Review – Eligible

I was incredibly excited when The Austen Project (a plan to re-write Jane Austen’s book in modern settings) was announced. I had high hopes that the modern retellings would have the charm and life of Jane’s original works. However, after being plagued by delays, once the books were completed and the reviews started appearing, I was sure I’d be sorely disappointed.

So, I lowered my expectations, as I waited for Pride and Prejudice. And waited. And somehow missed the release entirely (which was on my birthday!), only discovering Eligible‘s existence last December. I immediately bought and read it, and posted a review on Amazon. As I’ve delved into book blogging since then, I’ve decided to include my review here as well.


Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice

by Curtis Sittenfeld

EligibleSeries: The Austen Project, Book 4
Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 528
Purchase from: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | IndieBoundiBooks | Books-A-Million | Hudson Booksellers
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

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Review – Knights After My Heart

NOTE: This is another review I’m transferring over from Amazon. I don’t want the reviews ax to eliminate it.

Knights After My Heart

by Sonya Jesus

Knights After My HeartSeries: Knights, Book 1
Genres: Romance, Suspense
Release Date: September 21, 2017
Pages: 304
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Amelia’s past issues and personal time limits propel her into a relationship that alters her normal life at Westbrook University. Connor, her new potential boyfriend, triggers jealousy, rehashes old relationships, sparks new ones, and ignites a rage in others that will devastate her ordinary life. As she desperately tries to hold on to her pre-Connor life, she struggles to balance the new-found attention while trying to follow her heart. Something she realizes is complicated… very complicated – because her heart has no idea where it’s going.

Connor may be the change Lia is looking for, but he is certainly not the ending Hawk wants for his Queen. Hawk’s invested too much time in planning his future to let some random guy walk away with his happily ever after. He will do anything to protect her virtue, even if it means protecting her from herself because Amelia belongs to him.
He’s chosen her…
He’s watched her…
He’s studied her…
He knows everything there is to learn about her…
And when the time is right she will reign his heart.

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Cover Reveal – Secret Burdens

Secret Burdens

by Suzanna J. Linton

Series: Stories of Lorst, Book 3
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Release Date: July 20th 2018
Cover Design:  Fiona Jayde Media

Secrets can heal — and destroy.

Jarrett failed everyone close to him.

In disgrace, he resigned his position as Captain of the Royal Guard and entered self-imposed exile in the Eastern Forests. As a common soldier, he fought the remainder of Marduk’s monsters.

A surprise summoning, though, brings Jarrett back to Bertrand. He finds Clara nearly bedridden from an assassination attempt. Tension between Lorst and Tier runs high. In need of someone she trusts, Clara appoints Jarrett Captain of the Seer’s Guard over his protests.
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Review – Knights Who Stole My Heart

Continuing with my book blogger posts, I was offered the opportunity to receive an ARC of Knights Who Stole My Heart (Book 2 in the Knights Series) by Sonya Jesus. Having enjoyed Knights After My Heart (Book 1), I happily accepted the offer. Feel free to skip past the book information to get to the review.

Knights Who Stole My Heart

by Sonya Jesus

Cover of Knights Who Stole My HeartGenres: Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Release Date: February 28, 2018
Pages: 291
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★

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Cover Reveal

I’m really excited to announce that I’ve scheduled a cover reveal for The Most Special Chosen for January 24th.

I’ve scheduled it though Lola’s Blog Tours. If you’re an author, or know one, I suggest checking out Lola’s services.

So far, the planning has gone smoothly and Lola has been incredibly knowledgeable and professional. I’ll keep you all posted on the progression of the “event” planning.

If you’d like to be a part of the reveal, check out the event page for more information.

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Friday Reads #6: Harry Potter

Welcome back to another installment of my Friday Reads series, setting you up for a great weekend of reading. If you haven’t already, take a look at last week’s installment on Pride and Prejudice.

It only seems right to discuss what Harry Potter means to me on September 1, 19 years later. I’m sure I’ll be writing more posts at some later date, discussing what the individual books mean to me, but for the moment I’ll focus on the series as a whole. And I’ll attempt to be brief, as I could probably talk about Harry Potter forever.

The series apparated into my life when I was in the hospital in 7th grade. My mother bought me a paperback box set of the first three books as something to keep me busy. If I recall correctly, I finished them in two days.

Goblet of FireThen came the wait. You know, the horrible wait between books. I re-read the first three as I waited for the fourth book. When the publishers announced its release, I begged my mom to preorder it for me. She said no, not seeing the reasoning behind doing so, so I badgered her into going to a midnight release. I was determined to read it as soon as possible. She stood in line with me and all of the other kids and parents, desperately waiting for Barnes and Noble to let us buy it. Granted, I’m sure her eagerness had a different cause than mine.

I read Goblet of Fire by streetlight as we drove home, with my mom badgering me about how bad it was for my eyesight. I stayed up until I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore to read as much of it that night as I could. First thing in the morning, I went back to reading.

And when I was done, I had to wait again. I re-read the series during the wait. See a pattern here? I read them all so many times that Goblet of Fire fell apart. Do you remember the scandal with the bad batch of glue? Everyone’s book 4 fell apart. But at least large books are easier to carry in pieces.

Order of the PhoenixThen came Order of the Phoenix. My mom had learned her lesson. She preordered it for me; I made sure we picked it up the afternoon it came out. It disappointed me, though. Order of the Phoenix was, and still is, my least favorite of the books. I can’t put a precise reason to it, but it didn’t speak to me in the way so many of the others did. Perhaps because Sirius dies. Maybe it’s just that bitch Umbridge. Or maybe it’s because I’d started to grow up, and had a new appreciation for what was going on in the books.

Regardless, I read it each time I re-read the series waiting for book 6. My mom also bought me a new copy of Goblet of Fire during the wait, as my original copy (that I still have) had degraded into about 8 pieces.

Half Blood PrinceWith Half Blood Prince, my mom bought me a special edition. It came in a box and had some full page illustrations. I devoured that book, as I had the others. It’s a good thing, too, because I avoided the spoiler scandal about Dumbledore dying. I already knew. I also knew that the last book was going to be hell. Each book got progressively darker, and I doubted the trend was going to stop.

Once again I re-read the series while I waited for the last book. I even read the side books – Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Deathly HallowsAnd then came Deathly Hallows. The book that broke millions of hearts. I’d preordered it on Amazon, as had half of the apartment complex where I lived during college. I watched the DHL delivery people crisscross the paths in front of my apartment, pushing countless dollies laden with identically sized boxes. I was desperate to have my copy, and thinking I’d made a huge mistake by not going to a midnight release, or a bookstore first thing in the morning.

But finally, finally, there was a knock on the door, and my copy was delivered. I spared a brief moment of pity for my roommate who was also waiting for her copy before tearing open the box and plopping down to read. A reading marathon ensued. 10.5 hours straight. I didn’t stop reading to use the bathroom or to heat up food. I’d learned to multitask while reading as a young child, and it certainly came in handy that day. I laughed, cried, raged. I was bereft.

It was over. No more books. I wouldn’t ever go back to Hogwarts again. Of course, even then, us Potterheads had no idea what all we’d be blessed with over the next ten years. If I’d known there would be theme parks, studio tours, another whole movie series, etc. I might not have been so sad. But at the time it was like I’d finally finished childhood, and I didn’t want to let go.

Of course, over the years I’ve reread the books, watched all the movies, visited one of the theme parks (the one in Hollywood), been to the studio tour (and I’m going again in December), cosplayed, and made some of the treats from the universe (hot butterbeer is REALLY good). I have my own wand and a Marauder’s Map. I even read The Cursed Child (if you haven’t read it, don’t. Really. It’s not the 8th book, it’s a travesty.).

But today, 19 years later, it’s all ending again. And many of those same feelings I experienced ten years ago are back, accompanied by a sense of sadness that this time, this time it really is over. We’re here. We’re at the end of the series. It’s done.

But then this morning I saw a tweet from Ms. Rowling.

We went to Hogwarts. And that means we can go back again, whenever we want. So if you haven’t read the series, what better time to start then on the day it ends? If you have read it, go back to Hogwarts with the next generation, and relive the joy, wonder, tumult, sadness, bravery, and magic.

What does Harry Potter mean to you? Have you read all the books? Watched all the movies? Done all the things? What house are you in? Leave me a comment and let me know. And come back for next week’s installment of Friday Reads for another book that has had a strong impact on me.

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Friday Reads #5: Pride and Prejudice

Welcome back to another installment of my Friday Reads series, setting you up for a great weekend of reading. If you haven’t already, take a look at last week’s installment on Indian Captive.

Pride and PrejudiceJaneites are nothing new. Worldwide, there are innumerable fans of Jane Austen and her works. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a true Janeite. I haven’t been to bath; don’t know everything about Jane Austen’s life; and haven’t even read all of her works — I know, bad author. But I have read a couple, including Pride and Prejudice, and I’m certainly a fan of them.

I discovered Pride and Prejudice fairly late, in my opinion. Austen wasn’t required reading at my schools, and no one I knew was a Janeite, so I kind of always assumed her books were just romance novels. Yeah, I know, I’m sorry.

I no longer recall why I decided to read Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps I was on one of my “I need to read the classics” phases. But, I finally did so after moving to Virginia. And, what do you know, I loved it.

Pride and Prejudice 1995In the handful of years since then, I’ve only read the original book one more time. However, I’ve watched every filmed version I could get my hands on (the Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth version is the best), and I’ve read a metric butt-ton of “alternate versions”, “re-writes”, and “sequels” (I’ll just call them published fanfiction) ranging from fantastic to horrendous.

Clearly, Pride and Prejudice left its mark on me. But why?

The love story sucked me in. Let’s be honest. At first read, I’m sure there are many of us who would love to have a relationship like the one Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam have at the end of the book. Of course, on further contemplation, it completely falls apart, because us modern women would not do well with the expectations of females in the Regency era. But why consider things like facts in our fantasies?

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth BennetThen there’s the lovely, feisty, Elizabeth Bennet who defies convention to forge her own path and follow her heart. She’s learned, self-confident, and possessed of an inner beauty that shines forth so as to make her outwardly beautiful as well. She’s that girl you either love or loathe, and I love her.

And, of course, you have Jane’s — wow, that’s weird to write, better call her Miss Austen — writing style. Many people have explained it far better than I ever could, but, suffice to say, it’s amazing.

Since reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, I’ve learned more about Miss Austen’s writing and life. It’s what comes from reading published fanfiction and various articles and books about her. I’ve learned about the “secret messages” hidden in her writing, and I hope to learn more when I get to Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly.

It’s all given me a better appreciation for Miss Austen’s works. They’ve become that much more powerful. And, Pride and Prejudice has become that much better. It’s not ‘just a romance novel’. It’s so very much more.

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? What about the “published fanfiction”? Have you watched any of the video versions of it? Can you quote the opening line of the novel? Leave a comment and let me know. And come back for next week’s installment of Friday Reads for another book that has had a strong impact on me.

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