You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

So I have written before how much I like Emma, and that in quite a few ways we are alike. One of which is matchmaking. Emma loves trying to match people up, I used to to; but both of-our matches do not end well.

When I was in high school, I tried setting a friend up with another friend-she was kind sweet and charming. The guy was more outgoing, fun-loving, and I thought the two would balance out.

Did it work out?

It failed. He just ignored her the whole time and ended up dating another girl.

I tried another time with a different friend. She was smart, into some nerdy things (not too much but enough), loved reading, and having fun. I had a guy friend that was intelligent, interested in the same things as she was, and just her type of guy in build.

Did it work out?

It failed. And to make things even worse, they guy ended up liking me! And telling me he had feelings for me!

Just like Mr. Elton

Later on I tried again to get a friend paired up with another friend-football star and just her type.

Did it work out?

Yes, every time I tried to match people it failed, and it failed horribly. The girls were hurt, I was hurt, no one ended up happy. I therefore swore off match-making altogether. Never again.

But then I met my co-worker’s single son.

He would be perfect for a friend of mine! He’s great with children, nice to his mom, interested in the same movies and things as her, and exactly her type in build.

It’s perfect!

But every time I try-even move to do matchmaking-I have to remind myself that I am Emma.

And that it won’t turn out well. Yep, sometimes it is better to leave it to the professionals.

Well, at least for now.

For more on Emma, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more matchmaking, go to Baby Jane Austen

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Prude & Prejudice

Prude & Prejudice by Francine Carroll

So any of you Kindle, Nook, or other E-Reader?

Yes, I do.

Well there is a fantastic site that you can get ebooks from. They range from being free to being low cost-and have every genre you can think of.

The site is called BookBub and I suggest you check it out today. I mean who doesn’t love free stuff?

But free books can either be good:

And some are horrible.

This is one of the horrible ones.

Our main character is supposed to be based on Elizabeth Bennet but is gifted with the name Prudence Higginbottom.

That is the name the author came up with? Did she put a blindfold on and pull out random Scrabble tiles?

Anyway, Prudence prefers Prue as she hates her full name.  Besides being bullied about that she also had to contend with being overweight growing up.

She has since then lost the weight, gone off to university, and successfully operates a farm to fork organic café with her family. Her family consists of her quiet father, outlandish mother, and three sisters. Of the sisters I’m not entirely who is who as they change the names (Alice, Mary, & Cate), but I’m pretty sure that Cate is Jane. I don’t know why they have to complicate things for us readers.

So Prue and her mother have been fighting over the organic farming for years, (Prue’s mom thought it was a horrible idea) but it looks like Prue’s plan is really going to pay off. An organic food distribution company is moving to the area and will need someone to provide food for the workers during lunch and catered events. Mrs. Higginbottom works hard to become their choice.

Prue ends up getting there later and is stuck with a jacket XXXL jacket. She bemoans this fate as she feels it makes her look fat.

Hmm…

Now I had a problem with that plot point. If someone wears something that is that much bigger than them, as Prue is a medium; it shouldn’t make her look fat but as if she is wearing the wrong size. The author uses it as an important plot device, but it makes no sense.

As she is moving things around and doing her duties as a caterer, she overhears the company owners-the handsome Charles Bradley (Charles Bingley) and William Darling (Mr. Darcy). Charles tell William he should help the caterer girl, Prue, but William says no she looks big enough to handle her tray on her own and makes fun of the name Prudence Higginbottom.

She becomes so upset over what he said that she starts talking smack about him. She also overhears another conversation and thinks he is talking about immigration, continuing her bad-mouthing to everyone.

She also looks up William Darling online and finds a report by a Georgina Wickham (George Wickham) on CheatingDirtyB*******.com and believes it.

Anyone can put anything on the internet. Why would you believe it?

Then the author is against free speech, as when Mrs. Higginbottom shares her beliefs and right to speak her mind:

“What kind of world do we live in where people can’t express their opinions in their own homes? Its political correctness gone mad, that’s what it is.”

Everyone acts like she is crazy and shouldn’t be talking. Like that’s not right. I know this takes place in England and maybe people feel different there, but I’m an American and I believe that people should have the right to whatever their opinion or view is. I may not agree with it, I may not like it, I may think it rude, crude, stupid, etc-but I still think you have the right to express yourself-especially in your own home. I mean I think this book is pretty stupid, boring, and a waste of time-but Carroll had a right to write it, just as I have a right to review and share what I think.

Later Mr. Bennet Mr. Higginbottom says this, which makes no sense:

“My dear,’ cut in Mr Higginbottom, ‘If you read anything besides gossip magazines, you might realize that the history of the human race is the history of immigration. People have always moved around the globe extensively and the kind of national pride you express is a very recent thing, which in my opinion is exploited by politician’s and shock jocks for their own nefarious ends.”

Ugh, haven’t you ever heard of WWI or WWII, both of which involved a lot of national pride. I mean I know England was involved with both of them.

Seriously

So then Prue gets drunk one night at the bar and gets super angry at William Darling, yelling and screaming at him. Cate has to take her home, and then after realizing that she messed up a great contract, Prue has to swallow her pride and go apologize to Darling.

Meh.

Now one of the big reasons why I love Jane Austen is the complexity of the characters, the amazing wit, and the way she can tell an interesting story without having to resort to silly ploys. This book was nothing like that as it was boring and the language dull. No wit, Prue was annoying, and Darling was a shadow of a character.

Anyways they have a party-Mrs. Higginbottom makes a fool of herself, Cate is embarrassed, Prue and Darling talk everything out, Darling was talking about farming not immigration and he aplogizes for his earlier comments,they are married, blah, blah blah.

Blah, blah

Yes, I found this book to be incredibly boring, too easily “sewn” up at the end, and more as a vehicle to discuss Carroll’s views rather than remaking Pride and Prejudice.

Ugh.

In my opinion, I would just pass this one on by.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

Which One of These is Lipstick?

Makeup…why is it so hard.

I am completely inadequate, I mean most of the time I feel like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. 

I mean I know foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara; but once they get into priming, contouring, etc-you lose me.

Help me! I’m confused!

In fact my sister bought me a full set of like 20 brushes, and I am completely confused as to what to use them a for. I mean four are easily identifiable, but the rest? What do you need them for?

Huh?

Or I went to buy lipgloss from the store, and when I got there, there was over fifty shades. How am I supposed to know which one to choose? Which is my color?

In fact I am going to have to get help from a friend to figure it out. but I guess that is life-this is how it will always be:

A Real Non-Party Animal

Who likes big parties?

Not me.

I hate large parties. I always feel uncomfortable as I am not good with small talk.

Especially if it is mostly people I don’t know:

Or people I don’t know well.

I’m an introvert so the whole big party thing, I find completely overwhelming. Usually I do one of two things: Hang out at the snack table/buffet:

Or unsure

It is one of the best places to be as you don’t have to talk (food in mouth) and you don’t feel awkward as you have something to do. But sadly, you can’t spend the whole party eating.

So the other place I wind up with is children.

They are just easier for me to connect with and feel more comfortable. But even that doesn’t always work out, as what about parties that don’t have any kids?

In those situations, I usually find myself sitting alone and wishing I had a book to read.

Small parties made up of a bigger ratio of people I know, I am great with. I can turn my introverted nature into be an extrovert and have a good time.

But any other situation, and I am ready to go as soon as I can.

I’m out!

I guess I’m just a real no-party animal, and that’s okay with me.

For more on my lack of partying, go toWhen You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse 

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh

So you all know that I’m not really into  diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistles, letters, novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).

And that is what this book is about. It is a view of the novel Emma told in letters. But the letters aren’t between Emma, Harriet, Jane, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Weston or Mr. Knightley. Instead the author choose to tell the story from Mrs. Goddard’s point of view, the headmistress of the school that Harriet attends.

What?

I know. At first I didn’t want to read this book. Mrs. Goddard is hardly even in the story except when she brings Harriet to meet Emma and start the two’s friendship. I couldn’t fathom why they would pick her over any other character.

Uhhhhhhh

In fact, the story is told between Mrs. Goddard and her sister Mrs. Charlotte Pinkney, who is living in London after a hasty marriage.

I’m not sure about this.

I wasn’t sure if I would like it but decided to start reading so I could post a review.

So I read it and…

I was so surprised but I loved every page of it and couldn’t stop reading.

The characters were amazing. Mrs. Goddard is very sensible and tries to provide a good home for the girls at her school. She cares heavily for each one and tries to help them as much as she can. She even cares deeply for her staff, as when one maid gets pregnant and the father won’t marry or take care of her-Mrs. Goddard helps her out and keeps her job open for her return.

Mrs. Pinkney has always been happy and a spendthrift. After her husband died and she was left with his debts, she married quickly to the wealthy family friend, Mr. Pinkney. At first she is upset, angry, whiney, and just unhappy as she is still grieving the changes in her life and that her new marriage isn’t so fun and flitty: Mr. Pinkey is more concerned over finances than anything else. She is bored and lonely and instead of working on her marriage devotes all her time to writing her sister.

Mrs. Goddard writes to her everything that is happening in Highbury, even though she thinks the news to be nothing and rather dull.

But Mrs. Pinkney gets caught up in the tales and the story of Emma. Besides that she befriends a young girl, Charlotte, from the school next door (a horribly run establishment). Having her lightens up the home and brings Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney together as they both enjoy Charlotte’s company. They even take her to Bath.

Scene of Bath from Persuasion

There Charlotte meets a sailor and begins correspondence with him. Mr. Pinkey’s Admiral friend also agrees to look into whether Charlotte’s father is still alive, if survived the storm that took his boat.

Aw!

As Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney draw closer together, he too becomes interested in the news of Highbury and the story of Emma.

Now I read an article not to long ago how Emma is a mystery, but thought nothing of it as it didn’t really seem like a mystery to me.

hmm…

But then in this book Mrs. Goddard, Mrs. Pinkney, and Mr. Pinkney all collaborate to figure out different elements of the story. Who is Mr. Elton really after to be his wife?

Hmm…

Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith?

Hmmm….

Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him?

Hmm…

Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano?

Hmm…

Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends?

Hmmm….

Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

hmm…

And much more. The three are on the case:

I thought it was fantastic story telling. Joan Austen-Leigh knows how to have the perfect balance of the original characters:

With brand new, interesting, and fun characters

It was fun, captivating, and as said before, a real page turner.

I highly recommend it for any Jane Austen or Emma fan. This is one book that you shouldn’t miss out on.

For more on Emma, go to TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Emma variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues

 

Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

So with everything that happened in July and with GISHWHES, I realized I totally forgot to post the last book we read for Book Club.

Just in case for anyone new, I started a book club with three other people. There is no theme or restrictions, just every month a different person has a turn to pick a book, we read it for the month, and afterwards meet to talk about it. Fun for everyone.

Last month’s pick was:

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

I first started reading Francine Rivers’ novels when a friend recommended Redeeming Love (a fantastic book that I strongly recommend). Afterwards, I started reading as many of her books as I could get a copy of. This one I put on my to-read list like five years ago and forgot all about it. I mean you know about to-read lists.

So when my friend brought it out as a suggestion, I was all for it.

That’s what I want

The story actually follows four main characters and how their lives intersect with each other, the decisions they make, and how they grow or regress as characters.

Character One: Hadassah

Hadassah is living in a time where Rome is in complete control and being Jewish or Christian can mean death. Unfortunately for Hadassah, she is both.

Yes, her parents were both Jewish but her father converted to Christianity when Jesus raised him from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). Her married Hadassah’s mother (who also converted to Christianity) and the two raised their three children as Christians.

Their lives have gone incredibly downhill as Rome marches on Jerusalem destroying it, with all of Hadassah’s family being murdered.  Hadassah finds herself unsure how she will continue on with her weak faith and uncertain future. Will she be able to trust God through it all?

Hadassah is saved from being killed; manages to survive the march to Rome, gets through a lice-filled boat, barely is maneuvered from becoming a temple prostitute, and is bought by a Jewish slave for his master, going into the powerful Valerian family. There she is given to serve the selfish, young, and beautiful Julia Valerian. Hadassah faces many ups and downs trying to live her Christian faith, set an example to others; while trying to walk the thin line that separates her from being thrown to the lions as a pre-show for the gladiatorial games.

She finds herself becoming friends with Julia’s older brother Marcus, praying hard for him and his family. But as her connection to Marcus grows stronger:

She finds herself unsure what path to take. Will Hadassah be able to serve God and receive a happy ending? Or will she cross that line and enter temptation? Or worse, death?

Character Two: Atretes

Atretes is a prince from Germany known for his wildness, strength, courage, and ability. After the death of his father he finds himself being handed the kingship and given a prophecy: a dark haired woman as his lover, being known throughout Rome, he will triumph over his foes, and being able to free his people from slavery.

That’s the kind of prophecy I’m talking about.

However, in the next battle skirmish, Atretes is captured by Roman soldiers. He tried hard to be killed in battle, but they decide to keep him and train him to become a gladiator.

At first he refuses to play along, but eventually becomes the star fighter as he discovers the only way to win his freedom is to follow along.

He achieves, money, fame, etc.; but still remains a slave and not given real freedom. His life changes when he meets Julia Valerian. She comes to him willingly, paying heavily to be with him. She appears to be everything foreseen by his mother and he begins to fall for her, and changes his perspective of “the game” as he fights for money, freedom, and the ability to marry the person he loves.

But will Atretes fullfill his prophecies of the woman he loves, overpower Rome, and free his people? Or will he discover that Rome doesn’t fight fair and that he will never truly be free from its grasp?

Hmm…

Character Three: Marcus Valerian

Meh.

Marcus Valerian grew up in a time of strife that has settles into prosperity and peace. His only hobbies in life are pursuing whatever pleases him: mostly making money and winning women. However, Marcus quickly becomes bored with this lifestyle and is always pursuing making more money and a harder challenge.

He is constantly going to the gladiator games, but becomes bored with those as well in life.

His father tries to instill a moral code in him, but Marcus refuses to listen to anything his father says as he feels that his father is “too old” and “behind the times”. He thinks his way is the best and his lifestyle-something he ends up instilling in his younger, naive, and impressionable sister.

Seriously, parents.

But when Hadassah enters the house she starts a ripple effect of a change of atmosphere. Everything about her and her beliefs challenges his lifestyle and the choices he is making in life.

Will Marcus find something real to fill his life? Will he ever be happy? Or will the choices he has made come back to bite him?

Hmm…

Character Four: Julia Valerian

Julia is the Marcus’ younger sister and has been sheltered her whole life and given every whim. In an effort to reshape her character and give her more morals, her parents give her Hadassah to be her servant; hoping that Hadassah’s kind and gentle spirit will rub off on Julia.

Hadassah

But all Julia cares about is being beautiful, idolizing her brother Marcus and his values, and seeks to become the most sough after gal in Rome. She ends up trusting women who are bad influences that like to manipulate her, not listening to any of the advice her parents try to give her.

She is married off to a kind man, but is too selfish and self-centered to appreciate him. Instead she sets her eyes on a handsome gladiator she sees training, Atretes. Later her foolish and heedless behavior causes the death of her husband, and she and Hadassah are sent back to her parent’s house.

Through it all Hadassah loves and cares for Julia as a sister, even when Julia is rude, crude, overbearing, etc.

Once again Julia chooses friends who don’t have her best interest at heart and are using her. She also marries a handsome, but abusive man. After she grows tired of being treated so cruelly she makes a decision that leads her down a dark path. As Julia continues to make bad decisions and hurt those around her, will Hadassah continue to care and help her? Will Julia turn from her dark choices? Will she have a happy ending? Or will she continue on her trail of destruction?

Hmm…

So what did I think of it?

I thought it was amazing! I started reading and I couldn’t stop:

And if that wasn’t enough, when I read the ending I was in SHOCK!!!

I quickly ran to get the sequel (literally ran)

The book was phenomenal. From Hadassah’s character:

To Marcus’ growth of character:

And all the twists and turns the novel took. You never knew what was going to happen next.

Wow

I definitely recommend it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Christian fiction, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

For more bible verses, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Baked Potato Soup

Who likes to eat?

Me too. I don’t really post recipes on her, leaving that to my sister blog Mysterious Eats.

Weeeeeeeeeeelll…with one exception. If it has to do with Jane Austen or a tea party, I review and post it.

Last year I helped put on a tea, and fashioned it after a teahouse I used to go to when I lived near Santa Rosa. They would always serve scones (I did the Cheddar-Thyme Scones and the Harvest Pumpkin Scones) and tea sandwiches. You could also add on tarts, little turnovers, salad, or soup.

This soup may not be a real “tea soup”, but I thought it was tasty, easy to make, and fancy looking.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 1 14-oz can of Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 Baked Potato (6-7 inch baker), cold, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 Cups of Half-and-Half
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 6 Slices of Bacon, cooked, broken into bits (Or use Bacon Bits)
  • Cheddar Cheese, to go on top

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onions in butter.
  2. While stirring, slowly add the flour and then the chicken broth.
  3. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until it melts.
  5. Then add the potato, leaving the skin on the pieces.
  6. Finally stir in the half-and-half and the milk.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top each serving with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.

It is a fantastic tasting soup, and having cooked the potatoes it takes like no time at all.

Yay!

The only thing is that you have to be careful when adding the milk or half-and-half. The lactose sugar in them can burn and ruin the dish, so you have to keep stirring. The more you stir the less likely it will burn.

One time I had my niece hep me and I felt like that scene in Goodfellas when Henry Hill keeps telling his brother to watch the sauce. Just like Michael she didn’t enjoy the stirring.

No more stirring.

But it was easy, delicious, and will be a great addition to any future tea parties or dinners.

For more recipes, go to Triple Berry Salad

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Do you ever have a day where you are just down.

Last week I got sick and had to go to urgent care.

Then my phone was ran over:

Then I had to take my cat to the vet as she hurt her eye. I have to put ointment in it twice a day, ugh, you know what that’s like.

And then my car’s blinkers stopped working.

It’s like I worked so hard all last month and I hoped to do something fun with that extra cash and now it is all spent.

So I was feeling down.

But I didn’t want to stay in the dumps, so I turned to something that can always make me smile:

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

You’ve probably heard of this song from either Benny & Joon (the film featured in the music video) or from Ted and Marshall’s road trip in How I Met Your Mother.

The song was written in 1988 by the Scottish brothers Craig and Charlie Reid. It did well but then went on to superstardom once it premiered in Benny & Joon in 1993. In fact the money from that song has outdone anything else they have written.

Wow

There is something about the music of this song, the repetition of the lyrics, and of course the romantic nature of the words that makes it so fun. You want to sing along (and I dare you to try not to. You just can’t.) Everything about it makes me super happy, no matter what.

Once I hear it I just can’t stop listening to it.

It is such a sweet song, full of emotion and love. I mean not only does he talk about the every day things he would do because of his love, but that he is willing to walk 1000 miles for the person he cares about. That’s like walking from San Francisco to Cheyenne Wyoming (that would be 396 hours or 16.5 days ). Or since they are Scottish: from Glasgow to Nice, France (362 hours, 15.08 days). Well, wherever you are, that’s love.

When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next you
When I go out, yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
If I get drunk, well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver up, yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m working, yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money, comes in for the work I do
I’ll pass almost every penny on to you
When I come home (when I come home) well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if I grow-old (when I grow-old) well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

When I’m lonely, well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s lonely without you
And when I’m dreaming, well I know I’m gonna dream
I’m gonna dream about the time when I’m with you
When I go out (when I go out) well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
And when I come home (when I come home) yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home with you
I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

Da da da (da da da)
Da da da (da da da)

Da da da dun diddle un diddle un diddle uh da

And I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

For more of my favorite songs, go to Dancing With Myself

For more on Tiffanie Debartolo, go to Serious Girl and Love