Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


     After reading the book, my mom (who is also reading it) and I sat down an watched this movie on Friday and we both loved it! Taking as epistolary novel and condensing it into a fluid film can be a task, but it was beautifully pulled off. Although there were changes with characters (Sophie and several several other members were left out), the movie still managed to tell the same wonderful and emotional story of Guernsey and Juliet's journey of life and love among the most unlikely of friends.

~ ~ ~


    During the Nazi occupation of Guernsey (an island on the British Channel) a group of friends are heading home long after the stated curfew. Their reason for being out so late is because they were having a dinner party with stolen goods; an act that could earn them a prison sentence. When they are apprehended by the police and questioned about their whereabouts, young Elizabeth McKenna quickly states that they were at their book club and insists that it's a completely legal activity for the preservation of culture (at least German culture). Little did anyone know that Elizabeth and this little book club were going to change life on Guernsey and across the sea. 

     In 1946, up and coming author, Juliet Ashton is beginning to enjoy the success of her hard work when her WWII newspaper articles are published into book form. Like the rest of the western world, Juliet is relieved that the war is over and that she is able to enjoy life, attend parties, fall in love and create a professional writing career. However, Juliet still finds herself caught in flashbacks of the London bombings and holding onto the deaths of her own parents, both of which cause her to have severe writer's block.

     Then an unexpected letter comes from Dawsey Adams, a young pig farmer from Guernsey, inquiring after a book that he had found with Juliet's name in it. Dawsey goes on to explain about how he is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which immediately piques Juliet's interest. She writes back to him and asks about the society, its unusual name and it's equally unusual creation on Guernsey Island.


     Juliet believes that she has come across something interesting, intriguing and even novel worthy and doesn't waste time in booking passage to Guernsey Island, much to the dismay of her American boyfriend Mark Reynolds. Soon, Juliet becomes associated with society members. 

Post office manager, Eben Ramsey and his grandson Eli, who was evacuated days before the invasion.

 Isola Pribby, a free spirited herbalist, who loves all things regarding the Bronte sisters.

 Strong willed matriarch, Amelia Maugery.

 And Dawsey Adams himself, who turns out to be much more than Juliet expected. The feeling is mutual with him as well.

     The only person not present is the society's creator Elizabeth who is off the island, but no one will tell Juliet why. In spite of Elizabeth's absence, Juliet falls in love with the society and most of them are quite taken with her. However, the secrecy of Elizabeth's absence keeps Juliet on the island longer than she expected. As Juliet begins to delve deeper and deeper into the mystery of Elizabeth McKenna and the more she discovers, the more Juliet realizes than she was meant to come to Guernsey and possibly even meant to stay.

~ ~ ~

These two...

     My mom said that this was the best movie she had seen in a long time and I agree with her! Everything was just beautifully displayed and acted out! The characters were exactly as they were from the book and so you almost feel like you were meeting friends after only knowing them from their letters. The movie was able to tell all the stories that in a form that manged to help Juliet (and the watcher) put together Elizabeth's story, piece by piece. To be honest, the movie was in storyline what Juliet's novel about Guernsey became. It was all about Elizabeth and how this young woman was connected to everyone in some way or another. That I found to be brilliant. 

     There was also one particular line in the film I was glad they put in. Juliet is dealing with the self righteous and overly religious Charlotte Stimple, with whom she is staying with on Guernsey. Charlotte doesn't hide her disdain for the society, especially Elizabeth and is forever quoting Bible verses believing herself to be justified with everything she says. After Juliet catches Charlotte going through her things, she grabs Charlotte's Bible and says, "Here is a book filled with love! And you overlook it in favor of judgement and petty meanness!" A simple, but powerful truth. 

     To sum it all up, this was a beautiful movie! Heartbreaking, but hopeful, comedic and warm hearted and an extraordinary view into the harshness of the Nazi occupation and how people on both sides fell victim to Hitler's regime. Juliet was so lost and so alone even though she was gaining recognition as a writer and achieving what she believed to be her ideal dreams. And yet it took one letter, one trip, one joyful night and one courageous young women to make Juliet realize that her dream wasn't fame or money, but rather simply a home.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Flashback Friday Post


In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon


June 26, 2014

Mockingjay Trailer Pt. 1 - "President Snow's Address to Panem"


~ ~ ~

 WOW

WOW

WOW!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Goodreads Reviews: True To The Last



True to the Last by Evelyn Everett-Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A little story that, even in its simplicity, has profound truths that resonate for every generation. A sickly little boy, Arnold, loses his mother at a young age. He is taken in by Mary--who is known as Aunt Mary--an old friend of his mother who is also caring for her nephews, Geoffrey-12 and Ted-9, the sons of her widowed brother.

 It's not long before Arnold is swept up by the mischief of cheeky little Ted, while Geoffrey is ever the watchful older brother who keeps on eye on both boys. Overtime, Arnold begins to notice that Geoff has a wonderful love of nature and a gift with animals. He loves horses and is even raising his own chickens and sometimes prefers the company of animals over people. Geoff also has a deep Christian devotion which intrigues Arnold and sparks several conversations between the two boys.

When the boys father, Colonel Douglas, returns home his obvious favoritism is seen when he dotes on Ted, but forever accuses Geoff of not being a better son and brother. No matter what Geoff does, how hard he tries, his father is never pleased. Situations worsen for Geoff when he becomes the target of new-comer, Arthur Heath, a bully who has no regard for rules. While Ted and Arnold worship Arthur, Geoff is wary of him and tries to protect the younger boys from Arthur's schemes. However, Arthur doesn't waste time in harassing Geoff and going as far as killing one of his animals with no remorse at all.

Over and over again, Geoff is disgraced by Arthur, while Arthur himself takes the glory for Geoff's quiet heroic actions. Yet, Geoff takes this all in stride, much to Arnold's amazement. After a family holiday, an alarming discovery is made concerning Geoff. Now both Arthur and Colonel Douglas as well as Arnold and Ted must face the consequences of their past actions toward Geoffrey when they risk losing him forever.

I was struck at how deeply emotional and moving this story was. I admire Geoffrey for his heroism and humility, while loathing Arthur Heath for his selfish and at times inhumane nature. Their is a reality to this story that I think young children today can relate to. Peer pressure, parental approval, bullying, questions of God and Christianity, just to name a few. True to The Last proves that there really is nothing new under the sun and that a loyal heart is infinitely more valuable than any earthly treasure we possess.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Flashback Friday Post


In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon



April 3, 2012

Just For Kicks


~Ors~

Black or white? Black
Milk, dark, or white chocolate? Milk
Night or day? Night
Sunshine, snow, or rain? Snow
City or country? Country. It's too beautiful for words sometimes.
Indoors or out? Depends on the weather
Hugs or kisses? Only from babies
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Lunch
Spring, summer, fall, or winter? Winter
Chick flick or action movie? Depends on who is in it and what it's about.
Drama or comedy? Drama
Reading or writing? Writing
Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley? Niether. Mr. Crawley for me.
Arts or sciences? Arts
Add one!


~3s~

3 favorite movies: Ever After, Amazing Grace, The Young Victoria
3 last books you read: Godiva, A Break With Charity, When Calls The Heart
3 things you could never do without: Family, computer, cell phone
3 celebrity crushes: Hugh Jackman, Dan Stevens, Allen Leech
3 words that describe your life right now: Happy, searching, creative
3 book/fictional characters you would marry: Matthew Crawley (Downton Abbey), Tom Branson (Downton Abbey), King Caspian X (The Chronicles of Narnia)
3 things on your bucket list: Write a novel, swim with dolphins, go bungee jumping
3 places you wish to travel: India, Switzerland, The Galapagos Islands 
Add one!



~Somethings~

Something you want: A child
Something you fear: A seizure
Something you love: Writing
Something you hate: Uncaring people
Something that makes you laugh: My niece
Something that makes you cry: Movies about the Royal family
Something you're addicted to: My computer
Something that annoys you: Slow internet
Something that makes you happy: When someone smiles back at me
Add one!



~Randoms~

Favorite saint: Joan of Arc
Last song you heard: On Earth As It Is In Heaven by Ennio Morricone
Ideal date: Taking a walk down a country road
Guilty pleasure: Downton Abbey Tumblr sites
Favorite music era: 1940s
Last thing you ate: Sour cream and onion chips
Dream job: Mother
Favorite word/phrase: "Are you serious?"
Something people may not know about you: The first thing I notice about people are their hands. Especially if it's an attractive man, because I'll be looking for a wedding ring.
Add one!

Now it's your turn! :)

Lately (feat. Loki)

Me enjoying the weather right now
     Well, there have been some significant changes in my life in the last month! Firstly, the weather has finally cooled down and it feels amazing! I would like to think that the last of Virginia's humid summers is over, but God has a great sense of humor when it comes to the weather. However, weather set aside, it has been a crazy last few weeks!

     My younger sister got married earlier this month and it was wonderful! The wedding was held
at the Hilton Garden Inn on the most beautiful sunny and cloud free day. I always thought it would be a fun idea to get married at a hotel and now that we've done it, there may be no other way to do a wedding from now on! Oh, my mom and most of my family pretty much planned the entire wedding! With hardly any input from the bride at all; she just didn't care. So everything from the food, the flowers, the colors, the bouquets, all of it was decided by my mom. And I have to admit, she did a pretty damn good job too. 

I normally don't compliment people, but when I do, I'm extra about it.
     I got to dance at this wedding too! It may seem a little insignificant, but when I went to my brother's wedding last year, I only danced once and that was with my dad. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it is awkward sitting and watching everyone have fun and dance, and you're completely ignored--#storyofmylife--. I'm not the type of person to just walk up to someone and ask them to dance or just get up on the floor. That's simply not me and probably never will be. However, I was able to dance a lot more in this wedding and after a while I wasn't so nervous to just get up and have fun. All in all, it was a great day.


     The best piece of news so far is that I have another job! Like an official job! I'm working part time at the YMCA as in Interactive Zone Attendant. Basically, I watch kids when their parents are working out or in classes. They play games--primarily video games--and in general, have a fun place to relax. Now I initially turned down the job when I got a call for an interview mainly because I had already given my time to babysitting and my mom's shop. I didn't think I would have time for the Y.

 The moment I hung up, I knew I had made a dreadful mistake. 

Same Loki. Same.
     I thought my mom was going to kill me when I told her. I almost wanted to kill myself. It was about the most uncomfortable morning I have yet to go through. However, I manged to get the interview and now I am gainfully employed at a well respected establishment. I've only worked there for a week and so I'm not going to be too hasty in my judgments, but so far I'm really enjoying it. Working at the Y gets you a free gym membership as well and you better believe I'm using it to my benefit!

     Last month I wrote about how I feared that blogging may becoming a thing of the past? Well, I'm happy to say that may not be for a while. After cleaning out over 50 blogs on my reading list, I've manged to find some other great blogs and reconnect with people that I haven't talked to in a while. There has been a resurrection in my blogging life and quite frankly I am so so happy about it!
I have manged to find some good things to do for my site and it's been working in my favor so far.

     Oh, the reading challenge is going great too. 5 books read this month : ) I could honestly do this, 50 books in a year!


Thank you Loki for managing to be a living mood for every paragraph of this post.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Dr. Strange


     Without a doubt the most unique and different storyline from Marvel. Unlike super soldier serums, tech suits, or natural born godlike abilities, Dr. Strange explores the use of ancient mysticism. Using and connecting ones mind and body to create, in a sense, magic which includes insurmountable forces of energy, teleportation between worlds and alternate dimensions, use of mystical objects, spells and incantations, the three great Sanctums and the protection of one green stone. 

      Yeah...for lack of a better description, it's a strange concept. However, as the movie continues you really begin to see that these abilities can be found in anyone. The use and discipline of the mind can do incredible things if properly taught. The world of Dr. Strange is split into multiple dimensions and all are accessible through the magical abilities of the sorcerers' supreme. This power is not without its extremely dark and dangerous side. All who study this incredible magic may be consumed by its all intriguing power. Very few ever really rise to the challenge of stopping the ones who abuse the power they have been given.


     When renown, but arrogant neurosurgeon, Dr. Stephan Strange, loses the use his hands in a car accident, he stops at nothing to find a cure. He goes through numerous treatments and surgeries, but the results are never what he expects. Stephan needs his hands; without them then what good is his life as a surgeon? He has one final hope when he hears about a former soldier who was so badly wounded that the doctors told him he would never walk again. This soldier went to Kathmandu, Nepal for soul searching and came back completely cured.

     Desperate to know what this cure is, Stephan heads to Kathmandu looking for a mystic simply known as 'the Ancient One.' There he finds a woman gifted with great kindness and wisdom, but also powerful and elusive. The Ancient One runs the humble compound of Kamar-Taj that houses and trains all who are looking for a life beyond themselves and the world they knew.  By using the powerful forces of mysticism a person can create and manipulate forces from both mind and body. While training in martial arts and the understanding of age old spells that guide all those seeking another path. This mysticism is used to combat the forces of evil the invade earth and other dimensions. 


     The Ancient One gathers and trains those she believes have the ability and the desire not for greatness, but for betterment of themselves and to be able ally against evil such as her former apprentice Kaecilius, who has turned himself entirely over to Dormammu, a great power that manipulates and controls. When the Ancient One believes that a person has enough balance of power and humanity, he or she may be given control of one of three Sanctums (Hong Kong, New York and London) that monitors all the dark forces that threaten mankind.

     At first, all Stephan wants is for his hands to be healed and even scoffs at the idea mysticism and its uses. Overtime, he begins to grasp the extraordinary power of magic. He meets Baron Mordo, a man that desires truth and strength, but finds it difficult to trust others and Wong, the no-nonsense librarian who is more knowledgeable in the arts of ancient mysticism than anyone else. 

     Stephan begins to build a new, but unexpected life that is not made in money and fame, but in duty and sacrifice. Although he may be a wizard, Stephan is also a solider whose sole purpose is protect earth and surrounding dimensions from maniacal evils. Dr. Stephan Strange set out to find a cure for his hands, but he found hope instead; and with that hope, he will never back down or compromise from anyone who threatens him or humanity.   


     What I wrote hasn't scratched the surface of what the movie is about, but I hardly understand what's going on to begin with! That being said, Dr. Strange really is a story of its own. So different and unique from other superhero stories, you can't help but be caught up in the beauty and extreme power of magic through mysticism. The artistry in this film is not for those who get motion sick easily. It feels like you're on a colorful roller coaster ride, but it is so cool to watch!

      Stephan's story arc and character growth is wonderfully woven into the story. Starting out as a rich and pompous jerk and ending as a wise and humble (well, most of the time) Sorcerer Supreme, Stephan Strange is a likable hero not too different from Tony Stark in some regards. Benedict Cumberbatch is very popular in my household, so I was going to watch it regardless if I understood the movie or not! He was great as Dr. Strange, though! Ridiculously good looking too. Very few people can wear that flying carpet cape and still keep their dignity intact, but Ben rocked it. 

     While Dr. Strange is a lot to take in and even more to understand, it still holds the traditional superhero theme of good v evil. How good will always win, but that also means that sacrifice will happen as well. While Stephan may have lost his career, his money and his playboy lifestyle, he has discovered the true beauty and honor of becoming a force for good. And being a force for good is going to make Dr. Strange an integral key player in Avengers: Infinity War...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Flashback Friday Post


In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon


August 2, 2016


*I'm not going to lie, I was really happy about this "random" selection...*

I Most Ardently Love and Admire...


     Remember back in my Granchester review how I said I could go on about how I love James Norton, but it would have to be at another time? Well, this would be the time! Without coming off as too much of a crazy fan-girl, I will say that James Norton has definitely captured my attention, not just with his rugged looks (that beautiful curly red hair), but he's an exceptional actor! He plays the conflicted man very well, but also manages to portray the romantic hero, that isn't sappy or overemotional. 

      The first movie I saw him in was Death Comes To Pemberley where he plays Henry Alvenston, a good and honorable suitor of Georgiana Darcy who is completely in love with her (I was so happy when they got together in the end!). Then I saw him in War & Peace, where he was the wonderful and noble Prince Andrei Bolkonsky who somehow had the ability to make those cold Russian winters seem a great deal warmer to the viewers. And of course, Grantchester! He's amazing at the generous, complex, energetic vicar that can't seem to win for losing. I mean really, Sydney can't win with anyone in this show! That's why I love it though : )

James Norton as the irresistibly romantic hero
      And for any Harry Potter fans that come across this post, I believe he would totally kill it as Charlie (the invisible brother) Weasley who trains dragons in Romania. Look up Charlie's description in "The Goblet of Fire" and that's pretty much James Norton. Now I just really want Grantchester to come back on PBS! This is a rare burst of unbarred fandom love for me, but every now and then, I have to make my love known for a great up and coming actor.


New Fanfiction Account


     I've been writing fanfiction for 12 years. I had an account on fanfiction.net to keep my stories safe in case my computer crashed. Unfortunately, something went wrong on their end and I was completely locked out of my own account with no access to my writing!  However, my dad (God bless him) had always insisted that I keep everything on a flash drive and therefore, all my stories were safe and still accessible.

     Yet, there was still the problem of posting them. Especially since I was right in the middle of one. It would be ridiculous to have 2 accounts with the same stories (even though you can't copy and paste other people's work on fanfic.net). By now, I've noticed that Archive of Our Own (or AO3) has been gaining traction in the last several years. It's definitely much more advanced than its predecessor sites and you do much more than just post stories.

     So, I finally decided to ask for an invite (oh, you have to be invited to get an account) and finally received it today! Let me tell you, it's infinitely easier to post stories of AO3 than it ever was on fanfic.net! I've changed my fanfiction sites in my 'Elsewhere' page and overtime, I'll start transferring my stories. This Harry Potter story above was probably one of the best I've ever done and I was right in the middle of writing it when I got locked out. I also have two Narnia stories and several poems (also Narnia) that I've written too. 

     I'm glad I'm finally going to be able to write again!

My account: ivymiranda2390

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I See Fire (Infinitely more epic version)


My favorite song from The Hobbit franchise and this cover fits much better in the fantasy/adventure storyline than Ed Sheeran's slow acoustic version.

I can't stop listening to it!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sister Got Married


On Sunday, my younger sister, Molly was married!

It was beautiful! 

Possibly the happiest event of 2018!

So take that, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan!
(P.S. I love them!!)

More photos are coming soon!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Flashback Friday Post


In which I randomly select a year, a month and a post 
to look back upon



August 24, 2013



Bride and Prejudice Movie Review

Bride & Prejudice (2004)

Combining East and West cultures can be a difficult and even an impossible task, but in the world of Bollywood nothing seems too hard or impossible. Which is probably why Gurinder Chadra's musical comedy adaption of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" was so successful. Bride & Prejudice had all the beloved elements of the original novel, but the Indian twist of culture, dance and music took the story to a completely fresh new level.

~ ~ ~

Will Darcy and Lalita Bashki

Martin Henderson as Will Darcy and Aishwarya Rai as Lalita Bashki in
Bride & Prejudice (2004)
     East meets West when lovely Lalita Bashki meets workaholic, Will Darcy at an engagement party for her best friend. Actually, Will doesn't want to be there; he's only dragged along by his own best friend Mr. Balraj, a wealthy and successful English barrister (lawyer in England) who is pursued by every mother in the small town as a potential husband for their single daughters. Within in the first few minutes of their meeting, Lalita sees Will as rude and aloof, and Will himself wants nothing to do with India at all, except buy the towns best hotel and use it as tourism for money and benefit (much to Lalita's dismay).

~ ~ ~

Aishwarya Rai as Lalita Bashki
     Beautiful and independent Lalita Bashki has had an idyllic life in the small poor town of Amritsar, India with her three lively sisters, loving father and overbearing mother who spends every moment trying to get her daughters married off. Unlike most of the girls in India who spend their days dreaming and preparing for marriage and family, Lalita is off on her father's farm helping him to pay the family's endless bills.

     Often seen as too intelligent for an Indian woman, Lalita isn't afraid to speak her mind to her mother, her friends or even strangers that insult her beloved town. She cares deeply for Amritsar and its people and the idea of leaving the small city as well her doting father is unimaginable. After she meets handsome, but opinionated Will Darcy at an engagement party, she tries to give him the benefit of the doubt, but soon comes to the belief that he is rude, arrogant, and full of prejudice against her and the rest of India.

The Bashki Family
     Lalita loves her family fiercely, especially her older sister Jaya (jay-uh) whom she confides in about everything. When Jaya finds herself falling for charming and handsome Mr. Balraj of England, Lalita is excited for her as well as for the future prospects for her struggling family. Except Mr. Balraj insists on taking his overbearing best friend with him, therefore Lalita must put up with insufferable Mr. Darcy.

    While accompanying Jaya on a trip to the beach resort in Goa, with Balraj, Darcy and Balraj's snotty sister Kiran, Lalita meets an eye-candy surfer, Johnny Wickham, who reveals to her some past secrets of his association with Will Darcy and how Will ruined his life. Outraged by this new information, Lalita writes Darcy off and will have nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, she invites Johnny to stay with her family to see Amritsar, much to the delight of her younger sister Lakhi who develops an immediate crush on Wickham. When Lalita's idiotic cousin, Mr Kholi from America comes to India for a prospective traditional bride, Mama pushes him into Lalita's direction only to have an already outraged Lalita turn him down. 

Namrata Shirodkar as Jaya Bashki and Aishwarya Rai as Lalita Bashki
     Shortly afterwards, Mr. Kholi has asked Lalita's best friend, Chandra to marry him, Johnny leaves for another part of India and Mr. Balraj makes an unexpected trip back to London. Both Jaya and Lalita are confused and saddened at the fact that their only chances of love and marriage are gone. Then an interesting twist of fate intervenes when the Bashki family are invited to Mr. Kholi and Chandra's wedding in LA. Coincidentally enough, the wedding is being held at Mr. Darcy's family hotel. 

     While in Las Angeles, Lalita sees a completely different Mr. Darcy. The man she once thought was arrogant and rude, turns out to be a kind and protective older brother who shows Lalita the beauty and splendor of California and even gets an unexpected marriage proposal from him. Only Will's mother has other plans when she brings, who she considers Will girlfriend Anne de Bourgh to the wedding, setting Lolita's original feeling toward Will back into place.

Martin Henderson as Will Darcy
    Will goes after Lalita and reveals Wickham's identity to her and why he has hated the man for so long. He comes back in enough time to save Lalita's younger sister Lakhi from running off with Wickham. Afterwards Lalita realizes that she loves Will and her prejudice towards him dissolves even more when he brings Balraj around to propose to Jaya. Soon Lalita and Will find themselves throwing away their former past feelings of one another and accept that in spite of their differing cultures and social status, their unlikely love was meant to be.

~ ~ ~


     This is considered pure Bollywood because of its incredible dance numbers, beautiful music and the rich colors of India are infused in every part of the movie. Romantic and funny, but with the same universal themes of class division and wrong first impressions that has kept the world entertained for 200 years (yeah it has been that long since the novel was published).

     The acting on all fronts was wonderful with a superb international cast list. India's top leading lady Aishwarya Rai as Lalita was elegant and perfect in her interpretation of Lizzie Bennett. She had a wonderful personable quality and fieriness that really made her Bollywood portrayal of the beloved character a great watch. New Zealand actor, Martin Henderson, gave the role of an American Darcy a great amount of justice. He played the ignorant all working American jerk to romantic love interest with absolute charm. 

     It was also great to see LOST's Naveen Andrews as the usually clueless in love Mr. Balraj. At first it's almost difficult to believe that the same actor who plays the calculating and secretive Sayid Jarrah as a hopeless romantic (although anyone who has seen LOST will know that Sayid could be romantic too, which is why he's my favorite character), but it just gave props to his wonderful acting. 

Naveen Andrews as Mr. Balraj
     Whether you're a lover of Jane Austen or Bollywood or both, this is just a fun movie to watch. I laugh and cry and I'm still amazed by the extraordinary dance scenes and have even developed an obsession with Punjabi music because of this movie! A great combination of Indian culture and modern America that brings East and West together in a perfect match.