A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

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source: purchased
title: A Precious Jewel
author: Mary Balogh
genre: Historical/Regency Romance
pages: 316
published: 1993
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh weaves a sensuous spell of romance that brings together the unlikeliest pair of lovers in the unlikeliest place of all– an infamous London house of pleasure.

She was unlike any woman he’d ever met in the ton or the demimonde. But Sir Gerald Stapleton frequented Mrs. Blyth’s euphemistically dubbed “finishing school” for pure, uncomplicated pleasure–and nothing else. So why was this confirmed bachelor so thoroughly captivated by one woman in particular? Why did he find himself wondering how such a rare jewel of grace, beauty, and refinement as Priss had ended up a courtesan? And when she needed protection, why did Gerald, who’d sworn he’d never get entangled in affairs of the heart, hasten to set her up as his own pampered mistress to ensure her safety–and have her all to himself?

For Priscilla Wentworth, the path leading to Sir Gerald’s bed had been as filled with misfortune as it suddenly seemed charmed. But Priss couldn’t allow herself to believe she’d ever be more to a man like Sir Gerald than a well-cared-for object of pleasure. Now, despite Gerald’s deep distrust of marriage, neither scandal nor society’s censure can keep them apart–only the fear of trusting their hearts.

my thoughts:

After having read A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh last December I knew this was an author I wanted to read again. I had a few qualms with A Christmas Promise, mainly because the hero was a jerk but the heart that the author gave her characters and the way the story-line just flowed left me wanting to try her again. I am glad I read A Precious Jewel.  There was so much from the Balogh catalogue to choose from since she has been writing for a few decades and what made me choose A Precious Jewel  was that in the blurb the two main characters are described as an “unlikeliest pair of lovers”. I am a sucker for unconventional love stories. I love it when the couples have to work for their love, it makes it worthwhile, just like in this particular story.

Priscilla Wentworth comes from a nice family and is a refined lady but she finds herself alone after her father and then her brother pass away from illness. Her mother died when she was young. Her brother did not leave a will so she contacts her former governess Mrs. Blyth and asks if she can stay with her at her finishing school until she turns 30 and is awarded her mother’s inheritance. Mrs. Blyth takes Priscilla in but confesses to her that her ‘finishing school’ is actually a house of prostitution. Priscilla finds herself in a horrible situation but decides to start working there as a courtesan. She knows it is not what she wants for herself but she also knows how much worse it could be since Mrs. Blyth thinks of her as a daughter and treats her well. She figures she will work a few years and save what she can until she gets her mother’s inheritance.

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Needful Things by Stephen King

needfulsource: purchased
title: Needful Things
author: Stephen King
genre: classic horror
published: 1991
pages: 790
first line: In a small town, the opening of a new store is big news.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:

Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 New York Times bestseller about a mysterious store than can sell you whatever you desire—but not without exacting a terrible price in return.

“There are two prices for this. Half…and half. One half is cash. The other is a deed. Do you understand?”

The town of Castle Rock, Maine has seen its fair share of oddities over the years, but nothing is a peculiar as the little curio shop that’s just opened for business. Its mysterious proprietor, Leland Gaunt, seems to have something for everyone out on display at Needful Things…interesting items that run the gamut from worthless to priceless. Nothing has a price tag in this place, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware…

my thoughts:

Needful Things was a re-read and is a toughie to review because it is such a long book with so many characters and events. It is hard to believe my copy is over 20 years old.

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In this classic, King takes us to Castle Rock and sets up the scene quite nicely. I love that about his writing, he takes his time introducing his characters and giving us a feel for them. There is a new shop in the small town of Castle Rock called Needful Things and the townspeople are very curious about it. The owner is a man named Leland Gaunt who seems to mesmerize his customers. When you walk into this store you find the perfect item for yourself that you didn’t even know you were looking for until you lay your eyes on it. Everything is for sale but everything comes at a steep price. It is akin to making a deal with the devil. The customers leave with the perfect item but not quite remembering how they promised Leland Gaunt what they would pay for it.

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Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

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source: purchased
title: Along Came A Spider
author: James Patterson (Twitter)
pages: 449
genre: crime thriller/detective fiction
published: December 1, 1993
first line: The Charles Lindbergh farmhouse glowed with bright, orangish lights.
rated: 5 out of 5 stars!
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blurb:
Discover the classic thriller that launched the #1 detective series of the past twenty-five years, now one of PBS’s “100 Great American Reads”

Alex Cross is a homicide detective with a Ph.D. in psychology. He works and lives in the ghettos of D. C. and looks like Muhammad Ali in his prime. He’s a tough guy from a tough part of town who wears Harris Tweed jackets and likes to relax by banging out Gershwin tunes on his baby grand piano. But he also has two adorable kids of his own, and they are his own special vulnerabilities.

Jezzie Flanagan is the first woman ever to hold the highly sensitive job as supervisor of the Secret Service in Washington. Blond, mysterious, seductive, she’s got an outer shell that’s as tough as it is beautiful. She rides her black BMW motorcycle at speeds of no less than 100 mph. What is she running from? What is her secret?

Alex Cross and Jezzie Flanagan are about to have a forbidden love affair-at the worst possible time for both of them. Because Gary Soneji, who wants to commit the “crime of the century,” is playing at the top of his game. Soneji has outsmarted the FBI, the Secret Service, and the police. Who will be his next victim?

Gary Soneji is every parent’s worst nightmare. He has become Alex Cross’s nightmare. And now, reader, he’s about to become yours.

my thoughts:

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Hellooooooo everyone. I am still here. I have to begin this post by saying that I miss you guys and I miss blog-land but I am still on major vacation/summertime mode. I am going to try to catch up online this weekend and hopefully by next weekend I will have an updates and mailbox post.

Anyway, onto my thoughts on Along Came A Spider by James Patterson a.k.a. my favorite book of 2018 so far. This book was fantastic and once I was finished reading I had a serious book hangover.

The New York Daily News says:
“James Patterson is to suspense what Danielle Steel is to romance”.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Pet Sematary
author: Stephen King/ Twitter
genre: horror/classic
published: November 14, 1983
pages: 562
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:

“Sometimes dead is better….”

When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.

But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

my thoughts:
I breezed through the 562 pages of Pet Sematary in just a little over a week which is saying alot for me since I tend to be a slow reader but this is why I love Stephen King. He grabs hold of the reader and will not let go. When he is good, he is amazing. This was a re-read for me and it was fantastically creepy and terrifying the second time around. King tends to be an author that I love to re-read. I have revisited several of my favorites by him. There is something about going back to a book knowing it will still be good.

As the story starts young doctor Louis Creed is made director of the University of Maine’s campus health service and he moves his family to Ludlow for the job. His wife Rachel and their two little ones Ellie and Gage settle into the family’s new home which is located near a busy road.
On Louis’s first day at work there is a tragic accident where student Victor Pascow is mortally wounded while out running. He dies while Louis is the only person in the room with him and his final words are a warning about the Pet Sematary located across the street from Louis’s new house.

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A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

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source: purchased
title: A Christmas Promise
author: Mary Balogh
pages: 272
published: December 1, 1992
first lines: The Earl of Falloden glanced at the visiting card resting on the salver his butler held extended toward him. He frowned.
rated: 3 out of 5
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blurb:
A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

my thoughts:
Christmas is almost here! It’s a rainy Saturday morning and I thought I’d post my thoughts about my latest read and get some blog hopping in too. We’ll be visiting my parents tomorrow for gift exchanging and dinner and then Christmas day will be spent home cooking, baking and relaxing. I plan on wearing my pajamas all day.

Onto my review, I picked this one apart a little bit because it was just that kind of read. I both liked and I disliked it.

Here we have Eleanor Transome who is a single child and her father is wealthy from having made his fortune as a coal merchant. Ellie and her family are considered working class or cits and although they have money they are looked down upon by the ton who are born into their wealth and status.

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