Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Book synopsis:

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

(from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Lovely cover, lovely title, and enthusiastic reviews drew me to this enchanting-looking Austenesque novel. I love Regency romances and was in the mood for a light and easy romance.  

It was a sweet and simple story  --hardly adventure-filled  -- and really didn't offer anything unique or special. Seasoned Austenesque readers will find nothing new here.

2/5 stars

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Book Synopsis:

Practical Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. But she's going to have to accept it. An old man she recently met has died, leaving her his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he's the smitten one...

It turns out Jack's search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak and even murder.

My thoughts:

A solid beginning to a mystery series featuring Melanie Middleton, ghost-seeing real estate agent extraordinaire in Charleston, South Carolina. Part ghost story, secrets from the past, and a bit of romance made this a really fun experience and I can't wait to move on to the next installment, The Girl on Legare Street.

Melanie's a prickly heroine and it is a bit hard to warm up to her at first. She holds everyone at an arm's distance, but as the story unfolds the reader learns of her painful childhood memories that makes her fearful of exposing her vulnerabilities. There's enough playful teasing and joking at her expense from the other players in the story that lightens up an otherwise uptight and stoic Melanie.

 When she strangely becomes the recipient of a beautiful but neglected historic home, a wonderful cast of quirky characters gather round to help restore this charming southern mansion.......that just happens to be inhabited by a woman ghost and her ghost child, as well as a malevolent figure that is intent on driving everyone away. Mix in a few good-looking guys who both have their reasons for wanting to charm their way into Melanie's life and you have just the right amount of spice to the story. Tragic pasts, secret letters and hidden treasures......pour some sweet tea with lemon and enjoy the journey.

I'm adding Karen White to my  "favorite author" list!

4.5/5 stars

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Susanna Kearsley Coming Our Way......

 Sourcebooks' gorgeous cover for Susanna Kearsley's next new book....spring 2013 can't come soon enough for me! I think it's definitely time for a reread of The Winter Sea and The Shadowy Horses in anticipation of Firebird's release.  Interestingly, Susanna will be revisiting an 18th century character from The Winter Sea (Anna) and the modern day Robbie (now an adult) from The Shadowy Horses.

And speaking of The Shadowy Horses (rereleased this October), check out this terrific book trailer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Wrap Up

I hope these summer months have been enjoyable for everyone......it has been a super-busy time for my family and June and July literally flew by. This week I'm getting my kids' uniforms cleaned and ready for a new school year and attending back-to-school orientations already!

Just to share a few summer highlights.....

 I had a terrific vacation in Hawaii with my family and I don't think I've ever had such an amazing experience. Gorgeous weather (so cool and relaxing), and a great balance of activities.......lounging by the pool, walking along the beach, surfing lessons for the kids, helicopter ride for breathtaking views, a luau, golf for the boys, Pearl Harbor on the 4th of July, and, of course, lots of cocktails in the shade of palm trees. Heaven! We stayed in a villa on the beach in Maui and then at the gorgeous Moana Surfrider Hotel in Honolulu. Every evening was a picture-postcard sunset!

Finding time to read has been a challenge with all the hustle and bustle. (I've spent time in enough airports in the past few weeks from LAX to Atlanta and Florida and back again that I am quite happy not to see another terminal for quite some time.) What I DID notice was that whether I was on a flight, by a pool, on the beach, or in an airport, everyone seemed to be glued to the pages of Fifty Shades and the sequels! I don't plan on reading them (I've read enough reviews), but it's hard to escape their presence....they seem to be everywhere!

 A few authors that have come on my radar lately that I'm excited to explore are Karen White and Juliana Gray. White's Sea Change was my favorite summer read so I'm interested in exploring her mystery series beginning with The House on Tradd Street. I love a bit of mystery and paranormal set in charming Charleston, SC. (Paranormal and SC seems to be a theme this year with me, beginning with one of my top favorites this year, The Restorer by Amanda Stevens.)

Juliana Gray (a.k.a Beatriz Williams Overseas) has an historical romance trilogy coming out called Affairs by Moonlight. I've just ordered the first book, A Lady Never Tells -- and if it is anything like
 Overseas , it's going to be a good one!

Looking forward to getting back to a little more routine back in my life when school starts again, and definitely more reading time.

 What was your favorite summer read?

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Woman at the Light by Joanna Brady

About the Book:

One afternoon in 1839, Emily Lowry’s husband vanishes from Wreckers’ Cay, an isolated island off the coast of Key West where he tends to the lighthouse. As days stretch into months, Emily has no choice but take charge of Wrecker’s Cay and her husband’s duties tending the light to support her three children—and a fourth on the way. Unexpected help arrives when a runaway slave named Andrew washes up on their beach. At first, Emily is intensely wary of this strange, charming man, whose very presence there is highly illegal. But Andrew proves himself an enormous help and soon wins the hearts of the Lowry family. And—far from the outside world and society’s rules—his place in Emily’s life, as steadfast now as the light, will forever change their futures. When Emily’s family is ripped apart once again, she faces untold hardships that test her love and determination and show how the passionate love of a defiant, determined woman can overcome any obstacle. 

(synopsis from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

The Woman at the Light is a beautifully written debut novel by Joanna Brady.

 Set in the early 1800's in New Orleans high society to the sparsely inhabited islands of Key West, this is a poignant and often heartbreaking tale of one woman's struggle to carry on and raise her children alone on an island after the strange disappearance of her husband. Reaching deep for strength she did not know she had, she earns her living as the keeper of the lighthouse on her island and over time, searches for ways to fill the void that the loss of her husband leaves. Throwing caution to the wind, she seeks comfort in ways that are unacceptable to society and sure to carry consequences.

 A beautiful story of survival and forbidden love.  I enjoyed the way the author expertly threaded bits of Key West's past and the women who had a place in history as light keepers. A keeper!

4/5 stars

Title: The Woman at the Light
Author: Joanna Brady
St. Martin's Griffin
325 pages
genre: historical fiction

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »