Monday, April 18, 2011

April - Jane Austen Society - Reading Selection Review

I've been a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America - Central New Jersey (JASNA-CNJ) since August.  We meet every other month and for some reason I've never posted about it and what we've read.  At this month's meeting we read Lady Vernon and Her Daughter and had the authors present for a book discussion.

Lady Vernon and Her Daughter : A Jane Austen Novel
Jane Rubino, Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
November 2, 2010
# Pages:

Jane Austen's novella Lady Susan was written during the same period as another novella called Elinor and Marianne–which was later revised and expanded to become Sense and Sensibility. Unfortunately for readers, Lady Susan did not enjoy the same treatment by its author and was left abandoned and forgotten by all but the most diligent Austen scholars. Until now.

In Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway have taken Austen's original novella and transformed it into a vivid and richly developed novel of love lost and found–and the complex relationships between women, men, and money in Regency England.

Lady Vernon and her daughter, Frederica, are left penniless and without a home after the death of Sir Frederick Vernon, Susan's husband. Frederick' s brother and heir, Charles Vernon, like so many others of his time, has forgotten his promises to look after the women, and despite their fervent hopes to the contrary, does nothing to financially support Lady Vernon and Frederica.

When the ladies, left without another option, bravely arrive at Charles's home to confront him about his treatment of his family, they are faced with Charles's indifference, his wife Catherine's distrustful animosity, and a flood of rumors that threaten to undo them all. Will Lady Vernon and Frederica find love and happiness–and financial security– or will their hopes be dashed with their lost fortune?

With wit and warmth reminiscent of Austen's greatest works, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter brings to vivid life a time and place where a woman's security is at the mercy of an entail, where love is hindered by misunderstanding, where marriage can never be entirely isolated from money, yet where romance somehow carries the day. – Description from

Dislikes: The first 20 chapters. I struggled to get through them and at that point I wasn’t enjoying the book at all.   
Likes: Everything from chapter 21 on. The thing I liked the most was the authors’ attention to detail and the writing style that truly made it sound as if Jane, herself, wrote this story.  It has the humor and wit of Jane Austen’s work a story that while doesn’t stay true to the original letters does put them into a context that makes sense and completes the story.

I think two of my favorite characters are Sir Reginald and Sir James.  They are two of the more likable characters and two of the wittiest, in my opinion.

Overall Impression: Overall I enjoyed the book.  At the meeting we had the authors present and it was a joy to listen to them speak about the book.  There was one Jane Austen purist who didn’t like the book, but most of us were delighting to read a spin-off that was actually good. We are all so hesitant to pick up books based on Jane Austen works because for the most part they don’t work; they aren’t true to the story or to Jane’s sense and style.  The authors shared how they worked to keep true to Jane’s style of writing and would search through her works to find correct phases and word usages. I was impressed with their level of detail work to really try to make this work different from other Jane Austen styled books.

I ended up liking the change in characterization of what you originally feel about them in Lady Susan and how they are in Lady Vernon and Her Daughter. Lady Susan is a villain where as Lady Vernon is just misunderstood in a way.  By the middle of the book I forgot that I didn’t like Lady Vernon when I started reading and started to feel for her and wanted things to work out for her and Frederica.

April Book Club Review

Lie with Me
October 26, 2010
# Pages:

Forced together by fate, bound together by desire

Framed for a double murder, Delta Force operative Cameron Moore is given a new leas...
moree on life by the CIA—provided he pays them back by doing their black ops dirty work. But now Cam is ready to renegotiate the deal, and he thinks he’s found the perfect bargaining chip: Skylar Slavin, bestselling author of espionage thrillers and the daughter of the CIA man who saved Cam from a prison sentence.

Skylar has been living in anonymity, never suspecting that someone so dangerous—and so desirable—would plunge her into a world as treacherous as one of her spy novels. But how can Cam go through with his plan to kidnap Skylar when just the sight of her sets off an explosive attraction he’s never experienced before? And when Skylar falls prey to an even more perilous threat, this special ops soldier must call upon all his combat skills to protect the one person who can help him win his freedom—and the only woman he’s ever loved. -- From Product Description

Likes: I liked the characters of Cam, Dylan and Zane. All three men are hard, proud and honorable if not a little troubled and dark.  Cam knows in this business of undercover work and black ops it’s hard to trust people, but he also knows he can count on Dylan and Zane.  Stephanie Tyler did a good job in including multiple story lines and prepping the reading for the second book, without bogging down the story. I can’t wait to read Zane’s book next

Notice I didn’t mention Skylar I’ll hold off on how I really feel and say that I especially enjoyed the fact that Skylar knows she's weak from an illness but in no way is she weak and defenseless. She knows she is in a world of trouble, though it might pain her to ask for help she does it and willingly.

Dislikes: The beginning of this book.  I didn’t know what to think when the first round of action is the hero killing some men.  Then you have Skylar who is brought up in this world, and you have to figure her father taught her well the main rule of “trust no one.” Yet what happens when Cam shows up on her door claiming to know her father (which he does) and he’s there to protect her (which he’s not)? She lets him into the house and then sleeps with him only later to start to doubt him.  Really!?

Overall Impression: Overall I really liked the book and like I said above I can’t wait to read Zane’s book.  The other girls in book club generally agreed that the beginning of the book was slow and a little off putting and we were all happy that the story turned out much better.  We also all noted that Skylar sometimes took a back seat and was kind of forgettable.  As an example someone asked what we all thought about Skylar and I forgot that was her name and looked blank for about a second or two. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

March Reading Review

Book Club

This month we read When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James.  Our discussion covered both this book and our January read which was Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James.  Both of these books are in her Fairy Tales series and I believe the Princess and the Pea is the next fairy tale she’s going to be reimagining.

2011 Support your Local Library Challenge

I checked out eight books this month (as well as a bunch of DVDs). In February I checked out and returned Fannie’s Last Supper and Decision Points by George W. Bush, but after a few weeks I was ready to read them so I checked them out again.  I finished Fannie’s Last Supper but I’m slowly working my way through Decision Points.  It’s not that I do not like the book; I just forget I have it. Of the six other books I’ve checked out I flew through 5 and haven’t touched Lie with Me by Stephanie Tyler yet.

  1. Fannie's last supper : re-creating one amazing meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 cookbook by Christopher Kimball
  2. Decision Points by George W. Bush (book)
  3. The Pioneer Woman : black heels to tractor wheels by Ree Drummond
  4. The Other Wes Moore : one name, two fates by Wes Moore 
  5. Critical Care by Candace Calvert 
  6.  Lie with Me by Stephanie Tyler
  7. Disaster Status by Candace Calvert
  8. Code Triage by Candace Calvert

I finished five more books during this month, well it may be four, it depends on your definition of a man in uniform and if that counts an ER doctor who wears scrubs everyday to work. I put the Suzanne Brockmann books on hold to read the Mercy Hospital series by Candace Calvert. I’ll be returning to Suzanne Brockmann in April, I can’t wait to get back to my Navy SEALS.
  • Harvard's Education by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Hawken's Heart by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Critical Care by Candace Calvert (may or may not be a man in uniform getting mixed opinions from people that a Dr. that wears scrubs every day is or isn't considered a uniform)
  • Disaster Status by Candace Calvert
  • Code Triage by Candace Calvert