Phyl's 5 Phaves from February

Short month. Short reading list. Plus I've been very productive on the quilting side. I need to get pictures up.

5. Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey. This book received a lot of positive buzz when it came out last year and it was one of my first Kindle purchases.  I finally got around to reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Keri and Joe had been high school sweethearts and everyone, including both of them, expected them to marry and wind up together. Except upon graduation, Keri abruptly decided to go to California for college, leaving Joe behind and breaking his heart. Nearly two decades later Joe is a wildly successful but reclusive author of horror novels and Keri has an excellent job as a reporter for a well-known Hollywood gossip magazine. When Keri's boss finds out that Keri used to date Joe, Keri is sent home to get an interview with Joe. Joe agrees to the interview as long as it's on his terms-- which are that Keri has to accompany him and his family (parents, siblings, and their children) on their annual camping vacation. The setup for Keri and Joe's reunion is really very humorous. And as light-hearted as these parts are, there's also as much depth. Keri needs to be able to tell Joe why she left all those years ago and they both have to come to terms with how that decision made them who they are today. Their week-long vacation together allows them to open up to one another and they rediscover the love they once had for one another. I liked the pacing and how we learn why Keri made the choices she did.

4. Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr. I've said before that I'm totally in love with Carr's Virgin River series of books about the almost Utopian community she writes about. The book that came just before this one, Promise Canyon, was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed that Carr spent too much time bringing in all of the Virgin River "extras" and that took away from the central characters of that book. So I was a little nervous going in. Not that I was ready to jump off the bandwagon yet of course. Fortunately this book did a much better job of focusing on Jillian and Colin and when the other VR characters appear it felt more normal. Jillian has been forced to take a leave of absence from her job and she has come to VR to lick her wounds and wait out the storm. Colin is also recuperating-- in his case from serious physical wounds he received in a helicopter crash. Colin is a character who seems to be floundering while he figures out what he's going to do with the rest of his life. Jillian is much quicker to figure out what's next and I liked her enthusiastic, take charge character. Carr gives us lots of Jillian in this book and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much.

3. Land of Dreams by Cheryl St. John. This was reviewed by Wendy for her February TBR Challenge. (Wendy, the RWA Librarian of the Year, I might add.) I had to stop for fuel on the way home from work that day and my stop was literally two blocks from the UBS. So I added a stop and, sure enough, scored a copy. I ended up reading it within a few days of bringing it home and it really lived up to my expectations after reading Wendy's review. This 1995 historical is chock full of goodness. When I was done I immediately passed it along to the QBFFs to read. You can check out Wendy's review if you didn't see it earlier. She's right. This one should be digitized.

2. What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long. I have not read one of Long's books in years. I had not planned on reading this either because while I was entertained by what I read I found that the "wallpaper" aspects bothered me. But I kept seeing one rave review after another, so giving in to curiosity I picked this one up at the library. I was especially skeptical because this contains a revenge plot-- as I mentioned here, I'm not fond of revenge plots. Fortunately, the revenge aspect is turned on its side in an interesting way and the book really focuses on the developing relationship between Alex and Genevieve. This turned into an absorbing, entertaining, fun, and emotional read for me. It was much more than I expected. I fully understand why so many bloggers are raving about this book. There were a few spots where the language seemed anachronistic and I was disappointed that the resolution between Alex and Genevieve comes at the very, very end of the book. Nonetheless, I have to admit I really am glad I chose to read it.

1. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James. James's latest book is, as the title suggests, a take on the classic "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale. In addition, the hero, Piers, is modeled on the character Gregory House from the TV show House, MD (there's an author's note at the end of the book regarding this as well as something on her website). Piers walks with a painful limp due to a childhood injury. The chronic pain makes him cranky. Despite being in line to inherit a dukedom, Piers is estranged from his father and has led an independent life studying medicine. His father despairs of him marrying and carrying on the title, so he arranges for Linnet--a young woman who has scandalized society and needs a husband fast--to marry Piers. The Duke takes Linnet to meet Piers in his remote home that he has turned into a small hospital of sorts. (Piers even has doctors-in-training who follow him around trying to diagnose various illnesses.) Even though Piers is determined to never marry, he finds himself falling for Linnet. This is a bit of a dilemma for him because of his estrangement from his father. In turn it leads to an interesting subplot involving Piers's parents. WBTTB was fun and engaging. I loved how James married the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with the modern TV show. Sure, this probably totally meets the definition of "wallpaper historical" but good writing, clever characters, witty dialog, and an engrossing plot trump wallpaper any day. I loved it.


  1. Glad to hear you liked the St. John! I e-mailed the author during my own reading of it, but sequels for any of the secondary characters. Also, she mentioned to me, that Land Of Dreams is her bestest selling book ever.

  2. ive had a love/meh (not love/hate!) relationship with Eloisa James. I loved half the duchesses series and was very meh about the rest. the overall style of so much overlap in each book wasnt my cup of tea either.

    but i have been interested in When Beauty Tamed the Beast since i heard about it. your thoughts just pushed me over the edge. plus i <3 House, the character. the show is also meh ;)

  3. I too have a mixed relationship with Eloisa James, but I have high hopes for this latest book based on the reviews I have been seeing!

    I totally agree re Promise Canyon. Wild Man Creek was a much stronger book for me. I must remember to buy the next book soon.

  4. Wendy, that's really interesting about LoD being her best selling book. Again, it needs to be digitized!

    Hey, LR! I know what you mean about love/meh. I've felt that way about some of her other books too. Anyhow, maybe you can go back to that Borders and find it at a discount? Hope you like it!

    Marg, glad you agree about the Carr books. I just got Harvest Moon at the library. Then I guess we have to wait a year for more!

  5. So glad you loved Exclusively Yours. It made my Best of list last year.


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