ARC Review: AUSTENTATIOUS by Alyssa Goodnight

What happens when an eighteenth century literary darling magically pops up in the weirdest city in Texas? Magic and weird collide in AUSTENTATIOUS, the story of Nicola James, a left-brainer with a Jane Austen obsession and a carefully finessed life plan. A plan that doesn’t include an enchanted journal or an interfering fairy godmother, who just might be the spirit of Jane Austen herself.

When Nicola discovers her journal entries mysteriously whittled down to a cheeky bit of commentary on her life, she’s freaked first, skeptical second, and finally downright curious. She can’t help but keep writing, dueling really, with a two-dimensional fairy godmother she doesn’t totally believe in. Soon, the witty little notes start coming true, screwing with her plans, her head, and her life, and nudging her towards an impossible—and impossibly seductive—romance with a man who’s inarguably wrong for her. Nicola’s torn, trapped between a life that makes sense and a man who doesn’t, with “Fairy Jane” wedged in the middle, relentlessly rooting for another “Mr. Darcy”.


In September, I wrote (here) about my challenges in attempting to post a widget promoting the countdown to the release of AUSTENTATIOIUS by Alyssa Goodnight.  Anyone who posted the widget into the side bar of their blog would be entered to win an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of the book.  With a little help and some dogged determination, I eventually succeeded in capturing the widget .  To my delight, it resulted in me being one of the first winners of an ARC.

Thank you, Alyssa!  I am tickled to have the opportuntity to provide the following review (the first I’ve ever written) of AUSTENTATIOUS.


Nicola James is a serious-minded gal with a clear Life Plan and an affinity for all things Jane Austen.  Her plan, which includes a fast track path to management and a sensible romance, seems to be going smoothly until she has a strange encounter with a vintage journal she purchased from an antique shop in Austin (the self-proclaimed weirdest city in Texas).  Finding her first journal entry mysteriously altered to offer advice on her love life; Nic begins to experience conflict between her own sense and sensibility.

Do enchanted journals and fairy godmothers exist?  This is the premise Alyssa Goodnight asks readers of AUSTENTATIOUS to accept.  At first, I had a little difficulty making the leap.  Having been steeped in reading historical fiction for awhile, this contemporary romance with a magical twist was a genre shift for me.  I suppose I felt a bit like Nic, initially:  “. . . out of my depth . . . on the thrilling cusp of weirdness . . . .”  But the more I read, the more I found myself caught up in the magic wittily weaved by Goodnight.  In no time, like Nic, I was “. . . siding with Fairy Jane . . . letting go of both personal pride and ‘magical journal’ prejudice, taking a chance on the unknown.”

With encouragment from Fairy Jane and a few friends, Nic finds herself on an exciting ride (figuratively and literally), making decisions that don’t fall in line with her Life Plan.  These decisions land her in the middle of a seemingly impossible romance with a Scottish rocker heartthrob who has pursued her in earnest.  Will Nic end up with the kind of happy ending only Jane Austen herself could craft?  You can find out for yourself when AUSTENTATIOUS is released in February 2012!

Alyssa Goodnight is the author of a Historical Romance entitled, UNLADYLIKE PURSUITS. You can find her on Facebook and at her website.


Haranguing, er . . . Hard Work Pays Off

Today, Alyssa Goodnight announced the first winner of the AUSTENTATIOUS Contest in this blog post.  And the winner was *drumroll* . . . ME!!!

Thanks so much, Alyssa.  As I have already expressed, I sincerely apologize if you felt bullied or harangued. 🙂

* Note that this was just the first round of the contest.  There will be other chances to win a copy.  Just keep the widget posted – or if you haven’t posted it, do so.  If you have trouble capturing the widget, I think I know someone who can help. 😉

The Elusive Widget Is Captured!

Thanks to Bex and Aurelmedia, the wascally widget has been captured. Now, y’all check out the side bar.  Yay!

Where There’s a Widget There’s a Way

I didn’t really look before I leapt into the world of blogging.  It just kind of happened.  One minute I’m searching tutorials to help with a group’s website renovation, the next minute I’m clicking a button to publish my first blog post.  Thanks to natural curiosity, the help of my friend Jamie (who is a blogging goddess, by the way), and a step-by-step WordPress guide, I knew the basic lay of the land . . . just enough to get started.

The other day I hit my first stumbling block.  It was a minor thing, really.  I simply wanted to copy a widget promoting the countdown to the release of AUSTENTATIOUS by Alyssa Goodnight.   See, those who post the widget into the side bar of their blog will be entered to win an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of AUSTENTATIOUS.  I love books.  AUSTENTATIOUS sounds like it will be a great read.  I now have a blog.  It was a no-brainer . . . . or so I thought.

Apparently it does take brains, or at least a little know-how, to embed a widget into the sidebar of a WordPress blog.  My first failed attempt yielded a link which led to clues as to why I did not get the desired result.  Instead of spending much time troubleshooting, I opted to send a message to Ms. Goodnight (Alyssa, if I may).  She replied with a helpful tip.  I followed the advice (good advice) and got Fail #2.  This thing which seemed should be so minor was starting to gnaw at me.

Then, yesterday, Alyssa reached out to another blogger and me to see if we had any luck posting the widget.  I thought two things:  1) How nice of her to inquire and 2) At least I’m not the only one having difficulty.  After a little back and forth, Alyssa provided one more tip and an offer to create a static ad to use in lieu of the wicked widget.  It was great to have a backup plan but I was not ready to give up.

Thus Simply Blake became Tenacious B.  I searched WordPress Help, I Googled, I tried my hand at gigya shortcode (Shout out to Bex at Aurelmedia.  Clearly, I couldn’t figure it out either.)  I sought advice from my blogging sensei Jamie who, as luck would have it, could (and did) post that widget just fine on her blog.  The difference must be that she has her ownURL whereas mine is a WordPress URL.

Alas the answer eluded me.  I raised my hands and confessed to Alyssa that I had nearly worked myself into a tirade of Yosemite Sam proportions.  Then, bless her heart, she entered me into the contest anyway.  My sincere thanks, Alyssa.  I hope I didn’t scare you into it! 😉

So, to truly earn the contest entry and to stick it to that wascally widget, I present this ranty post as my ad for the AUSTENTATIOUS COUNTDOWN.

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