mini movie reviews {#4}

And one for books coming (hopefully) tomorrow!

04e1b49d131a16e9702c7e50b2c79c88--vintage-retro-vintage-humor.jpgNewsies (1992) – My obsession of 2014’s summer months (this and the Broadway musical).  The songs are still, and always will be, amazing.  Plus, baby Christian Bale.

The Patriot (2000) – Gory and violent, but beautiful as well, and I was hardly ever bored for its almost-three-hour run which is pretty incredible.  I still don’t like Mel Gibson, though.


This guy, however…

Rogue One (2016) – My heart is smashed.

An American Tail (1986) – While ‘Fievel Goes West’ was watched wayyyy more than ‘An American Tail’ during my childhood, this movie still brought back plenty of good memories.


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) – Ever since I watched and loved A&E’s Horatio Hornblower series I’ve been a little obsessed with that period of British history, so M&C was a natural extension of that.  An excellent film.

Texas (1941) – Super young Glenn Ford and William Holden?  YES.  A thoroughly entertaining ‘B’ western.


A Royal Night Out (2015) – Gorgeous clothes, lots of Glenn Miller, and not a whole lot going on besides that.  Still, it was amusing.

The Four Feathers (2002) – This movie depresses me to death, but I still love it.  Heath Ledger and Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson all turn in these absolutely gut-wrenching performances.  It’s one of those stories that settled really deeply into my heart and soul forever.


The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) – One of the better westerns I’ve seen.  Several good female characters, which is a bit unusual for a western.  Glenn Ford and Gene Tierney both gave great performances.

The Inheritance (1997) – This is another #childhood movie and it’s super obscure (but awesome) so if any of you have ever watched it, I’d love to know.  It’s a bit similar to ‘Little Women’ (1994), not least of all because both movies are based on books written by Louisa May Alcott, so I might do a comparison post sometime.


The Searchers (1956) – Deeply sobering.  A truly great western.

Moana (2016) – I’ve seen this three times now, I think, and I like it a lot better now than I did when I first watched it.  The songs are good and/or catchy for the most part, and Maui is a LOT of fun.  Actually, the whole movie is.


Have you watched any of these movies?  What films have you seen lately?



book review: cloaked

36169102.jpgShe never imagined she’d need to flee for her life.

Mary Rose feels uneasy around Mr. Linden from the moment she meets him on the stagecoach ride to her grandmother’s ranch in Wyoming Territory. But he works for her grandmother, so that means he’s trustworthy, doesn’t it? Everyone else seems to view him as honest and respectable, and Mary Rose wonders if she’s overreacting.

She tries to ignore her suspicions until one night, she discovers his real reason for being at the ranch. Now, if she’s going to save her grandmother — and herself — she’s going to need to run faster than she’s ever run before.


I read Cloaked in one day. It wasn’t hard because the book is shorter than a regular novel and I’m a fast reader, but that wasn’t the only reason I finished it so quickly. The story moved along so well and the characters were so engaging that I had a hard time putting my Kindle down (except once, where I’d been reading for almost three solid hours and my brain was overloaded).

Having recently finished reading the Lunar Chronicles, I was totally in the mood for another fairy tale retelling, and Rachel Kovaciny more than delivered. There were many hints of the original Red Riding Hood story throughout – mainly Mary Rose’s grandmother, Mary Rose’s red cloak, and Hauer’s trade. But Cloaked is very much its own story. Westerns are my favorite genre and this was such a quiet, heartwarming one (though not without its moments of high action – particularly the finale).

My favorite part of Cloaked was easily the characters. Mary Rose was a fine protagonist, very new to the West and the way of life there – it was neat seeing the West through her eyes, as opposed to most western stories I’ve read where the main character has lived there their entire life. Mary Rose was courageous and smart and very much sixteen without being annoyingly so. Her grandmother was a bit hard to ‘read’ at first, but I grew to like her too. The villain is a creep’s creep. Hauer is a dear (and the fact that he’s half-Cherokee made me like him even more and added some great tension to the story).

Overall, a sweet, clean, relationship-centric western that I would recommend to any and all fans of the genre.

I received an ARC copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.


five movies I’d take to a desert island

Even harder to decide than with the books, mainly because there’s lots and lots of movies I love but very few that would hold up under dozens of re-watches.  Still, I’m pretty happy with this list. (And, in the end, there were several that I wanted to include but didn’t.  I think it’s a pretty subjective thing, depending on my mood.)

// The Magnificent Seven {1960} //


Obviously.  Favorite movie ever and all that.  As for the re-watchability, well…a few days ago my dad wanted to watch this with me and I was a little worried that I would be bored because I’d already seen it so many times and maybe, just maybe I was sick of it.  Turns out, as soon as the opening credits started to roll and that glorious theme started playing, I was sucked in and didn’t look back.  The music, story, and characters are all AWESOME.

// Little Women {1994} //


Watching this movie, for me, is like eating a warm, delicious, comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup.  It’s one of those films that I actually think is better than the book *gasps from everyone* and I love it to pieces.  The music pulls everything together (like the Anne movies) and Christian Bale is adorable as Laurie and Winona Ryder is perfection as Jo.  ‘Little Women’ makes me cry and laugh and, overall, gives everything about life a warm glow.  At least for a little while.

// Tangled {2010} //


First Disney princess movie I ever saw.  One of the first movies that made me cry.  Most likely the first animated movie that made me cry.  If I can’t get to sleep, I replay ‘Tangled’ in my head.  Flynn/Rapunzel will forever be my favorite Disney couple.  Mother Gothel is definitely on the list of ‘top ten villains’ that I’m currently mulling over in my head (blog post worthy? absolutely).  And it definitely deserves more recognition than ‘Frozen’, as it’s easily the better movie.

// Singin’ in the Rain {1952} //


Best musical everrrrr.  End of story.  (Okay, not exactly the end of the story.  It used to be my favorite movie of all time and it’s still right up there and I could watch it every day, not even kidding.)

// Ramona and Beezus {2010} //


I wasn’t too happy with my decisions for the fifth movie on this list, but then I watched ‘Ramona and Beezus’ the other night and knew I’d found the perfect fifth pick.  Honestly, it’s a movie for middle-graders (if not a younger age group) that’s a bit cheesy, but mostly full of heart and SO. MUCH. happiness that it’s become my go-to ‘happy place’ movie.  I want to hug it.  There’s lots of fun adventures and a sweet romance and a wedding-ending (those are the best).

What movies would you take a desert island?  Would y’all like a ‘TV show episode’ version of this post?


announcing the winner of the 200 followers giveaway!


First of all, I wanted to say thank you (again) to everyone who comments, follows, and loves my blog.  You guys are all amazing and I really wish I had the means to be able to send every follower a little something.  However, since I don’t, I must announce the winner of this giveaway to be…

Faith Potts

Congratulations, Faith!  You’ll be getting an email from me shortly so that I can get your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone else who entered.  There will (hopefully) be more giveaways to come as this blog heads toward 300 followers, so keep those fingers crossed. 😉


cover reveal: ‘cloaked’ by rachel kovaciny


I think this is only the second cover reveal I’ve ever participated in, so I’m not quite sure what I’m doing.  All I can say is that I’ve known Rachel for quite a while and I was privileged to read an early-ish draft of Cloaked that showed a LOT of promise (and I’m not just saying that).  It’s been great fun, hearing bits and pieces of how the self-publishing process has worked for her, and one of the biggest parts of that process is creating the perfect cover.

And I’m pretty sure that’s what Rachel has done.

But before we get to the cover, allow me to tell you what Cloaked is about in the first place.

Cloaked is the story of Little Red Riding Hood reimagined as a western.  On the way to Wyoming Territory to visit her grandmother for the first time, sixteen-year-old Mary Rose meets a charming accountant with a sinister interest in her grandmother’s ranch.

Sounds pretty interesting, right?  It is!

And here’s the cover…



Isn’t it gorgeous, though?  So bold and atmospheric and textured.  Love the 3-D thing going on there.  Definitely one of the most awesome book covers I’ve ever seen.  And you’ll be able to buy the book that goes with it in just a few weeks – ebook and paperback – from Amazon.  Looking forward to it!

To learn more about Rachel’s stories, check out her author website here and her Facebook page here.  To learn about the woman behind the stories, visit her blog, Hamlette’s Soliloquy.


five books I’d take to a desert island


// the Bible //


This Book will never grow old, will never be outdated, and will never cease to be the best thing anyone could ever read.  And it would be an immeasurable comfort on all those lonely days waiting for rescue. 🙂

// The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton //


Certainly not the longest of books, but the re-readability, people!  The characters are old friends and I love them and the writing and the story and the feeeeeels.  Very awesome, all of it.  This book (and these characters) deserve all the hugs.

// Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell //


Now this is a door-stopper.  But it’s not boring, not a single part of it.  Margaret Mitchell’s writing is gorgeous and dripping with vivid details. ❤ (Plus, I love that my favorite novel – The Outsiders – and my second favorite novel – GWTW – share such a neat connection.)

// Emma by Jane Austen //


How could I not include a Jane Austen novel?  Her books are unique in that I can literally read them a hundred times and not get tired of them.  You can’t beat that.  Emma is my favorite of all her works, though it’s a tough call at times.  But I love all the Highbury antics and gossip and relationships. #perfect

// The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins //


If I could twist the rules of this post, I would totally include the entire series…but I’m not going to do that.  And The Hunger Games could almost be a stand-alone novel, so that works out okay.  Suzanne Collins does a fabulous job with world-building and characterization – you really feel like you’re right there in the arena, feeling and seeing and thinking exactly what Katniss experiences.  Wow.

What books would you take to a desert island?  Would you like to see a post like this from me, but about movies?


nineteeen years!

So, my birthday was yesterday.  I turned nineteen (about which I’m still really excited) and I’m not going to do a recap of my ‘nineteen before nineteen’ post because it would just be depressing, how few things I’ve accomplished on that list.  But I do feel that I’ve grown in maturity and all that which is a big thing, of course.


Last year, I celebrated my birthday by breakfast at Wimpy’s, baking cupcakes for church, and watching ‘The Outsiders’.  This year, my birthday fell on a Sunday so there were a lot more people at our home (our church meets in my family’s home now, because it’s easier for Dad, the pastor).  My mom surprised me with balloons and everything was awesome.  A very happy, memorable time, especially since some dear family friends were also able to come.

I was given quite a lot of money (#BUYALLTHEBOOKS) and an Amazon gift card and chocolate covered almonds and two Louis L’Amour books that I love (Last Stand at Papago Wells and The Daybreakers) and a little stuffed lion and a LEGO minifigure of Commissioner Gordon (which I wouldn’t have appreciated even a couple weeks ago, but after re-watching ‘Batman Begins’, I’ve realized just how amazing he is).  And there were tons of Facebook posts and it was just…I’m constantly reminded of how many wonderful people love me and not only are a part of my life but are happy that they’re a part of my life.

And all I can do, all I want to do right now, is give back to them. 🙂  Just…express my love and gratitude and admiration for all my friends and relatives because they deserve it.

After everyone went home, we did random stuff until the evening when I pulled out the movie I’d selected to watch on this birthday – ‘3:10 to Yuma’ (and do I even have to clarify that it’s not the remake?). *gives 3:10 alllll the hugs*  I LOVE IT SO MUCH.  My heart may or may not have skipped a beat when the camera panned over to Glenn Ford/Ben Wade for the first time.  And then we finished off the night with “The Hostages” (I’d forgotten how good Combat! was) and a rather interesting ep of MacGyver. ❤

So, that was my birthday.  I share it with Alan Ladd and Garrett Hedlund and my awesome chiropractor.

Have you had a birthday recently?  What are some of your birthday traditions?


P.S. A third royal baby is on the way and I’m so excited!