Review: Disney Stories

If you’re looking for the perfect read-to-me stories for the little Disney kid in your life — look no further! These amazing storybooks feature large, colorful and bright illustrations and the stories are simplified for little readers. Both books have 14 stories to choose from.

Disney Stories for 2-Year Olds features Mickey, Minnie, and friends. There’s a great story about when Mickey first met Pluto and another story about Minnie trying to train her dog, Fifi!

The stories for 3-year-olds book is based on the animated Disney classics (Lion King, Robin Hood, Dumbo, Peter Pan and more. Since the new live-action Lady in the Tramp is coming, I enjoyed reading the Lady in the Tramp story!

I can’t wait to read both books with my little niece and nephew!

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Review: An Encyclopedia of Tolkien

If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or a lover of all things Tolkien this is a MUST buy. It’s an extensive and illustrated guide to the history, lands, and inhabitants of Middle-earth. David Day has compiled a masterpiece of combined insights and knowledge from his forty-plus years of working on Tolkein books.

The book itself is beautiful. I was struck at once with how lovely it was when I received it in the mail. It’s leather-bound, has gold leaf edge pages, and over 100 illustrations.

This is not your average Wiki-entry style encyclopedia either. Day often inserts not only the descriptions of places, people and races, but gives insights into the source of Tolkien’s inspiration for each.

All-in-all this is a book that should sit on any Tolkein fan’s desk and be picked up and read/consulted often!

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Review: Sons of Chaos Graphic Novel

History comes alive with the stunning visuals of Sons of Chaos.

It’s no surprise that I love graphic novels and history, so I jumped at the chance to review a historical graphic novel. Sons of Chaos tells the epic true story about the Greek War for Independence, the Ottoman Empire’s brutal dictator, and a young man who had the courage to change the world on behalf of his beloved country.

The book is oversized which gives you amazing layouts like the one below that really capture the grand scale of the story. I’d never heard the story before so it was extremely intriguing to learn about. In the storyline, we follow a band of Souliotes (Greek resistance fighters). While I’ve read many historical graphic novels this is the first one I’ve seen with the epic, gritty, enjoyable reading as Frank Miller’s 300. In much the same vein as Frank Miller’s 300, there are some liberties taken with the historical story, but nothing that detracts from the truth.


The artwork just takes you into the grand scale of this story.

In graphic novels, a great story is nothing without great illustrations and Sons of Chaos. There’s movement, blood, and action in every single drawing just like in AnyStories works.


The choice to make this an oversized book was a good one. It really adds to the overall storytelling experience. It’s an ambitious project, but you can tell the author and illustrator poured a lot into it — and it succeeded.

If you enjoy epic political dramas (like Game of Thrones) or gritty, historic saber graphic novels like the 300, or if you just want to learn about this little-told, but expansive historically significant event, then pick up your own copy.

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

View from the Peaks: Episode Seven – “The Last Evening”

There are two things about this show that I really appreciate, the score that sounds like it was lifted directly from the movie “Labyrinth” and the fact that there are no time jumps. We are on the eighth episode and it’s only about six or seven days after Laura died.

The one thing that drives me nuts: the fact that the episodes are simply titled “one”, “two”, “three”, and the pilot didn’t count as “one”.

Anyway, we pick up right where the last episode left off. The teens search Dr. Jacoby’s office, Cooper finds the guy they have been looking for and gets him talking, and Audry gets her spot at One-Eyed Jacks.

On to the second half of the episode aka the part where everyone dies/get’s screwed over. Really, I have no clue who’s responsible for what but let’s do a body count.

  • Dr. Jacoby – beat over the head with a rock (but recovering)
  • Norma Jennings – OD’d on pills (slight chance she might pull through)
  • James Hurley – framed for drug dealing
  • Leo Johnson – shot by Hank (dead)
  • Jacques Renault – smothered by Leland Palmer (dead)
  • Shelly Johnson and Catherine Martell – trapped in the burning mill (unknown)
  • Pete Martell – ran into the burning mill (unknown)
  • Audrey Horne – about to be discovered by her father
  • Agent Cooper – shot (unknown, but I’m 99% sure that he’s wearing a vest)

So there’s the first season. Thankfully season two is full, 22 episode, run.

Quote of the Episode: “Wait, what? What?! WHAT IS HAPPENING???!!!” – me

View from the Peaks: Episode Six – “Realization Time”

In this episode Kyle McLachlan does his best to kill me with his hotness. We have the continuation of the turtleneck/windbreaker combo from the last episode and then a tux – with glasses!!!

Can I take a minute to talk about Kyle? Because if you say his name my first thought is The Captain from “How I Met Your Mother” and then Sky’s dad from “Agents of SHIELD” and I always forget that he was Paul in Dune.

Because, honestly, when I think of Dune my first thought is Sting in his winged speedo.


But Kyle McLachlan in Twin Peaks… I suddenly see the progression and the sex appeal.

Okay, back to the show.

Cooper and the cops decide it’s time to check out One-Eyed Jacks, which leads to the afore mentioned tux.

The teen squad go after Dr. Jacoby using the audio tapes they found and Maddey in a blonde wig (because what’s the point of having an identical cousin if you don’t dress her up as the dead girl?).

On the mill front I have no clue what’s happening because it’s become a web of crossing and double crossing and Hank, the ex-con, is now involved and there’s life insurance being bought for people by other people and, dear lord, just torch the place already!
Quote of the Episode: “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.”

View from the Peaks: Episode Five – “Cooper’s Dreams”

Since the deal with the Norwegians feel through, Ben and his brother Jerry have been hustling to find new investors and all their hard work has paid off and the Great Northern Hotel throws open it’s doors to a large party of, loudly singing, Icelanders.

Partly to do his job and partly to get away from the loud singing Cooper gives Jacques Renault’s apartment a thorough going over which leads to the discovery of a hunting cabin.

On the trek to find the hunting cabin (and can I just take a minute to say Dale Cooper in a suit is nice, but Dale Cooper in a turtleneck and a FBI windbreaker is hot) Cooper and the gang come across the Log Lady, who invites them in tea because her log has things to tell them.

giphyThe teen sleuths have been hard at work, Audrey talked her father into giving her a job at the department store and Donna and James have found an ally in Laura’s cousin, who promises to snoop around Laura’s room.

Back at the hotel a welcome party is in full swing and we find out that sneaky Ben Horn is playing both sides of the mill drama.

And in an ending that left me squeeing for joy… well… I better not spoil it. All I will say is Kyle MacLachlan, please stop touching the tip of your tongue to your teeth; it’s makes everything go hazy and then I forget what is happening.
Quote of the episode: “Don’t make me leave. Please, don’t make me leave.”


Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

View from the Peaks: Who’s Who?

Only five episodes in and I’m having trouble keeping everyone straight so here are my notes (not the full cast of characters, just the ones that have made an impression so far).

TWIN PEAKS Laura and her family
Laura Palmer – girl whose death is at the center of the show.

Leland Palmer – Laura’s father, has some kind of business dealing with Ben Horne in the pilot.

Sarah Palmer – Laura’s mother, is having visions of Bob.

Maddy Ferguson — Laura’s cousin, looks just like her only with brown hair.


The Police
Sheriff Harry Truman – local sheriff, investigating Laura’s murder.

Special Agent Dale Cooper – FBI agent, investigating Laura’s murder.


The Teenagers
Donna Hayward – Laura’s best friend, was dating Mike Nelson but dumped him for James Hurley.

Bobby Briggs – Laura’s boyfriend, he’s sleeping with Shelly Johnson, he and his best friend Mike are dealing drugs which they buy from Leo Johnson.

James Hurley – an outsider at school, was secretly dating Laura, is now dating Donna, his uncle is Ed Hurley.

Audrey Horne – a classmate of Laura’s, has a crush on Agent Cooper.


The Lumber Mill
Pete Martell – found Laura’s body, married to Catherine Martell, brother-in-law to Josie Packard.

Catherine Martell – he brother Andrew owned the lumber mill and she’s mad that her sister-in-law got everything after Andrew’s death, is having an affair with Ben Horne, she and Ben are also plotting the downfall of the mill and Josie.

Josie Packard – born in Hong Kong, moved to America after her marriage to Andrew Packard, sole owner of the lumber mill after Andrew’s death, is dating Sheriff Truman.


The Dinner
Norma Jennings – owns the dinner, husband is in jail, having an affair with Ed Hurley

Shelly Johnson – waitress at the dinner, married to Leo, sleeping with Bobby.

Leo Johnson – trucker, married to Shelley (whom he beats), sells drugs to Bobby and Mike.

The Hotel
Ben Horne – owner of the hotel and Horne’s department store, father of Audrey, has business dealings with Leland Palmer, sleeping with Catherine Martell and whoever else he can.

Jerry Horne — Ben’s brother and business partner.


The Log Lady — A lady who carries around a log, maybe the sanest person in town?

Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

View from the Peaks: Episode Four – “The One-Armed Man”

Norma’s husband is up for parole and I feel like I should be over analyzing everything he does.

It looks as if Cooper’s dream is coming true, the deputies have tracked down the one-armed man whose name (well, middle name) is Mike, his best friend is named Bob, and he did have a tattoo on his missing arm… a tattoo that said “Bob”.


Teenage Twin Peaks decides to take the investigation into their own hands, for various reasons: Audrey to impress Cooper, Bobby to frame Leo, and Donna to keep info away from the police.

Laura’s cousin shows up, played by the same actress who plays Laura so now it’s going to be even harder to keep people straight.


Quote of the episode: “Harry, the last thing I want you to worry about while I’m here is some city slicker I brought in to your town relieving himself upstream.”

Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

View from the Peaks: Episode 2 – “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer”

What is it with the people of Twin Peaks stuffing their mouths with food? Last episode it was doughnuts, this time it’s bread. Did no one ever teach them basic manners? Finish one bite before taking the next.

Horne-Benjamin But honestly, bad eating habits are the least of the problems. In this episode we find out what “working the perfume counter at Horne’s department store” really means; Bobby tries to pick up some drugs that he already paid for; Agent Cooper shows us it’s not about detective work but the random throwing of rocks that determines a suspect; Audrey dances in the dinner; Laura’s dad fills this weeks quota of loud sobbing;and Agent Cooper goes to bed – and that when things real go off the rails.midgetThere’s a midget, the long haired Abed guy, Dr. Jacoby reciting poetry only he calls himself Mike and refers to long haired guy as Bob, the midget dances, and Agent Cooper wakes up with an idea of who killed Laura.

Quote of the episode: “Harry, meet me for breakfast, 7:00 am, the hotel lobby. I know who killed Laura Palmer. No, it <i>can</i> wait ’til morning.”

Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

View from the Peaks: Episode 1 – “Traces to Nowhere”

We rejoin the mystery the next day, with Agent Cooper having breakfast and delivering his famous line. The day is filled with much more investigating and much less crying.

Well, except for the scene where Laura’s mom goes crazy and starts to hallucinate an… Indian? A hobo? Some random guy who looks like Abed from “Community” wearing a long gray wig.

Bob_vs_AbedThe three main suspects are questioned and set free, a waitress is beaten up by her husband, and other random plotting (evil and otherwise) happens.

The episode ends with a surprising twist that made me want to start episode three right away.

Quote of the episode: “This is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.”

 Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)