Book Review

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge – Sisters and Sweet Tea, Novel Re-Tells ‘Sense and Sensibility’

Author: Hillary Manton Lodge
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Publisher provided
Publication Date: 2017
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Family
Rating: ★★★★½

“Smart, sassy and sensational, Jane of Austin is a classic in its own right; a book worthy of placing next to its Austen inspired tome.”

REVIEW | Change is threatening to sweep the Woodward sister’s into its vicious cycle. In the wake of their father’s scandal, the sisters reinvent their life by opening a tea shop. Now, their landlord has died and his family no longer believe they’re good tenants. Forced to leave behind their home and business, the three sisters pack up and make the move from California to Texas, where distant relatives await. Continue reading “Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge – Sisters and Sweet Tea, Novel Re-Tells ‘Sense and Sensibility’”

Book Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith – Darcy and Lizzy Fight Zombies

About the Book:Book - Pride + Prejudice + Zombies Tie In Edition

Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Publisher: Quirk Books

Source: Bought

Publication Date: 2009 (Reprint 2016)

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Genre: Fiction; Historical, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5


REVIEW: A kind of “literary mash-up” and retelling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (of a sort) is sassy, creative fiction. Ironically, I found it as relevant to today’s society (is there anything that cannot be cured by a dose of infected zombies? *sarcasm*), as it might appeal to those who admire the old literary language that Austen wrote with such class and grace.

The story is, at its heart, the same as Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. We meet the feisty Lizzy Bennet only instead of being snubbed for lacking graces, she’s skilled in the arts of weaponry. Mr. Darcy is still as proud as ever with an arrogance Lizzy cannot tolerate. Only in this scenario, they are equally matched in their skill with the sword as trained zombie slayers. With every meeting, the tension crackles as Lizzy’s disgust of the arrogant man rises and his attraction to Lizzy grows. Continue Reading on Silver Petticoat Review ➔

This review first appeared on Silver Petticoat Review.

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Shades of Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

About the Book:Book - Shades of Doon
Author(s): Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink (an Imprint of HarperCollins)
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Series: Doon, 3
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Contemporary Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Building an impressive fan base full of readers fully invested in these characters lives, this series has become one of the more popular YA lit re-telling set of novels currently relevant to today’s reader. Its second novel, Destined for Doon, left its fans scrambling for answers and adding Shades of Doon to their most anticipated lists. Now, the third book is nearly here and fans are about to have the answers they longed for. The adventure continues as Veronica recovers from her brush with death and the mysterious circumstances that put her in that perilous situation. With her bestie, Mackenna, by her side, Vee is ready to face anything… except being thrust back to the modern world. Doon is home for her and leaving behind her people, her kingdom… and the man she loves is an impossible possibility neither Vee or Kenna are prepared to ponder.   Continue reading “Shades of Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon”

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Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay

About the Book:Book - Lizzy and Jane
Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: NetGally and author provided ARC
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Inspirational Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Among the inspirational, Christian fiction crowd, I’m not sure there were many books more anticipated than the follow up to 2013’s debut author Katherine Reay’s lovely epistolary novel, Dear Mr. Knightley. While the two share no connection story wise besides being seeped in Austen-esque loveliness, readers couldn’t wait to see what Reay had next for us. Myself included. Lizzy & Jane tells the story of the titular sisters who are at odds with one another ever since their mother died years earlier from cancer – Lizzy was there for her mother. Jane was not. Now, both girls are grown up, living their own lives and Lizzy’s nearly ten years elder sister, Jane is going through the terror of cancer. Burned out from her work as a chef at the elite, New York restaurant – Feast, Lizzy agrees to take a trip west to visit her father… and Jane. Afraid for her own future, tired of fighting with Jane and still healing from a past and loss she never mourned, Lizzy is about to rediscover her passions… and all that really matters. Continue reading “Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay”

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Destined for Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

Book - Destined for Doon

About the Book:
Author(s): Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink YA Books, a division of Zondervan
Source: Publisher (ARC Copy)
Publication Date: 2014
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Series: Doon, book 2
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: There is something about a contemporary that travels back in time. Maybe its allure first began with the popular Gene Kelly musical Brigadoon (which this YA series is loosely based on) or maybe it’s just the idea that we have the ability to revisit these eras long gone through stories and it’s because of these visual descriptors that many of us have come to one conclusion: we were born to the wrong era. This co-authored series is the sequel to last summer’s inventive novel Doon and it continues the adventures of McKenna Reid and her best friend, Veronica. Living in Chicago pursuing her dream of a career on stage, it’s been nearly a year since McKenna left behind her true love, a native Doonian (what, so that’s not a word… work with me) – not to mention real-life royalty, Duncan, though for Doon, it’s merely been three months and now Doon requires McKenna’s return – or more importantly Veronica needs her best friend. Doon is coming under attack by forces that are ruled by evil witches and would have Doon’s beauty turned into a zombie wasteland. With her new Calling as the Queen of Doon, Veronica is only able to fight the battle so far by herself – her best chance at winning is with McKenna by her side, only McKenna left Doon with broken hearts in her rearview and it’s impossible not to let personal infractions complicating things… Continue reading “Destined for Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon”


The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

About the Book:Book - The Princess in the Opal Mask
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Publisher: RP Teens
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: The Opal Mask Series – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Teen/YA, Fairytale
Rating: 4 out of 5

Fantasy, fairytales and anything that involves a royal is catching like wildfire and fortunately for the most part, it’s a subculture most fans are willing to embrace. With a twist, this fairytale is one of the cutest I’ve read in this genre for a while. It follows the feisty, Elara whose life has been anything but easy. Raised by a family who is not her own, Elara has become tough to the world and has no love for the family who’ve given her a roof but treated her as nothing more than a source of income and servant to do their bidding. Then there is Wilha. The young princess has had a very different life than Elara – she’s been brought up with privilege, yet no answers as to why her father insists she wear a mask that hides nearly her entire face. The two girls meet after forces greater than their own bring them together and forever change both of their futures. Continue reading “The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist”


Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

About the Book:Book - Doon
Author(s): Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink, a subsidiary of Zondervan
Publication Date: 2013 (ARC)
Series: Doon – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Review: Long before I realized this book was a re-telling of the timeless Brigadoon tale, the smoky intrigue on the outside of this book captivated me. When opportunity arose to obtain a copy and review Doon, I snapped it up and prepared to get lost in an angst-ridden romance. The young adult novel tells the story of besties, McKenna and Veronica who, upon graduation make a much-needed escape to Scotland. Kenna’s gift to Veronica is a ticket to come along and celebrate their last summer before college and internships begin. Having an aunt from Scotland who has now passed away, the girl’s use Gracie’s cottage and soon learn that Veronica’s visions of a blonde-haired guy may not merely be visions – they may be a precursor of what’s to come. When the two girls find a portal through the brig o’ doon into a mystical land of royalty – protected by a powerful enchantment, and witches, they become embroiled in a fight to save the mysterious land …and their hearts. Continue reading “Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon”


Roses Have Thorns

rosescoverAbout the Book:
Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2013
Series: “Ladies in Waiting” (book three)
Genre: Christian Fiction; Young Adult, Teen, Series, Historical Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Review: For years, over her entire educational studies, Elin Von Snakenborg has prepared for her trip with the Swedish Princess Cecilia to the English shores to visit Queen Elizabeth. The woman, the Swedish monarchy once thought may marry their king. As one of Cecilia’s ladies-in-waiting, Elin never expected to be swept into the Queen’s court. Her knowledge of essential oils and herbs interests Elizabeth and Elin immediately captures the fancy of the kindhearted, older and widowed Lord Northampton, a man who owes his life to Elizabeth having been imprisoned once by the Queen’s elder sister, Mary. Choosing to remain in England transforms Elin into becoming a true Englishwoman as she prepares for a wedding as Helena and finding her place in Elizabeth’s court but where does her heart truly lie… Continue reading “Roses Have Thorns”


Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson

About the Book:
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

My Thoughts: Stories that recount the tragedy of the RMS Titanic are usually not my cup of tea. In fact until the ABC/ITV film adaptation of earlier this year, I’d not see a movie depicting the events. It surprised me that I actually signed up to review this romantic tale on the high seas but given my propensity to “connect” with Thompson’s writing, a love of this era and curiosity to know how this scenario would play out, I hit the “submit” button. Here is how the story goes. Jacquie Abington has a dilemma. Wealthy and able to have whatever her heart desires, her future suddenly becomes a glaring picture of conformity. Her father has just shook hands with a wealthy business man whom her father plans to merge their name with through marriage and business. Unhappy with the way her future is shaping up, Jacquie becomes desperate to find a way to be with her true love, Peter, the family’s gardener. Knowing her husband would never approve the match prompts Jacquie’s mother to book passage for her daughter on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, hoping it will cure her daughter of any more romantic notions of Peter. Afraid of being forever separated from Peter, the two of them concoct a plan for Jacque to swap lives with Peter’s sister, Tessa. A poor farm girl who needs to be out of a bad situation, Peter sees this as his way of protecting his little sister, never realizing the consequences these choices could yield. Continue reading “Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson”


Heiress by Susan May Warren

About the book:
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2011
Author: Susan May Warren
Series: “Daughters of Fortune” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: two privileged sisters living in the gilded age fight for their way of life… and hearts. One sister, the elder Esme believes in a cause. She feels deeply for the people less fortunate than she and wants to make a difference in their world – to share the wealth she has. Her father comes into society with new money having made it in the publishing world but all he wants is to marry off his daughter to a respectable match that will ensure the family’s place in society. Restless and with no desire to marry – especially a match born out of convenience and not love, Esme determines to become a journalist following in her father’s footsteps, but her plan is forbidden and instead of entering the loveless marriage her father assumes she will abide, Esme flees the glittering New York society for the western frontier.

Younger daughter Jinx would do anything her family asks of her. Often jealous that she wasn’t the daughter with the birthright, she is only too ready to pick up the pieces her sister’s foolish romance and headstrong notions left their family in. Marrying the man her sister spurned – the man Jinx herself loved, Jinx is soon hardened to her idea of duty when cruel circumstances leave her bitter.

Will these two very different sisters learn that prestige and wealth cannot bring true happiness… or are they destined to never again come together as family?

My thoughts: Susan May Warren is a first-class author in my opinion. Her novels are always skillfully penned and although I have as yet to read a couple of her more recent series, I have read several of her more popular series like the Deep Haven novels and the pulse-pounding Team Hope series. To be honest, Heiress gets off to a rough start. The writing is confusing and as the reader, I was unsure whose thoughts I was reading – was it meant to be Jinx or Esme? All of those doubts were gone by chapter two as the novel settled into an easy pattern. What this novel is reminiscent of is Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & Southor the acclaimed ITV series Downton Abbey, so much does it mirror the latter (by its setting), one has to wonder if the author drew on the series as inspiration. Needless to say making that distinction only fueled my enchantment with this novel. I adore that series… and I lovedthis book. Heiress is rich in period detail and that perhaps, is its crowning achievement. Continue reading “Heiress by Susan May Warren”