January 21, 2010

Sharon Lathan Giveaway at Hist-Fic Chick

Hist-Fic Chick is hosting an amazing giveaway for Sharon Lathan's three Jane Austen fan fiction novels: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley and My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting, which is being released by Sourcebooks this month.  Don't miss out on your chance to enter...the contest ends January 28th. Open to residents of U.S. and Canadian residents only.

January 20, 2010

Masterpiece Classic - Jane Austen's Emma

The beginning of every year would not be the same without new productions from Masterpiece Classic. I've loved Masterpiece Theatre and PBS for years because of the Jane Austen productions and 2010 is no different with Emma (January 24-February 7), Northanger Abbey - Encore (February 14, 2010) and Persuasion - Encore (February 21, 2010) all upcoming.

I'm looking forward to watching the new Emma three part mini series although I still have to wrap my head around Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightly when everytime I think of him I see him as Dade Murphy from Hackers...with both characters wearing tight pants though its not that much different. :)

Here are all the online special features for Emma on the Masterpiece Classic website.

Here is the Masterpiece Classic complete schedule.

Deanna Raybourn's Next Julia Grey Mystery - Dark Road to Darjeeling

I love Deanna Raybourn's blog and follow it religiously...she posts every day and has so many great viewpoints on life, love, beauty and fashion, as well as music, reading and writing.

I caught in yesterday's post the title of the next Lady Julia Grey mystery...Dark Road to Darjeeling, although I believe the title was first announced in Raybourn's Twitter feed on January 13. No release date mentioned.

Lady Julia Grey has a Twitter feed too.  Soooo looking forward to the next book in the series!

January 18, 2010

Blog Award

I just wanted to thank Kath at http://kathmeista.blogspot.com/ for the Honest Scrap Award.  I am not a fan of spamming other bloggers with awards so I will refrain from passing the award along but how about I reveal some secrets.

The rules for this award are:

1. The Honest Scrap Blogger Award must be shared.
2. The recipient has to tell 10 (true) things about themselves that no one else knows.
3. The recipient has to pass on the award to 7 more bloggers.
4. Those 7 bloggers should link back to the blog that awarded them.

10 True Things About Me That Most People Do Not Know

1. I'm a rule breaker and risk taker.
2. I write a blog about books...about my book obsession.
3. I am a fanatic about cataloging the books I own using Bookpedia.
4. I refuse to sell or giveaway any of my books if I only own the one copy. For giveaways I always buy additional copies.
5. I love really strong black tea such as Irish Breakfast and Lapsang Souchong...they both have smoky notes.
6. The painting of Girl Reading by Sir Charles Perugini on my blog is the same graphic I use on my work computer desktop and my Blackberry. I also own a poster and one day hope to frame and hang it.
7. I have not used the library to borrow books in many years because I buy all my books.  But I love libraries and bookstores. It would be a dream to visit The Library at Trinity College in Dublin.
8. I cry when characters are crying on TV, in books and in movies.
9. As a young adult we received a Doubleday flyer in the mail and I secretly subscribed without telling my parents...of course they eventually found out when the bills and books started coming in the mail.
10. I have a couple odd talents like being about to pick out the perfect greeting card and being able to square a picture frame on a wall by just eyeballing.

O, Juliet Love Games Poetry Contest

Do you love to write poetry? Well if you do author Robin Maxwell has two competitions, one for adults and one for teens 13-18, and all you have to do is write a poem about love. The winners for each competition will receive this lovely tooled leather journal and a phone conversation with Robin Maxwell!

For more details visit Robin's blog at http://robinmaxwell.blogspot.com/

Robin is releasing her next novel O, Juliet February 2, 2010.

Related Posts

Robin Maxwell's O, Juliet and the Love Games

January 13, 2010

Cold River by Carla Neggers

I have been a fan of Carla Neggers for a long time, loving her blend of a hint of romance with suspense.  I am a fan of her U.S. Marshall and FBI series and some of her standalone novels but I'm not so keen on her new Black Falls series. The series revolves around numerous characters set in Black Falls, Vermont basically involving a handful families, the Camerons and the Harpers. The Cameron siblings recently lost their father Drew Cameron, who was murdered by assassins because he was asking questions about something...but we don't know what that something is. There are many secondary characters which have cameos in each book.

Hannah Shay has finally shown the town of Black Falls what she's worth. Her Three Sisters Cafe is a success, and she's soon to become a prosecutor. When the cafe becomes an epicenter for investigators trying to pierce a violent crime ring that's leaving bloody trails on nearby Cameron Mountain, Hannah suspects a man from her past is involved.

Sean Cameron returns to the snowy cold of his Vermont hometown to unmask his father's killer. Sean has the skills and resources to mount his own search, but he must convince the resistant Hannah to cooperate--because the killer is ready to strike again...and closer than anyone ever imagined.

The second book in the series, Cold River, falls short of the mark for me and was not as good as the first book Cold Pursuit, which I rated 3.0. To be honest I'm not even sure what the title of the book represents because I don't think a "Cold River" or similar was ever mentioned...although most of the cast seem to be outside in freezing weather a lot of the time. The book summarized too much the first book in the series and didn't really develop the characters, the plot or the relationships between characters enough.  I would recommend skipping this series.  On the other hand I liked The Angel, the second book in the FBI series a bit better and would recommend this read for a good suspense story set in Ireland. I'll probably pick up The Mist, the third book in the FBI series to be released March 30, 2010 but I'm afraid for me this is the end of the road for the Black Falls series.

My Rating: 2.5


Related Posts

Cold Pursuit by Carla Neggers
The Angel by Carla Neggers

January 11, 2010

Robin Maxwell's O, Juliet and the Love Games

Robin Maxwell has a series of giveaways up for grabs during the O, Juliet Love Games, which are being run to celebrate the upcoming release of her new novel O, Juliet based on the tale of Romeo and Juliet to be released on February 2, 2010. Head on over to her blog to check it out. You could win one of three gorgeous necklaces and a signed copy of O, Juliet!

This week's giveaway is for a hand blown glass necklace but you still have time to enter for the Thai silver necklace. Next week's giveaway will be for a hand-crafted solid silver heart necklace - the Grand Prize!

January 6, 2010

Nefertiti: A Novel by Michelle Moran

My Christmas holidays allowed me to dedicate a good amount of time to reading and one of the books I selected has been much talked about and praised. Really, I don't know that I can say anything more than has already been said about Michelle Moran's debut effort Nefertiti: A Novel.

I was captivated by a period in history that many of us would admit we are fascinated by.  Michelle Moran made Ancient Egypt come alive with such ingenuity and precision, creating strong, compelling characters and layered intrigues set in a region continually on the brink of turmoil. I am in awe of Moran's writing and the dedication to research I am sure was required. If you are a lover of historical fiction this story is a must read!

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler's heretical desire to forsake Egypt's ancient gods.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband's rule. The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, yet remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear.

I'll definitely be picking up The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra's Daughter in the near future.  Currently Michelle is working on her next novel about the life of Madame Tussaud during the French Revolution to be released March 2011. I will miss her vision of Egypt but look forward to her recreation of the French Revolution in her next effort.

My Rating: 4.5


January 3, 2010

The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent

Half the fiction I read is historical fiction, although I have not yet read much on the French Revolution. For the past year I have promised myself to investigate more into the history of Marie Antoinette, purchasing the 2008 movie Marie Antoinette directed by Sofia Coppola, which I had not yet watched, as well as Antonia Fraser’s MTI version of Marie Antoinette: The Journey, which I have not yet read. Then I was given an opportunity to read The Queen’s Dollmaker (released in trade paperback by Kensington, December 29, 2009, 384p) on offer from the author Christine Trent and I am so glad I accepted.

The Queen’s Dollmaker is a very clever and fresh perspective of the French Revolution period set in both England and France.

On the brink of revolution, with a tide of hate turned against the decadent royal court, France is in turmoil—as is the life of one young woman forced to leave her beloved Paris. After a fire destroys her house and family, Claudette Laurent is struggling to survive in London. But one precious gift remains: her talent for creating exquisite dolls that Marie Antoinette, The Queen of France herself, cherishes. When the Queen requests a meeting, Claudette seizes the opportunity to promote her business, and to return home…

Infused with the passion and excitement of a country—and an unforgettable heroine—on the threshold of radical change, this captivating novel propels readers into a beguiling world of opulence, adventure and danger, from the rough streets of eighteenth-century London to France’s lavish palace of Versailles.

The story follows in a series of vignettes of Claudette’s life coinciding with the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Through her strong determination and ingenuity she crafts her future as a premier dollmaker in England, eventually catching the attention of Marie Antoinette. Their destinies become entwined as events unfold.

Marie Antoinette is from the outset a sympathetic character that the young Claudette is fascinated by, but she is presented in a realistic and factual way, with Trent not choosing sides one way or another whether she deserved her fate or not. Historical details are revealed through the events that happen. The story at times quickly progresses over the years and so I would not have minded if the book had been a bit longer.

I appreciated the amount of detail about the craft and selling of dolls. I’m a reader who enjoys all the technical details, so the story appealed to me in this way too. The Queen’s Dollmaker is a very good novel that stays true to its voice. After an accomplished debut effort I am excited to read Christine Trent's next novel, The Wax Apprentice, to be released in 2011. Other recommended historical fiction reads with strong-willed, entrepreneurial female protagonists include The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory, The Tailor’s Daughter by Janice Graham, The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson and Signora Da Vinci by Robin Maxwell.

My Rating: 4.5


The Queen’s Dollmaker certainly got me more interested in the life of Marie Antoinette. I also watched Marie Antoinette directed by Sofia Coppola in the middle of reading the novel. The movie is stunningly visual with more focus on Marie's earlier years as the Dauphine of France. While I did not know much about the life of Marie Antoinette previously, now I have a much better understanding of this period in history. Eventually I hope to read Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette: The Journey.

Related Posts:

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson
Signora Da Vinci by Robin Maxwell