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review 2020-03-05 17:41
"Longbourn" by Jo Baker - highly recommended.
Longbourn - Jo Baker,Emma Fielding

"Longbourn" was the first book I read for my "Pride Prejudice and Pastiches" reading challenge. I found it to be an extremely powerful and emotionally moving book.


It tells the story of a young woman who makes the hard choices to win a life for herself and to share that life with the man she loves. No, her name is not Elizabeth Bennet. Her name is Sarah and she's a maid at Longbourn. The story is mainly focused on Sarah, Mrs Hill, the housekeeper and James, the footman. The relationships between the three are deep and complex and entirely believable.


At first, I thought that focusing on Longbourn's domestic staff was a curious premise, like viewing Hogwarts through the eyes of the House Elves but I soon saw that it was much more than that.


Although it shares the same timeline as "Pride And Prejudice" and features all the main characters, with some, like Mr Wickham, being pivotal to the plot, "Longbourn" stands proudly on its own. It is not a pastiche, it's a work in the same universe. If you had never read "Pride And Prejudice", "Longbourn" would still be a powerful read. If you have read "Pride and Prejudice" then your appreciation of both books is deepened.


Like "Pride And Prejudice", "Longbourn" accepts the economic reality of avoiding destitution and the political reality of the inferior status of women and tries to understand what a woman might do, in these circumstances, to ensure her happiness and to commit her life to the man she loves.


The difference in social class adds additional challenges for Sarah and James (who definitely does not have £20,000 a year) which, to be understood, need to be set in the context of what was happening to working people in England during the Napoleonic wars: the lack of work, the surfeit of beggars, the fate of enlisted men, the destruction of the livelihoods of the weavers and so on. The "little bit of ivory" that Jo Baker works on abutts the one that Jane Austen used but is not the same.


The things that stuck with me most from this book:

  • Sarah's courage and dignity as she navigates her limited choices and her strong passions. Her refusal to settle for the safe when the is the possibility to live a full and meaningful life.
  • The brutality and futility of James' life as a soldier at war in Spain and Portugal, the scars it left and the strong, quiet man it created.
  • The recognition of Wickham as a molester of young girls. Although I knew from "Pride and Prejudice" that Wickham has taken Lydia away when she was fifteen what that meant and the kind of man it made him hadn't sunk in. Watching him groom a very young maid with sweets and pennies made things much clearer.
  • Sarah's sense of fading into invisibility when Darcy and others strode past her, paying her no more attention than a piece of furniture. It brought home the impact on identity of being a servant.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the history of the period, in "Pride and Prejudice" or in a powerful story about a struggle for dignity and happiness.

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review 2020-01-16 06:47
Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding
The Little Library - Kim Fielding

Reviewed for Wit and Sin


The Little Library is a slow burn romance charms me every time I read it. Simon and Elliott are interesting, refreshingly imperfect characters and I loved watching them go from strangers to friends to lovers to something much more.

Elliott is a college professor whose fast track to tenure was derailed when he was embroiled in his boyfriend’s scandal. Wounded professionally and personally, he has moved back to his California hometown where he teaches online classes and is mostly a hermit. When his brother points out that his love of books has turned into a borderline hoarding problem, Elliott builds a small neighborhood library in his front yard. I absolutely loved watching Elliott come out of his shell and start to interact with people again. The library is a wonderful way to do it and I adored seeing how it brought people together. It’s the kind of thing that would make any bibliophile’s heart happy (although Elliott’s book buying addiction was totally relatable).

The most important person Elliott meets in his neighborhood is Simon Odisho. The former cop is recovering from a shattered knee and is in the process of reevaluating what he wants to do with his life. Both men are at a crossroads when they meet and they start to come out of their shells together. Attraction simmers between them, but Simon is in the closet and Elliott has no desire to be anyone’s secret ever again. Still, there’s no denying how perfectly they fit and I absolutely loved watching their relationship develop. Simon has hidden vulnerabilities and Elliott has been hurt badly, so it’s not easy for them to take the risk of opening their hearts. Their story isn’t perfect, but flaws and all I was rooting for the two men every step of the way.

The Little Library moves at a somewhat leisurely pace but it never feels slow. I live in California and I’m familiar with a lot of the places Simon and Elliott go in this book, so it was an extra bit of fun for me to see where they went as they slowly fell in love. Author Kim Fielding balances romance, personal growth, and community perfectly in this story and it couldn’t have made me happier. I’ve read this book twice and I honestly can’t wait to re-read it again.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the previous publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-little-library-by-kim-fielding.html
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review 2019-10-24 12:01
Release Blitz - The Over the Fence Box Set


Release Blitz

Title: The Over the Fence Box Set

Author: Carrie Aarons

Genre: Sports Romance, New Adult

Date: October 24, 2019




Hit love out of the park with three college sports romances and a brand new novella in this box set from bestselling author Carrie Aarons.


The Over the Fence Box Set includes three standalones:
Pitching to Win

Hitting to Win

Catching to Win

PLUS: A brand new, never-before-released novella, Fielding to Win, featuring everyone’s favorite grumpy outfielder, Parker Avery.


More about the books inside:


What do you do when the town golden boy, who never noticed you in high school, decides to make a play for your heart?

For Minka Braxton, high school has been anything but easy. After a humiliating scandal sophomore year, she's avoided the social scene and anything having to do with boys, especially of the popular variety. But with senior year approaching, Minka decides it's time to take life back into her own hands. That is, until Owen Axel, the type of guy she's always avoided, decides he wants her in his hands.

Owen Axel is the definition of popular. Good looks, all-star worthy pitching arm and a former pro-athlete father make him Mitchum's town God. Returning from college for the summer, his plan is simple. Beach, booze, and beautiful girls. But one look at Minka Braxton and he knows what he wants. He just doesn't count on her not wanting him.

As the summer unfolds, both must decide how much to reveal, how deep they should fall, and what might happen if they strike out.



After a lifetime of neglect and sorrow, Miles Farriston has hit rock bottom after his lying ex-girlfriend proves that no one in his life sticks around. On the outs with his friends, in jeopardy of losing his baseball career and this close to getting kicked out of Kappa Eta Sigma, Miles is forced to compete in the Greek Life dance competition. What he didn't bank on was getting bright, cheery Chloe Trabucco as a partner.

Ballet, friends and her sorority. The only three things Chloe Trabucco wants to focus on and excel at. So when she is asked to compete, as a freshman, in the popular Greek dance competition, she couldn't be happier. That is, until she learns Miles is her partner. The same Miles she's had a huge crush on for half of her life, and the same guy who made it clear more than a year ago that he wants nothing to do with her.

Her positivity and patience annoy him. His attitude and anger finally drive her to the breaking point. Can they hit a home run, both on and off the dance floor, or will they go down swinging?


Kelsey O'Brien is the definition of a free spirit. She goes where she wants, when she wants, and takes to bed who she wants. And when she arrives back at Grover University after eight months on an African animal preserve, it’s her newly hunky best friend that has caught her eye. As their friendship turns physical, Kelsey begins to form feelings she swore she'd never have for anyone. But when the past she's not ready to face finds her, she must make a decision whether to stop running, or confront the truth.

The first time Clint Bellows laid eyes on Kelsey, he fell hard. Too bad she looked right through him. A year and countless hours in the gym later, she's back and hardly recognizes him and his new body. After a drunken encounter takes them over the line of friendship, Clint agrees to Kelsey's proposal of a benefits-added relationship. Only he's playing for keeps, and is willing to round all of the bases trying to score the self-proclaimed gypsy.

She's running from her demons. He's committed to winning her over. Can he catch her in time, or will she be out of his grasp before he can blink? 



Over the Fence Box SetOver the Fence Box Set by Carrie Aarons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the box set of the Over The Fence series. This is a collection of several books from the same series. Each book is actually a standalone novel. Works well if you read them in order. For review purposes I have chosen to focus on PITCHING TO WIN.

Minka has had one major hurt after another. The latest being the high school humiliation that everyone dreads. Only in her case it may be repeating itself.

Owen wants to have more with Minka. He is all she has chosen to avoid and more. His attraction to her brains, beauty, and sass is overwhelming and he cannot seem to stay away.

Such a great start to a very sexy series. This book jumps right in and the sparks are flying basically from the start. While the main characters are trying to not to get burned by the flame, we see them steer toward one another rather than away. I liked seeing them both grow stronger as they choose to be together.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews



One-click the Over the Fence Box Set for 99 cents: mybook.to/OTFBoxSet


  • Author Bio:

Author of romance novels such as The Tenth Girl and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the love stories of her imagination, and the athleisure dress code, much better.


When she isn't writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, daughter and Lab/Great Dane rescue.


  • Author Links:

Visit Carrie's website: authorcarrieaarons.com
Sign up for Carrie’s Newsletter: bit.ly/2LzzxXA
Check out Carrie's books on Amazon: amzn.to/2Pn3XkR
Like Carrie's Facebook page: facebook.com/carrieaarons
Join Carrie's Reader Group: bit.ly/2DDt1xX
Follow Carrie on Instagram: instagram.com/authorcarriea
Follow Carrie on Twitter: twitter.com/authorcarriea
Follow Carrie on BookBub: bookbub.com/profile/carrie-aarons
Follow Carrie on Goodreads: goodreads.com/carrieaarons








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review 2019-10-23 06:50
Over the Fence Box Set - Carrie Aarons

This is the box set of the Over The Fence series.  This is a collection of several books from the same series.  Each book is actually a standalone novel.  Works well if you read them in order.  For review purposes I have chosen to focus on PITCHING TO WIN.


Minka has had one major hurt after another.  The latest being the high school humiliation that everyone dreads.  Only in her case it may be repeating itself.


Owen wants to have more with Minka.  He is all she has chosen to avoid and more.  His attraction to her brains, beauty, and sass is overwhelming and he cannot seem to stay away.  


Such a great start to a very sexy series.  This book jumps right in and the sparks are flying basically from the start.  While the main characters are trying to not to get burned by the flame, we see them steer toward one another rather than away.  I liked seeing them both grow stronger as they choose to be together.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.



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review 2019-08-29 23:04
"Illegal Action - Liz Carlyle #3" by Stella Rimington
Illegal Action - Stella Rimington,Emma Fielding
"Illegal Action" is a convincing but only mildly suspenseful Brit spy story, set in 2007 when the idea that Russia was waging a covert war against the UK was still new.



The appeal of the Liz Carlyle books comes mostly from the fact that they are written by the ex-Director General of MI5 and therefore have a chance at being based on knowledge of how the secret service actually operates.


"Illegal Action" delivers against that promise, this time moving Liz Carlyle into counter-intelligence and focusing her on an alleged plot against Russian Oligarchs living in London. In 2007, when this book was written, counter-terrorism was the star act. Counter-terrorism was yesterday's favourite. The cold war was over and the Good Friday Agreement had been in place for almost twenty years. "Illegal Action" focuses its attention on the extent of Russian espeionage in London and the presence of a large number of Russion ologarchs who owned a lot of London Real Estate and many of whom had UK passports.


The procedural details are interesting and sound authentic. The plot has a few twists and curves along the way and the resolution is credible.


I couldn't quite accept that someone as experienced as Liz Carlyle would go so long in this story without understanding the personal risks she was running.


There was some tension in the book but it was the, I'm-curious-if-THIS-or-THAT-will-happen rather then the PLEASE-don't-let-THAT-happen kind.


The characters are drawn in just enough detail to make the story work but none of them truly came alive for me.


"Illegal Action" was a quick, entertaining but not very memorable read.

I recommend the audiobook version. It's very easy on the ear.

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