1. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
This was an interesting read, although pretty gory. Not for the weak of heart! :-) It struck me as a true-to-life Pirates of the Caribbean, although more historically accurate. Takes place mainly in the infamous Port Royal, Jamaica as well as throughout the Caribbean. Lots of history written in, which I loved.
Corrupt officials, dirty pirates, treasure... a great way to spend a cold February night.
2. Angel Time by Anne Rice
I loved Anne Rice throughout my late teens and 20s. The Vampire Chronicles as well as her stand-alone novels were my favorite books for years. I adore the way that Anne writes so much great history into her novels.
Anne has since returned to her religious roots, and her current novels have a Christian theme. Angel Time is no exception. It is well written, as any Anne Rice novel is, and it includes a lot of history as well. A lost soul is currently working as a hit man but his guardian angel steps in and shows him a different path by transporting him back through time to the Middle Ages to intercede in a riot against wrongly-accused Jews. You won't be disappointed by this one, especially once you get to the part where he is transported to 13th century England to help the Jewish.
3. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
For fans of Nicholas Sparks (author of such novels as the Notebook), here is another winner. Yes, you'll cry. Yes, you'll be touched. In true Nicholas Sparks fashion, a story of young love and ordinary lives. The story of a rebellious teenage girl who is an amazing piano player & composer, it revolves around her rekindled relationship with her father as well as her first love.
I'm still reading this one, but am almost finished.
4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.
*sigh*. I've saved the best for last. Ah, Jane; you either love her or hate her. I am of the latter persuasion (gosh, I'm even speaking like the wife of a gentleman in 1800 England).
I've watched the movies countless times (the Colin Firth BBC version of Pride & Prejudice is my favorite). I've attempted to read the novel before but never finished it. I am so proud to say.... drumroll please.... that I finally read P & P from cover to cover. I made it!
For those intimidated by the language of Jane Austen, I'll admit that it was easier for me to watch the movies first. There are several versions of movies for all her books. The most recent major motion picture version of Pride & Prejudice starred Keira Knightly (also in Pirates of the Caribbean). There is a movie version of her novel Emma starring Gwenyth Paltrow, and a brand-new version of Emma (a long miniseries) recently aired on PBS, but is available on DVD (I'm waiting for my copy to arrive as we speak) Other movies based upon her novels available include Sense & Sensibility (won several Grammys), Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park.
If you've never read Jane Austen, I really recommend you do. Especially if you're a woman. She is considered one of the top female authors of all time. Isn't it funny, I remember learning a lot in high school British Literature about Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, but never Jane Austen. She is overlooked, and it's too bad. I'm so glad I was introduced to her in my late 20s.
If you haven't entered my giveaway for the cast-iron skillet, it's not too late! The contest is open until February 5 (Friday), so sign up here!
Perhaps Jane Austen's family owned a similar skillet......
That's all for now! If you have any book recommendations for me, please leave a comment below. I'm always looking for great novels to read!