Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Have a Little Historical Romance This Holiday

I don't know what it is about this time of year, maybe it's the snow, or the romance of the season, or just a feeling of nostalgia, but I love to go back in time and read about love and happy endings.  This is the time of year where I curl up in front of the fireplace (or in my case a pellet stove) with a good historical romance.  Sarah and I have suggested a few of our favorites for you.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan

book jacketThe Seducer by Madeline Hunter Chili Pepper On Fire
 
Recommendation from Jan:
There is nothing dark or paranormal about these stories, except for a few spicy  love scenes that usually come with a good regency romance.  I have so many favorite authors in this genre: Mary Balogh, Johanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught, Jayne Anne Krentz, Eloisa James, Julie Garwood, and many more.  However, if I were forced to make a choice, at this moment, I would choose Madeline Hunter.  I love how this author puts her readers back in time with her accurate but brief descriptions, authentic dialog, and engaging characters and situations.  They are lovely reads, every single one.  So, for my recommendation, I will give you the first book of an amazing series: The Seducer by Madeline Hunter.    
 
Description from Madeleine Hunter's website:
An innocent searching for her lost family, Diane Albret finds herself living in the house of Daniel St. John. The world thinks she is his cousin, but she knows differently. She also knows that her attraction to this dangerous, dark and mysterious man is perilous to both her heart and her future. Worse, she fears his generosity is a prelude to seduction and that he plans to make her his mistress--an offer she does not trust herself to refuse.
Daniel indeed has plans for Diane, but they involve his scheme to complete a lifelong dark quest. The legendary seducer also has a secret about her lost past that he will do anything to keep; a secret that will put both their lives in jeopardy even as the passion they deny threatens to break out of all control.

Request The Seducer from the Bangor Public Library

book jacket
Hunter's current series The Rarest Blooms is just as wonderful!Chili Pepper On Fire
Book 1 - Ravishing In Red
Request Ravishing In Red from the Bangor Public Library
Book 2 - Provocative in Pearls
Request Provocative In Pearls from the Bangor Public Library
Book 3 - Sinful in Satin
On Order, but out in book stores now!


book jacket
Second Sight by Amanda Quick

Recommendation from Sarah:
I absolutely love all of Amanda Quick's novels.  They usually involve a very strong, independent main female character, which is unusual for the time period in which they are set.  This particular one has the paranormal aspect which is where many of Jayne Ann Krentz's novels have been going lately.

Book Description:
Writing as Amanda Quick (Lie by Moonlight, etc.), Jayne Ann Krentz offers another spirited Victorian romance, light on Victorian, heavy on romance. Photographer Venetia Milton supports her brother, sister and maiden aunt while keeping secrets: her late father's bigamy, her paranormal gift for seeing people's auras ("like looking at a negative image of the world") and her more-than-willing ravishment by client Gabriel Jones...

Request Second Sight from the Bangor Public Library

book jacket

Holly by Jude Deveraux
Recommendation from a blog follower: 
Thank you "Anonymous" (whoever you are) for the reminder about this book.  I loved Holly as well, and it's the perfect little love story for this time of year.  It reminds me of Jude's earlier works, and what I loved so much about her romances.
~Jan

Book description:
A relentless campaign by phone, letter, and email has persuaded Hollander Latham's parents to purchase the home of her dreams: Spring Hill, a beautiful North Carolina plantation where Holly spent her memorable thirteenth summer. Now a successful architect, Holly is intent on reuniting with Spring Hill's neighbor and her love from that long-ago summer, wealthy heir Laurence Beaumont -- she dreams of working her way into Lorrie's heart while restoring his historic estate, Belle Chere. But as Christmas fast approaches, Nick Taggert -- a mysterious stranger who makes her laugh and tempts her with a surprising passion -- turns her plans upside down. One man can seduce her with fortune and privilege; the other can promise her the simple gift of love. And on a frost-covered Christmas night, Holly's choice will unmask astonishing truths and hidden dangers -- revelations that will forever change her charmed life and her vulnerable heart.
~description from Amazon

Request Holly from the Bangor Public Library

book jacket

A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James
Recommendation from a blog follower:
Another historical romance author for your list. I'm reading A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James. It's not like her other books but I'm enjoying it. It's a retelling of the Cinderella story, but done nicely. When will that story ever get old, really?

Book description:
Well-known for tales of dukes and duchesses, James (A Duke of Her Own) upgrades to the handsome prince in this delectable Regency reimagining of the Cinderella story. Miss Katherine Daltry, on the shelf at 23, manages the household of her ungrateful stepmother and silly stepsister, who inherited all of her father's estate. Kate is thrust from the cinders to the spotlight when her stepsister needs a stand-in for a betrothal ball at Pomeroy Castle. Gabriel, youngest princeling of the duchy of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld, needs a rich wife to support his archeology habit; Kate is, of course, manifestly unsuitable. Eccentric turns from Professor Biggitstiff, a pickle-eating dog, and an irrepressible godmother spin a candy floss comic romp around a core of heartache. James's deft touch allows the characters to shine through genuinely witty dialogue and an uncluttered plot.
~Review from Publishers Weekly

Request A Kiss At Midnight from the Bangor Public Library

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nalini Singh's Angels' Blood

First off I am going to tell you that literary fiction readers would probably thumb their nose at this book.  Having said that, I could not put the book down. It has been a long time since I have wanted to stay up late or get up early to read a book.  I decided to try this series of Nalini's because I really enjoyed her Psi/Changeling series and I needed a break from that. When I first picked the book up I wasn't sure about the premise of angels, vampires and vampire hunters.  But within a few pages I was hooked. I realized right away that the vampire hunters are not destroyers of vampires but catch them and return them to the angel who "Made" them.  At this point I realized that it would be nothing like Laurell K Hamiton's Anita Blake.   Chili Pepper On FireGranted there were some aspects of the plot that bothered me and I would try to get my head around, but I very quickly would say "I don't care" and just kept on reading.  Nalini's language is a little coarser in this one than with the Psi/Changeling series, which might be an issue for some readers. She really is great at creating that feeling of longing for another person at every single level, whether it's physical or emotional. All of her female characters are are very strong and have a definite point of view. But I like the emotionality of her characters in this book. While I have started the second one I have only just started it. So far many of the questions I had in the first one have been answered. Jan has finished the the second book Archangel's Kiss and says that it's just as good as the first.  If you decide on reading this I would love to hear what you thought of it.
~Sarah

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Group Picks for January 2011

As always, we had another great meeting thanks to all our members who make this program such a fun event.  If you couldn't make it, that's okay.  Remember, we are a "no pressure" book group and understand a busy schedule.

Because we're taking December off and have two months before our next meeting, we've chosen three books to give everyone a more diverse genre selection:  Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (historical mystery), The Cutting by James Hayman (murder mystery set in Portland), and The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe (historical romance).  You only have to read the one that interests you the most.

All books are posted separately below for comments!

 Have a wonderful holiday season and see you all January 20, 2011!

~Jan

The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis

The Silver Pigs 

Not Your Ordinary Book Group Pick for January 2011

It is 70AD and ex-legionary Marcus Didius Falco has made a miraculous recovery from his war wound and is trying to make a living as a Roman ‘informer’, doing the important work of finding lost dogs, misplaced children, 'borrowed' silverware and wandering spouses. One day the obligatory damsel in distress crashes into him in the forum and he becomes caught up in a plot aimed at removing the tight-fisted tax collector who has had the bad taste to make himself Emperor. Our hero finds himself traveling, very unwillingly, to the glorious province of Britannia; where the weather is filthy, the natives are restless, the women are angry, and his mission turns into a nightmare. Along the way he meets brutes, traitors, his mother, sellers of seedy snacks, a blonde young lady who thinks he’s wonderful, the Emperor Vespasian himself – and Helena Justina, who might be his most hated enemy or the love of his life . . .

~Suggested by a group member!
"Funny with strong women."


Request The Silver Pigs from the Bangor Public Library

The Cutting by James Hayman

Not Your Ordinary Book Group Pick for January 2011

book jacketWhen a missing 16-year-old is found with her nude body showing signs of torture and her heart removed with surgical precision while she was still alive, the violence of the crime has Portland, Maine, detective sergeant Mike McCabe recalling his days with the NYPD. The case takes on greater urgency with the abduction of another women and the discovery of other similar victims, all young, blond, and athletic. While local cardiac surgeon Philip Spencer assures McCabe that such hearts would not be viable transplant organs, the doctor’s lying and arrogance make him a prime suspect. As McCabe and partner Maggie Savage work tirelessly on the case, a French medical assistant and a former Miami reporter provide breakthrough information, and Spencer’s close friends from medical school come under scrutiny. First-novelist Hayman ratchets up the tension in this engrossing account of a deviously motivated psychopathic serial killer; if some aspects of the crimes strain credulity, it hardly matters, given the thrill of the ride.  --Review from Amazon

~Suggested by Sarah:
"What I like about this book is the fact that it takes place in Portland.  If you are familiar with the city at you can really visualize the scenes. The main character is your typical police man but he does have his flaws which make him seem more real. I had a hard time putting this book down."


Request The Cutting from the Bangor Public Library

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe

Not Your Ordinary Book Group Pick for January 2011

book jacketThis recommendation goes out to all readers who have never read a romance and wanted to try one.  I loved this book so much that I personally donated several copies to the library for our Not Your Ordinary Book Group.

I absolutely adore this author's writing style.  Her love story in this book is more emotionally driven than spicy, but it draws you in and I couldn't put it down.  It is a perfect meld of fantasy and historical fiction, with compelling characters.  This book has received numerous awards and is well deserving of every one.  Enjoy!  ~Jan

Just some recognition from publishers:  Named by Romantic Times Winner of The Winter Rose for Best Paranormal and Best Overall, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence, A Romantic Times BOOK CLUB Top Pick, A Featured Alternate Selection for the Rhapsody Book Club, the Doubleday Book Club and the Science Fiction Book Club.


Request The Smoke Thief from Bangor Public Library


Description from Shana Abe's website:


You are cordially invited to taste the clouds and hunt the moon. You are invited to learn how to fly....

Imagine a world where clouds could be dragons, and dragons could be people...where diamonds beckon with silent songs and a beautiful runaway turns out to be an infamous jewel thief who dissolves into smoke with just a whisper of a thought.

Now imagine the drákon lord sent to capture her.

For centuries they've lived in secret amid the green and misted hills of northern England, shapeshifters who have the ability to Turn from human to smoke to dragon, and back again. They skim the sky and haunt the stars, powerful beyond thought, beautiful, sensual. They are the drákon.

Like any hunted beast, they've survived the centuries by learning silence, by keeping the secret of the tribe absolutely sacrosanct. But one of them has broken the rules, has run to eighteenth-century London and is using his powers to steal fabulous gemstones. Dubbed the "Smoke Thief," he's the most serious threat to the drákon in memory. Christoff Langford, Marquess of Langford and Alpha of the tribe, has sworn to bring the runner home at any cost.

But even Kit doesn't realize that the Smoke Thief is a woman.

Rue Hawthorne is a halfling: half drákon, half mortal, and an outcast in both worlds. As a little girl she loved Kit from afar. As a woman she knows better to trust her heart to anyone, especially the charismatic, ruthless leader of the drákon. She fled her home to escape a forced marriage to him; as the first female in four generations to complete the Turn, she knows she'll be considered Kit's property. Rue, however, has much bigger dreams than that.

A spectacular diamond is missing, Kit's hot on her heels, and Rue's about to find out that even thieves can have their hearts stolen….

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't judge a book by its cover, or readers by what they read!

Because this blog is about stories, I'm going to begin with one.  Unlike the fiction we'll normally be discussing, this story is true, but no less magical, and the perfect example of why I have the most wonderful job on earth.

About eight years ago, while I was shelving fiction on the third floor of the library, an older woman approached me.  She seemed fragile, pushing a walker on wheels to support her weight, with a basket in front for gathering books and other items too heavy to hold.  An embroidered shawl draped across her shoulders to ward off the chill in a non air conditioned library in August.  (Thankfully, we now have air conditioning.) 

I soon learned she wanted help finding a book. 

"I'm looking for a love story," she told me.  "Something good."

Not wanting to offend her with the more graphic romances, the kind I read, I gathered a few books by popular christian fiction authors, Lori Wick and Francine Rivers; I might even have had an Amish romance in there for good measure.

As I loaded the books into her walker basket, she frowned down at the books and then back at me.  She waved me toward her, leaned forward so only I could hear, and whispered, "I'm looking for something a little more spicy."

A bit surprised, I held back a smile and thought of a good author with a higher "spice" level.  "Have you ever read a book by Nora Roberts?" I asked her. 

She nodded and seemed pleased as I led her to the aisle of Nora, my personal reference for this amazing author whose books take up an entire shelving unit.  As I was gathering some of my favorites, Carolina Moon and Honest Illusions, treasures in my mind, I turned around, excited to share stories that had brought me hours of enjoyment - and discovered the woman had disappeared.

She had wandered off with her silent walker, however she hadn't gone far.  I found her just around the corner in the Anne Rice section, holding a copy of An Interview With a Vampire

At that point, it wasn't so much the book that surprised me but the woman's next words.  "I heard this author wrote another set of books, under a different name."

Remember, this was eight years ago, Anne Rice had yet to write her books on Jesus, and the only other series I was aware of was written under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure. 

"Anne Rice wrote an erotic trilogy," I told her.

"That's the one," she said.  Her voice had become less hushed, her stance less feeble.  "Can you get it for me?"

I did, and as I handed this woman a copy of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty: an erotic novel of tenderness and cruelty for the enjoyment of men and women, I must have hesitated, because she patted me on the hand and gave me a confident smile.    

"Dear," she said with a consoling sigh, "I'm ninety-two years old, there's nothing I haven't done or seen.  Just give me the book."

I realized then, and am reminded of daily, that I am blessed to work among wonderful people, staff and patrons, many of whom are kindred spirits.  So, I will end this first blog post with a wish from me to you...

Don't judge a book by its cover, readers by what they read, and may we all live to be ninety-two and still want something a little spicy in our lives.

Hope to see you in our library someday soon,
Jan