Playing the Part by Jen Turano

playingthepart_turano_bethanyhouseFrom the cover:

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson’s estate.

At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means–albeit an eccentric one–but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.

While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, she can’t ignore the strange things going on in Bram’s house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day? Continue reading

Monthly Recommendations May 2016: Friendship Stories

Friendships come in many forms and go through stages of development, sometimes coming to an end.  When considering what books to recommend this month, I thought of several that I know will have many people recommending them (i.e. the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, etc.).  There were two books, however, that sprang immediately to mind when I first learned this month’s theme.  So, after spending most of this month being wishy-washy about what I would recommend, I decided to go with those two and pass along an additional recommendation from my Middle Grade reading buddy/niece, M.C.: Continue reading

Tuesday Talk, 5/3/16: Favorite Antagonists in Fiction

tuesday_talks_logoThis week’s topic is “Your Favorite Antagonists in Fiction” and I have to admit this has me a bit thrown.  Antagonists are not generally the most likable characters, and I can’t think of a favorite.  Sure, I find Thursday Next’s nemesis Acheron Hades and his siblings very interesting, and I hope Jasper Fforde continues to reveal more about them.   I’d also like Gail Carriger to explain a bit more about the Pickle Men.  I could almost say that Gage Coulter from Mary Connealy’s Wild at Heart series is a favorite, but that would be cheating since I just found him a bit annoying and unsympathetic until he was properly turned around into being a protagonist by the third book.  Is Trinica from Chris Wooding’s Tales of the Ketty Jay a proper antagonist?  I’ve only read the first two books, but I do like her.

I’ve looked through my physical and virtual bookshelves, I’ve tried to think of antagonists in Shakespeare and in fairy tales.  I did remember liking a “mean girl” character in a novella, then recalled that I just found her annoying when she was being mean and didn’t find her interesting until she was mending her ways as the heroine of a second novella.  I’m just a bit stumped.  If you were to ask me about favorite secondary characters, however, I believe I could name quite a few.  Like character actors and their roles, these are sometimes my favorite characters in fiction as well. Oh, wait, maybe Nellie Oleson in Little House on the Prairie?  I disliked her, Willy, and their mother when I read the entire series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I couldn’t stand her when I watched the television show, either, but I think if I reread/rewatched as an adult that Nellie might just be my most favorite of all (especially in the tv series).

Now that I’ve had my say, what do you think?  What are some of your favorite antagonists, or are you as stumped by this as I am?

Tuesday Talks is a GoodReads group with weekly discussion topics.  This may be my final Tuesday talk.

The Boden Birthright, A Cimarron Legacy Novella by Mary Connealy

bodenbirthright_connealy_bethany_novellaAbout the Novella:

After the death of his wife, prosperous businessman Chance Boden heads west along the Santa Fe Trail with his son to escape the powerful control of his in-laws. He has plans to establish his own ranch, but instead he finds work with Frank Chastain, owner of a vast amount of land.

Chance doesn’t want to work for anyone, but Frank’s beautiful daughter, Veronica, gives him reason to delay buying his own holdings. With winter coming, no home in which to live, and Veronica’s offer to care for young Cole while Chance learns the ways of ranching in the desert, Chance has little choice but to accept the Chastains’ offer to stay on.

When Frank is attacked, his last wish is that Chance marry his daughter, but after dealing with his in-laws, Chance doesn’t want anyone coming between him and his son. Then, before Frank dies, his precarious hold on the land he received as part of an old Spanish Land Grant forces him to make a desperate choice to save Veronica’s inheritance–and also gives the men who attacked Frank a reason to come after his legacy.

Continue reading

A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard

afoolandhismonet_orchard_revellSerena Jones is the youngest member of the FBI Art Crime Unit.  She is on her first undercover assignment as the novel begins, and what could be a serious and seriously boring story is anything but.  Serena is smart, a bit sassy, claustrophobic, and a great choice for narrator. She’s a knowledgeable and capable agent, who is surprising bad at keeping the details of her life, and work, from her friends and family.  And that is part of what makes this mystery so much fun. Continue reading