Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 TBR Pile

I'm soooo very excited about the upcoming year and all the amazing books in my to-be-read stack!

We are so fortunate to have such a wide selection of novels to choose from with easier then ever accessibility. For me, Amazon is really amazing....... they offer so many reduced and free book deals for Kindle users. The convenience is also very appealing, I can't even think where I would put 1300 books except to remove the furniture and make new furniture out of them - my kindle just makes it look so easy! My TBR list is very long and would probably take me all night and part of tomorrow to type out so I'll just start with a few novels that I'm the most excited about:

Persuasion by Jane Austen
I received a gift card to Amazon for Christmas - YEAH ME! So I bought the above for $.99 cents. This Jane Austen edition has all of her full length novels along with 6 other stories she wrote. It is also supposed to have easy to navigate formatting. My fingers are crossed!! 

 Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Oooohhhhh yeaaaaaaa, I love spoof lit or Quirk books and this novel has been one I've wanted to read since I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies . Christmas Day it was a kindle daily deal and I bought it for $1.99, (it's now $5.99 which is still greatly reduced from what it has been). I haven't seen the movie but rarely do I watch movies before reading the books. There are great reviews for the novel  - to read Amazon's book description click here
 Reforming A Rake
by Suzanne Enoch
Currently $1.99 @ the Amazon Kindle Store. Published in 2009 - Amazon Book Description:
A governess must never be alone with a man. Her reputation mustn't have even a hint of scandal. She must never reveal personal emotions. No matter how strong the provocation by her employer. A governess never questions her employer's commands. Even when he's tempting her to forsake respectability for desire? She must never, ever, fall in love with someone above her station. Especially a rake—no matter how devastating his kisses may be . . .
 London Calling
by Anna Elliot
(book 2)
London Calling is the follow up novel to Susanna and the Spy (free on Kindle), which I adored. I haven't read a book by Elliot though that I didn't just love. London Calling is $3.99 on Kindle, the perfect price! Described as a regency cozy mystery, the novel is a fairly short read @ 238 pages. Amazon's Book Description
 A night in the Manx Museum
by Michele McGrath
I'm fascinated with the Isle of Man. We have ancestors on my mom's side that came to America from the Isle. I found this novella (children's book really) recently and it's only $.99 cents and 55 pages.  Amazon's Book Description:
Ellen falls asleep in the Manx Museum. She wakes to find herself surrounded by ghosts who tell her stories and take her on adventures. She meets Manannan, god of the sea, a tail-less cat, the Pagan Lady (who was buried at Peel Castle) and a host of other characters.
The Manx Museum is a gem of a small museum, situated in Douglas in the Isle of Man.
The book is suitable for readers aged 7+ but has been read and enjoyed by children in Year One (5-6 year olds).

 From Russia with Love
by Ian Fleming
My favorite James Bond movie of all time! Today this novel is $1.99 (Sunday 12-30-12) on the Kindle Daily Deal along with 13 or so other James Bond novels by Fleming. Amazon Book Description.
 The Scourge
by Roberto Calas
I've written about this novel before. It's a Kindle Serial and every 2 weeks I receive another episode download for a one time price of $1.99. Once the serial is complete the novel will be available for purchase as a complete book. I should receive my final episode sometime in February. Medieval England, knights and a zombie plague - it doesn't get any better!
A few of my favorite authors have recently published or have releases due out in 2013 that are not in my collection of books but are novels I dream of adding to my TBR pile.........
Notorious Nineteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel - Janet Evanovich, pub 11-20-12
Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel - Janet Evanovich, pub 6-19-12
'Twas the Night After Christmas - Sabrina Jeffries, pub 10-30-12
What the Duke Desires - Sabrina Jeffries, to be pub 6-18-13
Ten Reasons to Stay Sabrina Jeffries, to be pub 5-16-13 (possibly a novella)
Stormswept - Sabrina Jeffries, to be pub 6-16-13
Silver Deceptions - Sabrina Jeffries, to be pub 6-6-13
By Love Unveiled - Sabrina Jeffries, to be pub 2-26-13
Quicksilver: Book Two of the Looking Glass Trilogy (An Arcane Society Novel) - Amanda Quick, pub 4-19-11
Crystal Gardens - Amanda Quick, pub 4-24-12
The Mystery Woman (Ladies of Lantern Street) - Amanda Quick, pub 4-23-13
The Husband List - Janet Evanovich, to be pub 1-8-13
The Heist: A Novel - Janet Evanovich, to be pub 6-18-13
 (if you want to check out the above novels, they are each a link to the web page @ Amazon)
 Most of these books are less than $10.00. Newly published books by Evanovich and Quick usually run between $12.99 and $13.99 because they are originally published in hard cover. I always wait until they are out in paperback to purchase, even on the Kindle.
I hope you have a stack of to-be-reads that you can't wait to dive into this coming year! I always look forward to the adventure of reading about far off lands, distant pasts, crazy scenarios, funny characters and the escape of daily living in this world so filled with turmoil.
 “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot
"Mischief Managed" ~ Kelly


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Cheer

It's been a crazy, busy, wonderful Christmas! 🎄 I've been absent from blogging because I've had some computer issues but I'm good now and ready for the new year! I hope everyone's Christmas was as special as mine!!! 📚

I didn't get to share as much as I had hoped of my love of Christmas books, traditions & the overall awesomeness of Christmas but the coming year will be spectacular & I can't wait! ⛄

I hope the picture below uploads - I'm just dying to share it with you. Isn't he the most amazing owl ornament? I received him from one of my best friends, Janelle -

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Round of Christmas Novellas

I love Christmas! Living in Southwest Florida where the weather rarely falls below 76 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be a bummer though! Wearing a sweater to work during the month of December also requires packing other clothes because by 11am you'll be drowning in a pool of your own sweat! Granted, I would only want it cold those 2 special days of the year! We tire of cold fronts very quickly here!  

Being that it's an extremely busy holiday I've had to revert to reading novellas. If I read full length novels the only thing I would accomplish was finishing a book. I like to think this puts me on the Nice List!!!

Miss Kanes Christmas by Caroline Mickelson 
This is a delightful short novel but a little longer than your typical free kindle novella. At 154 pages it was slightly rushed but pleasant with a very unique storyline! Miss Carol Kane (aka Carol Candy Kane Claus) is Santa's daughter and Santa has given her a difficult Christmas task. 3 days before Christmas she is sent to the home of Ben Hanson, a single father of 2 young children, to pose as the new nanny. Her infiltration into the Grinch's house is pure enjoyment from the moment she steps off the sleigh and knocks at Ben's door in the middle of the night. I don't usually go for contemporary romance but I was instantly drawn in by the authors unusual story line. Well unusual for me anyway. Imagine Santa's children getting a little romance story of their own. I dig it! This really could have been a longer novel and I wouldn't have complained. I loved all the characters right down to the crazy elves and even Bah Humbug Ben - he was very charming in his way. Oh and it's still free on Kindle -regularly $5.99. 
I gave it 4 stars
Amazon - 4.7 stars
Goodreads - 4.60 stars
With Christmas only three days away, Carol Claus agrees to her father’s request that she leave the North Pole on a mission to help save Christmas. Joining single father Ben Hanson and his children for the holidays seems an easy enough task until Santa informs her that Ben is the man behind the disturbing new book ‘Beyond Bah Humbug: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea’.

Posing as Miss Kane, the children’s new nanny, Carol pulls out all the stops to show Ben how fun Christmas can be, all the while struggling to understand how one man could hate the holidays so much. How could she, Santa’s only daughter, be so attracted to a man who refuses to believe her father exists? **Please note - this book was originally titled Carol's Christmas**
The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt by 9 different authors

This was the 2nd novel that I've read recently that was a collaboration of many authors each contributing a chapter. This  newly released Christian Contemporary Fiction novella isn't real long either though not short enough to be called a novella in my opinion, you can still finish it quickly - maybe an hour or two. This was definitely not a book I normally would have chosen. I don't tend to read contemporary fiction at all and this wasn't a romance. It was a very feel good story though with an excellent message on the true meaning of forgiveness. It did have the opportunity for romance but fell flat, probably because it was written by so many authors. The adventure she embarks on is incredible and the storyline is amazing. This is also still free on Kindle and normally sells for $.99
Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.
I gave it 3 stars, probably shy a star but though I really enjoyed this novel I didn't love it
Amazon - 4.8 stars
Goodreads - 4.22 stars   

Christmas in Venice: A Short Story by Meadow Taylor
When the author wrote Short in the title she wasn't kidding. Adding Story in there as well is a stretch! It's more like a chapter for a book. I wasn't impressed. It could have been a nice story, it was a well written chapter but seriously I've never been so let down because of how short a story was. I was reading along, pretty engrossed in the tale.....even though again it was a contemporary fiction and BAM, I turned the page and it ended. It's a free download on Kindle and will remain so. I'm sure if readers did purchase it they would request their money back. From what I read it will turn into a full length novel but I'm not sure this reader will be purchasing it.
I gave it 2 stars
Amazon - 3.5 stars
Goodreads - 2.95 stars
Olivia's Christmas trip to Venice, Italy, should be a holiday dream come true. But when her unattended luggage becomes the focus of a handsome Italian policeman’ s bomb investigation, she worries she won't even make it out of the Marco Polo Airport. Practically handcuffed to the best-looking man she’ s ever seen, can Olivia convince him she isn’ t a terrorist before he writes her off for good? Christmas in Venice is the perfect little treat to start the holidays off with a smile.
(This short story is adapted from Meadow Taylor’ s next full-length novel, tentatively titled Midnight in Venice.) 

I have also read 2 novellas that are not Christmas themed this month and they were both pretty good.

Kidnapping the Laird by Terri Brisban
This 28 page historical romance novella was steamy! I enjoyed the tale and found it well written for such a short novella. The author got to the point and finished the story in a pleasing manner - It was well rounded.
I gave it 3 stars
Amazon - 3.4 stars
Goodreads - 3.45 stars
Catriona MacDonnell is a wife of convenience who discovers that she wants more from the handsome, sexy laird she had to marry.

Padruig Grant was not happy when his wife kicks him out of her bed, but his pride prevents him from returning to it. When Catriona takes matters...and her husband...into her own hands to claim the love they both deserve, should he resist her valiant efforts or should he surrender?

This short story appears in the print edition of the MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCES from January 2011.

Once Upon a Ballroom
Various Authors
An original anthology of short stories set in the glittering ballrooms of Regency England, by Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe, Maya Rodale, and Miranda Neville.

Discover how a masked ball can turn friends into lovers … how a wicked, wonderful dream can indeed come true … how sometimes behaving as one should not can lead to the most passionate results … and how the truest love is a bond no scandal can shake. Anything can happen at a ball— scandal, passion, disaster … and true love.

The Truth About Love by Caroline Linden
Ask Me to Dance by Katharine Ashe
Once Upon a Dream by Maya Rodale
The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors by Miranda Neville

I gave it 3 stars
Amazon - 4.1 stars
Goodreads - 3.17 stars
I enjoyed this collection of short historical romance stories. We often love a supporting character in a novel and don't get to ever read their story unless the author does a series. Theses shorts feature supporting characters from the authors other books. I've never read anything by these authors so the other novels are a mystery to me but I enjoyed the writing style of Maya Rodale and Katharine Ashe and will be checking out a few of their novels in the future.
I really enjoyed Once Upon a Dream and can't wait to read Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale:

I especially liked Ask me to Dance by Katherine Ashe but thought it way too short. I don't believe the author intends to write a continuation of the story like Once Upon a Dream above. Sigh! I would love it if she did.

A few interesting facts about gingerbread that caught my eye -
Gingerbread can be traced back to the ancient Greeks & Egyptians, which they used in ceremonies.
In the 18th century Shakespeare mentions gingerbread in Love's Labor's Lost "And I had but one penny in the world, thou should'st have it to buy gingerbread."  

Victorians decorated their trees with gingerbread cutouts (and possibly before that as well). - oh and not to be confused with their architectural style often referred to as gingerbread.

Lastly, Gingerbread houses became popular in Germany in the 19th century with the release of the Grimm brothers fairy tales which had obviously featured the story Hansel and Gretel.

"Mischief Managed" ~ Kelly