Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Julia Quinn

On the sixth of April, in the year 1812 - precisely two days before her sixteenth birthday - Penelope Featherington fell in love. But Colin Bridgerton certainly didn't fall in love with her in 1812 (and not in 1813, 1814, 1815, or - oh blast, not in all the years 1816-1822, either, and certainly not in 1823, when he was out of the country the whole time, anyway..' Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret and fears she doesn't know him at all. Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought of as nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same - especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide is she his biggest threat - or his promise of a happy ending?

This book is completely awesome. And I am completely serious. It is my new favorite Julia Quinn title. I loved everything about this one. And of all the adorable UK covers this is my favorite. I love the expression on Penelope's face and her cute red hair. Lady Whistledown's gossip paper has been one of my favorite elements to these books so the plot in this one made me so ridiculously happy. Penelope is such a likable character and after hearing her described as an overripe citrus fruit for the past 3 books you are definitely  going to be rooting for her from the first page. And after the whole overhearing Colin swear he would never marry her debacle in the last book I couldn't handle the suspense of wondering how this one would go. And happily I loved it!

As much as I love the happy ending I think the prologue is my favorite part- it is just perfectly written. I also loved Lady Danbury saying this, "Isn't it nice to discover that we're not exactly what we thought we were."
I also appreciated this from the last page, "happy endings are all I can do, I wouldn't know how to write anything else." I think that's why I've been enjoying Julia Quinn's books so much... in the end when I'm reading for stress relief (which I almost always am lately) I want a story that is funny and romantic with a little suspense but a lot of happy ending.

What I did not love and I find truly bizarre is the ordeal I went through to get my  hands on this book. I am on the waiting list at the library even though I currently have every other Julia Quinn title checked out... someone out there is probably irritated that I have them all but they were keeping me from reading more Bridgertons since I am compulsive and want to read things in their proper order! I gave up on the library and went to two separate bookstores on Saturday. Both had every other Bridgerton book but this one... then I called (I can't lie to my one reader- I had my unembarrassable sister call for me) bookstores to no avail. Finally I gave in and just ordered my own copies of the Bridgerton books but me being me I wanted the pretty UK covers so I ordered them from England, making my wait even longer.

Today was a trying day so I decided I could be wasteful and buy an American copy with its icky cover anyway except it is still out of stock everywhere. At that point I tried to order an ebook from the Harper Collins ebook store. Credit card in hand, ready to purchase, only to find out their ebook store is closed for maintenance. That is when I got really mad. Finally I was able to calm down when I realized I could buy it from the kindle store and read it while gaining eye strain since I don't have an ereader. I realize this book buying saga is longer than my thoughts on the book but I was (and still am a little bit!) mad! It should not be that hard to buy a book. I will say that this book definitely lived up to my expectations!

Dancing at Midnight, Julia Quinn

Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she's tired of men who can see only one without the other.When a suitor tells Arabella he's willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood, a wounded war hero who intrigues her like no other man. Lord John has lived through the worst horrors of war, but nothing could have been as terrifying to his tormented heart as Lady Arabella. She is intoxicating, infuriating - and she makes him want to live again. Suddenly he's writing bad poetry and climbing trees in the pitch-dark nigh - just so he can dance with her. And even though he knows he can never be the sort of man she deserves, he can't help wanting her. But when the harsh light of day replaces the magic of midnight, can this tormented soul learn to love again?

I had to continue my interruption in the Bridgerton marathon since I couldn't get my hands on the next book in the series. Which left me reading this one and I'm glad I did. I loved that Arabella is a bluestocking. I remembered her and her alphabetical Shakespeare project from previous books and it was fun to read her own story. I also really liked her insistence that John write her a poem and all of his "attempts". So much better than The Lost Duke of Wyndham. This one was very entertaining. Julia Quinn is reliably fun to read.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt

"How long are you staying, Boppo?"
When his daughter, Amy—a gifted doctor, mother, and wife—collapses and dies from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, leave their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies. Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny—Boppo and Mimi to the kids—quickly reaccustom themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though reeling from Amy's death they carry on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tender-hearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marvels at the strength of his son-in-law, a surgeon, and the tenacity and skill of his wife, a former kindergarten teacher, Roger attends each day to "the one household duty I have mastered"—preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking.
With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. The day Amy died, Harris told Ginny and Roger, "It's impossible." Roger's story tells how a family makes the possible of the impossible.

This was an interesting book and an interesting reading experience for me. How could anyone read that description and not be overwhelmed by sadness? Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, are clearly wonderfully caring people to pick up the pieces for their grandchildren and son-in-law after their daughter, Amy's, unexpected death. The book was full of tender moments from the daily lives of the grandchildren. Those are the things that matter, the things that provide security and stability for young kids (well, really for everyone, but since I spend my days with the under 7 set it's what comes to mind more readily).

I loved the word of the day, the stories and songs (especially the Boppo national anthem), and all the glimpses into classrooms and birthday parties. Completely unrelated to the subject of death and grief it was interesting for me to read these little tidbits from schools on the East coast that are so clearly cut from the same cloth as the school I spend my days at. Rich people are rich people no matter where they are. I was thinking the whole thing throughout Caitlin Flanagan's book too. Little enclaves of privileged kids, everything so similar. And I completely agree with the author's take on the modern child's birthday party: rarely held at home, always at some type of event center (laser tag, games, gyms, build a bear, etc) and completely run by a staff of teenagers. He's totally right- they are weird. But that is beside the point.

It is a very spare, slim little book which made more sense to me when I realized it was originally a piece in The New Yorker. For me personally, the short, clipped sentences were abrupt and made me disconnect from the emotions involved. Mom read this a few days before I did and we talked about  it this afternoon before I read the last 20-30 pages. I kept saying how I admire what these grandparents are doing for their family and I am horrifed by their loss but something kept me from "liking" Roger... not that I think I need to like or agree with every author but something was just rubbing me the wrong way.

I think a big part of that dislike comes from the diametric opposite religious views we hold. Not that I think everyone should believe as I do but its hard for me to relate to someone who on the one hand says he doesn't believe in God or a higher power but then at the same time is angry at God, lashing out at Him and wanting to blame Him. To me if you don't believe it wouldn't make sense to be angry at what to you is a fictional construction. Whereas a true believer would struggle and ask why but ultimately come to find peace that God weeps with us in the midst of tragedies (p.151).

The last 20-30 pages of the book changed my opinion (of the writing and the author) dramatically. The writing seemed warmer and the outlook more reasonable... and maybe that is the point. That in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event like the death of your child you aren't going to make sense or seem rational but as time goes by you find ways to cope. I'm not sure but the end of the book was definitely more readable and relatable to me.

I loved this:

"I told the second graders that one of the sad and difficult things about children everywhere is that they have no power. Jessie raised her hand, 'That's not true, Boppo,' she said, 'We have the power of thought and kindness." (p.159)

I liked this too and now I want to look up Anne Sexton:

"In early November, the class took up Anne Sexton. I had never thought much of Sexton, judging her to be in a minor league compared to such contemporaries as Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich. But the students and I were getting into "The Truth the Dead Know," and I liked the poem better than I remembered. "This line, 'In another country people die.' What does it mean?" I asked the class. A young man said, "It means that death happens to other people." (p.112)
 "The Truth the Dead Know", Anne Sexton

Bookslut review ~ "days are to be happy in", Larkin

Washington Post review

The Lost Duke of Wyndham, Julia Quinn

Jack Audley has been a highwayman, a soldier, and he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm. But when he is recognised as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine...until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she's not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have…

This is the first Julia Quinn book I have read that I didn't like. Which was surprising to me because I have loved (to the extreme of ordering UK editions for their pretty cover art) all her other books I've read thus far. So this one was a let down.

I never cared about or believed the characters in this story. It was just tedious to keep reading. The weird thing to me is that I am usually willing to overlook characters with modern attitudes in historical fiction or crazy plot lines if the writer makes me care enough or believe in the characters. Julia Quinn has been so consistently entertaining to me that I was surprised I didn't like this one.

I will definitely be passing on the companion story to this one. In the mean time I think I'm stuck waiting for my box of Bridgerton books to arrive from England! And I am so impatient about things like this!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife, Caitlin Flanagan

I have wanted to read this book for a few years now, ever since I read "The Marriage Merchants" in The Atlantic but I had never gotten around to it. Then I read her article about Twilight ("What Girls Want") and finally got her book from the library. And I loved it. I have ordered my own copy and told my mom and Nora that they need to read it. The last chapter had me (and my mom when I read parts to her out loud) tearing up.

There is so much covered in the book and for now I'm just going to include a few of my favorite passages about modern weddings:

On weddings:

"Before World War II the idea that a girl of modest means would expect any of today's purchased grandeur would have been laughable. She would have been familiar with the elements of such a ceremony, would have seen lavish movie weddings and photographs of society and royal ones, but she would not have imagined that those events had much to do with her own plans. She would have been married much as her mother had been: with her best friend standing up for her and everyone looking forward to a nice party at the bride's home, the two mothers wearing corsages and ladling punch." (p.4)

"Genuine tradition is not for sale, because no one needs to buy it; it's moored in the customs of one's own family (remember them?). If Dad feels like a complete chump in his Sir Elegance tux, you've just learned something about your tradition. What the altar-bound of today end up buying from their numberless vendors is a dog's breakfast of bridal excess- part society wedding of the twenties, part Long Island wedding of the fifties. It's The Philadelphia Story and The Wedding Singer served up together in one curious and costly buffet." (p.12)

An Offer From a Gentleman, Julia Quinn

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball -- or that "Prince Charming" would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight. Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other - except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

I am loving the Bridgerton series of books! I am just mad that I have to wait to read book #4 since no bookstores have it and there is a waiting list at the library.... frustrating! But this was another fun story. I liked the Cinderella elements and especially that Posy was saved at the end too. I love Violet Bridgerton and Lady Whistledown- I like the consistancy in the stories.  This was my favorite comment from Lady Whistledown:

"Miss Reiling can spot an unmarried bachelor at fifty paces. Unfortunately for Miss Reiling, she can't seem to land one." (p.202)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Viscount Who Loved Me, Julia Quinn

Anthony Bridgerton needs a wife. Having spent his twenties in a rakish pursuit of pleasure (whilst taking care to ensure the financial security of his mother and seven younger siblings and mother) he knows it’s high time he settled down and ensured the continuation of the Bridgerton line.

Edwina Sheffield is considered the most beautiful debutante of the current season. She is also sweet, innocent and eminently biddable - Anthony is sure she’ll make a perfectly acceptable wife and vows to make her his.

The only obstacle in his way is Edwina’s older sister, Kate. Kate is determined to do all she can to allow her sister the chance to marry for love rather than convenience. And the roguish viscount is beginning to think he may have met his match in Kate’s keen wit and sharp tongue. Until, that is, he makes the mistake of kissing her…

This is the next book in the Bridgerton family series and it might just be my favorite of all the Julia Quinn books I have read so far! This one was really sweet and poignant but not so angsty or sad that it made my stomach hurt. I loved Kate and Anthony's conversations which were more like fights but very entertaining fights. The characters in this book were so well written and believable. I have really enjoyed all of these books and liked the characters but something about these two just seemed more real to me. I wish there was more to read! Hopefully they will feature in some of the other books. I loved Daphne coming back to play Pall Mall in this one.

The Duke and I, Julia Quinn

After enduring two seasons in London, Daphne Bridgerton is no longer naive enough to believe she will be able to be marry for love. But is it really too much to hope for a husband for whom she at least has some affection?

Her brother’s old school friend Simon Basset - the new Duke of Hastings - has no intention of ever marrying. However, newly returned to England, he finds himself the target of the many marriage-minded society mothers who remain convinced that reformed rakes make the best husbands.

To deflect their attention, the handsome hell-raiser proposes to Daphne that they pretend an attachment. In return, his interest in Daphne will ensure she becomes the belle of London society with suitors beating a path to her door. There’s just one problem, Daphne is in very real danger of falling for a man who has no intention of making their charade a reality…

I have given myself over to reading all of Julia Quinn's books, especially now that I have realized the library has all of them. I have enjoyed reading all of her books so far, some have been more endearing than others, and this one ranks high on the list.

I think I liked this one so much because I wanted to be friends with Daphne. She is such a fun character and  I am a sucker for books in a series so knowing that each of Daphne's siblings has a book and that she would most likely appear in them, had me quite content. It is so relaxing to me having such a big stack of books ready to read that I know will be stress relieving.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Emma: Reading Notes

I'm starting to remember what I like about Emma as I get into the sections describing Isabella & John's visit to Hartfield with Emma being a kind hostess, keeping the peace between all the difficult personalities. And I'm finding myself relating (in a strange way) to hypochondriac Mr. Wodehouse more and more but also to anti-social John Knightley. This is so how I feel most of the time:

"... there was something honourable and valuable in the strong domestic habits, the all sufficiency of home to himself, whence resulted her brother's disposition to look down on the common rate of social intercourse, and those to whom it was important..." (p.121)

I love this paragraph. You can just feel Jane Austen laughing at the high and mighty Emma who thinks she knows best for everyone:

"I thank you; but I assure you you are quite mistaken. Mr. Elton and I are very good friends, and nothing more;" and she walked on, amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of circumstances, of the mistakes which people of high pretensions to judgment are for ever falling into; and not very well pleased with her brother for imagining her blind and ignorant, and in want of counsel. He said no more." (p.138)

The Innocent, Bertrice Small

This book had such an interesting and suspenseful plot that I kept reading despite many 8-10 page smutty interludes that were sprinkled throughout. The only good thing with ickiness that is that rampant is that it is easy to skip them when they are so long and drawn out. And the historical time period, characters, and plot were intriguing enough to me to make up for having to avoid some raunch.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, Deborah Heiligman

I've been interested in reading this book for awhile and hearing about it in the Battle of the Books and on Melissa Wiley's blog propelled me to the library. And I am so glad. This was such a well written and fascinating book. I kept stopping and reading out passages to my family all afternoon. This is definitely a book I want to own and plan to reread.

I really didn't know much of anything about Darwin's personal life and I knew nothing about his wife, Emma. Their relationship was so tender and I loved the many quotes from their letters to each other.

I love this quote from Charles about children:

"Children have an uncommon pleasure in hiding themselves and skulking about in shrubbery. When other people are about: this is analogous to young pigs hiding themselves." (p.13)

And this from Emma writing about her recently deceased sister made me cry:

"Oh Lord, help me to become more like her, and grant that I may join with Thee never to part again. I trust that my Fanny's sweet image will never pass from my mind. Let me always keep it in my mind as a motive for holiness. What exquisite happiness it will be to be with her again, to tell her how I loved her who has joined with me in almost every enjoyment of my life." (p.45)

Here is Charles anticipating his wedding day:

"Remember life is short, and two months is the sixth part of the year, and that year, the first, from which for my part, things shall hereafter date." (p.64)

That reminded me so much of one of my favorite Christina Rossetti poems:

"Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me."

Mom and I happened to be talking about interfaith marriage this past week and how staggeringly hard that would be for a true believer of any faith. Emma's feelings are quite painful to read:

"Emma could not bear the thought of spending eternity without Charles, of Charles burning in hell." (p.71)

"I should be most unhappy if I thought we did not belong to each other forever. Emma to Charles, 1839" (p.96)

"Charles read the letter and cried. He was as in love with her as he could be; he wanted so much to make her happy. Alone in his study, he was committed to his theory of natural selection, the theory that would leave God out of creation. But he was committed to Emma, too, and so as he examined lily hybrids and dog breeds, as he worked out a new theory about how coral islands had evolved, he also agonized over the religion question and over the effects his work was having, and would have, on her. He felt-literally- sick to his stomach.

Yet even with the emotional pain it caused him, Charles thought Emma's letter was beautiful. "Every thing that concerns you concerns me" went both ways. He kept the letter safely preserved always. Sometime later he wrote at the edge of it:

When I am dead, know that many times I have kissed and cryed over this. C.D." (p.100)
Some of my favorite parts in this book were the chapter describing Charles and Emma settling into married life and all the descriptions of them as doting parents. I loved that Emma's family nicknamed her "Miss Slip-Slop" due to her messy habits and that she is described as having a "calm disregard for such details" in reference to keeping things neat. She and I have that in common.

This description of their early married life reminded me of Lori Gottlieb's description of the daily trivia of marriage that bonds a couple to each other:

"So the dance of a married couple had begun. She played the piano for him, and though he had a tin ear, he listened with enjoyment and love. He put up with her sloppiness; she understood his need for long hours at work. She agreed to go to fewer parties and dinners since he did not like them. He went to the theater with her, and to church." (p.94)

There is so much more that I marked up as I was reading but I am done with typing for this evening. I'll have to revisit this book again soon.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, Julia Quinn

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her — until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart.
And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.

Another cute Regency Romance from Julia Quinn. This one had a little bit more angst in the mix than my favorites but I really liked Miranda and Nigel. Miranda in particular was pretty hilarious. I just like my romances fluffy and funny with little to no angsty stress. So this was enjoyable but not a favorite for me. And having read What Happens in London first of all the Julia Quinn I've been reading I can't remember if Miranda and Nigel are mentioned in that one... I definitely remember Olivia though! I'll have to go check. 

A Dance Through Time, Lynn Kurland

This was a really cute and fast reading book that I blew through last night after Nora and my late night 30 Rock marathon. So I was pretty delirious while reading but I liked it! And the whole time I kept thinking this is what Outlander should have been. This was satisfying and romantic but with  nothing creepy or gross and no insane plot threads (and superfluous thousands of pages). I was happy that the library had this one and now I'll have to check for more from Lynn Kurland.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Reckoning, Kelley Armstrong

My name is Chloe Saunders. I'm fifteen, and I would love to be normal.
But normal is one thing I'm not.
For one thing, I'm having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother—who just happens to be a sorcerer—but, between you and me, I'm leaning toward the werewolf.
Not normal.
My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us—permanently.
Definitely not normal.
And finally, I'm a genetically altered necro-mancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.
As far away from normal as it gets. 

I was so excited when this book was delivered this week! This is one of my absolute favorite YA series and I have been anticipating reading this concluding book ever since last year. And happily, I wasn't disappointed at all. I love the suspense and the action. It makes for a fast read but a very entertaining one. Lots of questions were answered in this book and most importantly to me I got my happy ending just the way I wanted. This is one of those times that if the book hadn't ended in the way I was hoping it would have filled me with some serious rage. Thankfully, I got to sigh happily when I turned the last page. But now I'm sad that I have no more Chloe and Derek to read... maybe we'll get some grownup Chloe & Derek in another book someday. I'll keep my fingers crossed and in the mean time I'll be rereading.

Splendid, Julia Quinn

There are two things everyone knows about Alexander Ridgeley. One, he's the Duke of Ashbourne. And two, he has no plans to marry anytime soon...
That is until a redheaded American throws herself in front of a carriage to save his young nephew's life. She's everything Alex never thought a woman could be—smart and funny, principled and brave. But she's a servant, completely unsuitable for a highborn duke—unless, perhaps, she's not quite what she seems...
American heiress Emma Dunster might be surrounded by Englishmen, but that doesn't mean she intends to marry one—even if she has agreed to participate in one London Season. When she slipped out of her cousins' home, dressed as a kitchen maid, all she wanted was one last taste of anonymity before her debut. She never dreamed she'd find herself in the arms of a dangerously handsome duke... or that he'd be quite so upset when he discovered her true identity. But true love tends to blossom just when one least expects it, and passion can melt even the most stubborn of hearts.
 This was such a cute book! This is Julia Quinn's first novel and it is just as fun as her others I've been devouring this spring. I am going to be really sad when I run out of her books to read. I'm hanging onto my remaining Jill Mansell books for the same reason. Its so comforting to have reliable mood lifting books around for the inevitable cranky moods I end up in. 
I love the romance and the happy endings in these books but my favorite parts are always the funny conversations between the characters. Alex and Emma had some hilariously entertaining conversations in this one.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Emma: Reading Notes

"She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang; -- and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of." (p.56)
I so relate to wanting to do everything but not necessarily the work involved in doing everything.

"It is very pretty," said Mr. Woodhouse."So prettily done! Just as your drawings always are, my dear. I do not know any body who draws so well as you do. The only thing I do not thoroughly like is, that she seems to be sitting out of doors, with only a little shawl over her shoulders -- and it makes one think she must catch cold."
"But, my dear papa, it is supposed to be summer; a warm day in summer. Look at the tree."
"But it is never safe to sit out of doors, my dear."(p.61)
Mr. Wodehouse is definitely my favorite character in Emma. That made me laugh.
Chapters 7 & 8 brought out a lot of my Emma bashing. She really is incredibly self-centered and obnoxious. I realize there wouldn't be much of a story if Harriet had just accepted Mr. Martin the first time but it galls me reading how Emma manipulates her and then goes on to stubbornly brag about it to Mr. Knightley. Ick. She is such a bad friend.

"Her views of improving her little friend's mind, by a great deal of useful reading and conversation, had never yet led to more than a few first chapters, and the intention of going on to-morrow. It was much easier to chat than to study; much pleasanter to let her imagination range and work at Harriet's fortune, than to be labouring to enlarge her comprehension or exercise it on sober facts; and the only literary pursuit which engaged Harriet at present, the only mental provision she was making for the evening of life, was the collecting and transcribing all the riddles of every sort that she could meet with, into a thin quarto of hot-pressed paper, made up by her friend, and ornamented with cyphers and trophies." (p.87)
Amen to chatting versus studying! I probably should be more concerned about what mental provisions I'm making for the evening of my own life as well.

"And then their uncle comes in, and tosses them up to the ceiling in a very frightful way!"
"But they like it, papa; there is nothing they like so much. It is such enjoyment to them, that if their uncle did not lay down the rule of their taking turns, which ever began would never give way to the other."
"Well, I cannot understand it."
"That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." (p.101)

The Clearing, Heather Davis

Amy, a sixteen-year-old recovering from an abusive relationship, moves to the country to start a new life with her aunt–all she wants is for everything to be different. In the clearing at the back of Aunt Mae’s property, she makes an amazing discovery—Henry, a boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry and his world become Amy’s refuge and she begins to learn that some moments are worth savoring. But when the past and present come crashing together, both of them must find the courage to face what is meant to be, even if it means losing each other forever.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I liked it much more than Heather Davis' previous book, Never Cry Werewolf. There was romance and mystery in the story and I really loved Henry. The whole thing had quite a melancholy tone to it but not in a kill yourself now kind of way. It was in a bittersweet crying in the movie theater kind of way. I am usually completely inflexible in my stance on happily ever afters but this one was perfectly done. It reminded me of The Silver Kiss and this:

I wish there was more to read in this story but the length was perfect as it is. I woudn't love it as much if it was dragged out any further. Sigh!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Laziness Reading Round Up

I have been reading a lot of silly stuff- a good mixture of trashiness and fluffiness. I have been so stressed and tired that I haven't been equipped to read anything on a deeper level and I certainly haven't been equipped to write anything about anything. So here is my attempt to record something about what I've been reading in the mean time.

These were a bit tiresome to read. I have such a weakness for series books and even when I am not really into it I feel compelled to keep reading in case things get better or because I'm so irritated at the amount of time I have already invested reading. This series reminds me of The Vampire Diaries or the Alyson Noel Immortals series... obviously not completely terrible because I keep reading but at times very annoying. I do really like the font the titles are in though. And for what its worth the first book, Evernight, is definitely the best one. Some day when I have more vigor for life I am going to rank all the YA supernatural series I've read.

On the other hand, the Scarlett Wakefield series is completely awesome! Clever, addictive, & suspenseful, I had so much fun reading these and I can't wait for the third one to come out. In a way I was reminded (in a good way, really) of the Wags World novel I had just read what with the London environment and snotty rich teens with fun British slang. I really liked these!

I have developed a new addiction for regency romance novels. I was already into Georgette Heyer but Julia Quinn is my new best friend. I have now read 5 of her books and I adored 4/5. And I find it so comforting to know she is so prolific. Her books are funny and entertaining (obviously full of romance too) but they are also light hearted and relaxing to read. I can read one in 2 hours in the bathtub and feel so much better about life when I am done. I think of this batch my favorite is Brighter than the Sun with To Catch an Heiress in 2nd place. But really I loved all 3. I just wish I owned these pretty UK covers instead of the terrifying US versions.

And speaking of terrifying cover art... I despise the covers for the Mercy Watson series. And it makes me more mad because I LOVE these books. I was so excited for this book to come out. I was really spoiled by reading the first in this series when there were already a bunch of other books out. I hate waiting a year for the next book. Silver Borne was great though. I love Mercy and Adam's relationship. I loved where the story with Sam went... he needs his spinoff series now like Charles & Anna have. I would love to see more of Jessie, Adam's daughter, in these stories though. I think she & Mercy have a fun dynamic. One plus to this coming out in hardback is that I can just ixnay the dust jacket and not have to feel creepy reading this. It really is such a satisying series... I'm already thinking I need to start rereading.

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