July 31, 2008

reading roundup

Letters to a Secret Lover by Toni Blake

A random library find, and a good one at that. This was in the new paperbacks section, so I got to read it first and crease the spine. Thumbs up from me – it was scorching and there were some twists like the Gina reveal I didn't see coming.

Small town Montana folk welcome Chicago advice columnist Lindsey when she comes to check out Moose Falls after a humiliating, public ending to her engagement back home. Her great aunt Millie lived there and wanted to leave her business and property to Lindsey, but Lindsey originally turned down the request. Now that her aunt has passed away, and needing to get away from all the public attention, Lindsey reconsiders and comes to Moose Falls to convince the current owner to sell it back to her. Enter Rob, the handsome, mysterious current owner with a secret past. Animal-print hotness follows.

The pacing picks up in the last half. I ended up reading it in one day, staying up into the wee hours to finish because most of the plot twists are later in the book and I needed to know how it all ended.

Cover nitpick: why is there a horse? There's a bear, but no horse appearance whatsoever in the book.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

notes: young adult

Turn of the 19th century Manhattan (party like it’s 1899), where sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland are central to this teen tale. I’ll admit, this went on my to read list based on the cover.

Overall, it was okay – I found myself not very interested in Elizabeth that much; Diana was the more appealing Holland sister to me. The way the book is structured, jumping back in time from the opening made the ending no surprise. I’m not sure if the intent was for the ending to be a big reveal, or if it was about the journey, knowing the end result. Still, I’m interested enough to continue with the series to see what happens to Diana, rival/friend Penelope, suitor Henry, and former Holland maid Lina. The second book in the series is
Rumors and the third book is supposed to come out in fall 2009.

And I saw recently that the library already put
A Wallflowers Christmas in their catalogue. I'm number eight, I think it was, for requests so I should be in the first batch of people to receive it.

July 25, 2008


I remember coming across Kit Kats that had short sayings stamped right into the chocolate, and lately I've been into Kinder Bueno and the individually wrapped Dove chocolates. The foil wrappers have bits of advice:

July 22, 2008

Quick book thoughts

The prince trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt

It seems that many people liked The Serpent Prince the most, but the dueling thing didn’t really grab me. Still, an enjoyable read. The Leopard Prince I would have liked more without the whole sheep mystery angle, but I really liked Harry and Georgina together. The Raven Prince requires a certain level of disbelief – he doesn’t recognise her despite the half face mask? But even with that, I thought it was a good read. Overall, a pretty compelling series: I read each book more or less in one go and they were all smokin'. *fans self.* I read them out of order with The Serpent Prince first, but it hardly mattered, there’s not a lot of mention of the other men in each book. I get the buzz now and the new series has moved higher on my to read list.

Moon Shadow by Lucinda Betts

This sounded intriguing from the summary, but the system of magic didn’t really work for me, and I mostly skimmed through this. Sokaris is a love wizard, in need of a magical apprentice to aid her in casting her spells and making potions, etc. In particular, she's working on something to help rape victims, as there have been a string of recent cases. Gage is a low-ranking level wizard
whose marriage has broken down because of his alcoholism. He's looking for a job and answers Sokaris' help-wanted ad. Despite the hot factor, the technical/scientific take of the magic and spell casting didn't appeal to me (protein receptors, molecules and the like – kinda made by eyes glaze over.)

Royal Brotherhood series by Sabrina Jeffries

An okay series, I think it got better as it went along. Three men find out they are half brothers with the same biological father, The Prince of Wales. The last book,
One Night With a Prince is the only one that I'll probably be able to remember down the road. Is it just me who gets into the habit of reading a series back-to-back? I gotta say, I was quite tired of seeing the word ‘impudent’ by the end of the third book. Suggestions from MS Word thesaurus: insolent, brazen, impertinent, presumptuous.

July 17, 2008

North and South

So Kristie (J) was nudging me to post about North and South. That's not too taxing, so here it goes. I discovered the gem that is North and South in 2006. I read the forums on Television Without Pity, and many posters there recommended North and South for those who like the Firth/Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice. Some posters even recommended it as an unseen-buy, which is very high praise and had me curious. I can't remember how long it took me to finally check it out, but I eventually got around to it with a library dvd. And then I of course had to buy my own copy; I think the unseen-buy advice in this case turned out to be justified.

Everything about the production is solid - the acting by the entire ensemble cast headed by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe portraying John Thornton and Margaret Hale, the gorgeous cinematography, the music... sigh. It's grittier than
Pride and Prejudice, taking place during the industrial revolution in the 'dirty, smoky place' of Milton (Gaskell's fictional version of Manchester).

John Thornton has risen from struggle and poverty to become the successful owner of Marlborough Mills and a magistrate, which comes in very handy for Margaret. And... well, he's hot, particularly without the cravat. But there's also the social issues - the striking workers versus the mill owners, the culture shock for the Hales from moving from the south to the north, the evolution of the relationship between Margaret and John, and their relationships with the secondary characters.

My online interests immediately after watching it were, 1) Who is this Richard Armitage and what else has he been in, and 2) Is there a soundtrack available? I think number two was particularly on my mind because of that fantastic, swoonworthy ending, where the music swells during their meeting on the train platform.

I haven’t watched my dvds in several months, and my memory isn't good enough to recreate my initial fangirl squeee reaction from two years ago. But here are some of my favourite parts/quotes that come to mind:

  • I'm glad to see we've almost passed muster
  • teacup hand pass
  • I'd like to play the overbearing master...
  • Margaret writing to Edith: I've seen Hell. It's white -- snow white (cue music)
  • He’s better looking than a bulldog, surely?
  • Fanny, the whole tea scene :)
  • the handshake at dinner
  • Fanny after the riot, waving her fan
  • Mr. Thornton giving Mrs. Hale fruit
  • Proposal scene: I don't want to possess you, I want to marry you because I love you
  • meddling Mr. Bell
  • Margaret's conversation with the inspector
  • comical animal, helping the Boucher kid read
  • Higgins and Mr. Thornton's friendship (Reckon I'll leave my brains at home, then)
  • I wouldn't know how to dabble
  • Look back at me
  • Fanny in general, she brings much needed hilarity
  • Any foolish passion for you on my part is entirely over
  • It was her brother (thanks for the clue, Higgins)
  • You don't need Henry to explain, the yellow rose, cravat-less Mr. Thornton, "business" conversation, or the whole ending / last 5 minutes
I'd never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before watching this, but the adaptations made of her books are period dramas worth watching, I feel. The other two made to date are Wives and Daughters and Cranford, both made by the BBC - I recommend them as well.

And this North and South tank and tee look fun. I wonder if the quality's any good?

And now some videos.

Oh Johnny by PezGirl7

Serenata by HeathDances

Frankly, this never gets old...

Sexyback Richard fan video by HeathDances

(and I did track down some music/dialogue mp3 tracks. ETA: link is here.)

July 11, 2008

Is James Hewitt a chosen profession?

What a sweet, charming, funny man. Q&A with Richard Armitage, answering fan questions about Robin Hood. (I haven't made it past episode three of season one Robin Hood yet, bad fan).

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