Sale Blitz and Giveaway! FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund

We met this author when we went to the Baltimore Book Festival two years ago–she was delightful! I’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up her book ever since… 🙂

A dystopian YA version of Persuasion! What more could you want?

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For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfeund is on sale! Grab your copy today for $1.99!

To celebrate the sale, Diana is sharing an excerpt with us as well as a giveaway!

About For the Darkness Shows the Stars:

Fans of Divergent will love Diana Peterfreund’s take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion set in a post-apocalyptic world.

In the dystopian future of For Darkness Shows the Stars, a genetic experiment has devastated humanity. In the aftermath, a new class system placed anti-technology Luddites in absolute power over vast estates—and any survivors living there.

Elliot North is a dutiful Luddite and a dutiful daughter who runs her father’s estate. When the boy she loved, Kai, a servant, asked her to run away with him four years ago, she refused, although it broke her heart.

Now Kai is back. And while Elliot longs for a second chance with her first love, she knows it could mean betraying everything she’s been raised to believe is right.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking YA romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


Get your copy:

Amazon | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play




Dear Kai,

The sun is probably streaming in through the big barn windows now, which means you’re awake. And if you’re awake, it means you’re wondering where I went.

I haven’t run away from you, I promise. But I knew that today of all days, they’d need me in the house. Tatiana may be the head of our household now, but she’s not the one the staff will look to in my mother’s absence. And there is so much to do to prepare for the funeral. Also, I have to go tell my grandfather what had happened to his daughter. I don’t want him to hear of her death from anyone but me.

Thank you for last night. I wish I could say I don’t know why you are the one I ran to—you, Kai, not Tatiana or my father or even my grandfather. But I know why. And I have a confession to make.

After you let me cry, after you let me sob and shout and choke on all that pain—after you did all that, and didn’t say a word—I didn’t fall asleep like you thought. Not right away. I lay there, wadded up into a ball, and you curved your body behind mine. You were barely touching me—your thigh against the edge of my hip, your arm draped lightly across my waist, your fingers entwined with mine. How many times have our hands touched, when we were passing each other tools or helping each other in and out of machines? Hundreds of times. Thousands. But last night, it felt different. You cradled my hand in yours, palms up, our fingers curled in like a pair of fallen leaves. Fallen, maybe, but not dead. My hand never felt so alive. Every place you touched me sparked with energy. I couldn’t sleep. Not like that.

And so I bent my head, just the slightest bit, until my mouth reached our hands. I smelled the oil you never quite get off your fingers. I breathed in the scent of your skin. And then, as if that was all I was doing, just breathing, I let my bottom lip brush against your knuckle.

Time stopped. I was sure you’d see through my ruse and pull away. I was sure you’d know that I was not asleep, that I was not just breathing. But you didn’t move, so I did it again. And again. And on the third time, I let my top lip join my bottom.

I kissed your hand, Kai. I didn’t do it to thank you for letting me cry. For letting me sleep in your arms. I thought you should know.




Dear Elliot,

I know. When will I see you again?




About the Author:

peterfreund headshot

Diana Peterfreund is the author of a dozen books for adults, teens, and children. A lifelong Jane Austen lover and technophile, she lives outside Washington, DC with her family, her BBC miniseries collection, and her smartphone. You can visit Diana online at



Twitter: @dpeterfreund



Enter Diana’s Giveaway!

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Audiobook Review: THE SECRET DIARIES OF LIZZIE BENNET by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Lizzie’s “secret” diary written during the timeline of the videos! Squee!


I might be a teensy bit obsessed with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

The number of times I’ve read the book can’t be counted–I’ve got it in paperback (three copies, I think? No, wait–four. We have the LBD version too), hardcover (twice, at least), digital (two copies? three? not sure), and on audio (again, twice. Not sure why). I’ve owned two copies of the 1995 BBC classic on DVD (two words: COLIN FIRTH), and one of the Keira Knightley one (it’s definitely not the most true-to-the-original version, but it does have its merits–plus, you can watch it in an afternoon).

I resisted watching the YouTube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries for the longest time. I said things like, “It can’t possibly compare to the original,” and “I’m an English major, for God’s sake!” and “How dare they mess with Jane Austen!” and “Remember that horrible movie version with Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier?” <shudder>

Don’t even get me started on the horror that is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Ugh–a travesty. 🙁

But–finally–I gave in to the inevitable.

Cassidy Tucker’s experience with this closely mirrors my own–seriously, it’s freaky. Just substitute the entire Internet for the friend “before” who is trying to get her to watch the web show, and Mini Moe #2 for the friend “after” when they squee and agonize about it together:

(Thanks to Mini Moe #2 for bringing that video to my attention. I’m sure the fact that one of her Internet idols was loving the series too added to her obsession as well, so thank you, Cassie Jay!)

On the plus side, by the time I finally caved the season was more than three-quarters over, so I could binge watch the first 80+ episodes all in one weekend and didn’t have to wait months and months to finally see Darcy. (EPISODE 60. Seriously! Gah!)

But then waiting for the rest of the series one episode at a time was TORTURE. Worth it, of course, but still torture. (EPISODE 98. THEY DON’T KISS UNTIL EPISODE 98!)

Naturally I jumped right on the Kickstarter campaign that Pemberley Digital put together to release the entire series on DVD (even though you can still watch the whole series online for free here, it was totally worth it).

When I found out that there was going to be a book version, Lizzie’s “secret” diaries during the time frame of the videos, I naturally pre-ordered it. THEN I found out that there’d be an audio version, read by Ashley Clements, Lizzie in the videos…so yeah, bought that too.

Pemberley Digital sooooo has my number. But I digress…

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel
by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (aka historical romance writer Kate Noble)(they also wrote the series screenplay)


A modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning and hugely popular YouTube series and transmedia project 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 may have started as her grad student thesis, but it grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. 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. People watched, debated, tweeted, tumblr’d, and 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.

Following the structure of the Jane Austen classic, with each chapter also complementing the addictive videos, this standalone novel has plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and hook new readers. 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



The Secret Diaries does a great job of filling in the blanks left by the video series. Through them, we finally “see” Lizzie’s parents, and scenes like dinner at Catherine DeBourgh’s, the “most awkward dance ever”, and Lizzie, Darcy, and GiGi’s day touring San Francisco. We also see a whole lot more of the behind-the-videos relationship between Lizzie and her sisters, especially more of Lydia.

(The Lydia of this universe is one of my favorite parts of the series, by the way. Granted, her character ends up being one of the biggest changes from Austen’s original–not just a modern adaptation, but an actual change–but I like it. It really makes the relationship between the three sisters a major part of the story, not just Elizabeth and Jane’s, which is awesome. Plus, it lets me use this as the “strong sibling relationship” for Summer Bookish Bingo–so, score!)

Only a very few scenes didn’t quite live up to my expectations–most notably, Lizzie’s description of seeing Darcy for the first time in San Francisco almost felt like a whole different scene from the way she describes it in her diary (or it would be more apt to say, doesn’t describe it). For a couple of other scenes she just posted transcripts of instead of giving us the inside scoop–though if you’re reading a print version, it’s done so it looks like she actually taped them in there with fancy tape, which is really cute.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and combined with the videos it’s even more true to the overall story arc of the original Pride and Prejudice than the videos by themselves. If you haven’t watched the videos (but why? Why haven’t you? You really should) I think it would work okay as a standalone. If you haven’t read P&P (again, WHY?) it would still make for a good story.

(As a bonus, if you’re reading a digital version on a web-enabled device, there are links to each video as they occur in the narrative. That alone ensures I’m going to be reading it again. SOON.)

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

Haven’t seen the series yet? Check out the first video below!

And yes, Lizzie’s makeup in it is HORRIBLE. I remember thinking the first time I watched it–please tell me she’s not going to wear that much makeup every video! I don’t think I can watch it! It was so funny to hear Lizzie agonize over her atrocious makeup in her “diary”!

(Oh, and I might have had the all-Darcy, all the time video playlist running while I did this post. No, I don’t think I have a problem. It’s WILLIAM DARCY.

See for yourself:

This post wouldn’t be complete without a plug for Pemberley Digital’s latest, Emma Approved, based on Austen’s Emma, of course. If you haven’t been watching it, now’s the perfect time to start–the series is almost complete, so you’ll have to do the agonizing wait-for-the-next-episode thing way less than the rest of us have had to. 😉

Their next series isn’t an Austen adaptation (darn!) but instead a collaboration with PBS–Frankenstein MD, based on–you’ve got it–Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Looks interesting!

New Release Review and Giveaway: Only With You by Cecilia Gray (Jane Austen Academy #5)

Are you a Jane Austen fan? (Seriously, who isn’t? 😉 ) Give this series a try!
Only With You by Cecilia Gray
(The Jane Austen Academy Series #5)
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
Dive into the fabulous, fun lives of six Academy girls as their friendships are tested, torn and ultimately triumph…Emma has it all – looks, money, and luck. It’s not like she keeps it all to herself – she’s totally committed to helping those less fortunate. AKA, everyone. She invites her heartbroken friend to help with a weekend charity event with an eye to matchmake, but when that friend turns her eye toward the guy Emma wants for herself, how will she choose between friendship and her own feelings?* * *The last thing that the girls at the elite Jane Austen Academy need is hot guys to flirt with. But over the summer the school has been sold, and like it or not, the guys are coming. And it’s about to turn the Academy—and the lives of its students—totally upside down…

The Jane Austen Academy series are modern retellings of Jane Austen classics set at a beachside California boarding school.

Obviously, if you know your Austen novels at you can tell from the blurb that this novel is the Jane Austen Academy’s version of Emma. It seemed appropriate that I should read it this year, since my latest NaNo novel was based on the original (retold from Jane Fairfax’s POV–a character who, sadly, is not in Ms. Gray’s version) and I am enjoying the heck out of Pemberley Digital’s latest series, Emma Approved. (Which is on hiatus right now. Again. Darn you, Hank Green and Bernie Su. Why must you be so cruel?) When the chance to read this one came up, it seemed like kismet.
I haven’t read the first four books in the series yet–though I do have the P&P version (JAA #1 Fall for You) and now that I’ve read this one the rest of the series is definitely bumped up the never-ending TBR pile. I’d love to have the rest finished before the Persuasion (my favorite Austen) remake comes out (Always You). Both Anne and Rick, the stars of that book, were in this one, doing their darnedest to make me want to read their HEA.
It totally worked. (Frantically checking the release date. Wait…December 2014? Oh harsh and loathsome day!)
But I digress…
If you haven’t read the other books in the series yet, you’ll probably do just fine here. Much of the background we need is explained–though if you already know the basic storylines of Austen’s works, that doesn’t hurt either. Ms. Gray has streamlined Austen’s plots, getting rid of some extraneous characters (including poor Marianne Dashwood!) and bringing the six heroines together as classmates and friends at the Academy. (I like the idea of Northanger Abbey‘s Catherine being in the drama department, but I’m not quite sure what to think about Mansfield Park‘s Fanny being an Olympic athlete in training. Though that could just be because she is the one Austen heroine I can’t stand…)
Unlike the original Emma Woodhouse, Emma Green’s mother is still very much alive–though it appears she manages to be “absent” for her daughter in another way–she’s a legend in the area of donations and fundraising, so much so that her young daughter already feels the pressure to be just as helpful and perfect as her mother.  The one person who manages to keep Emma grounded and from being too overbearing–mainly by calling her on it when she gets too over-the-top in her matchmaking and other schemes–is Gregory Knight (Mr. Knightley, obviously), known pretty much just as Knight throughout the novel. He’s Emma’s right-hand guy, always there for her when she needs him and challenging her assumptions when she needs to be taken down a bit.
Those two are so clearly made for each other. If only they both realized it…
In Only with You, Emma has called together a select group of friends for spring break–the professed reason is to help her with a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, but really it’s an elaborate attempt to help her friend Anne get over Rick, her first love, once and for all. Her plan goes slightly awry (or does it?) when Knight ends up inviting Rick to the house party too.
Anne, the heroine of book six, ends up taking the place of the Harriet Smith character in the original Emma here–Emma tries to get to know her better (a commendable goal) while trying to improve her love life (also commendable, though naturally Emma goes about this part of the task with her trademark “I know best” attitude that does tend to ride a bit roughshod over the feelings and opinions of the other characters).  Anne is a stronger character than the original Harriet, though, and manages to think more for herself and not be quite so easily led by Emma as her inspiration was–a plus, I thought.
Another plus? Knight walks around shirtless a time or two. Why didn’t Mr. Knightley do that? Oh, right, Regency England. Bummer. 😉
Only with You offers a fun take on the original, with some interesting modern twists.  So far I like what Ms. Gray has done here in this series, playing around with Austen’s timeless plots and offering them up to a new generation of readers. Though she’s made them more simplistic (really, this novel at least could definitely have been more fully developed though it is a quick and entertaining read as is), the basic tenets are there–it’s just enough to make the heart of this English major give a few extra pitty-pats.
If this series could inspire just a small handful of readers to give the originals a chance as well, that’s an even bigger bonus. 🙂
And now, for your viewing pleasure, the series trailer that Mini Moe #2 gave two enthusiastic thumbs up:

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B
I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.



Follow the rest of the blog tour here.


Cecilia Gray lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she reads, writes and breaks for food. She also pens her biographies in the third person. Like this. As if to trick you into thinking someone else wrote it because she is important. Alas, this is not the case.She’s rather enamored of being contacted by readers and hopes you’ll oblige.

Author Links:


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What I’m Reading: A Week in Review as NaNoWriMo Approacheth…. (10-26-13)

We’re getting us some culture! 😉

Mini Moe #2 and I are headed over the border today–to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake to see Our Betters by W. Somerset Maugham. It’s kind of last minute–a friend had extra tickets. Their website says it’s similar to Downton Abbey, which we’ve both watched and liked…well, MM#2 liked it until she saw the season finale last year. Since then she’s been a little bitter; hopefully nothing like that will happen this afternoon. It’s recommended for ages 14 and up–fingers crossed that I won’t have to spend too much time covering her eyes.

NaNoWriMo begins this Friday! Don’t worry–still plenty of time to panic! (And sign up, if you haven’t yet. Just go here and join the insanity! And then add me as your writing buddy–my NaNo name is beckymmoe.)

On to the books…

This week I finished Hunter’s Moon by Lisa Kessler–loved it and reviewed it here. Lisa stopped by the blog on Friday with an awesome guest post–make sure you check it out if you didn’t already! Next I read Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris–very cute! My review is here. I moved on to Last Chance Book Club by Hope Ramsay next; it was the latest read for Harlequin Junkie’s HEA Book Club…this is definitely one series I’m going to be reading more from. Absolutely loving the small town vibe in it. I then moved on to Prevailing Life by Amaris Chapman, a YA paranormal. I’m almost finished–review coming later on this week.

Next on my TBR: Down the Aisle by Christine Bell, Falling for the Marine by Samanthe Beck, and Four Weddings and a Werewolf by Kristin Miller because I love the title. And I’m going to squeeze in Kristan Higgins’s new book, The Perfect Match, if it kills me. Must. Read.

In audio, I finished Emmaso I must be ready for NaNo, right? Right?

Finally, I started Rick Roirdan’s latest in the Heroes of Olympics series, The House of Hades. MM#2 has already finished it, and assures me there won’t be an agonizing cliffhanger ending to this one. She’d better be telling the truth, or she’s grounded for sure.

What are you reading this week? If you’re participating in NaNo, tell us about your novel!

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What I’m Reading: Week in Review (10-20-13)

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Mini Moe#2, Cody Hodgson, and Mini Moe#1 after the walk (MM#1 is standing a little in front, but yes, he is taller than the professional hockey player. MM#2 keeps feeling the need to point this out)

All three Moes woke up bright and early this morning to drive down to (sunny, thank goodness–it’s been a rainy few days) Buffalo, New York to take part in the Gold and Blue Star Military Family Tribute Walk. All proceeds from the event will go towards a memorial for all the western New Yorkers (so far there have been 64) who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the sponsors was our very own Buffalo Sabres, and several current and former players were there to show their support. The Mini Moes cornered Cody Hodgson (a goal-scorer in Saturday night’s game, which MM#1 and I were at–that goal was a highlight, trust me) at the after party and got a picture. It was awesome to see so many players (Hodgson was joined by Steve Ott, Patrick Kaleta, John Scott, Jamie McBain, Andrew Peters and a few other former players, along with the voice of the Sabres, Rick Jenerett and Bandits lacrosse player Mark Steenhuis–I’m forgetting a few others, I know, so I apologize now) out there supporting the community. It’s been tough to be a Sabres fan so far this season, so it’s especially great to see them show up at something like this. Within stalking photo op-distance, too. 😉

We all walked 3.2 miles before lunch! No wonder I was ready for a nap before the Bills game even started. (Which they won! The “fish” have been squished!)

On to the books! I’m still listening to Emma right now to prepare for my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m taking it slow and only listening when I can really pay attention–currently I want to drop-kick Frank Churchill into the next century, so I’m really not sure he’ll be able to sufficiently make all of this up to Jane. We may be looking at an AU version….

I managed a bit more in ebook form this week. I read (and reviewed) Annie Seaton’s Outback Affair–a nice addition to the series. I also scored a copy of book one in the series–Holiday Affair, the only one I hadn’t read already–at the author’s Facebook release party on Monday (Tuesday, in Australia). Thanks, Annie!

Next I read Sweet Treason by Gail Ranstrom, which I also reviewed, and featured in Friday’s post. It was a very interesting take on the American Revolution time period. I’ll be interested to see what she writes next.

Finally, I read the upcoming (out tomorrow!) release Hunter’s Moon by Lisa Kessler. She’ll be joining us this Friday with a guest post, and I’ll be reviewing the book later on this week. I absolutely loved it–didn’t want to put it down, even for the hockey game last night! (I did, though, since we were there. Didn’t want to be rude. If I’d been at home, though….)

Up next: Seven-Day Fiance by Rachel Harris and the next HEA Book Club book pick for this Thursday’s meeting, Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance Book Club. Oh, and tomorrow’s Monday, which means more chapters released in Ruthie Knox’s NA novel Truly exclusively on Wattpad, and another episode of Emma Approved on YouTube! Happy days!(Except that it’ll still be Monday. All day long. But still, could definitely be worse–and there’s much to look forward to!)

What are you reading this week?

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Week in Review: What I’m Reading (10-11-2013)

While watching the latest version of Emma with Mini Moe #2 to get ready for the first two episodes of Emma Approved (latest offering from Pemberley Digital, the lovely people who brought us The Lizzie Bennett Diaries), I was suddenly struck with an idea for my NaNo novel. (This is huge, because it usually doesn’t happen until panic mode has set in, somewhere around October 31st. If at all.) For whatever reason, I was fixated on Jane Fairfax this time around, and just how rotten Frank Churchill treats her. To be fair, it does usually bother me, but this time I got really annoyed. So I started thinking–what if Jane didn’t take him back? What if she moved on? Went through with that job she secured for herself? Or…maybe she made him do some big-time, major groveling before she did take him back, but we never got to see it, since it wasn’t known to Emma?

So…I’m writing Jane Fairfax’s story. And possibly Frank Churchill’s too. Though I am not entirely convinced that he can do what he needs to to get her back…time will tell.

(Please don’t tell me that it’s already been written twenty million times, because I don’t want to know. I’ve rewritten my Northanger Abbey modernization twice and then gave up because there’s a bunch out there already…though I really do like it and may pick it up again after all. My latest version wasn’t horrible, even for a first draft. For now I’m just going to go along in my ignorance is bliss bubble, and plan my novel.)

To prepare, I’m currently listening to the audio version of Emma as narrated by Juliet Stevenson, who played Mrs. Elton in the Gwyneth Paltrow version. Since I’m at a particularly anti-Mr. Elton part right now, it’s especially amusing.

I ordered Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England and Pride and Prejudice: Paper Dolls (very important for research purposes, surely) in print and picked up What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew and Jane Austen’s England in the B&N store with my teacher discount, since it’s currently Educator Days there. Behind Jane Austen’s Door was a Nook purchase–for $2.99, I couldn’t say no. Research will ensue. I may also get Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen on Kindle, because it’s not a bad price either. In print, though, it’s ridiculous.

For non-research purposes, I finished Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12 on audio and it was just as entertaining as the other Heather Wells books. The narrator wasn’t my favorite, but the book was good nonetheless.

On ebook I read and enjoyed Annie Seaton’s Dangerous Desire (reviewed earlier this week) and A Very Scandalous Holiday, an anthology of holiday-themed novellas that I’m featuring on Sunday. I’m about halfway done with Her Accidental Boyfriend by Robin Bielman, the second in her Secret Wishes series. It’s adorable so far. Next up I think I’ll pick up Annie Seaton’s latest, Outback Affair.

I also read a bunch of essays written by eighth graders on four different types of government and which one they felt was more effective. But I’m trying to block the entire experience out of my head, so that’s all we’re going to say about it here.

Instead, I’ll go watch the first two episodes of Emma Approved again. In the name of research.

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Books on Sale: Get Ready for Pemberley Digital’s Emma Adaptation with the Kindle Daily Deal!


If you watched last year’s breakout YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,  a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (and if you haven’t, why the heck not? It’s beyond addicting, and at least now you can watch all 100 episodes back-to-back and not have to wait a painfully long time to see William Darcy, or their first kiss, or….), then you probably know that the next full-length adaptation in the works is Austen’s Emma, to be called Emma Approved.

(Twitter handle: @EmmaApproved. On Facebook at Emma Approved.)

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal includes more than twenty titles that are “great reads for college students”. Six of the titles are graphic novels, including Marvel’s adaptation of Emma for $2.99. Perfect timing! Now in addition to watching one of the fine film adaptations out there (The 2007 one is good, and I do love Jeremy Northam’s 1996 version, because hello–Jeremy Northam–but BBC’s 2009 one is absolutely fantastic. Three words: Jonny Lee Miller) and reading the “regular” print version and/or listening to the audio ($2.99 at Audible when you buy the Kindle version for $.99; thanks, Whispersync), you can also read the graphic novel to prepare!

I’m not the only one preparing, right? Just like I’m not the only one’s who’s found the YouTube collection of all Will Darcy’s LBD videos and watched them? More than once? (Don’t do this at home without watching the whole series through at least once, though. That’s cheating.)

I totally didn’t have them playing while I typed this, either. Honest.

Please, please, please Pemberley Digital people: pick as awesome a cast for Emma Approved as you did for Lizzie Bennet Diaries!

Won the Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media – Original Interactive Program!

Not that I’m really worried. I’m just sayin’.

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