Mailbox Monday — September 28

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve posted my new books!  Here’s what I added to my shelves:

For review:

yours forevermore darcyYours Forevermore, Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory — from Meryton Press

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy has a secret.

The letter he presents to Miss Elizabeth Bennet after his ghastly proposal is not the only epistle he has written her. In this tale of longing, misadventure, and love — readapted from Jane Austen’s dearly loved Pride & Prejudice — our hero finds a powerful way of coping with his attraction to Miss Bennet. He writes her unsent letters.

The misguided suitor has declared himself, and Elizabeth Bennet has refused him, most painfully. Without intending for these letters to become known to another soul, Mr. Darcy relies on his secret for coping once again. However, these letters, should they fall into the wrong hands, could create untold scandal, embarrassment, and possibly heartbreak. But what happens if they fall into the right hands?

port of no returnPoint of No Return by Michelle Saftich — from the author

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, however, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

weeping women springsWeeping Women Springs by Tamara Eaton — from the author

Tears of grief dilute magical Spring waters…

Hope Springs has a secret — the waters mysteriously uplift the spirits of whoever drinks them. When the town’s young men depart to fight in WWII, tragedy strikes. Grief dilutes the waters’ unique effects, and hiding the village away from the world may provide shelter from the pain — but at what cost? Preoccupied with honoring their loved ones’ memories, five shattered women struggle to gather strength to overcome their loss, and find hope again.

Liv Soderlund, at the precipice of adulthood, is safe within Hope Springs, but longs for change. When news of the war comes, she revels in the excitement of new possibilities. It all comes crashing down once reports of fallen servicemen reach them. Angry, she comes up with the idea which could protect the town from further hurt. At the promise of a new love, can she let the past go?

Maxine Fiekens, a young bride who has had to handle adult responsibilities too soon, sends her husband off to war while she remains behind tending the village store. She’s the first to get word from the battlefront. Can she go on in the throes of unending sorrow?

Ruth Ackerman refuses to have a rushed wedding to her fiancé so waves him good-bye at the train station and spends her days planning her dream occasion. When she also receives heartbreaking news, she rejects the notion of being stuck in a town filled with grieving women and heads off to California where she strives for her dreams.

Susie Bracht dreams of leaving the village to further her education, but when the Korean Conflict breaks out, her brother and her boyfriend run off to be heroes. Her life is put on hold as she waits.

Anna Frolander, a woman who already saw the devastation war can bring, sends two sons to the frontlines in WWII then another runs off to the Korean War. Sunk into a deep depression, will she climb out of the abyss?

Some battles of war are fought on the Homefront by those left behind.

after youAfter You by Jojo Moyes — from Pamela Dorman Books

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding — the paramedic whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and for whom both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes — a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do — revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

the wedding treeThe Wedding Tree by Robin Wells — from Berkley

National bestselling author Robin Wells weaves a moving epic that stretches from modern-day Louisiana to World War II-era New Orleans and back again in this multigenerational tale of love, loss and redemption.

Hope Stevens thinks Wedding Tree, Louisiana, will be the perfect place to sort out her life and all the mistakes she’s made. Plus, it will give her the chance to help her free-spirited grandmother, Adelaide, sort through her things before moving into assisted living.

Spending the summer in the quaint town, Hope begins to discover that Adelaide has made some mistakes of her own. And as they go through her belongings, her grandmother recalls the wartime romance that left her torn between two men and haunted by a bone-chilling secret. Now she wants Hope’s help in uncovering the truth before it’s too late.

Filled with colorful characters, The Wedding Tree is an emotionally riveting story about passion, shattered dreams, unexpected renewal and forgiveness — not only for others, but for ourselves.

pop goes the weaselPop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge — from NAL

From the international bestselling author of Eeny Meeny comes the second thriller in the “truly excellent series” featuring Detective Helen Grace.

A man’s body is found in an empty house.
A gruesome memento of his murder is sent to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is — or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…

the unthinkable triangleThe Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes — from the author

All is fair in love and war — or is it?

What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth’s heart is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend?

Unexpected arrival:

if you're luckyIf You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz — from Algonquin Young Readers

When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe that Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating Lucky’s girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: Did Fin murder her brother in order to take over his whole life?

Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. She is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.

As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s decent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist — or to see the deadly truth.


ross poldarkRoss Poldark by Winston Graham

The enthralling first book behind Poldark, the major new TV series from Masterpiece on PBS…

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth — believing Ross to be dead — is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

the persuasion of miss jane austenThe Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen by Shannon Winslow

For every fan who has wished Jane Austen herself might have enjoyed the romance and happy ending she so carefully crafted for all her heroines: “The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen.”

What if the tale Jane Austen told in her last, most poignant novel was actually inspired by momentous events in her own life? Did she in fact intend “Persuasion” to stand forever in homage to her one true love?

While creating “Persuasion,” Jane Austen also kept a private journal in which she recorded the story behind the story — her real-life romance with a navy captain of her own. The parallel could only go so far, however. As author of her characters’ lives, but not her own, Jane Austen made sure to fashion a second chance and happy ending for Anne and Captain Wentworth. Then, with her novel complete and her health failing, Jane prepared her simple will and resigned herself to never seeing the love of her life again. Yet fate, it seems, wasn’t quite finished with her. Nor was Captain Devereaux.

The official record says Jane Austen died at 41, having never been married. But what if that’s only what she wanted people to believe? It’s time she, through her own private journal, revealed the rest of her story.

when they fall in loveWhen They Fall in Love by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Spring of 1814 – Fitzwilliam Darcy proposes to Elizabeth Bennet at the Hunsford Parsonage, but his offer of marriage is rejected.

Spring of 1821 – A recently widowed Fitzwilliam Darcy has taken up residence with his six-year-old daughter, Alexandra, at a villa in the hills above Florence and invites Charles and Jane Bingley and their daughter to come for a visit. Included in the invitation is Elizabeth Bennet, who has taken on the responsibility of governess for her niece.

In the intervening years, Elizabeth’s opinion of the Master of Pemberley has altered greatly, but has Darcy’s opinion of Elizabeth changed? After all, he married another and fathered a child. Will they be able to put their troubled history behind them?

When They Fall in Love is set against the background of the greatest city of the Renaissance, a perfect place to start over.

Giveaway win:

a constant loveA Constant Love by Sophie Turner — from More Agreeably Engaged

As Britain settles into a short-lived peace, the characters of Pride and Prejudice pick up very nearly where the novel left off, in a new series of stories focused on love and family:

Elizabeth Bennet finds the joy of her marriage and honeymoon are followed by the demands of becoming Mrs. Darcy, all while helping her shy new younger sister come out into society.

Georgiana Darcy must deal with more suitors than she expected, when she fears nothing more than once again being persuaded to think she is in love with the wrong man.


to live out loudTo Live Out Loud by Paulette Mahurin — from the author

An innocent Jewish military officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment on a desolate island. The news that could exonerate him was leaked to the press, but was suppressed by the military. Anyone who sought to reopen the Dreyfus court-martial became victimized and persecuted and was considered an enemy of the state.

Emile Zola, a popular journalist determined to bring the truth to light, undertook the challenge to publicly expose the facts surrounding the military cover-up. This is the story of Zola’s battle to help Alfred Dreyfus reclaim his freedom and clear his name. Up against anti-Semitism, military resistance, and opposition from the Church in France, Zola committed his life to fighting for justice. But was it worth all the costs to him, to those around him, and to France?

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

I’m Still Here!

IMG_0937I hope you all had a wonderful summer!  I’m enjoying the cooler, breezier weather, but I must admit that I am sad to see the summer end because I spent most of it working.  We did get to the beach once in July for The Girl’s 15th birthday, but aside from that, I spent much of June through early September working on freelance projects on top of the day job, The Girl’s summer rugby (her team won the championship!), and all the back-to-school chaos.

Needless to say, I’ve missed blogging and reading blogs, and while I was glad to emerge from a month-long blog hiatus last week, I likely will be a bit of a sporadic blogger going forward.  (I hope to prove myself wrong, though!)  I have been reading, though more slowly than I would like, and I hope to catch up with you all on your blogs soon, in between freelance projects.

In addition to the books pictured, my review backlog consists of some Jane Austen-inspired short-story freebies, and I hope to write up my thoughts on all of them soon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll tell me about an awesome book you read over the summer, a post that I missed that you think I’d enjoy, your favorite thing about fall, etc.

Also, back in June, Diary of an Eccentric quietly turned 8!!  So I just want to thank my readers for all the years of bookish fun and friendships!!

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

Photo 1Thank you very much for allowing me to visit your blog today, Anna, to make my very special announcement!

In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen’s 5th great niece, tell you all!

“It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today. They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates. Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential. Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them. The foundation raises money to help create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS by providing FREE books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane. We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity. We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

Photo 2I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works. With over 7,000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged.

One in particular caught my eye; “Laughing with Lizzie,” a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog. I was intrigued. Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen? I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews. Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share.

Photo 3Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride & Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie’s love affair with the written word. As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka “Laughing with Lizzie,” as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create CONFIDENT READERS and PROUD WRITERS, in honour of Jane.”

Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

Photo 4As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just 9 when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it – you have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen’s world and words!

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of ‘persuasion’ (if you’ll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, Laughing With Lizzie. It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won’t go into now!), and so I really threw myself wholeheartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became more well known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams.

Photo 5Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my Facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen’s descendant on Skype! Caroline told me all about growing up Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane’s popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to Skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader; well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just 5 years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.

Photo 6I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library – which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! – celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He was a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am.

Photo 7Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with you name in Jane’s hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the foundation website – https://www.janeaustenlf.org/support-us – click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!

Photo 8Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either, I am able to say that I have a fantastic competition to enter!


Bath Boutique Stays have been so kind as to offer a 1 Night Mid-Week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s former Home in Bath.

All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize, is to predict the following question:

How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s Penthouse Apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place? (Three flights of stairs and the hallway.)

4 sydney placePlease email your answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at lucy@bathboutiquestays.co.uk, and the person who guesses the correct – or comes closest to it! – amount of steps will win!

The competition entries end on 2nd October.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

mistaking her character

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★★

“Rosings Park is my nest, girl, and all within it, my keep. It is my role to protect it, by whatever means necessary. I want, and will insure, what is best for all under my wings.” She spread her hands, the sleeves of her gown rustling like feathers. “Even you.”

(from Mistaking Her Character)

Quick summary: Maria Grace’s latest variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is her most unique yet. Mistaking Her Character (Book 1 in The Queen of Rosings Park series) imagines that Elizabeth Bennet is the daughter of a doctor, Thomas Bennet, who has been hired by Lady Catherine to care for her daughter, Anne. Elizabeth helps her father care for his patients and has earned the respect of Rosings Park’s servants by caring for them, too. Her kindness, intelligence, and keen eye grab the attention of Mr. Darcy, but Lady Catherine will stop at nothing to control those within her reach — and Elizabeth’s father will do anything to maintain his position, even if it means endangering one of his own.

Why I wanted to read it: Grace is one of my favorite Austenesque authors, so this novel was a must-read for me.

What I liked: Mistaking Her Character is another breath of fresh air among Pride and Prejudice variations. While many of the characters feel familiar, Grace really shakes things up by showing Lady Catherine at her most ruthless and drastically altering the character of Mr. Bennet. Changing the Bennet family’s circumstances dramatically changes the course of events, and I loved not being able to predict what would happen from one chapter to the next. I was surprised by how engrossed I was in the story and how emotional it made me; I seriously wanted to throttle some of these characters, and I loved that it made me have such a reaction.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!

Final thoughts: Mistaking Her Character is a solid start to Grace’s new series. It was shocking, exciting, and of course, romantic at times, and had I not been swamped with back-to-school chaos and freelance projects, I would have breezed through this one in a day or two. I hated having to tear myself away to deal with real life. I can’t wait to see where Grace takes these characters next!

Disclosure: I received Mistaking Her Character from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

the race for paris

Source: Review copy from Harper
Rating: ★★★★★

None of our reasons for going to war made sense, and yet they all did.

(from The Race for Paris)

Quick summary: Meg Waite Clayton’s latest novel, The Race for Paris, is set in 1944 as the Allies invade France during World War II. The novel centers on Liv, an Associated Press photographer determined to be one of the first to capture the liberation of Paris, and Jane, a journalist for the Nashville Banner, who accompanies her. Facing blatant sexism, the two go AWOL and accompanied by Fletcher, a British military photographer, head straight for the front and Paris, forced to consider their pasts, their wartime losses, and their ambitions as they seek to make and document history.

Why I wanted to read it: I’d never read about female journalists or photojournalists during the Second World War.

What I liked: I loved this novel from start to finish. It was every bit as exciting as the description, and Clayton really made me feel like I was right alongside Jane, Liv, and Fletcher throughout the action. The quotes from real-life journalists and photographers, both male and female, at the beginning of each chapter show exactly what Jane and Liv were up against — and that Clayton clearly did her homework to make this novel as authentic as possible. I loved that the characters were likable and so human in their vulnerability, saying and doing things they probably wouldn’t have if death hadn’t been lurking in every turn and shadow.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!

Final thoughts: The Race for Paris provides a different look at war from the eyes of those who understood the importance of documenting the truth, even if their photos were blurred and their sentences cut by censors. Clayton realistically portrays the challenges faced by women who didn’t want to sit still during the fighting, the dangers faced by the journalists and photographers following and oftentimes riding alongside the soldiers, how women throughout history have made important contributions, and the risks they took in order to do so. The Race for Paris is among the best books I’ve read this year and one I know I will not soon forget.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for having me on the tour for The Race for Paris!

Disclosure: I received The Race for Paris from Harper for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

Mailbox Monday — August 17

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

No review books, but lots of other goodies!  Here’s what I added to the shelves over the last week:

Purchased with a gift card from my mom:

three amazing things about youThree Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Hallie has a secret: she’s in love. He’s perfect for her in every way, but he’s seriously out of bounds. And Hallie doesn’t have long to live. Time is running out.

Flo has a dilemma — she likes Zander, but his scary sister really doesn’t approve.

Tasha has a problem. Her boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

As Three Amazing Things begins, Hallie’s about to be given new lungs. But whose?

the unexpected consequences of loveThe Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

When it comes to falling in love, the consequences are impossible to predict. That’s why Sophie Wells is working in St. Carys as a photographer, with a focus on putting her painful past firmly behind her.

When handsome Josh Strachan moves back to St. Carys to run the family hotel, he can’t understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting him — or any man — into her life. Meanwhile, he’s duped into employing Sophie’s impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited. Josh’s friend, the charming but utterly feckless surfer Riley Bryant, nurses a massive crush on Tula, and Riley’s aunt — superstar author Marguerite Marshall — has designs on Josh’s grandfather.

Love comes with complications, and the town of St. Carys has more than its fair share! Only one thing’s for sure — that love will change you forever, in ways you never expected.

making your mind upMaking Your Mind Up by Jill Mansell

Lottie Carlyle is happy enough. She is living in a beautiful cottage with her two adorable — sometimes — kids in an idyllic village, on good terms with her ex-husband, and with friends all around. Everything is going just fine.

But when she meets her new boss, her peaceful world is thrown into delightful, exciting, and frustrating chaos. Tyler is perfect for Lottie, but her kids do not agree. To make matters worse, the handsome and mysterious Seb appears on the scene, intriguing — and distracting — Lottie and charming her children, making it more and more difficult to make up her mind…

falling for youFalling for You by Jill Mansell

As a teen, Maddy Harvey was a bit of an ugly duckling. Luckily she’s blossomed since then, and Maddy thanks God for this small miracle when a tall, handsome stranger comes to her rescue one starry summer’s night.

Instant attraction becomes a disaster in the making when Maddy learns the identity of her superman: Kerr McKinnon. Of all the colorful residents of the small Cotswold town of Ashcombe, why did it have to be him? Because as family feuds go, the Montagues and the Capulets have  nothing on the Harveys and the McKinnons.


the darcys of pemberleyThe Darcys of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow — from Austenprose

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have been married for almost a year, and their heated arguments are a thing of the past. All that passion is now directed into more satisfying pursuits. But how long can the honeymoon last? The couple’s idyllic life together at Pemberley is jeopardized by secrets they begin keeping, and the threat of a villain in their midst. The Darcys of Pemberley is the tale of two romances: the continuation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story, and the courtship of Miss Georgiana.

miss georgiana darcy of pemberleyMiss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow — from Austenprose

What’s Georgiana Darcy’s story? Jane Austen tells us so little in Pride and Prejudice that we’re left to wonder. How did the early loss of her parents shape Miss Darcy’s character? And what about her near-disastrous affair with Mr. Wickham? Is that the true source of her shyness? She adores her brother and his new wife Elizabeth, but will their guiding influence be enough to steer Georgiana clear of new trouble as she comes of age and falls in love again?

This work is intended as a companion of sorts to The Darcys of Pemberley (sequel to Pride and Prejudice), with the timelines of the two running parallel. Both novels are unique and complete in themselves, but together they supply a richer reading experience than either one alone. The earlier book focused primarily on Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship during their early married life. There was a third Darcy represented in the title, however. Now she and her courtship story take center stage in Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.

wedding nightWedding Night by Lily Lord — from a Facebook release party

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy become man and wife and begin exploring the privileges of matrimony. To unschooled Lizzy, the passionate nights are shocking but exciting. She wants to please her husband, but how far must she go before she fears her own desires are so lustful and wanton that they are unseemly in the wife of a gentleman?

twice temptedTwice Tempted by Lily Lord — from a Facebook release party

Everything is new to the former Miss Elizabeth Bennet, as is to be expected of a young lady of her time. Eager as she is to please her husband, some things don’t go according to her wishes, or his.

Mr. Darcy has planned an elaborate journey in celebration of their marriage. The trip from Netherfield to the Lake region, in the company of Elizabeth’s sister Jane and her new husband Charles Bingley, is lovely but difficult to enjoy. What Lizzy is experiencing in the evenings is so personal that she cannot bear to share it, even with her sister. Caught between dread and delight when she considers the next night with her husband, the new Mrs. Darcy’s days are a roller coaster of anticipation.

third trystThird Tryst by Lily Lord — from a Facebook release party

Three days after her wedding, Lizzy is ever more delighted by the amorous attentions of her new husband.

But when the couple stays overnight at Viscount B___’s house on their way north from Hertfordshire to the Lake region, Darcy imbibes a bit too much of their host’s vintage brandy.

The elaborate post-wedding journey with the Bingleys includes glorious days full of beautiful sights, but Elizabeth’s nights in the bedchamber with Mr. Darcy are even more exciting. They open up a world of sensations that the former Miss Bennet had never imagined…and which she is every evening more eager to explore.

teatime talesTeatime Tales: Short and Sweet Austen-Inspired Stories by Leenie Brown — from DarcyandLizzy.Com

This book is a collection of short and sweet Austen-inspired stories intended to be a light pick-me-up…a bit of fluff to brighten your day.

From Oxford Cottage by Leenie Brown

A Music Room Meeting
A look at the beginning of Richard and Harriet’s relationship

From Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

With All My Love
A letter from Edmund to Fanny

From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Mr. Bingley Plans a Ball
Mr. Bingley returns to Netherfield

From Tolerable to Lovely
A ballroom blunder stops Mr. Darcy’s famous disparagement

A Battle of Wills and Words
Elizabeth engages in a verbal joust with Colonel Fitzwilliam

Two Days in November
Darcy and Elizabeth embark on a plan to bring happiness to Jane

Unexpected arrivals:

cleopatra's shadowsCleopatra’s Shadow by Emily Holleman — from Little, Brown

Arsinoe, the bright and incisive eight-year-old daughter of King Ptolemy, awakens one morning from an ominous dream of statues weeping blood to find that her reality is even worse. There’s been a violent coup, and she is stranded alone in the palace, abandoned by both her beloved older sister Cleopatra and her indifferent father. The new monarch? Arsinoe’s half sister Berenice, who has seized the throne and now rules over a bloodthirsty royal court.

Arsinoe’s struggle to establish herself in this strange new world takes her from the palace to the streets of war-torn Alexandria, where she must cast off her childhood comforts, including her idolization of Cleopatra. Meanwhile, Berenice confronts her own demons — her cruel, dying mother, a pair of fickle husbands, and the ever-present threat of her father’s return from exile — as she fights to maintain power as the first queen to rule Egypt alone in a thousand years. When their deposed father, Ptolemy, marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the difficult truth — that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.

the witchesThe Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff — from Little, Brown

It began in early 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to writhe and roar. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another. Speaking loudly and emphatically, adolescent girls stood at the center of the crisis. Aside from suffrage, the Salem witch trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history.

The Witches is Stacy Schiff’s thriller of an account of this sentinel story — a great American mystery unveiled in crackling detail by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Free e-book (not sure if it is still free):

courting destinyCourting Destiny: Homecoming (Pride and Prejudice Legacies Book 1) by Lily Granson

Introducing Mr William Bryce the 2nd. The dashing son of the famous lord of Cumberland has arrived home after completing several years of service in the Royal Navy. Formerly a reluctant heir, after traveling the world he is now ready to take on the role he was born to. He understands it will mean finding a suitable wife, someone fit to be Lady of Cumberland, and he is also ready for that…or is he?

There are plenty of eligible young ladies to vie for his attention, after all who wouldn’t want to be the future Lady of Cumberland? Three young ladies in particular stand out. All three have their attractions, but one in particular, the beautiful Destiny Blaine, catches his attention. Destiny is different, while her family is by far the least wealthy of the three, she cares not for titles and the trappings of wealth. Despite this, she finds her fondness for Mr. Bryce growing into something much deeper.

That’s where her troubles begin, William’s growing affection for her has not gone unnoticed, and what neither of them realize is that some young women will do whatever they can to get what…and who they want.

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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about the book


pompous schemesThrown from his horse, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is left to traverse the remaining fifteen miles to Pemberley on foot. Richard never imagined the first carriage to cross his path would contain the one woman he thought he would never see again.

Lady Aimée de Bourbon the only child of Prince du Sang Geoffroy de Bourbon, Marquis of Agen had captured and nearly broke Richard’s heart four years earlier. He had loved her and planned to give up his bachelor ways, but her father intended her to marry a royal, not an English Earl’s second son. Now Lady Aimée is affianced to Señor Duarte de Cortázar, a lesser Portuguese royal.

While lost in his thoughts of his prior love, the carriage is robbed, Lady Aimée’s dowry stolen, and Lord Agen is injured. Colonel Fitzwilliam directs the driver to take them to Pemberley where Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth take them in and offer refuge and a place to heal.

Ancient customs of Dom Duarte’s family forbids marriage without the dowry present at the wedding and now with the dowry stolen, Lady Aimée and her father fear the de Cortázar’s will call off the marriage. But Lady Aimée intends to have love and will let nothing stand in her way, even if it means hurting the man she once professed to love.

Pompous Schemes Paperback and eBook Links:



Gumroad (Author Direct): https://gumroad.com/l/AyrBray-PompousSchemes


author information


ayr bray“From an early age I have always been fascinated by the written word and the mood and atmosphere it creates for a reader; especially those books that affect me and transport me to some far-off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my books. My books in many ways record what most affects me: my feelings and experiences with family, friends, and those I have run into on my life’s journey. My hope is that in my books you will find something that touches you, something which will resonate in your soul and remind you that you are strong and can overcome anything, especially if you have the support of loving friends and family.” – Ayr Bray

Ayr Bray is from the Pacific Northwest, but travels as much as possible so she doesn’t have to deal with the cold. Ayr loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at her website http://www.ayrbray.com or on Facebook at http://goo.gl/kAAO3u  and Twitter: https://twitter.com/AyrBray


Rating: ★★★★☆

Why I wanted to read it: I love sequels to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that focus on the secondary characters, especially Colonel Fitzwilliam.

What I liked: I’m really into novellas lately, especially since I have so little reading time these days, and I loved that I was able to read Pompous Schemes in one sitting.  It’s the second book in Bray’s Pemberley series, and although there are some vague references to the first book, Cowardly Witness, it can be read as a stand-alone.  There was a little bit of everything in this novella, from highwaymen to a love triangle to sweet moments between the newly married Darcys and even some humor and a mystery.  It didn’t end the way I’d expected, and I liked being surprised.

What I disliked: I only wish the mystery surrounding Lady Aimée’s dowry had not been so easily resolved.

Final thoughts: Pompous Schemes is an exciting, entertaining novella whose original characters, Lady Aimée and her betrothed, take center stage, but there is enough of Austen’s characters to keep readers satisfied.  This was my first time reading the work of Ayr Bray, but it won’t be the last.  I can’t wait to go back and read the first book in the Pemberley series.


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Disclosure: I received Pompous Schemes from Loving the Book for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.


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