The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Reason and  Romance (The Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

So I have started reading this series out of order.

But it doesn’t really matter as they don’t have to be read in a the order they were published. The books are modern day versions of Jane Austen. I started with Amanda (The Austen Series #5), which set Emma in Australia and:

To read the whole review, follow this link.

So after that I wasn’t too jazzed to read this book, a modern day version of Sense and Sensibility.

But I decided to keep an open mind and hope for the best:

Well let’s find out, shall we?

So the story takes place in Ohio, as Elaina (Elinor) and Anna (Marianne) Woods (Dashwood) have just lost their father; the family business; and due to a prenuptial agreement, their home.

Elaina, the reasonable sister, has just received her Phd and will begin teaching literature at the university the next town over.

Anna, the romantic, has not gone to college and doesn’t have a job. She lives at home with their mother, dreaming of the perfect guy to come along and sweep her off her feet.

One of the students, Ted Ferrars (Edward) in Elaina’s class, causes the always reasonable Wood to become a romantic as she finds herself captivated by his personality and character.

Swoon!

He turns out to be the brother of her sister-in-law, and the complete opposite with his kind and caring nature. He is a superb pianist and dreams of leading a music ministry at a church, while his family has dreams of him becoming a superstar.

While that relationship develops, Anna also finds herself with not one, but two potential love interests. When she relocates with her mother to the home they are renting from, their cousins, she is first pursued by the older, broody, Dr. Brandon (Colonel Brandon). She isn’t too interested in him as he isn’t “a romantic hero”.

Everything changes when she heads off to her new job only to have an accident and be saved by the handsome model, Will Kenney (Mr. Willoughby).

That’s what I want

Elaina sister tries to caution her to slow down, but Anna is caught up in her emotions and will not listen to any advice, only intent on doing what her heart leads her to.

Will both girls be able to allow a little reason and romance in their lives? Or will Eliana cool reason and Anna’s hot romance keep them from forming real relationships?

So what did I think?

I thought it was horrible. A lot of things just did not work or make any sense why the author went in that direction.

So let’s count them off:

A) The Story Doesn’t Work Not Having Elaina Living at Home

So in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor lives at home in the cottage, runs the household, and is able to witness Marianne’s reactions with Willoughby and advise her. In this Elaina has her own apartment in another city and it just weakens the relationship with her sister and family. All information has to be relayed by her mother instead of Elaina being able to witness what she is speaking out against and has no real clue what is going on. It also weakens the character of Elaina/Elinor as she loses her role of caregiver, which is partially why people feel secure in sharing with her their secrets. The author should have had her stay living at home, I mean it would have been easy to explain that she was worried about her grieving mother.

B) She Makes the Mom a Pushover

In the original story of Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood was in the throes of grief. She had lost her husband, income, home, most of her belongings, life, etc: all at the same time. When Fanny came along and started insisting this and that, she went along as she was sad, depressed, confused, numb, etc. In this she just gives in to everything because she “doesn’t like conflict”, which was not how it was in the book!!!

C) Hot for Teacher/Hot for Student

I don’t care how old they are I hate the teacher-student relationship. First of all it is against University policies as it could cause bias and because you are taking advantage of a relationship and power you have over the other. I don’t care that they “don’t really date”, as Elaine is intent on trying to form a relationship, something she should not have done or waited until he was no longer in her class.

 

D) Whatever Happened to Baby Margaret Dashwood?

So in the original novel there are three sisters, the youngest being Margaret.  Why do modern adaptations always get rid of siblings and make people only children or mess up their birth place? I mean there are whole psychologies that discuss how your place in the line of family helps form your character and personality, and I think a lot of modern adaptations mess this up when they cut out the siblings.

E) Ted Cheats on His Fiancé

So in Regency time: flirting, courting, etc. was much different. In the original novel, Edward starts to fall for Elinor, and she him, and his attention causes her to think and hope he is interested. However, he never actually does anything about his feelings or makes any overtures as he is secretly engaged. In fact, most of the being lead on is from what Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne think is happening. In this, Ted actually cheats on his fiancé, clearing stating to Eliana in his actions and words that he likes her, while being engaged. I didn’t like that at all.

F) Elinor/Elaina a major flirt

In this Smith has Elaina as a major flirt with any guy that crosses her path. This is not true to her character or “reason” minded self. It also makes everyone think that she is dating Colonel Brandon, while in the book everyone knew they weren’t together and only Edward thought she was interested in him.

G) Elaina’s Favorite Book is Sense & Sensibility

Reading the book your book is based on? That’s not clever but overdone.

H) Debra White Smith is obsessed with Pantsuits

I mean seriously that is all anyone in this series wears when they “dress” up. I mean it is a Christmas party?! Why aren’t they wearing dresses?! You seriously think that the fashion conscious Anna would wear a pantsuit over a dress? At her age? Reading the fashion magazines she reads? I don’t think so.

I) Colonel Brandon and the Anna Relationship: Together in Five Minutes

So in the original novel, Marianne is dumped by Willoughby: tries to contact him with no replies; humiliated by him; tries to visit him; is taken ill; has to fight for her life; goes into recovery; is visited by Colonel Brandon; and over the time the two spend together she falls in love with him and encourages him to try to start a relationship with her.

In this Anna is sick, healed, and in love with Colonel Brandon intent on marrying him and becoming a nurse in like five minutes. It made no sense at all and I didn’t like how Colonel Brandon tells her his feelings first instead of allowing Marianne that time to overcome her heartbreak, be open to a new relationship, and fall in love with him.

J) Why a Nurse?

I don’t care if you boyfriend/fiancé is a doctor that is no reason to become a nurse! Especially, if you are bad with everything needed to become one. They should have just had Marianne continue as an interior designer, artist. or fashion designer. .

K) She Cut Out Some of the Best Parts of the Novel

Even though Sense and Sensibility has a lot of sad themes: depression, loss, grief, homelessness, poverty, dysfunctional family, heartbreak, betrayal, etc,: it also has a ton of hilarious moments as well. Like when Edward goes to tell Elinor the truth about Lucy and Lucy is there. Or when Fanny discovers the woman she has been promoting over her “plotting” sister-in-law has in fact long plotted to marry her brother!

Hilarious, comedic moments that only Jane Austen knows how to do. And they are glossed over or barely touched it.

L) Christian Fiction but Hardly Any Christian Themes

So this book says that it is “Christian” and talks about having “faith in God”, but that faith and relationship with God is never really even in the book.I mean if you want to write a Christian retelling of Emma then write it. If you want to write a non-Christian retelling of Emma then write that. Just don’t give me this lukewarm mess that is “Christian” but only a smatter. I mean go big or not at all, there is no in between.

So yeah, I did not care for this at all or found it to be a good adaptation or a good read.

Will the rest of the series be just as bad?

Hmm…

Keep following me to find out.

For more by Debra White Smithgo to The Austen Series: Amanda

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

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Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

So we all know I love to read:

Especially Jane Austen:

And we all know how much I love Jane Austen stuff:

So the other day I was on Facebook, just scrolling through updates when I came across this site Litographs. It is amazing!!

They take classic literature and print it onto shirts, scarves, temporary tattoos, posters, and tote bags. Some books they print just the words, while others they do a design in your choice of color. The prices range from $29-34.

Amazing!

So looked through all my favorite books: Sherlock Holmes, The Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, etc. And of course: Jane Austen.

This is so me

They actually have designs from every one of her books, so whether your favorite is Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion you are sure to find something.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility comes in two different designs or text. I preferred this one over the other.

Pride & Prejudice

So this actually comes in several designs or your choice of just the text. My favorite look was this one:

Mansfield Park

As of right now, you can only get Mansfield Park in the text form, but I’m looking forward to what designs they come up with later.

Emma

Emma has two designs and I think they are both absolutely gorgeous.

Northanger Abbey

Like Mansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey only has one design, the text. Just like the other one, I’ll be waiting to see what they come up with for illustrations. Maybe her arriving near the Abbey? That would be cool.

Persuasion

Out of all the illustrations, my favorite has to be the ones for Persuasion. I’m actually split between these two on which I would like to purchase.

They also have a special deal which for $17 they will send you a random T-shirt. For a deal like that I am sorely tempted. I’ll be working extra hours this next month of July, so I’m planning on rewarding myself with something from here. When I purchase it, I will post myself in it.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

For more on Mansfield Park, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more on Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

When You Don’t Want to Deal With Other’s Feelings

At least once in their life every body has had somebody like them who they don’t like back. I know I have had quite a few.

Usually the first thing I do is just play dumb to it.

Or I try to ignore it:

And of course try to make sure you aren’t alone together:

But then inevitable will happen. The feelings will be said and you will have to try and deal with them, whether you want to or not.

One time I had a guy tell me he liked me, and I told him…you know what:

And then the conversation went like this:

“Him: Did you hear what I said?

Me: Yes.

Him: We need to talk about this!

Me: Well we could be talking about pepperoni and sausage, but find then.”

Sometimes guys take the rejection/let’s just be friends well:

And other times they don’t:

But hey, that’s life.

For more on awkward situations with “feelings”, go to I Call A Do-Over

For more musings of me, go to T-I-E-R-D…Tired

Hot Humid Days are Reading Days

I don’t know about you all, but it is HOT here.

It has been in the 100s, so not pleasant at all. This being the first day of summer means it will only get worse.

In fact I don’t want to do anything, and I most certainly do not want to do anything outside.

I mean it feels like you are stepping out into an oven. Immediately sweat pours out of every pore.

So what is a girl to do?

Iced Tea

Yep, it is the perfect weather to sit indoors enjoying your air conditioning, iced tea, and a good book.

For more on hot weather, go to Summertime

For more book filled posts, go to Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

 

Dad’s Day

starwarssondarthvader

I hope you all have a good father’s day. Remember it is dad’s day so be nice, even if you don’t agree with him on everything:

And most of all:

Happy Father’s Day!

For more Father’s Day posts, go to Dinner at Dad’s

For more Star Wars posts, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more holiday posts, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the next month.

So the member who’s turn it was, was thinking of possibly doing a mystery. When our group met, she decided on this:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

Hmm…

Julia Stillwater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

This could get ugly.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

What have I gotten myself into?

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Seriously

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Hmm…

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Hmm…

So let’s start with what I didn’t care for or thought wasn’t as finished.

1)First of all Jillian is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable.

Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California.

2) What happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

3) There are a lot of little details missing.

Hmm…

In my class, The History of the Novel, we read an article about how hard it is for a nonfiction author to switch to fiction as there are a lot of little things they aren’t used to writing about-how they look, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, etc. Moore falls into the same issue as she doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Julianna “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut?

I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

4) The mystery isn’t really mysterious

I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal

So what was good?

1) The characters

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more of my book clubs reads, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

For more mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

So after this book it is my turn to pick the next book. I was going to bring a few choices to the meeting and pulled out a western, as you know I love stuff like that:

I also took out My Fair Godmother as that book cracks me up.

I was trying to think of a third option, when I decided on one book that’s been sticking in my mind:

Yes, my book club is going to read The Darcy Monologues. This will be very interesting as:

  1. One member has read the book and seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 versions.
  2. One member has only seen the 1995 and 2005 versions, never read the book.
  3. And the other member has not seen any film or read the book.

Will they love it? Will they hate it? I don’t know, but I am sure of one thing:

And we all know what I thought of it:

Read what I think of Part I: The Regency and Part II: Other Eras

T-I-E-R-D…Tired

I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve just been so busy this week. At work we have summer reading signups, lots more children coming into my programs, my other jobs needing my time, trying to fit in my friends, my niece is visiting, etc.- it seems as if every day there is less time to do everything.

An obstacle course to try and get everything done.

And I just feel so dang tired. I just want to sleep all the time.

But things should settle down to normal soon. As for now…I’m going to take a nap.

For more on being tired, go to Tired With a Capital T

For more on my everyday life, go to Something’s Scratching at the Window

You Can Never Have Enough

That is false:

You can never have too many books:

You have no more room? Just make more space! Get creative, artsy, more shelving!

Only if they are bookshelves, Mr. Collins.

Yes, book lovers are never satisfied with what they have, they always need more.

But we book lovers wouldn’t have life any other way.

 

More book-filled posts, go to Rainy Days Are Reading Days

For more on Mr. Collins, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

Something’s Scratching at the Window

The other day I woke up at four in the morning, having fallen asleep while watching TV, with an upset stomach. It turned out to be pre-period cramps.

 

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

As I knew it was going to be impossible to go back to sleep right away, I decided to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, wash my face, maybe do a mask or scrub, etc.-until the pain passed. While I was in the bathroom I heard a noise that went like this:

Scritch, scritch, scritch, scrith…

It sounded as if something was clawing under the window.

So the window in the bathroom is really old. It is a slat window that has to be opened with a lever, and because of its age it never shuts completely. And the acoustics are really good there as people who are across the yard sound as if they are right next to you.

Ugh.

So at first I wasn’t freaked out. I figured it must be a raccoon or possum or something just digging around in the yard or on a trash can.

Meh.

But then I heard it again and it was louder…and it wouldn’t stop…and it sounded like it was right next to me.

Ahhh!

For a split second my mind went to there is a monster out there:

In fact it made me think of that old “scary” story that everyone told at slumber parties; where the two people are stranded in a car and the boyfriend leaves to go for help. While he is gone the girlfriend continuously hears a scratch, scratch, scratch (or tap, tap, tap) while the boyfriend is gone. In the end, a psycho has been scratching at her car or the boyfriend has been killed and his body is hanging overhead.

I’m sure you’ve heard one of the versions of it.

So yes, I went there but then I bounced back. I was certain it was no big deal and going to scare off whatever animal was making that noise.

The gun is a metaphor. I wasn’t going to shoot any animals.

I was just about to walk out of the bathroom and go check outside when something jumped into the window!!!!!!!!!!

And then I saw clawed fingers poking into the cracks of the window!!!!!!!

And I have to admit:

But then this thing started to meow angrily.

And my brain realized that the clawed fingers were just the clawed paws of my cat. Lack of sleep, cramps, it being early morning, whatever-had made me not realize that the hands I saw were tiny cat paws not monster hands.

Yes, since I had fallen asleep watching TV, I didn’t bring my cat in and I guess she heard me in the bathroom, or saw the light-but somehow figured out I was in there and was trying to get my attention to let her in.

But hey, I will take being trolled by my cat over a real psychopath (or rodent) scratching under my window any day.

For more of my scary adventures, go to A Bump in the Night

For more on cats, go to Cat Lovers All Know This

For more stories from my everyday life, go to Road Rage

If this stokes your appetite for horror, check out Horrorfest, Horrorfest II, Horrorfest  III, Horrorfest IV, & Horrorfest V

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

So a few weeks ago I was planning on meeting my friend for lunch, and found myself with a few extra hours. I was downtown, which had recently received a makeover and a ton of vintage and antique shops have moved in. Usually I never get to look at them as they all have the same hours as my job does. But it was my day off so I was finally able to window shop.

Sadly not everything was open, but there were quite a few. I found something to buy my dad for Father’s Day and had a few ideas for another friend. Then one shop I entered had this:

Instantly I was thinking:

So CUTE!

I grew up with paper dolls. I remembered how much fun I had with them. I used to play for hours as a child. The only bad thing was that they tended to rip and tear. And they became harder and harder to find.

Aw.

So at first I was like I NEED this:

But then I thought, what would I do with it? I mean I don’t have any one to play with. My niece who is just the right age doesn’t live near me. Better not…

But then I thought, what a fantastic gift for her. Her birthday is coming up! She could have so much fun with it. I mean look at the clothes!

But then as I was thinking about it, she doesn’t know Pride and Prejudice. She probably wouldn’t even care for it. Most likely it would just be thrown away.

So I decided, better not buy it. I should just live it for someone else to enjoy.

Weeks passed and I just can’t get it out of my mind. Look at them:

I mean Bingley is just so cute, Darcy so stoic, and Elizabeth looks like she is thinking of something witty. Not to mention:

Look at the smugness on Wickham’s face, they captured it perfectly. And look at Lydia’s silly manner.

It is weighing on my mind.

After I thought and thought about it, I came up with the perfect justification. I could give it to my friend who loves Pride and Prejudice as a gag gift. She would think it was cute; although she probably wouldn’t use it (but she wouldn’t throw it away.) Yes, it was perfect. I was going back for it.

But when I went back, I couldn’t remember which store it had been in.

I had just been walking in any stores that were open so I had not even paid attention to the names.

So I know you are thinking, why not buy it on amazon? Well first of all it was half the price in the shop, and secondly it had gotten in me. I needed that particular one. I had to find it.

So I waited (and hoped it would still be there) for my next day off in which I decided I would look through all the shops for it.

Well my next day off fell on a different day of the week: one in which ALL the shops were open.

I combed through every square of every single shop, but I just could not find it. All I could remember was that it was in a basket with a bunch of other books, in a store that had cute Disney stuffed animals and some glassware.

But it wasn’t totally horrible, I did find a cute teacup for my friend’s birthday in her favorite color.

Here it is on my bookshelf until I can give it to her.

But no book of paper dolls.

I was preparing to go, when I decided to go back to one store that was very close in to what I remembered. I started searching, but found no basket full of books.

Aw.

But then just as I was headed out the door I saw a gray tin full of books. I had nothing else to lose, so I decided to take a look through. And guess what, it was there.

I’m great

I bought it and headed for home. But now that I have it, I’m not so sure I want to give it away. I mean I spent a lot of time looking for that, I think I might keep it.

It is pretty cute with having a brief synopsis of the story and has such cute designs for the Bennet’s every day wear, the Assembly Ball, Wickham’s uniform, dinner at Rosings, Elizabeth’s muddy dress, etc.

It is just so cute.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency