Friday, September 28, 2012

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

Lace is a thing like hope.
It is beauty; it is grace.
It was never meant to destroy so many lives .

The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France,
pulling soldier and courtier alike into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don’t have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything––or anyone.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who now demands the impossible. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

The most lucrative contraband in Europe, with its intricate patterns and ephemeral hope, threatens to cost them everything. Lace may be the deliverance for which they all pray...or it may bring the ruin and imprisonment they all fear.

A fascinating look into a part of history we don’t usually see represented in fiction, this book will captivate any lover of historical fiction.
The most exciting part of this book is the careful melding of multiple storylines. This is never an easy thing for an author to achieve and even less so when dealing with a period in time so far removed from our own. The author is very clever in handling the many plot lines, making them straight-forward enough so that they don’t knot with one another. I do wish some of the characters’ lives had been resolved a bit more than they were, however, because the author leaves one or two of them dangling.

The writing is beautiful. It’s by turns lush and sparse, modeling after the lace one of the characters shapes with her bobbins. I do have to warn, though, about one of the storylines, which is told through a dog’s eyes who lives through abuse. As an absolute animal lover, this was almost impossible for me to read, so if you have a sensitivity towards reading about animal abuse, I’d caution you to pick out another book. I hate to tell people not to read a particular novel, but it really was a hard few chapters following the dog’s journey.

Other than that, though, I do think this book is worth reading. If you’re interested, look for it in October.

Follow Friday

Q: What is the BIGGEST word you’ve seen used in a book lately – that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

This is a hard one. It wasn't so much the definition of a word, but what the word meant in that particular context. This past week I've been reading The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony, and she gives a short explanation on how lace is made. She mentions the word "bobbin" as one of the tools used, but, as a sewer, I had another idea of what a bobbin looks like, so I had to look it up. It is nothing like what I call a bobbin for my sewing machine! Very cool to learn about it, though.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Do you bring the book(s) you’re reading with you when you go out? How?
Physically, or in an e-reader of some kind? Have your habits in this
regard changed?

Oh yes. Always. I never leave the house without having a book with me. Since I don't have an ereader, they're all physical books that I carry in my bag or in my hand. I'm the kind of person who'll try to fit a book into the smallest of evening bags.
No, my habits haven't changed. I've always done this, since elementary school.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

And Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I recently finished reading Tiger Paw by Charles Cornell. You can read my review here.

Next, I'll probably read Florence and Giles by John Harding

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

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!

From The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

"There was nothing in the world for me now except this one thing. This one task: to finish repairing an irreparable dike."

pg. 147 (ARC)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tiger Paw by Charles A. Cornell

In Tiger Paw, FBI profiler Scott Forrester hunts an assassin belonging to a demonic East Indian cult that is wreaking havoc on Wall Street, murdering corrupt CEOs at the center of a billionaire's stock scam. Firmly in the assassin’s crosshairs, Scott Forrester is forced underground to stop the killing spree. But will he survive the deal he must make with the Devil to thwart the cult’s plans?

This was an interesting form of thriller. I’d expected the usual type of action with the usual type of plot line, but this book provided a great variation to the genre.

What I enjoyed the most was the mysticism that the author created. He blended a detective storyline with a thread of the esoteric, which makes it stand out from other, similar novels. This mixture adds even a bit or horror to the plot, making the thriller even more, well, thrilling.

The characters were also quite interesting. The protagonist, Scott Forrester, is well written, though I would have liked to have seen more of his own personal life. We saw him in action a lot, but a bit more of his own life would have helped us bond with him more. But he was a fun one to follow around.

The ending, which I won’t tell you because it is kind of crucial, was very good. It really leaves you guessing. Definitely a well thought out story, with lots of action. I do recommend it for all lovers of thrillers and action books.

Musing Mondays

Do you have any hobbies outside of reading?
Or do you collect anything?

That's my question! Awesome.

I have a few hobbies. I love baking, and I'm part of the Daring Bakers, an online group that has baking challenges eveyr month. I also enjoy cross stitching, knitting, and sewing.
No real collections, though, apart from books.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Follow Friday

Q: What hyped up book do you think was worth all the talk?

I would have to say the Harry Potter series. Yes, I know, not terribly original, but it really does deserve all the praise it gets, in my opinion.

Guest Post by Hannah Fielding and a review Burning Embers

Today I am thrilled to have Hannah Fielding as a guest on the blog. I recently finished reading one of her books, and really enjoyed it. So I'll turn it over to Hannah:

My debut novel Burning Embers, a vintage historical romantic novel set in 1970s Kenya, began not as a story, but as a vivid landscape in my mind. The seed of the idea was sown many years ago when the French nuns at my convent school introduced me to the works of Leconte de Lisle, a French Romantic poet of the 19th century. His poems are wonderfully descriptive and vivid – about wild animals, magnificent dawns and sunsets, exotic settings and colourful vistas. (If you’d like to check out his poems, visit my blog at and look at the category ‘favourite poems’).


By this point, I was already determined to be a writer. Stories and writing had always been part of my life. My grandmother was a published author of poetry, my father was a great raconteur (and had published a book about the history of our family), and my governess used to tell the most fabulous fairy stories – I could listen to them for hours. When I was seven she and I came to an agreement: for every story she’d tell me I would invent one in return. That is how my passion for storytelling began. At school, I began to write short romantic stories during lessons and circulate them in class, which made me very popular with my peers (but less so with the nuns!).


Then, in my teenage years, I went on holiday to Kenya with my parents, and met our family friend Mr Chiumbo Wagai who introduced me to his beautiful country and to its people, with all they have to offer of tradition, custom and philosophy. I was enthralled by every aspect of this land of flamboyant landscapes and the kind and hospitable tribes that inhabit it. When, years later, I put pen to paper, Kenya was the obvious place set my romantic novel.


The plot for Burning Embers stepped into my mind one night in my house in France when I couldn’t sleep. I was sitting up in my bed (which looks over the Mediterranean) watching the silver full moon shimmering on the sea and a liner, all lit up, glided past towards the horizon. It was such a romantic sight that I found myself wondering about the lives of the people on board that ship. Who were they? Where were they going? Were they on holiday or running away from something? I got hold of my notebook and pen (which are kept in my bag during the day and on my bedside table at night) and the first sketch of the novel was born – and the first scene of Chapter 1 is set aboard such a liner.


Inspiration for the characters was simple. In the sixties, I admired Twiggy. For my story I needed a young, innocent-looking, beautiful girl and Twiggy (with long hair, though) filled the description and became the heroine. As for Rafe – I have always had a penchant for Latin-looking dusky men, and a whole stream of Italian actors who fitted the sultry, mysterious character I wanted to create came to mind. Writing Rafe was most enjoyable!


There was only one challenge during the writing of Burning Embers – reining myself in to stop writing when it was time to go to dinner or get ready for bed! The writing flowed out of me, and I was so enjoying the process and so lost in the world I was creating on paper that it was all too easy to forget about reality. Burning Embers took me a year to write. A year of delight and pleasure – I’ve never been in such a good mood!


Since then, I have written a very passionate trilogy that takes place in Andalucia, Spain, and spans three generations of a Spanish/English family, from 1950 to the present day; and also a romantic novel set in Venice and Tuscany, Italy, in 1979/1980. It opens with the Venice Carnival that has returned after a cessation of almost two centuries. I’m now in the process of researching my next historical romance trilogy, which will be set in Egypt and will take my readers from 1945 to the present day. As you can see, I love writing about the places to which I travel, and writing gives me a wonderful excuse to explore different cultures and meet wonderful people all over the world.


Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but na ve twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She's leaving the life she's known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance--the plantation that was her childhood home--Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral's childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father's death. Circumstance confirms Coral's worst suspicions, but when Rafe's life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fianc, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman's affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral's inheritance? Or does Rafe's troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine? Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.


I found this book a great read. It captures the reader’s attention from the beginning, weaving the story in such a manner that it is easy to slip right into the plot.
Something that I really enjoyed and appreciated, since I know how difficult it is to get right, was the believable relationship Fielding created between Coral and Rafe. It’s so easy to overdo the romance in these kinds of books, that I breathed with relief when I saw that this author knew just how to write it believably. The setting itself is almost a character of its own. The way Fielding writes, with lush detail that never overwhelms or bores, really takes the reader right to the places she describes.

The plot is quick, as it should be in this genre, with nice sense of timing. I also enjoyed how Coral’s character grows as the novel progresses, leaving behind that air of naiveté that she begins with and becoming a fully fledged woman by the end.

I do recommend this book for all lovers of a romantic story that is well written and highly entertaining.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Quick–what are you reading right now? (Other than this question on
this website, of course.) Would you recommend it? What’s it about?

I am reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. It is, of course, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and yes, of course, I'd recommend it. The whole series is fabulous and easy for any one to fall in love with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.

This is, of course, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy that has become so popular. I’m a tad bit late to the party, only now having decided to read the books, but I am completely enthralled in the story.

Katniss is the main reason, I think, why the books have gotten as big as they have. She is a wholly believable character, with enough flaws to seem real. But there is also a core of strength in her that makes her a compelling heroine. Peeta has grown on me. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, or Gale, for that matter, in the first book, but Peeta has become a much more interesting character in this book. I would have liked to see a bit more of Gale. He’s the only character I feel is a bit underdeveloped.

The plot is wonderful, as the first one was. At first, when the reader realizes Katniss is going to be thrown into the Games again, it might feel a bit forced, but of course, this is the exact point. It has to be something that seems too coincidental in the books. So the author did a nice job of handling that and getting her into another arena in a smooth manner. There are some very clever moments, and the arena in this one is highly entertaining.

Of course, I do recommend this book. I am moving onward to the final installment.

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently, I'm reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

And Breaking the Devil's Heart (Logic of Demons #2) by H.A. Goodman

I just finished reading Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman. You can read my review here.

Next, I'll probably read Word and Breath (Wordless Chronicles, #1) by

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

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!

From Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

"I killed you, I think as I pass a pile. And you. And you."

pg. 5

Monday, September 17, 2012

Musing Mondays

What is your least favorite book? Why?

I would have to say The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I've read other of his books and have relatively enjoyed them, but this one was one that had me rolling my eyes at eveyr page. For me, it was too self-indulgent, the words written just to show off how wonderful the writer was. The plot was so thin, it got completely diluted in all the side nonsense. As you can see, this is one I'd really not recommend, although I know lots of people really loved it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman

Falling in love, baking a magical cake, fighting an evil necromancer—it’s all in a day’s work for Audrey Oliver, seventeen-year-old witch-in-training. When her mother goes missing and her mysterious "cousin" shows up out of the blue, Audrey knows something’s gone horribly, dangerously wrong. Now it’s up to her to get her own magical powers up to speed before everyone she loves is destroyed by the sorcerer intricately connected to her mother’s secret past.

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft is more than just a novel; it's a book of spells, a collection of easy recipes, a charming Young Adult novel, an enchanting romance, and an action-packed adventure. As Audrey overcomes her insecurities and learns to protect herself against the wicked black magic of her nemesis, she grows into a heroine we can root for—a witch who knows that true power comes from deep within.

This is one of those books that can make a weekend fly by as you read it. It’s the kind that puts you in a good mood.

The protagonist is Audrey, of course, a teenage girl dealing with the regular issues that come with adolescence and with the things that come with being a witch in training. She is a fun heroine to follow throughout the book, with enough spunk to make her more interesting than many of the YA female protagonists that are out there at the moment.

I would have liked a bit more development in the book’s magical side. The magic performed in the story seemed to come too easily, and it would have added a nice bit of tension to have made it more of a challenge.

The story is fast-paced (sometimes a bit too fast), so that we are never bored. The ending felt just a tad rushed, but it is an interesting conclusion to the book. Of course, this is just the first in a series, so there’s still lots that will happen in Audrey’s life.

I recommend this book to YA fiction lovers and to those of you who are looking for something fun to read.

Stacking the Shelves

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht