Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I love romance-time travel books and this book does a good job at portraying life in the past as we would see it with our eyes.

English nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall and husband Frank take a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. When Claire touches a  cleft boulder in an ancient henge, she's somehow transported to 1743.

She encounters Frank's evil ancestor, British captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, and is adopted by another clan. Claire nurses young soldier James Fraser, a gallant, merry redhead, and the two begin a romance, seeing each other through many perilous, swashbuckling adventures involving Black Jack.

Scenes of the Highlanders' daily life blend poignant emotions with Scottish wit and humor.  Even in her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before. Eventually Claire finds a chance to return to 1945, and must choose between distant memories of Frank and her happy, uncomplicated existence with Jamie.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

This is a historical novel, set in 1906.  It's gives us a good look at life in small american towns.  This is a great YA book.  It a fast page turning, slow paced book.  I didn't find any places I wanted to rush through to get the chapter over because the characters are enjoyable even when we are wishing for different lives for them.

Mattie Gokey, at 16, is a talented writer.  She promised her dying mother that she would always take care of her father and younger siblings. She is stuck on a farm, living in near poverty, with no way of escaping.

With the help of a teacher who can see Mattie has great writing skills, Mattie gets accepted at Barnard College. She is torn between her sense of responsibility to her family and her need to do more with her life.  That summer she gets a job working as a serving girl at a fancy hotel in the Adirondacks.  She splits her salary with her father and saves the rest for herself.

At the hotel, Mattie gets caught up in the disappearance of a young couple who had gone out together in a rowboat. Mattie spoke with the young woman, Grace Brown, just before the fateful boating trip, when Grace gave her a packet of love letters and asked her to burn them. When Grace is found drowned, Mattie reads the letters and finds that she holds the key to unraveling the girl's death and her beau's mysterious disappearance. Grace Brown's story is a true one and author Jennifer Donnelly weaves the real-life story with Mattie's, making Mattie seem even more real.

There is much, much more going on but I recommend reading the book instead of reading the rest in my review.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bone Appétit (Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery) by Carolyn Haines

I actually put this book down for awhile because I had lost interest in it.  I'm glad I gave it a second chance and went back to finish it. 
I ended up really liking this book - maybe it's the whole southern belle theme that I enjoy so much.

The story centers around a cook-off beauty contest to find a spa's next spokesperson.
Sarah Booth, who's seeking solace after a miscarriage, and her best friend and fellow PI, Tinkie Bellecase Richmond, come to Greenwood, Miss., to attend classes at the Viking Cooking School, but soon get involved in a beauty contest/cook-off and mayhem.

The trouble begins when contestant Karrie Kompton bites into a chocolate-covered cockroach. Next, Babs Lafitte falls to the stage and goes into convulsions. After Brook Oniada suffers fatal burns during her flaming baton routine and Janet Menton dies after eating poisoned pastry, suspicion falls on Janet's roommate, Hedy Lamarr Blackledge, who hires Sarah and Tinkie to clear her name.

Sarah's ever-entertaining ghost companion, Jitty, provides support as Sarah winds up finding the crazed beauty contest gone bad a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

I'm not a huge fan of Victorian romance but I keep going back to give it another try.
Just Like Heaven is a cute story, even though it was easy to see how the book will end even in the first few chapters.  The main characters were very likeable but loved to say the other ones name. I wish I would have counted how many times Marcus said Honoria in the book.  The repetition got old fairly quickly.

Set in early 1800's England, I'm fascinated at the clothing the ladies had to wear.  Thank goodness denim jeans came along in my lifetime.
The book begins when Marcus and Daniel are young boys and meet at school.  Honoria, Daniels sister was younger than the boys and they considered her a pest to be ignored.  The book then moves on to Honoria reaching the age of marriage and has yet to find someone suitable.  She only sees Marcus as a brother and good friend since she has known him all her life and he practically lived at their house growing up.

We watch Marcus and Honoria dance around as their feeling for each other develop into something serious.  Even though Honoria continues to find a man other than Marcus to marry, we continue to hope for the best.

It's interesting that the book doesn't settle on anyone having a real job.  Marcus was an Earl.  I have no idea what he did to get money to afford a huge house and servants.  Or anyone else in the book - except for the doctor and house staff, everyone was free to wander as they wished.

I've heard Julia Quinn's earlier books are much more entertaining.  I may have to give her one more try, since this book did have a likeable factor to it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy by Nora Roberts

If you're a Nora Roberts fan, like I am, this book will not disappoint you.  I totally enjoy the characters and the relationships Nora builds. 

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it's getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother.

As the architect of the family, Beckett's social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

Clare came book to Boonsboro after her husband was killed and runs her own bookstore in town. Her three young sons and she are happy with the life they built and Clare doesn't have the time to date. And she never realized that Beckett is interested in her.

There is also a resident ghost at the Inn, Lizzy.  She is fairly active while construction is taking place at the Inn.  It will be interesting to see if Lizzy sticks around when people begin staying at the Inn.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Threadbare by Monica Ferris

This book is another in the Needlecraft Mystery series.   This mystery has plenty of  twists and turns and suspects to keep the pages turning.  The regular cast of characters are very likeable and all show up for another sleuthing adventure. 

The story revolves around the murder of two seemingly unrelated women, both homeless, both found frozen in the snow of a Minnesota winter. Betsy Devonshire, owner of Crewel World needlework shop, is again approached by one of her customers, who is under suspicion by the local police, who asks her to find out what really happened.

Sgt. Mike Malloy and Betsy, find that the evidence does fit together in either murder case or together with one murderer.  Betsy gets help from a homeless woman, Annie, who gets into places neither Betsy or Sgt Malloy ever could.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I always enjoy book by Susan Phillips.  This book is delightful!  I highly recommend it if you enjoy small towns and romance. 
Onetime PGA star and smalltown mayor Ted Beaudine is about to marry Lucy Jorik, the daughter of a former president, when she's persuaded to break it off by her best friend, Meg Koranda, the aimless daughter of Hollywood royalty.

Everyone in Wynette, Tex., loves Ted, but Meg feels Lucy deserves a passionate partner, not a god of self-control. After the disaster of calling off the wedding at the last minute, Meg's parents cut her off, stranding her in the hostile town with a broken down car and no money. As Meg finds her own path and helps Ted discover his heart, the townspeople stoutly defend their golden boy.

After reading this book, I plan to go back and read a couple I missed.  Glitter Baby - the book Meg first showed up in and Fancy Pants, the book Ted first showed up in.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Bone To Pick by Charlaine Harris

This is the first book I've read by Charlaine Harris.  I enjoyed this book, it was a fast easy read with likable characters.

Aurora Teagarden, works in a library and her hobby is reading books on real murders.  She suddenly finds herself very rich when elderly spinster Jane Engle- who shared Aurora's love of reading and talking about real murders, dies and leaves her a fortune.

When Aurora goes to take possession of Miss Engle's home, she finds the place ransacked. Poking around, she turns up a ghoulish artifact the intruder missed: a bashed-in human skull hidden in a cleverly disguised window seat. Aurora first thinks Jane was the killer and began searching for clues from Jane.  Aurora soon finds a note the deceased left behind pointing her suspicions elsewhere.

She delves into the lives of her new neighbors, masking her scrutiny with Southern charm, and discovers that over the years two men have disappeared from the neighborhood.
While she continues her sleuthing, she strikes up a friendship with a handsome minister.