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"Suite Scarlett"



by Maureen Johnson

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

...more Scarlett Martin's large family runs and lives in the Hopewell Hotel in Manhattan. The Hopewell has seen better days and the family will do what it takes to keep the business afoot. Scarlett feels like the only one of her friends who actually stayed in Manhattan for the summer. But she won't be bored long, thanks to a new guest, the glamorous Mrs. Amberson, checking in.

I loved Scarlett's relationship with her family, especially the tight bond with her older brother, Spencer. The characters and relationships were so well developed and believeable. It's so interesting to read about the family dynamics.

The plot was definitely different than I thought it would be, in a good way. Since Spencer is an actor, a lot of the story revolves around theater. This was a very appealing topic to me, and a great surprise.

Maureen Johnson has a fantastic sense of humor with lots of sarcasm and witty quotes. Her writing is very smooth and fast paced.

The only thing that prevented this book from getting 5 stars from me was that sometimes I didn't like the Scarlett character. She was a bit cold and selfish sometimes, especially in her treatment of her little sister who had battled cancer. This is the only complaint that I had about the book.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line:
Overall the book was very entertaining with no slow parts. The subject was unique and not at all predictable.

Waiting on Wednesday (5)


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:
"The Fool's Girl"
by Celia Rees

Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: July 20, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

A lush, epic historical novel by bestseller Celia Rees, with an added Shakespearean twist. Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Violetta and her comic companion, Feste, have come in search of an ancient holy relic that the evil Malvolio has stolen from their kingdom. But where will their remarkable quest—and their most unusual story—lead? In classic Celia Rees style, it is an engrossing journey, full of political intrigue, danger, and romance. This wholly original story is spun from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and includes both folly and suspense that would make the Bard proud.


This historical novel from a great author sounds awesome to me! Shakespeare with a twist is always intriguing! I love the cover as well.

What are you waiting on this week??

In My Mailbox (6)

Happy Holidays, everyone!!

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Swapped:
"A Dog Named Christmas" by Greg Kincaid

I received this one just in time for Christmas! I'm halfway through, review to come shortly!

Bought:

"Gone" by Michael Grant


I've heard such great things about this series! I can't wait to read it!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week?

What are You Reading on Mondays (2)




What are You Reading on Mondays is a meme from J. Kaye's Book Blog. It's a great way to show everyone what you are reading this week, and maybe what you just finished or are planning to read, too!

Books I finished reading last week:

"Suite Scarlett" by Maureen Johnson:
I will be writing my review ASAP!!

Currently reading:

"When Seducing the Duke" by Kathryn Smith



I feel like I've been reading a little slower this week, there's been so much holiday planning to do!! Hopefully next week I'll have more time to read!

What are you reading this week?


In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Only one book this week, but it's one I've really been waiting for!!

Swapped:

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



I can't wait to read this one! What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Waiting on Wednesday (4)


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:
"Princess of Glass"
by Jessica Day George

Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: May 25, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

The engrossing companion novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball, with a wicked twist on Cinderella. Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances—and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale—until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.


I love fairy tale retellings and this version of Cinderella looks like so much fun! I've been wanting to read something by this author for a long time!


What are you waiting on this week??

Teaser Tuesday (1)


It's my first time participating in Teaser Tuesday! I just love the book I'm reading right now so much, I want to get the word out there! Many of you might have already read it, it's Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson.

from MizB's site:
"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!"
Here's my teaser:

"Against all odds, this plan worked for two entire nights. Either the gods were smiling on them for once, or their basement was truly the place where no one could hear you scream."

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, p. 129

I can't wait to read all of your teasers this week!

"Freaks: Alive on the Inside"



by Annette Curtis Klause

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Abel Dandy is the only "normal" person at Faeryland, a circus of oddities, or Freaks, at the turn of the century. Even his doting parents are freaks. Abel's only hope for being in the show instead of being an errand boy, is to hone his skills as a knife thrower. He's always wondered what it would be like on the outside, to be like everyone else instead of being the odd one out.

I loved the characters in this book. Abel was a strong main character, he never failed in his support of the people who were family to him, but bashed by the rest of society. All of the supporting characters were based on real circus acts from history. My favorite character was Apollo, the 12 year old puppy boy, who followed Abel when he ran away. He wanted to escape his abusive father and looked up to Abel. Apollo's wide-eyed innocence and optimism was quite similar to an actual puppy and he was a lot fun to read about.

The mysterious ring and the dreams that Abel had about the beautiful girl seemed somewhat disjointed from the rest of the story. The way that his dream girl reveals herself at last is very odd and wasn't believable to me. I would have rather had the entire book be about the circus and Abel's adventures on the road.

I picked up this book for the cover, and my appreciation for the artwork grew as I read the book and realized what all of the elements represented. I love a cover illustration that is truly made for a specific book instead of a manipulated stock photo. All of the main characters and story elements are woven together in this gorgeous illustration.

Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Romance: 2/5
Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 5+/5
Writing: 4/5


Bottom Line:
This was a very unique, enjoyable read with a great message and colorful cast of characters.

What are You Reading on Mondays (1)



This is my first time participating in this great meme from J. Kaye's Book Blog!

What are You Reading on Mondays is a meme from J. Kaye's Book Blog. It's a great way to show everyone what you are reading this week, and maybe what you just finished or are planning to read, too!

Books I finished reading last week:

"Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy" by Mary Tomer
(My Review)


"Freaks: Alive on the Inside" by Annette Curtis Klause
(Review coming later today!)



Currently Reading:

"Suite Scarlett" by Maureen Johnson

"Matchless" by Gregory Maguire



What are reading this week??

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Swapped:



The paperback version of this, by one of my favorite YA authors!

Thrifted:


I found a great hardback version of this one. I've never read anything by this author, but I've heard only good things!



I will admit I picked this one up because of the fantastic cover illustration! I finished this today and will be posting my review ASAP! I also have "Blood and Chocolate" by this author but haven't read it yet.

What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

"Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy"


"Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy"
by Mary Tomer

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I won "Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy" in a Goodreads.com First Reads contest. I really enjoyed reading this book for the gorgeous photos and fashion ideas. The book is a beautiful, classy homage to the First Lady, Michelle Obama. I think the theme of the book can be summed up with a phrase I found in one of the later chapters, "style and substance." The majority of the book, of course, focuses on Michelle Obama's style, but there is respect for who the woman really is who is wearing the clothes.

The high quality photos in the book are gorgeous and the quality of the book itself is fantastic. Yes, a lot of the information and photos could probably be found on the website that inspired the book, Mrs-O.org, but the presentation and qualilty of the book is impressive.

I learned some great facts about Mrs. Obama's fashion choices. She likes to mix high end pieces with affordable pieces from accessible stores and catalogs, and especially online stores. I had also heard that, like the rest of us, she has been known to repeat outfits from her wardrobe, but I had no idea how often she has done this. It's so refreshing to read that she doesn't just make a fashion statement once with an outfit and never wear it again.

I liked the timeline of the chapters and the photos of some of the wardrobe pieces are so detailed! I also enjoyed the interviews with the designers and stylists with whom Mrs. Obama has worked closely with. These interviews were relevant to the book as opposed to the times that the author would write paragraphs about a specific designer's career history. These excerpts seemed totally unrelated to the rest of the book and were out of place. It was great to read an interview with Micheal Kors about his reaction to Michelle Obama wearing his dress in the official First Lady portrait. But I don't need to know about the early career of a designer that she wore once or twice.

Overall, this is a beautiful book that would be a great gift to a fan or supporter of Michelle Obama and also a fantastic book for fashion enthusiasts.

My First Blog Award!!


I so excited! I received my first blog award today from Ursina at The Farmer's Daughter's Bookshelf! Thank you so much, Ursina, for the One Lovely Blog Award!

"So here are the rules: Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award."

I choose these 15 Lovely Blogs!!

Tales of Whimsy
Teens Read and Write

Cornucopia of Reviews
Nats
Vvb32 Reads
Read.Read.Read
Nomad Reader
Handle Like Hendrix
In Which a Girl Reads
Alexia's Books and Such...
Book Journey
The Neverending Shelf
Sharon loves books and cats
Confessions of a Book Junkie


Thank you again to Ursina at The Farmer's Daughter's Bookshelf! I really appreciate the award! Enjoy checking out these Lovely Blogs!

Waiting On Wednesday (3)


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:
"The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antionette"
by Carolyn Meyer

Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: April 12, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

History paints her as a shallow party girl, a spoiled fashionista, a callous ruler. Perhaps no other royal has been so maligned--and so misunderstood--as Marie-Antoinette. From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone--courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people--but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can't help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette's lifestyle gets ever more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty--and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay. In this latest installment of her acclaimed Young Royals series, Carolyn Meyer reveals the dizzying rise and horrific downfall of the last Queen of France.


I've really enjoyed the other books in Carolyn Meyer's Young Royals Series, and this one looks just as great! I also love all things Marie Antionette, as you can tell by my blog layout, so this is a must-have for me! Isn't this cover amazing?? What are you waiting for this week?

New Releases Tuesday Dec. 8

Today is Tuesday, which means New Releases!! Here are a few books that have just been released today, so run, don't walk to the nearest bookstore!


Fallen
by Lauren Kate

from Goodreads.com:



There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.






Need
(Paperback)
by Carrie Jones

from Goodreads.com:

Zara collects phobias the way other girls collect Facebook friends. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

With suspense, romance, and paranormal themes, this exciting breakout novel has readers rapidly turning the pages.






The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein
by Libby Schmais

From Goodreads.com:



Lotus Lowenstein's life is merde. She dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre.

At first, Lotus thinks Sean is the best thing to happen to her in years. He’s smart, cultured, and adorable. Unfortunately, though, Joni feels the same way. And having an existentialist view of love, Sean sees nothing wrong with enjoying both girls’ affections. Things come to a head when all three depart for Montreal with their teacher, Ms. G, on the French Club’s first official field trip. Will Sean choose Joni over Lotus? And will Lotus and Joni’s friendship ever recover?







Enjoy the new releases, everyone! Feel free to comment with any other new releases you'd like to add!

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Swapped:

It Ain't All About the Cookin' by Paula Deen


I've been wanting this autobiography for quite some time, have any of you read it? Can't wait to start reading!

Next up, a blast from the past! I'm so excited to have swapped not one but two classic Sunfire teen romances this week! If you have never read a Sunfire romance, you are missing out!! They are classic teen romances from the 80s/early 90s each set in a different historical time period, with a strong teen heroine and two handsome young men vying for her heart!


Diana by Mary Francis Shura



Merrie by Vivian Schurfranz


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

"The Duke of Shadows"

"The Duke of Shadows"
by Meredith Duran

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I read this book because of all the great reviews of Meredith Duran's writing. But after struggling to finish, I realized this book was just not for me. Duran is an excellent writer, and wrote a very well developed plot, but I didn't care for the descriptive violence that permeated the book.

At the start of the book, Emma Martin has been through a tragedy, the first of many, and emerged wanting to truly live life. Julian Sinclair, the Duke of Auburn, feels at home neither in India or in London, as a son of both worlds. The last thing they expected was to be caught up in the political turmoil between Britain and India with only each other. They survive the unthinkable together, but ul
timately are separated by the political unrest. Years later, they are reunited in London, only to discover how much they both have changed.

The book is split into two parts, and the first part was more promising than the second. The second book didn't tell me enough from Julian's viewpoint, the only side of the story I saw was Emma's. Julian was downright mean and cruel to Emma, and since I didn't see his point of view, I didn't understand his motives. Honestly, his cruelty might have been the breaking point for me, where I just completely stopped enjoying this book. In the first part, Julian was loving, caring, and kind to Emma, and wanted her to know how much he loved her. In the second part, he was constantly mocking her and condescending. The only part of the second half that I liked was the storyline with Emma's paintings. She worked through her grief by painting the horrors that she had seen. I didn't think the cold, dark secret she was keeping was something that she couldn't share with Julian after everything that they had been through together.

I am a sucker for a reunion story, and the actual reunion scene in the London ballroom was by far my favorite scene of the book. This is the Julian that I wanted to see through the entire book, so caught up in his love for Emma that the rest of the world disappears.

This book is very dark and filled with tragedy and violence. When the couple does let their love show, the result is beautiful and tender. However, these moments are just too few in my opinion.

"What Happens in London"

Mini Review:
My mini reviews are short, sweet reviews just long enough to give you an idea of what I thought about a book, they usually don't include a summary like my regular reviews. Take a minute or two and enjoy!


"What Happens in London"

by Julia Quinn

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


"What Happens in London" has so many rave reviews, that maybe my expectations were a little too high. I do think Julia Quinn's writing style is excellent, so much thought goes into every single page. The main characters' witty banter and snappy inner dialogue were so much fun to read. I absolutely loved the supporting character, Sebastian! He was just too much fun to read about, especially his love for the silly "Ms. Butterworth" novel. He was such a vivid character who just jumped off the page for me. However, I was less than thrilled about the actual romance in this book. I just felt no connection between Harry and Olivia, and when they started to fall in love, I thought it came across as forced and cheesy. I know, I know, I'm in the minority in thinking this, but I really did think the book was funny and witty, just not very romantic. I can't wait for Sebatian to get his own book!

Waiting On Wednesday (2)



Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:
"A Golden Web"
by Barbara Quick

HarperTeen
Release Date: April 6, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com:



Alessandra is desperate to escape—from her stepmother, who’s locked her away for a year; from the cloister that awaits her if she refuses the marriage plans that have been made for her; from the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There’s no tolerance in her village for her keen intelligence and her unconventional ideas. In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee—and an enduring fame. In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world’s first female anatomist, distinguished novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten—and unforgettable—heroine.





I love historical fiction, especially those with a little bit of romance! And ones that are based on historical fact are even better! What are you waiting for this week??

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Have an awesome and safe Holiday and I'll be back next week!! Don't forget to catch up on your reading, too!

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Swapped:

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper



I'm really looking forward to reading this one! It's the true story of a blind cat, Homer, and his adventures.


Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory:



I've heard some great things about this new author!! I'm always looking for new historical romance authors!


Thrifted:

French Kiss by Aimee Friedman:


I was so happy to find this book by one of my very favorite YA authors!! Everything else I've read by Aimee Friedman has been awesome!




I can't wait to see what books everyone else got this week!!


"Wed Him Before You Bed Him"


"Wed Him Before You Bed Him"
by Sabrina Jeffries

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Mrs. Charlotte Harris, widow and owner of the girls' school featured in the "School for Heiresses" series, is disappointed to lose contact with her dear pen pal and benefactor, Cousin Michael. He was offended by her persistence on learning his identity and stopped answering her letters. Also troubling, is the reappearance of David Masters, Viscount of Kirkwood, into her life. David should want nothing to do with her after the scandal she caused for his family years ago when they were teenagers. On top of all of this, the future of her girls' school is in jeopardy and David may be the only one who can help.

The first part of "Wed Him Before You Bed Him" was fantastic, but the last 100 or so pages really dragged, as the romance was overshadowed by the mystery and all of the lies that had built up between the hero and heroine. The story is one of my favorite premises- childhood sweethearts who are reunited as adults. Jeffries spends a lot of time on the romance between the two leads when they are eighteen as a flashback. I really enjoyed this part of the book and I'm glad she gave so much time to this piece of the story instead of just skimming over or summarizing it. This background really made the intensity of their feelings for each other as adults seem more believable. The flashback was a really sweet, romantic, and innocent part of the story that I really enjoyed.

I liked David a lot more in the flashback scenes, he was much more open and innocent. The hard times he's lived through really harden his shell and make him seem a little gruff and jaded. Charlotte's character shows a lot of growth and she becomes a stronger woman as an adult.

I have read most of the "School for Heiresses" series and while this isn't my favorite one, it is good to finally be able to read Charlotte's story. Also, readers finally discover Cousin Michael's true identity. This is rewarding since a letter between Charlotte and Cousin Michael opens each chapter in the preceeding books.

The book is very much worth reading for the beginning two thirds, even if the ending is a bit disappointing. The flashback portion might be the best part!

"Don't Tempt Me" by Loretta Chase


"Don't Tempt Me"
by Loretta Chase

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This was my first Loretta Chase book, and I really became a fan of hers! In "Don't Tempt Me", Zoe Lexham has found her way home to London after 12 years of exile in the East. She was kidnapped and sold into slavery on a family trip there when she was only 12 years old. Lucien de Grey, Duke of Marchmont, is determined to prove that the woman claiming to be Zoe is lying, but one look proves she is the spirited childhood friend that he'd given up on ever seeing again. Lucien decides that its his duty to Zoe's father, who was like a father to him too, to present Zoe to society. Only the Duke can protect her from the scandal of being known as "The Harem Girl."

I really enjoyed this book, but I've seen some poor reviews. I think people may have expected another "Lord of Scoundrels" and dismiss this one as not up to par. But I thought this book was a keeper in it's own right.

I loved Lucien's character, he is somewhat of a wastrel, going through life in a daze, never taking responsibility for anything after being devastated by losing his family. But once Zoe comes back into his life, he really grows as a person and learns to take responsibility for his life and those that depend on him.

I thought it was really great how the book focused a lot on Lucien and Zoe's lives after they were married, instead of only on the buildup to the wedding. I believe Zoe threw a thing or two at Lucien, and their quarrels were believable and real. This book also touches a little on jealousy for both leads, which always adds a little extra spice. Also, after Lucien realized he was in love with Zoe, there was no hiding it, he became quite a doting husband and wasn't afraid to let everyone know!

Probably the only reason why this book received 4 stars from me instead of 5 is that Zoe's sex appeal is a bit exaggerated. This of course is explained by the harem plot, but the harem scandal was another thing about the book that I didn't really care for.

The supporting characters were quite funny, Lucien's valet was always in tears over this or that. And Lucien's observations about Zoe's busybody sisters were hilarious.

Overall I loved the book and the characters' realistic relationship and tender feelings for one another.

"Waiting on Wednesday" Anastasia's Secret


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:
"Anastasia's Secret"
by Susanne Dunlap

Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Release Date: March 2, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

"“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did.

“Perhaps we will mee
t again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”

For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the r
ebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?

Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess."



I love Anastasia's story and historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so this book is a must have!! I might have to check out this author's other books while I am waiting for this one to be released!

"Sins of a Duke" by Suzanne Enoch


"Sins of a Duke"
by Suzanne Enoch
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

"Sins of a Duke" has a really odd plot, which was based loosely on historical events. Because, as always, truth is much stranger than fiction. The background info Enoch provided in the Author's Note actually made me more interested in the story.

Sebastian Griffin, Duke of Melbourne, is being set up to marry Josefina Embry, the Princess of a brand new South American country, Costa Habichuela. But Sebastian doesn't blindly believe everything that the Princess and her family claim about their country, thinking they are con people wanting to use English investments for their own gain.

I'll try not to give any spoilers, but the Princess plot took over the entire book, as the author had to go into a lot of detail to explain what was happening. I guess that is what happens when an author takes on such an ambitious plot.

My favorite characters were the supporting characters in this book, Sebastian and Josefina didn't do much for me. Josefina started off as a strong character, but became wishy washy and I never really felt her involvement in the scandal was forgivable. I also don't understand why both main characters were willing to steal from banks but not willing to steal from individuals. To me, all stealing is wrong, but the author seemed to think stealing from a bank was ok for some reason. This irked me.

The supporting cast was quite fun and made the book readable! Sebastian's young daugher, Peep, was adorable and had some very precocious remarks to put her doting dad in his place. I also enjoyed the rest of Sebastian's large family, especially Valentine-I need to read his book!

This book was okay, but there were a lot of problems that I had with it. However, it might inspire me to do a little more research on the true story that inspired it.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show off their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Swapped:

Thanksgiving at the Inn by Tim Whitney


This holiday book was reviewed by a friend on Goodreads, and I couldn't wait to read this heartwarming story myself! I'm so happy I received it just in time for Thanksgiving!


Thrifted:

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler


I felt pretty lucky to find this one!


The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court) by Kate Emerson

I hadn't heard of this one, but I'm interested in all things Henry VIII, and what a gorgeous cover!


Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

This one was recommended to me by a friend with very similar tastes on Goodreads. I've been keeping an eye out for it and finally found it for a great price!

"Smart Girls Think Twice" by Cathie Linz


"Smart Girls Think Twice"
by Cathie Linz

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am not a huge fan of contemporary romances, but Cathie Linz gets a lot of great reviews so I decided to give this one a try. Emma Riley, a sociologist caught up in the world of academics, returns to her hometown to do a research study on the recent boom of new occupants and new businesses in the small town. She doesn't put much importance on appearances or even the whole dating scene, preferring to be at home with her textbooks. Jake Slayter is one of her prime targets to interview because he just moved to town. Jake is an ex-pro extreme athlete, and semi-famous, not to mention gorgeous, why would he move to the middle of nowhere? But Jake isn't willing to tell an interviewer, even one this beautiful, that he's in town to find his birth mother.

I had a really hard time getting into the story because the beginning seemed so cliched. I was really irritated by the way Jake came on so strong right off the bat. He kept tucking Emma's hair behind her ear, touching her cheek, etc, when they had only just met. Just like Emma, I would be so turned off by this and think that he acted like this with every girl he met. Another thing that annoyed me was how the author kept repeating how attracted Emma and Jake were to each other. I wanted the author to show me, not just keep telling me over and over.

There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of in this book. Emma's sisters were irritating to me and didn't add much to the story besides being an annoyance to Emma. I may have gotten off to a better start if I hadn't been bombarded with the bridezilla sisters right from the start. Maybe these two were characters in Linz' previous books, so her fans were happy to see them back, but I didn't care for them. Emma's parents were interesting additions to the story, and Lulu and Oliver were fun characters, if a bit over the top. Lulu is a friend of Emma's family, who is goth and outspoken, and Oliver is a friend of Emma's from the world of academics, and even more of a 'nerd' than Emma. It was cute to see Jake jealous of Oliver, even though he was so non-threatening.

The turning point of the book for me was when Jake adopted a stray dog named Mutt. This made me see Jake as a great guy who was really just a big softie underneath his extreme sports bravado. Jake redeemed himself even more by taking Oliver under his wing too.

I really liked Emma, she was an uber-nerd only interested in her research projects until she met Jake. She was a little lacking in her self confidence around men, but stlll confident in herself otherwise and not about to let anyone, including a hot guy, take advantage of her. She was vulnerable without being pathetic and needy.

I'm glad I finished reading this book, because Emma and Jake's romance turned into a believable one and I really did want to see where it would go. The characters of Oliver and Mutt (yes, the dog!) helped me stay interested in the story. I'm still not converted to a big contemporary romance fan, but this was a cute, enjoyable read!

eBay Item of the Day: Marimekko Cardigan

This item is SOLD! Thanks, everyone!

Today's eBay item of the day is a trendy, oversized Marimekko cardigan. The big, slouchy cardigan is made of the softest, lightweight black knit. There are slouchy pockets and a drawstring at the bottom for a relaxed look. This cardigan is perfect for the holiday season! As always, check out my other auctions for more great items at low prices!

"Led Astray by a Rake"


"Led Astray by a Rake"
by Sara Bennett

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This book was only okay. I didn't like the hero and heroine very much, so I wasn't that interested in their story. However, the unique mystery kept me reading til the end because I couldn't figure it out!

Proper, young Olivia Monteith is a part of a circle of friends called the Husband Hunters Club (also the name of this series). The ladies have just graduated from finishing school and now their goal is to land a husband. Olivia has her sights set on the man she's loved since age 10, Lord Lacey, also known as Wicked Nic for his rakish ways. Nic is an unrepentant rake, afraid to give his heart to anyone because of something from the past.

True to the Husband Hunter's Club, Olivia boldly proposes marriage to Nic at the start of the story, after not seeing him for three years. Nic promptly refuses, not wanting a wife, and knowing he would be an awful husband so someone so proper.

I usually love stories where a couple is reunited after being childhood friends, but this one didn't feel real enough. And a 10 year old girl meeting in secret with a 20 something year old man felt a little creepy even though nothing untoward happened. I felt like Olivia was more interested in "a husband" than Nic. She walked in after years and wouldn't give up on making him marry her. I also thought she acted really trashy for someone who was supposed to be so proper.

Nic was the typical rake with a heart, but was somewhat boring. I liked that Olivia was actually jealous of his past mistresses instead of just pretending he hadn't led that lifestyle.

The mystery in the book really intrigued me. There is a reason why Nic wanted to keep Olivia at a distance. Olivia's parents know a secret about Nic and don't approve of him as a husband for their daughter. Even Nic's valet is worrried for Olivia around Nic. I won't give any spoilers but the secrets all come together quite interestingly.

Overall, the lack of development in the characters is what kept me from enjoying the book, because the mystery was quite unique and entertaining.
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