Tale as old as Time

Well, everyone.  The day we’ve all been waiting for is upon us.  Beauty and the Beast is in theaters and yes, I’ve already seen it.

I’ll admit, I had my concerns about this one.  Okay, I had three main concerns.  The first was that it was almost an exact reenactment of the 1991 animated movie that we all love.  The second was that the singing wouldn’t be very good.  The third… was Emma Watson as Belle.

Blasphemy, I know.  She’s a great person.  I’ve just never thought she was a very good actress.

After seeing the movie, I’m not entirely convinced that she was the best choice to play Belle, but she was still pretty okay.  And I loved the movie.  Every moment.  God, it was magical.

If you haven’t seen the movie, be forewarned, there ARE spoilers in this review!  Lots of them!

Here we go!

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast: 

Why is Dan Stevens attractive even as the spoiled brat in ridiculous make-up?

It’s been two minutes and I already ship the hell out of Madame Garderobe and the Maestro.

There’s the dog! And it’s their dog! OMG so cute.

I really like this new back story they’ve given the Prince.  And not the “an 11-year-old turned away a stranger” thing.  This guy deserves the curse.  Douche.

Okay. Moment of truth, Emma Watson.

Why is this school teacher so salty?  Shouldn’t he like the idea of reading?

I like it when she skips across the pond.  That’s cute.

I never understood how Belle is literally the only person in town who likes to read.  Is this part of the curse?

Emma is okay as Belle.  Not as bad as I thought she’d be.  My problem with her as an actress is the same problem I have with Johnny Depp.  Whenever either of them are on screen, all I see is Emma Watson as Belle or Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter or whomever.  They don’t bring the characters to life.  They don’t BECOME The characters.  Take Emilia Clarke (who, personally, I think should have been cast as Belle).  I never see Emilia Clarke whenever she acts.  I see Khaleesi or Louisa.  Do you see what I’m saying?  So basically, Emma did a fine job of playing Belle.  But I still only see Belle as played by Emma Watson.  I don’t see Belle.

Okay, is it wrong that I’m actually rooting for Gaston?  I’m already in love with this guy.

Oh Olaf.  You’re so funny.

Why do I love Gaston so much?  I never loved Gaston in the original.  But goodness, do I love this Gaston.  Luke Evans, you’re amazing.

“Not gonna happen ladies.”

Okay, I officially love Le Fou too.

I actually love the chorus too.

Aw, I think it’s kind of cute that he gave her flowers.  Emmabelle, why you so mean to him?  Would it actually kill you to give this guy a chance?

Kevin Kline!  I love you, Kevin Kline!

Fun Fact: Kevin Kline was Captain Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Disney Alum!

I actually really like that they made him an artist.  That’s adorable.  And his music boxes are gorgeous.

A rose?  Can you not grow your own roses, Belle?  Do they not grow in your village?  God, this village sucks.

Okay, if the village people are pissed that Belle washes her clothes in their fountain… I get it.  They probably drink out of that.  No one wants your dirty bloomers in their drinking water, Belle.

That is sad that they toss her clothes on the ground though.  I feel bad for her.

Gaston admiring himself.  I’m dying.

Josh Gad is Le Fou. Josh Gad is perfection.  Everyone should be like Josh Gad.

Okay, Gaston grabbing her skirt is all kinds of inappropriate.  Not liking him quite as much.

I don’t believe you actually want adventure in the great wide somewhere.  But goodness, I love this scenery.  This movie is beautiful.

I like how this movie specifies that it’s snowing around the castle in June.  So basically, all the land around the castle is cursed.

“Always winter, never Christmas.”

Sorry, wrong Disney movie.

Maurice is awfully bold sitting himself down to eat in this castle which appears to be empty or haunted or both.  Like, the sitting himself down is gutsy enough.  But you’re really going to eat the food that’s set out for you?  He has no idea how long that has been sitting in the pantry.  It could be moldy.

Demon teacup!  Run, Maurice, run!

Wait a minute.  Are you serious?!  You are (understandably) running from a talking teacup… literally FLEEING for you life… but oh, wait!  Hold the phone!  Gotta stop and pick a rose for Belle!  I think she’ll understand if you don’t bring her home a rose this ONE time.  Seriously, Maurice?  Seriously?

If the household items came to life before my eyes, I’d keep running.  Forget the rose.  Tell her to plant her own.  She already has a garden!

Look at that.  That rose screwed you over, Sir.

You can’t expect me to watch Emma Watson meandering through this huge castle and not make like a hundred Hogwarts jokes inside my head.

“Hey, this place looks a lot like my alma mater.”

Okay, Belle, can we talk about your dress for a minute?  It’s really cute and I actually love it, but why is it hiked up so high I can see your undergarments?  That’s not particularly ladylike.

This castle is making me very nervous.  There are no railings.  Everything is a platform.  One misstep and you would plummet to your death.

I love, love, love you Dan Stevens, but I feel like there was a lot more emotion in the animated beast.  That could be due to the CGI, however.

Emmabelle hitting Lumiere with the chair is actually hilarious.

Sir Ian McKellen was born to play Cogsworth.

Lumiere is constantly throwing Cogsworth under the bus and it is perfection.

“A broken clock is correct twice a day but this is not one of those times.”

Aw, can we just talk about how much I love Emma Thompson?  I love Emma Thompson.  She is wonderful.  And she’s another Disney Alum!  She played Captain Amelia in Treasure Planet and mastered the role of PL Travers in Saving Mr. Banks.  God, she’s so wonderful.

Incidentally, she was also Emmabelle’s Divination teacher at Hogwarts, Professor Trelawney.  They didn’t get along quite so well back then.

Everything about the Gaston number is perfect.  But especially Josh Gad and Luke Evans.

Be our guest!  Be our guest!

Sakes alive, I’ve definitely been blessed.  This is perfection.  I was so iffy on Ewan McGreggor being able to live up to the standards that the legendary Jerry Orbach set, but even if his voice isn’t quite there, his charisma (well, the candelabra’s charisma), the cinematography, the performance itself is DAZZLING.  Oh my God, I think this was my favorite part of the entire movie.  I can’t stop smiling.

I guess Ewan McGreggor sort of counts as a Disney Alum.  Star Wars IS Disney now, after all.  But it wasn’t Disney when he was Obi Wan, so does it count?  I don’t know.

He was really hot as Obi Wan though and I always felt sort of odd for thinking so.

Emma Watson is not enjoying this nearly as much as she should be.

Okay, now that that scene is over, I really have to pee.  I don’t want to leave, but I figure if I have to skip one scene, I won’t miss all that much with him yelling at her and her almost getting eaten by wolves.  That was always my least favorite scene in the original anyway.

They’re playing “How Far I’ll Go” in the bathroom and I can’t sing along because someone else is in here too.

Moana was so robbed at the Academy Awards.

Back to Beauty and the Beast.  Beast is hurt.  Emmabelle is tending him.

Oh, I like this moment.  Where Belle asks why the servants care for him, why they stay with him.  They really care about him.  They’re protective of him.  They feel like they should have taken better care of him when he was younger.  This is so sweet.

I love Beast’s reaction to Romeo and Juliet.  Same, Beast.  Same.

Beast leads Emmabelle to library.

Emmabelle: So like, where’s the restricted section?

Dan Stevens, where are your table manners?  Cousin Violet would be appalled.

Sorry, you knew a Downton Abbey joke was coming sooner or later.

Incidentally, his Cousin Violet/Grandmother-in-law is also Emmabelle’s former Transfiguration Professor, Head-of-House, and Deputy Headmistress.  I love it when fandoms collide.

Gandalf and The Bard, anyone?

Sorry, we’re not there yet.

Of course, we’ve also got Caesar Flickerman here.  And he has the honor of being married to Audra McDonald.  And they’re like the cutest Disney couple EVER.

Wow, Beast, way to pwn your future bride with a snow-canon-ball.

Seriously, he knocked her to the ground. Rude.

“I’ve been told I’m clingy, but I don’t get it.”

It’s kind of cool that Gaston and Le Fou are tagging along to help Maurice, but we all know Gaston has ulterior motives.

OMG.  Dude.  No.  I do NOT like Gaston anymore.  You, Sir, are not a good person.

I think I actually screamed in the theater.

My sister says Gaston is a prime example of a man’s rights activist and that, my friends, is both accurate and hilarious.


Belle, in what universe is Guinevere and Lancelot romantic?  That was pure adultery.

But can we talk about how Dan Stevens played Lancelot in the third Night at the Museum movie and was freaking HILARIOUS.  He didn’t get to play funny at all in Downton Abbey but this man is FUNNY.

It’s okay, Beast.  I still think you’re manly.

Alright, now this strange book that takes you anywhere you want to go is a bit of a stretch for me.  It’s cool… but I don’t think I buy it.  The mirror is supposed to be his only window to the outside world.  And this book actually lets him walk around in it?  Hmm…

“What do you think?  Too touristy?”  This script is gold.

Belle’s mom died of the plague.  That’s gruesome.

By the way, shout out to Ghost Adventures and Zak Bagans for teaching me all about the plague masks.

Also, I love that they made the Beast so smart and well-educated.  That’s really hot.

That chick who saved Maurice is so totally the Enchantress.  Calling it right now.

WOW Gaston is an off-the-charts asshole.  See, now I feel icky for liking him.  I’m glad Belle didn’t give him the time of day.

Poor Le Fou.  He’s so torn!
Why is the priest in a tavern?

I think we’re all just waiting for the dance scene at this point.

Unpopular Opinion: I actually really like Belle’s dress. I think it’s gorgeous.

This whole scene is just beautiful.  Stunning.

“A creature like me could never hope to win your affection, right?”

“I don’t know. You should see the red-haired loser I dated back in high school.”

Another problem I have with Emma as Belle is that I don’t think she and I would be friends.  I loved Belle as a kid.  I wanted to be her friend.  I wanted to be her.  I feel like Emma Watson would just be judging me all the time.  She probably wouldn’t be.  But that’s the sort of air she gives off.

Dan Stevens singing.  Thank you, Disney Gods.   I only wish I could hear it in his real voice and not his Beast voice.

Also Evermore is pretty, but If I Can’t Love Her is still the best.

I do love Belle riding into save her father on a white horse.  That’s pretty awesome.

I get that she would do anything to save her father, and so would I, but boy this movie makes it seem like she’s throwing the Beast under the bus.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always like “The Mob Song.”


“Grandmother?!  Attack!!”

“We are so in a bad place right now.”

I LOVE the guy who was so happy to look so pretty after Audra McDonald dressed him up.  He’s adorable.


Holy ish I never expect Gaston to be THAT big a jerk.  I actually screamed again.

Oh my God, Disney, are you actually making me sit through the metaphorical deaths of beloved characters from my childhood?  It’s like you’re actually making me watch my childhood die.

The puppy!  No!  Oh my God, that made me cry.  The puppy still loves his parents!

Cogsworth and Lumiere’s goodbye is not okay.  In what universe is this okay?  I’m not okay.

I knew Agatha was the Enchantress!

The Transformation scene is EXACTLY like in the animated movie.  Same score, same camera angles, same sequence.  I applaud you on this one, Disney.  I like that you kept it.

Ugh, I want to make out with Prince Dan Stevens.

Okay, I’m happy that Mrs. Potts reunited with Mr. Potts and everything, but Disney, you kind of just sank my Maurice/Mrs. Potts ship.

“Turn back into a clock.  Turn back into a clock!”

You cannot convince me that Sir Ian McKellen has ever been married to a woman.

Ugh Dan Stevens is SO hot.

Audra McDonald singing Beauty and the Beast is making me cry.

Emma Thompson!  Oh my God, I love you so much!  I’m crying just watching her.  She is magic.

Can we talk about how our entire theater burst into applause when Le Fou and that cute soldier danced together?  The two most adorable guys in the movie.  I approve, I approve.

God, this movie is magic.  I can’t wait to see it again.

Book Challenges

Excerpts, questions, and answers from several book challenges. 

Question: How long have you been writing?

Answer: Since before I knew that J and L were not the same letter. I didn’t realize I wanted to be an author, however, until my junior year of college.


Question: What should all books have?

Answer: All books should be written with love.


Question: What scares you most about writing?

Answer: I’m scared to death that I’m accidentally going to plagiarize or violate a copyright law. Even in elementary school, I had it drilled into me that plagiarism was a transgression second only to murder. I carry that honest to goodness fear of God in my heart to this day.


Question: What do you listen to while writing?

Answer: Each of my WIPs has a different soundtrack. Here’s a compilation of three of those soundtracks.


Question: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever written?

Answer: Oh wow, I’ve written so much crap, it’s really hard to pick just one. It’s probably a tie between every poem, short story, and screenplay that I wrote in college (and of course, the worst poem of all ended up in the stupid literary journal) or all the god awful Harry Potter fanfiction I wrote throughout high school.


Question: How do you show diversity in your work?

Answer: Well, a lot of people think it’s kind of weird that I write creepy ghost stories AND silly love stories about boy bands. Does that count?


Your CP/Beta Readers

My sister is always the very first person to read and critique my books because as she so eloquently puts it, “I don’t want to be related to someone who writes crappy books.”


Question: How do you cope with killing your characters?

Answer: So far all of the characters I’ve killed were dead long before the books began, so I’ve been okay. However, there was one day I that thought that maybe, just maybe, the story was leading toward someone’s death and I cried for like thirty minutes just thinking about it. So yeah.

Question: Have you ever ‘killed an enemy’ in your writing?

Answer: No. Writing gives me way too much joy. I try not to give my “enemies” any more space in my head than they already occupy. And yes, I have been known to hold a grudge.


Question: How did you choose your genre?

Answer: I write the books that I would want to read.

Question: What do you like best about YOUR writing?

Answer: My characters. I love my characters.

Describe your main characters in three words.

Melissa Parker (Boy Band): Sweet, Loyal, Neurotic.

Sam Morneau (Boy Band): Enthusiastic, Optimistic, Devoted.

Michael Sinclair (Cemetery Tours): Thoughtful, Chivalrous, Sardonic.

Kate Avery (Cemetery Tours): Bright, Spontaneous, Loving.

Luke Rainer (Cemetery Tours): Determined, Cheeky, Stubborn.

Question: Which celebrity would play your main characters?

Answer: Natalia Dyer would play Melissa Parker (Boy Band).

Harry Styles would play Sam Morneau (Boy Band).

Matthew Gray Gubler would play Michael Sinclair (Cemetery Tours) (though I could totally also see Ezra Miller).

Amanda Seyfried would play Kate Avery (Cemetery Tours).

Question: How do you choose character names?

Answer: MomsWhoThink.com. Not even joking. I’m terrible at coming up with names.


Question: What’s the meanest thing that you’ve done to a character?

Answer: Michael Sinclair would argue that is entire existence is miserable and that its all my fault. But you know, he really doesn’t have it all that bad. He gets the girl so I really don’t know what is problem is.

I do tend to give a few of my characters awkward personalities and put them in embarrassing situations as a result, but that’s mostly because I have an awkward personality and I embarrass myself a lot. Writing myself into my own characters if you will.


Question: What word do you use WAY too much?

Answer: Oh, there are so many. I use “after all” and “of course” ALL the time. I also have a lot of characters whose names begin with M. Apparently I like M names.


Question: What is your biggest pet peeve in books?

Answer: Stories that take unhealthy relationships and makes them sexy. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read (or attempted to read) that romanticize the hot guy who’s a huge jerk but it’s okay because he’s misunderstood and has a tragic back story oh and he’s hot. Not a fan.

Note: None of the books in the picture are like that. I just used them in this post because they’re pretty.


Question: Which book do you wish you had written?

Answer: Literally all of these.


Question: Do you have writing pals or do you ride solo?

Answer: I write alone. I am a control freak and not much of a team player. HOWEVER I have several writing pals in the sense that I have several friends who also write. And they are all brilliant.

Note: I am collaborating with Author James William Peercy, however, on Within The Heart of Silence, a collection of his poetry coupled with my photography. It’s absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to share it with you!


Question: What do you want to accomplish with writing?

Answer: I want what I’ve wanted my whole life. Freedom. And writing gives me that. But I’ve come to learn that the very best thing is when a reader messages you and says, “Your book changed my life” or “Your books helped me to love reading again.” That is the absolute best compliment than anyone can give or receive.


Question: What is one thing you wish people knew about you?

Answer: It’s not really something I wish people knew about me. It’s what I wish people knew about all independent authors, and that is that we truly love what we do. We believe in our work and we work our tails off. We didn’t take the easy way out. Trust me, this business is anything but easy. I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life. But I can tell you this. Every moment is absolutely worth it.


CHARACTER SWAP! Harry Potter just became your Main Character! How does your WIP change?

“Sam Morneau is Harry Potter’s best friend. He’s also a member of The Kind of September, basically the hottest boy band on the planet.

After two and a half years, Harry is all too familiar with the day-to-day occurrences that come with being a member of the band’s inner circle, including hectic schedules, passionate fans, and gossip-mongering celebrity girlfriends.

Now, with the release of the group’s third album just weeks away, their lives have never been crazier and Harry is doing everything he can to keep up, all the while trying to cope with the ridiculous rumors that follow the band everywhere they go and pretending that he isn’t harboring a secret and hopeless crush on Sam.

It’s weird enough being in love with your best friend. It’s even weirder when the rest of the world is in love with him, too.”

Sam and Harry. I’m for it. We could call it The Boy Band Who Lived.


Question: Who do you ‘channel’ when you write?

Answer: These extraordinary women!



Dobby does all my research for me. Like a good House Elf.


Fan Love

I think it goes without saying that my readers/fans/friends are the best.


A Challenge Overcome

I think my biggest challenge, in fact I think this is something that most of us struggle with, has been overcoming self doubt. I knew I could write a book, but how was I supposed to put it together? To actually make it a book? To learn the ins and outs of publishing? To reach people? To make it something worth reading? What right did I have to try any of this? I’m so happy I kept pushing myself. I’m so happy I had friends and family who believed in me and were there to support me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be here on my own.


A Self-Reward

This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I’ve read it I don’t know how many times. Like The Princess Bride, my copy was a tiny, beat up, paperback that was falling apart. So I bought myself a nice hardback copy.


An Author You Admire

I admire several of my fellow authors, but these are the ones to whom I really, truly look up.


Give an AWESOME author to #FF. Why?

Answer: I can’t just pick one, so here’s my list! I picked these amazing authors because I know each and every one of them are kind, genuine, and off-the-charts talented. Also included in this list is the brilliant Sarah MacTavish, author of Firebrand, but sadly my sister still has my copy of her book. Need to get that back. Also Paula Walker Baker, author of Jack Learns To Grill and The Conservative Congregant Novellas. Her books are so beautiful but since they are novellas, the title does not fit in the side of the books. Please, if you’re in need of an inspirational and uplifting read, pick her books up! And Terri Farley! She is just the sweetest!!!

(I have too many favorite authors).


One Word Title


Bookish Tattoos OR Bookish Goods


Author or Character who shares your name.

There’s a little girl named Jackie in #TheFaultInOurStars and there’s a reporter named Jackie in #TheBoyIsBack.

Incidentally, there is also an author who shares my name exactly.


Bookish Confession

This one may get me kicked out of the #Bookstagram community but here it goes.

I don’t like Jane Austen.

I never have.

I’ve read them all. I even took a Jane Austen class in college. I’ve taken several British Literature courses that studied her work. I have a Master’s Degree in the humanities.

And I don’t like Jane Austen.

I’m sorry.


Bookish Confession Part 2

Here’s another confession. I’ve never read any of these. My high school didn’t require them. After talking with a friend who also went to my high school, I decided to steal these from my sister. It’s time I read them. I also downloaded 1984 to my Kindle. No, I’ve never read that either. That’s going to be my March goal. To catch up on books I should have read in tenth grade.