Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight

So I know that I have completely slacked on writing blog posts for a month, but life got in my way. Finding time to write on here, to work, to do my homework, and to find the time to relax; I was mentally exhausted. Now I have to play catch up and go back to review books I have read since I last posted. I haven’t read to many, but there will be 2 to 3 new posts on here in the next couple of days. Get prepared for a barrage of posts in the coming months. I’m gonna be a reading machine.

Let’s start this posting spree with Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight. I was shopping for a new hair dryer, since I completely destroyed mine, in Fred Meyer and came across this book for a 15% discount. Well any and all things related to Ms. Austen I pick up and this was no different. Austentatious is a modern adaptation/homage to P&P, which is something different so, obviously, I was intrigued. Nicola James, a straight-laced engineer, is browsing for a gift for her cousin in an Austin antique store when she come across an old journal mixed in with Austen novels. Nic knows her cousin will be happy with this gift cause she is an Janeite and loves all things Austen. Nic purchases the journal and looks it over at a local coffee shop. Next thing she knows, she has spilled coffee on the journal and can no longer gift it to her cousin. Nic keeps it for herself and places it in the revered position on her bookshelf, next to Jane’s novels. Nic, never having been a journal writer, decides to write in the journal. The next day, Nic opens the journal to find out that her entry has disappeared and all that is left is certain words from her entry to give advice back to Nic. Obviously, the thought that the journal could be writing back is ridiculous, but Nic, with her “Fairy Jane,” decides to take the advice to heart. She follows “Fairy Jane’s” advice and thus the start of Nic’s adventure. All this culminates in Nic’s romance with Sean, a gorgeous Scottish musician, in Austin for the SXSW festival. Still be a skeptic a heart, Nic reluctantly lets “Fairy Jane” lead her romance with Sean and it ends up changing her very staid, planned life.

Boy was this book a good one to read! I am always, like I stated in a previous review, skeptical of any Austen sequels, adaptations, homages etc. I was pleasantly surprised with this novel, not only because it did not detract from Jane’s works, but because it was a fresh modern taste to Austen lovers. This book had all the right elements to make it a very worthwhile read. From amazingly funny scenes (mushrooms anyone?) to heartfelt emotions between Nic and Sean, this book will make you laugh and definitely tug at your heart. Nicola is a great protagonist. She is the story and helps to create a wonderful sense of camaraderie between the reader and the writer. She is sweet and a little quirky, with a whole host of issues about how her life should be (she created her life plan at age 13). Through all the complaining about her life changing with “Fairy Jane,” Nic is a true to earth character. One that every reader can connect with on any level. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and always has a funny retort to add when the moment needs it. She makes for a great female character and without her wit and integrity, the story would not have been as good. Sean, well what woman doesn’t want a sexy Scottish musician to fall at their feet. I know I do and boy was he worth it in this story. He completely balances Nicola’s sometimes rigid personality with his carefree nature and fun-loving attitude. They go together like to peas in a pod and compliment each other so well. Sean, the carefree guy, that is usually (or at least how Nic sees it) just good for a fling but in actuality Sean is down to earth, emotional, and very serious at times. Worth having around for more than a fling, which is precisely what Nic finds out on her “Fairy Jane” adventure. Plus the way Alyssa describes him in a kilt, oh my!

From Sean and Nic’s whirlwind romance to the banter between “Fairy Jane” and Nicola this novel is worth the read. Any novel, where the premise is advice from Jane through a journal, is a novel highly rated in my book. So, pick up your copy today and read Alyssa Goodnight’s very well written novel.

Rating: 450 out of 500 pages.

On a side note: My English Literature buddies and I decided to form a book club and read as many books as we can cram into our busy lives. So a lot of the reviews from here on out will have Amanda and Mary’s views thrown in. Oh book clubs how you excite me! 🙂

Upcoming: The Bride’s House by Sandra Dallas, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and more.

Laters, Baby

Tori

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Signed Copy *gasp*

Since I read the Hunger Games Series I decided on a journey of reading into Young Adult Literature for the week. Stumbling upon, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green at my local Fred Meyer I decided to make that my next book to review. I have read John’s work before (Looking for Alaska) and fell in love with his with his superior wit and writing style. The Fault in Our Stars just reconfirmed his greatness.

The Fault in Our Stars is a portrayal of children’s cancer with the main character Hazel having cancer in her thyroid that has spread to her lungs. Hazel, a normal teenager, with cancer, whom her mother thinks is depressed. Her mother wants her to make new friends, get out of the house and live her life while she still can. Hazel, obviously, is reluctant, but to please her mother (her caregiver) she agrees to go to weekly support group. There she meets Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old with cancer who has been in remission for 14 months. Augustus is instantly attracted to Hazel and stares at her the whole time in group. Hazel, wary (as one would hope), does not know what to make of Augustus. She agrees to watch a movie with Augustus at his home and a bond forms between the two. They continue hanging out together, texting and talking on the phone, and overall enjoying each others company. As the book continues, these two fall in love and struggle with the fate of their love. Will they be remembered when they die? Is the love that they share ever lasting? Does having cancer change them or their views on the world? These are some of the questions these two try to answer together, all while the struggle with the battle with cancer.

I did not want to give any spoilers in the synopsis, so it might sound a little cliché and not very synopsisy (my new word), but it was worth it to not spoil the book for you. I feel in love with Augustus and Hazel, two of the most hilariously unique characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You know you have a great character whom you will remember always, when in the first two chapters Augustus is playfully attacking the support groups leader for incorrect use of “literally.” From that moment Augustus had me hooked (even more hooked when he coined this gem “existentially fraught free throws”). Hazel or Hazel Grace as Augustus calls her, is right up there in witty phrases or Venn diagram humor, but she really tugs at your heart through out the novel. I could not put this book down! Yes it deals with cancer, but cancer is not the main point of the novel. As Hazel states “cancer books suck” this book is a far cry from a “cancer book.” John delves deeper into the struggle of life, death, love and just the plain old struggle of being a teenager is at heart the point of the novel. Both Augustus and Hazel are wise beyond their years and create a wonderful story. John Green has a way with characters that completely change how you view life. Hazel and Augustus’ story made me laugh, cry, frown etc. I experienced every emotion and truly felt connected to them even though they are fictional. So pick up this book ASAP, you will not regret it.

Side note: Be for warned though, grab a box of tissues.

All hail John Green, as one of the most amazing writers of Young Adult Literature. I am deeply compelled to tell you, my readers, to get your hands on any book by John Green and read it as soon as you can.

Rating: 500 pages out of 500. This book is too good to pass up!

Doeg for now

Tori

The Tender Bar

 

My first review! Yippee!

Here goes nothing, my first review on this blog. If you can’t guess from the picture above the first book that I am going to review is The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer. I stumbled upon this book because an amazing guest at the hotel that I work at asked me what I wanted to do for a living (he is a frequent guest so we talk often). I told him that I will be an editor and we started discussing our favorite books. Mine was Pride and Prejudice (didn’t you guess that already :)) and his was The Tender Bar. The next day he brought a copy of it to the desk and let me read it. I thought that was so amazing and we have been sharing book recommendations ever since. When he first described the plot of the book it did not sound very interesting, but I will read anything so I tried it and FELL IN LOVE!

The author wrote this book so well and is such a great story to tell that I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. But I digress and am getting ahead of myself. The book is a memoir and revolves around J.R. Moehringer’s life as he grows up in the 70’s. J.R. grows up with a single mom, who divorced his father after 2 years due to an abusive relationship. They then move into with his grandparents since they cannot afford anything else. Overcrowded is to tame a work for this house. From him and his mom, his grandparents, his single uncle and his mom’s sister and her 5 children, they all cram together in one little house. It makes for interesting stories. The house is old and falling apart, the grandfather is rude and verbally abusive to the females of the family, and all J.R. wants is to escape and learn who is father is. This leads to him listening non stop to the radio for The Voice, which is his father. He develops a relationship with the radio and becomes attached to the sound of his father’s voice. This is when the story really picks up speed and we finally see J.R.’s life unfold. Everyone thinks that his relationship to The Voice is unhealthy and he needs male influence in his life. His grandfather is not providing it, so Uncle Charlie steps in. Uncle Charlie is a bar tender at the local bar, where everyone frequents (that’s what they all say). Charlie takes J.R. on summer adventures to the beach with his bar buddies and eventually invites him to spend his time at the bar. The patrons of the bar (all male) become J.R.’s family. His home away from home. They teach him about life, they make him want to go to college, they teach him about girls and are always there for him. This bar has a cast of characters (what bar doesn’t…) and continually provided hilarious answers and questions to J.R. I don’t want to give too much more away but the rest of the book follows J.R. through high school, college and life after college where he doesn’t know what to do with this life ( sounds familiar to me). Through the ups and the downs he always goes back to his family of men at the bar.

Phew…that was a long plot summary, hopefully not too long.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone. It has so much resonance with anyone that has been through struggles in their life or just the trials of growing up. It touches a place in your heart no matter what you have been through. J.R’s life struggles are something that we all go through. Boys and their troubles (girls too), graduating high school, deciding what major you want in college, what to do after college etc. Mr. Moehringer’s book touches on all of these points in a funny but serious way. There is so much to read in the book, all the side stories and the references to the great literary works of our time (come on my English major friends you can spot them). It is a great book about life, growing up through our ever-changing world and how one man dealt with all of life’s challenges. So my challenge to all of you readers out there is to go pick this up at your local bookstore, or Amazon or rent it from a library. I guarantee that this book will not disappoint.

So my first review is in the bag, I know you all enjoyed it :). Obviously I will work out the kinks and I think (if I am clever enough) that I am going to set up a rating system to rate these wonderful books on. So more to come soon… I think there might be a non-book related post coming in the future…so just be forewarned (a rant it will be).

Upcoming books that will be reviewed (there are so many on my bookshelf that I will be posting a picture later):

  1. Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon- I have read all the books of the Outlander series so am moving on to her other series about Lord John. The Outlander series is a review that I am tackling on here before I move to this one.
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Yes…I am probably one of the few (and by few I mean just me) who has not read this series. Well it is on my list and they will all be completed soon 🙂

Those are the ones I know of for now…more to obviously come and I will also be reviewing some of my favorite books just to get the ball started on this blog.

So au revior for now.

Tori