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Tuesday, November 12

Blu-ray Review: The Swan Princess: 25th Anniversary


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

AMAZON
For a very long time, it seemed Disney was the only studio releasing animated films. However, that changed in the '90s, many thanks to direct-to-video releases, as well as a few theatrical releases from other studios. One of these films happens to be The Swan Princess, which is an adaptation of the Swan Lake ballet.

Directed by Richard Rich, the film was originally released to theatres in 1994, featuring the voice cast of Michelle Nicastro, Howard McGillin, Jack Palance, John Cleese, Steven Wright, Steve Vinovich, and Sandy Duncan.

Sony Home Entertainment recently released The Swan Princess on Blu-ray (G; 89 minutes)  to celebrate its 25th Anniversary, featuring a brand-new featurette and archival features. The film is also available on in 4K HDR on digital.

The Swan Princess centers around Odette, a beautiful princess who's turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, Lord Rothbart. She can only turn back into a human when the moonlight touches the swan lake, which is when Rothbart tries to persuade her to marry him. Of course, she rejects him every time, thus, she becomes a swan again. Her only friends are Jean-Bob the frog, Speed the turtle and Puffin the bird, who are determined to protect her. Then there's also Prince Derek, who's in love with Odette and will also do anything to protect her.

Special Features include:
  • Looking Back at 25 Years of the Swan Princess
  • The Swan Princess: The Original Making of
  • 5 Sing-Alongs 


Final Thoughts

Monday, November 11

Monday Morning Madness: Decaf for the Dead and Paperbacks From Hell


 

Good Afternoon, Everyone!


Yes, I'm well aware it's way past noon. Originally, I wanted to have this post published earlier but I got distracted by several other things. Once again, I'm combining this week's Sunday Post (hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer) with today's It's Monday! What Are You Reading (hosted by The Book Date). 


What Am I Currently Reading?


Tomorrow, I'll be reading Decaf for the Dead by Sandy Lo, who nicely sent me a review copy. I posted an interview with Sandy Lo on Saturday, which you can read right here!

Last week, was  a reread week for me with The Shining and Doctor Sleep. I'll probably be writing reviews for them sometime later in the week. I never got around to reading Rise of the Gorgon by Galen Surlak-Ramsey so it'll probably be next read after Decaf for the Dead. Then I'm going to start reading the books I have lined up for this year's Holiday Gift Guide.


Recent Reviews

(Midnight Horror Review)

by Stephen King
(Fall Reads

by R.L. Stine
(Fall Reads) 

(Midnight Horror Review)


What's in the Mail?

Midnight Horror Review: The Thing (2011) Blu-ray


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

Mill Creek Ent.; Amazon
For those of you who don't already know, The Thing was re-released to Blu-ray on Oct. 29th by Mill Creek Entertainment.

No, I'm not referring to the John Carpenter's 1982 classic scifi-horror flick, which is a remake of the 1951 classic The Thing from Another World and an adaptation of the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr., but instead I'm referring to the 2011 prequel film of the same name. Confused yet?

Directed by Matthijs Heijningen, the prequel was originally going to be titled The Thing: Begins. However, due to producers and behind-the-scenes drama (more on that later), the film was released as The Thing, which made moviegoers believe it was a remake of a remake.

Set in the winter 1982, the prequel centers around Kate Lloyd (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a paleontologist who is sent to an isolated Norwegian research station in Antarctica to investigate a possible buried alien spacecraft. The expedition is lead by Dr. Sander Halvorson (played by Ulrich Thomsen) and his assistant, Adam Finch (played by Eric Christian Olsen). After excavating a body frozen in the ground, they accidentally release a lifeform that takes control and mutilates its victims. The movie also stars Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Kristofer Hivju.

The director shot the prequel in 35mm film so it would have the same look as the 1982 film.  Animatronic special effects were used for the creatures to match the 1982 effects. However, studio politics interfered and all of the traditional effects were replaced CGI. Add in additional reshoots, which changed many scenes (especially the ending), as well as the title change, the movie ended up flopping at the box office.

Blu-ray Bonus Features include:
  • Feature Commentary with Director Matthiijs van Heijningen and Producer Eric Newman
  • The Thing Involves
  • Fire & Ice
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • Trailer


Final Thoughts

Sunday, November 10

Midnight Horror Review: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged


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


BEST BUY; WALMART
Once upon a time ago, there was only one big shark movie - Jaws, minus the unneeded sequel (though Jaws 2 was pretty good). Fast forward to the present day, there are tons of shark flicks and almost of all them are horrible.

In 2017, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures released the low-budget horror shark film 47 Meters Down, which wasn't half bad. Due to its success, naturally there was going to be sequel. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged was released to theatres in August 2019 and took in $38.9 million against a $12 million budget.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged is arriving on Blu-ray (+DVD + Digital) on Nov. 12th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Co-written and directed by Johannes Roberts, the film stars Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone, Brec Bassinger, and John Corbett.

The plot centers around teenage stepsisters, Mia and Sasha (played by Sophie Nelisse and Corinne Foxx) and Sasha's two friends, Alexa and Nicole (played by Brianne Tju and Sistine Stallone), cut classes and travel to a secret saloon that holds the entrance to a submerged Mayan city, which was discovered by Mia's father, Grant (played by John Corbett). The girls put on their diving gear and dive into the saloon to explore the Mayan city. They were just wanting to see the sunken ruins but what they find is pure terror!

Living in the submerged Mayan city are blind great white sharks with an appetite for anything living. Low on air, the girls are trapped in the underwater labyrinths of caves and claustrophobic tunnels with no way to escape.

Special Effects include:
  • Diving Deeper: Uncaging 47 Meters Down
  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Johannes Roberts, Producer James Harris, and Writer Ernest Riera


 Final Thoughts

Saturday, November 9

Saturday Takeover! with Sandy Lo, Author of "Decaf For the Dead"



Good Morning, Bookworms!


Welcome to the first ever Saturday Takeover!, where I'll be featuring guest posts and interviews with authors.

Today, I'm sharing an interview with author Sandy Lo, who recently published the novella Decaf For the Dead, which is a really fun title; though, personally, I prefer caffeinated or decaf!

FYI: That's my attempt at a joke! Remember, I'm a coffee lover!

I'll be reading the novella soon so keep an eye out for my review.






When did you become interested in storytelling?


I had a big imagination as a kid and would create elaborate plots during playtime with my Barbie dolls. I was thirteen when I first started putting stories down on paper. Writing became a fun hobby and turned into a serious ambition during my late teens.

What was you first book/story published?


The first book I published was “Lost In You”, a boy band romance novel inspired by my love of the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. I often think about re-releasing it since my writing has changed and I still love the story, but want to fine tune it.

What inspired you to write Decaf For the Dead? 


Throughout my life I’ve worked as a barista to supplement my career in writing, marketing, and journalism. While working as a barista, I’ve met so many real life characters and experienced a lot of hauntings as well – in and outside of coffee shops. I would often Google the relationship between caffeine and the supernatural. Since I was always highly caffeinated working at these cafés, I felt I was drawing certain spiritual encounters into my life. The title actually came from the fact that random decaf coffee orders would pop up on the drive-thru screen at one café. No one would even be in the drive-thru line when it would happen sometimes. I joked that the ghosts are ordering decaf because they’re dead and don’t need caffeine.

What character in Decaf For the Dead is the most/least like you and in what ways? 


This is tough. As a writer, you tend to put pieces of yourself in each character. I’m probably most like Dilly, the main character. While we certainly have plenty of differences, Dilly is creative with his artwork and he enjoys sitting in cafés and connecting with people. He’s a romantic and devoted, and that’s certainly me. As for the character I’m least like … I’ll pick the obvious and say Gabe, who is basically the villain of the story. I didn’t explore his character too much in this first book in the Haunted Café Series. We’ll probably see more of him in book 2 of the series. Gabe’s very dark, motivated by a possessiveness over his estranged wife, Jocelyn.

What is your favorite part in Decaf For the Dead?

Fall Reads: The Institute by Stephen King


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

There are many book bloggers who'll crank out a review as soon as they finished reading the final pages of whatever they're reading. Well, that's not me! I tend to reflect on what I've just read. If I'm not emotionally connected to the story, then I'll write my review within a few days. However, if I am emotionally connected, it takes me a bit longer to gather up my final thoughts.

I finished reading The Institute by Stephen King nearly a month ago and it's one of those reads I needed to sit on before talking about.

The Institute is a mix of Carrie and Firestarter, and centers around Luke Ellis, a bright young boy who's taken from his suburban Minneapolis home in the middle of night and wakes up at the Institute in a room that closely resembles his own. It seems a government organization is experimenting on children with telekinesis and telepathy and Luke happens to be one of them.

Along with the other kids, Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris and Avery, in the Front Half, Luke tries his best to play by the rules which are set by the sinister Institution's director, Mrs. Sigsby. However, one by one, each kid is moved to the Black Half and are never seen again. To save himself, as well as Avery, the youngest of the group, Luke must find away to escape this hell.


Final Thoughts

Friday, November 8

Book Blogger Hop: November 8th - 14th





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.

The Friday 56: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King


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.


In all his wanderings he had avoided mountains, especially the jagged monsters that broke the country in two.

page 56, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

  My Thoughts

Wednesday, November 6

Fall Reads: Goosebumps SlappyWorld: Revenge of the Invisible Boy by R.L. Stine


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

Barnes & Noble; Amazon
Hop into a time machine and travel back to the early 1990s, a time when I was in elementary school and was reading a R.L. Stine's Goosebumps book monthly. Yeah, believe it or not, between 1992 and 1997, R.L. Sine cranked out 62 Goosebumps installments and sold around 4 million copies monthly. After the 1998-2000 spinoff Goosebumps 2000 series ended, fans would have to wait until 2009 until the next series, Goosebumps Horrorland, was published. Every since then, R.L. Stine has been releasing a few new Goosebumps titles, with latest being Goosebumps Slappyworld: Revenge of the Invisible Boy ($3.99; Scholastic; 151 pages).

Like the previous 8 entries in the SlappyWorld spinoff series, this book is hosted by everyone's favorite Goosebumps villain - Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy. Sometimes, Slappy includes himself into the story but not this time. Instead, the story focuses on Frankie Miller, a twelve-year-old at Han Solo Middle School in Barberton, Ohio. Along with his friends Melody Richmond and Edurado Martinez, he's part of a Magic Club with his nemesis, Ari Goodwyn, who likes to play tricks on everyone.

The Magic Club gang are more than excited when they learn the legendary magician, Mystical Marvin, is going to preforming at the Town Center, and thanks to Frankie's dad being on the city council, they have tickets to the big event!

Shortly after the event, the gang goes backstage to meet Mystical Marvin, who shows them a secret formula he uses to disappear. To get back at Ari for all of his tricks, Frankie puts a few drops of the formula into his lemonade. However, Ari is smarter than he looks and switches Frankie's drink his own. Let just say the formula and lemonade don't mix well together and Frankie turns into the invisible boy!

Final Thoughts

Monday, November 4

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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

It's been a very busy morning for me. I had every intention of getting up bright and early so I could write a few review posts. However, that didn't occur. Instead, I ended up cleaning out a closet full of books. It's been something I've been wanting to do for awhile now. 

As many of you probably already know, I have a big collection of books. Due to limited space and my change in genre reads, I've decided to get rid of many of my books. It took me over three hours to go through all the books and put the ones I don't want anymore in boxes. 13 boxes and 1 bag to be precise. As soon as I get this post published, I'm going to have to put all the boxes in the car so I can donate them at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store. 

FYI: This was just one closet. I have another closet, five bookshelves, and four shelves on a corner desk filled with books.

 

What Am I Currently Reading?


Today, I'll be rereading The Shining by Stephen King. Then, hopefully, I'll be rereading the sequel Doctor Sleep on Wednesday. The movie adaptation is coming out at the end week, which I highly doubt if I'll see it in theatres. There's only a one-screen theatre in my town and it's currently not playing movies because this time of year their hosting high school plays and musicals.

Sunday, November 3

Sunday Post: Books, Books, and More Books!

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

Good Evening, Everyone!


Did everyone survive Halloween?

Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday but in recent years I've been less and less in the mood to celebrate it, mostly thanks to my depression, stress, and dealing with my grandmother's health issues. I used to decorate the font lawn with a creepy cemetery scene and other scary decorations but the last few Octobers have had rainy weather and resulted in me putting out only Jack-O-Lanterns. There had been a decline in trick-or-treaters in recent years. I would put together 140 treat bags full of candy and I would run out candy around 8pm. Then the number dropped to 75 trick-or-treaters, which left me with way too much candy. This year I put together only 100 bags. And then temperatures plummeted and Jack Frost decided to make it snow. Despite the cold, there were 76 trick-or-treaters.

I've been watching too many episodes of "Halloween Wars" as I'd convinced myself to carve something different on my pumpkin this year instead of the traditional Jack-O-Lantern. Thanks to Zombie Pumpkins, I found a patterns of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees so I ended up carving two pumpkins this year. The trick-or-treaters and their parents loved the pumpkins! Several of the parents took pictures of them.

Here are the pumpkins:



What Am I Currently Reading?

I'm currently reading Met Her Match by Jude Devereux on my Kindle. I probably be finishing it sometime today. Due to the Doctor Sleep movie being released to theatres at the end of the week, I'm wanting to reread both The Shining and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. If everything goes as planned, I'll be reading The Shining tomorrow and Doctor Sleep on Wednesday. Also, sometime during the week I'll be reading the Rise of the Gorgon by Galen Surlak-Ramsey, which is a fantasy eBook I got from NetGalley.


Recent Reviews

by Joe Hill
(13 Reads of Horror!)

by Charles L. Grant
(13 Reads of Horror!

(Blu-ray Review)

by Dean Koontz
(13 Reads of Horror!

by David Robbins
(13 Reads of Horror!)

by Jack Martin
(13 Reads of Horror!)

(Midnight Horror Review)

(Saturday Morning Nostalgia)

by James Patterson & Chris Grabenstein
(Back To School Reads)


What's In the Mail?

Saturday, November 2

Back to School Reads: Max Einstein: Rebels With A Cause


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

AMAZON
Yeah, I know what you're thinking - "Why is Billy featuring a Back to School Reads!" post in November?

Well, that's a great question and I do have an explanation for it. I had requested a review copy from the publisher prior to the book's release date, which was Sept. 9th. I never received a reply from the publisher. Due to my past experiences with publishers, I just naturally assumed there were no review copies available. It was a not big deal to me as I'm a James Paterson fan so I would eventually buy the book anyway. However, the publisher did send me an uncorrected proof copy in early October. By that point in time, I was a little busy getting ready for my 13 Reads of Horror! event, so I pushed the review for this title until the beginning of November.

Max Einstein: Rebels With A Cause (Jimmy Patterson; 336 pages; $14.99) is the sequel to last year's Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment, which both are co-written by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein with illustrations by Beverly Johnson. It's the first children book series to be official authorized by the Albert Einstein Archives.

Max Einstein is a twelve-year-old genius orphan who used her hacking abilities to enroll herself into college. How did she get the last name Einstein? She's a huge Albert Ein­stein fan and is constantly referring to his theories. She even imagines having conversations with him. To make a long story short, Max is recruited by the Change Mak­ers Insti­tute, an organization with a headquarters in Jerusalem, who collect the best young intelligent minds from around the globe in the effort of making the world a better place. And then there's the evil Dr. Zimm, who will do anything he can to persuade Max into joining his "Corporation" so he can use her mind to wreck havoc upon mankind.

Rebels With A Cause centers around Max and her young genius pals going on a quest to fix a water crises in India and Ireland. Max is always up for finding a solution to any problem but she might be a little bit over her head this time as her nemesis, Dr. Zimm has a kidnapping scheme up his sleeve.

Final Thoughts

Saturday Morning Nostalgia: Ultra Q & Ultraman Blu-ray Steelbooks


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

I bet many adults who grew up in the '90s believe the Power Rangers was the first Kaiju American television series, when in fact the Mighty Morphin team is based on the Japanese franchise Super Sentai that began in 1975, and, no, it wasn't the first series to feature giant monsters. Way back in 1966, there was a Japanese children series called Ultra Q that included monsters causing chaos in Japan.

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Produced by Tsuburaya Productions from special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya (co-creator of Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra for Toho Studios), Ultra Q was an X-Files-like 24-minute series about a group of supernatural investigators - Mainichi Shimpo photojournalist Yuriko Edogawa (played by Hiroko Sakurai), Hoshikawa Airlines pilot/SF writer Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) and his co-pilot Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) - who investigate mysterious events that occur in and near Japan.

Despite only 28 episodes being produced, Ultra Q was a big hit and spawned the Ultraman franchise.

Ultra Q: The Complete Series (Not Rated; 11hrs 56mins; $49.98) was released on a 4-Dsic Blu-ray SteelBook set on October 15 from Mill Creek Entertainment featuring a 24-page Information and Episode Guide booklet. A Digital Code comes with the set that can only redeemed on movieSPREE.com/redeem or on the movieSPREE app. There are no special features or bonus extras.

FYI: Ultra Q is also available to buy on a standard Blu-ray set.


Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Ultraman: The Complete Series (Not Rated; 16hrs 28mins; $49.98) was also released on a Blu-ray Steelbook on October 15th from Mill Creek Entertainment featuring all 39 episodes on a 5-disc set as well as a 24-page Information and an Episode Guide booklet. It comes with a Digital Code that can only be redeemed on movieSPREE. There are no special features or bonus extras.

FYI: Ultraman is also available to buy on a standard Blu-ray set.

The series involves Ultraman, a giant alien from the Land of Light in Nebula M78, chasing a space monster into the Earth's atmosphere when he accidentally collides into a Jet VTOL piloted by Hayata, a member of the Science Special Search Party (SSSP), an international research and defense agency that protects Earth against aliens. To prevent Hayata from dying, Ultraman merges his life force with him, which means when the world is in danger from a giant monster, Hayata will become Ultraman to defend humankind.


Mill Creek Entertainment will be releasing more DVD and Blu-rays from the Ultraman franchise in near feature starting with Ultraman Orb: The Complete Series & Movie and Ultraman Geed: The Complete Series & Movie later this month. More releases will follow in the Spring and Summer of 2020.

Final Thoughts

Midnight Horror Review: Dead Don't Die In Dallas


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


Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
As you already know by the title of this post, I'm reviewing the dark horror comedy Dead Don't Die In Dallas, which was released to DVD by Mill Creek Entertainment back in September.

Written and directed by Isreal Luna, the film stars Richard D. Curtain, Krystal Summers, Angel Martinez, Dillon Vineyard, Kenny Ochoa, and William Belli.

Originally titled "Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus," the movie was shot in only seventeen days in 2013 with the help of a IndieGoGo campaign that raised $7,200. Later, the director got the additional funding of $150,000 from ITN and CalTex Films, LLC, which was used for the post-production special effects. 

The movie takes place in a world where the government invented a "miracle pill" that's supposed to cure all viral infectious diseases. However, there's a little side effect - you turn into a brain hungry zombie!! The protagonist involve mixture of die-hard Christians and transsexuals in a small Texas town. Despite their many differences, they attempt to work together during the outbreak. This is a horror flick, so things don't as planned.


Final Thoughts

Friday, November 1

Book Blogger Hop: November 1st - 7th





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: Met Her Match by Jude Deveraux


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.


And her crafts were so crudely made that anyone in twenty-dollar shoes would walk away.
56%, Met Her Match by Jude Deveraux

  My Thoughts