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text 2016-05-20 05:35
New Books This Week (May 20)
The Bookshop Strikes Back - Ann Patchett
Old Herbaceous: A Novel of the Garden - Reginald Arkell
Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale
On the Edge - Ilona Andrews
Against the Paw - Diane Kelly
Love, Lies and Spies - Cindy Anstey

These trickled in over the course of the week, so as I was putting this together I was surprised how many there were; if you'd asked me, I'd have said 2-3 max.

 

The Bookshop Strikes Back by Ann Patchett almost doesn't count as a book, it's really a special printing pamphlet Bloomsbury books did of Patchett's essay from the Atlantic Monthly in 2012.  I hunted it down because I'm building a small "books about books" collection.  It's a good essay, btw.

 

Old Herbaceous is one I picked up from one of my BL friends' posts; I have got to start using the notes function so I can properly thank people by name.

 

Midnight in Austenland was recommended to me by Darth Pony (ha! remembered!) because I'd read the first book, Austenland and thought it was pretty good.

 

Love, Lies and Spies was an impulse buy when I stopped at our local bookstore to buy MT a copy of The Hunger Games.  After being eyeball-deep in Harry Bosch and books by Baldacci he turned to me the other night and said he wanted to read The Hunger Games.  Cool, although I'm still trying to adjust to the genre whiplash.

 

New books: 6

Books read: 3

Total physical TBR: 221

 

Happy weekend everyone!

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review 2013-07-14 00:00
Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale hale's writing style is refreshing and her humour clever and i simply couldn't stop myself from devouring this book in a day. i truly enjoyed this one, especially because northanger abbey is one of my favourite austen novels. a great follow-up to austenland.
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review 2013-06-02 00:00
Midnight in Austenland: A Novel - Shannon Hale I was told that Midnight in Austenland was much better than Austenland and I have to agree. The first book in the series was fun, but I didn't really like Jane and I didn't know much at all about Henry Jenkins/Mr. Nobley, so it was hard to care about their happily ever after. That is not the case with this book.

Charlotte Kinder was cheated on by her shithead ex, James, who took her money and slept with some bimbo named Justice--seriously, JUSTICE?! Who names their kid JUSTICE? I would rather be Apple or Suri than Justice. Anyway, feeling down about her real life, she decides to go on a vacation to Austenland, a British estate that is made into a Regency Era home, where women come to be romanced by Mr. Darcies for two weeks. Charlotte is given a whole new persona (Mrs. Charlotte Cordial, a widower visiting her brother Mr. Edmund Grey) and a man to woo her (Mr. Mallery--not a spoiler). While Austenland was very obviously Pride and Prejudice (even to someone who has never read a single Austen novel), this book is very much Northanger Abbey complete with an actual whodunit--Charlotte finds an actual dead body while playing a game very similar to one I played at a classmate's halloween party in 1994 (I was 7 going on 8 at the time--not in my 30's like Charlotte).

It was fairly obvious early on just who Charlotte was going to end up with, although from my experience reading Austenland, I wasn't going to trust anyone at Pembrook Park--no one is ever who they appear to be. In the end, I was right about the relationship, not to mention pleased with how the romance played out (I still have issues with the non-development of the Jane/Henry Jenkins relationship, so I was very happy to see a real build up between Charlotte and her suitor).

That said, I did have some problems with this book and it is completely the fault of Shannon Hale's world building. In creating Pembrook Park, she also created a type of prostitution house--even if no one is actually having sex. The ick factor of having women pay exorbitant amounts of money to be wooed by gorgeous men, who are being paid to be there, never really goes away. Charlotte even mentions the gigolo factor at one point. The other problem I had comes from having read Austenland. Because of the Martin twist in the end of that book, I found it very hard to trust anything the characters had to say. I was always suspicious of Eddie and even Lydia. The only one I never doubted was Miss Charming and that was only because of her presence in the first book. Not being able to trust the characters in a novel are being truthful is a big problem for me; it is the main reason that I do not like first person novels (you can never quite tell when the narrator is honestly representing events the way you can with the omniscient 3rd person narrator).

All in all, I liked Midnight in Austenland, and I would recommend it to anyone.

3.5 Stars
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review 2013-04-16 00:00
Midnight in Austenland: A Novel - Shannon Hale No. Just no.

I thought "Austenland" was such a cute book; perfectly pink and fluffy and some of the best Austen-fanfiction I've read in years. So of course I wanted to read the sequel, as a bit of guilty pleasure always should be indulged. But sadly "Midnight in Austenland" left me with more guilt than pleasure.

I do appreciate the fact, that "Midnight in Austenland" is built upon Austen's slightly overlooked "Northanger Abbey", but that's about the only thing I do like about this book.
The story is just too morbid and absurd. A murder in a Austen theme park, falling in love with your supposed sibling (?), an American woman who seems to be living an eternal Austen-fantasy while pretending to be British, an actor who thinks he really is in the 19th century and a seriously disturbed maid - honestly, wasn't the whole idea of Pembrook Park a bit far-fetched already?

How would I describe this book? As Jane Austen meeting Agatha Christie. And of course we all know that such a combination would be anything but graceful.
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review 2013-02-05 00:00
Midnight in Austenland: A Novel - Shannon Hale Even a great audio narrator couldn't prevent me from DNF'ing this book due to sheer boredom. I appreciate the homage to Austen but I couldn't make myself interested in the plot or any of its characters.
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