Monday, June 26, 2017

Your Guide to Summer Reading!

Summer reading season is finally here!

Today I'm kicking off my first official week of summer with a trip to visit my little brother. To give you a little background, my brother is in training to be a golf pro, which means that for his college program he spends most of his time on internships rather than on his actual college campus. This means that he's spent most of his college semesters in some of the most beautiful places in the country. Last year, my mother and I visited him on St. Simon's Island on the coast of Georgia for my spring break. This year, we're kicking off the start of summer with a trip to see him in the Hamptons. I am so looking forward to a few days of relaxation, sun, and of course, summer reads.
(P.S. If you've got the scoop on the Hamptons, send recommendations our way! This will be our first time visiting the area.)

While packing for the trip, I ran into that classic bookworm dilemma: which books to take with me?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me ask for recommendations from the stack of potential beach reads I plucked from my own shelves. (You'll have to stay tuned to see which ones made it into my suitcase!) It took me a good half hour of deliberations before I stuffed three into my bag. Of course, I then also debated bringing my Kindle in case of a bookish emergency. (Tell me I'm not the only one?!)

All this to say that picking out a book -- whether it's for a day at the pool or a weeklong vacation -- can be a daunting task. Luckily, our friends at The Expert Editor have created a clever flowchart to help direct you to your next engaging read.

From savoring the classics to venturing into more modern literature, there's a recommendation for every type of bookworm. Check out the flowchart here and come back to tell me which book The Expert Editor recommends for your reading needs!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: The Jane Austen Project

If you're a follower of Modern Mrs. Darcy (I'm sure by now you can tell that I am an avid fan of Anne Bogel), then you may have glimpsed The Jane Austen Project on her summer reading guide for this year. I've said this before -- and I think it's important to be honest -- I am not a true Austenite. I've only read Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility and started to read Emma but found Emma herself to be, well...annoying. (I know, I know, she deserves a second chance.) I say this because I've had a couple readers reach out to ask if you needed to be a true fan of Jane Austen in order to enjoy this novel and the answer is certainly not. While there were references to all of Austen's works -- some that I didn't understand for lack of reading -- I felt that my reading experience was just as pleasant and that I understood the story perfectly.

 The adventure takes place in 1815, shortly before the death of Jane Austen from a mysterious and drawn-out illness. Rachel and Liam were selected for a mission -- to travel back in time, infiltrate the Austen's social circle, and return to the future with a missing Austen manuscript. Rachel and Liam pose as wealthy siblings, recently arrived from the West Indies. Both Rachel and Liam are Austenites, and while they are intent on completing their mission, life in the Regency era begins to grow on them. They struggle to navigate their genuine affection for their new friends and their questions about the cost of changing the past, and by proxy, the post-apocalyptic world to which they will return.

What I will say is that this novel started out a little slow for my taste. It wasn't until about eighty pages in that I started to feel the desire to read uninterrupted, as the first bit was really the setting up of the novel and the plot itself didn't get going until after that. I saw many readers who were uncomfortable with the level of sexuality in this book, but I wasn't bothered by it at all. In fact, I thought that the contrast between the strict prudence of the Regency era and our own social rules was interesting; it brought to light some of the feminist issues that Jane and her contemporaries dealt with in a world where men controlled every aspect of women's lives. I was interested in the character relationships as they changed throughout the book and had one or two moments where I felt my heart swell or shrink on behalf of a character. The time travel element was captivating as well -- it brought about big questions (the type that make your brain hurt) and I loved thinking about the implications of changing history, for better and for worse. This was a story that had me rooting for so many of its characters, and I have to admit that I wish there was a sequel in the works, as I would happily re-immerse myself for another adventure into the past.

Bottom-Line Rating: 4/5

Title: The Jane Austen Project
Author: Kathleen A. Flynn
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2017
Price: $10 on Amazon
ISBN: 0062651269
Format: Paperback
Source: Public Library