Thursday, February 28, 2013

Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa Goodnight

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place to be for a bookishly good time every day of the week...or should I say MONTH.




Can you believe it?  February has come and gone in the blink of an eye...or at least in a blink to my eye.  How about you?  Anyone else left marveling at the speed with which this particular 28 day period has passed us by?  Now that's not to say there weren't memorable moments, days you didn't want to end (and those that you did want to, sooner rather than later) and great reads left and right; it just seems that 2013 is marching along to its own drummer...and they've had about 12 energy drinks!  Anywho...



In my realizing that today was THE LAST DAY of the month (promise I'll stop mentioning that soon), I was very selective about what book to feature.  Why more so today than any other day?  Well, it wasn't necessarily more so that I was going for here though it is a rather tasty choice, but rather something that would be a perfect fit to close out a month generally associated with LOVE.  Did you forget that Valentine's Day was just a few short weeks back?  Yep.  Told you the month was moving fast!  Keeping with the spirit of a fast moving month (do NOT read into that, that's not where this post is going! ^_^), today's title is a recent 2013 release all about the love; both known and unknown, plain and flowery, out of sight and hidden in plain sight.  It fits into the general genre of Fiction but would easily be sub-cat-ed into Women's Fiction or Chick Lit and with the Jane Austen angle in the story, it's appeal is widespread.  Ready to read all about it?  Get ready.  Today's book of choice is....


by

About the book...

Steamy, funky, and thoroughly modern, Austin, Texas isn't much like the gardened country estates of Jane Austen's work. But there might be a few similarities in its inhabitants...
Cate Kendall is no stranger to daydreams of brooding men and fancy parties--after all, she teaches one of her beloved Jane Austen novels in her English classes every year. But as for romance or adventure in her own life, the highlight of most weeks is Scrabble with her cute coworker, Ethan, and he draws the line at witty banter. But Cate is ready for a change. When she finds a mysterious journal that seems to have a link to the soul of the great Jane Austen herself, she knows it's her chance. And she grabs on with both hands...
Before she knows it, Cate has invented an alter ego with an attitude, attended some seriously chic soirees, and gotten tangled up with a delicious mystery man. And she's uncovered enough unexpected secrets about Ethan that her Scrabble partner has taken to brooding looks and unfathomable silences. It's a positively Austenite predicament, and Cate is sure she'll land in hot water and heartbreak--but maybe not with Jane herself to guide her...



Equal parts sweet and saucy, this was a read I was unprepared for...and thoroughly enjoyed!  It has all the elements one could want in a sweet story with a healthy dose of romance and a dash of spice leading readers on an adventure of the heart they won't soon forget.

The most memorable book I had read previously with (sort of) direct influence from Jane Austen was According to Jane by Marilyn Brant.  To be brief...I thoroughly enjoyed every minute; to be long winded...check out my post.  (^_^)  THIS story puts our lead character in touch with the literary heroine of millions herself through a magical journal, a diary for the ages (and all ages) of sorts.  Cate is a school teacher, thoroughly sweet and charming but mild through and through.  Or is she?  It seems she's reached a point in her life that she's tired of playing it nice and wants to spice things up a bit...to be blunt, Sunday night Scrabble games with Ethan (*swoon*...oh, sorry) are SO not cutting it.  Now, we're not talking 50 Shades here or anything, merely an adult game of dress up (killer wardrobe!) with an alter ego to boot by the name of Cat...okay, so the name could use a little work, but give her a break she's new to this!

Whereas Cate follows the straight and narrow, Cat lives in the shadowy area in between; just enough sweetness to be demure but enough sass to rock any outfit, any room (any body...*ahem*) with poise, confidence and finesse.  In other words, flirty banter is totally called for, aloof attitudes are a must and you better bring your best game face because it is SO ON.  She pulls out all the stops, really getting into the role and lookie here...there's even a mister to be interested in, that's interested in her!  Toot sweet.  Alas, things are not always as they seem...even when you're the one starring in the role you've created.  The heart wants what it wants but poor Cate...she's not sure what it wants and things are going to get a tad sticky before a flowery "The End" can be penned across her story.  Thank goodness that pen is not in her hand alone...

The story is great but the characters definitely make it all come together.  I mean, the play is only as good as the players portraying it, right?  Same goes for books.  If the characters don't fit, then the whole thing can seem off center...which is DEFINITELY not the case here.  I adored Cate's character and definitely identified with her at times...and no I don't have an alter ego; well, not really at least though I think all of us that have an online presence do to some extent.  Hear me out!  The anonymity factor plays into a lot of that allowing people to say and do things they wouldn't necessarily in person; for me, it just means I'm a chatty Cathy for one and all to see.  ^_^  Anywho, back to those characters.  There's probably not a woman out there that won't find someone in this story to relate to, be it the outgoing friend (she will tell it like it is and then some!), the scholarly sister with a secret side job (boy does THAT come as a surprise!), or the definitely not "retired" mother (she's a hoot!).  Let's just say that despite their differences at times, I'd totally love to call them friends.  Now on to the fellas...

There are several love interests running around, not all of which are intended for our girl Cate but they add another great layer to the blossoming story and provide for much of the laughable, smile inducing and eyebrow raising moments you'll come to love.  There's the "Geek Freak" (way too funny!), the elderly History teacher, Jake (who shall remain a man of mystery...for now), and Ethan (who IS a man of mystery...and many talents...~whistles~).  Just who will you be rooting for?  Well, that all depends on your interests...and if you're a tried and true Austenite, your penchant for Darcy's or Knightley's...but let's just say there's not really a wrong choice, just a choice-ier choice.  I know who I'd go for [though I would have had much more trouble breaking through the barriers presented even WITH the esteemed Ms. Austen's help (yeah...color me clueless, another matching point between myself and the lead...*le sigh*)]...so suffice it to say I'm more than happy with the ending (and what an ending it was!  Sneaky siblings...).  

The only thing I wasn't TOO keen on was the extra magical aspect of the journal.  It has to do with a certain key being turned and the crazy yet interesting results of said turning.  Don't ask me why I was fine and dandy with the mysterious workings of the journal in the first place and this "bonus feature" threw me, but it did.  I liked that it allowed her to further explore the previous owners of the book, their lives and just what befell them along their heart's path but the actual physical changes seemed a tad hokey.  I don't know, perhaps it's just me but it is a REALLY tiny point within a novel filled to the brim with uber goodness that you won't be able to put down, so really...note it for a comparison within your own reading adventure as I'm curious how it affects (or doesn't) you, but otherwise forget about it because you're gonna need all eyes on the page.  ^_^

In conclusion, a bookishly good time if ever there was one fit for the love struck reader in all of us.  I mean, who wouldn't want a chance to find their happily-ever-after?  I know I would...and to be guided by the helping hand (or rather helpful words) of someone who knew how to both write characters and give them lives so memorable that 100+ years later we're still looking back in comparison?  Icing on the cake.  So, whether you're a rabid Jane Austen fan or a newbie still testing out the waters, know this...there is no knowledge of the classical works required to enjoy this read but enjoy it you will.  Just don't be surprised if you're tempted to add a few of her works to your wish list by the time you turn the final page.  Now if you'll excuse me, I've a journal to look for...I mean happen upon... ^_^

Review copy courtesy of author Alyssa Goodnight.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her past and future works, be sure to stop by her site, pin her on Pinterest, like her on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  This title was released January 29th, 2013 via Kensington Books so be on the lookout for it on a store shelf near you.  Itching for more?  No worries!  This is actually the second journey for the journal and Jane Austen's influence.  For more JA adventures, be sure to check out the first release back in 2012, Austentatious ...though may it be noted, they do NOT have to be read in order or together to enjoy the literary ride.


Until next time...happy reading!


3 comments:

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Wow, so glad you enjoyed it so. Sounds like every page was a winning one. :) Thank you!

DMS said...

This sounds like a fun book and I think it is great that the MC made everything come together. This is my first time hearing of this one. Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

The1stdaughter said...

So glad you loved this one! It's on my list to read in the near future. I loved Alyssa's first book and I'm glad this one sounds just as good. Fabulous review as always! ;o)

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