Friday, February 17, 2012

Austenland, Positively, Beyond the Highland Mist

So, as everyone knows, I try to do one Austenesque book every 3 weeks to a month or so. This month it was Austenland by Shannon Hale.
Here's the summary from Goodreads:
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

I know it might shock some of you, but I didn't like this book. It has no real plot, and it's hard to know who is a visitor and who is an actor at Austenland. Until the end of course. Nothing happens in Austenland, is the real problem. It's also a little predictable about who Jane is going to fall in love with. Only Jane, the main character is developed since it's told from her perspective, and she's annoying and self centered. I would have liked to have seen more of the other characters who worked at Austenland. And the place Jane goes to ins't even called Austenland, it's called Pembrook Park, so naturally I think the title is askew. Askew is currently one of my fav words, FYI. Anways, I don't recommend this book, because it bored me to death since not much happens in it.


Emmy is a girl. She lives with her mom. They both are HIV positive. When Emmy's mom gets AIDs and dies, Emmy goes to live with her dad and his pregnant OCD wife Meg. Emmy has always wanted to be normal. To not have a life regulated by taking pills so she doesn't get AIDS too. A life, she thinks, isn't worth living without her mom. Until her dad sends her to Camp Positive, a summer camp for girls who are HIV positive. It's a lot like a regular summer camp, but with girls like Emmy, girls who understand. It is there that Emmy makes some friends and realizes that life is worth living after all, and that we all have something to offer the world with our lives no matter who we are.

While Positively has a good message to it, I didn't enjoy reading this one. Emmy is an annoying narrator, but I guess I don't know what it's like to lose a parent either. She pushes other people who care about her away, and stops caring about life after her mom's death. I just wanted to scream at her, "Live Girl Live!". I thought it was wrong of her to be mean to Meg and Nicole who were just trying to comfort/support her. And also, I wanted to see more of how Camp Positive influenced her life, but most of the story is about Emmy's feelings.

I give Positively 3/5 stars.


Summary from Good Reads:

He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . .
An alluring laird...
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart--until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length--but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.
A prisoner in time...
She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side....

I really did like BTHM, but I could have done without the whole hot and steamy scenes. The characters are very well developed, especially Hawk, Adam, and Adrienne, although it would have been nice to see things a little more from Adam's perspective. I loved Adrienne's character--adaptable, easy going yet serious, brave, bold, daring, beautiful. It's no wonder she's Hawks dream woman! I look forward to reading more Highlander books, and would like to know more about the Fairy world within them. The plot for this book is interesting (I need synomyns for interesting FYI), but I felt it could have used some work, and been turned into more than a man-seduces-woman story. The plot is also a little predict. This novel it's what I expected, so you could say I got what I expected. Overall, though, it's pretty good.