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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's up Wednesday?

What’s up Wednesday is a weekly catch up event. I discuss anything that’s on my mind, or what may be happening in my life. It’s my take on “me time”. Feel free to join along in the comments or leave a link to your What’s up Wednesday post.

This week is about Fall TV, specifically one of my most favorite shows that comes back next week, Sons of Anarchy.  I know I’ve chatted a wee bit about this show before, but I feel like this show doesn't always get all the love it deserves.  Yes, last season in Belfast was a bit meh, but all that back history had to be told because it  sets up Season 4.  For specific scoop here is the Wikipedia page with info for Seasons 1-3.

Sons has action and issues happening every week but it’s not until you sit back and ponder what actually happened that you see all of the deep issues this show works with.  The people you call family are not always blood relatives.  What would you do to protect your family and your interests, and what happens when those two are not the same thing?  Tough choices need to be made and others are counting on you.  There is also the Shakespeare element of the show, specifically Hamlet.  Jax’s birth father, John, who founded the club died many years ago and Jax was raised by his step dad Clay, who just happened to be his best friend.  Clay stepped right into that father and husband role very easily.  It’s also been seriously implied that Gemma and Clay had something to do with John’s death.  Jax just found that out.  So again, what is Jax going to do to avenge his father keeping in mind that his mom is involved too. Everything Jax has ever known has been thrown upside down and now he has to deal.   Jax also has his club depending on him as well, and the club member’s families.  The club is its own small kingdom.     

Women are strong central figures in this story.  This club wouldn’t be what it is today without Gemma.  Many major decisions get run past her for her input, whether the whole club realizes it or not.  To Gemma, the club is family and you take care of family, come hell or high water;  whatever it takes.  Tara, Jax’s girl, has been reluctant to accept her role in the club.  If you love the man, you have to love what he is about.  You can’t just accept pieces of people.  Tara I think will finally some into her own this season, especially since she has just had a son with Jax.  Don’t mess with Mama Bear!  This could be said of both Gemma and Tara, and Gemma is not stupid.  She knows what’s up.

What makes this show so fantastic, is not only the writing and the themes, but the actors themselves.  They become these people  and take on all of their persona.  Everyone on this show draws you in and makes you feel for their predicament, even the secondary characters.  Each is their own little messed up person stuck in this life they have to navigate their way through.  Balancing everything in the air…. something has got to fall.

So if want riveting television that is smart, sometimes funny, and emotionally gut wrenching at times, then watch Sons of Anarchy.  You will not be disappointed.  Season 4 starts next Tuesday, September 6 at 9:00 pm on FX.

I'll discuss another favorite show of mine, Fringe, at a later date.


Monday, August 29, 2011


The winners of the giveaway for Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis are:

Karen K



Congratulations!  I will be in touch for your mailing addresses.  Thanks to all who stopped by and entered.
I greatly appreciate it :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Genre: Memoir (??)
Hardcover 256 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating 94/100

In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the boiled cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war- torn Africa of her own childhood. At its heart, this is the story of Fuller's mother, Nicola. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola holds dear the kinds of values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land, and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. Fuller interviewed her mother at length and has captured her inimitable voice with remarkable precision. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is as funny, terrifying, exotic, and unselfconscious as Nicola herself. 
[Click here for more from Goodreads....]

My Thoughts:

This book is about the author's mother, Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, and her life growing up in both Scotland and Africa, but mainly Africa. Nicola was born and raised in Southern Africa for the most part, with the exception of some time spent in the UK in. Like any interesting person who has a book written about them, Nicola is quite the character. She actually strikes me as being a little off, but if you consider the life she has led and her family history of taking "vacations" in sanitariums, then Nicola is really not all that bad.

Although, some of the things she subjected her family and children to are a bit much.  When you have to tote a machine gun or some such around, it's time to find another place to live. The author herself relates stories of her own childhood growing up in Africa, I think to shed light on her mother. All of these stories are amusing, but if you think about the actual events going on in the African countries they lived in at the time, it's pretty nuts.

I enjoyed this book a great deal for several reasons. The writing is beautiful and her descriptions of Southeast Africa are breath taking. It makes me want to visit someday or at least read more stories set in Africa. Regardless of what you think about Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, the woman has led an adventurous life, filled with heartache to be sure, but also filled with a fascinating quality that I can't quite describe. Nicola was a British colonial farmer in Southern Africa, around the time when many countries declared independence and organized themselves. I think that says it all right there.

This book also provides an abbreviated history of British colonial Africa and the experience of a white person living through it. Truth be told, these colonists should have known better. There are two hundred thousand of you and you expect to rule over a few million people and think it's ok? I felt like Nicola had some romantic notions or was a bit indignant about the whole process of independence. I'm not trying to judge, but this part of the story bothered me a bit, yet it was interesting. It made for compelling reading. Regardless of what I think, Nicola loved Africa. It is in her blood and she must live there, come hell or high water. I can certainly understand those feelings.

I should also mention that this book is the author's second. Her first, referred to by her mother as that "AWFUL BOOK" was written in 2003. I haven't read it but I certainly plan to.  I should also add that I think Cocktail Hour is a stand alone book and not reading the first did not diminish my ability to enjoy the story.

For more information, please visit Alexandra's website:

Here are the rest of the stops on this tour:

Tuesday, August 16th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, August 17th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, August 18th: StephTheBookworm
Monday, August 22nd: Rundpinne
Tuesday, August 23rd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, August 24th: Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, August 25th: Silver’s Reviews
Friday, August 26th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog
Monday, August 29th: An English Major’s Junk Food
Tuesday, August 30th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, August 31st: BookNAround
Thursday, September 1st: red headed book child

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on the tour.

What's Up Wednesday

What’s up Wednesday is a weekly catch up event. I discuss anything that’s on my mind, or what may be happening in my life. It’s my take on “me time”. Feel free to join along in the comments or leave a link to your What’s up Wednesday post.

This week is about blogging.  My knitting friend and I were talking about blogging.  How it can feel like a job after a while, I don't have much to say, the reasons we started our blog have changed over time, etc.  She primarily  keeps a knitting blog, whereas I keep this book blog, with some knitting from time to time (more of this in the future).  I also include some personal things.  Basically we both have been starting to feel that posting can be a bit of a pain.  It's starting to feel like a job and we don't have enough time to do the things we want to do, like read and comment on other blogs.

I have been trying to find a balance between reading for pleasure vs. review copies.  I also have the perpetual battle of getting my reviews done timely.  Timely in that, I remember what I read and how I felt.  As for reading, I have become better at being super selective in my review copies.  I am very happy for that.  I have even gone so far as to figure out my creepy reads for October.  Books I own!  YES can you believe it?!  So that part I'm good with.

As for the review thing, I feel the need to write a review for every single book I read.  I don't always write them quick enough and then I forget what the heck I wanted to say.  So, I may stop writing reviews on here for those quick and easy books, and put them on Goodreads instead.  Or, maybe just do Six Sentence Reviews like Staci does on Saturdays.  That may work.  Like a drive by.  Drive by Book reviews.  That may work too.

I am not going to stop blogging all together.  I have made too many friends I enjoy and would miss if I stopped.  I love reading blogs and getting to know you all.  But I need to blog smarter and better.  Streamline the process if you will.  My blog will always be a work in progress, and I am good with that.  I like to think of it as CQI = Continuous Quality Improvement.

So what do you all think?  Do you have these issues as well or is it just a funk I am in at the moment?
Any suggestions?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge

Georgette Heyer is the author of more than fifty novels, most of them Regency romances, for which she was justly famous. She also wrote a half dozen historical novels and twelve mysteries. She was known for her wit and historical accuracy. Even with a vast body of published works, very little is known about the personal life of Georgette Heyer, as she valued her privacy almost to the point of being reclusive. Based largely on interviews with close friends and family along with letters and journal entries documenting Heyer’s research, The Private World of Georgette Heyer brings to light the life of a woman as vibrant as the heroines she wrote. 

Obsessed with privacy, Heyer destroyed much of her correspondence, but Jane Aiken Hodge was granted access to Heyer’s  remaining papers and for the first time was able to interview many of Heyer’s family and friends, who shared insights on Heyer only those closest to her would be privy to. 

Using each of Heyer’s novels as a guidepost, Hodge examines the events of Heyer’s life that occurred during the writing of each novel, searching for the elusive influences that inspired her, treating fans to a glimpse into the mind of a most beloved author.   Through letters, photos, and interviews, Hodge reveals a the portrait of an early fashionista who possessed a quick, biting wit, an incredible sense of humor, and a  brilliant mind --a  woman ahead of her time and as captivating as the heroines readers have come to love.

My Thoughts:

Georgette Heyer was a very private person.  I don't believe she did any interviews, was not overly friendly with her publishers or agents, and spent most of her time furiously writing her stories or meticulously researching historical details.  Heyer does not seem like a warm and friendly person, but I think this stems from her upbringing.  She had a bit of a tough road and once she realized she could make money from her writing,  she immediately set herself to assist in supporting her family, both before and after she was married.
Heyer was a very intelligent and educated writer.  She was practically a historian, and although her romantic fiction books are infused with intrigue and love, I think those are merely side plots; a way for her to demonstrate her prowess at historical writing and showcase this world she created.  It is Heyer's world indeed since she spent so much time creating and maintaining it.  The notes that Heyer kept to ensure authenticity for her historical world are astounding.  Manners of dress, slang, food preparation, you name it Heyer had notes on it.  This makes me enjoy her books even more because I know what I am reading is accurate and painstakingly created.

However, for all the detail Heyer included in her stories, the details of her life are not as known.  Heyer was married, had a son, enjoyed visiting Scotland, and despised the taxman.  Heyer also didn't like those fans who read her books strictly for romance and adventure, even though those were the fans that made her famous.  A bit ironic.  No matter.  I don't care what you think Georgette, I love you anyway. Rest in peace my dear.

Jane Aiken Hodge read every one of Heyer's books (I think it's 57) and this autobiography is told through the context of each book's publishing story.  At first it is quite interesting, but after a time it bored me a bit.  The best thing this context did do for me, was further convince me that I must read all of Heyer's works before I die.  I think that is the only way one will ever get to know the real Georgette Heyer; through her works.  Her life was so private but she poured her soul into her work.  I feel that as readers, we owe her that much.  To read as many of her stories as we can since she was wonderful enough to create such an elaborate world for us to immerse ourselves.
My Rating: 85/100

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre: Biography
Trade paperback, 256 pages 
Book Source: Sourcebooks

Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my review copy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy 109th Birthday Georgette Heyer! And here's a deal from Sourcebooks to celebrate.

You know I don't normally post these kinds of things, but this is such a good deal.  Plus I have thoroughly enjoyed the two Heyer's I read, so I couldn't pass this by.  If I had an e-reader I would certainly pick up a few.

Here's the 411 from Sourebooks: 

Today, August 16 would have been Georgette Heyer’s 109th birthday. In honor of this most beloved author, who many call the Queen of Regency Romance, Sourcebooks is discounting EVERY SINGLE one of the eBooks they currently have available to $1.99 for one week, getting Heyer’s Birthday Party started a day early on August 15!  That’s 46 books by Georgette Heyer, plus the fabulous reader companion, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, available for $1.99 from August 15-August 21. 

This is the perfect time for everyone to read Heyer, and celebrate the woman who was such a prolific author! Here is a link toSourcebooks and all of those gorgeous covers:

The eBooks will be available through and major eBook retailers (and please give them some extra time if prices aren’t adjusted right away on Monday—this is a long list and a lot of data to update).

Enjoy!! Hip Hip Heyer!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you everyone for all your lovely thoughts, comments, and prayers during our recent loss.  It made the past few days a little easier to get through.  Book people are the best people indeed :)

Happy reading, have a lovely evening, see you all soon.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Memory of Lucky

Monday night I had to say goodbye to my furry baby girl, Lucky. She was almost 15 years old. Lucky had gotten sick, and had not eaten or drank any water for three days. She also wouldn’t eat her all time favorite, cheese. Lucky was a cheese ho, and this was our tell tale sign that things were not good. My husband and I had decided a while ago, that we wouldn’t put her through anything strenuous. Lucky had a fabulous life and it would be torture for all involved if we pursued anything. So Monday night, after spending the day with her we put her to sleep. It was the most difficult thing I had to do, and I am crying as I sit here and type this.

But then I remember all the crazy shit Lucky did over the years:

*Running down the hallway upstairs at full tilt and launching herself onto the bed sliding across, and almost going over the other side

*Our walks to the park to stalk the squirrels, her most evil of archenemies. Other archenemies included the vacuum and baths.

*Catching the ball in the house like a show dog, bending her body in unusual ways

*Hanging out under the Christmas tree looking at the lights

*Her obsession with cheese. Close the refrigerator door, and there she was appearing out of thin air looking for cheese

*How she would try to sniff the Vick’s vapor rub and Chap stick off my face when I was sick in bed. Open your eyes and there’s a big nose touching yours, with eyes half open, on your pillow too, btw.

Lucky was an awesome dog. She comforted me when I was sick or sad, and would hang out with us every night. But as the years went by, we could see her getting older, and she slowed down, becoming a little senior citizen, quirks and all. You know those pushy elderly people at the bank an hour before it opens? Imagine that in dog form. Lucky even started looking for her night time cookie snack earlier, a la “the early bird special” so she could go to bed early.

We knew it was only a matter of time before Lucky would have to leave us, we just didn’t think it would happen so soon. So, with this post I say good bye but not forgotten to my Lucky Girl. She will never be forgotten.

(I haven’t felt like doing too much of anything lately, so please forgive me for not being around in the interwebs.)


Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Leanna Ellis author of Plain Fear: Forsaken

1. First, THANK YOU for bringing real vampires back to reading. Shiny and happy do not a normal vampire make. Where did the idea for this story come from? Are you a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

LE: LOL! You are welcome! Thanks for having me here. The initial idea came from a joke another author and I made during a book signing because those were the books that were selling—vampires and Amish. I suppose it planted a seed in my very warped brain and at some point a story began to take root. It’s when I made the connection that the story I was noodling was similar to one of my all time favorites—The Phantom of the Opera—that I knew I had to write it. I never watched Buffy, but when I started writing this series, I decided I should at least watch one episode and so I downloaded one onto my iPad. If I had more time, then I would probably enjoy watching more.

2. Setting the story in an Amish community adds an intriguing dynamic to the story and its characters. How did you go about getting the details right on the Amish community and their way of life?

LE: There are so few places in America that seem to have an innocence about them. Amish country is that kind of place. Tranquil and bucolic, it seemed like the perfect setting. I’ve always been intrigued by the Amish community. Way back in college, I wrote a paper about them. Of course, I was a huge fan of the movie Witness. I’ve also been intrigued by vampires, from being totally terrified as an elementary student when I saw part of a vampire movie at a friend’s slumber party and spent the next six months sleeping with the covers up around my neck to reading The Historian when it came out. When I started writing Forsaken, I read a lot of non fiction books about the Amish. I also went to Lancaster County with my critique partner and her daughter. What a great time we had sampling delicious Amish food, touring an Amish dairy farm, and riding in an Amish buggy.

3. I live in Philadelphia and this story takes place in my backyard in Amish country. Have you ever visited Philadelphia, and if not would you visit it now? Did you travel for research purposes for Plain Fear: Forsaken?

LE: I first went to Philadelphia way back in high school when I was on choir tour. Loved it! I didn’t get to spend much time there on this research trip as my focus was on Lancaster County but I did get to see the Liberty Bell again. I would love to come back and spend more time in Pennsylvania. My daughter wants to go to Hershey. My son wants to see all the historical sights.

4. Plain Fear: Forsaken is the first in the Plain Fear series. What will this series be about? Will Roc and Father Roberto return in the next book?

LE: Yes, it is a series. I’m in the middle of writing book #2, Forbidden, right now. Roc is definitely in book two because the focus on book #2 is on him. And Father Roberto makes a return appearance. Book #2 begins 6 months after the end of book #1.

5. Now for some get to know you questions. Have you always wanted to be a writer or is it something you realized over time? How do you go about writing your books? Go to a special room, plan things out, jot notes down, etc. What works best for you or does it depend on the story?

LE: I was always creative but I never imagined when I was a kid that I could write a book. I thought all writers were dead. It’s funny though, I recently received a box from my mother with a bunch of my schoolwork from elementary school through high school. A story I still remember writing in the sixth grade was in it. I was thrilled to get it and read it to my kids. It was very Poe-esque as we’d been studying Poe in school. My kids said, “Mom! You had a dark side.” Guess I still do. :)

Anyway, I didn’t decide to write until I was out of college and teaching school. I knew I didn’t want to teach forever and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. My sister suggested I write because I was always scribbling in my journal. That was twenty years ago. Every book seems so different and has its own journey but usually I start with an idea, a title and a very sketchy synopsis. But I most like to just jump into the story and see where it’s going to take me.

6. I read that you enjoy visiting Hilo, Hawaii. I am a Kailua-Kona girl myself, but not a big fan of Hilo. What is it about Hilo that keeps you coming back? (I was just in Kona in May and understand the draw of that beautiful state!)

LE: Oh, we loved visiting Hilo! And I’m so jealous you were recently there. We were in Kauai last August, and we desperately need a return trip. We named our crazy labradoodle Hilo. I love the lushness of that side of the island. We stayed in a house right across from a beach where we swam with the gigantic sea turtles. It was amazing swimming with those gentle giants. We also went to the Kona side of the island but it was hotter on that side. Beautiful but hot.

The last morning we were there, we experienced an earthquake. Well, that’s probably incorrect. We actually didn’t feel the quake at all. We were on the beach tossing our leis back into the ocean (a tradition my mother taught me because if the leis come back—and they always do because my daughter grabs them and pulls them back—then that means you’ll return to the islands) and then watching part of a triathlon, when we returned to our house across the road to get ready to go to the airport when we saw on the news there had been an earthquake. A fairly significant earthquake. And we quickly learned that it knocked out all electricity on Oahu, which canceled our flights.

Every person we talked to that day described a huge quake and we thought they were exaggerating but I don’t think they were. For some reason, we didn’t feel it. Maybe we were in the water, I don’t know. But the good part was we got to stay two extra days. We have also been to Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. We are trying to decide which island to go to next. I’d love to revisit Hilo on the big island but I’d also like to go back to Kauai.

7. Is there a place that you have never been that you would like to visit?

LE: Oh there are a lot of places! I love to travel! We took the kids to England and Scotland this past spring. I’d love to go to Alaska, Banff, New England in the fall, wine country in California, Australia, New Zealand (with of course stopover’s in Hawaii), France, Italy, Germany…so many places, so little time!

8. Are you currently reading any books, if so which ones?

LE: I typically have a few books going at once. I just got back from a trip to NY for a writer’s conference and then right on the heels of that I went to Reno for my son’s fencing tournament. So I packed light and only took one book: March by Geraldine Brooks. My kids and I have been driving a lot this summer to and from their activities and we’ve been listening to To Kill a Mockingbird, which is my favorite, and also Alas, Babylon.

9. What can we expect to see from you in the future?

LE: Most definitely more Amish/vampires. I am really having fun with this series. Right now, all I can wrap my brain around is Forbidden.

Thanks so much for doing this interview. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and look forward to continuing the Plain Fear series.

Thanks so much, Jenny! It was my pleasure to be here!

Not Death, But Love…

Pain choked off anymore words. She grabbed the cold stone marker for support, splayed her hands across its front as a sob wrenched free from her chest.

Although she knows that the Amish way is to move on from grief, on to a new season, Hannah cannot move on from Jacob, who was taken too soon.

Jacob’s brother Levi also cannot move on—his love for Hannah burns just as strong as ever. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother, and the event that took Jacob from them.

And it’s a secret he must take to his grave…

So when a mysterious stranger comes to their community, he too carries a secret; one that will force Hannah to choose between light and dark, between the one she wants to love and a new yearning she fears to embrace.


Leanna Ellis is the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. She has written numerous books for Harlequin/Silhouette and has published four books with B&H Publishing. With her husband, two children, and wide assortment of pets, she lives in Texas. Plain Fear: Forbidden, the next book in the Plain Fear Series, will be in stores in Spring 2012. For more information, please visit

Giveaway 411

*Leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you.
*For an extra entry, leave a comment telling me what makes you hide under the covers at night; a movie, book, show, whatever.
*Open to residents of U.S. and Canada.  No P.O. Boxes please.
*Deadline for entry is midnight, Monday August 22, 2011, EST.

Good luck everyone and thanks again to Danielle from Sourcebooks for arranging this interview and giveaway.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis

Hannah Schmidt pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life. But Jacob is gone, buried. Levi Fisher loves Hannah. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives.

So when a stranger named Akiva comes into their community, he carries with him two secrets: he is, in fact, Jacob. And he is now a vampire.

When secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love—a decision that will decide the fate of her soul.

This is a such a simple yet interesting story.  The characters are interesting but what makes it such an exquisite read, are the contrasting themes that permeate the book: love and loss, light and dark, good and evil.  Most importantly the vampire in this story is dark and evil the way vampires should be, not shiny, sparkly, and happy. 

Here are my thoughts on why I enjoyed this book so much:
  • Hannah is so young, religious, innocent, and honorable.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her what to do in this situation.
  • Hannah loved Jacob with every fiber of her being, and her loss and subsequent depression were heart wrenching.  To then see someone manipulate her through her feelings for Jacob, made me angry! 
  • Jacob never loved Hannah as much as she loved him.  Jacob was never comfortable being Amish and probably would have never returned if it wasn't for his experience in New Orleans
  • Levi is honorable and good and although his choices drove me crazy from time to time, he was true to himself and his religion
  • Jacob is not so different than Akiva; only that Akiva is more out in the open and actionable
  • Although there were times I felt bad for Jacob and his lost innocence and love, I wasn't completely sold on him.  There was always something lurking in the back of my mind.  Although he became Akiva he never lost his love for Hannah, but I think it was because she was a means to an end.  Not a star crossed lovers thing.  I think everything he was when he was Jacob was more pronounced when he became Akiva.  In other words, Jacob and Akiva are a lot more alike than you may think. (Hope this makes sense.)
  • Roc Girouard, the detective looking into a string of gruesome murders, is a tortured soul.  I hope he eventually finds peace.
  • There is a religious overtone to this book, it's set in the Amish community, but it flows with the story.  It shows how vulnerable the Amish are to outside influences they know little about or refuse to acknowledge. I don't mean this in a bad way, it's just the way their culture is. 
  • The Amish community was depicted beautifully and added so much to the story.  The virgin landscape, the clean life simple life they lead; it evoked strong protective feelings in me towards Hannah and her family and friends.
  • I better see Roc Girouard in another book because his story is not finished.
I enjoyed this book immensely.  It's a love story about an odd love triangle, with a twist, but it's clean and simple.  Nothing fancy, just people and their raw emotions; who they really are. 

For more information please visit Leanna Ellis' website:

Please be sure to stop by on Monday August 8, 2011 for an interview and giveaway with Leanna

My Rating: 97/100
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Fiction
Trade paperback, 432 pages
Book Source:  Sourceboks

Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my review copy. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's up Wednesday?


What’s up Wednesday is a weekly catch up event. I discuss anything that’s on my mind, or what may be happening in my life. It’s my take on “me time”. Feel free to join along in the comments or leave a link to your What’s up Wednesday post.

This week is all about knitting. I’ve been saying for a while that I would post a photo of my latest project, so here it is:

It's really a pretty teal color but it doesn't show up, and all the pictures of me modeling it were so not getting posted.  I knit it from a free pattern from Knitty. It was knit in pieces and seamed together. The seaming is not so bad but setting the sleeves is.... let’s just say grrrr.

I have been working on this since March and finished it, I think in May or June. I forget. I did bring it with me to Hawaii and knit at night when we were relaxing.

The yarn is a cotton/linen blend so I could wear it with a long sleeve shirt or turtleneck in the winter if I so choose.

I usually knit every knit while watching tv. I need something to do with my hands, and unlike reading I can have a conversation while knitting. Knitting is calming and relaxing, and I’m glad I learned how to do it. I started about 5 years ago. It was fiddly at first, but after a while it becomes second nature. So if you’re in the mood to try something new, I recommend knitting. There are tons of videos out there and free patterns on the Net. There are also a ton of knitting blogs to lose yourself in. If you have any questions, just ask.

To finish this post off, here is picture of me at my desk at work:

Now ya’ll know what I look like :)
So what's up with you this Wednesday? 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Home from Waterloo, Gervase Frant, was excited to be welcomed home by his family and claim his title as the seventh Earl of St. Erth. To his surprise his family is not remotely pleased to have him home and he wonders if they wished he would have died in the war. When Gervase falls for his half-brothers sweetheart his family goes from unfriendly to positively murderous.

The Quiet Gentleman is one of Heyer’s more suspenseful Regency romances, combining a mysterious plot with her signature witty style.

My Thoughts:

Georgette Heyer is the Queen of the Regency Romance novel for a reason.  The woman could write one heck of a story.  The Quiet Gentleman starts off a bit slow, but before you know it, the reader is surrounded with quite a cast of characters:
  • The Dowager Countess, who knows everything and can't be told any different.  Quite like Austen's Lady Catherine from P&P, always with a family story to tell too.
  • Martin the younger half-brother, who feels he should be the Earl damn it!  Really, why couldn't Gervase just die in the war like everyone else?
  • Cousin Theo, who is ever so helpful and has undying loyalty to Gervase.  He's a little too good come to think of it....
  • Miss Bolderwood,the local beauty, who is not the smartest lass in the land but she has quite a fortune
  • Miss Morville, the smart, quite, and unobtrusive woman who everyone underestimates or overlooks
  • Lucy, Gervase's close friend from the war who is himself a Viscount and a dandy.  A typical Regency buck you could say.
  • Our hero of the story, Gervase, who is not the typical silly dandy that everyone takes him for.  He knows what his family thinks of him, has great insight into people's behavior, is quite smart, and sarcastic. 
Gervase finds himself in series of coincidences that threaten his person, and his brother Martin is the first one to be suspected.  This is easy since Martin flies off the handle over the littlest thing.  He can act like quite the big baby, storming off in a huff, in a respectful manner of course.  That just makes it all the funnier.  Poor Martin, he is such an immature country gentleman.  All he needs is some brotherly guidance so he can grow up. 

This is a multi-layered story, with sly complex characters, and wonderful period descriptions that make the reader forget time and place.  The dialogue is witty, full of double meanings, and if you're not careful, you may miss a tid bit if information necessary to solving who wants to off Gervase.  I probably should have figured out who wanted to off Gervase.  Looking back I had my suspicions, but I was too busy enjoying the story and reading in the moment that I didn't wholly care about that aspect of the story.  I liked all of the interplay between the characters, and that's what Heyer excels at.

I can't think of which character I liked the most, because they were all drawn so well.  Each one represents the typical people you would meet in a Regency novel, and I love that cast of characters.  This would make a great Masterpiece Theater show.

The was a fun, light, and enjoyable read that reminded me why I need to read more of Heyer. Excellent!

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical fiction
Trade paperback, 360 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks

2011 Challenges Met:  HF

Thanks Beth from Sourcebooks publicity for sending me a copy of this book.