Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joined Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Just what I need -another challenge !  However, with Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Lauren Willig, Carrie Bebris, and Pamela Aidan on my TBR list, I should have no problem reaching the 20 book goal.  I'm counting the historical romance series as one book because they are light reading. Here's my list so far...

1. The Mischief of the Mistletoe- Lauren Willig
2. The Orchid Affair- Lauren Willig
3. The Gilded Cage- Rhys Bowen
4. Wedding of the Season/Scandal of the Year- Laura Lee Guhrke
5.. Quicksilver- Amanda Quick
6. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake/  Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord/ Eleven Scandals to Start to Wind a Duke's Heart- Sarah Maclean
7. The Grand Sophy-Georgette Heyer
8. An Assembly Such as This- Pamela Aidan ( this is a re-read)

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street # 8) Review of Audio book


In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth.
They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with Royce, the love of her teenage life. She’s heard he’s alone, too...and, well, she’s curious. Maybe even hopeful.
Bethanne herself needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make. Her ex-husband, Grant — her children’s father — wants to reconcile now that his second marriage has failed. Bethanne’s considering it....
Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him!
So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions — but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter — like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max who really is a hero on a Harley. That’s when Bethanne’s decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there’s Max....
From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives. ( Synopsis from Barnes & )

Read by Joyce Bean, 10 hours on 9 CD's

It is always satisfying to read or listen to a Debbie Macomber book. When you finish, you feel positive about life and people's ability to rise above their difficulties. In this book, the main character, Bethanne, has to decide if she will forgive her cheating ex-husband and take him back.  She has gone on with her life, become a successful business woman, and has a big choice to make. She needs to consider if the 20+ good years are enough to balance out the 6 bad ones. This is a common theme with women whose husbands cheat- would it be better for their family or children, do they still love their spouse, are there financial considerations? Bethanne's daughter Annie, desperately wants her parents to reconcile, again, a common issue even with adult children of divorce. Ruth, the mother-in-law, is in the middle as she loves her son and wants him to be happy but feels the same way about Bethanne.

I think Ms. Macomber did an excellent job of exploring all of the confusion a woman in Bethanne's place would have and also the feelings of Annie and Ruth were authentically portrayed. My only caveat- Annie was over the obnoxious line and I would have liked to see Bethanne put her in her place a little more forcefully ( especially since Annie was going through a similar issue with her boyfriend)!

Max was an interesting character, who was the proverbial fly in the ointment for Annie, Ruth, and Grant (the cheater) and their plans for reuniting the family. Max has had personal trauma in his life and took the opposite track from Bethanne- dropping out and becoming a biker. He was portrayed in a multi-dimensional way that made his character believable. He had tough decisions to make as well. Bethanne's choice is not obvious until the very end of the book which impressed me. She really goes back and forth over her decision.

Joyce Bean does an excellent job of narrating the story.  She made it come alive and all of the characters were fully fleshed verbally. Very enjoyable!

Library note: The Turn in the Road is available at RPL in regular and large print in the new fiction section. The audio CD is in the Books on CD stacks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love audiobooks but.....

Listening to A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber, narrated by Joyce Bean. I am really enjoying her narration but the story is getting more interesting and I don't think I can listen to 5 more discs to get to the end. So I took the book out from the library so I can read to the end and see how it turns out. Then I will finish listening to it tomorrow. I think this is why I enjoy listening to books I have already read because I can relax and enjoy the story all over again from a different viewpoint.

This story is interesting but not one with lots of suspense, which I think would make my impatience even worse! I'll review the audio when I finish it...

Am I the only one who does this with audiobooks?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm having a Rachel Gibson revival.

I went on a Rachel Gibson binge this weekend and loaded 12 of her books onto my Nook. She is one of my favorite romance authors and I have read her books since her first book, "Simply Irresistible" was published in 1998. This book started her series around a fictional hockey team, the Seattle Chinooks. I m re-reading that book at the moment and enjoying it as much as the first time I read it. She has written 6 books in the series, most recently " Any Man of Mine". (Look for a review soon.) I am not a hockey fan but I have learned a lot about hockey terminology and rules of the game reading her books. (Deidre Martin is another hockey romance writer)

Her books are funny and have  interesting plots. "Simply Irresistible" has a tried and true romance plot-one night stand, secret baby, reunite after many years, but it works and doesn't seem stale at at all. I met Rachel at the Book Expo in New York a few years ago and she was very nice, willing to talk to people and dish about future books. She has written other books that are contemporary romance but not part of a series.

We have a couple of her books here at RPL and now that I have them on my Nook, I will have to dig out my copies and donate them to the library so other people can enjoy them. In the meantime, we can get them from other libraries. She is a perfect author to read for the summer-light and contemporary with a dash of humor!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Semi-Sweet by Roisin Meaney

Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake. But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making. (Synopsis from Barnes &

I really enjoyed this book.  Hannah is a likeable character, trying to make a success of her life and she keeps going even when she gets a big kick in the teeth from her philandering live-in boyfriend.  She has a supportive family, a best friend- Adam, and employees who care about her business.  Ms. Meaney juggles a lot of plots in this book and does an excellent job doing so. There is a thread about Hannah's romantic life and if it progresses or stays stagnant. We get a glimpse into the hard life of a person who runs their own business and the triumphs and pitfalls of that endeavor. Philandering Patrick gets a storyline which includes his now pregnant girlfriend. One of Hannah's friends has a personal tragedy that is related to Hannah's dad  through a friendship of his. Lots of things going on in this book....

Ms. Meaney weaves everything together so it all makes sense. Characters are not one dimensional and we see both sides of each one's story. There were characters that would be unsympathetic under less skilled hands but in this book we see both their flaws and their difficulties. There is one female character that is pretty despicable and hard to understand but we do get a small peek into her motivation for the things she does. (Still didn't like her!)

This is a good book to settle down with for the weekend and enjoy. I look forward to reading other books by the same author.

Library note: This book is available at RPL in the Adult New Book section as a trade paperback.

Friday, May 6, 2011

RITA Finalist Challenge

Joined the Romance Writers of America ( RWA) RITA Finalist Challenge. To enter you must agree to read a specific number of book that are finalists in the RITA Awards. The RITA award is given for excellence in one of 13 catagories of romantic fiction and is named for Rita Clay Estrada, RWA's first president. Books must be read by July 1, as that is when the awards are announced.

I've picked the Stalker level of 16 books. Since I have already read 8 of the books, I should be able to meet that level. Here's to happy reading!