Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Stephen King ReReads!



While most human beings are celebrating the end of 2019 with their families and/or friends, I'm sitting at a desk, sipping on a coffee, and attempting to get myself in the mood to write belated reviews for three Stephen King titles — IT, The Shining, and Doctor Sleep — which I'd reread this year.

Reading IT was a long awaited personal challenge of mine. It's a whopping 1,000+ page epic with tiny lettering, so it took me most of the summer to read darn the thing!

I've owned an IT paperback for many years but I always made some sort of an excuse to avoid reading it. I have some bad memories (or more like nightmares) of watching part 1 of the 1989 miniseries when I was a little kid. Yep, Tim Curry's version of Pennywise the clown scared the crap out me. I didn't even attempt to watch the last half of the miniseries. It wasn't until I was a teenager when I finally finished watching IT!

IT is a tale of good vs. evil. The novel is set in two different time periods — 1957-1958 and 1984-1985. During the late '50s, seven Derry Maine middle graders (Bill, Stan, Eddie, Ben, Richie, Mike, and Beverly), or otherwise known as "The Losers Club," are stalked by an alien creature, Pennywise, that has taken the form of a clown. Pennywise has killed many children and residents of Derry, including Bill's younger brother Georgie. Together, the group locate the creature's hideout and attempt to kill it. Derry is pretty much a peaceful time until the mid-1980s when several murders occur. Mike is the only member of "The Losers Club" still living in Derry and takes it upon himself to reach out to his old friends as they made a blood pack when they were children that if Pennywise returned, then they would return to kill it!

Like many of King's works, IT focuses heavily on character development and with 1,138 pages there's plenty of time to get know the "The Losers Club." Warning for those who have never read IT before  — this novel is extremely graphic. And I'm not just referring to the violence. Spoiler Alert: The way "The Loser's Club" gets out of the tunnels is by having an orgy! The last thing I want to read about is minors having sex! Unfortunately, the scene is in the novel! King did have a reason for the orgy as it was the only way the children could remember what occurred inside the tunnels — a.k.a. Pennywise.

Final Thoughts

IT has been on my reading list for nearly two years and I'm glad I finally took the time to read the epic novel. It's right up there with Pet Sematary as one of the scariest books Stephen King has ever written. Pennywise the clown is the scariest "baddie" I have ever read or seen on screen. FYI: The 1989 miniseries scared me to death during my childhood.

Blu-ray Review - Rambo: Last Blood


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

(Also available on DVD & Blu-ray!)


Before Christmas, I received Rambo: Last Blood (R; 89 minutes) on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (+Blu-ray + Digital) from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. It's the fifth and the supposedly final entry in the John Rambo franchise starring Sylvester Stallone as the Vietnam War veteran.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Review - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


Available on Paperback

Last month, I dragged all the books out of a closet just so I could find one paperback — The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I had purchased the novel just a few weeks after the first season of the Hulu series ended in 2017. To precise, I stumbled upon two paperback copies at a thrift store and I picked out the better of the two. Like many of the books I buy, this paperback got put away in the closet and I'd forgotten about owning it until after I started watching the web series on DVD.

The Handmaid's Tale was originally published in 1985. It's set in an all-too-real dystopian world, where a religious cult has overthrown the United States government by murdering the President and all of Congress. America is now known as the Republic of Gilead. After the fall, American citizens headed for Canada. Many were able to cross the border in peace. However, others never made it, especially fertile women.

The rights of women were eliminated. They were no longer allowed to read, own property, and handle finances. Fertile women (Handmaids) were forced into slavery. A Handmaid is sent to the home of a Commander and once a month she will participate in "The Ceremony" where the Commander's wife would hold her down while the Commander is raping her. "The Ceremony" would keep occurring until the Handmaid becomes pregnant. Shortly after giving birth, the Handmaid would leave the household (and her baby) and be sent to live in another Commander's home. A Handmaid takes the first name of her Commander with an added "Of" in front of it, which represents possession.

The novel is told from the point-of-view of Offred, a Handmaid who's ordered to visit her Commander's office (or chambers) alone late at night, which is against the rules. At first the situation seems to be harmless with the Commander only wanting to play a game of Scrabble. However, things quickly change when the Commander gives Offred a fancy dress and smuggles her into the city, which is unknown to his wife, Serena Joy.

Serena Joy is a former televangelist who is one of the many women who cannot have children in this world. Desperate to become a mother, and suspecting The Commander is sterile, Serena Joy comes up with a dangerous plan to help Offred become pregnant.

Offred was once the wife of Luke and they had a daughter. She believes Luke is either dead or imprisoned. As for their daughter, she was taken captive and given away to be raised by a new family. 

Final Thoughts

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Sunday Post: Christmas Gifts, Fear Street, & Star Wars

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

Good Evening, Everyone!


What Am I Currently Reading?


My first post-Christmas read will be Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, which is a book I read during my childhood; though I can't remember a single thing about it. I had planned on reading it yesterday but I ended up watching the new season of Lost In Space on Netflix. If you haven't seen  Netflix's Lost In Space, do so!  It's an awesome series.


Recent Reviews & Posts

(Holiday Gift Guide)

(Holiday Gift Guide)

(Holiday Gift Guide)

(Midnight Horror Review)

(Blu-ray Review)

(DVD Review)

(Holiday Gift Guide)

(Holiday Gift Guide)

(DVD & Blu-ray Reviews)

Scary Gifts for Horror Lovers!
(DVD & Blu-ray Reviews)

Masters & Legends of Fantasy Art
(Holiday Gift Guide)

He Restoreth My Soul
(Holiday Gift Guide)

The 19th Christmas
(Holiday Gift Guide)

Dog Diaries: Happy Howlidays!
(Holiday Gift Guide)


What's In the Mail?

Friday, 27 December 2019

Book Blogger Hop: December 27th - January 2nd





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 Wars: Heir to the Empire


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.


"A minimum of four days, assuming that Skywalker's X-wing hasn't been overly modified. More than that, depending on how many stopovers he has to make on the way."
page 156, Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

  My Thoughts

Monday, 23 December 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Dog Diaries: Happy Howlidays!


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


Dog Diaries: Happy Holidays!
by James Patterson & Steven Butler


Are you ready for a festive adventure? Join me, Junior on the most PAWSOME, most BARKTASTIC journey through the HOWLIDAY SEASON. You'll read all about:

  • FANGSGIVING, CRITTER-MESS and the mysterious SAINT LICK.
  • Why strange humans called CAROL come and howl at the front door.
  • And why SHINY TREES suddenly sprout inside your kennel!

This will be the best holiday EVER! As long as the Mom-Lady doesn't find out what I did to the Fangsgiving turkey. You can keep a SECRET, right?


Where To Purchase?




Sunday, 22 December 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: The 19th Christmas




The 19th Christmas
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro


As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women's Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner's office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco.

Then a fearsome criminal known only as "Loman" seizes control of the headlines. Solving crimes never happens on schedule, but as this criminal mastermind unleashes credible threats by the hour, the month of December is upended for the Women's Murder Club. Avoiding tragedy is the only holiday miracle they seek.



Where To Purchase?




Saturday, 21 December 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: He Restoreth My Soul by Cassandra Hill




He Restoreth My Soul
by Cassandra Hill




He Restoreth My Soul is a delightful devotional bursting with real kingdom principles, personal encounters, and the keys to your spiritual breakthrough!

After being diagnosed with systemic lupus and suffering the painstaking loss of 5 miscarriages, Cassandra reached her hand and her hope to the Only strength she has ever known ~ Jesus!

With much prayer, petition, and faith, Cassandra battled against the odds, the snare of the enemy, and WON!

- Now You Can TOO!

  • If you have suffered a devastating loss- then this book is for you.
  • If you have endured a severe hardship- then this book is for you.
  • If you have battled with your health or depression- then this book is for you too.

Your wait for a spiritual breakthrough is OVER.

He Restoreth My Soul by Cassandra Hill is the Fresh perspective you need to run your race, fight your battle, and WIN in Jesus Christ!




Where To Purchase?



About the Author

Friday, 20 December 2019

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Masters and Legends of Fantasy Art


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


Masters and Legends of Fantasy Art
2nd Expanded Edition
(Fox Chapel Publishing; 225 pages; $24.99)


Uncover the secrets of the fantasy art masters! Masters and Legends of Fantasy Art, 2nd Expanded Edition is loaded with step-by-step tutorials and in-depth interviews with some of the biggest names in the genre. You'll find everything you need to know to create your own imaginative fantasy, sci-fi, and comic art, with advice from 35 legendary talents like Frank Frazetta, H.R. Giger,, Syd Mead, Boris Vallejo, and more. From spaceships and aliens to faeries and elf rangers, star artists reveal their secrets for designing and painting classic fantasy illustrations — using modern tools of the trade like Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Wacom Tablets. A core skill section offers tip and techniques on basic topics like drawing dynamic poses, using custom brushes, and rendering realistic materials such as skin, hair, cloth, fur, scales, and shiny metal.


Where To Purchase?




Book Blogger Hop: December 20th - 26th





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.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Scary Gifts For Horror Lovers!


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

If you have a horror movie fan in your family, then you know it's probably difficult to come up with a decent gift for them as they probably already own all the big title horror films on DVD or Blu-ray. Being a horror fan myself, I recommending lowering the quality bar and give your loved ones a B-horror movie. While I can't guarantee they haven't already seen these types of films, I can guarantee they probably don't own on the DVD or Blu-ray.




The Stranger Beside Me
(NR; 90 mins; $14.98; Mill Creek Entertainment)


The Stranger Beside Me is the 2003 made-for-television movie based on the true-crime thriller of the same name by Ann Rule. Directed by Paul Shapiro, the movie stars Barbara Hershey as Ann Rule, an ex-cop working for a suicide hotline in Seattle. In her spare time, she like to write true-crime stories. One of her closest friends is the serial killer Ted Bundy (played by Billy Campbell), though at the time she didn't know he was a murderer. Despite the fact, Bundy was a the #1 suspects in a string of murders and missing-women cases, Rule tried to convince herself he wasn't the killer, even though she did suspect him.

Final Thoughts


Like most made-for-TV adaptations based on books, The Stranger Beside Me is a watered-down version compared to Ann Rule's book. There are a lot of facts about the Bundy murders that are completely ignored. The movie feels more or less like a summary of the actual events.

The picture and sound qualities are excellent.There are no special features or bonus extras. A Digital Code is included with the Blu-ray but it can only be redeemed on movieSPREE.

Overall, The Stranger Besides Me is an okay thriller. It's not great by any means but it's worth watching just for Barbara Hershey's performance alone. If you're a fan of Ann Rule's writings or if you're just a true-crime follower, then you might be interested in owning this Blu-ray.



It Hits The Fan!
(NR/R; 6 hrs 6 mins; $14.98; Mill Creek Entertainment)


It Hits The Fan! features 4 apocalyptic disaster movies on a two-disc set. The four movies are:

Tornado Warning (2012; 87 mins; NR) - Directed by Jeffery Burr, the film the centers Jack Lynch (played by Jeff Fahey) who teams up with meteorologist Gale Morgan (played by Kari Wuhrer) to unravel the mystery behind a series of green-tinted tornadoes that could be related to an alien invasion!

Judgement Day (2008; 95 mins; NR) - Directed by Justin Jones, the movie centers around the leaders of a small Louisiana town struggling to maintain order as a space anomaly is quickly approaching Earth. The cast features Stephanie Chavez-Jacobsen, Gigi Edgley, Shirley Brenner, Randy Mulkey, and Stuart Lafferty.

Action Films Make Great Stocking Stuffers!


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


There are only a few days left to finish your Christmas shopping, and I know how difficult it is to find the perfect gift for your loved ones. If you have any family members or friends who love action films full of car chases, shoot outs, and fights, then I'm recommending getting a classic action flick on Blu-ray or DVD.


The Take & Black Gunn
(PG/R; 3 hrs 7 mins; $14.98; Mill Creek Entertainment)


The Take (PG; 91 mins) is a 1974 crime drama directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and is based on the novel Sir, You Bastard by G. F. Newman. The film centers around Terry Sneed (played by Billy Dee Williams), a corrupted police officer who's handed pick by police chief Ray Berrigan (played by Eddie Albert) to investigate a series of crimes in Paloma, New Mexico. Frankie Avalon and Sorrell Booke costars.

Black Gunn (R; 96 mins) is a 1972 Neo-noir blaxploitation movie directed by Robert Harford-Davis. The film stars NFL legend Jim Brown as Gunn, a nightclub owner who goes on a revenge mission after his brother is murdered. Brenda Sykes and Martin Landau costars.

Final Thoughts

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Ali Cross by James Patterson


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


Ali Cross
by James Patterson


Ali Cross has always looked up to his father, former detective and FBI agent Alex Cross. While solving some of the nation's most challenging crimes, his father always kept his head and did the right thing. Can Ali have the same strength and resolve?

When Ali's best friend Abraham is reported missing, Ali is desperate to find him. At the same time, a string of burglaries targets his neighborhood---and even his own house. With his father on trial for a crime he didn't commit, it's up to Ali to search for clues and find his friend. But being a kid sleuth isn't easy---especially when your father warns you not to get involved!---and Ali soon learns that clues aren't always what they seem. Will his detective work lead to a break in Abraham's case or cause even more trouble for the Cross family?


Where To Purchase?




Wednesday, 18 December 2019

DVD Review - Anna and the Apocalypse



Anna and the Apocalypse


A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven – at Christmas – forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.



Where To Purchase?