Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moving to a New (Online) Address!

Due to changing times, changing technologies, and changing staff, the Library will be consolidating all online reviews to our Shelfari page. Though we have really enjoyed interacting with readers and authors through the blog, we simply cannot keep it as up to date as we would like. I am moving on to another part of the country, and Michele has taken on new job responsibilities. But we are not disappearing entirely! The Library maintains a presence on Shelfari where you can find reviews of all lengths on all kinds of books, romances included. Stop by and take a look periodically, or sign up to follow us. You can even begin your own bookshelf and share your opinions with others!

Want to get started? To find the Library's bookshelf, click on one of the links above or go to http://www.shelfari.com/. Look to the right side of the webpage and click on "advanced search." Once you are on the advanced search page, click on "members" in the menu on the left. Then type "Voorheesville Library" in the box labeled "Shelfari Profile Name." And there you are!

If you would like to learn more about Shelfari they do have an About Us section, as well as a Help and FAQ section.

Enjoy exploring our new online forum, and thanks again for all your encouragement during the past few years.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the Bookcart

In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks
Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer Haymore
Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson
Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
The Seduction of a Scandal by Cathy Maxwell

Riptide by Cherry Adair
Good Girls Don’t by Victoria Dahl

Heartless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger
No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper

Romantic Suspense
In Seconds by Brenda Novak
Dark Taste of Rapture: an Alien Huntress Novel by Gena Showalter
Archangel’s Blade: a Guild Hunter Novel by Nalini Singh

To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Something Old, Something New -- Two by Julia Quinn

I was trolling around in OverDrive a few weeks ago, hoping to find Just Like Heaven, Julia Quinn's latest, but the only one of her titles available was Dancing At Midnight, one of her earliest works. Within days, or course, the paperback copy of Just Like Heaven showed up on my desk. No matter, it gave me a nice comparison of early-Julia and current-Julia, and while there are many similiarities, there are some significant differences as well.

In the earlier work, Lady Arabella Blydon is taking a break from the marriage mart and visiting her cousin in the country. There she meets Lord John Blackwood, wounded war hero recently given a title for his service to crown and country. Arabella is very bright, more than a little bored, and ready for a bit of an adventure with a handsome hero. John is also very bright, more than a little tortured, and ready to fall in love with the pure and charming Arabella if only it weren't for the horrors he endured during the war making him unfit for her company.

Make no mistake, both these characters are very likeable, and their interaction is enjoyable to watch. But things are a bit rushed in terms of both revelations about John's backstory and Arabella's willingness to behave improperly. It's in these kinds of details that the fact that this is an early effort shows. The fact that things are rather rushed makes John's continued self-recriminations tedious, and Arabella sometimes just seems willful. But overall, this is enjoyable enough if you are a fan of Quinn's characterizations and subtle humor.

Just Like Heaven is the story of Honoria Smythe-Smith, of the dreadful-annual-musicale Smythe-Smiths, and of Marcus Holroyd, Earl of Chatteris and best friend of Honoria's older brother. The two meet as children and practically grow up together, until a family scandal separates them for several years. A chance meeting and a freak accident bring them back together, and we are then treated to a charming courtship and an inside look at all that goes on behind the scenes of the annual Smythe-Smith musicale. There are even cameo appearances by a Bridgerton, the infamous Miss Butterworth and her Mad Baron,and the alarming and entertaining Lady Danforth! What more could one ask? While this one does not rank up there with What Happens in London and Ten Things I Love About You in terms of cleverness, it is still a charming story, and I would recommend it to all fans of historical romance.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Fair Lady -- the romance novel version

A Lady's Lesson in Scandal
by Meredith Duran

This Victorian romance features Nell Whitby, factory girl and guttersnipe, who goes on a quest for revenge only to find herself mistaken for a missing heiress. The Earl of Rushden, who has recently inherited a title, some lands, and no money to support either, believes Nell is the long-lost heir to a fortune, and proposes (literally) that they marry and split the loot, once they have proven who she is. What follows is a My-Fair-Lady type of love story that doesn't ignore the harsher side of life in Victorian London while telling a tale full of humor and warmth.

Nell's early life in Bethnal Green, one of London's worst slums, is in no way glossed over. She lives in a tenement, has irregular opportunities to wash, has fought rats for food, and watched her mother die a slow death from inhaling the dirty air in the cigar factory where they both work. Nell herself has nearly lost a finger in the cutting machine more than once. When the hero, Simon St. Maur, introduces her to life as a lady, the results are predictable. We see Nell mystified by hot and cold running water and attacking her food like a starving animal. For his part, Simon begins to see the humanity behind "the poor," a group that has always been more a concept than a reality for him.

The grittier aspects of this story in no way detract from the charm and wit that marks the interaction and growing love story between Simon and Nell. It is both funny and touching, making for a very satisfying book. Highly recommended for fans of historical romance.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reading Round-Up Part One

I finally got a chance to catch up on my reading. Although the pile of books on my bedside table, and the list on downloads on various devices are both pretty eclectic, there are a few romances in there. There are also some pretty good crossover titles, and a few mysteries. Over the next few days I'll bring you up to date with some short reviews.
First, a young adult/adult crossover title: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. This falls into the subgenre known as Steampunk, and is in fact the first in a series called The Steampunk Chronicles. Set in an alternative Victorian London where automatons work alongside human servants, the novel features the adventures of Finley Jayne, a sixteen-year-old who has developed some rather unusual abilities. Uncertain what is happening to her, Finley doesn't feel at home in her skin until she is recruited by the mysterious young Duke of Greythorne to aid his quest to eliminate a threat to the Crown. The author cleverly weaves in references to Victorian classics such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Finley is a likeable character, as are Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne, and Jack Dandy, a young crime lord. There's a lot of action in this book, as well as some light romance. This is an entertaining story with a strong cast of characters and the beginnings of what will undoubtedly be a well developed alternate history as the series progresses. I am looking forward to Finley's future adventures.

Next Week: Two by Julia Quinn, My Favorite Burglar, and My Fair Lady -- the romance novel version.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the Book Cart

Susan Mallery Only Mine

Jennifer Blake By His Majesty's Grace
Donna MacMeans Redeeming the Rogue
Tracy Anne Warren The Bed and the Bachelor

Lara Adrian Deeper Than Midnight
Kathryne Kennedy The Lady of the Storm

Christina Dodd Secrets of Bella Terra
Lora Leigh Midnight Sins
Karen Rose Count to Ten

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the Book Cart

Susan Andersen Playing Dirty
Patricia Coughlin Wedding Magic

Jennifer Ashley The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Victoria Dahl It's Always Been You
Sophie Jordan Wicked In Your Arms
Kasey Michaels The Taming of the Rake

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On the Book Cart

Charlotte Featherstone Seduction and Scandal
Lorraine Heath Waking Up with the Duke
Marguerite Kaye Innocent in the Sheikh's Harem
Anne Stuart Shameless

Lori Handeland Crave the Moon

Elizabeth Jennings Darkness at Dawn

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On the Book Cart

Meredith Duran A Lady's Lesson in Scandal
Kat Martin Magnificent Passage

Lydia Dare In the Heat of the Bite

Catherine Mann Cover Me

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On the Book Cart

Dakota Cassidy Burning Down the Spouse
Linda Lael Miller The Creed Legacy
JoAnn Ross One Summer
Christie Ridgeway Can't Hurry Love

Loretta Chase Silk is for Seduction
Patricia Rice The Devilish Montague

Heather Graham Heart of Evil
Leslie Parrish Cold Touch

Nancy Bush Hush
Christina Dodd Tongue in Chic
Lori Foster Savor the Danger
Fern Michaels About Face
Brenda Novak Inside

Friday, June 24, 2011

June RT Book Reviews on the Shelf

Diana Palmer and her Long Tall Texans are the cover story in this month's RT, which also includes a preview of her latest release Merciless. Other features include updates about Catherine Coulter, Kim Harrison, Brenda Novak, and George R.R. Martin, a look at Catherine Mann's breakout novel Cover Me, and a discussion of the sudden proliferation of books about Cleopatra. You'll also find a recap of the RT Convention in LA, as well as the Fan Forum and Teen Scene. And as always, more than 250 reviews of upcoming books.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the Book Cart

Grace Burrowes The Soldier
Kathleen Y'Barbo The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

Karen Rose You Belong to Me

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Book Cart

Kristine Grayson Wickedly Charming
Susan Sey Money Shot
Sherryl Woods Beach Lane

Anthology The Wedding of the Century
Elizabeth Boyle Lord Langley is Back in Town
Celeste Bradley/ Susan Donovan A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man
Georgina Gentry Diablo
Samantha James The Sins of Viscount Sutherland
Vanessa Kelly My Favorite Countess
Jodi Thomas Texas Rain

Christine Feehan Savage Nature
Lynsay Sands The Reluctant Vampire

Recently Read: Part Two

Black Orchids & The Silent Speaker
By Rex Stout

Quintessential Wolfe! This two-book volume gives us the curmudgeonly detective in all his orchid-obsessed, food-loving, agoraphobic glory. In Black Orchids, Wolfe solves a mini-mystery at a flower show to get his hands on some rare black orchids. A small bouquet of these appear later on the coffin of a woman whose horrific murder he feels he failed to prevent. The Silent Speaker finds Wolfe taking on corporate conglomerates, the local police, and the FBI in order to find the person behind the murder of a government official and his brilliant and beautiful assistant. Through it all, the witty and dapper Archie Goodwin does Wolfe's legwork and narrates the stories. Great for fans of the classic detective story that emphasizes brains rather than forensics.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recently Read

I was once again cruising around in OverDrive and found a few favorite authors with titles available for checkout. I snagged the second book in Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series since I enjoyed the previous entries so much, and found a two volume set from Rex Stout, a mystery author I have always enjoyed. Here's the scoop on both.

My Soul To Save
by Rachel Vincent
Teenage banshee Kaylee Cavanaugh is trying to get used to controlling her wail and managing life with the father she is newly reunited with, but neither one is going too well. Being a banshee who needs to pass as human is tricky, and being a sixteen-year-old whose dad treats her like she's six is a drag. Things get even more complicated when Kaylee goes to a concert with her boyfriend, and when the singer collapses and dies onstage, Kaylee doesn't feel the urge to wail. As it happens, the singer literally has no soul, and so there is nothing to trigger Kaylee's banshee "soul song." As it happens, there's a whole group of teen stars that have been coerced into selling their souls for fame and fortune, and when an old friend of a friend needs help to avoid spending eternity in torment, Kaylee and her boyfriend Nash have to figure out how to out-bargain a hellion.
This is a fun urban fantasy story that raises some adult questions: just how much will people give for fame and fortune? At what age should people be held responsible for their actions? And -- could the talent agents that feed the Disney Media empire really be agents of unspeakable evil?!?!?

Tomorrow: Nero Wolfe!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

On the Book Cart

Anthology Promise of Love
Lori Foster Trace of Fever

Tiffany Clare The Secret Desires of a Governess
Sally MacKenzie The Naked King
Julia Quinn Just Like Heaven

Katie MacAlister The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Anthology Most Likely to Succeed

The Lady Most Likely
By Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway

I love Julia Quinn, so I picked this one up. The book takes place at a house party in the country. The book is written by three authors who each take a couple and write their story. In the end, we have three engagements and one very happy matchmaking hostess. Although there were three authors, the parts were seamless in their transition and it felt like a novel rather than a collection of stories. The characters were engaging and the authors kept their personalities true throughout the book. I highly recommend it for a great summer read.


I second this! I love the interlocking plot elements, and though each author has a distinct voice the book does flow very nicely. I had never read Connie Brockway before but will be sure to pick up her books now. Anthologies are a great way to try new authors, and this is a great introduction. Whether the authors are new to you or you are already a fan, this is well worth checking out.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

On the Book Cart

Linda Lael Miller Creed's Honor
RaeAnne Thayne Blackberry Summer

Nalini Singh Angels' Blood

Lora Leigh Live Wire
Marta Perry Vanish in Plain Sight

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To Catch a Thief

Touch of a Thief
By Mia Marlow

You may need to set a thief to catch a thief, but if you need to steal something from the Queen's personal collection, catching the best jewel thief in London and blackmailing her into helping you is the better plan.
Lady Viola Preston's family has fallen on hard times. With the death of her father, the title and all the family fortune went to a cousin, leaving Viola, her mother and her sister with nothing but their London townhome. Viola turns to a life of crime, lifting the jewels of the ton and selling them to a fence in the seamier side of London. She has a highly successful career until she runs into Greydon Quinn, who catches her in the act and demands that she help him recover a precious red diamond, stolen from a temple in India. The allegedly cursed diamond is on it's way to London where it will be presented to the Queen, and thereafter go into the Royal vault. The theft ignited a rebellion and Quinn, who served many years in India, wants to help quell the uprising. There are many twists along the way, including a displaced Indian Prince, a malevolent gemstone, and a few ex-lovers.
Though I was at first hesitant about the slight paranormal elements to the story, I found the author handled them well. The characters are vivid, and either likeable or loathsome depending on which side of the good guy/bad guy spectrum they fall on. The love story is by turns steamy, sweet, and romantic, featuring an ongoing battle of wits between the hero and heroine. I love a good heist story, and this was lots of fun.
Interesting author note: Mia Marlowe had written other historical romances under the name Emily Bryan. I read and reviewed Distracting the Duchess a few years ago. I enjoyed it quite a bit and felt the author had a way of depicting those characters who had experienced mental or physical damage in a way that was both realistic and kind. That hasn't changed, which gives her secondary characters a lot of depth. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Hours Begin this Weekend

Summer hours begin this weekend at the library. We will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. In June, July and August, we will be closed Sunday, and our Saturday hours will be 10am-1pm. Regular hours will resume after the Labor Day weekend.

Stock Up and Save!

The Friends of the Library Mini-Sale is now underway! Stop by and pick up a little light reading!

Hardcovers, DVDs, and Audiobooks are all $1.
Paperbacks are $.50 or 3 for $1.

Assortment changes daily, so shop early and often...

Lord Stanley, Revisited

Finished Icebreaker by Deirdre Martin and thoroughly enjoyed it! I've always liked the family dynamic she brings to her novels, and the fact that the books follow one particular organization allows Martin to let recurring characters drift in and out. It's fun to see old favorites, and interesting to guess who might be next to get a story of their own. After reading Icebreaker, I'd like to see how Sinead's friend Oliver ends up. He's a great secondary character, entertaining enough to carry his own book and with plenty of baggage to make it interesting. We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a good read for the long hot weekend, pick up Icebreaker.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Books and Recommendations Online!

Would you like to get some book recommendations or find something to read at a time when you can’t actually get to the library? Don’t worry; we’re here for you, even when we’re not here! We are expanding our online services by maintaining a Shelfari page and adding more ebooks so that you will always have a place to go for a good book.

What’s Shelfari?

Shelfari is an online community of booklovers, a place to create a virtual library, to discuss your favorite books and authors, and to read reviews and recommendations. We are constantly updating the library’s bookshelf by adding reviews of what we have read. It’s a great place to discover new books and to become part of a conversation about things you’ve read. Each title we add has at least a short review, a rating (1-5 stars), and tags to help you find more of the kind of books you like. You can create your own account, sign up to follow what we’re reading, or just check in whenever you’d like a recommendation. In order to get to the library Shelfari, just go to our homepage at www.voorheesvillelibrary.org, click on the Adult Services tab on the left side of the screen, then choose the Reading CafĂ©, and then just click on the Shelfari link to explore our bookshelf.

And don’t forget OverDrive for ebooks!

Ebooks are available through the library, and we are building our collection daily. You can check out books to read on your Nook, iPad, iPod Touch, Smartphone, and many other devices. To access the collection, go to our homepage at www.voorheesvillelibrary.org and click on OverDrive Digital. If you need help setting up your account or learning to download, just contact the Reference Desk by calling 765-2791.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lord Stanley and the Librarian

Wow, that has a certain Regency ring to it, doesn't it? But I'm actually posting about something more contemporary today. In honor of the Stanley Cup playoffs, currently underway, I started reading Icebreaker by Deirdre Martin. Martin once again brings us into the locker room and love lives of the fictional New York Blades. Spending a little time with some of hockey's hottest fictional players is never a bad way to while away the hours between playoff games. Anyway, Icebreaker is the story of Adam Perry, a hard-hitting defenseman who has been charged with assault for a legal on-ice hit that sent an opposing player to the hospital, and Sinead O'Brien, a workaholic Type A attorney hired by the Blades to defend their new captain. I'm only about ten chapters in but I'm really enjoying it. Both Sinead and Adam have avoided close ties with others for various reasons, so while the two of them are attracted to one another their relationship remains frosty for quite awhile. The characters' conflicts, both internal and with each other, are believable. I also like the fact that Martin clearly knows the game, and makes the ongoing, real life debate about the extent and nature of violence in the sport a central theme of the book. Having been in an arena as one player throws a full-body check that sends his opponent crumpling to the ice I can appreciate the fact that this is not just a plot device. I am looking forward to finishing Icebreaker and seeing how all the storylines are resolved. Update later in the week!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm reading, just not romance...

Well, if you count a very young Sherlock Holmes' budding passion for his tutor's daughter, or the incredible and tumultuous love affair people have with both food and money, I guess you could say I am reading romance, just not in the traditional sense. I have a couple of romance novels started, but just haven't finished them. So in the interim, here are brief recommendations for the two books I did manage to finish in the past week.

Death Cloud
by Andrew Lane
A teenage Sherlock Holmes is sent directly from boarding school to spend his summer break with some very odd relatives and their evil housekeeper. On the plus side, his tutor turns out to be a very smart American bounty hunter who is willing to help Sherlock figure out what's going on with the mysterious dark cloud that has killed a couple of local people and started a fear of plague. A vicious and villainous Baron threaten the young detective and his friends as they solve the mystery in this entertaining and fast-paced adventure story.

Lost and Found
by Geneen Roth
The author had all her money invested with Bernie Madoff, and when he confessed to fraud she was forced to confront her issues with money. Roth is well known as a teacher and writer on the psychology of compulsive eating, and makes connections between the behavior patterns that lead to dysfunctional relationships with both food and money. For those who want a more holistic approach to examining their own "consuming behavior" this is interesting, informative, and at times painfully honest and funny.

On the Book Cart

A rather thin week, which is what comes of letting catalogers take time off...

Genell Dellin Honey Grove

Adrienne Basso How to Seduce a Sinner

Katie MacAlistair You Slay Me
Melissa Mayhue Highlander's Curse

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Orphans and Oldsters and Lepers, Oh My!

So, here's my question: when did it become necessary for the hero and/or heroine in an historical romance to have some higher purpose? I don't mean a religious vocation; I mean the driving need to house orphans, train the disabled for gainful employment, rehabilitate fallen women, or create some Regency version of Shady Rest for old people. I can't tell you how many books have come in lately chock full of aristocrats who feel the need to Do Good in Secret. England simply could not have held that many orphanages. Call me horrifyingly pragmatic, but it seems to me that in a land of inherited wealth, limited opportunities for women, obligations to your titled family or the Crown, and medical treatments that made leeches look state-of-the-art, actually getting to marry for love was quite an accomplishment in and of itself. If you were fortunate enough to be born into the upper classes and live to maturity, it would really be okay to want nothing more than to hang on to the family fortune, dress well, and make a good marriage. As a reader, I am happy to suffer through the wardrobe decisions, the balls, the weekend house parties, etc. I really do not need to see the heroine (I kid you not -- read this in a pre-pub notice) volunteering in a leper colony in order to feel she deserves a happily-ever-after.
Just sayin'.


On the Book Cart

Jacquie D'Alessandro Summer at Seaside Cove

Anthology Happily Ever After in the West
Margaret Mallory The Guardian
Maya Rodale A Tale of Two Lovers
Emma Wildes One Whisper Away
Veronica Wolf Devil's Own

Anthology Must Love Hellhounds
Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Side of the Moon
Marjorie M. Liu Tiger Eye

Cherry Adair Hush
Maya Banks Hidden Away
Marta Perry Murder in Plain Sight

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the Book Cart

Beverly Barton Dead By Morning
Lori Foster When You Dare
Roxanne St. Claire Face of Danger

Anna Campbell Midnight's Wild Passion
Heather Grothaus Never Kiss a Stranger
Madeline Hunter Dangerous in Diamonds
Kieran Kramer Cloudy with a Change of Marriage
Mary Jo Putney Nowhere Near Respectable
Mary Wine Highland Heat

Michele Bardsley Never Again
Mia Marlowe Touch of a Thief

Friday, April 29, 2011

All Wedding, All the Time!

Well, not really, but since the Royal Wedding has been dominating the airwaves for months, I was inspired to pull out some of the library's extensive collection of wedding related books. Everything from etiquette to crafts is included, so when you get tired of looking at all those pictures of Will and Kate, stop by and take a look!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the Book Cart

Rather light on the romances this week; I better go order more books!

Christina Dodd Taken by the Prince

Jacquelyn Frank Seduce Me in Dreams
Gena Showalter The Darkest Secret

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quicksilver -- Good, Scary Fun!

By Amanda Quick

Quicksilver is the second book in The Looking Glass Trilogy, and the eleventh to feature the Arcane Society. I enjoy the Arcane books in general, but some much more than others. This is definitely one of my favorites. Heroine Virginia Dean is the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman. Forced to make her own way in the world, she uses her inherited psychic gifts as a looking glass reader. Seeing the spirits of the dead in the mirrors in the rooms where they died enables her to help the bereaved find closure, and often to help murder victims find justice. Owen Sweetwater is an assassin, a trade he comes by honestly as it's the family business. The Sweetwaters are more vigilantes than bad guys, as they limit themselves to taking out those who use their psychic gifts to prey on others. The monsters, as Owen calls them, are often able to escape the more run-of-the-mill forms of justice due to the nature of their gifts, but they are rarely able to escape the Sweetwaters. Owen and Virginia join forces to find whoever is responsible for the deaths of two psychic practitioners. Because the two victims were glass readers, Owen fears Virginia may be next.

This book has great gothic elements – dark old houses with mysterious labyrinths underneath and madwomen wandering about upstairs, footpads lurking in cemeteries, malevolent wind-up toys, mirrored rooms with no discernible exit, disapproving housekeepers, and fog – you name it. I loved the creepy factor! The author’s sly humor is evident throughout as well, and every character, no matter how minor, has enough depth to come vividly to life. While this book can be enjoyed by someone not familiar with the series, I would still recommend starting with some of the earlier Arcane Society books. It will make this book that much more enjoyable.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

May RT Book Reviews on the Shelf

In this month's cover story, Debbie Macomber talks about her latest Blossom Street tale, A Turn in the Road. Other features include a list of the RT Award winners for 2010, a discussion with Anne Rice, an update on the latest paranormal and urban fantasy series, and a look at why cowboys continue to capture our hearts. In the Teen Scene section, author Candace Bushnell talks teenage Carrie Bradshaw in 1980's New York City. Also included are the Fan Forum, Pros on Prose, RT convention news, and over 250 book reviews.

On the Book Cart

Robyn Carr Harvest Moon
Lisa Dale Slow Dancing on Price's Pier
Joanne Kennedy Cowboy Fever
Erin McCarthy The Chase
Debbie Macomber An Engagement in Seattle
Deirdre Martin Icebreaker
Nora Roberts Chasing Fire

Cheryl Ann Smith The School for Brides
Jodi Thomas Texas Blue

Lora Leigh Navarro's Promise

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Attenbury Emeralds
By Jill Paton Walsh, based on the characters of Dorothy L. Sayers

I've always been a fan of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter mysteries, and was thrilled when Jill Paton Walsh completed an unfinished manuscript and published Thrones, Dominations several years ago. This was followed a few years later by A Presumption of Death and now by The Attenbury Emeralds. Although some Lord Peter fans are purists and prefer those stories featuring the aristocratic sleuth and his “gentleman’s gentleman” Bunter, I have always enjoyed those stories including Harriet Vane as well. Harriet, a mysterious novelist, is the great love of Lord Peter’s life. She eventually becomes his wife, and the two work together to solve crimes. Thrones, Dominations picks up their story after the honeymoon, on the eve of the Second World War. A Presumption of Death sees them through the war, and The Attenbury Emeralds finds them, along with the rest of England, struggling to survive the peace and all the changes the war has wrought upon the world they knew. All are good mysteries, with relatively intricate plots. Paton Walsh does a nice job of recreating the voices of the main characters and demonstrating how WWII was a great social and economic leveler, leaving no family, however aristocratic, untouched. The contrast is made very sharply in this book, which follows Lord Peter from his first case in 1921 through a related case in 1951. The tale of the original theft and recovery of the Attenbury family’s famous emeralds is narrated by both Peter and Bunter as they bring Harriet up to speed. The crime would seem to have been solved thirty years ago, but was it? It seems the emerald in the Attenbury family vault may not be the one they have owned for decades. Just when the current Lord Attenbury is hard up for cash and wants to sell the emerald to cover death duties on the family estate, a mysterious and anonymous communication has been received by the bank, claiming ownership of the emerald. The Attenburys will be ruined, and ask Lord Peter to help sort the whole mess out.

There is a more modern sensibility to this story; I found that sometimes this worked, and sometimes it didn't. Peter and Harriet’s relationship still comes across as strong and true, and the shifting social strata and its effect on the friendship between Peter and Bunter is handled well. Overall, I liked this book, but I pegged the criminal early on and thought there were not quite enough red herrings. However, this didn't diminish my enjoyment. While I will always be a bigger fan of Lord Peter between the wars, I am still happy to read of the adventures and misadventures of the Wimsey family as they come to grips with the inevitable march of progress.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On the Book Cart

Susan Mallery Already Home
Lori Wilde The Welcome Home Garden Club
Sherryl Woods Driftwood Cottage

Katherine Ashe Captured By a Rogue Lord
Eileen Dreyer Never a Gentleman
Laurens, Balogh, Hern, D'Allessandro It Happened One Season (anthology)

Kristina Douglas The Fallen: Raziel
Jeaniene Frost This Side of the Grave
Amanda Quick Quicksilver
Kerrelyn Sparks Vampire Mine

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On the Book Cart

Catherine Anderson Here to Stay
Kristan Higgans My One and Only
Macomber, Mallery, Skye The Knitting Diaries (anthology)
Jill Shalvis The Sweetest Thing
Mariah Stewart Almost Home
Susan Wiggs Marrying Daisy Bellamy

Lecia Cornwall Secrets of a Proper Countess
Gaelen Foley My Irresistible Earl

Janelle Denison Into the Night
Roxanne St. Claire Shiver of Fear

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reminder -- E-reader event!

Digital Download Demonstration
Monday, April 4 at 7pm

Do you own a Nook, Sony Reader, an iPod or a smartphone? This hands-on program is an opportunity to learn how to check out OverDrive digital books from the library. We will show you how to search the digital bookshelves, get the software installed and download free books and audiobooks to your computer or portable device. Call us (765-2791) or email voorefq@uhls.lib.ny.us to sign up.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the Book Cart

Sandra D. Bricker Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Dahl, Donovan, Foster The Guy Next Door (anthology)
Jill Shalvis Animal Magnetism

Jo Beverly An Unlikely Countess
Eloisa James When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Jade Lee Wicked Seduction
Julie Anne Long What I Did for a Duke
Margo Maguire Seducing the Governess
Leigh Michaels The Mistress House
Lynsay Sands The Heiress

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 RITA Finalists

It's that time again! The Romance Writers of America have published their list of RITA and Golden Heart nominees. You can check out the list here.
We have several of these titles and will be ordering more. Check them out and see if you agree with the winners when they are announced in June!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Reading: Historical Book, Timely Issue

One of the reasons I read historical romance is the fact that the heroine's problems rarely mirror my own. Let's face it -- I am unlikely ever to have to worry about ladies' maids, a cook in a snit, the cut of my ballgown, or deciding whether or not to marry a duke. The fears and joys of love are something anyone can relate to, though, and I do occassionally think it would be nice to read about people older than 30. Enter Lady Ruth Attwood, heroine of Monica Burns Pleasure Me. Her issue?

Youth and beauty are a courtesan’s greatest assets. At forty-one, Lady Ruth Attwood appears to have lost both, as her latest lover just abandoned her for a younger mistress.

Hmmm. Forced into an early and longer-than-expected retirement at a time when your savings are not what you thought they would be? Perhaps having to take a new position that is less than you deserve? Or sell off some assets?

Can anyone else out there relate to this? Show of hands?

Yep, that's what I thought.

I'll report back next week on how Lady Ruth manages. I somehow doubt a Regency version of Suze Orman will be in any way involved....


Jane Eyre, Again

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is about as gothic a romance as you can get. Feisty heroine, tortured hero, madwoman in the attic of dark and undoubtedly drafty ancestral home -- it's got it all. And as such, has been made into a film more times than you could possibly believe. I don't know how anyone expects to beat Orson Welles in drag, but people just keep trying. Here's the trailer for the latest version, in theaters now.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the Book Cart

It's a short list this week, which is what happens when the cataloging librarian comes down with a cold and has to stay home. All of them look like winners though, and in honor of the fact that I am not typing up a long list, I will include tweet-type blurbs about each:

Monica Burns Pleasure Me Historical
Aging courtesan. Physically disabled baron. Unexpected passion. Frame-up for murder.

Anjali Banerjee Haunting Jasmine Contemporary/Paranormal
Heroine reinventing life. Quaint location. Ghosts. Mysterious stranger love interest.

Savannah Kline Beloved of the Fallen Contemporary/Suspense/Paranormal
Ambitious attorney heroine. Political family. Congressional showdown. Sexy consultant=fallen angel?


Friday, March 18, 2011

I'd Rather Hang Out with the Wallflowers

Because You’re Mine
By Lisa Kleypas

I’ve always been a fan of Lisa Kleypas’ historical romances, especially the Wallflowers Series. I’ve also always liked any story set in a theater, so I thought that Because You’re Mine would be right up my alley, as it is one of the books Kleypas set in the Capitol Theatre. And I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

The basic premise is this: Lady Madeline Matthews is being forced into marriage with a much older man who can most politely be described as a boor. He has no interest in Madeline as a person, and a great deal of interest in a wife who will be seen, not heard, and produce children regularly. Madeline’s parents are less than sympathetic, so she decides to run away from boarding school and find some obliging man to ruin her. The object of her plan is Mr. Logan Scott, the most well know actor in England. Logan is immensely talented and incredibly handsome, and since absolutely everyone knows what depraved creatures actors are, she figures getting him to have his way with her will be simple.

Well, not so much. Madeline succeeds in getting employment at the theater and in catching Logan’s eye, but he has standards, and they do not involve seducing innocent young ladies. So Madeline continues to work as secretary to Logan and his partner and to just generally be an all around Girl Scout, all the while trying to move forward with her plan. The two develop real feelings for one another, but since Logan has some trust issues due to a previous relationship, and Madeline does not want to reveal her true feelings, there is a great deal of misunderstanding and plain old bad behavior on both sides. This leads to quite a few plot twists before the happily-ever-after, and some of them work better than others.

Overall, I liked this well enough to finish it. The premise was fun, the secondary characters quite interesting, and the hero had good reason to be tortured, angry, and untrusting. I also sympathized with Madeline. However, both Madeline and Logan behaved so childishly at times that I really just wanted to slap them. Madeline went the martyr route, while Logan played the self-destructive, self-pitying drunkard. Spare me. If you really like Kleypas and are just looking for a quick read, this is fine, but if you haven’t read the Wallflowers quartet, start there.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the Book Cart

Cherry Adair Undertow
Julie James A Lot Like Love
Elizabeth Noble When You Were Mine

Delilah Marvelle The Perfect Scandal

Judi Fennell I Dream of Genies
Lori Handeland Moon Cursed

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Happens in the Librarians' Meeting...

Every month, the librarians get together to go over all sorts of business, and one of the things we try to do regularly is share information on books we have read so that we are all able to help patrons find good books from any genre. We all read a lot, but we can't read everything, so this really helps. This aspect of our jobs goes by the catchy name "Reader's Advisory" or RA for short. We recently started to do something called "5 Minute RA" which allows to cover one or two books we highly recommend. This morning I talked about two of the most books by Julia Quinn, one of my favorite romance authors. Notes from my presentation are below, and I have it on good authority that the actual books will be back on the shelf any minute now...

5 Minute RA
Julia Quinn

What Happens in London
Ten Things I Love About You

Brief review of plots

What Happens in London:
Lady Olivia Bevelstoke is a staggeringly beautiful debutante whose intelligence often overlooked (She reads the entire newspaper, “every page, every day!”) Being at loose ends, Olivia begins to spy on her quiet (secretive?) new next door neighbor, Sir Harry Valentine, who reportedly murdered his fiancĂ©. Sir Harry works for Home Office translating sensitive documents due to his fluency in both Russian and French. He knows she’s spying, but writes her off as nosy twit. Then the Home Office asks HIM to spy on HER since she is being courted by a Russian prince. True love ensues, with some tense moments due to the not-so-nice prince and the kind of nefarious plots that inevitably surround Russian nobility.

Ten Things I Love About You:
Miss Annabel Winslow is a young lady (country gentry) in London to find a wealthy husband, due to her family’s financial difficulties. She is staying with her grandparents, who are friendly with the Earl of Newbury, whose heir is his nephew Sebastian Grey. The Earl hates his nephew and is desperate to sire an heir, and so is in the market for a young woman with childbearing hips, and decides Annabel will do nicely. She has no desire to marry the Earl, but her family needs the money soon or her brothers will have to leave Eton. She meets Sebastian at a party, a flirtation follows, the Earl becomes incensed, blows are exchanged, Sebastian plays at courting Annabel to rescue her reputation, they fall in love, causing much mayhem in the process, and after a timely intervention by Annabel’s dragon of a grandmother, the couple lives happily ever after.

Both contain a “book within the book” subplot – a very entertaining spoof of genre.

Julia Quinn
Graduated from Harvard; began writing her first novel to avoid the studying involved a rather round about route to medical school. She consequently ditched the idea of an MD and has written over twenty novels including the 8 volume Bridgerton Family series. Many are in this library, more in UHLS, and several in OverDrive.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On the Book Cart

Julia London A Light at Winter's End
Linda Lael Miller A Creed in Stone Creek
Vicki Lewis Thompson Nerd In Shining Armor

Robyn Hart Treasure Me
Niclole Jordan To Desire a Wicked Duke
Anne Mallory One Night is Never Enough
Amanda Scott Highland Master

Paranormal:Angela Knight Master of Smoke
Vicki Lewis Thompson A Werewolf in Manhattan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crossing Genres: WWI Mystery

An Impartial Witness
By Charles Todd

This cozy mystery set in England during World War I features Bess Crawford, a young woman who supports the war effort by becoming a “nursing sister.” Bess is the daughter of a career military man. She was born and partly raised in India, and if she had been a boy would have followed in her father’s footsteps and joined his regiment. Since that route is closed to her, she receives some rudimentary training and becomes an army field nurse. The intrepid Bess tends the wounded in France, and often serves as transport nurse for groups of soldiers shipped home. On one such journey she cares for a badly wounded pilot, who is living only to see his beloved wife again. He even wears her photo pinned to his tunic. Bess sees her charges safely to the hospital, and is making her way to her flat when she spots the woman from the photograph, weeping in the train station and clinging to a departing soldier who seems impervious to her distress. The soldier boards his train, and the woman rushes from the station. Bess finds this odd, but not alarming, and gives it very little thought after returning to the front. However, she shortly thereafter sees a newspaper from home with this same woman’s picture in it – the woman has been murdered and the police are trying to trace her movements. Thus Bess becomes embroiled in a tragedy that leaves numerous victims both living and dead. Traveling back and forth between France and England, Bess works to find justice for the dead and to save an innocent man.

This is a well plotted mystery with a likeable heroine and an interesting setting. Life during the war brought with it many different kinds of hardship for both soldiers and civilians, and the stresses of everyday life are well represented. Though this story doesn’t focus on blood and gore, neither does it gloss over the ugly realities of battlefield casualties and associated trauma. The war is a catalyst for all that occurs, but it is clear that the murderer acts from self interest. An Impartial Witness is the second book in a series, and well worth picking up for fans of historical mysteries.


Friday, February 25, 2011

My Favorite Darcy

Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice has been turned into a film numerous times, but I think the best is the A&E adaptation made in the 1990's. That production, as much as the novel on which it is based, served as inspiration for Helen Fielding's novel Bridget Jones's Diary, also made into a movie. I am sure that I am not alone in feeling that one of the best things about both films was the casting of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy -- Fitzwilliam Darcy in the former, Mark Darcy in the latter. Rumor has it that it was Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the A&E production that shaped the character of Mark Darcy in Fielding's novel, and led to him being cast in the film adaptation. Now that the Academy Awards are upon us, Mr. Darcy, er -- I mean Mr. Firth, is back in the news, as he has been nominated as Best Actor for an outstanding performance in The King's Speech. However, for many of us he will always be our beloved one and only Fitzwilliam Darcy, and this little clip from YouTube is just one of the reasons why:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random Authors from the A's

I have not had time to read anything lately. This makes for dull - or worse, no - blog entries. So I've decided to start pulling some random books off the shelves. Hopefully, starting with the A authors will allow me to work my way through the alphabet and make for some interesting posts. My goals are self-serving but fun: to have a valid excuse to browse the shelves looking at racy book covers and to peruse romances at the Reference Desk... Oh, and I also hope to introduce you to a new author or two along the way.

Deadly Little Secrets by Jeanne Adams
The sleek, sensual cover doesn't begin to portray the complex story within this romantic suspense novel. Ana is a CIA agent who has recently been put on a cold case involving stolen art as a disciplinary measure. Gates is a security expert and bodyguard for a powerful man, one of the victims of theft. They work together to uncover a dangerous theft ring. Plenty of hot, romantic interludes are interspersed within some really clever plot twists. It reminded me a bit of Cherry Adair.

Our Little Secret by Starr Ambrose
The cover of this one is flirty and sexy but somewhat misleading. The main character, Lauren, is "the good twin". Flirty and sexy is Meg, the sister who is also irresponsible (of course) and recently eloped with her much older Congressman boss. Responsible, careful, somewhat repressed Lauren has come to rescue Meg, again, and save her from herself. Enter Drew, sexy son of the Congressman who has also come to town to save his father from the grasping clutches of his new bride and (of course) finds Lauren instead. Sparks fly between the two as they search for the missing bride and groom and find that not all is what it seems. It is a typical mistaken twin storyline a la Harlequin, but it works. The writing is funny and story engaging.

I hope you enjoy them. Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On the Book Cart

Kim Gruenenfelder There's Cake in My Future

Jack Caldwell Pemberly Ranch
Tiffany Clare The Seduction of His Wife
Fern Michaels To Taste the Wine

Stella Cameron Out of Mind
Lucy Weston The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

YA Crossover: Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers

Just when I thought I couldn't stand another thing paranormal -- romance, mystery, chick lit, whatever -- I came across My Soul to Lose while cruising around Amazon one afternoon. This novella by Rachel Vincent is the prequel to the rest of her Soul Screamers series. The premise sounded interesting and unusual, and it was only a couple of dollars, so I decided to give it a go and I'm really glad I did. The story features high school student Kaylee Cavanaugh, who lives with her aunt and uncle due to the early death of her mother and her father's inability to cope with his grief and a small child. Kaylee's life is essentially normal otherwise, other than a few incidents she has been told are simply panic attacks. Then one day Kaylee is at the mall with her best friend, and suddenly starts seeing shadows forming around a young man in a wheelchair. The next thing you know, Kaylee is screaming uncontrollably, and she finally ends up in a psych ward. Eventually she is sprung, but doesn't leave with a lot of answers. We don't find out until part way through the first full length book in the series, My Soul To Take, that Kaylee screams and sees shadows not because she is having panic attacks or some kind of psychotic episoe, but because she is a banshee. The myths surrounding these creatures who wail over the dead are correct in some of the basics, but off in the details, as Kaylee learns. Vincent's twist on the banshee legends and her use of folklore combined with a modern day setting creates an interesting story. The paranormal elements are consistent and the response they elicit in the unsuspecting humans who encounter them is very believable.
Though the heroine is a teenager this is a series that adult fans of paranormal stories will enjoy, as Kaylee's experiences go well beyond study hall and proms. There is a romantic element, as well. Anyone who has not completely blocked out the memories of their teenage years will be able to relate to Kaylee. Overall, this series is a nice change from vampires, and is well paced and populated with likeable (or hateable!) characters.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Still Waiting to Like This Heroine

Provocative in Pearls
By Madeline Hunter

Really, where to begin?

Basic plot premise: Arranged marriage between penniless earl and ironworks heiress. Heiress has evil, greedy guardian with social-climbing wife; both earl and heiress wronged. Heiress runs away. Earl finds her two years later. Heiress wants to return to hometown and ironworks and right some wrongs; earl needs her money to take care of his estates and starving tenants. Passion ensues. After much tedium, so does teamwork, so wrongs are righted and all live happily ever after, with the exception of the evil guardian and wife.

The plot certainly has potential. The hero, though rather high-handed, at least shows some degree of introspection and willingness to compromise. The heroine is a sef-righteous twit with the maturity and single-mindedness of a tweenybopper trying to get to a Justin Bieber concert. Granted, she's been very badly treated, but the fact that I didn't feel more sympathy for her (and I wanted to, just as I wanted to actually like her) makes it clear that the character was just too wooden to engage me. By the time her full back story came out, I really didn't care.

This book does have some things going for it though. The relationship between the male characters was both realistic and entertaining. I would actually pick up another book in this series of it featured one of the secondary characters here.

And therein lies the problem: when the best thing about a romance novel is the male bonding, something is very, very wrong.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New website for Romance Lovers

Debuting this week is Heroes and Heartbreakers, a site for all things romantic. This looks like a lot of fun, as there is quite a variety of content. One of my favorite elements is the section of original short stories. Currently featured is The Matchmaker by Linda Francis Lee. There are also book excerpts, teasers and trailers, blog postings, and contests. I've really enjoyed the posts and features I've read; there's something for every fan of the genre. Highly recommended -- I'll be putting on my regular reading list.