Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jane Austen reading challenge


I found this 8 genre Jane Austen reading challenge and could not resist. 

The rules are fairly simple, read 1 Jane Austen-themed book from each of the 8 genres listed below during the allotted time (January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012)

With this challenge you do not have to post a review, but I will do so anyway. If you would like to know more about this challenge, please check out their group on Goodreads.

The Genres:

1. Variation Stories
2. Sequel
3. Jane Austen as a Fictional Character
4. Paranormal
5. Modern Adaptation
6. Mystery
7. Supporting Characters
8. Books by Jane Austen

Although you do not have to add what you will read, I am going to add what I am intending to read. Titles may change if the book is poorly.

1. Variation Stories- Pride & Prejudice, Hidden Lust by Mitzi Szereto

2. Sequel-  Darcy’s Temptation by Regina Jeffers 

3. Jane Austen as a Fictional Character- Just Jane by Nancy Moser

4. Paranormal- Sense & Sensibility with Sea Monsters- 

5. Modern Adaptation- Compulsively Mr. Darcy by Nina Benneton

6. Mystery -The Phantom of Pemberley by Regina Jeffers
7. Supporting Characters- Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson

8. Books by Jane Austen- Either a re-read of Persuasion or Lady Susan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday Tea


The Book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ok, so today did not get off to a good start. I woke-up at 7 am, put the kettle on and about ten minutes later the power went off. Apparently the whole town was without power.  So, I had no heat, no electric and no lights save for the random candles I was able to gather and the book light that is attached to my reading/laptop desk. 

Oddly enough I just put batteries in my book light, so thankfully I had a light to read by. I mean what else was going to do? I could sit there and watch the telly, but I am pretty sure I would receive a visit from the men in white coats leading me to a padded cell.

I received an ARC of Cinder in the post today! Yay! I am a total nerd when it comes to revamped fairy tales although I have never read one that is set in the future with humans, androids, and cyborgs. I just finished chapter one and there seems to be a wealth of stuff going on. First, Cinder is a cyborg apparently with a rather small foot as the first chapter opens with her removing said foot and waiting for her assistant to bring her back an adequate one. We also learn that no one other the baker knows she is a cyborg, although I don’t think well have to worry about the baker as comes down with the plague at the end of the chapter. Chapter one also introduces us to the Prince, who brings his android to Cinder’s shop for repair. 

It is very futuristic, which is exceedingly different from what I normally read but it has caught my attention and now I want to find out what happens.

The Tea:

I started with a cuppa semi-cold Earl Grey thanks to the power going out. Luckily, four hours later, the power is back one, although the power company informed us that we may be experiencing power cuts throughout the day so I now have a pot of Blackberry & Sage sitting on top a warmer.

Do they go together?

I am not really sure what one drinks when reading a futuristic fairy tale. The book does mention the plague and wasn’t tea used as cure for it in the Middle Ages? So, I suppose that in a way any tea would work. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Tea


The Book:
  I am reading Cotillion by Georgette Heyer. I am a big fan of GH. Ok- I will admit that may have been a bit of a lie. I am not overly fond of her mysteries and I couldn’t quite get into Beauvallet, but I do love her Regency romances. My love for them started thanks to the sexy voice of Richard Armitage. A friend of mine was listening to the audio book of Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle which was being read by AR while we were going on a car trip and his brilliantly sexy baritone voice is stuck inside my head every time I read a GH novel.

As for Cotillion, I am especially enjoying the light-heartedness of this novel. It’s very different from the GH novels that I have read in the past and I must say it contains a wealth of hilarity which I was not expecting. I also think that this was the perfect title for the book as the word Cotillion means a dance for four people. I cannot wait to see how this novel will end.



The Tea:
On a resent trip to Barnes & Noble I picked up Harney & Sons Earl Grey Imperial. It’s not like I needed another tin of Earl Grey, my tea cabinet is practically bursting with a mass of Earl Grey, I seem to have a mild addiction to this particular tea but seeing as there is no Earl Grey Drinkers Anonyms my addiction will have to continue…

This was the first time that I have tired the Imperial. You can definitely tell that it’s an Earl Grey, but I would describe as an Earl Grey with an extra dose or two or three of bergamot, meaning it’s a bit stronger than your average.

I also spotted this brilliant Keep Calm & Carry On mug which happens to match my Keep Calm & Carry on bookmark. I love it when things come together like that.

Do They Go Together?

Earl Grey goes with anything! Plus, it is a Regency novel and the Regency era is where tea of any type truly took hold. I think it is the perfect combo!

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Classics Challenge 2012

I love Classic novels, although due to my TBR pile, my Classics often get overlooked. Now, I have a reason to read them!


The Challenge:
Read seven works of Classic Literature in 2012
Only three of the seven may be re-reads

How Does it Work?
I've organized this challenge to work a little like a blog hop. I hope this will make it more interactive and enjoyable for everyone.

Instead of writing a review as you finish each book (of course, you can do that too), visit November's Autumn on the 4th of each month from January 2012 - December 2012.

You will find a prompt, it will be general enough that no matter which Classic you're reading or how far into it, you will be able to answer. There will be a form for everyone to link to their post. I encourage everyone to read what other participants have posted.

What I am going to read:

1-Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: For some reason unbeknownst to be, I have never read this book. I have had a copy sitting on my bookshelf for what seems like an eternity and now I finally am reading it!

2-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: I watched the BBC movie with Ben Barnes, now I am eager to read the book.

3-Sons & Lovers by D.H. Lawrence: I purchased this book a few years back, then came down with a horrid case of the chickenpox (I was 21 when I came down with them, so any case would have been horrid) and forgot that I bought it.

4-Dubliners by James Joyce: Another classic that fell by the wayside due to the chickenpox

5- Dracula by Bram Stoker: I cannot believe that I have never read this book…

6-Persuasion by Jane Austen- Re-read. I have been in a Wentworth mood as of late.

7-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- Re-read.  My favorite novel.

Until We Meet Again,
Best Wishes & Happy Reading,
Angela Renee

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @  At Home With Books

Gra, Dilseacht, Cairdeas


Love, Loyalty, Friendship 

I never share my artwork, although once I had finished this piece, I knew I wanted it to be displayed. The story of the Claddagh was one that I grew up hearing and I wanted to capture the symbol of the hands holding the heart topped with a crown. The only problem that I encountered was how I wanted to capture the emotion of the symbol. I drew up several sketches, yet none of them felt right, and finally it donned on me; the symbol itself was enough.

my pix 015

The Story of the Claddagh

Long ago, an Irish fisherman named Robert Joyce left his hometown of Galway, Ireland for distant ports. He sailed on a ship bound for the West Indies, but pirates came aboard and took over the vessel. They kidnapped Joyce, and sold him into slavery. He was taken to a goldsmith’s shop, and forced to work there, worlds away from the woman he loved.

Joyce never forgot the Irish woman who owned his heart, and he created the first Claddagh ring as a romantic symbol of their love. His loyalty and commitment to her were illustrated by the charming motifs he chose for the legendary Claddagh ring. Two tiny hands, gently clasping a crowned heart, were wrought from pure gold, and they symbolized the sacred nature of romantic love and faithfulness.

Joyce dreamed of returning to Galway and embracing his love, but instead, he languished for years, honing his skills as the Moorish goldsmith’s assistant. When King William III ordered the release of all slaves in 1689, he gained his freedom at last.

Despite the pleas of his master, who offered him all manner of worldly goods, and even his own daughter as a bride, if only Joyce would stay on and work for him, Joyce was resolute. He would return to his own true love, and make a life with her.

Upon his return, Bruce’s loyalty was rewarded. Margaret, the woman he loved so much, was there waiting for him, just as he had waited for her. And the couple lived out their life together. She wore her Claddagh ring until the end of her days


Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes,

Angela Renee

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books






I snapped these pictures on the 18th of November. I was in the middle of reading Wuthering Heights, with it’s vast moors and storm-laden Yorkshire-grey skies, when I noticed that the wind had picked and the three o’clock sky had turned  dark in an instant. The gloomy sky was the perfect accompaniment to Emily Brontë’s novel, so I immediately grabbed my camera hoping to capture a piece of the moorland here in Ohio.


Until Next Time,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Photo taken: November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NANAWRIMO Diary Part 1


Ok, so I decided to participate in this years nanowrimo. I was planning on doing it last year, but life seemed to get in the way. So, this year I made a schedule and I am trying to stick to it, which means I am doing absolutely nothing but writing today and tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to put a nice dent in the 50,000 word quota. This may be a little tricky, 50,000 words in one month, well actually it is now 17 days, it sounds a bit daunting, but I always have liked a bit of challenge.

I am happy to report that I have a complete plot, which I have thoroughly mapped out. My characters have been outlined, the setting thoroughly researched, and the timeline completed. Thank goodness for sticky notes, index cards, three-ring binders, and highlighters. I do love to raid the office supply stores!


As you can tell I am not a panster. The idea of going into something completely blind makes me a bit unnerved. I am a full-fledged plotter. Those four books you see hold every tiny little detail about my novel, right down to the recipes for the dishes that will be consumed by my characters. I know that it may sound a little over-the-top for some, but I feel that when writing, the author should know every detail that goes in the book, so that your writing has a realness to it.

 HPIM1612 HPIM1611HPIM1613

I have even done a bit of hands-on research for the novel. It’s always nice to have a professional jouster on hand, when you need to know a bit of technical information.   Oh, and let me just say that the armour is a lot heavier than it looks and that chain-mail was horribly heavy.


I also visited a local castle just to get the feel of what it was like for my characters to live in one. I wanted to know the sounds, the echos, the lighting, the feel of  bare feet upon  cold flagstones. Although it wasn’t an actual historical castle, it has been modeled upon an English border castle, which made me even more eager to visit it as my story takes place in Northumbria. It was also thoroughly made by hand. Sadly I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have like as I forgot to charge my batteries.


The chair came from England.


Wheel-Stairs leading up from the dungeon.
The wheel-stairs were very steep and exceedingly narrow. Since the dimensions were taken from an English border castle, I was constantly wondering how the women maneuvered the stairs with their dresses.

In my next nanowrimo update I will be blogging about my plot.

Stats as of November 13th, 2011

Days in: 13  (although I started on the 3rd)
Words: 25,507
Chapter: 5-6
Cups Of Tea Consumed: More than I can count!

Keep those pens flowing…or those keys typing,
Until Next Time,

Angela Renee.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Tea


The Book: The Monsters; Mary Shelley & The Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler

A few days ago I watched the movie, Rowing with the Wind which happens to be about Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Clair Clairmont (Byron‘s lover and Mary‘s sister). The movie started on the night Frankenstein was created and then ventured on exploring the so-called “Curse of Frankenstein”.

The movie had me curious as to why Mary believed that she was created this curse, so I started to research a bit about her life and finally remembered that I had purchased this book at the beginning of the year.

I haven’t been able to delve into this book as deep as I was hoping as I am only on page 19. I am getting a bit of her parents history, mainly her mother’s history, and from the way, the book has been thus far I have to say I hope it improves. The writing seems a bit on the juvenile side for a non-fiction book, which is turning me off it somewhat.

I knew that Frankenstein was created when Lord Byron challenged his friends to write a ghost story, what I didn’t know was that Byron’s physician, Dr. Polidori wrote The Vampyre, which inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

The Tea: Boston Blend from Harney & Sons
The tea is a blend of black tea, cranberry, and almond flavours. It kind of reminds me of a cream tea, and I wonder if it contains just a hint of vanilla. The cranberry and almond compliment each other exceedingly well, which surprised me seeing as how the two are often bitter.

Overall, I would have to say that this is the perfect tea for an autumn night.

Do they go together?
Not really. Although I am reading about Shelley, Bryon, and Mary Shelley, so anything is possible.

Until We Meet Again

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Novel Seduction by Gwyn Cready

a_novel_seduction Title: A Novel Seduction
Author: Gwyn Cready
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
ISBN: 978-1-4516-1264-6
$7.99 U.S./ $9.99 Canada
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
Pages: 373
How I Read It: Mass-Market Paperback from Publisher
Rating: 5 Cups

rating 5

When snobbish book critic Ellery Sharpe screws up at Vanity Place magazine, her boss assigns her the ultimate punishment: write an ode to romance novels, a genre she considers the literary equivalent of word search puzzles. To make matters worse, he hires her sexy former party boy ex, Axel Mackenzie, to shoot the photos. Axel really wants the project to succeed. For one, the magazine will double his fee if he convinces strong-willed Ellery to write a story no woman can resist. Besides, getting Ellery to fall for romance novels might be just the push she needs to believe people can change . . . even him. At his sister’s advice, Axel gives Ellery a copy of Kiltlander, a much-adored romance whose warrior hero is utterly irresistible. To her dismay, Ellery finds herself secretly falling in love with the story—and with Axel, who’s drawing his own lessons from the book’s compelling hero. With her carefully crafted image of herself crumbling and her dream job on the line, will Ellery risk it all to make the leap from tight-lipped literati to happily-ever-after heroine?
(from the back cover)

My First Thoughts After Reading The Blurb:

This has the potential to be a rather grand read. The name Axel Mackenzie sounds so sexy. 

My Review:

After writing up a scathing review of Bettina Moore’s memoirs, Ellery Sharpe finds herself being forced to write an ode to romance novels. And who better to be her photographer and guide into the world of  romance novels than her bad boy ex, Axel Mackenzie?
My Thoughts:

I have read devoured Gwyn Cready’s time travel romances-- thoroughly enjoying each of them. When I was offered this book to review, I jumped at the chance. Although I was not, sure how this would play out since this is a contemporary rather than a time travel.  I am please to say that this book was just as brilliant as her time travel romances.

Right from the start, I was hooked and found that I could not put this book down. Some romance novels start off a bit slow gaining speed only after the first steamy scene, which was not the case with A NOVEL SEDUCTION. Because the hero and heroine had a history, the novel starts at a good pace, which continues throughout the novel.

I also loved the fact that this is a romance novel about a woman that hates romance novels. It’s a plotline that you do not see often in the world of romance novels and I found that to be intriguing.

I will admit it--I was an Ellery Sharpe. I loathed romance novels and believed them to be a waste of reading time until my second year at Uni when I was forced to read one romance a week for two months straight. For the first two weeks I then started to loath my Professor, until I found that one novel that clicked with me and opened the doors to a whole new world of novels.  Sadly, I did not have anyone who looked as yummy as Axel to act as my guide. 

I could identify with Ellery and her dislike of romance novels, which made me even more intrigued with the novel. In addition, I loved the way that it was Axel who acted as her guide into the world of romance novels.


This was a witty contemporary romance, with believable characters and plot less taken approach. A perfect book to cozy up with.

A fun fact:

The three romance novels that Axel gives Ellery to read are based upon actual novels and one of them is Gwyn’s.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Tea


The Book: Scones & Bones by Laura Childs.

In the latest installment, Theodosia Browning (owner of Indigo Tea Shop and unintentional super-sleuth) finds herself and her coworkers in the midst of another murder. Although this time the case, centers around a Pirate & Plunder part gone wrong which left a history intern dead and a priceless piece of Pirate booty missing.

I absolutely love Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mystery Series! I can never get enough of Theodosia or her coworkers. I have read numerous books in this series, so far (I am only on chapter 5), this one has been my favorite. It must have something to do with the Pirate aspect of the novel. Who doesn’t like Pirates?

The Tea: Blackberry Sage.


   Tea For Wisdom - An enchanting blend of black tea, fruit and herbs. Finest quality tea leaves mingle with sweet, fragrant blackberries and cool, soothing white sage. The mild, head-clearing character of the white sage herb contributes to a wise tea mind.

I purchased this tea on a whim so I was not sure what to expect. I was also a bit worried that the sage would overpower the blackberry; surprisingly the tea was smooth and refreshing. You can taste a hint of sage but it is the blackberries that predominate.

Do they go together? Sure, why not. If I were to be precise about it, I would have gone for one of the teas mentioned in the book although I did not want to dig around in my tea cabinet. 


Until We Meet Again,


Monday, October 3, 2011

Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie

51QoQ7ELmGL Title: Kiss of Night
Author: Debbie Viguie
ISBN: 978-0-446-57086-2
Publisher: Faith Words a division of Hachette Book Group
Format: Trade Paperback
$14.99/ $16.50 Canada
Genre: Fiction/Christian Suspense
Pages: 304
How I Read It: Advance Uncorrected Proof from Publisher
Rating: rating 5


Centuries ago, Raphael was a blasphemous knight who fought in the Crusades purely for his own mercenary benefit, and to satisfy his taste for killing. Now, condemned for his evil passions and hypocrisy, he wanders the earth a vampire, cursed with first-hand knowledge of the supernatural world he once denied existed. The powerful relic he still possesses from his days as a Crusader has been stolen by a rival vampire who has recruited an army of soulless underlings to aid him in spreading evil. At the time he learns this, Raphael has been hunting this vampire for nearly a century, and it seems the final battle is destined to take place in Prague.

For help in this quest, Raphael must enlist the aid of two humans, David and Susan, who suddenly find themselves immersed in a world they never imagined, entangled with supernatural forces they can't control. Susan, in particular, finds herself conflicted as she struggles with her inexplicable attraction to Raphael. In the end, both Susan and Raphael will be called upon to exercise courage and faith, and in the process, the question What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God? is answered.
(from the publishers)

My Review:

Susan Lambert has traveled to Prague for her Grandmother’s funeral. Seeking solace, she prays in an ancient church where she feels that someone is watching her. When she looks around, she sees a man staring at her and blocking the exist to the church. In the blink of an eye he is gone, only to be seen later in the shadows while she is having dinner with her family.

Soon Susan finds herself immersed in a world she knew nothing about with a vampire as her guide.

My Thoughts:

When I first read the concept of this book, I was intrigued. I wanted to see how the writer would pull off a Christian-based Vampire novel. While the theology of God creating vampires as a source of atonement was a bit absurd, it did make for an interesting read.
I loved the character of Raphael. I loved his struggle to be a good vampire and I could have read his pov forever. The same could be said for Susan‘s story. It was the addition of David’s pov that made this novel a bit stop and start. Too many main characters can taint the novel, making it seem slow and forced. I must admit, that did happen in parts of the novel. Right when Raphael/Susan was gaining speed, David’s pov came in disrupting the momentum.

While David’s disruptions did indeed make me want to throw the book against the wall, it was Raphael and Susan’s story that kept me reading away until the wee hours of the morn.

Kiss of Night, is the first novel in a series and I have to say that the author is off to a good start. I cannot wait to read the next book since this novel closes with a cliffhanger.

5 Cups stands for “I love it! Pour me another one!” I gave it a 5-Cup rating for the simple fact I loved it and cannot wait to read the next book in this series

I know this book will probably ruffle a few feathers for the simple fact that it is a Christian-based vampire novel. Although you must remember, this is simply a work of fiction and I do not believe that a work of fiction can sway a persons religious views.





Residents of the US & Canada only.
Sorry, No P.O. Boxes.
To enter please leave your name & email address.
Contest ends Oct. 31st

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela bird

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Tea


The Book: The Goblin King by Shona Husk

  I am halfway through the book at this point and I have to say that it’s not what I thought it would be. It’s not bad--the whole concept of a Celtic King cursed with a heart of gold (no not the sweet, I’ll-do-anything- you-ask-me-to-do heart of gold, but an actual piece of gold where his heart once was heart of gold) sounded rather appealing to me. Although I thought that book would have more of a Celtic-vibe to it than it actually does. It’s not bad, I actually want to see what happens between Roan (aka Goblin King) and Eliza, so I have this urge to finish the book; it’s just not, what I was expecting.  I also found the worlds within the book to be intriguing. The goblins live in Shadowlands, the names explanatory and then there is Summerlands, the land in-which your dreams lives (think bright sunny Summer days complete with bunnies and wildflowers).

The concept of the book rather reminds me of the Irish legend of Shifty Jack.



The Tea: Asian Moonlight.

           Description: I have no idea what is in this tea, but I absolutely love it. (Each time I visit my local tearoom, I buy 6 ounces of it and it never lasts more than a month or two.) It’s a black tea, with a hint of anise. It’s very smooth and relaxing and the lovely licorice aroma fills the room. Since it has been raining here for the last few days with no sign of stopping anytime in the near future, I thought that this would be a nice take-me-away-tea.

Do they go together? Possibly.
Both the book and the tea have qualities that set them apart from what is considered the norm.  The tea has qualities of the “Summerlands” and “Shadowlands”, so it works in it’s own weird and wonderful way.

Until We Meet Again,


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thursday Tea



 The Book: Kiss Of Night by Bennie Viguie (out October 2011)
             I have been waiting to read this book for what seems like forever. There is something appealing about a vampire doing a bit of soul searching--not to consume but to make amends. This is the first Christian-based vampire novel that I have read and I have to say the concept for this novel is rather intriguing. In addition, it offers a mystery as well as history, which always is enjoyable. I am on page 101 at the moment, and while the book stumbled a bit around page 90, it has picked up and I am eager to finish the novel.

The Tea:  Twinings Fresh & Fruity Raspberry, Strawberry, and Loganberry.

        A rich red berry infusion with a sweet juicy flavor. The sweetness of the strawberry contrasts with the sharper taste of raspberry and loganberry to create a delicious and refreshing blend.

Technically this is not a tea; it is an infusion and contains no tea at all. Although its nice and fruity and offers a taste of summer on a chilly, gloomy, British-like day. The taste could be likened to summer berries in a cup. Seeing how I never use sugar, this tea was naturally sweet yet had a bit of a bite to it.


Do they go together?

I am not exactly sure what type of tea goes with a vampire novel. I was about to make a pot of Voodoo tea, when I spotted the Fresh & Fruity tea. The Fresh & Fruity tea won for the simple reason it was already in a teabag where the Voodoo tea was loose and I didn’t want to go to the trouble of finding a tea strainer then filling it.

Surprisingly this tea actually did go with the book. Not only did the tea have a bite to it, when it was steeped, it turned a medium red colour.


The book does actually mention chamomile tea, but I wasn’t in the mood for a mellow tea.

*When reading, I always make a pot of tea, now I finally have a place to share my tea and tome selection! 


Angela bird

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday!!!!



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

This month Mailbox Monday is Hosted by Amused By Books

I wasn’t expecting a lot of books to arrive this week, so I was extremely surprised when I received the following in my mailbox.

For Review:

51BtO5FKYuL__SL500_ 1. Heather Song by Michael Phillips
The Sequel to Angel Harp.
Provided by Hachette Book Group.

Newly married, Marie and Alaster Reidhaven's life seems idyllic. But things start to fall apart when the Duke's sister's curses and spells start to plague them. Alaster dies and again Marie is widowed. Marie returns to Canada to visit her dying father. The reunion is tender and healing for them both.

Unexpectedly months later, Marie is astonished to learn that back in Scotland, her deceased husband Alaster never signed their pre-nup and had instead undertaken the legalities necessary to insure his estate would indeed go to Marie. Olivia is furious and full of threats and attempts to kill Marie and then disappears. Marie inherits and again assumes the title and role of duchess.

But now the other half of her former "love triangle" bubbles up from out of her past. Marie and Grahm begin seeing each other "as friends" awaiting God's leading.

Olivia reappears and again tries to kill Marie. Olivia eventually dies of cancer, unrepentant. The Reidhaven family line is at an end, the legacy of their memory to be carried forward by Marie who loved, in the end, all of them.

Harris-RiverCross-150 2. A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris
Provided by Bethany House

Texas Ranger Jake Nelson patrols the U.S.-Mexico border, protecting the settlers from cattle rustlers, outlaws, and bandits. Sparks fly when Manuel Diego stirs up a revolt against the government, which leads to the murder of a newspaperman, who is the son of a U.S. senator, and the kidnapping of his sister, Elizabeth Madison, a journalist in the making.
With Elizabeth's photograph in hand--a dark-haired beauty with smiling eyes--Jake rides over the border to find her. After the Rangers defeat the marauders and rescue Elizabeth, Jake is surprised to learn she's not the spoiled daughter of a senator that he was expecting. In fact, he finds himself taken by her. And she by him.

10766069 3. The Little Bride by Anna Solomon
Provided by Penguin Books

When 16-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband, a handsome townhouse, and freedom from physical labor and pogroms. But her husband Max turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons. The country is desolate, the work treacherous. Most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson. As a brutal winter closes in, the family's limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.

th 4. Theodora, Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy
Provided by Penguin Books

Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety-while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world's most powerful empires. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little-known figure from the dusty pages of history.

511bMm5MV2L 5. The Wounded Heart by Adina Senft
Provided by Hachette Book Group

When a business offer turns into something more personal, Amelia is torn between what logic tells her is right, and the desire of her heart.

A widow with two small children, Amelia Beiler is struggling to make ends meet. She is running her late husband's business, but it's not what she was raised to do, which is run a home. When she gets an offer for the business from Eli Fischer, she's only too relieved to consider it-especially when it looks like Eli's interest might include more than just the shop. But when she begins to experience strange physical symptoms and is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it's difficult not to question God's will. If she pursues the treatment she believes in, she risks going under the bann. But how can she allow Eli to court her when she can't promise him a future?

10843436 6. Skeleton Letters by Laura Childs
Provided by: the author
Release Date: 10-2011

The last thing scrapbooking maven Carmela Bertrand expected to bear witness to in St. Tristan’s Church was a crime. But now a beloved member of her scrapbooking circle is dead – and a mysterious hooded figure has absconded with an antique crucifix. With the church, a popular New Orleans tourist site, pretty much open to the public, it looks like the police don’t have a prayer of finding the killer. Good thing amateur sleuth Carmela and her voodoo shop-owning friend, Ava, are hot on the trail of suspects that range from the strange Brother Paul to the cult group The Seekers. Combing New Orleans for clues, they end up in a bayou at midnight--stalked by an enraged killer!

51 QNYHiv L 7. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
Provided by Touchstone
Release Date: 10-2011

Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

8. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Provided by Random House
Release Date 11-2011

Biography of Catherine the Great

51G4jN-UgaL 9. Garden of Secrets by Barbara Freethy
Provided by Pocket Books

Mysterious dreams draw costume designer Isabella Silviera to Angel’s Bay, the California coastal town where angels occasionally dance above the waves. Bestselling author Barbara Freethy enchants again in this emotional and compelling tale of family secrets, abiding friendships, and heart-touching romance. Isabella’s drive to Angel’s Bay would have ended in tragedy when her car slid off a cliff if she hadn’t been rescued by Nick Hartley. As he helps her to safety, she realizes he is the man who has haunted her dreams. Nick, however, is committed to reconnecting with his estranged teenage daughter, refusing to respond to his powerful attraction to Isabella. And Isabella’s police chief brother has his hands full with a missing mother, an abandoned baby, and an unknown father. What is Isabella’s role in the mysteries—both past and present— that swirl around the town? When she starts helping at the Hartley family theater, all the pieces begin to link together. Loves found and lost, heartbreak and happiness, courage and betrayal are all part of the patchwork quilt of the community—and of life. Isabella’s gift is seeing the patterns. . .

TWaWLcoverMainPage 10. To Wed A Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
Provided by Publicist
Release Date: 12-2011

To Wed a Wild Lord
To fulfill his grandmother’s ultimatum, Lord Gabriel Sharpe pursues a spitfire he believes desperately needs him. Then the tables are turned....

Like everything daredevil Gabriel Sharpe does, pursuing Virginia Waverly is a high-stakes game. Ever since her brother Roger died racing Lord Gabriel, Virginia has yearned to take her revenge on the reckless lord by beating him at his own sport. But when she challenges Lord Sharpe to a race, the hellion who has always embraced his dark reputation as the “Angel of Death” counters with a marriage proposal!

Gabe knows Virginia's family is in dire financial straits—why shouldn’t she marry him and solve both their problems? She claims to be appalled by his proposal, but her response to his kisses says otherwise. So when the two of them begin to unravel the truth behind Roger’s death, Gabe takes the greatest gamble of all, offering the cunning and courageous beauty something more precious than any inheritance: true love.


11. Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves 11.
Provided by Hachette Book Group
Release Date: 10-2011


In a world full of frogs, Alison Carter is determined to find her prince. Maybe her dating past is more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's seen enough happy marriages to know that true love is possible. No matter what, she won't give up on happily-ever-after. If she can't find Mr. Right, she'll simply hire someone who can.


When Brandon Scott inherits a successful matchmaking business, he thinks his prayers have been answered. Set up a few lonely ladies, collect the fee, how hard can it be? No one needs to know he's not really a professional matchmaker-especially not his first client, the beautiful, spirited Alison. Soon he's falling for her-and her dreams of kids and carpools. But Alison is getting close to figuring out his secret, and if she learns he's deceived her too, she'll walk right out the door, taking Brandon's heart with her.

  Scottish-Customs-from-the-Cradle-to-the-Grave-978184158293112. Scottish Customs From the Cradle to the Grave by Margaret Bennett
Purchased New from Amazon

I received a grand total of 12 books in my mailbox this week….What grand reads did you receive?

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela bird

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Into To a Good Book-Romance Edition

With fall falling upon us, I thought that this would be a good time to introduce you to some of my favorite books.

For many of us the cooler air has started to creep in. For me, that means breaking out the plaid wraps, putting on the teakettle, grabbing a good book (or two or three) and heading outside to the swing to enjoy the last days of nice weather before winter settles upon us.

I thought that I would share with you a few of my favorites and what better than a Regency Romance series to warm you up on a chilly night.

The Duke’s Obsession Series by Grace Burrowes 

1. The Heir (out now)
2. The Soldier (out now)
3. The Virtuoso (releases November 2011)


The Heir (book one)
Author:  Grace Burrowes
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4434-6
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


Gayle Windham, earl of Westhaven, is the first legitimate son and heir to the duke of Moreland. To escape his father’s inexorable pressure to marry, he decides to spend the summer at his townhouse in London, where he finds himself intrigued by the secretive ways of his beautiful housekeeper...


Anna Seaton is a beautiful, talented, educated woman, which is why it is so puzzling to Gayle Windham that she works as his housekeeper.
As the two draw closer and begin to lose their hearts to each other, Anna’s secrets threaten to bring the earl’s orderly life crashing down—and he doesn’t know how he’s going to protect her from the fallout...

Title: The Soldier
Author: Grace Burrowes
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4567-1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


Devlin St. Just has tried everything to escape his demons. But his responsibilities are multiplying and his despair deepening, until beautiful, enigmatic neighbor Emmaline Farnum steps in…


Devlin’s torn spirit calls to Emmaline, but even as she gives in to his irresistible caresses and her own growing desires, she’s keeping a devastating secret…

Protecting Emmaline becomes Devlin’s urgent mission, if only he can over come the forces that are driving them irretrievably apart…

Title: The Virtuoso
Author: Grace Burrowes
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4570-1
Release Date: November 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca


Lord Valentine Windham is devastated when an injury makes it impossible for him to play the piano. Val’s music was his greatest expression and also his salvation from the pressures of society--and his imperious father. Greif, loss, and loneliness threaten to overwhelm him, until he meets a beautiful young widow whose troubles are even deeper than his own…

Immerse yourself in the earthy, passionate Regency of Grace Burrowes where love and sensuality come vibrantly to life in a timeless graceful era….

My Thoughts:

The Heir

Before I became a reviewer, I would normally pass by romance books. Occasionally one would catch my eye, but often I wrote them off as fluff- light reading with no substance to  engage me- I have to say that it’s author’s like Grace Burrowes that have pulled me into this genre. I found that The Heir, not only peaked my interest, it held my attention, and now has me hooked on the characters. I simply cannot wait to read what will happen next.

Very well crafted, each of the characters offers the reader something fresh and unexpected, the same goes for the plot. Westhaven was so unlike any other romance character that I had read, it made me want to read more. To find out who he was and what he wanted (not what he was expected to do, but wanted) to do with his life. I found alluring to watch him claim his own destiny and not have his father force it onto him. I was hooked from the moment Westhaven received a  knock over the head, and thoroughly enjoyed his battle with the chicken pox. (Although I did feel his pain, seeing as how I was 21 when I fought my own battle with them. Not pleasant indeed!) I also enjoyed Anna’s character,  I was speaking about the book a few days ago to a friend of mine and compared her to an onion in the sense that she very well layered.

The supporting cast was also a welcome surprise. Even though he may come off a bit rough and gruff, I have to say I found myself falling in love with Dev and I simply could not wait for his story to be published. Val was very charming, I could not wait to see what he came up with next.

I read somewhere that Grace Burrowes had originally intended for Westhaven to be a secondary character in a completely different novel, I am so glad that she answered the call of the writer and created a story just for him.

The Soldier

When reading The HEIR, the first book in the series, I found that I was drawn to Devlin St. Just. I wanted to know more about this man who seemed so burdened by his past. I could not wait to read this book. And let me just tell you that once I got my hands on it, I devoured it.

My heart bled for Devlin as he struggled with the unseen wounds war left upon him. You see him making progress only to have an event as simple as a thunderstorm pull the rug out from underneath him. Yet he prevailed. He knew that those around him depended upon him, especially little Winnie. I also enjoyed the family connection portrayed in this book. Family is front and center in this book, and you feel the ties that bind them together as well as the love they share, and the fact that they would do anything for those they loved.

It was almost as if Devlin were a soul laid bare, his thoughts and feelings being very prevalent in this book. The hero’s in The Duke’s Obsession series are very emotional and I believe that is why I have enjoyed this series thus far.

Emmie was also likable, although I wished that she would have stopped trying to run a bit sooner, but with the secret she held (I figured out her hidden fact early on) I could see and appreciate the reasons behind her actions. In the story she was viewed as an outcast by the villagers, although I found it funny that they could buy her baked goods and have her to make their wedding cakes while ostracizing her. I found myself wanting her to scream make your own bloody bread/cakes, to standup for herself a bit more, but like I said before I knew the reason behind her actions.

This is my favorite book thus far in The Duke’s Obsession series. Well paced, well plotted, brilliant characters. I truly hated to see this book come to an end, although I am anxiously waiting for Val’s story

The Virtuoso

Since this book is not out until November, my review will have to wait until late October-Early November. Although, let me tell you it is definitely worth the wait!!!!

I have both The Heir and The Soldier to giveaway*.
To Enter please leave your name and a valid email address.
Contest is International.

Ends October 15.


Angela bird