Austenland

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Austenland

Jane Hayes’s (Keri Russell) adoration of all things Jane Austen is complicating her love life. Determined to be the heroine of her own story, Jane spends her life savings on a trip to Austenland, an eccentric resort where guests experience complete immersion in the Regency era. Armed with her bonnet, corset and needlepoint, Jane strives to avoid spinsterhood … but has a difficult time determining where fantasy ends and real life—and maybe even love—begins. Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde) and Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers) also star in this charming romantic comedy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour: Featuring Jennifer Collin

Hi, everyone! I'm back today with another Blog Tour stop, today, featuring Jennifer Collin and a review of her book, Open My Eyes.

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I had a hard time getting into this book because it was a sequel, and I haven't read the book leading up to this one. There wasn't a whole lot of backstory to who the characters were, in order to catch new readers (and old readers) up. I would've loved to have had a bit of context about the night that Emily and Ben thought was so passionate during their introductions. There were also a lot of characters without many distinguishing features, which made it a bit hard to follow.

That being said, I thought Annie was a hoot and a half, I thought she was just awesome and hilarious, and just the sort of best friend any girl would want to have. Her chemistry with Andy was a lot of fun, and I hope for all the best for them.

I definitely think I would've enjoyed this book a LOT more if I'd known it was a sequel, and taken the opportunity to read the first one. I think I need to, and then read this one again.

3/5 stars (But I plan to go back and re-review after I read the first one)


Author Bio:
Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them.  She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.  She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep.  These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn't necessarily let them sleep. 

Connect with Jennifer!


Buy the Book! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour: Featuring Aven Ellis

Hi, Readers! Today, I'd like to introduce you to an author, by way of Chick Lit Plus. Her name is Aven Ellis, and I got the opportunity to read her book, Waiting For Prince Harry.

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 Check it out!

Dallas native Kylie Reed is a perpetually single designer, who wishes to branch out and sell her own vintage apron collection on Etsy and marry Prince Harry. It's actually similar to a dream I have. ;-)
At her brother's wedding, with friends and relatives demanding to know when she'll be walking down the aisle, she takes a brief reprieve in the hotel bar, where she literally falls into the lap of Boston native, Harrison Flynn, a ginger-haired professional hockey player. Kylie and Harrison's romance has the ups and downs that all couples face when getting to know each other, but add to that Harrison's celebrity, as the captain of the Dallas Demons Hockey Team, Kylie is in way over her head.

The story started out well enough, and I think the characters were all believable (especially Kylie's coworkers at Boutique Dallas), as well as several situations, however I did feel that Harrison, for such an easy-going guy, tended to blow up at Kylie over the smallest things early in the story, when they were trying to get to know each other. It was a little disconcerting at times.

Once Kylie and Harrison got into their relationship groove, he calmed down a lot, which was a relief, but toward the end of the story, it felt very rushed. So rushed, that the scene changed without an actual scene change, which was jarring.

Overall, the story was cute, and sweet. Kylie and Harrison learned from each other, which is what the best relationships have in common.

3/5 Stars

For more information on Aven Ellis

Author Bio:
Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista(New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.


Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Photos from Moving Weekend

Moving is seriously annoying. It's so many trips to and from the old house to the new house, lugging heavy boxes up and down stairs (Stairmaster has got NOTHING on moving). We're hoping to get everything cleaned out of the hold house by this coming weekend, but we're not situated in the new house, and getting quite comfortable.

Here's where we've been since this last Thursday.

Laying in my childhood room for the last time 

I hope my new closet isn't this crazy looking
This is what I came home to,
once the movers had delivered my furniture

Different Angle
I love my bedspread with the purple walls

Digging the set up. Can you spot Henry?
He's not too sure about the new situation
I'm slowly getting my girl back,
she's enjoying the many boxes she can sleep on.
I was dreading the move so much all of last week. So much so, that I battled headaches and heartburn at work, as well as bouts of sleepwalking, which always happens when I'm stressed. On Thursday night, I did cry when I went to sleep, but when I woke up on Friday morning, I got my last few things loaded into my car, wished my parents well with the moving men (Who turned out to be fantastic and fast!), and swung through Burger King before going to work.

That whole day was the best day of my week. I was calm, I was in good spirits, and after work, made it back to the "New" house (which is really over 100 years old, as opposed to our last house, which we built back in 1994), unloaded my stuff, and got ready for dinner at my church.

Saturday was the most exhausting day, which involved loading TONS of boxes of my dad's laser discs up from the basement (Those things are HEAVY!), and my legs are still recovering.

I've also been in a Jane Austen movie mood, which has been fun. I'm giving serious thought to rereading all of the novels, as well.

It's been a taxing weekend, and I'm looking forward to being settled (And the old house finally being in the rearview mirror), but I'm just so thankful that God has given me a sense of peace over this whole ordeal.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, 
and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NLT 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Moving with an anxious cat

So, I haven't really kept it a secret, but we are in the process of moving out of the house that I've known pretty much my entire life. I like to think I'm taking it in stride, after all I get the bigger room, I recently painted it purple, and soon we will have downsized a great deal. It's going to be a massively stressful week for everyone involved. 

Henry, Tris, and Frisket are all troopers. Far as I can tell this doesn't seem to be fazing them. Jane, on the other hand, has been going through issues since last year. Issues that we can't seen to get through. I first started noticing little lesions around her neck. I thought that Henry might be playing too rough with her, so I started to keep an eye on them. Her lesions turned to full-on scabs, and after a visit to our vet, we walked away with steroids and antibiotics. It seemed to work, we had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. About a month and a half later, though, we brought out the suitcases for our vacation, and she started pulling out her fur again. It was a LOT worse this time, so I took her back to the vet when we got back from vacation, and got another prescription. I also got a prescription for Fluoxetine to calm her nerves, and she's been on that for several months, now, to take the edge off. 

The last several weeks, she's been hiding in boxes in our dining room, but then she just came out and has set up shop in main bathroom. We'd switched the cats to grain-free food, and she decided to sleep in front of the bowl, keeping Henry and Tris, who are normally the pushiest buggers in the world, from getting food. I did a little experiment after several days of this, by switching them off Purina One Weight Control to Purina One Sensitive Systems, which both caused Janie to break out again. Dad suggested a grain free food, so I paid the hefty sum to get it for her, and it seems to be doing the trick of calming her system down. From there, I moved her food bowl to the opposite side of the sink, and when Janie was sleeping, she stayed on the same side. She wasn't guarding the food, she was making a haven of the smallest room in the house.

She's also been clingy and co-dependent when she's out of the bathroom. She'll sit on my lap or my chest, and digs her claws in. I really need to start trimming them. She's still scratching at her neck, so we're keeping an eye on that, but I'm enjoying the cuddles, despite her clawing my extremities every chance she gets. When I bring her to bed, she insists on sleeping on top of me. She needs to feel protected and secure, and I guess that's the only thing that I can do. Love her, and when we finally get to the new house this weekend, take her immediately to my room, with her kitty box set up, and let her get settled in there. 

I really hope this works, and that she takes to the new house. I want things to calm down in her life. I really REALLY hope it works. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Happy Sister's Day

I'm a sister. I have an older sister who, when we were children, was the biggest pain in the butt known to man. Every time we played, she got her way. I had to play Prince Charming to her Sleeping Beauty numerous times. Pink couldn't be my favorite color, because it was hers. She gave me purple.

Christmas, 1992
Not that I couldn't be adorably annoying, myself. There was many a time I would sneak into her room, play with her toys, steal her books, steal her clothes. I'm the baby sister. It's what I do.


When we got to college, things started to change in our relationship, but for the better. We would send each other stuff all the time, and while we didn't text constantly, I think we tried to be in constant contact. We were going from being extremely annoyed with each other to missing each other.

Once, she and her Renaissance Faire Troupe, the Ladies of the Salty Kiss, came to my town for a Ren Faire, and they stayed at my townhouse. While we were all hanging out in the pool, she and I were chatting, catching up, and we noticed that her friends had suddenly gotten very quiet. We turned our heads, they were watching us. Apparently, they'd never seen sisters interact like us before.

Halloween 2011
I never thought our relationship was that different from other sisters, but apparently it is. Apparently, our friendship is strange and different and magical. People frequently watch us interact, like you'd watch a movie. We have secret conversations in our heads, almost.

We need to learn the Sister Song from "White Christmas."
We're both massive nerds, each loving different things, but one thing we agreed on was what a hottie Aladdin was.

Disney Dream 2011
My sister is the closest friend I will ever have. She's known me the longest, she knows me better than anyone, and she will tell me when she's actively judging my decisions. Our relationship is messy and argumentative, but silly and fully of unconditional love. We're convinced that the early part of Frozen, when Anna and Elsa were children, was based on our childhood. If our parents had, for whatever reason, felt the need to keep us separated, the rest of the movie would've been about our relationship back to each other.


So, to my best friend and big sister, who is most likely bawling up a storm while reading this, Happy Sister's Day to you. You're awesome, and I don't tell you that enough. *huggles*

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Life as a Jane Austen Heroine

You really shouldn't compare your life to anything, or anyone. It's something that I'm still trying to learn, but I feel like humans are constantly trying to compare themselves to their neighbors. I compare myself to characters in books. When I was in college, I took numerous "Which Jane Austen Heroine Are You?" quizzes, and always got Lizzie Bennet.


With the move going on, and how our lives are changing so much right now with a recent downsizing. We're going from the house we've spent the last twenty years in (almost to the date, actually), and we'll soon be renting a much smaller house (Going from three bathrooms to one. EEP!). It honestly makes me feel more like the characters in Sense and Sensibility, who had to move when their patriarch died, and their house and money went to their older half-brother. Thankfully, no one has died, we're just downsizing.

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We spent today taking boxes over to the new house, followed by my sister and I painting our respective rooms (Incidentally, we both went for different shades of purple). The cutting in process was awful, because our dropcloths were paper, and it was hot and sticky out, so I kept sticking to it when I knelt to get the bottom of the wall.

Here are some progress pictures. I'll post the finished product once I get my room set up.

Looking into the room from the door

Looking at the door

Cutting is evil and necessary

Seriously, cutting is awful

It's going to be worth it, though.

This is only one coat, but I love the richness.

We're working toward making our lives better, and downsizing is a step in the right direction. I think I'm just excited to get a bigger room. I'm going to be so sad to leave, but at least We get to stay on this side of town.

I watched Sense and Sensibility the other night, practically quoting it, since I've watched it so much in my life. Jane Austen didn't marry, so she was the queen of observers. She wrote comedy-of-manners type stories, and I can pinpoint different people in my life who match up to characters in her novels (as I'm sure most Jane Austen fans can). Still have yet to find her heroes, though.

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Lizzie Bennet Diaries gifs for the win.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writer's Pen Wednesday: Setting the Unattainable Goal


As you probably read in my last post, I'm terrible at keeping goals once made. There's that old saying that a goal is just a dream until you write it down, so today, I made a decision to have my current Work-In-Progress ready for Beta Readers (Manuscript finished, and looked over for Typos).

That's my 29th birthday, just in case you're curious.

There it is. Written down in my Google Planner. Once I print off my Blogging Calendar (once we're done moving, and I set up some kind of workspace), I'll write it there, as well. I'm looking forward to using that calendar, and hope that it makes me a more organized person (Mama Miss, the designer recently came out with a July 2014-15 calendar that I purchased).

I'm asking my friends and family for accountability. Ask me how the book is coming. Ask me about the word count. I've done so much pre-work for this book, and built the world and characters so much. I only hope I can do it justice.

I'm keeping a running tally of the words in the sidebar, so if you're curious, you can keep track of it there. This is what I want my life to be, and I feel like I discovered too late that it could be a real thing. Time to get my butt in gear, and get this book written.


I've decided that I want to try to get small publishers to look at it, maybe just see what's out there. I've got my sights set on two specific ones, but I'm going to continue to look for ways to get my work to the world. Starting with this blog, The Modern Jane Austen. Jane didn't give up writing, and she's one of the most famous authors in the world. I can do this.