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Saturday, June 29

Summer Reads: The Son by Philipp Meyer


Amazon
For the last ten weeks, I've spent my Saturday night watching the second (and final) season of AMC's The Son starring Pierce Brosnan, which is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Philipp Meyer. The first season (or the first 10 episodes) aired in 2017. I didn't start watching the series until several seeks after it premiered on On Demand. I was addicted to the series after the first episode. It's a shame that AMC didn't have faith in the series and cancelled it several months for the second season began. I bet the two year gap between seasons didn't help much.

Before I had finished watching the first season in 2017, I bought the novel by Philipp Meyer, which is nearly 600 pages with small lettering. Like many other titles, I had intended on reading the book right away, but that didn't occur. Actually, the book was put up and I just forgot about it until final season of the series started, this is when I remembered I owned a copy. Considering the page length, I figured it would take me at least two weeks to read the novel, but I ended up reading the book fairly quickly.

The novel is mostly told in three different point-of-views - Colonel Eli McCullough, Peter McCullough, and Jeanne Anne McCullough. Now I say "mostly" because are there are two others included towards the latter of the novel but I'm not going to mention the names here, as it would give away the twist.

Colonel Eli McCullough's story book begins in 1936 when he was 100-years-old and the rest of his story is told in flashbacks beginning when he was a 13-year-old in 1849 living in Texas with his mother, brother, and sister. Comanches attack their home, they rape and murder his mother and sister, and capture him and his older brother, who later dies. Eli is adopted by the Kotsoteka Comanches and is named Tiehteti. While living with the Comanches, Toshaway (the Indian who kidnapped him) becomes his new father. At first, he is treated cruelly by the other tribe members, but eventually he earns their respect. He spends three years with the Comanches until fate leads him on a different path to become a cattle baron and oil king.

Peter is the son of Eli McCullough and Madeline Black and his story is told from journal entries dating from 1915 to 1917. During these years, his father and sons murdered the neighboring Garcia family in cold blood, took their land, and buried their bodies in a mass grave. There was only one survivor - Maria Garcia, an ex-flame. Peter will do anything to protect her, even if it means leaving his wife, Sally, and their sons behind.

Jeanne Anne is the granddaughter of Peter and Sally. Though she never met her grandfather, she has found memories of her great-grandfather, the "Colonel." Despite being the only daughter out of four children, Jeanne become the inheritor of the family's cattle and oil business. Her story is told through flashbacks beginning when she was ten-year-old up until the year 2012 when her family's past comes to haunt her.

 

Final Thoughts

Friday, June 28

The Friday 56: Treasure Hunters: All-American Adventure



Rules

Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it).
Post it.
 Add your (url) post below in the Linky at: www.fredasvoice.com
Add the post url, not your blog url.


The gallery was closed when we arrived, so we were forced to spend the night at a hotel.

page 256, Treasure Hunters: All-American Adventure by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein

  My Thoughts

Book Blogger Hop: June 28th - July 4th





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


Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop! 


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

The Book Blogger Hop now has its own Facebook Group! Please join the group to get all the newest Book Blogger Hop updates. Also, you can communicate with your fellow book bloggers in the group.

What To Do


1. Post on your blog answering this question:


This week's question is submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Review.


2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below. Please enter your Name/Nickname @ Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Here's an example: Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading a few 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.

Thursday, June 27

Blu-ray Review: Dumbo (2019)



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

WALMART
Back in the spring, Disney released their live-action take on the 1941 animated classic Dumbo to theatrers in-between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Against a $170 million budget, as well as poor marketing, Dumbo didn't impress the mainstream critics and it underperformed at the box office, bringing in near $352 million.

Dumbo landed on 4K Ultra HD, Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD this week from Disney Home Entertainment, giving the film a second change to find an audience.

Directed by Tim Burton, Dumbo centers around Holt Farrier (played by Colin Farrell), a WWI  amputee who comes home to learn that his wife had died. Along with his two children, Milly and Joe (played by Nico Parke and Finley Hobbins), Holt returns to work at the Medici Brothers' Circus as the caretaker for the newest attraction -  a pregnant Asian elephant named "Mrs. Jumbo".

The circus is nearly bankrupt and the owner & ringmaster, Max Medici (played by Danny DeVito), put all his faith on the soon-to-be born calf.  Lets just say everyone is in shock when the calf is born with  unusually large ears, resulting in the public believing the calf is a fake and naming him "Dumbo."

Still mourning over the death of their mother, Milly and Joe bond with Dumbo, and this is when they learn, with a little help of a feather, that Dumbo can fly!

Dumbo becomes a sensation for the Medici Brothers' Circus and catches the attention of V. A. Vandevere (played by Michael Keaton), a wicked businessman who will do anything to have Dumbo as the main attraction at his "Dreamland" amusement park.


BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD Special Features:
  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast share their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumbo in this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire.
DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE Featurette:
  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film. Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.


Final Thoughts

Monday, June 24

Is the Fifty Shades Trilogy Worth Reading?


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

Has anyone ever read the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James?

Way back in 2012, I had worked with the startup eBook gift card company (which sadly no longer exists) and in exchange for a post about the the company, I received an eBook gift card of my choosing and I ended up getting Fifty Shades of Grey as there was big buzz around the romance series at the time. A little bit later, I worked with an adult toy website on a few blog posts and was compensated with a few promo codes which I used to buy Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. I had planned on reading the trilogy, but I didn't get around to it due to other obligations.

After the first feature film adaptation was announced, I started hearing a lot of negative things about the books, especially with how the BDSM was represented in the relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Despite a lot controversy, the first novel sold over 125 million copies and has been printed in 52 languages. Two other additional books, Grey and Darker, were later published, which just retold Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker from the point-of-view of Christian Grey.

Eventually, I did attempt to read Fifty Shades of Grey but I had major issues with the quality of the writing by E. L. James. Plus, I just couldn't connect with the character Anastasia. I ended up removing the book from my Kindle. As for the sequels, I donated them to a thrift store along with some other books.

Earlier this month, I had watched the 2018 thriller Bad Times at the El Royale on HBO which co-stars Dakota Johnson, the same actress who played Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades film series. It was the first film I had seen Dakota in and I liked her performance. Now I'm kinda interested in watching the Fifty Shades film series.

Should I read the books before watching the movies?

Blu-ray Review: Jury Duty (Retro VHS Look)



Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
The silly comedy Encino Man was of my favorite guilty pleasure movies from the early '90s. Yes, it was completely stupid, but for some reason it appealed to me during my pre-teen years. Pauly Shore was one of the co-stars in the film and he went on to star in several similar comedies during the '90s, including 1995's Jury Duty, which was released to Blu-ray earlier this month from Mill Creek Entertainment as part of their Retro VHS series.

Directed by John Fortenberry, the film is more of a spoof of 12 Angry Men, where an unemployed Tommy Collins (played by Pauly Shore) finds himself out of a home when his mother and her boyfriend take their mobile home to Las Vegas to get married. Tommy and his chihuahua Peanuts are now homeless, well, that is until he receives a jury summons!

Tommy becomes one of the 12 jurors for a murder trial and as jury foreman he deliberately delays the verdict just so he can be paid $5 per day, get free meals, and live in a nice hotel room (also for free). While attempting to convinced the other jurors of reasonable doubt, he begins to believe the murderer is actually innocent.

Rounding out the rest of the cast is Tia Carrere, Brian Doyle-Murray, Stanley Tucci, Abe Vigoda, Charles Napier, and Shelley Winters.


Final Thoughts

Sunday Post / It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @  Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date.


Good Morning, Everyone!


Yep! I'm well aware today is not Sunday. I just didn't feel like posting a Sunday Post / It's Monday! What Are You Reading? yesterday, so you're getting it today!

After having a slight drought for nearly two weeks, it finally rained over the weekend! Over 3 inches to be exact. I thought about mowing the yard early this morning but decided against it. I'll give the yard a day to dry out. Plus, I just don't feel like mowing!

Besides from posting three movie reviews, my plans of catching up on reviews didn't pan out. I'm going to attempt to get a few things done today, including working on a sponsored project for this blog.

What Am I Currently Reading?

I finished reading The Son by Philipp Meyer early yesterday morning after reading more than half the book on Saturday. My review will be coming soon! I had won four eBooks from two LibraryThing giveaways last month and the publishing company finally sent me the books last week. One of those books happens to be Ring of Roses by Sara Clancy. It'll probably be my main read for the wee,k followed by the sequels Pocket of Posies and Ashes to Ashes, which came together as one giveaway prize. The other book I'd won is the anthology Terror in the Shadows: Volume 2.

 

  Recent Reviews

Double Team
(Blu-ray Review)

The Haunting of Sharon Tate
(Midnight Horror Review)

Cinderella: Anniversary Edition
(Blu-ray Review)

In the Mail

Sunday, June 23

Blu-ray Review: Cinderella: Anniversary Edition


Walmart
Last week, Disney Home Entertainment re-released the classic animated classic Cinderella on Digital HD and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code Anniversary Edition combo pack, which is also part of the The Signature Walt Disney Collection.

Based on the fairy tale by by Charles Perrault, Disney's Cinderella originally hit the big screen in 1950. Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, and Wilfred Jackson, the animated classic featured the talented voice cast of Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Rhoda Williams, James MacDonald, Luis van Rooten, Don Barclay, Mike Douglas, William Phipps, and Lucille Bliss.

The 75-minnute film tells the tale of Cinderella, a young woman who's forced by her stepmother, Lady Tremaine, to work in her own home as a maid and sleep in a tower. Her stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia are just as cruel as their mother. Cinderella's only friends are the mice (Jaq, Guz, and many others) that also live in the tower.



The King of the land is tired of the Prince's refusal to get married, so he and the Grand Duke organize a ball and invite every single young woman near the kingdom, in the hopes they will find the perfect wife for the prince.

Upon hearing about the ball, Lady Tremaine is determined to have one of her daughters marry the Prince. Since all young women have been invited, Cinderella would love to go as well, but Lady Tremaine piles more work for her to do, just o she wouldn't have time to make a dress.

Let's just say with a little help of her animal friends and her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella attends the ball wearing a gorgeous dress and glass slippers, and she enchants the Princess with just one dance.


Blu-ray Bonus Features include:
  • New Features
    • Try This Trivia on for Size – Join Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker from Disney Channel's Sydney to the Max and put your knowledge of Cinderella to the test.
    • In Walt’s Words: Enhanced Edition – Watch the movie and gain some insight into its production with storyboards, archival photos, sketches and transcripts. 
  • CLASSIC Features
    • Diane Disney Miller “Cinderella” Film Intro – In this introduction to the animated classic, Diane Disney Miller describes how Cinderella helped launch a studio renaissance.
    • The Real Fairy Godmother – Learn about the real-life inspiration for the Fairy Godmother: Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney layout artist Ken O’Connor.
    • Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fairyland – Discover how Imagineers created a Fantasyland at Walt Disney World featuring each of the Disney Princesses.
    • The Magic of the Glass Slipper – World-famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin creates a very exclusive “Glass Slipper” in honor of a beloved Disney classic. 
  • THE ART OF CINDERELLA 
    • Concept Art  - View a gallery of concept art from the feature's production.
    • Character Model Sheets – View a gallery of character model sheets from the feature's production. 
    • Story Sketches – View a gallery of story sketches from the feature's production.
    • Live-Action Reference – View a gallery of photos taken from live-action footage shot as a reference for the animated feature.
    • Pencil Animation – View a gallery of pencil animation from the feature's production.
    • Behind-the-Scenes Stills – View a gallery of behind-the-scenes stills from the feature's production.
    • Feature Stills – View a gallery of stills from the feature. 

 

Final Thoughts

Friday, June 21

Book Blogger Hop: June 21st - 27th





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


Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop! 


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

The Book Blogger Hop now has its own Facebook Group! Please join the group to get all the newest Book Blogger Hop updates. Also, you can communicate with your fellow book bloggers in the group.

What To Do


1. Post on your blog answering this question:


This week's questions were submitted by Nicki @ Nicki J. Markus/Asta Idonea and Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
.

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below. Please enter your Name/Nickname @ Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Here's an example: Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading a few 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.

The Friday 56: The Son by Philipp Meyer



Rules

Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it).
Post it.
 Add your (url) post below in the Linky at: www.fredasvoice.com
Add the post url, not your blog url.


She wanted to ask if he had shot anyone, or seen anyone shot, but he seemed to sense the question was coming and stood abruptly, walking to the other end of the room, looking at the old drawings, the marble statues and figurines, shaking his head, picking things up and putting them down.

page 256, The Son by Philipp Meyer

  My Thoughts

Wednesday, June 19

Midnight Horror Review: The Haunting of Sharon Tate


AMAZON
This year marks the fifty anniversary of mass murders that were committed by the Manson Family. And, of course, Hollywood is going to make new Manson-themed movies, including Once Upon A Time In Hollywood from director Quentin Tarantino (though it's only a subplot) and the horror flick The Haunting of Sharon Tate (R; $21.99; 95 minutes).

Written & directed by Daniel Farrands, The Haunting of Sharon Tate stars Hilary Duff (Yep, Lizzie McQuire!) as pregnant actress Sharon Tate who had a premonition dream involving the death of her friends and herself. With her husband, Roman Polanski, directing a movie in another country, Sharon's friend (and former lover) Jay Sebring (played by Jonathan Bennett), screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski (played by Pawel Szajda) and his lover  Abigail Folger (played by Lydia Hearst) are looking after Sharon at her rented Los Angeles home.

Sharon has disturbing visions of a man named "Charles." Her friends try to console her, but it doesn't help a bit as she keeps having more detailed premonitions of three strangers breaking into the house and brutally murdering them. She must use her sixth sense to save their lives and change history.

Blu-ray Special Features include:
  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Daniel Farrands
  • Premonitions: The Haunting of Sharon Tate


Final Thoughts

Tuesday, June 18

Blu-ray Review: Double Team (Retro VHS Look)


Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Does anyone else remember the good ole days when Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Seagal, and Van Damme ruled the box-office?

I guess you can say I grew up an '80s & '90s action junkie, mostly thanks to my father who introduced me to Rambo, Terminator, Predator, and many other classic films. There were many great movies released during my childhood... and then there were many duds, including the nearly forgotten Double Team starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and the legendary ex-NBA player Dennis Rodman.

From my recollection, I saw Double Team only once when it first released as a VHS rental in the late '90s. I was a big Chicago Bulls fan at the time, as well as a Van Damme fan, so I naturally wanted to see the film. Let's just say that I didn't care too much for the movie. I'd pretty much forgotten about the film until it was released on Blu-ray (R; $14.98; 99 minutes) earlier this month from Mill Creek Entertainment, which is part of their "Retro VHS Look" series ,where the Blu-ray slipcovers resemble the old VHS covers.

Directed by Tsui Hark, Van Damme plays Jack Paul Quinn, a counter-terrorist agent who's forced into early retirement after failing to capture the terrorist Stavros (played by Mickey Rourke). After learning his pregnant wife, Kathryn (played by Natacha Lindinger), has been kidnapped by Stavros, Quinn escapes his retirement (a.k.a. - the Colony) and teams up with an arms dealer, Yaz (played by Dennis Rodman).

Quinn goes on a quest to rescue to Kathryn and their unborn baby, and take out Stavros once and for all.

Final Thoughts

Monday, June 17

Benefits of Childhood Music Education


Music is a common language. In formative years for children, music plays an integral role in building routine, opening imagination, and communicating moods and feelings even when words cannot. Music education is an incredibly valuable way to build character from infancy through teen years. Take a look at the many benefits of music education and consider music lessons Boston.

Build Discipline 


Learning to play a musical instrument can be extremely rewarding, but it first requires a remarkable amount of discipline. Music education fosters routine while establishing the need for practice. Children might be dismayed by the repetitive nature of practicing an instrument, but getting through this struggle will yield fantastic results. The discipline and focus required to pursue any form of music education can be applied to many other facets of life further down the road. In fact, many studies have shown that ability in music and ability in math tend to go hand-in-hand.

Build Coordination 


Especially in younger children, playing an instrument can help improve fine motor skills. Familiarizing a young person with an instrument allows them to explore hand-eye coordination, learn about ear-hand coordination, and expand overall auditory awareness. Young music students start to absorb concepts like repetition and rhythm before they are even identifying just what these concepts are in the scope of music.

Literacy and Language 

Sunday, June 16

Sunday Post / It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @  Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date.


Good Morning, Everyone!


It seems the Spring rainy weather isn't going to stop when Summer officially gets here on the 21st. The weird weather has made my sinuses and allergies go bonkers! I spent the first half of last week ill. I was so sick that I couldn't get anything done that I had planned. Thankfully, I was feeling better by Thursday, but a few things came up in my life that had to get done, so I had to put all my reviewing on this blog on the back burner for a few days. This week, I'm hoping to write two book reviews and several movie reviews. (Fingers Crossed!)

What Am I Currently Reading?

At long last, I've finally started reading The Son by Philipp Meyer. My goal is to finish reading it before the television series ends on June 29th. The pages are made from extremely thin paper and there are a total of 561 pages with really small lettering!

 

  Recent Reviews

Captain Marvel
(Digital Review)

Star Trek: Captain's Oath
(Summer Reads)

In the Mail

Summer Reads: Star Trek: The Captain's Oath


If you're a diehard trekker or just a casual Star Trek fan, then you've probably read at least one tie-in novel.

The first Star Trek tie-ins were episode novelizations of the original series were written by James Blish and published by Bantam Books from 1967 to 1978. James Blish also wrote the very first original Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die!, which was published in 1970. Bantam Books continued to publish Star Trek titles until 1991.

From 1974 to 2006, Ballantine Books (and Del Rey) published the Star Trek Log book series by Alan Dean Foster, novelizations of the short-lived Star Trek animated series.

From 1979 to 2017, all Star Trek tie-in novels, anthologies, and novelizations were published by Pocket Books (an imprint of  Simon & Schuster). The books are now published by Gallery Books, which is also an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

AMAZON
The newest Star Trek novel "The Captain's Oath" written by Christopher L. Bennett was published at the end of May and marked the first new story of "The Original Series" since 2016.

"The Captain's Oath" is a prequel spanning several years - 2261 - 2265. The prologue begins in 2265 on the very first day James T. Kirk is given command of the U.S.S. Enterprise and meets Mr. Spock. The novel jumps back and forth to tell how and why Kirk was given the U.S.S. Enterprise.

In the years 2261 to 2264, we see Kirk taking over the captain's chair of the U.S.S. Sacagawea and his brief stint overseeing the Starfleet archaeological station in Eagle's Landing. From early battles with the Klingons, encountering mysterious sphere ships, to saving endangered civilizations, Kirk learns the discipline he'll need to become a great captain.

Final Thoughts

Friday, June 14

Book Blogger Hop: June 14th - 20th





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


Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop! 


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

The Book Blogger Hop now has its own Facebook Group! Please join the group to get all the newest Book Blogger Hop updates. Also, you can communicate with your fellow book bloggers in the group.

What To Do


1. Post on your blog answering this question:


This week's question is submitted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writer.


2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list below. Please enter your Name/Nickname @ Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Here's an example: Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

3. Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading a few 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.

The Friday 56: Star Trek: The Captain's Oath



Rules

Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it).
Post it.
 Add your (url) post below in the Linky at: www.fredasvoice.com
Add the post url, not your blog url.


As the party moved through the high, curving corridors of the city spheres and the wide, cylindrical airlocks that connected them to one another, Kirk was struck by the abundance of windows and the relative thinness of the walls that encased them.

page 256, Star Trek: The Captain's Oath by Christopher L. Bennett

  My Thoughts

Thursday, June 13

Best Audiobooks for Your Family Road Trip


Reading, in any form, whether it’s the weight of a paperback in your hands or the sweet sounds of an audiobook filling the room or filling your car, can be heaven to your ears. I know it’s heaven to mine.

On long, or short road trips, kids want to keep asking “are we there yet?” Or they might get restless and bored with the coloring books and iPad games you gave to them to distract them.

When this happens, you might want to consider popping in an audiobook, turning up the volume, and letting someone else’s voice take you out of this world and into a fictional and fantastical realm.

It goes without saying to make sure that while you’re in this fantastical realm that you remember the rules of the road to make sure you and your family are safe, and to make sure your car insurance is up-to-date so you and your family are protected in case accidents happen.

Now, before we get into the best audiobooks, where are the best places to get audiobooks? Audible is the most well-known, but there are others such as OverDrive or Libby (best if you want to get your audiobooks from libraries), and Scribd. You can also go the traditional “retro” route and get audio CDs for your stereo player.

Wherever you choose to get your audiobooks from, let’s now talk about the best audiobooks that both kids and parents can enjoy together.

J.R.R. Tolkien Audio Books

The father of fantasy and the creator of the world of Middle Earth, Tolkien’s fantasy world has spawned several Hollywood movies. While this series might be the best for older kids, the adventures of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit will keep everyone on the edge of their seats. The adventures of Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship who seek to defeat Sauron in Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King will keep attention off of road signs and keep the kids from the question “Are we there yet?”

The Harry Potter Series

J.K. Rowling’s series is well-known worldwide, as are the movies that spawned from the books. Whether you or your kids have seen the movies or read the books already, it is worth it to hear them performed by the wonderful narrator, Jim Dale. He keeps you entertained and is never boring. There are seven books in the series: The Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows, so make sure that you start with The Sorcerer’s Stone. This series will take you through several family road trips and into the Wizarding World of Hogwarts.

You can also delve into the audiobook of another J.K. Rowling creation, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Fudge Series

Judy Blume reads the books about young Peter Hatcher and his little brother, Fudge. You can start with any of the books in the series, but my suggestion would be to start with the first in the series, Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing. These books are set in New York City, and the tales and wacky adventures of an everyday family might have you making comparisons to your own family, and will leave everyone in a fit of giggles.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Greg Heffley has a run of bad luck in the Heffley family. He has a diary, a gift that he got for his birthday and didn’t want in the first place. But it’s a gift he’s going to make full use of. Greg’s antics had me laughing when I read the books, and they will have you and your kids laughing as you listen to them.

Wednesday, June 12

Digital Review: Captain Marvel


Two of the biggest box-office draws this year have been produced by Marvel Studios - Avengers Endgame and Captain Marvel (PG-13; 125 minutes), which the latter is now available to own on Digital HD (Movies Anywhere), 4K Ultra HD (+Blu-ray +Digital), Blu-ray (+Digital), and DVD.

Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, the film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law.

Set in 1995, the film centers on Vers (played by Brie Larson), the only human member of an elite Kree military called "Starforce." After a mission to take down a group of Skrulls, Vers crashes-lands in Los Angeles, where she intertwines with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg) right before the shape-shifting Skrulls crashes the party.

Fast forward a few chase scenes, where Vers learns her real name is Carol Danvers, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who was supposedly killed in an explosion. In reality, the accident gave her superhuman strength (and memory loss). As she learns more about her past, the "Starforce" travel to Earth in the attempt to eliminate the Skrulls refugees.

Basically, Carol must choose which side to fight against - the Kree or Skrulls.


Digital Exclusive Special Features:
  • Journey into Visual Effects with Victoria Alonso – Experience how filmmakers' visions of the MCU come to life on-screen through the skill of the Visual Effects team.
  • What Makes a Memory: Inside the “Mind Frack” – What does it take to craft an action-packed sequence for a Marvel Studios film? Nothing short of an epic team effort!
  • Concept Art – Explore artwork from “Captain Marvel” and trace the visual development of characters.
  • On-Set Images – Uncover a trove of behind-the-scenes and production photography.


Digital & Blu-ray Special Features:
  • Alternate Movie Versions
    • Movie with Intro – An introduction by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
    • Movie with Commentary – Commentary by directors/screenwriters Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
  • Featurettes:
    • Becoming a Super Hero – Follow Brie Larson's journey as she joins the MCU, and see what it takes to be a Marvel Super Hero in every sense of the word.
    • Big Hero Moment – Explore how impactful Captain Marvel's entrance into the MCU is, and how she inspires audiences around the world.
    • The Origin of Nick Fury – Witness some of the MCU’s most significant events through Nick Fury's eyes, and see how his influence helped shape the MCU.
    • The Dream Team – Discover why Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck are the perfect pair to direct Marvel Studios’ most powerful hero.
    • The Skrulls and the Kree – Take a deeper look into the Skrulls and the Kree, their ongoing conflict, and the importance of shifting perspectives in the film.
    • Hiss-sterical Cat-titude – The cast and crew dish on working with Goose and the raw talent it takes to portray such a complex character on-screen.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • “Who Do You Admire Above All Others?” - Kree Commander Yon-Rogg must answer to the Supreme Intelligence, who questions his leadership ability.
    • Starforce Recruits - Yon-Rogg lectures a roomful of students on the Kree's mission to defend all nations from the scourge of the Skrulls.
    • Heading to Torfa - Vers (Danvers) and her fellow Starforce members banter as they prepare for their rescue mission to Torfa.
    • “What, No Smile?” - In this alternate version of a scene from the movie, Vers is consulting a map when she receives a dubious offer of assistance.
    • Black Box - Keller attempts to track Vers and Fury after their escape in a quadjet from the Joint USAFA Facility.
    • Rookie Mistake - Novice S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson helps Director Keller out of an embarrassing situation.
  • Gag Reel – The fate of the universe hangs in the balance as the cast battles props, flubs and Flerkens in these outtakes from the set.


Final Thoughts

Monday, June 10

Sunday Post / It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @  Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date.


Good Morning, Everyone!


What Am I Currently Reading?

Here's a little fun fact for everyone: I used to be a Trekker! I grew up watching reruns of the original series, The Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine. Then I quickly left the franchise right after the campy Voyager series debuted in the mid-1990s. While I would no longer consider myself a Trekker by any means, I do occasionally watch an episode or two of the old series on Netflix. This year, I've found myself in a Star Trek mood after watching the first season of Star Trek: Discovery (I don't recommend it to anyone!), which resulted in me buying a few $.99 old Star Trek tie-in eBook. As you can see from the photo above I'm going to be reading Star Trek: The Captain's Oath by Christopher L. Bennett, which I'd received a review copy from Gallery Books just a few days ago. Pockets Books used to publish the Star Trek books, but this year Gallery Books took over the franchise. "The Captain's Oath" looks like a fun read.

Next, I'm planning on reading The Son by Philip Meyer, which is a title I'd mentioned about in last week's post. Originally, I wanted to read it at the end of last week, but I ended up reading an eBook instead.

 

  Recent Reviews

Trading Paint
(Blu-ray Review)

A Justified Murder
(Summer Reads)

 Leprechaun Returns
(Midnight Horror Review)

In the Mail

Midnight Horror Review: Leprechaun Returns

AMAZON

Believe it or not, there are now eight films in the horror-comedy Leprechaun series, which began with the 1993 cult classic (filmed in 1991) which starred a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston. Warwick Davis played the wisecracking villain for six films, with the last being 2003's straight-to-video Leprechaun: Back 2 the Hood. The franchise was rebooted in 2014 in the-name-only Leprechaun: Origins and the less I talk about that disaster the better!

The franchise got another reboot with Leprechaun Returns ($14.99; R; 93 minutes), which ignores the original sequels and the 2014 reboot. It's a direct sequel to the 1993 film with Linden Porco taking over role as the Leprechaun! The film was released to VOD in December 2018 and premiered on SyFy in March 2019. It'll be making it's way on Blu-ray (+ Digital) tomorrow from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Directed by Steven Kotanski, the film is set 25 years after the original and centers around college student Lila (played by Taylor Spreitler) who's joining the sorority house Alpha Upsilon. The sorority recently decided to go "green" and moved their house to an old farmhouse (the same one from the original movie). After getting a ride from Ozzy (Mark Holton reprising his role from the 1993 film), Lila meets her new sisters - Rose (played by Sai Bennett), Meredith (played by Emily Reid), and Katie (played by Pepi Sonuga), as well as Katie's boyfriend Andy (played Ben McGregor) and the tech-geek Matt (played by Oliver Llewllyn Jenkins).

After getting a bit too close to the farm's old well, Ozzy weirdly and grossly resurrects the Leprechaun. Once again, the Irish killer is on a deadly mission to retrieve his pot of gold. And, of course, he's going to have a little bloody fun with the college students.

Special Features include:
  • Going Green with Director Steven Kotanski
  • Leprechaun Returns Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Still Gallery

 

  Final Thoughts