Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

Month: April, 2011

April 2011–the month in reading

Though April is not quite over, I’m sure I’m not going to finish a book in the next couple of days. Tomorrow will be busy with a birthday party for my son for all his school friends.

So here’s my list of what I read in April. I didn’t finish very many books. Since a lot of these were big, meaty, reads, I still feel like a read a lot.

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

The Dark Enquiry
by Deanna Raybourn

A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Wanton in the West by Lisa Plumley

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart
by Sarah Maclean

Of this month’s books, The Dark Enquiry, A Bed of Spices, and The Winter Sea were my favorites.

What about you? Was this a good reading month for you and if so, which books were your favorites?

Waiting on Wednesday 4/27: Caleb’s Crossing

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

It took me a while to pick the book for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday post. Here’s what I finally chose:

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

A richly imagined new novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller, People of the Book.

Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.

The narrator of Caleb’s Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island’s glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe’s shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb’s crossing of cultures.

Like Brooks’s beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb’s Crossing further establishes Brooks’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.

I read and enjoyed People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks a couple of years ago for a book club. I haven’t been inclined to pick up her other historical novels for some reason. I’m hoping that Caleb’s Crossing has a HEA or something like it. As someone who mostly reads romance, this is a must for me. However, I’m also avoiding advance reviews of this book. I’ve been trying to do this in general for books I want to read.

Though the ebook price is painful ($12.99) I’ve already pre-ordered it from the Kindle store. I might order a hardcover copy instead so that I can share it with friends and family, most of whom don’t have ereaders.

What about you? What are you looking forward to reading this week?

Waiting on Wednesday: Follow my Lead by Kate Noble

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Follow my Lead by Kate Noble

Being the most sought-after bachelor in London can be trying. Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne, should know. But when he winds up an unwilling escort to the headstrong Winnifred Crane on a trip across Europe, he realizes he’ll do anything to keep this independent beauty safe-even if it means marrying her.

I’m especially looking forward to this book because I enjoyed Revealed by Kate Noble so much. I still have The Summer of You in my TBR pile. Also, Follow my Lead takes place partly in an unusual location–central Europe, namely Austria and Bavaria. It’s refreshing to have a change from the usual British Isles setting.

How about you? What are you looking forward to reading?

TBR Challenge 2011: Wanton in the West

TBR Challenge 2011–Theme: Western Romance

I have quite a few westerns in my TBR pile and had a hard time deciding what to read for this months challenge. I really wanted to read Color of the Wind by Elizabeth Grayson. I couldn’t get into it because 1) I’m spoiled by my unscented e-reader and my used copy smelled kind of musty and 2) I couldn’t get past the heroine’s name, Ardith. No matter how hard I try I can’t associate Ardith with a woman under 80.

In the end, a novella won out because of lack of time. My excuse this time? It’s my son’s fifth birthday tomorrow (how did that happen?). We’re having a small party with family and a bigger party with his friends after Easter.

That’s it for the top half of the excuse sandwich, now on to the review.

Wanton in the West by Lisa Plumley

Synopsis from the publisher:
Arizona Territory, 1884

Everyone in the small town of Morrow Creek knows that Adeline has been sweet on Clayton Davis for years—and that he still hasn’t proposed! While Adeline reluctantly waits for her man, Clayton is falsely accused of being a thief and the sheriff is hot on his tail. Now Adeline has to do everything in her power to stop him leaving town, even if she has to be positively indecent to make Clayton stay by her side—and in her bed….

Adeline’s best friend, Violet, tries to persuade Clayton to leave town to avoid prosecution for the crime he’s falsely accused of committing. Her theory is that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and that he’ll be motivated to propose to Adeline after spending some time away from her.

Adeline convinces Clayton to stay in her empty farmhouse after he comes across her bathing in the pond and she “accidentally” falls in and they’re both soaking wet. Clayton reveals at this point that he’s been trying to save more money before proposing so that he can support Adeline in luxury and style, and as a humble sawmill worker, this is taking time. At this point I’m totally on his side and don’t understand Adeline’s motivation for trying to seduce him.

After spending a few days in Adeline’s house (much of it in bed) she reveals to Clayton how the whole town had been talking about the fact that he had strung out their courtship so long. Violet and the sheriff show up and they clear up the big misunderstanding.

Wanton in the West seemed like it would work well as a novella because of a few things:
-It’s set in a fictional town, Morrow Creek, that was introduced in previous books
-it’s about an established couple so they don’t have to waste story time getting to know each other

But what didn’t work so well is that I couldn’t sympathize with the heroine and her desire to be married–or sleep with Clayton–or both? I was confused about her motives. Also it involved big misunderstandings that could have been cleared up with a few simple, heartfelt conversations.

This brings me to a drawback of novellas–it’s taken me longer to write this post than it did to read the whole book!

Now tell me, if you read westerns, what is your favorite title and why?

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Everlasting by Angie Frazier is the story of Camille, a 17-year-old girl living with her father in San Francisco. She is engaged to Randall whom she does not love, but has the funds to save her father’s shipping company.

On her final sea voyage with her father before the wedding, Camille finds a letter in his possession that reveals a secret that he had been keeping from her. Soon after reading the letter Camille begins hearing voices and the word “Umandu” and seeing a vision of a skeletal face, which occurs to warn her of approaching danger.

Camille is thrown together with Oscar, her father’s first mate, as they travel to Australia on the quest for a magical stone that is said to bring the dead back to life, Umandu.

It’s inevitable that Camille and Oscar will fall in love.The romance is definitely secondary to the Indiana Jones-type adventure but still very heartfelt. There’s only one main romantic scene, which is fitting for a story where characters are running for their lives most of the time. The book ends on a happy note though with a lot of loose threads. I’m glad that I only have a few weeks until the next book in the series, The Eternal Sea, is released.

Waiting on Wednesday: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

There are so many books I’m eagerly anticipating that it was hard to choose what to post this week.

Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Pub date July 19, 2011


Erin Blackwell is headed to college in New York City to study creative writing and earn a living as a romance novelist. Her grandmother has other plans: she approves of the college, but she wants Erin to major in business and then come back home to Kentucky to run the family’s famous racehorse farm. There is no way Erin will agree. Studying in New York and writing her way into a career is her escape from the farm and the family tragedy that happened there. So Erin’s grandmother decides Erin really will live life as a starving artist. She takes Erin’s future job running the farm, her inheritance, even her college tuition, and gives them all to Hunter Allen.

Hunter has lived on the farm for years. He’s Erin’s age, he’s the stable boy, and he’s the romantic dream of every girl in her high school. But he was involved in the family tragedy. Erin has always given him a wide berth. And he’s a slick opportunist. She’s furious that he fooled her grandmother into giving him Erin’s birthright and sending him to Erin’s college.

At least she’s free of him in her creative writing class. So she pens a story that has haunted her lately, in which the horse farm heiress at the very first Kentucky Derby starts a forbidden affair with the lowly stable boy. Unfortunately for her, the day she’s sharing this story with her New York classmates, Hunter walks in. He’s switching to her class. And after reading about himself in Erin’s story, he writes his own sexy assignments that lure Erin into dangerous fantasies about what could have been between them, and what might be.

One of the reasons I’m looking forward to this book is that I love stories about books and writers–don’t you?

In writing this post I learned the term “metafiction” to refer to the device of a “book within a book” or something similar. Add this to my list of 101 things I wish I would have learned in library school!

Some of my favorites in this category are People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

What are your favorite “books about books”?

What I read in March 2011

I can’t believe it’s April already. The year is going so fast!

Here’s what I read in March:

A Mistake, a Prince, and a Pregnancy by Maisey Yates.

Stop Acting Rich: And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire by Thomas J. Stanley.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels–A Love Story by Ree Drummond.

Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse. I actually read this twice while I was on vacation because it was so good!

A Disgraceful Miss by Elaine Golden

Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, #3) by Lauren Willig

The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale

Nine books in total–not bad considering two of them were very long (Kinsale and Willig) and one I read twice.

I haven’t done much reading since finishing The Shadow and the Star a couple of weeks ago. I’m well into Dark road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn and may finish that soon, especially because the next book in the series is available on Netgalley (fingers crossed that I can get an advance copy!)

Friday Finds 4/1/11: April Fool’s Day Edition

Friday Finds is a weekly event hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.

This event asks you to share with other bloggers about the new-to-you books you found during the week — books you either want to add to your TBR (to be read) list, or that you just heard about that sounded interesting.

No fooling, here’s my list for the week:

The Reluctant Nude by Meg Maguire

Vienna Waltz by Tracy Grant, which I already have in ebook and print form (I may want to share this one with my grandma who loves richly detailed historical fiction).

Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip

So Over you by Gwen Hayes, whose YA paranormal romance Falling Under I sampled on the Kindle and can’t wait to read!

Gothic Dragon by Marie Treanor

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

The Girl who Chased the Moon and other books by Sarah Addison Allen. I just checked out the ebook of The Peach Keeper from the library. Hopefully I’ll be able to read it before it expires.

How about you? Are any of the same books on your TBR list?