Friday, June 28th, 2013
It’s been a week of re-reads for me, including some that go way back.
In the less way back category, I went on a Susan Elizabeth Phillips kick. There’s something about her contemporary romances that spells “summer reading” for me. Maybe because so many of them take place during the summer? This time around, I re-read Ain’t She Sweet?, in which an aging, down on her luck former beauty queen returns to her hostile home town in the hope of finding a priceless painting, and Dream a Little Dream, in which the widow of a disgraced televangelist, down on her luck and down to her last nine dollars, returns with her five year old son to their old home town in the hopes of finding her dead husband’s missing fortune.
Looking at the two books together, there are some similarities in theme here. I’ve read both at least half a dozen times, but they still make me cry.
Going way, way back, I also rediscovered the Three Investigators series (or, at least, books one and two, The Secret of Terror Castle and The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot). Did anyone else read these when you were little? Written in the 1960s and introduced by Alfred Hitchcock (who puts in cameo appearances throughout the books), the conceit is that three local California boys have founded a detective agency devoted to solving riddles and conundrums. I was pleased to find that the books have held up surprisingly well….
I treated myself to a bookstore jaunt yesterday, so next up on my list are Wendy Webb’s gothic novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, and Jen Lancaster’s latest memoir, The Tao of Martha.
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
I cannot tell you how amused I was by the Pink Carnation Barbie descriptions– or how much I wish that these were real.
So, here’s the question: which of these Pink Carnation Barbies (featured below) would you choose?
List your top three in order of preference in the Comments section below and I’ll choose one judge, at random, to receive a Passion of the Purple Plumeria mug.
Without further ado, the Barbies!
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
The early reviews are starting to come in for The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (aka Pink X)– and Miss Gwen is gloating.
Here’s the verdict:
Library Journal (starred review): “This tenth bloom to be added to Willig’s popular series is just as fresh and satisfying as any of the other flowers in the best literary bouquet ever created! Fans can rejoice in finding the outstanding features they’ve come to count on: intriguing historical details, double-crossing deceptions, complex characters, and plenty of romance. Readers will be pleased to discover a more mature couple featured within the historical portion of the story, the wink-wink humor of Miss Gwen’s gothic novel, and the continued progression of our beloved contemporary couple.”
Booklist (starred review): “With delectable wit and a deft hand at imaginative plotting, Willig expertly matches up the redoubtable, parasolwielding Gwen (truly a kindred spirit to Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody) with the perfect hero. The result is a completely captivating tale that fans of this long-running series—10 books and counting—will cherish.”
Kirkus: “The 10th in Willig’s witty series about Napoleanic-era spies… is acerbic, arch, and funny.”
RT Book Reviews: “…another well-crafted, engaging thriller.”
Miss Gwen swears that she did not, in fact, threaten any reviewers at parasol-point.
Only a little over a month until The Passion of the Purple Plumeria hits the shelves!
To read an excerpt, click here. For information on how to order a signed/personalized copy, click here.
Monday, June 24th, 2013
In late breaking news, I’ve just learned that The Ashford Affair— aka Ashford Park— will be making its grand appearance in Italy this Friday, June 28th.
Ashford will be available in Italian in both hardcover and e-book.
Right now, you can find Ashford in Catalan, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.
The German edition of Ashford is slated to come out on September 20th, and the French edition is still TBA.
Don’t you love how different all the foreign covers are?
Which is your favorite?
Monday, June 24th, 2013
Lady B is putting together her Rustication Reading List. Even if she isn’t quite sure whether she’s rusticating in Hertfordshire, Herefordshire, or Hampshire. Where one presumes that hurricanes hardly ever happen?
Friday, June 21st, 2013
Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:
— Susanna Kearsley, The Firebird.
I’ve been a fan of Susanna Kearsley ever since I stumbled upon Season of Storms in a B&N in Boston back in 2001. For those of you who follow Kearsley, The Firebird manages to link two of her previous books: my all time favorite, The Shadowy Horses, and the more recent time slip novel, The Winter Sea. The book goes back and forth between a current day art historian with a curious talent for divining the past of the objects she holds and the history of the object she’s tracing, which takes the reader back to eighteenth century Scotland, Belgium, and St. Petersburg.
— Wendy Webb, The Fate of Mercy Alban.
After reading The Firebird, I went into a bit of a book slump. Huge thanks to everyone on Facebook who took the time to share suggestions with me! One of the titles that popped up was The Fate of Mercy Alban, a modern gothic ghost story set in a vast old mansion in Minnesota. I love old house books, especially old house books replete with family secrets and a whiff of the supernatural….
— Susan Elizabeth Phillips, This Heart of Mine.
I was tempted to go on a Gothic binge after The Fate of Mercy Alban, but something about the summery weather inspired me to re-read This Heart of Mine, a contemporary romance novel set largely during a summer at an old campground in Michigan, complete with lake, gazebo, and a bed and breakfast that needs some managing. SEP has a talent for creating settings that you want to move into, and the campground in this book is no exception.
What have you been reading this week?
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
This post over on SBTB, about Jude Deveraux romance novel Barbies, absolutely cracked me up the other day.
It also got me thinking…. If there were Pink Carnation Barbies, what would they look like?
Miss Gwen, of course, would come with a purple parasol. As Jessica pointed out on Facebook, the Mary Alsworthy Barbie would have the largest stash of glittery accessories.
That still leaves so many possibilities.
I did mention “contest”, didn’t I? Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is this
–Write a description of your own Pink Carnation Barbie (or Ken). It can be any character from the Pink series. Describe the box, the clothes, the accessories. Then post your description in the Comments section below.
Next Wednesday, I’ll open it up to voting and we can pick the top three Pink Carnation Barbie options.
Sadly, there aren’t actual Pink Carnation Barbies to give away as prizes, so, instead, the prize will be a Passion of the Purple Plumeria mug.
Let the doll design begin!