Saturday, June 15, 2013

"Book of A Thousand Days" by Shannon Hale Book Review

I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale's "Book of a Thousand Days" which is based on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Maid Maleen".  This is a young adult book suitable for 6th/7th graders & up in my opinion.  The main character is a lady's maid named Dashti who chronicles her time spent in service to her lady Saren.  Saren has been locked in a tower by her father for refusing to marry a man that she fears and despises.  The two girls go through a great deal together, both within and outside of the tower.  This is a story of friendship, deep loyalty, honor, love, adventure, magic, mystery, beauty, and sacrifice.  This is one of those books where you can really get immersed in the characters and their lives, both the tedious and exciting parts (parts of the book may seem slow to the reader, but it only adds to the overall experience if you allow it to).  I give this book 4.75 stars.

"Beautiful Creatures" Movie Review

I'm the sort of person that can usually sit through almost any movie, even if it's not my cup of tea.  The movie "Beautiful Creatures" changed that for me, it may be the only movie I have set out to watch and have been unable to finish.  I'm not posting a link to a trailer because that might get your hopes up, and as much as I dislike not having anything good to say about a movie (apart from setting, they did a decent job with the location choice), this is one that I cannot recommend.

Within the first 20 minutes or so my youngest looked at me and asked if I was crying.  I replied "No, I'm blowing my nose.  Besides, there's nothing to cry about...except how crappy the movie is."  My oldest said to me just now "all you need to say is that it sucked, that's all you need to write."  I feel the need to say a bit more though.  I understand that movie adaptations have their limitations, film length being a big one, and of course budget constraints.  With that said, they could have done a hell of a lot better with what they had to work with. 

Normally a movie based on a book is always going to leave out someone's favorite part or change something that someone loved.  This movie (and I did watch almost all of it) drastically altered key points (such as the relationship dynamics between various characters) to such a great degree that it was almost a different story altogether.  On top of that the "new" story lacked depth & magic, so that even if you have not read the book, you would probably think the movie still sucked.  I'm really sorry for all the people that were involved in making this movie, what a waste of their time and talent, it could have been so much better without any added expense or time. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

$100 Amazon GC or Paypal Cash Giveaway is giving away $100 in Paypal cash or Amazon gift card (your choice).  Entries are being accepted until June 30, 2013.  You can enter through the rafflecopter below. Be sure to take advantage of all the bonus entry opportunities.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mister Rogers Remixed (B-Side) | "Sing Together" Review

From my earliest memories of television as a child I remember watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood very often, maybe every day.  I remember thinking a lot while watching it, I wasn't zoning out or getting caught up in story or "entertainment".  I remember wondering where his family was (for a long time I thought he really did live in that house) and what he did with his time when he wasn't on the show.  I was an only child,  and I did experience some very difficult things during my growing up years, but I always felt comforted and loved when I watched his show.  When I think of the vast numbers of children like myself who were impacted so profoundly by his kind & genuine being, I think "this man was a prophet".  I love this remix from PBS digital studios, brings back so many happy memories, and reminds me that all those things are still true today.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A & W Diet Cream Soda Review

Diet Cream Soda Photograph
I try not to drink too much soda, but when I do, I tend to drink diet or "zero" calorie options.  Some diet sodas don't taste that similar to their full calorie versions, but I recently discovered one that tastes nearly identical.  A & W brand Diet Cream Soda has been a big hit in our house.  It has a smooth, sweet flavor, and it has caffeine! 

Knorr® Rice Sides Review & Recipe

I rely on Knorr® Rice Sides for quick and tasty dinners.  There are lots of ways you can use these packages of flavored rice.  I like to make a quick casserole with them.  I prepare two packages as instructed but I add about a 1/4 cup of extra water.  After the rice has cooked I add one large can of canned chicken breast (drained), 1/2 bag of frozen green beans (any veggie you like will work), and stir it all together.   I pour the mixture into a baking dish and top with shredded cheese & some sort of crunchy topping like french fried onions, prepared stuffing, crushed potato chips or similar.  I bake it until the top is golden & the casserole is bubbly, at 375 for about 10 minutes.  The flavors from Knorr® Rice Sides are very authentic, they don't taste prepackaged, you can taste the homemade goodness in every bite.  My two favorite flavors are Herb & Butter, and Mushroom.

Rice Sides, Healthy & Quick Rice Side Dishes, Easy Rice Recipes - Knorr®

"Beasts Of The Southern Wild" Movie Review

I watched this movie today with my middle school aged daughters, one of them loved it and one stopped watching about half way through.  I enjoyed the movie a lot.  It was beautifully filmed, well written, and the actors were all quite talented, especially little "Hush Puppy".  It's a fantasy drama, most of it is *real* but there are imaginative, fantasy portions as well.  In some ways it's similar to "Pan's Labyrinth", "Big Fish", or "Bridge to Terabithia". There were moments were things seemed a little slow, but overall I'd give it 4.75 stars.  As for ratings I understand why it is PG-13 (some violence towards children & mild sensuality / women in nighties) but it's not nearly as PG-13 as many other movies, it's a lot closer to PG in my opinion.