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.

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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”

Updates

May Recap 2017

In case you missed it, I went back to the UK this month. It was the first time I’ve been back since I left after finishing school over there in 2009. It was a wonderful trip and I got to see so many people who I haven’t seen in SO long! We attended a wonderful wedding in London for my friend Emily and then afterward were joined by my childhood best friend Alie in London.

Not only did I see a bunch of friends from Leeds, but I also got to see a few friends from summer camp which was even better! I won’t spend the whole post talking about it, but suffice to say there are a lot of photos that I want to share but won’t because I either can’t be bothered to edit them or don’t want to overwhelm everyone. Highlights of the trip, specifically book related include: Jane Austen’s House (photos after the jump (left), Warner Brothers: The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, British Library and National Portrait Gallery. I didn’t have NEARLY enough time at Jane Austen’s, but I will go back eventually. That’s a photo of me and I was so excited and I was smiling so much that my eyes are closed in all of the photos.

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ARC, Books

Book 448: Daddy Dearest – Paul Southern

Southern, Paul - Daddy DearestI’m not going to lie. I am very surprised I made it all the way through this one. VERY surprised. If you’ve followed me for a while you’re aware I’m not the biggest fan of self-published works. I took a chance on this one, because the author reached out to me about a review copy*, but I was a bit overwhelmed at the time and asked him to check back in and he did so very politely. So I figured the least I could do would be to give the book a go.

The reason I don’t read self-published novels often is because they usually haven’t been through a full editing process. Some have had some sort of editing, but most haven’t had the full process (developmental, content, line, copy and proofreading). Unfortunately for this novel, if it did go through the full process, I couldn’t tell and that sucks because the story had a lot of potential and I could tell that as I forced myself to keep reading.

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ARC, Books

Book 440: Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Faye, Lyndsay - Jane SteeleThis was incredibly entertaining and fascinatingly fun to read, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I think perhaps I’ve read too many Austen fan-fiction novels that fit into one of two molds: modern retelling or prequel/sequel. There are the occasional paranormal/sci-fi mash-ups but mostly they fit within those first two molds. This novel was completely different.

I knew it would be different because the Brontë’s are such different writers, but I wasn’t aware how different it would be in terms of fan-fiction. I’ve only read a few Brontë fan-fiction works, 50% or more of which made me want better stories or better writing. When I reached out to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for a review copy I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but I’m definitely glad I requested it!*

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Books

Book 430: The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev Grossman

Grossman, Lev - The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)The bad news is that the trilogy is finally over. I read this book in less than 48 hours and even I’m impressed with that because I had to go to work AND I had trivia with my friends. (They have no idea how close I was to bailing.) The good news is that I’m exhausted because of how great it was and I can FINALLY watch the SyFy TV series without fear of spoilers!

This series was definitely one of those books/series where you feel as if you’ve lived multiple lives and then when it ends you just feel empty inside. I’ll probably take a day or two before I try to dive into anything else. The Magician’s Land was an excellent follow up to The Magician King and The Magicians. If you don’t want spoilers for the first two books I probably would just skip this post and come back when you’ve read them.

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