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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Unusual book store converted from a church in the Netherlands

Barnes and Noble store is a testament to the fact that people love to browse and buy books in a lovely, comfortable setting.  Wait until you see this unusual book store in the Netherlands.  It's an old church in Maastricht, which was built in 1294.  It's an appropriate conversion, because reading books is heavenly!

beautiful book store 
The old structure hasn't served as a church in over 200 years and was previously used as an exam hall for students, a bicycle storage facility, and even a Christmas market. 

beautiful book store

I'm grateful they haven't demolished the building because it has some beautiful artwork on the walls and ceilings!
 beautiful book store

Now all it needs is some comfy chairs and hot chocolate like they have at Barnes and Noble!

beautiful book store

Sunday, August 24, 2014

If I Stay book fans love Chloe Grace Maritz in the chick flick

I love it when books are made into movies.  Here's another one to add to your chick flick list from my movie review blog: Movie Review Maven.

Movie Title:   If I Stay
PG-13, 1 hour 46 minutes

Grade:  B-

In a Nutshell:  Standard chick-flick material: too cool guy falls head-over-heels in love with a shy, misunderstood girl and says all the right romantic things, risking everything for her.  If you’re into sappy dialogue, music, and estrogen, you’ll probably enjoy this predictable teen-angst love story, based on Gayle Forman’s 2009 novel If I Stay  

Uplifting theme: 
  • Teddy, Mia’s dad, teaches her “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes the choices make you.” 
  • The movie poster condenses the theme: “Live for Love.”
  • Another lesson Mia learns is from her mom who said “Life’s a big, fat, stinking mess, but that’s the beauty of it too.”
  • Music is a powerful theme in the film, which is that music is powerful.

Things I liked:
  • Chloe Grace Moretz is absolutely wonderful.  She was such a lovely, talented little girl in earlier movies and is getting even more so as she matures.  Her fingering on the cello looks very real, but she doesn’t play in real life.  She tried to learn for seven months, but finally gave it up.  A body double is used to play the instrument, while her head is cut into the frame later. 
  • When the movie ended abruptly, the lady sitting behind me in the theater exclaimed “Wow!”
  • Mireille Enos, who plays Mia’s mother Kat, looked familiar to me, but it wasn’t until 30 minutes into the movie when I finally remembered where I had seen her before…she was Brad Pitt’s wife in the movie World War Z.  You can read my movie review of that fun action flick here.
  • I loved hearing beautiful cello music.  My youngest son played the cello for 3 years in middle school, but recently announced that he is not going to continue when he starts high school this year.  Anyone want to buy a cello?  (sniff)
  • The director, R.J. Cutler, uses mist and light to represent the ethereal world after this life.  There is no religious slant, other than the idea that there is another place to go after this world.
Things I didn’t like:
  • Adam (Jamie Blackley) is a rising rocker who writes songs and plays in a band.  One of his “genius” songs includes the ridiculously lame lyrics “I want what you have, now give it to me.”  In real life, Jamie has played the guitar since he was 12 years old.  You’ll see him again next year in a new Woody Allen movie.
  • The hospital security literally drags Adam out of Chloe’s room.  Do you really think hospital staff would be that mean and physical with someone visiting their dying loved one?  Have you ever experienced that?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below!
  • The camera puts Chloe Grace Moretz in soft-focus a LOT.  It would make more sense if that technique were only used AFTER the car accident.
Funny lines:
  • “Your closet’s terrifying”  - Mia, talking about her mom’s clothes
  • “Honey, guilt and bribery are the glue that has held parents and teenagers together for generations.  Don’t fight the tradition.”  - Teddy/Dad
  • “Your parents seem pretty cool.”  - Adam
“So they tell me.”   - Mia

  • “She shouldn’t be scared to hang out with those guys…they’re us.”  - Kat/Mom
  • “School’s out forever!”  - Denny
“Did you really quote Alice Cooper?”  Have I not taught you anything?”  - Teddy/Dad
  • “There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those who like coffee and those who like frufru drinks with ridiculous names.”  - Kim (Liana Liberato)
  • “If you ever turn into one of THOSE girls, I’m gonna shoot you.”  - Kim
“If I turn into one of THOSE girls, I’m gonna give you the gun.”  - Mia 

Did you notice?
  • The creepy doll head decorations on the front porch of Mia’s house.
  • Mia has an old record player in her room.  Her rocker parents have a huge bookshelf of old vinyls in their family room.
  • Mia’s artsy/fartsy house has Christmas lights on it year round.
Inspiring lines:
  • “Sacrifice – that’s what we do for the people we love.”  - Gramps  (Stacy Keach)
  • “As they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”  - Mia
  • “The audition was two months ago, but I can still feel it in my fingers.” – Mia
Romantic lines: 
  • “You can’t hide in that rehearsal room forever.  It’s too late.  I see you.”  - Adam
  • (too many to list)

Tips for parents:  Lots and lots of kissing…duh….chick flick.  There is also pre-marital sex, although you don’t see it, just some lead-in and cuddling in bed.  If your tween daughter loves this movie, she’ll be happy to learn that they are already talking about plans to film the sequel to the first book “Where She Went.”

        The first book:

If you like this movie, you’ll definitely enjoy “The Fault In Our Stars.”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"My Future's So Bright" book is a shining success!

I'm so excited about my newest book that just hit store shelves!

It's for LDS (Mormon) teenagers and has some fantastic comic strip artwork by my talented niece, Brittany Long, who recently returned from her mission in Japan.

My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades: An LDS Teen's Guide to Success is a witty, thoughtful book about what the youth of today can LOOK forward to in their future.  What they will quickly SEE is that the choices they are making now will determine where they will spend the future.  The book encourages youth to consider now what quality of life they desire and then take the steps to make it happen. 

Each chapter is given a type of eyewear as a theme, which provides inSIGHT and perspective.  For example: Rose-colored glasses (we are often so busy wishing we were somewhere else in time that we neglect to enjoy where we are right now); Prescription glasses (our Patriarchal blessing helps us to SEE better and make better choices); Binoculars (when you reach outside of yourself and focus on others you can better see your own blessings); SONglasses (focus on the Savior in all things).

Each chapter contains enlightening and uplifting stories, poems and discussion to help youth plan their future, rather than let it just happen.      

I have presented this material to many Church youth at Education Week, Youth Conferences, and Regional Young Women Conferences.  The lecture series is always a huge hit, encouraging me to put it all in a book that they could SEE again!  



"Trina Boice has written a book every LDS teen should read.  It is AWESOME!  I love it!  It will change their lives and help them develop into amazing individuals! Through advice, humor, and workbook style questions, teens can gain self-esteem, experiment on the gospel, and discover who they really are!" Kersten Campbell, author of "Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother"


"Humor Super Hero Trina Boice uses her powers to cleverly compare Mardis Gras masks, eye patches, Mr. Potato Head glasses, and various other eyewear to a variety of life situations in her newest book, My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades: An LDS Teen's Guide to Success Not only is her title entertaining, but between the covers you’ll find inspiration that leaves you laughing. I want to read it again. Shirley Bahlmann, author of the popular “Odds” series of true pioneer stories."

“I just finished Trina Boice’s book My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades: An LDS Teen's Guide to Success Trina has done an amazing job of mixing humor, logic and the teachings of modern day prophets to make this book both appealing and valuable. I highly recommend this book to both the youth and their parents. It will be a tremendous benefit to those who will read and follow the principles shared.”   Randal Wright, author Achieving Your Life Mission, Building Better Homes and Families, Protecting Your Family in an X-Rated World

“Trina Boice provides a wonderful and light hearted way for teens to see those things in their life that can cloud their vision of eternal things. Easy to read and filled with fun illustrations, kids will find themselves smiling as they begin to see themselves through different lenses. This book comes at a critical time as LDS youth are being challenged as never before. It helps them better understand the joy they will feel as they proudly stand for what they believe. As they begin to "see as they are seen", they will better understand their place in the Plan of Happiness.  My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades: An LDS Teen's Guide to Success is a must read for today's amazing youth!”
Kevin Hinckley

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Have you read or seen The Giver?

Movie Title:   The Giver [HD]
PG-13, 1 hour 40 minutes

Grade:  B

In a Nutshell:  If you haven’t read the best-selling young adult novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, you’ll understand the movie well enough, but also won’t know what you’re missing.  The book provides more depth than the movie, which is usually the case when literature is brought to life on the big screen.  No matter…the film’s content has a lot to offer to those who are brave enough to discuss one of life’s most important questions: which is better: forcing everyone to live in peace or allowing free agency that can threaten peace? 

Uplifting theme: 
  • There must be opposition in all things.  You can’t feel complete joy unless you know sorrow.  You can’t choose good if there is no evil.
  • Despite the sorrows, dangers, and ugliness in the world, life is worth living every minute.  Humanity is full of flaws, but also possesses incredible beauty.   
  • One person can make a difference.

Things I liked:
  • I like how the movie starts in grays, blacks and whites, but as Jonas gains knowledge, he is able to see more color.  Knowledge does, indeed, color your world.
  • As a college professor and author, I liked the Community’s rule to use “precise language.”  Admittedly, I’m a Grammar Nazi.
  • It’s always good to see Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in anything.
  • There is some symbolism in the film that allows the viewer to dig deeper, such as using an apple to disobey one of the Community’s commandments.
  • I think Brenton Thwaites does a great job of portraying Jonas, who is both thrilled and frightened by what he learns about the world.
  • Cameo appearance by Taylor Swift. 
  • I liked the uncertainty of the ending.  We don’t know what’s inside the house, but the exciting possibilities are endless.  Isn’t that how life is when you have choices?

Things I didn’t like:
  • Katie Holmes plays a lifeless, robotic mother with bad posture.  You never see her smile once, which is, of course, appropriate for the grey existence within the Community.  It seemed inconsistent with the father’s behavior (played by Alexander Skarsgard), who laughs and shows compassion.  Even more incongruent was his ability to (SPOILER ALERT) kill one baby without feeling any emotion, while bringing home another one to save it.
  • There really isn’t any humor in this film.  The only line that got a smirk out of the audience was when The Giver explains to Jonas “You’ve had a dream – a combination of fantasy, reality, emotions, and what you had for dinner.”
  • It starts out feeling a lot like the recent movie Divergent.
  • I hate watching any babies cry.
  • (SPOILER ALERT)  The kisses between Jonas and Fiona had zero passion.  Unfortunately, there was no chemistry between actors Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush.

Insightful lines:
  • “Just like music, there’s something you can’t see with your eyes…inside you.”  - The Giver
  • “Listen to what’s calling from inside.”  - The Giver
  • “Faith is seeing beyond.”  - Jonas
  • “Memories are not just about the past – they determine our future.”   - The Giver
  • “Everything is connected.  Everything is a balance.  Where there is good, there is bad.” – The Giver
  • “A dwelling is not a home.  A home is more.”  - The Giver
  • “The boy must hold in the pain.”  - Chief Elder
  • “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong every time.”  - Chief Elder
  • “You have the courage.  Let me give you the strength.”  - The Giver
  • “With love comes faith and hope.”  - The Giver
  • “We are living a life of shadows, of echoes.” – The Giver
  • “If you can’t feel, what’s the point?” - Jonas

Tips for parents:   Older children and teens will especially be able to relate to the idea of wanting to fit in and not being “too” different.  Jonas explains “I always thought I saw things differently.  I never said anything.  I didn’t want to be different.  Who would?”  Parents have a challenging task of helping their children discover their talents and and teaching them to embrace their uniqueness with confidence.  Parents should take advantage of the opportunity to sit down with their kids after this movie and discuss what qualities they think their children possess that makes them special.

If you liked The Giver, then you might also like:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy introduces movie fans to new Marvel characters

Do you consider comic books to be good literature?  If not, you'll have to content with millions of fans who would argue otherwise.  Check out my newest review from my my blog Movie Review Maven:

Movie Title:  Guardians of the Galaxy

Grade:  A
PG-13, 2 hours 1 minute

In a Nutshell:  FAN-Friggin-Tastic!  This movie is everything you want a summer popcorn blockbuster to be. 

By now, everyone has heard of Captain America: The First Avenger , Iron Man , and Thor , but not as many people are familiar with the characters in Guardians of the Galaxy , except maybe my cousin who owns a comic book store in Vegas.  I’m “hooked on a feeling”…..that you’ll be a fan now. 

The fun flick is FILLED with action, comedy, special effects, warmth, witty dialogue, and unexpected surprises that will tickle your insides that aren’t filled with popcorn.  There is so much to see in every scene that you’ll immediately want to get back in line at the theater and see it again. 

The audience I sat with cheered, laughed, clapped and remained seated until after the credits rolled….and was rewarded with one last surprise.  (SPOILER ALERT: Brush up on your Howard the Duck trivia.)  Fantastic fun for all ages.

Uplifting themes:  Never give up, believe in yourself, hold fast to good friends, stand up to evil.  

Things I liked:
  • Rocket and Groot had the potential to become the Jar-Jar Binks death of this movie, but in fact, they enrich it and even steal the show in many scenes.
  • Although the Guardians comic series came out in 1969, this feels like the Star Wars sequel movie lovers have been hoping for, complete with awesome air battle scenes, zany creatures, cool toys, and lovable misfits.
  • Paying extra for 3D is worth it. 
  • Chris Pratt was the perfect leading man, complimented by the acting and voice talents of Zoe Saldana (who goes from blue in the awesome Avatar movie to green in this film), David Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close, and John C. Reilly.   
  • Vin Diesel only has one line (“I am Groot”), but provides enough variety in the telling that communication is enhanced.  In fact, Rocket and Groot have a cute “Lassie” (“Timmy fell down the well!”) relationship, enabling Rocket to translate and carry on entire hilarious conversations with that single phrase.  Groot is full of delightful surprises and expressive facial movements.  Groot’s got skills!  My husband is built like Groot..all legs, broad but thin, sculpted jaw law, interesting angular head.  Don't tell him I said that.
  • Be sure to catch the Stan Lee cameo in the beginning when Peter Quill goes to Zandor.
  • 1970’s and 80’s music plays a fun and meaningful part in the movie.  I had one of those Walkman’s like Peter Quill’s, complete with orange foam headphones.  No doubt, the movie soundtrack and character merchandising will be popular items on Ebay and Amazon.
  • You’ll see tons of cool gadgets, space ships, and special effects.
  • You actually care about the characters.
  • I liked that the stone-faced soldier bad guys were visually minimalistic, suggesting they were robotic followers without depth.  Am I reading too much into them?
  • I loved Drax the Destroyer’s body art.  David Bautista joins the ranks of former WWE champion-turned-successful actor, along with The Rock, who kicked off his own summer blockbuster last weekend in Hercules.  (You can click here to read my movie review of Hercules.)
  • The cool space pods that connect to form a glimmering protective net give new meaning to “star”ship.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Some of the outfits worn by The Collector’s peeps were just silly.
  • I thought Ronan the Accuser’s make-up was messy and not as cool as it could be. 

Funny lines:
  •  “We’re just like Kevin Bacon.” – Gamora
  • “What are you doing?”  - Ronan the Accuser
“I’m distracting you, you turd!”  - Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • “You’ve got the best eyebrows in the business.”  - Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • “I come from a planet of outlaws: Billie the Kid, Bonnie & Clyde, John Stamos…” – Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • “No one’s blowing up moons.”  - Drax the Destroyer
“You suck the joy out of everything.”  - Rocket
  • “Dance-off, bro.  Me and you.”  - Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • “I can’t believe I’m taking orders from a hamster.” – Denarian Saal
  • “I wasn’t listening.  I was thinking about something else.” – Drax the Destroyer
  • “I found something inside myself, incredibly heroic…not to brag.” – Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • “You are a disappointment, Sister.  Out of all our siblings, I hated you least.” – Nebula
  • “You’re making me beat up grass!” - Rocket

Tips for parents:   There is some profanity, but it flies past so quickly that you might miss it.  There is a lot of violence (mostly bloodless), a huge body-count, and the characters are admittedly flawed…in fact, are wanted criminals, as opposed to Marvel’s heroic and squeaky-clean Captain America.  Gamers in your family will get their daily fix.  There is some sexual innuendo that should go over the heads of little ones and some adults, such as mention of a black light and a Jackson Pollock painting…

Let the fun merchandising begin!