Feyland is a full-D (which means you are fully immersed) game-the most high-tech of its kind-and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But what she doesn’t know is that the Dark Queen of the faeries has decided to use the virtual world as a portal to the real one, and that she’ll be battling for her REAL life.
Tam Linn’s real life is so bad that he finds solace in the simulated life of gamers. He has no plan to get involved with a rich girl like Jennet. But he may just be the hero she desperately needs.
Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland and discover that much more is at stake–like the future of the entire human world. Can they, with their limited abilities, defeat the dark queen and save mankind?
Sissy: This book is far out of my wheelhouse (I heard Blake Shelton and then Usher and then Shakira use that term on The Voice) so Bubby was surprised when I loaned her Feyland by Anthea Sharp. I think Bubby asked me 5 times if I really liked it for sure, because it was so much more her than me. I told her that I reserve the right to broaden my horizons and be startlingly eclectic at any given moment. I wondered about it meself when I started reading it, but I actually was able to follow all the futuristic techie jargon without going into a menopausal brain peat bog.
Bubby: At least you THINK you were able to follow it all. As I do not have access into said menopausal brain, I wouldn’t know for sure! But what you say is true. I started reading Feyland and was amazed that you had enjoyed it. But I really shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the gaming and futuristic stuff is the only aspect that isn’t you – and that’s only part of the book. The bigger part is Fairyland itself – and you are all about the fairies and magic and stuff.
Sissy: I am a fairy. A sparkling flower fairy. Therefore, yes, all that stuff was appealing. This book is futuristic, though, because the rich people have such things as grav-cars (like a hover car sort of dealie), wrist chips, and fully automated houses (named HANA for House Activated Network Assistant). Sort of big-brotherish if you ask me.
Bubby: I like it. I want a grav-car and an automated house. Like the one in the tv show Eureka. Except you never watched that show so you don’t know what I’m talking about but it was cool. It was named SARAH (for words I can’t remember what they stand for). But the future bits aren’t my favorite. My favorite was right at the beginning when we met one of our main characters, Tam Lin and then when the character of Thomas Rimer was introduced. Now if you are a big fan of faerie-realm stories, you will already recognize these names. Tamlin is a famous character from the old Scottish Ballads – a mortal man who was captured by the fairies (Fae, Faery Folk, etc.) and then rescued by his own true love. Thomas Rhymer is also a ballad character – a bard who was so talented that the Fairy Queen decided to keep him as her own personal songsmith. The instant I saw Anthea Sharp use these names for her characters, I knew I had found a kindred soul. I was hooked.
Sissy: Yes, Bubby, you are a nerd. But since I am actually half-human and half-fae, I can’t really blame you for your fixation on the world of fairy.
Bubby: Which half? Somehow I’m not seeing either of our parents as faerykind . . .
Sissy: Just go with it! Stop trying to ruin my alternate realities. The clever thing about Anthea Sharp is that she was able to retell a very old story in a very modern way without any bumps or hitches. It works beautifully. The story flows so well, even for those with no knowledge of fairy lore. I think the author has written something that will capture a whole new demographic.
Bubby: I loves it. Loves loves loves it. I have a weakness for modern-day retellings of old stories; they just do something for me. I love tales that are seasoned with a little (or in this case, a lot) of magic. I even love stories that use age-old archetypes, in this case the poor little rich girl and the poverty stricken boy with a heart of gold. As Sissy said, the tricky part is weaving all of these elements together and actually having it work. This one works. It has it all, even a little hint of romance.
Sissy: The budding romance between Tam Lin and Jennet is reason enough for me to want to continue this series. I can tell they will have a lot more exciting and bonding adventures ahead. Tam Lin’s life is so painfully tragic, I hope better things are in store there, too.
Bubby: I agree! Jennet lives in this great big huge house with just her and her dad, who is never there anyway and Tam and his mom and brother (both of whom have some big medical issues) live in a shack in the super scary part of town. Can’t the Lin family just move into Jennet’s basement or something?
Sissy: Obviously, there is a lot more to explore in the lives of Tam and Jennet and the world of the Fae. I highly recommend Feyland to the techies, the fairytale lovers, and the fantasy fans, because this is a category bending read. 4.25 hover-bubbles.
Bubby: Feyland checks all the requisite boxes for me. I can’t wait to continue the series. Maybe I can get cheapskate Sissy to buy them this time (she says “Not fairy likely…”). 4.5 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Feyland at Amazon.com
The Switch sisters, the only Chinese family in Ambrose, have always been considered a little odd by the townspeople–especially the mother. People flock to her Chinese restaurant, but steer clear of her otherwise. But everything changes when beautiful Mara Switch, the eldest daughter, is accused of murder. The family then must step into the spotlight to prove her innocence—all without revealing a dark family secret.
Bubby: I was just sitting at home, minding my own business when my phone dinged at me, signifying an incoming email message. It was from Sissy, telling me to read this book. I was gratified that she took the time to think of me whilst on vacation (she abandoned me and went to Disneyland last week) and read The Switch Sisters right away. What a lovely little gem of disturbing quirkiness! About 1/3 of the way in I was sure I knew the direction the plot was going to take. I had it all figured out. And then the bombshell dropped – and the plot went in a direction I had never even considered!
Sissy: I found this book on Amazon.com and was surprised, because of the title, that it was a book about Chinese immigrants. Switch is not exactly a common Chinese name but that is explained in the book. Anyway, I liked it alot because it was weird and different and that appeals to me.
Bubby: It appeals to you because you ARE weird and different. Normal is boring! We grew up in a little town similar to Ambrose and there were no Asians (or African-Americans for that matter) in our town at all. Even the people who ran the Chinese restaurant were not Asian – they were Hispanic. I can imagine that the arrival of a pregnant Chinese woman with 3 daughters and no husband would have created quite a stir. Throw in a spooky house and rumors of witchcraft and it’s easy to see why the Switch sisters had a hard time being accepted by their peers. One of my favorite lines is when Mara tells her mother that her upcoming wedding is “Our chance to prove we’re not what they think we are!” and her mother replies, “The problem is we are.” See, the rumors of witchcraft aren’t just rumors. The Switch girls are all witches – all five of them.
Sissy: Bubby’s secret desire is to be a writer of book synopsi (this is my made-up word for the plural of synopsis). That’s why she writes these interminably long spoilers in every review we do. I think she’s got things bottled up inside that need to come out! I appreciate you all reading this and being therapy for her.
Bubby: Oh, so many things I want to say. So many. Too many to choose from, therefore I will ignore Sissy’s rudeness and encourage her to GET BACK TO THE STORY!
Sissy: You know how in a small town everyone knows things about everyone else and there are rumors about this or that strange family and their secrets? That’s how these poor Switch sisters were talked about. They had to suppress their specialness so that everybody didn’t get crazy and run them out of town. This happens to me sometimes when I’m looking too beautiful and the neighbors get jealous.
Bubby: Sissy may have gotten a little too much sun on her vacation. The craziness is a little out of control today! I will try to see that she gets back on her medication before our next review. At the risk of more rudeness from my dear sister, I am going to wax philosophical for just a moment. Isn’t it interesting that this family had to conceal their awesomeness in order to fit in? Why do we feel the need to lower ourselves or dumb ourselves down to meet the lowest common denominator? Why can’t we just be fabulous and to heck with those that choose to feel inferior? Embrace your differentness! Diversity is a wonderful thing. Being special is good. We are NOT all the same so why should we act like we are?
Sissy: That’s why I’m not getting a tattoo. Everyone has a tattoo now and they are not special.
Bubby: I thought it was because you’re afraid that your butt cheek will get saggy and your rosebud tattoo will turn into a dead chrysanthemum.
Sissy: That too. I liked this tale of extraordinary Chinese witches and I liked that despite their very different personalities, the sisters joined their unique powers together and turned their story into a happy one.
Bubby: The Switch Sisters is a different sort of story than I had read before. It was unique. I like unique. I was voted “Most Unique” in high school, you know. Well worth a read. 4 bubbles.
Sissy: Unique you are indeed, Bubby! I will give The Switch Sisters 3.75 weirdly-shaped bubbles–waiting for more from Gwen Li.
Click HERE to buy The Switch Sisters by Gwen Li from amazon.com
Vancy Salo’s Hungarian grandma has cursed her family. And Vancy is the latest victim. She has been left at the altar and the press is fascinated with this story of love gone wrong because of Grandma’s curse. Vancy has always said she doesn’t believe in the curse, but now that she is groom-less and being chased by reporters, she might be changing her mind. When she takes refuge at Matthew Wilde’s home, she never could imagine that soon they’d be sharing the house with Matt’s four-year-old twin nephews. Two little boys, reporters galore, lots of meddling family and a curse? Sounds like the perfect recipe for love.
Sissy: This book is not for the overly sophisticated, or those who think they are. It is a sweet love story that is funny in parts and definitely has a happy ending. I like the little Hungarian grandma’s curse twist, and I like the heroine’s name–Vancy Salo. Vancy gets jilted at the altar, and the press thinks it is because of Nana Salo’s curse. Is it? Or does it just end up being good luck on Vancy’s part? You shall see!
Bubby: Sometimes a book will just catch my eye. I was at the library with my horde and was looking for something light and funny to amuse myself with while the kids picked books for themselves. And there on the shelf was Everything but a groom. (As well as the rest of the books in the Everything But series.) You see, Nana Salo thought that she had been left at the altar and being part Gypsy, she cursed her fiance’s family to never have a beautiful, happy wedding. But then her fiance showed up after all and so now the curse is on her own family. After her marriage she was able to amend the curse to say that no one in the Salo family will ever have love as long as they care more about the wedding than about their love and marriage. So when Vancy plans this big beautiful wedding, Nana is concerned. As well she should be!
Sissy: Okay, this book reminds me of the old romances I used to read in the summers when we went to visit great Aunt Eva. She had an a-frame house in the mountains and up in the loft where I slept there were shelves and shelves of romance paperbacks. Except for being a little more modern, this book takes me right back to those great days. The other books in the series are Everything But A Bride, Everything But A Wedding, Everything But A Christmas Eve, Everything But A Mother, and Everything But A Dog. I have not read the others–have you, my dear sister?
Bubby: I have read the first three but not the rest. I will have to remedy that! I loved the family relationships in these books. The Salos own a large construction firm and it seems that every member of the family is involved in some way. There are lots of family dinners and get-togethers and it just seems so nice and idyllic. Our leading man, Matthew Wilde, has the complete opposite family. Divorced parents and a brother that can’t quite seem to get his life right. Can you imagine, Sissy, if I had indulged in a few flings here and there and suddenly showed up on your doorstep with twin boys I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) care for anymore? Gave them to you and then took off again? This is what happens to Matt. Suddenly, he is in charge of two delightfully naughty boys – oh, and Vancy is hiding at his house because the press won’t leave her alone!
Sissy: Well, I would take your boys, give you a swift kick in the hiney, and rearrange my life. This seems to be one of the more boring of our blogs, but I don’t have much to say about this book. It fits into that “light, fun, summer romance” category, and it is a good and necessary category, but doesn’t necessarily inspire great commentary. Holly Jacobs fills an important niche for those of us who love a nice love story once in a while but don’t like the excess steaminess that is found in most contemporary romances. I was perusing the cheap and free books on my kindle the other day and a majority of them are ultra sexual smut machine romances–word porn. Not for me.
Bubby: I agree. Sweet, clean romance is what I am looking for. Not really interested in reading about other people’s intimate encounters! I really enjoyed my foray into Holly Jacob’s Everything But series. Fun, entertaining and heartwarming.
Sissy: A book series perfect for a day like today–sunny, with a cool breeze. Go outside and pop yourself into a comfy chair in the shade and have a lovely little read. 3.5 Bubbles.
Bubby: I’m thinking a hammock and some lemonade! 3.5 bubbles from me too.
Iolanthe MacLeod has waited centuries to be rescued from her half-life existence. She has been trapped in an abandoned castle on the English moors since her untimely death back in 1382 and she is sure she will be there forever. Thomas McKinnon is a modern-day American business tycoon who is jaded by the lack of love in his life. When he buys Iolanthe’s abandoned castle and travels to England to restore it, he is totally unprepared to find Iolanthe in residence. But he was even more unprepared to fall in love. Now Thomas is willing to go anywhere and do anything if it means he and Iolanthe might somehow be together.
Bubby: I have no fewer than 12 Lynn Kurland books on my shelves at this very moment. That should tell you something right off the bat. I’m not sure what it is about these books – the settings of lonely castles on Scottish or English coasts or moors, the spunky women who usually do not wait around to be rescued or the hunky renaissance-era, broadsword toting, chivalrous men. Perhaps it’s the overriding air of delicious romance. Who knows? At any rate, My Heart Stood Still embodies the best of Lynn Kurland. We’ve got ghosts. Time travel. True love. Castles and hunky men. I’m happy.
Sissy: I, being the lucky sister who has access to Bubby’s bookshelves, have also read a lot of these time-travel, paranormal romances by Lynn Kurland. They fit a specific reading mood for me, and I can always count on them to give me action, laughs, and a delicious love story. This one in particular has a fun twist with the time travel going in a different direction than usual. Also the hero is not a sweaty, foul-breathed dude from the 14th century who has to learn to wash himself regularly–always a plus for me.
Bubby: Nope. The hero, Thomas, is a thoroughly modern businessman with a broken heart. Irresistible! A recurring theme in Kurland’s books is a little bed and breakfast in England called the Boar’s Head Inn. It happens to be owned by Thomas’ sister, Megan. It also happens to be heavily populated with ghosts from Thomas and Megan’s ancestry. Some of them are English, some Scottish, there’s a random French guy in there and they don’t exactly get along. My favorite scenes are the interaction between the ghosts – duels in the kitchen, song and ale fests and so forth. They are just hilarious. These ghosts have decided to take the fate of their descendants into their own hands – matchmaking is their favorite activity (just after sword fighting).
Sissy: Love the tavern ghosts! They remind me of all my male relatives. I know why you love these books, Bubby, when you usually turn up your nose at historical romance. Our ancestry is English, Welsh, Scottish, and French, and you are having genetic remembrance–your very DNA is pulling you with longing to those damp and cloudy surroundings and begging you to have a cuppa. I would like to address this series as a whole, however. Actually there are two time-travel romance series’ by Kurland – the McLeod series and the de Piaget series. They often intersect. Lots of romance, time travel, broadsword slinging and throwing into dungeon pits. Most all of these are clean, but a very few push the line. I can’t say which ones as my brain is too moldery to remember. But mostly the whole collection is great. Bubby says I’m writing a novel here so I have to stop before she chokes on a hairball.
Bubby: A hairball? Really? Heavens. I would agree that the settings do appeal to me but what appeals even more, especially in My Heart Stood Still, is the willingness of these characters to go to any length for true love. Travel through time with no guarantee that you’ll end up in the right time? Fighting to the death with unfamiliar weapons? Leaving all that you know behind to live in the time of your beloved? Sure, no problem. True love conquers all. Now I do love my husband with every fiber of my being but if he wanted me to go live in 1385 with no running water or toilet facilities and no chocolate and no books and music on demand I might have an issue. Thankfully I don’t see that kind of test of our love happening anytime soon!
Sissy: Oh pshaw, Bubby, you’d jump right into the past to get your hubby, I just know it! Your teeth would all rot out and you’d get a communicable disease or two, but still! Toothless and scabby are worth it for true love, right? Nobody seems to be as in love with our ghostly heroine Iolanthe as they are with Thomas, but after so many centuries in a damp and decrepit semi-final resting place, she probably has developed a borderline personality disorder. She just needs some therapy and a few Xanax. I liked her. I liked the whole book.
Bubby: Great books for when you need a little romantic escape. It’s been a bit since I read one – methinks I might indulge a little this evening! I give My Heart Stood Still 3 ½ light and fluffy medieval bubbles. Did they even have bubble bath? Ah, who cares!
Sissy:I have a better idea for you, Bubby. Why don’t you buy Lynn Kurland’s latest book and then lend it to me? 3 ½ bubbles from me too.
Click HERE to buy My Heart Stood Still by Lynn Kurland
© Bubble Bath Books 2013