I'm a mom of 3 kids, and I love to read and watch movies, and I'm picky about what my kids read and watch.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BOOK: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

Ugh.  I tried.  I really tried.  I couldn't take it.  I abandoned this book about 1/4 of the way through.... too much to be disgusted by; language, sexuality and violence.  This book has it all if that's the kind of trash you are looking for.

BOOK: The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton

The first book I read by this author (The Forgotten Garden) was compelling and shocking so I expected the same from this book.  I was not disappointed!  It grips you from the very first chapter and never lets go.  The title suggests there is a big secret, but you will never guess what it is.

There is some mild language and violence (nothing graphic), and mild sexuality (mostly implied).

Recommended for:  Adults

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BOOK: The Magic Thief (Book One)

The Magic Thief
by Sarah Prineas

One of my friends received this book as a gift from a friend years ago but no one ever read it.  When my 9-year-old was sick this summer (and his siblings were out of town) I wanted to read aloud to him and decided to give this one a try.  We were both delightfully surprised.  The story is fun and compelling and the writing is decent (I was occasionally annoyed by the clunky style, but that may have been mostly because I was reading it aloud).  It is a bit of a Harry Potter rip off, but that's OK.... the author knows what sells to kids. 

There is no offensive language, but a bit of very mild violence (thugs beating up a boy), and a few mildly frightening scenes. 

Recommended for:  Ages 8-12

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BOOK: A Mortal Curiosity

A Mortal Curiosity
by Ann Granger

I enjoyed this sequel to the The Companion, a Lizzy Martin mystery set in Victorian England.  It's a compelling and clever story that kept me guessing.  Like the first book in the series, the characters take turns narrating (mostly Lizzy and the detective with whom she is romantically involved), which I find annoying in some books, but it mostly works here. 

It's a murder mystery so there is necessarily some violence that occurs but it's not graphic (mostly implied), but nothing else that might be offensive.

Recommended for:  Adults

Monday, August 26, 2013

BOOK: Midnight in Austenland (Shannon Hale)

Midnight in Austenland
by Shannon Hale

I read the author's Austenland years ago and enjoyed it, giggling through it and finding it mostly silly and predictable.  But still, very fun.  I expected much of the same from this book but was surprised, and not in a bad way.  Though the premise is still the same (single woman, Jane Austen fan, struggling with love life spends time at a fantasy Austen-theme park) the story takes a turn into a bit of mystery and suspense.  

There may have been some mild language, but if there was I don't remember any.  And because this a "Austenland" everything is very proper.... translation:  no sex scenes. 

Recommended for:  Women 16 and up

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BOOK: The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker's Wife
by Adriana Trigiani

I thoroughly enjoyed this marvelous novel based on the lives of the author's grandparents.  I don't really know how to describe this book without giving a summary of the story, but I don't believe in summarizing.  So, I will just say that it's a wonderful story about people who live, love, struggle, survive, and thrive.  They endure change (and sometimes embrace it) and find the beauty in hard work.  They know what really matters and they make sacrifices for it.

The book is well-written, though sometimes the descriptions go on a little long.  Most of the time it was charming, but occasionally I just wanted the story to move forward faster.  There is a bit of language and a few scenes of mature subject matter but nothing truly offensive.

Recommended for:  Adults

Friday, April 12, 2013

BOOK: Friday's Child

Friday's Child
by Georgette Heyer

Every time I read one of Heyer's extremely enjoyable novels I can't help but think, "Why on earth has this book not been made into a film?  BBC, where are you?  This is perfect material for your audience!"  This book is particularly suited for film... I can well imagine it as a delightful and extremely popular "Masterpiece" mini-series.

I don't know how she managed to do it, but though every one of her novels is set in similar circumstances and setting, they are all quite unique in plot and character development.  As in the other Heyer novels I have read, I found myself frequently sighing, grinning, or laughing out loud.  Even though I knew all would end well, I found myself on the edge of seat, eager to find out what would happen next, never quite sure who would end up with whom, or how the author could possibly bring it all around to the inevitable "happily ever after."  What can I say?  It's just pure fun!

None of Georgette Heyer's books contain anything offense other than an occasional mild swear word or reference to a dishonorable man who has taken advantage of some naive damsel. 

Recommended for.... anyone who loves to read and be entertained!

BOOK: Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool

This is a delightful read that is well-deserving of it's Newberry Medal.  It's a wonderful story of family, friendship, hope, hard work, and love, along with plenty of action and mystery... and great characters.  This book will appeal to both boys and girls, as well as adults.

The book contains no offensive language, however, there are some mildly frightening scenes, references to alcohol use (the story takes place during prohibition), and a scene of violence (mostly just alluded too) that might be too much for younger children. 

Recommended for ages 10 and up

BOOK: Beauty Sleep (Once Upon a Time series)

Beauty Sleep (Once Upon a Time Series)
by Cameron Dokey

This retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" was fun and charming, with plenty of twists and turns and lots of adventure.  I think my boys would even like it.  Aurora is spunky and courageous, and the story teaches lessons of doing the right thing no matter what, even when it's really, really difficult.  It's also a story of true love, of course, based on a real relationship, and not just looks, or "love at first sight."  Thank goodness.

There is no inappropriate language and contains nothing more than a sweet kiss.  However, there are a few brief moments of violence, but nothing graphic.

I look forward to reading more of this series.

Recommended for ages 12 to adult

Sunday, March 17, 2013

BOOK: Crossing to Safety

Crossing to Safety
by Wallace Stegner

For years my sister has been bugging me to read this book because she "knew" I would love it.  Well, she obviously knows me pretty well because this is exactly the kind of book I love.... one about regular people; their lives, relationships, struggles, pains, joys, experiences, triumphs, failures, and their personal growth.  It is also a story about luck vs. hard work, having wealth vs. being poor (but happy none-the-less), having a large close-knit family vs. having none.... among other things. 

The characters (two married couples) are well developed and interesting, and their lives are full and fascinating, and yet really simple and "normal."  Stegner's use of language is poetic and lovely.  This is a well-written novel, and yet you would think it a beautifully-written memoir.  It was the author's last novel, and it is certainly worthy to be called his final "masterpiece." 

This novel contains a few profanities and a couple of scenes vaguely implying intimacy between married couples. 

Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Angle of Repose is also on my much-too-lengthy "to-read" list.  Perhaps now I will get to it sooner than later.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BOOK: The Castle Corona

The Castle Corona
by Sharon Creech

This charming tale is simple and complex at the same time; a traditional fairy-tale that tells the story from the point-of-view of the numerous characters, and keeps the reader engrossed and guessing. There is absolutely nothing offensive in this sweet story that children of all ages (and adults) will enjoy.  It would also be great for reading aloud. 

Creech continues to be one of my favorite authors.  Her books are all unique, but equally compelling and well-written.

Recommended for:  Ages 8 to 12

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FILM: One Day (2011)

One Day (Rated PG-13)
Starring Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess

This is another film I watched sans-husband, though not because he was gone.... just busy preparing a Sunday School lesson for the next day.  I had heard of this one (unlike this one), probably because it starred two big names, rather than two relatively unknown actorsThe story follows the friendship of the two main characters on the same day (July 15th) through the years, as best friends, though they drift apart and back together again, on and off.  It is a heart-wrenching journey at times.

Unfortunately, though there isn't any actual sex there is lots implied (and quite a bit of discussion of it), and some partial nudity (though mostly in a non-sexual context).  Also, an f-bomb and some other mild language.  I thought it definitely pushed the PG-13 rating to the limit!

FILM: Take Me Home (2011)

Take Me Home (2011)
Rated PG-13
Starring Sam Jaeger, Amber Jaeger

Has anyone heard of this film?  I stumbled upon this little gem on Netflix one night when my husband was away.  I was specifically looking for something he wouldn't watch with me (I have to take every opportunity!), but I actually think he would have enjoyed it too.  It's billed as "Romantic Comedy" and I suppose that's accurate (there is comedy and romance) but the drama seemed more prominent, and that's what pulled me in. 

The premise is interesting.... a down-on-his luck man ends up driving a distraught woman across the country in his cab.  As they spend the days together they deal with their own personal issues, rely on each other in unexpected ways, and form a deep friendship.  There is particular scene of intense honesty that took my breath away.  It's a simple story really, but something about it stuck with me; one of the best films I never heard of.  

There is some language (no F-bombs... whew!), but no violence, nudity, or sex, though it is briefly implied. 

P.S.  This isn't really a spoiler, but it is...sort of... since I didn't know this before hand.  (And I'm glad I didn't know.)  So, in case you, like me, like to be surprised, don't read on.   The two starring actors are actually married in real life. 

BOOK: The Persian Pickle Club

The Persian Pickle Club
by Sandra Dallas

This was a book club read that I thoroughly enjoyed.... a charming story about a diverse group of women who meet on a regular basis to quilt and visit.  There are plenty of interesting characters, a little mystery, lots of drama, and a few shocking plot twists and turns.... along with some shocking language and a little violence; nothing too serious, just be warned.