Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland Austenland by Shannon Hale

My rating: 4.0/5.0

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: May 29, 2007
Pages: 208

My Review:

This is a delightful read. I've been into the Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice inspired books lately and I have read one of Shannon Hale's book so I checked this one out from the library.

I enjoyed the growth of Jane from before she went to the English Austen-like resort to the end of the book when she returns home. She battles with a lot of things during her stay including her attraction to Mr. Darcy. She's on the outside a lot of the time because of the ratio of women to men and the unfortunate fact that she does not have much money and is not expected to be a repeat visitor. Being on the outside gives her more of a perspective on the whole ruse and once she settles down into character she realizes the changes in herself.

I enjoyed this book, it was hard for me to put down. I liked the various characters and really enjoyed Jane. I enjoyed trying to figure out who each character that was introduced was in relation to Jane Austen books. I also liked the absurdity of the resort and the woman caretaker. The fact that you could get thrown out for having a cellphone and how every one had to act all the time, was amusing. I liked the ending especially and wish for more of the book to see what happens to Jane. But like most books that is left up to me and I like books like that.

A quick fun read - if you like Pride and Prejudice or other Jane Austen works or are a fan of Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy then this is a great book to read.

About the Book:
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
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Review: Invasion of the Boy Snatchers by Lisi Harrison (The Clique #4)

Invasion of the Boy Snatchers (The Clique, #4) Invasion of the Boy Snatchers by Lisi Harrison
My rating: 4.5/5.0

Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
Publish Date: October 5, 2005
Binding: Trade Paperback
Pages: 256

My Review: 

A fast read geared towards middle school girls. This is the fourth installment of The Clique series and I am still enjoying it. With each book we learn a little more about Massie, Claire, Dylan, Kristen and Alicia. I like how Massie's insecurities show a little more in this one, at least in the glimpses the reader gets of her. To everyone else she is still cool and collected Massie, but the reader knows the truth - she's just like every other teenage girl.

Invasion of the Boy Snatchers focuses on three things - Claire and Massie's growing friendship and the fact that they are sharing a room at the moment, the arrival of Alicia's cousin, Nina, and the Valentine's Day Dance.

The other girls are becoming a little jealous of Claire and Massie and their inside jokes, but is Massie becoming a little tired of Claire after living in the same room with here. Also Nina is throwing a monkey wrench into all of The Pretty Committee's boy plans by showing up and wowing the boys with her looks and barely there clothes. Massie doesn't like this because she is no longer the one everyone wants to follow and we all know what happens when Massie doesn't like you.

What follows is the usual Clique fun - a plan to get Massie back on top and the girls rushing to be the first one kissed. And will Claire finally get Cam back and be kissed by him.

Well that's all in one books fun and I enjoyed reading this one immensely. A lot was going on and it kept me reading straight through. The characters are starting to grow and I'm enjoying watching that. It's another cliff hanger ending for me and that means I need to start reading the next one soon.

About the Book:

The holidays are over and Massies room is chock full of new things from Santa: jeans, sweater, and a new . . . roommate? Once Claire unpacks, Massies room feels more crowded than a Zac Posen sample sale. But whats worse, Claire isnt the only person moving into Massies territoryAlicias hot, Spanish cousin, Nina, shows up from Spain and starts edging in on all the Briarwood boys, including Massies crush! Will Nina, with her super-tight mall clothes, make every boy in Westchester fall in love with her? Or will Massie toss her out faster than last seasons Sevens jeans? The social minefields of Westchester Countys most privileged middle school girls drive the page-turning action of this addictive series, set in New York Citys most elite suburban county. The Clique . . . the only thing harder than getting in is staying in.
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Guest Post & Blog Tour: Author Shelly Nicholson (Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair)

Please welcome Shelly Nicholson to My Reading Room today - she is my first ever author guest post!   Thanks for being here today Shelly.  

I am the author of Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair and A Stinky Surprise for Jake the Snake (to be released early in 2010) as well as several short stories and articles for children’s magazines including Kid Zone, Fun for Kidz, Jack and Jill, and a popular e-zine Stories for Children‘s Magazine (  The inspiration for most of my stories comes from my four children.  The inspiration for my Jake the Snake early chapter books came from my now 8-year-old son, Jacob William Nicholson.   I got the ideas for these books when he was about 4-years-old and because of his (let’s just say, “energetic spirit”) the inspiration has never stopped!

In my writing it is my intention to get early readers interested in reading with laugh out loud humor and relatable characters. But I also want to instill a valuable lesson in each of my books.  In my book Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair, the lessons I tried to instill were thinking of others first and sibling camaraderie, with the hopes that children will be laughing the whole way through and will be able to relate to the sibling rivalry Jake shares with his older brother as the plot unfolds revealing what happens to Jake the Snake on Christmas morning.  Will he get a “stupid lump of coal” or will he not???

If your child is a fan of Junie B. Jones or the Fudge series, I think Jake the Snake’s voice is similar.  My books are written in the voice of a five-and-three-quarters year old.  And he is a very candid character, indeed! He always says it like he means it. 

My favorite part about writing for children is seeing their reaction when I read my stories to them.  Whether it be for a classroom or for my own kids, Jake the Snake is one of those books in which I can’t stop laughing right along with the kids. 

If you are an aspiring writer, I would suggest that you look around at everyday situations for inspiration.  Because I am a children’s writer, I always get ideas from my own children, as I think many children’s writers do.  Keep a journal.  Jot down your ideas, no matter where you are or what you are doing.  Someday, an idea might spark into a wonderful story.

Thank you again, Crystal for hosting me on your blog!   If you would like to find out more about the many adventures of “Jake the Snake,” please stop by my website,  Have a great day! And as always, Happy Reading!

Thank you Shelly for visiting my blog - I am very excited to read and review Jake the Snake and the Stupid Time-Out Chair with my boys.  I think it will be a hit in my family.