Adventures and Nightstand Books May/June 2019

Adventures& Episodes

Trying to stay on top of the whole Adventures and Episodes thing, as well as getting in my Nightstand Books post, but since I’m a bit late for both of them, I’m combining the two posts into one!


I wrote rather a ton in May. I wrote 12,776 words in Towers of Might and Memory before I had my complete change in plans.

Then I wrote approximately 17,000 words in Summer Princess (I’m not sure exactly because I apparently wasn’t keeping track. But I was at 14,000 on May 30 and 20,000 on June 3, so I’m going with a number between there) for a total of 29,000 words written in May! A pretty enormous month, all things considered.

The Summer Princess is rolling along nicely and I’m planning to hit 30,000+ words on that this week, reaching the halfway point (or as near as I can figure, I believe this rough draft is going to clock in somewhere around 60k, but it could be a bit more than that, depending). As of right now, I’m still easily on track to finish this project by the end of July and then I’ll get back to the Turrim Archive! The time off from Turrim Archive has been good for me, so far, and I am excited to get back to that story when this new one is finished, so that is good.


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Didn’t get a ton of reading done just for me this month. Except for North! Or Be Eaten, all of these were books I read with the kids, either for school or for fun. N LOVES the Spirit Animals series, so we’ve been reading it alongside our school-reading books. Personally, it’s not my favorite series, but it’s kind of adventurous and has some interesting story telling. I think part of my issue is that every book is written by a different author, so style and voice become a major component of which ones I’ve liked/disliked. Books 5 and 6, which we read in May have actually succeeded in drawing me into the story more, so that’s been nice.

I really enjoyed North! Or Be Eaten a lot more than On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Not as many footnotes, which was nice, and the story just kind of picked up more and the characters seemed to develop more, so that was nice. I felt like the bridge scene and the running away from the Fangs bit went on for a while longer than it really needed to, but other than that, it was an enjoyable read.

Gladys Aylward was a great read (and not everybody died, so that was a nice change), love reading this series with my kids.

The Little Riders was absolutely beautiful and made me cry. It’s a tiny little book, but packs a wallop.


Let’s see. Didn’t go see anything in theaters in May. But we did watch a few movies:

New to Us Movie:

Mary Poppins Returns – this was kind of cute. However, it was not as charming as I’d hoped it would be, and I really didn’t love Emily Blunt’s version of Mary herself, and I thought the music and dancing was severely lacking.  “A Cover is Not the Book” in particular  was a song I could have done completely without. And Topsy Turvy was nowhere near as dear and charming as Uncle Albert from the original. The children were sweet, and I liked them a lot. Bert’s nephew, the lamplighter did a good job, but how do you follow a class-act like Dick Van Dyke? I have NO idea. The lamplighters song was cool and we got a moment of choreography that felt a bit like the original, but still fell far short. Trying to recreate the feel from an era where all actors ALSO had to be able to sing and dance in an era that relies so heavily on CGI and special-effects-trickery had to have been difficult, I’ll grant them that… but I think they could have managed to make up for that with sweetness and charm… (e.g. Christopher Robin). For my opinion, the writers and directors simply didn’t understand what made Mary Poppins so dear in the first place, and they missed the mark. As a tribute, it did okay. As a movie on its own or even a sequel… I found it disappointing.

Rewatching Movies:

Monsters University – always fun and one of those magical Pixar sequel-is-almost-better-than-the-original moments

Stargate – so love this movie.


Derek and I have begun rewatching Stargate SG1 and I’m loving it every bit as much on this go-round as I did the first time. I’ve missed these characters, so!

We’re still watching Star Trek: Voyager with the kids, and they seem to enjoy it. Well, okay, Leiana likes it the most… the others more tolerate it. hehe

Been watching the Netflix She-Ra with the kids… which up until the last episode of season 2 was cheesy and cute. However, we turned off the last episode of season 2 because they did the thing Netflix seems to think is okay in a kids’ show and we will not be watching that anymore. So disappointing. I am DONE with Netflix originals.

We’ve also been rewatching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as a family and Gracious, I love this show so much! Definitely recommend if you’re at all a fan of the MCU. I actually think I like this cartoon more than most of the MCU movies, so that’s saying something!

Road to Avonlea season 3. Love this series. Set in the same world as Anne of Green Gables, with some of the same actors/actresses playing the same roles, but new kids and new stories… it’s so much fun and so sweet and dear and wholesome and charming. We love it.

Started watching Miraculous Ladybug with the kids based on a couple of recommendations from some of my blogging friends and so far it’s entertaining and fun. Kind of feels a little bit like PJ Masks meets Littlest Pet Shop.


Finished up the school year and looking forward to summer and all things summer. Just hoping it doesn’t fly by too fast!



This is my summer-reading stack.

Based on various recommendations, I’ve started reading Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. I started reading it out loud to Derek and we were having such fun with it that I’ve decided to continue reading it out loud to him. However, it did mean I had to buy a copy of the book, because I’ve already maxed-out how many times I can renew it and we’re only 1/3 of the way through!

Don’t know if I’m going to get to Merlin: The Lost Years. I read this series many years ago and remember liking it, even though I did read it all out of order and somewhat backwards.

Spirit Animals — technically, I’ve already finished this one, but we’ve started in on book 7, so we’ll pretend that’s what is in the picture. mmmkay.

Crocket and Crane: Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz is the June Fellowship of Fantasy Book Club read. I’m looking forward to that one!

Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek is the sequel to Water Princess, Fire Prince, and so far I am enjoying it.

Spindle by W.R. Gingell is another book club book that I want to catch up on, and I’m looking forward to diving in.

Summer Plans

Lots of time at the pool.

We’re also getting a yard put in so that our house will no longer look as though it’s in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

My kids are signed up for swim lessons and art classes and camp, oh my!

Derek and I have plans to spend our 15th anniversary celebrating in Chicago and catching a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, as well as going to a couple of my favorite museums and enjoying lots of Chicago-style pizza we don’t have to make ourselves!

And writing! Lots and lots of writing!

Here on the blog I have some plans to do a a super fun summer series on indie publishing, marketing, building your author platform, and whatnot! I’ve got some awesome guest-bloggers who are further along on the authoring-path coming in with posts on the subject, so I’ll be soaking up some of their words of wisdom right along with you!

What have you been watching, reading, writing, and doing here at the end of spring? Do you have any fun summer plans in the works?


~ jenelle



With how this spring has been going so far, it kind of feels like I haven’t been doing a whole lot of anything! Although that probably isn’t true.

I love Stargate! We watched through the entire series, and it is very near and dear to me. I was never a big fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, or sci-fi in general, but when I was introduced to Stargate I fell in love with the story and characters so much!


Stargate remains at the top of my list of all-time favorite tv series. SG1 and Atlantis.

Though I grew up a Star Wars fan and still love the original trilogy. :)

Sarah Pennington

Guards! Guards! would be so fun to read out loud. :D I want to do that now, except I have no one to read it to.

I actually quite liked Mary Poppins Returns. It’s different from the original, yes, but good in its own way — and given that it’s made for a different generation and set in a different era, I think the differences in the movie fit. One could almost take it as a sort of metaphor that no matter the era, no matter the generation, no matter the situation, the values and themes that Mary herself encourages and represents are still necessary and valuable. I’m not saying the new one was perfect (I will agree that some of Emily Blunt’s mannerisms were a little off, and I didn’t love every musical piece), but it was still a good movie in its own right. (That said, I suspect there are some generational differences coming into play here with our opinions.)

Super disappointed to hear that She-Ra did the thing. :P Why is Netflix determined to mess up every single recent show I hear about and would consider watching? At least I’m hearing about it before I get invested . . . *sigh*

Glad you’re still enjoying the Wingfeather Saga! Also, that copy of Gladys Aylward brings back memories (am I old enough to be allowed to say that? whatever). I loved that series when I was younger, and that was one of my favorites.

Out of curiosity, which of the Star Trek series is your favorite? I’ve only seen episodes of the originals, but I’d like to watch the rest eventually.


My kids – particularly L – really enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns. She loves the original and loved the new one. N was a little more on the fence about it.

I am so frustrated with Netflix right now. It’s so calculated it’s almost laughable. It never happens in the first season, and it never makes any sense from a story-arc perspective. Grrr. Derek and I were actually talking about how there really isn’t much left on Netflix anymore that we actually care to watch, most of the stuff we like is over on Amazon Prime – which doesn’t have as user-friendly of an interface, but once Disney+ shows up most of the rest of the things we like on Netflix probably won’t be available there anyway, so we might be dropping the flix in the near future.

Hmm, that’s a tough question. Voyager was my first real experience with Star Trek. I’d seen a couple of the movies when I was younger, but I didn’t really enjoy them at the time. So rewatching Voyager feels like “coming home” for me in the Star Trek universe.

The Next Generation is fun, but is far more episodic in nature (though there is a kind of neat moment at the very end of the show where you realize there was a sort of overarching plot line that is kinda cool and I did not see coming) and when we rewatched it with the kids I liked it more than I did the first time. I liked it okay the first time, and I love the characters, but I’d have to say it’s my third favorite of the 3 Star Treks I’ve seen. (Which I know is “last place” and makes it sound like I don’t like it, but that’s not true, I like it, I just like Voyager and Enterprise BETTER) :)

Which brings me to Enterprise… which actually is probably my favorite Star Trek show. Even though it ends kind of poorly (because they didn’t get renewed for another season and had to wrap things up kind of quickly and you can tell that’s what happened). However, of all the Star Treks I’ve watched (I’ve tried to get into Deep Space 9, but so far I haven’t been able to make it past the second episode) it’s the one that feels the most like Star Wars, and I prefer Star Wars, so that makes sense to me. It predates Kirk & co and most of the Federation Rules don’t exist yet, so that’s entertaining.

Sarah Pennington

Interesting. So that could somewhat support my theory.

Yeah . . . at this point, if I get a Netflix account for any length of time, it’ll be so I have a non-sketchy place to watch anime. (Amazon Prime has, like, next to no anime that I’m interested in.) But even that’s iffy.

Interesting. I didn’t know Enterprise even existed until just now. I’ll have to look it up. Danke!


Leiana is a bit of an “older soul” when it comes to her tastes in stories, even though she’s only 10. Nathalie is far more swayed by what’s “shiny at the moment.” :) hehe Dunno if that’s a generational thing, but definitely speaks to different tastes.

For context: most hard-core Trekkies HATE Enterprise with the passion of a thousands stars about to go supernova… so I’m definitely in the minority there. But then, I don’t consider myself a “Trekkie” as I didn’t start watching Star Trek until I was in my 20s and I still haven’t seen all of TOS (a couple episodes here and there and I have now seen all the movies (original and new ones)). :)

DJ Edwardson

Congrats on all the writing progress. You’ve really been blazing along!

Your impressions of North or be Eaten were similar to mine. Enjoyable, but a little too slow at first. I also did not like Tink’s character arc. It didn’t make sense to me, but the rest of the book is pretty good, especially the Florid Sword and the Fork Factory.

I can’t believe you haven’t watched Earth’s Mightiest Super heroes before. Isn’t it great? I don’t have much time to watch anything these days, but we watched that a few years back. To me, it is much truer to the comics. I’m not a fan of the MCU at all.

I’m enjoying reading Taran Wanderer, but it has been a little slow. I’ve checked out book 5 from the library, though, and am interested to see how it all ends up. Hurrah for libraries! What would we do without them?



Taran Wanderer is a little slow, but the character development is soooo good. (If that’s the one I’m thinking of, I think it is… he’s doing a bunch of different apprenticeships in that one, right?)

We’ve watched Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before, this is a rewatch… we bought them on blu-ray to watch with the kids as a way to have something fun to do as a family when we moved and knew we wouldn’t have internet for a while.

I am curious to see what happens with Tink in the next books… that was unexpected.

Libraries are the best!


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