The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

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Title: The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

Notable: Book #1 in the Nancy Drew mystery series

Premise:

Nancy Drew, a young lady who lives with her lawyer father, has a penchant for sleuthing.  When an old man dies and leaves his entire estate to a family he disliked, Nancy wants to investigate whether or not a later will was written.

My thoughts:

Nancy Drew mysteries are what you would call old-fashioned and quaint.  I can just picture Nancy zipping around in her little convertible in her just-so prim dresses.  I’m not one for a lot of prim and proper damsel kind of garbage, but Nancy has enough spunk and daring that I’m willing to overlook her prissiness.

The mystery itself isn’t mind blowing or terribly complex, but it’s a fun story for a younger person who enjoys the genre.  If you want your kids to get started on a mystery series that isn’t morally objectionable in any way, you’ll want to check out this series.  Or maybe you read Nancy Drew as a kid and just want to revisit the books for nostalgia’s sake.  Whatever floats your boat, man.

I recommend The Secret of the Old Clock to those who enjoy tame mysteries featuring a teen/young adult protagonist.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend by John Peterson

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Title: The Littles And Their Amazing New Friend by John Peterson

Premise:

When a hot air balloon ride goes awry, some of the Littles find themselves blown to a new place which they’ve never explored before.  There they encounter a Tiny community which seems to have jumped right out of the pages of early American history.

My thoughts:

This is probably one of my favorite Littles books and I’ll tell you why.  First, it has tiny animals in it.  How cool is that?  Just imagine tiny horses that tiny people can ride.  Do you see how the cuteness quotient has risen exponentially through the roof?

Second, I liked that this book actually had a message.  Whereas most of the Littles books are just fun, cute adventures, this one seeks to teach a message.  Their new friend Glory is growing up in a community much like that of the early American settlers.  Her father holds the belief that females should be limited to certain roles and activities, and he tends to stymie his adventurous daughter.  Towards the end of the book he changes his thinking, and readers are left with the message that girls/women are capable of anything that boys/men do.

I recommend The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend to children who are just starting to read chapter books, or as a nice family read-aloud.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

New Moon — Movie 2009

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Last night I watched New Moon, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

After a disastrous birthday party in which Bella is almost killed, Edward decides that it would be safer for her if he were not a part of her life.  Abandoned by her true love, Bella is swallowed by depression.  Her friend Jacob Black starts to bring a little light back into her life, though he is hiding a secret of his own.  And though Edward tried, Bella is still in danger.  Will Edward and Bella be reunited, or will Bella fall for her best friend, Jacob?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

Overall, I would say that this movie is on par with the previous one, Twilight.  It’s a must-see if you’re a fan of the series, and an okay movie if you like paranormal romance in general.

Let’s just jump right into my criticisms.  I really like the look of the Cullen family, but especially in the scenes where the whole family is interacting together, they are way too unnatural.  That is rather a disappointment because in the books you get a sense that this is a family that is warm, loving, and really watches out for each member.  For some reason that warmth and family atmosphere did not translate through in the movie.  That’s too bad.

My second criticism is over the slight changes made to the original story.  In the movie they make it seem like Carlisle doubts whether vampires have souls, when in the book he actually does have faith in an afterlife.  Also, they manufactured the scene where Victoria is hunting Charlie, and Harry Clearwater saves him by essentially sacrificing himself.  Maybe they wanted to make Harry’s death tie into the vampire theme a little more, instead of somebody dying of natural causes?  There were several other changes made to the story, most of them seemingly slight, but they add up over time to produce a story which kind of rankles if you’re a big fan of the book.  I’m not a huge fan of changing a story when translating it to film, if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it.

Finally, my biggest criticism is how they changed the romantic tension between Jacob and Bella.  The book is quite clear that Jacob is very interested in Bella in a romantic way, but she never seriously entertains the idea of getting involved with him romantically.  All of those almost-kisses in the movie are completely made up, and I think it complicates their relationship in a way that isn’t true to the original story.

There are also some things which I really liked!  Edward is still sultry and amazing.  I enjoy his acting style and think he really nailed the sexy vampire thing.  Jacob is amazing, too!  He is warm, intense and down-to-earth–just like Jacob is supposed to be.  Finally, the werewolves were very cool!  I pictured them a bit larger in my head, but they were still impressive.  I love the whole new mystical side which is added to the story with the wolves.  Grudgingly, I’ll add that Stewart displayed more convincing emotions in this movie than in the previous one.  Perhaps she’s just a very subdued kind of person.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Confessions of Shopaholic – Movie 2009

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Last night I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I hadn’t even known that they had made it into a movie, until quite recently.

As a very quick synopsis, the story is about a young lady named Rebecca Bloomwood who absolutely loves to shop and would like nothing better than to write for the well-known fashion magazine, Alette.  She tries to climb the corporate ladder by starting at a magazine entitled Successful Saving, but runs into many hurdles brought on by her own reckless spending habits.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the book, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve read it, so many of the details have slipped away.  That’s probably a good thing when watching the film adaptation of the book, because I didn’t get caught up in comparing every little thing to the book.  I had a general gist of what was going to happen, but the story was just there for my enjoyment.

Even though it’s been a year since I read the book, I could tell that they had taken some liberties with the original story.  However, I don’t think that the changes adversely affected the story, so much as created their own alternative story.  There is still the love interest, Becky’s awful spending habits, the extremely awkward situations, and a day when she must reckon with the mess that she has made.  However, most of the heavy and serious stuff is taken out of the story.  Maybe that’s why they changed some major plot elements–so it would be more of a fluff story.

I think that I liked the movie version of Becky better than the book version.  It probably has to do with the fact that Isla Fisher is completely likeable and charm seems to ooze from her pores.  I’m not sure how I feel about the changes made to Becky and Luke’s relationship in the movie.  I suppose they wanted to simplify and condense it, instead of making it develop over a period of time, as it did in the book.

I have to say something about the animated mannequins here.  At first they kind of creeped me out, but as the film progressed they started to make sense.  Since shopping is such an integral part of who Becky is and since it is a magical experience for her, I think that the “living” mannequins were a good choice.

The film is fairly tame.  There’s one instance of the b-word, at least one instance of the a-word, lots of leg and cleavage exposure, and a drinking session with her friend while they go through credit card bills.

I recommend this movie to teens and women who want to watch a feel-good romantic comedy.  While it’s not the best I’ve ever seen, it is one that I wouldn’t hesitate to watch with friends.  If you’re hoping for it to accurately reflect the book, you will be disappointed.  Look at it as a cousin of the book.

Possible Objections:

  • a handful of bad language
  • some ladies show lots of skin
  • a drinking scene
  • a cat fight

Rated: PG

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC POSTS:

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Sisterhood Traveling Pants 1

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the second book I’ve read from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  It’s a moving and emotionally complicated book which focuses on four friends who are coming of age.

The friends are spending their summer apart, but staying connected through a pair of magical pants.  The pants rotate between the girls, helping them to do whatever needs to be done in that moment.  Some of the girls gain courage, some gain maturity, some take risks.  The point is that the pants help the girls remember their friends’ support and infuse them with extra confidence to do what is necessary in their particular circumstances.

The girls experience everything from work issues to death, complicated family relationships to boy issues.  I like how the situations are not cheapened by coming up with nicely packaged and processed resolutions.  The reader is allowed to sit in some uncertainty about how things will ultimately turn out for the girls (Of course, this could simply be a plot device that sets us up for the next book.)

The narrative skips around to the different girls throughout each chapter, so that can get a little confusing.  There are no headers to alert you to the changes.  The characters were mostly likable, but not complex enough to make me truly attached to them.  It could just be that they were adolescents and their behavior/thought life were a bit erratic.  Goodness knows that would be true to reality.

The one thing that I really loved about this novel was that the story encompassed a lot of different issues and emotions associated with a young girl coming of age.  It’s a complex time of life for young ladies and I feel like this novel would help them to feel a little bit normal.  I don’t know about you, but my middle and high school years were not a piece of cake.  I think I would have benefited from hearing the message that these emotions are normal and it’s okay not to have all your spit together.  We’ll swap excrement for oral secretions, okay?  You might also like to know that I cried towards the end.

A favorite quote from the book:

“Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks–the traffic signal that said ‘Walk’ the second you got there–and downticks–the itchy tag at the back of your collar–that happened to every person in the course of a day.  Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.

Maybe it didn’t matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek.  Maybe it didn’t matter if your friend was possibly dying.

Maybe you just got through it.  Maybe that was all you could ask for.” (p.282)

With all that being said, I would recommend this book to teen and preteen girls.  I think they’ll enjoy and identify with it most.

Possible Objections:

  • A bit of bad language
  • One sexual encounter, though it’s extremely vague (I had to read between the lines to understand that it had even occurred)

 Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS POSTS:

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