Books

Book 571: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian #2) – Markus Harwood-Jones

I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*

It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.

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Books

Book 570: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian #1) – Markus Harwood-Jones

This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.

I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.

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Books

Book 555: Lizzy & Jane – Katherine Reay

Lizzy & Jane cover artAs if reading a book about grief and death wasn’t enough, I unknowingly placed a book right behind it from my Reay reading binge that focuses on two sisters, one of whom is battling cancer, and one of whom is battling issues from their mother’s death from cancer.

After reading the first two novels by Reay (The Austen Escape and Dear Mr. Knightley) I wasn’t really sure where this one would fall. Would it be super religious/preachy or wouldn’t it? Would it be squeaky clean or would Reay let a little more spice into the work? Continue reading “Book 555: Lizzy & Jane – Katherine Reay”

Books

Book 553: Dear Mr. Knightley – Katherine Reay

"Dear Mr. Knightley" book cover artThis book is what I was worried of when I found out these were categorized under clean romance and Christian fiction. It could’ve been A LOT worse, but it was just enough to start to put me off toward the end of the novel. That being said, I know there’s a HUGE market for both clean romance AND Christina fiction, so I can’t really fault it too much because it was just a little too preachy for me at some points. I’ll talk more about this later.

I’m still not sure where to categorize this for my own references. I think they’d be more accurately described as inspired by Austen rather than the traditional fan-fiction/fanfiction. Reay does a great job weaving in the stories and characters from Austen’s works but doesn’t necessarily use them as frameworks or even plot outlines. I’ll read the other’s books in her oeuvre that are Austen/Brontë connected because they’re such quick reads, but I’m not sure I’ll follow her into the future.

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Books

Book 551: The Austen Escape – Katherine Reay

I picked this up at the library after reading about it on Jane’s blog greenish bookshelf, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I do occasionally like a clean romance, but let’s face it I also enjoy some pretty trashy and raunchy novels/works. I also wasn’t 100% sure where this would rank on the romance scale with it often being categorized as Christina Fiction, but I did ultimately enjoy the book. I have also complained multiple times about the books where characters jump right in to sex and living together and the whole book happens in two months. So basically, I don’t know what I want in a romance novel. But seriously though, coat it in Austen or Brontë, no matter how tenuous, and I’ll be happy!

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Books

Book 529: My Own Mr. Darcy – Karey White

What I liked about this is that it wasn’t just a spin-off from the original Jane Austen novels, it was a novel based off of the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The main character, Lizzie/Elizabeth (yes named after Elizabeth Bennet),  becomes obsessed with Matthew McFadyen and finding her own version of Mr. Darcy who mirrors him exactly. So is it fan-fiction of the novel or the movie? It’s hard to say, but what really did it for me was the character’s appreciation of the score of the film.

The appreciation of Marianelli’s composition and Thibaudet’s performance made me appreciate this book more than I probably would have. When I need something to play in the background that doesn’t have lyrics 99% of the time I go to this score. If I just need to de-stress I go to this score. I’m sure a lot of it is how much I enjoyed this version of the film, but it’s also just an incredibly beautiful score. I’ve pasted it in after the recommendation. I should’ve been listening to it the whole time I read this book.

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