Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

Author: Nancy Springer
Genre: Mystery, adventure
Series: An Enola Holmes Mystery
Number in series: 5th
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 170
Time period: 1800’s London
My overall opinion: Great series!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Genre: Life, mystery
Series: I think it may be a sequel to Indivisible (which I haven’t read – but I do know they concern some of the same characters). However, you can read it without absolutely having to read the first book, although I believe that there are a few references to the earlier book.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 324
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: By the end, I didn’t really love it. The gift that Natalie, the main lady, had was a little confusing (I thought). The whole book had some strange ideas and some rather freaky scenes sprinkled throughout. I don’t really recommend it, but it was okay.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Movie: Blockheads

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Genre: Comedy
Primary actors: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
Length: About an hour
Time period: 1930’s or so
Year it came out:
My overall opinion: Another great Laurel and Hardy. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cover Focus: To Win Her Heart

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Book blurb from Google books : Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart. Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?”

Why I like this cover: I do love librarians, so this should be a good book for me. J But I do think, having read the book blurb, that since Eden’s a librarian, she should be holding a book. Anyway! The man, Levi, is distinctly rugged. Brown arms (rather dirty) full of muscles, and not a slight build. Classic blacksmith attire – blue jeans, heavy boots, and a striped shirt. And then Eden. A spring green dress over an underskirt  that has a white background and a variety of pink flowers. White gloves, curls, and a tiny smile go perfectly! And her bouquet. While I do think a book would have fit there best, the flowers do add a pretty touch. There they stand, in the middle of town. I can’t wait to read this!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan

Author: Nancy Springer
Genre: Mystery, adventure
Series: An Enola Holmes Mystery
Number in series: 4th
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 183
Time period: 1800’s
My overall opinion: Wonderful series! I whole-heartedly recommend them for pre-teens and teens – and even adults. I know the covers (on the ones I’ve read, at least) are a little weird, the stories inside are great!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo

Author: Alexander Dumas
Genre: Classic, life
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction (one of the most elaborate works of fiction I’ve ever read!)
Number of pages: 1095 of story, 1130 total (includes end notes)
Time period: Probably the 1700’s
My overall opinion: I liked it better than Nicholas Nickleby. That was another huge book, you know! By the time I was 500 pages into this one, it really started to pick up. Oh, I still had some trouble keeping characters apart at times, and there are tons of subplots (you get that in books this size…and they weren’t in the movie), but it was good. I’m glad I read it, and I recommend to any extremely brave reader who likes classic literature.

I’m Gone!

Dear Austenitis Readers,

Yes, you read that title correctly. I am gone! As of this morning, very early this morning, I left home to fly to Alaska! You see, I’m spending the summer up there – today through early August. I’m working at a Christian camp as a cook’s assistant. While I’m there, I usually won’t have any internet access, so if you email me or leave a comment, you probably won’t hear from me for a few months. As you may have noticed, I changed the comments – now, after you enter word verification, your comment will automatically publish. I won’t be home to publish comments, so I decided this would be the best way. Right now, I’m planning to change it back to no word verification and my publishing them all once I’m home, but we’ll see.

I will miss all of you in the blogging world! However, don’t worry that this blog will be silent…preparations for this trip have been going on for literally months. Posts will continue to appear regularly, almost like I’m actually here! And I’ve engaged several very special guest-bloggers…you’ll be meeting them in the next few weeks as they blog here about delightful subjects.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer! And I’ll be back in early/mid-August. See you then!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Birthday: Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen

Birth: May 25, 1939
It’s his 73rd birthday!
You know him because – he is a fairly well-known actor, I believe. I’ve seen him in two movies: the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as Gandalf, and The Scarlet Pimpernel that came out in the 80’s, as Chauvelin. He was a perfect Gandalf.

Spotlight: Gimli

Played by John Rhys-Davies.

I love Gimli. He's funny, he's heroic in his own way, his banter with Legolas is awesome, and (don't tell him I said this) he's a really cute little guy. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

Author: Nancy Springer
Genre: Mystery, adventure
Series: An Enola Holmes Mystery
Number in series: 3rd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 170
Time period: 1800’s
My overall opinion: I am so much enjoying this series! Nancy Springer I must say that I consider quite brilliant to come up with a little sister for Sherlock Holmes, who solves mysteries in some truly innovative ways! Enola is a delightful heroine, and I am really liking Sherlock himself… J Some of the premise of the series is that Enola has run away from home and is hiding out in London, trying not to be found by her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. She comes up with dozens of disguises, does her best not to run into her brothers, and also finds missing persons – in this book, she’s looking for Dr. Watson…yup, Sherlock’s sidekick. Really fun! Highly recommend this series.

Birthday: Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Birth: May 24, 1819
Death: January 22, 1901
It’s her 193rd birthday!
You know her because – she was one of the longest reigning queens Britain has ever had. Therefore, also one of the most famous.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Of Thee I Zing

Author: Laura Ingraham
Genre: Pet peeves. Life.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Non-fiction, pet peeves again
Number of pages: 305
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it! In some places, she’s a little more…outspoken than I would be, and includes a few mild swear words, but I enjoyed the book. Not for kids, but an interesting rant for adults.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birthday: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Birth: May 22, 1859
Death: July 7, 1930
It’s his 153rd birthday!
You know him because – he created and wrote about the extremely famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. He was one smart guy.


Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Life, family
Series: Sunrise series
Number in series: 2nd
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 345
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: Incredibly moving. Karen Kingsbury has a way of touching my heart – few other authors have done so with more than one book. In fact, she may be the only one. She’s amazing. And this whole series seems to be amazing too! This book made me cry, but I still loved it, and highly recommend it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cover Focus: Cascade

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren


Book blurb from : Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.
Read my review: Loved it! Great book. Read my review here, and my interview with Lisa here.
Why I like this cover: The girl, Lia, is so stunning! I do admit that I think the eyes closed thing is a little weird (but not nearly as weird as I would look were I to try and do that) but it works for her! Looks like there’s just the faintest breeze to blow her hair…what long blond hair, with just a touch of wave! And I love those  braids. I’m not a big fan of off-the-shoulder dresses, but this one is beautiful. I love the shade of blue (it’s perfect for Lia!), and the sleeves! They’re long Italian sleeves. I want some. J All those rays of light result in a very interesting effect…and the Italian city is elegant! All told, I love this cover – though not quite as much as the story inside. J

Interview with Ronica Stromberg!

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Ronica Stromberg to Austenitis for an interview! I recently read her book, A Shadow in the Dark and enjoyed it. My review of that book came out earlier today. Now, on to the interview!

Welcome, Ronica! I’m glad to be talking with you about your book, A Shadow in the Dark. Could you please give us a little auto-biography?

I’ve been a book lover most of my life. I had difficulty learning to read, but once I caught on, I seemed to always have a book as a hand extension. To this day, I’m hard to catch without a book.

As a child, I wanted to be a writer, librarian, judge, or missionary. I’ve worked (paid or volunteer) as all but the judge. I’ve found most of my writing falls in the inspirational market, which nicely blends my lifelong interests in being a writer and a missionary.

Mmmm, book hand extension sounds like me. :) Please tell us a little bit about the plot of A Shadow in the Dark.

Following her parents’ divorce, young teen Kirsten Hart reluctantly moves to the country with her mom and brother. She goes door-to-door to the neighboring houses, attempting to introduce herself and make friends. A four-year-old neighbor boy tells her a girl her age lives in the farmhouse across from hers. When Kirsten goes there, an old woman answers the door and, after hearing what she wants, slams the door in her face.

Kirsten meets another neighbor girl, Gail, and the two keep seeing signs that a young person lives with the elderly woman, but she never comes outside. Kirsten and Gail become fearful that someone is being held captive in the home. They step deeper into danger with only the God that Gail believes in as backup.

What inspired you to write A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down, the other book that’s in the series?
An incident similar to what occurs in A Shadow in the Dark happened to me when I was younger than Kirsten. I had been visiting my grandmother in small-town Minnesota, and she had warned me away from a neighboring house. She wouldn’t tell me why she wanted me to stay away, but she seemed scared. Years later, I discovered what she knew. This served as the spark for A Shadow in the Dark.

The sequel, Living It Up to Live It Down, shows Kirsten’s life after Gail has gone away and Kirsten returns to school as a new Christian. Her old friendship with Danette and Madison disintegrates, and she attempts to befriend Sarah, a preacher’s daughter and popular ninth grader. Kirsten believes pretty popular Sarah will make a great role model for her as she grows in the faith. But Sarah cheats, lies, pulls pranks, and dates guys against her father’s wishes. Sarah becomes another mystery for Kirsten: If Sarah believes in God, why doesn’t she straighten up?

How long did it take you to write A Shadow in the Dark?

I think it was a little over a year.

What is the biggest thing you’d like a reader to take away from A Shadow in the Dark?

Knowledge that even if life seems rough, they are never alone in what they’re experiencing. God has gone before and is with them even now.

Your biggest fan and supporter is…

My best friends, Diane and Cheryl. They always buy my books, donate them to libraries, and talk them up. They’ve helped me get into schools as a visiting author and have both served as subjects for magazine stories I’ve written. Neither one has as much interest in writing as I do, so I think that shows what wonderful people they are that they care about something because they know I care about it.

What wonderful friends! Is there a random fact about you that most people don’t know?

I probably spent more time in the principal’s office than outside it in third grade. Most people don’t know this because my family moved while I was in third grade. In my new town, I was considered a goody-two-shoes and star student. But both experiences contributed to what I know about life as a child and influence what I write.

What is one thing you dread doing?

Public speaking. For some reason, though, TV interviews and question-and-answer questions at conferences and schools don’t bother me. I guess I like speaking off-the-cuff more than formally presenting.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Bliss (a novel about modern-day life in Turkey) and have switched to nonfiction (a travel guide) to plan a family trip to New York this summer.
Thanks for coming, Ronica! Do you have a website where our readers can learn more about you?

Yes, I keep a blog and Web site at
They can also read more about my books and order them at
Thanks, Charity, for inviting me to spend time with you and your readers!
Thanks again, Ronica. :) I hope you all enjoyed getting to know her better! I sure did. Let me encourage you to read A Shadow in the Dark!

A Shadow in the Dark

Author: Ronica Stromberg
Genre: Growing up, life
Series: It has a sequel called Living It Up to Live It Down, but I don’t know of the series name.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 154
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: I enjoyed this story! It’s about a young girl named Kirsten whose parents are divorced. She goes to live out in the country with her mom, struggles with her parents’ divorce, and meets a new friend. Kirsten and her friend suspect that an unkind older lady living near them is keeping a girl about their age against her will! This book has a fun dose of mystery and adventure too. It will keep you reading ‘til the end! It’s aimed at pre-teen/early-teen girls, but as an older teen, I enjoyed it too. In the end, Kirsten learns to trust God as her very best friend. A good book!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Movie: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5
Genre: Fantasy
Primary actors: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes
Length: Almost 2 ½ hours
Time period: 1950’s? Fantasy
Year it came out: 1968
My overall opinion: It was…interesting! A little too fantastical for me (I don’t think I’ve had that problem before) but it was fun anyway. Very story-bookish, and might be frightening for younger kids – but too fantastical (is that a word?) to make older people very worried.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Birthday: Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant

Birth: May 19, 1946
Death: January 27, 1993
It’s his 66th birthday!
You know him because – he was that amazingly wonderful giant in Princess Bride. Funny and gigantic, he’s a big part of the story. Anybody want a peanut?

Birthday: Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn

Birth: May 19, 1500 (?)***
Death: May 19, 1536
I’ve posted about her: Somewhat. Here’s a review of a book about the wives of King Henry VIII:
It’s her 512th birthday!
You know her because – she was King Henry VIII’s second wife, and one of the most famous. Also the mother of Elizabeth I.

***Incidentally – historians disagree about her birthday. She died on May 19, we know that for sure, but it’s not known whether or not (for sure) it was her birthday. Some say yes, others, no. So I’m posting about her today, but it’s not actually for sure!

Birthday: David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson


Birth: May 19, 1931
Death: April 27, 2011
It’s his 81st birthday!
You know him because – he wrote TheCross and the Switchblade. It was one of the most amazing evangelism books I’ve ever read. Get your own copy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

At Home in Mitford

Author: Jan Karon
Genre: Life
Series: Mitford
Number in series: 1st
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 550 (large print)
Time period: Present (just a few years ago)
My overall opinion: Fun read. Loved Karon’s character development, and enjoyed the story. I’ll finish the series.

Birthday: Pernell Roberts

Pernell Roberts

Birth: May 18, 1928
Death: January 24, 2010
It’s his 84th birthday!
You know him because – he was Adam in the TV show, Bonanza. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday: Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen

Birth: May 17, 1939
It’s his 73rd birthday!
You know him because – he wrote many well-known books, the most notable (I think) being Hatchet. He wrote a bunch of others too.

Birthday: Enya


Birth: May 17, 1961
It’s her 51st birthday!
You know her because – she’s sung a lot of songs, and come out with many albums, including A Day Without Rain. She also sang the credits song in Fellowship of the Ring, a piece called May It Be. Her real name -- Eithne Ní Bhraonáin.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tributary Cover!

Y'all know I love Lisa T. Bergren River of Time series. :) (Click the River of Time link at the bottom of this to read my reviews of Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent). Anyway, the cover for Lisa's new novella, Tributary, that comes out this summer...the cover is finally here! Look:

It's way too perfect. That's Luca, you know...absolutely Luca. It is my current favorite cover! Can't wait to read Bourne (Lisa's first novella sequel to the series) and then Tributary!!!!!

Winner of the Annoying Ladies Mini-Tournament!

Well, all those weeks have passed and the Annoying Ladies Mini-Tournament has finally resulted in a most annoying lady! Without further ado...

She is...

Prepare to be surprised...

Mrs. Elton. :) Surprised? You shouldn't be. Oh well.

Our last poll ended with Mrs. Elton getting 59% (28 votes) and Lucy Steele getting 40% (19 votes).


Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Life, family
Series: Sunrise series
Number in series: 1st
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 316
Time period: Present (probably the early 2000’s)
My overall opinion: Karen Kingsbury definitely wrote a lot of amazing books, and this is no exception. I’m reading her series all out of order…and enjoying them just the same. It’s so fun to learn the back-story on some of these characters! Another wonderful book and series.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spotlight: Beth March

Beth March (Little Women)

Beth is middle-right. Claire Danes made a perfect Beth.


On the left.

I know this is short...but Beth is hard to find pictures of!