Any Longer Out On That Road and I’m One of Them, You Know? A Terminal Crazy…: Mad Max (1979)

I’m scared, Fif. You know why? It’s that rat circus out there. I’m beginning to enjoy it.

What is this, funny week?

Look. Any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, you know? A terminal crazy… only I got a bronze badge to say I’m one of the good guys.

 

So during the #shelterinplace in the COVID-19 crisis, my sister and I watched a lot of End of the World/Dystopian Future films.

One we both had wanted to watch as people have gone on and on about it, is Mad Max (1979), the original film-yes the one that launched Mel Gibson to action star fame.

So I didn’t like the film. It reminded me of a lot of other films and moved really slow.

The story is that post-apocalyptic Australia is overrun with nomadic motorcycle gangs who pillage, rape, and cause havoc.

from Terminator 2: Judgement Day

This actually wasn’t supposed to be post-apocalyptic but they had a small budget and could only afford rundown buildings.

The only one who stands against the gangs are the police who roam the land and take these guys down. There are only four police.

That’s not good.

Mel Gibson is Max and he takes out one bad rider, arresting gang member Johnny Boy. However, Johnny Boy is acquitted when no one shows up at the trial (he raped someone-they have a hard time facing their abusers, even more so in this world). This makes police officer Goose angry ad he shouts at the gang telling them he will get them.

You should never get the nickname Goose, Gooses tend to die…So you know where this is going. Goose made the gang angry and they sabotage his motorcycle. After Goose dies, Max becomes disheartened at being a police officer and wants to quit (he had before but they convinced him to stay on) and takes a leave of absence. He, his wife, and son are traveling when they run into the gang and his son ends up killed, his wife in a coma.

This makes Max angry, furious, and crazy-thus Mad Max is born. (I really like the play on the word “mad” as it means furious and insane-which he becomes both of). He suits up, steals the souped up police car, and chases down the gang taking them out.

So the most of the movie as I said is slow-the gang is insane, strange, weird, and hard to watch. They are very chaotic-raping, blowing things up, running things over, etc. The movie doesn’t show everything, only some, but alludes to enough, too much-I didn’t like it.

Not for me.

Really the only part I love is when Max suits up to take the guys down. The imagery is great-pulling the covering of his police uniform that was put away in a trunk, the next scene he’s shown in the garage by the car, then him driving down the motorcycle gang.

Wow!

The last 15 minutes was the only part I loved. I think they should have cut some of the earlier scenes and went into him taking the gang out-like in Tombstone or The Punisher.

For more Dystopian Future films, go to Do You Ever Read the Books You Burn?: Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

For more police officer protagonists, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

Holy Crap, Leonard’s a Zombie: Epidemiology, Community (2010)

So my friend loves Community and tried to get me to watch it with her.

We watched some and I loved it…until they forced the Dean to take care of the Changnesia ex-teacher Ben Chang who had imprisoned him for months. After coming from an abusive relationship, I was not interested.

Not for me.

With COVID-19, my friend suggested I give it another watch and started rewatching and was hooked.

Not every episode was for me, but after all the bad news in the world it was nice to have some comedy and laugh. The thing I love about it it is all the different homages to film and TV and Abed’s film references as that is me and my obsession with film.

So after the marathon I had this past summer, I thought what better time than now to review one of it’s Halloween episodes. I had a hard time choosing between this and “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps”, and I went with the former as I really like the horror homage being set to ABBA.

So the “fake” Spanish Study Group was formed when Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), a former lawyer who had faked his degree and has to go to college, wanted to try and get with Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs). Britta asks Abed Nadier (Danny Pudi) to join him. He invites a few others, and the group rounds up to Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), Troy Barnes (Donald Glover Jr.), Annie Edison (Alison Brie), and Shirley Bennet (Yvette Nicole Brown).

The group ends up becoming close friends, even though Jeff tries hard not to, and after they all pass Spanish-they continue with Anthropology. Since they started the class Jeff was attacked by the Anthropology professor: Jeff goes to a party at his old law firm and finds out his old buddy Alan is the one who revealed his fake degree (but he still helped him so that Alan would owe him a favor); Pierce’s mother died and was “vaporized” into his cult and Jeff went through a midlife crisis regarding his mortality; they rode a Space Simulator that was donated by KFC, Shirley and Abed had a showdown regarding Jesus; and Pierce joined a group of “Hipsters” (those who had their hips replaced) and was reverting to teenage rebellion. So Halloween is her again and after the craziness of Pierce getting drugged and freaking out, all are looking forward to a “regular” holiday.

So we start of with George Takai narrating the episode. The Greendale Community College Dean is dressed as Lady Gaga and got a special deal on military rations surplus food for this year’s Halloween dance-man this school has A LOT of dances. My four year university only had one thrown by the actual school-the Blue & White Ball/Homecoming dance. Everything else was done by clubs, Frats, or Sororities. They always do this in TV, like Saved by the Bell’s school had a gazillion.

The study group is there-Jeff is David Beckham, Pierce Captain Kirk from Star Trek, Troy as Ripley from the Alien series with Abed as the Alien Queen from Aliens, Britta a dinosaur, Annie Red Riding Hood, and Shirley Glinda the Good Witch.

Pierce has been eating the food and starts acting weird and sick, not too far off from what he did last year. Annie finds Rich (Jeff’s nemesis from pottery class), a doctor to examine Pierce.

Hmm…

Abed and Troy’s costumes are soooo cool. I’m glad I have my sister to do costumes with, I miss matching costumes.

Rich quickly grows busy as there are more and more people sick-their effects changing to biting people and 102 degree temps. Uh, oh. Biting people? Vampires?

Troy gets upset that girls aren’t into his costume as Ripley and tries to make a new on out of the toilet seat covers and toilet paper-a sexy Dracula.

Not for me.

The Ripley costume was much cooler.

Annie discovers that the illness is being transferred from the bites and takes a hold of them much faster.

That’s not good.

The Dean calls to complain to the store and reads the label, giving the code word-as soon as he does the call is taken over by the military. This reminds me of Return of Night of the Living Dead when the military sends the zombies from Night of the Living Dead, to the crematorium and the two workers get into it, releasing zombies on the world. He is told to lock them in the building and help will arrive in 6 hours.

Annie tries to coordinate an orderly evacuation of those that aren’t sick, but Troy sees Leonard biting someone and screams:

Troy Barnes: Holy crap, Leonard’s a Zombie!

Soo utter pandemonium is with people screaming, running, zombies biting, and ABBA’s Dancing Queen playing in the background.

Zombies from Night of the Living Dead

The study room runs with Jeff throwing his soccer ball and punching people out of the way. Jeff always gets the action scenes.

The group locks themselves in their study room, just like in Night of the Living Dead. In Night of the Living Dead they were house to wait it out. Rich asks if any are bitten and all say no-but I’ve seen the film Night of the Living Dead. One of them is a liar, but which one?

Hmm…?

Also in the background is a tombstone that says Craig Pelton, the Dean. Foreshadowing?

Hmm…

They start barricading the doors and are scared and unsure they will last the full six hours, Dr. Rich says they only have three hours before permanent brain damage is done.

That’s not good.

Annie comes up with the idea to lower the building temp in efforts to stop the fever. Luckily Abed knows where the thermostat is. Sooo in reality they probably wouldn’t be able to do anything as the thermostat is probably closely regulated. I know the thermostat at my university was as they didn’t want anyone messing with it. And of course the thermostat is on the other side of the library as they need an excuse to leave the safety and make a run for it.

Dr. Rich starts sharing the symptoms of the disease and slurs in the middle as he has ever symptom. Yep, he’s been bit and he let them barricade themselves in with him? He’s like the little girl in The Night of the Living Dead.

But at least she was a child, you are an adult-and a doctor. Isn’t your first vow to do no harm? So yeah, you suck.

Oh and it turns out he wasn’t the only one. Britta was bit too.

Chang, dressed a Peggy Fleming, throws his ice skate at Dr. Rich and misses hitting the window. It breaks and the zombies start coming in, taking Annie.

The Zombies chase the remaining group and Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight) plays. It is a perfect pairing!

The non-zombie members of study group run for their lives, Jeff punching people left and right.

Shirley falls and is saved by Chang having split from the group they hide out in the ladies bathroom. Shirley and Change share a tender moment that develops as both believe it is the end of the world.

They will regret that the next day.

Jeff, Troy, and Abed are all that are left. The boys are then assaulted by a crazy cat-homage to horror films, and Abed spots a window they can escape from. Jeff doesn’t want to as he is wearing a $6000 suit. He tries to go through the door and gets attacked by the Zombies.

Jeff isn’t too upset about being a zombie, but is more angry about his archival Dr. Rich stealing his jacket. Oh, Jeff.

Abed and Troy start climbing shelves, shelves that look a lot like the ones from the Lava episode, “Geothermal Escapism”. Abed sacrifices himself so that Troy can save them all-quoting the “I Love You” scene from Star Wars.

Troy gets out and knocks the Dean over to get the key. He runs back into the library in his costume with the song Mama Mia playing in the background. Troy runs through the people in his Ripley costume punching people left and right, but they quickly overpower him. It was cool while it lasted.

Even though he becomes Zombified, with his final moments before he is fully zombified he crawls to the thermostat and mages a temp change.

What!

Fernando plays as the air starts coming through and they grow cold and begin to change back. They are going to take them out, but as they seem to be normal they Men in Black blue light them and they can’t remember anything that happened-they think it was a mass roofie.

After Troy and Abed have their wounds treated, they head to the dormitory to watch a movie…anything but Zombies.

In the end, Troy listens to his voicemails and discovers a message from Chang, so it really did happen.

For more Zombies, go to Sometimes, Dead is Better: Pet Sematary (1989)

For more ABBA, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more TV episodes reviews, go to The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

Gort! Klaatu Barada Nikto!: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Gort! Klaatu Barada Nikto!

So I wrote the outline of  this review on March 21, 2020, back when we were all first told to quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus.

Every time they said the words “quarantine”, “shelter in place”, and seeing the lack of people driving at 6pm-made me think of this movie-as essentially the world was “standing still” (although there is still a line at Starbucks and the McDonald’s drive thru.)

While watching the movie there are quite a few things people say, that if you just replace the spaceman/alien with virus it actually applies. Their hysteria, the anger at the government, how each country reacts differently in what they do-but all panicking.

I first saw this movie on TCM or AMC, I can’t remember which, during one summer vacation. I remember it had to be summer because I was home that day and the movie channel had set the film to play so that it lined up with the 12:00 power going out at 12:00pm that day.

I really loved it the film, and of course later bought my own DVD of it. When the new one came out I watched it and was severely disappointed. The story just didn’t work as he came to help the planet-as humans needed to change or they would be destroyed-but to me it just didn’t work. This one makes a lot more sense.

It is 1951 and everything is normal until a flying saucer comes flying across the sky and lands in Washington D.C.

People all over the world are listening to the news and panicking!

To increase the sense of reality, some of the most famous broadcast journalists of the time were hired to do cameos as themselves. These included Gabriel Heatter, H.V. Kaltenborn, Drew Pearson and Elmer Davis. I had to look this up as the only one I recognized was Elmer Davis.

Meanwhile, out of the saucer comes a spaceman and a giant robot. Of course the military are there and they freak out about it, shooting him and getting their guns blasted by the robot, Gort.

The robot Gort was played by a 7ft. tall doorman, cast only for his height. He looks impressive next to Michael Rennie (the actor playing the spaceman) as Rennie is quite tall (6’4)

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The spaceman’s name is Klaatu and he leaves Gort and the spaceship behind when the army takes him to the hospital. He has a humanoid like body, is over 100 years old, and heals quickly from gunshot fire.

The studio originally wanted a big name to play Klaatu, but was later convinced by the director to use Rennie, a relatively unknown actor at the time. I think Rennie was perfect as he was taller than any other man in the film, he has a voice that shows strength and power without being overbearing, and he is able to convey so much in slight movements. No one else could have done as great a job.

The army tries to break into the spaceship and destroy the robot, but nothing they have is strong enough.

Klaatu wants to meet with all the world leaders as he has a very important message, but unfortunately people are not so willing. Russia will only come to the summit if it is in Russia, England won’t unless it is in England, and so on and so on. I don’t know why they don’t do it in the United Nations building in NYC but whatever-world leaders just can’t get their act together.

Klaatu also wants to see the people-the ordinary ones-but the government won’t let him out. Just like in Escape from Planet of the Apes-the government control everything because they are afraid.

Klaatu waits until night and sneaks out-he gets some clothes, a briefcase, and finds a room to rent-going by the name “Carpenter”.

In the boarding house, the boarders are all crowded around the TV and are scared, watching about the escaped spaceman. When Michael Rennie comes into the room all shadowed and tall, he does look creepy. Especially with his height and the fact he doesn’t say anything right away.

Like something out of a horror film, it makes you think of the panic people get so quickly-like The Monsters on Maple Street or the COVID-19 panic (you remember the sanitizer and wipes hoarding).

The boarders are nice but worried and freaked out.

George Barley: Why doesn’t the government do something, that’s what I’d like to know.

Mr. Krull: What can they do, they’re only people just like us.

George Barley: People my foot, they’re democrats.

People complaining about the politicians running things? Doesn’t look like things have changed much.

Helen (Patricia Neal) is the mother of Bobby and before the spaceman visited she and her boyfriend, Tom Stevens (Hugh Marlowe), were supposed to go on a day trip. She wants to take Bobby along as she doesn’t have anyone to watch him- as everyone is prepping for the end of the world.

Now Tom is the worst guy ever. He doesn’t want Bobby to go on their trip and when the new boarder, who NO ONE knows ANYTHING about wants to watch Bobby he is like sure let’s go.

Dump Tom. Seriously, this new guy could be a pedophile, molester, or just crazy -you have no clue who he is. And if your boyfriend is willing to pass your child off to the first person he meets, dump him! He’s obviously not a good boyfriend or stepfather material.

Of course they say yes, so innocent in the 1950s, and Bobby and Klaatu go check out the sites. Bobby takes him to the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, etc-which is fine, but watching this as an adult I think it is a little odd. Like wouldn’t a kid want to show him something they think is cool? I mean he looks like he is 10, wouldn’t there be something more kid-friendly he wants to go to? An amusement park?

He does mention the movies in which Klaatu wants to treat him, but Klaatu only has diamonds-the currency of his people. He trades the diamond for Bobby’s $2 so he can pay for the movie tickets.

When he trades the two dollars for the diamond, Bobby says:

Bobby: Let’s not tell mom about this.

Klaatu: Why not?

Bobby: She doesn’t like me to steal from people.

This kid is hilarious and adorable.

Klaatu and Bobby also go check out the spaceship, where we get this great line that sums up my feelings regarding people’s extreme reactions to COVID-19-you know buying mass quantities and hoarding them, spraying themselves with Lysol, etc.

Reporter: I suppose you are just as scared as the rest of us.

Klaatu: In a different way, perhaps. I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.

Klaatu asks Bobby who is the greatest man on Earth today, Bobby says the spaceman, and I’m surprised he didn’t say a baseball player or superhero, If someone had asked me question at Bobby’s age I would have said Spider-Man.

After Bobby thinks about it, he picks his mother’s boss, Professor Barnhardt and they stop at his house. He’s out, but Klaatu solves part of an equation-as his calling card, and the two head home.

Later that evening Helen comes back and Tom proposes to her. Ugh.

Ugh, this guy.

She wants to think about it, but he wants her to answer now as he has to go to Chicago Monday. Like triple UGh! this guy is the worst Helen! I know it is hard for a single mom but you can do so much better. Tom continues to be a total jerk as he gets all jealous and angry about them making a big deal over how sweet Carpenter/Klaatu was to take Bobby out. Oh so now you are all protective, asking “what do you know about him”. It didn’t matter when you wanted to take off with your girl but now it is an issue? You ARE THE WORST.

As the film progresses Helen and Klaatu are starting to become friends but you can tell there are deeper feelings stirring underneath the surface. They apparently filmed more of them talking and showing those feelings develop, but had to cut it. I think what the film has, portrayed their relationship beautifully in the way Helen and Klaatu look at each other-their voice inflection, the slight touches between them. I always thought they fell for each other, but just couldn’t be together.

Goverment agents come and fetch Klaatu to see Professor Barnhardt and he reveals who he is and that his mission is of the upmost importance. Barnhardt wants to help him and he will have all kinds of scientists from round the world come, but he worries that even seeing him and hearing they won’t believe. He asks him to do something to show the power-but something in which people won’t be hurt.

Hmm…

That night Klaatu returns to the boarding house, borrowing a flashlight from Bobby. He goes to bed and Bobby goes up too, as his mom leaving to go out with ugh Tim. BLEH!

I hate him basically

As Bobby is heading to bed he sees Klaatu turning the light off-that sparks Bobby’s attention as Klaatu told Bobby that he needed a flashlight because the lightbulb in his room went out. Bobby decides to follow him and watches as he heads down to the spaceship and goes inside.

Bobby runs home and into his mother who is upset about him not being in bed. He tries to tell her about the spaceman, but she and Tom don’t believe him.Tom goes upstairs to prove Klaatu is there, but when he goes to the room it is empty. He pokes around-not cool Tim, not cool-and finds a diamond. He brings it down and goes on about how he doesn’t like Klaatu, he is trouble, a robber, etc. Oh, but you trusted him to watch Bobby! What a jerk! DUMP Him!!!!!

This dude, ugh!

First of all-why would you assume he is a thief and not a diamond salesman or he could just own a diamond as some people do? I mean the US was in a housing crisis after WWII maybe he has money and is staying at the boarding house until he finds a house of his own? Huh?

Secondly, where was this protectiveness earlier when you were throwing the kid at him since you didn’t want to be bothered by having a child along on your romantic weekend? EH!!??

You jerk!

Yeah, he’s a real jerk Helen-let him go.

The next day Klaatu speaks to Bobby and realizing that he has figured out who he is, he goes to see Helen so that she can keep the secret until he has the summit with the scientists.

Meanwhile, Tom took the diamond to have it appraised and it is declared to be something out of this world. Tom is excited as he sees fame, glory, and dollar signs.

Klaatu has tracked Helen down and the two become trapped in an elevator as Klaatu’s plan has gone into effect. From 12-12:30 everything electrical stops (except planes in flight, hospitals, etc)-no phones, no cars, no anything-making it the day the Earth stood still.

When we had those huge summer storms that resulted in California burning, the power went out for the whole day and it made me think of this part of the film.

As they are traped in the elevator, Klaatu tells Helen who he is and the importance of the meeting. She agrees to help him-he is going to stay at the boarding house until it is time to meet-while she tries to track down Tom, and convinces him keep quiet.

Tom however does not want to keep quiet and has decided to call the army. Helen tries to tell him they need the summit for the safety of their world, but he doesn’t care.

Helen: What about the rest of the world?

Tom: I don’t care about the rest of the world! [Seeing her shocked expression You’ll feel different when you read about me in the papers.

Helen: I feel different now.

And Helen dumps him.

YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOO YIPPEE!!

Good job Helen. You know you should be thankful for this as if Klaatu hadn’t come into your lives you probably would have married this horrible human being.

Klaatu and Helen go away from the boarding house as it is no longer safe and head to Professor Barnhardt’s house. Klaatu cautions her that if anything should happen to him, she must go to Gort and tell him “Klaatu barada nikto!”

Klaatu of course gets shot by the military, as we fear what we do not understand and often shoot first in these movies. And Helen hurries to the spaceship.

When she gets there Gort destroys two guards and then carries her into the spaceship. I hate the posters that showcase this as the illustration looks nothing like the actress. In the posters they always have her in a sweetheart pink dress which is nothing like what Neal actually wears as Helen. I mean she has her nice dress from work, but it is just an average dress with a high collar.

Seriously!

Gort goes off and gets Klaatu bringing him to the spaceship and back to life.

[Klaatu is revived by Gort after being fatally shot]

Helen: I – I thought you were…

Klaatu: I was.

Helen: You mean… he has the power of life and death?

Klaatu: No. That power is reserved to the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in some cases, can restore life for a limited period.

Helen: But… how long?

Klaatu: You mean how long will I live? That no one can tell.

Klaatu then gives his speech before he, the spaceship, and Gort are all whisked away.

Klaatu: I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated…I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

Powerful way to end a film. I’m sure after WWII this really resonated with a lot of people. I, of course enjoy it, and hope you all did too.

For more on aliens, go to They’re Moving From Planet to Planet…After They’ve Consumed Every Natural Resource They Move On…and We’re Next: Independence Day (1999)

For more Michael Rennie, go to I Do Think You Are Confused Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

For more with Hugh Marlowe, Will We Survive the Night?: Rawhide (1951)

Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! To start us off we have:

****Contains Spoilers****

So I watched this during the COVID-19 #shelterinplace with my friend for her birthday. As we couldn’t be together, we decided to each watch at the same time and then text each other our thoughts. It is hard enough trying to make plans and now we have more time, but can’t get together.

Ugh! It’s so unfair

Now I’m not a big Miss Fisher fan. I have watched the show but I don’t really like the content. The mysteries are okay-usually there isn’t a whole lot of detecting and the answer just comes at the end. I’m not a fan of the book series either as I read a couple before I watched the series and just couldn’t get into it.

What I do like about the series is the characters-that’s the only reason I kept watching them: Mr. Butler Dorothy “Dot” Williams, Constable Hugh Collins, Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson, Cec, Burt, etc.- and I like how they interact with each other and Miss Fisher.

So quick recap for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) grew up poor but after WWI inherited a distant relatives fortune and now has boundless dollars. She does whatever she wants in 1920s Australia, often being asked to look into mysteries or crimes that have happened. She has a best friend/companion/lady’s maid in Dot, fosters a young girl Jane, hires two taxi drivers to assist in her investigations (Cec and Burt), and is constantly helping out/being a thorn in the side of Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson and his Constable Hugh.

This film takes place after the final season, when we last saw the crew Phryne saved her father, Dot and Hugh married, and Phryne asks Jack to pursue her twice. So now that the recap is over-let’s move onto the mystery.

Mystery, you say?

So we start off the film with the opening lines of “agitators” and I totally thought it said alligators. My friend did too, not a good font choice.

So we start off with a figure-Miss Fisher-running through the streets of a Middle Eastern city. Oh no, her hijab caught on a stick, I hate when that happens, you know your clothes get caught on things.

The hijab is pulled off and we get to look at Miss Fisher’s dress- it sure is something, look at all those sequins. Miss Fisher always has fantastic clothes.

So while Miss Fisher is running through the streets, all I can wonder is, where is Dot?

Hmm…

Or why is Miss Fisher there?

Hmm…

And where is Detective Jack (Nathan Page)?

Where is everyone?

So Miss Fisher is searching for someone/something. Ew, she was scaling the wall and then put her gloved hand in hr mouth-gross. That wall is probably super dirty as I’m sure it has never been cleaned. 

So she is looking for a Shirin. Why is she looking for Shirin? How does she know her?

What the heck?

Police follow Miss Fisher in a car while she and Shirin are on a motorbike. Good thing cars didn’t go fast back then or else they would be easily caught. They ditch the bike and get on top of a train with Miss Fisher in her heels being able to manage that.

I hate when movies and book do that. The train is going through a tunnel and she isn’t going to make it! Fade to black. We then switch to Australia

Oh, no! Is that Dot crying? Aw, she’s pregnant, she and Hugo are having a baby!

How sweet!

This timeline feels off, but that happens when they make movies. So it turns out that Miss Fisher is presumed dead again, and they are holding a funeral in London. Hugh and Dot can’t go because she is so far along, but Jack journeys to it.

The funeral starts, and Aunt Prudence doesn’t sit on a regular chair but has to have an armchair. She has to have the best of the best.

So the funeral is interrupted by a plane overhead, and it is so obvious that it is Miss Fisher. So now that we know she is crashing her funeral, who are all these other people?

I mean for real!

I mean right away I know that one guy is Rupert Penry-Jones, you know Captain Wentworth, but who is he in the film?

I looked him up and his character is Jonathan Lofthouse, but who is he to Phryne, they never say in the film-although the flirt a lot so we know he isn’t a close relation.

Hmm…

Oh no, poor Jack. He won’t be happy, I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack with how many times Phryne has “died”. Oh..his face might get stuck in that expression.

Phryne: Why are you so angry?

Really? Really? And you just kissing everyone like it’s no big deal. Ohmygosh! I wanted to slap some sense into her. Don’t you know how that would make Jack feel? And then she is all tell me what you wrote in your eulogy and he’s all it says I’m done with you. And she is offended? Really?

You know why he is angry and you are being so caviler with his feelings. He believed you dead! Phryne ca be fun, but in this she is kind of a jerk-especially the way she flirts in front of him with all these other guys in front of him. Like this guy wanted to marry you, he LOVES you and you don’t care one iota for his feelings.

And who are these people? Especially the guy she keeps kissing-Jonathan? Like why does she know them why are they at the funeral?

Hmm…what’s going on?

Jonathan and his older brother are fencing while taking about the war and those two have serious issues. They also are talking a bit about what happened in WWI, but there is a whole angry subtext going on underneath.

So the Sheikh is Shirin’s uncle and he and Eleanor, the wife of Jonathan’s brother seem too close.

Hmmm…

So Sheikh Kahlil Abbas, Jonathan, and his brother-I guess I should look his name up…let’s see Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse. Seriously? Who came up with that name? Anyways…They have some business plan that they are doing-something that needs to go through or else the Lofthouses will lose everything as Lofty sucks at keeping the finances together.

I’m pretty over it and are focusing on more important things. When is Jack coming back? If he has just a cameo I am going to be very disappointed.

We need more Jack!

Hmm…is this sheik a good or bad guy? They seem to be setting him up to have a secret of some kind but is it a red herring or foreshadowing?

Seriously

I really miss Mr. Butler the Butler. He was awesome. This butler is super creepy and weird. He slinks around and freaks me out.

Shirin Abbas gets a note from someone saying he is a friend of Shirin and has information regarding the death of her family. When she was little her whole tribe was killed in a sandstorm. She remembers someone slaughtering everyone and sparing her-but the English government has gone with the sandstorm story and jailed her for stirring things up (that’s why Phryne had to save her). Phryne doesn’t want her to go, but decides to take her place.

Phryne goes to see Jack to assist her who is staying at a pretty crappy hotel, I mean the door is pretty see-through. Jeez Phryne, you could have offered him a room at the mansion you are staying at Phryne.

I mean for real!

Jack is also made because Phryne got married! WHAT????

So she didn’t want to marry Jack as she “wasn’t ready” but then went and married some other guy?

This girl!

They go to the meeting place, a church, which is pretty deserted. If this was me I’d want my back to the wall as it is the perfect point to assassinate someone.

Phryne finds the friend who looks crazy and possibly drugged. He speaks of demons.

So with the WWI talk, the Sheikh, the English government controlling the country, and most likely the massacre of the tribe- here are my theories:

A) Maybe this guy was one of the English troops (best guess from all that was said earlier and how they mentioned the sheik is now indebted to the government) sent to kill the tribe but spared her a she was a toddler.

B) Maybe the sheikh isn’t really the sheikh but they murdered the tribe to hide the fact that they were placing someone else in who would allow them to takeover the country. The solider spared the girl because she was so young and she had never met her uncle before so she wouldn’t be able to tell if he is or isn’t the real sheikh.

He gets shot, TOLD YOU! Perfect place for an assassination, but passes on an emerald amulet . They call the police who are incredibly rude to Jack, and he holds their passport and Jack is upset that he can’t return to Australia. Phryne is mad at him, but geez-Jack has a real job and is not rich like you. Remember he took off time for your funeral.

I mean for real!

Like you grew up poor, you think you would remember parts of what it was like.

They go to meet Phryne’s friend who is involved with art and antiquities, she had run into him on her earlier escapades, and he goes upstairs to look for something He takes a really long time and they hear a noise. Phryne follows as she is all Danger? Where? Let me at it! She doesn’t even want Jack to go with her.

Such a man!

So that guy is safe, but another one comes in and then a fire, wow it went 0-6 real fast.

Phryne runs after the thief but doesn’t shoot at him and he disappears in the fog. Well you should’ve hit him in the leg or something.

Jack saves the amulet and Phryne and him get really close when the firefighters come. They are like oh yeah, there is a fire.

They show the necklace to Shirin who remembers it. She has a flashback to her mom holding it. I think it might be a key as the way it is shaped, it could fit into something. My friend also pointed out it is a triangle-just like her tattoo.

Supposedly, there is a tomb and they were supposed to protect it I’m guessing. Th necklace MUST be a key. They also find a compass. Hmm, maybe it is supposed to be like in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and they need it to find the crypt of tears.

Hmm…treasure?

The Lofthouses and the Sheikh were involved in what looks like a shady business deal. Hmm…thought so.

Phryne wears a sweater with a big “PF” on it. Wow, I have no words.

Wow…

So the Sheikh wants Shirin to forget all about the past and focus on London and the ball they are throwing her. I can’t hep but think that it is a huge deal to accept her so she should be happier, but when she leaves the Sheik, he seems to be thinking about it. Is he planning something bad or helpful?

Hmmm…

Shirin tells Phryne about the past and says it was three men who destroyed the village-I would have thought they would need more to destroy a whole village.

I think the Sheikh is somehow involved and that the men forced the mother to open to the tomb.

Hmm…

That night at the party Jack looks good in his fancy duds.

That evening the Sheikh fights with the Lofthouses, not wanting to agree to the deal anymore. Maybe he isn’t involved. Hmm….

Hmm…

Everyone is shouting secrets at this party, like shouting. The extra in a yellow dress and gold jacket was like oops, heard all of that. Mr. Lofthouse and the Sheikh are causing a scene as well.

All I can think is, why did Phryne marry that other guy. They better tell us, and soon.

This is like the worst party ever, at least no one died…but just wait…Oh no a gunshot! There it is.

The cop on the scene is pretty sharp putting things together. When it comes to alibis Jonathan tries to protect his brother (or him), by saying they were together, but the butler says no he and Jonathan were together. Wow really threw the older brother under the bus. Hmm…we know that Jonathon wasn’t with his brother, so why would he lie?

Hmm…

Maybe the butler doesn’t like the Lord of the manner, but then again who does?

So the Sheikh is the one who is dead and Phryne sets off to investigate his room. She looks in a vase and finds a ginourmous emerald. Why would you have an emerald that big and hide it out in a tomb in the desert. Why wouldn’t you take that to your palace?

I mean for real!

So Alexander the Great curses the emerald that whoever takes it death will follow. How come he had those powers? Where did they come from? I wish I had powers like that. I’d be cursing all kinds of objects.

Phryne decides to leave for the Middle East and the tomb and Jack wants to go with her but sorry only two fit in the plane and she’s taking Shirin. Ouch.

Jonathan going to come too and fly Jack, but how can they do that when Scotland Yard had their passports?

So they end up in the Middle East and the guide they hire is really shady. He has a big rifle and is all that’s for hunting. What do you hunt in the middle of a sandy desert?

Hmm…

Obviously he is lying, but why? Who put him up to it? Who is behind this all. The Sheik died so that leaves us with Lofty, Jonathan, Lady Eleanor, and the butler. There is no others they introduced unless Shirin is secretly a child mass murderer. They wouldn’t…would they? Nah!

Hmm…

I think Jonathan might be the one in on it, why else would he leave his brother behind if he wants to “help” him so bad. That seems weird.

Hmmm…

Phryne of course looks glamourous in the hot desert and is all made up. She seduces the guide so they can overpower him and get the truth. Someone paid him to delay him. Who? Who? The guide doesn’t know.

Such a man!

She and Jack fight and he brings up her husband, at least we will get the truth about her husband, the Maharajah…but no Jack storms off and Phryne follows him falling into quicksand? Okay…whatever.

It turns out that the Maharajah is gay and there were rumors and he was going to be killed so to stop them Phryne married him but doesn’t live with him. Like how does that make sense at all? He could’ve married anyone and how does the wife not living with him keep people from thinking he was gay?

I mean he’s royal! He could command anyone to marry him. And most royal marriages married for an alliance and to produce heirs or for wealth, not love. It makes more sense for him to marry a royal woman to have a child and then continue with his life and what he is doing. This is the stupidest thing ever. What royal parents or people would want their maharajah to marry some Australian woman who doesn’t even live in the country. This is incredibly dumb and just a plot device to keep Phryne and Jack apart.

So the tattoo does help lead the way and they find the tomb. So Jonathan is being really strange, and I am hardcore believing it is Jonathan right now.

They get i the tomb and find Alexander’s desert bride, the first time we heard that one.

What??

Watch out she might come alive like in The Mummy.

They find a knife with initials on it and I know it will be JL, for Jonathan Lofthouse as he is weird.

So he wanted to return the emerald as his troop came and slaughtered the tribe for it. He felt guilty and after the Sheikh died hid it in the room as he knew Phryne would find it and return it. Okay I feel like you could have handled this a lot better in a completely different way. It seems really convoluted.

Or plot!

But he says he did’t kill the sheikh? If Jonathan didn’t do it, then who did?

Hmm…

It turns out the butler is there in the tomb and he did it. Yes the butler did it.

Yes the butler did, but why? It doesn’t make sense? And how could he afford to get there or know where to even find this secret tomb. This whole thing makes no sense.

This doesn’t make sense!

But Phryne knows, it is because he is secretly Jonathan’s father?

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

HUH???!!!

How did she know? Where were the clues? I mean he liked Jonathan better than his older brother, but just because Mr. Carson liked Mary better than the other girls I never suspected that he was secretly her father.

How did the butler not only get the money and knowledge to travel to the middle of nowhere, but how did he beat them?

What??

The butler is going to kill them, but Jonathan saves them as the tomb collapses-all make it out but those two. Phyrne and Jack are now alone in the desert, what happened to Shirin? And they end up sleeping together which I don’t like as Phryne was a GIANT jerk to him in this and Jack was so moral and wanted to marry Phryne not just be another guy she sleeps with.

As they are traveling a man comes from nowhere with a message that Phryne’s husband is dead and they need her to solve the crime. How, what, why?

So this film didn’t work for me. First of all Miss Fisher works because of the contrast between her and all the other characters-so removing her from them didn’t work at all.

Second, Detective Jack Robinson didn’t really work in this scenario either. In Australia, he is in a position of power, he can get information, he has a role-going to England and the Middle East doesn’t work for him. He has no power, he can’t do anything, he has no role to play but follow Phryne around.

And third, Phyrne is completely callous and rude in this. Like she does her own thing, and is light and airy-but she never is cruel like this.

Fourth-this story sucks. Like what were they thinking-this plot is everywhere. They should have thought smaller, kept it in Australia, and created better mystery. Like where were the clues? Everything just felt so out of left field. And what was up with this mythology of Alexander the Great?

For more female private detectives, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to The Last Puzzle: The Last Christmas, Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

Interference by Kay Honeyman

So during COVID19, we have been reorganizing the library. No better time to rearrange shelves than when people are not in the building.

So as I was making the changes and this caught my eye:

Friday Night Lights meets Jane Austen’s Emma in this delightful novel about big dreams, big games, and a little romance.”

Hmm…

So of course Emma, caught my eye as I plan on reviewing every Jane Austen adaption, (I know that’ll take years, but I’m okay with that), and had to check it out. Besides Jane Austen, I’m a big fan of Friday Night Lights. 

So let’s get started.

Kate Hamilton (Emma Woodhouse) and her mother and Congressman father have been sent back to her father’s hometown of Red Dirt, Texas after her public scandal.

It started off as something good…Kate discovered that there was serious graft regarding which kids received letters of recommendation, scholarships, etc, for colleges. She exposed this and changed the practices, but it was a hollow win.

Her boyfriend, now EX, was cheating on her with a senator’s daughter who lost her recommendation, and he secretly took photos of Kate- styling them to look extremely compromising and blasting them on the internet.

So Kate has a plan-she wants to go to art school to be a photographer, but to do that she needs an awesome portfolio and a fantastic letter of recommendation. She decides to find a way to lay low, up her volunteer hours, send them to her old school, get the letter and get out with what she wants.

She espechially wants to get way from her dad as she feels so guilty about what happened, and hates having to always be in “political mode”-all the time. She needs volunteer hours and starts to help her Aunt Celia at her animal shelter.

There she is in the middle of trying to birth a calf, unsuccessfully, when she meets Hunter (Mr. Knightley). He is cute and nice and whenever Kate gets a little too cocky and sure of himself, he is there to help push her on the right track, espechially as he understands the dynamics and politics of the town better than her.

The two end up being paired as science partners and they spend a lot of time together. In fact, they become best friends as Hunter helps her transition to Texas life, and appreciate things without constructing a narrative of doing some political machinations.

Kate quickly becomes friends with Ana-a shy, studious, photographer who helps Kate out with her photography and gets her in on yearbook staff (which gives her access to the darkroom she needs). Kate hates to owe anyone anything and has decided that she is going to help Ana. Ana is adorable, but her ex-boyfriend has given her a bad reputation with the lies he has spread about her.

Kate decides the best way to fix Ana’s reputation is to pair her up with a guy better than her ex-basketball playing boyfriend Hank. Someone higher up the social hierarchy and settles on quarterback, Kyle.

Hunter warns her that Kyle is a serious jerk and that matchmaking Ana and him up is not a good idea, but Kate doesn’t listen.

Kyle is not just the quarterback, but he is also the son of her father’s political rival. Her father wants her to avoid Kyle, as he doesn’t trust him or his father, but she ignores him and sets her plan into serious levels of action.

She hangs out with him a bit, takes photos of him.

This popped in my head when reading it.

Kate has lunch with him and Ana and people begin changing in the way they are acting around her-and after Kyle defends her, things seem to be going great. Kate and Ana even get coveted invites to several after game bonfires.

Kate is super pleased at how things are going and starts to divert her attention to her other plans. Spending time working with her Aunt and seeing how much her Aunt pours into her shelter, she decides to help out by creating a website where people can donate to care for an animal, getting D.C. friends and friends’s parents to give. She also tries to match her D.C. friend Tasha up, over the phone by giving her advice.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

She also works hard on her project with Hunter. But it turns into more than science. He helps her see the beauty of the area, she helps him mend some of his broken relationship with his mom, as said before they become best of friends…thoughts turn to more-but their can’t be as Kate is not interested in anything more after her jerkwad ex.

Except Hunter

But then Kate goes to a party with Kyle and he tries to force himself on her.

She breaks his wrist and takes off in his car crashing in a ditch (she’s only had one lesson). Hunter, worried about her going to a party alone with Kyle, rescues her-but things are looking grim.

It seems like everything Kate does screws up:

  1. Kate’s breaking Kyle’s wrist and crashing his car reflects bad on her father
  2. Everyone in the town hates Kate for costing them the championship game (as they have no quarterback)
  3. Her aunt found out about the website and hates it-yelling at Kate
  4. Kyle treats Kate and Ana like crap (espechially Ana-publicly dissing her [such an Elton], but Hunter helps her out)
  5. Kate gets revenge against Kyle by making mock yearbook pages embarrassing him and she and Ana spread them around the school
  6. Their little revenge plan gets Ana is kicked off yearbook
  7. And Hunter who never wanted to play football ever again (as it is too much pressure) does so to save the team and Kate.

Kate has to figure out a way to fix things and she decides to do the one thing she never thought-she is willingly going to put herself in the front of the camera-and partner in her father’s campaign.

Will Kate be the thing that helps tip the scales in her father’s favor? Will Ana get back on yearbook and achieve her photography dreams? Will Hunter win the big game or choke? And will Kate admit she cares for Hunter or let her fear and insecurity keep her from taking a leap?

So when I was first reading this book I had a hard time. The beginning moves slow and her parents seem checked out. They just leave her alone and don’t seem to care about the trauma she went through with her pictures being posted everywhere. Nothing about that relationship seemed to micmic the one shared by Emma and Mr. Woodhouse.

Hmmm…

But once I reached the middle with Kate and Hunter being best friends, adorable Ana, Kate’s matchmaking…I got invested. 

And then when they got to the hardcore part of Kate taking Kyle down and then her pairing up with her father to take down Kyle’s dad- it became a real page turner.

Tell ME!!!!!

I really liked Kate and Hunter’s relationship, although I think he if he had been a little less vague about Kyle not being a good guy it would have been better. I mean he did try, telling her he heard the way Kyle would talk in the locker room-but with Kate/Emma you can’t be subtle.

From Emma (1996)

I really enjoyed it and how it had the aspects of Jane Austen but still was its own story. Like Clueless, this is a great gateway to get teens interested in Jane Austen and Austen fans will adore it.

For more Emma, go to Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

For more Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to At Legend’s End

For more Friday Night Lights, go to What a Fanatic!

I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

So a while back Kumi Crochet and Tea India teamed up to do a giveaway-and you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

Yes!

The crocheted cup cozy was so adorable, along with the chai coaster. I loved them, but ended up sending them to a friend who was in need of a little cheer through this whole COVID19 thing. She just loved them and they made her feel brighter.

Or disappointed life…

Right now she is on break, but will be taking orders after July 5th. If you are in need of crocheted comfort, you should check her out.

Now let’s move on to the tea. So I love tea:

I love Chai tea and was excited to try it out. I didn’t receive the tea pictured, but instead two boxes of Chai Moments Masala Chai Tea. This Chai Tea was fantastic!

The masala gave it a bit of a kick, but I loved it! It was so easy to make, you can take it on the go, as all it needed is hot water (I like to add a little milk in with mine). I felt so blessed by it, that I gave half a box to a friend who loves Chai Tea, and she thought it was amazing as well.

However, I now wish I hadn’t been so generous. I really LOVED the tea and am down to my last one!

I had so much, where did it all go?

I know I will be buying more of this soon, it is so good.

For more giveaways, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

For more chai tea, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

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 with other teas I have won, and since it has now become my new thing. After all, books and tea just go so well together.

Chai Moments Masala

So I was drinking this tea trying to think of a book that was comforting (like the tea), had everything you love with a kick of something new, and Indian. I then turned to finish the last chapter of my book, when it hit me-it was perfect!

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

In this Pride and Prejudice adaption, Trisha Raje is a top surgeon from a rich and powerful family. She has been separated from the family due to a past mistake, trusting someone she shouldn’t have, and is ready to rejoin the fold. In Europe, DJ Caine grew up without much and has worked hard to be a top chef. He moves to America to take care of sister Emma, she has a tumor in her eyes, and starts catering to support them. He and Trisha meet when he is working an event for her brother and it does not go well. Trisha almost ruined his sauce, they argued, she insulted him and he overheard it-thank goodness they don’t have to interact again, right? Wrong! It turns out that not only is Trisha Emma’s doctor, but when Trisha’s sister can’t continue planning the next party for their brother’s campaign-Trisha steps up and has to work alongside DJ. Things get even more troubling when Trisha’s mistake comes back and tries to wreak havoc in everyone’s lives.

This was a great book. The story takes the foundation of Pride and Prejudice but the author makes it her own in this modern adaption. It made me think of the Chai Moments Masala tea as I felt that Tea India does the same. It is a classic Chai Tea, but that masala is not only an added rich flavor, but also gives it a delicious and unique taste from other chais. The flavor of the masala also made me think of DJ and his love of cooking, blending his different cultural heritages in making his food. And the way Trisha eats all his food quickly with none being left, made me think of how I was with this tea. I definitely pulled a Trisha.

This tea also made me think of the book in the way that it comforts. In the book, DJ loves to cook, loves food, and desires to bring comfort to others through his dishes. The Chai was amazing, warming, and cheerful and something I could see the characters from Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors drinking.

It was a fantastic tea and book, and I recommend enjoying them together.

For more Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1) by Sonali Dev

So I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, I believe the first time I checked it out from the library was on October 11, 2019-but life got in the way and I had to return it, check it out, return, and repeat until finally I had some free time during this COVID19 quarantine.

The story starts off with Trisha Raje, of the impressive Raje family line-in fact they are the descendants of a royal family. Her mother was a former Bollywood star and the family has had everything anyone could want-money, status, education, beauty, etc.

But unlike other books-I really liked that the characters knew they were blessed, that they are many who would give anything to be them, and didn’t go down the route of “all power and money is evil” or “woe is me I have money” or “I’m rich and entitled but l am “really” average“, etc. Instead this family knows what they have and all try to do their best to use it to help others in some way.

One summer, teenage Trisha was touched when she visited children at one of her grandfather’s charities in India. Most of the children were blind and with many nothing could be done, while there was quite a number would have been spared this fate with more interest, money, medical intervention, etc. She was determined to help and from there not only created a charity (with help of her parents) that assisted the afflicted children but dedicated her life to becoming a top surgeon, specializing in developing machines that would help remove tumors, growths, cysts, etc.

She is doing well in her career, but unfortunately is no longer a part of the Raje universe. She has been the black sheep of her family, as years ago she made a mistaken judge of character and that person hurt her brother very badly. Since then she and her father have had a strained relationship and she hasn’t been invited to any of their big events. Her brother just announced his run for governor and Trisha is through with being on the sideline, she’s ready to try and get back in her family again.

In other (good) news, Trisha is super excited to work on a new patient, Emma. She has an inoperable tumor wrapped around her optic nerves, and this new tech will remove it and save her life, although it will cause her to go blind. But living is better than dying, isn’t it?

After staying late at the hospital, she then goes to the family dinner/political event (late as usual) and discovers she missed the dinner.

Trisha is starving and decides to head into the kitchen, plays with something at the stove and almost ruins the chef’s sauce. She doesn’t understand why he is freaking out over it-and insults him, even calling him the hired help to her sister.

Meanwhile, across the pond in England, Darcy James “DJ” Caine grew up with his sister, Emma, having very few advantages in life. His father was Anglo-Indian and infuriated his family when he chose to marry a Rwandan refugee rather than a British girl. When DJ’s father passed away when he was young, his father’s family kicked them out of their house and they became homeless. Through a church program, their mother found a job and a place for them to live. His mother worked hard every day to send them to good schools, and in the afternoons DJ watched the landlord’s epileptic mother in exchange for free rent.

While DJ’s mother had high ambitious for her children to become scientists or engineers, DJ connected with his charge-she becoming a surrogate mother- and the two spent hours cooking. Life was hard, but they made the best of it, however it did start to push on him and as a teenager he did get into some trouble. After that he has been on the straight and narrow and went to Le Cordon Bleu and worked in Paris.

He comes to California to help care for his sick sister and through an old friend from Cordon Bleu, he has managed to land the Rajes as clients. He is working so hard to keep them (and hopefully cater more of their parties and events), losing it when a self-absorbed socialite almost destroys his sauce. To add further insult and injury, he not only had to grab the hot pot to secure it and burned his hands, she’s very rude to him, and he also overhears her calling him the hired help.

That should be the end of it, unless she comes to future events, except for one small thing: Emma, (the patient Trisha wants to operate on but doing so will turn her blind), is DJ’s sister. The two are now both thrown together as they work on convincing Emma to take the surgery, but as she is an artist she is very angry and upset about losing her eyesight.

They are then further brought together when Traisha’s sister Nisha, and her brother Yash’s campaign manager, has to take a step back. Nisha and her husband Neel have one daughter and have been trying for years to have more kids with each attempt ending in miscarriage. She’s pregnant again, and even though her doctor doesn’t say to, she decides to go on bedrest, asking Trisha to keep it a secret. With Nisha self-grounding herself, Trisha has to care of planning the next event-which includes the catering with DJ.

Life gets even more complicated when someone from Trisha’s past reenters the picture, Julia Wickham. Julia almost destroyed the Raje family when she plotted and threatened Trisha’s brother. Trisha is scared that Julia might try and hurt Emma and DJ, but she cannot reveal what Julia did as her brother is running for office and the last thing he needs is for all this to come out.

DJ and Emma meet Julia at the hospital, and she offers them a way to pay their medical bills. Julia’s plan is to create videos with Emma sharing about her story and creating a kickstarter so people can donate to it. As their medical bills are extremely high and DJ can only keep them afloat so long, they decide to trust her and let her into their lives. She further gains DJ’s trust when she shares how the Raje family destroyed her, left her with nothing, and she had to fight and scrape together to be where she is now.

That coupled with Trisha calling him hired help, and a few other misadventures, miscommunications, and mistakes between the two-when Trisha finds herself falling in love with DJ and his food, and decides to tell him-he flat out refuses and rips her a new one.

Can they overcome pride, prejudice, their own hurts, and hangups? Or will these two part ways after the dinner and never see each other again? Can they convince Emma to have the surgery? Or will Trisha and DJ lose her? Will they stop whatever plan Julia has? Or will she completely destroy the Raje family.

So I really enjoyed reading this book. In the forward, Sonali Dev states that this was inspired by Pride and Prejudice, but is her own story, and I thought she did a good job bringing in her own “flavor” (bad pun, I know), while creating a new story. I enjoyed how she adapted the story to a modern times, along with Indian culture. I think Jane Austen’s stories are extremely relatable to other cultures, as the elements in there are still present today. Growing up biracial, I could see how with my Mexican side there is still an emphasis of getting married before you are “an old maid”, the importance of family, having children, etc; while with my father’s side (Danish and Sicilian Italian) it isn’t as important. I wouldn’t see mind seeing more culturally diverse Jane Austen adaptions.

However, what I thought was really interesting was how Dev took elements from Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and used them in both DJ and Trisha. You see at first I thought that Trisha was Darcy (rich family) and DJ was Elizabeth (as he is from a poorer background), but as I read on they reminded me of both the Austen characters.

Trisha as Darcy

  • Trisha has the money & status
  • Trisha insults DJ and he overhears her
  • Had a Wickham try to ruin her family
  • Feels strong guilt over them buying off Wickham instead of exposing her
  • Giving advice/deeply persuading her best friend (cousin)
  • Awful love confession (proposal)
  • Saves love interest’s sister

Trisha as Elizabeth

  • Trisha comes from a big family
  • Trisha was really close to her father (then something happened)
  • Closeness to an older sister
  • Best friend/sister gives advice on love
  • Makes quite a few conclusions and then realizes she was wrong

DJ as Darcy

  • DJ’s family is him and his sister like Darcy & Georgiana
  • DJ has had to be the father for his sister after their father passed
  • DJ’s relationship with his sister is more Darcy & Georgiana than Elizabeth & Jane
  • DJ’s name is Darcy, Darcy James
  • Broods a lot

DJ as Elizabeth

  • Trisha insults DJ and he overhears her
  • Comes from a poorer family
  • Doesn’t like Trisha because of something she says and when he meets someone who shares an unfavorable view of her, he instantly believes her.
  • His father dying and relatives kicking him out (exactly what Mrs. Bennet feared would happen to them)

You should read the book and tell me what you think. Is DJ Elizabeth or is he Darcy? Is Trisha Darcy or is she Elizabeth?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

One of the most interesting supporting characters is Trisha’s brother Yash and I hope we have a future book with him (although I’m not sure which Austen character he is the most like? Colonel Brandon is the only one I can think off the top of my head that might work). He is a kind and caring older brother, supportive fiancé, survived the machinations of the evil Wickham, was in a car accident and lost his ability to walk-astounding doctors when he made it out of the wheelchair, encourages DJ to go after his sister, and stopped a terrorist attack on Alcatraz (pg. 17). Please tell me he is coming back.

So this book is more than just a story of Pride and Prejudice, it also is a love letter to food and food creation. Parts of it reminded me of my Mexican grandmother who would make things with no recipe but how she was taught and always had to feed us when she saw us. I loved reading about how DJ loves food, his preparation in making it, his desire to bring comfort to others. One of my favorite parts was when he was having a hard time talking to Emma-his worry, anger, and pain muddling up his words, and he put together the perfect breakfast for her.

How sweet!

So reading this reminded me of the show Hart of Dixie. In the show, Mischa Barton plays Dr. Zoe Hart who has horrid bedside manner and instead of her dream job gets told she needs to spend a year in a general practice. She moves to Bluebell, Alabama and ends up inheriting the practice from her biological father (it’s complicated, it’s a soap opera). She is kind of a know-it-all (treating the people of Bluebell lower than her) and focused solely on herself and her plan to get patients and complete her time-but eventually she gets a change of “heart” and grows to love the people and the town.

Trisha reminded me a lot of Zoe Hart. We hear her backstory and where she is coming from, but the way she relates to people-she is as bad as Zoe. They way Trisha treats DJ as he is just a “cook” is the same way Zoe treats Wade as he is just a “bartender”. Both believe they are better than the “hired help”. When she firsts meets DJ she tells him her surgical hands are more important than the dish he was cooking, she eats all the food at the tasting without him, and when she proposes she says she has never dated someone who hasn’t gone to college (forgetting that DJ went to Cordon Bleu).

But even with those flaws, you still want her to have a happy ending with DJ-mostly because like Darcy and Elizabeth, she realizes her wrongs and apologizes for them along with actually changing her behavior.

Emma’s storyline of being an artist with a tumor who’s choices are either death or blindness is heartbreaking. Every part with her was raw and real as she went through the stages of grief-grieving her loss of what she loves. I can’t imagine life without my eyes, and her storyline was beyond powerful.

Life seems grey..

Throughout the book there is also this theme of secrets causing issues and I thought it was really well done. Secrets can cause miscommunication, for instance Nisha doesn’t want anyone to know she is pregnant until she is out of the troubling stage. She makes Trisha promise not to tell anyone, and instead of including DJ in her confidence, her keeping him out of the loop causes some serious miscommunications. Secrets can also keep you from knowing the truth of a whole story and color your views. For instance, Trisha’s mother has a powerful secret she has kept because she doesn’t want her children to view her differently, but revealing it allows Trisha to better understand both her parents.

Hmmm…

At the end Dev says that she is going to write more books based on Jane Austen using some of the characters and I’m thinking it can’t be Nisha as she is already married. It has to be Asha or Yash and Asha sounds prime for a Persuasion retelling-family used to be rich, trying to pick up the financial pieces, always sad, growing older and is still unmarried…perfect for Persuasion.

And I saved the part I found most meaningful for last:

“You’re Indian?” This time the shock wasn’t a surprise. Both Emma and he favored their Rwandan mother.”

Yes! Finally, a book involving not only a multiracial character but finally a voice to what it feels to grow up multiracial. This is 100% truth for how it feels growing up a mix of different races, but your phenotype favoring one, and the way people treat you different.

I loved that this book had a multiracial character, as growing up there were no books or TV shows, except I Love Lucy that had that. Like I said in my review of The Colonel,  I can not express enough with words how it felt growing up and feeling so different and alone, with no one like you. This feeling of inbetween as you don’t really belong to one or the other.

I only wish it had more on DJ’s feelings of being multiracial. I’m not saying that him sharing how it feels to be dark skinned in America isn’t important, but being multiracial has its own set of issues, feelings, and ways of being treated that I wished she had talked more about. Take my niece for example, people would see her and think she is African-American: but she is Italian, Danish, Mexican, and African-American. Not only does she have to deal with the issues that face African-Americans, but she also has to deal with African-Americans not accepting her because she isn’t “black enough” and Mexicans not accepting her because she “isn’t Mexican”.

Any multiracial person can swap out Latino with their race and this describes what it feels like. Although I wouldn’t have used the word fraud.

I’m not saying what Dev has in there isn’t important, it is, I just wish she had expanded a bit more on DJ’s issues of growing up multicultural more. Did people of Indian descent treat him differently because of his dark skin? How did his Emma navigate this? Did he ever have to prove he was Indian, like I’ve had to prove I’m Mexican? I enjoyed what Dev did, I’m just starved for more as there wasn’t anything like this for me growing up.

Hmmm…

I really enjoyed this story, and I want to thank Dev again for including a multiracial character. I thought it was a great read, and I can’t wait for the next installment ( I looked it up, it IS Persuasion) and hopefully her versions of Northanger Abbey, Emma, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more on Mr. Darcygo to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more adaptions of Jane Austen, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

So last month my friends and I were supposed to meet up for high tea, but then COVID-19 happened and screwed up all our plans.

So we decided to throw a virtual tea party.

We each set up a space with snacks and tea, I drank Earl Grey Tea and made Cucumber Sandwiches to snack on. When it came to the sweets, I was going to make one thing, but then decided now was the time to try and make something I have wanted to for a long time, Earl Grey Cookies. You all know how much I love Earl Grey Tea:

I have always wanted to make Earl Grey Cookies, I have a ton of pins of them on my pinterest board.

Thats me

The only issue is that you have to chill them for a while before baking and I just haven’t had the time to bake, let alone bake something that had to be chilled first. But with quarantine, I have both the time and the ingredients. This recipe originally comes from Let’s Eat Cake.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 Cups of Flour
  • 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of Lavender Earl Grey Loose Leaf Tea
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Cups of Unsalted Butter

Directions:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, tea, and salt together for one minute in a bowl or food processor.
  2. Add butter and vanilla extract.
  3. Pulse until shaggy dough is formed, about two mins.
  4. Remove blade and transfer dough to a working surface.
  5. Work dough until it comes together and shape it into two discs.
  6. Place each disc on parchment paper and transfer to refrigerator for 30 mins.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies using a 1 inch wide cookie cutter.
  10. Transfer cookies to baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.

So these cookies were good, but after they had been chilled they were so difficult to scoop out, like they were a rock. I had to use a spoon and chisel the dough, making the cookies extremely tiny. Tiny cookies weren’t all that bad as it let me eat more of them.

I ended up overdoing it though. I drank like 16 cups of tea and I don’t know how many cookies and had a hard time falling asleep.

For more recipes, go to Cucumber Sandwiches

For more tea posts, go to NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

For more cookies, go to Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

For more shortbread cookie recipes, go to Basic Shortbread

For more Earl Grey Tea, go to Iced Blackberry Infused Earl Grey Tea

In other news, this week I am going on vacation.

I know, crazy right? A whole week? I had all these plans to spend the time with my niece doing all kinds of things but now it sounds like it will be a staycation. Oh well.

I’ll be on instagram still but I won’t be doing any posting on my blog.

GOOD!

Cucumber Sandwiches

So last month my friends and I were supposed to meet up for high tea, as this is something we have been trying to do about every three months to stay connected as it is seems to get harder the older you get.

We had the date and reservations at this amazing historic tea place, but then COVID-19 happened.

So we decided to do our own tea party, a virtual tea party.

We each set up a space with snacks and tea, I drank Earl Grey Tea of course.

I decided to make a new type of Cucumber Sandwiches and Earl Grey Tea Cookies. Both of which were extremely delicious, and I decided to share them with you here, starting with the cucumber sandwiches, which originally come from Spend With Pennies.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
  • 2 Teaspoons of Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 Teaspoon of Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Long English Cucumber, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Loaf of Bread, Crusts Removed

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise in a small bowl with a hand mixer, until smooth.
  2. Stir in herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut crusts off bread slices.
  4. Spread bread slices with cream cheese mixture.
  5. Thinly slice cucumbers, layer over half of the bread slices.
  6. Top with additional herbs, if desired.
  7. Top with remaining bread slice and cut each sandwich into three pieces.

These were delicious! I’m glad I was the only one eating them as I wanted to eat them all!

 

For more recipes, go to Lemon Curd

For more tea sandwich recipes, go to Basic Chicken Salad

For more tea party recipes, go to Scottish Oat Scones

NovelTea Tins’ Romance Sampler

So my church is doing a “secret sister”. You get matched up with another woman in the church for three months, praying for them and sending them notes or giving them gifts.

With COVID-19 having us shelter in place and not being able to meet at church, if we want to give our secret sisters gifts we have to come up with different ways. My secret sister ended up mailing me $20 to buy myself something nice for Easter.

Hmm…

What to buy? I knew I wanted to support a small business as they are hurting, and searched through Instagram to see which one.

Hmmm…

So a while back I found this company NovelTea Tins and instantly loved how cute it was. They are book tea tins and each have a punny title off of classic literature. You all know how I love classic literature.

War and Peach (Peach Tea + War and Peace), The Picture of Earl Grey (Earl Grey + The Picture of Earl Grey), Matcha Do About Nothing (Matcha Green Tea + Much Ado About Nothing), Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea + Pride and Prejudice), Anne of Green Gables Tea (Green Raspberry Tea + Anne of Green Gables), Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea + Sense and Sensibility), Don Quixote: Man of La Manchai (Chai Tea + Don Quixote: Man of La Mancha), and more. You know me, I love:

So I was excited to try these out. I agonized over which to buy as there were so many that sounded good…but I finally decided on the Romance Sampler, as it had The Picture of Earl Grey, being my favorite type of tea-Earl Grey.

Along with Pride & Peppermint (Peppermint Tea) and Sense and Senchability (Green Sencha Tea). I also love both of those teas and couldn’t resist them being Jane Austen. You know me…

The sampler cost about $24 with shipping and handling and it came extremely fast. I ordered it afternoon on Sunday and it arrived on Tuesday.

Tea #1: The Picture of Earl Grey

This tea is inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of my favorite Gothic novels where a young, gorgeous, rich man gets seduced by the Hedonist lifestyle and wishes that he would never grow old but his beautiful picture would instead. It does, but also with it growing older instead of Dorian-every selfish, cruel, rude, horrible acts he commits-gets transferred onto the painting as well.

It is a great book, and I highly recommend reading it.

The tea actually has the picture of Earl Grey-Charles Grey 2nd Earl Grey, the namesake of the delicious tea, the one that the tea was presented to and comes with a bookmark with his face on it as well.

This tea is made of Jasmine Green Tea, Black Tea, Rose Petals, Natural Flavor; and has moderate caffeine.

So I LOVE Earl Grey, but I did not love this one. It wasn’t bad, but I felt the Jasmine Green Tea in it was too strong. I tasted that over everything else and I prefer my Earl Grey with black tea, lavender, and bergamot oil. 

What I ended up doing was mixing it with my Tiesta Tea and enjoying it. My mom loved it, so please don’t think I’m saying the tea is bad, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

For more on The Picture of Dorian Gray, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Tea #2: Pride and Peppermint

This tea is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and I’m sure most of you know how much I love this book.

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.

This peppermint tea has Elizabeth Bennet on it and comes with two bookmarks, one with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

Peppermint tea was my first love, when I just started drinking tea. It is made of organic rooibos, organic peppermint, and organic chamomile; it is also caffeine-free.

I thought this tea to smell absolutely divine and it was so delicious. I absolutely loved it, and immediately drank three cups.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical

Tea #3: Sense and Senchability

This tea is inspired by Sense and Sensibility, and like Pride and Prejudice I love Sense and Sensibility.

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.

This tea has both sisters on it and comes with a bookmark that has a Dashwood sister on either side. This has green Sencha tea and “sensible levels of caffeine.” Haha, I love that.

This tea was fantastic. It probably is the best Sencha tea I’ve ever had.

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne Dashwood

So these teas were so cute and good, even though the first one was not my cup of tea-but I had  wonderful time drinking them.

For more tea posts, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God