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Skin Memory by John Sibley Williams

Source: Poet
Paperback, 80 pgs.
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Skin Memory by John Sibley Williams, winner of The Backwaters Press Prize for Poetry, is similar in theme to his other collection, As One Fire Consumes Another, in that there is an exploration of dark tragedy, lost identity, and more, but there are moments of hope and light — a common hopeful dream. “Because skin has a memory all its own and because memory is a language that’s survived its skin,” he says in the title poem drawing parallels between the memories and weights we carry through life with the greater memory we leave behind. He reminds us in “Then We Will Make Our Own Demons” that we tend to tie significance to moments in time that are not as earth shattering as we suspect them to be: “When your name is less an arrow/ … /instead it is a thread dissolving/into a forgotten wound. When all woulds/have hints of birds in them…/”

Williams explores the hurts and sadness of childhood, while speaking about how those moments shape us and our worlds when we internalize them, but how those moments often fade into the background becoming less significant. As the collection moves away from growing up into adulthood, Williams speaks about the moments in which we look back and realize our lives have taken turns we never expected.

In “Poison Oak,” there is the helplessness we all may feel some day, particularly when a child becomes ill and all we can do is rock them in our arms and hope they will recover. “I do know there’s a crying boy/the coarse cradle of my hands/cannot rock into immunity,” he says. But he also explores larger societal issues, like the loss of peers in a hail of bullets in “Killing Lesson.” These poems beg us to look at those “earth shattering” moments of our lives with greater perspective. To review our lives with an empathetic eye toward those around us, who may be carrying heavier burdens, having more tragedy than we ever could.

Skin Memory by John Sibley Williams is an amazing collection that tackles large themes while grounding each moment in real life. A harrowing collection that strives for peace and hope, a journey into the self and outside of it. We have a memory, and there’s a memory of life that surrounds us. When the skin of us is gone, where do those memories go, how do they live on? They live on in the words we share, the stories we tell, and the moments we cherish with others. Connection is the greatest gift of all.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

Mailbox Monday #557

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

There’s Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm, a giveaway win from Diary of an Eccentric.

For some, Colin Firth emerging from a lake in that clinging wet shirt is one of the most iconic moments in television. What is it about the two-hundred-year-old hero that we so ardently admire and love?

Dr Malcolm examines Jane Austen’s influences in creating Darcy’s potent mix of brooding Gothic hero, aristocratic elitist and romantic Regency man of action. She investigates how he paved the way for later characters like Heathcliff, Rochester and even Dracula, and what his impact has been on popular culture over the past two centuries. For twenty-first century readers the world over have their idea of the ‘perfect’ Darcy in mind when they read the novel and will defend their choice passionately.

In this insightful and entertaining study, every variety of Darcy jostles for attention: vampire Darcy, digital Darcy, Mormon Darcy and gay Darcy. Who does it best and how did a clergyman’s daughter from Hampshire create such an enduring character?

Christmas Poetry to Inspire by Jean Kay from my Bookish Secret Santa.

Christmas Poetry to Inspire is a collection of poems written by Jean Kay who writes a poem every morning to start her day. Her poems are thought-provoking, easy to read, understandable and usually rhyme.Reading inspirational poems relating to Christmas can create the peace of mind we all long for at this busy time of year. Give yourself a gift and take some time from the hustle bustle of the Christmas Season to relax, enjoy and soothe your soul with inspiration from Christmas Poetry to Inspire.There are many reasons to celebrate Christmas—sharing good food with family and friends, carol singing, attending concerts, lunches, and church services of all denominations. All these ways to celebrate are mentioned in poems throughout the book.

Yule Tide: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories edited by Christina Boyd from my Bookish Secret Santa.

“I went up to the Great House between three and four, and dawdled away an hour very comfortably…” –Jane Austen

A holiday short story anthology with some favorite Austenesque authors, YULETIDE is inspired by Jane Austen, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and the spirit of the season. Regency and contemporary alike, each romance was dreamt to spark love, humor, and wonder while you dawdle over a hot cup of tea this Christmas.

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Lona Manning * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams

All proceeds from the KINDLE E-BOOK and PAPERBACK ONLY to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

What did you receive?

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 11+ hrs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss is a look back at the hard road of comedy and the bumpy road to stardom, but it is also explores Hart’s own life and how it impacted his future career and family. Hart pulls no punches in this one and lays everything bare, including his problems with alcohol, domestic abuse, and more.

Growing up near Philadelphia was hard, especially with a strict single mother and a father who was addicted to drugs and hardly ever home. His stories about his family are outrageous to say the least, and Hart will say that he couldn’t have made them up if he tried.

Throughout the book he offers advice he received from other comics on the scene in Philly, New York, and LA. But he also offers lessons from his own life. One takeaway that really resonated with me is that even though his mother forced them to take public transportation even when they had another option, trained him for his rigorous show schedule and the waiting on TV and movie sets that can be not only frustrating but tedious. His mother’s tenacity also inspired him to keep striving for his goals, as he faced empty bank accounts and non-paying venues.

Hart is funny throughout the audio, which he narrates, but there are moments of crassness early on when he talks frankly about becoming an adolescent boy and later in life when he’s in Hollywood. These are part of his story, and if you don’t like profanity or detailed information about sex, you may want to skip this one or those parts.

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss was wildly entertaining, funny, and enlightening. I learned a great deal about where my own determination and drive comes from by Hart reminding me of those restrictive days as a kid in my parents’ home. I can now see how those restrictions helped me become the disciplined person I am. Hart’s still on a journey, but his journey is now aimed at improving the lives of his children, encouraging him in the way his mother did, and ensuring they don’t think they can skip school and do the things that he did. There were many laugh out loud moments, but there are lessons that you won’t soon forget.

RATING: Cinquain

Guest Post: 4 Notable Books of 2019 Every Student Should Consider Reading

There are too many shows, too many videos on YouTube, and pages on Instagram to explore chasing you every other minute. Do not forget the assignments piling up and apps constantly notifying you about the deadlines. Are you craving a break?

We have the best thing you can do to let go off your digital distractions and spur your creative mind. It’s quite simple. Read a book.

You may be thinking that you have already read too much for college. But a good book that is not a part of your academics might do wonders for the mood. Of course, there is no need to convince any bibliophiles to pick up another book.

In case you are not one and stumbled upon this page hoping to try out a book, you are just at the right place at the right time.

We present you here with the best books of 2019 (so far), that will certainly please you. Thrillers, fantasy, adventure, romance – we have all got it here.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Mrs. Everything has all the elements of a story that is overfamiliar, yet it is not. Weiner documents the lives of two Jewish sisters who grew up in Detroit. The chapters are engaging, once you struggle through the few dozen pages in the beginning switching between the sisters’ perspectives.

The multigenerational story dwells into all the underlying and disturbing issues like drugs, rape, abortion, and the ties of family.

Weiner has not tried to cover the pretensions with symbolism definition literature or satire. You will find ghosts of the struggles that women had to overcome and relate it even now in the cynical “Me too” era.

Mrs. Everything is fabled as one of the best works of Weiner and will certainly leave you perplexed, wanting more of the turned pages.

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

The recent revelations of the American high society buying their way into college set up the perfect framework for Bruce Holsinger’s The Gifted School. The reader can draw parallels of the fictional and upscale city of Crystal, Colorado, and the four mothers portrayed in the novel.

With applicants from four counties feud for their places in the new school, the plot takes a turn.

Followed with interludes of entitlement, privileges, cheating, and desperation, Holsinger describes the blurring good intentions fortified by parental love escalating into fraud.

There are also some sympathetic characters who are only collateral damage in the eyes of the elite. The questions Holsinger raises are valid in the current context of social standards, concerning and regrettably real.

The Gifted School is a satire with more than a hint of truth, and much appealing to the student crowd.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

After the applauded debut novel Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney’s Normal People has certainly elevated her standing. The story takes place in Dublin, and it has the same sense of humor in narration.

Revolving around the two protagonists, Connell and Marianne, the author takes a reader through an intense and yearning love story.

They are introduced as teenagers and with traces of the cliché love stories with a popular soccer player and a lonely and introverted girl. Their inexplicable connection finds a way to express during their second encounter in college.

What might appear as a young adult love story at a glance, has layers of social classifications, family complexities, emotions, and agitations. Rooney yet again proves her acuity in noting how we comprehend people and depend on them.

An enjoyable and deep read for students who seek polarizing moments of passion.

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Taking a respite from the landscape of unsettling realities, Gingerbread is a kind of reading that will soon take you to fairylands. Beware, you do not want to skimp through even one sentence, as the chances are high for missing a crucial detail. It is weird, confusing, and an enthralling piece, a realm of a story within a story and winding through imaginary places.

Here, Oyeyemi takes you to her variant of Hansel and Gretel’s story, a classic German fairy tale. The whimsical and ominous air is still there, yet you will find the protagonists unrecognizable. The book is unconventional, unpredictable in how the author brilliantly builds the suspense.

An ideal choice for a tiring day when you come home only to curl up with a good book of a joyful read.

Wrapping Up

In the end, reading is all about changing reality for a fascinating world where you are among the glorious characters, whom you adore or fervently loath.

Try these options, and we bet you’ll have some real quality time!

Guest Post & Giveaway: Jessie Lewis, Author of Speechless, Talks About Historical Buildings and Inspiration

Today’s guest is someone new to the blog — Jessie Lewis — and she will share with us some of the inspirational historical buildings she’s used to write her novels. First, please read what her new novel, Speechless, is about:

Could anything be worse than to be trapped in a confined space with the woman you love? Fitzwilliam Darcy knows his duty, and it does not involve succumbing to his fascination for a dark-eyed beauty from an unheard of family in Hertfordshire. He has run away from her once already. Yet fate has a wicked sense of humour and deals him a blow that not only throws him back into her path but quite literally puts him at Elizabeth Bennet’s mercy. Stranded with her at a remote inn and seriously hampered by injury, Darcy very quickly loses the battle to conquer his feelings, but can he win the war to make himself better understood without the ability to speak?

Thus begins an intense journey to love and understanding that is at times harrowing, sometimes hilarious and at all times heartwarming.

Being trapped in a confined space with Mr. Darcy, who wouldn’t love that? This sounds delightful, doesn’t it? If you agree, stay tuned for the giveaway. Please welcome Jessie Lewis.

Thank you, Serena, for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my new novel, Speechless. I love the Regency era and am lucky enough to be surrounded by historical buildings and places here in England, many of which have been inspirational to my writing. I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures of those that inspired the setting for this particular story.

In Speechless, Darcy and Elizabeth are stranded together at an inn called The Dancing Bear, owned by the kindly Mr Timmins. The inn boasts a large stuffed bear at the foot of the stairs, which Elizabeth nicknames Mr Collins. You would be forgiven for thinking this is a little odd, since bears are not native to the UK—or if they ever were, it was a really long time ago. In fact, I based The Dancing Bear on a real pub called The Bear of Rodborough, situated in the Cotswolds. It’s so called because it famously has a large stuffed bear in its foyer. (The bear was presumably hunted and imported at some point in the past, the ethics of which I shall not venture to discuss here!) A big scary bear just seemed to suit the location of Mr Timmins’ inn—on the outskirts of a village, surrounded by woods—as well as the events that take place there, which are, at least at the beginning, pretty frightening for our dear couple. Thus, The Dancing Bear was conceived.

The room in which Darcy and Elizabeth spend most of their time in the story belongs to Mr Timmins’ sister, who acts as a housekeeper-come-cook. Her role is pertinent because it demanded certain features be in the room that were essential to the story. I took the inspiration for this room from the housekeeper’s apartments at the beautifully restored Regency Townhouse in Brighton (a visit to which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in Regency life). The room at the townhouse (pictured) differs from the one in Speechless in that it is bright and airy as opposed to dark, dingy and cluttered—but it was the design of the space that really interested me.

Purpose-built for a housekeeper by the C19th architect, it has a large walk-in cupboard where she would have kept all the most expensive domestic items carefully locked away. You’ll have to read the story to find out why this was such an important feature to have in the room, though…

The taproom at The Dancing Bear is themed around the interior of a wonderful old hotel in my own hometown of Hertford. The Salisbury Arms (originally The Bell) is a coaching inn dating back to the fifteenth century. It has two front parlours, a taproom and a restaurant; three more rooms than I gave The Dancing Bear, which only has one taproom. The gorgeous old room in this picture shows the mixture of bricks, plaster and timber frame that I imagine made up the walls of Mr Timmins’ humble inn.

In complete contrast to all of this is Darcy’s townhouse. I admit, I have never visited the place in this picture. I’m not even sure where it was taken—it’s an image I stumbled across on the internet a long time ago—but I used it to help me envisage one of the most pivotal scenes in the story. Not, as you might think, for the splendour, though it is beautiful. In fact, it was, again, the layout that inspired me. The logistics of where things are in whatever imaginary world I’m writing about can prove problematic if I don’t have a clear idea of that space. Characters can end up whispering to someone too far away to hear, walking through a door that wasn’t there moments before, sitting down in a chair where another character is already perched … the potential for pitfalls is endless. I find that having in mind a particular room I’ve visited or seen in a photo, or even sketched out on paper, helps me better inhabit the space I’m describing, thereby ensuring that what I write makes sense. The way the furniture is arranged in a circle around this particular room, with one chair closest to the door, from which a person might hold a quiet conversation with someone half-in and half-out of the room whilst everyone else talks amongst themselves, proved remarkably useful to a certain gentleman protagonist in Speechless.

Of course, I also like to think of Darcy’s houses as tastefully and gorgeously decorated, so this photo was no hardship to work with.

So, there is a small glimpse of the world I lived in while I was writing Speechless. I hope your readers have just as much fun imagining their own setting for Darcy and Elizabeth if they have the chance to read the story themselves.

Thanks, Jessie, for sharing all of these glorious, inspirational buildings with us.

GIVEAWAY:

Quills & Quartos Publishing is giving away one ebook of Speechless per blog tour stop. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this blog post, and Quills & Quartos will randomly choose winners for the entire blog tour on December 19. So, make sure you join in the conversation!

About the Author:

Jessie Lewis, author of Mistaken and The Edification of Lady Susan, enjoys words far too much for her own good and was forced to take up writing them down in order to save her family and friends from having to listen to her saying so many of them. She dabbled in poetry during her teenage years, though it was her studies in Literature and Philosophy at university that firmly established her admiration for the potency of the English language. She has always been particularly in awe of Jane Austen’s literary cunning and has delighted in exploring Austen’s
regency world in her own historical fiction writing. It is of no relevance whatsoever to her ability to string words together coherently that she lives in Hertfordshire with two tame cats, two feral children and a pet husband. She is also quite tall, in case you were wondering.

You can check out her musings on the absurdities of language and life on her blog, LifeinWords.blog, or see what she’s reading over at Goodreads. Or you can drop her a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on her Facebook page, JessieLewisAuthor.

Mailbox Monday #556

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas for review from TLC Book Tours.

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen’s novels targeted to Britain’s working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen’s beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen’s early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people.

Packed with nearly 100 full-color photographs of dazzling, sometimes gaudy, sometimes tasteless covers, The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a unique history of these rare and forgotten Austen volumes. Such shoddy editions, Janine Barchas argues, were instrumental in bringing Austen’s work and reputation before the general public. Only by examining them can we grasp the chaotic range of Austen’s popular reach among working-class readers.

Informed by the author’s years of unconventional book hunting, The Lost Books of Jane Austen will surprise even the most ardent Janeite with glimpses of scruffy survivors that challenge the prevailing story of the author’s steady and genteel rise. Thoroughly innovative and occasionally irreverent, this book will appeal in equal measure to book historians, Austen fans, and scholars of literary celebrity.

What did you receive?

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Fables by Arnold Lobel

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 48 pgs.
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Fables by Arnold Lobel includes beautiful illustrations with one-page fables, some of which still apply today. There are a few fables that could use better messages for kids, which is why parents should carefully choose which fables to read their children. This book is a bit challenging to read for my daughter, but we’ve talked about each fable and parsed the story to find the meaning of each tale.

One of our favorites was the “The Poor Old Dog,” who has no home and a worn coat and shoes until one day he finds what he thinks is a magic ring. In this story, readers learn that wishes may not always come true immediately after making them and that patience is key in making wishes, as well as ensuring they come true. “The Ostrich in Love” is a tale my daughter thought was odd because the Ostrich never talks to the girl he loves, but he does all of these nice things for her. “Love is its own reward,” the tale says, but my daughter is not convinced — she’s still young yet.

“The Hen and the Apple Tree” is a tale with a wolf naturally and an inquisitive and skeptical hen — and well she should be. My daughter liked this one, even when we discussed how hard it is to be something we are not. Another favorite was “The Hippopotamus at Dinner,” which is appropriate considering this is the holiday season in which we all tend to overindulge a bit.

Fables by Arnold Lobel provides some unique stories for kids to read together or to have read to them. The illustrations are colorful and realistic, which makes the tales all the more real for kids. While some of the lessons are outdated and could be updated a bit for kids of the modern era, parents can take that extra time to explain those stories to children in a way that makes more sense.

RATING: Tercet

Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

Source: Library
Paperback, 120 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman is the fourth book in the series, and Isabel is making new friends, facing fears, and learning that you can never win if you stand in your own way. The book is chock full of drawings in black and white for the most part, except of course our intrepid hero, Bunjitsu Bunny. These are chapter books with pictures and have helped my daughter transition to books with longer chapters. It’s been a long road with reading, but this series has kept her going.

My daughter did not want this series to end, and she made me renew the book at the library several times before she would pick it up and start reading.

The title story comes very quickly in this book, and my daughter kept looking for another chapter in which Bunjitsu Bunny battles herself, but I think there is a subtlety she missed in some of the later chapters where Isabel must overcome her own hurdles. The last chapter finds out bunny getting a well deserved rest, but we’re hopeful that more adventures will come for this hero who uses her brains and savvy to overcome her opponents and help her friends — and sometimes strangers, too.

Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman carefully weaves in zen teachings with the art of karate, etc., to teach kids to use more than might and anger to solve problems. A wonderful series for boys and girls alike.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #555

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

National Geographic Kids: Dream Journal by Dr. Allan Peterkin from Media Masters Publicity.

Decode your dreams and discover the fascinating science, history, and culture behind dreaming in this awesome write-in journal.

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? Or why they’re so hard to remember? Or how to make that monster in your nightmares a little bit more … friendly? We’ve got answers to these musings and more!

In this journal, you’ll explore the mysteries of the unconscious mind. You’ll learn how dreams inspired some of the most popular art in recent history, how the ancient Greeks used dreams to answer their questions, and how your brain works as it conjures up these amazing, imaginative, and often weird reveries. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, remember more about what you dream, and conjure lucid dreams. It’s the perfect tool to help kids remember, record, and reflect on their nighttime adventures. Catching Z’s has never been so much fun.

With lively text, and vibrant imagery, and plenty of space for writing, this journal is your go-to place to document, learn, and celebrate the powers of your fantastic, creative brain.

Pride, Prejudice & Secrets by C.P. Odom from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

One of the turning points in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s passionate refusal and denunciation of the equally passionate but infinitely more repressed Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, unforeseen events can lead to the most unexpected consequences.

During a visit with her friend Charlotte Collins at Hunsford, Elizabeth falls prey to illness for almost the first time in her life just as Mr. Darcy comes to call. Befuddled by her illness, she misinterprets his proposal of marriage, and a simple nod of acknowledgment is mistaken for acceptance of his suit by a joyous Darcy.

By the time Elizabeth regains her health, it seems every one of her acquaintance — and many outside of it — accept she is engaged to the last man in the world she would ever consider. Elizabeth knows that her life will be forever changed, and the consequences will spread further than she imagines.

Ditching Mr. Darcy by Samantha Whitman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What would you do if you crashed your car into a ditch and woke up as the main character of your favorite book? What if nothing happened the way it was supposed to? What if you met the dreamiest romantic hero in literary history and yet you fell in love with someone else instead? What would happen if you never woke up again? What would happen if you did? Elizabeth Baker is about to find out.

 

Courting Elizabeth by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

In the wake of his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth, Darcy is compelled to write her, unable to permit her misconceptions to stand. Unfortunately, he leaves his letter unattended. What happens when Darcy’s words make their way into Lady Catherine’s hands? With his aunt determined to force him to marry Anne de Bourgh, will Darcy still manage to pursue Elizabeth? Find out what twists, turns and danger await in Courting Elizabeth.

Courting Elizabeth is a Pride and Prejudice variation novel of approximately 83,000 words.

Renata McMann and Summer Hanford began writing Pride and Prejudice Variations together in 2014 and have since become immersed in the amazing world Jane Austen created. Whether you’re a fan of Darcy and Elizabeth specifically or of clean Regency Romance in general, you will enjoy both McMann’s ability to imagine variations of this classic love story and Hanford’s skill in turning these variations of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet and their enduring love into entertaining stories.

Second Son by Cherith Boardman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if, instead of being born the heir to Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy had been a second son?

In a time when birth order determines who inherits everything or nothing, Fitzwilliam Darcy must find his own path – excelling in the profession he chuses. When tragedy strikes, he is called to fulfil his role as the “spare,” struggling to meet the demands placed upon him, overcoming the distrust of those who wish him to fail, and devoting himself to the good of Pemberley’s dependents.

Disgusted with Society, and scorned by the sister he loves, Darcy visits his friend in Hertfordshire, where he meets the Bennets of Longbourn. He discovers in their second daughter, Elizabeth, a new source of hope and purpose for his life. When his family questions the lady’s fitness to be Mistress of Pemberley and demands he fulfil his responsibilities to his family and the legacy of the Darcy name, Fitzwilliam is left torn between duty and his heart…

Duty has taken his dreams once, is Pemberley to take Elizabeth from him as well?

Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen by R. Berman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if Jane Austen was secretly married? What if she had a baby whose descendants are still alive today? Violet Desmond has just learned that her life is a lie. With sparse clues, she sets off to discover her hidden history and, simultaneously, an explanation for her vivid dreams-dreams in which a woman from the past narrates an impossible story involving a secret marriage and a child-a story intimately connected to Jane Austen. Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’ll receive for digging up something good on Austen. The unlikely pair begins a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal-before an unknown enemy silences her as well.

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger.

But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

 

Lover’s Knot by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?

Impulse & Initiative by Abigail Reynolds from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019 — signed by the author!

In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy gives up on winning the woman he loves after she refuses his proposal of marriage. What if, instead of disappearing from her life, he took the initiative and tried to change her mind? In Impulse & Initiative, Mr. Darcy follows Elizabeth Bennet to her home in Hertfordshire, planning to prove to her he is a changed man and worthy of her love. THE PEMBERLEY VARIATIONS by Abigail Reynolds is a series of novels exploring the roads not taken in Pride & Prejudice.

What did you receive?

JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019

A few weekends ago, Anna and I took a trip to nearby Virginia to meet some Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) authors, bloggers, and other readers. Anna and I were surprised (or at least I was) to be asked to speak about blogging and reviewing JAFF books and hosting their authors on blog tours.

I was glad we prepared ahead of time for the discussion, but the audience was wonderful and welcoming and full of questions. It was nice to share our thoughts on blogging and reviewing books for authors on an intimate stage with people we’ve come to know well virtually. It was also a pleasure to meet the incomparable Meredith from Austenesque Reviews.

I really hope I didn’t monopolize the conversation during the blogger panel, but I tend to just keep talking when I’m nervous. The best part was that we didn’t need to use a microphone. That set my mind a bit more at ease about speaking in front of a crowd.

We met so many great authors and learned a lot of inside knowledge about the Amazon self-publishing empire — as well as how much they actually take from authors royalties. It’s a shame that traditional publishing is not more welcoming and generous. I have a feeling they would make more money with JAFF authors if they thought about it hard enough. There is definitely a wide and loyal fan base for these kinds of books, as well as so much territory they have yet to explore.

If you’re a Jane Austen fan who loves fan fiction, this is they kind of gathering you don’t want to miss. And there are some “rumors” that there may be another one in 2020. Keep in the know, here.

As an aside, there was an informal reading of works in progress in the lounge after the Saturday “official” programming ended, and the Austen-inspired authors were kind enough to let me read some poems with them. It was a definite departure from the normal poetry crowd, and I hope they enjoyed the poems.

A big Thank You to Victoria Kincaid and Summer Hanford for all their work organizing the gathering, to Victoria Kincaid and Meredith for the great photos, and to everyone who came and respectfully and enthusiastically listened to my jabbering.

When Jane Got Angry by Victoria Kincaid (audio)

Source: the author
Audible, 3+ hours
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When Jane Got Angry by Victoria Kincaid, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, explores a “what if” scenario regarding Jane Bennet’s reaction to when she learns the Bingley’s have been in London and that Caroline has effectively kept Mr. Bingley in the dark about her presence in the city. This novella will have you on your toes for a bit, especially as Jane Bennet becomes a bit more daring like her sister, Lizzy, and seeks to “bump” into Mr. Bingley on the streets of London.

Kincaid’s Jane has a bit more backbone that Austen’s original, and I enjoyed her “light” scheming. She’s no where near the level of Caroline Bingley, but she does give her a run for her money. We also find a different Mr. Bingley in Kincaid’s work. He’s prone to being led about in Austen’s novel, but when he learns that people he loves have meddled with his happiness look out! Although there are breaks in social convention, there’s nothing overly outrageous — just a pushing of the boundary here and there.

Zimmerman is a fantastic narrator as always, and I never lost interest in the story with her narrative lead.

When Jane Got Angry by Victoria Kincaid, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, is a wonderful addition to Jane Austen-related fan fiction. My one complaint would probably be I wanted to know more of what Lizzy would have thought of Jane acting more like her. Wonderfully written and no loss ends. Kincaid has a talent for these kinds of “what if” stories.

RATING: Quatrain