Monday, 30 November 2015

DVD Review - Gosei Sentai Dairanger: The Complete Series

Gosei Sentai Dairanger: The Complete Series
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Retail: $59.97
Running Time: 16.6 hours
Rating: Not Rated

Product Descripton:

The three Tribes of the Daos Empire - Shura, Dai and Gorma - were peaceful until the Gorma set out to conquer the planet, launching a magical war between the Gorma and Dai Tribes that lasted for centuries. In the end, both civilizations were lost... until now. The evil Gorma have returned. Now, it's up to Master Kaku to assemble a team of kids with high levels of Ch'i to become the protectors of the Earth known as the Dairangers!

Billy's Thoughts:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Review - Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home

Top Secret Recipies: Step-By-Step:
Secret Formulas with Photos for  Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home
by Todd Wilbur
Publisher: Plume
Pub. Date: November17, 2105
ISBN: 978-0142196960
Pages: 304
Buy Link: Amazon

Book Description:

For more than twenty-five years, Todd Wilbur has been obsessed with recreating America's most iconic brand-name foods at home. In his first cookbook with color photos, the New York Times bestselling author brings you 125 new clone recipes: 75 first-time hacks and 50 overhauled all-time favorites. Each recipe comes with easy-to-follow step-by-step photos so that even novice cooks can perfectly recreate their favorite famous foods with everyday ingredients. And your homemade versions cost just a fraction of what the restaurants charge! 

About the Author:

For more than 25 years Todd Wilbur has been reverse-engineering America's most iconic foods for his series of 11 Top Secret Recipes cookbooks. With over 5 million books in print, the self-proclaimed "food hacker" has appeared in over 100 media outlets including The New York Times, People Magazine, Newsweek, The Daily News, Entertainment Weekly, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Food Network.  His website is the #1 copycat recipes website with 1 million visitors every month. He lives with his family in Las Vegas, NV. 

Billy's Thoughts:

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Review - The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime
by Ree Drummond
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks
Pub. Date: October 20, 2015
Retail: $29.99
ISBN: 978-0062225245
Pages: 400
Buy Link: Amazon

Product Description: 

The #1 bestselling author and Food Network personality at last answers that age-old question—“What's for Dinner?”—bringing together more than 125 simple, scrumptious, step-by-step recipes for delicious dinners the whole family will love.

For families juggling school, work, and a host of other time-consuming daily obligations, the idea of making dinner from scratch can be daunting. Ree Drummond makes it easy for families to make simple, scrumptious, homemade meals with minimum fuss and maximum enjoyment. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime includes delicious, easy-to-make recipes for comfort classics, 16-minute meals, freezer-friendly food, as well as soups, main dish salads, and a favorite of her own family: breakfast for dinner.

You’ll find more than 125 fast-and-delicious recipes that combine pantry staples with fresh ingredients, including Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Taco Salad, Pasta Puttanesca, Ready-to-go freezer Meatballs (and many dinners you can make with them!), Oven Barbecue Chicken, Mexican Tortilla Casserole, Veggie Chili, Beef with Snow Peas, and many, many more. Included is a section of mouthwatering quick desserts—literally the icing on the cake. Filled with Ree’s signature step-by-step photos, relatable humor, and irresistible, folksy charm, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime is the go-to cookbook every home cook can rely on for any—and every—night of the week.

Billy's Thoughts:

Firebird Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones Review

It should be no secret to my blog readers that I love listening to music as it is a way that I can relax when I'm stressed. Ever since I got my new cell phone on my birthday (back in September), I've put most of the MP3 songs from my laptop to the new cell. Since the phone has a Bluetooth compatibility on it, I got a pair of Bluetooth headphones for it, but I had problems with the right earbud as it kept slipping out of my ear, despite the fact that I switched to a smaller earplug.

That being said, I was excited to try out the Firebird Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones by Talon, which are technically workout earbuds. The headphones retail for $99.99, but can currently be purchased on for $49.99.

The headphones are compatible with most iOS & Android devices. The Bluetooth operating range can reach up to 10m (33 ft) with talk time up to 4-6 hours. Standby time lasts up to 150 hours. It comes with a micro USB charging port, which takes 1.5 hours to charge. It can be paired with devices simultaneously, though I haven't tested this part of it out yet.

Review - Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson

Refining Fire
Brides of Seattle, book two
by Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: July 7, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764210624
Pages: 320
Buy Link: Amazon


Between getting ready for Thanksgiving (which I'm glad is finally over) and clearing through my needs-to-be reviewed pile on desk, it has been a busy a month. I'm glad to say that I'm finally catching up on those long-awaited reviews, which includes Refining Fire. The second book in the Brides of Seattle series that has been sitting on my desk collecting dust since July. I finally got around to reading on Wednesday night!

Set in 1889, the novel centers on Militine Scott and her friend, Abrianna Cunningham, whom are both living at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle. After watching Lenore Fulcher fall in love and marry Kolbein Booth (Spoiler Alert: this occurred in the first novel, Steadfast Heart), Abrianna has had high hopes that the school will help her land a qualified husband. Militine is the complete opposite of her friend as she has no intentions of marrying.

Thane Patton, a fire fighter, and his pal Wade Ackerman occasionally help out with odd chores at the Madison Bridal School and over time they have become friends with Abrianna and Militine. Thane has feelings for Militine, but he is afraid of exposing his past to her. And it's pretty much vice versa for Militine, who feels the same way for Thane, but she also has a dark secret.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Cave Tools Meat Tenderizer Mallet

Meat Tenderizer Mallet
Made by Cave Tools
Retail: $21.99
Sale Price: $9.99

Purchase Link: Cave Tools

Product Description (taken from Cave Tools):

Meat Tenderizer Mallet is perfect pounder for chicken, steak, beef, and other tough cuts of meat. It's also the secret behind the best chef recipes such as country fried steak, weiner schnitzel and cordon bleu.

Unlike Aluminum or Zinc Alloy Models, our STAINLESS STEEL DESIGN IS DISHWASHER SAFE saving you tons of time cleaning up and also safely sterilizing any raw meat left behind.

Comes with 25 Professional Barbecue Recipes - Step by step instructions and detailed grilling tutorial videos are great for the family.

Billy's Thoughts:

Fall Reads: Fire & Ice by Mary Connealy

Fire & Ice
Wild at Heart, book three
by Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: October 6, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764211805
Pages: 336
Buy Link: Amazon


As promised, I'm featuring my review on book three of the Wild at Series, Fire & Ice, on Black Friday, though I'm technically writing this in the early morning hours on Wednesday.

This time the heroine is Bailey Wilde, the oldest sister of her family, who is slight depressed that all her sisters have gotten married and that she is still single (and lonely). With a long dreadful winter approaching, she finds a way to get Gage Coulter to marry her, which is somewhat an odd choice for husband as she previously pointing a gun to him.

It seems that there is five-thousand acres of great grazing land on a canyon, but Bailey's farmhouse happens to be located on it. Therefore, Bailey owns all the lush grass there, so that's the only reason why Gage would ever consider marrying her - to get complete control of the land.

Book Blogger Hop: November 27th - December 3rd

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews!

How reliable can you say you are in terms of having promised reviews completed for blog tours or publisher and author requests?

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

My Answer: 

   If the review is for a blog tour, holiday guide or event, then I stick to the specific date that was either assigned to me or that I agreed to. If the review has no specific deadline, then it might take me a bit longer to get to it. 
Linky List:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review - The Golden Braid

The Golden Braid
by Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: Novemer 17, 2015
ISBN: 978-0718026264
Pages: 320
Blog Tour:
Buy Link: 


I might seem a little odd for a male reader to like reading fairy tale stories, but for some reason in the last few years these have appealed to me. It might have something to do with the fact that I watch the television series Once Upon A Time. (Yep, even the current season, which is a complete mess.) Now available to purchase in bookstores is The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson, a retelling of the classic Rapunzel tale.

Of course, The Golden Braid centers on a seventeen-year-old Rapunzel, but she's slightly different than what we have seen in Disney's Tangled as well as countless short story and books. Her mother, Gothel, a midwife, is very protective and doesn't want any young man to close to Rapunzel. When one does, Gothel makes Rapunzel move with her to a new location. Rapunzel has never learned how to read, but she does know how to paint floral pictures. Also, she is an expert at knife throwing.

While moving yet again, they are attacked by rebels, but are rescued quickly by a knight, Sir Gerek. Coincidentally, Rapunzel ends up saving the handsome knight shortly after. Being raised properly, Sir Gerek wants to say 'thank you' by offering to teach Rapunzel how to read. This is the medieval times, so there's not many books available, so naturally Sir Gerek uses the scriptures to to the teach the golden braided beauty how to read, all of which is kept hidden form Gothel.

Shed Ninja Pet Brush Review


While I love having a cat in the house, there is the one thing that bothers me - the excess cat hair on the couch, chairs, beds, etc..

Yep, my cat shreds like crazy. The only decent pet brush that I've been able to find is actually made for a dog and it's way too big for her. The others that I have seen in the stores look to be a bit to rough, so I've never purchased one.

A few weeks ago, I was sent the Shed Ninja Pet Brush to test out and review. It retails for $46.95, but it's currently priced for $19.95 on The brush is supposed to remove 90% of dead fur within a few minutes of use.

It features a different brush on each side -  one side has a shredding brush and the other side has a rak
The shedding blade easily removes loose hair that is beneath the topcoat. It gently releases the loose hairs in the undercoat, which will help prevent pet dander.The rake does exactly what it sounds like, it picks up any loose hair found in the fur.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Fall Reads: The Christmas Joy Ride


The Christmas Joy Ride
by Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Pub. Date: September 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-0800719678
Pages: 176
Buy Link: Amazon


Yep, I'm trying to get through my Grinch-like mood by reading a few holiday-themed books this month. You might recall me reading The Christmas Cat last year. Well, the author, Melody Carlson, has published another book titled, The Christmas Joy Ride, which can be purchased at most bookstores.

The novella centers on an Miranda Fortner, who is currently unemployed and is now fearing that the bank will foreclose on her home. Her 85-year-old neighbor, Joy Jorgenson, has sold her own house and is moving to a assisted living place in Phoenix, so she can be near her sons. Miranda is shocked when she learns how Joy is going to get to there - she's going to drive her old RV, which is covered in Christmas decorations, 2,000 miles to Phenoix!

Joy has a mission to deliver gifts to six people that had each won a contest on her blog. There is no way that Miranda is going to let her drive across the country all by herself, so she packs her bags and joins Joy on the trip.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

DVD Review: A Christmas Horror Story

A Christmas Horror Story
Directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Cast: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer
Studio: RLJ Entertainment
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Retail: $27.97
Running Time: 107 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Arriving on DVD on Tuesday November 24th, is the horror holiday flick A Christmas Horror Story. Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban & Brett Sullivan, the film stars William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer. The single-disc DVD features Behind-The Scenes Of A Christmas Horror Story featurette.

If you've been following my blog lately, then you would know that I don't exactly have the Christmas spirit yet, so the last thing that I want to do is watch a Christmas movie. Nevertheless, for the some reason I've watched two holiday-themed movies over the last few days, which one of the two happens to be the horror anthology, A Christmas Horror Story.

The anthology features four different stories, which are all wrapped together with scenes with William Shatner as a radio DJ, where he's warning his listeners to avoid the mall as there is a someone wearing a Santa Claus suit has taken shoppers hostage.

The first story centers on three kids - Molly (played by Zoe De Grand Masion), Ben (played by Alex Ozerov) and Dylan (Shannon Kook) on a ghost hunt in a school basement, where two other teens were brutally murdered a year before on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for them, the ghost stories are true and the kids might not make it through the night alive.


One of the first cops who investigated the Christmas Eve murders was Scott (played by Adrian Holmes). Now he has his own set of problems with his seven-year-old son, Will (played by Orion John). The boy has been acting weird ever since he went missing for a few minutes when Scott and his wife, Kim (played by Oluniké Adeliyi), went Christmas tree hunting in the woods. To find out, something else has replaced their son and they'll have to fight to survive the night.

Angels Sing DVD Review & Giveaway

Angels Sing
Director: Tim McCanlies
Cast: Harry Connick, Jr., Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
Studio: LionsGate
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Retail: $14.98
Running Time: 90
Rating: PG
Buy Link: Amazon


If you haven't noticed, the Hallmark channel has been playing Christmas movies nonstop all month and will continue into the New Year. On December 1st, Hallmark will repeat the 2013 holiday drama Angels Sing, which originally premiered on the channel in July 2014. Directed by Tim McCanlies, the film stars Harry Connick, Jr., Connie Britton (Nashville), Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. The film is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Based on the novel When Angels Sing by Turk Pipkin, Harry Connick, Jr. plays Michael Walker, who dreads the holidays each year, mostly due to a devastating event that happened during his childhood. While his father (played by Kirs Kristofferson) has been trying to spread the Christmas spirit to him over the years, it never works.

After Thanksgiving Day, Michael and his wife Susan (played by Connie Britton) begin looking for a new place to live, but they haven't had much luck. While driving, Michael suddenly comes across a "for sale" sign in the yard in front of a beautiful house. Though he knows the house has to be way out of his price range, he talks to the owner, Nick (played by Willie Nelson) and makes an offer for the place. To his surprise, Nick accepts the offer.

Shortly after moving into their new home, Michael, Susan and their son David (played by Chandler Canterbury) quickly realizes that this isn't a normally neighborhood as everyone living there goes a little overboard with Christmas. Griffin (played by Lyle Lovett) is the first to knock on their door with a welcoming gift - a box of decorations. Other neighbors greet the Walker family and all of them drop off decorations as well.

Fall Reads: Now & Forever by Mary Connealy

Now & Forever
Wild at Heart, book two
by Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: June 2, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764211799
Pages: 336
Buy Link: Amazon


One of my favorite genres to read over the last few years has been western-romances, so whenever I see any romance novels set in the 1800s, I automatically sign up to review it. One of my favorite authors who writes these kinds of books is Mary Connealy. During the summer, she released the second book int he Wild at Heart series, titled Now & Forever.

Set in the Dakota Territory/Idaho Territory Border in the year 1866, the novel centers on a tomboy named Shannon Wilde. She's the middle sister of her family who absolutely loves all animals. Along with her other two sisters, they were forced to join the Civil War disguised as men. She now has her own homestead and is raising sheep on her land. The last thing she ever wanted was a man, but that all changes when her path crosses with Matthew Tucker.

Matthew is a lost soul who went into the wilderness with the intention of getting away from the world, but after he almost bumps into a grizzly bear, the beautiful Shannon comes out of nowhere. She saves his life by jumping with him off of a cliff and into the Slaughter River. Before he can even breathe, he finds himself married to Shannon.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Two Simple Tips to Help You Get Ready For Thanksgiving!

I'm sure many of you are still scrambling around to get your house in working order and spic & span for Thanksgiving day, so I thought I would mention two simple tips that can help you out.

Steam Mop Your Carpets!

Simply vacuuming your carpet won't get rid of those tough stains, so the best way to remove them is with a steam cleaner.  The SKG Steam Mop is a multi-use steamer that will clean class, tables, sofas and carpets. It's a great way to make sure your house is clean for Thanksgiving Day!

Get a Good Bread Machine!

Fall Reads: Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson

Steadfast Heart
Brides of Seattle, Book 1
by Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: January 6, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764213014
Pages: 336
Buy Link: Amazon

My journey to clear off all the book on desk continues with my review for the novel Steadfast Heart by author Tracie Peterson. The book was released back January. Yeah, I know I'm really late with the review. I barely remember reading the book back January, so I had to reread the title over the weekend.

Set in 1888, Steadfast Heart centers on twenty-year-old Lenore Fulcher, who would like to fall in love with the man she is supposed to marry instead of being stuck in an arranged marriage to a 37 year-old just to make her father happy. The future husband is one of her father's business partners and she has no say so in the arrangement.

Out of the blue, Kolbein Booth, a lawyer from Chicago, arrives in city to search for his missing young sister, whom he believes has signed up for a mail-order bride program. His search leads him to the Madison Bridal School, but he is disappointed to learn that his sister isn't there at all. However, this is where he meets the beautiful Lenore Flucher, which the two fall in love with each other.

Espresso & Coffee Candy & Mugs Set Review

While my blog's Holiday Gift Guide won't officially kickoff until Black Friday, I thought I would a feature a review for a nifty gift idea that would be perfect for a friend or family member that is hard to buy for.

Earlier this month, I was sent the Espresso & Coffee Candy & Mugs Set which features 2 Antique Vintage Green Cups, 1 Balis Best Espresso Candy (5.3 oz bag), Balis Best Coffee Candy (5.3 oz bag), 1 Dual Speed Hand-held Milk Frother and a Coffee Clip/Scoop. The set is being sold on Amazon for $31.97!

Being a big coffee drinker, I do have several mugs; some I collect and others I drink out of. The two green mugs in this set are high-quality with a very simple design. I especially like the rustic color around the brim each of cup.

I had been using a small plastic tablespoon to scoop my coffee grounds, which I sometimes accidentally misplace. This Coffee Clip/Scoop is well-constructed and features an extra long handle, which you can use to clip onto a coffee bag, so maybe I won't lose this one.

The Dual Speed Hand-held Milk Frother is well-constructed too. If features two speeds - Low and High. It requires two AA batteries (not included). A frother is used to foam milk for hot chocolate or it can be used to foam creams for coffee drinks.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Fall Reads: Keeping Christmas

Keeping Christmas
by Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Pub. Date: September 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0800721190
Pages: 224
Buy Link: Amazon


While my humbug attitude hasn't changed quite yet, I nevertheless made some time to read the holiday novel Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh. Actually, I was a bit too tired to even read last night, but talked myself into reading at least the first chapter. I ended up reading about half of the novel before going sleep and I finished reading the rest this morning.

The novel centers on Stan and Judith Winters, an older couple that are for first time dreading the holiday season. In the past, each and ever year they have the same routine of hosting Thanksgiving dinner for kids (Suzanne, Anna & Brandon), son-in-laws, a daughter-in-law and grandchildren. The girls would spend Thanksgiving afternoon flipping through Black Friday ads and Judith would go shopping with them the next day. Early in the morning, Stan would drag out the Christmas decorations for the kids to put up. Then he would go fishing with his good pal Barney, which they would later head to the Bass Pro Shop for some bargain shopping.

Sadly, all the kids have moved out of state and aren't coming for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, letting Stan & Judith to consider leaving behind their holiday traditions.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Review - The Photograph by Beverly Lewis

The Photograph
by Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany Hosue
Pub. Date: September 8, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764212475
Pages: 329
Buy Link: Amazon

To me, Beverly Lewis is the master of penning Amish romances and she continues her creativity with the recently released The Photograph, a standalone novel. Though I read the book back on Labor Day, which happened to be my birthday, I'm only getting around to writing the review for it today.

Like many of her novels, The Photograph is set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It centers on the Esch sisters (Eva, Lily, Frona), whom are still mourning the death of their widowed mother. The farmhouse was left to their younger brother, Menno, who took over the farm after the death of their father. He plans on moving into the farmhouse with his wife and kids, so there will be only room for one sister to live there; the other two will have to leave. Unfortunately, this all means that the sisters will have to give up their candy store, The Sweet Tooth, which is in a small room in the farmhouse that their father had built for them.

The youngest sister, Lily, wastes no time as she packs her back and leaves the day after Menno announced the family's changes. However, she does leaves a note behind for Eva, stating that she no longer wants to be Amish and that she is leaving for the outside world.

Meanwhile, an Amish man, Jed Stuzman, leaves his Ohio community and travels on a train to Lancaster countryside to learn how to make buggies. While on the train he stumbles across a photo of a young Plain woman that was hidden inside a copy of Little Women. While the Amish aren't supposed to keep photos, he is intrigued by the pretty young woman and keeps it. This a romance novel, so of course Jed runs into Eva and is slightly shocked as she resembles the woman in the photograph.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Book Blogger Hop: November 20th - 26th

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews!

Do you read every day? If so, do you have a "page goal?"

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

My Answer: 

   I would love to read every day, but sometimes I just don't have the time. If I'm reading a new book, I always have a goal of reading the first 75 pages for taking a break.
Linky List:

Fall Reads: Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl

Rising Darkness
Finding Sanctuary, book 3
by Nancy Mehl
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: November 3, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764211591
Pages: 320
Buy Link: Amazon


After reading the first book in the Road to Kingdom series a few  years ago, I was an instant fan of Nancy Mehl's writings. Plus, I always like authors that live in my home-state of Missouri. While I had read book two (Deadly Echoes) in the Finding Sanctuary series earlier this year, I went ahead and reread it prior to reading book three, Rising Darkness, which was released earlier this month to bookstores.

Once again, the setting is in Sanctuary, Missouri, but this time the story centers on an ex-Mennonite named Sophie Wittenbauer, who had left her strict community in Kingdom to start a new life. She takes a job working at newspaper office under a new identity. Sadly, she can no longer escape her previous life after she receives a tip that a criminal might be hiding somewhere in town. While this might seem like a great story for a newbie reporter, there is a slight problem - Sophie recognizes the criminal's name and she's worried that her past will be exposed.

To make matters worse, she runs into an old crush from her childhood, Jonathon Wiese, who is a now a pastor in Sanctuary. There are threats and dangers around every corner, and while Sophie doesn't exactly trust Jonathon, she might not have any other choice, but to let him save her life.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Fall Reads: Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl

Deadly Echoes
Finding Sanctuary, book 2
by Nancy Mehl
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: February 3, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764211584
Pages: 336
Buy Link: Amazon


In my continuing quest to review all the books that have been collecting dust on my desk for months, today I'm reviewing Deadly Echoes, book 2 in the Finding Sanctuary series, by Nancy Mehl. I stumbled upon her Road To Kingdom series a few years ago and I've been a fan of her writings ever since.

Set in the same Mennonite community in Sanctuary, Missouri that had to deal with a horrible kidnapping in the first book, Gathering Storms, Deadly Echoes centers on Sarah Miller, who moved to the small town start a new life as a school teacher and to reconnected with her sister, Hannah. Their parents were murdered when they were young and they were separated after going into the foster care system.

Out of nowhere, Hannah is also murdered, leaving Sarah to raise her niece by herself. While she could just let the local authorities try to solve the murder, Sarah believes there is a connection between Hannah's death and their parent's murders. With help from Sheriff Paul Gleason, she is determined to unravel a mystery that has been hidden for almost twenty years.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

DVD Review: Santa's Little Helper

Santa's Little Helper
Director: Gil Junger
Cast: Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, Paige, Annalynne McCord
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Retail: $22.98
ASIN: B015G6WN98
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: PG
Buy Link: Amazon


Now available on DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the holiday comedy Santa's Little Helper. Directed by Gil Junger, the film stars WWE superstars Mike "The Miz" Mizanin and Paige. Special features includes The "Ho Ho Ho," Introducing Paige and Holiday Cast & Crew.

Produced by WWE Studios, Santa's Little Helper centers on a businessman, Dax (played by Mike "The Miz" Mizanin), who is suddenly fired from his job. To make matters worse, his girlfriend leaves him, his car is repossessed and the bank is going foreclose on his home.

Luckily for Dax, his a guardian angel, well, actually it's just Santa Claus (played by Eric Keenleyside), has been keeping an eye out on Dax for awhile. Santa needs a second-in-command, which is called the Ho Ho Ho, at his North Pole operations and he believes that Dax is the best man for the job. Instead of sending himself to see if Dax is up for the challenge, Santa sends his top elf, Billie (played by Annalynne McCord) to recruit him.

Of course, Dax doesn't believe that Santa is real, but he really needs a job, so he agrees to participate in several embarrassing tests, which he barely passes. Unfortunately, the Ho Ho Ho position might not be his as the elf named Eleanor (played by Paige) wants the job and challenges to Dax to competition.

Portable Personal Vehicles of the Future?


If personal automobiles are no longer necessary or interesting to young adults, could there instead be some interest in portable personal vehicles in the future? By portable personal vehicles, I mean not a folding bicycle but something truly portable that would fit in a carry bag -- something like a wheeled version of the hovering, skateboard-like item from Back to the Future, a Segway without the handlebars, a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard.

Portable Personal Vehicles

Could we be seeing the end of car culture in America? We may already be seeing some signs of that. Young adults and teens are less interested in getting drivers licenses. Car buying has also shifted away from the 35-44 age crowd to the 55-64 ages, although this doesn't take into account what will happen when Millennials have kids that need rides to soccer practice or school plays.

Lexus Slide Hooverboard

Carmaker Lexus has actually built a levitating Slide Hoverboard that works over ground and water as well. The device was conceived as a marketing stunt for new Lexus cars, to "make the impossible possible" and it requires special magnetic technology embedded in the ground to make it hover. Unfortunately, it's doubtful that there will be any commercial versions available for sale in the near future.

Self-balancing Scooters

Review - The Innocent by Ann H. Gabhart

The Innocent
by Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
Pub. Date: July 7, 2015
ISBN: 978-0800723415
Pages: 400
Buy Link: Amazon


When it comes to picking out titles to read, I typically stick to familiar authors, but ever since I've started reviewing books, I've been taking chances on newer authors (well, at least they're new to me). Since then I've read a few titles buy author Ann H. Gabhart. Back in July, Revell released her book The Innocent to bookstores.

Set in 1865, The Innocent centers on Carlyn Kearney, who has been patiently awaiting news about her husband from the Union Army. Her husband, Ambrose, had served during the Civil War, but she hasn't heard from him for over two years. With not a penny to her name, she is forced to leave her home and seek refuge at the Shaker village in Harmony Hill.

From what she understood, the Shakers were kind and loving people, so she is a bit shocked to learn that Sister Edna is very strict. Getting married, owning any sort of possessions and contacting people from the outside world is forbidden in the community.

After several mysterious deaths that occur in the village, the town's sheriff, Mitchell Brodie, begins an investigation. This is a romance novel, so there are sparks between Brodie and Carlyn. The only problem is that Carlyn still loves her husband and hopes that he will one day return to her.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review - Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

Amish Promises
Neighbors of Lancaster County, book 1
by: Leslie Gould
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: May 5, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764215087
Pages: 368
Buy Link: Amazon


With all the Amish fiction titles that get read each year, you would think I would get bored with the genre. While there have been a few duds here and there, most of them that I've read have been pretty decent reads. Any time an Amish title is available, I typically sign up to review. I received a copy of Amish Promises back in late April, but I didn't get a chance to read it until later in July, and as you can see, I'm just now getting to around to writing the actual review for it.

Amish Promises is set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and centers on Joel and Shani Beck moving into their new home near the Amish country. Joel had recently returned from serving in Iraq and is trying to heal his emotional wounds, while at the same time he is trying to reconnect with his wife and son. Their closest neighbors are Amish, the Lehman family.

After their son has an accident that injures one of the Lehman sons, it causes a rift between Joel and Tim, the patriarch of the Lehman family. Despite the families' problems with each other, Shani, befriends Tim's sister, Eve, who has been running the household ever since Tim's wife died.

Marvel's Ant-Man Available on Digital HD Today!

While I'm sure many fans are patiently awaiting the Dec. 8th's release of this summer's blockbuster Marvel's Ant-Man on DVD & Blu-ray, I have some great news for you:

Marvel's Ant-Man is available today on Digital 3D & Digital HD

Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, who joins forces his new mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas), to the protect the secret behind the Ant-Man (a suit that has the ability to shrink in scale, but increases in strength). With villains around every corner, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a daring heist against insurmountable odds.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Review - Breadwinners: Journey to the Bottom of the Seats

Breadwinners: Journey to the Bottom of the Seats
by Stefan Petrucha
Illustrated by Allison Strejlau 
Publisher: PAPERCUTZ
Pub. Date: November 17, 2015
ISBN: 978-1629913018
Pages: 56 pages
Buy Link: Amazon


Nickelodeon has teamed up with PAPERCUTZ to publish a series of graphic novels based on their popular animated programs as well as bringing out the new Nickelodeon Magazine. The graphic novel Sanjay and Craig: Fight the Future with Flavor! was released back in September and now Breadwinners: Journey to the Bottom of the Seats will be released to bookstores tomorrow!

Breadwinners debuted on Nickelodeon in 2014 and has become one of the top-rated programs for kids aged two to eleven. The series centers on two anthropomorphic ducks named SwaySway and Buhdeuce, two best friends that live in the water-based planet Pondgea. They drive a rocket-powered van and deliver bread to the locals.

Written by Stefan Petrucha with illustrations by Allison Strejlau,  Breadwinners: Journey to the Bottom of the Seats features four exciting adventures:

Lotsa Tots - SwaySway and Buhdence must hop in their van and deliver Clammy Brioche Bread and Snails On Kale Brioche Bread to a customer in Tree City, but they have a slight problem when a monster-size bird decides to sit on top of the van and lay her eggs.

Fall Review: An Endless Christmas

An Endless Christmas
by Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Worthy Inspired
Pub. Date: October 13, 2015
ISBN: 978-1617955877
Pages: 232
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


It's almost hard to believe that there are only five more weeks until Christmas Day. Though I do have about 99% of my gift shopping finished already, I'm not exactly in the holiday mood this year. Every time I stumble upon a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel, I avoid it all costs. I've also been skipping over the radio stations that are playing holiday tunes. No, I'm not a Scrooge. I just guess the Christmas magic hasn't exactly hit me yet. That being said, I had signed up to review a several holiday themed novels for a few book tours awhile back and I've delayed reading them as long as I could.

One these books (well, a novella) happens to be An Endless Christmas by author Cynthia Ruchti, which centers on Wilson and Dodie Blinder hosting Christmas for their large family (children, grandchildren, etc.) at their cottage in Minnesota. They're excited that their grandson, Micah, is going to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him. Micah asks her to marry him in front of his entire family and Katie's answer is - "No!"

Unfortunately for Katie, she has no other place to go, so she's stuck at the Binder cottage for Christmas. Most of the family are upset with her for breaking Micah's heart, but Dodie sees this extra time as an opportunity for her grandson to win back Katie's heart.

Review - The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

The Love Letters
by Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: March 24, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764212468
Pages: 352
Buy Link: Amazon


I had never even knew there was such a thing as Amish fiction until I read The Covenant (book one in the Abram's Daughter series) by Beverly Lewis, which was either in 2001 or 2002. I had joined one of the those book clubs where you get five or six books for $.99 and you have to buy three or four books during the next two years at full price. The Covenant was one of the books I got for joining the club. I recall I was short one book, so I just picked The Covenant as it looked an interesting read. Let's just say that I became a fan of Beverly Lewis's writings very quickly. I ended up purchasing her previous novels and I have continued to read each and every new release of hers.

While many of the author's novels are part of a series featuring three to five books, she does occasionally write a stand alone novel, which just happens to be the case for The Love Letters. (No, this isn't the made-for-Hallmark movie from the late 90s.)  This story is set in 1966 and centers on Marlena Wenger, a young woman with a lot on her young shoulders. She was set to marry Nathaniel Zimmerman shortly after she finishes her classes prior to being baptized into the Old Amish Order, well, that is until she learns that her grandfather has passed away and someone needs to go to Brownstown, Pennsylvania and assist her grandmother, Mammi Janice, for the summer. Guess whose going?

Yep, you guessed it - Marlena must put her life on hold to help out her grandmother. Not too long after arriving in Brownstown, Marlena learns that her estranged sister Luella has died in a car crash. Luell had left the Amish lifestyle to marry her sweetheart Gordon Munroe, who is currently serving his country in Vietnam. This leaves Marlena the guardian of her baby niece, Angela Rose.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review - From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From The Start 
by Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: April 7, 2015
ISBN: 978-0764213076
Pages: 352 pages
Buy Link: Amazon


With only a month and a half left of 2015, I thought it was about time that I finally clear off the books that have been piled on my desk for months. These titles had been read, but I hadn't gotten around to reviewing them, so I'm planning on writing at least one review a day for the rest of November, though I might only publish one per day.

From the Start is a contemporary romance by author Melissa Tag that was released back in April by Bethany House. I have a bad habit of picking out books directly by their covers, but that wasn't the case with this book as I actually read the synopsis first. After being intrigued by the plot, I thought I would give it a try.

The novel centers on screenplay writer Kate Walker, a young woman that writes made-for-TV romances, but her own love life is completely empty. Unfortunately, she has a series of bad luck starting with the lack of movie projects to work on. With no other choice, she packs her bags and returns home to Maple Valley, Iowa in the hope that she will find a new meaning (or career) for her life.

This is a romantic tale, so of course there is a love interest for Kate, whom happens to be a NFL quarterback, Colton Green. Due to a recent injury that has sidelined him from playing football, Colton has been hiding out in his friend's (Logan) hometown, which as you have probably guessed, it's in Maple Valley. And guess who Logan's sister is?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Visit the Doctor On Your Computer or Cell!

This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Amwell. All opinions are my own.

It seems everybody is on the go today, mostly thanks for the still falling economy as well as the price hike at the grocery stores, where you spend three times the amount than what you did ten years ago. Now, Americans are taking either a part-time job or a second full-time job on top of their regular job, all so they can barely pay their bills. Despite the Obamacare becoming a law, medical insurance is higher than ever; resulting in the doctors increasing what they charge per visit. To make matter worse, the deductibles have also increased, meaning you have to pay more out of your pocket for the insurance that you already pay for.

Luckily for us, there is now a thing called telemedicine, a way to see a doctor in the privacy of your own home by the use of the internet, which is great for people in smaller towns that don’t' have quick access to a doctor's office or hospital.

Recently, I got a chance try out Amwell, which is a telemedicine website where you can book a online doctor's visit with a U.S. trained, board-certified, licensed and credentialed physician starting at $49 or less. There also licensed psychologists and counselors starting at $95 or less and dietitians starting at $25 or less. There some insurance companies and employers that will cover telethealth visits, so please check with your health insurance company or Human Resources department to see if you're covered.

The website is pretty easy to use. All you have to do is just fill out the sign up form on the site; test your internet connection on your laptop, desktop, cell phone or tablet; search for your nearest provider and talk to the appropriate doctor. There are no appointments, so you can get a doctor's advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Book Blogger Hop: November 13th - 19th

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the new Book Blogger Hop!

If you want schedule next week's post, click here to find the next prompt question. To submit a question, fill out this form.

What to do:

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

  This week's question is submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews!

How long does it normally take you to read a book?

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in removal of your link).

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

My Answer: 

  It depends on the page length and whether or not the plot intrigues me. It could be an hour or it could be months. For example, I started reading Outlander about 6 months ago, but I'm currently only halfway through it. It's not that I'm not intersted in the novel, but the page length is a bit long and I have had other books that needed to be reviewed.
Linky List:

Fall Reads: Vendetta by Lisa Harris

The Nikki Boyd Files, book 1
by Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
Pub. Date: October 6, 2015
ISBN: 978-0800724177
Pages: 304
Buy Link: Amazon


Between reading romance novels and horror books, I had a chance to read a new mystery-thriller, titled Vendetta, book one in the new Nikki Boyd Files by Lisa Harris.

Vendetta centers Nikki Boyd, whom is part of the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. After her sister, Sarah, went missing nearly ten years ago, she decided to make it her life's mission in saving others, and hopefully one day she'll piece together the clues behind her sister's disappearance. Her hopes might finally come true when she discovers a link between Sarah and a recently missing teenager, Bridget.

As she begins to investigate, she stumbles upon a bigger mystery than what she could ever imagined. To solve the case and rescue Bridget before it is too yet, Nikki must team up with her good friend, Tyler Grant, the widow of her best friend who died in accident a year ago, but standing in their way is the killer known as the Angel Abductor.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

DVD Review: Boris Karloff Collection

Boris Karloff Collection
Directors: Roy William Neill, Nick Grinde, Edward Dmytryk, Lew Landers
Starring: Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Marian Marchy, Lorna Gray, Roger Pryor, Evelyn Keyes, Richard Fiske
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: September 19, 2015
Retail: $14.98
Running Time: 6 hours 43 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Though Halloween is officially over for this year, it doesn't mean you have to stop watching horror flicks as there are plenty of older movies being released to DVD, such as the Boris Karloff Collection, featuring six classic flicks - The Black Room, The Man They Could Not Hang, Before I Hang, The Devil Commands and The Boogie Man Will Get You.

Directed by Roy William Neill., The Black Room (1935; 69 minutes) stars Boris Karloff playing dual twin brothers, Baron Gregor de Berghmann and Anton de Berghmann, in the early 1800's in Czecoslovakia. Baron is the bad a twin, a man that kills the wives of the local peasants. After the good twin, Anton, returns to the land, Baron lures him into the Black Room and kills him. Baron assumes his brother's identity, so he can continue his madness.

Directed by Nick Grinde, The Man They Could Not Hang (1939; 64 minutes) centers on Dr. Henryk Savaard (played by Boris Karloff), a doctor that is obsessed with bring the dead back to life. After being hanged, he returns from the dead and sees out to revenge the men that convicted him.

Also directed by Nick Grinde is The Man With Nine Lives (1940; 74 minutes) and stars Boris Karloff as another crazed scientist, but this time he's searching for a cure for cancer. He freezes his patients in suspended animation, but accidentally freezes himself. He wakes up ten years later and continues his research. Only this time he uses his enemies for the experiments.

Before I Hang (1940; 64 minutes) was also directed by Nick Grinde and stars Boris Karloff as another doctor, Dr. Garth, who is awaiting execution for killing an elderly friend. Just before his death, he injects himself with a serum that is made from the blood of a homicidal maniac, which has deadly results.

Directed by Edward Dmytryk, The Devil Commands (1941; 65 minutes) stars Boris Karloff as another mad scientist, Dr. Julian Blair, who tries to communicate with his dead wife. He finally makes contact with the dead at an isolated mansion in New England, but his madness eventually take over him.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Two Dove "Family-Approved" Movies Available on DVD!

Finding a decent family movie that is clean-cut is difficult to find. Since 1991, The Dove Foundation has been reviewing films and compiling the best list of family-friendly movies. This past summer, Mill Creek Entertainment released two new family films, Summer's Shadow and Ugly Benny, to DVD.

Directed by Steve Franke (who also co-wrote the script), Summer's Shadow (Retail: $14.98; 85 minutes) stars Belle Shouse, Todd Terry, Liz Franke, Mark Hanson, Aiden Langford and Jill Erickson. There are no special features or extras on the single-disc DVD.

Inspired by true events, Summer's Shadow centers on a 12-year-old girl named Summer Larsen who moves to a small suburb with her father. She quickly befriends a stray dog, which she names Shadow. Despite her father's objections, she decides to keep the dog. Unfortunately, a neighbor woman doesn't approve of Shadow being in the neighborhood and is determined to get rid of the dog one way or another.

DVD Review: Son of the Dragon

Son of the Dragon
Director: David Wu
Cast: David Carradine, Rupert Graves, John Reardon
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Retail: $9.98
Running Time: 178 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon

I'm trying to catch up on several reviews that I've delayed for one reason or another, including a few Mill Creek Entertainment titles.

Son of the Dragon was re-released to DVD this past summer. It originally aired on the Hallmark Movie Channel in 2008, which was first film to be shown in HD on the cable channel. Directed by David Wu, the film stars the late David Carradine, Rupert Graves and John Reardon. There are no special features or extras on the two-disc set.

The film puts a new spin of the classic "The Thief of Bagdad" story. It centers on a young thief named D.B. - "Devil Boy" (played by John Reardon) and his teacher Bird (played by David Carradine). Ever since he was a kid, D.B. has stolen goods from the rich and given them to the poor.

D.B. and Bird make plans to steal the royal court's jewels. Well, that is until D.B. sets eyes on the Governor's daughter, Princess Li Wei (played Desiree Siahaan) and quickly falls in love her. Unfortunately, the Princess has another suitor, Prince of the North (played by Rupert Graves), whom wants to make sure that D.B. stays away from her forever.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

RAW MEAL Organic Vanilla Spiced Chai Review

I was feeling a little sluggish earlier tonight. Knowing that I had several things to work on, I almost thought about making a pot of coffee, but then I didn't  do it as I don't want to "stay up" literally all night. Then it dawned on me that I have two containers of RAW MEAL from Garden of Life that I haven't reviewed yet.

So, I grabbed the 16 oz container of RAW MEAL Organic Vanilla Spiced Chai, scooped one serving of the meal replacement and mixed it in a shaker with 8 oz of water.

While the RAW MEAL Organic Vanilla Spiced Chai has been around for awhile, the Garden of Life company recently changed the recipe to give it 15% more protein with 45 super foods and it now only has 1g of sugar per serving. There is no junk ingredients, such as gluten, soy, dairy, added sugars, artificial flavors and sweeteners. It's been NON-GMO VERIFIED.