Book Review: Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Blizzard of the Blue Moon    Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2006. Summary/Review: This may be my favorite Magic Tree House book yet.  Jack and Annie are sent to Depression-era New York City to find a unicorn (SPOILER: If you didn’t guess, it’s in the Cloisters museum, although there’s a…

TV Review: Game of Thrones (2016)


Title: Game of Thrones Release Dates: 2016 Season: 6 Number of Episodes: 10 Summary/Review: In the brutal winter of 2015, I idly decided to give this Game of Thrones show a chance (my wife is a huge fan of the books) and ended up binge-watching all four seasons then in existence.  Medieval fantasy is not usually my…

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter


Author:  William Ritter Title:  Jackaby Narrator: Nicola Barber Publication Info: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books (2014) Summary/Review: This detective novel set in 1892 in a fictional city in New England openly acknowledges that it is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche in the opening pages.  Even “Sherlock Holmes with fantastical and supernatural elements” has been done before,…

Book Review: Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Good Morning, Gorillas Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006. Summary/Review: Another delightful Magic Tree House journey where Annie and Jack spend a few days living among a family of mountain gorillas in Congo and learn the “magic” of communication.  Osbourne knows a lot about gorilla behavior and incorporates it into…

Book Reviews: Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve  Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2010) Summary/Review: There’s such a great variety of stories in the Magic Tree House series.  Having just read the historical fiction of a story set at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889, we read this book set in the…

Book Reviews: Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne Title: Night of the New Magicians Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006. Summary/Review: This is a really entertaining installment of the Magic Tree House series where Annie and Jack visit the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 to learn of for forms of “magic.”  The magic is actual the inventions and discoveries…

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)


Title: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Release Date: 2008 Director:  Dave Filoni Summary/Review: Feeling all Star Wars-ish lately, I decided to watch this animated movie set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  Obi Wan and Anakin are leading clone armies into battle against the separatists and have to negotiate a treaty…

Movie Review: Return of the Jedi (1983)


Title:  Return of the Jedi Release Date: 1983 Director:  Richard Marquand Summary/Review: And so we conclude introducing the children to the classic trilogy of Star Wars films.  The kids enjoyed this and certainly got a lot more laughs than the previous two installments.  Return of the Jedi certainly does have more humor and a positive spirit…

Movie Review: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


Title:  The Empire Strikes Back Release Date: 1980 Director:   Irving Kushner Summary/Review: Still the best of the Star Wars films, allowing space for the characters to breath and grow and for the actors to show their chops, while still having intertwining action plots that come together at the end.  And it’s funny.  It certainly wasn’t…

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)


Title: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Release Date: 2015 Director: J.J. Abrams Summary/Review: I was probably among the last people in the Star Wars-loving universe to see this movie, but it was worth the wait.  The Star Wars franchise is back in good standing with this movie that, yes, has great special effects and action sequences,…

Book Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


Author:  Leslye Walton Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Publication Info:  Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2014. Summary/Review: This is a story about a girl born with wings. The novel details three generations of her family’s life filled with heartbreak, tragedy, and little touches of magical realism on every page. It’s basically what would…

Movie Review: Star Wars (1977)


Title:  Star Wars Release Date: 1977 Director:   George Lucas Summary/Review: Rating: ****1/2 What can you say about this movie in 2016?  Most people know and love the movie and our popular culture is steeped in its motifs.  But this was the first time my children watched the movie and  the first time I’ve watched it…

Book Review: Vampires In The Lemon Grove by Karen Russell


Author: Karen Russell Title: Vampires in the Lemon Grove Narrator: Arthur Morey, Mark Bramhall, Jesse Bernstein, Michael Bybee, Kaleo Griffith, Joy Osmanski Publication Info: Books on Tape, 2013 Summary/Review: This collection of short stories is hard to describe. Not really science fiction, not really fanatasy, not really horror, maybe magical realism, definitely weird stories. Sometimes…

Movie Review: Big Fish (2003)


Title: Big Fish Release Date: 2003 Director: Tim Burton Summary/Review: The center of this story is a son trying to reconcile with his dying father. Edward is a man who charms people with his stories but Will feels that stories prevented him from really knowing his father. This being a Tim Burton film, the stories…

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Author: Ransom Riggs Title:Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Narrator:  Jesse Bernstein Publication Info: Random House Audio, 2011 Summary/Review: 16-year-old Jacob travels to a remote Welsh island to learn more about the shelter that took in his grandfather during World War II.  Through some mysterious encounters and time travel he learns that the children at…

Book Reviews: The Left-Handed Hummingbird by Kate Orman


Author: Kate Orman Title:The Left-Handed Hummingbird Publication Info: London : Doctor Who Books, 1993. Summary/Review: This Doctor Who novel is epic in scope from contemporary Mexico to the Aztec empire to hippie London in the 60s to the John Lennon assassination to the sinking of Titanic. And yet, this may be the most internal story for the…

Book Review: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin


Author: Ursula Le Guin Title: A Wizard of Earthsea Narrator: Harlan Ellison Publication Info: San Bruno, CA : Fantastic Audio, p2001. [originally published, 1968] Summary/Review: This fantasy novel set in the magical land of Earthsea introduces Ged, a boy whose magical ability shines in a society with numerous witches and practitioners of magic.  After saving his village from an attack,…

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer


Author: Eoin Colfer Title: Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian Narrator: Nathaniel Parker Publication Info: New York : Listening Library, p2012. Summary/Review: The final installment in the Artemis Fowl series or so it would seem.  Opal Koboi has her biggest take over the world plot, Mulch Diggums has his biggest flatulence, and Artemis has his ultimate moment of genius….

Book Review: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin


Author: George R.R. Martin Title: A Feast for Crows Narrator: John Lee Publication Info: [Santa Ana, Calif.] : Books on Tape, 2006 Summary/Review: The fourth book in A Song of Ice and Fire is a departure from the style of the earlier books, as it focuses on stories of only some of the major characters, while characters like…

Book Review:The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


Author: Neil Gaiman  Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane Narrator: Neil Gaiman Publication Info: [New York] : Harper Audio, 2013. Previously read by the same author: American Gods Good Omens The Graveyard Book The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes The Sandman: The Doll’s House The Sandman: Dream Country The Sandman: Season of Mists The Ocean at the…