Friday, August 26, 2022

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is Jurassic Parts by Byron Frimp and Maggio Slooter.  There is so much going on in this book that I'm not even sure I can find a plot exactly.  There are vigilantes, Trekkies, Big Foot, dinosaurs and all sorts of things.  It is 500 pages long.  Not the longest book I've ever read but it feels like the longest book I've ever read.

My Friday 56:

"Now, you can play these little games and pretend to be noble because you have some code of super-crap, but cape-to-cape confidentiality is not recognized by the law.  You're not a priest and you're not a doctor."

Apparently, the police do not recognize superhero code of confidentiality.  

Man's Best Friend

Today (August 26th) is National Dog Day!  So, take a hike all you cat people.  Personally, I have never been able to choose between the two.  I love them both.  But today is all about dogs.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale starring Richard Gere

A college professor finds an abandoned dog at the train station and takes it home.

If you have ever had a pet that was part of the family, you will love this movie.  And you will probably cry.  If you have a friend who never understood how you could become attached to an animal, have them watch this movie and they might begin to understand.  The movie (that is inspired by a true story) is an ode to the relationship between man and dog.  First of all, Hachi is a beautiful dog, and you want to meet him and cuddle with him.  And you cannot help but to become emotionally involved with both the professor and the dog.  You are anxious at one point because as the audience you know something is coming when the characters don't.  You become completely invested in the story.  I was crying by the end.  As an animal lover I really liked this one.  And I think all animal lovers will feel the same.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Pizza (and a cat, and some rats, and a robot, and...) in Space

The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza by Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris

When it is discovered that the moon is being eaten by rats from another galaxy a cat is shot into space to save the moon and Earth.

This is pretty hilarious, and the drawings are awesome.  The cat is adorable.  And I like that when someone looks or points at something they write out 'look' and 'point'.  The story is a lot of fun.  Does it make any sense?  Absolutely not.  And I loved it.  The cat goes to the moon where he runs into the queen of the moon, a whale, pirates and a million other things, some of which make even less sense than these examples.  He goes from one crazy scenario to the next with all sorts of fun characters.  Even though the cat only ever says 'meow' he manages to have a lot of personality and you can't help but love his little robot friend who is looking for his purpose.  I think everyone will chuckle when they hear the general exclaim 'My grammy's meat loaf' (and other such phrases).  The book is wonderful, silly fun from start to finish.  I think all age groups will enjoy following the cat and his friends on his mission.  You won't want to put it down until you know if the cat can save the world, and more importantly, if he ever gets any pizza.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Let's all Trumpet for Joy

Today (Aug. 12th) is World Elephant Day!  Because everyone in the world loves elephants!  Well, maybe not everyone.  But a lot of people love elephants.  Because they are awesome.  They are also big, and strong, and wild.  So like with most big, strong, wild animals I tend to keep my distance.  I don't care how 'tame' you say they are.  So, although I like elephants and really do believe they are awesome, I don't think I would want one living in my back yard.

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

(from the back of the book) The bombing of Dresden looms ahead and Lizzie's mother, a zookeeper, persuades the zoo director to allow Marlene, a young elephant that has bonded with Lizzie and her younger brother, Karl, to be kept safe in their garden.

Their home is destroyed when bombs are dropped, so the family and Marlene have no choice but to flee with thousands of others in the dead of winter.  Though how can they walk the same route and keep themselves safe from approaching Russian soldiers...with an elephant in tow?

The story is sad, and sweet, and hopeful.  Lizzy, her brother Karli and their mother are trying to live their life with war looming.  Without knowing if their father is dead or alive; without knowing if they will be bombed today or not.  And then there is Marlene, a young elephant they are determined to save.  How do you go on when all that you have ever known is in flames?  The reader comes to love this family (that now includes an elephant) as they pull together to survive.  As they flee from the flames that was once their home, they see how hard times bring out the worst, but also the best in people.  When they meet a young RAF pilot they realize that the enemy is not so different from them.  Although Marlene becomes a focal point for the family that helps them through the war the story is less about the elephant than it is about the family as they struggle to survive and find hope, strength, compassion, love and determination within themselves.   

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Aliens Are Here. But Why Are They Here?

Before We Vanish starring Masami Nagasawa

Three aliens come to Earth and take over human bodies to prepare the way for an invasion.

I have to say that I found this movie interesting to watch but I can't say that it was good.  First off, it was very slow and meandering.  A lot of things happen that don't seem to go anywhere, and a lot of things happen that don't seem to make sense.  It's an interesting idea to explore what happens when someone loses a key concept.  When a workaholic loses the concept of work, does that diminish him or free him?  But i never understood why the aliens were collecting concepts.  Or why these three aliens had to come to Earth before the invasion.  Or why one fit in his human host just fine while one couldn't figure out how to use his human legs.  Or why they needed to build a communication device.  Or why they were doing anything they were doing.  The plot didn't feel cohesive to me.  So, if you have two hours to kill there are worse ways to spend it, but I could think of better ways to spend it too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Everybody Roar!

Today (August 10th) is World Lion Day.  The perfect day to go on safari!  But I'm not going to do that.  For several reasons.  One being that I might actually meet a lion.  And not one of the friendly ones from the following picture books.  And I don't want to be eaten.  So I will get my daily fix of all things lion from books.

Dandelion by Don Freeman

One day Dandelion the lion gets invited to a Tea and Taffy party by his friend, Jennifer Giraffe.  The invitation say to 'come as you are'.  But Dandelion does not follow directions and goes out and buys a new outfit, and gets his hair and nails done.  He wants to look fancy for the party.  But when he shows up he looks so fancy that Jennifer doesn't recognize him and won't let him in.  Dandelion learns that he should not try to be someone he is not.  (Although I hope that if I ever decide to get out of my jeans for a day and wear a dress my friends would still recognize me.  So maybe that says something about Jennifer too.)  It is a cute story about being happy with who you are.  I like the illustrations but the only color in the book is yellow.  I would have liked some more color.  I think kids will get a chuckle out of how Dandelion gets all dressed up but can't get into the party until it is all undone again.  It was first published in 1964 but it has held up well.

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

There is a lion in the library.  And since there are no rules against lions in the library he is allowed to stay as long as he follows all the rules.  He loves story time and learns to help the librarian in all sorts of ways.  But one day the lion has to break the rules to help his friend.  The illustrations are great.  The lion is very expressive and somehow the softer tones seem to fit the setting.  The story is cute.  At first everyone is a little nervous to have a lion in the library but he soon becomes everyone's friend and a very special helper to the librarian.  Then one day the lion has to break the rules to help his friend, knowing he will never be able to come back if he does.  But his friend is more important and the lion does the right thing, even at a cost to himself.  And people learn that sometimes, if there is a very good reason, rules can be broken.  I loved watching the lion dust shelves with his tail, and lift kids so they could reach high shelves and I felt for him as he sat in the rain looking through the window wishing he could go back in.  He is a very endearing character with a lot of personality even though he never says a word.  I think everyone will fall in love with this library lion.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Do You Love Books?

Today (August 9th) is National Book Lovers Day!  I love books.  I can never have too many books.  I probably own more books than I can ever read but I will never stop getting new ones.  But books are expensive.  So if you, too, like books but need to save your money for things like gas and food try these book giveaways.

Goodreads always has a bunch of book giveaways going on.  Check them out here

Book Riot has some books to give away as well.

To win Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor go here.  Ends August 15th.

To win The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang go here.  Ends August 13th.

To win the Black Excellence Collection (27 books) go here.  Ends August 31st.

To win Fenris & Mott by Greg van Eekhout go here.  Ends August 11th.

To win an audio download of Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston go here.  Ends August 12th.

Writers Space has some great titles for you to win.

To win In the Pines by Kendra Elliot go here.

To win A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries go here.

To win Dead Against Her by Melinda Leigh go here.

And there are many more.  To see the full list go here.

Fresh Fiction has some free stuff for you too.

To win three books from Kathy Lyons Grizzlies Gone Wild series go here.

To win Sea Glass Summer by Miranda Liasson go here.

To win a digital copy of Tie the Knot in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk go here.

There are too many to list here so to see what else you can win go here.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Of the Earth Review

Of the Earth by Kim Cousins

(from the back of the book) Following the lives of several people and animals, this story explores relationships in the midst of trials.  Living in a time of tribulation, the characters maneuver through precarious situations - a government reeducation program, a train hijacking, an earthquake - circumstances that occur with little warning.  But despite these hardships loyalties are tested and battle lines drawn.  Eyes are opened and hearts are pierced.

This is not your mother's bedtime story.  Starvation, disease, and natural catastrophes plague the earth in this futuristic account.  For readers who are daring, willing to step into a world of betrayals and miracles, fear and wonderment, crack open this cover

This is a Christian fiction novel.  The plot takes a back seat to the gospel message Cousins is trying to send here.  I don't think that is a bad thing.  I'm glad she didn't compromise her message to make the story more main stream.  But it will make the audience for this book much smaller.  It is a good story about what God will do for His people if they believe and follow Him.  When the 'World Government' takes over and the people are required to get a mark, Christians (and a few others) refuse.  Which not only makes them outlaws but, cuts them off from society.  So they start their own.  These people of faith see miracles and witness wonderous things and God is ever present with them.  But I was glad to see that Cousins didn't make it a fairytale; bad things still happen.  I like the bible verses in the footnotes so you can look up the relevant scripture for yourself.  But I'm not a fan of the animals talking.  Even though they can't talk to humans, it always struck me as slightly goofy and distracted from the message.  And most of the characters are black and white.  You are either a good guy or you are horribly evil.  There is no middle ground.  And there were a couple of thing in the plot that didn't add up for me.  The Peacekeepers (the police) arrest people without the mark and send them off to camps.  The Peacekeepers know where this whole community of unmarked Christians are and, although they harass them some, they let them stay together and free.  It is a good, strong Christian message, which is nice, but as a story I couldn't connect enough with it.  It is the first in a series but I will not be reading the others.

I got a free copy of this book from, Early Reviewers.

Friday, August 5, 2022

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo.  I liked this one.  It is sad and sweet and hopeful.  And it is inspired by a true story about a zookeeper who, during WWII, is told that if the city is bombed all the large animals will have to be shot so they won't escape into the city.  She saves a young elephant by taking her home and keeping her in the garden.  

My Friday 56:

No one had ever gazed into my eyes quite like this before.  I can only describe it as a look full of curiosity, kindness and love.

This is the daughter of the zookeeper and she is talking about the elephant here.  She must have been quite an amazing animal if this family that was fleeing, running for their lives, was unwilling to leave her behind.

Shucked if I Know

Today (August 5th) is National Oyster Day.  I have to admit that oysters are not my favorite seafood.  I have had some very tasty, cooked oysters but I tried raw oysters once.  I will never do that again.  But to each their own.  

I was surprised to find out how many books about oysters there were.  I could have chosen a number of nonfiction books, but I chose the cosy mystery one because it looked like it would be a lot more fun.  

Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross

(from the back of the book)  When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody's trying to mussel her out of business.  Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River?  There's also a lobsterman who's worried the farm's expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie's ex-partner, who may come to regret their split.  Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife.  Now it's up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer....

This is the ninth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series.  You don't have to have read any of the others to follow this one.  But it might help to connect with the main character if you have some background.  You do learn a lot about the oyster farming business.  You also learn a little about customs and phrases that are local to Maine.  Which gives you a nice sense of place for the story.  There are a lot of people and leads and suspects so you there are a lot of ways this can go, and it leaves you wondering how it will all work out.  It is an easy reading story that is fun as you try to follow all the clues along the way.  I do feel like I didn't get the connection with the characters the way I would have liked.  But that could be because I haven't read the other books.  And there is also an unfinished feel to an aspect of the story that will probably come up in the next book.  So, although you get a whole story here you never forget that it takes place in the middle of other stories.  It's okay.  It's fun and easy and fast.  But I never became so engaged that I feel the need to go back and read the previous books.