The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)

BSC

Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club is a modern re-telling of the books originally written by Ann M. Martin in 1986. What started out as a cute, innocent TV series about four girls trying to earn some extra money by baby sitting, quickly became a platform for today’s controversial topics.

While their are aspects of this show that I like – each episode (of the five I watched) is from the view point of a different baby sitter, and each sitter has a particular issue/struggle in their life that they are dealing with – the series is not one I will continue watching.

Sensitive Reader Alert: Episode 4, Mary Anne Saves the Day, openly addresses transgenderism as their is a young boy (6-8 years old) that Mary Anne is baby sitting who identifies as a girl.

The Son of the Morning: Book One of The Nightfall Wars

SonoftheMorning

They’re back! The nightwalkers. After 50 years of peace, they are back to wreak havoc on the kingdom of Entarna. 

As a boy, Alesh watched these creatures slaughter his parents, receiving a nasty scar in the process. Rescued by the high priest of Amedan after his parents’ death, Alesh is raised as a palace servant, and while he feels intense loyalty to Chosen Olliman, his rescuer, he doubts the existence of the gods. 

When Chosen Olliman is brutally murdered, Alesh finds his life turned upside down once more as he sets off on a quest to save Ilrika, the city under the protection of the late Chosen Olliman.

My favorite aspect of The Son of the Morning: Book One of the Nightfall Wars by Jacob Peppers was Alesh’s struggle with faith. Circumstances in Alesh’s life led him to question the existence and value of the gods, and I am curious as to how that will play out in future books. 

While I enjoyed the plot and characters, I did not appreciate the frequent use of profanity, particularly the F-word. The story is not laden with swear words, but the F-word is used regularly enough to make sensitive readers uncomfortable. In fact, had I not wanted to see how Alesh’s faith journey played out, I would not have continued reading it. 

Due to the frequent use of the F-word, this book is not getting added to my “favorites” list, nor is it one I will be recommending. 

Mage Errant

MageErrantI’ve found a new favorite author – John Bierce.

Choosing a new audiobook is always stressful. Many things run through my mind.

What if I don’t like it? It sounds good…but it probably won’t be as good as _______ (insert title of last favorite listen). How long do I need to ‘give it a try’ before I can quit listening? ……. etc.

You know. All those sorts of “normal” questions any avid listener/reader asks themselves when desperately searching for their next great escape.

Well, I took the leap and tried John Bierce’s Mage Errant series. I got lucky. I found my new favorite series! I actually enjoyed this even more than Twinborn Chronicles by J.S. Morin (which I enjoyed immensely). Mage Errant moves a bit faster and has a more focused plot (fewer characters and minimal sub-plots.) All-in-all, it made for a great listen.

So if you liked Harry Potter or Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, you might want to check out Mage Errant by John Bierce.

This book will be added to my “favorites” list. The well-developed characters, the humor, and the themes/values in the story make this a worthwhile read.

P.S. I forgot to mention that this makes it in my Top-10 list!


Sensitive Reader Alert / A Note for Parents:

There are many great themes in this book like:

  • overcoming your fears
  • learning you don’t have to face your struggles alone
  • loyalty and friendship
  • recognizing your own value (self-worth)
  • not being afraid to be different
  • learning that just because you are different doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you
  • and many others…

However, there are a few things parents should be aware of if they are letting their younger children read it. The third book (A Traitor in Skyhold) contains a few innuendoes, which are by no means vulgar compared to stuff on TV, and references to “contraceptive cantrips” (spells). Also one of the main characters is a homosexual. He is a loyal, friendly, patient, courageous, and caring individual. However, if you have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, this book will raise questions as the third book deals a little bit with him and his relationship.

Raising Dion

 

A couple of days ago, I was really grumpy and decided it was best to avoided human contact. So, I barricaded myself in my room and watched 3+ hours of Raising Dion, Netflix’s new TV series. I had started the series the week before and was about halfway through. Those 3+ hours of binge watching took me to the end of the series.

The series is about a boy named Dion (in case you didn’t figure that out) who finds he possesses magical powers. Together with his mother, Dion must learn to manage his powers while facing a mysterious magical creature (The Crooked Man).

There are so many things I liked about this show that it is impossible to list them all here. The show is well-acted, intense at times, and filled with humor. But my favorite aspect of this show was the values. Two things in particular stood out to me:

  1. “You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”
  2. “You can be a hero if you want.”

“You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”

This was said to Dion when he was suppressing his powers so he wouldn’t scare his mom. He was afraid the added stress of his powers would make his mom feel sad.

I thought this quote was appropriate because in today’s society, we focus a lot on changing who we are to make other people comfortable. We tiptoe around certain topics and avoid certain words because we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. However, in reality, we are not responsible for other people’s feelings.

This does not mean we can be rude and insensitive. This simply means that we are allowed to have opinions and values that differ from others, and if they are offended because we don’t agree with them, that is their problem and not ours. We should not feel obligated to hide our opinions, beliefs, or values simply because other people may feel upset.

The conversation continues in which Dion is told that his mom “is allowed to feel sad,” which I thought was a good reminder for us. It is okay if we feel sad or angry or scared. Just because a feeling is unpleasant doesn’t mean we should ask other people to shrink themselves by changing their values, beliefs or opinions, so that we can avoid experiencing an unpleasant feeling.

“You can be a hero if you want.”

Dion says this to Charlotte, another individual with powers, who lives in fear The Crooked Man will get her.

This particular quote stood out to me because we can all be heroes if we want to be. Our past does not determine our future. We have the ability to choose where we want to go from this point in our life. Our circumstances, no matter how dire, do not confine us to one outcome. If we want something, we can choose to go after it, to become it. We can choose to overcome despite the fear, the challenges, and the struggles in life. Our present and future are what we choose to make it.

If you are looking for a good show to watch, you might consider checking out Raising Dion. I know I am looking forward to seeing what the second season brings.

Sensitive Reader Alert: For those of you who have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, you might want to skip episode 7. Kat Neese, Dion’s aunt, is a hard working woman who will do anything to help her sister and her nephew. There is a scene in episode 7 when Kat and her girlfriend are cuddling in a bed. While this scene is mild in terms of relationship scenes – clothes are on, there is no sex – if you haven’t discussed same-sex relationships with your children, it will raise questions.

The Blacklist (Netflix)

 

Currently, I’m enjoying The Blacklist on Netflix. The premise of the show is that one of the most notorious criminals – Raymond Reddington – surrenders himself to the FBI, agreeing to be their informant. However, he will only do so if he is allowed to work with one FBI agent – Agent Elizabeth Keen. With Reddington’s help, Keen and the FBI capture other dangerous criminals that have otherwise eluded their grasp. While Reddington’s assistance is vital to the success of the task force, no one in the FBI is certain of Reddington’s motives. As you can imagine, this causes tension between him and the FBI team members.

Sensitive Reader Alert – This shows is rated TV-14 for violence.

While this show is very engaging, the violence makes me a little uncomfortable. I can only watch a couple episodes in one sitting because some episodes are rather violent. (I don’t like seeing crimes carried out or people being tortured. This series shows just enough to make a sensitive individual squeamish, but not enough to risk being called grotesque or excessive. In other words, it’s not rated-R graphic, but deserves a little bit more than PG-13.)