Film Year 2016 in Review

I’m almost ashamed to admit that by my count I watched over one hundred films in the past year. That is not including made for television movies (I’m looking at you Hallmark.) Most of those were classic films, but I did manage to see a few new releases.

Here is a rundown on my film year.

In 2016 I saw the following new releases:

Of these films, the only one I didn’t enjoy was Hail Caesar. I was very disappointed as this was a movie I was eagerly awaiting due to its story about classic Hollywood. I’m a fan of series or sequels as long as the story is entertaining so I enjoyed Greek Wedding 2, Civil War and Jason Bourne.  It was great to be introduced to a new Jane Austen story in Love and Friendship and I thought the new Ben-Hur was interesting. Continue reading “Film Year 2016 in Review”

Book Year in Review

This has been a very busy year for me as a reader.

Although my Goodreads account says otherwise, according to my personal count I read around one hundred books. One hundred! While I claim to be a voracious reader I even shocked myself with that number. This is even more surprising when I realized that I also watched about the same number of films. I obviously had more free time than I realized.

So without further ado and in no particular order, here are my top ten favorites this year:

The Lady and the Lionheart -This is not only my favorite read this year, but is going on my top ten favorite books that I’ve ever read. The compelling and redemptive story of a tender hearted lion tamer and the sweet nurse with a tragic past who helps him care for an orphaned infant is one which has haunted me in a good way even months after I finished the book. I’m not the only one who loves their story. It’s getting rave reviews, so do yourself a favor and buy it.

The Progeny -Tosca Lee has always written fascinating stories and this one about gifted descendants of one of the most allegedly prolific female serial killers in history is a real thriller. Continue reading “Book Year in Review”

Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday is not just one of my favorite Christmas films, but one of my favorite films period.  This story which is now a decade old follows two women who decide to switch homes and lives for the holidays. In the process, they both meet new people, including potential love interests, and learn something about themselves.

Although there are many implausibilities about this film, I really don’t care because it has charm, warmth and heart. It harkens back to the days of classic films when you fell in love with a movie, because you fell in love with the characters and the story was moved along not by CGI action and graphic sex scenes but by great dialogue.

So, to rip off one of my favorite poets (I’m looking at you Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and without further ado…

How do I love thee, The Holiday, let me count the ways:

  1. Arthur played by Eli Wallach -Arthur is the elderly next door neighbor who Iris (Kate Winslet) befriends and who becomes a pseudo-therapist/mentor to her. I love the way they each see the truth about each other and encourage one another to live more meaningful lives. My favorite scene of Arthur is towards the end when he thinks he’s been forgotten and he walks into a benefit in his honor.  I cry every single time, because who wouldn’t want to come to the end of their life and realize that they have made a difference and are remembered well. I want an Arthur!!

Continue reading “Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)”

Christmas at the Tulsa Symphony

I recently spent a weekend with a good friend of mine in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her sister-in-law who plays violin with the Symphony gifted us with free tickets.

I have to tell you, we already had plans for another Christmas concert the next evening with two of our favorite artists, so although I thought the symphony would be a nice experience I wasn’t as excited about the evening as I could have been. Plus, although I love live performances of all kinds, I was under the mistaken impression that the performance might become a little dull after an hour or so just listening to musicians playing their instruments.

Boy, was I wrong. This was one of my favorite experiences this year. The show was kept lively by the variety of the performances. At various times, the symphony was joined by The Tulsa Chorus as well as children from both local choirs and students of stringed instruments. You could almost imagine seeing these child singers and musicians as part of the professional symphony itself once they become adults. Continue reading “Christmas at the Tulsa Symphony”

TV Movie Review -Heaven Sent (2016)

I don’t mean to brag but we are Hallmark movie aficionados in my house. I kid you not. We do not miss a single original movie or series that is aired, particularly the Christmas themed films. The production values have continually improved as well as the story lines and we appreciate the warmth, positive message and family oriented outlook of each film.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered a new holiday release on Lifetime Channel, yes Lifetime,  which we all fell in love with and believe could give Hallmark stiff competition.

Heaven Sent follows Billy and Maire Taylor as they struggle through a divorce and decisions about their joint business during the Christmas season. Adding to the confusion is a young runaway girl who shows up in their house with her own secrets and challenges. Continue reading “TV Movie Review -Heaven Sent (2016)”

Jordan Smith -Tis the Season

I recently saw two of my favorite Christmas music artists in concert. I don’t think anyone is more prolific in putting out Christmas albums than Amy Grant and Michael W Smith. I have seen them both individually and together in concert many times. But this time, I was in for a surprise. And that surprise was Jordan Smith.

I watch very little reality television. So, I wasn’t familiar with Jordan Smith (of The Voice fame) when he came out to share the stage with Michael and Amy. All I can say is…wow! This guy can sing! And not only can he sing, but he is an entertainer who more than held his own on stage with these seasoned performers. He had great stage presence and rapport with both the audience and his fellow singers and even tweaked Michael a little bit which made the audience laugh.

Needless to say, after hearing him perform several songs that evening I knew I had to check out his Christmas album. Continue reading “Jordan Smith -Tis the Season”

Welcome

Well hello there! Welcome to my site. I’m so happy you are here. Let me introduce myself. My name is Brittaney and as indicated on my About page, I’m a thirty something blonde from Texas who loves stories.

I have been blogging somewhat, okay very inconsistently, over the last decade. I’ve always loved to write but have had trouble finding something I was passionate about, something that inspired me, to write. There are several things I am passionate about in my non-internet life, among those being reading voraciously, watching classic (and sometimes not so classic) films, travel and a few other things. I have toyed with writing about each one of these topics as a singular focus, but just couldn’t get excited about it. And then one night as I lay in bed thinking about everything I love a spark was lit within me.

I realized that the common thread behind the things that interest me, the things I can’t seem to live without, is that they all transport me to a world outside of myself, a world that moves me, that makes me think, causes me to grow (sometimes by living in another’s shoes) and always leaves me wanting more. In essence, the common thread is that they tell, create or envision a story.

So now, I had my theme. But, I wanted to write about stories, not as a professional or a critic. I wanted to make it clear that I write from the basis of being a fan, not an expert. I want to write about the things I feel, that are stirred up in me by a good story. I want to write uplifting, positive entries that find the best in the stories that find me. And so, the Story Enthusiast was born.

My plan is to post at least twice a week about books and movies with hopes to post occasionally about travel, music, memories, musings, and/or anything else that resonates with me.

So, please join me here where we can celebrate good stories in every form. I thank you in advance for your support.