Showing posts from February, 2014

Weekend reads and feeling crappy...

Working from home today with a nasty little bug. Sunny today but we're facing more snow on Sunday.  (Hooray, said no one here.)

I'm reading A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin this weekend, and then I plan to start The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona.

I've also finally caught up with 2010 and joined Instagram, where you can see I post an embarrassing amount of cat spam with a healthy heaping of book spam. Friend or follow (or whatever it is one does on Instagram) and I will in return!

What are you reading this weekend?

Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener

Title:Mistress of the Wind
Author: Michelle Diener

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Scandinavia / Magic / Trolls)
Publisher/Publication Date: Season Publishing (12/19/2013)
Source: NetGalley

Rating: Loved.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary:
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction, Netgalley & Edelweiss, What’s In A Name

Do I like the cover?: I do!

I'm reminded of...: Michelle D. Argyle

First line: Bjorn ran along a path of his own making, between the thinning trees at the top of the mountain.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy!

Why did I get this book?: I wait for Michelle Diener's novels with bated breath.

Review: I'm an enormous Michelle Diener fangirl. Her writing is warm and inviting, her stories the right mix of adventure and romance, her heroines are always delightful, and there's rich historical detail and ambiance in every book.

This one was familiar and cozy and new and imaginative, and was the kind of book I love for cranky days: it got m…


A rainy but positively warm weekend, at last! Lots of errand running, sadly.

But here's a giveaway winner!

The winner of Last Train to Paris is ... Jenna E.!

Congrats! If you didn't win, be sure to check out my open giveaways -- more coming this week. Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Title:Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Author: Nancy Horan

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 19th Century / Europe / American Ex-Pat / Artist / Robert Louis Stevenson / Bohemians / Marriage / South Pacific / Writing)
Publisher/Publication Date: Ballantine Books (1/21/2014)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: The story of the American woman who would win the love of Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction, What's In a Name

Do I like the cover?: Love the cover -- so striking!

I'm reminded of...: Melanie Benjamin, Lynn Cullen

First line: "Where are the dogs?" Sammy asked, staring up at her.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: I'd heard nothing but good things about Horan's previous novel.

Review: I'd long been interested in Nancy Horan having heard nothing but raves for her first novel, Loving Frank, and I'd been long eying this book.

Opening in 1875, the nov…

Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson

Title:Girl on the Golden Coin
Author: Marci Jefferson

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 17th Century / Restoration / Frances Stuart / Charles II / Royal Intrigue / Historical Figure Fictionalized / UK / Royal Mistresses)
Publisher/Publication Date: Thomas Dunne Books (2/11/2014)
Source: The publisher /Netgalley

Rating: Loved.
Did I finish?: Oh yes.
One-sentence summary: The life of a 17th century English noblewoman wanted by kings who searched for love amidst the court intrigues and maneuverings.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction, Netgalley & Edelweiss

Do I like the cover?: Yes. I uh-dore it, especially because it is a portrait of the historical Frances Stuart, our heroine.  How often does that happen?

I'm reminded of...: Sandra Gulland, Susan Holloway Scott

First line: Fireworks from St. James's Park lit the night sky as I stood outside my home, Richmond House, the finest at Whitehall Palace, and waited for one of my oldest friends.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy or borrow.

Why …

The Kept Girl by Kim Cooper

Title:The Kept Girl
Author: Kim Cooper

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1929 / Los Angeles / California / Noir / Murder Mystery / Raymond Chandler / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Cult)
Publisher/Publication Date: Esotouric Ink (2/1/2014)
Source: The author.

Rating: Loved.
Did I finish?: Oh yeah, I did.
One-sentence summary: Raymond Chandler, his smart secretary-slash-girlfriend, and a beat cop investigate an oil tycoon's involvement with a strange, possibly murderous cult in 1920s Los Angeles.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I adore it. It's reminiscent of classic pulp novels and it's so eye-catching and atmospheric. I want to live in it!

First line: I woke up sour-mouthed in Muriel’s room at the Mayfair to the sound of vacuuming in the hall.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- support this small press endeavor!

Why did I get this book?: I love 1920s LA, I love Chandler, and I love noir-y fiction.

Review: On my bucket list is doing every bus…

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Title:While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Fantasy / Ambigu-Medieval / Court Intrigue / Fairy Tale Retold / Sleeping Beauty)
Publisher/Publication Date: Amy Einhorn Books (2/20/2014)
Source: Publisher

Rating: Liked a great deal!
Did I finish?: I did, in one day.
One-sentence summary: A young serving girl recounts her life with the princess who would be known as 'Sleeping Beauty', and her role in the girl's life -- and legend.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's rather dark and 'masculine' for a Sleeping Beauty retelling!

I'm reminded of...: Michelle Diener, Kate Forsyth

First line: She had already become a legend.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: I love a good fairy tale retelling.

Review: I raced through this book -- I think I started it around noon and finished it before dinner time -- and it was a satisfying, emotional read. I love fairy tale retellings, and B…


Running very behind this weekend -- my wife celebrated her birthday with two other friends, and in typical fashion, we spent most of Saturday cooking and most of Sunday eating! As a result, I wasn't online much and totally forgot to announce giveaway winners. So...

The winner of Anvil of God is ... Peggy W.!

The winner of Cloaked in Danger is ... bn100!

Congrats to the winners! I still have a few open giveaways and many more coming this week.

Weekend reads and more snow...

My weekend read is Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan.  Kind of perfect for Valentine's Day and another snowy weekend.  If I finish it before Monday (which I get off from work!), I plan to settle in with Napoleon in America by Shannon Selin.

I really ought to do a little blog work this weekend, too: I'm wildly behind on a bunch of reviews -- have not had the brainpower to write them clearly. The backlog is daunting!

What are you reading this weekend?

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

Title:The Girl with a Clock for a Heart
Author: Peter Swanson

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Murder Mystery / Boston / Secret Identity / College Life /
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow (2/4/2014)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: A middle-aged Bostonian is reunited with his college sweetheart, who is likely a murderer, and agrees to help her escape her latest predicament.

Do I like the cover?: I'm on the fence. It makes me think Miami/LA which is not the novel's setting. (There are some scenes in Florida, but none at the ocean or pool.) But it's eye-catching and very much ties into a crucial scene so...

I'm reminded of...: Stephen Dobyns, Ryan David Jahn

First line: It was dusk, but as he turned onto the rutted driveway he could make out the perimeter of yellow tape that still circled the property.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: The title, caught my attention first, then this tidbit fr…


More snow coming apparently, and thankfully, I've got some awesome books in the queue.

The winners of Isabella are Elena V., Krystal H., and Michelle C.!

Congrats to the winners! Be sure to check out my open giveaways -- many more fabu ones coming!

Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim

Title:Last Train to Paris
Author: Michele Zackheim

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1930s / Paris / Berlin / World War II / Journalism / Mother-Daughter Relationships / Murder Mystery / Judaism)
Publisher/Publication Date: Europa Editions (1/7/2014)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Didn't really like.
Did I finish?: Nope.
One-sentence summary: A woman reflects back on her time as a journalist in pre-World War II Europe, which includes a love affair, the murder of a family members, and her struggles with her mother.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction, What's in a Name

Do I like the cover?: Yes.

I'm reminded of...: Cynthia Ozick

First line: Some days, I'm too angry for words.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow if you're a fan of World War II narratives.

Why did I get this book?: I like Europa Editions usually as they have unique angles or voices in fiction.

Review: I don't know what's wrong with me but I really ought to have loved this book.

Told in first person by Rose '…


At 30-something degrees, it's positively balmy outside! I'll be running errands in this nearly spring-y weather, but hope to do a little reading. Hope you all are having a good Saturday!

The winner of Becoming Josephine is ... Lauralee J.!

The winner of A Different Sun is ... Carrie of Nomadreader!

Congrats to the winners! Be sure to check out my open giveaways -- more coming next week.