Tag: Jane Austen

Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth Grace

Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 18 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm Promotion I expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding my own traction into audiobooks and the way in which storytelling took on a deeper layer of immersion for me as a listerner. Meanwhile, I started to curate my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue as well as a regional library who uses CloudLibrary; I offset borrowing audiobooks through libraries with an active subscription to Scribd (for audiobooks). I batch my membership months with Audible to several months per year and purchase a few audiobooks whilst I have it active as well as enjoying selecting free Audible Original audiobooks.

This is the long history of how I entered into becoming an audiobook reviewer – it was through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions I originally crossed paths with Ms Christina Boyd with The Quill Collective (via the ‘Rational Creatures’ audio blog tour) and thereby have enjoyed keeping in the loop with their after canon stories connected to Jane Austen. This is how I came to know ‘Yuletide’ and now ‘Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl’ of whom is my favourite character from ‘Pride and Prejudice’; my favourite canon novel of Austen’s.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Elizabeth: Headstrong Girl” via Christina Boyd @ The Quill Collective in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Being a Janeite,

I have a fierce appreciation for The Quill Collective:

I’ve been a Janeite for a very long time – during #AustenInAugust [2017], I had the joyful pleasure of submitting a guest essay to commemorate how Austen has been moving in and out of my life over the years which ran on a featured day on Roof Beam Reader’s blog. It is in of itself a quite all-inclusive look at how Jane Austen has left a strong impression on my life. Do read it if you have a chance to peer into how Austen and her stories have given me a lifetime of reflective rumination & joy.

And, ever since my essay was published I have made fervent attempts of re-establishing myself into my Classics Club TBR – to source and seek out works of Classical Lit I’ve earmarked to be read and for the vast majority of those pursuits, it is the canon of Jane Austen I desire most to focus upon. I have the canon in print in several editions but most of those are packed save three and it is those three which I am in pursuit of finishing first whilst continuing to seek out after canon novelists and short story writers who are giving me a well of presence within those worlds that not only honour Austen’s own words but allow us to carry forward into the worlds themselves.

Whilst I was working on this featured post for the blog tour – I had an unexpected discovery – Audible now offers a more friendly budget price for listeners who are not in a hurry to purchase audiobooks (as choosing one per month was enough anxiety for me to last lifetimes) but rather would love to listen to an unlimited amount of them which are provided within the catalogue of the new listen and return service. Similar truly to why I am a lover of Scribd’s services for audiobooks.

Guess what the vast majority of those ‘free to listen in unlimited amounts’ per month include!? *Classics!* Including a fair amount of Jane Austen!!! I even found Rosamunde Pike’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Emma Thompson’s “Emma”!! Imagine?! I was truly taken aback and gobsmacked — another reason I am blessed to have a tablet now for listening to audiobooks & music – as it allowed me to accept a 30 day trial right now and remain within the grip of the Classics!

That news aside, what I LOVE about the Quill Collective is how they honour Jane Austen and how they remain wholly passionate about publishing stories which celebrates the canon but allows the writers they publish to re-envision those characters in such a refreshingly new way as to give each of us a new reason to seek Austen and to seek after canon stories of her collective works. These are the stories by a publisher who understands why we are such discerning readers of Classical Lit and the after canon retellings and sequels which allow us to ruminate further on those worlds… they give us the same passionate response in story as we personally give ourselves over to ponder whenever we pick up a story of Austen. And, for me – the highest praise indeed is their propensity of producing quality over quantity and giving all of us such a wonderful catalogue of stories I truly believe Austen herself would be wicked giddy over seeing published.

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An informative conversation with Elizabeth Grace:

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

the questions were ones I provided and I delighted in her responses!

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As you’re narrating an audiobook with a collection of stories inspired by Jane Austen – I was curious, what first drew your eye to the project and what do you personally love about the voice, style and legacy of Ms Austen?

Grace responds: I was drawn to this project by an author I had started working with called Elizabeth Adams who wrote “Something Like Regret” for the anthology. I was just finishing up with her novel, “Green Card” and was looking for a new project. She recommended me to Christina Boyd who then asked me to audition for OHG. I hadn’t narrated an anthology before but I loved it.

Each story has such personality and a style that is at once individual to the author yet also completely in keeping with Austen’s original characters and wit. I think that is my favourite thing about her writing, how well it translates. It makes me realise how recent her writing was in the grand history of time and that while we think their society and thoughts are vastly different to ours, we haven’t really changed all that much.

I believe that is the best singular truth of insight into Jane Austen’s writings I’ve ever heard – how continuously relatable she is due to how we’ve become such an unchanged society. For all the progresses and all the developments of how live has shifted forward per generation, there are still telling truths about how she wrote about society and the pressures of how life can sometimes become too measured by what society believes it can dictate out of a life. I love the serendipitous nature of how you became attached to OHG; I tend to think those are the better moments of our lives – how we cross paths with people who have an important reason of being in our life at any particular point in time. It speaks to how we’re all connected. Whilst at the same time – how some stories ‘find us’ rather than how we presume to believe ‘we find them’.

Of all the stories of Austen, my first introduction to her stories was through “Pride and Prejudice” and thus, Elizabeth has been my favourite Austen heroine ever since the adaptation featuring Keira Knightley was released (as it coincided with my first readings). As you were reading the stories you’ve brought to life – what did you intuit out of them about Elizabeth and about her nature as one of our leading ladies who has withstood time to affect us on such a personal level of appreciation?

Grace responds: I have been asked similar questions before and I am always brought back to Tessa Dare’s wonderful foreword from the anthology. She talks about why Elizabeth is such a popular character and why we continue to relate to her so well and she says it is because “Elizabeth is just like me – but awesome”. I think that is so true, because she is extremely human and altogether female. She is clever and yet judgemental, witty and at times cutting, self-aware and often a little self-deprecating. You can feel her battling with the same traits that we battle with today and she does so with this beautiful honesty and vulnerability which allows her to accept when she is wrong but also speak out against her better judgement when she needs to defend herself, her family or her opinion.

I have so much Elizabeth Bennett inside me (as well as Jane Eyre and Jo March, and lest I forget Anne Shirley) that it isn’t too remarkable to me to realise why I haven’t found myself attached to another novel by Jane Austen (as of yet – ‘Persuasion’ has a new audiobook narration waiting in the wings for me via NetGalley) inasmuch as my absolute admiration, dedication and passion for ‘Pride and Prejudice’; singularly it is hard to discern, is it strictly due to Lizzie or is it equally split between her and Mr Darcy – of whom I’ve previously disclosed is my first and only (thus far into my fourth decade) book boyfriend! I believe that’s the key draw really – seeing someone who is not shy about speaking her mind, bluntly so at moments and honestly evoking a reaction out of others in order for her voice to be heard when it infers an importance to her to be said. In defence of family and self – there are no truer moments for which we all need to remember to listen to our intuition and feel confidence in our voice.

Isn’t that the mark of true classically perennial stories? Where you can revisit them and still see why you originally loved them but then find these extra layers of genius within how they were writ? I felt that way when I first started watching “Anne with an E” via NetFlix and when I was listening to the audiobooks for the first three “Anne of Green Gables” stories via Post Hypnotic Press – wherein I was seeing Marilla in a whole new ray of light wherein previously (per my younger visitation into this world) I was finding myself only drawn to Anne.

Did you have a favourite story in the collection?
And if so, what was it about it that drew you in as deeply as it had?

Grace responds: I really enjoyed each of the stories for different reasons. I recently did a reading of “Atmospheric Disturbances” by Christina Morland for the book tour and I loved that one because I really enjoy narrating arguments! I am not sure why, but I think its because of the fast pace and the high stakes.

Other memorable stories are “Love in the Limelight” by Beau North because of the amazing backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age. The one that moved me the most during my narration was “A Mate for Life” by Christina Boyd, I am sure you can hear my voice crack towards the end. There is something so nostalgic and tender about Elizabeth as an elderly woman reflecting on a life well lived while watching her grand-daughter begin her own journey into adulthood that is so touching.

OOh! I love when a narrator has to go head to head – character on character and walk us through the paces of a full-on row! It gives such a realistic edge to the story and such a believable measure of time for seeing the characters move through their lives – likewise, between the rows and the emotional anguish sequences – I daresay, I credit a lot to the stamina and the performances by narrators who can take us tenfold into their journey by voicing stories with such beautiful dimension! Those are dearly my favourite moments – where you can really hear and sense the ’emotions’ behind a narrator’s voice and how through their performance you can feel intuitively closer to when they had originally sat to read the audio play. As to me, audiobooks bring back why live radio theatre used to be as popular as it had been – audiobooks are the new variant of those radio plays – where it is all vocalised and it etches into your heart, encompasses your imagination and gives you this immersive depth that you cannot get otherwise by print or screen. It is very interpersonal and I love the effect of it.

I oft wonder how narrators approach their performances – did you do any prep work for narrating this series of stories and/or how did you approach getting into the head and heart of Elizabeth through the different incantations that were presented therein?

Grace responds: I would love to tell you that I prepped for weeks to get into Elizabeth’s mind and understand her inside out but the truth is I learned more about her during the process than beforehand.

Working with such talented authors as those featured in OHG, they set up the circumstances so perfectly you are given all you need to know to get stuck straight in. Like you, I was familiar with Elizabeth from reading “Pride and Prejudice“, watching the films and TV adaptations and (as a girl called Elizabeth) being likened to her for a lot of my life! I had a good grounding on what she stands for and who she is. It helps that she is super relatable so it is easy to put some of  myself into her which is really what we, as actors do. Rather than thinking so much on the lines of “what would my character do?”, I try to think, given everything I know about my character, if I was in this situation what would I do/how would I react?

OOh no standing on airs here – I love getting the ‘behind-the-book’ trivia bits about how stories are writ and performed – whatever inks out of being the truthful accounting of how a story was either first created or thus after performed are the right answers to give to my readers. I oft wonder though – isn’t that similarly true for regular performances as well? To best get into the headspace of a character you first have to take that fuller immersion into performing them – rooting out their essence and getting a niche of a feel for how they ought to be portrayed? At least, that is what I gather from afar?

I also love the personal touches you etch into this performance – as you said, you took it to a personal heart to heart level and inverted it to being a reflection of your own reactions and responses rather than simply leaning on ‘what Elizabeth Bennett might have done herself’. I think that’s champion and the best route into how to have obtained the right balance in your performance; as said, I have noted things from afar (from loving theatre, radio, television and film) but I never knew if any of those observations had merit as I haven’t yet worked in theatre.

Were there any secondary characters in this collection of stories you felt stood out to you the most?

Grace responds: Darcy can’t not stand out in the anthology, he plays such a significant role. Again, harping back to Tessa Dare’s foreword, I love her line about loving Darcy because he is smart enough to love Elizabeth. While all the other men are fawning over Jane, he is drawn to Elizabeth for all the reasons we love her.

In each of these stories we really see his tenderness towards Elizabeth shine. This is really prominent for me in “Resistive Currents” by Karen M Cox where he really displays this kindness and loyalty we don’t always get to see. I think I realised that while he is often played as being super stoic and harsh, it is really important to also portray his nervousness and protectiveness. Again, these are traits we would all have to some degree given his experiences and what he has been through.

I was immediately thinking about Peter Calpaldi as ‘Doctor Who’ – who apparently became one of the most unrelatable Doctors (according to those I’ve spoken with) and yet, he was so endeared to me for reasons you’ve broached about Darcy. It goes back to the layers of a character’s soul and the artfulness approach in how through their story and the stories after those initial ones which reveal more of those hidden layers that might oft go overlooked or become discarded in favour of presumptive prejudgements on their character. For me, Calpaldi brought a richness to the role – the emotional unresolved angst of an immortal person who could no longer live with the guilt and conscience of what he had done, whom he could not save and the weight of how the universe constantly pulled him into circumstances to act in impossible situations to resolve whatever wrong needed righted. In essence, he was portraying another situation that Dr Beckett found himself in perpetually in ‘Quantum Leap’.

I believe Darcy fits into this bracket as well – people have such strong reactions to Darcy – to his manners and to his speech that they sometimes fail to see the ‘real’ Darcy behind the gruffiness of his personality and to peer into what is motivating him to act and speak in the ways in which he is presenting himself to his peers and neighbours. As you said – more layers there, we just have to be open to finding them, understanding them and accepting Darcy on his own terms – very much like Lizzie had herself.

What is more challenging – tackling a character as renown as Elizabeth Bennett (or any Classical character) or having to give life and voice to a character fresh out of an author’s imagination?

Grace responds: There are real advantages and disadvantages to both, as you can imagine. Taking on characters that are well know, you are faced with other peoples’ preconceived notions of how they believe the character should sound or behave. However, it also means so much more when they tell you afterwards how much they feel you encapsulated that character for them. I do love creating them for myself, having the time to really understand someone new and be able to guide an audiences perception but when I do this, I am always also working with author who gave birth to them and also has a view on how they should sound so it’s not so different in that respect.

What are your favourite takeaways from this collection as a whole and what did you feel was the greatest message that would impact listeners and readers alike?

Grace responds: I think for me, the fact that each story is set in either a different time period or a different scenario really brings back the idea of Jane Austen’s initial writing being so incredibly modern. That we can pick these characters up and transport them this way while maintaining their original character traits and even literally their words in some cases just goes to show how revolutionary and natural her writing was. I think the anthology is very pertinent for women at the moment during this feminist wave where we support each other, we have opinions and we speak our minds and ultimately, we strive to be obstinate and headstrong.

What do you feel are harder to narrate? Short stories or novels and why?

Grace responds: I think novels are trickier, simply due to the length of them. Short stories tend to be very dynamic and fast paced as they try to fit in a fair amount of drama into a relatively short amount of time. They are also less complex with regards to dramatic reading in terms of chronology and subtext. Usually we find the characters in short stories have very clear needs and obstacles from the outset which for a narrator requires a little less planning. Novels are longer and so you need to be more conscious of maintaining the momentum of the story throughout and you need to really consider the characters motives at each point – what do they know, what don’t they know, what is the immediate need and what’s the end game for them etc. However, I do love novels for this complexity too, it’s often more challenging and you can get really stuck into the story, whereas with anthologies, I can feel like I am on a roll, then the story concludes and I am on to the next.

How did your impression of Elizabeth change from “Pride and Prejudice” to “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”? What do you think became reflected through these new stories that perhaps Austen left out of disclosing herself on her behalf? As much as how did it feel to voice such a literary heroine as Elizabeth and share her name?

Grace responds: From a purely feminist perspective, when I look back on Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” with all the knowledge I have now, it feels like she could have done more. Please don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t want the story to change but after reading of her in OHG doing all these amazing things, I feel bad that ultimately, by accident in a way, she ends up bending to societies’ expectations.

In “The House Party” by Janetta James, Elizabeth is surrounded by the suffragette movement and while she supports these women and their fight, she doesn’t get stuck in herself. It took me a moment to realise how very “Elizabeth” that is. And I am the same. I wonder what adrenaline and desperation Emily Davison felt before she flung herself in front of the King’s horse, but I will likely never know.

Like Elizabeth Bennet, I am woman of relative means, I have always lived a comfortable enough life to see the other side not so far away and to support and sympathise, say the right words but not necessarily feel that desperation to join the physical fight. Not everyone can feel like that, otherwise everyday would be a revolution I suppose, but did Jane Austen not feel desperate as a female writer in the early 1800s?

I wonder if it crossed her mind to make Elizabeth more revolutionary, but if she feared that it would make her a lot less likable at the time. I imagine she would be proud to see her heroine become one of the only female engineering students at Fordyce University, or sticking up for her sister to a big movie executive in Hollywood. We have the amazing ability to make Elizabeth’s options in life limitless. As a fellow Elizabeth, I thank women like Jane Austen for giving us a heroine that does withstand the passage of time and allows fantastic, modern authors to give new direction to her and inspire the next generation.

When you’re not narrating and performing what renews your spirit?

Grace responds: I love to travel which is why lockdown has been so hard for me. I am real social butterfly and love nothing more than seeing new places and being close to people – 2 meters just isn’t near enough! I have found solace however in my work, meeting some amazing, creative people in these authors and working with them to create something special. I write this from a hotel on an island in the Canaries called Lanzarote. It’s a little 10-day getaway that I will be paying for in isolation for 2 weeks on my return but will hopefully feel refreshed and renewed!

I am a traveller myself and fully respect the angst! Even though we, as a family have grown to love our car picnics and takeaway meals – there is something to be said for real sit down meals out of the house – which thankfully we did do the night prior to when this post runs on Jorie Loves A Story as we were craving an evening out where we could do something pre-pandemic normal and learnt our local pub was at half capacity and had an available table. I cannot express how comforting it was to order our favourite Friday night meal (ie. sloppy joes with fries) and try a new dark lager beer with a toasted after note! Even our server was thankful we were there and it was wonderful to see her after such a long absence! It was only the second time we’ve gone back to eat out – the first was during an epic storm ahead of a 12 hour shift for Mum and that was only a quick grab and go meal in a takeaway restaurant with no one else round. No, last night it felt more like we had captured a dose of normalcy and it felt brilliant!

Like you, I find solace in how I can adapt to what life brings to our path and how we can remain in contact with people in however they enter our lives. My blog is a labour of love and a saving grace which allows me to focus outside my personal adversities and give back to book world as much as it is a journalled collection of my readerly adventures and the curious thoughts which stories inspire me to share with fellow bookish geeks who seek out book blogs to read to find new inspiration in their own bookish lives. As bookish joy shared is tenfold better than never to have shared it at all.

I pray your holiday gives you what you are hoping it shall reveal and I definitely understand how it is worth the inconvenience of self-isolation on return because of what it will give you once you’ve arrived. We are all finding our way in this new situation and finding that if we keep ourselves adaptive and bendable we’ll make it through just fine.

Many blessings to you, Ms Grace and thank you for blessing me with this lovely conversation! Some of your replies I left as they were as I hadn’t had the chance to listen to the fuller contents of the audiobook prior to this being shared on my blog. I enjoyed your revelations and cannot wait to peer into those sections and re-visit your takeaways and comments.

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Audiobook Blog Tour especially for #Janeites & #Austenites | A mini Review and a Conversation about “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl” (Vol.5: the Quill Collective, series) narrated by Elizabeth GraceElizabeth
Subtitle: Obstinate Headstrong Girl
by (Editor) Christina Boyd
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Elizabeth Grace

With timeless verve, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, bares her intimate thoughts while offering biting social commentary through a collection of romantic re-imaginings, sequels, and prequels, set in the Regency to present day by ten popular Austenesque authors.

Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare. “I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter, January 1813―and we think so too!

Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.

Genres: After Canons, Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08FCSJ33D

Also by this author: Rational Creatures

Also in this series: Rational Creatures


Published by The Quill Collective LLC

on 31st August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes (unabridged)

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 5 September, 2020 by jorielov in After the Canon, Anthology Collection of Stories, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Short Stories or Essays

#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena Richins

Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours since [2016], where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sense without Sensibility” direct from the author Keena Richins in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how Jorie is spending the New Year 2020 lost in #JaneAusten:

Some years organically shape themselves into how your bookish & readerly life is going to manifest itself. For me, 2020 soon alerted me to the fact it was finally the year where I could re-shift my focus back into Jane Austen’s canon whilst entertaining her after canon sequels & retellings which I have been enjoying since I first started blogging my readerly life in [2013]. Prior to these years as a blogger and an avidly joyful tweeter – I never sorted out which of the after canon novelists I wanted to read due to the sheer amount of stories which are regularly published!

My journey of course began in December, 2013 when I read J. Marie Croft’s “Love at First Slight” which restylised “Pride and Prejudice” (singularly my favourite by far and one I highlighed in 2017 during #AustenInAugustRBR). From there I moved into my first “Sense & Sensibility” retelling entitled “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale” by Rebecca H. Jamison proving that despite not reading nor seeing the motion picture adaption of the original with Emma Thompson (as this was a special gift to movie tie-in from my Mum; both the novel & the screenplay at time of release) you can definitely alight into a respun Austen story! I read this in August of 2014 (still within my first year as a book blogger) whilst years later I would re-cross paths with the author due to following Janeite & Austenite group author blogs and participating in INSPY related readathons!

Conversely, my attempts at participating in Roof Beam Reader‘s annual (until it took a sabbatical) Austen in August event was both productive and futile; depending on how you view my history of participation! Laughs at self.

When I soaked into “Liam Darcy: I Loathe You” by Heidi Jo Doxey (May, 2015) I learnt that there is still much to be learnt about comedic & satire writings in relation to Jane Austen! By October 2016, I was discovering “Sketching Character” (a variant of “Pride and Prejudice”) by Pamela Lynne. Yet in 2018, I discovered my first ‘not my cuppa’ variation of “Persuasion” whilst by November of the same year, I gushed over my first #25PagePreview of reading “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi!

Which brings me to the incredibly layered and wickedly smashing trilogy by Collins Hemingway entitled “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen”! First read in 2018 and finished in 2019 – this became ‘the’ novel for all Janeites as I have regularly attested in my ruminations on the series behalf which acculmuated this New Year 2020 in the capstone interview I featured on Mr Hemingway’s dedication to bringing “Jane” to life as eloquently as he had! (see also reviews of Volume One, Volume Two & Volume Three)

In 2019 – I also had the honour of discovering the Quill Collective – of whom published a delightful Jane Austen anthology wherein all the writers took a round robin approach to adding in their variations to each of the canonical stories of Jane’s. The audiobook truly had a strong impact on me and I am not even done listening to it yet and ruminating over it as some portions of it I had to withhold listening til I could read the originals. This was meant to lead-in to my listening of a second anthology by the Quill Collective between November & December, 2019 entitled “Yuletide” which is a variation of “Pride and Prejudice”!!

Sadly – I had a hard ending to 2019 – from October – December my health was beyond afflicted and in January, 2020 my focus was simply removed from reading altogether. I barely blinked online – by blog or Twitter and focused more on showcasing #TopTenTuesday than reviews or features. It is only now in February where I have a renewal of spirit despite having a well of inactivity and a respite of absence from reading altogether as highlighted in my recent #BookishNotBookish.

Except to say – one audiobook series which is in of itself a variant of Jane Austen’s legacy is what truly helped ‘pull me out of my bookish funk’ and began to reinspire me to read again – the #JaneAustensDragons series by Maria Grace! I was able to share my initial takeaways and impressions on behalf of the first audiobook narrated by Benjamin Fife entitled “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon” – whilst I also featured an interactive, candid and insightful interview with Mr Fife. The sequel “Longbourn: Dragon Entail” is next in line to be featured before I reveal my thoughts on the third in sequence which is “Netherfield: Rogue Dragon”!

In a recent convo on Twitter with @KhatriHina I realised I needed to break the trend of ‘not reading’ the original canons of Jane and to resume my love of her after canons. Thus, we’re reading “Emma” first and then moving into her other works whilst as this blog tour via Poetic Book Tours implies I am also reading her after canons in succession betwixt and between those readings as well! I want to dive into Jennetta James’s “Suddenly Mrs Darcy” as much as finally feel rooted into “Yuletide” in order to properly share my reactions to both as I move through their stories.

I am going to alternate from reading the books I currently have visible on my shelves (ie. “Northanger Abbey”, “Mansfield Park” & “Persuasion”) whilst borrowing the others except for “Pride & Prejudice” as I’ve read it oft enough to bypass it this year – though I do want to finally finish Stephanie Barron’s first Jane Austen Mysteries “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor”). “Emma” is being borrowed on audiobook and I am thankful for it as I am striving for balance between what I read in print and what I listen to in audiobook.

I might have taken the long road back into reading #JaneAusten but I am appreciative of the fact that despite the adverse years of 2018-19 where my migraines raged – this New Year 2020 it is blissful to be migraine-free allowing me the grace of realigning back into Classical Literature & my selections of Non-Fiction which had to be back-burnered until the migraine lost their grip on me.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena RichinsSense without Sensibility
by Keena Richins
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

After a stroke that devastates the mind of her father, Elinor expects her life will never be the same. But she wasn’t expecting to lose her job and her family home thanks to a legal technicality.

Facing ruin, Elinor prepares to fight against the selfish, cruel man who would ensure that ruin. However, Edward turns out to be the opposite, a kind soul who only wants to fulfill his duty. So Elinor hatches a new plan: get Edward on her side and utilize their own legal technicality. The only problem? Edward would have to go against his very influential and wealthy family.

Would he risk losing everything–his job, his family, and his massive inheritance–to save Elinor?

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Re-telling &/or Sequel


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781074858070

Published by Self Published

on 23rd June, 2019

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 286

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The Pemberley Estates series:

Book One: Persuading Him (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Two: Persuading Her (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Three: Sense without Sensibility (A Modern Sense & Sensibility Re-telling)

Read the Author’s Guest post on the tour which explains why #stroke is an important part of the story within “Sense without Sensibility” whilst read my previous posts about how this has impacted my own life with my father. (Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving)(Returning)(& Top Ten Tuesday)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #AfterCanon of #JaneAusten, #SenseAndSensibility
& #SenseWithoutSensibility as well as Retellings of #ClassicLit

About Keena Richins

Keena Richins has a curse: she must write the stories bubbling in her head or go mad. Seriously. You should see the hordes of characters in her head constantly babbling about their lives. When she needs a break, Keena will delve into books and her favorite are the Jane Austen books, so it is only fitting for her first debut to be a modern twist on one of those classics. And many more are soon to come.

Read More

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Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Re-Told Tales, Sense & Sensibility Re-telling, Sequel Authors, Siblings

#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 10th November Guest Author | “Perfect Day” (Part One of a re-telling of #Persuasion by Jane Austen duology) by Sally Malcolm

Posted Saturday, 10 November, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: One thing I love about being active in the bookish side of the twitterverse is being able to interact with authors. Not only do I get to readily engage with authors I am just discovering ‘now’ but I have the chance to re-connect to the authors I’ve known in the past – Sally Malcolm is one of those authors! I first learnt of her style for Romance within her debut novel for ChocLitUK – in fact, it was featured during my original Saturday’s event called #ChocLitSaturdays. The novel was about pirates and life on the high seas – in essence, my affinity for Captain Jack Sparrow and my interest in these kinds of epics at sea is what led me to become curiously curious about “The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk”. I was oft curious if there would be a next chapter after this debut and due to life evolving forward, simply had forgotten to chase up the recent goings on in Ms Malcolm’s literary career.

Until I caught sight of her tweets giving a s/o about a m/m Romance re-telling of a Jane Austen novel I personally found quite arduous to get into and opted not to read it for a long while now! I was re-inspired to see ‘Persuasion’ from Ms Malcolm’s perspective and see how this would work through a re-telling and re-spun as an m/m romance duology. The first in the sequence is ‘Perfect Day’ and it is followed closely by ‘Between the Lines’.

Thus, I agreed to accept a complimentary copy of “Perfect Day” by the author Sally Malcolm in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I originally was keen on the writing styling of Ms Malcolm:

Malcolm has found a way to ignite your imagination inside a pirate tale by the smallest of details, tricking your mind into believing exactly what your heart is willing to acknowledge – she’s found clever ways of tucking in certain descriptive details that level themselves believable for the era but also, for the setting of a pirate’s locale! I loved the little touches she granted the opening of her trilogy – to root you where you were taken and to give an assurance that you could settle inside this pirate’s tale with the atmospheric touches you’d expect to find! It was in the manner of speech inasmuch as the necessity for firelight illuminating great niches of space where the pirates resided whilst eluding to the expanse of their reign over the region they controlled.

Even the manner of how the salt air mingled with long hair, and how bare feet graced Amelia’s feet as she causally walked about both ship and land – it gave you a proper glimpse of where the Gypsy Hawk had taken anchour! I could nearly have smelt it for myself, as Malcolm kept encouraging your imagination whilst building the back-stories of Captain Hazard and Amelia (a Captain in her own right of her father’s fleet) to where each would intersect and collide paths into one another. Fitting really, as they each had such a spark of defiance intermixed with a challenging will to seek adventure at all costs.

I liked Malcolm’s ease of manner in telling her tale – she purports you so completely inside the story, it’s nearly not known if you stepped through a portal or were simply ‘elsewhere’ the moment you picked up her story – this feeling I had whilst I was reading about the Gypsy Hawk was most welcome indeed – as it was a lovely reprieve and a quicker read than most historicals will grant you! I liked how right from the turning of the beginning chapters, your so settled inside the thickening plot as to beg the pages to turn faster to learn more of how any of the growing tension and conflict can resolve! I like a well-told story but what is keen is to have a quicker read told equally as well – sometimes it’s nice to take-on lighter faire in historicals – reads where you can let your mind play a bit round the edges of a story and not lie heavily on plots that tug at your heart or still your soul due to the dramatic revelations.

Malcolm has written a delicious historical for readers who want to take an adventure on the high seas and combine their love of pirates from motion pictures with their love of story-tellers who can capture their heart on the written pages of a novels!

-quoted from my review of The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk

I read about the Gypsy Hawk two years ago and now have had the lovely chance of reading Ms Malcolm’s newly revealled styling where she exchanged m/f romances for m/m romances! I am not a stranger to the m/m or f/m romance or fiction genres as I’m an open-minded reader who believes in #EqualityInLit. Something I’ve tried to promote via my feeds on Twitter inasmuch as my diverse selections on Jorie Loves A Story where I opt to either read to review, listen to review or showcase stories across all spectrum’s of literature including LGBTQ+ inclusive story-lines.

A few of the stand-outs for me was the discovery of the Edith Lewis and Willa Cather mysteries by Sue Hallgarth wherein we’re entreated to a purview of their lives on the road as they visit different locations important to them whilst they were alive and solve a bit of crime on the side! They are intuitive novels writ in the Cosier side of the ledger for mysteries but crafted with a sophisticated eloquence you don’t wish to put down at all!

One of my favourite champions of f/f Women’s Fiction which ties in a lovely relationship novel centred around non-traditional families, foster care and adoption is the delightfully poignant The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This story echoes a realistic impression about at-risk youth, emotional anguish and angst of growing up without a foundation of ‘home’ and the people who risk their heart to nurture the children who have felt they were abandoned or forgotten. If you loved the relationship between Steff and Lena on The Fosters, the two characters within this novel will warm your heart!

In a new entry of cross-genre interest for Steampunk and altered time shifting stories, I happily discovered Tara Sim’s Timekeeper novel in audiobook! It was a wondrous world full of dramatic emotions and an intriguing plot set in a universe you truly want to re-visit and get to know even better than your first visitation! She also included a unique m/m romance between two very unique characters and I felt she honoured her cross-genre approach and the relationship very well. One of these days I need to listen to the next stories in sequence as this was only the beginning!

Being a Janeite, as much as the author herself, I was keen on seeing how she approached the original canon (even though technically I have not read Persuasion) and re-imagined it in a very modern and contemporary world setting. I wasn’t sure if I would pick up on the usual nuances re-tellings have within them due to my lack of knowledge of the original story however, as it was one story of Austen’s I never felt I could warm too I was excited about the prospect of finding a re-telling which might give me the aesthetic of Austen without it being of Austen.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Book Review featuring @SatBookChat’s 10th November Guest Author | “Perfect Day” (Part One of a re-telling of #Persuasion by Jane Austen duology) by Sally MalcolmPerfect Day
by Ms Sally Malcolm
Source: Direct from Author

When Joshua Newton, prodigal son of New Milton’s elite, fell in love with ambitious young actor Finn Callaghan, his world finally made sense.

With every stolen moment, soft touch and breathless kiss, they fell deeper in love. Finn was his future…until he wasn’t.

Eight years later, Finn has returned to the seaside town where it all began. He’s on the brink of stardom, a far cry from the poor mechanic who spent one gorgeous summer falling in love on the beach, and the last thing he wants is a second chance with the man who broke his heart. Finn has spent a long time forgetting Joshua Newton—he certainly doesn’t plan to forgive him.

But as Finn and Joshua circle each other, drawn together yet kept apart by their painful history, old feelings begin to stir. Is it possible for love to bloom again in hearts so scarred by regret, resentment, and hurt?

Genres: After Canons, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA Fiction, Men's Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Romance Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978148803187

Published by Carina Press

on 13th August, 2018

Format: Portable (Pocket) Paperback Edition

Pages: 266

Published by: Carina Press (@CarinaPress)
an imprint of Harlequin Books

four-half-flames

I’ve been adding flames to those stories of Romance which have extra heat inside them and are more intensively written than others. This one definitely qualifies as there is a certain flashback sequence between Finn and Joshua which explores how they fused their passion together and re-defined their own sense of sexuality amongst themselves.

This is a Digital First release and will be released into more formats.

Uniquely I do have a paperback copy of this novel – similar to the title I recently reviewed by Tule Publishing “A Small Town Christmas”, I cannot find a listing for the print copy I reviewed. I listed the ISBN for the print copy I have but used the publication date for the ebook as I couldn’t trace when the print copy dropped. What I love most about the book itself is how charmingly ‘portable’ this copy is – it reminds me of the vintage hardbacks my grandfather gave me – uniquely small, compact & brilliantly able to be taken with you as you travel!

Perfect Day by Sally MalcolmBetween the Lines by Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm’s re-telling of Persuasion duology:

Perfect Day (part one)

Between the Lines (part two) | Synopsis

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #LGBT and/or #LGBTRomance

and #Persuasion OR retell of #JaneAusten

About Ms Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm

Sally Malcolm was bitten by the male/male romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Perfect Day is her first published male/male romance, with the follow-up (Between the Lines) out later in 2018 and a dozen other ideas bubbling away on the back burner. Her stories are emotional, sweetly angsty, and always have happy endings.

Sally also writes tie-in novels for the hit TV shows Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. To date she’s penned nine novels and novellas, and four audio dramas.

She lives in South West London with her American husband, two lovely children, and two lazy cats.

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Posted Saturday, 10 November, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature

An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!

Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Widow’s Redeemer” via Audiobookworm Promotion in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to take a second chance on a novel by Ms Keyworth:

Last year, I was first introduced to the writings of Ms Keyworth on the Historical Fiction blog tour showcasing Fool Me Twice, for which I had this to impart upon that reading:

Keyworth has a different approach at writing her Historicals, as she’s very matter-of-fact and doesn’t spoilt you on long descriptive passages of what is happening ‘in scene’ but rather gets to the heart of the truth whilst disclosing the details which are necessary to understand her lead protagonists’ motives. It took me a bit to adjust to her style, as all writers have their own written voice and style of narrative. I have the tendency to read more writers who opt for descriptive narrative over the blunter style of only giving out parse details, but both have their place in Historicals, as sometimes the focus is not on the settings nor the period of the story itself but rather the angst of the situation we meet the characters.

Despite finding myself appreciating a few things within the story itself, overall, I couldn’t find myself attached to the novel. I was taken out of it’s depths more than once, finding it was ill-matched for my preferences of the genre but I never quite ‘let go’ of reading one of her other stories. In fact, even after I attempted to read this first novel of hers, I mused to myself, one of her older titles might be more to my liking – in effect, I had made an error in where to insert myself into her stories!

Thus, when I saw this title was going on an audiobook blog tour, I immediately listened to the sampler – finding myself smitten by Ms Lee’s approach especially for her clarity of ‘place’ and of ‘person’. You immediately feel drawn into her narrative styling due to how she fuses her heart into what she is narrating – she is as immersively captivating as the narrator for the Kay Hunter series (Alison Campbell) due to her passionate approach in voicing the characters themselves!

I was thankful I had a chance to re-approach her writings so soon after discovering them initially. I had a good feeling about going into listening to this audiobook, as sometimes, you can rather quite a lot about a narrator through the samplers – in this instance, I felt like I might have blessed myself tenfold: a new narrator to champion and a writer who redeemed my opinion of her writerly style. Technically, this happened earlier this year, when I borrowed a copy of an audiobook version of Cotillion by Georgette Heyer; a novel I previously could not attach myself inside. Narrators have an uncanny way of presenting stories in such a way as to heighten the words left behind by the authors which cannot always translate through a print edition!

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An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!The Widow's Redeemer
by Philippa Jane Keyworth
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alex Lee

A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. London, 1815: After her husband's untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

A chance meeting with London's most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

The Widow's Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD'Tale Magazine.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B07CH4F4WL

Also by this author: Fool Me Twice

Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 19th April, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes (unabridged)

Published By:  Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audioook

Stories by Philippa Jane Keyworth:

Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane KeyworthThe Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

The Unexpected Earl | Synopsis

The Widow’s Redeemer

Fool Me Twice (see also Review)

Converse via: #HistFic + #HistRom

About Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Britian, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Romance Fiction