Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

October 29, 2012

by Shannon Hale
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Glasses: A Solid 4.0

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?

My Thoughts
I heard about this book initially on a period blog that I follow. I've been going through a Jane Austen phase again recently, and after rereading Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and watching some BBC dramas, I had resorted to fervently following blogs about all period things.

(This is my favorite: Ask Mr. Darcy )

And so, when I found out about a book for people who love Austen's world as much as I do, and they were making a movie based on it, what else could I do? The next day I went to the library, borrowed it, and started reading immediately.

It started off pretty well. Jane's just a normal woman stuck in a rut, going from one relationship to the next, hoping to find her own Mr. Darcy - but to no avail. But wait! When her great aunt dies (one she barely knows) she leaves her great niece as vacation to  Pembrook Park, Kent, England (a.k.a. Austenland) in her will - a place where people pretend to live in regency era England. Filled with British actors, balls, and everything an Austen fan could ever dream of, Jane takes advantage of this vacation in the hopes that this will be her last hurrah in her day dreams before she has to move on into the real world. But, little does she know, a romance is brewing in Pembrook Park, and it involves a gardener and a man who's almost a little bit too similar to Darcy.

I loved almost everything about this book. Jane was funny, the insights on her past boyfriends at the beginning of each chapter were a hoot, the guys were so awesome, and the fact that it was all supposed to be in "Austenland" made it a gazillion times better. But, I suppose, that's also what I didn't like about it. When she's living in the fantasy land with these actors, a little blinking light kept going off in my head. She was living this one huge fat lie. There is no Mr. Nobley. There is no actual Ball. It's all a show that put on for people like her. And it's these times that I had trouble with - but luckly, they were few and far between.

Hale does a good job of keeping Jane set firmly in reality. Jane is self aware, assured, and doubts herself just enough to know she's not fully accepting this crazy illusion either. Mr. Nobley, however, I wasn't a huge fan of (and neither did I like Martin either). As adorable as the book was, the moments  where it turned into an "mock Austen" book, or where the guys had to do something that would have been really awkward to see an actor do in real life - even if it was for money - had me feeling a little awkward.

But, in the end, I loved Austenland, lies and all. And if J.J. Fields is going to play Mr. Nobley, then how could I resist!

Sneak Peak Sunday (24)

October 28, 2012

The Ingredients of Love
by Nicolas Barreau
Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: December 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin

A charming restaurant
A book and its mysterious author
A little secret
A romantic meeting
Paris and all its magic . . .

Cyrano de Bergerac meets Chocolat and Amélie in this intelligent, charming, and entertaining publishing sensation from Europe.
While in the midst of a breakup-induced depression, Aurélie Bredin, a beautiful Parisian restaurateur, discovers an astonishing novel in a quaint bookshop on the Ile Saint-Louis. Inexplicably, her restaurant and Aurélie herself are featured in its pages. After reading the whole book in one night, she realizes it has saved her life—and she wishes more than anything to meet its author. Aurélie’s attempts to contact the attractive but shy English author through his French publishers are blocked by the company’s gruff chief editor, André, who only with great reluctance forwards Aurélie’s enthusiastic letter. But Aurélie refuses to give up. One day, a response from the reclusive author actually lands in her mailbox, but the encounter that eventually takes place is completely different from what she had ever imagined. . . . Filled with books, recipes, and characters that leap off the page, The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau is a tribute to the City of Light.

Paris? Romance? Comparing it to Amelie? Have an awe inducing synopsis? It basically the epitome of awe-inducing. I really want this for Christmas now!

Sneak Peak Sunday (23)

October 21, 2012

Time Between Us
by Tamara Ireland Stone
 Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Hyperion
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.

"A beautifully written, unique love story." -- Melissa Marr, New York Times best-selling author of The Wicked Lovely series

“A warm, time-bending romance… [that] will have readers rooting for the couple that keeps daring fate.” -- Publishers Weekly

"Time Between Us is the very best kind of love story -- heart-pounding, intense, and unputdownable!" -- Elizabeth Scott, author of Bloom and Perfect You

"The story will hold readers with its twists and turns, present and future; its love, sadness, and anger; and especially, its surprising secrets." -- Booklist
A romance with awesome reviews, timey-wimey romance, and set in San Fran and Chicago? What more can a girl ask for? I know I'm going to feel like Stephen Colbert - but in the best possible way. I can't wait to get my hands on it. :)

Plus the author has playlists for each character!? How awesome it that?

Sneak Peek Sunday (22)

October 14, 2012

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)

Paperback, 379 pages
Expected publication: October 23rd 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Don't look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.That is Ethan Chase's unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he'd dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister's world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
(because, let's be honest, he's spectacularly awesome.)

After finishing The Iron Knight I didn't know what to do with myself. But now that this is finally, FINALLY, coming out I finally know who's going to be replacing Ash as my fictional crush (although Puck will always be #1). Anyways, I'm tired and I have a butt load of homework to do, so let my gifs speak for themselves while I try and finish my english essay.


And it's finally junior year (the one that counts).

I know it's been a while, but I've acclimated to the busy schedule that I'm on (I think), and I'm going to be updating a lot more often now! Yay!!!

What sucks is the outrageous amounts of homework I get with all the extra work I have on the side. Internships, fundraising for a trip abroad next summer, running school clubs, it's busy busy busy from now until the end of high school.


I'm going to keep reading - no matter what. So I hope you'll accept me back into your bookshelves as I read my way out of hell (aka junior year).
I knew four AP classes were a mistake.
Blog contents © Viva la Bookworm 2010. Blogger Theme by Nymphont.