Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Bed with the Duke and Stolen Seduction

Recently, I attended a library conference program by several romance authors and good fortune rained down upon me! Little did I expect that Christina Dodd would be both signing and giving away copies of In Bed with the Duke which I had been hearing some good buzz about. Seriously, how can you not want to read a book called In the Bed with the Duke?

I must admit, historical romances are not usually my first choice. However, this one drew me in from the start! Endearing Emma Chegwidden is wandering lost in the countryside after losing her job when suddenly the masked "Reaper" appears. The next thing she knows, she is waking up in elegant house and offered employment. A few nights later, the Reaper enters her room to escape from the evil Prince that rules the land. Our Emma offers the Reaper a place to hide and thus begins an affair with a man with a secret identity.

Emma and the Reaper are both wonderful characters: strong, vulnerable, and passionate. Full of intrigue, steamy love scenes, and adventure, this historical romance is worth the read.

At this same library conference, I also picked up a signed copy of Elisabeth Naughton's Stolen Seduction during an author signing. Oh, happy serendipity! This book is third in a romance/adventure trilogy, and I like to describe it as a very grown-up 39 Clues.

Hailey Roarke leaves her job as a Florida police officer to run the family business in Chicago. Her father's death starts a chain-reaction of events all surrounding a quest to find some missing statues. Hailey is on the search when she accidentally-on-purpose runs into the hunky cop Shane Maxwell. Their brief romantic moment makes things complicated the next morning when he arrives to question her as a murder suspect.

Here the tale takes some surprising twists-and-turns as the pair flies from country to country in search of answers. Full of action, romance, and true emotion, this is definitely a book you won't want to put down and you'll race to track down the others before time runs out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Ever since the tragic explosion at the West Virginia coal mine earlier this week, I have been thinking a lot about a book I listened to a few months ago, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds.

Ivy June Mosley and Catherine Combs both live in Kentucky, but they live in two different worlds. Ivy June lives with her grandparents outside a small coal mining town while Catherine goes to a private school in Lexington. When the girls are chosen to be exchange students, they spend two weeks at each others home learning about their differences, their similarities, and ultimately themselves.

When Catherine visits Ivy June's small town - tragedy strikes them both. An incident occurs out at the mine and Ivy June's grandpa is one of the miners trapped inside. At the same time, Catherine learns that her mother faces a serious medical crisis back home and anxiously awaits news of her condition. During these events, the girls each face uncertainty, helplessness, and grief. The desperation that Ivy June's small town faces is palpable.

Consequently, I was moved during the recent news coverage, when a miner at the West Virginia coal mine said, "Every time you turn on a light, you should think of these guys."

He is right. Coal mines are not a thing of the past-they are a reality today and it is important to put a human face on the cost of electricity. This book would be an interesting discussion book to use with older elementary age students, both because of the real way it connects with the dangers of coal mining and because it provides a glimpse into prejudice from several important angles.

Are there other titles you think are important to discuss during this eco-friendly month?