Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Once again I am woefully behind here. Nonetheless, I have been reading so let’s focus on that.

I just finished up Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. Not surprisingly it is based on Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice. I found it to be very entertaining.

Prom and Prejudice book reviewLizzie is a scholarship student at snobby Longbourn Academy, where the girls are obsessed with prom (the event is covered by Vanity Fair). Lizzie is largely snubbed by her wealthy classmates. Her only friends are Jane, her roommate, and Charlotte, the other scholarship student. With prom fast approaching, Longbourn girls are doing everything they can to line up dates with guys from neighbouring all-boys Pemberley School, and designer dresses to wear to the event. But Lizzie has more important things to focus on, and she meets someone who is so different from all the Pemberley guys that she might actually like him.

The story is very closely based on Austen’s original – names of characters included. It was a quick read and the story was cleverly adapted to modern day. I liked it so much that I went out and grabbed Eulberg‘s other book, The Lonely Hearts Club, from the library. Liked it too. I’m always glad to read good adaptations of my favourite classics, and in this case I was lucky enough to discover a new writer too.

Last month I picked up the graphic novel version of Pride and Prejudice, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  It was done by Hilary Burningham and I was surprised to find out how many classics have been turned into graphic novels. A whole new way to enjoy my classics! I can’t wait to pick up the graphic novel of Jane Eyre.

I’ve also read through the Hunger Games series, but don’t feel the need to create a separate post for these books as they aren’t new releases and they’ve been reviewed ad nauseam, I’m sure. Suffice it to say that I picked them up on the recommendation of my sister-in-law, and couldn’t believe how much I liked them. As I’ve mentioned on here before, dystopian fantasy/sci-fi isn’t often my cup of tea (you know, happy ending mandate and all that), but I thought these were fantastic. Katniss rivals Brynn as far as badass heroines go.

Speaking of badass heroines… well, ok, not-so-baddass heroines… I also read  Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa. I wrote about the first novel in the series, Iron King, here.  The concept for Kagawa’s world was still really unique, but the plot wasn’t my favourite and I found that the main character, Meghan, less than badass and actually kinda whiney. I may not read on in the series.

I’m learning so much by reading all these books. Who knew I got so attached to the characters!

 

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Griffin’s Daughter by Leslie Ann Moore

So, I have been very interested of late by people who self publish fiction ebooks, and the quality of these books. I also wonder if people have their books edited, how much they are sold for (or if they are available free), and how they become popular. I have done some reading about this, but not a tonne. In particular, I want to talk about two that caught my interest.

One I saw on a bookshelf in my local Chapters: it being about the characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I naturally wanted to read it so went to look it up at my library. They didn’t have it, and after poking around online I discovered that it had initially been self-published by the author and was only picked up by a publishing house after it was pretty successful and she had written more books. I am talking about Mr & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, or Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan. I was able to track down the ebook from my provincial ebook library, and couldn’t get past the first few pages. I am not really into harlequin-type romance novels, so I wasn’t too surprised. I did find Lathan’s story as an author pretty inspiring, though. She saw the 2005 P&P movie, loved it, and decided to continue their story. She self-published the first few, and their success caught the eye of a publisher who picked them up and has since published subsequent novels based on Austen’s characters. Obviously there is a market for this kind of thing – not too surprising that we want to read more about the characters Jane Austen created.

When I was poking around for free ebooks, I found Griffin’s Daughter by Leslie Ann Moore. I stuck with it, enjoyed it, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, plot, and characters in comparison to the last free ebook that I read. Then I started looking around for the next book in the trilogy and discovered that this book is only free for a limited amount of time. It’s not self-published – and I’m not sure why I assumed it would have been, just because it was available for free (I know what happens when I assume). It’s actually published by Ridan Publishing (who I had never heard of before) and the sequels cost money. They don’t have them at my library so I may actually pony up and by the ebooks. I’m not saying it was an amazing book, but I really enjoyed it for what it was.

The story is about a girl named Jelena, who is half-elf and lives in a human world where she is shunned because of her elven blood. When she discovers that her uncle has sold her as a concubine to a neighbouring lord, she flees into the territory of the elves to try and find her father (the source of her elven blood). But there is something else going on inside Jelena, something bigger, and she has to figure out what it is and what it means.

The first few chapters were rocky, I’ll tell ya. It wasn’t until the fourth one that I got into the story, and I read it over a pretty spread out amount of time, so by the time I got to the end I had forgotten that the first few chapters were about a different time period than the remainder of the book (this is when it would have been useful to be reading the hard copy instead). If I had read it over a shorter period of time, I would probably have been able to remember the first few chapters and figure out how they were relevant to the rest of the plot. As it was, when I went back to check something to write this post, I was surprised that I didn’t recognize any of the characters’ names in the first few chapters. Moore knows how to write a convincing romance between two people, though, and that kept me reading.

So, I am testing the waters of free (and not free) ebooks and finding some books I like.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

This is another book I read because I watched the movie, liked it, and then found out that it was a book first. Le Sigh. So I read the book, and loved it too. It doesn’t necessarily fall into my recent ‘only happy stories’ mandate for my reading list, but I will say that it was mostly happy. Every once in a while, Fowler would sneak in some sort of heart-breaking little anecdote about one of the characters that took my breath away (not the mandate! not the mandate!). Though of course it was also about people discussing Jane Austen’s books, so. What’s not to like about that? As someone who voraciously re-reads every one of Austen’s books every few months, I was interested in knowing what other people love (or hate) about them (even if the other people were fictional characters).

I’ll confess that I didn’t think too hard about what the book was trying to say — if you tried, you could probably say that one character was supposed to be Emma, one Marianne, one Elizabeth, one Fanny, etc. etc. I did see elements of Austen’s characters in Fowler’s characters — I liked that. It’s interesting to see how an author perceives a modern-day Fanny might be living her life, or a modern-day Marianne. And I liked to hear what Fowler’s characters had to say about Austen’s life and her characters (and, by talking about the characters, they were often talking about other people in their lives or in the book club too). But I didn’t want to over-analyze it (something I rarely do with books, anyway).

Up next on the reading list: Some Tame Gazelle, by Barbara Pym. I’m told (admittedly by someone in Real Simple magazine, so possibly not an entirely trustworthy judge of my tastes) it’s a light-hearted, happy-ending-type affair, so off I go.