Monthly Archives:: October 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre

October 31, 2009 Book Reviews, Books 7

darcyvampyreMr. Darcy, Vampyre
Written by Amanda Grange
Paperback:
320 pages
Publisher:
Sourcebooks Landmark (August 11, 2009)
Language:
English

A married man in possession of a dark fortune must be in want of an eternal wife.

I have to admit, while I did LOVE Pride and Prejudice, I’m not sure I’m on board with all these spin-offs by the hundreds of authors (not really, just feels like it) who are doing it.  It is a hard thing to take another author’s characters and make them your own, while still furthering the characters stories and not loosing the readers.  Obviously most authors are doing a great jobs, since there are no shortage of readers for these kind of books.  I myself did read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earlier this year and loved it, however, as that was mostly the original text with added FLAVOR it seems different to me.  Especially when compared to Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

Vampires, or Vampyres as they are spelled here, are extremely popular as we all know.  After the success of PPZ, I figured it was only a matter of time for someone to try their hand at Austen and Vampires and I was right, for then came Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy have finally married and are going on their wedding tour.  As soon as the cake is cut, things begin going…not quite as Elizabeth had always imagined.  Mr. Darcy, while as loving and attentive as ever, is avoiding her at night and not all that he seems.  As they travel the continent visiting Darcy relations in France, Italy and dark, forbidding castles, a confused Elizabeth begins to wonder just who it was she married after all.

I liked this and I didn’t.  I didn’t think the characterization of Elizabeth in particular was quite…right.  While all the intelligence and love is there; the wit, courage and, well, Elizabeth-ness of her character fell flat for me.  She even has TIMID moments, which are NOT the Elizabeth of my memory.   Grange pulls of Darcy however; the mysterious, enigmatic Gentleman of Leisure felt more accurate to me.

On the other hand, it IS a fun read.  It has it’s slow moments, but it’s very readable.  Not hard to put down, not hard to pick up, it’s a decent read, especially for this time of year.  If I were to give it a rating, I would put it at a solid 3 out of 5.  It’s average.  Weak.  Very slow but the characters are treating fairly, with the exceptions I noted of Elizabeth. The tongue-in-cheek wit and lively characterizations don’t feel apart of the writing.  It’s not Jane Austen. I was expecting if not a satire, more of a parody, and this is definitely not a parody of any kind.  The story takes itself way too seriously to be even considered a spin-off.  The trademark Austen humor is not really there, to my mind anyway.  I think there are a lot of reads, especially those who enjoy character driven novels would enjoy Mr. Darcy, Vampyre . If you don’t like spin-offs, supernatural novels,  or prefer spin-offs that follow more closely to Austen’s writing, this one might not be for you.  But if you like a quick, light read, this is worth the time especially since it doesn’t take that long to read.

Also by Amanda Grange

Mr. Darcy’s Diary

Also reviewed by:

Sia McKye’s Thoughts over Coffee | Diary of an Eccentric | Becky’s Book Reviews

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In a Perfect World

October 29, 2009 Books 18

In a Perfect World

In a Perfect World

In a Perfect World
Written by Laura Kasischke
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (October 6, 2009)
Language: English

It seems like I’ve been reading a lot of end-of-the-world/dystopian type novels this year.  I’m not sure why, other than I love the freaking heck out of them!  I guess there is something appealing about reading about people living in the face of the end or difficult circumstances or things of that ilk.  It’s just fun, people!  Crazy!

Kasischke’s book, In A Perfect World, in another in a proud line of such end of the world tales.  Jiselle is finally the bride, after being the bridesmaid six times.  She has married pilot Mark Dorn – handsome pilot, widower, and father of three.  Jiselle gets to quit her job as a flight attendant and leave behind all the irritation and grumbling from the job.   Ever since the outbreak of the Phoenix flu, passengers have become even harder to handle (and put up with) than ever.  She moves into Mark’s beautiful log cabin and begins to help him raise his three precious children.

Marriage, and instant motherhood, are not all they are cracked up to be.  Jiselle finds she is frequently alone with Mark out on flights and she’s lonely.  She thinks the children hate her.  And the Phoenix flu, once thought of as a passing threat, will change everything about the life Jiselle thought she had into something more life altering – and threatening – than she ever dreamed.

I am sooooo close to finishing this one. I would have finished last night, but we HAD TO carve pumpkins – daughter’s emphasis.  I feel that I can give my opinion on the novel at this point though.  As a parent whose children have had the DREADED swine flu, I can say that this is one freaky read.  The basic abandonment of America by the global community was unsurprising and saddening.  The descent of Jiselle’s own life is depressing when used with this pandemic as a counter point.  This novel is more than a dystopian look at a potential future for our world; Jiselle’s struggle for her identity when faced with the new life she has chosen is also sobering.  It is a power look at the choices women face when entering an already established family especially in those situations when the children dislike the new interference to their lives.  The family dynamic is the main focus of this story and, even though I feel like the Phoenix flu angle takes away from that main focus at times, it still makes for a compelling and interesting story.   If you like a story that focuses on the difficulties of the dysfunctional family dynamic and learning about yourself in new and challenging endeavors with perhaps a little bit of apocalyptic, end of the world as we know it type stuffs, I recommend you grab a copy of In A Perfect World.

From what I hear and what I’ll know in a few chapters, there is a somewhat ambiguous ending, which are either hit or miss with me, but wanted to forewarn you.  If you don’t like those type of endings, you may want to think twice.  I know some readers love them and some hate them.  I can go either way and will probably update this review with a note once I finish it.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying my copy of this book, to TLC Blog Tours for their general AWESOMENESS and you, for reading!  To see other reviews of In A Perfect World, check out these other sites:

Monday, October 12th – Starting Fresh
Wednesday, October 14th – BookNAround
Thursday, October 15th – Book Club Classics!
Monday, October 19th – A Reader’s Respite
Friday, October 23rd – The Book Nest
Monday, October 26th – Galleysmith
Monday, November 2nd – Word Lily
Tuesday, November 3rd – Books on the Brain
Thursday, November 5th – Write Meg

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Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 28, 2009 Books 11

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by BermudaOnion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.   I love this sort of thing because I’ve long been interested in where words come from.

estrus - from The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.  I actually had several words from this book, but since I read it during the readathon, and neglected to take notes, estrus is the only word I could actually remember to look up!

Usage: “like a cow in estrus”

Main Entry: es·trus
Pronunciation: 'es-tr&s
Variants: or es·trum /-tr&m/ or chiefly British oes·trus/'E-str&s/ or oes·trum /'E-str&m/
Function: noun
1 a : a regularly recurrent state of sexual excitability duringwhich the female of most mammals will accept the male and is capable of conceiving : HEAT b : a singleoccurrence of this state
2 : ESTROUS CYCLE
Word Origin & History

estrus

1850, from L. oestrus “frenzy, gadfly,” from Gk. oistros “gadfly, breeze, sting, mad impulse” (probably cognate with Lith. aistra “violent passion,” L. ira “anger”). Earliest Eng. sense is of “frenzied passion;” first attested 1890 with meaning “rut in animals, heat.”

lich gate – from Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.  I’ve seen lich gate before, but I wasn’t exactly sure I had the whole meaning down.  Turns out, I was right!!

Usage:  When it arrived, Elizabeth and Jane saw the lich gate had been decorated with flowers.

lich gate

–noun
a roofed gate to a churchyard under which a bier is set down during a burial service to await the coming of the clergyman.
Also, lych gate.
Also called resurrection gate.
Origin:
1475–85
What Wondrous Words have you encountered in your reading this week?

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Author Guest Post – Helen Hollick

October 27, 2009 Books, Guest Posts 4

I am so pleased to welcome author Helen Hollick to my blog today.  Ms. Hollick is a new, favorite author of mine, who has written what may be my most favorite series of novels EVER about King Arthur. Her series starts with The Kingmaking, continues with Pendragon’s Banner, and ends with Shadow of the King.  I’ll let her tell you (and me) a little more about it.

Hello Heather,

pendragon

Pendragon's Banner

You will not find Lancelot, Merlin or any myth, magic or fantasy in my Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy about King Arthur. There is no Holy Grail, round table or knights in armour. My version is the story of Arthur as it might have really happened. My Arthur is a rough, tough, war lord who fights hard to gain his kingdom and has to fight even harder to keep it.

I wrote my Trilogy because I could not find the novel that I personally wanted to read. I had never been very interested in the more familiar Medieval tales of Arthur – they always seemed so false and unreal, then I discovered that if Arthur had existed he may have been a war lord in the post-Roman era of the Dark Age Britian – the 4th-5th Century.

I was working as a library assistant, so I had access to many books. You name it I read it! From books I started going to places connected to Arthur – Glastonbury Tor, for instance, and Cadbury in Somerset. If you are interested I have some pictures of these places on my blog site www.acorne.blogspot.com

When planning a new novel I read first, gathering information and facts, then I make a sketch of the plot, a synopsis of the story and a chapter by chapter plan of what happened, where and when.

When satisfied, I build around the bare-bones of the story, adding my characters and imagined scenes and situations. I’ll check the “facts” as I go – often referring to my character’s CV’s which I add to as I go along.

I spend quite a while getting the first few chapters as I want them, writing and re-writing until I’m happy, then I settle down to write the whole thing. When a chapter is finished I set it aside until the next day then re-read it through, usually finding it is a bit skimpy on detail, or there is too much dialogue, so I’ll alter and edit, although I don’t spend too long on chapters at this stage.

Most of my books are divided into one, two or three parts. With the books I am currently writing (the Sea Witch series – pirate-based adventure fantasy) I usually complete the first part then send it off to my UK Editor, Jo Field, for her opinion. We discuss errors, faults and scenes that are not working and while she is doing a preliminary edit I finish the second part.

Then the final re-write. If a scene does not work at this stage I press the delete button. I am also checking continuity, too many point of view changes, repeated words etc. When I am happy with it Jo does her full edit, re-checking everything I have mentioned above, plus incorrect grammar, punctuation, spelling etc.

I then re-read, re-write where necessary, and then send it off to my publisher. Where it is re-read and re-checked/edited. Once printed in proof form it will have a final check for errors.

And there will still be a few typos!

Helen Hollick

Main Website: www.helenhollick.net
Monthly Journal: www.helenhollick.net/journal.html

http://www.helenhollick.net/culpa41.html my own hints and tips for aspiring writers.

Thank you Ms. Hollick for that insightful post.  If you love historical fiction at it’s finest, I highly recommend Ms. Hollick’s work. It’s detailed, it’s engrossing, it’s fabulous!!

See these other stops on the Pendragon’s Banner tour.

The Tome Travellers Weblog (10/12)
A Reader’s Respite
(10/12)
Carla Nayland’s Historical Fiction
(10/13)
Enchanted by Josephine
(10/14)
Fumbling with Fiction
(10/14)
Found Not Lost
(10/15)
Nan Hawthorne’s Booking the Middle Ages
(10/15)
Jenny Loves to Read
(10/16)
The Review From Here
(10/17)
The Courtier’s Book
(10/18)
Chick Loves Lit
(10/19)
Love Romance Passion
(10/20)
He Followed Me Home… Can I Keep Him?
(10/20)
The Impasse Strikes Back
(10/21)
S. Krishna’s Books
(10/22)
Books Like Breathing
(10/23)
Passages to the Past
(10/24)
Virginie Says
(10/25)
Readaholic
(10/25)
Reading with Monie
(10/26)
Rundpinne
(10/26)
Books & Needlepoint
(10/27)
Books are my Only Friends
(10/27)
A Sea of Books
(10/28)
Bloody Bad
(10/28)
Revenge of the Book Nerds!
(10/28)
Booksie’s Blog
(10/28)
Devourer of Books
(10/29)
Peeking Between the Pages
(10/29)
Starting Fresh
(10/29)
Historical Tapestry
(10/30)
Medieval Bookworm
(10/30)
Book Soulmates
(10/30)
Susan’s Art & Words
(10/30)
Steven Till
(10/31)
Café of Dreams
(10/31)

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And so, the end

October 25, 2009 Books 23

and I’ve had SO MUCH FUN!

The final numbers:

Pages read: 1048
Books read: 4.5
Minutes read: around 1000 minutes or about 17 hours
Naps: 2, and one 6 hour sleep
Sodas consumed: Lost count!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  Whichever one 11:00 pm was…I guess hour 15?  I went to bed!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  I’d say any fast moving YA would work great.  I read The Ask and the Answer, a whopping 516 pages in 9 hours.  And graphic novels are excellent. Anything by Bill Willingham, Marjane Satrapi, and dozens more would work great.  They are fast, easy and way fun.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Are you kidding? It’s near about perfect!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Everything!

5. How many books did you read?  4.5!!!

6. What were the names of the books you read?

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Push by Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin
and part of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

7. Which book did you enjoy most?  The Ask and the Answer was EXCELLENT

8. Which did you enjoy least?  Chicken with Plums wasn’t up to Satrapi’s usual standard for me

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  I didn’t get to cheer much, which I regret.  I think I’ll do more of that next time.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Oh I’ll be there with bells on! I hope to read and do more cheering.

Thank you Eva, Nymeth, Hannah and Trish!  Dewey would be proud and amazed and touched and blow-away I’m sure.  You guys are amazing.

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Oops

October 25, 2009 Books 2

If you can’t tell by the lack of posting, I did finally conk out around midnight. I figured my mini-me alarm clock, my son, would wake me up around 5 like usual and I would read for the final 3 hours. Well, he woke up at 6, unheard of, and now I have 2 hours. But, I’m going to read those 2 hours!

Pages: 944
Books: 4
Reading now: whatever is shortest!

Read so far:

The Ask and the Answer
Chicken with Plums
When You Reach Me
Push

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Hour 14. I think.

October 24, 2009 Books 15

Books finished: 3
Pages read: 800
Naps: Uh, 2 now. I nodded off for a bit during my third book

Read: The Ask and the Answer
Chicken With Plums
When You Reach Me

Thanks for recommending When You Reach Me guys! It was great!!! What to read next…hmmm….

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Halfway point!

October 24, 2009 Books 6

Pages read: 655

Books read: 2

Kids in the BED: 1, the other at the grands

Hubby preoccupied: 1; watching Paul Blart, Mall Cop, which is kinda distracting to me actually

Now reading: When You Reach me by Rebecca Stead

Already finished: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (AMAZING!)

Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi (Eh)

I think it’s time for a sweet snack. Must go raid the kitchen!

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Hour….Ten?

October 24, 2009 Books 13

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my GOSH I just finished The Ask and the Answer and it is awesome.  I LOVED the first one and whoa, this one is just so much better.  So much more amazing.  I am SO glad I picked this book for today!!!!

Break time! Must fix supper and clear my head before I start another book.

Pages read:601
Books: 2
People in the house annoying me: Uh 2. For the moment. But they are both super cute.

Books read:

The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness

Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

Up next? When You Reach Me?

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Stats up to hour 8

October 24, 2009 Books 9

Books read: 1
Pages read: 468
Naps: Still only the one
Baths: 1, read (almost) the whole time
People in house: Now 2, the hubby is home

I *think* I’ll finish TA&TA soon. I only have 130 pages left. Might be time for another short graphic novel first. How are you doing?

And thank you to all my cheerleaders! You really help and you are all MADE OF AWESOME.

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