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Tag: 4 Star

Review – The Other Bennet Sister

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The Other Bennet Sister

by Janice Hadlow

Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Pages: 481
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans.

Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.

Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

Review – Understanding Elizabeth

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Understanding Elizabeth

by Robin M. Helm

Understanding Elizabeth cover

Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Pages: 293
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Mr. Darcy is tempted beyond what he can endure when Elizabeth Bennet leaves her private journal entries in the parlour of Netherfield. Upon reading her writing, he is appalled to find that she overheard his unflattering remarks at the Meryton Assembly and despises him for his thoughtless comments. He wishes with all his heart that he could undo the damage.

During a restless sleep, he dreams of two powerful beings who can give him his heart’s desire – Elizabeth’s admiration, respect, and love.

Will he take the offer to change the past so that he never makes the offensive statement? Will he make a deal with the Devil, or is the price too dear?

What would you do to get exactly what you want? How much would you be willing to pay?

Series Review – The Denton Connection

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As I mentioned previously, because I’ve read so many of Sydney Salier’s books, I’m grouping my reviews of their works. This post covers The Denton Connection series. Be aware, there are spoilers in some of these reviews. There is a note at the beginning of each review that contains spoilers, as well as an asterisk on the links below.

Multi-Review – Books by Sydney Salier

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I recently read through nearly the entirety of Sydney Salier’s oeuvre. Because I read so many books, and because I don’t want to dedicate my blog to just book reviews for the next couple of months, I’m going to group my reviews of Sydney Salier’s works. This post covers all of their “one-off” books. There will be separate posts for The Denton Connection series and the Unconventional Education diptych — or duology, depending on how you want to look at it. Be aware, there are spoilers in some of these reviews. There is a note at the beginning of each review that contains spoilers, as well as an asterisk on the links below.

Review – So Material a Change

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So Material a Change

by Amy D’Orazio

So Material a Change

Genres: Regency, Romance, Pride and Prejudice Variation
Release Date: October 11, 2021
Pages: 382
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

“If the thought of us being destined for one another is what caused you to laugh, then I shall laugh with you. Ours is more a story of mutual desperation than of love.”

MATRIMONY IS THE LAST THING on Elizabeth Bennet’s mind when she arrives at Netherfield Park to tend to her ill sister. When proud Mr Darcy acts rashly to thwart a compromise and tells her that the entire household believes they are engaged, she dismisses him outright and refuses his offer of marriage.

BUT MORE SURPRISES AWAIT her at Longbourn. Mr Collins is ready with an offer of marriage and it is not only her mother who thinks it a fine match; Mr Bennet is willing to press the point until Elizabeth makes clear such a connexion is impossible—because she has accepted an offer of marriage from Mr Darcy.

IT IS AN INAUSPICIOUS BEGINNING, an engagement neither desires, driven to by the machinations of others. Yet what begins as a forced alliance soon changes into something quite different. Will it be enough to lead them into love?

Review – Fatal Throne

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Fatal Throne

by Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson

Fatal Throne

Genres: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Tudor, Young Adult
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 388
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

If you were one of King Henry VIII’s six wives, who would you be? Would you be Anne Boleyn, who literally lost her head? Would you be the subject of rumor and scandal like Catherine Howard? Or would you get away and survive like Anna of Cleves?

Meet them and Henry’s other queens–each bound for divorce or death–in this epic and thrilling novel that reads like fantasy but really happened. Watch spellbound as each of these women attempts to survive their unpredictable king as he grows more and more obsessed with producing a male heir. And discover how the power-hungry court fanned the flames of Henry’s passions . . . and his most horrible impulses.

Whether you’re a huge fan of all things Tudor or new to this jaw-dropping saga, you won’t be able to get the unique voices of Henry and his wives–all brought to life by seven award-winning and bestselling authors–out of your head.

This is an intimate look at the royals during one of the most treacherous times in history. Who will you root for and who will you love to hate?

Review – Pride & Perception

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Pride & Perception

by Sue Barr

Pride and Perception

Genres: Regency, Historical Romance, Pride and Prejudice, Adult
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Pages: 363
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if…

The entail on Longbourn had been broken?

The Bennets owned Netherfield Park?

Jane Bennet had firm opinions?

Lizzy overheard the second derogatory comment Darcy made about her beauty? After the Bennets had dined at Netherfield Park, he said, “Her a beauty? I should as soon call her mother a wit.”

Yeah – that one.

This is a story where we explore all these beautiful what-ifs.

Review – Elizabeth and Darcy: Ardently Yours

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Elizabeth and Darcy: Ardently Yours

by Evangeline Wright

Elizabeth and Darcy Ardently Yours

Genres: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Romance, Classical Re-write, Adult
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Pages: 171
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

We all know what Lizzy and Darcy did last summer… Or do we?

This variation on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice asks two questions about the summer before Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s introduction.

What if Elizabeth visited Pemberley before meeting Darcy, and was prepared to think the best of him, rather than the worst? 

What if Georgiana Darcy stayed home from Ramsgate, and Wickham’s dastardly schemes had not yet been revealed?

The answer: An ardent, inevitable love story that unfolds quite differently… but is, in essentials, very much what it ever was.

Review – It Started with a Kiss

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It Started with a Kiss

by Beth Wood

It Started With a Kiss

Genres: Regency Romance, Historical Romance, Romance, Classical Re-write, Adult
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Pages: 133
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

When Darcy finds Elizabeth touring the park around Pemberley, he assumes he is in the grips of his dreams and acts accordingly. He is incredibly surprised to discover that the woman he has taken in his arms is not only very real, but also kissing him back.

This lighthearted variation explores how things might have progressed differently had Mr. Darcy left Elizabeth Bennet with no doubt concerning his continued affection upon finding her touring his beloved Pemberley. 

Review – Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

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Dorothy in the Land of Monsters

by Garten Gevedon

Dorothy in the Land of MonstersSeries: Oz ReVamped, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.

When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.

They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds.

With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen)—Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.

Review – Seize

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Seize

by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

SeizeSeries: Magnus Blackwell, Book 3
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Release Date: March 26th 2019
Pages: 359
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Lexie Arden has a loving husband, a thriving business, and consults with the New Orleans Police Dept on murder cases. Kalfu has given her everything she desires, but challengers to her authority are closing in.

Her dark secret remains hidden from everyone except Magnus. He sees the evil growing stronger, changing her, and hurting her marriage. If Lexie doesn’t rid herself of Kalfu’s influence soon, the consequences will be irreversible.

When she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in the swamp, she uncovers a library of rare books on voodoo. Their spells can reverse the dark lord’s hold and set right the balance between darkness and light. But such magic requires a great sacrifice; one Lexie isn’t willing to make.

With the shadow spirits and raging voodoo gods vying for her attention, Lexie is on the verge of losing everything—her husband, her power, Magnus, and possibly, her life.

The battle for control of the mambo’s soul is about to begin.

Review – The Unreformed Mr Darcy

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The Unreformed Mr Darcy

by Lin Mei Wei

The Unreformed Mr DarcyGenres: Classical Rewrite, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: November 3, 2018
Pages: 249
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if Elizabeth Bennet had accepted Mr Darcy’s proposal in Kent? What if they married before he stopped being the proud, arrogant man she detested? What if, in order to avoid the ruin of her beloved sister, Elizabeth chose to swallow her pride and say yes to a pre-reform Darcy?

Mr Bingley has left Netherfield, and in his stead a rich and unscrupulous man takes possession of the manor. While Elizabeth is in Kent, visiting her recently married friend Charlotte, she receives letters which tell her how Jane is soon to be wed to a man Elizabeth can’t stand. And then, unbelievably, Mr Darcy, the last man in the world she would ever choose to marry, proposes to her. Elizabeth is torn. But thoughts of rescuing Jane make her do something that will change the course of her life forever…

The Unreformed Mr Darcy is a Pride and Prejudice variation romance by the author of Stranded with Mr Darcy.

Review – Mistress

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Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation

by Sophie Turner

MistressGenres: Classical Rewrites, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: March 5, 2017
Pages: 186
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆

One night, to decide his entire life’s happiness.

Chastened by Charles Bingley following Mr. Bennet’s untimely death, Fitzwilliam Darcy determines he will offer marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, but she marries another.

Years later, a widowed Elizabeth is mistress of Longbourn, and has vowed she will never marry again. A house party at Netherfield brings them back together, but Darcy will have to win more than her heart if he is to have any chance at making her mistress of Pemberley.

Review – The Ghostly Father

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The Ghostly Father

by Sue Barnard

The Ghostly FatherGenres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Classical Rewrite
Release Date: October 6, 2018
Pages: 252
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Was this what really happened to Romeo & Juliet?

Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again. What if the story of Romeo & Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?

This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.

If you love the Romeo & Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.

Review – Becoming Mr. Bingley

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Becoming Mr. Bingley

by Samantha Whitman

Becoming Mr. BingleySeries: Ditching Mr. Darcy, Book 2
Genres: Classical Re-write, Historical Fiction
Release Date: July 20, 2018
Pages: 402
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Letting the man of her dreams go would have been much harder had he been a real person. Living happily ever after with her soul mate would be much easier if reality was as uncomplicated as her dreams. And for Elizabeth Baker, the future would be much clearer if the lines between dreams and reality were not blurring yet again.

Review – My Lady Jane

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My Lady Jane

by Cynthia Hand Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

My Lady JaneSeries: The Lady Janies, Book 1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Retelling
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 512
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

Review – Hunting Prince Dracula

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Hunting Prince Dracula

by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince DraculaSeries: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 480
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Review – Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper

by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the RipperSeries: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Pages: 352
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

Review – Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession

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Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession

by Alison Weir

Anne Boleyn: A King's ObsessionSeries: Six Tudor Queens, Book 2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Tudor England, Royalty
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Pages: 572
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family’s Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender.

Anne isn’t completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances—reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne’s rejection only intensifies Henry’s pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir—and given an aging Queen Katherine—the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing.

While history tells of how Anne Boleyn died, this compelling new novel reveals how fully she lived.