Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Outmatched Blog Tour! ~ Excerpt

Hello, my friends! I’m delighted to be part of the Outmatched Blog Tour! Jayne Bamber has a lovely excerpt for you to read. I hope you enjoy it! 

An Austen Vagary
by Jayne Bamber

“It seems you must disoblige one of your children, Sir Thomas, and you must be the chooser of the pain inflicted. Your son disinherited, or your daughter married to an imbecile she cannot love.” 

When Sir Thomas Bertram returns home to Mansfield after his year in Antigua, he expects respite from his many troubles, in the bosom of his family. Instead he is met with blackmail, collusion, and the ominous threat of scandal. 

When Mrs. Margaret Dashwood takes her daughters from Norland to Barton Park, she carries with her a secret hope that they might someday return, though she is not yet ready to pay the price for it. 

A mutual connection bent on manipulation and revenge sets the stage for heartbreak, intrigue, and plenty of surprises as the worlds of Sense & Sensibility and Mansfield Park collide. Alliances shift along the way as familiar characters, bound by family ties, descend on Norland Park. There everyone has their own agenda, and constant peril looms as a large party of relations all scheme to outwit, out-maneuver, and outmatch their opponents. 

Elinor & Marianne Dashwood, Maria Bertram, Fanny Price, and Mary Crawford forge new friendships and alliances amidst the chaos of conspiracy, romance, redemption and self-discovery, the likes of which Norland Park has never seen before.


     Much as he had done for the past three days, Mr. Crawford wasted no time in recommending himself to Fanny, who endeavored to bear it all with better cheer than she had previously done. Though her friends were not near enough to assist her, Fanny was bolstered by Maria seeming to bear her no ill will, and something about Edmund’s continued solemnity on her other side seemed to arouse in Fanny some little courage. She would speak with Mr. Crawford, learn from it as she had promised, and really attempt to enjoy herself. In short, she would act in her own interests regardless of what anybody else was doing. 

     She had only to offer Mr. Crawford a warm smile before he was paying her compliments. “How well you look tonight, Fanny,” he whispered to her. “I must say in particular your hair is very handsomely arranged. My sister chose well for me, I think, in the rose pins.”

     “Chose for you?” Fanny beheld him in some surprise, more scandalized by his hints than his use of her Christian name. “The pins….”

     He smirked and gave a roguish wink. “I am often indulging my sister when she has a mind for shopping – a few pounds here and there – but today my generosity came with a request,” he whispered. “Today the gift must be for you, for I had understood it to be your day. I left the exact choosing to Mary, and specified only some manner of flowers, for I believe you are blossoming beautifully.”

     Fanny blushed, but willed herself not to look away. “I ought to return these to your sister.”

     “No indeed! I know you are too kind to ever wish to wound anybody, as surely you would my sister if you returned the hair pins. She was far too delighted with the plan when we spoke this morning.”

     “I am sure she would not be offended if I explained….”

     “I see I have embarrassed you, Miss Price, and I am sorry for it, though the sight of you wearing my gift shall not cease to please me. I only wish,” he said softly, brushing the side of his hand against hers as he reached for his wine, “I only wish that you might think as kindly of me as I do you. I do not ask for gifts, of course. Only a chance.”

     Feeling her face was now very hot, Fanny finally turned away from Mr. Crawford to collect her thoughts. Across the table, her Aunt Margaret was making every effort to ignore Mr. Crawford’s indiscreet overtures, and speaking with her head fully turned toward Cousin Marianne. On Fanny’s other side, Edmund was also turned away from her, quite engrossed in conversation with their cousin Elinor. It crossed Fanny’s mind that this may portend more than just Edmund’s wish for Fanny to speak to Mr. Crawford, though she pushed the thought away and turned back to her new admirer. 

     Mr. Crawford leaned forward as he caught her eye. “I promise I shall be good, Fanny. I shall pass the rest of the meal without causing you to blush so very prettily. Indeed, I know just how to accomplish it, for you must speak to me. I am sure of giving no offense by merely listening in rapt attention.”

     Fanny laughed in spite of herself. “Really, Mr. Crawford!”

     “If I shock you, you must know you quite surprise me. Perhaps you have never met anybody so very wicked, but I have never met anyone so gentle and good. It is just what my sister says, too. But, I have had her account of the day – I should like to hear yours.”

     Fanny caught Mrs. Jennings’ eye from down the table. The old widow raised a glass of wine to her with a knowing wink, which Fanny acknowledged with a slight nod before bolstering her confidence to speak to Mr. Crawford of her day in the village. It grew easier as she went on, for he really did listen with great attention, and she had naught but good to say, which could not be difficult. 

     Mr. Crawford held her eye and made all the appropriate looks by way of response as Fanny described her excursion and the pleasure she took in Mrs. Jennings’ and Miss Crawford’s friendship. Fanny realized she had become rather animated in her speech, for she had been happier today than any other occasion she could recall. 

     “I believe you have spoken more just now than you have since the entire time I have known you,” Mr. Crawford said when she finished recounting her day. “Well, as pleased as I am to hear you pleased, I am sure I could listen to you all night. You have the voice of an angel, Fanny. We really ought to have had you acting more with us.”

     “Oh, dear, no! What care I for the playing of parts when I am still learning to be myself?” Fanny blushed again and abruptly set her wine back down on the table. 

     “I see,” he whispered. “Who is Fanny Price? How am I to know, if you do not? But perhaps we may discover it together.”

     Fanny was sure he should not be speaking to her in such a way at the dinner table, regardless of the dedicated effort her relations seemed to be making to not notice it. She made little reply, and was relieved when Mrs. Dashwood rose a few minutes later to lead the ladies into the drawing room.

     In the drawing room, Fanny sought out her Cousin Elinor, who appeared a little under the weather, but had managed to draw Edmund out in conversation more than Miss Crawford and Fanny herself had managed in recent weeks. Fanny was on the verge of inquiring about her conversation with Edmund, when she hesitated. It occurred to Fanny that she did not wish to know. Edmund had made it clear he could not return her feelings, and had not chosen to confide whatever else bothered him; Fanny resolved to leave it, for she had concerns of her own to attend to. 

     She sat at some remove from the others and sipped at some Madeira to calm her nerves; she picked up a book she had started some days ago. She did not attend it very faithfully, for her thoughts were stored with a turbulent excitement about Mr. Crawford. His manners were much the same, but how improved her own had been, for after a while she had forgotten to be nervous at all in speaking!

     And yet he had been so forward, and still given no account for his sudden change. Fanny wished to enjoy herself, as Mrs. Jennings had urged, but she would not be a fool. Though she had exerted herself at dinner to please and be pleased, Fanny felt she could do no more for the present without feeling too great a responsibility in encouraging him outright.

     Instead she resolved to read. The rest of the ladies had broken into groups: Lady Bertram and Julia were getting along famously, Mary Crawford was whispering with Marianne, and Maria was fairly sniping as Mrs. Jennings chattered at Mrs. Rushworth and Aunt Margaret. Knowing her company could scarcely be missed Fanny remained engrossed in Paradise Lost until the gentlemen joined them.

     Edmund came first by a quarter hour, but Fanny would not betray the loss of interest in her book, as she surreptitiously observed him approach Elinor directly. Fanny dared at glance at Mary Crawford, but that lady appeared utterly indifferent to what gave Fanny such a pang in her heart. She attempted to think of her book, but turned the pages having scarcely read them, and was utterly wretched. 

     What cruel trick was it, that she should care for a man she could not have, but she could not care for, or even trust, the handsome man who was pursuing her? At length Mr. Crawford interrupted her misery when the rest of the gentlemen returned. He walked past Maria and muttered something with a scowl before approaching Fanny at the far end of the room.

     “You seek to hide, Miss Price, but that cannot be. You are just as fetching here in the corner as anywhere else.”

     “I am not hiding – merely reading.”

     Mr. Crawford gestured for the book, and as Fanny handed it over, he examined the cover. “Ah, Milton. I ought to have known your taste to be impeccable.” He leafed through the book, and finally stopped and began to read aloud.

     “In solitude, what happiness, who can enjoy alone, or all enjoying, what contentment find? Thus I presumptuous; and the vision bright, as with a smile more brightened, thus replied: what callst thou solitude, is not the Earth with various living creatures, and the air replenished, and all these at thy command, to come and play before thee?”

     He returned the book to her with a charming smile, and Fanny could see what he was about. “What happiness in solitude, indeed! What contentment could you have, Miss Price, when I might come and play before thee?”

     “A pretty turn of words,” she replied. “And yet I think surely you do play, for I cannot think you serious.”

     Mr. Crawford arched an eyebrow and leaned back in the seat across from her. “You must believe me to be so – I approached you with no other purpose. I am entirely serious, and if I do not fully understand the text, I shall rely on you to edify me.”

     Fanny eyed him nervously, certain there was some second meaning to his words. Determined to do her best, she turned a few more pages and began to read back to him. 

     “But if much converse perhaps thee satiate, to short absence I could yield. For solitude sometimes is best society, and short regiment offers sweet resume. But other doubt possesses me, lest harm befall thee severed from me, for thou knows what has been warned us, what malicious foe envying our happiness, and of his own despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame, by sly assault….”

     Mr. Crawford’s eyes sparkled with mischief as he nodded to her. “As ever, your musical voice delights me – as to the rest, perhaps I must beg some clarity, Miss Price. And mercy, too, for I am but a novice in this study.”

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

Many thanks to Jayne Bamber for visiting and sharing an excerpt from her new book, Outmatched: A Mansfield Park/Sense & Sensibility Vagary! This mash-up sounds intriguing! Congratulations, Jayne! 

So, friends, what are your thoughts? I think a mash-up between Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility sounds incredible! I like that Fanny is cousins with Elinor and Marianne! I also love the cover! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What Are You Reading? ~ May 20, 2020

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Happy Wednesday, friends! My reading has slowed way down. My daughter asked me to show her how to crochet - I was thrilled!! Anyway, we've been staying up late crocheting and rewatching Parks and Rec episodes! So fun! Which means since I mostly read at night, I've not been reading as much. I'm not complaining, though! I love spending time with her! 

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

I didn't post last week, so this is from the previous two weeks.

Current Read

I'm still reading What's Left Of My World* by C.A. Rudolph. It's pretty good! The story starts about a year after an EMP episode, which is different from most of the stories I've read. I'm enjoying it!

Recently Finished

I finished reading What Unbreakable Looks Like* by Kate McLaughlin. It's a story about a girl, Lex (or Poppy, the name her pimp gave her), who was rescued from sex traffickers. The story begins the night of her rescue. The pull to go back to her pimp and that life, as horrible as it is, is so interesting! It seems like a realistic look at what Lex had to go through to recover from that situation and how she was seduced into that life. I was rooting for Lex the whole time! ~ 4 stars  (my review show go up on June 18 for the book's blog tour)

What's next?

I still want to read Only a Breath Apart* by Katie McGarry. 


*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! 

So, tell me, what are you reading? I hope you are all doing well!  

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rakes and Roses Blog Tour ~ Spotlight

Hello, friends! I'm excited to be part of Rakes and Roses Blog Tour! Ooh, the heroine rescuing the hero, that sounds fantastic! 

Rakes and Roses
by Josi S. Kilpack

Publication Date: May 5th, 2020
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Pages: 320

Book Description:

A standalone novel in the Mayfield Family series with an unusual premise and an uplifting ending.

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man's world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he's a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she's so carefully built.

Buy: AmazonBarnes & NobleDeseret BookBook DepositoryIndieboundAudible
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon and Audible. 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

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.

Connect with Josi S. Kilpack


"Uplifting...Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack's strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance."—Publisher’s Weekly 

“Kilpack takes traditional regency roles and challenges them. She shows how one person can make an impact in the world. I found the story and premise unique.”—Heather Gardner, Fire and Ice 

“This is a story of redemption above all else…the ending was perfect.”— Lucinda Whitney, author of Rescuing the Prince 


May 04 My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
May 04 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review) 
May 04 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
May 04 All About Romance (Guest Blog)
May 05 Timeless Novels (Review) 
May 05 Literary Time Out (Review)
May 06 For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)
May 06 Courtney Reads Romance (Review)
May 07 Fire and Ice (Excerpt)
May 07 Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
May 08 History Lizzie (Review) 
May 08 Wishful Endings (Review) 
May 09 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)
May 09 Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)
May 10 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
May 10 Delighted Reader (Excerpt)
May 11 Frolic Media (Guest Blog)
May 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 11 Bringing Up Books (Review)
May 12 Lu Reviews Books (Review)
May 13 English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)
May 13 Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review) 
May 14 Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)
May 14 So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)
May 15 Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)
May 16 The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)
May 16 The Fiction Aficionado (Review)
May 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)
May 17 Half Agony, Half Hope (Review) 
May 18 Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)
May 18 Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review) 
May 18 The Lit Bitch (Review) 
May 19 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview) 
May 19 Heidi Reads (Review) 
May 19 Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)
May 19 Laura's Reviews (Review)
May 19 Katie's Clean Book Collection (Review) 
May 20 The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)
May 20 Joy of Reading (Review) 
May 20 Austenesque Reviews (Review) 
May 21 The Calico Critic (Spotlight)
May 21 Getting Your Read On (Review)  
May 21 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
May 22 Wishful Endings (Interview)

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress @ Austenprose for organizing and including me in this blog tour!

Congratulations to Josi S. Kilpack on the release of Rakes and Roses! So exciting!

So friends, what do you think? I'm excited to be introduced to this series and look forward to reading them! 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Taken by Mary Anne Mushatt ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! I hope you are doing well! Below is my review for Taken!

by Mary Anne Mushatt

Publication Date: April 13th, 2020
Publisher: Quills & Quartos Publishing
Pages: 476 (Kindle)
Received: I received Taken from the publisher for my honest review.
Rating: 2.5 stars

About the book: 

Taken from her home as a young child, Elisabeth Bennet’s sense of self is shaken when the mystery behind her true identity is unraveled.  Discovering her place as the daughter of a duke, she confronts reclaimed memories of her brutal abduction, while tackling the alien world of Regency England’s high society.  Facing the ton is the least of her concerns as her kidnappers remain determined to keep her from Fitzwilliam Darcy – the man who showed his love by first proposing she become his mistress.  Humbled by her refusal, he returns to win her love and respect. 

Together with her reunited family, Elisabeth faces her greatest challenges to both her life and her heart — reclaiming herself and finding her happiness.

My Review

Taken is a Pride and Prejudice Variation. Although, I would call it a retelling because it is not close to canon. It is its own story containing most, if not all, of the wonderful characters from Pride and Prejudice

Elisabeth is taken from her home at the age of four. She was beaten and left on the side of the road to die. Fortunately, she was found by the Bennet’s, not Thomas and Frances, but Thomas’s brother, Edwin. When Edwin’s wife dies, he and his two little girls (Jane and Elisabeth) move to Longbourn to live with Thomas, Frances, and their girls, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia. After Edwin dies, Frances has no qualms about disparaging Elisabeth - telling her she will never amount to anything, and no one will ever marry a foundling. 

The story begins when Jane is set to marry Mr. Bingley, and Elisabeth will then move to London to live with her Aunt and Uncle (not the Gardiners). She meets Darcy for the first time at Jane and Bingley’s wedding. 

I didn’t like Darcy at the beginning of this story. He was influenced too much by his Matlock family. He had only met Elisabeth three or four times before he felt he must have her (much too soon, in my opinion). He, of course, makes a huge blunter and insults Elisabeth. But like Elisabeth, he does become a much better man and earns my trust. 

At 476 pages, it’s a long story and has too many plot-lines. The main storyline is good, and I felt like it wrapped up nicely about halfway through the book. The second half of the story had too much going on. The author could have written a separate book for Jillian (Elizabeth’s biological brother) or Caroline Bingley with a happier ending for her. I know we love to hate her, but she could be redeemed.

I did like what happened to Caroline! It was pretty funny, and she got her just rewards. I would have liked to see her grow into a sympathetic person on her grand adventure. (I’m not saying more because...spoilers)

I was sad that Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam were not close friends. And I could do without Anne de Bourgh’s storyline altogether. 

I did like Mary Bennet. She was very kind to Elisabeth. She and Jane would often protect Elisabeth from Mrs. Bennet. 

If you like a story that just keeps on going, Taken might be the story for you! Sadly, this story wasn’t for me. I hope if you read it, you will like it much more than I did.  

2.5 stars.

FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC of the story from the publisher for my honest review.

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

Mary Anne Mushatt, a life-long writer, relocated to New Orleans last century, where she earned an MFA and created a documentary of oral histories in the African-American and Native American communities along Louisiana’s River Road.  When the levees failed, exiling her family from their home, she discovered the community of Jane Austen acolytes and began writing novels placing Pride and Prejudice’s beloved characters in innovative situations.  Taken is her second published novel.  As a result of one of her earlier novels, she works with a multi-disciplinary team aiding victims of human trafficking to become survivors.

She lives in New Orleans with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.

Connect with Author at Twitter.

Many thanks to Quills and Quartos Publishing for the opportunity to read Taken

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

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

What Are You Reading? ~ May 6, 2020

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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! 

Hello, my friends! I skipped last week, but I'm back. I've been sewing and crocheting more lately. :) I've really enjoyed it! I've been watching a bunch of videos and online classes to brush up on some techniques I've forgotten (I used to sew all the time!). So, my reading has slowed down a bit. 

Current Read

I started reading What's Left of My World: A Story of a Family's Survival* by C.A. Rudolph. I'm not very far into it, so nothing to report.

Recently Finished

I finished reading Taken* by Mary Anne Mushatt. I will have my review up on Monday as part of the Taken Blog Tour. I hope you can stop by!

I also finished Attachments* by Rainbow Rowell. The emails between Beth and Jennifer were fun to read and had me laughing quite a few times. The middle of the story slowed down a little, but it picked up and had a great ending! I love Rowell's writing! I would highly recommend any of her books. 4 stars

What's next?

I'm probably going to read Only a Breath Apart* by Katie McGarry. I've read some of her other books and love them! I'm looking forward to this one.  

*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! 

So, tell me, what are you reading? I hope you are all doing well!  
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