Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018)

So in 2018 I was gifted the book, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. I decided to wait and read it last year, 2019, and watch & review the film. I read it and hated it.

I planned to watch the film, but to be honest after that mess of a book I wasn’t too eager. The characters were horrible and mean, Darcy and Luke (Elizabeth) hardly even speak to each other…after reading this, I felt like a real Scrooge and had zero Christmas spirit.

Thank goodness for Yuletide, or my Christmas would have been dreadful.

So I skipped watching the film and kind of forgot about it until July. July is my blogiversary, and on Instagram I ask different Jane Austen related questions and post the results. I asked who was the worst Darcy on Instagram and this was one of them picked, the person said:

“OMG this was the worst film. This film and character had no relevance to Pride and Prejudice.”

So the film starts with Darcy Fitzwilliam (Lacey Chabert) giving a Christmas gift to her street coffee barista and they talk. She is excited t hear that his son got into Stanford and she wants to help invest his money. After watching that scene I was in shock.

Who is this person? She’s kind and caring…waaaaay different from the Darcy in the book.

Then we se her with her clients, kind and caring. She is going to help her mother with the Pemberly auction She’s helping her mom plan that and is actually excited about it and Christmas.

Who are you?

In the book she didn’t get along with her parent (father disowned her when she wouldn’t marry his choice) and only returned home because of a her mother having a heart attack. It’s nice to see this being a Christmas film, and Darcy is much more interesting instead of the book already.

Hmm…

So Darcy started the firm with Austin, and I wouldn’t trust her sounds to me like she is going to edge her out of the company.

So Darcy is coming home and her ex, Carl is going to be there. In this they had an amicable split and broke up a month ago. They sent Carl to pick her up as he still works fopr the company. Seems weird to me, why not call a car or get a taxi. But I think that they are trying to put them together.

Darcy’s parents.

So Darcy’s character is way better in this, not at all like the jerk in the book. In the book she just played with Carl’s feelings.

We then flash to Luke Bennet (Brendan Penny), a cook and caterer (in the book he was a handyman). Mrs. Fitzwilliam had to take over the Pemberley auction, and hires Luke as the caterer. Mom is really nice too, everyone seemed so mean in the Fitzwilliam household in the book. Much better in the film. I mean Darcy seems really close to her family, she has only mmissd two Christmases and saw her mom last month. In the book they hardly ever spend time together. This was a fun change.

Good job!

So they are going to auction off designer Christmas trees to help fund a children’s home and all are in a flutter because the previous person dropped out and they only have a few days until the event. Stress mode in overload.

Darcy’s friend Caylee (gender swap Charles Bingley) comes over for them to go out to dinner. Caylee’s new guy is Jim Bennet, who Darcy recognizes his name from his brother Luke Bennet who she used to fight with all the time. Jim Bennet is so sweet, and he is a great Jane.

They go out and Darcy and Luke run into each other. Luke is nice, but Darcy is a bit rude taking every compliment as an insult.

So Darcy and her dad have a great relationship, I actually see this as being similar to how Darcy and his father would be.

So back to the film, Luke is the caterer and both are surprised, oh Hallmark.

I like Luke. He comes to the house with a plan for the auction and some ideas, although Darcy is mad as she had a mapped out plan, but her mom likes Luke’s better. Luke is a bit of a jerk about the theme, seriously dude you already won, calm down.

So of course Darcy and Luke end up spending a lot of time together planning everything for the auction. They go out and pick up donations, meeting a lady who is also an interior decorator, they should totally hire her. But don’t? Maybe later? Weird of them to drop that and not follow through.

Hmm…

Carl, Darcy’s ex, sees Darcy and Luke laughing together, gets upset and sidetracks the conversation. Guys do their measuring up thing we always see, the most realistic part of any Hallmark movie.

So Darcy’s partner is trying to take over. She schedules all these partners meetings without Darcy-ha ha I thought so. Her father is very supportive and there for her, but Darcy is taken it all on her own.

Darcy goes out to the White Elephant party where Darcy unwraps an apron “I’ll Bake it, Yule eat it”. Hmm…Luke’s a caterer, I wonder when that will come into play?

Hmm…from Saboteur

Darcy talks to Luke and looks sad and tired, Luke offers to listen, and it is all very sweet. This is a much better plot than the book already. It doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with Pride and Prejudice, but at least it is more enjoyable than the book was.

Hmm…I’m starting to enjoy this.

Luke is going to take the trash out and Darcy runs into him, both under mistletoe.

Luke wants to kiss her, but Darcy declines.

Not okay.

Darcy’s brother Parker comes with a girl, fiance? Girlfriend? Wife? He’s a doctor and she is pregnant. This scene is cute as we see Darcy’s relationship with her brother, I’m glad as in the book she had like four brothers but no interaction with them.

So the auction is in peril again when the tree designer drops out. Mom calls Luke to pick the trees up and Darcy is mad because she was going to pick them up herself, girl have you ever carried a large Christmas tree? They heavy.

Darcy is upset with Luke but I think it is because she feels so out of control with what’s going on with work but it just comes off as rude. She tries to carry a tree by herself and knocks over several in lot. Oops.

From Clueless

We actually get good development between Darcy and Luke as she shares how she has so much to prove, feels so judged, that no one would think of her as serious at her father’s company etc.

Back at Darcy’s work they tell her they are keeping their decision of only expensive premiums in order to invest and Darcy can stay with that or leave the company. Way harsh.

Darcy goes to pick someting up, and sees the shop agin with the decorator and hires her and they pick up the supplies, calling Luke. Aw, Luke and Darcy are cute together. He invites Darcy to carol with him at Pemberley Square.

So something has to happen to waylay this little train. Is she going to insult him when she asks him out? Skip the ball, to go back to work? Get back with Carl?

Hmm…

They go caroling together with Darcy’s family. Darcy and Luke talk, sharing that his dad gave him his love and they were supposed to open a restaurant together, but he died before. So now he is continuing the dream with him.

From The Wolf Man (1941)

Caylee spots the two under the mistletoe, again. It is nice to see that mistletoe wasn’t just a cheeky title, but comes up multiple times. Darcy tells him he is every ounce who his dad is and kisses him. Aw!

How sweet!

That night they plan to decorate the tree and invite Luke to stay with them for the tree trimming. Darcy puts the tree topper on with help from Luke, aww.

How sweet!

I’m actually surprised they have such a little slender tree. They have a ton of money, you think they would have something spectacular.

Anyways, Darcy gets called away by her assistant, as Austin is poaching clients and trying to push her out. Darcy is down why as she rejects that she trusted them and Luke tells her it’s okay to put your trust in people. Awwww! So cute! They adorable.

Darcy and Luke go to the youth center and see all the good the charity ball gives. They even have a youth choir-oh they should totally sing at the event like in The Bishop’s Wife.

Luke after seeing the youth center decides to not collect a fee, just to pay for staff and food all else goes to the auction. What a nice guy. Too bad these Hallmark men don’t exist in real life. Darcy comes up with a new name for Luke’s restaurant, Luke’s Table. Meh. Luke’s sounds better, but maybe they can’t because of copyright infringement.

Hmm…

So George, his lady, Darcy, Luke, Mom, Dad, Carl, and Charlotte all work together to get everything finished in time. Everyone reaches out to Darcy, even Carl, but she doesn’t tell anyone what is going on. She should really talk to someone, like her dad.

Speaking of which, that night Darcy and her dad share a moment over Luke’s pie. Her dad again tries to encourage her to talk.

The next day Darcy comes to help Luke and he is the only one working on it, he doesn’t have any staff? They are so cute together and look Darcy is wearing the apron she won.

How sweet!

The two have a much better relationship than in the book and I can believe that they are falling in love.

Caylee tries to encourage Darcy to continue things with Luke, but Darcy is like nah-she doesn’t think Luke is interested.

It’s super obvious!

Caylee also encourages Darcy, like her father did, that maybe she needs a new job and location.

The staff are unable to come to the event, so they end up filling in and having the kids serve, and of course sing, I knew that one too. That night Darcy and Luke are cute together, they each compliment each other and are no longer arguing with each other.

Darcy is trying to reach one of her clients and he shows up to the event. He tells her integrity matters more than anything else and he will stay with her as his investor wherever she goes. Darcy can finally relax and focus on the event.

Darcy is dancing with Luke and about to tell him how she feels, when she is interrupted by Carl. He shares his feelings and bows out. Okay, so no big fight to separate Darcy and Luke?

Hmmm…

Luke sees them and thinks they are back together. Ugh, they went the misunderstanding/eavesdropping mode.

It’s super obvious!

Darcy decides to quit the company she created, as they don’t want her either and talks to her father about coming on board with his company. Darcy then goes to look for Luke but can’t find him. She runs into Caylee who tells her Luke thinks she is with her ex. Darcy searches for Luke but can’t find him, neither can Caylee and Jim.

That’s not good.

She runs outside, and it turns out he didn’t leave but was talking to a future client. They end the film under the mistletoe, Luke knows what it means and Darcy kisses him for real.

So was this better than the book?

Yes, this was a thousand million times better. That book was a solid mess, but this was an actual cute Christmas movie with solid development between the leads. You liked the characters in this, while in the book I hated everyone.

Was this a good Christmas movie?

This was a cute Hallmark film. I mean you know what is going to happen, you know the story-but it wasn’t bad. The characters had good chemistry, it was funny, there are a few places that are a tad cheesy or too predictable, but if you are looking for a sweet, reliable Christmas film this is a good one to watch.

Was this a good Pride and Prejudice film?

NO. While this was better than the book and a cute Christmas film, it is not a good Christmas Pride and Prejudice film. This has nothing to do with the plot of Pride and Prejudice, the characters resemble very little to the Austen characters, along with the plot. If you want a good holiday Jane Austen film The 12 Men of Christmas or Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade would be a better choice.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy Card Game: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

For more Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more Pride and Prejudice variations, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Jane Austen variations, go to Hart of Dixie’s Jane Austen Scene

Mug o’ Tea Treats Christmas Gift

Christmas is coming!

And I don’t know about you all, but I’m trying to finish my shopping as early as I can. And I thought I would share this fun little gift with you all. Every year my coworkers and I exchange Christmas gifts and every year I try to do something different. I’ve made cookies, ornaments, did chocolate chip cookie mix in a mason jar, sugar cookie mix in a mason jar paired with cookie cutters, etc. Last year I did the sugar cookie mix in a jar when on pinterest an image popped up this idea for “Mason Jar Tea Time”  from Thirsty for Tea. I really liked the concept of having the teabags, honey, scones, jam, etc. all in a jar with a cute ribbon, and I pinned it to my pinterest board for next year.

“Next year” rolled around and I still liked the idea, but with COVID-19, the homemade scones had to go.

I also found these mugs at the 99¢ store and thought they were so cute, I purchased all they had and decided to use them instead of the mason jars.

That’s Yuletide in the background.

I put in each mug:

  • Honey sticks (16¢ each)
  • 3 Teabags (I purchased Bigelow Assorted Herbal/Tisane Teas for $3 [about 17¢ each] along with some Stash teas at 21¢ each)
  • Lorna Doones (I bought these to replace the homemade scones and they were 50¢ each)

So the total for these little gifts ranged from $2.16-$2.28. You of course can do exactly what I did or add more tea, honey, tea treats, or even an infuser if you want. It’s a very easy and cute gift to give and as everything is individually wrapped or can be washed, it is perfectly safe for COVID-19.

For more tea posts, go to Countdown to Christmas: Tea Advent Calendar Swap 2019

For more Christmas posts, go to Holiday Mix Tape

Countdown to Christmas: Tea Advent Calendar Swap 2019

So last year on Instagram I saw that @TeaisforTravel was starting an Advent Calendar Tea Swap. When I first saw it I was extremely interested and totally wanted to join:

But then I thought about it…a few years ago I did a book swap and sent my books off to the people I was assigned and was supposed to receive some, but I never did. I decided to skip it as I didn’t really want to get involved in something, have my hopes up, and then have nothing arrive.

Not okay.

Then I saw @teaandme blog was going to do it, and it looked like so much fun…plus I had almost 25 teas I just needed a few more…I figured aw, why not?!

So I signed up to do it. But then I was like how do I make an advent calendar? Whenever we did an Advent Calendar/Christmas countdown growing up, we always did paper chains. I never had one that had things in it. Thank goodness for the internet-I googled and searched pinterest to try and find some ideas.

So the concept I really wanted to do, didn’t work with mailing it to my person. I had a few ideas but I needed to finish it up between all the other holiday things I needed to do + get it out in the mail before December 1st, so I ended up doing a very simple envelope style.

I actually had so much fun making my advent calendar I didn’t even care if I ended up not getting one. With mine I chose certain teas for certain days and every pod had a tea and a letter about why I picked it to be a part of the calendar or to be had on a certain day.

I can’t remember what I wrote for everything, just a few-but I do remember the teas I used. They were:

December 1st-Lifestyle Awareness Serene Slumber Soothing Lavender: As Sunday was the first day of Advent I chose a “purple” tea (I did for every Sunday of Advent). Purple is a symbol of Advent as in ancient times purple was extremely expensive and used for royalty. As Advent is awaiting the “coming of the King”, its color became purple as well. The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope and the first candle lit is the “prophecy candle” in remembrance of the prophets, such as Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ.  I also wanted to start off with a soothing tea as Christmas can be super stressful for people.

December 2nd-Stash Earl Grey

December 3rd-Tiesta Tea Maui Mango

December 4th- Lipton Black Tea

December 5th- Stash Chai Spice

December 6th- Tiesta Tea Fruity Pebbles

December 7th- Good Earth Sweet & Spicy

December 8th- Stash Wild Raspberry Hibiscus: The second Sunday of Advent is also a purple candle and represents faith. This one is called the Bethlehem candle and is a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.

December 9th- Sencha Naturals Organic Matcha: Just in case I included in my letter how to make a matcha latte.

December 10th- Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea

December 11th- Stash Premium Green Tea

December 12th- Oliver Pluff & Company Jasmine Green Tea: I had won this tea in a giveaway from Regency Marketplace

December 13th- Panera Ginger Peach Tea: Our library hosted a parent event every month. Right before I put the advent calendar together, they canceled their meeting but forgot to cancel their order at Panera. So we enjoyed a bunch of breakfast sweets, coffee, and tea.

December 14th- Stash English Breakfast Tea

December 15th- Tiesta Tea Nutty Almond Tea: This sunday of Advent you use the pink candle, so I chose a tea that is pink after it steeps. This candle symbolizes joy and is the Shepherd’s candle-representing the joy they and the world had with the birth of Christ.

December 16th- Twinings Earl Grey: December 16th is Jane Austen’s birthday so I chose a Tea that Jane Austen would have had. In one of her letters she wrote she purchased Twinings tea, because it was unadulterated -unlike other tea that was blended with anything.

December 17th- Tiesta Tea Royal Breakfast

December 18th- Stash Chamomile: Being halfway through the month I thought it was a good time to have some more relaxing tea.

December 19th- Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe Octavia Tea Company Earl GreyI love this place and wish it wasn’t an hour away but in my city.

December 20th- Stash Peppermint

December 21st- Bigelow Pomegranate Pizazz

December 22nd- Tiesta Tea Lavender Chamomile: This is the last Sunday of Advent. This candle represents peace and is called the “Angel’s Candle”. I thought it was perfect for today as this close to Christmas chamomile is perfect to give one peace as they finish any last minute anything they need to do.

December 23rd- Stash Lemon Ginger: December 23rd is my sister’s birthday and she loves Lemon Ginger Tea.

December 24th- Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea: When I was a kid I had such a hard time trying to sleep on the night before Christmas as I would be too wired. My mom used to always have us drink Sleepytime Tea to ehlp us sleep, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t-but I still drink it every December 24th.

December 25th- Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey: When I think of Christmas I of course think of A Christmas Carol and so what would be better than Victorian Earl Grey? 

In fact I had so much fun making this, that I ended up creating and sending one to my niece as part of her Christmas gift.

So it turned out that the person who was making my Advent calender was @TeaisforTravel, the creator of the swap. I tried to use a different cup each day and have the pictures be different or about what I was doing that day. Some days I combined it with my 25 Days of Christmas Movies or with my reading Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane AustenNow I like different types of tea, but I tend to only buy/drink one: Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey.

So it was nice trying out different teas, some of them being ones I had never heard of before. And while I may not have loved all of them, I loved having this experience of trying all these different teas.

So I am sharing the pics I really liked/thought turned out great. If interested in seeing all of them, just head over to my instagram @janeaustenrunsmylife

December 1st- Old Barrel Tea LavenderberryThis was a very delicious tea that made me think of relaxing in a field of flowers.

December 2nd- Tazo Prickly Pear Cactus TeaPraying With Jane. This tea was beyond good. I gave one of the tea bags to my niece who also loved it.

December 3rd- David’s Tea Seaberry SpaThis was a fruity and relaxing tea. I gave this to my niece to try and she LOVED it.

December 4th-Good Earth Rosa de Jamaica: This was my first time having Rosa de Jamaica hot as I had only ever had it as a cold brew and I really enjoyed it.

December 5th- Encore Chocolate & Tea Candy AppleThis tea wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t for me. I gave this to my niece who loved it.

December 6th- Whittard Earl Grey– I loved this tea and drank it while reading my Book Club’s Pick monthly pick, Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale.

December 7th- Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Earl Grey: I’d never had this tea before but I was surprised how much I enjoyed this variation on my favorite type of tea.

December 8th- David’s Tea Nutty & Spice

December 9th- Teatime Scottsdale Royal TeaA very sweet tea that is in no need of sugar.

December 10th- Stash Chai SpiceIs it really winter if you haven’t had a cup of Chai tea? A delicious tea for a cold winter’s day.

December 11th- Teatopia Yellow Mudan Praying with Jane: This was a tea I had never heard of but it was really good.

December 12th- Bigelow Lean and Fit Citrus Oolong Tea: I was so tired I needed to drink a whole pint.

December 13th- Artful Tea Purple Lychee: This was a Friday the 13th so of course I needed to wear my Ghostbusters T-Shirt, use my Ghostbusters mug, eat pizza, and watch horror films. This Purple Lychee was really good as I am not a big fan of lychee but enjoyed this.

December 14- Whittard English Breakfast: I’m really picky about my English Breakfast, but LOVED this tea. I also really love cats and Audrey Hepburn movies (if you couldn’t tell lol).

December 15th- Nobilitea Pina Power: I didn’t think I would like this as I don’t care for pineapple, but I enjoyed it. I also gave this to my niece.

December 16th- Nobilitea Prima Donna: This was a nice tea, but not for me. I also gave this one away to a friend. I paired this with my viewing of Star Wars: A New Hope as part of my 25 Days of Christmas. I know most will say it isn’t a Christmas film, but my family watches it every year at Christmastime.

December 17th- Steepologie Sour Patch TeaThis tea surprised me as it was better than I thought it would be. This day we decorated our family Christmas tree, our family tradition is to have an ornament that represents important events that occurred in the year.

December 18th- Buyulu Bohca Green Tea with Jasmine FlowersI drank this to relax after wrapping gifts.

December 19th- Nobilitea Regal PlumDrank this while wrapping more Christmas gifts.

December 20th- Crafted Leaf Teas Golden Tip Lapsang Souchong: I LOVED this tea so much that I ended up buying my own bag. It is so good and worth every penny of the price.

December 21st- Steep by Bigelow Organic Oolong and Jasmine Green Tea: A delicious tea and perfect for starting off a day in which one has a lot to do.

December 22nd- Nobilitea Cinnamon Blondie Praying with Jane: I really loved this tea as it smelled and tasted like Christmas, just like gingerbread cookies.

December 23rd- David’s Tea Lemon SmashThis tea was perfect for today as it was my sister’s birthday and she loves anything lemon. This tea was delicious and we both had a cup.

December 24th- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Holiday Mix TapeI loved this tea and drank it as I edited my review of Holiday Mix Tape, a modern Christmas Persuasion.

December 25th- Nobilitea Banana Pancakes: I wasn’t sure if I would like this as banana flavored things aren’t really my thing, but I really enjoyed it.

This was so much fun, that I was excited to do it again this year. I wasn’t sure if @teaisfortravel was going to do it again (with COVID19), so this year I put together a tea swap with some friends and family members.

If you are interested in doing it, contact her or try to do it with your friends or family. It is a lot of fun and a great way to stop and take some moments to relax during the holiday season.

For more tea posts, go to The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

For more Christmas posts, go to Holiday Mix Tape

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories Audiobook

YULETIDE: A Jane Austen-inspired Collection of Stories

So I had planned to review the film version of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe but after reading the book, I really was in a bah humbug mood, and needed something to lift my spirits.

I had Holiday Mix Tape, which I will be reviewing soon, but I was in the mood for Pride and Prejudice and Holiday Mix Tape is a modern adaption of Persuasion. Too bad no Jane Austen film adaptions don’t show more of Christmas, or I could include them in my watching a Christmas film every day.

Aw, man!

But then, I realized-I had the next best thing! The YULETIDE audiobook narrated by Harry Frost, and edited by Christina Boyd.

Christina Boyd has worked with several writers to create many different Jane Austen anthologies. The first I read was 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. These 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! 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. This book was a lot of fun as we got a chance to see things from the bad boys point of view.

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. Each story was on a different woman of Jane Austen novels-our heroines along with supporting characters and a few bad girls.

So the book was published last November, and this year they came out with the Audiobook.

So audiobooks, I like but my problem is that the people read too slow. I get into the story and then I need to find out what happens NOW…so I usually get the book and read it, and stop listening to the audiobook. That did not happen with this one. Harry Frost is amazing! I could listen to him over and over again, and while I am writing this I am on my third go round with this book.

Or in this case Audiobook, and I could never hate it.

Harry Frost is a marvel at doing the different tones of voice and accents of the different characters. This book has Regency and Modern Darcys and even though both are done in a British accent, there is a big difference between the two.

He also does an amazing job at the female voices by giving them a higher tone, but not doing that thing most narrators do when they make the ladies talk really high pitch, you know a voice that sounds so unrealistic and annoying. Instead, he changed his tone so you knew it was a woman speaking and not in an annoying way. And with each character he made subtle changes so not all sounded the same.

I love it!

He also did a great job with the American accents, especially the one when Mr. Collins sounds like a total bonehead (many of you are thinking which one doesn’t he sound like that in everything?), and his voice was spot on what I would have imagined he sounded like.

And listening to him didn’t make me want to leave the audiobook and get the book to read. When Harry Frost narrated he wasn’t just reading it, he really put in emotion and captured the spirit of the characters and the stories that it was all together a fantastic experience. How fantastic my you ask? Well, I’m on my third listen…listen through? I don’t know what the term for it would be but every time I finish the audiobook I just start it back from the beginning.

Audiobook

So Harry Frost is amazing, now that we have talked about him it is time to talk about the stories themselves. I LOVED ALL OF THEM!

Like when I said that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe made me lose my Christmas spirit and put me in a Scrooge mood-I’m dead serious. It is an awful book, that made me feel awful.

These stories, they were perfect! They fulfilled my need for Jane Austen Christmas!!! They filled me with Christmas joy! They were exactly what I needed to help get me in the Christmas mood after reading Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. Listening to them brought back my Christmas spirit faster than the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

They were so enjoyable, they made me think of that song from Jack Frost:

“It’s just what I always wanted, it’s perfectly right! It’s just what I always wanted, a Christmas delight!!”

This book

So usually I save the praise after I’ve gone over each story, but I don’t know I felt like doing it first. I mean I have said I keep listening to it over and over again, so I don’t think anyone was in suspense whether I thought this was good or not. But each writer deserves their due, so we need to go through the individual stories.

The Forfeit by Caitlin Williams

So this is my favorite of all the stories. It made me laugh, it had me in suspense, it made my heart go all fuzzy in feelings.

I love it!

This is a Regency story and takes place in Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Charlotte is engaged to Mr. Collins, and the Bennets are getting ready for the holidays-even though not everyone in the family is happy (Jane brokenhearted, Mrs. Bennet angry at Elizabeth, and Elizabeth upset at Darcy). Elizabeth is walking home after visiting Charlotte and runs into Mr. Darcy!

He came for some business but oh no, his carriage is stuck in the snow, a storm is coming, and he’s stuck at the Bennet’s home for Christmas. Will this be a Christmas to remember? Or the worst Christmas of their lives?

It was great, as I said already it was my favorite. The story was fantastic, the language and the writing amazing, I loved this line “their elbows bumping as frequently as their intellect…” Oh and the story-not only do we have Darcy trapped in the Bennet home, but oh-no then Wickham comes on the scene, and Elizabeth and Darcy make a bet, and they plan a Christmas scavenger hunt, and oh I loved it. I would talk about it more but I’m afraid I’ll give away the ending.

Oops! Wrong book!

For more by Caitlin Williams, go to “In Good Hands” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

And Evermore Be Merry by Joanna Starnes

This is also a Regency story told from the point of view of Georgiana Darcy. It has been a few years since the end of Pride and Prejudice with Georgiana having been married and visiting Pemberley for Christmas.

This is a cute story that starts in the present festivities, Pemberley filled with family again and children laughing, but then takes us back in time as Georgiana remembers the Christmas when Darcy and Elizabeth fought over who she wanted to marry. That moment that did start with fighting, was also a great lesson to Georgiana on love, marriage, forgiveness, and family.

I loved seeing the events from her point of view and it was a cute tale that showed the bonds that formed between this family.

For more by Joana Starnes, go to “Charlotte’s Comfort” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

The Wishing Ball by Amy D’Orazio

This is a modern Pride and Prejudice tale, set in 2014, with Mr. Darcy in New York with Georgiana. She gave him a christmas gift, a wishing ball ornament that you place a wish in when you hang it on the tree. In a Twilight Zone-esque twist the ornament has his initials on it and a wish inside-even though Georgiana didn’t get it monogrammed and it was sealed.

Spooky…

The strangeness of the evening, doesn’t end there as that night insomniac Darcy goes on facebook to kill time and sees that even though he hasn’t been on facebook since he joined everything is different! He’s married, has children, and when he looks at the most recent date it says 2018!

In a reverse Christmas Eve Darcy sees what his life could be like, but after the night ends will it be enough to change his ways, or will he continue on the path he is on?

I LOVED it, it totally appealed to my love of Twilight Zone-esque plots and kept me on the edge of my seat! What was going to happen next?!

For more by Amy D’Orazio, go to “Happiness in Marriage” from Rational Creatures: Elizabeth Bennet & Charlotte Lucas

By a Lady by Lona Manning

This takes place in the Regency Era, a few years after Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy have a little boy and a baby girl, and are headed to spend Christmas with Lady Catherine.

She still doesn’t like Elizabeth, but likes the children so that’s what mended fences between them. This trip Elizabeth is on a mission as she wants to befriend Anne. She takes with her as many books as she can possibly fit in the carriage, hoping they can be a great conversation starter…hopefully?

This was such a cute story as Anne does open up about her secret hobby of writing and Elizabeth tries to help her secretly get published. But will anyone be interested in the story? Will Lady Catherine discover the truth?

So heart melting! We need more Anne stories anyway, I really liked the way many of the authors portrayed her in The Darcy Monologues and she definitely deserves more attention.

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Art of Pleasing” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

Homespun for the Holidays by J. Marie Croft

Mr. Darcy was in America for business and is stopping by a shop called Homespun to get the jumper, sweater, that his sister wants for Christmas. He is in an extremely bad mood, made even blacker when he gets there and discovers that the sweater he asked to be held for him was purchased by someone else.

He throws a bit of a fit, I love all the English slang in this although I wasn’t always 100% sure what he was saying, but after talking to Elizabeth he calms down and apologizes. Unfortunately, to make things even worse-a giant storm stops him from being able to leave, there’s no room for him at the local inn, and he has to stay on a loft in the barn.

Yes, he joins the Bennet family for dinner and her cousins keep thinking he’s Jesus, lol (not in a sacrilegious way, but a way that kid’s make connections). This is the one that has the serious bonehead Mr. Collins, but is a story of bad first impressions and trying to set them right again. A hilarious and fun tale, I particularly love Elizabeth’s retorts, oooh Mr. Darcy…

For more by Lona Maning, go to “The Simple Things” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

The Season for Friendly Meetings by Anngela Schroeder

This story takes place in the Regency era and takes place in the same time as the first story-the Christmas after Mr. Bingley came and left. Mrs. Bennet is unhappy and when an opportunity comes for Jane and Elizabeth to visit York and be in the presence of eligible young men-she sends them off to stay with the Longs, Mrs. Bennet’s sister.

There the girls attend a ball and their cousins hear some not so happy things about Mr. Wickham. She also meets Colonel Fitzwilliam, who talks to her and starts to raise some serious questions about the truth of Wickham.

If that’s not enough Darcy and Bingley are headed to the same party! Whoo, it’s going to be some type of party!

This was another cute story and it brought up a lot of points that Elizabeth and we overlook in Wickham when we first meet him as we are still smarting from Darcy’s remark about being “tolerable”. I loved it! Plus Colonel Fitzwilliam as a matchmaker?

For more by Anngela Schroeder, go to “Knightley Discourses” from Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

Mistletoe Mismanagement by Elizabeth Adams

Darcy and Elizabeth have only been married a month and are having Christmas with the Fitzwilliam family. Colonel, his older brother, along with his mother and father are all attending.

Along with them we have a Miss Wheeler and two Miss Becheems. Colonel Fitzwilliam is interested in Miss Wheeler, and Elizabeth is trying to help him and her get together.

But that has to take a backseat to some other Christmas shenanigans, as Captain Watson comes interested in Colonel Fitzwilliam’s brother’s wife and they have another guest who the Earl is trying to swing with.

They don’t want that happening in their home, and the evening becomes an unhappy game of musical chairs to outwit these couples.

For more by Elizabeth Adams, go to “An Unnatural Beginning” from Rational Creatures: Anne Elliot, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Clay, & Louisa Musgrove

I LOVED this and it is going to become a yearly tradition for me. And if that isn’t enough to get you interested, all proceeds from buying the book go to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor house of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

This has been the best Christmas gift so far!

At first I was sad that I didn’t get this review out when I wanted to, but then I realized that not posting on Friday lead the next post to be on December 16th, which is none other than Jane Austen’s birthday!

Happy 244th Birthday!

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more Christmas posts, go to I Don’t Want a Lot for Christmas, There is Just One Thing I Need

Literary Tea Parties

So I few years ago I did a post on a tea party that we had at my church. Of course, you know how I love books…I just had to tie them in together!

To read the whole post, click here. So every year at my church we do a Christmas Tea Party, and the past three years my friend and I had a table that I’ve been in charge of decorating. And if you think I just had to feature a book each year, than you are right! I love books!

In 2016, the theme was “Our Journey”, and shoes were the center as it was about “the paths we take”. Of course shoes made me think of one thing:

As Dorothy and all her friends go on a journey, along with having a magical pair of shoes,  it was PERFECT! We did a:

  • Yellow Brick Road Runner: Canvas that we painted with three different shades of yellow
  • Poppy Magnets as our favors: I used this one from Hometalk and did button centers and glued magnets on the back.
  • Mason jar water glasses with gingham ribbons and red mugs for coffee or tea.
  • Wicked Witch of the East candy straws: I got the straws from Wal-Mart and made the shoes from Swedish Fish.
  • We painted our own Emerald City on glasses.
  • And I sewed a sock monkey king of the flying monkeys, out of black and white socks (just like the ones the Wicked Witch of the East wears). Yes, I sewed it-help from Madsen Creations and my mom.
  • We made our own Dorothy’s magic red shoes, but they weren’t ready when I took the picture, so I put my own red shoes in there.
  • And of course, a copy of the book.

The next year the theme was “Friendship”

So my friend and I choose to do:

Last Christmas the theme was Holy Ghost…hmmm ghosts. Which book? 🙂

  • We used a holly and cranberry patterned runner on the table.
  • Sheets of music as place mats, with red chargers over them.
  • The centerpiece was a Christmas Tree, as those became popular in the Victorian era with Prince Albert, that I strung with popcorn.
  • I also placed a basket with the Christmas gifts/favors as that was how Victorian tables were set up. Each package was a different copy of A Christmas Carol. I got them all by swapping on PaperBackSwap.com I wrapped them up in brown paper and red yarn.
  • We had chestnuts on the table and each place setting got on orange, as they were very popular gifts, but I didn’t put cloves in it as you can’t eat them when you do that.
  • We had Earl Grey Tea, Hot Chocolate, and candy canes.
  • Each person received a homemade Christmas Card (made by me), and each had a little token in it, my version of the Christmas pudding.

This year the theme is gifts and I have to admit, I’m a bit at a loss. Any ideas of a book that gifts plays a role?

Please help me!

For more on The Wizard of Oz, go to Bookish Thank You

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more tea posts, go to I Ran Out of Milk So I Put Buttermilk in My Tea

For more book-filled posts, go to Stranded at the Bookstore

Catherine Morland’s Reading List

So I was at the library and shelving some books when I came across The Inn at Half Moon Bay by Diane Tyrell. It was described as a Gothic novel and I thought Catherine Morland would totally read this.

So if it is something she would read, I need to read it.

So then I started thinking about all the other book Catherine Morland would read. Like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Frankestein, etc. All the books mentioned in Northanger Abbey and ones that were published at the time and after.

Wow!

I then thought, oh it would be nice of I could review this on my blog and the other books.

Why not start a new series, Catherine Moreland’s Reading List? Here I would review books that Catherine Morland would read: Gothic novels.

I know, I know-haven’t I already started two other series recently?

Not to mention all the Austen remakes I have listed out to review?

Yes, but you know me. I like to challenge myself.

Yeah, plus you know I love to read.

So books on this list are going to be Gothic novels. For those wondering what classifies a book as a Gothic Novel, here is the definition.

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.

So some of these books I have already reviewed, and the rest are what I plan on doing in the future.

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Poison Diaries by The Duchess of Northumberland

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Rebecca by Daphne du Marier

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Necromancer, or The Tale of the Black Forest by Karl Friedrich Kahlert

Secrets of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #1) by Jillian Kent

The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story by Eliza Parsons

The Mysterious Warning by Eliza Parsons

The Murders in the Rue Morgue” from The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allen Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart” from The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allen Poe

The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve 

Clermont by Regina Maria Roche

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor Sleath

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Inn at Half Moon Bay by Diane Tyrell

 

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

For more book lists, go to The Retellings Strike Back: Pride & Prejudice, cont.

Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

I’ve heard of Christmas in July, but Christmas in April?

What?

Oh well!

So I have fallen behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

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.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. So at the time it was my turn it was Christmas.

And you know how much I love Christmas

So what better book to read then, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? My favorite book to read at Christmastime!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This won’t be a long post as I talked about it two years ago during my 30-day book challenge (which I never finished. Oops!)

I love this book so much. I’m not sure what else I could add. I love the history of it and how it changed the world by opening peoples’ hearts and creating reforms to help the poor; along with the Bank Holiday act in 1871, making Christmas an official day of rest. 19 years later, every state in America had adopted the same practice.

“I have endeavoured[sic], in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour[sic] with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
Their faithful friend and Servant,
CD. [Charles Dickens]

I love how Dicken’s describes the sins of greed, pride, and selfishness:

“I wear the chain I forged in Life,’ replied the Ghost [Marley]. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on, of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it…’Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you wear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured[sic] on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

A good warning to a of us.

And how they describe Scrooge’s old boss Fezziwig. Unlike Scrooge, Fezziwig always liked to treat his clerks right; he may have only gave a little, but he understood the true meaning of Christmas. To give.

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome: a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up-what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great, as if it cost a fortune.”

And of course Christmas present:

How he spreads cheer everywhere.

And of course, Christmas-Yet-to-Come:

The redemption of Scrooge and the all-around happiness of the book. Just a fantastic and inspiring story:

“And as Tiny Tim observed,

God Bless Us Every One!”

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

For more Charles Dickens, go to You Know Me So Well

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

You Know Me So Well

So Christmas has come and gone:

And I don’t know about you all, but I got just what I wanted:

Yes! You know how I love tea!!!

And this!

Sweet!! You know me, Jane is the best-anywhere and anytime

And then the cherry on top!

That’s awesome

So I had one fantastic Christmas! I hope you all did as well!

For more on tea, go to You Know You Really Love Tea When…

For more on Jane Austen, go to All I Want for Christmas

For more Back to the Future, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

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Trek the halls with Bones and Scotty
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
”Tis the season to be Spock-y,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

So I know this is right in the middle of our 30 Day challenge, but I wanted to take time out to do one more Star Trek post.

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This year I was hoping to do more as it was its anniversary year, but I just wasn’t able to.

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Yes, I’m sorry. I hope you all had a very Star Trek-tastical year. I did:

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And even though Star Trek didn’t really celebrate Christmas, I don’t care. I had a lot of fun coming up with that song. I wanted to add another line about Kirk and the Enterprise, but couldn’t come up with any more rhymes. 😦

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But I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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And may the spirit live on through the next year:

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So my goal was to post 25 Christmas carols leading up to Christmas, but things didn’t quite go as I planned.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

First I actually added a few extra posts so we will have 28 Christmas Carols instead of 25.

Wow

Wow

And I haven’t been able to finish them all. I have eight posts still to do, so I most likely won’t have every song posted on here when it is published.

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But don’t worry, I will continue to post them as I make them up. Just like I did in Horrorfest V.

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So our final Christmas Carol, Deck the Halls. The earliest known version of this carol dates back to 1862 by Welsh John Thomas, while the music comes from the Welsh New Year’s carol Nos Galan from 1794. The English version most know today comes from Thomas Oliphant, a Scottish musician.

I chose the Bing Crosby version as you all know how much I love hearing him sing.

So I hope you enjoy you day, and the carols I choose this year!

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List of Christmas Carols chosen this year:

As Long As There’s Christmas by Various

Away in a Manger by Bing Crosby

Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley

Carol of the Bells by Various

Christmas Needs Love to Be Christmas by Andy Williams

Deck the Halls by Bing Crosby

Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte

The First White Christmas by Various

Good King Wenceslas by Bing Crosby

Go Tell It On the Mountain by Mahalia Jackson

Home for the Holidays by Karen Carpenter

I Believe in Santa Claus by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Karen Carpenter

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Celtic Woman

Last Christmas by Wham!

Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys

“Miniature Overture” from The Nutcracker by Ilyich Tchaikovsky

O Little Town of Bethlehem by Nat King Cole

O Holy Night by Josh Groban

O Tannenbaum by Celtic Woman

Run, Ruolph, Run by Chuck Berry

Silent Night by Celtic Woman

Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards

Trim Up the Tree by Various

We Need a Little Christmas by Angela Lansbury

We Three Kings of Orient by Hugh Jackman, David Hobson and Peter Cousen

What Child is This? by Josh Groban