Thursday, June 27, 2013

How I Became A Teenage Survivalist

How I Became a Teenage Survivalist by Julie L. Casey

This book asks the question: What happens when the sun fries all things electrical on Earth and people must retreat to living as their ancestors?

To find out the answers, read Julie's book, already available on Amazon for Kindle. The paper back version debuted June 24th (for all you bibliophiles who like an old school copy1)

Here's the link to her amazing website that gives you the blurb, trailer, character pictures, the info on the probability on this actually happening and why she was inspired to write the book. I'd put it all up here if her website wasn't already do darn cool!

Here's the link:

Do you think you and your family could survive if the sun fried the planet?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Snow White & the Huntsman

First of all, I didn't have high expectations for this film. That helped.

Also, in my opinion, there are definitely two schools of people when it comes to Kristen Stewart: 'tolerate her' and 'I'll pass on her films'. Sorry to all you major fans I just offended

In this one she is tolerable and even gives us glimpse of some of her better acting from Zathura. For me, she actually worked out well as Snow White.

Charlize Theron turns in another flawless performance giving us all the best we've come to expect from her caliber of actress. And her costumes rock! They are so awesome!

Chris Hemsworth is excellent as the Hunter, although I noticed he looks a bit smaller in this one than Thor. Perhaps it's the lack of shoulder padding that goes with the cape. Hmmm.

All in all, my husband thought once was enough. But I thought it was worth watching more than once and possibly even owning, though not at full price. You can decide for yourself.

It is PG-13. Violence for the most part.

Which of the Snow White movies is your favorite? (And yes, the Disney one counts. :))

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Light in Dark Places

A Light In Dark Places by Jennifer Graves & Emily Clawson launches today.

Congratulations ladies!

I haven't read the book, but from the description below, it sounds like you'll need a box of tissues.

You can get more info on the website and FB page.

In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all---including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path---and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Essential 55 by Ron Clark

I like fun non-fiction. This book qualifies.

I hadn't heard of Ron Clark until our elementary school decided to have their staff read it and pick the 10 most important principles/rules for the kids to learn and follow this past school year. The book and concept were presented to the PTA by the principal and we were offered copies to borrow to learn what our children would be applying this past school year.

Ron Clark pieced together these rules for running a classroom  smoothly based on his experiences as a teacher in the rural south and an inner city school in Harlem. Very different environments and yet these rules worked like gang busters for both. Then he kindly packaged them into this funny and informative book for all of us.

This book isn't just for teachers. It's for everyone with kids or who works with kids in any setting.

He talks about how to learn to transition from one activity to another, look people in the eye when you speak, when someone asks you a question you answer and then ask one in return. There are all kinds of just basic courtesy rules in here that many of today's kids just don't follow, ex. how to act in a movie theater or how to speak to an adult. He has classroom examples for each one of his rules to illustrate how it worked, or didn't work which was how he stumbled upon it in the first place. He's honest, humorous and heart warming.

These rules are for life. There are several I need to teach my own kids so they can operate as a kind and respectful student and citizen in the world. Like, don't interrupt and listen for starters. I've also seen some improvement in my own child as these concepts have been internalized. And I'll tell you that when I walk the halls of that school and pass students, they are deadly silent. Impressive.

What manners/ rules/ lessons do your kids need to learn? How are you teaching them?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Ideal Husband

I watched this one night before we terminated out Netflix contract. Glad I didn't miss it.

If you like a nice period film with a great cast, well done storyline, and the opportunity to root for a roguish hero, then load up An Ideal Husband and enjoy! The acting is spot on as are the sets and costumes. You'll recognize tons of faces here. There's a few hold your breath twists at the end. That's good writing.

This is a chick flick. Your hubby won't appreciate it. Unless he's just gooey on the inside awesome in this way. Round up your girls, dish up the scones and relax. 

This one is PG-13 as I recall, though I couldn't say exactly why.

What period film ranks on your list?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Abandon by Elana Johnson is out! I'm so excited! It came out on June 4th and I've waited a year for the final installment of this trilogy. (It is a trilogy right? If it's another cliff hanger for a fourth I'm going to throw a book at the wall!)

I've loved Possession and Surrender. Now I can get my hands on Abandon.

Once I've got Oliver Twist finished, I've got a stack of books to choose from. I'm pretty sure this one will sneak it's way to the top.

It's been a great book launch season for several author friends of mine. That means great summer reads for all of us! I'll try to highlight them all for you this summer but there may not be enough time. Check out my shout outs on FB as I put them up.

Now, if you haven't read all Ms. Johnson's books yet, do yourself  a favor. Get them. Read them. And lucky you, you won't have to wait a year in between each one of this trilogy like I did! You get to read them back to back. And believe me you will be hard pressed to put them down!

Here's the blurb and link. Click away!

The fight for independent thought becomes a matter of life or death in this sizzling and intense conclusion to the Possession trilogy. Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there’s more at stake than a few broken hearts. But there is a traitor among them…and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for. Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers’ reign. Their success means everything…and their failure means death.

And Congratulations to Ms. Johnson! What will she write next?

What summer reads are you excited about?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ballet Shoes

I'm going to give you some throwback films for this summer. Some for kids, some for grownups. Because the summer days and nights are long and it's always good to try something new/old but new to you.

Ballet Shoes the film is based on the book of the same name by Noel Streatfeild, which has been around since the 1930's. It tells the simple story of three orphan girls adopted by the same benefactor who vow to help each other achieve their dreams. When their 'father' goes missing, the girls are pressed into service on the stage to help make ends meet. Thus the title, Ballet Shoes.

You'll recognize the delightful Ms. Emma Watson as the oldest girl along with the actress who portrays their care taker (she's Georgiana from the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice). It's a well told tale and a lovely watch with your favorite girl. I don't think the boys will be so impressed as it's not an action flick but a period story of character.

Perhaps it will inspire you or your daughter to read the book or some of the others he wrote after, like Movie Shoes, which is another one of my favorites.

Do you have a classic 'girl' tale you'd like to watch/share with your daughter?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mr. Nice Spy

Mr. Nice Spy by Jordan McCollum is here! Grab your spy gear and check it out!

We're celebrating the launch of Mr. Nice Spy, a prequel novella to the novel I, Spy! Read on to find out more about the book, get a cool spy tip for your daily life and download a free copy! You can also find Mr. Nice Spy on Amazon, Kobo, and!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you'd expect to find an American spy. CIA operative Elliott Monteith has made it work, just like he's made things work with his longtime fiancée Shanna. Until Shanna lays out an ultimatum: move forward or move on. Meanwhile, Elliott and his best friend and fellow operative, Talia Reynolds, try to track an elusive leak at the American embassy.

But something changes between Elliott and Talia as they close in on the man selling out his country. Professional and personal lines blur and Elliott has to choose—his fiancée or his best friend.

More about Mr. Nice Spy | Add Mr. Nice Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

I, Spy

Mr. Nice Spy is a prequel to the novel I, Spy, available now. To save her country and her secrets, CIA operative Talia Reynolds will have to sacrifice the man she loves.

More about I, Spy.

About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Hone your spy skills

Spy skills can come in handy in the most unusual situations, like this one . . .

Further hone your spy skills by reading Mr. Nice Spy!

The clue!

As part of the debut of Mr. Nice Spy, Jordan is hosting a contest to figure out the "theme" song for the story. Collect clues at each blog stop and use your spy skills to piece together the clues to win a $25 Amazon gift card! How to enter

The clue for this stop is:
TNT & TBS used the Mr. Nice Spy song in their promos for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The freebie!

Thanks for participating in this launch tour! As a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free copies of Mr. Nice Spy! Simply to go You can also get 40% off I, Spy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness

A reliable source told me this film was as good as the first.

And she was right!

This film has everything the first one does. Which is great for fans both new and old. What I love most about the reintroduction of the Star Trek franchise to another generation of fans is that there is something here for everyone (over the age of 13 that is)!

I give big thumbs up to the writers. They have to appease both die hard Trekkers and introduce it to people who have never watched a Star Trek episode or film of any era. Not an easy task. Yet they consistently write to appeal to both and include humor and heart tugging moments too! There's throw back stuff for the trivia fans that the newbies don't have to know (like Tribbles) to get and lots of action, character development and a substantial believable plot line. So, my Oscar nomination goes to the writers. Oh, and the special effects people.

This time we follow Kirk as he weaves his way through the Federation red tape to save friends, crew members and life as they know it. You know, the usual Star Trek stuff. I love all the actors they cast as these characters. Poor Kirk gets beat up a lot. I hope Chris Pine gets a free massage after every fight sequence take. He deserves it! Quinto will need one too.

I'm looking forward to the third film. Not that they've promised us one. But based on the money making machine it is. I'd say there's a good chance. Oh and you don't need to stay to the end of the credits. There's nothing there.

Bottom line: Don't miss this movie! Be prepared to buy it! This is my favorite summer blockbuster so far (yes more than Iron Man 3 - don't hate me for that).

Unless of course, you aren't a SciFi Action film kind of person. You are then excused.

It's still early in summer so something else could throw it over. We'll see.

What summer movie have you liked most so far? Which one are you most excited to see next?