Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mr. Darcy’s Letter by Abigail Reynolds

Hurray! I brand new book from Abigail Reynolds! I really liked Mr. Darcy's Letter!  There were times I couldn’t put it down, but with the holidays at hand, I had to! 
In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth refuses to read Mr. Darcy’s letter, the one he writes to her after his proposal at Hunsford. As a result, Elizabeth is unaware of Mr. Wickham’s true character. She confides in him when she returns to Lougbourn and he tries to convince her to accept Darcy.  What is Wickham up to?
I liked the addition of Mr. Wickham’s older brother in this story. Even though he is a bit rough, he is a descent man. Bingley actions surprised me a little, although we know he is easily swayed. I was disappointed in Elizabeth for not reading Mr. Darcy’s Letter! Which leads to one misunderstand after another!  Of course, that’s what the story is about!
The story ended too quickly for me, it felt like it just stopped.  There is one intimate scene for those of you who don’t care for that. 
If you are a fan of Reynolds you won’t want to miss it!

Buy a copy of Mr. Darcy's Letter here.

Comments are always welcome!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas at Pemberley By Regina Jeffers

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! And what a better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by reading Christmas at Pemberley! It is a beautiful story!
About 2 years into Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage, the Darcys are traveling home to Pemberley when they have to seek shelter from a storm and icy roads. They are stranded at a crowded inn for several days. Unknown to Elizabeth, Darcy has arranged for her family to come to Pemberley for Christmas.  Besides the Bennets and the Bingleys, Pemberley receives some other unexpected company. One is Lady Catherine! What is she doing there? Nothing good I’m sure! Caroline Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam (always a favorite of mine and he didn’t disappoint me in this one!), along with a few new characters are all in attendance. Georgiana has her hands full trying to entertain everyone. 
Meanwhile, the Darcys, while stranded at the inn, meet the Josephs.  Mrs. Joseph is about 8 months pregnant. What happens at the inn is beautiful and full of meaning as Ms. Jeffers captures the spirit of Christmas. 
I really enjoyed Christmas at Pemberley, and was pleasantly surprised to find an inspirational message in it!  Although, it jumps back and forth a bit too much for me, it comes together nicely at the end. Overall, it’s a wonderful story and a great Christmas read!

Buy a copy of Christmas at Pemberley here.
Your comments are always welcome!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford

I really liked The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen! I love Jane Austen and her work but I don't know much about her personal life, so I didn't have any preconceived notions about Jane's family. Please keep in mind that this is a fictional story based on letters and diaries.

Written from the point of view of Anne Sharp, who worked as a governess for the children of Jane Austen's brother Edward. It was there that Jane and Anne became lifelong friends. Anne began to suspect Henry Austen of having an affair with Edward's wife Elizabeth. Everybody liked Henry, he was a very charming, easy to get along with kind of guy, but he was also very manipulating. There were other odd things going on in the family, but was Anne reading too much into what she saw?

I kept trying to figure out if this was all just Anne's active imagination or was it really happening. I loved trying to figure it out. It all came together at the end.

I liked learning about the family and trying to put the pieces together of what was going on. Also, did Jane write her family members into her stories?

Lindsay Ashford is a contemporary crime/mystery novelist and has a degree in criminology. When she moved to Chawton, the village where Jane had lived, she began to investigate Jane’s death.

Buy a copy of The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen here.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Undoing By Abigail Reynolds

I read Mr. Darcy's Undoing several years ago when Reynolds was self publishing her books. It was then called Without Reserve. She was picked up by Sourcebooks, who then rereleased it as Mr. Darcy's Undoing.

The Story starts after Darcy's disastrous proposal in Kent. When she receives another proposal from a third man she decides to accept it even though she does not love him, at least she likes him and it would secure her family in the unhappy event of her fathers passing. Darcy returns with Bingley and is surprised by Liz's engagement. He goes away and returns for Bingley's wedding to find Elizabeth not married. Darcy begins to pursue her again but this time she won't have him because of her fallen reputation. She is concerned Darcy's reputation will be damaged if he marries her. Darcy cannot except this and is very persistent!

I really felt for Mr. Darcy, even I didn't like to see Elizabeth with another man! But I loved that Darcy doesn't give up. He is so determined, that he goes so far as to enlist the help of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.

This is a fast moving, don't want to put down read. It focuses mainly on Elizabeth and Darcy. It does contain a few sexual scenes.

Abigail Reynolds is the author of several Pride and Prejudice variations or what-if stories. Among them is my favorite From Lambton to Longbourn, rereleased as What Would Mr. Darcy Do?. When I need a quick Darcy fix I love to read her short story Intermezzo.

ARC of Mr. Darcy's Undoing provided by author. I purchased my own copy of Without Reserve.

Buy a copy of Mr. Darcy's Undoing here.

What is your favorite Abigail Reynolds story?

Monday, November 21, 2011

His Good Opinion By Nancy Kelley

I have read a couple of Pride and Prejudice retellings from Darcy's point of view, and I must say I loved this one!

His Good Opinion starts out just before Ramsgate where Darcy surprises Georgiana with a visit, and ruins Wickman's plan to elope with her.  Nancy Kelley is able to expand on some of the conversations that I always wished Jane Austen would have done.

Can I just say, I love this Darcy! I love being in his head; knowing his thoughts. We see him reflecting on what Elizabeth said when she refused him. He begins to notice how he treats people beneath him. I also like the relationship he has with Georgiana, and that he confides in her more.

Another favorite of mine is Colonel Fitzwilliam. I delighted in the banter between him and Darcy. This is the Colonel Fitzwilliam that I like! He's funny, charming and loves to tease Darcy. There were times he had me laughing out loud.

This is Nancy Kelley's first novel and a beautiful story. A definite must read! She is currently working on another story about Colonel Fitzwilliam that I can't wait to read!

I was given a copy of book for review.

Buy a copy of His Good Opinion here.   

Tell me what you think! I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest blogging today! Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile

Today, I'm guest blogging on Indie Jane! You can read my review of Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile by Jane Austen and Lev Raphael. You can find it here. I hope you stop by!

This review was original published on Indie Jane.

In Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile, Elizabeth Bennet and her family are Jewish. While Mr. Darcy is Christian. This does put an interesting spin on things. Wickham is Jewish and he maligns Mr. Darcy's character by saying that he is very prejudice against Jews. Wickham paints a very ugly picture of Mr. Darcy.

It was interesting to learn some of the reasons why Jewish people were looked down upon. Elizabeth certainly didn't like it when any bad behavior by her family or other Jews added to the prejudice of her race.

The biggest problem I have with this book is that it is practically word for word straight Jane Austen, with some Yiddish and a sprinkling of sentences added through out the story.

I read in an interview Lev Raphael gave were he said it would be a subtle difference in this version from the original, and I would say that is very correct. I could feel the prejudice against Jews through out the story especially in the beginning, but I wish he would have expanded on it a little more. To me religious conflict is harder to resolve than class conflict. Maybe that's because I live in this century and not 200 years ago when class prejudices were huge. I also don't know enough about religious prejudices of the 1800s. How big of a deal would it have been? That is a question that might have been answered with, maybe, a conversation between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, or Jane and Elizabeth.

3 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of the book for my honest review.

Add to goodreads.

Friday, November 11, 2011

definitely not mr. darcy by karen doornebos

I loved it!! I definitely didn’t want definitely not mr. darcy to end! Those were the first words out of my mouth when I finished the book!

Chloe Parker thinks she is going to London to do a documentary about life in 1812 England. What she discovers after arriving is that is not a documentary at all, it’s a reality TV show! She and several other women are competing to win a proposal of marriage from Mr. Sebastian Wrightman and a $100,000 prize. They have to live like people did 200 years ago. Everything had to be authentic, everything from what they wore, ate, to how they bathed.  There was no cell phones, no internet, no electricity, no plumbing (she had to go in a chamber pot, with the embarrassment of the chambermaid caring it out and disposing of it! Yuck!)  No deodorant, no make up except a little strawberry rouge. It was all very interesting to read about!
I loved how they had to earn accomplishment points by learning how to needle point, make ink, mend a pen, etc. And the women were not always that nice in their endeavors to win the man and the money.
Karen Doornebos did a fantastic job on this story! It was fun to read. It made me realize, I’m glad I wasn’t born 200 years ago. With my luck, I probably would have been a chambermaid! This is a must read!
5 out of 5 stars.

Buy a copy of definitely not mr. darcy here.

Tell me what you think! I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy by Barbara Tiller Cole

     Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy is a mash up of Pride and Prejudice and A Christmas Carol.  I loved this! When I first saw this book I thought it was a great idea and it didn’t let me down!
     Darcy is a miserable man. He has lost the woman that he loves. He fears Elizabeth can never forgive him for Lydia’s marriage to Wickham. He feels, if he had just told the truth about Wickham this never could have happened!
     It is nearly Christmas and Darcy sits in his study, drinking himself into oblivion. After falling asleep he is visited by the ghost of his mother, Anne Darcy.  Who has come to tell him he needs to change his ways or suffer the consequences. She tells him that he will be visited by three other ghosts before the night is through.  The ghosts of the past, present and future.  One of the ghosts is Darcy’s father, I really liked how he was able to address some of the issues between them.
     I loved when Darcy witnesses Elizabeth’s reaction to his comment about her not being tolerable. I also like how we learn a little bit about how things are going for Lydia and Wickham.  We find out what life could be like for both Elizabeth and Georgiana.
     Although, this is a short story (on my kindle only 1122 locations) it is a very fun read!
     I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

     Buy a copy of Fitzwilliam Ebenezer Darcy here. 

     Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

     Here's a good read, and just in time for Halloween! Mr. Darcy's Bite is fun Pride and Prejudice werewolf story.  But this isn’t your typical werewolf story, it is a romance. Oh, Mr. Darcy is most definitely a werewolf, but this is not a gruesome story. In fact, Mary Simonsen made the whole werewolf thing to be very interesting and surprisingly organized! 
     After months of Mr. Darcy calling on Elizabeth, he still hasn’t proposed, and Elizabeth is getting annoyed by the whole business. Mr. Darcy is trying to figure out how tell Elizabeth that he is a werewolf. He takes her to Pemberley to tell her. While there she learns a lot about the werewolf community. She realizes the danger Darcy is in and how he needs someone next to him who can help him. She also discovers that he is not alone in the woods...there is a female wolf with him.
     One of my favorite characters is Lord Fitzwilliam, the Colonel’s older brother. I love that he is a reoccurring character in Mary’s stories! He is such a lovable scoundrel! Another favorite of mine is Lady Marguerite, Darcy’s aunt on his father’s side.  She is a straight forward person, who tells it like it is. She's a hoot! I enjoy characters like that! Mr. Darcy has also surrounded himself with an incredible staff.  
     I could go on and talk about another scene in the story that I love but I don’t want to spoil it for you! Let’s just say I really liked this story!

     Buy a copy of Mr. Darcy's Bite here.

     Tell me what you think! I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My AGM Experience!

     I had a blast at my first AGM! It was four days of bliss, I mean what could be better than spending a long weekend with Jane Austen and friends! Let me tell you some of the highlights.
      The first day was more than I thought it was going to be.  I was there much earlier than expected and was able to attend "The Mysterious Death of Jane Austen" given by Lindsay Ashford the author of a book with the same title. It was fascinating!  She gave a brief description of her background as a crime writer and how she came to live at Chawton and what led her to start investigating Jane's death. The book she has written is a fictional account of JA's death.
     The next class "Managing Muslins" was not what I had hoped. There was a brief description about fabric but mostly on how to find things at thrift stores and making them work. She also touched on hats and accessories. I would have like to learn more about the fabric themselves and had swatches to look at.  It was still a good session and I did learn a few things.

Here is a picture of the speaker's children modeling their regency attire. 

     I took an English Country Dance class, that was so much fun! I did better than I thought I would for the first three dances. The fourth dance I was totally confused, so I sat out the last!
     The lectures by Dr. Joan Ray and Andrew Davies were fantastic!  Andrew Davies brought video clips from his movies and discussed them. 

Isn't this picture of the stitching on this cravat beautiful? It is all hand stitched. 

This was in the "Gentlemanly Pursuits" session, where I learn a little bit about snuff, tying a cravat and firearms.

     One of my favorite sessions was "Ports of the Period." Susan Mason-Milks and I went to this together. We sampled a couple of different ports.  Let me tell you they tasted smooth! It is something I'll be drinking again.  This was a fun session and all the women and gentlemen in the room seemed to have a good time...there was a lot of hooping and hollering going on!

At the banquet I sat with these lovely ladies. Dinner and conversation was good! 

Look at this dessert!

     During "how to talk like Mrs. Palmer" these two young ladies demonstrated how girls can exaggerate speech. They did a great job! They weren't even part of the lecture! The speaker, Pat Michaelson, ask if anyone would like to come up and give a demonstration. They volunteered, unrehearsed and playacted, they sounded like two birds fluttering about.  Ms. Michaelson talked about exaggerated speech, using too many words like amazingly, horridly, monstrously, vastly, and the overuse of exclamation points. It totally reminded me of how I write on twitter!!!

I went to a book launch and two book signings. I brought a stack of books home with me! 

I spent sometime with some wonderful women!
     All around I had a fantastic time!  I hope to do it again!  It was the perfect weekend! 

     I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Caroline Bingley By Jennifer Becton

Caroline Bingley is a woman most people care little about...okay, dislike a lot. So why write a story about her?  Why indeed!  Jennifer Becton did a marvelous job writing this story.  We see Caroline for who she really is.  We see her struggle to get back what she lost or what she had hoped to gain, without having to admit doing anything wrong.
     The story starts when Caroline is banished, by her brother Mr. Bingley, to the home of her mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Newton, in Northern England.  While in Kendal, Caroline forms a plan to get into the upper society, a place she has always wanted to be. An old school friend is back in the area with her brother, William Charlton, who, with the passing of his father, will become a baronet.  If she can marry him she can come back to London and not apologize for anything! Of course, every good plan has a few flaws.
     Then there is Mr. Rushton, a person Caroline wants nothing to do with, but he is someone who stirs something inside her. 
     Before leaving London, Mr. Bingley has hires a companion for Caroline, Mrs. Rosemary Pickersgill. I love Mrs. Pickersgill!  She takes all of Caroline’s rude behavior with such dignity and in the end proves to be a great value.
     Mrs. Pickersgill and Mr. Rushton were my favorites! They didn’t let Caroline get away with much and they helped her see things clearer.
     Amazing! I actually came to care for Caroline Bingley!  This is a great story! 
     5 out of 5 stars!

     Buy a copy of Caroline Bingley here.

     Tell me what you think.  I would love to hear from you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Willoughby's Return By Jane Odiwe

    I’ve just finished reading Sense and Sensibility with IndieJane Book Club, so I decided I should read Willoughby’s Return (a sequel to S&S) right after. I am so glad I did!  The book was really good!
     It’s roughly three years later, Marianne is very much in love with her husband Colonel Brandon.  Things are not always smooth sailing for the couple.  Whenever a letter arrives from Eliza, Colonel Brandon’s ward, the Colonel is off to Lyme to take care of whatever is ailing her or her daughter.  Marianne is jealous and resentful of the relationships his has with them.
     Marianne hasn’t seen Willoughby in those three years. Suddenly he is back in there lives, showing up at functions that they are attending.  While Brandon is out of town, Willoughby tries to find opportunities to speak to Marianne. This creates more tension between Marianne and Colonel Brandon.
     Margaret Dashwood is now of age and has a love interest, Henry Lawrence.  Unfortunately he is friends with Willoughby! There is also a mystery between Henry and Mademoiselle de Fontenay. To me, Margaret is a combination of Elinor and Marianne, doing somethings without thought of the consequence and then behaving sensibly at other times.
     Mrs. Jennings is still her happy meddlesome self! Always assuming love matches and spreading gossip.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Tell me what you think! I love hearing from you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Proposal by Susan Mason-Milks

I always enjoy spending time with Darcy and Elizabeth.  I especially like reading variations. This Pride and Prejudice variation begins in Hunsford, right before Darcy proposes to Elizabeth.  Before he gets to the parsonage to propose, she receives a letter from Jane explaining that her father is seriously ill.  He is not expected to live much longer and Jane pleads for her to come home quickly.  In her distress, Elizabeth tells Darcy, who then offers her the use of his carriage. She questions why he would want to help since he doesn’t like her.  She goes on to tell him she knows how he interfered with Jane and Bingley. This surprises him, he doesn’t propose and decides to try to change her opinion of him.  
Darcy follows her to Hertfordshire bringing Bingley with him. He proposes to her there, stating that he can help her and her family in the event of her fathers death. After thinking about his offer she decided to take him up on it.  It is understandably, an unhappy time for Elizabeth.
After Mr. Bennet’s death, Darcy and Elizabeth go to Pemberley, where many misunderstandings begin. I must say, I was getting a little frustrated with how long it was taking for them to begin understanding one another. When they finally resolve their differences it is very good!
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Mr. Darcy's Proposal. I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Buy a copy of Mr. Darcy's Proposal here.

Let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Arranged Marriage By Jan Hahn

An Arranged Marriage
By Jan Hahn
I LOVED this story!  Written in the first person from Elizabeth’s point of view.  Mr. Bennet passes away just days after Elizabeth refused Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford. She is so consumed with grief she forgets about Darcy’s letter and there for her opinion of him doesn’t change much.  Six months later Darcy shows up at Longbourn and offers to marry Elizabeth again.  This time it is an arranged marriage. If she accepts, it would help out her family tremendously. Not a good way for a marriage to begin!  They go through many misunderstandings.    Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are very much in the story and Lady Catherine makes an appearance. We all know how it will turn out and getting there was very good!  This is definitely one I will reread in the future! 
Let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Double Dipping By Marilyn Brant

Double Dipping
By Marilyn Brant
Marilyn Brant has written another sweet story!  You might want to grab a bowl of ice cream while reading this one!
Cailtin Walsh is a second grade teacher who just found out her favorite school festival, the Harvest Hoopla, is being canceled.  The man responsible for this decision is the new financial director, Garrett Ellis.  Garrett has been hired to find out who has been pocketing money from the schools funds.  After an investigation of each other, they team up to find the thief.  They are attracted to each other right away but there are trust and commitment issues that keep getting in the way. There are some pretty hot scenes in this story. It was fantastic! It had me laughing and on occasion crying, I love it when a story does that to me. I didn’t want to put it down!

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Absolute Liability by J. W. Becton

Wow!  Fantastic book!  It starts out immediately when Julia Jackson, a fraud investigator, is thought to be abducted.  Julia, a former Mercer Police Officer, who now works for the Georgia Department of Insurance has to work fast through her cases to figure out who might want her out of the way.  The DOI brings in another agent to help her with her investigations.  Enter Speciall Agent Mark Vincent - Love him!

The suspects all have very unique and interesting personalities! My favorite is Leona, a woman body builder!  Then there is Roger McKade, suspected of setting fire to his furniture warehouse.  Throw in a couple of independent insurance agents.  With all the suspects, I was busy trying to guess who the guilty party was through out the story.

During the whole of it, Julia is dealing with some family issues concerning her sister.

There definitely seems to be some sparks between Julia and Vincent.

Absolute Liability is the first of a six-book series.  I can't wait to read the rest.  One thing I have to know...Please tell me that Vincent is going to be in the rest of the series!

Buy a copy of Absolute Liability here.

I'd love to hear what you think. Please, leave a comment!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's going on?

When did this happen? I now carry around a notebook to jot down my thoughts! Crazy! My adventure into writing is doing weird and strange things to me. Before I couldn't think of a anything to write. If I did and it was too long and I would not want to take the trouble to write down all those words. Now I love words! Again, I say crazy! 

Hopefully, I'll have a new book review for you soon. I'm leaving to spend a week at the beach and I have a list of books to read. I can't wait! No school! YAY! I actually have more loaded on my kindle than I could possibly read in one week. 

Here is a list of a few I'd like to get through:

Absolute Liability ~ by Jennifer Becton (currently reading)
Double Dipping ~ by Marilyn Brant 
An Arranged Marriage ~ by Jan Hahn 
Sense and Sensibility ~ by Jane Austen (reading with book club) 
When Everything Falls Apart ~ Edited by C. E. Ellicott 

Well, that sure is wishful thinking! I will have to do some family things, so I won't be reading all the time. Two of my older kids won't be joining us, they have school and work obligations. So they will stay home and take care of the dogs and chickens. But the rest will be with us. 

What are you reading? Please leave a comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Any Given Sundae By Marilyn Brant

     I read this book in June and this is a revised review of the one I posted on goodreads.  
     I really like this book! Elizabeth was a shy, brainy-yack in high school & Rob was the popular jock. Almost ten years later they are thrown together when their uncles leave them for the summer to run "Tutti Frutti" ice cream shop. Rob is a successful restaurant owner in Chicago and has to return to his small hometown to help run the ice cream store.  Poor Elizabeth! Can you imagine having to work with someone you had a crush on in high school! I loved that Elizabeth would stutter when she was nervous. You could understand why she was quiet & shy. Her friends were such characters and I loved how they pitched in to help run the shop! Great read!

     I have Ms Brant’s new book “Double Dipping” on my TBR list and I am sure I won’t be disappointed!  


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Darcy on the Hudson By Mary Lydon Simonsen

Darcy on the Hudson
By Mary Lydon Simonsen
Mary Simonsen definitely did her homework on Darcy on the Hudson.  There is an incredible amount of history woven through out the story.  The story begins in the summer of 1811.  Mr. Darcy, his sister Georgianna and Mr. Bingley are on there way to visit America.  While there they meet the Bennet family.  Of course sparks fly between Elizabeth and Darcy but there American/British differences keep them apart.  It is a turbulent time between the two countries.  
A pleasant surprise in this story is Mrs. Bennet.  I loved her! She is much more firm with Lydia and Kitty.  She believes her girls should be capable to take care of themselves, they were taught to cook and do chores. She was wise, had common sense and her husband was proud of her.
Something else I found interesting, there are similar quotes as in the original Pride and Prejudice, but are said by different people.
Darcy on the Hudson is an excellent story!  I enjoyed it very much. 
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