Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

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

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

I Met Mr Darcy

So I met Mr. Darcy

Huh?

I’m not kidding

I’m 100% serious…not a cosplayer or cardboard cutout or twitter handler whatever else you are thinking. I mean An honest to God flesh and blood Mr. Darcy.

Yes.

YES.

I am 100% telling the truth!

So two years ago I wrote a post on how I met a Mrs. Darcy at work and was wondering what her husband’s name was, or if she had sons if she named them William or Fitzwilliam.

Hmmm…

So the other day, she comes back into the library with her husband Mr. Darcy.

I know, I fangirled just a bit (inside of course) having met a “real” Mr. Darcy.

Wow

Of course he wasn’t Laurence Olivier:

Or Colin Firth:

Hmm…

He was a grumpy, 80-year old man. Not Austen’s Darcy-although he had the grumpiness down:

But whatever-

I can still say that I have actually met “Mr. Darcy”, so yeah-I feel pretty cool about that.

So cool!

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious (2015)

Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

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

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time the book club member chose:

The Mother Keeper by Paula Scott

So in my last book club book review I had chosen The Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott and our book club actually got to meet her!

Afterwards, we all started following her on instagram, facebook, etc. One book club member spotted this on facebook and afterwards wanted to read it.

Paula Scott told us that she started writing this years ago and tucked it away, bringing it out later when her daughters wanted a romance as she wouldn’t let them read Twilight (thank goodness).

She tweaked it here and there and rewrote it-this being the finishing product.

Jenny McBride and her husband Kevin, live in Colorado, are celebrating New Year’s Eve and ecstatic for their pregnancy. They can’t wait or the baby, dreaming of all the things they would like to do.

Both are Christians and strong leaders in their church. That night Kevin had a drink, something Jenny does not approve of, and she insists on driving them home in the snow. A car comes careening their way, and crashes into them. Jenny loses her uterus, Kevin his leg, and both their baby.

Nooooooooooooooo

Jenny can’t believe this happened to her, her whole life she has been a good Christian and this is what happens to her? She is hurt, depressed, and angry.

Noooo!

Meanwhile, in the country areas of Tennessee, teenagers Ellie Ryan and her boyfriend are making plans for the future. Jamie is a big football star and will get a scholarship, while Ellie can get one with her amazing grades. However, there is one wrinkle-Ellie is pregnant.

That is not good,

She doesn’t tell her boyfriend, she just breaks up with him. She then heads to the pregnancy crisis center where her sister had gotten an abortion before she took off to California. Ellie hasn’t heard from her since.

At the center, Ellie meets Patsy Klein, a pastor’s wife, who invites her to come stay with her and take part in their church’s Mother Keeper program. The Mother Keeper program, is when a family takes in a pregnant teen and helps take care of her until she has the baby. Sometimes they adopt the baby, help arrange adoptions, or just help them until they can figure out their next step. They pay the food and medical bills through church funding/fundraising.

Ellie stays with Pastor Klein, Patsy, and their three boys-Shawn, Seth, and Stephen. For Ellie, this a dream come true as she is finally part a perfect family.

Shawn is upset when he hears that a pregnant girl from Sutterville-Sucksville-is going to be living with  them. He has enough on his plate with football, a scholarship to Vanderbilt, his beautiful girlfriend Jill who desires him. But meeting Ellie and spending time with her-Shawn realizes that the life he has been living isn’t what he wants at all, but what does he want? Now, he doesn’t know.

Hmmm….I need to rethink my life’s choices

As Shawn and Ellie grow closer, Shawn wants to marry her and raise the baby together. But the assistant pastor contacts his sister Jenny, she having gone through a spiritual battle and grief, is ready to adopt-Ellie’s baby. What will Ellie decide?

Many more decisions will be made as secrets are brought out in the open: a secret affair, true parentage revealed, murder, rape, and a fight over who will adopt Ellie’s baby.

Wow!

This was a a fantastic story and a real page turner. Paula Scott doesn’t pull way from anything, but hits the truth hard.

What?

It’s funny because it certain characters reminded me of ones from Desperate Pastor Wives and The MasterpieceThat was completely unplanned by us. In DPW, Jennifer Shores too has lost a baby, and becomes angry with God; having to go through her journey, getting close to God, and figuring what is next in the future. In The Masterpiece, Grace Moore is kept by a family until she has her child, and goes through a similar battle over who will adopt her child, along with having family issues she has to work through.

It was a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Far Side of the Sea

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

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

Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

So there are fans

And then there are the hardcore fangirls/fanboys…

Now a lot of us call ourselves major Jane Austen fans,

But one guy takes the cake: Prince George IV.

Can you believe that, a royal fangirl or boy in this case.

Huh?

So the story goes that Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, became very ill. Dr. Matthew Baillie was the Prince Regent’s doctor and when finding out who Henry’s sister is he lets Jane know that the Prince is a big fan of her novels.

“…that the Prince was a great admirer of her novels; that he read them often, and kept a set in every one of his residences … and that the Prince had desired Mr. Clarke [James Stanier Clarke], the librarian of Carlton House, to wait upon her”*

What?

She was “invited”, as one cannot say no to a prince, to go to Carlton House and there was “asked” to give a dedication to the prince in her next novel.

With her books

Now this would have been fine for most people but Jane Austen really, really did not like the Prince Regent. She hated how he treated his wife, Princess Caroline (read more here). So she didn’t want to.

But can you say no to a prince?

Of course not.

So it had to be done and this is what she wanted it to say:

“The Title page must be Emma, Dedicated by Permission to H.R.H. The Prince Regent. – And it is my particular wish that one Set should be completed & sent to H.R.H. two or three days before the Work is generally public.”

But that’s not enough for a fangirl/boy. They want more.

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

 THE PRINCE REGENT

THIS WORK IS,

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES PERMISSION,

MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR

It makes you wonder what you as a fan, or people you know, would make their favorite person to fan over do with that kind of power.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Just Jane

For more on fangirling, go to To Fandom With Love

A New Hope

40 years ago a film came out in May that changed the culture and the history of movie making. It had amazing characters and figures, and as I honored Star Trek last year, I decided this year will be all about that film. And what film?

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Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Yes I am a humongous fan and I could not let the year go by without talking about it.

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As we have also lost Carrie Fisher last year, I also want to honor her in this post. Her performance as Princess Leia impacted me in so many ways as I just wanted to be her.

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So this is a time to reflect on what the past year held for us, the big posts, what’s new, and what you all seemed to like the most.

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This post will only cover a few things, you really should check out the year for yourself. To start at the beginning go here.

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The Views

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This year I had over 52,000 views!

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The most viewed day of the year was October 24th, in which I posted We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

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The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although strangely non were posted this year.

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I mean you like what you like. I’m just happy people are reading my blog.

5) A Monster Race: Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988) part of Horrorfest’s 31 Days of Horror films (2012)

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4) Being Friends is Good Enough: Catching Fire (2013) from Romance is in the Air: Part II‘s 14 days of my favorite romantic moments (2014)

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3) A Real Man, quotable post on what it means to be a real man (2014)

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2) I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil: The Crucible (1996), part of Horrorfest II’s 31 Days of Horror films (2013)

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1) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002), from Romance is in the Air‘s 14 days of my favorite romantic moments (2013)

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The Followers!

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So this community has really grown in numbers and I can not describe how pleased I am about that. We have gone from 14 followers in 2012 to 42 followers in 2013, 169 followers in 2014, to 439 in 2015, and now 616

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So enough about the statistics and numbers! Let’s move on to what was covered this year and what changes I have made to the blog

1) Star Trek

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So as Star Trek turned fifty last year I tried to have it influence the posts. I didn’t do as much as I did the year before with Back to the Future, but I tried.

For Star Trek we have my taste in fashion, A Fashion Statement; my Saint Patrick’s Day post, Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes; my Horrorfest V post, “Charlie X” from Star Trek (1966); and ending with my Christmas post Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

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2) Story of My Life

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So every year I like to incorporate posts on just scenes or experiences from my everyday life. This year I shared how I hated traffic court in Runaround Suesanvillehow I almost killed myself with my alarm clock in Death By an Alarming Ratewhen I heard a strange bumping noise while being home alone in A Bump in the Nightmy totally awesome ’80s party in Back to the ’80sfleeing the stress of finals by my Escape to Alcatrazdying my hands green in My Favorite Martianrunning into the ex in When You Least Expect Itmy trip to Nerd Con in Revenge of the Nerdsmy bad eye-perience at the eye doctor in Eye Guess I Won’t Be Seeing You

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3) Honoring Special People

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So every year I try to honor special people who have made an impact in my life, passed away, or are celebrating a birthday. I never get to do everyone I care about, but here are the ones I did: David Bowie with Changes, Turn and Face the StrangeAlan Rickman with A Man of Great Worth and RespectabilityMichael Ende and his novel The Neverending Story in A Book Only a Reader Could WriteRoald Dahl’s 100th birthday in Come With Me and You’ll Be in a World of Pure Imagination;

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4) You Can’t Keep a Fangirl Down

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So these fangirl posts just keep coming. I’m trying to finish them, but we still have a few more things I’m obsessed with to finish.

Last year I reviewed the ABBA, Alias, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Gossip Girl, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Ned and Stacey, One Tree Hill, The Patridge Family, Queen, Ringer, The Rocky Series, Sarah Dessen, Saved by the Bell, Scooby-Doo, 7th Heaven, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, Sleeping Beauty, Spider-man, Star Wars, Star Trek, Step by Step, Sweet Valley High, Supernatural, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Thorn Birds, Touched by an Angel, Twin Peaks, Xena: Warrior Princess

To read, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-tryThe Fan, The GirlThe FANtom MenanceA Study in Fandoms, To Kill a Fangirl, Return of the Fandom, The Strange Case of a Fangirl and Her Fandoms, We Will Fandom You

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5) My Marvelous Music

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I reviewed less this year than the previous ones, but still took some time out to about some tunes I love. We had: Back in Black by AC/DC; Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen; Crocodile Rock by Elton John; December, 1963 (Oh What A Night) by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons; Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold; Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger; Summertime by My Chemical Romance;  T.N.T by AC/DC; You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC

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6) Jane, Jane, Jane, Janey, Janey, Janey, Janey, Janey Book Reviews

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I love Jane Austen, after all its is in the name! This year I reviewed a number of books that were related to or a retelling of her books.

I reviewed a collection of essays in The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen compiled by editors Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster; then the baby versions of Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility by Jennifer Adams

I then went over the following retellings: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #1) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron, Captain Wentworth’s Diary (Jane Austen’s Heroes #3) by Amanda Grange; Austenland and Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale, Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James; The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo, Amanda (The Austen Series) by Debra White Smith Daring Chloe (Getaway Girls #1) by Laura Jensen Walker,

I also reviewed the Emma film starring Kate Beckinsale in Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale VersionEpisode One” from Death Comes to Pemberley (2013), and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012)

And of course continuing to talk about the book Emma; in When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse

And my Jane Austen mashup in Candy Girls

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7) Now Gimme That Good Good Lovin’

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So we brought back Romance is in the Air, the fourth countdown to Valentine’s Day I’ve done on this blog. Every day I posted a different romantic moment.

The moments I choose this year came from the films: Psycho (1960), How to Steal a Million (1966)Grease (1978), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Casual Sex (1988)Pocahontas (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Borrowed Hearts (1997), and War Room (2015).

I also added in TV show romantic moments this year with “Episode Four” from North & South (2004), “A Trip to the Dentist” from Veronica Mars (2005), “Fateful” from Awkward (2011)The Bikini in the Soup” from Bones (2011), and Playing Heart to Get” from Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (2013).

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8) May the Calendar Keep Bringing Happy Holidays to You

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So I like holidays…I really, really do. But I can’t always do huge countdowns to honor them, sometimes I have to do one day posts. So here we go.

This year I celebrated Superbowl 50 with a mashup of what teams Jane Austen’s characters would be a fan of. To read, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50.

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I also celebrated the Chinese New Year’s Year of the Monkey by listing off nine of my favorite primates or primate moments from The Jungle Book, to Aladdin, to JumanjiThe Wizard of Oz, and more. To read, go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year.

Feb

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In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day I listed off 17 more Irish heroes in The Wearing of the Green

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For Easter I reviewed the following art featuring Jesus and his path to the cross; Entry into Jerusalem by Duccio di Buoninsegna or Duccio, The Last Supper by Freddy Fabris, The Betrayal of Jesus by Albrecht Dürer, and Pietá by Michelangelo.

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Honoring Star Wars on May the Fourth with This Day in History

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9) Happy Anniversary to You!

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This year I celebrated many anniversaries of films or books. This year my blog turned four in Here’s to Another Year; Star Trek turned 50 in Live Long and Prosper; the Grinch turned 60 in Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Ten Commandments turned 60 in Oh, Moses, Moses

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10) It’s Always Tea Time

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I love tea, I really, really, really do. I’ve talked about it in the past, but really focused on the topic this year. First my mistake in being extra-caffeinated tea in The Dark, Dark, Dark Side; how I can’t stop drinking in My Teaddiction (Tea Addiction); how tea always makes me feel better in Better Than Asprinwhere I became a loose-leaf tea drinker in My Trip to Teavanamy tea trip around the world in A World of Teas; and my tea party decorations in It’s Always Tea Time.

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11) Way to a Person’s Heart is Through their Stomach

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We all like to eat right? Well this year I partnered with my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com and shared some tea time treats, or ones best paired with Jane Austen’s work.

I included the recipe for Crasins SconesHarlem Tea Room Baking Powder SconesHarlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme SconesHarvest Pumpkin Scones, and Lemon Scones.

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12) Horrors of Horrors, Monsters and Ghouls

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This year’s Horrorfest covered movies, TV shows, and more.

I reviewed Blackmail (1929)White Zombie (1932)Night on Bald Mountain (1940)Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)Backfire (1950)Dial 1119 (1950)House on Haunted Hill (1959)Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966)When a Stranger Calls (1979)Thriller (1983)Ghostbusters (1984)Clue (1985), Once Bitten (1985)Teen Wolf (1985)Cat’s Eye (1987)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze (1991)Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)Sleepy Hollow (1999)Dracula 2000 (2000)Jeepers Creepers (2001)Corpse Bride (2005)TMNT (2007)Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)The Cheerleader Murders (2016)The Girl On the Train (2016)

And the TV episodes: “Charlie X” from Star Trek (1966); “A Matter of Loaf and Death” from Wallace and Gromit (2008); “The Death of the Queen Bee” from Bones (2010); Episode One” from Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)

I also did 31 tips on how to survive a horror film.

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13) 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves

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So let’s just get it out there, I failed.

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I didn’t finish the 30 day challenge. I only did 21 posts.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

But I’m going to keep going until I do finish it. And until it is finished, I won’t be posting anything else on this blog.

But so far, I have reviewed the following books: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #1) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy #1) by Willa Cather, The Secret of Chimneys (Superindendent Battle#1) by Agatha Christie, The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, A Christmas Carol: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Five Were Missing by Lois Duncan, Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) by Alex Flinn, Book of a Thousand Days and Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale, Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #1) by Charlaine Harris, Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1)  by L. M. Montgomery, Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

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So what will this year hold? I don’t know. I guess you will have to join follow me to find out.

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And remember:

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StarWarsJaneAustenJedi

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For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

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For more on Star Wars, go to Black is Best