Sunday, November 20, 2022

Annie: The Musical, Performed by Duchesne High School

Duchesne High School's Drama department has completed 2 performances of Annie: The Musical on Friday evening, and Saturday evening. I attended the Saturday evening performance and enjoyed it very much. Annie is a spunky, redheaded orphan growing up under the critical eye of Miss Hannigan in a New York City orphanage. Despite her difficult situation, Annie is brave and resilient, as well as supportive to her fellow orphans. One thing she really believes is that her parents will one day come for her.
She was left on the step of Miss Hannigan's orphanage as a baby with a note that her parents would come back for her someday. She was also left with a broken locket, with a promise that when her parents returned, they would bring the other piece with them, to prove that they are her parents. But Annie is 11 years old, and her parents still have not shown up yet. And Miss Hannigan is mean! But then one day, Grace, the secretary of wealthy Mr. Warbucks shows up at the orphanage and says that Mr. Warbucks would like an orphan to stay at his house for two weeks. And Grace picks Annie to stay. But what happens when Miss Hannigan, her brother Rooster, and Rooster's girlfriend hatch a plan to trick Mr. Warbucks out of some of his money? Come to the play on Monday the 21st or Tuesday the 22nd at 7:30 pm (preshow starts at 7 pm) to find out! Tickets at the door are $7.00 for kids 11 and under, and $9.00 for everyone 12 and older.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Swiss Family Robinson- Movie Review

Swiss Family Robinson, first released in 1960 by Disney, is a fun classic movie about a family, a mom, dad, and three boys ranging from their early twenties, to pre-teen. After being abandoned by the crew of the ship they were sailing on, the family barely make it to an island where they bring as much ashore as they can, including the animals. There is an exciting scene where the dad and older sons have tied all the animals that can swim in a line behind the raft their on, and are trying to get them to shore when sharks start to circle. They're able to fight off the sharks without anything bad happening, and continue to make the best of things on the island. Some conflict enters in when the older boys, on a trip to explore around the island, rescue someone from some pirates, and realize later that they've rescued a young woman! They thought at first from the way she was dressed, that she was a boy. And then the two brothers start to compete for her attention. But then their problems only worsen when the same pirates that captured the young woman come after the family as well! Will the six of them be able to fight off a whole boatload of pirates? Watch the movie and find out!

Encanto- Movie Review

Encanto is a delightful story about a family where each member has marvelous powers. Except for Mirabel. The grandmother, Alma, subtly looks down on her granddaughter because of this, but Mirabel has an amazingly bright outlook on life despite the inner struggle she has with not having a power of her own. At least until she starts to realize, and helps her family members start to realize that their worth is not defined by what they can do, but simply by their being themselves. Will Abuela start to see her children and grandchildren as worthwhile people with or without magical powers? Watch the exciting movie to find out! Encanto was directed by Jared Bush and Bryon Howard, and was first released in 2021.

Jumanji- Movie Review

Jumanji, starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, and Bradley Pierce, is an exciting, family friendly movie about a dangerous board came that two children and adults are forced to play to the end to make the bad things that come out of it, go away! But will they be able to get to the end of the game before the dangerous animals, plants, and a human hunting hunter get them? Watch the exciting movie to find out! Jumanji was first produced in 1995.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Daniel and Nephi by Chris Heimerdinger

Daniel and Nephi by Chris Heimerdinger is a book about two eleven year old boys around 600 b.c. in Jerusalem and the nearby lands.
Heimerdinger explores the possibility of the historical figures Daniel (from the Bible) and Nephi (from the Book of Mormon) meeting as children and the danger and adventures they go on. After Daniel's father is murdered, and he is kidnapped, he's rescued in the desert by Ishmael, a family friend of Nephi's family and the adventure goes from there. What happens when the murderers of Daniel's father realize he's alive and decide to come after him? Read the book and find out! Daniel and Nephi was first published in 1993.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is about a small Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. He is about half the size of an average human.
He loves being at home, safe, and comfortable. But despite all this, he is recruited by a wizard and thirteen dwarves to help them out on a quest to get their home and their treasure back. The problem is that there are orcs and spiders on the way there, and a big dragon who has taken over the dwarves' home! Will Bilbo be successful? Read the book and find out. The Hobbit was first published in 1937.

Movie Review: Miracles from Heaven

Miracles from Heaven starring Jennifer Garner and Kylie Rogers, and directed by Patricia Riggen is a inspiring, faith-promoting, family friendly movie.
It is based on a true story about a little girl, Annabelle Beam who got very sick with what doctors called an incurable disease. Despite the gloomy outlook, her parents, her mom especially, do not give up and do everything they can to get Annabelle what help they can. What happens to Annabelle toward the end of the film? Watch the movie and find out! Miracles from Heaven was produced in 2016.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Return of the King the final book in The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien concludes the adventures of Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf, the surviving members of The Fellowship as they face Sauron and his orcs in their last struggle. Sam and Frodo are in Mordor, but will they make it to Mount Doom? And will Frodo be able to throw the ring into the lava, or will it completely take over his mind?
And while he and Sam are making their way through Mordor, what is the rest of the fellowship doing? Merry and Pippin, best pals, have been separated. Pippin is in Gondor, and Merry is in Rohan. Legolas and Gimli, despite being from two species that have never really gotten along, have become best friends and have learned to support and appreciate each others' differences. Gandalf the Grey has become Gandalf the White, and has greater powers than before. But for how long? Will they be able to successfully stand against Sauron, or will he defeat them? It all hinges on Frodo getting the ring to Mount Doom! Return of the King was first published in 1955.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Two Towers, the second book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien continues Frodo's journey toward Mordor. Now, separated from his companions, except for Sam and a strange little creature named Gollum, Frodo is still trying to get the ring to Mount Doom. But he can't fully trust Gollum.
And when he meets a strange ranger named Faramir, he isn't sure what to make of the guy and his friends. Meanwhile, the rest of the fellowship is broken apart and strung out across Middle Earth, working to do what they can to stop Sauron from taking over the world. But will they be successful, or will Sauron destroy everything good in the world? The Two Towers was published in 1954.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, starts off the adventure of Frodo Baggins, the nephew of Bilbo Baggins who once found a mysterious ring on his adventure to fight a dragon and help some dwarves get their home back.
As Frodo discovers, the ring is much more than he realized. It's actually dangerous and needs to be destroyed. It was made by Sauron, and can only be used for evil purposed. And having been made by Sauron, it can only be destroyed by throwing it into the lava in Mount Doom where it was created. So how will little Frodo, a hobbit, get it all the way to Mordor where Mount Doom is? Well, when his friends volunteer to help him, along with a dwarf, an elf, and two humans, Frodo just might have a fighting chance! Fellowship of the Ring was first published in 1954.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Kanab Writers' Conference

I recently got back from Kanab, Utah's annual writers' conference, the Kanab Writers Conference. I had a fantastic time teaching a class titled Helping Readers Suspend Disbelief, and enjoying the other classes and activities that the conference hosts. Connecting with friends, old and new, was one of the great parts of the conference. And the presenters were also given a lovely airbnb to stay in for the conference which was so fun! the Kanab Writers' Conference is a great conference for writers at all stages of the writing journey! The committee for the conference did a fantastic job!

Iron Will- Movie Review

Inspired by true events, Iron Will directed by Charles Haid is the story of a young man who sets out on a dangerous cross-country sled race hoping to win the $10,000 prize and save his family's farm from financial ruin.
He and his dogs endure all sorts of trouble, including harassment from a fellow racer who doesn't like the competition. But as he and his dogs work their way along the route, they begin to inspire a nation to believe in his cause. And he helps a cynical and shallow newspaper man start to see Will and his dogs as more than just an inspiring news story, but as a cause that deserves genuine support and not just lip service. Iron Will was first released in 1994.

Spirit Untamed- Movie Review

Spirit Untamed, directed by Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan, is an exciting, family friendly movie about a friendship that develops between a girl and a horse.
Spirit, the horse from the movie Spirit, Stallion of the Cimmaron, continues his story as he and his herd see a train and race it for fun. A girl on the train sees him, and tries to make friends before the train outpaces Spirit and his herd and leave them behind. The girl, Lucky Prescott, is on her way to see her father whom she hasn't seen in years. Not since her mother was killed in a circus accident involving horses. Once in the town where she'll be staying with her father, she makes several friends. And finds, to her surprise, that the stallion she tried to befriend from the train, has been caught and put in a corral. Will she be able to free him? And what happens when Lucky and her friends uncover a plot by rustlers to capture the rest of Spirit's herd and take them into captivity? Watch this fun, family friendly movie to find out! Spirit Untamed was first produced in 2021.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Newspaper Article: Uintah Basin Standard

I am excited to let you know that I was featured in The Uintah Basin Standard on July 13 for my books! Journalist Mason Miles was very kind to contact me and ask me about interviewing me for the paper. Of course I was excited to! HERE is a link to his article in the July 13, 2022 issue of The Uintah Basin Standard. Below is a picture of the front page. No need to tell you that the topmost article is not about me, but the one below it, beside the picture of Felicity's cover!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Sample Extravaganza

If you like reading the first chapter or two of a book before deciding to buy it, then this promotion by My Book Cave is for you. There are 17 titles you can choose from, and download the first few chapters, read them, and decide if you want to read the rest of the book. Check it out HERE.

Northanger Abbey movie review

Northanger Abbey, directed by Jon Jones and starring JJ Field and Felicity Jones and based on a novel of the same name by Jane Austen, is the story of a young woman, Catherine, the fourth child and oldest girl of a family of ten children. She loves to read, and when she is invited to go with her neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Allen to Bath for a while, she starts imagining all sorts of wild scenarios based on what she's read in her books.
She meets Mr. Tilney and Miss Tilney, a brother and sister, and starts to become friends with them. But when Catherine's brother's girlfriend Isabella Thorpe and Isabella's brother start to say bad things about the Tilney family, Catherine isn't sure what to think. Is the Tilney family as shady as the Thorpes say, or is it the Thorpes who are? Watch the movie or read the book, and find out! This version of Northanger Abbey was released in 2007.

Emma movie review

The movie Emma directed by Douglas McGrath and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and based on the movie of the same name by Jane Austen is a delightful adaptation of the book.
Emma is well off financially, but sometimes she is a little bit of an idiot, especially when it comes to her ideas about matchmaking. Having introduced her former governess Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston and watching the two fall in love and marry, Emma now thinks she is a skilled matchmaker. She goes about trying to set her friends up with men she thinks would make good husbands for them. But her schemes fall apart. And when she makes a thoughtless comment to Miss Bates, an old maid, and hurts the other woman's feelings, Emma's lifelong friend Mr. Knightly scolds Emma in Miss Bates' defense, and Emma feels guilty. Will Emma learn how to treat people better, and stop trying to set up the wrong people with each other? Watch the movie or read the book and find out!

Sense and Sensibility movie review

The movie Sense and Sensiblity directed by Ang Lee and based on the book of the same name by Jane Austen follows the struggles of three sisters Elinor, Maryanne, and Margaret Dashwood and their mom after the death of their dad and husband.
The girls' half brother inherits their house, and quickly kicks them out with the encouragement of his wife. While they're preparing to move out to another house, they meet Edward Faris, the brother of their sister-in-law. Elinor and Mr. Faris quickly form an attachment, but his sister and the rest of her family are against the relationship going any further since the Faris family wants Edward to marry into money. Later, the family meets kind-hearted Captain Brandon who develops feelings for Maryanne, but what will happen when she falls for another guy much richer? What will happen to these sisters? And what will happen when Maryanne comes down with a high fever when she and Elinor are away from home? The movie was first released in 1999.

The Thief Lord movie review

The Thief Lord, directed by Richard Claus, and based on a book of the same name by Cornelia Funke, is the story of two brothers recently orphaned.
The younger brother is taken in by the boys' aunt and uncle. But the adults don't want both brothers. To stay together, the two brothers run away to Venice, a city where their mom always wanted to take them. Not sure what to do for food or shelter, the brothers are getting desperate when they meet Scipio, the young Theif Lord who looks after a small group of orphaned kids in an abandoned theatre. What happens when the boys' wicked aunt and uncle show up in Venice and hire a detective to find the boys? Watch the movie or read the book to find out! The movie The Thief Lord was first released in 2006. The book The Thief Lord was first published in 2003.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Friend's Sad News: Becka's Battle

Some good friends recently experienced the tragic loss of their beloved sister and daughter, Becka Denney Milne to cancer. She fought the whole way, and for a month or so, after one operation, things were looking hopeful. But the cancer came back aggressively, and this time there was nothing the doctors could do.
Becka, daughter of Gayleen Taylor-Denney and Ron Denney, sister of Alaina Denney, and wife of Cameron Milne passed from this life on June 23, 2022. Will you consider donating to this gofundme to help her family? While it will not bring her back, it will help to lessen their financial burden. If you are willing to donate, please visit the link HERE. This Gofundme was organized by Maigen Zobell on Gayleen Denney's behalf.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Summer Book Bash! FREE ebooks! Win 25$!

Are you ready for summer? Do you need a good book? Or two? Or...62? Visit the page HERE to find all sorts of FREE ebooks in all sorts of genres! Plus, find more information about this exciting summer giveaway! My book, Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale is one of the giveaway books. If you've already got it, check out some of the other exciting books, to see what kinds you'd be interested in!

Austenland by Shannon Hale

The movie Austenland, staring Keri Russell and JJ Field was based on the book Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale.
In the movie, Jane Hayes, a Jane Austen fan since childhood, embarks on a vacation where she will be fully immersed in the Regency Era, the time of Jane Austen and her novels. As she gets to know her quirky fellow vacationers and the men that she knows (or think she knows) are simply actors portraying Regency gentlemen, Jane realizes that she's in a little over her head, but decides to stick it out. She gets to know Martin, one of the servants, and thinks he's the only real person who isn't acting a part.
But she's also confused about the real feelings she is developing for Mr. Nobely, the hostess's nephew. Are her feelings real, or will they go away after her vacation is over? Read the book to find out, and then watch the movie to see how it compares! Austenland: A Novel was published in 2007 and Austenland the movie was released in 2013.

The Great Mouse Detective Movie

The Great Mouse Detective by Disney is, in my opinion, a fun movie. Basil of Baker Street, the mouse equavalent to Sherlock Holmes, is called upon by a small mouse child whose daddy has been kidnapped.
As it turns out, the evil Ratigan has kidnapped her inventive father to make a sinister invention so that Ratigan can take over the United Kingdom. Parents would want to be aware of a scene in it where a female mouse is performing in a bar and removes much of what she is wearing during the performance down to a blue leodard type outfit. I felt the movie should be PG because of that as well as some darker themes; one minor character is eaten alive by a cat and Ratigan attempts to murder Basil and his colleagues in a rather gruesome way. Because of those things I mentioned, parents should watch this movie for themselves before they show it to their children. The Great Mouse Detective was released in 1986.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Read. Help Children. Win. Books for only 99¢!

Starting today, and lasting until May 21, my book Raccoons and Rabbit Holes will be part of a promotion that will be helping children in Ukraine. Children in Ukraine are innocent of all political conflicts, and SAVE THE CHILDREN charity is there to help these littlest victims. Authors in this group promotion are donating the proceeds from these books to help. The more books you buy during the promotion, the more they will donate! Visit Read. Help Children. Win. to browse the books which have all been marked to 99¢! Raccoons and Rabbit Holes is only one of several books in many different genres and ratings which are all participating in this fundraiser. I hope you visit the site and browse through the list to see what books you're interested in! There are also a number of exciting prizes you might win by participating!

The Last Unicorn directed by Rankin and Bass

The Last Unicorn is an animated movie released in 1982 and directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass. It follows the story of a female unicorn who sets off to find out why and how all the other unicorns have mysteriously disappeared.
On her journey, she meets enemies as well as friends. One friend, a bumbling wizard, accidentally turns her into a human in order to save her from an angry fiery bull. This saves her from the fiery bull who was only after unicorns, but creates a whole new set of problems. The Unicorn and her friends are able to find the man responsible for the disappearance of her relatives, but will they be able to defeat him and his magical bull? Watch the story, and find out. Parents would want to be aware that there is one scene in the first few moments after she is turned human where the viewer can guess that she doesn't have any clothes on. Nothing is visible or sexually suggestive. Her hair covers her up enough, and her friends quickly come to her aid to give her clothes.

Dumbo directed by Tim Burton

The live action movie Dumbo, released in 2019 and directed by Tim Burton was a fun, family friendly movie about a baby elephant who is rejected by most others when he is born, because his ears are so big.
The only constant supporter he has, is his mother and two young children, a sister and brother, whose mom died from the Spanish Flu. Their dad, barely home from The Great War (WWI) minus one arm, is working hard to do his job and provide for his family and doesn't have the time or energy to listen to them much. So what will happen when the children and others discover the little elephant's talent for flying with his ears? Watch this fun movie and find out!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

My New Book! Woodlands and Wormholes

I am so excited to announce that my new book, Woodlands and Wormholes is out! This is the fifth book in the Raccoons and Rabbit Holes series. And this time Jax and Julie are off on an adventure. With the help of Will and Amy, except that... Well, I won't give that part away. Here's the back blurb.
Best friends Jax and Julie have had more than their share of time travel adventures. From helping Harriet Tubman hide from slave hunters, to taking on street bullies in 1780 London! With so much experience, nothing should surprise the two kids anymore. Right? But none of their past adventures could prepare them for what happens when they walk under a seemingly ordinary tree in the woods and find themselves on their craziest journey through time yet!

Friday, April 1, 2022

Mustaches for Maddie by Shelly Brown and Chad Morris

Mustaches for Maddie is a wonderful book written by my friend Shelly Brown, and her husband, Chad Morris. Based on a true story, Mustaches for Maddie follows the story of silly Maddie a girl who loves to make people happy by wearking fake mustaches. When it is discovered however, that Maddie has a brain tumor, it is her friends and loved ones who step in to cheer her up with mustaches of their own!
Follow this wonderful story as Maddie courageously fights her brain tumor, and deals with set backs along the way. Maddie is a fighter, but when she and her parents think the cancer is gone and she goes in for a routine eye examination, why are the doctor and nurse suddenly so worried? Is the cancer back? Read this book and find out! It is a heartwarming story that children and adults will enjoy. If you love family friendly, uplifting stories, you will love this one. I thought it was a great book, and highly recommend it! Mustaches for Maddie was first written in 2017.

The Dark Crystal directed by Jim Henson

On the distant plant Thra in the far past, a Gelfling named Jen, on the instructions of his gentle master, Ursu, sets out on a quest to retrieve a shard broken from the Dark Crystal that rules his world. If he can put it back in the crystal before the conjunction of the three suns, he will undo the power of the evil Skeksis, and restore order.
He needs to reach Augrah, an old prophetess to get the shard. Along the way he is joined by Kira, a female Gelfling and her pet Fizzgig. But in their efforts to get to the shard they are pursued and tricked by the Skeksis. As the suns get closer to their conjunction, Jen and Kira struggle to get to the shard in time. Will they be successful? Watch the movie and find out! The Dark Crystal was directed by Jim Henson, and first released in 1982.

Mulan directed by Niki Caro

The live action Mulan directed by Niki Caro is a wonderfully exciting movie with all sorts of great visuals, from gravity defying jumps, to beautiful displays of martial arts. Much like the cartoon version, Mulan dresses like a man and sneaks into the Chinese army to save her father's life when China is threatened by enemies.
She has many experiences similiar to the cartoon, and shows courage and honor even in the face of betrayal, and those who were once her friends turning on her when they find out she is female. Threatened with death if she ever shows her face to her commanding officer, she is thrown out of the army. But then, when the emperor and the imperial city are under eminent threat, will Mulan risk her life to save her emperor and her country? Watch the movie to find out! The movie is rated PG-13 for violence. It was first released in 2020.

Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted, directed by James Bobin, is a fun movie with the usual muppet mayhem A lookalike for Kermit has escaped a high security gulag in Siberia, Russia, and with the help of a dastardly sidekick, wants to frame Kermit for his nefarious deeds!
But with the help of his friends, and some unlikely allies in a Russian Gulag, will Kermit be able to clear his name? The movie has lots of silly scenes, and plenty of fourth wall breaking that fans know and love. Kids and adults who have enjoyed other muppet movies, will love this one, as well. Muppets Most Wanted was released in 2014.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

A Proper Dragon by E.B. Wheeler

A Proper Dragon by E.B. Wheeler is a delightful story that takes place during regency times, but with dragons! Some people are dragon linked, which is something some people don't like. Phoebe Hart is one of the dragon-linked. Fortunately, her brother, Max is supportive. But not everyone is. She and Max are on their way to London with Phoebe worrying how the season will be for her, when they spot a body on the side of the road. Wait, not a dead body. Someone still alive.
A young woman passed out from exhaustion who, as they discover, is running away from somewhere. The brother and sister want to help her, but as they take her with them and listen to her story, they know they can't just take her to London, drop her off and forget about her. The poor girl, who can't even lie convincingly, needs to be able to evade the clutches of her vengeful guardian, and she can't do it all by herself on the streets. But how are Phoebe and Max going to help her? And still, how is Phoebe's London Season going to turn out?

Dork Diaries-Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries-Tales from a Not so Happy Heartbreaker by Rachel Renée Russell is a fun story for upper elementary or middle school students. Nikki Maxwell is hoping to go to the Valentine's Dance with her crush, Brandon but when he starts to ignore her, and worse, send her insulting texts, Nikki is floored.
She's especially flummoxed when she confronts him about it, and he doesn't seem to understand what's going on. But those mean texts came from HIS phone. And what is MacKenzie, the meanest girl in the school up to?

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen is an exciting steampunk retelling of the story of Sleepy Beauty. Dr. Isla Cooper (the 's' is silent, like in island) is setting out to find the witch who cursed her. Every night at midnight, whether she wants to or not, she falls into a profound sleep from which she cannot waken until morning. And if she doesn't break the curse soon, her sleep will become permanent.
In her efforts to reach the witch who cursed her, Dr. Cooper sets out for the Carribean on Daniel Pickett's airship. The two, of course, both tough headed, have differences of opinion. But they do both want to protect shifters, people who are discriminated against because they can turn into animals. That problem is complicated with Nigel Crowe on board who is terribly biased against shapeshifters. Dr. Cooper's problem is will she reach the witch in time? If she does, will she be able to gather everything that will help her undo the curse in time? And if the last part of undoing the curse is the kiss of someone who genuinely loves her,is it even possible to undo the curse? Kiss of the Spindle was first published in 2018.

Monday, February 21, 2022

The Best Books with Lovable Animal Characters - Shepherd

I am really excited that shepherd.com chose to host one of my books! Shepherd is like wandering around your favorite bookstore but reimagined for the online world. They make book browsing fun and all the recommendations are made by authors, experts, and creators. They don't just talk about the books of the authors they host, but on each book's page they highlight several other books in the same genre and with the same general audience. That way, if you find a particular book you like, you'll also find a few others as well! Take a look at the page they created for my book, Felicity and the Featherless Two Foot. They also have links to five other books that I have enjoyed reading which feature animal characters. These books include I Don't Want to Eat Bugs! by Rachel Branton, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, The Golden Owl, by Lana Axe, and Detective Trigger and the Ruby Collar by M.A. Owens.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

I Don't Want to Eat Bugs! by Rachel Branton

I don't Want to Eat Bugs by Rachel Branton is a cute story about a little girl named Lisbon who wants a snack before dinner. All her well-intentioned animals friends want to help her out, but nothing they offer is appetizing!
Will Lisbon find a snack, or will she just be disappointed? Children and adults will enjoy following Lisbon on her adventures as she looks for a snack with the help of her various animal friends. The story is both adventurous and informative as it helps young children learn about animals and the food that these animals like to eat. It is also a story that children can relate to, since many young children have a hard time waiting for things! This is a great story for adults to read to children, but the font and the reading level are both geared toward young readers who are just starting to read their own books! I Don't Want to Eat Bugs was published in 2016.

The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis is an exciting book for children and adults. It was first published in 1955. A radio theatre version of it was made in 2005 by Focus on the Family. This version doesn't follow the story word for word, but still is a fun and exciting narrative with special sound effects like other radio plays, and is very well done. I could see what was going on in my head, and enjoyed this version as much as the unadbridged version of the story.
Polly Plumber and Diggory Kirk become friends when Diggory moves next door with his mother into his old maid aunt and old bachelor uncle's house. His mother is very sick, and everyone thinks it's terminal. His father is stuck in India and cannot come home. And to make matters worse, his uncle seems to be rather crazy. One rainy day, while exploring, Diggory and Polly accidentally stumbled into his uncle's study, and Uncle Andrew tricks Polly into touching a yellow ring laying on a tray among other yellow and green rings. Doing so, Polly suddenly vanishes! Uncle Andrew tells Diggory how he can get her back, but doing so lead the two friends on a harrowing journey through various dimensions including an encounter with an evil, power hungry queen who wants to take over any world she can! Will Diggory and Polly be able to keep her from taking over Earth? Read this exciting book and find out!

Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes by Louis Sachar is an excellent coming of age book for young people about friendship, compassion, and redemption. And all of it taught through an exciting story about two friends who work together to get through difficulty.
Stanley Yelnats is a boy who just seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when he's walking along, minding his own business when a pair of shoes falls off an overpass and hits him on the head. And then he's blamed for stealing them. Added onto that, they're not just any pair of shoes, they're the shoes of the famous baseball player, Sweetfeet! He thinks he's hit rock bottom when he's sent to Camp Greenlake and is forced to dig a hole every day in the hot sun that is five feet deep, and five feet across, all around. And of course, he blames his no good, dirty rotten pig stealing great, great grandfather for his woes. His dad's family started having bad luck ever since Elya Yelnats up and left for America after his heart was broken, and forgot to keep a promise to an old gypsie woman. Since then, his dad, grandpa, and great grandpa have had bad luck. His great grandpa was even robbed of his life savings by the notorious outlaw, Kissin' Kate Barlow! But when he meets Zero at Camp Greenlake, and the two start to make friends, will he be able to find a way to turn his bad luck around? Read this fun book, and find out! While it is written mainly for kids, adults who enjoy reading adventure stories are likely to enjoy it as well! Holes was first published in 1998. A movie starring Shia LaBouf was released in 2003.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack is the 9th book in the Culinary Mysteries series with the brave and likable Sadie Hoffmiller on another adventure.
As always, Sadie isn't looking for trouble, but it still manages to find her. She is on a cruise to Alaska with Shawn and Brianna her adult children and her boyfriend Pete, hoping that she can finally relax and stop worrying about when she's going to trip over another dead body. But as in the other books, trouble seems to find poor Sadie. First, she and her boyfriend come upon a woman who has been drugged and is nearly dead (but for their intervention she probably would have been) and then another passenger on their cruise mysteriously dies! All this stacked upon Sadie's worries about her children, including her daughter Brianna's upcoming wedding of which Brianna's mother-in-law to be seems determined to take control! How will all this play out? Read this delightful mystery and find out! Baked Alaska was first published in 2013.

The Night Before Christmas Directed by Arthur Rankin Jr.

The Night Before Christmas purportedly by Clement Clarke Moore was made into a delightful movie for children in 1974. It was directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and based on the short story/poem of the same name. It is a sweet Christmas movie appropriate to watch around Christmastime.
It is geared toward children, but adults would love it as well. Rather than showing just the story of The Night Before Christmas itself, it also includes part of the life of the author and suggests what inspired him to come up with the story in the first place. Mr. Moore's daughter Charity wants a book about Santa Claus for Christmas. But what is he to do when he realizes there are no books published about Santa Claus? And worse, what are he and his wife Catherine to do when Charity gets sick with pneumonia? Watch the movie HERE and find out! You can find more movies directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. on Amazon HERE!

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) is a cute Chistmas/Winter time story about an old couple who are very poor. The husband is a shoemaker, and while he works hard, he and his wife have fallen on hard times. He has just enough leather to make one more pair of shoes; he cuts out the leather, goes to bed, and then in the morning when he and his wife wake up, to their astonishment, they find that someone has come in the night, and made the leather into a beautiful pair of shoes!
Who could have done it? And who keeps coming back, night after night, making the leather the shoemaker buys into more and more pairs of shoes? Read the story and find out along with the shoemaker and his wife, who is doing such a kind deed for them! The Elves and the Shoemaker is a cute story for children but can be enjoyed by adults as well. It was first published in 1806.

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen is a post-Christmas story (taking place on New Year's Eve) and is a rather sad story. I don't want to give the ending away, but rather than ending happy, it teaches its reader to think about others. The little match girl (I don't believe we ever learn her name) belongs to a poor family.
Her father is abusive, and she doesn't have very nice things. She's barefoot in the middle of winter, and is forced to sell matches in the streets. She doesn't dare to go home, because, having not sold any, her dad with punish her if she doesn't bring some money back. She has a few fond memories of her grandmother who died the previous year, and when she decides to strike one precious match against a wall to try to warm herself, she is reminded of her grandmother. The Little Match Girl is a good story for children and adults to read and discuss together. It was first published in 1845.