A Matter of Class was originally published in 2009. It was with the publication of the large print version in March of this year, that I noticed this novella. Mary Balogh, one of regency romance’s best writers brings us the story of Mr. Reginald Mason and Lady Annabelle Ashton forced into marriage by her disgrace and his father’s fortune. Growing up, Reginald was always aware of his father’s desire to turn him into a gentleman and have him marry into a title. After he spends lavishly on carriages, clothes, and gambling clubs, Mr. Mason gives his son a choice, either marry Annabelle Ashton or be cut off without a penny. Lady Annabelle Ashton grew up knowing she was expected to marry nobility to strengthen her station. But after her father’s loss of fortune and the courtship of a noble she has no interest in, Annabelle runs away with a servant, to live the way she always intended, by her own rules. After she is caught and returned home, Annabelle has a choice, to either marry Mr. Mason or become a servant in a noble’s home.
As all descriptions of this book state, there is a twist, but anyone who reads frequently will figure out the plot in the first thirty pages. It is a very charming book, very well done, as all Balogh’s books are. If you enjoy it you may try reading some of her other works, the Simply Series, the Slightly Series, the Huxtable Series, and my favorites No Man’s Mistress and More Than a Mistress. Also, there is a four disc unabridged audiobook of A Matter of Class. Enjoy!
Linger is the second book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy. Our story begins about three months or so after Shiver (the previous book) ends. As with Shiver, Linger continues telling the tale from the viewpoints of Sam and Grace, and includes the additional perspectives of Isabel and Cole. Sam is now constantly in human form, but wakes everyday with the suspicion that he could shift and become a wolf again. As Sam feels more confident in his human form, he begins to actually wonder about his future and the responsibilities he has to the wolves. Grace, who is finally confident Sam is now a human, realizes that something inside her is urging her body to change and shift. Grace tries her best to keep her symptoms that start out as simple headaches, to herself, but is certain that whatever change that is taking place inside her, is fatal. Isabel worries about Grace, and what will happen to the wolves that have been lurking around the woods near her house, with her gun-toting anti-wolf father in residence. Cole, a new wolf, chosen by Beck (Sam’s foster father) keeps shifting back and forth between wolf and human forms. A few of these times Cole shifts by Isabel’s house. Isabel finds herself drawn to Cole, because he seems to be having the same problems she is, trying to deal with a reality that is all too real. Isabel still struggles with the death of her brother. Eventually Grace takes a turn for the worse and Isabel, Cole and Sam have to find a solution to save Grace’s life. (I’m not saying any more about plot, because I don’t want to reveal too much.) Linger started a little bit slow for me, partly because I was having trouble remembering the finer details from its predecessor, Shiver, and partly because I feel like the book jacket description wasn’t very forthcoming of what to expect in this book. At about half way through, major plots began to emerge and storylines became more clear/exciting/interesting. I especially found the addition of Cole helpful in moving this book along. I was also curious and fascinated by the dynamic between Cole and Isabel. They were a torn, broken version of Grace and Sam, and the dynamic between them was the first tangent element I grasped onto. I can’t wait to read Forever, the third and final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy.
As a big fan of R&B and of a few of Trey Songz’ singles, I knew I had to check out this CD. I had heard “Neighbors Know My Name” and “I Invented Sex” on the radio and had to find out who the artist behind the music was. Reminiscent of the smooth vocal stylings of R. Kelly and even at times Ginuwine, Songz has a soul all his own. The more I listened to this CD, the more I wanted to listen to this CD. After just a couple plays you’ll find yourself walking around humming “Neighbors Know My Name” (Well at least I did). After playing the song once for my sister she started to hum it too. This CD also has several collaborations, most notably “Say Ahh” featuring Fabulous and “I Invented Sex” featuring Drake.
Quote from the Artist:
“While the words Passion, Pain and Pleasure immediately invoke sexual thoughts, for me they have become somewhat of a personal mantra because they so accurately describe this time in my life,” says Trey Songz. “The passion I have for my art fuels my drive and work ethic, while the sacrifice of my personal life to benefit my career will always be a source of pain. The pleasure that I derive from my work and my accomplishments make everything worth it. When I began conceptualizing the new album, these three words stuck in my head. They completely infiltrated my creative process, so it was inevitable that they became the album title.“
“PASSION, PAIN & PLEASURE" is Songz’ hugely anticipated follow-up to 2009’s RIAA gold-certified smash, “READY.”
I’m not sure what exactly it is, but Simply Unforgettable just wasn’t simply unforgettable, or as good as the novels of the Slightly series, published prior to this selection. It might have to do with the fact that the two books in the series I’m most looking forward to are the two dealing with Anne Jewell and Claudia Martin, two of the teachers at Ms. Martin’s school for girls (mentioned in the Bedwyn books). Once introduced to characters in past reads, I’m obsessed with reading their own love stories. Here’s an introduction to this one: Lucius Marshall is a selfish indulgent and useless aristocrat until he realizes his grandfather is dying and decides he needs to get serious about finding a wife and fulfilling his duties to his family. Frances Allard is a school teacher with a dark past, who decided to visit her elderly aunts in the country over the Christmas holiday. On the way back to the school in Bath, her carriage gets rudely overtaken by a quicker dare-deviling machine/driver. With their carriages stuck in the snow and a storm coming, she and Lucius (the passenger of the dare-deviling carriage) have to hunker down in an abandoned inn for a nigh tor two. Lucius who already has found the perfect wife in family friend Portia Hunt, granddaughter to the Marquess of Godsworthy, becomes obsessed with Frances and begs her to come to London with him. As Frances has mysteriously promised certain people she would never return to London again, she refuses him to hide her past and the fear of her feelings towards him. When Lucius finds his grandfather in ill health he coincidentally finds himself meeting the Earl in Bath and consistently pursues Frances while she holds him at bay. Eventually Lucius uncovers the secrets of Frances’ past and clears up any arguments Frances had for rejecting him. After getting approval of both her and his families, she finally agrees to marry him and they live happily ever after (note my sarcastic tone of voice) For some reason or other (possibly the fact that Lucius seemed to fall for Frances hard and fast with no apparent rationale) I just didn’t seem to connect with this story (like I did with those of the Bedwyns). I will continue to read this series and look forward to the books starring Claudia Martin and Anne Jewell. Happy Reading!
Olive’s Ocean is a fantastic Newbery winner about a twelve year old girl Martha, dealing with the trials of growing up, and with grown up topics. Before Martha and her family leave on their annual trip to see her grandmother, Martha receives an unexpected visitor, Olive’s mother. Olive was a girl in Martha’s class that recently was involved in a horrible car accident and was killed. Mrs. Barstow (Olive’s mother) comes to see Martha and bring her a page in Olive’s diary in which she’s mentioned. Olive, who has never even worked up the nerve to talk to anyone in class, thinks Martha is the nicest girl in their whole grade, wishes to be friends with Martha, see the ocean, and above all else become a novel writer. Martha is surprised by the praise and even more surprised that Olive and she share the same dream. Unable to tell her family or friends about Olive, because she would have to reveal her ambitions, Martha becomes more introverted and internalizes her feelings. Over the course of the visit with her grandmother, she learns a lot about the dynamics of her family. Martha’s father who took time off of a full time job to be a writer makes the realization he’s miserable and wants to go back to work full time. Her brother who she used to be very close with is now growing up too and off playing with his own friends. Martha spends more time with her grandmother, Godbee, who seems to know just what to say to put her at ease. When Martha almost drowns she realizes that if Olive can die at such a young age she can too, which gives her more courage to go after her dreams. That summer, she also deals with her first kiss and a betrayal that hurts her deeply. When Martha arrives home, she brings the ocean, in bottled form, to give to Olive’s mother. Yet when she goes to see Mrs. Barstow, she finds out she’s gone, and that everyone eventually moves on. This was a great read from start to finish. I even read it in one sitting, because I was compelled to find out what happened to Martha.