Goodness, has it really been that long since I’ve done a monthly wrap-up post? I think the last issue of Adventures and Episodes was in November! tsk tsk.
“Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.” <—This has become my life’s quote of late. Well, I’m not going to update you on everything since then, or we’d be here until the end of NEXT month, but a few of the goings-on in these here parts since the turn of the New Year are as follows….
Let’s see… what new movies have we seen this year…?
The Man Who Invented Christmas – a new all-time favorite! If you haven’t seen this one yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a writer, this movie is a must-see, because you will identify so much with so many aspects of this movie. And if you are friends with a writer or have a writer in your family, this movie may help you understand them better. I have already watched it twice and I will definitely own this one at some point.
The Dark Tower – This movie was interesting. It wasn’t great – they were obviously trying to cram far too much plot and character back story into too short of a time, but there was nothing offensive in it, and while I don’t care if I never see it again, it did make me curious to read the books by Stephen King, and I’ve never been all that interested in anything he’s written before, so there’s that. And Matthew McConaughey did a great job portraying a super-sinister villain.
The Greatest Showman – By far the best movie I’ve seen this year. This movie is beautiful and powerful and elegant. The story is fantastic, the characters are amazing, the music is breathtaking. This is a movie that lives up to the hype.
Paddington – I know, the first one has been out for a while, but the previews made it look dumb. It isn’t. This movie is super-cute. Definitely recommend if you have young kids and you want to watch something that isn’t a cartoon with them.
Coco – I really enjoyed this movie. It kind of terrified my kids (most of the story takes place in the “realm of death” and several of the main characters are skeletons, so them being scared totally makes sense). This is one of those movies that makes you think, and can prompt some really fantastic discussions. I recommend it, but just know that even though it is a cartoon, it is kind of creepy, so it might not be the sort of thing your kids would enjoy.
Darkest Hours – This movie was quite intriguing. While it is not completely accurate to all the facts, it was a brilliant portrayal of Winston Churchill and the decisions and struggles he faced when he became Prime Minister. Also, Gary Oldman did a phenomenal job, as usual – I would NOT have realized it was him if Derek hadn’t told me. Definitely recommend this one.
Jumanji – This one was… in short… ridiculous. There were parts of it I enjoyed, and parts of it that were just… really stupid. Jumanji turning itself into a video game was clever, and I enjoyed how the writers and directors were obviously working to incorporate some of the feel and flavor of the original Jumanji movie with Robin Williams… but this movie ultimately fell far short of that mark. It lacked the sweetness of the original, and was nowhere near as terrifying. The humor was entertaining, but I’d probably only give it 3 dragon eggs… I’d give it 2, but I have to bump up one star for Amy Pond… she was hilarious.
Taken (TV show) – If you enjoy the movie Taken with Liam Neeson, this show is one you will love. While the actor they got to play Brian is NO Liam Neeson… he is VERY good at making you believe that he could BECOME Liam Neeson. And since this show is basically that character’s back-story, that’s a very good thing.
Star Trek: TNG – We’ve been picking our way through this show with the kiddos, as part of my never-ending quest to not have to watch cartoons for the rest of my life (I love cartoons and animated films… but there are a lot of live-action movies I love, too)! It’s been fun going through these a second time. And the kids’ favorite character, by far, is Q… of course. (He’s my favorite, too). They are highly amused to know that the actor plays the voice of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I think that adds to their love of him.
Lost in Space (new version) – INTENSE! We’ve only seen the first two episodes, so far, but WOW this show is a white-knuckled, edge of your seat, thriller ride. Because of this, I really have to be in the right mood to watch it, but so far I’m enjoying what I’ve seen.
LEAP! – This is one I’ve been interested in for a while, and finally got around to watching. It’s on Netflix and in Redbox, and I definitely recommend this one. It is super cute. And the animation is just stunningly gorgeous. It is a sort-of Cinderella type story, and I enjoyed it enough to watch it twice in two days. The plot kiiiind of gets a bit ridiculous right at the end (an enormous sledge-hammer gets involved, and the Statue of Liberty… it’s kind of weird) but other than that, it was a very enjoyable movie.
Oh goodness! How did I manage to forget Black Panther? Seriously… this is what happens when you go 6 months between update posts. Really enjoyed Black Panther. When it comes to Marvel movies, I’d put it on par with my favorites, which are, in no particular order: Avengers 1, Iron Man 1, Thor 1, Guardians of the Galaxy 1, Doctor Strange, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Spiderman Homecoming, and Ant-Man. Black Panther was a really fun movie, with a villain who is actually not lame, which bumps it up in front of Civil War, at the very least. T’Challa is a compelling character and a hero worth rooting for, but Shuri was by far my favorite thing about the movie.
Haven’t read much for fun for just me this year, most of it has been stuff I’m reading to my kids for school. I was one of the judges for the latest (and last… sniffles) Rooglewood contest, so a lot of my reading time in January was taken up reading some amazing retellings of Snow White.
I did manage to read The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson and After by Savannah Jezowski, and even reviewed them! Both are top favorites for the year.
I also read The Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce – This was a re-read. I remembered it when I was looking for books about unicorns for my common mythical creatures post, and I got a hankering to read it again. It was every bit as fun as I remembered. I did NOT know it was the first in a series, so now I have more books to read.
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones – the only actual DWJ book I managed to read and finish during March Magics. I believe I have read this one before, though I had mostly forgotten it, so it was very like getting to read it for the first time again. Cute story. Not my favorite of hers, but then, Chrestomanci sets a pretty high bar. So far, Howl is the only one who comes close.
The Black Reckoning by John Stephens – Finished up this trilogy I’ve been reading with my daughter (she listens to the audio books, and I read the paper version, and then we discuss… which has been an absolute blast). It ended in a satisfying sort of way. I did get my heart ripped out at one point, so I’m still upset about that. Book 2 is still my favorite of this trilogy. It’s a little “Series of Unfortunate Events” meets “Percy Jackson” in some respects… though the fantasy aspects are more classic fantasy than mythological in nature.
Mythical Doorways – I read through our anthology with the Fellowship of Fantasy in April and highly enjoyed all 11 stories. I am so pleased to be a part of this stellar collection, and happy to recommend. All the stories are family-friendly.
In the months of March and April I’ve managed to write 42,000 words in the third book of my Turrim Archive. I also wrote about 6,000 words for a humorous, short story that is an original fairy tale. I am feeling pretty good about how much writing I’ve managed to get done, especially considering that we had a week-long vacation and we had a few bouts of illness sweep through our family.
We spent a week in Orlando, FL at the end of March. Derek and I took a day at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios (with a minor detour over to Jurassic Park for a river adventure). It was a very fun “date-day” and we enjoyed being completely nerdy all day, wandering around Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.
We also took our girls to Magic Kingdom for a day (left the boys with Gma and Gpa) and had a super magical day.
AWANA has wound down for the year, and I am happy to have that off my schedule for the summer. I love AWANA and being the Sparks Director, but I also enjoy having summer vacation.
We are finally getting ready to begin construction on our house! Yay! Breaking ground is supposed to occur in the next several weeks, so I am sure that the summer is going to be a lot busier than I realize, but we are very excited to finally see this dream come to fruition.
Grayden turned one.
Brant is learning to ride a bike.
School is winding down. It’s been a fantastic year, but we are looking forward to summer: swimming lessons, bike rides, picnics, baseball games, hiking, and more!
And that’s a pretty good recap on what life has looked like in these first several months of 2018.
What about you? Have you read or watched anything phenomenal this year? Had any exciting adventures in the real world? How’s your writing going?