October 27, 2010

Review of "Beyond Justice" by Joshua Graham

Book Description:  THE DESCENT INTO HELL IS NOT ALWAYS VERTICAL…Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and sends him to death row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection.If he survives that long.In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives– his own, those of his unlikely allies–and uncover the true killer’s identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration.Now a free man, Sam’s newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course.  Beyond Justice, a tale of loss, redemption, and the power of faith.


I will give you fair warning before you pick up Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham - - the next 24 to 48 hours of your life will be utterly consumed by this book. 

I can be an intense, all-inclusive reader but it takes a special book to have my unconditional and unwavering attention from page one to the conclusion.  Beyond Justice does just that; it draws you in from the first page and literally does not let go of you or your emotions until the rollercoaster conclusion. 

Author Joshua Graham has managed quite a feat in writing a powerfully gripping legal thriller, featuring a brutal serial killer, that includes thought provoking views on faith and divine intervention.  Neither the brutality of a merciless killer nor the religious overtones are too graphic or overwhelming to upset readers who generally do not prefer genres of either type.  The legal aspects are hit upon hard, most especially dealing with a criminal trial and wrongful conviction.  Even knowing that central character Sam Hudson would be convicted and imprisoned, my heart remained in my chest while reading of the trial and the horrors awaiting him in prison.

I was absolutely captivated by Mr. Graham's writing, leaving me with a strong emotional connection to Sam and his adopted family of supporters.  I liked Sam, I thought him a realistic and endearing character and more importantly, I cared about Sam.  I wanted him free and exonerated and I wanted justice for him.  To say Sam's story was mesmerizing would be a gross understatement.  Sam's story, told through the able pen of Mr. Graham, is inspiring in every aspect.  Sam isn't a believer in God in the beginning of the book and does not become a believer due to the horrors his family is subjected to, nor due to his imprisonment and branding as a "family killer".  It's a gradual process in which he truly sees the light. 

Was there anything negative about Beyond Justice?  I am a very particular reader in certain aspects.  Typographical errors make me crazy and I have been known to put a book down due to such errors or inconsistencies not caught by editing.  While I did notice typographical errors throughout the book, absolutely nothing short of an act of God or nature would have stopped me from finishing this book.  That's how unbelievably powerful and spellbinding this book is.  Beyond Justice is not a light read; the story will stay with you long after you finish it. 

I would highly recommend this book to any reader looking for a strong and powerful story, period.  The legal thriller and spiritual aspects are just icing on top of this very substantial literary cake.  Do not hesitate.  Rush to get your own copy of Beyond Justice

Beyond Justice is available for purchase at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For more information about author Joshua Graham, please visit his website or Facebook page

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

Beyond Justice counts toward my progress in the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Thanks to Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.


EXCERPT FROM BEYOND JUSTICE by Joshua Graham

The descent into Hell is not always vertical.


— Bishop Frank Morgan

PART I

Chapter One

The question most people ask when they first meet me is: How does an attorney from a reputable law firm in La Jolla end up on Death Row? When they hear my story, it becomes clear that the greater question is not how, but why.

I have found it difficult at times to forgive myself for what happened. But a significant part of the answer involves forgiveness, something I never truly understood until I could see in hindsight.

Orpheus went through hell and back to rescue his wife Euridice from death in the underworld. Through his music, he moved the hearts of Hades and Persephone and they agreed to allow Euridice to return with him to Earth on one condition: He must walk before her and not look back until they reached the upper world. On seeing the Sun, Orpheus turned to share his delight with Euridice, and she disappeared. He had broken his promise and she was gone forever. This failure and guilt was a hell far worse than the original.

My own personal hell began one night almost four years ago. Like images carved into flesh, the memories of that night would forever be etched into my mind. The work day had been tense enough—my position at the firm was in jeopardy because of the inexplicable appearance of lewd internet images in my folder on the main file server.

Later that night, as I scrambled to get out the door on time for a critical meeting with a high profile client, my son Aaron began throwing a screaming fit. Hell hath no fury like a boy who has lost his Thomas Train toy. In my own frenzied state, I lost my temper with him. Amazing how much guilt a four-year-old can pile on you with puppy-dog eyes while clinging to his mother’s legs. His sister Bethie, in all her seventh grade sagacity, proclaimed that I had issues, then marched up to her room, slammed the door and took out her frustration with me by tearing though a Paganini Caprice on her violin. All this apocalypse just minutes before leaving for my meeting, which was to be held over a posh dinner at George’s At The Cove, which I would consequently have no stomach for.

I couldn’t wait to get home. The clock’s amber LED read 11:28 when I pulled my Lexus into the cul-de-sac. Pale beams from a pregnant moon cut through the palm trees that lined our street. The October breeze rushed into the open window and through my hair, a cool comfort after a miserable evening.

If I was lucky, Jenn would be up and at the computer, working on her latest novel. She’d shooed me out the door lest I ran late for the meeting, before I could make any more of a domestic mess for her to clean up.

The garage door came down. I walked over to the security system control box and found it unarmed. On more than one occasion, I had asked Jenn to arm it whenever I was out. She agreed, but complained that the instructions were too complicated. It came with a pretty lame manual, I had to admit.

The system beeped as I entered the house, greeted by the sweet scent of Lilac—her favorite candles for those special occasions. So much more than I deserved, but that was my Jenn. Never judging, never condemning, she understood how much stress I’d been under and always prescribed the best remedy for such situations.

From the foot of the stairs I saw dimmed light leaking out of the bedroom. It wasn’t even date night, but I had a pretty good idea what she was thinking. So before going up, I stopped by the kitchen, filled a pair of glasses with Merlot and set out a little box of chocolates on a breakfast tray—my secret weapon.

As I climbed the stairs I smiled. The closer I got, the more I could smell the fragrant candles. From the crack in the door classical music flowed out: Pie Jesu from Faure’s Requiem. Must’ve been writing a love scene. She always used my classical CDs to set her in the right mood.

A beam of amber light reached through the crack in the doorway into the hallway. The alarm system beeped. She must have shut a window. It had just started to rain and Jenn hated when the curtains got wet.

Kathleen Battle’s angelic voice soared.  Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem, Requiem sempiternam.

Jenn didn’t know a word of Latin. She just liked the pretty tunes.

I nudged the door open with my foot.

“Honey?” Caught a glimpse of a silky leg on the bed. Oh, yes. I pushed the door open.

Shock ignited every nerve ending in my body like napalm. The tray fell from my hands. Crashed to the ground. Glasses shattered and the red wine bled darkly onto the carpet.

Jenn lay partially naked, face-down, the sheets around her soaked crimson. Stab wounds scored her entire body. Blood. Blood everywhere!

“Jenn!”

I ran to her, turned her over.

She gasped, trying to speak. Coughed. Red spittle dripped from the corner of her mouth. “The kids…”

I took her into my arms. But her eyes begged me to go check on them.

“You hang on, honey. With all you’ve got, hang on!” I reached for my cell phone but it fell out of my belt clip and bounced under the bed.

On my knees now, I groped wildly until I found the cell phone. Dialed 9-1-1. Barely remembered what I said, but they were sending someone right away.

Jenn groaned. Her breaths grew shorter and shorter.

“Bethie… Aaron.”

Her eyes rolled back.

“I’m going. Hang on, baby. Please! You gotta hang on!” I started for the door. Felt her hand squeeze mine twice: Love-you.

No.

Tears streamed down my face. As I began to pull away, she gripped my hand urgently. For that split second, I knew. This was the end. I stumbled back to her. Gathered her ragdoll body in to my arms.

“Jenn, oh God, Jenn. Please don’t!”

“Whatever it takes,” she said. Again, she squeezed my hand twice. “Mercy, not…sacrifice.” One last gasp. She sighed and then fell limp in my arms, her eyes still open.

Holding her tight to my chest, I let out an anguished cry.

All time stopped. Who would do this? Why? Her blood stained my shirt. Her dying words resonated in my mind. Then I remembered. The kids. I bolted up and ran straight to Bethie’s room.

Bethie’s door was ajar. If my horror hadn’t been complete, it was now. I found her exactly like Jenn—face down, blood and gashes covering her body.

Though I tried to cry out, nothing escaped the vice-grip on my throat. When I turned her over, I felt her arm. Still warm, but only slightly. Her eyes were shut, her face wet with blood.

“Bethie! Oh, sweetie, no!” I whispered, as I wrapped the blanket around her.

I kissed her head. Held her hand. Rocked her back and forth. “Come on, baby girl. Help’s on its way, you hold on,” I said, voice and hands trembling. She lay there unconscious but breathing.

Aaron.

Gently, I lay Bethie back down then got up and flew across the hall. To Aaron’s door. His night light was still on and I saw his outline in the bed.

Oh God, please.

I flipped the switch.

Nothing.

I dashed over to the lamp on his nightstand, nearly slipping on one of his Thomas Train toys on the carpet. Broken glass crackled under my shoes.

I switched on the lamp on his nightstand. When I looked down to his bed, my legs nearly gave out. Aaron was still under his covers, but blood drenched his pillow. His aluminum baseball bat lay on the floor, dented and bloodied.

Dropping to my knees, I called his name. Over and over, I called, but he didn’t stir. This can’t be happening. It’s got to be a nightmare. I put my face down into Aaron’s blue Thomas Train blanket and gently rested my ear on his chest.

I felt movement under the blanket. Breathing. But slowly—irregular and shallow.

Don’t move his body. Dammit, where are the paramedics?

I heard something from Bethie’s room and dashed out the door. Stopping in the middle of the hallway, I clutched the handrail over the stairs. Thought I heard Aaron crying now. Or maybe it was the wind.

My eyes darted from one side of the hallway to the other. Which room?

Faure’s Requiem continued to play, now the In Paradisum movement.

Aeternam habeas requiem.

Something out in front of the house caught my attention. The police, the paramedics! Propelled by adrenaline, I crashed through the front door and ran out into the middle my lawn which was slick with rain. I slipped and fell on my side.

Nobody. Where were they!

Like a madman, I began screaming at the top of my lungs. My words echoed emptily into the night.

“Help! Somebody, please!”

A dog started barking.

“Please, ANYBODY! HELP!”

Lights flickered on in the surrounding houses.

Eyes peeked through miniblinds.

No one came out.

I don’t know if I was intelligible at this point. I was just screaming, collapsed onto the ground, on my hands and knees getting drenched in the oily rain.

Just as the crimson beacons of an ambulance flashed around the corner, I buried my face into the grass. All sound, light, and consciousness imploded into my mind as if it were a black hole.

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2010/08/25/beyond-justice-virtual-book-tour-september-october-10/

*     *     *     *     *

Please check out these stops on Joshua Graham's blog tour: 

Thursday, October 28
Interviewed at American Chronicle

Friday, October 29
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz




October 26, 2010

And the Winners Are . . .

SuzeA
&
mrshukra

SuzeA and mrshukra are the lucky recipients of a brand new copy of Abigail Reynolds' Mr. Darcy's Obsession, a romantic and creative tale of Pride and Prejudice's Lizzy and Darcy meeting and falling in love under very different circumstances. 

Congratulations, SuzeA and mrshukra! I hope you will enjoy and be as entertained by this inventive book as I was.  If you will forward me your mailing address, I will see that your new book gets out to you.

Thank you to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway. I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here. I enjoyed reading what each of you would like to ask Jane Austen, if given the chance.  I hope you will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews.

Thank you again to Danielle Jackson and Sourcebooks for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to randomizer.org for selecting the lucky winners.






Mailbox Monday: October 25, 2010

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and Avis at she reads and reads is hosting during the month of October.

My sole item last week was Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl, which I received from the publicist for review.



SYNOPSIS:  London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza's dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady's maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant's world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen?

Meticulously based on newly discovered information, this riveting novel is as rich in historical detail as Catherine, Called Birdy, and as sizzling with intrigue as The Luxe.






That is my Mailbox Monday.  What goodies arrived in your mailbox last week? 




October 20, 2010

Review of "Dare To Take Charge: How to Live Your Life on Purpose" by Judge Glenda Hatchett

Description:  For nearly ten years, Judge Glenda Hatchett has delighted TV audiences with a brand of justice that turns the everyday into something eminently watchable.

Her message can be distilled into the following two words: Dare Yourself. Whatever obstacles or fears one faces, Judge Hatchett's prescription implores readers to write their own story in this life. With care and conviction, Judge Hatchett uses real life stories from the courtroom and her personal life to counsel readers. Shows them how to find their true purpose and gifts, to be real about their reality and its potential outside of challenging circumstances, and to always be true to themselves. 

Interactive as well as inspirational, DARE TO TAKE CHARGE challenges the reader to ask self-reflective questions that lead to moments of self-discovery and a defined pathway to healing. Daring her audience to study the positive with the same interest and intensity that they study the negative, Judge Hatchett uncovers the potential for grace and success in lives that are now punctuated with despair and unfaithfulness.


I am a fan of Judge Glenda Hatchett and have spent many an hour watching her televised courtroom while munching on a sandwich, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review Judge Hatchett's new book, Dare to Take Charge, I happily jumped at it. 

The Judge Hatchett I saw on television - - the warm, caring, maternal, "I expect greatness" strong Southern woman - - is readily apparent in the pages of this book.  If you have ever watched her on television, you will easily hear her voice in each chapter as she shares the pearls of wisdom she has gleaned not only from family and being a mother but from her years on the bench. 

Judge Hatchett shares cases she had while working as a Fulton County Juvenile Court judge but also personal stories about her childhood and how she went from Delta in-house counsel to judge, with marriage and motherhood in between.  I really liked Judge Hatchett's "can do" very positive attitude; when faced with the most adverse situations in her courtroom she still expects greatness.  Her bright outlook, inherited honestly from her grandmother, has altered many people's lives for the better and hopefully, with this book, will continue to inspire and better others.

Each chapter is straightforward and kept to a relatively brief and succinct  length.  At the end of each chapter, Judge Hatchett has included journal pages so that the reader can write his or her own thoughts and progress.  She doesn't preach and she doesn't talk down to her readers; reading her book is akin to having a heartwarming chat with a girlfriend. 

This book could also have been titled "Dare to Make Change" as some of the advice Judge Hatchett shares, particularly relationship advice, would be helpful and encouraging for readers looking to make a change. While some of the career advice could be considered somewhat generic, I believe the sections on personal relationships are the strongest in the book. 

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to fans of Judge Glenda Hatchett, or someone looking for material to help with changes and life decisions, be it career, relationships or simple fulfillment.  As Judge Hachett herself writes:  "Our blessings are meant to be shared."

Dare to Take Charge is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For  more information about Judge Glenda Hatchett, please visit her website, her social networking site for parents and influencers of children, ParentPowerNow, on her Facebook page and on Twitter

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

Thanks to Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.






October 18, 2010

Mailbox Monday: October 18, 2010

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and Avis at she reads and reads is hosting during the month of October.

I had a busy week last week, as you'll see . . . first up is Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley, which I received from Sourcebooks for review. 

Release Date:  November 1, 2010


SYNOPSIS:  When a nice girl asks twelve men to get naked, it's sure to cause a scandal...

Emma Tremayne leaves her high-powered PR job and moves to the Lake District looking for peace, quiet-and celibacy. So perhaps it's not the best idea when, in the spirit of "community-mindedness," she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team fund raise by putting together a "tasteful" nude calendar. Especially since quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to-including the tall, dark and handsome Mr. December, Will Tennant, who appears to have gotten the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just the flavor of the month?

Next is A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan and Carolyn Eberhart, which I received from Sourcebooks for review

Release Date:  November 1, 2010


SYNOPSIS:  From two bestselling and a debut author comes heartwarming Christmas tales sure to delight Jane Austen fans.

From Amanda Grange, the bestselling author of Mr. Darcy's Diary and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, Christmas finds the Darcy's celebrating the holiday with preparations for a ball, but the festivities are interrupted by the arrival of a very special gift... Ever sensual and romantic, Sharon Lathan highlights everything that's best and most precious in the celebrations of the holiday season. After a quarter of a century together, Darcy and Elizabeth reminisce... Jane Austen meets Charles Dickens! Carol Eberhart's Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol finds Darcy encountering ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, who show him his life if pride keeps him from his one true love. 

Next is Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell, which I received from Sourcebooks for review

Release Date:  December 1, 2010


SYNOPSIS:  In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Bennet family has just moved from Ohio to the town of Rosings, Texas, set on creating a fresh start. But their daughter Beth still prefers the familiarity of Ohio to the plains of Texas-that is, until she encounters Will Darcy, the reclusive owner of Pemberley Ranch. Will and Beth are instantly smitten, but pride, prejudice, and a gang of villains determined to take over Rosings threaten to keep them apart. This fresh idea in the world of Jane Austen retellings brings together the world of Pride and Prejudice with the struggles of the antebellum South. 



Next is The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, which I received from Sourcebooks for review

Release Date:  December 1, 2010 (re-release)

SYNOPSIS:  In 2008 Carrie McClelland can't hit the right note for her next novel but an unplanned detour, and a stop at the castle that inspired Count Dracula, sets her on a different path; a path that took her back in back exactly 300 years, to that same castle, and to a rebellion doomed to failure.

Alternating between the contemporary setting and the past, The Winter Sea takes us at every turn into little known worlds; historical footnotes writ large, a history of Scotland and the Jacobite rebellion of 1708 and the possibility of genetic memory. Historical fiction at it's best and Susanna Kearsley at hers, The Winter Sea evokes the writing of Thomas Raddall, Daphne Du Maurier, and Mary Stewart. 

 
 
Next is Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer by Karen Wasylowski, which I received from Sourcebooks for review

Release Date:  February 1, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  A gentleman cannot survive without his best friend...

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn't be more different. Darcy is quiet and reserved, and carries the weight of his responsibilities on his shoulders. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a confirmed bachelor whose military feats have made him a hero, and whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within. Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other.

Then life gets complicated, with unrequited love and unresolved deeds from the past raising their ugly heads, and family difficulties threatening even the most steadfast friendship. Will these two strong personalities find a way to align, or will the vicissitudes of life and love tear them in different directions and destroy the family they have always worked together to protect?


Next is Mr. Darcy's Secret by Jane Odiwe, which I received from Sourcebooks for review

Release Date:  February 2011

SYNOPSIS:  One dark secret can completely ruin a bright future.

From the author who brought you Lydia Bennet's Story and Willoughby's Return, comes a unique look into one of the most famous relationships of all time, in Mr. Darcy's Secret.

After capturing the heart of the most eligible bachelor in England, Elizabeth Bennet believes her happiness is complete-until the day she makes an unsettling discovery. When she finds a stash of anonymous, passionate love letters that may be Darcy's, Elizabeth begins to question the quiet, stoic man she married.



And last, but not least, is The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slover, which I won through a Library Thing giveaway

Release Date:  November 2, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  In this new holiday classic, Tim Slover crafts a marvelous, magical novel about how Santa Claus became the man he is today. After reading The Christmas Chronicles, you’ll believe all over again in the magic of the season.

Snow is falling, and the clock ticks toward midnight on Christmas Eve while countless children, too excited to sleep, anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus. But in Tim Slover’s deeply charming and utterly thrilling new novel, that’s the end rather than the beginning of the story. In this richly imagined tale of Santa’s origins, the man in full finally emerges. The Christmas Chronicles is at once an action-packed adventure, an inspiring story of commitment and faith, and a moving love story.

It all starts in 1343, when the child Klaus is orphaned and adopted by a craftsmen’s guild. The boy will grow to become a master woodworker with an infectious laugh and an unparalleled gift for making toys. His talent and generosity uniquely equip him to bestow hundreds of gifts on children at Christmas—and to court the delightful Anna, who enters his life on a sleigh driven by the reindeer Dasher and becomes his beloved wife.

Still, all is not snowfall and presents. Klaus will be shadowed by the envious Rolf Eckhof, who will stop at nothing to subvert him. But in the end, Santa’s magic is at last unleashed, flying reindeer come to his aid, and an epic battle between good and evil is waged in the frosty Christmas skies.

By turns enchanting, hair-raising, and inspirational, The Christmas Chronicles is a beguiling tale destined to become a holiday favorite for the ages. 

That is my Mailbox Monday

What goodies arrived in your mailbox last week? 



Review of "Jane and the Damned" by Janet Mullany

Description:  In 1797, when aspiring novelist Jane Austen becomes one of the Damned, the beautiful, fashionable, sexy vampires of Georgian England, her family insists she takes the waters at Bath, the only known cure. But the city becomes a blood bath when the French invade and the Damned are the only ones who can overthrow the French and save England.

Jane now regards her creation as a vampire as a gift. She rejects the cure and discovers a world of freedom, love, and adventure as a vampire. But as an immortal, she loses her ability to write and must sever ties with her beloved sister Cassandra and the rest of her family. Under the shadow of the guillotine, Jane will have to decide whether eternal life and love are too high a price to pay for the loss of what means most to her as a mortal. 



Both Jane Austen inspired books and vampire themed books could be considered an oversaturated genre but Jane and the Damned makes it mark and stands out among the competition.  I found the overall premise of Jane Austen, pre-author fame, being turned into a vampire novel (no pun intended) and refreshingly original.  This Jane is humorous and witty but she also has a bloodlust - - she is certainly no chaste Cullen vampire. 

Author Janet Mullany created wonderful conflict within the pages of this exciting read.  Becoming a vampire and associating with other vampires and their heady, indulgent (non)lifestyle is stimulating for Jane, but goes against her upbringing.  Not only does it conflict with her religious family's thinking (Jane's father is a minister) but it also depletes her desire to write and takes her away from her beloved sister Cassandra.  While Jane is torn at the loss of familial relationships and devastated at not putting pen to paper, she thrills at assisting in ambushing the French, fighting as a male and rubbing shoulders with royalty.  What's a beloved Regency gal to do? 

Jane and the Damned wasn't what I was expecting; it far exceeded my expectations.  I loved the action, I loved the vampire elements and I loved that Ms. Mullany kept many quirks and characteristics of the original Jane intact.  The fictional characters Ms. Mullany introduced were vibrant, flamboyant , excessive and seductive - - Jane was made more remarkable by her alliance with them.  It was fascinating to think of our beloved Jane, a proper lady of the times, a minister's daughter, who was perhaps most honest when penning tales, participating in feeding frenzies, throat ripping and yes, even romance.  I liked this Jane, I would even go so far as to say I loved this Jane  - - this determined, fearless and extremely resolute Jane - - and was sad to see this exhilirating vampire tale come to an end. 

Jane and the Damned is a vampire story for those discriminating readers who enjoy a more cerebral type of supernatural yarn.  For the diehard Austen purist, Jane and the Damned may be a little too much creative license.  I am most certainly adding Ms. Mullany to my list of "must read" authors and look forward with anticipation to what literary delicacy she can offer us next. 

Jane and the Damned is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission. 

For more information about author Janet Mullany, please visit her website



Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.



October 16, 2010

Review of "But I Trusted You" by Ann Rule

Description:  THE MOST FATAL MISTAKE?

Trust. It's the foundation of any enduring relationship between friends, lovers, spouses, and families. But when trust is placed in those who are not what they seem, the results can be deadly. Ann Rule, who famously chronicled her own shocking experience of unknowingly befriending a sociopath in The Stranger Beside Me, offers a riveting, all-new collection from her true-crime files, with the lethally shattered bonds of trust at the core of each bloodsoaked account. Whether driven to extreme violence by greed or jealousy, passion or rage, these calculating sociopaths targeted those closest to them — unwitting victims whose last disbelieving words could well have been "but I trusted you...." Headlining this page-turning anthology is the case of middle-school counselor Chuck Leonard, found shot to death outside his Washington State home on an icy February morning. A complicated mix of family man and wild man, Chuck played hard and loved many...but who crossed the line by murdering him in cold blood? And why? The revelation is as stunning as the shattering crime itself, powerfully illuminating how those we think we know can ingeniously hide their destructive and homicidal designs. Along with other shattering cases, immaculately detailed and sharply analyzed by America's #1 true-crime writer, this fourteenth Crime Files volume is essential reading for getting inside the mind of the hidden killers among us.


But I Trusted You is the fourteenth volume in author Ann Rule's "Crime Files" series, where she takes a novel length case, makes it the main focus of the book and throws in several "smaller" type cases as well.  As much as I have enjoyed Ms. Rule's previous efforts, But I Trusted You left me wanting and a bit disappointed. 

Let's start with the feature length case, which concerns the murder of teacher Chuck Leonard by his estranged wife Teresa.  I personally did not find anything noteworthy with this case, whether it be that the actual case was a "by the book" spousal homicide or too much was left on the editing room floor.  I wish there had been more background on both Chuck and Teresa and would have been happier if this had been one of the "shorter" cases included, allowing room for another true crime case to be included in this volume.  I also thought the title did not coordinate with the case, as Chuck and Teresa were already separated and initiating divorce at the time of Chuck's death and neither Chuck nor Teresa trusted the other.

The second case profiled "Death in Paradise" was a very interesting case but without a firm resolution.  I felt as though the story was just skimmed on the surface and the ending left me feeling unsatisfied.  Perhaps this would have been a better "featured" case, but with more information on all parties concerned.  The title of this book, however, did fit the alleged facts of this case. 

The title also fits "Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", the third case profiled.  This case was very sad to read as the laws of the 1970s prevented the victim from obtaining the protection she was seeking.  Any parent reading this story will have a feeling of dread putting yourself in the victim's shoes.

"Monohan's Last Date" deals with the most vicious and cold blooded killer in the book.  I felt this case had more detail than any other highlighted in the book.

"Run as Fast as You Can" seemed out of place in But I Trusted You.  The killer and victim had no prior relationship and no trust issues.  Perhaps the victim felt safe due to location and time but, again, it seemed an odd choice given the theme of the book.

Both "The Deadly Voyeur" and "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" dealt with individuals who ultimately put their trust in the wrong people, with fatal results.  I did not like the somewhat ambiguous ending of "Dark Forest: Deep Danger" though.

Ann Rule's earlier Crime Files were fantastic, well written slices of true crime.  Finishing this book, I couldn't help but wonder if she was scraping the bottom of the barrel with these.  Don't get me wrong - - Ann Rule has long been my favorite true crime writer and she remains so.  Her book on the Diane Downs murder investigation and case, Small Sacrifices, is one of the best written and accounted true crime masterpieces out there, as well as her tale of the Ted Bundy case, The Stranger Beside Me.  For that reason, I always have very high standards for her books and this one just didn't quite peak for me. 

But I Trusted You is a decent enough book and will certainly do if you are looking for a true crime compellation but I expect more from my Queen of True Crime.

But I Trusted You is available for purchase at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.


For more information on author Ann Rule, please visit her website

FTC Disclosure: I purchased this book at a local bookstore. I was neither compensated nor paid in any way for this review.

But I Trusted You counts toward my progress in the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge



October 15, 2010

Guest Author Sharon Lathan and a Giveaway

Today I am excited to welcome Sharon Lathan, author of the newly released In the Arms of Mr. Darcy, to Psychotic State Book Reviews.  Welcome, Sharon!

Darcy and Elizabeth Forever
by Sharon Lathan


The more I surround myself with Austen authors the more I see the wealth of ideas these clever writers come up with. It is truly amazing! It is also wonderful to see many of them tackling Austen’s other novels—you know, those ones that aren’t Pride and Prejudice! Every one of Jane Austen’s six published novels is fantastic and worthy to be read and paid homage to. Yet as plentiful as the Emma or Persuasion fan fiction is becoming, Pride and Prejudice remains the clear favorite.

Why? Good question! And it is the one that Lori asked me to answer. Specifically, “Why do you think Darcy and Elizabeth are Austen’s fan-favorite couple as opposed to Col. Brandon and Marianne or Emma and Knightley?”

Yes, it is a good question although I am not sure I have a good answer. I suppose it must come down to the characters themselves and why readers have been drawn to Darcy and Elizabeth so strongly. That I think I can answer and hope the Colonel or Emma will not be offended!

Mr. Darcy, quite simply, is an enigma. I honestly believe that is at the root of our love for him. His character and background are sketched ever so slightly by Austen, leaving a vast amount open to interpretation. Thus we can create this man to fit the image we desire in our hearts and who is to say we are wrong? Adding to that delicious mystery, what we are told about him is intriguing and desirable. 

Most will point to his arrogance, broodiness, and detachment; and somehow Elizabeth “changes” him into Mr. Wonderful. I don’t agree at all. It is quite clear that Darcy is a man who struggles with his emotions, has a conscience, and is a decent man. His displays of intelligence and humor are all through the text, even when he is behaving badly.

The reader is forced to look beyond how Darcy talks or acts to what he does, thus seeing a man women dream of. He is steadfast and loyal, even when making a mistake as he does with Bingley. His love, once fixed, does not waver. We see that with his sister, with Bingley, and of course with Lizzy. We want to know that our man will forever love us, will be faithful and devoted, and will strive to do what is best for us.

Although I don’t believe Darcy changed in essence since I think the clues are all there that he is a good man from the get-go, it is clear that his love for Lizzy induces him to re-evaluate. He is inspired to improve, no matter the outcome with her, out of an honest awakening to his soul. What woman isn’t melted by that idea?

Lizzy, conversely, is crystalline on the page! We love her spunk, intelligence, wit, and strength. She is who we wish we could be and few of us are. At least I am not like her! Better yet, even with all those attributes we admire, she is a flawed person, and that is something every last woman on the planet can relate to. I think it is unconsciously forgotten that the prejudice and pride is as rampant with Lizzy as it is with Darcy. Or maybe we simply forgive her quicker because she is endearing from the beginning whereas Darcy takes some warming to! However it is those flaws that make her human and loveable.

Lizzy is admirable not only for her liveliness but also for her humility. She too undergoes a radical transformation when the error of her assumptions is made clear. She re-evaluates, is inspired to improve, and is awakened by the reality of love.

It is then that we come to recognize how similar Darcy and Lizzy are and how honest their love. The magic is in the belief that once together she will unlock Darcy’s hidden nature and that he will grow to love her more. That is beautiful.

Do we see that with the other Austen couples? I’ll let you answer that question for yourself!

*   *   *   *   *

IN THE ARMS OF MR. DARCY BY SHARON LATHAN—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010

If only everyone could be as happy as they are…

Darcy and Elizabeth are as much in love as ever—even more so as their relationship matures. Their passion inspires everyone around them, and as winter turns to spring, romance blossoms around them.

Confirmed bachelor Richard Fitzwilliam sets his sights on a seemingly unattainable, beautiful widow; Georgiana Darcy learns to flirt outrageously; the very flighty Kitty Bennet develops her first crush, and Caroline Bingley meets her match.

But the path of true love never does run smooth, and Elizabeth and Darcy are kept busy navigating their friends and loved ones through the inevitable separations, misunderstandings, misgivings, and lovers’ quarrels to reach their own happily ever afters…


About the Author

Sharon Lathan is the author of the bestselling Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, and My Dearest Mr. Darcy. In addition to her writing, she works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal ICU. She resides with her family in Hanford, California in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. For more information, please visit http://www.sharonlathan.net/.  You can also find Sharon at Austen Authors – http://www.austenauthors.com/  and Casablanca Authors – http://www.casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/.

*   *   *   *   *

And now for a GIVEAWAY! The lovely Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks has offered a copy of In the Arms of Mr. Darcy to TWO lucky readers!   Pride and Prejudice lovers, you don't want to miss this contest!

To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know if you agree with Sharon's take on why Darcy and Lizzy are Jane Austen's number one couple - - and if not, why do you think fans are so obssessed?  That's all! Leave me a comment with your name and email address and you're entered to win your own copy of In the Arms of Mr. Darcy!

U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.

NO EMAIL ADDRESS WITH YOUR ENTRY = NO ENTRY!

Contest to end on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by randomizer.org  on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Good luck!

Faithful readers, stay tuned as my review of Sharon Lathan's In the Arms of Mr. Darcy is coming soon!



October 14, 2010

Review of "Dark Road to Darjeeling" by Deanna Raybourn

Description:  After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia's eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband's family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child—and with discovering the truth about her husband's death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary. 



When I picked up Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn, not only had I not read the previous three books in the Lady Julia Grey series but I had not read anything by Deanna Raybourn.  I found this book a pleasant and engrossing read. 
 
It did start a bit slow for me, which I accounted to acquainting myself with characters that had been delighting other readers through three earlier adventures.  Once I felt settled with the characters I was quickly drawn in to the vibrant and rich tale of the Himalayas.  
 
Ms. Raybourn creates an intriguing mix of romance, historical fiction, travel and mystery in Dark Road to Darjeeling.  The characters are rich, with the lush scenery deserving of its own place in the cast.  I was thoroughly enchanted with the opulent imagery that came alive on the pages.  I could quite easily see The Peacocks in my mind (the tea plantation as well as the colorful birds) and smell the Darjeeling tea as well as the colorful flora mentioned throughout.   

Perhaps the strongest aspect of the story was Lady Julia, a strong, obstinate and determined female, who was most certainly not a woman of her times.  I loved the fact that while Julia was willful and strong natured she wasn't careless or stupid.  You won't find her putting herself in a ridiculous position simply to move the plot forward.  I found her a very realistic heroine, most particularly based on her relationships with her siblings (complete with some heckling) and her husband (frought with frustrations, worries and flat out annoyance at times).  She loves her family but her relationships aren't perfect by any means. 

The mystery was appealing, leaving me fairly well in the dark until all was revealed.  All pieces of the puzzle fit together very nicely, leaving me to find the "big reveal" gratifying and very content with the resolution.  At no point in the book did I feel shortchanged or confused by storyline, or did I feel the persons were acting out of character.

I would not hesitate to recomment Dark Road to Darjeeling to bibliophiles who are passionate about romance, history and foreign lands.  I plan on reading Ms. Raybourn's earlier books in the series, and look forward to future efforts by her.

Dark Road to Darjeeling is available for purchase now at major booksellers including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For more information about author Deanna Raybourn please visit her website and blog.  



Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.



October 13, 2010

Review of "Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love" by Larry Levin

Description:  In the bestselling tradition of Rescuing Sprite comes the story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.

In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home.

Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.

As I have long stated, I am a sucker for animal stories.  I love animals and hearing any type of tale of animal cruelty will have me crushed for days on end.  Very few things in life absolutely confound me and leave me utterly without an answer and viciousness toward pets is one of them. 

So I picked up Oogy with a bit of hesitation.  Seeing that endearing, lopsided face on the cover put a lump in my throat before I even read the first sentence.  Oogy's eyes are so deep, so intense that he practically dares you to read his story and not fall in love with him. 

I read the story.  I fell in love with him.  Simple as that. 

Oogy is a touching story, it's an uplifting story and it's a tragic story but at its heart and soul, it's an inspirational story - - not only the tale of a dog that suffered the worst kind of horror imaginable but the adoptive family that pulled together for him and benefitted from his love and unexpected teachings.   This is a terrific book for animal lovers and for entire families to read, although smaller children may have a difficult time with the descriptions of Oogy's injuries.  In fact, I had to put the book down for a moment and look away while reading about Oogy's sad life before he adopted the Levin family so be forewarned.  Author (and Oogy dad) Larry Levin pulls no punches and tells it like it is, a stark and brutal reminder of those animals who are not fortunate to walk away as Oogy did.  And yet reading those horrific descriptions made me appreciate Oogy all the more, and find him that much more awe inspiring and tenacious.

Oogy, in this reader's mind, is a hero, a shining example of the brilliance of the spirit. Not just the human spirit but the living spirit.  This dog never gave up.  He never gave up on life, he never gave up on people (despite the horrible beginning he had) and he never gave up on love.  He held no grudges, no ill will and wanted only to be loved and to give love.  Certainly a life lesson for all of us. 

Oogy isn't a long read but prepare for the story to stay with you.  Mr. Levin includes various photographs of Oogy with his adoptive family.  Oogy is a must read. 

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin is available for purchase now at major booksellers including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For more information about Oogy:






Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.




October 11, 2010

Mailbox Monday: October 11, 2010

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and Avis at she reads and reads is hosting during the month of October.

My first read is Beyond Justice by Joshua Graham which I received from Pump Up Your Book Promotions and the author for a blog tour and review. 



Synopsis:    THE DESCENT INTO HELL IS NOT ALWAYS VERTICAL... Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and send him to Death Row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection. If he survives that long. In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives- his own, those of his unlikely allies-and uncover the true killer's identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration. Now a free man, Sam's newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course. BEYOND JUSTICE, a tale of loss, redemption, and the power of faith.

The second book I received was The Naked Gardener by L B Gschwandtner which I received from Book Sparks PR and the author for a blog tour and review. 


Synopsis:  In a remote forest of northern Vermont, Katelyn Cross takes five women on a wilderness canoe trip where they hope to come up with ideas for saving their dying town. Although the river is not always what it seems and the women have not left their problems behind, a painting ritual creates a new way to look at the world - and themselves. Artist Katelyn Cross loves Greg Mazur and he loves her. He wants to be married but a previous relationship that went sour has made Katelyn overly cautious about any permanent commitment. And what about Greg's first wife? He lost her to cancer and Katelyn worries that he's only looking for a replacement. What's a girl to do? Canoe down a river with five gal pals, camp out, catch fish, talk about life and men. The problem is, a river can be as unpredictable as any relationship and just as hard to manage. On their last day, when the river turns wild, the women face the challenge of a lifetime and find that staying alive means saving themselves first while being open to help from a most unlikely source. As Katelyn navigates the raging water, she learns how to overcome her fear of change in a world where nothing stays the same. When Katelyn returns to her garden, she'll face one more obstacle and the naked gardener will meet the real Greg Mazur.

That is my Mailbox Monday!  What goodies arrived in your mailbox this week? 


Interview and Giveaway with Author Abigail Reynolds

Today I am happy to welcome Abigail Reynolds, author of the Pemberley variation series - - including the newly released Mr. Darcy's Obsession - - to Psychotic State.  She has graciously answered some questions about her writing, inspirations and, of course, Jane Austen. 

Hi Abigail, welcome to Psychotic State and thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.   I think the burning question on readers’ minds everywhere is how a doctor becomes a popular writer of Jane Austen-inspired novels and sequels?

AR:  There’s a long tradition of doctors who write. Seeing patients is all about telling stories – hearing their story, knowing the right questions to ask to transform it into a medical story that makes sense, and then translating it back into their lives. It’s about character and life and reality. I write Austen-inspired novels to provide an escape into another world with characters we know and love. Austen fits my idea of the perfect book – interesting, great characterizations, fun, and a happy ending. As Cassie Boulton says in my book The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice, “I like my coffee with cream and my literature with optimism.”

Did you always want to be a writer?

AR:  I’ve always told myself stories, and sometimes I’d write them down, but I never thought of it as being a writer. I still have trouble identifying myself as a writer.

Did you receive any advice as a struggling or new writer that you’d like to share with budding writers out there?

AR:  I’d tell them that the most important thing is to tell the story that’s in your heart, not the story that you think a publisher or agent will want. The best story is the one that comes from you.

I recently read Mr. Darcy’s Obsession and thought it was a fantastic premise to take on the Pride and Prejudice classic. What inspired you to change the Bennet family’s circumstances and make a match between Darcy and Lizzy even more difficult and unlikely?

AR:  I wanted to give modern readers a sense of just how much Darcy sacrifices for love in the original Pride and Prejudice. To our modern selves, it doesn’t seem like there was that big a difference in their statuses, but for the time period, it was huge. He was betraying his family duty by marrying Elizabeth. I wanted to capture the essence of that incredible love in a way modern readers could understand, so I made the social differences between Darcy and Elizabeth even greater.

When you began writing your first Pride and Prejudice variation, did you originally conceive it as a series or did it evolve as you wrote that first book?

AR: When I wrote my first book, I never expected to write another one, but once it was done, I discovered I was hooked by the writing bug. I’d developed so many different ideas while writing that first book that it was natural to start exploring them. I had no idea I’d eventually write so many books!

What is it about Pride and Prejudice that inspires you and not another Jane Austen work?

AR: It’s the characters. When I’m writing, the characters live in my head 24/7, so they have to be characters I enjoy. I’d go nuts if I had Emma or Fanny Price in my head all the time!

Besides Jane Austen, are there any particular authors that inspire you or that you enjoy reading?

AR: I’m a very eclectic reader. A few of my favorites are Gillian Bradshaw, Robin McKinley, Mary Renault, and Dorothy Sayers.

Can you take us through a normal day in the life of Abigail Reynolds?

AR: Like any parent, I don’t have any normal days! But an average one involves juggling lots of chaos between kids, home, and work. I squeeze in writing whenever I can, usually in the evening or late at night when everybody else is in bed.

One of the best parts of Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, in my opinion, was the descriptions of the ton, specifically the dark and seedy aspects and somewhat immoral underbelly. I would imagine that takes quite a bit of research. How do you organize and handle the research?

AR: I do most of my research on the internet, and I always delve into far more detail than I need because I get fascinated by questions about doorknobs or sidesaddles and can’t rest till I find out the answer. Most of it never shows up in the books, but it’s great fun.

How long did it take you to write Mr. Darcy’s Obsession?

AR: About a year.

I heard that you may be working on a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession (insert loud squee here!). Can you give us any details or hints about that?

AR: The main story line focuses on Mary and Georgiana and the two young men who come courting them. Naturally, the men both fall in love with the wrong girl, leading to great consternation about appropriate matches, etc. (Note from Lori: Can we preorder now? I so want to read this!)

What can you tell us about the new Austen Authors blog?

AR: Austen Authors is a way for lovers of Austenesque fiction to find new books. Since the books are scattered throughout the fiction section in bookstores, many readers would discover only one of us and never realize there are lots more books out there. The original idea was to try to find 8 or so interested Austen Authors. Instead, the new blog is one-stop shopping with 27 Austenesque writers – find one of them, you find them all! It’s also a great way to connect to our own readers. The delightful surprise has been the community that has developed between the authors there. (Note from Lori: Very true! I have found many wonderful Austenesque books and writers that I would never have been lucky enough to discover wandering around the store. Austen Authors can be found here.)

Which character (existing or new) have you most enjoyed writing in your books?

AR: I loved writing Aunt Augusta in Mr. Darcy’s Obsession. She’s a riot and a scene-stealer. Writing Darcy always comes easily to me; I’m more Darcy than Elizabeth, I’d say. (Note from Lori: I loved Aunt Augusta too.  Here’s hoping we’ll see her again.)

Have you considered writing a book featuring characters from another Austen book?

AR: I’ve written a modern Persuasion as a companion for The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice, but unfortunately my publisher is of the opinion that books based on Persuasion don’t sell. I’m looking at alternate possibilities now.

If you could jump into a time machine and go back to the Regency era, what one question would you like to ask Jane Austen?

AR: Only one question? I’d ask her what happened to First Impressions, the original story that she later rewrote as Pride and Prejudice. I’d give a lot to be able to read that.

Lastly, if you could use one word to describe Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, what would it be?

AR: Romantic!

Thank you so much, Abigail, for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with Mr. Darcy’s Obsession!

AR: Thanks for inviting me!



MR. DARCY'S OBSESSION BY ABIGAIL REYNOLDS - IN STORES OCTOBER 2010

What if Mr. Darcy never had the opportunity to propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford, and did not meet her again until her circumstances were reduced? In Mr. Darcy's Obsession, Mr. Darcy has an even greater social distance to bridge if he wishes to marry Elizabeth. Add in some Fitzwilliam relations with links to the Prince Regent and the loose morals typical of Regency high society who feel that Elizabeth is the material of which mistresses, not wives, are made, and Mr. Darcy has to make a painful choice between the demands of a decadent society and his personal moral sense. The background of this novel is the morally bankrupt ton which Jane Austen knew well, but did not describe in detail in her novels, perhaps because it was a given to her and her contemporaneous readers. Against this backdrop, the characters of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet shine brightly as they seek to find an alternative to the bounds of decorum that constrain Darcy's usual marital prospects.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and enjoys spending time with her family. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice. Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to four other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice (formerly Pemberley by the Sea). She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets.

For more information, please visit her website

To read my review of Mr. Darcy's Obsession, please click here


And now for a GIVEAWAY! The lovely Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks has offered a copy of Mr. Darcy's Obsession to TWO lucky readers!  This was a fantastic book, so trust me when I say you don't want to miss out!


To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know what one question you would like to ask Jane Austen.  That's all! Leave me a comment with your name and email address and you're entered to win your own copy of Mr. Darcy's Obsession!

U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.

NO EMAIL ADDRESS WITH YOUR ENTRY = NO ENTRY!

Contest to end on Monday, October 25, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by randomizer.org on Tuesday, October 26, 2010.

Good luck!


October 10, 2010

And The Winners Are . . .

Suzan 
&
Sheila


Suzan and Sheila are the lucky recipients of a brand new copy of Kara Louise's Darcy's Voyage, a romantic and thoroughly enchanting tale of Pride and Prejudice's Lizzy and Darcy finding love on the high seas.


Congratulations, Suzan and Sheila! I hope you will enjoy this lovely book as much as I did.  If you will forward me your mailing address, I will see that your new book gets out to you.

Thank you to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway. I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here. I hope you will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews.

Thank you again to Danielle Jackson and Sourcebooks for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to randomizer.org for selecting the lucky winners.





October 8, 2010

ReCOVERy Friday: October 8, 2010

ReCOVERy Friday is a new weekly meme hosted by Sarah at Miss Page-Turner's City of Books and as the title suggests, the concept is to recover from a busy week of working and studying and relax as you like it. This meme should be fun for everyone and just a nice light start into our weekend. 

This is how it works:

1) Think of a book cover you like (e.g. because of its cover art, model, author, title, etc.) It doesn’t matter if it’s an old or new one, you just have to enjoy it!

2) Create a ReCOVERy Friday post for your blog and post it with the whole wonderful weekend ahead (or post it one or two days later if you lack time).

3) Maybe add some sentences and explain why you like the cover…

4) Add your ReCOVERy Friday post to the link at Miss Page-Turner's City of Books so everyone can enjoy it.

5) Check out other ReCOVERy Friday posts if you like, to compare them, chat about them, get inspiration and just have fun!

My ReCOVERy Friday choice:



Dark Secrets, Volume 1 (Legacy of Lies and Don't Tell) by Elizabeth Chandler

I saw my niece reading this book and immediately fell in love with the cover (the picture of which, I must say, does not quite do it justice).  It's startlingly simple - - a plain black background with only an ornate key in varying shades of purple, blue and green.  My favorite colors.  Sigh. 

I adore the simplicity.  I salivate over the colors.  There is an elegance to this cover, as well as a bit of gothic mystery.  Were this a framed piece of art I would not hesitate to purchase it and hang it in my house. 

As a post script, I do not normally read Young Adult but this book piqued my interest so much (thanks to the cover) that my niece is passing it along to me when she's finished. 

What is your ReCOVERy Friday choice? 

October 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: October 6, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

In the Still of the Night
by Ann Rule
Publication Date:  October 15, 2010
Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble): 

FROM TRUE-CRIME LEGEND ANN RULE comes this riveting story of a young woman whose life ended too soon—and a determined mother’s eleven-year crusade to clear her daughter’s name.

It was nine days before Christmas 1998, and thirty-two-year-old Ronda Reynolds was getting ready to travel from Seattle to Spokane to visit her mother and brother and grandmother before the holidays. Ronda’s second marriage was dissolving after less than a year, her career as a pioneering female Washington State Trooper had ended, but she was optimistic about starting over again. "I’m actually looking forward to getting on with my life," she told her mother earlier the night before. "I just need a few days with you guys." Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mother, who had met her daughter’s second husband only once before, was just happy that Ronda was coming home.

At 6:20 that morning, Ron Reynolds called 911 and told the dispatcher his wife was dead. She had committed suicide, he said, although he hadn’t heard the gunshot and he didn’t know if she had a pulse. EMTs arrived, detectives arrived, the coroner’s deputy arrived, and a postmortem was conducted. Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson, who neither visited the death scene nor attended the autopsy, declared the manner of Ronda’s death as "undetermined." Over the next eleven years, Coroner Wilson would change that manner of death from "undetermined" to "suicide," back to "undetermined"—and then back to "suicide" again.

But Barb Thompson never for one moment believed her daughter committed suicide. Neither did Detective Jerry Berry or ballistics expert Marty Hayes or attorney Royce Ferguson or dozens of Ronda’s friends. For eleven grueling years, through the ups and downs of the legal system and its endless delays, these people and others helped Barb Thompson fight to strike that painful word from her daughter’s death certificate.

On November 9, 2009, a precedent-setting hearing was held to determine whether Coroner Wilson’s office had been derelict in its duty in investigating the death of Ronda Reynolds. Veteran true-crime writer Ann Rule was present at that hearing, hoping to unbraid the tangled strands of conflicting statements and mishandled evidence and present all sides of this haunting case and to determine, perhaps, what happened to Ronda Reynolds, in the chill still of that tragic December night.


I absolutely adore Ann Rule.  She is my favorite true crime writer.  I worship at her temple (or at least at her computer and by her shelf at the bookstore).  As far as I'm concerned, she simply cannot turn her books out fast enough.  I suspect you will all know where my happy self will be on October 15.

What's your Waiting on Wednesday pick this week?