Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MAE Awards for 2016

Jane Austen 
Born-16 December, 1775; Died-18 July, 1817

Jane Austen brings us together. As we know so well, this community thrives because of our shared love for the writing of this intelligent, witty woman whose works are classics and admired all over the world. Two hundred years from the date of her passing and what a legacy she has achieved! Do you not wonder what her reaction would be to the many books, movies, tributes and articles done about her works and in her honor. 

I am thankful for the many friends and acquaintances I have made over the years, strictly because of Jane Austen. We love her, we love her writing and we cannot get enough of the stories based on her characters. There are many of us who have been helped through difficult times in our lives due to Jane Austen and her works, as well as fiction based on her stories and characters. The amount of fan fiction devoted to her novels is countless. With so many new novels coming out monthly and new plots still being created, we fans should have plenty to read and enjoy for quite some time.

In a review I posted yesterday for Cass Grafton's and Ada Bright's book, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, I mentioned a part in the story where the world was without Jane Austen, as if her writings never existed. It made me feel so strange when I was reading this part of the book. It also made me think. How different would my life be if we did not have the wonderful works by Jane Austen? Take a minute and think about your life and how it might be different. Many, many things would not be the same. I probably would not be doing book covers or a calendar every year. I might not read as much and most of all, I would not have the acquaintance of so many lovely online and personal friends.

I am inspired by Jane Austen and amazed at the genius that has been unleashed because of her. To have her fifth great-niece, Caroline Jane Knight, become part of this community was such an unexpected delight and seemed almost surreal, as if Jane Austen herself, was among us.  Ms. Knight founding the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation to help women and children learn to read and write, is the ideal legacy of this phenomenon that is Jane Austen. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Today, Miss Austen, I do not cry because your life is over, I smile because your life happened. 

As part of my celebration, I wish to list my favorite Jane Austen fan-fiction novels for 2016. Yes, I am later than most but I decided to do my 2016 favorites list on the 18th of July. Although I do have some books that made my list that are not related to Jane Austen, most are Jane Austen Fan Fiction. It seemed fitting to do this list on this 200th Anniversary in honor of Jane and all she accomplished.

MAE Favorites of 2016


Now to my favorites...these will not be listed in any specific order but will be will be somewhat categorized. I was unable to read as much as usual last year, therefore I know I missed out on many good books that would have made my list. I also have some books on this favorites' list that were not released in 2016 but that is when I read them

Pride & Prejudice Variations/Alternate Paths
 Accusing Elizabeth by Jennifer Joy
Ardently by Caitlin Williams
Miss Darcy's Companion by Joana Starnes
The Abominable Mr. Darcy by J. Dawn King
Unwilling by Elizabeth Adams

Minor Character Novellas
The Courtship of Edward Gardiner by Nicole Clarkston
When Mary Met the Colonel by Victoria Kincaid

Jane Austen
A Most Singular Venture by Donna Fletcher Crow
Jane & the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron

Pride & Prejudice contemporary and other eras
Undercover by Cat Gardiner
Without a Conscience by Cat Gardiner

Non-P&P
Austen in Austin (4 Texas-set novellas based on Austen novels) by Debra E. Marvin, Susanne Dietze, Anita May Draper and Gina Welborn
The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Jack Caldwell

Pride & Prejudice/Jane Austen Time Travel/Paranormal
Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hiles
The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

North & South Variation
Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my list of favorites with me. If any of you have a favorite that did not make my list for 2016 and you suggest I put it on my TBR list to read, please share the book with me. I would love your thoughts. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many books that I didn't get to read and many of those that I know were good books. Maybe I will get to some of them this year and they will make my 2017 Favorites List. I have already read a few from last year and some from this year that have been marked for the list! :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

My share in the conversation...The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

Available at Amazon US and UK
Good morning and happy Monday to everyone! I hope you had a good weekend and I wish you a great week! I'm starting mine off with a review of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. I thought this would be a good time for this review. I thought about doing it tomorrow but I have other plans for tomorrow. I hope you will pop back in.

Cass Grafton and Ada Bright visited my blog about a year ago, July 5, 2016 to be exact. Here is a link to that visit should you want to go back and take a look. Thanks for stopping by and reading my share in the conversation...

 *****

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is set in Bath, England, during the September Jane Austen Festival, the present time. That alone was awesome as the reader gets to participate in the fun activities of the festival with the characters. Add a little mystery, some time travel and, of course, some romance and it’s a unique book that ­­­­­is hard to put down. I loved this book from beginning to end.

The novel is written by two authors in different parts of the world but one would never know it when reading the text. The story flows flawlessly. I never knew when one author stopped and the other one took over. It is that seamless. Their writing style and story-telling abilities are so alike that it would seem to be written by only one person. Great job, ladies.

Rose and Morgan, online friends, finally get to meet when Morgan travels to Bath to attend the Jane Austen Festival with Rose and stay for a visit. It is such fun reading about their meeting, all the things they experience, who they meet and how everything changes both of their lives. I felt I was there living it all with them. There is a surprise ‘character’ in the book, who it seems the authors captured perfectly. I adored this person and wanted to know more. (I was thrilled to read there is a sequel coming!) Rose’s boss, James, and Aiden, an archeologist are the two leading males. The story that revolves around all five of these characters is fascinating and intriguing. It grabbed my interest from the beginning and I didn’t want to put the book down.

One of the many neat things about the book was discovering what would have happened if Jane Austen had not been published. It was a scary thought. The world changed so much. Not only would that have been terrible for everyone that loves Jane Austen’s novels, but the effect was far-reaching, much more so than some would have imagined. Think about her influence on the writing, in particular, and the world, in general. How much would have disappeared had she never published a novel! Frightening, isn’t it?

There is a lovely reference to Persuasion that made me swoon. The ending—well, it gave me gooseflesh, made me smile and got me super excited all at the same time! It was perfect! Well done, Ada Bright and Cass Grafton. Just hurry and write the sequel!


I have purposely focused my review more on the writing and less on the actual story. I don’t want to give any spoilers. Each reader needs to ‘suspicion’ and come to his/her own conclusions as he/she reads the book. The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is too delicious to spoil for any reader and those ‘ah-ha’ moments are too good to ruin. 😊. Any Janeite should love this book. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will put it high on your TBR list! I highly recommend everyone read and savor ‘Charm’ for themselves.

***** 

I must say, I’m curious if this story has any connection to the two authors and their friendship? It seems there are some similarities. How about it Cass and Ada? 

I can't wait for the sequel to this book. I hope we will not have to wait too long.

Ada Bright and Cass Grafton are giving away a book, winner's choice of a paperback or eBook copy of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane AustenThank you Cass and Ada. The giveaway is international and we ask you to please leave a comment to be entered. Be sure to include your contact info in your comment. The giveaway will end on the 23rd of July at 11:59 PM. Good luck to all.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

My share in the conversation...Devotion

Good morning, Dear Readers. Today, I'm happy to highlight author, Meg Kerr, and her latest release, Devotion. I have written my review for Devotion and will share it with you later in this post. As most of you know, I'm a cover junkie, being that I love designing covers, so indulge me a minute, if you will. I'm not sure you can see the writing on the lower front cover but it says, 'being a sequel to Experience by the same author and a further continuation of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. Isn't that neat? I like this description of what's inside and it sets the tone for the writing style of this author. 

Before I post my review, I would like to give you a bit more info about the book and share an excerpt. First, pay close attention to this next paragraph! You are going to LOVE it!

*****

As part of the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen's passing on July 18, author Meg Kerr will offer her new novel Devotion as an exclusive free digital download to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the most prolific writers of all time. This FREE giveaway starts today, July 15th and will run to July 19th. (it actually ends July 18th) Following the free offer, Devotion will be available for purchase in digital format only, with the paperback edition to be released on August 18, 2017. 

Austen's books have been read by millions worldwide, with her most famous, Pride and Prejudice, selling over 20 million copies. Devotion is written as a "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice, and answers many questions posed by the original classic that have been haunting curious readers for generations.

"Devotion is Prism Publishers’ contribution to the growing litany of fiction honouring the life and legacy of one of history’s greatest romantic novelists," says Prism’s publisher, Michael Braund.

Kerr, writing effortlessly and wittily in the style of Jane Austen, sweeps the reader back to the year 1816 for a reunion with many of literature's most beloved characters.

“I delight in interesting conversation, so writing dialogue is pure pleasure to me,” says Kerr when asked about the effort it took to write in Austen’s distinct prose. “My ideas come first and foremost from Jane Austen herself. I am always asking, ‘What would Jane do?’ In Devotion I played with a theme that was dear to her heart: the bad boy, and whether it is possible for him to be redeemed.”

For more information on this title, please visit http://www.prismpublishers.com.

*****

That is quite an offer and one that I'm sure will be much appreciated by all. Thank you, Meg Kerr and Prism Publishers.

*****

Synopsis 

In this sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana Darcy, now twenty years old and completely lovely, is ripe for marriage. Her brother has carefully selected her future husband, but the arrival of a long-delayed letter, and a secret journey, bring Georgiana into the arms of an utterly wicked and charming young man whose attentions promise her ruin. At the same time, events in Meryton are creating much-needed occupation for Mrs. Bennet and a quandary for Lydia Bennet’s girlhood companion Pen Harrington; and the former Caroline Bingley is given — perhaps — an opportunity to remake some of her disastrous choices. Meg Kerr, writing effortlessly and wittily in the style of Jane Austen, sweeps the reader back to the year 1816 for a reunion with many beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice and an introduction to some intriguing characters.

Excerpt

That Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley lived happily ever after is universally acknowledged as truth. Mr. Darcy through all the vicissitudes of matrimony assuredly continued to experience a happiness such as he had never felt before, and Mrs. Darcy remained the happiest creature in the world. Nor can there be any doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bingley remained blessed in a marriage of easy tempers and affectionate hearts.

But as they were driven away from the church door in Meryton, the quartet of joyful newlyweds left behind several young ladies with stories in a very incomplete state. Their creatrix, Miss Jane Austen, vouchsafed only that…

Mary Bennet remained at home and was obliged to mix more with the world as a result of her mother’s inability to sit alone.

Kitty Bennet to her material advantage spent the chief of her time with her two elder sisters, to her great improvement.

Lydia Wickham retained all the claims to reputation that her marriage had given her, as Wickham’s affection for her sank into indifference and hers soon followed.

Caroline Bingley was deeply mortified by Darcy’s marriage but took every necessary step to retain the right of visiting at Pemberley.

Georgiana Darcy now made Pemberley her home, with her brother and his wife.

No, no, this will not do. It is not to be tolerated that after living so intimately with the Bennets, Bingleys and de Bourghs, the reader of Pride and Prejudice should be denied any further news of their lives! And thus, Experience—to which this book, Devotion, is a companion volume. Pride and Prejudice took place over the course of the year 1812. Experience picks up the story immediately and its events unfold from the beginning of 1813 to the end of 1815. Over the course of Experience:

Mary, believing she has found her best and highest duty by uniting herself to a clergyman older than her father, a prolific writer who must surely be in need of her multitude of accomplishments to finish his tome on The Martyrs of the Reign of Queen Mary, is very much taken aback by her new husband’s insistence that the proper role of a clergyman’s wife is to visit the poor with a basket of potatoes and teach needlework to the daughters of the local labourers. Is there any escape for her from this nightmare?

Kitty through a perfectly natural and credible series of coincidences, contrivances, accidents and twists of fate ascends to the peerage

Lydia, a soldier’s wife, cannot avoid being swept up in the events of 1815 that culminate in the Battle of Waterloo and change her life forever.

Caroline Bingley’s humiliating romantic defeat at the hands of Elizabeth Bennet may be assuaged by a marriage into the aristocracy arranged by her sister Mrs. Hurst…but Miss Bingley, with her partiality for arrogant, tall, dark, handsome men finds what passes for her heart pulled in different directions.

As for Georgiana Darcy—Georgiana’s story is told in Devotion rather than in Experience, as she clearly needed a larger stage, all to herself, for her escapades.

*****

Now for my share in the conversation...


Devotion is the second sequel of Pride & Prejudice written by Meg Kerr. I have not read Experience, which is the first sequel but it did not affect my enjoyment of the second book nor hinder my understanding and following of it. I do plan to go back now and read Experience as I was fascinated with Ms. Kerr’s writing. She writes much in the style of Jane Austen and I found that delightful.

Devotion is a story about Georgiana. She is more independent now and makes some decisions that are a bit risky. These choices certainly do not make the rest of her family too happy. When she disappears for a time, Darcy and Lizzy are at a loss as to where to find her. The part that Kitty and Colonel Fitzwilliam played in figuring out her location was excellent. I truly enjoyed their pairing. We spend much time with Georgiana on her journey, her arrival and her emotional growth during her absence. She is a bit determined but she is a Darcy after all.

There are some of the same characters as in the original but there are also some new ones introduced. Pen Harrington, one of the originals who got only a small amount of page time in Pride & Prejudice, is much more involved in this novel. I enjoyed getting a chance to know her better. The role that the Gardiners played was significant. They were the fair and good couple that I love. They saw reason and acted upon their good judgment. These actions were a definite influence in the outcome of Georgiana’s life. Mrs. Younge has a fairly big role and her personality remains mostly unchanged. She’s still up to her old tricks. Caroline Bingley is in the story with a new name and a new position. I liked the life that Ms. Kerr gave Caroline. I also found the name of an old flame and love interest of Caroline’s quite interesting. The man’s home and occupation are too similar to the hero of a later time and different author to be coincidence. I will be eager to learn if there will be more to this story.

John Maury is a new character that is both bad and good. He is utterly charming and I couldn’t help but like him. He plays a leading role in the story and his development as a person was exciting to watch. I enjoyed and was also fascinated by the interplay between him and some of the characters from his life. Those enhanced the story and eventually came around to add their own significance and cohesiveness to the conclusion.

There were times in the beginning of the novel that I felt the switch of scenes and people from one chapter to another was a little disjointed but not enough to make me lose interest. My main feeling was if I had missed something earlier. (This also could have been a result of me not having read the first book.) As I continued reading and the plot played out, I saw the importance of those introductions and changes. They were necessary to the summation of the story and all the pieces began to fit together nicely.


Overall, I felt the characters were true to the originals. Darcy is still protective of Georgiana and Lizzy is the sister that she needed. Georgiana is growing into the young woman that I would think she would with Lizzy for her sister and example. I enjoyed Meg Kerr’s ability to spin a tale and make it believable. The novel is intriguing and held my interest from the beginning. Her love of Jane Austen’s writing is evident in her own. I took much pleasure in Ms. Kerr’s style of writing. I look forward to reading more from this author. If you get a chance to read Devotion, I highly recommend it.

*****

Author Bio:

What do you do when you live in the twenty-first century but a piece of your heart lies in the nineteenth? If you are author Meg Kerr you let your head and hand follow your heart. With her love of country life—dogs and horses, long walks in the woods and fields, dining with family and neighbours and dancing with friends, reading and writing and the best conversation—and her familiarity with eighteenth and nineteenth century history and literature, Meg has a natural gift to inhabit, explore and reimagine the world that Jane Austen both dwelt in and created, and to draw readers there with her. 

*****

Contact Information:

Meg Kerr may be contacted via her publisher, Prism Publishers. Please contact Michael Braund at prismpublish@gmail.com to inquire about interviews, appearances, signings, and other events.

*****

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Meg Kerr, her novel, Devotion and my review of it. Please let us know what you think. Since the Ms. Kerr is giving away her novel today to July 19th, you do not have to comment to win. You win by following the link here to get the  Free eBook. 

I will leave you with this video of Meg Kerr as she discusses Austen's 'bad boys'. Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by today and please tell your friends about this wonderful giveaway but remember, the eBook is only free for a limited time. Get your copy now! :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

And the winners are...(past winners)

There are several winners that need announcing. I had written a winner's list from the last part of March and April and then failed to post it. For that I apologize. For the rest, I confess to being extremely behind in posting of winners. Everyone has been notified and everyone should have received their books by now.
If you have not, please let me know.

Congratulations to all of you and I hope you enjoy reading and escaping into another world for a few hours! I will start with the most recent that has not been announced or was not a Rafflecopter giveaway and work backwards. 

Before I list some previous winners, I would like to mention a book, Jane Austen Speaks, by Maria Emilio de Medeiros that is on sale for about half off at Amazon. Maria was my guest in July of 2016. She is offering her book at this low price in honor of Jane Austen, her life and her legacy. I hope you will take a look at this lovely book, if you have not already purchased it. 

Now for some past winners~

Understanding Elizabeth by Robin Helm
eBook (I)
Luthien84

eBook or Paperback (winner's choice, US)
Leah Pruett


Legally Darcy by Denise O'Hara
3 eBooks
KateB
Daniela
Theresa M

Modern Persuasion by Sara Marks
eBook
darcybennet

Darcy's Honor by Victoria Kincaid
eBook
ohiohomeschool

Courage Requires by Melanie Rachel
eBook (winner's choice of title)
Sophia Rose


Leap of Hope and Leap of Faith by Shannon Winslow

Paperback: (Choice of book)
Eva Edmonds
Anon Cheryl C

ebook: (Choice of book)
SofiaAEdCesare
Sophia Rose


Mistress by Sophie Turner
2 eBooks
Daniela

Patty Edmisson

Since there was a bit of a mix-up with my posts on winners, if there is one that I have not listed and you never saw the winner, please email me and I will tell you the winner. I apologize for this slip.

Monday, July 10, 2017

And the winner is...Sisterly love

I'm having a great time announcing some winners today. That's always fun! This time the winner is for the giveaway of a $100 Amazon gift card from J. Dawn King and her post on Sisterly Love. Not only did we have a huge response to Joy's post but we also had many lovely stories about sisters, dear friends and in-laws. It was so nice to read what all of you had to say. Thank you for sharing part of yourself with each of us.

Now I will get on with the announcement!
The winner of the $100 Amazon Gift Card from J. Dawn King is...

tgruy

Congratulations! Joy has contacted you, so hopefully, you will reach out to Joy soon! 

Thanks again to everyone for stopping by and making this post such a success.

And the winner is...A Quest for Mr. Darcy

Good morning to all of you! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Summer is in full force with so many holidays for people and fun things to do. Are you doing anything special? I know some of you are heading to England soon and should have a wonderful time. Some are already there or just getting back. I would love to hear of your visit when you get a chance. :)












Now I have some good news to share! The winner of the wonderful giveaway by Cass Grafton has been randomly selected. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting this announcement so I will delay no longer! 

The winner is... Drum Roll, please...

Carole in Canada

Congratulations, Carole! 

I appreciate so much all of supporting my blog and commenting on the review for A Quest for Mr. Darcy. That was wonderful. If you haven't read it yet, I hope you will find the time soon, to read it. 

Thank you, Cass Grafton, for hosting such a lovely giveaway for my readers. It was much appreciated. I love having you visit and invite you to stop by anytime! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dreams of Pemberley...Joana Starnes


It is with great pleasure that I welcome my online friend, the lovely Joana Starnes, to More Agreeably Engaged. I always love having this sweet lady visit and today she is sharing a virtual holiday with us. I think you will love it! I certainly did. I loved looking at the photographs and imagining I was there with everyone mentioned, looking on as the scene unfolded. :) sigh

Joana has a fabulous giveaway. You will want to be sure you take a look at it. She asks you to answer one question to be entered. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? 

Take us away, Joana.

*****

Dreams of Pemberley

Thanks ever so much for the lovely welcome at More Agreeably Engaged today, Janet! You’re so kind, and I always love being your guest. As it’s the beginning of July and the holidays are fast approaching I thought this might be a good time for a trip, even if it’s just a virtual one, and I hope you and your readers will enjoy it.

Ever since I discovered the wonderful world of JAFF, dreams of Pemberley take over wherever I go. And, needless to say, I try to go to places where I can dream of Pemberley. I already mentioned in other posts how I used to drag my ever-so-compliant family to one grand country-house after another, until we all saw sense and came to a more convenient arrangement. These days, rather than grumbling as I advance at a snail’s pace because I’m taking hundreds of photos from every angle, for a day or two of our time away they drop me off to a National Trust house and go hiking to the top of the nearest hill or go cycling while I wander hither and tither and see glimpses of Pemberley in everything. Not only in the usual locations, Lyme Park, Sudbury Hall, Chatsworth. Just as Pemberley 1995 is in effect a collage of two beautiful properties, the Pemberley of my dreams is a collage too, as are all the other places our favourite couple walk though in my books, on their journey to their happily ever after.

Today I thought I’d share a little bit of the collage. This might be the secret cove where Elizabeth and Mr Darcy finally reach their understanding in The Falmouth Connection.



And this, the secluded spot where they share their midnight kiss (you’ll have to picture it in darkness, I drew the line at breaking into the property in the middle of the night to take a photo ;) ). 


This inspired the ancient great hall where Darcy duels Wickham, gives him his dues (and then some), and wipes the slate clean in the most satisfying manner 


This may be the breakfast parlour at Netherfield, where Elizabeth sits with her new husband in Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter as she seeks to reconcile herself with a marriage she entered into with so little forethought. Or in The Unthinkable Triangle it might be the ‘smaller dining room’ in the Darcy townhouse, where Elizabeth dines with her father, Georgiana, Mr Darcy and Mr Annesley when she comes to nurse Colonel Fitzwilliam back to health and unknowingly torments Darcy with images of what might have been, had he proposed before his cousin. 


This might be the theatre box where Darcy leans back into the shadows and spends the entire time watching ‘every play of emotion on Elizabeth’s countenance’, and thus betrays his feelings to ‘the very worst of men’, who doesn’t hesitate to take advantage and taunt him. 


This beautiful spot in Chatsworth’s extensive grounds inspired the scene where the star-crossed lovers finally manage to redirect their lives onto the proper path (because of course Elizabeth and Mr Darcy are meant to be together, regardless of wrong turns along the way). The temple/garden folly that stands there in real-life was not exactly right for the part (small and from another era). But this is why we have Photoshop, so hey presto, a larger temple is moved from Buckinghamshire to Derbyshire, just like that. 


This might be the spot where Elizabeth lashes out at her mother in Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and they both make very unwise disclosures while, unbeknownst to them, Darcy happens to be on the other side of the wall and hears an awful lot more than he should.


And this might be the music room where Elizabeth comes to play pieces ‘as stormy as her heart’ after her disagreement with her husband who, having pleasantly surprised her with proof after proof of loving kindness, outrages her with glimpses into his proud and intolerant side when he objects to her calling upon her tradesman uncle. 


This might be the drawing room where everything is revealed and Darcy has the good sense to believe that his wife has actually grown to love him, regardless of how their marriage might have started. 



And in all seasons we can easily imagine our favourite couple losing themselves into the garden or on woodland paths, just for the sheer joy of spending time together and basking in each other’s love – or if they’re not quite there yet, to find some privacy, clear the air, exchange opinions and with any luck maybe a kiss or two.


It’s not essential to go to fancy places for inspiration. As many if not all of you know, the location of this image is the very opposite of fancy. But who knows, one day I might write something about lakes, wet shirts and Elizabeth and Darcy going boating. 


Until then I wish you a very happy summer. And if you go on long journeys and you’d like something to make them seem shorter I hope you’ll try one of Stevie Zimmerman’s narrations. She has kindly produced three of my books, and the depth of emotion in her performance is beyond exquisite. The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter are now available in audio format at Amazon and Audible, and I hope you’ll like them.

Which brings us to GIVEAWAY time. The giveaway is international and includes 5 audio codes so that you could listen to one of my audio-books for free, or you could win a bag of goodies collected on my travels. 



For a chance to win a code or the goodie-bag please leave a comment to let me know which one of my books you’d like to see produced in Audio next. Thanks for stopping by and many thanks again, Janet, for having me as your guest today, it’s been wonderful as always!

Joana Starnes is the author of:

* 'From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley', a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel
* 'The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion'
* 'The Second Chance', a 'Pride & Prejudice' ~ 'Sense & Sensibility' variation
* 'The Falmouth Connection', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation where Jane Austen's beloved characters are compelled to leave their tame and reasonably peaceful lives in the south of England and travel to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few - if any! - are what they seem to be...
* 'The Unthinkable Triangle', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation that dwells on the most uncomfortable love-triangle of them all. What if Mr. Darcy's rival for Miss Bennet's hand and heart is none other than his dearest, closest friend? And how can they all find their 'happily-ever-after'?
*'Miss Darcy's Companion' - a variation that explores what might have happened if the warm-hearted Miss Elizabeth Bennet were employed instead of the scheming Mrs Younge.
* ‘Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter’ – where distressing news from Longbourn compel Elizabeth to accept Mr Darcy’s first proposal, long before they both learn to understand each other – and themselves.

Joana’s books are available on all Amazon sites.




You can connect with Joana Starnes on
Or visit ‘All Roads Lead to Pemberley’ on Facebook, for places, events and titbits that have inspired her novels.

*****

This was such a wonderful virtual holiday. The pictures are stunning and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Hope each of you did too. I particularly liked imagining the characters in your books playing out scenes is these lovely places. That was fun and I want to thank you for making it seem real, Joana. You always have the most beautiful photographs of your visits and I enjoy seeing them. Being able to view them as a stage for scenes in your books made them even better!

Now for the fab giveaway that I mentioned earlier. Ms. Starnes has codes for 5 audio books! Isn't that wonderful! That means five winners get an audio book. But wait! That's not all. She also has a travel goodie bag. That means there will be another winner...six in all! Wow! Thank you, Joana Starnes. I know my readers are pleased. 

Remember Readers, to be entered, tell us which of Joana's books you would like to see as an audio book next. When you refer to her titles above, note the ones highlighted in deep red. Those are the three that have recently been produced in Audio. Peruse the others and make your decision. I will need to think on this before I choose. I adore all the books by Joana and would enjoy listening to any one of them. Tell us what you think and let me know how to reach you should your name be one of the lucky randomly selected winners. Giveaway is international and will end at 11:59 PM on the 13th of July. Good luck!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sisterly Love...J. Dawn King

Dear Friends, I have a lovely lady, J. Dawn King, visiting today with a special post about sisterly love. This post is not about a book that Joy has written. It is about sisters - hers, Jane Austen's sister, Cassandra, and all the sisters that Jane Austen wrote into her stories. Since this is the month of Jane's passing and she and her sister, Cassandra, had such a closeness and love for one another, what a perfect time to honor sisters. Thank you, J. Dawn King. 

It is a delightful post and one that made me think. I hope each of you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. Joy also has a fabulous giveaway for one lucky person. She asks a question at the end and we would love to read your response! 

SISTERLY LOVE

I have two sisters whom I adore. One is less than a year older than me and the other is less than a year younger. Therefore, in July, I will be the same age as my youngest sister. In August, I’ll be 61, which is the same age as my eldest. In September, she will be 62 so the three of us will be in our sixties for the very first time.

Sisters are an important theme in Jane Austen’s stories. Out of her seven siblings, only one was female (Cassandra). This makes me wonder at Jane writing a story where five sisters grew up in the same household. How hard/easy was it to imagine the conflict as five young ladies and one mother with disparate personalities co-existed.
What sort of conflicts?

BORROWING CLOTHES WITHOUT PERMISSION

Grrrrrr! Even after all these years I remember the reality of rushing to get ready for school and not being able to find the shirt I’d planned to wear. Where had it gone? One of my sisters was wearing it. Or, she had worn it and it was now tossed into a pile of discarded clothing in the corner of her bedroom needing to be laundered. Instant anger!

Because we were usually about the same size at any given time, it was a never-ending battle to keep possession of our garments. Conversations such as the following would ensue:

“Keep your hands off my Led Zeppelin t-shirt. I’m wearing it to the dance Friday night so DON’T TOUCH IT!”
“But Debbie is wearing her red one and Sally is going to wear her brother’s Def Leppard shirt. I HAVE to wear it,” was the typical sort of reply. “Besides, it looks better with my jeans than yours.”
“You did this to me last time, so, NO!”
“I’ll let you wear my leather fringed vest (it was the 1970’s) if you let me have the t-shirt.”
“OK. But never again.”
“Sure, thanks!”

Although they didn’t have t-shirts in Regency England, they had shoe roses, shawls, ribbons, stockings, small pieces of precious jewelry and hair combs which could be pilfered for sisterly use. Imagine the stress of keeping your prize hidden until you were already in the carriage on the way to the ball. There would be no “give it back” opportunities as the sneaky sibling would not do her big reveal until you were well-surrounded by neighbors and friends. Grrrrr!

LIKING THE SAME BOY AT THE SAME TIME

There is nothing sadder than looking at your sister’s notebook/binder/journal and seeing the exact same name you have on yours written in cursive encircled by a heart. Sigh! The heartbreak of it is excruciating. Then, there’s the suffering as you both realize you are competitors for the most important prize of all – young love.

“You like HIM?”
“Yeah. Why, do you?” (do I admit it or hide my own notebook/binder/journal for the rest of my lifetime?)
“Do you think he likes you?” (beyond a shadow of a doubt our future will be a cool car, marriage, and two children)
“Do you think he likes YOU?” (I have to ask anyway)
“Yes. He walked by me two times in the hallway at school and he looked at me each time.”
“Well, he asked to borrow my pencil because he forgot his and then I saw him “find” his later in class.”
“Oh.” (crushed dreams as she scribbles over the hearts and flowers and searches for stickers to cover the mess)

Did this happen in Pride and Prejudice? Oh, yes. Mr. Wickham pitted Elizabeth and Lydia against each other. Could it be possible this could have been Jane and Cassandra at some point in their young lives? I do not know. However, I have been in both Elizabeth and Lydia’s shoes and it’s truly awful when you realize your biggest competition is someone you love.

On the flip side of the coin is the strong bond sisters can have. Marianne’s emotional outbursts had to have irritated sensible Elinor. Yet, when Marianne was hurting, Elinor was there. Why? Because she loved her. Can you think of other examples in Jane Austen’s writings when sisters banded together in solidarity? Sure, you can.

So, this begs the question:

Of all the sisterly relationships in Jane Austen’s books, which one resonates the most with you, and why?


All those who comment will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card (available internationally) as a thank you for your participation. Best wishes to all of you! Now, I think it’s time I give my sister a call. 

*****

Thank you again, Joy, for such a fun and thought-provoking post. I have two sisters and this post touched my heart. As I told you earlier, both of my sisters are struggling with some serious health issues. One has been since early February and the other much longer. It breaks my heart for both of them but they remain upbeat and positive in their outlook. I admire both more than they can imagine. 

I am the youngest of four children. My oldest sister and I were always close but not so much my other sister. I was five years younger than her and ALWAYS in the way, especially when she had company. :) After we were older we became extremely close. We talked often and shared our like passions of photography and birding. It was fantastic. Now we don't visit much because, too often, she is unable to talk. It saddens my heart but I cherish those times when she does feel good enough to talk for a short time. 

My sister, Gwyn, top right, made this and sent it to me and Judy.
Gwyn is the middle sister. We have one brother, Morris,
who is between Judy and Gwyn in age. 
Thank you, Joy, for thinking of sisters and for sharing a little about yours with us! It was fun to read and brought back memories. I loved reading your thoughts about Jane Austen's writing of sisters. It gave me pause. The Elliot sisters do not resonate with me at all, but maybe Elinor and Marianne do some. I'm thinking the Bennet sisters resonate the most with the three of us 'Boothe girls'. I believe I will give my sisters a call today too. :)

Can't wait to hear your thoughts, everyone. Be sure I can reach you if you want a chance at that gift card...and who wouldn't! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 9th of July. Good luck to all of you!

Friday, June 30, 2017

My share in the conversation...A Quest for Mr. Darcy

Hello to everyone on this last day of June! Summer is here AND once again, my air conditioner stopped ! UGH! It is stifling. Send me some 'cool' (literally) thoughts. lol


Today is my stop for the lovely Cass Grafton and her new release, A Quest for Mr. Darcy. I have the pleasure and honor of being the first blogger on the tour to review her book. Cass also has a fab giveaway so please take time to look at the lovely items and comment. Be sure I know how to reach you, too. You don't want to miss out on this wonderful prize!

*****

Before I share my review, let's have a look at the blurb for A Quest for Mr. Darcy.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is on a quest. Convinced he is over his foolish infatuation with Elizabeth Bennet, he returns from a year of travelling with a plan, both to protect the estate of which he is guardian and to ensure his sister's happiness: he intends to do his duty and secure a wife at the earliest opportunity.

Duty; a path from which Darcy knows he should never have been diverted. Duty was safe and nothing would persuade him from it a second time.

Soon restored to his home in Derbyshire, Darcy puts his quest in motion, preparing to welcome guests from Town, one of whom is the suitably eligible young lady he has earmarked as his future wife.

But what of the Bennets of Longbourn? What befell them in Darcy’s absence from England? And what of the new tenants on his estate named Bennet? Is his path fated to cross with Elizabeth's once more?

With the addition of his friend, Bingley's, mischievous twin younger sisters, letters from a stranger and a shadowy figure lurking in the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy's life is about to be turned upside down.

Can he remain steady to his purpose, or will his carefully laid plans soon be in tatters as the rigid protection he has placed around his heart begins to falter?

Doesn't that sound excellent? Well, after reading the book that is exactly my opinion. Now for my share in the conversation... :)

*****

A Quest for Mr. Darcy by Cass Grafton

When I heard that Cass Grafton had a new Regency era P&P work in progress, I was so excited. I absolutely love her writing style, her ability to delve into the minds and hearts of the characters and her talent to tell a captivating story. I was not disappointed. A Quest for Mr. Darcy lived up to my expectations and more. The standard set by the author in her series of books, A Fair Prospect, Volumes I, II and III was met with ease.

What if Darcy, along with Georgiana and her companion left for northern Europe shortly after the Hunsford proposal? What would happen to the Bennet family if Darcy had not been there to find Lydia after she ran off with Wickham, to save the family from disgrace? When Darcy returns a little over a year later, we, as readers, discover exactly what did happen with this one change in circumstance. Much is altered and the story that unfolds is gripping and entertaining.

When Bingley shows up shortly after Darcy’s return to London with a request of his old friend, they set off for Netherfield. Upon their arrival, they find nothing is as it was. Troubled and perplexed, Darcy is already beginning to realize he has not completely driven Elizabeth from his heart after all. The questions that this visit bring up get more mystifying with each new bit of information gleaned. Nobody knows where Mr. Bennet and his daughters are!

After Darcy returns to Pemberley, Mr. Bingley and his twin sisters make some stay with him. The twins, Viola and Olivia, are adorable. They are full of mischief and exactly the opposite of Louisa and Caroline. These two girls are genuine, and perceptive too! Quite often, they steal the show. How nice it was to have two Bingley girls that were fun and lovable!

Darcy has determined to marry to secure an heir and he has settled on an eligible young woman he feels is suitable to the task. Does he love her? No, but he feels he will never have the one woman of his dreams. Eleanor Latimer is everything his family, except for Georgiana, would wish for him. The Latimers are invited to visit Pemberley at the same time as Bingley, Olivia and Viola. Oh, the fun that ensues is hilarious.

Darcy encounters Lizzy early on in the story and what an encounter it is! Curiosity gets the better of him and he pays dearly. It is absolutely priceless! I laughed with glee when reading the passage. Darcy is still ever the gentleman but his shield of indifference is beginning to crumble.

There is angst, mystery, romance, suspense and fun. Several familiar names are in the script; Wentworth, Higgins, Thornton, and even Latimer, to name a few. I enjoyed these nods to different books and authors. It became a bit of a game to see who else I might find. Well done, Ms. Grafton.


I loved everything about this book. There is absolutely nothing that dissatisfies. After finishing the novel, I felt the warmth and gratification of a book well read. With the wonderful way that Cass Grafton writes, her beautifully flowing Regency ‘speak’, a surprising mystery or two, a story with feeling and depth,  and a wonderful ending with a few neat twists, this is a book anyone would fancy. I highly recommend it.

*****

Author Bio:


A fan of Jane Austen since her long-distant school days, Cassandra Grafton has been indulging her appetite for all things Austen for many years. Having long wanted to be a writer, she began publishing her endeavours in 2013. A Fair Prospect, a Pride & Prejudice-inspired Regency romance, was released in three volumes.
She then went on to be part of the co-writing team on The Darcy Brothers, another Austen-inspired historical novel, before settling down to co-write with one of her best friends.
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, a contemporary mystery/romance, was released in July 2016 under the names of Ada Bright and Cass Grafton.
A former college lecturer and PA, Cassandra has lived in three countries, and loves travelling, reading, cats and dry wine (and she combines most of these as often as she can!)
She has two grown up children and splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
She is a member of the Romance Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors, the Jane Austen Society UK and is a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.


*****

Where to find Cassandra Grafton:


*****

EBOOK LINKS TO BUY:





Also available through Smashwords.com for all formats, including PDF:

*****

For the giveaway, Cass Grafton is offering:

A book (eBook or paperback, winner's choice)
A set of 20 Jane Austen Bookplates
A JA silhouette badge
A P&P panel necklace
A set of P&P in 3 volumes. (The set is smaller than traditional book size, but not miniature and it does contain all the original text.)
All in an 'I'd rather be at Pemberley' tote bag


The giveaway is open internationally.

To be entered in the giveaway please your comment below. What do you think about Mr. Darcy's quest? We would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you, Cass Grafton for such a generous and lovely giveaway. Who wouldn't want to win all those goodies! Giveaway will end on the 6th of July at 11:59 PM. Good luck to all.

Thank you for considering my blog for your virtual tour, Cassandra. I'm thrilled to take part in promoting your book. As I have made abundantly clear, I love it! I have missed reading your Regency writings and I'm so glad that you gave us another story. I wish you much success with A Quest for Mr. Darcy.