My Life Undecided

My Life Undecided
Jessica Brody
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011

Brooklyn Pierce is a girl with a knack for getting into "interesting" scrapes. As a toddler, she got trapped in a mine shaft. As a fifteen year old, she ended up setting her mother's model home on fire. After getting by with just a warning (and a LOT of community service), Brooklyn begins to realize maybe her problem is her decision-making skills. Or lack thereof. In a moment of inspiration, she creates an anonymous blog where she will post the decisions or choices she encounters, and allow the public to make the decision for her. At first, things seem to be going okay - the public doesn't always chose what Brooklyn would have, but that's the point right: have someone else make (better) decisions for you? As the experiment continues however, Brooklyn starts to waver in her enthusiasm for the idea - especially as life gets trickier and trickier.

As a character, Brooklyn was seriously annoying at first. I wanted to shake her and try to make her see things the way they really are instead of how she thinks they are. But she began to grow on me, as she started waking up a little and realizing that maybe life was a little different. I enjoyed watching her work through things, and while it took a little longer than I'd have preferred - that also lends a sense of authenticity to the story. I mean really: how many of us actually learn the first time? I cringe to remember the lessons I've relearned through the years. And I love the supporting cast, especially "Heimlich". Brody did a good job of creating a high school environment without belaboring the point.

All in all, My Life Undecided is an enjoyable, quick read that also stops to make you think: What if someone else did make all your decisions for you? How would your life change? Would it change?

Book provided by my personal library.


Wander Dust winners!

I love announcing winners! And today I get to share the happy news that three people have won something cool!

First, remember the prizes?

One grand prize winner is going to receive a signed paperback of Wander Dust, signed bookmarks, and a really, really amazing Tolkien necklace.

Two other winners are getting signed bookmarks.

All around, it's a pretty cool little giveaway!

So, winners...Are you curious? Well, let me make the big announcement...

Huge congratulations to the winners, who have already been emailed (check your inboxes and/or spam filters, ladies!) and have until Friday morning at 9am EST to send me their addresses.

And a huge "THANK YOU!" to everyone who visited my blog and facebook pages during this tour. I hope you like what you see, and will come back soon! Plus, I have it on good authority that more giveaways are in the future...



Sophie Flack
Poppy, 2011

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. The cover is gorgeous. The story is engrossing. The characters are real, dimensional. And perhaps one of the coolest things? Sophie Flack was a professional ballet dancer, so Bunheads is full of little insider info-nuggets. Love it! ((Sidenote: I like this trend of insiders-turn-authors...it gives a sense of authenticity to the stories.))

Hannah Ward has been dancing for most of her nineteen-year-old life. It's her passion, her ambition, her life. The time and energy she has invested as a member of the Manhattan Ballet corps, always working towards the honor of becoming a soloist, have been satisfactorily rewarded by the thrill and rush of dancing. But then, by chance, she meets a cute pedestrian (non-dancer), named Jacob. And everything starts to change. As she continues to fight for her moment in the spotlight on stage, Hannah finds herself also taking a closer look at herself - at the dancers around her - at the world that exists beyond the theatre. The result is an engrossing story that is one-half dance and one-half coming-of-age. A combination I found particularly enjoyable.

I liked that Hannah was a little older than some YA characters; at 19, she's struggling to find her place in the world - orienting herself through the transition into 'adulthood', while simultaneously navigating the uber-challenging world of professional ballet. I loved all the dance details: the vocabulary, the descriptions, the emotions and frank examinations of what it means to be a ballet dancer (let alone achieve that illusive ballerina status). Hannah and the other dancers all have distinct personalities and voices, and their various approaches to handling their chosen life are intriguing and believable. I think that's one of the big appeals of Bunheads: it's believable. Even though I've never been in the professional dance world, the details and voices in Bunheads creates a world I can see and accept. Not to mention watching Hannah finally realize who she is and where she wants to go next - I can totally relate to her questioning and soul-searching.

A beautiful book that ended both too soon, and at just the right moment.

Book provided by my personal library.


2012 Challenges

Okay, rather than do individual posts for the challenges I want to join in 2012, I'm going to do one BIG post...Keeps things simpler for my brain.

First up, I'm going to rejoin the Historical Fiction Challenge over at Historical Tapestry. This year I 'competed' at the Severe Bookaholism level (20 books), but fell just shy of that mark. So for 2012, I'm going to participate on the Undoubtedly Obsessed level - which means I will read at least 15 historical fiction books. I'm really excited about revisiting this challenge, because I love Historical Fiction and a lot of the books on my To Read list are applicable!

Another challenge I'm excited about is hosted by Laura of Laura's Reviews. The Victorian Challenge 2012 is what I'd consider a "wide-open" challenge in that so many things count towards the challenge! From books to plays to movies! So long as it applies to the Victorian period (1837-1901), it counts. The reading level is super easy, and I'm hoping to actually do more than the 2-6 items.

I don't have a concrete list of things I want to read for this, but I will definitely be visiting Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain, as well as probably reacquainting myself with George Eliot and the Brontes. I'd also like to finally sit down and read some more biographical stuff on Queen Victoria herself - she fascinates me. Yay!

And of course, anyone who frequents this blog knows I'm a fan of Jane Austen and all the Austenesque literature that has developed. So imagine how psyched I was to discover this challenge: Explore the Many Genres of Jane Austen Spinoffs 2012, hosted by Existing's Tricky!

This one's pretty sweet and simple: just read (at least) one book from each of the 8 categories of Jane Austen spinoff:
  • Variation
  • Sequel
  • Jane Austen as a Fictional Character
  • Paranormal
  • Modern Adaptation
  • Mystery
  • Supporting Characters
  • Books by Jane Austen
I've got a whole slew of Austenesque books to read, so this is going to be fun!

And the other challenge I'm really looking forward to for 2012 is the Completely Contemp Challenge hosted by Chick Loves Lit! I absolutely love YA literature, and the thing I really like about this challenge is it covers the last three years of publishing: 2010, 2011, and 2012 contemp YA releases are all fair game. Definitely good for working on that To Read list! I have decided I'm going to participate on the "5-level"...so I will read 5 books published in 2010, 5 books published in 2011 ad 5 books published in 2012.

There ya have it: 4 totally awesome challenges to help stretch and encourage my reading for 2012...Am I crazy? Maybe. But I'm also practical: I've picked challenges that meet my reading interests and goals -- and there's definitely some overlap involved too, which helps. What about you? What challenges are you totally psyched about? Are you joining me for any of these?


Eliza's Daughter

Eliza's Daughter
Joan Aiken
St Martin's Press, 1994

Confession from the get-go: I didn't finish this one. I don't normally count unfinished books towards challenges (okay, theoretically I don't: I've only had one unfinished book that was relevant to a challenge this year), but I wasted so much reading time on this one that I'm counting it. Fair's fair.

The premise is intriguing: What happened to the baby, the daughter, of Col. Brandon's "lost" ward? You know, the one that Willoughby fathered, and the knowledge of which cost him everything he held dear? See: great premise. I just had a really hard time getting into the story, which is told from the point of view of this baby - also called Eliza. Beginning with her early memories, then wandering into her more 'grown up' experiences, Eliza introduces herself to us as a fairly worldly, if wholly unattached young girl. She's never met Col. Brandon, her benefactor, nor does she know anything at all about her (supposed) dead parents. When she finally, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, finds herself at Delaford, we meet Elinor and Edward Ferrars. And here's where I really started having a hard time with the story. All of Jane's beloved characters from Sense and Sensibility have evolved (or maybe devolved?) into characters so unlike how I imagine them that I had a hard time taking the story seriously from that point forward. It kept moving rather slowly, also, so I started flipping ahead and reading sections/chapters throughout the book until the end.

For someone with more patience, it is probably a better read - and there were a few twists and turns here and there. It just wasn't my cup of tea, and that's a-ok. Because if I loved every book I ever picked up? We'd be in a world of trouble, re: storage.

Book provided by my local library.


Tribute Books: Interview with Nicole Langan

Hello, hello! Today I've got something a little different in store for you. One of my favorite things about the blogging world is getting to meet new people and make new friends. Book bloggers are especially friendly, and I've gotten to know other bloggers, authors and publishers through my adventures. It's a lot of fun! And today, I'm featuring an interview with Nicole Langan, the brains behind Tribute Books. I've worked with Nicole before, and love checking out her book blog, so when she emailed asking if I'd host an interview to help spread the word about her new venture, I wholeheartedly agreed!

AWW: Tribute Books is fixing to undergo a pretty big change, and is traveling in a cool direction. Can you tell me a little about how it'll look and work once everything's up-and-running?
Nicole: Well to tell you where we're headed, let me tell you a bit about where we've come from. Tribute Books began in 2004 and we've published over 30 titles since that time. Some of our books have gone on to win awards such as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Mom's Choice Award while others were endorsed by PBS and The Thoreau Society. We've covered a wide range of genres from children's picture books to history to sports under both traditional and subsidy contracts. In 2012, Tribute Books will transition into a royalty-paying ebook publisher of young adult titles.

AWW: What made you decide to leave the more traditional route and become an ebook only YA "press"?
Nicole: Over the course of 2011, we've watched our ebook sales outpace our print sales by 2 to 1 due to the explosion in popularity of e-readers such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad. The under $5 price point of most of our e-titles and the ease of purchase and delivery surely facilitated this rapid change.

Overall, our transition is based on three factors. On a business level, the young adult genre sells especially if it is well written and has a paranormal romance theme. On a marketing level, the devotion of the young adult fan base is unparalleled. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at
http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com. I'm a believer in doing what you love and working with like-minded people, when it's at all possible.

AWW: For authors, or author-hopefuls, what should they know about the new look of Tribute Books? Are you open for any YA authors who want to e-pub, or do you have specific genres?
Nicole: Our preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, books written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge.

Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.

Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to info@tribute-books.com. There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We're looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc.

AWW: What excites you most about this new adventure?
Nicole: My hope is that we are able to recruit some talented writers of well-written, well-crafted stories in order to develop an eager fan base for the titles we publish. We want readers to be excited about the ebooks we produce. Young adult authors have the most devoted fan followings out there, and we'd like to introduce that audience to a whole new host of talent.

We try to keep an active online presence with our web site (http://www.tribute-books.com/), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks)  and blog (http://tributebooks.blogspot.com/). We'd love to have anyone who loves young adult literature to join us for the ride. 

I don't know about you guys, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this develops! Nicole's plan is to work with 12 authors in 2012, publishing one novel a month. Pretty cool, no? So if you are, or know, a YA author who might be interested, let them know! And if you, like me, are an avid read of YA - I think we're fixing to have a great new source for reading material!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Nicole, and best of luck in this new adventure!


Love, Inc.

Love, Inc.
Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout
Hyperion, 2011

What happens when three high school girls find out that their amazing boyfriends are actually one boy? In the case of Zahra, Kali and Syd, they unite forces and exact careful, painful revenge. They find it such a satisfying and effective exercise, not to mention a good catharsis, that when word leaks out and others begin to request their 'services,' Love, Inc. is born.

Love, Inc. is all about helping others find happiness in relationship, or at least find a good way through the end of one. From mediating conflicts to running reconnaissance to dabbling in matchmaking, the three girls find themselves with an endless stream of business. And even though they've been badly burned by the three-timing Eric, maybe - just maybe - all their work with the human heart is helping to heal theirs, and love can be found again. Love, Inc. is a fun read, and the concept is one I could definitely see high school girls coming up with - actually, I think it'd make for a really cute movie. Zahra, Kali and Syd have a great chemistry, and I loved watching them overcome their differences and unite forces, finding true friendship. There's a broad spectrum of high school that's seen throughout the book, as students from all circles come to the girls of Love, Inc. for assistance.

The only thing that distracted me from the read, and it's a minor distraction that's more of a personal preference, is that a lot of the characters came across so much older than their 15-17 year old range. I can understand that there are differences in society and culture depending on where you are, and kids do act older than they are in real life, but some of the actions or conversations just felt a little too mature, too far removed from what's probable. Again, minor distraction, and mainly a personal 'mini-peeve' -- definitely does not take away from the story.


Blog Tour: Wander Dust

Wander Dust
Michelle Warren

I fell in love with the cover of Wander Dust the first time I ever saw it on facebook, and once I started learning more about the story - I knew it was one I'd be reading. When Michelle put out a call for bloggers willing to partner with her on a book launch blog tour, I put in my application quickly. Happily, I was picked! Did you see my interview with Michelle on Sunday? Check it out - plus, there's an amazing giveaway. Definitely worth your time, I promise!

Going into the reading, I had a basic idea of the story, but had no idea how 'edgy' of a read I was getting. It's intense, emotional, involving. Sera has lived her life with one concept of reality, only to have it turned on-end on her sixteenth birthday. Suddenly she's having weird 'moments' or 'visions' that combine to make her question her sanity. Once she learns she is a Wanderer (one who can 'wander' through Time), Sera is enrolled in the Academy, where she will learn to navigate her reality and 'new' identity. At this point, the story takes turn after turn after turn.

Before getting into too many details, let me make a quick 'detour' to say that Michelle has definitely created a well-rounded world. With any story, but especially with fantasies, I always appreciate when authors take the time to really think about the world they're creating: fleshing it out, giving it background and context, rather than just scribbling down a setting because it makes their story work. Wander Dust takes place in 'the real world,' but it also features a whole other world as well - and that world is carefully orchestrated, with a history, a mythology, and an uncertain future. It's real. And as we are discovering this mysterious 'second world,' so is Sera. I really appreciated getting to discover the hidden secrets through the eyes and experiences of Sera - it helped add an authenticity to the story, and is a great way to introduce strange concepts (time travel!) without coming across as a manual description or etc.

There's a host of characters, and nobody is quite as they seem. Even with mysteries appearing and being solved constantly, Sera is never sure what exactly is going on - and neither was I, as reader. With every new revelation, my internal reader was rethinking all my assumptions. The reading-journey was so much fun, that I'm hesitant to give away too much in my review. If you have too many 'teasers,' it could mess with your brain while reading, and truly: taking every step and misstep along with Sera and Co. is definitely a big part of what makes this such a great read. It's safe to say this one kept me guessing until the end. Also safe to say I'm very glad to know this is a trilogy, and that more of this story is forthcoming! I need to know what the answers to some of the lingering questions are! Not to mention see where things are going to progress, now that certain misconceptions have been corrected. (Nope, not telling, you've got to read it for yourself!)

Book provided by author for review.


The Day Before

The Day Before
Lisa Schroeder
Simon Pulse, 2011

I'm still new to verse novel-reading, but so far I am definitely liking what I read. I think telling stories in verse can have a variety of effects, and in the case of The Day Before, the poems help build suspense and create mystery. As I was reading, I had absolutely no idea where I was going to end up. The poems suggested a great struggle, a big change coming that will change Amber's life - and her family's lives - forever. There's a rawness to the wording, and a realness. Then letters start slipping in, and the story starts to slip into place. Things start making sense, and I can understand Amber's impulse to spend 'the day before' doing her thing.

And yet, the mystery remains. Cade, the beautiful, unusual boy Amber meets in the aquarium, has a story of his own. As we get to know Cade through Amber's eyes, we see the confusion, feel the tension, the mystery. There's a dark, pressing need to spend 'the day before' on his own terms for Cade as well.

With the give-and-take flow of the ocean they both love, Cade and Amber spend a single, beautiful, magical day together. As they fight their own personal demons, they find strength in being there for each other. Strength in unity, in believing in someone else's success. It's a simple story, taking place over a single day and night. But there's a strong sense of reality, of connection and the pressing need to find out 'why.' I found The Day Before to be a beautiful, moving read. It's definitely one you need to read for yourself, so you can experience the journey without getting distracted by the details.

Book provided by my personal library.


Blog Tour: Wander Dust

I am happy to be a part of the Wander Dust blog tour, helping celebrate Michelle Warren's debut release! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come back by Tuesday, when I feature a review of Wander Dust!

As part of the blog tour, I sent Michelle a couple questions and she was good enough to answer them for you! Settle in and read through our little Q&A session, then keep reading for more exciting information and even a giveaway!

A Word's Worth: How would you tweet Wander Dust?
Michelle: Ug! I’m awful at Twitter. I actually consider it my nemesis. Here's my best shot:
If the world snaps shut over you like a closing book, catapulting you into a wormhole, u r not a Normal. U r a Wanderer. #writers #Flitchat

AWW: According to your website, it was your love of scifi, paranormal and fantasy that prompted you to write your own novel. What authors do you think were most influential or inspirational in your writing of Wander Dust?
Michelle: I think my influence was less about other authors and more about the Discovery and History channels. I’m sort of a geek. A typical conversation with my sister will not be about the high heels I want to buy at the mall, because we are more likely to discuss whether angels could be aliens or if aliens could be time travelers. I’m fascinated by science that is perceived to be unrealistic, yet these things could be completely possible one day.

I love this quote from Arthur C. Clarke:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

AWW: What 5 books do you think everyone should read?
Michelle: My current favorites are:
  • Anything by Dan Brown  
  • The Tiger's Curse Series by Colleen Houck 
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett & illustrated by Ron Barrett
  • Wander Dust!                       

AWW: What’s your favorite place to crash and read, and favorite snack?
Michelle: I have the most obnoxious, fluffy couch known to man. When I’m reading, I love to sink into the pillows and relax. I should say my favorite snack is a granola bar or something healthy like that, but then I’d just be lying. I’m a total chocoholic. There should be a support group for it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Michelle's pretty cool, right? If you want to learn more, check out these sites:
And here's the official book trailer, which is, you know, pretty amazing:

But wait! THERE'S MORE!
Michelle has generously offered a prize package for readers and blog tour visitors here at A Word's Worth.
In case you can't tell from the photo...the grand prize includes a signed paperback of Wander Dust, an amazing Tolkien necklace (that I'd really like to keep for myself, but I'm sharing), and signed bookmarks!
I'm also going to have 2 winners who get signed bookmarks!

I'm going to make it really easy to enter: Just fill out the Rafflecopter form! If for some reason it's not working (I'm still learning how to use it), leave me a comment and let me know what's going on. And, because I know this is an awesome prize package, you have a few options for extra entries.


Railroad John and the Red Rock Run

Railroad John and the Red Rock Run
Tony Crunk & Michael Austin (illustrator)
Peachtree Publishers, 2006

I'm a huge fan of tall tales, and Railroad John has all the flair and flavor of my beloved 'classic' tall tales while maintaining a sense of uniqueness. Love it!

Poor Lonesome Bob is finally gonna get hitched, to the illusive Wildcat Annie, and he's terrified he's going to be late. Because if the train's late getting there, Annie's going to leave -- she waits for nobody. And of course, in true tall tale fashion, there is obstacle after obstacle after obstacle that must be out-thunk, out-run, and just plain kick-butt-to-win. No worries, though, Railroad John is proud of his record: forty years and never late!

It's whirlwind ride, a hair-raising adventure, with colorful names and incredible escapes. The illustrations have a vintage, old movie feel that only helps create the atmosphere necessary for a convincing tall tale. Which is to say: quite my kind of story!

Book provided by publisher for review.

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians

The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians
Carla Morris & Brad Sneed (illustrator)
Peachtree Publishers, 2007

As a girl whose earliest memories are of the University library where my mom was completing her Master's degree, and who grew up to earn her own Master of Library Science degree, I love this book. Like, love it.

Melvin is one of those cool kids that goes to the library after school every day, and he's made friends with a trio of reference librarians I would love to know in real life! Together the foursome discover any number of things, learning not only how to use the library, but how to learn. These days of exploration and quality library time stick with Melvin all the way through school, and on into college...but is that the end, or only the beginning? Because as I know from personal experience: you can take the kid outta the library, but you can't take the Library outta the kid.

Not only is the story cute and fun, but the illustrations are colorful and quirky - the perfect compliment for the adventures taking place. Definitely a keeper, and one I look forward to sharing with my future little library-going children.

Book provided by publisher for review.


J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien
Mark Horne
Thomas Nelson, 2011

When I saw this up for grabs on BookSneeze, I knew I wanted to review it. Even though I am crazy about The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I know very little about their author. Having previously discovered that the Christian Encounters biography series is a great way to get a 'crash course' introduction to someone, I settled in for a 'get-to-know-you' session with Tolkien.

Horne does a wonderful job of breaking Tolkien's life into manageable chapters, and corresponding them with Tolkienesque chapter titles that made my inner geek smile. Beginning at the very beginning, Horne looks at Tolkien's life from a dual-perspective: how it impacted the man, and how it influenced the writing. Drawing from previously written, more extensive biographies as well as Tolkien's letters and writings, Horne creates a biography that is condensed without feeling lacking - an enjoyable read, but also substantive. And, of course, there's attention paid to Tolkien's faith and its role.

The writing of the biography is such that I am led from chapter to chapter - not just in the text, but in Tolkien's life as well. Spanning cultural and political changes (Tolkien 'came of age' during WWI, losing all but one of his closest friends), it's interesting to look at how his life experiences may have shaped his writing -- and I'm a literature major who hates to superimpose meaning on texts! In this instance, there's a compelling case. With this informative, though necessarily brief, introduction to the personal story of one of my favorite authors, I now feel compelled to track down some more in-depth information -- and I'm probably starting with Horne's own bibliography!

Book provided by publisher for review.


The Other Countess

The Other Countess
Eve Edwards
Delacorte, 2011 (originally published 2010, UK)

The Elizabethan court - a place and time when chivalry was everything, and maintaining the proper (court-approved) connections required dedication and commitment. Not to mention funds. A time of intrigue and social status, of fine dress and finer manners. A beautiful world - unless you're on the outside looking in.

For Ellie, her father's all-consuming obsession with alchemy has effectively destroyed her chances for joining court. Though she is Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime, her title is only a title, and offers her no foothold for escape. Likewise, Will - the handsome Earl of Dorset - has also had his chances rattled and impaired by Ellie's father, Sir Arthur, who nearly bankrupted Will's father. With this shared history, there's no love lost between Will and Ellie. Until, a few years later, as Will is trying to impress the Queen for funds to save his family, and he encounters the fiesty, lovely, mysterious Lady Eleanor. What follows is a story of the age-old struggle between heart and duty. Friendships are forged and tested, mysteries are unveiled, and events contrive to send our cast of characters down unexpected paths.

The Other Countess is a beautiful story about learning to see past your prejudices, and deciding what really matters in life. It's a descriptive historical fiction, without getting too bogged down in the details. I feel like I have a better sense of how society itself functioned under the celebrated Virgin Queen, and definitely made a connection with the characters. Edwards did a great job of making them realistic and accessible, despite the years and differences between their lives and those of readers. Their context may be different, but their struggles and dreams are not so far-removed from my own. And their stories caught my interest, making me devour the book and want more! I'm looking forward to picking up the story in future books!

ARC provided by my personal library.


His Good Opinion

His Good Opinion
Nancy Kelley

Today, I am super excited to share with you my review of His Good Opinion! Nancy Kelley is one of my #TangledJaneite buddies, and co-owner of Indie Jane. We have some hilarious conversations, and I was honored to be one of her beta readers during the final stages of prepping HGO for publication. I guess I did a good job, because she trusted me enough to let me do an official review of the finished product! And let me tell you, it's even better this go-round!

His Good Opinion is Pride and Prejudice, from Darcy's perspective. Different from Mr Darcy's Diary, this is a complete novel that follows the Austen original with painstaking, careful attention. But it also fills in the gaps of the story. You know, like how exactly did Darcy discover Georgianna and Wickham, and how did he work through that near-disaster? What went on when he was in London, or at Rosings Park, away from Elizabeth? And, perhaps the most pressing question: What did Darcy do after Elizabeth refused him? Nancy does a wonderful job of answering these questions - and more! - while maintaining an authentic feel and tone. All her characters feel true-to-form, and I especially loved getting to see the relationships between Darcy and Bingley, and Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam.

The story itself is well-paced and well-formed, and the 'behind-the-scenes' material (aka: the stuff Jane Austen left to our imagination) does much to further the story. Instead of going straight from the disastrous first proposal to the reunion at Pemberley, where we meet a more 'mellow' Darcy, Kelley takes the time to explore Darcy's psyche. In sorting through Darcy's reactions to Elizabeth's words, and his subsequent examination of his own words and actions, we are introduced to a man who's wholly human - and entirely lovable. Not to mention one super appealing hero. And he's hopelessly in love with the one woman he can't have -- or can he?

His Good Opinion is a beautiful new look at one of the most timeless love stories ever written. It's fun, it's fresh, it's detailed and delightful. And it hints at so much more to the story - just what is Col. Fitzwilliam up to, anyway? Alas, I must wait for those answers (yes, Nancy Kelley is working on a new novel aready!), but until then, Darcy is quite satisfactory.

Digital ARC provided by author for review.


Giveaway Winner!

Okay, so I had some difficulties getting a review finished for today, but...how about a GIVEAWAY WINNER?!

Yeah, I thought you'd like that.

This morning was the cut-off to enter to win an ebook copy of Double Clutch.
There were 3 entries, and when I consulted Random.org, I got this result:

And just who is lucky, winning commenter number 3?

So glad you asked...

Not only does Jessica crack me up, but she's got a really nifty giveaway of her own going on right now! If you like Mr. Darcy and Starbucks, you definitely want to check it out.

Jess, I'm fixing to email you!

And to everyone else reading this: there's going to be another AMAZING giveaway coming up soon. Real soon. Next-weekend-soon. Stay tuned!