Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (2014) (Walker Books)
Amy Ewing
Grade: A
Genre: young adult / dystopian
Source: own
Young adult RBC 2014: A book with music 

Tomorrow, Violet Lasting will be gone forever. While living in Southgate holding facility for the last four years, Violet had her every whim catered for: the best clothes, food, the chance to learn and excel at the cello – everything but freedom. Born into the Marsh, the lowest ranking and poorest of the five circles (The Jewel, Bank, Farm, Smoke and Marsh), she’s one of many other Marsh girls born with a genetic make-up that makes them perfect surrogates for bearing the children of The Jewel’s Royalty, who are themselves incapable of bearing anything but defective offspring. Taken away from her family at puberty, Violet has seen nothing but Southgate’s walls for years. Today is her final chance to say goodbye to her family forever. Tomorrow, she becomes Lot 197, destined to be sold to the highest bidder at the annual Auction and a life in The Jewel, surrogate mother to another woman’s child.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

The Corinthian (1940) (Arrow Books)
Georgette Heyer
Grade: B
Genre: regency romance
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A book at the bottom of your To Be Read pile 

Sir Richard Wyndham, notable whip, dandy and Corinthian is on his way home one evening, suitably inebriated and on the cusp of making the biggest decision of his life, when he’s met with the most startling sight. Suddenly, his imminent (and slightly dreaded) proposal of marriage to Melissa Brandon, whose family is in as dire financial straits as he is fabulously rich, doesn’t seem quite important. On a sudden whim, Richard finds himself acting as cousin, tutor and whatever other guises the journey requires as he escorts young Penelope Creed across the country.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned (2013) (Orbit)
Patricia Briggs
Grade: A
Genre: urban fantasy
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Mercedes Thompson: (1) Moon Called, (2) Blood Bound, (3) Iron Kissed, (4) Bone Crossed, (5) Silver Borne, (6) River Marked, (7) Frost Burned
Romance RBC 2014: An urban fantasy 

Mate of the local alpha, Volkswagen mechanic and coyote Mercedes Thompson is looking forward to some peace in her life. Unfortunately, peace is definitely avoiding Mercy. After being involved in a minor traffic accident with her step-daughter Jesse, Mercy suddenly can’t get in touch with her mate, Adam, or any of his pack, save Ben, who escaped injured in order to warn and protect Mercy and Jesse.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies (2013) (Orbit)
Gail Carriger
Grade: A
Genre: steampunk / young adult
Source: own
Finishing School: (1) Etiquette & Espionage, (2) Curtsies & Conspiracies, (3) Waistcoats & Weaponry
Young adult RBC 2014: A book set in the past 

This is a finishing school like no other. Based in a floating dirigible above the Yorkshire Moors, girls at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality don’t just learn how to curtsey and host a dinner party correctly – they can do it while throwing a knife, casing a room for hidden clues and mixing a deadly concoction of potions to take out a troublesome enemy. That’s right: this is a Finishing Academy for young spies. Having settled in and made quite an impression on her teachers and fellow spies-in-training, Lady Sophronia finds herself on the receiving end of a collective mission to freeze her out, from girls she had considered her friend.

Friday, 21 November 2014

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists (2014) (Fourth Estate)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Grade: A+
Genre: non-fiction
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A book of non-fiction 

Watch the TEDx talk here.

Adapted from her phenomenal TEDx talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie draws upon her experiences growing up in Nigeria and uses her gift for storytelling to put forward a persuasive argument for why we should all be feminists and what every man, woman, boy, girl and parent can do to contribute towards the equality of the sexes.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne

The Spymaster's Lady (2008) (Berkley Sensation)
Joanna Bourne
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Spymaster's Lady: (1) The Spymaster's Lady
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a Fabio cover 

Annique Villiers is the best that France has to offer: known as the Fox Cub, she has eluded capture for years with disguises from the tempting courtesan, innocent virgin, young Gypsy boy and educated lady. Now, she’s got France’s terrible secrets weighing on her shoulders and there’s all agencies wanting to get their hands on her to reveal – or suppress – them. Annique’s got her own troubles to deal with and when she’s captured, she meets the one man who she can’t deceive …

Monday, 17 November 2014

Scandal Wears Satin

Scandal Wears Satin (2012) (Avon)
Loretta Chase
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: own
Dressmakers: (1) Silk is for Seduction, (2) Scandal Wears Satin
Romance RBC 2014: A Cabin/Road Romance 

The middle Noirot sister, it is said that Sophia ‘Sophy’ Noirot could sell sand to the Bedouins. As adept a dressmaker as her sisters, Sophy’s true talents lie in writing, and she’s depended upon to infiltrate Society’s grand balls and events, to take note of every last detail of who’s wearing what and who danced with whom to write her column for Fox’s Spectacle, the gossip that everyone in London is reading. Marcelline, Sophy and Leonie need to win over more-high-ranking names in society to their shop, in particular, Lady Warford, who just happens to be their greatest enemy after Marcelline married the Duke of Clevedon, the man who was promised to her daughter.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

Silk is for Seduction (2012) (Harlequin)
Loretta Chase
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: own
Dressmakers: (1) Silk is for Seduction
Romance RBC 2014: An Eurasian Historical 

Marcelline Noirot is the best modiste in the country – if not the World – London just doesn’t know it yet. With a modest shop on Fleet Street with her two younger sisters, the Noirots are the three daughters of Edward Noirot, of the disreputable branch of one of France’s noble families, and Catherine DeLucey, of England’s Dreadful DeLucey’s who together, cheated and swindled, lied and manipulated their way through whatever life threw at them. Their offspring are only slightly more honest, determined to see their humble dressmaker shop become the biggest and best in town. When they learn that the Duke of Clevedon is soon to be returning from Paris in order to marry, the sisters decide that this is their path to becoming London’s top dressmaker: they must dress the Duchess of Clevedon.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Admiral's Bride by Suzanne Brockmann

The Admiral's Bride (1999) (MIRA Books)
Suzanne Brockmann
Grade: A
Genre: romantic suspense / adventure
Sex scenes: mild
Source: second-hand bookshop, Koh Tao
Tall, Dark and Dangerous: ... (7) The Admiral's Bride
Romance RBC 2014: An AAR Top 100 Romance 2000 

Dr Zoe Lange has just been presented with the biggest challenge of her career. A biological warfare specialist, she’s more than familiar with going undercover. What’s different about this mission is that she’ll be assisting Admiral Jake Robinson and they need to recover six canisters of Triple X, a deadly nerve agent that has the power to knock out entire cities. Admiral Jake Robinson is a legend – Zoe owes her very existence to him. Over 20 years ago during the Vietnam War, Jake and his elite team of Navy SEALs undertook missions that no one else dared: rescuing whole camps of prisoners of war from enemy clutches and in particular, a team of men who had been left for dead by their superiors in the depths of the forest, including Zoe’s dad.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ransom by Julie Garwood

Ransom (1999) (Pocket Books)
Julie Garwood
Grade: A
Genre: medieval romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Highlands' Lairds: (1) The Secret, (2) Ransom
Romance RBC 2014: An AAR Top 100 Romance 2007 

At three-years-old, Gillian witnessed her father’s death at the hands of Baron Alford, as her father tries to send Gillian and her older sister Christen to safety with Arianna’s Box, a great treasure belonging to King John. When her father is betrayed, the sisters are torn apart. Years later, Gillian is blackmailed by Baron Alford into finding her sister and the Box so that the power-hungry Baron can gain favour with King John.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Blue Bloods (2005) (Atom)
Melissa de la Cruz
Grade: B--
Genre: young adult
Source: own
Blue Bloods: (1) Blue Bloods
Young adult RBC 2014: A book with a colour in the title

Fifteen-year-old Schulyer Van Alen boasts one of the most prestigious and blue-blooded names and family trees in Manhattan society, but unfortunately doesn’t have the fortune to match. Practically an orphan after her father died and her mother lapsed into a coma shortly after she was born, Schulyer has been brought up by her maternal grandmother Cordelia, who has never been a particularly loving presence in her life. A social outcast at school, Schulyer is content with the company of her best friend Oliver Hazard-Perry and new student Dylan.

Friday, 7 November 2014

What a Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk

What a Girl Wants (2014) (Harper)
Lindsey Kelk
Grade: B+
Genre: chick lit
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
About a Girl: (1) About a Girl, (2) What a Girl Wants
Romance RBC 2014: A book with 'girl/woman' in the title 

Not so very long ago, Tess Brookes had her life turned upside down. Her job at an advertising agency was her life, so when she’s made redundant, she thinks her life is over. This tumultuous period leads to Tess making a host of other bad decisions, including sleeping with her best friend Charlie and impersonating her bitchy housemate Vanessa and taking Vanessa’s place on a photoshoot in Hawaii. It is during this trip that Tess rediscovers her love for photography and realises that she is actually really good at it.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

Private Arrangements (2008) (Bantam Dell)
Sherry Thomas
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: own
Romance RBC 2014: An AAR Top 100 Book 2010 

Lord and Lady Tremaine are considered to have the best marriage in the entire Ton. A love match is considered vulgar, an unhappy marriage even more so, but what the Tremaines have is a courteous marriage. Given that they haven’t spoken or clapped eyes on one another in ten years, there’s been no opportunity for them to disparage the other in front of friends and family, or for servants to witness marital spats. It is only when Gigi petitions Camden for a divorce that he leaves his new home in America and returns to British soil.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Paradise by Judith McNaught

Paradise (1991) (Pocket Books)
Judith McNaught
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance / light suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Second Opportunities: (1) Paradise, (2) Perfect
Romance RBC 2014: A classic romance

Young Meredith Bancroft should have it all: heiress to the Bancroft & Company empire that is Chicago’s biggest and most loved department store, she’s at the best schools and should have access to everything she desires. But her jealous and controlling father is convinced that Meredith is destined to follow in her lying and cheating mother’s footsteps, and he’s determined to oversee every aspect of her life in order to prevent this, stealing her childhood in the process. It isn’t until Lisa Pontini joins Meredith’s school that she learns what it’s like to have a true friend.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) (Egmont)
A.A. Milne, illustrated by E.H. Shepard
Grade: A
Genre: children's illustrated fiction / classics
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A book of short stories 

Winnie-the-Pooh, a bear with little brain, lives in the One Hundred Acre wood, surrounded by his friends, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl and the eternally grumpy Eeyore. This collection of stories about the world’s favourite bear follows his adventures as he goes hunting for a Woozle, tries to trap a Heffalump, meets Kanga and baby Roo, finds the North Pole and saves the day when Piglet is in need of rescuing.