Netflix Picks – What I’ve been watching

Hi everyone! I feel as though December was rather light on book publications but remarkable for things to watch. At this point, its (late) January so I won’t list all of the holiday programming that I watched but there are a couple that I want to mention. So without further ado, here are just some highlights of what I watched last month:

TV or streaming service series:

Screen Shot witcherThe Witcher (Netflix) – If you haven’t heard about this fantasy drama starring smoking hot Henry Cavill, then I don’t know where you’ve been. If you like magic and monsters and journeys through fantasy worlds, then this show alone is worth a Netflix subscription.
Merry Happy Whatever (Netflix) – A sitcom-feeling series that I wanted to mention because my husband particularly enjoyed this one (he may also be biased because it was set in Philadelphia and the characters root for the Eagles). Regardless, its a feel-good family com with the grown-up children bringing home their married spouses or soon-to-be spouses to celebrate the holidays and we all know how that can go with “tough” and sarcastic fathers like Dennis Quaid.
Perfect Harmony (NBC/Hulu) – This. Show. Is. Hilarious.!!!!! I don’t hear almost anyone talking about it and I don’t want it to go away so please go watch it and rave. A Harvard (or Yale?) music professor breaks down in front of the tiny church in the small town he lives in after his wife has just passed. The church members bring him inside for the night and he wakes up (of course) during choir practice and they are trying to win a regional championship to save their program. Of course, they are a bunch of misfits and Mr. Director is hilarious and overly scrooge-y and needs to be taught a lesson of his own. Its just an all-around great show. And the music ends up being pretty Glee also. Its so fun! If you like that sort of thing, I definitely recommend!

Movies:

Klaus (Netflix) – I had to really mull this movie over because it presents a different origin of Santa. The concepts fit though–a postman and a toymaker together.
The Irishman (Netflix) – This movie was a husband’s choice. I didn’t really know what it was and I didn’t have much interest in it but the longer it was on, the more invested I became. I didn’t even know very much about Jimmy Hoffa but its very well done.
The Ritual (Netflix) – Ohhhhhkay. The preview got us here. This looked like a super-spooky horror/thriller and ended up being…weird and confusing. Pro’s=camera views of the hiking trails were beautiful. Con’s=plot. “The Ritual.” This was one I had to talk out with a friend and look up to really figure out to fully fill in the blanks to figure out. So really….meh.

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The Rise of Skywalker (IMAX) – Ohhhhh, I loved it! Yes, it had its cheesy moments. Sure, some things could have been done better. But man, I don’t care. The movie is made and I was overall blown away and am so satisfied! I can’t wait to watch it again!

So that was my month. Did you see any of these? Have you watched anything recently that you recommend? I’d love to know about it, so please tell me in the comments!

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Bookending Spring: You’d Be Better As A Book

bookending-spring-1Today is day 17 of Bookending Spring, and today’s topic is hosted by the awesome Clo @ Book Dragons. I haven’t been able to get to all of the prompts this month but there have been some good ones and if you can, I really recommend checking out the hashtag #BEspring19 on Twitter to view some of the blog posts that have gone up. These hosts know how to put on a great event! So now, let’s get to our prompt for today:

You’d Be Better As A Book
Films/TV Shows which aren’t based off of books nor have any books based off of them that in your opinion would be better as books. Maybe the film lacked something, but you feel like it could flourish as a book series? Or you think a certain aspect of the Show/Film would work better in book form.

headshots_1500987999985.0I don’t necessarily think that this movie could be any better as a book, because honestly, it was an amazing movie in my opinion….but I think that The Prestige would make an incredible book! Every time I watch that movie it stuns me and I think that the plot, the characters, the mystery, the setting…I just think it would make an amazing book! Really, I think any Christopher Nolan movie would make an excellent book. My next choice would be Inception. Oh man, I LOVE that movie as well! And Interstellar??? I would own about twelve editions of that.

9781435162761A show I would like to see as a book? Netflix’s Penny Dreadful series. I absolutely LOVED that entire series and I would love to read that in a book! There are so many characters woven into one incredible story line, we would just be wrapped up in it for hours and hours and never be bored. Do you know the history of real life penny dreadfuls? (yes, they are real things) Penny dreadfuls were serial stories popular in the nineteenth century that sold for literally a penny each. Their content typically was of dark and mysterious topics…think vampires and murderers. Sweeny Todd was written into one of the first penny dreadfuls! So that being said, I would love to see the amazing Netflix series as a book series. I would definitely devour that. I love that genre, the history, the time period….awesome.

What do you think — any movies or shows you think would be better as books, or seem like they could have originally been books?

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Blogmas 20: Holiday Movies – Old and New (Part 1)

Hi everyone! My December has been so busy this year that I have not watched nearly as many holiday movies as I normally do. I have been working overtime and honestly, I consider myself lucky that I have read as much as I have, and that has taken priority over watching for me. I’m cool with that! All that being said though, I feel like I still have to post at least about my holiday faves, both new and old. Maybe I shouldn’t say “old,” per se, but “childhood” rather. So here are just a couple that are noteworthy at this time:

Childhood fave:

MV5BMDU2ZGI4NTAtOWY0Mi00NTU2LTk1NDMtOTliMTlmOGIzMDRmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDk0MDg4NDk@._V1_The Santa Clause … I have always loved this movie. I think my absolute favorite thing about this movie is watching the adults fall in love with Christmas as adults. We’re never too old for Christmas–I firmly believe this. Not just celebrating Christmas, but also finding magic in Christmas. We stop believing in Santa, Santa doesn’t stop believing in us. It doesn’t have to be this way, and because of this movie, I have never and will never let it be this way.

New Groove:

MV5BNTA3NjU3OTM2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQ2MzE1NjM@._V1_SY1000_CR006741000_AL_The Christmas Chronicles … First off, who doesn’t love Kurt Russell as Santa?! Dude ROCKED the hair and beard! I mean, seriously. But really, that was my favorite part. The movie had its funny moments, but it was no Santa Claus. The sister and brother in the movie do the sort of thing I would have loved to do as a kid–try to tape Santa leaving presents under the tree. They’re actually sort of successful…and they actually get to tag along! Santa isn’t too happy about it though. The sleigh crashes, Santa ends up in jail, Christmas spirit fails…but of course we have a happily ever after. Good, but pretty typical in my eyes.

Childhood fave:

MV5BMTkxNjMwNjA5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI5MDA2Mw@@._V1_A Christmas Carol (2009) … So this isn’t all that old, and it isn’t quite my “childhood” necessarily, but I do consider it nostalgic. I watch it every year and I absolutely adore this version. Why? The soundtrack. I also love the animation, and how it is a very good rendering of Dickens classic. But above all, the music in this film is absolutely SPOT. ON. If you haven’t really paid attention to it before, re-watch and really listen. Its one of those movies where there is constantly music playing throughout. Another detail to this movie is the cast. I mean, aside from Jim Carrey voicing EIGHT characters, there’s also Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright (Princess Bride reunion much??), Bob Hoskins, Callum Blue…need I go on? I love this movie.

New Groove:

MV5BMTYyMjYxMjEzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjAwNDE3NjM@._V1_SY1000_CR006741000_AL_The Princess Switch … Okay, this is my dorky romance chick flick for the year. I have no regrets on this one. So Vanessa Hudgens plays a baker from Chicago who has been chosen to compete in a ‘Royal’ baking contest judged by her long-lost-Dutchess-cousin (also played by Vanessa, of course) who is soon to marry the Prince of such-and-such foreign country. Of course, the switch-a-roo storyline is very cliche, but what makes this movie different, is the element of community and joy. Baker-Vanessa comes into the palace and questions why they are so cold toward those they throw money at via donations. She shows the Prince how to be warm towards people and what Christmas is about to those who truly have nothing. Dutchess-Vanessa humbles herself and learns to live a “normal” life with no schedules and big events and just be herself. Of course they both fall in love and its just a really nice story. I didn’t expect to like it but I really did!

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That’s all I’ll include for now. Hopefully I will get a couple more goodies in over the next few days. I know I have a few more nostalgic shares and I’d love to find a couple more new gems as well. So until next time….happy watching. Feel free to share any recommendations with me as well!

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Tag Tuesday: Harry Potter Book Tag

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY!! Did you know that today, July 31st, is Harry Potter’s birthday? Yep! Its almost sad that I know that, but I do. Our little hero was born on this day in 1980. So in honor of that, of course I must do a tag in his honor!

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Favourite book – Growing up my favorite book was Prisoner of Azkaban. I still really like that book but now that I’m older I think Deathly Hallows is my favorite. I think it has more depth to it, which I appreciate more.

Favourite movie – Half Blood Prince for sure! Although I enjoy watching Goblet of Fire much more than I used to.

Least favourite book – Chamber of Secrets I think. Probably my least favorite movie as well. Which is a shame because I love Kenneth Branagh!!

37da4a94ad2dfe0a275634a5ed212b8eParts of the books/movies that made you cry – Oh come on! Dobby. The raising of the wands for Dumbledore. Those are the biggest moments.

If you could hook up with any Harry Potter character who would it be? Either of the Weasely twins. 😉

Favourite character – Prof. McGonagall, Molly Weasley, Sirius, Dumbledore

What would your Patronus be? A dog.

Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose? Wand.

What House would you be in? Ravenclaw.

If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be? Alan Rickman.

lhp1_featuredHave you played any of the video games? Lego Harry Potter for the WIN!!

If you were on the Quiddich team which position would you play? Spectator.

Were you happy with the ending? Yes, minus the “Fifteen years later” part. I hate when authors do that. I just don’t need that in a book….

How much does Harry Potter mean to you? I have many memories associated with the books, the movies, merchandise, and hopefully someday the theme parks. I plan on making more with future children and other family members. I don’t see HP fading from my life anytime soon. ❤

So if you’re reading this and you’re a fan of HP and want to wish him a happy birthday too, or just want to have a bit of fun with this tag, then consider yourself tagged! 😉

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Tag Tuesday: Inside Out

Hi everyone! So I just started a new job last week and as with any new job, I have been feeling SO many emotions! Its such a roller coaster!! That being said, I feel it appropriate to do the Inside Out Book Tag this week so here goes!

Joy: Which book brings you the most joy?
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Joy, for me, is probably The Hunger Games. Any versions, any merch, any anything and I’m just in love! The series means a lot to me and I just love the contents and the characters. Both the books and the movies are excellent, in my opinion. I love THG!

Disgust: Which book grossed you out the most?
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This one is pretty easy for me. Whiskey Sour or any of the Jack Daniels mysteries by J.A. Konrath. I have read the first three in the series and they are good but man, this guy is not shy about putting in details about his killers’ murder methods! Let’s just say, for example, that book 1 is responsible for me never eating bite size candy bars without me cutting them in half ever again. Nope, nope, nope!!

Fear: The book that scared you more than anything?
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I don’t scare easily when it comes to books, but due to the circumstances under which I read it, I am going to choose Amityville Horror for this one. I had to read this for a course in college and I read a few chapters over a weekend when I was staying by myself in a really old building at a camp/forest preserve out in the middle of nowhere! So hearing the creaks and moans of the old building and the wind and all that while reading about a possessed house was NOT a good idea!!!

Sadness: Which book made you cry the hardest?
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Oh Lordy, do I have to re-live this one? While I don’t scare easily over books, I do tend to cry relatively easily over books. So. My top cry books: Allegient (Divergent trilogy), Extraordinary Means (if you haven’t heard of this book, go look it up. If you liked The Fault in our Stars, or even if you didn’t [because I didn’t… #unpopularopinion ] this book was even better!), and The Light We Lost.

Anger: Which book pissed you off? 
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I won’t say it “pissed me off” but it definitely was not up to my expectations. Or maybe it wasn’t what I expected. So for this one I’ll choose Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. My favorite character gets killed off, my ideal ship doesn’t happen, and the trilogy ends!! Pout, pout, pout!

decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-gbhglo-clipart2bpinkSo that’s that, my friends! I hope that everyone in the U.S. had a nice, long weekend! If you’re not in the U.S. hopefully you’re having a great week so far. Well wishes to you all!

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A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

13513205I have bad news, my friends. I have a relatively negative review to write. Now, I have to say that it has been a while since I read the original A Wrinkle in Time book by Madeline L’Engle. I know I have read it twice….once when I was quite young, and once when I was in my early 20’s? So maybe 5 or so years ago? So maybe my details are foggy but I feel I am generously giving this book a rating of “2 stars” simply because it is A Wrinkle in Time. Ever since I heard about this graphic novel three or four years ago, I wanted to read this one and man, am I disappointed. My mom loved the original book as a child and I remember reading it with her when I was young. I am pretty sure my Goodreads rating for the actual book is 5 STARS!….so where did this graphic novel go wrong?? What is the movie going to be like?!?!
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So now I am confused and concerned. I guess I need to re-read the actual book and have a refresher. All I know is that the graphic novel was, in my opinion, awful. For starters, I absolutely HATED Meg. She was/is a TERRIBLE character. Charles Wallace also is a MOSTLY awful character. In my opinion, the only redeeming character in the book is Cal, who is a tertiary character. The Mrs. Witches are so vague (just like in the book) and they stay extremely vague in the graphic novel. Meg/CW’s dad is pretty much useless. And the book’s resolution contains no answers. Just a big POOF! pretty much! But now that I have read this, I feel ready to read on in the series I think? Or maybe I’ll just read the actual novel and refresh my brain and reassure myself that the series is worth its grain of salt. I’m questioning my own opinion!! Yikes!!

Book Soundtrack: “Day One” from Interstellar by Hans Zimmer

#blogmas day 29: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! I’m not. My fiance has gotten me sick, unfortunately. I have just about the worst chest cough I have ever had in my life. I don’t know if its bronchitis or just a really awful cold/flu symptom but its miserable! I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone! Anyway, I hope the rest of you are healthy!

33843251So back to books. The good thing (and only good thing) about being ill is that it allows you a little extra time to read. So as you can maybe tell from the blog this week, I have posted more reviews than is typical, so I’m happy about that! As of now, I just finished The Afterlife of Holly Chase. I had never heard of this book before, but I had heard of Cynthia Hand. Plus I liked the simplistic, holiday cover and was aching for a YA holiday read and figured “This might be the Christmas read for me!” So I bought it! And I liked it!

Main character Holly Chase is a bratty, spoiled, mean, rich girl. She hates Christmas, she loves herself, she has no regard for other people….you guessed it, she’s a Scrooge. Scrooge number….sorry, I would have to look up her exact Scrooge number in history. If you read the book, you’ll see what I mean. *wink* So anyway, as you can predict at this point, Holly is visited by three ghosts intending to show her her selfish ways but she FAILS! And she dies. (Just for the record, this isn’t a spoiler. This is all in the synopsis so its fair game here.)

Here’s where things get interesting. Holly finds herself employed at a top secret agency called Project Scrooge, an agency whose goal it is to save one soul each year on Christmas Eve. As a former, failed Scrooge herself, she now gets to rehabilitate as the Ghost of Christmas Past, each year working with the team at Project Scrooge to help a new Scrooge succeed where she failed. This story picks up on her sixth year at the agency when Holly is in for a big surprise: for the first time, the Scrooge the team will be working on is a hottie! I’ll let you read the rest for yourself.

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I found Holly to be an okay character. She was definitely what a Scrooge needed to be. Ethan was a little too easy of a character to me. He was described as being so Scrooge-y, and he “had so much in common with Holly,” but then when they were together they clicked so well, I expected him to be way more of a snob considering she seemed to have given up on herself so much as a “ghost.” I thought Scrooges were Scrooge-y to everyone by nature. Apparently not in that world. Besides the main characters, there is a case of side characters who are pretty ok. They really don’t get a lot of spotlight, but when they are around, usually they boost the story for the better.

91gzci2be0el-_sl1500_I really liked to set-up of the book and the “Project Scrooge” concept. It actually reminded me of the movie ‘Scrooged’ with Bill Murray! Cynthia Hand really knows how to tug heartstrings and get readers sentimental, I’ll tell you, because there were several times in the book where I had to reach for the tissue box. Yes, this book has its cliche Christmas moments of museum dates, Dickens quotes, ugly sweaters, holiday parties, etc. etc. But y’all, its a Christmas book. Scratch that. Its a YA Christmas book! If you can’t handle that, then don’t read it. I needed some Christmas Carol re-telling in my life this year and this was perfect. Thank you, author. And with that being said….God bless us, every one! 😛

Book Soundtrack: “God Bless Us Everyone” by Andrea Bocelli ((I will be choosing something more character-Holly appropriate later on…my Spotify isn’t working at the moment))

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On the 16th day of #blogmas …”The Last Jedi” BLEW MY MIND

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Here is my opinion about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”: BEST STAR WARS MOVIE YET. Yes, I felt that it had its few flaws; its few corny moments. Overall though, I had way bigger moments of  practically flying out of my seat yelling “HOLY SH*T!!!” in shock, amazement, and pure badassery than anything else. Even my fiance, who is a HUGE fan (as in, one of those fans who you never want to play trivia with; one of those fans who has a storage unit full of collectibles) had moments of awe and wonder. Thinking about it now, I was having reservations about going to see it again, wondering if maybe it won’t be as exciting the second time around because I will know what’s coming but I don’t think that will be the case. I have a feeling the thrills and chills will still be there. I get the impression there will be plenty of “Easter eggs” (as Dan calls them) to find.

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And on an end note, we fantasy book readers need to discuss the beautiful creatures in this movie. Especially the arctic foxes, the racing creatures (I didn’t catch their names…my assignment is to look that up), and the porgs. Honestly I’m a bit indifferent about the porgs–they’re ok, but a bit overdone.

So if you wish to discuss the movie, please keep it generalized and spoiler-free or contact me privately and we can chat about it all day! I might have my fiance (Dan) write up a guest post because we’re so hyped about the new movie. Maybe after we go see it again. Have you seen it? Are you planning on seeing it? What do you/did you think?

Currently listening to: Pandora Classical Christmas – “Angels We Have Heard On High”

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On the 15th day of #blogmas …Christmas cookies happened

So yesterday was the holiday/Christmas cookie exchange at work. I got home late and needed to make 4 dozen cookies cheaply, and quickly. After browsing online, I found this amazing recipe for these Chocolate Chip Christmas Cake Cookies. All I needed to buy was 2 boxes of white cake mix, a bag of chocolate chips, and some red/green sprinkles. Everything else I already had at home. Simple! So here is the recipe:

cake-batter-chocolate-chip-cookies-christmas-2-600x900Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix

2 large egg whites

2 Tbs flour

1/2 c. oil

3/4 c. chocolate chips

1/4 c. red, white, green sprinkles

cookie-plate-1Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the cake mix, egg whites, flour and oil, mixing well. Add in the ¾ cup of chocolate chips.

3. Roll the cookie dough into 1-2″ size balls and place 2-3″ a part on your baking sheets.

4. Gently press down on the cookie dough balls and place a few extra chocolate chips and sprinkles on top. Place in the oven and bake 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake.

Let me tell you, these cookies were an absolute hit at work! The ladies took them home to their husbands and came back to say their guys loved them! Plus the women have been devouring them like crazy too of course. They are just so yummy. And softer and quicker to make and bake than normal chocolate chip cookies. Trust me on this, my friends….you gotta try these!!

Current watch: “The Santa Clause”

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