29 August 2013

Review: Honor and Hope

Book: Honor and Hope
Author: Regina Jeffers

I was lucky enough to win this book from the monthly Austen Authors website. It had been on my "To Be Read" list for awhile and was glad to finally be able to enjoy it. It is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice set in the modern day and time.

This time our story starts as Will Darcy and his brother, Chuck, meet Elizabeth Bennet and her sister Jane are moving into their dorms during Liz's freshman year. Chuck, of course, falls for Jane almost as soon as he sets on eyes on her. Will, on the other hand, is taken by Liz but tries to keep for falling for her. Of course, this doesn't work and Will ends up falling deeply and madly in love with Liz and she in return does the same. I enjoyed watching their friendship grow and their chemistry was electric. But nothing comes easy for our couple and after a semester they fall apart, although they both think it's the best for the other person no mater what they feel themselves. Six years later, they finally find a way back together but there are secrets each are keeping from each other.

The twists and turns that Ms. Jeffers weaves is intriguing. I was pulling for this couple from the start but there where times I thought they would never make it. Liz is more stubborn then Elizabeth Bennet and Will wears his heart on his selves which Mr. Darcy lacked at times. Will, like Mr. Darcy, would do anything and everything for those he loves and that is always agreeable to me.

In the end I was happy when our couple finally came together and how exciting that there was a double wedding between Will and Liz and Jane and Chuck. This was an enjoyable book that any fans of Pride and Prejudice would enjoy. A modern adaptation based upon a beloved classic, what more could one ask for.


12 August 2013

Challenge Review: And Who Can Be In Doubt of What Followed

Book: And Who Can Be In Doubt of What Followed
Author: Alexa Adams

Ms Adams gives us an little insight into what followed during parts of Jane Austen's books that she didn't expand on. Now if you adore Jane Austen, as I do, then you've already read all six of her books and love the happy endings. However, like all books, sometime the little things get cut out of the final publication which is where Ms. Adams comes in and gives us a little insight.

Sense & Sensibility touches on how Colonel Brandon finally wins over Marianne. And it was his simple yet constant affections for her that she come to love about him and frankly, I fell in love with him too. Marianne, although the middle sister, was more sensible compared to her sisters and that is why she even gave Colonel Brandon a chance. I like that about her; she care more about what was inside the man then what was on the outside. True this was something she has learn after her failed "relationship" with Willoughby but it makes her more seem more real to me. After all who hasn't suffered from a broken heart.

Northanger Abbey relives what it took for Henry to finally win the hand of Catherine; although she was more then willing to accept him her father was a little leery. And let face it, who can blame him after the way the General Tilney treated Catherine and then refused to support the marriage. A father must look out for his children and I support his actions. We see all that Henry went through in setting up is home with her in mind, hoping to one day soon get this father's blessings and prove to Catherine's father that his love was everlasting.

Henry & Maria (Mansfield Park) shows us what happens with Henry Crawford and Maria Bertram. I for one am glad that Fanny didn't fall for Henry's attempts of wooing her and Maria got what she had coming to her. We hear Henry's plans of convincing Fanny his love was true but of Maria, who always disliked Fanny, wouldn't let that stop her. In the end Henry's and Maria's true colors shine through and Franny and Edmund finally come together and live happily ever after.

Emma takes us through the waiting period between her engagement to Mr. Knightley and the wedding. We all know how Mr. Woodhouse hates change and Emma must use all the tricks of the trade to try and convince him that the wedding needs to take place sooner rather then later. After all she tries she can't seem to make him budge until Ms. Bates comes to the rescue, not that she knew that she was helping Emma. And I for one love Ms. Bates! Emma and Knightley finally have their wedding and ride off into the sunset. Although I must confess to be a little jealous; I do love Mr. Knightley!!

Persuasion tells us what happens in the weeks leading up the wedding of Captain Wentworth and Anne. We always wanted to know who found out about Mrs. Clay and now we know!! Now we are glad that Anne didn't choose Mr. Elliot over the ever faithful, although he tried to deny it at first, loving Captain Wentworth. And he does help Mrs. Smith out, which always makes me like him more. Now nothing can stand in the way of Anne and Wentworth's happiness, well almost nothing but wars are inevitable so we won't even think about it.

Pride and Prejudice lets us see how the preparations get along for the double wedding. Oh Mrs. Bennet is just delightful as always and what not to love about Darcy. Elizabeth tries to shield him from the worst of it but still Darcy could care less as long as he knows Elizabeth will always be by his side.

Six short stories wrapped up into a neat little book that I'm glad that I read. Because if I didn't already love these hero (differently not a fan of Henry Crawford), then I would have fallen in love with him now. Thanks to Jane Austen for giving them to us and thanks for Ms. Adams for making them more lovable.


29 July 2013

Challenge Review: From This Day Forward

Books: From This Day Forward
Author: Joana Starnes

From This Day Forward follows the Darcys during their first years as a married couple. Although over all this is was an enjoyable book I found it a little slow to begin with. The first part of the book shows us how these two love birds live together while getting to know each other better. Their first Christmas is a happy time filled with so much love and joy. It always shows us into Mary and Kitty's lives and their gentlemen acquaintances. After all Mrs. Bennet's purpose in life to find suitable men for her daughters. Also during this first year we get to see Georgiana come into her own. First with building a relationship with Elizabeth and then deciding whom her heart truly wants. Luckily for her she has two possible suitors that give her the space she needs to work through her thoughts and heart.

The second year starts off great but as Christmas rolls around again, there is a tragic misfortune that could tear the Darcy a part. A lot of love and compassion from Darcy will help Elizabeth over this hurtle and that is something we all love about Darcy. He loves his family above all else and will do anything and everything for them.

The third year is better with the addition of the Darcy heir! What could be more thrilling and more loving then a addition to the family. Not only that, but Georgiana also gets married and so does Mary and Kitty. It was a lovely turn of events that shows us that although our couple can and will succeed through life's adversities and come out stronger on the flip side.

In the end I truly enjoyed this story with its ups and downs that life puts before us. It was a delightful, indeed!


21 July 2013

Challenge Review: A Most Civil Proposal

Book: A Most Civil Proposal
Author: C.P. Odom

I truly enjoyed this book! I loved the proposal scene at the parsonage and loved that Elizabeth still had her say against his proposal but Mr. Darcy presented himself well. What I didn't approve of was Mr. Collins' jumping the wrong conclusions when he comes upon Lizzy and Darcy and then has the nerve of spreading the news to not only Lady Catherine but also Mr. Bennet. While Lizzy still doesn't accept Darcy during their interview, she at least allows him to call on her while she is in London at her Aunt's and Uncle's.

While Darcy is in London await for Lizzy, Lizzy is contemplating her feelings for Darcy and asking herself if she could ever marry him. When they finally meet again, she has come to accept Darcy's love for her and,
although she doesn't love, she accepts him. Due to Mr. Bennet's lack of blessing, although he gives his consent, Darcy and Lizzy marry in London with the help of her Uncle and Aunt and two start their lives together.

It takes awhile for Lizzy to realize that she not only respects Darcy but loves him with her whole heart and soul. She proves to all that she will stand by Darcy no matter what and berates her father for not only not listening to her but treating her husband with disrespect. In the end, he finally comes to realize he was wrong asks not only for Lizzy's but Darcy's forgiveness. We also get to see Jane and Bingley finally come together and get married. There are some other interesting aspects that I will let you discover yourself but I do love Mrs. Bennet's reaction to Lizzy's wedding!!

This was an enjoyable read and I would love to see what more Mr. Odom has in store for us in the future.

12 July 2013

Challenge Review: First (Wrong) Impressions

Book: First (Wrong) Impressions
Author: Krista D. Ball

A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice which has Elizabeth working in social work helping the less fortunate and Darcy a rich and powerful business man set in Canada. Although the story sticks close the premise of the original, there are several differences. I loved the fact that Elizabeth was still as independent as we have come to love but I was little put off by the constant use of curse words.

The story was a little slow to begin with but by the end I was glad that our couple finally worked through their misunderstandings. Our Lizzy is living with Jane, who had a car accident that resulted in the loss of one of her legs, while working at a shelter that caters to the homeless and down on their luck. She is busy looking for donors when her family is introduced the very amiable Charles Bingley. This of course leads to the family, more specifically Lizzy, to being introduced to William Darcy. Of course Darcy makes a rude comment about Lizzy and of course she hears it; and so the story proceed from there.

There are several interesting differences from the original including Lizzy's best friend is now male and gay, Luke Charlotte. This time there are only four Bennet daughters with Kitty being a cousin, while Mary and Lydia are very much like the sisters we've come to love. Georgiana is not, surprisingly, the same girl we know but a bisexual ex-pop-star that went by the name of G'Anna. Even Caroline showed some good interest but of course in the end she is still Caroline.

In the end, I rather enjoyed the story and am glad that I continued this book until the end. Lizzy's and Darcy's relationship in the end was very modern and I liked it. Do yourself a favor, enjoy it!!


09 July 2013

Challenge Review: Pride and Prejudice (movie)

Movie: Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet: Keira Knightley
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy : Matthew MacFadyen

"The glorious world of Jane Austen is at last brought back to the big screen in all its romance, wit, and emotional force in Pride & Prejudice. Faithful to the setting and period of the beloved novel and filmed entirely on location in the U.K., this is the first movie version of the story in 65 years." ~ Focus Films

This beloved story of love and misunderstanding during the Regency Era shows us into the lives to the Bennets – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty (Catherine) and Lydia. The girls have been raised by their mother, Mrs.Bennet, to secure a husband post haste since the family home is entailed to a distant male cousin. Mr. Bennet on the other hand prefers to left alone in his study and enjoys the company of the his second daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was never Mrs. Bennet's favorite daughter, that title belongs to Lydia, because of her spirited and intelligent personality. Jane and Elizabeth vow to only marry for love and not to marry just any suitor their mother puts in their path.

When Mr. Bingley moves into a house, Mrs. Bennet is determined that he will marry one of her daughters Mr. Bingley brings along his sister, Caroline Bingley, and his best friend, Mr.Fitzwilliam Darcy. And so the fun begins. The movie stays true to a lot of the book but varies from time to time.

I truly enjoyed the movie when I first saw it back in 2005 and have been in love with Matthew MacFadyen's Mr. Darcy. Although the first proposal was outside and in the rain instead of the Hunsford parsonage, I think is showcased the passion and strong personalities of each individual. And when our couple finally come together, she walking outside Longbourn and him walking through the mist from Nerthfield, takes my breath away.

I have to thank Keira, Matthew and Joe Wright for an enjoyable and lovely movie!


05 July 2013

Review: Mr. Darcy's Noble Connections

Book: Mr. Darcy's Noble Connections
Author: Abigail Reynolds

Ms. Reynolds has done it again!! This time around she brings us to a new location with a new cast of characters.

Our story starts after the unsuccessful proposal at Hunsford, which has brought Elizabeth to visit her friend, Lady Eleanor, at Bentham Park. Darcy just happens to be visiting his hood friend, Mr. Paxton, at a neighboring estate at the same time Elizabeth is at Bentham Park.While our couple is unaware of each other's presence, Lady and Eleanor and Mr. Paxton have been keeping their relationship secret and have enlisted their friends to help.  Over the course of their respective visits, Darcy and Elizabeth spend a lot of time together and Elizabeth starts to question her feelings for Darcy.

But we all know it can't be easy for these two to come to understanding, so we have several people trying to come between them. First is Lord Charles, who at first just wants to take advantage of Elizabeth and then surprisingly comes to respect to her and possibly marry her. Secondly, there is Eleanor who wanted to keep her love a secret, fearing how her family would handle the news, becomes engaged to Darcy after some facts were misunderstood. And lastly, our couple still misunderstand each other and have to work through a lot of their problem all the while working through obstacles keeping them apart.

There are several memorable scenes; one scene between Darcy and Elizabeth in moors will take your breathe away. Needless to say, you will never look at hairpins the same way!! We are also introduced to Eleanor's grandmother, Dowager Marchioness, who is force of nature. I can totally see Elizabeth being like her when is older; both ladies are amazing women. Eleanor's brother, Lord Charles is not someone we like in the beginning but as the story unfold he has some endearing qualities that makes you feel sorry that in the end he couldn't win Elizabeth's heart. Although there is a fight scene between Lord Charles and Darcy that made me laugh and compare it to the fight scene between Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones's Diary.

Luckily for us, it all works out in the end and Darcy and Elizabeth finally come together! I highly recommend this book to all Darcy and Elizabeth fans, you won't want to put it down until you have finished.


04 July 2013

Happy Independence Day

Another hot summer day in Texas as we celebrate America's Independence!  Our family gets together for some good BBQ and drinks, not that we need a real reason to do so. This year we are gathering at my Grandma's house and my aunt is cooking. This year we miss my grandmother, she always looked forward to our family gatherings. It's hard to believe its been almost four months since she left us, she's left a large hole in our lives! 

But I digress, I wish everyone a Happy Independence Day! I hope it's a great day for everyone!! 


03 July 2013

Challenge Review: Promises

Book: Promises
Author: Wendi Sotis

I was unprepared to read to this book!! I never would have imaged that I would feel so many emotions while reading it, but I was pleasantly surprised.

It starts off with Elizabeth sitting on the floor in a bookstore where is happens to meet Darcy! He is adjusting to life without his mother and she is just trying to live her life without constantly disappointing her mother. We soon come to learn that Elizabeth's and Darcy's father are long last friends who are pleased to connect again. Over the next several years, Elizabeth and Darcy meet and become great friends; she gets to stay are Darcy House and Pemberley. While Darcy is away on his tour of Italy, Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet have come to stay at Pemeberley but by a surprise turn of events Darcy comes home early just in time to meet Elizabeth again; Elizabeth has grown into a lovely sixteen year old (she's grown up and out of those awkward years).

Their meeting was priceless! Darcy had been out riding and Elizabeth was coming down from a tree when he come around a hedge and the horse, while trying to miss Elizabeth, swerved and caused Darcy to fall. He was injured and Elizabeth had to help him but in doing so she injured herself. The whole scene was intriguing to see them both come the realization that they loved it each other. While they both recover they spend a lot of time together and by the end of Elizabeth's stay and come to an understanding and promise to meet again in eight months on Elizabeth's seventeenth birthday; then they will become official engaged!

This where things go wrong! Old Mr. Darcy is killed in an accident, someone is keeping letters from the Bennets and Darcy from getting to each other, Darcy is injured during a fire and the next thing you know three years have passed. Oh how my heart ached at all the time kept my favorite couple apart!

Luckily for us Bingley leases a house in Hertfordshire and Darcy comes along!! The lovers finally have a chance to meet again and this time talk things through. Right the wrongs. It takes a little while to finally get the happy end we all longed for, but in the end it was well worth it!

My favorite part of the book had to be when Mr. Bennet had to have a "the birds and the bees" talk with Darcy! That was priceless!! This version of Jane was very different from the original but I loved it. And oh Mrs. Bennet was amazing!! She changed her demeanor after hearing some comments and was able to reign in Lydia and Kitty; well done Mrs. Bennet. I didn't like Lady Catherine to being with but this version made me dislike her even more and I was surprised to see the Earl of Matlock being as devious as this. Good thing Colonel Fitzwilliam was there to give some relief to the drama; he can always be counted on for a good laugh.

Overall, I really liked this retelling of Darcy and Elizabeth. Thanks to Ms. Sotis for taking me on a roller coaster ride of emotions.


02 July 2013

P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Since this is the 200th (yes folks 200!) anniversary of Pride and Prejudice's publication, our friends over at are having a little challenge! Well, since I'm already in the mists of my own personal challenge, why not add this to my year end goal. So now I have to read or watch a P&P variation and post a review after doing so. Simple, right? Well, not really because you see there is literally several hundreds of books and several film adaptations and to pick just a few is difficult! But I guess I will solider on and set my goal of "Aficionado" by selecting 12 books/films.....

• Pride and Prejudice (2005 movie version)
• Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway
• First (Wrong) Impressions by Krista Ball
• Promises by Wendi Sotis
• Charlotte: Elizabeth Bennet's Story by Linda Phelps
• Miss Bennet & Mr Bingley by Fenella Miller
• From This Day Forward by Joanna Starnes
• And Who Can Be In Doubt of What Followed by Alexa Adams
• Mr Darcy Came To Dinner by Jack Caldwell
• A Most Civil Proposal by C.P. Odom
• Searching For Pemberely by Mary Lydon Simonsen
• Pride and Prejudice (1995 Miniseries)
• Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Okay so that's 13, but what good is a challenge if you don't challenge yourself?!?! And beside it a P&P challenge so it goes without saying that you should at least read the original that started it all! 

If it wasn't for Jane Austen introducing Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy to us 200 years ago, then my life would be so dull. Indeed! 


Review: Lady Harriette: Fitzwilliam's Heart and Soul

Book: Lady Harriette: Fitzwilliam's Heart and Soul
Author: P.O. Dixon
Ms. Austen said it best, "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” She could have easily said this about Ms. Dixon's latest book, Lady Harriette: Fitzwilliam's Heart and Soul. After reading To Have His Cake (and Eat It Too); What He Would No Do, I was left wondering how life would be for Fitzwilliam and Harriette after their "unusual" courtship; now I know! This book made me admire Fitzwilliam more than previously as he brings his home from the brink of disaster which has been mismanaged, maintaining his loyalty to his family (even with Lord Matlock and Lady Catherine trying to undermine him) and building a life with his new bride.

Although the book's central characters are Fitzwilliam and Harriette, Darcy and Elizabeth are their closest friends and that friendship is essential to the new couple.  I'm pleased that they are there for their friends even as they are working through their own problems when someone from Darcy's part is now working as one of the servants in the Fitzwilliam household.

Another amazingly will written story by Ms. Dixon that's sure to become a classic in its own right! I know Jane would have approved!

Review: Love Will Grow

Book: Love Will Grow
Author: P.O. Dixon
Finished this book within a day and it was well worth it! Amazingly written and enjoyed it most ardently. 

This time around Anne de Bourgh befriends Elizabeth Bennet while she is staying at Hunsford. Anne needs Elizabeth's help to persuade Darcy to marry her, just as her mother always wanted. While Elizabeth does not have the best impression of Darcy she agrees to Anne's plan. While getting to know Darcy, for Anne's benefit, she comes to realize that she has developed feelings for him. Poor Elizabeth is stuck between a rock and a hard place, what should she do? On one hand she feels obligated to keep away from Darcy for Anne's sake but then on the other she loves him and wants to be with him. Luckily for us, Anne comes to realize the truth and helps Elizabeth realize her true dream... a life with Darcy.

Thanks to P.O. Dixon for another riveting story starring Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet!!

My P&P Obsession

So at the start of the year (2013) I decided that I would read, well I should say read books about Pride and Prejudice! Since 2005 I have been in love with the movie and book because that is when I first saw the movie version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen and my obsession started with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

I watched the movie and then read the book and from then on I was hooked. I've watched that movie more times then I care to count, read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice a few times and watched the other versions of the movie and still I couldn't seem to get enough! So I started reading versions here and there but then I heard that this year was the 200th anniversary of P&P and my decision was made.

So I started off the year with a couple of books and then my research started. I did my search first on Amazon and then Goodreads; I made a list and it seemed to go on and on and on, and when I finished I realized it was close to 400 books!! I knew that was a lofty number to accomplish in one year so I settled for 100 knowing that I would have to read at least 8 books or so a month to make my goal, but as I am single and without kids or obligations other then work I was confident that I could do it.

Well it's half way through the year and I am so glad that I can report that I've completed 72 books so far!! I can't tell you how proud I feel about this especially since there were a couple of months that I didn't read at all due to a death of a most beloved person in my life. I was in a mild depression and just needed to take some time to deal with everything. But I glad to say that I'm finally getting back to my old self and starting to read again.

So at this point in my P&P project I figured that I would start writing reviews about all the books that I have had the pleasure of reading. Yes, another lofty project on top of my current one. But you want to know the amazing thing, I can already give a brief description of each book just by looking at the cover! Therefore before I forget, I decided that now was the best time to get started. So I look forward to fond memories I get to revisit!! Thanks in part to some of my new favorite authors.