Friday Face-Off: The One Ring…


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Leap Year – One Ring to rule them all – A cover with a ring

I had some trouble thinking of one for this.  Well, actually, I thought immediately of The Secret of the Ruby Ring, but apparently that’s only ever had one cover, and it doesn’t show the ring anyway!  And then I got curious about how many covers for Lord of the Rings actually showed the ring…so I’m going with the possibly obvious Fellowship of the Ring this week.

This one certainly puts the ring front and center…although it’s so simple that if you didn’t know about the One Ring, it would kind of just look like a glowing circle!

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: The One Ring…”

Friday Face-Off: Puffy Dresses


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: Meringue – the puffy dress? – Lots of covers with ‘big’ dresses

What a fun theme!  I thought of several books with impressively puffy dresses, but they only had one cover each.  And then I considered that my Jane Austen Book Club is currently reading Pride and Prejudice – and that’s a book with many covers.  I’m not sure “puffy” is exactly right for Regency fashion, but sure enough, puffy dresses abound.

I suppose this is Elizabeth and Jane?  Movie versions tend to make Jane blonde, but the book doesn’t actually say – though there is a reference to Elizabeth’s “dark eyes,” so she probably is a brunette.

Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Puffy Dresses”

Book Review: Heartstone

I’ve rarely heard a better premise than Pride and Prejudice retold with dragons.  So I guess it’s not that shocking that Heartstone by Elle Katharine White couldn’t quite live up to hopes.  I enjoyed it–someone else might love it–but I didn’t quite love the book as much as I loved the concept.

Heartstone centers around Aliza Bentaine and her sisters, living in a faux-England where magical creatures abound, some friendly, many not.  A band of Riders comes to their small village to fight the horde of gryphons plaguing the area, and among them are the charming Brysney, who swiftly falls for Aliza’s sister Anjey, and the arrogant Daired and his dragon.  And we all kind of know where this is going, right?

That knowing-where-it’s-going may be why I didn’t love this book as much as I hoped to.  Every character and most plot elements exist in a one-to-one relation to Austen’s original book.  There’s some fun in seeing how White re-imagined Austen’s plotline in this new, monster-ridden world…but it was never quite innovative enough to really capture me.  I mean, it is clever that Anjey gets swiped by a gryphon rather than catching a cold.  But it still seemed like we lost too much without gaining enough to compensate. Continue reading “Book Review: Heartstone”

Classic Review: The Mischief of the Mistletoe

Happy holidays!  My reading celebration of the day involves re-reading one of my very favorite Christmas-set novels, The Mischief of the Mistletoe.  Still delightful on a third read, still one of my favorite romantic couples!


 The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig is set in Regency England, what I can only think of as Jane Austen’s England.  Jane herself is in the book as a supporting character, as the sympathetic friend of our heroine, Arabella.  Arabella is the lead character of the book, but has clearly been a supporting character all her life.  A shy, unassuming wallflower, she’s the one at the party whose name no one can remember.  I have a soft spot for characters who think they’re unimportant.  I love watching them discover their inner depths and come into their own, and I loved watching Arabella find new strength and confidence.  Here we have the extra bonus of watching the other lead, Turnip, also discover Arabella’s value.

Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh…where to begin?  The name, I suppose.  I can’t tell you how much I love it that the hero has a vegetable for a nickname.  And not even a tough vegetable (I don’t know what vegetable would be tough–asparagus spears, maybe?–but I’m pretty sure turnips are not the heavyweight champions of the vegetable world).  It fits him–and he’s a wonderful character!  Endlessly well-meaning, charming and gallant, not a brilliant intellect, capable of throwing a punch when the situation calls for it, but not really all that good at derring-do and dashing exploits, frequently bumbling, very thoughtful, given to outlandish waistcoats.  Somehow, it works so well and is so much fun.  I love dashing heroes, but this time I really enjoyed a hero who stumbles more than he dashes–but rushes forward anyway, well-intentioned and grinning. Continue reading “Classic Review: The Mischief of the Mistletoe”

Book Review: Lost in Austen

I recently wrote about the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and today I have another very unusual Pride and Prejudice retelling…Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster. If you’ve heard of the movie by the same name, they’re related but not actually remotely the same. The book is a choose-your-own-adventure through Austen novels.

Written in the second person (you, your), the story begins in the familiar opening pages of Pride and Prejudice, with Mr. Bingley recently moved to the neighborhood and “your” mother eager to introduce “your” sisters to the eligible bachelor. But very soon you start having choices—which path will you take to Mr. Bingley’s house? Will you speak to Mr. Darcy at the dance or remain silent? And as the story goes on…will you accept this marriage proposal or that one? Will you confess your family’s scandal to Mr. Darcy or keep it secret? And in the end…will you achieve your mission of a successful marriage? Continue reading “Book Review: Lost in Austen”