Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Books in My Hut-Renee (Day 3)

Last week, my fellow Island newbies and I had a great time picking books we wanted to bring to the island with us. It was really cool to see our different interests reflected in our choices.
My reading tastes are really varied, and when I chose my books, I tried to come up with a selection that represented some of the genres I enjoy.
I'm crap at writing book descriptions, so I've included the back cover descriptions.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Jane Austen's final novel is the story of Anne Elliot, a woman who gets a second chance. As a teenager she becomes engaged to a man who seems perfect for her, Frederick Wentworth. But she is persuaded to break the engagement off by her friend Lady Russell, who believes he is too poor to be a suitable match. The episode plunges Anne into a period of bleak disappointment. Eight years later, Frederick returns from the Napoleonic Wars flushed with success. Anne's circumstances have also changed; her father's spendthrift ways mean he has been forced to lease the family home to a naval family. Will Anne and Frederick rediscover their love? Can their changed fortunes inhibit their feelings? Persuasion is a story of self-knowledge and personal regeneration, of social change and emotional politics. It is Austen's most mature work, and also her most wickedly satirical.
I've always loved Pride and Prejudice, but as I've gotten older Persuasion is the book that has increasingly resonated with me. I think it's all of the restrained emotion that flows underneath this story. Anne, appears to be a wallflower. A much put-upon spinster who is sinking into genteel poverty due to her father's and sister's delusions of wealth and station. Yet, as the novel unfolds, it becomes apparent that Anne is seething with love for the man she rejected as a young woman. Wentworth, too, hides his passion for Anne behind a mask of social convention and manners. Jane Austen builds such anticipation for the two to come together for their HEA. One of my favorite moments in literature is when Wentworth hands Anne a letter that he has been writing while everyone is making polite conversation. It's such a small scene, yet you just know the letter's import. So delicious.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
(Speculative Fiction)

Lauren Olamina is an empath, crippled by the pain of others. Cloistered inside a neighborhood enclave in a US where the distance between the haves and the have-nots has widened to a gaping chasm, she lives a protected life. But one night, violence explodes, and the walls of her neighborhood are smashed, annihilating Lauren's family and friends all she loves and knows.
Now the empath must face the world outside. Leading a tiny band of desperate followers through a thousand miles of Hell, she is a prophet bearing nothing but the promises of new life and a new faith . . . Earthseed.
One of those books that has changed the way I see things. The late Octavia Butler wrote this powerful book about hope, community, and love amid a dystopian Los Angeles, over 15 years ago, yet it still feels timely. Lauren, an empath, develops a spiritual belief system that sustains her and ultimately those around her, during the dark aftermath of her community's destruction. I'm not big on touchy-feely, new-agey books. This isn't one, despite the emphasis on her prophet-like persona. It's gritty and inspiring. If you want to read a book that will touch you deeply, this is the one to read.

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
(Contemporary Romance)

Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas — if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon — a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past.
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you'll root for every step of the way. A love story you'll never forget.
My all time favorite comtemporary romance. I was so excited that it was available to bring to the Island. I love Liberty, with her beautiful spirit and optimistic outlook. She faces the tough times with a matter-of-factness that is refreshingly drama free. The yearning between her and Hardy when they are young is palpable and heart-wrenching. I also love the Travis family, and Gage is one of those wonderful alpha men who also knows how to nurture both Liberty and her little sister, Carrington.

To Seduce A Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
(Historical Romance)
For years, Melisande Fleming has loved Lord Vale from afar . . . watching him seduce a succession of lovers, and once, catching a glimpse of heartbreaking depths beneath his roguish veneer. When he’s jilted on his wedding day, she boldly offers to be his.
Vale gladly weds Melisande, if only to produce an heir. But he’s pleasantly surprised: A shy and proper Lady by day, she’s a wanton at night, giving him her body—though not her heart.
Determined to learn her secrets, this sinner starts to woo his seductive new wife—while hiding the nightmares from his soldiering days in the Colonies that still haunt him. Yet when a deadly betrayal from the past threatens to tear them apart, Lord Vale must bare his soul to the woman he married . . . or risk losing her forever.
Such beautiful prose in this historical romance. Elizabeth Hoyt really knows how to show big emotions in small scenes. Jasper, Lord Vale is one of my heroes that is in my hut. His devil-may-care demeanor hides the emotional scars of being a prisoner of war. His love for Melisande is such a wonderful thing to see unfold over the course of this book, and their acceptance of each other makes this one of my favorite historical romances.

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
(Urban Fantasy)
When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not.
This book is my favorite, in one of my all-time favorite series. I'm a total Mercy fangirl. I love this book so much because a lot of the events in the previous books lead to decisions Mercy makes in Iron Kissed. It's also the most emotionally intense of the series, and Patricia Briggs does such a great job navigating through both the dramatic events and the resulting emotional effects.

Islands by Samantha Kane
(M/M Romance)
Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Conlan, United States Navy Seabees, knows he’s not in Kansas anymore when he steps off the launch at the small island of Ile Dorée and sees gorgeous Frenchman René Dubois waiting for him on the dock. The year is 1943, the place is the Pacific and the world is at war. Free from the censure of the military, Gabe has an explosive affair with René. But when the world intrudes, Gabe denies René and tries to forget the best sex of his life.
The only westerner on his small Pacific island, René is desperately lonely. When the tall, lanky American steps onto his dock, René knows his life will never be the same. He teaches Gabe how to make love to a man and, unexpectedly, falls in love. René will brave prejudice, Japanese Zeros and Gabe’s reluctance to find love at last.
Words like "lush" "sensual" and "intense" all come to mind when I think of René's and Gabe's story. This is the most romantic M/M Romance between 2 extremely masculine heroes that I've read. That isn't to say that this is a "chicks with dicks" story, but that the connection between the two heroes is so passionate, that there's this feeling that they are true soul mates. The sex between them is raw and fierce. The WWII Pacific island setting is interesting and vivid.

Well, this is my last day, and I have to say thanks, ladies, for making it so much fun! I loved popping in and reading everyone's comments, and writing these posts have been a nice departure from my regular schtick over at my place. Don't forget to come by Renee's Book Addiction and say hi.
In the mean time, Lord John just whipped up a fresh batch of sangria. Party over at my hut begins at sundown! :-D


Lea said...

Another excellent post Renee!

I always learn from your decription of the emotions you feel when reading a novel and learn about new reading to add to my TBR!

I'm looking forward to tonight's partaay! Last night was a blast...

You are a tough act to follow ma'am. ;)


Jenre said...

Great choice of books Renee. I love persuasion, even if I do find Anne's actions rather frustrating!

Samantha Kane is one of those authors that I feel I ought to get around to reading and your recommendation sounds very interesting.

Hilcia said...

Renee! I love, love Persuasion! Sugar Daddy is also on my list of favorites. :)

I'm definitely putting Samantha Kane's book on my list of books to read.

Great picks, wonderful post.

Renee said...

Lea: Thanks! I hope you found some of these interesting.
Party on! :-)
lol. Looking forward to you posts.

Jenre: Thanks!
Well, she is sort of doormat-y at the beginning, but I love how she learns to fight for what she wants ("I will not be persuaded," etc) by the end.
Her m/m/f menage books are good, but this one, her first m/m, is my favorite! I really hope she writes some more. Her writing really captures the emotions the protagonists are feeling.

Hilcia: TY! I was so happy no one else on the Island claimed them.
You know, Islands is a novella, so it might fit in with your m/m reading challenge. ;-)

Tracy said...

Sad to say the only one of those books that I've read is Sugar Daddy - which was great! I'm putting some of these on my wish list at the library.

Great choices Renee & count me in for the party at sunset!

Kris said...

Cool post, Renee *hic*, and the sangria is exceptional. :)

I'm loving your description of the Octavia Butler book, who is an author I've never come across before. It sounds like something that would definitely be right up my alley.

Renee said...

Kris: LOL.
All of her books (most are scifi) are interesting and thought-provoking, but PotS is my favorite.

orannia said...

Fantastic list Renee! ANd I also love those books that really speak to you, that touch your heart and your soul. I'd definitely count Blue-Eyed Devil (Lisa Kleypas) as one such book for me...although I did adore Sugar Daddy :)

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