Thursday, September 30, 2010

Never Less Than a Lady

Never Less Than A Lady (Lost Lords #2)Never Less Than A Lady by Mary Jo Putney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started reading this book before I knew it was #2 in the Lost Lords series, and I kept feeling like I was missing something, so I put it down and went in search of the first one. Once I finished that one (Loving a Lost Lord), this one made much more sense!

Never Less Than a Lady is the story of Julia Bancroft, abducted by her dead first husband's buddies and rescued by Major Alexander Russell. To protect her--and because there is a reluctant attraction between them--they get married. Then they have to learn how to build a life together.

Mary Jo Putney is one of my favorite romance authors, but this book--like the one before it--left me a little dissatisfied at times. I just felt like it was too easy for Julia to get over her abusive past. Admittedly, I've never been abused (hooray!!), but from everything I've read or heard, that level of torture and abuse doesn't simply melt away over the course of a few months just because you've met Mr. Fabulous. Even though her physical scars are years old, the complexity of her emotional scars should have taken more time, patient work, and pages to heal. The same is true for Benjamin--not even children learn to trust again that quickly. It was just unrealistic.

For Reader's Advisors: story and character doorways

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising BoysHow Do You Tuck In a Superhero?: And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys by Rachel Balducci

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started reading this while waiting at the Social Security office & DMV. Excellent choice! Short chapters, funny, and easy to put down when my number was called. It's not the parenting book I thought it would be when I checked it out, but it was an entertaining series of nearly random vignettes about the author, her husband, and their 5 sons.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Loving a Lost Lord

Loving A Lost Lord (Lost Lords, #1)Loving A Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mary Jo Putney is one of my favorite romance authors, but this is not one of her best books. It has great potential, despite the gag-inducing cover (WHY do publishers do that?!), but the end really felt a little too rushed, and the survival rate of the characters was improbably high. Still, I'll probably read the rest of the series as it comes out, and I'd give the first 80% or so of the book 3 1/2 to 4 stars if I could.

The premise of the book is that Mariah Clarke's father won an estate in a card game, and after he sets off for London to visit his estranged family, the former owner returns to persuade Mariah to marry him, telling her that her father has been killed. He is persistent, and she tells him she already has a husband who is off fighting in the Peninsula. Not long afterward, Mariah rescues a nearly drowned man with amnesia. On impulse, she tells him he's her husband, which does get her unwanted suitor to leave, but proves a complicated lie to maintain.

For reader's advisors: story and character doorways.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum, #16)Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The latest installment in the Stephanie Plum series is pretty much the same formula as the others: Stephanie & Lula bumble their way to rescuing Vinnie from the very angry bad guys who kidnapped him for ransom. A few appearances by Ranger, Morelli, Grandma Mazur, Connie, etc. Standard Stephanie Plum fare. The big laughs in this one come from Mooner & the Hobbits. :D

I wish there were more character development, but...oh well.

For reader's advisors: story doorway

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

Clear Your Clutter With Feng ShuiClear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came across this book during the course of doing some collection development for my nonfiction "zone" at work (in a public library) and decided to read it because I'm a little bit interested in feng shui and a LOT interested in clearing the irritating clutter from my house. Most clutter-clearing books are either lacking in practical tips or aimed at full-on hoarders (or worse, both), whereas I am a practical girl who can still see most of the floor and countertops in my house most of the time.

What I like best about this book is that it's written in short chunks that feel do-able, largely because Kingston doesn't insist that you get up right this second and sort through everything right here right now until your house looks like a magazine photo shoot. She acknowledges that not everyone has that much time or energy (including emotional energy) and that sometimes it's necessary to do a little bit every day until your newly-tidy spaces motivate you to take on bigger and bigger projects. I really like that she addresses the underlying reasons people have clutter and what it does to the energy of the people and the home.

My biggest qualm about the book is that occasionally Kingston gets a little "out there." She loses me every once in a while when she seems to stray too far into the realm of magical thinking (i.e. a woman putting a bouquet of "abundant-looking" flowers in the prosperity corner of the room leading to the woman's husband coming home and spontaneously giving his wife a $1500 check to spend on whatever she wants). However, these moments are brief, and then I'm right back with her because what she's saying about the emotional effects of clearing out and cleaning up make total sense to me.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ten Things I Love About You

Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, #3)Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sebastian Grey returns, this time as the romantic lead. (A note to Bridgerton fans: Cressida Twombley has a cameo in this one as well, and she is her usual nasty self.) Turns out that Sebastian is the secret author of the Sarah Gorely gothic romance novels, including Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron, which had me nearly rolling on the floor with laughter during one scene of What Happens in London.

Sebastian meets Annabel Winslow when she trips over him on the heath one night at a ball. He is awaiting the arrival of a willing widow for a tryst; she is fleeing from his elderly uncle who intends to marry her & who just sexually assaulted her in a hallway. The result? An entertaining tale I stayed up late to finish reading, despite not feeling well the past 2 days. This wasn't as hilarious as What Happens in London, but it did make me grin & chuckle numerous times. I also appreciated the acknowledgment of the existence of PTSD even before it had a name.

For reader's advisors: story and character doorways.

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