Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Son of God

Diogo Morgado ... Jesus
Sebastian Knapp ... John
Greg Hicks ... Pilate
Darwin Shaw ... Peter
Joe Wredden ... Judas
Roma Downey ... Mary, Mother of Jesus

Until I had read other reviews, I had no idea that this was a repackaging of The Bible miniseries, so I did not go into it with tainted eyes and a feeling of it being a misrepresentation.

What I did come away with was a beautiful movie that highlighted the familiar parts of the New Testament. You would have had to already know the who’s and why’s but for the most part, the story played out. Beginning with a quick replay of the Old Testament to get the viewer up to speed, then delving into all the stuff that I remember from Sunday school ending with a brutal depiction of the crucifixion and closing with the resurrection.

Are there things that I would have preferred that they correct before the movie hit the big screen? Of course, but that would have involved Roma Downey never having had plastic surgery and the voice coach hired to help Diogo Morgado paying better attention, and Mary, Mary, and the other Mary being better defined for the viewer.

Overall, would I recommend it? Yes. Do I now think that I just might have to rent The Bible to see all the other parts that I missed? Yes

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Berried to the Hilt

Title: Berried to the Hilt
Author: Karen MacInerney
Published: November 8th 2010 by Midnight Ink
Format: Paperback, 278 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #4

First I have to get off my chest my absolute dislike of Karen MacInerney going back and forth calling the same character Eli and Eleazar. Yes, I know that Eli can be an abbreviated version, but the first couple of times, my brain wanted to separate the two into two different people.

Berried to the Hilt has a couple of things going on. Innkeeper Natalie Barnes has been volunteered to be the judge of Cranberry Island’s annual cranberry bake-off which has half the island stopping by with little samples, a lobsterman has found what appears to be the remains of Davy Blue’s pirate ship, treasure hunters and academics are now camped out at her inn until ownership can be decided, a food writer from New York is work’cationing at the inn, and then there is the body of one of the treasure hunters who appears to have been stabbed by Eli/Eleazer’s sword.

Natalie’s life is a balancing act but she is determined to prove Eli/Eleazer innocent even if it involves a harrowing midnight run to find a killer before she has to be up bright and early to bake muffins for her guests.

This is an easy going series. The recurring characters are interesting and just when Natalie gets herself in too deep, her dependable fiancé is there to help her whether it be finding a killer or creating a salad dressing and one day they just might be able to get around to setting a wedding date. That is unless another body turns up.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

Title: How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World
Author: Sophia Stuart
Published: February 18th 2014 by Hay House, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
Genre: Self-Help
Source: Amazon Vine

Upon picking up this book, my first thought was that it would make a perfect addition to a gift basket. A little wine, a candle, maybe even a teacup and some nice chamomile.

This small book with beautiful photos on one page with the adjoining page giving ideas on a relaxing treat to soothe your being. It will make your mind wander and your imagination take flight.

Divided into five sections – introduction, morning, afternoon, evening and a shopping list, the reader meanders on a relaxing journey through all the parts of their day showing how to add beauty and that giant exhale that we need to take more often.

Coming about from a stressful job and a medical diagnosis, Sophia Stuart reengaged her creativity and in doing so, the reader walks on a magical journey that re-balances the craziness and drops you back off in the middle of tranquility.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ninja Red Riding Hood

Title: Ninja Red Riding Hood
Author: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Published: July 10th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children's
Ages: Age Range: 3 - 5 years; Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten

A big book that brought a smile to my face just by looking at the cover.

Told in rhyme, the reader is taken back to the wolf of Three Little Pigs fame and how he is down on his luck and cannot get a decent meal. The wolf takes himself to Ninja school so those pesky meals will end up on his plate.

Then out of nowhere, Red Riding Hood appears on her way to Grandma’s house and the wolf thinks up a new plan. Little did he know that this sweet girl had her own training and Gran is no pushover either.

They say you can catch more flies with honey, but sometimes a girl needs to grapple and sideswipe and twist to convince a wolf to give up his red meat eating ways.

We loved this book. It was adorable, exciting and laugh aloud funny.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ill-Gotten Panes

Title: Ill-Gotten Panes
Author: Jennifer McAndrews
Published: July 1st 2014 by Berkley
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Stained-Glass #1

What started good and ended well, lost its identity somewhere in the middle.

Georgia Kelly is heading back to Wenwood, New York, where she had spent some of her childhood with her grandfather. After a little discussed banking scandal that ending up with Georgia out of a job and a fiancé that invited her to leave, Georgia found herself returning to the place that she thought of as safe.

Thinking that Wenwood would be a nice reprieve from her drama, she is swirled into town gossip and innuendo when her grandfather is accused of killing the owner of the hardware store. That is where the story starts to fall apart.

You have the police that seem to be bumbling their way in the investigation, a contractor that is desperate to get his project back on track, a small town dine-in movie theater that is barely surviving, a kitten dumped in a yard, the owner of an antique store that inexplicably becomes Georgia’s best friend on sight, an elderly gentlemen that spends his days on a stool at the local diner, a high school acquaintance with a chip on her shoulder and a brickworks factory that is being renovated into a new marina.

Added to all of that, Georgia has undertaken an in depth fix it job, from Carrie the Antique store owner, involving a stained glassed Tiffany styled shade. What once started as a hobby just might be the salvation that will keep Georgia in Wenwood.

There is just too much going on and only some of the storylines are concluded. The book needs to slow down and take a breath. Flesh out a couple of the storylines and save the rest for the next book in the series.

There is a lot of promise if only Ms. McAndrew’s would try telling only one or two stories at a time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't Judge a Lizard by His Scales

Title: Don't Judge a Lizard by His Scales
Authors: Dan Dugi, Bli Marston Dugi
Illustrator: Andrea Vitali
Publisher: Dugi Group LLC (August 3, 2014)
Format: eBook; Hardcover, 19 pages
Genre: Children's
Source: Netgalley
Ages: Age Level: 2 - 8 | Grade Level: P - 2

I keep going back and forth about this book. I can understand the general question being asked - can two sworn enemies become friends? Science tells us that lizards eat flies, but what were to happen if they decided that being friends was a better idea.

What gives me the creepy factor in this book, and is the final deciding factor, is how they know each other in the first place. How does Danny the Wizard Lizard have Bli the Fly’s contact information? It is not mentioned that they are school friends or neighborhood friends and when Bli tells Danny of her mother’s concerns, Danny’s reply is “Your Mom sure does think a lot”. No, that is not right at all. Or manipulating the parent with charm and innocence when he is trying to spend more time with Bli – no that is crossing a line.

The language in this book comes across to me as if Danny is grooming Bli, and as a parent, this is the type of behavior that we really look out for and sends out those little red flag warnings.

I am glad I had read this prior to sharing it with a young mind. I would not want to inadvertently send the wrong message about listing to the pressuring of friends is more important than a parent’s concerns.

Call me overprotective and paranoid, but I do not think that this is the best book to be reading to a child when trying to present a book on making friends.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Title: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Author: Karen Foxleey
Published: January 28th 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf
Format: Hardcopy, Pgs 233s
Genre: Fantasy
Ages: 8 to 12

“I’ll Be Right Back, I’ve Just Got To Save The World”

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is one of those books that you look forward to reading to your children. Your youngest may not get all the intrigue, but your slightly older, those that think they are too old for mom to read to them, will love the depths that Ophelia will go to, to help the Marvelous Boy and to protect the world from the Snow Queen - a woman who had the kind of beauty that stayed pressed against your eyes, like the halo you see after you look directly into the sun.

Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, who does not consider herself brave, but had always been very hopeful, is mourning her mother’s death when her father takes a job at a museum, in a place that never stops snowing, with the purpose of setting up a sword display to coincide with the Wintertide clock chiming.

A very curious eleven-year-old Ophelia, who does not believe anything that cannot be proven by science, discovers a little boy who has been locked away in a small room for three hundred years. His tale of olden times, and how he was chosen by a protectorate of wizards from east, west, and the middle to deliver a sword so that the Snow Queen may be defeated, hits the very practical Ophelia wrong, but still, there is something very interesting about this little boy.

Not realizing that she is the One Other, that the Marvelous Boy speaks of, she goes on a fantastical journey through an ever-changing museum to find the keys that will unlock the boy and hopefully, defeat the Snow Queen.

All the while, Ophelia is hearing the words and guidance from her deceased mother and with her own courage and her memories, Ophelia takes on a magical journey that will both strengthen her and save the world.

The audience of young readers will find the plot intense and the characters likable. The Snow Queen is just evil enough and the bizarre encounters that Ophelia is forced to battle her way through, will have you on the edge of your seat until the final battle of good and evil takes place.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Unlucky 13

Title: Unlucky 13
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published: May 5th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Women's Murder Club #13

Usually when an author has multiple story lines going the reader is drawn to one more than the other. Fortunately with Unlucky 13 the three lines that Patterson and Paetro have going had me fully engaged and not regretting the leaving of one to delve into the next.

Beginning with belly bombs and my never wanting to eat at a fast food restaurant again, to terrorists that will make you wonder about the safety of an Alaskan cruise to the return of Mackie Morales, Unlucky 13 is a fast paced evenly played novel that will have you entranced from the first page.

Arriving at the Golden Gate Bridge, Lindsey and Rich are pretty sure that this is not your standard traffic accident when two teens appear to have had their stomachs blown out from the inside and a fast food bag in the backseat. Then add in a honeymoon cruise for Yuki and Brady that has been taken over by hijackers determined to get millions from a cruise line that does not have the insurance to pay ransoms resulting in passengers being killed on the hour all the while, back in San Francisco, Lindsey is being stalked by a sociopath bent on her due revenge.

Pretty much another week in the life of Lindsay and the Women’s Murder Club, but this time, something seemed different. All four women were fully involved in the plots. Each provided their specialties and even though Cindy has been relegated to the backseat in previous books, she comes to the forefront here and is instrumental in both the flushing out of Morales and the saving of Lindsay’s life.

Friday, August 1, 2014

None The Number

Title: The Hueys in None the Number: A Counting Adventure
Author and Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Published: July 1st 2014 by Philomel
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children's

This book makes counting fun.

I have to admit, when I was young, and someone told me that zero was a number I could not wrap my head around it. I so wish I had this book to help me understand the “none” is a number. You just have to look at it through the Huey’s eyes.

With simple illustrations, the Hueys will guide your young scholar with the challenging task of learning to count. Be it one blue phone or five hats or ten trumpeters walking by – when they are all gone you are left with none.

I loved this book more than I thought I would and I am sure that the time you and your young reader spend together will be a delight to you both.