Connected: How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do by Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler. $ 3.99
From the Jacket Copy:
Renowned scientists Christakis and Fowler present compelling evidence for our profound influence on one another’s tastes, health, wealth, happiness, beliefs, even weight, as they explain how social networks form and how they operate.
Your colleague’s husband’s sister can make you fat, even if you don’t know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse. These startling revelations of how much we truly influence one another are revealed in the studies of Drs. Christakis and Fowler, which have repeatedly made front-page news nationwide.
In CONNECTED, the authors explain why emotions are contagious, how health behaviors spread, why the rich get richer, even how we find and choose our partners. Intriguing and entertaining, CONNECTED overturns the notion of the individual and provides a revolutionary paradigm-that social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behavior, politics, and much more. It will change the way we think about every aspect of our lives.
I was reading Vanilla on Top by C.J. Ellisson last night and one of the themes of the book was how your friends may unconsciously try to sabotage your growing intimate relationships when those relationships threaten to outpace the friend’s relationships. It was an interesting addition to the romance story.
The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries. $ 1.99
From the Jacket Copy:
A Splendid Opportunity
A shipload of women—theirs for the taking! Pirate captain Gideon Horn couldn’t be more delighted. His men are tired of wandering the high seas and want to settle down with wives on the uncharted island paradise they’ve discovered. And the women are bound to be grateful to be rescued from the life of drudgery awaiting them in New South Wales . . .
Lord, he’s so clever!
A Splendid Passion
Married? To pirates? Sara Willis couldn’t be more appalled. First she demands proper courting—at least a month. The darkly handsome pirate lord gives them two weeks. Then Sara insists the men vacate their huts for the women—Gideon demands her kisses in return. As the demands heat up, so do their passions—and soon Sara can’t remember just why she’s fighting the devilishly seductive captain so hard. . .
As for the book, the negative reviews say it is boring and there is one that calls the hero a rapist.
The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare. $ 1.99
From the Jacket Copy:
Regency England Has Gone to the Wolves!
Lady Madeline Hayburn Has Money Problems…
Specifically, she has so much of it that she’s dogged by fortune hunters, including her bewilderingly attractive, penniless neighbor, with his wild nature and uncouth manners…
Weston Hadley Has An Identity Crisis…
Specifically, he’s just turned into a wolf while Madeline was watching. Now it’s up to the regal lady to tame the wild beast…if she can…
She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath. $ 1.99.
From the Jacket Copy:
Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.
Sebastian Easton always vowed he would avenge his stolen youth and title. Now back in London, the rightful Duke of Keswick—returning from battle a wounded, hardened, changed man—cannot forget the brave girl who once rescued him and his brothers from certain death.
Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned young Lords of Pembrook, and she remembers well the promise she made to Sebastian all those years ago: to meet him once more in the abbey ruins where they shared a bold, forbidden kiss. While Mary is now betrothed to another, a friendship forged with dark secrets cannot be ignored. Unexpected passion soon burns dangerously between them, tempting Sebastian to abandon his quest for retribution and fight for a love that could once again set him free.
Dear Ms. Wylde:
I picked this up even though I had to buy it direct from the Ellora’s Cave site and even though I have never read you before (although my records indicate I purchased a book by you that was published in 2002, Price of Pleasure). The motorcycle club angle intrigued me as did the comparison by the reader recommending it to Kristen Ashley’s Motorcycle Man which I consider to be the KA gateway drug. I’ve never watched one episode of Sons of Anarchy and know next to nothing about Motorcycle Clubs but from what little I’ve read they appear to be breeding grounds for unhealthy misogyny and crime.
Reaper’s Property brings both those elements to life within the confines of a romance story. Will this raise a reader’s hackles? It did mine but the authenticity of the world in Reaper’s Property and the interesting power struggle made the story more compelling than most. I’d recommend this book to readers so long as they know what they are getting into. The story is told primarily in first person from Marie’s point of view, although there are several scenes told from Horse’s point of view, in the third person.
Marie took one hit from her husband’s fist but no more. She left him and moved in with her brother, Jeff, into the trailer where they grew up. Their mother is in jail for assaulting a police officer. Marie is without a job. Unbeknownst to her, Jeff has begun to do some work for a motorcycle club called The Reapers out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The Reaper is a huge, well, gang even though the word is never used in the book. Their power structure spans several states and their reach includes Eastern Washington, Yakima Valley where Marie lives.
The motorcycle club comes to visit and one of the members, Horse, is attracted to Marie. Horse visits her over the space of a month or so, infrequently given that she lives about three hours from his home base in the Idaho. She is intrigued by him but is insulted by his constant use of the term “sweet butt” which she knows is no endearment. She bristles at the idea of being someone’s property and frankly, Horse has a violent edge to him that is scarier than her soon to be ex husband has ever emanated.
Jeff gets in serious trouble with the MC and the MC offer her the opportunity to either be Horse’s “house mouse” or Jeff will be killed. Marie agrees to go with Horse. There are a lot of other shenanigans that happen but essentially it is a) does Marie come to accept living within the confines of the MC rules? (yes) and b) does she begin to trust that her relationship with Horse can have some equality? (yes, but).
In many ways, this is a story of dominance and submission. Horse wants Marie to submit, but not just to him but to his world. He tries many times to explain to Marie that being his property isn’t the same thing as she perceives it to be. His paradigm is different from hers. To be his property, he declares, is to be cared for him and by the club. “Seriously, a biker’s old lady is like his wife. She’s his woman, his property, and if anyone fucks with her the entire club will come down on them. Hard.”
Marie resists and her resistance pulls at Horse all the more. Horse uses the word “tribe” frequently to describe the club. Within the tribe, different words have different meanings, or at least that’s the refrain that Horse tries to sell Marie. Marie plays role of the reader. She’s unfamiliar with the MC. She doesn’t like the idea of being property. She struggles with the offer she is being made and doesn’t understand the significance.
How much one enjoys this book depends on how willing they are to accept Marie’s consent. Marie is no doormat and indeed, the entire book rests upon Marie standing up for herself, frequently. Horse’s overbearing dominance would look even more menacing contrasted against a weaker female character. Marie’s refusals and independence invoke outbursts of temper by Horse and there were times I felt Marie was in jeopardy. But Marie’s willingness to resist Horse is part of what makes her so attractive to him. And importantly, at every juncture of Horse’s dominance, there is obvious willing consent on Marie’s part. In other words, his dominance turns her on and when she tells him to stop, he stops. Always. Most importantly, Marie can leave Horse.
Horse has only two real rules – don’t denigrate him or the club. He encourages Marie to get a job and an education. He provides the funds and ability for her to do so. These sorts of actions mitigate against the idea that Marie’s only life would be as Horse’s appendage. Through the daughters and wives and old ladies, Marie understands how to gain agency within the club.
However, much of the agency Marie derives is premised on Horse’s emotional servitude to Marie and that is true for most of the women who aren’t “sweet butts.”
“…. We’re gonna practice every day until you’re comfortable with it, can do it without thinking. This gun is part of you now. You got me?”
“I got you.”
“Oh baby, you have no idea,” he replied ruefully, brushing back my hair and tucking it behind my ear. “No idea at all. Now let me watch you shoot. Chicks with guns are hot.”
This story came off tightly written and well researched. The motorcycle club rang authentic and even though I recoiled at some of the story, at the same time, I appreciated the grittiness of it. If you are going to have a motorcycle club story, why whitewash it? Make it work for me in all the non PC glory. I wouldn’t ever want to live in a MC or have a partner like Horse but visiting was a wild and compelling time. B
I’d think twice about having an author in my house. It seems that for some authors, their acquaintances and friends are merely fodder for any novel. I’ve often thought being friends with a comedian would be bad. Maybe underneath Tenis’ snark is a “buyer beware” warning. One of the commenters suggested that maybe the host should have done a better job researching who was staying at their home in order to avoid such problems in the future. Salon.com
Khan joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as a wireless operator, and was recruited by the SOE in 1942. She was sent back to Paris a year later. There, under the codename Madeleine, she sent vital messages to London while trying to evade the Germans. In October 1943, she was arrested and tortured, but she refused to talk. In September 1944, at Dachau, she was executed by the SS. She was 30.
As Jayne said in her email, why aren’t these being written about in romance novels? Code Name Verity is a story of a young female spy, born to privilege but endures immeasurable torture and suffering when captured. There is an appetite for well told stories about female heroines. Huffington Post
Lord Gray’s List by Maggie Robinson. $ 2.99
From the Jacket Copy:
From duchesses to chamber maids, everybody’s reading it. Each Tuesday, The London List appears, filled with gossip and scandal, offering job postings and matches for the lovelorn–and most enticing of all, telling the tales and selling the wares a more modest publication wouldn’t touch. . .
The creation of Evangeline Ramsey, The London List saved her and her ailing father from destitution. But the paper has given Evie more than financial relief. As its publisher, she lives as a man, dressed in masculine garb, free to pursue and report whatever she likes–especially the latest disgraces besmirching Lord Benton Gray. It’s only fair that she hang his dirty laundry, given that it was his youthful ardor that put her off marriage for good. . .
Lord Gray–Ben–isn’t about to stand by while all of London laughs at his peccadilloes week after week. But once he discovers that the publisher is none other than pretty Evie Ramsey with her curls lopped short, his worries turn to desires–and not a one of them fit to print. . .
The Courtiers – Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace by Lucy Worsley. $ 2.99
From the Jacket Copy:
Kensington Palace is now most famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the palace’s glory days came between 1714 and 1760, during the reigns of George I and II . In the eighteenth century, this palace was a world of skulduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty spots, where fans whistled open like switchblades and unusual people were kept as curiosities. Lucy Worsley’s The Courtiers charts the trajectory of the fantastically quarrelsome Hanovers and the last great gasp of British court life. Structured around the paintings of courtiers and servants that line the walls of the King’s Staircase of Kensington Palace—paintings you can see at the palace today—The Courtiers goes behind closed doors to meet a pushy young painter, a maid of honor with a secret marriage, a vice chamberlain with many vices, a bedchamber woman with a violent husband, two aging royal mistresses, and many more. The result is an indelible portrait of court life leading up to the famous reign of George III , and a feast for both Anglophiles and lovers of history and royalty.
A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter. $ 1.99
From the Jacket Copy:
How close do you let a killer come?
An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent “suicides” suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia—a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton’s loved ones. A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer’s motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard—a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her . . . when she can barely protect herself.
Blindsided (#1) and Kisscut (#2) are also on sale for $1.99
The Enchanted Land by Jude Deveraux. $1.99.
From Jacket Copy:
A woman who could not be conquered . . .
A love that was never forsaken . . .
A land that will not be forgotten . . .
For beautiful Morgan Wakefield, the enchanted land is the ranch in New Mexico her father has left her. But the only way for her to inherit is if she lives there for a year with a husband. And so Morgan proposes a marriage of convenience to a man she just met—handsomely rugged rancher Seth Colter.
In Seth’s powerful embrace, Morgan discovers a passion she never knew existed, and an unexpected new love blossoms between them. But devastating challenges and betrayal conspire against these lovers, and they will have to fight for a future together on this wild, enchanted land.
Finally, The Complete Sherlock Holmes is Free at Amazon.
Dear Ms. Smith:
I wanted to read this book but waited until it was out of hardcover (the price was too rich for me in hardcover). While I liked the voice, my problem with this book was the same as many other reviewers’ problem with this book. We spent 80% of the book listening to the resentful (and righteously so) thoughts of Hadley about her cheating father and 20% recovering from it.
Maybe Hadley had a year to come to grips with the fact that after 17 odd years, Hadley’s father fell in love with another, much younger woman, while lecturing at Oxford but the reader has only about three chapters. We experience her sense of loss, her mother’s depression and heartbreak, and her father’s physical abandonment for most of the story and then it seems that all she needed to do was be welcomed into the bosom of her step-mother’s family and all was well. To say that the switch was abrupt is like saying there is a large body of water between the Eastern shoreboard of the U.S. and London.
The palette is supposed to cleansed, or at least eased, by the fact that Hadley’s mother is in a new relationship. It’s details like that and the secret messages in the Dickens book her father gives her with passages underlined in pen that give the story a manufactured feel, not to mention Oliver’s existence. I felt hostile to the conclusion even though I think I was supposed to be charmed.
Hadley arrives at the departure gate 4 minutes too late for her flight to London where she will attend the wedding of her father to this younger woman he fell in love with. The next flight out is 3 hours later and places her in a seat next to a cute, tall British boy Oliver, who by his garment bag reveals he is going to London for an event as well.
The question of the book was about love but I never felt that it was interested in the ends of love, only the beginning. Hadley and Oliver on the plane. Her father’s new love with Charlotte. Her mother’s new love with the dentist. There’s no permanency in any of the relationships depicted on the page. Love is ephemeral, seems to be the unintentional message and while the book is supposed to be hopeful in a sort of love springs anew, I felt depressed at the end of it.
Hadley’s hurt at her father leaving her mother, leaving them goes unaddressed. His only answer is that he fell in love. But he still loves her mother and still loves her. Hadley’s forgiveness of him is because she thinks he looks right with his new bride? It just doesn’t ring authentically to me. In the chase for an uplifting ending, this book actually overreaches and heads the opposite direction.
The romance with Oliver is a throwaway. It’s superfluous and adds almost nothing to the story. This is a story of Hadley forgiving her father rather than a lovely young adult romance. I wasn’t sure what new understandings Hadley reached at the conclusion of the book. Was it that love happens quickly but then fades just as quickly? That life is too short to be with people that you don’t love or that it is too short to hate people that you love? Or was it just that I was to experience Hadley’s journey on the plane where she remembers her mother’s loss, her loss, and a couple memories of her dad being kind? Hadley, that tingly feeling you got when you met Oliver? Those were endorphins and that feeling never lasts. Ask your dad. C