Teaser Tuesday (10) Entwined by Heather Dixon



"Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!"


Entwined by Heather Dixon
Nearly an hour later, when the tower chimed eight and guests filled the ballroom like brightly colored bouquets, and perfumes and nutmeg and pine scented the air, the Christmas trees in the corner glimmered and sparkled with glass ornaments, Azalea found herself clasped on the arm of Prime Minister Fairweller.





It's only one sentence, but that's all it took for me to get hooked. :)

Monday Mini (3)

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!




Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Published January 20th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

More at: Goodreads



From Goodreads: Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.
Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.


This is such a lovely retelling. The twelve princesses dance nearly every night for the King Under Stone, who lives deep beneath the ground where he was exiled. Their mother, who was so desperate for children, struck a bargain with the evil king and in exchange for her daughters, she danced for him nearly every night, from midnight until dawn until she died. Now the princesses must repay their mother's debt and dance night after night with the king's half mortal sons who he plans for the princesses to marry. The princesses are unable to speak of the enchantment and princes come from far and wide to attempt to solve the mystery. None are successful until Galen, the young gardener, a soldier recently come home from the war, breaks the enchantment and wins the love of the eldest princess, Rose.

It's a rest your chin in your hand and sigh wistfully kind of story. I remember the Brothers Grimm telling to be very harsh and dark (as most are) but this story is so very elegant and magical it made me want to dance with them.

In the story, our hero knits a shawl and a chain that are used to save the princesses, at the end, the author includes the knitting patterns that Galen would have used to make the magic pieces. Very clever indeed.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I know you just saw that title and said, most likely out loud, "Not that. Not yet. Please. Not yet." and normally I don't jump on the Day After Thanksgiving=Christmas bandwagon but it's been quite a year (and by quite I mean full to bursting and not all good) and I need Christmas. Now. After all the Thanksgiving going going and one last horrid night of surgery call, I indulged in my favorite holiday tradition and put up my Christmas tree while listening to Patrick Stewart's performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.



This has been a must in my family for many years. The holidays can not begin without it. The tree cannot go up, no ornaments can be hung and not one fairy light or bit of tinsel can twinkle until we hear the sound of cold wind blowing and that famous first line:
"Marley was dead: to begin with."

Now. Now we can have Christmas. I was raised with a glorious wonder of a Christmas tree. It takes my mother days to get it right. Gold, silver, green, white- but never any blue, ornaments, soft hand-crocheted garland and lights so numerous it could probably be seen from space. It leaned slightly to one side with the unbalanced weight of all its finery and there was many a year when we just knew that this would be the one that it finally caught on fire. And in the background of all this fuss was Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise telling us the story of ol' Ebenezer Scrooge.
"Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas."

It made the room cold. It makes me crave hot chocolate and sweaters when I hear this story- quite a feat in south Mississippi where you could still technically wear shorts at Christmas (but you don't, you bundle up and pretend it's winter). When the tree first goes up, it's dark and ominous, a daunting task, a tangle of unlit bulbs and last year's ornament hooks. It might not happen. We might have to wait until *gasp* tomorrow to brave the Christmas section at Walmart and settle on new lights that will never be quite as good as the ones that we had last year. This is the worst part.
"Man of the worldly mind! Do you believe in me or not?"

"I do." said Scrooge. "I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

"It is required of every man, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"

"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you? Or would you know, the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

And the dark, cold nature of this part of the story made the tree, when the lights were finally up and lit, feel that much warmer. I swear there is nothing so wonderful as the glow of a Christmas tree. Until the day after Christmas it was always our primary light source in the living room. A Christmas lamp if you will- and not the tacky giant leg kind.

Now for the ornaments. There were about 20 bulging Rubbermaid containers, there contents held in by the shear strength of the duct tape holding tight the lids. I told you, this is south Mississippi. We duct tape our ornament boxes with pride. We never sat down and counted them, it would have been pointless. Each new year brought the retirement of old, chipped ornaments and the introduction of glossy new ones in a never ending ornament exchange that left it impossible to remember what we actually owned. The placement had to be just so. A red couldn't be next to another red and so forth, small ornaments at the top, medium in the middle and the big bulbs filling in the thick bottom section of the tree.

"It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there; and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney, as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge's time, or Marley's, or for many and many a winter season gone. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see: who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty's horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.
"Come in!" exclaimed the Ghost. "Come in. and know me better, man!"

It took hours. Sometimes it took days. Sometimes we had to listen to A Christmas Carol over and over again because we forgot to listen to it when dealing with particularly difficult sections of the tree. Sometimes we had to pause mid story and call it a night because it was just too late, and just too frustrating to keep going. Sometimes it was up weeks before Christmas, sometimes days, but it was always up. Though the tree, the lights, the ornaments may have differed from year to year, it was always a glorious tree and I couldn't wait for it to be up.

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.

"To-day?" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."

"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow!"



As I am now an elderly lady of thirty-two years, I have my own tree, in my own house. Granted, it's not quite the same. For one thing, I put it up on my own and I rather missed fighting with my mother over ornament placement. It's a much smaller, sparser tree and unfortunately, hidden away in the spare bedroom to protect it from Threesie who broke a record twenty-two ornaments last year. And it's tailored to my own tastes- aqua and silver and glass and perhaps, looking at it now, a bit too contemporary- but it's still warm, and inviting, with soft lights that set the perfect scene for listening to A Christmas Carol over and over again.

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

You're welcome Mississippi Power. God bless us. Every one.

How Well Read Are You?

This was posted by Kathy at Inside of a Dog and I saw it again on Curling Up by the Fire.

"The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here."

Instructions:

•Copy this list.
•Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
•Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
•Tag other book nerds.
•Highlight the ones that you have but haven't read.


Maybe I'm odd but I consider this type of thing to be "fun". Here's what I ended up with:


Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


I've read 32, started 3 and have 4 on my TBR. What did you come up with?

FOR MY MUM: Do this assignment so that I can see what you've read, and then to further your baby daughter's literary education, buy her A Confederacy of Dunces, A Tale of Two Cities and Rebecca for Christmas. I still refuse to read Possession because Aunt Jacquie says you lie.

Waiting on Wednesday (14)



Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the book that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

SCREAM!I waited so long to read Incarceron, wanting to hold off until as close to the sequel as possible. I've been hearing so much buzz about Sapphique that somewhere in my brain I thought that surely it must be getting close to release day. So I decided to read Incarceron and I LOVED IT! Then I look up the release date for Sapphique and NO! it doesn't come out until December 28th and I am tortured!! Incarceron was an amazing adventure and I simply MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!


Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
From Goodreads:

The only one who escaped . . . And the one who could destroy them all.

Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.

Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.

Jane by April Lindner



Jane by April Lindner

Published October 11th 2010 by Poppy

More at: Goodreads



     "I couldn't live here with you and your new wife, and watch myself become nothing to you...because that's what would happen, and I couldn't stand it. Do you think because I'm...ordinary...that I don't have feelings?" I could hear my voice rising, carrying across the field, but for once I didn't care what the world thought of me. "Because I do have feelings, and if I were beautiful and talented and famous, I'd make it as hard for you to leave me as it is for me to leave you."

     Jane's past was a tragic one even before the sudden death of both her parents. As a pale comparison to a beautiful older sister and an overly praised brother, love and happiness were never things to be found at home. With her parents' death, Jane is forced to abandon her dreams of an education and seek employment before the close of the semester leaves her homeless. When a position as a nanny is offered to Jane she is unable to say no to the income, or to the home the new job would provide- a rich, lavish home on the country estate of a world famous musician.
     Nico Rathburn is an international rock sensation in the midst of planning his return to the stage. The life of a rock star is always fuel for any tabloid, and Nico's past filled with drugs, the very public end of his marriage, a bitter breakup with a rising pop star and the birth of his daughter have fanned the flame of scandal for many years.
     When sensible, level headed Jane takes on the task of caring for his daughter, her straight forward honesty and practicality is just what Nico needs in his new, more somber life. Both desperately in need of real friendship and feeling, a heated romance soon develops between them. But of all the scandals Nico has been involved in over the course of his career, the newspapers have yet to discover the deep, dark secret that exists in his very home- a secret that could shock the world, finish his career and cost him Jane's love.

Whenever an author takes on the retelling of a classic, one can only imagine the fear and tension that surrounds her as she waits to see how her vision is received. She could easily offend lovers of the classic, snub the original author's vision and alienate herself (and the story) from a new generation of readers. In short, if you've read the real thing, an adaptation, poorly done, can be much more disastrous than if the author had simply written a bad original novel. Or worse it could result in that horrible American Idol moment where Simon Cowell frowns and asks why the singer couldn't be bothered to try to make the song his own or berates him for making it too closely resembling the original.

This is the apprehension I felt when I first heard about Jane but after having devoured the book in a few short hours, I can tell you that I'm just so damned proud of Lindner's work. She more than pulled it off.

Have you read Jane Eyre? If you have you know it's a dark, depressing story full of so much self loathing it makes you want to spit but it's so damned romantic and everyone is just so emotionally tortured that you LOVE IT. And while Lindner stayed remarkably close to the original story- with it's tragedy, mystery and brooding leading man, our modern Jane is the story's real hero. When faced with Nico's horrible secret and lies, she has enough sense to say to hell with this and take care of herself- more importantly, remove herself from an absolutely retched situation and let that man handle his own CRAP. She's the poster child for ever poor college student who's ever lived on ramen noodles and worked a crap job to pay for an education and I adore her for not letting her heart get in the way of just plain good sense. The romantic in me so wanted her to enjoy the love that she very desperately needed to find and the single gal in me wanted to bring her a pizza and self help books with titles like "You Don't Need That Shit" and "Don't Go Back To Him Until He is a Wrecked Pitiful Shell of a Man and Begs You."

I loved her. I loved the romance between two people who were so very much in need of real love. Even knowing what Nico's secret was, the build up and suspense was handled masterfully. I couldn't wait for the shock to come. I loved watching as Jane gained some much needed self-acceptance and was able to approach this love as a self-assured, mature woman.

But while I'm glad she got everything she deserved, between you and me, I wanted to stick my fist in Nico's eye. In his defense I wanted to stick it in River's too.


In My Mailbox (26)


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.


Entwined by Heather Dixon
From Goodreads:
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

The arrival of this book triggered an odd little jig of sorts around the coffee table. I'm so in love with the cover and I expect that the story is equally as enchanting.


A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
From Goodreads:
It's Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.
Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.

However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

I really can't think of anything more delightful than spending the holiday with dear friends.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
From Goodreads:
Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.Until now.Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.


Read the prologue here!

And from a very special book fairy:




Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
From Goodreads:
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

Ten ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean


Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
Published October 26th 2010 by Avon


More at: Goodreads



     Lord Nicholas St. John has always enjoyed a certain infamy amongst the ladies. As the just slightly younger twin brother to the rather notorious Marquess of Ralston, Nick's handsome face and unique occupation as a purveyor of pricey statuary has always supplied him with steady stream of attention. When the fashionable ladies' magazine Pearls and Pelisses labels Nick as one of "London's Lords to Land" and a "paragon of manhood" Nick finds himself running from the slew of ladies determined to catch London's newest, most eligible celebrity.
     But Nicholas was once famous for something altogether different. In certain, more secretive circles, his reputation as a formidable procurer of missing fugitives has made him much sought after for his skills as a hunter. It is this mysterious occupation (and perhaps a desire to not be within sight of any unmarried woman in London) that sends him north in search of a missing lady of the peerage.
     Lady Isabel Townsend, sister to the newly made earl of Reddich has a very unusual occupation as well. On her quickly crumbling family estate she secretly takes in troubled women in flight from the men who keep them. The Reddich estate has been left in such disrepair thanks to the late Earl's extravagant gambling habit that Isabel is in desperate need of funds to support her wayward female refugees. A fine collection of marble statuary still remains on the estate, the sale of which would surely save her household. A quick sale might be imminent, if Isabel is reckless enough to risk exposing the secrets of her house to the infamous Lord Nick, whose target it turns out, is its newest inhabitant.


As with everything MacLean has put pen to, her latest work is absolutely delightful. Since reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake I have been pining away for its sequel and it was everything I knew it would be. If you've read Nine Rules... you probably had a brief love affair with Lord Nicholas and you'll be happy to know that your affections weren't unwarranted in Ten Ways... where we discover just what a gem Nick really is.

Nicholas has a bad track record with rescuing ladies and just can't learn his lesson. His affinity for damsels in distress lands him right smack in the middle of a scandal that could tarnish the reputation of one of London's most prominent families and risk the love of the most remarkable, stubborn, confoundedly infuriating lady he has ever met.

I love that Nicholas is the good guy from start to finish and that the situation the story places him is one of having to choose between two actions that are both very much the right thing to do. It would seem to be a win-win situation but one right decision might just cost him his heart. In my romance reading I've met a lot of reformed bad guys, but Nicholas (and he would hate to hear it) can only be faulted with falling in love in impossible situations. An estate full of would-be scandal is just the sort romance he would find himself involved in.

Our fabulous heroine, Isabel, has a family history that has forced her to become a bit of a Jane-of-all-trades. On any given day, the running of her women's shelter might find her in the position of being forced to play the role of a man. To keep her home's secret, men simply cannot play a part in the management of the estate and the ladies must hitch up their trousers and tackle what needs doing- like roof repair, cleaning the stables, pretending to be footman to fool visiting London lords. Having grown accustom to the niceties of London high society it was funny to think of titled women mixing up their own roofing glue.

I read this book in just a few hours. You couldn't have made me put it down if you'd tried. It's charming and funny, with characters you hate having to part with.

Next spring, will bring Eleven Scandals to Start to Win A Duke's Heart where we'll find poor Leighton made miserable by love- and as Leighton seems a bit of a pompous ass, we are of course, going to need to see him naked. This usually improves a hero's disposition tenfold.



On a side note: Sarah MacLean is responsible for ruining the neatness and organization of my bookcases. I simply didn't have enough room to introduce a new genre to my library but because of her I've become a bit of a historical romance junkie. I have a growing collection of romance novels that have been haphazardly shoved into any available bookspace. Read her books so that you can blame her too.

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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