Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review - Michal's Window


Michal's Window
By Rachelle Ayala
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
ISBN: 978-1475081480
Pub. Date: April 12, 2012
Pages: 458
Buy Link: Amazon.com

Review: 

This stunning biblical tale centers on Princess Michal, the daughter of King Saul, as she first meets the shepherd boy/harpist named David, who is arrives at the kingdom to help mend her father who is tormented by evil spirits. The Princess falls in love with David and before long the two are wedded.

Situations occur that causes King Saul to order the death of his son-in-law. Fearing for David's life, Michal helps her husband escape the wrath of her father.

Michal is later reunited with the now King David, but he has changed from the man that she had known. David has several wives and other lovers, but Michal still loves him and is determined to win his heart at all costs.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

DVD Review: The Butterfly Effect III: Revelations

The Butterfly Effect III: Revelations
Director: Seth Grossman
Starring: Rachel Miner, Chris Carmack, Melissa Jones
Studio: Lionsgate
ASIN: B001P9N94E
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated R for graphic bloody violence, a strong sex scene including nudity, language, and some drug content


Sam Reide has the ability to travel back to any time or location within his own lifetime. His sheltered sister, Jenna, monitors him while he lies in a bathtub full of icy water. He first went back in time to save his sister from a fire when, but he ended up changing the timeline as his parents die in the fire.

Sam's girlfriend, Rebecca, was murdered a few years before and her sister, Elizabeth, believes that the killer is still out there, which means Rebecca's murderer, that is behind bars and is going to be executed within days, is innocent.

Sam goes back in time to the night of Rebecca's murder, just to see who the killer is, but then he tries to stop her death, only resulting in her being murdered in a different manor. When he returns back to the present, things have changed and he is now a murder suspect in not just Rebecca's death, but in a string of murders. Each time he goes back to find the murderer he changes his current timeline, and one by one his most trusted allies are being murdered.

Review - PT 24/7

I've enjoyed doing Tae Bo for about two years now and I was excited to buy the PT 24/7 from an eBay store seller last year, which I paid around $55 for it new. It came in a nice packaging box and in it was the two gloves, bands, velcro foot straps, a workout calendar, a diet guide book, and the 7 30 minute DVD workouts.

The workouts are:

Basics

Cardio

Combo Sculpt

Ripped Core

Friday, 28 September 2012

Review: The Zombie Always Knocks Twice

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.



In book one of the Hollyweird series, fifteen-year-old Kris Golden works part time at Disco Diva's Diner. She spends her free time auditioning for parts that her agent lines up for her. It's Hollywood, where everyone wants to be a star. Her school life isn't the greatest as her Algebra grades aren't so well, plus she is like the only girl in her high school who doesn't have a boyfriend. Kris may seem like your regular California girl, but she has a secret.

Kris is a necromancer, she can raise the dead.

The Friday 56 - Dances with Werewolves



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Guest Post with author J.D. Gordon


This may sound terrible because every other writer seems to come up with all of these  interesting people or situations which inspired them to write. That’s not really the case where I’m concerned. I just enjoy writing, simple as that. Although some stories may be inspired by certain situations in my life there is no one specific thing or person to mention.

I never even thought I'd ever be a writer. I tripped into the business, literally. I fell off of a train on the way to visit my future in laws. I broke my knee and ended up needing surgery and quite a few months healing up. At the time I was a professional firefighter. A broken knee in the fire service isn't going cut it.

DVD Review - Adopting Terror

Adopting Terror
Director: Micho Rutare
Starring: Sean Astin, Samaire Armstrong, Monet Mazur, Brendan Fehr, and Michael Gross
Studio: The ASYLUM Home Entertainment
ASIN: B008CLI45M
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Running Time: 90 minutes
Unrated

Adopting Terror aired on Lifetime earlier this year, in which I didn't watch it because I don't care for most of the channel's programming. The movie was made by Asylum Home Entertainment, whom I have reviewed a few DVDs for this year, and they nicely let me view an online screening of Adopting Terror through Fordela.

The movie stars Sean Astin and Samaire Armstrong as Tim and Cheryl Broadbent, who are proud parents of their newly adopted daughter, Mona. Just when they are adjusting to being a family, a stranger shows up at Mona's first birthday party. The stranger is Mona's birthfather, Kevin Anderson (played by Brendan Fehr), who was released from prison on a technicality.

Kevin follows Cheryl while she is grocery shopping, he shows up at their house, and he even shows up at their friend's home to mow the yard. The police can't help them as there is no real proof that he is stalking them. The social worker, Fay Hopkins (played Monet Mazur), tries to give them advice on the situation, but nothing seems to helps as Kevin is determined to take back his daughter.

Monday, 24 September 2012

How To Create Characters We Love To Hate by E. Van Lowe



The original Dallas series was a big hit on TV when I was young. The show’s protagonist was also one of the show’s villains. J.R. Ewing, billed as the man we love to hate. It was that appellation that first got me thinking about creating characters readers would both love and hate. J.K. Rowling did a masterful turn at this in creating Severus Snape. Even his name told us to hate him, and yet there was something alternately charming and redeeming about the man that over time drew readers to him.

In creating the Hollyweird series I had this idea in mind. I wanted to create characters that we may not like in the beginning (ala Snape) and yet in time, would grow to love them, or at least understand them. In writing my first YA, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, I created a selfish protagonist in Margot Jean Johnson. I thought it would be fun for readers to see how she justified her mean and selfish actions before I set out to redeem her in the end. My editor at Tor warned me that readers might have difficulty identifying with Margot. But I wanted to write a flawed protagonist and did. While that first book sold well, the reviews were mixed. A LOT of young women hated Margot. Lesson learned.

I always strive to create characters that ring true, that readers actually come across in real life. Characters we might not like at first glance, but we recognize as people we know. In writing The Zombie Always Knocks Twice I made sure the characters we will eventually love to hate were not my protagonists. Anne Marie, Kris’ hateful older sister, and Talia Multisanto, Kris’ adventuresome, boozing best friend who has a knack for starting trouble, are peripheral characters in this first book. Still, my very first review on Goodreads had this to say about Talia: I don't see how Kris and Talia could ever be best friends when they're so different. And Talia is also a great piece of work, if I may add. What with the drinking, venting on people, acts of revenge etc.. She's gotta drive Kris crazy one of these days. 

Review - An Apple for the Creature

An Apple for the Creature
Edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
Publisher: Ace Books
ISBN: 978-0425256800
Pub. Date: September 4, 2012
Pages: 352

I had kept an eye on my local library's online catalog when An Apple for the Creature would come in and luckily the library actually got a new book on the week that it came out. I rushed over to the library and checked it out. I only wanted to read the new Sookie Stackhouse story, but I ended up reading the entire book.

Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris finds Sookie Stackhouse arriving at her nephew's (Hunter Savoy, who is actually her cousin) classroom with cupcakes to celebrate his birthday. She meets his new teacher Ms. Yarnell, who happens to be a witch! Hunter assists Sookie by going out to her car and getting the rest of the party stuff. The school's secretary’s psycho ex-boyfriend has arrived at the school with a gun. Sookie tells Hunter to return to his classroom and tells his teacher to get the students under their desks. Sookie hopes to stop the madman before anyone gets killed.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

DVD Review - Super Cyclone

Super Cyclone
Director: Liz Adams
Starring:  Nicholas Turturro, Dylan Vox, Andy Clemence, Ming-Na
Studio: Asylum Home Entertainment
ISBN: ASIN: B00834JR1S
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Running Time: 90 minutes
Unrated

What happens when you blend in the scripts from Armageddon, 2012, Twister and Volcano? You get the direct-to-DVD Super Cyclone.

I've never cared much for disaster movies, even though it seems like there is a new one on the SyFy Channel every other week. To me they are basically all the same. A natural occurrence happens destroying cities and our government tries to stop it with some unbelievable plan. I have reviewed a few other Asylum titles this year and they kindly sent me a free invite to stream this movie online through Fordela in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

ARC Review - The Malice of Fortune

The Malice of Fortune
By Michael Ennis
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0385536318
Pub. Date: September 11, 2012
Pages: 416
Buy Link: Amazon

Juan, Duke of Gandia, was murdered while on his way to visit his love, Damiata, causing Pope Alexander VI to become emotionally drained as Juan was his favorite son. In another twist, Damiata also went missing the night of Juan's murder, having witnessed her lover's death.

Five years go by and the Pope Alexander VI sends Rodrigo Borgia to find Damiata and bring her to him. The Pope believes that she is responsible for his son's death, but gives her a chance to prove her innocence by finding the real killer. Thinking that she will just run off and hide again, he takes her son Giovanni as leverage.

Damiata heads to Imola, where she finds out there have been a string of similar murders. The bodies have been buried throughout the city and the bodies' parts were specifically arranged to resemble a geometric design. Soon she meets a Florentine diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli who assists her efforts in finding the killer or killers. Now here is another twist, the one and only Leonardo DaVinci, the famous Renaissance painter, is also investigating the murders and DaVinci eventually teams up with them.

Review: The Bucktail Brothers of the Fighting 149th


Times were hard on families during the Civil War years. In The Bucktail Brothers of the Fighting 149th, the Cole family’s barn burns down to the ground. Money is tight and they don't know where they are going to get the money to rebuild the barn, until their sons Henry and Willie Cole decide to join the 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry lead by Lieutenant Colonel Walton Dwight. Their mother is distraught at the thought of her two teenage sons going off to war. Their father felt that way at first but the $100 cash for the boys joining would help raise a new barn and keep the farm going for awhile.

Henry and Willie say goodbye to their parents and head off with their infantry. They quickly learn the ways of being a solider, even though Henry is a little cocky at times and Willie is stubborn. The two brothers become part of the Pennsylvania Bucktails that fought on the fields of Gettysburg. Their fellow soldiers fell dead and others are wounded, but with great courage the boys fought forward.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Interview with author Emily Goodwin





1) Where did you get the idea for the novel? 

The idea stemmed from a really weird dream I had. In my dream, I needed my appendix removed, and the surgeon replaced it with pot roast , for some reason. (I snuck out and ate some of it before my surgery!) After the operation, I woke up and discovered everyone had turned into zombies. An attractive Irish doctor (who inspired the character Padraic) saved me and gave me the details about the zombies. Instead of the usual slow moving, eat-your-brains zombies, the zombies were fast and alive…but rip-your-face-off crazy. When I woke up—and after thinking it was the most random dream ever—I thought it would be really fun to write about zombies. I tossed ideas around with friends and came up with the plot for all three books.

2) Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?

Contagious was called “Zombie Book #1” for a while since I couldn’t come up with a good title. A friend actually came up with “Deathly Contagious”. Contagious had the working title of Deathly Contiguous until it was close to being published. Another friend suggested “The Truth is Contagious” would make a good title for the second book. I found it to be more fitting for the third, so I came up with the idea to have the word “contagious” in all three books. So, Deathly Contagious got bumped to book 2, and “Contagious” was decided to be the title for book one.

3) Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you? 

I overheard some random people talking about books at Barnes and Noble and a girl said that Contagious by Emily Goodwin was one of her favorite books. I was like “Oh my gosh—that’s me!” It still feels very surreal and I am so grateful for all my readers!

Review - Cargo of Coffins

Cargo of Coffins
By L. Ron Hubbard
Director: Jim Meskimen
Starring: R.F. Daley, Keli Daniels, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen, and Tait Ruppert
Studio: Galaxy Press
ISBN-13: 978-1592121700
Release Date: July 14, 2009
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours

During the 1930s and 1940s struggling writers would make some extra cash by writing fiction for the many pulp magazines that were on the market at the time. Pulp magazines didn't have to rely on fancy glossy paper with expensive artwork or the superior production values. What they did rely on was the well plotted stories from real storytellers with crazy villains, plot twists at every corner, and adventures set in faraway lands. The authors didn’t get paid much, mostly a penny per word, so many of them wrote like crazy and had their stories appearing frequently. Some of the most popular pulp writers of the time were L.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury and L. Ron Hubbard.

Galaxy Press has been releasing the short stories written by L. Ron Hubbard to paperbacks and audiobooks under the Stories from the Golden Age, in which they nicely sent me a free audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

The Friday 56 - Tombstones: The Last Drop



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

DVD Review - Tiny Toon Adventures:How I Spent My Vacation

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
Directors: Rich Arons, Ken Boyer
Voice Cast: Charles Adler, Tress Macneille, Joe Alaskey, and many more
Studio: Warner Home Video
ASIN: B00846OYHM
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rated: NR

Everyday after school, I believe it was 4:30, I would watch the Tiny Toon Adventures that aired from 1990-1992 (original series episodes), and continued to air in reruns for several years. In March 1992, Warner Home video released the direct-to-video Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, which some critics considered it to be odd because it was the first animated movie in the United States to be released straight to VHS and Laserdisc. The movie was a smash success selling over one million copies. The movie later aired as a four-part episode on Fox Kids.

In the movie, the Acme Looniversity school year is over and Buster & Babs Bunny (no relation) and the gang are excited to start their summer vacation. Buster and Babs start out by having a water gun fight, but then things turn ugly when they accidentally flood Acme Acres. They end up floating down the river, leading them down south to a riverboat, where they barely escape with their fur.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review - With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.


Set during World War II, Lt. Mellie Blake is training to become a flight nurse, in which she will soon be deployed to North Africa. A supervisor informs her that there is a new way women can help the men fighting overseas - an anonymous letter-writing campaign, aka pen pals.

DVD Review - The Broken



The Broken starts off with Gina McVey having dinner with her family, friends and her boyfriend, Stefan. Suddenly, and without a reason, a mirror in the room falls and crashes to the floor. While she is heading to work the next day, she could have sworn that she saw herself driving a car. She follows the woman and sneaks into her house only to find a photo of Gina and her father. Not knowing what is going on, she hops into her car and gets into a car accident.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review - Hocus Pocus Hotel

Hocus Pocus Hotel
By Michael Dahl
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Pub Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1434242532
Pages: 216

Charlie Hitchcock was scared to death when he saw Ty standing in the alleyway behind the Abracadabra (aka, the Hocus Pocus Hotel). He had received a note from Ty during school hours to meet him at the hotel. Every student that has received a note from Ty has gotten beat up and now its Charlie's turn to face the bully.

To his surprise, Ty doesn't want to fight him, but instead Ty asks Charlie, or as Ty calls him - Hitch, for help. It seems that a magician has gone missing at the hotel, where Ty lives with his parents, whom also works there. The magician has mysteriously disappeared from his locked hotel room.

The missing magician is one of two cases that Ty needs help with. The other involves a ghost that is stealing items from the hotel. Now it’s up to young Charlie Hitchcock to solve the mysteries.

Review - Taming the Wind

Taming the Wind
By Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764206177
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Pages: 336
Buy Link: http://ow.ly/dsGj5
Blog Tour Link: http://litfusegroup.com/author/TPeterson

In book three of The Lone Star series, a now single mother, Carissa Lowe, is still grieving over the way her ex-husband, Malcolm, had broke her hear and partially stomped on it, but at the same time she has accepted that she'll always be nothing more than widowhood for her future. This way she can never be hurt again by a man. She and her daughter Gloria move in with her sister, Laura, and her brother-in-law, Brandon, on their horse ranch in Texas during the year 1968. 

After the Civil War ended, the Texas government seized properties of anyone who served  in the Union but were from a Confederate state and that what has happened to Tyler Atherton as he returns to his family home. He plans on recovering his father's ranch, but in the meantime he is working on a friend's ranch to earn money. He is sidetracked by the beautiful Carissa, a woman he once saved from her abusive husband. He had literally saved her from drowning in the waters off Corpus Christi after her husband had thrown her in. He begins to spend time around Carissa, but she will not let anyone near her heart.

Review - Falling Skies Volume 2: The Battle of Fitchburg

Falling Skies Volume 2: The Battle of Fitchburg
Authors: Paul Tobin, Mark Verheiden, Danilo Beyruth
Artists:  Andrew Dalhouse, Danilo Beyruth, Juan Ferreyra, Patric Reynolds
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
ISBN: 9781616550141 
Pub Date: October 10, 2012
Pages: 136

Falling Skies is the hit summer science-fiction television show that airs on TNT and just ended its second season. Dark Horse Comics and TNT released The Battle of Fitchburg digital comic book series during the summer to fill in the gap between seasons one and two. Dark Horse Comics will be releasing the series in one volume next month. I got advanced copy through NetGalley free of charge for this review.

At the end of season one Tom Mason voluntarily went aboard the alien ship. Captain Dan Weaver leads the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment against the six-legged skitters in Fitchburg Massachusetts. The Militia is outnumbered and out gunned, but they are determined to fight the aliens with everything that they have.

Review - The Chee-Chalker

The Chee-Chalker
By L. Ron Hubbard
Director: Jim Meskimen
Starring: Tamra Meskimen; Bob Casco, R.F. Daley, Jim Meskimen, Tait Ruppert, and Josh R. Thompson
Studio: Galaxy Press
ISBN-13: 978-1592121748
Running Time: Aprox. 2 hours 

Pulp fiction magazines were extremely poplar during the 1930s and 1940s covering any genre you can think of. There was no internet and cable television to occupy your free time with, so people read pulps and cheap novels for entertainment, not to mention listening to radio serials. Author L. Ron Hubbard wrote hundreds of short stories in about every genre during these years. Now Galaxy Press is bringing out these great stories through their new audiobooks line called Stories from the Golden Age.

Galaxy Press was nice enough to send me a free copy of The Chee-Chalker that first appeared in the July/August 1947 issue of Five-Novels Magazine.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

DVD Review - The Nurse

The Nurse 
Director: Rob Malenfant
Starring: Lisa Zane, Michael Fairman, William R. Moses
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
ASIN: B000OIOPLS
DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
Run Time: 93 minutes
Rated R for Violence and Brief Language


I've never heard of The Nurse before watching it tonight, in which it has a similar feel to The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. The movie stars Lisa Zane (Billy Zane's older sister) as Laura Harriman, a nurse who wants revenge!

Her father had recently murdered her mother and brother. Then he took his own life, all because he was accused of embezzling money. Bob Martin is the man who turned him over to the police and after hearing about the deaths, he has a stroke which leaves him paralyzed.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Review - Touching the Sky

Touching the Sky
By Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764206160
Pub. Date: June 1, 2012
Pages: 336

The second book in The Lone Star series is set after the Civil War ended and after the tragic death of President Lincoln. The main character is Laura Marquardt who runs into the Captain Brandon Reid and his Union troops in an alleyway. She later runs into him again at a party at the her family's house. They begin to actually have an honest conversation and they realize that they have many things in common, like they both believe strongly that former slaves should have an education so they can learn how to read and write.

Laura's sister recently married an ex-Confederate solider, but her brother-in-law is plotting to murder innocent Union soldiers. She is afraid to tell Caption Reid and his men about the murder plot as it may put her sister's life in jeopardy.

DVD Review - The Garfield Show: Holiday Extravaganza

The Garfield Show: Holiday Extravaganza
Studio: Dargaud
ASIN: B0089BSLWG
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 72 minutes 
Rated: NR


I grew up watching Garfield & Friends and of course the CBS Garfield prime time specials. It took me awhile to get use to The Garfield Show, in which I am starting to like. The Holiday Extravaganza came out of nowhere. I never heard about the DVD being released until I came across it in the store. Since I am a die-hard Garfield fan, I eagerly bought it.

The episodes on this disc are:

The Haunted House - John is out of idea for a new comic book, so he spends the weekend at Mr. Barker's new mansion, which is haunted by a ghost cat!

Which Witch - The annoying twins Druscilla and Minerva are visiting John and Garfield plans on getting rid of them by sending them to a witch's house.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: The Complete Collection



I've been a vampire fan since I can remember, watching movies and reading books from the genre, so I eagerly read through The Vampire Hunter's Daughter in one night, courtesy of Bewitching Blog Tours.

The book opens up with a fourteen-year-old Chloe Kallistrate being awakened by her distraught mother in the early morning, telling her to hide in the closet as they are coming for her. Who is coming for her? Blood-sucking vampires of course!

The Friday 56 - The Malice of Fortune



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Review: Children of Angels

Jeremy Lapoint is a victim of bulling at Anoka Middle School by a fellow student, Sid Lundah, and a couple of his friends. The bulling consist of naming, calling, dumping everything out of Jeremy's book bag, and even destroying his iPod that his grandmother gave to him. To make matter, worse, Jeremy's father is in prison for theft.

Things start to change for young Jeremy on the day he learned to fly. Yes, I said he could fly! 

An angel named Asiel appears to him explaining that Jeremy is a Nephilim, a half human/half angel, and that he is not the only one as there are two hundred-thirty kids spread across America, Europe, and Canada. Being what he is, Jeremy is one of the few that can see the demons that walk the Earth, therefore he must be trained to use his new powers, such as increased strength, invisibility, and how to mute himself so others can't hear him.

Author Kathryn Dahlstrom has written a creative plot for kids that doesn't involve vampires or werewolves, but instead focus on a world where there are half human/half angels while at the same time throwing in a superhero story. Kids will easily connect with the main character Jeremy as he is a bullied student who discovers the difference between angels and demons. I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend it to readers of all ages.

Disclaimer - I received this book free of charge from WinePressPublishing and the Litfuse Publicity Group.


About the Author:

When Kathryn Dahlstrom’s husband was transferred to Los Angeles, she traded Minnesota’s black-bear country for the inner-city and taught children at a Child Evangelism Fellowship Good News Club in Watts. She also began her writing career. In addition to writing six titles in the Good News Club children’s fiction series published by Child Evangelism Fellowship Press, the author is also a screenwriter and film producer. Currently, she and her husband, Tim, live on wooded acreage north of Minneapolis/St. Paul where they care for her mother. They also have an adult daughter, Kristina. Find out more about Kathryn at http://www.kathryndahlstrom.com

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Writer’s Muse Wears Different Shoes by Maggie Lyons



The writer’s muse sports a variety of footwear. Sometimes she leaps out of nowhere in spring-heeled running shoes. Sometimes she shuffles along in flip-flops that make a soft flapping noise heard long before she actually shows up.

And she comes from an endless variety of directions.

For A. A. Milne, she trotted out of his son’s collection of toy animals and gently prodded him to pen Winnie-the-Pooh. The muse who inspired Jerry Spinelli’s Wringer screamed up to him from a Pennsylvania pigeon shoot she couldn’t get away from fast enough. J. K. Rowling’s muse materialized after the legendary author took a train journey and the idea of a boy wizard named Harry Potter—to quote Rowling—“fell into my head.” Maurice Sendak’s muse for Where the Wild Things Are raced out of a gathering of Sendak’s unsavory relatives who had scared him when he was very young. Judy Blume’s muse marched in from a story Blume’s daughter told about a school bully and demanded that Blume write Blubber. Jeff Kinney’s muse is reluctant to show her face—a common occurrence even among the best of writers—but when she does, she’s positively quirky because of where she shows it. In Kinney’s words, she arrives as he’s “stepping into the shower or walking out the door or crossing in some sort of threshold”—and another Diary of a Wimpy Kid episode is spawned.

Kinney’s inspiration comes from everyday life, as it does for so many writers. “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day,” Orson Scott Card once said. “The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any.” Anton Chekhov put it another way: “If you look at anything long enough—say, just that wall in front of you—it will come out of that wall.”

And when the muse urges, how does a writer meet the command?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Review: Integration

Integration picks up the story where Initiation left off and at the same time it is a prequel to Faustine. The book is set at the private Bonfire Academy, where all the students have paranormal origins, such as vampires, fairies, shifters, witches, hybrids, and many other types.

The story centers on Cordelia, who has finished her enrichment years at the school. She is now starting an optional school year as a student mentor and is the apprentice to Professor Bern, who is the head of the Department of Paranormal Powers and Control.

Also retuning is Faustine, who is staring her second year and she faces many challenges as she is a human/demon hybrid. Surprisingly, Mason is also back at the school after being kicked out the year before, but his father pulled some strings getting him back in.

DVD Review - 8 Films Masters of Terror Volume 4

8 Films Masters of Terror Volume 4
Starring: Jason Scott Lee, Jason London, Roy Scheider, Christopher Walken
Studio: Echo Bridge Entertainment
ASIN: B006ZL1PPC
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Running Time: 705 minutes
Rated: NR to R


I found this 8 Horror films 2 discs set in the five dollar bin at my local Walmart. I already own three of the movies, Puppet Master, The Prophecy II, and Halloween: Resurrection, but I bought the DVD for one other movie called Wes Craven Presents: Dracula III: Legacy.

Dracula III is better than Dracula II. The plot isn't great, but there is enough vampire bloody scenes and nudity to make any any horror fan happy.

The other four movies on the set are Roman, The Nurse, Live Animals, and Paranormal Entity.

Roman stars Lucky McKee (who normally directs) as a shy social outcast who accidentally kills a girl (played by Kristen Bell) that he has a crush on. He keeps her body on ice in his bathtub. His depressed life changes when a strange woman becomes interested in him. This is an odd little movie. When it first starts you can easily tell that it is an low-budget film with bad camera work and lighting. I almost pushed the stop button, but I gave it a chance and I'm glad that I did. It is a strange movie, more of a thriller than a horror film. I actually felt sorry for Roman!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: The Trail of the Red Diamonds by L. Ron Hubbard

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

The 1930s and the 1940s has been called the Golden Age, a time where people didn't sit at home watching reality television and surfing the internet. People spent their free time going to movie shows and they also read magazines and dime store books. During these years many fancy magazines and pulp magazines were in circulation, which gave authors an opportunity to publish short stories. Since there were so many different types of fiction magazines, authors published their short stories in record numbers and this was a good way to make a little extra income as most magazines paid per word.

One of these authors was L. Ron Hubbard. The majority of the general public knows him as the guy who invented Scientology and some may turn away when they see his name because of it without realizing that he was also a talented author. Stories from the Golden Age is releasing his short stories in paperbacks and audiobooks, in which they kindly sent me this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

L. Ron Hubbard often used different pen names during these years, in which case he used the name Lt. Jonathan Daly for the story The Trail of the Red Diamonds that first appeared in the January 1935 issue of Thrilling Adventures. The main character's name just happens to be Lt. Jonathan Daly who is recovering from being shot at the Gran Chaco hospital. While there he happens to get a hold of the manuscript about Marco Polo's travels. The book reveals the location of Kublai Khan's burial.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

DVD Review - R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series - Volume 2

R.L Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series - Volume 2
Directors: J.B. Sugar, Neill Fearnley, Michael Scott, Terry Ingram, 
Starring: Thomas Robinson, Bobby Coleman, and Grayson Russell
Studio: Shout! Factory
ASIN: B0089BSLIK
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 140 minutes
Rated: NR
Bonus Features: A Look Behind The Screams; Original Promos

Shout! Factory is on a roll by releasing not one but two volumes of R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series - Volume 2 to DVD this month. I grew up reading R.L. Stine's books and over the years I have collected almost every DVD of Goosebumps the series that aired during the mid to late 90s on Fox Kids. Goosebumps had a low-budget that resulted in bad acting, cut-down scripts based on the books, and cheap special effects. In other words the series was campy! Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the Goosebumps series for what it was - pure fun.

The Haunting Hour seems to be avoiding the flaws in the Goosebumps series by having better actors and directors, higher quality special effects, and complete scripts. Each episode is not based on an entire book but on short stories that appeared in the two anthologies, The Haunting Hour and The Nightmare Hour.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle



I've been an Amish fiction fan for several years every since I read my first Beverly Lewis book. I'm also a fan of vampire novels, like the Vampire Diaries and The Southern Vampire Mysteries. In The Hallowed Ones I get a combination of Amish fiction and vampires!

The Friday 56th - The Bucktail Brothers of the Fighting 149th



Rules:
Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review - Golden Records Celebrity Series: The Magic Continues, Volume 1

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.


Do you remember the Golden Records that came with Little Golden books? I remember having dozens of Little Golden Books that came with a cassette tapes, ranging from fairy tales to Sesame Street. I even recall listening to a few vinyl records that belonged to my grandma.

Golden Records is the most successful children record label in America. It was created by Arthur Shimkin in 1948. Each record contained an amazing orchestration and popular voice talents. Now, Golden Records is releasing their classic songs and stories onto CDs for a whole new generation, combining some old favorites tunes with new celebrity vocals.

I was recently sent a CD of Volume 1consisting of the amazing celebrity voices of Ed Asner, Alicia Silverstone, Susan Sarandon; Constance Marie, Didi Conn, Cheryl Hines, and Busy Phillips, courtesy of Golden Records in exchange for an honest review.

DVD Review - R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series: Volume One

R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series: Volume One
Director: Neil Feranley
Starring: Bailee Madison, Neil Fearnley
Studio: Shout! Factory
ASIN: B0089BSODC
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 140 minutes
Rated: NR 
Bonus: A Look Behind the Screams and Original Promos

Do you remember the Goosebumps books and TV series from the 1990s from horror mastermind R.L. Stine? Well, his new series The Haunting Hour debuted in 2010 on The Hub cable channel based upon his The Haunting Hour book, a collection of short stories.

I've been a die-hard R.L. Stine fan since I was a kid, but I don't get The Hub channel, so I patiently waited for the DVDs to be released! The Haunting Hour follows the typical 22 minutes length per episode, but unlike the Goosebumps series, this series has a bigger budget and better acting. The special effects are much better this time around and the stories are much darker.

In the two-part premiere Really You, Lilly (played by Bailee Madison) is a spoiled girl, always getting what she wants from her parents, especially from her dear old dad. What she wants now is the Really You life-size doll, in which her parents give in and get it for her. Strange things begin happening and Lilly suspects her doll is responsible. Her mother starts acting strange and becomes obsessed with the doll. Lilly realizes that this doll may want to actually become her.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sacred Ground By Laura Bickle




We sometimes think of sacred ground as a very grand or unusual place, marked by ornate gates and much symbolism. But sacred ground can be quite unassuming and ordinary.

Katie, the heroine of THE HALLOWED ONES, has always lived on sacred ground. She’s grown up in a peaceful Amish settlement, living with her parents and sister in the house where she was born. She knows every other person in the settlement. Crime is unheard-of. Though she has many responsibilities, Katie has always been free to wander about the rural settlement, to feel the cool grass under her fingers and the warm sun on her face. She feels safe here, though she yearns to test her boundaries and taste the world outside her fence.

The Amish church is the key to the sacredness of her community. Church services in her world take place at each house on a rotating basis – there is no physical church building. Pews are unloaded into each backyard every other Sunday, and worship is wound into everyday lives and places.

Review - The Breakthrough by Jerry B. Jenkins

The Breakthrough
A Precinct 11 Novel
By: Jerry B. Jenkins
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1414335841
Pub Date: August 17, 2012
Pages: 400

I have read the other two books in the Precinct 11 series and I eagerly signed up to review the third installment The Breakthrough through Tyndale's blog program.

The Breakthrough continues the story of Boone Drake, the youngest bureau chief in the Chicago Police Department history. He has been through many heartbreaking challenges that have tested his faith in God. Boone is now married to a beautiful woman and he has adopted his wife's young son. Just when everything seems perfect, life and death situations occur that will once again challenge his faith in others and in God.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review - Unending Devotion

Unending Devotion
Written by: Jody Dedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764208348
Pub Date: September 1, 2012
Pages: 374
Buy Link: http://ow.ly/dihgn
Blog Tour: http://litfusegroup.com/author/JHedlund

The year is 1883 and Lily Young spends her days as a photographer's assistant traveling to logging camps and small towns, but Lily has another agenda up her sleeve. She is actually searching for her missing younger sister.

While in Harrison, Michigan, Lily crosses path with Connell McCormick, an Irishman and knife thrower. Connell is helping his father increase the fortune by running three of their logging operations. He wants to expand their operations and hopefully show his father that he is responsible. He has moral values, but he also has eyes for the saloon girls.

Lily's goal of finding her sister may be in jeopardy as she starts to fall for the handsome Connell, and his goal of expanding his father's business may be in trouble as he also has feelings for Lily.

Review - The Reason

The Reason
Written by: William Sirls
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1401687366
Pub Date: September 4th, 2012
Pages: 416

Late one stormy night, a small Michigan town is shaken to it's core when lighting strikes a church's fifteen foot wooden cross, splintering it in two and the upper section falls to the ground.

The congregation is small, and the blind minister, James Lindy, doesn't know how they are going to afford to repair the cross and keep their faith at the same time.

A young boy, Alex, who attends the church with his mother, Brooke, has been diagnosed with leukemia. A young oncologist, Macey Lewis, wants to help him with modern medicine, while Brooke puts her hope in faith.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Review - Dead Men Kill



Dead Men Kill
By: L. Ron Hubbard
Voice Cast: John Mariano, Jennifer Aspen, R.F. Daley, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen and Matt Scott
Publisher: Galaxy Press
ISBN: 978-1592123506
Pub Date: January 1, 2010
Approx: 2 hours 5 minutes

Stories from the Golden Age from Galaxy Press are a line of audiobooks and paperbacks, in which all titles are by the short stories written L. Ron Hubbard in the 1930s and 1940s. The stories appeared in Pulp Magazines. Galaxy Press was nice enough to send me several free audiobooks in exchange for an honest review. Yes, I'm aware that L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of Scientology. People tend to ignore his writings because of his religion. I'm a Christian and it doesn't bother what religion L. Ron Hubbard believed in as he was a talented author, writing in many genres.

All 150 short stories written by the author are being released in both audio and paperback from Stories from the Golden Age. For each story they use a variety of talented voice actors, such as John Mariano, Jennifer Aspen, R.F. Daley, Lori Jablons, Jim Meskimen and Matt Scott. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

3 Awesome Children’s Book Series by Heather Smith




 

Okay, well I have to start out by saying I grew up in the 80s. So, I have a lot of favorites that kids today have no idea about. You know what I mean. Well, in a backlash to the terrible kids fiction series of today (no names mentioned *cough* Twilight *cough*) I give you my favorite book series as a child. I leaned towards the scary, the adventures, and the creative, as you can see. If your child wants to read a really great book, then why not start them out with one of these three?

1. Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville – When tiny aliens land in your room and start eating your homework, what do you do? Join them of course! This book series by well-known author Bruce Coville had me alternating between hysterical laughter and thoughtful repose. More than just a sci-fi fluff piece, this series delves into what it means to be alien, father-son relationships, and what true friendship is. Whether defeating alien bullies at school or traveling the universe with a four-legged karate master, Rod Albright learns a lot about how things work.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Anti-Anti-Hero By Kyle B. Stiff

I’m tired of gray morals and anti-heroes.

It took me long enough. As a kid who grew up reading comic books, I would run away from do-gooders like Spider-Man and Captain America. Spider-Man was impossible for any artist to treat seriously, what with every available inch of negative space being filled word balloons of light-hearted stream-of-consciousness “jokes”, and Captain America’s square jaw and “do the right thing” philosophy just smacked of simpleton virtues and an unwavering devotion to the status quo. No, I wanted to see the Punisher hunt down criminals and gun them down in endless succession. The guy was basically a serial killer with a heart of gold, and I loved it.

It took a while for the anti-hero ideal to spread, but now, in some watered-down sense, it’s everywhere. A lot of writers these days are making their heroes more “human” by showing their weakness, their indecision, and their keen sense of their own failings. Sure, literature’s bygone heroes might have been cardboard cutouts of perfection, but when did we decide that humanity was the most limp-wristed animal on the block?

Are we really looking to blood-sucking vampires when we look for an ideal to live by? Moral shades of gray? What does that even mean?