March Happenings

March Happenings

Welcome to my new feature, a monthly wrap-up of sorts!

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Having seen several blogger friends’ takes on a month-end post, I have decided to attempt such a summary or fun little recap at the end of each month. So, here goes!

on the bookshelf

I added SEVERAL books to my TBR shelf, most ecopies and a few paperbacks. Out of all of them, I think I’m most excited about reading With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall and The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan over the next weeks.

on the blog

textgram_1488839984.pngMost popular posts:

  1. 4 Reasons to Read Inspirational Fiction
  2. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid!)
  3. Top Ten Tuesday: 10+ Novellas You Can Read in One Sitting

Most popular book reviews:

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke
  3. The Message in a Bottle Romance Novella Collection

in the kitchen

Thanks to a Facebook post by author Hillary Lodge, I tried this amazing recipe for a pan baked lemon almond tart. It’s naturally gluten free, if you’re conscious of that, AND I made it dairy free by using full fat coconut milk in place of the cream and earth balance “butter”. I’ve already made it a second time.

I’ve also discovered the brilliance of overnight oats. Mix together oatmeal and your favorite add-ins, like nuts, flax, coconut, cinnamon, etc., add milk, and let sit overnight in the fridge. Instant breakfast! It’s even better if you throw in some fresh fruit. This recipe on my local news station convinced me to try it!

on the screen

I wrapped up the premier season of Victoria on Masterpiece Classic. My mom and I LOVED this series. It is worth a watch for the costumes and architecture alone. On top of brilliant acting and a well-structured script, the growth of Victoria as she adjusts to her role as queen and the love story between her and Albert is all the more enjoyable because it is true. History is NOT boring, people!

Force_of_Arms_FilmPosterI happened upon the classic movie Force of Arms (1951) this month. It’s a WWII drama/romance starring William Holden and Nancy Olson reminiscent of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Considering its era, I thought it a very well made piece of art, even if the romance was a *little* fast moving and melodramatic. Somehow that made it all the more entertaining with William Holden’s sappy declarations of love amidst army advances in Italy. The wit and sometimes fast-paced dialogue of the script reminded me of the banter that’s more often found in rom-com novels. It is as much drama as love story, though, and does a decent job showcasing the perils of fighting, sometimes featuring real-life footage of the army or city scenes. If you have a chance to watch it, do so!

 

Until last week, I had not seen the 2006 biography/drama Miss Potter. I don’t know how I went this long without seeing it or really knowing more of the story behind Beatrix Potter’s life. (She’s the one who wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, etc.). It is all kinds of sweet and poignant with a fantastic cast (Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson). Fans of children’s literature and period drama enthusiasts alike will enjoy it!

around the web

I’m still sporadically participating in the #WishfulWonder book photo challenge on Instagram (AKA #bookstagram for we book-loving photo enthusiasts). The prompts are curated by Tressa and Rissi each month. See Rissi’s post here for the April schedule!

Author Pepper Basham has begun a blog feature called “Swoony Saturdays“, complete with ratings on a Jane Austen- inspired hero scale AND a kissing level. It’s terribly fun. She’s featured 2 of her own fictional book heroes so far with plans for more.

I recently saw and LOVED Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. From the costumes, sets, casting, and MUSIC it was gorgeous. My little girl heart was happy. There were a couple things, though, that I was slightly disappointed in. This blog post by Sarah Cinnamon sums up my feelings perfectly and shines a light on the love that can be seen in such a story.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 9 Books or series I wish someone would make into a movie/series

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

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week is a freebie topic! I’m choosing to go with books I wish someone would make into miniseries, TV series, or movies. So, make yourself some popcorn and read on for my ideas!

Top 9 Books or Series I wish someone would make into a movie/series

Miniseries

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#1 The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

No question about it, this book is my number one pick for being adapted into some form of film. I have always said it should be a miniseries, that way there would be enough time for all the little details to be included. Plus the budget would be higher for filming on location in rural TN. And we need authentic costumes. I can dream, right? Basically, I’d volunteer to work on the crew just to see it done. (History Channel, AMC, or Hallmark, are you listening?)

#2 The Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta (Born of Persuasion, Mark of Distinction, Price of Privilege)

It should be no surprise to see this on my list. Favorite. Series. Ever. And a miniseries would be awesome, yes?

TV series

TTT Adaptations 2

#3 The “Redemption” series (and subsequent related Baxter Family books) by Karen Kingsbury (some with Gary Smalley)

We have 23 books in 5 series that could be adapted, so I think it could be a very long-running series. (Ahem, Hallmark, since you’ve already adapted Karen’s The Bridge and book-based Cedar Cove, this could be your next hit series.)

(2/4 update: we have a contract! Karen & Roma Downey will be working together to bring the Baxter Family series to television!! http://deadline.com/2016/02/roma-downey-the-baxter-family-faith-based-novel-tv-series-1201694238/)

#4 “Christiansen Family” series by Susan May Warren

This is another that fits the TV series format! Though the 6 books could be a series of movies, too, what with each sibling having their own book.

Movie

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#5 The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

In the vein of The Book Thief or Woman in Gold, this would be an excellent historical drama on screen with 2 intertwining stories — present day and WWII.

#6 Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

Besides this being a great story, it made me want to go to Scotland. If it were made into a movie, I might not actually have to go there to see all the wonderful locations referenced in the story. Plus I’d like to see a cast with the great chemistry of James and Andrea (with Henry Cavill, of course).

#7 The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

With a large cast, this would be a fabulous family drama with flashbacks to the early story of a couple certain characters. It would be a perfect June Hallmark movie!

#8 The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd

Who doesn’t love a good Regency period drama with mystery and romance? With the right casting, it could be a new favorite!

#9 Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

Because the world needs more good rom-coms! Why not one with realistic characters, a serious story of forgiveness, and small-town charm.

 

Well, that’s my list for now. How about you? Do you have any favorite books you’d like to see adapted to film of some kind? Share in the comments!

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! 😉

Fun Find Friday: Open Culture

For today’s “Fun Find Friday”, I’m sharing a fun website with TONS of free educational and cultural media.

It’s OpenCulture.com. On it, you’ll find links to free audio books, online educational courses (posted anywhere from universities to YouTube), free eBooks, and even free movies. Yes, movies! Most are old-er black & white films, but those are sometimes the best!

I hope you find a topic or resource useful and fun on Open Culture. I know I did!

OpenCulture