Friday, June 25, 2010

The Beach House by Jane Green

A Little Background: Of course I have seen Jane Green’s books out and about at bookstores and the library. The Beach House attracted my attention and so did Jemima J but never got around to reading either of them until now.

Nan Powell is an eccentric 65 year old widow living in the very scenic town of Nantucket. Known as the town eccentric, Nan doesn’t mind being thought of that way as it affords her a cover of sorts.

She lives in a beautiful but weathered family beach home called Windermere. The house is one of the original grande dames of the neighborhood and is attracting land sharks (developers) more than willing to tear down the old home and put up a few McMansions in its place. As the house is in need of refurbishment and with Nan’s funds dwindling, she embarks on renting rooms out for the summer.

As Nan’s summer guests begin to arrive, including her son Michael, they each come with a little extra baggage of the emotional kind. The different storylines are played out and soon begin to meld until we meet up with one amazing character that arrives suddenly and leaves just as quickly but not before making an impact on everyone’s life.

My Take: I must say that I did enjoy this book tremendously but had a hard start of it. I was introduced to so many characters within the first few pages that felt I might suffer a case of whiplash. Thankfully, my head is still on my shoulders and pointing in the right direction! Having said that, I truly did love this book and I almost wish I could be Nan the lead character. A woman who has lived a very interesting life with one very major bump in the road. In the closing paragraph there is a champagne toast that sums up everything in the book, to new beginnings…and happy endings.

About the Author: Jane Green

In 1996, Jane Green took a leap in faith when she left her job in journalism to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, at 27, Green had a publishing deal for her first book, Straight Talking, which was an instant best seller. Originally from London, Green now resides in Connecticut with her husband, six children, assorted dogs and cats and is actively philanthropic.

You can keep up with Jane on her website, through Facebook and Twitter.

Just for fun: If I could give a face to Nan Powell, it would be the sublime actress Helen Mirren. Here is a side by side comparison of Nan Powell and Helen Mirren. I'm sure you'll agree, they were separated at birth!

Nan Powell
Age: 65
Crazy things she's done: skinny dip in her neighbor’s pool while they are on vacation
Career: Landlady of her beautiful beach house, Windermere

Helen Mirren:

Age: 64
Crazy things she's done: pose nude in current issue of New York magazine
Career: Brilliant actress

Enjoy a glimpse into Jane's world!

Book Blogger Hop

Has another week just flown by? How time flies when your'e enjoying the summer!

This is my 4th week participating with Jennifer at Crazy for Books . It's a fun way to discover new book blogs and you can add your own blog to Mr. Linky for some fun.

Each week I find new fun blogs to follow and here are a few you can check out...

  1. Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Book Reviews
  2. Rachel at And the Plot Thickens
  3. Book Quoter at A Thousand Books With Quotes

Have a great Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Blogger Hop, an Award & the Book Fiends Gallery

About the Hop: the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Visit with Jennifer at Crazy for Books to discover new book blogs and add your own blog to Mr. Linky for some fun.

I discovered a few fun blogs last week that I'd like to share with you!

  1. Rob from Books are Like Candy Corn. It doesn't have to be Halloween to like candy corn so go visit Rob!
  2. Diana at Book of Secrets. Who knows what secrets you'll discover at her blog!
  3. Becky at Escapism Through Books. Quick the portal is opening to escape!

~ And ~

I am proud to accept The Versatile Blogger Award that was given to me by Kika at The Book Bluff. Kika is fairly certain that given a cape and a tiara, she could save the world. I say, GO GIRL!

Now I've got to stop and think of 7 things you would possibly want to know about me not to mention who I would like to share this award with. Stay tuned!

~ ALSO ~

If you have a favorite feline who enjoys reading as much as we do, drop me a note and photo and we will add your kitty to the Book Fiends Gallery.

The Literary Gato on the prowl for a good read!

Everybody have a great weekend and happy reading!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

About the Hop: the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Visit with Jennifer at Crazy for Books to discover new book blogs and add your own blog to Mr. Linky for some fun.

Last week I discovered these fun blogs:
  1. Ashley at Coffeelicious Bookaholic

  2. Kathy who rocks on at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi

  3. CMash at CMAsh Love to Read

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

A Little Background: Awhile back a friend and I were having a discussion about books and when asked to name her top favorite reads, it was The Pink Carnation that topped the list. I had finally gotten around to reading the first in the series The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and after a recent trip to the library found the sixth book The Betrayal of the Blood Lily.
Penelope Deveraux is a spitfire of a lady not one to be caught up in a game of Whist or stuck with a gaggle of hens working on embroidery. Call her adventurous, call her headstrong but Miss Deveraux is not one to be hemmed in by the moral confines of the day. She has been warned repeatedly that her brazen behavior will land her in hot water one day. Well, that day has dawned.

A hasty marriage has been arranged for Penelope and she is quickly whisked off the exotic climes of India with her husband Lord Frederick Staines, a dunce and dullard if there ever was one. Lord Staines has been assigned Governor General Wellesley's Special Envoy to the Court of Hyderabad and courtly intrigue abounds. Penelope finds herself immersed in the local culture and her adventurous ways land her in hot water more than once. Along the way she finds herself attracted to Captain Alex Reid who has been assigned to escort the Staines party from Calcutta to Hyderabad.

When Penelope finally arrives in Hyderabad she increasingly finds herself steeped in mystery, a troubling political climate and a growing attraction to Capt. Reid. Striking cobras, treacherous court officials, a missing cache of guns, and a spy known as the Marigold can only lead to one thing…one’s quick demise if one is not careful or does not know how to play the game.

My Take: I would be remiss if I did not mention the accompanying storyline of Emily Kelly an American abroad finishing up her dissertation on spies during the Napoleanic Wars. Her study has led her to England to find out more on the Pink Carnation. Emily’s story continues through the Pink Carnation series and is just as interesting as Penelope’s. I find myself wanting to know more about Emily’s world. As for Lady Staines and Capt. Reid never was a pair so right for each other and it’s great to see their relationship flourish amidst witty banter and biting humor.

About the Author:

Lauren Willig is a successful author of historical romance novels. A native of New York, she attended Yale and Harvard before entering and graduating from Harvard Law School. Willig briefly worked in a law office while penning her Pink Carnation series. Needless to say she has given up lawyering to be a full time author.

Want to follow along with Lauren? You can visit with her on
Facebook or go to her website.

Enjoy a fun interview with Lauren Willig.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Glogger Hop

Jennifer at Crazy for Books has created a fun way for book bloggers to connect with each other. I know I enjoy discovering new book blogs, so visit with Jennifer, get the scoop, and have some fun!

Have a great weekend!

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham

A Little Background: My love of chick lit knows no bounds! Imagine my surprise when I found out my all time fave chick lit author, Sophie Kinsella, has also published books as Madeleine Wickham. I soon found myself on a mission to devour all of Wickham’s books.
Tempers flare and worlds collide when a mutual friend offers the use of his luxury villa in Spain to two different families over the same dates. This accidental double-booking was an oversight, right? That remains to be seen.

Chloe, a designer of wedding dresses, is so overworked all she can think about is her Spanish holiday. She dreams of a stress free vaca and a chance to catch up with her life mate, Philip, and two sons. Philip has his own stresses as he is afraid he is about to be laid off at his banking job. He has promised Chloe not to think about work with they are on vacation.

All Hugh dreams of is connecting with his family especially his two little girls who are like strangers to him. He blames too much time spent in the office. He’s also beginning to think his wife Amanda thinks more of him as a paycheck that provides the finer things in life. Yes, with nanny in tow, this holiday in Spain is sure to be just what the doctor ordered.

The hottest summer on record finds Hugh and his family the first to arrive at the villa, and after settling in, find Chloe and company at their doorstep insisting they had made earlier arrangements with mutual friend Gerard. As the initial shock of their predicament wears off, both families resolve to share the villa. But will the villa be able to contain all nine diverse personalities?

As we step into the story, we discover the many layers that make Madeleine Wickham’s novels such great reads. Chloe and Hugh have a secret that neither has shared with their partners. As awkward as it seems they have a romantic past together that ended badly. Is this the joke of the century their friend Gerard has set up? As the days pass we discover that Hugh works at the financial institution that is merging with Philip’s bank and possibly leaving Philip out of a job. Perhaps this is the BIG FUNNY Gerard is chuckling over? And the summer definitely heats up for Chloe’s teen son Sam as he embarks on a little romance with nanny, Jenna. Ok, Gerard never saw this one coming!

All story lines tie up remarkably well in the end. Hooray to Wickham as all parties discover what love and being a family is all about.

My Take: I find a difference in writing style between Wickham and Kinsella. Kinsella has a decidedly lighter, breezier approach i.e. the Shopaholic series to the more grounded in reality Wickham. The book is enjoyable, fast paced, and a little wicked.

Meet the Author:

Madeleine Wickham (real name) also writes as Sophie Kinsella or perhaps you knew that already? As Wickham, she wrote her first novel The Tennis Party in 1995 at the age of 24 while working as a financial journalist. She lives in London with her family and recently welcomed the birth of Rex, son number four on April 15th. You can visit with Wickham/Kinsella on her website and via Facebook.

Sophie and young Rex

PS - Apparently writing runs in the family as Madeleine’s sister, Gemma Townley, also writes fun chick lit novels.