The August, September, AND October Roundup!

Can someone explain to me how today is the beginning of November?  And how I’ve missed posting my last three roundups? So much has happened since August.

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Wine Festival

First and foremost, we moved! Todd got a new job in our home state of New Jersey, so off we went.  Much (if not all) of September (and part of August) was spent packing up our life in Connecticut.  It’s true what they say: you don’t realize how much you have until you need to move it all.  He’s loving his new job.  As hard as the move was on me (I lived in Connecticut from ages 17-27) that simple fact has made the entire thing worthwhile.  I’ve been lucky enough to continue consulting for the company I was working for in CT, and I’ve also begun freelance copyediting!  (The first book I copyedited, Against His Will by Nancy Kelley, is now available and I highly suggest you go buy a copy.)

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My cousin and I at my cousin’s wedding! (I’m in love with our dresses)

Anyway, as packing began so did the goodbyes.  Much of our time pre-October was spent with friends.  There was the Connecticut shoreline wine festival, a trip to Mystic, CT, birthday parties, bridal showers, casino trips, weddings, concerts….you name it we did it.  We went big, then went home.  November 1st marks the end of our first month back in NJ and I have to say…it still feels odd being back.  We’re slowly but surely learning about our new town and getting into our new routines.

Since moving I’ve had a plethora of energy that’s allowed me to get back into the swing of cooking.  Homemade pots of sauce, roasted butternut squash, chive risotto cakes, chicken picatta, meatballs from scratch….you name it, I’ve been making it. (Todd’s in heaven in case you were wondering.)  I’ve always loved cooking, so having the energy and desire to do it again? Major plus.

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Kelly, Me, Tasha, and Col at the Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas

So on to October. Probably the biggest event of my year happened last month.  I finally got to meet three of my very best blogging friends on our trip to Vegas!!! Kelly of Reading With Analysis; Tasha of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, & Books; and Colleen of Col Reads all joined me for 3 fabulous days in Las Vegas.  Several months ago I emailed the girls and told them I wanted to “go west” and meet them.  Our trip to Vegas came at the perfect time.  I was stressing over the move (which had happened the week prior), all the unpacking, etc, when I was able to just pack a suitcase and talk books with three of the most intelligent women I know.  We stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel (across from Planet Hollywood/next to the Bellagio) which boasts a three-story chandelier bar.  Seriously….you are IN a chandelier.  It was the most extravagant thing I’ve ever seen in my life, which also made it one of the most awesome.  We hadn’t even been together a full 24 hours before we started making plans for our next trip.  NOLA 2014….get ready.  Besides the amazing conversations, we ate incredible food, drank smoking drinks, and people watched!

You’re probably now saying to yourself, “Shut up, Kim! Tell us about what you read!”  Closing out October my total for the year was up to 169 books (20 in August, 10 in September, & 10 in October.)  I’m shockingly still ahead of pace to complete 200 books for the year.  My top reads over the last three months?

  1. Blackmoore
  2. Born of Persuasion
  3. Ride With Me
  4. Emerald Green (No review on this one yet. I only finished reading it yesterday!)

Start looking for our “best of 2013” lists towards the end of next month, as well as the beginning of our 2014 challenge posts.  There may even be a post about a challenge that Reflections of a Book Addict will be hosting!

I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful past three months and are looking forward to calm and stress-free Thanksgivings!  Share what you’ve been doing (and reading!) in the comments below.

As always, happy reading!

Kim’s Review of Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1) by Jessica Dotta

bopjdPride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre are my three favorite novels.  It’s no surprise then that a novel being marketed with Austen’s humor and the dark drama of a Brontë novel immediately made it on to my must-read list.  Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta is a unique combination of these two opposite traits, and definitely seemed like something I couldn’t pass up.

From Goodreads:

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

I was at first very iffy about my feelings towards this book.  Born of Persuasion is the first in the Price of Privilege trilogy and is written with a serious amount of foreshadowing.  I think what made me feel so conflicted with all the foreshadowing is that much of it is foreshadows books two and three (it is a trilogy after all.)  While I enjoy dark drama (hello, I love Jane Eyre!) I sometimes became lost in what was going to be future story and what was the present story.  By the end of the novel, however, I had become so mesmerized by the characters that the foreshadowing issues fell away.  In fact, by the end I was eagerly anticipating the next two novels.  The final third of the book flew by must faster than the first two-thirds, and before I knew it I was ready for round two (book two, Mark of Distinction, has a possible publication date of early next summer.)

Dotta’s writing truly shines with all of the crazy plot twists and turns.  Just when you think you’ve figured out a plot line or a character, something shifts and you’re left trying to piece it all together again.  It’s evident that the gothic-ness of Brontë’s writing and social humors of Austen’s writing were inspirational for Dotta.  Born of Persuasion truly feels like a book that the two women could have worked on together.  Julia herself is a cross between Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, and Anne Elliot (to say the least).  So, if you’d love to see this pseudo-collaboration firsthand, pick up a copy.  Janeites and Bronte fans (as well as historical fiction fans) will love it!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-first completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
Tyndal House Publishers (2013)
Paperback: 435 pages
ISBN: 9781414375557

Special thanks to Silver Seas PR for my review copy!