Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monday Mailbox

Many thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday every week!

It is so much fun to see what everyone is getting in the mail.

Thanks for taking the time to visit ~ I just love hearing from you! Please let me know if you have read any of these books - I'd love to hear how you liked them!! :)

Here are the books that came into my house last week:

From The B&B Media Group for upcoming WildCard Tours for David C Cook books:

Be Hopeful: How to Make the Best of Times Out of Your Worst of Times by Warren W. Wiersbe - Non-Fiction / Christian / Biblical Commentary / New Testament

How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph: A Practical Guide For Growing Great Kids by Linda Massey Weddle - Non-Fiction / Christian Life / Family

Live Deeply: A Study in the Parables of Jesus by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose - Non-Fiction / Religion / Biblical Studies / Bible Study Guides

Live Relationally: Lessons from the Women of Genesis by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose - Non-Fiction / Religion / Biblical Studies / Bible Study Guides

When the Good News Gets Even Better: Rediscovering the Gospels Through First-Century Jewish Eyes (12-Week Bible Study) by Neb Hayden - Non-Fiction / Religion / Biblical Studies / Bible Study Guides

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing: A Novel (VaVaVa Boom Series) by Alliston Bottke - Fiction / Contemporary Christian

From Sasquatch Books - A local Seattle area publisher I just discovered!

Larry Gets Lost in Seattle, written and illustrated by John Skewes - Fiction / Children's Book

Seattle ABC: A Larry Gets Lost Book by John Skewes and Robert Schwarts, Illustrated by John Skewes - Fiction / Children's Book

Other Books:

Won from Shelly at Write For a Reader: Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch (Fiction) and The Turnaround by George Pelecanos (Fiction) Many thanks Shelly!! :) (I also won Girls in Trucks from Cecilia of The Epic Rat, but as I had already won a copy, asked her to give my win to someone else - thanks Cecilia!!)

The Crying Tree ARC by Naseem Rakha - Fiction - A Shelf Awareness request

Deadly Intent by Camy Tang - Fiction - Received from the author (Thank you Camy!!) for an upcoming WildCard Tour

The Last Ember ARC by Daniel Levin - Fiction - A Shelf Awareness request

The Lost Throne ARC by Chris Kuzneski - Fiction - A Shelf Awareness request

Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer's Acclaimed New York City Restaurants by Danny Meyer - Non-Fiction / Home and Cooking / Bar tending / Entertaining - Received from the publisher for review

Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today by Kathi Macias - Non-Fiction / Religion / Christian Life / Women's - Received from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for a blog tour



What was in your mailbox last week??



If you would like to participate in Mailbox Monday, head over to The Printed Page and grab the logo. Make sure to visit other blogs hosting Mailbox Monday and comment/leave your link!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer (Excerpt Included)

Title: The Convenient Marriage
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; (February 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Regency
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review!!



Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: The Convenient Marriage is a fun, adventurous story, set in the 1770's - a little earlier than the typical Regency. The book takes off at a fast pace, with the Earl of Rule offering a marriage alliance to the Winwoods by offering for the eldest, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Winwood. Little does he know (but comes to find out) that Lizzie is already in love with a childhood neighbor. In an attempt to save her sister from a loveless marriage so she can marry her true love, the youngest Winwood daughter secretly visits the Earl of Rule with her maid. Horatia stammers out her intention of offering herself in marriage to the Earl in the place of her sister, explaining to the Earl that Lizzie is already in love with someone else. The Earl seems to find her refreshing (even finding her stammer endearing), so he agrees to her plan, little knowing that he is headed for high adventures himself as a result!

Extended Review:
Characters: Horatia is not perfect! (And really, in life, who is??) She is short, has straight eye brows that make her look very serious, and she stutters! The Earl of Rule is about twice her age, but seems to find Horatia refreshing, and ultimately falls in love with his young wife. Along with Horatia (Horry) and the Earl (Marcus), there is a host of supporting characters that really help to build the story line - there is even a highwayman, a duel, a murder. . .

Story-Line: I would say that the oddest part of the story is the age difference between Horatia and the Earl: she is 17, he is 35 and determined to let her grow up. . . and the fact that the Horatia has a stammer. Otherwise, the story is filled with humor and adventure, along with the budding relationship between the two main characters.

Readability: Overall a very easy and enjoyable read, but the stammer of the main character can be a little distracting at times (as a reader, you do get used to it the more you read).

Overall: While not my favorite book by Georgette Heyer, The Convenient Marriage is certainly a fun and entertaining read that allows fans of Regency books to get a glimpse of what life was like prior to the Regency era. Once you get used to the main character's stammer, the book is a very fun and enjoyable read with plenty of adventure and humor!

A special note about the book itself: Sourcebooks has cleverly printed the inside covers with full-color covers of Georgette Heyer's other books that have been re-printed by Sourcebooks. The covers are beautiful, and make looking for other Heyer books easy!

From the Publisher:
Horatia Winwood is simply helping her family
When the Earl of Rule proposes marriage to her sister Lizzie, Horatia offers herself instead. Her sister is already in love with someone else, and Horatia is willing to sacrifice herself for her family's happiness. Everyone knows she's no beauty, but she'll do her best to keep out of the Earl's way and make him a good wife. And then the Earl's archenemy, Sir Robert, sets out to ruin her reputation...

The Earl of Rule has found just the wife he wants
Unbeknownst to Horatia, the Earl is enchanted by her. There's simply no way he's going to let her get into trouble. Overcoming some misguided help from Horatia's harebrained brother and a hired highwayman, the Earl routs his old enemy, and wins over his young wife, gifting her with a love that she never thought she could expect.

Excerpt from the Publisher's Site:




Excerpt from Chapter One of The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

Lady Winwood being denied, the morning caller inquired with some anxiety for Miss Winwood, or, in fact, for any of the young ladies. In face of the rumour which had come to her ears it would be too provoking if all the Winwood ladies were to withhold themselves. But the porter held the door fully open and said that Miss Winwood was at home.

Directing the coachman of her extremely smart town carriage to wait for her, Mrs Maulfrey stepped into the dim hall, and said briskly: 'Where is Miss Winwood? You need not be at the trouble of announcing me.'

All the young ladies, it seemed, were in the small saloon. Mrs Maulfrey nodded, and walked across the hall with a click of her high heels. As she ascended the stairs her armazine skirts, spread over very large paniers a coudes, brushed the banisters on either side of her. She reflected, not for the first time, that the stairway was too narrow, and the carpet positively shabby. She would be ashamed for her part of such old-fashioned furnishings; but although she claimed cousinship, she was not, she admitted to herself, a Winwood of Winwood.

The small saloon, by which name the porter designated a back sitting-room given over to the use of the young ladies, lay up one pair of stairs, and was well known to Mrs Maulfrey. She tapped with her gloved hand on one of the panels of the door, and entered on the echo of her knock.

The three Misses Winwood were grouped by the window, presenting an artless and agreeable picture. Upon a faded yellow satin sopha sat Miss Winwood and Miss Charlotte, their arms entwined about each other's waists. They were much alike, but Miss Winwood was held to be the greater beauty. Her classic profile was turned to the door, but upon Mrs Maulfrey's rustling entrance she looked round and displayed to the visitor a pair of melting blue eyes and a sweet, arched mouth that formed at the moment an O of mild surprise. A quantity of fair curls dressed without powder and threaded by a blue riband framed her face and tumbled on to her shoulders in several ordered locks.

Miss Charlotte was not seen to advantage beside the Beauty of the Family, but she was a true Winwood, with the famous straight nose and the same blue eyes. Her curls, not quite so fair as her sister's, owed their existence to hot irons, her eyes were of a shallower blue, and her colouring inclined towards the sallow; but she was allowed to be a very well-looking young lady.

Miss Horatia, the youngest of the three, had nothing that declared her lineage except her nose. Her hair was dark, her eyes a profound grey, and her brows, nearly black and
rather thick, were quite straight, and gave her a serious, almost frowning, expression. No amount of careful training would induce an arch in them. She was quite half a head
shorter than her sisters, and, at the age of seventeen, was obliged regretfully to admit that she was not likely to grow any taller.

When Mrs Maulfrey came into the room Horatia was seated on a low stool by the sopha, propping her chin in her hands, and scowling dreadfully. Or perhaps, thought Mrs Maulfrey, that was just a trick of those preposterous eyebrows.

All three sisters wore morning toilets of worked muslin over slight hoops, with tiffany sashes round their waists. Countrified, thought Mrs Maulfrey, giving her fringed silk mantle a satisfied twitch.

'My dears!' she exclaimed. 'I came the instant I heard! Tell me at once, is it true? Has Rule offered?'

Miss Winwood, who had risen gracefully to receive her cousin, seemed to droop and to grow pale. 'Yes,' she said faintly. 'Alas, it is quite true, Theresa.'

Mrs Maulfrey's eyes grew round with respect. 'Oh, Lizzie!' she breathed. 'Rule! A Countess! Twenty thousand a year, I have heard, and I daresay it may be found to be more!'

Miss Charlotte set a chair for her, observing with a reproving note in her voice: 'We believe Lord Rule to be a most eligible gentleman. Though no one,' she added, clasping Miss Winwood's hand tenderly, ';however genteel, could be worthy of our dearest Lizzie!'

'Lord, Charlotte!' said Mrs Maulfrey tartly, 'Rule's the biggest prize in the market, and you know it. It is the most amazing piece of good fortune ever I heard. Though I will say,
Lizzie, you deserve it. Yes, you do, and I am quite enchanted for you. Only to think of the Settlements!'

'I find the thought of Settlements particularly indelicate, Theresa,' said Miss Charlotte. 'Mama will no doubt arrange with Lord Rule, but Lizzie cannot be supposed to concern herself with such sordid questions as the size of Lord Rule's fortune.'

The youngest Miss Winwood, who all the time had continued to sit with her chin in her hands, suddenly raised her head and delivered herself of one shattering word. 'S-stuff !' she said, in a deep little voice that just quivered on a stammer.

Miss Charlotte looked pained; Miss Winwood gave a rather wan smile. 'Indeed, I fear Horry is in the right,' she said sadly.

'It is just the Fortune.' She sank on to the sopha again, and gazed fixedly out of the window.

Mrs Maulfrey became aware that the steady blue eyes were swimming in tears. 'Why, Lizzie!' she said. 'One would think you had had dark tidings instead of a splendid Offer!'

'Theresa!' intoned Miss Charlotte, putting both arms about her sister. 'Is this worthy of you? Can it be that you have forgotten Mr Heron?'

Mrs Maulfrey had forgotten Mr Heron. Her jaw dropped slightly, but she recovered in a moment. 'To be sure: Mr Heron,' she said. 'It is very afflicting, but - Rule, you know! I don't say poor Mr Heron is not a very estimable creature, but a mere lieutenant, dearest Lizzie, and I daresay will soon have to go back to that horrid war in America - it's not to be thought of, my love!'

'No,' said Elizabeth in a suffocated voice. 'Not to be thought of.'

Horatia's dark gaze dwelled broodingly on her second sister. 'I think it would be a very good thing if Charlotte were to have R-Rule,' she pronounced.

'Horry!' gasped Charlotte.

'Lord, my dear, what things you say!' remarked Mrs Maulfrey indulgently. 'It's Elizabeth Rule wants.'

Horatia shook her head vehemently. 'No. Only a Winwood,' she said in the tense way she had. 'All arranged years ago. I d-don't believe he's set eyes on L-Lizzie upwards of half a d-dozen times. It can't signify.'


1

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, published when she was 19, was an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency novels, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer (Excerpt Included)

Title: Talisman Ring
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (March 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Regency
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!



Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: The Talisman Ring is a clever mixture of both romance and mystery, and it has a wonderful air of humor to it as well! The book is filled with two main plot-lines, the first: Eustacie runs into a band of smugglers while running away from an unwanted marriage to Sir Tristram. The smugglers are led by Ludovic, who has been falsely accused of murder. The second: Sarah and Sir Tristram are both trying to keep Eustacie and Ludovic out of trouble while trying to find a ring to clear Ludovic's name. Fans of other Heyer books and Regencies in general are sure to enjoy this fun and entertaining book that gives readers a wonderful look at Regency times and dialogue, as well as some great adventures.

Extended Review:
Characters: As with Georgette Heyer's other books, the characters have been well-written and work together to create a book that readers will find hard to put down. While some characters (Sarah and Tristram) are more fun to read, the story would not be complete without the others!

Story-Line: Not only will readers get a great story that is centered around four very memorable characters, they will get to read about smugglers, Bow Street Runners, inheritances. . . all with plenty of adventure and laughs!

Readability: A very fun and enjoyable read that even includes a secret panel in the Dower House that hides a priest's hole!

Overall: Fans of mystery, romance and adventure are sure to love this book! A special note about the book itself: Sourcebooks has cleverly printed the inside covers with full-color covers of Georgette Heyer's other books that have been re-printed by Sourcebooks. The covers are beautiful, and make looking for other Heyer books easy!

From the Publisher:
One of Heyer's funniest Regency romances, and one of readers' favorites.

An impetuous young lady and a fugitive nobleman…
When spirited Eustacie stumbles into a band of smugglers, she is delighted to be having an adventure at last. Their leader, young heir Ludovic Lavenham, is in hiding, falsely accused of murder. Pursued by the law, Eustacie and Ludovic find refuge at an unassuming country inn.

And the delightfully sensible couple who try to keep them out of trouble...
The resourceful Miss Sarah Thane and the clear-thinking Sir Tristram Shield gamely endeavor to prevent Ludovic's arrest and Eustacie's ruin as the four conspire to recover the missing talisman ring that will clear Ludovic's name.

Excerpt from the Publisher's Site:


Excerpt from Chapter One

Sir Tristram Shield, arriving at Lavenham Court in the wintry dusk, was informed at the door that his greatuncle was very weak, not expected to live many more days out. He received these tidings without comment, but as the butler helped him to take off his heavy-caped driving-coat, he inquired in an unemotional voice: 'Is Mr Lavenham here?'

'At the Dower House, sir,' replied the butler, handing the coat and the high-crowned beaver hat to a footman. He nodded austere dismissal to this underling, and added with a slight cough: 'His lordship has been a little difficult, sir. So far his lordship has not received Mr Lavenham.'

He paused, waiting for Sir Tristram to inquire after Mademoiselle de Vauban. Sir Tristram, however, merely asked to be conducted to his bedchamber, that he might change his dress before being admitted to his great-uncle's presence.

The butler, as well aware as everyone else at the Court of the reason of Sir Tristram's sudden arrival, was disappointed at this lack of interest, but reflected that Sir Tristram, after all, had never been one to show what he was thinking. He led the way in person across the hall to the oak stairway and went with Sir Tristram up to the Long Gallery. Here, on one side, portraits of dead Lavenhams hung, and, on the other, tall, square-headed mullioned windows looked south over a well-timbered park to the Downs. The silence of the house was disturbed by the rustle of a skirt and the hasty closing of a door at one end of the Gallery. The butler had a shrewd suspicion that Mademoiselle de Vauban, more curious than Sir Tristram, had been waiting in the Gallery to obtain a glimpse of him. As he opened the door into one of the bed-chambers he cast a glance at Shield, and said: 'His lordship has seen no one but the doctor, sir — once, and Mamzelle Eustacie, of course.'

That dark, harsh face told him nothing. 'Yes?' said Shield. It occurred to the butler that perhaps Sir Tristram might not know why he had been summoned into Sussex. If that were so there was no saying how he might take it. He was not an easy man to drive, as his great-uncle had found more than once in the past. Ten to one there might be trouble.

Sir Tristram's voice interrupted these reflections. 'Send my man up to me, Porson, and inform his lordship of my arrival,' he said.

The butler bowed and withdrew. Sir Tristram walked over to the window, and stood looking out over the formal gardens to the woods beyond, still dimly visible through the gathering twilight. There was a sombre frown in his eyes, and his mouth was compressed in a way that made it appear more grim than usual. He did not turn when the door opened to admit his valet, accompanied by one footman carrying his cloak-bag, and another bearing two gilded candelabra, which he set down on the dressing-table. The sudden candlelight darkened the prospect outside. After a moment Shield came away from the
window to the fireplace and stood leaning his arm along the high mantelshelf, and looking down at the smouldering logs. The footman drew the curtains across the windows and went softly away. Jupp, the valet, began to unpack the contents of the cloak-bag, and to lay out upon the bed an evening coat and breeches of mulberry velvet, and a Florentine waistcoat. Sir Tristram stirred the logs in the grate with one top-booted foot. Jupp glanced at him sideways wondering what was in the wind to make him look so forbidding. 'You'll wear powder, sir?' he suggested, setting the pounce-box and the pomatum down on the dressing-table.

'No.'

Jupp sighed. He had already learned of Mr Lavenham's presence at the Dower House. It seemed probable that the Beau might come up to the Court to visit his cousin, and Jupp, knowing how skilled was Mr Lavenham's gentleman in the arrangement of his master's locks, would have liked for his pride's sake to have sent his own master down to dinner properly curled and powdered. He said nothing, however, but knelt down to pull off Sir Tristram's boots.

Half an hour later Shield, summoned by Lord Lavenham's valet, walked down the Gallery to the Great Chamber, and went in unannounced.

The room, wainscoted with oak and hung with crimson curtains, was warmed by a leaping fire and lit by as many as fifty candles in branching candelabra. At the far end a vast four-poster bed was set upon a slight dais. In it, banked up with pillows, covered with a quilt of flaming brocade, wearing an exotic bedgown and the powdered wig without which no one but his valet could ever remember to have seen him, was old Sylvester, ninth Baron Lavenham.

Sir Tristram paused on the threshold, dazzled momentarily by the blaze of unexpected light. The grimness of his face was lessened by a slight sardonic smile as his eyes took in the magnificence and the colour about him. 'Your death-bed, sir?' he inquired.

A thin chuckle came from the four-poster. 'My death-bed,' corroborated Sylvester with a twinkle.

1

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, published when she was 19, was an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency novels, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review: Frederica by Georgette Heyer (Excerpt Included)

Title: Frederica
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 448
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (January 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Regency
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!



Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: This is a delightful story that surrounds the Marquis of Alverstoke, a self-proclaimed selfish man, who NEVER goes out of his way to do anything he doesn't want to, and Frederica Merriville, whose only real ambition is to see her sibling's futures taken care of. To that end, Frederica appeals to the Marquis in the hopes that as a distant relation, he will help her launch her beautiful sister Charis into London society in the hopes that she will marry well. After some considerable thought, he decides to help Frederica, which has many people wondering. . . WHY?? The tension between Alverstoke and his family is fun and memorable, as is the verbal play between he and Frederica. This is a must-read for any fans of Heyer's work, or those of the Regency era.

Extended Review:
Characters: This book is filled with lovable (and well-created) characters, both those you will love, and those you will love to dis-like.

Story-Line: The story progresses as a very selfish Marquis of Alverstoke goes to great pains and great lengths to unselfishly help some very distant relations, all so he can annoy his sisters. . . or so he says. Frederica has no thoughts for herself, other than to successfully make sure that her siblings will have suitable futures.

Readability: A very fun book filled with with wit and culture from the Regency era.

Overall: I had just as much fun reading this book in my teens as I did now. This is a great book that explores both the relationships of the characters, and the Regency era itself. Fun, entertaining, enthralling!

From the Publisher:
One of readers favorites, Frederica is full of surprises

When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.

Lord Alverstoke cant resist wanting to help her

Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising - and altogether entertaining - country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled...

Excerpt from the Publisher's Site:




Excerpt from Chapter One of Frederica

Not more than five days after she had dispatched an urgent missive to her brother, the Most Honourable the Marquis of Alverstoke, requesting him to visit her at his earliest convenience, the widowed Lady Buxted was relieved to learn from her youngest daughter that Uncle Vernon had just driven up to the house, wearing a coat with dozens of capes, and looking as fine as fivepence. 'In a smart new curricle, too, Mama, and everything prime about him!' declared Miss Kitty, flattening her nose against the window-pane in her effort to squint down into the street. 'He is the most tremendous swell, isn't he, Mama?'

Lady Buxted responded in repressive accents, desiring her not to use expressions unbefitting a lady of quality, and dismissing her to the schoolroom.

Lady Buxted was not one of her brother's admirers; and the intelligence that he had driven himself to Grosvenor Place in his curricle did nothing to advance him in her good graces. It was a fine spring morning, but a sharp wind was blowing, and no one who knew him could suppose that the Marquis would keep his high-bred horses waiting for more than a few minutes. This did not augur well for the scheme she had in mind - not, as she had bitterly observed to her elder sister, that she cherished any but the gloomiest expectations, Alverstoke being, without exception, the most selfish, disobliging creature alive.

To this proposition, Lady Jevington, a commanding matron on the shady side of forty, lent only qualified support. She might (and did) think her only brother selfish and disobliging, but she could perceive no reason why he should be expected to do more for Louisa than for herself. As for Louisa's two sons and three daughters, Lady Jevington found herself unable to blame Alverstoke for taking no interest in any of them. It was really impossible to be interested in such commonplace children. That he was equally uninterested in her own offspring did, however, argue a selfish disposition. Anyone would have supposed that a bachelor who was not only of the first stare but who was also possessed of considerable wealth would have been only too glad to have sponsored such a promising nephew as her beloved Gregory into the select circle which he himself adorned, and to have exerted himself to have brought dear Anna into fashion. That Anna had become eligibly betrothed without the least assistance from him in no way mitigated her ladyship's resentment; and although she admitted the justice of her unfashionable lord's reminder that she disapproved of the frippery set to which Alverstoke belonged, and had frequently expressed the hope that Gregory would never allow himself to be drawn into it, she still could not forgive Alverstoke for having made no attempt to do so. She said that she wouldn't have cared a rush if she had not good reason to suppose that Alverstoke had not only purchased a cornetcy in the Life Guards for his young cousin and heir, but made him a handsome allowance into the bargain. To which Lord Jevington replied that as he was very well able to provide for his son, who, in any event, had no claim whatsoever upon his uncle, he could only give Alverstoke credit for having enough good sense to refrain from making an offer of monetary assistance which would have been deeply resented by the Honourable Gregory Sandridge's parents. This was perfectly true; but still Lady Jevington felt that if Alverstoke had had a grain of proper feeling he would not have singled out for his favour a mere cousin instead of his eldest nephew. She also felt that in a better organised state of society his eldest sister's son, rather than a removed cousin, would have been his heir.

Without wishing to see Gregory so unfairly elevated, Lady Buxted was in general agreement with her sister, both ladies being united in contempt of Mr Endymion Dauntry, whom they stigmatised as a perfect block. But whether their enmity towards this blameless young man arose from their dislike of his widowed mama, or from his handsome countenance and magnificent physique, which cast both Gregory Sandridge and young Lord Buxted into the shade, was a question no one cared to ask.

Whatever might have been the reason, his two elder sisters were convinced that no unworthier heir to Alverstoke's dignities than Endymion could have been found; and neither had spared any pains to introduce to her brother's notice all the prettiest and most eligible damsels who were fired off, year after year, into the ton.

But Alverstoke's besetting sin was a tendency to become rapidly bored. It had vanquished his sisters; for although neither of them could suppose, reviewing the numerous dazzling barques of frailty who had lived under his protection, that he was impervious to feminine charms, neither was so muttonheaded as to indulge optimism very far when he seemed to be developing a tendre for some diamond of birth, beauty, and fortune, thrust under his nose by one or other of his sisters. He was perfectly capable of making the lady the object of his gallantry for a few weeks, and then of veering off at a tangent, forgetting her very existence. When it was borne in upon his sisters that prudent parents looked askance at him, and that he was generally thought to be dangerous, they abandoned their attempts to provide him with a wife, devoting their energies instead to the easier task of deploring his indolence, condemning his selfishness, and scolding him for any of his moral aberrations which came to their ears. Only his youngest sister refrained; but as she had refused several flattering offers for her hand, and had married, to please herself, a mere country gentleman, and rarely visited the Metropolis, she was considered by her two sisters to be a negligible quantity. If they spoke of her, which they seldom did, it was as Poor Eliza; and although they knew that Alverstoke preferred her to themselves it entered neither of their heads to solicit her help in the matter of his marriage. Had it done so they would have dismissed the idea, in the well-founded belief that no one had ever, since he grew to manhood, exercised the smallest influence over him.

It was not to read him a lecture that Lady Buxted had on this occasion commanded him to visit her: indeed, she had resolved to say nothing that could set up his back. But as she awaited his entrance the hope which (despite experience) had entered her breast upon hearing of his arrival was succeeded by the reflection that it was just like him to have allowed five days to elapse before putting himself to the trouble of answering a summons, which, for anything he knew, might have been of the utmost urgency. It was with difficulty that she schooled her countenance to an expression of affectionate welcome; and with still more difficulty that she infused cordiality into her voice when he strolled, unannounced, into the room. That was just like him too: the sort of casual behaviour which her ladyship, a high stickler, much deplored, seeing no reason why he should treat her house as if it were his own.

1

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, published when she was 19, was an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency novels, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: What's Missing??

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

As this is a holiday weekend, and I didn't have a lot of time to explore Library Thing myself, I thought I would pose a question regarding the site for this week's Thinger.

Questions: Is there anything you would like to see added to the Library Thing site? Is there something you like on another bookshelf style site that LT doesn't have?

Special Note: Are there any special requests for topics? I will be traveling for a few weeks in June and would like to pre-write the posts if possible. I know someone suggested that we occasionally veer away from Library Thing and explore blogging in general, is there any interest? If so, any particular topics you would like to see?

My Answer: I had to really think about this one. I really love a lot of things about Library Thing . . . my bookshelf, common knowledge, the giveaways, the forums, the local events/places, being able to compare my stats with others, etc.

One thing I think might help me is the ability to have my basic bookshelf and reviews on my computer. I think it would be great to have some type of Excel add-in that would allow me to "download" (probably not using the right terms for this, but hopefully everyone will get the idea) certain things about my books (cover, title, author, some of the common knowledge, my review). I would love the ability to view some things while I'm not online. Additionally, I think it would be great if I could edit/add books in the Excel add-in, and then upload them the next time I connect to Library Thing. :)

I am a member of GoodReads, and Shelfari (I think), but I really haven't spent a lot of time browsing their sites as I use LT so much.

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Teaser Tuesday: Frederica by Georgette Heyer

TEASER TUESDAYS : Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading ~ I always look forward to reading everyone's teasers!

My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

"Well, to be sure, I'm not very familiar with rakes - in fact, I never met one before! - but I'm not such a wet-goose that I don't know you are a gentleman - however uncivil you may be, or whatever improper things you may say! I daresay that sort of carelessness comes of having been born into the first rank."

~ p. 102, “Frederica" by Georgette Heyer




From Amazon:
One of readers favorites, Frederica is full of surprises

When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.

Lord Alverstoke cant resist wanting to help her

Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising - and altogether entertaining - country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled...

~ Wendi

Monday, May 25, 2009

Review: Lucy's "Perfect" Summer by Nancy Rue (Excerpt Included)

Title: Lucy's "Perfect" Summer (Faithgirlz! / A Lucy Novel)
Author: Nancy Rue
Pages: 192
Publisher: Zonderkidz (May 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Childrens (9-12)
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review as part of this WildCard Tour!



Perfect for : Girls 9-12, Girls who love soccer

In a nutshell: This is a great book for young girls, especially if they like soccer, although they don't need to know anything about it to enjoy this book. Lucy is a young girl filled with soccer dreams - including the dream to make the Olympic Development Program. Not everything in life is fair - Lucy has lost her mother, and her father is blind, and facing the need to leave his daughter for a few weeks to get some training in order to keep his job at the radio station. Lucy loves soccer, but has to deal with other players cheating and bullying, in addition to spiteful comments and mean rumors. Will Lucy and her friends be able to make the right decisions when dealing with these hard situations? This book is full of great opportunities to help young readers see the results of making the right (and the wrong) choices. I really love Lucy's Book of Lists, where she writes to God on a regular basis. The emphasis on God and faith is there, but it is not forced or overdone, but rather, is a gentle force throughout the book that will provide young girls with a positive influence.

Extended Review:
Characters: Life is not always easy, and the characters in this story help to show both the ups and downs of growing up.

Story-Line: I really enjoyed this story, as Lucy goes to soccer summer camp, where she has to play with other players who don't always make the right choices, we get to see Lucy and some of her friends make choices and see the benefits of making the right ones. There are also examples of people making the wrong choices and the consequences they must face. I absolutely love that Lucy has a big soccer dream, and that she has support in following that dream from both her family and her friends.

Readability: This is a fun and easy read that today's young girls can relate to and enjoy.

Overall: This is a wonderful book that just about any young girl (and anyone who has been a young girl) can relate to in some form, especially for soccer fans.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Lucy's Perfect Summer (A Lucy Novel)

Zonderkidz (May 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the FaithGirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714524
ISBN-13: 978-0310714521

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Why My Life Is Just About Perfect

School is out for the summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lucy would have made more exclamation points, but Lollipop, her pot-bellied kitty, was watching from the windowsill above the bed, her black head bobbing with each stroke and dot. She’d be pouncing in a second.

Lucy protected the Book of Lists with her other arm and wrote…

2. Aunt Karen is taking her vacation to some island so she won’t be coming HERE for a while. YES!!

3. We have a soccer game in two weeks, thanks to Coach Auggy. A for-REAL game, with a whole other team, not just our team split up, which is always lame since we only have 8 players to begin with. I cannot WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lollipop twitched an ear.

“Forget about it,” Lucy said to her. She’d only just discovered the joy of making exclamation points from Veronica. Veronica was a girly-girl, but she did have her good points. Lucy snickered. “Good points, Lolli. Get it?”

Lollipop apparently did not, or else she didn’t care. She tucked her paws under her on the tile sill and blinked her eyes into a nap. Lucy slipped a few more exclamation marks in before she continued.

I get to hang out with J.J. and Dusty and Veronica and Mora any time I want, not just at lunch or soccer practice or church. Okay, so I already got to hang out with them a lot before summer, but now it’s like ANY time, and that’s perfect. Except we’re still stuck with Januarie. If she weren’t J.J.’s little sister we could just ditch her, but she needs a good influence. We’re a good influence. Well, maybe not Mora so much.
Lucy glanced at her bedroom door to make sure it was all the way shut. The Book of Lists was private and everybody else in the house—Dad and Inez the housekeeper nanny and her granddaughter Mora—knew to keep their noses out of it. Still, she always had to decide whether it was worth risking discovery to write down what she really, really thought.

“What do you say about it, Lolli?” she said.

There was an answering purr, though Lucy was pretty sure that was more about Lollipop dreaming of getting the other three cats’ food before they did than it was about agreeing with her. She went for it anyway.

Januarie still thinks Mora is the next best thing to Hannah Montana. Even though Mora got her in way a lot of trouble not that long ago she would probably give a whole bag of gummy bears just to have Mora paint her toenails. And that’s saying a lot. Januarie loves gummy bears. And Snickers bars. And those chocolate soccer balls Claudia sells down at the candy and flower shop. Which reminds me—

5. We can go buy candy in the middle of the day, or have breakfast at Pasco’s café or take picnics to OUR soccer field, because, guess what? It’s SUMMER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Something black whipped across the page, and Lucy’s pen flew into space, landing with a smack against the blue-and-yellow toy chest. Knocking down the ruler Lucy always kept there to hold it open, in case Lollipop needed to jump in and hide, the lid slapped shut, and Lolli sprang into an upside down-U before she leaped after it and skidded across the top with her claws bared. She glared indignantly at Lucy.

“You did it, Simplehead,” Lucy said. “Wait! I’ll open it for you.” But before she could even scramble off the bed, Lolli dove under it. A squalling fight ensued with Artemis Hamm, who had obviously been sleeping beneath the mattress.

“Break it up, you two!” Lucy said. But she didn’t dare stick her hand under there. One of them would eventually come out with a mouth full of the other one’s fur and it would be over.

“What’s going on in there?” said a voice on the other side of the door.

Lucy stuck the Book of Lists under her pillow. It was Dad, who couldn’t see anyway, but she always felt better having her secrets well hidden when other people were in the room.

“Come on in—if you dare,” Lucy said.

She heard Dad’s sandpapery chuckle before he stuck his face in. She cocked her head at him, her ponytail sliding over her ear. “What happened to your hair?”

He ran a hand over salt-and-pepper fuzz as he edged into the room. “I just got my summer ‘doo down at the Casa Bonita. Is it that bad?”

“No. It’s actually kinda cool.”

“What do I look like?”

“Like—did you ever see one of those movies about the Navy SEAL team? You know…before?”

“Yeah.”

“You look like one of those guys.”

“Is that good?”

“That’s way good.”

Dad smiled the smile that made a room fill up with sunlight. She could have told him he looked like a rock star and he wouldn’t have known whether she was telling the truth or not. But she liked for the smiles to be real, and she did think her dad was handsome. Even with eyes that sometimes darted around like they didn’t know where to land.

He made his way to the rocking chair and eased into it. It would be hard for anybody who didn’t know to tell he was blind when he moved around in their house, as long as Lucy kept things exactly where they were supposed to be. She leaned over and picked up her soccer ball, just escaping a black-and-brown paw that shot from the hem of the bedspread.

“Keep your fight to yourselves,” Lucy said.

“What’s that about?”

“Exclamation points! It’s a long story.”

“Do I want to hear it?”

“No,” Lucy said. Not only because she didn’t want to tell it, but because she could see in the sharp way Dad’s chin looked that he hadn’t come in just to chat about cat fights. She hugged her soccer ball.

“Okay, what?” she said. “Is something wrong? Something’s wrong, huh?”

“Did I say that?”

“Aunt Karen’s coming, isn’t she? Man! I thought she was going out in the ocean someplace and we were going to have a peaceful summer.” She dumped the ball on the floor on the other side of the bed.

Dad’s smile flickered back in. “What makes you think I was going to talk about Aunt Karen?”

“Because she’s, like, almost always the reason you look all serious and heavy.”

“You get to be more like your mother every day, Champ. You read me like a book.”

“Then I’m right.” There went her perfect summer. She was going to have to redo that list.

“But you’re in the wrong chapter this time,” Dad said. “I’m serious, but it isn’t about Aunt Karen. Last I heard, she was headed for St. Thomas.”

“He’s going to need to be a saint to put up with her.”

Dad chuckled. “St. Thomas is an island, Luc’.”

“Oh.” She was doing better in school now that Coach Auggy was her teacher, but they hadn’t done that much geography this year.

“I just want to put this out there before Inez gets here.”

His voice was somber again, but Lucy relaxed against her pillows. If this wasn’t about Aunt Karen coming here wanting to take Lucy home with her for the summer, how bad could it be?

“So, you know Inez will be coming for all day, five days a week.”

“Right and that’s cool. We get along good now.” Lucy felt generous. “I don’t even mind Mora that much any more.”

“Good, because I’ve asked her if she’d be okay with Mr. Auggy also coming in to do a little home-schooling with you.”

Lucy shot up like one of her own freaked-out kitties.

“School?” she said. “In the summer?”

Dad winced like her voice was hurting his ears. “Just for a few hours a day, and not on Fridays.”

“Dad, hello! This is summer time. I have a TON of work to do to get ready for the soccer games if I want anybody from the Olympic Development Program to even look at me. School work?” She hit her forehead with the heel of her hand. “Why?”

“You’ve improved a hundred per cent since Mr. Auggy started teaching your class—”

“Yeah, so why are you punishing me by making me do more work? I don’t get it.”

She wished she could make exclamation points with her voice.

“You’ll get it if you let me finish.”

Dad’s voice had no punctuation marks at all, except a period, which meant, ‘Hush up before you get yourself in trouble.’ Lucy gnawed at her lower lip. She was glad for once that he couldn’t see the look on her face.

“You ended the school year in good shape, but Champ, you were behind before that. That means you’re still going to start middle school a few steps back.”

“I’ll catch up, Dad, I promise! I’ll study, like, ten hours a day when school starts again and I’ll do all my homework.”

Dad closed his eyes and got still. That meant he was waiting for her to be done so he could go on with what he was going to say as if she hadn’t said a word. She was in pointless territory. It made her want to crawl under the bed and start up the cat fight again. It seemed to work for them when they were frustrated.

“Your middle school teachers are going to expect your skills to be seventh-grade level,” Dad said. “Right now, Mr. Auggy says they’re about mid-sixth, which is great considering what they were in January.”

If she had been Mora, she would have been rolling her eyes by now. What was the point in telling her how wonderful she was when she was going to have to do what she didn’t want to do anyway?

“So here’s the deal,” Dad said.

Lucy sighed. “It’s only a deal if both people agree to it, Dad.”

“You haven’t even heard it yet.”

She stifled a “whatever,” which was sure to get her grounded for a least a week of her already dwindling summer.

“You’ll work with Mr. Auggy until you get your reading up to seventh-grade level. That could take all summer, or it could take a couple of weeks. That’s up to you.”

Lucy looked at him sharply. “What if I get it there in three days?”

“Then you’re done. We’ll check it periodically, of course, to make sure it stays there.”

“It will,” Lucy said. But she hoped her outside voice sounded more sure than the one that was screaming inside her brain: You can’t do this! What are you thinking?

There weren’t enough exclamation points in the world to end that sentence.


If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Many thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday every week!

It is so much fun to see what everyone is getting in the mail.

Thanks for taking the time to visit ~ I just love hearing from you! Please let me know if you have read any of these books - I'd love to hear how you liked them!! :)

Here are the books that came into my house last week:

Critical Care ARC by Candace Calvert - Fiction / Chrisitan / General - Received from the publisher for an upcoming WildCard Tour

Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani - Fiction / Contemporary - Received from the author for review

Drood (audiobook) by Dan Simmons, Read by Simon Prebble - Won from Kelly at Enroute to Life! Thank you Kelly!!

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley - Fiction / Romance / Historical Romance (Highlands)

Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman - Fiction / Christian / Romance - Received from the publisher for review

The Wet Nurse's Tale ARC by Erica Eisdorfer - Fiction / Shelf Awareness



What was in your mailbox last week??

If you would like to participate in Mailbox Monday, head over to The Printed Page and grab the logo. Make sure to visit other blogs hosting Mailbox Monday and comment/leave your link!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Excerpt: Beyond Corista by Robert Elmer

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Beyond Corista (The Shadowside Trilogy)

Zondervan (May 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Robert Elmer is the author of more than forty novels for young readers. He is a full-time writer, living in Idaho with his wife, Ronda. They are the parents of three young adults.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310714230
ISBN-13: 978-0310714231

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Because you are the last asylum, spread the light so they will hear beyond Corista—even where the Trion is but a faint glimmer in the night sky.

~ Codex 101:3

Chapter 1


“They’re right on our tail!” announced Margus.

His announcement roused Oriannon Hightower of Nyssa from her fitful nap. Who could sleep in a tinny little transport shuttle, anyway? Especially not when it was taking her farther and farther away from the only world she had ever known.

“Who?” As she slipped up behind her friend in the co-pilot’s seat she did her best to keep her voice down, tried to let her Owling friend Wist sleep the hours away. Perhaps dreams—and a little time—would help smooth the jagged raw edges of the nightmare they’d just been through.

“There, see?” Margus pointed at his long-range scanner. But at first Oriannon couldn’t make out anything unusual. Just a swirling green globe of energy with them in the middle, turned this way and that to give a three-dimensional view of this parcel of space, now distant from the planet Corista, and yet still far distant from the Asylum waystation to which they were bound. Nothing unusual? Oriannon shook her head.

“I still don’t see anything,” she told him, and for a moment he paused. A red warning light blinked, then went out.

“Hmm. I thought for sure I saw something.” He bent closer, fiddled with the scale, and brought it in closer. In and out. Still nothing.

“Well, let me know,” she told him. “But don’t wake everybody else up.”

It would not help to disturb her father, not if he was going to recover from the beating he’d suffered back at the death camp. He had to rest, as well, and not be wakened by every random announcement from Margus Leek who, from the front of the shuttle, pretended he knew how to pilot this craft through space.

An hour ago: “Look, Oriannon, there’s Corista, disappearing behind us.” And had she ever seen their planet from that far away?

No, of course she hadn’t. Margus knew that without asking.

Thirty minutes ago: “Hey, Ori, remember that field of solar reflectors that almost fried us when we flew through it by accident? There it is!”

Yes, she remembered, though she wished she didn’t.

And then fifteen minutes ago: “Well, looks like we’re home-free, now, Ori. It’s been three hours and no Security ships have come after us so far.”

So far? First of all, she’d told him, ‘so far’ wasn’t exactly a huge encouragement, in their situation. And second of all, “home-free” was not the kind of expression she would have used, unless by that he meant that they were free of their home, and that didn’t sound very good at all. In fact it sounded as if he was saying they were homeless, which they technically were, since escaping from Corista.

But who wanted to be reminded of that fact? Sometimes she wished she could act as cool as Margus did, even when everything looked completely and absolutely terminal.

Besides that, Oriannon could think of no one she wanted less with them on this crazy voyage than Sola Minnik, former security advisor to the Ruling Elders of Corista, former dictator. The fiery woman who had deceived and then nearly killed her father and all the other six Elders. Well, in fact, had any of the others survived?

But the same woman now sat on the cold stainless floor in the corner of the shuttle’s main crew chambers, her face tucked between her knees, her shoulders stooped and defeated, alternately sleeping, shivering and (Oriannon thought) crying.

Oh, she was probably sorry, all right. Sorry they had caught up with her and destroyed the death camp, where hundreds and thousands of the Owling people had been imprisoned. After all the work she and her Security forces had put into setting it up, Sola would naturally be very sorry about that. At this point maybe she’d also be sorry they’d saved her life by pulling her up off the shuttle landing ramp at the last minute, while they were taking off from the chaos of the camp, with probes blowing up all around them. Certainly she would be very sorry the flash bomb had exploded in her face, blinding her.

Blind or not, though. Sola could apparently still cry. And now over the background hum of the shuttle Oriannon heard a soft sobbing from the once-powerful leader.

Strange how things had worked out. But now an insistent buzzer drew Oriannon’s attention back to the shuttle’s controls.

“There it is again! See it, this time?” Margus rested his finger at a tiny yellow blip on the screen, and she might not have noticed had he not pointed it out. But yes, there it was—something, or a couple of somethings. Margus tapped another button to increase magnification, and again. This time there was no mistaking.

“Three of them?” she whispered, looking over her shoulder to be sure no one else heard—especially not Sola.

“At least four.” Margus shook his head gravely as he focused in on the blips, still thousands of kilometers away but growing larger ever second. He tapped his finger on a navigation touch screen and spoke into a small microphone mounted in front of him, below the view window.

“Identify.”

The screen blinked twice before the unwelcome answer came back at them in the familiar metallic female voice.

“Corista Security cruisers, four, class CS-x, third revision, configured to—”

“That’s enough,” said Margus. They could skip the technical description, already. It was enough to know who was chasing them, and that it wasn’t just some phantom of Margus’s imagination. “Specify time until interception.”

The voice command would understand exactly what he meant, just as clearly as Oriannon understood. In an instant, everything had changed. So how long did they have before this escape was all over, before they were recaptured and dragged back to Corista, to be executed as rebels?

How long before her father would be taken away and killed for what he had tried to do, as well?

Of course the metallic voice couldn’t say “I’m sorry, kids” or “I wish I could help,” nor did she want it to. She just wished someone could have said it. Margus repeated his question, tapped impatiently on the command touch screen.

“At present speed,” reported the nav system’s voice, “zero hours, thirty-one minutes, thirty-seven seconds.”

Margus looked at her with a question in his eyes—a question she knew she could not answer.

“What do we do, Ori?”

Oriannon’s heart fell to the faintly humming floor, where the constant thrum of ion boosters told her they were likely pushing along as fast as the little vessel would go. She looked over to where Margus had set the faintly glowing Pilot Stone, black and polished and guiding them—or so she had thought—toward a safe haven.

Now?

She reached over to touch it, felt its warmth flowing up her hand and arm, flooding her entire body with the far-off songs of another place and another time. Jesmet’s songs, from ancient times.

But not just the songs. When she touched it she felt its overwhelming sense of direction, almost a physical thing, as if she could know without a doubt the right direction to travel, like a spiritual GPS. She might have a hard time explaining the stone’s power, but there was no mistaking its pull. And despite the raw fear that had popped up on the nav screens, despite what she saw with her eyes and understood with her mind of the approaching mortal danger, she smiled.

At a time like this, she smiled.

“We keep going,” she finally answered, reluctant to let go of the Stone. But she had to go check on her father and Wist, especially her father. Because while Tavlin Hightower rested in the back room, she could not actually be sure he would wake. With one last sigh she turned away—only to come face-to-face with Sola Minnik.

“Oh!” Oriannon caught her breath in fright, still not used to seeing what Sola had become. The young woman’s eyebrows and eyelashes had been singed completely away, while her once full head of red hair had been reduced to ugly, twisted wisps here and there. In an instant she had gone from someone who had always prided herself on her well-kept good looks to a snarling, helpless apparition.

Worse yet, her face looked as if someone had blackened it with a blowtorch, while angry red blisters rose across her nose and cheekbones, framing sightless eyes still wet with rheumy, coagulated tears.

Of course, considering the flash bomb that had blown up in her face, perhaps she had escaped with comparatively minor injuries. It could have been worse. Before Oriannon could duck to the side, though, Sola blindly reached out and grabbed Oriannon by the collar of her blouse.

“I heard what’s going on over here!” hissed Sola. “They’re coming for me, aren’t they?”

“Zero hours, thirty minutes,” came the voice of the nav screen. “And—“

“Cancel!” Margus jabbed at the screen, but too late to change what it had already told them. Sola straightened out with a smile before she found Oriannon’s cheek with one hand and patted her roughly.

“That’s all I needed to know.” Her jaw tightened and her voice hardened. “So do you know what’s going to happen to you in two hours and thirty minutes? Do you know what’s going to happen to all of you?”

Oriannon tried to wriggle away but the injured woman’s grip tightened now on her shoulder, sharp claws digging through the fabric of Oriannon’s blouse and into the thin skin of her neck. The strength of Sola’s hands made her cringe, and she would have cried out in pain, but could not. Even so, Oriannon would not be drawn into the pit of Sola’s vengeance—not any more, and not the way she had once been.

“You should let us help you,” Oriannon finally managed. “At least let us put something on those sores.”

But that only set the woman off even more, and she shook her head violently.

“No, no, no! Just a few minutes, and it won’t matter for you, any more. And if you try to resist, or even think of holding me captive, I’ll have them destroy the entire ship.” She paused, then released her grip with a savage flip of her wrist. In the process her fingernail scratched Oriannon’s cheek, drawing blood. Sola Minnik, though, only laughed.

“You think I wouldn’t do that? Hmm, well maybe I don’t care, any more. Maybe everything’s changed, now. Maybe you’d like to find out how much it’s changed?”

Oriannon looked over to see Margus standing beside her, his fists clenched. He might have done something stupid, too, if she hadn’t held him back with a wordless shake of her head.

No, Margus. She mouthed the words. Sola stood off a step or two, a wicked smile playing at her lips.

“Go ahead, Mr. Leek.” She taunted him as if she could see his face turning red and his eyes widening with fury. Perhaps she could smell his anger. “Let’s see how much damage you can do to a poor old blind lady. You only have what, twenty-eight minutes, now? Let’s see how brave you are!”

She waited a moment for effect, then laughed again as she would have done when she was still in control of their home world. They watched as she turned slowly and held her hands out in front of her as she returned to her spot in the corner. With an almost uncanny instinct she found her way to the exact spot where she had been sitting just minutes before, crying. As she lowered herself back to the floor she smiled and muttered that this was “much better, now.”

Perhaps it was, with four Security vessels on a course to overtake them in…

“Zero hours, twenty-seven minutes.”

Margus couldn’t seem to shut off that horribly annoying voice, though he punched button after button on the touch screen. And now with Sola listening Oriannon no longer felt free to speak, so she glanced at the Pilot Stone and hoped Margus would understand.

“We stay on this course,” she whispered. “Right?”

Now Margus didn’t look so sure, as he frowned and shook his head.

“Look, that’s all very good and everything.” He focused on the 3-d display showing specks of Coristan Security vessels growing larger and larger. “But if I don’t figure out a away to take it to manual, we’re never going to escape. It may already be too late.”

“That’s right, Mr. Leek.” Sola called out from her spot on the floor. “It’s already too late. Why don’t you just leave it on your nice autopilot, there, and enjoy what little time you have left?”

“Shut up!” Margus yelled her direction, though Oriannon tried to hold him by the arm to quiet him down. “Why don’t you just shut up and mind your own business?”

“Oh, but that’s just it.” She returned a crooked smile in the direction of his heated voice. “This is my business. That’s exactly why we’re being pursued, and that’s why this little game is going to end in my favor. Because it’s my business, and it always was.”

By this time Wist had no doubt been awakened by all the noise. Now the short-statured Owling girl came stumbling forward, wiping the sleep from her eyes and looking from them to their unwelcome passenger with a puzzled expression.

“Is this your little Owling friend, Oriannon?” asked Sola. Naturally Oriannon had no intention of answering, but Sola probably expected that, as well. “I should say thank you for saving my life, back there on the planet. I did get a good look at both of you, before the explosion. But then, you’re probably already regretting what you did for me, aren’t you?”

“Oriannon?” Wist looked to her for help, but Oriannon didn’t know what to say as Sola went on with her tirade.

“In fact, by this time you’re probably thinking, I should have let just that monster drop off the plane, back when we had a chance. Isn’t that what you’re thinking, sweetheart? Well, perhaps you should have, but it appears to be a little late for that change of heart. Even if you dumped me now, you still can’t get away, and I imagine that must be a lovely feeling. Tell her how much time you have, Mr. Leek.”

This time Margus pressed his lips together and said nothing, though by now it was obvious to anyone with eyes that the four Coristan Security vessels were catching up, and fast. Probably even Wist, who was unfamiliar with such things, could see and understand. She took one look at the screen and her face fell, but she stood by the others for the next several minutes. If this escape was coming to an end, they would face it together. But then the ship lurched as a flash of light hit them like a bolt of lightning.

“Whoa!” Oriannon waved her hands for balance, nearly hitting Wist in the face. She caught a handhold and looked to Margus. “What was that?”

“I… I don’t know.” Margus shook his head, but everything looked the same as before. “That was weird. I thought I saw…”

His voice dropped off as he rechecked his instruments, but then shrugged and shook his head. Whatever he’d seen wasn’t there now, or never was.

So Oriannon looked again out the viewport just to be sure, but could make out nothing new except the distant stars—brilliant and piercing but all of them so many light years afar. Whatever had hit them—or whatever they had hit—was nowhere to be seen. Sola brushed herself off in the corner and faced them with that annoying look on her face.

“For a moment,” she said, “I thought my ships had caught up with us ahead of schedule.” The tone of her voice matched her expression. “Are you still learning how to pilot this ship, Mr. Leek?”

He glanced over at the Pilot Stone, which still glowed as it should. His nav screen still glowed steady, apparently as they should. He shook his head and didn’t answer her. Perhaps that was the only way to deal with Sola Minnik for now.

“You can ignore me all you want.” Once again she settled back down. “It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. Maybe I’ll just rattle on and listen to my own voice, while you try to pretend I’m not here.”

They would probably do that, Oriannon thought. Unfortunately, now they could not ignore the nav screen, where four large blips had nearly descended on their position.

“We’re going as fast as we can,” Margus told her in a soft voice, still working his controls. “But we just can’t keep ahead of them.”

Sola smiled to herself as they continued on, their engines humming steadily. But Sola didn’t need to remind them that this race, as their instruments told them, was already lost.



* * *



“We should be almost to Asylum 2 by now,” Margus broke the silence nearly a half-hour later. He pointed to a new dot on the nav screen, a green-colored oasis in the middle of empty space. “We’ll try and dock there as soon as we can.”

“Wonderful idea!” shouted Sola. “Hide on an Asylum station, as if they can’t find you there, too. That is, if we make it there before my people catch up. Which isn’t likely, is it, now?”

How did Sola know so much even being blind? Oriannon supposed she could count the minutes as well as anyone.

“Will we make it in time?” whispered Oriannon. She couldn’t tell from the nav screen. Margus shrugged and shook his head, not looking terribly hopeful. That meant, probably not. Finally Wist motioned with her eyes for Oriannon to follow her to the back room again, probably to get away from the acid tongue of Sola Minnik.

“What’s going to happen when they catch us?” Wist asked, as soon as they had stepped far enough away so that Sola could no longer hear them. That was when, not if. Oriannon swallowed hard, searching for the right words.

“We’re going to be okay,” she answered. “Jesmet’s not going to abandon us, now. No matter where we are. No matter what happens, good or bad.”

She thought she believed her own words. But even as she spoke, their small craft jolted as if they had glanced off a solid wall, throwing both girls off their feet and setting off multiple alarms. This was much more than the gentle bump they’d experienced earlier. Wist screamed as sparks showered down on them from a short circuit in an overhead control panel.

Oriannon could only hold on as the shuttle spun out of control.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Giveaway: Obama's Blackberry by Kasper Hausner (5 Winners)

The wonderful people at Hachette Book Group are helping me give away five copies of Obama's Blackberry by Kasper Hausner! The books will be shipped directly from the publisher.

From the Publisher:
When Obama stated that if elected, he would keep his Blackberry, debate echoed through Washington and among the ranks of the Secret Service. What would it be like to have a president who could Twitter, send text messages, and navigate the web with ease? What would it be like to receive a text message from inside the Oval Office and, most importantly, what would it say?

Now, for the first time, We The People are privy to our new leader's epistolary back-and-forths on his wily hand-held device. We're about to discover that his emails (and the replies, from his wife and daughters, Biden, Palen, Rush, Hannity, the new first puppy, and even Bush) are so tuned in to the language of electronic correspondence they come hilariously close to the brink of legibility.

This giftable, imagined glimpse into Obama's beloved Blackberry traverses the mundane and momentous contours of the Commander in Chief's life, from security briefings to spam, basketball practice to domestic bliss, and the panic of oops-I-hit-reply-all, to, of course, the trauma of dealing with the First Mother In Law.

To wit:

BidenMyTime: Hey U, whatcha doin?
BARACKO: M rly busy
BidenMyTime: Right :( Can I lv at 4:45?


And if you're not convinced about how funny the Kasper Hausner crew is, you can check out their videos from their previous book, SkyMaul.

To be included in the giveaway:
1. Leave a comment here and tell me what you like (or don't like) about texting, Twitter, etc, include your email (1 entry daily)
2. Leave a comment on the review (coming soon) (1 entry)
3. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and report it here (1 entry)
4. Become a follower and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held June 30th. Winners: I will send you each an email, you will need to reply with your address so I can forward it to the publisher or send the book directly to you. In the event that a winner does not respond, I will go to the next name in the drawing and notify them.

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States and Canada, but books will NOT be shipped to PO Boxes.

~ Wendi

Giveaway: Law of Connection by Michael J. Losier (5 Winners)

The wonderful people at Hachette Book Group are helping me give away five copies of Law of Connection by Michael J. Losier! The books will be shipped directly from the publisher.

From the Publisher:
Married couples...dating couples...parents and children...teachers and students...office workers...management and staff...business to business...

There is a simple solution to improving your communication and buiilding better, healthier relationships. It's called Law of Connection. Make it work for you!

Are there certain people you cannot seem to communicate with--at home, at work, or in your community? You say one thing, they hear something different. You simply do not understand one another, and you cannot explain why. The only thing you are certain of is that the lack of connection leads to disappointment, frustration, and conflict.

Now in LAW OF CONNECTION, Michael J. Losier gives you the key to successful communication. Using the principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), you will soon master the few simple skills needed to create better understanding with people in every aspect of your life.

With tips, tools, exercises, and scripts to guide you, you will discover:
--the three conditions for connecting
--techniques for calibrating your conversations
--four easy methods for effective communication
--tips for creating positive rapport in all kinds of situations
--a special section for teachers, trainers, and anyone who makes group presentations.

Bring LAW OF CONNECTION home to your family and introduce it into your workplace. Watch and listen as communication improves wherever you are, and your relationships become fuller, richer, and free of conflict.

To be included in the giveaway:
1. Leave a creative comment here and tell me your best communication advice, include your email (1 entry daily)
2. Leave a comment on the review (coming soon) (1 entry)
3. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and report it here (1 entry)
4. Become a follower and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held June 30th. Winners: I will send you each an email, you will need to reply with your address so I can forward it to the publisher or send the book directly to you. In the event that a winner does not respond, I will go to the next name in the drawing and notify them.

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States and Canada, but books will NOT be shipped to PO Boxes.

~ Wendi

Giveaway: Smart Mama's Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart (5 Winners)

The wonderful people at Hachette Book Group are helping me give away five copies of Smart Mama's Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart! The books will be shipped directly from the publisher.

From the Publisher:
Parents often feel overwhelmed and defenseless against a never-ending recall list of toys and baby products. Deciphering unpronounceable chemicals they encounter every day can be daunting if not impossible. With environmental exposures being closely linked to 70 percent of birth defects, new parents faced with the overwhelming responsibility for their babies' health frequently turn to organic products. But they quickly find they don't have the time to practice a completely green or natural lifestyle.

THE SMART MAMA'S GREEN GUIDE delivers the information busy parents want and the tools to make informed, individual choices without the demand to go all-out green. Packed with practical tips on eliminating or reducing the hidden dangers of toxic chemicals that lurk everywhere, this book will empower readers to control what comes into their homes and make informed decisions instead of relying on government regulation of harmful chemicals.

To be included in the giveaway:
1. Leave a comment here and tell me something you do to live a greener life, include your email (1 entry daily)
2. Leave a comment on the review (coming soon) (1 entry)
3. Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and report it here (1 entry)
4. Become a follower and leave a comment here (or "remind" me you are already a follower so I know you want to be included in this giveaway) (1 entry)

The drawing will be held June 30th. Winners: I will send you each an email, you will need to reply with your address so I can forward it to the publisher or send the book directly to you. In the event that a winner does not respond, I will go to the next name in the drawing and notify them.

This giveaway is open to residents within the United States and Canada, but books will NOT be shipped to PO Boxes.

~ Wendi
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