Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Blogger Hop: Sept. 30th - Oct. 6th

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

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 encourage other reading friends to start a blog or at least put their thoughts/reviews on public reading sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, etc?

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: 

 No, I wouldn't recommend anyone to start a book blog. Don't get me wrong, blogging can be fun, but it can also be really stressful, especially when you get behind in your reading for a few book tours. However, I would recommend using Goodreads.

Linky List:

Reviw - Really Woolly: 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury

Tommy Nelson; 192 pages; $12.99; Amazon
Now available in bookstores from Tommy Nelson (a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers) is Really Woolly: 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury by Bonnie Rickner Jensen with illustrations by Donna Chapman and Julie Sawyer Phillips.

The Really Wolly brands was created by DaySpring greeting cards over fifteen years ago. The cute little sheep has been featured on cards, gifts, books, plush toys, and animated DVDs.

The Really Woolly: 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury is a 192-page hardcover containing five previously releases titles - Bedtime Bible Promises; Bedtime Prayers; Bible Stories; Good Night, God; Little Book of Bible Verses; Nighttime Lullabies; and 12 Little Blessings.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

BANSHEE: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Giveaway

Arriving on DVD & Blu-ray on October 4th from HBO Home Entertainment is the complete fourth season of Cinemax action-drama BANSHEE, featuring all 8 episodes from the final season a three-disc set.

Set two years after the explosive season three finale, Lucas Hood (played by Antony Starr), the former Banshee sheriff, comes out of hiding to solve the mystery behind the death of Rebecca Bowman (played by Lili Simmons), even though he is the only suspect in her murder. Plus, he teams up with his former-lover, Carrie (played by Ivana Milicevic), to rescue their friend Job (played by Hoon Lee) from a gang of criminals.

Bonus Features:

  • Cast Retrospective: Banshee stars pick their favorite fight scenes and share memories of Job's most unforgettable outfits.
  • Banshee Origins: Find out the story before the story with eight prequel videos featuring the cast of Banshee.
  • Zoomed In: Go on the set with the cast to see how key, adrenaline-filled scenes were created.
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Deleted Scenes

Giveaway Details:

Review: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened? - Excerpt from Chapter 1

With Halloween just around the corner, there's no better time than the present to read a good old fashioned horror novel, which was exactly what I did yesterday morning.

What did I read?

Well, I read the exciting horror-thriller "Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter" by C.A. Verstraete. Published by Imajin Books, the book is now available in print and Kindle.

No, this isn't a non-fiction novel about the real Lizzie Borden who was accused of killing her father and step-mother with an ax at their family home in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. Instead, the author puts a spin on the original crime story by adding zombies!

The novel opens up on hot August morning in 1892, where the fictional-version Lizzie Borden find her stepmother wandering into house in a zombie-like state, forcing Lizzie to defend herself. After searching the house for her father, she finds him in the same state as her stepmother, and with the help of her older sister, Emma, they kill him.

It seems there is a zombie epidemic spreading across Fall River and it's up to Lizzie to protect her sister at all cost.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Q&A with G.L. Ross, author of Crosswind

Being released on October 11th is the contemporary romance  “Crosswind” (book three in The Flyboy Trilogy) by G.L. Ross.

You can Pre-Order "Crosswind" on Amazon & Smashwords.

The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule for a Q&A about her newest novel.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I can remember in sixth grade writing an essay and loving the fact I could paint a picture with words. Then in college my professors encouraged me to pursue writing, but it wasn’t until my son left for college that I wrote my first novel.

What was your first book/story published?

November 2013, “Turbulent Passion” book one in The Flyboy Trilogy.

What inspired you to write Crosswind?

Crosswind is book three in The Flyboy Trilogy. I’ve been excited, yet nervous, to write the conclusion. I knew my readers would be surprised and confused by Lance’s half-brother appearing and throwing Lance and Lisa’s relationship off course, but I also knew it was necessary.

What character in Crosswind is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Lisa is a lot like me. She’s a flight attendant who studied psychology. She dreams of her Prince Charming and is strong in her faith and love of family and friends. We’re different is the sense she gives her heart away easily and allows lust to guide her. I must admit at her age I might have reacted the same when in her situation—who knows. I love Lisa because she says it like it is. She doesn’t hold back. In this book, Lisa comes into her own. I love the strength she possesses.

James at

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Popcorn & Coffee: The Neon Demon

Rated R; 117 minutes; $34.99; Amazon
Arriving today on Blu-ray and DVD from Broad Green Pictures is the horror-thriller The Neon Demon. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the film stars Elle Fanning, Kapl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves.

The Neon Demon centers on Jesse (played by Elle Fanning), a teenager who had left her small Georgia town in the hopes of becoming a fashion model in Los Angeles. During her first photo shoot, Jesse befriends Ruby (played b Jena Malone), a makeup artist, who later takes her to a party where she meets two other models Gigi (played by Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (played by Abbey Lee). Let's just say the models aren't exactly nice to her; both judging her natural beauty.

Jesse quickly gets signed by a modeling agent (played by  Christina Hendricks) by telling the woman she is nineteen-years-old instead of her real age - sixteen. This leads to her landing a test shoot with the famous photographer Jack (played by Desmond Harrington), which outrages Gigi and Sarah.

Despite her possible rise to stardom in the fashion world, Jesse is still living in a ruined down motel, managed by the creepy Hank (played by Keanu Reeves). She tries to begin a relationship with aspiring photographer Dean (played by Karl Glusman), but her narcissism ruins everything.

Unfortunately for Jesse, she's about to learn that the saying, "Beauty is more than skin deep," means nothing in the high-fashion modeling world.

Blu-ray Review - CELL

Rated R; 98 minutes; $24.99; Amazon

Arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital HD) today from Lionsgate Home Entertainment is the horror-thriller CELL, based up n the novel by Stephen King.

Directed by Tod Williams, the film stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Owen Teague, Clark Sarullo, Anthony Reynolds, Erin Elizabeth Burns, and Stacy Keach.

CELL centers on a graphic novel artist Clayton "Clay" Riddell (played by John Cusack) who is on a business trip in Boston when "The Pulse" is released, an unknown signal that spreads across all cell phones around the world that turns humans into mindless zombie-like killers. After barely escaping Boston Common from the "phoners," he crosses path with a subway worker Tom McCourt (played by Samuel L. Jackson), and later a teenager named Alice Maxwell (played by Isabelle Fuhrman).

Clay, Tom, and Alice travel together, trying to avoid the "phoners" as they make their way to Maine to search for Clay's estranged wife and son.

From left to right: Samuel L. Jackson ("Tom McCourt," left), Isabelle Fuhrman ("Alice Maxwell," center) and John Cusack ("Clay Riddell," right) star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's CELL.

Special Features on the Blu-ray includes:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Tod Williams
  • To Cell and Back: The Making of the Film

Monday, 26 September 2016

Monday Morning Madness: #60 - Whitening Your Teeth with Charcoal Powder

It seems like everyone wants to DIY everything, including way to whiten your teeth. One of the biggest teeth whitening trend is brushing with charcoal powder.

Yes, you're reading this correctly. I said charcoal powder.

Charcoal can absorb just about anything, including  bacteria, toxins and staining.

Earlier this month, I received a container of Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder with Sage from Moody Zook to test out and review. The #getmoody charcoal powder can be purchased on Amazon for $19.95.

According to the label it is supposed to help prevent mouth infections, boost skin resistance to inflammation and delay aging, and maintain overall tooth health as well as whitening teeth.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review - Hand Built Coffee Maker Kit

Cold or iced coffee isn't something that I don't normally drink very often, not unless I'm just too lazy to reheat the old coffee I had brewed earlier in the day.

Nevertheless, the idea of a Hand Built Coffee Maker intrigued me, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to review this product.

The Hand Built Coffee Maker Kit is basically just an ordinary Kerr wide-mouth glass jar with a lid that you use for canning. The only difference is that it comes with a 304 stainless steel mesh filter.

How do you make coffee with this?

All you have to do is fill the mesh filter with whatever amount of coffee you want to use (up to two cups), place the filter inside the mason jar, pour a desired amount of water into the jar, and tightly secure the lid. Then you need to patiently wait for the coffee to slowly brew, which takes between 6 to 24 hours.

Review - Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn by Ace Atkins

G.P. Putnam's Sons; 320 pages; $27; Amazon
A few of you might remember me reviewing Robert B. Parker's Blackjack, book eight in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series, earlier this year. Well, shortly after I posted my review, out of nowhere I received an advanced copy of Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn, which is part of the "Spenser" book series. At the time I had other books to read & review, so this title got put on the back-burner until I could squeeze in some time to review it.

The "Spenser" book series began with The Godwulf Manuscript in 1973. It centered on the character named Spenser, a Boston private detective. The books were adapted into a short-lived series in the '80s called Spenser: For Hire; later followed by a short-lived spinoff, A Man Called Hawk, and four made-for-television movies. Small Vices, Thin Air, and Walking Shadows were adapted into made-for-television movies for A&E from 1999 to 2001. After Robert B. Parker's death in 2010, author and an American journalist Ace Atkins took over writing the "Spenser" novels, including Slow Burn.

Slow Burn centers Spenser, his buddy Hawk, and Sixkill (sorta like his apprentice) tracking down an arsonist throughout Boston. Jack McGee, a firefighter and an old buddy of Spenser's, had asked them to look a church fire that occurred a year ago. Three fireman were killed in that fire and Jack suspects foul play, but he doesn't have any proof!

Of course this is where Spenser and crew get involved; taking their investigation into the underworld of Boston, where they learn that the arsonist/killer has already planned his next target - Spenser.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Book Blogger Hop: Sept. 23rd - 29th

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

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 many years have you been blogging? Anything special you want to tell everyone about your experiences?

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've been blogging since April 1, 2009! Experiences? Nothing I wanting share comes to mind.

Linky List:

Fall Reads: One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story

Tommy Nelson; 32 pages; $14.99; Amazon
Though Halloween is a lot closer than Christmas, I'm more in the mood for the Yuletide season than I am for All Hallows Eve, which might explain why I'm once again reading another Christmas title.

What did I read this time?

Well, yesterday I read One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. Published by Tommy Nelson (a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers), the book will be available to purchase on September 27th in either a hardcover or a board book for "little ones."

One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story centers on a small donkey (the donkey's name is never mentioned) who wants to be tall and brave like the horse he sees marching in the grass each and everyday.

Then one day his master, Joseph, calls for him. It seems Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, are planning a trip to Bethlehem and it's the small donkey's responsibility to help carry Mary across the land.

When Mary goes into labor, Joseph knocks on the doors of every home in the city, hoping to find shelter. However, nobody will take them in. Luckily, they do find a manger just in the nick of time. 

Q&A with Kathy Kulig, author of Secret Destiny

Now available to purchase from Burnt Stilettos Press is the sexy contemporary romance “Secret Destiny” by the USA Today & NY Times Bestselling Author Kathy Kulig. The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule for a Q&A about her newest novel.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

Since I was pretty young, my storytelling skills got me in trouble a few times where I was scolded for making up stories. I wasn’t trying to lie; my imagination just got carried away. Later, I tried writing short stories a few times for Science Fiction magazines and gave up when I felt I had no idea what I was doing. (I didn’t back then) I took some creative writing classes, read books about writing, got encouragement from a teacher who said I should write a book.

What was your first book/story published?
I first had an erotic contemporary romance novella published in a small print press publisher in 2004, then I published a few short stories. My first novel was in 2007 with Ellora’s Cave. It was a paranormal adventure romance. I’ve published over a dozen novels and novellas, plus and number of short stories.

What inspired you to write Secret Destiny?

A couple things inspired me to write this book. I lived in South Florida where the book and series takes place. I remember years ago when they were filming the movie Striptease with Demi Moore. Someone pointed out the mansion along the Intercoastal where she lived during the filming. In that movie, the heroine is in a desperate situation—a single mom who needs money to regain custody of her daughter. In Secret Destiny, my heroine is in a desperate situation. She’s a law student and about to lose the home she’s inherited from her parents. She accepts an indecent proposal from a billionaire to entertain wealthy and powerful men. During my research I actually met a stripper who also did a similar side job to what Destiny and her boyfriend does in my book.

What character in Secret Destiny is the most/least like you, and in what ways? 

I think we can’t help to include some aspects of ourselves in our books. I do like complicated characters. Ones who are good in some ways and bad in others, but are motivated or are placed in difficult situations to act in not so appealing way. It makes for interesting characters and stories and they have to deal with the consequences don’t they? Destiny is like me in that she’s tenacious and won’t give up when she sets her mind to something. She’s kind-hearted and hard working. But she’s not like me when she crosses a number of lines to get what she wants and has to decide if the risks and consequences are worth it.

Cover Artist: Seneca Featherstone
What is your favorite part in Secret Destiny?

Review - Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Waterbrook; 352 pages; $14.99; Amazon
I know I have written about when and how I became interested in reading the Amish fiction genre several times on here, but I don't believe I ever mentioned that Cindy Woodsmall was the second author I had read in the genre. For some reason or another, her titles have been hard to find in my area (There's only a small Walmart in my town!), so it has been awhile since I have read any of her works.

When I saw her newest book, Fraying at the Edge, was available to review, I eagerly signed up to review back in early July. The book must have got lost in the mail as I never received a copy; though I did receive replacement after I contacted the publisher about the situation.

Fraying at the Edge is actually book two in The Amish of Summer Grove series. And, no, this isn't a standalone series as from my understanding it does continue with the same characters and storylines from the first novel (Ties That Bind); so it took me several chapters to figure out who was who and what was what.

Anyhow, Fraying at the Edge centers on Ariana Brenneman, a young woman who raised in the Old Order Amish, but recently learned she had been switched at birth twenty-years-ago. She had left her home and ventured into the real world (known as the Englischer world to the Amish) to get to know her biological parents. While her new life is full of wonders, she has a difficult time adjusting to the Englischer's way of life.

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash (aka the girl Ariana was switched with at birth), is determined to reject her Amish biological family. Well , that is until she is given a choice of spending time in the Amish country or being sent to rehab for illegal prescription drug addiction.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

DVD Review - The Lion Guard: Unleash The Power

TV-Y; 137 minutes; $19.99; Amazon

Now available to own on DVD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment is The Lion Guard: Unleash The Power, featuring six exciting episodes from the hit Disney Junior animated series. There are no special features or bonus features on the two-disc set, but it does come with a free Power Necklace with changeable discs.

The Lion Guard is sequel series to the classic animated film The Lion King. The series centers around Kion, the son of Siba and Nala, After learning Kion has the ability to channel the roars of his ancestors, Siba makes him the leader of the new Lion Guard, a position that once held by Siba's evil uncle. Kion's first assignment was to enlist other lions to join the Lion Guard, but instead he choices other animals to join - Bunga the honey badger, Beshte the hippopotamus, Fuli the cheetah, and Ono the egret.

The episodes on this disc are:

"Fuli's New Family" -The rest of the Lion Guard feels sorry that Fuli doesn't have a family, so they keep inviting her to activities; though all Fuli wants is to be left alone.

"Bunga The Wise" - After averting a flood, the animals of the Pride Lands believe Bunga is the wisest animal.

"Eye Of The Beholder" - After defending a herd against the hyena clan, Ono loses the vision in his left eye.

"Follow That Hippo!" - Beshte gets his very own fan - a young elephant named Mtoto, who follows him everywhere he goes.

"The Search For Utamu" - On their way to find Utamu grubs, Bunga tells the story of how he met Timon and Pumbaa.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Popcorn & Coffee: Empire: The Complete Second Season

TV-14; 788 minutes;$39.98; Amazon

Now available to own on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is Empire: The Complete Second Season, featuring all 18 episodes on a 5-disc set with 53 minutes of special features.

Created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, Empire is set in the hip hop music industry and centers on Lucious Lyon (played by Terrence Howard), a former drug dealer who is now the CEO of Empire Entertainment. After being diagnosis with ALS, he makes the decision to take one of his sons - Andre z(played by Trai Byers), Jamal (played by Jussie Smollett), and Hakeem (played by Bryshere Y. Gray) - under his wing, so one of them can one day take over the family business.

Then out of nowhere, Lucious's ex-wife Lucious' ex-wife Loretha "Cookie" Lyon (played by Tarji P. Henson) is released from prison after 17-years and she demands half of the company.

Season Two picks up three months after the first season finale, where Lucious was arrested. Sookie puts together a star-studded #FreeLucious concert in the hopes of freeing Lucious. Meanwhile Jamal attempts to take over the Empire, which puts a bigger drift between him and his brothers. All of this leads to Cookie, Andre and Hakeem launching their own record label called Lyon Dynasty.

Of course nothing will keep Lucious away from his family & business, and soon enough he is released on bail.

Special Features on 5-disc set are:

  • Empire around the Globe: USO Tour Freda Gatz Music Video
  • Studio Sessions
    • “Heavy”
    • “Never Love Again”
    • “Born to Lose”
    • “Do Something With It”
    • “Sorry Just Don’t Cut It”
    • “Supernatural”

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Review - Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Little, Brown, and Company; 369 pages; $28
James Patterson is one of the busiest authors as it seems like he has a new title out every few weeks, from kids books to adult thrillers. Plus, he just launched the new Bookshots novellas.

For the last few days, I've been reading Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge, which I believe is the 9th installment in the "Michael Bennett" series (minus the "Chase" novella). I hate to admit this, but I haven't read every book in the series, though I do own a copy of each book.

The series focuses on a NYC police detective named Michael "Mike" Bennett, who is always finding himself hunting down serial killers, assassins, and crazies. When Mike isn't chasing down criminals, he's trying to be a good father to his ten adopted kids! Yep, I said ten kids. His wife had died several years ago, so he relies on his elderly priest grandfather, Seamus, to help out with the kids from time to time. Then of course there is the nanny, Mary Catherine, who just happens to be Mike's girlfriend/significant other.

Bullseye opens up with Mike having to leave his family on a Saturday morning as a major international crises was in the making - a possible planned assassination attempt on newly inaugurated President of the United States, who is currently flying on Air Force One and will make a stop in New York City.

Why would someone want to harm the President?

Well, it happens to involve starting another Cold War with Russia.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Blu-ray Review - Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition

Rated G; 85minutes (theatrical version);$39.99; Amazon
Being released this Tuesday from Walt Disney Home Entertainment is Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition Signature Collection 2-disc set (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD, featuring four different versions of the film - Original Theatrical, Special Edition, and a Sing-Along version (on Blu-ray and Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere)). A Work-In-Process version is available on Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere.

Originally released to theaters in 1991, Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to receive an Academy Award nomination for best picture. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, the film features the voice talents of Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bradley Michael Pierce, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Hal Smith, and Jo Anne Worley.

Based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a Prince Adam who had refused to let a beggar into his castle; in return for his rudeness a curse was put upon him, turning him into a beast. The beggar gives him a magic mirror and a magical rose. He has until his 21st birthday to find a woman that will fall in love with him, despite his beast-like looks. If he fails to do so, he will remain a beast forever.

Ten years later, a man named Maurice takes shelter inside the castle, but unfortunately this upsets the Beast, who tosses the man inside a dungeon. Shortly later, the man's daughter, Belle, finds his horse, Phillipe, and goes searching for him. She stumbles upon the castle and finds her father, but she also finds the Beast. Being a loving daughter, Belle offers to replace her father as prisoner, and the Beast agrees to her terms.

After being put in the dungeon very briefly, the Beast has a change of heart and gives Belle her own room. This is where she learns that a curse had been put on the Beast's servants (Lumière the candlestick, Cogsworth the clock, Mrs. Potts the teapot, and her son Chip the teacup) too. All the servants instantly like Belle, and they all help her see the good side of the Beast.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Book Blogger Hop: Sept 16th - 22nd

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!

Have you ever wanted to write a book? If so, what genre would you choose? And...have you been successful in writing 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: 

 Yes, I want to write a book one day. A few of my children short stores have been published in magazines, e-zines, and anthologies. I'm trying to talk myself into participating in the National Novel Writing Month this year in November.

Linky List:

Review - Time For Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book

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

ZonderKidz; 32 pages; $16.99; Amazon

Do you remember not wanting to go asleep when you were little? I recall my mother forcing me to go to bed when I was a kid. I wasn't even tired, but I was forced to sleep anyway. Of course I was just a kid and I didn't understand why it is was important to get a good night's sleep.

Now available to purchase in bookstores from Zonderkidz is the children's picture book, titled Time For Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book written by Daniel G. Amen, M.D. and illustrated by Gail Yerrill.

Review - The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with An Adult

Zonderkidz; 96 pages; $12.99; Amazon
With the holidays just around the corner, many families will be doing a lot of cooking and baking. Zonderkidz just released The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking with An Adult by Mike Berenstain.

The first Berenstain Bears' book was published in 1962, written by the late Stan and Jan Berenstain. Their son Mike has taken over writing and illustrating the newest titles, which now uses Christian themes in the plots. There are over 300 titles in the franchise with over 260 million copies sold around the world in 23 languages.

The Berenstain Bears' Holiday Cookbook is 96 pages and features Berenstain Bear illustrations as well as photographs of meals, snacks, and desserts.

The cookbook is split into six different sections: Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Fall Festivities, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Each section has a one-page introduction from the Berenstain Bears with one Bible scripture. There is a kitchen measurements chart on the last page.

The recipes includes:

Valentine's Day - Pink Party Popcorn; Red Bear-y Smoothie; Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese; Lovey-Dovey Banana Bread; Yummy Chocolate Strawberries; and Sweetheart Chocolate Cake.

Easter - Carrot Chips; Easter Bunny Shake; Rabbit Food; Easter Ham Panini; Honey Bear's Favorite Mashed Potatoes; and Krispie Easter Eggs.

Fourth of July - Stars and Stripes Bites; Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade; Firework Fruit Explosion; Bear Country Pot of Beans; Celebration Sloppy Joes; Red, White, and Blue Banana Split; Freedom Trifle.

Popcorn & Coffee: Hans Christian Andersen Double Feature

Mill Creek Ent.; Not Rated; 354 minutes; $14.98; Amazon

Now available on a 2-disc DVD set from Mill Creek Entertainment is the Hans Christian Andersen Double Feature, featuring the 2001 2-part mini-series Hans Christian Andersen: My Life As A Fairytale and the 2002 2-part mini-series Snow Queen.

Produced by Hallmark Entertainment, Robert Halmi, SR., and Robert Halmi, JR., Hans Christian Andersen: My Life As A Fairytale was directed by Phillip Saville. It stars Kieran Bew, Emily Hamilton, James Fox and Simon Callow.

The real Hans Christian Andersen created many fairy tale classics, such as The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, Princess And The Pea, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor's New Clothes. The mini-series is a fictionalized biography starring Kieran Bew in the title role, where the viewers get a glimpse of author's younger years. At the same time, his fairy tale characters are weaved into the story.

Snow Queen is based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" and is produced once again by Robert Halmi, JR. and Hallmark Entertainment. Directed by David Hu, the film stars Jeremy Guilbaut, Chelsea Hobbs and Bridget Fonda.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Popcorn & Coffee: The Devil's Mistress

Mill Creek Ent.; Not Rated; 190 minutes; $14.98; Amazon

I have always ignored films, mini-series and television series that have a historical setting in the 1600s and 1700s. I can't explain it, but those eras just never appealed to me. However, after getting addicted to Starz's Outlander in 2014, I'm now trying to give these types of productions a try; which lead me to review The Devil's Mistress.

Originally titled "The Devil's Whore", it was a four-part British mini-series that aired in 2008. It was later retitled as "The Devil's Mistress" when it was released to the United States in 2011 as two 2-hour episodes. In early August, Mill Creek Entertainment released the mini-series to DVD, but it's been edited to 190 minutes (shown in two parts).

Written by Peter Flannery and directed by Marc Munden, the mini-series stars Andrea Riseborough, John Simm (Life on Mars), Michael Fassbender (X-Men flicks), Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), and Dominic West.

Set during the English Civil War, The Devil's Mistress centers on the fictional character Angelica Fanshawe (played by Andrea Riseborough), a young woman who is forced to marry her cousin Harry (played by Ben Aldridge). Their marriage isn't great, but she tries to make the best of it. Harry gives up his manor to the enemy, which was the worst thing he could do as the King Charles I (played by Peter Capaldi) has him killed by a firing squad.

After her husband's death, Angelica is kicked out of her home and is forced to live on the streets as a beggar. Eventually, she decides to take her life into her own hands and joins the rebellion. She later marries Thomas Rainsborough (played Michael Fassbender), a former Royal Navy captain turned Roundhead. However, despite being in love with Rainsborough, Angelica must deal with her feelings for her friend  Edward Sexby (played by John Simm).