Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Miss Darcy Falls in Love
by Sharon Lathan

Genre: Romance / Austenesque / Pride and Prejudice Sequel / Historical

Ages: 16 and up

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review is unfortunately very late, but I hope Ms. Lathan will forgive me. To read an interview with the hero of this tale, Sebastian Butler, go here.

This novel is part of the Darcy Saga, taking place partially during the events of volume 5, The Trouble With Mr. Darcy. I think. However, it stands alone quite nicely.


Hugely successful bestselling author (over 150,000 copies sold through) of sensual, romantic Pride and Prejudice continuations explores unusual aspects of the Regency world, this time following Mr. Darcy's younger sister into the world of classical music.

Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished musician who hungers to pursue her talents. She embarks upon a tour of Europe, ending in Paris where two very different men will ignite her heart in entirely different ways and begin a bitter rivalry to win her. But only one holds the key to her happiness.

Set in post-Napoleonic Empire France, Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a riveting love story that enters a world of passion where gentlemen know exactly how to please and a young woman learns to direct her destiny and understand her heart.

My Thoughts:

This story was so sweet. Georgiana Darcy truly makes a marvelous heroine. Out of her brother's watchful shadow, she is just beginning to stretch her wings, and where better to accomplish that than in the City of Lights? She makes many delightful new friends, including the musical, handsome Sebastian Butler. And that is all it is at first: a warm, treasured friendship. Watching it develop into more was a pleasure.

As in all of the best romances, there are things standing in their way. In the case of Miss Darcy Falls in Love, their main obstacles are themselves. They both make mistakes and there are foolish misunderstandings that make me shake my head at their mutual silliness. It was lovely. Poor Lord Caxton really didn't stand a chance.

I really liked the depth of Sebastian Butler as a character. You can really get to know him, to understand and respect him. He's a little older, a little more experienced than Georgiana, reminding me of Mr. Knightley. Georgiana is sweetly naive, but that hardly slows her down. She's the sort of character who might get momentarily confused on her path, but when she makes up her mind she is a force to be reckoned with. 

This is a must for anyone who has read Sharon Lathan's Darcy Saga, but even if you haven't read any of her other books you should give this one a try.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 2.10 for some mild swearing.

I rate it a 7.10 for one fairly descriptive scene, a couple of fade-aways and some innuendo.

There was no violence in this novel.

                        Lieder Madchen


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Interview with Brenda J. Webb + Giveaway!

It is my great pleasure to have Brenda J. Webb visiting today. Recently I tracked her down, and she very kindly sent me a copy of her book, agreed to answer my questions, and to give a copy of her book to you! To read my review of An Honourable Man, go here.

Hello, welcome to Songs and Stories! Would you like a cup of tea? Or perhaps coffee?

A spot of tea with cream and sugar would be lovely.

What was it like the first time you read Pride and Prejudice? What led you to open it?

If I remember correctly, the first time I read it was during an English class when I was about fourteen years old. My motivation for reading was strictly academic, as it was required for that class. At that age, I was not properly awed by Mr. Darcy or Jane Austen’s works, and when I read them after seeing the 2005 movie, I was amazed at how much they had improved! Funny how a little life experience and not being forced to read can improve a novel. I’ve loved Austen ever since.

Are there any authors other than Jane Austen that influenced your writing?

I do not know if they influenced my writing, but I grew up reading stories by Margaret Mitchell, Zane Grey (my father had all his books), and Anna Sewell. Later, I read Boris Pasternak, Pat Conroy, Jackie Collins, Barbara Taylor Bradford, James Patterson, Barbara Cartland, Catherine Marshall and Janet Oke. I have always read anything worthwhile I could get my hands on.

In writing Fitzwilliam Darcy: An Honourable Man, what kinds of scenes did you find the most difficult to write? Which were the most fun?

The scenes that are always the most difficult to write are the love scenes. I try to write scenes that are sensual and romantic and never want to cross the line into anything graphic. I have the most fun writing the repartee between Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. I see his cousin as a bright spot in Darcy’s somber world and someone who tries to raise his spirits. I love writing Richard’s dialogue. It’s always interesting to see what mischief he’ll come up with.

Are you planning on publishing another book soon?

Yes, I have just published Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love on Here is the blurb for my new book:

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet for the first time, he is already married to another woman. Forced into a loveless marriage to the widowed Lady Gisela Grantham because of his father’s sins, Darcy is obliged by honour to remain in the marriage to hide a dark secret.

That unhappy part of his life, however, is quickly coming to an end as he meets the love of his life in a little-known village in Hertfordshire. Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love is a Pride and Prejudice variation, not a simple retelling. It is the story of a love that was meant to be—a passion too strong to be denied.

Have you considered writing a variation on any of Jane Austen’s other books? Personally, I would love to see your take on Persuasion. :) Ooh, or Northanger Abbey since you have such a lovely gothic writing style... And, I just have to ask because you quoted it in An Honourable Man and I love it so much, have you ever thought about writing a variation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell?

The thought has crossed my mind, but for now, I support my forum, with the proceeds from the sales of my books, and my readers prefer Pride and Prejudice based stories. So, when I am done with writing to support the forum, perhaps I will tackle a Persuasion or North and South variation.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what is your remedy? (I have been attempting to discover my own cure for years, so this question comes in under the realm of personal research.)
If I waited until I felt like writing, I fear my books would never be written, so I force myself to write even when I don’t want to. There are very few days when I do not write something. I find that often all I need do is begin and the words follow.

And now, for something completely different...

White, milk, or dark chocolate? 


Matthew Macfadyen or Colin Firth? 

Matthew Macfadyen, though I do love Colin too.

Night Owl or Early Bird? 

Early Bird.

Thank you so much for letting me ask you all these questions!  

It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for asking me.


And now, for the giveaway! Brenda is giving away a physical copy of one of her books, either  Mr. Darcy's Forbidden Love or An Honourable Man, and a kindle copy for international readers. To enter, leave your e-mail in a comment below, as well as your choice of book and format and something nice for Brenda. :) For extra entries, share this giveaway as much as you can and send me the links! Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. This contest runs until Jan. 7th, 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time. Clicking on the covers above will take you to the books' Amazon pages. Good luck and Merry Christmas!

                         Lieder Madchen

Book Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man by Brenda J. Webb

Fitzwilliam Darcy an Honourable ManFitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man
by Brenda J. Webb

Genre: Romance / Historical / Jane Austen Re-telling / Austenesque

Ages: 17 and up

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thanks, Brenda!


Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man is a Pride and Prejudice variation. Not a simple retelling, it is an intriguing new story. Leaving England after his disastrous proposal was refused at Hunsford, Darcy spent two lonely years in Scotland and Ireland before returning home to face Elizabeth Bennet, certain that he could regard her as an indifferent acquaintance. Events that transpired in his absence have left Elizabeth a changed woman. The victim of a marriage by deception to Count Stefano, she has suffered greatly at his hands. Will Mr. Darcy rescue the woman he vowed to forget?

My Thoughts:

I read this book twice in a row before I sat down to review it. The first time, I just got caught up in the story and didn't put it down until I finished it. Then, only a week or so later, I picked it up again and read it a little slower, more carefully. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, the second time around.

This novel is a seemingly effortless blend of the perfect love story of Pride and Prejudice with the darker, Victorian feel of Jane Eyre. For me, this was perfect. I've always loved the darker variations, where our favorite lovers have everything against them. Darcy returns from a long, miserable voyage only to find that the woman he has been trying so hard to forget has been grievously wounded to the point where she no longer speaks. And yet, he does not hesitate to offer is aid. This book shows everything I love most about Fitzwilliam Darcy. His constancy, his honourable nature, and his utter willingness to sacrifice everything to protect those he loves.

Elizabeth is a mystery for a large portion of the book. Since she is unable to communicate, you are left wondering what exactly happened to her. You know only a handful of clues, and even as she slowly comes back to awareness her memory has holes. I love how even at her worst moments, she responds to Darcy. The faith she has in him is lovely.

The minor characters in this book are brilliant. Col. Fitzwilliam, who is concerned that his cousin is ruining his life, yet is unceasing in his support. Georgiana, impulsive and loving. In addition to the traditional cast of characters, you have the pleasure of meeting the wholly new and lovely additions of Evan Ingram, Georgiana's charming husband, Meryton's retired vicar Mr. Williamson, and, my personal favorite, Evelyn Fitzwilliam, the Colonel's mother.

This book is easily one of the top ten Austenesque novels I have read. Just writing this review I'm itching to start reading it a third time...

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for brief mid-level name calling.

I give it a 5.10 for a vague scene, fade-aways and some touching before fading away.

I rate it a 6.10 for intended rape, murder and kidnapping.

                                Lieder Madchen

Songs of the Season!

Welcome to Songs of the Season! It's basically a caroling troupe, blogger style, where a bunch of marvelous people share their favorite Christmas songs. There should be an interesting variety of marvelous music, and I hope you enjoy them all. :) My post is a day late due to blogger malfunctions, sorry. :(

This is not the song I intended to post when I set out to write this post, but it just has so much cheerful energy that I have to share.

Here are links to more music and Christmas cheer, and make sure to thank Sasha Soren for setting this up!

                       Merry Christmas!
                                  Lieder Madchen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)Scent of Magic
by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy / Romance

Ages: 14 and up

The second book in the Healer series, sequel to  Touch of Power.

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Note: This review contains spoilers from Touch of Power.


As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

My Thoughts:

After the fantastic and slightly evil ending to Touch of Power, I couldn't wait for this book! I love Maria V. Snyder...and Kerrick...and Avry....and Kerrick and Avry together...and Kerrick and Avry separated and miserable...OK, I'd better stop rambling and get to the actual review.

I loved this book, but it wasn't quite as good as Touch of Power. I loved the characters (have I mentioned that already?) and I really loved where the story went (sorry, no spoilers), but it seemed almost rambling at times and some scenes were just a little disjointed. I really, really loved the book, but it didn't flow in that beautiful way I've come to expect from Ms. Snyder's novels.

Early in the Scent of Magic, Kerrick and Avry split up. I actually really liked that, which surprised me. Having them apart didn't hinder their romance so much as enrich it. Separate, they could focus more on the individual things they had to do, yet they were always in the back of each others minds no matter what. Still, I am hoping that in book 3 there will be more time for them to spend kissing.

The rest of the band that adventured together in Touch of Power were in fine form, particularly Belen and one who managed to surprise me in quite the delightful fashion. Since they all believed Avry dead at the end of the first one except for Kerrick, watching them meet up again was massively entertaining.

All in all, this was a lovely sequel though not quite as magnificent as the first book, and I would highly recommend it. Enjoy. :)

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for some mid-level name-calling.

I give it a 3.10 for some mildly steamy touching.

I rate it a 6.10 for fighting, murder and brief torture.

                                Lieder Madchen