Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ May 15, 2019

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Hey there, friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope you've had a great week! Mine hasn't been bad. :)


What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finished reading, and what you plan on reading next! 


Here's my list: 

Currently Reading:


I just started reading Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. I'm literally only a few pages in, so nothing to report yet except that I'm excited to read this! And that it's a Jane Eyre retelling set in space!





I'm almost finished with the first half of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. We are discussing the first half at Saturday's book club. Looking forward to it!








Recently Finished:


I finished reading Tell Me Everything by Sarah Enni. Sometimes I want to read a book without reading the book blurb. Of course, I know the genre and a few things about it, but I like to go in somewhat blind. That's what I did with this book. 

The first half was a little slow, and I wasn't quite sure where it was going. It did pick up, and I liked that Ivy wanted to encourage her fellow artists, but I cringed at some of Ivy's big plans. She had a lot to learn. I did like the overall thought about not being afraid to be yourself. 3.5 stars. 

Side note: Sarah Enni has a fantastic podcast called First Draft. You should check it out! 


I finished reading The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry. I really enjoyed it! It's a quick YA murder mystery thriller. 4 stars.








What's next?


I have my eye on The Darkdeep by Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs. It looks like it might be a middle school story. I've heard it has a Stranger Things/Goonies vibe, and I loved both of those!







FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!



Have a great week, friends! And, tell me, what are you reading?  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dear Jane Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Dear Jane Blog Tour! Allie Cresswell has stopped by with a guest post and a giveaway! I hope you enjoy! 




Why I chose to write about Jane Fairfax

‘Emma’ has always been my favourite Jane Austen novel. I studied it in detail at school and then again at University. Imagine if ‘Persuasion’ has been on the syllabus? My Highbury Trilogy would never have been written! In it I have explored the more minor characters who have always intrigued me; Mrs Bates, her two daughters and the enigmatic Miss Fairfax. 

Jane Austen predicted that nobody but herself would much like Emma Woodhouse and in my case she predicted quite accurately. I don’t like her and even given her mortification at the end of the book, I can’t quite forgive her. I find Jane Fairfax to be a more attractive and interesting character, perhaps because Miss Austen necessarily veils her in a shroud of reserve and mystery.  Jane, truly accomplished, well-travelled and sophisticated, glitters far more brightly for me than Emma, who is the brightest star in a very small firmament; to my mind she is gauche, narcissistic and small-minded. 

Given Jane’s superior qualities, though, I struggled to understand her attraction, let alone her secret engagement to Frank Churchill. Not only could I not understand it, I couldn’t square it with the sensible girl Jane seems to be. What might have driven her to embark on such a dangerous course? What alternatives did she have? How might her upbringing with the Campbells have contributed to her reckless decision? These questions plagued me. I couldn’t believe her capable of the kind of silly, infatuated and materialistic manoeuvrings of Lucy Steele in Sense and Sensibility but what was her motivation? I had to know. I didn’t understand her but I did admire her. At least she knows her own mind, her own heart. For some reason I had to discover, she chooses Frank from, presumably, a wide selection of eligible young men to whom she has been exposed in London and Weymouth. That in itself is so much more interesting that the young lady of Hartfield who selects her husband from a catalogue of one.

Emma makes mistakes but they are errors of judgement, social gaffes, rather than moral failings. Jane’s sin - if we can call it that - is far more serious and so much more interesting. Her secret engagement contravenes every rule in the book of social behaviour; even a covert correspondence, if discovered, could have tainted her reputation for life. To be secretly meeting a man - as Jane must have met Frank on many occasions - endangered not only herself but her guardians and her friend Miss Campbell. Why would she take such a risk?

Emma suffers, but not much. She only has to endure the sweaty pawings of Mr Elton, the embarrassment of telling Harriet that she has got things wrong and the shame of realising that she has been far too indiscreet in her dealings with Frank Churchill. These things have passing - and deserved - discomfort but they are not devastating. Jane, on the other hand, suffers terribly. We know from her conversation with Mrs Weston that she has known no tranquil hour from the moment she agreed to the secret engagement. She is wretchedly unhappy, morally compromised, helplessly mired in deceit. The profound seriousness of Jane’s situation is far more moving and raised far more questions than the little ripples of Emma’s faux pas.


The Jane Fairfax we meet in Highbury is reserved - and no wonder! She has much she must conceal. But there is nothing like an enigma to get a writer’s creative juices flowing. I was desperate to see the madly flailing, emotionally broken, morally torn girl beneath that aloof exterior. I wanted to understand it, to identify the causes of it, and I suppose, in that regard, I am no better than Miss Woodhouse.







Dear Jane
by Allie Cresswell


Book Synopsis: 

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma. 

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day. 

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it. 

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 


About the Author


Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a
pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College,
London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique
holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to
lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by
Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and
lives in Cumbria, NW England.


You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook.



Blog Tour Schedule:

May 1: Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 6: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)
May 7: My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 9: So Little Time (Guest Post)
May 14: More Agreeably Engaged (Excerpt)
May 15: Austenesque Reviews (Review)
May 20: Babblings of a Bookworm (Interview)
May 28: A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 30: A Convent Garden: Gilflurt’s Guide to Life (Guest Post)
May 31: True Book Addict (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #DearJane #AllieCresswell



* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! To celebrate her blog tour, Allie Cresswell is giving away one e-copy of her new book, Dear Jane! To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter below. This is a group giveaway. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks to Allie for visiting us here today! I really enjoyed her thoughts about Jane Fairfax. Now I am questioning Jane's reasons for entering into a secret engagement! It looks like I'm going to have to read Dear Jane to find out! 

Also, thank you to Serena M. Agusto-Cox @ Poetic Book Tours for inviting me on this tour! 

So, friends, what are your thought on Jane Fairfax? Have you read any of the books from the Highbury trilogy? 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ May 8, 2019

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What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finished reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Happy Wednesday! I had a pretty good reading week! My new pair of glasses seem to be doing a great job! I haven't had a headache all week! Yes! 

Here's my list: 

I'm currently reading The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry. Right off the bat, I'm into this one! I really love April Henry's YA thrillers! 






I'm also re-reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin. Another book to read for my JASNA reading group! We are discussing the first half of the book in the next meeting. 





I recently finished reading Last Chance by Gregg Hurwitz. This was the second book in the Rains series. Another good YA apocalyptic/zombie/sci-fi story! Spores or parasites turned adults into zombie-like creatures who were preparing the earth for Aliens to inhabit. It's up to Chance and Patrick Rain to save humanity! 4.5 stars.


Before that, I finished The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz. I like this first book enough to get started in the second right away! 4 stars.








What's next?  I'm not sure. I'll let you know next week! :)

FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!



Have a great week, friends! And, tell me, what are you reading?   

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Guest Post by Jayne Bamber! ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Jayne Bamber is visiting with a super fun post! I absolutely adored this Regency version of Tinder! There is also an excerpt from her new book, Unexpected Friends & Relations! Plus, you will find a link to a giveaway! 

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! :)





I’m excited to stop by and talk about my new release, Unexpected Friends & Relations, the sequel to my debut novel, Happier in Her Friends Than Relations. While the first volume of the series focused on Lizzy and Darcy’s romance, as well as a love interest for Richard Fitzwilliam, the second volume will continue to explore the lives (and loves) of the secondary Austen characters of Pride & Prejudice as well as a few other Austen heroines.

Book 2 features a lot of couples, including some romances that fail, and some surprising alternate pairings! To celebrate all the love in the air in book 2, I have imagined a scenario for your amusement (and mine!) to review the as yet unattached gentlemen in the Austen world - many of whom will make an appearance in the second volume!

Though the two characters have yet to cross paths in the course of the series (they are likely to in Book 3, so stay tuned!) I have paired Emma and Lydia together for this scenario - imagine the two most marriage-minded young ladies in Austen getting together to scope out some romantic prospects… if only there were a Regency version of Tinder…. 




Emma: What have you got there, Miss Lydia?
Lydia: Mamma made me install BACHLR. I’m looking for a man in uniform….
Emma: Well, let’s take a look… my goodness, there are so many single gentlemen in our area! And here’s one in uniform….




Lydia: He’s so old!
Emma: He’s dreamy - and rich! I’m swiping right.
Lydia: Hey!




Emma: Hello, Captain Smolder!
Lydia: Can I swipe right twice for him?




Lydia: Yes please!
Emma: Not one but two estates – and look at those cheekbones! Oh, but he likes to read - not your type.
Lydia: I’d open a book for him! Swiping right!



Emma: I like the look of this fellow - and he lives by the sea! I long to see the seaside!
Lydia: I don’t care where he lives, look at that fine figure! Another swipe right - La, what fun!





Emma: Ha! That was me! I did that.
Lydia: Eww, he’s sooo old!
Emma: What? No indeed!
Lydia: Swiping left….
Emma: I think it for the best.




Lydia: La, what a joke!
Emma: Yikes, now this one is definitely too old!
Lydia: *gagging sounds*
Emma: and…. Swiping left!





Lydia: Another Tilney? A pity he isn’t in uniform, too.
Emma: A clergyman – not really your type….
Lydia: Wait… he’s not so bad-looking, and it says he understands muslin.
Emma: Definitely worth swiping right!




Lydia: La! I know him!
Emma: If you had asked me six months ago, I’d have said swipe left, but he does own an estate now...,.
Lydia: Yes, my father’s estate!
Emma: But he is so very clownish in appearance! So very vulgar!
Lydia: Say what you like, I should not mind being mistress of Longbourn! Swiping right!
Emma: More the better for you, since he would not even read The Romance of the Forest!





Lydia: Yuck!
Emma: Just…. No.
Lydia: Swipe quickly, I cannot bear to look
Emma: Swiping left, what a creepy fellow!




Lydia: Hello, handsome!
Emma: I do not know… he has a brooding look about him.
Lydia: Rich - yes. Into horse racing, plays, drinking, debauchery - yes, yes, yes and yes.
Emma: Bertram - why does that name sound familiar? I think there was some scandal in their family….
Lydia: Toolateswipingright!




Lydia: Oh yes!
Emma: No - no, I must insist -
Lydia: What?
Emma: Ha! Swiped right! Sorry, dear, I think his father has another lady in mind for him….




Lydia: Well hello! He is certainly a fine-looking fellow!
Emma: NO!!
Lydia: Hey, gimme that back!
Emma: Sorry, swiping left for your own good,




Emma: Not much to look at, but you know, he might age well, like Lord Grantham….
Lydia: I can think of twelve thousand reasons to swipe right!
Emma: Look! One of the gentlemen has already sent you a message! Open it!
Lydia: Let’s see….




Emma: Lydia, no!



I hope you enjoyed the hypothetical search for a mate between Emma and Lydia, and the bachelors of Austen! I will hint that one of the gentlemen above does make a match with one of these two characters in Unexpected. And now, I’d like to offer a sneak peek of the book, in a scene where Lydia is forced to hold her own among some of the nastiest ladies of Austen….


    Caroline schooled her countenance into an expression of mild, casual interest as she waited for her companions to explain themselves, but Lydia took the bait all too eagerly. “Who do you mean? I am most eager to have my first beau, for my sisters have all had their share I am sure.”
     “Yes, and speaking of sisters having their share….” Miss Elliot gave Mrs. Yates a significant look.
     Mrs. Yates responded with a placid sigh. “Yes, the divorce has been finalized, and Mr. Rushworth is back in London, or so I hear.”
     Rushworth – why does that name sound familiar? “You must oblige me,” Caroline said, “I have been in Scotland for many months, and have not always had the most up-to-date society pages. Remind me why that name rings a bell.”
     Mrs. Yates and Miss Elliot exchanged a dubious look, before finally Mrs. Yates demurred. “You may tell them, I do not mind. Certainly Maria is nothing to me now.”
     Miss Elliot’s smile was one of wicked glee. “Well Mrs. Sutton, pray allow me to catch you up. My younger sister Anne was wed about a year ago in Bath, to our cousin, and the heir to my father’s estate.”
     “Yes, of course,” Caroline replied. “I remember it well, for Charles and I were in Bath at the time, and had only just made your family’s acquaintance. My brother was quite taken with your sister Anne, when first we met. Her marriage to Mr. Elliot was quite sudden, and most unexpected.”
     “To those unconnected to our family, perhaps. Some might even have speculated that there was a compromise, but anyone who knows Anne really well knows that she is far too dull for that kind of excitement. No indeed, William was really quite taken with her from their first meeting, and only wanted a little spark of competition to motivate him into proposing at the last. Perhaps we ought to thank your brother for his valiant attempt at flirting with her, for it certainly helped cousin William along!”
     Caroline smiled evenly at Miss Elliot. She and Charles had gone to Bath a year ago, her intention to separate him from Elizabeth Bennet; meeting a well-dowered and tractable lady like Anne Elliot had seemed like the answer to all of Caroline’s hopes for her brother. Miss Anne had seemed to welcome Charles’ addresses, though demurely, until she suddenly became engaged to her cousin, whose reputation as a profligate gambler was known to everyone except his bride-to-be.
     “Alas,” Miss Elliot continued, “Quickly as she captivated his interest, she was not long in retaining it. Anne became with child quickly, as was her duty, and poor cousin William was driven to turn his eye elsewhere. Sadly, it was in the direction of Mrs. Yates’ unfortunate sister Mrs. Rushworth, who was only very recently married herself. Such a pity, for she was quite a promising leader of fashionable society, according to the papers, before her fall from respectability.”
     Lydia chortled. “So your brother-in-law, and your sister? La, what a to do! What became of them all?”
     While Miss Elliot paused in her tale to scowl at Lydia’s impatience, Mrs. Yates took the opportunity to interject. “What do you think, but Mr. Elliot, homewrecker that he was, was shot dead three months ago, in what was quickly dismissed as a hunting accident. However, we all know the truth – Mr. Rushworth killed him in a duel, I am sure of it. Poor Anne Elliot, they say, was so angry at discovering his inconstancy that she helped to hush up his murder. Certainly Mr. Rushworth discovered the affair, for he petitioned for a divorce from his wife, who is my sister no longer. Our family has refused to recognize her.”
     “La, she must not be very clever, your sister,” Lydia casually observed. “If I were to take a lover, I am sure I should not be caught by anyone.”
     Caroline flinched with dismay at Lydia’s shocking speech, but Miss Elliot laughed. “Quite right, Miss Bennet. Mrs. Rushworth should have, at the very least, produced an heir and a spare for her husband, in exchange for all the fine silks and jewels he kept her in. After that, I am sure she would have been free to pursue other interests, though discreetly. But I see we are beginning to upset Mrs. Yates. Let us speak of something else.”
     Mrs. Yates indeed seemed eager to reclaim the conversation, though their hostess remained unwilling to contribute beyond the occasional spark of interest in her countenance. “Speaking of unfortunate sisters,” Mrs. Yates said, casting a significant sideward glance at Lydia, “I hear you have one, Miss Lydia.”
     “Oh, Jane? No one ever talks about her. Lizzy says she is not our sister, and cannot stand to hear her name mentioned.”
     “A curious circumstance, I am sure,” Mrs. Yates replied, “though that is not the sister I had meant.”
     “Oh. Mary? She is not exactly unfortunate, except in looks, I suppose. It is hardly fair that Lady Rebecca has taken her for a pet and given her such lofty airs, though she is still not so pretty as me. I am certain I shall marry before her, even if she is four years older. This Mr. Rushworth, do you think he shall take another wife? He sounds very rich.”
     Miss Elliot tittered with laughter. “A girl after my own heart.”
     “Good Heavens, the younger sister desiring to be married before the elder? Shocking.” Caroline sipped at her tea with satisfaction – she could not resist the barb.

I will be doing more blog posts over the next few weeks, sharing details about Unexpected as well as excerpts, and will be drawing winners May 20th for an e-book giveaway! For more info, follow me on Facebook!






Unexpected Friends & Relations
by Jayne Bamber

Book 2 of the ‘Friends & Relations’ Series….  

Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.  

Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.  

Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.  

Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in the area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.  

Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.  

Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as well as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.  After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations pursue destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.  


***  

Please note that this is the second volume of the series. 

Reading Book 1 first is highly recommended.  

The Friends & Relations Series is an epic saga that peers into the lives of all of Jane's Austen's heroines, imagining them to inhabit a world where their lives and families are intertwined. Throughout this series, characters from all of Jane Austen's major works will be revealed to have existing familial relationships, and will forge new connections as well. As the lives of so many beloved Austen characters weave together, this series will address the question of what if all of Austen's works had taken place in the same world... a world where overlap was possible and surprises hide around every corner.... 

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Many thanks to Jayne Bamber for stopping by So Little Time...! 

Haha! That Lydia! She is so risqué! ;) Here's the link to the giveaway again. I hope you can leave Jayne a comment! We'd love to hear from you! 
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