Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 The Best I've Read in 2010

Listed below are some of the best books I've read in 2010.  This doesn't mean they were published in 2010 but that I have read them in 2010. So check them out and let me know your favorite books in 2010.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Charlotte Collins by Jennifer Becton                                         
Soulless by Gail Carriger

Mercy's Embrace Trilogy by Laura Hile

Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy            

The King's Daughter by Sandra Worth

The Iron King and The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Well there you have it! I've read many books that I've really liked but these are at the top of the list.  Are any of these books on your list? Any books you love and would recommend? 

0 A few announcements:

The fabulous girls over at Good Choice Reading are hosting a giveaway hop and I signed up for it! It's the  Valentine Day's Books With Love giveaway hop. It takes place on February 14 - February 16, 2011.  There is still time to sign up if you want to participate too. Just click on the button below and it will take you to the sign up. If you don't want to participate, I hope you come by my blog on those dates and enter to win a fantastic prize. I won't tell you what it is yet, but I will tell you it will be international!

Once Upon a Twilight

I also want to remind everyone about the Harry Potter Reading challenge. It starts in January. You still have plenty of time to sign up for the challenge. In the next day or so I will be adding a Mr. Linky so you can link up your reviews on Harry Potter. I'm so excited to  finally be reading this series. I hope you are too! Also if you haven't grabbed one of these adorable Harry Potter button, please do! They were made by Lesley at Young Adult Books Reviewed. I absolutely love them! 

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3 Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Title: Venetia
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
Audiobook, 4:49:05
ISBN 10:1843793792 ; -13:978-1843793793
  • Summary:
  • In all her twenty-five years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate. Then she meets her neighbour, Lord Damerel, and before she knows better, she is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalized the county for years.

I have been asked many times in the last few years if I have ever read anything by Georgette Heyer.  The answer to that question was no.  Georgette Heyer has come recommended highly by several different people.  My awesome mom bought me the audio book, Venetia.  I don't listen to audio books very much but I think I will in the future. I don't get to read as much as I'd like to because life and laundry get in the way. So, I would put on the CD whenever I was folding laundry or busy cleaning and listen to Venetia. I found myself wanting to clean more just so I could listen.  
Venetia is read by Richard Armitage. If you're not familiar with him, Richard Armitage has starred in North and South, BBC Robin Hood,  and Spooks. He did and excellent job reading this book.  He gave each character a distinct voice. He made listening to Venetia very pleasurable. 
I loved this story. As I mentioned before this is my first experience with Georgette Heyer.  I will tell you right now, it won't be my last. Veneita is funny, romantic, mysterious and very entertaining. I found myself captivated by it. The main character Venetia has been kept in the quiet country her whole life. She has some unwanted suitors who plague her life. She goes from one day to the next without much excitement until she meets Lord Dameral. He turns her world upside down.  Lord Dameral is a rake. He's also very charming, witty, and extremely handsome.  Georgette Heyer definitely knows how to write a man to make all  the ladies swoon. This story captivated me from beginning to end. I was sad when the book ended because I wanted more.  I would definitely recommend this book to you. If you like regency romance I would put this book on your TBR list.

Check out this site to learn more about Geogette Heyer
Her books are still sold everywhere. My CD came from amazon but I've also seen her books in Books-A-Million. 

*picture taken from Amazon, Summary from Good Reads

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2 The Ancillary's Mark by Daniel Cohen

Title: The Ancillary's Mark
Author: Daniel A. Cohen
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: November 4, 2010
paperback, 246 pages
ISBN: 978-1-935605-76-8

The legend of the Ancillary flower has existed for centuries. Foretold to bring out the limitless potential of its bearer, the flower and the legend have been forgotten by many. Recently, strange events in a shrouded Tibetan town have sparked rumors among those who still believe.       Jacob Deer is a quirky young man, bound for college, with an eccentric old librarian for a best friend, an obsession with sitting down in elevators, and a strange birthmark on his hand that's shaped mysteriously like the markings on the Ancillary's petals. When Jacob's mentor Mr. Maddock reveals to him his connection with the legendary Ancillary, it sets in motion a series of events that sends Jacob and friends across the world. Alongside an alluring young woman, a marine-reject, and a Tibetan kid obsessed with comic books, Jacob must face off against a vengeful maniac for the fate of the flower, the legend, and all mankind.

This book had me at colored-coded bookmarks.  I knew from right then that Jacob Deer and I are kindred spirits.  Jacob Deer is like your average teen. He likes to read, loves animals, and is the 'chosen one'.  Actually he's nothing like your average teen. After all his best friend is an elderly librarian, Mr. Maddock.  Mr. Maddock has been keeping secrets, the most important secret is that Jacob is the key to a mythical flower that is said to illuminate the potential in all that it reaches. Mr Maddock sends Jacob, his granddaughter Sophia, and military trained Diego, in search of this flower. The adventure begins here because they are not the only ones looking for this flower. They travel to Tibet with a crazy pilot named Rosie.  The characters are great each in their own way. Even the evil characters are great.  My favorite character, besides my kindred spirit Jacob, is Clark. Clark is a comic book loving  genius. I loved the story line. It was adventurous, humorous, and exciting to the very end. It has a few twists and turns that keep you guessing. I really enjoyed this book.

Daniel Cohen's blog is in the process of being created. You can follow him on twitter and you can buy The Ancillary's Mark on Amazon. It's available in paperback and Kindle edition.

*summary and picture taken from Good Reads
*received copy from author for review purposes only. This in now way influenced my review.
*I don't have an affiliation with Amazon and receive no compensation from them. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

1 Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine's Soul by H. A. Goodman

Title: Logic of Demons: The Quest for Nadine's Soul
Author: H.A. Goodman
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4520-1818-8

What would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution? And would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul takes you on a journey inside the psyches of men and women forced to deal with the spiritual consequences of their decisions. Through the lives of a demon, two Angels, and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge in this novel to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition. Whether you are God fearing individual or an atheist, LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul addresses moral and theological issues of interest for people of all backgrounds.

What I liked most about this book is that it's unlike anything I've read in a long time. I really liked the story line. It is full of surprises. Devin is the main character. He loses his wife in a horrible way. He is overcome by grief and anger. There is nothing he wouldn't do to get back to her. However other forces are at work.  Devin in an attempt to be reunited with his wife is put in charge of selling the 'formula' to a young girl named, Nadine.  I really like Devin. His choices throughout the story shape who he becomes. I found I could really relate to his character. Devin is forced to take responsibility for his choices in life and death. The story is mysterious, adventurous, heartbreaking and at times funny. There are a few twists and turns that keep the story rolling. H.A. Goodman addresses many socially relevant issues in this book also.  Overall it's a good read. I really enjoyed my time reading this.

Check out these sites to learn more about the author and the book:

*Picture and Summary taken from GoodReads
* I received this book from the author for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

1 Winner of Drew in Blue

The winner of Drew in Blue is.......

Teresa Kelley

I will forward your information to J.M. Kelly.  A big THANK YOU  to  J.M. Kelly for sponsoring this giveaway.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

0 The Advent of Lena by Neil M. Campbell

Title: The Advent of Lena
Author: Neil M. Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: Nov. 5, 2010
paperback, 333 pages
ISBN: 1451509251

Can Beauty rescue Beast from the tyranny of image and his flawed perceptions of reality . . . 
Beauty: Chloe Lambert is used to men looking at her twice, but for all the wrong reasons - they cannot believe how ugly she is. Her first encounter with Park Delafield leaves her with no reason to suspect he is any different; his first words in her presence constitute a slur on her appearance. 
Beast: For Park, spiritual bankrupt with the perfect looks, only beautiful women count until he insults a stranger in a pub and is at once struck down by one of her companions. On his knees, Park perceives in an epiphany, that solely with the help of the woman he has offended can he find deliverance from the bonds of nihilism and self-regard. 
The chase: He sets out to involve her in his spiritual rebirth but she, bewildered by his attentions and repelled by his egotism, wants no part in his quest; until his persistence and her own curiosity about his motives lessen her distrust of his sincerity. 
The reckoning: Warily, all too conscious of the risks incurred in getting involved with a man whose vulnerability and isolation echo her own - and whose looks and nature render him so liable to stray - she allows him into her life. Thereby initiating trajectories of self-discovery, commitment and betrayal along which both hazard toward nemesis . . . or mutual redemption.

This book looked really interesting to me. I love the story of  beauty and the beast. This book has an interesting twist on the story.  In appearance, the male protagonist, Park is the physical beauty while the female protagonist, Chloe is the physical beast.  If you've ready the summary you get the concept of this book. Park thinks Chloe is the only one that can save him from his downward spiral. He sets out to win her trust and love. Park was a hard character to get behind. He kept making  bad decision after bad decision. It drove me up the wall. However I know people in life that do the same thing. So I think it's safe to say that Park is a realistic character. Chloe has come to terms with her physical appearance. While she has no outer beauty, her inner beauty seems to shine through. She has lots friends who love and respect her.  She puts Park off  his quest many times because she doesn't think him sincere.  I liked Chloe because she didn't have any false illusions. She is realistic about her life, she's upfront and honest.  However Park being in her life causes all sorts of problems.  From the beginning of their relationship things are a bit crazy and then the story gets jumbled up many times but in a good way. There are several different subplots in this story. Most of the characters in this book have major issues going on. The story line was good but frustrating at times. I did like the way Neil Campbell wrote the ending. It fit the story so well. Although I try not to include spoilers in my review I will say that by the end of the story, I liked Park a lot more than at the beginning.  I liked seeing his transformation throughout the story. This was definitely not a fluffy Disney story but a raw and gritty tale. 

To learn more about The Advent of Lena click here.

*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
* A copy of this book was provided by the author for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Winner of Charlotte Collins is JL Jackson who said she would like to see a sequel with Marry and Kitty. I think that would be a fun book to read. 

Winner of Across the Universe is Sarah Em from Books Like Water

Congrats to the winners. I'll be emailing you shortly with details on how to claim your prize. Don't forget to check your spam. Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Be sure to check out the other contests located in the left sidebar.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 Almost Human, Volume 1 : Fatal Infatuation by Melanie Nowak

Title: Fatal Infatuaion (Almost Human: The First Trilogy #1)
Author: Melanie Nowak
Publisher: WoodWitchDame Publications
Publication Date: July 3, 2008
Paperback, 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-9824102-8-8

Summary: Felicity views going away to college as an opportunity to mature into a confident young woman, but her new beginning turns out to be more of an adventure than she bargains for when she finds that her school is plagued by vampires! 
Cain is an elder vampire who displays quiet confidence even as he struggles to overcome sins of his past. Surprisingly, he found that in losing his life he gained his faith and a purpose. 
His mission: find the hostile vampires that inhabit this small college town, and educate them to live in peace with humans. Their leader, Sindy, is a wicked temptress who has set her sights on Felicity's new friend Ben. She will be difficult to control, but after meeting Felicity, Cain's most difficult task lies in controlling himself. 
Together they join an ensemble cast of characters to navigate the difficulties of addiction and desire; the perils of zombies and vampires; and struggles with abuse, morality and... college.

Fatal Infatuation is the first book in the first trilogy of the Almost Human series by Melanie Nowak. I have the next two books in the trilogy that I will be reviewing for you later. I wanted to treat each book in the trilogy separate and I couldn't wait to tell you that I really enjoyed this book. The book takes place on a small college campus in New York. Felicity is the main characters. She's from a small town and hopes to reinvent herself and try new things in this next stage of her life. She gets a real eye opener when she learns the college has a vampire problem.  One of the many things I liked about this book is Felicity's reaction to learning that vampires are real. Not just her reaction but that she had one. I don't know about you but if I found out vampires were real, I definitely would not be passive about it. Felicity isn't either. She goes all Buffy and learns to kick some butt. I really like Felicity. She has some gumption and guts. She's vulnerable, smart, naive, and very likable. The characters in this book are fantastically written. The banter between Ben, Allie and Felicity is great. Cain, the brooding, elder vampire is pretty hot. If he wanted to come over and teach me some martial arts, I wouldn't say no. Cain and Felicity's relationship starts off as friendship but develops deeper. I like that the story line is not rushed between those two. Cain and Felicity have many obstacles to overcome such as Sindy.  Sindy is the bad vampire in this book. She is hard, calculating, and sexy. Sindy is up to no good and wants to have fun no matter what the price. Cain tries very hard to show her another way but she is stubborn.  Melanie Nowak has written her characters in such a way that they keep developing before your eyes. She keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen next.  I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book. I really enjoyed this book, it made me want to stay up all night to read. 

If you want to learn more about this series check out these sites:

*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
* Fatal Infatuation provided to me by the Melanie Nowak for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review
* I receive no compensation from the amazon link

Saturday, December 18, 2010

4 Sunday Confessions Dec. 19, 2010

This is a weekly meme started by yours truly as a way to get to share a bit about myself and also learning more about you. Sometimes its about books and book related topics and sometimes it's not. This is all in good fun and I would love it if you would participate. 

I can't believe December is almost over. It seems this month has flown by! Next Saturday many of us will be celebrating Christmas. There are many things that I love about this time of year but one of my most favorite is the music. I love Christmas music.  It can brighten even the darkest of days. It can put a spring in your step. It can get stuck in your head so you can't help but sing. Here are some of my favorite Christmas songs:

I won't be doing Sunday Confessions next week because of the Holidays. I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

What are your favorite Christmas songs?

Friday, December 17, 2010

1 With Love, Now and Forever by RaeAnne Hadley

Title: With Love, Now and Forever
Author: RaeAnne Hadley
Publisher: lulu
Publication Date: May 10, 2010
paperback, 274 pages
ISBN: 978-0-557-35076-6

Summary: Multiple soul mates. She ran the statement through her shocked brain, allowing it to seep into her broken heart. Twelve years after losing the love of her life, she was being told that everyone has more than one chance at true love. Could it possibly be true? From outward appearances, Anastasia Cassadine has the perfect life; a very successful company and handsome men vying to be her companion. But the appearance she projects is terribly misleading. Ana is haunted by a dark secret from her past, one that involved her first love, Austin Troy.Ana is still grieving when she meets Rick Montgomery, the attractive psychic who immediately puts her on her guard, though their attraction is undeniable. As they get closer, dark forces gather to tear them apart.Once more forced to relive the terror that forced her and Austin apart so many years before, Ana and Rick must join together to battle the darkness that will threaten everything they know.

This paranormal romance centers around Ana Cassadine, a successful woman unable to get over her first love, Austen. She travels to England for the reading of Austin's will. There she meets Austin's widow, Jennifer and a psychic Rick Montgomery.  The chemistry between the characters really worked for me. Their emotions and reactions to each other are very realistic. I really liked the story line. It was entertaining and at times a bit creepy.  The paranormal aspect of this book was my favorite part.  It was dark and mysterious and kept me wanting more. Without giving too much away I also love Ana's reaction to the paranormal elements.  This was a quick and easy read. Very enjoyable. 
RaeAnne Hadley has also written Mechanics of Murder. To find out more information on RaeAnne Hadley and her novels click here.

*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
* This book was provided for review purposes through Bostick Communications and RaeAnne Hadley. This in no way influenced my review.

1 Guest Post by J.M. Kelly and Drew in Blue giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of having J.M. Kelly on To Read or Not To Read.  J.M. Kelly is the author of Drew In Blue, A contemporary romance with her ideal hero.  She will also be giving away an e-copy of Drew In Blue so be sure to fill out the form below.  

Once upon a time, I was a frustrated reader who could never really find a hero she could fall in literary love with.
See, I have weird taste in leading men. The most interesting part of a character to me is his greatest flaw. His fears, his shortcomings, his insecurities: These are the things that make me sit up and take notice. Thing is, when I read romances, I find myself often confronted with a hero who is well … a little too perfect for his own good.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for bulging biceps, courageous behavior, noble aspirations, and maybe even a fireman’s cap sitting atop a crown of deliciously tousled locks. Trust me, I adore these attributes. Thing is, if they aren’t a little flawed, I start to zone out. And I found myself getting the thousand yard stare about midway through books I really want to like, but I can’t invest in the hero.
When I first began to wonder if I could really sit down and write a novel of my own, this was what compelled me to give it a whirl: If you can’t find the perfect imperfect hero, write one of your own. And this how the roots of Drew In Blue first took hold in my brain.
Drew Doyle is far from perfect. He might not even be the most likeable person at first, but even though he’s  a little selfish and self-absorbed, he has his good points. He’s a talented artist who doesn’t realize just how good he really is. He’s a devoted best friend to his former love, Kristina Moser, and would take on anybody who would dare hurt her. He wants to love and to be loved. And while he didn’t make the best choices when the child he fathered out-of-wedlock was born, when push comes to shove, Drew steps up to the challenge and does everything he can to be the kind of dad his son deserves.  Drew In Blue is about, above all else, redemption and rebirth for a man who’s biggest crime was building a wall around his own heart to protect it from further hurt.
Conflict is always key in a good love story. There must be obstacles to overcome. The hero has to fight for the heroine in order to make it worth our while. But sometimes, the obstacles are a person’s own fears and self-doubt. The challenge for Drew is to leave his own past behind, and learn to trust his heart. And when he finally figures out where he belongs, watch out, because once the floodgates are open, there’s no turning back for him.
Drew Doyle is my perfect flawed hero.  I hope, if you take the time to get to know him, you’ll see my love for him in the words I’ve written. Because I truly adore this man, and I hope you will come to love him even half as much as I do.

Be sure to check out J.M. Kelly's site for more information about Drew In Blue\

And now for the giveaway!
One lucky reader will win an Drew In Blue ebook from J.M. Kelly

1 You must be over 17 to enter.
2. You must have a valid email address
3. You don't have to be a follower to enter. It's appreciated but not necessary.
4. It's open internationally!
5. Giveaway ends Dec. 23, 2010
6. You must fill out the form to enter.
7. Good luck everyone and may the odds be in your favor!

1 Winner of Believe


Yelania from The Itzel Library. 
I'll pass along your info to Marissa Dobson.  

Thank you to everyone who entered this contest. 
If you didn't win you can purchase your copy from the following stores:

Amazon ~ Kindle ~ B&N ~ Nook ~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

3 Smith by Mike Devlin

Title: Smith
Author: Mike Devlin
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing Limeted
Publication Date: July 2, 2010
paperback, 336 pages
ISBN: 1907652531 (ISBN13: 9781907652530)

When Albert Smith staggers into his kitchen one morning, his oven mitt addresses him as "Emperor of the Universe". Smith does the only reasonable thing and silences the apparent phantasm by hitting it hard with the next utensil at hand. Yet shortly after that, he finds himself catapulted into space along with a fast food restaurant, only to discover that he is not the only pretender to this title. Outlandish characters of all sorts try to impede his coronation, whereas the awesome Panda, loyal if verbose Grint, and a robot named Sunny (who isn't) escort him through his involuntarily humorous adventure.

WARNING!!! Before you read this stop what you're doing and go check out your toaster. You read that right, your toaster! Does it look normal or does it look like it might want to take over the universe?  Do your pot holders look shifty? If you answered yes to one of these questions you'll need to read this book. I'm not sure how long I have until the kitchen appliances take over, but I am determined to bring you this review.  I wanted to read this book because it looked entertaining but little did I know about the adventures that lie ahead. Albert Smith wakes up one morning to find he's emperor of the universe. Talk about pressure! With the help of a few misguided characters he's on his way to being crowned. Then things start to go wrong, so horribly wrong, but also highly amusing!  The characters in this book, good and bad, are fantastic. The story line is unusual but very intriguing.  Take my advise and read this book. Before it's too late!  I'm pretty sure that Mike Devlin is a Shaze. Beware. You have been warned. Watch those toasters!!!

Check out the Shaze, I mean Mike Devlin's website here

*This book was provided to me for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my opinion. 
*Picture and summary taken from good reads.

2 Grab a button!

The Harry Potter Buttons are working now!!! Much appreciation and thanks goes to Leslie from Young Adult Books Reviewed for making this happen. I could not have done this without her.  So please feel free to grab the button and put it on your sidebar!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5 Giveaway of Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I'm not sure how it happened but I received an extra copy of Across The Universe by Beth Revis and I'm giving it away! This book is an arc and will be released on January 11, 2011. Since this book hasn't been released yet and is a debut, I want this book to go to a book blogger who is willing to review it. Good luck everyone and may the odds be with you!

To enter:
Fill out the form below
You must be 13 years old to enter
This is for US/Canada addresses only
You MUST have an active book blog (I will be checking)
You don't have to be a follower
Contest ends December 21, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 I solemnly swear that I am up to no good! Harry Potter Challenge update.

Starting in January 2011, I will be reading the entire Harry Potter series. For those who don't know about this, click here to see the original post. I wanted to answer a few questions that I've received along the way.

1. You don't have to be a blogger to participate. It's for anyone who wants to read the series with me.
2. You don't have to follow my schedule. If you can't resist, you can read them all in January if you want. LOL.  I chose one book a month to give myself plenty of time to read them. I will also be posting once a month with my thoughts on the books. There will also be some giveaways.
3. Please fill out the form if you want to participate in this challenge. I will be picking the winners from the form.
4. Also I'll be adding a Harry Potter Tab so you can keep up with my reviews and link up your own. 
5. Check out these really cool buttons that Lesley from Young Adult Books Reviewed made for the challenge.  
Grab one and put them on your sidebar! They're so cute!!!

I think the buttons are working now, if not let me know! Just copy and past them to your sidebar.

Don't forget to fill out the form! If you have already left your info on the original post, I've already added you.

2 Guest Post by Jennifer Becton and Charlotte Collins giveaway

I am so happy to have Jennifer Becton on my blog today. Jennifer is the author of Charlotte Collins, A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Charlotte Collins is one of my favorite books that I've read this past year. If you have not read this book yet, you definitely should get a copy.

The Jane Austen Experience and You
Jennifer Becton

Ever wondered why Jane Austen’s works have endured in popularity for so long? Why do readers almost 200 years later still sigh over Mr. Darcy and yearn to walk the halls of Pemberley?

And is it just the characters of Lizzie and Darcy that draw some much of our attention?

At first, I thought so. I couldn’t get enough of them. I read sequels and watched the movies, but then I started seeing elements of Pride and Prejudice in other movies and books: Twilight, Bridget Jones’s Diary, You’ve Got Mail, and many more. These all share themes of P&P, but the characters are not necessarily the same.

So it had to be something more than just Lizzie and Darcy that drew me.

Here are some of the reasons I think Jane Austen’s work is—and will remain—so popular.

Characters: Yes, they are vital, and Austen wrote so many wonderful ones. Her heroines are all strong women with great passion, though it is sometimes hidden as in Anne Elliot and Elinor Dashwood. Her heroes are always good gentlemen, though they may have a bit too much pride at first.

Even Austen’s minor characters sparkle. How often have you quoted Mrs. Bennet? Admit it. You’ve warned someone about your “poor nerves” in an overly dramatic way. Well, I have at least. I even loved Mary Bennet and her moralizing and thoughtless Louisa Musgrove. And I always wondered what happened to Colonel Fitzwilliam and Charlotte Lucas. Even Austen’s minor characters live in our memories.

Universal themes: Austen’s characters are not dealing with epic tragedies or natural disasters. They deal with more intimate problems, smaller scale woes that all people in all generations face. How do we find love? How do we deal with money issues? Did we misjudge someone? Where is our place in society? These problems may not work for a big special effects blockbuster movie, but they speak directly to our hearts.

Happy Endings: In most cases, Austen’s books end just as we hoped they would. Our favorite characters fall in love and live happily ever after. Lots of literary critics would have us believe that this is somehow a flaw and that “true literature” must reflect the human condition and end tragically in death. Well, I just don’t see that way, and I’m glad Jane Austen didn’t either. I see a happy ending as a divine transcendence of the human condition. Hope endures despite tragedy.

So for me, the Jane Austen Experience is about more than two great characters. It’s about a story well told. It’s about themes that apply to me now just as much as they did to Austen almost 200 years ago. And it’s about hanging on to hope throughout life’s peaks and valleys.

What is the Austen experience to you?

Please visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Free domestic economy shipping is available on all signed copies through December 24. Her novel is also available on,, and

Thank you Jennifer Becton for stopping by today and sharing your Austen insights with us.  Have I mentioned this was one of my favorite books this year?  Because it is, I want to share this book with one lucky reader. Good luck and may the odds be in your favor.

To enter all you have to do is fill out the form below.
You Must be over 13 years of age to enter
This is open to US addresses only.
You don't have to be a follower, but it is appreciated
Contest Ends Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

8 Sunday Confessions Dec. 12, 2010

This is a weekly meme started by yours truly as a way to get to share a bit about myself and also learning more about you. Sometimes its about books and book related topics and sometimes it's not. This is all in good fun and I would love it if you would participate. 

Do you have any MUST reads for the holidays? I have a few books that I love to bring out during the holidays to read.

I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every year to the kids. The book isn't very long and it takes us about a week to get through it. Then we watch a bunch of different versions of the movie.

My next favorite is The Polar Express by Chris VanAllsburg. I love the pictures in this book.  The movie is also great and puts me in the mood for hot chocolate.

This last book is one of my absolute favorites. It's called Winter's Tale by Robert Sabuda. It's a pop-up book. This book made me say "oooooooooooo" when I first opened it.

These pictures don't really do this book justice.  It's a fun book that my whole family enjoys!  So what about  you? 
Do you have any holiday MUST reads?

*images taken from Good Reads and Amazon


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