Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trust Me on This by Jennifer Cruise

A great case a mistaken identities starts this book off to a great start.
Dennie Banks is an investigative reporter chasing down the biggest story of her career. Alec Prentice is a government agent working undercover to catch an elusive grifter. When they meet by accident, it's a case of mistaken identities at first sight. What they don't mistake is the instant attraction they have for each other, an attraction they'll do everything in their power to resist--because Dennie thinks that Alec is running interference for her interview subject, and Alec suspects that Dennie is linked to his swindler. As the confusion grows, so do their feelings for each other, and what begins as a romantic comedy of errors may just end in the love affair of a lifetime.

One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland

This is a great time travel book.  Reading about life in the 13th century was fascinating.  Wouldn't it be fun to travel back in time - as long as you know you could get back to modern life.

Montgomery de Piaget attracts responsibilities like blossoms lure bees. Where other knights have bonny brides, laughing children, and noble quests, he has the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. A bit of magic might aid him—if only he still believed in that sort of thing.
When Pippa Alexander is invited to England to provide costumes for an upscale party, she jumps at the chance to showcase her own line of fairy-tale inspired designs. Not even her older sister’s decision to act as Fairy Queen crushes Pippa’s hope that this time, she’ll wind up wearing the glass slippers. Not that she believes in fairy tales, or magic that whispers along the hallways of an honest-to-goodness medieval castle...
But the castle is full of more than cobwebs, and danger lurks in unexpected places. And only time will tell if Montgomery and Pippa can overcome both to find their own happily every after . . .

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

This is my usual genre.  But I wanted to read this before seeing the movie. 
I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone.  This book was well worth it.

Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob's life with this circus. Sara Gruen spares no detail in chronicling the squalid, filthy, brutish circumstances in which he finds himself. The animals are mangy, underfed or fed rotten food, and abused. Jacob, once it becomes known that he has veterinary skills, is put in charge of the "menagerie" and all its ills. Uncle Al, the circus impresario, is a self-serving, venal creep who slaps people around because he can. August, the animal trainer, is a certified paranoid schizophrenic whose occasional flights into madness and brutality often have Jacob as their object. Jacob is the only person in the book who has a handle on a moral compass and as his reward he spends most of the novel beaten, broken, concussed, bleeding, swollen and hungover. He is the self-appointed Protector of the Downtrodden, and... he falls in love with Marlena, crazy August's wife. Not his best idea.

Jacob Jankowski says: "I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other." At the beginning of Water for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. It wasn't a romantic, carefree decision, to be sure. His parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, returned to school, went to the exams, and didn't write a single word. He walked out without completing the test and wound up on a circus train. The circus he joins, in Depression-era America, is second-rate at best. With Ringling Brothers as the standard, Benzini Brothers is far down the scale and pale by comparison.

One Touch of Topaz by Iris Johansen

Samantha Barton survived imprisonment on the war-torn island of St. Pierre. Her family wasn’t so lucky. Now, in her new identity as the tough-as-nails revolutionary code-named Topaz, she enlists the aid of an enigmatic industrialist, Fletcher Bronson, on a risky mission to rescue some stranded refugees. Trapped behind enemy lines with a man she both fears and desires, Samantha finds herself irresistibly drawn by his promise of a new life away from the hail of gunfire. For Fletcher, Samantha is more than just an intriguing new lover. She’s an object he must possess and protect at all costs. Opening his heart to her was never part of the bargain. But when new developments from Samantha’s past life threaten to disturb his careful plans for their future, Fletcher must come to terms with the changes she’s wrought in him—and reconcile himself to the truth of the warning she once delivered: “I’m Samantha, but I’m also Topaz.”

One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland

I didn't think I could find a book to follow A Discovery of Witches, but time travel mixed with romance in this book was a great follow up.

This is actually part of a series -  I wish I would have read the earlier books first.  the author Lynn, drops hints of the previous books but not enough information for me to understand what the characters were talking about in the beginning.  I still enjoyed the story, but would have like more explanation first.

Medieval studies scholar Tess Alexander is thrilled for the chance to live in a medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister...800 years in the past. She's determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, but she can't help wondering about that mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This book is my absolute favorite book that I have read in years.
It's a love story and mystery in a perfect blend.

It all begins with a lost manuscript, a reluctant witch, and 1,500-year-old vampire. Dr. Diana Bishop has a really good reason for refusing to do magic: she is a direct descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, and her parents cautioned her be discreet about her talents before they were murdered, presumably for having "too much power." So it is purely by accident that Diana unlocks an enchanted long-lost manuscript (a book that all manner of supernatural creatures believe to hold the story of all origins and the secret of immortality) at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and finds herself in a race to prevent an interspecies war.

Suture Self by Mary Daheim

This is a cute cozy mystery that reads fast and doesn't require a lot of heavy thinking. 
This is the first book I've read by Mary Daheim and Publisher's Weekly reports this 17th installment of her Bed and Breakfast series as not up to her usual standards.  Since I enjoyed this book, I'm looking forward to reading her previous 16 books in this series that are reportedly even better.
Judith McMonigle Flynn, the proprietress of Hillside Manor, a bed and breakfast located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, ranges further afield than previously in Suture Self, the first hardcover mystery in Daheim's series. Wheeled away from her innkeeping duties and rolled into Good Cheer Hospital for a much-needed hip replacement, Judith brings her own hospital roomie: her trash-talking cousin Renie, who's checked into Good Cheer with Judith for a little orthopedic surgery of her own. Renie, who makes doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators want to take back their Hippocratic oaths and run for the hills, is a bitchy, whiny, sarcastic candidate for the most obnoxious patient of the year. While Renie terrorizes the good sisters who run Good Cheer, Judith worries that the unlikely run of bad luck that's turned up the toes of a baseball star and an actress (both of whom checked into the hospital for minor surgery and checked out in body bags) will follow her into the operating room too. And when a third death occurs just as Judith and Renie are beginning their post-op convalescence, the cousins get their sleuthing act together and try to figure out what the killer's victims have in common and why they met their ends in a place devoted to the healing arts. Of course, that places the temporarily disabled ladies squarely in the sights of the murderer, whose identity is clear almost from the start to everyone except our gals.