Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Light Fiction

When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies. Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside’s mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And—perhaps of the most lasting importance—could the stirrings in Charlotte’s heart be a sign of real-life love? (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: I will admit right off the bat that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Shannon Hale’s books. The Princess Academy books? Love them. Books of Bayern? Not so much. Austenland, the companion book to Midnight in Austenland seems to fall between these two categories for me. I really wanted to love it. I did love parts of it. Overall, though, I found myself a bit dissatisfied. But then I saw the movie. And it was rollicking good fun. So I decided to give Midnight in Austenland a try. At worst, it would still be an enjoyable, clean, decent read. But it was so much more than that. It was hilariously funny in bits and deeply romantic in other bits and I so connected with Charlotte.

Sissy: Well, I do not have a love/hate relationship with Shannon Hale’s books. I have loved all of them (with the exception of The Actor and The Housewife which did not fully satisfy me). When I saw the movie Austenland, I had only read the first book and so I thought that they changed a lot. But I see that Midnight in Austenland, which was written before the movie came out, is a lot more like the movie. Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that I loved the movie Austenland so much that I went back 4 times and dragged every female friend I owned to it. So you can guess how I feel about Midnight in Austenland. Shannon Hale is to writing as Bill Murray is to comedy.

Bubby: Bill Murray? Really? How old are you, anyway? Maybe Tina Fey? Or Jimmy Fallon? Welcome to 2014, Sissy.

Sissy: Well I may be older than dirt and Shannon Hale but she actually refers to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day as “delightful” and can “make her laugh” in the very book we are reviewing right now. I am sorry that your short-term memory is so poor. So much poorer than mine that you didn’t recall that.

Bubby: I recalled fine. I was just trying to make your image more hip and current.

Sissy: It’s hip to be square. I think Shannon Hale is delightful and she makes me laugh. I laughed out loud when Charlotte follows her daughter’s boyfriend and is caught hiding in the bushes outside his cousin’s house and again when she explains to her Austenland hostess Mrs. Wattlesbrook how her husband has died in a “gruesome and exceedingly painful demise” (her husband is now her ex, after she caught him cheating with some young thing).

Bubby: I laughed out loud at those bits too. It’s rare that my favorite character in a story is the main character – I usually enjoy the quirky side characters more – but in this case, Charlotte felt like an old friend with whom I was reconnecting. She tends to let her imagination run away with her – when things take a decidedly scary turn, she lays in bed, searching the shadows and jumping at every noise. I do that when my husband is out-of-town or working late – often mistaking the shadowy outline of the vacuum for a rapist or murderer intent on ravaging my household while we sleep. Mayhap both Charlotte and I are just a touch overdramatic!

Sissy: There are two other things that I really liked. One, how in between scenes at Austenland, Hale inserts little paragraphs from Charlotte’s past giving us insight into what makes Charlotte the way she is now. Two, how Charlotte has conversations with her “inner thoughts” …

Bubby: I almost wrote “inner thighs” there. I don’t know why because that would have been awkward. I think I need medical assistance…

Sissy: Imagine having a conversation with one’s inner thighs. Hmmm. Anyway, that is the kind of borderline irreverence that makes Shannon Hale a lovely author and Midnight in Austenland a thoroughly entertaining read.

Bubby: One of my favorite of those conversations is this: “This scarcely qualified as a secret room-more of a secret hole, or nook, or niche even, perhaps a cavity or alcove… Come up with synonyms all you want, said her Inner Thoughts. It’s not distracting me from the fact that you’re stupid.” Just a sampling of the deliciousness you’ll find in Midnight in Austenland. 4.5 bubbles.

Sissy: Delightfully clever. Delectably romantic. Wonderfully witty. 4.5 quaint and corseted bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Midnight in Austenland at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014


For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated? (From Goodreads.com)

Sissy:  I think I use the word “delightful” too much so I will say Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg was adorable, agreeable, and pleasing.  I sat in my new sleep number bed at zero G setting and read it, and had you looked at my face you would have seen the cat who just licked up all the cream (sans post-licking lactose intolerance tummy ache).  The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of our hero and heroine in the past tense, and each chapter cleverly ends with a paragraph or two of bantering commentary between the two in the present.  Loved it.

Bubby: Better Off Friends is advertised as “When Harry Met Sally for teens”. It’s a pretty good description. Macallan and Levi become friends right off the bat and stay that way, off and on, through the whole book. Their parents think they are cute and their friends think they are weird. I wish the book had gone a bit further though. Yes, they end up together, but does it last? Do they end up happily ever after? They are only in high school. One wonders what the future holds for these two.

Sissy:  I did wonder what the rest of the story was and at what point in life the bantering couple at each chapter end was.  Were they happily married?  College sweethearts?  Two weeks later?  Anyway, it is quite charming how we can see inside the heads of both Macallan and Levi, but at the same time are wishing they would know how the other was feeling.  But I guess that would make the story too short and rushed and perhaps change the outcome.  Time and place, and all that.  I thought the characters were sweet and engaging.  I had a best friend who was a guy in high school, and although we “like” liked each other off and on it was never at the same time.  We spent so much time together people always thought we were a couple, but we never were. So this made Better Off Friends relatable to me.

Bubby: I also had a best guy friend in high school, but we actually tried to be romantically involved. It lasted for approximately 12.5 seconds and afterwards our friendship was never the same. I wished that we had just stayed friends and not done the dating thing. I supposed this experience might make me a little jaded about the future of Macallen and Levi’s relationship! But I also have several friends that fell in love in high school and have now been happily married for years and years. I guess it just all depends.

Sissy:  This story is not very deep or complex so its hard to think of what to write about it.  That may sound like a negative but it is truly not—I was blissed out by this simple, well-written tale.  If you want to feel happy and content as a crumpet, bite into the little slice of heaven that is Better Off Friends.  4 bright and sunshiney bubbles.

Bubby: I agree. Sometimes you want complicated and thought provoking and deep and other times (more often for me) you want happy and fluffy. Better Off Friends fits the happy and fluffy category quite nicely. 3.75 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Better Off Friends at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

We received a copy of this title from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.


Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop. But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more. Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever. As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: Remember A Year of Weddings series that we recently reviewed? Well, A March Bride is also by Rachel Hauck. The characters in the two stories do overlap slightly, but either book can stand alone nicely.

Sissy: Princess Ever After actually comes out before A March Bride. It’s scheduled for publication on February 4th, 2014. I thought it was a delightful story and I enjoyed it a bit more than A March Bride. It is a little fluffy but in a good way and there are all sorts of little hidden secrets and treasures to be found in the plot line. I love things like that.

Bubby: Definitely a fun twist on the “Princess Diaries” type of plot. I fell completely in love with the dashing romantic character of Tanner. Totally worth moving to another country for!

Sissy: Which is why Bubby has a man in every port (in her dreams)! The story goes back and forth between past and present, the past being the story of Reggie’s great-grandma Alice as told in her journal. So you just get little bits of tantalizing information about Alice at any one time. Definitely worth a read. Go reserve it on Amazon right now.

Click HERE to buy Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

We received a copy of Princess Ever After from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

 


Jarod Klum was trapped in his small life in the small village of Eventide and saw no means of escape. He would never be worthy of the woman of his dreams, never achieve great deeds of valor and never be remembered in song or story. It wasn’t that he was without dreams. He dreamed them every night; of rescuing the imperiled Caprice Morgan from marauding pirates who had somehow come up the river or of returning from a great Quest beyond the village boundaries laden with treasure that he could lay at the feet of the appreciative Caprice Morgan. But each morning he awoke in his straw bed and knew he was just Jarod Klum.
Until, that is, the coming of the Dragon’s Bard. The Dragon’s Bard convinced Jarod to win his fair Caprice through ‘heroic deeds of a more manageable scale’ – setting Jarod on a course of misadventures that turns the town on its head. Jarod’s single-minded pursuit of his greatest wish – even if it is a broken one – escalates until the only thing left for him to do is to become a dragonslayer and save the town from a ferocious, legendary monster that everyone fears but no one has ever seen. ‘Eventide’ is brought to life through the stories of the interweaving lives of its citizens, their follies, joys, tragedies and triumphs on a scale of life to which we can all relate. In the end, it is a visit to a place where we ourselves would like to settle down and live out our lives as we should. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: Hey, Sissy, it’s been a while since we’ve done a Friday Favorites!

Sissy: And this one is one of the most fun books I have ever read. It is so clever and goofily whimsical. I applaud the Hickmans for having such creative brain cells! The characters are so weird, entertaining and craftily crafted. I had a ball reading Eventide.

Bubby: Craftily crafted? Really?

Sissy: Do we have to deal with your absurd wordsmith envy again?

Bubby: Wordsmith envy? Really? It’s like you think you are a character in Eventide. Hmm, let’s call you Sissy the Witless Word Coining Sprite. You can even have little purple iridescent wings with all of your strange words and expressions flitting across them. I like it! I like it! And I can be, let’s see…

Sissy: You can be Bubby the Fatuous Foot Fungus Fairy!

Bubby: Hey! Who you calling fatuous? I prefer Sorceress of Sarcasm, thank you very much. Now back to the book. Any novel that has characters like Gossip Fairies and Centaur Farmers and dancing blacksmiths is a win for me. I have long been a fan of Tracy Hickman’s high fantasy work – his Dragonlance books are well known to us nerdy geeky people – but his writing with his wife, Laura is fantastic in a whole new way. Eventide is light and fluffy and just dang fun.

Sissy: The premise of the story is that the Dragon’s bard has to collect stories to tell the dragon king so as not to be killed. So the Bard is always meddling in the villager’s affairs, especially Jarod our main character, with hilarious results. But there’s also a bit of romance and danger and even heart warming moments. I can’t say enough about how satisfyingly enjoyable Eventide was.

Bubby: A great start to a (so far) 3 book series. I can’t wait to read the other books (Blackshore and Moredale) and find out what the Bard is up to next! 3.75 floaty and frothy bubbles from me.

Sissy: Such a fun read for teens and adults alike. I don’t want anyone to think that this is too lightweight or is just for kids. It really struck my funny bone and for that reason, I give it 4 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Eventide (Tales of The Dragon’s Bard #1) at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke. (From Goodreads.com)

Sissy: I read this book a few weeks ago and really liked it, but I didn’t tell Bubby about it because she is a Regency romance snob. She is very vocal about the fact that she finds them insipid, inane, redundant, ridiculous. In other words, she doesn’t like them and she considers herself far above the whole genre. (She just tried to blow a raspberry at me and ended up spitting on herself which was quite hilarious and made my day).

Bubby: Did not! (While wiping spit off her own chest . . .)

Sissy: At any rate, imagine my confuzzlement when Bubby calls me and tells me we must review this fabulous book called Edenbrooke. What happened, my uppity snobbish one?

Bubby: You’re right. I don’t particularly care for Regency romances. However, let me just paraphrase what Julianne Donaldson herself said: she grew up reading Georgette Heyer, queen of the Regency genre and wanted to write something similar while making it more accessible to the modern reader. That’s me. Miss Modern Reader, right here. Julianne Donaldson said that she tried to accomplish this by moving the story along at a quicker pace and leaving out some of the unnecessary elements. Thank you very much, Julianne Donaldson. I loved Edenbrooke. It was divine. And I didn’t have to wade through 20 pages of wardrobe descriptions (the third pearl button on the cuff of her French-embroidered soigne twinkled in the reflected light from his 18-karat gold hand engraved cufflinks bought at Snooty DeVillier’s on Broad Street . . .) or 50 pages of “she glanced his way. He caught her eye, so she immediately lowered her countenance and scurried to the rose garden lest he espy the unbecoming rose blush upon her cheeks . ..” and similar time-wasting genre specific garbage. I felt quite refreshed to have a story set in a time period that I am actually quite fond of and not get bored with all the minutiae.

Sissy: Well said, Bubby! Edenbrooke is a delectable story set in Regency England. I really don’t have anything else to say after Bubby’s paragraph. I think she used all the words in the whole dictionary. Our readers should just buy the book, recline on their fainting couches and have a splendid afternoon.

Bubby: Oh come now. Wouldn’t you like to discuss how yummy Sir Phillip is? Almost on par with the admittedly incomparable Colin Firth? Or we could compare and contrast the relationship of Cecily and Marianne to our own sisterly bond.

Sissy: Oooh! I’ll bite! How even though you’re shallow like Cecily and I am grounded like Marianne, we still love each other to bits?

Bubby: Not exactly what I had in mind, but sure. I don’t think either of us have much in common with Cecily, though. She is all about the money and the status and how good she looks sitting side-saddle. We are both more like Marianne. Can you imagine living in a time period when gently bred young women were expected to do nothing more than receive callers, do embroidery and play the piano while looking attractive to possible suitors?

Sissy: We’d have WAY too much fun with that. Kind of like how Keri Russell’s character in Austenland sings something inappropriate whilst playing at the pianoforte.

Bubby: Hmm. Wouldn’t know. Someone went and saw that movie without me. Moving on now!

Sissy: If you read the synopsis of Edenbrooke, you may think that it is indeed a formulaic Regency romance. But Julianne Donaldson’s writing is so refreshing, you feel like you are reading a whole new genre. I give Edenbrooke 4 tightly corseted bubbles.

Bubby: We have family issues, romance all over the place and a perfect setting. What more could one wish for? (I have already purchased Julianne Donaldson’s next book, Blackmoore – that’s how much I liked it!) 4.5 perfectly proper bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson at Amazon.com

©2013 Bubble Bath Books


Sissy: Someone had the great idea of recruiting different authors to write retellings of favorite fairy tales and call them Once Upon A Time. We have chosen two of those, Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguié and Snow by Tracy Lynn, to review for you this week.  Midnight Pearls is based on The Little Mermaid and Snow is, of course, based on Snow White. Each of these has an interesting twist on the original story; one is a merperson/human love square and one involves human/animal mutants. Yes, you read correctly.

Bubby: I know that someone out there is saying, “More fairytale retellings? Haven’t you already done that? Why would we want to read more of those?” Well, you naysayer you, let me tell you why. There is a reason why singers keep recording new versions of classic songs and authors keep rewriting fairy tales. When something is good, it’s good and it’s so much fun to take something classic and put your own spin on it. One of my favorite stations on Pandora is an a capella station that is all covers of popular songs redone without accompaniment. It’s fabulous. I feel the same way about fairy tales – and I especially love this series because they are so well done and unusual.

Sissy: I thought these were rather cleverly done.  If I had to choose my favorite of the two, it would be Snow, because of Tracy Lynn’s interesting characterizations.  If you like this kind of story (always a guaranteed happy ending!) you will like these and you will want to look up the others (19 of them, including several by one of my favorite authors in this genre, Cameron Dokey).

Bubby: Both stories are beautifully written and are just the thing to cure the “oh crap it’s almost winter” blues. There is nothing quite like a well-done fairy tale to make me feel all happy and bubbly – they’re almost better than chocolate. Almost.

Sissy: Also, in the midst of one’s “oh crap it’s almost winter” moment, one might only have a small bit of time to read and these are short little delicious nuggets of around 200 pages that can be nibbled up in no time. You will still have time to haul out the warm clothes and snow boots and dig up the last of your garden and go to the children’s fall concert, etc., etc. I give them a magical 3.5 bubbles each.

Bubby: It’s kind of like Disney Princesses for grownups. Delightful. A collective 3.5 bubbles from me as well.

© Bubble Bath Books 2013

Click HERE to buy Snow by Tracy Lynn at Amazon.com

Click HERE to by Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguié at Amazon.com


After having her heart broken twice, Alicia Dayne has sworn off men, decided to concentrate on her career, and is delighted to win a lucrative contract to make a commercial for Highborn Mattresses. She could make the most awesome fairytale commercial ever, except for Jonas Highborn, who isn’t exactly thrilled with her Princess and the Pea ideas, and really doesn’t want a prince in tights representing his company. Though he’s trying to keep his grieving mother happy by letting her have charge of the commercial shoot, and though Alicia’s trying to keep in mind that this annoying guy is her boss for the moment, they can’t seem to keep from clashing. Throw in an overly-handsome prince, a matchmaking mama, and a stunning rose garden, and maybe, just maybe, Alicia can be convinced they have a chance at something real. Because while she might not be a real princess, sometimes an ordinary girl’s got to take a chance, even when it seems too good to be true. (Synopsis from Goodreads.Com)

Sissy: Sometimes after having a rousing good political discussion with my daughter or trying not to be worried about the state of things on Capital Hill, I just want to read something so happy and non-threatening that I turn to a fluffy bit of literary froth like The Princess Problem by Diane Darcy. This soothes the savage beast and takes me away from the tragic turnings of reality. A delightfully creative reworking of The Princess and The Pea.

Bubby: You know when it’s cold outside and not the good kind of cold but the nasty drizzly I-live-in-a-snowcone kind of cold? And you are grumpy and can’t get warm? And then someone (like Sissy) makes you a cup of cocoa and brings you a blankie? And then you feel all better? Yep. That’s how this book made me feel. All warm and snuggly and happy. I do have a major issue with this story, however. It’s too short! I needed just a bit more. It was like having only half a chocolate bar. I need the whole bar! The whole entire bar, people!

Sissy: I was just about to say that The Princess Problem was almost too fluffy for me and then I glanced down at my hands, which I just polished with my 8-year-old niece’s pink glitter polish, complete with sparkling flower jewel, and noticed the eight strand seed pearl bracelet wrapped around my wrist and I realized that if I were a stripper, my name would be Fluffy GlitterSparkles. The prospective mother-in-law Willa Highborn is my favorite character because she is glamorous and elegant but at the same time warm and mischievous in her matchmaking. She reminds me of myself, really.

Bubby: Seriously? Must every review include how a main character “reminds you of yourself”? Especially when you describe her as elegant – right after your stripper name. Heavens.

Sissy: Don’t be jealous of my great depth of character that is similar to –

Bubby: Great depths of sewage treatment ponds?

Sissy: Your rudeness is unbecoming the sister of someone who resembles literary giants, which is how I was going to end my previous sentence. Anyway, there was some tongue-in-cheek cleverness in Diane Darcy’s writing which I enjoyed, such as the last name Highborn.

Bubby: The cleverness of the writing is really what saves The Princess Problem from being a complete sugar overload. There is just enough snark and sass to balance out the sweetness. Alicia and Jonas have delightful chemistry and it was fun to watch the relationship develop. I also enjoyed the fact that no one was ridiculously stupid in this storyline. Too often a major character (usually the female lead, unfortunately) overdramatically and self-abasingly undervalues herself and overvalues the inappropriate guy with whom she has fallen desperately in love. “I know he is the spawn of Satan and turns into a werewolf on alternate Thursdays and only wants me for my blood plasma, but I LOVE him!!!” None of that here. Alicia has some issues with commitment, but resolves them quickly and moves on with life! And Jonas is a good guy. Not the spawn of Satan.

Sissy: I generally like retellings of fairy tales. I have read hundreds of them. However, I just finished reading a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and it was the most stupid book of all time. Made me want to pull out my uvula.

Bubby: Oh, that’s uvula. That hangy-down thing in one’s throat. I thought for a moment you said ukulele. I was confused as to why you’d feel the need to pull out your ukulele . . .

Sissy: And what? You thought I’d pull out my ukulele and write a song about hideous fairytale retellings?

Bubby: Exactly. You see my confusion.

Sissy: Yes, I see it daily.

Bubby: Actually, it might be a good song. You know my little girls’ favorite lullaby is “Truck Squished”, written by none other than you, Sissy.

Sissy: Yes. The truth is out. Famous, elegant blogger + songwriter. Now to finish. This fairytale retelling is a good one. A relaxing, non-demanding read. I give in 3.75 bubbles.

Bubby: I agree, as always, with my famously elegantly creative sister. 3.5 iridescent and sparkly bubbles.

Click HERE to buy The Princess Problem at Amazon.com


Vancy Salo’s Hungarian grandma has cursed her family. And Vancy is the latest victim. She has been left at the altar and the press is fascinated with this story of love gone wrong because of Grandma’s curse. Vancy has always said she doesn’t believe in the curse, but now that she is groom-less and being chased by reporters, she might be changing her mind. When she takes refuge at Matthew Wilde’s home, she never could imagine that soon they’d be sharing the house with Matt’s four-year-old twin nephews. Two little boys, reporters galore, lots of meddling family and a curse? Sounds like the perfect recipe for love.

Sissy:  This book is not for the overly sophisticated, or those who think they are.  It is a sweet love story that is funny in parts and definitely has a happy ending.  I like the little Hungarian grandma’s curse twist, and I like the heroine’s name–Vancy Salo.  Vancy gets jilted at the altar, and the press thinks it is because of Nana Salo’s curse.  Is it? Or does it just end up being good luck on Vancy’s part?  You shall see!

Bubby: Sometimes a book will just catch my eye. I was at the library with my horde and was looking for something light and funny to amuse myself with while the kids picked books for themselves. And there on the shelf was Everything but a groom. (As well as the rest of the books in the Everything But series.) You see, Nana Salo thought that she had been left at the altar and being part Gypsy, she cursed her fiance’s family to never have a beautiful, happy wedding. But then her fiance showed up after all and so now the curse is on her own family. After her marriage she was able to amend the curse to say that no one in the Salo family will ever have love as long as they care more about the wedding than about their love and marriage. So when Vancy plans this big beautiful wedding, Nana is concerned. As well she should be!

Sissy:  Okay, this book reminds me of the old  romances I used to read in the summers when we went to visit great Aunt Eva.  She had an a-frame house in the mountains and up in the loft where I slept there were shelves and shelves of romance paperbacks.  Except for being a little more modern, this book takes me right back to those great days.  The other books in the series are Everything But A Bride, Everything But A Wedding, Everything But A Christmas Eve, Everything But A Mother, and Everything But A Dog.  I have not read the others–have you, my dear sister?

Bubby: I have read the first three but not the rest. I will have to remedy that! I loved the family relationships in these books. The Salos own a large construction firm and it seems that every member of the family is involved in some way. There are lots of family dinners and get-togethers and it just seems so nice and idyllic. Our leading man, Matthew Wilde, has the complete opposite family. Divorced parents and a brother that can’t quite seem to get his life right. Can you imagine, Sissy, if I had indulged in a few flings here and there and suddenly showed up on your doorstep with twin boys I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) care for anymore? Gave them to you and then took off again? This is what happens to Matt. Suddenly, he is in charge of two delightfully naughty boys – oh, and Vancy is hiding at his house because the press won’t leave her alone!

Sissy:  Well, I would take your boys, give you a swift kick in the hiney, and rearrange my life.  This seems to be one of the more boring of our blogs, but I don’t have much to say about this book.  It fits into that “light, fun, summer romance” category, and it is a good and necessary category, but doesn’t necessarily inspire great commentary.  Holly Jacobs fills an important niche for those of us who love a nice love story once in a while but don’t like the excess steaminess that is found in most contemporary romances.  I was perusing the cheap and free books on my kindle the other day and a majority of them are ultra sexual smut machine romances–word porn.  Not for me.

Bubby: I agree. Sweet, clean romance is what I am looking for. Not really interested in reading about other people’s intimate encounters! I really enjoyed my foray into Holly Jacob’s Everything But series. Fun, entertaining and heartwarming.

Sissy:  A book series perfect for a day like today–sunny, with a cool breeze.  Go outside and pop yourself into a comfy chair in the shade and have a lovely little read.  3.5 Bubbles.

Bubby: I’m thinking a hammock and some lemonade! 3.5 bubbles from me too.


Breezy Jones loves being the weathercaster for the local station in her small town of Aspen Grove.  Giving accurate weather forecasts is her passion – and she’s good at it. But when the station is sold suddenly, the new management isn’t so crazy about Breezy.  The new general manager, Noah Drake, is all about ratings and he’ll do anything it takes to make the station a success – even if it means replacing Breezy with someone new. As Noah makes more and more changes to the station, conflict rages and the town begins to fight back.  Breezy finds herself increasingly annoyed, and inexplicably attracted to Noah. Does he feel the same? Will she ever get her prized weathercasting job back?
Bubby: If you are in the mood for a light and fluffy romance that is short and sweet (like Sissy), this is the book for you. The author calls it a novella, as it is only 176 pages, but it’s plenty long to keep you happy through one of these long, dreary winter afternoons.
Sissy:  Yes, I looove books like this.  Heather Horrocks writes in a light, entertaining, non-cheesy way and I come away from the reading experience feeling happy and hopeful, (albeit raisiny from my 176 page bathtub soak…)
Bubby: It’s not often that you meet a main character who is so nice and sweet – there is nothing NOT to love about Breezy Jones. Breezy is following in her father’s footsteps as the weather man (weather woman? weather person? . . . .)
Sissy: Possibly Weather Forecaster…
Bubby: Sure. Forecaster. Anyway, she’s always had a love for the weather and even has the college degrees in meteorology to prove it. And yet when her news station gets sold, this know-it-all city boy thinks he can just toss her aside in favor of the stereotypical sexy bimbo weathergirl. That’s a mistake, mister!
Sissy:  The introduction of the character of “Hurricane Pamela” gave me plenty to stew about.  I am so extremely annoyed at the double standard that exists in the media (huge) and plenty of other environments.  We have beloved older gentlemen newscasters who look “distinguished” with their grey hair and their less than stellar waistlines are tolerated, along with their wrinkles and age spots.  But do you see any spotty, wrinkly, chubby, grey-haired women???  No– they get canned as soon as their cleavage sags a millimeter.  I saw a beautiful young singer doing a duet with a male singer who sang well but looked like he had just crawled out from under a rock.  Why is that okay, when the female NEVER would be allowed out or get a contract without being sucked, plumped, and coiffed?
Bubby: Amen, sista! I also had issues with Noah Drake (the new general manager) being so unwilling to believe that Breezy could really be as sweet and nice as she seemed. I think that there are too many women out there who act like Pollyanna to a man’s face but are real pieces of work (if you know what I mean) and it seems like Noah thinks she is that kind of girl.
Sissy:  Sweet and nice do not equal brainless doormat.  Well, having said my piece about that social issue, I shall now speak more about the enjoyable aspects of Pride and Precipitation.  Aspen Grove seems to be a lovely town, and its inhabitants seem loyal, kind, and friendly.  The Chick Flick Clique in my neighborhood needs to be organized immediately–I shall not be president but maybe dessert chairperson.  And, Breezy’s co-workers are a great group–loyal friends as well.
Bubby: Oh, yes! The Chick Flick Clique! That is one of my favorite parts of this book – it’s a group of women who get together once a month at a local restaurant to watch a “Chick Flick”, eat yummy food and have excellent conversation. It’s a fabulous idea – women need a place where they can hang out together and have a little break from the stress and strain of everyday life.
Sissy:  Well, my dear, this book (all of Heather Horrocks’ books I’ve read, actually) are light and refreshing and perfect for those days when the president raises your taxes, you get a flat tire, and your child forgets about their big project and desperately needs your help till midnight ( and your husband snored all night the previous night and you only got 4.6 hrs of sleep and you feel murderous.)  I give Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks 4 out of 5 bubbles.
Bubby: Hey! Your husband snored all night too? Sounds like we need to send ourselves on vacation! But since we can’t, I think I’ll pick up another Heather Horrocks book and have a mini vacation on my couch. A great escape read. Pride and Precipitation gets 3 and ¾ bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks at Amazon.com

 

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© Bubble Bath Books 2013


Mrs. Emily Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a widowed empty-nester.  She is tired of her life and tired of Garden Club Meetings. She decides that she needs to do something new – something exciting, something patriotic.  So, naturally, she becomes a CIA agent. Her first assignment is to Mexico City. Unfortunately, and perhaps inevitably, things do not go according to plan and Mrs. Pollifax finds herself in the middle of a mess. Fortunately for her, she is one feisty lady and those who go up against her are in for quite a surprise! Subsequent books in the series find Mrs. Pollifax anywhere from Switzerland to Damascus, always feisty, always funny, always uniquely Mrs. Pollifax.

Sissy: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax is the first in a delightfully scrumptious series of 14 books written between 1966 and 2000. Mrs. Pollifax is a great character who not only has the mind of a detective but also knows karate and she uses it! I imagine that I will be like Mrs. Pollifax in my golden years.

Bubby: Well, considering that you ARE in your golden years and have yet to learn karate, I sincerely doubt it.

Sissy: Excuse me, Bubby, I am a purple belt in karate for your information.

Bubby: You were a purple belt 20 years ago. Not sure what your belt would look like nowadays. But anyway, I too adore Mrs. Pollifax. The whole series is fantastic. She reminds me of someone who would fit right in at the Red Hat society – those older women who wear their red hats with their purple dresses and have a ball with life.

Sissy: ONe of my problems with most cozy mysteries, although I do like them, is that murdered people just don’t turn up by the dozens in the same location.  Mrs. Pollifax, on the other hand, doesn’t sit around the Garden Club and find dead people under the geraniums. SHe joins the CIA for heaven’s sake! At first they just give her little inane assignments that aren’t supposed to pose any danger but she proves once and for all that age does not diminish one’s innate wonderfulness.

Bubby: I agree with Sissy – in real life one call only find two or three dead bodies before people start accusing them of BEING the murderer. Mrs. Pollifax heads out to all these fantastic exotic locales (Mexico, Egypt, Africa, Morocco) and is involved in situations where murder and mayhem are plentiful.

Sissy: That is one of the most fun things about this series – the exotic locales. Mrs. Pollifax is a hoot when she tries to wear disguises and assimilate into the cultures. Dorothy Gilman is writing is witty and clever.

Bubby: The descriptions of places are so rich and detailed that I can almost smell the saffron couscous and feel the hot Damascus sun beating on my head (referring of course to Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled). I have no desire to be a CIA agent but I enjoy reading a book that can make me feel like one!

Sissy: Ah, yes, the burning sand squidging between my weary, travel-stained toes; the sweat dripping down my lobster-red brow, a tepid mug of barley tea clasped in my gun-grip calloused hands…I’m feeling it with you, Bubby!

Bubby: That’s my point exactly. I don’t actually WANT to go there and do that. I would much prefer to relax in my lavender scented bathwater and live vicariously through the pages of my book.

Sissy: Mrs. Pollifax even finds romance eventually. She is so not your Miss Marple brand of heroine. So go out and buy or borrow these books and read them because you will like them. 5 bubbles for me.

Bubby: Absolutely. I also recommend that you read any or all of Dorothy Gilman’s other books. She is a great writer. 4 1/2 bubbles for Mrs. Pollifax!

Click HERE to buy The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman at Amazon.com

Click HERE  to buy The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman at BookDepository.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2012