Posted in Product Reviews- DVDs

#Sponsored Review ‘Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase’ Own It On Blu-Ray and DVD 4/2

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT PROVIDED ME WITH A FREE COPY OF THE BLU-RAY I REVIEWED IN THIS BLOG POST. THE OPINIONS I SHARE ARE MY OWN. PIC/SYNOPSIS/INFO BELONG SOLELY TO WARNER BROS.
Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase
Arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on
Digital March 26, 2019 and on
Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD on April 2, 2019

Based on the Bestselling Book!

BURBANK, CA (March 22, 2019) The iconic mystery solving teenager from the classic Nancy Drew books is back with an all-new feature length film that will keep you guessing until the very end! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase on Digital starting March 26, 2019 and Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD on April 2, 2019. Executive Produced by Ellen DeGeneres, the film stars Sophia Lillis (IT and “Sharp Objects”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood” and “This is Us”), and Linda Lavin (“The Good Wife” and “Alice”) and follows Nancy Drew in her new town, making new friends and on a mission to solve the case! The film carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 for the Digital, $19.98 for the DVD and $28.98 for the Blu-ray Combo Pack.

SYNOPSIS: After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter in River Heights. But for 16-year-old Nancy Drew, life in a small town is mighty dull. She longs for excitement, adventure, and the chance to make a difference. Nancy gets that opportunity when she is asked to help solve the ghostly activity at the Twin Elms mansion. Can she help explain the creaking footsteps, exploding lightbulbs and the ominous creature? Is it the handiwork of high-school bully Derek Barnes? Or is it possible that the ghost of original owner Malcolm Colfax is back for revenge? Recruiting her best friends George and Bess, along with local “mean girl” Helen, Nancy Drew is on the case!

“Nancy Drew has been a source of inspiration to countless girls as she has her wits and ingenuity to solve intriguing mysteries. Now, Nancy is back in an all-new film from Ellen DeGeneres,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WBHE, Vice President, TV Marketing, Family & Animation. “Cast perfectly with Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew, this mystery has a modern-day edge as Nancy learns about responsibility and friendship while solving mysteries.”

Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase is produced by A Very Good Production and A Red 56 Productions. Based on the novel by Carolyn Keene, the film is Executive Produced by Ellen DeGeneres and Wendy Williams (Free Ride), with Jeff Kleeman (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and Chip DiggIns (A Walk In The Woods) serving as producers and Rachel Abarbanell (“Splitting Up Together”) as Co-Producer. Katt Shea (Poison Ivy) directed from the script written by Nina Fiore & John Herrera (“The Handmaids Tale”).

BONUS FEATURES
A Sleuth, A Girl and an Inspiration (Featurette)
Pink Footprints: Touring Twin Elms (Featurette)
Gag Reel

BASICS
Street Date: April 2, 2019
Total Runtime: Approx. 89 minutes
DVD: $19.98 SRP
BD: $28.98 SRP
MY THOUGHTS: I loved the Nancy Drew book series when I was younger. Honestly, I may have read all that were available, as did my sister. I was blessed enough to get to watch ‘Hidden Staircase’ with 3 of my favorite people, my mom (71), Aunt (68), and son (16). With 4 different age groups represented, I figured I’d get a mixed bag of reviews. I was pleasantly surprised that we all liked it very much.
Mom enjoyed the ‘off the cuff’ adventures that the teens got themselves mixed up in. She gave it 4 stars.
My Aunt enjoyed the ‘cool characters’, especially the handsome deputy. She felt the acting was good, but did agree with its PG rating. Showing the teens blatantly breaking rules concerned her and she recommended that it be viewed by preteens and teens old enough to know better. She also gave 4 stars.
My son noticed the pretty actresses immediately! While, mentioning that he particularly like Helen, he wished Nancy’s friends had a bigger part in the movie. He scored it a 4 stars.
As for me, the movie got off to a bit of a slow start. Things picked up quickly and ended up being a good, family film. Not many movies can cross that many age groups and come out with the same rating each time. But, we all said 4 stars and agreed we’d like to see a sequel.
Bottom line: If you loved Nancy in her books, you’ll thoroughly enjoy her on-screen.
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third-party retail partners and licensees.

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Posted in Arts/Crafts/Hobbies, Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: A Colorful Tail: Finding Monet at Giverny: Joan Waites

I RECEIVED THE TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE. PIC & SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.

SYNOPSIS: A young red fox living in Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, admires the collage of colors in the landscape that surrounds him. More than anything, he wants to make the colors last as the seasons pass and the winter turns cold and bleak. Try as he might, his creations are blown away, flooded, and even eaten by a deer, until the sight of Monet at his easel and an unexpected encounter with a bumble bee show the gentle fox how he can make the colors last all year-long. This brightly illustrated tale is a delightful introduction to Claude Monet.

MY THOUGHTS: ‘A Colorful Tail’ is a beautifully illustrated book for younger readers (say ages 2-K). I love that fact that on the opening page there is a brief Monet biography. It’s a good, first introduction to famous artists. Art is often an afterthought in education. Introducing artists’ names early on is a great idea.
We also have a message of appreciating the beauty around us. Fox is fortunate enough to have a patient, artistic friend who allows him to express himself without judgment or reprimand. By having this freedom to create, Fox is able to show his love of nature & color through painting. To parents, the message is simple: let little ones try. If their paintings aren’t Monet-quality, that’s ok. At least, they tried.

‘A Colorful Tail’ would be a good snuggling up, storytime book. Little eyes will definitely pay attention to all the details on each page. I give it a 4 star rating.

Joan Waites is an award-winning author-illustrator with more than 45 titles published for the children’s trade and educational markets. A former adjunct faculty member of the Corcoran Museum School of Art and Design, Joan now operates her own art teaching studio for children, and has been a featured speaker at schools, conferences, and artist-in-residence programs. She has served as the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator for the past 17 years, is a member of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC, the Picture Book Artist’s Association, and the National Association of Art Educators.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: The Enchanted Sonata: Heather Dixon Wallwork


SYNOPSIS:Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.

The Enchanted Sonata, a retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, will captivate readers of all ages.

MY THOUGHTS:Don’t dismiss this one as ‘just another person’s Nutcracker redo’. Yes, it’s a retelling of the original. However, it’s an AMAZING retelling of the original. Heather Dixon Wallwork has utilized her amazing imagination to add all the right things into the story.
It is just so darn cute. It has all the elements that YA readers adore: Love, War, and the fight of good versus evil. Romance fans will flip for the Clara’s love life elements. Action & suspense fans will really get into the whole kids-turned-into-toys plot. Fantasy fans will love just about everything as the Nutcracker is basically a fantasy tale.

It’s a timely retelling with Christmas being so close and a new Nutcracker movie debuting. But, I have a feeling that this book will be better than the movie. I give it 4 stars.
*Pic/Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: I See the Sun in the USA: Dedie King

SYNOPSIS: I See the Sun in the USA tells the story of Stella and the children and families she meets, with a variety of ethnicities and cultures, while on a family vacation.  Each child is also presented by a family tree depicting the blending of their families, hence the blending of American culture.  Glorious illustrations express and enhance the storyline.

MY THOUGHTS:  This book, for grades 1-5, offers a little bit of everything. We have a fictional family who goes on vacation to real, geographically accurate places. The pictures are fabulous and will add to the adventure. Readers will not only experience different, cultural representations, but also history & geography. I love when books combine subjects for this age bracket.

With all that their minds an absorb, it’s good to get a little extra education in with their reading. I also appreciate the introduction kids get to genealogy. There’s a lot of talk nowadays about DNA & family histories. It just may inspire younger students to chart their own family trees.

I give it 4 stars.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Author Dedie King was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mid-sixties in Nepal where she taught school.  She uses her world travel experiences past and present as the basis for the stories in the I See The Sun series.  Presently, Dedie practices Classical Five Element acupuncture both in Hardwick and in Amherst, Massachusetts.

 

Illustrator Judith Inglese designs and fabricates ceramic tile murals for public spaces such as schools, healthcare facilities and nonprofit organizations.  In the I See the Sun books, she combines photography, cut paper and drawing in her collage illustrations. Like her ceramic tile murals, her illustrations are colorful and detailed with strong forms and line work.  Judith Inglese resides in Western Massachusetts.

Find it on Amazon.

*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine/

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: The Vanished Child M. J.Lee

SYNOPSIS:Every childhood lasts a lifetime.
On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and placing him in a children’s home. Seven years later she went back but he had vanished. What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go? Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets and one of the most shameful episodes in recent British history. Can she find the vanished child?

MY THOUGHTS:This has to be one of the saddest books I’ve read. Just the thought that children actually went through some of the things that are mentioned in the book is heartbreaking and mind-boggling. I understand the desperation that some of the parents faced at this. To let your child go thinking they’re receiving the best of care and they’re receiving the worst possible nightmare of their lives is unbelievable.

Mr. Lee does an incredible job articulating the drama, the mysterious circumstances, and perseverance that folks of this historical era went through. Our main character, Jayne Sinclair, has perhaps her toughest case yet.
Not just from fact-finding perspective, but because of the emotional baggage that comes along with it. We learn a lot more about her family especially her new stepmother as the story unfolds.

Once again it reminded me why I’m such a fan of the series. Mr. Lee has definitely made this series stand out with his choices in Era, historical accuracy, and having a very tough female lead. Of all the books in the series, this one is by far the most dramatic. Make sure you have tissues handy while you’re reading. I have to give it 4 stars and I do recommend it.

Posted in Book Reviews

Murder At The Book Club : Betsy Reavley

SYNOPSISImagine nine women meeting. Tea and cake are on the coffee table. They’ve come together to share their love of books. They are friends. They trust each other. It’s a happy gathering. What could be more harmless?

Then scratch the surface and look closer.

One is lonely. One is desperate and one of them is a killer.

When the body of a woman is discovered on a Cambridge common, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called in to investigate. But the motive behind the crime isn’t clear… And it all leads back to a book club.

As the lies, volatile friendships and tension among the group rise to the surface, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer must work out the motive and track down a cold-blooded killer. But just when they think they are on the right track, a twist in the case throws them off course…

MY THOUGHTS: I’m embarrassed to say that, initially, I thought this might not be for me. It seemed a bit slow paced. I was wrong. What I found in this novel was what I have been looking for everywhere. A great whodunit, great characters, and no idea who did it! Decades of reading mysteries and I still couldn’t figure it out. That’s what I crave as a mystery reader.

Betsy Reavley has gained a fan. She did an incredible job dedicating each chapter to a different character, alternating point of views, and hiding clues in plain sight. Her novel has been compared to Agatha Christie and rightly so! It’s great and I recommend it with a 4 star rating.

Posted in Book Reviews

Meltdown in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery: Meg Muldoon

(Christmas River #10)
SYNOPSIS:How do you find a killer when everyone in town has a motive?
That’s the question pie-baker extraordinaire Cinnamon Peters and the rest of the cozy little mountain town of Christmas River are asking this December.
After Moira Stewart — the town’s worst gossip — is found dead of unnatural causes one snowy morning, rumors begin swirling like snowflakes in a blizzard about her unexpected demise.
But not everything is as it seems in Christmas River this holiday season. And in a town where everyone stands to gain from Moira’s death, Cinnamon and her husband Sheriff Brightman find themselves stumbling into dangerous and deadly territory.
Because this December, the weather outside is frightful…
And so is the murder.
MY THOUGHTS: I started this series quite some time ago. I read them all (1-9) and anxiously awaited #10. Initially, the book started off slow. Honestly, I almost walked away from it. I’m glad I stuck it out.
It definitely improved! This mystery surrounds a little known character in the town and, in addition, we get to learn a bit more about Cinnamon’s past. I was pleased with this as her past has been a mystery itself.

All the favorite supporting characters are back as is a healthy dose of Christmas cheer. Unlike some of the previous installments, the whodunit part of the story wasn’t obvious right away. It will take the reader a bit to piece it together. That’s always fun in a mystery. All in all, it was worth the wait and is a 4 star book.