Three Kids in a Trench Coat

There are so many big changes happening so fast right now.

Our first wedding gift arrived, boxes of belongings and wedding decorations swamp me, apartment hunting = stress, and I’m trying to keep up on homework for my church’s recovery group (more on that later 😉) and a ginormously boring work project.

There’s even been some gray in my hair, but only because I tried cornstarch as dry shampoo and used way too much and couldn’t get it all out in time before dinner with one of our pastor’s families. 🤦‍♀️😂😂😂 #truestory #doyouthinkanyonenoticed

It’s all good things, and the fulfillment of some of my best dreams, but some days it’s just a lot to deal with.

This weekend, I had one day where I felt particular emotionally overwhelmed and really needing some encouragement.

Into my notifications walked the new Pixar short, Twenty Something.

With amazing 2d animation, this short explores the idea of feeling like three kids in a trench coat faking your way through life–and doing terribly at it. 😂

It brought (more) tears to my eyes and a sweet reminder that I am not alone and everyone’s had to deal with figuring life out. 😉

Go watch it, and be sure to measure your cornstarch moderately!

A Map of Tiny Perfect Things (Review)

(Before we get into this review, I just gotta say, this movie gets better and better the more I think about it, and my sisters keep pulling it out for girls’ nights with their friends so I think they agree. It’s everything I want in a chick-flick–wholesome, deep, nerdy, and just plain adorable. 💗)

Just look at this scrumptious cover…

What I thought was going to be another shallow, dime-a-dozen teenage romance movie ended up being a heartfelt, deep message on life, loss, and the beauty of every moment as it passes away. I finished it with a tear or two. 😉

The rapidfire, overlapping, sometimes oddly divergent conversations between the main characters (and some side ones too) built such a realistic chemistry that was a delight to follow and the true backbone of the movie. His tangent on the plane, tho. 😂😂

And don’t get me started on how delightfully nerdy it was. From the copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Time Bandits (onscreen! important to the plot!) to the theoretical physics and fourth dimension… I was unabashedly eating it up.

Those twists at the end though… If anything they gave the movie more soul.

CW: language, kissing, jokes about public nudity, hospitals, loss.

Available on Prime Video, filterable through VidAngel

The Man Who Invented Christmas (Review)

This movie means so much to me as an author (it perfectly captures the agony and ecstasy), as a reader (nerdiness abounds), as a human who doesn’t always deal with the past well and sometimes finds fictional people more “real” than living, breathing ones. Much to think about, much to love about life.

The Victorian backdrop and the perfectly subtle, creative references to A Christmas Carol were an absolute delight. Dan Stevens is a powerful actor, though I love the whole cast really.

It’s an intensely frightening moment when the message you’re writing for other people is exactly the one you need to hear…

I didn’t grow up on this movie, but I already feel it becoming a tradition. 💚

CW: extreme poverty, verbal abuse, dead rodent, angry conversations, ghosts 😉, familial hurt. A scene where the walls of a hole shrink in at intervals may trigger claustrophobia.

Book Review // An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh

“Their friendship can survive almost anything…

For two best friends,

marriage could be their greatest test yet…

Trinity Davis must not have heard firefighter Omar Young correctly. Did her handsome widowed best friend just suggest they get married? Omar needs a mom for his adorable little girls, and it’ll fix Trinity’s financial woes. But saying “I do” isn’t just business. Especially when the only vow they’re in danger of breaking is their promise to not fall in love…” (from Goodreads)

I pre-ordered this book five months in advance. That’s how excited I was for new content from this author, and she did not disappoint!

Right away, I was very happy to see some Type 1 Diabetes representation since I have a younger sister with the diagnosis. I’ve only read a handful of books with this factor, so it’s always a delight to find one. One major aspect of the T1D sideplot didn’t quite seem to line up, but the rest seemed carefully researched and honest.

I absolutely love the banter between the main characters. They have such a wholesome, amazing friendship, and right away I could feel that they had known each other for years. I was definitely rooting for them to become more. 💗

Trinity was a fantastic character, and I loved how much she threw herself into motherhood and caring for the girls. Her struggles with fear and letting herself love hit me hard. I went into this book expecting trope-y cuteness and got all of that + a good dose of spiritual truth I was needing. 😉

My only complaint is that sometimes the internal dialogue got pretty repetitive, but that was just a small downside compared to the goodness that was this book. 😉

Definitely a perfect Valentines’ read. 💗

“But what about us? How will we keep in touch?” “Funny thing.” He paused. “There’s this technology that allows you to video chat. Your face will pop up in this screen right here on my phone.” “On a phone? Get out.” His body shook with his laughter. “That’s right. And my face will appear on yours.” “You’re pulling my leg.” “I’ll pull your hair if you’re not careful.”

Traveling with kids seemed to require a lot of time and extra baggage. Every time she was out and passed another mom, she couldn’t help but give a head nod in solidarity. They’d packed the kids for an excursion and were battle ready.

CW: deaths prior to the story, medical emergencies, one character is a firefighter.

Book Review: 12 Dates of Christmas

“She’s spent the last ten years not forgiving him. Why should she start now?

When Reagan runs into her old high school nemesis, she’s flummoxed why he thinks she’d ever have coffee with him.

Alex is stunned to discover he was a nemesis in the first place.

Challenged into accepting a date for every offense he can name, Reagan is confident she’ll be spending her Christmas vacation away from the big bad Alex.

Maybe she should have gotten to know him a bit better first.” (from Goodreads)

I picked this up for the cute, lighthearted title and the promise of a relaxing read. In this author’s true style, it was all of those things, yes, but with a surprisingly deep background message of personal growth and forgiveness. (Let’s just say some of Reagan’s struggles hit a little close to home. 😂)

I loved their apology-for-a-date trades and how their system grew to not matter so much the more they really knew each other. I actually enjoyed when they were fighting (and I usually haaaattteee stress/conflict in books), because it was so well-written it was like a study of real people. And they didn’t stay mad too long, phew.

They had some pretty adorable, creative dates! The snow sculpting contest and the poetry one were probably my favorites.

Altogether, I enjoyed these characters and watching their relationship grow. ❤️

Best quote: “You’ll help me put up the lights?” Alex nodded. “And the stupid blow up snow globe?” “Especially the snow globe.”

Erin shook her head. “You need to remember to dwell on truth… On what is right. That is where your brain goes off…”

Content warning: mild conflict, verbal teasing, wanting to kiss, kissing (not described in detail)

A (Rather Mysterious) Review

My boyfriend is a major film nerd, and one of our favorite long-distance dates is a movie + video call. 😁

We get to see each other’s reactions real time and discuss the movie a little afterwards. Most of the time, it’s us filling each other in on favorite movies the other missed (he’s a veritable movie tour guide 😁), but we recently found a film we both hadn’t seen yet, which proved quite fun. 😉

Instead of a book review, I thought today I’d share a movie review.

Enola Holmes

3.5/5 stars

(Review originally posted on Letterboxd)

As a certified aficionado of all things Sherlock Holmes, I was quite excited to watch this movie with my boyfriend.

I very much enjoyed the unique storytelling style. The scrapbooked scenes accompanying narration were delightfully Victorian and fresh. 

Speaking of narration… There is no longer a fourth wall. For me, this aspect of the movie was delightful, though a little misplaced in an action scene.

Millie Bobby Brown was FANTASTIC. I look forward to seeing her in more roles, for sure. Henry Cavill wasn’t quite believable as Sherlock, but I enjoyed his brotherliness and the air that he definitely was picking up on more than others. 😉 Louis Partridge was delightful.

The mystery was slightly guessable for me, but intensely fun. I did find the storyline with Eudoria a disappointment though after reflection I understand it more. Enola choosing her own path was fabulous. Some of the themes were both too on the nose and too subtle for me which was my main dislike about the movie.

A+ for utterly feminine costuming during fight scenes. And the soundtrack = 😍

Where’s my sequel?

• • •

Content warning for intense male anger directed toward a young girl, near death experiences, sudden shocking death, waterboarding, garrotte choking, and blasphemy.

• • •

There you go!

Have you seen Enola Holmes yet? Don’t you just love the trailer aesthetic? 😍

Book Review: The Trouble With Love

“I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated.

W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. Then his sister’s threatened by a stalker and dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years.

Or maybe it’s all too much trouble.” (from Goodreads)

I’ve been wanting to try something by this author for a long time now (I appreciate her perspective, reviews, and just her online presence in general), and my FB reading group assured me that this was the book to start with.

They did not fail me.

I fell in love in literally just a few pages, and I can happily say that by the time I was done reading I had 98 highlights on my Kindle. XD Those highlights vary from conversations that made me laugh aloud to passages that fed my soul or warmed my heart. It’s that good.

Holliday made the book for me. She’s entirely honest, hilariously witty, and has a really compassionate heart. She also unapologetically likes food and picks her outfits out based on if they match her favorite shoes. What’s not to like? ❤ But that’s not all there is to her character either. She has some very deep hurts from long in the past that leech away joy from the present and prevent her from trusting people, and I related to that too.

I enjoyed reading about her creative process as a HANDS DOWN AWESOME popstar (wish her songs were real!); I enjoyed her hilarious sparring with Wally and her close friendships with her housemates (strong sisterhood stories for the win!); I loved the suspense storyline and I can’t wait to see what happens next; but it was the slow, subtle, painful thread that oozed with the Gospel that made this book one of a kind. It was so gentle, and so honest, and reminded me that God is faithful to be found by us when we look for Him. ❤

I highly enjoyed the romance (*smirks*) and, again, the strong sisterhood vibes, and I’ve already pre-ordered the other books because I need to know what happens to Tori and Tavia. 😀

Just a note, there are mentions of sexual tension between the romantic leads, though I very much appreciated how it never got in the way of building a real relationship or discussing hard things, and there’s a hilarious running gag about how attractive a couple male bodyguards are. A side character is quite promiscuous with a penchant for grossly younger wives, and the suspense sideplot does amp up.

Best quotes (and this is utterly insufficient, just read the book): He was arrogant, pretentious, overbearing, and…why did I feel like a thesaurus all of a sudden?

“It’s not my fault you two look alike.” “It’s our mom’s.” Tori and her brother spoke simultaneously, and I chuckled.

I didn’t date, but if I did, I wouldn’t want to be with someone like me. I got on my own nerves thank you very much.

Sing. Create music. Share my emotions with the world in a way that would connect us as they responded with their own stories.

“Treat him like you wish he’d treated you—on your own merits and not based on whether you checked off some requirements. Treat him like a person worthy of your time because you want the same from him.”

If you’re looking for a foodie book, a humorous book, a high society story, an enemies-to-lovers romance, women’s fiction, or an encouraging book with a lot of (subtle but heartfelt) Gospel, congrats! This book is all of that and more, and I enjoyed every moment. 😉

Book Review: I Am a Dalek

“Equipped with space suits, golf clubs and a flag, the Doctor and Rose are planning to live it up, Apollo mission-style, on the Moon. But the TARDIS has other plans, landing them instead in a village on the south coast of England; a picture-postcard sort of place where nothing much happens. Until now…

An archaeological dig has turned up a Roman mosaic, circa AD 70, depicting mythical scenes, grapes and a Dalek. A few days later a young woman, rushing for work, is knocked over and killed by a bus, then comes back to life.

It’s not long before all hell breaks loose, and the Doctor and Rose must use all their courage and cunning against an alien enemy and a not-quite-alien accomplice who are intent on destroying humanity.” (from Goodreads)

Hello. I am a nerd.

I splurged and bought ebooks during quarantine (due to library lockdown) and this was one of the lucky winners.

It was so, so good.

From the moment the Doctor and Rose jumped out of the TARDIS, they were fully in character, utterly in love (even if they don’t know it), completely hilarious, and out to save the world. This book had just the feeling of one of my favorite episodes and was written so well that I could read lines in the characters’ voices. The author did an amazing job weaving strands of story together, and I gawked a few times at particularly beautiful phrases. 😉 (The milk bottle. Seriously, the MILK BOTTLE.)

I mentioned in my “pre-review” that I bawled like a baby, and I’m not exaggerating. XD I actually had a bit of a headache afterward, but I also didn’t mind. Some of my favorite episodes (and apparently books) of this show are the ones that remind me that humanity is beautiful, completely unique, and full of potential. And that little epilogue was pretty sweet, and so like the Doctor. 😉

Just a note, there was some various language through including a blasphemy, usage of b***hy, h***, and smarta**e. There were also a couple mentions of a well-endowed side character and an off-color phone conversation in the back of a scene. Since the story centers around a Dalek, there are some descriptions of violence, but the main one that could be disturbing was a car accident.

Best quotes: The Doctor turned to face her. His features were alive with wonder and excitement. Not for the first time, Rose felt it was as if he was seeing through her eyes, and she wondered if that was one of the reasons he needed somebody to travel with.

‘Yeah, it’s all the TARDIS’s fault. It’s got all these emergency systems. I turned them all off years ago. They kept going off and I couldn’t hear myself think. Must have come back on.

Altogether, this was a ton of fun. I just might have to try more by this author. 😉

Book Review: The Dollhouse Magic

“Lila and her little sister Jane have long admired the dollhouse in the window of Miss Whitcomb’s house down the street. Since Daddy lost his job, the girls can only dream of owning a dollhouse as grand. One day, Miss Whitcomb invites them inside, and a warm friendship soon develops. But after a devastating incident, how will the girls continue to find hope in a time of need?

Set during the Great Depression, The Dollhouse Magic by Yona Zeldis McDonough, and illustrated by Diane Palmisciano, is heartwarming chapter book that proves that friendship is indeed a magic all its own.” (from Goodreads)

Happiest of happy sighs. ❤

I spent a great deal of my childhood wishing for a dollhouse book that didn’t include murder, magic, or other drama. Just dolls.

This book immediately took me back to that time in life and was such a lovely, enjoyable experience. The main characters had a sweet, wholesome family life and a beautiful friendship with an older lady in their community. Also, the dollhouse and its occupants were surprisingly detailed for how short the book is, and my little girl heart ate up every word. 😉

The ending was bittersweet and hopeful. ❤

Altogether, I enjoyed this very much and immediately added it to my list of favorites. I look forward to sharing it with my younger sisters.

Book Review: No Man

“She doesn’t have much longer to live.

Losing the last of the radialloy puts Andi’s life in immediate danger and sends her, August, and the Doctor rushing towards the demolished Qandon system in search of more. Their speeder is crippled, a powerful man is desperate to stop them—and they are running out of time.

Meanwhile, Crash has escaped from prison and is hiding somewhere in Hungary, hunted by assassins who have instructions to kill him if Andi and the others don’t return to Earth in one week. The only person on Earth who can help him is Guilders, who very nearly despises him.

Is there more radialloy out there? Can Crash and Guilders make it to safety? And will Andi ever be able to return to the way of life that she loves so much?” (from Goodreads)

I shouldn’t have inhaled this book (it’s the latest one available currently), but I honestly think I couldn’t have stopped if I’d tried. 😉 I even stayed up a bit late I was on such pins and needles. 😉

This one had quite a different setting from the others, and it was fun getting to see more space and different types of ships. 😉 I’m definitely with Andi on the claustrophobic nature of the speeder. XD She wasn’t the most likeable in this one sometimes, but I loved seeing how her experiences were affecting her. Illness, worry, being betrayed so many times and put on her guard, and even the effects of the reversal zone weighed on her. I honestly related a lot, and I love this complexity to her character.

The Doctor and August were quite wonderful as usual, and Guilders absolutely shone in this one. Having multiple POVs was weird for me at first, then I loved getting a glimpse inside his head. He and Crash are so opposite and yet I think their journeys are a little more similar than they realize in some ways. Those campfire talks/silences were great, and after learning more about Crash, I hope more for him. I appreciate how slowly the author is taking his storyline, and I know she will handle it with care. 😉

Book Talbot was a fascinating new character. I liked his inventor brain (this book had GADGETS) and his respectful attitude toward Andi and commitment to his work were admirable. I’m adding him to the list of characters I hope to see again.

Just a note, because the stakes were higher in this one, there are some wounds and injuries (including blood) and some traumatic hospital scenes. *cries*

Best quotes: “Because I’m not real. You know that.” His turn to sigh. She was right. He did. “I would if I could, though,” she comforted.

I felt his Adam’s apple move as he swallowed, unable to finish his sentence, and I clung to him as, for the first time in my life, we cried together.

Altogether, to say I didn’t cry would be lying. 😉 This book was a beautiful mixture of hopeful and heartbreaking.