Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Mendacity and Mourning by J.L. Ashton

I'm excited today to have up on the blog today an excerpt and review of J L Ashton's newest novel Mendacity and Mourning.

Book Blurb: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gossip in possession of misheard tales and desirous of both a good wife and an eager audience need only descend upon the sitting rooms of a small country town in order to find satisfaction. And with a push from Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins sets alight a series of misunderstandings, rumours, and lies that create obstacles to a romance between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

This slightly unhinged romantic comedy follows Darcy as he sets off to find himself a wife and instead finds himself pulled into the mire of his aunt’s machinations and his own fascination with Elizabeth, whom he believes betrothed to another. As Meryton judges him the grieving groom of Anne de Bourgh and a caddish dallier with the hearts of others, Darcy must ferret out the truth behind his cousin’s disappearance, protect his sister from the fretful fate of all Fitzwilliam females, and, most importantly, win Elizabeth’s heart.

Excerpt
You could put Cupid into the poorhouse.” Bingley offered a brimming glass to Darcy, who shook his head in refusal.
Shut it, Bingley,” he growled. “You find beauty and loveliness wherever you go.”
And you are a far harsher judge of your own needs, Darcy.” Bingley glanced at Hurst as though making a private joke. “A pretty girl with a happy disposition, a dislike of dancing, a love of books, and patience for your dark moods and odd ramblings on Greek philosophy and chess manoeuvres should be easy enough to find, eh?”
Darcy pretended not to hear Hurst’s roar of laughter. “Right.”
After all, your friends have likely lined up a multitude of eligible ladies at their estates. I wager you will be betrothed before me.” Bingley smirked. “However, if you meet no one, do remember there is always my sister waiting in the wings.”
Good lord,” Darcy muttered. “Charles Herbert Bingley, I believe I must call you out.”
What?” Bingley’s voice cracked.
Pour me half a glass, and I shall find it in me to forgive you,” Darcy grumbled. He pulled a book off the shelf and strode over to the windows.
Bingley prepared a nearly full glass, walked over to his friend, and handed him the drink. “You will stay until after the ball?”
Yes, of course. The following afternoon, I shall be off to Kenilworth. I have delayed my visit already, and my friends await.” He sipped the brandy and placed it on the table near his favourite chair.
As do their sisters, I have no doubt.”
Darcy glared at him then sighed. “Yes, as you have already stated. Their sisters and their sisters’ friends.” He sat down, stretched out his legs, and stared out the window. Black clouds were rolling in, and he could feel the temperature dropping as a cooling breeze blew. A rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.
You seem less than enthusiastic, my friend.” Bingley fell into the room’s other reading chair and stared at Darcy. “Do you wish to keep to your practice of avoiding eligible young ladies? Or would you like to find love and happiness as I have?”
Both men disregarded Hurst’s snort of laughter. “Cupid’s arrow indeed!”
Bingley…”
What harm can come to you? It is a late summer sojourn. You may meet a pretty girl or two.”
Yes. This has been a comfortable respite.” Darcy’s eyes moved back to the window and the roiling clouds outside. “I am not averse to enjoying the company of intelligent young ladies.” I have already enjoyed the company of one and can only hope to find another to match her wit and beauty.
The clock chimed. Hurst looked over and squinted at it, then stood up a bit straighter and adjusted his waistcoat. He took a final gulp of brandy and set down his empty tumbler. “Excuse me, gentlemen. I shall rely on you not to drink all the brandy. I shall return at a later time, undoubtedly in need of a glass or three.”
Darcy and Bingley watched him stroll briskly out of the room.
Where is he off to?” Darcy asked. Hurst rarely moved with much intent and never with such speed.
Bingley’s cheeks reddened. “Er, Louisa.” He stood up and walked to the doors, closing them firmly before returning to his seat. “It is Thursday.”
Thursday…” Darcy repeated, his face reddening as realisation dawned.
Have another brandy. He should be back within the half hour. Or quarter hour.”
Darcy’s eyebrows rose as far as they could.
I know,” Bingley cried. “It is an absurd amount of time. The walk up the stairs alone…”
Bingley.”
Every so often, he does not return. Most often, though, he is absent for at least thirty minutes.” Bingley looked beseechingly at his friend. “I do not care to think on it.”
But you do like to talk on it.”
It is just…not quite the way I foresee marriage. If that is all the time I can give my wife, or she give me, I can handle things faster by myself.”
Bingley! For goodness’ sake, shut it.”

My Review: Misunderstandings and complex situations abound in this newest JAFF offering from J. L. Ashton. This book did start off a bit slow for me but it did pick up once I got about thirty percent into it. The Fitzwilliam and Darcy families end up having a crisis where Anne de Bourgh is dead but not dead. Darcy thinks that Elizabeth is engaged to her Uncle Gardiner (he doesn't realize that he's her uncle) and Collins is an idiot like usual. 

I really enjoyed this book even though some parts of it did drag for me. Specifically it was about the first thirty percent of the book. Things end up like they should by the end of the book with two surprise couples. I found Colonel Fitzwilliam to be the best character in the book with his snarky comebacks and observations. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author Bio: Jan Ashton didn’t meet Jane Austen until she was in her late teens, but in a happy coincidence, she shares a similarity of name with the author and celebrates her birthday on the same day Pride & Prejudice was first published. Sadly, she’s yet to find any Darcy and Elizabeth candles on her cake, but she does own the action figures.

Like so many Austen fans, Jan was an early and avid reader with a vivid imagination and a well-used library card. Her family’s frequent moves around the U.S and abroad encouraged her to think of books and their authors as reliable friends. It took a history degree and another decade or two for her to start imagining variations on Pride & Prejudice, and another decade—filled with career, marriage, kids, and a menagerie of pets—to start writing them. Today, in between writing Austen variations, Jan lives in the Chicago area, eats out far too often with her own Mr. Darcy, and enjoys membership in the local and national chapters of the Jane Austen Society of North America. 

Mendacity & Mourning is her second book with Meryton Press. She published A Searing Acquaintance in 2016.

Contact Info: 

Buy Links:

Blog Tour Schedule
06/19 Babblings of a Bookworm; Vignette, GA
06/20 My Jane Austen Book Club; Author/Character Interview, GA
06/21 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
06/22 From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
06/23 More Agreeably Engaged; Vignette, GA
06/24 Just Jane 1813; Review, GA
06/25 Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, GA
06/26 Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, GA
06/27 Tomorrow is Another Day; Review, GA
06/28 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, GA
06/29 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, GA
07/01 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
07/02 Laughing With Lizzie; Vignette, Excerpt, GA
07/03 Diary of an Eccentric; Review

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks ~ Review

Book Blurb: Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams?

What would you do if given a second chance at that decision?
Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of.

Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick’s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour.

Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other. Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?

My Review: When I was first approached about joining the blog tour for this book I was excited. Persuasion is my second favorite novel from Jane Austen, if I didn't love Pride and Prejudice so much it would be my favorite novel of hers. We don't get to see a lot of books based on Persuasion so I jumped on the chance to read this newest book.

First of all I have some issues with this book. Almost everybody gets to keep their original name except for our dear Anne. She is renamed Emma in this book and some minor characters got name changes but they don't really signify. Karen Russell in this book is holding Emma back in the publishing field but Emma chose her career over Wentworth so why would she do that? Fredrick is almost always drunk and high in this book. The man is thirty years old I think he should have better coping strategies by now. And her nephews don't even have proper names they're just called Thing 1 and Thing 2. I get that it's a Dr. Seuss reference but geez the author could have told us their real names even once.

The book was fast paced and towards the end we get to see the events of the book through Fredrick's eyes when he writes Emma a "story" for her to edit. I have to say that I didn't really hate this book but I didn't love it either. Parts of this book did make me smile and laugh. Emma herself is a much stronger character than Anne ever was but the Fredrick in this book doesn't really have much in common with the original. This book is worth checking out if you are a die hard Persuasion fan but I probably won't be reading it again.

Rating: 3½ stars out of 5

Author Bio: Sara Marks is an author, knitter, Wikipedian, and librarian from Massachusetts. After over 10 years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, she is releasing her first novel, Modern Persuasion, with Illuminated Myth Publishing. When she isn’t writing, she is an academic librarian at University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has a masters degree in library science and another in Communications. She spent 6 years as a member of Toastmasters International where she twice earned the status of Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest status members can achieve. She is one of the local organizers for National Novel Writing Month.

Blog Tour Schedule
5/22 Most Agreeably Engaged http://moreagreeablyengaged.blogspot.com/
5/23 Half Agony, Half Hope http://halfagonyhalfhopelove.blogspot.com/
5/24 JustJane 1813 https://justjane1813.com/
5/24 The Ardent Reader http://www.theardentreader.net/
5/25 From Pemberly to Milton https://frompemberleytomilton.wordpress.com/
5/26 Diary of an Eccentric https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com/
5/26 My Love for Jane Austen http://forloveofausten.blogspot.com/
5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com/
5/28 Musings from the Yellow Kitchen https://musingsfromtheyellowkitchen.wordpress.com/
5/29 Austenesque Reviews http://austenesquereviews.com/

Monday, April 24, 2017

REVIEW: The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd

Book Blurb: “You must allow me to tell you...”
For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know what his tortured soul is indeed thinking? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”?

In this romance anthology, fifteen Austen-inspired authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.

Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Melanie Stanford * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams

My Review: I was excited when I heard that a book that were separate stories but all were from Darcy's point of view was being released. First of all I have to say that all the stories are very well written but I enjoyed the ones that set place in the Regency era the most. Don't get me wrong I liked the other era ones but just not as much as those. Some of these stories made me laugh and others rage but in the end I enjoyed them all. My favorite stories had to be The Death of a Bachelor and From the Ashes.

If you are a Darcy fan I recommend buying this book when it is released in May.

Rating: ★★★★☆

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I tried to be very non-spoilery so I wouldn't ruin readers own opinions of the book.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

REVIEW: Darcy's Honor by Victoria Kincaid

Book Blurb: Elizabeth Bennet is relieved when the difficult Mr. Darcy leaves the area after the Netherfield Ball. But she soon runs afoul of Lord Henry, a Viscount who thinks to force her into marrying him by slandering her name and ruining her reputation. An outcast in Meryton, and even within her own family, Elizabeth has nobody to turn to and nowhere to go.

Darcy successfully resisted Elizabeth’s charms during his visit to Hertfordshire, but when he learns of her imminent ruin, he decides he must propose to save her from disaster. However, Elizabeth is reluctant to tarnish Darcy’s name by association…and the viscount still wants her…

Can Darcy save his honor while also marrying the woman he loves?

My Review: In this newest book from Victoria Kincaid Darcy tries to save Elizabeth after she is ruined by an unscrupulous Viscount. I enjoyed how even though Darcy fought with his reservations about Lizzy's family he still kept proposing marriage to her. I felt sorry for him at one point by how many times Lizzy turned him down because she was trying to protect his family's reputation. In between the ups and downs of their relationship help comes from a very unlikely source in restoring her honor.

This book kept me riveted from the time I picked it up until the time I finished it. Like always Ms. Kincaid has penned another winner.

Rating: 4½ stars of 5

*I received a copy from the author, All opinions are my own and shame on you if you think otherwise. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast manga by Mallory Reaves

Book Blurb: In Disney's live-action film "Beauty and the Beast," Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. This manga explores Belle's innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within.

My Review: This volume of the manga tells the story of the live action Beauty and the Beast through Belle's eyes. I really enjoyed the art style and I enjoyed the story through Belle's perspective.  And I liked being able to see what happened to her mother.

Book Blurb: In Disney's live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. This manga explores the Beast's struggle as he tries to move on from his past and learn what it is to love.

My Review: This manga explores Beast's side of the story and man what a life he had. Let's blame the fact that your mother died when you were young and then your father grew cold and harsh as a reason to be an asshole. Belle lost her mother too but that didn't make her a bitch.

My Overall Review: These mangas are worth picking up to add to your collection (I know I'll be picking them up). I assume they tie into the live action movie very well but I wouldn't know since I haven't seen it yet.

Rating: 4½ stars out of 5

* I received a copy of these books from NetGalley.