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Rediscovering Jude Deveraux

I first started reading Jude Deveraux's books in 7th grade. I used to ride home on a bus service, and one of the girls who was with me there devoured her works. Nearly every other day I'd see her with a new book. Curiosity got the best of me, so I borrowed one. I think it was "The Conquest". I fell in love with the fierce warrior yet refined gentleman Tearle, and how he earned the love and respect of his lady love.

I stopped reading Jude Deveraux after I read her trilogy of books, "Forever", "Always" and "Always and Forever". While she has tackled the supernatural in her works before, somehow these three felt a little off for me, compared to her previous works. While it still featured a character from her Taggert and Montgomery series, it didn't endear itself to me like it did in her previous stories. Since the publishing of these books, I haven't picked up her work.

Early this week, I was browsing for something to read when I came across some books from her Edilean series, particularly the trilogy of "Moonlight in the Morning", "Stranger in the Moonlight" and "Moonlight Masquerade". I liked the premise of the stories, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Reading "Moonlight in the Morning" made me remember why I loved Jude Deveraux all those years ago. The sweet yet protective hero? Check. The stubborn, independent yet romantic woman with hidden talents brought out by the right circumstances? Check. The friends and family and small town shenanigans that round up the story? Got it. This book has all the elements that made me fall in love with the Montgomeries and Taggerts all those years ago, and this time, it's with a new clan altogether.

I look forward to the rest of the series, and I think I will dive into the other books in the Edilean series.

Love, Laughter and Lucky Marbles by Kate Hewitt

Nothing makes for a good read quite like a romance novel. The guaranteed happy-ever-after is bound to uplift any woman's mood after reading it.

I came across Kate Hewitt's anthology of short romantic stories "Love, Laughter and Lucky Marbles" while browsing the shelves for something good to read. Here's what the blurb says about it:

A lucky marble... a red clown nose... a fish shop... a trip to A&E. Sometimes love is found in the most unlikely ways and places! Enjoy this collection of ten short stories celebrating the funny side of falling in love. All stories have been previously published in various magazines around the world, and are written by USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt.

Each story can't be more than a thousand words, and after finishing the first one, I couldn't help but be reminded of George Asakura's "A Perfect Day for Love Letters". While a manga, it also evokes the lighthearted feel of finding love and falling for that special someone.

The stories in Kate Hewitt's anthology are quick-paced and light, perfect for a pick-me-up at the end of a grueling day. Most romance novels run for longer, presenting the reader with everything from the meeting, a conflict, some other scenes and the eventual ending up together.

"Love, Laughter and Lucky Marbles" focuses mostly on the discovery of love and dispenses with most of the other elements in a typical romance novel. It may not be as exciting as lengthier novels, but it still is fun to read. There are ten stories in all, and I'm hard-pressed to point out which one is my favorite. I had fun reading all of them, and wouldn't think twice of re-reading them on another day.

Bella Andre: The Sullivans

I came across Bella Andre's books by accident. I was actually looking for Jaci Burton books over on Goodreads when I read a comment where someone suggested checking out Bella Andre's series, The Sullivans.

The Sullivans is about a family of eight siblings: Marcus, Smith, Chase, Gabe, Ryan, Zach, Lori and Sophie. Each book tells about each sibling's journey to finding true love.

From left: Chase, Marcus, Gabe, Sophie and Zach's stories

I've always enjoyed books that had families or connecting stories, which was what drew me to this series in the first place. Currently, there are five books out (Chase, Marcus, Gabe, Sophie and Zach).

What I like about each book is that it gives an insight to the personality of each character, both the Sullivan sibling and their partner. Their situation is believable, if sometimes a little unusual. Bella Andre writes their stories that make it appealing and endears each character to the reader.

The Sullivans as a family draws the reader in as well. It's not hard to imagine such a boisterous and close-knit family, and I don't blame you if you want to be part of a family like that. The men seem larger than life, and so far from what I've read, I like Zach and Gabe the best.

I'm already taken by the rest of the Sullivan siblings and look forward to reading the next books in these series. Note that these books contain really steamy love scenes, but even without them, the books are an entertaining read.

If you want to give Bella Andre's books a try, her story "Love Me" is free for download via the Amazon website. Even if you don't have a Kindle device, you can still read it. Enjoy!

BTT: Replay

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is:

Have you ever finished a book and loved it so much you went right back and started re-reading it again?
Oh definitely! When I find a book that I particularly enjoyed reading, I'd read that book again and again. Sometimes to a point where I unwittingly memorized passages, or if someone asks something about the book, I'd say that it can be found in chapter so and so.

Here are some of the books I've read and reread:
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 
  • Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts 
  • The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder 
  • All of the Harry Potter books, particularly The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. I've even memorized the opening paragraphs of chapter six of the Deathly Hallows because I listened to it when trying to go to sleep.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
I realize my books seem a bit pedestrian, but hey, I don't judge a book by its cover. :) What are your replays?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer

In the news today: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer is released. Fans (myself included) are going crazy with excitement.

I got chills watching this. I'm all excited for July 15, but I'm also sad that it's going to end. It's one thing for the books to end, which didn't really feel like it because you had the movies to look forward to. But with this final installment coming closer, it truly feels like it's the end.

The Harry Potter series is not the best I've read. But it's epic. Truly, truly epic. While I was no longer a child when I read it, I was still young enough to love it. Thank you Jo. Thank you Dan, Rupert, Emma and everyone who made the movie possible. It was an amazing ride.

BTT: Visual

This week's question from Booking Through Thursday:

So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.)

Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”

I intentionally keep my book in my room. Mostly because there isn't any space outside of it where I can put them. Plus, I'm a bit possessive about them. I rarely let people borrow my books because I have this feeling they won't take care of it as well as I do. I guess that's a factor why my books are usually in my room.

Rest in peace, Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones, author of "Howl's Moving Castle", The Chrestomanci Chronicles and the Dark Lord of Derkholm, has passed away today, March 26, 2011. She was 76 years old.

Jones was diagnosed with lung cancer in the summer of 2009. She underwent surgery in July and told her friends that it had been successful. In June 2010 she stopped chemotherapy saying that it only made her feel "very ill".

Jones, aside from the books mentioned earlier, has penned several stories that have become favorites all over the world. "Howl's Moving Castle" was adapted into an animated film by acclaimed Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. She enjoys a friendship with popular author, Neil Gaiman, to whom she dedicated her book "Hexwood" to.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to Ms. Jones' family and friends. Even though we haven't met her, we feel a kinship to her through her books. Your words and worlds will live on. Rest in peace.

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