Friday, 26 February 2016

Blogger Down

Sorry folks I am under the weather with really bad allergies - the price we are paying for spring weather already. Once my sinuses and itchy eyes clear up I will be back with some great stuff.  Making up for any posts I miss. I just poked my head out to let you I am alive.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Throwback Thursday: Oscar Sunday

I used to love the Oscars...I made sure that if I had to work on Sundays I could at least get one Sunday off a year...Oscar Sunday! I would watch all the pre-shows, stars walking the carpet, the Oscars and post-Oscar shows.  When I was in my late teens I would try and watch as many of the movies that were nominated as I could.  I have always liked the glitz and glamour of Hollywood but I think the shine has worn off for me.  Plus, who gets nominated and who wins seems to be just a popularity contest rather than based on merit.  For the past seven years, I have not seen the Oscars nor have I really been interested in who is nominated...but I will always love movies....especially movies adapted from books.

Written by Avery Corman
1977; 256 Pages
Genre: fiction, literary

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★
After some years of marriage and parenthood Joanna Kramer walks out on her husband and son.  In the note she tells Ted she needs more than being a stay at home mom.  Now Ted is a single father trying to understand how Joanna could leave their son, Billy and what he has to do next.  As Ted and Billy start to get used to their new life Joanna returns and wants sole custody.

I have been wanting to read this book since I first saw the movie Kramer vs. Kramer in the early 90s.  I enjoyed the novel which expands on backstory of the Kramers yet lacks the personal touch.  This novel feels like an author telling a story rather than the characters.

Written by David Goodis
1946; 256 Pages
Genre: mystery, fiction, noir
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★
Dark Passage was made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The movie does follow the book closely with some differences.

Vincent Parry has just been convicted of murdering his wife. He is not completely upset with Gert dying and that did not help his case of innocence. Other than his fingerprints, alibi and his discontentment with his wife, there is Madge. Madge is Gert's "friend" who has her eye on Parry and is now saying she heard Gert's last words accusing her husband.

Parry has nothing to lose so he tries to make an escape from prison and for once his luck is holding up. He meets a young blonde woman who is wiling to aid him while he is on the run. Parry is not sure what to think but he does not have anyone else to turn to. Can he trust this stranger especially when he learns more about who she is?

I really like the movie version and it is my favourite movie of Bogart and Bacall's even though it is not as well known. The book was amazing. It is post-war noir at it's best. This is my first novel by Goodis and I liked his writing style - it is to the point and hovers on darkness and realism. If you like Mystery old time radio or movies you may want to give this one a shot!

 Not adapted into a movie...but about Hollywood
Written by Horace McCoy
1938; 183 Pages
genre: literary, fiction
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

Rating: ★★★
Ralph and Mona are down and out movie extras waiting for their big break into Hollywood. As Ralph's accent holds him back he becomes desperate to change his luck.  During a court trial of a friend Mona is held for contempt and leads herself and Ralph into Hollywood society.  Ralph finds himself being led into a world that will test his morals and desperation.

I immensely enjoyed my first novel by Horace McCoy.  McCoy's writing reminds me of Cormac McCarthy and James M. Cain's as it is straight to the point and gritty.  We always get the shiny happily ever after stories of the golden age of Hollywood.  In I Should Have Stayed Home it further opened my eyes to those who do not make as stars.  I was grabbed from the opening scene of a court trial to the end of the novel.  It was one of my read till I finish novels.  I recommend this n0ovel to anyone who enjoys a gripping story.
I am hoping to read McCoy's most popular novel They Shoot Horses Don't They set in the Depression Era.  Stayed tuned for a review...(I hope).

 k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wooing Wednesday: Virgin River Part I

Have you ever wanted to escape from your life just for awhile? Take some time away from the stress and problems that seem to just pile up?  If this sounds even a bit fabulous right now...come with me to the fictional small-town VIRGIN RIVER(California). It's a place that feels like home - where everyone knows you, accepts you and you can be just you. And after several hardcore suspense thrillers Virgin River is just what I need.  For this Wooing Wednesday I am going back to a series and author (Robyn Carr) I discovered in 2012. I am almost caught up on Carr's THUNDER POINT series and wanted to share some of Robyn Carr's gem.  She is the type of author that leaves you with hope.

(Virgin River: #1)
Written by Robyn Carr
2007; 386 Pages
Genre: contemporary, fiction, romance

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Melinda (or Mel) Monroe, an ER nurse in LA, has burned out especially since the murder of her doctor husband, Mark.  In a quick decision she to sell her house and move to a small town she has never seen to help the local doctor as a midwife.  She soon discovers this is a bad idea as the cabin she is given is falling apart, dirty and plain unlivable.  The local doctor, Doc does not think he needs help and the town is so small there is not much to do or go.  Things start to change when she meets Jack Sheridan - the owner of a bar/diner and when she delivers her first baby.  Will this be enough for Mel to stay in Virgin River for good?

If you are a fan of  Susan Wiggs or Luanne Rice you will soon add Robyn Carr to the list.  These are sweet cozy novels about love and life.  They are not fluffy or light but neither are they depressing.  From the first few chapters I was drawn into Mel's life and the town of Virgin River. I like the way Carr introduces main and secondary characters.  I love the romance between Jack and Mel and the crotchety-ness of Hope and Doc.

(Virgin River: #2)
Written by Robyn Carr
2007; 386 Pages
Genre: contemporary, fiction, romance

Rating: ★★ 1/2

Paige Lassiter, and her young son Christopher show up at Jack's bar lost, hungry and  Paige beaten.  John "Preacher" Middletone quickly finds himself not only feeling protective of the two strangers, but actually falling for both of them.  Also going on in Virgin River...Liz is pregnant with Rick's baby and they must decide what to do next....Mel is pregnant as well still practicing with Doc. And Jack is getting in everyone's business - including little sister, Brie whose husband has just left her for her best friend.

I really like this novel!  It reminded me of Susan Wiggs's Lakeshore Chronicles that you continue to know what is going on in the past characters lives (and adding new characters).  You definitely have to read these in order but you will not regret is like visiting new or old friends.

(Virgin River: #2)
Written by Robyn Carr
2007; 386 Pages
Genre: contemporary, fiction, romance

Rating: ★

There is a lot going on this novel...Brie Sheridan, Jack's little sister and pet, has been raped and is now recovering slowly psychologically. (She is a prosecutor and was raped by the man she was prosecuting).   Mike, a former womanizer and cop , steps up to make Brie feel safe again and show her he loves her.  After being shot on the job Mike know what Brie is going through. And Jack of course interferes every step of the way.

Preacher is trying to get Paige knocked up but it just isn't happening - their problem might be too much sex!  There is also a new family in Virgin River - the Booths -former General Walt Booth with his teenage son Tommy and his daughter Vanessa.  Vanessa is pregnant while her husband, Matt, is still in Iraq. His best friend, Paul Haggerty (who is in love with Vanessa) is there to help her every step of the way.
The young girls in VR are being date-raped with roofies and contracting a STD. Mike and Mel are on the case. Brenda, the girl Tommy is interested in, was one of the victims.
This is so far my favourite book in the series (which might be the case with every new book - lol).  I love the Mike and Brie storyline as well as Tommy and Brenda's.  I found that the action started right away and did not stop till the last page.  The multiple storyline only makes it a better novel as it makes you feel like you really are in Virgin River.

Virgin River 

1. Virgin River (2007)
2. Shelter Mountain (2007)
3. Whispering Rock (2007)
4. A Virgin River Christmas (2008)
5. Second Chance Pass (2009)
6. Temptation Ridge (2009)
7. Paradise Valley (2009)
8. Under the Christmas Tree (2009) (in That Holiday Feeling) novella
9. Forbidden Falls (2009)
10. Angel's Peak (2010)

11. Moonlight Road (2010)
12. Midnight Confessions (2010) (in Midnight Kiss) novella
13. Promise Canyon (2010)
14. Wild Man Creek (2011)
15. Harvest Moon (2011)
16. Bring Me Home For Christmas (2011)
17. Hidden Summit (2011)
18. Redwood Bend (2012)
19. Sunrise Point (2012)

Author's website and more fun Virgin River stuff:

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: A Great and Terrible Beauty

While I worked at the bookstore I kept coming across this young adult book with a very gorgeous cover.  So when I saw it at the library a few weeks later I knew it was just meant to be. I remember being absorbed from the moment I opened the cover.  I only had to wait a few months for the second book (Rebel Angel) but the third (The Sweet Far Thing) wouldn't be out for two years.  By that time I was busy graduating from University and figuring out my life.  I did manage to purchase a copy though, so good on me. Recently I read the first two books in Bray's newest series, The Diviners, (second book is Lair of Dreams) and I loved them.  It got me thinking that I never finished the Gemma Doyle Trilogy that I had enjoyed so much.  My goal this year was to reread the first two and finally read the last book...

(Gemma Doyle Trilogy: #1)
Written by Libba Bray
Narrated by Josephine Bailey
2003, 403 Pages (11 Hours and 13 Minutes)
Genre: young adult, supernatural, suspense, romance

Rating: ★★★★★

Gemma is still trying to come to terms with foreseeing her mother's death, and then having to see it come true.  Her brother and grandmother think she should leave India to attend Spence Academy for Girls in England.  As if Gemma wasn't having a bad enough time the girls at the school have decided to snub her and make her an outcast.  Her roommate is a scholarship student who sides with the popular girls even though she too is made fun of by them.  The tide turns when she saves and in turns blackmails, Felicity the leader of the pack.  Trying to prove herself to Felicity and beautiful Pippa, Gemma brings along Ann and reveals some of her secrets and they soon find themselves involved in a supernatural mystery that could leave them in great peril.

I listened to A Great and Terrible Beauty on audio this time just for something different and really enjoyed Bailey's narration.  Her impression of Ann's nasally voice is spot-on, I think.  This is a perfect example of a young adult novel that is for both teens and adults.  There is nothing in this novel that is appropriate for a teen that watches young adult shows and movies.  Yet the plot is intricate enough to keep an adult engrossed.  Having just watched Penny Dreadful (definitely NOT for teens) I was geared up for the Victorian supernatural world.  I enjoyed the characters - main and secondary - as they were each so different and realistic.  I read this first when I was 24 and now at 35 I still would rate it a 5 star.  I really fell into the world created by Bray.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Mystery Monday: Joy Fielding's She's Not There

I have been reading Joy Fielding's novels since I picked up Kiss Mommy Goodbye. I think I was in my mid-teens when I read this book for the first time. I remember the cover was very 1980s and I think I first picked it up because it was so terrible looking.  I read the synopsis and it drew me - a divorced mother lets her children go away for the weekend with their father but soon realizes she may not see them again.  I remember starting it on a Saturday morning and being sucked in for the rest of the day. I read a few more of her novels but it was in 2002 that I started back up with Fielding's books.  I was in University at the time and had a day where my courses were 6 hours apart but not worth going back home.  I would study but I needed a break where my mind needed some fun reading.  I remember wandering the stacks of fiction and literature in awe of how many books I had not read...yet. (More about my University library wanderings in another post.)

I came upon an author I had not read in awhile...Joy Fielding.  The books the library had did not have jacket covers for hardcovers.  Often I picked a book based on title.  I can't remember what book I started with but after finishing it I started to read everything written by Fielding I could get my hands on.  I reread the ones I first read in my teens as I could not remember the details.  Each book I read left an impression on me as Fielding is great with psychological suspense.  Whispers and Lies is my favourite to date as it left me speechless for a few days.  Then I got to The Wild Zone and I could not finish the novel without major skimming.  I was left bewildered to the point I did not pick up another Fielding book for 5 years (2 books in between).  I was afraid I had overdosed on Fielding and now my tolerance was not the same.  Last year I took a deep breath and tried Fielding's new book, Someone is Watching and I enjoyed it but still lacked a little suspense for me.  This year when I saw there was a new Fielding book I knew I had to try again...

Joy Fielding
FEBRUARY 23, 2016; 368 Pages
Genre: mystery, suspense, psychological

Rating: ★

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.)

 Caroline Shipley's husband, Hunter surprises her with an anniversary trip to Mexico with their two daughters, her brother and his wife, her best friend and her husband plus Hunter's business friend and his wife.  When their babysitter does not show up Hunter talks Caroline into going to dinner anyway with them checking on their daughters every 30 minutes.  As they have dinner in the hotel restaurant they take turns checking on the girls and when they head up for the night they relaize their baby daughter, Samantha is missing.

Fifteen years later...Caroline has suffered not just by losing her daughter and not knowing if she is even alive, but by having reporters hound her every year over the kidnapping.  She has lost her husband, she can't seem to get through to her other daughter, she cannot trust people or make new friends.  As she gears up for another year of reliving Samantha's disappearance she receives a phone call from a young girl who thinks she may be Samantha and leads Caroline to more questions.  As everyone else tells her its a hoax she cannot help but explore the possibility her daughter is back even if it ruins her world further.

Wow, this book had me from the start and the emotional kick this novel has is intense.  I have to admit this was a book I stayed up till 1am reading.  I had to know if Lily was Samantha and what happened to Samantha either way.  I am not a mother but I have nieces and nephews and my bestie is pregnant with a girl so the premise of this story is definitely one of my worst nightmares.  And, having been lost a few times I understand that feeling of blind panic.  Not that you need any experience as Fielding delivers on emotional and psychological aspect of this suspense thriller.  She's Not There reminds me of a vintage Fielding novel and I am excited again...and the two books I missed in those 5 years are getting read this year, count on.

I think in the coming month I may do some reviews of Joy Fielding's books as I would recommend her novels to any mystery fan. And, she's Canadian (who also lives in Florida!) If you have read all of Joy Fielding's novels please try Mary Higgins Clark, Wendy Corsi Staub, Harlan Coben's standalone novels, Linwood Barclay's standalone novels and Carleen Thompson.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 19 February 2016

Feature Friday: A Letter to Nell's Fans

Today Harper Lee died.  As you have read in previous posts, her novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been a great influence in my reading and thinking.  Today I want to take a moment and thank this amazing woman for  not just writing a great book that brought me more than a few hours of entertainment.  She has inspired me  I know that most readers leave TKAM wanting to be lawyers and change the world of law and justice.  I left TKAM wanting to be a writer.  I am not the person that will change the world in any way - no grand illusions here.  BUT I want to bring awareness of what our world is like now and hopefully inspire others that can change the world.  Lee wrote this novel in hopes of writing more works. She didn't think it was going to be a best-seller or that it would mean so much to people.

I read TKAM and I came away with the one fact...the world is not fair.  It's not black or white, right or wrong.  People do terrible things to good people and sometimes they won't pay the consequences.  Not to get too deep, but it me question my own ideals, values and religion.  Every time I read the book I measure myself in a way.  I am a thinker, a worrier, a planner, and I express myself in words and writing.  I write because it frees my thoughts.  I choose to be an outsider and peer at the world in many lenses.  I know some people see it as hiding or not living my own life...but I love stories and being around them and telling's my thing. Whether anyone reads them or not my words are out there...I am out there.  That is what Lee has given me through her writing...a purpose that is just my own.  With my grandmother's death three years ago this month, I have let go of the "must be" for the "I am".  Ms. Lee might be gone but for me she will never be forgotten.  I hope she has found peace and is with her beloved sister.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Thoughtful Thursday!

Today I am taking over Throwback Thursday for Thoughtful Thursday...

TODAY'S THOUGHT: The Supernatural 

If one of your favourite genres (romance, mystery or classic) suddenly mixed with the Supernatural...would you try it?  There seems to be a market for it so you may have that decision to make.  I, myself, have always been intrigued with the supernatural.  I like stories - oral, books, television, movies, etc that have that mysterious element.  I am a huge fan of mysteries and often will read anything - barring that a cat is solving the mystery.  And, stories about the supernatural are a mystery in itself.  One of my favourite books is Firelight by Kristin Callihan that is a historical romance with mystery and supernatural.  The way Callihan is able to combine all those aspects with great characterization and plot makes it a real winner for me. While I respect science and realism in my life...I enjoy the "unknown" in my creativity.

Now back to Throwback Thursday.... 

(Darkest London: #1)
Written by Kristen Callihan
2012; 372 Pages
Genre: historical, romance, mystery, supernatural, paranormal

Rating: ★★1/2

(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).Miranda's mother died leaving her in the hands of her greedy father who taught he how to pinch items. Since she was blamed for the fire that burned his warehouse Miranda feels obligated when her father makes her steal for their income. She is soon promised to the Lord Benjamin Archer the mysterious masked man.

Miranda is intrigued by Archer and wants to know more about him and what is behind the mask. Archer loves her and wants to share himself but is afraid she will run away if she sees who he really is. After their wedding older men connected with Archer are being murdered by a masked man which all but Miranda believe is Archer. Can discovering what is under Archer's mask unmask the murderer?
Drop Everything and Read!

I love Beauty and the Beast and have heard some poor retelling of the story but was pleasantly surprised how much I liked this novel. The Victorian setting with swashbuckling action mixed with paranormal romance made for an original and exciting novel. I love the passion and romance of Archer and Miranda. I am ready for book two, please.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wooing Wednesday: P&P

When it comes to Pride and Prejudice I have read the original novel, read some retellings and sequels based on P&P, watched the black and white film to BBC's mini-series to the Keira Knightly version, and I have seen Hollywood and Bollywood films based on the P&P premise. And, today I add the play adaption of P&P.

Poster of the play
When I saw that the Arts Club (Vancouver, BC) was going to put on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice I knew that this was something I had to attend.  I have enjoyed almost every production the Arts Club has done that have been adapted from books, movies and other plays (The 39 Steps, It's a Wonderful Life, The Graduate, etc).  Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, and even though P&P is not my favourite novel it is still a classic for me.  Austen has great characters and just amazing wit.  At times P&P plays like a melodramatic love story and for me it is a true romantic-comedy. Janet Munsil's adaptation and Sarah Rodger's direction brings out the humour of Jane Austen's writing and P&P's essence.  The actors as a troop did a wonderful job in heightening the humour that the audience was not just laughing but had that amused look to them that Austen would approve of.  I had a great time and 2.5 hours went by quickly.

One of million covers of P&P
Written by Jane Austen
1813, 279 Pages
Genre: classic, romance, humour, literary


"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

Mrs. Bennet has five unmarried of age daughters and when Mr. Bingley comes to the country she hopes his fortune will be her good fortune.  Thus begins the comedy of romance - as Jane and Mr. Bingley fall in love but have as many forces that want them separated; the Bennet heir wants to marry one - any - of the Bennet sisters but finds that no one wants to make that sacrifice; Mr. Darcy finds Lizzie tolerable and Lizzie finds Darcy insufferable; Miss. Bingley wants Darcy and her brother to marry Georgina; everyone is taken by Wickham but Darcy and Wickham is friendly to anyone but Darcy; Lydia and Kitty flirt with any man; Mary prefer books; and Charlotte is plain.  As courtships begin and end we are not sure who will be with you by the end, but we know Mrs. Bennet will try her hardest to get everyone paired off.

One of the reasons that this novel is not a five star book for me is because I am not in love with Darcy.  I find him a bit too much work.  I also find Lizzie a bit too judgmental of people so do not connect as much as I would like with her character.  Yet, I like them together and am satisfied with their story.  It is the secondary characters in this novel that makes it endearing to me - Mr. Bennet is just so lovely and I think Charlotte is the grandest friend.  I could go on about the other characters but you get the picture.  This is a love story that is more than just a romance as the wit and insights that Austen writes are just brilliant.  While I enjoy the story and would read some of the fan fiction and watch any movie adaptation it is not a reread for me.  I have read Emma a few times and want to read Sense and Sensibility again...but P&P has been read and I am done with visiting the story of P&P in that form.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: Another Harry Potter!

I was going to do a review but then realized we have not discussed the new Harry Potter book!  Here are just the facts, ma'am...

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the official EIGHTH book in the Harry Potter series

2. HP and the CC is based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany; and a new play by Jack Thorne,

3. This is the official script edition that will also be used for the play by the same name

4.  The story takes place nineteen years later when Harry and the gang are adults with children.

5. We will meet Harry's kids! SYNOPSIS: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

6. The play is premiering on July 30, 2016 in the UK...

7. and the book is being released on July 31, 2016.

8. You may pre-order your copy now ($29.99 in Canada)

9. As a HP fan I will be reading this script and am so happy that is officially part of Potter world!

10.  I will be reviewing HP and the CC but most likely not until August 2016

k (My Novelesque Life)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Mystery Monday: Calling Karin Slaughter Fans!

One thing I love about my job as a Library Assistant is being in Check In - the area where books are being checked in from patrons, other libraries and NEW BOOKS!  I love seeing books come in, period.  I see books I have read and loved - and read and not loved- and books that look interesting enough to add to my TBR list  or a new book I need to put on hold.  I also come across books (cough Kardashians cough) that make me doubt the publishing world - thank gawd that only happens once in awhile. And, then there are moments I know the Book Fairy exists -  a new shiny hardcover with the phrases "A Thriller" and "debut novel" comes in from our technical department and there is NO hold on it.  I feel guilty at first and look around me and see if anyone else is experiencing this miracle with me.  No, it's just me.  I caress the cover and slowly open it without cracking the spine.  It has me from "Beth Sturgis...Atlanta PD...manhunt for serial killer".  This book is going home with me...done.  I take it home and put it on the TBR shelf on my bookshelf of books and tea and jewelry.  I cannot wait and start the book a night later.

(Sturgis and Kale: #1)

Written By Roberts Daniel
2015; 352 Pages
Genre: mystery, suspense, thriller, romantic-suspense

Rating: ★★1/2

Beth Sturgis has worked her way to the Robbery-Homicide division of Atlanta PD as a Detective.  With her partner out of commission, Beth is the lead on a murder case that has all the markings of a past murder spree complete with two women missing.  As the serial killer, the Scarecrow, has already been caught Beth is now looking for a copycat.  For more insight into the case she looks to Jack Kale, a former FBI agent, to help her discover where the women are and who has them.  Kale's reluctant advice leads Sturgis to the bodies of the women and she is afraid there will be more to come. 

 Kale, who left the FBI due to the Scarecrow case does not want to help Beth or the Atlanta PD and tries to walk away.  The killer has other plans for Kale and soon he finds himself in the middle of the manhunt with Beth by his side.  In trying to uncover the killer's identity Kale must keep his demons at bay and keep him and Beth alive.  Beth just wants to capture the killer before more bodies pile up and her job is jeopardy.
Drop Everything And Read -- Now!

It has awhile since a new-to-me book and author has had me flipping pages deep into the night.  As I was reading this one in hardcover I could not sneak extra minutes in the dark like I can with my eReader.  Right away this novel had me hooked! Beth is a strong female lead that any reader can relate to - yet she has some secrets that come out slowly but I don't think we have the full story yet. Kale, flawed as Will Trent (from Karin Sluaghter's series Will Trent), is the ying to Beth's yang.  They have great chemistry among the thrilling plot.  I enjoyed the secondary characters that help balance this book from just being a mystery/suspense.  Like a good series we are introduced to these characters but Daniels has kept back things that will have you coming back to find out more.  I enjoyed the suspense in this story and the mystery had me guessing to the last clue.  And, when you think back it all makes sense...I am so happy to sear that this will be a series and the second book will be out later this year.  I don't want to reveal any spoilers so I apologize for my vagueness.  I highly recommend this book to ANY mystery lover that can take a bit of grittiness.  

k (My Novelesque Life)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentine's Day of Sunday Tea

Sorry, no post today as I had a great Valentine's Weekend but also have some allergies.  My eyes are not cooperating with reading or posting. I am enjoying listening to Glory in Death on audiobook...I am doing a reread of the In Death series with the Goodreads group so will have better reviews up soon!

Happy Valentine's Day, Lovelies!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Friday Feature: The Look of Romance

Something a little personal to celebrate Valentine's Day

Say the words, romance novel, and you get an instant reaction.  It can be the roll of the eyes, stink face, looks of superiority or the look of stars and smiles.  I fall somewhere in between roll of the eyes and look of star and smiles, because I am a romantic at heart but realist in the brain.  I grew up with the reality of arranged marriages.  99.9% of my older relatives (grandparents, grand uncles and aunts, aunts and uncles and any one else from that generation) married because they were told to by their elders.  In those marriages a few found love, some found hell, but most found compromise.  My older cousins were set up by people and went on dates and then very soon were married.  There was romance but they don't talk about it much. I didn't have much personal guidance in love, romance or sex.

I grew up with a lot of movies, TV shows, soap operas, Hindi movies and every kind of book.  That was my education to love.  And what I saw was grand passion, crazy stories of getting together despite all obstacles, and having everything work out.  The man sweeps the woman off her feet, loves her no matter what and both overlook anything negative.

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great Years
SO when  I pictured my dream guy...which I did pretty early in life as I have always had this desire to find another person that gets me.  In Kindergarten I was always in the plastic house rolling my eyes when no one but me knew how "playing house" worked.  In grade one I was trying out the wedding thing by getting married at recess to almost anyone willing to do what I say.  By preteens I was crushing over whoever was cool on TV at that time.  Basically, I knew I would marry and I always knew I would find "the one."

Sweet Valley High and University Years
Then I hit my teens, no one had asked me out since the fourth grade and I started to see it wasn't about me and what I was about compromise.  I have this tendency to fall for a guy who I know is out of my reach or unattainable because I don't want to be hurt.  I'd rather be rejected right away because at that stage I can still pretend like I don't care.  So while I read and tried to be good at school my mind was still on why wasn't I getting my love story, even if it is the teen drama version.

Bridget Jones's Diary Years
By my twenties I had the "I don't care about guys and getting married or having kids" down pretty good that at times I even believed it myself.  In my late-20s to early-30s I would try dating but I was scared to take it seriously because romance equals love and me...while I was feeling like I did not have that thing in me that makes guys want to romance me.  With that kind of attitude why would they?  Now at 35 I look back and think of all the time I wasted letting my head lead my love life.

The Wallflowers Years
I know you are romance novels are bad for women? No, they are actually good for women.  I was so busy trying to be someone I am not and trying to look smart I am not sure if it got me anywhere.  In 2010-11 (approximately) I started to read more romance - contemporary and historical.  Two people I met on Shelfari who read similar books and had the same passion for reading were recommending authors that I now enjoy.  These two women, my book soulmates, introduced me to smart romance novels (ie: not just Danielle Steel or unrealistic stories) that had storylines that really can happen.  They show heroines as smart feisty flawed women who are supported by men just as flawed.  I know, some of you want to reach out and pat me on the head...but I am okay.  I am not married with kids (yet) but I have better understanding of when it comes around.  I won't settle for less but I am also not reach for the unattainable...I know my worth and my flaws and I am hoping that I someday to get my  Mr. Worth and Flawed.

Bottom line: Read a good romance novel where real shit happens and guess what?  (Gasp!) You have not lost any IQ points and may have learned something new...just saying.

Looking for Smart Romance novels? I will feature some of my favourites on Wooing Wednesday!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Throwback Thursday: Romantic Suspense

For today's Throwback Thursday I will be reviewing a Nora Roberts romantic suspense novel that I think is a true RS.

2015 Kindle Cover
Written by Nora Roberts
1991; 512 Pages
(Read in 2013)
Genre: romantic suspense, mystery, thriller

Rating: ★★★★

Things in Innocence, Mississippi are anything but innocent. A second women in this small town has been found murdered after having a public row with one of the wealthy townspeople. Tucker a lady killer is suspected of being a killer of ladies, as both women were known to Tucker in more than a friendly manner. People are divided in what they think has happened and who has done. Caroline has returned to her mother's hometown after a breakdown to recover in her late grandmother's home. She soon finds herself involved with Tucker despite all her protests and finds herself right in the middle of a homicide case. Sex, secrets, betrayal, revenge and love has blown up in small town Innocence.

Roberts and the South make a good combination. It is a Gothic Southern  RS novel at its best. Whether you figure out who the murderer is or not you will be reading to the last word (I discovered the killer but it was a pleasure reading to the end). The bad boy go with the flow Tucker is exactly what makes straight-laced good girl Caroline uneasy -- and attracted. If you are looking for romance and suspense this is a good novel to start with!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wooing Wednesday: Romantic Suspense?

What makes a novel a romantic suspense?  Is it the balance of romance to suspense? In a way it is a balance act, though not an equal balance in my opinion. For me, a great romantic suspense (RS) novel is a suspense thriller with a romantic interest subplot.  Karen Rose is one of my favourite RS writers as she writes great characters in chilling situations but they also find love.  So far her RS books have stayed true to being more thrilling.

Then are some books posing as romantic suspense but in reality are more romance with a touch of mystery.  (The story focuses on the romance between hero and heroine, and the mystery aspect is just a plot point to move the story along).  And, by posing, I don't mean the publishers are lying about the material, but rather they are marketing books almost incorrectly.  I think this only hurts the publishers/writers/books as readers like me are expecting electrifying novels, but instead get only a bit of action and then feel let down.  (At this time I am not going to call out these books).  I find that some authors like Nora Roberts get shafted in the marketing of their novels.  I am going to focus on Nora Roberts as I review her RS novel, The Liar.

North American Cover
Written by Nora Roberts
2015; 411 Pages
Genre: contemporary, romance, contemporary

Ratings: ★★★★

The Liar opens with Shelby Foxworth discovering that her late husband, Richard has left her in severe debt. As she starts to sort through Richard's belongings she discovers that her husband has been lying to her since they met. His name might not even be his real identity. As she begins to pay off most of the debt she finds there are more sinister motives behind her marriage.  Shelby cannot help but be happy her husband was lost at sea. When she pays off a big chunk of his debt she packs up her young daughter, Callie, and heads back home to her family.

Her family quickly accepts her and her daughter into the family fold but they cannot believe all the things that had been going on.  Shelby does have to gain back her best friend's trust as she missed so many important things .  As she looks for a job and tries to make a new life she meets a new man, Griff (best friend and partner of Shelby;s best friend).  He is already loved by her whole family and now her own daughter is in love with him.  She now has to learn to trust again.  As things are going well, Shelby discovers she also has an enemy in a old schoolmate.  After all the things she has been through, can Shelby make a new happy life despite her past and new present?
UK cover

I am lucky that I have a dear friend, a readaholic and a fan of Nora Roberts, so I was given a heads up on the book's real "genre".  After reading her very on-point review I knew going in I should read it as a contemporary romance with a bit of mystery thrown in.

Nora Roberts is an impressive writer.  She write a great suspense-mystery series (In Death) under the name of JD Robb (Lots more on JD Robb in the future!) that has over 40 books and is still going strong.  She has written romance books that define the romance genre. Roberts has written contemporary, historical and paranormal romances.  I find that I either love her books or am disappointed.  Many times that disappointment comes from how the book has been labeled.  She is strong at suspense and romance so I love when she writes RS novels.  Yet, this book lacks suspense so if you are reading it as that you will be disappointed and will miss the thing that it is strong at - romance and family drama.

I really enjoyed this book though the mystery was simple to figure out.  I enjoyed the romance between Griff and Shelby because it was sweet and stable.  The way the two interacted with other characters kept me absorbed in the story.  The secondary characters were all fabulous and at times quite humourous.  In short The Liar is a perfect contemporary romance to lose yourself in and I hope those who enjoy romance give it a shot.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Toddlers, Tots and Teens: Just for Kids?

Recently, I have been reading a lot of picture books.  It could be my biological clock ticking but more likely that I am surrounded my babies - and I think I like it!  Once my nephew was born in 2014, I started to look at picture books because I wanted to make sure he had a kick-ass book collection.  Now with my bestie having a girl I can't help but scour books to find the cream of the crop.  As much as this started out as a weeding out good books it has now turned into a real like.  I enjoy reading these clever stories with gorgeous illustrations.  It takes a lot to keep a small kid's attention and have them love books.  I am in great awe of that.
Loved The Book Thief!

I'm in great awe of any author in any genre that can take a reader to another world.  I read picture books, middle school chapter books, young adult novels, graphic novels and visiting some of my childhood favourites.  I enjoy each genre.  I think if a writer is a great storyteller they can capture a story at any age group for (almost) any age group.  I am not advocating children reading inappropriate adult-level books (insert your own parenting rules here).

In 2014, I reread the Anne of Green Gables series (I had never read the whole series through) and I was just as enchanted with it now as I was I first read it when I was 8.  Last year I read Libba Bray's Diviner series - meant for young adults - yet it was smart and engaging for any age.  Young adult has become so popular with women in their 20s, 30s and 40s it has spawned a spin-off genre, New Adult (more on NA in another post).  Books for children like, Harry Potter and Hunger Games have step up standards of writing so that parents enjoy reading to their children - beyond teach them to read but instilling the joy of reading and storytelling.   My own dad, would read a story with oomph rather than monotone blah, blah, blah.  True, the oomph excited my mind and it was harder for my parents to put me to sleep - you have been warned.
New covers of Anne of Green Gables

I've read to my nephew a few times and he seems to enjoy my telling of the story as he does not want to chew the book as much.  If I do a sing song voice he looks at me with his big soulful eyes...wait I digress.  This whole idea of books for kids are just for kids is ridiculous.  You don't need to be ashamed for loving Roald Dahl at 35...besides we have eReaders to hide the book's cover. Next time you are at the library go ahead take out a picture book or young chapter book and see how well the writer writes. 

Next week for T,T&T I will a several pictures books for your toddlers and YOU!

k (My Novelesque Life)