I'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think thatI'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think that if this was a movie, it would be a Steven Soderburg movie for sure. I could see his touch all over the movie adaptation.
What I liked:
*I liked the wry and subtle humor. You have to be paying attention to see it, and it's highly ironical. The CIA's big thinkers believe their culprit is anything from the Russians to a huge terrorist cell, but it's not anything of the sort. Their antics to resolve the situation only seem to make things worst. I felt kind of bad rooting for Chinese and his gang, but they were seeming more and more like the good guys in that situation anyway. This book doesn't give a person the best view of the CIA, that's for sure. *I liked Doctor Henry Metzger and his dog. I wish they were in the book more. Considering that the book is named after them, I expected more of an appearance. But when they are there, they steal the scenes. I think Perry is an animal person. He seems to understand their psychology and how they seem to run the households in which they live and often leave their persons baffled. *The descriptions were very well rendered. I used all my senses as I read this book. The narrative is never wordy, which would have lent this book to boredom, considering that some much of the narrative hinges on theoretical sociological research. *This whole book is deftly plotted. I think it could have easily fallen apart, considering the subject matter. But it doesn't. *I think Margaret is one of the strongest characters. Surprisingly Chinese Gordon takes a back seat to her. She is really the brains of the operation.
I wasn't at all sure what I'd get when I started this book. It's kind of like when you go to a restaurant and let your companion pick something off the menu, and you decide you like it. It's a win on both sides....more
Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged giSynopsis
Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged girls where she was raised), and takes employment as the nanny to the aristocratic Sedley family, Lucy is accused of murdering Lord Sedley, mainly because she is poor and without family. Lady Sedley calls upon the national hero, Lord Adair to solve the crime and prove that Lucy is the murderess, along with finding a set of family jewels that disappeared around the same time. Lucy is mesmerized by the unearthly beauty of Lord Adair, however, she knows that if she doesn't give him a helping hand solving the murder, there's a real chance she will end up hanging for a crime she didn't commit, while the real culprit walks away a free person. Lord Adair has his hands full solving a crime in a house full of strange characters, including a ghost, an animal obsessed male heir, and an amorous valet having an affair with the lady of the house.
Anya Wylde has written another novel chock full of puns and slapstick humor that will make even the most hardened reader chuckle. Her heroine, Lucy is very lovable, because of her indomitable spirit and her atypical view of the world. Every character in this book is weird, which makes the distinguished recurring character of Lord Adair feel almost normal. The mystery was well done, and actually was a complete surprise to me.
While I enjoyed this book, I didn't find it as hilariously funny as her previous books. Sometimes, it even felt like Wylde was trying too hard to get laughs. There were a few odd moments that seemed so random; it was hard to be convinced they were being played for laughs. For some reason, the writing feels less cohesive. The story, while a shorter length novel, tends to meander a bit, prompting me to wonder when it would get to the climax.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see the character of Lord Adair again. His presence in previous books has endeared this reader and no doubt all of Wylde's other readers. I would have liked to see more chemistry between him and Lucy, although I am not sure this novel is meant to be a romance. It seems as though Lucy's attraction to him was one-sided, despite Lucy being highly endearing. This seemed like a missed romantic opportunity for Lord Adair's lonely character.
Lucy will appeal to readers who love characters like Bronte's Jane Eyre. She is a strong-minded, vibrant, unique and indefatigable young woman who deserves a happy ending, and no doubt readers will root for her. Her poor treatment by the family and servants alike inspired pathos in me as I read, and her antics made me laugh.
Overall, Murder at Rudhall Manor is a good book. The humor is quirky and entertaining, and the touch of the supernatural, teamed with a mystery that the readers have to work to solve, makes for a diverting read overall. A more cohesive storyline and a plot with greater momentum would have made this a close to flawless book. But even with its flaws, this was a fun read.
Loving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I fLoving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I found thoroughly likable. Lighter historical romance, but the tone and the storyline are very engaging.
Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and heSynopsis
Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and help run her household through her final month of pregnancy. Shortly after her arrival, the dashing Lord Adair asks the ducal couple if his second cousin, the roguish George Rodrick Irvin, Viscount Elmer, who is apparently hiding from pirates can stay with them since he's going out of the country. Celine is nursing an affection for a very bad poet by the name of Philbert Woodbead, and the bored Viscount is eager to help her reconnect with him to keep his mind off his own situation of being Public Enemy Number One with a vicious group of pirates. With his checkered past and happy-go-lucky personality, Viscount Elmer brings life and chaos into Celine's ordered existence. He makes her realize the difference between a temporary affection and true love, but is Viscount Elmer here to stay or is this just a temporary diversion while he's in hiding from his enemies?
Seeking Philbert Woodbead has the slapstick humor tone of its predecessor, Penelope, but unfortunately, it lacks its charm and the cohesiveness. Celine doesn't have the presence and doesn't captivate (and bewilder) the reader as thoroughly as her sister Penelope. That was a shame, since I really loved Penelope, her personality and her antics. I perceive that the author wanted to flip the page with this book, and have a serious heroine with a silly hero, but George isn't as funny or as lively a main character as this book needed.
While there are some humorous moments, they didn't feel organic. The silly tone felt contrived, as if the author was trying a little too hard. The biggest issue was this book doesn't have the energy and spirit a story of this kind needs. When a story is played for laughs, it needs to own its absurdity, and I didn't feel that needed sense of abandon to silliness that makes Penelope such a delightful read.
Overall, Celine is likable, although a bit bland. I didn't connect with her as much as I liked, and I hardly felt any connection with George. For a hero who supposedly had his sense of joie de vivre, I didn't feel it. The pirate storyline could have been a bit more prominent and better integrated into the storyline, because a lot of the humorous potential within this plot was left undeveloped.
It was great to catch up with Penelope and her duke again, and their scenes were some of my favorite parts. Penelope is now a married woman who is heavily pregnant, and seeing her and the duke deal with some of the aspects of pregnancy and marriage was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Seeking Philbert Woodbead after being so captivated with Penelope. This is a decent book, and if I hadn't loved the first Fairweather series book so much, I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It just doesn't hold up as well in comparison. I'm still looking forward to continuing this series, because I do enjoy Anya Wylde's writing and her desire to make the reader laugh with sweet, fun Regency romance.
A huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classifyA huge thanks to Nenia for recommending this when I asked for a Nerd Romance. This was exactly what I wanted and more. I can't even begin to classify this into a genre. It's so distinctive. First of all, it's hilarious! I felt like Connie Willis nailed what it's like to work in Corporate America. I could have changed the name of HiTek to the places I worked and it would have been exactly the same. The complete waste of time exercises they come up with in the hopes that it will increase productivity (when it actually interferes with it), the jive turkey meetings, and horrible acronyms, and the fact that said environment is so fertile for folks like Flip, Desiderata, and even Dr. Bullock. I loved the wry and deadpan humor. I mainly listened to this while I was doing my Wii Fit exercises, and this is one where you can't be quiet while you read. It made the exercise time fly by!
Sandra is a very accessible heroine. While she does have a snarky way of looking at the world, and the narrator has her sounding a bit superior at times, her inner voice is very realistic. You don't always see people in the most charitable ways internally, even when you make an effort to treat others well. Sandra's field of study is fascinating. She's a sociologist/statistician who investigates fads. I loved the facts about various fads throughout the many years of human history. While I feel that she is really a hater of Barbies and I like Barbies, I can't argue with her on most of what she says. I loved how Sandra processed Flip, who is a complete slave to fads and seems about the most useless person on earth. Flip is that person you know who just seems to make your life a living 'you know what', but then you realize that they do have a purpose in your life, and they help you to grow as a person. With that in mind, her sometimes superior way of looking at Flip and folks like her is put into complete perspective. I also loved how Sandra is a big reader and she processes life events in light of what she's read. This book is definitely for bibliophiles.
Can I tell you I adored Bennet? Oh my, he made my Nerd Love meter go off big time. I wanted to hug him with his horribly fashion-challenged self and his adorable Coke Bottle glasses. Man I wish I could find a Bennet of my own. :)
The sheep storyline had me dying of laughter. Yeah, sheep aren't the brightest animals, and you really understand why they need shepherds. I had no idea about the bellwether and it just draws the story together so well when we learn about it.
I tell you, this is a really clever and just wonderful book. It takes a lot of writing talent to take such dissimilar ideas as sheep, fads, Chaos theory and hair bobbing and actually craft a meaningful story around it. A nice sized read. It helped me enormously with my book reading slump because it was just so clever and vivid and kept me interested. I never thought I'd enjoy a book about something so non-specific as research into fads. I surely did. I definitely recommend this to readers who want something different. And for sure to those looking for Nerd Love and satire about the corporate work environment. It hits high on every point, so five stars!...more
Young country maiden, Penelope Fairweather arrives in London to stay with the Radclyffs, her goal to catch a husband. However, Penelope is theSynopsis
Young country maiden, Penelope Fairweather arrives in London to stay with the Radclyffs, her goal to catch a husband. However, Penelope is the most awkward of ducklings. She is a disaster magnet, with no polish, a penchant for saying whatever comes to her mind, and a best friend (Lady Bathsheba) who is a goat. So the dowager Duchess of Blackthorne and her daughter, Anne, Lady Radclyff, have their work cut out for them. It doesn't help that Charles, the present duke, despises Penelope, and wants to send her back to Finnshire. What they don't know is that Penelope has no home to go back to, since her stepmother hates her. Penelope has one chance to have a home, and that's to succeed at finding a husband. If only she could do something right and temper her incautious, enthusiastic ways, so she can have a chance at a home and a family of her own.
The Radclyff women recruit Madame Bellafraunde, a dynamo at styling women of the ton, who just happens to be a man dressed as a woman, to turn Penelope into a stylish young lady who can catch a husband. What ensues is moment after moment of zany scenes, as Penelope struggles to find her feet in a new world. The Duke of Blackthorne slowly finds his feelings change for Penelope, her sweet spirit and generous, authentic nature finding the key to his frozen heart. Now if he could only convince Penelope that he doesn't hate her. There's also the matter of his mean-spirited fianceé, Lady Lydia Snowly.
Penelope is a laugh riot. This is a book for romance readers who really want to enjoy themselves with lots of slapstick-style comedic scenes and absurdity. Penelope is absolutely adorable. Her sweetness and honest spirit makes her a heroine that readers will love. At times, I wondered how she could constantly stumble from disaster to disaster, but it's all in fun. Mixed with the hilarious moments is pathos for Penelope's situation. She lost her true mother at birth, and was never loved by her stepmother. She never felt accepted in her own home. She hasn't had the same opportunities as many, but that doesn't stop her from being a young woman of courage and strength.
Charles, Duke Blackthorne is not very likable for most of the book. He says the most horrible things to Penelope, which makes him seem like a puppy-kicker. I loved that Penelope stood up to him, and demanded his respect. She didn't try to fit into his narrow boxes and narrow world, and over time, he realizes that he loves her for who she is, despite her lack of a verbal filter and penchant for disaster. While I didn't much care for Charles initially, he does come around and redeem himself, and he and Penelope have great chemistry. I wanted him to fall in love with her, just because that would be the last possible thing a lofty duke like himself would ever consider doing.
This novel is populated with quirky characters that kept me laughing and engaged in the story. I love to laugh, and Anya Wylde definitely had me laughing with this book. I couldn't wait to see what zany disaster would occur next. I liked the crazy twist on "My Fair Lady", with a little cross-dressing thrown in.
Penelope is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It's unashamedly goofy, but it's done so well, this book is infectiously readable as a result. I would recommend this novel to readers who love funny romance stories. Penelope is a heroine that you can't help but love. Charles isn't quite as likable, which is why this isn't a five star read, but I did like how he comes to realize that he can't resist falling in love with Penelope. And it's great to see her get the happy ending she deserves. Definitely recommended!
I enjoyed this story of an aging Hollywood actress trying to get her life back on track after her husband's mysterious disappearance. I wish that Meg'I enjoyed this story of an aging Hollywood actress trying to get her life back on track after her husband's mysterious disappearance. I wish that Meg's TV show was real! It sounds fun!
Emma, daughter of Lord Grey, and Richard, Lord Hamilton are kindred souls, with the same robust appreciation for life and wicked sense of humoSynopsis
Emma, daughter of Lord Grey, and Richard, Lord Hamilton are kindred souls, with the same robust appreciation for life and wicked sense of humor. They fall in love and are engaged to marry, but they have to convince Emma's uncle, the powerful Duke of Arden that they shouldn't have to wait a year to marry. When the Duke orders Emma to spend time at his country estate, Richard hatches a plan to masquerade as the new head gardener for the Duke of Arden so he can be near Emma. He also intends to romance Emma as the gardener so that the Duke will look more favorably on him as Lord Hamilton and Emma's true suitor. His plan turns out to be more complicated than he thinks when he has to take on all the head gardener's work for real, deal with the teasing of the other servants, spend time with Emma, and avoid Lady Babbage, the Duke's controlling sister's machinations. He calls in his friend, Lord Raikes to pretend to be him when the Duke invites Lord Hamilton (his true identity) to visit. The plot thickens when Lord Raikes, who is pretending to be him, develops a reciprocated strong attraction to Lady Catherine, the Duke's daughter and Emma's cousin. Lady Babbage turns out to be a blackmailer with lots of enemies among the house party attendees, which will have its own consequences. Richard's little wager with Emma to see if he could get her uncle to agree to a quicker marriage within a month's time, and the ensuing complications, makes for a caper of a read.
The Wicked Wager is a light historical romance with a dash of mystery that makes for an entertaining read. I appreciated the humor, light and sly, with some hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments. While I liked Emma and Richard, I connected more with Lord Raikes and Catherine. They had great chemistry, and while they fought a lot, you could see the tension sizzle between them, as they realize that they weren't supposed to like each other that way. The mystery plays a bigger role towards the end, which made me feel that it should have been more evenly integrated into the story.
The Wicked Wager was a fast-paced, enjoyable novel with some funny comedy of errors moments and engaging characters. Its strength lies in the humorous interactions between the characters, and the romantic tension between Lord Raikes and Catherine. Unfortunately, I didn't feel quite as much chemistry between Emma and Richard, compared to the secondary couple. Additionally, the mystery aspect felt uneven in its execution. It could have been stronger and more consistently integrated throughout the entire novel. Overall, The Wicked Wager is a story that readers who enjoy the Regency period would probably appreciate.
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting foSynopsis
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting for injured wildlife. McGrath is a bounty hunter and animal cruelty investigator hunting for a bail-jumper with a penchant for abusing animals. McGrath knows instantly that Merry Anna is a woman who needs a protector. Her heart is so big for animals that she doesn't have much of a grip on reality and the danger she is in when someone is trying to kill her. He insists on her staying in his house for 24 hour protection when someone vandalizes her house. They will end up playing house together with a fostered Basset Hound and nearly newborn kitten under their care. That's saying something for two people who don't have good experiences with family or relationships. Will they be able to walk away from each other when the danger is all over for Merry Anna?
Charming Champion is well-named. This is a charming book. Merry Anna has an endearing innocence and earnestness with her passionate love for animals. McGrath is adorable. He's tough and sweet at the same time. He is clearly in over his head for a typical loner who falls head over heels for a woman who comes with baggage, the emotional and furry kind. He is a protector by nature, a man who was a sickly child who developed his body into perfect fitness and fought to escape from his overprotective mother's fold. As an adult, years of living under his mother's stifling over-protectiveness has made him wary of commitment. However, Merry Anna inspires him to want a woman in his life on a forever basis. It's very cute seeing them together, discovering love for each other.
As an animal lover, I appreciated spending time with Mr. Ponder, the Basset Hound they end up fostering, as well as Snowy, the abandoned newborn kitten they are hand-feeding. Also, I admired the work that both Merry Anna and McGrath do with animals and for animal welfare, although Merry Anna has issues to work through with her single-minded, blind determination to help animals at any cost. Often, I was frustrated at her when she would dive in headfirst trying to help animals, without thinking things through. I could understand how McGrath might have felt, since he usually had to pull her back from the edge.
A shortcoming of this novel is the fact that the suspense angle is lightweight. It definitely ties in with the overall theme of animal welfare, but the villains lacked depth and intensity. I couldn't help giggling at the various altercations with the bad guys.
Charming Champion was a pleasant, fun, heartwarming book. I think I would have rated it higher if the conflict with the animal abusers was stronger and had more impact. It was hard to take it seriously. Nevertheless, the message about care and respect for animals was well received by this animal lover. I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet with just enough sensuality, the chemistry between McGrath and Merry Anna well-written and appealing. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy lighthearted, animal-themed sweet romance.
Goodness gracious, I am super late writing this review. My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been neGoodness gracious, I am super late writing this review. My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been nearly a month, I don't have the best memory of all the plotlines. But I promised I would write a review for every book I read, so better late than never, and my review will be of the more general sort.
I was fortunate to find this at my library and it fit very well thematically into my October Scare Fest reading. I enjoyed it overall. It's an odd little book, no question about it. I would consider it a bit of a pastiche to the famous literary figures of Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, Sherlock Holmes, Merlin-type druids, and the Wolfman. I rather enjoyed that about this book. What I loved the most is that the narrators are the familiars, or animal companions of the human (or humanlike characters). They all strike up a strange sort of friendship driven by mutual interest and that old adage that drives too many middle grade friendships, especially among girls: better to be friends with someone than to have them as an enemy.
The story's chapters are broken down into each one representing a day in October. They are getting ready for some very important magical event that will have seemingly profound consequences. It sort of reminded me of the Highlander movie where the various characters are pairing off against each other, but this was more of a semi-good versus evil sort of standoff. Just my take. Forgive me if I am way off here. I didn't quite understand all of that, but I don't think it was as important as the unfolding paranormal mystery as various human (or humanlike) characters start to be picked off, one by one. The main character is a dog, who is the familiar of a male wizard. He's an endearing narrator. I liked how he plays dumb dog when necessary, but he's not the average canine (I truly feel some dogs are incredibly intelligent, so don't assume I'm picking on dogs here). I liked his wry and atypical friendship with a cat, who is the familiar of a witch. Along with the fact that their humans are striking up a courtship that may not end well if they end up choosing opposite sides. There is also a bat, rat, snake, and owl character. I'm sorry I don't remember all their names. I do remember the snake's name was Quicklime, so go figure. Strangely enough, the humanlike character who was most developed was Larry Talbot. Classic horror movie buffs will recognize that name as that of the Wolf Man. He did have the tragic vibe of the character in the movie, but he was quite likable.
This book isn't that deep. I mean it's a short book and probably has some hidden meaning, and I think a very prominent satirical tone that some readers will pick up on immediately. It's not super scary, it's a bit. Enough to make for a nice Halloween read.
I'd say this one is worth tracking down if you can find it at your library. Unfortunately, it's out of print.
A good read for this time of year. And fun for animal lovers like myself....more