Wednesday, December 30, 2009

133. The Fallen Kings Number 32

By: Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rated 5 Stars


1918: German troops flood back from the Russian front for an all-out assault in France. The under-strength British reel back; the spectre of defeat haunts the land. In the front line, Bertie struggles to bring out his battered battalion; at home Jessie, carrying his child, faces her family's censure. Thomas follows the Romanovs to Ekaterinburg as Russia descends into bloody civil war. Emma drives an ambulance in the FANY, and Jack is shot down. In the last, terrifying year of the war, the Morlands are more than ever in the thick of it, winning through by courage

This is the last book in the series that is available right now. I think the next one, called The Dancing Years is scheduled to come out in May 2010. Naturally this book ended with a cliff hanger *sigh*

Since this book wraps up WWI it looks like a good place to write down some of my random thoughts about the last few books.

Ned - I am very conflicted about how I feel about him. He was a decent guy and I want him to have survived and had some post war happiness. OTOH, I also want Jesse and Bertie to have their hard earned HEA. Can the author figure out how to make both happen?

Maud - her death was just too convenient. In spite of her being such a dull character I thought the author killed her off in rather a cold blooded way. I would have rather seen the divorce happen a year or so earlier so she could have faded off into the sunset with Manvers. No one should die just because the are a boring person and a cold fish.

Thomas and his whole Russian adventure. YAWN. I skimmed those bits. The story was already too busy without injecting that into it. Maybe it ought to have it's own book. Also the author has painted herself into a corner with his story line. I wonder how she will work it all out?

Emma - I went looking on the web to see what the FANY uniforms looked liked and was rewarded with a picture of Emma's fur lined coat and Benson! Picture of WW! era FANY'S It's my guess that she will end up happily married to Knoydart in the next book. He's been crazy about her for years.

Speaking of someone whose been mooning over a woman for years, well that's Sir Freddie Copthal. I gradually came to the conclusion that he has been in love with Violet since forever. He reminds me very much of Freddie Standon in Georgette Heyer's book Cotillion. On the surface a lovable and amiable fool that conceals sharp intelligence and competence.

Holkham - now here's a guy I wouldn't mind CHE cold bloodedly doing away with in order to clear the way for his betters.

Jesse's experiences with the VAD are reminiscent of the same sort of experiences Vera Brittain wrote about in her book A Testament of Youth.

Polly - a silly little twit who needs to get busy and grow up. I hope that Lennie doesn't end up with her. He deserves so much better.

As to the Oliver/Kit speculation - Hmmmmmm. I personally didn't pick up on it but who knows.

Monday, December 28, 2009

132. The Time of my Life

Rated 5 stars

Product Description

In a career spanning more than thirty years, Patrick Swayze has made a name for himself on the stage, the screen, and television. Known for his versatility, passion and fearlessness, he's become one of our most beloved actors.But in February 2008, Patrick announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Always a fighter, he refused to let the disease bring him to his knees, and his bravery has inspired both his legion of fans and cancer patients everywhere. Yet this memoir, written with wisdom and heart, recounts much more than his bout with cancer. In vivid detail, Patrick describes his Texas upbringing, his personal struggles, his rise to fame with North and South, his commercial breakthroughs in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, and the soul mate who's stood by his side through it all: his wife, writer and director Lisa Niemi.
A behind-the-scenes look at a Hollywood life and a remarkable love, this memoir is both entertainment and inspiration. Patrick and Lisa's marriage is a journey of two lives intertwined and lived as one--throughout their years in Hollywood and at home on their working ranch outside Los Angeles, and culminating in the hope and wisdom they've imparted to all who know them. This book will open the door for families, individuals, and husbands and wives to grow, bond and discover entirely new levels of love and sharing, proving that life shouldn't be lived as a series of endings, but rather as the beginning of greater strength and love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

131. Bed of Roses

By: Nora Roberts
Rated 4 Stars
From Library

 This was a quick read.  Light, fluffy and a fun read.  I am so glad Roberts has gone back to straight, traditional, formulaic romance.  At least for this series.  I needed a nice steamy little  book right now.

Publisher Summary

As little girls MacKensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker spent hours acting out their perfect make believe "I do" moments. Years later their fantasies become reality when they start their own wedding planning company to make every woman's dream day come true. With perfect flowers, delicious desserts, and joyful moments captured on film, Nora Roberts's Bride Quartet shares each woman's emotionally magical journey to romance.

In Bed of Roses, florist Emma Grant is finding career success with her friends at Vows wedding planning company, and her love life appears to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.

But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's so close to the women of Vows that he's practically family, but the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. When Emma returns his passion-kiss for blistering kiss-they must trust in their history...and in their hearts.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

130. Robinson Crusoe

Rated 4.5 Stars
Unabridged Audio Book
13.3 hours long
From libravox

I can't remember if I already read this book or not.  If I did it must have been in a greatly abridged version.  Anyway it mostly felt first time to me.  It did yet preachy and prosy sometimes but overall it was a great story.


One of the first novels ever written, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), the classic adventure story of a man marooned on an island for nearly 30 years, is part of our culture. From Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) to the recent movie Castaway, the elemental situation of the person suddenly alone, who must make a life in a dangerous environment, continues to enthrall all ages.

The story begins with the universal quest: the young man in Britain, torn between his safe home and his hunger for adventure, breaks away from his loving father and sails away into the unknown. After a series of harrowing escapes, he's shipwrecked on a desert island. His lively first-person account shows how his intelligence and education help him survive for many years, and how he uses technology, including guns and tools salvaged from the ship. He sets up home, reads the Bible, finds a parrot as a pet, and even devises a calendar to keep track of time. Then one day he finds a human footprint: "Was it someone who could save me and take me back to civilization? Or was it a savage who landed here?" When some "savages" arrive in several canoes, he uses his guns to get rid of them, and he rescues one of their captives, a handsome fellow with very dark skin. Delighted to have a companion at last, Crusoe names the newcomer Friday (since Crusoe found him on Friday). Crusoe teaches "my man Friday" to speak English, fire a gun, carve a canoe, and clothe his nakedness, and they live happily together. Later they rescue a white man and Friday's father from a group of "savages," and, eventually, they all return to their homes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

129. Breaking the Bank

By Yona Zeldis McDonough
Rated:  2 Stars

Once again I find myself not liking a book that others loved.  I went to Amazon and checked the reviews and its rated 4 1/2 stars.  I need to steer completely away from books with paranormal themes I guess.  But its really wasn't the paranormal aspect of it that I disliked so much but the characters I couldn't buy into.

The story goes that the main character, a single Mother whose husband walked out on her goes to an ATM to make a withdrawal and it starts spitting out more cash than she asked for without debiting her account along  instructions to use it well.

At first, it seems to be everything she'd wished for—her financial burden is lifted, her daughter's mood lightens and Mia even begins to fall in love—but not all of the changes brought about are for the better. Unfortunately, character development is nonexistent, the big payoff (such as it was were) is a letdown, and the plot is too thin to support a checking of disbelief or the book's length.

Friday, December 4, 2009

128. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously - DNF

By Jullie Powell
Rated: DNF
From:  Library, Thank Goodness

I heard great things about the movie that was based on this book.  I haven't seen it myself but I sure hope it is better than this book.

This book was really not about cooking, or Julia Child or even about blogging.  This was one great long whiney, profane rant with a lot of boring libral politics thrown in.  (And I'm a liberal for heavens sake and still could not stomach it.)

This person could not write.  Any creativity the book managed to come up with the author leached off of her husband.  BLECH!

127. My Cousin Caroline

By Rebecca Ann Collins
Rated 3 Stars
From:  Library

There was nothing new in this book.  It was a rehash from the first five.  I was very disappointed in it.


In this installment of The Pemberley Chronicles series, Mr. Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth's cousin Caroline Gardiner take center stage.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Caroline develops from a pretty young girl into a woman of intelligence and passion, embodying some of Austen's own values. Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and the Wickhams all move through the story as Caroline falls in love, marries, and raises her children. Caroline rejects the role of a compliant Victorian wife and mother, instead becoming a spirited and outspoken advocate of reformist causes in spite of the danger of scandal.
Caroline's advocacy of reform, undaunted by criticism, demonstrates strength in a time when a woman's role was severely restricted.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

126. The Foreign Field #31

By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rated 4.5 Stars
From:  Library

It's a measure of how badly I have been hooked on this ongoing literary soap opera that I purchased this book and the one following from amazon uk.  I almost never do that but in this case I just could not wait the year or so until they were available over here.  {sigh}

Product Description
It's 1917 and the Allies are determined to finally defeat a weakened Germany - everything is building up to the summer's Big Push. Germany strikes back with U-boat attacks to starve England out, giant aeroplanes to bomb London, and the cunning withdrawal to the Hindenberg Line. Every Briton must do his bit, and the Morlands are involved at every stage: fighting and nursing in France, stoically surviving at home - and finding love where they can along the way. Continuing the great saga of the Morland dynasty, The Foreign Field carries its members into a new set of conflicts and tests their courage to the limit.