers. On top of all of this, the future of her girls' school is in jeopardy and David may be the only one who can help.
The first part of "Wed Him Before You Bed Him" was fantastic, but the last 100 or so pages really dragged, as the romance was overshadowed by the mystery and all of the lies that had built up between the hero and heroine. The story is one of my favorite premises- childhood sweethearts who are reunited as adults. Jeffries spends a lot of time on the romance between the two leads when they are eighteen as a flashback. I really enjoyed this part of the book and I'm glad she gave so much time to this piece of the story instead of just skimming over or summarizing it. This background really made the intensity of their feelings for each other as adults seem more believable. The flashback was a really sweet, romantic, and innocent part of the story that I really enjoyed.
I liked David a lot more in the flashback scenes, he was much more open and innocent. The hard times he's lived through really harden his shell and make him seem a little gruff and jaded. Charlotte's character shows a lot of growth and she becomes a stronger woman as an adult.
I have read most of the "School for Heiresses" series and while this isn't my favorite one, it is good to finally be able to read Charlotte's story. Also, readers finally discover Cousin Michael's true identity. This is rewarding since a letter between Charlotte and Cousin Michael opens each chapter in the preceeding books.
The book is very much worth reading for the beginning two thirds, even if the ending is a bit disappointing. The flashback portion might be the best part!
"Don't Tempt Me"
by Loretta Chase
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
This was my first Loretta Chase book, and I really became a fan of hers! In "Don't Tempt Me", Zoe Lexham has found her way home to London after 12 years of exile in the East. She was kidnapped and sold into slavery on a family trip there when she was only 12 years old. Lucien de Grey, Duke of Marchmont, is determined to prove that the woman claiming to be Zoe is lying, but one look proves she is the spirited childhood friend that he'd given up on ever seeing again. Lucien decides that its his duty to Zoe's father, who was like a father to him too, to present Zoe to society. Only the Duke can protect her from the scandal of being known as "The Harem Girl."
I really enjoyed this book, but I've seen some poor reviews. I think people may have expected another "Lord of Scoundrels" and dismiss this one as not up to par. But I thought this book was a keeper in it's own right.
I loved Lucien's character, he is somewhat of a wastrel, going through life in a daze, never taking responsibility for anything after being devastated by losing his family. But once Zoe comes back into his life, he really grows as a person and learns to take responsibility for his life and those that depend on him.
I thought it was really great how the book focused a lot on Lucien and Zoe's lives after they were married, instead of only on the buildup to the wedding. I believe Zoe threw a thing or two at Lucien, and their quarrels were believable and real. This book also touches a little on jealousy for both leads, which always adds a little extra spice. Also, after Lucien realized he was in love with Zoe, there was no hiding it, he became quite a doting husband and wasn't afraid to let everyone know!
Probably the only reason why this book received 4 stars from me instead of 5 is that Zoe's sex appeal is a bit exaggerated. This of course is explained by the harem plot, but the harem scandal was another thing about the book that I didn't really care for.
The supporting characters were quite funny, Lucien's valet was always in tears over this or that. And Lucien's observations about Zoe's busybody sisters were hilarious.
Overall I loved the book and the characters' realistic relationship and tender feelings for one another.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!
This week I chose:
by Susanne Dunlap
Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Release Date: March 2, 2010
The following description is from Goodreads.com:
"“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did.
“Perhaps we will meet again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”
For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?
Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess."
I love Anastasia's story and historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so this book is a must have!! I might have to check out this author's other books while I am waiting for this one to be released!
"Sins of a Duke"
by Suzanne Enoch
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
"Sins of a Duke" has a really odd plot, which was based loosely on historical events. Because, as always, truth is much stranger than fiction. The background info Enoch provided in the Author's Note actually made me more interested in the story.
Sebastian Griffin, Duke of Melbourne, is being set up to marry Josefina Embry, the Princess of a brand new South American country, Costa Habichuela. But Sebastian doesn't blindly believe everything that the Princess and her family c...more "Sins of a Duke" has a really odd plot, which was based loosely on historical events. Because, as always, truth is much stranger than fiction. The background info Enoch provided in the Author's Note actually made me more interested in the story.
Sebastian Griffin, Duke of Melbourne, is being set up to marry Josefina Embry, the Princess of a brand new South American country, Costa Habichuela. But Sebastian doesn't blindly believe everything that the Princess and her family claim about their country, thinking they are con people wanting to use English investments for their own gain.
I'll try not to give any spoilers, but the Princess plot took over the entire book, as the author had to go into a lot of detail to explain what was happening. I guess that is what happens when an author takes on such an ambitious plot.
My favorite characters were the supporting characters in this book, Sebastian and Josefina didn't do much for me. Josefina started off as a strong character, but became wishy washy and I never really felt her involvement in the scandal was forgivable. I also don't understand why both main characters were willing to steal from banks but not willing to steal from individuals. To me, all stealing is wrong, but the author seemed to think stealing from a bank was ok for some reason. This irked me.
The supporting cast was quite fun and made the book readable! Sebastian's young daugher, Peep, was adorable and had some very precocious remarks to put her doting dad in his place. I also enjoyed the rest of Sebastian's large family, especially Valentine-I need to read his book!
This book was okay, but there were a lot of problems that I had with it. However, it might inspire me to do a little more research on the true story that inspired it.
Thanksgiving at the Inn by Tim Whitney
This holiday book was reviewed by a friend on Goodreads, and I couldn't wait to read this heartwarming story myself! I'm so happy I received it just in time for Thanksgiving!
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
I felt pretty lucky to find this one!
The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court) by Kate Emerson
I hadn't heard of this one, but I'm interested in all things Henry VIII, and what a gorgeous cover!
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
This one was recommended to me by a friend with very similar tastes on Goodreads. I've been keeping an eye out for it and finally found it for a great price!
"Smart Girls Think Twice"
by Cathie Linz
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I am not a huge fan of contemporary romances, but Cathie Linz gets a lot of great reviews so I decided to give this one a try. Emma Riley, a sociologist caught up in the world of academics, returns to her hometown to do a research study on the recent boom of new occupants and new businesses in the small town. She doesn't put much importance on appearances or even the whole dating scene, preferring to be at home with her textbooks. Jake Slayter is one of her prime targets to interview because he just moved to town. Jake is an ex-pro extreme athlete, and semi-famous, not to mention gorgeous, why would he move to the middle of nowhere? But Jake isn't willing to tell an interviewer, even one this beautiful, that he's in town to find his birth mother.
I had a really hard time getting into the story because the beginning seemed so cliched. I was really irritated by the way Jake came on so strong right off the bat. He kept tucking Emma's hair behind her ear, touching her cheek, etc, when they had only just met. Just like Emma, I would be so turned off by this and think that he acted like this with every girl he met. Another thing that annoyed me was how the author kept repeating how attracted Emma and Jake were to each other. I wanted the author to show me, not just keep telling me over and over.
There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of in this book. Emma's sisters were irritating to me and didn't add much to the story besides being an annoyance to Emma. I may have gotten off to a better start if I hadn't been bombarded with the bridezilla sisters right from the start. Maybe these two were characters in Linz' previous books, so her fans were happy to see them back, but I didn't care for them. Emma's parents were interesting additions to the story, and Lulu and Oliver were fun characters, if a bit over the top. Lulu is a friend of Emma's family, who is goth and outspoken, and Oliver is a friend of Emma's from the world of academics, and even more of a 'nerd' than Emma. It was cute to see Jake jealous of Oliver, even though he was so non-threatening.
The turning point of the book for me was when Jake adopted a stray dog named Mutt. This made me see Jake as a great guy who was really just a big softie underneath his extreme sports bravado. Jake redeemed himself even more by taking Oliver under his wing too.
I really liked Emma, she was an uber-nerd only interested in her research projects until she met Jake. She was a little lacking in her self confidence around men, but stlll confident in herself otherwise and not about to let anyone, including a hot guy, take advantage of her. She was vulnerable without being pathetic and needy.
I'm glad I finished reading this book, because Emma and Jake's romance turned into a believable one and I really did want to see where it would go. The characters of Oliver and Mutt (yes, the dog!) helped me stay interested in the story. I'm still not converted to a big contemporary romance fan, but this was a cute, enjoyable read!
Today's eBay item of the day is a trendy, oversized Marimekko cardigan. The big, slouchy cardigan is made of the softest, lightweight black knit. There are slouchy pockets and a drawstring at the bottom for a relaxed look. This cardigan is perfect for the holiday season! As always, check out my other auctions for more great items at low prices!
Posted by Carrie at In the Hammock Blog at 1:40 PM
"Led Astray by a Rake"
by Sara Bennett
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
This book was only okay. I didn't like the hero and heroine very much, so I wasn't that interested in their story. However, the unique mystery kept me reading til the end because I couldn't figure it out!
Proper, young Olivia Monteith is a part of a circle of friends called the Husband Hunters Club (also the name of this series). The ladies have just graduated from finishing school and now their goal is to land a husband. Olivia has her sights set on the man she's loved since age 10, Lord Lacey, also known as Wicked Nic for his rakish ways. Nic is an unrepentant rake, afraid to give his heart to anyone because of something from the past.
True to the Husband Hunter's Club, Olivia boldly proposes marriage to Nic at the start of the story, after not seeing him for three years. Nic promptly refuses, not wanting a wife, and knowing he would be an awful husband so someone so proper.
I usually love stories where a couple is reunited after being childhood friends, but this one didn't feel real enough. And a 10 year old girl meeting in secret with a 20 something year old man felt a little creepy even though nothing untoward happened. I felt like Olivia was more interested in "a husband" than Nic. She walked in after years and wouldn't give up on making him marry her. I also thought she acted really trashy for someone who was supposed to be so proper.
Nic was the typical rake with a heart, but was somewhat boring. I liked that Olivia was actually jealous of his past mistresses instead of just pretending he hadn't led that lifestyle.
The mystery in the book really intrigued me. There is a reason why Nic wanted to keep Olivia at a distance. Olivia's parents know a secret about Nic and don't approve of him as a husband for their daughter. Even Nic's valet is worrried for Olivia around Nic. I won't give any spoilers but the secrets all come together quite interestingly.
Overall, the lack of development in the characters is what kept me from enjoying the book, because the mystery was quite unique and entertaining.
A friend on Goodreads.com recommended "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner to me today. I had never even heard of this book but it's getting the best reviews and I can't wait to see what all the buzz is about! It was just released last month from Delacorte. From what I've read, it seems to be an edge-of-your-seat, sci fi/fantasy thriller. Check it out, you won't believe how great the reviews are!
"One Night with You"
by Sophie Jordan
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I love stories in which the main characters knew each other as children and fall in love as adults. That's what drew me to read this sweet story, which I found fast-paced and full of twists and turns. Starting off, Seth Rutledge can't understand why he is so attracted to two completely different women at the same time; Aurora, a glamorous beauty he met at a scandalous soiree, and plain and proper Jane, whom he'd known since childhood. Jane Guthrie has loved Seth for as long as she can remember and will do anything for just one night with him, even assume a secret identity.
The double identity story at the beginning of the book is so fun and I love Jane's outrageous friends who help her carry off her charade. The charade comes across as very believable, especially the way that Seth finally realizes the truth. There are many other obstacles to Seth and Jane's love, including the fact that Seth was once in love with Jane's sister! Madeline was a money-hungry vixen, who broke Seth's heart as a young man. This closed him off to love again, while Jane endured the pain of watching the man she loved fall in love with her sister. When Madeline returns to stir things up, I would have loved to see Jordan take things even further and have Madeline provide even more conflict. Another thing holding Seth back is that his sister, Julianne, is blind because of an accident Seth feels responsible for. Julianne is a delightful character and her mini-romance in the book is very sweet without distracting from the main plot.
This is a great read, I flew through the first 200 pages in one sitting. The heroine is sweet and strong at the same time, and the hero is kind and honorable, if a little stuffy and arrogant at times. I would recommend this story to any historical romance fan in the mood for a fun, light read that will keep you turning the pages!
Today's eBay item of the day is a brand new Abercrombie mini skirt with tags attached! This adorable schoolgirl style plaid wool skirt is perfect for the holiday season! This skirt would look so cute with tights and boots. The quality is soooo nice, very heavy weight wool and fully lined. This skirt is a size 6, and I have another one in brown in a size 6 too! So take a look at both of them, and don't miss my other auctions!
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Love her or hate her, Rebecca Bloomwood is possibly one of the most memorable characters in current fiction. She's so over the top and fabulous even though the poor thing really does have an addiction as bad as any other addiction-she's a shopaholic. I read the first Shopaholic book and absolutely loved how fun and fanciful the whole idea was, and Becky's romance with Luke was unexpected and sweet. However, reading the sequel, I often felt like I was reading the exact same book over again, but with only half of the charm and a less endearing romance story. I wanted Becky to have grown up a bit and have learned from her previous mistakes instead of making all of them over again in the second book. Of course, the author had to find a way to give the reader more of what they loved about the first book, but I just felt like Becky learned nothing the first time around.
In this installment, Becky has a great job as a financial advisor on a London morning talk show, which she is very good at. Her romance with successful and gorgeous entepreneur Luke Brandon is going places. Unfortunately, she still has a teeny tiny problem with overspending which could potentially ruin everything she has worked so hard to gain.
There are truly some laugh out loud moments in this book, and not just the cliched chick lit awkward moments. Becky's faux pas are unique, hilarious, and could only happen to her. Sometimes I couldn't help but feel sorry for her, though, because she shows many signs of a person with a true shopping addiction. She hides her purchases from family and friends, she doesn't remember anything she buys, and she definitely doesn't have the funds to support her habit. I was starting to think it might be time for her to seek professional help. Then other times, I was just so frustrated with her! She has an amazing, fun job that she excels at, and a great boyfriend, supportive friends, awesome parents, and she places more importance on designer clothing than any of that and even risks losing it all for the perfect pair of "clementine" heels.
I thought the romance fell flat in this one, even though I loved Becky and Luke in the first book. I know it's not as dynamic since the two were already a couple, and that can't be helped, but I just found myself forgetting why they ever fell for each other in the first place.
Overall, this book was a fun, satisfying escape. By the end I was ready to find my copy of "Shopaholic Ties the Knot" so I could see what happens to Becky and Luke. But I really hope Becky tries to change for the better at least a little!!
Sundays at Tiffany's
by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnett
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I thought "Sundays at Tiffany's" was a very sweet romance. The story itself is very simple and uncomplicated. I can easily see this book being made into a movie.
8 year old Jane Margaux feels like she doesn't live up to her extravagant mother's expectations. Vivienne, her successful broadway producer mother pays little attention to Jane, except for their weekly trip to Tiffany's every Sunday. Jane spends most of her time with the only person she can really depend on in her life, her imaginary friend, Michael. Michael always knows the right thing to say to cheer her up and build up her self esteem. He's always there for her when she needs him no matter what. But unfortunately, imaginary friends don't last forever and Jane loses the one person she counts on the most.
Twenty-three years later, Jane is still under her mother's rule and is in a miserable relationship with a man who cares more about her Broadway connections than about her. Jane and Michael find themselves miraculously crossing paths again, and are faced with many new choices and questions about themselves and each other.
The story and writing style are simplistic but the story itself is so sweet, it doesn't really need filler to make the story longer. This is a fantasy story in a way, but Michael's job as an imaginary friend is explained well and wasn't hard for me to believe. I found it a little odd that Jane's chapters were told in 1st person and Michael's were told in 3rd person, but I got used to it quickly. It wasn't hard to understand, but I did wonder why the author wrote the book this way.
Michael was pretty much flawless, so he really wasn't realistic at all. But I was viewing this novel as a fantasy anyway, so it didn't bother me that he was too good to be true. Jane was very much a pushover but still likeable. It was fun to see her become stronger as she built her self esteem with Michael's help.
I thought this book was very innocent and refreshing and I will probably read more in this genre by Patterson.
by Lauren Conrad
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
"LA Candy" was recommended to me by a good friend, but she enjoyed the book a lot more than I did. One reason could be that she is a fan of Lauren Conrad's MTV shows and I don't watch them. I did think I would gain insight to the world of reality tv, but I was disappointed in the small amount of insider info in the book, which could have been summed up in a short magazine article.
The story focuses on Jane Roberts and her journey from average recent high school graduate to overnight Hollywood sensation. Jane moves to LA with her best friend, Scarlett. Jane has an internship with an event planner and Scarlett is attending college. They happen to meet a reality tv producer at a club and he casts them, along with two more girls, for his newest reality show, called LA Candy. Jane and Scarlett's lives are changed for good when the cameras start rolling. But it's not all fun and games when the cameras start intruding upon every aspect of their lives, school, work, and boys.
I found Jane to be annoying, and much too good to be true. I found myself wondering if the Jane character was supposed to mirror Lauren Conrad herself as a naive, goody goody thrust into the limelight, and so the author tried to make her look virtually flawless. She was way too naive about boys and I wasn't interested in either of the boys pursuing her anyway. Gabby and Madison weren't in the book much as the other stars of the tv show. They were pretty flat characters, but at least they had personalities, unlike Jane.
The only interesting character in the book was Scarlett. She was the only one who seemed to have her own mind and interests outside of the show. Scarlett had a good head on her shoulders, but she wasn't in the book nearly enough.
When the other three girls became jealous that Jane was turning out to be the breakout star of the show, I found myself jealous along with them! She was so annoying, why would everyone like her so much?
A lot of reviews praise Conrad's writing style, but I found it to be very dry and un-exciting with little imagination or feeling. Sometimes her descriptions of the mechanics of the show, like microphone and lighting placement, read like a textbook. I just can't recommend this to anyone but die-hard Lauren Conrad fans and fans of MTV reality tv shows. I did gain a little insight into the world of reality tv production and I'm more convinced than ever of how very "unreal" it really is.
I'd like to start a feature showcasing a great item that I'm selling on Ebay each day. For the first item of the day, I want to show off this fabulously retro embroidered peasant top by Old Navy. I really feel like this beautiful top needs more attention than it is getting!! It's a size Large and has a very generous fit! If this top won't work for you, please check out my other auctions with more great finds at low prices!
by Michelle Moran
Source: I received this book for review from the author and publisher.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!
Wow! I loved this book! 'Cleopatra's Daughter' is one of the best books I have read for a long time! Cleopatra Selene, her twin brother, Alexander, and their young brother Ptolemy suffer the loss of their parents, Cleopatra and Marc Antony, when Romans invade Egypt. As the children of the King and Queen of Egypt, Selene and her brothers are forcibly taken to Rome, essentially as prizes of the war. The story takes flight after their arrival in Rome and the twins adjust to a vastly different lifestyle than they knew in Egypt. Octavian is the ruler of Rome and the person responsible for their parents'deaths, but they have no choice to obey and trust him because he is repsonsible for their livelihood. Octavian has the children live with his kind sister and her son, but still their fates are ominously uncertain. When they arrive in Rome, Selene and Alexander are only eleven and not a threat to Octavian, but will they still be safe when they reach adulthood at 15?
Each and every character leapt off the page and their vivid personalities were based on historical record. Selene was definitely her mother's daughter, an intelligent, strong girl, not afraid to stand up for herself and what she believes in. Her compassion for the less fortunate showed her soft and caring side. Selene had a passion for drawing and her talent for sketching buildings impressed even Octavian.
Selene's peers were more interested in betting on chariot races and shopping than participating in her scholarly and charitable pursuits, but they were definitely supportive of her and more idealistic than the older generation. Selene loves getting attention from Octavian's nephew and probable heir, Marcellus. Marcellus is handsome, young, and carefree, and clearly admires Selene's beauty as well as her morals. Selene fails to notice that Juba, one of Octavian's most trusted guards, admires her as well for her strength and hope along with her humanitarian endeavors.
I loved the portrayal of Selene's relationship with Alexander. As twins, they had an incredibly close bond that was strengthened by the loss of their family and home. Sometimes they felt like all they had was each other. They were much more learned than most Romans, due to their mother's guidance, and they would speak to each other in languages that no one else could understand. Moran really captured their deep bond, affection for each other, and even playfulness.
The author added the fictional character of the Red Eagle to represent those Romans who fought against slavery. The identity of the Red Eagle is a secret and the mystery surrounding him and his adventures add a lot of excitement to the story.
Michelle Moran really brought Selene's world alive. She told an epic story but never lost sight of the everyday details of ancient Rome. I felt like I could see Juba's statues, Selene's scrolls, and Marcellus and Alexander's betting dice. My only complaint about this book is that at 400 pages, it was over too soon! I feel like there is much more of Selene's story to be told, and really hope that Moran has plans for a sequel!