the liebster award (august 2022 edition).

After a quick search through my blog’s archives, it seems the last time I participated in this award was August of 2019. So almost exactly two years ago, which is a nice coincidence. This time, the award was passed on to me by Katja of Little Blossoms for Jesus. (Thanks, Katja!)

RULES

  1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award.
  2. List eleven random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the eleven questions given to you.
  4. Tag eleven other bloggers.
  5. Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I usually drink about a gallon of water a day.
  2. I’m nearing 100,000 words in my current Western WIP.
  3. This was the year I started to like Richard Burton. (Before, he was one of my least favorite actors.)
  4. I have seven siblings, all younger than me.
  5. Currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo and it’s already one of my new favorite books.
  6. I prefer writing with gel pens (as opposed to ballpoint pens).
  7. I’ve been showing my eleven-year-old brother different adaptions of Little Women, ever since he fell in love with the 2018 modern retelling. It’s been so much fun!
  8. On that note, I enjoyed the 2019 adaption of LW much more the second time around.
  9. I believe that YouTube Music Premium is superior to Spotify Premium.
  10. I sing alto in my church’s choir.
  11. I’m currently listening to Hans Zimmer’s score for The Lone Ranger. Love it!

KATJA’S QUESTIONS

What’s your favourite cold summer treat?

Cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream from a little shack at the end of a certain beach after swimming all morning. McDonald’s soft serve ice cream and Starbucks’ Iced Brown Sugar Oat Beverage Shaken Espresso are also superior.

What’s one classic you really want to read and haven’t yet?

Dracula, Anna Karenina, and The Phantom of the Opera are all up there on my to-read list.

What are your top ten favourite names?

Luke, Ben, Eric, Atticus, Jonas, Dan, Sean, Wyatt, Edith, Adaline.

What’s one stereotypical summery thing to do that you don’t like doing?

Camping. Just not for me! I’m also not partial to picnicking.

This is your opportunity to rant about your fav book, movie, or TV show—or all three.

Current favorite book: as I mentioned above, it’s The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve been familiar with the 2002 adaption for several years, but I only started to read the book a few months ago. (Yes, months.) As much as the Count himself fascinates me (he’s practically Batman), I still feel so bad when I think back to Edmond’s innocence at the beginning of the book and how that has all disappeared (and under what circumstances). The poor guy!

Current favorite movie: Luca was really, really good. I know I’ve already mentioned it, but it deserves another shout-out.

Current favorite TV show: along with The Mentalist, I’ve started rewatching Lost and it just blows my mind, how good it is. I’m picking up cool little details in the very first episodes that give me such respect for the writers. (They deserve more respect than they get, in my opinion.) And seeing the beginning of Jack’s arc from someone trying to push away responsibility with both hands to someone willing to sacrifice himself for everyone? Gold. Pure gold.

What word(s) do you misspell the most?

Hmmm. I know there are words I regularly misspell, but I can’t think of any at the moment. If any come to to me as I continue writing this post, I’ll add them here.

Where do you take walks to this summer?

I mainly walk around my neighborhood with the family dog, when I walk at all. My little brothers and I did walk to a Little Free Library nearby one day, which was fun (although we didn’t find any good books there).

What music are you listening to on repeat right now?

Nothing on repeat, per se, but I have enjoyed writing to The Lone Ranger soundtrack recently. (And James Horner’s score for Fievel Goes West.)

Is there a book you really wanted to read this year? Have you and if not, WHEN WILL YOU?

See this post for my most anticipated reads of Autumn/Winter 2022!

Tell me about a new outfit you’ve created and loved.

Hmmm. Most days, I either wear scrubs or a denim skirt/t-shirt combo. Unfortunately, I’m not really into creating outfits.

How do you like your hamburgers?

Medium (not charred), w/ cheese, mayo, ketchup, red onions, and a toasted sesame seed bun.

MY QUESTIONS

  1. Describe your favorite notebook.
  2. Last five star read?
  3. Last one star read?
  4. Instrumental or vocal movie soundtracks?
  5. Movie musicals or Broadway musicals?
  6. Favorite animated movie?
  7. Top three favorite fictional characters of all time?
  8. What’s your go-to snack?
  9. What’s your favorite thing about where you live? (House, state, country…)
  10. Top three favorite scents?
  11. Do you own any LEGOs?

I TAG…

Go ahead and play along if you want!

Eva-Joy

the Legends of Western Cinema Week tag.

It’s that time of year again, folks, and I am so excited! Rachel, Heidi, and Olivia are once again hosting the Legends of Western Cinema Week, complete with all sorts of fun festivities as we celebrate our favorite Western films and characters. I’ve got a blog post about Hour of the Gun (1967) planned for later this week, but right now I’ll be answering the tag questions created by our hosts.

1) Favorite western focused on a lone hero?

I love Shane (1953). A quiet stranger defends the lives, freedoms, and peace of a small group of farmers, then leaves as suddenly as he arrived. Shane is the quintessential Western loner—he represents everything I like and admire about the character type.

2) Favorite western focused on a group of compadres?

The Magnificent Seven (1960) is the obvious answer, and it’s certainly my favorite. But Rio Bravo (1959) is worth a mention as well. Four very different guys band together to ensure a murderer is brought to justice. My favorite of those guys is Dude (Dean Martin), but they all have their good points.

3) Favorite western with a female main character?

True Grit (2010)! Mattie is brave, resourceful, and stubborn—one of my favorite female characters in general. The fact that she’s only fourteen makes her daring deeds all the more impressive. A close second on my favorites list would be Cat Ballou (1965). Jane Fonda’s plays Cat, another young woman who hires a grubby gunfighter to avenge her father’s death. Almost a comedy version of True Grit, if you think about it!

4) Favorite western with a POC main character?

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever watched one. Sigh. I’ve started one: The Magnificent Seven (2016), which I should really give another chance. (It bored me, so I gave up. I think I’d like it better now though.) Any other recs for POC-led Westerns?

5) Favorite western with kids in it?

Does Old Yeller (1957) count as a Western? I think so! Anyway, that’s my pick. If I can manage to type through my tears, that is… 😉

6) Favorite western set somewhere other than the United States?

You know, I thought that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) might have been set in Mexico—but nope. It takes place in New Mexico. So I’m going with Hidalgo (2004), because sometimes The Vibes are more important than The Decade In Which the Film Is Set.

7) Favorite “western” that doesn’t fit the genre’s dictionary definition?

THE MANDALORIAN. Impeccable Old West energy. Din sounds like a young Clint Eastwood and it’s delightful. He also protects the weak, has a fast draw, and tames a blurrg. What more do you want in a cowboy???

(If you’d like a more in-depth look at TheMandalorian-as-a-Western, check out ‘The Mandalorian: Cowboys in Outer Space‘, an article written by our very own host Rachel!)

8) Favorite funny western?

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) because I LOVE JAMES GARNER.

(I just rewatched Hour of the Gun last night, so I’m a bit hyper when it comes to JG. Apologies extended. XD)

Seriously though, Support Your Local Sheriff is an absolutely hilarious Western. Jason McCullough (James Garner) arrives in the town of Calendar, CO and is almost immediately elected sheriff of the brawling town. Jason cleans up the town, falls in love with the mayor’s daughter, and faces off against the dastardly Danby family. Such a fun film—I can’t recommend it highly enough for fans of Westerns!

9) Favorite tragic/sad western?

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) is steeped in sadness from its very first scene.

Like…the cactus rose. CAN YOU NOT, JOHN FORD?

10) Favorite western TV show?

Wanted: Dead or Alive, starring Steve McQueen, has been my favorite for several years now. Each episode is short (less than a half hour), but many of them pack a narrative punch unmatched by some longer and more well-known shows. I also love F Troop and I think I’d love Maverick if I watched more of it. Oh, and there’s Bonanza and Rawhide of course! But Wanted remains my favorite. ❤

this is one of the funniest production stills
I’ve ever seen.

What are some of your favorite Westerns? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

the honestea tag.

The time has come for me to bare my soul in this tag of brutal honesty. XD

Let it begin!

THE RULES

  • No lies allowed. If an answer is too shameful to expose you may substitute the answer with a gif/image of someone drinking tea.
  • There are optional bonus additions to questions but these are not for the faint of heart.
  • You complete the tag having answered every question + the bonus additions (no gifs used), you are dubbed a certified tea chugger, and you deserve a badge to show the world that you are not afraid of a steaming hot cup of TRUTH.
  • Tag at least one other person (a tea party with just one is not very fun. trust me.) Untagged persons are more than welcome to fill it out as well (nothing cooler than crashing a tea party).

THE TAG

What is a ‘bad’ (generally disliked) movie that you actually love?

I know that many people love Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man now, but I think that his solo movies (particularly the second one) still get a bad rap. So I’ll just say it: I love The Amazing Spider-Man. And I like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 more than I dislike it. I do wish Harry had been the main/only villain, but oh well.

What is your most shocking reading habit?

This isn’t a habit, since I don’t personally do it, but I really see nothing wrong with dog-earing pages.

Tell us the number one lie you write in your posts.

I try not to lie in any of my posts. On occasion, I will hype up a book or movie a tiny bit more than I really feel like doing. (As in, I may have felt a bit more meh about a book than I let on in the review.) But I do really try to be honest with my reviews! Especially since I’ve been gypped by gushing reviews. (Don’t get me started…)

Tell us the worst character name you’ve ever thought up. {Bonus: share a character name you find ridiculous in a book/movie.}

I’m sure there are bad character names I’ve come up with, but I’m drawing a blank.

Okay, okay.

I wrote a western once upon a time where the main character’s name was ‘Edward Smythers.’ Not the worst, but what is that last name??

As for another author’s character name that I find ridiculous, Charles Dickens has a lot. But they’re meant to be ridiculous, so I doubt that counts.

What is the real reason you procrastinate writing your work in progress?

Laziness. And probably some fear of failing to write perfectly.

What is a genre of music you secretly love?

I don’t know about genre per se, but I’ve enjoyed songs from ABBA despite not listening to their music/that genre in general.

If you’re a plotter, what do you really think of pansters? If you’re a panster, what do you really think of plotters?

I’m a hardcore plotter. I don’t understand pantsers at all. But if it works for them, who am I to say nay?

Share at least three lines of dialogue from one of your first writing projects. {Bonus: give us the good stuff. your most gruesome butchering of the English language.}

From an extremely juvenile horse story I wrote a decade or so ago:

“This horse is pretty bad-looking,” Mrs. Smith was talking. “But if anyone can pull him through, you can Mr. Hardy.”

“Well Mrs. Smith, we’ll do our best.”

“Do you want to keep the horse once we’re finished with him?” Burt asked.

“Do you think he’ll be any good as a saddle horse?” Mrs. Smith queried.

“I think there’s a fine horse under all this dirt, and I’m determined to get that horse out. Just leave it to us.”

” ‘Us’, what do you mean ‘us’? I thought it was a one man operation here.” said Mrs. Smith.

“No, I do the actual training and that, but my daughter brushes and talks to the horse, winning his trust you know, and my wife is kind of the treasurer of these stables.”

Oof.

Tell us the title & artist of the last song you listened to.

Rubber Ball‘ by Bobby Vee.

Which beloved book/movie character do you dislike & why?

Samwise Gamgee.

But before you unfollow me, let me explain!!!

Although I do dislike Sam more than I probably should, I also recognize how wonderfully self-sacrificing and loyal he is. (And please note that ‘dislike’ does not equal ‘hate.’)

My dislike of Sam stems from a couple things. I resent him because he gets all (or most) of the praise from the fandom, and Frodo (my favorite!) is generally and unfairly overlooked. I recognize this is quite petty. XD But my second reason? Sam is actually horrid to Gollum time and time again. He undoes all the work Frodo has done with/for Gollum in trying to bring Gollum back to the side of goodness.

Now of course there are extenuating circumstances. They’re in dangerous territory, Gollum really is quite a fiend, and Sam feels a big responsibility to protect Frodo from any danger. All well and good. But Sam antagonizes Gollum a LOT when he could have just held his tongue and followed Frodo’s example of mercy and kindness. He didn’t though. And the fandom all but ignores that side of Sam, which really bugs me.

Anyway, just take a look at what Tolkien said in Letter #246!

Sam is meant to be lovable and laughable. Some readers he irritates and even infuriates. I can well understand it. All hobbits at times affect me in the same way, though I remain very fond of them. But Sam can be very ‘trying’…If he had understood better what was going on between Frodo and Gollum, things might have turned out differently in the end.

For me perhaps the most tragic moment in the Tale comes in II 323 ff. when Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum’s tone and aspect. ‘Nothing, nothing’, said Gollum softly. ‘Nice master!’. His repentance is blighted and all Frodo’s pity is (in a sense) wasted. Shelob’s lair became inevitable.”

If no one agrees with me, it’s okay. Tolkien would have. =)

Tell us the title & topic of a post you have left in draft.

‘The Christian Themes of A Quiet Place

Will it ever see the light of day? Who knows!

What is a book you pretend you’ve read/would like to read but know you never will? {Bonus: share a time when claiming you’ve read a classic/well-known book didn’t end well}

I don’t pretend to have read books. (At least not anymore.) There’s no shame in not having read a book!

Tell us the title & topic of the most embarrassing post you’ve ever written. {Bonus: include. the. link.}

Too many to choose from, hehe.

I TAG…

I’m not going to specifically tag anyone. It’s open to anyone who’d like to answer these questions, as indicated in the tag rules, and I’ve included a ‘clean’ copy of the questions below, for your convenience. 🙂

What is a ‘bad’ (generally disliked) movie that you actually love?

What is your most shocking reading habit?

Tell us the number one lie you write in your posts.

Tell us the worst character name you’ve ever thought up. {Bonus: share a character name you find ridiculous in a book/movie.}

What is the real reason you procrastinate writing your work in progress?

What is a genre of music you secretly love?

If you’re a plotter, what do you really think of pansters? If you’re a panster, what do you really think of plotters?

Share at least three lines of dialogue from one of your first writing projects. {Bonus: give us the good stuff. your most gruesome butchering of the English language.}

Tell us the title & artist of the last song you listened to.

Which beloved book/movie character do you dislike & why?

Tell us the title & topic of a post you have left in draft.

What is a book you pretend you’ve read/would like to read but know you never will? {Bonus: share a time when claiming you’ve read a classic/well-known book didn’t end well}

Tell us the title & topic of the most embarrassing post you’ve ever written. {Bonus: include. the. link.}


What’s a genre of music do you secretly love? A movie you adore that critics despised? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

the mid-year book freak-out tag (2022 edition).

I’ve read so many good books during the first half of the year, and I’m really excited to talk about some of them in today’s post. So let’s get right into it!

Best book you’ve read so far:

In the Glorious Fields, the conclusion to the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy by Emily Hayse. This was my most anticipated release of 2022 and I’m extremely happy with how Emily concluded the series. Even though I’m heartbroken as well. 😉

Best sequel you’ve read so far:

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde was lots and lots of fun! I got so attached to the characters that I had to Google spoilers to make sure things turned out all right for them.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray looks fascinating, as it brings together characters from several different Jane Austen novels. I’ve got it on hold at the library, but there’s a long wait list. Sigh.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

My Rock and My Refuge by Rachel Kovaciny, the next installment in her Once Upon a Western series. This one is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and a beautiful story in its own right.

Biggest disappointment:

This is always my least favorite question. 😦

There were a few self-published books that didn’t meet my expectations. And In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh was…a trial. However, I’m happy to say that I’ve read more hits than misses so far this year.

Biggest surprise:

The Great Gatsby really grabbed me! The Master Craftsman had a twist I never saw coming. And Captain Absolutely (from Focus on the Family/Adventures in Odyssey) was charming and cool, a great comic book parody.

Favorite new author:

Jenni Sauer’s unique fairytale retellings have captured my heart. ❤

Newest fictional crush and ship:

My newest fictional crush is, without a doubt, Carrigan Gibbs from Jenni Sauer’s Evraft series. He snuck up on me in Rook di Goo, and by the time I’d finished Yesterday or Long Ago he was by far my favorite character in the series. Just thinking about him makes my heart beat a little faster! If that’s not the definition of a crush, I don’t know what is.

As for a favorite ship…Thursday and Landen from Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series are pretty perfect together.

Newest favorite character:

So, Gibbs definitely. But I also love Robert Bliss from Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes.

Book that made you cry:

Several books have made me at least tear up this year. But there are two that have made me weep. And they are In the Glorious Fields and Whose Waves These Are. So. Many. Tears.

(Nadine Brandes’ Wishtress was also a real tearjerker.)

Book that made you happy:

Reilly’s Luck by Louis L’Amour was a delight.

Favorite book-to-film adaption you saw so far this year:

Of new-to-me films, Little Men (1998) surprised me with its charm and accuracy to the book.

Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far:

I had a LOT of fun writing my ‘defending Mr. Rochester’ post and I’m really, really happy with how it turned out.

Books you need to read by the end of the year:

My Rock and My Refuge, The Count of Monte Cristo, and potentially The Wonderland Trials by Sara Ella.


What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Any 2022 releases you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

the Jolly Genre Jubilee Tag.

I found this tag over on Christine Smith’s blog. I’ve seen it a few places before, but Christine tagged anyone who wanted to play along (thanks, Christine <3). So here I am!

THE RULES

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you, and leave a link back to their blog.
  • Leave a link back to the creator of the tag.
  • Answer the questions honestly, and include at least one (1) gif of a pelican >> it’s in the rules, folks. you have to do it.
  • Tag 3+ friends to do the tag on their own blogs! >> and make sure to give them cookies. because that’s always fun.

THE TAG

What is your favorite genre of fiction to write?

Westerns! I’ve exclusively written westerns for the last several months (excepting a few pieces of flash fiction for Havok) and it’s been wonderful. The aesthetic, admirable characters, and endless opportunities for adventures and heroism and gunfights…it stirs the blood, doesn’t it?

What genre would you NEVER get caught writing? . . .EVER.

Um…erotica? 😛 I’m pretty open to most every genre besides that. (Well, I’m not into horror either. Though I have had the sparks of an idea for a faith-infused zombie novel.)

What fictional genre feels most like home to you?

Westerns, without a doubt. When I began writing The Shoot-Out That Wasn’t in October 2021, I hadn’t written anything in the western genre for some time. But writing Shoot-Out (and then the beginnings of a sequel) truly felt like a homecoming. And I hope to write many more westerns in the years to come.

If you could transform your real life into any genre of your choosing, which would it be?

This is somewhat embarrassing, but…contemporary romance. 😉

What genre does your real life most resemble at the moment?

Family drama. Or literary fiction. Really, I don’t even know the right word for the genre I’m thinking of.

What’s a genre you’re interested in writing, even though you’ve never written it before?

I’ve written in almost all the ‘main’ genres, but I wouldn’t mind experimenting with the zombie novel I mentioned earlier. I think it would be interesting to see a concept like zombies explored from a Christian perspective. Seeing how the different characters held on to or abandoned their faith during the outbreak, that sort of thing. I’m intrigued!

What genre is your most recent plot bunny, and where did it come from?

Most recent? Sci-fi, inspired by watching Star Wars + working as a janitor. Hoping to have the story accepted by Havok! Then you can all read it. ❤

How many genres have you written thus far in your writing journey?

There is no way I’m going to remember all the genres I’ve worked with! But here goes: Regency romance, contemporary romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, western, dystopian, fanfiction, adventure, WWII fiction, fairytale retellings…and I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting. I definitely like stretching myself as a writer and exploring different story worlds and genres.

THE QUESTIONS

What is your favorite genre of fiction to write?

What genre would you NEVER get caught writing? . . .EVER.

What fictional genre feels most like home to you?

If you could transform your real life into any genre of your choosing, which would it be?

What genre does your real life most resemble at the moment?

What’s a genre you’re interested in writing, even though you’ve never written it before?

What genre is your most recent plot bunny, and where did it come from?

How many genres have you written thus far in your writing journey?

THE TAGEES

Literally anyone who wants to do this. It’s late and I’m tired, hehe.


Did I mention any of your favorite genres in this post? What are some genres you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments!

byyyyye.

Eva-Joy

the Fandom Favorites Tag!

Yes, I have indeed created a new tag to add to the plethora of tags already circling the blogosphere. Don’t @ me. It’ll be fun! (I hope. XD)

THE RULES

  • Compile a list of up to ten of your favorite fandoms. Books, movies, TV shows—you name it!
  • Tell us about your favorite character in each of those fandoms, along with an explanation of why that character is your favorite. (Your reasoning can be however long or short you’d like it to be.)
  • Tag however many (or few) friends you’d like to participate.
  • Feel free to use the tag graphic I created (but you don’t have to).
  • That’s it. Short and sweet!

MY TAG ANSWERS

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ever since I first watched A New Hope with my dad years and years ago, Obi-Wan was the character who most intrigued me. A lot of time passed before I saw another Star Wars movie, but my fascination with Obi-Wan never changed. He has gone through so much, lost so much, yet never stops following what is right. Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan is my favorite iteration of the character, though I really do love any and all versions of Obi-Wan.

Marvel: Thor Odinson

Thor was never on my radar until the triple-punch of Ragnorak, Infinity War, and Endgame. Now, I realize that he was always awesome. Gentle and strong, brave and courteous. *happy sigh*

Pixar: Héctor Rivera

So, my favorite Pixar character for the longest time was Lightning McQueen. (Still love him so much, in all three films.) You probably have no idea, but it is extremely painful for me to admit that I have switched favorites for any fandom. But…that’s what happened here. Héctor is now my favorite Pixar character, for a bunch of reasons. He is very special to me! (As silly as it may sound to say that about an animated skeleton.)

Lost: Jack Shephard

I AM VINDICATED. For six seasons, I followed Jack Shepherd all over the island, off the island, and back to the island. I wanted to like him. I wanted him to be my favorite character—not least because he was a doctor and medical characters are what I love. But I’d get to the point of really, really liking Jack…and then he’d do something stupid and annoying. I didn’t have a favorite character on the show until pretty much the last episode. That drove me crazy, not going to lie. But in the last couple episodes of Lost? Jack came through. He really did. (All the feels!) And now he is solidly, happily my favorite character on the show.

The Lunar Chronicles: Jacin Clay

Stiff palace guard who melts around his beloved princess? Yes, please!

Combat!: Doc

Remember what I said about liking medical characters? Yeah, Doc (Conlan Carter, not Steven Rogers) might have been what started that. He is gentle and compassionate and brave. Everything a good medic should be. When I started watching Combat!, Doc very quickly became my favorite character on the show—and so he has remained.

X-Men: Erik Lehnsherr

The only villain on this list, and one of my top three favorite villains of all time. Tragic backstory? Check. Cool leitmotif and costume? Check. Played by Michael Fassbender? CHECK.

Star Trek: Spock/McCoy

Let me explain! In the original series and the original feature films, Spock is my favorite Star Trek character. As much as I love both Jim and McCoy, no one can beat Leonard Nimoy. But in the Kelvin Timeline films? Karl Urban as McCoy is my fave. (Yes, I know Leonard Nimoy’s Spock makes an appearance in those films. But…hush. XD) McCoy always makes me laugh—and he’s such a good guy to have when you’re in a tight spot (as Spock learns).

Disney: Robin Hood

My childhood hero. My adulthood hero too. When he says “Keep your chin up. Someday there will be happiness in Nottingham again. You’ll see.” I FEEL THAT. *sniffles* And he all but sacrifices himself to save Skippy’s sister. And he defies Prince John even when he’s captured. I just love Robin Hood. And speaking of him…

BBC Robin Hood: I CAN’T DECIDE

I really can’t. Robin. Marian. Allan. Much. Will. Guy. Carter. Littlejohn. Djaq. Don’t make me choose!

(But probably Robin. Tbh.)

THE TAGEES

Hamlette’s Soliloquy

Little Blossoms for Jesus

I Am Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read)

And anyone else who wants to join in the fun!


Did you spot any favorite fandoms or characters on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

some ramblings about Friendly Persuasion (1956).

This blog post is a result of the ‘Pick My Movie Tag’ (more details later). Rachel tagged me to write about a movie (or movies) that I’ve changed my mind about somehow. That was actually a bit of a challenge; I don’t tend to change my mind about movies a whole lot. Either I like a movie enough to rewatch it and solidify my liking, or I don’t like it and don’t rewatch it. However, there were a few movies I didn’t like as a child, movies I’ve since come to enjoy. And Friendly Persuasion is one of them.

Why I didn’t like Friendly Persuasion at first:

Sad, but true. (source)

My siblings and I were homeschooled—my mom taught us most subjects, but she left classic lit to my grandma. One of the books Grandma had us read was Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There is a chapter in Farmer Boy where the Wilder family goes to the county fair and Almanzo watches a man play the old pea-under-the-shell game—just like that scene in Friendly Persuasion.

Well, thanks to both those scenes, my grandma made whoever was studying Farmer Boy that year watch Friendly Persuasion. Since Friendly Persuasion became a movie we were forced to watch, I decided that I didn’t/wouldn’t like it. (Kinda like how I did not enjoy Silas Marner.) In fact, I don’t think I watched the whole thing all the way through until 2015—or, at least, not willingly.

Why I changed my mind:

Um…it’s actually a good movie? XD I just had to gain a little maturity and see the whole thing all the way through (without being forced to).

(And by ‘a little maturity’, I mean just that. I recently reread my old review of Friendly Persuasion, written seven years ago, and let’s just say I was cringy back then. Still am, I’m sure, but…yeesh. And no, I’m not linking to the review; use the search bar at your own peril. Hehe.)

What I love most about the film now:

*cough*AnthonyPerkins*cough*

(Don’t mind me. He’s just my favorite at the moment.)

In all seriousness, Anthony Perkins does a great job portraying Josh Birdwell, a young man torn between his family’s pacifist beliefs and his need to fight for what he believes. That internal struggle is portrayed so well by Perkins. The scene where Josh actually does fight, shooting at Confederate soldiers? It’s painful to watch—but in a good way. The mix of revulsion and anguish and determination on Josh’s face and in his movements is some fantastic acting from Anthony Perkins.

There are other elements of Friendly Persuasion I love as well. In the hands of a less-skilled actress (or a poorly written script), Eliza Birdwell (Dorothy McGuire) would have come across as an annoying, puritanical stick-in-the-mud. But I love Eliza! She and her husband Jess are that marvelous rarity in fiction—the happy, middle-aged, married couple. Dorothy McGuire and Gary Cooper have such wonderful chemistry. It’s a joy to watch them play off each other. ❤

I’m not always a fan of Dimitri Tiomkin’s scores (they can be heavy-handed and even annoying with their constant, sentimental presence), but I do enjoy the work Tiomkin did on Friendly Persuasion—particularly ‘Polka at the Fair.’ (And I will also say that I prefer Anthony Perkins’ version of the theme song to Pat Boone’s.)

I also appreciate how the different perspectives in Friendly Persuasion are presented. Both viewpoints—pacifism and the necessity of fighting to defend one’s home and freedom—are given screen time, script time, and a sympathetic portrayal. The film doesn’t villainize either side to drive home a particular message. I mean, you don’t have to look any farther than the absolutely heart-wrenching conversations between Josh and his mother to see that. Josh loves his mom and Eliza loves her son. Because of that love, they both try to convince the other that their beliefs are right. It’s handled in such a moving, powerful way.

There is a good blend of comedy and tragedy, joy and sorrow in Friendly Persuasion. If you’re looking for a clean, heartwarming family movie, I can’t recommend it highly enough!


Tag rules:

  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog. (Thank you, Rachel!)
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Or both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

I’m tagging Jillian over at The Classic Film Connection to write about a favorite movie from her childhood. And if anyone of want to do the same, consider yourself tagged!


Have you watched Friendly Persuasion? Did you like it? Do you share my enthusiasm for Anthony Perkins? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

the single line story challenge.

Katja at Little Blossoms for Jesus tagged me in the Single Line Story Challenge a while back and I’m finally getting around to participating. Thanks for the tag, Katja! I’m excited to dive into this.

THE RULES

Thank the person who nominated you.

Write five single line stories that fall under any of these genres:

fantasy
romance
thriller
mystery
western
contemporary
historical
drama
dystopian
adventure
sci-fi
paranormal
young adult

You can choose the five genres that are easiest for you, or you can challenge yourself to try something new!

Nominate five blogger/writers who you’d love to see participate and leave an open nomination for all writers!

You can do this challenge more than once.


Fantasy

Deep in the secret forest lived a people forgotten to all but themselves, and so they would always remain.

Mystery

The solution to the Detective Killer case had been clear all along, but Detective Casada had dragged out the proceedings as long as he could—no matter how deserved, it is always hard to give one’s best friend up to the cold hands of justice.

Historical

It wasn’t until the end of that day that I realized I’d lost my helmet somewhere back on Omaha beach—and I was sure glad that was all I’d lost.

Sci-Fi

Astronaut McCain watched the oxygen levels in the ship drop and asked herself why—if she had to die in space—it couldn’t at least have been in a cool way, like getting sucked into a black hole or being discovered and killed by an alien life form.

Western

The Travis gang held up the bank Friday afternoon, and Sheriff Morrison decided that retirement could wait one more day.


I have to leave for work soon, so I’m not going to take the time to tag anyone specifically. But if you want to participate, go for it! And I’d love to hear what you thought of my little stories. (I tried to make them as self-contained as possible. And the western is my favorite. Because…westerns. It’s also one of the most satisfying of the stories, in my opinion.)

Eva-Joy

the ‘We Love Detectives Week’ tag.

Hamlette is once again hosting her ‘We love…’ week over at Hamlette’s Soliloquy, and this year’s theme is ‘Detectives’. You can check out the link-up post here! Along with all the other festivities, Hamlette has also created a fun tag for blog party participants to fill out. I have at least one other blog post that I’m planning to contribute to the party, but for now, here are my answers to the tag!

What’s your favorite mystery with…

…a historical setting?

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is a breathtakingly beautiful murder mystery set in the 1930’s. Although I already knew the solution, having seen the 70’s adaption, I was still gripped by the cast, The Aesthetic, and Kenneth Branagh’s marvelous direction. Definitely on my rewatch list!

…a modern setting?

Knives Out (2019) is one of my favorite modern mysteries. So twisty (and twisted), with a great cast (Daniel Craig!!!) and a hugely sympathetic heroine.

…a lone detective?

In The Big Heat (1953), Detective Dave Bannion is forced to go it alone as he investigates the corruption in his city. There are actually a few different mysteries I know where the hero or heroine has to strike out on their own to discover the truth and see that justice is done. I love that type of story!

…a pair of sleuths?

Without a doubt, The Lady Vanishes (1938). Iris and Gilbert are the perfect amateur detective duo as they hunt for the missing Miss Froy.

…a professional/police detective?

Laura (1944) starts off as a murder mystery and, while it continues to be a murder mystery throughout, the identity of the victim ‘changes’. Sounds intriguing, yes? And at the center of all the craziness is Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews). I’ll be talking a bit more about Mark later on this week, but I’ll just that he’s one of my very favorite fictional detectives.

…an amateur detective?

The Cherry Ames series contains several good mysteries. And Cherry herself is a brick. ❤

…a young sleuth?

The Mysterious Visitor, a Trixie Belden book. Really, I’m a fan of the whole series (the first several books, anyway), but this particular book—all about the sudden appearance of Di’s long-lost uncle—is one of my favorites. Trixie is such a great character, and she really shines in The Mysterious Visitor.

…an aging detective?

Mr. Holmes (2015) is well worth watching. I mean, how could it not be, when you’ve got an actor as great as Ian McKellen portraying a detective as iconic as Sherlock Holmes?

…a cozy feel?

Gotta mention Murder, She Wrote! A writer who solves mysteries on the side? How cool is that??? Murder, She Wrote is a series that I watched with my grandparents, growing up. The theme music alone gives me such nostalgic vibes.

…a shocking reveal?

Well, I just watched Witness for the Prosecution (1957) last night, and that had a shocking reveal…or two…or three, at the end. ‘Twas great.


Are you familiar with any of the movies or books that I’ve mentioned here? What are some of your favorite mysteries stories?

Eva-Joy

the Smashing & Dashing Character Awards—2021 edition.

It’s that time of year again, folks! Time to fangirl over a bunch of different fictional characters, through means of giving out the awards created by C.G. Drews. Although I haven’t read a ton of books this year, I did meet soooo many AMAZING characters. Mainly because 2021 was the year I fell in love with all things Tolkien. I could easily fill out this entire tag with only Tolkien characters, but I will restrain myself. 😉 (Especially since there are other characters I do want to highlight.) With all that being said, let’s get into the tag!

Most Relatable Character

Éowyn. Of course. Honestly, I’ve never related to a fictional character more than I relate to her—for a variety of reasons! Her hopeless crush on an amazing guy (don’t worry, I’ve moved on from my own ‘Aragorn’ *wink*), her relationship with Théoden, her love for Faramir…yes, yes, and yes!

Most Pure Animal Companion

BILL THE PONY MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS. Usually I don’t care about that much about animal characters in books, but Bill is different. Bill is the unofficial tenth member of the Fellowship. Bill and Sam are bffs. Bill gets his own character arc. He’s one of the (mostly) unsung heroes of LOTR!

Fiercest Fighter

This award goes jointly to Alan Swift and Rosamund Lacey-Scott in These War-Torn Hands (by Emily Hayse). Their trek across the Western Territory desert and all the challenges they face as they do so won my admiration, respect, and love. Runners-up would be Aragorn, Éomer, and the main trio in The Goblin and the Dancer by Allison Tebo.

Am Surprised That I Loved You??

Paul from The Goblin and the Dancer, one hundred percent. I went into the story thinking that I’d like him (despite knowing his character was awful at first). Then I hated him. But by the end of the story, after seeing him change and grow and overcome so much, I loved him. The fact that Allison Tebo was able to make me go through the whoooooole spectrum of emotions when it came to Paul just shows how good of a writer she is!

Best Sassmaster

Peregrin Took. Of course he’s an idiot/comic relief in the film trilogy, but he really gets some of the funniest and wittiest zingers in the book. Sassy British humor at its finest!

Best Antihero

Probably Grik from The Goblin and the Dancer? (To be honest, I had a difficult time coming up with an answer to this because I’m not entirely sure what constitutes an antihero.) Grik does a pretty awful thing near the beginning of the book and then spends the rest of the story hiding what he’s done while also trying to make amends. So I guess that’s pretty antihero-ish! There’s also a couple western characters (Jack Selby from These War-Torn Hands and Shane from Shane) who aren’t traditional hero types, but who are amazing nonetheless. Perhaps they count as well!

The Best Friends Of All

The fellowship of the ring!!! I love each of them separately, but as a group they are a million times more awesome. It’s incredibly sad (to me) that they are only a whole, complete fellowship from Rivendell to Moria. After that, they’re never all back together–but the remaining members ‘hold true to each other’ and, so, the fellowship endures even in fractured form. They are eternally bound by friendship, as Frodo says near the end of the ROTK movie, and I LOVE IT.

Best Villain To HATE

Morgoth (The Silmarillion) is utterly horrible. I loathe him. Runners-up are Maria Pike (Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy), Sauron (LOTR), and Innes (Seventh City).

Award For Best vs Worst YA Parents

(I hardly ever read YA these days, so I’m tweaking this award a bit.)

BEST: Um, wow, apparently there aren’t a lot of parents (good or bad) in the fifty-something books I read this year! So while I’m choosing to fill most of these categories with new-to-me-in-2021 fictional characters, I’m going to go with an old standby for this one: Joe and Marian Starrett (Shane). Great parents, great spouses, and great friends to Shane. ❤

WORST: Denethor, steward of Gondor. It’s not even a contest. (Okay, Fëanor was a pretty bad dad as well. But at least he never tried to burn one of his sons alive.)

Ship Of All Ships In 2021

Faramir and Éowyn! Although their romance gets only a chapter or so in LOTR, the section of the book in which Faramir helps Éowyn heal and, finally, wins her heart is beautiful. I also very much ship the main couple in Rachel Kovaciny’s newest Once Upon a Western novel (as yet unpublished–I was a beta reader!), as well as Archer/Rosamund and Raymond/Irene (the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy).

Most Precious, Must Be Protected

There are a lot of characters who could fit this category. I’m going to go with Frodo. He’s my favorite LOTR character and he really did not deserve to go through all that he went through. Give him a shock blanket and some hot cocoa! Instead of a sprightly ‘there and back again’ adventure in which he was always the ingenious hero, his health and life and spirit were all wrecked by the burden of the ring (he still was very much a hero, just not in the same way as Bilbo). Feel free to check out this post for more of my thoughts on Frodo. ❤

Honestly Surprised You’re Still Alive

Again…SO MANY OPTIONS. Maybe Aragorn? The guy has done so much fighting against some of the very worst that Middle-earth has to offer (the Nazgûl, anyone?), and he’s been in the thick of things for way longer than most humans in Middle-earth on account of his Dúnedain heritage. Kind of a wonder he survived to become king of Gondor. O.o

Award For Making The Worst Decisions

I created an OC this year that makes several extremely idiotic decisions in the course of his story, decisions that are all-around bad for both him and his family. (Hoping to share more about the story in the future when I can be less vague lol.) Anyway, yeah, he definitely gets the award. (Even if it’s my own story.)

Most In Need Of A Nap

MY PRECIOUS ARCHER SCOTT. (These War-Torn Hands) The guy is SO tired and trying to do his very best for the Western Territory and he’s the King Arthur of the retelling and I’m hoping his story ends well, but…it very well may not. JUST LET HIM HAVE PEACE AND SAFETY, PLEASE. (He also belongs in the ‘surprised you’re still alive’ category btw.)

Want To Read More About You

The main cast of the Knights of Tin and Lead trilogy (minus the villains)! (And Drucker from Seventh City, though I doubt that’ll happen.) Let’s just say I love Emily Hayse’s characters and leave it at that. =)


Well, those are my answers! Who are some amazing fictional characters you met this year? I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments!

Eva-Joy

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