Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Paranormal Romance Challenge

I just can't seem to say "no." I decided, after looking at my TBR stack, to add this challenge to my list for 2011. I love paranormal romances. Could anything be more romantic than a relationship with a dark, mysterious werewolf or vampire? I don't think so!

This challenge is being hosted at Bitten by Paranormal Romance.
This is a challenge to read 20 paranormal romance book between Jan 1st through Dec 31st. Any books read before Jan will not count.

You can pick any *adult paranormal romance book as you go, new release or old release it doest matter. But remember this is only for paranormal romance. NO urban fantasy, YA or paranormal erotica. If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment.

*It doesn't matter if the book is vampire, witch, any shape-shifting, Greek gods, zombies or faeries just as long as it adult paranormal romance. Most book will tell you on the side cover if its paranormal romance, that's what you want to get to read.
And some further instructions:
Read it and write a review on your blog and come back and post the review in the Mister linky. I will have a mister linky for each month so don't worry.

During each month there will be one winner that is picked to win a prize. Your reviews will not be judged in this for prizes. After each month I will used or draw a name, out of those that have their reviews done for that month. Your name will be entered for each review. So if you do two you will be entered to win twice.
This one sounds like fun. Why don't you join me?

Blogging Resolutions and Best Books of 2010

I stole this image from Jennifer at Reading With Tequila because it made me laugh. I am not very good at looking back and reflecting on past activities, achievements, successes or failures. I live pretty much in the now with some moderate planning for the future. 

I read a quote yesterday about Resolutions which rang true for me.
"Resolutions are a waste of time," he said. "Why make unrealistic promises to yourself that you know you're not going to keep? If you want to change something about yourself, what's wrong with April or August?"
from The Heart of Winter at the 45% mark. Therefore, I will not be making new blogging resolutions for 2011. I do, however, look forward to making new blogging friends and deepening my relationships with the many blogs I read and follow. 

I have seen bunches of wonderful lists of people's favorite books from 2010. I saw lots of great titles that I read and enjoyed too. 

But the two books that stand out the most for me were two long awaited sequels in series that I have loved for years. In both cases, I bought the eARC as soon as it was available, devoured it, and then purchased the hard cover as soon as it was available and read it again. They both made me cry and still make me cry (in a good way) every time I read them.
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold is the next adventure of Miles Vorkosigan in this long running series. Miles is 39 and finally coming into his own as a happy family man and an Imperial Auditor. The book also came with a CD that includes all but one of the previous books in the Vorkosigan series in a variety of electronic formats. 

Mouse and Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is a book that fills in a gap in their long-running Liaden series. Going into the story, people who have followed along with the series from the beginning know how it must end. But reading it expands on the bare facts and enriches the series. 

If you do not already follow these series but love character driven science fiction, I can't recommend them highly enough. The Liaden Universe books are being republished in omnibus editions from Baen Books. This would be a great time to give them a try.

2011 Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge

I first thought to pass up this challenge. I don't read horror! There is enough horror to be found on the television news or in the newspaper. But I saw a list of upcoming urban fantasy books and noted that I planned to read quite a few of them. This one will definitely be tipped to the urban fantasy side for me.

The goal is to read 24 books in this category. I have a few in mind and on pre-order already and am sure that there are more languishing on my TBR mountain that will qualify.

You can find out all the details here at Book Chick City. Why don't you join me and the 109 other people who have already signed up?

Out With a Bang Readathon Day 2

I had a pretty good day 2 of the Out with a Bang readathon.

I finished Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan and also wrote and scheduled the review for Jan. 20. Total = 296 pages

I also read The Heart of Winter which is an anthology by Maggie Shayne, Linda Winstead Jones and Day Leclaire. I got it from NetGalley for my Kindle yesterday. It has a January 4 release day. So it moved to the top of my TBR stack. The review is written and will be posted on January 8. Total = 320 pages

I read a total of 616 pages on Day 2.

I also want to thank the person who gave me the idea of printing out a calendar to schedule my blog posts. It lets me feel much more organized to see a calendar with posts filling in lots of the squares. I'm sure there would be a way to do this using Google Calendars but this is one time when I want the print pages sitting on a clipboard near my computer. 

Today my plan is to clear my Google Reader which is overflowing with Friday Blog hops and then read two ARCs I have for review - The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor and The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Over 40 Blog Hop

A friend pointed my way to this hop and I am proud to join in. This is hosted by Java at Never Growing Old.

The RULES to join in are very simple!

1. Grab the button
2. Add your link to the list
3. Visit as many other blogs as you can
4. Follow the ones you like (and comment on their blog to say that you are following)

While I love reading a wide variety of blogs, it will be fun getting to know some bloggers in my age group too.

Out With a Bang Readathon Day 1

I had an interesting day one for the Out With a Bang Readathon. I wasted away the entire morning reading posts in my Google Reader and doing other bloggish things to get ready for 2011. I set up my Google Docs spreadsheet for 2011 challenges. It looks like I'll be taking part in five this coming year. I didn't actually start reading until almost 12:30.

I finished Dan Gutman's The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable which I have on my Kindle from NetGalley. I also wrote and scheduled the review for Jan. 3. I had half the book to go. Total - 150 pages

I read Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb and wrote and scheduled the review for Jan. 7. Total = 352 pages.

I began reading Allison Brennan's Love Me to Death that I have for review from the publicist. I'll be hosting a tour stop for her on Jan. 21. Total = 185 pages

Total reading on Day 1: 687 pages

Review: Afterlight by Elle Jasper

Author: Elle Jasper
Publication: Signet; Original edition (November 2, 2010)

Description: Savannah's most unconventional tattoo artist, Riley Poe, lives on the edge. Now she's put over the edge when her younger brother is taken by a sinister cult led by vampires. Her only ally is the hot-tempered vampire Eli Dupre, attracted to Riley's beauty and rare blood type. To save her brother from certain un-death, Riley faces dangers she's never dreamed of, ruthless bloodthirsty enemies, and an evil of endless hunger that wants to devour it all...

My Thoughts: This is a quick reading erotic vampire romance. Riley had a troubled adolescence (which she tells us frequently in the first few chapters) but she has straightened her life out and is a responsible tattoo artist raising her younger brother. When the brother and his friends unleash ancient evil in a prank in a local cemetery, Riley is introduced to a portion of Savannah she didn't know existed. she meets a family of vampires - the Duprees - and falls in love with the eldest son. 

The villains in the story are two brother vampires Victorian and Valerian who had been imprisoned by the Gullah population until Riley's brother Seth and friends turned them loose. Seth was turned by the vampires and now Riley and Eli have just one month to put down the threat and save her young brother. It will take a month before the two released vampires have the strength to complete their evil plans. But they are able to send very erotic dreams into Riley's head as she sleeps.

As an added complication, Riley's blood is especially appealing to vampires and it has been masked by her Gullah guardian Preacher. The Gullahs and the Duprees have a treaty in place in Savannah. The Gullahs meet the vampires needs and the Duprees keep worse vampires out of Savannah.

This was an interesting romance for those who like their heroes dark and scary.  Of course the heroine is kind of dark and scary herself. I'll be watching for the sequel next summer.

Favorite Quote:
I've walked Savannah's cobbles the whole of my life, been in the darkest alleys, and I've seen a lot of crap go down. I've been in a lot of crap as it was going down. I was one effed-up kid back then, and if it weren't for Preacher, I still would be. But I'd never had a feeling creep over me like this one. I wanted to continuously look over my shoulder, or worse--overhead.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Shifter Challenge

I have decided to sign up for still another challenge. Parajunkie is hosting the 2011 Shifter Challenge. I love shifter books. I have tons on my Kindle that I haven't had a chance to read yet. This challenge was made for me. 

Here are the rules from Parajunkie's site:

  1. Post about this challenge on your blog stating that you are participating. That post is the link that you will include in the Mr. Linky below. The link should be the post link not just your blog link.
  2. Grab the button and display it in the post (use grab code underneath the button) or on your sidebar so others can join in the fun.
  3. Challenge goes from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
  4. The challenge is to read 20 books that have a SHIFTER as a MAIN character, either protag or antagonist
  5. There will be a post that goes up for January 1 where you add each book as you read them and discuss books read in the comments

This one sounds like a bunch of fun. Bring on the werewolves and cougar shifters and lion shifters and any other kind of shifter.

ARC Review: Pack of Lies by Laura Ann Gilman

Pack of Lies
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
Publication: Luna; Original edition (January 18, 2011)

Description: Funny how life can turn you upside down…

My name is Bonita Torres, and eight months ago I was an unemployed college graduate without a plan. Now I’m an investigator with the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations team of New York. Pretty awesome, right?
The Cosa Nostradamus, the magical community, isn’t quick to give up its secrets, though. Not even to fellow members. Not even when it’s in their best interests. So we’ve been busting our tails, perfecting our forensic skills, working to gain acceptance. The team’s tight… but we have our quirks, too. And our Big Dog, Benjamin Venec…well, he’s a special case, all right.
But we can’t give up. We’re needed, especially when a case comes along that threatens to pit human against fatae. But one wrong move could cost us everything we’ve worked for…
My Thoughts: This was an enjoyable paranormal mystery story. The crew is trying to become more established as an unaffiliated investigative agency that helps police the paranormal community. But they are facing all kinds of opposition from the Council members and from the lonejacks. Their current case looks like it should be open-and-shut. Two talents attempt to rape another Talent who happens to be the virginal companion to a kirin - an almost mythical member of the fatae community. The kirin kills one of the attempted rapists. However, the male survivor says that they were set up. Our team of investigators has to try to sort out the truth in order to protect the reputation of their new firm and to bring justice to the victims.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Torres who is one of the puppies is having some kind of magical relationship with one of the Big Dogs - the two founders of PUPI. Somehow their talents are meshing allowing them something like telepathy and the ability to read each others mind and emotions. While Bonnie thinks Ben is hot, she doesn't want to have an office romance. Ben is as confused as she is about the new relationship.

And the other partner's sister is still trying to undermine the new business and is willing to do anything and work with anyone even though she has been censured by the Council for her previous actions. Tensions are already high between the Talents and the fatae and her actions are ratcheting them even higher. 

This was an action packed story with lots of interesting paranormal powers and a wide variety of paranormal creatures. It is interesting seeing the events that we have seen in the Retrievers series from another viewpoint. I recommend the series to lover of urban fantasy. The main character - Bonnie - is a unique and sympathetic character.

Favorite Quote:
Yeah, Venec was undeniably hot, if you liked the brilliant, dark-eyed, moody, remote sort, and I knew damn well that he felt some of those sparks, too. I'd been around that block a time or two before, and I could tell when someone was reacting. He was also the boss, ant that was more important than any fireworks show. I might be dead and stupid, but I wasn't dumb. A bed partner was easy enough to find. A good job? Lots tougher. Especially for someone with them specialized skills. I wasn't going to risk that, not for anything.
Previous book in the series: Hard Magic

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from a fun historical fiction novel. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig is great for those who cut their teeth on The Scarlet Pimpernel by Orczy as I did. I have found it to be laugh-out-loud funny in places too.

If she didn't do something to distract herself soon, she would probably start running madly about the room or jumping up and down or twirling wildly in circles, just to spin off some of her excess energy. Even one of Uncle Bertrand's lectures on cross-breeding sheep would be welcome.
I have just begun this book but I am enjoying it immensely. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (Dec. 27, 2010)

It's Monday, What are you reading is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Christmas Break is reading time for me. Lots and lots of lovely reading time and a brother who actually likes to cook - what more could I ask for?
Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey is the third book in the Drake Chronicles and was a lovely entry in the series. I liked both characters very much and thought the mystery of the story was well done. My review will be posted on Monday on Ms. Martin Teaches Media.

Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman is the second book about PUPI and the agents who work there. The main character is a young woman who is using her talents to make a difference. I like this mystery series. My review of this ARC will be posted on Wednesday.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig was a fun historical romance. I liked the humor and adventure in the story and quickly ordered the rest of the series for myself. They remind me a lot of the books Jayne Ann Krentz writes as Amanda Quick. The characters aren't true to their times but the stories and romances are fun.
Afterlight by Elle Jasper was an urban fantasy story about a young woman whose younger brother gets involved with vampires. Rescuing him opens her up to a world that she didn't know existed. It was OK but I did get a little irritated with the constant description of what she was wearing and the constant references to her troubled past. My review will be posted on Dec. 30.

Crux by Moira Rogers is the first book in the Southern Arcana series. It introduces a number of characters and takes place in New Orleans. The stars are Mackenzie who is on the run from an evil cougar seer and Jackson who is a private investigator who also does magic. It was a fun, quick read. I had intended to schedule my review for 1/5/11 but accidentally scheduled it for 1/5/10. So it is up on my blog already.

Crossroads by Moira Rogers is the second book in the Southern Arcana series. This book focuses on Nick who is a werewolf princess running a bar in New Orleans to get away from werewolf politics and Derek who is a newly turned wolf and a second class citizen in werewolf society. This one had more politics than romance but was still a pleasant story. This review really is scheduled for 1/5/11.
I am currently reading The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. This is a steampunk mystery/romance. Thus far, I am only to the mystery part of the story and haven't really gotten to the romance part yet. I like the descriptions of the world with blacksmiths making prosthetics and a culture that is just getting over being freed from the Horde who infected them with nanobots and controlled them.

Next week? Well, I still have the books I said I was going to read last week. I brought five print books home with me along with my Kindle. I'm sure I'll find something interesting. I am planning to take part in an end of the year readathon from Dec. 29-31. I also plan to hang out with my brother, go out to eat a couple of times, and make at least one casino visit during this next week.

What's on your agenda for this last week of 2010?

In My Mailbox (Dec. 26, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. 
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets. You will discover lots of great blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

This week my mailbox is overflowing with free books for my Kindle. I discovered a new blog this week - Kindle Nation Daily - which gives a daily update of new free books for the Kindle. I have no willpower and added anything that I thought I might even be vaguely interested in to my Kindle.
  • Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
  • Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow
  • House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

  • Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel
  • Aphrodite's Kiss by Julie Kenner
  • Stupid American History by Leland Gregory

  • The Traiter's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
  • Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye
  • Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell

  • Cowboy Trouble by Joanne Kennedy
  • A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison

I bought some books too this week.
Afterlight by Elle Jasper has been getting some good reviews. It is in a genre I really like. I bought it for my Kindle too.

Counterfeit Magic by Kelley Armstrong is a limited addition print book. I love her Women of the Otherworld series and had to get this one to complete my collection.

Divine Inspiration by Cheryl Kaye Tardiff was a $.99 book for the Kindle and sounded interesting.

That was what I bought or otherwise acquired this week. What followed you home?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Beginning: Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages 

Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

My first sentence(s) are from Pack of Lies by Laura Anne Gilman. This is the sequel to Hard Magic and will be published in mid-January. 
My name is Bonita Torres. I am an investigator with the Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations team of New York. And I love saying that.
This book brings us the second major case that PUPI is investigating. The organization is new and is just getting established. They have to succeed. But when there open-and-shut attempted rape case becomes something much more confusing, they need to scramble to find out what really happened.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Nocturne by Syrie James

Nocturne: A Novel
Author: Syrie James
Publication: Vanguard Press (January 4, 2011)

Description: When Nicole Whitcomb’s car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger.
Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him and soon comes to realize that the feeling is mutual. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t want her there.

Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?
Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her.

But as the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns the terrifying truth—that her host is an ages-old vampire who is torn between his love for her and his desire for her blood—there’s nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life.

Filled with unexpected twists and surprises, Nocturne is a page-turning, haunting, and deeply romantic story of forbidden love that will grab your heart and not let go.

My Thoughts: This was a very touching romance. Nicole and Michael were thrown together because of the weather but soon find that they have a multitude of things in common. Of course, they have quite a few differences too. Michael is a 260 year old vampire. He has given up drinking blood from humans and is used to living a life isolated from temptation. He spends his time taking care of his horses, playing the piano, doing fancy woodworking and writing novels that are a great success. Nicole is a big fan of his writing. His first revelation to her is that he is her favorite author. 

Nicole is a young woman who is working in a job that doesn't excite her passion. She was a pediatric nurse who worked with oncology patients until a mistake made by another nurse caused her to quit her job and punish herself by leaving her family and friends. She worked with blood in her job and now she can't stand the sight of it. When she first finds out that Michael is a vampire, she panics and tries to run away. He saves her life for the second time then. Gradually she begins to trust and love him. She trusts him much more than he trusts himself.

This isn't a "happily ever after" type of romance. They are too different and have needs that are too different. But the romance is still hopeful and positive for both characters. I recommend the book to people who like romances and to those who want to read about "good" vampires. 

Favorite Quote:
Nicole was incredulous. "What I would give for that kind of free time."

Michael look away, frowning. "There's such a thing as too much free time. I'd give anything to taste a strawberry again. To drink a glass of wine. To stroll down a beach on a hot, sunny day. To be able to--" He broke off, heaving a rueful sigh. Then, a small smile resuming, he nodded toward the pond up ahead. "Would you like to feed the fish?"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

No Mercy
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publication: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 7, 2010)

Description: Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she’s ever faced before.

Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, he’s seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of power- one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date.

The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it.

My Thoughts: This is the latest entry in the Dark Hunters series and is very much a "middle" book. The war between the Dark Hunters and Stryker's forces is heating up as Stryker has found a new weapon that lets him attack during the day when the Dark Hunters are helpless. If you are behind on reading this series or new to it, you are saying to yourself "Stryker?" or "war?"

The romance is between Samia who was an Amazon queen and who became a Dark Hunter for revenge after her sister had her and her family killed over a dispute over the throne and Dev who is a were hunter and one of the family that runs Sanctuary. Dark Hunters and were hunters are not supposed to have relationships with anyone let alone each other. Dark Hunter especially are pledged to Artemis and she is a jealous goddess. Both are very lonely and are keeping secrets about troubled pasts.

One of Samia's gifts from her goddess is the ability to touch any object or person and read their whole past which include all the emotions they have felt. This means that she doesn't touch anything or anyone. This means that she is destined for an eternity of loneliness. But, somehow, when she touches Dev she feels nothing which is a stunning relief for her.

Dev is a bear. He is still grieving for his parents who died in an earlier book and is busy protecting sanctuary from various evil supernatural forces. He has a wonderful, sarcastic sense of humor. I loved his voice and his personality. He appears to be untroubled but hides depths of sadness. Dev's snarky, sarcastic comments and view of things was the highlight of the book for me.

This story was filled with action as they fight to keep Samia safe from Stryker and rescue her from other protectors but it felt rushed and crowded with characters who were busy advancing their own plot lines. The parts with Nick were especially confusing. 

I recommend it for those who have been reading the Dark Hunter series and want to stay caught up. I think the title means that the author would have no mercy for those new to the series. This book was written for the in-crowd - those who have been obsessively following the series. New comers beware!

Favorite Quote:
Gah, what was wrong with him that the mere scent of her skin could raise his blood pressure? Probably the fact that she was off limits to him. The lure of forbidden fruit. It'd ruined many a man and even more bears.
Find out about the rest of the series and other books by Sherrilyn Kenyon here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Nocturne by Syrie James

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Nocturne: a Novel by Syrie James. This book will be published on Jan. 4, 2011. The product description says that it "is a page-turning, haunting, and deeply romantic story of forbidden love that will grab your heart and not let go." Thus far, I agree.

My teaser:
His lips were against her hair now. She felt their pressure, at first with the gentleness of a butterfly's wings, then more strongly as they moved lower until they came to rest against the tender flesh behind her ear.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Author: Lauren Willig
Publication: Signet Select; Reissue edition (October 5, 2010)

Description: Realizing romantic heroes are a thing of the past, graduate student Eloise Kelly is determined to focus on her work. Her first stop: England, to finish her dissertation on the English spies of the Napoleonic Wars, like the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. 

But her greatest conquest is to reveal the most elusive spy of them all, the dashing Pink Carnation. As she does, she discovers something for the history books-a living, breathing hero all her very own...

My Thoughts: What a fun historical romance! I thoroughly enjoyed the escapades in the present and in revolutionary France. Eloise is a history graduate student who is in London to try to uncover the secret identity of the Pink Carnation and, incidentally, to get over dumping her last boyfriend. She is invited to look at some family papers but the current owner - Colin Selwick - is emphatically opposed. Too bad he is so hot in a very annoying way!

Eloise quickly learns about his ancestor Lord Richard Selwick who is famous for being the Purple Gentian and Amy Balcourt who has dreams of being one of the Purple Gentian's band. Amy and Richard fall in love but he is afraid to share his secret identity because he has been betrayed by the last woman he shared it with. Amy is young, idealistic, and very eager to be a spy. Richard has to help her out of lots of scrapes. And she returns the favor too.

The other characters including Amy's cousin Jane and their chaperone Miss Gwen form Amy's band. Jane is always ready with a sense of reality to reign in Amy's more outrageous schemes. And Miss Gwen is collecting material for her novel and wielding a sharp parasol. Richard's band includes his actor butler and a variety of friends. Richard's father, mother, and younger sister are also all eager to be part of the action.

I found the story laugh-out-loud funny. I very much look forward to reading the further adventures of various oddly named spies in Lauren Willig's work. For a light hearted and romantic look at Napoleonic France, I heartily recommend these stories.  

Favorite Quote:
I called it "Aristocratic Espionage during the Wars with France: 1789-1815."

Rather a dry title, but somehow I doubt, "Why I Love Men in Black Masks" would have made it past my dissertation committee.
Check out the rest of the series here.