Monday, January 31, 2011

Awesome Author: Interview with Elizabeth Atkinson

Another Awesome Author is in the house!  Let us all welcome and get to know Elizabeth Atkinson, writer of I, Emma Freke as she talks about her books, playing with names, and a real bead shop that featured prominently in her fabulous new novel.  

I read I, Emma Freke (book review here) through NetGalley and I knew it would be one of those books I would forever remember.  And why not?  The title itself is very memorable and hilarious, which made me curious to know about its author. 

And now, that curiosity has finally yielded results.  Ladies, gentlemen, and little monster ARGH, let's hear it for Elizabeth Atkinson!

Tell us about all your books

I’ve published four books so far. From Alice to Zen and (recently) I, Emma Freke (both Lerner Publishing) are tween novels. And I’ve published two non-fiction books: Monster Vehicles (Capstone Press) and GLEE! An Easy Guide to Gluten-Free Independence (Clan Thompson LLC) So far, EMMA, has won a gold medal Moonbeam award, is due to be released on Recorded Books this week, and foreign rights have been purchased by a French and a Turkish publisher!

What was your inspiration that made you decide to write I, Emma Freke?

My inspiration for Emma’s story was a location.  I live near a beautiful ocean-side harbor town called Newburyport. The city has done a fabulous job preserving its historical New England character, which includes a charming old corner building that currently houses a bead shop. I have always been fascinated by this cozy locale, and have often wondered who lived in the apartment above the store. And then one day it came to me!

How did you come up with the name Emma Freke?  It’s so spot-on.

Thanks! (Did you know a real Emma Freke wrote to me from England after seeing the book?) I remember coming across the old British name, Freke, and knew I would use it in a book someday - for the very reason that it would be a tough name to grow up with. Kids, particularly in middle school, seem to be quite sensitive about their names, as they’re developing their own sense of identity.  For her given name, I wanted a popular, contemporary name, but also one that would play on the surname Freke. The name ‘Emma’ almost immediately came to mind.

What do you do when you are experiencing writer’s block?
Writer’s block is interesting. When it happens while writing a book, usually I've gone in the wrong direction somehow. So I need to back up and figure that out. Also, reading something wonderful can suddenly inspire me to write and often helps me to reroute my story if I’m stuck. So if I’m really experiencing deep writer’s block, I’ll sit back and read and read.
Writing is very hard work. For many of us it isn’t a compulsion and doesn’t come easily. It can be like working out everyday – sometimes you have to make yourself write even when you really don’t want to. But like almost any activity, once you warm up, the words eventually begin to flow. Some days are much better than others and other days stink… all part of the process and the journey.

What is one book that you think everybody should read?

The best book I’ve read as a writer is Stephen King’s book, On Writing.  I’m not a SK fan, but he is, of course, a gifted storyteller and gives wonderful practical advice for crafting a story in this book. I reread it each time I’ve finished writing a book, using it as a checklist of sorts.

What do you love most about writing?

Creating my own world.

What do you love least about writing? 

Promoting myself. I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time promoting. However, I do love visiting schools and groups/clubs – I love talking to children about my books and hearing about the books they love.

What is your reading guilty pleasure? 

Magazines!!! I adore and unwind with magazines. My favorites are the New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, The Week, and Hello!

If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your life?

As a writer, I would have devoted myself more seriously earlier on, but I was completely focused on raising my children which was and is more important to me than anything else.

What do you do before writing? Do you have a ritual that you must do every time before you write?

Not really. But I do have habits while I’m writing. I’m very munchy and fidgety when I write so I have to be careful about what I’m eating. I chew gum, sip green tea, eat granola, carrot sticks. I also begin writing by reading. I sometimes listen to certain music and need to visual where my characters are, what they’re doing today. They’re very real to me. So I have to cross over into their zone.

When are you able to write best, mornings or evenings? 

Honestly, mornings are best for me, but usually I’m busy with busy-work in the morning, so I normally go to my little office to write after lunch and not every day. I also tend to write in clumps. I often go to my cottage in Maine when I have a deadline. I go there just for me and to write… so I’m working any time of the day or night. 

Who is one writer that you really look up to?  

There are several children’s book authors I greatly admire such as Natalie Babbitt, Jack Gantos, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Kimberly Willis Holt. But as a child, the book Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume changed my life. I wanted to someday write a book that would empower and entertain girls in the same contemporary way Blume did. At that time, books were not nearly as relatable as they are now for children and tweens – for the most part, I was handed the classics like Alcott or cutesy series like Nancy Drew. So for me (and many other girls of my generation), Judy Blume’s book was groundbreaking.
When you were younger, did you ever see yourself as a writer? 

Yes, I did – either a writer or an actor. They seemed to be the two creative activities I was most passionate about and, at the same time, received positive encouragement to pursue by my teachers and family. When you come right down to it, the two occupations aren’t really different from one another.

If you were given the opportunity to become a character in any book, which book would it be and which character would you play? 

Oh, hard to pick probably Anna Karenina :)

What advice can you give amateur writers? 

There is no “right” way to write.

Find a quiet place to work without internet access.

For me it was always important to find mentors in order to get better and better at my craft and to find my voice. I have never found writing groups to be useful or productive, although some people do. A mentor can be invisible as well – a writer you admire whose books and interviews can be instructional. But I think working one-on-one with a talented writer or professor or editor – someone you trust and respect - to hone your craft will help you grow the most. And develop a thick skin, don’t ever take critiques or reviews personally. That said, write anything to keep the creative juices flowing. And then one day, you’ll notice a charming corner store that sells beads…. and wonder to yourself, who lives above that curious little shop?

Thank you so much for doing this interview, Elizabeth!


To find out more about Elizabeth, check her out on the following websites:

10 Good Things on a Monday!

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly meme I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.

Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Things That Make Me Smile
  1. The smell of chicken soup.
  2. My brother's crazy laugh.
  3. Bubblegum-flavored smoothie with cotton candy on top.
  4. My mother's hand.
  5. Sunshine
  6. A quick dip in the pool during sunny days.
  7. Reading a good book in one sitting.
  8. Perfectly pressed and creased uniform.
  9. Going home
  10. The Boyfriend's smile.
I know, I'm very mushy today!  Must be the weather, we've got overcast skies and it's a bit colder than usual.  I get mushy during cold weather. :D

Why don't you share your good things?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Plan B by Charnan Simon

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info

Title:  Plan B
Author:  Charnan Simon
Publisher:  Lerner Publishing Group
Publication Date:  3/1/2011 
Language: English 
Format:  Digital copy 
Pages:  104 pages 
ISBN-13:  9780761361497
Source:  Advanced reader's digital copy from Lerner Publishing Group, via NetGalley
*Part of my Mini Reading Challenge*  

From Lerner Publishing Group:
"Is this happily ever after?
Lucy has her life planned out: she'll graduate and then join her boyfriend, Luke, at college in Austin. She'll become a Spanish teacher and of course they'll get married. So there's no reason to wait, right? They try to be careful. But then Lucy gets pregnant. Now, none of Lucy's options are part of her picture-perfect plan. Together, she and Luke will have to make the most difficult decision of their lives."

After reading After - isn't that funny? - by Amy Efaw, I was hoping to read a similar story with a different take, something more accepting of their situation, unlike Devon and her denial.  I wanted something like Juno or like Allison in Knocked Up.  That is why I decided to request for this book on NetGalley.

This book had so much potential, but never unraveled.  And I am not complaining about this book's length.  Good stories do not need hundreds of pages.  But it would have been great if the author was able to elaborate further on the effects of teenage unprotected premarital sex.  Luke and Lucy were very credible as lovesick and lovestruck teenagers.  They were very in love with each other, but the quick shift into Lucy's pregnancy also created a confusing shift in their characters.  I felt that Luke's sudden change from scared and irresponsible boy to dependable and mature adult was too hurried and unreal, in that it still felt like he was still acting under his parents' influence.  It did not feel like how a real responsible teenager would act under the circumstances.  I'm not saying that a real teen would immediately accept whatever happened, but the phases that he would go through would be very obvious and notable that when he finally accepts his responsibility, everything has fallen into place naturally.  Lucy, on the other hand, was the perfect scared and confused pregnant teen.  Between these two, I would have preferred more communication and action to have happened before the final outcome.  

Another problem I had was that this book was supposed to show Luke and Lucy's Plan B.  However, even towards the end, they were still undecided about what that plan would be.  The readers are left hanging as to the characters' futures and though sometimes it's good to make your own guess, I would have liked a more black and white ending for this story as I felt it required more specific answers for its very specific topic.  

On the bright side, the author was able to perfectly portray the causal relationship between unprotected sexual contact and growing number of teenage pregnancy - and in such limited number of pages at that.  Regardless of the issues I presented above, this story is a good, light, but educational read for teenagers in teaching them about safe sex.  Most reproductive health classes would appear too superficial and feigning concern for the issues but reading this book, not only would teenagers be able to accept and understand the impact of safer sex, they would also be entertained by this light and compelling read that was able to summarily delve into their world without any judgment and prejudice.

And regardless of my negative points, I would still say that I enjoyed this book, although not as much as I enjoyed After, but good enough. 


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


I received this book free of charge from the publisher, Lerner Publishing Group through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest and truthful review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book. 

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.   

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nina vs. ARGH: First-Person Narration vs. Third Person Narration

We love to read.  We read young adult fiction, thrillers, murder mysteries, love stories, etc. etc., but apart from the genre do you still have any factor that influences your book preference?  Like the point of view, perhaps?  I have always preferred reading books written through the character's point of view.  Some examples are Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, Boy Meets Boy, and The Catcher In the Rye.  I have always liked that feeling that I am getting inside a character's head and understanding the story through his/her eyes.  

ARGH, on the other hand, favors third-person narratives.  According to him, he appreciates the objectivity of such narratives because he is able to understand by himself what happens in stories.  Some books he likes are The Pelican Brief, Hannibal, and Pride and Prejudice (of course!  He's named after the author). 

So we'd like to ask you, do you prefer a story written in the first person or third person?
                                                   First Person          vs.        Third person

I like first-person narratives because:
  1. I see a more genuine account of a character's personality, feelings, and perspective,
  2. Hence, I can easily connect with a character.
  3. I am more of an 'introspective person' which makes me prefer subjective points of view in stories.
  4. I appreciate a story that 'shows' more than 'tells' you what is happening.  If you are reading a third-person account, the storytelling would more likely eclipse the visual that the story would like you to see.
  5. Characters are more well-developed and defined in order to provide an authentic perspective.  

On the other hand, ARGH likes third-person narratives because:
  1. First-person accounts are very egocentric - what do they know about what the other person is thinking/feeling/talking about?
  2. Third-person narratives can provide better perspective on the story because it gives an omniscient view of everything that happens.  
  3. Helps understand more people involved in the story, not just the main characters whom a first-person narration would tend to focus on.
  4. Narrators in the third person have a more flexible way of storytelling.  They can show you events from the past and the future, and other things that involved characters may not be aware of.
  5. It is more objective, therefore the reader can actually think for themselves and form their own opinions and use their own imagination.

How about you?  Which do you prefer? 

Crazy Follow Friday and Weekly Book Report

What a week huh?  I know you must be tired of reading of me complain every week how busy I am but it's true.  I don't know if mental illness has a peak and off peak season, but lately I've been swamped with more patients that I know what to do with, and although it's great that the place where I work would never run out of business at the number of patients it takes in daily, but it's very sad that a growing number of people are going - literally - crazy.  

But not to ruin your weekend madness, let's go on to celebrating our best day of the week, Friday!

Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee's Views.  This week's question:

What is your favorite subject in high school?

I will always remember my signature in the journals we had to complete way back:  "English is my favorite subject"  And it was, sort of.  I was never the grammar girl, but I loved the writing exercises, the stories we had to read, and the topics for discussion that our teacher came up with.  

Another subject I loved?  Math.  I totally sucked in Algebra, but I breezed through Calculus and Trigonometry.  It's strange considering that Algebra is supposed to be the foundation of all Math branches.  I also loved the Sciences, especially Chemistry.

Happy Friday to everyone, and don't go crazy!


Here's a recap of this week's posts: 

Book Review:  
Back In The Game by Holly Chamberlin 
Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwyn Cready 
If I Stay by Gayle Forman 
Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing
10 Good Things on a Monday:  Favorite Books of All Time  
Teaser TuesdayThe Sweetheart Season by Karen Joy Fowler 
Third Sentence ThursdayIzzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing

Miscellaneous Posts:

Well, Well, Well This is a Nice Surprise - one of my book reviews was featured in the author's blog!
Nina vs. ARGH:  First Person Narrative vs. Third Person Narration

New Books this Week:

                 Still Alice by Lisa Genova   For Review:
     From the author:   

                 Evolution of Insanity by Haresh Daswani



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Third Sentence Thursday: Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing

Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books for treating third sentences with the dignity they deserve!

This week's theme is Third Sentence Review.

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence here or if you don't have a blog, just post it in the comments!
4) Prepare for next week's theme: To be announced

My Third Sentence for this week is from Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing:

"At this point, he'll start banging his head on the table."

 -page 80, Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing

Review: This part was one of the most hilarious moments for this book.   The head banger in question was Izzy's brother, Anders, who acted as her manager for her stint in the International Pop Star Challenge.  I wouldn't tell you more about why he's banging his head, but I assure you that this was not just funny, but for me is one of the defining moments for this book.

Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing

Photo taken from Booksneeze

Book Info

Title:  Izzy's Popstar Plan
Author:  Alex Marestaing
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson 
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  256 pages
ISBN-10:  1400316545
ISBN-13:  978-1400316540
Source:  Publisher, Booksneeze

From Booksneeze:

"Izzy Baxter has big plans—popstar plans. Ever since she was six, she’s dreamed of becoming the world’s next singing sensation. Now sixteen, her singing career is on the rise, and she’s been selected to compete on the hit TV show International Popstar Challenge. As Izzy performs in far off locations such as Tokyo and Paris, it seems as if her plans are coming off without a hitch. But God has plans of His own, and Izzy will soon discover that living for Him is “way cooler” than megastar fame.
Presented like a daily blog, set up like a devotional, and read like a novel—this book will be an instant hit with tween girls. This cutting edge new product will meet girls where they are, and girls will love following Izzy on her incredible adventure. Plus, they’ll get daily spiritual food to equip them on their own incredible adventure with God."

Who among us did not want to be a pop star when we were younger?  I admit I imagined myself eclipsing Britney Spears at some point in my teens, but apparently I was meant for other 'bigger things' so instead of going to Hollywood, I went to college and got myself a nursing degree (ignore the fact that what I call dancing is actually just swaying side to side and my singing is better kept within family gatherings; except for church choir but hey singing alto is not very difficult - for me that is.).  Enter Izzy Baxter, a young lady who dreamed of being a pop star since she was six years old and singing with her hairbrush in the bathroom for hours, pretending to be performing in a huge concert.  In helping her reach her dreams, she would practice singing and write songs every day and lead the worship in their Christian church group.  Readers are treated to a blog account of what happens in Izzy's life as she prepared for her audition for the hit television show, International Pop Star Challenge.  Adding to the whole inspirational and devotional aspect were Bible passages and prayers related to a particular blog entry.  

Story-wise, I thought the writing was very solid and believable, yet imaginative.  This is the first time I read a story written through blog entries and I admire unique presentations of a story.  It's difficult to maintain that authenticity when writing a blog post because the prose becomes too impersonal and too 'out there' that you just read for the sake of reading, not really for getting into the story.  In this case, it was done creatively that you find yourself getting sucked into Izzy's world and feeling like you were actually there just reading through her 'blog.'  You also don't just get into what's currently happening to Izzy, you can also read between the lines with what's happening to her friends and family.  For example, there was an incident wherein Izzy had a covert falling out with her best friend and although it was not too obvious and told through Izzy's perspective, you knew how the best friend felt as there were no blog comments from her for a few days and even when she commented, it sounded stilted and reserved and you knew that things weren't fine yet.  Just because the story was told through Izzy's point of view did not lessen the experience of getting to know the other characters involved.

Non-fiction-wise, this daily devotional that read like a novel kicked up the standard of daily devotional books a notch as it made each day's message more inspiring and enlightening through Izzy's story.  The reader would be able to appreciate the Bible passages more as Izzy's story provided a good example for what the verses talked about.  This is a good book for young girls and teenagers to read daily, I am very sure that this would help them get through their daily lives and following their dreams.  For an adult of twenty-five, I found this pretty moving and empowering and it made me feel closer to God because I was able to recognize His hand through everything that happened in Izzy's life, which in turn made me see His hand in everything that happened in mine.  This is a very compelling and endearing read that many people would enjoy.

If you are like Izzy who has a dream to reach - and I bet we all have one - this is a very good book to read in order to help you make yours a reality, and to understand God's plan for everything that happens in your life.  That sometimes, what you want may not be what God wants for you, but He has something greater that would fit you even better than what you wanted for yourself.  If anything, this book tells us that everything happens for a reason, and that what you want is not always what you need - what you need may even be better than what you wanted, after all.


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Photo taken from Barnes & Noble

Book Info

Title:  If I Stay

Author:  Gayle Forman 
Publisher:  Speak
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  272 pages
ISBN-10:  014241543X
ISBN-13:  978-0142415436
Source:  Purchased, Powerbooks

From Barnes & Noble:

"A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.  In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time."


Dear Ms. Forman, 

I read and finished your book in just one sitting, and if that's not enough of a confirmation that you have written a really good book, I don't know what else would convince you that I really enjoyed the story.  It was compelling, touching, and exciting.  It was sad most times, but even then, the story never felt dull or lacking.

I was pulled inside Mia's world and watched as she fought with herself to choose.  Mia was wrong when she said she was alone.  I and other readers were there with her, watching her come to terms with what had happened to her and her family.  The readers were given a good grasp of what kind of person Mia was. I like how you incorporated those flashbacks about Mia's family as she struggled to make a decision on whether to live or die.  Some have commented on the fact that Mia seemed to be more focused on her boyfriend Adam and best friend Kim more than the death of her family.  I disagree.  The fact that most of the stories revolved around her family - her mother's rebel personality, her father's transformation from punk dad to role model dad, her brother's boundless energy, and especially the life of music that they shared - showed how much she cared.  But like most people who lose very important people in their lives, they at first could not quite comprehend their lost, are still in denial with what happened to them, that they could not immediately face the fact that they are now alone.  They appear all right, but everything about them betrays their real feelings.  The memories that Mia recounted while deciding betrayed her loss, betrayed her grief, betrayed her true feelings.

The characters were very unique and very human.  The parents were a bit sketchy - I admit I was a bit skeptic about them not minding that their daughter and her boyfriend are locked up in the bedroom.  I'd have thought that no matter the time nor age, parents are parents and they would rather die than know their young child is engaging in sexual activities in their house.  Their loose and permissive attitude towards their children is a bit too 'utopian' for teenagers.  But maybe I was just seeing it that way because it was Mia talking, and she could only observe what her parents may be outwardly expressing, but who knows?  You would know, I guess.  But it could be that they might be really very worried and concerned about her but just thought that the best way for her to learn was through experience.  Other than that, the characters were very 'there' and alive.  

As for the writing, I enjoyed the humor that you combined into Mia's voice.  The lyrical quality of her narration were both subjective and objective at the same time which was actually one of the reasons I could not put down this book.  The flashbacks alternated with the present time but it still provided a seamless account of what Mia was going through.  I never felt a touch of confusion while reading, because I knew that each recollection of a past memory was related to what was currently happening to her.  Everything was related, and I guess Mia was that kind of person who had an easier time of expressing herself through telling a story about herself wherein she felt the same way.  The stories emphasized on her thoughts and her fears and grief, that even though she was not openly grieving about her loss, her stories showed how much she was ravaged by sorrow over the death of her family.  The ending was exquisite and very simple it bowled me over.

I really look forward to reading more of your writings, and I would especially watch out for the second book you have written about Mia and Adam, and I am sure that like this book, I would be again be captivated by your heartfelt writing.



If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seducing Mr. Darcy by Gwyn Cready

Photo taken from Goodread

Book Info

Title:  If I Stay

Author:  Gwyn Cready
Publisher:  Pocket
Language: English
Format:  Kindle Edition
Pages:  384 pages
Source:  Purchased, Amazon

From Amazon 

"In the second hilarious and sexy novel from author Gwyn Cready, a divorcée suffering from "carnal deprivation" has a racy one-night stand with one of literature's most irresistible heroes -- and learns that you really can't judge a book by its cover.
Mr. Darcy just isn't Flip Allison's style. She prefers novels with hot sex on the bathroom sink to the mannerly, high-tension longing of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. That is, until she pays a visit to Madame K, who promises a therapeutic massage with an opportunity to "Imagine Yourself in Your Favorite Book." Somehow, on the way to a sizzling sink-top session with a Venetian Adonis, Flip lands right in the middle of Regency England -- and dangerously close to handsome Mr. Darcy. So close, in fact, that she discovers a side of him even Jane Austen couldn't have imagined.
Waking from her massage, Flip is on top of the world and ready for her upcoming book club -- that is, until she notices a new scene in which Darcy and spunky heroine Lizzy Bennet are arguing over...Flip Allison? Her rapturous liaison with Darcy has had disastrous consequences for Austen's characters -- not to mention millions of Pride and Prejudice fans! Flip has twenty-four hours to put the story back on course, and Magnus Knightley, a sexy but imperious scholar whose brooding good looks and infuriating arrogance are decidedly Darcy-like, is the only one who can help. The only problem is, Flip can't keep her hands off him, either..."

Reading this reminded me of the books I borrowed from my mother.  She's very fond of romance novels and when I began to get interested in reading longer books, I grabbed a book from her shelf.  I was quite young then, so imagine a 10-year-old girl reading the romantic misadventures of a Highland heroine - my mother never stopped me from reading, although she would at times get me age-appropriate books, but I like her books better because it's got better vocabulary, but of course the explicit seduction parts I mostly skipped.  My mother strictly made me do it.

I got interested by Seducing Mr. Darcy because of the title.  Who has never fallen in love with Mr. Darcy at some point while reading Pride and Prejudice?  I know I did.  And like every female, I wanted to get to know Mr. Darcy's ardent, passionate side.  Reading this book, like any romance novel worth its salt, this book enticed you and sucked you into its story.  Were it not for the fact that this was a digital copy, I would have finished this in one sitting.  As it was, life happens and it's easier to put down your Kindle than putting down an actual print book (take that, ARGH!).  But resuming reading, I was even more excited than when I first read it and found myself actually getting into the middle parts in less than an hour.  

The story was very fast-paced.  Because this happens within one day, you definitely sense the urgency but the details of each scene, the minor specifics were not merely sketched, they were well-drawn and vividly described.  The author ensures you never miss a thing, even in the most exciting parts.  

Which is what probably brings me to the first issue I had with this book:  Because it was full of details, how could this book explain the existence of the masseuse herself?  I know that she's essential into making this story work, but no background on her at all?  How did she come across such power?  No back story on that one?  Oh well, you can't have everything, I guess.  I don't want to risk running spoilers so I won't cite further examples.

The characters were very romance-novel credible.  They are strong, but they need love.  I like the fact that each character's voice was very distinct and evokes a specific image in the reader's mind.  

I don't think I would agree much that this book is another of those Pride and Prejudice remakes.  Sure, this story revolves around that novel, but it's only a setting for an elaborate and outrageous but interesting plot, but if anything, pride was only present, mostly in Magnus Knightley's character.  There was no prejudice, nothing of that sort in Flip or any of her friends.  Well Magnus was also a bit prejudiced about American women, but my point is that there is no pride in one character and prejudice in another that when combined together could compare with Austen's narration.  

One lesson I learned through reading most of my mother's romance novels:  Always expect some impossible twists - in this case, the dabbling into the paranormal was of course a bit impractical but it's what held the story up, what made it special and thrilling.  

On the whole, I enjoyed this book a lot.  I like the simple love story between Flip and Magnus - which is grounded more on sex, but what romance novel wasn't? - and liked the human portrayal of our beloved characters from Austen's book.  A lot of sexual references and sex scenes but once you get past that, the story is actually very simple and light.  An easy read after reflecting heavily on Pride and Prejudice - and of course, if Mr. Darcy left you hankering for more. :-D 


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All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.