Thursday, 29 May 2014

Pemberley Mistletoe by Ayr Bray

This is Ayr Bray's six and most recent JAFF book and my first introduction to her work. At 158 pages this was a short read for me, yet it was just right, after all, how long can you stretch Christmas, well forever if I had my way!
This book immediately ticked all the boxes, written in regency prose, Darcy and Elizabeth happily married and all encompassed in the festive holiday of Christmas!

It is Darcy & Elizabeth's first Christmas and they are choosing their first Christmas tree together, within the grounds of Pemberley. This of course is followed by a little snow fight initiated by Elizabeth! Obviously preparations must be made and witnessing Elizabeth's interactions with Mrs Reynolds is always a delight and of course Mrs Reynolds is the kind and helpful person we all expect her to be. Darcy shows what I call his stiff side and adheres to propriety, even sneaking out of Elizabeth's room in the morning less he be spotted by the maid. Yet he breaks with propriety at the most unexpected times, when his happiness cannot be contained and he wants to show Elizabeth his affection (don't you just love him!).

"The two were nearing the end of their conversation and dividing the tasks when Fitzwilliam was noticed leaning against the doorway, watching his wife. That man will never tire of watching his wife, thought Mrs. Reynolds". -Ayr Bray

The first of the guests to arrive are the Bingleys and Jane and Charles seem really happy together, close upon their heels are the uninvited Bennets. The only guests that remain to arrive are the Colonel and Georgiana or at least that is what the Darcy's believe. With a few more unexpected guests due to arrive, their first Christmas will finally be complete, we all know Christmas is not Christmas unless there is a little family drama, Christmas would most certainly be dull without it (wow did I just use Christmas four times in that last sentence?).

Mrs Bennet is more outrageous and embarrassing as ever, kitty sounds just like Lydia, oh dear and Mr Bennet as usual does not see fit to check them or his wife!
The Matlocks make a surprise appearance and I am pretty sure it is just to get a chance at observing Elizabeth in her new role as mistress of Pemberley. Lord Fitzwilliam, his wife and their delightful children accompany them and they are such a lovely family. Things start to take a turn for the worst when Mrs Bennet begins to offend people. However she is not the only one as Anne turns up after escaping Rosings only to be followed by Lady Catherine, let the fun times commence. I must say I take my hat off to Lady Catherine, first she travels all the way to Hertfordshire to confront Elizabeth and now Pemberley to confront Anne. She certainly is a formidable lady, to travel the length and breadth of England to make her sentiments known!

"yes, Lizzy, make sure you put on your red dress. It is quite festive and looks so well with your hair. I am sure your Mr. Darcy will approve.” “Mamma,” Elizabeth scolded as she held the door open, ready to leave, “I need not wear a specific gown to catch my husband’s approval. He and I are already married. Besides, he approves of all my gowns.” “Do not be so sure, Lizzy. You have only been married a few short weeks, and Mr. Darcy does not yet have an heir. You had best retain his notice, or he is apt to send you packing and find himself a better wife.” “Mother!” - Ayr Bray

Anne has a secret admirer and luckily for him she feels the same way. I love stories that expand on Anne because we do not really know much about her and she is a character I feel dearly for. We all love Darcy, hell half the ton does, why he's a handsome and most sort after bachelor, So how must Anne have felt when he did not want to marry her? If it was me I would never be able to live down the shame and rejection considering lady Catherine's sentiments were probably known throughout the land. But did Anne want Darcy? Who wouldn't, yet if they had a good relationship as cousins maybe they had no desire and had agreed previously they would not marry. Either way P&P never lets us know, which is why I would like Anne to have a happy ending, she must have some compensation.

The drama that unfolds is quite entertaining and at times it reads like a comedy, I often found myself laughing and cringing on Elizabeth's behalf. Lord Matlock puts Lady Catherine in her place, the Colonel makes a hasty departure, the Bingley's have an announcement and a family secret that if not uncovered, seeks to destroy Anne's one chance at happiness.

“No, it is not a surprise, but no matter how expected she is, it does not change the fact that in five minutes I will wish she had not come.” “Five minutes!” Fitzwilliam chuckled. “You are gracious. I wish her gone already.” Taking a deep calming breath, Fitzwilliam indicated that the butler should open the door . His Timing was impeccable, for a raving Lady Catherine De Bourgh came storming in. -Ayr Bray

I regret to say that this is the second book this month that has made me dislike my favourite couple, first it was Mr Darcy in Rocks in the Stream and now it's Elizabeth in Pemberley Mistletoe! What I like most about JAFF novels is that although the story is different the characters are usually there in the essentials. I do not mind traits being exaggerated like Darcy's haughtiness or Mr Collins ridiculousness or Mr Wickham's scandalous behaviour. The ability to predict how a character may act is essential to the story's believability. Mrs Bennet was over the top and Elizabeth was forced to bring her mother to order. How Elizabeth addressed this did not sit well with me, not only was it unlike her but I do not believe that she would act thus, if not for herself but out of sheer respect for her elders. Not only did she give her mother more than one set down, they were not done in private. It was unbearable to see her father grovel and Elizabeth was quite happy to ask her mother to leave Pemberley and take up residence in the Inn at Lambton!!!!! You may disagree, but I did not like to see such a side to Elizabeth.

Nonetheless my dislike of Elizabeth at times, did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story, which also incorporated some of the famous lines from P&P, surprisingly spoken by another couple other than Darcy and Elizabeth! Pemberley Mistletoe is an entertaining and original read. Darcy and Elizabeth are my favourite couple and this story is set at my favourite time of the year!

This book is worthy of 3.5 hearts - The Colonel & Mr Bingley

As always I love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Rocks in the Stream By Lewis Whelchel

This book came to my attention when Meryton Press were offering some of their books for free, this was to coincide with the Los Angeles Festival of Books. Need I say more, as you can imagine I did not hesitate at the chance to read a P&P 'what if', not to mention the premise looked promising. Thank you Meryton Press!
This story had my interest from the start because I like it when authors dare to make major changes, however I would come to regret this, when my dislike of Mr Darcy developed  with a fierceness  even I was unprepared for. 

Mr Bennet has sadly died leaving his estate to his eldest daughter Jane, yes I know he did not leave it to his wife, Mr Bennet is certainly a very clever man indeed. Jane has had to take on a lot of responsibility and becomes very much the protective sister, a complete role reversal to the usual Elizabeth and Jane dynamic we are used to. The action starts nearly straight away with Elizabeth falling and striking her head against a rock. Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley come across an unconscious Elizabeth on their way to Netherfield park, the house Bingley has recently leased. Transporting Elizabeth to Netherfield, she remains unconscious, while her sister Jane not knowing why Elizabeth has not returned, is out of her mind with worry. It takes days for the gentlemen to find out who Elizabeth is and make their way to Longbourn and when Bingley meets Jane it is love at first sight. Bingley is not the only one with an interest of the heart, Darcy has been going against propriety and sitting at Elizabeth's bedside praying for her recovery, in her unconscious state he is half in love with her already.

When Elizabeth finally awakens she and Mr Darcy really get along. When she is finally well enough to leave her bed and take an assisted stroll, the book takes a sharp turn for the worse and Mr Darcy enters into my bad books. Down by the rocks at the stream Mr Darcy kisses Elizabeth and shortly after, he makes a precipitous departure without giving notice or saying goodbye!!!!
I knew Darcy was haughty, arrogant, proud and a little dishonest, (when he withheld from Bingley about Jane being in town, in the original P&P) but to leave Elizabeth broken hearted and possibly compromised (if someone had seen them kiss), had me furious beyond belief "how dare he!" I screamed, infuriating man!!!!!

"My son, you must choose wisely. The Woman you marry will determine the measure of happiness or despair that you will experience in this life . It is difficult to know matters of the heart beforehand. My only advice is this: Marry your equal. Wed yourself to a woman of beauty, rank, and fortune. She must be possessed of a worthy family whose society will be advantageous to you and by whose interest your fortune and influence will be promoted. Do not be carried away by the violence of emotions that some would call love. Attach yourself to a woman who will not disappoint and with whom you can be seen with pride on all occasions. Do not let passion interfere with your future," - Lewis Whelchel

It is time to switch to pleasanter topics, Mr Bingley is great in this, he does not care about what anyone thinks and kindly shows his sister Caroline the door. No one is going to stop him marrying Jane Bennet and they get married without delay. Around the time of the wedding a Mr Grinly comes to stay at Longbourn, a widower with a daughter who is close in age to Lydia and Kitty, he is a friend of the Gardiners and it does not take long for Mrs Bennet's matchmaking ways to begin. Mr Grinly falls for Elizabeth and asks for her hand in marriage, with the encouragement of Jane (which I disapproved of), Elizabeth hopes that one day, her heart will cease loving Mr Darcy!

Meanwhile Darcy is in London paying attention to another young lady, in the hopes of finding a wife and at this point in the book I could not have cared less what he did. The last time I was annoyed with Mr Darcy was in To Have His Cake (and Eat it Too), but this Darcy had my blood boiling how dare he do that to Elizabeth. Luckily Georgiana could not be tainted by association and she was as lovely as ever. When Darcy finally wakes up to the fact he can no longer run from his love for Elizabeth and wants to make her his wife, I was honestly done caring "Let her marry Mr Grinly" I thought, he is truly the gentlemen and I really liked him. However Elizabeth was in love with Darcy and I couldn't ignore that, so begrudgingly I kept my fingers crossed. 

Georgiana had been young when her father died and so knew nothing of his opinion of marriage, but to deny love for reasons of money seemed incomprehensible. "You once told me, on an occasion when you were not hiding your feelings, that you wished to be loved for who you are and not what you have, yet you insist on marrying a woman who has wealth and property. You insist on marrying someone for what she has, not who she is? Are you not rich enough? Does fortune and consequence bring you that much pleasure that you would turn your back on a woman that you so fully love?” - Lewis Whelchel

There were times the book had me frustrated for other reasons, for instance at the beginning it is very ambiguous in the description of how Darcy and Elizabeth fall in love. I would have liked to have seen more of the journey they took, with clearer introspection on their thoughts. However the book improves, strangely giving the impression that the second half was written by someone else. Elizabeth had no real personality, although I did understand that she was depressed that Darcy had left, but throughout the book I did not recognise Austen's lively, playful and witty Elizabeth.

This book had an interesting premise and kept me reading. I enjoy seeing Darcy try to court other women because it highlights what a great person Elizabeth is and that everyone else pales in comparison. The author did a wonderful job of making you like Mr Grinly, I really pitied the man. Overall I must say that I do enjoy a book that stirs the emotions, even if those emotions meant I wanted to chuck Mr Darcy into the Rocks in the Stream! 

This book is worthy of 3 hearts Mr Bingley

As always I welcome any comments!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Day my Kindle Took a Bath!

Okay so I'm behind on my reviews, I promise, they are coming!
In the meanwhile I thought I would share a little tale.

On Sunday while I was ironing my daughter's clothes I heard the shower switch on, I glanced to see my daughter placing her doll's bath into our bath. "Oh how sweet she's going to bath her doll".

With the bathroom door open I could see her from where I was and five minutes later I proceeded into the bathroom. Pulling back the shower curtain I got the shock of my life, it was the most horrifying image I have ever witnessed, My kindle was having a bath.!!!!!!!!!!! It was completely submerged!!! Unbeknownst to me, it was at that moment that I discovered I had lightening speed reactions, because I got my Kindle out of the bath so fast, it should have had it's own dedicated page in the Guinness Book of Records!! (Okay and maybe a page on most 'swear words used in under thirty seconds')

Swiftly taking it out of the protective case, I begin to give it CPR! Okay that was a lie but I did start to give it firm hard shakes to get as much of the water out as possible, all the while reminding myself  "keep calm", "don't panic" "stay focused".

The protective case had helped a little but not much, as I was drying it in a towel, it switched off, "Oh Know, please don't do this!!!" I cried. Frantically I started to press the power button, "Nothing" Okay I needed to think rationally, "maybe the battery was dead" yes yes that's could be it. I immediately connected it to the charger "YES" the Kindle sign appeared, but that was all!! Okay do not panic, walk away with what little dignity you have left, the last thing people need to see is your tears, leave it to charge, and hope all will be well.

I needed to think, what was the worse case scenario, because my warranty ran out like a month ago.
The Kindle on the left had the bath!
1.  I do have another Kindle! But I can't read it in the dark and bedtime is when I get a lot of my reading done and I don't have a bedside lamp (My Mr Darcy does, well of course he would!).
2. It's my birthday in two weeks I could ask for a replacement, but damn it! I already gave them some suggestions on Jane Austen related items and I'd be damned if I was going to give them up!!
3. I have a kindle app on my phone and laptop, but the phone is small and the laptop too big, especially for in bed.
4. Scream and cry!!!!!!

Okay I will fast forward, four hours and fifteen failed attempts at factory reset later my Kindle still wouldn't come back to life.

One last attempt, I held down the power button for one minute and waited for three. The reboot, IT WORKED, YAY! Wow, I spoke too soon, it was malfunctioning big time, doing mad crazy stuff like it was possessed.
This definitely called for a 'what would Lizzy do moment'. Yep you guessed it, it was time to go against propriety and the socially accepted norms and do the manly thing, fix it myself. Surprisingly after taking a computer course, I am the one who fixes our computer viruses and takes our computer apart but this felt different I had a lot riding on this, if I couldn't fix it, then what? I didn't even want to entertain the thought.

Half hour later, some tools and internet research digested, I was ready.

Using a guitar pick to dig into the tiny gap, I started to work my way along the edges and prize the back cover off, yay! It worked.
Inside the Kindle there was water! This did not bode well, the water had now been inside for over five hours!
Using my Parlux professional blow dryer (yes I used to be a hairdresser, but funnily enough it was my sister in law, who is also a hairdresser, that gave it to me and I haven't looked back! I cannot recommend this blow dryer enough, its's the best! Even better than my GHD blow dryer which was way to expensive for what it was, okay I have digressed but seriously put a Parlux on your wishlist).

My Parlux is so powerful 2800 Watts (you can get 3800 now, note to self get one), putting it on a cool setting I blew air into every nook and cranny for a full ten minutes, forever fighting the temptation to put it on a hotter setting, but I didn't want to risk melting any of the metal, (yes it's that powerful, I've burnt off my hair, burnt through carpets and the bed with it, okay they're stories for another time).

It was the moment of truth, gently clipping the back cover on I turned my kindle over and peeked through one eye, then two, IT WAS WORKING, "hold on lets just check it's not doing the crazy stuff" I ran through a couple of things and it seemed to be working, even purchasing a new JAFF Novel to be on the safe side (well I had to make sure the buy function still worked). Novel purchased I let out a sigh of relief, PHEW! That was too close a call, I shuddered to think what could have been! Best to leave those musings for another day!

I am now pleased to report that my Kindle has never been more responsive!!

So I will end my story there, before I say something stupid like "my Kindle is, my first, my last, my everything" thank you for reading The Day my Kindle Took a Bath!

( I have to announce that I do not condone, endorse or recommend anything I did to my Kindle and I would advise you to seek professional help if ever, your kindle finds itself in the BATH!!!!!!!!

Please feel free to share any Kindle bath moments, like what bubble bath you used!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Haunting Mr Darcy Giveaway Winners!

Hello everyone!

Today I announce the lucky winners of the Haunting Mr Darcy blog tour giveaway! "I have not forgot you see."

I would like to say thank you to KaraLynne Mackrory for her wonderful guest blog post. Thank you to Jakki for allowing me to participate and for hosting this wonderful blog tour, it has been fun.

Lastly I would like to thank everyone who stopped by and everyone who left a comment to enter the giveaway! So without further ado!

Congratulations ladies!!!
Verper Meikle you have won a paperback copy of Haunting Mr Darcy and Ceri T you have won a e-book copy!

Please contact me with your details, (see my contact me page)

Thank you again to all that participated.

(Winners picked using

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Mission He Taught Me to Hope Christmas Vignette by P.O.Dixon

Before I continue I must warn you that if you have not read He Taught Me to Hope you must!  It is my favourite P.O.Dixon book! However it is not essential to enjoying this Vignette.

This is a short story, about one of the most adorable little boys in the world of Austenesque novels (I also love Charlie from Mr Darcy's Obsession). I first meet Ben in He taught Me to Hope and he certainly left a lasting impression. He is such a sweet boy and it is no surprise considering who his mother is. The son of Elizabeth's first marriage, Ben has never known his father as he died only a month after marrying his mother Elizabeth, so sad, I know. Ben adores Darcy and the feeling is mutual, finally Ben has the father he most desperately needs and a most worthy one indeed!

Things went awry in He Taught Me To Hope, not just leaving Aunt Catherine estranged from the Darcy's but Jane, the Bennets and Mr Collins too. Ben is so innocent and all he wants is to have everyone at Pemberley for Christmas, I know how he feels, it's a time for joy, friends, family and togetherness. So Ben is on a mission, enlisting the help of his favourite aunt Georgiana, will they succeed in bringing everyone to Pemberley? Will everyone let bygones be bygones and put their differences aside? 

“Indeed. How do you feel in having Mr. Collins as your uncle?” “Better he is my uncle than my stepfather!" - P.O.Dixon

The scenes and dialogue between Ben and Darcy are so touching it really warms your heart and the bedtime scenes when Ben gets read to and tucked into bed are so lovely. Witnessing Darcy as a father only intensifies our attraction to him, especially as Ben brings out his tender side. Ben has a great imagination and in He Taught me to Hope, Darcy indulges Ben's imagination in the tale of King Arthur, so it is great to see Colonel Fitzwilliam joining in with the fun. Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship is always a pleasure to witness, which is why I love continuations and this falls into that category, albeit a short one. If you liked He Taught me to Hope you will not be disappointed, okay maybe a little as this story is way too short!!

"Kitty and Lydia’s unseemly behaviour intruded upon her Lady Catherine’s new found pleasure, and caused her to wonder at their even being at the dinner table. The younger ones out with an older sister unmarried ... heaven and earth. I have never witnessed so much cleavage on display in my life. How does one support all of that weight with a mere corset?" - P.O.Dixon

Yay, it seems P.O.Dixon has answered my prayers in regards to this book being too short. Hope & Sensibility is due to be released on 1st June and is part of the Darcy and the Young Knight's Quest Series. The first being He Taught me to Hope, with the second The Mission, so with Hope and Sensibility being the third I can only sensibility hope it is a continuation as well!!  

This book is worthy of  4 Hearts - Mr Bingley 

It is a pleasure as always to hear anything you might like to say!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Guest Blog by KaraLynne Mackrory and Giveaway of Haunting Mr Darcy!!!!

Hello everyone, I am so very excited to have KaraLynne Mackrory on my blog today for a guest post entitled Pink Gloves. Plus a giveaway for one paperback copy and one e-book copy of Haunting Mr Darcy! Kindly brought to you by Jakki at Leatherbound reviews! (Unfortunately this post did not get published this morning as scheduled, after speaking with Google it seems it could have been a glitch in the system I can only wonder at what that means!!! However I would like to apologise profusely to everyone for this untimely delay and offer my own theory that maybe this glitch meant my blog was also HAUNTED!!!!)

Pink Gloves by KaraLynne Mackrory

About six months ago I started a kickboxing slash cross fit slash I-want-my-mommy workout class.  When I started it with about a half dozen other people I didn’t know, I was at a fitness level that would make Mr. Collins look buff.  I started it because I wanted to be stronger.  Stronger physically for sure, but stronger mentally and emotionally as well. 

The first time we used the punching bags I remember tentatively hitting the bag, with all my hesitation taking any real oomph out of the strike.  I was still having fun as I learned to trust in myself, my ability and growing strength though.  I eventually invested in some gloves.  They were not actual punching gloves at this point but they protected my knuckles some and so I allowed my punches to be a little more spirited. 

More recently I have furthered my investment in some actual, bona fide punching gloves – and hot pink to boot.  They felt funny at first, because they were heavier and stiffer.  They made me feel a little conspicuous and exposed even as they were more protecting.  I felt silly wearing them because I thought with my amateur skill, I was fooling myself to get real gloves.  I was sure people would look at me in my gloves and think I was overreaching my skill.

But I used them anyway and slowly over the course of a couple more weeks I found myself punching harder. Pushing myself and testing my strength.  I would swing my arms with all I had and strike the bag over and over until my arms felt like jello and I didn’t know if I wanted to hug the bag or punch it again in satisfaction. 

And then it happened.  A few days ago we were doing stations and one was at the bag.  I started going through the routine ascribed.  Jab, cross, kick.  Jab, cross, kick.  Harder and harder, smother and more controlled.  I was in my element and I was feeling adrenaline begin to course through me – pushing my muscles faster, harder and more powerfully.  After a long while the outside sounds around me began to trickle into my awareness again and I realized there was silence in the room.  I thought maybe it was time to change stations and I turn around to see the half dozen or so people I work out with, who by this time have become my friends, look at me and cheer!  They joked that they didn’t want to meet me in a dark alley and that my kicks scared them.  What a liberation I felt when I finally let myself go and gave myself permission to really see what I could do.  Of course, I blushed at the unexpected praise and attention.  But inside I smiled.  I am stronger.

Writing was something I always enjoyed.  It was something that I used to work through ideas in my head.  When I began writing novels I gave it all I had then – not realizing that I was probably a lot like my beginner boxing self.  Tentatively holding myself back, hesitating unconsciously from taking too much of a risk.  I still enjoyed the process and loved the result.  I was learning to trust myself and my ability.

As I continued writing though, I learned things and grew more confident in my literary strikes. I was willing to push myself harder because my kid gloves protected me a little.  My kid gloves being the experience I had gained and the wonderful support of readers who liked my work. 

With Haunting Mr. Darcy I found myself a little scared throughout the process of writing it.  It was different in a way I could not quite put to words.  The way it needed to be written, the way the story inside my mind demanded it be told was terrifying in what it required.  It was a scenario that was farther fetched than I had written before and I wondered if anyone would even like it.  It was a plot that pushed my abilities harder than I had ever tried before and I wondered if perhaps it was beyond them.  I may have acquired some actual writing punching gloves (hot pink too I hope) but that didn’t mean that I felt safe to let go completely. 

And yet… it was one of the most liberating writing processes I have ever experienced.  There were moments where I felt like that time a few days ago when I was punching the bag.  I felt like I had lost myself in the process and by giving myself the freedom I had also given myself a great power.  Now that it is released I find myself feeling exposed again - did I make the unbelievable believable? Constantly wondering if people would like it and deciding if in the end it matters if they do.  Because in the end, what matters is that I got stronger in the process.
That being said, I do hope you all like it!  ::wink::

Haunting Mr. Darcy book blurb:

What happens to the happily ever after when the ever after has already happened?

A spirited courtship indeed! Jane Austen’s much adored Pride and Prejudice is transfigured in this regency adaptation.  That fickle friend Fate intervenes when an unexpected event threatens the happily ever after of literature’s favorite love story.  The gentlemen from Netherfield have left, winter is upon the land and after a horrifying carriage accident, Elizabeth Bennet finds her spirit transported as if by magic into Mr. Darcy’s London home.  Paranormally tethered to the disagreeable man, it doesn’t help that he believes she is a phantasm of his love struck mind, not the real Elizabeth.  Somehow they must learn to trust, learn to love and learn to bring Elizabeth back to her earthly form before it is too late.

Author bio:

KaraLynne is an amazing mother who never makes mistakes, never gets upset with her children and never ever has a dirty house. Ever. She always has her dishes done and the floors spotless and dinner is always prepared and ready on time. Her kids are always clean, polite, respectful and loving, especially to each other. She never gets irritated with her husband when he doesn’t turn his socks right side out for the laundry and they always agree on everything. She delights in nothing else but to serve her family and never wants or needs time for herself. She takes great care to shower every day and put make up on so that she is always beautiful and presentable. She never wears her pajamas all day or for days in a row and she is the epitome of womanhood. Most of all, she has a great sense of humor and loves to write.
Falling for Mr. Darcy (2012) is KaraLynne’s first venture in to the world of book authorship.  Bluebells in the Mourning (2013)  came next and coming in the spring of 2014 is, Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship.  Although, admittedly a Darcy addict, she enjoys many things, such as: Mr. Knightly, Edmund Bertram, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney and John Thornton.  She is happily married to her own Mr. Darcy and together they share the insanity inducing responsibility of raising four children.


Buy on B&N:


To be in with a chance to win a paper back copy or an E-book copy of Haunting Mr Darcy, simply leave a comment below. The lucky winners will be announced on the 18th May 2014!!! The winners will have 36 hours to contact me. If a winner does not contact me within that time, then I will choose a new winner. Good Luck!!!

Friday, 9 May 2014

A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park by Mary Lydon Simonsen

After being recently surprised that I could enjoy short stories, I could not believe my luck when I stumbled upon this collection of three short stories by Simonsen. They are absent of any angst, absent of Wickham and his maligning of Darcy's character. In essence they are centred mainly on Darcy and Elizabeth with a sprinkling of Jane, Bingley, Anne and the Bennets. Each story is a battle of wits between the two, his cleverness, her cleverness, his witty comments, her witty comments, I think you get the picture.

The first story is the longest about half the book. Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy at Rosings but he does not remember her. Mr Darcy left Hertfordshire right after the Meryton assembly and has been in Ireland for the last two months. However Elizabeth certainly remembers him as she has not forgotten the gentleman after he slighted her at said assembly. For Darcy it is love at first sight or should I say second. The tables are reversed as Elizabeth is the one who understands they are from different spheres and is adverse to anything developing between the two of them, due to the difficulties they would face. Elizabeth's objections more or less mirroring the objections Darcy related in his proposal in the original P&P.
Elizabeth and Charlotte have a lovely friendship, full of girly laughter and chat and the two of them are very funny,  it was nice to see a lighter side to their relationship. Charlotte is quite content with her situation and through her Mr Collins does not seem all that bad, his character is somewhat kind. Anne and Darcy have a great relationship and I like to see Anne character expanded on. With his cousin Anne's counsel will Darcy manage to convince Elizabeth to over look such objections, oh the irony!

“Other than passing the gentleman in the park, I have only seen Mr. Darcy up close on one occasion whilst in church, which, by the way, he does not like. He wears a scowl throughout the service.” “In that case, I might very well recognize him,” Lizzy said, laughing. “He had a similar look at the assembly.” “But when he is not frowning! My goodness he is a handsome man with green eyes, a strong chin, good height, and a broad chest. Again, I surprise you, Lizzy. Although I am content with Mr. Collins, it does not mean I cannot admire a handsome man when I see one,” she said with a chuckle - Mary Lydon Simonsen

The second story is called the language of the fan, I really enjoyed learning all the different ways you can use a fan to communicate. We find Elizabeth caught in the library having to hide behind a chair while listening to Darcy and Bingley's conversation about Jane and herself. Elizabeth gets to witness Darcy giving Bingley a lesson and demonstration on the language of the fan!! Absolutely hilarious, I can see his time at Cambridge was well spent. I need to practice this art as you never know when it may come in handy!

"Bringing the handle of the fan to his lips, Darcy demonstrated a signal he would never see from Elizabeth Bennet: kiss me." - Mary Lydon Simonsen

In the last tale Darcy finds out Mr Collins has designs on making an offer to Elizabeth. On hearing this, feelings stir within him and he realises he cannot bear to see Elizabeth married to anybody, let alone Mr Collins! Mr Darcy is on a mission to thwart Mr Collins plans. Although he believes Elizabeth would most probably refuse the man, he cannot take the chance that she might to save her family from the entail.

Darcy’s choice of attire was not lost on Charles Bingley. “You look dapper tonight, Darcy. I see you are wearing your favorite waistcoat. Is there any particular reason for donning your most elegant apparel?” “One buys clothes for the purpose of wearing them, Bingley,” Darcy answered, dismissing Charles’s implication that there was a secondary reason for his choice of attire. Charles chuckled under his breath. “I shall ignore that, Bingley” Darcy said, clearly annoyed with his friend - Mary Lydon Simonsen

I really enjoyed these stories, they were relaxing and enjoyable. Great for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Although I read them of an evening and could not put it down, so a word of warning, in the first story you are at risk of what I call 5am Colonel Fitzwilliam, in other words if your up in the early hours of the morning you may risk waking somebody up with your chuckles.

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley!

As always it is a pleasure to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Darcys of Derbyshire: A Pride & Prejudice Novella By Abigail Reynolds

This book is about Mr Darcy's parents' courtship, with the added bonus of Elizabeth and Darcy getting together. It is a short but satisfying read, hence this review will be difficult to execute without telling you the story myself!

Darcy spots Elizabeth while she and the Gardiners are having a picnic in Derbyshire, having missed the opportunity to have met Elizabeth at Pemberley, is this his chance? Elizabeth also spots Mr Darcy who is standing at the top of a cliff, (although at the time she does not know it is him).
Elizabeth would love to climb to the spot where she sees this man standing (Darcy) but the Gardiners would prefer she not attempt it on her own. When Darcy descends he recognises Elizabeth and approaches her. After being introduce to the Gardiners, he finds out about Elizabeth's desire to go to the top of the cliff and offers to accompany her.
The view is breathtaking and so sets the scene for Darcy to impart the story of his parents courtship. Such was Abigail's description I felt as though I was there and once I got drawn into Darcy's story I had to be careful to remember where I was, less I fell off the cliff as a result of a miss step. The intensity and fire that is created between Darcy and Elizabeth is all down to the magic that is Abigail Reynolds, she has a wonderful gift of creating moments full of tension and feeling. So while feeling the electricity between the two, I had to remind myself to breath.

He froze, unable to believe it was real. Most likely dreaming or delirious, some rational part of his brain concluded, but his body told him he was definitely not asleep. If he was delirious, he only hoped to remain so for as long as possible. - Abigail Reynolds

The story of Darcy's parents comes close to rivalling Elizabeth and Darcy's own love affair. It was truly a fascinating tale, did you know that Darcy's father was a second son and in the army when he met Lady Anne? No I am sure you did not and I was just as surprised, it was a great idea and added a further dimension to the story.
Following the premise that all Darcy men seem to fall in love almost instantaneously, this idea married in with Darcy's infatuation with Elizabeth and tied into the story brilliantly. It was a story I got lost in, I was totally immersed from beginning to end, which was due to the great story but also down to the fact that Mr Darcy is such a great story teller (made possible by the author of course!) I could picture each scene while standing on the peripheral (or the cliff) looking in, I am pretty sure the house could be burning down around me and I would not have noticed, so drawn in was I, to this tale of ever lasting and enduring love laced with tragedy.

“Yes, to fall in love quickly and irrevocably. My father warned me that men of our family always recognize these things immediately, and are loyal ever afterwards. He proposed to my mother the night they met. My brother was slow about it, waiting a full four days to propose to his wife. My father claimed it was our destiny, like it or not.” - Abigail Reynolds

A truly enchanting read that I did not want to end!

This book is worthy of 5 hearts - Mr Darcy!

As always I love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Happy May Reading!

Hello!! I so am excited about May because on the 16th the lovely and talented KaraLynne Mackrory will be popping by for a guest post and Giveaway! You can catch KaraLynne on the Haunting Mr Darcy Blog Tour, kindly brought to you by Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews!


I will be reviewing the following books!

         Invited to the Ball this month - A Non Austen Related Book

The Darcy's of Derbyshire - Abigail Reynolds

A Walk in the Meadows at Rosings Park - Mary Lydon Simonsen

A Pemberley Mistletoe - Ayr Bray

The Mission - He Taught Me to Hope Christmas Vignette - P.O. Dixon

Mr Darcy's Promise - Jeanna Ellsworth

In the Arms of Mr Darcy - Sharon Lathan

Rocks by the Stream - Lewis Whelchel

A Negotiated Marriage - Noella Adams (Non Austen Related)

As you can see I have two Christmas themed books, but as I adore Christmas, I say "why wait till December!" Plus every month I will review a non Austen related book.
For greater clarity on my reviews I have decided to add a heart rating, I hope you like it (I was unsure whether to put Wickham before Mr Collins but think I made the right choice). I also feel that it is incumbent of me to add an adult content warning if applicable!

I hope you have some great May reads too!!!

Please feel free to leave a comment or share what you will be reading! (or to let me know if you think I have my heart rating wrong!)