Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Kind of Cowboy

It's the good kind of cowboy (the gay kind)

Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby

Alex Ford has always loved horses. As a boy, he would ride his bicycle around, pretending that it was actually a horse named Magnifico. In his teens, his father finally gets him a horse of his own, an old paint named Turnip, and signs him up for cowboy riding lessons. While Alex is a natural on a horse, winning many competitions locally, he dreams of another kind of riding. The first time he saw the precision horseriding competitions called dressage on television, he pretended that he himself was the horse and he pranced around the living room in graceful patterns. More than anything, Alex wants to ride dressage someday.
Cleo O'Shea is trying to make a fresh start at an exclusive horse-themed boarding school in Vancouver. Her parents are off making movies in Africa, and she's stuck with a horse trainer who doesn't even care about dressage riding.
Alex and Cleo meet at the Fall Fling riding competition, but while Cleo is looking for romance, Alex is completely focused on riding. Cleo is one of the richest girls at her school; Alex's dad is living in an RV in front of their house and is behind on the bills. Alex is looking for a good horse and a better trainer; Cleo is just looking for a good time and a better party.They are an unlikely pair, both with secrets in their past and embarrassing families, but they may be able to forge a friendship.

This excellent new young adult novel from Susan Juby, author of Alice, I Think, made me laugh out loud a lot and cry just a little. Plus, I learned a bit about horses as well!
341 pages.

Fresh Fiction

Somehow I got caught at home with very few library books and a big stack of books to review for www.freshfiction.com, so I just dug in for a read-a-thon of epic romance proportions. (and I even got my reviews done too!) Where did I get all of this reading time, you ask? Well, this middle trimester has been less of a sleep-induced fatigue-ridden fog, so some nights when I lay down at 9:30 pm, I actually can get some reading done before I pass out! These books were all ARCs so they won't be published until April or May.

Take Me If You Can by Karen Kendall
Avy Hunt steals art for a living. Actually, insurance companies hire her to return stolen art to the rightful owners, so she feels justified in her actions. When she tries to steal from master thief Liam James, she may have met her match though. Witty, very Thomas Crowne Affair, and fun.
336 pages.

Fiance at her Fingertips by Kathleen Bacus
I think I just was not meant to be a paranormal romance reader. Why, oh why, must helpful spirits from beyond intervene in the characters lives causing confusion for both them and the reader? Anyway, this is the story of a woman who buys a novelty toy fake fiance which then turns out to be a real man who thinks he is her fiance and then she looses him just when it was getting good and the secold half of the story plays out in reverse as they both learn their lesson about love.
352 pages.

Fast and Loose by Elizabeth Bevarly
I am a sucker for romances in which people meet in interestingly contrived ways. In this case, glass artist Lulu Flannery rents out her bungalow for two weeks during the Kentucky Derby to famous horse trainer, Cole Early, who learns about her from living in her house while she is off worrying that someone is wrecking it. Unforgivably in my book, he reads her journal, but otherwise this was a great quick read. (And for a book about the Kentucky Derby there were very few horse scenes!)
284 pages

Don't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson
If the only contemporary romance writer in the whole world was Shanna Swendson, that would be okay with me. Her stories are like Harry Potter chick lit (she calls them fairy tales for modern times) and this fourth book in the series was just as delightful as the rest. These are stories are good clean fun, appropriate for teens readers looking to branch out, as well as enjoyable for any romance reader looking for magical escape.
304 pages.

Friday, February 15, 2008

chick lit and romance

Pack up the Moon by Anna McPartlin
Irish chick-lit, in the new popular vein of grief-stricken young women trying to move on with their lives, but executed brilliantly and believably.
I'm reviewing it for freshfiction.com. 384 pages.

The Bachelor Trap by Elizabeth Thornton
A longer regency-historical romance. While I don't particularly remember a bachelor getting trapped, it was still an okay read. 386 pages.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book Group Roundup

For my Jane Austen Book Club, I listened to the audiobook of Pride and Prejudice. No matter how many times you have watched every available movie version, the book simply has MORE and it is delightful. The audiobook was sort of like doing a 11 hour movie version where my imagination created the visuals for the excellent narration. I still want to re-read the printed book as well, but that may have to wait a bit.
I listened to it. 11 hours.

For Literature with Lunch, I tackled the much-resisted, sort-of-feared, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which is the Kansas Reads choice for 2008. What really helped me was a pep talk a friend gave me right before - she said something like "whatever you are worried about because you think you don't like true crime, it isn't this book. This book is different."
It was a truly well-written and interesting book, and the most I find out about Capote's life, the more the weird it all seems. Recommended, although I probably won't re-read it (except later this month before I facilitate my second book group on it. And, for the record, it didn't give me nightmares...
I read it - 343 pages.

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Hmmm.... obviously, no one really reads this book when they aren't pregnant. And I've also been reading ones called "Pregnancy Sucks" and "Pregnancy Fitness" (one is funny and one is torturous, in that order.) I'm figuring I'll probably be reading and re-reading these books until sometime in August, and then switching over to parenting books.
The cutest thing is that my spouse is reading them with me!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Plum Lucky

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich was a "between the numbers" book and a very quick read. I didn't really remember the Diesel guy that she seems to be into in this book, but she is certainly a little on the slutty and confused side when it comes to romance. What can I say - in my fiction, I like things to be clear-cut and resolved with happy-ending, not with relationships dragged across 15+ books. Of course, I will still read the next one when it comes out, I always do!
166 pages.

The Prince and the Snowgirl by Simon Cheshire
I expected more from this teen Brit novel than it could deliver - the author's other book, Plastic Fantastic, was really interesting. This one focused on a teen who impersonates a young royal on weekends as a job, and his own identity crisis when he is at a skiing competition where the real prince actually shows up!
167 pages.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm such a sucker for literary characters showing up in other stories...

The Heroines: a novel by Eileen Favorite
At 13, Penny craves attention from her mother, who runs a quaint bed and breakfast on the plains of Illinois. Some of the visitors are normal, but occasionally a literary heroine (Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara) finds comfort and retreat there before returning to the tumult of her story. When Penny ignores her mother's warnings about exploring the nearby woods, she finds more trouble (and characters and plots) than she anticipated....
I checked it out. 233 pages.