Tuesday, January 12, 2021

What We've Watched - 2020

I forgot a bunch!  So, just to round out 2020, here we go.

Let's see...

I watched Enola Holmes on Netflix which I found adorable, and I don't care if they changed up character types (someone said they softened Sherlock too much, but it's just an interpretation - chill out, people).  

Sing On was a mediocre reality show on Netflix which was not good.  I don't watch reality shows so maybe some people may find it better than I did, but it was just too fake and bright and shiny for me.  I didn't care about the contestants at all though I do like Titus Burgess, the host.

I watched Emily in Paris on Netflix which I didn't love, but then I ended up liking it by the end.  I do not like love triangles, and they skirted the issue of cheating, but it was still fine.  It's the clothes for me.  It was all so pretty.  

I caught Cats on HBO Max which wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.  I mean, I should state that I already love Cats.  I've seen the play three times (maybe 4) on Broadway.  I had the DVD.  I think the "big names" were the weakest but not horrible.  I think the CGI was a little weird.  However, I liked the additions of, you know, a plot.  I loved Skimbleshanks which is my favorite cat and what they did with Mr. Mistophelees.  It was a perfectly fine couch movie to watch while I played games on my phone.

For Sunday Family Movie, the family watched the animated Mulan on Disney+.  I watched it back in the day, but the kids (and Husband) hadn't watched before.  Everyone liked it, but I don't think it was anybody's favorite.  No one has a big drive to see the live-action movie.  It's definitely got mixed reviews from those I know who have watched it.  I'll give in eventually, but I'm not there yet.

Lastly, I watched Family Baking Championship on Netflix.  I loved the first season, but the second season mixed things up, and I didn't love that.  There was a definite advantage of being ethnic.  I think the strong flavors and generations cooking together played strong with the winning families.  It made me want to eat some of the food, though.  I guess it kind of got us a little into baking at the time, too.  I just feel like we got to learn more about the families in the first season, and I liked the judges more.  I still stuck with it so I guess that says something.

I did a lot of streaming services in the Fall.  It was hard to keep up.  Honorable mention is that I started to watch Fargo and The Big Bang Theory (which I went from Season 3 to Season 11 in the last month - not sure if I'm proud of ashamed of this).  I need to get back into reading.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Movies We're Watching - Wonder Woman 1984


On Christmas, the family watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max.   I know it got some bad press, and I'm not saying the objections were wrong, but we liked it.  Maybe our expectations were lower because we had just opened a ton of presents and just finished a really tasty dinner, but it was entertaining.  We had the added benefit of seeing some familiar sights and sites, too.  

Basically, a wishing stone  appeared at the Smithsonian where Diana was working, and you know, people made wishes.  This is how Steve showed up again if you were wondering.  I liked the monkey's paw aspect of the plot where there was a dark side to every wish.  Things got a little crowded with the dual villains and there was a lot of build up and setting the stage.  We can't say it was an utter waste of time.  It made for a solid family movie during a time where we desperately need something to do as a family.

On to 2021!

What We're Watching - Bridgerton


I'm sure you know Netflix has a show called Bridgerton out.  It's based on Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series.  This season is based on The Duke and I - which I read but kind of don't remember.  Anthony's book was my favorite, but Colin and Penelope were my favorite characters (I was just disappointed in their actual book).  ANYWAY, it's a solid adaptation which only a few changes and none of them really bothered me. 

Simon is the very new Duke of Hastings and all the mamas want their girls to catch a duke.  Daphne was just released into Society and yet has no suitors except for a toad of a man.  So, they decide to court.  The sharks would leave Simon alone if he was with someone and Daphne would be more desirable after a duke was chasing her.  There is some boxing, pettiness, a prince, a duel, and a happily ever after.  And a whole lot of sex.  So, you know, don't watch this one with the kids.  Or maybe you do, maybe your kids are older and you parent differently.  I'm not judging.  

The show is beautiful and entertaining, and it made me want to reread the book.

Books We've Read - How to Catch a Queen


I kept my Alyssa Cole streak up with How to Catch a Queen.  This is a spin-off from the Reluctant Royals series, but it starts a new series, Runaway Royals.  Sanyu and Shanti start the series (and their appearance in A Prince on Paper) married.  They're strained for many reasons - death of a parent, political climate, pressures of running a country (or rebelling against a monarchy).  You know, typical marital issues...  

I thought this book was super unique, and I felt for Sanyu.  I mean, he was kind of a jerk, but it was interesting to learn his point of view and where he was coming from.  Ugh, Daddy issues, they're the worst.  

What I love about Alyssa Cole's books is that the tropes are there.  The plot seems like you know where it's going, but then there's more or it doesn't go the place you thought.  I love that.  I wouldn't say it's a twist so much as a misdirection.  I can't wait for the next book (still have one in my to be read pile at least).

Books We've Read - A Prince on Paper


I slowly got back into writing over the holidays.  I had this one in the ereader for quite awhile.  I love Alyssa Cole's books, but somehow they get buried in a mountain of books, but I'm always so happy when I read them.  A Prince on Paper is some secondary characters from her Reluctant Royals series.  Johan was the playboy prince from the previous book.  Nya is heading home after a disappointing time in New York City.  They both end up in the same bed in a private jet (because who hasn't that happened to before?) and get thrown together during mutual friends' wedding.

I loved the characters.  I love a good fake relationship/engagement.  I loved seeing all the beloved characters from the previous book.  There's such great character development, believable dialogue, and chemistry between the characters even if the premise, from a distance, seems a bit much.  That's usually a consequence of the genre in general.  Plus, during one scene, you get to meet the characters from the next book/series.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Books We've Read - Mistletoe in Paradise

I read this book as a light little diversion to keep my reading going.  I love Jill Shalvis, and this was a perfect book for a Saturday.  It opens with 2 brothers - James and Jason - and a childhood friend, Hannah.  Their families always spend Christmas together on a yacht sailing around the Carribean.  This year, Hannah, James, and Hannah's step-father are on the yacht for a most awkward trip.  

There is some reunited love, some father/daughter moments, warm temperatures when it is definitely cold where I am, some sexy times.  It's perfectly adorable - light in parts, funny in parts, and really touching and moving in parts.  This is loosely part of the Wildstone series, but you definitely do not need to read any of the series for this one.  It's very stand alone.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Books We've Read - What You See

What You See is the latest book in the Sons of the Survivalist series by Cherise Sinclair.  You don't have to read the previous books though it does help of course.  Cherise Sinclair's books get a little graphic - there's some violence - hand-to-hand combat, gun, abuse, there is some sexy times that are described with a fair amount of detail.

This series takes place in Rescue, Alaska, and is about 4 boys who grew up together, foster brothers who form a strong brotherhood between them.  They end up being raised by a survivalist after being taken from an abusive foster home.  

In this one, Bull meets Frankie.  Bull is owner of the local bar/restaurant though he has other business ventures in Alaska.  Frankie takes time off from her job at her family's modeling agency to rescue her friend being held in Alaska by the local religious cult.  We've seen the cult gain more and more attention throughout the book, how local law enforcement wants to shut it down, but they have no evidence.  So, this comes to a head a bit in this book.  

I liked this one.  I liked the action.  I completely understand that this book/series is not for everybody.  It gets very gritty and rough around the edges.  That said, it is typical for Cherise Sinclair's books and, truthfully, it is a little tamer than her other series in terms of subject matter and content.  So, if this is your jam, check out the series.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Movies We've Watched - The Prom

I watched The Prom on Netflix last weekend.  I liked it.  It was fine.  I totally understand the criticism, but as one who has not judged Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman's singing kindly in the past, I thought they were entertaining.  I don't have a huge issue with James Corden.  Could there be better performances?  I'm sure.  Could they have chosen some/all of the original cast from Broadway?  Definitely.  However, I get that I should either not watch it or I take it for what it is.  

With that out of the way, I'll say nice things. I love Keegan Michael Key.  I thought he did a good job, and now I want to see Jingle Jangle.  I thought the leads were adorable.  I don't think this movie version falls as flat as some other (most) movie adaptations, and it does make me want to see the play.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

Movies We've Watched - The Society of Second-Born Royals


To continue my young adult viewing, I watched The Secret Society of Second-Born Royals on Disney+.  The first time I tried to watch, it seemed a little silly which I attributed to the fact that I was old and not the target demographic.  However, I waited a little bit and then gave it another go.  It was really cute.  I didn't see the ending coming and really liked the unique take on the superhero origin story.  This could definitely be a series if they wanted.  I've also loved the recent string of movies, mostly for young people, with Asian stars.  Younger April would have definitely been into it.  

Sam is the second-born daughter in the royal family of Illyia.  Her mother is temporarily ruling after her father dies.  Her sister is about to take the throne upon her birthday.  Sam bucks the monarchy (despite being part of it).  Sam also finds herself with heightened senses.  After a crazy night, Sam winds up in summer school which turns into her introduction to the Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.  She, and 4 others, learn to control their powers and learn that their job is now to protect the heads of their families.  

At the end of it all, I found it super cute.  The kids did a good job of making you care about their characters after seemingly like caricatures at the start (similar to The Breakfast Club where they are stuck together and seem like the Jock and the Princess but turn into more).  I'd love a sequel where you meet other second borns and other powers, but this one was fun.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Movies We've Watched - The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special


We settled into Disney+ all weekend long.  I watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian on Friday night and went straight into Godmothered.  On Sunday, for Sunday Family Movie, we got into the holiday spirit with The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special and the Disney Family Holiday Singalong (which previously aired on ABC earlier in the week).

I was wondering how the holiday special would fit into canon.  It turns out it fits in well with the timeline(s).  It also brings in almost all the timelines and main characters.  Little Miss and Husband loved all the little quick nods to famous scenes, and Captain liked the sight gags and the Child from The Mandalorian.  It was a really enjoyable little special and the beginning of our holiday viewing for December.  

What We've Watched - 2020

I forgot a bunch!  So, just to round out 2020, here we go. Let's see... I watched Enola Holmes on Netflix which I found adorable, and I...