Category Archives: Entertainment

Little Women

 I had never read Little Women.  I kind of knew what it was about because I had heard references to it, and maybe it was assigned to me in High School, but I didn’t read much of the things I was assigned to read, so I had never read it.  I almost didn’t want to read it this time, but it was next in line at the library, and if I want to finish this challenge, I have to read it, so I got it.  First of all, it was really long and the words were TINY on the pages.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t like the book and wouldn’t want to finish reading it.  And I did feel that way at the beginning, but that was because I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight.  Once I was able to tell them apart, they came to life.  I had a lot of fun reading the book and was actually telling my family members about the characters like they were read people.  I was anxious to finish because I knew that Jo would eventually fall in love and I couldn’t wait to meet the man who would match her.  I was not dissapointed, and I loved the book a lot.

I immediately went and watched the 1994 movie on Amazon as soon as I had finished the book.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the movie, but again, I enjoyed it.  The book is so long, and the movie couldn’t possibly tell everything that happened in the book, but I think they did a good job or getting the point of the book across.  I also loved the acting in the movie.  It was weird to see all of those big-named actors in this movie when they were so young.


I decided to give Little Women it’s own review because it is such an iconic book and I got so caught up in the March family that I felt like they deserved their own post!   I loved how the girls were all so different yet they were each special in their own ways.  I think that’s what made them easy to love.  Their parents were wonderful and way ahead of their peers in their thinking on women’s rights.  I’m sure that was Louisa May Alcott’s way of bringing out her own thoughts on women’s rights, but since I know nothing of her life, that might not be accurate.  I just assumed she patterned Jo after herself because she was a writer, but that too is just conjecture and might not be true at all.  I definitely saw a lot of myself in Jo.

The only part of the movie that I didn’t like was the end.  The end of the book showed all of the March family together years after Jo’s marriage, and they all had children running around and Meg’s twins were 9 or 10, I think.  I was looking forward to seeing them all together like that in the movie, but it didn’t happen.  It ended with Jo getting engaged.  It was still a good movie, just not the ending I was hoping to see.  The book was better, overall, but that’s also because you can always get inside the characters better in a book, so they are generally better than the movie.

Now that Little Women is behind me, I’ll move ahead to the next library book.  I hope it’s just as good!!

Click here to see what I’m reading now!!

Library Challenge

So, I know I’ve said I’m doing a Library Challenge.  In case you didn’t see the post where I first talked about this, I’m going to try to read through all of the books in the children’s section of our library on Ellsworth Air Force Base.  I thought I needed a place to keep all of the books here and I’ll link to my review of them and then where you can get the books if you want them.

Abbott, Tony (Review 1 and 2)

Ada, Alma Flor (Review)

Adderson, Caroline (Review)

Adler, David A. (Review)

Adler, Susan S. (Review)

Airgood, Ellen (Review)

Alcott, Louisa May (Review 1 and 2)

 

Weekly Book Review – Oct 9

I thought it would be easier to just review books once a week.  Since I’m reading the library books and many of them are so short, it didn’t make sense to review one or two books at a time, because I would be doing mulitple review in one day.  So here are all of the books I’ve read over the last few weeks to get us caught up.

Adderson, Caroline:

Caroline Adderson has one book in our library.  It was so funny I found myself laughing out loud once or twice and multiple times I would read passages out loud to my family members who happen to be around when I was reading.  It was an adorable book that I think would keep any kid interested.  It’s clearly part of a series, but I had no problems catching right up and figuring out who everyone was.

Adler, David A.:

I’m sure many of you have heard of Cam Jansen, or at least you have if you’ve read any children’s books over the last 37 years.  The first Cam Jansen book, The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds, was published in 1980.  WOW!  

David Adler is the next author at our library.   According to goodreads, he has written and published 34 Cam Jansen books and 20 Young Cam Jansen books.  Our library has one of those and 4 of the Cam books.  They are really short and quick reads, and just perfect for early readers.  I gave them all five stars because they are wonderful for their target audience.  My favorite aspect of them is at the end of each book, there will be a “click quiz”.  The main reason Cam is able to solve so many mysteries is because she has a photographic memory, and so she says “click” and takes a mental picture of something she really wants to remember.  At the end of each book there are questions about one of the pictures in the book.  A kind of quiz to see how much you can remember.  I’m horrible at this even when I know I should pay attention to the pictures because there will be a quiz!  Also, you can read these books in any order you want.  Our library only had numbers 20, 25, 26, and 30 in the original series, and book #6 in the Young Cam Jansen series.  Their titles are below, but like I said, they can be read in any order.  They are just wonderful!  

Now, the other book in our library by David Adler is so different.  Don’t Talk to Me About the War is realistic historical fiction.  He took the year 1940 in the Bronx, and turned it into a wonderful history lesson and a lesson about growing up during that time.  His main character was a boy named Tommy, and we get to see the development of the United State’s involvement in World War II through his eyes.  We see his unwillingness to discuss anything about the war at the beginning because it was happening somewhere else and didn’t have anything to do with America.  He was mostly just copying what his father was saying.  His father had fought in World War I, so he had firsthand knowledge of what war “in the trenches” was like.  

Tommy just goes about his normal days of going to school, coming home, and listening to the radio with his parents in the evenings.  Tommy seems so normal, and I think that aspect of his character made him so easy to relate to.  I found myself wondering if my grandmother thought some of the same things as she was growing up at this time.  Tommy was born in 1927, and my grandmother was born in 1924, so they were around the same age.  

I love history in general, so I was pleasantly surprised when I picked this book up.  I knew it was next in my library journey, so I picked it up.  It’s also crazy that the boys and I have been listening to a new audible production of The Home Front: Life in American During WWII.  The very first episode of that production talked about Roosevelt using the radio to communicate with the American people.  It talked about his “fireside chats” he would have over the radio, and in the book Tommy and his parents sit down and listen to a fireside chat one night.  

Another thing that happened in 1940, and what really made Tommy start discussing the war, was the rescue of allied forces at Dunkirk.  Tommy’s friend, Beth, was kind of obsessed with the war, and every morning she would read newspapers before school, and because of his relationship with Beth, Tommy began to learn more and more about what was happening in Europe.  He also had another friend, Sarah, whose family had fled Nazi Germany and eventually made it to NY.  She was in their school, but other than Beth and Tommy, she didn’t have many friends.  

I love how real everything seemed in this book and how I could picture the different areas of the Bronx even though I’ve never been there.  I definitely recommend this book for any age, although I’m sure it’s written for 2nd-5th graders or something.  It is a great book for children and adults.  

Adler, Susan S.:

I never had those American Girl dolls.  I had a Real Baby, that my children still find terrifying, and I had cabbage patch kids.  So I missed all of the American Girl things for the most part.  There are two books in our library (so far) about the American Girls.  These two, written by Susan Adler, were next in my reading schedule.  Meet Samantha and Samantha Learns a Lesson.  These books are set in the early 1900s, and after the story is over, there is a section at the back of the books that tells more about what school and life was like during this time.  The basic premise of the first story is that Samantha is living with her grandmother and she befriends a servant girl who lives and works at the house next door.  Her new friend opens her eyes to what life must be like for poor people.  Nellie is sent to work for Samantha’s neighbors because her family doesn’t have enough money to feed all of the children.  So they send Nellie off to work so that she can make money.  In the second book, Nellie and her whole family move out near Samantha and they all go to work for a different family.  Samantha’s grandmother helped arrange the move, and Samantha is so excited for Nellie to finally be able to go to school.  Nellie is a lot older than the children in the 3rd grade because she’s never been to school, and they treat her very badly.  Samantha learns what is happening and helps her friend by teaching her after Nellie finishes her work.  Samantha also defends Nellie from the bullies and has to defend herself when the other girls want to know why Samantha is being friendly to “the poor servants”.  This is a good book to start a dialogue about treating people the same no matter their circumstances.  It shows that children can work hard to make a difference for the people around them instead of waiting until they are older.  I liked them both.

Airgood, Ellen:

Prairie Evers is the only book the library has by Ellen Airgood.  It was a wonderful book about a girl who discovers that change isn’t always bad.  Prairie is an only child and lived with her parents and her grandmother.  Her grandmother homeschools her, and it seems like she does a great job of it.  Prairie gets to learn whatever she’s interested in and she and her grandmother read all the time, and go on adventures around their home.  Prairie’s parents move them from North Carolina to New York (upstate), and her grandmother decides that she can’t stay there because she misses NC too much.  So she moves back home, at the same time, Prairie learns that her parents are planning to send her to school for the first time in her life.  This is a great book about her dealing with these changes and learning that just because something is different doesn’t mean it will be worse.  I really liked this book even though it made me cry (that’s usually a deal breaker for me).

Alcott, Louisa May:

I know this name is familiar to almost everyone, but I had never read anything by her.  Our library only has two books by her in the children’s section.  An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving and Little Women.  I read An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving first and I’m still reading Little Women, so that review will come later.  This book was just a cute little story about a large family in the late 1800s.  The mother and two oldest daughters are getting things ready for Thanksgiving in a couple of days.  The mother receives word that her mother is sick and she needs to go to her as soon as possible.  The mother and father leave with the baby and leave the other kids there alone.  The two oldest girls decide to make the Thanksgiving meal even though they are alone.  The parents come back on Thanksgiving day and they arrive with news and a big surprise.  The story was cute and light-hearted.  I liked it, and I’m ready for Little Women!

Video Games

The boys and I have been watching a lot of youtube videos.  They watch more than me, but I recently started trying to watch their favorites so we could discuss them together.  They seem to really like the videos where people play games and video themselves playing.  At first, this seemed weird to me, but as Price pointed out, the people who are really good at making the viewer feel like they’re part of the story are the best ones to watch, and the ones with the most followers on youtube.

Anyway, this got us thinking about them making videos of us playing games.  I wanted to get in on the action, so I started looking at software to record the computer screen while you play.  We have finally figured out how to record the xbox one while they play, so we should have some videos posted really soon.

Wesley wants to build things on minecraft and video himself building them so others can make the things he builds.  He’s great at it, and very fast… we just have to record him doing it and figure out the editing so we can post it.

Price wants to do all kinds of games and make videos of himself playing those.

I decided to get in on the action and play the one game I actually have played before.  The Sims… they are on the 4th version of this game, and I’ve played every version they’ve released since Price was a baby.  I don’t get to play very often anymore, and I actually have relegated all of my playing to the weekends when I have time.  So my plan is to play The Sims 4 and record myself playing.  I tried a little this weekend and have one video that I like and is ready to go.  I’m not going to be loading that video just yet, as I want to have enough that I can release one a week and not miss any weeks.  So I will probably release the first one in a few more weeks.  So far, this process has been free, but the software I’m using to edit the videos is super easy, but only a trial version.  Apparently there will be a watermark on it when I finally publish it, but that’ll be okay for the first few videos.  I’m still not sure that I want to spend the money on the software for something that is just going to be a hobby.  We will see what I decide.

Anyway, stay tuned here for our youtube videos to be shared and then you can follow the link from here and like our videos and subscribe to our channels (if you subscribe, you will get a notification every time a new video is loaded).  If you don’t play The Sims 4, you might not like the first few videos where I’m creating the character and moving her into her apartment, but after that, it will hopefully be like a reality show! 🙂  Only not real reality 🙂

Book Reviews – Alma Flor Ada

I finished another couple of books from the library by new, to me, authors…  Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta.  A mother-son writing team.  It was the first book they wrote together, but definitely not the last.  We have two of their books at our library, and I checked them both out at the same time because I knew it wouldn’t take me long to finish them.  The first book I read is called Dancing Home.  It’s about a girl named Margarita and her cousin Lupe who comes to live with Margarita from her home in Mexico.  Margarita has done everything she can to make herself completely American without any of her Mexican heritage, including refusing to speak Spanish to the point that she’s nearly forgotten the language.  Lupe only speaks Spanish, but she quickly starts learning English after moving to America.  Margarita eventually comes to terms with her heritage and finds that she loves all aspects of who she is.  My favorite quote from Dancing Home was near the end when Margarita had decided to embrace all the aspects of who she is instead of focusing on only what will make her fit in in her mind.  She says, “I am American, and I am Mexican.  Both are important to me and neither one has to be better than the other.”  This sums up how I think she’s come to now see herself through her journey in this book.  This book felt so much like I was reading a nonfiction biography.  I loved it.  

The second book from our library is Love, Amalia.  I liked this one better than Dancing Home.  Probably because of the fact that Amalia is dealing with her friend moving away as soon as the book starts and then she’s dealing with her grandmother’s death right after that.  This summer, we moved from Spain to South Dakota, and my father-in-law passed away while we were in the midst of our move.  I find myself thinking of Amalia like one of my kids and I hate how sad she is by all of the changes in her life.  She’s going through the same things my children just went through.  Her abuelita (grandmother) used to tell her stories about her children and read her letters from them and she would take her time and write them letters back with handmade cards.  Amalia starts to feel better and starts to see how she can move on now that her grandmother is gone when her mother gives her the box her grandmother kept all of the letters in.  Amalia starts making cards and mailing them to her family as she reads the letters from them to her abuelita.  She also write to her friend who moved away and shares with her what’s been going on in her life.  I really liked this book and think it would be a nice change of pace from most of the writing for this age group.  This book says it’s for grades 3-5, and I think that’s good.  It could be read by younger children, but they need a bit of maturity to be ready for some of the topics that are dealt with in this one.  I definitely think that sometimes kids need to be exposed to more than just fluff.  I’m going to recommend all of my kids read it.

 

What books are y’all reading??

The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse… and Droon

Book Number 2 of the Copernicus series!  I’ll continue my review of The Serpent’s Curse in a minute, but first I learned more about the author.

I didn’t realize that Tony Abbott (the author of this series), is also the author of another series with over 40 books in it.  It’s called The Secrets of Droon and follow two boys and a girl who find a magical entrance to the land of Droon in the basement of one of their houses and thus begins many adventures for the three of them.  Our library only has one of these books, and it happens to be #20.   I know we’ve bought the first book in this series, or I’ve at least seen it in other libraries before, but our library doesn’t have it.  So I read book #20, In the Ice Caves of Krog.  It was really good, but was definitely for a younger audience.  It is for about 3rd grade reading level, and I think that is a good age for this series.  The book would be really exciting and fast paced for this age group.  I’m sure it’s a great series for young readers who are looking to move up to chapter books.

NOW… back to Copernicus!

These books are written for a 4th-5th grade reading level, but they are really long, so I would say a mature 4th grader.  They are also great for adults who want to read good stories that don’t seem to be as predictable as I first thought.  They are constantly moving and there is constant action.  These children (and various adults around them) are flying all over Europe and some of Asia in this latest book.  We begin in New York, where they were headed to when the last book ended.  Although, I discovered that there was a smaller book in between books 1 and 2, but I don’t think I missed much by not reading it.

Here come the spoilers…

The entire story line of the series is that Copernicus invented and used  a time machine and then decided it didn’t ever need to be used again so he took the machine apart and sent the 12 relics from the machine to people he knew who would guard them and pass them down from guardian to guardian.  So far, it seems that each book will be about one of the relics.  In the first book, it was pretty straightforward for this type of book and it went about like I expected.  The kids, and Wade’s dad, got the first relic and started the search for the second one.  This second book, however, doesn’t follow what I thought would be the standard form of each book.  They do spend the whole book looking for the second relic and during the search for the relic, and Darrell’s mom (who’s been kidnapped by the Order), they fly all over Russia and even to Venice and London once or twice.  However, I fully expected them to get the second relic at the end of the book and follow it to the third one and so on… BUT… the Order ends up with the relic at the end and they end the book being kind of unsure where to go next because without the second relic, they aren’t sure how to find the third.  They do come up with a plan before the book ends, so I’m sure that’s where the third one will begin, but something else happened at the end that I’m not sure about and I guess that’s why you’d need to keep reading.  To find out how Becca ended up going back in time, but not really.  I think there are 4 books in this series so far, and I think in between each book there is a smaller book about one of the kids.  The book I missed in between 1 and 2 was about Wade, and I think the one between 2 and 3 is about Becca.  I do want to keep reading these books, but they aren’t in our library and the reason I read them to begin with was because I’m trying to read all of the Children’s Fictions books in our library.  So, I’ll request that the library purchase the rest of the series and see if that becomes a possibility.  We will see… in the mean time, feel free to see what I’m reading next from the library over at my goodreads account!

Library Challenge Book Count: 3 total

The Orville

This new show was created by Seth MacFarlane and set 400 years in the future.  We actually saw a commercial for this when we were in Spain, and we decided we wanted to watch it.  We missed the first episode, so we caught it on Hulu, and then watched the second one the next day.  We were definitely not disappointed in it.  We all laughed, even the teenage girl who doesn’t like anything “geeky”!

We even talked about our favorite characters around dinner the night after we watched it.  All of us like the helmsman (I’m not sure that’s an actual term, but we love him).  His name is Gordon Malloy played by Scott Grimes, and we love him.  From the very beginning, before we ever meet him, we know he is a rule breaker, so we expect spontaneous things from him.  He is just great!  The writing in the show is magnificent, and the one-liners are some of the funniest I’ve heard in a long time.

We all were looking forward to watching the second episode the next night.  It was more of the same goodness, with a little bit of poking at some of our cultural norms that some might disagree with.  The next episode is this Sunday night, so set your DVR’s, or just turn the TV to Fox to watch some football and leave it there when the game ends… I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Well, you might… if you don’t think funny things are funny! 🙂

Also, this show is rated TV-14, so be warned that they do say all the words they are allowed to say and to get that rating.

Book Review – The Best Yes!

I finished another book.  It’s called The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst.  I have heard of her and her books for a while, but I’ve never read anything by her.  I really liked this book.  The thing I liked the best was her way of explaining our thought processes for decisions.  She has an interesting way of thinking through decisions that I probably should follow with all of my decisions.  Especially those involving my time.  She calls is “chasing down” a decision.  She follows it out to its logical conclusion.  Whatever decision you are trying to make, think it through to the end and see what the outcome will be a month or longer out.  Will you have less time to spend with your family?  Is the time away going to be a productive trade out that will not lead to resentment or less present time with your family?  Maybe it isn’t the right time to say yes to that decision then.  She even has a kind of chart in the back with a “path” to take with your decisions.  I love it!  If you are struggling with time constraints and you feel stretched thin and unable to give your best self to the people and tasks around you, this is a great book for helping you re-prioritize and think through your decisions to find your best yes.  Great book!  5 Stars!

Check out what else I’m currently reading at my GoodReads page!

The Forbidden Stone – The Copernicus Legacy Book 1

I finished the book this morning, and I literally have a timer set to go to the library as soon as it opens and get the next one.  This book was nonstop action from the very beginning. There are some spoilers coming up, so feel free to stop reading and go get your own copy to read before continuing.  The kids in this book were so unique and each one had their own voice and distinct personality.  I think a sign of great fiction is once you get to know the characters you can identify who is speaking just by what they say.  You don’t have to be told who is speaking.  It was completely true with this book.  Wade started out as the main character, but you quickly find out that nearly everyone in this book gets their own section told from their point of view.  Even the “bad guys”.  Becca is my favorite, I think.  But then I love Lily and Darrell too, so I’m really not sure.  I find myself wanting to parent these kids because I can see my own children in them. Another sign of a great book…

SPOILERS COMING!! (It won’t really ruin the book for you, so go ahead and read on!) 

There are still a lot of questions surrounding the Order, but we did get some sections from the leader’s point of view and even her second in command.  There are some parts of the story that seemed unbelievable that 14-15 yr old children would be doing, but that’s why it’s fiction.  And I’m sure if you were in the age group this book was written for that you would love to think you can do the things these kids are able to do.  It is great for providing a bit of actual history dispersed inside this fictionalized story of a time machine that was invented by Copernicus.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series plays out, and I’m almost afraid to google and find out how many books are in this series.  I’m not good at all at waiting if all of the books aren’t out yet, but I’ll be forced to check it out because I’m pretty sure our library only has the first two.  There better be more out than just two of them.  Oh well, I’m off to check out the second book and see how many more I have to go… I’m excited to keep going.  I loved this book!  5 Stars!!

This review is also available on my goodreads page.  And the other books I’m reading are there as well.

It’s Been A While… We have Moved!

I know it’s been a while, and we don’t even live on the same continent as the last time I wrote a post, but I’ll catch everyone up later… this is what’s happening right now as I sit in our empty house still waiting for our stuff to arrive! 🙂

 

I love to read.  I love just about everything about books.  I also love lists (as you may know from some of my other posts).  So, this year, I’ve been keeping a list of every book I read.  I’ve read 96 books so far this year.  Most of them have been in the paranormal genre since that’s my favorite, but not all of them.  My goal was 100 books, since this is the first time I’ve kept up with how many books I’ve read in a year, I didn’t know how many I usually read, so I picked 100.  It’s the beginning of September and I’m nearly there, so maybe my goal should’ve been higher.  Anyway, I wanted a place to discuss the books I want to review and talk about them with anyone who is interested, and this seemed like a good place.  I’m reading a few different books right now, but the one I’m going to be reviewing this time is The Forbidden Stone: The Copernicus Legacy, Book 1 by Tony Abbott.  

Why did I pick this book to be my first review?  Well, because his name came first in the alphabet!!  We just moved to South Dakota and I’ve been trying to find things to do.  We always check out libraries first thing because we all love books.  The library on base has a small section for their children’s fiction, so I gave myself the goal of reading every one of those books.  So, what better place to start than with the A’s.  Just my luck that this first book is really thick for a children’s book!  One look at it and my boys would probably say no!  But it’s a really good book so far, and I know they’d love it if they ever got over the thickness of it.  It seems a lot like the 39 Clues books so far, so we will see how things work out.  There are three books in the series right now, and I know we have two of them at our library.  We will see what happens!  Stay tuned!

If you want to follow along with what I’m reading and where I am, check out my new GoodReads account.