Doon ~ Book Review

See the source imageHave you ever wanted to be transported into a magical world? Complete with stunning scenery and a cool kingdom to match?

Oh, and did I mention the amazing guys with Scottish accents? Or the fact that soulmates exist? 

Yep. Soulmates.

Basically, this book was my daydream come to life.

If you love fantasy mixed with the modern-twenty-first-century, plus a good dose of mystery and romance, then this is the book for you.

Written by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, Doon follows the tale of two best friends – Veronica and Mackenna. With her home life a wreck, dad left and mom is…well, not exactly picking up the slack, not to mention that her choice in men is less than admirable, Veronica is more than ready to escape.

Enter best friend, Mackenna. After breaking up with her jerk-of-a-boyfriend, Veronica calls Mackenna. In the span of a few minutes, her entire summer changes when Mackenna tells her that she wants her graduation present, from her dad, to be a plane ticket for Veronica to come with her to Scotland.

And with that, though they don’t know it yet, this summer will change everything for them.

*note: above is the spoiler-free part of the review, if you don’t want plot spoilers, RESIST SCROLLING, I’ll try to steer clear of the major ones but…NO PROMISES* ūüėČ

*WARNING*

*PLOT SPOILERS BELOW*

Once arriving in Scotland, Kenna notices that something is up with her bestie. When she questions her, Veronica nervously mentions that she keeps seeing a boy.

Specifically, a Scottish guy who’s tall, blonde, and by her own admissions, “gorgeous.”

Kenna tries to logically deal with this, and since her dad used to teach undergraduate psychology, she throws that at her.

“He’d say ‘Kilt-Boy’ is your anti-Eric.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“He’s your knight in shining armor. The perfect boy. Someone heroic who’d never choose their own interests ahead of yours.” Her fingers absently brushed the quilted fabric of the comforter as she continued. “Think about it. He conveniently shows up after Eric dumps you, then again after your mom chooses Bob the Slob. Doesn’t that seem a little bit convenient?”

Convenient, it does seem, and Veronica is inclined to agree with her musical-loving friend. And yet, some part of her, wonders if the kilt boy could be real? Was she actually going crazy, or could there be more to this entire world than she had first thought?

She needs answers, and she can’t rest until she has them. Despite Kenna’s efforts, Veronica is determined to find something. Kenna eventually goes along with it, if for nothing else, than the hope that once her best friend sees that this is not real, Veronica will actually come back around to her normal-does-not-see-random-vision-boys-self.

During one of the days they’re exploring, Kenna and Veronica are told the story about the land of Doon. A magical land. And not only that, but Kenna’s, aunt, Gracie, had been there.

This is all too much for Kenna, who brushes it off as silly fairytales. Sure, her aunt always liked to tell some crazy stories, but another land? With magic? Hidden from the world? 

Way too out there.

On the other hand, Veronica is completely enthralled by the tale. As she listens, she can’t help, but think could this be real? And when she hears the old man speaking mention one name, her heart thuds.

Was it coincidence that her mystery-dream-boy shared the same last name as this person of Doon? Or could it be something more?

Over the course of the book, Kenna and Veronica travel to the land of Doon. They encounter the Scottish boy that Veronica had been envisioning, and upon meeting him, are shocked to see how aloof he is acting.

Still, the girls aren’t two people willing to give up, and so they press forward, despite Kenna’s anxiety about this entire ordeal, and Veronica’s frustration with her Scottish vision. The best friends encounter several obstacles along the way, not to mention the evil that lurks about, though it by no means is all trial, as the romance and magical land state.

If you haven’t read Doon, then I highly encourage you to go and get it! It’s a wonderful book, and I can’t wait to go buy the second one!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Breathe ~ Movie Review

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I remember seeing trailers for the movie Breathe last year, and thinking to myself that I really wanted to go and see it. This new film had something I love Рhistorical romance.

Until this past month, however, I had not watched it.

One night my mom and I decided that instead of watching something that the boys picked out, we were going to watch a romantic movie! And, of course, I instantly knew which one we should watch.

Breathe.

Without further ado, then, here is my review of this historical romance!

***Warning: There will be spoilers ahead, I don’t think there are really any plot twist spoilers – if you’ve seen the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer though, then there will be spoilers***

The movie opens with a beautiful landscape scene, and soon zooms in closer on several characters, including Robin Cavendish the protagonist. He’s chatting with several buddies of his as they play cricket, and in the distance there is a small crowd watching. When one of his friend’s realizes who has caught Robin’s attention, he tells him that it would be futile – she’s a player.

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She, being Diana Blacker, is a pampered young lady who does as she pleases. And yet, she decides to marry Robin – despite him having no great inheritance, and despite her twin brother’s urgings to find someone better.

They are married in 1957.

The scene cuts to Kenya, where Robin and Diana have traveled for his work. Some people question why she would want to go with him this far, and she retorts that she wants to be with him and finds the work interesting.

As they are riding back one day, Diana surprises him with the news that she is pregnant. Thrilled, Robin has tears in his eyes and kisses her.

It is 1958.

As the camera cuts, the next image shows a pregnant Diana laughing and talking with another woman, as they watch their husbands play a game in the background. Humorously, a hula hoop is introduced and Robin has a go at it for the first time. Suddenly, his vision grows dizzy and he falls to the ground, before quickly recovering and jokingly saying he must have overdone it.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Something worse has happened, and all too soon, Robin reaches his friend for help one night, before collapsing. He’s rushed to the hospital. The doctor asks him to move his arm and he is barely able to twitch a finger. Then, his breathing becomes uncertain and shouts of “get him on ice!” are echoed around the room.

Robin has contracted polio, and is permanently paralyzed – only able to breathe with a ventilator. He is twenty-eight years old.

The rest of the film shows their journey through dealing with this, and how they overcame a seemingly impossible life-altering condition.

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One of my favorite components of the movie was the love between Robin and Diana. After becoming paralyzed, Robin wants to die – he tells his wife that she could still find someone else, start over.

Diana is having none of this and refuses to give up on him. Not only that, but at twenty-five years old, her fierce loyalty and commitment to someone who can do nothing, can offer nothing for her, is extremely admirable.

It would have been easy for her to do so. Easy to abandon him, take her little son, and find someone else to marry.

But she didn’t.

Because Diana Cavendish understood what true love actually means. The actual definition of love has nothing to do with what we get in return. It has everything to do with selflessness, compassion, respect.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This movie does an amazing example of showing what love actually looks like, and in a world where divorce is common, we need more films like this that demonstrate how love and commitment in a marriage work.

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Another thing I really appreciated, was the light it shed on people with disabilities. I am not paralyzed, or in a wheelchair, so I can’t speak for those people, but I do have a medical condition, and as such, I know how important it is to be represented in film. So I was glad that they were able to do that with the many people who have disabilities in the world.

Not to mention, the history behind the wheelchair and movable ventilator. I can’t even imagine how many lives were forever changed by Robin and Diana’s work. With their invention, for the first time, people with significant disabilities were able to live outside of a hospital.

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I also appreciated the relationship shown between Jonathan and Diana. Obviously, the film focused more on Diana and Robin’s relationship, however, the scenes that they had as mother and son, were strong and showed how much they relied on each other for strength.

Overall, I loved the movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely need to! If you have seen it, what did you think?

~ Southern Dreamer

P.S. If you weren’t aware, Robin and Diana’s son produced the film. So. Yeah, right in the feels xD

Midnight Sun ~ Movie Review

Recently, I went to see¬†Midnight Sun¬†with one of my friend’s. I had seen the trailer and was really excited to see the movie. For one, there was going to be a romance, and anyone who knows me, knows that Hallmark Channel-like movies are my cup of tea. And besides that, I was super happy that another film about someone with an illness other than cancer was being showcased.

The National Institute of Health says that 23.5 million Americans suffer from auto-immune diseases (https://www.aarda.org/news-information/statistics/#1488234345468-3bf2d325-1052). I do think that it is important to look at other types of illnesses and have more light shed on them. My entire point with the statistic was to show that many people would relate to a character in a film who has another type of disorder/illness. I believe that Hollywood should branch out a little more and make more movies about people with other unseen illnesses like diabetes, lupus, narcolepsy, etc…

ANYWHO.

Apologies for the semi-rabbit trail xD

See the source imageMidnight Sun is a movie about Katie Price, played by Bella Thorne, who has a rare disorder: a life-threatening sensitivity to the sun. Because of her disease, she can never go outside during the day, and has been homeschooled her entire life. During the first few minutes, a flashback details how she met her bestfriend РMorgan, played by Quinn Shephard, and shows the most important person in her life Рher father, played by Rob Riggle.

The premise of the movie is that she is faced with the decision to tell her long-time crush, Charlie – played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, about her illness…or keep it a secret and play normal for a while, risking her life in the process.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

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LAST WARNING.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Now that that’s out of the way! ūüėČ Onto the spoiler part of the movie review.

One of my favorite things about the movie was Katie’s relationship with her father. For reasons I will never understand, many times Hollywood seems to enjoy giving dads and men in general a bad rap, so it was really refreshing to see this close, healthy relationship.

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I loved the genuine honesty in their relationship. There was no lying or tricking the other person. The one time that Katie tries to lie; she doesn’t even make it half a day before telling her dad.

I absolutely love that.

Katie is genuinely a good teenager. She’s not perfect by any means, but she doesn’t lie to her dad or sneak behind his back. Her heart is in the right place, and I really love how they portrayed her character.

On that note, I seriously adored her entire interactions with Charlie. For one, maybe it’s just me, but like so relatable??? I feel like a lot of times in movies people are all smooth and not-awkward when it comes to crushes and dating. I’m sure that definitely applies to some people – like Morgan, but for the rest of us out there aka Katie, well, it doesn’t come quite as easily.

I thought Charlie was a great character. The twist of popular guy, who does something stupid, gets injured in the process, and pretty much loses everything he had been working towards, making him wiser and put a stop to getting wasted/drunk was a refreshing change. Not to mention, that he was really sweet to Katie. Even after he learned about her disease – knowing that she would likely die, Charlie did not leave her.

See the source imageHe could have and I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he did, after all, pure logic says that what would be the point if the end is inevitable anyway? But he didn’t, and that entire scene and monologue is wonderful.

The movie also has some funny moments. Like when Katie is amazed at the “party,” and Morgan heaves a sigh, mumbling that no this is not a real party, and no Garver do not listen to her – she has never been to a party before and has no idea what she’s talking about. I also loved the Taylor Swift comment, relating to Katie’s boy troubles xD

Unfortunately, I now must discuss the ending. Grab your tissues, go ahead. I promise I won’t judge. Alright, tissues at the ready? Here we go.

Not going to lie, I was in complete denial that the movie was going to end the way it started to look like it would. I kept telling myself, ‘nope. they’re going to find some miraculous cure and everything’s going to be a happily ever after.’

Yeah, that did not happen.

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But gosh y’all, the way the constructed the ending was so like heart-wrenching??? In terms of storytelling, they did a great job of tying everything together and giving the viewer a punch to the heart. Of course, as a viewer, I also did not want it to end that way, so, take that with what you will.

The song Katie recorded as she started to decline – “Charlie’s Song.” How Charlie used the money he had been saving for his truck, to rent out a real recording studio so she could record her song.

How her song stared playing on the radio as Charlie was driving, after she had died. How it had gone viral. How her dad turned on his radio and started to shout, “That’s my girl! That’s my girl!”

Yep, both horrible and beautiful at the same time.

If you haven’t seen¬†Midnight Sun,¬†I would encourage you to go see it! But be warned, you should probably bring tissues. If you have seen the movie, what did you think? Did the ending leave you satisfied?

~ Southern Dreamer

 

The Purest Love

For those of y’all who didn’t realize it,¬†American Idol¬†started back this past Sunday! This year the judges are Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, and of course, with Ryan Seacrest as the host.

As I was watching the second night, the very last audition shown caught my attention – and maybe, not for the reason that one would first think. If you haven’t watched it, I would encourage you to check out the clip below:

David Francisco auditions for them, and when he first walks in, you notice the braces that are helping to support his arms and weight. Like they do with many of the auditions, they explain the history of the person, and David was no different. In 2016, he moved to Nashville for the purpose of pursuing music, and in a tragic turn of events, was hit by a distracted driver who ran a red light. A bike offers no protection in the case of an accident, and this situation caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down at only twenty-three years old.

A friend wrote him a letter to encourage him not to give up, and long story short, that friend РChristie Рis now his fiancé.

For his audition, David sang “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder.

As he is singing, you can see that Katy Perry starts to really tear up and get emotional. I couldn’t find the exact clip – this video doesn’t show it, but after they walk out of the audition room, you can hear Katy say, “It’s the purest kind of love” referring to the couple.

When I was talking about it with my mom, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t his story in and of itself that brought her to tears. It was the fact that he and his fianc√© were so in love, despite all of the difficulties that life had thrown at them. How Christie, chose to stay by his side and love him through everything, even when he could not walk or dance or do all the activities that you would normally find a couple doing. She could have easily decided to leave him and find someone else, someone who was completely healthy – but she did not. Christie stayed by his side.

And most of Hollywood does not have that.

They have cheapened romance and love, thrown commitment out the window – made having affairs something to be admired and sought after. There is no depth, no lasting promise to stay with someone forever – even when you disagree, argue.

random by southern-dreams on Polyvore featuring artWhere are the stories like Jack and Rose from the Titanic, how he would rather die than see her perish? Or The Princess Bride with Buttercup and Wesley, the loyalty and willingness to not care whether they were poor on the farm or living in the grandest castle? What about the comical adventures of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, from I Love Lucy, who were committed and enjoyed the journey of life together?

The amount of classic, appropriate romances coming out of Hollywood, that actually have depth and commitment, are unfortunately not many. This is why, I believe, Katy Perry became so emotional watching David singing, and Christie lovingly waiting on the sidelines.

She does not see that in her day-to-day life. Most people, especially in the stardom industry, could care less about keeping vows that you make to someone – if they even manage to become committed enough for marriage!

It is truly sad how far our society has gone, and the relationships and family unit that have suffered as a result. Divorce? Cheating, affairs? Far more common than it should be. And what really gets me angry, and stumped if I’m being honest, is how people can cheat on their spouses when they have¬†children?!¬†The notion that having an affair and then divorcing because of that or because you do not want to have to do the hard work in a relationship, the idea that this does not affect the children is absolutely ridiculous.

As a society, we need to start taking back these things. Why should we let how Hollywood and the media portrays relationships, love, and sex dictate our actions? We are better than that Рwe need to be better than not.

I’m not so na√Įve to think that this is easy. We are all sinners, who unfortunately struggle with sin. Nothing good ever came easy, but for heaven’s sake,¬†let’s start doing something about it.¬†

If we fail, well, there’s the next day to try again. But we a society, we need to start redefining romance and love to what it is actually meant to be…sincere, loyal, committed, respectful.

Let’s stop lowering our expectations with these “celebrate a one month anniversary” for dating. Yeah, that’s great that you’ve been dating for one month! Exciting, fun. But in my opinion, one month is just getting to know someone – it is not even a true test of commitment yet. What we should be celebrating and encouraging others to do, is for someone who is resisting the temptation to sin in a relationship – cheer them on! Encourage them. What we should be making a big deal of, is for those who get through the first year of marriage, for those who have been married for ten years, twenty years, fifty years. For the people that say¬†we are going to stay together and work through these issues in our relationship.¬†For the couples that decide to be committed and not leave the other, even when hard times hit.

Faithfulness is such an important component in life. No one would ever abandon a pet, or decide after two weeks of working at a job they had dreamed about for their entire life to quit – most people wouldn’t that is…then why do we treat relationships any differently?

Both sets of my grandparents, and my own mom and dad, have demonstrated what it looks like to be faithful even in the midst of hardships. Being faithful doesn’t mean you always agree with the other person, or even like them very much at some particular moment, but it does mean that you stick with them through thick and thin.

And honestly, I think that’s why having faith in Jesus as a part of a marriage is so important. When you have Jesus, then you have a higher loyalty – so even on the days when you want to give up, you can remind yourself of the promise you made to God. Not only that, but looking at the example of Jesus. He loved us even when we did not love him back, and he continues to love us even when we blatantly oppose his authority and sin.

In conclusion, I hope that Hollywood will create more films like The Greatest Showman that show love with depth, sincerity, and commitment, and as a society, I pray that we will start reclaiming the true definition of love and not let it be changed to something that is cheapened.

~ Southern Dreamer