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Off the Map (Winter Rescue Book 2)
Off the Map (Winter Rescue Book 2)
Price: $1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt, Unique Contemporary Romance, December 29, 2014
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What a fantastic winter romance! Not only is Tamara Morgan's writing witty and emotional, but her characters are absolutely true-to-life. The hurdles in Carrie and Scott's relationship feel like problems any modern couple could have, instead of contrived conflicts. They read like people you know, friends you adore, who just can't seem to get things right with each other. Honestly, I was so enthralled with their story, it could have been double the length! As it is, this is an emotionally satisfying, unique contemporary romance that I recommend wholeheartedly. I can't wait for Winter Rescue #3!


The Winter Bride (Chance Sisters series Book 2)
The Winter Bride (Chance Sisters series Book 2)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow, but lovely., June 2, 2014
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It took me a good deal of time to truly get into this book. Though Ms. Gracie writes brilliantly, I found it difficult to relate to either the heroine or hero for the first fifty pages or so. Once the two had gotten to the real driving force of the plot, things picked up quite a bit, however. I'm so glad I stuck with it! The Winter Bride turned out to be a deeply moving, gem of a romance novel - the kind that sneaks up on a reader and has her reaching, quite unexpectedly, for tissues. What a wonderful surprise!


Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1)
Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly charming bit of magic!, May 19, 2014
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Nora Roberts is usually a hit-or-miss author for me, but I find she's at her best with trilogies. This book, the beginning of one such series, was no different. The characters were all interesting and sympathetic, the plot just twisted enough to keep me reading along, and an ending that had me instantly downloading the next book. If you're looking for a quick and comforting paranormal story, look no further.


Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
by Gail Carriger
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
109 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Introduction to Steampunk, October 12, 2009
One of the best books I've read this year, Soulless is a great taste of steampunk, featuring a heroine with a penchant for practical parasols and a society where dirigibles regularly take to the skies. This is one of those books that obviously has roots in a few genres - romance, mystery, and - of course - fantasy. Despite where it's shelved, readers of any genre will find SOULLESS a deeply satisfying read.

Coming from a romance and mystery background, I found Alexia to be a delightful heroine, in the same vein as Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody (Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, Book 1)) : capable, smart, and no-nonsense. Her combination of wit and prosaic wisdom kept the book steaming ahead, through interactions with her flighty family to taking high tea with vampire queens. Even better, the romantic subplot between her and a certain werewolf is skillfully built - the tension rising with each chapter, until your dying for something more to happen between the two. As far as steampunk goes, it was a great introduction to the world of machinery and invention - not too heavy, for those new to the genre, but enough to create a lush, foreign experience for the reader. Combining all these elements with Carriger's own elegantly snarky prose? It's a must read!


A Summer to Remember (Dell Historical Romance)
A Summer to Remember (Dell Historical Romance)
by Mary Balogh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
75 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Summer, But Unmemorable, February 1, 2009
A Summer To Remember was my first Mary Balogh book - recommended to me not only by friends, but by innumerable "Top Historical Romance" lists, as well. These recommendations, coupled with the stellar reviews here on Amazon, set my expectations high - I just knew this was going to be a fantastic romance. And, well...

It was good. Not great, nor fantastic, but not remotely bad either. Balogh's writing is lush and often lyrical, the characters of Kit & Lauren well-drawn and quite likable, and the faux-engagement plotline manages to capture reader interest, despite its heavy use in the genre. However...there wasn't much passion either.

The story was sweet, the characters were nice, but that was about it. Maybe I just expected something more moving from the much-acclaimed Balogh, but I wasn't blown away by anything here. The conflict seemed relatively low, despite the troubled family histories of both main characters, and all was neatly wrapped up without hardly any fuss by the end. Kit and Lauren both claimed to be in love with the other, but often it felt like more of a comfortable friendship than a once-in-a-lifetime sort of connection. All of which is fine, just not quite my preference and certainly not what I expected from a book with such a rabid following. I will definitely try more of Ms. Balogh's books - especially the Bedwyn series, which features some of the intriguing side characters from ASTR - but my expectations will be far more grounded from now on.


The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (Pink Carnation)
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (Pink Carnation)
by Lauren Willig
Edition: Hardcover
139 used & new from $0.01

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Charming Flower Yet, January 24, 2009
Inevitably in any popular series, sooner or later the writing gets stale - character arcs become unbelievable, plots are rehashed, or the reader can simply feel the writer's own weariness for the once beloved storylines. Not so for Lauren Willig! If anything, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine is the strongest book in the Pink Carnation series so far.

Framed once again by the research and relationship trials of graduate student Eloise Kelly, the Night Jasmine opens after Eloise and her new-beau Colin have been together for three months. A week-long romantic getaway to Colin's home in Surrey, not to mention his library's inexhaustible cache of historical archives, leads Eloise to a new discovery in her study of the aristocratic spy, the Pink Carnation - a plot involving french spies (naturally), betrayal of a king, and the infamous Hellfire Club.

Enter Lady Charlotte Lansdowne and Robert, the Duke of Dovedale, the real stars of this Carnation installment. Robert, newly home from a decade long stint in India, is on the trail of his mentor's murderer, but is unprepared for both the attraction he feels for the bookish Charlotte (a very, very distant cousin) and the real forces at work in his friend's death.

Like the other Pink Carnation books, the mystery here is well plotted out and the excitement high enough to keep the pages flying well into the night. The true strength lies within the romance of Robert & Charlotte, however. Both characters show very strong growth over the course of the book: Charlotte must deal with her realization that real life is not quite how it is in books (which can be a good a thing), and Robert has to grapple with not only his dubious past, but that of his father. As you would expect, a happy ending lies in wait for these two, but not without a few bumps along the way. Even more so than past books, the reader will truly find herself rooting for these two.

So, the verdict - if you loved the previous Carnation books, definitely pick up The Temptation of the Night Jasmine! You won't regret it. If you're new to the series,I recommend starting at the beginning (with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation) so you'll be fully in the loop when secondary characters appear, as well as up to speed on the framing romance of Colin & Eloise. Happy reading!


Mr. Cavendish, I Presume (Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book 2)
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume (Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book 2)
by Julia Quinn
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
318 used & new from $0.01

49 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolutely Splendid Romance, October 1, 2008
I have read the other reviews on this site and, while not shocked, am disappointed that some readers received this book so poorly. From the beginning, Ms. Quinn let it be known that the Two Dukes of Wyndham were companion books. This is not a structural tactic widely used in romance - a genre where connected books, even those as closely linked as these two, are written sequentially in time - so, I can only guess that it's this unfamiliarity that is making other readers so unhappy.

So, knowing this going in? You should ADORE this book.

Yes, there are some overlapping scenes, but I found that they were handled with great care. Mr. Cavendish is not, as some reviewers have said, the same book except for two or three chapters. In fact, much of the first half of the book is time spent when Thomas and Amelia were alone - during the mysterious disappearances during the first book. When the scenes do overlap, the reader is seeing it from such a different viewpoint that the whole passage reads completely fresh. And yes, much of the second half is spent in the same movements as the first book, but because Amelia and Thomas are such different characters from Grace and Jack - with their own conflicts, perceptions, and private moments - the story reads as a new and intriguing all the way through.

Mr Cavendish, I Presume is, at heart, a classic Quinn novel. Amelia and Thomas are a delightful couple - both going through their own major self-discoveries over the course of the novel, but always staying sympathetic and warm as people. I must say though, as much as I adored Amelia (and I really really did), Thomas was the most intriguing character as I've read in quite awhile - his situation is horribly difficult, as he's facing the possibility of having everything taken away from him (including Amelia), but the way he faces it with humor and unfailing integrity was astounding. Truly a hero for the ages.

Add to this JQ's always-witty natural style and a simple depth of emotion that sneaks up on you, leaving you unexpectedly drying your eyes for the last 30 pages, and Mr. Cavendish comes out as a true five star read. Honestly, I have two other highly anticipated romances sitting in my TBR pile, but I have absolutely no desire to open them yet. I'm still lost in the world of Amelia and Thomas and it would be a waste trying to read anything else - nothing can compare!

So, if you're a fan of Julia Quinn, or witty, emotionally powerful historical romances in general, you cannot afford to miss either Mr. Cavendish, I Presume or its companion book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham. Try them out and see for yourself!


City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, Book 1)
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, Book 1)
by Cassandra Clare
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.37
597 used & new from $0.01

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Thrill Ride, August 22, 2008
I've read most of the other reviews here and must say, this is definitely a love it or hate it book. Personally, I loved it. A YA Writer myself, I'm not normally a fan of urban fantasy. There have been some rare exceptions, such as Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, but as a whole I'm not a heavy reader of the genre.

City of Bones has changed my mind. Unlike other reviewers, I had no problem with the beginning. As far as I could tell, Clare started out with a bang and never let up - I couldn't put it down. Not a page felt slow and her prose was dead-on and interesting the entire time. Add to that wonderfully drawn characters, snappy dialog, and quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and this book is a definite page turner.

That being said, the plot twist at the end is one which requires your ultimate trust in the author. From interviews I've read, I have faith that Ms. Clare will make it right in the end, which is the only thing that kept me from screaming after the last few chapters. It's actually brilliant - as I will definitely buy both City Of Glass and City of Ashes to see how everything turns out for Clary, Jace, and Simon. This book is a must read for both readers and writers of the YA genre...and anyone looking for a book that they won't be able to put down.


Spring Awakening: A New Musical
Spring Awakening: A New Musical
Price: $14.73
84 used & new from $0.92

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Moving and Original, July 26, 2007
I've heard so much buzz about Spring Awakening, so it was a little difficult to believe all the the rave reviews before I bought the album. All those reviews are right though! It should be a discordant mixture - a 19th century German setting and a pop-rock musical score, but Sheik pulled it off perfectly. Spring Awakening has a soundtrack that will hold both angst-ridden MTV watchers and hardened Broadway buffs enthralled. It is slightly reminiscent of previous musicals, such as Rent and Bare, but it has a spirit and vibrancy all its own. I strongly recommend this! Definitely a highlight of the last few years of Broadway cast recordings!


13 Little Blue Envelopes
13 Little Blue Envelopes
by Maureen Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.18
330 used & new from $0.01

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolutely Charming Adventure, April 26, 2007
I've been a reader of Maureen Johnson's blog for awhile now, but hadn't gotten to any of her books yet. On the insistence of others, I broke down and ordered 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Wow! I wish I'd picked this up sooner!

The plot itself is interesting, with the added bonus of being much different from most of the YA books on the shelves right now. Throughout the book, Johnson throws surprises and great chances for character development at the protagonist, Ginny, who shows fabulous arc through the book. Not only does she have travel opportunities that will leave readers wanting to hop on the next Trans-Atlantic, but her writing is fresh enough to keep the pages flying by as well.

Johnson is well known for being one of the most accessible, entertaining YA writers in the field right now. She definitely doesn't disappoint with Little Blue Envelopes - her concise, realistic prose and eye for charming, absurd details makes this a definite keeper. If you're looking for a fun, surprisingly moving book...this is the one for you!
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