Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I’m catching up. Only two more after this and I’m back on track.

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 one member chose:

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

The member had seen the movie and wanted to read the book afterwards. And we all know how that goes:

Now I haven’t seen the movie but I did enjoy the book.

It is a non-fiction story about Jan and Antonina Zabinski who owned and ran a zoo in Poland. They cared strongly for the animals, raising all kinds-sometimes even in their homes. Some animal babies grew up sleeping and eating alongside their son.

They had a beautiful complex and even some very rare animals that other zoos tried to get their hands on. But that all changed with World War II.

NO!

It is horrific to read the destruction that was unleashed on the people with the bombings, annd how the animals were in the cages and just decimated. Jan and Antonina tried to help as many as they could, and let them out but still many became casualties of war.

It really is sad

They lost many members of their animal family to that, some took off when the destruction started never to be known what happened to them, and the rest were all picked apart and sent to other Zoos. Those poor animals.

After the animals were gone, the Zabinskis used the zoo complex to help the Resistance against the Nazis. They stored guns and other ammunitions there, right in plain sight almost and were never caught. In fact the Nazis never thought the Polish were smart enough to do something that intelligent as they weren’t of Aryan blood. They sure showed those guys.

Then they started using it as a way station to help Jewish people, until they could move out of Poland. Now what was really interesting was that Jan’s father became so angry with the Christian church that he sent Jan to Jewish school instead. There Jan developed many friendships with all different Jewish people-bringing them food when they were receiving nothing and helping many in the ghettos. Because of those friendships he was asked and wanted to help the Jewish people, the two of them saving over 300 people.

Wow

It really is am amazing story and I think it is well worth a read if this is the type of story you are interested in.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more non-fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

The Darcy Monologues edited by Christina Boyd and written by Various

So first of all, I’m so sorry to have taken so long to post this. I first planned to have it up by the 20th, but then I got busy and I pushed it back to the 21st. Then other things occurred which took me away from home all day so I had to push it back to the 22nd. And then I am sure you can guess that once again my attention was diverted.

After all you know my motto:

But never fear, my other motto has this covered.

The Darcy Monologues was brought to my attention when Christina Boyd gave me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I readily agreed and began reading:

What the novel consists of is several monologues, or short stories, retelling Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.

Some stories take place during the novel, some change things, some ask questions of “what if this happened…?”, etc.

Hmm…

The first half of the novel’s collection all take place in the Regency Era; and I loved it!

To read more about those stories, click on this link. The second half involves different decades.

Now let me clear one thing up. It was said anywhere, but for some reason I assumed that every story would take place in a different decade and involve Darcy and Elizabeth throughout time.

However, that assumption was false. When they say “Other Eras”, they mean “not Regency”. Yes, there is no great time traveling like I thought.

And let me be clear that this assumption wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine. The writers and marketing team did not lead me astray. made the mistake.

So I’m going to do things a little different then in the previous review. Last time I went through the stories by the way they are set out in the novel. This time I am going to review the stories by their times-starting with the ones in the past and ending with those that are set in modern times.

Pemberley By Stage by Natalie Richards

Circa 1860

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I heard that there was going to be a Western version of Pride and Prejudice I couldn’t wait to read it.

If you have been following me, then you know how much I was obsessed with the Old West, cowboys, and Clint Eastwood as a child.

ME!!!

So will this story be all I dreamed it to be?

Hmm…

Plot Synopsis:

After having his name sullied by his associate, George Wickham, lawyer Darcy has been convinced by his friend, Charles Bingley, to move to San Francisco and start over. He is journeying with Bingley and Bingley’s sister Louisa; no Caroline as she “would not leave civilization.” Darcy brought his sister Georgiana with him, but is worried that maybe it would have been best to leave her in the East. Also in their stagecoach is a Mr. Hurst, a man Louisa has become interested in.

As they are journeying, the stage is overtaken by bandits. Darcy is knocked out and when he comes to he discovers that the thieves not only stole everything of value, but kidnapped Georgiana as well, and will only release her for $10,000.

Darcy wants to travel after her, but many are wounded and need assistance. Luckily, two siblings-Jane Bennet and her brother Elias, arrive on the scene. They have been after the gang and the leader, George “Smiling George” Wickham” (the same ex-partner of Darcy), ever since he convinced their sister Lydia to run off with him. The two know of a healer, so Darcy and Elias head off to fetch her while Jane and Louisa tend to the wounded.

As the two travel they talk about their families and instantly form a friendship. After bringing back the healer, who is also a prostitute favored by Wickham, Darcy pays not only for her to aid his friends but for the information of Wickham’s hideout. Elias wants to join him, as Darcy needs an extra hand, and Elias is an excellent shot.

However, it turns out that Jane does not want Elias to help, as she can’t stand to lose another sister.

Yes, Elizabeth had been traveling as “Elias” to protect herself and her sister. Darcy is at first upset at Elizabeth, as he shared personal information but Elizabeth withheld hers. As they ride, the two patch up, as each understands the other hurt.

When they arrive at the camp they find Georgiana tied up, Lydia pregnant, and a camp of thieves bickering between themselves as what to do next. As this gang begins to turn on each other, Darcy and Elizabeth must think fast and bold in order to save their siblings.

Things I Pondered: How awesome this was.

Things I Liked: How amazing this was!

The action was fantastic, the pacing was great, and once I got started I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.

Or class. Or lunch. Or anything!

I think it was absolutely one of the best in this section. Just amazing from beginning to end and with every character. I know this will be one I will read over and over.

For more Westerns, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Reason to Hope by Jenetta James

Circa 1939-1941

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love history and had just finished reading The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, so I was primed for a World War II-themed Pride and Prejudice.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy and Bingley are soldiers in the British army. They knew each other back in school and have struck up their friendship again. Bingley’s sister Caroline is after Darcy, but he has been free from her clutches as she has evacuated London and went to a country estate, Netherfield

Yep!

One night when Darcy has time off, he comes across a light shining during a mandatory blackout. When he drives up to yell at the person with the torch (flashlight), he finds his words being thrown back as Elizabeth Bennet will not take any of his gruff, especially as he is on her land.

In this tale there are only three Bennet sister- Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary. However, the household is harboring two girls from the city, Lydia and Kitty Potter.

Darcy tries to talk to Elizabeth at a USO dance but she is angry for the things Caroline said about her family previously, the Potter girls, mother, etc.; and that Darcy listened to it all in agreement.

Jerk

When Lydia and Kitty return to London to visit their parents, a bombing is done by the Nazis. Darcy goes with Elizabeth to track down the missing girls and try to make amends for his earlier behavior. But will he succeed or fail in both ventures?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: I didn’t really see where this level of anger was coming from in Elizabeth as there is a difference between voicing an opinion and listening/agreeing to one. I felt that she released her anger at Caroline at Darcy, instead of being given a reason to dislike him.

It also felt weird without Mr. Wickham. As much as we hate him, he does play a very important role in the story.

What I Like: I liked the introspection Darcy goes through as he realizes not saying anything can be just as bad as being the one saying it; when you give the impression that you agree with the speaker instead of being polite. I think it was paired very well with the fact that this was a war in which some citizens didn’t agree with what the Nazi party believed, but also didn’t say anything about what they were doing.

I liked the second part of the story when they search for the girls as it just grabs you and makes you read faster to see if they discover them alive…or dead.

The secondary characters were also fun as I like what the author did with Kitty, Lydia, Denny, and the like. 

You Don’t Know Me by Beau North

Circa 1961-64

Thoughts Before Reading:

This whole time I have been reading this title as You Don’t Own Me, thinking it was named after the Lesley Gore song.

Having it in the sixties intrigued me as I wondered if the author was going to go in the direction of Mad Men or Do Not Disturb with marketing or fashion (as that is how I saw Darcy) or the overused “hippie” route.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be about music and a radio station.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy inherited half his father’s company when he passed, the rest being controlled by his aunt Catherine. He doesn’t really care for it, as the company always held all of his father’s attention, but does like the money he gets from it. After he is caught with a client’s wife, as he did not know she was married, his aunt banishes him from Manhattan to Buffalo for a year.

If he does well with the newly acquired station, WPNP, then he can come back after the year. Otherwise he stuck there.

The interim station manager and sales manager is Charles Bingley, who later becomes a good friend, and his secretary is Jane [Bennet]. One of the radio shows is run by an Eliza Bennet, who has the top stats with her music. The only problem, she is playing African-American music which is not what Aunt Catherine or Regina Caroline Bliss, leader of the Mother’s Morality League, want. Finding himself pressured from all sides he tries to strike a compromise which doesn’t work well with Eliza, them often going head to head.

After a heated argument, Darcy goes to speak to Eliza at home and meets her father, Tomas Benowitz. It turns out that Elizabeth Bennet is actually Benowitz and that she is Jewish. There are more discoveries to be made as Tomas was the star violinist of the Royal Orchestra of Prague, before the war changed everything and he came to America. Darcy also meets Eliza’s aunt and uncle; and enjoys everyone’s company.

In fact, he starts falling for Eliza but she refuses him as she doesn’t want to be seen as securing her job by sleeping with the boss; plus Darcy is only staying for a year. Darcy doesn’t like, but agrees to just be her friend.

Not what I want, but what can I do?

Darcy leaves, with Bingley in charge (he is also now dating Jane). He returns to Manhattan and repairs the relationship with his aunt. When Eliza’s father dies, he returns, but she still refuses him. There is nothing he can do but return home.

His Aunt Catherine discovers that he is in love and encourages Darcy to go back and try again. Will he fight for the woman he loves? Or will he give in and marry some high society girl from Vassar?

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this story as much as I didn’t like the depiction of Elizabeth. She always seems to be just rude and yelling at Darcy. I understand her wanting to be sassy and standing up for the rights of others, but still Darcy is her boss. I don’t care how good you are, I think most bosses would fire you for screaming at them and saying the things she says about their character.

I don’t know the background of North but I thought the Jewish ancestry wasn’t dealt with as well at it should have been. Yes Eliza talks about the fact that she had to change her name to not offend people, but they characters act as if it isn’t a big deal when many Jewish people still faced racism and scrutiny. It also seems to not impact their lives or anything as it is introduced and never featured in the story again. True, it is not about her but Darcy, but I felt like it could have been fleshed out (maybe in a future novel?). I also thought they were too cavalier with Darcy converting. I mean changing religions is a big deal, it isn’t like changing a shirt. There are lots of steps he has to go through and it is taking everything he has known and celebrated and throwing it out, having to adjust to new life.

Things I Liked: really like that North decides to make this a bicultural relationship. This is something not really seen, other than  the film Bride & Prejudice. I liked the idea of having Pride and Prejudice with people of different cultures or races as you aren’t as separated as one was in Regency England. I would definitely read an interpretation of Pride and Prejudice that went along those lines.

I also like how the author tied in Eliza’s background to her musical choices. Being a person who is discriminated against as to her gender and religion, it made sense that she would campaign so hard for others who face prejudices. 

Plus *SPOILER ALERT* I love how he tells her on air, not caring who hears him, that he loves her and wants to marry her.

Hot for Teacher by Sara Angelini

Circa 1999-2005

Thoughts Before Reading:

So at first I thought this was set in the 1980s as the title comes from the Van Halen song, Hot for Teacher (1984) and they name a section after AC/DC‘s Back in Black.  But then they reference  Creep by Radiohead (1992), Dazed and Confused (1993), She’s So High by Tai Bachman (1999), and then Paradise which I am not sure is referring to the ’80s film or the Coldplay song that came out in 2011.

Hmm…

There are no cellphones really in use, but then Darcy does mention Google. I think the author set it in modern times, but it still has an older vibe to it. I may be wrong, but I’m going with early 21st century.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy’s parents were the CEOs of the FitzCo company, his father having passed on, but instead of being a part of the corporation Darcy has chosen a career in education.

Yes, Darcy is the principal of the prestigious Pemberley Academy. A new year is about to start, but Darcy is less then pleased with Vice-Principal Charles Bingley’s choices in two new teachers. For art we have Ms. Elizabeth Bennet, who dresses in eccentric clothes and does not carry the look Darcy expects his staff to project.

That sweater and hairstyle?

But Ms. Brunhilda (his nickname for Elizabeth) is nowhere near as disastrous as the new English teacher, a Mr. George Wickham.

George Wickham is the half-brother of Darcy, having been born from a liaison between Darcy’s father and his secretary, George’s mother. The two have never gotten along and Darcy dislikes him with every fiber of his being. George has never done anything to warrant this dislike but Darcy just has a “feeling”.

One night when Darcy is attending the FitzCo art benefit, he makes a disparaging comment about one of the artists, Frances Gardiner, to his cousin Anne (mix of Anne and sister Georgiana). Elizabeth overhears it and is extremely displeased as that is her mother.

Darcy soon grows to like Elizabeth but finds himself challenged in that arena with his half brother. However, after a few conversations and flirting, he believes Elizabeth is in to him, and goes for it at a the Homecoming dance.

Elizabeth turns him down and yells at him. She finds his behavior with George and the other teachers to just be atrocious. She dresses him down for all kinds of things he was unaware that were occurring in the school, and with a few lies that George has told her.

After that embarrassing moment,

Darcy decides that he will try and improve himself and the relationships at school. Will it work? Or will George and Elizabeth have the happily ever after?

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this depiction as much as I felt there were quite a lot missing. First Darcy’s relationships are horrible, I mean he had friends in the original book. And he wasn’t as mean or temperamental as depicted here as all his servants loved him and could only speak kindly of him. I mean that is something that validates the Darcy in the letter, when Elizabeth visits his home and hears what the people who work for him say.

Having George Wickham not be evil, also didn’t work. In fact, you rooted more for him as he missed out on all kinds of things Darcy had, while Darcy hates him for being born. I mean it isn’t his fault your dad cheated on your mom. They should have made him far more nefarious than stealing money at the end of the book.

Elizabeth is really mean to Darcy and he is her boss. I don’t mind her being sassy, but the way she talks to him, I’m surprised she didn’t get fired. If I yelled at any boss I’ve ever had this way, I don’t think I would have stayed on. They would have let me go. 

Darcy was a bit of a dork in this. I thought he had more in common with the original Mr. Collins. The way he acts around others, his flirting, his assumptions, etc.

Elizabeth yells at Darcy for being cruel and insensitive, but while in the original novel she had a valid concern, the others being misinformation supplied by Wickham; in this she has no justification. Mrs. Crane has been late multiple times and isn’t keeping up with her work so the rules say she has to receive a warning. Elizabeth yells at him that the only reason she has ben doing that is because her husband was in a car accident and is going through physical therapy, meaning she has become the sole caregiver for her husband and boys. Darcy didn’t know as Mrs. Crane never told him. It isn’t his fault, she should have talked to him, after all she could have received emergency family leave. The same goes for the other teachers, they never give a reason why they can’t do something, so what is Darcy supposed to think?

What I Liked: I actually liked that Darcy wasn’t carrying on the family business but doing his own thing. In today’s world you don’t have families being forced to carry on the professions their ancestors did but have the freedom to do what they want. I thought that was a very new twist in the story, and something no other Austen retelling that I have read has ever tried doing.

Also Angelini finally does the one thing Austen fans have been BEGGING someone to do. 

Yes we finally have Darcy do that. Thank you very much Angelini.

And something even more surprising, Angelini does something I never thought possible-she makes Mr. Collins likable.

Yes I know, I never, ever imagined finding myself liking Mr. Collins. Angelini you must be a magician or something.

Or something…

I, Darcy by Karen M. Cox

William Darcy has hated his name for as long as he could remember. His mother choose it after the hero in one of her favorite novels, but he just can’t wrap his head around why woman like him so. Ten years ago he read the book and hated it-

I know-

So the worst place for him to be would be a convention center full of Austenites.

Yes, he is bemoaning this to his friend and business colleague, Charles Bingley, when he is interrupted by two lovely ladies who defend Austen. Jane and Lynley Bennet walk in and out of his life, but remain memorable as the two gentlemen head on to discuss opening a chain of locally sourced restaurants with their board of directors. It passes and Charles it out to start up the trial place-with Darcy joining him later.

When Darcy comes driving up to the house Bingley rented in the country, he has car trouble but manages to get help-from Lynley. Not only is that a coincidence, but Charles is dating her sister Jane.

Darcy waits for Charles as he is out on a date and starts reading a copy of Pride and Prejudice he finds on the table (probably given to Bingley from Jane), surprising himself with falling in love with the book.

Later the two men discuss the farms they want to use for the restaurant, seeing the Bennet farm as the perfect place to get their supplies from. Darcy makes them a generous offer, one they need as if they don’t get a good contract they may lose it; but Lynley refuses, angry at Darcy. What could he have done to upset her? I smell a nefarious plot, but who would want to ruin Darcy’s name?

Things I Pondered: I liked it. I thought it was funny how she went with this theme of “real” Mr. Darcy as I was just talking about that earlier this year.

Things I LikedI thought the characters were very well written and easy to connect to. I liked how the story flowed and enjoyed it from start to finish.

The Ride Home by Ruth Phillips Oakland

Circa: Present

Plot Synopsis:

This story takes place after Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and was rejected. Darcy is owner of the company, Pemberley Media, and is in the States to launch PM’s channel here, then planning on returning to England. His best friend got his happy ending when Jane said yes to his proposal.

Soon to be!

The happy couple have been celebrating with champagne when they receive a call from Elizabeth asking for a ride. Neither can take her, so they wake Darcy and ask him to do it.

Darcy picks Elizabeth up from her disastrous date (with Mr. Collins) and she really lets herself go- drunkenly praising Darcy’s personality to body- ranging in too much information to nonsensical. She does apologize for being upset over Lydia, saying Darcy was right to be angry at Lydia spilling secrets to rival George Wickham. The two patch things up and everything looks great for Darcy, that is if Elizabeth remembers the conversation tomorrow. Will this drunken release be the beginning of something new, or the last shred of the old?

Hmm…

Things I Pondered: I didn’t care for this as much as I missed Elizabeth’s witty repartee with Darcy-something drunken speech can’t really do. 

I also found myself distracted with trying to figure out if she would be well enough to talk. I mean she was average height, thin and consumed a gin and tonic along with four or five martinis (she lost count) but hardly ate anything as her date said no butter, salt, carbohydrates, meat, etc. I’m not a drinker but gin, dry vermouth, and more gin with no butter or carbs to counteract it seems to be like she would be passed out. I mean I calculated it and she has an estimated BAL of 0.235-that’s nausea, vomiting, blackouts, etc. How was she able to make him breakfast the next day? She should have a massive hangover.

Things I LikedI liked having Darcy be introspective as he drives into town. Something about him just thinking over everything and himself as he drives resonated with me. 

Darcy Strikes Out by Sophia Rose

Circa: Present Time

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love puns, jokes, and when authors are smart enough to use language that implies two meanings that fit perfect with the situation. In this case Darcy strikes out in the game of love and:

I’m also a big baseball fan so I was very interested in reading this.

Plot Synopsis:

Darcy is a top baseball player, known as “Dandy Darcy” after he and his father posed in top hats and tails with the bats as canes for a photo shoot. After his father passed away, and his sister was in her horrible accident that left her in a wheelchair; he pulled away from life and others. The only one who he remained close to (besides his teammates) was his good friend and old roommate, Charles Bingley, who he saved from a gold digger.

He meets Elizabeth Bennet, sports reporter, and starts to fall for her.

But when he asks her out, he strikes out. Yep, it turns out that he really dropped the ball as that “gold digger” was Elizabeth’s sister; she thinks he is a snob for being camera shy and refusing interviews (especially with that horrible nosy Collins), and sees him as a giant jerk for blackballing fellow baseball player George Wickham.

Darcy is still thinking over the refusal as he visits his sister. Yes, Elizabeth was right about Jane; but after checking her out Darcy did discover he was wrong about her and encouraged Bingley to try again. However, being camera shy and Wickham all have to do with Georgiana as he tries to protect her.

When he gets to his sister’s apartment, he discovers her hanging out with a friend who participates in the Paralympics, and their new friend; Elizabeth Bennet.

Elizabeth meet the girls when she was writing a story on upcoming athletes, and she has realized that she was prejudiced against Darcy. They later meet for breakfast, and Darcy reveals what happened to Georgiana. Wickham was trying to use Darcy to get ahead, but was lacking in discipline and focus; being cut from the team. Later at a high school party, Wickham being over eighteen, roofied Georgiana’s beer with the intent to rape her. However, she left early and ended up crashing the car not from drinking (which she did) but from being drugged. They knew it was him, but couldn’t prove enough to put him away. The famous Darcy name, underage drinking, a beautiful girl with a tragic story all made for excellent newspaper fodder, especially for a TMZ like reporter (Collins).

Things are going well, until Elizabeth hears from Jane that their sister Lydia is missing! It appears this underage girl was last seen with baseball player George Wickham.

Darcy calls in his private detective, Jack Austen, who has been keeping an eye on Wickham. Will they be able to find Lydia and Wickham in time? Or will this be another strike out for Darcy?

Things I Pondered: Wow this was awesome!

Things I Liked: First of all if there was a “Dandy” baseball player I would totally be out there cheering for him whether or not he was on my team (the As, Cali all the way). I also would purchase a “Dandy Darcy” clothing line for my friends and relatives if such a thing existed. 

I thought this book was amazingly well done in taking the story and setting it in modern times. I loved what Rose did with all the characters, and I really enjoyed how she set us in the middle of the story with flashbacks as to what came before. 

I also applaud you for doing something I haven’t really seen anyone else do- show how Wickham was not only a jerk but a child predator. Yes, contrary to popular belief, most people weren’t married until they were 21-24 during the Regency period. Most modern updates keep Wickham close in age the other characters and make him seem like just a fiend. In this we realize just how evil Wickham is, in the orginal and this version, as Rose unveils him as the pedophile he is.

Jack Austen, P.I.- I like the sound of that. I don’t know if there are any film-noir, 1940s, Humphrey Bogart-ish Austen retellings, but now you make me wish for one. Can’t you just see Darcy?

Or what if Elizabeth was the detective and Darcy the client?

So Rose names a few of Darcy’s teammates and their wives, I’m not sure but I believe they stand for other characters from Austen novels. There is a Cathy and Hank Denny, maybe Catherine and Henry “Hank” Tilney from Northanger Abbey?

And then there is an Esme and Jose Carreaga. Could it be Emma and Mr. Knightley?

I think it would be wonderful if Rose would develop this into a full novel with all the Austen characters. 

But seriously, I thought this was just as fantastic as To Pemberley By Stage and just as hard to put down.

So what did I think of it as a whole?

Well, I….

I really loved it, even the stories I didn’t like as much. It was just so refreshing to see a point of view that is often overlooked or not done well.  I enjoyed every version of Darcy as each had the things we loved most about him but at the same time were all so different.

I thought that was fantastic as it made a Darcy for everyone. I mean some might be into a baseball playing Darcy or Western Darcy, while others want something different-such as a teacher or man born with a silver spoon who needs to see how others live.

Just like the movies you have your pick of Darcy, being sure to find one, two, or more to love/

In conclusion I think The Darcy Monologues, Part I and II, are just fantastic.

Amazing!

If you are an Austen, Pride and Prejudice, or Mr. Darcy fan you need to check this book out TODAY!

In fact, not only is this something I know I will read over and over again:

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

But I can already think of several people who will be receiving it as a birthday or Christmas present.

Thank you authors. You all did a wonderful job.

For more on The Darcy Monologues, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more Mr. Darcy, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Prom & Prejudice

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited

I’m So FANcy!

So I’m sure you all think I will be talking about this:

NOPE!

Instead it’ll be on this:

fangirlfansfandom fan

 

Yep, here we are with another fan-filled posts all on the things I hardcore fangirl over. Read, watch, and enjoy!

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Audrey Hepburn

Audrey-Hepburn-ball-gown-Sabrina

Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress in the whole wide world. I think she is just so amazing in everything she has been in and absolutely beautiful. Plus she has the best fashion sense! Everything I see her in I want, every hairstyle I need; but I would never look as breathtakingly beautiful as her. Not only was Audrey an amazing actress, but she was a true patriot (working against the Nazis on her bike delivering messages in WWII) and a philanthropic woman, creating and giving to many charities. There is no better woman to look up to.

Now my favorite movies of hers is Sabrina.

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Words cannot express how much I love this movie, although I did try in my Valentine’s countdown. To read my review, go to Now That I’ve Met You, I Can’t Imagine Life Without You: Sabrina (1954) Another great favorite of mine is her first film Roman Holiday (1953).

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In which she plays a princess playing hooky, in order to have a real holiday. I reviewed that for 2014’s Valentine’s countdown and you can read the review at: Your Secret is Safe With Me: Roman Holiday (1953)I also love Funny Face (1957)

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Now how can you think that? You’re Audrey Hepburn and utter perfection.

in which she plays Jo Stockton, philosopher and book store employee. On a photo shoot she gets noticed by a famous photographer (played by Fred Astaire) who quickly gets this beatnik caught up in the world of fashion and takes her to Paris as his model. She tries to stay true to her beliefs, do well in the shoots and on the runway; all the while falling for the man behind the camera. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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I’m sure you all have heard of it, if not seen it. It is about Holly Golightly, New Yorker and sometimes model, trying to find a millionare to take care of her all her life. She meets Paul Varjak, a one hit writer, who has traded his typewriter to be a kept man to an older, rich, society woman. The two become friends, and Paul becomes fascinated with the mysterious Holly, eventually falling in love with her. Now Paris When it Sizzles (1964)

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is not for everyone. Any one I show this film to has one of these two reaction: 1) they love it and think it is a hilarious comedy, or 2) think it is the stupidest thing they have ever seen in their life. I’m in the #1 category, of course. Anyways, this film is a parody of filmmaking: criticizing the way writers, directors, and producers act; cliches like the bad boy/girl with the heart of gold; the use of fade-out for time passing or characters getting closer than the MPAA would like them too; etc. In this film we have the pairing of William Holden and Audrey Hepburn once again. William Holden plays an alcoholic, procrastinating, Hollywood scriptwriter, living in Paris. As he has waited until the last minute to write the script for his film, The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower, he has hired typist Gaby, played by Audrey Hepburn, to help him finish the piece by his deadline, three days from now. As Holden writes, he and Hepburn act out the characters in the story creating one comedic masterpiece. As an extra treat, there is a hilarious bit part done by Tony Curtis. Moving on to something that is both funny, serious, and musical…we have My Fair Lady (1964)

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A retelling of Pygmlion with music. In this Audrey plays the flower girl, Eliza Dolittle, that Professor Henry Higgins bets he can turn into a true lady by altering the way she talks. A truly great musical and film. Now the story of me and How to Steal A Million (1966)

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Is tale of trying to find each other. When I was young I watched this movie about stealing art that took place in France, but couldn’t remember the title, just one scene. I remember asking my mother about it and quoting the scene, but she couldn’t figure out what film I was talking about. The only film she could think of that had a burglar, that isn’t really burglarizing, the man being the thief, a woman partner, and taking place in France was To Catch a Thief. I eagerly watched the film, and loved it, but it wasn’t how I remembered the film. I figured I just had faulty memory and was done with it. Over ten years later, I decided to watch this movie as I love Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. As I started watching it, I had this sense of deja vu, but I was certain I’d never seen it before. It wasn’t until they played the one scene that I realized this was the movie I had been thinking of. This is an absolutely hysterical heist film. Audrey plays Nicole Bonnet, daughter of a forger and leading citizen of Paris. She has been trying to get him to stop to no avail. One night, she catches a bungling burglar, Peter O’Toole, who is more than what he seems. He likes her and tries to date her; but she wants nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, her father has allowed the museum to take the famed Cellini‘s Aphrodite, a forgery done by Nicole’s grandfather. After he has signed off the museum paperwork, he discovers that the museum will be testing the statue in order to insure it. Both Nicole and her father know that such tests will show that it is a fake and bring ruin to both Bonnets. In order to stop it, Nicole hires O’Toole to steal it for her, using one crazy scheme.

Now these are just a few of her great works, and I urge you to watch her films and see for yourself how truly amazing she is.

For more on Audrey Hepburn, go to I Can See Your Beauty

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Everyday Sunday

Everyday Sunday

I was in my early teens when I became obsessed with the band. My parents had heard of this free concert that had Ever Stays Red and Everyday Sunday. Ever Stays Red performed first, and I thought they were okay. When Everyday Sunday performed…oh I was hooked. I bought their CD immediately. Of course I thought the guys in the group were hot, but even more I enjoyed their songs. The Wake Up! Wake Up! album was my favorite and I bought it as soon as it came out. I listened to the song Let’s Go Back on my CD player a gazillion times. I was obsessed with them.

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And of course there is my story of getting all their autographs. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but for those of you who missed it, this is what happened:

So I went to this huge outdoor concert, (three days and a bunch of bands), to see them. I was first in line to get their autographs, and was fully prepared as having borrowed my mom’s sharpie with the promise to return it to her. So I was waiting in line and I had recieved Trey ❤ (squee!) and another band member’s autographs, but I still needed the other two. I was standing around waiting, when one of the guards/manager/whatever people told me I had to go because I was blocking the way. I was so heartbroken to have to leave, but started making my way out:

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As I was walking out I ran into another member and got his autograph.

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

So I was still sad that I didn’t have the last signature, but then as I was walking out I ran into the last guy!  And got his autograph. But then I realized I had left my mom’s sharpie! And I had specifically been told to make sure I brought it back. So I ran all the way down to the autograph table, told them what happened and was given the sharpie back. It wasn’t until I got back to our tent that I realized I had my  mom’s sharpie had been in my pocket all along! Now I had an awesome souvenir!!!

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Unfortunately, I lost that pen sometime when we moved. 😦

The band has changed a lot since then, so I don’t follow them as much as I used to. They still remain a big part of me, as I constantly listen to that Wake Up! Wake Up! album.

Here are some of my favorite songs: Apathy for Apologies, Bring It On, Find Me Tonight, From Me to You, I’ll Get Over It (Mis Elaineous), I Won’t Give Up, Let’s Go Back, Now You’re Gone, Star of the Show, Take Me Out, Tell Me You’ll Be There, Untitled Anonymous, Wake Up! Wake Up!, and What We’re Here For.

For more Everyday Sunday, go to Now You’re Gone

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Indiana Jones

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I am a huge fan of Indiana Jones. I used to dream about meeting him (or Harrison Ford). And how could you not love the incredible hunky hero? For those of you who have been living under a rock and are unaware of this awesome man; Indiana Jones is an archeologist and Professor of History, living in the 1930s; who balances his time with his classwork and going on grand adventures. The first film is Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Indiana is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant from the bible, before Hitler does. He sets out trekking the globe, bringing along old flame Marian and friend Sully. The sequel to this movie wasn’t as good, and for years I would watch only the beginning and end as one scene scared the crap out of me. Eventually I overcame this, but it was’t until last year that I actually sat down and watched the film from beginning to end. In this, Temple of Doom, the adventure starts out in China, with a deal gone wrong causing Indy to flee the country with his sidekick Short Round plus a singer and the MOST ANNOYING PERSON IN THE WORLD, WillieThe group ends up crash-landing in India and set out to save a tribe’s lost children and sacred stones, both of which were stolen from them. The series picks up again with the third film, The Last Crusade, in which Indy and his father (played by Sean Connery) set out to save the Holy Grail from being stolen by Nazis. They made a fourth film which was a real disappointment so I won’t even speak about it. The first and third films are absolutely amazing, with the second definitely having its cool moments.

Now after the three films came out, we had Indiana Jones mania and lots of other things were made to increase money. I have to say I jumped on a lot of those trains. There was The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. This TV series had Indiana Jones meeting famous people throughout history (educational) and going on adventures. In the second season he is an adult and it follows his adventures with Pancho Villa, the IRA, and involvement in WWI, later returning to school and joining a jazz group. This show was a lot of fun, and you learned a lot as well. Piggybacking off of this series was two book series involving the adventures of young Indiana Jones. One was a regular story format about his adventures as a boy, while the other covered his time as an teenager and were Choose Your Own Adventure themed. I have to admit that I read both of them. Big time fan.

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And that’s not all. I read the book series Indiana Jones: Prequels of which detail his life from college to right before the first film. Now quite a few books in the series were bad fanfiction, but there were actually quite a number that were written well. Most of the good ones were written by Rob MacGregor who actually assisted with the screenplays, so he had the truest to form character of Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils, Genesis Deluge, Unicorn’s Legacy, Philosopher’s Stone, Dinosaur Eggs, and Secret of the Sphinx were good. The rest were okay or downright awful. I even went as far as starting the series that took place during WWII and covered events mentioned in the last Indiana Jones film, but those weren’t as good.

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And that doesn’t end my fangirlness. I also started a Indiana Jones fanclub. All us girls in it chose state names before our last names, in honor of Indy. We had Alaska Adams, Ohio Hirano, Virgina Mabel, Georgia Hattie, Illinois Villers, and Nevada Sinclair (Me). We even created our own pictograph language to pass notes.fandomvsReallife Yep, I was obsessed and still am. In fact, my most recent purse was chosen because it resembled Indian Jones satchel.

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And of course I am a huge fan of the ride, which you can read more about at And Away We Go.

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For more on Indiana Jones, go to Heaven on Earth

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My Chemical Romance

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Now I got into this fandom after the group had broken up. It all started with just one song, Welcome to the Black Parade and that was it. I was hooked and had joined the fandom.

First of all we have the amazing Gerard Way who looks good no matter what he does.

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The songs are amazing and the music videos are AWESOME!!! Like Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na). 

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Now I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll be saving that for my individual posts on the songs. Here are some of my favorites: Welcome to the Black Parade, I Don’t Love You, House of Wolves, Cancer, Mama, Teenagers, Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na), Bulletproof Heart, The Only Hope for Me is You, Save Yourself I’ll Hold Them Back, Summertimeand The Kids from Yesterday.

For more on My Chemical Romance go to Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

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Nancy Drew

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Now I never wanted to be a fan of Nancy Drew. My older sister Jessica loved her, and that was her thing. But, Nancy would not be deterred from my life. Oh no.

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It started one day when I was in sixth grade. My middle school library was amazing and I spent many happy days there. They had a great collection of all types of books. I loved the series Sweet Valley High (more on that later) and would check out tons of the series’ books. One day I grabbed Strange Memories as I was in a hurry, and when I got home realized it wasn’t a Sweet Valley High, but a Nancy Drew: Case Files.

After that, I was hooked. I started reading the series and became a huge fan. I still try to collect the whole series, every time I spot one in a thrift store, snapping it up to add to my collection. These books came out in the late ’80s and continued until the early 2000s. These books involved pretty, redhead, 18 year old Nancy Drew who was one amazing crime-solving sleuth. She was often assisted by George Fayne, her tall athletic, dark-haired friend; and Bess Marvin, George’s cousin, blonde, curvy, and also utterly gorgeous and boy-crazy. She is always trying to lose 5-10 pounds, but looks good all the same. Ned Nickerson is Nancy’s boyfriend, who attends college and is always having an internship in a various things (making me wonder what his major is) which always involve Nancy coming around to solve a mystery. The two fight over Nancy not always paying attention to Ned and his needs, and even break up momentarily. Of course this couple can’t be far apart for long, and resume dating.

Now I absolutely loved this series, but not everyone did. As Nancy Drew is revamped every ten years or so, people who liked the series before don’t care for this version, and those who become a fan later, can’t get into it either. The other thing I loved about this series was that they did Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys crossovers. I love Nancy and Ned together, but I have to admit…a big part of me always wanted her and Frank Hardy to get together.

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I’m conflicted.

Hmm

Hmm

Some of the books were absolutely wonderful, while others were just okay. But hey, that always happens in a series. My favorites are: Secrets Can Kill (#1), in which Nancy goes undercover in a preppy high school to figure out who a blackmailer is; Deadly Intent (#2), in which a concert to see Barton Novak turns out to an abduction case; White Water Terror (#6)Nancy wins a river rafting trip for four and takes along Bess, George, and Ned. But what should be fun in the sun, turns into a series of sabotage and murder. In Stay Tuned for Danger (#17), Nancy goes on TV to figure out who is threatening a famous soap opera star. When Bess falls for the star, Nancy finds herself racing against time to save both of them. Sisters in Crime (#19) sends Nancy to San Diego State in order to investigate an accidental drowning and a sorority. She discovers that college life isn’t glitz, fun, and studying; as murder walks the campus. Recipe for Murder (#21) finds Nancy back in school, cooking school that is. She and the full gang are getting lessons in French cooking, pastry, and Chinese food. While there Nancy discovers some unsavoriness; sabotage, blackmail, slander, murder, and espionage. In Something to Hide (#41), Ned is doing a testing project on acne creme for his marketing class. When Nancy steps by to say hi, Bess becomes ill. And she’s not the only one! Suddenly an epidemic is spreading through the town, all of which tie back to the Acne creme. Now Nancy is one the case to discover who could be poisoning teens, and why? A Model Crime (#51) in this book, Bess is chosen to be a finalist for Face of the Year, a modeling contest (think America’s Next Top Model), but as Nancy travels to Chicago she sees that there is more to this “Face” than meets the eye as someone is trying to sabotage it. Don’t Look Twice (#55), is one of my absolute favorites. In this Nancy goes to visit Ned at an away game, finding a cheerleader who looks a lot like her, wanting to put Nancy out of the picture. This cheerleader, Denise, invites the group out to pizza, where Nancy gets kidnapped! She is let go as the kidnappers got the “wrong girl”, leaving Nancy to figure out who will be abducted and when. Tall, Dark, and Deadly (#66) when a young girl is kidnapped, Nancy and Bess go undercover to figure out where she is. The two find themselves trying to find the girl’s last date and hopefully abductor. Designs in Crime (#89), Nancy once again sees that the fashion world has a dark side when she investigates the thefts of a designer’s famous designs. This case of corporate espionage turns deadly, when an assistant is found murdered. Betrayed by Love (#118)Nancy and Ned are invited to an old friend, Angela’s, wedding. There they find what should be a happy occasion is anything but: with the mother of the bride wasting away to a disease unknown, the groom’s ex-girlfriend insisting that they are still together, a serious case of sabotage, threats against the bride; and one dead body. And of course, Strange Memories (#122)in which Nancy and George are vacationing in San Francisco, only to find a girl with amnesia.

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Then there are the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Super Mysteries which always involved two cases that ended up connecting at some point in the book. I loved these as I loved the pairing of the two sleuths and as before-mentioned, Nancy and Frank. Sorry Ned. Of these books I loved: Double Crossing (#1), Nancy goes on a cruise to visit George, the activities director. When she gets there she discovers that Frank and Joe are undercover trying to discover who is robbing the guests. The three detectives also come upon a double dealer, selling American secrets. Will the three find the thief and save America’s security? A Crime for Christmas (#2)Nancy and Bess are visiting New York City, doing a little Christmas shopping; when they run into Frank and Joe. The Hardy Boys are once again on a case, trying to catch a Cat Burglar team. The four also meet a guest staying there, who turns out to be a crown prince and find themselves caught in the middle of a coup. Dangerous Games (#4), Ned calls in Nancy, George, Bess, Frank, and Joe to help protect a sister and brother from Scandinavia competing in the Games tournament. All go undercover and try to find out who could be sabotaging the two. When one of their supervisors starts investigating an old unsolved murder involving the athletes gathered, he is almost killed, leaving the detectives to solve that case as well. Hits and Misses (#16), Bess is competing in a talent TV show with Nancy tagging along. The two discover an amnesic girl and try to find out who she is, a situation that won’t be easy as many are trying to kill her.  Frank and Joe are visiting an old friend and trying to figure out who would steal the masters of the singer Angelique. The two cross paths and discover that their cases as more closely related than they would have thought.

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From 2004-2012, they came out with a new series of Nancy Drew that I was also a fan of. I liked the series, but nowhere as much as I loved the ’80s one. In this Nancy became an environmentalist, scatter-brained, forgetting everything, detective. She also worked with and against the Chief of police more. George was updated to not only being athletic but super tech-savy. Bess was no longer curvy on a diet, but perfectly formed interested in makeup, clothes, and super handy at fixing things. I didn’t care for this series as much as most of the mysteries were really lowkey. For instance in one Ned wants to fly, but then keeps avoiding it; as it turns out he is afraid of heights. In another one George keeps avoiding a certain spa, when it turns out the reason is that she applied for a job there and was turned down. In one they are reenacting the Civil War, and a website like Ancestry.com is ripping people off telling them they are all descendants of Union generals who did amazing things during the war. Boring.

Then they had the graphic novels and I LOVED these! I highly recommend the whole series if you have yet to read them. These involved the same updates from before, but switched from lowkey crimes to high, scary, and at time supernatural ones. I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THEM!

I’ve read a few of the original books, but can’t get really into them as they are so easily solved. Oh well.

Then there are the films. I reallu liked Nancy Drew: Detective and Nancy Drew…Girl Reporter which came out in the 1930s. In these Nancy is fast talking, crime solving girl who is eager to prove her mettle and will not let chauvinistic comments bring her down. In this Ned and Nancy aren’t dating, and he tends to be her unwilling assistant. These films are funny and adorable and can be viewed on Youtube if you wish.

There also was a film in 2002, Nancy Drew, starring Maggie Lawson. In this Nancy is going to college to be a journalist, but I didn’t like the film at all. I thought they made Nancy sorta brainless and mean to Ned, completely ignoring him.

And then there were the Nancy Drew video games. I never bought these but borrowed them from the library, played them, and sent them back. Secrets Can Kill didn’t work as it had a scratch, but the beginning was great as it really puts you in the mystery. Stay Tuned for Danger I knew as I had read the book. The Final Scene was great, as I had never read the book. In this Bess is kidnapped, and you have to solve the mystery before the theater is demolished with Bess inside! And the last game I played was Danger by Design, in which Nancy goes undercover to infiltrate a Parisian designer, Minette. It was thrilling and hard.

And now finally:

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Now I absolutely loved this show!

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I came upon this series when I bought a VHS at a library sale. Afterwards, I discovered the series online (youtube) and watched the whole thing. I love the mysteries of Nancy and the Hardy Boys; with the crossover episodes being the best. Unfortunately, both actresses who played Nancy Drew left the show, leaving it just The Hardy Boys. I highly recommend this show as well as I think it was absolutely fantastic and wish there were way more episodes of them. Not to mention I love Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy.

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This also has one of the best intros. It starts off with the book covers of both series appearing in time to creepy music. It then switches to clips from the show in combo with book covers. It’s fantastic.

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fangirl casual fan diehard fan consume me love it

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For the previous post, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

Stay tuned for part 11

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For more of my favorite music, go to Sisterly Roles

For more book-filled posts, go to Adventure Time