These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

Hi Everyone! My name is Emily, and I’m the librarian who has been writing these different blogs letting you know about books, movies, and more. In these anxiety-inducing times, I’ve been turning to some of my favorite things to lift my spirits and I figured I would share them with you to either inspire you or to help you think of some of your favorite things. So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things (aka guilty pleasures!)

  • The Great British Baking Show: I have always loved this show, and I have watched every season, but I decided to start rewatching the seasons, because you can never have enough lovely British baking! This is the most calm show that I know, so watch it to calm anxieties! You can find it on Netflix.
  • High School Musical: Yes, I am admitting to the fact that I love High School Musical! I grew up watching the movies, and I know all the songs by heart! Remember, we’re all in this together! You can watch all three movies on Disney+.
  • Backstreet Boys: I love the Backstreet Boys so much! I went to their concert last year, and it was amazing! There music just puts me in a good mood. Some of my favorite songs are “Incomplete”, “Drowning”, and “Shape of My Heart.” Pull up their music on YouTube, Amazon Music, or Spotify.
  • Pride and Prejudice (2005 Movie): This is my favorite adaptation of one of my favorite books. Keira Knightley is a wonderful Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew MacFadyen is the perfect Darcy (the scene with his hand is perfection!) This is the one movie that I have to stop and watch if I find it on TV. Every time I watch this movie, I swoon!
  • Harry Potter: Harry Potter is absolutely my favorite book series of all time. I grew up with them and they bring me so much joy. Currently, I’m listening to the audiobook version of the last book, and it makes me so happy to be returning to Hogwarts another time!
  • 90 Day Fiance: Anyone who knows me knows that I love my trashy reality TV, and 90 Day Fiance is one of my favorite shows! The show, on TLC, follows couples, one American and one from another country as they have to decide if they will get married in the 90 days allowed on a K-1 visa. There are many spinoffs to this show, and I watch every last one!

Movie Reviews from Diane (that you can watch today!)

Our librarian Diane has reviewed a few movies you can watch on different streaming services (including some free ones!)

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)

A mysterious stranger crashes into the Mundi’s home and nothing is the same for Mariah after that as his parents are taken, he and his brother are forced to make a run for it. However, the situation goes from bad to worse when the brothers get split up and Mariah is forced to team up with the
Mysterious Captain Will in order to rescue his brother and maybe save the world. Brilliant disguises, hidden rooms, untried heroes, and an island at the center of it all makes this a nice diversion, fans of Compass South by Hope Larkin will see a lot of similarities.

This movie can be streamed on Hoopla, Amazon Video, and Tubi Streaming app.

The Magic of Belle Isle (2012)

Magic of Belle Isle is a classic ‘summer that changed your life’ story. A famous writer of westerns, Monty Wildhorn, is spiraling down, not sure what to do with his life now that his main character has stopped talking to him. He rents a house for the summer on an island which is a mix of summer folks and life time residents. His closest neighbor is a newly divorcing mother of three who relocated herself and three daughters to the house she grew up in. Monty is a curmudgeon, who uses his wit to engage with different members of the community even as he tells himself he is actively avoiding contacts and is above it all. Fin, the middle daughter, wants to be a storyteller and reaches out to Monty forging a fragile connection through which the magic of summer and genuine kind people come together to help each of them find what they need to move past the heartache and problems they carried into the summer onto a hopeful path. Although not the usual style of movie I watch I found this one engaging and although it did employ several trite mechanisms the dialog and characters pulled it off in a way that felt uplifting and hopeful earning it a place in my digital collection right next to my copy of El Dorado, as cowboys and curmudgeons stick together.

You can find the Magic of Belle Isle on the free streaming services of PlutoTV, Tubi and soon the library sponsored, Hoopla.

Mind Hunters (2004)

I’m a sucker for an Agatha Christie reimagining and Mind Hunters delivers a fresh look at And Then There Were None. A team of FBI hopefuls are sent to an island as a final exercise to see who would make the cut and become one of the elite profilers on FBI task forces. However, nothing is quite what it seems and the 9 team members must work together to figure out who among them isn’t quite what they seem. Who do you trust, who do you fear, but more importantly how do you get off an island without a boat or a radio when you’re being hunted? LL Cool J plays a Baltimore Police officer after some more training, Val Kilmer is the head profiler who sent them to the island, Jonny Lee Miller and Christian Slater round out this 2004 cast. Action-packed, suspenseful, and a sprinkling of quotable dialog gems makes this a nice way to round out a weekend.

This title can be found for free on Tubi or streamed with your Hoopla account.

Pair Make No Bones and Detective

Diane recommends a free Hoopla rental to pair with a board game you can play right now.

Make No Bones by Aaron Elkins is part of an amateur detective book series that falls just outside the line of cozy mystery and into the category of scientific fiction. This series can be found on Hoopla in both ebook and audiobook formats.

Gideon Oliver is a full professor of physical anthropology who enjoys nothing more than studying old bones–the older the better and best measured in centuries if you please.  Over the years Gideon has managed to earn the title “Skeleton Detective” by helping out the police when they find a skeleton and don’t have their own expert near.

Make No Bones finds Gideon and his wife Julie making plans to attend the annual WAFA (Western Association of Forensic Anthropologists) Conference that is to take place at the same location as the first ill-fated conference.  Unfortunately for Gideon Oliver, his conference plans are interrupted when he stumbles across a grave site on a morning walk. Our sleuth must sort through twelve years of evidence and figure out whose remains were found and why–a task made all the more difficult when all of the main suspects are his colleagues.

Sorting through evidence, interviewing witnesses, and examining crime scenes digitally is at the heart of Detective: a Modern Crime Board Game by Portal Games where players take on the role of detective and try to solve the crime before time runs out. 

The unique makeup of this app-supported board game makes it ideal for long distance videoconference sessions. Portal Games have made a printable case available that doesn’t require the base game. Print that case here.

Check out Make No Bones on Hoopla and print Detective from here. To join us at a roll & write game night from home, see if we have anything coming up on our events page.

Pair The Brothers Grimm with Second Chance

Diane recommends a free Hoopla rental to pair with a board game you can play right now.

The Grimm Brothers make their living helping small villages get rid of monsters from fairy tales. The catch is that the monsters that are haunting the villagers are really part of the troop of actors that the brothers have sent in advance of their arrival, at least until the French army catches up with them. The true adventure begins when real magical happenings start to occur in a forest and the Grimm Brothers are persuaded at knifepoint to investigate these mysteries.

Younger brother Jake recognizes the elements of the stories that are being told and convinces his older brother Will that the only way to save the day is to give him a true second chance, making it an ideal backdrop to pair with the roll and write game Second Chance by Stronghold Games. 

The game pairs a 9×9 grid with trinomio shapes drawn on cards. One player draws two cards and everyone gets to pick which one they want to draw. However, if you can’t fit either of the shapes shown on the cards into your grid then you get a second chance card and the game proceeds until no one can use their second chance card. 

Check out The Brothers Grimm on Hoopla and print Second Chance cards from here. To join us at a roll & write game night from home, see if we have anything coming up on our events page.

IMDb TV

Are you wanting to watch TV shows and movies but you don’t have Netflix or Hulu? Then let me introduce you to IMDb TV. IMDb (International Movie Database) is a website where you can find out any information about movies and TV shows, from actors and actresses to run time. But did you know that they also have movies and TV shows that you can watch for free? You can either download the IMDb app to a device or go to https://www.imdb.com/tv/ . Since this is a free service, there are ads that you have to watch during a movie or episode, but they are not too long. For example, during one TV episode, there is on average 3 ads for about one minute each. The nice thing about this service is that there is a nice mix of older and newer movies and TV shows to watch. Here are some examples:

  • Movies
    • Hitch
    • Legally Blonde
    • Lion
    • Scooby-Doo
    • Shrek: The Final Chapter
  • TV Shows
    • Bewitched
    • Chicago Fire
    • Columbo
    • Lie to Me
    • The Middle

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Exciting news! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling is now available on the Wisconsin Digital Library with no wait! You can read the ebook or listen to the audiobook for the whole month of April without having to place it on hold. So now is the perfect time to dive back in to the beginning of this classic series, or start it for the first time. So grab a glass of Butterbeer, a chocolate frog, and have your wands at the ready and enter the magical world of Hogwarts!

Always Available Audiobooks

Did you know the Wisconsin Digital Library has a selection of audiobooks that are always available? They do change them every so often, but right now they have a good selection of both fiction and non-fiction audiobooks. Just go to https://wplc.overdrive.com/ and scroll down a little and you will see the always available audiobook section. Here are a few to get you started!

  • The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Good at Games by Jill Mansell
  • Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
  • The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
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