Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Comparison: Cleopatra's Daughter, Selene

When Cleopatra died, her daugher, Selene went to live in Rome. There are quite a few different takes and novels about this daughter's life.. Here are three that I have read.

The first I read in 2009. Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. I didn't like it much and gave it a two. Here's why:
Cleopatra's Daughter (Hardcover) by Michelle MoranSomebody finally wrote a historical novel about Romans and their lives without having them copulating in every other paragraph. Thumbs up to that. What has made this book less than enjoyable for me is the fact that the first three fourths of it is about a 12 year old. In the last few chapters, the heroine attains fifteen, but never grows older. Readers never meet Selene, the married woman or adult. Therefore, it felt like a young adult book.

Upon the death of her parents and younger brother, the famed Cleopatra's daughter, Selene and her twin brother arrive in Rome as the "guests" of Octavian, the man who conquered Egypt. After an embarrassing parade and meeting both friends and enemies, Selene and her brother begin living a Roman life. To me this novel felt like a retelling of a Roman childhood following a group of friends that go to the circus, bet on the horses, attend school and every now and then hear about a slave revolt. In between, there were bits of Roman history and tidbits about the politics, customs, poets, buildings, and family tensions.

In the afterword, the author tells us that Selene and the man she ends up marrying at the very end "became one of the greatest love stories to come out of Imperial Rome." Where is the love story? Lack of romance is my other complaint. Until the very end almost, there was nil. Selene and her husband ruled for twenty years and she rebuilt Alexandria. Now THAT is what I would like to read about. The love she had with her husband, the twenty years she ruled, and her life as an architect. That interests me so much more than her childhood. Another tantalizing tidbit in the afterword regards Julia, Selene's friend. Apparently, after two marriages and facing a third to her stepbrother, Julia rebelled and her own father had her arrested.

I would rather read about the amazing women mentioned in the afterword, not a bunch of kids growing up in Rome.

The second book I read about Selene was published in 1979, same title, but the author is Andrea Ashton. I gave this one a three...
Cleopatra's Daughter (Mass Market Paperback) by Andrea AshtonThis is a 500 page book and I made it to page 350 before I grew so fed up with the heroine (to borrow a term from a friend of mine) who is TSTL (too stupid to live).

This novel is about Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony and it grows obvious around page 250 that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Whereas her mother gave herself to whomever had power in Rome, Selene gives herself to whomever can get her Egypt back. (Egypt was taken over by Rome upon her mother's death.) Selene literally has a one track mind. She wants her country back and she is blinded to everything else. She is married to Juba and after 5 or 6 years, they have never bedded each other because neither will declare their love and all she can talk about is war and Egypt. She cares nothing for Juba's people, Juba's country, or Juba's problems. Instead she jumps in bed with Flavius, a Roman who claims to be able to get her beloved Egypt back. This is where I got frustrated beyond belief.. "Wake up, Selene!"

I thought this woman became an architect? Absolutely no mention of those accomplishments whatsoever and I grew tired of waiting for the subject to arise. I also grew tired of waiting for this "greatest love story of all time" to occur between her and Juba.

Three stars because it is a lot more entertaining than the more recent Cleopatra's Daughter. It certainly doesn't lack for excitement. It simply doesn't have the content I hoped for.

The third book just came out January of 2011, Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray. I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. Four stars and here's why:

Lily of the NileIt is very similar to Moran's starting with Selene being forced to go to Rome, continues with childhood in Rome, ends with similar situation regarding Juba. (No spoilers here.) However, it was more entertaining and I liked the author's writing style better. There is the same intrigue involving Julia and forbidden romance and all that, but a bonus is lots of politics and religious history regarding Rome and their hatred of Isis as Augustus attempts to oppress the religion that Selene wants to "resurrect."

Selene is a simply a "yes man" in all books that novelize her. I don't like Selene much. I was put off with her acceptance of Roman life. I liked her brother and how he handled things more. He got angry and took action. I would like to read a book in which Selene had balls and actually became an architect. What's up with that? All novels about her seem to be about her as a teenager...

Favorite quote from Selene: "In Egypt, a woman cares not so much whether a man admires her. She worries, instead, about what a man has that she might admire."

Conclusion: Four stars.  I bought this on Amazon and will be giving away my copy in my Feb Pick A Book Giveaway.

Thus, Lily of the Nile wins this book comparison.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald

This is a sequel to Veil of Roses, a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed last year. See review here: Normally, sequels are disappointments. Not so, this one. I was thoroughly engrossed, on the edge of my seat, and completely devoured this novel in two days despite its 400 some pages.

Veil ended with Tami marrying her American sweetheart, Ike. Happy ending, right? Well.. maybe not. In this book, Tami and Ike are dealing with the aftermath of their quickie wedding. Ike's parents are NOT happy about it. They say she is using him. Those who read book one will understand how they got that impression because yes, Tami did come to America on a tourist visa from Iran aiming to find herself a husband, and thus, American citizenship within three months. Normally I would frown on this, but Tami was honest with all her Persian American "fiances" in book one. However, Ike's family and the American Immigration officials don't see it that way and Tami's recent past comes in to haunt her.

So.. Tami's got a MIL that wants her deported, two angry former "fiances," an Immigration Interview she's got to pass, a husband that pushes her away everytime she displeases him, a pregnant sister, a mom too afraid to leave Iran's oppressiveness, and.... drumroll please... Ike's ex girlfriend pops up too!

There's lots of drama making this kinda chicklitty... BUT it really addresses some serious issues as well. What makes one an American? How far should a woman be prepared to go, how much should she be willing to sacrifice to obtain her freedom?

Tami lets people push her around too much and gives up too easily too often in the book. I was very irritated by this and would have taken away a star but she steps up to the plate in the end and I literally cheered when she thought these words, "And really, why am I always so nice to people who are horrible to me? Where has taking the higher road ever gotten me?"

Five stars. And Ms. Fitzgerald, you should write a novel about Eva. That's one cool chick.

Favorite moment: When Ike wants to carry Tami over the threshold, she says, "Isn't the bride capable of crossing the threshold on her own two feet, at her husband's side, maybe holding his hand instead of being carried by him?"

Heck ya! I got this book through a publicist.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicks Rule!

We sure do!! Check out my new pillow... and I made it! I was in a store today in Ogden, Utah called Shepard's Bush and I found this super cool kit. The kit includes the pillow sham (you stitch directly onto it) with ribbons attached, needle, floss, and instructions. It's also 10 count so super easy to see. The kit was 19 bucks. I had to buy the pillow separately, 11 bucks, but it took me only one evening to put it all together.

It's a "tie one on" pillow kit. After I stitched the picture, I simply slid the pillow into the sham and tied the ribbons at each end. It already has a place of honor on a family room chair.

The creators of this design/kit are Pine Mountain Designs. Check out their website to see their other "tie one on" kits or just their other kits in general.

And don't forget, chicks rule!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Movie: Rains of Injustice

I know this is Book Babe, but once again, I watched a movie related to a book I have read about a real life heroine and I thought to share. This movie was released in 2010 and stars Michelle Rodriguez, Cesar Evora, and Juan Fernandez.

The book I'm thinking of is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. This movie is not based on that book, but has enough similarities.. As a matter of fact, Butterflies has its own movie and I have no idea why they have made two movies of the same topic and woman, but I liked this one enough. The woman is Minerva Mirabel and it is about her and two of her sisters and how they planned an uprising against the dictator Trujillo. They failed and had an unfortunate death, but they have gone down in Latin history.

As with many other historical movies, a lot of pertinent information is left out. I recommend one reads the above book I mentioned first OR familiarizes themselves with Dominican Republic history first. The movie follows Minerva and pretty much neglects her other three sisters. Minerva spurns Trujillo's advances and discovers that he is watching her as she lives her life. She goes to law school and cannot continue her classes until she gives a speech applauding El Jefe... When she graduates, for some reason, the governement denies her a license to practice.. Gee, I wonder who is behind that?

There are uprisings, weapons caches, men imprisoned, people tortured.. and lots of awesome cars! My complaints: 1. Everywhere Minerva goes, all men stop and stare at her. Come on, let's be realistic. 2. Trujillo looks constantly constipated. Either that, or he is smirking at all times.. I really couldn't tell. 3. Very little about the other sisters.

Still worth the trip to Blockbuster though. Favorite part: When Minerva tells her friend, "I prefer books before men."

Minerva Mirabel

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Movie: Princess Ka'iulani

Tonight I watched a movie about the real Princess Ka'iulani of Hawaii. It was released on dvd in 2010 and stars Q'orianka Kilcher as the princess and Shaun Evans as her English love interest. I know I'm Book Babe, but I thought some of my followers would be interested in this.

In the time when Hawaii was conforming to the ways of the white man and trying to be peaceful, the American land owners began taking over. It started off with placing a gun to the Hawaiian king's head and forcing him to sign a new constitution stating that only land owners could vote. Who were the land owners? White men.

Princess Ka'iulani was the niece of this king. When things get heated in Hawaii, she is sent to live with a family in England and falls in love with a young man. But when her uncle dies, she must go back to Hawaii and help her aunt who is losing the throne. Hawaii is about to be anexed.

Needless to say, she lost Hawaii, but she did gain the Hawaiian's people right to vote and be American citizens. She died one year later.

This movie chronicles all of that. I enjoyed it very much except for the love scenes in England.. They were predictable and somewhat stupid. (Cavorting on the seashore and all that...and ankle and the bicycle PUHLEASE).  And I think the makeup people went a bit overboard with the actresses' top lip...

My favorite scene (and I may not have it word for word...) is when the princess says to her English man, "What will it fade to without me? What will I fade to without it?" Something like that. Powerful words, referring to her home of Hawaii...

For those that may have read the book, The Last Aloha by Gaellen Quinn, I recommend this movie.

Princess Ka'iulani

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bliss, Remembered, Forbidden Places Giveaway Winners

Jazzy took time away from her book reading to help me choose the latest giveaway winners. Overlook Press is being kind enough to send out two copies each of Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford and Forbidden Places by Penny Vincenzi.

The winners of Forbidden Places are Misadventures of Moppet and Tanya.

The winners of Bliss, Remembered are Tara (not me!!) allthatjazz and Shomeret who entered via goodreads as she was unable to leave a comment here on blogger.

You will all be receiving emails from me this weekend to obtain snail mail addresses. I would like to get this information to Overlook Press Monday so please respond quickly.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Nocturne by Syrie James

First, I must confess, I don't do vampire novels. Until now, I had read only one vampire book in my adult life, that book being this same author's Dracula, My Love. I read that one because I was curious about the classic tale being told from the woman's viewpoint. I liked it, thus when I was offered a copy of Syrie James' latest, Nocturne, I decided to give it a go.

I really liked this one. Perhaps it was simply what I needed today. It was simple, romantic, entertaining, and even made me shed a few tears. There is only two characters, Nicole and Michael. There is only one setting, a remote cabin in the Colorado mountains.

Nicole wrecks her vehicle on her way to the airport and a handsome Michael with a cabin nearby rescues her. They are snowed in together for four days. During this four days they play piano together, do wood working, ride horses, and even do some indoor gardening...

Dracula Orchid, a flower mentioned in the story

But there is more going on here than discussing dracula orchids. Michael has a huge secret. There's a reason behind his strange eating habits (he eats nothing), the bags of blood in his fridgerator, his amazing speed when he does his chores, and his incredible knowledge of history. He's a 150 year old vampire.

Needless to say, he has issues in his past that would do him good to get off his chest. So does Nicole. She left a career she loved to sit behind a computer... Why?

Together, in four days, Nicole and Michael can help each other heal, but first Michael must get over his fear of being around a human with blood pulsing through her veins tempting his appetite and Nicole must learn to accept her rescuer as he is, fangs and all.

Michael came across as a bit bipolar at times, but really if you are a 150 year vampire, I suppose that is to be expected. I really liked Nicole, no complaints on that front. The ending was sad, but I'm not a "happily ever after person" and it worked for me. It fit and it was realistic.

And.. another plus for me regarding this story is that I actually learned some stuff. The woodworking was new to me and I had never heard of the dracula orchid which I had to immediately google and see for myself.

Good book and just what I needed today. 5/5 stars.

I received a copy of this from a publicist.

No Cure for the Broken Hearted by Kenneth Rosenberg

How many of you have had a passionate love affair/relationship in your life that you simply could never completely get over? Perhaps too many things were left unsaid, leaving the constant feeling of "unfinished business." Perhaps he or she rocked your boat like no one else has since. Whether it was lust or love, he or she is the one person you never forget. Even years later, married to someone else entirely, you still think about and wonder about that person.

This is the problem Katherine has.. she cannot get over the summer fling she had with the wealthy Nicholas when she was 16. Twelve years later, she is a successful architect, a strong woman (except for the fact she's still pining over this fruitcake...), but lonely. She cannot have a successful relationship because she has "unfinished business" with Nicholas. After that wonderful summer, she never heard from the rich boy again.

Twelve years later, he wants to hire her to design his house. He's also marrying this awful tart... Katherine thinks she will accept the job and in the process of designing his house and witnessing his nupitals, she will be able to get over him and move on.. WRONG!

What follows: Secrets buried 12 years come to surface. Nicholas seems to be toying with Katherine's feelings. Katherine realizes she is still in love with this millionaire playboy. Katherine ends up following him around the world.. she may find him, but will she find love?

I liked Katherine. I liked how she stuck up for herself against Nick's snooty mother. I especially liked this moment here, in which Katherine is talking to some "kept" rich women who have never worked a day in their lives and her thoughts are, "She worked for a living. To them, it meant she was poor. At first she felt a surge of embarassment, but then it was replaced by pride. She'd made her own way in the world. She needed nobody else, and besides that, she found great satisfaction in her work. These people felt they were superior, but to Katherine it was the other way around."

So true. Keep it up, chica.

I think the book is well written, engaging, and realistic. I have one complaint: Nick is wuss. I hate him. I wanted to kick his arse. I failed to see (even after reading his sappy letters) what Katherine loved about him. He's a spineless momma's boy who runs from his problems instead of facing them. Thus, four stars. Even in the end, I didn't feel he was "worth it."

A quote to ponder from Nicholas:  "Unrequited love is the only kind that lasts. You never have to experience the boredom or the fights, or the slow decline. You just have that long simmering pain, reminding you of what once was."

He has an excellent point. Anyone have an opinion on that they would like to share?

I received this in ebook format from the author.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Trailer: Finding Jack

This book, previously published in England as Leaving Jack, is being released in the United States February 15th of this year. I'm excited about reading it. I love dogs and I support the military. This is a combinition of both...

When the war ends, how do you leave your best friend behind?
After losing his young family in a tragic accident, Fletcher Carson joins the flagging war effort in Vietnam. Deeply depressed, he plans to die in the war. But during one of his early missions, Fletcher rescues a critically wounded yellow Labrador whom he nurses back to health and names Jack. As Fletcher and Jack patrol and survive the jungles of Vietnam, Fletcher slowly regains the will to live. At the end of the war, the U.S. Government announces that due to the cost of withdrawal, all U.S. dogs serving in the war have been declared “surplus military equipment” and will not be transported home. For the hundreds of dog handlers throughout Vietnam, whose dogs had saved countless lives, the news is greeted with shock and disbelief. For Fletcher, he knows that if he abandons Jack, then he too will be lost. Ordered to leave Jack behind, he refuses — and so begins their journey.
Based on the actual existence and abandonment of canine units in Vietnam, Gareth Crocker’s Finding Jack is a novel of loyalty and love under desperate circumstances that will grab your heart and won’t let go.
To view the Finding Jack viral video, click here

Thus, fellow dog lovers and supporters of the military, do take the time to watch that video (link above) and add this book to your TBRs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

This is one of those books that contains both good and bad for me. The heroine, Marguerite, has an unfortunate turn of events resulting in the loss of her Aunt's doll shop and her husband. Her pity party comes to an abrupt halt, however, when the opportunity to work with Madame Tussaud, famous wax figure maker arrises.  For me, the story involving Marie Tussaud and even her son, the first half of the novel, was the most interesting.

Madame Tussaud

I enjoyed the details of wax making from placing rolls of paper in the model's nose to placing the string just so.. Some real life historical figures pop up in the novel to have their wax figures done:

Charles Philippe, Comte deArtois

Frederica Charlotte, Duchess of York

Louise de Polastron

However, the novel had enough dislikes for me to drop it to a three star rating. As a matter of fact, had it not been for Madame Tussaud, I would have given this a two.. Let me explain why...

There's naive and then there's just plain stupid. The heroine is stupid. There's this fellow named Philipsthal and he has something going on with Tussaud. Tussaud hates him. Marguerite would like to get to the bottom of the entire thing, but rather than force the issue what does she do? OMG. She agrees to marry the dispicable man to help Tussaud. Well, I never once got the impression that Marg and Marie were THAT close.. However, at this point, Marg says the smartest thing she says throughout the entire novel. "I would like to visit your lawyer with you to draw up whatever documents are necessary to release Madame Tussaud from her obligations."

Well, five seconds later, she gives up that idea and hands her life away. She is far too agreeable and passive and just plain STUPID through the entire novel. She even bangs her head on a table and knocks herself out. LOL

Quote from page 181: "What have I done? Am I completely addlepated?"

I'm afraid so.

Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI and children wax figures

The last half of the book has two men chasing Marg and also follows her brother in law. I hated his parts. His character did not interest me in the least. There's a shipwreck, wax figurines becoming life preservers (that is way cool!), and a historical battle where the heroine actually makes herself useful. (gasp!) Following this is some espionage...

Neverthless, by the time I reached the battle and espionage, I had begun to lose interest, partly because there was no more Madame Tussaud.

Three stars. I bought this book on Amazon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Subversive Cross Stitch by Julie Jackson

Cross stitch is no longer just for grandmas. Now, thanks to Julie Jackson, there are patterns for the younger, more rebellious generation. It's no longer just bible verses, butterflies, and angels... It's four letter words, tattoo style designs, and sayings that can totally vent ones frustration.. And it's all in Subversive Cross Stitch.

There are 33 designs in this book and most of them are funny or offensive. In order to keep my blog appropriate for all who may come across it, I'm only showing two of the designs, both of which I made. (I also made a four letter word design.. but not posting it on here!)

First, I made something for my mother. Now, I love tatoos and thus, this design appealed to me. I played with it a bit though. I got rid of the heart and added a breast cancer ribbon that I found on because my mom is a survivor.

 I also added the little blue birds from page 27, the Whatever design.

Upon completing this, I was having so much fun, I made myself one. Again, I made some modifications, I kept one bee but decided two was too cute and I have a reputation as a hard ass to maintain here... So, I replaced one bee with a skull and crossbones, pattern courtesy of whomever owned this book before me. I simply added a bow.

Gee, I wonder who Book Beeyatch is?

Note, I did not use plain white cross stitch fabric, but went with a pink stripe. I just wanted to be even more different.

In conclusion, I had fun with this book all weekend and I'm not even done making all I want to make from it. The designs are easy, simple to follow, none of those awful backstitches that take hours to do, and they are simple to change around. Check out this author's website for more offensive and fun stuff to stitch:

And that's what I did this weekend. :) I bought this book used on Amazon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Bench by Kevin Farran

I honestly like this author. This is the second Farran book I have read. I really enjoy his characters. He doesn't do the "damsel in distress" bit, but writes about strong women. In this case, the heroine, Jenny, isn't all that tough in the beginning... but as the story unfolds, she grows some balls.

Jenny is a book worm who works for a publishing company. She wears a skirt everyday, rides a bicycle with a flower basket, and hasn't been laid in five years. "She had become trapped reading other people's work, assessing and crushing other's dreams. Her own dreams remained cloistered, like some pariah that she was too afraid to release." She likes to keep to herself and spends her evenings on her balcony with a glass of wine. She's lonely and doesn't even realize it. Till someone begins leaving her romantic poems on her lunchtime park bench... and soon, Jenny begins to write responses even though she doesn't leave them on the bench.

She begins to imagine and fantasize about her mysterious poet and all the while, something inside her awakens. She gets a sexy dress. She tells off her jerk co worker.. "The only inferiority here is not shrouded in a frock, but is suffered by your remarkable and unchallenged mind, which subjugates itself to the stump that hangs between your legs."

Oh, I would love to say something like that to a fellow I work with... You go, girl!

Nevertheless, Jenny changes. Things at work change. She notices men she didn't notice before. She starts thinking about ... LOVE. And it may happen.

It has a somewhat sad ending in a way, not for Jenny, but for someone else. The lead up to it is quite hillarious though. I loved Jenny's conversation with her neighbor lady comparing men to baboons and Jenny's grandmother... When Jenny mentions her desire to get a dog, here's what Gran has to say, "Get a man instead. They're not as easy to train, and you still have to pick up their crap, but at least they can rub your shoulders if you get tired from writing. I think that's the only advantage."

Another laugh out loud moment... kinda.. "She thought women with punky haircuts and hard make up were either prostitutes or 'hard bitches.' (Hey!! I beg to differ!)

Good book. The only reason I don't give it a five is it has a lot of errors. There were lots of missing commas and there were periods where there should be question marks. A small amount of this would not bother me but I found myself scratching my head and rereading some things too often. Also, there are some disrepencies. Example: Jenny was given a dress but later in the book she is thinking about it her thought is, "She couldn't pay for it and not wear it though." There were some little things like that that threw me off a bit.

I still recommend it though. Great chick lit. There are even some discussions about my favorite show, Sex and the City.

I received this in ebook format from the author.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Chocolate Fix by Kevin Farran

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It had a rough beginning. A whole bunch of characters were introduced at once and who they were was very vague. I was beyond confused.. Who is who? What's this woman's problem? What is it with this woman and a piece of cement? But I scratched my head and read further..

It's a novel about four different women, each with their own problems to overcome.

My personal favorite is Thelma. She's a very large African American woman who has been ridiculed and abused her whole life for being fat. She decides to rise above her "station" in life, to prove to others that she is more than a fat woman of color. She is determined to be an architect and is just finishing up school. She should be happy, right? Not totally... See, while she has been struggling to get a degree and a job with a good firm, friends of hers in her African American community consistently bash her for "forgetting she's black" and trying make it in "whitey's" world...

Then there is Sinead.. a feisty, red headed, Irish gal who works as a butcher. She is a bit self conscious of her appearance. She doesn't feel sexy, desired, or attractive.. and her husband is no help in that department. But you wanna know what I love about this gal? When she catches her husband getting horizontal in another woman's waterbed, she doesn't sit there and cry about it.. She does something else. She's got balls!!!

There is also Simone. Simone is the oldest, around 44. She was burned badly by a man.. (of course!) years ago and has carried a grudge ever since. She starts to realize that despite all her young boy toys, her gorgeous white Jag, her sexy gay driver, and her fashion business, she is lonely. Something is missing from her life.

Last, and the only woman I had difficulty relating to, is Patty. Patty has been grieving for 15 long years for a dead husband. I'm talking extreme grieving.. going to his grave for HOURS every Friday and refusing to date any other man and la de da.  The woman has issues. Is she going to "get with it" or pass on her issues to her teenage daughter?

All these women meet to heal, laugh, and learn to love themselves again at a Spa/retreat type of place. I thoroughly enjoyed their banter, playing, arguments, and even the underlying issue about eminent domain. You see, all these women are connected by not only a spa, but their places of home or work.. One woman's work could ruin another woman's home..

Great book. There were some mistakes here and there but nothing to cry about. My only issue was the beginning.. though I finally put two and two together by the time I read the last page.. Thus, 4 stars.

I was provided an ebook of this by the author.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cape Seduction by Anne Carter

This is a good mystery novel with a touch of historical fiction in it. It goes back and forth between 2008 and 1948. The story surrounds a lighthouse on the California coast with a shady history.. I did some research and came to the conclusion that the Dragon Rock lighthouse in the book bears a striking resemblance to The St. George Reef Lighthouse which sits six miles off the northern extreme coast of California.

"The St. George Reef Lighthouse took eleven years to build and sits on a concrete
pier 70 feet high. Its tower is 134 feet, made of 1339 granite blocks
with some blocks weighing up to 2 1/2 tons each."

Anyways, the 1948 story line follows a young movie starlet, Darla as she stars in a movie filmed at the lighthouse. She falls in love with her very handsome, very married co star, Jordan. In the backdrop there's a controlling father in law that is filming the movie, a jealous wife, a jealous ex boyfriend, and an couple of pregnancies. To make a long story short, someone either murders Darla or she disappears... and the lighthouse is at the thick of it.

"It was dubbed the "Dragon Rocks" by explorer George Vancouver in 1792."

The 2008 story follows Rebecca, a journalist/photographer with a mysterious family past. While driving around California shooting pictures of classic cars, Dragon Rock lighthouse draws her in. A woman on the shore blows her a kiss and then disappears.. Upon sneaking onto the lighthouse, a baby cradle beckons her. Rebecca must take extreme measures, however, to get on to the lighthouse property in order to get to the bottom of what she feels is a mystery needing to be solved and she poses as a woman with a charity organization to get close to the lawyer guarding the lighthouse for the owner. What she doesn't count on is her own personal feelings about her deceit and about the man she is deceiving. She starts to fall in love.

"Decommissioned in 1975, the 6000-pound first order Fresnel lens was removed by the
Coast Guard in 1983 and is now on display in Del Norte County Historical Society museum."
As Rebecca tries to push aside her feelings and get to the bottom of the mysterious ghostly woman in the lighthouse, readers slowly find out what really happened in 1948. There were a lot of shocking twists, turns, family secrets, and surprises by the conclusion of the book. It kept me guessing. I was amazed at the connections between the 1948 people and the 2008 characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, but it doesn't hit the five star mark for one reason: Darla. I didn't like her. I found her stupid, naive, deceitful, and just too unbelievable in her ignorance. Rebecca was deceitful as well but she remedies her ways and I came to like her. But, Darla was just TSTL (too stupid to live..) which is actually sorta why she dies. LOL

Four stars. I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Lighthouse information was found on this website:

Giveaway! Forbidden Places and Bliss, Remembered

First of all, much thanks to Overlook Press not only for providing the following two titles for my reviewing pleasure, but also for allowing me to host a giveaway for them. Overlook Press is giving away two copies each of the following titles I have featured on here at some time or another. Penny Vincenzi's "Forbidden Places" is one of them. I posted a review for it last month. Anyway, two copies of that one and two copies of "Bliss, Remembered" by Frank Deford, reviewed by me earlier this year. Leave a comment below stating your book preference (one being "I really want this one".. two being "but I would like this one too") and be sure that I have a way of contacting you should you win. Winners be chosen from Jazzy's dog bowl on January 15th at mine and Jazzy's convenience. :)

International entries are welcome.