Books

Book 520: The Bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald

I did not realize this one was a Man Booker Award Short List nominee when I started it. I expected fluff and lightness but realized within a few chapters that this was a lot better written than I was mentally prepared for when I selected to read it because it was one of the shortest books left on my list.

I would say this book reminds me of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, but I honestly think Chocolat (because it was published so much later) got a lot from this type of book. The idea of someone coming into a town (no matter how long you’ve been in the town you’re still not from there) and basically stirring up the locals is a tried-and-true trope. The difference between this and Chocolat is that Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop is written so subtly that the magic you see in this book isn’t actual magic. IT is emotions and growth and community.

Continue reading “Book 520: The Bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald”

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Books

Book 518: The Atwelle Confession – Joel Gordonson

Every now and then you need a bit of a historical mystery/thriller to keep you going and when the publicist reached out to me about a review copy of this I was just intrigued enough to give it a go.* This is the third book from this particular group of publicists I’ve said yes to, but the first fiction title.

I was intrigued by Gordonson’s background as an international lawyer, but also slightly concerned that both of his books to date have had religious settings. This isn’t a bad thing (especially having read this one), but it was still a wait a second am I reading propaganda moment when I finally picked up my copy of the book (I wasn’t).

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Books

Book 516: Jane Austen: A Brief Life – Fiona Stafford

After being disappointed by the much hyped (by me internally at least) Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly I looked elsewhere to nurse my mental wounds and found this lovely brief biography by Fiona Stafford. I reached out to the publisher for a copy as the book was recently re-released as part of Austen’s 200th death anniversary.*

I’ve surprisingly steered clear of nonfiction works concerning Austen (not really though because I like that she’s a bit of a mystery even with what we know about her. That being said I do have a few on my shelf that I plan to make my way through eventually. I’m not sure many, if any, will top this delightful read.

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Books

Book 514: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All (Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy #3) – Beth Pattillo

Another weekend, another great beach read! If you’re keeping track, which only I am, that’s three Jane Austen fan-fiction novels and one male-male romance novel. Talk about a great summer at the beach 😀

This is the third and final installment in Beth Pattillo’s Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy series, following Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart.

This felt like the weakest of the three books when it comes to narrative and characters, but I have to give Pattillo kudos for trying something new. Rather than focusing on one primary character and their voice/point-of-view, she split the book and moved back and forth between the characters Ellen and Mimi (not too much of a stretch from Elinor and Marianne am I right? – Pattillo nods to this).  Continue reading “Book 514: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All (Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy #3) – Beth Pattillo”

Books

Book 510: Jane Austen Ruined My Life (Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy #1) – Beth Pattillo

What another fun quick read for the summer!

I didn’t realize that Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart was part of a trilogy, but you know as soon as I found out I bought this, the first novel, and I bought The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, book three. They’re not really a trilogy, but loosely connected in theme and subject matter.

I do wish I would’ve read this one first, because I feel like Pattillo did a better job of explaining The Formidibles in this book than she did in the second, but obviously there’s a reason for that. [It’s the second book, DUH! – I’m still grumpy about reading them out of order.]

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Books

Book 506: Jane Eyre (Manga Classics) – Stacy King, SunNeko Lee, Crystal S. Chan, Charlotte Brontë

What can I say about this?* It was a great refresher and a fun way to dip my toes into the Brontë’s work again without having to commit to a longer read of the entire novel. I talked about the pros of illustrated classics when I read the Marvel Illustrated Jane Austen works (Pride and PrejudiceSense and SensibilityEmma, and Northanger Abbey) and again when I read is when I read the Manga Classics Emma, so there’s not much point in rehashing those.

Overall, the adapters and artist did a great job on the adaptation. There were a couple of things that I was like uh that definitely wasn’t in the book, i.e. positioning of characters and character interactions. I guess it just has to do with making the stories more accessible to wider audiences.

Recommendation: I still prefer the Marvel Illustrated style, but since they didn’t deign the Brontë’s important enough to adapt before they shuttered, this is a pretty good option. They’re a quick refresher on the classics and if they do the job right, which so far both the Manga Classics and the Marvel Illustrated have) they’ll make you want to (re)read the originals!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, no additional goods or money were exchanged.

Books

Book 504: Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart (Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy #2) – Beth Pattillo

I really don’t know why I have such a backlog of Jane Austen fan-fiction on my shelves.I truly enjoy reading them and they’re so quick that it’s like why do I delay the gratification?

But then again, on days like yesterday, I realize that stocking them up isn’t necessarily a bad thing because they are WONDERFUL beach reads. Hopefully, this means I’ll be going to the beach more this summer (it’s like maybe a 10 minute walk) and reading quite a few more of these 😀

Seriously, though, this one has been sitting on my shelf since 2013 when Alie sent it to me, which is just a shame because I blazed through it in less than 12 hours. I started it on the beach yesterday, see very end of the post, and finished it on my way to work this morning.

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