Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: Suitors and Sabotage

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

Hmmm…

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

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So we added this book to the library last July and I was very interested in reading it, but had too many books on my to-read list. I decided to read it at a later time, you know what I’m talking about.

I first became interested in the book because of the cover, I know-we aren’t supposed to, but it is so beautiful.

Then I looked at the back and saw:

“…Jane Austen spiced with action, suspense, and humor.”

“Jane Austen fans in need of a good book look no further.”

“It’s Jane Austen meets Jane Foster…”

After that I HAD to read it, if it is recommended for Austen fans-here we go.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks.

Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

I don’t want to do this

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen!

Oh no!

But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity.

Sorry, I have it in my media library and had to use it.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Emma Woodhouse from Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale version

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again).

Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about Joseph Turner.

Uh, excuse me…his name is Joseph Mallard William Turner. Sorry if my art history is showing, but he did make beautiful paintings. They were large “romantic” pieces of art. We studied Slave Ship, Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On, in my class but they wouldn’t have seen that painting as it wasn’t done until 1840.

Anyways…

Anyways…sorry for that derail.

So the brothers are some of the best parts of the book as it is fun to read their interactions as they mess with each other. For instance Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest.

I’m so bored….BEN! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!

Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Ugh!!

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her?

But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them (very Frank Churchill). Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Forget you!

They spend time together, but then Imogene goes to give Emily’s sister, Harriet, her drawing lessons.

Afterwards, she finds Emily decked out in her most flattering gown, ready for Ben’s return-you know pulling a Sandy.

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ben has a horrible secret and admits it to Imogene. He wants to be an architect more than anything in the world, but he cannot draw! He begs her for lessons and to keep his secret. It makes Imogene feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and she begins lessons with him.

OKaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Red flag number 2!!! Liar, secret keeping, your only role is to make HIM better. Imogene, walk away-walk away!!!

That evening Ernest and Imogene finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about Turner, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature.

A handsome, kind, caring, rich man who loves to read?

I’m with Mrs. Bennet!

He’s PERFECT!!! He’s the mythical unicorn!!!!!

Imogene begins to enjoy Ernest’s company just as much as Ben’s and finds herself in a real quandary. She likes Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

A MYSTERY!!! You know what that means…

Mystery, you say? I’m on the case

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Uhhhh…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

Which one, which one…

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

Come on guys!

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

That’s my sibling!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better. It is a tale as old as Fritz and Ernst (The Swiss Family Robinsons) or modern day-Dean and Sam (Supernatural). You have two guys who are amazing guys-both nice, brave, good people. One is more of an introvert, one more of an extrovert; one slightly more brawny, one slightly more brainy; etc. And you can only choose one!

Who would I pick? I really liked Ernest. I thought he was kind, caring, sweet-loved that he was a reader and found him to be like Mr. Tilney-comfortable, a novel reader, and just fun.

Ben, on the other hand, I could not stand. He made me think of Frank Churchill, a charmer-all fluff, and no substance. I really felt that Ben picked up on how Imogene feels ignored and not valued for her art and really  played on that manipulating her into being with him so he can use her artistic ability to further his career. I hate charming flirts-they are such jerks so I didn’t want her with him, I wanted Ernest!!! But hey that’s just me-you might feel differently.

Plus, 100000000000000000000000000000000x points: Ernest has read all the Jane Austen  novels.

What?

For more non-Austen reads for Austen readers, Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: A Love for Keeps

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

For more Young Adult books, go to Prom & Prejudice

 

Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits?

We all know how Dean Winchester feels about pie:

DeanWinchesterPie.jpg

Did you know that Jane Austen felt the same way?

applepie

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving Day and enjoy yourself some pie!

And in case you need it, here is a fantastic pie recipe from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

Pie Crust

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Shortening
  • Ice Water

Filling:

  • 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 6-7 Granny Smith Apples peeled, and cut into slices
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix up the shortening and flour. Add in water, a tablespoon at a time until dough is more malleable. If you add too much and it is too liquid-y, then just add a bit more flour to firm it up.
  2. Put dough aside.
  3. When cutting up the apples, make sure to remove the hard pieces where the seed grows along with any spots or blemishes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°
  5. Combine the apples, with the brown and white sugar.
  6. Add the flour and cinnamon, mixing them all together.
  7. Divid the dough in half and roll into two balls.
  8. Take a cutting board and put a little flour on the surface, rubbing it. Rub flour on your rolling pin as well.
  9. Place the dough down and roll it into a large circle.
  10. Place the dough in a cake pan.
  11. Lay the apples down on the dough in the pan.
  12. Put the two tablespoons of butter on top.
  13. Repeat step 8.
  14. Place the second ball of dough down and roll it out into a large circle.
  15. Place it on top, to be the top of your pie.
  16. Cut a small incision on the top of the pie to allow steam out.
  17. Add a dash of cinnamon and sugar on top.

For more recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more on Thanksgiving, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more on Dean Winchester, go to Loving Me Some Dean

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to A Real Non-Party Animal

For more on pie, go to I Before E, Especially After P

For more holiday posts, go to Let Freedom Ring

Eye Guess I Won’t Be Seeing You

So I hate going to the doctors. You have to wait forever, and then they give you a millisecond after all the paperwork and time spent with dumb old magazines.

doctorhatedoctors

There is only one doctor I don’t mind visiting, the eye doctor/optometrist.

Say What

I only go once a year, I get in fast, spend some time looking through lenses at a sign on the wall; and then I’m out and off with my life.

No problem at all.

No problem at all.

This time however things were a little different.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

So I went in for my yearly visit as I have to buy new glasses. My old ones the bridge is messed up and scratching my nose and irritating my skin.

glassesnotafashionaccessory

While I was there the doctor asked me if she could dilute my eyes.

UHHHHHHHH!!!!

UHHHHHHHH!!!!

I had no idea what that was but since she had never done it and I have to do it every so many years I agreed.

I don't need it.

I don’t need it.

I asked if I needed to call a ride or anything, but she said I should be fine to drive. It was mostly going to affect my vision of things close up, like reading, but far away should be okay.

startrekletsgetstarted

She then pulled out this weird creepy headpiece that looked like it was from a horror film or something.

totalrecall3

She put the drops in my eyes and of course wore the headpiece and checked me out.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

I passed, but afterwards things were weird.

weirdtwilightzone

It was so hard to read anything, I felt like a 40 year old woman or something. I could only look at things after they were a foot away from my body.

see cute guy look

I had such a hard time paying my bill.

idon'tgotthis

The light was also super bright in the store.

The light burns.

The light burns.

I was told that it would be blinding outside and given special lens to wear under my glasses. I walked outside and the light was crazy bright in my face. I had to shut my eyes and pull out the lenses to block out the pain.

It burns

It burns

I felt like a vampire or something.

Dracula

I tried to drive, but the power of the sun was just too strong I had to call for a ride.

idon'tgotthis

Having your eyes diluted is one of the weirdest things ever. Your pupil is so big and black you look possessed or something.

DemonDean MonsterSupernatural

I had to shun the light and the day, instead becoming a creature of the night.

But something terrible lurks inside.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more doctor visits, go to Avengers Assemble

For more on glasses, go to Not a Hipster, But an O.F.

For more stories on my everyday life, go to My Trip to Teavana

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Now in other news, today is a very special day in our world & nation’s history. I would just like to take the time to give a shout out to all the veterans who have served, and all the troops currently serving.  Thank you so much for everything you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I am so happy to live in a country that gives honor to those who deserve it for all that they do. Happy Veteran’s Day!

freedomlibertyneverforgetMrSmithgoestowashington

Loving Me Some Dean

HuntingDeanWinchesterSupernatural

Dean Winchester, what can I say about him?

Dean Winchester Batman

Just perfect, and has completely ruined me for other men.

Dean Winchester

I mean he is a great older brother, a great father (had to take that role on when his dad would take off), loyal, strong, sweet, movie buff, second biggest Clint Eastwood fan (I’m the first).

supernaturalgunblowoutdeanwinchesterwestern

I could go on and on…

ObsessedWithDeanWinchesterSupernatural

But as he is fictional and I’ll never meet him…

Talk2UBoutFictionalCharacters

I’ll just have to settle for a marathon of Supernatural!

Pie&Supernatural&Dean

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Dean Winchester, go to The Fan, The Girl

For more Supernatural, go to A Supernatural Sunday

A Supernatural Sunday

So for Christmas last year one of my gifts was a set of Supernatural tattoos. I had waited to try them just in case…

supernaturalsupernatural

As I decided it was time to try them out, why not make a whole day of it?

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So grab the drinks and snacks…

draculaMonstermovieSupernaturalcoupon

Try and see if you can bag a Winchester to join you

SupernaturalattractWinchesterBros

And grab your bingo board:

supernatural

And get ready for non-stop entertainment.

supernaturalison

And just in case…make sure you are protected.

ed146eed-5588-4715-8563-8c42b7c74ac0

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Supernatural, go to The Fan, The Girl

The Fan, The Girl

Fandom

So here we go with another fandom post. You can see some things I love, and maybe check them out yourself.

hearts banner

Step by Step

Step by Step was the ’90s Brady Bunch. In this two families were melded together but it was far from the happy, perfect bond shown in the ’60s. This kids didn’t like each other at first and spent time trying to get along, they dealt with more serious issues; but in the end always had family fun.

So we have Frank Lambert (Patrick Duffy), divorced father of three. His eldest is J.T., a cool jock, ladies man, and doesn’t care about school; Brandon, the cute baby boy; and Al, his daughter who has been raised as a boy.

Carol Foster (Suzanne Somers) is a widowed beautician with three children of her own: Dana, brainy, beautiful, and sarcastic; Karen, the beauty queen; and Donald the nerdiest nerd that you ever did see. Later Carol and Frank have a daughter named Lily.

Throw in a talented but not brainy nephew Cody, a French male stylist Jean-Luc, and the regular sitcom zaniness and you have a winner of a show.

The only thing I was ever disappointed in was that Dana was always turning down Cody as she thought he was “too dumb” but ended up with Rich who was dumber than soap. I always wanted Dana and Cody to get together as he may not be the smartest; but he was loyal, faithful, and adorable

hearts banner

Sweet Valley High

Go here to see who you are

Go here to see who you are

Sweet Valley High was a book series I started reading in the fifth grade. Previously I had read a few books of the Sweet Valley Twins series, but couldn’t get into it. I was looking for something to do my book report on, and just checking out the stacks when I came upon Sweet Valley High: The Stolen Diary. I liked the story and started reading the rest of the series.

As I kid I really liked the series and wanted to even live in their idealic Californian world, and I thought the stories were fun and interesting.

As an adult I know they weren’t the best written book. Most of them are cheesy, silly, or sometimes don’t make sense; but these were the ’80s-’90s versions of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill except with a different type of drama. And the fact that Elizabeth preaches about commitment to her sister Jessica, yet cheats on her boyfriend way more than her sister.

So the story follows the twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Both are juniors, blonde, 5’6, and size sixes. Elizabeth is the smart, responsible one who dreams of being a journalist or writer.

Jessica is the fashionable, social butterfly, cheerleader that dreams of parties and popularity.

They leave in Sweet Valley near Los Angeles and attend school with their friends. The first book focused on the two girls, but the later ones were divided into two stories: one about a friend or relative while the other is about the girls. The later series got a bit darker and was done in short series, two or three books that went together. The topics ranged from drugs, sex, school dances, serial killers, sports, werewolves, princes, vampires, kidnapping, stalkers, etc. You know normal teenage girl stuff. 😉

Yes as the series progressed the writers changed, and while I didn’t like some of the alterations I still continued to read and collect (still do so today) the novels. What can I say? They are such a big part of my childhood they bring on a tsunami of nostalgia.

readingabkkid impression identity a part of us You've got mail meg ryan

I continued reading the books, but didn;t car for the Senior Year or College Years. For me it was just the junior high one. I always wanted Elizabeth abd Todd togther, although as an adult I see they didn’t have the best relationship; and I really liked Jessica with Ken Matthews or Bruce Patman. I don’t know  why, but I shipped Jessica and Bruce so much.

The books were turned into a TV series which sort-of-not-really followed the book series. It was fun to watch and you see a lot of different stars move through. Maggie Lawson (Psych) is Elizabeth Wakefield, Jason David Frank (Power Rangers) as A.J. Morgan, and my introduction to this mega-hottie Jensen Ackles as Enid’s cousin.

hearts banner

Supernatural

Hmm…what to say?

supernatural

So my only knowledge of Supernatural before my friend convinced me to watch the show with her was that it came on before Las Vegas, and that the director used dark lighting.

However, that all changed when my friend was introducing the show to another friend. I walked in as the episode had just begun, and the next thing you know: I was hooked.

watchsupernatural

So the show is about two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester; who have spent their lives hunting down Demons, Ghosts, Vampires, Djinns, Wendingos, etc; pretty much anything “supernatural”.

supernatural supernatural

Sam tried to leave the life behind and live a normal life as a lawyer. However, he finds himself drawn back in when his older brother Dean asks for his help in tracking down their missing father and to avenge the death of his girlfriend.

The first five seasons deal with searching for their father, uncovering a conspiracy, and trying to stop the Apocalypse. While I still watch the show and enjoy the new episodes, those first five seasons were so fantastic and my favorites.

Supernatural

So let’s talk about the boys, Dean and Sam. Dean is the brawny, white knight; caring and compassionate willing to sacrifice himself for others. As their dad was MIA for their early lives, he raised same and sometimes treats him more as his child than a younger brother.

Sam is more independent, intelligent, a researcher, cool, collected, and a planner. He is just as caring and compassionate; but more the general willing to create a strategy rather than run in guns blazing.

They also are funny and interesting. And the fact that they are three years apart reminds me of my older sister and I. We are three years apart and she is a Dean, while I am Sam. This was exhibited in the episode Tall Tales. Just trade computer for hair dryer and it is us!

SupernaturalDean&Sam

Now being a Christian, I may not agree with the theology they use (as it appears to be a combination of Catholicism and Calvinism); but I enjoy the show anyway.

One of the main reasons why?

supernaturalgunblowoutdeanwinchesterwestern

He’s everything you’d want (personality and interests-wise) in a man and in one incredible package.

Dean

Dean

Too bad he doesn’t exist in real life.

waitingforDeanWinchester

Another thing I love about the show is the music. They have all the classic songs that I adore. It’s nice to have something that plays good music instead of todays boring genres.

BacktothefutureMartyMcflyrocknrollguitarsolo

Yep, all part of being a Supernatural fan.

Supernaturalfangirl

But while I have sad feelings when watching, I also enjoy every moment I see the Winchesters on screen.

can'tbuyhappinesscanbuySupernatural

So now as I am a part of the fandom, we have a certain sentiment we like to share with others:

superntural

And the flipside?

InsultSupernatural

For more on Supernatural, go to A Bump in the Night

For more on Dean Winchester, go to Back to the Supernatural

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For the previous post, go to We Will Fandom You

And Stay tuned for part 24

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

NotaPsychopathFangirl

A Bump in the Night

One of the scariest things that can happen is when you hear strange noises and are home alone.

i'mscared

So this past weekend I was home alone with my three pets. I was just chilling, watching TV when all of a sudden I heard “Bump, bump, bump.”Almost as if someone was knocking on the windows.

Whattheheck

I looked around but couldn’t find anything.

IT MAKES NO SENSE

Strange.

So I decided to ignore it.

Whatever.jpg cheese fries

So I continued watching TV and I heard the banging again.

I'm scared!

I’m scared!

So I decided it must be one of the dogs, maybe he got stuck in one of the rooms. I called him, but it turned out he was hiding in the top cushions of the couch next to me.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Okay I’m not going to lie, one of the scariest things is when you are home alone and you hear strange noises. I started to worry that it might be somebody trying to get into the house.

Oh Crap!

Oh Crap!

So I looked around the house and outside, but I couldn’t find anything.

i'mscared

And the bang, bang, bang continued…

what what'shappeningSupernatural

So I’m not going to lie, being a fan of Supernatural, my mind did go there.

supernatural supernatural

I decided that it was time to look around outside and see what was the cause of this noise.

Every time!

Yes I know horror films, I know that usually meet disaster, but I decided I needed some proof before I called for help. So I armed myself and headed out.

supernaturalgundeanwinchester

I don’t actually own a gun so I brought out a bat instead.

And was ready to meet anything out there.

That’s right, you don’t want to mess with me.

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

I went out and found…………………………………………………………..

*GASP*

OMG gasp

IT WAS A…..

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

Bird.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Yes a little bird had flown in the open door that lead to our indoor pool. It had gotten stuck and was trying to find a way out. Every now and then it would stop and rest on the wooden beams, which was the same color and hid it from view. That’s why I couldn’t find it when it stopped banging on the windows in its attempts to get out.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

It took about an hour, but I managed to free it from the room and release it back into the wild. Yep, mission accomplished.

supernaturalgunblowoutdeanwinchesterwestern

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more Supernatural, go to Back in Black

For more events from my everyday life, go to Death By an Alarming Rate