Friday, June 21, 2013

REVIEW: The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore


From the back of the book:

Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids—or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
Now... What did I think?
I've been reading Jennifer Haymore from the beginning of her career so, yes, I am a trifle prejudiced whenever she throws out a new novel. Guaranteed satisfaction, you get the idea? Just think of one author who takes up a good half, if not an entire three feet on your Keeper Shelf, and you'll know exactly what I mean.  Jennifer Haymore is no exception, and she once again delivers in THE DUCHESS HUNT.
Unlike other historical readers and/or authors, I don't have a huge problem suspending disbelief IF the writer does a good job with the core story and character arcs. A duke falling for a lady's maid? Very unlikely even in this day and time--before you bring it up, Kate Middleton's above this station; trust me--much less the pompous, snooty, albeit fashionably fabulous period of the Regency. But we believe it in this story, mainly because Sarah and Simon have known each other since childhood, and children have a way of doing away with boundaries, do you not agree?  I mean, seriously. Do you really think William and Harry liked making mud pies and riding bicycles any less than the average Joe Schmoe American boy? 
You know they were running around the gardens of Windsor diggin' up the peonies.
Mischievous royals aside, in this story, the pre-existing love/fondness between Sarah and Simon made for delicious anticipation and a fast-moving plot, which I love when I'm pressed for time like I always am these days.  Not to mention, Haymore threw in this well thought out mystery sub-plot that completely threw me for a loop, because oh no, this isn't just another hero/heroine historical love story--bat the eyelashes, stolen kisses, ooh is that decolletage? You hussy!--but a true-blue suspense with oodles of pent-up frustration, adventure, memorable secondary characters, and pretty backdrops.
Oh, and that was my favorite part by the way: the amazing description. Haymore's done her homework, and yet she doesn't punish you for it. Little tidbits here and there paint this beautiful world as though you were alongside Sarah and Simon. Sitting on crushed velvet squabs, admiring the English countryside, picking out expensive material for ballgowns, and the list goes on and on.
End verdict? Haymore does Regency right. Every. Time.
Don't miss out on THE DUCHESS HUNT, to be released this Tuesday, June 25, 2013.
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Check out Jennifer's bio & other fun stuff at www.jenniferhaymore.com




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Monday, June 17, 2013

Steel My Heart

Loved it.


Hard with a sixteen month old, though.  First trip to the movies with him, and I think we both decided to wait another year or so before attempting again.  This movie, however, will make our Keeper Shelf one released on BluRay.  Loved the effects, the costumes, the music--wow--and especially Cavill's portrayal of Superman. He added just the right amount of compassion and strength to suspend disbelief.
Well done, movie peoples. 



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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Superman?

 
So, I think we're headed to the theater today for the new Superman movie.  Here's the thing: I am a die-hard Christopher Reeve fan. Raised on his version of the caped superhero, forsaking all others, nobody better even think about tryin' to measure up, OK? 'Cause it ain't gonna happen.
 
But I must admit.
 
I am excited about seeing Henry Cavill in action.  And, yes, that's partly because he is a very attractive man. But it's also owing to the fact that I watched him through four seasons of The Tudors, where he masterfully played Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. If you haven't watched The Tudors, queue it up on Netflix.  You won't be sorry.
 
 
What I'd like to know is... have any of you seen the new movie?  And if so, what did you think of it?  They've tweaked the storyline a bit, and I know that freaks out comic book gurus, but seriously.  For entertainment value... were you entertained? ARE YOU ENTERTAINED?
 
I know, I know. That was silly. But I love Gladiator, too.
 
Happy Sunday, peeps. OH! And HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you fathers out there! You deserve a day chockfull of doting and relaxation.
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Saturday, June 8, 2013

REVIEW: Tangled by Emma Chase

$4.99 on Amazon.com!
Girls, don't you just love this cover??
 
As most of you know--and moreover, as most of you can personally attest--I receive a lot of book recommendations from friends and, especially, the CP. Who is also a very good friend, only she's one of those who calls me out on bad word choices, sentence structure, out of character moments... oh, you get the idea. See how I can ramble at any given time?
 
On subject:
 
 TANGLED by EMMA CHASE came highly recommended by the CP, and with good reason.
 
It is amazing.
 
Wows in that way a good book does when you've been reading a string of normal, not even bad ones, but then they're not awesome, either. You know what I mean, right? Of course you do. You read this book that arrests your attention--REALLY arrests your attention--within the first few lines, and you just have to stop for a few moments, because one, you're amazed, two, you're inexplicably happy, and three, you're just a little bit jealous, because why didn't you think of that?
 
If you're a writer, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
 
Heck, if you're a reader, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
 
That said, this book is entirely in the first person point of view of Drew, a young, enormously successful businessman who is as gigolo as they come. No, he's not a bad guy, but neither is he a saint. He goes out with his buds, sleeps with a different girl every week, sometimes twice a week, says his goodbyes, and moves on to the next victim... err... chick. The women with whom he exchanges sexual favors? Yeah, they love him. Wanna bear his children. Smitten, the poor things, and rightly so. He's got it all: looks, charm, wealth, a body to boot. I couldn't stop myself from picturing some dark-haired mix between Brad Pitt and Chris Pine, but I believe that's owing to the fact that I just saw Star Trek, and have always been a Brad Pitt fan and, therefore, picture all heroes in this fashion as of late.
 
But I digress.
 
Everything's goin' peachy in Drew's life, rollin' along like it ain't no thang, until--of course!--he meets Mrs. Right. Well, she's not a Mrs. yet; she's engaged to another man. Kate's the polar opposite of Drew. She plays for keeps, could care less for Drew's bad-boy personae. Oh, yeah. And she just got hired into Drew's prestigious bank firm.
 
Enter major competition and sexual frustration, all rolled up into one mean, nasty, yet heart throbbing, edge-of-your-seat-on-the-sofa package.
 
What impressed me the most about this novel is the fresh, unique writing style. Ms. Chase pens like she's talking to the reader, involving us as though we're standing directly beside Drew through this whole dramatic plot. He's funny, smart, crude to a fault, but we've got no problem understanding why he acts the way he does. The author yanks you in that easily, that quickly, and when it's all over, she leaves you with a smile and a single thought, "This book not only made my keeper shelf, but I wanna read it all over again. Like... right now."
 
Thank you, Emma Chase, for sharing your amazing gift with us. Can't wait for the next book in the Tangled series. Two thumbs & Two big toes up, yo.
 
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
 
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Monday, June 3, 2013

On Repeat

$.69 on Amazon.com
 
Ed Sheeran. Lego House.
 
Haven't had a song on continuous loop like this in I don't know when. Serious Evanescence days, maybe? And that's saying something, because if you didn't know already, I stupid-love Evanescence. Cry every time Amy Lee walks out on stage and hits that first hauntingly-perfect note.
 
But Ed Sheeran? I adore this guy. Is it because he's a fellow redhead and totally reminds me of my baby brother? Possibly. British? More than likely. Physical qualities aside, this Suffolk native learned to play guitar at a very young age and caught the attention of both Elton John and Jamie Foxx with a short, independent five-song compilation. He writes music with an old soul; I really don't know any other way to explain his lyrical abilities. It's like you're listening to a master, someone who's been singing since he was a kid and for thirty some-odd years after that, only he is a kid. He's 22.
 
And he's inspiring Le Muse right now like nobody's business.
 
If you haven't given him a listen, get movin' already. Here's his live performance from this year's Billboard Music Awards.
 
 
Here's to a beautiful week, folks. May all your wishes come true.
 
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

 
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