The adventures begun in the Feyland trilogy continue, where a high-tech computer game becomes a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. Rich-boy gamer Royal Lassiter lives on easy mode—until everything falls apart. Dark faeries are plotting to invade the mortal world, his controlling mom has turned home into enemy territory, and he can’t deny his irresistible attraction to newcomer Brea, despite the danger lurking in her mysterious eyes. Forced to undertake a perilous mission for the Dark Queen of Faerie, Brea Cairgead finds living among humans and hiding her true nature as one of the fey folk a fearsome challenge—especially when her emotions prove all too vulnerable to a certain human boy. Torn between impossible loyalties, she must serve her queen… though it may cost her heart. Can love between mortal and fey ever have a happy ending? (From Goodreads.com)
Sissy: Anthea Sharp draws us back into the magical world of Feyland with another beautiful novel of romance and adventure. I dare you to look at the cover and not be drawn into the story.
Bubby: I am always so excited when a new Feyland book comes out! This one shows us a whole new side of Roy Lassiter, the boy we hate to like. He actually has some depth. Who knew?
Sissy: Anthea Sharp just keeps getting better and better! I do not hesitate to recommend that everyone read Royal: Feyguard Book 2.
Bubby: A great novel to help you pretend that it’s still summer. Just what I needed.
Click HERE to buy Royal by Anthea Sharp at Amazon.com
We received a copy of Royal from the author in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again? Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier.
The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love. (From Amazon.com)
Bubby: We’re back! Wow, what a summer. I think Sissy would agree that what we really need now is 6 months of really boring life. No drama, no excitement, no big events, nothing. But for some reason, I doubt that will be the case!
Sissy: I know. From your lips to God’s ears, Bubby. At some point during the summer, I don’t know when, we both read this book and found it to be so sweet and poignant. We knew we needed to share it with you! Two love stories happen within its pages, one beginning in the WWII era and one in the present day. The thing that weaves them all together is the bundle of love letters bound with one lavender ribbon – hence the title. And let me tell you: those letters were beautifully written. I fear in this fast paced age of texts and tweets that such lovely writing is becoming extinct. I have a bundle of love letters that my husband wrote me when we were courting. Does that make me sound ancient?
Bubby: Yes, but so does everything you say, so…
Sissy: Wow. I see your summer experiences have not polished off your rudeness! My love letters are a magnificent treasure, just like the ones in Heather Burch’s novel.
Bubby: I actually think that I do have a few letters somewhere from my dear husband. I’ll have to see if I can find them. I’m sure that they are quite romantic, just like yours.
Sissy: Not possible. My husband is the King of Romance.
Bubby: I don’t know about that. My husband bought me a yard full of sod for our 20th anniversary. And an ironing board for my birthday. Can’t beat that! (For the record, we went to Spain last month and celebrated our anniversary early, and I REALLY wanted that ironing board so…) I have to say that of the two love stories, I prefer the older one. It’s just so sweet to see love that stands the test of time. Besides which, there’s a nifty little twist that really makes the whole story sing. I could expound but then Sissy would have to kill me.
Sissy: I only want to kill you because you got to go to Spain and I didn’t.
Bubby: Get over it.
Sissy: Anyway, if we can stop talking about SPAIN, if you are looking for a heartwarming reading interlude, One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch will truly satisfy you. 3.7 bubbles from me.
Bubby: It was a wonderful story. Heather Burch does a fantastic job of evoking romance, nostalgia and hope. Loved it. 4.25 lavender bubbles.
Click HERE to buy One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch from Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny. Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday – when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel’s help. Can Reychel learn to believe in herself? (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: Sometimes we go and look at other’s reviews on a given book just to see what other people are thinking. Sometimes when we do that, we find wildly conflicting opinions. That is the case with Anathema. It seems to us that Anathema was published previously and has been re-released after some major editing, hence the conflicting reviews. At any rate, the version of Anathema that I read was really quite a treat. Original, well-written, great characters. It is the first in a series of 6 books that are split into two trilogies (Cloud Prophet Trilogy and Swarm Trilogy) and a novella that promises to tie the two trilogies together. I have in my possession said novella and book 1 of the Swarm Trilogy. Happy reading ahead for me!
Sissy: Our main character Reychel is a slave who is given some strange preferential treatment by her owner Kandek. Her story is an exciting adventure that leads us to find out she is much more than she thinks. Twisty relationships and secrets revealed add drama and color to the whole tale. There is a touch of romance to spice things up and a whole cast of interesting characters.
Bubby: Including, as always, one you’ve just got to hate. Oh, that character is a nasty piece of work!
Sissy: But that character is dealt with deliciously in the end. All you have to do is look at the face of the cover model and her dreamy eye makeup and you know she is clever and bound to come out on top.
Bubby: Perfect book for a beach read. Now all I need is a beach! 3.5 bubbles.
Sissy: Experience with Reychel secrets that will change her life. I know you can’t wait to find out what happens! 3.5 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Anathema at Amazon.com (Currently FREE!!)
We were given a copy of this title from Netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
To the student nurses at The Nightingale hospital, the ward sisters are heartless and frightening, with impossibly high standards. But the sisters have troubles of their own…
The new night sister is not all that she seems. Who is she and what dark secret is she hiding? As the mystery deepens, Sister Wren is determined to find out the truth.
The student nurse is struggling with her own secret, and with her heartbreak over Nick, the man who got away. A new arrival on the ward brings the chance to put a smile back on her face. But can she really get over Nick so easily?
Dora’s fellow student is also torn between the two men in her life. But then an unexpected friendship with an elderly patient makes her question where her heart – and her future – really lies.
As the nation mourns the death of King George V, it seems as if nothing is ever going to be the same again, especially for the women at the Nightingale.
Sissy: Back at the beginning of June we reviewed the first book in this series, The Nightingale Girls. Much to our delight, we were able to receive a copy of this book, number two in the series, so we just had to read it! And recommend it to you!
Sissy (again): Oh, you thought Bubby might chime in about how much she enjoyed the continuing saga of Dora, Helen, and Millie? You thought she would natter on about the new nurse Violet, or wail about waspish sister Wren? Well, you thought wrong. Bubby is, at present, in Spain! You heard right–Spain! But I am not jealous. Oh, no–I would never begrudge Bubby the opportunity to savor the sights of Seville and meander in Madrid. And I certainly carry no envy concerning her plans to leap over to Lisbon, Portugal, and trot down to Tangier, Morocco. I am perfectly happy to stay here and write this blog by myself in the exciting and stimulating environs of small town America. So, until further notice…
At any rate, The Nightingale Sisters is thoroughly enjoyable, and you will find yourself highly invested in the dramas, highs and lows, and everyday dealings of the nurses at the Nightingale hospital. 4 starched-white bubbles!
Also–Stay tuned for upcoming blogs from me and various guest bloggers in my sister’s absence. It will be exciting!
Click HERE to buy The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas at Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
Sissy: We are book snobs. When I see a book from a Christian publishing house, I will admit that I am immediately beset by a bias which tells me it will be overly cheesy.
Bubby: Possibly with a side of overly preachy.
Sissy: Yes, that too. And I am a Christian. Bubby is too, on a good day.
Bubby: And what, I’m a Druid Priestess on bad days? Sheesh! It was once that I hosted the skyclad dancing under the moonlight in the backyard. Let it go!
Sissy: If that were true, you’d be much more entertaining. Anyway, what I was trying to say was that when I read a novel from a Christian publishing house that surprises me with its literaryness, I have to eat my words and bash my bias. A Match of Wits resulted in word-eating by moi.
Bubby: It’s witty and funny and fast paced and has a spunky heroine with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Great read.
Sissy: Everything Bubby said plus a good dose of wacky tongue-in-cheek adventure and dialogue. Surprise, surprise! I recommend you read it. 3.5 bubbles
Bubby: I will definitely be on the lookout for more by Jen Turano. 3.75 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Match of Wits by Jen Turano
We received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
When two unlikely allies become two unwitting outlaws, will two unforgettable lovers defy unbeatable odds? Bonnie Rae Shelby is a superstar. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s impossibly famous. And Bonnie Rae Shelby wants to die. Finn Clyde is a nobody. He’s broken. He’s brilliant. He’s impossibly cynical. And all he wants is a chance at life. One girl. One boy. An act of compassion. A bizarre set of circumstances. And a choice – turn your head and walk away, or reach out your hand and risk it all? With that choice, the clock starts ticking on a man with a past and a girl who can’t face the future, counting down the seconds in an adventure riddled with heartbreak and humor, misunderstanding and revelation. With the world against them, two very different people take a journey that will not only change their lives, but may cost them their lives as well.
Infinity + One is a tale of shooting stars and fame and fortune, of gilded cages and iron bars, of finding a friend behind a stranger’s face, and discovering love in the oddest of places.
Bubby: This is what, the 3rd novel by Amy Harmon that we have reviewed? That, in and of itself, should tell you how good Infinity + One is. It has engaging characters, perfectly drawn settings and beautiful dialogue – everything that one expects from the pen of our dear Amy. But for me, this novel is about moments of grace. They appear over and over again as we follow Bonnie and Finn’s adventure. Moments where a split-second decision changes the course of not only Bonnie and Finn’s lives but the lives of all those they touch. Of course, it all starts with Finn’s choice to save Bonnie instead of just walking away.
Sissy: We read a lot of books. Most of them are good, middling stories without much depth but nevertheless entertaining. But sometimes we find authors who are able to go beyond the superficial and get under our skin. Amy Harmon does this once again in Infinity + One. I know that an author’s least favorite question is “Where do you get your ideas?” but I found myself going there while reading this book. I just kept thinking that the plot is so unique and yet the love story is so well-done that it feels like you are reading about the love between people you’ve known for years. I truly cared about Bonnie and Finn. I felt that they were my friends and I wanted to be part of their lives. That is one of the keys to outstanding writing.
Bubby: I loved that both Bonnie and Finn were just trying to be their most authentic selves – that they were tired of being who other people thought they were or should be. Bonnie wanted to be normal – to be loved for herself and not for her music or for her monetary potential or her stardom. And Finn wanted to escape who his past had forced him to be. I think that we all sometimes wish for the opportunity to start over fresh and create the identity that we feel we could have had under different circumstances. For example, I’m pretty sure that if Sissy had her druthers she’d be the Imperial Grand Duchess of some tiny European country – lots of money, lots of shiny jewelry and no real responsibilities!
Sissy: Exactly. In fact I am working towards that goal at this very minute. Give me a pony! Sometimes I become weary of analyzing books, their characters, the plot lines, blah, blah, blah and I just want to say how I FELT during the reading experience. That, for me, makes the decision between a thumbs up or a thumbs down or a middling hovering maybe. When I read Infinity + One I felt like I was transported into the story and lived and breathed it right along with the characters. I experienced frustration, angst, happiness, sadness, frustration and finally joy.
Bubby: You know that you said frustration twice, right?
Sissy: So maybe I felt it twice! So sue me! You messed up my reverie, Bubby. I was in the groove! You’re always messing up my stuff!
Bubby: It’s part of the “little sister” job description. Are you done with your eloquent waxing yet? I have things to say too…
Sissy: I was going to say that when I came to the oh so satisfying end, I felt like I had awoken from a trance. I didn’t know who or where I was. And I just wanted to get back in the story. There were so many bits of dialogue that were nuggets of quotability. Again I wondered how someone could come up with all these wonderful things! Now I’m done.
Bubby: So in real life, I cry very easily. So much so that it’s a running joke with my children. But I rarely cry when reading – I know, it’s strange. However, there was one scene at the very end of Infinity + One where a particular character, a homeless man named William, just brings it all together and ties it up with a pretty satin bow. And I cried. So there. Oh, and we got an advanced copy from Amy herself – and I STILL went out and bought the finished product.
Sissy: As usual, I love me some Amy Harmon. 4.5 bubbles.
Bubby: Beautifully written. 4.5 bubbles from me too.
**This is a New Adult novel and as such has a few bits of language and so forth. No “F” words or nasty “nekkidness”, however.**
We received a copy of Infinity + One from the great Amy Harmon in return for a fair and honest review. Thanks, Amy!
Click HERE to buy Infinity + One by Amy Harmon at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Three very different girls sign up as student nurses in 1936, while England is still mourning the death of George V. Dora is a tough East Ender, driven by ambition, but also desperate to escape her squalid, overcrowded home and her abusive stepfather. Helen is the quiet one, a mystery to her fellow nurses, avoiding fun, gossip and the limelight. In fact she is in the formidable shadow of her overbearing mother, who dominates every aspect of her life. Can a nursing career free Helen at last? The third of our heroines is naughty, rebellious Millie an aristocrat on the run from her conventional upper class life. She is doomed to clash over and over again with terrifying Sister Hyde and to get into scrape after scrape especially where men are concerned. This utterly delightful novel brings a London pre-war hospital vividly to life.
Sissy: Take the BBC’s “Call The Midwife”, move the nurses to various floors of a pre-WWII London hospital and you’ve got The Nightingale Girls. This is a good thing. I just finished watching Season 4 of “Call The Midwife” and absolutely loved it, so it was easy for me to have the TV version of The Nightingale Girls playing through my head as I read it. You’d be surprised at how much drama and intrigue can go on in a 1930’s hospital setting — not quite ER or Gray’s Anatomy but still intriguing, funny and heartwarming.
Bubby: I have never seen “Call The Midwife” but if it’s anywhere as good as this novel, I’m in! I loved the differences between the three girls, all sharing a room whilst training to become nurses. Dora is trying so hard to rise above her upbringing (and her miserable lecherous sad-excuse-of-a-man stepfather) and Millie wants to escape her aristocratic responsibilities. And poor Helen just wants to be able to choose something, anything, for herself instead of constantly having to please her harridan of a mother. They are an unlikely trio and don’t get on well at all at first, but in the end, they make peace with each other. The play between the three adds so much life and color to this story. It was just wonderful. Oh, and even though I had no desire to enter the healthcare industry prior to reading The Nightingale Girls, now I REALLY don’t want to be a nurse. Nope. Never. Uh-uh.
Sissy: Yep. I was almost a nurse. Then I got to student nursing in post-op and discovered that I am nothing like Florence Nightingale. I’m more like the agoraphobic cat lady across the street who wants NOTHING to do with your personal business! While Florence is probably in heaven, I guess that tells you where I’m going! But back to the story. It leads off with Dora, whose story is amazing, and ends with all three girls having quashed certain demons and found very satisfying life pathways.
Bubby: And romance! There’s some romance too! Good, parent-thwarting, “I will die if I can’t have that man!” romance! Loved it! (Of course, if it was MY kid who was involved in a parent-thwarting soul searing romance it’d be a whole different story. But this is fiction so it’s okay.)
Sissy: Sometimes when you read about these parents who engage in such life-hindering behaviors, you think, “There can’t possibly be parents who behave this way!” but after having surgery last week and watching 59 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I can say that there are definitely horrid mothers who deserve to be exposed on national TV. The Nightingale Girls is the first in a series of books (so far, four novels and a short Christmas story) which are all available as e-books now in the U.S. (you can only get them in book form in the U.K.). I shall be reading all of them. You should too. 4 bubbles.
Bubby: So now not only do I have to go watch 4 seasons of “Call the Midwife”, but I also have a whole stack of Nightingale books that I must read. Oh, my life is so terribly difficult… 4 perfectly sterilized, pristine, health-inducing bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas at Amazon.com
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Wynne Hardy never thought she’d get engaged on a reality TV show, but when she met Andy on The Rejection Connection, the two of them hit it off. Now he’s asked her to marry him, much to the public’s delight and fascination. They’re all set to wed on live TV in a seaside ceremony at the height of the wedding season.
But just as Wynne thinks all her dreams are coming true, her ex-boyfriend walks back into her life at the worst possible time. Steve broke her heart years ago, and she’s still sorting through her feelings for him. Her heart isn’t as clear as her head that it’s past time to move on-even though she’s engaged to Andy.
At a local TV talk show appearance, Wynne meets Meredith, who won another reality TV show-Marathon Mom-proving herself nothing short of a superhero. As Wynne’s beach wedding plans spin out of control, Meredith offers to help, unknowingly stepping on Wynne’s secret feelings . . . and exposing some secrets Meredith has been keeping to herself. Can these two reality stars get real about their feelings? Will Wynne go through with her televised wedding and be the perfect June bride the network is looking for?
Bubby: I often wonder when I see this type of TV show, how much of the emotion is real and how much is scripted? The relationships hardly ever seem to last past the season finale. I wonder how many of the contestants are really there for love and how many are there to get their face on national TV? After reading A June Bride, I have a feeling it’s worse than I thought! Let’s just say that poor Wynne seems to be the only one in the whole place who’s actually interested in lifetime love.
Sissy: I couldn’t decide if Wynne is a hopelessly optimistic naive young thing or just an idiot. She doesn’t seem the type to accidentally find herself in the media storm of a reality TV show. Also, I was disturbed by ex-boyfriend Steve and how he had rejected her previously. I didn’t want to trust him too easily. Having said that, I actually enjoyed reading A June Bride. It was entertaining in a fluffy sort of way and got me happily through a 5 mile walk.
Bubby: Fluffy? Yes. Sweet? Absolutely. Like a large marshmallow rolled in caramel and dipped in chocolate. A perfect sweet treat for an afternoon escape. 3.5 bubbles.
Sissy: 3.25 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy A June Bride at Amazon.com
Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?” As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.
Bubby: Well, just as I abandoned Sissy a few weeks ago, this week Sissy abandoned me. Unfortunately, she is not off having fun but is rather recuperating from surgery. We decided that since she is hopped up on really good painkillers, I would take over today and fly solo. She’s outrageous at the best of times – I can’t imagine what she’d say when under the influence!
We were first introduced to the magic that is Alethea Kontis when we read and reviewed Enchanted last year. Hero is the next book in the Woodcutter Sisters. focusing on Saturday (that’s her name, by the way) this time around. We have adventure, romance, evil witches, shapeshifting creatures and natural disasters. A little bit of everything!
As with most of my favorite authors, I wish that Alethea Kontis would write faster and with greater output. I know these writers think that they need to have a life and a family outside of writing books for my personal enjoyment, but I really think they need to reevaluate their priorities! I have needs, people!
I highly recommend both the Woodcutter Sisters novels and am eagerly awaiting the next installment, Dearest, which follows, of course, Friday. It’s not coming out until February though. Not sure I can make it that long! Oh, and did I mention how much I love these covers? Fabulous! 4 magical bubbles from me. And don’t worry, next week Sissy and I will be back writing together again!
Click HERE to buy Hero by Alethea Kontis at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family—especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire. When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate….
Sissy: Take the classic tale of Cinderella, turn it on its head, make the step sisters into heroines, philosophically explain the well-known symbols such as the pumpkin/carriage, glass slipper, etc, give the whole thing an intelligent and thoughtful makeover, and you have The Stepsister’s Tale. As I read this intriguing re-telling I kept thinking how well it was transformed into a thought-provoking yet still entertaining essay on society and perceptions of reality. When I read the author Tracy Barret’s bio and found out that she was a long time professor at Vanderbilt it made sense. Smart lady=smart, creative writing.
Bubby: I have to admit that when I started reading The Stepsister’s Tale I had a bit of an epiphany. We are so used to the Disney-fied version of Cinderella, we rarely give any thought to how the step sisters felt about the whole thing. But looking at things from their view, everything changes. As is usual in fairy tales, all the parents in this story are blithering idiots who should have been sterilized at birth. I felt a strong urge to smack them all repeatedly. What kind of man buys his daughter crystal-encrusted slippers and a sunset-colored carriage when his new wife and step-daughters are living in a moldering ruin and slowly starving to death? No wonder Cinderella had so many issues!
Sissy: This is also a searing look at the utter obliviousness and absolute pomposity of the higher classes. The prince is a narcissistic dunderhead who cares nothing for his people, the mother is completely in denial of reality and her pride renders her unable to see the suffering and situation of her daughters. I kept wanting to tell her to get a grip and start working like a real woman! Stepfather was a ridiculous fathead and real father was a hopeless alcoholic who squandered the family fortunes and then abandoned everyone. It’s amazing that Jane and Maude, through trials, hardship, and sheer willpower, manage to transform themselves into hardworking, empowered women. A tale of pampered princesses not so much-this is a story of real life and real love.
Bubby: Sissy, you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth! I guess it’s true that great minds think alike… Tracy Barrett has written a great novel told from a unique viewpoint. 3 3/4 bubbles from me.
Sissy: If you had a Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bar I might take that right out of your mouth too! But you don’t. So I’ll just be hungry while I agree with you about Tracy Barrett, who has another fairy tale retelling, “Fairest,” in the works. The Stepsister’s Tale gets 4 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy The Stepsister’s Tale at amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.