armchair travel

Travel to “The Shores of Spain” to Solve a Mystery

23004731The Shores of Spain by J. Kathleen Cheney
Roc: July 7, 2015 (Fantasy)

Beach Vacation
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The Golden City trilogy has been an uneven reading experience for me. I found the first book to be a little ho-hum, and then I was wowed by book two, The Seat of Magic. Unfortunately, The Shores of Spain did not continue the momentum of book two despite its change in locale to the islands of the sereia. Readers of the previous books will recall that the sereia are a matriarchal society and as a result traditional gender roles are reversed. I was quite excited to explore this new world and to see how Oriana and Duilio’s relationship would fare in this new setting. The Shores of Spain was not the book that I thought it was going to be. (more…)

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We Have Life Off: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”

18170143An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Little, Brown & Company: October 29, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

I’d go there again!
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This one’s a bit of a departure for me and I would have never picked it up had it not been recommended to me by a coworker. Yes, I’ve gotten more interested in nonfiction since reading more of it as a moderator of my previous job’s non-fiction book club, but An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth was not something that I would have thought to be of interest to me. Science. Yikes!

I was surprised with An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, it wasn’t rife with difficult scientific jargon. It offers a simple story, albeit an unlikely one. (more…)

Exotic Adventure in the Oddly Named, “The Book of True Desires”

818202The Book of True Desires by Betina Krahn
Jove: August 29, 2006 (Historical Romance)

I’d go there again! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

I discovered this little gem of a book while I was doing a little bit of weeding at my library. It’s always fun discovering a new author serendipitously and this one was a delightful surprise. The Book of True Desires was an absolute hoot. This was a tale of adventure and romance, and my absolute favourite part, how about a butler for the hero?

Cordelia O’Keefe is your average lady Indiana Jones (quite a feat in 1898) and is hoping to be off on a new adventure; however, this time she wants the support of her estranged grandfather. Cordelia’s grandfather isn’t exactly thrilled to see his granddaughter, he disowned his son when he married Cordelia’s mother. That said, the grandfather is a manipulative old coot and decides that if Cordelia wants his money she’s going to have to earn it. Only by locating the Mayan “Gift of the Jaguar” will Cordelia receive a penny, and she’ll have to take along her grandfather’s surly, proper, British butler to serve as financier.

Hartford Goodnight is not your average butler. He’s disrespectful, grumpy, and altogether too stuffy to be off on a jungle adventure. However, his employer dangles his freedom: find the cure for his gout and Hart will be released from his indenture. Now if only that woman weren’t leading the expedition. (more…)

Lady Elinor’s Not So Wicked Adventures

21897614Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventure by Lillian Marek
Sourcebooks Casablanca, November 4th, 2014 (Historical Romance)*

My Rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)

Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures is a cute, travel-centric historical romance. Viscount Tunbury has known Lady Elinor Tremaire since she was a child. Escaping his neglectful parents as frequently as possible, Harry spent his childhood growing up alongside Elinor. When he starts to feel considerably less-than-brotherly feelings for Elinor he decides to travel, putting as much distant between him and the woman he believes is much to good for him.

Upon his return to London, Harry is persuaded to accompany the Tremaine family on a continental tour, putting him in constant contact with Elinor, torture of the worst sort. Only it seems that Elinor just might reciprocate those feelings, putting Harry in a difficult spot since he feels that he must resist. (more…)

Armchair Travel in “Night of a Thousand Stars”

21942806Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
MIRA, September 30, 2014 (Historical Romance; Historical Mystery)*

My rating: Liked the place, but the food was bad (2/5)

Night of a Thousand Stars is a historical fiction adventure, and unfortunately for me, I was a reluctant adventurer. While there were some elements that really worked for me, I had a really hard time finishing this book as it simply didn’t capture my attention.

Poppy Hammond is on the brink of marriage to a wealthy aristocratic; a comfortable life awaits her. But, Poppy wants more; she doesn’t feel like marriage is the right decision and she wants an adventure. So with the help of an unusually accommodating curate, Poppy jilts her groom. Determined to thank her rescuer, Sebastian Cantrip, Poppy heads off to London, only to discover that Sebastian has disappeared, and is really known as Sebastian Fox. What could have happened? After a little bit of digging, Poppy discovers that Sebastian traveled to Damascus. Convinced that Sebastian must be in trouble Poppy follows, finally embarking on the adventure that she always wanted. (more…)

Journey Down the Nile in ‘The Sacred River’

17729563The Sacred River by Wendy Wallace
Scribner, July 4, 2014 (Historical)*

My Rating: I’d go there again (4/5)

The Sacred River was a lovely historical novel, beautifully written, and totally evocative of colonial Egypt. It was a somber novel, filled with the themes of death; however, it ends with rebirth, bringing a sense of hope to the final chapters.

The novel focuses on a short period for three very different, but related women. First, we have Harriet Heron, a young woman, who has been bedridden for most of her life due to asthma. When her doctor hints that there’s very little that he can do for her, Harriet begs him to recommend to her parents that she should travel to a warmer climate to help her breathing. Harriet has long had a fascination with Egypt and would love to explore the city of Thebes before she dies.

Harriet’s mother, Louisa, is convinced that traveling to Egypt will help her daughter so she cautiously takes on the adventure without the accompaniment of her husband. What Louisa doesn’t count on is the resurrection of her past during the journey. A past she desperately doesn’t want anyone to kow about.

Lastly, Louisa’s sister-in-law and Harriet’s aunt, Yael, is also joining the ladies on the journey to Egypt. Yael is the last person to ever want to go on a spontaneous adventure, but her brother insists and Yael finds herself growing in the foreign city in an unexpected way. A staunch charity worker and devout woman, Yael finds herself learning much about the city and gaining a sense of freedom that she’s never before experienced. (more…)

Indian Adventure in ‘An Inconvenient Kiss’

22056913An Inconvenient Kiss by Caroline Kimberly
Carina Press, July 14, 2014 (Historical Romance)*

My rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)

An Inconvenient Kiss was an unusual historical romance as it wasn’t set in the ballrooms of the ton, and I enjoyed this change of pace immensely. It was lush and exotic and the perfect summer escape read.

Georgianna Phillips was enjoying the season and batting off the suitors when one indiscretion forced her from her charmed life. When Georgianna refused to name the man that kissed her, she was shipped off to France to live with her cousin. Over the years Georgianna has managed to make a life for herself and her cousin by assisting their grandfather in writing his travel journals. She has seen far more of the world than she would have as a sheltered young lady, but rumours of her wild lifestyle continue to follow her, giving her an unwarranted reputation.

When her grandfather decides to visit India, Georgianna is forced to deal with her past when Simon Ashford is ordered to usher her around the city. His real mission, outlined by Georgianna’s brother, is to make sure that she stays out of trouble and bring no more scandal to her family’s name. The problem is that Simon was the man Georgianna kissed, and she refused his subsequent proposal of marriage (who want to marry out of duty anyway?). However, neither has forgotten their connection and an Indian adventure might just be the perfect way to rekindle their romance. (more…)

Mystery and Magic in ‘The Golden City’

17707612The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney
Roc, November 5, 2013 (Fantasy; Mystery)

My rating: Liked the place, but the food was bad (2/5)

The Golden City is fantasy-historical-romance-mystery novel that had so much potential, but ultimately fell flat for me. I loved the concept of selkie’s and sereia’s living hidden amongst the human population of early 20th century Portugal, but I found myself plodding through this read.

Oriana Paredes is a spy for her people, the sereia (think mermaid, but with legs), and in doing her job, she has taken a position as a lady’s companion to Lady Isabel. By rubbing shoulders with the aristocracy, Oriana hopes to learn insider information that may help the ostracized sereia and keep them protected from any incursions by the humans. On top of her spying duties, Oriana still has to play the real ladies’ companion, which is why she finds herself helping Isabel execute an elopement. Unfortunately, this elopement ends in  Isabel’s death in a strange water art installation, which seems to have a much more sinister purpose than grotesque art.  (more…)

Exotic Locale in ‘Beyond Sunrise’

1126322Beyond Sunrise by Candice Proctor
Ivy Books, April 29, 2009 (Historical Romance)

My rating: Beach vacation (3/5)

I tracked down Beyond Sunrise after realizing Candice Proctor is also the wonderful author, C.S. Harris (of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries). I had no idea that Harris also wrote historical romances under another name, so I had to check one out considering how obsessed I am with the St. Cyr series. While there was a lot to like in Beyond Sunrise I do think the author’s mystery series is much stronger.

India McKnight is a travel writer and she has come to the South Pacific to work on a new piece. Unluckily, India stumbles into a bit of a trap that’s been set for reluctant guide, Jack Ryder, who is a wanted man. When she’s taken hostage by the brash Jack she soon learns there’s more to the events that have put a price on Jack’s head, and there’s much more behind that man’s careless smile.

For his part, Jack’s not all that thrilled to be dragging India around. He’s not a fan of her prim and spinsterish ways, but like India learns about him, Jack also discovers that there’s more to India than she appears on first meeting. Thankfully for both of them, the British navy and cannibals are hunting them down, forcing the pair into closer contact. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that the other might just be what they are looking for. (more…)

On the tenth day of Christmas…we dream of warmer places to read

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of winter. I want snow for Christmas and that’s pretty much it. I also like to imagine that I’m more of an adventurous person than I actually am. So, adding on to Stacey’s post of escapist fiction yesterday, I’m going to have some fun and list the places that I’d rather be reading when I’m bundling up this winter. And of course suggest a book that fits the locale.

1. Hawaii

Really, who wouldn’t want to go here. And it’s also where they filmed the helicopter scene from Jurassic Park, which I think would be so geeky and awesome to see.

Read…Moloka’i…for a historic setting and coming of age story.

Moloka'i

2. Greece

The Mediterranean is beautiful and it is one of my top places to visit if I were to ever win the lottery. Love the history, love the scenery, I think I could read quite easily here.

Read…Chasing Aphroditeto learn more about the illegal business of exporting antiquities from Greece and Italy.

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

3. Caribbean Islands

Do I really need to explain this one? I would love to go anywhere in the Caribbean. Give me a fancy drink, a beach umbrella, and I would be set for the best reader vacation ever.

Read…Sex Lives of Cannibalsfor a the not so idyllic Caribbean vacation.

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

4. Costa Rica

Another spot where Jurassic Park was filmed. Really, I’m not obsessed at all with this movie… But on a serious note, it does look beautiful.

Read…Jurassic Park…are you surprised that this is here???

Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1)

5. Turkey

Perhaps not the warmest place in the dead of winter, but I’ve seen pictures of the architecture and it looks beautiful.

Read…The Towers of Trebizondfor a funny adventure story.

The Towers of Trebizond

6. Charleston, South Carolina

A place that I’ve actually been! I love the south and I was completely charmed with Charleston and I would love to go back. Reading in an outdoor cafe? That would be lovely.

Read…The Restorerfor a creepy awesome mystery that set in lovely Charleston.

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1)

7. Savannah, Georgia

Yet another place that I’ve been and want to go back. Love the fact that I can walk everywhere and it’s another place with a lot of history, hence a lot of reading material to choose from.

Read…Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil…for a true crime story in the heart of Savannah.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

8. Malta

I once worked with a woman from Malta and it sounds like a perfect vacation spot. Lot’s of down time in a beautiful climate.

Read…The Brass Dolphin…for a historic perspective.

The Brass Dolphin

9. Italy

I hear wonderful things about the Italian coast. I’ve been to Italy but never the “beachy” side of the country. I think you could have the best of both worlds – the beach and lot’s of landmarks to visit. So when you need a break from reading, you’ve got lot’s to see.

Read...Bitter Greens…for a magical look at the city of Venice.

Bitter Greens

10. Egypt

An unusual choice to be sure. However, I’m putting this one on here for when time travel becomes widely used. I’d love to visit Egypt during the early twentieth century – a period that has fascinated me for a long time.

Read…The Other Guy’s Bride…for a fun romp in historic Egypt.

The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton, #2)

And that wraps it up for me! Stay tuned for tomorrow when Stacey moves to a colder climate…