Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bethany House Blog Tour: Love Comes Calling

Author: Siri Mitchell

Genre: Romance, life

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 364

Time period: 1920s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This is the first book that I’ve read by Siri Mitchell, and to be entirely honest (as my reviews always are), I was a little disappointed. Overall, I’d say this wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t the perfect book for me. I didn’t connect at all with the heroine, Ellis…though that sounds strange in light of the fact that I completely followed how her brain worked. The author’s note revealed that Ellis was ADHD, which made sense. I also wasn’t really a fan of the way that the first person voice worked for this particular story. Finally, I always had trouble with picturing Ellis at the correct age. I found myself seeing her as being about 14 instead of her actual age of 19 or so (at least, marriageable age). Picturing the heroine as being younger than she is was kind of a serious problem here. All in all, I didn’t hate the book, it just didn’t catch me as much as I’d hoped. I won’t keep it. However, I am open to reading other books by Siri Mitchell, as it may have just been this one that wasn’t quite for me.

**Bethany House sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I wasn’t required to review it positively, and all opinions etc are my own. I wasn’t paid for this review.**

Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Post by Lisa Bergren: My Most Darcy-ist Characters in Remnants

When Lisa offered to come by Austenitis and post a Jane Austen-themed post related to her newest book, I instantly agreed. So my dear readers, join me in welcoming Lisa to Austenitis! (but first, read my review of Remnants and you could win a copy! Click HERE.)


By Lisa T. Bergren

For this guest post for Austenitis, I had to think about it for a while, but when I considered Mr. Darcy, and my cast of characters, I decided the closest to him was Raniero (or “Niero”), leader of the Remnants and Knights of the Last Order.

Why do we love Mr. Darcy? By trolling goodreads it looks like it’s because readers think of him as respectful; he honors Lizzie as an equal; he’s unapologetically manly and powerful in a genteel way, in control of his life and those dependent on him; he allows Lizzie to speak her own mind and challenge him with thoughts of her own; he’s loyal to the point of self-sacrifice, trustworthy, dependable; he recognizes faults within himself and sets out to correct them; he’s a no-nonsense guy with some serious self confidence.

All of these things apply to my character, Raniero, too. Now unlike Pride & Prejudice, my Niero isn’t in love with Andriana…we think.  He is guarded about his emotions—so guarded that even Andriana, an empath, can’t read him. But she knows she can count on him, and admires him in many ways. She’s intrigued with him and wants to unravel his secrets. So for those reasons, as well as Darcy-ish character traits, he’s my most Darcy-ist character in my book.

Oh, but he doesn’t own half of the Valley like Darcy owns half of Derbyshire. Or wear fancy clothes. Or have meticulous manners. I didn’t say they’re twins. And Remnants is hardly Pride & Prejudice…they’re like polar opposites on the fiction scale. But some things remain consistent among heroes, regardless of genre.

Be sure to write down this STOP #17 LAUNCH TOUR CLUE: fuel my

Collect all the clues and fill out Lisa’s Rafflecopter form on her launch tour post at LisaBergren.com at the end of April and you could win either a Kindle Fire HDX ($229) or iPod Touch ($229)!
What was the last hero in a novel that captured you? Why did you love him?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giveaway & Blog Tour: Remnants: Season of Wonder

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Remnants series

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 304

Time period: Future

Publisher and price: Blink, $15.99 (hardcover!)

My overall opinion: Lisa’s newest book did not disappoint in the least! I am again amazed by the genres that Lisa has covered with such accuracy (the 1800s west in The Homeward Trilogy, and time travel to 1500s Italy in The River ofTime series and early 1900s Europe in the Grand Tour series). Now she forges on a new time – the future! One thing I especially loved was the creative names. They’re unique, but still easy to pronounce. My favorites included Ronan, Andriana, Kapriel, and Tressa. Cool or what? This book is a page-turner. Andriana, the heroine, is fierce yet gentle and she has a special gift for feeling the emotions of others. I could identify with her remarkably well. And then Ronan…excuse me while I attempt to collect my thoughts on this amazing guy. Lisa created yet another swoon-worthy hero – I swear she has a gift for that! The whole story is mesmerizing, and I guarantee you that you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon! The locations were great, and the action was splendid. The whole book is quite unpredictable. I’m absolutely keeping this one, and I can’t wait for book 2!

Want to buy a copy? Here are the links!

But wait! I have a copy to give away to one lucky winner! This is a giveaway you want to enter and a book you want to read! Here, a little blurb about it:

Andriana is a Remnant, one of the gifted teens born on the seventh day during the seventy-seventh Harvest after the Great War, and destined to act as humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley home is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, other enemies close in. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri's feelings for Ronan--the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings, or risk compromising everything.

I don't have time to do my normal, more elaborate, Rafflecopter giveaway. So if you're interested in winning... all you have to do this time is leave a comment and tell me: have you read any of Lisa's books before? If so, which one(s)?

If you are a follower of this blog, you get an extra entry. You can get one more extra entry for liking the blog's Facebook page HERE. Ready? Go!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Movie: Great Gatsby

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Genre: Life…?

Primary actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan

Length: Almost 2 ½ hours

Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Time period: 1920s

Quote: “Old sport” – catchy!

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2013

My overall opinion: Well! I went back and forth about whether or not to review this one – and decided I would, as I think my readers will find it interesting. But reviewing it means I have to at least attempt to organize my thoughts on it, and that is a challenge.

So why did I go for an 8? Because I enjoyed it…I think. At any rate, I found it fascinating and impossible not to finish watching. But I also don’t whole-heartedly recommend it, nor do I agree with the basic concept/morals that were conveyed in it.

Be advised: I’m not trying to avoid spoilers, not really, so look out – there probably are some.

What did I like? It was impossible not to like, or at least feel empathy for, Jay Gatsby himself. I don’t approve of what he did or how he lived. Sure, he might have loved Daisy, but pursuing a married woman like he did is wrong. But at the same time, I felt like DiCaprio did a good job with the role and you couldn’t help but empathize with him a little.

And then the fashion of the time! I once wrote a paper about fashion in the 1920s, and it was really interesting to research. That whole time-period is just fascinating to me, so I really enjoyed that aspect of this movie – seeing their fashion, vehicles, houses, and way of life was amazing. I was also a little horrified by how utterly pointless their lives were…nothing but endless parties. It was disturbing.

And then what I didn’t like. I wasn’t overly fond of Daisy at all. Actually, I loved her looks (wow, that sounds awkward…). Like, her bobbed blond hair and brown eyes were adorable. But I didn’t like her as a person. Besides which, her behavior as a married woman was wrong. Just plain wrong. Be advised, there are a few somewhat objectionable scenes – keep that in mind before you watch it.

So all in all, what did I think? I’m not quite sure. Will I watch it again? I don’t know. I think the only movie I’ve been more confused about was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I think I’m glad I watched this, or at least, I don’t entirely regret it. Good movie? Not sure. Bad movie? Not all. But yeah – there’s my thoughts in brief.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TV Show: Psych Season 3

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Mystery, crime

Series or set: Psych

Number in series: 3rd

Primary actors: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson

Length: 16 episodes (each 45 or so minutes)

Time period: Present

Rating: TV-14, I assume

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: Delightful and hilarious as ever! Who could help but love Shawn and Gus? They are their normal selves in this season. I laughed the whole way through it, was thoroughly flummoxed as usual by the mysteries, and enjoyed it a great deal. This is easily one of my favorite shows and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Governess of Highland Hall

Author: Carrie Turansky

Genre: Romance

Series: Edwardian Brides

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 324

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Multnomah, $14.99

My overall opinion: A good read. It really did remind me of Downton Abbey, as it focuses (obviously) on a governess. Some of the scenes with the maids and other servants were very much like in Downton Abbey. The governess side of things had some definite similarities to Jane Eyre as well. All in all, good for a one time read, but not a book I’d buy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie: Eragon

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Fantasy

Series or set: It should technically be the first in a four-part series, like the books…but this is the only one they’ve made.

Primary actor: Ed Speleers

Length: A little under two hours

Based on: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Time period: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Year it came out: 2006

My overall opinion: I didn’t put this on my priority to-watch list, due to having heard so many negative reviews of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Having read the books by Paolini several years ago, I don’t know how accurate to the books this movie actually was. However, as a movie, it wasn’t bad! The graphics weren’t always amazing, but all in all, I enjoyed it and am not against watching it again. Seeing characters from Once Upon a Time and Downton Abbey was neat too – anyone else catch that? :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie: Quantum of Solace

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8

Genre: Action

Series or set: James Bond 007

Number in series: You can watch James Bond in any order you like!

Primary actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench

Length: About two hours

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2008

My overall opinion: Yet another James Bond movie in which Daniel Craig steals my heart! Okay, he’s actually way too old for me. But if I was…25 years older, I would be head over heels in love. He is seriously a great hero dude in these movies. My favorite thing about this movie? It included epic chases by plane, by boat, AND by car. Like I said, I once again really loved Daniel Craig’s performance as James Bond, and if you’re a fan of Craig, Bond, action movies, chase scenes, or action - this movie is a must-see!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Need to Read #41: Captive Maiden

Title: Captive Maiden

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Book blurb: Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Quick endorsement: I love fairy tale retellings and was delighted when Melanie decided to re-tell Cinderella! This book was lovely and I highly recommend it to all fans of fairy tales.

Link to review: http://austenitis.blogspot.com/2013/12/blog-tour-captive-maiden.html

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Song of My Heart

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Genre: Romance, life

Series: Heart of the Prairie

Number in series: 8th

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 348

Time period: 1800s

Publisher and price: Bethany House, $14.99

My overall opinion: This book was delightful! It perfectly entwined being humorous yet heart-touching. I was always sad to set it down and eager to pick it up again. The characters were amazing – extra colorful and such fun to read about! They came to life for me. This is a sweet story, all in all, relaxing and easily moving.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Movie: The Vow

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Genre: Chick flick 

Primary actors: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum

Length: About two hours

Based on: A true story, if I remember right?! Anyone know for sure?

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: I liked it better than The Notebook. No, but seriously. This was a sweet movie and melted my heart just a little bit in some parts. If you need a sweet chick flick for an evening, consider this one! :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Movie: Bourne Legacy

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Action

Series or set: Bourne

Number in series: 4th

Primary actors: Jeremy Renner, Scott Glenn, Edward Norton

Length: Two hours

Based on: Well, all of Bourne was originally from books by Robert Ludlum…other than that, it’s not really BASED on anything.

Time period: Present

Rating: PG-13

Year it came out: 2012

My overall opinion: What a great movie! I know, it’s a little weird that I’m reviewing the fourth movie in this set without reviewing the others – sorry. I have seen them all, just not reviewed them all. I think quite possibly you could watch this one without seeing the first three, though you might miss a few references. But all in all, this movie is most decidedly enjoyable. For one thing, it has Edward Norton. It gave me a turn when he came on screen. See, he’s the bad guy in Italian Job and I’ve seen that movie…I’m not even sure how many times. A LOT. Anyway. So he was in this. One great thing about this movie was that it was the most epic dirt bike chase scene EVER. I’m pretty sure that there’s no beating it. Seriously. The stunts they did were amazing. I was riveted to the screen through that entire section…and actually, through this entire movie. But especially that part. Oh, and the part that almost made me fall out of bed? (wow that sounded weird…I watch movies in bed most of the time, so that’s why I said that.) A dude comes driving up. He’s driving a Dodge Ram truck. (brownie points for him right away – I love Dodge.) And then a song comes on – and it’s Rodney Atkins singing “Cleaning This Gun” which just so happens to be one of my favorite songs. I almost exploded with happy over that part. It was awesome. So, all in all? Great movie! Check IMDB as there are a few things that are objectionable. But. I’d watch this again. :)