Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blog Tour: The Secret of Pembrook Park by Julie Klassen Review and Giveaway

Hello lovelies! I hope you all are well. I’m so excited to rejoin the blogosphere.

Award winning historical romance author Julie Klassen tours the blogosphere February 16 through March 2 to share her latest release, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Twenty five popular book bloggers specializing in historical and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, book reviews and excerpts of this acclaimed gothic Regency romance novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of all of Ms. Klassen’s eight books and other Jane Austen-themed items, is open to those who join the festivities.  



In the spring of 1818, twenty-four-year-old Abigail Foster fears she is destined to become a spinster. Her family’s finances are in ruins and the one young man she truly esteems has fallen for another woman — her younger, prettier sister Louisa.
Forced to retrench after the bank failure of Austen, Gray & Vincent, the Foster family optimistically pool their resources for another London Season for her sister in hopes of an advantageous alliance. While searching for more affordable lodgings, a surprising offer is presented: the use of a country manor house in Berkshire abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to the imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left, the tight-lipped locals offering only rumors of a secret room, hidden treasure and a murder in its mysterious past.

Eager to restore her family fortune, Abigail, with the help of the handsome local curate William Chapman and his sister Leah, begins her search into the heavily veiled past aided by unsigned journal pages from a previous resident and her own spirited determination. As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?  
Buy Links 

Book Details:
Title: The Secret of Pembrooke Park, Author: Julie Klassen, Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 02, 2014), Genre: Regency Romance/Gothic Romance/ Historical Fiction/Austenesque/Inspirational Fiction, Trade paperback ISBN: 978-0764210716, eBook ISBN: 9781441264824, Audio: B00QXKRDZ6: Rating:

Abigail seems to be struggling with self-worth issues. The boy she was grew up with—and thought she would marry—seems to have fallen for her younger sister. The advice she gave her father has landed them in financial ruin and now they are in need of a new place to live.
When a solicitor arrives offering use of Pembrooke Park, an abandon manor house—they jump at the chance and Abigail now finds herself wrapped up in Pembrooke’s history as well as the strange circumstances surrounding the family that abandoned the house.
Julie Klassen’s novels are always a treated and I know that I will lose sleep when a new one arrives. With that said, the start of The Secret of Pembrooke Park was a bit slow as was the mystery. While clues were scattered in early on to catch the reader’s attention, the developing relationship between Abigail and Will took center stage until the middle of the novel.
I liked the characters. I think that Abigail was one of my favorite Klassen heroines. It was nice seeing her character arc as the story progressed. Will was an interesting hero. He knew about the history and rumors about Pembrooke Park and I was eager to see just how much he knew.
What I loved about this novel—even though the plot ebbed and flowed—was the gothic feel. Although it was a lighter tone, the gothic aspect—reminiscent of Northanger Abbey—kept me reading to the very end.
Overall, The Secret of Pembrooke Park was an intriguing mystery with a lovely romance.  Fans of Klassen will be delighted.


About the Author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about Julie and her books at her website, follower her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.
Grand Giveaway Contest
Win One of Four Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, four chances to win copies of Julie’s books and other Jane Austen-inspired items are being offered.
Three lucky winners will receive one trade paperback or eBook copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and one grand prize winner will receive one copy of all eight of Julie’s novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor’s Daughter, The Dancing Master, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park, one DVD of Northanger Abbey (2007) and a Jane Austen Action Figure.
To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour starting February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Julie Klassen’s website on March 16, 2015. Winners have until March 22, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada. Digital books will be sent through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good luck to all!



February 16              My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
February 16              vvb32 Reads (Excerpt)                             
February 17              Psychotic State Book Reviews (Review)
February 17              My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice (Spotlight)    
February 18              Addicted to Jane Austen (Review)                                
February 18              Peeking Between the Pages (Review)                                     
February 19              Jane Austen in Vermont (Interview)                                          
February 19              Living Read Girl (Review)                                                
February 20              My Love for Jane Austen (Excerpt)                                           
February 20              Truth, Beauty, Freedom & Books (Review)                            
February 20              Laura's Reviews (Guest Blog)                                        
February 21              A Bookish Way of Life (Review)                                    
February 21              Romantic Historical Reviews (Excerpt)                        
February 22              Reflections of a Book Addict (Review)                                    
February 23              Austenesque Reviews (Guest Blog)                                         
February 23              Peace, Love, Books (Review)                                        
February 24              vvb32 Reads (Review)                                         
February 24              Poof Books (Excerpt)
February 25              Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)                                         
February 25              Austenesque Reviews (Review)                                    
February 25              Luxury Reading (Review)
February 26              So Little Time…So Much to Read (Review)
February 26              More Agreeably Engaged (Excerpt)
February 27              Psychotic State Book Reviews (Interview)                             
February 27              Booktalk & More (Review)
February 28              Laughing with Lizzie (Spotlight)
February 28              The Calico Critic (Review)
March 01                   Leatherbound Reviews (Excerpt)                                              
March 01                   Delighted Reader (Review)
March 02                   CozyNookBks (Review)                                       
March 02                   Laura's Reviews (Review)                                               

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn

Why would a gentleman ask a lady to conceal their betrothal?
Jane Austen writes of secret engagements in more than one of her novels, and in The Secret Betrothal, author Jan Hahn explores the question of what would happen if Austen’s most famous heroine from Pride and Prejudice reluctantly agrees to accept such a proposal.
When Fitzwilliam Darcy learns that Elizabeth Bennet has committed herself to such an arrangement, his hopes of winning her hand are shattered.  After circumstances continue to bring the two together—from Hertfordshire to Rosings Park to the seaside town of Brighton―he finds he is unable to tame his desire for the woman who has stolen his heart.
Will Darcy’s efforts to win Elizabeth succeed, or will his sworn enemy lead her to the altar?
My Thoughts:
The Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn is one of those books where, as a reviewer, you don’t want to give too much of the plot away and spoil it for readers.
What I will say is: In this P&P alternate path Elizabeth engages in a secret betrothal with Wickham. Yes, dear readers, you read it right. Lovely Elizabeth is engaged to Wickham, who for once isn’t portrayed as a complete villain, and she doesn’t tell a soul, not even her dearly devoted sister Jane.
Let me stress the point again: This is an alternative telling of P&P. Those of you who are P&P purists who want Elizabeth solely with Darcy may want to keep an open mind when starting the Secret Betrothal. Elizabeth and Darcy do get their HEA, but there is a whole lot of the wicked Wickham thrown in the mix, which I devoured like manna from above.
I will admit, when I started the book I was a little skeptical. I mean really, who wants to see Darcy’s hopes of winning Elizabeth’s hand crushed? I suppose the evil reader side of me kind of wanted to see Darcy squirm a little—I know, I know, I am sure vile emails will follow. But, admit it, you kind of want to see it too. 
Although once I started the book, I was hooked. Having previously read Hahn’s novel, The Journey, I knew I was in for treat. Not only does Hahn write outstanding plots that stay true to the core of P&P, her male characters are some of the strongest that I’ve seen in Austen adaptations, which is one of the reasons you should add her novels to your Austen collection.
While many readers, me included, want the HEA with Lizzy and Darcy, I was thrilled to see that Darcy had a contender. And even more pleased that the contender was Wickham, it just throws something extra into the mix.
Overall, I loved this novel. The flow of the plot occasionally waxed and waned but the amazing and realistic characters will have you hooked until the very last page.
Jan Hahn is fascinated by Jane Austen, 19th Century England, and true love. Having spent years in the world of business, she is now content to leave it behind and concentrate on writing about Austen's characters finding true love in 19th Century England. A storyteller since childhood, she's written skits and plays for local organizations and owned a business recording, writing and publishing oral histories. Jan is a member of JASNA and began writing novels based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in 2002.
Jan's first novel, An Arranged Marriage, won the award for Best Indie book of 2011 from Austen Prose. The Journey, published in 2012, was selected by Austen Prose as one of the Top Five Austen Inspired Historical Novels of 2012, and it won the Favorite Pride and Prejudice Variation/Alternate Path of 2012 award from Austenesque.

Jan has five children, seven grandchildren, and is a native Texan. In her dream world, she lives in England in a place called Pemberley.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Consequences C.P. Odom


Consequences is a cautionary tale about the evils of hasty judgment, revisiting Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and one of those pivotal moments when Elizabeth Bennet throws away Mr. Darcy’s offer of marriage so decisively. What transpires from that point is well known to Austen’s extensive readership, but what if even one element in the chain of events in her novel turns out differently? Does Austen’s happy ending eventually come to pass, or is the outcome more bleak?  
And if, in order to secure financial security for her loved ones, Elizabeth does not reject Darcy, is she married to a proud, arrogant, disdainful man who, as she feared, forces her to deny her own relatives and thus condemns her to a lifetime of misery? Or does she find herself married to a man who cares enough for her to reject the opposition of his family and chance his very standing in society in order to marry a woman he loves beyond measure?
Consequences, written by the author of A Most Civil Proposal, explores two alternate realities—both tragedy and triumph.
Buy Links:

Book Details:
Consequences by C. P. Odom, Publisher: Meryton Press, ISBN: 978-1-936009-30-5, Published: December 17, 2013, Trade Paperback, How I read it: Trade Paperback sent via Leatherbound Reviews
My Thoughts:
Consequences is two stories in one book. The catalyst for both stories is Darcy’s first marriage proposal.

In the first story, Elizabeth rejects Darcy’s proposal and there is no turning back and no happily ever after in sight. It kind of felt as though Odom wrote the first draft of book 1, read it then decided the characters weren’t suffering enough so he added more suffering and heartache.

Book two has Elizabeth accepting the proposal and a happier outcome is achieved. 

If I’m being honest, book 1 had me wanting to chuck bloody thing in the bin and never see it again. It was really a depressing little tale that had the characters of Pride & Prejudice dropping like flies. You may need to keep the tissues handy when reading this one. But I continued reading and thankfully book 2 was bright and sunny and much more uplifting. I also really enjoyed seeing Charlotte Collin’s as a stronger character.  

Overall, I trudged through book 1 but enjoyed book 2. Odom’s writing style was intriguing and true to that of Miss Austen’s and I look forward to reading more from this author.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thomas Lefroy’s sofa up for auction


A George III mahogany framed sofa, thought to have belonged to Thomas Lefroy, a love interest of Jane Austen who many believe was the inspiration behind Mr. Darcy, goes up for auction. To read more about this interesting, and no doubt highly sought after, piece of furniture please visit HERE


Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Free Austen-inspired kindle books

I had a few minutes to spare again this morning, so I thought I would do another round of free Austen-inspired books for the kindle. (Sorry I don’t have time to search for other formats) Click on the title for the link to the e-book on Amazon.


Shadows in a Brilliant Life by Susan Kaye


Prude & Prejudice by Francene Carroll


Darcy Waits


Elizabeth Waits

YA Novel


Fall For You by Cecilia Gray

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love at First Slight by J.Marie Croft


It may not be universally acknowledged, but the unvarnished truth is that a young widow in possession of a good fortune is not necessarily in want of another husband.
In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride & Prejudice variation, all major gender roles are reversed. It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married. When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport (nee Bingley), speculation — and prejudice — runs rampant.
William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye, even though he is beneath her station. His opinion of her is fixed when she slights him at the Meryton assembly. As her ardour grows, so does his disdain. When she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely . . .

My Thoughts:

All Janeites know the tale of P&P by heart. Now imagine that dear classic retold with the characters swapped. Elizabeth is now playing the role of Mr. Darcy and Darcy is now one of the five Bennet boys whose father takes of the role of Mrs. Bennet. Sounds interesting? You bet it is!

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, if I’m being honest. Occasionally, retellings can be a little out there and with this being a ‘topsy-turvy variation’, I approached with caution. But I must say that I loved it. There was not a single thing that I did not like about this novel. The gender reversal worked!

The author’s sharp wit could rival that of Jane Austen, which made the book a pure delight to read. What I loved most about this book was the way it kept all the prevalent parts of P&P while incorporating the author’s own voice into it.

Would I read this again? Most definitely!

If you have ever watched (and loved) the BBC series Sparkhouse where the characters in Wuthering Heights are reversed, then Love at First Slight is the book for you.

LaFS Blog Tour Banner copy

Blog Tour Schedule:

2/17 Review at Addicted to Jane Austen

2/18 Review at Best Sellers and Best Stellars

2/20 Excerpt & Giveaway at Everything Books and Authors

2/21 Review at Diary of an Eccentric

2/22 Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen

2/23 Guest Post and Giveaway at The Delighted Reader

2/24 Review at A Word's Worth

2/26 Review at More Agreeably Engaged

2/27 Review at Warmisunqu's Austen