Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review -- Devil's Cub

Devil's Cub
Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
My enjoyment rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Book source:  Library copy
Book Challenge:  What's in a Name (EVIL in title)

The Marquis of Vidal is a brute, spoiled, selfish, boorish, and has anger management issues. Not the kind of guy any decent young lady would want to associate with. However, because he is a “marquis” all of the available society girls are lined up to win him over. All but one, that is. Mary Challoner doesn’t want anything to do with him, and is trying to save her younger sister from any association with Marquis to keep her honor intact. Mary goes to such extremes that she dons a disguise to keep the Marquis far, far away. Thus begins a comic traipse across England and France that includes the Marquis’s parents, cousins, and a cast of servants that concludes with the Marquis’ marriage – but to whom?

This was my first Georgette Heyer (pronounced HAY-er) regency romance. Needless to say, I was expecting more.

The first third of the book was a jumble of counts, dukes, and relatives that I had a difficult time keeping them all sorted out. Granted, this was the sequel to “These Old Shades,” so I suppose if I’d read the first one, I would have had an easier time with the characters. But I was confused from the beginning.

The Marquis (sometimes Dominic, sometimes Dominique?) was a jerk and had no redeeming value. He wasn’t’ even handsome! (Because, at the very least, if you are a looser, you might as well be cute.)

Mary was ridiculous! I suppose the reader should consider her admirable for trying to save her sister, and in reality, once the wheels of her future were in motion, she could do very little to help herself. But in the end, I could not for the life of me figure out WHY she would have anything to do with him!

The author had a huge issue with the word “devil.” She used it on nearly every page to describe the Marquis. Seriously, after the first dozen uses, I got it already. Another overused word – plaguey. And I’m not even sure what that means. But Heyer liked it a lot.

The final third of the book redeemed itself. Once the Duke of Avon (the Marquis’ father) arrives and meets Mary, it was quite witty. Otherwise, I didn’t get the romance or the repartee.

One thing I did appreciate was Heyer’s immense detail in the clothing and dress of the time period. It was amazingly luxurious!

I have a stack of Heyer books on my book shelf, so I’m still willing to give her another try. But this was a bit silly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Presidential Signature!

I was treated to a pre-birthday present when I managed to snag 4 VIP armbands to see him:
I'm not sure who was  more nervous -- me or my daughter!  He was incredibly kind to my kids and spent a few minutes with each of them, in spite of the HUGE line waiting.

I was very thankful for the Dinosaur Train toy display that kept my 5 yr old entertained while we waited. 

We were not allowed any bags, cameras or other items into the signing -- so I'm also thankful for one of the PR folks for taking this with their iPhone and emailing it to me!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Review -- An Old Fashioned Girl

An Old-Fashioned Girl (Puffin Classics)
My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Personal Copy
Book Challenge:  What's in a Name: Life Stage (Old & Girl)

Polly Milton first visits her “city” cousins when she is an adolescent. Often teased for her “country” and old fashioned ways, Polly must maintain her sense of self even in the midst of relatives and their unfamiliar, sophisticated ways.

Many years later, Polly returns to her urban setting, this time as a music teacher. Her relatives still consider her old fashioned, but her standards, maturity and independence prepare her for the trials she will face, and endear her to a certain beau – but not the one the reader expects!

Louisa May Alcott, in spite of writing during the 19th century – explores very modern and timeless topics: unemployment, economic discrepancy, physical separation from loved ones, family, and romance. She also writes fluidly, without the denseness of writes of her time.

Polly was such kind, selfless, and genuinely real character. A young woman determined to maintain her ideals, her morals, and use them to attain her dreams.

The only disappointing part of this book was the ending. After a marvelously crafted family saga and romance, the author short changed us on Polly’s romantic future.

Overall, though, this was a delightful book.