Why Does A Tragedy Remind Us of What is Important?

So yesterday I found out that one of my best friends passed away. She was an amazing person who was kind, caring, brave, and lived life to the fullest. She packed so much into her 27 and touched so many people. She lit up a room with her laughter and personality.

I’m sharing this not to try and get responses out of you or fishing for anything, but after the denial of it, the anger at the person who caused this, I became angry at myself. I wish I had done more with her. I wish I had given her more time instead of letting life get in the way. I wish I had been more adventurous, didn’t worry so much about money, and gone on trips with her as she invited me to. But I can’t.

I worked with grieving people for years and I wish that I remembered:

Don’t let life get in the way, don’t let it keep you from making those relationships and spending that time with the people you care about.

Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay.

Each story gives us a look at the ladies we love (or hate).

The last post was on Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and SensibilitySelf-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston. And I LOVED both of them!

This one will be on Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice. 

Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little-but the story is more than that. It deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

So Elizabeth is a character that has been adapted again and again. Some have been very good and some have been only okay, and a few have been just awful. To read the ones I have reviewed you can check out this post and this one.

Charlotte on the other hand, I have yet to read anything that just focuses on her. When I saw that, I got very excited. I always thought Charlotte was an interesting character-seen as plain but very intelligent and cunning. 

Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio

The story starts off November 1811, right before the Netherfield Ball, Jane coming up with an idea to do Lizzie’s hair, and like every good sister-wants to try it out before the actual day of the ball. Elizabeth and Jane are talking, when Elizabeth says that she is going to accept Mr. Collins if he proposes.

I was reading this on my lunch break and actually starting choking on my food. WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST READ? I had to read it again!

What the heck!

Reading it again did nothing-the words stayed the same. Oh My Goodness!!! All I could feel was:

I was always interested in the story, but after reading that line, I was super invested. I don’t care how much time is left on my lunch I AM FINISHING this story, right here right now.

I’m just going to stop for a quick moment and go on a side note here…I personally think that it is hard to write a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, just because there are so many out there. I have personally reviewed over thirty-and that’s like a drop in the bucket of all the different variations out there.

I mean you really have to think of a different hook, a new view, something unique to set you apart and D’Orazio did that. How she writes this is not for shock value, but she puts a completely different spin on it. Typically we see Elizabeth instantly not liking Mr. Collins and never considering marrying him-but having her think about it, showing how she would sacrifice herself for her sisters-I liked it. We see how much she loves her sisters, especially Jane, I think it fits her character to consider even for a moment if it would protect the people she loves. It made me think of Jane Austen herself. At one time she did become engaged to a man who’s wealth would have solved all the financial issues, but in the end broke it off.

Hmm…

Anyways, the two girls talk as they prepare, and I love their conversations, they sound like real sisters discussing sisterly things.

The two move on to discuss their parent’s marriage and I really loved this passage. True, most women in Regency times didn’t marry for love and often, as Charlotte Lucas says

“happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance…It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life…”

But I like that they discuss it and think about it. Most people view their parent’s relationship as either a guide to how to be or how we desperately don’t want to be. I like how they also look at their aunts’ and uncles’ relationships.

And I love how she wrote Jane. Jane of course doesn’t like Mr. Collins either- and is about to talk smack about him, but can’t:

“Jane hesitated by her natural inclination to approve of everyone said, ‘Of course, as a clergyman, Mr. Collins is always due respect.”

The girls talk some more, Elizabeth sharing the list she made of her perfect guy, here it is:

  • Tall
  • Dark-Haired
  • Intelligent
  • Likes to Read
  • Is good to his family and mine
  • Likes to walk and be outdoors
  • Has a good sense of humor

Okay, just to put a pause on this. Maybe this isn’t as weird as it felt when I was reading this, but no joke I made a list of my perfect guy when I was a tween and this is an exact replica.

Speaking of which, I don’t remember what I did with it. It was in a shoebox under my bed but I lost it when we moved. Did you..did you find it?

Nah, I’m sure many of us had the same list, which made me love it even more!

The ball comes and goes and then we cut to Elizabeth visiting CHarlotte and Mr. DArcy joining her on her walks and I love the wit of D’Orazio, I think Jane would be proud.

They continue on to the second proposal of Mr. Darcy and when they are engaged. The whole story is cute fun, with an adorable ending, like when drinking a cup of tea and it warms you. This story just warms your heart. I loved it!

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “For Mischief’s Sake” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues 

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes

So Charlotte has married Mr. Collins and is happy in the home. She likes her gardens, the kitchen, the parsonage. But she does not care for Lady Catherine and all her opinions, in which Mr. Collins implements them right away.

But she is happy, spending most of her time alone. She does miss her family and friends, but she is content in what she has.

Time passes and her father, Sir Lucas, sister Maria, and Elizabeth come to visit. Of course, when they come-Mr. Darcy does too, and Charlotte sees what is going on with him and surprised to see him not propose.

Or the face you give your friend when the person crushing on them comes in the room.

Of course when he does propose-Lady Catherine brings hellstorm upon them. I find this extremely interesting as I’ve never really thought about what happened on that end. I mean you read about Lady Catherine being unhappy, Darcy and Elizabeth in love and so happy, and Jane is going to marry Bingley-I never considered how Lady Catherine would treat the Collinses or blame them. Which is true. I could definitely see her blaming Mr. Collins for his cousin and Charlotte for her friend.

Lady Catherine in this makes me think if Greek gods in mythology-you want them to not like you or give you notice as bad things will happen-but you also don’t want them to dislike you as bad things will happen.

Charlotte and Mr. Collins attend the weddings of Jane & Bingley and Darcy & Elizabeth. Charlotte is also pregnant, and eager for the child, but she finds a new emotion putting a damper on her happiness. She sees the way Elizabeth and Darcy look at each other and for the first time envies her friend, wishing she had someone to love her like that.

Lady Catherine calls Mr. Collins home early and he is thrown from his horse-dead.

At first I was surprised , but then I realized this was called Rational Creatures, so of course it made sense that Mr. Collins had to exit it.

Sorry!

From there Charlotte has to return home, where she gives birth to a son, naming him William. She named him after her father, but of course Mr. Collins shared the same name. Which for a second I was a bit surprised, I forgot he had one. LOL

Mr. Bennet loves little William just as much as his grandpa does, and even Mrs. Bennet does even though she was determined to hate him. But Charlotte doesn’t stay there, instead she goes to visit the Darcys and remains with them. And while there, is there is a possibility of love, real love?

I thought this story was also really cute, especially the ending. Another sweet one.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “Willoughby’s Crossroads” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

I really liked both these stories and I and thought they were cute and romantic.

I loved that Charlotte finally got her spot in the limelight.

So far all four stories have been fantastic, which gives me a strong feeling I’m going to like the rest, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

So two years I was contacted by the remarkable Christina Boyd to read and review The Darcy Monologues. It contained stories from Susan Adriani, Sara Angelini, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jan Hahn, Jenetta James, Lory Lilian, KaraLynne Mackrory, Beau North, Ruth Phillips Oakland, Natalie Richards, Sophia Rose, Melanie Stanford, Joana Starnes, and Caitlin Williams.

The stories were all told from Darcy’s point of view with half the book set in the Regency Era and the other half set in different time periods (from 1880s Western to modern times). I really loved it! It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well. Just like the movies, there are many different forms of Darcy, so you have your pick of Darcy-being sure to find one, two, or more to love.

After that project, Christina Boyd teamed up with Karen M. Cox: J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Katie Oliver, Sophia Ros, Joana Starnes, and Brooke West for a new book. This book is Dangerous to Know Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, on the rogues and rakes of the Austen books-Mr. Willoughby, Mr. Wickham, Captain Tilney, General Tilney, Mr. Elliot, Mr. Thorpe, and more.

He’s a bad boy-womanizer

The next one was Rational Creatures, with stories by Elizabeth Adams, Nicole Clarkston, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Jessie Lewis, KaraLynne Mackrory, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Sophia Rose, Anngela Schroeder, Joana Starnes, Brooke West, and Caitlin Williams. All on the women of Jane Austen:

But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay.

It sounded great and I planned to review it after a few things on my list, but then time just passed so quickly by.

I said to heck with it, and decided I’m reading it now and reviewing it!

So I decided to break the review up into six posts-going book by book. That way it isn’t one ginormous post.

We are starting with:

Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as their world is drastically changed when their father dies and they older half brother moves them out of the house and basically forgets they even exist. Elinor is the elder sister-logical, sensible, and in command of herself. Marianne is the middle daughter-passionate, outspoken, and emotional. Elinor falls for a man, but finds him promised to another. Marianne meets a man right out of her romantic dreams, but is he all that he seems to be? Each sister goes through a journey and discovers depths to them they never realized.

Sense and Sensibility, deals with the line between expression. I liked how there is the question of whether too much of either is bad and how much does one need? We have Marianne who expresses too much, while Elinor, expresses nothing. While both sisters are the best of friends; their extremes cause the other to never fully know their sister. Marianne can never see what Elinor is feeling and makes all these assumptions about a “frozen” heart. Elinor on the other hand, never imagines that Marianne has any sense as she assumes she is solely governed by feelings. I liked how the sisters were never privy to each others complete secrets as I feel this is realistic. I can see myself and my sister in these.

Or just sister in this case.

So in a lot of adaptions Elinor is stiff, cold, robotic, icy, or a control freak (looking at you Austentatious 2015), etc:

And Marianne is beautiful, fashionable, and 100% an airhead:

So I was eager to see how they did their adaptations, and hoping against hope that they wouldn’t fall into the same traps:

Self-Composed by Christina Morland

Elinor Dashwood

The story begins in Norland Sussex, 1797 as Mr. Dashwood has died, the house has been inherited by their half-brother John Dashwood, and Elinor, her sisters, and mother must prepare to move their items out. From there it takes them to Barton Cottage when Edward Ferrars visits, Elinor having to be nice to Lucy Steele (Edward’s intended), to the final conclusion of the story.

So first of all it is obvious that Ms. Morland is a fan of Jane Austen and has not only read the story but understands Jane Austen. Often, as I said before, when people do an adaptation they take sense to mean that Elinor is an icy, unfeeling person-made of stone.

But clearly Jane Austen doesn’t intend that as seen-

“Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

Elinor could not help laughing. “Excuse me,” said she; “and be assured that I meant no offence to you, by speaking, in so quiet a way, of my own feelings. Believe them to be stronger than I have declared…”

What she means by sense is that Elinor controls her feelings and emotions-not that she is a control freak, just mistress of herself.

Ms. Morland captures that perfectly!!!-as she has Elinor in command of herself with a certain demeanor, all the while her emotions exploding on the inside.

I loved it! I thought it was perfect! I think that Ms. Morland captured the true spirit of Elinor.

I also loved how she used the drawing and painting as for how Elinor is feeling, describing the drawing as her trying to help her control her feelings-not so much repress (which most adaptions go with)-by releasing them on paper instead of verbally.

My favorite part is when she draws Lucy Steele, she is trying to be a good Christian woman and makes her as beautiful as she is in real life, but also makes her face look manipulative and cunning.

I LOVE it (sorry to keep using that same word over and over again. Here is one of the passages I loved:

“Elinor closed her eyes and envisioned blank paper, flat and crisp; she imagined lines and circles with no clear end or beginning; she thought of steady hands, of straight edges…”

As I have said, there are very few Sense and Sensibility adaptations I enjoy, but I LOVED THIS!

For more by Christina Morland, go to “One Fair Claim” from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston

Marianne Dashwood

We start when Marianne awakens from being sick, having been caught in the rain (it’s not clear whether she was trying to commit suicide, thought she would make it back in time, maybe thought if she was “sick” Willoughby would be sorry and come after her, etc-a discussion for another day.) She begins to recuperate, and you know what, I can’t even get through the synopsis, I absolutely LOVED it!

Finally, finally, finally we have a Marianne Dashwood adaptation that doesn’t make her a ditz but a young, passionate woman.

“Your faults, as you claim them to be, are in equal measure virtues. Blind to them? I could never be. Nor could I admonish you to any degree for past mistakes, for they were the product of an earnest, passionate heart and youthful innocence.”

Finally someone gets it!

In Clarkson’s story Marianne begins to convalescence and starts to think about her behavior-seeing how she let emotion rule her and begins to really study herself, educate herself, and grow to be her better self.

I’m so happy!

I just LOOOOVVED IT! Now don’t get me wrong, I think Ms. Morland’s story was just as amazing, its just this has been driving me crazy!!! The fact that every adaptation seems to make Marianne dumb instead of young and inexperienced. I am so happy to finally see a writer who gets it!

So I really liked this story and how it shows the blooming relationship with Marianne and Colonel Brandon. It was so sweet and a great progression that just makes you squeal with the cuteness!

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious (2015)

So in conclusion, I have not read many Sense and Sensibility, mostly because the ones I have read the author’s just don’t get the characters. Elinor is always too cold and unfeeling and just frumpy. Marianne is always a dunce who just kind of lalalas her way through the story.

I’m not happy

But these two stories completely broke those cliches and are thus far the best, and I mean best adaptations/depictions of Elinor and Marianne that I have read.

Both these stories and writers!

With this just being the beginning, I am super pumped to keep reading.

For more Christina Boyd, go to Five Jane Austen Adaptations That Should be Turned Into a Film or TV Show

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more Austen book reviews, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious (2015)

Only one I’ll be calling is:

Or:

But no, we aren’t talking about that. We are instead talking about:

We are instead discussing-Austentatious (2015)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Yes, I really, really do not like this show or how they portray the characters. But I started it, so I’ve got to finish it.

So Austentatious is the story of Elinor, Marianne, Emma, Elizabeth, and Mr. Knightley being friends in modern times. In the last episode Marianne was trying to find a job, but kind of sucked although she did manage to be a smoothie barista.

Elizabeth’s family were trying to take family pictures but she was having a hard time picking something out.

I can’t decide

And Knightley goes over his disaster dates:

So on to today’s episode. It starts off with Knightly seeing Emma trying to thread a needle to sew back on her shirt and is dressed in gross sweats and her hair is crazy. What?! That’s so not Emma. She’s miserable but never would have her hair and clothes be so bleh-yuck. Proof:

Knightley came to meet with Emma for lunch, but it slipped her mind. Knightley threads the needle and then sews the button on the shirt for her. Wow, a man who can sew.

Wow

Elizabeth comes in to share about her awesome date with Andrew with Emma. Maybe it’s “Wickham”? After she shares that she leaves. Wait, why didn’t she just call or text like a normal person. Why come bug her at work?

Elinor and Marianne are fighting about dirty dishes and Marianne not cleaning. They both see a mouse in the apartment and freak out. Again what does this have to do with Jane Austen!

Ugh!

Elizabeth interrupts Elinor at work to share about her awesome date and the guy not calling back in two days. Again why doesn’t she call or text. You see we just spent the last few episodes with Elinor harping on and on about Marianne not working, but look at this.

She then goes to Marianne’s job and shares her fears about him not calling and then again I ask why doesn’t she call or text instead of bothering her friends while they are working. Why doesn’t she meet up with them after work. Why isn’t she at work?

Or plot!

Marianne tries to make her feel better by sharing about this time she dates-And NO stop!!!

This is so He’s Just Not that Into You. Like get it together Liz, he’s not interested. Don’t be harassing him or stuck on him. He’s totally a loser, I can feel it.

She then goes and bothers Emma.

Not again!

OMG like what is this?!!!! I really don’t like this. This has like zero to do with Jane Austen. Like why even make a show based on the characters of Jane Austen when it has nothing to do with it at all. It’s amazing when you compare this to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and see how amazing that was with a modern adaptation that kept to the source material. Even Fall For You went on some other paths, but they kept the heart of the novels in there. What does any of this have to do with anything??!!

Ugh!

I am so bored….

Let’s just turn the TV off…

No we can’t do that? We have to finish? Fiiiiiiine, but I’m not happy…

So…Emma wants to help her friend and she ropes in Mr. Knightley to give them a man’s perspective. Knightley isn’t into it, but dude just tell her the guy’s not interested and leave, Problem solved.

Ugh!

Of course they probably won’t listen to you, so oh well. But at least you can say you tried.

Elinor gets home and finds things a super mess. Mold? Rat poop? Not quite sure. Oh she complains to the exterminator it must be mouse poop. Marianne wants to get a cat to get rid of the mouse. But Elinor says no. But Elinor, cats are awesome.

So the girls meet up on Elinor and Marianne’s apartment to have a girls night/mouse killing party.

Did I just write those words. Have I said I really don’t like this show. And it has only been like seven mins. It feels like hours. Ugh.

And speaking of mouse killing, the girls live upstairs, how did the mouse get up there? They should check with their neighbors, maybe it is a pet.

Oh?

So Emma, Elizabeth and Grant are sitting on the floor in a circle sharing. Why, when there are couches. I don’t know any 30+ people who do that unless they are playing with their children. I mean there is nothing wrong with it, but it looks really weird.

What’s the heck?

Elizabeth met Andrew at an open house and went to dinner. Knightly is being a total sarcastic dude, and good job writers, Very realistic.

Elizabeth flashes back and shares about her wonderful dinner.

Elinor finds trash in the couch. Okay I can believe under a couch or on the table but who throws trash-like banana peels and stuff in their couch that isn’t a four year old child. Like really?

And why do they have to make her dumb and like a five year old. She wasn’t like that in the book!

Omg this so boring.

Elizabeth is just going on about him smiling and staring at her mouth and really? Who wrote this? I’m over it I just want to be done. It is so boring and who says that-“he was staring at my mouth.” Like if some guy is staring at my mouth while having dinner, I would think I had food on my face not that he was intensely trying to imagine kissing me.

I feel like this is the bad discount version of Jane Austen. Like when you go to the Dollar Tree or 99 cent store and there is the discount version that is good, and then the discount, discount version with the weird name and logo and when you eat it it tastes like sawdust and you never forget and never buy it again. This is that.

Like Jane Austen has wonderful romantic scenes that gripped your heart and tension. Elizabeth watching Darcy during the card game in torment, Captain Wentworth’s letter, etc.; and here we have “staring at my mouth”. Woohoo!

Wow, real romantic!

They ask Knightley’s opinion and he’s like I don;t know I don’t know him. Mr. Knightley tries to give them a reality check, but they aren’t having it.

Mr. Knightley thinks it was just he wanted dinner while the girls are all he loves her! Knightley gives the girls the guy version. He says staring at mouth-probably had food in teeth (see-told ya!). Thinks looking at her smiling because farting or secretly getting the game scores on his phone.

Marianne leaves the girls night to go on a date, a date with “Willoughby?

Let’s get this train back on track!

So in this episode Emma is sarcastically calling Grant Mr. Knightley and all I can think is thank goodness because calling him Grant was dumb. George or Mr. Knightley-either one I will accept-but no Grant.

For the thousandth time

Mr. Knightley is back on roasting the date, telling Elizabeth “her date” probably touched her hand to keep her from sharing his dessert. Him saying he would call her, was probably just a brush off to get her to leave.

Ouch

Elinor says to stop freaking out and call him. I guess that is where the title comes from.

Phew!

Liz is going to call, but Grant stops her as he finds him “in a relationship”? How? On what? Facebook, Instagram? And how could he find him, I mean Andrew is a super popular name, Elizabeth never said his last name. Lazy writing, LAZY!

Grant is a total dude, happy to have won over the girls-he called it, but on the end he gives the cupcake to Lizzie and they all eat the “mouse cheese”. When they go to get crackers they find the mouse in there. They all run out and the exterminator comes in to kill it. As they wait in the hall they run into Collin and it turns out to be his mouse-(I point you to my earlier comment about the mouse probably being a pet)-little Lizzie. CREEPY!

And finally the episode is over and once again had zero to do with anything Jane Austen than the names and I once again question what were the writers thinking. I mean seriously! FOLLOW the PLOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t decide

And this is only episode 5.

Nooo

It’s never ending, never ending. I’ve fallen into the Twilight Zone. And I can’t get out.

For more Austentatious, go to Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen film retellings, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)

For more Sense & Sensibility, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

For more Emma, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

Matcha, Matcha, Matcha

“Well all I hear all day long is how great Matcha is or how wonderful Matcha is, Matcha, Matcha, Matcha!

So Matcha tea is amazing, if you have been following me on Instagram, you know how much I love it.

For me I have always loved the Green Tea Frappucinos at Starbucks, but I didn’t know there was any Matcha in it.

Oh?

No, my obsession started with a book.

I know, don’t they all.

I picked this particular book up at the library, The Tea Ceremony by Seno Tanaka. It was a fascinating book that went over the history of the tea ceremony, along with discussing Matcha tea, it being the one used in the ceremony (no wonder it is so expensive).

Wow!

One part of the book really stuck in my mind, and that was when they described this one…I guess for lack of a better word, tea party, that had a ton of people and they had to keep getting new dishes and used over 200 of them. Wow, that’s a real tea party.

Wow!

Anyways, I know a lot of people like it because it is supposed to help you loose weight, help keep your brain & heart healthy, gives you healthy energy, stop bad breath, burn calories, build your immune system, help with memory, bring relaxation, help your skin, lower cholesterol, detox, etc. I just like it because it tastes good.

So I had been drinking Matcha for years with the green tea frappucino, but I didn’t start buying my own Matcha until three years ago. My niece used to come every year for the Summer, and on Mondays, my day off, we would go on trips around the world.

Let’s go!

Of course, we didn’t really go around the world. We would travel around the bi-county area recreating famous places/landmarks. She would pick a country, I would do the research on it, and then plan out the day. We would then travel and have the different places “stamp” her passport I printed off.

She wanted to go to Japan, so I planned out our trip. First we made Chocolate Oat Crackles; then we headed to the oldest building in our Gold Rush built town-a Japanese Market (no longer open though), saw the Buddhist Temple Gardens (lucky as they hardly are ever open), the local art gallery (supposed to be the Mori Art Museum), the pet store to pet cats and the cafe next door (supposed to be the Japanese Cat Cafes), Imperial Park, a Cat Bento Box, and ending with the tea ceremony.

Now I live in a small town, so it took some doing to try and hunt down some Matcha. I could have ordered it online, but she wanted to do it the next day, and she was visiting for the summer so I was going to make it happen! I finally tracked down a tiny, and I mean tiny, container for $15 at the health store. The things we do for the ones we love.

We did the ceremony, with what we had (I of course didn’t have the proper tools). But after that, we had Matcha left over, so she and I made our own Green Tea Frappucinos (I’ll post the recipe later) and lattes.

I know some people think Matcha is coarse or gross, but I love it. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend it.

So here is a recipe to make your own Matcha Latte hot or cold:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer. (My dad was given one and it just somehow ended up in my home.)
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

For more Tea posts, go to I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

For more recipes, go to Cheese Round

For more on Matcha tea, go to Tea Chocolate

 

Shame Book Tag

So I was just checking out what dinged on my comments and I saw I was tagged in Audra’s Book Blabbing for the Shame Book Tag. Aw, thank you for tagging:

So I was tagged like a looong time ago but its taken me forever because this is actually really hard!

Uh oh

I don’t really get embarrassed or feel ashamed-so it took some time as I had to really think and come up with an answers to these!

1. A Book that Everyone Hates but You Love

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

So I have talked about this book before-but I just can’t stop. I LOVE it, yet everyone else seems to just feel okay about it or they can’t stand it. Why? I don’t know.

Why, not?

It is very different from Agatha Christie’s other books as it is a mystery, spy story, thriller, adventure story, and more. It actually contains five plots-yes, FIVE-that all interconnect. Missing memoirs, blackmail, a game of thrones, missing jewels, and a murder. Plus we have characters who they are one thing but are secretly something else-such as one is a prince, one a thief, one a Pinkerton agent, and one is an actress.

Plus Virginia Revel is an amazing character! Widowed, independent woman who is up for adventure, investigations, and more. She is AWESOME! Believe me!

I think some people struggle with it being so different from her other works, but I love it and completely recommend it.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

2. Unpopular Character You Love

Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

So Harry Potter, I’m sure you have heard of it. A boy finds out he is a Wizard and the Chosen One, and continues on a journey trying to learn magic, information on his family, and stop evil.

So I know a lot of people hate Draco Malfoy, but when I was reading it, he cracked me up. “Wait until my father hears about this!” “Potter!” I mean Harry was nice, but Draco was zesty! He’s just one of those you love to hate.

For more on Harry Potter, go to What Separates the Real Fans from the Fakes

3. A Book Boyfriend You Know You Shouldn’t Love

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I’ve talked about this many times, I love Wuthering Heights, it has always been one of my favorite books. The story is a man gets trapped at Wuthering Heights for the night and encounters a ghost of a woman, Catherine. He then is after the whole story and hears a tale of star crossed lovers, abuse, unhappiness, the moors, revenge, etc.

Heathcliff was one of my first book boyfriends, and even though I will always love him, I know he would be horrible in a relationship. I understand how Heathcliff feels-with no last name and known family-he is essentially without a social security card and has no way of really doing anything. However, because he is hurt, he then hurts others-and no matter what happened to him that behavior is never okay.

For more Wuthering Heights, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

For more Heathcliff, go to One of Many

4. A Book You Know Is Bad But Still Love

Bittersweet (California Historical Series #2) by Cathy Marie Hake

So this was the hardest of all. THIS IS NOT A BAD BOOK!  Instead I chose a book that was predictable. 

Laney Harris is the daughter of a wealthy landowner. She has been in love with Galen O’Sullivan as soon as she returned from finishing school. The problem is that he sees her as nothing more than a child. She continues to do all she can, but Galen has enough on his mind with running the farm; taking care of his mother and three brothers, being in charge of the pony express horses; and a family of squatters (father and twins-brother and sister) residing on one of his acres. But one day Galen realizes that Laney is a woman and strives to win her, but before he can pop the question he is accused of impregnating the squatter’s daughter and forced to marry her. Now Laney has to live out being a Christian even when everything she wanted has been taken away. And Galen has to release the love of his life. Will the story end in happiness or only sorrow?

So this book isn’t bad, (although they talk a lot about how thin she is and pulling the stays tighter and tighter-that I consider bad) but it is predictable and some of characters are a little bland, like Laney’s sister-in-law and brother. But the story was really cute, even though you had a pretty good idea how it will end.

For more on Bittersweet, go to Top O’ the Morning: 7 More Irish Heroes

5. Underrated Author

Carrie Anne Noble

This was a really hard pick as I’m not sure which authors were in need of some serious love and was wondering who I should pick. I was looking through my books read list and I settled on Carrie Anne Noble.

I first was introduced to her with The Mermaid’s Sister, getting a free pre-release copy from Netgalley. I LOVED it and began following her on Instagram. She followed me back and let me just say her instagram is sooo cute!! 

Then she saw my Saint Patrick’s Day book display I did for library and she gifted us her book The Gold-Son. I know, how sweet and thoughtful! She didn’t ask us for anything, or to post about her, she just decided to send her book to us completely free. Of course, after she gave us the book I had to read that one too!

I think her work is fantastic and she is such a sweet person. You should check her and her books out!

6. A Book that You Don’t Want People to Know You’ve Read

Masquerade by Jenna Ryan

So years ago I was checking out a library book sale and I found this book and bought it as the synopsis sounded great. Gabrielle grew up with a street gang, robbing from people like Fagen’s kids in Oliver Twist. Gabrielle, now Rielle, and her best friend Luke left that all behind-she becoming a famous fashion designer while Luke moved up to white collar crime. The Phantom, a serial killer taking out actresses, goes after Luke, the only one who knows its true identity. When Luke vanishes, Rielle teams up with Adrian De La Costa, Brazillian race car driver and Luke’s cousin, and they head to a midsummer event in a mansion on the Yorkshire coast to discover what happened to him. There are a group of really imaginative characters, and any of them could be the killer.

I loved the gothic fiction, and how it referenced Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, Charles Dickens, etc. I was telling my mom about it and when she saw the book she realized it was a Harlequin romance. That was embarrassing-but not really. I loved the book and there wasn’t really any sex or even kissing in the book-that’s why I didn’t catch it. I still love it and read it as it is a fun little novel.

I Tag:

Don’t forget to tag me back as I’d love to see what you choose!

For more books posts, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

I Wrote Mr. Darcy a Letter

So if you have been following me on Instagram you know I found Mr. Darcy’s address.

Yes, I have located Mr. Darcy!

So a few weeks ago I was bored and the idea came to me to search for Mr. Darcy in my maps app. I thought nothing would come up and that I could make a funny meme about it, something like:

 Well to my surprise it came up with an address!

Mr. Darcy

28 Longton Grove

London

SE26 6QE

UK

So I tooled around a bit on the internet to see if I could find any info on it/him and I couldn’t find anything.

I’m stumped.

I then decided to write a letter to him. I wanted to make a card, but ran out of card stock.

I could have bought more but I had to go to the post office last Thursday and wanted to mail this then-as I can only go to the post office on my lunch break.

Here is what my letter said:

Dear Mr. Darcy,

I have a Jane Austen themed blog and wanted to make a meme about there being no Mr. Darcy and I typed Mr. Darcy into Google Maps and you came up. I’m not sure if you are a real person or a business, as I couldn’t find out any information online. I decided to write you a letter and I hope you will write me back. If you choose not to, I hope that this letter will at least make you laugh or give you a good story to share with others.

Yours,

Jane Austen Runs My Life

P.S. I hope the Spider-man stationary is okay, it was the only thing I had.

I hope he writes back, and if he does I will post the reply!

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to I Met Mr Darcy

For more letter writing, go to You Were Right, Let’s Get Married: Psycho (1960)

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries