Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goddess of the Hunt

Goddess of the Hunt
by Tessa Dare

This one was fun and a definite roller coaster ride of a story! It's also the first in a trilogy in the historical category, so more fun awaits.

Dramatic and impulsive Lucy is in love with Toby and has been for most of her life. Toby, a rake and flirt, is one her brother's best friends. So, naturally, she chooses his other best friend, Jeremy, to "practice" her feminine wiles on before she makes a play for Toby. (Makes sense to me, right?) Jeremy is perceived by Lucy, and indeed by all who know him, as a cold fish. Lucy thinks that if she can attract him, she can definitely win Toby away from the woman he seems about to propose to.

Jeremy's frigid demeanor, of course, is a cover for the poweful, roiling emotions he keeps tightly under wraps. The tragic childhood he endured has taught him to avoid everything to do with such messy things as feelings. Lucy is definitely in the "messy" category. He resents that he is attracted to her - and yet he cannot resist her. He is powerfully jealous of her love for Toby - and yet he doesn't want her for himself (or thinks he doesn't.) He hates that he can't control her impulsive behavior - and yet when he finally does have that power, he doesn't like who she becomes.

This author was a new find for me. I saw an interview she did on the True Romance section of Borders Media and found that we own all three in this trilogy. I plan to read the second in the set as soon as I have the chance.

~Submitted by Michele

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Literary Love Scenes, Romantically Read

Once upon a time, explicit sex in books was unheard of, and even implied sex was frowned upon. The work of D.H. Lawrence was considered quite hot, the sort of thing that got one thrown in jail, or at least ostracized from polite society. Remember those college lit courses you took, when you eagerly picked up all those books on the reading list that had such racy reputations, only to get bored and drop them when you couldn’t find the smutty bits? Generations of students were left wondering what all the fuss was about. Well, wonder no more. The British coffee company Carte Noire has developed “a more seductive coffee break” by recruiting a trio of hotties to read classic literary love scenes. The readers are Greg Wise, Dominic West and Dan Stevens, all known for their film and stage work. Readings include selections from Sons and Lovers, The Age of Innocence, Sense and Sensibility and many more literary favorites. Being a huge fan of both coffee and handsome men with melodious voices, I decided to revisit the some of my collegiate required reading, courtesy of Carte Noire. Visit the site and have a listen – you may just develop a brand new appreciation of the classics.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Romantical Reviews

Since the library (and its resident bloggers) will be keeping holiday hours in the next few weeks, you’ll need to check out some other sites to get your fix of all things romance related. In addition to the resources to the right, another great spot to read some romance reviews is a blog called The Good, The Bad and The Unread. TGTBTU covers mostly romance, but occasionally dabbles in other genres. There are plenty of reviews, Guest Author Days, contests, and other fun stuff. So grab some cookies and check out TGTBTU. Those gifts will get wrapped eventually….

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Book Cart

Another light week in terms of new books. The last of the Christmas titles have drifted in, and if all the cookie-fueled happyhappy joyjoy holiday cheer is getting to be too much for you, dip into some romantic suspense and hunt down a few bad guys!

Sophia James Mistletoe Magic
Susan Gee Heino Mistress by Mistake

Romantic Suspense:
Laura Griffin Untraceable
Gina Robinson Spy Games
Starr Ambrose Our Little Secret

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kill Bridezilla!!!!

Okay, let me state for the record that none of my friends have ever morphed into Bridezilla while planning a wedding. (Although there is one who got married before I met her, and based on the pictures, the potential was definitely there....)
Anyway, I've heard enough horror stories to have a zero tolerance for brides-behaving-badly. My only complaint about either of the first two books of Nora Roberts' Brides quartet is that some of the brattier wedding party members did not get the comeuppance I felt they deserved. I therefore read with great interest of a new video game based on Visions in White. The game will follow the general plotline involving the four womem who run Vows, and will include features like hidden object searches and mini-games. No word on whether or not you get the chance to blow up the white limo or, better still, lob a wedding cake at Bridezilla, but a girl can dream....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the Book Cart

A little light on romance this week -- but that just leaves you more time to shop and wrap and bake....

Victoria Alexander Believe
Liz Carlyle One Little Sin
Suzanne Enoch Something Sinful

Romantic Suspense:
Christina Skye Bound by Dreams
Mary Burton Dying Scream

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Did you ever wonder what your favorite authors were thinking? Where they got their ideas? What inspired them?

Well, apparently Borders does. They have been producing a series of original programming housed on the website. There are all kinds of goodies here - interviews with authors, musicians performing songs from their cds, chefs preparing recipes from their latest cookbooks, even a section of yummy Book Club Recipes in the Kitchen section. The most innovative is a section where various authors are filmed in a sort of "home movie" mode walking through a Borders and pointing out their own favorite books, movies and music.

But the best part? The romance genre has its very own section called Borders True Romance. Sue Grimshaw is the romance buyer for Borders. She hosts not only a romance blog and a monthly list of "must reads", but also a great video interview program. Each interview runs somewhere between 10-15 minutes and is remarkably in-depth. I think the reason the quality is so high is because the questions are asked by someone who knows romance, someone who has probably read every book the author has written rather than just a quick perusal of the latest one for purposes of preparing for an interview.

It is fun to watch the interviews with some of my favorite prolific authors like Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts, both of whom seem just as fun as the women they create in their novels. However, they are crossover authors who are often on the mainstream interview shows. I think it's really great to see the authors who are strictly in the romance genre get the attention their work deserves - authors like Debbie Macomber, Lisa Kleypas,
Stephanie Laurens, and Sherrilyn Kenyon just to name a few. I even discovered a new author that I really enjoyed - Tessa Dare. (More about her in a later post.)

So check out Borders True Romance. And by the way, should anyone actually make the Crisp Chocolate Biscotti from the Book Club Recipes section, PLEEEEEEASE bring me some!!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cool Krentz Quick Castle website update!

As a big fan of the Arcane Society novels, I was thrilled to see the latest updates to Jayne Ann Krentz's website. Krentz, who writes the contemporary Arcane Society novels under her name, and who pens the historical entries under the name Amanda Quick, has added some nice features for fans of the series. In addition to a look into Arcane House, there is now a Society Museum and a J&J security "job application". That last is one of the more entertaining ways to sign up for an author's newsletter that I've seen. You can also follow Fallon Jones on Twitter; interesting to see what the secretive head of J&J would be willing to tweet about...
Those of you who also enjoy the Harmony series written under the pen name Jayne Castle will find much to enjoy as well -- the dust bunny book trailers alone are worth the visit. So while you're waiting for that next book to come out (Fired Up on 12/29) stop by the website visit some old friends.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the Book Cart

There's a little bit of everything on the cart this week, with most of December's titles having arrived. New additions as follows:

Sophie Jordan Sins of a Wicked Duke
Caroline Linden For Your Arms Only
Karen Ranney Sold to a Laird
Kathryne Kennedy My Unfair Lady

Christie Craig Divorced, Desperate and DeceivedSusan Donovan Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Paranormal:Christina Dodd Storm of Shadows

Romantic Suspense:
Brenda Novak Stop Me
Carla Neggers Cold River

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New RT Book Reviews Has Arrived

The January (!) RT is here, with cover stories on authors Jude Deveraux and Tami Hoag, and a look at Post-Apocalyptic fiction and the revivial of the medieval romance. There is also a nice article on the late Kate Duffy, a romance industry editorial icon. Author spotlights include Catherine Anderson, Julie Kenner, and Margaret Ronald, as well as the "Debut Corner" where you can meet a handful of newly published authors. Ever pictured yourself starring in a romance novel? Take the Romance Heroine Quiz and find your perfect story. Also included are the monthly Pros on Prose and Fan Forum section, as well as more than 250 book reviews.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Reading Slump

I've often gotten in cleaning slumps, but reading slumps are rare. I am however, currently deep in the grips of one. I have on my bedside table The Assassin by Rachel Butler (two chapters in, like it well enough, am not compelled to keep turning pages), Winter's Desire, an historical anthology, and Wrapped in Seduction, a contemporary anthology (skimmed both, started two stories in each, cannot commit), and Sliding Home by Kate Angell, the latest in the Richmond Rogues series (remains entirely unmolested, even though I'd been looking forward to it. Perhaps I should wait until spring training starts?)I don't know what the problem is. Well, I have my suspicions. One word -- sudoku. Yes, I have fallen prey to puzzle mania. As soon as I can break free I will review some or all of the above titles. Until then -- I am off to sharpen pencils....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Things you learn while reading romance novels

Topping the list -- how to write a decent sex scene. According to the following list from ShelfAwareness - daily enlightenment for the book trade, the authors shortlisted for their Bad Sex in Fiction Award are -- NOT romance authors. And apparently not romance readers either, or they would have figured out how to create a little heat. Which is not to say that all romance writers can put together a decent sex scene. Let's face it -- in some novels, purple prose abounds. But judging by this list, literary fiction is not something to get, shall we say, hot and bothered about...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the Book Cart

It’s a light book cart this week, but there’s a little bit of everything. Wouldn’t it be nice to skip that trip to the supermarket and curl up with a book instead?

Lorraine Heath Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel
Elizabeth Hoyt To Desire a Devil
Joy Nash Silver Silence

Deb Stover The Gift
Gail Carriger Soulless

Tess Gerritsen Never Say Die & Whistleblower

The Night Before Christmas (contemporary, holiday)
Winter’s Desire (historical, erotica)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just in time for holiday shopping -- Vintage Harlequin!

I've always loved vintage pulp fiction cover art, specifically hardboiled crime and romance. I've been able to get my fix of the former in the past few years with paperback releases from Hard Case Crime; now I can find the latter in the new Harlequin Notables line. Produced by Flowerpot Press, the line of stationary includes address books, matchbook notepads, spiral journals, notebooks, and vintage postcards. With fabulous reproductions of the daring and sensational cover art that Harlequin has produced in the last 60 years, this is a must have for fans of romance or pulp fiction in general.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the Book Cart

With last week being nearly all romantic suspense, this week we have a slew of historicals, with a few other things thrown in for variety. Add in two anthologies -- one hot, one sweet -- and there's quite a bit to choose from. The new arrivals, in no particular order, are:

Cindy Woodsmall The Sound of Sleigh Bells

Gemma Halliday Scandal Sheet
Lisa Dale It Happened One Night
Susan Mallery Hot On Her Heels

Barbara Metzger The Bargain Bride
Anna Campbell Captive of Sin
Cathy Maxwell In the Highlander’s Bed
Shannon Drake The Queen’s Lady
Julia London A Courtesan’s Scandal
Stephanie Laurens The Untamed Bride
Joy Nash Deep Magic & The Grail King
Jillian Hunter The Wicked Duke Takes a Wife
Edith Layton To Love a Wicked Lord
Georgette Heyer Charity Girl

Romantic Suspense
Kylie Brant Waking the Dead

Almost Home with stories by Debbie Macomber, Cathy Lamb, Judy Duarte and Mary Carter
Wrapped in Seduction with stories by Lisa Renee Jones, Cathryn Fox and Jodi Lynn Copeland

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Regency Romance at Any Age

Given that the average age of young ladies on the marriage mart in Regency England was 16-18, I’ve always been surprised that I haven’t found more Young Adult romances set in that time period. The teen years are fraught with angst and drama, much of which revolves around love, fashion, love, gossip, love, social events, love, cruel parents who Simply Don’t Understand, love, the need for funds so that one can stay au courant, and -- of course – love. The list is like a recipe for a Regency plot! I know any book with a romance sticker goes out of the library frequently – as much in the YA section as the adult collection, so I was happy to find the blog NineteenTeen. Penned by authors Marissa Doyle and Regina Scott, it’s full of interesting info about the life of Regency era teens, including color plates of fashions of the time. It also includes a look back at news, recipes, and customs, and offers reviews of books both old and new. The blog contains links to the authors’ websites, so you can check out the fiction they are publishing. If you are a fan of all things Regency, this is a nice blog to check in on.

Friday, November 6, 2009

On the Book Cart

It's all romantic suspense, all the time on this week's cart, thanks to some great donations! We have several titles from Carla Neggers backlist, a couple of trilogies from authors new to the collection, and an anthology of novellas from Sherrilyn Kenyon featuring operatives from her Bureau of American Defense. I will be abandoning the Regency for the weekend in order to walk on the wild side with The Assassin by Rachel Butler, and will report in on the experience next week. Meanwhile, stop by and pick up one or more of the following:

Fiona Brand
Blind Instinct
Double Vision
Killer Focus

Jasmine Creswell

Rachel Butler
The Assassin
Deep Cover

Allison Brennan
Fatal Secrets

Meryl Sawyer
Kiss of Death

Sherrilyn Kenyon
Born to Be BAD –Three Novellas

Karin Slaughter

Carla Neggers
The Widow
On Fire
Cold Pursuit
The Rapids

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Season's Readings -- Buy a gift and support the Library

It's that time again -- time to figure out what in the world you're going to buy for assorted family and friends for the upcoming holidays. If you have book and movie lovers on your list, start your shopping at the Library. Our Sixth Annual Season's Readings display is set up and the gift guide is available for your reading -- and shopping -- enjoyment. The Voorheesville Librarians spend the year reading, watching and evaluating books and movies, and we have shared our best bets for great gifts. Not finding exactly what you want and planning to shop online anyway? Start by clicking through to Amazon from our website; the Friends of the Library will receive a percentage of your purchase. The Friends do a lot to support Library programs and materials purchases, so please help support the Friends!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Five Reasons I Liked What Happens in London

What Happens in London
By Julia Quinn

Reason One: The Heroine
Lady Olivia Bevelstoke, who was introduced to us in another book by Miss Miranda Cheever (of Secret Diaries fame). We can forgive Lady Olivia for being exceptionally lovely because she is fiercely loyal to her friends, possessed of a lively intelligence and occasionally lurid imagination, and most important, she does not take herself terribly seriously. In fact, she often displays a large degree of pragmatism regarding her looks, her station and her prospects for her future. She reads the newspaper (“Every word. Every day.”) rather than devoting herself to popular, sensational novels such as Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron. And she makes very entertaining lists.

Reason Two: Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron
A book within a book. Too funny. How can you not love a story in which someone is tragically pecked to death by pigeons? Visions of Tippi Hedren in Regency garb went dancing through my head…

Reason Three: The Hero
Sir Harry Valentine manages to get through childhood with an alcoholic father and an emotionally unavailable mother and still turn out just fine. He may have joined the Army for the wrong reasons, inadvertently abandoning his young brother, but he makes a success of it and turns to doing important, if not exactly glamorous, work for the war office once he resigns his commission. He is an honorable man with a mischievous sense of humor. And he’s hot. Even though no one really seems sure what color his eyes are.

Reason Four: The Secondary Characters
Two irresponsible younger brothers. One lethally charming and highly dramatic cousin. Parents both good and bad. The Russian Prince. The Russian Prince’s bodyguard. Assorted servants. Nearly all of the above interacting over tea in the drawing room. With Miss Butterworth.

Reason Five: The humor.
See all of the above. Julia Quinn’s books never lack for humor or great characterization. This one has both, with a fair amount of drama at the end. Very entertaining, and highly recommended.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dress Up Dolls in Cyber Space

Proving yet again that romance authors totally rock -- the Soulless Victorian Dress Up Doll. Soulless is the first book of a new paranormal historical series by Gail Carriger. Soulless has an engaging and entertaining premise, and an equally engaging and entertaining heroine. According to the publisher's website:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

And so it goes. I am really looking forward to reading this one, and in the interim I am enjoying playing with (virtual) paper dolls. See evidence of same below...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November RT Book Reviews on the shelf

The November RT is here, with a cover story on Joy Nash and her Celtic themed romances. Other features include interviews with Diana Gabaldon, who discusses her Outlander series, and Sandra Brown, who has just released a Depression era tear jerker. There is also a Q&A with Linda Howard about the future of publishing, an overview of cozy mysteries, a look at cookbooks inspired by favorite series settings and characters, and a real life Scottish romance. The Pros on Prose section examines the use of blogs and the length of query letters. The Clubhouse spotlights Nalini Singh, Kristin Cashore, Morgan Howell, and a few debut authors. The series rap sheet and the 250 book reviews round out the issue, giving you plenty to add to your To Be Read list!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Bride Quartet -- Book Two

Bed of Roses
By Nora Roberts

Let me begin by saying that this book is physically gorgeous. The bouquet on the cover is so beautiful that it made even a confirmed commitmentphobe pause and consider tying the knot just to get her hands on those flowers. Everything from the colors to the book flaps to the deckle edge pages just screams romance. But it screams romance in a very tasteful, upscale way, as though it had been designed by the four women who run Vows, the very tasteful and upscale wedding planning business that connects the four stories that will make up Roberts’ Bride Quartet. Book Two, Bed of Roses, tells the story of Emmaline Grant, the florist who is behind Centerpiece at Vows. Emma is beautiful, talented, warm and a hopeless romantic. She never wants for dates, but has never fallen in love. The kind hearted Emma has made a habit of fixing up her “also-rans” with women she feels would make them a better match. Though she yearns for the kind of love story her parents have, she still has a very full life with her business, her family, and the honorary family made up of friends and coworkers at Vows. One of those honorary family members is Jack Cooke, best friend of Del Brown, Vows’ lawyer and Emma’s good buddy Parker’s older brother. Del is like an older brother to all the girls, and so, by extension, is Jack. Emma’s feelings for Jack have never been all that sisterly, but she has kept that to herself to avoid upsetting the dynamic that exists within the group. It so happens that Jack’s feelings for Emma have never been all that brotherly, and one day he decides to act on them. Sparks fly – the chemistry between the two is great and they have a strong foundation of friendship on which to build. The conflict? Jack witnessed his parents’ divorce and has created a lot of boundaries to avoid ever going through one himself. Emma witnessed the enduring romance between her parents and wants the same thing for herself. You can see where this is headed. You also know that you are guaranteed a happy ending in spite of a few bumps in the road. Though this is a pretty straightforward love story, Roberts holds your interest with all the incredible detail about Emma’s floral business and Vows’ business in general. (There is always at least one incredible Nightmare Wedding scene, good for a couple laughs and a certain amount of morbid fascination with the whole process.) In addition, the characters are all likeable; far from being too beautiful and too perfect, they are often funny and flawed. You find yourself thinking that these are people you’d like to hang out with. I’m looking forward to the next installment – Savor the Moment – due out early in 2010. The heroine will be Laurel Grant, pastry chef extraordinaire, and I am already stockpiling snacks in anticipation of a delicious read.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the Book Cart

We're heavy on the historicals this week, with lots of old favorites and some new names for you check out. And for those of you who enjoy a little romance under the mistletoe, holiday stories are on the way!


Natural Born Charmer Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Romantic Suspense:

Make Her Pay Roxanne St. Claire
Love You to Death Shannon K. Butcher
The Perfect Murder Brenda Novak

Historical Fiction:

The Border Lord and the Lady Bertrice Small
Tempt Me at Twilight Lisa Kleypas
A Lady of Persuasian Tessa Dare
The Earl Claims His Wife Cathy Maxwell
When Seducing a Duke Kathryn Smith
Wicked All Day Liz Carlyle
A Wicked Lord at the Wedding Jillian Hunter
Never Love a Lawman Jo Goodman

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waking Up in Vegas

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP
By Lauren Lipton

Peggy Adams, advance planner, list maker, and overall good, responsible girl goes to Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party and wakes up hung over next to a handsome man in a hotel room not her own. The good news is that she’s still fully dressed and even the contents of her handbag are unmolested. The bad news is – she’s married to the handsome stranger, but since she has no memory of the night she spent with him she doesn’t know this until after she has returned to New York City and her boyfriend of seven years. This is a real double edged sword for Peggy, who wants nothing more than to be married, but whose boyfriend Brock has coughed up nothing more than a “promise ring” and promises about setting a wedding date which are at best vague. Peggy’s new husband, Luke Sedgewick of the New Ninevah, Connecticut Sedgewicks, has a few issues of his own to deal with. He is the sole heir to an historically significant, drafty and crumbling house in New Ninevah, and the sole caretaker for his elderly Aunt Abigail. Abigail would like nothing more than to see Luke marry and continue the family name, populating the Silas Sedgewick House with little Sedgewicks in perpetuity. Luke would like nothing more than to sell the Sedgewick house to pay for better care for his aunt and to pursue his love of poetry. When Peggy agrees to meet Luke at his lawyer’s office to start annulment proceedings, Abigail gets wind of the marriage and makes the two an offer they can’t refuse: stay married for a year or until her death, whichever comes first, and they can have the house and do whatever they want with it. Since Peggy’s business is struggling and Luke knows he can’t afford to maintain the house, the two agree to Abigail’s terms, with results that are both funny and touching.

This is a pleasant, entertaining book with a great cast of vividly drawn characters. The spoof of WASP culture (parties with bad hors d’oeuvres amid a sea of gin and tonic, the outfits that consist of layer upon layer upon layer) are on the money and very funny. The scenes in Peggy’s Manhattan shop ring equally true. The twists and turns along the road to true love are well done and not too predictable. Overall, this is a fun book – a well told story with a satisfying ending, and well worth picking up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the Book Cart

The September romance releases are (mostly) in, so there is quite a vaiety to chose from on the cart this week. By category, they are:

Louise Allen The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst
Karen Hawkings The Laird Who Loved Me
Tracy Anne Warren Seduced By His Touch
Kasey Michaels How to Tempt a Duke
Mary Blayney Stranger’s Kiss
Mary Mackey The Widow’s War
Claudia Dain How to Dazzle a Duke

Christine Feehan Dark Slayer
Brenda Joyce Dark Lover
Noelle Mack Wicked: The Pack of St.James

Romantic Suspense:
Beverly Barton Silent Killer
Brenda Novak The Perfect Liar
Jill Sorenson Set the Dark on Fire

Christie RidgewayHow to Knit a Wild Bikini
Kate Angell Sliding Home
Julia London Summer of Two Wishes

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reading Roundup

I've been reading a pretty wide variety of books lately, not limited to romance. The three titles I've finished most recently include a straight contemporary romance, a paranormal, and a mystery with a strong romantic subplot. Brief reviews below, hopefully with some longer ones next week -- if I get through my weekend reading!

Death’s Bright Angel
by Janet Neel
Though first published in 1988, this mystery still feels timely as it deals with government subsidies to failing industries. The first in a series featuring trade ministry executive Francesca Wilson and Detective Inspector John McLeish is well-paced and has an entertaining cast of characters. This contemporary British police procedural with a romantic subplot offers a moderately tricky puzzle with lots of local color.

Vision in White
by Nora Roberts
This contemporary romance is the story of Mackensie Elliot, wedding photographer and cynic, at least where romance is concerned. Along with her three closest friends, Mac runsVows, a premiere wedding business, but in the face of her self-involved mother, her absent father, and clients tyingthe knot for the second or third time, she has a hard timebelieving she’ll find her own happily ever after.

Obsidian Prey
by Jayne Castle
The latest installment in the Harmony series does not dis-
appoint. Featuring Vincent, an artistic dust bunny, Lyra
Dore, an amber tuner with an affinity for amethyst, and
Cruz Sweetwater, the handsome CEO of Amber Inc., this
story includes jumped claims, stolen artifacts, murder and
art forgery in a fast read full of romance, light suspense,
and subtle humor.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the Book Cart

Due to a nice batch of donations, there are seven paranormal romances on the cart this week. The newest release is Alyssa Day’s Atlantis Unleashed. Other 2009 releases include Jacquelyn Frank’s Shadowdwellers novel Rapture and three titles from Rhyannon Byrd’s Primal Instinct Series: Edge of Hunger, Edge of Danger, and Edge of Desire. There are two releases of previously published titles from favorite authors: Swimming Without a Net by Mary Janice Davidson and The Wizard of Seattle by Kay Hooper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On the Book Cart

There's a lengthy list of new arrivals this week, as most of our August titles are in. Come in and check out your favorites, and take a look at our newly expanded paperback collection while you are here.

A Duke of Her Own Eloisa James
Some Like It Wicked Teresa Medeiros
The Book of Scandal Julia London
Secrets of Surrender Madeline Hunter
Seduce Me Robyn DeHart
Mastered By Love Stephanie Laurens
Sleepless in Scotland Karen Hawkins
Devil In My Bed Celeste Bradley
Since the Surrender Julie Anne Long

The Magic Knot Helen Scott Taylor
Destined for an Early Grave Jeaniene Frost
Storm of Visions Christina Dodd
Obsidian Prey Jayne Castle

Heart of Dixie Tami Hoag
Midnight Sons Debbie Macomber

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Classics and Cover Art

I am a firm believer in the old axiom "You can't judge a book by it's cover." I find this to be especially true when it comes to romance, where the covers range from the ridiculous to the sublime. The ridiculous, unfortunately, are too numerous to mention, but the sublime are not so easily come by. The best examples of the sublime that I've seen in quite a while have to be the Sourcebook reprints of Georgette Heyer's work. The late Queen of the Regency Romance is being given her due with beautiful cover art. Every time one of the reprints comes in I think "Whoever is responsible for this is doing a fabulous job!" I had just gotten through admiring the latest arrival when I found an interview over at the SBTB blog that gives the skinny on just what goes into that fabulous job. The SB's had a long chat with Dawn Pope, Assistant Design Manager at Sourcebooks. Ms. Pope talks about the process, the sources she uses for the cover art, and what changes we'll see as new titles are released. Check out the interview, and you'll gain a whole new appreciation for these beatiful books.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the Book Cart

There are several new titles and some old favorites on the cart this week. We’ve got new copies of Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary and Debbie Macomber’s Darling Daughters, as well Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess. On the paranormal front, we have Bengal’s Heart by Lora Leigh, Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tasting Fear by Shannon McKenna. There are two historicals: Amanda Scott’s Tamed by a Laird and Tessa Dare’s Goddess of the Hunt. For the contemporary fan, there is How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist, So Into You by Sandra Hill, Breaking Loose by Tara Janzen, and Code Name: Baby by Christina Skye.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Moon Called
by Patricia Briggs

In this version of current day Washington state, members of the preternatural community known as the "fae" have come out of hiding and are letting the world know that they exist...or at least the weaker and gentler varieties have. The more powerful and dangerous beings such as werewolves, witches and vampires are still living in highly secret societies which are becoming more difficult to maintain due to the computer age and advances in forensic technology.

Mercy Thompson is a mechanic. She is also a coyote shapeshifter known as a "walker". Although she was brought up by werewolves and shares many of their shapeshifting and animal characteristics, she is both less powerful physically and more powerful magically than them. When a young, newly turned and terrified werewolf turns up at her garage looking for work, she is drawn into a mystery which involves both murder and kidnapping. The journey for answers brings along with it some more personal questions for Mercy - both about her past and future.

I really liked this and will be reading more in the series. I normally avoid books written in the first person, but it was very well done in this story and I did not find it distracting. The book is classified as a fantasy but I think it has great cross-over potential for paranormal romance readers. There is quite a romantic triangle between Mercy, her neighbor Adam who is the Alpha of the werewolf pack whose territory she currently lives in, and Samuel, a powerful werewolf from the pack she grew up in who she had once loved. Although there is quite a bit of sexual tension between these characters, there is no actual sex. However, I would hold off on recommending this as appropriate for the YA crowd until I see if this holds true in the next few books. Currently, there are four books in the Mercy Thompson series with another two in a spin-off series about the pack Mercy grew up in.

Submitted by Michele

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Intertwined Crosses Over

by Gena Showalter

The title of this new Young Adult book is very well chosen. This one has a ton of stuff – psychics, vampires, shapeshifters, fairies, witches, spirit possession, time travel, zombies...and somehow it all gets pulled together into an interesting first book in a series that I definitely want to read more of.

Aden is a sixteen year old with a lot to deal with – namely the four other souls, all with special powers, who share his body. He has learned to live with them and how to avoid major catastrophes for the most part, but what he really craves is solitude. Then, incredibly, he finds a girl who can do just that – silence the voices of the others in his head. Unfortunately, the spark of contact between them sets off a series of “calls” to a whole host of paranormal beings and monsters who are being drawn to Aden and to the small town where he thought he’d finally found a moment of peace.

I read this one because it was by an established paranormal romance author that I follow and because I also enjoy YA books – especially paranormals. I really liked that it wasn’t written in first person – a common occurrence in YA literature but something I’m not personally fond of.

The author was clearly trying to appeal to the teen Twilight audience with their current seemingly insatiable appetite for anything vampire/paranormal. I also think she nailed it with this new series. Although it is definitely more graphic in its horror scene descriptions than her usual adult romance readers are used to (I kept thinking “Eeew, gross! The kids will love this!”) I do think there is the potential for a crossover audience. Try it. If you can make it through the first graveyard scene without being too grossed out, I think you’ll like the twists and turns this book makes.

Submitted by Michele

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Book Cart

There are a few nice titles on the book cart this week. The lone historical is Halfway to Heaven by Susan Wiggs, an author better known for her contemporary Lakeshore Chronicles. There are also three contemporary romances. Sunset Bay by Susan Mallery is a the story of a heroine whose life is falling apart when she meets the man who was her big crush in high school. Debbie Macomber’s Right Next Door is a two volume reissue of stories about finding love right under your nose. Lauren Lipton’s Mating Rituals of the North American WASP is a romantic comedy that results from a wild night in Vegas when two strangers get married and have to maintain the charade to receive a large inheritance. You’ll have to read the book to see if there’s an Elvis impersonator involved in the ceremony….

Friday, July 17, 2009

On the Book Cart

Lots of new arrivals this week as our Staycation Reading event continues! There are quite a few historical titles to choose from, beginning with a couple of the gorgeous Sourcebook reissues of Georgette Heyer novels. Cousin Kate is a Regency with a distinctly Gothic air, while The Convenient Marriage is more traditional. Also available are If He’s Wicked by Hannah Howell, What Happens In London by Julia London, The Disgraceful Mr. Ravenhurst by Louise Allen, Surrender to the Devil by Lorraine Heath, Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney and a five author anthology called Four Dukes and a Devil. The paranormals are all by big names in the genre and continue popular series: Seduce the Darkness by Gena Showalter, Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan, and Midnight’s Master by Cynthia Eden. Suspense is represented by Laura Caldwell’s Red Blooded Murder and Christy Reece’s Run to Me. There are two contemporaries as well: Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis and Dare to Love by Jaci Burton.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Old Monster, New Twist

Carved in Stone
by Vickie Taylor

Tired of vampires and witches? Here’s the first book in a great new series for those who are looking for something a little different in the paranormal romance category.


Les Gargouillen are guardians, protectors of the human race. Transformed over a thousand years ago by a rogue priest through a pagan ritual, they have the ability to change into predatory half-human beasts. While their bodies are mortal, their souls achieve a form of immortality through reincarnation of their own bloodline. They are born with the ability to perfectly recall each previous life they had lived.

Rachel Vandermere is a woman on a mission – to prove the existence of and destroy the monsters that murdered her parents when she was a child. Now an agent of Interpol, her official investigations have led her to suspect Nathan as an international assassin. Her personal suspicions are that he can lead her to the very community that she is looking for.

Nathan Cross is on his fourteenth lifetime and has decided that it will be his last. He is tortured by his responsibility for the death of one he loved in a past life. He has grown weary of the monster in him, of the loneliness of never belonging to the world he is bound to protect.

Nathan has vowed not to produce a son and therefore reincarnate, incurring the wrath of his people. Though he has been banished from their society, he is perfectly placed to deflect Rachel’s interest in his people and to protect them from her investigation. The sparks that fly between them threaten his commitment of celibacy and lead to some interesting developments in the plot.

I really liked the premise of this book. It was well written, engaging and definitely hot. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next in the series.

Submitted by Michele

Monday, July 13, 2009

August RT Book Reviews has arrived

The August RT is here with a cover story on Karen Marie Moning. Other feature stories include a comparison of the Sony Reader and the Kindle, with the pros and cons of each; author Kathy Kulig explaining how both publishers and authors can connect with readers using Twitter; an interview with author Mary Higgins Clark; a look at the second novel by Slumdog Millionaire author Vikas Swarup; and a discussion of how the airport bookstore business model differs from that of your local bookseller. This month's clubhouse features not only authors such as Karin Slaughter, Elisabeth McNaughton, Shannon McKenna, Delilah Marvelle, and Amanda McIntyre, but also news about the debut of the Harlequin teen line, a new Nocturne miniseries, and a debut novelists. As always, you will also find the Fan Forum, Pros on Prose, and 250 book reviews.

Friday, July 10, 2009

True Love on Ice

True Love and Other Disasters
By Rachel Gibson

The Premise: Faith Duffy, former stripper and Playboy centerfold, inherits a hockey team when her very wealthy and very much older husband dies. Though Faith was never in love with Virgil Duffy, she did like and respect him and devoted five years to being the perfect wife. He rewards her with $50 million and the Seattle Chinooks, Stanley Cup contenders led by the recently acquired Ty Savage. Unfortunately, Faith knows nothing about hockey, doesn’t particularly like it, and doesn’t particularly know or like any of the players, Ty included. Nothing personal, it’s just never been her thing. Meanwhile Landon, her odious stepson (and you knew there would be one – there always is) thinks the team should have been his and badgers Faith into selling it to him. Unfortunately, he underestimates both her brains and her backbone, and when he shows up at the arena and humiliates her in front of the team’s management and captain, she tells him the deals off. Landon goes away in a snit, and Faith hires an assistant to teach her about hockey and settles in to learn to run the team. The team’s management figure’s they can learn to deal with her, and the team’s captain figures they’re all pretty much screwed. Ty just wants Faith to stay out of the way and not rock the boat when the team has a real shot at the Cup, and Faith is sick of his surly attitude, and the attitude she’s getting from a lot of people in general. The two remain barely civil to one another until the sparks really begin to fly at a photoshoot, and continue to fly until both of them are forced to acknowledge that they don’t just want each other, they actually like each other. All would be well if the evil Landon wasn’t still scheming in the background.

What I Liked: Hockey. I love hockey, and was really happy to see Gibson return to the team she invented for her earlier release See Jane Score. I also really liked Faith, and the fact that Gibson didn’t portray her as an underestimated astrophysicist trapped in the body of a Playboy bunny. Faith is no genius but no dummy, she’s hot, and she knows it. She is also genuinely nice and likeable. She chose to take her clothes off for a living as a means of survival, she’s ok with that, and as a result, so am I. (After all, not everyone can be a librarian!) The rest of the cast of characters is well fleshed out and true to life, and Gibson has her hockey facts straight. She clearly either loves the game herself or does really good research.

What I Didn’t Like: Given everything Faith has gone through, I wasn’t totally sold on her fear of Landon, and I didn’t feel he got enough of a comeuppance at the end. But then, I’m just mean like that.

Overall: Great for fans of hockey and romance; I’m looking forward to the Chinooks next outing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the Book Cart

The flood of new paperbacks has slowed to a trickle now that we have filled up our Staycation Reading display, but we have a few new titles of interest this week. There are several authors new to our collection, and a couple of familiar names. New additions to the romance collection include Alissa Johnson’s McAlistair’s Fortune, Jennifer Haymore’s A Hint of Wicked, and Mary Wine’s In Bed with a Stranger – all historicals. The lone contemporary is Maya Banks’ erotic romance Sweet Persuasion. From regular favorite Diana Palmer we have Diamond in the Rough, a new Men of Medicine Ridge story. Rounding out the assortment is the anthology From This Day Forward with stories by Candace Camp, Gina Wilkins, and Allison Leigh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Reading

This year's supply of summer paperbacks had arrived and it set up on the table in the magazine area. Every variety of beach/camp/lake reading is available: mystery, thriller, romance, gentle reads, historical fiction -- you name the genre, we'e got something new on the shelves. We are also continuing to expand our new nonfiction paperback section. Stop by and browse or recommend subjects or authors. And since paperbacks are all 28 day checkouts, they are a perfect choice for vacation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Misc. Updates

There are a couple of interesting posts over at the SBTB blog: one is an interview Jennifer Lohmann, a librarian who preaches the gospel of “give the readers what they want even if what they want are romance novels.” This is an attitude we applaud here at the VPL, as those of you who are familiar with our ever expanding paperback genre fiction collection have noticed. Our “Library Recommends” series of brochures follows this philosophy as well, as we provide reader’s guides not only to our Book Discussion and literary fiction selections, but to our romance, science fiction and extensive mystery collections. If you want to take a look at some of the lists, remember that they are available online through our Reading Café. Some of the pages are being updated, so if at first you don’t succeed – try, try again. Or just stop by and see us.
Another interesting post previews a New Yorker profile of Nora Roberts. Yes, She-Who-Owns-More-Library-and–Bookstore-Real Estate-than-Any-Other-Writer is gracing the pages of one of our most literary of magazines. So there, fiction snobs. I will be devoting a slow reference shift to reading the article, which is in the June 22 issue.
In other news – the FOL book sale took place this past weekend, and we are once again accepting donations for the next one. Keep in mind that I am always happy to have current paperbacks in good condition to add to the collection, or to keep in my “replacement copy stash” if they are favorites or part of a series.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

On the Book Cart

Only four romances on the cart this week, but three of them are new additions to some favorite series. Mary Balogh’s historical Seducing an Angel continues the story of the Huxtable family with the tale of Stephen’s courtship of a lady accused of murder. Deirdre Martin’s contemporary With a Twist reintroduces us to Natalie Bocuse, an oh-so-chic Frenchwoman in New York who first made an appearance in Just a Taste. Christy Reece brings us along on another suspenseful mission with the operatives of Last Chance Rescue in Return to Me. An author new to our collection is Christine Lynxwiler, whose book The Reluctant Cowgirl is a western themed inspirational.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Of Books and Blogs

After announcing the arrival of Beyond Heaving Bosoms in a previous post, I realized that I had never previously mentioned or posted links to the blogs I read regularly. Since romance novels never get a lot of ink in the standard “collection development” tools like Library Journal, I have to use other sources for reviews and announcements. Fortunately, there are a lot of readers and librarians who have been at this a lot longer than I have, and whose knowledge has been invaluable to me since I was appointed Romance Maven and General Paperback Goddess shortly after arriving here in Voorheesville. Two blogs that I like to read regularly are Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and The Misadventures of…Super Librarian. SBTB is brought to you by Candy and Sarah, the women behind Beyond Heaving Bosoms, both avid readers who claim to have real lives beyond their blog. They may, but it’s hard to imagine given how much ground they cover on a regular basis in the blog. Super Librarian is authored by Wendy, who is a real life collection development librarian in Orange County, California. Wendy has two things I envy even more than the large readership of her blog – a job dealing with adult fiction all day, and the chance to do it in a climate much, much nicer than Albany. All that aside, if you are looking for reviews and recommendations, try either or both of these blogs.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beyond Heaving Bosoms…

The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels. Recently arrived in our new Non-Fiction paperback collection, Beyond Heaving Bosoms is a smart, funny and thorough look at the romance genre authored by the women who brought you the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog. Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan have been reviewing books and just generally emoting on the state of the genre since 2005. Their blog is a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to delving into the book for more of the same…

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On the Book Cart

Only a few items are on the cart this week. The latest addition in Mary Balogh’s historical Huxtable family saga, At Last Comes Love, has arrived. Under Her Skin, the first of Susan Mallery’s contemporary Lone Star Sisters series is also here. The other contemporaries are the suspense novels Rescue Me by Christy Reece, and Whispered Lies by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love. Whispered Lies is another BAD Agency novel from the team who wrote Phantom in the Night. The lone paranormal is Gena Showalter’s The Vampire’s Bride, a tale of Atlantis.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Perfectly Delightful Poison

The Perfect Poison
By Amanda Quick

I have to admit up front that I am a big fan of the Arcane Society novels, both contemporary and historical. While I like some better than others, I tend to like them all in general, and The Perfect Poison is no exception. Heroine Lucinda Bromley is the kind of brainiac-with-a-sense-humor who always appeals to me. She has the added appeal of being suspected of poisoning her feckless fiancé in Borgia-like fashion by slipping a deadly substance into his drink using a ring designed for the purpose. Although we know Lucinda is innocent, the rest of polite society does not, and she is relegated to its fringes. A gifted botanist whose psychic abilities allow her to sense and manipulate the energies of plants, Lucinda sometimes works with Scotland Yard to help them detect particularly tricky cases of poisoning. It is on one such case that she comes across a poison that could only have been made with a plant recently stolen from her conservatory. Given her history, Lucinda fears she will be implicated in the crime, and so she calls in Caleb Jones, psychic investigator and direct descendent of the Arcane Society founder Sylvester Jones. The members of the Jones family are investigating a few mysteries of their own as they try to track down the shadowy group that is attempting to recreate the legendary Founder’s Formula. Caleb, whose gift is seeing patterns where others see only random facts or coincidences, suspects that the two cases are related. Lucinda and Caleb join forces, tracking down thieves, murderers and the threads of an elusive conspiracy.

I think that The Perfect Poison may be my favorite of all the historical Arcane Society novels. I really enjoyed the botany aspect, and the fact that the bespectacled and studious heroine was no slouch in the tough broad department. Caleb’s single mindedness and eccentricities were also appealing; he is very masculine without being overbearing. Both plot twists and subtle humor abound, and the cast of secondary characters is great. I was happy to see the return of Lady Milden, the Society’s first professional matchmaker. All in all, this is another fun, fast paced read from my favorite librarian-turned-author, and I am already looking forward to the next Arcane Society book.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

On the Book Cart

There are some interesting items on the new book cart this week. Passion’s Blood, by Cherif Fortin and Lynn Sanders, is an illustrated novella. Billed as a “medival fairy tale” this romantic story is a hardcover with twenty-nine full color illustrations. Publisher Medallion Press is planning more of this type of book; next up is There Be Dragons authored by the well known Heather Graham and illustrated by Fortin and Sanders. I’m taking Passion's Blood home over the weekend and will render my verdict on Monday.
In other news – Nora Roberts’ Vision in White has arrived, as has the latest release from Erin McCarthy, Hard and Fast. Other contemporaries include True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson and the suspenseful One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon. The lone paranormal is So Still the Night, a new Shadow Guard novel by Kim Lenox.
There are half a dozen historical titles as well. Sally MacKenzie continues her popular “naked” series with The Naked Baron. Elizabeth Boyle follows up her Confessions of a Little Black Gown with Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress. The Legend of the Four Soldiers series from Elizabeth Hoyt continues with To Beguile a Beast. The latest from Victoria Alexander is The Virgin’s Secret. And for those of you who simply cannot get enough of men in kilts, we have Jennifer Ahsley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and Karen Ranney’s A Scotsman in Love.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New from Nora

Just when I thought I was only going to be able to get my Nora Roberts classic romance fix by rereading some of her older titles, I found out about a new contemporary quartet in the works! Book One of the Bride Quartet is called Visions in White, and tells the story of wedding photographer Mackensie Elliot. Mac, as she is known to her friends, runs into (literally)the bride-to-be's brother right before an important rehearsal. Carter Maguire is so not Mac's type, but maybe he'll do for a casual affair. Or maybe he really is much more Mac's type than she knows...
This looks like a fun quartet, full of the romance, friendships, and strong secondary characters that Roberts is known for. Visions in White will be here in May, and the second, Bed of Roses, will be released in December.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On the Book Cart

There’s an abundance of riches on the cart this week; all the April romances have come in. In contemporary romance, there are some titles from favorite authors. Linda Lael Miller’s Montana Creeds: Tyler is in, as is Sherryl Woods The Inn at Eagle Point. Leanne Banks is back with Trouble in High Heels, HelenKay Dimon shows us why It’s Hotter in Hawaii, and Lora Leigh brings us another Special Ops bad boy in Maverick. We also have some authors that are new to our collection: Tracy Wolff’s Full Exposure is a sexy, suspenseful romance, as is Penny McCall’s Packing Heat. If you’d like something more lighthearted try LuAnn McLane’s Redneck Cinderella or Julie James’ Practice Makes Perfect. Historicals also include a nice mix of old favorites and newer names. Then Comes Seduction is the second of Mary Balogh’s Huxtable family quintet. Jane Feather’s Cavendish Square trilogy winds up with A Husband’s Wicked Ways. Elizabeth Boyle has my vote for most entertaining choice of title, Confessions of a Little Black Gown. Tempted By His Kiss is the first in the new Byrons of Braebourne series by Tracy Anne Warren. We’ve also got Liz Carlyle’s Tempted All Night, Jo Beverly’s The Secret Wedding, Barbara Metzger’s The Wicked Ways of a True Hero, and Sophia Nash’s Love with the Perfect Scoundrel. Rounding out your choices are Teresa Medeiros’ Some Like It Wild, and Charlotte Mede’s Dangerous Games. There are also three paranormals to choose from: Royal Blood by Rona Sharon, great for fans of Tudor England, Casual Hex by Vicki Lewis Thompson, and the latest Rogue Hunter novel by Lynsay Sands, The Immortal Hunter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Weekend Reading Round Up Part II

Having devoted some time to more traditional historical romance, I next turned to Madame Bliss The Erotic Adventures of a Lady by Charlotte Lovejoy. This is billed as a novel in the tradition of Tom Jones and Fanny Hill. Not a bad place to start, in my opinion, but then I was an English major in college. Anyway, the story traces the steps of the foundling Mary Wren. Abandoned as an infant, Mary is rescued by one Lady Worthy, who brings her home and raises her. Mary becomes a housemaid, and remains a virtuous and hardworking girl until the age of 16, when she is seduced (with very little effort) by John Lyon, a young and handsome gentleman visiting the manor. The two begin a passionate and joyful love affair, which is unfortunately discovered. Both are turned out by their respective patrons, with Johnny being sent off to India and Mary opting to head for London. En route, she encounters a young woman who will take her under her wing and teach her to survive on her beauty and her wits. Miss Calliope Wiles, once an innocent country girl herself, is now the comfortably maintained mistress of the Earl of Rogersme, and knows that an equally comfortable future is available to Mary if she plays her cards right. With Calliope’s help, the newly rechristened Marianna does indeed take London by storm. She is pursued by wicked and fabulously wealthy Lord Blackwood, rescued and kept by the staunch Colonel Goodleigh, and becomes the toast of the town after modeling for Signor Amoroso, whose scandalous paintings are in high demand among gentlemen of means. But through it all, Marianna remains true in her heart, if not her body, to Johnny Lyon, and is rewarded with her very own happily ever after. This is delightful contemporary take on the bawdy novel of past centuries, with a timeless heroine, subtle humor, and a wonderful cast of characters. There are plenty of erotic novels that are little more than a series of sex scenes strung together with a very thin plot; Madame Bliss rises above that and is a very clever and well told story with plenty of steamy scenes that manage to be hot without seeming crass.

The lone contemporary in the line-up is Kristin Higgin’s Too Good to be True. It’s the story of Grace Emerson, a high school history teacher. Grace was dumped by her fiancé four weeks before their wedding. Which is bad. What’s worse is that he eventually started dating her younger sister Natalie. Which is fine, really, since Grace gave them permission to date. After all, there is nothing she wouldn’t do for her baby sister, and she knew in her heart that when Andrew and Natalie met they were both hit with what Grace calls “the big kablammy.” The problem is that over a year since the big break-up, Grace is attending her cousin Kitty’s (third) wedding solo, while Natalie and Andrew are attending together, and everyone is saying “How are you?” to her in tones usually reserved for someone with a terminal illness. So Grace has no choice but to make up a boyfriend. Yep, an imaginary boyfriend, one designed to salvage her pride and make her little sister feel better about dating Andrew. By the time she gets home, the faux boyfriend is fully formed in her mind. While drifting around her house, still a little tipsy, Grace spots a strange man trying to get into the empty house next door. She calls the cops and by they arrive has whacked the supposed intruder in the head with her old field hockey stick. Can true love be far behind? Well, perhaps it’s inevitable, but the road is bumpy and long. There’s the fake boyfriend for one thing, and the ex-boyfriend for another, and of course the neighbor, Callahan O’Shea, has a few skeletons in his closet as well. Grace cannot get past the fact that in many ways he’s just wrong, wrong, wrong, but still entirely hot, hot, hot. What’s a girl to do? Watching Grace and Callahan stumble toward their happy ending is very entertaining. Hannah provides a funny, exasperating and endearing group of secondary characters – most of them related to Grace. She also works in good subplots – Grace’s adventures in online dating are hysterical, and the school politics and her sister’s marital woes ring true. This is not a steamy, chick lit kind of romance, but it is a nice love story with a fair amount of heat that is well paced and has some emotional depth to it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Reading Round-Up Part I

Well actually, it’s a couple weekends worth of reading. I went on a little bit of a binge with the historicals, but did manage to sneak in one contemporary. The first of the historical group is also the first in a new series by Mary Balogh. First Comes Marriage is the story of Vanessa Huxtable Dew, a very young widow whose brother Stephen is suddenly elevated to an earldom. She and her two sisters accompany him to the new family seat and try to adjust to their new status as Stephen learns his duties as Earl of Merton under the tutelage of Elliot Wallace, Viscount Lyngate. Vanessa and Elliot are at cross purposes from the get go, particularly on the topic of all the Huxtable sisters taking up residence with their brother. They must be properly introduced to Society, and as a single man he cannot sponsor them. But if he had a wife, she could. And so Elliot and Vanessa end up in a marriage of convenience, sparks continue to fly, and eventually the two fall in love, but not without a few bumps along the way. This is the first of Balogh’s books that I’ve read, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the series about the Huxtable family. The characters, even the secondary ones, were vivid and believable. The pace was excellent – the plot fairly galloped along with a nice couple of subplots thrown in. I will be grabbing the next book, Then Comes Seduction, the minute it arrives.

Another well know author of historical romance that was new to me is Celeste Bradley. I picked up Duke Most Wanted, the third in her Heiress Brides series. Typically I avoid beginning at the end, but this happened to be the one I picked up and I had started it before I realized what I’d done. So I just kept going with it, figuring I could go back and read the other two in order. I knew the overall premise – three cousins are vying to be the first to marry a duke in order to inherit an enormous amount of money left in trust by an eccentric relative. I thought it sounded like fun, but somehow I just couldn’t get into it the way I expected to. I liked the main characters, there was plenty of humor, colorful villains, and a couple of wonderful secondary characters, but I found my mind wandering. Overall, it was okay. I think it was just a little slow, and I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the trilogy in order. I will probably read this author again, but won’t be racing to be the first to get the next new book she puts out.

NEXT POSTING: Two very contemporary heroines, though one is a woman ahead of her time...