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Mailbox Monday #493

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 we received:

Eraser by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a Kindle freebie

Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself.

Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.

No Such Thing as Luck by Nicole Clarkston, a Kindle freebie.

John Thornton is facing the collapse of everything he has worked for all of his life. Through his banker, he hears about a potential business opportunity that could save the mill. He decides to investigate, even if it means traveling from home when he can least afford it.

Margaret Hale, now living in London, learns that her godfather Mr Bell is visiting her brother Frederick in Cadiz. Bell is dying, and asking to see her before it is too late. She is determined to sail, regardless of the risk.

An accident on the docks leaves Margaret injured, and throws both together on the same ship. Thornton, resolved to protect Margaret’s honour despite their painful history, claims to be her brother to keep her safe. Unfortunately, pretending to be Margaret’s brother proves more difficult- and more dangerous- than he might have expected.

None But You by Sarah Shuff, a Kindle freebie.

Lyme 1806: While studying medicine in Edinburgh, Benjamin Whitehorn receives news of his father’s death and suspends his studies to attend the funeral. Upon his arrival, he comes face-to-face with Matilda Dyson, whom he saves from near catastrophe. He knows instantly that she is above him in social standing but he is unable to get her out of his mind.

After discovering his brother is on the verge of being sent to debtors’ prison, Benjamin goes against his principles and reluctantly accepts an offer from Captain Crawford for employment as a doctor aboard The Hadrian, a slave ship.

When he finds himself stranded in the West Indies without a penny to his name, he encounters Captain Wentworth of the Royal Navy who offers him a position aboard The Asp. What will Benjamin find when he returns to England after months away …

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #451

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 1)  by Alexa Adams, a kindle freebie.

In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present togive consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully? First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen’s beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly. Jane and Bingley’s relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets a foot in Brighton. Austen’s witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.

Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 2)  by Alexa Adams, a kindle freebie

A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?

Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 3) by Alexa Adams, a Kindle freebie

Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story. As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy’s pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.

Nachtstürm Castle: A Gothic Austen Novel by Emily C. A. Snyder, a kindle freebie

Moonlight! Castles! Ghosts! Storms! Secret trap doors! Suicide! Grave yards! Mistaken Identities! Carriage accidents! Gypsies! Hauntings! A kidnapping! Purloined letters! A duel! Swooning! Wild Pursuits! Demonic possession! A disputed inheritance! Three romances! A ransacking! Ancient curses! A stolen will and testament! Dank subterranean passageways!

Multi-talented Emily C. A. Snyder has managed to pack the above list (and more) into Nachtstürm Castle, a sophisticated Gothic fantasy sequel, taking up the further adventures of Henry and Catherine Tilney where our divine Miss Austen finished the last lines of Northanger Abbey.

Rumours & Recklessness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Nicole Clarkston

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate. Finally confronted with a woman who ignites all his hopes, he agonizes over the cruel trick of fate which placed her in a situation beneath his notice. The morning after the Netherfield ball, he resolves to put as much distance between himself and her as possible.

That very morning, however, Elizabeth’s future is jeopardized by her father’s untimely accident. With Mr Bennet unconscious and surrounded by concerned neighbors, Mr Collins presses his suit. Elizabeth’s mother frantically demands her acceptance to secure the family’s welfare. With so many witnesses to his proposal and everyone expecting her to make a practical choice, Elizabeth’s reputation hangs in the balance.

Without her father to defend her refusal of Mr Collins, there is no one to speak up for her… except the last man in the world she would ever marry.

A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart, a kindle freebie

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.

I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.

But now he’s back.

I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.

One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.

*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*

Love Blooms at Pemberley: A Sweet Pride and Prejudice Variation by Cassandra Knightley, a kindle freebie.

In the aftermath of Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr Darcy, the worst possible outcome has befallen the Bennet family. Mr Bennet has died unexpectedly, leaving his widow and unmarried daughters at the mercy of Mr Collins.

In this time of hardship and sorrow, Mr Darcy shows his true nature through his kindness, generosity, and friendship. But will Darcy and Elizabeth be able to put aside their hurt pride and stubborn natures to find the Happilly Ever After they both seek?

A Darcy and Elizabeth P&P variation bubbling with spirit, humor, and romance. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite tea, find a comfy sofa, and settle in for an afternoon of love, laughs, and manners with Love Blooms at Pemberley.

Mr. Darcy’s Debt: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Novel by April Floyd, a kindle freebie.

Thomas Bennet has died and left his wife and five daughters during the visit of his cousin Mr. Collins who has come to offer marriage as an olive branch to soothe the way when he inherits their home, Longbourn. A deathbed promise from the past saves the ladies and Elizabeth Bennet becomes better acquainted with the wealthy, handsome Mr. Darcy, the man who insulted her at the assembly in Meryton. With the Bennets living at Somersal, a country estate that belongs to the Fitzwilliam family and is only a short distance from Pemberley, the home of Mr. Darcy, their mutual love of riding fosters a love neither Darcy nor Elizabeth can deny. After a terrible accident, Elizabeth believes she must race in the spring to secure her family’s future, much to Mr. Darcy’s dismay. His proposal, given to keep her from racing, is summarily refused as Elizabeth Bennet will not marry from necessity.

A Vintage Halloween by Cat Gardiner, purchased because I love her books.

Halloween is an exciting time at the Memories of Old antique shop, and William Darcy and Lizzy Bennet are about to discover why–yet again. The shop holds much more than trinkets from the past in the modern day. It holds the memories of those who once cherished them– maybe even their spirits.

Anxiously missing and waiting for her fiance’s return from military service, our dear heroine has a heavy heart and–a little envy–as she helps to arrange her sister’s wedding, putting off making wedding plans of her own. Perhaps a mysterious mirror in the shop and a little mischief-making on All Hallows’ Eve will help to fill that hole in her heart by working a little miracle back in 1944.

Join the fun and travel back in time with Lizzy Bennet to the WWII-era where she attends an exciting masquerade ball at Pemberley Manor, meeting a bevy of characters–one in particular–who will lift her spirits

What did you receive?

Spotlight & Giveaway: These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston

I want to welcome Nicole Clarkston back to Savvy Verse & Wit.  If you’ll recall, I loved her book, The Courtship of Edward GardnerShe has a new book out, These Dreams, and I cannot wait to read it when life starts to slow down a bit.

About the Book:

An abandoned bride
A missing man
And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain
and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

About the Author:

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any bookworm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane
Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be
reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her
blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

International Giveaway: 1 e-book of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. 

Enter in the comments by Oct. 8 11:59 p.m. EST. 

Leave a comment about what you’re looking forward to most about her book and an email for me to contact you.

Mailbox Monday #443

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what we received:

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston for review.

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitzwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

When We Are Married by Caitlin Williams for review.

Two sisters, one man. Someone’s heart is about to get broken.

Elizabeth Bennet quickly realises she has misjudged Mr Darcy. In Kent, she learns first impressions are not always accurate. His proposal is disastrous, insulting even, but when she reads his letter her heart begins to thaw, and her objections and prejudices start to melt away. Elizabeth decides to offer Mr Darcy a sliver of hope, an apology, and a second chance.
Yet when he begins to call at Gracechurch Street, determined to become a better man and humbled by Elizabeth’s reproofs, he unwittingly stirs the romantic hopes of another lady altogether.

Jane Bennet, bereft and confused, rejected by Charles Bingley is fearful of becoming an old maid. She is eager to fall in love with the very first gentleman who takes notice of her, and Mr Darcy’s is, after all, everything her mother has wanted for her, rich and handsome, the perfect suitor.

Through crowded, industrious Cheapside, to the elegant ballrooms of Mayfair, Mr Darcy chases Elizabeth Bennet, unaware that the quiet unassuming girl who smiles too much, is fully intent on chasing him.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, annotated by Sophie Turner for review.

-Restored to the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of the 1813 Egerton first edition, save clear errors
– Forward by the editor
– Notes on historical context, including entails, debt, housekeeping, etiquette, and travelling
– Notes on Austen’s grammar
– Detailed annotations for each volume
– List of recommended further reading

The novel needs no introduction. But readers may not have realised that we have been losing “Pride and Prejudice” over the years, particularly digitally. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation have eroded significantly from the 1813 Egerton first edition, and many digital copies suffer from poor formatting.

In 2017, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, her “darling Child” has been painstakingly restored to the three-volume 1813 first edition. Adjustments have only been made where there were errors in the 1813 text, and are noted in detailed annotations at the end of the novel.

Please enjoy this beloved story, restored to Jane Austen’s original voice.

Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, which is for review.

A lively new picture-book biography of the most beloved children’s book author of all time: Dr. Seuss!

Have you ever wondered how the great Dr. Seuss wrote his most famous book? Did you know that for The Cat in the Hat, he wasn’t allowed to make up the fun words he was known for—like OOBLECK and IT-KUTCH and HIPPO-NO-HUNGUS? He was only allowed to use words from a very strict list!

This bouncy account of the early career of Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Ted Geisel) proves that sometimes limitations can be the best inspiration of all.

Kid-friendly prose (with Seussian rhyme for Ted’s dialogue) and whimsical illustrations by award winner Kevin Hawkes recall the work of Dr. Seuss himself. Writing tips from Dr. Seuss and exclusive letters from the author and illustrator, detailing how they created this book, are included!

What did you receive?

Best Books of 2016

2016 had a great many books that thrilled me, and others that delighted. The rest of the year I could have done without —  so many deaths and a horribly long election and a range of backlash to terrify anyone.

For those interested, these are the best books I read in 2016, though not all were published in 2016.

Best Series:

March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell (March: Book One, March: Book Two, March: Book Three)

Best Photography:


Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer’s Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe, Rob Sheppard

Best Memoir:

Bukowski in a Sundress by Kim Addonizio

Best Children’s Book:


Science Verse by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

Best Young Adult Fiction:


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Best Short Story Collection: (I only read 3 and these 2 tied)


Heirlooms: Stories by Rachel Hall (this one has remained on my mind more than expected)


Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Marci Jefferson, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

Best Jane Austen Fiction: (this is a three-way tie)


A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner


Darcy’s Hope: Beauty from Ashes by Ginger Monette


The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston

Best Poetry: (another tie)


Field Guide to the End of the World by Jeannine Hall Gailey


Obliterations by Heather Aimee O’Neill and Jessica Piazza

Best Fiction: (a three-way tie)


The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler


My Last Continent by Midge Raymond


This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

What books were your favorites this year?

Giveaway: The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston

Source: the author
ebook, 219 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston is a prequel to Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and it features two of its most beloved characters, the Gardiners.  Edward Gardiner has had his heart broken and when Thomas Bennet calls for his aide, he’s happy to oblige if it gets him out of London and away from his dashed hopes.  He’s a businessman on the rise, and while his sisters may be less than tactful, he’s a perfect gentleman.  I’ve always loves the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt, and Clarkston gives us more insight into how that bond may have formed.

Mr. Gardiner soon finds out how different Lizzy and Jane are, as young Lizzy (age seven) is boisterous and curious and very eager to engage with everyone she meets, even if they are aloof and rude.  In the  town of Lambton, Madeline Fairbanks helps her ailing father and her devotion to him demonstrate her loyalty and love for family, and even when she’s roped into caring for a sick Jane Bennet.  Clarkson really does well creating believable minor characters with their own concerns and trials, including Mrs. Porter and her husband, Mr. Lawrence, and others.  And Thomas Bennet’s sarcastic wit is ever present and enjoyable.

“While the lady was still within earshot, Thomas Bennet sang out, ‘I applaud your ladyship’s caution.  One never knows when vagabonds will take on the guise of eight-year-old girls!'”

Readers will enjoy the courtship of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner in the midst of the chaos, as Clarkson teases out the best qualities of both Jane and Lizzy Bennet and entwines them with Madeline Fairbanks’ wiser and forthright personality.  To image a younger Lizzy and see her interact with a young man who is trying his level best to impress his father, care for his very young sister, deal with the death of his mother, and wrap his teenage mind around his duty is fascinating to watch.

There is a lot of teasing in these pages, blushes, smiles, laughter, and awkward moments that make young love so innocent and appealing.  The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston is simply lovely and she’s an author I look forward to reading more from.

RATING: Cinquain

International GIVEAWAY:

Nicole Clarkston would like to offer one copy of The Courtship of Edward Gardiner on each stop of the blog tour. The format is readers’ choice (eBook or paperback) and is international.

Leave a comment on this post about your favorite Jane Austen minor characters. And if you share on Facebook or elsewhere, leave a link for more entries.

Deadline: Nov. 4, 2016, 11:59 PM EST

nicole-clarkstonAbout the Author:

Nicole Clarkston is the pen name of a very bashful writer who will not allow any of her family or friends to read what she writes. She grew up in Idaho on horseback, and if she could have figured out how to read a book at the same time, she would have. She initially pursued a degree in foreign languages and education, and then lost patience with it, switched her major, and changed schools.  She now resides in Oregon with her husband of 15 years, 3 homeschooled kids, and a very worthless degree in Poultry Science (don’t ask).

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties- how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project (undertaken when her husband unsuspectingly left town for a few days) she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Nicole’s books are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.  Check out her website and look her up on Facebook.

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

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