Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What Are You Reading? ~ Jan. 15, 2020

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Happy Wednesday, friends! I've had a fabulous reading week! I hope you have too!

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

Current Read

I'm currently reading two books. I'm rereading Lady Susan* by Jane Austen for the JASNA Reading Group I belong to. We meet this Saturday. I love meeting up with these ladies! 

I'm also rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone* by J.K. Rowling. I love the Harry Potter series and find my self rereading them starting around Christmas. I thought about maybe skipping it this year... I'm not sure if I'll read all of them, but I do love them, and it's easy to get sucked into the story. :)

Recently Finished

I tore through three books this week! Love it! Woot! I don't do that very often at all. :)

I finished reading Sanditon: Official iTV Tie-In Edition* by Kate Riordan. I enjoyed it. I hope there is a sequel in the works because the ending was a little disappointing.

My full review will be posted on Feb. 24 as part of the Sanditon Blog Tour. ~ I think I'm giving it 3.5 stars. I'm still rolling that around in my mind. 

I've watched the first two episodes of the series on PBS. Do you have plans to watch them?

I also read The Storm (H2O, #2)* by Virginia Bergin. I really liked it! It was much better than the first in the series. I adore crazy, irresponsible Ruby! All I can say is she is lucky she survived at all! For me, this was just a fun book to read. ~ 4.5 stars.

Plus, I read I Am Still Alive* by Kate Alice Marshall. I love survival stories, and that's what this was. Sixteen-year-old Jess, whose leg was severely damaged in a car accident - which also killed her mother. She is sent to live with her father, who lives in the middle of nowhere! She misses her mother and is irritated with her father. Shortly after she gets there, her father is murdered, and she is left alone. It's almost winter, she knows nothing about surviving in a forest, and she is worried the men who killed her father will come back. Thank goodness Bo, her dad's dog is there. Jess is angry, scared, and has a strong will to survive. This was an intense, action-packed story that had me on the edge of my seat! ~ 4.5 stars.

What's next?

I'm not sure, but I'm thinking about reading Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer. It's been sitting on my shelf for a while and would like to read it! Lol! It looks cute. 

*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!

Wow! What a great week for me! :) Like I said, that doesn't happen much. I hope it happens again! Lol! 

Please share what you've been reading! I'd love to hear! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Thaw Blog Tour! ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my pleasure to welcome Anniina Sjöblom to So Little Time...! She is here today to talk a little about her new book Thaw, and forced-marriage-scenarios! I hope you enjoy! 

Hi everyone, and thank you for stopping by at the second-to-last stop of the blog tour for Thaw—and special thanks to Candy for hosting it!

When I agreed to publish Thaw last summer and started working on expanding the original, shorter version of it for publication, I often spoke about it with friends and family members who are not acquainted with Austenesque. They were enthusiastic and supportive about my book project—and, more often than not, wanted to know what it was about. I would explain that it’s a variation of Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice; a what-if where small changes to the original chain of events eventually lead to a very different path to happiness for our favourite characters. They would nod, interested to hear how the plot would differ from the original, until…wait, what? Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to marry?

I’ve read countless Pride and Prejudice variations over the years, and a good part of my all-time favourite stories are ones where Elizabeth and Darcy, for one reason or another, have to marry early on in their acquaintance. It’s such a familiar, oft-used trope, that I had never really much thought about why I liked it so much—I just knew that whenever I saw those familiar three letters, FMS, typed in the description of a JAFF story, the chances of me not clicking to see what the story was about immediately became slim.

And thus, I was surprised to find out many of my friends thought the concept entirely odd and confusing. Did I like seeing my favourite characters miserable? No. Did I think it romantic that people who dislike each other are forced to marry? Of course not. So why is it that we love a forced-marriage-scenario so much?

When I started thinking about it, the answer, of course, was simple. We like Elizabeth and Darcy to spend time together, too see them interact. As much as possible, and preferably without chaperones. In modern variations, there’s more flexibility to how this can be achieved—and less societal norms that need to be taken into account when the two do interact. In Regency variations, the options are fewer. Unless in exceptional circumstances, unmarried adults of the opposite sex are not expected to spend a lot of time together. And certainly not without the company of others.

And thus, having them marry often comes to play. Marriage opens up the possibilities of interaction on a new level. Suddenly, there’s no end to awkward dinners alone and walks in the park with no chaperone you can put your favourite couple through. Certainly, there are many other aspects that make for a good FMS, but when I thought about it, to me, this is the key—the romance is not in the marriage, but rather in maximizing the time our dear couple spends together while working towards their happily ever after.

And that happily ever after, of course, is the second key. When I said earlier I don’t like to see my favourite characters miserable, I might have lied a little—because of course, I secretly do. But only as long as I know that it all works out in the end!

What do you think? Are forced marriage stories your guilty pleasure too? Let me know in the comments—I’d love to hear your thoughts! And if you want, you can look me up on Facebook (@AnniinaSjoblomAuthor).

by Anniina Sjöblom

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one false step can involve a lady in endless ruin. On a rainy November day in 1811, Miss Elizabeth Bennet finds herself wondering why no one ever bothered to tell her about this. 

A few blithe steps on a morning walk, taken after a succession of rain, lead to unexpected events that irrevocably change the course of Elizabeth’s life, placing her fate in the hands of the haughty and conceited Mr. Darcy – the last man in the world she had ever thought to marry. 

As long winter days slowly pass, she writes letters to her loved ones, trying to come to terms with her new role as a wife and the Mistress of Pemberley. But can she ever learn to love her husband? Will he overcome his arrogant notions of rank and circumstance? 

And most importantly – will the shades of Pemberley ever recover from being thus polluted?

Buy: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. 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

Author Biography: Anniina Sjöblom lives in the beautiful but
cold Finland and works in university administration. She has an MA in History and enjoys a long-standing love affair with the works of Jane Austen.

Her previous works include titles such as Thirteen Days, Fix You and When He Comes Back, published in various online Austenesque forums under the pen name boogima. The new novella Thaw, expanded from the original version of the story first published online in 2011, is her first commercially published work.

When not writing, Anniina spends her time hanging out with friends, binge-watching TV dramas and re-reading her favourite books while the stack of new ones still waiting to be read piles higher on her nightstand. She can ride a unicycle, and once, after losing an unfortunate bet, ate a bowl of ice cream with green dish soap as dressing. She does not recommend attempting it to anyone.

Connect with Anniina

Blog Tour Schedule

Jan. 6 - Austenesque Reviews
Jan. 7 - Babblings of a Bookworm
Jan. 8 - Savvy Verse & Wit
Jan. 9 - My Jane Austen Book Club
Jan. 10 - My Vices & Weaknesses
Jan. 13 - From Pemberley to Milton
Jan. 14 - So Little Time...
Jan. 15 - Diary of an Eccentric

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Quills & Quartos Publishing is giving away one ebook of THAW per blog tour stop. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this blog post, and Quills & Quartos will randomly choose winners for the entire blog tour on January 22. So, make sure you join in the conversation!

Thank you for visiting here, Anniina! And yes, forced-marriage-scenarios are my favorite Pride and Prejudice stories! I can't wait to read your story! 

Many thanks to Christina Boyd for organizing and including me on this blog tour!

And thank you, Quills & Quartos Publishing, for offering one of my readers an e-copy of Thaw!

Friends, do you love forced-marriage-scenarios too? Let us know! And remember, to enter the giveaway you, have to leave a comment below! :)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! It's been a while since I posted a review. My goal this year is to post at least once a month. Having only written two last year, that's really upping my game!  I wrote most of this review last fall, and I'm finally getting around to posting it. 

by Curtis Sittenfeld

Publication Date: April 19th, 2016
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pages: 492
Received: Purchased myself.
Rating: 4 stars

This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven't met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. 

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master's degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won't discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane's fortieth birthday fast approaches. 

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip's friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

My Review

I got a kick out of reading Eligible! This modern Pride and Prejudice retelling was entertaining to read! Just as Chip Bingley was on a reality TV show called “Eligible” (think The Bachelor), I felt the whole story was a little exaggerated like a reality TV show - in a fun way! 

First, I loved the quote by Mark Twain at the beginning of the book “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.”  Now, I don’t know about Cincinnati, but this quote does set the stage for how behind-the-times Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are in their way of thinking.   

I was surprised how old the Bennett girls are - Jane is almost 40!! But I was super happy to see them all in this story. A lot of modern versions leave out a couple of sisters or make them cousins. Lydia, Kitty, and Mary are very selfish and mean-spirited. All three still live at home and don’t work. Although Mary is working on, I think, her third degree (studious as usual!). Liz and Jane live in NYC but are home because of Mr. Bennett’s health. 

Also, the very short chapters make for a quick read. The story carried me along! And the fact that I was reading along with my good friend, Meredith of Austenesque Reviews, made the story that much more entertaining! 

Altogether, I really enjoyed Eligible! It’s not a perfect retelling. There are a couple of things I would like to see played out differently, but I found it very amusing! And I’ll leave you with this little teaser - reality TV, hate sex*, and spiders, oh my! ;)

*not explicit, but PG-13

Buy: Amazon (paid link) • B&N
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

CURTIS SITTENFELD is the bestselling author of five novels: PrepThe Man of My DreamsAmerican WifeSisterland, and Eligible. Her first story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, was published in 2018 and picked for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. Her books have been selected by The New York TimesTimeEntertainment Weekly, and People for their “Ten Best Books of the Year” lists, optioned for television and film, and translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Esquire, and her non-fiction has appeared in The New York TimesTime, Vanity Fair, The AtlanticSlate, and on “This American Life.” A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Curtis has interviewed Michelle Obama for Time; appeared as a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” CBS’s “Early Show,” and PBS’s Newshour; and twice been a strangely easy “Jeopardy!” answer. (taken from author's website)

Connect with Curtis Sittenfeld

Have you read Eligible? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What Are You Reading? ~ Jan. 8, 2020

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Happy New Year!! Not my first post of the year, but my first What Are You Reading? I'm going to try to be more consistent this year with this post. I missed quite a few Wednesdays last year. I hope you'll join me!

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

Current Read

I'm currently reading Sanditon* by Jane Austen and Kate Riordan. This book is based on Andrew Davies' TV adaptation of Jane's unfinished novel. I'm curious to see how closely Kate Riordan followed the show. I'm definitely going to watch it when it comes to the states. How about you?

Recently Finished

Here's what I've read since Christmas.

I finished listening to Nefarious: A Pride and Prejudice Variation* by Nicole Clarkston. I love Nicole's stories, but to be honest, this wasn't one of my favorites. I didn't like how angry Darcy is, nor did I like the way he treats Jane. I also wasn't fond of Georgiana in this story. I know many people have loved it, but it just wasn't for me. - 3 stars

I also read H2O (The Rain, #1)* by Virginia Bergin. This is a fascinating premise. What if the rain was deadly? And what if that rain seeped in the ground and ruined the water supply? There would be nothing to drink! 

Being a YA novel, the protagonist was more concerned about her social life and her phone. This annoyed me a little, but then reality hits her, and she learns what she needs to do to survive. I really enjoyed the story, and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series!  - 4 stars

I also read Black Autumn* by Jeff Kirkham & Jason Ross. This post-apocalyptic was more realistic. It's about a group of Special Forces vets and preppers who have a compound ready for if the world falls apart. And it does fall apart. I enjoyed this story. - 4 stars.

What's next? 

I'm going to re-read Lady Susan* by Jane Austen for my reading group. That's a short story, so I'll probably start The Storm (The Rain, #2)* by Virginia Bergin too. :)

*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!

Please, share what you've been reading! I'd love you hear from you!
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