Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Well, another school year has begun, and I think I’m finally over my back-to-school reading slump.  It’s been worse this year than in previous years.  That may have something to do with the fact that, due to budget cuts, I was moved from my job in a high school library (which I loved) to an elementary school library (which is okay but will take a lot of adjusting).  Anyhoo, I just haven’t wanted to read much lately, but I think the dark times have passed a bit.  I’ve finally finished a book that should’ve taken me only days to get through instead of weeks–Laurie Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.

Courtney Stone, self-proclaimed Jane Austen addict, is in a bit of a predicament.  She’s not herself.  And when I say “not herself,” I really mean it.  She has just awakened in a body and time that is not her own.  After going a little nuts following a bad breakup, it seems she has mysteriously traded lives with a young woman in Regency England.  Who is this young woman?  How could this possibly happen?  And is there any way for Courtney to get back to her own life?

Courtney finds that she must, at least for now, live the life of one Jane Mansfield.  She knows nothing about this new life, how to behave properly, or how to deal with the horrible way women are treated (especially single women).  It doesn’t seem to matter how many times Courtney read Jane Austen’s novels.  They in no way prepared her for what life was actually like in this time period.

As Courtney begins to take on more and more of Jane’s life, including a courtship with the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth and a chance meeting with Jane Austen herself, she wonders if she’ll ever be able to return home or if she really even wants to.  Is Courtney destined to truly become Jane Mansfield?  Read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict to find out.

I must admit that this book was not my favorite Austen-associated novel.  I found myself getting distracted a lot, and the book was a bit repetitive at times.  I still plan to read the sequel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, but it will probably be a while before I get around to it.  If you’d like more information about these books, visit http://www.janeaustenaddict.com/.

Now, I must get ready for the big YA novel releases coming up.  The third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay, will be released on August 24th, and the first book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Angel, will be released on August 31st.  Yeah, I think my reading slump is over.  Yay!

Jane Bites Back

As you may know, I am a fan of Jane Austen.  You may also know that I am fond of vampires (not that I’ve ever encountered one, but you know what I mean).  My latest read, Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford, combines Jane Austen and vampires in a way that I had not previously encountered.  I’ve read a couple of Pride and Prejudice adaptations that suggest Mr. Darcy was a vampire (which explains why he was brooding all the time), but this book went a different way.  Austen herself is the vampire.

Jane Austen is now known as Jane Fairfax.  After all, she can’t go around advertising that she’s one of the world’s greatest authors.  And she especially can’t advertise the fact that she’s a vampire.  That’s right.  Jane Austen is a vampire and is living in Upstate New York, owns a bookstore, and is attempting to jump back into publishing.  No one in the small town of Brakeston knows Jane’s secret, but that may be changing sooner than dear Jane would wish.

Jane has been working on a new book, Constance, for decades.  She’s received 116 rejection letters from publishers, but she finally gets the response she’s been waiting for.  A publisher wants her book and is convinced it will be a hit.  Jane suddenly finds herself thrust into the limelight, and there are some people who are not happy about it.  As Jane is dealing with the changes in her life, her past may be catching up with her.  Can she be successful (again) without revealing who or what she really is?  Is it even possible to have a somewhat normal life when you’re both a vampire and one of the most beloved authors in history?  Oh, what is a proper young woman (of 234 years) to do!  Read Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford to find out.

Wait!  The story doesn’t end here, folks.  The sequel, Jane Goes Batty, is scheduled for release in February of 2011.

Me and Mr. Darcy

Most people are a bit surprised when they learn that I am a HUGE fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Normally, I don’t like historical fiction, and most of the books I gravitate toward tend to have monsters, aliens, ghosts, and other fantastical beings in them.  Here’s the shocker, though.  At heart, I am a hopeless romantic (emphasis on the hopeless).  I enjoy a good love story, and, for me, it doesn’t get much better than Pride and Prejudice.  Elizabeth and Darcy go through so much to be together.  It’s enough to make a girl swoon.

Anyhoo, my latest read, Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter, is the story of Emily Albright, an almost-thirty New Yorker who is fed up with dating and wonders why she can’t find a guy as great as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  (She and I actually have a lot in common:  She works in a bookstore; I’m a librarian; she’s fed up with dating; I have no use for it at all; and we’re both-ahem-around the age of thirty.)  On a whim, and maybe a stroke of fate, Emily decides to take a vacation to England on a tour of the sites that inspired Jane Austen.

When Emily arrives in London, she realizes that she surrounded by a bunch of little old ladies and one single guy who happens to be writing a story on why women love Mr. Darcy so much.  This may not be the vacation she dreamed of…until she meets a brooding man in a poofy shirt and breeches.  Astonishingly, Emily is face to face with Mr. Darcy himself.  How can this be?  Is she dreaming, or has her fantasy finally come to life?  Emily is a bit shocked at this dramatic turn of events.  She finally has her chance to actually date Mr. Darcy.  Is he everything she hoped for, or is the fantasy better than the reality?  I’ll leave it for you to find out.

Although this book was a bit predictable, I must admit that I enjoyed it.  At different times in the novel, I wanted to scream at Emily that she was missing what was right in front of her eyes.  (Of course, I still do the same thing with Elizabeth when I’m reading Pride and Prejudice.)  This book was great brain candy and a perfect end to my spring break.