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Friday, May 29, 2009

Review: Indiscretions of the Queen

Author: Jean Plaidy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970
Genre: Historical fiction
Hardback, 352 pages

From the book flap:

Forced to marry Caroline of Brunswick in order to appease an angry Parliament and pay his enormous debts, the Prince of Wales soon regrets his decision. For Caroline is everything the future Queen of England should not be: tactless, coquettish, and outrageous. Dressing in flamboyant clothing, shocking people with her vulgar speech, Caroline seems less a princess than a serving wench.

But if these traits do not endear her to her husband, they do endear her to the people of England, who delight in her antics, appreciate her love of children, and rally to her side in her never-ending battles with the Prince of Wales, who has frown increasingly unpopular with age.

Realizing that divorce would only make him more unpopular, the prince determines to gather irrefutable evidence that Caroline is unfit to be queen. Once her indiscretions become public knowledge, he reasons, the people will no longer support the wife he despises. His quest to rid himself of Caroline forever culminates in one of the most famous cases in history, in which a Queen of England stood trial-charged with adultery.

My Thoughts:

Caroline's "troubles" start early in life. Her gene pool is a little cloudy so she is treated with kid gloves most of her early life. People don't want to upset or disturb her when correcting her socially unacceptable behavior. They don't want to send her over the edge. Keep in mind the socially unacceptable behavior extends to her uproarious laughter, voicing her opinions or thoughts, and addressing everyone, I mean everyone regardless of rank as "dear". Oh the horror, my sweethearts!

Caroline's mother is no help, and the only person who tries to help her is her father's mistress. Unfortunately she is not really in the best position to help Caroline. She can only do so much considering the prevailing social conventions of the day. For 26 years, Caroline runs wild and does as she pleases, therefore when she goes to England to be married Caroline is ill prepared to deal with or handle English manners or aristocracy.

In England, Caroline also must deal with the sins of her mother's past actions. Unfortunately everywhere she turns Caroline is disliked and disrespected, except when it comes to the common folk, who love her immensely. She treats them with respect in a kind and caring manner. For all her faults, Caroline performed a lot of good works during her English "reign".

Plaidy's description of Caroline and the Prince's wedding night is hilarious, as is some of the conversations between Caroline and her friends. Caroline may have been a little out there, but she was truly a good soul who endured quite a bit during her adult life.

With respect to the Prince of Wales, all I can say is what an ass! My God, I would have slapped him or something. Between his crying jags and waving his scented hankie around, he did not display many great traits in my opinion. I did empathize with him in regards to his lost love with Maria. However, if the Prince would have tempered his bad habits, maybe he could have found a way to be with Maria, instead of marrying someone who he had no intention of liking.

All in all this book was a good read. Plaidy's writing makes it easy to connect with the characters and what they are experiencing, good or bad. Plaidy has quite a knack for bringing out strong feelings in the reader, with respect to her storyline. At least she does for me.

For more information on Caroline her is an interesting page and here is her Wikipedia entry.

My Rating: 85/100

(Yes, I'm changing my rating system. More on that later.)

Challenges: JeanPlaidy Challenge 2009, Library Challenge 2009

This was also the May selction for the Jean Plaidy Reading Group at Royal Intrirgue

Jean Plaidy Reading Challenge 2009

This challenge is being hosted by the Ladies of Royal Intrigue. THe only rule is to read as many Jean Plaidy books as you can in 2009.

This post will keep my list:

  1. Madame Serpent

  2. Indiscretions of the Queen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (May 26)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I have two this week:

"Great. I don't even like my steak rare. What am I going to do if they really do try to feed me raw meat?" I refused to think about what kind of raw meat it might be.
"I think I have a Tums somewhere in my purse. Do you want it?"
"Yeah," I said, already feeling nauseous.
pg 151, Marked, by P.C.Cast and Kristin Cast

"But I wonder if ugliness does not lie at the core of art. Think of it: a crucifixion is a terrible death, but contemplating it in a painting we find comfort and exaltation."
pg 75, The World Before Her by Deborah Weisgall

I'm pretty sure a lot of you have read the House of Night Series, so the first book you should know. The second book however I grabbed from the library. In a few words, this is what the second book is about :

A stunning novel about two women and two marriages -- George Eliot at the
end of her life, and another woman,Caroline Spingold, a century later, also in

In alternating chapters linked by the themes of art, love, and marriage,
The World Before Her tells of these two women -- and their surprising
similarities. In a city where the canals reflect memory as much as light,
they both confront desire, and each assesses what she has and who she is.
At the heart of this sumptuously and evocatively written novel lies the eternal
dilemma of how to find love and sustain it, without losing one’s self.

Okay I admit it, I had no idea George Eliot was a pen name. No, I have not read Middlemarch, but I guess I'll have to move that to the top of my tbr list!

Winner of The Simplest of Acts

Without further ado, the winner of The Simplest of Acts by Melanie Haney is:


Thank you everyone for entering the contest. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read my blog. I do apologize for the delay in choosing the winner. Life can be make you crazy at times :)

Have a great day and happy reading!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interview with Melanie Haney

Melanie Haney is an award-winning author of literary short stories. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Family Circle Magazine, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Eureka Literary Magazine, Blue Earth Review, Quality Women's Fiction, Relief Journal and other venues.

She is the author of The Simplest of Acts and Other Stories, currently available. And she has various stories available for reading online.

As promised here is a short interview with Melanie. You can read my review, and enter the giveaway of my gently used book here.

Enjoy :)

1) You capture and convey the feelings of your characters impeccably. What are your inspirations for these stories?

I honestly wish I knew. It would make my writing life much easier if I had a known source of inspiration to return to. The truth is, I sit down and have no idea where a story is coming from or where it's going to take me until it's done. Though, having said that, there are certainly places I've been in my life, both emotionally and physically that have left their fingerprints on the stories in this particular collection. I have lived and done service work in Transylvania, which definitely inspired aspects of at least two of the stories in The Simplest of Acts.

I know that if I'm haunted by something - the memory of a dirt-smudged child's face, or the sick, sinking feeling of letting go of something loved before I was prepared - I'll most likely write about it in one form or another. So, in that sense, I suppose I'm inspired by nothing and everything all at once.

2) Congratulations on the recent birth of your baby. You are obviously a busy mom, so how do you find the time to write? Do you try to set time aside or jot random thoughts down during the day and get back to them later?

Thank you! Yes, I am pretty busy and distracted lately (the word scatterbrained comes to mind.) I don't have a particular writing routine or ritual, though I know that I should. I have at least fifty document files on my laptop with bits and pieces of stories, potential characters, disembodied conversations, all looking for a home.
What's frustrating is I tend to be most creative when I'm sitting in the car or taking a shower, times when I'm completely unable to write anything down. And so I find myself repeating an idea or a turn of phrase that I don't want to lose, over and over again until I'm able to get to my computer or a notepad and jot it down. Whether it winds up in a scrap document or in a story? The odds are fifty-fifty. At the time all I care about is being free of it.

3.) What is your favorite genre to read? Do you have a favorite novel or collection of stories? Favorite author?

Lately, as my time is so limited, my favorite genre is literary short fiction (surprise, surprise, I know.) I really should try to carve out more time and immerse myself in a good novel soon, especially as I'm attempting to write one. Some of my favorite short story authors are Susan Minot, Alice Munro, Grace Paley, Raymond Carver.
My favorite collection of stories is Monkey's by Susan Minot. I think this is in part, because her writing is very familial based, which I relate to, writing mostly about inner workings of relationships and families, but also her writing is just vivid and lovely. Also, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley and just about any of Alice Munro's short fiction is right up there too.

4) What are your plans for the future? What would you like to do in the future?

I am a terrible planner, but I can tell you what I would like to be doing in the future. At the moment, I'm very splintered, divided between too many obligations and feeling as though I am not fully succeeding at any. I'm a mother to three under the age of five, I work part time as an office drone and I have obligations to my family and my church, all while attempting to write and market my work. It's exhausting.

What I would like is to finish my novel-in-progress by the end of this year, sell it for a fabulous profit and then quit my day job, move to a big farm house where I can sit on the porch, sipping strong coffee and writing, while my children play in our vast yard, comprised of the greenest grass on earth.

More realistically, I have my MFA and would really enjoy teaching writing at the college level at some point. And ultimately, I would like to raise happy and compassionate children who grow into confident and caring adults - and if I manage to write something of worth, something that's able to touch another person in the process, then I'll consider myself blessed.

5) Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?

I have many. But this one dates all the way back to high school, and it's still my favorite.

From On The Road by Kerouac:"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see a blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'..."

I can only hope to be so passionate in all things myself.

Thank you so much for these questions and for the opportunity, Jenny, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
All my best,

Melanie =)

I hoped you enjoyed getting to know Melanie a bit more. Thank you, Melanie for being my first author interview ever!

Review: Wicked Lovely

Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: HarperCollins 2007
Genre: YA, Urban fantasy, sci-fi
Trade paperback 328 pages

From the author's website:

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention. But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in this 21st century faery tale.

My Thoughts:

Well if you read the teaser above, that is exactly what this book is about. Aislinn is 17 so her teenage angst isn't too great, and considering what she is up against, she does a pretty remarkable job. She is one tough cookie.

Her relationship with Seth is so sweet, and how a young girl's first love relationship should be. Seth's concern and protection for Aislinn makes the reader like him even more. This relationship is then contrasted with Aislinn's relationship with Keenan, the faerie Summer King. Keenan wants and needs Aislinn in more ways than one, but I believe his true heart belongs to another. It's as if theses relationships are two sides of a coin. One starts out as a friendship and progress, but the other one....wait, that starts out as a friendship also. Guess I have to see what happens in book two.

Regardless, Aislinn hold the fate of both the real and faerie world in her hands, and she handles it with grace and aplomb, for the most part. All of the characters we meet along the way are interesting, and not just their faerie descriptions.

Overall this book was a fun read. It was quick and entertaining, taking my mind away from current life events, which I desperately need at the moment. I recommend this book, and will be borrowing book two, Ink Exchange.

My Rating: 4/5

Challenges Met: TBR Challenge 2009, Library Challenge 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thank you!

Teddyree, The Empress of Good and Evil from Royal Reviews, and also the author of The Eclectic Reader has given me this week's Inspirational Review Award, for my review of Royal Blood.

This award is given out weekly to a blogger who has captivated us with an amazing review. This award really made my day and cheered me up. Life has been a little crazy this past week.
So thank you Empress, I am honored to have captivated your imagination.

Please make sure you go and check out the Ladies of Royal Reviews. Their blog is beautiful and awesome, and how could you not love their names!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Musing Monday (May 18)

Musing Monday is hosted by Rebecca from Just One More Page.
Today's musing is the following:

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to you, as a young child? (question courtesy of Diane)

I can't remember for sure, but I know in first grade there was this bookshelf in the front corner of the class room. I devoured everything on that shelf. I asked the nun (Catholic grade school) if I could go to the library, and she said, "Sorry, but first graders are not allowed to go to the library."

I was devastated. When 2nd grade rolled around, I remember borrowing the Nancy Drew books, in order, and also the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. They were on the shelf for 3rd and 4th graders, but the teacher told the librarian I was an advanced reader, so I was allowed to borrow them.

I have loved to read for as long as I remember. I had tons of books growing up, so that probably came from my mom. I remember her taking me to the "big" library too, and explaining the rules.

Unfortunately I can't remember one book in particular, except for one. My Uncle bought me a children's Bible for my birthday one year. There were some pictures, but for the most part it was all words. Bible stories written for children. I really liked that book.

How about you? What is your earliest reading memory?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review and Giveaway: The Simplest of Acts and Other Stories

Author: Melanie Haney
Genre: Short stories, fiction
Trade paperback, 102 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-557-03590-8

From the back cover:

Melanie Haney's debut collection of short stories captures rare glimpses into the beauty and strangeness of ordinary life.

This collection includes er award winning stories, "The Simplest of Acts" and "Only in Bellington" among other carefully wrought tales of loss and love and the small-perhaps overlooked-moments of catharsis in our ordinary lives.

My Thoughts:

There are 11 short stories in this book, and each one of them pulls the reader in immediately. Haney's writing is exquisite. Her choice of words is superb and succinct. I immediately knew how the characters felt about their situations. From the girl who wants out of her small town, to the mother and daughter who are trying to make ends meet, the reader knows what the situation is all about and can sympathize.

With regards to the situations, these are events that you have either experienced yourself, or know someone who has. The feeling of loss or sadness is apparent. But you know these characters will be alright. They will get through their situations one way or the other, because that is what people do . They survive. They do what is necessary and sometimes connect with others along the way.

Connectedness....that is exactly what I felt when I read this book. I immediately connected with these characters, and that is due to Haney's beautiful writing. I don't usually read short stories because I feel they are too short and don't allow me time to get to know the characters. Short stories are over before they begin. Not true with this book. After a few short paragraphs, I was drawn into each story, hook, line and sinker. These stories had an emotional effect on me. Haney knows her craft well.

I liked all of these stories, but my favorites were "Only in Bellington", "Shoes, Falling", "Going", and "The Simplest of Acts". I guess because I could relate to these stories the best. Every story grabbed me. This book could easily be read in a day, but I prolonged it, because I liked it so much.

My Rating: 5/5

I highly recommend this short story collection. I haven't read something this moving in a long time.

I would like to share my love and enjoyment of this book with someone else. I am giving away my gently read copy to one lucky winner.
If you are interested, please leave me a comment saying so with your email address. Deadline is midnight, EST, Saturday, May 23.
This is an international contest, so no restrictions.
On Wednesday, the 20th, I'll be posting a short interview with Melanie Haney. (My first!) So please stop back if you can.

Winners of Royal Blood Giveaway

The book fairy used and two winners were chosen. Two? Yes two, because the first winner will get the book from the publisher, and the second winner will receive my gently used copy. I felt terrible for having to extend the contest, so I decided the least I could do was give away my copy as well. This way someone else can read this book and love it as much as I did.

So without further ado, the winners are:



I will contact you for your mailing addresses.

Thank you to every one who entered, and a BIG THANK YOU to Anna from FSB Associates for both my review and giveaway copy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: Royal Blood

Author: Rona Sharon
Publisher: Kensington Books
Date: March 31, 2009
Genre: Historical science fiction romance
Pages: Trade paperback, 488 pgs.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-2858-1

During the annual celebration of the Order of the Garter, Sir Michael Devereaux arrives in King Henry VIII’s court on a mission for his benefactor. The celebration’s endless feats and sumptuous women delight the charismatic newcomer, who becomes captivated by the enigmatic Princess Renée of France. But evil, it seems, has followed Michael to the court. Shortly after his arrival, an unknown killer claims several victims, including the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, and the powerful Cardinal Wolsey asks Michael to help with the investigation.

As he searches for the killer, Michael is haunted by disturbing images of the victims—flashes of violence that lead him to doubt his own sanity. Michael soon realizes that the key to solving the crime is connected to both the Pope’s Imperial vault in Rome and a mystery from Michael’s own past—revealing a secret that is so damning, it could forever alter the future of mankind. Powerfully evocative and steeped with detail from the breathtaking era of the Tudors, Royal Blood is historical storytelling at its richest—an unforgettable tale of intrigue, passion, and danger.

My Thoughts:

Lets clear the air of misconceptions: This is not your typical vampire novel, or at least not what you are probably expecting. The vampire aspect lurks in the background, like a faint undercurrent. It's on the fringes of the story, but not specifically pointed out. Vampires are alluded to but do not come to the forefront until the last quarter of the book or so. By that point, the vampire plot line is part of the story and not at all out of place. It meshes well with everything else.

The backdrop for this book is the Tudor court of King Henry VIII, where intrigue, scheming, lying, and manipulation were daily occurrences. Plots against the king, and courtiers jockeying for power were the norm. Add to this mix, Renee, a French princess, and Michael, a representative of the Earl of Ireland. Renee is a master at court politics and intrigue. Michael, who is loyal to King Henry, is extremely wet behind the ears concerning the machinations of the English court. Michael just wants to do right my his liege lord, the Earl of Tyrone. Renee on the other hand, is on a private mission, and her stakes are much higher; her personal and financial independence is on the line.

Michael and Renee are fascinating characters. They are passionate people who have strong beliefs, and struggle to stay afloat on the right side of the Tudor court. Whether they like it or not, they must work together to achieve their objectives. And when their passions collide...look out. They are both determined to get what they want.

The usual suspects of the King Henry's entourage are all represented. Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio are at each other's throats, just like the nobility. Rona Sharon's descriptions of Tudor England were excellent. There is one passage where Renee is having a conversation with her maid Adele while she lays out the clothes and jewelry for Renee to wear to the joust:
"...a Rennes lawn smock, woven of gossamer-fine thread and spangled with
gold fleurs-de-lis whose ruffled cuffs would peek from the gown at the wrists; a
scarlet satin kirtle, petticoat, linen squares to stuff inside Renees stiff
bodice to create the de rigueur illusion of a spectacular bust; and a low-
cut gown of shimmering ruby taffeta and black velure."

" rings inlaid with black sapphires and bloodred rubies....a ruby-rimmed
brooch of black crystal engraved with the Porcupine, King Louis XII's
emblem...matching bracelets and necklets with pendent gold fleu-de-lis and
marguerites linked with rubies, glossy white and black pearls, and sparkling
Could you imagine having to wear all this clothing all the time? Regardless, Sharon's descriptions helped me to easily imagine myself in the story, especially regarding the romantic aspects. I may have even blushed on the subway once or twice, which is fine by me.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There was mystery, suspense, adventure, and definitely some romance. The book moved quickly and I truly despised having to put it down. I just wanted to keep on reading...just a little bit more.

Renee and Michael are two characters I would like to read about again. There could definitely be a sequel to this book. In the meantime, I'll have to settle with reading some of Sharon's other works. Very glad to have discovered this author.

My Rating: 4.5/5

BTW, not to belabor the point, I know some of you may be still be questioning the reasons for the vampire aspect, but I think Sharon incorporates it extremely well with the overall storyline. It is a science fiction twist, that's all. I'm very open minded to science-fiction. How do I really know there is no Stargate?

Also, a big thank you to Anna from FSB Associates for sending me this copy to review and for sponsoring my giveaway on Friday. I greatly appreciate it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brightening up my day!

From DeSeRtRoSe BoOkLoGuE I received the....
Heartfelt Award (sorry but I could not figure out how to get the original picture thingy, so I'm using this...I love Snoopy anyway)

This is what the award means...Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you’re relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family & friends? You know that feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea ~ or a hot toddy?
That is what the Heartfelt award is all about...that feeling warm inside. I wanted to create something to express that toasty feeling.
The Rules:
1) Put the logo on your blog/post. 2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. 3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. 4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. 5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

From the fabulous Ladies at Royal-Intrigue I received the Lovely Blog Award:

And last, but certainly not least I received this beautiful gem from Naida at the bookworm
Look at that cute little puppy!
All of these bloggers are truly wonderful in their own right. The friendship, warmth and camaraderie they bring and spread to others through their blogging is inspirational. I am very happy to have "met" all of them.

Teaser Tuesday (May 12)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB from Should Be Reading.
The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"There's Chuck who drinks his coffee black and eats pie with whipped cream for breakfast, like everyday is the day after Thanksgiving when people all eat leftovers in their slippers and housecoats. He loves the way you tease him every morning, hand on your hip and finger wagging, before putting the dish down in front of him."
pg. 69, Shoes, Falling; a short story from The Simplest of Acts and Other Stories, by Melanie Haney

I'm usually not a big fan of short stories, but this little book is amazing! I'm really enjoying it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musing Monday (May 11)

Musing Monday is hosted by Rebecca from Just One More Page.
Today's musing is the following:

Have you ever finished a book, then turned around and immediately re-read it? Why? What book(s)? (question courtesy of MizB)

Well this one is I have never immediately re-read a book. There are very few books that I re-read at all. Jane Austen and Gone With the Wind are my re-reads currently. And I don't re-read for several years. I'm actually due for a GWTW re-read, since I did some Austen last year. Oh wait, I'm thinking of a few more I would re-read but haven't done so yet: Outlander (books 1-3), and Harry Potter (5-7). No, I never read 1 through 5, and yes they are on my list.

There are so many books out there that I would like to read, but I will never get to them if I re-read books too often.

How about you? What books do you re-read?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Review: Hotel Transylvania

Author: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1978
Hardback 248 pages

From Amazon:

Le Comte de Saint-Germain - cultured, well-traveled, articulate, elegant, learned, honorable, an alchemist, and a man of many secrets - he is a mystery to the court of Louis XV. For Madelaine de Montalia, making her debut in society, he is as fascinating as he is enigmatic, an admiration he returns. But others are interested in her as well. The dark folly of her father's youth exposes her to danger that only someone of Saint-Germain's vast experience can comprehend or repulse. In this first book of the Saint-Germain cycle, Saint-Germain establishes himself as the compassionate hero whose adventures span continents and millennia.

My Thoughts:

I had written down the title of a book, and when I looked it up I discovered it was part of a series. Further research led me to the author's website, where I discovered there are over 20 books in the Saint-Germain series, each taking place in a historical time period or setting that I would enjoy reading. Being the nerd I am, I had to start at the beginning, and Hotel Transylvania is the first book in the series.

This story takes place in the fall of 1743 in Paris, France. All of the characters are of the peerage, therefore social etiquette of the period, dress, manners and activities provide the backdrop for the story. Saint-Germain is a vampire, but the reader only notices this fact when he happens to appear by someones side out of the blue, or when one remarks on his penetrating gaze. His vampire tendencies seem like odd habits of his character, especially how he doesn't like to eat or drink around others. Since the characters are aristocratic, and they themselves can be odd, no one questions Saint-Germain. The women and most of the men like him for he is very considerate and a wonderful conversationalist. Saint-Germain just happens to harbor a secret.

Our heroine, the lovely Madelaine, is not like most young women of her day. She is well educated, reads books, and speaks her mind quite often, which has proven difficult for her family to find her a husband. Therefore, when she meets Saint-Germain, they find in each other someone who meets their desires. For Saint-Germain it is a beautiful love of his life, who he is drawn to, and for Madelaine, someone who speaks and treats her like an intelligent woman.

As a matter of fact, Saint-Germain's being a vampire is finally stated in the novel within a conversation between he and Madelaine. Saint-Germain says something to effect of, "When you have lived over 500 years like me..." and Madelaine accepts his explanation readily, not with screams, disgust, or shock. This section made me laugh a little, and I had to read it twice to make sure I comprehended everything.

As the relationship between Saint-Germain and Madelaine progresses, the evil or mysterious forces and their activities also comes to light. The book moves rather quickly, and Yarbro explains her parameters for Saint-Germain's vampire side throughout the story, leading one to assume future books are in the works. Saint-Germain is a very likable character and his vampireness (?word?) is a facet of his character, like being jovial or good at fencing.

All in all I enjoyed this book. This book has a little bit of love, with some mystery and suspense thrown in. The main characters are very likable and enjoyable, and I'm interested to learn what happens in the next book. You see, there are some unresolved things at the end of this book, so I need to know how it plays out.

My Rating: 4.25/5

Challenges: Library Challenge 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

LOST Challenge - "Follow the Leader"

"We can buy Microsoft stock" ~ Sawyer to Juliet as they are boarding the submarine

Good episode. It sets up next week's finale pretty well. However the time travel business, and events of the past are hard for me to sort out properly. I guess a little mind-bending would be more accurate.

Do you think Faraday's notebook will be able to assist in averting disaster? I think since Jack the bumbling idiot is involved it may not work out. Or at the very least, cause more problems. The timing of the dig with the exploding H-bomb must be perfect, right? That's the impression I got.
How about the underground tunnels? There is a whole civilization buried underneath there. I am so curious about that. It's pretty clear they were Egyptians, but how and why were they there?
Richard Alpert....what is his story? I like the actor and the character, but I would love to know more about him. Did he come to the island with Widmore and Elsie? Or was her there already? We know he leaves the island, I think twice. I guess Richard is the eternal island advisor.

Locke is having the time of his life! I have never seen him so happy. I believe Locke is the new Jacob and must defeat the old Jacob, or at least appear to defeat, in order to convince the others he is the leader and protector of the island. I don't believe Ben will be successful in trying to kill him either. Ben can try, but the island will slap his hand. There is also his broken promise to his daughter he must contend with.

I don't like Locke for lying to Sun. I hope Sun and Jin will somehow be able to reconnect, but it's not looking good so far.

Juliet and heart just breaks for Juliet every time Kate shows up. What a third wheel! And if looks could kill, Kate would be dead. Juliet and Sawyer are content to just do their own thing. But I think next week, Kate will tell them Jack's plans, and that's why they leave the sub. How, I don't know, but I think Sawyer will do it to save what he has with Juliet. He will always have some feelings for Kate, like his first love, but he loves and wants to be with Juliet. Juliet just can not buy a break.

Jack....who died and left him boss? He just wants his old life back and is willing to screw everyone else to get it. Sayid is willing to erase the past three years, because it may bring his love back to him. Besides, he has nothing else to lose. Kate may end up in jail, but what about the rest of them? Can you really change what happened and bring back dead people? What about the consequences of changing the past? I guess Jack thinks everything will just tidy itself up in a nice clean package with a bow.

Ultimately there will be a final battle, but between who? Jack and Locke....Sawyer and Jack....Ben and Locke...Ben and anyone else....Juliet and Kate. Juliet has to put Kate in her place eventually.

And wait a minute....we never did learn how Dharma got there in the first place. At least I don't remember.

As a side note, I apologize for not participating the past few weeks. I watched all the episodes, just not in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Royal Blood Book Trailer and Giveaway Extension

Recently, someone on their blog was asking about book trailers. Do you watch them? Are they relevant to the book? Do they convince you to read the book?
I check them out once in a while, and sometimes they do entice me to read a book.
Below is a trailer for Royal Blood. The music made me laugh a little, but I think it's pretty accurate. The book is exciting and the characters in the video are on the cover of the book. They are described exactly that way in the story. And yes, there are some steamy parts.

So, how did this grab you?

With respect to the giveaway, I am extending it a week until the 15th of May. I am not finished the book yet, and not for lack of trying. I really resent having to put it down to go to my day job. Anyway, by the time I finish and write a proper review...therefore the giveaway is extended a week. I do feel a little bad, but hey, it is my giveaway right? Now I know better for next time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (May 5)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.
The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share does not give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Wolsey had corrupted the text to suit his purpose, as Michael suspected the cardinal dealt with all things. The true meaning was infinitely crueler: a dream shattered the instant it came true. Renee would never look at him again as she had today when he gave her his jousting prize. Why had he allowed her to discover his terrible ailment?"

pg. 284, Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

Still reading this book and enjoying it. The "terrible ailment" in the story is a silent plot line. It's there, and you notice it, but not overly so. If that makes it any sense.

I am really trying to finish this before Friday for my contest, so I can post my review. Unfortunately work is crazy busy, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I may be extending the contest another week.

Reading staves off memory loss

According to this article from Web MD, reading and knitting delay memory loss. Obviously we all read, but I know there are many of you out there who also knit, crochet, or craft. Being a knitter myself, I guess this means we are doubly protected. At least I'm getting some sort of exercise in :)

WebMD Article

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been having a lot of dental work done. I have been feeling pretty crappy, tired and not myself. But in the middle of it all, I have been fortunate enough to receive some very awesome rewards from some of my blogging friends. These awards really made my otherwise miserable day a better one. I enjoy reading, chatting and commenting on every one's blogs. I still can not believe how many wonderful, friendly, and kind people I have met in this book blogging community.

I started blogging about books, because I love to read. I also like to let people know about the books I have read, good or bad. I have learned and grown a lot in terms of writing reviews in these 5 short months, and I owe that all of the awesome book blogs I read. I believe you can learn something new everyday, and I'll be darned if that is not true.

So without further ado, a big thank you to these very cool bloggers:

Wanda from a Season to Read was kind enough to pass this lovely award on to me.

Thanks so much Wanda!

Passing this one along to some very lovely blogs:

Robin of My Two Blessings

Chartroose from Bloody Hell, It's a Book Barrage

Zetor from Mog's Blog

Tudor Daughter from All Things Royal

From Marie at The Burton Review I received:

Your Blog is Enchanting: The only requirement for this award is that you shared it with whomever you like, sharing the love is always a good thing. The blog has to show only one characteristic, caring. So, start sharing this enchanted award with five other bloggers. Let your bloggers know they have received this enchanted award. (Remember, fairies are fickle wee things, don't incur their displeasure by ignoring their gift)

So I share this award with the following:

Desert Rose from DeSeRt RoSe BoOkLoGue

Amy from My Friend Amy

Arleigh from historical-fiction

Naida from thebookworm

Rebecca from Just One More Page

And last, but certainly not least I received this award from DeSeRt RoSe BoOkLoGuE

I pass this award on to the following:

Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo loves to read

Heather J from Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books

Angie from Angieville

Jenners from Find Your Next Book Here

Jennifer from Jennifer Morrill's Attempt at a Blog

Marie from The Burton Review

It was very hard to choose what to give to whom. Like I said, I enjoy reading lots of blogs. Can't say I ever came across a blog I didn't like :)

Please stop by these blogs and see what's going on. You'll be glad you did. Enjoy your day and happy reading.

Musing Monday (May 4)

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.
Today she muses about the following:

How many books (roughly) are in your tbr pile? Is this in increasing number or does it stay stable? Do you ever experience tbr anxiety in the face of this pile? (question courtesy of Wendy)

Oh this is a good one. I have two tbrs: 1) actually books in my home, waiting to be read and 2) my tbr paper/electronic list. A few years ago, I had to stop buying books (gasp, the horror) because I was running out of space to store them and the last few I bought were real stinkers. I do not like spending $25 on a book that sucks, in my opinion.

Therefore, I started my written list of tbr titles, and started going to the library to check them out. I am fortunate that my public library system is pretty good, so it is very unusual for me to have to purchase a tbr book, but it happens.

I just recently started purchasing books again, and most of them are on my tbr. I would have to guess that I have about 25 books at home in my tbr pile. I know that may not sound like much to most of you, but to me it is. So yes, I experience anxiety when I look at my stack of tbr. There are so many books I want to read, and I know I'll get to them eventually. I guess I just feel bad for stock piling books. But apparently I don't feel too bad, because my last trip to the library I swore I was only getting 1 book, so I can work through my tbr at home. The next thing I know, I am on my way back to work with 4 library books in my bag.

Books are my crack. I can't resist :)

So how about you? How many tbrs are gracing your shelves? How do you feel about it?