Book & Film Pairings, edition 4

Welcome to another post where I pair books and films with similar themes or content! Today’s post is all about romantic comedies that happen to share a church-centric setting of some kind.

All three are self aware of their churchy humor (if you know, you know). And, they all balance humor, romance, and a serious side. Having spent time myself on a worship team, various committees, children’s choir leadership, etc., I definitely related to the humor and situations in these stories! Maybe you will, too. 😉

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated by Kaley and Rhonda Rea

This lighthearted romcom has the planning of a children’s community theater play as a backdrop to much of the characters’ interactions. The cat-owning beta hero and the grouchy barista are my favorite characters. In addition to some hilarious dragon-building and dress shopping situations, it intentionally spoofs Hallmark movies and tropes throughout.

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

The comedy in this story is all about clumsiness, fish-out-of-water situations (American girl in Australia!), and the trickiness of working in a megachurch (that’s sarcasm). The emotional journey of healing its romantic leads traverse, though, is most impactful and impressive. It’s a fav!

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2016)

It has been a while since I watched this movie, but I love the cast and remember thinking the story was fun and enlightening. I’m pairing it with the books for its comedy and play-planning story content, as well as the unexpected romance and deeper lessons its characters learn. While its hero “pretends” to fit in to the church culture while fulfilling a community service sentence, he learns what true service and faith looks like in action. AND he falls for the pastor’s daughter along the way.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2021 Movies & Shows

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic is “most anticipated releases for the first half of 2021”. I’m spinning the topic a bit to cover stories on the big and small screen I’m highly anticipating this year! Some of these were slated for 2020 release, so I’m extra excited to *finally* see them released.

Most Anticipated 2021 Movies & Shows

Top Gun: Maverick This sequel is almost 35 years in the making! I’m all about the nostalgia and anticipated soundtrack of this one.

No Time to Die This James Bond film is Daniel Craig’s last — and I have a feeling it’s going to be my favorite with him. I’m always entertained by the Bond titles but I really liked the story direction of the last one, Spectre, so I’m excited to see how they continue with some of those elements in this one!

Respect Jennifer Hudson as The Queen of Soul.

Black Widow FINALLY we get Scarlett Johansson’s character’s origin story. I hope there’s a nod to Budapest.

Death on the Nile The next Hercule Poirot remake, this highly anticipated period drama/mystery is slated for a late 2021 release. It will (hopefully) be here before we know it!

Dune The classic sci-fi with a fabulous cast. Though I know very little about the story, I am very excited for a new space adventure!

Finding You This Ireland-set romance is adapted from a novel by Jenny B. Jones!!! Hooray! Now, to read it before I watch it…

Luca Disney & Pixar + an Italian setting. I’m in!

On the small screen:

All Creatures Great and Small this promising PBS-Masterpiece slated series follows a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire.

Miss Scarlet and the Duke A Victorian mystery with a female lead. ALL things I love!

Your turn! Did you participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Are any of these shows on your must-watch list? What books are you anticipating this year?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 3

Welcome to my blog series pairing favorite stories in book and film format. In this third edition, I’m sharing a book and two movies that share this commonality: high tech heist/spy thrillers!

Ocean's 11

Ocean’s 11 is a favorite! It covers the HEIST aspect with sleight of hand, humor, and an iconic cast. Its plot involves a team of thief-friends who assemble, prepare, and execute a plan to rob the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. Simultaneously, a deeper emotional-driven plot is built up as the leader, played by George Clooney, tries to win back his ex-wife, played by Julia Roberts. Who happens to be dating the casino owner. 😉 Filled with quotable lines and smart storytelling, it’s a must-watch for any heist/comedy/action fans!

The Man from Uncle

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. revives the classic TV series with an updated cast and an intriguing Cold War-era setting. It’s a classic enemies-forced-to-work-together plot as agents from the CIA, KGB, and maybe one or two other clandestine agencies work to thwart the plot of a criminal organization and their nuclear plans. It has globe-trotting fun, high tech gadgets, a killer soundtrack, and 3 main characters whose on-screen banter and chemistry is off. the. charts. I really, really, want Hollywood to give us a sequel with more animosity between Solo and Illya and more romance with Illya and Gaby.

The Gryphon Heist by James Hannibal is my book recommendation paired with these films. It features a brilliant ensemble cast of characters from sanctioned government organizations and freelance thieves joining forces to protect a defense design project… and possibly uncover a traitor. It’s fun, high tech, witty, and fast paced ~~ everything you could want in a thriller!

If you have read or watched these, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have other novels or movies that feature a heist or ensemble agent/thief combo to recommend?

Book & Film Pairings, edition 2

Welcome to a new series on the blog pairing favorite stories in book and film format! This is my second edition of sharing a recommended book and movie with reasons you should check them out! Today’s genre is a mashup of two cultures, family drama, restaurants, and food love!

The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on novel, follows an Indian family as they start over with a restaurant in a new country, France. The central character is the eldest son, who dreams of continuing in the culinary world but going about it differently than his family expects. All of this conspires with a rival-turned-friend restauranteur neighbor, a thread of romance, the wonder of discovering a new culture, and a good bit of humor. I really appreciated its subtle lessons on how people can defy expectations in the best way.

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is a favorite novel of mine. Like the movie mentioned above, it melds two characters from completely different cultures – in this case, American and Italian. The cultures serve cleverly to highlight the characters’ shared passions and facets that make them unique. The novel’s whirlwind romance is more central to the story. It shares a culture shock factor with the movie, with an exquisite setting – the Italian countryside! I love seeing the relationship between Emily and Ben, the hero, progress in this story, but mostly I love seeing Emily learn and grow as she takes risks, makes mistakes, and steps out beyond herself.

If you have read or watched either of these, I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have other novels or movies to recommend that feature adjusting to different cultures or finding home in an unexpected place?

Having visited Italy in 2019, I am just enamored with that culture. Do you have any Italian-set movies or novels to recommend?

Best of 2019: Film & TV + Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! Like last year, I’m separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. It’s going to take me a few days to talk about all the stories I loved in 2019!

I’m also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday today, the topic being Favorites of 2019 ~~ my twist being fav movies & shows!

  1. Best of 2019: Novellas & Audiobooks
  2. Best of 2019: Contemporary Fiction
  3. Best of 2019: (General) Historical Fiction
  4. Best of 2019: (Inspirational) Historical Fiction
  5. Best of 2019: Film & TV + Top Ten Tuesday!
  6. Best of 2019: Happy New Year #OnTheBlog

So far, I have talked all about the books I loved. Today I shift focus slightly and talk about story in a different form: TV & movies! From this list it’s obvious how my taste is eclectic 😉

Best of 2019: Film & TV

FILM FAVORITES

Avengers: Endgame (Disney) | Yes, I admit it. I’m a big fan of the MCU, moreso in recent years, as I’ve seen Disney take these characters on unforgettable story arcs all wonderfully (if not always perfectly) intertwined. I’m excited to see what 2020 brings with new additions to the next “phase” of films!

The Boys are Back (Miramax) | I discovered this 2009 film re-airing on television. It is a humorous and poignant look at family and grief, and one father’s journey to learning how to do “life” in a different way.

Harriet (Focus Features) | This real-life story of a BRAVE woman was both encouraging and tragic. I wonder if the real Harriet ever considered how her story could still be impacting the world 150 years later?

Overcomer (Affirm Films) | A film for anyone in the family to enjoy, this story touched my heart with its surprises and depth.

Ad Astra (Fox) | Stunning visuals combine in this “to the stars” movie, but it’s not all about exploration and the cosmos. Its message about life, family, and people needing PEOPLE is subtle and beautifully expressed.

Midway (Lionsgate) | If it’s a WWII story, count me in! This well-told story incorporates a cast based on real-life heroes.

Little Women (Sony) | In theaters now, this re-imagining of Alcott’s classic shows the March sisters in a fresh way. I really liked the way the non-linear timeline of the film was presented! Saoirse plays Jo SO WELL.

Downton Abbey (Focus Features) | Avid fans of the series rejoiced when the movie-length story released! It is a continuation with beloved characters! Though I didn’t love *every* aspect of this presentation, I did love the way they hint at a happily-ever-after for Tom. And I loved ALL the scenes and one-liners of Lady Violet’s.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) | Yes, I’m a fan. Every scene was fascinating! I did not expect THAT ENDING. I love it when a story surprises me.

TV FAVORITES

I have loved my PBS channel this year! The final season of Poldark left me happy because it ended hopefully. Also, George Warleggan was a surprise this round!

New seasons of Victoria and Grantchester were great, too! I’m still working my way through the PBS Country Music documentary series.

My recommended Hallmark channel Christmas movie list this year includes A Godwink Christmas: Meant For Love, Picture a Perfect Christmas, and A Christmas Love Story, the latter being my favorite! Also, I enjoyed Christmas On My Mind, adapted from a Denise Hunter novel (woohoo)!

What did you watch this year? Do you have favorite movies to recommend? Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday with a favorites list?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Best On-Screen Rom-Com Couples

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

The official topic this week is a love freebie because YAY Valentine’s Day and all things hearts and chocolate!!!! I’ve decided to highlight some of my favorite couples from TV and film formats, particularly from romantic comedies.

In no particular order…

10 Best On-Screen Rom-Com Couples

Shane and Oliver from the Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark movie series

#Sholiver fans have been waiting FOREVER for them to be a “couple”, but it’s been worth the relationship growth and character building. Ah!

Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox from You’ve Got Mail (1998)

These two are a modern classic couple. From arguing over Pride and Prejudice to friendship over coffee, I love the journey of their relationship.

Lucy and Jack from While You Were Sleeping (1995)

The humor in this story is just so realistic. My favorite aspect of this story is how Lucy learns the dream she idealized is not the reality she really wants.

Ellen and Nicholas Arden from Move Over, Darling (1963)

We can’t talk about romantic comedies without mentioning THIS classic. 1. It manages plenty of romantic tension even between a married couple. 2. James Garner. 3. The hilarity of the derailed “honeymoon”.

Kate and Leopold from Kate & Leopold (2001)

A time-travel romance with humor and spunk, Meg and Hugh have the best chemistry.

Anna and Declan from Leap Year (2010)

Ireland. Sheep. Tradition. Road trip. An adorable Amy Adams. Plus a little dry humor and Matthew Goode with an IRISH accent. Need I say more?

Ellen and Roy from The Irresistible Blueberry Farm (2016) Hallmark

While I’ve only seen this once, I vividly remember how endearing and laugh-out-loud funny it was throughout. Especially that meet-cute and subsequent fallout. 🙂

Jack and Gwendolyn AND Cecily and Algy from The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

You knew I’d squeeze a period drama onto this list, right? 😉 This play-turned-cinematic fun piece just gets funnier upon every rewatch. Mistaken identity and a town-country separation prove hilarious and fateful for this delightful cast.

Toula and Ian from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Culture shock and a vibrant family make this film one-of-a-kind. And, the quotable lines are ENDLESS. “Put some Windex on it.”

That’s it for today! Did you participate in this week’s TTT? What are YOU favorite rom-coms?

Review: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin + Movie Thoughts

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Review: The Mountain Between Us is so much more than a story of survival. It’s a story of steadfast hope, sacrifice, and commitment.

This is very much Ben’s journey because it is told in his 1st person POV. Through his eyes, the reader learns of his past (through audio dictations to his wife that read like letters) and experiences firsthand how this sudden test of extreme circumstances challenges him and brings out his admirable determination to succeed. Ashley’s character growth and tenacity is never shortchanged, though, as her spunk, humor, and optimism are easy to love and see.

I am once again impressed with Charles Martin’s emotional prose and ability to maintain tension both in circumstance (stranded in the wild) and heart (Ben has an enigmatic side) until the last few pages. The heart-journey is much deeper than the snow Ben and Ashley find themselves in. And WHAT A TWIST!!!!!! This book is one I would highly recommend to fans of contemporary drama, action/survival stories, or even emotional romantic dramas in the style of Nicholas Sparks.

Movie thoughts: Clearly I loved the book —- highly recommended. The movie was good, just not the straight book-to-movie adaptation I had hoped for (as typical with book-to-movie changes). A few key things were changed —- most I could understand for the film medium and time’s sake, except for a couple key moments. It was beautiful visually and well-acted (I always love Kate Winslet). BUT, there were a couple things that happened which altered the portrayal of Ben, his history, and even altered his character’s integrity that disappointed me. THE GOOD NEWS? Check out this recent response from author Charles Martin in his newsletter concerning the changes and his minimal role in the process. I agree and am encouraged by his response. If the movie is spurring the popularity of the book and the message of HOPE it contains, I’m very happy!

July Happenings

It’s the end of JULY already! Wow, the summer has flown by! I would love to hear how your summer is going or what you’ve been reading lately in the comments. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog.

on the bookshelf

July was a fun month for book gathering! Someone needs to stop me from clicking on the “purchase” and “request for review” buttons all. the. time. Or, someone could just lock me in a cabin with food and my TBR and I might make a dent after a few weeks…..

The bookshelves gained these titles: A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, Many Sparrows by Lori Benton, His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman, Not by Sight by Kate Breslin, Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh, A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White, Where the Light Falls by Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki, and finally a physical copy of Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano.

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Book Spotlight, Author Interview, & Giveaway: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray
  2. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favorite Book Quotes About Books
  3. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project

Most popular book reviews:

  1. The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo (plus author interview)
  2. His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman (plus book snippet)
  3. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones

in the kitchen

I altered this PBS food recipe for dairy-free spinach stuffed shells. Thanks to a cow dairy allergy, it caught my attention, though I did alter it by using ricotta made from almonds and a little sheep cheese. It’s highly recommended!

on the screen

Dunkirk One SheetOf the movies I’ve seen this month, Dunkirk (just released July 21) is the one that left the biggest impression. Extremely well done from start to finish, every element, from the cast to the cinematography, musical score, and riveting timeline of the story worked together to create an immersive experience. This lesser-known event (to those of us on this “side of the pond”) was of key import to the UK and its allies as it struggled to evade the advancing Germans and evacuate France from the beach of Dunkirk. It’s a film to be taken seriously — both its subject matter and story of the prevailing good of humanity during an atrocious time of history. I highly recommend it!

around the web

Carrying forward more Jane Austen fun (because you can never have too much Jane Austen), check out Hillary Manton Lodge’s Jane Austen Week interviews and recipes in honor of the bicentenary (200 year mark) of Jane’s passing. And, check out my #bookbestie Rissi’s review of Hillary’s novel, Jane of Austin, over at Finding Wonderland.

More bookish fun! Title news for Joanne Bischof’s upcoming series, book 1 releasing in 2018.

Fellow book blogger Kate over at Fiction Aficionado has published a fabulous series discussing a common book and story trope: the love triangle. She introduces and gives specific examples of several kinds (from the Christian fiction genre), then further discusses the good and the bad of this trope in two more posts!

Finally, this is an old article, but SO MUCH FUN! 10 of the Best European Train Trips, compiled by National Geographic.

So, tell me: what was your month like?

 

 

May Happenings

Annnnd, it’s time for the May monthly wrap-up!

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on the bookshelf

Added to the bookshelf this month, other than review copies, were a few for-fun ones! Life After by Katie Ganshert (after all the amazing #bookbestie reviews), Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano (yay for giveaways!), and finally a paperback version of The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall (now my Everstone Chronicles series is complete on the shelf!).

on the blog

Most popular posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Memorable Moms in Literature
  2. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid)
  3. April Happenings

cover - Unraveling by Sara EllaMost popular book reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan
  3. Right Where We Belong novella collection
  4. Unraveling by Sara Ella (review + excerpt)

in the kitchen

One of the new things I made this month was this “healthy” flourless almond butter chocolate muffin recipe. Of course, I added extra chocolate chips. It was awesome!

This sorta fits in the kitchen category. I found myself drooling over several Instagram accounts one evening and stumbled upon this mostly-vegan Instagram account! It’s just SO PRETTY I want to stare at all the yummy food.

on the screen

LIONI’ve seen a few movies this month, but the very best was Lion. A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. (summary from imdb.comTo say this is an excellent movie is an understatement. It is an emotional rollercoaster of the very best kind that exhibits the powerful love of family, whether related by blood or by choice. It was even more special to me because I have close family members who are adopted from India.

Oh, and another epic thing I finished this month was the PBS-aired American Experience 3 part documentary The Great War, outlining America’s role during that awful war, including fascinating profiles of individuals and a ton of footage and photographs. I’ve since added several of WWI-era books to my TBR (thank you, Rachel McMillan, for starting that list for me!). If you have any to recommend, please do so in the comments!The Art of Us (from imdb.com)

On the small screen, I enjoyed the new Hallmark movie The Art of Us. It took the “My Fair Lady” plot basis and turned it into a sweet romance and lesson in honesty. The characters were portrayed in a genuine manner by their respective actors. I thought the chemistry and flirty banter between the two leads was adorable! And, the way the ending was (and wasn’t) neatly wrapped up felt realistic. If I haven’t convinced you, check out this review of it on The Silver Petticoat Review.

around the web

Thanks to awesome author e-newsletters (I’m talking about you, Hillary Manton Lodge), I heard about this article touting Emma Watson’s acting skill and Oscar-worthy performance. It’s fun.

Rachael and Meghan have started a new blog series titled “Love Life & Literature: Romance in Real Life”, with new posts up each Friday. They are discussion relationships and singleness from a romance-loving, Christian worldview. Start with the first installment, On Meet-Cutes & Settling.

If you aspire to write or plot a story, you might find this Novel Rocket article by author Dawn Crandall helpful. I thought it an interesting way to plot the plot beforehand :).

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is open-ended: 10 reasons you love _______. So, I’m taking the opportunity to ramble in delight over period dramas, whether they be film, television, or series productions.

Top 10 Reasons I Love Period Dramas

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes! AND it is a true story!

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes!

1. History

As a fan of both history and historical fiction, what better way to combine story and facts than a period drama?

2. Costumes

Cravats.

Cravats.

Style HAS certainly changed over time, and it’s fascinating. I’m thankful to live in a modern era where comfy pants are acceptable. But I love seeing the elegance and class of past eras. And cravats. Need I say more?

3. Musical Scores

Essential to enhancing a story, if you ask me! I spent a previous topic talking about some of my favorites.

William & Georgiana (James Norton & Eleanor Tomlinson) in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

William & Georgiana in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

4. Various Story Formats

Series, movie, miniseries. All great for different reasons.

5. Often adapted from books

Books + visual representation of setting + amazing casting = perfect recipe for a perfect period drama.

The Bennett sisters.... I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

The Bennett sisters…. I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

6. Portrayal of Relationships

For some reason, period dramas tend to have a better grip on relationships — or at least they emphasize them. And I’m not talking about romantic relationships, but friendship, sibling, or parent-child ones. Think Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables, or the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice, or the closeness of Jo March and Marmee in Little Women. Maybe it’s because our life is more complex now due to technology and travel, but fewer modern stories can emphasize and portray relationships with such gravity.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in "The Patriot". A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in “The Patriot”. A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

 

 

 

7. Love Stories

Call them chick flicks if you want, but I am a huge fan of love stories. And classifying a production as a period drama almost guarantees some part of the story will involve characters finding love and, hopefully, happiness. Which brings me to….

 

Little Women

Little Women

8. Happily-Ever-Afters!

Yes, I’m aware that not every period drama ends with a happily ever after scene. And that’s ok, I still like some of those! But I’m a sucker for a good ending. Or at least one that offers hope and maybe leaves you wondering about the rest.

 

 

 

9. Variety of Sub-Genres

Mystery, suspense, war, drama, romance, comedy, true stories.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

10. Vocabulary

A little item, yes, but SO important. Language and vocabulary are two more things that have changed so much with time. It’s so interesting to be reminded how people spoke.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

And, sometimes learning new words is a fun bonus! Examples: Plimsolls, quixotic, taciturn.

 

 

 

 

It’s your turn! Why do YOU like period dramas? Or do you prefer another genre of film/TV? Please share your thoughts below!