Monday, January 28, 2013

Entertaining Strangers by Jonathan Taylor
Released: October 2012

Entertaining Strangers is the first novel by Jonathan Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University, UK. Taylor has also published a memoir, and writes short stories and poetry.

Entertaining Strangers is narrated by Jules, a young homeless woman who is welcomed into the home of Edwin Prince, an odd, yet eccentric and intelligent man obsessed with ants.

A seemingly (at first) passive character in this novel, Jules innocently and lovingly accepts Edwin's hospitality, and goes on to narrate and recount Edwin's relationships with his landlord, relatives, and ex-wife, all while sharing breakfasts together that consist of nothing but vermouth. Jules becomes fast friends with Edwin, and even attempts to help him collect ants for his ant farm, and rekindle (or smooth out) a few of his relationships.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
Released: March 2009

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is Carolyn Turgeon's second novel. Since Godmother's release, Turgeon has published The Next Full Moon and Mermaid, the latter of which is currently in development for a movie by Sony Pictures.

In present-day Manhattan, an old woman with beautiful white hair named Lil divides her time between working in an independent book shop and her lonely apartment. Her friends are few and far between, mainly because Lil has an important secret she can never share with anyone.

Lil is actually Cinderella's notorious fairy godmother, but was banished to our real world forever for appearing to Cinderella's prince as a human and making him fall in love with her. As punishment, Lil must spend years in our world without her one true love, while also maintaining large fairy wings she keeps hidden and bound to her back each and every day.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Released: April 2010

The Carrie Diaries is the prelude to Bushnell's infamous Sex and the City, which, as you know (unless you spent the last 15 years in a bomb shelter), was made into a successful and widely-popular HBO television series years ago.

I've been a major fan of Bushnell since I read Sex and the City months before it premiered on HBO, and have read all of her novels with the exception of Summer and the City, which is the sequel to The Carrie Diaries. I decided to read this novel prior to the release of the new Carrie Diaries television series on the CW, which aired just a little under a week ago.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Flame in Byzantium by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Released: October 1987

A Flame In Byzantium is the first novel in the Atta Olivia Clemens trilogy by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. The trilogy is a spinoff of Yarbro's Saint-Germain vampire series, in which Olivia Clemens was one of Saint-Germain's lovers.

I've had this novel and most of the Saint-Germain novels on my bookshelves for years, but for some reason, never placed them high on my reading list. However, I tackled A Flame In Byzantium specifically so I could participate in a reading challenge for the 2013 Monthly Keyword Challenge being hosted at Bookmark to Blog. "Fire" was one of the keywords in January's challenge, so since "flame" is a variation of the word "fire," this is what I chose to read.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spitting Image by M.K. Mattias
Released: October 2012

Spitting Image is the first book in the Simone Darling series by M.K. Mattias.

Freelance art restorer Simone Darling is not having luck with her art restoration business at home in Sydney, Australia. So when her newlywed mother offers her a chance to appraise art for thousands of dollars in Miami, Florida, she immediately boards a plane for the sunshine state with her boyfriend, Kevin.

Shortly after arriving at her mother's home in Florida, Simone and Kevin discover a dead body in the refrigerator that happens to look very much like Kevin. Simone then becomes intent on learning why her mother's new, mysterious husband Curtis is storing dead bodies in their freezer, especially when they are dead ringers for her beloved boyfriend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

In the Manor With the Millionaire by Cassie Miles
Released: July 2008

In The Manor With The Millionaire is just one of many romance novels written by Cassie Miles (a pseudonym for Kay Bergstrom). This novel is part of the Harlequin Intrigue series, "Curse of Raven's Cliff."

During 2012, I went through an off-and-on phase in which I craved nothing but Harlequin suspense romances. I purchased this book on one of several buying binges.

The title of this novel reminds me of the board game and movie Clue: "Madeline Douglas, in the manor, with the millionaire (and a candlestick? No - his son)," and the power to, well, seduce, I guess.