The third novel in Sabrina Jeffries's “Hellions of Hallstead Hall” series, featuring the independent and talented Lady Minerva Sharpe.
When a charming rogue proposes she marry him to meet her grandmother's ultimatum, the Sharpe clan's strong-willed sister makes a tempting counter-offer that preserves her inheritance and ignites his imagination.
Lady Minerva Sharpe has the perfect plan to thwart her grandmother's demands: become engaged to a rogue! Surely Gran would rather release her inheritance than see her wed a scoundrel. And who better to play the part of Minerva's would-be husband than wild barrister Giles Masters, the very inspiration for the handsome spy in the popular Gothic novels she writes? The memory of his passionate kiss on her nineteenth birthday has lingered in Minerva's imagination, though she has no intention of really falling for such a rakehell, much less marrying him. Little does she know, he really is a covert government operative. When they team up to investigate the mystery behind her parents' deaths, their fake betrothal leads to red-hot desire. Then Minerva discovers Giles's secret double life, and he must use all the cunning tricks of his trade to find his way back into her heart.
Reason: Well I just finished book two in this series, A Hellion in Her Bed, and absolutely loved it. I received an Uncorrected Proof of it so that's why I haven't even started book one yet. However, book two provided enough background for me to still enjoy it. I'll get to book one eventually. But How to Woo a Reluctant Lady is Minerva's story; one that I'm most interested in. Luckily I was offered an ARC copy of this and it's currently in the mail. Be sure to look out for my review before the release date =)
Cover Discussion: Much better than A Hellion in Her Bed...I suppose because their is a couple instead of just a guy with a "come hither" pose. It was nice to look at but I've seen it too many times.
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady will be released January 18th!
Okay, so I did a pretty horrible job on the picture, but I tried =) As you can see, I'm having a combination giveaway. First reason is to celebrate the Holiday season and second reason is because I've been blogging for 2 years. It doesn't really seem like it's been that long but I started in December 2008 and the blog is still alive and kicking.
I just want to pause and thank the people that visit frequently (currently and who have in the past). I started this blog mainly to have a place to track what I read and what those books are about because between you and me, my memory has pretty much left the building. However, the blogging community has become such an integral part of my reading life and I'm so happy to have a little niche to call my own.
This giveaway is going to be pretty similar to my birthday giveaway I had in September. I have 6 books to give away that were randomly put into three different "Prize Packs". The Prize Packs are for US only but there is a prize for one international reader as well.
Furious at his grandmother’s ultimatum to marry or lose his inheritance, Lord Jarret Sharpe wagers his luck—and his heart—at the card table against a most unlikely opponent.
Mired in scandal after his parents’ mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his Machiavellian grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can’t resist when beguiling Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family’s foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one—and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.
I still haven't delved into the gigantic pool that is Historical Romance so I don't have many of these novels under my belt. I also have a anal tendency to read series books in order, hmm who ever heard of that? =) But I accepted the second book in the Hellions of Halstead series thinking "What the heck? Might as well. It sounds good..." I'm happy to report that I very much enjoyed A Hellion in Her Bed.
Annabel Lake is a great heroine. She's extremely clever, witty, sharp, caring, and loyal. The family brewery is going down the drain and Annabel is desperate for help. Her brother is slowly drinking himself away and she has nowhere else to turn. She decides to go to London to seek the help of one of her competitors: Plumtree Brewery. Why Plumtree? Because Plumtree is owned and run by a woman. Annabel knew the woman would treat her as an equal and would actually listen to what she had to say. She had no idea she'd be coming into contact with the owner's grandson instead.
Lord Jarett Sharpe has great distaste for his grandmother's horrid ultimatum for her grandchildren: marry by the end of the year or be disinherited. She agrees to take back said ultimatum if Jarett agrees to run the family brewery for a year without taking huge risks or going wild. Jarett's reputation as a gambler precedes him. And he simply can't resist when a fiesty pixie of a woman comes into his life proposing a wager to help save her own family brewery. Not one to back down from any sort of bet, Jarett ultimately loses against Annabel and is forced into keeping up his end of the bargain: helping out Annabel and Lake Brewery. But nothing goes to plan for anyone as secrets are revealed and passion is ignited between the two.
The marriage part of the story involving Jarett's grandmother and siblings reminds me a lot of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. I love that series and I have a feeling I will really come to like Hellions of Halstead Hall. But despite that similarity, A Hellion in Her Bed stood apart from the few historical romances I've read so far. The brewery aspect was very unique and enjoyable. I liked the fact that both Annabel and Jarett had a passion for what they did. Jarett even treated Annabel as an equal and picked up quickly that Annabel knew she was a formidable business-woman.
Jarett is a wounded yet arrogant hero. I like the fact that he is a caring individual and lets it show sometimes especially when he's around his family. But like most heroes, he guards himself very well in front of most people, including his prospective love. His refusal to share anything about himself with Annabel, while understandable, is a bit predictable and selfish. However, Annabel isn't without her own secrets or flaws. I found Annabel a little too empathetic. She really gives up her happiness and her life for the one's she cares about and even though that's respectable and admirable it's a little over the top. Some of her secrets just shouldn't matter to those that care about her and thank god she realizes that in the story. (Otherwise, I'd have to reach in there and shake the woman!)
There is is also a mystery part of the story that really had me intrigued. Jarett's parents were involved in a mysterious and tragic accident and it has produced a lot of scandal for the Sharpe family. That aspect of the story had a lot to do with me wanting to continue with the series. I'm really interested in knowing exactly what went down with Mother and Father Sharpe (don't mind my nicknames)... The grandmother, Hester, is quite the character: wise and sneaky with a sprinkle of "I'm the boss so deal with it" attitude that really makes her a favorite. And of course the siblings get some airtime that really just skim the surface of their personalities. It's all a ploy to suck you into the series, and honestly it worked on me!
I'm definitely going to go back and pick up the first book in the series which is about the eldest Sharpe, Oliver. He doesn't make a huge comeback in this novel because of course his story is already told. But I'm really looking forward to the next book which is about the eldest daughter, Minerva. There was some teasing insight into her personality and of course her prospective love that I can't wait to discover. But at the end of the day A Hellion in Her Bed was filled with witty dialogue, funny interactions, steamy romance, a few annoying moments, and promising characters! Definitely think you should check it out.
First, six mysteriously pale new students show up at Sophie McGee’s high school. Then, Sophie’s childhood nemesis James reappears, still displaying a knack for making Sophie’s blood boil. When Sophie finds out that James has a connection to the new students, she decides to investigate...never expecting her life will quickly begin to resemble a campy horror movie, complete with budding crushes and bloodthirsty villains.
Perfect for fans of the Vampire Kisses and Vladmir Tod series, A. M. Robinson’s debut novel sparkles with action, intrigue, irresistible wit, and sizzling romance.
Reason: I saw this on a pretty awesome blogger's (Escape In A Book - Definitley check her out) Waiting on Wednesday's post and had to steal it. The book could go either way: total fail or pretty great read. I know there's a lot of vamped out readers out there but I could always go for a well-written vampire book. Could this be one? Maybe!
Cover Discussion: I think it's way cute. Love the font that was used and I'm not a fan of glitter but that little bat totally made me smile =) I enjoy the shadow play as well. Simple yet eye-catching.
-Grab your current read
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
-Please avoid spoilers!
"I could have told him I can't keep my hands off you." He caught her at the waist, her heightened color inflaming his senses, his need. "I could have said that all I think aobut is swiving you senseless. That I lie awake at night imagining how you would feel beneath me. Would that have satisfied your sense of truth and honor?" (147)*
I'm so pleased to welcome back author Skyler White to P.S. I Love Books. I was fortunate enough to review her recently released novel In Dreams Begin (Berkley Trade - September 2010) and talk with her about it.
A lil background info before we go on:
Nationally bestselling author Skyler White’s debut novel, the vampire/neuroscience fable ‘and Falling, Fly‘ (Berkley, March 2010), was named one of the top five sci-fi/fantasy books of 2010 by ‘Library Journal’. Her follow-up, ‘In Dreams Begin‘ (Berkley, November 2010), is a time-travel horror/romance involving W.B. Yeats and other luminaries of the late Victorian ‘Golden Dawn’ occult movement, and was called a “singularly unique work of art” by Barnes & Noble.
The child of two college professors, Skyler grew up in an environment of scholarship and academic rigor, so naturally left high school to pursue a career in ballet. She’s been dancing around research and thinking through muscle cramps ever since. She has a master’s degree in theater and work experience in advertising; she’s won awards as a stage director and appeared on reality TV. She is a mother and an instigator, a wife and a realist, a liberal living in Texas and an atheist who believes in mythology. She is a sucker for paradox, and it’s a fortunate thing, too!
“I wrote In Dreams Begin because I fell in love with W. B. Yeats, which created some interesting problems for me. I fell in love with his world, one in which hypnotists and Charles Darwin, advocates of free love and Carl Marx cycled through the public lecture halls, where the tools of science were enlisted in the search for God and fairies, and where the sexual repression I thought of as “Victorian” did not extend to the artistic or royal classes, whose invention and exploration make modern sexual liberation look lacking in imagination.
“I shared with Yeats a fascination with demonic or occult possession. While his investigations were more experiential than mine, in writing a woman from my time who inhabits the body of a woman from his, I got to play with changing ideas of beauty. I was able to question whether I am my body or a part of it, or it a part of who I am. Possession — by spirits or of stuff — on either side of the then rise and now (perhaps) decline of the consumer culture, raised interesting quandaries: Do I truly possess my own body? Is it mine to maintain, enhance, neglect or add horns to? Can I give myself to someone? Do I own my child? Is my body’s health a status symbol, a communication tool, a shell for my soul, or a public policy problem? And isn’t channeling the souls of other people really what all writers do? “Finally, I was attracted by Yeats’s total lack of interest in realism, the same restless curiosity I admire in contemporary fantasy writers, and by his passion and imagination, which I recognize and love in today’s bloggers and deep hobbyists. I also saw in him the beginning of the modern rejection of absolute certainty that makes it difficult to passionately commit to anything – book, blog or love forever. I loved his passion and his uncertainty. I still do. And I am still uncertain.”
Me: Thank you for taking the time out to visit P.S. I Love Books to talk about your latest novel Skyler! It’s always a pleasure to have you here.
Skye:Thanks so much. It’s fun to be here!
Me: Can you tell us a little about In Dreams Begin and your inspiration for the novel?
Skye:Happy to! “In Dreams Begin” is a dark romance/secret history in which the consciousness of a modern woman wakes up in the body of Irish Victorian freedom fighter, Maud Gonne. In Maud’s body, Laura meets and falls in love with the poet W. B. Yeats and must negotiate the body- and mind-shifting that happens between the past and her modern life.
Having written (but at that point, not yet sold) a dark vampire-and-neuroscientist love story (and Falling, Fly) that explored desire both mythically and medically, I wanted romance. I wanted it with a capital R, down on one knee, in poetry and Irish moonlight. So I was doing research. I was looking for an exemplum of a type. I was not looking for historical fiction. But I found Yeats. And I fell in love with him, and that’s what inspired the book. Specifically, it was the fruitless courtship by Yeats of Maud that piqued my curiosity. Why would an intellectual, artistic, passionate poet pursue an irrational, violence-seeking radical? Why would he propose to her eight times, and then propose to her daughter? What was he looking for in her that he could find nowhere else despite her consistent rejection and frequent anger? I wanted to make up a story that could explain both of their actions, their marriage “on the spiritual plane,” and the complete commitment Yeats had to the occult.
The more I learned about him, the more I came to see him first as the quintessential Irish poet-hero, then as the ideal character model, and finally as the real person I had to write. Having discovered in his involvement with the occult, and his thirty-year, fruitless pursuit of a woman who claimed to be part Sidhe, a “how” and a “why’ for a body-switching time-travel (he tangled with Maud Gonne for so long because her part-faerie body intermittently housed the spirit his occult arts channeled into her) I was planning a fictional Irish poet/magus. But in the end it wasn’t even Yeats who made the real man mandatory. It was Maud.
Born on my birthday, exactly one hundred years before me, she was an actress, a revolutionary, and an international spy, with disastrous judgment of men. Almost six feet tall and famed for her beauty, she bore two children out of wedlock to a married Frenchman, married and divorced an abusive Sinn Feiner subsequently shot by firing squad for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, but would agree to only a marriage “on the spiritual plane” with Yeats, the future Nobel Laureate. Anything I could invent to stand in for these real people would pale in comparison. I had to write the story I wanted to tell around their history. Between and into it.
Me: What was one of your favorite and least favorite things about writing In Dreams Begin?
Skye:It’s the same answer for both questions, actually: the research. Having decided to write a secret history about two real people, I had a tremendous amount of background and logistical research to do. I read all of Yeats’s poetry – and he wrote multiple volume’s worth. I also read all the letters he wrote to Maud, both of their autobiographies, a bunch of biographies, and many works on Victorian Ireland. I also traveled to most of the locations in the book and rewrote a late-stage draft in response to what I learned by being in the graveyard, or on the beach where they were. (Notes from that trip are on my blog, if you’re interested.)
The assignment I set for myself is the inverse of the politician’s plausible deniability. To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing in the book that can be proved false. I tried very hard to make certain that if a scene takes place between Maud and Yeats in London in 1898, that I had evidence that they were both there then (or at least no evidence showing they were somewhere else). Also, I tried to make sure that none of the historical figures in the book say or do anything inconsistent with what I could learn of their character. I also didn’t invent any of the named Victorian historical characters except Ida Jameson, and she actually existed; I just don’t know anything about her. I used her name, her parentage, and her friendship with Maud, and invented the rest. But with that exception, any character with a first and last name in the book was a real person whose description and behavior is based in fact.
And the simple logistics of the project almost killed me – trying to arrange the events of the book so that they fit with the events of history. Just getting Maud and Will in the same country was a challenge! But it was also the most fun. The constraints imposed by the experiment were fun, and all the details and information I picked up was fascinating. But treading the line between the interest of the research and the requirements of my story was a sort of gleeful agony.
Me: I know you’re a big fan of Yeats and it certainly shows in your novel but which of your characters was the most fun to work with in this novel? As you were writing did any of the other characters capture your heart?
Skye:Ida did. She’s so wicked and twisted, but only because she has such a strong growth impulse in such a confining environment. She wants to learn. Really, that’s all she wants. She has this fanatic curiosity, but keeps having avenues of wisdom closed on her fingers because she’s a woman. Curiosity is one of my two favorite character traits in people. So I have to forgive Ida for hers, even if I hate the way it warps and twists her as it is thwarted and stunted by her situation and time.
Me: How do you like the cover chosen for In Dreams Begin?
Skye:I think it’s beautiful! I love the way it contrasts but still resonates with the cover for “and Falling, Fly.” And I love the colors. I would have dressed the model differently, if it had been mine to do. I worry that her outfit signals a steampunk book, which this isn’t, but I love the aesthetic of it.
Me: I really enjoyed the excerpts from poems written by W.B. Yeats at the beginning of each chapter. What was your process for choosing them for each chapter?
Skye:As I read the collections of his poetry, I was always keeping an eye out for excerpts that seemed to lend credence to my secret history. Some passages, actually, helped determine plot elements, they were so spot on. But the hardest thing was eliminating sections that worked when I had too many options for a given chapter.
Me: If your life were made into a movie, who would you like to see play you?
Skye:Er… Ewan MacGregor?
Me: Do you have any habits or rituals you do when you sit down to write?
Skye:I don’t have a daily routine, writing or otherwise. Maybe one day. Every Sunday though, I sit down and look at the upcoming week, which kid has what sport, whether we have houseguests, my husband’s work schedule, school vacation days or field trips, the “full catastrophe” of hearth and home, and block out at least ten hours of writing time, ideally in two-plus hour blocks. I try very hard to protect those time slots from other commitments and actually make myself sit down and write. I can’t listen to music while I write, but I have a one-hour track of white noise—thunderstorms actually—that I listen to on in-ear earbuds on my iPod, so I can turn off the sound on my computer. It reminds me to take breaks at the hour mark and drowns out ambient noise.
Me: I’m always looking to add books to my gigantic TBR (to be read) pile. Do you have any books you’ve read recently or are currently reading that you can recommend?
Skye:Absolutely! I recently read Stacia Kane’s “Unholy Ghosts,” and was really impressed by that. And “The Anubis Gate” by Tim Powers is great, if you’re looking for more Victorian secret history.
Me: What can we look forward from you next?
Skye:Ack, I don’t have dates yet! I’m a painfully slow writer. I have two projects going at the moment. In the same way that “Dreams” is, to a certain extent, a prequel to “Falling” I have another piece that’s a prequel to both. But it’s short and very experimental, so I’m not quite sure where it will find a home. The other project is a contemporary trilogy nestled into the world that “Dreams” and “Falling” inhabit, but self-contained and set entirely in the US. It’s about two women who end up running a metaphysical detective agency in LA.
Me: Thanks again for stopping by Skyler!
Skye:Thanks so much for the invite!
Skyler White has generously offered one signed copy of In Dreams Begin (read my review here) to a lucky reader!
“Close your eyes tightly—tightly—and keep them closed . . .” From a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power, but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist instead. Now, for the man or demon she loves, each woman must span a bridge through Hell and across history . . . or destroy it.
“Every passionate man is linked with another age, historical or imaginary, where alone he finds images that rouse his energy.” W. B. Yeats. Anchored in fact on both sides of history, Laura and Ida, modern rationalist and fin de siècle occultist, are linked from the moment Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne. When Laura falls—from an ocean and a hundred years away—passionately, Victorianly in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats, their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats’s poetry until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces in between.
With her Irish past threatening her orderly present and the man she loves in it, Laura and Yeats—the practical materialist and the poet magus—must find a way to make love last over time, in changing bodies, through modern damnation, and into the mythic past to link their pilgrim souls . . . or lose them forever.
Skyler White's writing has a unique lyrical quality to it. After reading and Falling, Fly (read my review here) last year I noticed how mind-consuming her words could be. When I say that I mean her writing really engages a reader's mind. I've found some people don't like that quality while other's really seem to like it. So basically, you either like her style of writing or you don't. I enjoyed and Falling, Fly. It was entirely different than books I've read before and the plot line was so interesting and well-written. In Dreams Begin has the same lyrical quality that makes the writing flow like music or poetry...however, I found I didn't quite enjoy this novel as much as her first.
I'm not too familiar with W.B. Yeats, Maude Gonne, their lives or the history of Ireland...so I was going into this novel with not a lot of expectations. The synopsis sounded pretty interesting so I didn't feel like their was anything to lose. And while I didn't fall in love with the book it still had a lot of great aspects that made me enjoy reading.
The story is about Laura, a modern day woman, who wakes up on her wedding night in an Irish freedom fighter's body about one hundred years in the past. Ida Jameson is dreadfully plain and easily overlooked. She desperately wants to become apart of the occult world and be accepted as an equal if not master of the craft. It is when she and her friend, Maud Gonne, start to experiment that she calls Laura's soul into Maud's body. After realizing her mistake, Ida sees a chance to gain acceptance and knowledge from the occult leaders. She sets out to use her newly acquired "friend" to prove her power.
But when that doesn't work Ida quickly becomes somewhat unbalanced. She is soon consumed by a dark need to have the very things she can never really possess: Maud's beauty, a place in the occult world, or the handsome daemon she falls in love with in Hell. I found I really became engrossed in Ida's story. She's entirely wicked but I almost felt pity for her. She is a cruel and desperate woman but really only wants to know things. I believe it is her passion for learning that destroys the kindness in her and drives her to the unhappy fate that awaits her.
While Ida spirals into the twisted path of the occult, Laura (in Maud's body) meets and falls in love with W.B. Yeats. Thus begins a love affair that lasts decades in Yeats' time period but only days for Laura. The time-traveling aspect of the novel was entirely interesting. I mean I'm not too familiar with time-travel fiction but I thought it was such a great and unique addition to the story. Although the love between Laura and Yeats was somewhat selfish in my opinion, I still found it heart-breaking that so much time separated the two. And I say selfish only because Laura's new husband is entirely wonderful. He is very much in love Laura and ends up displaying it in great lengths during the story. So I did find myself somewhat angry at Laura at times. But who am I to judge love? No one can help who they fall in love with. And besides Laura does love her husband. She just happened to love two different men in two different time periods. *shrugs* Could happen to anyone =)
Maud is sort of just a "tool" in the story. Her body is used by Ida, Laura, and Yeats and while I didn't really love her personality I still think Maud got the crap end of the stick to put it bluntly. But like I said, Maud's character didn't really grab my attention anyway. I did find it hard to grasp the concept that Yeats and Laura could look past the fact that it was really Maud's body Laura was in while the two were together. I just think I'd have a tough time overlooking that little detail if I were in Laura's or Yeats' position.
I had much going on personally while reading In Dreams Begin so I think I didn't really come to appreciate the novel for what it was. I had trouble grasping certain things and found my brain just wouldn't quite connect with some of the passages. But I still enjoyed it very much and I think a re-reading is in order sometime in the future. Skyler White delivers another uniquely written story that promises quite an experience. I have no problem recommending this along with her earlier novel and Falling, Fly. It will definitely be a journey for you.
**I received the first 4 books in a package from Hatchette Books and I'm not sure which blog I won them from =/
Pleasure Unbound :: Larissa Ione(Demoica series, book one)
(July 2008 - Grand Central Publishing)
In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .
She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life. Two lovers will dare to risk all.
Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul...
My Wicked Enemy :: Carolyn Jewel(Witches series, book one)
(August 2008 - Grand Central Publishing)
A desire that can't be controlled...Carson Philips is a witch on the run. For years, the notorious mage, Alvaro Magellan, has held her as his psychological prisoner. But once Carson gets a glimpse of the true extent of his evil, she flees Magellan's mansion—stealing a stone talisman of unimaginable power on the way. Her only hope for survival is a demon who ignites a voracious hunger in her she can't deny, a longing she can't resist...
A hunger that can't be sated...Nikodemus is a warlord with a mission: Kill Magellan and his green-eyed witch at any cost. But when he meets the desperate Carson, the pull of her magic takes his breathe away. He's not sure he can trust this tantalizing woman—she is his enemy—and less sure he can keep his hands off her. But Magellan will stop at nothing to reclaim what belongs to him. Can Nikodemus stop him before his desire for Carson destroys them both?
Marked By Passion :: Kate Perry(The Guardians of Destiny series, book one)
(February 2009 - Grand Central Publishing)
Gabrielle Sansouci Chin is turned for a loop when she receives the ancient scroll that she was marked to protect. Her possession only means one thing...her father is dead. Gabe has no idea how she is going to balance her new responsibilities as a Guardian being a painter by day and a bartender by night. Having just been contracted for her new "Enter the Light" series, Gabe tries to handle it all. But it seems like her luck has run dry when she's ill trained to take her proper place as guardian, having a dry spell at painting, and for some reason can't help but fall for Rhys Llewellyn, the sexy Brit who offers his help in more ways than one.
Sins of the Flesh :: Caridad Pineiro(Sin series, book one)
(November 2009 - Grand Central Publishing)
Caterina Shaw's days are numbered. Her only chance for survival is a highly experimental gene treatment-a risk she willingly takes. But now Caterina barely recognizes herself. She has new, terrifying powers, an exotic, arresting body-and she's been accused of a savage murder, sending her on the run.
Mick Carrera is a mercenary and an expert at capturing elusive, clever prey. Yet the woman he's hunting down is far from the vicious killer he's been told to expect: Caterina is wounded, vulnerable, and a startling mystery of medical science. Even more, she's a beautiful woman whose innocent sensuality tempts Mick to show her exactly how thrilling pleasure can be. The heat that builds between them is irresistible, but surrendering to it could kill them both . . . for a dangerous group is plotting its next move using Caterina as its deadly pawn.
Eating Animals :: Jonathan Safran Foer
(November 2009 - Little, Brown and Company)
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates?
Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, and his own undercover detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales justify a brutal ignorance. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, huge bestsellers, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told--and the stories we now need to tell.
French Letters: Engaged in War, is the second book in the French Letters Trilogy. The companion to Virginia’s War, it is the story of Will Hastings, an army doctor caught up in the D-Day landings in Normandy and the drive to capture St. Lo, France. Isolated from Virginia Sullivan and the events taking place at home, Will faces the demands of combat surgery under fire and the losses of his brother, his friends, and his connection to home.
Historically accurate and precise and covering events from exactly the same time frame as the events in the first volume, Engaged in War is a novel of the will to survive when war, distance, loss, and the uncertainty of the future separate a couple far beyond the breaking point.
I've never really been a "war-time" reader and I'm pretty positive this is my first war-related novel. In school I sort of avoided all History classes if I could get away with it. I'm not too sure why I did that now that I think about it. Set in WWII, Engaged In War is the second in a trilogy and focuses on Will Hastings, a young army doctor. I usually don't like to step out of order when it comes to books, however the blurb caught my attention and I ended up accepting the request for review. The French Letter Trilogy, from what I gather, take place in the same time period but are told from a different character's perspective. So I don't think it bothers me that much that I went out of order.
It took me quite a while to become comfortable with the style of writing. I had a tough time figuring out who was the main character in the beginning and then I had an equally tough time keeping the secondary characters straight. I felt there was a lack of character depth in the secondary characters which caused me to get confused on who was who. But I suppose that's understandable because the focus of the story was on the effect this war had on the decisions people had to make in order to survive and live with themselves. War is hard on everyone, those personally involved and those "sitting on the sidelines". Will makes tough decisions everyday when treating soldiers and their specific wounds. But Will must also question his morals when faced with a court martial after being severely wounded.
I found that I liked the unique personality of Will although I couldn't quite grasp him entirely. After arriving on the beach in Normandy during the D-Day landings, Will's story really takes off. He's focused on finding out what really happened to his brother who is presumed dead from a glider crash. And yet despite that strong pull towards his brother's fate, Will still has this passion and drive to do his duty as an army doctor. His will, determination, and stamina make him a very likable character. His lack of contact with his girlfriend, Virginia Sullivan, back in his hometwon of Tierra, Texas causes a strain on Will's conncetion with his "normal" or former life. This leads to an easier attraction to a local farmgirl, Geraldine. His relationship with her symbolizes the connection between two people that crosses language and culture barriers since Will is and English speaking American and Geraldine is French and speaks very, very little English. Despite this, they are able to come together in a desperate time to fill a void that the War has caused them both.
It seems to me that this novel was very well researched because I actually caught something about WWII and the D-Day landings on my local public broadcasting station while reading it. The show on TV even went into some detail about some of the French countryside as well that was also a big part of the novel. Because like I mentioned earlier, I skipped as much History in school as I could so I'm pretty clueless about most of the wars that have happened in the past. But I'm fairly confident in saying that the author did a very good job in his research.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It did take me longer than I expected to finish it but don't let that deter you from giving it a try. I'm definitely interested in reading the first novel, Virginia's War, because it goes into detail about what happens with Virginia and things "back home". I'm also interested in seeing what book three will be about.
Set on the island of Nantucket, STARCROSSED tells the tale of Helen Hamilton, a young woman whose destiny is forever altered when she meets Lucas Delos and tries to kill him in front of her entire high school. Which is terribly inconvenient, not only because Lucas is the most beautiful boy on the island, but also because Helen is so achingly shy she suffers physical pain whenever she is given too much attention.
Making matters worse, Helen is beginning to suspect she’s going crazy. Whenever she’s near Lucas or any member of his family she sees the ghostly apparitions of three women weeping bloody tears, and suffers the burden of an intense and irrational hate. She soon learns that she and Lucas are destined to play the leading roles in a Greek tragedy that the Three Fates insist on repeating over and over again throughout history. Like her namesake, Helen of Troy, she’s destined to start a war by falling in love. But even though Lucas and Helen can see their own star-crossed destiny, they’re still powerfully attracted to each other. Will they give up their personal happiness for the greater good, or risk it all to be together?
Reason: I admit the first paragraph of the synopsis had me scratching my head and kinda thinking wtf? But as I read on the book definitely sounded a lot more appealing. I'm not too familar with Helen of Troy and her history but I'd love to read this and maybe do a bit of research on the story as well... we'll see =) I enjoy books that make me want to go and find out more about the subject!
Cover Discussion: The cover is what got my attention as I was scrolling through goodreads. I love the whimsical feeling the cover model has and the dark clouds are a great backdrop. It could be better but than again it could be worse. I'm liking it though.
From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.
I should have wrote this review sooner when the book was more fresh in my mind. But of course, I didn't do that... I really enjoyed Glass Houses though. I have yet to read anything by Rachel Caine although I have the first two books in her Weather Warden series. After reading this book I think it's safe to say I'm going to enjoy her writing =)
Now we all know how popular vampire/paranormal books (especially ones with school settings) are, not only in the YA adult genre, but in all books. So it is ALWAYS a pleasure finding a novel that stands out a bit from the crowd. Glass Houses stood out for me. Even though there is a college backdrop the story isn't centered around that. It isn't centered around Claire's experiences at a "magical" school, it's about her experiences as a whole in Morganville, Texas, which is pretty much owned by vampires.
Being the first book in a series is always tough. The introduction to the world, basic plot, and it's characters sometimes makes one force themselves through it to get to the next novel. However, I didn't find Glass Houses a big disappointment as far as first-in-the-series books go. I thought character development was lacking a bit but its understandable and I'm expecting more depth in the upcoming novels. While the reader gets a basic understanding and feeling of the main characters there is still a lot to discover.
I enjoyed Claire's personality even though she has her annoying moments (but who doesn't??). She's got spunk even while being held against her will and beat up by the popular girls at the college. Claire is a genius that actually enjoys schoolwork and homework. And instead of going to MIT or Yale her parents would rather her go to a small-town college a lot closer to home. A sixteen (almost seventeen) year old freshman that would rather study than party isn't always the most popular student at school. So naturally there are those that are born to make other's lives miserable and they find Claire very quickly. I think an aspect I really enjoyed about the book is that Rachel Caine wasn't afraid to include a little violence in the novel. Not that I'm a violence junkie or enjoy reading about people getting beat up or anything but I was surprised at the lack of sugar-coating in the scenes between the mean girls and Claire. Claire gets hurt a lot in the novel and Rachel Caine wasn't afraid to tell the reader about it either. That definitely made the book stand out, especially in the YA genre.
Claire can be quite the smart-ass and I enjoyed that. Shortly after determining that her very life could be in jeopardy if she stays in the dorm she finds a place to stay at off campus with three roommates. It is with these three roommates that Claire discovers the truth of Morganville. Vampires run the show and the dynamics between said vampires and the humans they live with is very interesting. I'm excited to read more about the unique vampire heritage in upcoming books. Michael's character was definitely the most interesting and surprising. I'm eager to see how his character will do in the series. Eve is sweet although the Goth persona is a little tired. I feel her hiding behind the whole charade a little boring and I hope to see her break out of that sooner rather than later. Shane is somewhat typical as crushes go - tough, hott, a little mysterious, and secretly caring.
Overall I think Glass Houses was very good. It's filled with the creepy vampires that aren't love interests and characters that have a lot of potential to grow and develop. And I can't wait to discover all of Morganville's secrets. I'll be getting book 3 and 4 whenever I find the time to get book 2. I'm also really looking forward to Rachel's Weather Warden series and discovering if there is difference between her YA and adult writing.