lost in austen

Same Blog. New Location.

Due to overwhelming problems with Live Journal, including ridiculous amounts of obscene spam, crashes that kept me from posting important updates, and things just disappearing, I made the very difficult decision to take on the very time-consuming job of moving my book blog.

You can find it by clicking on the image above.

OR by clicking here:

I hope to see you there!

I've left up all the reviews, but had to turn off the comments to keep the spam away.
Reading --> Comfy

Treasure Me Contest Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Treasure Me Friday Five Contest. And thanks again to Christine Nolfi for taking the time to answer the Friday Five questions and offering an ebook to one reader.

The lucky winner is . . .

Rae from Best O' Books Blog


I have forwarded your email address to Christine, and she will send the ebook to you.

Reading --> Cat

Must Read: Sisterhood Everlasting

I adore the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and movies. I feel like Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby are old friends. And I can't wait to reunite with them when Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares is released on June 14. There aren't enough words to express how excited I am about this book!


Return to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . ten years later

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn't take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can't seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever--but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

For more information on Ann Brashares, visit:
Bedtime reading

Brian Rowe: Happy Birthday To Me

I was excited to receive a copy of Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe for review!

Cameron Martin is a good-looking, seventeen-year-old all-star basketball player, with a hot girlfriend, popularity, and a bright future. Life is pretty good. So good that he's always testing the boundaries of his popularity, including telling restaurants that it's his birthday to see if they'll believe him and reward him with free cake. They always do.

Cameron Martin is selfish, vain, and kind of a jerk.

One night, while celebrating with friends at a favorite hangout, he pushes the birthday scam too far and ticks off a waitress.

The next morning, things start to change. Cameron feels older. In fact, he's starting to look older, too. And this trend continues every day. For no explicable reason, Cameron begins to age one year for every day of his life.

His metabolism is slowing down. He's gaining weight. His body aches. His hair is thinning and turning gray. His face is looking a little too wrinkly. He doesn't look like Mr. Popularity anymore, which has people talking. And running in the other direction.

His girlfriend dumps him. His basketball coach and teammates want him off the court and out of the locker room. His plastic surgeon father goes crazy with worry and wants to fix him--literally. The only positive attention he's getting is from the high school's usually surly librarian. She used to hate Cameron. Now she wants to seduce him. Gulp!

Cameron wants his life back. He wants to look in the mirror and recognize his own face. But he has no idea how to get there. Doctors can't even properly diagnose his condition, much less cure it. While his classmates are planning futures filled with college and exciting careers, Cameron might not live to see graduation.

At first, I disliked Cameron. I mean, really, really disliked him. But as the story progressed, I started to feel bad for him and all the suffering he was forced to endure. I felt his aches and pains. I became more and more nervous with each chapter title announcing how much older Cameron had become and didn't want him to die.

What an interesting idea for a book! I knew when I read the synopsis that I'd enjoy it. Brian Rowe definitely did not disappoint with this fast-moving, startling reminder to cherish each day, never take anything for granted, treat people with kindness, and look beyond the surface.

I hope Cameron holds on to the lessons he learned. I know I won't forget the them. Or him, for that matter. I look forward to finding out what happens next in the trilogy (Happy Birthday To Me Again is scheduled for publication in the fall).

♥ ♥ ♥

For more information on Brian Rowe , visit:

Friday Five with Christine Nolfi + Contest!

This week's Friday Five features a very special guest! Christine Nolfi, author of Treasure Me, which is now available for purchase in the Amazon Kindle store, has a agreed to answer some questions and offer a download of her ebook to one lucky reader!

But first, a little about Treasure Me....

Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.

The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. According to family lore, Justice left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War. Heavy with child, she carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.

If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can't help but wonder if she’s found one--Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn't know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up--as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, Birdie begins to discover a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine.

I'm grateful to Christine for taking the time to answer the following questions....

1. Treasure Me is currently only available in the Amazon Kindle store. Do you think it will become a trend for new authors in the future? Do you think books will become obsolete?

Digital publishing offers a marvelous opportunity for talented authors--especially authors who don't fit easily into a traditional genre--to reach the reading public. A division of Penguin considered bringing Treasure Me, and the upcoming Liberty books, out in hardcover. Earlier, Random House was interested in another novel, Second Chance Grill, which will appear on Amazon in June.

In both instances, the editors were flummoxed. Were the books romance or women's fiction? Or something else? The prose was close to literary, with cozy mystery elements and snappy dialogue thrown into the mix. Given the financial investment a publishing house makes releasing a debut novelist, it’s understandable why both editors were hesitant to offer a contract. They weren't sure, exactly, how to promote my novels.

That said, I don't believe traditional books will ever disappear. Don't we all love the scent of a newly printed book? The feel of a hardbound book in our hands? The affordability of e-books will certainly increase readership, but I suspect a segment of the public will always prefer print books.

2. What are the pros and cons of releasing a novel in ebook format?

I can't speak for other writers; my greatest difficulty has been the allocation of time. Many hours are now spent promoting my novels. Those long, lovely mornings, when I woke at dawn and spent hours writing, have disappeared. At least for now.

3. What inspired you to write about a petty thief like Birdie Kaminsky?

In 2007, I had just come through divorce and my mother’s death after her long battle with cancer. One morning I thought, "If I don't write something to make myself laugh, I'll never stop crying." Then Birdie simply appeared, dangling from a window, trying to escape from the man whose pocket she'd picked. That first scene in Treasure Me wasn't plotted out: it rose from my subconscious in a mad flurry of typing.

As the book progressed, I enjoyed the challenge of making Birdie sympathetic to readers. Why should any of us care about a thief? By mid-story, it becomes clear why she’s led her chosen life, and why she wants to change. I'm an adoptive mother of a sibling group of four children, and some of Birdie’s characterization undoubtedly arises from that experience. Children who have suffered abuse and neglect do not enter the adoption process as model citizens. It takes time to heal their wounds and get them to trust in a mother’s forever-love.

4. In Treasure Me, Birdie is on a mission to find and steal hidden treasure from the Civil War. Why did you choose the Civil War as a backdrop for the story?

On a personal level, I have French and English ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, and on both sides of the Civil War. Wondering who they were, and what their lives were like, comes naturally. All of the Liberty books will include historical elements, with women front and center. On another level, I suspect I'm writing a love story to the American Experience. In the last ten years, we've experienced great hardship as a nation. But we should never forget that the U.S. is a great country. In the small town of Liberty, I hope to portray the best of who we are as a people.

5. If you could hunt for hidden treasure, what time period would you want to travel to and what would you want to find?

So many choices! Wouldn't it be exciting to find lost documents from the ancient library of Alexandria? Or original writings destined for the Old or New Testament? How about a cache of jewels hidden since the French Revolution? Or priceless ceramics from China’s pre-dynastic period?

So many wonderful eras of history--how does one choose?

You can purchase Treasure Me by CLICKING HERE.

The second book in the Liberty series, Second Chance Grill, will be released summer, 2011.

For more information on Christine Nolfi, visit:

Now I'll bet you're wondering about the contest. Well, it's so simple!

All you have to do is leave a comment with your answer to the following question:

If you could hunt for hidden treasure, what time period would you want to travel to and what would you want to find?

And don't forget to include an email address so I know how to contact you if you're the winner.

The contest deadline is Saturday, May 14 @ 12 pm EST. Good luck!

Adriana Trigiani: Viola in the Spotlight

After reading Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, I immediately picked up Viola in the Spotlight.

Viola is back in Brooklyn and ready for a fun-filled summer with her BFFAA Andrew and her friend Caitlin, but things don't go as planned.

Andrew is off to summer camp. Worse, he isn't acting like himself. In fact, he's kind of distant.

Caitlin has a summer job and a new boyfriend. Viola isn't on her list of priories.

Despite the change in plans, there are plenty of twists and turns and dramas to keep Viola on her toes and her camera rolling.

She lands an internship at her "Grand's" Broadway production of "Arsenic and Old Lace", which is challenging and very educational. The Broadway show provides the perfect opportunity for Viola's roommates and school friends from Indiana to visit New York and get the grand tour.

Again, Adriana Trigiani created characters who inspired me with their dedication to each other and their friendship despite several ups and downs and distance. This time, though, she made me cry. What a bittersweet ending.

I liked the first book in the series, but I loved this one. I enjoyed meeting Viola's New York friends and getting to know her parents better. But what I loved most of all was how level-headed and mature Viola was. I'd like to read more characters like her.

Now all I want to know is when the third book will be published?

♥ ♥ ♥

For more information on Adriana Trigiani, visit:
heart book

Adriana Trigiani: Viola in Reel Life

Several members of the local Friends of the Library group were excited to see that I had checked out Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani. Adriana did a book signing in Richmond, and everyone just loved her. With raves about her writing and her personality, I was excited to start reading!

Viola Chesterton is an aspiring filmmaker from New York. She lives, breathes, and loves her Brooklyn neighborhood.

She's also a teenager, which means she has to attend high school. Much to her dismay, her parents have decided to send her to Prefect Academy, an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana. She has to spend her entire freshman year there, which is the worst kind of torture. She's an only child who now has to share living space with three other girls. And worse, she doesn't know how she's going to survive the year without her best friend Andrew.

Having already decided that she hates Prefect Academy and that she'll never be happy there, she hides behind her video camera, documenting her life in Indiana. But, despite her best efforts, she makes friends, meets a boy who is a fellow filmmaker, and actually starts to enjoy herself.

I liked Viola. She was smart, driven and a loyal friend with a positive attitude and a whimsical sense of humor. Watching her let down her guard, make new friends, and thrive in an environment so different from her home life was inspiring.

The supporting cast was engaging. The pop culture references and IM conversations peppered throughout the book were believable. There's even a bit of a ghost story and mystery to be solved.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. It was a light, fun read. I've already started reading the sequel Viola In The Spotlight.

♥ ♥ ♥

For more information on Adriana Trigiani, visit: