Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

I first read Mr. Darcy's Bite last year. However, at the time, I did not have a blog, so I thought I would revisit this little love story. Enjoy!

From the Publisher: 
Darcy is acting rather oddly. After months of courting Elizabeth Bennet, no offer of marriage is forthcoming and Elizabeth is first impatient, then increasingly frightened. For there is no denying that the full moon seems to be affecting his behavior, and Elizabeth's love is going to be tested in ways she never dreamed...
Darcy has more than family pride to protect: others of his kind are being hunted all over England and a member of Darcy's pack is facing a crisis in Scotland. It will take all of Elizabeth's faith, courage, and ingenuity to overcome her prejudice and join Darcy in a Regency world she never knew existed.

Mary Simonsen has taken Austen’s most popular couple and once again altered their circumstances, this time adding werewolf to Mr. Darcy’s list of attributes. Werewolves and Pride & Prejudice? Really? Those were my initial thoughts. However, skeptical as I was, I wanted to read what Ms. Simonsen wrote since I have enjoyed her other works. Page by page my curiosity was piqued, and I was drawn into the story.

I want to be upfront with readers, especially those who do not care for paranormals. Mr. Darcy’s Bite is primarily a love story. Yes, Mr. Darcy is a werewolf, but surprisingly, there are no gruesome or dark and scary scenes. Instead of Darcy and Elizabeth overcoming their socio-economic differences as in Austen’s classic, here their main obstacle is Darcy’s infliction. Elizabeth has quite the inner struggle trying to get her mind around the fact that the man she loves is a werewolf for two nights every month. Will she be able to look past her fears and uncertainties and follow her heart? Or will Elizabeth dismiss her feelings in favor of the certainty of a normal life?

I am always delighted when I read a Pride and Prejudice re-imagining and there is another man or woman vying for Elizabeth or Darcy’s attention. Here, readers are presented with la belle femme Lady Helen, whose beauty is unparalleled. Not only is Lady Helen the daughter of a peer of the realm, gorgeous, and neighbor to Pemberley, but she also shares the same secret as Darcy. This shewolf is unwilling to give up the Master of Pemberley without a fight. But what will happen when she crosses the line?

It was quite enjoyable to see the author capture the loyal and protective Darcy, as well as the compassionate and impertinent Elizabeth Austen created. To maintain so many of their characteristics in such an original and creative variation, exemplifies the talent of the writer. Whether Darcy is a WWI veteran, WWII bomber pilot or werewolf, Mary Simonsen is queen of placing Darcy and Elizabeth in a variety of time periods and extraordinary situations while giving readers an entertaining and plausible story.

Between the internal and external struggles Darcy and Elizabeth face, the deep, abiding love between the two, and the humor infused in the novel, I was captivated by the story and didn’t want it to end. However, Simonsen ends the story on such a note that should leave readers quite satisfied. This is truly a delightful love story between Darcy and Elizabeth!

For those who have read Mr. Darcy’s Bite and are still yearning for more of Darcy and Elizabeth’s lupine love story, I have wonderful news. Mary Simonsen will be releasing a companion novella next month!

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Mr. Darcy's Bite is currently on sale for $6.00 in paperback on Amazon!!

Disclaimer: review copy provided by the author

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vlog: Murder on the Bride's Side by Tracy Kiely

In Murder on the Bride's Side, Roni Matthews was disliked, hated even, by those closest to her. Now, Detective Grant must sort through a list of suspects in order to uncover her actual killer. No easy feat with so many people who are more relieved than grief-stricken about Roni's death. 

Here, Detective Grant is interrogating Roni's daughter, Megan, who is quick to point fingers in the other direction. 

Wow. The list of suspects keeps growing. It looks like Detective Grant and Elizabeth Parker have their work cut out for them.  To discover Roni's killer, grab a copy of Murder on the Bride's Side.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Murder on the Bride's Side by Tracy Kiely

Amateur sleuth Elizabeth Parker is at it again. Readers were first introduced to this clumsy, Austen-quoting character in Tracy Kiely’s debut novel, Murder at Longbourn. In the second book in her series, Murder on the Bride’s Side, Kiely brings Elizabeth, her detective skills, and her boyfriend, Peter, to Richmond, Virginia for her best friend Bridget’s wedding.

From the onset, death is all around. Between Bridget’s dream and her grandmother’s premonitions, both are certain that a death is imminent. But whose? When Elizabeth stumbles upon Bridget’s Aunt Roni’s dead body, everyone is shocked, but no one is disappointed. It appears most of the Matthews’s family each had at least one reason to knock off the narcissistic golddigger. It’s now up to Detective Grant to uncover the murderer amongst a plethora of suspects. Will he find the actual killer, or will someone be framed?

Detective Grant’s chief suspect is Roni’s stepson, Harry Matthews. Having known Harry pretty much her whole life, Elizabeth knows he could not commit such an act, and she sets out to uncover the real killer. However, with skills that are reminiscent of Lucy Ricardo rather than Nancy Drew, Elizabeth faces quite a challenge.

While in the midst of trying to clear Harry’s name, Elizabeth is also fighting a personal battle. Peter has reconnected with an old flame, an attractive, sophisticated, leggy blonde. Guided by her emotions, not unlike Marianne Dashwood, how is Elizabeth going to respond to Peter’s open and amiable demeanor towards his ex-lover? Can Elizabeth summon her reasonable Eleanor Dashwood side and get to the bottom of both the murder and Peter’s heart?

While the murder investigation is taking place, the author maintains an amusing and entertaining feel through the snide remarks between the suspects, while at the same time, I am anxious to discover who the killer is. From the very beginning, Kiely strategically sprinkles the text with little nuggets of information, intended to keep the reader speculating on what is going on between certain characters and guessing who could be the real killer. After all, nobody liked Roni.

Murder on the Bride’s Side is a clever and entertaining mystery. I find it diverting trying to pick out Austen quotes when an author sneaks them in. I relished picking out the Sense and Sensibility quotes just like I did with the Pride and Prejudice quotes in Murder at Longbourn. I am looking forward to reading the next in this series, Murder Most Persuasive as I enjoy Kiely’s writing and adore Persuasion

Stay tuned for my Murder on the Bride's Side vlog later this week! 

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Disclaimer: I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's in a Name?

I am putting my paranormal/mystery month aside for a moment to focus on an important issue before me. 

Some of you may know my husband and I are expecting our third child, due in February. (Which is why I’m looking a bit bigger in my vlogs, not because I’ve been eating too many Krispy Kreme donuts and Chick-fil-A, though both are super yummy).

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with book reviews? The answer is quite simple. Week after week I give you my thoughts and opinions on books I have read. As readers, you read my reviews and compare what I have to say against other reviews. You then take that information and filter it, comparing it against what you believe makes a good read, thus allowing you to make the decision whether or not that particular book is worth your time and money.

Today, I am turning the tables and asking for your advice, thoughts, suggestions, and opinions. We are in DESPERATE need for a name for baby #3. Naming the first two was easy. We currently have one of each, Luke (our boy) and Aubrey (our girl). Had baby #3 been a boy, we would have named him Jonathan. We like the name Jonathan because it means “gift of God,” and we truly feel this baby is a gift and blessing from God. Though I will not lie when I say Sir John Buford as well as the SoulFire leader, Jonathan, both came to mind with this name too. (See the connection to Austenesque literature)?

If you haven’t guessed, we are not having another boy; rather, we are having another girl. (Hooray for more hair bows and pretty dresses)! However, we are at a loss for a name.
Here are some we have tossed around, however, we are not sold on any name.
Samantha (kind of a namesake for my husband)
Grace (though we may use Grace for the middle name)
Elliott/Ellie (spelled Elli to go with Jakki- thinking maybe Elli Grace)
Charley (possibly spelled Charlee. Again, kind of a namesake for my late father). 

So that is where we are. We cannot decide on a name and are tired of calling this child “little sister,” “player to be named later,” “baby girl,” and “number 3.”

I am now asking you to give me your input. Do you have any name suggestions or thoughts on names mentioned in the comments section? Who knows, after hearing your suggestions, I may even start a poll in the sidebar of our top few choices and let you all vote on your choice!

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing the names you picked out! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vlog: Pulse and Prejudice by Colette Saucier

In her thrilling Pride and Prejudice retelling, Colette Saucier delivers several unique and sensual scenes to her readers. In Pulse and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy not only struggles against his physical attraction for Elizabeth Bennet, but also against his bloodlust for her sweet nectar. 

Here we find Darcy and Elizabeth alone in the Netherfield library during her stay while she nurses Jane. 

Can Darcy withstand the multitude of temptations Elizabeth provides? Which side will win out: man or vampire? To discover the answer to these questions, you can purchase a copy of Pulse and Prejudice on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Monday, October 8, 2012

Winner of Legacy Giveaway by Robin Helm

Paperback: Monica P!!!
Ebook: Kelli H!!!

Congratulations, Monica and Kelli!!! And a very special thanks to Robin Helm for her very generous giveaway with one paperback and one ebook! Thanks to everyone who left comments and took time to read my review, interview with Robin and who watched the vlog.
If you didn't win and want to read The Guardian Trilogy, you can purchase a copy of each book on Amazon!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Pulse and Prejudice by Colette Saucier

From the Publisher: When the haughty and wealthy Fitzwilliam Darcy arrives in the rural county of Hertfordshire, he finds he cannot control his attraction to Elizabeth Bennet – a horrifying thought because, as she is too far below his social standing to ignite his heart, he fears she must appeal to the dark impulses he struggles to suppress. Set against the vivid backdrop of historical Regency England, this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice follows the cursed Mr. Darcy as he strives to overcome both his love and his bloodlust for Miss Elizabeth Bennet. This compelling variation remains faithful to the original plot and style of the Jane Austen classic but tells Darcy’s story as he descends into the seedier side of London and introduces Elizabeth to a world of passion and the paranormal she never knew existed.

Due to his affliction, Fitzwilliam Darcy realizes marriage is a luxury he can ill-afford, regardless of wealth or relations.  However, once in Hertfordshire, can he disregard this strange feeling in his chest every time he thinks about Elizabeth Bennet? In Pulse and Prejudice, Darcy endures the same struggles in acknowledging his growing ardor for Elizabeth Bennet: familial duty, disparity in their situations, her vulgar relations and lack of connection, yet now he has one more matter to add to this list. He’s a vampire. Struggling with his feelings for Elizabeth is not Darcy’s only growing desire. He soon finds himself unable to sate his hunger and blood-thirst. Will Elizabeth be the answer to Darcy’s insatiable desire, or will she flee once she learns the dreadful truth of Darcy’s circumstances?

From the very beginning, Saucier has captured Darcy’s prideful demeanor and Elizabeth’s teasing nature, staying true to cannon in these regards. In the same way readers only see Pride and Prejudice from Elizabeth’s perspective, here, the majority of this story is told from Darcy’s point-of-view, often times driving me to distraction not knowing what Elizabeth’s thoughts or feelings are.

Similar to Mr. Darcy being a werewolf in Mr. Darcy’s Bite and an angel in The Guardian Trilogy, I was constantly intrigued, wondering how Darcy and Elizabeth will overcome obstacles greater than just their stations in life. For me, Darcy as a vampire works. Even though this is my first foray in to the world of vampires, I now have an urge to read other vampire variations and retellings so I may compare these works, discovering what vampire aspects I find entertaining and which ones may seem a bit far fetched.

Even though this is a Pride and Prejudice retelling, and I know authors use Austen’s words in their retellings, I felt there was too much of Austen’s original dialog used. So much so, at times I caught myself skimming over the words since I already knew them. However, when Saucier deviated from the original, creating new scenes and dialog, I found those parts enthralling. From about halfway through volume three and the majority of volume four, I didn’t want to put down the book, as Saucier’s unique spin on the story was spellbinding.

I enjoyed Saucier’s writing style and found this book to be well-written. While I am not a huge fan of sequels, the ending is crafted in such a way to make me desirous for what will come next between Darcy, Elizabeth, and even Wickham.
Since my main qualm was too much of Austen’s words are used, I have a feeling that Dearest, Bloodiest Elizabeth, the sequel to Pulse and Prejudice, will be a more gripping tome. One I cannot wait to get my hands on!

Connect with Colette Saucier
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Disclaimer: Review copy provided by the author