Monday, 31 May 2010

DIK Challenge Review - The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

My pick for May is The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie one of KristieJ's choices, and a book that has proven very popular in the challenge. I've read quite a few reviews of it, and I guess that's one of the reasons I chose it. Regular readers of the blog will know that I'm not really a fan of historicals BUT my DIK pick success rate continues this is another book that I enjoyed and I'm looking forward to reading the remaining books in the Mackenzie series (even though I'm going to have to wait 'til 2012 'til they're all released).

TMoLIM tells the story of Lord Ian Mackenzie who was placed in an asylum as a youth and only released on the death of his father. The tragedy is that today he would probably have been diagnosed with a form of autism, but instead he was subjected to ice baths and electric shock treatments in an effort to cure him. Released from the asylum by his brother, he has used his talents to increase his family's fortunes. Lord Ian has an intrinsic appreciation for the true value of things, whether it's a priceless Ming bowl or Beth, the fiance of another man.

The thing I loved most about the story is how completely Jennifer Ashley is able to put the reader into Ian's point of view. She really makes you appreciate how he perceives things and how his inability to interact with people causes them to misunderstand him. Also how difficult it makes it for Beth to find her place in the relationship she has with Ian - he is quite clear that he doesn't understand what love is. Too often in romances I feel that the 'I love you's' come too soon and the emotions come after. That wasn't the case here.

Although one of the main plots of TMoLIM deals with the fact that Ian is suspected of carrying out a murder by an obsessed Scotland Yard detective, what made the story for me was the developing relationship between Ian and Beth.

Beth has been in love before, she's had a good if somewhat comfortable marriage. Ian, on the other hand can understand desire and want, the almost logical emotions if you will, but love is a concept that eludes him.
"I wouldn't expect love from you. I can't love you back."
However, it is almost like he understands that in her, he can somehow 'touch' what is absent in himself. He is drawn to her and is painfully honest about his intentions.

This was also a good introduction to the Mackenzie series and family. There are four brothers - Ian, Mac, Cameron and Hart - and obviously they are each getting their own story. TMoLIM serves not only as Ian's story but it also sketches out the family background, we get intriguing hints about Mac's relationship with his estranged wife, Hart's sexual predilections, and the tragedy of Cameron's marriage. None of these overshadow the main story, just leave you wanting to know more.

The relationship between Ian and Beth develops over the course of the book and is one of the most rewarding m/f romances I have read recently. And even though it's a historical :), this is definitely a series I will be following

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Winner of No Inspiration Giveaway...

is...

Sullivan McPig

I have a copy of Atlantis Rising waiting to be posted to you.

Number chosen at random.org was 1 and SM was the first poster who wanted to be included in the giveaway.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions I have some fresh ideas for my musings. :)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

No Inspiration

I didn't post yesterday as it has been sweltering here in the UK and I've been suffering with a migraine / heat stroke.

I should be posting something today but find my inspiration has dried up.

So for this weeks giveaway, in the comments can you offer me some interesting subjects to muse about - preferably in some way linked to UF fiction. :) If I can have some subjects to keep me going for the next few weeks even better.

I have a copy of Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day to give away to one poster to the thread. Winner chosen at random at randomnumber.org. and result posted on Saturday.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I am Seriously Considering...

...renaming this blog Lesley's Book Nook & Knitting Cupboard.

I spent most of the past week not sewing up the pink jumper (as I really should) but starting the front of my next jumper which I'm knitting in Noro.

As a consequence the amount of reading I'm doing is taking a sharp decline. If it continues I may have to post pictures of my (not very good) knitting so I at least have some blog content. I have completely not posted my reading musings this week, so that will carry over to next Monday. Hopefully my review of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner will make an appearance before the end of the week.

Haven't heard back from s7anna yet, so if I don't by Friday I will redo the draw for last weeks book.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Winner of the...

...Words you'd like to have banned giveaway is...

s7anna

I have a copy of Wicked Game waiting to be posted to you.

Whoops - forgot to put s7anna was the 5th comment by those taking part in the giveaway and the number chosen at random.org was 5.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Words you'd like to have banned

I know I've mentioned this topic before but it's one I feel a need to return to.

Yes, I feel the urge to moan coming on.

There are certain words - and I'm not talking about swear words here - that I find really start to annoy when I read.

My major bugbear has to be - 'literally' - please can't we ban this word from fiction already. It really gets on my wick. Mainly because most of the time it's unnecessary, it's the word equivalent of an exclamation mark.

Now it's also closely followed by 'actually' in the annoyance rankings, a word which seems to be cropping up more and more often. This is almost amusing in that it's one of those words that people often overuse in television interviews (along with 'obviously').

Speaking of exclamation marks...lol...I think it was Dean Koontz who said that authors should treat that punctuation mark as if they had a finite amount to use in their writing career. Once they'd used them up, that was it, they couldn't use them any more. I tend to associate them with SHOUTING, especially if they're being overused. No one talks in exclamations all the time. If you ever think you're using too many in your writing, or an author may have got carried away with them, simply convert the exclaimed dialogue into upper case. IT GIVES A GREAT VISUAL CLUE!

Unusual words often stand out. I love the word 'susarration' it's so descriptive. But, chances are if you read a lot of novels that feature angels, it's going to crop up a lot.

So are there any words that annoy you? I have a copy of Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready to give away to one person who comments on this thread. Winner to be chosen by random number (randomnumber.org) on Saturday.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Whoops!...

...I appear to have unintentionally taken the week off from blogging.

I have been obsessively trying to finish my current knitting project - a very pink jumper. I think it's probably going to take another week but I resolve not to leave my blog alone over the next seven days.

So now's probably a good time to mention how the knitting/crocheting challenge for 2010 is going. As I've gone a little OCD on it.

I have currently completed two projects and am just wrapping up my third. So far completed a crochet square throw, and a pair of socks knitted in Rowan Calmer. My jumper is also knit in Rowan Calmer both patterns from the Rowan Calmer collection pattern book.

Now, I wish I had the confidence to share some pictures with you - maybe at the end of the year when I do a review - but my knitting is not up to the standard of those beautiful knitting blogs you see. (Although if I take the picture from far enough away I don't suppose that will matter).

Up next I am doing either a sweater in Noro (pattern from either Noro unlimited or Pure Noro) or possibly something in Araucania as I've just bought some hanks in a sale :). *

I will be returning to book talk tomorrow. :)

* - you know in the About Me where it says I'm a voracious reader, apparently I'm a voracious knitter too. Despite only having started this year I already have something of a stash going.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Winner of Prequels (2) Giveaway

is...

Nastassia

Your copy of Tempest Rising is waiting to be posted to you.

Nastassia was the fourth poster to the thread and the number chosen at random.org was 4.