Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

So it has been a loooooooooooooooooooong time since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

I am almost a year behind in reviews, but I will do my hardest to catch up.

So quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books and need to be around others who feel the same.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I chose:

Chasing the Wind (California Rising #3) by Paula Scott

So I was first introduced to Paula Scott when I worked at our local museum. I actually got to meet the her and speak to her, and after hearing about how she researched and just listening to how she spoke about her work I decided to borrow the book from the library and read: Until the Day Breaks.

Then the second book came out and my coworker and I were discussing the series and she told me that she had really enjoyed it. A couple weeks later I was at work and realized, I had forgotten to bring a book to pass the time when we had no one visiting the museum.

I bought the Far Side of the Sea and could not put it down!

So of course I had to share the books with my book club:

So on to the third book:

The first book was the story of Protestant Rachel coming to Catholic California from the East coast, getting an arranged marriage to Roman Vasquez, befriending Roman’s sisters Maria and Isabella, and getting caught up in Bear Flag Revolt.

The second book was about Maria who gets kidnapped by Rachel’s father, raped, joins a shipping company, goes around the Americas, and ends up in the gentrifying/creating the lawful city of San Francisco. The second book is my favorite as it is an amazing story of overcoming trauma, working through past issues and insecurity, redemption, and has a powerful female character.

Chasing the Wind is the third installment and the story follows the path of Isabella Vasquez. Isabella is biracial (Native American and Russian), her mother died when she was a baby and her father, a fur trapper, brought her to Mission San Francisco Solano. There she was adopted by the Vasquez family, adopted cousin to Roman and Maria but raised as their sibling.

In the first book, she is a young girl who is one of Rachel’s first friends, spending time with her and giving her an education on the culture. With the Americans taking California, Isabella’s life is about to dramatically change. In the second book she has grown into a beautiful young woman, headed with her adopted father to the gold fields of Marysville, CA.

Marysville, for many who don’t know, was named after one of the survivors of the Donner Party and was the gateway to the gold fields. It used to be one of the largest cities in CA, a rival to San Francisco (until all the silt went into the river and made it hard for ships to pass through). You could get anything and everything you wanted in Marysville, but it was also a very hard place to live-especially for a woman-especially for a Native American woman. 

Peter Brondi is a mountain man who tamed the west with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont. He fought in the Mexican American War and against Native Americans. In fact he hates Native Americans for the horrors he witnessed and because one stole his father-he married one and had a son with her.

He’s currently searching for his half brother Paul, to bring him home and see their old and dying father. However, there is always time for cards and and he plays them winning the mining camp singer Bluebird-nickname for Isabella Vasquez.

Yes, once Isabella was the daughter of the rich Californio and now she is property-having lost her privilege and status when California changed hands.

I really enjoyed the way Paula Scott dealt with the cultural issues as there are very few books out there that cover this. We have a biracial character, raised in a completely different culture, and trying to navigate the changing culture of the state she lives in while trying to understand the identity of who she is in a world that there are hardly any like her.

Tell you what Isabella it’s almost 170 years later and it still is difficult for biracial and multicultural people.

So it doesn’t matter that Isabella is half Russian-Native American is all the world sees and how they treat her. She was educated, knows how to read and write, and speak multiple languages…but is treated like cattle. She is won by Peter, who is pressured into marrying her by a circuit preacher.

They have a night of passion-with sweet, naive, and young Isabella falling head over heels in love. The next day Peter drops her off at a brothel as he doesn’t believe they can really be married. I mean she was in a saloon and traveled the mining camps singing, there’s no way she is a classy lady-she must be a prostitute.

The brothel that she is dropped off at is still standing and now a restaurant, The Silver Dollar Saloon. We were able to meet with Paula Scott there and discuss this book along with the one she was currently working on Farming Grace: A Memoir of Life, Love, and a Harvest of Faith (which we read in September and I will review later).

Silver Dollar Saloon in Marysville, CA

When Peter left I was like this can’t be real, he’s going to march right back-but no. Isabella stays behind at the brothel earning her keep by reading to men and singing.

Poor Isabella, all she wanted was to belong to a family and then start her own. She lost hers, gained one with Peter…or so she thought. Now she has no one.

I’m so happy!

Peter leaves and Paul comes back to town. Paul falls for Isabella and every night tries to charm her more and more. Isabella is heartbroken, vulnerable, and alone.  Each night Paul breaks down more and more of her walls and she gives in to him.

But oh no…Paul leaves to get away from some card players he owes, Isabella turns out to be pregnant, she is attacked by a sadistic man, she flees to Fort Ross to search for her real father, Peter returns and discovers her “betrayal”, and Peter follows her-intent of finding her and doing right by her, but will they be able to reconcile after all that has transpired?

Tell ME!!!!!

So at first I was very angry with Peter. He left her in a brothel and then is angry because she started having sex with someone???!!! YOU LEFT HER IN A BROTHEL!!!! WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN???

But he does improve as you read. Scott created complex characters as Peter isn’t your usual hero and has to go on an emotional journey of working through envy, bitterness, prejudice, pride, iron out the issues with his father and brother in order to be a real man and a good husband.

Isabella has to go on her own journey to discover who she is, work on her abandonment issues, insecurity, forgiveness, bitterness, her own familial issues

Both are able to accomplish this by their faith and trust in God.

It was an amazing story! I highly recommend it! I LOVED it! I could not put it down as I consumed page after page in earnest to see how it would end. The characters are amazing and the story captivating.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

For more California Rising books, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties

Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious (2015)

OH NO!

It’s Back!!!

The dreaded TV show I can’t stand:

Ugh-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 went on a date with a guy and was crazily obsessing over it:

Going mad!

And they held a Girl’s Night/Mouse Killing Night:

I know…I have no clue what the writer’s were thinking.

I just…This is dumb! This is a dumb show!! Who wrote this? Who??? What were they thinking???!! Argh! Why did I ever watch this??!! NOw I have to finish!!!

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH!!!!!!

This episode is called Drive Me Crazy and Amazon says the air date is DECEMBER 30TH 1899. 1899? Did we just time travel?

Time to go back…

This show does drive me crazy, like Norman Bates crazy.

We all go a little mad sometimes.

Is that too mean? I’m not trying to be a jerk but I hate this show. I can’t believe the episodes are only 22 mins, they feel so much longer. It feels like hours of my life is being sucked away in watching this.

Ugh! Really!

Anyways here we go-ready or not.

Pass on it!

We start off with a tired Marianne making a mess in the kitchen-food is everywhere but Elinor doesn’t care.

Crazy control freak Monk level of obsession Elinor does’t care about the messy hours-OMG she’s been abducted by aliens, joined a cult, is a zombie!!!! It has to be one of those things…or love. She could be in love as that is the extremely cliche way most TV will depict “love”.

Thats not right!

Yep, Edward is meeting with her-her dream man.

With her books

Collin approaches Elinor trying to reach Lizzie as he wants to date her. Elinor tries to dissuade him, but no dice. He’s after his prey.

In the lobby of their apartment I can’t help but see a GIANT sign that says no lifeguard on duty. Like what? Even if the apartment has a pool there is no way they would have that posted in the foyer unless there is a pool in the foyer. Like that is one of the weirdest randomest things in this show.

What the heck?

Lizzie goes to see Emma and is trying to avoid Darcy as he keeps calling and texting and emailing her about houses. Darcy is a total jerk in this, telling her what to do. Ugh I hate him.

I know what I said=BELIEVE ME you would understand if you watched this show. They make him utterly terrible!!!! I hate this!!!!!!

Elinor and Edward are traveling to the country to visit with an old lady who hasn’t filed her taxes for the last few years. Like the background is weird as it ranges from lush green to dry desert. Where are they? Behind them is green, but the sides are all arid and dry. I kinda tuned out what Elinor and Edward were saying as I couldn’t stop looking at the background. I don’t know. Does it really matter?

Darcy stalks Elizabeth down the street and calls her name. He’s a jerk and buys her a hotdog when she tries to explain that she is in the middle of closing a house. UGH!!!!!

Elinor and Edward are driving for a long time and talking. Elinor tells Edward how she decided on accounting because it was a safe choice- but then they get a flat and have to pull over.

They are in lush fields and trees, where are they? What happened to the dry and arid area?

This is ELINOR!! Don’t tell me the way they have been building Elinor’s character yeah right-she’d have five spare tires!

Darcy stops being quite so jerky and admits that the house he’s looking for is a gift for a certain woman who plays piano-not mom or girlfriend. Obviously Georgiana.

Flashback to Elinor and Edward-they have to walk to the city they passed-so where were they and where were they going if they were passing through another city?

Hmmm…

Elinor goes on and on about how nice Edward is-He shares a little about his company and that his family has a company in telecommunications, interesting choice.

Hmm…

Darcy and Elizabeth make some headway but are interrupted by Collin who sits right between them on the bench to try and ask Lizzie out. How did he find her? She’s not at home? Or at work? She’s in a random park! Creepy!!

Colin creepily hits on her and tries to feel her up, but Darcy interjects and walks off with Elizabeth. It stops Collin…for now.

Flash to E& E walking and talking and being boring. Bleh-IRS, Accountant, IRS, accountant, IRS, accountant, statistics, bills, blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah, blah

I need to mop my floors. Like that is legit more interesting to me than this.

Elizabeth meets with Emma at the smoothie shop and tells her about what happened. Darcy gets a kick out of Collin asking her out and can’t stop teasing her. Darcy drops that the house is a birthday gift for a girl next month so the house needs to be picked like NOW!

Darcy offers to pay the commission earlier, but Elizabeth gets offended and angry. She becomes extremely upset and shares her feelings with Emma. I don’t think what Darcy did was that bad, I think she’s overreacting.

I’m done

What’s Marianne been up to-she’s been out of the game this whole episode except the cereal eating.

Hmmm

Elizabeth keeps talking about Darcy and how he’s being rude or is he being nice? Meh!

Marianne enters and goes on break with Elinor coming in to share what happened and how great it was with Edward although their conversations are super boring.

Elinor does offer to make him her homemade lasagna. She then shares part of her power bar that she keeps in her purse! She-Miss Always Prepared has a power bar in her bag-she’d have more stuff in her car to fix the tire.

Edward notices that she has a blister and puts a band-aid on her foot. Cute, but all I can think is her feet probably smell.

Someone is running in the park? Oh it is Darcy and Collin just happened to find him?! What? HOw? Weird.

Collin is super super creepy-like psychopath horror film creepy. Watch out Lizzie-“we are meant to be together”-he wants to be like creepy Ted in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and enslave you in his home or something.

Yay! That’s the end of the episode. Although that was a super creepy ending.

He’s watching her…

How many more will I have to watch until it is over???? Let me check…

Yay!!!! Only four more left!! Woohoo!!! I’ve been doing an episode a month but skipped September, October, and now we are in November-so if I catch up with those and the do one for December I should hopefully finish before the new year!!!

But then if I do that, what Austen TV show should I review every month? Hmm….? I guess I’ll have to think about it. All I an say is YAY!!!!! Almost done!!! Woohooo!!!

For more Austentatious, go to Call Me, Maybe: 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 Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

For more Emma, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: And Only to Deceive

So this is something I started a while back. Sometimes you want more Austen books after you have read all her books. There are variations on her stories, but you don’t always want to read the same story. You want Austen-like works, but what to read or watch?

Hmm…

That’s why I started this series. I will review books that have the things we love about the Austen novels, but in something fresher than a retelling.

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mysteries #1) by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily is a widow.

But she isn’t sad as she never loved her husband.

What?

Emily Ashton is an only daughter and all her life her mother has been plotting and planning and maneuvering, etc to get her daughter married off to a wealthy and eligible bachelor.

Emily chose Viscount Phillip Ashton for three reason:

  1. He seemed less chauvinistic than most men
  2. He appears to be someone she could live
  3. By marrying she would be free of her mother

Phillip was interested in pursuing her, was ecstatic at capturing his quarry, and not long after they married went on a big game hunt to Africa were he became sick and died.

Emily was actually happier after his death as:

  1. She didn’t really know her husband or spend time with him
  2. Was free of her mother
  3. Given freedom
  4. Has money
  5. Has large houses
  6. She had to absent from society for two years but that was okay as she didn’t really care for “society”.

Life was solitary but it wasn’t bad.

However, everything changed when her husband’s best friend came to visit after a year and a half. Mr. Colin Hargreaves came to speak to Emily about her Greek villa-all is in order, and she is free to go there anytime, just let him know and he will arrange the trip for her, Kallista.

Emily is completely surprised as her husband never said any such thing about villas and he never called her Kallista.

What?

Emily is baffled by this and even more when her butler let’s her know that he fired a footman who was digging in her late husband’s desk. She starts looking to see if anything is missing, although how would she know as she has never been in there really, and discovers a threatening note.

What the heck?

This is just the firsts in a series of instances that makes Emily realize she knew very little, if anything, about her husband. It turns out that he was an avid collector or Greek art and throughly knowledgeable of it and Greek history.

She also finds his journals and reads about his love for her (in incredibly sweet journal entries).

So cute!!

Emily’s interest is piqued and she begins reading Homer’s The Odyssey and researching into Greek art and mythology.

She discovers more things do not add up and that her husband was caught up in a fake antiquary ring. Could it be that he was duped, with all his knowledge and expertise? Or was he the ringleader?

Hmmm…

Emily cannot believe the later, as she reads her husband’s journals, she starts to fall in love with him, and remembers the wonderful and romantic gestures he would do, but took for granted at the time.

Emily isn’t sure who to trust, besides her old friend Ivy and new friend Lady Cécile du Lac. Colin Hagreaves spends a lot of time around her, and then she discovers that he has been watching her. Why? Could he be the ringleader?

Hmm…

Emily meets another friend of her late husband, Andrew Palmer. Andrew is fun, light, sarcastic, and likes to party and go out. He gives Emily a lot of attention and she enjoys it, as anyone who has been sent to the sidelines would. He is from noble stock, but no money. Could he be after her wealth, or is he really interested in her?

Colin and Andrew were both on the hunting trip with her husband, could one of them have killed him?

Hmmm

Then Emily gets a note about her husband being alive! Is he a criminal hiding out? Or was he betrayed by a friend and desperately in need?

Hmm…?

Emily sets off a plan to Africa, and will she be happy with what she finds? Or is she heading into a trap?

Hmm…

I really enjoyed this mystery as I liked that Emily was an independent woman with a strong personality and ideas about what she wanted, but at the same time she was still a woman of her times. I hate when people write historical fiction and the people are so much a product of our time. It makes zero sense.

So why would an Austen fan enjoy this? Well first of all, Lady Emily’s mother could be Mrs. Bennet. Both are soooo similar in the way they try to maneuver and manipulate their daughters into getting a good match. Both are driven by fear-Mrs. Bennet of Mr. Bennet’s death and no home or income; and Emily’s mother fears that her daughter will grow old single and childless. Emily and her mother; along with Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet-do not have a very good relationship.

The book has these wonderful journal etries of Phillip’s love and his pursuit of her.  I LOVE how we see the total love he has for her. Those scenes were to me, very reminiscent of Captain Wentworth’s letter of love-both extremely romantic.

One theme throughout the book is how we can see one view of a person and think we know them, when in reality we know nothing as to who they really are. With Emily-she believed her husband was a hunter and hunted her, she never took the time to see more of who he was, We see the same thing in Jane Austen from Marianne seeing Willoughby do a few “romantic things” to believing he had a completely different character: to Emma believing from the stories about Frank and his few letters that he was noble and true; to Elizabeth and everyone disliking Mr. Darcy and loving Wickham. All saw one side of a person and believed they knew his true character only to in the end be wrong as there was much more to this men that what was seen at first sight.

Emily, Colin, and Andrew Palmer all remind me of several Austen triangles. Emily meets Colin and at first thinks him kind and interesting, but after he tries to warn her off her investigating she becomes angry and dislikes him. Instead she gives all her attention to Andrew Palmer, a pretty party boy who has name but no cash. He flatters, imbibes, resists tradition, has fun-but isn’t an honest or upstanding man. He paints a bad picture of Colin, something Emily should be wary of as she hardly knows Andrew, while Colin and Phillip were friends since boyhood. It reminded me of Elizabeth not liking Mr. Darcy, and believing Wickham’s view of Darcy instead of Bingley.

A pretty party boy with no money-we see this in Willoughby, Wickham, and Frank Churchill. All men care about the dollars and any way to get them-and all are sarcastic, critical, full of laughs-but laughing at other’s expense.

Plus, our main character loves Jane Austen:

“Finally I [Lady Emily] happened upon a bookstall that had a ragged secondhand copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I promptly bought. Phillip, engaged in some business of some kind, did not accompany me. Back at the hotel, I showed him my purchase and settled in for a nice read. The next morning at breakfast, he presented me with a beautifully wrapped parcel containing a first edition of the book.” -pg 141

Sounds like my kind of gift!

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

For more book reviews, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

So a while back I shared my love of Matcha tea and how to make your own Matcha Latte

Well of course after Jamba Juice added their Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie to the menu, I had to buy it!

But I’m not made of money, so I had to find a way to make my favorite drink for less-so here is a way to make it at home. This recipe comes from makedrinks.org

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 Cup of Milk (your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain Sorbet
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 Cup of Ice

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend.

Sorry my picture didn’t come out nice as I would have liked it. But this smoothie is fantastic!

I’m addicted to the Matcha:

For more recipes, go to Amish Baked Oatmeal

For more Matcha Tea posts, go to Green Tea Frappuccino

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Two Sisters Tea Giveaway

For more smoothies, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper by Manuela Santoni

So we added this at the library and I was jazzed for it-Jane Austen biography? In graphic novel?

It seems like a win win to me!

But it wasn’t-I did not like it.

I’ve read several Jane Austen biographies, books and online, and I really enjoyed read Just Jane last year. I do not know everything about Jane, but I feel enough to know that this had quite a bit of historical inaccuracies it.

Hmmm

It also felt like they wanted to make her “ahead of her times” but it just feels like something we have seen before and not as if the author really was trying to show Jane, who this book is supposed to be about. Like how Nostalgia Critic words it in the Alice in Wonderland review.

It starts off with Jane sick at the end of her life writing a letter and thinking back on her life.

Hmm…

We go back to them as girls and Jane hates the piano playing:

But in reality, she enjoyed piano playing. From The Jane Austen Centre:

“Jane, studied with the respected composer and organist, William Chard well into her twenties, long after most girls would have given up their lessons. After that point, it was up to the student to progress if she wished, on her own. Jane owned a small piano at various times during her life and, when this was not an option, rented one. She played for her own enjoyment and would rise an hour before the rest of the family in order to get her practicing done.”

And Santoni has her hate doing embroidery:

But she was extremely talented at it, most likely loved it. From Jane Austen’s House Museum:

“Like all women of her time and class, Jane Austen learnt to sew in childhood and gained a life-long skill. Sewing was something she was particularly good at. In 1796 Austen wrote in a letter that she was “the neatest worker” of a group making shirts for one of her brothers. Edward Austen-Knight remembered of his aunt that “Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and might almost have put a sewing machine to shame. She was considered especially great in satin stitch.”

And I am currently reading Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge and she shares this in Day 5:

“From this description, we see that while Jane sat and worked (needlework) quietly, lines, descriptions, and plot ideas for her novels came to her in delightful bursts.”

“She [Jane Austen] could have declared needlework a boring, repetitive task and herself too intelligent for such menial jobs. Instead she appears to have spent the time in happy reflection.”

I am so sick and tired of authors being like, oh I want my historical character to be modern and powerful so she will hate embroidery. Why? Why is music revered, painting treated as a superpower, sewing something to be proud of-but embroidery is treated like dirt. Embroidery is a lot of hard work, amazing art, and takes blood, sweat, and sometimes tears to create.

Santoni gives Jane unruly curled hair that just seems to show again that she is “modern” eschewing society’s idea of how women should be.

So the story has Jane proposed to twice and she turns them both down, but in real life she only officially ever received one formal proposal, when she was 27, from Harris Bigg-Wither-but the next day refuses him.

Santoni also has Jane fall in love with Tom Lefoy, he propose, she accepts, and then turn him down as she can’t be a wife and mother but has decided to be a writer. Now there is a bit of leeway here as Cassandra Austen destroyed a lot of Jane’s letters, but she seems to ignore what history we do know.

Thats not right!

It even says at the end of the book “many suitors asked for my hand…” I found this hard to believe as there is no historical proof to confirm this, along with the fact that she had no dowry and very little to entice someone to marriage. I felt like did Santoni do any research? She says she is a Jane Austen fan, but it seems she was making up her own story and characters.

Yeah, not as good as Just Jane

For more Jane Austen biographies, go to Just Jane

For more Jane Austen inspired books, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Jane Austen inspired work, go to Northanger Soapworks Review

I Won the Two Sisters Tea Giveaway

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about free things.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

So I just cannot resist a giveaway-anytime I see one I have to enter it.

I can’t stop myself.

So a while back I entered the Two Sisters Tea and Tea and Me giveaway. I received my tea at the beginning of October, but because I was in the midst of Horrorfest VIII I didn’t get a chance to review it.

I won one bag of tea and had my choices of Original Hibiscus Iced Tea, Hibiscus Iced Tea with Cardamom, Hibiscus Iced Tea with Cinnamon, and Hibiscus Iced Tea with Dried Pineapple. You know me and making decisions…

Which way…?

So I told them to send whichever, and I waited for it to arrive.

I received the Original Hibiscus Iced Tea which contains 3 family sized teabags of whole hibiscus flowers, each makes 80 fl oz./2.3 liters.

The Two Sisters of Two Sisters Tea are Jennifer Michelle and Claudia Maria. The sisters grew up drinking Rosa de Jamaica, or Jamaican Rose, tea in Guatemala. After moving to America, it was hard getting it, so the two created their own company to share the amazing health benefits of Jamaican Rose Iced Tea and bring it into every home.

So when I opened the iced tea, there were these giant tea bags. I felt a little unsure how much to do, but on the back of the package it gives clear directions on how much water and sugar are needed.

And then I made it and just had to wait…

It was pretty good, not what I usually drink, but I enjoyed it. It was extremely refreshing as well.

A friend of mine saw it and loves hibiscus tea so I sent some off with her and she loved it as well.

My friend is actually Elizabeth.

So if Hibiscus Iced Tea is your thing, you should definitely check them out!

For more giveaways, go to I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Green Tea Frappuccino

For more on the Tea and Me blog, go to I Tried Tea & Me’s Tea Infused Facial Cubes

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes better together than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with the teas I won in the Regency Marketplace Giveaway. Since that went so well, I think it will just be my new thing. After all:

 

Original Hibiscus Iced Tea

So something set in Latin America, involving sisters-the first book that popped in my head and stayed in it was:

In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

I first came upon on this book when I read How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and Before We Were Free; both part of a recommended reading list. I enjoyed Alvarez’s style of writing and was intrigued by her account of living under the dictatorship Rafael Trujillo-something that she experienced along with having her father be a part of the resistance movement. At the time I was reading it I knew extremely little about this time in history-but her words hooked me and caused me to research about it.

I must find out more.

Out of all the books, the story In the Time of Butterflies was the one that really stuck with me. It tells a fictional account of the four Mirabal Sisters, known as Las Mariposas (Butterflies)-Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Dedé- who take a stand against their dictator and fought to save their country and their people.

“We cannot allow our children to grow up in this corrupt and tyrannical regime. We have to fight against it, and I am willing to give up everything, even my life if necessary.” -Patria Mirabal

Alvarez took an already amazing story and brought the sisters and their bravery, freedom, and all they did and stood for back to life again.

I recommend reading it with a glass of Two Sisters Tea Rosa de Jamaica.

 

Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

So Horrorfest started I couldn’t tell you exactly when. I’ve always been a fan of horror, thriller, suspense, mystery, film-noir, etc. I would watch them all the time, but every day in October.

When I went to college, I continued and my roommates were thrown into my 31 Days of Horror films celebration.

Who knows?!

So when I started blogging in 2012 I decided to include it and officially create “Horrorfest”-blogging about a film every day. That way it would save my friends/roommates from something they weren’t as interested in.

Yay!!!

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories. Every year I have enjoyed doing it although sometimes I have fallen behind because of life getting in the way. Usually I have the posts written, like this year I had all 31 done extremely early-the best I have ever been, it is just the editing that slowed me down. If you have someone willing to edit your work-give them a lot of love, because it takes a LOT of time to do.

So last year I received quite a few comments questioning Horrorfest as it has nothing to do with Jane Austen. They felt that there was no reason to do it and didn’t want me to continue.

Hmmm

Well, they are right it does have nothing to do with Jane Austen.

Even though Horrorfest doesn’t really have anything to do with Jane Austen, I have tried to input anything Jane Austen related-I’ve reviewed Death Comes to PemberleyDeath by Persuasion-or things with Austen actors in it like Ruby in the Smoke and Dead Again. I’ve even reviewed some films that while not Jane Austen-are films that Austen fans will love.

But even if I don’t review something Jane Austen, I think its okay to include Horrorfest as there is one character who would love this:

Yep the Regency spooky girl:

So for this year’s review: how I do Horrorfest VIII is that I watch whatever, and review it. I mean I usually plan the first and last film-and of course I planned The Planet of the Apes series review after someone donated the set to the library-yet it always amazes me how many match up themewise.

This year we had gothic films with the Horror of Dracula and Rebecca.

We also had a multicultural Horrorfest VIII as my Jane Austen profile pic was inspired from my Mexican culture, we had Horror of Dracula from England, High Seas AKA Alta Mar from Spain, Spirited Away from Japan, and Strong Woman Bong Soon from Korea.

We had dystopian futures with Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, and The Running Man.

We had Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans with Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soon.

We had superheroes with Batman, Strong Woman Bong Soon, and Unbreakable. 

Ghosts with The Fog, R.I.P.D., Spirited Away, and 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

And apes with the Planet of the Apes series and King Kong.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade of 1930s-2010s
  • Doubledose of Alfred Hitchcock with Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Rebecca
  • Animated Film with Spirited Away, 
  • Disney with Spirited Away, 
  • Doubledose of Lifetime with Death of a Cheerleader and Psycho Mother-in-Law,
  • Stephen King with The Running Man
  • Tim Burton with Batman
  • Vincent Price with 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo

The full list of films, TV episodes, and video game reviewed for Horrorfest VIII:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

King Kong (1933)

Rebecca (1940)

Lamb to the Slaughter” from Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1958)

Horror of Dracula (1958)

The Notorious Landlady (1962)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for Planet of the Apes (1973)

Logan’s Run (1976)

The Fog (1980)

Dark Crystal (1982)

To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before” from 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

The Running Man (1987)

Batman (1989)

Dead Again (1991)

Leprechaun (1993)

Death of a Cheerleader (1994)

“The Puppet Show” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

Unbreakable (2000)

Spirited Away (2001)

The Stepfather (2009)

The Last Christmas: Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

R.I.P.D. (2013)

Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders (2017)

Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Veil of Secrets (2018)

High Seas (2019)

Psycho Mother-in-Law (2019)