Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

Month: September, 2010

In My Mailbox: Early September Edition

The first week of September has been good for me in terms of new book releases and book purchases.

Let’s see what I got!

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I have the next two books in the series on hold at the library though I haven’t even started this one yet. I’m hoping it will be as good as the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce, which I read about a year ago.

Into the Wilderness by Sarah Donati. I pre-ordered this book when it was available in the Kindle store for just a few days. It showed a release date of 2035 which was bizarre. But *poof* I got the book on August 31st.

One Night…Nine-Month Scandal
by Sarah Morgan. This is a Harlequin Presents title that’s gotten some good reviews.

Several Julie Garwood titles that were on sale for the Kindle: The Clayborne Brides: One Pink Rose, One White Rose, One Red Rose, The Lion’s Lady (which actually came with Castles), and Rebellious Desire.

The Taming of Mei Lin by Jeannie Lin

Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed
by Tracy Anne Warren

The Sergeant’s Lady by by Susanna Fraser, a digital-only Carina Press title. I pre-ordered this book after seeing the hilarious book promo site, an example of scrappy marketing at its best.

Warrior by Zoe Archer which I finished already. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

At the thrift store by my office, I got two historical novels, Juliet by Ann Fortier, Captive Queen by Alison Weir, and a trade paperback copy of An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon.

Now I need to add these books to my TBR list…and carve out some more time to read. Because the days are getting shorter, I’m more inspired to curl up and read in the evening. How about you?

In My Mailbox is a meme that was started at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle had been on my bookshelf for well over a year. Last week I finally dusted it off and finished it.
It’s the story of Valancy, a young woman who’s supressed in every way by her overbearing family. She has always felt awkward and out of place especially in comparison with her beautiful cousin Olive who kept Valancy close to her to use her as a foil.

Valancy describes the tiresome condition of her life in the first few chapters. She finds comfort only in the florid nature writing of John Foster, and in dreaming about the Blue Castle, an exotically beautiful place of her own invention.

Everything changes when Valancy is diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. She shakes off her timidity almost at once. One of my favorite quotes:

“The greatest happiness,” said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, “is to sneeze when you want to.”

Earlier in the story one of her relatives had admonished her for sneezing, because it was not ladylike.

Her relatives are shocked but take it in stride–they think she’s going soft in the head and pity her.
She moves out of the house and starts living independently, associating with those whom her family condemn as the worst sorts of people–including the mysterious Barney Snaith who is said to have a criminal past.

Because of the unromantic name and his looks–crooked eyebrows, generally rumpled appearance, pipe smoking–Barney is not the most appealing romantic hero to me. He certainly is nothing like the cover model on my edition of the book, who looks to me more like a J. Crew model circa 1988. But as the story went on, I was able to see him more through Valancy’s eyes.

The conclusion is predictable but satisfying. The way that Valancy is able to embrace life and enjoy the wonders of the natural world in her own version of “The Blue Castle” makes this book a truly uplifting read.