Top Ten Unread Books on My Bookshelf

Posted November 15, 2011 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 14 Comments

TTT

This week was actually my week to post at The Broke and The Bookish, but I wanted to post here too! I can’t miss my very first Tuesday as a solo blog owner, now can I?

If only I had more hours in the day. If only I had more money in my bank account. If only my only responsibility was to read books. Those three little things would make my to-read list much less ominous and overwhelming. Do you ever sit in front of your collection of books and want to read so many of them all at once that you just give up and do something else? I do. Or… I’ll look at all my books and decide I’m not feeling any of them, and hop on Amazon to buy something new! The following is a list of books I’ve been wanting to read for so long, but other books (or life) has continually gotten in the way.

Juliet: A Novel by Anne Fortier
A great friend of mine on Goodreads posted her love of this book over a year ago. I’d had my eye on it for a while, but it was really expensive so I decided to wait for a few months until I found it cheaper. She loved it so much that she sent it to me! I was ecstatic! Why have I not read it yet? This is the story of modern-day ancestors of Romeo and Juliet, who believe they are victims of a curse that has plagued the families for 600 years, ever since Romeo and Juliet were not allowed to be together. Conspiracy… romance… Romeo and Juliet. I should have read this forever ago.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Two words. Richard Armitage. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I saw BBC’s mini-series. I’ve heard the book is just as amazing as the show. I wonder if Elizabeth’s Thornton will live up to sexy Richard.

Heat Wave (Nikki Heat #1) by Richard Castle
I absolutely LOVE the TV show Castle. It’s one of my favorites, and I own all of the seasons so far. The main guy in the show, Richard Castle, is a writer who assists the NYPD with their cases so he can gather information for his latest crime fighter book series. This book was written by someone the studio hired to write under the pen name of Richard Castle. Every season, a new book is released. I love that the books he spends the different seasons writing can be purchased! It makes the show seem more real to me. I can only assume this is as wonderful as the show, and book 3 was just released! I have to get moving on this!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ok, shoot me. I know, I know. I claim that Austenland is one of my favorite books, yet I have never read the INSPIRATION for it. I even bought the sexy Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic! I feel like I have sinned for not reading this yet.

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
Magical. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I feel bad that I read Alex Flinn’s (Beastly) first. This has been collecting dust on my shelf for years, and I don’t know why.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Gah. Not only does this book sound amazing, and have a reputation of being pure awesomeness, but it’s a historical romance/mystery! MY FAVORITE.

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Ok, I read Poison Study forever ago and I swear I have forgotten the entire thing. I don’t even know the main girl’s name now. I should have read this sooner, because now I’m going to be really confused. This might never get read.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
I’ve been hearing great things about this series for years now. Again, historical romance/mystery. MY FAVORITE!

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan
Christmas and New York are my two favorite things. If you put them together, I’m basking in celestial glory. Why have I NOT read this romance that takes place in NYC at Christmastime? Ugh!

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Other than the Beach Boys, this story provided some of the most beloved music of my childhood. I remember dancing to this in my living room as a wee thing. Why have I not read the book that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to be a genius and create one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever tuned my ears to? I love this show!

So, what books are really desirable to you, yet you haven’t picked them up yet? Do they intimidate you? Do you have too many other book-reading commitments that you have no time to read what you really, really want to read? Are they out of print, so you’re attempting to find a used copy in some second-hand store? Let me know what your choices would be! I love reading other peoples’ lists. It’s so much fun to discover new books to read!

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Austenland by Shannon Hale (Book Review)

Posted November 12, 2011 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

Austenland by Shannon Hale (Book Review)Austenland by Shannon Hale
Series: Austenland #1
Also in this series: Midnight in Austenland
Published by Bloomsbury on May 29, 2007
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 197
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

In honor of the February 2012 release of Austenland’s companion novel, Midnight in Austenland (which I’ve already read the Netgalley for!!!), I decided to post this review. My review of Midnight in Austenland will be posted here in January, so keep your eye out for it!

Austenland is like Disneyland for women who secretly wish they had a Mr. Darcy of their own. I think BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice instilled a little bit of that longing in all of us.  This problem is exactly what Jane Hayes suffers with. After dating a ton of losers, this single, 33-year-old, New Yorker has come to the conclusion that no man can compare to the sexy, debonair, and utterly romantic Mr. Darcy. She has given up on the male gender completely. One day when her mother and great-aunt Carolyn come over for a visit, they inadvertently discover her copy of the movie as it shifts and falls from its hiding place in Jane’s potted plant. Jane, of course, was mortified—as if they had discovered her drawer of scandalous underwear.

Six months later, Great-Aunt Carolyn passes away and leaves one thing for Jane in her will: a non-refundable, all-inclusive, three-week vacation to Pembrook Park in England where she will strip herself of modern conveniences and live just as Elizabeth Bennett did. After some panicked girl talk with her friend, she decides to humor her late aunt and go on the trip as one last fling before giving up on ever finding her Mr. Darcy. She’ll play out her fantasy and then throw her DVDs away.

She arrives at Pembrook Park and is given a new name, a new age (in Regency times, a woman her age would be considered a spinster and unmarriageable), a pamphlet on how to speak and act, a regency wardrobe (even her purple bra is confiscated and replaced with Regency undies), and is scurried off to teatime with her cell phone hidden illegally in the bottom of her trunk. She feels a little silly at first, but soon embraces this new way of life. She even enjoys it a little! Even though it’s all a game, her confidence improves and she’s convinced she can finally kick this Mr. Darcy obsession to the curb. However, these dreams or hers seem to be more attainable than she thought. With all the humor, charm, and sweet romance you could expect from a Jane Austen novel, Jane Hayes is well on her way to finding everything she hoped for.

This book had me before it even started when I read the dedication page: “For Colin Firth: You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.” I knew I was in for a fun read. I think part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much is because I identify so much with Jane Hayes. I’ve had my share of frogs in the proverbial dating pond, and understand her frustrations. However… I don’t hide my Pride and Prejudice DVD in a flowerpot. Hahaha. This was a fun, light-hearted read. It was very clean, obviously (since it’s modeled after a clean book), and I enjoyed watching the romance unfold. Jane got herself into some funny situations and was a bit rebellious at times—sneaking out to enjoy modern technology (sounds like something I’d do). I also love that each chapter started out with a story of one of Jane’s romances-gone-bad. They were very humorous and made me feel a little better about my experiences! I enjoyed the characters, the detailed descriptions, and the storyline. I laughed, I got annoyed, I chewed characters out when they were being dumb, I turned the pages in anticipation, and I closed the book with a smile on my face. Most importantly, this book helped me remember that sometimes what you need is much different than what you want or what you’re looking for.

Happy reading! I’m off to pop some popcorn and watch Pride and Prejudice! (Colin, feel free to join me. I’m not married.)

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