May 182018

Hi friends! I’m so excited to welcome back author Sara Marks to Austenesque Reviews!  Last year, Sara was here celebrating her first release, A Modern Persuasion, which we greatly enjoyed! We are so glad Sara has a new book releasing this month – Phi Alpha Pi!  Which is a modern-day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice set in the world of sororities and fraternities!  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

While writing Phi Alpha Pi, I got to chapters that needed to happen off campus.  If Lizbeth was to interact with Wil in his world and comfort zone, I needed to explore their biological families.  His family was easy.  The original Georgiana had a greater role to play in their relationship and Ginny easily fell into that role.  I wanted to show readers that Wil might feel he’s responsible for taking care of Ginny, she also thinks she needs to take care of him. Then there was the question about the people in Lizbeth’s family. Her parents, Layla and Jack, can be considered updates of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner.  They are grounded and easy going compared to the other more experienced adults around Lizbeth and Wil. I had no original characters to transition into Lizbeth’s siblings.  It allowed me to have fun with Josh, who is similar and also very different from his father and grandfather and Becca, who imagines herself to be preparing for world domination.

 Their game is one I’ve often played with friends and boyfriends when we don’t know what to do with ourselves at parties.  The idea is to give you a purpose and task that you can focus on instead of being anxious about meeting people and talking to them.  Yes, people try to find something that makes them comfortable like Lizbeth and a library, or Josh and a kitchen.  The goal is to find something really special.  At one holiday party thrown by a library administrator, my then boyfriend found a collection of pewter fantasy figures in the guest bathroom.  There’s nothing special about the figures but that a person would display them in a bathroom that would be mostly used by guests… we loved it!  Give it a try next time you’re at a party and don’t know what to do with yourself.

~ Excerpt from Phi Alpha Pi ~

The party was in a penthouse apartment only a few blocks from their house. They could easily have walked over, but instead they took a car. Since all three women were wearing new high-heeled shoes, the less walking on icy sidewalks, the better. Lizbeth had found an amazing black, sleeveless dress on a clearance rack. It looked fantastic on her. This was the extent of Lizbeth’s excitement for the party. She suspected she and her two siblings would be the youngest people there.

“We’re going to play a game,” Becca said on the elevator ride up to the party. “Each of us must find something interesting about the apartment. Lizbeth, a measly library does not count. Nor, Josh, does the food or kitchen. I want mermaid statues in the bathroom, rooftop sex rooms, or, if you’re desperate, famous socialites puking over the balcony.”

“Becca!” Layla said as the elevator door opened right into the apartment.

To say the apartment was big would be insufficient. There were at least two floors, and probably something on the rooftop. The space was large and open with a grand staircase leading up to the second floor. Lizbeth could see the walls of windows, many leading out to the balcony that overlooked the city. The main room was devoid of furniture other than high-end folding chairs. It was full of people with food and drinks in hand. Waitresses walked around the room with trays of food. Lizbeth saw a buffet against a far wall and a bartender serving drinks. Two walls were just floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city skyline. She could see a few people chatting out on a balcony outside. Inside the decor was primarily white and metal.

“I will also accept stolen Nazi art,” Becca whispered in Lizbeth’s ear.

There was a great deal of art in the large front room. Everywhere people chatted amongst themselves. Someone came and took their coats. Another person came over to Jack and Layla and started talking to them.

“Kids,” Layla said, turning to her children, “you’re on your own. Don’t get drunk, don’t steal anything, don’t cook anything, and don’t get lost in the library.”

Layla knew her children well. Each of them grabbed a glass of wine and went on their own way to play Becca’s game. Lizbeth walked through various rooms. Other than some great art, there wasn’t anything of interest for her to tell Becca about. She did enjoy looking at the art, but without Charlotte, she didn’t know anyone but the masters. She eventually put her wineglass down and made her way upstairs. There were people talking on the landing and on the stairs, so it didn’t seem out of bounds. Some of the doors were open. She saw someone come out of a bathroom. She peeked in the door and saw no marble mermaid statue.

She walked into the poorly lit room next to it. It smelled of furniture polish and something familiar. She realized, as her eyes adjusted to the light, that she was in a library. It wasn’t a for-show library either. This was wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, bookshelves full of books. The books were a mix of beautiful leather bound books, worn paperbacks, spiral bound books, and folios of loose documents. A sofa faced a large window that looked out over the city. The view was breathtaking and made her remember what she loved about New York City.

Lizbeth was more interested in the books than the view. She made her way over to a shelf and pulled one out. It was about the navy during the Napoleonic era. The whole shelf was full of similar books. She didn’t care about her mother’s instructions; this was her dream room. Her grandparents’ library in Gardner had been built and filled with books over generations. It was her favorite room in their house. Her mother had built a library in both their homes. She put the book back, and pulled out another one. accidentally snagging another. It fell to the floor with a loud thump.

“Fuck,” she said under her breath and bent down to pick it up.


She stood up and turned to the sound of the voice. There, next to the sofa, was Wil Darcy.

“You certainly have a thing for wandering into my bedrooms,” Wil said softly.


That sounds like such a fun game! I’ve got to try it the next time I’m at a party because I do get anxious about meeting new people! Sounds like some interesting twists in the heroine’s family, with her parents being more like Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner! Looking forward to seeing how that alters the story! Thank you so much for sharing, Sara!

 Connect with Sara

Website    ❧    Twitter    ❧    Facebook    ❧    Goodreads



In conjunction with her blog tour, Sara has set up some lovely giveaways!  These giveaways include: a prize pack (open to US residents only), 14 ebooks of Phi Alpha Pi, and 1 print book of Phi Alpha Pi.

The prize pack contains:

– Mrs. C’s homemade officers shirt in Comic Sans (you pick XL or XXL)

– A Phi Alpha Pi sorority sticker, candle, and bracelet (some of the items mentioned in the story).

– An illustration by cover designer Risa Rodil

– A rooster dishtowel (so you can make cock jokes with Lizbeth and Wil)

– Autographed printed copies of Modern Persuasion, A Little More Modern Persuasion, and Phi Alpha Pi (not pictured)

To enter this US only giveaway fill out the form and comment below.

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To enter the international giveaway of 14 ebooks and 1 paperback of Phi Alpha Pi fill out the form and comment below.

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  • This giveaway is open to worldwide (except for the prize pack).  Thank you, Sara!
  • This giveaway ends June 3rd!

Many thanks to Lola and Sara for putting this tour together! To check out the rest of the tour click the image below!

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  26 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Sara Marks!!!”


    This sounds like a fun, modern variation on our beloved P&P. Thanks Sara and Meredith for sharing and for the great giveaway!


    Sounds like a great story with a lot of love between the characters 😀 Would love to read it!


    The world of sororities and fraternities is one I never entered. I was a “commuter student” during college; that is, I drove between college classes and home. I managd to fit a 40 hour workweek in there too! This sounds like a very good book to read! Thank you for the opportunity of winning it!


    I read and enjoyed this one as well as her previous book. Thanks for sharing.


      I saw you’re review! Thank you for your support. The next Austen modernization is already in the works! I’m trying not to get distracted by visiting yarn shops and touching all the yarn.


    Sounds so fun! Love modern spins on P&P. Thanks for the giveaway


    I really enjoyed this excerpt!! Thank you, Sara, for sharing, and thank you, Meredith, for hosting!!

    Susanne 🙂


    Sounds like a fun new book to read! Thank you for the giveaway!


    I can’t wait to read Sara’s new book. Love a modern variation.


    This books looks like a fun read! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!!!


    Sounds like a great and fun book. Thank you for your incredible and generous giveaway.


    intriguing excerpt



    Looking forward to reading this modern P&P. Congrats on your new release!


    Just downloaded your book Sara. Sounds like so much fun. Can’t wait to read it! 😀

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