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Tag Archives: Guilty Pleasure

Matches and Matrimony

Hello again, everyone.  It’s Elizabeth, newly back in DC after a trip home, with a review of the e-book I read on the plane rides back and forth.  I have owned a Kindle for about a year and a half, and I have really been enjoying the convenience of e-books.  Recently, I got an email from Amazon recommending a book called Matches and Matrimony.  I was intrigued by the description: a choose your own adventure novel inspired by Jane Austen.  It was on sale for ninety-nine cents, so I figured I should at least try it out and pass it on to you and my book club if it was good.  (Matches and Matrimony normally costs two dollars, and you can buy it for your e-reader here.)

It’s been years since I read a choose your own adventure story, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that this format translates really well to e-books.  You click options instead of flipping back and forth, and you can save your story at multiple points.  (I liked being able to do this when I was unsure what decision to make to get to the outcome I wanted.)  There was also a part at the beginning of each chapter where you chose activities so that your character would gain attribute points which would then affect the character’s responses to various situations in the novel, as well as which characters liked her.

Matches and Matrimony was set up a little differently than the choose your own adventure stories that I remember.  You are told at the beginning that there are nine different endings to unlock (endings correspond to which of Jane Austen’s heroes your heroine ends up marrying.)  The challenge of unlocking all nine endings made me approach the story a different way each time, which ultimately made the book much more entertaining.  It really helped me pass the time on the plane.

I was particularly impressed by the way that the plot managed to interweave and combine characters from almost all of Jane Austen’s novels.  The text, while definitely shorter, is very faithful to the original, so readers familiar with Austen will recognize many passages that follow the books, especially Pride and Prejudice, word for word. I feel confident that Jane Austen fans will enjoy this e-book.  I would also say that this e-book gives you a lot of entertainment hours for a very low price, so I can recommend it to anyone who is travelling or just on a tight budget.  I give this e-book four stars, because I definitely enjoyed it and read it several times.  ★★★★

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Soulless by Gail Carriger

Hello again.  It’s Elizabeth.  I’m finally finished with school and moving.  Now I can finally share my review of Soulless, the first book in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series.

When I finish midterms or finals, I like to recover with a nice book.  Since my head is usually aching from all of the nonfiction I have crammed into it over the last few weeks, I like to choose something light to read.  On the other hand, since I’ve just crammed that much knowledge into my head, a dumbed-down read is definitely not going to cut it.  Recently, I’ve been turning to a few historical fiction authors for books that are a great mix of light entertainment and interesting historical detail.

My newest discovery is Gail Carriger.  I first heard about her Parasol Protectorate series when Mur Lafferty interviewed her for the “I Should Be Writing” podcast a few years ago, and I’ve been meaning to read her book ever since.  I finally read the first book this summer, right after finishing my Russian midterms.  These books are slightly different than the historical novels I usually read, since they include elements of urban fantasy, and steampunk.  I thought it made for a fun change!

The heroine of the novel is Alexia Tarabotti, a Victorian-era spinster with a supernatural secret: she does not have a soul.  This gives her the ability to neutralize supernatural beings; physical contact with her makes them temporarily human again.  This secret is known only to a few people in the British government, since Alexia’s abilities can make her a threat to vampires and werewolves, as well as an object of interest to scientists.

One of those people is Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, Alpha of the London werewolf pack, and head of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry.  Alexia would like to work for BUR, but her gender and social standing prevent this.  Alexia and Lord Maccon have a history of not getting along, but a common agenda forces them to work together, and soon the sparks are flying.

Ms. Carriger has done an excellent job with her characters, and I really enjoyed the humor in her books.  What stands out the most is the setting, or world, that her novels take place in.  She has successfully mixed several different styles to create a world that is very original and enjoyable.  I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for something a little different.  If you like historical fiction or mysteries, this will be a fun book to try.  If you are a fan of British period dramas on the BBC or steampunk, then I am sure you will love this novel.  I am giving this novel four stars, because I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

★★★★