Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Red Headed Book Child: 2010

red headed book child: the year 2010

Folks, I've seen a lot of you announce changes and plans for your blogs for the new year and I am impressed with your drive and organization. This will be my first "new year" in blogging and though I have tweaked my design, my layout, my postings a bit, I have not made any major changes to my blog. This comes from complete lack of time (toddler) and energy (toddler) and the know how and computer savvy to actually do it all (80s child).

The important thing to me is and always will be to review whatever it is I'm reading. Though I primarily read fiction, mysteries, young adult, humor and memoir one of my goals in the new year is to broaden my reading horizons. It is important to me to still have a credible blog with reviews that are worth reading but I go for my gut with what to read and what I'm in the mood for so you are going to see a lot of variety from me.

For example, I follow a few of you who read a lot of romance. This has never been a genre that I have read a lot of or really cared to. But many of you have written reviews so well and so fun that I am inspired to seek out a few. Because that genre is so large I am referring to Book Blogs to help me decide what to read. So for January and February, you will see a few reviews and blog tours for saucy romance reads and I am super excited to do so!

I still have not picked what challenges to do and once again, it's all about mood for me. So keep posted and I'll let you know!

I will continue to do Week in Review (except for Christmas, sorry! I was weak from too many goodies!) and Author Love-a-Thons and when I can I will participate in Teaser Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesdays and Throwback Thursdays.

I really just like to read all of you and comment as much as I can and stay on top of my reviewing. I'm not very fancy here at Red Headed Book Child.

My friend and book stalker, Rachel, has a super smart tech savvy husband who is planning on helping me design the blog header of my dreams ( I may not be tech savvy but I do have ideas!). Due to our crazy lives (toddler), we have yet to meet up. This WILL happen however after the new year.

In May of 2010, I am planning my big trip along with my friend Cheryl to BEA! I am staying on top of any news regarding the Book Blogger Convention that may happen. I am also hoping to finally meet the wonderful people of Simon and Schuster after all of these years of book sharing! And I hope to maybe meet some of you too!

Thank you all for following me and commenting and being such wonderful folks. I have had a blast since I've started in late July. I see my 127 followers as an awesome mark of achievement. You all make up for all of the kids who never showed up to my birthday parties when I was a kid ( ha ha!)

As always, Happy Reading!!

red headed book child

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review #37: Black Lands by Belinda Bauer

Title=Black Lands

Author= Belinda Bauer
Format= Advanced Reading Copy from Publisher
Publisher= Simon and Schuster
Genre= Fiction/Suspense
ISBN=978-1-4391-4944-7 (240 pages)

Release Date= January 5, 2010

Rating= 8 stars out of 10

My Review and Description:

This is an incredibly intense and psychologically captivating read. Did I like it? Did I enjoy it? No. Like and enjoy are not two words I can associate with this book. Did it move me? Change me? Paralyze me with fear? Enrage me? Yes, to all four. Because of the emotions it brought out in me, my rating for it was high. (See my new rating system for 2010 along my sidebar). The writing was splendid and riveting. The story line too real and frightening. The characters flawed and raw. The ending justifying.

The story starts with Steven, a 11 year old boy living with his Grandma, his little brother and his mother. Steven's household is not one filled with love or warmth. It's as if it is frozen in time, back to the day his Uncle Billy disappeared. The day that his family stopped living.
His Grandma holds out hope for his return, his mother feels weighted with the burden of two kids and his little brother entertains them all in his childhood innocence.

Steven is already a quiet and unusual child but his love for digging makes him even more strange. This is his escape and along with his friend, Lewis, he spends most of his Saturdays digging up holes around his town.

Not an entirely bad hobby for an 11 year old kid but what Steven is digging up or what he HOPES to dig up are the remains of his Uncle Billy.

Billy never came home and no evidence of his body was ever found. No closure.

Steven is determined that if he finds him he will bring his family back to life and give peace to his Grandma (Nan).

He takes it once step further however and that changes the pace and feel of this novel.

Arnold Avery was a known and convicted child murderer serving his sentence in a nearby prison for admitting to the murders of six children. Steven is convinced that Avery killed his Uncle and knows where he is buried. He begins writing him letters in hopes of getting closer to the truth.

What starts is a terrifying game between a cruel man and a hopeful child.

This is a really good book to review with my new rating system because I felt so many things about it when I read it. It's not as simple as a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Now that I am a mother I can not easily stomach topics that involve harm to children especially if it is graphic in nature. So my unease with the topic should not hinder my rating of it's overall storyline and the talented writing style of the author. The voice is sharp and original. I could not ignore that.

I do recommend Belinda Bauer as an original author with a talent for bringing to life the grit and reality of lives in limbo. She gives us a psychological thriller, a mystery and a family drama. A warning to readers, there are parts of the story where the character of the child murderer details his fascination with his crimes. These are the parts, as a mother, I found difficult to read.

This had the weight of a Joyce Carol Oates' novel and the grit of a John Connolly thriller.

Thank you to Wendy and Alyson from Simon and Schuster for sending this to me.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

(Note: I am currently catching up on my pile of books sent to me from Simon and Schuster from the last six months. I feel they all deserve reviews and I am trying to time them according to their release dates. That is why you are seeing so many reviews from this particular publisher. They are just really kind folks I've met in my years of bookselling who continue to appreciate my love of reading.!!!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all you wonderful bloggers. I wish you a happy day filled with warm fuzzies and good treats! I have enjoyed discovering all of your blogs this past year and being a part of this awesome community. Thank you all for your lovely comments and support of my ramblings. I look forward to continuing building relationships with all you in the next year. Be safe!

Michelle, Red Headed Book Child

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sherlock Holmes!

Not only is it Christmas this week, it is also the release of the movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. (awesome) and Jude Law (yummy).

So, on top of my Christmas week reading, I dug out my crusty old copy of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to read a story or two before I see the movie.

Any fellow blogger out there a fan of Sherlock Holmes?

Or just a fan of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law? (wink)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

red headed book child

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review #36: Elmer, the Christmas Elf by Marilyn E. Randall

Title: Elmer, the Christmas Elf

Author and Illustrator: Marilyn E. Randall
Publisher: Lulu Publishing
Format: Review copy from author
Genre: Children's Book for Readers 5 to 10
ISBN: 978-0-557-15333-6

Rating: 4/5

My Review and Description:

I received this book from the author along with two of her other non-holiday titles, For Faithful Friends and Inside Out.

I am always eager to discover new and exciting children's books to read to my son, especially if they have a good message.

Randall's books all have a valuable lesson mixed with faith and compassion, qualities she finds important to pass on to our children. Me too!

Elmer, the Christmas Elf is a hard working elf and takes his job very seriously. It makes him incredibly happy to make toys for children every Christmas and have they ready for Santa to deliver. This Christmas a toy is left behind. Elmer is upset and tries to think of a fast solution so no child if left without a gift. He prays to an angel to send his message to Santa.

Santa not only hears his message but brings the child back with him to Elmer so he can deliver the gift himself. The message is simple "To give at Christmas with a joyous heart, is to share the love of God, and there is no greater gift from Him than his love, of which you've got"

This book is really sweet. I am not an overly religious person but I do have faith and am inspired by kindness and compassion. This book speaks to the giver in all of us and how important it is to be kind and giving.

The writing is in a poetic prose with a definite "beat" to it. I read it out loud to my son. It is a tad bit wordy for his age so that's why I say it's geared for an older reader.

Her other two books are just as sweet. For Faithful Friends is about being fearful of change and how good friends help you through. Inside Out is about loving who you are.

Marilyn Randall does her own illustrating and writing and is self published. Any support for new, creative authors is so important. Check out her website here for more info.

Happy Reading!
red headed book child

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week in Review: December 6-December 12

Week in Review

Can you believe it's Christmas already? The year has flown by. Though by gazing into our household you will get more glimpses of Christmas destruction; lights burned out, Santa hat stuffed in a corner (rejected by child), antler ears on the cats (and for a brief second, on the child), bows littering the floors and atleast five extra pounds on my belly. And we have many more weeks of this coming from a divorced family on my husband's side, we will be celebrating well into January. And then comes the little one's 2 yr Birthday. (my waistline is groaning)

So on to my world of books this week...

I had a very successful week in books. I was a on reading streak. I finis
hed both Leslie Meier cozy mysteries, the final Spellman mystery and Joy Fielding's new one, The Wild Zone. I think I need to take a little break from mysteries for a bit. Oh, and I also contributed to the Blog Tour for Joan Medlicott's A Blue and Gray Christmas.

Even more exciting then that are all of the fantastic books that came my way. It was Christmas over and over again. I think I even squealed at the UPS guy. I'm sure he thinks I'm a wee bit crazy anyway since he seems to deliver when I'm still in my pajamas sporting a hair style popular in 1984. :)

Here's what I got! I got ticked off at my computer and didn't include all pics. poo.

I checked this cool cats out at my bookstore (Yes, we have a Libary Loan program!!!)
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Maze Runner by James Dasher

* I have read so many fantastic reviews for these two from you fell
ow bloggers I knew they would be perfect fun reading for Christmas week.

I bought these two at my local thrift store (super cheap! You gotta love that!)
Betsy's Wedding/Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

For review, I received this saucy read:
Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott

And from the fabulous Wendy and Alyson at Simon and Schuster (to keep me busy until summer) I received these super reads.
Play Dead by Bryan Brown (a new Zombie novel!)
Band of Angels by Julia Gregson
The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse
Power Necklace by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (Young Adult)
Contested Will:Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro
The River Kings' Road: a novel of Ithelas by Liane Merciel (Sci/Fi Fantasy)

I have plenty to keep me busy through the winter!

I am looking forward to spending the Christmas weekend reading and relaxing
with my family. Presents, of course, will be opened and wine and sweets will be consumed. All and all, I am praying for some peace (no sickness) and recording some beautiful memories.

I wish all of you a very Happy Holiday and safe travels.
I am so happy to have "met" you all over

the past few months and I look forward to further contributions and collaborations with this awesome blogging community!

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review #35: The Wild Zone by Joy Fielding

Title: The Wild Zone

Author: Joy Fielding
Publisher: Atria (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Advanced Reading Copy from Publisher
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8529-9

Release Date: February 23, 2010

Rating: 5/5

My Review and Description:

This is one of Joy Fielding's strongest thrillers to come along in a few years. For those of you new to my blog, I picked her for this month's Author Love-a-Thon, which basically picks a favorite author of mine to highlight. She is one of my favorite mystery/thriller authors. A few of her books have lacked punch and didn't hold up to some of her more powerful ones, like See Jane Run but this one definitely packs a heated punch. She keeps you spinning with quite a heart pounding adventure.

The scene is Miami/South Beach. A bar called The Wild Zone.

The cast...

Kristin= the voluptuous blonde bartender, eye candy for her guests but holding secrets of abuse from her past.
Jeff= her boyfriend-cocky, confident and a fan of any eye candy.
Will= his brother-reserved, conflicted, unsure of why he ran away to Miami from Princeton.
Tom= Jeff's friend-home from Afghanistan on dishonorable discharge and pissed at the world.
Lainey= Tom's wife and the reason for most of his anger.

Suzy= the mysterious woman who enters The Wild Zone one night and tangles them all in her destructive web.

At first, I was a little put off in the beginning due to some extremely violent and crude thoughts and actions from the three male characters. Cocky young males are one thing but when you throw in pig headed women abusers, that's a whole other ball of wax. That just generally ticks me off.

But after about 75 pages the characters started to develop and the story line progressed. You get more of the history and the motivations of each character (even though I still didn't like some of them).

The destructive web that Suzy weaves is quite simple or so I thought. She has an abusive husband and she wants someone to kill him. Which one of three will she pick? Who has the balls to do it? What happens after?

I couldn't put it down. I read 40 pages yesterday and the rest of it today during nap time (oh, blessed nap time) and a bit during dinner while my husband fed the little one. 368 pages total. Sometimes I amaze myself when I get going.

The book really is that readable. If you have a few hours, you can really get far. Fielding spun a pretty clever tale this time and the ending really caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting it and I just love it when that happens.

I received my copy quite early and I really couldn't wait to read it. It is due out February 23 and once again, if you get a Gift Card for the holidays...I would save it and splurge on this one. If you are in the mood for a fast paced, tense, suspenseful ride, I would add The Wild Zone to your list. It will not disappoint. I'm glad Fielding's still got it.

Thank you to Wendy from Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this book.

Joy Fielding's website.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review #33 and #34: Mistletoe Murder and Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier

Title: Mistletoe Murder

Christmas Cookie Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Format: Mass Market Paperbacks from Libary
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Challenge: Fall and Winter Mystery Reading Challenge

Rating: 3/5 for both of them.

My Review and (very brief) Description:
My fellow bloggers, I have nothing new or exciting to say about this series. They are fun and silly. The fact that there are many murders that happen in the same town over the course of a few years, is a wee bit ridiculous but I read them anyway. Oh well! It may be safe for all of us to NOT move to Tinker's Cove. (wink wink, ha ha)

For those of you new to my reviews for these, I am reading them for a challenge that includes reading holiday themed books from Halloween to Valentine's Day. Leslie Meier's Lucy Stone series fits this challenge to a "T" for all of her books are murders that happen around holidays.

Lucy Stone, the main character, continues to make me giggle. She is a Stay At Home Mom who works part-time at the local newspaper as a reporter. These two books, as well, involved her being chased in a car by the murderer who wants her to mind her own business. For someone who has read these all in the course of a few months, this common trait was easy to pick up on.

As loopy as I sound in this review (lack of sleep, husband snoring), I really do enjoy flying through these and I am happy that I discovered them. I have two more to go to complete my challenge. New Year's Eve Murder and Valentine Murder.

Til next time, Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review #32: A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott

Title: A Blue and Gray Christmas

Author: Joan Medlicott
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction
Series: A Covington Holiday Novel

Rating: 3/5

My Review and Description:

A Blue and Gray Christmas is a holiday themed book with the characters from Medlicott's Ladies of Covington series.

The jacket cover includes this brief description: "In this stunning holiday story, a cache of Civil War era letters and diaries sweeps the ladies of Covington up into a dramatic and heartwarming historical saga that inspires them to plan an unforgettable Christmas for two families forever changed by war."

I had never read any of Medlicott's other novels so the characters were brand new to me. Grace, Amelia and Hannah are the three older women that the "Ladies of..." refers to. They are all housemates and take pleasure and pride in each other's friendship, even though the differences between them are definitely present.

It was refreshing to read a story of older women who were down to earth and straight forward.

When they find the letters and diaries they are torn at first as to what to do but then quickly get absorbed in putting together the puzzle of these soldier's lives. Along their journey you meet a cast of characters that make up the extended family of these two soldiers. It was quite intriguing to piece it all together with them.

I found the story to be quite sweet and simple, perfect for a holiday read. The writing itself wasn't anything extraordinary or in depth but I can see the appeal of the ladies and the community in which they live in. I would recommend this to fans of all holiday themed novels in general. It leaves you with that Christmas feeling that doing good unto others is a pretty darn fulfilling thing to do.

I would recommend reading her other Covington novels to get a better look at the lives and history of the women. Check out Joan Medlicott's webiste here.

Thank you to Sarah at Pocket Books for providing me a beautiful copy to read and review.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week in Review:December 6-12

Week in Review

So I'm a day late and this will be short and sweet. Every few months or so I get booted out of the house and banned from calling to allow my husband and his best friend to "rock out". Yes, they are musicians. Yes, they are pretty darn talented and they take their time pretty darn seriously.
I figure since his friend made the 5 hour car ride from Madison, WI after 18 inches of snow, i'd give them what they want :)

I am at my parent's house in my hometown on a different computer that I am pretty sure is from 1982 (just kidding Dad!). Let's just say it's a tad bit slow.
So no fancy pictures or links this time around. I could try but I may be here until next Christmas.

For baby news, the kid has a fever again but is in perfectly good spirits with no other symptoms. I have no idea what this means. Mothers out there, is this normal? The every month thing with fevers? It's driving me just a wee bit nuts!

On to book news...I had another successful reading week. I finished The 13th Hour and The Spellmans Strike Again and posted reviews for both. I also finished A Blue and Gray Christmas and will review that on Tuesday for the blog tour.

I am catching up on my stack of ARCs and trying to time my reading with release dates. I have three due out in January and one in February. I am also wrapping up my Christmas themed reading with The Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier (Half done) and Matchless by Gregory Maguire (just started)- both for challenges.

I received a few books in the mail this week. I received Elmer, the Christmas Elf and Inside Out, two children's books for review. I also received another romance from Sourebooks, Cowboy Trouble for review as well. I'm branching out and it's really fun!
I posted a note on my sidebar stating I am not accepting review requests until after May. I am already loaded and like I mentioned in a previous Week in Review, I want to stick to just one per month.

I am patiently waiting for my Secret Santa gift through the Holiday Swap. I'm like a 8 yr old waiting by the window watching for the UPS guy. Silly, I know, but I LOVE surprises!

I think that sums it all up.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review #31: The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz

Title: The Spellmans Strike Again

Author: Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Advanced Reading Copy from Publisher
Genre: Mystery
Series: 4th and final installment in The Spellman Files

Release Date: March 2010

Rating: 5/5! (I wish I could show my 5 jumping up and down in excitement!)

My Review and Description:

For those of you who are new to the Spellmans, this is the 4th and final installment in the series and I am very sad to see it go. I received an ARC of the first installment simply called The Spellman Files a few years back and became instantly hooked. It is different than anything I have ever read, especially any mystery I've ever read. It's really in a genre of its own. I have since gobbled up the rest of them. I was so excited, once again, to read this one as soon as the ARCs were available. Thank you to Wendy at Simon and Schuster for sending this to me so early!

I'll sum up the series for you.

The Spellmans are a family of Private Investigators that reside in
San Franscisco. Albert and Olivia are the parents. David (35), Isabel (32) and Rae (17) are the children. There are a whole cast of side characters that fill each book but the repeats are the best. Morty, Isabel's 85 year old best friend. Conner, the hunky Irish bartender of Isabel's favorite watering hole. Bernie, an ex-cop who has "helped" the Spellman family on more than one occasion. And Henry, the former detective, now inspector, begrudgingly connected to everything Spellman.

I claim to be a tad bit witty and maybe just a smidge funny at times, but I do not think I can give Lisa Lutz enough kudos for her absolutely splendid, stomach clenching, eye watering humor. She is in a league of her own with her one liners, pokes and dripping sarcasm.

Though I mention the last book for this review, I really have to give a shout out to the entire series. I couldn't wait until March to review it and since Christmas is coming, the perfect gift would be to buy the first three! You have three months to get ready for the finale!

The series is told mostly from Isabel's perspective, the highly dysfunctional and proud of it middle child, prepped to take over the family P.I business. Through her blurry eyes and non stop sharp tongue, you get to enjoy her sassy, clever, "no rules apply to me" little sister, Rae; her overly responsible "I'm not really a part of this family" older brother, David; her snooping, "loving" parents, Olivia and Albert; her deli loving old man best friend, Morty; and her "obvious to everyone" love of her life, Henry.

The crazy cases and schemes they get involved with are too much and too layered to even get into but needless to say, it is a riot to go through it with them. You end up shaking your head and thanking the Lord that they are not related to you but then secretly wishing you could hang out with them! I just finished the last book moments before writing this so I am feeling bittersweet and missing these full of life characters.

The rumor is that the movie rights are in the works and I can not even match an actor to these unique individuals. To do so would diminish their own strong identities. I guess I'll just have to wait and see and probably mutter injustices under my breath.

I can't say enough how funny and smart and different this series really is. It is unlike anything that I had ever read before and I think it deserves as much attention as I can generate! I know Christine at The Happliy ever After is a big fan now too! Thanks Christine!

Here is a picture of the first three off my own shelf.
Pick one up today!
1st book= The Spellman Files
2nd book= Curse of the Spellmans
3rd book= Revenge of the Spellmans

Lisa Lutz website.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

(the parts in quotations are my own takes, not quoted from any of the books)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Did anyone watch "Alice" on the SyFy channel?

I just finished watching the first part of the two part series of "Alice" on the SyFy channel.

It is so much fun! My husband and I are really enjoying it. Very visual and imaginative!

Considering how madly in love I am with the Frank Beddor series, this really was up my alley.

I've included some neat pics from the SyFy website and the cast lineup!

I'm just curious if any of you fellow bloggers got a chance to watch it?

Here is the cast:

Alice= Caterina Scorsone (fantastic!)
Queen of Hearts= Kathy Bates (she kicks butt!)
Caterpillar= Harry Dean Stanton
Dodo= Tim Curry
White Knight= Matt Frewer
King of Hearts= Colm Meaney
Hatter= Andrew Lee Potts (adorable!)
Jack Chase= Phillip Whinchester

red headed book child

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Review #30: The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

Title: The 13th Hour

Author: Richard Doetsch
Publisher: Atria (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Hardcover Advanced Reader's Edition from Publisher
Genre: Thriller
ISBN: 978-1-4391-4791-7

Release Date: December 29, 2009

Rating: 5/5 !

My Review and Description:

Folks, what we have here is a knock-down, drag-out, dirty, heart pounding thriller. What intensity this book had! I mistakenly would read it before bed and images would fill my head and I wouldn't be able to sleep.

The 13th Hour has a unique spin to it. Nick is a loving husband and successfull in his career. He is married to Julia, also successful in her career. Together they are the "perfect" couple. Together since they were 15, they have built their life the exact way they've always wanted. The dream house, the nest egg, the plan for a family.

Then Julia is murdered.

And they think Nick did it.

But then a stranger shows up with a gold watch and instructions for Nick on how he can save Julia's life. At the top of every hour, as long as he keeps the watch on him, he goes back in time two hours. He has a total of 12 hours to solve his wife's murder. If he gets to The 13th Hour without it solved, she dies.

Sounds confusing and completely tantalizing? A little bit of both, right? The going back in time takes a few chapters to get into and understand but once you do you really get hooked. You are behind Nick all the way as he takes bit and pieces of information, and evidence and photos each hour to stay ahead of the murderer.

The writing is sharp and clever. Doetsch really builds up the suspense and fleshes out all of the characters. You have no idea who to trust, even having a few moments of suspicion towards Nick and Julia. It read like a movie but in this case, that was okay. This would be the kind of action movie I would like to see. It's the believable unbelievable. (that's a mouthful!)

The ending leaves you hanging, making me think there may be more coming from this author. This would be his third book, though they are not connected.

You have to wait a few weeks for this one but if any of you get a Gift Card to a bookstore this holiday, it is due out December 29. Place your money on this relatively new mystery author. As you are recovering from too many cookies, curl up next to a fire, maybe with a stiff drink and watch out!

Thank you to Wendy at Simon and Schuster for sending this to me!

Happy Reading.

red headed book child

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Week in Review: November 29-December 5

Week in Review

I had to include this picture of my little guy. It is just priceless. We are gearing up for the holidays in our house this past week. That includes trying to get a decent picture of our little one so we can make copies and send out our Christmas cards.

Well, every time we would put on the Christmas hat he would pull it off and shout "NO!" Point taken!

But we had several visits with both sets of Grandparents and they insisted we keep trying because of course, the end result would be adorable. !

Well, this is as close as it gets and I think it's perfect. I lean more towards the funny in pictures anyway!

On to my week in books. What a fun week I had and finally a very successful reading week. I finished Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs and These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer and Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier. Reviews are up for the first two. All were very enjoyable books.

I had to move on a bit from the cozy and the romance so I started an excellent, EXCELLENT thriller; The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch. My review should be up tomorrow or Monday. Edge of your seat kind of thriller. I can't wait to tell you guys all about it.

As for books coming into my home this week, I received a few! I received a My Favorite Things package that I won from Julie at My 5 Monkeys. It included a cookbook, a chick lit novel, a word search book and LOTS of chocolate! Thank you Julie.

I also received A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott for review from Pocket Books. Her blog tour is Tuesday December 15.

Amy J from My Overstuffed Bookshelf sent me a copy of The Christmas Carol: Special Edition by Charles Dickens. Very exciting.

And lastly, I received two children's books by Marilyn Randall to review;
Elmer, the Christmas Elf and Inside Out. I look forward to reading them with my son and letting you all know what I am think of them.

To wrap up the week, today, my mom and I went to see cozy mystery writer, Laura Childs at a local mystery bookstore in my city. She was there signing copies of her Cackleberry Club mysteries. I got a picture and my books signed and it turns out she did know my Grandpa but not my dad. If you remember she is from my dad's hometown of Jordan, MN. She knew my family name and knew my Grandpa and was very kind and sweet as we chatted up my family.
It was a nice way to end the week.

On a sad note, my Godfather passed away yesterday. R.I.P George Brockman. He and my mom had known each other for over 40 years and she became best friends with his wife, Joyce. They were always so kind and giving to me growing up and really took the role of my Godparents seriously. George, you will be missed.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review #29: These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

Title: These Old Shades

Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: Trade paperback supplied by publisher for review
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1947-4

Rating: 3.5/5
I haven't done half ratings yet and the only reason it's getting a half is because i don't know if I would buy it myself though I did enjoy reading it.

My review and description:

Because I was new to Georgette Heyer and having discovered that she was known as the "Queen of Regency Romances", it was important for me to find out exactly what Regency really meant. So, I looked to the very trusty Wikipedia (!) and this is what it told me.

Regency novels are either:

In both cases the setting is typically Regency England, although the settings can sometimes be extended to the European continent or to the various British colonies of the same time period. Traits often found in both types include a highly developed sense of social standing between the characters; emphasis on 'manners' and class issues; and the emergence of modern social thought amongst the upper classes of England.

The Regency period in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, later George IV, was instated to be his proxy as Prince Regent. It was a decade of particular manners and fashions, and overlaps with the Napoleonic Period in Europe.

All very good information to know but then as I begin reading and digging a little more about Georgette Heyer, I come to find that These Old Shades is actually considered a Georgian romance and this one in particular set in the 1750s. It comes down to time period and when it comes to history and chronology, I am horrible. So I leaned a little on Wikipedia throughout my reading to help me understand some of the details of this book.

These Old Shades is a story about the Duke of Avon, Justin Alastair. He has quite a reputation of being, well, not a very overly affectionate guy. While out walking one evening he encounters a young boy, Leon, running from his brother. The Duke notices this frenzy and makes a bold decision to take in this Leon and make him his page.

A surprising decision and flusters everyone in his life as Leon makes a home for himself with the Duke and becomes a very loyal page.

The secret, as it turns out, is that Leon is not a young man. He is actually Leonie, a young woman.

This begins the true story and compelling relationship between the Duke and Leonie.

This book has become one the Heyer's most popular and one that really launched her career. Because the time period was foreign to me and the writing style (having been written in the 1920s) did not flow in the beginning, it was hard for me to get into.

I became a bit confused because the characters would be mentioned by their different names a lot; sometimes The Duke, sometimes Justin, sometimes "Satanas". It took me a few chapters to really absorbed the writing style. I was definitely impressed with the story as it went on and found it to be very clever, if not a tad over dramatic. The fact that a young woman could simply have short hair and wear drab clothes and the world would be convinced she was a he was a little unbelievable. But as i read on, I understood that appearances and politeness and deception were quite the ordinary during that time.

In some ways, it reminded me of a romantic comedy from modern day; with the silliness of the deception and the theatrical ways they go about transforming him into her. And, of course, the unlikely romance that blossoms.

In the end, I rather enjoyed it. Heyer has a specific voice, one that could be recommended for fans of Jane Austen or the Brontes. She wrote over 50 novels and Sourcebooks have republished many of them. Thank you to Danielle from Sourcebooks for sending me my copy. It is quite beautiful.

Open the eyes of the romance reader in your life and give them the gift of Georgette Heyer. It will be a pleasant surprise.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child