Book and movie links

June 3, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | Comments Off  

I don’t know if any of you out there are still reading, but if you are, I really owe you a huge catch-up post. I am working on it, I promise! Here’s a few links to keep you busy in the meantime.

Book links:

~ My summer reading list
~ Book Review: Janeology by Karen Harrington
~ Book Review: Far From the Land: An Irish Memoir by Thomas J. Rice
~ Mini-Reviews: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy, and My Husband’s Sweethearts by Bridget Asher
~ Book Review: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
~ Book Review: On Folly Beach by Karen White
~ Book Review: Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop
~ Book Review: Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
~ Book Review: Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie, & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood by Jane Yolen
~ Book Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin
~ Book Review: The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
~ Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, Washington
~ Book Review: Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
~ Mini-Reviews: Hunger by Michael Grant, An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, and When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense by Robert Jeffress
~ Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
~ Book Review: Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
~ Book Review: Guernica by Dave Boling
~ Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
~ Book Review: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
~ Book Review: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
~ Book Review: The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden
~ Book Review: Undercover by Beth Kephart
~ Mini-Reviews: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen; Burning for Revenge and The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden
~ Spotlight: Poet Billy Collins
~ Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
~ Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate
~ Book Review: Get Lucky by Katherine Center
~ Book Review: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
~ Book Review: The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
~ Mini-reviews: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell, Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
~ Book Review: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
~ How does your mood affect your reading?
~ Book Review: The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
~ Book Review: A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
~ Book Review: Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon
~ Book Review: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Movie links:

~ Morelli and Ranger casting for the Stephanie Plum movie
~ If I were casting the Stephanie Plum movie
~ Movie Review: Avatar
~ Summer movie preview: which ones are you dying to see?
~ Movie Review: Saving Grace
~ Movie Review: Invictus

Movie Review: The Great Mouse Detective

April 10, 2010 Categories: Movies | 3 Comments  

From the creators of The Princess and the Frog and The Little Mermaid comes the story of a clever little hero on a great big adventure. Join the Sherlock Holmes of Mousedom on a heroic journey unraveling clues through London. If you like Sherlock Holmes, you’ll love The Great Mouse Detective.

When the diabolical Professor Ratigan kidnaps the city’s master toymaker, the brilliant Basil of Baker Street and his trusted sidekick Dawson set off to track down Basil’s lifelong nemesis. Little do they know that the evil rat’s trail leads all the way to The Queen at Buckingham Palace!

Get on the case with Basil, the master of disguise, as he tries to elude the ultimate rattrap and foil the perfect crime. Now digitally remastered, fully restored and complete with exclusive bonus features, The Great Mouse Detective is better than ever in The Mystery in the Mist Edition!

My kids were so excited to get The Great Mouse Detective on DVD to review – we’ve checked out the VHS tape from the library enough times that we’ve pretty much worn it out. :) They love the idea of a mastermind detective – and the clever way he solves problems. Jonathan still remembers when he was much younger, Professor Ratigan scared the living daylights out of him.

The quality of the DVD is much higher than the VHS version, obviously, and I love the hand-drawn animation. This is definitely a must-have for families and Disney collectors alike.

(Disclosure: The Great Mouse Detective was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Books and Movies link

March 11, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | Comments Off  

~ Guest post: Lynn Cullen, author of The Creation of Eve
~ Book Review: The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
~ Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn
~ Mini-review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Game by Laurie R. King
~ Movie Review: Old Dogs
~ Movie Review: Amelia
~ Bedtime reading rituals
~ Mini-reviews: Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins and The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
~ Book Review: The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
~ Blogsplash: Thaw by Fiona Robyn
~ Cover issues: plus-sized characters
~ Faith ‘n’ Fiction Saturday: Round table discussion of Claudia Mair Burney’s Wounded
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine, March/April 2010 issue
~ Book Review: Life Studies: Short Stories by Susan Vreeland
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: FlashForward, Part One, Season One
~ Book Review: At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman
~ Movie Review: Everybody’s Fine

Featured DVD: Ponyo

March 8, 2010 Categories: Movies | Comments Off  

Welcome to a world where anything is possible! Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away), and legendary filmmaker John Lasseter together with Disney bring to life a heartwarming and imaginative telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid. And now it’s even more thrilling through the magic of Blu-ray with never-before-seen bonus features that take you on a journey deep into the film’s enchanted world!

A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo’s father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea. In her quest to become human and reunite with Sosuke, Ponyo stumbles upon and releases her father’s magical Water of Life and triggers a gigantic storm. Now balance must be restored to the world they all cherish.

Ponyo will delight your family with its timeless story, and on Blu-ray it will dazzle your senses with its enhanced high definition picture and sound.

Noah’s review: This was more aimed at younger children than Miyazaki’s other movies. It wasn’t one of his best. 3 and a half stars.

Jonathan’s review: I think it’s the best movie about a fish I’ve ever seen. I liked it a bunch. 5 stars.

Ponyo is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a story board feature and a behind the scenes feature.

(Disclosure: Ponyo was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small commission.)

Featured DVD: Castle in the Sky

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Introduce your entire family to Castle in the Sky, featuring a timeless story of courage and friendship with stunning animation from acclaimed Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away). Plus, this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD includes never-before-seen bonus features that transport you deeper into the film’s amazing world!

This high-flying adventure begins when Pazu, an engineer’s apprentice, finds a young girl, Sheeta, floating down from the sky, wearing a glowing pendant. Together, they discover both are searching for a legendary floating castle, Laputa, and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around Sheeta’s neck. Their quest won’t be easy, however. There are greedy air pirates, secret government agents and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth – and from each other.

Add Castle in the Sky to your DVD library, and this magical and uplifting classic from Studio Ghibli and Disney will thrill and amaze your family for years to come.

Noah’s review: Castle in the Sky is my most favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie. It’s about a girl named Sheeta and her magical blue necklace. I like Mayazaki’s animation, especially his backgrounds and how the airships are designed. 5 out of 5 stars

Jonathan’s review: I like the part when they became members of the Dola gang – the pirates. 4 and a half stars.

Josiah’s review:I don’t really like this one as much. 2 stars.

Castle in the Sky: Special Edition – 2 Disc DVD is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a featurette about the studio and an introduction by John Lasseter.

(Disclosure: Castle in the Sky was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Featured DVD: Kiki’s Delivery Service

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Discover Kiki’s Delivery Service, a fantastic coming-of-age tale full of magic, adventure and self-discovery from the sensational imagination of Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away). And now you can explore even more of Kiki’s amazing world through never-before-seen bonus features – exclusively in this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD!

Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world.

Bring home Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli and Disney for your family’s DVD library and share Kiki’s high-flying adventure again and again.

Noah’s review: Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a young girl who is a witch in training. It is a tradition that when all witches turn thirteen, they must go away from home for their training. This movie about her training in a new city and the people she meets. 4 out of 5 stars.

Jonathan’s review: I like how all of the animation and graphics are done. 5 stars.

Josiah’s review: Jiji, the cat, is my favorite part. 5 out of 5 stars.

Kiki’s Delivery Service: Special Edition – 2-Disc DVD is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a featurette taking the viewer into the world of the film, and an introduction by John Lasseter.

(Disclosure: Kiki’s Delivery Service was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Featured DVD: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey

March 3, 2010 Categories: Movies | Comments Off  


The world’s most beloved and inquisitive monkey is back in Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, the fun-filled sequel to the hit animated movie. Join Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat as they set out on a madcap cross-country adventure to reunite Kayla, a homesick elephant, with her family. This unlikely trio faces all types of comic calamities and colorful characters and in the end learn that with family, friends and determination you can achieve anything. Featuring the voices of Tim Curry, Matt Lauer, Jamie Kennedy and Jerry Lewis, Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, “proves that family, friends – and curiosity – are number one.” (Francine Brokaw, “Los Angeles Family Magazine.”

My kids loved the first Curious George film, and have watched it several times. This sequel didn’t quite keep their attention or focus in the same way. And I don’t know if that’s just because my kids are getting older or because it wasn’t quite as good. I do know that I missed the original voices of Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore.

Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey is available now on DVD. The special features include two never-before-seen episodes of the TV series.

(Disclosure: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of this feature. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small commission.)

Bullet points update

February 21, 2010 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Movies | 4 Comments  

~ We have added a cat to our already crowded household. This is Sam with Natalie.

~ We have started the second half of our homeschooling year. All is going fairly well, although I have decided I am officially very tired of Shurley Grammer. This is not the curriculum’s fault – it’s a great curriculum, and has taught us things I never learned even in college classes, but we need a change and so will be trying Learning Language Arts Through Literature next year. Natalie has declared that decimals are from the devil and algebraic addition is the stuff of fantasy land. I am trying to help her understand that while she may never again use this information, she needs it to graduate from high school, and so must soldier on. All four kids are taking a PE class this semester that includes bowling and softball – and are loving it.

~ We have started attending a church. I am enjoying the Women’s Bible Study. That’s about as optimistic as I feel like being with our recent church experiences.

~ Kevin’s sister Carol is not doing well at all. Her cancer has progressed to the point where all they can really do is make her comfortable. Prayers would be much appreciated.

At Books and Movies lately:

~ Book Review: Candor by Pam Bachorz
~ Interview with Pam Jenoff, author of Almost Home
~ Book Review: Almost Home by Pam Jenoff
~ Book Review: King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher
~ Mini-review: U is for Undertow, City of Glass, and Wounded
~ Book Review: The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
~ Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
~ Guest post: Patrick Taylor, author of The Irish Country Doctor series
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Kirby Larson
~ 2010 Ireland Reading Challenge
~ Book Review: Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
~ Book Review: The Summer We Fell Apart by Robin Antalek
~ Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
~ Monday’s Movie: The Boys Are Back
~ Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Molly Blaisdell
~ Book Review: Eldest by Christopher Paolini
~ Monday’s Movie: Surrogates

At Books and Movies lately

January 23, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | 2 Comments  

~ Mini-review: Looking for Alaska, Storm Front, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Joni Sensel
~ Book Review: Dragon House by John Shors
~ Book Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
~ Movie Review: 10 Things I Hate About You
~ Book Review: This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Glenda Burgess
~ Whatcha Watchin’ Wednesday
~ Movie Review: The Answer Man
~ Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green
~ Book Review: Things That Make Us (Sic) by Martha Brockenbrough
~ Book Review: Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan
~ Book Review: Questions About Angels: Poems by Billy Collins
~ Movie Review: (500) Days of Summer
~ Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
~ Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
~ Mini-reviews: Where Water Comes Together With Other Water: Poems, Z for Zachariah, Ethan Frome
~ My top 20 books from 2009, part one
~ My top 20 books from 2009, part two
~ Recommended essay collections
~ Book Review: Darkness Be My Friend by John Marsden
~ Book Review: The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
~ Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
~ Book Review: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs
~ Announcing Essay Reading Challenge 2010
~ 2010: The Year of Reading Deliberately
~ Book Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Martha Brockenbrough
~ Book Review: Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
~ Book Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
~ Movie Review: Shattered
~ Book Review: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Featured DVD: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

December 15, 2009 Categories: Movies , Reviews | Comments Off  

(Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)

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The most magical event of the year is now even bigger, with more thrilling adventure! Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie Extended Edition features exclusive footage, behind-the-scenes bonus and awesome extras that take you deeper into the mysterious world of wizardry!

Embark on a supernaturally exciting adventure as the Russos, your favorite family of wizards-in-training, join together on a quest full of heart-stopping action and hilarious magical mishaps! While on vacation, Alex (Selena Gomez) accidentally casts a spell that threatens her family’s existence! Max (Jake T. Austin) tries to keep his parents together while Alex and Justin (David Henrie) use every trick they know as they search for the “Stone of Dreams” to reverse the spell and save their family. You won’t want to miss one extraordinary moment of this extended, magic-filled and action-packed movie!

Natalie’s review: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie is a very fun and exciting adventure movie for kids of all ages. I really enjoyed it. Wizards of Waverly Place has always been one of my favorite TV shows. I do recommend this to kids!

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include on-location featurettes about special effects, stunts, props, and more.