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A Novel Sentiment

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess By Sue Lynn Tan ~ Review

Title: Daughter of the Moon Goddess
Author: Sue Lynn Tan
Genre: Fantasy 
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 11th, 2022
Number of Pages: 512
Version Read: Kindle ebook
Buy: Amazon

Synopsis: Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, untrained, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology that weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

My Review: I have grown obsessed with Chinese mythology after watching Xiran Jay Zhao's youtube channel. I really need to read her book which I will get around to eventually. However, this debut novel was so good. You get the legend of Chang'e and Houyi from the perspective of their daughter and her quest to save her mother from imprisonment. I have to say I'm not the biggest fan of Liwei and I actually prefer Wenzhi. I hope we get to see more of him in the next book. I want him and Xingyin to get back together. 

I'm excited for the sequel to come out whenever it's released. I definitely recommend reading this book if you like Chinese mythology and a good fantasy read. Plus the cover is gorgeous. 

Rating: 5 stars

*I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

Threads of Magic by Monica Fairview ~ Review

Title: Threads of Magic 
Author: Monica Fairview
Genre: Fantasy Pride and Prejudice variation
Publisher: White Soup Press
Release Date: January 25th, 2022
Number of Pages: 254
Version Read: Kindle ebook
Buy: Amazon

Synopsis: In a magical Regency England, two powerful magicians strive to find a balance between love and duty as they confront enemies who might well be their closest friends.

Elizabeth Bennet may be a heroine, but by defying some of the most powerful mages in England, she has made enemies who will stop at nothing to embroil her in scandal.

So when she is accused of endangering the Royal Mages through her reckless actions, she no longer knows who to trust. Even the gentleman she loves is taking their side. It seems the only person who believes her is the captive French mage who is imprisoned in the cellar at Netherfield.

Meanwhile, Fitzwilliam Darcy is willing to fight to the death to defend Elizabeth, if only she would stop getting herself into trouble. Why does she always have to break the rules? And why does even her sister Jane cause him so many problems?
Join us in this magical Jane Austen Regency variation. Set mostly in Meryton, with familiar beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice, you will once again be enchanted by Elizabeth and Darcy’s struggle to find true love against the backdrop of England’s war with Napoleon.

My Review: This is the second book in Mr. Darcy's Magic series and I do suggest reading the first one before reading this one as it picks up after the end of book one. The majority of this book takes place at Netherfield after Founder's Hall is damaged during an attack from the French that only Elizabeth stopped by connecting to three other mages. Of course, only Darcy and Elizabeth saw the attack so nobody really believes it happened. Elizabeth becomes ostracized by all the other mages while Darcy is trying to get to the bottom of the attack. 

I have to say that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did the first one as it took me forever to get through reading it but I'm still looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 

Rating: 3½ stars

*I received an advanced copy from the author. All opinions are my own. 

A Promise of Forever by Christine Combe ~ Review + Giveaway

Title: A Promise of Forever
Author: Christine Combe
Genre: Pride and Prejudice variation
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 10th, 2022
Number of Pages: 377
Version Read: Online

Synopsis: “How dare you think that you can just come along after four years and dictate the course of the whole rest of our lives, Mr. Darcy!” she cried. “You don’t have the right!”

He stood and stepped up to her, and stared down at her with an equally determined expression. “I am your husband and he is my son—I have the only right.”


****

In this new Austenesque tale, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are Elizabeth’s parents and she grows up happy and carefree in Lambton. At sixteen, Lizzy meets and falls in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy, future Master of Pemberley. The couple decides to elope but they are torn apart by their closest relatives, and when reunited must determine whether the pain of the years that have passed can be overcome to regain the love that was lost.

My Review: The premise of this book is that Elizabeth is a Gardiner. At sixteen she becomes Georgiana's companion and she and Darcy fall in love. They end up eloping and are promptly separated almost right after the marriage by both of their families. Neither are aware they are still married until four years later when they meet again...

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. There were so many misunderstandings and plots to keep them apart that it was a delightful read. I can't wait to read the next Christine Combe book.

Rating: 4 stars


Author Bio: Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen‘s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.

Links
Blog: All That They Desire 

Leave a comment below for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Promise of Forever, available for purchase from Amazon on Kindle — also in paperback and hardcover! The contest is open until January 25, 2022. Good luck! (The contest is run by the author NOT the blog) 

Much Ado in Meryton by Riana Everly ~ Review + Excerpt

Title: Much Ado in Meryton
Author: Riana Everly
Genre: Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare mashup
Publisher: Bay Crest Press
Release Date: November 2nd, 2021
Number of Pages: 286
Version Read: Kindle ebook
Buy: Books2Read

Synopsis: "Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably." – Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing, 5.2

Mr. Darcy's arrival in Meryton raises many people's disdain and Elizabeth Bennet's ire. An insult at a dance is returned in full measure, and soon the two find themselves in a merry war of words, trading barbs at every encounter. Matters go from bad to worse when Elizabeth and Darcy find themselves living under the same roof for a time, and their constant bickering frays everybody's nerves.

Will a clever scheme by their family and friends bring some peace to Netherfield's halls? And what of Mr. Wickham, whose charming presence is not quite so welcome by some members of the party? When the games get out of hand and nastier elements come into play, will everybody's chances for happiness be ruined forever?

This clever mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing casts our beloved characters in a fresh light, uniting Jane Austen's keen insight into love and character, and Shakespeare's biting wit.


My Review: I have never read Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare so I really don't know how faithful the author stayed to the original work but I'm sure it's fine. That being said I really enjoyed this novel and kudos to Jane for growing a backbone towards the end of the book. To me, it seems like Darcy and Elizabeth wouldn't have gotten together if certain characters hadn't interfered even though their motives were purely selfish. So I didn't like how Bingley just went along with Wickham's plan even though he didn't know the man. That makes no sense whatsoever. I love how everybody gets what they deserve by the end of the novel.

Rating: 4 stars

*I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own. 


But Jane and Charlotte were not there. Nor were they in the breakfast room or the large salon where the ball had been held just the previous night. Elizabeth returned to the back parlour in case the two had returned, but the room was still empty. She was about to go in search of Caroline Bingley when there came a tap at the door and Mr. Darcy appeared.

How tiresome! She expected him to take one look at her and stalk away or utter something unpleasant, but instead, he bowed to her and smiled.

She gaped.

Mr. Darcy could smile?

“Miss Elizabeth,” he spoke in the most elegant of tones. “I trust you are well.”

“Er, yes, very well thank you.” She furrowed her brow. What could this be about? Was it some manner of joke? Was he seeking some new means by which to belittle her?

“I trust you enjoyed the dance last night. Was it all to your liking?”

Was he hoping to chide her for her taste in music? “Indeed I did. Did you not?”

He smiled again. He was really quite handsome when he smiled. What a pity about his character. Although, she considered, he was being not unpleasant at the moment.

“I did enjoy the ball. Miss Bingley outdid herself.” Had he ever offered a compliment to anybody before? “I particularly enjoyed the music. For so small a band, and engaged so shortly before the event, they performed remarkably well. I hear the fiddle player is a servant in this very house. I must find him and give my compliments, and perhaps a small token of my appreciation as well. Did you dance?”

“Aye, that I did, sir.” What a strange conversation. She must make some effort to be polite. “Will you sit?”

He nodded and moved to the chair opposite where she was standing. He gestured for her to take her seat and then sat as well. He was smiling, polite, friendly even, and was exhibiting good manners she never knew he had. Perhaps the man was ill. Ought she to call for Mr. Bingley?

But Mr. Darcy continued. He praised the food, the size of the room, even the pleasant company to be had amongst the officers and villagers. He then lit upon the book lying upon the low coffee table and asked about it as well.

“No, it is not mine,” Elizabeth replied. Aha, this was his point! He wished to trick her, only to decry her deplorable taste in literature. “I confess I do enjoy novels, but this particular book is one that Charlotte brought earlier.”

“The Old English Baron,” Darcy read the title. “I have not read this one, although I very much enjoy a good novel.” He leaned back and crossed his long legs. “I rather enjoyed The Monk, even if I found it quite horrid. Have you read it? It is, perhaps, not quite the thing for delicately bred young ladies, but you seem to be made of stiffer stuff… Oh, do not take that amiss, Miss Elizabeth! I mean it in its best sense. But I—”

He broke off. Annie entered the room, looking red in the face and quite uncomfortable.

“Miss Bennet… I must… that is, if I may be so bold…” She shuffled her feet and stared at the ground before her.

“I am afraid, Miss Bennet, that my presence is excessive to the issue at hand, whatever it may be. I shall take my leave and bid you farewell… for now.”

Darcy stood and pulled himself to his full height, then executed a most elegant bow, and with one final smile, left the room. The man was surely mad! And yet, Elizabeth decided, she did not dislike him so much thus.


Author Bio: Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specializing in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11 and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favorite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana's blog at https://rianaeverly.com/blog/, and join her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/) and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers! 

The Soul of Love by E.X. Alexander

Title: The Soul of Love
Author: E.X. Alexander
Genre: Greek myth retelling
Publisher: 11th Muse Publishers, LLC
Release Date: August 31st, 2021
Number of Pages: 363
Version Read: Kindle ebook
Buy: Amazon

Synopsis: Eons ago, he was torn asunder. Will a romance with a human restore him to glory?

Ancient Greece. Eros wants it all back. Determined to return to his rightful throne as ruler of the world, the God of Love searches for his lost soulmate so he may once again be whole. But when he’s sent on a mission of vengeance, the scheming deity is stunned to discover the mortal object of his vendetta is the very woman he’s been seeking.

Psyche hates her own beauty. Tormented by a jealous Aphrodite and uncertain who she can trust, the vulnerable peacemaker is caught off-guard by a stranger’s sudden courtship. And though he whisks her to a private island to protect her from divine wrath, the lovely girl suspects her gallant rescuer is hiding some terrible truths.

Marrying the gorgeous woman in secret, Eros still conceals his true identity from his wife as he looks for a way to recover her memories. But as Psyche suffers from terrifying nightmares, she’s unaware a devastating betrayal will endanger her husband’s life… and that of their unborn child.

With civil war looming among the gods, does this star-crossed pair have any hope for happiness?

Content Warning: This book contains some scenes with mild violence, sexual situations, and references to suicide and miscarriages.

My Review: I'm very disappointed with myself that I didn't know this book existed until just recently since I love retellings of Greek myths. That being said this is a new to me author but to be fair this is technically only her second published book. There is great world and character building and there is a build-up to a situation that is going to continue in the next book in the series. I love how you get to see how both Eros and Psyche end up married to each other instead of just glossing over it in the beginning. We also get to see Eros and Psyche's daily married life while he's trying to protect her from Aphrodite and other forces that are out to get her. 

I have to say this is a great variation on the myth and I am stoked to read the next book in the series which will hopefully be soon? I can't wait to read Anteros' story and how he's gonna deal with his traitorous soulmate. 

Rating: 4½ stars

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