They’re Everywhere. Battling for Dominance. A Rival Alpha to Godzilla.: Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019)

They’re everywhere. Battling for dominance. A rival alpha to Godzilla.

So after Godzilla (2014) I resolved to never, ever watch another one of the Godzilla films. You see I grew up watching all the older Godzilla films and I was just so, so, so disappointed in the fact that we hardly had any Godzilla and just the scummy old MUTO. But this past April I was hanging out with my niece for her Spring Break and she wanted to see Godzilla Vs. King Kong. So of course I took her (and that review will be posted next week) and I thought the film was only okay.

Meh.

But as I didn’t watch this film before there were a few things I was a bit lost in. When I was flying home from visiting my niece I saw that this film was one of the options to watch on the flight, and I thought why not check it out. Hopefully it is not as bad as the 2014 Godzilla, and maybe better then the okay 2021 Godzilla? Let’s find out!

So watching the credits I spot Sally Hawkins, you know Anne Elliot in Persuasion (2007). Was she in the first one? It’s been so long since I’ve seen it and I don’t remember much other than I hate it and it was a waste of my money.

So the film begins at the end of Godzilla (2014), Dr. Emma Russell and Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) lost their son in the attack on San Francisco. Me being me I had to find out why they didn’t continue with the characters of Brodie (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), his son, and his unfaithful wife (at least that was the vibe she gave me as she seemed to care so little about him). It turns out they had to replace the characters as Elizabeth Olsen (the wife) was busy with The Avengers and Aaron Taylor-Johnson was busy in something else. So we have these new characters that we know nothing about. I really hate when movies do this as they are trying to force an emotional connection that isn’t there.

I don’t know them!

So Emma and Mark have split up, extremely common after a child passes, and Mark is off studying wolves, having left the goverment program Monarch that is tracking and trying to control the Titans (Godzilla, MUTO, all the other creatures in the Monsterverse). She has Madison and is out in China studying Mothra. That seems weird to me, as why would the court grant her custody over the father in her line of work, as she’s up close and personal with unstoppable monsters!? Anyways. Emma is working on this machine to speak to the monsters and hopefully enable humans to communicate with them. They get word that Mothra is waking up and Emma goes running to fetch Madison to be a part.

Now this seems really weird to me as she is just a chilld not an employee, why would they allow Emma to bring daughter to this serious event, especially one that could go wrong at any moment. Why would she want to risk the life of her daughter? All I could think is that we had better protocals at the museum I interned at than this top secret facility with giant creatures.

Anyways, things start going wrong with Mothra (like I said), but they get the machine working and Mothra is calmed down. Unfotunately, right after a team comes in and shoots everyone up, kidnapping Madison and Dr. Emma .This group is lead by Abel Jonah (Charles Dance), ecoterrorist.

After this is discovered, Mark’s old friends and coworkers at Monarch, Dr. Ishirō Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), approach him and let him know the situation. Mark goes with them and they have a size contestent with some of the other guys, it ending when Mark angrily yells that we should kill all the Titans and Godzilla. But he does calm down and notices that Godzilla is moving from his usual area and tells them to they should follow him, the team heading to Antartica.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica Jonah, Emma, and the team run into the Blob, I mean the Thing, no a Giant Behemoth, oops I mean a frozen monster, Monster Zero who is actually King Ghidorah. Why do they even call him Monster Zero? I mean he isn’t even the first Titan they discovered. Is he the oldest? They never say.

You know what else is weird, this ecoterrorist took everyone out in the Monarch facility, but they only had like five guys. You think the Monarch facility would have a ton of people and security. What did they have, just two gunned guards guarding a giant creature? Seriously?

So the Monarch team follows Jonah & co, and Mark goes all in trying to save his daughter and Emma-who at this very moment are waking up King Ghiddorah. King Ghiddorah and Godzilla fight, Dr. Graham being killed in the process, and Mark goes up against Jonah and his team who have huge weapons while he has an itty bitty gun. He manages to subdue them, but then Dr. Emma does something weird. Instead of going with him, she and Madison run off with Jonah.

So instead of going with her husbsnd she goes with the ecoterrorist? Is she in on it? OMG did she betray her team so she could use her machine? Was she seduced by the temptation to test scientific boundaries? OMG this is just like in The Thing From Another World isn’t it? (Why haven’t I reviewed that movie yet! Darn). She’s just like that crazy doctor too. You know I hope she dies for all the trouble she is going to cause. She doesn’t care about any of the innocents that are going to die for her scientific achievements. She doesn’t even care that she is risking her daughter’s life. What a terrible person!

So everyone is debating whether or not Emma betrayed them, her team not believing she could, but Mark assuring them she did. Meanwhile Dr. Che searches mythology for what this creature Monster Zero is and can find “zero information” because “people were too afraid”. Uh, King Ghidorah looks like the Hydra. I mean right away I knew that and she could find zero information? Where is she looking? What kind of reserch credentials does she have that she can’t tell that? Has she never seen a movie of Hercules? Read a myth? Seen any artwork? I mean she could do a google search and find tht info, how with all Monarch has is she able to find zero? Especially in the Hercules, Lore Olympus, Percy Jackson world we live in?

So Emma sends the group a video message to tell them why she decided that these Titans needed to be awakened, as she believes they will heal the world citing all the improveents we have had since Godzilla destroyed San Francisco and it grew back with trees and such (although Godzilla is radioactive wouldn’t that destroy the land? Hmm?) She doesn’t care who dies saying that it is the price needed to pay for what happened, and those that survive will adapt to serve ou new overlords. She warns them to find a Monarch secret shelter and hide out there awaiting until all the destruction ends, signing off at the end.

What really surprises me is that Madison is okay with her mom betraying everybody and causing mass death and destruction, especially as you think she would have a lot of trauma from when Godzilla attacked San Francisco and not wish that on anyone else. But she doesn’t care either. Like doesn’t she have any non-Monarch friends she is worried for? Ones that won’t have access to bomb shelters?

And her reasoning makes me hate the mom even more. Who made you the one to decide everyone’s fate and that people are just expendable? Huh, I bet you wouldn’t feel that way if it was you child in trouble, but sice it isn’t you don’t care that millions will die. And yes, it turns out all those people in her team were murdered by her command. What a jerk. I hate her.

Emma awakens Rodan in Mexico, the Monarch team trying to help evacuate people, but they get there too late to save them all. Rodan is defeated by King Ghidorah-and then Godzilla shows up.

The fighing scenes are the best as to be honest, we don’t really know a lot about these characters so I don’t really care about them at all. Like Mark is okay and Dr. Ishirō because he was in the first film-but the rest I don’t know and don’t really care about. What I do care about is watching Godzilla destroy things and this gave me exactly what I was wanting.

Godzilla rips out a head, woohoo! I have to say I am extremely happy to see how much Godzilla was in here, vast improvement.

But unfortunately before Godzilla can take King Ghidorah out, the military shoots the two with an oxygen depleting missile that shortens Godzilla out, but King Ghidorah is unaffected. He even grows his head back and wrecks havoc everywhere. Man sometimes humans suck.

Emma and her eco crew continue to awaken Titans going from South America, to Arizonia, to Germany, and so on.

So Dr. Chen still hasn’t found out anything from King Ghidorah even though him growing back a head is so Hydra. Like all I can think is this is why Gen Ed classes are important. Maybe if she had taken a Greek History class, Mythology, or art history she would have recognized it right away and know what they are dealing with.

Madison, meanwhile, has started to have second thoughts about everything and plans to escape. She takes some supplies, the Orca (machine that wakes the monsters up), and sneaks out of the underground bunker. Again, I see that this team has adopted a no security policy along with a let’s not protect our important invention policy. Really, really guys? You are supposed to be tough ecoterriorists?

Finally Chen finds “something” in the research that reveals King Ghidorah is an alien and not of our world (hence the oxygen missile not working on him). How I don’t know as I though people were “too afraid” to document him.

Mothra has imerged from her Chrysalis and goes to Godzilla. With a submarine the team go under the water ad find the ruins of a city that Mark calls Egyptian, but the statues look more like the Greek Kores to me. What is this supposed to be, Atlantis?

Anyways, it is Godzilla’s home where they find him recuperating. They need to help him and decide to nuke Godzilla to give him the extra juice he needs. The only problem is, the ship was damaged so the only way to do it is of course manually, Ken Watanabe sacrificing himself for the world. This scene is actually very cute as he brings the watch that stopped when Jappan was bombed in WWII and reaches out touch Godzilla, the creature he’s been studying forever before he goes.

Godzilla gets the juice and wakes up raring to go.

You know, how come we don’t ever hear the song of Godzilla anymore? I remember hearing it in the old movies and I wish they would bring them to the new films

So Emma is starting to have some second thouhts as the Titans aren’t “healing” the world like she thought they would. She mentions trying to use the Orca in Fenway Park to stop them listening to King Ghidorah. Madison overhears her, takes her supplies, the Orca and heads to the park. Now I’m super surprise that she knows how to do this. I’m not trying to go against her intelligence or anything, but I’m surprised that Monarch doesn’t have a policy that you cannot take things home with you or only authorized personel should be handeling this. Like shouldn’t all this be confidential so this doesn’t happen?

So Madison gets the machine working and stops the Titans’ destruction, or should I say extra destruction, but all Titans start coming toward her-espechially King Ghidora.

Emma discovers that Madison and the machine is missing and big surprise-she no longer thinks that humans should be killed and destroyed, when it is her daughter. Mmhmm…

Mark and his team run into Emma as they search for Madison, going home which is all intact. Just like in War of the Worlds.

Meanwhile, the monsters fight, just what I’ve been wanting. Mothra Vs. Rodan, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, King Ghidora vs. Mothra and Godzilla. It’s awesome.

Godzilla is going nuclear, Mothra sacrifices herself to give him an extra boost while Emma sacrifices herself, paying for the murders of the people she killed, and Madison, Mark, and the team get away.

Godzilla defeats everyone who opposes him, all that remain bow to him.

This was much better than the first film as it gave you what you wanted, watching Godzilla fight and destroy things. The human interest angle was lacking, but if I have my Godzilla fighting, that makes me happy.

And the Facebook cover:

For more on Godzilla, go to Let Them Fight: Godzilla (2014)

For more on monster movies, go to Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)

Incense and Sensibility

Incense and Sensibility (The Rajes #3) by Sonali Dev

I thought what better way to commemorate or commiserate (depending on your point of view) the California Governor Recall Election than with a book that is about a California Gubernatorial Election.

Incense and Sensibility is the third book in the Raje series. The first, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I really enjoyed that book. It had biracial characters, it kept to the story while at the same time allowing the author to tell “her” story, and it had wonderful descriptions of food (depicting the tradition, love, and culture weaved into the making of it.

The second book, Recipe for Persuasion, is based on Persuasion. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous one. I liked the diversity of the characters, but I didn’t feel as connected to the people.

I had seen on Instagram that the third was going to be published soon and as soon as it was added to the library I immediately checked it out.

This book is based on Sense and Sensibility, and focuses on Trisha Raje’s brother (mentioned in both previous books) and a new character, India Dashwood. In the previous books we were given some information about Yash; he is the eldest brother of the Raje family and was in a horrible accident that caused him to lose his ability to walk. Originally told that he would spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair, he proved all wrong and was able to walk again.

However, even though this is a miracle he still felt very insecure and has never let anyone look upon his naked body and see his scars. His dream was to always go into politics, but again he faced another hurdle. At the bequest of his sister Trisha, he offered a job to her best friend Julia Wickham. Julia Wickham turned out to be a truly horrible person, (of which there are no words to describe how horrible); who used his generosity to grow close to him, drug him, rape him, and then blackmail him (as she was underage), and the Raje family. Yash never properly dealt with that trauma, but become not only more suspicious and closed off from others, but all thoughts of a relationship with a woman was pretty much gone forever as the experience left him with severe trauma.

Such a sad and traumatic story [image from The Wolf Man (1941)]

At his sister, Nisha’s, wedding he met his cousin’s friend India Dashwood. He and India had a wonderful evening together, Yash allowing a new person into his life, and made plans to get together when he returned from an already scheduled trip. But when he arrived in Singapore for a wedding, he was convinced to pretend to be engaged to his best friend, Naina Knightley. Naina convinced him it would help them both as her parents do not see Indian women as having any other role than married and she will be able to continue her dream of running her own nonprofit. For Yash he can have someone to be by his side for important events and not have to worry about people focusing on his sexuality over his political agenda. (This makes me think of Kevin Kikey, someone running for governor of California who is single. Everyone is trying to figure out if he is gay, asexual, is involved with a married person, or just hasn’t found his dream mate.)

Hmm…

Even though this trade off helped his friend (and him), while Yash was okay with it in the beginning-it has been grating on him. But Yash is a professional and sets all that aside as he prepares for a new speech given at a rally. As he goes on stage to begin his speech, a shot rings out. Yash’s bodyguard Abdul takes the brunt of it and is put in ICU while Yash is grazed and has a concussion.

When he has recuperated enough to be released he find himself, for the first time in a very very long time, at a loss of what to do. He doesn’t feel anything, every time he tries to give a speech he has a panic attack, he is angry and guilty that his bodyguard is lying in a coma, he wants nothing to do with the farce of a fiancée, and he doesn’t even want to be governor. His family is worried about him, and as Ashna has suffered from panic attacks in the past (previous book), she encourages him to see India Dashwood, her friend and yogi-the last woman he ever thought he would see again.

That’s not good.

India Dashwood’s family came to America, and the Bay Area, to start a barbershop. India’s great-grandparents hired an Indian immigrant, Ram, to be an assistant who also taught them Yoga. What none planned was for their daughter, India’s grandmother, to fall in love and become pregnant. Ram was fifteen years older and left town due to fear of what would happen to him, and India’s grandmother raised her daughter, Tara, changing their business from barber shop to yoga studio. When Tara was old enough she went abroad to search for her father, but was unable to find him. Instead she returned home with a baby she adopted, continuing that two more times. Her son Siddhartha is from India, her daughter India from Thailand, and her other daughter China from Kenya. All the children had cleft palates, but she didn’t care and adopted them anyway.

Out of the children, only India was the one to carry on the family’s traditions of the Yoga studio as her sister China is a TV producer and their brother a photojournalist. The family is in a bit of a financial strain as India used what money they had saved to do some much needed renovations, and now her mother has grown seriously ill. So when Yash comes back into her life after dropping her all those years ago, she would like to reject him and hurt him (a bit like how he hurt her), but instead agrees to help him, not just for the money, but to help him through his trauma. Will these two find a way to maneuver through the trauma, overcome hurt feelings, get through youthful decisions made for the wrong reasons, stalking paparazzi, and become something more?

Hmmm…

Meanwhile, China Dashwood has everything coming up roses. Her cooking show is going great and she is dating KDrama star, Song Ji Woo. True, she doesn’t like having to keep it hidden, but understands that Song can’t reveal her homosexuality as it would end her career. The two spend all their time in hotel rooms, at China’s apartment, or China’s mother’s house. China encounters Yash’s new body guard, former marine Brandy and tbe two do not get off on the right foot when Brandy fails to let China inside the building. The two have a bit of a better relationship after China meets Brandy’s daughter. Brandy and her best friend were heading toward one direction, but her friend ended up marrying an abusive man. When her husband murdered her, Brandy was given legal custody of their daughter and adopted her and raised her as her own. When Song has to return to Korea, China decides to give up her life in America and follow her to Korea. Tara, India, and Brandy try to caution her and convince her to wait and see-but China won’t be dissuaded. Will she get her heart broken ? Or have her happily ever after?

Hmm…

So as always I like to start with what I didn’t like and then move onto what I did like about the book.

First of all I don’t enjoy the political part of this book, as I read to escape. I understand that the author has a particular story she wants to tell and there are opinions she wants to express and share with her readers-I have no issue with it. Just for me, I like to read to escape the world we are in and this book had too much real world for me personally. Especially as I happened to read this book when a real election was going on.

I also find the absence of Latino people from this book to be really odd. Yash started going over with Rico the different political groups on his side and it seems strange to me that Yash discuses the African American vote and working with thE BLM, but there is no mention of a Latino vote, even when they discuss immigration. Not only am I Mexican, but I was born in California, grew up here, lived in the area the books take place and the more and more I think about it, the absence of Latino people in this book is extremely weird. I mean if she decided not to make a Latino a main character, fine it’s your choice and your story, but Yash is running for governor of California and there is no mention at all of the Latino vote or a Hispanic alliance group? It seems strange that both Nisha and Rico who are supposed to be extreme experts have decided to ignore the largest non-white racial demographic in California, especially as his only rival is white and anti-immigration. It seems to me that the smart thing would be to use that to show why the Latinos should vote for Yash.

I also think it is odd that the issue the book and Yash focus on are health care, it is partly what pushes him back into running for governor after his near death experience. I know that is an important issue, but is that the number one Californians are facing? I’m surprised that Yash doesn’t focus on any of the huge CA issues that those running for Governor usually go over (I mean I know because not only have we been going through the recall election but also I remember when governor Newsome was running a few years ago.) One of our biggest issues are water rights and farming rights, something that has carried over every with drought concerns get worse and worse, yet Yash doesn’t even focus on this or talk about it. Nor does he focus on the wildfire crisis even though the deadliest fire was in 2018 in Butte County (Camp Fire) and the biggest CA wildfire was the August fire in 2020. But even if the book was going through revisions there was the Mendencino fire in 2018. And then what about homelessness? We have one of the highest homelessness levels in the nation. I know health care is important, but again it seems strange to me that it was the only issue he seems focused on besides immigration.

I also felt that Song wasn’t really a a very good Willoughby. Willoughby used a woman, got her pregnant, and left her! Then he romanced Marianne only to leave her with no explanation when his aunt threatened to cut off his inheritance, and he decided he needed a woman with money. Song on the other hand is in a harsh reality of the fact that she has no choice in her life. KPop and KDrama stars are owned by their companies and have to be single as their boyfriends and girlfriends are their fans. If they start dating someone they are dropped as the fans don’t want them, and they lose everything. I mean it is CRAZY how obsessive their fans are and how they treat them. If they found out she was in a relationship, her life and career would be over. One woman got married without approval of her agency and she was dropped, blacklisted, and the only way she could make music was her husband had to buy a company. When fans found out that this one KDrama star had a girlfriend and she was pregnant, he was dropped by the fans and his agency. He and his girlfriend got married and I believe it has been five years and he is just barely being allowed to act again. Not to mention that Korea is super conservative and if people found out she was a lesbian that would be even worse for her. So while she doesn’t treat China as nice as she should, Korea is very different from America. And unlike Willoughby, Song is providing for her family. She’s providing money for them and they probably still have debts to the company they belong to that she still needs to pay. Willoughby was a jerk that thought only of himself, while Song is in a completely different situation. For me I would have made Song an American or British actor, or have had her made the crossover into American film and TV (beyond a cooking show), as I feel that the way she treats China and her wanting to keep them hidden would have been more a clue to Song’s behavior rather than her complete lack of control over her relationships.

From True Beauty. They are discussing a KPop idol

So what did I like? First of all, I thought the story line and the characters were more engaging than the previous one in the fact that the plot propelled forward and made me want to read more. I also felt that there was conflict and more on the line for every character’s decision.

I like the multicultural/multiethnic families A LOT! As someone growing up biracial, there was hardly anything out there for me, so I love that we have that in here.

I also like that the Marianne character in this isn’t just a flighty, silly, unintelligent girl. So often authors get the spirit of Marianne wrong and make her just all froth and no substance.

I liked that in this China (Marianne) was passionate and gave everything all of her, no holding back, but that she was also intelligent and a hard worker (not a bubble head like they usually write her). I thought that Dev making her a workaholic really did well for the character as I could see someone who is so passionate about their job to be just as passionate in everything else they care for, such as a new relationship. But while I enjoyed those parts of her character I didn’t care for the romance with Brandy. China barely interacts with Brandy, actually spending more time with Brandy’s daughter (who ends up working at the Yoga studio). She is pretty much just rude to Brandy when she is around her, moves to another country to be with Song, it doesn’t work out, she returns home, and then she and Brandy watch a few movies and are now a couple in love? It felt extremely fast as they hardly shared any scenes or time together in the book. At least in Sense and Sensibility, Marianne and Colonel Brandon spent time together. I think she should have fleshed that out more as the book only takes place in like two months. It really felt like Brandy was just a rebound instead of a “love” as she just returned home like a week ago “being fully committed” to Song and now she’s with someone else?

I also really, really liked how she wrote Yash. The trauma he encountered was horrendous, and the way he closed himself off to people-choosing the easy way out of love and relationships by agreeing to this fake relationship, made perfect sense for his character. I’m not a big fan of Edward Ferrars, but I did enjoy this Yash version of him. Dev dealt with this subject extremely well, although I still think he should have continued his therapeutic help, and it should be with someone he’s not having a relationship with. I understand the security issue of it as they didn’t want the media getting wind but him having India help him fix everything in a couple months and then he ending up with his “therapist”, rubs me wrong. I just think it isn’t a good foundation for a romance, and it feels unethical as well. I also am not a fan of the one night together and then years later, just a couple months and they are “in love”. I prefer my romances to happen over a period time, so that wasn’t for me.

I also enjoyed the character of Tara as I thought she was extremely interesting and I wish we had a little more of her. Growing up biracial, trekking across Asia to find her father, adopting children from across the globe, her strange illness/healing stories, etc. She was the right amount of unusual and relatable. She also was a more active mother than the original Mrs. Dashwood, yet recognized that her children needed to make their own decisions and mistakes.

I enjoyed this book more than the second one, but I still liked the first one best of all.

The one thing that really confused me about this book was that Yash’s fake ex-fiancé is Naina Knightley, so I’m assuming that the book Emma is next on the adaptions schedule, but Naina’s actions don’t seem anything like Mr. Knightley at all. I mean she is manipulative, takes advantage of Yash, and exhibits truly horrible abusive behavior as she tries to force him to stay with her. I’m not excited at all for the next one if it features her.

For more Persuasion, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more Persuasion adaptions, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more on The Rajes, go to Recipe for Persuasion

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to I Was Asked to Be a Guest on the Podcast P.S. I Love Rom Coms + My Review of their Bridget Jones’ Diary Episode

Recipe for Persuasion

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Last year I reviewed the first in the series, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and I really enjoyed that book! I liked the way Dev took Pride and Prejudice and made it her own, I enjoyed the characters and the themes, but most of all I loved the multiracial characters of DJ and Emma. Growing up biracial there was never a lot of material to read or watch that touched on those issues and I am always happy to read one.

So when Dev said that she was planning on writing another book, this one being a retelling of Persuasion, I was jazzed. I could not wait to read it!

Then I finally got my hands on a copy, I read it all in one setting and I didn’t really like it as much as I thought I would. So I decided to let my thoughts steep for a while and think about what it was that made me not love the sequel when I had really loved the first book in the series.

Hmm…

This book is about Trisha’s cousin Ashna Raje. Ashna is an Indian princess; her father (a prince) married a cricket star, but was constantly getting into trouble and causing scandal, so he was sent away from India to to America to be with his older brother (who would hopefully help whip him into shape). There he built a home and a restaurant, cooking Indian and fancy cuisine.

Ashna lived with her father in California, spending most of her time living with her Raje cousins, as her mother was always gone as she traveled around the world trying to better women’s lives. Ashna’s father died when Ashna was graduating high school and after his death she decided to carry on his legacy and traveled to Paris to attend Cordeon Bleu (meeting and befriending DJ, from the previous story). When she returned home eager to put her education to work and carry on her father’s dreams, she discovered that the people she left in charge of the business had embezzled a large portion of the profits and fled, the resturant is dwindling in customers, and that nearly every time she tries to make something new or deviate from the original menu she has panic attacks.

DJ tries to help her revamp the menu, but she struggles trying to do anything. Her customers continue to dwindle and her sous chef leaves her for a better position.

Ashna feels alone and lost when her mother, who left her as a child, calls and makes her feel worse about her life and her choices (as always); along with trying to convince her to sell the resturant and do something else. Ashna becomes angry that her mother is again belittling her life choices and decides to do the one thing she never thought she would ever do, agree to be on her friend, China Dashwood’s, cooking show competition.

China Dashwood is producing a new show, Cooking With the Stars, that pairs a local chef up with a celebrity. Ashna was set against it, but being on the show will be good for business and help stick it to her mom, who Ashna has a lot of unresolved issues with.

Meanwhile, in England, World Cup Winner Rico Silva is trying to decide what to do next with his life. Rico was born in a favela in Brasil, the illegitimate son of a famous fútball star. When his mother passed away, he was sent to America to stay with his Tia. There he started playing soccer; along with meeting and falling in love with Ashna.

But Ashna was always ashamed of him and never wanted him to meet her father or family, always keeping him hidden from them and a secret, just like his dad treated his mom. One day, Rico went to see her father and he said horrible things to him and about his family. Ashna never spoke to Rico after that, completely ignoring all his texts and calls.

Now Rico is a famous fútball player who’s knee injury has forced him to retire. Feeling bad for himself at a friend’s bachelor party, he starts thinking of his string of failed relationships, as he has never been able to move past Ashna. He decides to google her and discovers she is going to be on a cooking show. Not making the most logical decisions, he decides to go on it too, be her partner, and get his revenge? Find closure? Maybe a mix of both?

Ashna is extremely nervous to be on the show, but when she sees that her partner is Rico, the man who broke her heart-she is so surprised she drops her knife, nearly slicing off her toes. Luckily Rico dives and saves her.

Ashna is uncertain how she will make it through this competition while being so close to Rico, this whole situation is so painful and brings back both good and bad memories. Meanwhile, Rico starts regretting being alongside someone who still has so much emotional power over him.

They should not have done this.

But even if both wanted to back out, it is impossible now as they are leading the charts with their chemistry. Ratings are a dream as everyone is tuned in to see what will happen next in the cooking romance. But can the two work as a team? Or is the heat between then too much for this kitchen?

Hmmm…

So the story wasn’t bad but I wasn’t really as invested in these characters as I was with the ones from the previous book. It’s weird as I was really interested to have more Ashna, as I liked her in the previous book, but I felt like something was off in thiI think it is because the circumstances didn’t pull on my heart as much in this book as they did in the original Persuasion and in the previous book. In Persuasion, first we have the fear of loss of security as their family is running out of money and Anne’s father Sir Walter and sister Elizabeth are making no effort to change that. Anne gets a glimpse of her unhappy future as she stays with her horrible sister Mary and brother-in-law. In Recipe for Persuasion, there is the fear of losing her father’s resturant, but I had a harder time finding connecting to that as she still has the property and the house-both of which are prime Bay Area real estate, she could sell them and get millions. And if she did lose her place as she had too much debt that would be paid after the sale, she could always stay at the Raje family compound. Her family is amazing and she used to live with them, so it isn’t as scary an end. I mean it is still sad to have failed and to lose your dream, but she wouldn’t be lost or alone as all would be willing to help her as she regrouped and figured out what was next.

Also in Persuasion, when Wentworth comes back successful and has both the Musgrove sisters fawning over him, he enjoys the attention, especially as it is in front of the woman who rejected him-while Anne definitely feels less then and sad that she let him go. Then when Captain Wentworth realizes he still loves her, he is stuck waiting to see what will happen to Louisa as his attention to her made everyone assume they are to be engaged and he can’t abandon an injured woman. With this there is no block to their happiness, I mean Rico gets over his hurt fairly quickly and is trying to get with Ashna pretty early on in the book. The author does try to mislead us and Ashna with KDrama star Song and Rico growing close, but she isn’t a serious contender. She is never more than just friendly to him.

The other 1/3-1/2 of the book focused on Ashna’s mother’s story, Shobi, who’s storyline is very sad. The first part of Shobi’s story describes how she was in love with another man but her father wouldn’t let her marry a poor Muslim, and instead agreed to a marriage with the prince, Ashna’s father who wanted her. The prince is a horrible abusive man who rapes her on her wedding night. That part I didn’t have an issue with, having been in an abusive relationship I felt they dealt with her story well. What bothered me was the way she justifies leaving her child to help children all over the world and the anger she has at her ex-husband blaming him for her and her daughter’s decaying relationship. Now I will never condemn someone for leaving their abusive partner, but the way she belittles not being there for her daughter because she had a “greater good” to serve really bothered me. Her husband did not paint Shobi in the best light to her daughter, but I felt that she also needs to take responsibility for the choices she made, especially after her husband died. She still hardly spends time with Ashna, doesn’t listen to what she wants, just drops in without warning believing that will fix everything, threatens to sell the store if Ashna doesn’t listen to her, etc. And if she did apologize and recognize her failings to Ashna, instead of telling her again and again these impoverished women are more important than her own daughter, I would have liked her more.

I also didn’t like how easily Ashna and her mother Shobi resolve their issues. Ashna realizes that her being with Rico wasn’t what made her father commit suicide, but that her mother served him with divorce papers. That brought a bunch of memories of how horrible her father treated her mother and she instantly forgives her and is happy to hear her mother is in a happy relationship with another man (who Shobi has been dating for almost all of her married life). I understand what the author is doing and wanting to wrap up that thread, but I used to work with grieving adults and kids and it is never, ever that easy. This exact scenario happened with a preteen I was working with. The mom stayed with her abusive husband because of the kids, but was finally planning on leaving him. He found out and killed himself, the daughter being the one who found the body. The daughter hated her mom as she blamed her for the death, and idolized her father (just like Ashna) and after a lot of therapy and the art class they were in a better place; but she was still very angry with her mom, and it was a continual process. There were also adults who went to the grief class and had a similar scenario happen in their life and had never dealt with those issues. After the art therapy class they were in a better place with their parent-but still had hurt and blame over their mother “causing the death” of their father. I found it extemely unrealistic that Ashna who has never been in any therapy regarding her mother was able to get over the abandonment of her mother; moved past feeling second best to her mother’s charity work, and accepted that this whole time her mother had a secret life/relationship with another man in an instant. What? I would have liked it better if her mother and her started talking and then showing years later they are in a good place instead of it all fixed in one night.

Hmm…

There are also some interesting writing choices in this book as well. We have a chapter where we are in we are in Ashna’s POV and then it suddenly switches to her mom. It was a bit disorientating.

I also had a really hard time with all the Portuguese in this book. Being half Mexican I grew up with Spanish and Portuguese is not Spanish. This is nothing against the author or the language, I just struggled with it and cautioning other Spanish speakers/readers you too might have a bit of a struggle as well.

So that’s all that I did not care for, now what did I like? First of all I loved that again we have an interracial relationship with Ashna (Indian) and Rico (Brazilian). Growing up biracial there wasn’t a lot of media that had interracial or multiracial couples/characters. Anytime there is anything that has even a tiny shard of it, I am excited to see. I loved that scene when they blend Rico’s favorite dish from Brasil with pieces of an Indian recipe that Ashna’s grandma used to make. That scene was just wonderful! It made me think of my own life when blending traditions from both sides of my culture.

Like Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors, this book was also a love letter to food. I like how it highlights the comfort, love, and traditions of it. I also love how we have the two bond of cooking. Rico, having only been a part to get back at Ashna, actually find himself enjoying creating these different dishes with Ashna. And Ashna finds herself having a renewed interest in it, and finding herself once again being creative and not stuck in the past and past recipes. In a sense, then cooking together really is what begins to help heal what transpired between them. And of course there is the constant Chais that Ashna creates and blends for her cousins. It made me want some, real chai, so bad.

And of course, Rico writes Ashna a letter to convince her that he’s serious in his feelings for her. You know me, I’m a sucker for a character writing a love letter. It gets me every time.

I also liked how the author shared about the struggles women face in other places of the world along with Shobi’s struggle with abuse and marital rape. I think both of these issues are important and I’m glad that Sonali Dev didn’t shy away from it all.

So I didn’t hate it and I don’t think it was a bad story-there was just something missing for me…a missing ingredient that I felt the previous book had and this one lacked.

She just published a third book, Incense and Sensibility, and I have read and will be posting on it soon (I hope).

Because of the content of those book I want to end this post with this: Are you in an abusive relationship? Do you need help or assistance? If you are in need of help please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides essential tools and support to help survivors of domestic violence so they can live their lives free of abuse. You can reach them at 1.800.799.7233

For more Persuasion, go to Jane in Love

For more Persuasion adaptions, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more on The Rajes, go to Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) With My 13 Year Old Niece

Jane Austen Birthday Party Music & Party Review

So we are almost done with going over my Jane Austen 29th Birthday Party planning.

Party time!

This is the very last post as we have reviewed everything there is to review, except the music.

So I saved this for last as this was the last thing I worried about in my party planning. I have a prime membership and with that comes free access to Amazon Music and Amazon Music has almost all the Austen soundtracks for free.

You can listen to my playlist by clicking here or look them up from the list below.

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1995) Theme
  2. Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version Theme
  3. “Frank Churchill Arrives” from Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version
  4. “Mr. Knightley Returns” from Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version Theme
  5. “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  6. “Meryton Town Hall” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  7. “Liz on Top of the World” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  8. “Georgiana” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  9. “Your Hands Are Cold” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  10. “Mrs. Darcy” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  11. Mansfield Park (2007) Theme
  12. Northanger Abbey (2007) Theme
  13. Persuasion (2007) Theme
  14. Sense and Sensibility (2008) Theme
  15. Emma (2009) Theme
  16. Austenland” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
  17. Austenland Symphony I” from Austenland (2013)
  18. L.O.V.E. D.A.R.C.Y.” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
  19. Only You” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
  20. What Up” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
  21. Trio for Flute, Piano, and Cello No. 31 in G Major

I just played it on repeat throughout the whole party.

That’s the final piece of the party planning, if you missed any of the previous posts just click on one of the links below:

Invitations

Party Decorations

Party Menu

Regency Hair

Madsen Creations’ Regency Gown

Paper Fan Making

Croquet

Party Game I: Jane Austen Trivia

Party Game II: Tea Tray Memory Game

Party Game III: Guess How Many Sugar Cubes

Party Game IV: What’s In Your Purse? Game

Party Prize I: Persuasion

Party Prize II: Pride and Prejudice

Party Prize III: Northanger Abbey

Party Prize IV: Teapot & Scones

How to Make Your Own Teapot Piñata

Party Favors

Party Favors II: Kids 5-10

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Bridal Shower

I Applied for Peacock’s New Dating Show, Pride and Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance

So I was just going about my usual business when my google alert for Jane Austen shared with me that Peacock is starting a new dating show.

Now I’m not one to watch dating reality shows as they are all pretty boring to me and seem to be the same premise. I have a friend who is obsessed with The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, but those shows were never for me.

I will admit to liking Farmer Takes a Wife, though. I liked that the ladies had to do challenges as it was hilarious to see the ones who were clearly only doing it to be on TV try and attempt these actual farm challenges only to fail, and fail in spectacular fashion.

That’s good TV!

But this one was supposed to be Jane Austen/Bridgerton Regency themed and I become super excited about it as it sounded just like out of the book Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.

You can read my full review by clicking on this link, but in short, Chloe thinks she is entering a contest/documentary about Jane Austen fans but ends up finding herself on a dating show. It is all about proper Regency courtship; no touching, no drinking, no alone time (everything is chaperoned), and to win special outings/events with the bachelor, the contestants had to participate in Regency-esque activities, racking up points. The bachelor is Mr. Wrightman, a wealthy individual who is tired of women being after his money and is looking for love the old-fashioned way. Of course the path to true life never runs smooth (especially on TV) and hilarity ensues.

For years I have been saying a network should jump on this idea and have tweeted it multiple times to different ones. So when I saw this I knew I had to enter. Whether or not I get on it doesn’t matter, at least I tried.

So this show is going to take a heroine to England, to compete for several weeks in a castle. “If selected, we will transport our heroine and suitors to an international location where they will get to experience what dreams are made of and be fully immersed in a time-traveling quest for love…Those selected will engage in period-era pastimes like carriages rides, archery and sending hand-written letters.

Like I literally love all those things! I used to do archery and was pretty good at it (I don’t know if I still am as it has been years). I also send out handwritten letters every week. Everything about the “challenges” sounds fun.

So it asked a lot of questions, a looooot of questions. It was actually pretty uncomfortable how much information you had to give out. Name, birthday, occupation, height, weight, gender identity, who you like to see, etc. I answered them all truthfully but was a little flippant about the height. I told them I was 5’3, close to Regency women’s average height.

They also ask for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tiktok links. I gave both my personal and the ones for my blog. I’m hoping that since the title is Jane Austen Runs My Life, it might make me a stronger contender.

Please pick me.

There are questions on marital status, whether or not you have children, dating history, where do you look for dates.

I was like I haven’t been looking as I honestly haven’t since I’ve been divorced. (Plus you hear such horrible things about dating sites, although I do have an idea for a future post…I’ll have to keep ruminating on it.)

I like that they ask your top three things when looking for someone and what your deal breakers are. I know the show is mostly for entertainment, as all dating shows are, but I did like that they put that out there. It does feel as if someone is trying to care.

My top three things were honesty, trust, and fidelity. My top three dealbreakers were lying, any type of manipulation/abuse, and distrust.

They also asked why you were single which I feel like most people aren’t going to have a reason for it. I know I haven’t looked since ny divorce was finalized. That’s what I wrote but I really wanted to say this line from Austenland, and I am kicking myself that I didn’t as it is a great line.

Another question on the form is why you are a good catch and I was thinking, guys I’m Darcy’s Dream Date. (But that’s not what I said, instead I gave a real answer).

They also asked how you are like in a committed relationship and i wrote that I’m kind and caring but still independent and not clingy.

One of the questions was on whether modern dating frustrates you and your thoughts on chivalry. I think for me, my views on Modern dating are very similar to Mr. Nobley in Austenland.

Chivalry is very important to me after being through an abusive relationship. I really would like someone who is kind and caring and the idea of a code of honor in how one treats a women does greatly appeal to me.

They also ask if you like big romantic gestures and I was like I love the idea of a man coming after me on a white horse and willing to risk his inheritance for me:

Or a man who writes me love letters:

Or saves my family from ruin by protecting my sister’s reputation…just kidding about that last one.

For hobbies I shared I liked reading, writing/blogging, and creating my own cards and sealing them with wax!

They also asked about something that would surprise them and I shared that I am biracial. I figured this will be a good “surprise” as I know I don’t look like what people imagine someone who is Mexican looks like. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to put her.

And then it asked what your greatest accomplishment is. My greatest one was probably my thesis project which was on a subject that there wasn’t a lot of info on and I had to spend hours working on it. It even won an award. It’s boring, but I’m very proud of it.

You also have to include pictures. One has to be of your face while the other a full length picture. I knew I had the perfect ones!

This one I used for face. I totally forgot I had this but found it the other day when I was cleaning through my phone.

And of course for full-length:

I then had to do a 20 second video introducing myself which was the hardest one to do. 20 seconds isn’t that long, and what do you even say?

If you are interested in trying out for it, click on this link. And if they do pick you, keep us updated on to what it is like!

For more on Jane Austen and Regency fun, go to My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

For more Jane Austen screen adaptations, go to Dear William: Letters from Georgiana Darcy

For my review of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, click here