Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

Description (from Goodreads): Some may know Jane Austen simply as the English novelist whose books are required reading in high school and college. Perhaps it wasn't until the BBC's extremely successful TV miniseries of Pride and Prejudice or Emma Thompson's film Sense and Sensibility that many became entranced. Now younger readers are flocking to Austen with a unique twist in the bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance, by Seth Grahame-Smith. In this Christian Encounters biography, fans of Jane Austen will discover the Christian faith that was in the weft and weave of her character and how it influenced her writing and her life.

My thoughts: I was so happy when I noticed that Thomas Nelson had published this book and that it was available for the booksneeze reviewers. For years I've been Austen addict and I knew that this book would be perfect addition to my collection.

This book, like many Austen biographies, included the basic stuff: her childhood, stories of her family, her process of writing and her death. What I liked about this book where the little details. I love trivia information and this book provided it a lot for me. I liked the quotations and additions from Austen's relatives and other people who have know her or studied her.

I must say that there was one thing which really annoyed me during the whole process of reading. From time to time, the author addresses Jane Austen as Jenny. I do not know was that really her nickname, I've never heard about it, but it made me really angry. Also because of that the text was hard to follow at first because first the author was talking about Jane, then Jenny and then again Jane.

Even though this book is part of Christian Encounters series I must say that the role of religion in Jane Austen's life was not hugely emphasized in this book. There were some random parts in this book which, in my opinion, were totally out of context, just talking about the bible etc. But since there were only couple of those parts they did not bother me that much.

Jane Austen by Peter Leihart is a great addition to a bookshelf of Austen addict. It is also great book for a one who is doing a research about Jane Austen. The book is not very long and it provides a lot of interesting information about Jane Austen.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Review: Confessions of a Jane Austen addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Description (from Goodreads):
After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy? Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney's borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.
Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman—and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

My thoughts: I have recently noticed that the local bookstore has added quite many Austen related books to their collection; first I found P&P&Zombies, then Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, and now this. I hope this flow of books continues even though it is BAD for my wallet. I visited the bookstore many times and everytime I hold this book in my hands but never bought it. Finally one day during my free lesson I went to the bookstore and bought it. And I am happy I did so,

I read some reviews from Goodreads before I started to read this book and because of that I did not really have high expectations towards this book (the book has only 2.99 average on Goodreads). I was positively suprised by the outcome. The idea of the book is great, a LA girl Courtney, suffering for a broke up has hit the Austen books, once again. One day she wakes up from a weird bed and pretty soon notices that she is not at LA, she is at regency England in a totally weird body to her. She is now Jane Mansfield, a 30 year old daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Mansfield. She has new body, new accent but her own LA memories. As the time goes by she meets a lot of new people to her. As the time goes by Courtney's memories start to mix up with Jane's memories and Courney starts to get more and more clues of the life Jane lived before she took her place.

Since this book is Austen related, it must have a gorgeous, a little mysterious hero. In this book this hero is Mr. Edgeworth who reminds me a lot of Mr. Darcy, which is always a good thing. Courtney feels strong attraction towards Edgeworth, but when she starts to get more and more memories of Jane to her head she understands that the must be something mysterious in Edgeworth since Jane did not like him very much. If you have read Pride and Prejudice you probably guess that in the end, Edgeworth is the good guy. The mystery behind Edgeworth's character is well built. The characters of this book are likable and they remind me a lot of the characters of different Austen novels.

As an Austen addict, the events of this book would be a dream come true to me. I again started to wish that I could have a time machine to go to 19th century England, at least for a while. The book considers the situation of women in the 19th century society. Probably everyone knows that the situation was not good but because of novels like Pride and Prejudice I still see that era and century as a time of glory and it is something I would love to experience. I can identify with Courtney. Her addiction to Austen is similar to my addiction and I loved it. Confessions of a Jane Austen addict is funny, addictive and it made me want to read some Austen... again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Description (from Goodreads): While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker at the Scooper Dooper, sixteen-year-old Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top of the Billboard charts.

My Thoughts: While ago, I got the Finnish translation of this book from the library. I started to read it but since there was so much going on at that time, I took the book back to the library. Couple of weeks ago I was positively suprised when I received this book, in English, from the library.

Audrey, Wait! was everything I expected, and even more. Audrey's life changes completely when her ex-boyfriend's band record a breakup song about Audrey. People start to know who she is, Internet is filled with rumors about her and paparazzi follow her everywhere. In that kind of situation, living her normal life gets harder and harder. Dating James, a cute guy from the same work, is hard since they are followed all the time and in the end the tension between best friends, Audrey and Victoria, gets to be too much. Can Audrey control her life and what gets to the public or is she going to become a slave of the public.
I loved this book. In some levels I was able to identify with Audrey; I love music and while reading the book I noticed that I have pretty much the same taste of music with Audrey. I also have an amazing best friend who means everything to me. Audrey is also quite headstrong and temperamentic, which reminded me of myself. When I finished with this book I had to take a notebook and write down all the songs from the beginnings of the chapters (every chapter starts with a quotation from a song) and now I made a playlist called "Audrey, Wait!" with those songs.

Audrey Wait! is a great YA book. It has a likable characters, great friendship, young love, complications and what I love the most, happy ending. If you want to read a story of a ordinary girl who suddenly becomes famous because of a song, Audrey, Wait! is perfect choice for you.