I’m partaking in 31 Spooks of October!

Back in August, Fable Fox and K, from K at the Movies, asked for feedback on potential topics for this year’s ’31 Spooks of October’, an event created by K. Thinking that this would be something worth my time, I chose to answer Fable and K’s call for content ideas. After putting a lot of thought into what I would contribute to this event, I decided to talk about something that doesn’t always get discussed on 18 Cinema Lane: reading. While my blog primarily focuses on movies and movie related topics, I try to add books into the conversation whenever it’s appropriate to do so. Last year, I participated in the readathon called Spookathon. In case you’re not familiar with this concept, a readathon is an event that requires participants to read a certain amount of books within a pre-set period of time. For last year’s Spookathon, I only read one of the three books that I had attempted to read. Because I came very short of reaching this goal, I wanted to try again at finding readathon success. So, I thought that “31 Spooks of October’ would be a perfect time to do this. This month, there are two readathons that are taking place around the same time; Spookathon and Sbooktober. I will be stretching my participation throughout October, instead of reading exclusively within the weeks set aside for these events. Below is my TBR (to be read) list and which challenges each book meets!

If you’ve read any of these books, please share your thoughts and opinions about them in the comment section. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
  • California Angel by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

The first book I’m reading, which I’m already half-way through, is California Angel. For Sbooktober, which has a Harvest Festival theme, this book will fit the challenges for “a book you’ve been scared to read” and “a book that features transformations”. Out of all the books on this TBR list, California Angel has the greatest number of pages, with 359 to be exact. I’m also not enjoying the book, so far. But I’m hoping the second half is better than the first. Because the protagonist, Toy, is a teacher and because, according to the synopsis, she gets accused of committing a crime, she ends up transforming the lives of those around her. For Spookathon, this book will fulfill the requirements to “read a thriller” and “read a book with red on the cover”. California Angel is labeled as a “thriller”, especially on Goodreads. The copy that I own has a ruby ring on the cover, which means it contains the color red.


  • Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders

The second book I’m planning on reading is Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders. This novel will satisfy the challenges to “read something you wouldn’t normally read” and “read a book with a spooky setting” for Spookathon. I don’t usually read books that are based on pre-existing television shows. But, since I’ve been watching Murder, She Wrote lately, I think this is a story I might enjoy. According to the synopsis, this story features a haunted castle, which is, indeed, a spooky setting. This book will also meet Sbooktober’s requirements for “a book that features water”, “a book with a journey or quest”, and “a book with orange on the cover”. In this book, Jessica and her friends take a journey to the British Isles and Scotland. These locations are surrounded by the ocean and, as you can see in the photo, this book has an orange cover.


  • Murder on Ice by Alina Adams

The third book that I hope to read is Murder on Ice, which is the first book in the Figure Skating Mystery series. It will fit Sbooktober’s challenges for “a book with a flower on the cover”, “a book you think will have twists and turns”, and “a book from a unique perspective”. Because this is a murder mystery, I’m guessing there will be several twists and turns in this story. The protagonist, Rebecca “Bex” Levy, is a figure-skating researcher, which is a profession and perspective that isn’t featured on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. It also helps that Alina Adams, the author of this book, was also a figure-skating researcher. In the photo at the top of this article, you can see that there is more than one rose on the cover. This book will also fulfill only one challenge from Spookathon: “read a book with a spooky word in the title”. For Murder on Ice, the spooky word of choice is “murder” because murder mysteries are spooky.


  • Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards

The fourth book on my TBR list is Mandy. Julie’s book will only meet one challenge from Sbooktober: “read a book someone “picked” for you”. When I asked a family member to pick a book for this readathon, they suggested this one! I’ve owned this book for so long, but now I have an excuse to finally read it! It’s also the only book of these five that isn’t a mystery.


  • Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn

My final book is Closed for the Season. It will meet several requirements for Sbooktober: “a spooky book”, “a book with an animal in it”, and “devour a book in 24 hours”. Because this book is 182 pages, I think I can read it in a day or less. According to Goodreads, this book is featured on the shelf called “A boy and his dog”, so I’m hoping there’s a dog in this story. Since Closed for the Season takes place in an abandoned amusement park and it’s a murder mystery, it has the potential to be spooky.


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen


If you want to learn more about these events, you can visit the Youtube channel, booksandlala, or type “#SPOOKATHON 2019 ANNOUNCEMENT” into Youtube’s search bar. You can also visit the Youtube channel, Paper Faerie, or you can type “SBOOKTOBER 2019 ANNOUNCEMENT!” into Youtube’s search bar. For the Sbooktober video, the portion about the readathon starts at 4:50 and ends at 6:31. If you want to read Fable and K’s post that I referenced in this article, here’s the link:


Take 3: Love, of Course Review

Since both of my reviews from this year’s “Fall Harvest” line-up have been pretty well-liked and since I don’t know if I’ll review any movies before my Halloween double feature, I decided to review Love, of Course. Like a lot of the movies I talk about on 18 Cinema Lane, I had low expectations for this film. While I’d seen Cameron Mathison and Mackenzie Vega perform in at least one Hallmark movie before, I had never seen any of Kelly Rutherford or Gabby Douglas’ acting performances. Also, the story of a parent spending time with their children at college is not new for Hallmark, as A Lesson in Romance was released four years prior to Love, of Course. However, I wanted to watch this film with an open mind, hoping that, at least, some creativity was incorporated into this story. Was Love, of Course the surprise waiting at the end of the corn maze? Let’s take the trip through this review to find out!

Love, of Course poster
Love, of Course poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Love%2c+of+Course.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The entire cast of this movie was great! Everyone brought their A game to their specific roles, with all of the performances appearing natural and believable. The talents of the actors complimented each other, making the film even more enjoyable. Before watching Love, of Course, I was impressed by Mackenzie Vega’s performance in Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Beach House. Mackenzie’s portrayal of Cara was great in this film as well! I hope Mackenzie can appear in more Hallmark movies in the future.


The on-screen chemistry: Kelly Rutherford and Cameron Mathison gave a great performance individually and as a pair. One thing that added to the portrayal of their characters was their on-screen chemistry. Amy and Noah’s relationship came across very convincingly. It also looked and felt like their relationship was developing over the course of the film. Watching Amy and Noah’s interactions was definitely one of the highlights of this film!


The fall and harvest themes: I thought the fall theme was incorporated really well in Love, of Course! There was a lot of fall related things in the movie; from the idea of someone going back to school to the desserts that Amy makes for the people around her. I also liked how this story focused on the theme of harvest. Farmer’s markets have been featured in Hallmark movies before. However, Love, of Course showed the process of how a farmer’s market participant prepares to sell their product at a farmer’s market. I found this aspect of the film very informative and interesting!

Corn field image created by Rene Cerney at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Rene Cerney.”

What I didn’t like about the film:

The under-utilization of Gabby Douglas: Even though Gabby doesn’t have as much acting experience as some of the other cast members in this film, I was disappointed by how little screen time she was given. Gabby is not only one of the top billed actresses in the film, she is also featured on the film’s poster. While watching this film, I noticed that Gabby was present in the movie for about five minutes or less.

Fresh Tasty Red Apples in Wooden Basket on Green Grass
Red apples in basket photo created by Valeria_aksakova at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/fresh-tasty-red-apples-in-wooden-basket-on-green-grass_1284495.htm’>Designed by Valeria_aksakova</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I’ve seen the majority of Hallmark’s 2018 “Fall Harvest” movies. Out of all those films, Love, of Course is the best one from this line-up! Outside of the Christmas season, the “Fall Harvest” line-up has been the strongest on Hallmark Channel! In fact, I think this year’s “Fall Harvest” line-up was better than last year’s. Even though Love, of Course had some elements that are usually found in Hallmark movies, there were also aspects within the film that were creative and interesting. It was also nice to see that the cast was made up of familiar faces (Mackenzie Vega from The Beach House) and new members of the Hallmark community (Kelly Rutherford). I’m hoping that these familiar faces can continue to work and thrive in the Hallmark community and that today’s new members can be the familiar faces of tomorrow.


Overall score: 8.3 out of 10


What are your thoughts on this year’s “Fall Harvest” line-up? Which movie has been your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen