Lost in Austen

by Emma Campbell Webster

Genre: Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Released: 1 January 2007
Pages: 345
Buy it now!

I posted a picture of this book yesterday, and it’s a very interesting concept: a Jane Austen-themed Choose Your Own Adventure book, involving all of Austen’s classic texts. The reader is tasked to marry both prudently and for love, and by keeping both of these tasks in mind, it’s not too hard to find a favorable solution. 

Lost in Austen is undeniably unique, and it’s nice for a short, fun activity, but obviously, it’s a bit unfulfilling as an actual book. With multiple categories in which you must record running counts of your scores, it can be a bit tedious, and there are times when the author is very insulting when you make the wrong choice. 

That being said, it is a fun little lark for any Austen-lover. It’s not a life-changer, but it’ll keep you entertained for a couple of hours. 

Eleven on Top

Stephanie Plum #11
by Janet Evanovich

Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 2.5/5
Released: 1 June 2005
Pages: 321
Buy it now! 

I really have been on such a kick with Stephanie Plum lately. I’m attributing my recent bout of speed-reading to my upcoming move, in which I hope to only pack up half of the books that are currently on my shelves. Janet Evanovich’s books are plentiful, quick, and fun, making them very easy to rip through and throw in the “donate” pile. 

So you’ve probably heard me talk about Stephanie Plum being a clumsy but still bad-ass bounty hunter living in New Jersey with a couple sexy love interests, a hilarious hooker for a side-kick, and a family that is as funny as it is crazy. Her cars have the tendency to get blown up, her hair has the tendency to get destroyed, but miraculously, she seems to always get her guy.

(Minor spoilers ahead for people who haven’t yet read the series)

In this edition, otherwise to be titled (by me) as The One Where Stephanie Quits, Stephanie has finally had it with the bond enforcement job, but she will soon learn that while you can take the girl out of bounty hunting, you can’t take the bounty hunter out of the girl as she finds herself being pulled into crazy cases by her friends. While Joe is initially happy to have her out of the business, her continued work with Ranger has him a bit on edge. When a ghost from Stephanie’s past resurfaces intent on revenge, she soon learns that being out of the biz’ doesn’t count for much when it comes to homicidal killers. 

This book felt more like a filler to me. The characters didn’t really evolve, there wasn’t as much humor, and I didn’t really feel like anything major happened in the plot to really cause much effect in subsequent books, making it just ‘okay’ instead of fantastic, as most Stephanie Plum books usually are. Altogether, I still recommend the series, but this installment fell a little flat for me. 

Yes, you’re reading that right: this is a Jane Austen-themed Choose Your Own Adventure book. YOU CAN BE YOUR OWN HEROINE. 

Yes, you’re reading that right: this is a Jane Austen-themed Choose Your Own Adventure book. YOU CAN BE YOUR OWN HEROINE. 

Ten Big Ones

Stephanie Plum #10
by Janet Evanovich

Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 5/5 
Released: 22 June 2004 
Pages: 312
Buy it now!

Stephanie Plum is a lingerie-saleswoman-turned-bounty-hunter living in Trenton, New Jersey, with her pet hamster, Rex. She’s got a former hooker as a sidekick, a sexy cop and a guy she calls “batman” as love interests, and a wacky group of friends and family who are there to bail her out in all of her adventures. Most of these books are arranged as mysteries (which are pretty easy to solve), but they’re also hilariously fun and great, quick reads for an instant pick-me-up. 

You know when you’ve read a ton of books in a series, and they start to blend together until you can only differentiate them by plots, saying, “The one where…?” I think I’m getting to that point with these books. I enjoy them immensely, I always end up laughing, but at this point, I feel like I need to subtitle them.

This book is now going to be referred to as the one where Stephanie is pursued by a hitman.
(minor spoilers ahead for people who haven’t read the series yet)

Stephanie’s in trouble, as per usual. Happening upon a stick-up in progress, she becomes the sole witness tying a known gang member to a series of robberies in the area, leaving her looking over her shoulder as a hit is put out on her. While overprotective Joe just wants to keep her locked up and safe, independent Stephanie has other plans, and she runs away from their relationship and takes up residence in Ranger’s vacant apartment while he’s out of town. 

This book was, if not the funniest, then definitely in the top 3 Plum books I’ve read. It also delved a bit deeper into some of the characters’ backstories and personal lives, which was fantastic for the series, as things seemed kind of stagnant for awhile. The minor characters, too, had a lot of interesting things going on, with Valerie getting married and Sally Sweet making another appearance. 

Altogether, this was another great installment of Stephanie Plum’s adventures. 

Music Monday is a weekly event hosted by Total Book Geek wayyyy over in Blogspot. The idea is to choose a book or a scene from a book and pair it with a song. I used to kind of do this when I could think of something relevant while reviewing a book, but I like this weekly idea so much more, so I’m jumping in! 

"Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj has been a favorite of mine for the past couple of weeks, and since I’ve been reading the Stephanie Plum series more frequently in the past couple of weeks, they just seemed to really pair together really well. I can just picture Stephanie and Lula rocking out to this as they drive around Trenton. 

“Hello, I also have a book blog! And your blog is incredible. What are you currently reading?”


Hey girl! I am currently on a book-reading MISSION, so I’m ripping through Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich and Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I’ll be moving pretty soon, so I’m on a renewed mission to get as many books out of my apartment as possible before then (during my last move, I had about 20 boxes/bags full of books, and the three strapping college guys from my moving company HATED me for it and cursed me as they lugged them up to my top-floor apartment). I’m also planning on getting tough with the books I just haven’t been able to get into despite numerous attempts to read them, so hopefully I get a lot of books shifted out of here pretty quickly. 

How about you, what are you reading? : ) 

Also your blog is really incredible, too!! 

The Zombie Apocalypse Tag!

I was tagged by my book blogging bestie Sylvia from ifyougaveagirlabook, who always has the absolute BEST tags EVER. 

For the rules, watch here!

I chose 5 random books from series that I’ve read and loved, so hopefully I get some good variety here! 

The booksA Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin, Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum) by Janet Evanovich, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce) by Alan Bradley, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, and Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris

Your Zombie Team:

First book: A Storm of Swords

1. The first person to die

  • Sam Tarly — Obviously I’m not very far in the series, so this very well might happen, we shall see! 

2. The person you trip to get away from the zombies

  • Stannis — I’m not feeling too bad about this. 

Second book: Eleven on Top

3. The first person to turn into a zombie

  • Morelli — He would be one viscous zombie. And, for an in-shape, bad-ass cop, we’d probably all be in trouble with him on the lookout for brains. 

4. The person that trips YOU to get away from the zombies

  • Morelli - All that tripping for NOTHING, you still become one, Joe! 

Third book: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

5. The idiot of the team

  • Tully — I’m glad I didn’t see one of the main characters’ names, they’re all brilliantly smart. 

6. The “brains” of the team

  • Dogger - He’s a good one! Though he does have his ‘spells’ :/

Fourth book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

7. The team’s medic

  • Dumbledore - Heck yes, I feel safe with a top-notch wizard patching us all up.

8. The weapons expert

  • Hagrid - Ohhhhh yeah. You know, I picked the books out in random order, but this is working quite well! 

Fifth book: Dead Ever After 

9. The brawler

  • Sookie - She’s certainly killed enough people (or, well, “creatures”). I’m down with that. 

10. The Team Captain

  • Pam - As perhaps one of my most favorite characters ever, I am so totally excited she’s made captain. This actually turned out brilliant. 

I am going to tag… violinwaist, lectrice-vorace, bodaciousbookbabe, elainewillread, booksanddiaries, and anyone else who wants to join in on this super cool tag! 

One Thousand White Women

The Journals of May Dodd
by Jim Fergus

Genre: (Historical?) Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Released: 1 January 1998
Pages: 302
Buy it now! 

May Dodd is a modern-thinking American woman living in the late 19th century who is committed to a mental facility by her well-to-do parents for living with (and mothering the children of) a man of inferior birth. Left to rot in a sub-par institution with no mental stimulation, May is afraid she’ll never leave. So when a team of mysterious government representatives shows up asking questions about her fertility and offers her a ticket to freedom, she accepts with only minor qualms. Before she knows it, May is on a train headed to the western frontier, traveling with an eclectic group of women on their way to become government-sponsored brides. 

With white settlers moving West and Native Americans attacking the trespassers encroaching on their territory, the US government has a major problem on their hands and calls tribal chiefs in to talk. When a Cheyenne chief offers to trade 1000 horses for 1000 white women, it creates a scandal throughout the east, but it also gets the president’s advisers thinking. All the Cheyennes ask for is 1000 women to marry, impregnate, and live with for 2 years. After that, they are free to return to their homes with their children, mixed-race ambassadors who will help bridge the gaps between the two cultures. 

The government begins rounding up volunteers for the secret mission in the most seedy of places: street corners, prisons, even mental hospitals. With freedom fresh in her mind, May joins the group on their quest for a second chance at life. 

This book was not well-written. The premise was interesting, the characters were diverse, but I really had to suspend my disbelief more than I usually do when reading something I would consider historically-based fiction. I didn’t feel invested in the characters. I couldn’t picture the setting. The book is supposed to tell May’s story through diary entries, but rather than sound genuine, it just felt like Fergus was trying too hard, and I couldn’t buy it.

The premise was interesting, and the book was very plot-driven, making it a not-too-horrible read for those who aren’t going to dive too deeply into the historical inaccuracies and like to give their characters the benefit of the doubt, but for me? One Thousand White Women is a book I’m not feeling bad about parting with. 

Top Ten Tuesday – August 19th!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, inviting readers to list their top ten choices in a given category. This week’s theme is… 

Top Ten Books People have been Telling You that You MUST Read!

  1. The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien
    Despite all the people who have told me to read his work, I have never been able to get into any of Tolkien’s writings. 
  2. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
    Several people have been posting about this book lately, but Cameran from shes-exceptional wrote the review that REALLY got me interested. 
  3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
    Multiple people have told me this is amazeballs, but I think Ryan  from booksandghosts told me about it first? 
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    Okay, guys. I first tried this book in paperback form, and I just couldn’t get into it. Then I listened to it in Audiobook form, and it was even worse. Everyone on here LOVES it, though, and it’s always been a goal of mine to go back and give it another shot. 
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
    Here is another author everyone seems to love and whose work I have not yet read. 
  6. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    I am a bit disappointed to say that this is a book I have not yet bought, despite how fervently I want to read it. 
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
    Everyone’s always a bit shocked when I say I haven’t read this. 
  8. Get the Guy by Matthew Hussey
    One of my best friends was begging me to read this book for a year. I’m not usually one for dating advice books, since I don’t really date, but I figured I would give it a shot for her. I didn’t get very far at all before putting it down due to an immense amount of pressure from the author to get out there and meet people, but maybe I’ll pick it up again. 
  9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    Lots of my friends have read (and loved!) this book.
  10. Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
    Basically I ran out of ideas and copied my Book Blogging Bestie, Sylvia from ifyougaveagirlabook. :) But really, I’ve heard great things about this book!

Currently reading in bed…Edit: I was going to say “Currently in bed with,” but then I thought it’d be weird, saying I was in bed with One Thousand White Women. I am not Hugh Hefner. I am a bookworm. 

Currently reading in bed…

Edit: I was going to say “Currently in bed with,” but then I thought it’d be weird, saying I was in bed with One Thousand White Women. I am not Hugh Hefner. I am a bookworm. 

Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
  • Beth: Why are you lying awake, thinking that you're a terrible person?
  • Jennifer: To keep my mind occupied when I can't sleep. Some people count sheep. I self-loathe.

On my recent trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan, I found The Island Bookstore, a little hole-in-the-wall with all kinds of fantastic books and giftware. Though I stuck with my guns and didn’t buy any more books, I did find some pretty sweet bookmarks! 

The Case of the Missing Servant

Vish Puri #1
by Tarquin Hall

Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Released: 1 January 2003
Pages: 311
Buy it now!

Vish Puri is a second-generation detective, carrying on his late father’s legacy by investigating a variety of interesting cases in the clamorous city of Delhi. Owner of the prestigious Most Private Investigators, Puri has hired an eclectic but unquestionably talented group of employees who help plant bugs, tail suspects, and infiltrate businesses. Also offering assistance are Puri’s wife and meddlesome mother, contributing to a truly interesting set of characters. 

In the first book of the series, Puri is enlisted to clear an honest lawyer’s name as he is framed for the murder of his housekeeper. Having recently survived his own assassination attempt and currently carrying out an investigation for his childhood hero, though, Puri is stretched a little thin. Can he manage to track down one killer while avoiding his own? 

To date, India remains one of my most interesting travel destinations. In this day and age, so many cities seem so alike, but when I went to India a few years ago, I truly felt like I was out of my element, and I LOVED it. The people were kind, the architecture was enchanting, the history was rich; I took a thousand photos and still feel like I can’t do it justice. Reading this book took me back to the frenzied streets of a city that entranced me. 

This book was one of the most unique mysteries I’ve read with characters I instantly liked. While I found it hard to keep up with Puri’s chain of thought sometimes, especially during his investigation, the story kept me guessing, and the ending really fit everything together neatly.

Altogether, this is a worthy read for any traveler and mystery-lover. 

Top Ten Tuesday – August 12th!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, inviting readers to list their top ten choices in a given category. This week’s theme is… 

Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want to Read

  1. Something Borrowed or Something Blue by Emily Giffin
    In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve departed from my love of chick lit. 
  2. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
    I have had this book in my Audible queue for about a year (if not more), and while I’ve enjoyed listening to all of Morton’s other audiobooks (save for their endings), I just haven’t been able to sit through this one for very long. 
  3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
    Fangirl didn’t do anything for me, but I LOVED Attachments, so I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d like the rest of Rainbow Rowell’s books. I feel like Cameran is my book soul mate, and I agree with pretty much everything she says, so her recent review of the book has definitely made me rethink picking Landline up! 
  4. Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
    This book looked interesting to me, and I found it for a steal at the dollar store (who would have thought?). THEN I REALIZED THAT I HAD READ SOMETHING BY THIS AUTHOR BEFORE AND HAAAATED IT: GIRLS IN TRUCKS! So DESPITE the fact that I paid a whole dollar for it, I might have to donate it. Bleh. 
  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan
    I saw the movie when it first came out in theatres, and while I enjoyed watching it, the ending KILLED me. I feel like the book would probably be even worse. 
  6. Irish Girls About Town by Various Authors
    While I like Irish literature, and especially a lot of the writers featured in this book, I’m not a huge fan of short stories, and it’s been languishing on my shelves for years without being picked up. 
  7. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
    I really hated the first book in Hale’s Austenland series, buuuuut I loved the movie (in a guilty pleasure kind of way), and now I feel like, despite my dislike of Hale’s writing, I might want to know more about the events happening in Austenland. 
  8. Gods in Alabama or Backseat Saints or anything else by Joshilyn Jackson 
    I’ve started a couple of Jackson’s books, and while they’re Southern fiction (which I love!), with cute covers (which I love!) and always start out interesting, she seems to write about heavy stuff, like rape and abuse. While I appreciate the good ratings everyone seems to give her work, I always find myself wimping out before something bad happens to the characters, and leaning away from picking them up again. 
  9. World War Z by Max Brooks
    Will it give me nightmares like the movie?
  10. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    Kind of along the same lines as the preceding book, I’m afraid I’d have nightmares. I live by myself, I can’t read stuff like this. 



This goes out to anyone who’s ever chosen a book over friends, cried through a last chapter in public, or talked about fictional characters as if they were real people. We feel you.

Stop everything you are doing right now and WATCH THIS

Every time I volunteer for anything at work, I yell, “I VOLUNTEER!” And then silently say, “as tribute” to myself. I’m glad these people understand me because Lord knows my coworkers think I’m crazy.

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