Friday, May 28, 2010

The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

I loved The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice. I started reading the book not knowing what to expect, and I found myself loving an original modern take on Pride and Prejudice. I literally couldn’t put it down. My husband made the mistake of laughing at the title, but then looked sad when I said it sounded like the perfect man to me!

Cassie Boulton is a marine biologist and a professor at a small college. She spends each summer conducting research at the MBL in Woods Hole on the East Coast. This particular summer, Cassie is in town with her best friend Erin who is nursing a broken heart. Erin soon meets and falls in love with a man named Scott. Erin has Cassie play chaperone the first few times they meet and unfortunately, Cassie has to put up with Scott’s taciturn friend Calder. Cassie and Calder find themselves strangely attracted and share a very passionate love scene in the marsh one night. Calder finds he is unable to win Cassie’s love and decides to use Pride and Prejudice to try to break through to her.

Overall, this book was engaging and very romantic. I loved, loved, loved that Cassie was a scientist and strong woman. As an engineer, I am sad that women are not often shown as scientists/engineers generally in fiction. Calder was a very sexy hero. All of the characters, including the secondary, were very well written and interesting. I was happy to read at the end that Ms. Reynolds is at work on a follow-up to The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

I also noted that Ms. Reynolds lives in Wisconsin. I wonder where . . . maybe Door County? If so, she could come to my book club. I can dream!

I will be in Michigan visiting my family for the next week and a half so there will be silence on my blog until I return. Happy Memorial Day!

Book Source: Advanced Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!

Naked in Death and Glory in Death both by J.D. Robb

I had not read any of Nora Robert’s mysteries written as J.D. Robb, so my best friend Jenn loaned them to me . . . last summer! Luckily while I was sick, I finally read them as I really need to return them to her when I am in Michigan next week!

I enjoyed both mysteries. They take a darker turn then her romance novels. Eve Dallas is a cop in a near future scenario. In Naked in Death, Eve is investigating the serial killing of prostitutes in New York City. One of her top suspects is the mysterious, rich, and handsome Roarke. While the two have a battle of wits, Eve is running out of time to solve this mystery.

In Glory in Death, Eve investigates the killing of prominent women around New York City. Overall both novels had a great plot, setting, and characters and I enjoyed them both. The only thing I didn’t like was that both novels were the serial killing of women . . . I hope the plot moves on from this in the next novels!

Book Source: Borrowed from my best friend Jenn

Captive of My Desires by Johanna Lindsey

I enjoy Johanna Lindsey romance novels, especially when I want a quick read when I'm sick. My only problem is that I have not read the entire Malory series. Therefore, I do not know all of the characters and do not get a “full story” few of any of the few novels that I have picked up in the series . . . which is slightly annoying.

Captive of My Desires is the story of a young English girl, Gabrielle Brooks, that sets off for the Caribbean after her mother passes away to search for her merchant father. Her boat is overtaken by pirates and much adventure ensues. She luckily soon finds her father and is surprised to learn much more about him. She is sent back to England to find a proper husband, and finds herself attracted by an American rogue, Drew Anderson. Much adventure ensues.

I enjoyed this novel, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I would have read the previous Malory novels. Captive of My Desires was a quick, easy read.

Book Source: Borrowed from my best friend Jenn

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

Rumor Has It is a fantastic, fun read. A “chick-lit” novel, this book is set in Roxborough, England. Tilly has had enough of her life in London, especially after her recent boyfriend has moved out. While visiting her friend Erin in Roxborough, Tilly reads an intriguing help wanted ad that is advertising for a “Girl Friday.” She impulsively interviews and takes the job.

Living in small town England, Tilly learns a lot about the people of her village. She also meets a wonderful handsome man named Jack Lucas. Rumors swirl around Jack, how he lost his one true love, and has since had about every girl in the town and beyond. Once Tilly gets to know Jack, the rumors don’t seem to match the man, and she tries to discover what is behind the rumors.

I loved this book. Beyond Tilly, all of the characters including her boss Max, his daughter Lou, Max’s ex-wife Kaye, and beyond were wonderful. They were great detailed “secondary” characters that I grew to love. I read the book as much to find out about them as I did about Tilly and Jack! My favorite books have wonderful characters beyond the main character, and Rumor Has It definitely fits into the category. I only wish I could read more about Roxborough and all of its citizens!

My only complaint about this book is that I wish there would have been more Tilly and Erin friendship moments . . . but it is a pretty small complaint. Overall this was a wonderful, fun read. I highly recommend it!

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!!

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

The Last Song is perfect escapism reading, but like all Nicholas Sparks novels, it is best to have a Kleenex box at hand when you read it!

Ronnie Miller is a bitter teenage girl. She was very close to her father and shared a passion for classic piano playing with him until her parents divorced and her father moved to North Carolina. Now years later, Ronnie is being forced to stay with her father for the summer with her kid brother Jonah. While she is not happy with the situation, she learns a lot about herself, her father, and her parents’ marriage throughout the summer.

Ronnie also meets a handsome teen named Will and they share a summer romance. While Ronnie is rebellious and finds herself in her fair share of trouble, Will is the son of a rich family and attracts his fair share of female attention. Will their love be able to survive with such different backgrounds and futures?

I enjoyed this book. It was perfect light reading when you are not feeling so good . . . except for the Kleenex box moment at the end! I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I am still having a hard time picturing Miley Cyrus as Ronnie.

Book Source: I won this book last fall from Mel at He Followed Me Home .

Gabriel’s Angel by Nora Roberts

Gabriel’s Angel was a good comfort read book for me during my morning sickness. The book involves a pregnant lady, Laura Malone, alone on the run from her husband’s family. She is caught in a snow storm, but is rescued by a handsome artist, Gabriel Bradley. I am a pregnant Laura and read this during the cold of March so it was the perfect book for me!

Gabriel’s Angel is a short vintage 1980’s Nora Roberts romance. It is a quick read and a satisfying romance. I enjoyed it.

Book Source: My best friend Jenn passed this book along to me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief was our Kewaunee Library Book Club pick for March. As I was down and out for so long, my book club members graciously postponed discussion until next week. I can’t wait to discuss this novel. The Book Thief was a unique and wonderful book, which is very hard to summarize and explain.

The Book Thief
is set in Germany during WWII. Liesel is a young girl who is sent to live with foster parents in Molching Germany. Liesel learns to fit in and love her new foster family as well as her scrappy neighbor Rudy. She is quite the trouble maker and part of it is that she likes to steal books. This is a great coming of age novel, but especially so as it is narrated by death, which visits Liesel’s young life more than seems fair. Liesel learns hard lessons about life as she grows up. There were good people and bad people and all sorts of shades of grey in WWII Germany. I can’t really explain more about this book adequately then to say it was excellent and I think everyone should read it. It made me cry at the end and I’ve thought about it a lot since I finished it.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library

Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

I just finished Cleopatra’s Daughter last week, but I’m going to skip far ahead on my book reviews for it!! I LOVED Cleopatra’s Daughter. It was historical fiction at its best.

Selene and Alexander are the two young twin children of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. After their parents’ deaths, they are taken by their enemy, Caesar Octavian back to Rome. Once in room, they learn the customs of the Romans, make new friends, and find love. They also find troubled times with slave revolts and infanticide.

I loved this novel as it was set during a time period that I only have a basic knowledge. . . I didn’t even know that Cleopatra and Marc Antony had twins! The book had a riveting story line and great romance akin to Pride and Prejudice, but even more then that it had wonderful history that came alive and kept me thinking. The plight of the slaves and of the innocent abandoned children will stay with me. I highly recommend this novel.

My only complaint is that while the cover has Cleopatra spelled with a "C", the entire book had it spelled with at "K." I didn't like the inconsistency!

Book Source: Kewaunee Public Library

The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview

I loved The Other Mr. Darcy, Monica Fairview’s continuation of the Pride and Prejudice story with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s cousin Robert and Caroline Bingley. My best friend Jenn gives it a two thumbs up as well. I was very excited to receive Ms. Fairview’s follow-up to The Other Mr. Darcy, The Darcy Cousins for advance review from Sourcebooks.

Clarissa Darcy (Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s cousin and Mr. Robert Darcy’s sister) has recently arrived from America. She soon does not become a favorite of Lady Catherin de Bourgh, but does befriend her daughter Anne and Georgiana Darcy. While Clarissa and Georgiana become best friends, they also find themselves vying for the attentions of the same young gentlemen.

The Darcy Cousins did not disappoint and has firmly planted Monica Fairview as my favorite author of Pride and Prejudice follow-up novels. It was a riveting novel that I found myself unable to put down. The characters come alive and seem to be just what Jane Austen intended. I can’t wait to read what she has next!

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!

Winners, winners, and more winners!

I'm FINALLY posting the winners to three giveaways I had going in March and April Courtesy of Sourcebooks. My bad bout of morning sickness put me very behind, therefore to catch up more quickly I'm going to post all of the winners in one posting!! All winners were chosen via and have been notified via email. They have until Friday May 21st to send me their addresses, otherwise new winners will be chosen.

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
I love William Marshal and I hope the winners of The Scarlet Lion love him too. The two winners of The Scarlet Lion are Linda Kish and Rheanna at Try Reading My Mind. Congrats and happy reading!

Arthurian Trilogy by Helen Hollick
One lucky winner will receive 1 set of Helen Hollick's trilogy, The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King. And that lucky winner is Joanne of Jo-Jo Loves to Read! Congrats - it looks like a fantastic series to read!!

The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

The Stolen Crown is another fantastic historical fiction novel. The two lucky winners of this great book are Rachel of True Accounts of a Post-Collegiate Somebody and Midnight Cowgirl of The Fashion Planner.

Congrats to all of the winners and a giant thank-you to Sourcebooks for allowing me to host these great giveaways!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

The Yellow House was the perfect read for St. Patrick’s Day. It was a fantastic historical fiction novel set in Ireland. Eileen O’Neil has a wonderful childhood, in which she learns the history of her Catholic O’Neil family and is proud to own “the Yellow House.” Her young innocence is soon marred by family tragedy. Eileen faces religious intolerance growing up in Northern Ireland and makes it her goal to return to the Yellow House. She also has two great love affairs in her life. I loved the character of Eileen, the great personal events her life as well as the very interesting Irish history. The Yellow House is a great novel for all historical fiction fans.

The Foundling by Georgette Heyer

I love Georgette Heyer novels. The Foundling ranks up there among my favorite of her novels so far. In the Foundling, the Duke of Sale, a young man with a very long name, is called Gilly for short. Becoming the heir at a young age, he was guarded from any sickness, calamity, etc. by his well-meaning family and servants his entire life. Deciding to break free at the age of 24, Gilly decides to help out his cousin Matthew by solving an embarrassing problem. Gilly sets off and discovers the world and has many adventures. Some of his adventures were quite hilarious, and all were very enjoyable. I highly recommend this novel!

Book Source: I purchased this book from last fall.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Young Bess by Margaret Irwin

I am finally starting my brief reviews to catch up on my blog. I’m feeling mostly better now, which is fantastic. I’m fifteen weeks pregnant now with Baby Number three. Now I’m just sad looking at this giant stack of books and thinking about how to get caught up!

Young Bess is a historical fiction novel about Elizabeth I during her young years from age twelve before her father’s death through her brother Edward’s reign until his death when she was a young lady of twenty. I love reading about Elizabeth’s I life and am looking forwarding to continuing this trilogy by Margaret Irwin.

I often felt while I was reading this book that it should have been called “The Seymour Brothers.” The novel often was centered on the scheming of Tom Seymour, the handsome admiral who married Henry VIII’s widow (Catherine Parr), wooed Elizabeth, and planned to take over England, and his brother Ned, the Lord Protector who wanted too much power for himself. I found their relationship and scheming quite intriguing and actually wanted to read more about them. The only thing I didn’t like is that this seemed to take away some of the time devoted to Elizabeth’s story.

Overall Young Bess is a great historical fiction novel of Elizabeth I’s early years.

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Yes, I had to read a Jodi Picoult book while I was sick to make myself cry. The Pact was another great Picoult novel that made a tragic event a personal family tragedy. Chris and Emily have been together since they were infants and it was only natural that they should start dating as teenagers. Their parents are also great friends. Their world is torn apart when they receive a phone call one night and discover that Emily and Chris have been shot. Determining the exact events of the night is harrowing and a good read. It was depressing though as a parent to think about your children being involved in such circumstances in the future. It does make you think.

My only complaint is that the version that I read had too descriptive of a book blurb on the back cover and it actually ruined the “surprise” at the end of novel for me. I would suggest skipping reading the blurb on your copy if you can!

Book Source: I received this book at our white elephant gift exchange for one of my book clubs. I read it for our March book club meeting, which unfortunately I wasn't able to attend as I was sick!