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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci

Midnight in Austenland

Midnight in Austenland - Shannon Hale Oh, Shannon Hale, you know what I need!I'm sure everyone has already heard enough of me ranting about exams and exams and have I mentioned exams? But there is a time when you just need to sit back and enjoy a good book, and Midnight in Austenland was just what I needed.I read Austenland and this is a little like a sequel, but not quite. It has a different heroine, Charlotte Kinder, and is inspired by a different Austen novel, Northanger Abbey. Now, I love Pride and Prejudice, I find Lizzy Bennet absolutely charming. But I've always had a fond place in my heart for Northanger Abbey, perhaps because it was my first Jane Austen novel. Really, I find it under appreciated.Midnight in Austenland is a solid book, both in terms of its source material and its being a sequel (of sorts). We see many characters from the first book, like Mrs Watersbrook, Colonel Andrews and Miss Charming, but they get developed and fleshed out, and you get a new view of them, which I found to be amazing.Charlotte, too, was a pleasure to read. Recently divorced, she still deals with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity and being a full-time mother. She's flawed, she's a little silly, but she grows and learns to trust herself. Granted, the book is not perfect. The fact that Charlotte equates herself with Catherine Morland at one point was accurate, but did not ring very true for me - Catherine Morland was only eighteen, and had lived a very sheltered life. She was allowed to be a little silly and presumptuous. Charlotte... I didn't buy it entirely. I also wasn't quite sure about the villain, though I won't spoil the book for you. Suffice to say, they could have used a little more fleshing out.All in all, this book is a little like Anna and the French Kiss - lots of sweet, sweet wish-fulfillment fantasies. But you know what, you need, from time to time, to sit down and enjoy a good escapist read. Personally, I liked this one a lot.Note: A copy of this book was provided via Net Galley for the purposes of this review.