Friday, March 25, 2011

Review of Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow

It's review time again. I've had some interesting books to read, and the book that gets reviewed today is Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow.
Kingdom Keepers is an interesting series written by Ridley Pearson, who's also the author of the Peter and the Starchatchers series. Kingdom Keepers is about a group of teens who sign up to be Disney holographic hosts. They get paid for the job and their families get free lifetime passes to the Disney parks. How could they refuse? Because there's a side effect.
The group finds out that being the holographic hosts comes with a side effect: When they go to sleep at night, they wake up in the Magic Kingdom. They find out from one of Disney's Imagineers that there's a group of villains called the Overtakers who want to take over the parks (and possibly the world afterwards). The Kingdom Keepers, as the group ends up being called, have to work together to stop them.
In the third book in the series, a friend of the Kingdom Keepers has gone missing. After failing to find their friend at the Magic Kingdom, the Kingdom Keepers decide to head over to Epcot to continue searching. There, they encounter dangerous new additions to the Overtakers forces, like vikings, cavemen, and a very nasty python. The Kingdom Keepers will have to use their courage, wits, and friendship to stop the Overtakers latest plot.
I've grown up loving the Disney films, and I was eager to read the series once I found a bookstore that sold the books. The characters make a really great team and their exploits are not to be missed. There were some mistakes, like a name being in places it shouldn't, but it wasn't enough to stop me from giving this book 4 stars! If you are a fan of Disney, you should pick up this series.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beyonders Signing

Okay, quick blog update. Yesterday I got my copy of Brandon Mull's new book, Beyonders: A World Without Heroes. This is the first of a new series, where a boy named Jason finds himself in another world, and becomes the target of the evil wizard Maldor. Jason has to uncover an ancient secret if he wants to get home and save this hero-less world. I haven't read much of it yet, but I have enjoyed what I have so far.
I was also excited to learn that Brandon Mull would be at the public library signing his new book. I told a friend of mine, who brought some friends of his own, and we all went over to the library. We got there just as Brandon Mull's presentation began. He told us about his inspirations for writing, a little bit about his successful Fablehaven series, and a little about Beyonders. I liked it when he showed some of his international covers. He didn't know what was on the cover of the German translation, but to me it looked like a stone troll.
He also talked about how some experiences he had as a kid led to his writing. Brandon Mull used to be a part of a group that would go exploring around town (like into old, forbidden places). When a candy shop opened, Brandon used to daydream about the candy being magic. That's how the idea for his book, The Candy Shop War, came to be. Another experience he had as a kid was when he decided to stop believing in his imaginary friend. That choice led to the thought "what would happen if your imaginary friend became your imaginary enemy?" That led him to write his first picture book, Pingo.
There was a brief Q&A session. I asked him if there was anything he really wanted to put into his books, like a character or scene, but had to take it out in the end. He said that made him think of some things from Beyonders that we didn't know about yet. I asked him if there was anything from Fablehaven that fell under this situation, and he said that he wanted to include leprechauns and unicorns early in the series, but was unable to.
The time soon came for book signing, but there was a little event where two lucky winners would get a copy of A World Without Heroes. What was cool about this was that one of the members of our group was a winner! That was really cool. While we waited to get our books signed, I bought a Beyonders t-shirt. That's the first t-shirt I got about a book.
Eventually we were able to get our books signed by Brandon Mull. He recognized me from last October, when he was at the library for the Teen Book fest. I told him about some things that I did to spread word about his book, and he liked it. I even got a picture with him.
I hope I'll get to meet Brandon Mull again someday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The President of Walden Media

This is a couple of days late, but better late than never. I was really excited about this Tuesday because speaking at the forum was Micheal Flaherty, president and co-founder of Walden Media! The film company has made some great movies, and here are some of my favorites:

The Chronicles of Narnia series
Journey to the Center of the EarthThe Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
These are just a few of the movies Walden Media made that I liked. I really enjoyed seeing the founder come to BYU to speak to us. I thought his talk was really helpful. Micheal said that he's been reading books when he was young, and when he got his first library card, his mom told him "As long as you have that card, you will always have a friend." That sounds like something people who love books should know.
He also spoke about something that made me think. Originally Micheal said that he wanted to be a lawyer, but none of the law schools would accept him. He was a little disappointed and wondered what he's going to do with his life now. I'm kind of in the same boat because I couldn't get the grade I needed to continue with my goal. I'm just going to have to try again at a later time.
One thing I thought was really cool was that he started Walden Media as a way to share stories that make you think "how would I react in this situation?" He got some of his old college friends, and some of his old roommates together and told them he wanted to start a company. He got a book on starting a business (which I think was Business Starting for Dummies). Once he had the finances and was ready to start, he asked his mom what stories she thought he should turn into movies. She sent him a reading list that had books like Charlotte's Web, Bridge to Terabithia, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
At the end of the forum, during the Question and Answer session, I asked him this question: Have there been any stories or books you wanted to make into a movie, but haven't been able to get the green light for? His answer was yes. He wanted to do movies on Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, but hasn't been able to yet. One of the stories Micheal wanted to do a movie of was Ferdinand the Bull, but that's gone to another studio. I hope that someday he'll be able to do those projects.
At the end of the Questions and Answers session, I went up to him and introduced myself. I gave him a copy of my book and he said he looks forward to reading it. I also gave him a list of books that I thought would make good films, and he liked some of the ideas. I hope some of them will be made into films by Walden Media. One thing is for certain: We can expect Walden Media to bring great stories to the big screen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review of At the Earth's Core

First off, sorry about no update yesterday. My time didn't go the way I had hoped it would. Well, I'll do one of the blogs I promised, and that blog is about the book At the Earth's Core.Most people know Edgar Rice Burroughs for his Tarzan stories, but he wrote many other books besides Tarzan. At the Earth's Core is the first of his Pellucidar series, which takes place in a world hidden beneath the Earth's crust (kind of like Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth).
The story beginnings with David Innes, an heir to a miner's fortune, who goes with a friend, named Perry, in an invention of his called the Iron Mole. He plans to dig really deep into the Earth's crust to disprove a scientific theory. Things go according to plan, except for one problem: They find themselves unable to turn around!
The Iron Mole keeps digging into the Earth until they finally come out in something that's impossible. David and Perry find themselves inside a hollow world deep inside the Earth, where prehistoric animals still live. They get captured as slaves for a race of creatures called Mahars, who have the local humans under their control.
From their fellow slaves, David and Perry learn that the land is called Pellucidar, and the Mahars are the dominant species here. David develops a crush on a cave girl named Dian, but offends her on accident. As the story progresses, David and Perry must find a way to escape the Mahars, make amends to Dian, and help the people of Pellucidar overthrow the Mahars.
Edgar Rice Burroughs has created a great story in this book, one inspired by science and novels alike. He has succeeded in making Pellucidar a primordial world fans of adventure stories and/or dinosaurs will like. I was pleased when I saw that the characters had such good control over their emotions when they could have easily lost control. I look forward to reading the next book in the Pellucidar series, Pellucidar.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My apologies

Hi, I'm sorry to say that I don't have anything good to blog about today. I have been really busy with school, and trying to play catch-up with it. I will try to have something tomorrow worth blogging about. I have ordered copies of Edgar Rice Burroughs books The Caspak Trilogy and At the Earth's Core. Once I've read them, I will be sure to blog about them here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Official 'Puss In Boots' Trailer

Well, we all know how good Disney is with adapting fairy tales into full length animated movies, because that's what most of their famous films are. However, just because they're good at it doesn't mean that Disney gets to do every fairy tale that exists. Other film companies have sought to do films based off of fairy tales, and this fall Dreamworks will release an animated film following the adventures of a certain cat.