17 April 2014

Book Review: A Circle Of Wives By Alice LaPlante

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new book A Circle Of Wives: A Novel by Alice LaPlante to review.

Dr. John Taylor is a respected and renowned reconstruction surgeon who is found dead in a room at the Palo Alto Westin hotel. This high profile case suddenly becomes very complicated when Detective Samantha Adams and the local police force discover some incriminating evidence that shows his death wasn't natural. As they dig into the clues, it turns out the doctor led a different life than one saw at first glance. Dr. Taylor was actually married to three different women in three different cities... and all three show up at the funeral. There's Deborah, who's a calculating high-society housewife that loves money; MJ, the free spirited accountant who loves to garden; and the newest wife, Helen, who's an ambitious pediatric oncologist. This isn't exactly something Detective Adams has ever had to solve as a former teacher; she's usually just solving petty crimes in this quiet town. Will she be able to find the murderer through this giant mess of relationships?

Ladies, can you just imagine finding out your husband secretly was married to not one, but two other women and was spending equal amounts of time with them? (The cad!) Oh my. In this case, the first wife knew but the other two didn't... no wonder this man had a job that paid well, three wives are expensive! lol Each wife tells their part in this story, along with Samantha's point of view. You want to hate John, but then as you read further along, maybe he wasn't so bad after all. This is the perfect beach or summertime read, with a storyline that makes you feel like it's ripped straight out of the gossipy headlines (in part thanks to news articles and excerpts in the book), but with plenty of suspense and intrigue. Did a wife do it for revenge? Or was there something even more sinister going on in the background? Make sure you add this one to your to-read list!

A Circle Of Wives: A Novel by Alice LaPlante is a hardcover mystery/crime fiction book published by Atlantic Monthly Press. It is 325 pages long. The suggested cover price is $25.00, and Amazon has it available for $19.26 as of this posting. It is also available as an audio book, as well as an e-book for the Kindle and other e-readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to read it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own, and not that of the author(s) or publisher.

16 April 2014

DVD Review: Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Classic Complete Collection

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new DVD Saint Seiya Knights Of The Zodiac: Sanctuary to review.

Ranked one of the top 25th anime series of all time over in Japan, Saint Seiya is one of those crossover successful series. (There is also a series of manga books) One of the branches of the Saint Seiya world, "Sanctuary", this one follows five mystical warriors known as "The Saints". They have sworn to defend the reincarnation of the Greek Goddess Athena, who is the leader of the Sanctuary. They also maintain peace of the planet while hidden in secret, wearing sacred armors which are designed on constellations. Each warrior has adopted their own destined guardian symbols, and are empowered by a mystical energy while battling other Gods who want to dominate the world, like Hades.

This eleven disc set features all 73 episodes of the original Japanese series. They are all in Japanese, with English subtitles... which aren't the world's greatest.

Neither DH nor I are huge anime fans, but my both brother and my DH's best friend adores this stuff in ways. My brother got more than a little geeked out when I asked his opinion on it when the set first arrived, saying he wasn't even aware they were finally releasing the entire series over here. Now this is an older series, having originally aired back in the late 80's. The animation is classic, like other big name Japanese series many non-anime folks are familiar with, such as Sailor Moon and Voltron. Not knowing any Japanese though, I was stuck with the subtitles. (sigh) If you loved this series already, then you're probably going to be geeked out about having it. If you're not, then skip on over it. It is the perfect last minute Easter gift for the anime lovers though.

Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Classic Complete Collection is available now wherever DVD's are sold. Full screen format, it is not rated (best for teens and up). It has a total running time of 28 hours, 41 minutes. The suggested retail price is $99.95, and Amazon has it available for $54.96 as of this posting.

I received a complimentary copy of this DVD in order to view it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own.

14 April 2014

Sunshine Means More Time Outside

Things in my yard are starting to make an appearance. I never thought I'd be excited to see dandelions:

I'm letting them go haywire this year to encourage my bumblebees. So far we've only seen one small straggler. These little guys are back for a repeat performance:

But some of the other random smaller plants aren't. In fact, everything feels off. Usually I'd have stinging nettles - some of you are probably thinking hey, that's great, no messing with them! lol But I like to actually use them since they are edible, so I am bummed. :( The ground itself hasn't recovered from last summer - the grass is dead or gone in a lot of areas, and moss has taken it's place. (You can probably see the dead grass patches up above in the dandy picture) This weekend I noticed quite a few mushrooms too, which seemed odd because it had been dry lately. Certain plants seem to be maturing too early this year, like my blackberries which already have the beginnings of the fruit and then my strawberries:

Some of my other plants in the yard are starting to bloom away too:

Even the apple tree is getting ready to pop soon:

I actually saw a bald eagle flying over our yard a few days ago, which is a first in the six years we have lived here. (Has it really been that long? Why isn't my soil better yet?! lol) I quickly got the dogs inside since I'm well aware they can pick up to 50ish pounds - gulp! The rain is set to come back in tomorrow for the week, but it sure has been nice to enjoy the better weather these last few days. We hit almost 70 yesterday and 70 today! It's always nice when my laundry can be dry in a few hours. ;) Of course the downside to the better weather is no excuse to not get chores done! lol How is your corner of the world shaping up so far this Spring?

Blu-Ray Review: Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new Blu-Ray/DVD combo Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings to review.

Seven aliens - five of which are prisoners - crash land on Earth in the middle of the desert right at comic writer Stan Lee, who happens to be suffering from writer's block. Not anymore! The problem is the American government and the top secret military force wants their hands on these aliens and their technology, so Stan hides them in a Malibu beach house and the promotional wheel starts turning. Stan teaches the crew about becoming super heroes and developing their powers in order to guarantee their survival while they hoped for rescue. They must avoid the miltary force lead by the ominious Mr. Cross and the evil reptilian Taegons.

Chock full of big name voice talent like Armie Hammer, Christian Slater, Teri Hatcher, Mayim Bialik, Sean Astin, and Red Hot Chili Peppers member Flea, this all new show is produced by Stan Lee Comics. It's the first in a trilogy of feature length films that are premiering on The Hub Netowrk. A new series will be following come 2015, so Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings is introducing everything and setting up the show. Now I love me some comic books (obviously) so I was excited to check this one out. It's geared more towards boys age 8-15ish, and does have plenty of action going on through the show. The upcoming series will be one to watch to see if it takes off. Having this much voice talent is a huge plus! From an adult standpoint, the humor fell flat throughout most of the movie, almost like they were trying too hard.

This is a two disc combo package which includes both the Blu-Ray version and the DVD version of the movie, and it will be available exclusively at Walmart and Sams Club. (Personally not very thrilled with this current trend...) Specific to the Blu-Ray disc is the bulk of the special features including an interview with Stan himself, a featurette called "Stan's Rants", some script to screen talk, extended scenes, the "Slam 7" trailer, "The Stan Lee Trivia Game", a production sketches gallery, and another game called "Composer's Favorite Musical Clues". The DVD disc contains some downloadable wallpapers and coloring sheets. Keep your eyes peeled out for a sticker on the case that gives you some Movie Cash - perfect timing with some of the great movies hitting the screen right now that are kid friendly.

Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings will be available this coming tomorrow, April 15th, 2014. Widescreen format, it is rated TV-PG. It has a total running time of 66 minutes long (not including special features). The suggested retail price is $14.93.

I received a complimentary copy of this DVD in order to view it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own.

Menu Planning Monday 4/14 - 4/20

We've had some nice weather over the weekend, but the rain returns tomorrow. Anyone planning on checking out the Eclipse tonight? I'm hoping the clouds will hold off long enough for us to have a peek. Extra long nap today in anticipation! lol

Monday: taco night

Tuesday: slow cooker taco soup (using last night's leftovers), homemade tortilla "chips"

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner - waffles, scrambled eggs, fruit cups

Thursday: pizza night

Friday: homemade fried fish, french fries

Saturday: black bean burgers, salad

Sunday: slow cooker roast, veggies, rolls

Check out Organizing Junkie for other great Menu Plans!

11 April 2014

DVD Review: Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 1

My family and I recently received a complimentary copy of the new DVD Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 1 to review.

Here comes another live action version of the Power Rangers universe! Set after the Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, this all new team of five Turbo Rangers have new powers, weapons, and nifty high tech supercharged vehicles. The space pirate Divatox planned to open a a dimensional barrier, but her plans have been foiled by the Power Rangers. Now she has her sights on conquering the Earth instead! Aided by a wise sage and friend of Zordon named Alpha 6 - an advanced robotic sidekick, as well as Dimitria, the robotic intergalactic traffic cop from the future called the Blue Senturion, and the elusive Phantom Rangers, the Power Rangers really have their hands full this time!

Volume one contains the first 23 episodes of the series: "Shift Into Turbo, Part I", "Shift Into Turbo, Part II", "Shift Into Turbo, Part III", "Shadow Rangers", "Transmission Impossible", "Rally Ranger", "Built for Speed", "Bicycle Built for the Blues", "The Whole Lie", "Glyph Hanger", "Weight and See", "Alarmed and Dangerous", "The Millennium Message", "A Drive to Win", "Cars Attacks", "Honey, I Shrunk the Rangers, Part I", "Honey, I Shrunk the Rangers, Part II", "Passing the Torch, Part I", "Passing the Torch, Part II", "Stitch Witchery", "The Wheel of Fate", "Trouble by the Slice", and "The Phantom Phenomenon".

There are no special features included on this set.

Cue the silliness with these Power Ranger villains! OK, maybe not quite as fun as previous seasons - here is where Power Ranger diehards like my DH start to grumble a bit more about the direction the shows start taking. Still, it's geared for kids who enjoy the craziness of it all - and the cars are fun for the vehicle obsessed boys.

Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 1 is available now wherever DVD's are sold. Rated TV-Y-FV, it has a total running time of 7.5 hours long. The suggested retail price is $19.93, and Amazon has it available for $17.94 as of this posting.

I received a complimentary copy of this DVD in order to view it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own.