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There are TWO posts today...Sorry about that :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: The Plight of the Darcy Brothers

Author: Marsha Altman
Publisher: Source Books, August 1, 2009
Genre: Fiction, historical
Paperback 368 pages

In this lively second installment, the Darcys and Bingleys are plunged into married life and its many accompanying challenges presented by family and friends.

With Jane and Elizabeth away, Darcy and Bingley take on the daunting task of managing their two-year- old children. Mary Bennet returns from the Continent pregnant by an Italian student promised to the church; Darcy and Elizabeth travel to find the father, and discover previously unknown—and shocking—Darcy relations. By the time Darcy discovers that there's more than one sibling of questionable birth in the family, the ever-dastardly Wickham arrives on the scene to try to seize the Darcy fortune once and for all.

My Thoughts:

This is Altman's second book in her Pride and Predjudice Continues series. It does pick up from her first book, The Darcy's and the Bingleys. You can read my review of that one here.

I really enjoyed this entertaining story. The storyline is inventive and expands upon Austen's beloved characters. The book begins with a loss in the famil whihc the Darcy's are having a difficult time dealing with. Therefore, when a situation arises with Mary Bennett it creates the ideal distraction for the Darcy's, and the perfect story for the rest of the book.

The Darcy's make some interesting discoveries on their trip to the Continent, that I think tie in nicely with Austen's original story. Some P&P purisits may find the premise scandalous, but the Darcy family couldn't have been completely perfect. Humans are flawed after all, and thinking back on their described behaviors, it makes sense. What better way to hide your mistakes than being holier than thou? (Dying of curiosity, aren't you?)

The characters are less rigid and formal than Austen's originals and that is what makes these books so great in my opinion. Austen wrote these characters true to her own time and social conventions and Altman modernizes them a bit, yet keeping the original intent. I love picturing Mr. Darcy chasing his son around, like real parents do. Darcy and Elizabeth speak openly and honestly to each other, like most married couples do or at least try to. When I read Altman's books I feel as though I am sitting down chatting with old friends. It's fun and comforting.

Isn't that what good stories are supposed to do?

As far as the secondary charaters go, the Bingleys and the Maddoxes had their own little adventures in this story. Altman has made Caroline Maddox (nee Bingley) a very likable character. So much so, that one can see a little past her treatment of the Bennetts in the original. You could say that Caroline has been humbled by her own experience with love and marriage. She gets it now.

My Rating: 95/100. Overall this was a delightful book. I totally enjoyed it. I can see myself reading these books again in the future. Probably after I re-read Austen :)

Challenges Met: The Everything Austen Challenge


Don't forget! Next Monday, August 3rd, I will have a guest post/interview with author Marsha Altman. Make sure you stop back because there is an awesome giveaway involved.

EDIT: 7/29 Sorry but I forgot to mention a big thank you to Danielle from Sourcebooks for providing me the review copy and the future giveaway.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Jenny Loves to Read has been given some awards. Yea!
Thank you so very much you guys! You are too kind to me. I just hope you know the feelings are totally mutual. So without further ado....

A big thank you to Harvee Lau from Book Bird Dog for awarding me the:

The Humane Award is in order to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.”

Ms. Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine
Arleigh from
The Royal Ladies from Royal Reviews
Dar from Peeking Between the Pages
Marie from The Burton Review
Dolleygurl from The Maiden's Court

Two more big thank you's go out to both Michael from a Few Minutes with Michael and Susie Tudor Daughter from All Things Royal. This is a very, very, very, belated thank you. (Sorry Susie!) Both of these lovely bloggers awarded me the Kreative Blogger Award.

Post 7 things you love.
Give award to 7 other bloggers who are creative.

Here is my down and dirty list of 7 loves. I do have many you know.

1.My wonderful book blogging community and the friends I have made.
2.Coffee. Specifically Kona.
3.Books and yarn. My two favorite hobbies.
4. Music. I will listen to almost, almost anything.
5. The seashore. The smells of the ocean, the beach, the boardwalk fries...
6. People who act honestly. Just be yourself people!
7. My family and friends.

Now I award this to the following:

Jennifer from Jennifer Morrill's Attempt at a Blog
Rebecca from Just One More Page
Stacy from Stacy's Bookblog
Staci from Life in the Thumb
Joann from Lakeside Musing

I could have easily had a list of 20 or more blogs for each award. I enjoy reading so many blogs and discovering new ones.
If you have a chance, please try and stop by some of these blogs. You will not be disappointed :)

Happy Reading!

Musing Monday (July 27)

Musing Monday is hosted by Rebecca from Just One More Page.
Today's musing is the following:
Do you have an account with an online book database site (LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads etc)? If so, do you have a preference? Do you use it for - your own record keeping? finding new books to read? social networking?

I do actually. I have an account with GoodReads and Shelfari. (Jennygirl on both) Unfortunately I have been completely slacking in updating them, like everything else lately :)

I originally started Good Reads to keep track of all the books I ever read. I just started adding books when I thought of them, not caring about dates or anything. I knew I read a lot of books in the past, and I thought it would be interesting to try and remember all of them. Believe it or not if I see a cover I can usually remember if I read it. Can't remember people's names, but we all have our weaknesses.

Then I started my book blog. My blog and the ones I read are my social networking outlets. I'm not a big chatter, like on Twitter or Facebook, but if you email me I'll reply, 9/10 times. I discover new books almost anywhere, Good Reads, blogs, emails. If I like it I add it to my TBR list.

With respect to record keeping, I have recently come to realize how important it is. You think I would know already, because I work with information on a daily basis. I also know the importance of correct and proper record keeping. But no, I have not kept good records thus far. I hope to rectify this soon. At least I'll know better for 2010.
So what about you, dear blog reader? Do you utilize Good Reads, Shelfari, etc.?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I cannot tell a lie....or can I???

I was tagged for this meme by Harvee at Book Bird Dog The rules are as follows:

I Cannot Tell A Lie meme:
"Sometimes you can learn more about a person by what they don’t tell you. Sometimes you can learn a lot from the things they just make up. If you are tagged with this Meme, lie to me. Then tag 7 other folks (one for each deadly sin) and hope they can lie."

Pride: What is your biggest contribution to the world? My ability to negotiate peace treaties and settlements for the Stargate Program. Many lives have been saved by my ability to see both sides in any discussion or argument.

Envy: What do your co-workers wish they had that is yours?The tokens of appreciation I have received over the years from the people I have helped. I have friends and acquaintances everywhere.

Gluttony: What did you eat last night?
Whole wheat penne pasta in a tomato basil sauce

Lust: What really lights your fire?
A cute smile or anyone willing to make me dinner ending with a hot fudge sundae

Anger: What is the last thing that really pissed you off?
I can't really say, since I am bound by a code of silence

Greed: Name something you keep from others?
My true self...what I actually feel, think, desire, etc. No one will ever know, because it would be too shocking.

Sloth! I forgot Sloth! How slothful of me!
What's the laziest thing you've ever done?

How about just being lazy and doing absolutely nothing?

So what kind of lies can you come up with?
Here are my tags:

Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo loves to read
Michael from A few minutes with Michael
Blodeuedd from Book girl of Mur-y-Castell
Desert Rose from DeSeRtRoSeBoOkLoGue
TeddyRee from The Eclectic Reader

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (July 21)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B from Should Be Reading.

The rules are as follows:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I'm breaking the rules and posting two teasers from the same book, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers by Marsha Altman. I am really enjoying this book and just have to share it!

Something-maybe now that he was in bed and recovering-was making him relaxed enough to say, "I am going to tell you something that you cannot ever-ever-tell anyone. I am serious. Not Mrs. Hurst or Mr. Hurst, even if he's unconscious drunk, or Charles or Mrs. Bingley-"

"Daniel, I understand. Out with it."

pg. 121
"That would make you quite the model of celibacy, wouldn't it?" Darcy said. "That would be expected of you."

"My family expects many things of me. Every time I have tried to disobey them, my attempt has ended in failure. Please, Signore, try to understand my position"
pg. 216

What are you teasing me with today?

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Stacybuckeye

for winning a copy of A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinyanmi. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank you to all who entered and to Tomi for both my review and giveaway copy. I wish her much luck and success in her writing career.

Happy Reading everyone!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: A Room With a View

Author: E.M. Forster
Published: Bantam Classics (July 1, 1988)
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Paperback, 264 pages

From Amazon:
A classic tale of British middle-class love, this novel displays Forster's skill in contrasting British sensibilities with those of foreign cultures, as he portrays the love of a British woman for an expatriate living in Italy. One of Forster's earliest and most celebrated works.

My Thoughts:

When I first started this book I had some trouble getting into it. The language, the conventions...I just felt like I was missing something. However, before long I became entranced by Forster's writing and the story of this young woman trying to find her place in the world and love to go with it.

Forster's descriptions and the way the story leads off, the young and old each with their own set of conventions, really sets the tone for Lucy trying to discern herself and where she fits in. When we meet Cecil and learn about his views and attitudes towards women and certain types of society, we see he is condescending, set in his ways and very conventional. He doesn't allow for free and easy thought or discussion. Cecil feels Lucy needs to be watched and schooled in the ways of "proper" society. Lucy must be taught it think and speak appropriately.

Whereas George thinks women should be on equal footing with men. Women are as free thinking and knowledgeable as the rest of the population and should be allowed to make their own decisions. Lucy should be George's equal in his eyes, but not in Cecil's.

Once home in England, Lucy begins to realize the deeper meaning of her experience in Italy. The stifling conventions and conversations at the pensione are not what she wants and expects in life. The sense of freedom she felt with George and his father exploring Italy, that is what Lucy wants. She also begins to see Cecil's true nature as he interacts with her family. This behavior is unacceptable to her. Lucy begins to finally discover her wants, needs, and feelings, thereby taking control of her own life on her terms.

This was a delightful novel and I can't believe I waited this long to read it. Forster's writing enabled me to picture the characters and their emotions quite clearly. I even chuckled to myself a few times when remarks were made in the story. I will definitely be placing the rest of Forster's novels on my TBR!

My Rating: 95/100

Challenges Met: TBR Challenge 2009, Romance Challenge 2009, Royal Reviews Romance Challenge 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Guest Post by Tomi Akinyanmi, author of A Worthy Legacy

I am very proud to present this guest post by Tomi Akinyanmi author of A Worthy Legacy. My review of her book is here.
Please give her a warm welcome and enjoy reading!

The recent death of Michael Jackson, once again made me realize how important it is that we leave a worthy legacy when our time is up on this side of life. For the past two weeks, people across the US and all over the world have mourned the passing of this legend. Millions of fans rushed to witness his memorial service and those who could not be there physically, stayed glued to the TV to watch.

From the age of 5, Michael began to make his impact on the world. Until his death, his humanitarian efforts as well as his contribution to the music industry was exemplary. He had a passion for perfection and this was evident in everything about him. I heard on CNN the other day that over a span of 38 years, Michael managed to have a record number of hit songs. It is said that Michael was a pioneer when it came to the world of music videos. The way he helped other musicians develop their potential and his love for his children are outstanding. Indeed this man no matter the controversies surrounding his life has left a worthy legacy.

Following the story of Michaels’ passing on TV, radio as well as the internet, I can’t help but marvel at the way one man has managed to reach across gender, race, beliefs, generations, physical boundaries and such to touch hearts of people all across the world. But this also has made me realize just how much I have to strive at pursuing the things that really matter.

It may be said that Michael was a loner or an eccentric but here is something I have come to believe about him; in his own way, Michael Jackson pursued the real treasures. As I reflected on what has been said about him by the people close to him and when I saw his young daughter cry for him on live TV, I thought to myself where one man who did make a difference in our world. It doesn’t matter what anyone says about him now, but it is true that the world is a better place because Michael Jackson had been in it. Take sometime to pause now and think about this, what kind of difference have you made in this world? When you do depart, what would people say? If you do not like the answers you get, then it’s time to start to make a change. Remember, it's never too late to make a difference.

Thank you Tomi for taking the time to stop by and for sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Teaser Tueday (July 7)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B from Should Be Reading.
The rules are as follows:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I'm glad that you approve. I daren't face the healthy person-for example, Freddy Honeychurch."
"Oh Freddy's a good sort, isn't he?"

"Admirable. The sort who has made England what she is."

pg. 105, A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

My first Forster book. I did not realize he had written some other famous books, such as Where Angels Fear To Tread and Howard's End. I may have to pick those up someday.

What are you teasing me with today?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blog Tour and Giveaway of A Worthy Legacy by Tomi Akinayami

Tomi Akinyanmi author of the book A Worthy Legacy, is doing an extensive blog tour whihc actually started yesterday, July 5th. Tomi will be stopping by here, on Saturday the 11th for a guest post and to answer any questions you may have. In addition we will be giving away one copy of her book, A Worthy Legacy. My review and giveaway information is here.
Below is a listing of the stops on the tour. Be sure to check out some of these very interesting blogs. A new friend could be just around the corner!

July 5
Write for a reader
Merry Weather Book Blog‏
July 6
Drey’s Library
Violet Crush
A Bookworm's World
July 7
Lost in books
Book Nest Reviews
July 8
A Circle of Books
July 9
Peeking between the pages
Reading Frenzy
July 10
A Book Blogger's Diary
Luxury Reading
July 11
Bella is reading…
Jenny loves to read
July 12
Belle of the books
The Unadorned Book Review
July 13
Poisoned Rationality
July 14
Socrates’ Book reviews
The Eclectic Reader
July 15
My thoughts….your thoughts
July 16
Grace’s Book Blog
July 17
The Friendly book nook
Just Another New Blog
July 18
I’m on a bookathon
Simply Stacie
Real page turners
Booksnake reviews
The Bookworm

Musing Monday (July 6)

Musing Monday is hosted by Rebecca from Just One More Page. Today's musing is the following:
Who, if anyone usually accompanies you to the library? Is it somewhere you go alone? Or is it a regular outing with family or friends? Which do you prefer?

Like most addicts, I prefer to indulge in my addiction of books alone. I don't have to worry if I'm taking too long, or if someone can't find me. I like to get lost in the stacks and wander around, unless I'm on a mission to find a particular book. Then it's right to that particular area.

I usually go to the main branch of my library on my lunch hour at work. It's about a 20 minute brisk walk to and fro, and not everybody likes to do that. This library is huge, so there are lots of departments one can visit.
If someone wants to accompany me, I don't mind. I have had people in the past go with me. We usually lay down some ground rules, such as don't rush me, and I'll meet you back here, and then we're off. Not many people I know, love or like books as much as I do, so I'm usually all by myself. At least until I met you wonderful people online :)

What about you? Any library buddies?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Review and Giveaway: A Worthy Legacy

Author: Tomi Akinyanmi
Publisher: Tommie Books, 2008
Genre: Non-fiction, Inspirational (?)
Trade paperback. 101 pages

The Harmattan wind scorches across Nigeria, and an old man lies dying. His community gathers to pay its respects; their haunting songs echoing in the warm twilight. Around his bed his family is gathered and they listen as he speaks his last words. Yet in the face of death this old man doesn't talk of regrets, neither does he talk of petty grievances, instead he talks softly about life; how to survive, how to be happy and how to achieve self-respect.

My Thoughts:

This book is a beautiful tribute to Tomi's GrandPa, the inspiration and speaker of this book. In his last hours, he passed on the knowledge he gained of the world and how one should conduct oneself with respect to themselves as well as others. The topics GrandPa spoke about cover just about anything you could think of: secrets for happiness, using one's own initiative, tough times, and character just to name a few.

One of my favorites is On Using Our Initiative:

"Know this: that you needn't wait for others to try out something new in
which you believe. Be the very first at anything you can, and do not let
frustrations or defeats hinder you; only then will you have a sense of
accomplishment." pg. 36.

Truth be told, I could have quoted the whole book. I liked and believe everything I read. Seeing these simple thoughts of wisdom in print help to remind me what kind of person I should be: good, kind, friendly, and true to oneself, but not to the detriment of others. The fact that Tomi received this knowledge or lesson from her GrandPa only makes it that much more sentimental and inspirational.

This book was a delightful read and something I will definitely pull out and read whenever I'm feeling sad or discouraged. It was like a little pick me up and reminder on what life is all about. Again, this isn't my normal genre of book that I read, but this one was different. It was short, sweet, and to the point. GrandPa left Tomi a wonderful gift and I think she has utilized it well. I thank her for sharing her this gift.

My Rating: 95/10

Giveaway Scoop:

Does this sound like a book you would like to read? If so, Tomi has given me permission to giveaway one copy of her delightful book. The rules for this giveaway are as follows:

Deadline for entry is midnight, EST on Saturday, July 18th.

Leave a comment on this post with your email address.

Open to residents of U.S and Canada, but no P.O. Boxes please.

A big thank you to Tomi for sending me this book to review. I really enjoyed it and plan on reading it again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Everything Austen Challenge

I know, I know, but it's Jane Austen! I can't resist and it would be a travesty if I did.
I discovered this challenge at Darlene's place, Peeking Between the Pages, and then saw my friend Marie from The Burton Review was also participating. Haven't had a chance to check out any others yet.

The Everything Austen Challenge is being hosted by Stephanie from Stephanie's Written Word. It will run for six months (July 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010)! So doable.

Pick six Austen related activities to do during this time period. The activities can be read any of the original books, various sequels or other Austen related books that are out there. Watch some of the wonderful movie versions of Austen books. {Masterpiece did a brilliant job with these last year.} There is the Lost in Austen T.V. show. The possibilities are truly endless!
Books can count for multiple challenges.

So here is my list of six Austen related items:
  1. The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, by Marsha Altman (who will be guest posting here in August)
  2. This is my review and here is the interview post

  3. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (her first book was excellent)

  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen followed the movie version, 1995 BBC (Oh Colin!) Review of the movie is here.

  5. Persuasion by Jane Austen

  6. What Would Jane Austen do? by Laurie Brown

  7. I have another book at home but the name is escaping me at the moment

So that's it for now. Why don't you pick yourself up an Austen and come join us? It's sure to be lots of fun :)

Wash the Dishes With All Your Heart

I have been in a bit of a reflective mood lately, so when I was sent the following article, I read it and thought it was an interesting piece. My thoughts follow the article.

Wash the Dishes with All Your Heart
by Victoria Moran
Author of Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day

In a charmed life, the best thing going is what is happening now. Even the most dazzling lives are punctuated more by commas and periods than by exclamation marks. You virtually guarantee a charmed life when you can give yourself as fully to doing the dishes, and tending to the other miscellanea that make up your day, as to some grand adventure. This is because you can count on the dishes. They’ll be there alongside the grand adventures, and if no adventure is immediately forthcoming, the dishes won't let you down. Besides, feelings of enthusiasm, excitement, and positivity about anything and everything attract adventures to a life the way an open bag of trail mix attracts bears to a campsite. They just can't stay away.

About fifteen years ago, I picked up a severe case of flu while traveling and it kept me in bed for a month. I'll never forget the first night I washed dishes after I was better. It was the most delectable experience: warm water halfway up to my elbows, and slippery, shimmery suds to play in. I momentarily wondered if the high fever had addled my brain -- I mean, please: dishes? -- but if it took being addled to feel this extraordinary, I didn't want it any other way.

During the first few weeks of getting back into life, I was having these ah-ha moments during activities once inconsequential in their ordinariness. "Wow, driving a stick is really fun! . . . What did they put in this hot cider? It's amazing! . . . The sunset was so beautiful I pulled my car over to look at it." Smitten with my new way of seeing things but questioning its normality, I called one of my mentors, a woman named Gladys Lawler who was nearing ninety and always knew the answer.

She told me that everything seemed so stunning because I was in the moment. "When you're in the moment," she explained, "everything is exquisite because you're truly experiencing it." Life, I learned from Gladys that day, ought to be this way all the time, but we're so used to being removed from the present by keeping our minds one place and our bodies another that these periods of resplendence are uncommon. She also told me that I'd be back to the old, disconnected way of being before long, but that since I now knew that being truly present was possible, I could remind myself to go there again.

Her prediction was correct. As soon as my full strength returned, I was back to busy mode: scheduling, planning ahead, multi-tasking. But even now, the otherworldly beauty of that convalescent time can come back when I'm washing dishes. I have a dishwasher these days but I often use the sink just the same. It gives me the opportunity to stand in one spot and focus on one cup, one glass, or one perfectly circular rubber gasket that, in its modesty, gives me the use of my blender.

I recommend that you try some conscious dish washing. Release all judgment ("I always get stuck with the dishes . . . ") and just be with the process. Run the water and be aware of the sound it makes rushing from tap to sink. Look at the bottle of soap before you squeeze: what's in it? Do you like how it smells? Watch the suds as they build and billow. Pick up a dish at random -- your coffee mug maybe, or the bowl your daughter used for cereal this morning -- and regard it as a gift from a grab bag. Have fun with it. Maybe it has something to tell you, something to remind you of. Be with it and with every subsequent plate and fork and measuring cup until the task is through.

Then give yourself as wholeheartedly to whatever comes next. In a charmed life, the best thing going is what is happening now, even when it's scouring a skillet.

Lucky charm: The next time you do the dishes, feel the water, caress the crockery, and be present with all that's in you.

The above is an excerpt from the book Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day by Victoria Moran.

My Thoughts:

The moral being that, we all need to take some time, slow down, and just focus on the task at hand. Speaking for myself, my normal day consists of reminding myself to do this or that at work, at home or on line, all while completing the task at hand. It's almost as if I'm wishing my life away. Or better yet, working my life away through activities.

I have had some personal things lately that have made me re-evaluate how I go through my days at work and at home. I have realized I need to slow things down and focus on one thing at a time. Just enjoy the task for what it is, and think it through clearly, instead worrying about what comes next. When you do that your energy is scattered instead of focused, thus driving you crazy. At least that is what happens to me, and I can't have that right now. So breath, focus and enjoy just washing the dishes.
It's working for me :)

The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process.
Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2009

Author Information:
Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every DayAuthor BioVictoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life:Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day, is an inspirational speaker, a certified life coach, and the author of ten books including The Love-Powered Diet, Lit from Within; Fat, Broke & Lonely No More; and the international bestseller Creating a Charmed Life. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including Body + Soul, Natural Health, and Yoga Journal. Her blog, "Your Charmed Life," is published daily on She lives a charmed life in New York City.
Visit Victoria Moran online at