The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Like this one! I borrowed the review from megafan-JaneAustenRunsMyLife

phantom of the opera underground lair water boat

Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

tomorrowisanotherdaygonewiththewind

Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; he heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, and it gave him an idea.

ooh!

With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

Phantom of the Opera

Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

phantom-of-the-opera organ

His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared his room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

right in the feels broken heart

One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

you're evil

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

hate her

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

2578pstabbing

Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

uh-no-gifuhno

Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

iLoveyou

He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

No thank youhowaboutno

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

Phantomoftheopera1925unmasked

Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

big mistake

He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

you're evil

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

HurtMeHurtYouBack

I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking of him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psycho and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him too. Although he does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

Phantom of the Opera chandelier

He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

broken-heart-breakYouPatrick

But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

anthony-michael-hall-brian-insecure-quotes-the breakfast club see myself don't like what i see insecure body image

Had our heart broken:

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

you broke my heart silverstein

Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

StoryOfMyLifeSomeLikeItHotMarilynMonroe

What else can I say?

gotmask

Why yes I do!

For more ghosts, go to The Little Archies in The Secret of the Betsy Belle

For more posts borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

 

The Strength of Their Attachment

“The Strength of Their Attachment” from Rational Creatures by Sophia Rose

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

We all about that mystery.

So my sister blog reviewed a book Rational Creatures, short stories on different Jane Austen female characters from Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. Now most of these stories are not mysteries or have mysterious elements, so I just passed them by.

But the one that did interest me, was the Northanger Abbey short story by Sophia Rose…yes this one was a mystery!

So quick background copied from my sister blog:

“So for those who haven’t read it it- Catherine Morland seemed so average that no one would think she could ever be a heroine-but those people will be proven wrong. She loves to read, especially gothic stories and has an overactive imagination. She is gifted with a trip to Bath and ends up in her own romance suspense novel! A love triangle, an overbearing father, a mysterious death, a foreboding Abbey, and more! I love it and you all should read it if you haven’t!”

Plot Synopsis:

So at the end of Northanger Abbey, Catherine was sent home embarrassed-then Mr. Tilney came and professed his love, and all was happy. Right?

She has returned home to find her brother, James Morland, has disappeared.

He just disappeared.

After his fiancé Isabella threw James over, trying to snare a bigger fish, he became despondent. They have tried to contact him numerous times, but there are no answers to them. Even their aunt who resides in Oxford has had one of her grooms deliver a letter but nothing.

Catherine takes a moment to work out a plan and convinces her parents to let her go to Oxford and try a personal visit. Catherine prepares for the trip and that there is a stranger in the village asking questions about her brother.

Catherine gets there and it appears her fears were not unfounded. The porter has not seen James, but his mail has disappeared and some of things are gone with no one knowing where he has gone.

Hmmm…

Catherine grows more and more worried-nothing heard from James-nothing from her fiancé Mr. Tilney. What is going on with this men?

Hmmm…?

Catherine once again finds herself in a plot she’s only ever read about-dastardly plans, missing brother, missing fiancé, a viscount, goons after her-straight out of an adventure story. Will she be able to stop this plotter? Will she find her brother? What’s wrong with her fiancé?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was a great mystery. It was funny, suspenseful, and had a great resolution.

To read the full Rational Creatures review check out my sister blog

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more short stories, go to The Idol House of Astarte

For more disappearances, go to Lowcountry Boneyard

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

So Tuesday we reviewed The Key to Midnight, which is set in Japan, so I thought why not have a Japanese recipe? And of course one of my favorites, Matcha Tea!

This recipe comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, who LOVES tea.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer.
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour the milk in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

Thoughts After Reading:

It was delicious!

For more Matcha recipes, go to Green Tea Frappuccino 

For more tea recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more drink recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Japanese dishes, go to C is for Chocolate Oat Crackles

Scottish Oatcakes

So I needed a regency-type recipe to go with Tuesday’s post. Hmm, where to look? I know! My sister blog! So like I said MysteriousEats.wordpress.com isn’t lazy, but if my older sister blog  JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.comhas already reviewed or posted something, I like to just copy and paste it here (usually without asking)

Haha!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Cut into Pieces
  • 2-3 Tbsps of Water
  • Honey (Optional)
  • Marmalade (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees F
  2. In a food processor fitted with metal blades, process oats to a fine meal.
  3. Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and butter.
  4. Process briefly to mix well.
  5. With motor running add 2-3 tbsps of water and process 20 seconds to form a crumbly dough.
  6. Add as much water as needed to achieve the desired texture.
  7. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Knead a couple of times to incorporate any crumbs, then form into a ball.
  9. Cut in half.
  10. Using a rolling pin, roll out each half into rounds 6 inches wide an 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Crimp edges with your finger and thumb to make a fluted border.
  12. Using a metal spatula, transfer the rounds to a baking sheet and cut into four equal wedges. separate the wedges slightly then prick the top of each one 3 or 4 times with a fork.
  13. Bake until pale and tan and no longer soft (about 25-30 mins)
  14. Transfer the oatcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  15. Serve with honey or marmalade, if desired.
  16. Makes about 8.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were fantastic! So good, and perfect with your tea!

I would ground the oats in the processor or blender, but when you get to the water just put it in a bowl and use your hands.  Otherwise, delicious!

For more JaneAustenRunsMyLife recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more breakfast recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Suitors and Sabotage

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

So, my sister blog reviewed this mystery and I’ll be honest, I just copied and pasted it with a few deletes. If you want to read the whole post, you can hop over there. Otherwise, check this out.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks. Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen! But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

Hmm…

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity to check it out.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Or him

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again). Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about the artist, Joseph Mallard William Turner.

Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest. Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her? But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

 

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them. Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

I know, right?

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ugh

So Imogene finds herself in a quandry, on one hand-Ben makes her feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and he loves her drawings and wants her to give him lessons as he can’t draw!

Squeal!

But then she and Ernest finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about art, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature. 

Squeal!

Imogene finds herself falling for Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

 

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Here we go again…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better.

For more historical fiction, go to Weak Flesh

For more young adult mysteries, go to Airhead

For more not-in-a-series-mysteries, go to An Anonymous Girl

For more stolen jewels, go to Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

 

 

So we had an English mystery on Tuesday, we need a recipe to match. So I borrowed this from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com

If you like Jane Austen, check it out.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Teabags or 2 Tsp of Loose leaf Earl Grey Tea.
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oats (I use Quaker Oats)
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Microwave the milk, or warm in a pan.
  2. Steep the tea in the warm milk for 5 mins.
  3. After tea has steeped, allow milk to cool.
  4. When milk has cooled, put in blender.
  5. Add oats, blueberries, yogurt, and maple syrup.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!

 

IT WAS SOOOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!

 

It is one of the best smoothies I have ever, ever, ever had. It was soooo delicious I wished I had more.

For more Earl Grey Teago to Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more drinks, go to Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

For more from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Slow-Cooker Bread

 

Slow-Cooker Bread

This comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com

I love bread. I could eat it, non-stop.

So you probably saw this pic on facebook/instagram, about me making bread. Usually bread takes quite a bit of time, but my friend shared this post on pinterest with me about making bread in your crock-pot!

Huh?

It was delicious and easy, so I felt I should share. It originally comes from delish.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Envelope of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups of Lukewarm Water
  • 3.5 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp of Salt

Directions:

  1. Line a crock-pot with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast and sugar.
  3. Add water and stir until combined.
  4. Add flour, olive oil, and salt; stir until combined and a shaggy dough begins to form.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it becomes smooth and soft, about 5 mins.
  6. Roll dough into a ball, then place in a slow cooker.
  7. Cook on high until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 hrs.
  8. Carefully remove bread from slow cooker.
  9. To crisp up the crust, transfer bread to a baking sheet and broil until golden, 2-3 mins.
  10. Let cool for 20 mins and serve warm or at room temp.

So delicious!!!!

For more pinterest recipes, go to Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

For more bread recipes, go to Caraway Rye Bread

For more slow cooker recipes, go to Crock-Pot Potato & Kielbasa Chowder

London Fog Smoothie

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I’m borrowing this recipe from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com as she is an avid tea fan.

It originally comes from Pinterest, but the source site is unreachable.

Oh well

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Vanilla Yogurt (I used Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/3 Cup of Almond Milk (I don’t like almond so I used regular)
  • 1/3 Cup of Earl Grey Tea
  • 1 Cup of Crushed Ice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon of Honey

Directions:

  1. Combine all and blend.
  2. Serve.
  3. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Thoughts After Cooking:

This was better than the Fauxccino as I think having the cup of tea added to it better than the ice cubes. It came out a bit watery so I really thinking combining the two would work best. It didn’t come out super sweet with the Greek Yogurt and regular milk, so I added French Vanilla Creamer to sweeten it up. Regular yogurt would have been a better choice, but I know for next time. The cinnamon was very strong too, I would have done way less-just a dash.

Otherwise, it was very good. And a great tea drinking method for the summertime.

For more pinterest recipes, go to London Fog Fauxccino

For more Friday the 13th recipe, go to Basic Hamburger

For more on London Fogs, go to How to Make a London Fog

For more tea recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more drink recipes, go to Strawberry Infused Water

For more smoothie recipes, go to Triple Green Protein Smoothie

Psycho

Psycho

Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

psycho

I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

new-booksmoneytalksbookstore

I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

wrong

I did not like the sequel. To me it was not a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

The book was written in 1959 and is based on the Ed Gein serial killer (although Bloch claims to have written it without knowing anything about the case). The point of the novel was that an insane serial killer could live next door, and be overlooked even in a small-town.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother.

Yeah something’s not right with this situation.

Their property is massive and includes a huge farmhouse for the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unhappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Norman is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someone is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane (Marion in the film). Mary Crane has not lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car accident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila’s, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretary but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met Sam Loomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his father’s business and his debt. The two fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be married now. He wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t like it, but decides to wait.

How she feels inside.

When a buyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40,000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horrible one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decides to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, and is depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

I hate my life!

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what happened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having second thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does he know her as well as he thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next call. Norman reluctantly agrees to Arbogast meeting the mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arbogast she slices his throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, and against his nother’s wishes, he hides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam and Lila have been waiting for Arbogast but no call comes. Lila becomes worried and impatient and the two go to the Sheriff to ask for his help. There they find out that Norman’s mother is dead and buried.

If she is dead then who is in the house?

What?

The Sheriff complies with their request and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arbogast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arbogast took off for Chicago and just forgot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple traveling, but Norman knows something is up; especially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The Sam and Lila split up and start investigating. Mary heads to the house while Sam decides to distract Norman. It works for a while but Norman knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes up when the Sheriff finds him. He received a call about Arbogast that made him suspicious and he came out here to look for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it.

Well first of all, I didn’t like Sam. He was much better in the film. Book Sam doesn’t defend her or think about helping her; but wonder if he was just taken in by a cold stone criminal. To me, I don’t think he really loves her as he continues to talk himself out of the relationship.

Marion isn’t as endearing as all she wants is to find a handsome, rich man to marry and improver her life. She meets Sam, who later she is upset to discover is not wealthy but won this cruise, and just as on hold as she. She wants to marry anyhow, but Sam refuses and asks her to wait.Mary seemed fueled by money rather than her love in trying to catch a husband and escape out of her life.

Ugh

Norman wasn’t as good as in the film. Book Norman is a 40 year old man who lives with his mother. He has been controlled by her (and abused in every way). He is overweight, impotent, intellectual on his own (but falls apart in front of mother or others), passive, and dreams of a better life (living the lives of the books he reads.) Even though he is an adult he still acts like a child, being controlled and dictated by his Mother.

To me I thought Norman in the book was good, but to be honest if I stayed at a hotel with this guy I wouldn’t spend time having sandwiches with him. I don’t know of I would even want to rent a room from him as he just sets off my creepo meter. The way he acts and talks I would keep my distance.

While the book was good it can not compare to the visuals of the film. I mean the way it was shot, the actor’s performances, they just brought the text to life in an astounding way. It was just amazing, all the right actors and director at just the right time. There is a reason why this movie became so iconic and why directors, writers, and actors are constantly trying to copy it.

For more on Psycho, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more serial killers, go to Dying for a Date

For more private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

Often when people think of mysteries, they think of murder. Well a mystery is a person solving a crime or puzzle. This falls into the second category as two sisters, Ellen and Mimi Douglas, are given a diary that holds a secret code which leads to a priceless treasure. All they have to do is crack it.

As my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife already has reviewed the book, I decided to borrow from her.

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The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

So when I saw that this was by Beth Pattillo, I was like…

Her again! Her again!

For those of you who don’t know, my review of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart did not go well…

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I did not like that book at all. I thought it was absolutely horrible, a complete waste of my time. (If you want to read it, follow this link). So needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be reading another one of her books.

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But did I hate this book? Keep reading to find out!

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*Contains Spoilers*

Ellen (Elinor) and Mimi (Marianne) Douglas (Dashwood) have never been close or gotten along with each other. Ellen is the no-nonsense, sensible, wears comfortable clothes sister:

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Mimi on the other hand is the dreamer, outgoing, friendly, doesn’t always think things through, and…

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Death Comes to Pemberley

So Christmas is coming and what does that mean?

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Our Christmas countdown!

Every Tuesday until Christmas I will be posting a Christmas themed mystery and on Fridays, a recipe to go with. While this mystery talks of Christmas, but isn’t extremely Christmas themed, I thought it would be the perfect one to start us off as we aren’t in December just yet.

I was going to do my own review, but as my big sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, already did it, I’m just going to borrow from her.

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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

*Contains Spoilers*

While I am a huge mystery fan, I had never really read anything by P.D. James. I had heard of this book when it came out,  but I wasn’t sure if it would be a good read.

I felt whatever about it. I felt whatever about it.

However, as I have heard people raving about it and the TV series; and I found it at the library book sale for 25¢, I decided to buy it and read it.

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I didn’t really care for the book

Something is not right!

Why you may ask, well let’s just read and you will see.

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So the book begins with a quick summary of Pride and Prejudice, most likely for those who have not read the books. Although I’m not quite sure why they would be reading this if they haven’t read Pride & Prejudice to begin with.

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Since the end of…

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Wookie Cookies

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So as you can tell I am a big fan of Star Wars. I decided what better way to celebrate than to make some Star Warsian delicacy. So I borrowed my big sister janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com‘s Star Wars cookbook and decided to make this recipe for you all.

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This recipe comes from The Star Wars Cookbook:Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes by Robin Davis.

My nephew spotted the cookbook I had borrowed from janeaustenrunsmylife and really wanted to make a recipe out of it; so we looked around and discovered we had just the things to create some Wookie Cookies.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup of Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup of packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Granulated Sugar (White Sugar)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Put the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Set aside.
  4. Put the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in another bowl.
  5. Using an electric mixer set in high speed, beat together the sugar mixture until blended and creamy (~3 mins).
  6. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  7. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips.
  9. Scoop up a rounded tablespoonful of the dough and drop onto a baking sheet. Repeat until you have used all the dough. (Be sure to leave an inch between them as they expand as they bake)
  10. Bake the cookies until golden brown (~10 mins).

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Here I have my stuffed Chewbacca posing with his Wookie Cookies

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This recipe was great. The cookie was tasty and delicious. Thanks Davis for creating it.

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I only had one problem though. I bought the chocolate chips on sale and when I got home realized one was regular size while the other jumbo. This made it hard to scoop out dough with multiple chocolate chips, as the jumbo ones made most have only one. Next time I will have to make sure my chips are the same size.

A great addition to any fan’s Star Warsian celebrations. Just be sure to share.

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Happy Star Wars Day everyone, and:

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For more chocolate chip cookie recipes, go to Special Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

For more desserts, go to A is for Applesauce Cake

For more holiday posts, go to Irish Soda Bread

For more recipes, go to Pizza Siciliana

Vegetable Soup

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So you have heard of my sister blog: janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, but I have another sister blog. This one is thecatwhowroteablog.wordpress.com. This blog covers all the books in The Cat Who… mystery series, making recipes mentioned in the book from The Cat Who Cookbook. This recipe is from there.

Now you may wonder, why didn’t I just repost the blog post, like I did for Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) ? Well thecatwhowroteablog does things a little differently than I do. They post every recipe they make from the particular book in one post, while I like to draw it out doing one at a time.

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I was looking for recipes to use that were low sodium and such for my nana who was visiting. This  recipe was perfect for the cool day and her dietary restrictions.

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Ingredients:

  • 2  14.5 Ounce Cans of Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup of  Chopped Celery
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Cup of Diced Potatoes
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Cup of Barley
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and are cooked.
  2. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  3. Serves 4-6 people.

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Thoughts After Cooking:

While thecatwhowroteablog used lentils instead of barely, I went the way the recipe is actually written.

So my soup wasn’t as good as thecatwhowroteablog claimed this recipe was. I think that mostly had to do with the fact that my grandmother with health issues was joining us, and I had to use the low sodium bland vegetable broth.

It wasn’t horrible, but with regular broth it would have tasted a whole lot better.

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For more soup recipes, go to Zucchini-Tomato Soup

For more low calorie recipes, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

For more recipes, go to Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread