12 September 2014

Book Review: A History Of The Future By James Howard Kunstler

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new book A History Of The Future: A World Made By Hand Novel by James Howard Kunstler to review.


Set years after the bombings, epidemics, and shortage of gasoline, Union Grove, New York is moving along as best as it can. Farms are producing what they can, and while it's been a struggle for some crops, others are thriving. Those who have survived this far are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, simpler than what it was in the past, but still plenty to celebrate. Empty building in town are being filled; a former pizza place now a tavern; a community laundry center on the verge of being opened in an old factory building. Even the former high school is now occupied by a religious group that is helping as best as they can to regrow the town. While a murder of a husband and young child occupies many, a familiar face barely makes it back into town alive: Robert Earle's son, Daniel, has come back from his wandering of what's left of the USA with quite the tale to tell.

This is part of the World Made By Hand series, and is book three. These days most of us are so used to having everything at the snap of our fingers that it gets hard to remember that even 50 years ago, not every household had electricity or running water. It would be a complete slap in our face to loose not only those luxuries, but suddenly not have a job, a warm place to sleep, or even food on the table. The stress of dealing with even just some of those things would be difficult enough for the average person, but toss in a few major epidemics like a version of the Spanish Flu, and a lot of people would crack.

If you're a fan of apocalyptic style fiction, and you're new to this series, you'll find it easily believable - after all, it's been said that the vast majority of this country is about three meals away from anarchy. (Don't believe it? Open your cupboard, and take stock of what you have. You've got about 24 hours before everything in your fridge and freezer have gone bad, less time if it's the middle of summer) As divided as the country is these days on many issues, it's easy to imagine it splitting into different fractions when the going gets tough - it's not like news can travel fast when there is no electricity, no cell phones, no internet to get a message to the CDC in Atlanta that here in Seattle has a major Swine Flu going on. The author does a fabulous job of pulling the reader into this new world. You can read this one without reading the first two novels, but I recommend at the very least you read the first book in the series (World Made By Hand) so you can understand how the world has become what it has in this book.

A History Of The Future: A World Made By Hand Novel by James Howard Kunstler is a hardcover fiction book published by Atlantic Monthly Press. It is 336 pages long. The suggested cover price is $25.00, and Amazon has it available for $18.30 as of this posting. It is also available as an audio CD and 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.

07 September 2014

DVD Review: Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue

My family and I recently received a complimentary copy of the new animated DVD Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue to review.


Transformers Rescue Bots is geared towards the younger crowd, and follows a group of Autobots who answered Optimus Prime's call to come to Earth. These special Transformers help teach kids about safety and keeping out of danger, while transforming into firetrucks, helicopters, police cars, etc, and pair with a family of first responders who are firefighters, police, and other safety related folks. There are rare appearances from Optimus Prime on the show, but it mostly features newer Autobots like Heatwave, Boulder, Blades and Chase. (Yes, Peter Cullen still does Optimus' voice whenever the character appears!)

This all new DVD features five episodes: "Countdown", "The Haunting Of Griffin Rock", "Spellbound", "Blame The Gremlins" (ah, that's what I say every time something goes wrong with our vehicle! lol), and "Feed The Beast". There are no special features included on the DVD.

Whether you've already got a Transformers obsessed kid at home, or wanting to introduce a young one to the franchise, chances are you'll probably enjoy this DVD almost as much as the kids will. It does a good job of staying in the Transformers realm without trampling all over beloved characters. My DH gets a kick out of this show, and he's the one who's watching it most of the time when these DVD's roll in since my daughter isn't quite as much into the Transformers realm as he'd like. (Poor DH is crushed. lol)

Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue is available now on DVD wherever DVD's are sold. Widesceen format, it is rated TV Y7-FV, and it has a total running time of 110 minutes long. The suggested retail price is $14.93, and you can find it over at Amazon.

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

DVD Review: Transformers Beast Machines: The Complete Series

My family and I recently received a complimentary copy of the new DVD Transformers Beast Machines: The Complete Series to review.


For those unfamiliar with the Transformers realm (it admittedly gets complicated!), Transformers Beast Machines is the follow up to the Beast Wars segment of the universe. This one begins pretty much right after that big battle finale for Beast Wars, and it has Optimus Primal and his legions of Maximals battling Megatron and his new army of Vehicons. The battles are fierce.

The complete series contains all 26 episodes of both seasons on four discs: "The Reformatting", "Master of the House", "Fires of the Past", "Mercenary Pursuits", "Forbidden Fruit", "The Weak Component", "Revelations, Part I: Discovery", "Revelations, Part II: Descent", "Revelations, Part III: Apocalypse", "Survivor", "The Key", "The Catalyst", "End of the Line", "Fallout", "Savage Noble", "Prometheus Unbound", "In Darkest Knight", "A Wolf In The Fold", "Home Soil", "Sparkwar Part I: The Strike", "Sparkwar Part II: The Search", "Sparkwar Part III: The Siege", "Spark of Darkness", "Endgame Part I: The Downward Spiral", "Endgame Part II: When Legends Fall", and "Endgame Part III: Seeds of The Future".

There is a bit of bonus content included that is some interviews and commentaries from those around the series.

Like the Beast Wars series, this one is totally CGI drawn. As a die hard Transformers fan from the very beginning, he just hates that. He's admitted though that if he looks at this (and the previous series) from a completely different perspective, that it's pretty cool. The storyline is a fun one regardless of your feeling on the way it's drawn, and it makes it a must add to any Transformers collection - whether they are older like my DH, or young ones just enjoying the show. It does have a little more darker moments than some of the previous incarnations of the universe, so keep this in mind for the very young ones.

Transformers Beast Machines: The Complete Series is available now wherever DVD's are sold. Widescreen format, it is rated TV-Y7-FV, and it has a total running time of 11.5 hours long. The suggested retail price is $29.93, and Amazon currently has it available for $21.49 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.

31 August 2014

Book Review: Elderly Parents With All Their Marbles By Pamela Carey

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new book Elderly Parents With All Their Marbles: A Survival Guide For The Kids by Pamela Carey to review.


As we age, so do our parents. We start noticing little things here and there, and before we know it, we're pushing 40 or 50 and our parents are in their 70's. You may find yourself helping out your parents more and more, becoming their caregiver in your own home, or helping them find assisted living that works for them. While the subject sounds serious, who says it has to be? Pamela Carey helps you navigate this difficult terrain with 49 essential points of elderly living, medical issues, and the eventual loss of your loved one.

Both my parents and my DH's parents are still living, but I spent several years as a caregiver for my grandmother. I made sure she had the groceries she needed (a difficult feat in bad weather considering I don't drive!), doctor's appointments were taken care of (again, not the easiest feat for the same reason!), paperwork filed etc. There were moments I wanted to bang my head against the wall, and lots of great moments spent with her too. While a nursing home was not in the works, I know plenty about facilities thanks to my DH. The information the author shares on this, and other sections throughout the book, is pretty much spot on for real life. Maybe I look at things a little bit differently at times than she does - for a lack of a PC way to put it, I think it has to do with family perceptions different being a first generation American.

Family is with us for a short time folks, don't just remember them on the big holidays. If you haven't talked to them this week, what are you waiting? Pick up the phone or drop on by. You'll miss them when they are gone.

Elderly Parents With All Their Marbles: A Survival Guide For The Kids by Pamela Carey is a paperback book published by Barking Cat Books. It is 158 pages long. The suggested cover price is $14.95, and Amazon has it available for $12.30 as of this posting. It is also available 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,a and not that of the author(s) or publisher.

27 August 2014

DVD Review: My Gal Sunday

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new DVD My Gal Sunday to review.


Sandra "Sunday" O'Brien-Parker and Henry Parker are a power couple with an extensive political career. They enjoy the political spotlight, but they love sleuthing and busting bad guys even more. Henry's mom Miriam, and Sunday's dad Danny, a Secret Service Agent, are kidnapped on their way to a high-profile family event. The ransomer wants the release of a notorious hit-man from federal prison in exchange for letting them go. Now the Parkers are trying to uncover clues to find the criminal killers before it's too late for their parents - and themselves.

Starring Rachel Blanchard, Cameron Mathison, and Jack Wagner, this is another movie that originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. If you're looking for a bit of suspense and thrills without a lot of violence, this could be a fun watch for you. DH and I were a little bit bored with it, but it's not our usual fare. If you're not interested in buying the DVD, it will be airing again on September 11th on the Hallmark Channel - check your local listings for times.

There are no special features included on this DVD.

My Gal Sunday is available now wherever DVD's are sold. Widescreen format, it is not rated, and safe for teens on up. The total running time is 80 minutes long. The suggested retail price is $14.93, and Amazon has it available for $12.98 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.

26 August 2014

DVD Review: Lucky In Love

I recently received a complimentary copy of the new DVD Lucky In Love to review.


Mira is like most young ladies, and has a definite idea of what the perfect life should be like - from the house to the job to the sexy man. After playing a few innocent April Fool's jokes, her dream actually becomes a reality when everything lands on her lap. She should be thrilled, but Mira soon realizes that maybe perfection isn't what she wants after all. Perhaps what she's really wanted was right in front of her face all along.

Starring Jessica Szohr, Benjamin Hollingsworth, and Deidre Hall, this movie originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. We're all guilty of thinking the grass might be greener on the other side from time to time. But is it really greener? Probably not... it's all about perspective. Maybe we all need that gentle nudge to remember most of us already have exactly what we really need. If you're looking for a romantic chick flick to curl up to on the couch and waste away an evening, this one delivers some entertainment. (Most guys will huff and puff their way through it. Poor DH! lol)

There are no special features included on the DVD. If you don't want to purchase this movie, it will be airing again on the Hallmark Channel on September 27th - check your local listings for details.

Lucky In Love is available on DVD today, August 26th 2014, wherever DVD's are sold. Widescreen format, it is not rated and safe for teens and up. The total running time is 87 minutes long. The suggested retail price is $14.93, and Amazon has it available for $12.98 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.