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Book Review: Nightingale By Amy Lukavics
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Nightingale review

Nightingale
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Amy Lukavics
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: September 25, 2018

June Hardie is a strong, independent, free-thinking woman who plans to go to college and travel the world. Someone to admire, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, she lives in the 1950s where such notions are horrifying to her family, and fondly tolerated by her fiancé (who has no intention of really letting her do anything). She often feels like screaming or escaping, but the only thing that keeps her calm is the science fiction novel she is writing. Her writing is so compelling, she can think of little else. Her hateful life and June facade comes to a crashing halt when she pulls a knife on her parents, and they commit her to an insane asylum.

What June finds is there are worse hells than being a homemaker in the suburbs. She and the other young women are trapped in a literal nightmare, where they can rely on no one but each other.

More below on Nightingale by Amy Lukavics.

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Classic Movie Review: Come and See (1985)
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Come And See review

Come and See
Directed by Elem Klimov
Starring: Aleksey Kravchenko, Olga Mironova, Liubomiras Laucevicius, and Juri Lumiste
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: February 6, 1985
Available on FilmStruck

Often my daughter comes running to me in a state of pure excitement prompting me to either “come and see this” or “come and see that.” She’s undoubtedly enthralled by whatever it is that seems to have captivated her for that specific second. She’s a child with boundless wonder, finding everything very fascinating.

A similar childlike wonder is on display in the 1985 Russian film Come and See, which documents the ruthlessness of the Nazi forces as they tear their way through Belarus villages in 1943. Aptly titled, writer and director Elem Klimov’s film is told totally from the perspective of a child. It just so happens the child, Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko), roughly 12 or 13 years old, is completely enraptured by war and the valor and courage that he believes comes with it. He can’t wait to tell his mom to “come and see what I’ll be doing.”

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Book Review: When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer
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When Elephants Fly review

When Elephants Fly
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Nancy Richardson Fischer
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: September 4, 2018

In the heartwarming YA novel When Elephants Fly, Lily, a teen genetically predisposed to schizophrenia, recalls memories of her abusive past after she witnesses a captive elephant’s violent rejection of its newborn. She’s compelled to take action after learning about the problematic living conditions of wild animals held in captivity, but is she willing to risk her sanity to save the life of a baby elephant?

Lily is an 18-year-old high school student who lives a fearful, cautious life because of her family history of schizophrenia. Guided by her protective single dad, she has a detailed plan on how to avoid any stress and activities over the next 12 years that could cause the mental illness to be triggered in her.

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Movie Review: The House With A Clock In Its Walls
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The House With A Clock In Its Walls

The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Eric Kripke
Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sunny Suljic
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG | Minutes: 104
Release Date: September 21, 2018

The House with a Clock in Its Walls is Eli Roth‘s first foray into children’s films. Based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs, the film is a first-time collaboration between the filmmaker and Amblin Entertainment.

Normally, the spirit of Amblin films and Roth’s horror influence would make for an interesting combination. But the result is an odd concoction of mixed feelings and a film that, at times, can feel like it is at war with itself. Check out the full review below.

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Comic Review: Black Badge #1 By Matt Kindt
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Matt Kindt Black Badge #1 review

Black Badge #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Illustrator: Tyler Jenkins
Colorist: Hilary Jenkins
Letterer: Jim Campbell
BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release date: August 8th, 2018

When I was growing up, being a Boy Scout was pretty fun. I enjoyed the camping, the fishing, the marshmallows, learning things that I didn’t learn in my regular classes. Sadly, I never advanced far enough in scouts to be recruited into the wing of the BSA that trained young men to become black ops field agents. That actually may not be such a bad thing.

Black Badge #1 is a fairly standard first issue in that it sets up the basic premise of four Boy Scouts going into the woods in North Korea and then everything goes kooky. In all honesty, there’s not that much that happens in this issue beyond setting up the premise and setting up the cast and getting us to ask a few questions, which is fine. Writer Matt Kindt knows how to set up first issues for these types of series, and he works well at establishing all the elements you need to hook you into the series.

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Book Review: We Sold Our Souls: A Novel By Grady Hendrix
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We Sold Our Souls review

We Sold Our Souls
Hardcover | Kindle
By Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: September 18, 2018

The myth of musicians selling their souls to the devil in exchange for success goes back to 18th century violinist Niccolò Paganini, a rock star in his own time. But of all the musical genres, this Faustian pact has become most associated with heavy metal, the modern-day “devil music.” It’s one thing to choose to sell your soul to gain fame and fortune, but what if someone bargained your soul away for their own benefit without your knowledge, leaving you broke and in despair? That’s what happens to rising star Kris Pulaski in Grady Hendrix’s We Sold Our Souls.

In the 1990s, guitarist Kris Pulaski and her band Dürt Würk were seemingly on the verge of a major breakthrough. They had released several well-received albums and had toured the world, where they opened for the likes of Slayer and repeatedly won over live audiences. But then one night, Dürt Würk’s lead singer, Terry Hunt, deceived and betrayed his bandmates, tricking them into signing a contract that led to his – and only his – eventual stardom and their downfall.

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Audiobook Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story Junior Novel By Joe Schreiber
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Solo: A Star Wars Story Junior Novel by Joe Schreiber

Solo: A Star Wars Story Junior Novel
Star Wars Junior Novelizations
Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
Written Joe Schreiber
Audiobook narrated by Sean Henin Bradford Hastings
Publisher: Del Rey Books | Random House Audio
Audiobook Release date: September 4, 2018

I’d like to preface this by saying that the next week or so is going to be interesting. I just finished the audiobook of Solo: A Star Wars Story Junior Novel (which I will review here in short order) and then I’m embarking on Solo: A Star Wars Story Expanded Edition. Both are novelizations of the same movie, but with different authors and different voice talents on each. I want to liken it to watching the theatrical and director’s cuts of a film, but I don’t think it’s going to be like that at all, to be honest, because the interpretations by the authors should be slightly different and the lead voice will have a different sound entirely. Bear with me, okay?

I began with the Junior Novel audiobook because I knew I could tear through it pretty quickly and because I’m already familiar with author Joe Schreiber‘s work in the Star Wars Universe having read both Death Troopers and Maul: Lockdown. (I’m pretty sure Death Troopers is the final book I purchased before Borders Books & Music shuttered forever).

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Book Review: Dive Smack By Demetra Brodsky
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Dive Smack book review

Dive Smack
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
Written by Demetra Brodsky
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 19, 2018

Theo Mackey should have it all. He’s the captain of the diving team, gets good grades, has a lot of friends, and the girl he likes is showing serious interest. But he has darkness in his past that threatens his present and future. His mother died in a fire, a fire he started, and his dad, who never recovered, died soon after. Now Theo lives with his alcoholic grandfather, and he cannot remember that night. He’s also popping Adderall like candy, and seeing his “Uncle” Phil, a psychiatrist with the heavy prescription hand and an enemy of GP (grandpa). He gets assigned a family history project with his crush, who also lost her mother, and a kid he does not like. On top of all that, he’s going into some fugue states, some that endanger his life. He’s hitting a brick wall with his memories and GP. What will he find when he finally breaks it down?

More below on Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky.

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Book Review: Paradox Bound: A Novel by Peter Clines
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Paradox Bound book banner Peter Clines

Paradox Bound: A Novel
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
By Peter Clines
Publisher: Broadway Books | Crown Publishing
Paperback release date: June 26, 2018

In Peter Clines‘s Paradox Bound, a young man leaves his small town to embark on a cross-country trek to find the mysterious traveler he met in his youth, and it lands him on a dangerous journey … through history!

Eli Teague lives in Sanders, a behind-the-times town in Maine that doesn’t even have internet or cell service. While he finds the place boring, he’s not really compelled to move. Instead, he awaits the possible return of Harry, the traveler who he twice encountered as a boy who whizzed in and out of his life so quickly. He’s never forgotten about this woman dressed in Revolutionary War garb, driving a tricked-out Model-A Ford that runs on something other than gasoline. Who was she really and would she ever return?

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Blu-ray Review: Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition
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Hocus Pocus Blu-ray review

Hocus Pocus
25th Anniversary Edition
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Bette Midler, Thora Birch, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stephanie Faracy
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Run Time: 96 minutes
Rated PG
Release Date: September 4, 2018

It is the 25th anniversary of this cult favorite and to celebrate, there is a spanking brand new Blu-ray for sale everywhere. Just for fans, you can watch the We Love Hocus Pocus Trivia and Treats Edition of Hocus Pocus, which plays the movie “with fun facts, trivia, concept art, storyboards, behind-the-scenes magic, and more!”

In 1993, Hocus Pocus was written off by critics as a silly Halloween-themed kids movie. While it grossed $39.5 million, it barely cracked the top 40 box office for the year, under such “classics” as The Beverly Hillbillies and Dennis the Menace. However, as often is the case with movies aimed at children, the kids grow up and with them come large pairs of nostalgia goggles that, in this case, have turned Disney’s witch comedy into a cult classic, especially for those now in their mid-30s. Capitalizing on this nostalgia and the fact that most of these 30-somethings have children of their own now, Disney released a new Anniversary Edition of the film on Blu-ray and digital right in time for its 25th birthday and Halloween season.

More below on Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Edition.

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