September 28, 2009

With Seduction in Mind by Laura Lee Guhrke

Is 1896 and Daisy Merrick, Girl-Bachelor, has lost yet another post. This doesn't surprise anyone who knows her as she's forever losing her jobs due to her outspokenness, but this time is different, instead of going home to her sister Lucy - who owns and operates an employment agency - and letting her find her yet another job she dislikes, Daisy decides to instead pursue her dream of becoming a published author. To that effect she seeks out Viscount Marlowe (from And Then He Kissed Her) to ask him to read one of her manuscripts. Marlowe - who's married to one of Daisy's friends - agrees to read one of her manuscripts and also gives her the opportunity to write a review of the Earl of Avermore's new play.

Sebastian Grant, Earl of Avermore was once hailed as one of England's greatest writers, but he hasn't written anything worthwhile in almost a decade, he's almost four years past his last deadline, deep in debt and the play that's about to open in the London stage was sort of a last-ditch attempt to make some money he desperately needs, never mind he wrote the play over three years ago and that he knows it isn't any good.

The day after the opening, Sebastian reads a review by some George Lindsay - a.k.a. Daisy - that shreds his play to bits, since said review was published by one of Marlowe's papers - who happens to be his publisher- Sebastian decides to have a talk with his publisher, since this one review has gotten under his skin. There he meets George/Daisy, and while watching them fight and argue about the review, Marlowe gets a crazy idea that just might work: what if he has Daisy and Sebastian work together as critique/writing partners?

Well, to find out how that works out you must read the book.

If there is one thing I love about this series is that Ms. Guhrke writes about mature, capable women who make their own way in life - even with the limited options they have during the late Victorian era - and aren't waiting to be 'rescued' or sit idly by eating bonbons, this has made me a fan from the start and I love reading each new installment of the series because it feels like I'm visiting with an old friend, Daisy's book was no exception. She's hard working, an optimist and full of love and wonder. Sebastian is moody, a perfectionist and even though he knows he is - or was - talented, he, even at the height of his success, has always been plagued with self doubt. This is a book about writing, about two writers in very different points of their career (Daisy's it's just starting, Sebastian fears his is over) and who approach writing in entirely different ways. At the same time, it is a love story.

There is one thing I didn't like, mostly because it reminded me of something that happened in The Wicked Ways of a Duke (Book 2) toward the end. But I still breezed through this book and enjoyed it a great deal.

starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

Story of My LIfe # 3 - On Families, Craziness and Zazu

Story of My Life 3 – On Families, Craziness and Zazu.

Tempt Me At Twilight Cover
Just a few days ago I finished reading the latest installment of Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaway series: Tempt Me At Twilight, and it got me thinking about family. The series revolves around the Hathaway family; a bunch of eccentric but lovable people, and it got me thinking about my own family. Having grown up in a large, embarrassing and extremely close-knit family, I understand eccentric families, and I appreciate reading about them in a more or less realistic fashion.

The Hathaways are particular favorites of mine. Usually when you read about eccentric families is in a cartoon-like way, with the families serving just to humiliate our normality-seeking protagonist and mortifying said protagonist no end. The heroine must learn to overcome her family’s oddities and break away from them; the hero must learn to love the heroine in spite of said family. It’s a common enough plot, especially in Y.A. Fiction, few authors – like Melina Marchetta or Mariah Fredericks – write realistic family life without judging or preaching.

The reason why I love the Hathaways is because, yes, they are eccentric – they discuss any and all topics, they argue with each other, had an unconventional upbringing where the girls were taught that they were equal to the boys (something quite unusual in England during the 18oo’s), and one of the sisters, Bea, adopts any and all animals that come her way and when she gets stresses kleptomania gets the best of her- but they love each other.

My family is a bit like that, eccentric and loving at the same time. I have gossipy aunts and insufferable uncles and branches of the family that I’m not at all close to, but with the ones I AM close to, it’s great. Sure, we embarrass each other, and it’s a sheer act of courage to bring a boyfriend home since one of my uncles like to interrogate them, another makes fun of them and my aunts like to say ‘indelicate’ things in front of everyone, and we also have a fondness of discussing our many medical maladies with each others. We hold each other through thick and thin. We are different and clash and are each other’s pains in the behind but, in the end, we belong to each other.

And, as for annoying relatives, in the words of Zazu from the Lion King: “There is one in every family, two in mine”


September 26, 2009

Tempt Me At Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

Tempt Me At Twilight CoverPoppy Hathaway has always longed for normalcy, but that is something very hard to obtain when you're a Hathaway - her brother's inherited viscountcy gave them entry to high society, but they have never quiet fit, her two older sisters are married to gypsies and her younger sister is a part time kleptomaniac and a full time animal lover/rescuer.

As her third London season draws to an end, Poppy's dreams are about to come true since she's secretly almost betrothed to the very respectable (and normal) Michael Bayning, and they will make their relationship public as soon as he can convince his father to accept the match.

However, a stolen letter and a casual encounter with Harry Rutledge change the course of Poppy's life forever. Harry is a successful hotelier and inventor, too smart for his own good and too lonely for words. From the moment he meets Poppy, he decides she's the woman for him and decides to make her his, no matter what or who stands in his way.

The third installment of the Hathaway Series is, so far, my favorite. Before -during Mine Till Midnight and Seduce Me at Sunrise - I never felt much connection to Poppy, the most 'normal' of the Hathaway clan, but in this one I felt the connection instantly, beautiful but awkward Poppy longs for normalcy though she very much loves her eccentric family.

Harry was intriguing, during various of Lisa Kleypas' previews books we have heard of the Rutledge Hotel and it's mysterious and reclusive owner, here we finally get to meet him and see the inner workings of the hotel. Harry is charming and devilish and single minded. He has never known family-like affection and he tells himself he doesn't want it, until he finds himself tangled with the Hathaways.

I found Tempt Me At Twilight to be very funny - laugh out loud funny, which is rare for Historical Romance, but maybe that's just my sense of humor - and sweet, the story flowing and fast paced. We also get to catch up with the rest of the Hathaways, and unveil parts of a mystery that leads into the next book Married by Morning (out in the Summer of 2010).

There is one plot twist that I didn't like, that I felt it came out of nowhere, which keeps me from giving this book perfect score. Even so, I think Tempt Me At Twilight, is possibly my second favorite Lisa Kleypas book after Dreaming of You.

starstarstarstar2/3Personal Favorite


September 25, 2009

Book Gossip (#5.1)

Of followup gossip as you might call it!

Back in, I posted the cover for Anna Godbersen's upcoming Splendor, the conclusion of her Luxe Quartet, which will be out in late October.

Now I bring you the summary, courtesy of the Harper and Collin's site:

New beginnings.

Shocking revelations.

Unexpected endings.

A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

Sounds good! I'm certainly looking forward to find out what's going on with Did and Henry, my two favorite characters from this series.


September 24, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Frankie LandauFrankie Landau-Banks was once a slightly geeky, neither popular nor unpopular freshman at Alabaster Preparatory, a boarding school where most kids are some kind of rich and educational standards are high.

In the summer between freshman and sophomore years, Frankie undergoes a transformation, turning from an okay-looking girl into a curvy beauty that draws eyes, and meets a random guy on a boardwalk in the Jersey Shore some days before the start of her sophomore year.

Once back in Alabaster, Frankie is finally noticed by her crush, Mathew Livingston, a popular senior boy and they begin dating. She also meets Mathew's best friend, Alpha - or Alessandro Tessoreri, as he doesn't like to be called - and their group of popular senior friends.

Then, Frankie finds herself mixed with and yet excluded from the secret society of long standing tradition in Alabaster: the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. She knows about it because her dad was a member, and she finds out Mathew, Alpha and his friends are too, but it's an all boys club that she's not supposed to know about. But Frankie doesn't deal well with that kind of exclusions, especially when Mathew begins to lie to her about it.

Soon, Frankie is master minding the moves of the Order - while remaining in the shadows - but will that get her what she wants? And what is that she wants, anyway?

That was my biggest problem with the book, I could never truly get Frankie's reason to do all the things she ends up doing, they are brilliant and all but in the end they sort of make me dislike her a little. There are times when it seems that she does things just to prove that she can, to make a point rather than because there is a real reason. Now, I understand part of her reasoning, about feeling excluded and wanting in and wanting equality and despising double standards - I've been there, too - but I can't finish empathizing with Frankie, at times she seems to just want to exercise and prove her own cleverness.

Mathew and Alpha end up looking silly, really, they are supposed to be cool but I just didn't get it. I ended up only liking background characters, like Frankie's sister Zeda; Trish, her roommate and best friend, and her ex boyfriend Porter.

However, the book is cleverly written - if it starts a bit slow until about a third way in - and it is fun at parts (though at parts I did feel like these weren't entirely teenagers but thirty year-olds trapped in teenage bodies), and ultimately entertaining but maybe just not my cup of tea.


September 22, 2009

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

ghostgirlSmart, romantic and almost invisible Charlotte Usher was in the process of being noticed by her long time crush Damen - the most popular boy at Hawthorne High - by landing the gig of his lab partner, but then she ran out of time and choked to death on a gummy bear, of all things.

Almost right after, Charlotte wakes up and finds herself in Dead Ed with a bunch of other kids who have also died. They all have unsolved business, something they need to do before going, well, wherever they will go.

Charlotte, however, is not ready to be done with life, and when she finds out that Scarlet - Damen's girlfriend's little sister - can see her, Charlotte begins to plot away, thinking that maybe there is still 'something' to be done about Damen. But, of course, in life -and in death - things are never easy.

Will Charlotte get her time in the spotlight? Well, read the book and find out.

I found Ghostgirl to be quite fun though the start was a little slow, it picked speed as it went on and I ended quite liking it and greatly enjoying the Pop Culture references. And I absolutely loved the book's design which is full of cool imagery and little details. Also, Damen and Scarlet were great characters - not quite protagonists but I think a little more than secondary - and gave certain aliveness to the story that sometimes Charlotte lacked.

In any case, and even though the book is self-conclusive, it still left me wanting to read the sequel Ghostgirl: Homecoming.



PS - Be sure to check the ghostgirl site, it's pretty cool.

September 20, 2009

I feel BAD!

...Mostly because I couldn't participate more in this year's BBAW.

This was my first year participating and I was so excited about it but then, as it often happens in my life, my sister Boo got her way and convinced my parents to go to the beach for half the week - we just came back this morning - and I didn't get to participate as much as I wanted because I was dragged about (and actually had a very horrific experience while on a boat, which reinforces my dislike of boats).

And OK, it wasn't much of a hardship but vacation time just wears me out.

Anyway, now I'm back to writing, back to typing and to reading and reviewing - which I wasn't allowed to do while at the beach, my family totally doesn't get that I'm completely happy sitting by the pool in my pjs, drinking icy coke and reading. Really, other than swimming laps, I don't like getting wet, let alone sandy - and ready to catch up with everything.

In any case, it was great fun to do BBAW, I hope next year I can participate more.



September 16, 2009

BBAW: You and Your Reading Habits

This is a meme - which I actually meant to do yesterday but my connection was sketchy - from BBAW regarding reading habits.

Answer one of the following questions or all of them in as few words as possible.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Yep. Ginger Ale & Chips

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Dog-ear favorite passages, highlighter only for school.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Both, often at the same time.

Laying the book flat open?

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
Can put it down any moment, doesn't mean I will.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Depends on the word.

What are you currently reading?
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

What is the last book you bought?
Death by Denim by Lisa Gerber.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
Usually, two books at a time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
Anytime is good, places: the bus.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Shortish series or stand alones. Don't like LONG series.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Bard Academy Series by Cara Lockwood, those books don't get enough credit!

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
By how much I like them, books I didn't like too much go to higher, harder to reach shelves. Fave books go within arm reach, usually grouped by author, series and chronological order.


September 15, 2009

BBAW Blogger Interview Swap

BBAWAs part of this year's BBAW, I participated in the Interview Swap, and I got to meet the lovely Hazra from Advance Booking and interview her. This is my first year participating on BBAW, so I was super excited about doing this interview with Hazra. Enjoy!


Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
Talkative, fun-loving, sarcastic and quite crazy.

What made you want to blog? And, why books?
Well, I first started blogging because everybody I knew had a blog (you can’t really escape peer pressure anywhere, can you?). I didn’t want to have a journal-style blog or anything, because that seemed a little narcissistic to me. So I thought I’d blog about books because I read a lot. My conversation starter is usually “What book have you read lately?” And since there is only so many times you can tell your friends about what you read and how you found it, I thought the blog would be the best place for me to discuss about books at length without other people changing the subject.

What’s the last book you read that made you think ‘I have to tell someone about this book’?
That would be “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”. I loved the book; the voice of the character was unique.

From your blog, I gathered you also like movies, what’s the best movie you have seen in the past year?
I’d say Wolverine and Star Trek; I’m a huge action movie fan. Among Hindi movies, it would be Kaminey.

Besides Movies and Books, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
I like listening to music, especially Indian classical music, which I find very soothing. I write a business blog Acerbiz, where I write about the latest developments in the corporate world. I also enjoy fiddling around with electronic circuits.

What are your favorite and least favorite book genres and why?
My favorite genre would be fantasy. I think that fantasy is a area where the author’s creativity is free to run amok. I really love reading about different worlds the authors think up. I also like literary fiction, because most of the books I’ve read have been very well-written.

I fall asleep over self-help books; I just find them very boring. I also don’t read much romance. I wouldn’t say I dislike the genre, but the few romantic books I’ve read disappointed me. There are exceptions, of course, I enjoyed Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts.

As to why, I grew up amidst male cousins, reading a lot of “guy” books: thrillers, mystery and the like, so romantic books haven’t been around. But you’ve given me quite a lot of recommendations which I must check out, so I’m not writing off romance as my least favorite.

What author, dead or alive, would you most like to meet?
I’d love to meet Roald Dahl; he’s one of my favorite authors.

Right now, what book are you eagerly waiting for?
Among new releases, I’m waiting to read Fire by Kristin Cashore (I haven’t read Graceling, but since this is a prequel, I don’t think there will be any loss of continuity), Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

Among other recent books, it would be The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

What’s the part you like the best about blogging?
I think I love meeting new people. The blogosphere has booklovers from around the world; talking with them and hearing what they have to say gives me a new perspective of things. And looking at how prolific some readers are, I’ve been inspired to read more.

Over all, how has your blogging experience been?


Well, that's pretty much it for this post. Again, it was great fun to do this and I want to thank Hazra for the interview.


PS - Let me know about your own interviews by saying Hi! to Mr. Linky

Love Letters from a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Love Letters
Miss Felicity Langley has a goal in mind: to marry a Duke. Not just any old Duke will do, of course, she has her heart set on Lord Standon, heir to the Duke of Hollindrake, with whom she has been corresponding for near 4 years... or has she?

Certainly, Lord Standon stopped writing around the time his grandfather died and he became the new duke, but she's sure everything is an innocent oversight. They are practically engaged, anyway, and she's sure any moment he will come around and swept her off her feet. Conveniently, she has relocated to London along with her twin sister Tally and their dear cousin Pippen, and has 'borrowed' a house just a few blocks away from the Duke's.

The Duke in question, who really rather go by the name of Michael Thatcher, returned from Spain to find not only that he, the third son of a third son, was now the Duke but that his grandfather had practically betrothed him to Miss Langley. Not particularly intersted in marriage, Tatcher sets out to straighten things up with Felicity... only to arrive at her doorstep and be taken for a footman.

Thatcher knows he should tell Felicity the truth, but he also wants to find out what was on the letters Felicity wrote that made his very stuffy grandfather think she would make him a fine duchess and wife, so he sticks around, playing the part of footman as she gets to know Felicity with all her mad-cap notions and beguiling smiles.

This was the first Elizabeth Boyle book I have read and I was pleasantly surprised by it, it was full of humor and memorable characters. My only problem with it was that the mistaken identity plot went on for a little bit too much for my taste. But other than that the book is very enjoyable.

September 11, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Practice Makes PerfectTo say that Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson do not get along would be an understatement, both of them are senior associates at one of Chicago's most prestigious law firms and have been at war with each other for nearly 8 years. Payton thinks J.D. is a spoiled, rich boy who got ahead in life thanks to his family's name and fortune, while J.D. thinks Payton is an uptight, tree-hugging feminist; and while they might be a little right about each other, they are a lot wrong.

When just a few weeks before they get to be made partners of the firm Payton and J.D. find themselves working together to lure in an important new client, everything can happen.

I've to say this is a very funny book, I didn't quite expect it to be so - even after reading Julie James' first book Just the Sexiest Man Alive - but I was happily surprised. Actually, at times it reads almost like an romantic comedy with a bit of old-Hollywood flair, and I mean that in the best sense.

The story is fast paced and it was very entertaining to see J.D. and Payton battle it out for the win and even act silly a time or two and, through it all, I liked them both.


Book Gossip (#16)

Book Gossip # 16 - A cover, a summary and a follow up. Plus a couple of heads up!

Well, okay, the cover and the summary are of the same book, Julie James' Something About You, due out March 2, 2010

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago - and nearly ruining his career...

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes - and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension...


On a follow up to Book Gossip #15, it has been confirmed that Lisa Kleypas' upcoming books Married by Morning and Love in the Afternoon (the 'Me' in this title was a typo) are bout about the Hathaways - Leo and Beatrix respectively. I so can't wait.


And, onto the heads up!

First, there are some good news about Maureen Johnson over at The Compulsive Reader.

And second, for those of you eagerly awaiting The Van Alen Legacy (which comes October 6), Melissa de la Cruz is posting Daily Mini-Exceprts of it via Twitter.

That's all!


September 10, 2009

The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young

Lady Flees Her Lord
Lucinda, Lady Denbigh once made a terrible mistake: she married Lord Denbigh who abuses her both physically and emotionally because she hasn't given him an heir and because she's both tall and plump and not traditionally pretty. One day, Lucinda decides to leave her husband and hides in the country posing as a widow - along with her newly adopted daughter Sophia - living the sort of quiet life she always dreamed off.

However, things change when Lucinda's landlord returns from the war. Lord Hugo Wasnted spent many years in the army and returns to Kent to find his family home practically in ruins - thanks to his father's obsession with having more children to secure the family line - and a young widow whom he finds very attractive living on his land.

His first impulse is to send her away, he doesn't need to be attracted to Lucinda or anyone, he doesn't want to marry ever again - he was married once before but his wife died - or have children; but Lucinda isn't going anywhere, not with the threat of her husband still lurking out there.

All right, first let me say that this is not a fluffy, lighthearted romance novel; the things Lucinda goes through are pretty awful but, that being said, Lucinda is a great heroine, both vulnerable and strong, very resourceful and smart. Hugo makes a fine tortured hero: a gentle man who was hardened by war, life and loss.

The writing is very engaging and it hooked me right from page one, I wanted to know more. There is plenty of mystery and a great cast of characters; as well as a twist I didn't quite see coming.