Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That was totally cheating

I feel a little bad that I haven't blogged in a while. I am going to make a new goal and be better...and I just thought I'd say that because I know that posting those book reviews was cheating since I write them for our staff review blog at work.

But something is better than nothing...right??

Plum Spooky

PLUM SPOOKY: Janet Evanovich: St. Martin’s Press: Mystery: 309 pgs.

This is a “Between the Numbers” Stephanie Plum mystery for those of us Evanovich fans that do not like to wait a whole year before installments. Bounty hunter Stephanie is after a little twerp of a guy and find herself partnering with Diesel, a mysterious man who pops in and out of her life and who is always accompanied by strange occurances and an unexplainable abundance of green traffic lights. This adventure also includes the usual mix of endearing characters plus a bunch of monkeys.

Usually these unofficial Stephanie Plum installments are really short and a little disappointing, but not this one! I felt it held up really well against her regular, numbered books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you didn’t pick it up because Plum Lucky was such a dud…rethink that decision.

Mr. Darcy's Dream

MR. DARCY’S DREAM: Elizabeth Aston: Simon & Schuster: Fiction: 284 pgs.

Two nieces of Mr.& Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy are sent to Pemberley to escape the London season. Phoebe (daughter of the former Georgiana Darcy) has recently experienced a heartbreaking romantic disappointment and Louisa (daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bingley) is tired of the constant pressure to find a husband among men who do little to arouse her interest. However, proving a point I have long held (that you can find love anywhere, even in the British countryside), both girls find themselves faced with the exact thing they were looking to escape.

I think Aston does a good job in mimicking Jane Austen’s style, even when it may not serve her well. I love Austen as much as the next girl, but sometimes I would like a little more intrigue and a little less boring sitting room chat concerning hats and ribbons. I was disappointed that the romance in the story takes place before the first chapter. Part of the appeal of a romantic story is the development of the relationship and I felt this book seriously lacked any of that. I would still recommend most of Elizabeth Aston’s Pride and Prejudice spin-offs, but I think this was my least favorite of the six published to date.

The Gods of Newport

THE GODS OF NEWPORT: John Jakes: Dutton: Fiction: 383 pgs.

Sam Driver is a railroad mogul who has earned his enormous wealth through years of shady dealings and morally questionable financial scheming. Now in his later years, he is determined to place his daughter Jenny in the highest strata of social elitism. He chooses Newport as his avenue to the respectable society he aspires to join. His years of living an ethically deficient lifestyle makes this journey a hard one in a place where an abundance of money is only the first obstacle to acceptance.

I consider myself a fan of the historical novel, but I admit to not loving this book. I decided I like my historical facts and description to be seamlessly sewn into the story, but found that Jakes’ writing style seemed to add these descriptive details for their own sakes, without a clear link to the story line or characters. A decent read, but not one I would highly recommend.