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Archive for May, 2008

 Flinn is a master storyteller.  In this year long tale of her time at Cordon Bleu in Paris, Flinn tells the tale of trying to find her dream.  After being laid off, her boyfriend encourages her to go to Paris to study at the Cordon Bleu.  Taking the biggest leap of her life, she does and has the best and worst year of her life.  Peppered with wonderful anecdotes of life in and out of the kitchen, Flinn takes the reader on a magicaljourney.  Each chapter has a recipe connected in some way with the stories just told.  Maybe one of the best books I have read this year, this is definitely not a book that you want to miss!

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 Diana Foster has always lived a charmed life, or so it seemed.  She is poised and confident and seems to want for nothing.  That is how Cole Harrison remembers her.  Cole is not aware that after her father’s death, Diana took the families financial burdens on her shoulders and created a thriving business based on her families homey way of life.  But after 15 years, fate throws them together again.  Diana has just been jilted by her fiance and Cole finds himself in need of a wife to secure his business.    After a nearly humiliating ball where all of Houston’s upper class watch her squirm, Diana agrees to Cole’s agreement.  They will wed for a year to save his business and to help her magazine.  But of course they soon realize that this could be more than just a marriage of convenience.  McNaught is a superb writer and easily crafts a tale of two heart broken people who find the love they need in each other. 

 

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The Sherbrooke’s are back in this story from the Sherbrooke Brides Series.  Ryder Sherbrooke has just been dispatched to Jamaica to handle tales of witchcraft and sorcery.  But when he arrives, he meets the enchanting Sophia Stanton-Granville.  Ryder can’t figure her out, but is determined to unravel her mystery.  Lying behind her bewitching eyes is a tale of heartache and pain so fierce that only Ryder can take it away.  He soon realizes that all is not as is appears with Sophie and after marrying her to save her life, he sends her to England.  But even on English soil, things between Ryder and Sophie are not perfect.  Luckily, this is a romance novel so you can guess how it turns out.   I really enjoyed re-reading this book.  This was the first romance book I ever read back in high school!

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 Kabul Beauty School is an amazing story.  Debbie, a hairdresser from Michigan, is incredibly moved by the plight of the Afghan women and decides to do something to help them.  And therein lies the beginning of the Kabul Beauty School.  While I admire what Debbie did and the help that she gave to so many women, I did not think the book was very well written.  It jumped from spot to spot and I often had trouble following the storyline.  That being said, I felt that it was a story that needed to be told.  I wish we had learned more about the traditions and culture, but Rodriquez didn’t seem to care about any of that and in the time she was there did not learn what is acceptable and unacceptable in that society.  Some of the stories she tells are absolutely heart-wrenching and you weep for what these women go through.  However, there are happy times too when we see the women learning how to start their own business and becoming more confident.  I would recommend this book, but be warned that it is written by a hairdresser, not a writer .

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I was not overly impressed with Harrison’s book.  It took me awhile to get into it.  It is a world in which vampires, werewolves, and other assorted creatures have come out to humans.  There is a police department to regulate them and Rachel, witch, is meant to capture them.  there are plots within plots and none of it really coming together for me until the last few pages.  Maybe she is writing another, but I don’t think I would care to read it. 

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In this sequel to “Wicked Lovely”, Marr explores an even darker side of faerie: the Dark Court.  Irial is the king and must find a way to save his people before they die.  Leslie is Aislinn’s friend and does not know anything about faerie.  But when Leslie chooses a tattoo, it will link her to the world of faerie forever.  Ink Exchange is much darker than Wicked Lovely, but just as beautifully told.  It takes place after Wicked and gives more depth to some of the characters we only met briefly in the first book.  This is by no means a happy tale, but then what faery stories ever are?  Marr is a wonderfully gifted writer and I can’t wait to read more from her. 

 

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Bewitching Season In this delightful Victorian era fantasy romance, the reader meets twins, Persephone and Penelope, who are about to have their first season.  It is all very proper except that both are witches and can do magic.  Once they arrive in London, their governess and magic tutor, Miss Ally is kidnapped and it is up to the girls to save her.  Meanwhile, Persy is terrified of balls and talking to people while Pen is trying to help her sister in every way she can.  Doyle’s work reminds me of Maierlon the Magician by Wrede in its tone and execution.  This is the perfect book for those who like historical fiction with a dash of magic and romance.  I hope this promising author continues in this vein.

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