Friday, April 26, 2013

A Little Poem

Thursday came and went while I was at the zoo.

Thursday came and went while I slept and you did too.

Thursday came and went and I had nothing to say.

Except today is Friday

And my darling C's 5th Birthday!

Sometimes, I have to be busy being a good enough mom and set the writing persona to the side for a moment to not miss the precious todays that cannot be made up, unlike my word count.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Dragonsdale and Dragonsdale Riding the Storm by Salamanda Drake

These are middle grade books that take a fresh and cozy look at life on Bresal - an island where people ride dragons. Children start as early as four to learn to fly and look after a dragon. For the brave of heart there are competitions or the flying guard or the hunting party or you could be on the display team doing aerial acrobatics as a group. There are four 'stables' that compete against each other.

Our heroine is Cara, a girl who's father is the Dragonmaster of Dragonsdale, who is forbidden to ride dragons as her mother died in a riding accident. Her mother was a master flyer, think undefeated record holding Olympian of dragon riding. But Cara develops a special Trustbond with a rare Goldenbrow dragon, Skydancer, and you can imagine what eventually happens.

Cara's got a group of friends to aid her on her journey. BFF Breena, a good flyer herself. Drane, a new stable hand who wants nothing to do with dragons. Wony, a novice flyer whose dragon is nicknamed Bumble.

The villain? The stuck up Lord Torin's daughter, Hortense.

The stories are all about the riders, their relationships to the dragons, the adults and each other.

Good clean fun reads. You can hand this to your eight you old without previewing and feel confident they are going to get a good story and learn some valuable lessons on friendship and trust.

Con: The author, who I believe writes under a pen name, stopped writing the series. The sequel was published in 2008 and there hasn't been another since. Grr. Too bad, because I was all set to see what adventures Cara and her friends would have next.

Do you have a good middle grade series to recommend?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Family Size by Maria Hoagland

Family Size by Maria Hoagland is a new book out that I'm helping to give a shout out about. Learn all about it below then go and pick up your copy at one of the links below! I'll be giving my review on it in a later blog post when I finish reading it .

Is it one-size-fits-all, or all sizes fit? A novel about friendships, faith, and fertility by LDS women's fiction author Maria Hoagland.
Jessica loves being the mom of an ever-expanding family, but when an ultrasound throws her a curve, can she adapt with grace?
Dragged away from home, Maya feels deserted by her workaholic husband in a land of confusing accents and church cliques. What will it take to acclimate and save her marriage—or does she even want to?
Sloane is an algebra teacher and runner who would give up both to be a mom, but no matter what she does, pregnancy remains elusive. Can she adjust her thinking and find purpose in her life?
As their lives intertwine, can friendship and faith help these women hurdle expectations of an ideal family size?
“Hoagland has a talent for taking us into people’s hearts, allowing us to see both the bad and the good, and showing us the strength that comes only from trial. The characters in Family Size could be your neighbors or anyone from your ward. They think as we think, learn as we learn. They fail and weep, and then they dust themselves off and try again. In the end they come through for each other—and brilliantly. I very much enjoyed this novel.”—Rachel Ann Nunes – Bestselling author of Line of Fire and Before I Say Goodbye
Family Size is a touching story of three women who know heartache and trial, but also know where to turn for help. I loved this book. I laughed. I cried. I believe every woman will relate to the different tales of heartache and hope and come away with more compassion and understanding for others. I would recommend you not only read Family Size, but share it with all the sisters in your life.” –Cami Checketts, The Broken Path
Family Size is a touching story of three women's struggles with motherhood. Their issues with pregnancy, health, and fertility are well balanced and told so any woman can relate to them. Another great book by Maria Hoagland.” –Heather Justesen, The Switch
Author of Nourish & Strengthen and Family Size. Writer of LDS Women's Fiction. Long distance runner. Type 1 diabetic. Oboe player. English language tutor. Lucky wife. Mom of three. Resident of Idaho. Loves soft green grass, a breeze in the trees, and a good book.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wreck It Ralph & Rise of the Guardians

I can't believe I didn't review these two kid movies already? What is wrong with me?

Two things these films have in common.
1) They are both about bad guys who learn they are really good guys with the help of a child/friend.
2) You should own them.

Wreck It Ralph:

I saw this in the theaters and thought I'd learned all the movie would be about from the previews. Wrong! It's easy to be wrong when you make assumptions and go in with low expectations. There was so much more to the story than the previews showed and certainly more twists. Good voices for the characters and all you'd expect from the animation. Yes, it's got a Disney ending, but with all the sad endings in reality I'm perfectly good with that. Good for all ages.

Fave line: She gives me the honey glow something awful.
Fave cameo: Qbert. Yes, you have to be a 'mature' viewer to get that Atari reference.

Rise of the Guardians:

Great story, animation and the voices ROCK! I can easily listen to Chris Pine for much longer than this movie goes on. Can't even recognize Alec Baldwin in his role, but it's fabulous! Jude Law adds so much oil to his voice to be the Boogeyman it'll send shivers down your spine and hold you spell bound. Hugh Jackman in all his Aussie glory, 'nough said. More twists than dropping down the Easter Bunny rabbit hole and a heart warming ending. Sigh. Good for all ages.

Fave line: Nevermind, I'll take the groundhog. (or something close to that)
Fave cameo: Yeti who only paints in blue and red

What about your family? Did they like them? Clamor for you to buy them? Sick of hearing them beg to watch it over and over again? Or can you now recite the whole movie by heart having viewed/listened to it countless times?

Got a kids movie you're exited about that's coming out soon?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

All Roads Lead to Austen

So, you all know I have this ongoing love affair with all things Jane. This time I even read a non-fiction book to prove it (gasp!).

With a suitcase full of Jane Austen novels en español, Amy Elizabeth Smith set off on a yearlong Latin American adventure: a traveling book club with Jane. In six unique, unforgettable countries, she gathered book-loving new friends— taxi drivers and teachers, poets and politicians— to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.

Whether sharing rooster beer with Guatemalans, joining the crowd at a Mexican boxing match, feeding a horde of tame iguanas with Ecuadorean children, or tangling with argumentative booksellers in Argentina, Amy came to learn what Austen knew all along: that we're not always speaking the same language— even when we're speaking the same language.

But with true Austen instinct, she could recognize when, unexpectedly, she'd found her own Señor Darcy.

All Roads Lead to Austen celebrates the best of what we love about books and revels in the pleasure of sharing a good book— with good friends

This non-fiction book reads like fiction which is probably why I liked it so very much. I loved learning about new countries, different cultures and how Jane translates across language, culture and time barriers. Amy meets so many colorful people on her journey across six countries not to mention boxes full of books. I gained new insight to some of my favorite stories and characters and started applying the Bingley/Darcy test to the new romance book I'm reading. Guess what? It worked! It's probably a good idea to apply it to my own writing!

If you love Jane and travel and a good romance thrown into the mix, buckle su cinturon (that's seat belt) and go for a ride through Latin America with Amy! I'll be reading this one again.

Do you have a good non-fiction book you love?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oz: The Great & Powerful


When Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot - fame and fortune are his for the taking - that is until he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity - and even a bit of wizardry - Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Oz is good . . . but it's not great.

The CG work and world building are awesome. That is an undeniable fact. Some crew somewhere worked tirelessly for hours to create the beautiful world of Oz. I applaud their stunning efforts along with the costumers.

If only the writers had worked as hard. The writing is okay but not blow you away writing. But it isn't by far the worst written film I've seen by a long shot.

I can't say too much about the acting because I think it was in part limited by the writing. Overall the actors do all that they can with what they are given. It's only sad they weren't given more. Solid performances but nothing Oscar worthy for sure.

Fave characters: china doll, monkey (thank you Zach Braff for lending your voice! If you're wondering who that is think Chicken Little and Scrubs), Nuk, the lead tinker and Theodora.

I liked the opening credits (that's odd, right? but they set up the movie stylistically speaking) and the black and white KS contrasted with the world of exploding color in Oz, very reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz in that respect.

Worth a view? Yes!

A word of caution: this has some intense scenes. I took my 8 year old to it, but not my nearly 5 year old. My 8 year old loved it and I'll buy it for her sake because she'll watch it over and over. It'll be a few years before my 5 year old sees it. In my opinion this movie is for older kids not younger ones.

What did you think of this spin on how the wizard became the Wizard?