Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1990 (originally 1813)
Pages: 351 pages
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (Adult)
Source: paperback & audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

I knew while reading this book (or, rather, listening to it) that it would be difficult to review such a loved classic, but I also knew that I didn’t want to keep my thoughts about it to myself. To say that this book took me by surprise would be an understatement. It’s not that I didn’t think I would like it, but there is so much more to it than I was ever aware and that made it so much more enjoyable. I’ve never seen any of the adaptations and the one time I did read the book was in high school and, honestly, I must not have given much of my time then because there was so much in it that I didn’t know about!Read More »

The Friday 56: Pride and Prejudice

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple: Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader and post a line (or two)! Just be sure to not spoil the book. I’m currently reading (mostly listening to) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

prideandprejudiceiiiTitle: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Status: 83/345
Genre: Romance, Classic (Adult)

‘In point of composition,’ said Mary, ‘his letter does not seem defective. The idea of the olive branch perhaps is not wholly new, yet I think it is well expressed.’

I’ve been going through a reading slump, but I remembered that audiobooks exist! This is one of those books that I’ve attempted to read multiple times already, so I can only hope that I keep up with it since I am enjoying listening to it and reading along from time to time. Listening to it has helped out a lot.

Like I mentioned, I’ve tried this book out a few times before (not including in high school because I pretty much forgot what happened), but I’ve thankfully been pulled into it and I’m loving it! How have Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy captured my attention so perfectly and so quickly? And I’ve been loving the conversations between the characters. I always figured I would like the story, but I was still surprised by how entertaining it has been, and the wit! I think everyone knows how praised the book is for its romance, and one thing I’ve loved discovering about it is that it’s so much more than that. I adore talk of society from that time and there have been a few moments that have made me laugh out loud. Always a good thing. It’s hard to talk about a book that’s so loved, but I now completely feel that love for it.

What are you reading today?

The Friday 56: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple: Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader and post a line (or two)! Just be sure to not spoil the book. This week’s book is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

snowflowerandthesecretfanTitle: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Author: Lisa See
Status: 47/288
Genre: Historical (Adult)

As women, we are told never to discuss our bound feet, that it is improper and unladylike, and that such conversation only inflames the passions of men.

This was a bit of an impulse buy for me. By that I mean that it was .55 cents at the library and I love historical fiction, so I had to get it. Although I haven’t read much of it yet, it’s a fascinating book. It’s about a girl named Lily in nineteenth-century China who is paired with another girl who is her laotong. They’re meant to be friends for their entire lives, and I love that idea. Foot binding and nu shu, a secret language created by and for women, are also important parts of the book. I’m hoping there is a lot about nu shu in the book because, for me, that’s the most interesting part.

Review: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

rebelqueeniiiPublisher: Touchstone
Release Date: March 3, 2015 (US)
Pages: 355 pages
Genre: Historical (Adult)
Source: physical library loan
Rating: ★★★★

For nonreaders, life is simply what they touch and see, not what they feel when they open the pages of a play and are transported to the Forest of Arden or Illyria. Where the world is full of a thousand colors for those who love books, I suspect it is simply black and gray to everyone else. A tree is a tree to them; it is never a magical doorway to another world populated with beings that don’t exist here.

I’ve mentioned this book two or three times (including The Friday 56) in the last couple of weeks and I’m so happy to say I finally finished reading it! This is the kind of book that I would usually devour in just a few days, but unfortunately it took me over a week. On the plus side, that gave me more time to think about the book and the writing.

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The Friday 56: The Lottery and Other Stories

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple: Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader and post a line (or two)! Just be sure to not spoil the book. I’m currently reading The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. This is a short story collection.

thelotteryTitle: The Lottery and Other Stories
Author: Shirley Jackson
Status: 30/320 pages
Various (Adult)

The thumbtack was still there, and she pried it loose and tacked her note up with it.

This is a line from one of the short stories in this collection, “The Villager”. I have yet to read this particular story, but I feel like this line is a great example of one thing I love about Jackson’s writing. Even the most mundane action has a place in her stories, and I find that fascinating and real. A lot of stories don’t include action unless it’s of the fast paced or “exciting” variety. As I haven’t read this story, though, it’s always possible that this bit of information is actually important. I’m looking forward to finding out. (Crossing my fingers this doesn’t turn out to be a spoiler!)

The Friday 56: Rebel Queen

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple: Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader and post a line (or two)! Just be sure to not spoil the book. This is one of the memes I’ve been looking forward to doing since I began to blog again. My read of the week is Rebel Queen (also titled The Last Queen of India) by Michelle Moran.

rebelqueeniiTitle: Rebel Queen
Author: Michelle Moran
Status: 192/352 pages
Genre: Historical (Adult)

I led her into our puja room and I let her ring the bell, so the gods would know we were there. Then we knelt before the images of Durga and Ganesh and I recited the Durga mantra.

I mentioned in a post last week that this was my next read and I’m so glad that I am reading it. Although I haven’t finished it yet, I’m already interested in learning more about India’s history through more historical fiction as well as personal research. It’s fascinating to read about the characters’ journeys as well as learning about British imperialism in India. Those are topics I don’t know much about, so I love that I’m learning while reading, and it’s not boring!

Mini Review Monday #1


Title: Everybody Rise
Stephanie Clifford
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: 
August 18, 2015
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit (Adult)
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★

First of all, Happy Birthday to Everybody Rise! It was released today and I’ve seen it on a lot of lists recently, so it looks like it has been anticipated by a lot of people. I mentioned this book last Monday in a WWW Wednesday post, but I wanted to give it some more attention. Like I said in that post, I received it from House Party/Chatterbox in exchange for an honest review. The book is set in 2006 and revolves around a 26-year-old woman named Evelyn. She lives in a community where money and appearance is everything, and she does have a similar upbringing to a lot of the people around her, but she’s not old money. That’s where the problems arise. In order to keep up with the lives that everyone else is living as well as keep her job, she begins to embellish her life and background a bit. The story itself was just fine and I think Stephanie Clifford is a talented writer, so this is something that I would have picked up on my own eventually, but I’m not sure if the world Evelyn, her friends, family, and acquaintances lived in translated well into 2006. At least not for me. There was something about it that was off for me most of the time. I’m well aware that money and status is still extremely important to a lot of people, though, so perhaps I haven’t read enough about high society in the last 10 years. My favorite parts of the book were learning about the etiquette and all of the details that Clifford included to pull you into their world, but I gave this book 3 stars because I felt that the time taken to flesh out characters and the community wasn’t given to the relationships in the book and that made it seem as if some chapters or scenes were missing. And, sadly, I just wasn’t rooting for Evelyn by the end of the book. To be honest, I’m not sure I was supposed to like her.

frenchfashionTitle: A Decade of French Fashion, 1929-1938: From the Depression to the Brink of War
Mary Carolyn Waldrep
Dover Publications
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Pages: 112 pages
Genre: Non-fiction, Fashion, History
Source: Digital ARC from NetGalley
Rating:  ★★★★★

This is different from the types of books I usually feature on here, but I saw this available on NetGalley last week and I had to request it. I love fashion, especially women’s fashion from the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s, and I know very little about the actual details, so this was a great read. It would make a fantastic coffee table book to flick through for character inspiration if you’re a writer or artist, or if you just want to look at pretty clothes that you don’t see people wear anymore. Not only are the pages filled with beautiful clothes, there is a lot of information in the book. I learned about the different kinds of outfits that women in this time period had for everyday life and special events, from afternoon frocks to outfits they wore to day and evening events. There’s also information about the different kinds of fabrics that some of the outfits were made from, including animal skins that I had never heard of people using for clothing. it was also fascinating to see just how the state of a country and the world can change the way people dress. The 1920s usually make people think of flapper style outfits, but the depression changed that. That’s one reason I find fashion to be an important part of history and I’m glad I decided to read this. It’s an extremely quick read, but it’s one I would love to look through again.

Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

wehavealwayslivedinthecastleiiPublisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: 1962
Pages: 214 pages
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Mystery (Adult)
Source: hardcover from library
Rating: ★★★★★
“Merricat,” Said Constance, “would you like a cup of tea?”
“Oh, no,” said Merricat, “you’ll poison me.”
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a gothic novel considered by some to be one of the greatest horror novels in history. It definitely lives up to being a gothic novel with the setting, the constant talk of deaths that had occurred before the book, the “otherness” of the family, and there is an eerie feel to everything that happens. There’s also a constant wonder of what exactly occurred with this family which can be creepy in itself. However, it doesn’t necessarily fit into what most of us today consider to be horrific or disturbing, so it’s important to take into account its historical context. This was first published in 1962 and I read it in 2015. My personal experience with horror is completely different from a teenager or an adult reading it in the 60s. When I think of that, I can understand why people considered (and still consider) it to be part of the horror genre. It didn’t scare me at all, but the parts that were supposed to be creepy still had an impact on the story. If you’re looking for something to read this Halloween, or a creepy read that won’t keep you up at night (unless you want to stay up and read it), I can’t recommend this enough.
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Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

arrangedPublisher: William Morrow/Harper Weekend
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance (Adult)
Source: e-book from library
Rating: ★★

“Everyone’s path to here is unique, Anne. It’s what you do from here that counts.”

In an age of multiple dating sites and apps, it’s not a stretch to consider a dating service. But what happens when that dating services turns out to be an arranged marriage service? Would you take the plunge or run?

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