Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Another Jane Austen biography for children?
But before I start my review, let me pause and say:
Happy Birthday Jane Austen!
Yes, today marks her 246th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen biography.
This year for my littlest niece’s (5 years old) Christmas gift, I bought her some tiny tea cups that she could have tea with. You see when she visited this summer I converted her to a love of tea and tea parties and want to reenforce that as much as possible.
Of course something else I am trying to brainwash encourage in the younger members of my family is a love of Jane Austen. I had already bought this niece the Babylit books and needed something else Jane Austen related that fit her age. I thought about gifting her the same book I gave my 10 year old niece, A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice, but decided to wait as that book was more advanced and designed for older children. Instead I starting searching for something suitable for a 5 year old.
I started searching through Amazon (I don’t have a local bookstore) and found this biography from the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. It looked cute so I ordered it, and of course had to give it a quick read and review.
I really liked the amount of pictures to text this book had as it was a great balance for a children’s book. It gave a basic biography in easy to understand terms, while still telling a cute story that children in the age range of 4-7 years will enjoy following.
I also loved how it highlighted her playwriting and the way her family would act her works out.
But the thing I enjoyed most of all about this book is that instead of just mentioning Pride and Prejudice or Elizabeth Bennet, it actually highlights all the heroines of her novels. You hardly ever see anything that mentions Fanny Price/Mansfield Park, Catherine Morland/Northanger Abbey, or Anne Elliot/Persuasion in kids books and I’m so happy this one did. I need to lay the groundwork for Northanger Abbey.
If there are parents, or kids, who are interested in knowing more about Jane Austen, there is an expanded short biography in the back of the book.
I thought it was a cute book and a great one for kids.
If interested in purchasing, click on this link. (If you do choose to purchase through the link provided, a small percentage does go to me through the Amazon affiliate program).
So I don’t usually write one of these, but thought why not do a holiday guide this year? A few days ago I posted on Jane Austen products, but I thought I would I also share some books that would make the perfect gift for the holidays.
I do not receive any money from any of these books for promoting them, I am just honestly sharing books I have enjoyed and I think you, or your loved ones will. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products. If you do choose to purchase an item from Amazon, by going through these links, I will receive a small percentage through the affiliate program.
So enough business:
It’s time for Christmas!
This list of books are the perfect gift for Janeites in your life OR you could always share this list with your loved one that may be struggling to find you the perfect gift.
The books are all listed in alphabetical order and it was SO HARD to choose just 10 books. I really tried to create a variety of books and genre types in order to ensure I have something for everyone.
Babylit Jane Austen by Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver
Do you have a little one on your Christmas list? Why not start their love of Jane Austen early with these Babylit board books? Babylit has taken three Jane Austen novels and turned them into board books that cover topics important in children’s development from birth to 5 years old. Each one has lovely illustrations and are the perfect addition to the young child in your life’s bookcase. Sense and Sensibility covers opposites, Pride and Prejudice is on numbers, and Emma is on emotions.
I absolutely LOVE these books and they are always a constant on my gift list. Every time I gain a new niece, cousin, or a friend has a baby, these three becomes a birthday or Christmas gift.
The Quill Ink had published several anthologies on Jane Austen variations: some are set in different time periods, some answer “what if” questions, are told from secondary characters’ points of view, etc. There are so many great stories in these anthologies that I just couldn’t pick one, I had to include them all. If interested in more detailed reviews, just click on the titles.
These books are available in print, as ebooks, and in audiobook format; so however they like to read, there is an option for them! I personally don’t feel like Christmas is coming until I listen to my audiobook of Yuletide (over and over and over again).
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors (The Rajes #1) by Sonali Dev
Is the person on your shopping list looking for a more contemporary Jane Austen novel? Maybe they would like to see diverse characters? Then Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is a great choice for them. In this Darcy is Trish Raje, Indian royalty and a doctor; with Elizabeth having become D.J. Caine, multiracial chef (Anglo-Indian and Rwandan). After a series of misunderstanding in their first meeting, Trish and DJ end up being thrown together when Trish has to take over the planning of an event for her sister. There are a series of missteps and mistakes, but in the end romance will always triumph.
As a biracial person I really enjoyed seeing that represented, along with this not only be a story of falling in love, but the love and comfort food and family can bring to us.
Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge
Do you have a friend that loves Jane Austen and devotionals? Then this is the one that you need to get them. There are 31 chapters to read, for every day of an average month, that take you section by section through Jane Austen’s prayers. This is a great way to refocus your life, learn about Jane Austen, and increase your prayer time.
I really enjoy this devotional and read it at least once a year (typically in the days that lead up to Christmas). Plus Rachel Dodge has great customer service. I ordered autographed bookplates for her books for Christmas last year and they never arrived. I contacted her about it and she sent new ones immediately.
This is an older book, as it was published in 2011, but it is such a wonderful and funny book and perfect for fans of dating shows (and a great way to pass the time while we wait to see if Peacock will really make their Pride and Prejudice/Regency inspired dating show.) in this Chloe Parker is a single mom in need of money to keep her business afloat so she applies to be on a Jane Austen TV show. However, when she gets there she finds out that the network felt they needed a change and now it has become a “The Bachleor-esque”competition. Chloe is convinced to stay and try to win her own “Mr. Darcy”…but what if she doesn’t fall for the “Mr. Darcy” but for another man on the show? Will Chloe get her Jane Austen ending? Or go home with no money and no man?
I LOVE THIS BOOK! This is the sequel to Austenland, although both books are independent stories and do not have to be read in order. This book has romance, mystery, comedy, and more. It’s the perfect book for anyone who loves Agatha Christie and Jane Austen.
After Charlotte’s husband cheats on her, leaves her, and remarries she finds herself at a loss of what to do. She ends up finding a teenage list of things she wanted to do before 30, one of which is to read all the Jane Austen novels. She does and of course becomes a fan, deciding to take a vacation to Austenland in England. While the Regency activities are fun, something mysterious is going on. Will Charlotte be able to figure out this whodunnit, or will she become the next victim?
This is a fantastic book and I strongly recommend it.
Emma: Manga Classics adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Tse
Do you have a teenager you want to introduce to Jane Austen? Do you know someone who loves Manga and Jane Austen? Then this reimagined classic is perfect for your holiday shopping list! This Emma manga has beautiful illustrations that bring the classic tale to life.
I bought this for my teenage niece, of course had to read it first, and loved it! It is definitely a great addition to a Janeite’s shelf.
Are you looking for a biographical fiction book on Jane Austen for someone on your list? This is a wonderful book and fits that slot! This book is part of a series on famous women, but do not have to be read in order and all the books are independent of each other.
This book is on Jane Austen’s life and was extremely well done. Not only was it a fun story, but brought up little real life anecdotes that I just had to learn more about, and would often fall down a research rabbit hole. As there are parts of Austen’s life that we know little about, the author does take some liberties in telling the story. However, I felt the author tried to tell a story that does its best to represent Jane Austen.
I really enjoyed it and I think that if you have a friend who loves Jane Austen and wants to know more about her, but doesn’t care for typical biographies, this is a great route to take.
Do you know someone who loves Jane Austen but is also into science fiction? Then this is the perfect book as this adaption of Persuasion has a SciFi twist. Set in the not too distant future, the author has welded Austen’s classic take of love lost, love returned, and misunderstandings with cyborg-like accruements. Elliot’s (Anne) old love has returned with a new name and new enhancements. But can the bitterness and hurt be laid to rest, or will this couple face even more odds at romance.
I enjoyed this book a lot and felt that the fusion of genres was extremely well done.
The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson
Do you have a friend/family member that loves Jane Austen and their favorite film is Sense and Sensibility (1995)? Then this would be perfect for them. The book has an intro by producer Lindsay Doran, the screenplay to the film, and the notes Emma Thompson made while filming. It is a great behind the scenes look that is perfect for the Janiete on your list.
I personally loved reading about how they had to work together to overcome cultural and at times language barriers-being an American producer, British screenwriter/actress, and a Taiwanese filmmaker.
So of course this is just a small sampling of all the Jane Austen adaptations out there, but I hope that this has helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! If none of these strike your fancy, I will post links to my posts that list all the Jane Austen adaptions I have reviewed.
I wish you all a happy holiday and happy holiday shopping!
So I don’t usually write one of these, but thought why not do a holiday guide this year? All the items I have put on here are items I have used in the past and enjoyed, and recommend to others.
I do not receive any money from any of these stores for promoting them, I am just honestly sharing items that I have enjoyed and think make perfect gifts. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products. If you do choose to purchase an item from Amazon, by going through these links I will receive a small percentage through the affiliate program. Any item you purchase through MadsenCreations, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!
So enough business:
It’s time for Christmas!
Yes, Christmas is coming and I thought I would put together a list of some of the best Jane Austen products I have personally come across. These items are perfect gifts for Janeites in your life OR you could always share this list with your loved one that may be struggling to find you the perfect gift. You know what I always say:
All the items are not in any particular order, although I did try to break up the apparel, that way there are not clothes one after the other.
Litographs Jane Austen Shirts
Back when I first came across this company I did a post on them. Litographs is a company that prints the words of classic books onto clothing and other items, but they don’t just reprint words-they also create beautiful designs. You can currently get products in all of Jane Austen’s completed novels, although as I have only ever ordered the shirts from them, those are the only items I recommend. (Although the Northanger Abbey products are lacking and boring, if you are a Northanger Abbey fan keep reading). I would say women’s clothes fit true to size, while unisex does run a little large.
The items came fairly quickly and they have excellent customer service. I ordered a Pride and Prejudice shirt and it arrived in the wrong size, color, and design. I emailed the company, sent them screenshots of my invoice and the item, and it was replaced immediately. If you have a Janeite who loves wearing the words of her books, this is a great place to shop.
NovelTea Tins is a company that makes tea and gives it a punny literature twist. I have also reviewed them in the past. Featured above is their Sense and Senchability Tea, but they make a Pride and Peppermint as well.
This tea is delicious and comes in cute containers or tins with an adorable matching bookmark. This is perfect for Jane Austen friends and family, along with any tea lovers you know. You can purchase the two Jane Austen teas individually, or get a Romantic Reads sampler that will have the two of them, The Picture of Earl Grey Tea, and three corresponding bookmarks.
They have also just added a third Jane Austen tea, Pemberley Pu-erh, but I have not tried that yet, I cannot recommend it.
So MadsenCreations and I have collaborated on a few things, (more below), but I’m not the only one who has been searching for an item and MadsenCreations has delivered. A while back Austen Therapy remarked about how she wanted a Jane Austen Fanny pack, I recommend she reach out to MadsenCreations, and now you too can have one. These are adorable and great for someone on the go who doesn’t want a full size purse or backpack; but does want to show off their love of Mr. Tilney.
As I have worked personally with this shop I felt they were a great person to work with. I also have not had any issues in speed of service as everything came within a week of my order. And don’t forget, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!
Marrying Mr. Darcy: Pride and Prejudice the Card Game
I received this game for my birthday last year and really enjoy it. When you play you are trying to accomplish two goals at once. On one hand you want to gain cards with the attributes that will help you gain your suitor; along with trying to collect high numbered cards as those points matter in the end. This game is a lot of fun as some characters have special abilities or advantages, and even though you may acquire a lot-you also won’t know if you have won your man until the final roll-too low and he’ll say no.
This definitely is made for fans of the book or movie, although I have played it with my nieces and friends who have never seen or read Jane Austen, and they still had a lot of fun.
I wrote a post on the making of these two items, but I they came to be as I wanted the crop top from Selena: The TV Series and couldn’t find it, so MadsenCreations and I made our own! I also thought it would be cute to have a “Jane Austen Runs My Life” shirt available for any one out there who wants to declare their love of Jane Austen. Both of these shirts are comfortable, and for those not a fan of crop tops, the Jane Austen tee also comes in full size.
And don’t forget any item you purchase through MadsenCreations, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!
I wouldn’t normally be interested in purchasing custom pencils, but I won these in a giveaway. These pencils are cute and perfect for any of your Austenite friends or family members who love office supplies, writing, or would appreciate the artistry and design of these. The creator lives in Ireland, so if you are interested in purchasing them for the holidays, I would put your order in sooner rather than later.
MadsenCreationsNorthanger Abbey Sweatshirt or T-Shirt
Is Northanger Abbey one of your favorite books and are you disappointed at the lack of Northanger Abbey products out there? Well I sure was! I contacted MadsenCreations and we designed thisNorthanger Abbey sweatshirt and long sleeve shirt. And guess what? It also comes in children’s sizes!
This sweater is warm, cute, and perfect for any Northanger Abbey fan (or any future fan).
Also again, don’t forget that if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!
So I am very allergic to scents and a lot of skin products and that means everything I have has to be scent-free, hypoallergenic, and boring. I thought that’s how my life would be, until I tried some Northanger Soapworks. This soap is inspired by Jane Austen works and comes in a variety of different scents. I’ve never had any skin related issues with them and the scents also don’t affect my allergies.
Every item comes wrapped in cloth with a beautiful little note card that makes this perfect for Jane Austen fans and any one on your Christmas list. I’ve ordered soaps, bath salts, and candles from her and been happy with all of them.
She also offers wonderful customer service. Once I even put the wrong address in for my order, I contacted her, and she immediately resolved it.
A friend of mine gave me these socks for Christmas a few years ago and I love them. They are comfy, cute, and the perfect Jane Austen stocking stuffer (pun intended). I don’t think the lavender is still available, but you can order these in dark blue.
Christina Boyd, editor of the Quill Ink anthologies, makes these faux-regency inspired notecards. They are hilarious and such fun to send to friends. If you have a Jane Austen friend or family member who loves to write and mail letters (or who loves a good laugh) you should definitely purchase these for them.
I hope this helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! I wish you all a happy holidays and I hope to have a part two with my top 10 books perfect for Jane Austen holiday gift giving.
So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, etc.
It amazes me that have been doing this ten years already.
I only started doing this because I already would watch something for Halloween every day in October (and annoy my friends by doing so); and it was a real easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.
Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.
Hoy es Dia de Los Muertos y yo honrando Jane Austen. Lo siento mi Espanol es no bueno. Lucho con Gramática del español
Today is Day of the Dead and I am honoring Jane Austen. Being biracial I love blending of cultures, and thought this year I would blend my background with my love of Jane Austen. I wanted to do a larger, and let’s be honest, more impressive altar, but I just moved and haven’t had a chance to unpack my belongings as my new place needed some extra work done.
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know this, but for all you who have started following me recently, I am biracial, being half Mexican.
As I am of Mexican descent I celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, and thought this year I would honor Jane Austen. For those of you who might not know of the holiday, I am going to go over a brief history, share how to make your own altar, and how to make pan de Muerto (bread of the dead).
Van y Vienen
Y las ves pasar
Bailan por ahí
Platican por allá…
Es su día
Y van a festejar
They’re coming and they’re going
And you see them passing by.
They’re dancing over here,
They’re chatting over there…
It’s their day
And they’re going to have a good time.
Some people hear day of the dead or see the calaveras (skulls) and think it is a scary holiday; but it is a very sweet and pleasant one. It is a time to gather with your family or friends and remember those who have passed on. Typically one would make an ofrenda, or altar, for a deceased family member, but you can make one for anybody you would like to honor that is no longer with us.
Dia de Los Muertos is an ancient tradition that started in Mexico. Dia de Los Muertos begins on November 1st and ends on November 3rd. The first day, November 1st, is Dia de los Angelitos, when one honors and remembers the children that have passed on. The legend is that their spirits are granted 24 hours on which to reunite with their families. Often on these ofrendas one will leave their favorite toys, games, and food.
November 2nd is Día de los Difuntos, honoring the adults that have passed on. People will lay their favorite things on the altar; along with Pan de Muerto, tequila, and atole. People will talk, laugh, and share stories about their loved ones.
November 3rd is Día de los Muertos, the day that the whole community would get involved, have parades, people dress up as Catrina, etc.
There are a few particular symbols associated with Dia de Los Muertos. First is the calaveras, the skills, which will be made out of sugar, foam, paper, or painted on someone’s face. The skulls are always smiling as they laugh at death (they no longer have any fear as they have moved on) and are happy to be with their families again. The skulls are also a memento mori, reminding us that we too will die-but in this case they are a cheerful reminder; letting us know that we will all be together again someday.
Most celebrations will have Flor de Muerto, flowers of the dead, which are bright Orange and red marigolds. Marigolds symbolize beauty, the fragility of life, and are used as a way to make a path to guide the dead.
Another symbol of Dia de Los Muertos is La Catrina. Even though the calacas figures (Day of the Dead skeletons) were a part of Dia de Los Muertos, the Catrina figure used today has only been around for about 100 years. José Guadalupe Posada was a controversial Mexican artist who liked to draw satirical cartoons with people as skeletons. He drew the first Catrina in a negative sketch against Porfirio Diaz, the President of Mexico, who was really bringing the country to ruin. (My great grandfather fought along Pancho Villa to try to roust Diaz out, and later ended up immigrating to America.) This image of Catrina wasn’t turned into a popularized one connected to Dia de Los Muertos until the 1940s when Diego Rivera did a mural about the history of Mexico. Now you see Catrinas every year.
The Ofrenda (The Altar)
There are as many ways to make an ofrenda as there is imagination. You can make it any way you desire, but there are a few key things to include. You need a table or box to be your altar, one that you can have set out for days. You also need to have a picture of the person you would like to celebrate, it’s best to put it in the center of your display where all can see it right away. You should also include objects that symbolize what they liked or did in life. You can also decorate with sugar skulls, papel picado, Pan de Muerto, and hot chocolate.
For my ofrenda I have my Jane Austen Catrina pumpkin as my centerpiece as I couldn’t find my picture. I also haven’t unpacked my Jane Austen items so it only has Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. I also included my faux quill pen and my corona de flores, that I made for dia de Los Muertos. I also have my Jane Austen Catrina mug made by MadsenCreations, MadsenCreations té de Rosa azucar (for dia de Los Muertos), and one of the Pan de Muerto I made a few weeks ago (and froze for the occasion).
Pan de Muertos
This was my first year making Pan de Muertos as I was always scared to try it as it seems difficult. But it is just as easy as making scones. I used the recipe from Mexico in my Kitchen. Although I did do a few substitutions.
4 cups All Purpose flour
2 Tablespoons active-dry yeast
½ cup of Sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup of butter at room temperature + 1/4 cup to brush the bread after baking.
1 Cup of unsalted margarineroom temperature plus more for bowl and pans.
4 large eggs room temperature
Orange zest from 2 oranges
1/2 cup warm water
Zest of 1 orange or 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or orange essence
1 large egg lightly beaten to brush the bread
Sugar to decorate the bread at the end.
Place the 4 eggs, margarine, salt and half of the sugar in a large bowl.
Mix the dough, working it for about 2 minutes.
Add the All-purpose flour in small amounts alternating with the water. Add the dry active yeast and mix until well combined.
Continue now by adding one at a time the butter, the orange zest, the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom essence or extra orange zest, mixingwell after each addition until soft dough forms.
Get the dough out of the mixer bowl and place onto work surface; knead until smooth, dusting work surface lightly with flour as needed if the dough begins to stick. Knead for a couple more minutes.
Coat the interior of a large bowl with margarine; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Transfer the dough from the bowl onto working surface, separate a portion of the dough to form the decorative bones later on. Cut the rest of the dough into two equal pieces. Prepare 2 greased baking sheets, set aside.
Take portions of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, shaping each piece into a tight ball rolling the dough on the surface. This is called “bolear” in Spanish. Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Press the dough slightly.
Take the remaining dough set aside and roll into small logs putting a little pressure with the fingers to form the bones. You need 2 for each bread.
Place the bones on top of each roll, forming a cross.
And finally, with the leftover dough form small balls and put the ball in the center. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add a pinch of salt to our mix of egg and water and brush the buns before placing in the oven. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Once your Pan de Muerto bread has a completely cooled brush with the remaining butter and then dust with sugar.
I struggled with shaping them, but this video helped a lot.
I had Flat Jane when I made them and then I froze them so they would be ready for today.