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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge and X2




I think I have found the perfect challenge for me. One I may have a slight chance of completing. I may go over on this one.  Here is my list:

Jane Austen Books

Pride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility

Persuasion

Movies based on Austen novels:

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Persuasion (1995)

Sequels to Pride & Prejudice:

The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers-Marsha Altman

Darcy and Anne-Judith Brocklehurst

The Other Mr. Darcy-Monica Fairview

A Match For Mary Bennet-Eucharista Ward, O.S.F.

Willoughby’s Return-Jane Odiwe

Darcy’s Passions-Regina Jeffers

Pemberley Chronicles Series-Rebecca Ann Collins (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

Mr. Knightley’s Diary-Amanda Grange

Colonel Brandon’s Diary-Amanda Grange

Mr. Darcy’s Diary-Amanda Grange

Captain Wentworth’s Diary-Amanda Grange

Edmund Bertram’s Diary-Amanda Grange

The Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy-Mary Street

Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride-Helen Halstead

The Last Man in the World-Abigail Reynolds

Austen for the twisted (Vampires & Zombies):

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre-Amanda Grange

Books inspired by Austen works:

What Would Jane Austen Do?-Laurie Brown

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict-Laura Viera Rigler

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict-Laura Viera Rigler

The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy-Sara Angelini

Me and Mr. Darcy-Alexandra Potter

Searching For Pemberley-Mary Lydon Simonsen

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I am also going to try my hand at Laurel Ann's Everything Austen x2 Challenge because...well... I am going to end up reading more than 6 anyway and it's an excuse to read more Austen. But really...who needs an excuse to read more Austen?

Read Your Own Books Challenge


I joined this challenge because you would think a girl who has well over 8,000 books in her collection would be able to say to herself "I don't think I should buy any more books today". Maybe now I'll read some of them. It's a sad story. Join at this link: http://readingwise.wordpress.com/ryob-2009/

1.Mansfield Park-Jane Austen
2.Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen
3.A Fortunate Age-Joann Smith Rakoff
4. Jane Eyre:The Graphic Novel-Charlotte Bronte
5. Houston, We Have a Problema-Gwendolyn Zepeda
6. Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One-Sharon Lathan
7.Galway Bay-Mary Pat Kelly
8. Playing With Grown-Ups-Sophie Dahl
9. Pemberley Manor-Kathryn L. Nelson
10.The Traitor’s Wife-Susan Higginbotham
11.Flannery-Brad Gooch
12.Palace Circle-Rebecca Dean
13. Sundays at Tiffany’s-James Patterson
14. The Four Corners of the Sky-Michael Malone
15. A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy-Charlotte Greig
16.Why Shoot A Butler?-Georgette Heyer
17. The Talisman Ring-Georgette Heyer
18. Who Do You Think You Are?-Alyse Myers
19. The Cradle Patrick Somerville
20. Life is Like a Line-Cynthia M. Sabotka
21. The Only True Genius in the Family-Jennie Nash
22. Living a Charmed Life-Victoria Moran
23. Scranton’s Mayors-David J. Wenzel
24. A Worthy Legacy-Tomi Akinyanmi
25.The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane-Katherine Howe
26. The Unit-Ninni Holmqvist
27. The Lie-Fredrica Wagman
28. A Gentle Rain-Deborah Smith
29.The Actor and the Housewife-Shannon Hale
30. Womenomics-Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
31. My Lord John-Georgette Heyer
32.Crucial Conversations-Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
33. All of Me-Lori Wilde
34. Wounded By School-Kirsten Olson
35. The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman
36. The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal-Sean Dixon
37. This Lovely Life-Vicki Forman
38. The Divorce Party-Laura Dave
39. The Plight of the Darcy Brothers-Marsha Altman
40. The Pemberley Chronicles-Rebecca Ann Collins
41. Wounded By School-Kirsten Olson
42. The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman
43. One Deadly Sin-Annie Solomon
44. Hugh and Bess-Susan Higginbotham
45. Mr Darcy, Vampyre-Amanda Grange
46. The Women of Pemberley-Rebecca Ann Collins
47. Netherfield Park Revisited-Rebecca Ann Collins
48. Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction-Laura Bergman Fortang
49. Healing Luke-Beth Cornelison
50. Darcy and Anne-Judith Brocklehurst
51. You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way-J.R. Parrish
52. The Ladies of Longbourn-Rebecca Ann Collins
53. Hungry Woman in Paris-Josefina Lopez
54.Mr Darcy’s Daughter-Rebecca Ann Collins
55. My Cousin Caroline-Rebecca Ann Collins
56.Hunter: A Novel-Campbell Jefferys
57. Falling Into the Sun: A Novel-Charrie Hazard
58. Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life-Michael Greenberg
59. The Holy Bullet-Luis Miguel Rocha
60. To Serve Them All My Days-R.F. Delderfield
61. Bending Toward the Sun-Leslie Gilbert Lurie
62. God Is an Englishman-R.F. Delderfield
63. A Match For Mary Bennet-Eucharista Ward, O.S.F.
64. The Other Mr. Darcy-Monica Fairview
65. The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy-Sara Angelini
66. Playing House-Fredrica Wagman
67. Pendragon’s Banner-Helen Hollick
68. The Second Date: Love-Italian American Style-Mary Lydon Simonsen
69. Angel Lane-Sheila Roberts
70. The Wildest Heart-Rosemary Rogers
71. I Sold Andy Warhol (too soon)-Richard Polsky
72. Willoughby’s Return-Jane Odiwe
73. Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict-Irene Vilar
74. The Glass Room-Simon Mawer
75. Postscript From Pemberley-Rebecca Ann Collins
76. My Unfair Lady-Kathryne Kennedy
77. The Last Man in the World-Abigail Reynolds
78. Wintergirls-Laurie Halse Anderson
79. Candyfreak : A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America-Steve Almond
80. The Beet Fields-Gary Paulsen
81. So Yesterday-Scott Westerfeld
82. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship- Ann Patchett
83. Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath-Stephanie Hemphill
84. This Lullaby-Sarah Dessen
85. The Book Thief-Mark Zusak
86. Enthusiasm-Polly Shulman
87. Thinner Than Thou-Kit Reed
88. Sexy-Joyce Carol Oates
89. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart-Deb Caletti
90. Permanent Connections-Sue Ellen Bridgers
91. How I Live Now-Meg Rosoff
92. Searching For Pemberley-Mary Lydon Simonsen

Read ‘n Review ‘09


Yet another reading challenge for me to fail at. To join go to: http://readingwise.wordpress.com/read-n-review-09/ . I will be adding a separate entry for each review.

1.Mansfield Park-Jane Austen
2.Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen
3. A Fortunate Age-Joanna Smith Rakoff
4.Houston, We Have A Problema-Gwendolyn Zepeda
5.Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One-Sharon Lathan
6.Galway Bay-Mary Pat Kelly
7Playing With the Grown-Ups -Sophie Dahl
8.Pemberley Manor -Kathryn L. Nelson
9.Flannery-Brad Gooch
10.The Traitor's Wife -Susan Higginbotham
11.Palace Circle-Rebecca Dean
12.Sundays at Tiffany's-James Patterson
13. The Four Corners of the Sky -Michael Malone
14.The Talisman Ring -Georgette Heyer
15. Why Shoot A Butler?-Georgette Heyer
16. Jane Eyre:The Graphic Novel
17.A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy-Charlotte Greig
18.Who Do You Think You Are? -Alyse Myers
19. The Cradle-Patrick Somerville
20. Life is Like a Line-Cynthia M. Sabotka
21. The Only True Genius in the Family -Jennie Nash
22.Living A Charmed Life-Victoria Moran
23.Scranton’s Mayors-David J. Wenzel
24.A Worthy Legacy -Tomi Akinyanmi
25.The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane-Katherine Howe
26.The Unit-Ninni Holmqvist
27.The Lie-Fredrica Wagman
28. A Gentle Rain-Deborah Smith
29.The Actor and the Housewife-Shannon Hale
30. Womenomics-Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
31. My Lord John-Georgette Heyer
32.Crucial Conversations-Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
33. All of Me-Lori Wilde
34. Wounded by School-Kirsten Olson
35.The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman
36. The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal -Sean Dixon
37. This Lovely Life -Vicki Forman
38. The Divorce Party-Laura Dave
39. The Plight of the Darcy Brothers-Marsha Altman
40. The Pemberley Chronicles-Rebecca Ann Collins
41. One Deadly Sin-Annie Solomon
42. Hugh and Bess-Susan Higginbotham
43. Mr Darcy, Vampyre -Amanda Grange
44. The Women of Pemberley-Rebecca Ann Collins
45. Netherfield Park Revisited-Rebecca Ann Collins
46. Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction-Laura Bergman Fortang
47.Healing Luke-Beth Cornelison
48. Darcy and Anne-Judith Brocklehurst
49. You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way-J.R. Parrish
50. The Ladies of Longbourn-Rebecca Ann Collins
51. Hungry Woman in Paris-Josefina Lopez
52. Mr. Darcy’s Daughter-Rebecca Ann Collins
53. My Cousin Caroline-Rebecca Ann Collins
54. Hunter -Campbell Jefferys
55. Falling Into the Sun: A Novel-Charrie Hazard
56. Beg, Borrow, Steal -Michael Greenberg
57.The Holy Bullet -Luis Miguel Rocha
58. To Serve The All My Days-R.F. Delderfield
59. Bending Toward the Sun-Leslie Gilbert Lurie
60. God Is an Englishman-R.F. Delderfield
61. A Match For Mary Bennet-Eucharista Ward, O.S.F.
62. The Other Mr. Darcy -Monica Fairview
63. The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy-Sara Angelini
64.Playing House-Fredrica Wagman
65. Pendragon’s Banner-Helen Hollick
66. The Second Date: Love-Italian American Style-Mary Lydon Simonsen
67. Angel Lane -Sheila Roberts
68. The Wildest Heart-Rosemary Rogers
69. I Sold Andy Warhol (too soon)-Richard Polsky
70. Willoughby’s Return-Jane Odiwe
71. Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict-Irene Vilar
72. The Glass Room-Simon Mawer
73. Postscript from Pemberley -Rebecca Ann Collins
74. My Unfair Lady-Kathryne Kennedy
75. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy:The Last Man in the World-Abigail Reynolds
76. Searching For Pemberley-Mary Lydon Simonsen

The 2009 - 100+ Reading Challenge


I decided to enter a challenge or two this year to keep my lazy butt reading because I have a tendency to get quite dumb when not in school. Go to J. Kaye's Book Blog to join.

Final Comments: I didn't quite make the cut but I did come mighty close. Some books don't have reviews yet but they will eventually.

1.Mansfield Park-Jane Austen
2.Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen
3.A Fortunate Age-Joann Smith Rakoff
4. Jane Eyre:The Graphic Novel-Charlotte Bronte
5. Houston, We Have a Problema-Gwendolyn Zepeda
6. Mr and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One-Sharon Lathan
7.Galway Bay-Mary Pat Kelly
8. Playing With Grown-Ups-Sophie Dahl
9. Pemberley Manor-Kathryn L. Nelson
10.The Traitor’s Wife-Susan Higginbotham
11.Flannery-Brad Gooch
12.Palace Circle-Rebecca Dean
13. Sundays at Tiffany's-James Patterson
14. The Four Corners of the Sky-Michael Malone
15. A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy-Charlotte Greig
16.Why Shoot A Butler?-Georgette Heyer
17. The Talisman Ring-Georgette Heyer
18. Who Do You Think You Are?-Alyse Myers
19. The Cradle Patrick Somerville
20. Life is Like a Line-Cynthia M. Sabotka
21. The Only True Genius in the Family-Jennie Nash
22. Living a Charmed Life-Victoria Moran
23. Scranton's Mayors-David J. Wenzel
24. A Worthy Legacy-Tomi Akinyanmi
25.The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane-Katherine Howe
26. The Unit-Ninni Holmqvist
27. The Lie-Fredrica Wagman
28. A Gentle Rain-Deborah Smith
29.The Actor and the Housewife-Shannon Hale
30. Womenomics-Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
31. My Lord John-Georgette Heyer
32.Crucial Conversations-Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
33. All of Me-Lori Wilde
34. Wounded By School-Kirsten Olson
35. The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman
36. The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal-Sean Dixon
37. This Lovely Life-Vicki Forman
38. The Divorce Party-Laura Dave
39. The Plight of the Darcy Brothers-Marsha Altman
40. The Pemberley Chronicles-Rebecca Ann Collins
41. Wounded By School-Kirsten Olson
42. The Darcys and the Bingleys-Marsha Altman
43. One Deadly Sin-Annie Solomon
44. Hugh and Bess-Susan Higginbotham
45. Mr Darcy, Vampyre-Amanda Grange
46. The Women of Pemberley-Rebecca Ann Collins
47. Netherfield Park Revisited-Rebecca Ann Collins
48. Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction-Laura Bergman Fortang
49. Healing Luke-Beth Cornelison
50. Darcy and Anne-Judith Brocklehurst
51. You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way-J.R. Parrish
52. The Ladies of Longbourn-Rebecca Ann Collins
53. Hungry Woman in Paris-Josefina Lopez
54.Mr Darcy’s Daughter-Rebecca Ann Collins
55. My Cousin Caroline-Rebecca Ann Collins
56.Hunter: A Novel-Campbell Jefferys
57. Falling Into the Sun: A Novel-Charrie Hazard
58. Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life-Michael Greenberg
59. The Holy Bullet-Luis Miguel Rocha
60. To Serve Them All My Days-R.F. Delderfield
61. Bending Toward the Sun-Leslie Gilbert Lurie
62. God Is an Englishman-R.F. Delderfield
63. A Match For Mary Bennet-Eucharista Ward, O.S.F.
64. The Other Mr. Darcy-Monica Fairview
65. The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy-Sara Angelini
66. Playing House-Fredrica Wagman
67. Pendragon’s Banner-Helen Hollick
68. The Second Date: Love-Italian American Style-Mary Lydon Simonsen
69. Angel Lane-Sheila Roberts
70. The Wildest Heart-Rosemary Rogers
71. I Sold Andy Warhol (too soon)-Richard Polsky
72. Willoughby’s Return-Jane Odiwe
73. Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict-Irene Vilar
74. The Glass Room-Simon Mawer
75. Postscript From Pemberley-Rebecca Ann Collins
76. My Unfair Lady-Kathryne Kennedy
77. The Last Man in the World-Abigail Reynolds
78. Wintergirls-Laurie Halse Anderson
79. Candyfreak : A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America-Steve Almond
80. The Beet Fields-Gary Paulsen
81. So Yesterday-Scott Westerfeld
82. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship- Ann Patchett
83. Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath-Stephanie Hemphill
84. This Lullaby-Sarah Dessen
85. The Book Thief-Mark Zusak
86. Enthusiasm-Polly Shulman
87. Thinner Than Thou-Kit Reed
88. Sex-Joyce Carol Oates
89. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart-Deb Caletti
90. Permanent Connections-Sue Ellen Bridgers
91. How I Live Now-Meg Rosoff

2009 Challenges


The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

The Glass Room
Publisher: Other Press
ISBN: 1590513967
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/World War II
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 


Publisher’s Description:
Honeymooners Viktor and Liesel Landauer are filled with the optimism and cultural vibrancy of central Europe of the 1920s when they meet modernist architect Rainer von Abt. He builds for them a home to embody their exuberant faith in the future, and the Landauer House becomes an instant masterpiece.  Viktor and Liesel, a rich Jewish mogul married to a thoughtful, modern gentile, pour all of their hopes for their marriage and budding family into their stunning new home, filling it with children, friends, and a generation of artists and thinkers eager to abandon old-world European style in favor of the new and the avant-garde. But as life intervenes, their new home also brings out their most passionate desires and darkest secrets. As Viktor searches for a warmer, less challenging comfort in the arms of another woman, and Liesel turns to her wild, mischievous friend Hana for excitement, the marriage begins to show signs of strain. The radiant honesty and idealism of 1930 quickly evaporate beneath the storm clouds of World War II. As Nazi troops enter the country, the family must leave their old life behind and attempt to escape to America before Viktor's Jewish roots draw Nazi attention, and before the family itself dissolves. 

As the Landauers struggle for survival abroad, their home slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet possession and finally back to the Czechoslovak state, with new inhabitants always falling under the fervent and unrelenting influence of the Glass Room. Its crystalline perfection exerts a gravitational pull on those who know it, inspiring them, freeing them, calling them back, until the Landauers themselves are finally drawn home to where their story began.


Brimming with barely contained passion and cruelty, the precision of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession, and the fear of failure - the Glass Room contains it all.

My Review:
This book was, perhaps, one of my more interesting reads of the year. It took me a bit of time to finish because I was distracted by the holiday but I really enjoyed the book. It was just the type of book I was looking for…something that would not be the easiest read but would challenge me and take me out of my YA and romance reading (not that there is anything wrong with or that I don’t love YA and romances).

I think one of the major things with this book is that I did not like any of the characters at all. I thought Liesel and Viktor were completely unlikeable. One too cold, other too passionate. I found that to be true with the majority of the characters in the novel. The males are cold and calculated while the females are passionate and vivacious. The house, in a way, is the most consistent and interesting character in the book.

Usually, at least for me, I must like at least one character to like the book. Not true with the one. I could not stand any of the characters yet I really enjoyed the book. I think it was because it was like watching a train wreck with all of the affairs. The book felt like I was hanging out of my window watching the couple next door fight.

One of the major pluses of this book is the language. The writing is absolutely fantastic. The wording is crisp. It almost feels lyrical and poetic. It has a really amazing flow to it that I was not expecting and really loved.
The Glass Room was really a great read. There were only a few passages where the novel lost me (not a surprise given the general exhaustion of the holidays). This is one of those books that I want to pick up again. Maybe not immediately but in the near future.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
mysig

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sony Reader RIP

I try to avoid personal posts because, well, I am not very good at them but something so tragic, so heartbreaking has happened to me this weekend that I an finding it hard to restrain myself.
As you may remember, I posted recently about my new Sony Reader that I received for Christmas. I was overjoyed, I was thrilled. I loved that thing almost as much as I love just about anything. This sounds all happy and shiny, right? Well, it was all awesome until the ultimate tragedy happened.
It was early in the morning. I had just finished my coffee and was going for my habitual bottle of water. I did not realize the cap was not secured tightly. I did not grip the bottle tight enough and water spilled all over the table. Not such a big problem right? Well it wouldn’t be unless my Sony Reader was sitting on the table right next to me waiting for me to be done with breakfast to curl up and read. Me being stupid and in a panic, pushed the power button which shorted the battery which killed my brand new, fully loaded baby.
This would perhaps not be so bad if I could go out and buy a new one. Maybe even upgrade to the Daily Edition but no every single place is sold out. Best Buy doesn’t even know when there will be another shipment and frankly, I don’t want to wait. I know this was my mistake but I want another one. I may have to convert to a Kindle, not because I want to because I don’t, but because the Sony Reader is nearly impossible to get right now. I sound like Veruka Salt but why can’t they supply enough to meet the demand of idiots who drop water and thereby destroy their brand-new Sony Readers and want a new one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy:The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 140222947X
Pages: 256 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 


Publisher’s Description:

In this sexy Jane Austen sequel, Elizabeth Bennet accepts Mr. Darcy's first marriage proposal, answering the "What if...?" question fans everywhere have pondered

" I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."

Famous last words indeed! Elizabeth Bennet's furious response to Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal has resonated for generations of readers. But what if she had never said it? Would she have learned to recognize Mr. Darcy's admirable qualities on her own? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find their way through the maze of their prejudices after Elizabeth, against her better judgment, agrees to marry Darcy instead of refusing his proposal.

Two of the most beloved characters in English literature explore the meaning of true love in a tumultuous and passionate attempt to make a success of their marriage.

My Review:

I own all of Abigail Reynolds books but I have never picked up any of them. I was saving the best for last which tends to result in never reading the books you really want to read. I was really curious about how Abigail Reynolds was going to go about changing the Pride and Prejudice story we all know and love and if it would be believable.

The portrayal of Lizzy and Darcy was absolutely fabulous. Both characters were completely on point. Lizzy was charming yet a bit, shall I say cruel, to Darcy and Darcy was a bit of a dunderhead in just assuming that Lizzy would not say no to him because of his wealth and status. I think this book was so successful because it kept both Lizzy and Darcy completely in character with slight, yet very obvious changes in their circumstances.

The book was so convincing that, at times, I forgot that this book did not actually happen (not that Pride and Prejudice actually happened) . I totally forgot at points that Darcy did not compromise Lizzy during his proposal by not giving her a chance to say no to him and Lizzy being forced to marry Darcy as a result. It was so interesting to see what the marriage between Lizzy and Darcy would have been like if Lizzy had not gone through that period of discovery about Darcy.

I think we all often wonder “what would happen if…” in our lives and in our favorite books as well. The Last Man in the World shows the road not taken in Pride and Prejudice and I can’t wait to read Abigail Renolds’ other books and will read any further sequel she writes.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
mysig

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mary Lydon Simonsen Interview

Searching for Pemberley
1. What was your inspiration for Searching for Pemberley?
I have long been interested in my family history. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents lived/grew up in Minooka, a coal-mining town in the Poconos, and I am a coal-miner’s granddaughter. So I wanted my main character, Maggie Joyce, to come from that town. I’m also a baby boomer. I was fascinated by the stories I heard from family members from the World War II generation. I was the annoying kid who was always asking questions. That time period provided the setting for my novel, and my love of Pride and Prejudice is the thread that holds the story together.
2. Did you do any significant historical research for Searching for Pemberley?
I’ve been reading about the three time periods, World Wars I and II and the Regency Era, for decades, so a lot of the history was already in my head. After I finished writing the first draft, I went back and fact checked everything, and I was pleased with how accurate I was.
3. Maggie and Michael are so different from Lizzy and Darcy, yet they are just as compelling. Did you model them on any couple (fictional or real)?
Maggie was modeled on my mother and three aunts, all who went to Washington, D.C. to work during World War II. They grew up in a town where the Catholic Church was the dominant factor in their lives. At night, their pastor used to walk around with a shillelagh banging the bushes, looking for kids who were out after curfew (which he had imposed). But now these young ladies were living in a city filled to overflowing with servicemen and government workers from all over the country. Leaving Minooka and working in Washington gave them the confidence to do other things. My Aunt Mim went to work for the State Department in a devastated Berlin in 1945, which I included in Searching for Pemberley, when Maggie goes to work for the Army Exchange Service in Frankfurt. As for Michael, he’s very close to my husband, Paul, in personality, someone who will love me no matter what, but not looks. Paul actually looks like Rob, the other guy.
4. I think every Jane Austen fan wants Lizzy and Darcy to have been real. Is there any other fictional couple you would love to bring to life?
I absolutely adore Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man series, but since I don’t/can’t write mysteries, I’ll have to go back to Jane Austen. I’ve written a parody of Persuasion in which my Anne Elliot is a lot feistier. After being written off by her family as a woman doomed to spinsterhood, she becomes her own person, and through her own investigations, exposes her cousin, William Elliot, as a fraud. When Captain Wentworth returns after eight years at sea, she has blossomed into someone who would be strong enough to sail the world with him.
5. What is up next for you?
I have two more novels coming out with Sourcebooks. From Longbourn to Pemberley (working title) is a Pride and Prejudice re-imagining in which a romantic, teenaged Georgiana and a not-so-fragile Anne De Bourgh move Darcy and Lizzy through the story to their rendezvous with destiny at Pemberley. The second is More Than Tolerable (for now) in which Darcy realizes how rude he was to Lizzy, apologizes immediately, and that sends their romance in a completely different direction.
My favorite book is: Lonesome Dove
What book would you never read again even if was the only book left in existence: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
My favorite movie is: Casablanca
The author who influences me the most is: Jane Austen
If I received a free trip to anywhere in the world where would I visit: Amalfi Coast
If I could do any job in the world, I would: Even though I can’t sing, a Country Western singer with the big tour bus
My favorite word is? Serendipitous

My favorite historical time period is:
1928 to 1948

Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester
: Easily Mr. Darcy

If a genie granted me three wishes, I would wish for:


I assume you mean other than an end to all wars and health and happiness for my family, so I would wish for a year (or longer) in Italy, a long visit to Ireland to find my family’s roots, and to be physically fit without exercising.

Thanks for having me!


SEARCHING FOR PEMBERLEY—IN STORES DECEMBER 2009
Set against Regency England, World Wars I and II, and postwar England, three love stories intertwine in surprising and fateful ways
American Maggie Joyce, touring Derbyshire in 1947, visits, Montclair, an 18th century Georgian country house, that she is told was the model for Jane Austen's Pemberley. More amazingly, the former residents of the mansion, William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, were the inspiration for the characters of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.
Through letters, diary entries, and oral history, Beth and Jack Crowell, a couple who lives in the nearby village of Crofton, share stories of the people they say inspired Jane Austen. They also tell their own love story, made difficult by their vastly different backgrounds—she was one of the social elite while he was the son of a servant. When their son, Michael, travels home from his RAF station in Malta, Maggie may have just found her very own Mr. Darcy.
About the Author
Mary Simonsen grew up in North Jersey with the exciting venues of New York City easily accessible. She is especially interested in American and European history and 19th Century novels. In Searching for Pemberley she was able to combine her love of history (World War II and postwar England) with Austen's characters, Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, and being a romantic, the novel includes three love stories from three different time periods, all thanks to Jane Austen. She lives in Peoria, Arizona. For more information, please visit http://searchingforpemberley.weebly.com/

Friday, December 11, 2009

Update to Review Policy

I have to update my review policy again. This is getting tedious but it is a good thing, I promise. I just got my new Sony Reader Touch Edition,so, I am opening up submissions for e-books. I will still only accept books that I think will appeal to me in some way and all other parts of my review policy still apply but I will now accept e-books in all formats.
Will Read: E-books,literary fiction, historical fiction, romances, classics, Jane Austen sequels, some self-help, some political (moderate to liberal only). I will review self published books.  I am not particular about violence or sexuality. Generally, I will read anything. Give it a try you never know what I may like and what I won’t.
Won’t Review:  politically conservative books, racist or sexist books, Christian books, any type of religious books, books about the economy or the recession, economics, science, health, math.

Sony Reader Touch Edition-Meet Mr. Spock



Well, everyone, I finally got an e-reader. Never thought it would happen. I have been one of the most critical people around about e-books. It has been one of my secret desires to get an e-reader. I was considering a Kindle but don’t like that it is proprietary and I didn’t want to wait for the Nook.

I have owned the Reader for about a week and it is the best thing I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, I still carry piles of paperbacks but I find myself reading the e-reader more. It shocked me too. Mr. Spock (I name things) and I have become quite good friends for the brief period we have known each other.

Touch Screen-I absolutely love the touch screen. It is sensitive but not so sensitive that every time you touch the screen it does something you don’t want it to do (like my demon spawn cell phone). I do wish that the page turn would be it bit more sensitive because you have to be really precise to get it to work. I just prefer to use the page turn button.

Reading-Usually I have the hardest time reading on a screen. Not with the Sony Reader. It feels like a book. I was reading Pride and Prejudice on the Reader and barely even noticed. The screen feels like paper when you are reading. I also love that I can use any format without having to go through any hassle.

Notes/Dictionary-I love the notes feature. It is so useful. I have never been one for margin notes. I am paranoid about writing in books but with Mr. Spock, I have been obsessively note taking. I think it is because it exports into your computer in a separate file. I might still be paranoid if it exported in the same file. I cannot figure out how to use the on-board dictionary (Oxford American or Oxford Dictionary of English). Any help with that would be great.

Expandable Memory-I love the expandable memory. I currently have a 16gb memory stick in the Reader and it is about 1/2 filled. It’s lovely being able to carry that many books with me. I tend to switch from book to book to book and now I do not feel at all stuck with whatever book I decided to read that morning.

Library/Free Books-Free books…what can be better than free books? I have never been one to borrow books from the library…Sounds strange coming from a future librarian but I don’t like giving books back once I have read them. With the Reader, I have been maxing out my Library Card with e-books. I also raided Project Gutenberg for classics. So if anyone tells you they can’t find free e-books, they are really, really wrong. I also bought the complete Sookie Stackhouse series from the Sony E-book Store which seems to have a really nice selection.

Overall, Mr. Spock is just about the best thing to have ever happened to me. Unless they invent a super reader that can actually transport you into the book, I will most definitely not be switching.

Grade: A
*The Sony Reader Touch Edition was provided for me by me and the review was not paid for by anyone but me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Postscript from Pemberley by Rebecca Ann Collins

Postscript from Pemberley: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series The Pemberley Chronicles Book 7
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 140222432X
Pages: 336 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 

  
Publisher’s Description:
Seventh in the bestselling Jane Austen sequel series from Australia

Young Darcy Gardiner has fallen for Kate O'Hare, a newcomer to Pemberley whose beauty and intellect fascinate him.

Kate is more interested in discussing the merits of Darwin's The Origin of Species than the latest fashion in gowns. Her unladylike involvement in the scientific controversies of the day invite malignant forces from her past that pose grave risks for her friends. But in her very difference lies her charm, especially for young Darcy Gardiner.

The original Jane Austen characters—Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley, and Jane—provide the framework for new characters and unfolding events set against a backdrop of the social issues of the time. This next generation proves as lively and complex as Darcy and Elizabeth's own.

My Review:
This is one of my favorite series ever…excluding Sookie Stackhouse and Anne of Green Gables. Odd combination, I know. This series is not simply a Jane Austen sequel. It is so much better. It is historical fiction, romance, social history, and comedy all mixed into one.

This one was one of my favorites in the series. I loved that it focused a bit on Julian and gave him the happy ending he deserved. I thought that Jessica Courtney was the perfect match for him. I also enjoyed the story of Darcy Gardiner and Kate albeit not as much as Julian and Jessica’s but enough that the story maintained an interest level even when Julian and Jessica’s story was over and Darcy and Kate’s began.

My favorite part of the book is how historically rich the novel is (and by extension the whole series). I love how Collins expects something out of her readers. Yes, we do read Jane Austen sequels for the smushy romance but she never talks down to us. I really appreciate that because it would be very easy to just focus on the romance and nothing else.

I really love this series and I can’t wait to continue it with the next book.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kathryne Kennedy Guest Blog

My Unfair LadyThank you so much for hosting me today, Grace. It’s truly a pleasure to be here and to have the opportunity to talk to you and your readers.

When I was asked to blog about my own choice of topic regarding my upcoming release, I couldn’t resist the idea of talking about two of the sweetest little inspirations for a character in my book.

In my upcoming Victorian romance book, My Unfair Lady, I have a little Chihuahua named Chi-chi that my heroine rescued from Arizona (she rescues all sorts of ‘critters’, as she calls them). My inspiration for Chi-chi came from my very own Chihuahuas. Tiny little dogs with enough personality to make you laugh at least once a day, they can also be very ferocious and territorial. Although my dogs have never attacked anyone’s boots as Chi-chi does in the book, they will often place themselves protectively between a stranger and me…er, and sometimes my husband. I have one that is longhaired, her name is Precious, and she’s very attached to me, and rarely allows anyone else to pet her. The short hair is named Baggins, and she loves anyone who will pet her, and the longer you keep it up, the more she’ll love you.

I admit, I’m goofy about my dogs. Is it any wonder they wound up in one of my books?

My heroine, Summer, has such a soft heart she can’t resist an animal in need, so she winds up with quite a menagerie. They brought a comic relief to the story that I hadn’t anticipated…and also a scene that was difficult to write. One of the baby foxes she rescued doesn’t make it and it stirs all of Summer’s fears of being abandoned by those she loves. That scene also made me fall very deeply for my hero, who, despite his masculine ego, comforts Summer over the loss of an animal that, during the time period, many considered vermin. His actions spoke more than his words, and I knew at that point that my heroine needed him as much as he needed her.

Chi-chi adopts the other baby fox and they live happily ever after, of course. But like my own two Chihuahuas, Chi-chi will often forget that she’s a dog and not a person. She will bite off more than she can chew (or drag, given the size of the bone), will forget her size and think she can scare anyone off with just her bark, and will not be able to fall asleep unless some part of her body is touching Summer’s.

And now that you know of my admiration for my Chihuahuas, I’d like to share one of my favorite moments. Both Precious and Baggins were on our large patio when a pigeon dared to enter their domain. Please keep in mind that this particular pigeon topped them by at least four inches. They both tore off after the bird, barking up a storm, little nails clattering on the cement. Unfortunately, the pigeon didn’t realize he was supposed to be frightened and fly away. He just stood there cocking his head at my dogs. When Precious and Baggins realized the bird wasn’t running away from them (and the look on their faces at that moment will be burned into my brain forever), they both put on the brakes, little legs trying to backpedal as fast as they could. I swear there are still skid marks on my patio. Then the pigeon finally got wise, and flew away. My dogs let loose some triumphant barks, stuck their noses and tails in the air, and proudly sauntered away. But it was touch-and-go for a moment there.

If you would like to see a few photos of my two ‘girls’, I’ve posted them on my blog here: http://kathrynekennedy.blogspot.com/2009/10/take-peek-at-photos-of-my-adorable.html

So, what kind of pet do you have, and what makes them special to you? Or do you have a favorite story you’d like to share about your pet? I’d love to hear about them!

With my very best wishes,
Kathryne Kennedy
My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy—in stores December 2009!
He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man

Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…
About the Author
Kathryne Kennedy is the author of the Relics of Merlin series, acclaimed for her world-building and best known for her historical paranormal romances. She has also written a fantasy romance and this Victorian historical romance. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the “Writers of the Future” contest. She has traveled a great deal and has lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S. She is a business owner and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. For more information, please visit http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy


My Unfair Lady Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402229909
Pages: 384 pgs
Genre: Romance/Victorian
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Rating: 


Publisher’s Description:
A wild west heiress, Summer Wine Lee knows that she's not an acceptable bride for her fiance's knickerbocker family. She grew up in an Arizona mining town, cares more for critters than people, carries a knife under her skirts, and, worst of all, she has a highly improper secret from her past. But she also has high hopes that a real English Duke can teach her how to be a lady…

Were it not for his father's gambling debts, the Duke of Monchester would never have stooped to civilize Summer. But the more time he spends with her, and the more social scrapes he has to rescue her from, the more he finds it impossible to change her into a proper lady. How could he, when he's falling in love with her just the way she is?

My Review:
I was so excited to read this book. Pygmalion is one of my favorite plays and I loved the Audrey Hepburn movie. I tend to disregard the latent misogyny in favor of the squishy romance. The idea of a man “taming” a woman should really disturb me but for some reason, it doesn’t and frankly, I am quite disappointed in myself.
I thought that both Summer (I refuse to call her Summer Wine) and Byron were great characters. In a book like this, they could become caricatures of themselves but Kennedy kept the characters real and relatable. The constant push and pull between them was really great. I love it when there is that constant conflict between the two main characters and as I mentioned before, I call this the Darcy Complex.

The only issue I had was Summer’s name. I mean Summer Wine…really? To me that seemed like naming your child Hops Barley. It did succeed in creating a dichotomy between the various lords and ladies of England and the transplanted Americans. I think despite the initial shock of the name, it really worked with the rest of the story. Byron was also an excellent hero despite his flaws and he was the perfect match for Summer.

I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting take on Pygmalion and My Fair Lady. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an adaptation of  a non-Jane Austen book.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.
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