Saturday, January 29, 2011

Loving "The Thing About Jane Spring"

I am listening to one of my favorite books, The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum.You get a totally different perspective when you listen to a book. There have been books I have read and been so-so about but loved them when I listened to them. Pamela Dillman is the narrator and she does a great job.

Jane Spring is a ball busting prosecutor who grew up as the only daughter of a West Point General.  As the book begins she reduces her own witness to tears in a fraud trial, causes her to faint on the stand, and as a result loses the case. She has a new high profile case involving the wife of a cheating police officer who shot him at his girlfriend's place.  The opposing attorney is her law school crush. Her personal life is non-existant as she never gets beyond the first date.  Jane decides she need to formulate a new plan of attack and after 2 bottles of wine, a Doris Day marathon, and being cooped up for 2 days due to a blizzard, she comes to a realization.  She needs to become Doris! Doris always gets her man, had a successful career in all of her movies, and was nobody's pushover. So, Jane pulls out her grandmother's vintage clothing, cuts and colors her hair, tones down her voice, redecorates her appartment, and lets the games begin.

Suffice it to say, this new version of Jane causes all kind of interesting complications. Her secretary (Lazy) Susan starts being a better worker. Her cases go better. She starts to enjoy her life.   Being a Doris devotee myself, I loved the concept of this book. Jane gets her man like Doris and learns a lot about dealing with people both personally and professionally. This is a great read or listen on a weekend when you just want to relax and escape from the daily humdrum. The narrator really makes Jane come alive and did a very good job with all of the characters in the book.

This audiobook is unabridged and lasts 8.5 enjoyable hours!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book addict's dilemma

I am a huge Katie Fforde fan. Four years ago my daughter student taught in London and I was almost more excited about getting Katie's books on audio than seeing my daughter- I said almost.  So today, I find  out that Ebay has one of her most recent books up for auction ending Sunday at 1:15 PM. This is good news because you can't get them here and if you order them from the one company that sells them over the pond, it costs between 80-100 dollars plus shipping.  So what is the problem....
Sunday at 1:15 PM I will be in a restaurant getting together with a group of people I haven't seen in 40 years since  HS graduation. How tacky would it be if I brought my laptop and just stepped aside for a couple of minutes to complete the auction? The sad thing is that I never go anywhere and the last time one of her audiobooks turned up I had a meeting at work that started just before the auction ended and I lost out by $1.00 with a pre-bid.
Oh well, I  wish this would be the biggest problem in my life. Things work out as they are meant to,

Scandal of the Year

Being jilted. It’s awful for a guy.
Especially if you’re a duke, and your fiancĂ©e left you for that other duke, the one who came back from Egypt just before your wedding. Humiliating, right?
But what if you managed to recover, got engaged to another girl, and then got jilted again, this time because of a notorious woman, a lot of champagne, and a moment of utter stupidity? Well, that’s beyond humiliating. That’s a scandal.
Ah, but what if you manage to put the scandal behind you and begin searching for a new bride, only to have the notorious woman who ruined everything reenter your life? What if she’s as enticing as before? What if just being near her threatens to ruin your marriage prospects and your reputation all over again? For Aidan Carr, Duke of Trathen, the unluckiest man in England when it comes to matrimony, another scandal is the worst thing he can imagine. It might also be the best thing that ever happened to him. ((Synopsis from Laure Lee  Guhrke’s website)

Aidan Carr, the jilted duke from  Wedding of the Season, the first book in the” Abandoned at the Altar” Series, continues his complicated relationship with Julia Yardley.  Aidan and Julia met when they were both very young and she was engaged to Baron Yardley.  After years of avoiding her abusive husband, Julia maneuvers Aidan into being named the other man in her divorce which causes the breakup of his second engagement.  Julia has learned to shut off her feelings so she could survive in her marriage and thinks she will never be happy in a relationship again. This being Edwardian England, she is left penniless in the divorce and ends up going to Aidan for help getting employment of some kind, as marriage to another rich man is not an option. She ends up acting as his social secretary and vets the young ladies for him.  Being thrown together at balls and house parties forces both of them to re-examine their feelings for each other.  There are obstacles-her reputation and his aversion to another scandal- but they work it out.
I enjoyed Julia in the first book and felt bad for Aidan as he seemed a nice but stuffy person.  It was good to get a little explanation about why Julia would never go home and was constantly avoiding her husband.  Both characters had issues to deal with and it was done in a realistic way. I’m hoping the next book in the series will be about Julia’s cousin Paul and his mysterious American wife.  I have not read Ms.. Guhrke  prior to this series, but I am planning to go back and read her earlier books.  It’s always fun to find someone new to enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Joining the Book Chick City Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge.  I .will have to read at least 12 books which should be no problem. I like these challenges because they appeal to the reader in me and my competitive side- it's a win-win. If you are interested in joining, click on the link in the first sentence. Happy reading !

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Call Me Irresistible

R.S.V.P. to the most riotous wedding of the year . . .
Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former United States president.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.
One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.
But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What's the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all . . .
(Synopsis from Barnes&

Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) delivers again in Call Me Irresistible.  Ted Beaudine ( Fancy Pants, Lady Be Good) is marrying Lucy Jorik ( First Lady)in Wynette, Texas. Ted is a former amateur golf champ, inventor and the Mayor of Wynette.  Lucy is the adopted daughter of the former President of the US and her husband. Lucy’s best friend Meg Koranda (Glitter Baby) comes to town to be in the wedding. She sees immediately that Lucy has doubts about marrying Ted and ends up helping Lucy bolt before the wedding.  After the non-wedding, Meg becomes persona non grata in Wynette. Unfortunately, her parents have cut her off , she can’t pay her room bill and she ends up working for the inn as a maid. Ted, who is revered in town, makes it his mission to make Meg as uncomfortable as possible with help from all of the townfolk.  The  path that they take from intense dislike to love involves golf, a renovated church, a stalker, an amorous plumbing king and his man hungry daughter, and several characters from earlier books. Like all SEP books there is a lot of humor mixed in with a sharp look at how Lucy and Ted need to become self aware to be happy with someone else.
One of my favorite sections was when Lucy was talking to Meg about how perfect he was and how it intimidated her:
 “Out of nowhere, the church doors blew open. And there he stood, silhouetted against the setting sun. Theodore Day Beaudine.  Trumpets began to sound. Honest to God trumpets blowing a chorus of hallelujahs. “Jesus”, she whispered.  “I know, “Lucy whispered back. “Stuff like this happens to him all the time. He says it’s accidental.”
 How can you read that and not know you are in for a great time?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yes-Call Me Irresistible has arrived!!!!

Thank you UPS man for delivering to my library today.  Lo and behold, my personal copy of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' new book Call me Irresistible was in one of the boxes-unfortunately 3 of the other boxes were the tax forms rabid patrons have been looking for. So tonight I am going to curl up on the couch and read all 386 pages. Ah heaven!!!!

Fly Away Home (Audiobook)

Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .
When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician's wife--her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.
Lizzie, the Woodruffs' younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve--a husband, a young son, the perfect home--and yet she's trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER's exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.
After Richard's extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.
Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another. (Synopsis from  Simon & Schuster Audio)
Read by Judith Light- Unabridged 12CDs – Approximately 14.5 Hours

Judith Light does an excellent job narrating the story of a political wife who realizes she has become a prop for her husband.  The books begins with Sylvie and Richard in a VIP airport lounge eating breakfast.  Rather, Richard is eating the breakfast that Sylvie has gotten for him.  Sylvie is eating the typical dieter’s breakfast and does not even get to finish that.  In a car on her way from a speaking engagement, she learns that the news is breaking about her husband having a short-term fling with a younger woman and then getting her a job.  We see Sylvie dealing with confronting her husband, doing the obligatory press conference, and then leaving for her grandmother’s house in Fairview ,CT.
The family includes two grown daughters- Diana, an ER physician, and Lizzie, a recovering addict.  Diana has always been the poster child (literally in the photo ops) and Lizzie has been the family screw-up who is patronized by her parents and sister alike.   Diana is in an unhappy marriage with a son Milo, and having an affair with one of her students. I must confess I disliked the character of Diana for ¾ of the book.  Lizzie seems to be trying to put her life back in order, living with Diana, and putting up with her family constantly waiting for her to fail.  She has started a friendship with a nice young man who works in the park service at the Liberty Bell.

Lizzie ends up at home with her dad for a short time, helping him get back on track. Sylvie is living her life in CT and has a gentleman friend. She has had the time to look at her life and her relationships with her husband and daughters. She realizes she has lost herself and her daughters to the needs of her husband and decides it is time to make changes. All three women and Milo end up in CT and the story really moves from then on.
I was worried this was going to be the typical fallen politician story but Richard is not the focus of the book. Ms. Weiner explores all the sides of the situation and makes one look at their own ideas about what should the wife do and what factors into her decision. It looks at the family dynamics of a home with a powerful and famous person. The ending makes sense given what has gone before it and it is not a neat wrap up. I ended up bringing the discs into the house and listening on my computer because I couldn’t wait to get to the end.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wedding of the Season (Book 1 in the "Abandoned at the Altar" Series)

Abandoned at the altar . . .
Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter . . . and left two weeks before their wedding.
Return of the duke . . .
Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable . . . the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?  ( Synopsis from Barnes &

This is the first book in the “Abandoned at the Altar” Series by Laura Lee Gurkhe.  Lady Beatrix Danbury and William Mallory, Duke of Sunderland   were engaged to be married when he got the opportunity to join Howard Carter’s expedition to excavate for Tutankhamen’s tomb. She let him go and he went!  Six years later, she has had adventures with her cousin Julia ( like learning to drive and owning an automobile) and is now engaged to Aiden Carr, Duke of Trathen. William comes back and their love story begins again.
What I liked about this book was that even though the plot is a tried and true one, Ms. Gurkhe did not make the path to romance an easy one. William and Beatrix have not resolved the core issues between them; his travels and her needing a secure home space and traditions.  Throw in the fact that Aidan is a nice guy, if a bit stuffy, and it gets complicated. Both of the main characters need to look inside themselves and decide what is really important to them and how to make their relationship work. This was a great book to read on snowy day.
The subplots with Julia and her unhappy marriage, Aidan, and Beatrix’s cousin Paul who is dealing with marriage issues of his own make look forward to the next book in the series- Scandal of the Year -due out January 25, 2011. Lucky for me I have an advanced copy on my Nook so I don't have to wait!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ireland Reading Challenge 2011

Click here  to sign up.
For those of you interested in joining me in the challenge, here are the details:
~ The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to November 30, 2011.
~ Any books read for this challenge can also apply to other challenges you are working on.
~ Re-reads are allowed.
~ Any book written by an Irish author, set in Ireland, or involving Irish history or Irish characters, counts for the challenge – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, audiobooks, children’s books – all of these apply.
~ Choose your commitment level:
Shamrock level: 2 books
Luck o’ the Irish level: 4 books
Kiss the Blarney Stone level: 6 books
~ Everyone who fulfills their challenge level and writes at least one review is eligible for the giveaway prize at the end of the challenge: a copy of Tipperary by Frank Delaney. Wrap-up post and giveaway details will go up at the beginning of December, which is why the challenge ends on November 30th.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Support Your Local Library 2011 Reading Challenge

If you would like to participate in the "Support Your Local Library 2011 Reading Challenge," you can simply go to The Book Junkie's Bookshelf and join the fun!

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Just create a post for the challenge and link to your challenge post in the linky below.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. There are four levels to this challenge...Pick your poison:

--The Mini – Check out and read 30 library books.

--"Fun" Size – Check out and read 40 library books.

--Jumbo Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

--Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books.
(Aim high. As long as you read 30 by the end of 2011, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – basically any book counts just as long as it is checked out from the library. Books MUST be checked out like with a library card, books purchased at a library DO NOT count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st 2011 and goes thru December 31 2011.

I Plan on doing the Mega challenge. Should be a piece of cake!

Buffalo West Wing

With a new First Family, White House executive chef Olivia Paras can't afford to make any mistakes. But when a box of take-out chicken mysteriously shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a "no-wing" situation. After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets. ( description from Barnes &

Ollie Paras returns in another intriguing mystery in the White House Chef series. Her life is topsy turvey-she's broken up with her boyfriend, a White House Secret Service agent, and there is a new  First Family on board. When an unexplained box of fried chicken shows up for the President's children and Ollie refuses to pass it on to them without knowing where it came from, a contentious relationship with the new First Lady (FLOTUS)  begins. The chicken turns out to be laced with arsenic and the Secret Service won't tell the First Lady for security reasons. To top it all off, the FLOTUS brings in a personal chef for the family and he thinks he's in charge of the kitchen.  Add in a terrorist plot, an old relationship rekindled, and a state dinner and you have a fast and frenzied mystery. I especially enjoy all of the information about how things work in the White House. An example-the First Family has to pay for all of their personal food-not the taxpayers.  There is a selection of recipes at the back of the book. I have tried some of them and they are pretty good.
Just a note, if you have not read the earlier books in the series, I would recommend doing so.  They are State of the Onion,Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Lady Most Likely... Review

The Lady Most Likely...Three of the brightest stars of historical romance invite you to a party at the country home of the Honorable Marquess of Finchley
Hugh Dunne, the Earl of Briarly, needs a wife, so his sister hands him a list of delectable damsels and promises to invite them— and a few other gentlemen—to her country house for what is sure to be the event of the season.
Hugh will have time to woo whichever lady he most desires . . . Unless someone else snatches her first.
The invitation list includes:

  • The horse-mad but irresistibly handsome Earl of Briarly
  • The always outspoken Miss Katherine Peyton
  • The dashing war hero Captain Neill Oakes
  • The impossibly beautiful (and painfully shy) Miss Gwendolyn Passmore
  • The terribly eligible new Earl of Charters
  • The widowed Lady Georgina Sorrell (who has no plans to marry, ever)

And your hostess, Lady Carolyn Finchley, an irrepressible matchmaker who plans to find the lady most likely . . . to capture her brother’s untamed heart. ( from Barnes &

Read this on my Nook and really enjoyed it. The three stores went together perfectly and the characters were very likeable. My favorite was the first one, which I am fairly sure was written by Julia Quinn, who is one of my favorite historical romance authors.  Unlike many anthologies, this book was one complete novel and not three separate books under one title. The flow between the stories was smooth because of that premise. All three couples were fully fleshed out and the bridge couple was the Earl of Briarly's sister and her husband who had their own romance added to the story. A good book to read on a cold winter day on the couch with a comfy throw and a cup of hot chocolate!

Anxiously awaiting Susan Elizabeth Phillips' new book!

Ordered a personal copy of SEP's new book "Call Me Irresistible" through the library. Sometimes, when we do this, we get them early-it's a library perk (LOL). This book is due out on the 18th of January so it's reasonable to hope for it any day now, right? 

If you aren't familiar with Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP to her fans); she is a romance writer who has written 20+ books. Her books are laugh out loud funny and have wonderful heroes and heroines. I have all of her books in book and audio format and I'm slowly adding them to my Nook for an instant fix whenever I need one.

More on SEP later, but first, here are her two latest video letters.  You will see why I love her books!

I'm not a writer but....

I love to read and to talk about books. My grown children are sick of me talking about books so I decided a blog was a great way to share my thoughts on books I am reading or have read. I primarily read mysteries, romance or romantic suspense, Brit Lit, or other fiction. I enjoy some non-fiction such as biographies, but I mostly read fiction. I love to finish a book and feel good not depressed.

I am crazed if I read a book in a series and realize there are earlier ones. I love talking to patrons in my library about a book or series of books, and it's a joy when they come back and say they loved it or ask for another recommendation!

So please excuse any grammar or spelling errors ( I took a class to improve) and I hope you enjoy my blog.