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…

Book Review:A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin


Author: George R.R. Martin Title: A Storm of Swords Narrator: Roy Dotrice Publication Info: Random House Audio (2012) Previous books in the series: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings Summary/Review:  The high fantasy series continues with the grim and deadly doing of Westeros, a place where weddings are more dangerous than battlefields and being a king…

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin


Author: George R.R. Martin Title: A Clash of Kings Narrator: Roy Dotrice Publication Info: Random House Audio (2011) Previously read by the same author: A Game of Thrones Summary/Review: The second installment of A Song of Ice and Fire was gripping to my ears as I plowed through the audiobook.  Despite the title, there is not much clashing…

Book Review: The Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost) by Eric Hobbs


Author: Eric Hobbs Title: The Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost) Publication Info: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2011 Summary/Review: This is a book I picked up as a Kindle deal because I like stories set in libraries.  This is a pretty imaginative one.  Wesley is a bookish boy bullied by his peers with one true friend Taylor.  On…

Book Review: The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp


Author: Ben Tripp Title: The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, A Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides Narrator: Steve West Publication Info: [New York] :, Macmillan Audio,, 2014 Summary/Review: Sometimes I think I should keep track of where I learned of a particular book, since I have no idea how this…

Book Review: The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde


Author: Jasper Fforde Title: The Eye of Zoltar Publication Info: HMH Books for Young Readers (2014) ISBN: 0547738498 Previous books in the Chronicles of Kazam: The Last Dragonslayer The Song of the Quarkbeast Summary/Review: This is the third book in Fforde’s young adult series The Chronicles of Kazam, and the best installment so far.  Jennifer Strange, the teenage orphan…

Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin


Author: George R.R. Martin Title: A Game of Thrones Narrator: Roy Dotrice Publication Info: [Santa Ana, Calif.] : Books on Tape, 2004 ISBN: 9780739353370 Summary/Review: My wife has been reading A Song of Ice and Fire for years, including on our honeymoon, but I’ve always been intimidated by their length.  Having binge-watched the television adaptation Game of Thrones, I figured…