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?

 

 

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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!

Wednesday Wonderings, edition 4

It’s another “Wednesday Wonderings” question!

Wednesday Wonderings

What are your favorite book to film adaptations?

And by film, let’s say that miniseries count, too. From YA to classics, and everything in between, what works do you think have been adapted closely or the best?

Some book-to-movie adaptations are perfect, and some are just “visual aids” for their books. Here are a few that I think did an excellent job staying close to the book, or their adaptation interpreted the book in a way I LOVED.wpid-photogrid_1428888927817.jpg

Pride & Prejudice (2005 movie with Keira Knightley) One of my absolute favorite movies! Great cinematography, casting, and concise script to fit a movie time slot.

Little Women (1994 with Winona Ryder) The best story about sisters.

North & South (BBC miniseries, 2004) You knew this one would make my list, right? Such awesomeness in one series.

The Hunger Games (2012) Yes, I admit, I am a fan of Jennifer Lawrence. It stayed fairly close to the original book, too.

Emma (BBC miniseries, 2009) Maybe a little more idealistic than Austen’s book, but definitely a fabulous interpretation.

Occasionally, the book is significantly better than the movie. I think that’s the case with The Last Song (2010). The book had much more likable characters and more depth.

What are your thoughts? Do you have favorite adaptations (or maybe some not-so-favorite?)?

Family, a Film, & a French Apple Cake

Sometimes you have a family or culinary experience that’s just so delightful you wish it would last forever. In my case, it was a combination – an evening watching a movie followed by eating a yummy apple cake. It was so great I decided to blog about it 🙂

Last week, I enjoyed watching one of my absolute favorite movies The Ultimate Gift (2006) PosterThe Ultimate Gift (2006) – with my grandmother, aunt, and uncle. If you haven’t seen it, you MUST watch it immediately. It’s one of my go-to movies, the kind I love to watch or listen to any time. It is the perfect family movie with a message for everyone – one “take-away” is that life is a gift meant to be shared with others. Plus it has a great cast (Abigail Breslin, James Garner [one of my personal faves], and Drew Fuller).

So, back to my great evening. After watching this with my family, we devoured ate most of a DELICIOUS French Apple Cake with Almonds (Yes, I am a little biased because I baked it myself, but when my uncle wants seconds, you know it’s good). The recipe came from Hillary Manton Lodge’s fabulous novel A Table by the Window, which is full of recipes squeezed in between the chapters of the story (like Nutella mousse, pasta carbonara with leeks and lemon, pine nut couscous, and mini focaccia to name a few). The story alone was one I loved, but these recipes are a fantastic bonus. This apple cake was very moist and just sweet enough — and easy to make. It was the perfect end to an evening making memories and enjoying a movie with my family. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of this book, if only for the recipes.

By the way, Hillary is featured in August’s Book Fun Magazine with an interview and recipe for the Provencal Lavender and Honey Pound Cake from the novel.

French Apple Cake with Almonds (recipe by Hillary Lodge)

Here’s a pic of my cake. Doesn’t it make you want a piece?

 

Note: I did receive a free copy of this book from the publishers to review (Thank you!), but this post is just a “fun” one I wanted to share, not encouraged/required by the publishers.

Have you seen The Ultimate Gift? What did you think? What’s your family’s favorite movie?

I’d love to hear your comments – they don’t even have to stay on topic! 😉