WELCOME to the Small Book Blog! I am a voracious reader. I love losing myself in books and cannot wait to read myself into my next adventure. It is because of this love for books that I created this blog. I want to share my passion of books with you! I hope you enjoy my recommendations and reviews. My goal is that they will lead you to a new book, series or author, that you can fall in love with and recommend to others as well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Breathing Room

Breathing Room is hilarious, poignant, romantic, tense, sexy, has great chemistry, and fun dialog. I found myself laughing out loud at many sections in the story, and when I was done reading it I was ready to re-read it! Ren and Isabel were wonderful characters and I loved their story. The romance was believable and built up gradually, the sex was steamy but not over the top, the secondary characters were fun additions to the story, most of the story takes place in Tuscany.  I felt myself craving to go there to see it, feel it, eat it and drink it in. This is a stand-alone (I think) for SEP. All in all a fantastic romance with all the elements we desire while reading.

Nora Robert’s The Next Always (Book 1)

The Next Always is the first book in a new series by Nora Roberts, the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy. This novel is a classic Nora Roberts book. It is a sweet modern day romance with a few twists and turns to show us how relationships can evolve and the inevitable speed bumps that appear in life. This book focuses on Beckett Montgomery and Clare Brewster. Beckett is one of three brothers, who is the architect in the family, and designer of the Inn BoonsBoro he and his brothers are re-creating in their small town. The Inn is a restored historical building, complete with ghosts. I particularly liked Lizzy haunting the halls of the Inn. It will be fun to see what trouble Lizzy will cause in the future and if they figure out whom she was in life.
One thing that did bother me a little is that the entire series is a bit of a commercial for Roberts. The Inn BoonsBoro is actually her Inn that she designed and built in her hometown, down to the room themes and everything. The bookstore that Clare runs is also one of Roberts. It is normal for authors to use their experiences to create stories but for some reason I just kept thinking about the hordes of people who are going to want to flood her small town now that this trilogy is coming out.

That said, it is going to be a fun trilogy, much like her various Irish series and Wedding series.

Gwyn Cready's A Novel Seduction

Fans of romance novels, Outlander and people who constantly have to justify why romance novels ARE literature and not just smut will enjoy this novel. Gwyn Cready has created cute, funny, realistic characters and painted them in a picture that is relatable on various levels. This novel, unlike some of Cready’s other novels, seemed to be more of an ode or thesis for romance novels and why they are not just smut but that they are literature. The main heroine in this novel, Ellery Sharpe, is a snobbish book critic who works at an elite literary magazine. As a punishment for a scathing review Ellery wrote, her boss forces her to write an ode to romance novels. Ellery is beside herself about what to do because she thinks that the romance genre is the literary equivalent of word search puzzles and an embarrassment. To make matters worse, her photographer for the story is Axel Mackenzie. Axel and Ellery have a past of love, loss and regret that may make the assignment impossible.  

The classic romance novel Outlander, called Kiltlander in this novel, is what makes Ellery a believer in romance. It was fun to wonder with Ellery and Axel, if visiting a place from a favorite novel would open your eyes, allow you to feel the magic, or be a disappointment. The question throughout most of the novel seemed to be “What would Jemmi (Jamie) do.” This created some amusing choices for the characters decision making.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Recommendation: Gwyn Cready’s Seducing Mr. Darcy

Seducing Mr. Darcy is a novel that, while perusing the stacks, looking for the next great read, you stop to glance at the cover to snicker and maybe make a snarky remark about, then keep looking for your next book. However, I personally have a habit of picking up and looking at (and then usually reading) the various Jane Austen spinoff books (and let me tell you there are a lot). When I saw the title was Seducing Mr. Darcy, I couldn’t resist reading the back cover…after reading the blurb of what it was about I knew I had to read it:

Mr. Darcy just isn't Flip Allison's style. She prefers novels with hot sex on the   bathroom sink to the mannerly, high-tension longing of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. That is, until she pays a visit to Madame K, who promises a therapeutic massage with an opportunity to "Imagine Yourself in Your Favorite Book." Somehow, on the way to a sizzling sink-top session with a Venetian Adonis, Flip lands right in the middle of Regency England — and dangerously close to handsome Mr. Darcy. So close, in fact, that she discovers a side of him even Jane Austen couldn't have imagined.

My dear friend Becky likes to try out new authors and types of books so I recommended this novel to her, shoving it into her hands (she really wasn’t sure about my taste in books or the book itself when she saw the cover) but she took it anyways. After reading it (and receiving texts praising it while she was reading it) Becky wrote up a fantastic review on her author blog (Author Becky Banks Blog post) saying, “That said, my horizons were expanded this weekend as I delved into the pages of a unique, well written, goofy, complex romance that featured the characters from Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice and a modern day bird researcher. The main character is funny, the story is action packed, the hero is smart and likeable.... Anyway if you have the time and a large glass of wine and an empty couch to lie on - pick it up, it's a good one. I pinky swear.”

If you see this book, read it, especially Austenites and Pride and Prejudice fans.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge!

I set a goal this year to read 100 books in 2011. Today, after updating the reading challenge group I am a member of on Goodreads, I realized that I have now completed that goal! I have read 100 books in 2011 (so far)!

Last year I was overly ambitious and went for 150 books in 2010. I was about 20 books short. Should I go for 100 books or 150 books in 2012?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Laurie Viera Rigler's Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

First off, I am going to apologize in advance for my review of Confessions of  a Jane Austen Addict. I had very high hopes this would be a fun novel. I enjoy combing through the bookstores and seeing the abundance of books having to do with continuations of Austen’s novels and the beloved characters or the books that use Austen herself. I admit I am drawn to them and have read quite a few. When I saw that this one was about Courtney (a depressed women from our time from L.A. nursing a broken engagement) waking up in Regency England as Jane Mansfield. I was intrigued. However, this one though is probably the most disappointing. I did major page skipping and scanning. I was hopeful the ending would salvage the novel a little, it did not.
On a positive note, I really enjoyed the cover art of the novel. I also appreciated that if I were ever to go back in time that the observations made would probably be pretty close to my observations. For example, getting your monthly courses, the smells, the fear of bathing making one sick, talking to a man alone leading to a proposal of marriage, etc. Beyond that though, I could not do it.
I am off to read our beloved Pride and Prejudice by the masterful Austen to purge my poor brain.