Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, for a bigger budget!

As I have been reading around the blogosphere the past few days, I have become pea green with envy at all the bloggers, librarians, and bloggerlibrarians who are attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. Since our little library does not have a budget that runs to such glamorous events, I must live vicariously through other attendees. One of the cool things about this conference is that they have a special Librarian Day with lots of great events AND a goody bag. Not that I am all about the swag. Not at all. Because the last thing I need is more books, even if they are free. At least that's what I keep telling myself. We won't even go into the conference's proximity to the new Harry Potter theme park.
Free books and Hogwarts aside, there are also some very high profile speakers -- Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Sherrilyn Kenyon among them. This is a great event for readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, and romance fans in general. The good news? Next year's event is in New York. Start planning your trip....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the Book Cart

Pamela Morsi The Bikini Car Wash
Susan Sey Money Honey

Shirlee Busbee Passion Becomes Her
Claudia Dain Daring a Duke
Julie Anne Long I Kissed an Earl
Patricia Rice The Wicked Wyckerly

Anthology The Bodyguard
Maggie Shayne Kill Me Again

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gilded Age Inspiration

When I read historical romances (or purchase them for the library), my choices lean heavily toward the Regency. The clothes, the parties, the social customs -- and a bit of drawing room comedy is nice as well. Many of our patrons join me in the typical American fascination with dukes and duchesses, so it's easy to end up with a collection of historicals that is all British Regency, all the time. Fortunately, I was saved from my rut by the recent release of not one but two novels set in the United States during the Gilded Age. All the manners and mores you could want(both upstairs and below stairs) with enough parties, clothes, and grand houses to keep things interesting. Both titles fall into the Inspirational category, so expect elements of the characters' faith to be woven into the story. Due to the terrifying height of my TBR pile, I only had time to skim these, but both seem to be well plotted with strong characterization, good historical detail, and the all important atmosphere.

Love on a Dime
by Cara Lynn James

At the age of nineteen, Lilly Westbrook fell in love with Jackson Grail, a hardworking young man educated (on scholarship) at the finest schools. Endowed with brains and ambition but no money, Jack is considered suitable as a friend to Lilly's brother George but not as a suitor for Lilly. He proposes anyway, but his courage fails him when it comes time to ask the Westbrooks for Lilly's hand, and he breaks off with her so that she can continue to lead her privileged life while he goes off to make his fortune. Six years later, when he appears at her family's home in Newport for a visit with George, he has not only struck it rich in the Klondike, but has purchased a couple of companies and has his eye on a third. Here the plot truly thickens, since Lilly has not been sitting idly by attending parties and updating her wardrobe. Though she nursed her heartbreak for a few years, she also found a new purpose in helping the residents of a settlement house in the city. In order to fund her charitable endeavors, she has taken to secretly penning dime novels under the name Fannie Cole. Her work has become quite popular, making it more and more difficult for her to hide her alter ego from her family. It would be social disaster to be revealed, especially as she now has a new and wealthy suitor. When it turns out that the next company Jackson wants to buy is her publisher, Lilly fears that the gig will be well and truly up! The rest of the novel follows Lilly's attempts to reconcile the various elements of her life -- her love for Jackson, her enjoyment of her work and the good she does with it, and her desire to not disappoint her family.

Maid to Match
by Deeanne Gist

Though most historical romances focus on the titled or the wealthy, life and love did go on below stairs. It was at best less glamorous and at worst actively discouraged and grounds for dismissal. Therefore the last thing that Tillie Reese wants to do is fall in love with a footman. Having worked her way up the ladder of domestic staff to become head parlormaid at 18, Tillie has a shot at being promoted to lady's maid to Edith Vanderbilt. However, she has competition, and even a minor slip could cost her the job. When she's given the task of whipping a new employee into shape, it looks like a chance to score some points toward the new job, but when sparks start to fly between Tillie and Mack Danvers, future footman, things get complicated. They get more complicated still when Tillie and Mack may have to expose a scandal involving the local orphanage. Tillie has to choose whether to follow her heart and her conscience or let her ambition rule her decisions. Featuring the servants and making the Vanderbilts secondary characters is a nice twist on the usual historical formula, and the marvelous Biltmore Estate is a wonderful setting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On the Book Cart

New this week:

Julia London One Season of Sunshine
Linda Lael Miller McKettricks of Texas: Austin
Nora Roberts Sweet Rains
JoAnn Ross The Homecoming
Kandy Shepherd Home is Where the Bark Is

Jennifer Ashley Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Laura Frantz Courting Morrow Little
Cara Lynn James Love on a Dime
Tessa Dare Twice Tempted by a Rogue
Jane Feather Rushed to the Altar
Lisa Kleypas Love in the Afternoon
Lisa Kleypas Married by Morning

Sharon Ashwood Unchained
Cynthia Eden I'll Be Slaying You
Shannon McKenna Fade to Midnight
Gena Showalter The Darkest Lie

Heather Graham Ghost Shadow
Laura Griffin Unspeakable

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On the Book Cart

Now that the new budget year has begun, boxes and boxes of new books are arriving daily. We are processing them as fast as we can, and trying to get a little bit of everything out each week. So instead of one or two big batches of romance novels, you'll be seeing a few new ones each week for awhile. This week's offerings are:

Susan Wiggs The Hostage

Victoria Dahl Crazy for Love
Susan Mallery Almost Perfect

Christins Dodd Chains of Ice

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

August RT Book Reviews has arrived

The latest issue of RT Book Reviews is on the shelf in the periodicals section. The cover story discusses suspense author Brenda Novak and her many current projects, including a new trilogy that launches in August. The first book is titles White Heat and we will have it here at the library. Other feature stories include a discussion of formats -- hardcover versus paperback versus e-book -- with industry insiders debating the pros and cons of each. Also debated is the future of romantic suspense -- is it dead or alive? Authors featured include Laura Lippman, Tana French, and Christine Feehan. Continuing the suspense themed stories this months Pros on Prose is an email conversation between authors Laura Griffin and Allison Brennan. Rounding out the issue is the Fan Forum, Teen Scene, and more than 250 book reviews.

Friday, July 9, 2010

by Erin McCarthy

Angels and demons take the stage in this paranormal series called the "Seven Deadly Sins" making a nice change from the standard vampire and psychic fare.

Gabriel is one of seven angels sent to earth to watch over 19th century New Orleans and help mortals overcome the various miseries in their lives. Instead, the enormity of the misery overwhelms him. He not only succumbs to the sin of gluttony, but embraces it to escape the pain. A woman is murdered during one of his drug and alcohol induced stupors and not only does he not know who did it, but he can't even be sure he didn't do it himself. Now he is one of the fallen, a Grigori demon, banned from Heaven and damned to live among mortals but never be really part of them. His punishment is to have his own weaknesses and addictions turned against him until he has finally paid long enough or can find a way to redeem himself.

Fast forward to the current era. Claire has more than a passing acquaintance with pain and addiction herself. She has been asked by Gabriel, now a true-crime author, to collaborate with him on a book about the striking similarities between her mother's murder and the woman who was murdered all those years ago. Both Claire and Gabriel have hidden agendas and secrets and both are fighting an attraction that Gabriel knows can only lead to more misery.

I liked this one. I found it refreshing that the religious references were straightforward and not apologetic in any sort of "politically correct" way. I'm looking forward to reading My Immortal, the first in the series as well as the third, The Taking, which just came out this year.

Submitted by Michele

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

True Colors

True Colors
By Kristin Hannah

The heart of this book is a story of three sisters and their relationships with each other. I don’t categorize this as a romance in the classic sense. However, the core of the book revolves around love – sisterly love, romantic love, unrequited love, careless love, passionate and obsessive love, parental love (or lack thereof) – so I thought I’d review it here.
The book is highly character driven. It follows Winona, Aurora and Vivi-Ann through four decades from childhood to adulthood. The reader gets to know Winona and Vivi-Ann very well. Winona is a highly successful lawyer who is much less confident in her personal life and struggles with a jealousy of Vivi-Ann. Vivi-Ann is a vivacious beauty who feels everything deeply and is unswervingly loyal to those she loves. Aurora seems a weak character who mainly serves two purposes – as a fashion plate to show the passage of time and as a mostly neutral peace-maker between the other two sisters. The interactions they have with their father and their lovers dominates the plot and drives the relationship the sisters have with each other.
I read this book for a discussion group. I’d never read anything by Kristin Hannah but was looking forward to it because I knew many people like her. I always think that a good book is one you get lost in. You forget you are reading and just experience the story. This one was okay but nothing I had trouble putting down when I needed to. I found parts of it very good and parts of it forced and contrived.
I didn’t care for the ending. I thought the first scene was just corny (it would have worked in a Harlequin romance) and the second just seemed unworthy of the emotional growth this sister had made. No spoilers though for those who want to see for themselves. Several in my book group disagreed with me, so let me know what YOU think!
~ Michele