Mailbox Monday was originally hosted by The Printed Page but now it is on tour each month. For the month of January it will be hosted by Rose City Reader. This past week I got one book in the mail - I got it from Berkley Publishing.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough. It's about a mother,daughter and child forced to live together due to financial difficulties. Sounds interesting!


Bleak House by Charles Dickens

I won't write a formal review for this book, because IMO it was just way tooooooo longggg and I don't want to spend anymore of my time on it then necessary. I will say that the story was over populated with characters and need some serious editing. But since Dickens probably had it published as a serial, the longer it was the more money he got. I guess I'm still having problems with CLASSICS.


The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Read: February 21 - February 24
Format: Audiobook 11 CDs and paperback 382 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: War of the Roses, Tudor rebellion, murdered princes, Margaret Beaufort
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Category: Something Borrowed - from the library/sad
Genre: Historical Fiction
Stars: ★★★

The War of the Roses depicted the Yorkist viewpoint in the White Queen and in this book, the second installment of the trilogy, we see the Lancaster side of the events that led to the end of the cousin's war and founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Margaret Beaufort, the Lancastrian heiress was married at the age of 13 to Edmund Tudor, a Welsh prince, and her son, Henry, was born shortly after her husband's death. Henry was raised by his uncle, Jasper, while Margaret was remarried twice. Margaret Beaufort believed that her destiny was to be the mother of the King of England and she worked tirelessly throughout her life to achieve that goal.

Reading the books back-to-back showed the reader how the same events can be interpreted differently and also how lives are interwoven in different ways.


The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Read: February 15 - February 20
Format: Audiobook 13 CDs and paperback 660 pages
Source: Piblic Library and Owned
Subject: War of the Roses, Tudor rebellion, murdered princes, Elizabeth Woodville
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS, SYLL
Category: Something Borrowed - from the library/sad
Genre: Historical Fiction
Stars: ★★★½

British history is filled with figures that have been taken by writers and had their "story" re-written adding romance, passion, intrigue - all speculation - but turning them into great stories. The White Queen takes the life of Elizabeth Woodville, a Lancastrian widow, who married Edward, a Yorkist king, and presents her life from her point of view. Elizabeth was the mother of the Princes in the Tower and the grandmother of Henry VIII. Yet the story told in this book show her not just as a queen but basically as a wife, mother, sister, daughter who only got involved in the political arena to protect her children.

Having read other books about the last Plantagenets, the War of the Roses (white rose Yorkist, red rose Lancaster) and the start of the Tudor dynasty, I found this author's hypothesis extremely fascinating because they were so completely different from other fictional accounts that I had read.

Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus

Read: February 17 - February 20
Format: Paperback 299 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Setting: Bonneterre, LA
Subject: celebrity, marriage, trust, faith
Category: Love and Marriage: a lifetime commitment
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★★

Anne Hawthorne is an event planner who has been hired to handle an engagement party and wedding and in walks the bride and groom and immediately Anne is hit with a strong attraction to the groom. Fighting the appeal that she feels for her client, she works diligently to fulfill the couple's wishes but finds it harder and harder to fight the magnetism that she feels. Finally, because of George's opposition to lying to Anne, he informs her that he s not the 'groom' but just his stand-in. The detailed story of their romance is heart-warming as well as uplifting and truly an enjoyable experience.

This is the first book in the Brides of Bonneterre series. I won the second book in the series through the ER program and enjoyed it so much that I had to have the other two books as well. I am really looking forward to #3 later this year.


Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Read: February 14 - February 17
Format: 224 pages
Source: Nook Library
Subject: police procedural, reporter ride-along
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Stars: ***

This book makes a fictional character from the television series CASTLE into a real author includng the bio info and friends to thank. The book and TV series are so much related it's hard to separate. The main characters Nikki Heat, mirrored in the series by the character Kate Beckett, and Jameson Rook shown in the character of Richard Castle the "author", differ from their "real life" counterparts in various ways and yet the disquises are insufficient to keep them incognito. (Rook and Castle are even the same name for a chess piece.)

The mystery in the book could very well become an episode of the series with the twists and turns and red herrings thrown at the reader but it holds your interest and keeps you coming back for more. Several of the aspects of the book would be great in the TV series and vice versa. All in all, an interesting concept and fun book.


Book Buy Bonanza

Well, since my husband didn't remember to get me a Valentine Day card, he took me to Barnes & Noble instead and there I purchased several books.

I got 3 romances (something for Valentine's Day) .....
A Secret Affair
The Perfect Mistress
A Precious Jewel
and 2 cozy mysteries....
If Books Could Kill
The Lies that Bind

I guess I won't have to put my hubbie in the doghouse this year.


The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig

Read: January 31 - February 7
Format: Audiobook 12 CDs equivalent 416 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: espionage, Napoleonic Wars
Category: The good old days - Histories
Genre: History fiction
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Stars: ★★★½

This is the second installment of the Pink Carnation series and entertainingly reports more of Eloise's efforts to work on her dissertation as well as the data that she is gathering on espionage during the Napoleonic wars.

Eloise is not only spending time with Colin (searching through the archives at the ancestral home of the Selwicks) and possibly starting a relationship, but discovers interesting aspects with her research identifying the most notorious French spy, the Black Tulip. Miles Dorrington, best friend of Richard Selwick- the Purple Gentian, and Richard's sister - Lady Henrietta Selwick and are involved in the investigation and their adventures carry the Pink Carnation further along. Good second book


The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames

Read: February 6 - February 10
Format: Paperback 336 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Setting: Providence, OH
Subject: cheese, murder, infidelity
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series / new authors
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★

This is the first book in the Cheese Shop series introducing Charlotte and her family. They are celebrating the grand re-opening of the family cheese shop when there is murder committed right outside the front door and Grandmère is the prime suspect being found over the body and covered in blood.

Charlotte decides that since Chief Urso doesn’t seem to be anxious to find the real murderer (she knows that her grandmother couldn't have killed anyone) that she will have to solve the murder herself. After numerous stops and starts and erroneous accusations, Charlotte manages to identify the real murderer and free her Grandmother.

I really like this book mainly because of the family interaction as well as the humorous oafish sleuthing with which the story progresses.


Mr. Lincoln's high-tech war by Thomas B Allen

Read: February 6 - February 7
Format: Hardback 139 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: inventions, warfare improvements(?)
Category: The Engagement: this is getting serious
Genre: History
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, SYLL
Stars: ★★★

I've read several, okay lots , of books related to the American Civil War, but until I read this book, I never really thought about how history was very much changed by how the war was fought, not just the reasons for which it was fought. This book illustrated how warfare was definitively changed by the inventions of the day.

Naval operations were altered by the elimination of sails being replaced by total steam-powered vessels. Ironclading was added for defense along with revolving gun turrets and the first submarines were utilized. Blockade runners had telescoping funnels to reduce their profiles when trying to slide into harbors unnoticed. There were even the beginnings of "aircraft carriers" with rafts that were used to launch hot air balloons used for air reconnaissance.

The last Calvary battles were fought because of the improvement of the accuracy of the newest repeating rifles. Troops were moved via the railroad saving time and the telegraph was used to send commands directly to the field Operations.

Amazing that all these changes took place during the Civil War and really seem to go unnoticed.


The False-Hearted Teddy by John J. Lamb

Read: February 3 - February 5
Format: Paperback 262 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Setting: Baltimore
Subject: teddy bear collecting, copyrights
Category: Setting up Housekeeping/ Leftovers - leftover
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★★

This is the second book in the Bear Collector's series. Bradley Lyons, retired SF Homicide detective, and his wife Ashleigh, are teddy bear artisans who drive to Baltimore to attend a teddy bear show. While there they are involved in the untimely death of one of their competitors. Even though Brad is warned by the Fame-hungry BPD detective, he is forced to start his own investigation to protect himself and Ash from being arrested for murder.

The story moves along speedily and the regular characters are very endearing. The story specific characters do have a tendency to be a bit 2-dimensional, but over all and really enjoyable read.


Crown of Destiny by Bertrice Small

Read: January 28 - February 2
Format: Paperback 376 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: World of Hetar, Twilight Lord
Category: Going Steady - continuing series, favorite authors
Genre: Fiction
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

This is the final book in the World of Hetar series which details the life of Lara, a Fairie woman, who has for over a century attempted to protect Hetar and Terah from the darkness and evil of the Twilight Lord. In this final installment, Lara comes to realize that the Light cannot always be victorious over the Dark and that sometimes, to withdraw for another day's battle is wise.

As a fairie, Lara doesn't appear to age to mortals which is very disturbing for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They cannot remember the battles that she has fought or adventures that she has had. They see only someone who is young and vital but none of the magic which sustains it. When the Twilight Lord Kolgrim (Lara's son by Kol) finds that his destiny is written to marry an Hetarian virgin who will increase his magical powers and allow him to take over the Hetar and Terah worlds, Lara tries to prevent the marriage and when unsuccessful, tries to foil the magical transfer.

As always the vibrant story is entertaining and erotic (to an extent) showing the reader the rich details of the authors imagination while bringing to life a magical world.
Those who have never met Lara and the World of Hetar in the previous books, will feel a bit lost and need to go back to read the previous volumes so that the references will all make sense. Definitely one that needs to be read after the others.

The Series is a keeper.



Well, January was just a lazy month trying to recuperate from surgery and get ready for my new granddaughter! I was going to spend a lot of time just reading but then snowy weather dielivered me a few house guests so my reading was stalled! - several romances, a history, some great fiction, even so I'm off to a good start for 2011!

The best of the month was - A Murderous Procession but Acqua Alta was a very close second.
The worst of the month - 1864: Lincoln at the gates of history - not really bad

I read the follow books:
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Gingerbread Cookie Murder
1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History
Lumby on the Air
A Murderous Procession
Bedeviled Eggs
Acqua Alta
The Mournful Teddy
Bridge to Terabithia

I hope to keep up in February but travel plans are currently in progress so time for reading may be curtailed. I will be reading some of the following books:
Crown of Destiny
The Masque of the Black Tulip
Heat Wave
Bleak House
The Long Quiche Goodbye
Mr. Lincoln's high-tech war
Stand-in Groom
The White Queen
Scones and Bones
The Altar of Bones
The Amber Room
The False-Hearted Teddy
The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia