Valentine’s Romance

d703d039f794303a537fcd5af9bb28a9
It’s Valentine’s Day.

I know, I know, not everyone is into Valentine’s Day. Call it Singles Awareness Day, Galentine’s Day, Aro Awareness Day, whatever, I love a little romance in my life. Not always, not in everything, but once a year, what’s wrong with the hearts and flowers? What’s wrong with sending the message that true love does exist, that it endures and grows stronger over time? It’s not about the instant attraction, in my experience. It’s about the kind that survives challenges and keeps you together though thick and thin. My sweetheart and I are at 27 years together, and he still sends me sweet text messages and buys me flowers. My favorite part of every day is when he’s home.

Enough mush! You want to know about the books, amirite? Here is my list of 5 romances swoon-worthy enough for the most desperate romantic.

lace
More romantic stuff.
  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel  by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. Love AND the French Revolution! The movie version even has pre-Gandalf Ian McKellen and a fabulous Jane Seymour. The costumes are to die for! The hats alone – seriously, wow!

pimpernel (0743)

Sir Percy Blakeney is a fantastic hero, although if you’re watching the movie, the disguises need a little modern updating, and the lovely Marguerite St. Just is a great heroine. The movie and the book have different final scenes, but both are very exciting. And even though this one is over 100 years old, it’s still easy to read.

lace2
Enough lace yet?

2. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Another old-style romance. And by old style, I mean 1865! Molly is our main character and her new stepsister Cynthia is her new best friend. Her new stepmom, on the other hand, is well, not. Fear not, because true love awaits Molly and Cynthia. Hold on, you may be saying, I heard this book didn’t have an ending.

wives_and_daughters_x300_2408
We like hats too.

Well, you’re right. It doesn’t, not exactly. The author died before she got that far. But the movie – it has the perfect melt your heart ending. Should I just watch the movie Bite your tongue! There’s plenty here to love. It’s not as quick a read, but it’s so well written it draws you right in.

lace3
Time for more hearts

3. Mrs. Mike by Nancy and Benedict Freeman. Wow, Cindy, I hear you saying, what’s with all this period drama? How about something modern? Fine, try this one, which is set in 1907, which practically happened yesterday. Katherine Mary O’Fallon falls in love – hard – with a dashing young Mountie. He wants to marry immediately and set off north. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into when she says yes. This one will rip your heart right out, but put it back in and you’ll be so freaking inspired you’ll want to read it all over again. I think there’s a movie of this one too, but I haven’t seen it so you can just imagine your Mountie looking like, well, this:

Mountie & Husky Walking 25"x32"
“I’m heroic.”

Sorry, I couldn’t find a better photo without adding “hot Canadian mountie” and I just didn’t want to deal with what I’d find. So use your imagination. But seriously, read this book!

s-l400
So sweet!

4. The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer. These are great suggestions, I think some of you are saying (really, you’re all so chatty!), but I like a little humor with my romance! And maybe some mystery too. Got ya covered! It was hard to pick just one by Georgette Heyer, who is admittedly, my favorite romance author of all time, but this one has not one, but two heroines, one saved from the guillotine and one with a bit of sarcasm to match her beauty. The mystery is more of an adventure than truly mysterious, but dashing all the same. No movie here, or pictures either, so imagine whatever you like.

hearts
All the hearts!

5. Persuasion by Jane Austen. You knew she was going to make it on the list eventually, didn’t you? I tried to include some more modern books, I really did, but I guess when it comes to true love I like it old school. Anne Elliot is the heroine I really want to be. Sure, Jane Bennett is wittier, and Emma Woodhouse is richer, but Anne is patient and loyal and she gets her man in the end. And what a man!

movie_persuasion-2007
At last!

There is a movie of this one, and it’s perfect for your Valentine’s Day. Hooray for true love! Tomorrow we can go back to every day life, but once year, believe in Happily Ever After.

 

Advertisements

Mini reviews #2

I’ve been reading a lot lately, but kind of in a slump. I’ve had a hard time finding something that would keep my interest. But I wanted to share my thoughts, so here’s my list of what I’ve read lately in order of least enjoyed to most enjoyed.

Buried or A Buried Tale (both titles listed on Goodreads, so I don’t know which is right) by C J Carmichael. This is the first in a series about a small town attacked by a serial killer. A writer gets a tip about some old cases that were never solved. I found it kind of boring at the beginning and as I got into it, I didn’t like any of the characters. The MC was a jerk and everyone had secrets that make it hard to trust them. The book was free on Kindle but I just didn’t want to finish it.


4052117

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This one sounded more interesting, sort of a YA noir thing about a teenager post WWII, a coming of age story. But it’s hard to remember ever being so naive. Again, I didn’t like the MC who can’t wait to smoke real cigarettes and be glamorous! It was obvious the big reveal was going to be around parental infidelity and maybe murder and I just wasn’t interested in sticking with it. Another disappointment. It won some award, but I really don’t see why. Other books have told similar stories and done it better. Great cover though.


Chimera Catalyst by Susan Kuchinskas, Finder #1  This one was given to be for an honest review by the author, and it sounded pretty different. It’s set in the near future with climate change and gene splicing creating some strange consequences for most. The MC is a private detective asked to find a missing woman. Turns out the missing woman is a ‘chimera’ – mix of human and animal genes designed to be a rich man’s plaything. I liked the deeper issues this brought up, the questions of morality of how these technologies will change society, but while I was interested in the outcome of the story, I found it hard to follow the complicated storyline and sort out who was whom. I think this one needed a little more editing.


Here you go. None that I really loved, but all new authors to me and maybe to you too. I’m currently rereading The Alloy of Law and that’s a good one and a new book by Peter Lovesey that has me guessing at where he’s going. Maybe those will pull me out of my slump.

Undecided

I don’t know about you lovely bloggers, but I always struggle to come up with content. I have a few book reviews I need to write, but I’m not feeling like it right now. I could of course share some stuff about my WIP except that that has almost completely stalled. I could share more pictures of my cat, but she’s sulking after a trip to the vet and I can’t find her.

I thought I would try something new. I have a list of a few books I’ve heard about or discovered recently and I want you folks to help me decide if they’re worth reading or if I should pass. My GoodReads TBR list is currently over 2000, so even if I read another 200 books this year, it really won’t make a dent. I’ve got to do some major cleansing. It’s not like there’s an actual limit, so that huge imaginary list isn’t actually hurting anyone. But it makes it hard to find the books I really, really want to read in there compared to all the books I’m just thinking about.

So here are the ones I’m currently considering:

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

11925514What it is: sort of spy thriller thing set in WWII

Plus: All my friends who’ve read it have really enjoyed it.

I like spy thrillers when they’re good

Minus: Kind of a little tired of WWII setting

Sounds a little slow for a thriller

Verdict: Maybe wait a bit on this one


THE MERMAID’S SISTER by Carrie Anne Noble
22833921
What it is: Magical realism with family dynamics and mermaids

Plus: By a local author I want to support, free on Kindle Unlimited

Minus: I mostly hate magic realism, reviews tepid, afraid of leaving a bad review for someone I “know”

No reviews by friends on this one, so I’m on my own. I guess I’ll give it a try – it is available for free – but not right away.


FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL by Emily Hauser

30334165
What it is: Historical fiction about the Trojan War

Plus: Love the subject and the idea, girl power

Minus: No reviews by friends on this one, and the reviews are rather split. Also not sure if it’s at the library.

I really am undecided on this one. I think I’ll see if it’s at the library. Maybe if I can read through it a bit, I can decide if it’s a good fit for me.


THE WAKE OF VULTURES  by Lila Bowen

24819482 What it is: Dark fantasy with strong female characters, some queer representation (I think) and a creepy vibe.

Plus: Love female drive fantasy, getting lots of positive buzz.

Minus: Not sure? A little hesitant about wondering just how dark it is. I’ve gotten more careful about that since my mental health has kind of gotten more fragile.

I think I will take a chance on this one and move it up the list. I’m sure the library will have it and I hope it will be a good book for me.


DIARY OF A BOOKSELLER BY Shaun Bythell

35512560

What it is: A memoir by the owner of an independent bookstore in Ireland

Plus: Books! Written by a guy who loves books!

Minus: Yeah, the only one I can think of is that this is going to KILL my TBR list!

I heard about this one from a friend and I love the idea of it, so this is one I’m definitely going to look for at the library. If they don’t have it, I might even request that they buy it.

 


Right, that’s where I’m going to stop for now. I like the way this post turned out so I think I’ll redo it later with some more books. Have you read any of these title? Do you have any of them on your TBR lists? Let me know your thoughts!

January Recap

It’s been a crazy month for reading 📚! I’ve really been glued to a book all the time and my page count really shows it. Brandon Sanderson is in the lead with the highest page count. Most books by one author would go to Lindsay Buroker with 5. Genre would probably be fantasy or science fiction, although I’ve read some really good thrillers this month.

Cold cases – On The Shelf Too Long

1.A Man of Means by PG Wodehouse*
2. The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears *
3. The Boy on the Bridge by M. R Carey * – Net Galley
4. Quiet Meg by Sherry Lynn Ferguson

Repeat offenders – Rereads

1. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, on audio *
2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson *
3. The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling *
4. Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker *
5. The Thief by Clive Cuddler and Justin Scott

SERIALS – books in a series

1. The Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson*
2. Forged in Blood I by Lindsay Buroker*
3. Forged in Blood II by Lindsay Buroker*
4. Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker*
5. Honor’s Flight by Lindsay Buroker*
6. Sign Off by Patricia McLinn
7. The Naming by Alison Croggon

ISOLATED OCCURRENCE – stand alone book titles

1. The Shape-Changer’s Wife by Sharon Shinn *
2. Magpie Murders by Antony Horowitz
3. The Accident by Linwood Barclay
4. They’re Watching by Greg Hurwitz

MINOR INFRACTION – YA and Children’s books

1. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by EL Konigsburg *
2. Missing – Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong
3. Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
4. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS – non-fiction

1. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – audio – Also counting for BingoDog
2. Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar – audio

My least favorite book was probably The Naming. Just too much exposition, too predictable. My favorite would be one of the Brandon Sanderson books, but I can’t decide which one. Altogether a really good month!

Monday – what are you reading?

Hey bookies! How was your weekend? Mine was quiet. I need to do something this week! Besides read, lol. Speaking of which, what are we all reading?

I have a new audio book for my car and it’s super good – Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. I want to go on a long trip just so I can finish it!

I’m currently reading several books 📚 now, including one for a friend in my writer’s group. Besides that I have a memoir called “Ollie Ollie in come free”, and a re-read of the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair.

What about you? Any books you want to share?

Book Blitz! The Shadow Girl

shadow girl

OK, I know you don’t *really* need to grow your TBR piles – let’s face it, it grows all my itself when you’re not looking – but a friend told me about this book and it sounds like something I would enjoy. It came out in December and I’m hoping to get my hands on it sometime soon.

Book description:

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

Reaction:

It was a while since I was a teenager, but I remember feeling like I was the one in a crowd that everyone forgot about. So I really identify with that feeling of disappearing. I’m intrigued by the idea that it could actually happen.

Quotes:

“I have always known that I am invisible—I had no idea that eventually I would fade away completely.”

“Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.”

“As the freezing rain hit me, I could feel the stares…smoldering on my skin. I longed for invisibility. At times like this, the very curse that plagued me was also my protection.”

“…in school I felt more undetectable than ever. I walked through the crowded hallways like a human pinball, careening off one person and bouncing into another.”

 

High school – yikes! Sure, there were times I wanted to disappear, like when I knew my face was all broken up or the time I vomited in the hall. That was super fun. But this sounds Next Level.

If it sounds like something you would also enjoy, there’s a link here to a giveaway to win one of 2 copies:
Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f26/?

If you want to just go ahead and check it out, the book can be found here:

Purchase Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078PQ9FPN
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shadow-girl-misty-mount/1127748175?ean=9780997939569
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/773764

Hosted by Shenannigans at Reads & Reels.

r & r

Tour Organized By:

http://www.rrbooktours.com

How was your weekend?

Hey bookies! Hope your weekend was great. We finally got some snow, so it was perfect weather to snuggle up with a good book and get some reading done. I finished –

The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan – loved Apollo, but I felt the book dragged a little to predictably

The Boy on the Bridge by M R Carey. Slow, slow, slow start, but the epilogue was so good.

Quiet Meg by Sherry Lynn Ferguson. Regency romance with an untraditional hero and a stalker villain.

They’re Watching by Greg Hurwitz. Somewhat implausible, but gripping supsense.

Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobin. Really solid story of the Chilean mine disaster.

 

So I guess you can tell I did nothing but read! Actually I played cards with my husband and did a few other things around the house, made it to church. But mostly I read. Great weekend.

Book splurge!

I’ve been so down this week that I decided to cheer myself up by buying some stuff off my wish list. Most of them are books I’ve been wanting for a while, so there’s nothing very recent on here, but I thought I would share a couple all the same.

61e5tQo-fML

The Red Rope of Fate by KM Shea. Here’s the book description:

“In a land where humans and elves find it difficult to communicate, Tari—an elf—is bound to Captain Arion—a human military officer—in a ceremony designed to promote friendship between the two races. When the ceremony is over the pair discover that the impossible has happened: they can understand each other in spite of the language barrier.

Thrown into a storm of politics, Tari and Arion are put in danger by those who want humans and elves to remain separate.

To make matters worse, Tari realizes she has fallen in love with Arion, who has the emotional capabilities of a rock. As both societies dictate that an elf and a human can never be together, Tari must conceal her feelings. Unfortunately the taciturn Arion is watchful and attentive to Tari’s well being, constantly pushing her to her limits with his loyalty, friendship, and dreadfully informal habit of touching her.

If Tari and Arion survive, their tumultuous relationship will either strengthen their countries’ alliance, or cripple the human courts of nobility. The deciding factor will be Arion, and his indecipherable feelings for Tari.”

OK, this one was actually free, but I like this author’s fairy tale books a lot so I thought I would try a fantasy and see if it’s just as good. I’ll let you know!

51blVw2FWyL

The Body Politic by Catherine Aird. Book description here:

“What’s the value of one British engineer when stacked against the exclusive mining rights to a rare, strategically important, and extremely valuable mineral?

The British-based Anglo-Lassertan Mineral Company finds itself in hot water when one of its engineers, Alan Ottershaw, hits and kills a pedestrian while driving in a foreign country—a nation that happens to be “on the sunny side of the Iron Curtain,” with thick veins of the strategically important mineral querremitte. This particular country has draconian laws about killings, so Ottershaw is relieved when he’s whisked back to Calleshire before the foreign police can throw him in jail. But now that the Lassertan government is threatening to strip the mining company of its most valuable contract, poor Mr. Ottershaw begins to worry about his safety—and when he dies suddenly in a war reenactment, it looks like a very convenient solution to everyone’s problem.

A little too convenient, if you ask Calleshire detective C. D. Sloan, who, along with his bumbling sidekick, Constable Crosby, must investigate the death. It seems that nearly everyone in town would prefer to forget that the Lassertan debacle ever happened—but why has a man been following around the Calleshire MP dressed as the Grim Reaper? Who has been sending death threats and live scorpions via post? Detective Sloan is on the case.”

This one I bought because I love this police mystery series and I have had a lot of trouble finding a copy of this one in print. It’s finally on Kindle so I decided now was the time to get it.

What books have you brought home lately? Tell me in the comments!

Mini Reviews!

I’ve been reading a lot lately but I haven’t been able to keep up the reviews on here. I thought I would do some short reviews and bundle a bunch of them together so you can see what I’ve been up to.

10196362

 

Murder among friends

The Accident by Linwood Barclay centers around a man whose wife dies in a drunk driving accident. He can’t believe that she would have gotten behind the wheel in that state, but her death starts him asking questions that trigger a rash of violence all around him. I really like this writer – what a page turner!

Short stories

I found The Man Who Would Be King at the thrift store for a dollar. I love Rudyard Kipling, so this little collection of 5 of his best stories was just what I needed. If you can find such a collection (and I think some of them are free on Kindle) this is a great place to start. I loved Kim and Jungle Stories too.

Nonfiction Audio

After finishing my book for book club, I was looking for another good book to listen to from my library. I decided on Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. It’s the first book I’ve read by her and I enjoyed it. This one is about the history of Hawaii, a state with such a rich and interesting heritage that I feel she barely scratched the surface. She has a rather annoying voice though, so I think I’d read it instead of listen.

Other News

We did have to say goodbye to Tina and it was just as heartbreaking as we thought it would be. She was feisty right up to the last, but went right off to sleep in the end. It sort of broke my heart today to come home to all the signs she left around the house, to be cooking dinner and not have her under foot demanding her fair share. We still have Rosie, but to go from 3 cats to one in just eight months is such a shock. We had Tina for 15 years and Spooky for 12. It’s not easy to say goodbye.

 

Bingo Dog 🐕 Challenge

Over at LibraryThing.com we have a reading challenge for the new year.  This is the first time I’ve taken part but it looks like fun. Here’s the list:

Bingo DOG categories: 6/25

1. Title contains a person’s rank, real or fictional – The Way of Kings
2. Story involves travel
3. A long-time TBR/TBR the longest
4. Poetry or plays
5. New-to-you author
6. Autobiography/memoir
7. Book with a beautiful cover (in your opinion) The Shape Changer’s Wife
8. Book that fits at least 2 KIT’s/CAT’s
9. Related to the Pacific Ocean
10. Title contains something you would see in the sky
11. Book bought in 2017 that hasn’t been read yet
12. Number in the title
13. Book that is humorous Food: A Love Story
14. Book on the 1001 list
15. LGBT central character Magpie Murders
16. Book set during a holiday
17. Fat book – 500 plus pages – Words of Radiance
18. X somewhere in the title
19. Money in the title – any form of currency, type of payment, etc…
20. Book published in 2018
21. Relative name in the title (aunt, niece, etc…)
22. Originally in a different language
23. Published more than 100 years ago North and South
24. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional
25. Read a CAT (middle square)

 

The KITS and CATS are for category or smaller monthly challenges. There’s an Alphabet challenge, a SFF challenge, etc. I don’t know if I’ll get black out, but I’m going to try.