Minding Spot

Minding Spot

Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods

Posted: 01 Aug 2012 02:49 PM PDT

 I am a sucker for small town love stories.  The circle of friends, the town pulling together, the hominess of the communities where everyone seems to know everyone else—I just love that.  Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods is one of these types of novels.  It is part of the Sweet Magnolia series, and though I own several of them, this is the first one that I have read.
            The book centers on the marriage of Karen and Elliot.  They have been married for a while and are raising Karen's two children.  Karen's previous marriage was a train wreck, with her former husband leaving her with a huge pile of debt and some serious trust issues.  Reading about what happens after the "and they got married and lived happily ever after" was interesting, though I wish I had read the novel where Karen and Elliot met.  Elliot seems to be trying to meet Karen halfway, but I found Karen to be completely awful. 
            Karen has some trust issues.  She is specifically insecure when it comes to money.  So, when Elliot decides to invest their baby fund in a new gym without consulting her, she hits the roof.   This is pretty understandable, since this is a huge chuck of money.  But Karen wants Elliot to consult her about EVERY decision.  She gets mad when Elliot lets his stepson join a touch football league.  When Elliot expresses any frustration about her inability to trust him, she lays the problem at the feet of Elliot's Latino macho upbringing.  This is dirty pool.  The motive behind every decision Elliot makes is a good one, and Karen is continually fussing at him for even thinking about making decisions without her.  Elliot has given her no reason to doubt him, so I thought she was quite a jerk.  
The biggest moment of irritation for me came when Elliot wants to adopt Karen's kids (and the kids ASKED him to become their dad) and she gets upset.  What kind of mother gets MAD when her wonderful husband wants to adopt her basically fatherless kids?  She gets irritated when Elliot wants to take her daughter to a father daughter dance, because he didn't ask her first.  She was annoyed at the poor guy every time he decided to do something other than plan a date night with her.  Elliot at the end of the book ends up AGREEING that his Latino upbringing might be a problem.  Are you kidding me?
            Another plot point involves Frances, a neighbor and one of the Sweet Magnolias, who is experiencing cognitive problems.  It was sweet how she was a surrogate grandmother for Karen's kids and her relationships with her friends were fun to read. 
            Adelia, Elliot's sister, is having problems with her cheating husband, Ernesto.  The reaction of most of her family—even though Ernesto is clearly having a relationship with a woman down the block (and his daughter has seen them together)—is that women should stay and just suck it up.  WHAT?  Adelia's mother and other family members are of the opinion, as a conservative Catholic family, that divorce is shameful.  Adelia not only has to challenge her family, but also Ernesto, who claims that the affair is because Adelia is boring.  This story line bugged me.  Even though they were conservative, I cannot imagine a family that would condone such blatant adultery and not support Adelia. 
            So, there were some things to love—Elliot, the interaction of the community and the return of what I am assuming are favorite characters from previous books, Frances, and the other Sweet Magnolias.  I also give Woods points for showing that there are difficulties that happen after you say "I do".  But Karen was so unlikable that she nearly ruined the whole book for me.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Regina

Donkey X DVD Review

Posted: 01 Aug 2012 02:44 PM PDT

Follow Rucio, the most adventurous, brave, and mischievous donkey of Castile as he tells the true story of the legendary Don Quixote. Rucio jumps at the opportunity to join Don Quixote on his quest to battle The Half Moon Knight and overcome the dangerous obstacles that lurks them on the way.

When we first saw the cover of this DVD, Shrek's Donkey immediately came to mind and I was worried if they were going to be pretty similar.  Don't get me wrong, we love Shrek, but with this being a story about the legendary Don Quixote, that donkey wouldn't go well with this story, in my opinion.

However, that was not the case and the donkey of Castile was a very likable character.  There are some upbeat songs in the film and the story moves along at a decent pace.  The animation was good, it's not Pixar or  Disney, but it did keep my kids' attention and they had a few chuckles.  

There is an option to listen to Donkey X in Spanish or English, which makes this very versatile.  If you're looking for a new twist on the legendary true story of Don Quixote, then Donkey X is a pure delight.

*I received a copy of this dvd in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley

Posted: 01 Aug 2012 06:29 AM PDT

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora--a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa's claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.

The Color of Snow is an emotional story of family, abduction, illness and finding one's way.  Stolen by her father when she was a baby, Sophie grew up in isolation, believed to have a curse.  The Color of Snow flips from the present to the past, so the reader can learn the actions leading up to Sophie's abduction and what is happening to her once she is free and realizes that everything she believed was mostly lies.

With realistic characters, each with their own demons and beliefs, a young romance, family drama and secrets and fantastic writing, The Color of Snow will leave you breathless with anticipation as the events unfold, past and present.  Highly recommend!

Brenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.  http://www.brendastanleybooks.net/

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.