Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Movie Review of Dolphin Tale by Mary Ann

Dolphin Tale
A great Family Movie

Sawyer Nelson is an 11-year-old boy who struggles with the loss of his father through divorce, his mother to her job, and an older cousin he greatly admires, to the military. He also struggles with school, so much so that his mom decides he needs to attend summer school.

One morning, while biking to school along the beach, a fisherman flags him down to help him untangle a dolphin caught in a crab trap. Sawyer cuts away the lines and they call Animal Control which sends out the crew from The Clearwater Marine Hospital.

Sawyer decides to visit the hospital to find out more about the dolphin's fate. Friendships ensue. The doctor of the clinic (played by Harry Connick Jr.) notices that the dolphin (Winter) responds positively to Sawyer. They developed a bond while on the beach. Sawyer continues to visit the hospital daily. He begins to study about dolphins. He becomes excited about learning. His mother notices a big difference in his attitude.

As the story progresses, so do the problems. Sawyer develops problem solving skills that summer school could not have taught him.

This is a great family movie that teaches so many life lessons on several levels. I've watched this movie a few times and I pick up a new lesson each time; strength, courage, compassion, sacrifice, and determination to name a few.

Sawyer's mom (played by Ashley Judd) is a great example of a mom who allows her son to pursue his passion when she recognizes his growth, instead of trying to make him do things her way.

The most important lesson learned is what happens when Sawyer places the needs of Winter ahead of his own needs.

Even more importantly, this movie is based on real-life events. We need more uplifting movies like this that show outstanding examples from all of the cast. Morgan Freeman has always been a favorite of mine. Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. are wonderful, but the characters that steal the show are Winter, Sawyer, and Hazel.

Definitely a ***** family movie.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A is for Abinadi by Heidi Peolman Illustrated by Jason Pruett Review by Mary Ann

A is for Abinadi
by Heidi Poelman
illustrated by Jason Pruett

board book for preschoolers through early grades
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Content: An alphabet book of Scripture heroes
Pages: 32

What I liked about this book:
Each page has a giant letter and a simple paragraph that explains that character--a good mix of characters from all of the standard works.

The illustrations are colorful with a wee twist. On my second read-through (ok, not the most observant), I noticed what I thought were quirky, random items added to the scenes, but duh, they all start with the same letter of that page. Some are hidden--fun and imaginative.

I think this book will hold children's attention for several readings. I give it ***

You can buy it at any LDS bookstore or here:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Magic Within by Sara Ftizgerald

Very Excited about this book.
Magic Within is the sequel to Darkness Within.

Nancy, a purple-haired witch, has never fit in with the kids in town. She has always felt something was deeply wrong with her. When Josh, her best friend, is attacked by a werewolf, Nancy seeks a potion to save him from the werewolf curse within him. But Josh’s fate--werewolf or human--is his to decide, when the potion is injected during his transition at the full of the moon. Nancy, too, must make a choice. Her mother, her best friend, and a steadfast young man all see the magic within her. Can she finally accept who she is and give love a chance?
Excerpt for Josh

In the blackness of the night, Josh growled from deep inside his body. The pain was intense. More than anything he’d experienced. He gasped and stared at the alluring full moon. His body violently twisted.

He looked at his contorted hands; claws were forming. He was changing into a werewolf. This couldn’t be possible. He never even tasted human flesh and yet he’d always envied the power and freedom of Eric. To have no restraints. Nothing to constrain his behavior. Pure freedom.

“No!” he screamed into the night. Not him. Yet the stupid darkness had always appealed to him. He had even wanted to be a bloodsucker. Did evil lurk within his soul? Was this his fate? To be changed into a monster?

He frantically looked for Nancy, Nick and his sister. They were floating barely above him on the broomsticks. Horror flooded their faces, and tears filled his sister’s eyes.

Samantha dipped her broom lower. “No, Josh, please don’t do this.”

Nick raised his gun. Nancy quickly pushed it down.

Josh’s body quivered. “Kill me.”
Assigned ISBN: 978-1-77155-071-0
Publication Date: February 2014
Author’s Website Address: sarafitzgerald.net
The excerpt speaks for itself. It is a quick read and picks up where Darkness Within left off.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Funny Tragic Crazy Magic by Sheena Boekweg Reveiw by Amy

Funny Tragic Crazy Magic
by Sheena Boekweg
Book 1 in the Tragic Magic series
Content: Very mild violence and language
Publisher: Boekweg Books
307 pages
Book Summary/Teaser:
Keep your head down.
Don’t make waves.
Don’t let anyone know you’re a freak.

Larissa Alvarez is a witch. Magic is useful enough to make her pretty, but beyond transformation runes, Larissa ignores her mom’s pleas to learn about her magical heritage on the grounds that it’s just too weird.

But when her family is killed, and the powerful book of runes Larissa is supposed to inherit disappears, she realizes she’s not going to survive without magic. Worse still, she’s falling in love with her only ally, her best friend Joe, who has a secret that could kill them both.

Now magic is the only way she can reclaim her heritage and save the boy she loves. Larissa dives into the world of magic she’s always ignored and finds herself caught in the middle of an age-old war between Witches and Mages.

She may be poorly trained.
She may not have anyone to trust.
But it’s time to start making waves.
MY opinion:
I really enjoyed reading this book.  I liked the personality of the main character and   found that it was one I could really relate to.  There are a few surprises in writing style that kept me very interested, and I enjoyed the sense of humor.  This book was very entertaining and I found myself excited to get back to reading.  The author did a good job creating a realistic magical world.  I especially enjoyed the ending.  I didn't catch the twist when I first finished the book, and later woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it.  I re-read the ending a few times again just to let it all sink in.  I would definitely recommend this to my friends!

Rating ****

This book is available on Amazon:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weightless by Michele Gorman

Annabel’s not surprised when nobody recognizes her at her 10 year reunion. The spotty fat teen nicknamed AnnaBall by the school bullies is long gone. But standing on the edge of the popular crowd, she still feels like that girl. That is, until Jack, her teen crush, starts flirting with her. Much to her amusement, he has mistaken her for Christy Blake, Annabel’s chief tormenter before she moved to France in their last year.
It’s just a bit of fun at first, letting Jack believe she’s Christy. After all, he was nuts about her before she said au revoir to England. And when he asks Annabel out, the fun becomes something even more interesting. The more they date the deeper they fall for each other. So what if Annabel has to fib a little to keep up the fa├žade?

As the lies start compounding, and she realizes that they’re falling in love, she has to tell him who she really is. But she’ll lose the love of her life if she does.

Here’s the free eBook link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400385 click Buy and enter the coupon code ZH34Q (not case-sensitive) to download the book for free in any eBook format between February 11th and the 14th. The file downloads to your computer and you can send it to your kindle, Nook, iPad, etc from there, or read it as a PDF.

After Feb 14 you can find it here:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1fei9jM
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fehPS4
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/michele-gorman

Want to read a sample? It's not LDS fiction--but it's been a clean read so far, I haven't read this book, just Chapters 1 & 2.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Journal Prompts for Kids

Valentine's Journal prompts for kids and families:

Some families make sugar cookies or heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine's Day. Write about your favorite family tradition.

Write a thank-you note to your mom or dad for all of the things they do for you.

Write a thank you note to your teacher for all of the hard work he/she goes to for your class.

Make a list of people to send Valentines to, and what you like about each person.

Take some Valentine cookies to a neighbor and write about their reaction. Were they surprised? How did you feel afterwards?

Do secret good deeds for someone in your family. Did you get caught? Explain what you did to keep it a secret.

Give one of your neighbors a heart attack. Leave lots of Valentine messages at their door. Did you run? Did you get a chance to see your neighbors' reaction?

What did you do at school for Valentine's Day?

What was your favorite Valentine?