Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: There's Something About Lady Mary

There's Something About Lady Mary
There's Something About Lady Mary by Sophie Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Sophie Barnes is back with another delightful Summersby Tale. This time, Ryan Summersby meets his match!

Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . . and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby. Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary's hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected . . . but just might be exactly what he needs.

My Thoughts: I hadn't read book one in this series, and I don't think I missed out on too much in terms of background, this is definitely an independent read. I enjoyed the hero and heroine, although I have to say that while our hero was definitely true to his time in many instances, I was disappointed in how long it took him to wisen up :) Mary is a great heroine...she's unique, a true individual, independent, dedicated and willing to do what she knows is right, even if improper or not allowed. How everything wraps up seems a bit much (a Frankenstein moment in my mind) but in the end this was a fun read and has me checking the local library to see if I can't find Book One in the series, with Ryan's sister (another heroine I think I will enjoy as outside the box) as the heroine.

View all my reviews

Review: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: The second in the incredible new Rules of Scoundrels series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean. Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion - the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts - and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

My Thoughts: Sarah MacLean is quickly becoming one of my "must read" authors. I've thoroughly enjoyed every one of her books, her characters and her stories. They are fun, they are funny, and have that right blend of fiction with just enough reality in there to picture things happening in your mind. I'm probably partial to Pippa because I like "bookish" heroines, ones who don't quite fit in, the good old bluestocking. She doesn't really try to be anything she isn't, and she's resigned to the fact (true or not) that as someone who doesn't fit the norm, her options are limited. Luckily, that isn't necessarily the case and it was so fun to see her determined to test her theories, how Cross keeps getting drawn in and the growing relationship between them. Always a fun read, now I'll just be sitting here tapping my toes and waiting for the next book!

View all my reviews

Review: And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake

And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake
And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Daphne Dale never could have imagined that when she answered an advertisement in the newspaper that she would find true love. Now she has the opportunity to meet her unknown suitor, but it means traveling to Tabitha’s wedding, and into the heart of her family’s sworn enemies. Everyone knows the Seldons are terrible rakes and bounders, but Daphne will risk anything to gain the happiness she is certain is right around the corner.

Lord Henry Seldon is aghast at the latest addition to the house party guest list—one would think after the unforgettable scandal Daphne Dale caused at the duke’s engagement ball, she wouldn’t dare show her face at the duke’s wedding. But here she is, poking her nose where she shouldn’t and driving Henry mad . . . with an unforgettable passion that will turn enemies into lovers.

My thoughts: I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Boyle, and overall I did enjoy this book and so far the series. There's always witty banter between characters, just enough drama (as opposed to too much) and a few laugh-out-loud moments. I have to say there were times with our hero and heroine that I just wanted to move past them and focus on some of the other characters, as the "family feud" seemed a bit forced at times. That and there wasn't much to tell us what the feud was really about, just bits of history but no real backstory. Overall though, that aside, it was a fun story, lighthearted and enjoyable and I look foward to the next installment.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I devoured Shadow of Night, the second in Deborah Harness' trilogy. I very much enjoyed it, but while it left me wanting, it wasn't for quite the same reasons as Book One did. This one left MAJOR gaps in the story that were mentioned without any explanation provided by the end of the book. It's clear (at least in my mind, ha!) that Book 3 will be set back in the present and cover the time that Diana and Matthew are gone and then once they return until the story wraps up, but the brief glimpses we see of present time events affecting the group at Sept-Tours end up being a distraction rather than a teaser or addition to the story.

The rest of the story is good, if not a bit long perhaps. Great world-building, great relationship-building, great cast of supporting characters. A great read and I look forward to seeing the trilogy wrap up. Easily 3.5-4 stars and another recommended read.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hesitate to rate books 5 stars, but this is a solid 4.5 at least. Harkness was a great story teller and while I was hesitant as I've been avoiding the paranormal bent for a bit, this was totally unexpected. More history than paranormal in its focus, the characters are fantastic and are described so well that you feel like you start to know them. The story itself is well woven and was one I couldn't put down. In fact, I had to go buy book 2 at an airport bookstore and spend too much in doing so because I couldn't handle NOT being able to start it on my trip home. Highly recommended as an enjoyable, well-told tale of forbidden love, yet told in such a fashion not to alienate those that don't enjoy the paranormal or romance. The focus is the story, the paranormal and the romance are simply background (yet important background!)

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Club

Adding a baby to our lives has been wonderful...crazy, exhausting, terrifying, but absolutely wonderful.  Book club has been one of the things that has fallen by the wayside many times over the past 8 months unfortunately.  I'm hoping now that he's a bit older that I'll be up for getting away once a month (assuming we can stay healthy - last month's book club was a miss due to me coming down with shingles).

This month we are reading Mennonite in A Little Black Dress, which I think could be a great read.   next month is one of my recommendations - The Language of Flowers.  That one is already sitting on the shelf and I'm determined to get it done!  I've made it through at least part of two others over the past few months - Wild, by Cheryl Strayed (my first audible.com book - I'm still evaluating (and trying to finish!)) and Defending Jacob by William Landay.  Defending Jacob is very different from what I expected...disturbing on a number of levels, and I'm not sure I can even fully articulate all the reasons why.  This was one of the few times I can ever remember though reading the end of the book out of order.  The book is divided in to four "parts" and I read part 4 before I was quite through part 2.  Not AT ALL what I expected.  While I haven't quite finished part 3, I'm still determined to finish the book to see how it all got to the finale. My rating of the book overall is a bit mixed, but I have to say it's well written and that the author gets an A+ when it comes to keeping the reader guessing when it comes to the ending.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Project done!

One down, many to go :)

My brother had a baby boy this past June (an adorable little guy, who makes my little one look like a moose!).  Back when we first learned it was going to be a boy, I picked out yarn and started crocheting a blanket for the new nephew.

Timing was not my friend though, as I started it in the week or so prior to Baby Lamb being born.  I'd pick it up here and there, but it wasn't until this summer that I truly buckled down and did some serious work.  Only a few months late, it felt so good this weekend to tie off the last bit of yarn and declare it DONE!

Yea!  One down, and now to finish one of the many, many other crocheted blankets I've got started around here...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Six months

Tomorrow will mark six months since this bundle of joy entered our lives.  He's wonderful and we are so blessed!  He's such a happy kid and it's amazing to watch him grow and learn.  He keeps me busy, but in the next few weeks I WILL be finishing up a crochet blanket project and sewing up a few quick blankets.  It feels good to get at least a little of the creative juices going again!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Life Passes By So Quickly...

Between work, family, getting a house ready to put on the market and keep up with a 4-month old, reading and crafts have moved WAY down on the to-do list.  I've managed a few books here and there, but very few since starting back to work in mid-February.  Sewing time is just non-existent, every once in a while I manage a few stitches on a crochet project or two.  It's all worth it though, to spend time with this sweet little guy!

But, I'm posting today to link over to my most recent post on Baby Z's blog.  It's about a little girl just a month or so older than my little one, who is trying to check items off her bucket list.  Yes, a 5 month old with a bucket list, due to the fact that she has been diagnosed with a genetic disease that makes it unlikely she will survive until her second birthday.  It's heartbreaking, but inspirational and educational.  You can see my post here, and visit Avery's blog here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2011 - In Review

A bit late, but I thought I'd see how I did this past year with my reading and craft challenges...some were much more successful than others!

I pretty much slaughtered the reading challenges.  Overall, I managed to read 177 books in 2011 (including audio), including 98 library books, 53 ebooks and 26 from my own bookshelf (I really need to up that number in 2012)!

Crafts, on the other hand, took a back seat to reading and me lazing around being pregnant :)  Sewing especially fell off, as I didn't spend much time down in the basement.  I still have the goal of eventually finishing my quilt though, I've already got over half the blocks done!  The few projects I continued to work on were crochet, as those were easy to do while traveling or while relaxing after work in my favorite chair with my feet up. 

I decided to try to set some goals for myself in 2012.  Whether or not I'll be successful, we'll see, after all I do have a new time suck, which is my absolute favorite way to spend any time I do have!  (He is currently asleep in front of the fireplace, total relaxation). 

Having goals gives me something to work toward though, so we'll give it a shot:

1 - Read 72 books this year (my Goodreads challenge...I'm ahead now, I'm thinking that will drop dramatically once I go back to work)

2 - Read at least 10 books off my own bookshelf, with no more than half of those being purchased in 2012.

3 - Finish my quilt blocks and piece them together, give to someone else to quilt (unless I get brave)

4 - Complete at least 6 of the UFOs in my sewing room

5 - Complete at least 6 crochet projects (not counting dishcloths!)

So there we are...nothing too strenuous in my attempts to be realistic here.  With this in mind, I'm going to try to finish up a crochet blanket today with the hope to blow these goals out of the water :)