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What we’re reading in April… April 23, 2018

Posted by SaraC in Adventure, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers.
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I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillian

Cover image for I have not read any Terry McMillian (the author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back), so I thought it was about dang time I did. This novel is about Georgia Young, a successful optometrist in her 50s who has “made it” in life – her successful career enabled her to buy a home in a wealthy neighborhood and live comfortably. But she is divorced, bored, and lonely. When news comes that a former lover passed away a few years earlier, it sets off a mid-life crisis that pushes Georgia to reevaluate her life and make some changes: quit her job to do something she loves, find a new home, and meet with former lovers to tell them what she never go to say to them. Terry McMillian knows how to tell a story and does a great job reading the audiobook, giving Georgia the sassy, wise-sounding voice she deserves. This is a great book for those who enjoy stories about relationships and how they define who we are. Lyndsey

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Cover image for Dread Nation is an alternate history Civil War story. With zombies. The War Between the States was derailed when the dead on the battlefield walked again. Now, the North and South are united against a common enemy. To fight the undead the Native and Negro Reeducation Act became law, forcing Negro children to attend combat schools. Jane McKeene is one such student at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore. She is training to become an lady’s Attendant. Jane dreams of returning to her plantation home in Kentucky, but instead she finds herself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. As a new undead threat rears it’s head, Jane learns that these poor souls aren’t her biggest worry. Full of action and suspense, this isn’t just another zombie book. Jane is a badass, biracial woman killing zombies and taking on issues like institutionalized racism, sexual identity, and notions of femininity. She is clever, sassy, and a force to be reckoned with.  Megan

 

The Stand by Stephen King (adapted by Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa)

Cover image for As usual I’m working through multiple books in different formats at once. For Mystery Week in early April I began listening to the book on CD And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie during my commutes. While the large cast of characters is a bit difficult to keep straight early on in this classic, by the middle the mystery of the strange trap that has caught the characters has grabbed your attention. I am also reading Stephen King’s The Stand in graphic novel form. As adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa the story is split into six volumes. At this writing I’m in volume #4. Another novel with many characters that are quite distinctly drawn. This thrilling story of survival and rebuilding society has a classic good vs. evil dynamic. And on my Kindle by my bedside is A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960 by Jeanine Basinger, which I checked out with OverDrive. She takes a look at the genre of “Women’s Films” that featured starring women protagonists, women’s issues, and both subverted and supported the role a woman was supposed to play in society. I’ve heard of some of these film titles, but there are many others about strong women that I’ll have to add to my watch list after reading this. Byron

 

The Grifters by Jim Thompson

Cover image for Roy Dillion appears to be nothing more than a personable, hardworking salesman and has a hundred acquaintences that would swear to that very fact.  However, he is a natural of the short con; a grifter who has eschewed one of the cardinal rules of the trade and successfully worked the same city without notice.  When a sure-fire con misfires, Roy’s past catches up with him and his world begins to spiral out of control.  Trent

 

 

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Cover image for MY ANTONIAMy most current read is My Antonia, yes, an oldie but a goody. I was inspired to read this by a fellow co-worker’s blog about rediscovering the classics, and also because I  love a good coming of age story. This particular book did not disappoint. My Antonia takes place in the late 1880’s.  This is the story of Antonia, an immigrant of Bohemia, told by recently orphaned Jim Burden.  Jim is sent to rural Nebraska to live with his grandparents, also neighbors to the Shimerda family, of which Antonia is the eldest daughter.  Jim and Antonia spend their early years exploring the new landscape of rural Nebraska together and so begins a life long friendship between the two. Antonia is a bold and free spirited woman who endears herself to Jim and readers alike. Willa Cather does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to life in rural Nebraska, and the immigrant experience of adjusting  to a new world.  One can’t help but feel for Antonia’s triumphs and tribulations, and be inspired by such a strong woman. Mary

 

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Cover image for The Tuscan childThe Tuscan Child is the story of Johanna Langley’s father, Sir Hugo, who dies unexpectedly. She wants to understand what happened to him during WWII. He was a British bomber pilot who was shot down over German-occupied Tuscany near the town of San Salvatore. Local resident Sofia Bartoli tended to his needs at severe risk to herself, family and village. When Johanna visits San Salvatore 30 years later, no one remembers her father or wants to talk about Sophia. This is a treat for fans of historical fiction. Emma

 

The Star of Redemption by Franz Rosenzweig

Cover image for The star of redemptionI am very interested in the writings of Franz Rosenzweig, a German-Jewish philosopher, theologian, and translator who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century and died in 1929 of Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.  Rosenzweig translated the Hebrew Bible into German with another famous Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber.  Rosenzweig also wrote a very interesting but challenging book called The Star of Redemption, which I am trying to read. The Star of Redemption is a book that helps me to think about the meaning of Judaism, though he also writes about Christianity, which he was close to converting to when he was a young man.  He is into “negative theology,” which means that any attempt to define or describe God fails, because God (according to negative theology) is unsayable and ineffable, totally beyond human concepts and categories, though we can experience God through the fullness or plenitude of the world.  At varying times in my life I have been an atheist, an agnostic, and (when I was young) a somewhat skeptical believer, but this book is making me think about Judaism in a new way.  Andrew

 

I See You by Claire Mackintosh

Cover image for I’m in a “quick read” phase, and I See You  hits the spot.  In this British thriller, Zoe Walker’s boring, suburban life is shaken up when she sees her picture in a classified ad for a service called “findtheone.com”  She digs deeper and discovers that other women who have been in these ads have been victims of violent crimes and wonders if she is next.  Her paranoia develops into full-blown panic as she worries that every stranger on her morning commute is watching her.  The book does a great job of building suspense and letting you get to know Zoe, however I found the ending to be less than plausible and a little unsettling.  Sara

 

Hot Mess by Emily Belden

Cover image for In Hot Mess by Emily Belden, twenty-five year old Allie Simon prides herself on being sensible; she has a good job, friends and a supportive family. Then she becomes consumed by bad boy celeb chef  and recovering drug addict Benji Zane who asks that she invest all her savings in a new restaurant. After he relapses and disappears, Allie is left with having to build a restaurant while recovering from heartbreak and maneuvering the food scene in Chicago. A fun read filled with romance and food starring a strong female character.  Dori

 

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Cover image for This is a timely story about the harsh reality of today’s racial tension.  Starr Carter lives in a poor urban neighborhood riddled with gang violence and racial profiling by police.   When Starr leaves a party after shots are fired, she and her childhood friend, Khalil,  are pulled over for a taillight.  The officer is nervous and misconstrues  Khalil’s words and actions, leaving Starr to witness the fatal unraveling of the police stop.  The book unfolds around this story and how the community and Starr deal with the aftermath.  It’s heartbreaking and painfully relevant.  Beth

 

 

 

 

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Why Short Stories Work for Me November 21, 2017

Posted by gregoryhatch in Adventure, Book Discussion, Book List, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Gentle Read, Historical Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers, Uncategorized.
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Our schedules are demanding. Our obligations overwhelming. How can can we be expected to find any time to read? Especially when there are all those critically acclaimed Netflix series/Atwood Adaptations/Groundbreaking Cable shows demand to be watched.

I do love to read but sometimes it can be an uphill battle to sit down and get through a book. I feel worse when I begin a novel and loose interest a 100 pages in. So how can I actually get a chance to enjoy what I am reading, finish a story, and fit it into my schedule? For me the answer came in the form of short stories.

Short story collections solve many of the obstacles I had to sitting down and getting through a book. Don’t have a lot of time but want to to be able to get through an entire plot? No problem, the story is only 20 pages long. Want to a bit of variety and get to sample many different literary voices? Anthologies are the perfect solution. Have a favorite author but they haven’t released the next book in their big series? See if they have any short story collections or if they have edited and collected the works of other authors. Unable to get through the whole collection before you have to return the book? That’s fine, each story was a world in itself and you haven’t created any cliffhangers for yourself.

Short stories can keep up with your busy schedule while giving you a bonus sense of satisfaction when you get through the whole collection. 300 pages doesn’t seem as bad when it is broken up into 10 stories, each giving you a natural rest in between to recharge and carrier on.

-Greg
Here are a few of my favorite short story collections:

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Happy Late-Valentine’s Day! February 15, 2017

Posted by Gina in Romance, Thoughtful Ramblings, Uncategorized.
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I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, the class party, valentines, and snacks. What could be better? Books! Have you considered giving your special someone a book? While the main focus could be on the Romance genre, it’s the thought of sharing that counts. There are all sorts of books, topics, and themes here at the library. Come snag a book that you can read with your partner. Challenge each other to read something you’re not used to.

Do you need help finding a book? There are multiple Literature Resources available from our website. From the library homepage, on the left column select Reference Resources. The page will open, search by the subject Literature & Fiction. That will take to you that section on the page. Use any of those links to search for your next read,  by author or title. Check out what the staff at RRPL have read by visiting the Reading Room.

Enjoy!

-Gina

How Love(ly)… the Romance genre! April 4, 2016

Posted by stacey in Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Romance.
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Who doesn’t love love? Well, for a brief time the boy and the girl in the romance story you’re reading don’t love love but that’s just a plot device -no need to worry! They’ll have their disagreement and then things will (mostly) turn out okay at the end! So are you ready to read about what we read? Me too!

Carol: In Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 29-year-old Hannah Martin flees New York after a relationship disaster and ends up temporarily living with her best friend, Gabby back home in L.A. On her first night in town, Hannah reconnects with her high school sweetheart, Ethan, and at the end of the night, Hannah must  decide whether or not to go home with him. In parallel storylines, Hannah lives out both decisions, and each take her in very different directions. This book about fate, true love and chance tackles some serious issues and at the same time reads like a choose-your-own adventure. Readers will wonder if there really is such a thing as a soul mate and root for (both versions of) Hannah the whole way.

Steve: You Suck by Christopher Moore is the second book in the “Love Story” series, although you could read it as a standalone.  Newly turned vampire C. Thomas Flood and his girlfriend Jody, the vampire who turned him, are being pursued by Tommy’s old work buddies and the very old vampire Elijah, who wants Jodi back.  Lots of witty and offbeat humor and characters in this fast-paced read.  

Megan: Kissing in America by Margo Rabb-When Eva’s crush-turned-new-boyfriend moves from New York to L.A., she is desperate to see him again. She finds the perfect solution. A reality quiz show, The Smartest Girl in America, is holding auditions and Eva’s best friend Annie is a shoe-in. Having secured a spot show and convincing her mother that they would be safe, Eva sets off on a cross-country road trip. Armed with a bus ticket and a supply of romance novels, Eva is ill-prepared to confront the realities of love. This not-so-fluffy romance focuses on love of all types-love for friends and family and of course, love for the cute poetry writing boy!

Emma: Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray is the story of two sixty-something florists. Divorcee Julie Roseman and widower Romeo Cacciamani fall in love despite the feud between their families. Unfortunately the origin of the feud isn’t known to the second and third generations, but they are bound by it. Julie and Romeo’s children are strongly against any relationship between their parents.  Eventually Grandma Cacciamani divulges the secret behind the long-standing dispute.  This is a fun light-hearted romance for adults.

Lauren: My Highland Spy by Victoria Roberts introduces us to Lady Ravenna Walsingham, a spy for the British crown who is sent to Scotland to pose as a governess for the son of a rebellious laird who refuses to send his boy to England for educating.  Ravenna also suspects that Laird Ruiari Sutherland may be part of a plot to band together with other Scottish clansmen to rise up against the monarchy.  Still, even though she is sent to investigate the family, she soon finds herself devoted to her young student and falling in love with Laird Sutherland.  This is classic, formulaic, historic romance—it’s fast-paced and juicy!

Beth: In Joan Johnston’s Shameless, Pippa becomes pregnant with a married man’s child and is taken by surprise when her father uproots her family from their cattle station in Australia to take over his father’s ranch in Wyoming.  Pippa is thrown into family rivalries as she attempts to navigate pregnancy and her desire to learn the truth about her mother.  In desperation, Pippa moves in with one of the family enemies and her emotions start to flare.  The story is packed with exasperated twists and turns, but in a true romance fashion, ends happily ever after.

Dori: Curtis Sittenfeld reimagines Pride and Prejudice in modern America in her new novel Eligible. Lizzy Bennett, a successful New York editor and her sister Jane, a yoga instructor, return home to Cincinnati when their father becomes ill. There, they find the family in disarray; their two youngest sisters are sponging off their father while obsessing over exercise and diets, Mary, their middle sister, has become a bit of a recluse and their mother still has tunnel vision, only wanting marriage to successful men for her daughters. At a neighborhood barbecue, Jane meets Chip Bingley, a doctor fresh off a Bachelor-like TV show and they hit it off. Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, does not make as positive an impression on Jane. At the Bennetts navigate through these various travails, Sittenfeld provides a modern look at gender, class, money, romance, and family. Funny, charming and romantic, it’s a fresh look at Austen’s classic.  

Stacey: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier, author of Ruby Red Trilogy, is the first in her new The Silver Trilogy -and that couldn’t please me more! Fifteen-year-old Liv and thirteen-year-old Mia have lived all over the world. Their current destination is Oxford to spend the school year with their mom while she teaches for the University, but plans have changed. It looks like they’ll be staying in London with their mom, her boyfriend, and his high school-aged children; and then things really get weird. Liv is able to watch other people’s secret dreams while they sleep. Plus a group of boys in her new school who can do the same… how? why? But that one boy, he seems pretty nice -even if he’s up to no good.

Next time we’ll be reading Award Winners! Another easy category!! All you need to do is find a book that has won a real (legitimate) award -in any genre. (See how easy?!) Happy Spring Reading!

—Stacey

How Romantic! …is that romance genre?! March 3, 2015

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Genre Book Discussion, Romance.
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Do you love a happy ending? (Who doesn’t?!) Well then, this list might be The One to make all your dreams come true! That’s right, we were discussion the romance genre! Romance stories are all about relationships and appeal strongly to a reader’s emotions, with everyone walking away from the experience (characters and readers alike) knowing all is right in the world. Are you ready to see the titles we discussed?

Carol: In Amazing Gracie by Sherryl Woods, Gracie McDougall has quit her hotel management job in France to flee to Seagull Point, a small town in Virginia, where she vacationed as a child. There, Gracie becomes fixated on buying an abandoned Victorian house and turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. The one problem in her way is the property manager, hunky Kevin Daniels, who doesn’t want to sell. While the two disagree on the fate of the Victorian, they can’t deny their attraction. Will they let down their guards and give love a chance, or will Kevin’s complicated and meddlesome family scare Gracie away?

Lauren: Danielle Steel’s first novel, Going Home, was published in 1973—something today’s reader will be painfully aware of in the book’s dated imaginings of love and relationships (among other things—smoking and drinking while pregnant? Apparently totally acceptable during this time. Weird to read around). Gillian Forrester is a beautiful, stylish, single mother who meets and (instantly) falls in love with wild-card Christopher Matthews. Chris has trouble staying faithful, routinely disappears without notice, and when Gillian becomes pregnant, is so dismayed at the reality that he will become a father he asks that Gillian leave San Francisco and return to New York City. Despite this, Gillian remains hopelessly in love with Chris. However, having moved herself back to New York, Gillian meets dashing Gordon Harte. And then things get complicated. I had never read anything by Danielle Steel but was curious, as I know her to be immensely popular. I choose poorly. I’ll give her another chance sometime and be sure to pick something people generally agree to be among her best.

Emma: In Pegasus by Danielle Steel, Nick discovers that his mother, who he does not remember, was half Jewish. Nick and his 2 sons leave their aristocratic life in Germany when Hitler starts persecuting Jews. Best friend Alex gives Nick a prize Lipizzaner horse and an Arabian horse in order to join the Ringling Brothers Circus once Nick and his boys arrive in the United States. What follows is their new life with the circus and the tragedy of what’s happening in Europe. A rollercoaster read.

Beth: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is new adult romance set on a college campus. The prim and proper Abby has escaped a troubled childhood to attend Eastern University with her best friend and start a new life for herself. Shortly after arriving on campus, Abby finds herself attending a floating fight club where she catches the eye of the bad boy, Travis Maddox. Abby and Travis find themselves bound to each other through a bet, the outcome of which, surprises everyone. The plot and the characters are not well developed in this predictable story.

Ann: Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty is the first novel by the popular author of The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies. The novel opens at a birthday party dinner for three sisters, Lyn, Cat, and Gemma, triplets who are turning 34. Unfortunately after a few drinks the evening turns ugly, there are arguments, and an ambulance must be called. Though triplets, the women couldn’t be more different. The book takes us through the year leading up to the birthday party- as the sisters deal with sibling rivalry, relationships, unfaithful husbands, divorced parents who are acting just a little too cozy these days, and the trials and tribulations of living life as triplets. Similar themes run through all of Moriarty’s books- strong female characters, strong family ties, wonderful humor, and plots that surprise you around every turn.

Steve: Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story by Christopher Moore is not your traditional romance, but that’s what makes it so great. Jody is a 26 year old living in San Francisco who wakes up in a dumpster with a scorched hand and as she is trying to figure out what happened to her, she discovers that she is a newly bitten vampire. She heads off to the local Safeway mart and meets Tommy Flood, a 19 year old aspiring writer fresh in from Indiana. Tommy is thrilled with his luck, meeting a beautiful girl upon his arrival in the city, and the two begin a quirky romance. The story is filled with odd characters, a twisted sense of humor and a mysterious vampire who seems to be trailing Jody and plotting Tommy’s demise.

Megan: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is the story of a single mom, her quirky kids, their enormous smelly dog, and one life-changing road trip to a Math Olympiad with a virtual stranger. This contemporary romance is full of humor and heart and manages to steer clear of expected cliche. Fans of Liane Moriarty and the film Little Miss Sunshine with find themselves rooting for Jess and her kids.

Dori: In Heroes are my Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Annie’s mother has died, and she’s broke, sick and homeless, returning to her family cottage off the coast of Maine to find a valuable family legacy with only her puppets for company. She has terrible memories of the island because in her teens she fell for a wealthy boy there, Theo, who tried to kill her. Soon, however, she runs into him and discovers that he’s grown up to be a brooding, handsome horror writer who’s not as evil as she remembers. As she’s drawn into the lives of the islanders, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want her there: is it Theo or someone else on the island? This book has a bit of Gothic spice but it’s also funny, with a strong female character and a twisted plot, making it a unique romance.

(That’s right! Dori and I read the same book!)

Stacey: Heroes are my Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the story of Annie, a struggling puppeteer, and Theo, a successful author. The two met when they were children and their parents married. Their years as step-siblings were limited but they managed to go from awkward to intrigued adolescents, and a lifetime fascination was born. This author has a special knack at mixing humor into her romance stories and she knows how to add a nice touch of drama to keep the pages turning.

We’re about to ride off into the sunset now, and we’re going to pick up a Western on our way! If you want to mosey in the same direction, you’ll want to look for a book generally set in the Western half of North America with side open skies, a flawed hero and a clear resolution. See ya soon pardner!

− Stacey

Romance is Lover-ly! February 26, 2014

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Romance.
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Romance! Full of love and affection! Who doesn’t love love? Well, I guess maybe the heartless are physically incapable of love -not having a heart and all- but if we ignore those walking medical miracles? Reading a book that features strong emotions and two individuals struggling to become a happy pair will hopefully leave everyone in a good mood! Let’s see if that’s what happened in our very own romance genre discussion, shall we? (You’ll have to base your opinion on the brief descriptions people provided..)

Megan: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is the story of Levi and Macallan, two best friends set on proving to everyone that guys and girls can be just friends. They manage just fine for years, but then something changes. What follows is a series of missed connections and misunderstandings that could potentially ruin everything. Full of witty banter and lovable characters, readers will be rooting for Levi and Macallan long after they close the book!

Chris: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert tells the story of woman in desperate need of romance. Emma Bovary hopes to find it with her country doctor husband, Charles, but he proves to be dull beyond words. She enters into a secretive love affair with the worldly Rodolphe, but after awhile he becomes bored with her demanding affections and leaves. She then succeeds in rekindling the flame with an old lover, Leon, but soon tires of him. Will she ever find that excitement and passion she yearns for? Madame Bovary’s search for romance leads her to suffering financial woes and ill health and, ultimately, to taking her own life.

Emma: Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie is the story of two Bradleys’. One is Lucy’s ex-husband Bradley Porter, and the other is a high school friend of Lucy’s ex, John Bradley. John Bradley has stolen a sizeable amount of government bonds and Lucy’s ex is helping him hide the evidence. There is a key to a safety deposit box somewhere in Lucy’s house and it must be found. Tina, Lucy’s sister, has threatened her former brother-in-law if he ever enters the house or tries to contact Lucy. John Bradley tries to scare Lucy away from her house by blowing up her car, but she won’t leave her dogs behind. Police detective Zach Warren moves in to protect Lucy and catch the culprit. The two become a couple very quickly. Getting Rid of Bradley is a great combination of romance, humor, and a touch of suspense.

Dori: Ellen O’Farrell is a hypnotherapist, helping to guide people to change through the power of the mind eve4n though she can’t seem to hold onto a relationship of her own. Then she meets Patrick through an online dating site and the two hit it off immediately, though Patrick has a secret: his ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen, being the empathetic person that she is, is both fascinated and repelled by the idea while Saskia, the stalker, is deeply hurt and confused by Patrick’s sudden rejection. Liane Moriarty explores the inner lives of both Ellen and Saskia in The Hypnotist’s Love Story while delving into the intricacies of relationships, love, loss and just plain old dumb luck.

Donna: The Rosie Project is the debut novel by Australian Graeme C. Simsion. Don Tillman is a genetics professor who is looking for a wife. He designs the Wife Project, a very detailed questionnaire, to screen for potential perfect matches. He starts the Rosie Project when he meets Rosie who wants him to help her find her biological father. Soon, the two projects merge. Rosie and Don are two delightful, quirky characters that the reader will constantly root for in this charming, laugh out loud romance.

Steve: A Knight in Shining Armor, by Jude Deveraux, finds Dougless Montgomery stranded by her boyfriend in a medieval English church near a statute of Nicholas Stafford, an earl who died in 1564, executed for treason. She had been anticipating a marriage proposal and asks aloud where her knight in shining armor is. The earl, in 1564, hears her sobbing and travels to the 1980’s to aid her. Dougless thinks he is crazy, but grows to believe his time-traveling story and soon is helping him research who falsely accused him of treason. This is a light, funny love story with a touch of intrigue. The historical details and time travel add a nice element. All in all not too shabby.

Ann: Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie introduces us to Nina, recently divorced and turning 40. She’s moved into her own apartment and is going to get a puppy (her ex-husband never wanted a dog). She goes to the shelter to pick out a bouncing puppy- to cheer her up. Instead, she comes home with Fred. Fred is an overweight, quirky, sad-faced basset hound-beagle mix. But when he crawls through the wrong apartment window, Nina gets to meet her downstairs neighbor, Alex. Now Nina is not looking for a new man and if she would be, it would not be Alex. Sure he is charming, great looking, and shares Fred’s love of Oreos, but he just is turning 30! 10 years is a huge age difference- isn’t it? A witty, clever romantic comedy.

Carol: A Victorian Rose by Catherine Palmer is a historical romance that takes readers back in time to Victorian Yorkshire, England. Artist and young widow, Clemma Laird, has caught the eye of Dr. Paul Baine, a man who is shunned by the community for his past amoral behavior. Despite her better judgment, Clemma is drawn into Dr. Baine’s lifework, and what she discovers about his past changes her outlook on life and her future. This book was a quick, charming, and thoughtful read about love and redemption.

Julie: Beth Harbison’s latest book grabbed me with the title, Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave him the Wrong Finger – fun, right? The story follows Quinn ten years after she left her high school sweetheart at the altar because she found out he had cheated on her. Oh, and it was his brother who told her and who she then ran away with to Vegas. She quickly ended that, but now they’re both back in her life and she has to figure out what to do about it.

Stacey: The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch probably falls a bit between romance and general fiction but it delivers nicely on the main points of a good romance; and so this is my book of choice! Sugar Wallace has moved once a year for the past fifteen years and each new location is chosen by the queen bee of her hive. Wherever she lands, Sugar likes to help as many people as possible and it looks like her newest home in NYC will be business as usual. Well at least until her new friends decide Sugar might need some redirecting herself, no matter what she says! Even better if that new path takes her into the arms of Mr. Right, right?

And next time, if you care to read along with our genre challenge of March, you’ll want to find a biography or autobiography! Yes, that’s right! You’re looking for a book that is written by or about one person and focuses on their life experiences. Enjoy!

— Stacey

A Little Bit of Love to Share… June 7, 2012

Posted by stacey in Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Romance.
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Honestly, who doesn’t love a love story? Who? Maybe people who don’t know a good thing when they see it? Because really, romance books have it all! You can find romance books that: 1) come in series with cross-over characters and told by different primary characters, 2) contain some of the best comedic moments being offered in fiction, and 3) reward the good plus punish the bad in satisfying ways! What more could you need? Curious now?Are you starting to think maybe you’d like to find a romance book to read? Maybe one of the books we talked about will fill the bill!

Janet: The Long Walk Home by Will North takes place in North Wales. Fiona Edwards runs a Bed-and- Breakfast out of the home she shares with her ailing husband David. Alec Hudson, an American, has walked from London, England to Wales to scatter the ashes of his late wife, Gwynne, at the summit of a mountain that they had climbed years before. Alec knocks on Fiona’s front door looking for accommodations for the night. Sparks fly, catching the two of them by surprise. As inclement weather strands Alec his is forced to delay his climb to the summit. He quickly becomes a part of the daily life in the village as he waits to climb the mountain.

Megan: The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne is the first in a charming British romance trilogy. Melissa Romney-Jones is unlucky in love and employment. She’s once again been sacked and is desperate to find new employment. After helping a bachelor friend prepare for a party, Melissa realizes that there is an untapped market of single men who desperately need a woman’s sophisticated touch to help them succeed socially. She adopts the persona of Honey and opens The Little Lady Agency. Her business is a total success until she finds herself falling for her best client, a handsome young American who has hired her to help him establish a social life in London. This debut has the winning combination: wit, humor, mishaps, miscommunications, a nutty extended family, and a hard-earned romance for the loveable heroine.

Emma: The debut novel Under the Same Sky by Genevieve Graham begins in 1746 with Maggie Johnson in South Carolina and Andrew MacDonnell in Scotland. These young people have known each other their entire lives even though they have never met. Both are gifted with “The Sight”. They are able to sense each other in their dreams and have visions about each other’s present life and future. Maggie and her sisters are kidnapped and brutalized by slavers after their father dies and their mother is murdered. The two surviving sisters are rescued by Cherokees. Andrew’s life is harsh and violent. He is the lone family survivor after The Battle of Culloden. Andrew decides to head to the New World and find the woman in his dreams. The novel includes much historical detail about life in the colonies, life in Scotland, and life in a Cherokee settlement.

Rosemary: The Proposal by Mary Balogh is the first in her new Survivors’ Club series, which takes place during the Regency period of England’s history. The Club is made up of six men and one woman who have served England during the Napoleonic Wars but survived with devastating physical and psychological wounds. The Club meets once a year, and this is the first time Hugo, Lord Trentham, has been able to attend for several years. His friends tease him that he needs a wife. They suggest that he go down to the shore and propose to the first woman he sees. Later in the day, Hugo does go to the shore to think and brood. There is only one person there, Gwendoline, Lady Muir, a young widow who has fallen and sprained her ankle. Hugo goes to her rescue and they immediately take a strong dislike to each other, but, happily for Hugo and Gwen, the story does not end there.

Steve: Anyone But You, by Jennifer Crusie, is quick and light read with a predictable plot, generic characters and a couple of steamy love scenes. Recently divorced Nina has just turned 40, and as a birthday present she buys a dog to keep her company in her new but lonely apartment. The dog, Fred, wanders into her neighbor Alex’s apartment. Alex is 10 years her junior, but of course is strikingly handsome and an ER doctor. The two become fast friends, but each is too afraid to make the first move. Eventually they connect on a physical level and things are great until Alex gets it in his head that he needs to provide Nina with the best house and rich lifestyle, since that is what her former husband did, as he was a rich doctor. Alex takes a cardiology position but is miserable, Nina doesn’t what her old high society lifestyle, and predictably he and Nina fight and break-up. Don’t fret though, they make-up and all ends happily.

Ann: A Secret Wish by Barbara Freethy. Three women, three birthdays, three wishes. Liz is turning 30, has recently broken up with her boyfriend, and she is wishing to meet someone new. Angela is turning 35, is from a big Italian family, and her wish is to have a baby. Carole is turning 40, had thought she had everything she ever wanted, but realizes that she’s not really sharing her kids’ lives and hasn’t seen her mother in ages; she’s not sure what her wish is, but her perfect life doesn’t feel perfect. Can a birthday wish change a life? This is the first in a projected “Wishes” series by the author Barbara Freethy.

Carol: In Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist, Georgie Gail, a rural Texas switchboard operator in 1903, is an independent woman who does not take kindly to taking orders from a man. When Texas Ranger Lucius Landrum goes undercover as Luke Palmer, the newly hired telephone salesman, Georgie’s feathers are ruffled. Lucius would rather be hunting down the notorious train-robbing Comer Gang but soon is forced to draw Georgie into his plan to ensnare the criminals. But then Lucius falls in love with the bird-watching Georgie. What to do? If he blows his cover, he could risk ruining his law career and he also runs the risk of Georgie rejecting him once she learns who “Luke” really is? This novel is a humorous, fast-paced and well-researched story that will offer readers a little bit of everything: a chaste romance, a historical setting, detailed information on birds and birding (Georgie’s other love) and a little bit of mystery. Perfect vacation reading, this one can be enjoyed by all adult readers.

Dori: In A Little Night Magic by Lucy March, small-town waitress Liv can’t stop thinking about the cook Tobias, but as he doesn’t seem to feel the same, she’s bought a one-way ticket to Europe. Then she meets Davinia, a mysterious woman who makes Liv aware that she has supernatural powers. As evil descends on her town, threatening her dear friends and her hometown, she has to decide whether to fight it or use her ticket to flee. And will Tobias be her ally or her enemy? This quirky but endearing read has it all: a little romance, a little mysticism, and a whole lot of fun.

Julie: Lilly is the character referred to in the title of Julie Klassen’s novel, The Apothecary’s Daughter. She helps in her father’s shop but dreams of life outside her small village and of finding her mother, who abandoned them three years earlier. Good historical novel of Regency England that gives attention to the lives of “common” folk and not just Society, as well as interesting details about the business of apothecaries.

Stacey: This is one of my favorite genres (which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the three strong reasons I’ve previously mentioned) and so I have two titles, each with a brief summary. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare is a teen science fiction story with strong romantic elements and enough action/adventure to interest the guys! This is the latest book in a long series, so you might want to start at the beginning but Clary and Jace remain the key couple whose struggle to find happiness help heighten the drama that surrounds them. The second book is The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig, also the latest in a log series that you will want to read from the beginning. This particular entry continues to develop the contemporary couple’s romance while still managing to introduce a new couple who: meet, think they might dislike each other but soon discover that they’re actually better together than apart. Two more books in two fabulous series? Perfect!

The next category of books we’ll be tackling? Religiously centered fiction! You might be thinking I’m confused and you’re sure I meant Christian Fiction, but I mean what I say! I’m tweaking the general definition of this genre a little to include more possibilities, more potential books. So if you’d like to read with us you’ll want to look for a book that is a gentle or as action-packed as you can take, but the main motivating factor within the story will be religiously based. I’m wondering what I’ll find! (Both for myself and when everyone shares the book they’ve selected!) What anticipation!

— Stacey

Happily Ever After February 19, 2011

Posted by Donna in Romance, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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The romance of Valentine’s Day may be over for another year but the love for romance novels continues to run “hot” in the publishing industry. According to the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2010, romance books had the largest share of the consumer market in 2009 at 13.2 percent with over $1.36 billion dollars in sales! According to data gathered by Bowker, romance novels are now also the fastest growing sector of the e-book market. What’s the appeal of a romance novel? For myself, it is definitely not the gorgeous hunks on the cover (although I will admit that I do drool over some). I enjoy my romances for “the happily ever after.” Yes, during these unstable times, I truly can escape the troubles of the world for awhile by reading a juicy romance with a “happily ever after” ending. Life is good when I know that there will be “a happily ever after.” What about you? Do you read romance?           

            

Having reading as always!                                          Donna

My Top 10 Favorite Historical Romances December 10, 2010

Posted by Donna in Fiction, Romance, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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I carry paperbacks wherever I go, in my purse and in my car and I have been known to carry a paperback in my coat or sweater pocket. Yes, I love to read paperbacks and especially historical romances. Oh, how I love a good romance with a happy ending for all! These are my top 10 historical paperback romances for 2010 (of course, I have read other hardcover historical romances in 2010 but I’m limiting my top ten list to just paperbacks). For an entertaining, pure escapism read to warm you up on a cold winter’s night, these books won’t disappoint:

How I Met My Countess
by Elizabeth Boyle

Aching for Always
by Gwyn Cready

In Bed with the Duke
by Christina Dodd

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior
by Suzanne Enoch

Wicked Intentions
by Elizabeth Hoyt

A Kiss at Midnight
by Eloisa James

Love in the Afternoon
by Lisa Kleypas

The Year of Living Scandalously
by Julia London

How to Beguile a Beauty
by Kasey Michaels

The Wicked Wyckerly
by Patricia Rice

 

As always…Happy Reading!           ~Donna

The Lure of Romance July 16, 2009

Posted by Donna in Romance, Thoughtful Ramblings.
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j0283257I love happy endings and I especially love romances. Here’s an interesting article about the popularity of romance novels during these stressful economic times: http://www.ohio.com/lifestyle/46472347.html
I am an obsessive reader because I always have a book nearby and I begin to get panicky if I can’t find a book to read. I read all kinds of books and all types of genres (even though I read the last page of the book first). Books comfort me. However, I find myself lately turning toward romances more when I’m feeling blue or when I want to escape from the world or when I just want a good laugh and cry. Romances with their happy endings make me feel good and I’m certainly not ashamed to tell other people that I read romances!animated-3-hearts-32pt
I have a secret stash….here are a few that I have handy to savor and enjoy when the mood strikes me:
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
The Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood
Wed Him Before You Bed Him by Sabrina Jeffries
This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James
whATHAPPENS     lionslady     wedhim     duchess

Happy Reading!                                              ~Donna