Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review - Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer
From the queen of Regency romance Georgette Heyer, Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle is an enjoyable and witty story from start to finish.

Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, is a man of consequence and ready to marry. He has his pick of eligible London beauties; if only he couldn’t find flaws in them, which he does. Hearing of a girl from his beloved mother, he goes to see her. He’s disappointed to find Phoebe Marlow has neither beauty nor conversation. She also wants nothing more in life than NOT to marry him. He learns this when she runs off to London in harsh winter weather so as to avoid what she believes is an imminent proposal from him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jeanette Baker visits...

Today I'm happy to welcome Jeanette Baker, author of CATRIONA, who's guest blogging here today.

Synopsis : Kate Sutherland has always felt out of step growing up in Southern California, but it isn’t until her adoptive mother’s death that she travels to Scotland to discover the truth about her heritage. There, with the help of a high-priestess of an ancient Scottish sect, she experiences the visions that reveal she is one of the twice-born and that five centuries before she walked the earth as Catriona Wells, daughter of an English earl and a Scots princess, first cousin to James IV of Scotland, English spy and harbinger of a shameful secret.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review - The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Sourcebooks Casablanca, 347p, ISBN: 1402238835
Synopsis - Returning to his family seat from Waterloo, Gervase Frant, seventh Earl of St Erth, could have expected more enthusiasm for his homecoming. His quiet cousin, stepmother, and young half-brother seem openly disappointed that he survived the wars. 

And when he begins to fall for his half-brother's sweetheart, his chilly reception goes from unfriendly to positively murderous.

Yes, this is a sort of a murder mystery, my dear Heyer fans. Or rather attempted murder, I should say (that's not a spoiler, for I'm sure you guessed the hero can't be murdered - right?). I feel the real mystery lies in the romance part of it, for till the end the reader is left wondering who exactly will end up with whom. Not at all the usual sort of fare we've come to expect from this wonderful romance author of yester years, but one which she writes surprisingly well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review - Colors By Thierry Laval

Chronicle Books, board book,
10p, ages Infant-3,
Isbn-9780811879521
Children can't get enough of color, but making them learn the names of these beloved colors is another task. Which is why I'm always happy to introduce my kid to the world of colors with simple, yet fun and informative books like this one.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review - Quinn by Iris Johansen

St. Martin's, 374p,
Isbn-031265121X
As a former Navy SEAL turned cop, Joe Quinn has seen the face of evil and knows just how deadly it can be. When he first met Eve Duncan, he never expected to fall in love with a woman whose life would be defined by her dual desires to bring home her missing daughter and discover the truth behind her disappearance---no matter how devastating. With the help of CIA agent Catherine Ling, they make a shocking discovery that sheds new light on young Bonnie’s abduction and puts Quinn squarely in the crosshairs of danger. Eve’s first love, John Gallo, a soldier supposedly killed in the line of duty, is very much alive---and very much a threat.
 
Emotionally charged, with one shock after another, Quinn reveals the electricity of Joe and Eve’s first connection, and how they fell in love in the midst of haunting tragedy. As their search takes them deeper and deeper into a web of murder and madness, Joe and Eve must confront their most primal fears . . . and test their resolve to uncover the ultimate bone-chilling truth.

All the books I've read so far in the Eve Duncan series have been interesting, with lots of emotional drama and ever increasing suspense. All these ingredients have been watered-down and recycled into 'Quinn''s lukewarm story.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review - Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer

Sourcebooks Casablanca, 368p, ISBN:1402238797
To say that the beautiful and tempestuous Lady Serena is highly upset to find that her recently deceased (and highly eccentric) father, the Earl of Spenborough, left the care of her fortune and control over her marriage to her jilted fiancé Ivo Barrasford, the Marquis of Rotherham, is to understate the case. Too much time has elapsed since Serena broke her engagement to her childhood companion, Rotherham, (and that too after the invitations had been sent - such a scandal!) for them to feel anything but discomfort at this bit of posthumous matchmaking on the part of the Earl. Or so they both declare.

Used to commanding a large household and having acted as her father's hostess from a young age, energetic and politically-savvy Serena soon finds herself in doldrums when her life is suddenly reduced to a small Dower house with none but her father's young widow, Fanny, for company and a social sphere consisting of occasional visits from neighbors who'd been just casual acquaintances before. The only bright spots in Serena's life are visits from the Marquis which always set off verbal fireworks between them, leaving a timid Fanny much distraught, but which curiously leave Serena exhilarated.

When even Fanny begins to feel their quiet life is a dead bore, the two ladies decide to move to Bath for a welcome change. And suddenly things begin to get a little too exciting for words - the return of an old lover, a shocking engagement, an elopement, flaring passions and love intrigues complicate their lives like never before. What follows is an engaging drama of romance and wit from that mistress of the genre, Georgette Heyer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review - Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld, Book 12
Dutton, Isbn: 0-525-95220-9
Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would help a young girl. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell casting talent, the thing she counts on most. 

In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Spell Bound gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and others, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

I was a tad disappointed with the previous book in this series, Waking the Witch, for it was the first book in the entire series that didn't have a true ending. Like most series, Otherworld books are best read in order so readers can make sense of who the characters are, their pasts, histories etc. But for all that, each book had a definite ending. Waking the Witch didn't (or at least, not a complete one) while Spell Bound just leaves the readers completely hanging.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review - Animal Rummy by Bob Barner

Chronicle Books, ages 5 and up,
42 cards in drawer box
This fun and easy-to-play card game featuring Bob Barner's colorful and lively animal characters is sure to be a family favorite. Players try to gather as many of the same cards as possible to create sets of each animal, including panda bears, lions, elephants, and more! The oversized cards come in an elegant drawer box with a ribbon drawstring, making them durable for years to come.

Cards are always fun to play with whether sheltering inside from blistering heat, traveling somewhere or just driving. I'm not comfortable with introducing my kids to the traditional card games, but these animal cards are just the right alternative.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review - Watch Me Die by Erica Spindler

St. Martin's, 341p, Isbn-031236394X

Synopsis - A priest murdered in his church…a homeless man slaughtered in a toilet... these are just the first of two seemingly unrelated murders plaguing a sweltering New Orleans. As the murders continue it becomes clear that glass restoration artist Mira Gallier is somehow at the heart of it. 

Whether she’s the one killing people and leaving weird Biblical quotes at the murder scenes or someone connected to her is, are the questions that plague the uneasy partnership of homicide detectives Spencer Malone and Karin Bayle. 

Meanwhile Mira is convinced her dead husband has come back to life. Could that be a clue?

********

Erica Spindler is at the top of her game in this edge-of-the-seat Hitchcockian psychological drama. Her skill is evident whether describing a character’s heart-rending survivor’s guilt, capturing the subtle nuances of a police partnership, or building an atmosphere of exponentially ominous tension.