Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster directed by Scott Jeralds

Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster directed by Scott Jeralds is a fun adventure cartoon movie when Scooby and his human pals travel to Scotland to help Daphne's cousin Shannon Blake host the Highland Games on the shores of Loch Ness. While there, Scooby and Shaggy have a run in with the Loch Ness Monster, or so they think. Additionally, the gang has to navagate between the arguments of a man who believes the Loch Ness Monster is a myth, and a woman who is completely convinced that Nessie is real! What will happen as the kids work to find out what is really going on? Watch the movie and find out! The movie's primary audience is children, but all ages would find it enjoyable. The movie was published in 2004.

Bach's Fight for Freedom by David Devine

Bach's Fight for Freedom by David Devine and directed by Stuart Gillard is a story about a small section in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach when he was in his early 30s and working for Duke Willhelm. A young pre-teen protagonist named Frederick comes in contact with him when Fredrick is
assigned to be Mr. Bach's assistant. Though the two butt heads at first, they soon come to realize that they are kindred spirits. Each of them has dreams he wants to fulfill, but is stifled by the constricts of society, Duke Wilhelm's wishes, and family expectations. The most inspiring scene in the movie for me, was when "If there's something in this world that you are meant to do, then just go out and do it. People will only discourage you if you let them." I enjoyed the movie very much, and recommend it to fans of classical music, especially of J.S. Bach's work. But the story can be enjoyed by anyone who likes inspiring stories of friendship and overcome difficulty. It was first made in 1995.

Audiobook: Build Your House Upon a Rock by Hank Smith

I just finished listening to a very inspiring talk by Hank Smith that was recorded and put on an audiobook by Covenant Communications called Build Your House Upon a Rock by Hank Smith. The talk is directed at young people, ages 12-17, but as an adult I still found it inspiring and educational. Hank Smith talks about the parable from the Bible about a man who build his house upon a rock versus the man who built his house on sand. The house on the rock stayed firm when a storm came, and the house on the sand was washed away. Hank Smith joked about when he was little, he imagined the man with the house on the rock building it literally
upon a massive rock, having to use a ladder to climb up to it. But he later learned that translated from Hebrew and Greek, the word "rock" is synonymous with "foundation". He said back in ancient Israel, people built their houses on foundations just like we do, nowadays. And the story about the man building his house on a rock was just about a man building his house on a strong foundation that was able to withstand the storm. He compared the foundation of the house in the parable to a person's private life. He mentioned that when you look at a house, you don't really notice the foundation. The house that is visible he compared to a person's public life. He said that who you are in your private life, your foundation, may not be visible to others. But eventually, who you are in your private life shows up in your public life. If you have a poor foundation, the house, the public life, will eventually crumble for all to see. But if your private life is sound, strong, moral, etc. Then that will show in your public life. The way Hank Smith presented his talk was fun and friendly, yet very straightforward, honest, and inspiring. Build Your House Upon a Rock was first produced in 2016.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Rush Revere and the First Patriots by Rush Limbaugh

Rush Revere and the First Patriots is the second book of a five book series by Rush Limbaugh. In this book, the main protagonist Mr. Rush Revere and four students, Kam,
Tommy, Freedom, and Elizabeth, along with Mr. Revere's talking, time traveling horse Liberty of course, travel back in time to both England and New England just before the Revolutionary War. They participate in the Boston Tea Party, visit with Benjamin Franklin and other patriots, and even visit with King George III and find out a little about his thinking as well. Like the first book in the series, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, I thought that this was an entertaining and educational look into history, particularly the history of the United States. Rush Revere and the First Patriots was published in 2014.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh was a fun historical story that I feel children would enjoy. In the story, history teacher Mr. Rush Revere and his magical, talking, time traveling horse Liberty, bring history alive for his students at Manchester Middle School, especially Tommy and Freedom, two bright young students
who accompany him and Liberty to meet people like William and Dorothy Bradford, Miles Standish, Squanto, Samoset, and Masasoit. While the story did not ignore the fact that some of the pilgrims died that first winter (including Dorothy Bradford) the story doesn't dwell on it more than I felt was appropriate for a children's story. It was a fun and age appropriate look at one of the important parts in the history of the United States. Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims was published in 2013.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo is a fun story for children. When Mercy Watson, a lovable, corpulent piggie crawls into bed with her owners, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, her
weight is too much for the floor, which begins to crack, threatening to spill all its occupants into the first story of the house. But not to worry! Mercy goes to the rescue! Or does she? Follow Mercy Watson on her adventure to...get sugar cookies? Or was it alert the fire department? This story is a funny tale for small children to enjoy, and it brings a smile to the faces of grown ups reading the story to children! This story was first published in 2009.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Author J. Scott Savage

One of my favorite authors, and lucky for me, a good friend as well, is J. Scott Savage. As of the writing of this post, he is the author of 18 novels, including The Far World series, (Water Keep, Land Keep, Air Keep, and Fire Keep), the Mysteries of Cove series, (Fires of Invention, Gears of Revolution, Embers of Destruction) and The Lost Wonderland Diaries which has just begun. I love J. Scott Savage's books for the fun adventures they contain, the action that hardly lets up until the end, the surprising twists that happen, and the positive morals they teach kids (and adults) without being overly didactic.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favorite books of all time.The reluctant hero, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins sets off on a quest to help a group of dwarves regain their homeland, an extinct volcanic mountain that is hollow inside, from a dragon that took it from them.
Hobbits, incidentally, are a human-like species that, when full grown, are only about 3.5 feet tall, at the tallest. Their feet are extremely tough, and therefore they don't need to wear shoes. Even in winter. On his adventures with his new friends, Bilbo Baggins encounters all sorts of trouble, from trolls to giant spiders. Will he succeed in his quest? And will he return home alive? Read the book and find out! The Hobbit was first published in 1937.

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull follows the adventures of three friends, Nate, Summer, Pigeon and Trevor as they become aquainted with Mrs. White, the proprietor of The Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shop, a new candy story in town. At first thinking that she is a sweet but otherwise unremarkable motherly middle aged lady they quickly discover that she has special candy. Candy that has magical properties.
It's pretty great to be able to pop a candy into your mouth, and then bounce around like you're on the moon, right? But Mrs. White doesn't just want to share her magical candy with the kids. When she starts asking them to do illegal things for her, the kids balk. And that's when Mrs. White shows her... not so sweet side. Can the kids avoid her wrath? And along with that, will they be able to help John Dart and Mr. Stott keep her from her ultimate goal...of taking over the world? Read the book and find out! The Candy Shop War was first published in 2007.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy by Melissa de la Cruz was an enjoyable middle grade about a middle school girl, Filomena Jefferson-Cho who finds herself whisked away from the real world into the fairy tail world of her favorite books series. The story itself was entertaining, and I feel that while I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, I'm not the target audience. As an adult, I found a lot of plot holes, unnecessary gaps, and big chunks of time jumped where things happened quickly, but needed, in my opinion, to be explained more.
I can understand the appeal to middle grade readers. Filomena is an awkward child, overprotected by the parents who adopted her, and picked on by the school bullies. A character many middle grade readers can empathize with. And as many middle grade readers also imagine and dream about, she is wisked away to a world where she is no longer awkward, but one of the key heroes. A very fun and relatable tale for younger readers. This book was first published in 2020.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya

The Wielder Series by Franca Ogbonnaya is an exciting series of books set in a fantasy world populated with fascinating and diverse species. So far, there are two books, and a novella. I have read both books, The Novice Wielder and The Wielder Trials. The main character of both books is a young lady named Britea. The first story begins with her thinking she is an average teenager with nothing unusual or special about her, until she exhibits the ability to wield water.
Like in Avatar, there are four types of elements that can be controlled by wielders, air, water, fire, and earth. Some of the species I mentioned earlier are the Dyhaeri, a water-dwelling human like species, and the Alkynaia, sea-serpents who are intelligent. Oh, and did I mention there's an evil queen who drains the lives out of young wielders, in a sort of Elizabeth Bathory situation? While the series is only two books long at the moment (plus a novella) it promises to have more excitement in future books!
I've known Franca Ogbonnaya for quite a few years as an online friend. And when I found out she had gotten some of her books published I was so excited for her! She is a great writer (she even won a writing contest I had done a long time ago to celebrate the publication of one of my books) and I was glad that her books were published! The series is aimed at teens, but anyone who enjoys exciting adventures in fantastical lands would enjoy this fun series! The Novice Wielder was first published in 2018 and The Wielder Trials was first published in 2020.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Rikki Tikki Tavi directed by Chuck Jones

The movie Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones is, in my opinion, as delightful as the written story. The storyline is mostly the same. There are a few differences, however that I noticed. Not large enough to change the story as a whole, though. One small difference is that when Rikki Tikki is found after having crawled out of the river half choked, Teddy, his young human friend, and Teddy's mother Alice find him in the written story. In the animated movie, it is Teddy and his father who find him. Other than that, there are few other deviations between the movie and written story. The animation is fun, the colors are bright, and Rikki Tikki's characterization, including his expressions are well done, making him endearing to the audience, especially to children.
As in the written story, Nag and Nagaina, male and female cobras try to ambush Rikki, but he is saved by the warning of a pair of Taylor birds. Later, Rikki confronts and defeats Karait, another snake after Karait threatens Teddy. But Rikki still has Nag and Nagaina to deal with, and when Chuchundra, the muskrat fearfully warns Rikki that the two cobras are trying to get into the house, Rikki knows he doesnt have much time! The DVD version that I watched also had a bonus story, Yankee Doodle Cricket, which I thought was also well done. The animated version of Rikki Tikki Tavi, directed by Chuck Jones and based on the story by the same name by Rudyard Kipling was published in 1975.

Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling is a short story written primarily for children. The title character, Rikki Tikki Tavi, is a young mongoose who is washed away from his home by a flood. Though half choked, a British family that has come to India to live for an undetermined time in a bungalow nearby, find him and nurse him back to health. Rikki Tikki quickly makes friends with Teddy, the youngest member of the family, as well as Teddy's mother Alice, and Teddy's father (whose name we are not told) though Teddy is clearly Rikki Tikki's favorite.
The day after he is saved by the family, Rikki Tikki is exploring the garden, and encounters two agressive cobras, Nag, and Nagaina, a male and female cobra who try to ambush the young mongoose, but fail at killing Rikki when a pair of Taylor birds warn Rikki that one of the cobras is coming at him from behind. Later, when Rikki discovers Karait, a small, dusty brown snake threatening Rikki's beloved Teddy, the young mongoose goes on the defensive, and successfully defends his human friend. But Nag and Nagaina are still out there! Rikki Tikki Tavi is an enjoyable tale, especially for children. And it can get them excited to learn more about real life animals in India. Rikki Tikki Tavi was first published in 1894.

Pumpkin Roll by Josi Kilpack

I am starting to be a big fan of Sadie Hoffmiller! She is the main character in Pumpkin Roll, by Josi Kilpack, the 6th book in a 13 book series. There are few things Sadie enjoys more than baking. She does love sharing what she bakes, and being around her boyfriend, Pete.
It's Halloween time, and middle aged Sadie is in Boston helping her gentleman friend Pete look after his three rambunctious grandsons while his son and daughter in law are working to secure a new place to live. If she left things well enough alone, things would go smoothly for her. But good hearted Sadie can't help but stick her nose into other peoples' business--when she feels someone is in need of her help, anyway. And Mrs. Wapple, across the street, who is referred to as a "witch" by Pete's grandsons, is acting strangely. Not in a sinister way, that Sadie can see, but in a way that suggests to Sadie that Mrs. Wapple needs help. So what does Sadie do? Jump in with both feet, of course to try to get help for Mrs. Wapple. But when Mrs. Wapple's sister seems less than enthusiastic about helping, and then when an old frenemy of Sadie shows up wanting to help, things start getting more complicated. This was a fun book to listen to (I listened to the CDs) and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery. And I understand the print book has some of Sadie's recipes in it! Pumpkin Roll was published in 2011.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis is an exciting story about how the visits between Earth and Narnia first began. Diggory and Polly, a boy and girl who are friends accidentally stumble into Diggory's unscrupulous uncle's private attic room while they're trying to explore the crawl space of the row of town homes in which the two friends live. Diggory's Uncle Andrew, seizing the opportunity for an experiment, tricks Polly into touching one of the magic rings he has created, which compels Diggory to go after her to rescue her. Thus begins their adventure into the "wood between the worlds" and other places, including a frightening place where they meet someone wicked who makes an appearance in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The Magician's Nephew is an exciting story for children as well as adults who enjoy fantastical adventures in fantasy worlds. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys such stories.
The Magician's Nephew was first published in 1955.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

My Dearest Enemy by Jennifer Moore

My Dearest Enemy by Jennifer Moore is a sweet, and well-written love story that takes place during the war of 1812. Abigail Tidwell, a Canadian, finds a wounded American soldier in her barn, and feeling a moral obligation to help him, despite the fact that he is one of those "Cursed Americans" she uses her medical skills taught to her by her father to save his life. Thinking that is the end of her obligations to him, she is surprised to discover that he is worried about the men in his group from which he was separated during the battle where he was wounded, and needs her medical skills to help them as well. What follows is an exciting story that looks at the war of 1812 from both sides. It involves a smart, skilled heroine and a brave, valiant hero. And of course, a dastardly villain who is out to get them both. I enjoyed this story, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys clean, historical romance. My Dearest Enemy was published in 2018.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Lake Quilt Mystery by S.D. Brown

The Lake Quilt Mystery by S.D. Brown starts out with Kelsey and her mom headed to what they think will be a relaxing vacation at a mountain resort. Kelsey’s only complaint is that her best friend is in the hospital recovering from a burst appendix. But then things get more complicated when clues show Kelsey that there is more to this Lake resort than she first thought.
Sinister things. Using her ability to solve clues, Kelsey starts to piece together (ha ha, quilting pun) the fragmented parts of this mystery that will uncover a deeper, darker side to this resort. Will Kelsey solve the clues in time? Kids and adults who enjoy mysteries with clever young protagonists will enjoy this book! The Lake Quilt Mystery was first published in 2013.

Beat by Jared Garrett

Beat by Jared Garrett
is a very exciting post-apocalyptic story about a young man who lives in a society that can't get too excited. Literally. They're told that if their heartrate goes over 140, that the "bug" that's in their systems will activate and kill them. So they're told. But Nik suspects otherwise. As he starts to uncover the truth, he starts to learn how controlling his society is. But he also finds himself and his friends in greater and greater danger. When he realizes what the Prime Administrator is willing to do to anyone who knows the truth, he realizes he needs to get the truth out there, all while staying away from the Enforsers. I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who likes exciting, non-stop action, and post apocalyptic stories. Beat was first published in 2018.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary is a fun book that I remember fondly from my childhood. Listening to it on CD recently, I discovered happily, that I enjoyed it just as much as before. Ralph, a juvenile mouse living in a hotel, meets Keith, a young boy who has come to stay for a few days with his parents. Ralph is delighted that the boy understands him, and better, that Keith lets him use his toy motorcycle to play with. To make it run, all Ralph needs to do, is make a motor sound with his mouth! Things are going great, until Ralph accidentally ends up in a heap of laundry with the motorcycle! Worse yet, when Keith gets sick, there's no medicine to be found anywhere in the hotel. Will Ralph be able to come to the rescue, even though he can't find the toy motorcycle? Read the book to find out! I recommend this book to youngsters as well as parents who enjoy fantastical stories with animal protagonists. The Mouse and the Motorcycle was first published in 1965.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan

The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan are a group of short stories written by the author of the popular Percy Jackson books. The short stories are fun for anyone who is a fan of fantasy and adventure, but may be more especially appreciated by fans of Riordan's work. I am only familiar with Percy Jackson through the movies, and this is my first experience with Riordan's writing. It was well done and exciting, and I appreciated his ability to put tension and excitement into his stories. These 4 stories shed a bit more light on a few of the characters readers get to know in his other books. People who know the stories of these characters more than I do, might have their heartstrings yanked on just a bit more. Being only slightly familiar with the stories, I felt the tug as I read Luke's story, having some idea of what is coming later after the diary entries of his that I read. All around, the stories are entertaining, and I recommend them to readers young and old who enjoy Greek mythology, fantasy, and fast-paced action. The Demigod Diaries was published in 2012.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is a delightful story about a girl growing up in the 19th century in Wisconsin. Caddie gets into lots of adventures and scrapes with her brothers since her parents let her be an outdoorsy tomboy. Her mother isn't too happy about it, but Caddie loves her life. She is able to go on all sorts of adventures with her brothers, and makes friends with Native Americans, especially John and John's Dog, and when her neighbors fear that the Natives will turn on them and talk about attacking them, it's Caddie who is able to ride to the Indians' camp and warn them. Caddie finds herself in all sorts of trouble sometimes though because of her wild ways, and when the teasing of her cousin Annabelle goes too far, what will happen?
Readers who enjoy books like Anne of Green Gables would enjoy reading Caddie Woodlawn. Caddie Woodlawn was first published in 1935.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis may be my personal favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia. Mostly because when I first experienced the story as a young person, I was found myself relating to Jill Pole. She and Eustace Scrubb, after running away from some bullies, find their way into Narnia. A place where Eustace has been before, but not Jill. After a panic attack on the edge of a very high cliff, and accidentally tossing Eustace off (he doesn't die!) Jill meet Aslan who gives her some instructions which she has to take to Eustace in order to have his help in right a wrong that has come to the kingdom of Narnia, and the family of an old friend of Eustace's. With the help of a marshwiggle, the two teenagers set off on an adventure to save the king's lost son. But as they run into one problem after another, the group starts to get discouraged. If you want to find out what happens next, read this exciting book! The Silver Chair was first published in 1953.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Perhaps the most popular of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is an exciting adventure following four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy first stumbled into a strange world when hiding in a wardrobe, and soon, after some misunderstand, and some rather unkind behavior on Edmund's part, the others find their way there, as well. This magical realm is not at all a safe place for them, since there is an evil queen who wants to kill any sons of Adam and daughters of Eve (humans) she finds. And the four siblings are exactly that. But with Edmund having been tricked by the evil queen, the other three find themselves in danger! Read the book to find out what happens next in this fun fantasy adventure! The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was first published in 1949.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis is the first, chronologically, anyway, in the Chronicles of Narnia. Friends Diggory and Polly are trying to do some exploring in the attic of the townhouse in which they live when they accidentally stumble upon Diggory's weird uncle in his attic study. Some funny yellow and green rings on a tray catch Polly's attention, and when she touches one, she suddenly disappears, much to Diggory's horror, and his uncle's amusement! What Diggory does to rescue her leads into the rest of the story involving a dying world, an evil queen, and the birth of a wonderful series! If you enjoy middle grade fantasy with strong Christian metaphors, you will enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia, in particular, The Magician's Nephew!
The Magician's Nephew was first published in 1955.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Children of the Lamp: The Cobra King of Kathmandu by Philip Kerr

The Cobra King of Kathmandu by Philip Kerr
is the third book in the Children of the Lamp series, and is another exciting adventure for the twins, John and Phillipa Gaunt. This time, the twins are trying to help their friend Buck find out who murdered his friend. Their search takes them to India and to the Cult of the Nine Cobras, and its repulsive leader. Their Uncle Nimrod would usually help them, but he's off on another adventure of his own, so they take their butler, Mr. Gronin. But when Mr. Gronin is captured by the cult, what are the twins and Buck going to do? This is an exciting middle grade book that young people as well as adults would enjoy. This book was copyrighted in 2007.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey

The Heart of the Rebellion by Sian Ann Bessey
is an enjoyable medieval romance filled with a mix of historical people as well as fictional characters. Rhys ap Tudor and his brothers are drawn by honor into the Welsh rebellion after Henry IV imposes heavy and unfair taxes upon the Welsh people. Meanwhile, Lady Catrin Buckley feels compassion for the people from whom her mother comes. Despite being the daughter of an English Lord, she is also the daughter of a Welsh woman. And though her mother has died, she still feels a pull toward the land and people. When she meets Rhys ap Tudor, she feels both a kinship with him because of the duty he feels toward liberating the Welsh people, as well as a strong attraction toward Rhys himself. But her father has recently betrothed her to a man she doesn't love. What are Catrin and Rhys to do? This story is an enjoyable, clean romance which I really liked, and which I recommend to readers of historical fiction. The Heart of the Rebellion was published in 2019.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Beyond the Mask- Movie Review

Beyond the Mask produced by the Burns Family Studios is an interesting action movie set during the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. William Reynolds has been a mercenary for the East India Company. But when he is betrayed and double crossed by his boss, he sets out to make a new life for himself. Trying to stay one step ahead of his former boss, he finds his way to America, and in his efforts to clear his name, and win back the trust of his sweetheart Charlotte, he bungles things up. But in his efforts to make his mistake right, he finds the support of Charlotte as well as Benjamin Franklin. Will he be able to undo a plot to blow up Independence Hall? I liked the movie, though it was a bit choppy in places, and some things weren't explained as well as they could have been. Still, it was a clean, uplifting movie with exciting action and a very obvious religious theme of redemption and grace. John Rhys-Davies did a wonderful job as the antagonist, and Andrew Cheney and Kara Killmer did great as the hero and heroine. Beyond the Mask is copyrighted 2015.