Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Family / Review

Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Knopf
(October 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0307269620

Book Description:

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, best-selling author of Founding Brothers and His Excellency brings America’s preeminent first couple to life in a moving and illuminating narrative that sweeps through the American Revolution and the republic’s tenuous early years.
In Ellis’s rich and striking new history, John and Abigail’s relationship unfolds in the context of America’s birth as a nation.

My review:

I fell in love with John and Abigail many years ago after reading Those Who Love. I was delighted when I found this new book by Joseph J. Ellis and was not disappointed while reading it.

The author examines the lives of the Adams family mostly through letters from friends and relatives and adds a depth to their relationship that wasn't covered in other works I have read. His version of their life is very readable, covers joys, mistakes, and sorrows...elements that may have been missed in the past. If you enjoy reading history with a touch of romance, you will like this one. It is one of the best books I've read this year. Highly recommended.

(Many thanks to the author for my review copy!!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bespelling Jane Austen / Review

Author: Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason,
Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books;
Original edition (September 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0373775016

Book Description:

But even if the whole world was against them, it would not matter. They were together—again. And this time they would remain together. Until death do them part and, of course, long after that.

What if Austen had believed in reincarnation and vampires? Join four bestselling romance authors as they channel the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen.

Almost Persuaded
In this Regency tale of Robert and Jane, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh brings together former lovers who have seen beyond the veil of forgetfulness to their past mistakes, and are determined to be together in this life, and forever.
Northanger Castle
Caroline's obsession with Gothic novels winds up being good training for a lifetime of destroying the undead with her newfound beau, in this Regency by Colleen Gleason.
Blood and Prejudice
Set in the business world of contemporary New York City, Liz Bennett joins Mr. Darcy in his hunt for a vampire cure in New York Times bestselling author Susan Krinard's version of the classic story.
Little to Hex Her
Present-day Washington, D.C., is full of curious creatures in Janet Mullany's story, wherein Emma is a witch with a wizard boyfriend and a paranormal dating service to run.

My Review:

I'm not going to give a long review of the book, since it has already been done above.

To be honest, I had a few reservations about this book in the beginning, but I can say now I enjoyed all four novellas in this unique collection. Each author brought an interesting paranormal tale to the mix. I especially liked Almost Persuaded.

The stories are not long, so Austen fans can complete one in an evening, put the book down, and start again as time permits. 4 stars****

(Thank you to the authors for my review copy.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy / Review

Author: Sharon Lathan
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
(October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1402236999

Book Description:
If only everyone could be as happy as they are...

Darcy and Elizabeth are as much in love as ever--even more so as their relationship matures. Their passion inspires everyone around them, and as winter turns to spring, romance blossoms around them....
Confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on a seemingly unattainable, beautiful widow; Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt outrageously; the very flighty Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match.
But the path of true love never does run smooth, and Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy navigating their friends and loved ones through the inevitable separations, misunderstandings, misgivings, and lovers' quarrels to reach their own happily ever afters...

My Review:

Sharon Lathan shows us her knowledge of Darcy and Elizabeth in one of the most romanic novels about the eternal lovers. We get an indepth look into their passionate lives and the deep and everlasting love they share for each other. Jane Austen would approve of this depiction of her characters; Austen fans will continue to love them, as well. As a collector of Austen sequels, I feel this is one of the best yet written and highly recommend it. Congratulations to the author! 5 stars*****

(Thank you to SourceBooks for my review copy!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mr. Darcy's Obsession / Review

Author: Abigail Reynolds
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
(October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1402240929

Book Description:

The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...

What if...

Elizabeth Bennet was more unsuitable for Mr. Darcy than ever...
Mr. Darcy is determined to find a more suitable bride. But then he learns that Elizabeth is living in London in reduced circumstances, after her father's death robs her of her family home...

What if...

Mr. Darcy can't Help himself from see king her out...
He just wants to make sure she's alright. But once he's seen her, he feels compelled to talk to her, and from there he's unable to fight the overwhelming desire to be near her, or the ever-growing mutual attraction that is between them...

What if...

Mr. Darcy's intentions were shockingly dishonorable...

My Review:
Abigail Reynolds has created a masterful period novel. The way she weaves romance, tradition, and wit is exciting and fresh.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are created here in a way that makes them come to life and live beyond the written page.

Austen fans will enjoy the author's unique interpretation of an old love story.

(Thank you to SourceBooks for my review copy.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Darcy's Voyage / Review

Author: Kara Louise
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
(September 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 140224102X

Book Description:

A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas
In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley's Promise. She's prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.

When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined. But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society's rules that threaten their chance at happiness.

When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?

My Review:

I found this interpretation of Pride and Prejudice to be solidly written and well researched. Written with imagination, orginiality, and skill, author, Kara Louise, proves she knows her "Austen." Highly recommended to Austen fans.

(Thank you to Sourcebooks for my review copy.)

Mr. Darcy's Little Sister / Review

Author: C. Allyn Pierson
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-10: 1402240384

Book Description:

Pride and Prejudice continues...

Georgiana Darcy grows up and goes in pursuit of happiness and true love, much to her big brother's consternation.

A whole new side of Mr. Darcy...
He's the best big brother, generous to a fault. Protective, never teases. But over his dead body is any rogue or fortune hunter going to get near his little sister! (Unfortunately, any gentleman who wants to court Georgiana is going to have the same problem...)

So how's a girl ever going to meet the gentleman of her dreams?

My Review:

This Pride and Prejudice sequel about Georgiana Darcy's coming of age, is told with charm and class. As a period piece it is delightfully filled with many of the elements that go with the Age. Well-written and painstakingly researched, it is definitely one of the best Austen sequels I've read to date.

(Thank you to SourceBooks for my review copy.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Moonstone / Review

Author: Wilkie Collins
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199536724

Book Description:

Called "the first and greatest of English detective novels" by T.S.Eliot, The Moonstone is a masterpiece of suspense. A fabulous yellow diamond becomes the dangerous inheritance of Rachel Verinder. Outside her Yorkshire country house watch the Hindu priests who have waited for many years to reclaim their ancient talisman, looted from the holy city of Somnauth. When the Moonstone disappears the case looks simple, but in mid-Victorian England no one is what they seem, and nothing can be taken for granted.Witnesses, suspects, and detectives each narrate the story in turn. The bemused butler, the love-stricken housemaid, the enigmatic detective Sergeant Cuff, the drug-addicted scientist--each speculate on the mystery as Collins weaves their narratives together. The Moonstone transcends the genre of detective novel or murder mystery.

My Review:
Being a fan of Wilkie Collins, I have read many of his novels, my favorite being The Woman In White. Some will say The Moonstone is his best work; although, I tend to differ. I found it a bit slower than Woman In White, but still a good victorian read that no one should miss.

Friday, August 27, 2010

To Sin With A Scoundrel / Review

Author: Cara Elliott
Mass Market Paperback:
384 pages
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (March 1, 2010) ISBN-10: 044654129X

Book Description:

A reclusive widow known for her scientific scholarship, Lady Ciara Sheffield is shadowed by rumors that she poisoned her husband . . . A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham--the Earl of Hadley--is not accused of murdering anything--save for the rules of Polite Society. The only thing they have in common is seeing their names featured in the lurid gossip columns of London's newspapers. Until an ancient manuscript draws them together. Ciara needs a titled fiancé to quell the slanderous speculations which may send her to the gallows. Lucas needs brilliant scholar to help his elderly uncle decipher the secrets of the mysterious manuscript. So when her friends urge her to accept the earl's proposal of a temporary alliance, Ciara decides that she has no choice but to make a deal with the Devil.

And so begins a seductive dance of sinful pleasures and hidden desires as the two of them waltz through the mansions of Mayfair. Lies, intrigue, treachery, sex. They find themselves facing slanderous whispers, unscrupulous relatives-not to speak of their own simmering passions, which quickly ignite into dangerous flames. It's a potent mix and the result may be explosive-and perhaps deadly-if they don't watch their step.

My Review:
Cara Elliott has skillfully created a five star, exciting, sexy read. Well-written. Magnificently compelling! I've become a fan!
(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Randolph Women & Their Men / Review

Author: Ruth Doumlele
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Book Publishers Network;
1st edition (March 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1935359258

Book Description:

The Randolph Women and Their Men paints a rich and vivid portrait of post-Revolution life in the South on the scale of Gone With the Wind--only this story is true. A professional historian, Ruth Doumlele has cleverly woven the many lives of the famous and infamous of that time into one seamless narrative. While the Randolphs hold center stage, their exploits bring them together with those influential people--such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison--who determined our nation's legacy. Not only does Doumlele bring to life the significant event of those turbulent years, she also provides a scintillating view of the private lives of the privileged. Incest, betrayal, unrequited love--this book reveals the sometimes shocking, often poignant, always fascinating details of these remarkable women and their men.
About the Author:

Ruth Doumlele lives in Powhaten County, Virginia, a few miles from the Randolph family plantations. She is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and her Hailey ancestors fought in the same battles as the Randolphs. She holds a bachelor's degree from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, and a master's degree from the University of Richmond. Ruth writes local and regional history and is a docent at Virginia's circa 1813 Executive Mansion in Richmond, where Thomas Mann Randolph lived as governor, 1819-1822.

My Review:
Informative, historical, exceptional, skillfully written. A must read.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Alice I Have Been / Review

Author: Melanie Benjamin
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press;
First Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0385344139

Book Description:

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.”

Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories. That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over.

Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to.

And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war. For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

My Review:

Alice I Have Been is a beautifully written book. The book is expertly crafted and even poetic. It draws the reader in and makes it almost impossible to lay aside until one is finished. I loved it from beginning to end. 5 stars*****
(Thank you to the author for my review copy!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (February 1, 2010) Language: English

Book Description:
As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess. Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.
(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my advanced copy)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Winners Are....

The 3 winners of The Pearls of the Stone Man are:



Friday, June 4, 2010

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Book Description:

Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation.

Set against this tragic affair is the story of Constantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work. Surrounding these two central plot threads are dozens of characters whom Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together, creating a breathtaking tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.

From its famous opening sentence—“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”—to its stunningly tragic conclusion, this enduring tale of marriage and adultery plumbs the very depths of the human soul.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Giveaway / The Pearls of the Stone Man

Author: Edward Mooney Jr.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402238312
Book Description:
If you've ever loved someone to the depth of your being, someone who for one reason or other needed to move on, you know the power of a parting wish. The story of Joseph and Anne, his wife of fifty-three years, is the story of just such a wish-one that only true love could try to achieve. And for Joseph the strength to build the stone wall-a special reminder from Anne's childhood-will take him places he never expected and that you will never forget.

The Pearls of the Stone Man takes us beyond generations and our own stone walls to the very humanity that unites us all-and shows us the incredible power of one couple's love to last beyond parting and forever change the lives of those they touched.
Giveaway Details:
Sourcebooks has given me the opportunity to give away 3 copies of "The Pearls of the Stone Man." All you need to do to enter is:
*Be or become a follower of Everything Victorian and more...
*Be sure to leave a comment including your email address.
*Giveaway will take place on June 7th, 2010.
Good luck and happy reading!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition first Printing edition (March 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446563080

The book begins in the year 1818. The setting is a one-room cabin, where nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln watches at his mother's bedside. She's suffering from something called "Milk Sickness." She passes away.

Later when Abe learns that his mother's death was actually the work of a vampire, he sets out to avenge her fate. This knowledge will comsume his life.

From the inside jacket of book: While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.
Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation..
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lessons In French

Author: Laura Kinsale
Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402237014

Laura Kinsale's Lessons in French is a well-told historical romance, which also has it's humorous side. At the age of twenty-seven, Lady Callista Taillefaire has settled into the life of a country spinster, breeding cattle on her estate. But her quiet existence is turned upside down when a love from the past, Trevelyan d'Augustin, comes back into her life. Not wanting to be a "spoiler" I just want to say that Lessons in French has everything a historical novel should have: history about the era, romance, peppered with a little suspense and wit.