Friday, November 30, 2007

And the Wuthering Heights Winner Is . .

. . . Miss Paula! Congratulations, Miss Paula! You have won a copy of Wuthering Heights, some loose-leaf Yorkshire Harrogate Tea from my favorite tea shop; and a pair of wristwarmers that I knit. Please send your address to me at

Thank you all for entering! I loved reading your fantastic comments and I wish I had a copy for each of you! I hope you will visit again, as I plan to have another little contest soon.

Congratulations, Miss Paula!!

Last Day to Enter!

If you haven't already entered my Wuthering Heights Contest, you have until 3pm today! The prize includes small, gilt-edged copy of Wuthering Heights; some loose-leaf Yorkshire Harrogate Tea from my favorite tea shop; and a pair of wristwarmers that I knit.

Enter now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Josh Groban TV Appearances

Josh Groban will be making a lot of tv appearances soon, to promote his cd Noel (if you haven't already, go get it!).

Here's a list. (UPDATED)

11/27- Oprah Winfrey Show - Behind the Scenes of Oprah's Favorite Things on ABC
11/28- Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center on NBC
11/30- Good Morning America on ABC
12/10- Regis and Kelly Live on ABC
12/17- Oprah Winfrey Show (Re-Airing of Oprah's Favorite Things) on ABC
12/22- Good Morning America on ABC
12/24- Larry King on CNN
12/24- Oprah Winfrey Show; "What's on Your iPod?" on ABC
12/24- Good Morning America on ABC
12/25- Disney Christmas Special on ABC

Check your local listings for showtimes.

Emeril Live Cancelled!

This is sad. I am a huge Food Network fan and "Emeril Live" is the show that sort of put the channel on the map. If anything, they should cancel "Essence of Emeril." I really think he's better with the studio audience to play off of. This is a sad day!

AP: Food Network canceling `Emeril Live'---

NEW YORK - Food Network is kicking Emeril Lagasse down a notch.

The celebrity chef's "Emeril Live," which has been on the air for 10 years, will cease production Dec. 11, Food Network publicist Carrie Welch told The Associated Press.

"However, Emeril is under contract with Food Network," Welch said Tuesday. "We love him, we support him and look forward to a long partnership with him."

Welch wouldn't comment on Lagasse's contract.

Asked why the show was canceled, she told the AP: "The only reason would be that it hit a ton of television milestones and, you know, all good things come to an end."
FN will still show re-runs of "Emeril Live" and Emeril will still have "Essence of Emeril," and take place in FN Specials.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let it snow!

It's snowing! I'm freezing! I took some pictures outside, but, as it is dark, they don't look quite as fabulous on the computer as they do on the camera. Still, I had to post this!

Wuthering Heights Contest!

Every autumn (October, usually---I'm running behind), I re-read one of my favorite novels, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. It is such a passionate, tumultuous novel, which seems to match the changing weather.

This year, I have decided to have a little Wuthering Heights Contest. The prize includes a small, gilt-edged copy of the novel; some loose-leaf Yorkshire Harrogate Tea from my favorite tea shop; and a pair of wristwarmers that I knit.

The contest will end Friday, 30 November, at 3pm, after which I will pick a winner at random. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post. You can comment on anything: the book, tea, the weather, etc. If you have read Wuthering Heights, I hope you will tell me what you most love---or hate---about it. If you haven't but want to, then tell me that too! Just write whatever you want to.

Good luck!

Where's My Jim Halpert?

Take this test!
Sweet as a well-stocked vending machine in the company break room, you're exactly the person people go to when they need a little pick-me-up from office politics and snooze-inducing meetings. Sure you can be a little shy, but that's exactly what makes you approachable in a sea of general nutcases. You show your true colors around the ones you really like.

Work may be a bit frustrating when you lie so low, but even a quiet type like you has the power to make it big. And you know, you don't have to play dirty to win — but it could be a little fun...

I am Ginny Weasley!

Take this test!

You rarely need Polyjuice potion because you're usually happy just being you! While you might not make the biggest splash or cause drama, you slowly and steadily win over lots of people who think you're pretty darn wonderful. While you can be a little shy and self-conscious at times (especially around a crush), you're probably considered to be a BFF by more than just one person.

Luckily, your talents aren't just the magic kind. You're also kind and smart and just great to be around. Looks like you'll have a very charmed life indeed!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Text Thanks to the Troops!

This is awesome! I just sent a text message of gratitude.

From American Forces Press Service: Americans Can Text ‘Thanks’ to Troops---

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2007 - For those seeking a quick way to show appreciation to troops serving far from home this holiday season, look no further than “Giving Thanks,” a new initiative from the Defense Department’s America Supports You program.

America Supports You connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.

“This is a simple way to connect our citizens to our soldiers using modern technology,” Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, said of the text messaging program.

The program, which already has received nearly 4,000 messages, officially kicks off at 6 a.m. EST Nov. 17 and concludes at midnight PST Nov. 22. Between those times, people wishing to express gratitude to the troops for their service can text a brief message to 89279. Each text message sent will receive a response from an active-duty servicemember in return.
Please text our troops! Tell them how thankful we are for their service and sacrifices!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all joy and blessings on Thanksgiving. May you be surrounded by family, friends, and good food!
I am thankful for God, giving me life
for the United States of Americafor the United States Military (say thanks to the Military here)
for President George W. Bush
for my family and memories of my dogs
for my friends
for books :)
for my blog friends and readers
and for Faith and Freedom.
God bless you all!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"CD For the Troops!"

Via Michelle Malkin:

American Forces Press Service: Artists Create CD to Thank Troops---

Just in time for the holidays, 13 major recording artists have created a musical “Thank You” for the troops.

“CD for the Troops” will be available for anyone with a valid military identification card to download at no cost from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Web site,, beginning tomorrow.

“We’re thankful to all the artists who have agreed to lend their name and talent to this special CD,” said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and community liaison. “To have ‘CD for the Troops’ produced and dedicated in special honor to our active-duty military members and veterans is just another demonstration of the support so many people in our nation have for our troops.”
[. . .]
Getting this project, which combined the music of Billy Joel, Brooks & Dunn, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Josh Groban, Los Lonely Boys, Melissa Ethridge, the Neville Brothers, Sarah McLachlan, the Lt. Dan Band, Montgomery Gentry, The Fray, and Five For Fighting, to troops’ ears took true teamwork. John Ondrasik, the singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name “Five For Fighting,” was intimately involved with making sure that happened.
[. . .]
Ondrasik spearheaded the CD after being asked to write a forward and contribute a song to a compilation of local bands sending music to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I thought it was a wonderful gesture,” he said, explaining his belief that music is a unique medium that can affect morale and mental health. “I started making a few calls to friends of mine, and six months later we have the CD for the troops.”

A staunch supporter of the nation’s troops, Ondrasik said he is grateful for the sacrifices of American servicemembers. He said he knows men and women who made and are making those sacrifices have ensured his family’s liberty and enabled him to pursue music as a profession.

“Let’s be honest, there would be no songs of consequence without the soldiers who allow us a voice,” he said. “I can’t speak for anyone but myself, (but) I think it’s important to recognize that artists from across the political spectrum came together to make this gesture of appreciation and thanks to our troops.”
What a marvelous project! I am especially excited to see Josh Groban on that list!

“CD for the Troops” is a compilation of songs from 13 of today’s top musical artists. Active-duty servicemembers and veterans with a valid military identification card will be able to download the CD from the Army and Air Force Service Exchange Web site for no cost, beginning Nov. 17, 2007.
Spread the word about this project!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And the winners are . . .

I just put all your names into my white and blue teapot and pulled out two randomly.

I am delighted to announce the winners of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen Giveaway are Nan and Catherine! Please e-mail me your shipping address to me at Lauren at HarperCollins will be sending your books to you! Congratulations!

Thank you to all those who participated in the contest! I was so glad to have you all visit and take the time to comment on my post. I hope you will all read The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and come back to visit and tell me what you thought!

Nan and Catherine, enjoy your books!

Come back soon because I will be having another contest within the week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Last Day to Enter!

You have until midnight tonight to enter The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen Giveaway! There have been lots of great entries. I will pick the 2 winners and post their names on the 15th (tomorrow). Good luck!

Don't forget the contests!

This post will remain at the top until Wednesday, 14 November! Please scroll down for new posts.

Enter to win a copy of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James here (and read my review here). You have until Wednesday, 14 November! If you are here you might as well enter! :)

And don't forget to vote at Ms. Place's Jane Austen Today Jane Austen Icon Contest. You have until tomorrow night at midnight. Winner gets a copy of A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith.

Please, donate to Project Valour-IT. We are raising money to buy laptops for our injured military men and women. This is a worthy cause!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

P&P 2005 Gift Set!

Oh, I was so very delighted to see this! I am a huge fan of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film and this gift set is full of fabulous extras! It came out today and I got it at Walmart this evening for something like $14.96, which is half off. There was no mention of the sale in the dvd section, but after I the checker scanned it I nearly danced the waltz.

Features include:
  • The gorgeous gift box. Inside there is a space to write the owner's name (make sure you use elegant handwriting!)
  • Both the widescreen and full frame versions of the film
  • The Politics of Dating Featurette
  • The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice
  • Galleries of the 19th Century
  • Pride & Prejudice Family Tree
  • A 64-page Production Photo Book
  • The full CD Soundtrack. Beautiful music!
  • All the special features found on the original film
I am so very excited to have this special edition of Pride & Prejudice!

Amazing Grace on DVD!

I was quite sad that I only got to see the fabulous, moving movie Amazing Grace once in the theater, but I am happy to note that it comes out on dvd today!

Some of the DVD Features are:
  • Commentary with director Michael Apted and star Ioan Gruffudd (hooray!)
  • The Story of Amazing Grace (the song)
  • A Music Video
  • Discussion Tools and Study Guides
Official Website here.
Official DVD Website here.

Please also visit

In case you didn't hear about the movie, I have lots of information and links from previous posts about it here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

JA Icon Winners Announced!

Over at Jane Austen Today Ms. Place has announced the winners of the Jane Austen Icon Contest! Go over and see for yourself!

What a fun contest!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Missing Wonders

The WSJ Online has a very intriguing article up about 7 Missing Wonders, including Amelia Earhart's Plane, The Holy Grail, the Tomb of Nefertitti, and The Amber Room. I've always been interested in these sorts of things, so I look forward to fully exploring the map provided and reading all the information.

Which of history's mysteries intrigues you most?

To All Our Vets---Thank You!

Today is Veterans Day, when we honor all the men and women who have served in our military. Their courage, honor, and sacrifices have preserved our freedom.

Dear Past, Present, and Future Members of the US Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard:
We thank you for all that you have done for our beloved country and all that you continue to do. We owe you more than we can ever repay you. You have made us so very proud. Please know that you will never be forgotten. May God bless you and keep you. Thank you!

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The President's Proclamation:

October 31, 2007

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Throughout our history, America has been protected by patriots who cherished liberty and made great sacrifices to advance the cause of freedom. The brave members of the United States Armed Forces have answered the call to serve our Nation, ready to give all for their country. On Veterans Day, we honor these extraordinary Americans for their service and sacrifice, and we pay tribute to the legacy of freedom and peace that they have given our great Nation.

In times of war and of peace, our men and women in uniform stepped forward to defend their fellow citizens and the country they love. They shouldered great responsibility and lived up to the highest standards of duty and honor. Our veterans held fast against determined and ruthless enemies and helped save the world from tyranny and terror. They ensured that America remained what our founders meant her to be: a light to the nations, spreading the good news of human freedom to the darkest corners of the earth.

Like the heroes before them, today a new generation of men and women are fighting for freedom around the globe. Their determination, courage, and sacrifice are laying the foundation for a more secure and peaceful world.

Veterans Day is dedicated to the extraordinary Americans who protected our freedom in years past, and to those who protect it today. They represent the very best of our Nation. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman has earned the lasting gratitude of the American people, and their service and sacrifice will be remembered forever. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: " . . . let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the Nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle . . . ." On this Veterans Day, I ask all Americans to express their appreciation to our Nation's veterans.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation's veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2007, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 11 through November 17, 2007, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

And more:

The Department of Veteran's Affairs Veteran's Day Page.
Veterans Day National Ceremony Speakers and Speeches

Can you contribute? Veterans History Project

The Library of Congress invites you to join it in collecting audio- and video-taped oral histories, along with documents such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and home movies, of America's war veterans and those who served in support of them during World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars.
You can support our troops by visiting AmericaSupportsYou.Mil and participating in projects or even just posting a note.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And in honor of all the Vets out there, especially those who have been injured in the line of duty, please, please, please give to Operation Valour-IT! The deadline for this fundraiser is coming up and we need to raise more money for our injured troops.



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy 57th!

Happy Birthday, Dad!


I saw this meme over at what if this is as good as it gets? and thought it looked like fun.

I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments.. what is it?
1. Produce: Bell Peppers of all colors (my favorite is the red).
2. Bakery: French Bread from the Safeway near my house. The best!
3. Meat: Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
4. Frozen: Frozen Broccoli
5. Dry goods: Do herbs count? I don't know.

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. My favorite dark jeans. They can be casual or dressed up.
2. A nice shirt that can be worn several times without getting wrinkly (if necessary)
3. The black sweater with zipper that I wore after the Josh Groban concert.

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. "I was just reading . . ."
2. "Oh, dear."
3. "This is a Rachael Ray recipe."
4. "Do you want JUG?" (Justice Under God---detention at school)
5. "Jane Austen"

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Read! I must always read.
2. Look at my e-mail accounts (but no one ever e-mails me back!) and blogs.
3. Eat. Yum-o.

Sweet, you just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. Read. Read. Read.
2. Make a lovely pot of tea and put the teapot, my cup & saucer, & other tea items on a platter and enjoy.
3. Blog.
4. Sleep.
5. Watch a favorite tv show or movie that I have on dvd or taped.

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. Lions
2. Penguins
3. Monkeys

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. The Office---who wouldn't want to meet John Krasinski and see the hilarious show filmed?
2. JAG---even though it ended in 2005.
3. Rachael Ray
4. House

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Ben & Jerry's "Everything But The . . ."
2. Ben & Jerry's "Oatmeal Cookie Chunk"
3. Huckleberry (or anything) from the Pizza/Ice Cream/Movie Place at the lake

Somebody stole your purse/wallet…in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. A copy of Wuthering Heights (I always have a book with me)
2. A key ring with a little monkey holding a heart on it---for the lake.
3. Hand cream.
4. A little notepad with various numbers, addresses, etc. in it.
5. A little tin of Sugar Free Cinnamon mini-Altoids.

You are at a job fair, and asked what areas you are interested in pursuing a career in. Let's pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted, so what 4 career would be fun for you?
1. President of the United States :) lol
2. Constitutional Attorney
3. Author
4. Chef

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. Keep in touch with friends.
2. Get involved even more.
3. Enjoy what you have.
4. Be glad you had the moment.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday's Feast #168

{Featured Flickr Feast by hjkaufmann}

Which snack do you like to get when you go to the movies?

I always love to have popcorn when I go to the movies. Popcorn is the greatest snack ever! It is especially good when it is all buttery and salty! Yummy!

What year did you start using the internet?

I don't really remember, though I can recall using it in high school (I graduated in 1999.). Probably 1996?

What is your first name in Pig Latin? (Here’s how to speak it if you don’t already know!


Main Course
Name something you are picky about.

I am picky about my books. When I buy a book I like to make sure it isn't damaged and that the cover isn't bent or anything. I like to be careful when I read them and I try not to bend the pages or the cover or anything. So, it is kind of hard to lend books to people because they don't show the same care. :) I love books. (Speaking of books: Make sure you enter my book contest here!)

Fill in the blanks: I ____ ____ yesterday and I ____ ____ today.

I slept in yesterday and I made Pumpkin Bread today. :)

More Friday's Feasts here!

Which books do you re-read?

I know when I find a book that completely captures my imagination and my heart I will end up reading it over and over. Some of my favorite re-reads are .

AP: Harry Potter most re-read book in Britain: survey---

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters Life!) - Nearly 80 percent of Britons have re-read a book, with the Harry Potter series the most likely to be picked up again, a survey revealed on Friday.

Some of the books that are re-read for pleasure are classics such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre."

Others in the top 10 include JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" as well as Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code."

People said they returned to the same books because they are fantastic stories of which they never tire, they find something new in each reading, it is comforting, they can relate to the characters and it cheers them up.
I couldn't agree more!

And the list:

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

6. 1984 by George Orwell

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
I've read all but 7 & 10. I have re-read 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, & 9 so many times. I love books!

So, which books do you re-read?

And while you are here, don't forget to enter my The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen Contest!

Items of Interest

These stories caught my eye, so I thought I would share the links.

Support Project Valour-IT!

It is time for Project Valour-IT again and I have joined the Navy team. Project Valour-IT is a fundraiser to raise mone to purchase Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops. They have sacrificed so much for us and now it is our turn to give back.

Here is a little information from the Soldiers' Angels website:

Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops for severely wounded service members. As of October 2007, Valour-IT has distributed over 1500 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.

Valour-IT accepts donations in any amount to support the purchase and distribution of laptops, but also offers a sponsorship option. An individual or organization may sponsor a wounded soldier by completely funding the cost of a laptop and continuing to provide that soldier with personal support and encouragement throughout recovery. This has proved to be an excellent project for churches, groups of coworkers or friends, and members of community organizations such Boy Scouts.
Please donate and help spread the word. We have the opportunity to do do something wonderful for our injured military men and women. Please help us!



Thursday, November 08, 2007

Win A Copy of The Lost Memoirs!

HarperCollins Publishers has two copies of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (my review of this excellent novel is below!) to give away and you can win them here!

Here is how to win:

All you have to do is comment on this post and answer these two questions:

1. Which is your favorite Jane Austen novel? (If you haven't read one, you can list which one you want to read or which movie is your favorite.)

2. If you could have tea with Jane Austen, what is the first & most interesting question you would ask her?

You have until midnight on Wednesday, 14 November 2007, to enter. I will randomly choose two winners and then announce the names on this blog on Thursday, 15 November.

Good luck!

If you have a blog and would be so gracious as to post about this contest, please feel free to use the below graphic and link it back to this post. Thank you!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Book Review: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Our own dear Jane Austen died far, far too young, at the age of 41, leaving behind only 6 completed novels, a handful of other partial novels, juvenilia, and letters. Shortly before she herself died, Jane's beloved sister Cassandra burned an undetermined number of Jane's letters and cut portions out of many others. We will never find out what was in those letters.

But what if we could find out more about Jane's life? What if we could read about the great love of her life? That is what Syrie James has done in her novel The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

According to the "Editor's Forward," written by Mary I. Jesse, of Oxford University, President of the Jane Austen Literary Foundation, an old chest was recently found, walled up at Chawton Manor House. Inside the chest were manuscripts, written in a lady's hand. These manuscripts are the memoirs of Jane Austen.

The memoirs contained in this volume cover a period of years from about 1800-1817. Jane wrote her story because (pgs. 7-8 in the ARC & as exerpted on the website):

there may, I think, be speculation when I am gone. People may read what I have written, and wonder: how could this spinster, this woman who, to all appearances, never even courted—who never felt that wondrous connection of mind and spirit between a man and woman, which, inspired by friendship and affection, blooms into something deeper—how could she have had the temerity to write about the revered institutions of love and courtship, having never experienced them herself?

To those few friends and relations who, upon learning of my authorship, have dared to pose a similar question (although, I must admit, in a rather more genteel turn of phrase), I have given the self-same reply: "Is it not conceivable that an active mind and an observant eye and ear, combined with a vivid imagination, might produce a literary work of some merit and amusement, which may, in turn, evoke sentiments and feelings which resemble life itself?"

There is much truth in this observation.
Indeed. And fortunately for the readers, Syrie James is very good at observation. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen begins with Jane's life after she had to leave her beloved home at Steventon and move, with her father, mother, and sister Cassandra to Bath. Five years later Jane's father dies and the women are left without much income. They make extended stays with Jane's brothers and with family friends, but Jane is never settled enough to continue her writing.

On one occasion, while visiting Lyme with her brother Henry, she meets a gentleman who is everything one could ever hope for in a man. His name is Mr. Frederick Ashford. He's handsome, intelligent, charming, friendly, and, really, Jane's soulmate. They plan a picnic with Henry and another couple, but Mr. Ashford is, most unfortunately, called away. Over a year passes before she sees him again. The connection is still there. Jane and Mr. Ashford eventually embark on a lovely relationship, but their will their happiness be complete?

We all know that Jane Austen never married, but she did leave us with six fabulous novels. Apart from the love story, most of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen concerns Jane's attempts to reform her earlier stories into the novels that we all know and love today. It couldn't have been easy to maintain one's writing while moving from place to place. Fortunately, Jane's brother Edward gave his mother and sisters a cottage he owned, Chawton Cottage and eventually Jane was able to publish a novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Syrie James made an extensive study of Jane's life & times, novels & letters, and her research shows. It must have been a challenge to stay within the framework of what we know of Jane's life and create the love story, but she did it.

James also made use of Jane's ideas and quotes by creating situations, conversations, characters, and experiences that could feasibly have been Jane's inspiration. It was fun to notice lines similar to beloved ones from any of the novels or to recognize certain people in the people she met in this story. Very clever!

I honestly adored this book and even, for a time, forgot that Jane does not marry Mr. Ashford. He is almost even better than Mr. Darcy (shocking, I know!) because he and Jane have that true, deep connection from the start, without the pride or prejudice. I was very sad to reach the end and know they were never together. I truly wish Jane could married happily, though, as they all say, if she had married, perhaps she never would have written her novels. That would have been a crime against humanity.

I highly recommend The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. It was absolutely fabulous. There were lots of little touches that made it special, including "Editor" Mary I. Jesse's footnotes every so often. I already knew much of the information, but readers unfamiliar with the time period would have been very glad to have them. James also included a map of England, with places Jane Austen spent time in highlighted, and an Austen Family Tree, which I referred to throughout the story with great interest. After Jane's "text" ends, there is an "Editor's Afterward" which continues the magic a little longer. Following that, the publisher included an "A+ Author Insights, Extras, & More . . ." This includes a note from the author, Syrie James; a comprehensive list of Jane Austen's works; a chronology of Jane's life; a Q&A with Syrie James (You can read a longer one at her website); Quotations from Jane's works (including some that were used in this novel); and Book Club/Study Guide Questions. You will find lots more interesting items at (including a contest).

I hope you will go to your local bookstore or and purchase The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. It was an excellent read and I couldn't put it down. If you read it, do let us know what you thought!

Book Information: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James (Avon A; ISBN: 0061341428; $13.95; 352 pages; paperback)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vote for Your Favorite JA Icon!

Ms. Place has the finalists for her Jane Austen Hero/Heroine Icon Contest over at Jane Austen Today . (I think I just cast the first vote!) There were many worthy submissions! She and Lori Smith, authoress of A Walk with Jane Austen, narrowed the selection down to the top 10 (there are also honorable mentions).

Here are Ms. Place's instructions for voting:

You may vote once a day for a week. I will announce the winner next Monday night. If there is a tie, there will be a 'sudden death' vote off! You have until midnight Sunday, November 11th and you may vote once per day.
So, go vote for your favorite Jane Austen Icon!

"The Face of the Golden Boy"

I have long been fascinated by the famous King Tut, so I couldn't help but be excited when I saw this story (and the accompanying photographs.

AP: Egypt puts King Tut on public display---

LUXOR, Egypt - King Tut's buck-toothed face was unveiled Sunday for the first time in public — more than 3,000 years after the youngest and most famous pharaoh to rule ancient Egypt was shrouded in linen and buried in his golden underground tomb.

Archeologists carefully lifted thae fragile mummy out of a quartz sarcophagus decorated with stone-carved protective goddesses, momentarily pulling aside a beige covering to reveal a leathery black body.

The linen was then replaced over Tut's narrow body so only his face and tiny feet were exposed, and the 19-year-old king, whose life and death has captivated people for nearly a century, was moved to a simple glass climate-controlled case to keep it from turning to dust.

"I can say for the first time that the mummy is safe and the mummy is well preserved, and at the same time, all the tourists who will enter this tomb will be able to see the face of Tutankhamun for the first time," Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said from inside the hot and sticky tomb.

"The face of the golden boy is amazing. It has magic and it has mystery," he added.
I wish I could go to see the tomb and the mummy.

Photos here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Book Review: Mr. Knightley's Diary

Although I had heard of some of Amanda Grange's previous books, such as Mr. Darcy's Diary, I had never read them. Recently, I got the chance to read a copy of Grange's Mr. Knightley's Diary and found that it is a fantastic take on Jane Austen's Emma.

I haven't read Emma in probably a couple of years, so it was refreshing to read the story through Mr. Knightley's eyes. He's a very interesting character and I don't know him as well as Mr. Darcy.

Grange takes the reader into Knightley's (should I be so bold as to address him as such? Emma might not like it.) world and enables us to go with him when he is absent from Highbury. Readers of Emma will remember that Knightley misses Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston's wedding because he is in London. In Mr. Knightley's Diary, the reader is with him! We get to find out what he is doing when he is not with Emma. Haven't you always been curious?

The diary spans just over a year and recounts any number of events found in the original novel in a slightly different, more masculine way. Knightley is constantly worrying about Emma's behavior, hoping she will be more mature and leave off matchmaking, and trying to decide if, and who, he should marry. Just as Emma tries to pair Harriet with various gentlemen, Knightley meets several women (including Jane Fairfax) and tries to see if he feels any sparks with them. Of course, as we all know, in the end only Emma will do.

Our favorite (and not-so-favorite) secondary characters still play largely in this novel, though through Knightley's eyes. Mr. Woodhouse is still the same old valetudinarian that we all love (and wish would stop saying that cake is bad for one's health!). Mr. Elton and his wife, as always, quite irritating, though Knightley is polite. He finds Frank Churchill to be somewhat suspect, rather than the charming gentleman the ladies believe him to be. We also see more of Knightley's brother John and his wife, Emma's sister. I was quite glad to read more about them, as they are not a huge part of Emma.

I highly recommend Mr. Knightley's Diary to all Jane Austen fans. It was a very enjoyable take on a beloved book. It is available at any bookstore and online. I do hope you will pick up a copy and let us know how you liked it.

Book Information: Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange (Berkley; ISBN: 042521771X; $14.00; 304 pages; paperback)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Curveball Timewaster!

This is pretty fun and I didn't find it too terribly difficult.

Click to Play!

Book Review: No Regrets

Michele Ann Young's Regency novel No Regrets begins in a very interesting (and romantic) manner: Lucas Rivers, Viscount Foxhaven, rides his horse into the house where our heroine, Caroline "Caro" Torrington is secretly working and carries her off. The couple were childhood friends and Lucas cannot receive inheritance until he marries Caro, but she has stubbornly refused him. Caro, who could be called voluptuous, is very attracted to Lucas, who is rather a Rake, but doesn't believe he could ever find her beautiful. Finally, in order to provide give her sisters a stable financial future, Caro agrees to a marriage of convenience, which will be ended sometime in the future. They agree to "no regrets."

Along the way, Caro receives society-lessons from Lucas' friend's sister, meets a previously unknown French cousin, spends time with Lucas' Aunt Rivers and Cousin Cedric (who looks after a lot of Lucas' business), and tries to win Lucas' affections (though she has actually already done so).

Lucas, in reality, is very attracted to Caro, but does not want to violate their agreement or somehow ruin their longtime friendship. Unfortunately, Caro thinks she disgusts him. This leads to a variety of misunderstandings, including Caro believing Lucas has a mistress. Though the couple grows closer, Caro believes she is doing Lucas a favor by leaving him and traveling to France with her cousin to visit French relatives. Lucas follows her there, but when Caro is kidnapped (or has she voluntarily decided to remarry?), he must decide how he really feels about her. I don't want to spoil the rest of the story, so I will stop there.

I really enjoyed reading No Regrets. It is a well-written and interesting Regency. Young did an excellent job incorporating the proper period elements and crafting a tension-filled love story. Lucas is a very attractive hero, with his dark hair and "chocolate" eyes (yum!). Caro is a woman we can all relate to because she really struggles with her self-esteem and believes herself to be completely unattractive, especially to Lucas. The secondary characters add a lot to the tale, especially Caro's lady's maid Lizzie. She's hilarious.

Fortunately, this book is on the long side (for a Regency), which means the reader gets to enjoy it a little bit longer. Lucas and Caro's difficulties in communicating their true feelings are frustrating---to the characters and to the reader---but that works in this story because the reader understands what they are going through. Obviously Lucas and Caroline have long-held and deep feelings for each other. As we all know, though, sometimes it is hard to express such important emotions to the most important people in our lives.

I highly recommend No Regrets by Michele Ann Young. I had never read any of her work before, but I have visited her blog, Regency Ramble, numerous times before I received No Regrets. I do hope you will find No Regrets at your local bookstore or on

Book Information: No Regrets by Michele Ann Young (Sourcebooks Casablanca; ISBN: 1-4022-1016-7; $6.99; 384 pages; paperback)