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Nov 27 2006

Jane and the Barque of Frailty, by Stephanie Barron


Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries are always clever, but some of the books in the series are more emotionally effective than others. It’s difficult to forget the facts of Austen’s life—she...

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Mar 6 2009

Jane Austen Ruined My Life, by Beth Pattillo


Beth Pattillo’s Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the latest (and one of the more interesting) examples of the many, many novels inspired by Jane Austen’s life and work. Recently divorced American co...

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May 6 2013

Jane Eyre's Daughter, by Elizabeth Newark


The front cover of Elizabeth Newark's novel Jane Eyre's Daughter features a blurb announcing that this is “A Superb Tale for Lovers of the Brontë Classic”. That's not a promotional quote from a reviewer, mind you—it came straight from the publishers, who, sadly, are somewhat overstating their case...

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Jul 23 2013

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever., by Caissie St. Onge


Caissie St. Onge's novel Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. is an entertaining but uneven take on the joys—and many, many sorrows—of life as a blood-sucking perpetual teenager. Jane Jones has been a high school student for decades, but it never gets any easier. Her parents are still ridiculously overprotective (even though Jane is actually ninety-odd years old), she has nothing in common with her human classmates, and her vampire peers despise her for having a blood allergy...

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Dec 10 2013

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, by Sebastian Faulks


Sebastian Faulks's book Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse was formally approved by Wodehouse's heirs, who apparently hope that Faulks can introduce a new generation of readers to Wodehouse's most famous creations: the “mentally negligible” Englishman Bertie Wooster and his ever-resourceful valet, Jeeves. Frankly, I doubt it. I mean, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells might amuse Wodehouse groupies*, but...

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May 4 2015

Jinn and Juice, by Nicole Peeler


Nicole Peeler's Jinn and Juice is nowhere near as terrible as either its tacky cover art or suggestive tagline (“Don't Rub Me the Wrong Way”) would suggest. On the other hand, that doesn't make it actually good, nor does it prevent the story from dipping into some really shady areas...

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Sep 23 2004

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke


Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an extraordinary book, but Bloomsbury’s attempt to market it as “Harry Potter for grown-ups” is misleading. Clarke’s ten-years-in-the-making debut novel is a witty, wildly imaginative book that’s certain to knock the socks off any English Lit major...

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Sep 17 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, by Christina Lauren


At first glance, Christina Lauren's Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating looks like a grown-up version of Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before: a fluffy, high-concept friends-to-lovers romance. Unfortunately, while Lauren's characters are a decade older than the protagonists of Han's YA romance, they're way less mature...

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Jun 6 2016

Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan


Catherine Egan's YA novel Julia Vanishes is better than V. E. Schwab's thematically-similar A Darker Shade of Magic series—creepier, more complicated, and inhabited by less glamorous but more interesting characters. Unfortunately, the cover art for Julia Vanishes is merely adequate, while Schwab's books look spectacular. I sincerely wish Egan's publisher had shelled out for something more impressive, because...

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Jun 25 2012

Juliet Immortal, by Stacey Jay


I set the bar low for fantasy novels—all I ask is that they follow their own rules. I'm perfectly willing to buy “It's magic!” as an explanation for something, but if the magic in question behaves a certain way, it better keep behaving that way throughout the novel....

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Jun 19 2017

Just Dreaming, by Kerstin Gier


This is damning with faint praise, but Just Dreaming, the final book in Kerstin Gier's Silver Trilogy, is less of a hot mess than the finale of her previous series. So things are looking up (I guess), but Gier is still relying on the appeal of her lively, funny heroines to ease readers past...

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