Monday, September 28, 2009

The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary

The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary
Copyright 2009
Sourcebooks - Romance/Adventure - both modern and historical
318 pages

The Treasures of Venice is not my typical fare (although I don't scorn romance -- there are some excellent romance writers out there) but Sourcebooks accidentally sent me the wrong book and I love it when that happens. Reading a book that is a little outside your normal comfort zone gives you a chance to shake up your reading a bit -- always a good thing, in my opinion.

The Treasures of Venice is an adventurous tale. Samantha Lewis was dumped by her fiance just prior to their scheduled wedding. Instead of canceling her honeymoon, she decided to go ahead and journey to Venice. The book opens with Samantha sitting in a Venice cafe, musing about the betrayal that brought her to Italy alone. When a handsome Irish rogue, Keirnan Fitzgerald, shows up at an outdoor cafe pretending to be her boyfriend, she plays along. His sister has been kidnapped and he must obtain a set of missing jewels in order to save her life.

In 1485, the lovely Serafina Lombardo falls for a painter who can barely afford to feed himself. Nino wants to take her away from Venice to begin a new life with her. But, there is only one way he can possibly save her and Nino quickly finds that it's difficult knowing who to trust.

Can Samantha and Keirnan find the jewels in time to save his sister? What became of the tragic Serafina and how are the two stories connected? Do the Jewels of the Madonna even exist and, if so, what has become of them?

There are a lot of romantic cliches in this book but I was simply in the mood to ignore that and enjoy the adventure. And, I think it was a rollicking fine adventure story -- a little over-the-top, yes, but if you're just looking for an escape, The Treasures of Venice fits the bill.

3.5/5 - Action-packed romance. Be willing to let go of reality and just enjoy the adventure. I'd particularly recommend this one to romance fans but if you're like me and don't mind tossing in something a little different I think you'll find it's a great escapist read. There are some fairly graphic sex scenes but they're usually pretty brief (about a page, as opposed to pages and pages with heavy detail).

Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for being such a total sweetie-pie when things go a little hinky!! Danielle, you're the greatest!

In other news . . .
Oh, baby, this is so big. I mean this is HUGE. Simon Van Booy has won the Franklin O'Connor Short Story Award for Love Begins in Winter!!!! If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I'm an adoring fan of Simon and his work. His writing is absolutely breathtaking and he is tremendously kind and humble for a man of such talent and genius (see my 2007 chat with Simon, here).

Congratulations, Simon!!

And, to everyone else . . . it's time. If you've missed out on the beauty of Simon's writing, give in. Go buy a copy of Love Begins in Winter. You won't regret it.

Just walked in:

Mama's Got a FAKE I.D. by Caryn Rivadeneira - a book I accepted for review because the author made me laugh. And, it looks terrific, so I'm glad I said, "Oh, all right. Just because I like you."
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - a total surprise from Simon & Schuster . . . which is probably going to get shoved to the head of the queue because I have been so dying to read this book and it's the season for ghost stories, after all, isn't it?

Because I am a weak, weak bibliophile:

The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist and Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix ended up in a red plastic bag, dangling from my wrist, this afternoon. I told Kiddo it was dangerous taking me into the bookstore, but did he listen???? Okay, can't blame the kid. I know that.

I don't know if I'll have time to post about Banned Books Week, since we're still in the thick of swim season, we're "remodeling" our kitchen (very slowly -- it's a DIY thing, right now involving paint, a drill, door handles, doors, hinges, wood glue and a lot of sweat), painting our den and trying to level the floor while we await our carpet, and you know . . . the other stuff people do. If we didn't have to eat or wash clothing or sleep, it would really help.

Happy Monday, everybody!!


  1. HI! I'm totally blanking. What was I going to comment!?
    oh well, happy reading, enjoy the Niffenegger (what a great name to say aloud many times, huh? I really REALLY want this book.) and I'm going to add the Simon book to my tbr. 'K?

  2. Love the post! I agree with reading new things takes you out of your comfort zone, but that's a good thing from time to time! This one may not make my TBR pile, but I did enjoy the post.

    As for the additional books to YOUR TBR pile, congrat's on the surprise ones and I definitely understand about the bookstore secretly "making" you buy those two copies. Happens to me every time. =0)

  3. I could be really upset with you since my TBR list is already 18 pages long, but I choose to thank you instead for turning me on to a wonderful new author - Simon Van Booy. I just read your interview and an excerpt of his writing and I'm hooked. He is luscious. Thank you.

  4. Care,

    I am a lucky chick for getting that Niffenegger, aren't I? Hahaha! I like the idea of finding some excuse to say Niffenegger repeatedly. :) Of course it's okay that you're adding Simon's book to your list. You need Simon's book. Make a place for it on your permanent shelves. Warning: His writing is addictive!!!


    Exactly. It's good to toss something into the mix that you wouldn't normally think of reading. The last time I recall reading a specific title that I thought I'd gotten in error was when I read Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption by Robert Fate. It turned out to be a 5-star read.

    Thank you! And, thanks for understanding. Those shifty bookstore people have some sort of magic thing going on. Books appear in your hand, money disappears from your wallet. I wish I knew that trick.


    I'm so happy for you!!! Now that you've found Simon, your life is complete. Or, at least it'll be even better. Luscious is right! Doesn't his writing make your little heart go pitty-pat? :)

  5. Hi Nancy!

    I'm glad you enjoyed it and all worked out :)

    Danielle (from Sourcebooks)

  6. Hi Danielle!

    I was just sitting down to send you a link, but it looks like I don't have to!! You're on the ball. :)

  7. Nice surprise to receive unexpected books. I'm glad you'll be moving Her Fearful Symmetry to the top of the pile as I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.

    Sounds like you have your hands full. Those DIY projects can run on forever, or at least what seems like forever. Best wishes with all you're doing.

  8. I am like you... i can once in a while read something like that!! and of course i am adding Simon to my tbr list!

  9. Booklogged,

    I'm so excited about Her Fearful Symmetry because of all the books I'd like to have *right now*, it was by far the highest on my list. I haven't had any reading time with the DIY going on, though.

    Yeah, it's going to stretch on for a while! And, I think the cat must have gotten into our gutted room and wiped something into her eye because she has a bloody eye. I'm about to run her to the vet.


    Just now and then. :) I can't wait to see what you think of Simon's book! He's full of awesome.

  10. Simon deserves that award!!

  11. Carrie,

    He certainly does! :)


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