Buzzwordathon 2022 – Review of ‘A Horse Called Holiday’ by Frances Wilbur

June’s theme of Buzzwordathon is ‘All’. This means the word ‘all’ has to appear somewhere in the title. Originally, I was going to read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. But I figured reading a five hundred and thirty plus page book after a three hundred- and forty-three-page book (The Light Between Oceans) put me in a “reading slump” was not a wise decision. Therefore, I decided to read A Horse Called Holiday by Frances Wilbur instead. This is because a) the book is two hundred and three pages and b) the word ‘all’ is found within the word ‘called’.

Here is a photo of my copy of A Horse Called Holiday. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Despite this change of plans, there were aspects of the book I liked! Frances took the time to showcase the world of equine sports, specifically show jumping. She goes into detail on how much time, effort, and money it takes to find success in this particular hobby/extracurricular. When it comes to horse-related stories in entertainment media, specifically those for a younger audience, some of them might end up glamorizing the idea of horse ownership. With that said, I appreciate Frances’ realistic approach to equine related activities. I also liked the protagonist, Meredith “Middie” Scott! Even though she has her flaws, Middie has admirable qualities as well. One of them is how hard she works toward her dream of being a successful horse rider. Throughout the story, Middie takes care of other people’s horses. She does this to gain riding experience and earn money to afford a horse of her own. Since A Horse Called Holiday would be classified as a middle grade story, Middie is a good character for younger readers to look up to. At various points in the book, the text is written in italized letters. These passages are from the titular horse’s perspective.  Through these passages, the reader learns more about Holiday’s past, such as why he is so good at jumping fences. Insight into why Holiday reacts the way he does is provided, giving a unique component to this story!

Horse with saddle photo created by Topntp26 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stallion-black-equine-race-sky_1104246.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Topntp26 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

In the book’s synopsis, it states “Middie’s always taken the easy way out”. Some characters remind Middie how she rushes through certain tasks. But throughout the story, these claims didn’t feel consistent. That’s because, over the course of the book, the reader also sees Middie working hard toward her dream. Since there was more evidence for the latter than the former, it felt like the text was giving mixed messages. An overarching issue within Middie’s life was how she felt unappreciated due to her birth being “unexpected”. Because most of the story focuses on Holiday’s training, Frances ends up telling instead of showing the Scott family’s struggles. This emphasis on Holiday’s training also caused the overall conflict to be weaker. While it does provide interesting insight into show jumping, some readers might find A Horse Called Holiday boring due to the limited amount of intrigue.

In my opinion, A Horse Called Holiday is a fine, harmless, horse-related story. In fact, it would be a good introduction to horse-related literature. Without spoiling the book, I will say the resolutions were nice, but expected. However, the story is straight-forward and easier to follow.

Overall score: 3.6 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: There is one chapter in A Horse Called Holiday featuring horses getting hurt. One rider is described as “plump” and Holiday’s deafness is described as a “handicap”.

My First Buzzwordathon Fail

Earlier this year, when I announced I would be participating in the Buzzwordathon readathon, I joined the event with the intent of finishing each book in their respective, allotted time-frame. From January to April, I was successful in my attempts, providing a review for each book before the end of the month. When May rolled around, the theme was ‘Directions’. Since ‘between’ is a prepositional, directional word, I planned to read The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish reading it in May. That’s because the book put me in a “reading slump”. For those who don’t know, a “reading slump” happens when you lose motivation to read and/or finish a book. In my case, I saw The Light Between Oceans movie before I read the source material. I haven’t seen the film in years. But, based on what I remember, the movie was faithful enough to the book to satisfy the reader. At times, this made me wonder, “Why am still reading the book”?

Here is a photo of my copy of The Light Between Oceans. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Because I try to be a blogger of my word, I will still publish a review of The Light Between Oceans. Even though this book put me in a “reading slump”, there are aspects of it I liked. One was how honest the writing felt. Various moments of the story provided thought-provoking statements due to the text’s honesty. Isabel, the book’s female protagonist, points out how her brothers didn’t receive a funeral. Violet, Isabel’s mother, reflects on why she made that decision. The text reveals the lack of funeral for Isabel’s brothers is because Violet didn’t want to admit her sons were never returning home. Until I read The Light Between Oceans, I had never thought about funerals in that sense. Another strength in M. L. Stedman’s writing was the use of descriptive imagery. The way people, places, and objects were described gave the reader a chance to picture them in their mind. When Tom, Isabel’s husband, visits Janus’ lighthouse for the first time, M. L. Stedman writes about each layer of the structure. As Tom reaches the top of the lighthouse, the different components of the light itself, such as the lenses used to position the light, allow readers who may have never visited a lighthouse before to get up-close to the lighthouse’s mechanics. Because of how strong M. L. Stedman’s descriptive imagery was, it brought the text to life!

Good sailing day image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/summer-landscape-with-a-houselight-and-a-boat_866882.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/design”>Design vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

The Light Between Oceans starts with Tom and Isabel’s discovery of Lucy and her biological father. The book is also divided into three parts. I found these creative decisions unnecessary as 1) Lucy’s discovery is an event included in the book’s synopsis, so the reader already knows what to expect and 2) the story itself is straight forward. I also didn’t think it was necessary for the book to be over three hundred pages. After a certain event in the story takes place, the text becomes drawn out and repetitive. Each chapter feels like M. L. Stedman tried to put as much content as possible into each chapter. As I’ve already mentioned, The Light Between Oceans put me in a “reading slump”. But, as I’ve also said, this is because I was familiar with the story prior to reading the book. If I had known how similar the film adaptation and its source material were to each other, I would have stuck with my memories of the movie. With that said, if you’ve read the book, you’ve already seen the film, and vice versa.

Overall score: 3 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: The Light Between Oceans is a dramatic book that contains overarching, heavier topics. These topics are miscarriage, the aftermath of war, and grief associated with death. The book also discusses the subject of prejudice. There are some swear words in the text and the mention of someone vomiting.

Buzzwordathon 2022 – Review of ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett

With my Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon underway and the start of May around the corner, it’s time for another Buzzwordathon book review! For April, the theme is ‘Big & Little’. Participants had one of two options: 1. Read a book that has the word ‘big’ or ‘little’ in the title or 2. The title has to feature a word associated with ‘big’ or ‘little’. Because I happen to own a beautiful copy of A Little Princess and because ‘little’ is in the middle of that book’s title, I decided to read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic! The 1905 story has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. However, this is the first time I read it in a novel format.

Here is a screenshot of my copy of A Little Princess. Sorry if the cover’s bottom half appears blurry. I tried to capture how sparkly the cover is. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

While reading A Little Princess, I became nostalgic of the 1995 adaptation, as I have loved that film since its release. So, it was interesting to read how similar and different the movie was from its respective source material. One major difference is how Frances provides explanations for character motivations and situations. I haven’t seen the 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess in years. From what I remember, though, Sara’s dad goes missing during battle and is assumed dead. This provides the catalyst for Sara’s struggles and lost fortune. Looking back on the film, it never made sense, to me, for Sara to lose everything simply because her father was missing in action. If her dad knew there was a chance he could be in danger, wouldn’t he have created a will for Sara? The source material provided a stronger explanation for the lost fortune, as Sara’s father invested in diamond mines, but his money was mishandled. Even though this situation is resolved by the book’s end, the inclusion of these explanations was a strength for the book itself!

Princess tiara image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/ornamental-princess-crowns_1109199.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Another strength of the book is how Frances used descriptions to flesh out the characters and their world. At the beginning of the story, Sara is referred to as “wise beyond her years”. She’s also described as “intelligent”, “imaginative”, and “courageous”. Interactions between characters and narrations from an anonymous narrator provide proof of those statements. On the first day of class, Miss Minchin gives Sara a French textbook in preparation for an upcoming French lesson. Throughout this scene, Sara tries to explain to the headmistress that she already knows basic French, as she grew up learning the language from her dad. It’s not until the French teacher arrives that he and Miss Minchin discover how advanced Sara is in French. In the 1995 adaptation, important and timeless messages and themes can be found throughout the story. That is also true for the source material! Because Sara imagines she is a princess, she assumes how a princess would behave. This includes assuming how a princess would treat others. After finding some money on the ground, Sara plans to buy some food from a nearby bakery. But just before she enters the bakery, Sara sees a girl who appears to be worse off than herself. With the found money, Sara purchases a set of rolls. But she ends up giving most of the rolls to the aforementioned girl.

Here is one of the full page illustrations that is featured in my copy of A Little Princess. Artwork created by Ethel Franklin Betts and found on https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Little_Princess.

Even though A Little Princess has been near and dear to my heart, I’ll be one of the first readers to admit it is not a perfect or near perfect book. Though this flaw wasn’t consistent throughout the text, there were times when parts of the story were repetitive. A portion of the book’s last chapter provides a great example, as it re-caps almost everything that happened prior to that point. As a reader, I don’t like longer chapters. This can, sometimes, cause a book’s pace to be slower. While A Little Princess’ pace was steady, the book contained longer chapters, with thirteen pages given to the longest chapter. In my copy of the book, there are full page illustrations that bring to life certain parts of the story. I honestly wish these illustrations had a more consistent presence, as they could have broken up some of the chapters. Other than that, though, I still enjoyed reading A Little Princess all these years later! I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to read it again!

Overall score: 4.1 – 4.2 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: Because A Little Princess was published in 1905, some of the words and phrases are reflective of that time, with their context different from today. A few of these words are “queer”, “gay”, “fat”, and “chubby”. At one point in the story, a man from India is referred to as “oriental”. There is also a stereotype about Chinese people included in the text. Again, these parts of the story are reflective of the book’s time; 1905.

Buzzwordathon 2022: Review of ‘Private L.A.’ by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

Three days ago, I reminded readers and followers that my blogathon, the Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon, was on its way. For those who aren’t aware, this event highlights stories where a trip doesn’t go according to plan. Whether these trips go hilariously or horrifyingly wrong, they have one thing in common: attempting to reach a desired destination. This leads me to address my selection for March’s Buzzwordathon! The theme this time around is ‘Locations’. Since L.A. (Los Angeles) is a real-life location, I selected Private L.A. by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan!

Here is a screenshot of my copy of Private L.A. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

The first book co-written by James Patterson I had read was Confessions: The Private School Murders. Unfortunately, this book was, for me, a disappointment, as a side mystery monopolized the overall story. Private L.A. avoids that issue by devoting a satisfying amount of time to the novel’s main mystery, which involves the disappearance of a powerful acting couple. This book also highlights a mystery featuring a group of criminals called ‘No Prisoners’. However, the text provides an equal amount of attention to both mysteries, going back and forth between first- and third-person narration. When I purchased my copy of Private L.A., I didn’t know it was the sixth book in a series. Despite this, the book does not heavily rely on events from the previous installments. If a character or situation is introduced in the text, Jack (the protagonist) informs the readers of their significance to him. It should also be noted how Private L.A.’s chapters are shorter in page length. This allows the story’s overall pace to be faster, which works for mysteries taking place in “real time”.

Magnifying glass image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/magnifying-glass-with-fingerprint-in-flat-style_2034684.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flat”>Flat vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

There are some parts of Private L.A. I felt were unnecessary. Breaking the book up into sections was one of them. Throughout the story, there was a prologue, five separate parts, and an epilogue. I recognize this creative decision was made to group certain areas of the story together. But since the chapters were so short, these sections felt like they were included for the sake of being there. Along with the two aforementioned mysteries, Private L.A. contained two subplots. The first one focused on preparations for the murder trial of Jack’s brother, Tommy. Even though I haven’t read the Private series in its entirety, I’m guessing this is an overarching story for the series. However, I wish this subplot was one of the main plots in another book, in order to receive enough time to reach a resolution.

Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

The second subplot, revolving around Justine Smith, also didn’t receive a resolution. Justine is a close friend and co-worker of Jack’s. Her subplot is comprised of two narratives; dealing with PTSD and her growing feelings for a man named Paul. While it was interesting to read about Justine coming to terms with her PTSD symptoms, her interactions with Paul were lackluster. Justine’s story grew frustrating after she witnesses Paul interacting with a woman, causing her to assume his relationship status with little to no proof. Honestly, I wish Justine’s story had solely focused on how she dealt with PTSD. Some parts of Private L.A. needed descriptive imagery. When characters from the LAPD and ‘No Prisoners’ were incorporated into the story, I found it difficult to decipher who was who. This is because the characters seemed, more often than not, interchangeable.

Therapy session image created by Pressfoto at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/businesswoman-talking-to-her-psychologist_860909.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com</a>.  Image found at freepik.com.

Prior to this year’s Buzzwordathon, I had never read any books from the Private series. Despite jumping into the middle of the story, I enjoyed Private L.A for what it was! It was interesting to read how each mystery unfolded, as well as seeing how each of the dots connected. But because of this book’s subject matter, the story might not be everyone’s “cup of tea”. I wouldn’t say Private L.A is a “good” book, but it was better than being just fine. It was an intriguing and well-written story that was also a nice introduction to the series. Therefore, I wouldn’t oppose reading more Private books!

Overall score: 3.8 – 3.9 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: As I mentioned in this review, the subject matter in Private L.A. prevents the book from being everyone’s “cup of tea”. This content is the following:

  • Swearing on several occasions
  • References to sex toys on a few occasions
  • In Justine’s subplot, it is mentioned she and Paul had sex. However, this interaction is not described in detail.
  • Several murders take place in this story. Some of them are described in detail.
  • References to children in danger
  • References to a dog in distress (the dog in question is never harmed)
  • The use of slurs on two occasions
  • One member of ‘No Prisoners’ disguises himself as a woman. He only does this in an attempt to carry out his mission.
  • Two chapters that feature sexual assault

Buzzwordathon 2022: Review of ‘Wish You Well’ by David Baldacci

Another month means another Buzzwordathon review! For February, the theme is ‘Pronouns & Possessive Pronouns’. Because one of the eligible words is ‘you’, my selection is Wish You Well by David Baldacci! Prior to participating in Buzzwordathon, I have read The Christmas Train, which I loved. I also enjoyed its respective film adaptation from Hallmark Hall of Fame. So, when I purchased Wish You Well at a garage sale back in 2019, I thought I might like it. But, in all honesty, I found the book just ok. One of the reasons is about 80% of the book is a “slice of life” story, a type of story I, personally, don’t find as interesting as other stories. Since some parts of the “slice of life” story revolve around farm life, there were times when Wish You Well felt repetitive. Another way the overall story felt repetitive was when the protagonist, Lou, runs away anytime something bad happens. Lou is named after her great-grandmother, Louisa. Because of how similar these names are, it was sometimes difficult to tell which character David was referring to. A few coincidences that seemed too convenient also hurt this book’s case, such as how a restaurant in the small town of Dickens just so happened to be named after the state Lou and her brother, Oz, are from. Wish You Well’s page count is 399. For a story of this nature, I thought this page count made the book longer than necessary.

Here is a screenshot of my copy of Wish You Well. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

 David’s writing style in Wish You Well is lyrical, to the point where it almost feels flowery. So, if you’re not paying attention to the text, you might find yourself confused by what is happening in the story. Fortunately, I never found this to be a problem, as the story itself is straight forward. David uses the chosen writing style in his favor, putting that effort toward his book’s world building and character development! The way locations are described help the reader picture them in their mind. One example is when David writes about a train station as being “a glorified pine-studded lean-to”. Through his writing, David is able to create characters that are unique to one another. With the descriptive details he chooses, a character like Louisa, for example, sounds as if David is talking about a real-life individual. There are tense moments sprinkled into the story, which held my interest. A court case that takes place toward the end of the book was a tense part of the story that held higher stakes. Because I had never read Wish You Well before, I was curious of the court case’s outcome.

Sunny autumn landscape picture created by Kotkoa at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/autumn-forest_1436222.htm’>Designed by Kotkoa</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Kotkoa – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

In the afterword material from my copy of the book, David explained how learning about his family’s history was his inspiration for Wish You Well. From the sounds of that, it seems like his intentions were good and his heart was in the right place. But I wish David had written a memoir about his family’s history and his journey through learning about that history, instead of penning a fictional version of it. While reading Wish You Well, I could see how the book inspired a non-profit organization of the same name; the Wish You Well Foundation. However, as I stated earlier, I thought this book was just ok. In the future, I do plan to seek out more of David’s literary work, especially his mysteries/thrillers, as I haven’t read any of those yet. Hopefully, the next book of David’s I read, as well as March’s Buzzwordathon pick, is stronger than Wish You Well.

Overall score: 3 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: Wish You Well contains some content that some readers may find offensive. This content is the following:

  • One character who uses racial slurs on more than one occasion*
  • The use of the word “hobos”*
  • A chapter focusing on a woman giving birth
  • At least one mention of an animal passing away
  • At least one mention of a child passing away
  • A child smoking on a few occasions
  • The use of swear words on some occasions
  • References to child abuse
  • References to a car accident

(* — This is in relation to the book’s time period, 1940)

Buzzwordathon 2022: Review of ‘How to Write Good’ by Ryan Higa

Earlier this month, I announced I was participating in this year’s Buzzwordathon. In that announcement, I said I would write reviews for the books I read during this readathon, as a way to stay motivated throughout the year. Because I just finished reading my pick for January, it’s time for the first review of Buzzwordathon! This month’s theme is ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How’, meaning my choice had to have one of these words in the title. With that said, I chose How to Write Good by Ryan Higa!

Here is a screenshot of my copy of How to Write Good. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

In this book, the Youtuber explains how to write a book by using parts of his life to elaborate these steps. As an avid reader and someone who has an interest in writing, I already knew what these steps were. However, it was interesting to read them from the perspective of a non-professional writer. The parts of his life that Ryan shares are those that were brought up in his ‘Draw My Life’ video from this Youtube channel. In How to Write Good, these parts are explained in further detail, which allows the reader to gain insight into Ryan’s thought process and sense of humor. Speaking of humor, the comedy that Ryan became well-known for on the internet does appear in this book. One area where his humor is present is the consistent comic strips. How to Write Good features comic strips of Ryan and his ghostwriter, Sarah, who appears in these strips as a literal ghost. This play on the word ‘ghostwriter’ shows the cleverness that can be found in Ryan’s Youtube videos!

Here is a screenshot of one of How to Write Good‘s comic strips, to illustrate the point I make in the next paragraph. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

As I already said, How to Write Good contains comic strips revolving around Ryan and Sarah. Even though these illustrations are good, I wish they were more colorful. The comic strips in this book are coated in a predominantly blue hue, with pops of red every now and then. Because a Youtuber co-wrote How to Write Good, I was expecting the book to be filled with mixed-media. Along with the text, I imagined Ryan’s words paired with photos, illustrations, and links to his videos. Unfortunately, there were only two photos within the 224 pages. The only video that is referenced in this book is the aforementioned ‘Draw My Life’ video. Despite these flaws, I did enjoy reading How to Write Good! It was informative and insightful, while being entertaining along the way. If you’re a fan of Ryan’s comedy or want to learn about writing from a different perspective, then this is the book for you!

Overall score: 4 out of 5 stars

Have fun during Buzzwordathon!

Sally Silverscreen

Disclaimer: How to Write Good contains a few slurs and the topic of suicidal thoughts. However, these subjects are brought up in relation to the bullying Ryan experienced in his childhood and middle school years.

18 Cinema Lane: What Readers Can Look Forward to in 2022

Since 2019, I’ve been posting a beginning of year article to prepare my readers and followers for the new year. I do this out of courtesy for those who have taken the time to read and hear what I have to say. For 2022, I don’t have as many announcements as in previous years. However, these announcements I feel are important enough to share. Like past years, I will first start by revealing my blog’s stats from 2021. I’d also like to thank you for your continued support of 18 Cinema Lane!

<a href="http://<a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/background'>Background vector created by malikadesign – http://www.freepik.com</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="<a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/background'>Background vector created by malikadesign – http://www.freepik.com2022 Sparkler image created by malikadesign at freepik.com

2021

Total Blog Posts: 115

Total followers: 109

Total Comments: 306

Total Likes: 634

Awards: 1

Participated Blogathons: 41

Total Movie Reviews: 278

Total Word on the Street stories: 5

An Important Change to the Gold Sally Awards

2022 marks the fourth year of the Gold Sally Awards, a movie award where my readers and followers choose the winners! When I announced the winners of the third annual event, I said I would start presenting two voting polls at a time. This decision was made in order to move the polls at a smoother pace. For this year’s awards, my new plan will go into full effect! So, when voting season comes around, you’ll be choosing two sets of winners with each poll post.

18 Cinema Lane’s 4th Annual Blogathon

When I wrapped up my Olympic Dreams Blogathon in July, I said I would be hosting another yearly event in 2022. That statement is true, as I still plan on hosting another blogathon. At the time, I hadn’t chosen a theme. But I am happy to say that I have picked one! What it will be is going to be revealed when I officially announce my blogathon this month!

2022’s Buzzwordathon

If you look near the top of my blog’s home page, you will see a tab called ‘Readathons’. But as of 2022, I have only “accomplished” one readathon, which was 2020’s Filmathon. In the few times I have participated in a readathon, I end up not finishing all my books within the readathon time frame. Instead of enjoying the overall experience, I’m left feeling disappointed. So, in order to make up for past “failures”, I have decided to join the 2022 Buzzwordathon! This readathon is a year-long event hosted by Kayla from the Youtube channel, BooksandLala. Each month, participants must read a book based on a pre-chosen word. Throughout 2022, I will write a review for the books I read for this event. This will give me an excuse to keep up with the readathon!

<a href="http://<a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/new-year'>New year vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>&quot; data-type="URL" data-id="<a href='https://www.freepik.com/vectors/new-year'>New year vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com2022 Changing numbers image created by Freepik at freepik.com

Have fun in 2022!

Sally Silverscreen

My Conclusion to the National Read a Book Day Double Feature

For the remaining days of October, I will try my best to “clean house”. This means I will be publishing articles that I’ve been meaning to post for some time. One of these posts is my conclusion to last month’s National Read a Book Day Double Feature! In September, I sought to answer the question, Would these adaptations [of Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford] encourage the viewers to read their source material or any other book? Now that I’ve seen and reviewed both films, I’ve come to the realization how difficult it is to answer this question.

Library image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stack-of-books-on-library-desk_2509490.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/school”>School image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

While reading some of Saint Maybe’s reviews on IMDB, one of them stood out to me. Its title read “Made me want to read the book”. Written by someone named bkgmoonstar, they claim the movie was missing too much detail. After they read the novel, they said “the movie was actually quite faithful to the book”. This review represents the opinion of just one reader. There are many readers who choose to read a given book for various reasons. They also have their own preferences and literary interests.

Interior view of library image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Like readers, there are many movie-goers with their own tastes in cinema. Some of the films of their choosing may be an adaptation. But even if they enjoy an adaptation, it doesn’t mean they’ll reach for the source material. This decision could be made for a variety of reasons. When I asked my aforementioned question in my reviews of Saint Maybe and At Home in Mitford, I wasn’t really able to give a definitive answer. That’s because the only reader I can speak for is myself. Therefore, if I had to answer the question, I think it all depends who you ask.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

If you want to read the other articles associated with this double feature, I’ll provide the links here:

The National Read a Book Day’s Double Feature Introduction

Take 3: Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 1)

Take 3: At Home in Mitford Review (National Read a Book Day Double Feature Part 2)

The National Read a Book Day’s Double Feature Introduction

Back in March, I published my review of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. That post became my 500th. Every time I publish 100 posts, I host a special double feature. For months, I was trying to find the right theme for these reviews. Remembering how my first milestone double feature was published on Halloween, I decided to commemorate another holiday. However, I wanted to choose a holiday that is lesser known. After doing some research on the internet, I learned National Read a Book Day is celebrated on September 6th. This caused me to remember how I not only had the 2017 movie, At Home in Mitford, on my DVR, but I also owned a copy of the book it is based on. Then I remembered I had a copy of Saint Maybe, the same book that was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film. That was when the idea for this double feature was born! With every double feature, I try to answer a thought-provoking question related to both films. Since I read both aforementioned books before watching each movie, I am asking the following question:

Would these adaptations encourage the viewers to read their source material or any other book?

Prior to this double feature, I had never read anything by Jan Karon or Anne Tyler. I also have never seen the Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of Saint Maybe before. But this will be my second time watching At Home in Mitford, as I first saw the film when it released in 2017. Similar to my PB & J double feature, there are no pre-movie thoughts and/or questions this time.

Happy reading place image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Sooner Than Expected

As I mentioned in my season five premiere re-cap, I was looking forward to learning more about Luke and discovering why he is the way he is. Figuring any information about this new character wouldn’t come right away, I expected to wait until it was revealed in an upcoming episode. But in this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Luke shared more about his backstory than I thought he would. Because it is only the third episode of the season, I was surprised by how soon this information came. At the same time, receiving these pieces of the story now is probably for the better. Now that the foundations of Luke’s character are being placed together, we have a starting point of where Luke could go from here. However, we’ll probably have to wait for that to be discovered, as we’re only toward the beginning of the season.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers in this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 3

Name: Are the Stars Out Tonight?

Abby’s story: Abby is having difficulty reaching a new client named Evan Kincaid. He’s interested in building a hotel in Chesapeake Shores, but the soil surrounding underground pipes in contaminated with asbestos. One day, at the O’Brien family home, Mick and Abby discover why they have been struggling to contact Evan. Through a Zoom video call, they learn Evan has been mountain climbing in New Zealand, which means Evan is in a different time zone than Abby and Mick. During this call, Evan reveals he might pull out of the project. But Abby convinces Evan to check out Chesapeake Shores, giving him a sales pitch on why her hometown is, in fact, prime real estate. Later in the episode, Evan arrives at the building site, riding a Hoverboard. He says he arrived early to view the property, saying it reminds him of his home in Ireland. But he’s still not convinced of the project’s reality. While crossing paths with Evan at the mini golf course, Abby explains how the asbestos in the soil can be easily removed in a short amount of time. Evan tells her that if he gets a Birdie, he’ll reconsider. Since he does get a Birdie, he stays true to his promise. Toward the end of the episode, Evan surprises Abby to showing up at the O’Brien family home. He agrees to go through with the hotel project, only if Abby is the lead contractor. Evan says this is a perfect business plan because they not only don’t like each other, but that Abby also tells things like it is.

Mick’s story: While sitting by the outdoor fireplace, Mick learns that Abby offered Thomas their Hampton property as potential office space. He is unhappy to hear this, telling Abby he doesn’t want to risk ruining his relationship with his brother again by working together with him. As Abby reveals, this concern is partly due to Evan’s hotel project and the Dilpher case. Several days later, through a conversation between the brothers, it is revealed that Thomas loves the Hampton property. While talking about a past business project, they become distracted by old photographs. This is because Abby and Megan are searching through photo albums, in an attempt to find pictures for Jess’s wedding. When they come across a photo of a camping trip from 1967, Mick and Thomas reminisce about their camping experiences. This inspires them to take a weekend camping trip, promising to discuss the Hampton propriety during the trip.

Megan’s story: While shopping at a local store, Megan comes across a painting of Chesapeake Shore by an artist named Arthur Driscoll. After discovering the painting’s eight-dollar price tag, Mick, who happens to be shopping with Megan, agrees to buy the painting for her. Megan explains that Arthur was a well-known artist in the ‘60s, but fell off the map in the ‘70s. She also reveals that if the painting was created by Arthur, it could be financially valuable. At the O’Brien family home, Megan continues to inspect the painting, trying to locate a signature. She experiences difficulty contacting Arthur as well. She eventually receives a phone call from the artist, only to have him rudely give his blessing to display the painting anywhere Megan’s heart desires. This doesn’t stop Megan from continuing to contact Arthur. She tells Kevin she has ridden on her bike past the artist’s house. Megan says that she also turned to Nell for any information. Nell told Megan she used to be close with Arthur, but lost touch when his wife died. Several days later, Megan visits Arthur at his home, bringing the painting with her. After unenthusiastically answering the door, he recognizes the painting as one of his own. Arthur also tells Megan she paid too much for it, after Megan reveals she only paid eight dollars for the painting.

Illustrated image of bicycle created by Freepik at freepik.com. Background vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Luke’s story: Luke arrives at The Bridge while Thomas and Mick are having a conversation. Instead of being an interruption, Luke is given the opportunity to be introduced to both men. While Luke is telling Mick about his search for employment, Mick reveals how The Bridge is having electrical and plumbing problems. After volunteering to look at the fuse box, Luke quickly discovers the issue. Mick is not only impressed with Luke’s electrical knowledge, but also agrees to hire him. On his first night at The Bridge, Luke tells Mick he fixed the aforementioned plumbing problems. He also asks Mick for a favor. Luke wants Mick to keep a record of his employment. He reveals that he will give this information to his parole officer. After Luke embarrassedly leaves The Bridge, Mick demands to know what has been going on. Luke shares that, years ago, he dropped out of college after his dad died, in order to take care of his mom. After his mom died, he started to lean more toward alcohol. One night, while consuming a lot of alcohol, Luke got into a bar fight with another patron. This fight not only caused the patron to become seriously injured, but it also caused Luke to get arrested for assault and battery. Even though his original sentence was three years, he got out after two for good behavior. Mick appreciates Luke’s honesty and agrees with work things out with Luke.

Bree’s story: At the University of Maryland, Bree shares one of her lesson plans with Jerome. She tells him her play-writing class will revolve around memoir writing. During this conversation, Bree asks Jerome why he became a professor, after dreaming of becoming a politician in high school. Jerome shares that law school was his original plan. But after reading The Great Gatsby, he fell in love with reading and didn’t look back. Later, in Chesapeake Shores, Bree is struggling to come up with an introduction for her class. After Kevin agrees to hear Bree’s ideas, he suggests she find a way to grab her students’ attention. This causes her to think of a quote from one of her favorite writers, one that revolves around what the writer wants the reader to hear. Kevin’s advice and the aforementioned quote give Bree the confidence she needs for her new job.

Connor’s story: Connor is still working on the unequal pay case that was mentioned in the season five premiere. He, Linda, and Margaret attend the case’s hearing, to determine whether the case will go to trial. When the judge asks Connor if he agrees that men have more physical strength than women, Connor says he agrees. But he also says that women are capable of having emotional strength, using his sisters as an example. At his next hearing appearance, Connor reveals the case’s issue is not necessarily about unequal pay, but unequal employment opportunities. His findings show that women are being denied job offerings for fork-lift operator. As the case goes on, Linda and Margaret are pleased with Connor’s work. One day, at the firm, Connor sees Paul Dilpher and Linda go into her office. Connor later tells Linda that Paul is trying to fight his father in court, which would cause a conflict of interest. Linda assures Connor that as long as he isn’t given information about the case, everything will be fine.

Library image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/stack-of-books-on-library-desk_2509490.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/school”>School image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • In this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Kevin is looking for a swimmer to join his Triathlon team. This Triathlon has been brought up a few times this season, so far. It provides a consistent part of the story, as well as giving the fans something to look forward to. With the introduction of Luke, I wonder if he will join Kevin’s team?  We already know Luke is athletic and he is familiar with the O’Brien family. Since Luke doesn’t have any known family, maybe he will be “adopted” by the O’Briens?
  • As I mentioned in this re-cap, Nell tells Megan she was close with Arthur. When I heard Megan tell Kevin this, it made me wonder if Arthur and Nell will form a relationship? Throughout the course of this series, Nell hasn’t been given many stories of her own. In fact, her presence hasn’t been as consistent as the other members of the O’Brien family. If Nell and Arthur did form a relationship, it would be a win-win for the both of them. Not only would Nell receive a new story, but Arthur could also have the opportunity to grow as a character.
  • During this episode’s credits, there was an announcement about Jess and David’s wedding. It stated that there were two episodes left until the wedding would air on the show. What surprises me is how the wedding is being shown in the middle of the season instead of the season finale. This decision reminds me of how most of the weddings on When Calls the Heart have taken place in the middle of a season.
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you looking forward to seeing Mick and Thomas’s camping trip? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen