Monday, September 29, 2008
Basically Paul was an ideal hottie: good-looking but with character (after all, looks fade). I admire his philanthropy and his commitment to his wife (that's her in the photo). He is definitely a classic in my book.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic but I haven't had much luck lately in finding a Christian novel that I like. Either the characters are all "oooh, God doesn't love me" (okay, yes, He does! Read the Bible--He loves you beyond fathoming.) or the book isn't well-written. So...I've been a bit discouraged of finding a Christian novel that wasn't pure cheese or just crap. This is why Lynn Austin has made me happy!
The story centers on the World Fair in Chicago in 1893. Violet Hayes, who has been sheltered and brought up a proper lady, finds her world rocked when her father announces his engagement to a stuffy older woman. Then Violet learns her mother isn't dead--her parents are just divorced.
Violet finagles her way to Chicago, where she learns her mother is living. She lives her grandmother and her great-aunts, all of whom have plans of their own for Violet's future. Each woman has a different man in mind for Violet, but Violet eventually learns what love really is and that true love is found in God.
The story was decently paced and interesting. Violet was a likeable, funny character. Nonchristians won't find this book overbearing in the least either, which is perhaps why I liked it. The book is Violet's story of a summer that changed her forever.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
First of all, I hate this book's cover. My own copy has an awesome early 1980s one, with fireworks and a couple running on it. While pigs do play a tiny role in the book, I just don't get this cover. Pigs--tulips--a statute?! Weird.
Anyway, here's the plot: American Elizabeth Jones is taking a vacation to Copenhagen. While on the airplane, she meets her hero: Noble-prize winning historian Margaret Rosenberg. A random accident leads to Elizabeth becoming Margaret's secretary. Oh, and by the way, Margaret's son is tagging along--he's handsome but a major stick-in-the-mud. Margaret gets kidnapped and the two are forced to work together to rescue her. They end up in love and experience danger, etc. It's a fairly typical Peters plot--fun, action-packed, plenty of humor.
Christian (the stick-in-the-mud guy) and Elizabeth supposedly fall in love. I just could not believe it. If it was reality, Christian would have thought Elizabeth was stupid and been terribly annoyed by her. As heroines go, Elizabeth isn't bad; Christian is just so serious. In fairness, he does loosen up as the book goes on, but there just isn't much romance and I can't belive they would actually fall in love.
Also, Christian calls his mother "Margaret"--never Mom, etc. Elizabeth never seemed to think that was weird, either. I thought it was odd.
All in all, it wasn't her best but it's still a fun, no thinking required sort of read.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Her fiction choices aren't necessarily new books--but the reviews are always thoughtful and compelling. It doesn't hurt that she's chosen quite a few books that I really like or that have been on my TBR list for awhile. She may have convinced me to go ahead and move a few of those choices up on my list.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Jane is a tomboy living in the 1840s in the New England area. (She's not actually from Boston, but her nickname is appropriate, as the book shows.) Her father surgeon takes on an apprentice that a young Jane falls in love with instantly. Jane ends up going to a young ladies school, inspired to be a lady worthy of the apprentice, William. However, William leaves to make his fortune in the Pacific Northwest. Jane eventually ends up sailing to the wilds of Washington, where William was supposed to be waiting for her--but isn't. She has all sorts adventures while waiting for William to show up. She is befriended by Native Americans, learns how to barter, collects oysters, makes pies, sews and fends off a few suitors. Jane is a fun heroine who learns throughout the book how to be true to herself and what's right.
I adore pioneer fiction and while this isn't exactly Out West Pioneer fiction, it's close--more like Pacific Northwest Pioneer fiction. It kind of reminded me of Little House on the Prairie, which was basically what I desired my life to be when I was 11.
There's a few more books in the series, so here's hoping for a little more romance and more adventure...
Anyway, Jonathan Sadowski has had smallish roles in both but his face is so distinctive and chiseled. And I liked him in both shows. (He's the one on the right. I wasn't in the mood to crop the photo. Also, Amanda Bynes is a rather interesting looking guy, isn't she? Do yourself a favor and watch that movie.)
Happy Hottie Monday!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'm torn about this cover. I like it but the hair is so fake blonde. It's even more platinum blonde in real life. It reminds me of a white trash girl--probably not the image the designers were hoping to invoke.
Here's a short summary: Teen boy is a magical gypsy. He meets a bourgeouis girl and they immediately fall in love (or at least know that they will fall in love). An evil villian tries to take the girl for his own--and her money. Boy goes off to France to save the girl and drama ensues. There may also be a dwarf involved.
The story is a great YA read. I liked the book but I have no desire to read it again. The ending set up a sequel nicely, which maybe I'll read--but probably not.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Whoever designs Allen's book covers is so talented--they're simply works of art. (And what a pretty cover font!)
The story is about two sisters, Claire and Sydney Waverly. Each girl has a special gift--Claire's gift of gardening is basically her life. (I can't tell you about Sydney's.) The women deal with their past and their future, while weaving in plenty of magic realism. There's also romance. The story reminded me a bit of Paula Wall's The Rock Orchard (another Southern magic realism book).
This story is darker than Allen's The Sugar Queen. Sydney's past is uglier and her problems more real than Josey's. While I do prefer The Sugar Queen, I thoroughly liked this book. I'm a sucker for Southern lit and magic realism--mixed together, I was a goner.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
From delicious autumn feasts to the very essence of a New England fall, this is definitely a book for September through November. It's a VERY short read. It's also filled with subtle humor and like I said, great atmosphere. Now, time to find more fall reads...
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The tale is set in Regency England and is a series of letters exchanged between two cousins, Cecelia and Kate. Cecelia is home in the country while Kate is off in London having her first Season. The girls both accidentally stumble into a dastardly plot involving magic (and a Marquis and a not-so-stealthy spy). It was just a happy and adorable book! The letters weren't annoying at all--they featured only interesting details and weren't so freakin' long that it'd be impossible to actually write (cf. Pamela). It's a rare book that can make me like letter/diary novel. (Bridget Jones is another example of a diary book that I actually liked.)
Sorcery and Cecelia was one of those wonderful books where everything happened that I wanted but nothing was forced. I loved the two romantic leads in the book...and the romances themselves were adorable and developed so satisfyingly. I liked all the characters, the settings, the plot.....do me a favor and go read it!Rating: 10/10
Monday, September 8, 2008
I love this cover. It's so British and refined and pretty. I love that arched light, too.
The story is basically this: Julian Pinchbeck (a pseudonym) plots revenge against a prep school, St. Oswald's. An incident long ago began his feud with the school and Julian has been plotting its downfall ever since. The story is split into modern day and past events, with Julian and a teacher at St. Oswald acting as narrators.
The story brilliantly reflects a chess game, with strategy oozing off the pages. While Julian's actions are despictable, they're also fascinating to watch unfold.
My brother told me too much about the end and sort of ruined it, so I won't do the same to you. All I'll say is that there is an interesting ending.
On another note, this isn't a criticism of the book but rather, its publishers. My book was MISSING PAGES. The pages weren't torn out; they were simply missing. This happened at least three times. I don't think the pages were critical in the long run, but sheesh, if I read a book, I want to read all of it. So, do I recycle the book so no one else has to feel my pain or inflict my suffering on someone else? Hmm....
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I should be all good now!
Monday, September 1, 2008
On another note, he reminds me of John Krasinski. You see it too, don't you?
But the cover lured me in. Its tagline read: "Nancy receives an engraved invitation to danger." How could I resist? An ENGRAVED invitation to danger???? How exciting!
Unfortunately, there were no invitations anywhere in the book, other than vocal ones. Booo to misleading cover descriptions. And how disappointing that there was no engraving anywhere.
Basically the plot is this: Nancy, Bess and George go to visit Nancy's Aunt Eloise in New York City, who has to be the worst aunt ever. She lets the girls go wherever and do whatever they want--alone!--in freakin' NYC. The girls are only 18! Auntie E never makes them check in--at one point, the girls are trapped in a BURNING BUILDING and have a narrow escape but when they get home, Aunt Eloise is asleep. They wait until morning to tell her what happened. Her response? "Oh, you'd better call your father and tell him your adventure." Another time, Bess and George leave a party with two random guys who end up being bad guys. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Anyway, the book features about four different mysteries, somehow loosely tied together. There was something about a missing model, then a kidnapped reporter, then missing clothing, lying people, illegal imports, conniving employees and other connections I don't understand. This is kind of embarrassing, but it was too taxing to figure it all out and remember who all the random people were, so I gave up. I'm still not sure what happened. (This might be a good time to mention that I have a B.A. in English and a master's degree in library science...so I am literate. Still, that Nancy Drew was too much for me.)
Let's not even go into the believability aspects of the parts I did understand. A top designer let Nancy model, gave her sketches of his designs and let her wear his dresses to random parties. Whatever. Not even Nancy Drew could finagle that.
To be honest, I'm going to recycle this book. No one should ever read it--I love the original Nancy Drew books, but this was just pure trash that didn't make sense. On the plus side, it was entertaining at times.