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Austentatious [Paperback]

Alyssa Goodnight
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 31 2012
While browsing in an Austin shop, Nicola James finds a blank vintage journal hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels. Even though Nic is a straight-laced engineer, she's still a sucker for anything Austen-esque. But her enthusiasm turns to disbelief once she starts writing in the journal - because somehow, it's writing her back...Itching for a bit of excitement, Nic decides to follow her "Fairy Jane's" advice. The result: a red-hot romance with a sexy Scottish musician who charms his way into Nic's heart in about five seconds flat. But a guy like Sean doesn't exactly fit into her Life Plan. With no one but Fairy Jane to guide her, Nic must choose between the life she thought she wanted - and the kind of happy ending she never saw coming...

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Magical and Mystical Feb. 27 2012
By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
3.5 Star

A mystical, magical novel, Austentatious takes us on a fairy tale ride merging Jane Austen with Austin, Texas and takes a girl who has a plan and stubbornly refuses to take any detours from it until an unusual journal pops into her life and makes her question everything.

I had an extremely slow start to this novel partly due to some things in life that left me with less reading time, but I also think it was because I wasn't entirely immersed in this novel until later so I didn't always rush to pick it up. My main concern initially as I read was that this novel was quite heavy with internal dialogue as well as a lot of detail with small actions. One example that stood out was the main character ordering a drink. Then paying for it. Then scanning the bar. And then walking away. And then thinking and then... Well, you get the picture. One scan as she ordered the drink maybe and omit paying because I assume the character isn't going to skip out on the bill unless she's flighty or a clepto or maybe her paying results in a flirtation with a hot bartender? And maybe a few less thoughts and a bit more action. Maybe her hand rattles the drink and spills it to show nerves instead of thinking it? It doesn't happen that often, but enough that I noticed and started glossing over, especially when immersed in the internal dialogue. Then again maybe it was just me and my newfound ADHD.

The dialogue between characters was also peppered heavily with tags and thoughts and I had to force myself to read them all when I found myself skimming to continue with the actual dialogue. In addition, there was some repetitiveness regarding the Plan and how she's not spontaneous and after a few of these thoughts, I got it.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor, read Austentatious, and learn to believe in Magic! Feb. 6 2012
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This clever, witty, and quick-paced novel was a joy to read! Nicola James, an engineer in Austin, Texas, created a Life Plan when she was 13 years old, and was still (begrudgingly?) sticking to it when she came across a magical journal that led her down a path least expected. I don't think I have laughed out loud with any book as much as I did with "Austentatious"!

Alyssa Goodnight has created a character so human and so funny, that I instantly fell in love with her and wanted her to be my new best friend. I also loved how geeky she is...loved so many of the references only us geeks probably know! (Princess Bride is one that definitely comes to mind!) Nicola is also an avid cupcake baker and eater! Girl after my own heart - and would love to make some of these different types of decadent yumminess! I was actually saddened when the book ended, as I wouldn't have any more funny vignettes to hear about! Nicola James is a young woman who is science-minded, with a little piece of her heart wishing for a happily-ever-after - just like the ones that Jane Austen wrote. She knows it will most likely not fit in to The Plan, but she can hope. Knowingly, though, she has her plan and nothing will deter her from it; or so she thinks.

When Nicola is spending a Saturday walking through quirky shops in Austin, Texas, she comes across a slim journal that was shelved with books by her favorite author, Jane Austen. She had intended the book for her cousin, but Fate took control, and Fate's name seems to be that of none other than Jane Austen herself. Obviously, Nicola secretly desired something to shake up her world, and she definitely obtained it in the magical journal that is now hers. She follows the advice of not only the words from the journal, but also of her spunky mentee, Beck of the mesmerizing pink accents. Beck is another fantastic character that was well drawn and a riot to watch when she came on the scene.

Due to the words that appear magically in the journal that Nicola found in an antique shop, she starts to take chances, and follows the advice of a magical item. Being science-minded, she isn't sure what about the journal's workings, let alone what the journal has in store for her, but she does go along with the strange phrases and it ends up completely changing her life.

The book is quickly paced with one hilarious scene after another (a scene with a mushroom... still makes me chuckle!). The tone of the book is also quite enjoyable. The characters almost seem larger than life, but none are so outrageous that they seem fake. Ms. Goodnight has a unique talent for creating characters that you may have come across in your own life, or hope that you do. Even the journal has a certain Sass that becomes a character in its own right. (I wish that the journal I had recently purchased would be a magical one, simply to experience!)

I have visited Austin before, but want to go back and see the Austin that Nicola James runs around. The book is set during the annual Spring event of SXSW, or South by SouthWest for the uninitiated. It is a Movie and Music Festival extraordinaire. There are restaurants, parks and events that Nicola and friends go to, and this story truly brings Austin, Texas alive!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, wants to find a new best friend in Nicola, has enjoyed the witticisms of Jane Austen, and would like to learn more about the best city in Texas. It is a wonderful read that immediately draws the reader in, and you can't help but fall into Nicola's world to find out what happens next. Do yourself a favor, read "Austentatious," and learn to believe in Magic!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Does One Buy a Magical Austenesque Journal? Feb. 1 2012
By Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While some of us may make general life plans and long-term goals, our heroine Nicola James has taken planning her life to the extreme. Creating a "Life Plan" at the age of thirteen and strictly adhering to it for the rest of their life is not something most people are in the practice of doing. But because Nicola's dad made promises he never kept and plans he never followed through on, Nicola has decided that everything in her life must strictly coincide and adhere to her Life Plan. Which includes: getting a MBA, buying a home, being promoted to management, and finding a sensible, sturdy, like-minded man to marry.

But Nicola's Life Plan is put to the ultimate test when a magical journal and a sexy Scottish rocker come into the picture. Nicola must let her viselike grip on life loosen and embrace the magical, unpredictable, and weird that surrounds her...

I am in love with this quirky, offbeat, and enchanting novel! Never have I wished to be in a novel more! I want to be Nicola's best friend, meet Sean MacInnes in the flesh, and communicate with Jane Austen through a magical journal! (How fantastic would that be?) What I loved most about this novel was the incredibly well-drawn and likable characters (especially Nic and Sean!) In addition, I loved Alyssa Goodnight's clever channeling of Jane Austen's ironic wit, which in my opinion was spot on. I also took great pleasure in Ms. Goodnight's playful and relaxed tone, which at times felt very intimate. And I greatly appreciated all her awesome references to The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, and Seinfeld!

I must devote this next paragraph of my review to reflect on the über sexiness that is Sean MacInnes! Allow me to enumerate the reasons why he is sexy: he's got a Scottish accent, plays in a band, is roguishly handsome, exudes confidence and charm, but is also spontaneous, romantic, and sincere. It is impossible for you to read Austentatious and NOT develop a crush on Sean! Go Team MacInnes!

Magnetic, compelling, and comedic - Austentatious is a novel you should not miss! This romantic and magical adventure is sure to entertain and delight fans of Jane Austen and the Austenesque genre! And the great news is that there seems to be another novel in the works for Ms. Goodnight! YAY! I can't wait to see if the magical Austenesque journal will make another appearance!

Note: Due to some mild profanity and allusions to intimate scenes (nothing happens on stage), I'd recommend this novel for PG-13 audiences.

Austenesque Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Needs a Fairy God Editor April 1 2013
By Fayrene Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the concept of this book but the execution is so poor it is nearly unreadable. I am the ideal audience for this book: I live in Austin, I am a sucker for anything Jane Austen-ish, and I read crap novels ALL. THE. TIME!

However, this prose is so horribly overwrought, the "wit" is so strained, and the characters are so flat that it has been EXCELLENT bedtime reading, it puts me straight to sleep. I have no interest in the characters - it's barely even annoying enough to keep me reading!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So wonderfully good! Feb. 29 2012
By The Every Free Chance Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really, really loved this book! It hooked me from the very beginning and didn't release me until the very end.

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I immediately thought of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (I am a huge Harry Potter geek fan. So anytime a connection can be made, it usually pops in my head.) I loved that once I hit chapter 3 of this book, there was a Harry Potter reference and Luna Lovegood zing! But, this book was so much more than my initial thought and so much better.

The journal wisdom from "Fairy Jane" was really creative. The wisdom helped Nicola do things she would not normally do...especially if those things deviated from her "Plan." I kept rooting for Sean ever since his first appearance at the wedding. I wanted Nicola to chuck "the Plan" and follow her heart and "Fairy Jane's" advice. I cared and I wanted her to find her happiness. And Sean was a great character. I could hear his accent, see his smirk (and him in a kilt!), and I could feel the emotions that he sent through Nicola.

When Nicola kept going for Brett, I wanted to smack her upside the head. Really? Brett? Really?!? The lunch date was enough to stop any of that crazy talk about how perfect Brett is.

The supporting characters were fun. Beck was a great confidante and it was enjoyable to see the mentor turn into the mentee when things went beyond her comfort zone. The neighbors were a bit annoying but fit in well with the story. Gabe was Gabe...that perfect guy friend.

And really, anyone who can reference The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and The Gods Must Be Crazy along side the great Jane Austen all within the first 5 chapters is okay in my book!

Would I recommend it: I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of Jane Austen and you enjoy books that are about Jane Austen. (Who doesn't love Jane Austen?!?!?)

Will I read it again: This book has most definitely made my to be reread every year list...up there with Pride and Prejudice, the Harry Potter series, and a few others!

[...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Austen in Austin Feb. 23 2012
By S. Haydock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jane Austen always enfolds me in her words, Alyssa Goodnight did the same, I found myself drawn into the story of magical diaries (I believe we all need magic in our lives), imagination, risk taking and a great love. I found myself so involved that Nicola and Sean became part of my life. Thank you.
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