Trolls World Tour – Movie Review

My five year old daughter loves Poppy and Branch! After that first movie came out, it was all she would talk about. She would sing the songs and want to wear “Poppy pink” all the time! The movie was sweet and catchy with the mashups, so not too much heartache to be found after watching it multiple times a week.

When we heard a second movie was coming out, my child was so excited! We made the viewing party into a real experience for her since we weren’t able to see it in theater (due to the thing that must not be named). We baked cookies, made crazy drinks, and ate whatever she wanted for dinner. We laid out our spread and turned the movie on.

We built the moment of watching the movie up so much, this child was bursting the moment the first song began! Every few seconds she would say, “Daddy, did you see that!” Or, “Momma, look!” It was hilariously adorable! Luckily we were at home because this child could hardly contain her excitement.

As the movie played out, she was completely sucked in!

I, on the other hand, missed the first movie.

Don’t get me wrong, the second movie was cute, too, but something about the dialogue didn’t work for me.

In the first rendition, there is a conflict, a mission, a redemption, and a resolution. All of that is present in this sequel as well, but the interactions between the characters just feel short and bland. I know these movies have a lot of music in them, which I thoroughly enjoyed in both films, but there is a lackluster quality to the spoken exchanges between the characters themselves. Anytime they weren’t singing, there wasn’t much value added to inform the audience of what was happening.

Without getting too detailed, there is mention that certain events happened before and history was repeating itself. There is even a quick reference to whom the conductor of the first event was, but it’s blown off so quickly, it’s hard to tell if it’s really what they meant or if they were just wondering if that was the case. There are several instances like this where they just casually throw a comment out, but there is no further interaction amongst the characters to progress the thought process.

I know, it’s a kids movie. I didn’t have any overreaching expectations of the movie other than my daughter’s enjoyment, and she definitely enjoyed it!

Queue playing the soundtrack on repeat until we can buy the movie and play it incessantly!

Sonic the Hedgehog – Movie Review

Man, am I glad people complained about the way Sonic looked before they CG’d him. I can’t imagine the movie would have been even half as good had they not taken the time and given Sonic his proper aesthetics. I wonder what Tails would have looked like, too, had they not had fans balk as vehemently as they did about Sonic! Silly!

I’m a 90’s kid, so I grew up with Sega and playing Sonic. When I saw this movie was coming out, I honestly didn’t know what to think. When I saw how they originally designed Sonic, I was out. Nope, not going to watch it. Done! But, after the redesign, I was curious.

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Talk about a well done movie!

The casting we phenomenal! Jim Carey was amazing as Dr. Eggman. He brought humor to an otherwise dastardly villain, and captured the struggle between the two iconic video games characters perfectly. James Marsden was always a great addition to the story as the Doughnut Lord, a great sidekick and earthling to bring Sonic through his journey.

A lot of critics have called the movie a cute, cuddly, clunky CG tirade, but what they are missing is the nostalgia. Any kid who grew up playing Sega knows Sonic. The iconic clinking of the rings. The power up zing as Sonic rolled into a ball. His trademark red and white sneakers. You may only appreciate these well captured aspects if you used to spend your afternoons after school playing the game!

I truly hope there will be a next movie! And I’m being led to believe, there will be! Yes!

Frozen II – Movie Review

Frozen IIIf you’re like me, have a young daughter and are staying inside the house, I’m betting we have watched Frozen II about the same number of times by now. Memorizing the songs was easy; by now, we have moved onto reciting each character’s lines in our best impersonating voice! It’s getting a bite dire in these living rooms.

One thing I do have to say about this sequel that I’m not so sure is receiving the spotlight that it should is the emotionally intelligent writing. I noted several different psychologist and doctors in the credits that I’m sure played a large role in this script! It’s clear the message in this second movie was meant to teach youngsters how to handle and respond to such big emotions the characters were feeling, and I will add that it was very well done!

There are many scenes throughout the movie which attempt to broach the subject of one mental illness or another, but there is one scene in particular that struck all the right chords for me. I have struggled with depression, mainly in my youth, but as I have matured, there is always that tinge that attempts to pop up. I’ve learned how to deal with it and carry on, but there are others in my life that also struggle with a mental illness. I digress.

This scene revolves around Anna, and she begins to sing a song. It’s at a point in the movie where things seem hopeless, and she’s all but crumbling under the weight of it all. This one particular scene speaks directly to grief and depression, and to me.

The song is called “The Next Right Thing,” and as Anna begins to sing, it is clear how she is feeling. She’s lost and scared and just ready to give up. One of the lines of the song is, “Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb.”

It’s a punch to the gut! I wanted so badly to pull her up from the floor and help her through the pain as I have known that feeling before, too. But, the song continues, and she coaches herself. She pulls herself up and focuses on one step at a time. Looking too far ahead is too much, more than she can take. Instead, she breaks it down to the next breath, next step, and next choice. She chooses to do the next right thing.

If nothing else, I feel this moment more than any other in most Disney movies, and I am a Disnerd. While I don’t fully understand the need for this movie, other than to cash in on the prize cow (it doesn’t progress their story, in my opinion), I do think it is very well done. While I am not a fan of watching it 10 times day, I do find myself pausing at the Anna scene and agreeing with her song. Sometimes, all we can do in our moments of weakness is focus on the next right thing.

Kevin Hart: Irresponsible Tour

Note: I wrote this review the night I watched the show. Kevin Hart’s accident occured two nights later. I wish him a speedy recovery and that he gets back to doing what he loves soon!


I LOVED THIS SHOW! Kevin Hart is one of the funniest stand-up comedians I have ever watched. He is so animated and tells the best stories about his life. It is easy for me to connect with him and his family life, and feel his pain.

This show was no different! The sketch about his daughter starting her cycle for the first time had me laughing so hard I was crying, wheezing, coughing, and snorting. I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard, let alone at a stand-up show. He said he threw a maxi pad like a grenade at her! I can so imagine my husband doing this to our daughter one day. 😂

If you are looking for a hilarious show, you MUST watch this! Kevin Hart is hilarious in most movies he plays in, but for his creative freedom to run wild in his shows, his stand-up is comedy GOLD! Catch it on Netflix!

Wonder Park – Movie Review

We were looking for a family movie the other night, and came across Wonder Park. We couldn’t really tell by the movie poster what exactly the movie was going to be about, but it’s a Nickelodeon movie, so we didn’t think we could go wrong.

IMDB: June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals – only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she’s the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland.

Did you catch that last word there? The title of the movie is Wonder Park, but the name of the park is Wonderland. What?!

As if that wasn’t enough to get your goat, the movie starts off sad. And I’m not talking about Inside Out beginning of the movie sad. More like, Lion King beginning of the movie sad. Literally, my husband googled the end of the movie to ensure it wasn’t a total cry fest type of sad.

Besides the little hiccup in the beginning, the movie evolves into a really cute film. The young heroine has to fix the park she created with her mother after a tragic moment turns her away from the creative, carefree child she wanted to be. Her journey forces her to face her fears and embrace her imagination even in the darkest times. And I promise there is a happily ever after!

Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 for me! A safe, family friendly movie everyone will love.

Birthright Cover Reveal – Touched by Light series

You learned Riley’s secrets. You worried and strategized with Rey. You were introduced to the world of Guardians filled with Light and the darkness of Midnight’s shadows. You read Guardians, book one in the trilogy of Riley and Rey’s story, but this series is just starting.

I now introduce you to Birthright. Pre-order your copy today!

Riley has always known darkness and shadows were part of her world, but she hoped moving to a new town had taken her away from them. Her first semester at Bradford University is winding down. The race to save her soul is ratcheting up. Riley clings to the one person she hopes can keep her safe, but it is time she faced the truth. Her entire life has been leading up to her nineteenth birthday, a day her supposed Aunt had secretly prepared her for since childhood. With her past revealed and her fate seemingly sealed, Riley must make a decision that could very well end her life.

Reymend has lived two hundred years without breaking a single rule of the Guardianship, but the moment he met Riley, everything changed. He interjected himself into her life. He touched her delicate skin more times than he can admit, giving her glimpses into a world she knows nothing about. But, the one rule Rey swore he wouldn’t break may be the only way to save his Charge. When the greatest evil ever known comes to collect Riley’s soul, Rey has to face a decision no Guardian has ever had to make.

Repost: What is a Guardian?

Welcome to the Touched by Light series ! Here you will find a quick look into the world Reymend lives as a Guardian. It’s hidden within Riley’s mortal day-to-day, but of all other mortals, she has glimpsed it the most. So, what is a Guardian?

Guardians are immortal beings who have been fated to join the Guardianship. The Council of the Wise is made up of twelve of the oldest Birthright Guardians, meaning they were not born from mortals, but from previous Wise Council members. A Touched soul means the Light within someone is brighter, stronger, more likely to withstand the temptations of Midnight. The Wise determines a Touched soul’s fate at age nineteen. If you are meant to be a Guardian, you are granted immortal life and given Charges (Touched souls, typically mortals) to protect against Midnight’s bidders. If you’re destined for anything else, you are left as a mortal to live out your life.

We’ll get to “What is Light and Midnight?” in my next post. Hang in there! For now, enjoy this excerpt of Reymend’s inner dialogue over the course of a chapter explaining from his memories what it is to be a Guardian, and why having Riley as his next Charge is the most defining Guardship he has ever had.

Birthright, A Touched By Light Series, Book 2 of 3 – Release Date April 2019

Rey hadn’t thought that far back in years to when he and Phelix had been young men, barely over nineteen years old. Two of the twelve members of the Wise Council of the Light had offered them immortal life as Guardians. If they accepted, their lives were to be dedicated to protecting those Touched by Light from the darkness of Midnight. Even though the significance of it all flew over their teenage heads, after living their entire lives as vagrants on the streets of a New York ghetto, it had been an easy decision.

He hadn’t flat out lied to Riley when he said he was an orphan. He and Phelix had been when they were kids, but having been in the system was pushing it. They had lived off what others threw out in the streets or what they could beg for, but back then, that was the system for parentless children. Castaways, left to fend for themselves.

They had met Amber, Phelix’s girlfriend, in their early years of immortality during training, but her life had been completely opposite to theirs. She had known the ways of the Light at an early age before her fate had even been determined. Her entire bloodline could be traced back to Guardians and the Wise Council. As a Birthright Guardian, her conception was a carefully mastered plan to keep purity on the Council. Although, some would argue that plan was failing or had failed already.

The three of them had been through hell and back more than their fair share, facing demons of Midnight when no one else could. They weren’t the strongest singular Guardians by any means, but together, their Light always shone brightest against the darkness. Together, they were undefeated, but in their line of work, defeat wasn’t an option.

The three Guardians had left Baltimore two years ago after their Charges had reached the age to be fated. It had been the first time in their almost two hundred years together that they had been separated. Phelix had gone to Richmond for a Charge until she reached nineteen years old, and the Wise fated her for the Guardianship. Amber had two Charges turn nineteen, one in Atlanta and the other in Columbus, but both of the guys destinies were decided to remain mortal, leaving their Light dormant within their souls. Rey hadn’t had a Charge since Baltimore, so he moved to Bradford for the hub of darkness found at the small town’s edge. There was always something to do in the quiet town for a Guardian.

Phelix and Amber showed up over the summer since the Wise hadn’t designated new Charges for them either. The Wise had always seemed to find them individual Charges within the same vicinity as each other, clearly understanding the strength they shared between them, but after their two year stretch apart, Rey knew things were changing.

They posed as students at the University to keep up appearance and be poised in case their new Charges were students in town. There was also a bit of competition amongst them to keep their minds sharp and see who could have the highest grades, but it all boiled down to being ready when a Charge was granted.

Rules.

Light.

Dark.

They had been Rey’s world for so long. Now he bent and outright broke so many, using his Light in ways he shouldn’t to beat out the dark invading his Charge’s life.

The number one rule of the Guardianship was to never become involved in the Charge’s life. Protect them at all cost, but never be seen. A Guardian was to use their Light in the fight against the shadows of Midnight, but never shine it in the direction of the Charge. After years of servicing mortals, Guardians had earned the nickname of Guardian Angels, but Rey knew he was far from angelic, especially now.

Number two: never, ever touch a Charge. Those Touched by Light could transfer energies, memories, and even thoughts through their Light just by brushing up against each other. It took a Guardian years of training to harness their Light and learn to channel it through the transference of randomness and into a true Connection. It was the very thing that had kept him, Phelix, and Amber alive for so long through all of their battles over the centuries. Their Connection to each other flowed easily, allowing them to communicate and act as one seamlessly in battle.

And, number three: without exception, do not sway a Charge’s fate by Connecting with their Light before the Council so determines the Charge’s destiny. After a Charge turned nineteen, the Wise would determine whether the Touched soul would be given the choice to become a Guardian or remain a mortal, or if their fate was meant for the darkness. No one in the long history of the Light had ever Connected with a Charge outside of the realm of the Council of the Wise.

It was the simplest of rules to follow. Rules Rey had never had issues with in over two hundred years, but now, with Riley as his designated Charge, he had broken all but one so far.

When had his immortal life become so filled with gray?

The first twelve Touched souls composed what is now known as the Council of the Wise. They gathered as many more Guardians they could, Connecting with mortals who held stronger Light, and pushed what they began to call Midnight and its darkness as far from this universe as possible.

As millennia have passed, the Wise Council’s duty had become to determine a Touched soul’s fate, to Connect with those souls and keep the balance between Light and dark, and to keep the rules of the Light by sending Guardians to enforce them on any darkness that made its way onto the plane. The Guardians had become the first defense in the never ending war to keep the world from slipping into Midnight’s grasp while the Wise continued to reign on high.

It was Rey, Phelix, and Amber’s job to keep their Charges safe until the time the Wise determined their fate. They were to keep Midnight as far from their Charges as possible and defend the dormant Light within them. That was what Rey was doing.

Repost: Meet Riley!

1Riley has always been different. The entire town she grew up in reminds her every day just how different she is. She can’t wait for the day she can escape to a new town, a new school, and a new life. College is that chance, a new beginning, a new sunrise on the darkness that was her life.

This is Riley’s chance at a new beginning. Bradford University in southern Virginia is the fresh start far from home that she has always wanted, but no matter where she goes, the shadows will always follow. Her only reprieve as she starts her new life is the possibility of friends, something she never had back home, but it quickly becomes the silver lining in her darker days.

Riley may have been labeled the psycho in her high school, but this girl is strong. She’s carried the pain of her past for too long. Now is a time of beginnings. Making new friends and unleashing the woman she has always known she could be is easier said then done, until she meets Reymend.

Rey’s all warmth and light. A comforting, gorgeous man she hopes she won’t scare away when the darkness gets too close. She wants to hold on to him, but how can she hope for so much when she has only ever had so little?

Excerpt of Guardians: “I know what you’re thinking, but before you say anything just know that I’m going to do this. I’m making a life for myself here no matter what the cost. I have friends for the first time in my life. I wake up excited to see what the day will bring. I’m finally happy! Nothing will stop me from taking this chance. Not my episodes. Not the fear of what follows me everywhere I go. Nothing. I’m doing this because for once in my life, it’s my decision.”

This girl may face darkness every day, but she knows what she wants! She’s scared, but determined. Even though she knows the shadows wait for her around every corner, sending her into blackout fits of terror, she still pushes forward. She is a real heroine even if she doesn’t understand the darkness that follows her.

Birthright, A Touched By Light Series, Book 2 of 3 – Release Date April 2019

When all else fails, sing-a-long!

My husband will probably laugh at me when he reads this, but when music just isn’t hitting me right, I resort to musicals. But not just any musicals.

I want the songs that you can sing at the top of you lungs, know every word by heart, and feel deep inside the power behind each word. I want the classics like Sound of Music and Singing in the Rain. I want the new popular wave like Greatest Showman and Rent. I’ll even take animated movie soundtracks like Frozen and Moana.

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It may sound silly, but sometimes the familiarity and ties back to the movie, play, or original signer/actor just gives me more feels than the latest popular musician ever could. Sometimes the emotions these songs produce are more genuine than the music playing from the radio by a musician I would have to Google in order to know what they look like.

Between my daughter and I, I think we have sang every word of every song to the Greatest Showman soundtrack a hundred times. It isn’t unheard of in our house to belt out “Never Enough!” randomly as we walk around the house. Something I know my husband loves to hear! If only life were a musical.

Movie Review – Bumblebee

bumblebee-poster-1-1Hubby and I don’t frequent the movies often, but he loves Transformers. The new prequel came out, and he wanted to see it. I don’t mind the Transformers movies, but they just seem to get cheesier with each iteration. Hailee Steinfield is the main character, so I figured, how bad could it be?

IMDb: On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.

Not a horrible description, but finding refuge in a junkyard doesn’t really cover it. More like, is damaged during battle so badly, he goes into sleep mode until a young girl finds him.

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