Love & Friendship Movie Review

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Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica. (Synopsis taken from imdb)

Based on the unfinished epistolary novel, Lady Susan, by Jane Austen.

My friend Hamlette has been hosting an “I <3 Jane Austen” event on her blog this week, and I’m really excited to be able to join in on the Austentatious fun with a movie review of Love & Friendship!

The most recent Jane Austen movie adaptation came out last year, but I wasn’t able to see it until just recently (thank you, Amazon Prime!). Unlike most of the other Jane Austen adaptations I have seen, I did not enjoy Love & Friendship upon first viewing. The main character Lady Susan, played by Kate Beckinsale, is abominable. She’s the exact opposite of the typical heroine you’d expect from Jane Austen. As the movie’s tagline boasts, she’s “opportunistic, devious, shrewd, calculating, cunning, unprincipled.”

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But, I really wanted to like this film regardless of Lady Susan’s character, so I gave it another watch and I’m really glad I did. I enjoyed the movie much more the second time around. The supporting characters are really entertaining, especially James Martin, who is so foolish you can’t help but laugh.

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There are some terrific puns and subtle humor in this movie, and if you don’t pay close attention to the dialogue you’ll miss some really funny lines. Also, the costumes are lovely! One detail I appreciated was how oversized James Martin’s coat buttons were; it fit well with his overall ridiculousness.

As far as Jane Austen adaptations go, Lady Susan is intriguing and humorous, and at times it felt like watching Mansfield Park told through Mary Crawford’s point of view. And just as Ms. Austen would prefer, all the characters get their “comeuppance” and due rewards at the end :) I know the movie is critically acclaimed, but it may take multiple viewings for you to enjoy it. I’m really glad I gave it a second chance because it could easily become the type of movie I quote whenever a subtle sarcastic comment is called for…

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Here’s the trailer!

 Stop by Hamlette’s Soliloquy to discover more I <3 Jane Austen posts!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published May 3, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Format: e-book; 519 pages
Young Adult/Romance
Also By This Author: Amy & Roger’s Epic DetourSecond Chance SummerSince You’ve Been Gone
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥

I know I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but Morgan Matson is one of my favorite contemporary Young Adult authors. So I was stoked when I found out that Tiff at Mostly YA Lit was hosting a Morgan Matson event to celebrate the release of The Unexpected Everything! She’s already posted some pretty rad interviews, quizzes, and giveaways, so hop over to her blog to check them out! But first, here’s my own review of The Unexpected Everything as well as a fun little dare I was challenged to this week.

Thoughts:

Another heartwarming book by Morgan Matson! I just love how she writes coming-of-age stories and makes you laugh, cry, and feel every awkward situation along with her characters. I never have a hard time connecting with the characters in Morgan Matson’s books; they’re quirky, goofy, loyal, and fittingly enough they’re always trying to deal with the unexpected.

Andie Walker has everything planned. She’s going to be pre-med, she’s attending an esteemed college program the summer before her senior year, and her father is a well-known politician so even all of her social media posts are planned ahead of time. But suddenly all of her plans have fallen through and Andie finds herself hired as a dog walker, spending a lot of unexpected (and meaningful) time with her father after his campaign is marred by scandal, and crushing on a socially-awkward fantasy-nerd who challenges all of her preconceived notions of her typical summer fling.

Clark and Andie’s relationship was great! Morgan Matson sure knows how to create cute nerds (there’s one in each of her books). But my favorite part of this book was the relationships between Andie and her three best friends. During the entire book, this tight-knit group of BFFs is the only constant in Andie’s life, until suddenly it’s not. For me that was the best part of Andie’s journey. It made me reflect on my own relationships with former and current friends of mine. Besides unexpected circumstances, reconciliation is always a theme in Morgan Matson’s books and there’s something so powerful and deep about how it resonates with me.

Read This Book If…

…you love books that are centered on friendships.
…you appreciate characters who make mistakes and reconcile relationships.
…you enjoy contemporary YA romances.
…you’re looking for a fun, swoony, & touching book to read this summer!

“I could do this. If whole galaxies could change, so could I.”

The Unexpectedly Epic Dare Challenge!

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This week I was challenged to an #UnexpectedlyEpic dare as part of the Morgan Matson event being held by Tiff at Mostly YA Lit.

Here was my dare:

Reply to 5 different people on any social media platform using only lyrics from Taylor Swift songs.

My initial reaction:

This is silly…
AND
I don’t know enough Taylor Swift songs!

Game plan:

Listen to every T-Swift song and read all of her lyrics, which means I analyzed* them and tried to be prepared for situations on social media where I could sneakily insert some Taylor Swift lyrics into the conversation. (*Yes, I’m aware that I’m a nerd. Can you tell that I was an English major in college who actually enjoyed research papers?)

Results:

  1. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.06.05 PM
    This was the easiest one to do. I actually think about my favorite web series Green Gables Fables whenever I hear Taylor Swift’s “Everything Has Changed,” but I couldn’t find a good post on tumblr to post those lyrics to. So instead I saw this gif set from one of my favorite episodes (when Gilbert is being a super encouraging friend to Anne) and reblogged it with lyrics from “Stay Beautiful.”
  2. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 9.59.15 PM
    Ok, I realized after I did this one that I was only supposed to use lyrics, but I wanted to be really encouraging to my friend Shakira so that’s why I added the last part after the lyrics from “Ours” :) This was probably my favorite part of the dare, realizing that doing something silly like quoting Taylor Swift lyrics could actually be uplifting to someone.
  3. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.10.26 PM
    Of course I had to find a way to quote Taylor Swift lyrics to Morgan Matson! She included “Stay Stay Stay” on this playlist for her Michigan book tour and when I looked up the lyrics I saw that they really fit with Andie and Clark’s relationship.
  4. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.01.07 PM
    Hahaha! This one was the hardest one to post. One of my guy friends was chaperoning Prom and I immediately knew that I could find some dance-related lyric to comment with. I was trying to avoid “Shake it Off” but hey, it fit pretty well.
  5. Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.46.50 PM
    My best friend Jae actually really dislikes Taylor Swift, so I wanted to post lyrics to one of her posts just to be funny :) But in all honesty these lyrics from “Never Grow Up” made me want to cuddle with my baby and this is a great picture Jae took of him.

Reactions:

Originally I thought this was going to be a really silly dare, and it was silly, but it was also a bit eye-opening for me. While it was fun to make a fool of myself online, I also realized that there’s more to Taylor Swift songs than love at first sight and heartbreak. As I was listening to a playlist on YouTube I found this video of Taylor Swift sending Christmas presents to some of her biggest fans (and in one case she even surprise-visited a fan). I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and sweet and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me want to cry.

Thank you to whoever gave me this dare! I enjoyed listening to Taylor Swift on repeat & being challenged to do something silly :)

Austen in August Giveaway: Set of 6 Jane Austen Tile Coasters!

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Hello fellow Austenites! Today is the last day of Roof Beam Reader‘s Austen in August event, and I’m very happy to say that I have a giveaway for you to celebrate!

This month, while listening to Sense and Sensibility on audiobook, I got a little crafty and made a set of tile coasters. Each one is themed after one of Jane Austen’s novels, so Emma‘s coaster is sweet and girly while the one I made for Northanger Abbey is more gothic-looking.

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Giveaway Rules:

  • This giveaway is open until 11:59PM Friday, September 4th. I will announce a winner on Saturday, September 5th.
  • To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling me what your favorite Jane Austen novel is or which character you relate to the most. Mine are Pride and Prejudice and Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey.
  • You must be a participant of Roof Beam Reader’s Austen in August event. I will check this sign-up page to confirm.

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Good luck!

Austen in August: What I’m Reading

Happy Friday everyone! Since we are a week into August, I decided to talk about some of the books I’m reading for this month’s Austen in August events.

AustenInAugustRBR-ButtonAdam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting his annual month-long event dedicated to Jane Austen, and this is the first year I’ve participated. At the end of the month I’m hosting a giveaway for all pre-registered Austen in August participants here on my blog :)

Misty at The Book Rat is hosting her annual two-week event later this month, and this is the third year I’ve participated. Last year I contributed a guest post and the year before that I joined in her group read-along of Mansfield Park.

This month I’m hoping to read 1-2 Jane Austen novels plus a selection of Austen adaptations/inspirations:

senseandsensibilityLady Susan

Amelia Elkins

Jane Austen Book Club

For Darkness

Are you participating in any Jane Austen events this month? What books are on your reading list?

#24in48: How I Did

24in48Ugh…I feel like I failed miserably at this readathon. Originally I planned on having a pretty open weekend, but things don’t always work out the way you think they will, and I’m not going to complain because I actually had a pretty fun weekend despite not being able to commit half the time to reading.

On Saturday I started off the morning reading on the beach while my husband did some Cross Fit. It was a super hot, super sunny day, though, and pregnant me didn’t enjoy being out there so long!

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I did get to finish The Martian that afternoon! Such a good book :) That night we threw an impromptu birthday party for a friend, so reading was put on hold.

Sunday is one of our busiest days of the week, and I took a much needed nap that afternoon. But I did get some more reading in!

24in48 Readathon Results:

Reading Time: ~6 hours
Books Finished: The Martian by Andy Weir, Sailor Moon #1 by Naoko Takeu

At least I finished two books!

#24in48: What I’m Reading

24in48I was just thinking about how I haven’t participated in a reading event in a long time (and I really miss the blogosphere camaraderie) when I discovered that the #24in48 Readathon is happening this weekend!

The goal of the readathon is to read for 24 hours during a 48-hour time span. The readathon begins Saturday morning, July 11, just after midnight and officially ends Sunday night, July 12, at midnight. 

Since Matt is dragging me to the beach tomorrow morning because his Cross Fit gym is having a beach workout followed by a BBQ, I figured that would give me a few hours of uninterrupted reading time (because I will not be swimming along the coast of North Carolina for a while *cue Jaws theme*).

So here’s what I plan to read this weekend:

The Martian Wives and Daughters Sailor Moon

The Martian by Andy Weir (paperback) – I have a little over 100 pages left in this book and I’m determined to finish it this weekend.
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (Kindle and audiobook) – I just started this classic last week, so I definitely don’t intend to finish it. It’s a little daunting so far, so if I need something light I have Option 3…
Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi (paperback) – I’ve been slacking on this one for book club, but our chats keep getting rescheduled so I keep putting it off every time. Plus, I’m running out of library renewals.

Are you participating in #24in48? If not, it’s not too late to join in!

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read (So Far) in 2015

toptentuesdayThe year is halfway over, and despite the fact that I took a 3-month long reading and blogging hiatus, I have read a decent amount of books so far this year! Which is great, because today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about the top books I’ve read so far this year. Unfortunately, I’ve only read a handful of books that I really loved (meaning I gave them a 5-star rating), so I’m cutting this list down to 5 books.

Top Ten Five Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I shared my review for this book last week, but this book was definitely a big hit with me. I loved the characters, the dinosaurs, and even the philosophy in the books (which is funny, since I usually stray away from books or discussions heavy in philosophy).

harrypotterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – My first reread this year! I’ve been reading the series with my husband, who has seen the movies but never read the books, and even after having read this book so many times that the pages are literally falling out, I still enjoy it just as much. Eternal 5-star rating!

mara dyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – I feel like it’s been much longer than 6 months since I’ve read this book, but I still remember staying up really late to finish it because I had to know what happened next! It has so much: mystery, suspense, romance. Definitely my favorite book in Hodkin’s series and obviously one of the best books I’ve read this year.

earnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – An easy book to read in one sitting (or listen to on the way to and from work, as I did), Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy” had me laughing and hoping for a happy ending, and I was definitely pleased :) This is a great read for people who aren’t very used to reading classics.

PersuasionPersuasion by Jane Austen – Oh, I lied earlier. Persuasion was my first reread this year (although I did reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the same week), and it was also the first time I had reread this particular novel, my second favorite of all Jane Austen’s works. I still felt just as much for Anne Elliot, and I definitely still swooned at Captain Wentworth’s letter <3 This book has gotten me all excited for Austen in August in a little over month! (I’ll be following along with two blogosphere events this year: here and here)

Honorable Mention:

whereshewentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman – I read this sequel last month and never got to talk about it, but I definitely enjoyed it more than the first novel, If I Stay. That’s probably because I got used to Gayle Forman’s writing style. In If I Stay I wasn’t prepared for the whole book to take place over 24 hours and most of the plot happening in flashbacks, so I got a little annoyed, but this time I anticipated that and had more fun reading it.

Thanks for reading! What have been some of your favorite reads so far this year?