Friday, 27 June 2014

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Yee Ha cowboys & cowgirls this book was recommended to me by Ceri at Babblings of a bookworm so I knew it would be good, however I have never read anything in this genre before western/Christian.
The story gets straight into the action from page one and that is a clear winner with me. We meet 10 year old Meredith (I could not help but think of Meredith at Austenesque reviews as she is the only Meredith I know) who is involved in an altercation with a local bully. He ends up tossing her lunch box onto nearby private property. The private property of the Archer brothers, no one trespasses on their land unless they have a death wish, but after being taunted, Meredith is determined not to back down. Meredith needs to prove just how brave she is, not to mention that meeting her mother ire is a deciding motivational factor in getting it back. Retrieving said lunch box goes awry and Meredith ends up with her leg caught in a hunting trap, Meredith's handsome rescuer is none other than Travis Archer, he should be shooting her for trespassing on his land, not rescuing her!

The author once again does not dally about and we fast forward 12 years later when Meredith is being made to marry a man, who only wants her deceased father's property. Overhearing that he is planning on attacking the Archer's land to further his expansion in the logging business, Meredith must decide what to do. She has been in love with Travis Archer since the day he rescued her and although she has not seen him since that fateful day she feels compelled to warn him. Will she brave trespassing on their land once again? Her last venture left her with a limp and a slight disability, is she willing to risk her life and even her reputation to warn the elusive Archer brothers. Closed off from society, the Archer brothers take none to kindly to any outside interference. I fear the brave young girl who retrieved her lunch box is still alive and kicking and an unescorted and un-chaperoned woman in the presence of four brothers can lead to only one thing, you guessed it, a demand of marriage to keep the young woman's virtue in-tact. Are the four Archer brothers about to draw straws on who will marry Meredith, I believe they are!!!

It was silly, really. What girl would dream about a young man whose hunting trap had nearly taken off her leg? Yet something about Travis Archer had left a permanent impression upon her heart. -Karen Witemeyer

This book is set in the 1870's so rules of propriety in regards to women are still present, meaning the manners and customs I like from the Regency era are similar. I really enjoyed this book, the author keeps things moving at a great pace, no point in observing the sky, the flowers, the birds and the bees, there's a story to be told and I for one wanted to hear it!! The Archer brothers are self sufficient cowboys who are ruff and ready just how I like them. But under that rough exterior are four honourable men, who you are sure to fall in love with, I certainly did. The author incorporates the sensitive subject of discrimination which was prevalent at the time with an ease and a sense of what is right. The references to the bible were great and although I am not overly religious I enjoyed the self reflection and looking for signs of  guidance in how to go forward, were great. This book had it's fare share of witty humour and I was chuckling often. The story is full of action and every inch, wild west believable.

“You’re not to tarry. You hear me? Straight there and straight home. And you’ll take a rifle. Prayer is all well and good, and I imagine I’ll be sending a constant litany heavenward while you’re gone, but I doubt a little earthly defense will offend our Maker. - Karen Witemeyer

Meredith is a lovely girl with a feisty determination that I was endeared to. The Moments and interactions between Meredith and Travis are so simple, yet so sweet. There are plenty of intense passionate moments, which the author seems to create out of thin air and spun out of everyday mundane matters. Although Travis is the central unassuming heartthrob, I was pleased to find that there are more books that make up a series which expand on the other Archer brothers. This book was too short by my "I want more" standard, so I feel a re-read coming on! Not to mention I have purchased the whole series already!

This book is worthy of 4 and a half hearts - Mr Bingley & Mr Darcy

As Always I love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Mr Darcy's Promise by Jeanna Ellsworth

This book was truly a surprise, I have been reading JAFF for over a year and recently another blogger, Warmisunqu Austen alerted me to the term "book hangover". I knew what is was but did not know it had a name.
I often experience this hangover, but with this book it was more than that.

I had come across this book before and while I was reading it, I kept trying to think why I had not purchased it (apart from the obvious bankruptcy issues that come with purchasing soooo many books!). It was not until the end that I realised I had been asking the wrong question. What I should have been asking was "why now?". I am a firm  believer in the hidden messages in life, the ones that are there to teach us to grow. This book indeed had several for me. This book was more than a Darcy & Elizabeth story it was thought provoking, insightful and very deep in retrospection, which is right up my street, so to have it combined with the Darcys' was a bonus. I read this book at the right time and for the right reasons!  (Okay I will share with you one of the obvious reasons, it was that I need to get chickens! Yes chickens!! My other half has been going on & on about getting chickens for over a year and this book has convinced me, I need to give way).

I apologise that I have digressed but this book really stirred me in an unexpected and delightful way!!!
The premise for this book in a nutshell, is that due to Wickham and his scheming ways, Darcy & Elizabeth must marry if her reputation is to be salvaged. A winner with me already, as I love these storylines, I like to see Elizabeth fall in love with Darcy, when she is oblivious to the fact she is already married to the very best of men. Now comes the Promise, Mr Darcy upon misinterpreting Elizabeth's tears in the carriage on their wedding day, promises not to demand his rights as a husband in regards to the conjugal bed. What ensues is a wonderful and unwitting courtship at the beginning of  their marriage. The author weaves in riddles (the chickens), life lessons, mystery, drama and a whole heap of misunderstandings.

"He relished the sight of her lovely form in a simple day gown. And now I can see her every morning! For the first time ever he thought, thank you, Wickham, for being so evil to allow me this pleasure!" -Jeanna Ellsworth

Both Darcy and Elizabeth are constantly trying to guess what the other is thinking or feeling and their misunderstandings had you on the verge of always wanting to know what was going to happen next. Surprisingly I thought I would get frustrated with them not working things out sooner but the author very cleverly avoided you feeling that way. I literally could not put this book down! Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Darcy and Wickham had a public show down over Wickhams acusations? Well you are in for a treat!

"Bingley laughed so loudly that the ladies at Longbourn were sure to have heard. “Charming? You had best keep the cock fighting to a minimum if you expect to be charming, my dear friend.”- Jeanna Ellsworth

There was a realism to this story that although fictional, is what makes it so captivating. There was humour, humility and romance. This Elizabeth was lovely and you could really feel she was a good hearted person, no doubt a reflection on the author herself. I really think this has to be one of my favourite JAFF Darcys, he wasn't over the top with sentimentality or someone that it is hard to fathom even exists, he felt real in his actions, words and manner.

Colonel Fitzwilliam was as he aught to be, not overly funny but a jovial military man and a cousin Darcy clearly respects. Georgiana was such a darling and I often felt very sorry for her.
I have found it really hard to write this review because I sincerely do not know how to do it justice. Some books are easy, you comment on the quality of writing, what happens, but to convey how a book makes you feel can be tricky. Yes there were some inconsistencies and grammatical errors but I am not Jeanna's English literature teacher, so I am at liberty to overlook such things. I feel this book is probably understated, because all such observations need to be sweep aside in order to fully appreciate that the author has put her heart and soul into it. The author  has really thought about what she wants to convey and the desire to be a better person and help others is where this author's vision is directed. I urge anyone to read this book with an open mind and heart and let the author teach you a thing or two about relationships (and promises lol!).

"Well, I suppose I will need to put a little more heart into it. She gripped the ladder before stretching out her leg and kicking hard against the shelf. The ladder rolled easily some fifteen feet away at great speed, making her hair catch in her open, smiling mouth. Elizabeth laughed, pulling her hair back before she did it in the opposite direction. This time she went even further. She continued to do this, learning along the way that she needed to hold onto the ladder with both hands or risk falling to the floor when it jolted to a halt. She had nearly taken a tumble, but now found herself enjoying the challenge of making it all the way to the end. She was absorbed in attempting to go further and faster when she was interrupted by a voice. “I believe that is yet another thing you have found at Pemberley that I have yet to do,” Mr. Darcy said. She looked down to see him smiling impishly at her. “William! Oh dear, how long have you been watching me?” . . . and seeing that unladylike behavior? She started her descent down the ladder." - Jeanna Ellsworth

The biggest hangover I have had in a while. This book has affected me in a positively satisfying way! I can not thank Jeanna enough for this little treasure of book and have wasted no time in purchasing her new title Pride and Persistence. Even if I had not liked this book, I should have liked it anyway, as my name is featured :)

This book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley

As always I love to hear your comments

Friday, 20 June 2014

Belle - The Movie - My review

Oh my! Where do I begin, I was all anticipation for this movie, for two reasons, period drama and a story based on the life of a mixed race lady in the 18th century. Why? Because I love period drama and my father is white British and my mother is St Lucian.
Lets gets the formalities out of the way, this movie is based on a 'true story' and is not a' true story', so obviously it deviates from the whole truth, probably because not a great deal is known about Dido Elizabeth Belle and because it had to be dazzling enough for the big screen, I for one could appreciated that, I did not want another depressing discriminatory film.

Dido Elizabeth Belle is the illegitimate daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay a Royal Naval officer, around age five her mother dies and her father sends her to live with her great uncle Lord Mansfield, at Kenwood House in Hampstead ( I cannot believe I have been to Kenwood house repeatedly throughout my life and had not known its history).
Dido is brought up among wealth, yet the conventions of 18th century society prevent her from being fully integrated. We follow Dido as she is brought up alongside her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray and witness the trails and tribulations young ladies of that time had to endure in the pursuit of a husband of large means, as Jane Austen would say " a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"
Dido situation is different as a result of her colour and Gugu Mbatha-Raw did an excellent job of portraying Dido's struggle with the discrimination she faced. Lord Mansfield was Lord Chief Justice of the King's bench and throughout is working on a case involving the alleged murder of slaves on a cargo ship. Taking a local Clergy man's son John Davinier (Sam Reid) under his tutelage, John and Dido seem to have an attraction to one another, but after disclosing information about the case to Dido, he is banished from Kenwood House.

In step James and Oliver Ashford, James is a first son set to inherit a large estate, he shows Dido's cousin a great deal of interest but despises Dido and does not hide his blatant racist dislike, while his brother Oliver shows signs of interest albeit laced with subtle racism which is portrayed through his interest in the exotic. Will Dido and Elizabeth find love or be matched for wealth and status? How will her uncle juggle the pressure to support the slave trade, in conjunction with his new found loyalties to the niece he loves as he would his own daughter?

I loved Belle and I hope you will too, the storyline was captivating as were the costumes and dialogue. The acting was sublime, I did not see actors, just the characters they were portraying. The director Amma Asante did an excellent job at balancing the sensitive nature of the story. I did not feel the usual awkwardness that films based at the time of slavery often leave me feeling. There was one particular scene, where the consequences of Dido's skin colour leave her feeling like she hates the skin she is in and although I have never experienced that I have experienced prejudice and could totally relate to her pain and the isolation she must have felt.

Slaves of the 'one drop rule'
This movie and Dido's strength has truly inspired me. Being mixed race I am often categorised by society as being black and it is never questioned, however I would never be classed as being white and I suppose it goes back to the 'one drop rule' meaning a single drop of 'black blood' makes you black and I think that is where I could relate to Dido's story the most.

As a mixed race person I have fully embraced both of the cultures I have been born into. You could say that my love for Austen is universal but when I meet other Janietes, black Janietes are in the minority. When a recent question on Goodreads was raised 'who would like to go back to the regency era?' Many replied they would not and reeled of a list of domestic inconveniences such as a shower, toilet e.c.t. as for me it would be in regards to what it would have been like for someone of my skin colour. Finally here was a movie where someone of my colour would be portrayed in such an era and one that would leave me feeling positive rather than negative (okay Dido had it slightly better, as we see that putting aside colour, rank and wealth were the presiding key factors). But it also reaffirmed my philosophy that I treat everyone I meet on an individual basis regardless of colour, sex or culture.

When I started my blog I was anonymous, until I joined facebook groups and moved my account to Google +. People may not have realised that it was a big step for me, how would people react to my skin colour, would I still be accepted and would people still read my blog? Well the answer is yes, they did! They welcomed me with open arms and I thank them for accepting me into their community, re-asserting my faith in the goodness of mankind. Maybe the fact we all love Austen is enough to transcend race, however I personally believe that Janietes are special, as JA said...

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” 

I do believe prejudice comes from ignorance and Janeietes are very intelligent, I also believe they are fully versed in the concept of prejudice from JA's very own Elizabeth Bennet.

As you can tell I loved Belle for many reasons and I hope that when you see it you too will have your own special reasons for liking it.

I would like to end with one of my favourite quotes from Maya Angelou

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” - Maya Angelou

Monday, 16 June 2014

Stronger Even Than Pride Blog Tour

Welcome everyone! To the second stop of Gail McEwen's, Stronger Even Than Pride Blog Tour. Kindly brought to you by Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews.

Gail has kindly shared an excerpt of her new book and after reading it, I am very eager to read some more!!! 

So without further ado I will hand you over to Gail.

My Kids… Excerpt
First, a little background: In Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth reads the letter pressed upon her in the grove at Rosings Park, it is the turning point in her opinion of both her own cleverness and of Mr Darcy’s character. My premise for Stronger Even Than Pride is simple – what if Elizabeth Bennet was a little too obstinate and headstrong to continue reading past the letter’s blunt and bitter beginning? What if she did not continue on to learn the truth about Mr Wickham? In this book, I took away the “Hunsford moment” for both of them and tried to follow the aftermath to it’s logical conclusion. The journey is not easy, but the outcome is inevitable—how could it be otherwise for two people destined to be together?

To set the scene – it is winter in London; our two main characters find themselves at the same party after not having seen each other since an uncomfortable misunderstanding at Jane and Bingley’s wedding the previous spring. Darcy has convinced himself that his feelings for Elizabeth were nothing more than a fleeting infatuation. Elizabeth has found herself in an unhappy marriage to a profoundly selfish and shallow man, though she tries her best to put on a happy front for the world. Our hero enters the room and…

Darcy froze in the doorway, his heart in his throat. He had braced himself to encounter Wickham, but Elizabeth… For some reason he had not thought Wickham would bring his wife, and the sight of her hit him unexpectedly hard. But it was no matter, he reminded himself; she meant nothing to him. He watched her as she stood smiling and laughing beside Mrs Bingley and several other ladies. Her eyes glittered with that familiar gleam of light-hearted mischief, and his mouth twitched involuntarily in response. Nothing. She is nothing to me. He looked behind him at the men’s tables where Wickham was engrossed in his game, throwing money into the pot with abandon. He turned back to look for signs of disillusionment on his wife’s part, prepared to find satisfaction at the sight, when he noticed his sister among the group of conversing ladies.

A brief panic overcame him. He had only agreed to let Georgiana attend the party after repeated assurances that she was quite past any feelings of distress over George Wickham and would be perfectly fine even if she should see him. She had added excitedly that her dear friends the Franklins were sure to be there, and she was determined to introduce them at last. He crossed the room, telling himself that, although his sister appeared to be perfectly composed and comfortable, she must feel some distress at being so close to Wickham’s wife. Before he reached them, however, they were approached by a young man. He paused, watching as Georgiana performed the introductions and, after a few moments of conversation, allowed the man to escort her to the refreshment table. Was this the Mr Robert Franklin he had heard so much about? But the thought was fleeting because suddenly he was standing before Elizabeth, and of the hundreds of things he wanted to say, of all the questions he wanted to ask, only one was appropriate.

“Mrs Wickham.” He bowed stiffly. “I hope you are well?”

“Mr Darcy,” she gasped. “I am well, thank you, but it appears that I am destined to be surprised by Darcys this evening.”

“Then forgive me for startling you.” She nodded, and they stood awkwardly in silence. “I saw you speaking to my sister just now,” he at last ventured. “Am I to understand that, as a Darcy, you found her surprising, too?”

“I did, I confess, but very pleasantly so.” Elizabeth smiled. “In fact, I found her delightful.”

“And that surprises you?”

“Perhaps,” was all she replied, but her eyes twinkled as she took a drink from the glass she held.

“I see.” He sniffed. “That can only mean, of course, that you expected her to be a copy of me, whom you do not find delightful.”

“I think I must have,” she admitted. “After all, you are all I know of the Darcy family.”

“Well, perhaps now your frankness surprises me. You might at least have pretended to disagree with my assessment.”

She looked at him archly. “You have accused me, on at least one occasion, of professing opinions that are not my own. I have to wonder how you can be certain I am not doing so at this very moment.”

A picture flashed through his mind: Elizabeth sitting at the pianoforte next to his cousin; he approached them, she teased, and then he had made that very accusation. In hindsight, he understood; that was the moment he knew his initial attraction to Miss Bennet had become something deeper and stronger. No matter what might have happened afterwards, he could still recall the rush of relief that arose within him when he had at last admitted those feelings to himself. He remembered the almost giddy expectation of happiness he anticipated once he could declare those feelings. The recollection was so strong and present, he could not help but smile. “As I told you then, I am not afraid of you.”

“Nor should you be. My opinions can be of little interest or import to you now.”

“On the contrary. In fact, I would beg you to clarify one thing in particular. Am I now to infer that you did not find my sister delightful after all?”

 “You may. But knowing your sister as you do, you might just as easily infer the opposite.”

“Mrs Wickham, I—” he stopped, smiled, and shook his head. She was obviously teasing him. Just like at Rosings. Against his will, his heart jumped, but then he wondered about her motives. Yes, she was teasing; what he did not know was her purpose in doing so. Were her kind words about Georgiana a way of letting him know that she had kept his secret safe? Or was he, as before, wanting to see something that was not there? Needing to regain control, he held her gaze steadily, searching her eyes for a hint of either mischief or understanding until she faltered and looked away.

That was better.

“We are quite different,” he said carefully after a pregnant silence, “Georgiana and I. I hate to think that anyone’s poor opinion of me would colour their estimation of my sister’s worth.”

She stared at him incredulously for a moment before bursting into laughter.

“Far be it from me to judge a person’s worth on the basis of the behaviour of his or her family!”

“I suppose I deserved that.”

“You did, but I am indisposed to hold grudges tonight, so I shall venture to say in all frankness that I found Miss Darcy to be a pleasant and very handsome young woman. I shall go even further to say that, despite your efforts to minimise it, I find the family resemblance quite striking.”

He wished he possessed the easy humour of his cousin Fitzwilliam so he could cleverly remark upon her inadvertent admission that she found him pleasant and handsome as well, but he did not. Instead, he was forced to simply smile and nod. Then reflect. Then carefully study her face once more. Was it an inadvertent admission? How could it be? This was no young girl beside him, flattered and blinded by a man’s attentions and grown incautious in the heady atmosphere of her first night out, nor had he ever known her to speak carelessly, however pointed her observations might be. This was a woman who looked at him with challenge in her eyes, fully aware of her words and the impression they conveyed. He wanted to ask what she meant, but the question was ludicrous.

“How do you like London?” was what came out instead when he managed to tear his eyes from hers.

“Not at all.” Her good humour diminished slightly. “Tonight excepted, I have found the society in town to be infinitely more confined and unvarying than any to be found in Hertfordshire.”

“I suppose it is to be expected that you would not be much out in company when one is newly…” He bit back the word. “New. That is, when one is new in town.”

“True, true,” she said absently. “I suppose I do not much like being…new.” Taking a sip of her wine, she added, “In town. Town life…is not at all what I expected.”

She sighed, giving him the strong impression that she was saying less than she meant, meaning more than she said.

“It seems to suit you,” he blundered forward. “You look very well.”

“Mr Darcy, you once declared that you could not abide disguise of any sort. Why should you abandon that principle now for the sake of offering empty flattery?”

Something came over him, something akin to the giddiness he had felt that day at Rosings. “On the day of your sister’s wedding you offered me your hand in friendship,” he said impulsively. “I was regrettably prevented from accepting it, but I ask you—was the offer sincere?”

She stared at him, confusion in her eyes.

“It was.”

“Will you offer it again?”

Wordlessly she held out her hand.

A feeling almost electrical travelled up his arm as he took it, and he needed a deep breath to calm himself.

“Then please, as a friend, do me the courtesy of believing me when I tell you that you look very well indeed. You are, in fact, quite beautiful.”

She stared at him then dropped her eyes to their two hands touching.

“I am not what I was.”

“No,” he said huskily, bringing her hand to his mouth. “You are more. Much more.”

Well I do not know about you, but I for one, need to know where this story is heading!!
Thank you Gail for allowing us a snippet of your new book, it was certainly enticing! I wish you well with the rest of the Blog Tour. The Blog Tour includes an interview, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways! Details of the Blog Tour can be found at the bottom of the page.

Gail McEwen Bio

It took a few decades, but Gail finally took her English teacher’s advice and “became a writer.” It’s not that she didn’t want to be a writer – she always wanted to be a writer – she just didn’t know how to go about it. Because, truthfully, if one is going to write, one must eventually allow others to read what has been scribbled in that notebook shoved in the back of the drawer.

Gail eventually worked up enough nerve to share her efforts with the anonymous world of the internet, after that she ventured out to college classes, writing contests, and eventually found a publisher.

Gail’s newest book, Stronger Even Than Pride, is a wicked twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Depending on your measure, her success is either modest or phenomenal – while she is in no danger of growing either rich or famous, she is a published, award-winning author! Gail chooses the latter yardstick.

So it just goes to show – you should always listen to your teachers. 

Tour Stops:
6/16: Guest Post at My Jane Austen Book Club
6/18: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
6/20: Author Interview & Giveaway at The Darcy Obsession
6/22: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love For Jane Austen
6/24: Excerpt & Giveaway at Everything Books and Authors 
6/25: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
6/26: Guest Post at Laughing With Lizzie
6/27: Review at The Calico Critic

Feel free to Share your thoughts on Gail's excerpt.

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Negotiated Marriage by Noelle Adams

This is my invite to the ball, my first non-Austen related book review.
I enjoyed this book immensely, so much so that I had it read within a single night and was reading it again the following! Why? Because I love these types of story lines, the guy is in love with the girl and she's oblivious! Ring any bells!

Molly works for one of the largest coffee shop chains in America and after having an eight month fling with Baron the son of the owner, she declares her love, only to have it embarrassingly thrown back in her face. Heart broken she moves to Canada to work for the coffee chains rival. Luke is the owner & company director and highly sort after by the ladies of the Ton so to speak. Fed up with his private liaisons being constantly exposed by the paparazzi, he seeks to find a solution. Molly's intelligent, attractive and they get along, why not ask her if she would be willing to enter into a marriage of convenience. It will take him off the market as a single bachelor, while presenting a clean image to the media. Molly doesn't want a relationship after her heart was broken, so this arrangement would be agreeable to her plus she too would be off the singles circuit, besides it would be a great way to get back at the culprit of her unrequited love, Baron.
Three years later and the arrangement is going well, Molly only has to attend six social functions with Luke a month, easy right? Well yes, until one evening Luke announces he would like to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, he would like to add sex to the contract! Oh I say, really! Did he just ask that, yes I think he did! I must say, I am surprised Molly didn't choke on her Chinese then and there, bringing the story to an abrupt end.

"I’m not that pitiful.” “I don’t think you’re pitiful.” His expression was casual and unrevealing, as usual. “But, because of James, it’s going to be hard for you to trust another man. Isn’t it?” She made a face, although she knew in some ways he was right. “I trust you, don’t I?” “Not with your heart.” She stared at him, completely perplexed by what looked like diffidence in his expression. “I’m not saying you should,” he continued, barely missing a beat. His hazel eyes rested on her face with a strange sort of caution. “Obviously, that’s not what our marriage has ever been about. I just meant your thing with Baron still has an effect on you—and I don’t think he’s worth it.” - Noelle Adams

Is it possible to have sex with no strings attached? I really liked how the little details unravelled in this book and without Luke's take on things, it was an intriguing read. Things seemed obvious to me yet the author had a way of keeping you guessing, exactly what is the real deal here? Could I be wrong? No surely not. Either way it did not matter, I delighted in seeing their journey and wanted to see how this was going to play out. Molly was a decent girl and I liked her, she reminded me of myself a little!  Her rushing around was too funny to witness. Molly herself did not see any signs that would make her think Luke had an ulterior motive, yet as a reader I had no qualms with Molly not noticing because of the reasoning behind her thought process. Luke actually reminded me of Mr Darcy, only because Molly did not have a clue what Luke thought of her and Luke did not give much away in the department of sharing, the author must indeed be an Austen fan. Considering Luke was fairly rich, I enjoyed the fact there was little emphasis on this. As the story is told from Molly's perspective she rarely mentions his wealth or the lavish lifestyle she lives being married to such a man. Except however, in regards to the separate wardrobe of sophisticated attire she is required to wear, to her six negotiated social functions a month. Clothes that she felt awkward in wearing, inadvertently highlighting her humbleness, which made me like her all the more.  Luke is gorgeous, well dressed and kind, although very reticent in character. I liked seeing little glimpses into the man he was, through his subtle actions.

There are a lot of sex scenes and this was my first foray into such reading material, as I have never read any Mills & Boon or Three shades of grey for that matter. As a result I have no comparison as such, to compare this book with. Yet it matters not, this book could easily stand alone without the sex scenes and be released again in order to reach another audience. Although through them we get a little window into Luke and when the encounters change over time, much can be determined from these changes. There was a part in the story that felt a little far fetched but not totally unbelievable, it certainly added to the books entertainment value and I dearly love to laugh. As stated before I read this book again the following day, so that I could read it armed with the knowledge I had gained. If you have read Pride & Prejudice then you will know what I mean, it is so much more interesting to read it again once you are fully aware of Mr Darcy's feelings.

"It was nice, she decided, that Luke had been worried about her. That he’d tried to take care of her. It wasn't entirely foreign to their relationship. He’d always been considerate with her when she needed it. He’d gone out of his way to help her when she’d sprained her ankle last year. And, when her father had died, he’d sat with her for hours. She’d known he was horribly uncomfortable in the face of her grief, and he’d never hugged her or held her, no matter how helplessly she’d been crying. But he hadn’t left her alone, and that had meant something to Molly."- Noelle Adams

A Negotiated Marriage is fast becoming one of my new favourites and now the Kindle copy is read, time for the Paperback!

This Book is Worthy of 4 Hearts - Mr Bingley!

As always I love to hear your comments!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Perfect Match Giveaway Winners!

Hello everyone!

Today I announce the lucky winners of The Perfect Match by Lory Lilian Giveaway!

It was my birthday at the weekend and I got terribly spoilt with Austenesque gifts, so I thought it would be lovely to spread the love and buy a copy of The Perfect Match to extend the winners total to three!

I would like to say thank you to Lory Lilian for writing another delightful novel and for kindly donating the prizes for the Giveaway!  
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who stopped by to read the review and everyone who left a comment to enter the giveaway! 

Congratulations ladies!!!
Monica P & WordynerdySarah you have both won a paperback copy of The Perfect Match and L.Fujinaga you have won a ebook copy!

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

Thank you again to all that participated.

(Winners picked using

      Ebook                Paperback

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Review & Giveaway! The Perfect Match - A Pride & Prejudice Sequel by Lory Lilian

This book is what I would call, an understated, little gem!
You need look no further than the last chapter in Austen's Pride and Prejudice to understand Lory's vision for this book and to my sheer delight, her inspiration is the 1995 P&P with Firth and Ehle, squeak!!!.

For me the last chapter in P&P conveyed so much, yet gave so little, I selfishly wanted more and this little darling of a book does precisely that! When I was speaking to Lory about this book she said "Elizabeth and Darcy are meant to be the happiest couple in the world, right?" And I could not agree more!

 Therefore if you were expecting Elizabeth and Darcy to be anything other than happy or for the Colonel to get horrifically injured or for some other ghastly mishap to take place, then you will be sorely disappointed. However, if like me, you believed Darcy and Elizabeth would have their happily ever after, then I am certain you will appreciate and enjoy this story, as much as I did.

Following Elizabeth and Darcy for little over a year, their first Christmas is spent at Pemberley along with the Bennets, the Gardiners and the Bingleys (yes including the Bingley sisters). You will be pleased to know that Mrs Gardiner's wish to tour the grounds in a small phaeton, were realised. Between June and August Darcy takes Elizabeth on a tour of England.
Returning to London in November to spend the season, we catch up with the two lovebirds at Darcy house. The Bingleys are to host a joint anniversary dinner and Lady Matlock, displeased that the Darcy's forewent the previous season, is eager for Elizabeth to throw a ball and be properly introduced to society.

"Darcy helped Elizabeth sit near Georgiana then took a place right across from her as he always did. She had asked him some time ago why he did not sit beside her at the table, and he had answered that he preferred to have a full view of her beautiful face and to enjoy her smiles, her fine eyes, and all the small gestures that for such a long time he had admired only from afar. Now, more than ever before, she could feel his eyes caressing her while the servants brought the first course and the others asked Darcy about his journey." - Lory Lilian

I loved this story for too many reasons to mention, but what I liked most, was that Lory tried to keep the characters as close to Austen's as possible in regards to how they might behave. For instance Mrs Bennet was kept how I like her, a little over the top but sensible enough not to ruin her daughter's marriages and reputations amongst the ton or the Matlocks for that matter! Lets not forget the business of her life, was to see her daughters married and I am sure she would do nothing to jeopardise that.
Lory does a exceptional job in addressing and expanding on the brief glimpse of the future Austen left us. I liked how the gradual change Bingley undertakes is conveyed, as he tries to gain his assertiveness in his new found position as husband and his conflict of interest in light of how his sisters behave. How would it have been? Although Caroline would not have been insensible in preserving her right to visit Pemberley, it does not follow that she would be so altered that her manner would soften towards Jane. As Mr Bennet observed, Bingley and Jane are so easy and generous that It came as no surprise that their marriage would run into a few problems. Darcy and Elizabeth had their fair amount of trials and tribulations in P&P but I felt Bingley and Jane's were on the horizon. After all, Elizabeth gained a sweet and loving sister in Georgiana but the same could not be said for Jane. Elizabeth was not settled too near her family, Yet Jane was just a stones throw from Longbourn!

"Mr. Darcy’s “ten thousand a year,” his estates, and his wealth meant little to her. His best qualities—those for which she felt herself blessed—were his generous nature, his kindness, his honesty, his fairness, his intelligence and knowledge of the world, his love of books, art and everything beautiful—and his love and passion for her. His dark gaze and small, hidden smiles when he looked at her, his soft, low voice whispering to her, his strong yet tender hands that offered her safety, warmth, caresses, and . . . Her own thoughts made her tremble," - Lory Lilian

The details for me, are what Lory does best, every question I had, she answered. For instance did Mr Bennet tell Mrs Bennet the truth about what Darcy had done for Lydia? It is these little details I appreciate because they are important to me and I think every Janiete can relate to that.
Keeping details realistic adds to the depth of a story, how did the Matlocks take to Elizabeth? How was she received by the ton? How did Darcy handle the fact that Wickham was part of the family? Lory pulled off a wonderful job in all aspects that mattered. Each of her Characters, old and new I adored and I frequently had a satisfied grin on my face.

My favourite scenes were Elizabeth's repartee with the Countess of  Jersey, a patroness of Almack's, Jane and Bingley's enlightenment to how they had misunderstood one another, Mrs Bennet's heart to heart with Elizabeth and Darcy's worry and outrage pertaining to Elizabeth's health.
There is something lovely about Darcy's protectiveness over Elizabeth, it is so masculine yet heart-warming because it conveys how much she means to him. They both love each other without question but by closely keeping to the original characters we do not get the overly passionate or unbelievable Darcy. We do not see a Darcy that cannot bare to be apart from Elizabeth for even a moment, he still pursues his manly pursuits like visiting his mens' club, while Elizabeth enjoys spending time with Georgiana, Jane and Mrs Gardiner.

“So she went alone? Twenty servants in this house, and she went alone? Where was everybody? Sarah, Mrs. Benson—and Stevens—I already had a decided discussion with him. Does no one attend to their duties when I am away?” - Lory Lilian

Elizabeth is quite the lady and it was great to witness how she handled herself in her new station in life, in one particular scene, I loved how she pacified Darcy's displeasure with his aunt, while still showing him the respect a husband like Darcy should garner, without belittling him in the presence of company. Another theme that ran throughout was Darcy and Elizabeth's connection, through knowing glances they silently communicated with one another. Remember the 1995 piano scene at Pemberley, when their eyes meet at the piano while she turns the pages for Georgiana, shortly after Caroline's thinly veiled attack, if you do, then you will know what I am talking about. I was unhappy that the story was not longer, I could have read another 100 pages, covering Georgiana's coming out and Elizabeth's presentation to court , but then it would be unfair to criticize a book that at 110 pages is described as a short story, there goes my selfishness again!

Capital! I was pleased with everyone and everything in this book, Mr Bennet's wit, Mrs Bennet's love for her daughters, Mrs Gardiner's wise presence, Caroline's disdain, Lady Matlock's tender concern and family loyalty in promoting the reputation of the Darcy's and lets not forget Colonel Fitzwilliam's jovial manner. Jane and Bingley were too sweet. Elizabeth was kind, loving and considerate. Darcy was a great friend, generous and most importantly a gentleman. It should come as no surprise that both couples were most certainly, a Perfect Match!

This book is worthy of 5 hearts - Mr Darcy!

Without further ado, the Giveaway!

Lory Lilian is kindly donating one Paperback copy and one Ebook copy of The Perfect Match! This giveaway is open internationally and the winners will be announced on the 11th June. The winners will have 48hrs to contact me via my 'contact me' tab, located at the top of my blog.
To be in with a chance of winning this delightful Pride and Prejudice continuation, just leave a comment below and state your preference in regards to a paperback or ebook copy! Good luck Everyone!!!!

      Ebook                Paperback

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Happy June Reading!

Hello everyone! I am really excited about June for four reasons, first I have some great books to read and review. Second, a Lory Lilian giveaway!!! Third, participation in the Stronger than Pride blog tour and finally my birthday is in June!

I do not usually get excited about my birthday but this year I am spending it in Chawton visiting the Jane Austen's House Museum. Plus on the day, Deirdre Le Faye will be there signing copies of her new book Jane Austen's Country Life and historical interpreter John White, will be there as William Knight, an ex-crewman of a slave ship, now turned abolitionist!

Austen variations are fundraising for the museum and they have lots of terrific prizes, so please follow the link to find out more and make a donation for this wonderful cause.

 To Donate
Click on this picture to find out more and donate

Time to scream!!! On the 4th June the lovely and talented Lory Lilian is kindly donating one paperback and one ebook copy of her new short story The Perfect Match - A Pride & Prejudice Sequel, I give you permission to stop screaming! (of course if you would like to continue, I will not stop you)

Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews is kindly hosting the Stronger Than Pride blog tour. Please Join me and the other bloggers for another delightful blog tour, with guest posts, reviews, interviews and giveaways. The tour will be stopping by my blog on the 17th June for an excerpt of Stronger Than Pride by Gail McEwen, so stop by and have a read, I hope you enjoy it!

Please click on the picture for a full list of tour stops

I would like to take this time to apologise for not doing reviews on three books promised in May! I have been up against it with Uni assignments and Law exams. Which was partly my own fault, if procrastination instead of dancing made the order of the day, I'd be a true proficient!!

The books I will be reviewing this month.

The Perfect Match - A pride and Prejudice Sequel By Lory Lilian

Chosen (Leaving Bennet Behind vol. 1) By Sarah Johnson

Invited to the ball this month is a non Austen related book - Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Overdue reviews !!!!

Picture Kindly donated by my friend Roz who was there yesterday!!
A little something that might interest you Chatsworth House is holding a Regency Ball on the 12th July!!! 

Begin your evening with a drinks reception and canap├ęs in the Painted Hall. Followed by a regency themed 5 course dinner served in the elegant surroundings of the Carriage House restaurant with live entertainment, 
The fun begins at 7.30pm at £85.00 a head. 
I am so disappointed as I will only just be getting back from a wedding in Cyprus. Although I'm pretty sure my Mr Darcy will be pleased he narrowly avoided breeches!!! 

I hope you have some great reads lined up for June!!

Happy June reading everyone!!!!

As always I love to hear your comments!