Book Review: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet

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Snyopsis from Amazon.com:

Based on the Emmy Award­-winning “genius” (The Guardian) web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, this is a new novel starring Lizzie’s spunky sister Lydia as she navigates the joys and pitfalls of becoming an adult in the digital age.

Before her older sister, Lizzie, started her wildly popular vlog, Lydia was just a normal twenty-year-old plotting the many ways she could get away with skipping her community college classes and finding the perfect fake ID. She may not have had much direction, but she loved her family and had plenty of fun. Then Lizzie’s vlog turned the Bennet sisters into Internet sensations, and Lydia basked in the attention as people watched, debated, tweeted, tumblr’d, and blogged about her life. But not all attention is good…

After her ex-boyfriend, George Wickham took advantage of Lydia’s newfound web-fame, betrayed her trust, and destroyed her online reputation, she’s no longer a naïve, carefree girl. Now, Lydia must work to win back her family’s trust and respect and find her place in a far more judgmental world.

Told in Lydia’s distinctive, eccentric, and endearing voice, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet picks up right where The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet left off and “offers a fresh take onPride and Prejudice without ruining it” (The Washington Post, onThe Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet). Featuring fresh twists, wonderful new characters, and scores of hilarious texts, doodles, and tweets, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet takes you behind the webcam and into the lives of your favorite sisters in a way that’s sure to satisfy existing fans and delight new ones.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like Lydia in the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Or in Pride & Prejudice for that matter. I never watched her videos and I was hesitant about this book. That being said, I actually really enjoyed this novel.

At first the novel started slow but then it picked up. I actually liked getting to know more about Lydia and her situation with George and what happens after. Since I didn’t watch her videos I didn’t really get to know Mary either so it was cool getting to know her here as well. Especially because instead of being one of the sisters, in this adaptation she’s their cousin.

The story follows Lydia through taking summer classes to graduate from her community college, going to therapy, living with Mary, and preparing to leave home and move to San Francisco with Mary at the end of the summer.

To do so, Lydia has to complete her college application, which is easier said than done. She struggles to find the balance between remaining true to herself but not going back to her old, self-destructive ways.

I really liked seeing Lydia grow up and figure out what she wanted for herself, instead of focusing on what everyone else expected of her. I’ll admit, I teared up at the end when Lydia finally got what she wanted but more importantly, what she needed. Great read!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I liked this book more than I thought I would but I don’t think I’d reread it. It’s a nice quick read but not a story I’d read again.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Here’s the thing about good guys. They don’t tell you they’re good guys.”

Other Reviews

Patheos

Mostly YA Lit

Forever Young Adult (has spoilers!!)

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

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Synopsis from Amazon:

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series’ executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.

I am a big fan of the YouTube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, even though I hopped on the bandwagon after the show ended. Even so, that then gave me a 100 videos to watch, which was great for binge watching.

After obsessing over the show and re-watching episodes the creators decided to bless us fans by extending the story further by publishing a novel based on Lizzie’s diary and it’s fantastic. Besides retelling some events we’ve already seen on the show, what was great about the book was all the behind the scenes stuff. From actually reading Darcy’s letter to learning more about Jane and Bing’s relationship there was so much we don’t see on camera.

It was hard to remember that the show wasn’t real and these aren’t real people but characters. It’s just so authentic. Also, I got the audio book, which is read by Ashley Clements who played Lizzie on the show, which made the book even more fun. It was cool hearing her voice again and her doing the voices of the other characters as she would do on the show for costume theater.

In addition to behind the scenes things we also just got more information about other characters. There were a lot of things that didn’t happen on the show that happen in the book and it’s great. Especially some special Darcy and Lizzie moments that were very cute. I suggest getting this book and getting the audio one at that. It’s really the only way this book should be read/listened to. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Favorite Line: Truthfully I can’t just pick one plus if I could it’s pretty difficult to do that with an audio book (I should’ve written them down).

Stars: 5 out of 5. From getting to hear Lizzie’s wit again and learning more about the characters this was definitely one of my favorite books this summer. I actually liked Lydia more after reading the book (I found her kind of annoying on the show). Also the pie graphs and charts Lizzie uses to explain things are hilarious.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Definitely buy. I’ll probably re-listen to this audio book again at some point. Also audio books are great because you can listen to them everywhere (except in bed because you might fall asleep).

Other Reviews

5 Minutes for Mom

Happy Indulgence

Austenprose

My Summer Reading List

Nothing’s better than being able to lay by the beach and catch up on some much over due reading. This summer there are plenty of amazing books coming out that must be read. Additionally there’s a long list of books that have already been released that I can finally get a chance to read. Here’s my list of all the books you should check out this summer if you haven’t already.

New Releases

1. Opposition (A Lux Novel) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – August 5

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Anyone that follows my blog on a regular basis knows how obsessed I am with this series. Opposition is the last book of the series and although I’ll be sad to see it all end I’m so excited to know what happens. The wait is driving me crazy. If you haven’t read the previous books in the Lux series I would definitely recommend checking them out. The series focuses on a girl named Katy who just moved to a new town with her mom, after her father’s death from cancer. Their neighbors, the Blacks, are an interesting bunch that includes Daemon, a hot jerk that Katy can’t stand but is regrettably attracted to, and his sister Dee, an eager beaver who really wants to be Katy’s friend. Eventually Katy learns the truth about the Blacks (they’re aliens) and it turns her world upside down. From there drama, mystery, fights, and a lot of romance ensues. The first one isn’t the best but they get better over time. Trust me.

2. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet – June 24

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If you have any interest in adaptations this may be one of the coolest things ever. It’s a book adaptation of a YouTube series adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The premise of the novel is a retelling of Austen’s original novel but in the point of view and context of the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube series. If you’ve never watched this YouTube series I encourage you to check it out. Even if you’ve never read Austen’s novel (finishing it is still on my to do list) you don’t have to read the book to love the show. Does having background knowledge make the show even more entertaining? Certainly. However, if you watched the 2005 movie version with Kiera Knightley you’re basically covered. Either way you should definitely watch the show and then read this book when it comes out because I believe it’s going to be fantastic.

3. Silver Shadows (A Bloodlines Novel) – July 29

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It all began with Vampire Academy, which was an excellent series. Then Richelle Mead decided to stick with this awesome fictional world she created and do a spin off series focusing on a human Alchemist, Sydney. To give a little background as an Alchemist Sydney’s job is to ensure that humans don’t learn the truth about vampires and dhampirs (half vampire, half human people). Even though she’s meant to work with them she’s not supposed to like them, recognizing that they are actually abominations. Well it’s a little difficult for Sydney to stay true to her beliefs when she’s forced to live with vampires and dhampirs on a regular basis and learns they’re not as bad as they’re made out to be. In fact, not only can she like them but she can love them too. If you haven’t read any books in this series or the Vampire Academy series you have a lot of catching up to do but it’s totally worth it. Besides, if you read like I do you can finish all the books in no time; they’re that good.

4. Endless (A Shadowlands Novel) – July 22

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This is the last book in Kate Brian (aka Kieran Scott’s) awesome trilogy about the afterlife. The trilogy follows Rory Miller and her family who have run away from their hometown to escape a killer who’s after Rory. They end up in Jupiter Landing where things get strange. Or at least they do for Rory. People start to disappear yet no one seems to notice except Rory. Eventually Rory learns the truth about Jupiter Landing and it rocks her to her core. Definitely a must read and of course if you haven’t read the first two you should check them out before this book is released.

Already Released

5. Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

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I love Ellen Hopkins. I’ve read all her books, both adult and young adult and they’re great. The best part about her books is that they’re written in poetry style but they come together to tell a whole story. Smoke is the long awaited sequel to her book, Burned, about a Mormon girl who falls in love and risks everything to finally found her own independence away from her father. I’m definitely going to have to reread Burned before I dive into this one but I’m excited to finally have a chance to read it.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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When I first heard about this series I was very hesitant to read it because it just sounded like another dystopian trilogy to me and I was just so sick of reading dystopian fiction. However, now that I’ve given it some time and the movie has come out I feel ready to dive into another dystopian world. I’m currently number 159 on the waitlist for the book from my digital library. Here’s to hoping I actually get to read it before the summer is over. Fingers crossed. If you haven’t heard of this book before, it focuses on a young girl named Beatrice (aka Tris) who lives in a world where everyone is placed in a faction: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. Each person has to take a test that will determine their faction, however, for Beatrice she is not placed in a faction but instead is classified as “Divergent”. This goes against the society’s rules thereby putting her in danger. Similar to many other dystopian novels no one is really happy with the way this new world is set up and of course there’s those who are ready and willing to rebel against it. There’s also a lot of romance involved as well. Basically, it’s my kind of book.

7. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Ever since I read Speak I’ve been obssessed with Laurie Halse Anderson. She has the ability to write about such serious topics that isn’t preachy but instead eye opening. In this novel she focuses on a young girl, Hayley, and her father, Andy, who return to Andy’s hometown so Hayley can attend school. Andy has been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder since his return from Iraq and it has greatly affected him and Hayley. This father-daughter pair tries to find peace by going back to Andy’s roots but one can’t run from their demons forever. I have a feeling this book will break my heart but in the most incredible way.

8. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

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Since The Fault in Our Stars there has been this fascination with teens with cancer, mostly because it’s a pretty scary thought to face death at such a young age. In Julie Murphy’s novel Alice is diagnosed with leukemia and in an effort to right all her wrongs and get revenge before she dies she creates a bucket list that she and her best friend fulfill. Regrettably, however, Alice then learns she’s in remission and she’s going to live a bit longer. Now she has to face the consequences of her actions. I’ve never read a book by Murphy before (which makes sense since this is her debut novel) but this book sounds like a heart warming and funny novel that will be good to read by the pool.

9. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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Another author I’ve never read before but am excited to try. This novel focuses on Kestrel, a 17 year old girl, who is the daughter of a general and is at the age when she has to choose whether to join the military or get married. Kestrel has no intention of doing either and instead buys a slave, Arin, who she begins to have feelings for but also has his own secrets. Truthfully, I’m not sure what to expect from this novel. There’s obviously going to be romance but I’m not sure what else. It seems like a dystopian novel but also different. Either way I’m excited to give it a chance and you can download the first five chapters free from Amazon if you want to try it before you buy it.

10. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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I first heard about this novel when I interviewed Kieran Scott a few months ago. When I first read the synopsis it reminded me of Frozen (the book not the movie). Alexandra Bracken’s novel focuses on a girl named Ruby who has extraordinary powers that got her sent away to a government rehabilitation camp when she was a child. Now having escaped she’s on the run with other kids just like her. The groups leader, Liam, begins to fall for Ruby but scared of what getting close to him could mean Ruby is determined to keep a distance. The first in the series I think this will be a great adventure/love story that I will quickly fall in love with.

I’ll definitely be adding to this list of books throughout the summer but for now I believe this is a good start. Happy reading!

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