Posted in Uncategorized

Book Review: “Emmeline” by Sarah Holman

 

Emmeline by Sarah Holman

 

“Emmeline” by Sarah Holman

Part of the Vintage Jane Austen Retellings

 

About the Book:

 

What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?

 

 

 

My Review:     //4 out of 5 Stars//

 

This idea of a Jane Austen retelling collection is brilliant, and so when the chance to read/review “Emmeline” (Sarah Holman’s retelling) came up, I jumped! Back when Miss Holman opened up the writing contest for this collection I had planned on entering myself, and had even started writing, but it wasn’t to be – I wasn’t able to finish it. Ah well. At least I can enjoy reading those who did enter!
I have not read the original of “Emma”, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this retelling. I understand that it is very close to the original, so I don’t feel like I was missing anything to understand.
“Emmeline” is remarkably well-written. I think this might be the best yet of Miss Holman’s writing; it flowed so smoothly and read just effortlessly.
I admit I had a bit of a hard time with Emmeline sometimes, because of her character, but I really loved her turn-around at the end, and despite her flaws she was still a like-able character. And Frederick Knight was fantastic! I really enjoyed his character, and how he handled Emmeline was great. I loved his “scoldings”, too, as they were done out of love.
The Christian message was very well done and tied together beautifully at the end.
The whole story was a very good one, and I was really impressed with it. There was a bit at the end that maybe seemed a little rushed, but didn’t hamper the enjoying of it at all.

Good story! Can’t wait to read the rest. :)

 

*I received a complimentary ecopy for review.

 

emmeline

 

 

Posted in Book reviews

Book Review: “Austen in Austin: Volume 1” by Various Authors

 

Volume 1 Full

“Austen in Austin: Volume 1” by  Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Debra E. Marvin, and Gina Welborn.

Review copy source: Author/Publishers

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Three out of four novels I’d give somewhere between 3.5/4 stars and the last one I’d give a full 5 :)

 

About the Book:

Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen’s Novels

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love–Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:

“If I Loved You Less” by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

“Romantic Refinements” by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

“One Word from You” by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

“Alarmingly Charming” by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Four more exciting novellas will follow in volume 2!

 

My Thoughts:

This is a pretty fun collection. :) Each novella followed the plot of each of Jane Austen’s books well, and still with their own unique-ness intertwined. “Emma”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abbey” were all a part of this collection.
Each of these authors were new to me, but they all did an excellent job! Each story was beautifully written and had great characters. I don’t think I had any real complaints for any of them.  I enjoyed some over others, but that was solely personal preference. :)
The retelling of “Northanger Abbey” was by far my favourite. That tale was extremely entertaining and I just loved the whole thing! I really ‘bonded’ with Kathryn and fell in love with the hero. :)
The Sense and Sensibility one was my second favourite; though it was only Marrianne’s half of the story, it was very good and had quite a strong strand of faith through out it. And Brandon was a great character! Very easy to picture each of the characters and the story flowed nicely.
“Pride and Prejudice”‘s retelling was quite good as well, and fans of P&P and a very southern feel will definitely love this one. :)
The “Emma” retelling was entertaining and frustrating at the same time. ^.^ I’ve never been a huge fan of “Emma” in general so this wasn’t my favourite of the collection, but it was still well written and enjoyable!
As I said, each of the authors did an excellent job, and wrote captivating tales, each with a bit of depth to them.
A very nice collection and I’m looking forward to Volume two!
I received a complimentary ecopy of this collection from the authors/publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
Posted in Writing

A Writerly Update

Ah yes, I am actually writing a normal post! And about my writing, no less :D It has been a while, and so I thought ‘why not?’ (anybody thinking of the quote from “Leap Year” when the icky fiance’ says that? XD)

So yes, my writing…

I am only working on a couple projects now – of writing, that is. The biggest news that I have to share here, is that a few days ago, I FINISHED the story of my heart – the novel that has taken me over 4 years to write! It’s all done. Two full notebooks, and lots of pencil stubs later, it is complete.  And I cannot even being to express how exciting, and sad, and amazing that is for me! I don’t feel like I will ever be done with this story though. It’s too close to my heart to ever really be over. =) Next step for that one comes typing it up on the computer and then editing…I’m not exactly sure when I will start that mountainous project.

Currently, my Beauty and the Beast retelling is in its second stage of editing. After that, I imagine I will give it one more read through, and then start the publishing process for that one. So exciting! Even if it isn’t till later this year, or even next year, it’s still exciting that I will be published in the near future!

I am also currently writing a short story for a contest through Homeschooled Authors.

 

You’ll just have to wait and see what Jane Austen story I am retelling. =) I am also writing this one by hand because my laptop has not been behaving properly. That’s okay though, because I felt that it is God’s doing to have me writing it by hand. It gives Him even more control. :)

I’m also working on another writing project that is my “typical” medieval-y/village-y setting. Fantasy, but not really. Hard to explain. =) I’ve sort of set this beloved story on back-burner until I finish my short story, which I’m hoping will be soon, because I miss that other story which I refer to as “M and A Story” online. =) Once everything is all done and published, I will share names, details, etc.!

I’m editing a couple of friend’s books as well, so that’s fun…

I think this about wraps it up for a writerly update! Not much else to say… =) If you’re a writer, what are you working on at present?

 

Posted in Books, lists, Pinterest favourites, Random babblings, Writing

Character Love

My literary crush is

 

I have a list. No, I’m serious. That is what I am posting. :D  I have a tendency to, well, fall in love with good, strong, (and most of the time, gruff,) guys in books.  Not every book, mind you, but when a book has one of those kind of guys, it’s hard not to fall in love. ;) So, without further ado, here is my list. And it’s not in order, because I couldn’t choose who’d be first. :)

  • Mr. Thornton of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Captain Wentworth of Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Loginus of The Thief by Stephanie Landsem
  • Aric of For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
  • Mitch  of Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
  • Xavier of Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
  • Jace of Heart of India series by Linda Chaikin
  • Sir Bentley of the Knights of Arrethtrae series (“Sir Bentley and the Holbrook Court”) by Chuck Black
  • Salmone  of Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
  • Snorri Thorbrandsson of  God’s Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert
  • Enosh of The Well by Stephanie Landsem
  • Darius of Harvest of Rubies/Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar
  • Prince Turveydrop of Bleak House by Charles Dickens (No snickering, please).

I think that is about it…though I’m sure I’m missing some ;)

I definitely have favourite female characters too, but haven’t yet created that list. Maybe I’ll work on that soon. :)

Who are your favourite male and female characters, and why?

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse, Reviews

Litfuse Review: “The Dancing Master”

Hello!
This is my first review for Litfuse. I hope it is done right :)

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Number of pages: 424
Source: Litfuse http://litfusegroup.com/
The Rating I give this book: 4 stars

Book’s Description:

Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julie Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village . . . and to her mother’s tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

My Review:

This was the first book that I’ve read of Julie Klassen’s, but she is a favourite author of my elder sister, so I wasn’t too hesitant to read this book. :)
I did quite enjoy this book, though I didn’t necessarily fall completely head-over-heals in love with it. To me, it was just a nice light and kind of ‘fluffy’ read.
Don’t get me wrong – it was written very well, and I enjoyed Mrs. Klassen’s way of writing. I probably will read more of her books in the future. :)
I really liked the aspect of dancing and fencing; I found that all very interesting, and well, good!
I did not care for the main character, Julia, at first, but towards the end of the middle and in the end she improved and ‘grew on me’. I liked Aurora, Alec, Patience, Walter, and John Desmond probably the best.
I was a little disappointed though, with a couple things. One, was how it was more romance than Christian. The story line was good, but it really did not touch on deeper, spiritual matters, which I think is the most important and winning aspect of a book. It was only in the end that anything related to the Lord was really touched on.
Second, was how much, well to put it plainly, ‘deceit’ was going on between Julia and her mother, Lady Amelia. Julia was constantly going out behind her mother’s back and doing things Lady Amelia strictly warned against, as well as keeping many secrets. And that was never really put to right in the end. I was hoping, as I was noticing this, that Julia would realize just how wrong that was, and stop, but even in the end, she still did another incident of going behind her mothers back in secrecy and it was just ‘swept under the rug’ so to speak. I just didn’t like that.
Other than those two points, I think it was good.
The book was fairly long, and sometimes, drawn out. You didn’t learn things till the very end, which is okay. Like I said, I enjoyed how it was written, however, there were just times when I felt like it should be over by now. :D
Oh, and I really liked the fact that the Prologue and the Epilogue were written in first-person, like from Julia’s point of view; I thought that was neat.
I also found the quotes and such at the beginning of each chapter, interesting and fun.
Reading about English Dancing really made me wish I could attend an English ball of old. How fun that would be!

“The Dancing Master” is a good book, truly. I may not have adored it, but I did enjoy it. :)
And if you have any questions, or are wondering about anything particular about it, please do ask! I would be glad to try to answer any questions you might be wondering about. :)

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/s7Yl1

About the author: Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
http://www.julieklassen.com

http://litfusegroup.com/author/jklassen

Note: I received “The Dancing Master” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.

Posted in Book reviews, Books

Just a quick review. “The Heiress of Winterwood” by Sarah E. Ladd

Hello!
As I mentioned in previous post, I was hoping to post my review of the first book in the “Whispers on the Moors” series by Sarah E. Ladd, and now I am. This review is just of my own choice – I requested this book from the library and did not receive it from a publisher to review.

Title: “The Heiress of Winterwood”
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
My rating (from 0-5 stars): 4.5 stars

Description of the book:

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

My Review:

I really liked this book. I was impressed by the writing, as well as the story itself.
The characters were all excellent – so “warm” if that makes sense.
The book was just the right length, and for it being Mrs. Ladd’s first book, very well written. It made you admire the characters, then fall in love with them, then it gripped you as the plot got going, and then calmed you again in the end.
I really did love this book; all except for the ending. And by ending, I simply refer to the last two pages. I had really hoped it wouldn’t end like so many other romances. Alas, though, ’twas not the case. I guess I just wished it could’ve ended on a more ‘innocent’ or ‘pure’ way. It would’ve been just as good – better in my opinion.
But that aside, I really enjoyed it, and it might just end up on my ‘favourites list’. :) I really appreciated how God was obviously kept in it and involved.

Note: The ending isn’t inappropriate or anything; I just didn’t care for it.

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Give-aways, Litfuse

“School” Your Desk Kindle Giveaway | The Headmistress of Rosemere

Hey there :)
I am so sorry I have not been posting more. I really was planning to, but then we’ve been on a real roller coaster. It’ll get smoother soon, I’m sure. For now, I’ve just got another give-away to share with you. My review of “The Headmistress of Rosemere” will be posted on the 26th. I am hoping to post my review of the first book in the “Whispers on the Moors” series soon, but we’ll see.
I’ve been reading a lot lately. Which has been nice. :) But besides the reviews I’ll post, I do hope to get regular posts in here and there!
Anyway…
Enjoy!

Don’t miss Sarah Ladd’s latest Regency novel, The Headmistress of Rosemere. She is celebrating the release of book two in her Whispers on the Moors series with a fun “School” Your Desk Kindle Fire Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!

rosemere-400

Between January 17–28, visit Sarah Ladd’s Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day and be entered to win a Kindle Fire grand prize. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on January 28th! (Don’t have a Facebook account? Enter here.)


RSVP today for Sarah’s The Headmistress of Rosemere Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your Regency trivia skills, announcing the winner of the “School” Your Desk Giveaway, and giving away books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she’ll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at the next book in the Whispers on the Moors series!

So grab your copy of The Headmistress of Rosemere and hope to see you on the evening of January 28th! (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 28th!

Enter Today – 1/17 – 1/28!
Sarah Ladd The Headmistress of Rosemere