Saturday, May 31, 2014

Band of Brothers

I am a bit behind the times when it comes to watching the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers.  I will admit, I was a little turned off by Saving Private Ryan, so when this mini-series came out I wasn't really interested.  Recently, Amazon Prime acquired the rights to show many HBO shows and my husband and I decided to start watching this series on Memorial Day.

My husband had seen the series before, but not for over a decade.  I went in knowing it was about WWII, but that was the extent of my knowledge on the series.  Initially, I did think the first episode was a little slow, but by the end of episode two I was hooked.  My husband and I watched all ten episodes of the series this past week.  I am very proud to say that I didn't cry until the very last episode, although my husband thought I was going to crack much sooner.  I caught him looking at me to see if I was tearing up or not.

I was seriously impressed by the series.  I really invested in the characters and wanted to know what happened to them after the war.  I wish I had watched the series earlier, because I want to be able to talk to my grandfather about it and about how it compares to what he went through in WWII, but he died back in 2011.  I kind of wish I could go back and watch the series over again for the first time, but I know I won't ever be able to do that.  This series really touched me and I think that, while it is a dramatization, it is important and that more people (who didn't see it the first time around) should watch it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Prodigy by Marie Lu

I LOVED the book Legend, so I couldn't wait to read the second book in this trilogy starring Day and June.  Ever have one of those times where you want to read a book/see a movie/watch a TV show but are scared because you think it might not be as good as you are hoping for?  Unfortunately, that is what happened with me...

WARNING- Ahead there be spoilers concerning Legend.

Prodigy picks up right where Legend left off.  Day and June are on the run from the Republic.  They eventually need to ask the Patriots for help because Day is hurt and can't continue on without assistance.  The Patriots require some services from Day and June in payment for helping them and healing Day.  A plot is hatched to assassinate the newly appointed Elector, and Day and June both have to help out.  But, as time goes by, June starts to realize that she and Day might have been set up for more than they bargained for.

The first half of this book was slow, so seriously slow.  I felt like I'd lost part of the characters that I'd really enjoyed, and it read like the story was just going through the motions.  I almost gave up.  The end did start to get me more involved again, and the ending did pull at my heart strings.  I will probably read the last book, if only to find out what happens to these characters.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fabelhaven by Brandon Mull

Kendra and Seth's parents are going on a cruise, and the kids are going to visit with their grandfather whom they barely know.  When Kendra and Seth arrive their grandfather gives them a specific set of rules to live by, and tells them that certain parts of the property are completely off limits.

What Kendra and Seth do not know is that these rules are in place to protect them, and everyone else at Fablehaven, one of the last refuges for mythical creatures.  The kids find this out quickly when they break the rules and put everyone in serious danger.

I've heard good things about this series and, after a slow start, I did enjoy the book.  I will say that the younger brother was very annoying though and I kind of wanted to smack him one.  I loved the different creatures throughout the book and would like to read more in the series.  This book is great for older elementary and middle school readers who enjoy a fun fantasy story.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Three childhood friends: Poppy, Zach, and Alice love spending time together building their magical worlds and leading their favorite characters on adventures.  Then Zach's father ruins everything by throwing Zach's toys (including the action figure Zach uses to portray his main character) and declares that he is "too old for toys".  Zach is hurt, made, and confused, and decides that he has to stop playing the game with Poppy and Alice.

Then, the girls come to Zach one night and tell him that the old china doll belonging to Poppy's mother is haunted by the ghost of a young girl whose bones were used to create the doll.  This leads the friends on an adventure to bury the doll where the girl lived in hopes of letting her soul rest.

This book won a Newbery Honor and it was a good story about growing up, but it didn't really stick with me.  I didn't find the doll to be scary, and I guess I was just hoping for something else or something more.  I wanted to revisit the spooky stories I loved as a kid like Wait Till Helen Comes and some chapter book I can't remember about a girl going back in time to pilgrim days while on a vacation with her family.  This book didn't give me that scary feeling though, so I was a little disappointed.  This book is most likely plenty spooky for younger readers though, and I am sure that late elementary students will enjoy it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Pat Peoples (where in the world the author came up with that name I will never know) has been away at "the bad place" for awhile.  He is currently in "apart time" from  his wife Nikki, but then his mom springs him from the joint and he is back on his way home and on his way to winning Nikki back and ending "apart time", or at least that is what he thinks.

As Pat spends time at home and reacquainting himself with his family, he starts to realize that he was in the "bad place" a lot longer than he thought, and that the life he returned to is much different than the one he left.  Pat believes in Silver Linings and he believes that Nikki will come back to him, and he doesn't understand why all his wedding photos are gone and why no one will talk to him about Nikki.  Pat meets Tiffany, who offers to help me communicate with Nikki in exchange for a few things (not watching Eagles football, helping Tiffany win the Dance Away Depression competition, and telling no one of their agreement), and he thinks this is his chance to achieve his Silver Lining.

I know of the book because of the movie (for which Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar).  The book was a Kindle Daily deal, or some other deal, so I purchased it and decided to give it a shot after my Children's Literature class ended.  It was a fast read, and I enjoyed the author's voice, but I wasn't completely sold on the story.  Pat was sympathetic, but I wanted more development in his relationship with Tiffany.  I am interested to see the movie and see how these actors interpret the characters.  I liked the book well enough while I was reading it, but since I finished it I kind of feel meh about it.