Monthly Archives: January 2011

Changeling (Sisters of the Moon, #2) by Yasmine Galenorn

“The first in an engrossing new series, [Witchling was] a whimsical reminder of fantasy’s importance in life” (Publishers Weekly). Now comes Changeling-again featuring Camille, the good witch, Menolly, the vampire, and Delilah, a feline shapeshifter. They’re the D’Artigo sisters, half-human, half-Faerie supernatural agents who are now enlisted to find the fiends responsible for slaughtering the weres of Rainier Puma Pride.

re-read 1/17

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance

The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell

From Publisher for Review

This review was originally posted on Seductive Musings.  They requested me to be a guest reviewer and I was VERY flattered and of course, said yes.  Although a historical, this book is not one I would have probably ever picked up on my own.  I am very grateful I did so because it is an amazingly well written book about a time period I have little knowledge of.  The following description is from the publisher with my review following.

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history’s most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London’s slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century’s most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King’s Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened playhouses, she catapults to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans-and the heart of the most powerful man in all of England, the King himself. Surrendering herself to Charles, Nell will be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court-and discover a world of decadence and passion she never imagined possible.

First of all, a thank you to Seductive Musings for asking me to guest review this book.  Although I read a lot of historical fiction, I tend to concentrate on the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.  The Darling Strumpet takes place in the latter half of the 1600s, so it is a new era for me. 

Oliver Cromwell is dead and the beloved Charles II has returned to England to take up his crown.  In the streets of London, a young Nell Gwynn runs away from her abusive mother and joins her sister in a brothel.  Who would ever expect the paths of the King of England and a lowborn child prostitute to cross?

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I loved Nell and thought her life was described fairly honestly.  There was no attempt to romanticize her career as a prostitute and mistress.  She knew her existence was strictly at the whim of whatever man had her in their power, be he low born or royalty.  However, despite that, she had many male friends (including former lovers) who she kept due to her wit and loyalty.

Although Charles II was presented very sympathetically, I could not like him.  Infidelity has always been the sticking point for me and he had three mistresses, a wife, and numerous casual trysts.  This was all at the same time.  And yes, I do realize the morals of the time, not to mention the fact he was King are supposed to make a difference.

Of course, the book is based on historical fact.  Charles II did have multiple mistresses.  The author is only being true to the facts.

This is probably not a book I will ever re-read.  I don’t need to . . . I will never forget it.

According to her website, Gillian Bagwell spent twenty years researching this, her debut book.  The wealth of historical detail makes it obvious that the time was well spent.  Fortunately, we will not have to wait so long for her next book which is based on another woman in Charles’ life:  Jane Lane.  The September Queen is due to be published in November of 2011.

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Filed under Historical, Realistic, Romance

The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell

The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles IIThe Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II by Gillian Bagwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oliver Cromwell is dead and the beloved Charles II has returned to England to take up his crown. In the streets of London, a young Nell Gwynn runs away from her abusive mother and joins her sister in a brothel. Who would ever expect the paths of the King of England and a lowborn child prostitute to cross?

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I loved Nell and thought her life was described fairly honestly. There was no attempt to romanticize her career as a prostitute and mistress. She knew her existence was strictly at the whim of whatever man had her in their power, be he low born or royalty. However, despite that, she had many male friends (including former lovers) who she kept due to her wit and loyalty.

Although Charles II was presented very sympathetically, I could not like him. Infidelity has always been the sticking point for me and he had three mistresses, a wife, and numerous casual trysts. This was all at the same time. And yes, I do realize the morals of the time, not to mention the fact he was King are supposed to make a difference.

Of course, the book is based on historical fact. Charles II did have multiple mistresses. The author is only being true to the facts.

This is probably not a book I will ever re-read. I don’t need to . . . I will never forget it.

According to her website, Gillian Bagwell spent twenty years researching this, her debut book. The wealth of historical detail makes it obvious that the time was well spent. Fortunately, we will not have to wait so long for her next book which is based on another woman in Charles’ life: Jane Lane. The September Queen is due to be published in November of 2011.

(originally reviewed at Seductive Musings)

View all my reviews

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Filed under Historical, Realistic, Romance

Witchling (Sisters of the Moon, #1) by Yasmine Galenorn

We’re the D’Artigo Sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we’re savvy – and sexy – operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she’s stressed. Menolly’s a vampire who’s still trying to get the hang of being undead. And me? I’m Camille – a wicked-good witch. Except my magic is as unpredictable as the weather, which my enemies are about to find out the hard way…

At the Wayfarer Inn, a portal to Otherworld and the local hangout for humans and beasties alike, our fellow operative Jocko’s been murdered. Every clue points to Shadow Wing, the soul-munching, bad-ass leader of the Subterranean Realms. He’s made it clear that he aims to raze humankind to the ground, turning both Earth and Otherworld into his private playground. Our assignment: keep Shadow Wing and his minions from creeping into Earth via the Wayfarer. The demons figure they’re in like Flynn. After all, with only my ‘bumbling’ sisters and me standing in the way, how can they miss? But we’ve got a secret for them: faulty wiring or not, nobody kicks ass like the D’Artigo girls.

re-read 1/15/2011

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Filed under Mystery, Paranormal, Romance

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. (from Goodreads)

Okay, I don’t normally read much contemporary, realistic fiction.  I especially don’t read it in the YA area because they tend to be depressing.  At least that’s what I’ve always thought.

I obviously need to expand my horizons.

I read Along for the Ride because it is one of last years Teens Top Ten nominees and I am still trying to catch up on those.  I am not sure why I bother because the new nominees will be out in a few months (April 14, 2011, to be exact.)  Anyway, it did make the top ten list.

I am so glad I gave this one a shot.

The book takes place during the summer between high school graduation and whatever comes after . . . college, work, or “chicken salad.”  Read the book.  You’ll understand.

Cross posted to Irwin County Students READ!

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Filed under Contemporary, Realistic, Romance, Young Adult

Mayo Clinic Diet

Get a quick and gratifying start with Lose It!, the phase of the diet designed to help you lose up to six to ten pounds in just two weeks. Eat the foods you love – in moderation – in the Live It! phase, which is designed to help you continue to lose one to two pounds a week (and keep them off!).

Finally, here’s the diet that helps you accomplish real and lasting weight-loss. This diet is no fad, but a solid, common sense approach brought to you by an organization that is an award-winning health information resource. Nor does The Mayo Clinic Diet require expensive ingredients (which can make a diet difficult to maintain in the long run.)

Through simple, healthy adjustments to your lifestyle, The Mayo Clinic Diet gives you the tools you need to achieve the success you want.

Lots of good, common sense.  Now if I will only apply it.

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Filed under NonFiction

Ruthless Game (GhostWalker, #9) by Christine Feehan

GhostWalker Kane Cannon’s mission plunges him into a hot zone more personal than he anticipated: the hiding place of Rose Patterson-hunted fugitive, ex-lover, and a fellow GhostWalker desperate to save the life of her unborn child. Kane’s Child.

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance

Mane Squeeze (Pride, #4) by Shelly Laurenston

Growing up on the tough Philly streets, Gwen O’Neill has learned how to fend for herself. But what is she supposed to do with a nice, suburban Jersey boy in the form of a massive Grizzly shifter? Especially one with a rather unhealthy fetish for honey, moose, and . . . uh . . . well, her. Yet despite his menacing ursine growl and four-inch claws, Gwen finds Lachlan “Lock” MacRyrie cute and really sweet. He actually watches out for her, protects her, and unlike the rest of her out-of-control family manages not to morbidly embarrass her. Too bad cats don’t believe in forever.
At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming and running away. Gwen-half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass-does neither. She’s sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she’s a born protector. Watching out for the family and friends closest to her but missing the fact that she’s being stalked by a murderous enemy who doesn’t like hybrids . . . and absolutely hates Gwen. Lock probably shouldn’t get involved, but he will. Why? Because this is Gwen-and no matter what the hissing, roaring, drape destroying feline says about not being ready to settle down, Lock knows he can’t simply walk away. Not when she’s come to mean absolutely everything to him.

A re-read for the umpteenth time.  It never gets old.  I absolutely adore Lock.

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Filed under Contemporary, Humor, Paranormal, Romance

In Too Deep (Looking Glass, #1; Arcane Society, #10) by Jayne Ann Krentz

Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It’s a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove-Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.

When she starts work as Fallon’s assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office-and doesn’t bat an eye at the psychic aspect of his job. She’s a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness. But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business . . . and Isabella’s family tree. 

I have said again and again, JAK under any name cannot write a bad book.  This one is no exception.

I have been waiting for Fallon’s book forever and Isabella is the perfect mate for him.  She sees more conspiracies than he does.

I don’t understand though, why JAK writes these trilogies in the order she does.  Present day, historical, then futuristic.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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Filed under Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance

Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan, #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Cordelia Naismith is enjoying a baptism of fire. Her first mission is to captain a throwaway warship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an entire enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she is forced into an uneasy peace with her nemesis: Lord Aral Vorkosigan. Discovering that astrocartography is not the soundest training for a military leader, Cordelia rapidly finds herself the prisoner of the Barrayaran Captain Aral Vorkosigan, also known as ‘The Butcher of Komarr’. But the notorious captain is not quite the beast Cordelia was expecting and a grudging respect develops between the two of them. As captor and prisoner on an abandoned outpost planet, the honourable captain and the resolute scientist must rely on each others’ trust to survive a trek across dangerous terrain, thus sparking a relationship that shares the struggles of culture and politics between their worlds. (from Goodreads)

I read this book after numerous recommendations by a variety of bloggers.  All I knew was the author wrote science fiction.  This book is actually a combination science fiction / romance and is written in the old style of space opera.  There are, however, a lot of psychological threads and philosophical discussions of honor.  It has much more depth than the description space opera connotates.

And yes, I liked it well enough to order the second one in the series.

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Filed under Romance, Science Fiction