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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – in theaters November 21, 2014

*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Lions Gate. I received a book, products, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Mockingjay Part 1 Poster

Several years ago my daughter was begging me for a series of books from an author Suzanne Collins. I knew nothing of the books or the author so I was reluctant to purchase books I knew nothing about (just in case they were not age appropriate). After learning that all her friends were reading a book called The Hunger Games I figured it was OK for her to read the book so I picked her up a copy.

My daughter was so into the book that she read it in a matter of a couple of days and begged me to get her the second one in the series.

About the same time we learned that the book was coming to theaters are a feature film by the same name, The Hunger Games. My daughter was so excited. The day the movie came out she went to see it with her friends.

Admittedly I had no interest in the book or the film.

One day I saw the DVD in the store and bought it as a gift for our daughter. She watched it several times back to back. I knew there had to be something about the movie to make my daughter such a huge fan. So one day when everyone was at work and school I popped the movie into the DVD to watch it. I was hooked! I didn’t think it would have been that good. I even picked up my daughter’s copy of the book and read that too (I wish I had read the book first). Before I knew it I was also excited when we learned that the next book in the series was also coming out as a feature film. As soon as that film was available on DVD I purchased it as well because I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Katniss and her friends.

We do have the second book in the trilogy but I haven’t read it yet (my daughter did).

On November 21, 2014 the first part of the last book in the trilogy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I, comes to theaters.

Thanks to Mom Central I received a copy of the book, Mockingjay, as well as a few more copies to give out to friends.

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I started to read the book the same day it arrived. I couldn’t wait to dive into it.

I invited over a couple of friends and a neighbor for an afternoon of The Hunger Games. I picked up some “grown up” snacks (crackers, fancy cheeses, cheese spread), fruits and tea biscuits, coffee, tea and wine.

We watched both films, The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire back to back. Thank goodness The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is on Netflix because I couldn’t track down our copy. I wanted to make sure that we saw BOTH films in sequence.

After we watched both films (and chatted a lot about the movies and “mom stuff”) I surprised each of them with a copy of the book Mockingjay, which is the third and final book in the series. They were psyched! No one knew what was going to happen next to Katniss or what happened to Peeta. Personally that is one thing I was super curious about – Peeta.

A few of the ladies started to flip through the book but I asked that they wait to read it so we can all start on the book together (although I cheated – I did start to read it).

I showed the trailer to my guests (via my computer) to get them excited about the book an the upcoming movie. Here is the trailer for your enjoyment.

 

We were going to get together again and discuss the book and share our thoughts this weekend, but I was invited at the last minute to go to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and couldn’t set something up. I feel bad about that too.

The movie opens on the 21st and we had planned to go and see it together (a few of us – not everyone could make it). Instead of seeing the film opening weekend (which would be a nightmare – the theater will be packed) we are going to plan a little impromptu get together next Saturday morning (I have plans in the afternoon) to discuss the book (we all finished reading it as far as I know). Hopefully we can meet up at the mall and go see the film the following weekend.

I’m done reading the book. I was going to pace myself a little better but I had to see how it ended. I was surprised at the ending – sort of. I THINK I kind of felt it would end the way it did, but I wasn’t 100% sure.

Some might this the book and movies series are for teens and ‘tweens. They are not. Plenty of grown ups enjoy them just as much as the younger crowd does.

I really like Katniss. I like how she is fiercely loyal and protecting of her family and friends and how she stands up for others.

A great book and a glass of wine with friends.

A great book and a glass of wine with friends.

She’s a hero, and she’s a strong women (emotionally and physically) but she doesn’t apply that label to herself. She doesn’t see herself as a hero. She’s just Katniss. She’s the same humble, down to Earth girl she’s always been. I like that quality about her. She didn’t let the games or all the corruption get the best of her.

This is all evident the third book in the series which is probably the most action packed out of all of them. I also like that we see more of Gale in this book then we have in the past.

I also like the “sci-fi” aspect to the series. I find it fascinating, although the idea of having the different districts doesn’t sound too appealing.

If you would like to learn more about the film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I please visit the official website. Part II should be released this time next year.

Have you read all three books in the series? Have you seen both films? Are you looking forward to seeing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Mockingjay Part 1 Teaser Poster

Kimberly

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Spruce up any room with Disney’s Poster-A-Page book series (including Star Wars!)

 

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I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan. I fell in love with the movie franchise the very first time I saw Star Wars in the movie theater when I was a young girl (yes… I’m THAT old – LOL). I even had Star Wars toys when I was a young girl. I was also very jealous of my cousin when he got an AT-AT toy for Christmas, the one that I wanted. By the way… I still want an AT-AT toy.

I have seen all six movies in the franchise about a dozen times each – if not more. I’m also super excited to see the newest Star Wars film which is set to be released in theaters December 2015. Eeek! I cant’ wait!

My kids still go to the pediatrican. There is a post in the pediatrican’s office that I would LOVE to have.

Star Wars Poster

Sorry that the picture is not so great.

I love that poster!

Thanks to Time Home Entertainment Inc., one of the biggest movie franchises of all time is now available as part of Disney’s Poster-A-Page book series. Disney is behind the new Stars Wars film.

Star Wars Poster-A-Page: The Skywalker Saga (Episodes I-VI) boasts more than a hundred glossy, full-color images from Star Wars movies filled with noble Jedi Knights, fearsome creatures, and cruel villains, along with characters such as evil Darth Vader, wise old Yoda, idealistic Luke Skywalker, and lovable Chewbacca.

I received one of these books to review. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I love the mini and full size posters in this book. Many of them are from the classic (original) Star Wars films.

The book is pictured above. Here are the large posters you’ll find inside the book as well as some of the mini posters.

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I want to tear out a few of the mini posters to hang up. My husband wants to keep the book in tact because he thinks it’s cool to look at. So right now we’re in “limbo” when it comes to using the posters and mini posters or just enjoying it as a regular picture book.

Disney Poster-A-Page series has several books available including popular characters, stories, and memorable moments in a unique visual format. This series is targeted towards children ages 4-12, however younger children and not-so-young children (adults) can enjoy them too.

Other books in the series include…

MARVEL Poster-A-Page: Avengers Assemble in Action brings to life the most powerful superhero team in the world! Including Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and the Black Widow, this book has all of the favorite Marvel characters showing off their skills and fearlessness.

Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page: Magical Moments relives the magic of the second highest grossing Disney movie of all time. With wintry scenes and cherished characters, this book follows Anna and Kristoff as they encounter Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman, in their epic journey to find Elsa.

Disney Junior Poster-A-Page: Let’s Play features the lovable characters from one of the highest rated children’s TV series, including six-year-old Doc McStuffins; Mickey Mouse and his clubhouse friends Goofy, Donald, Minnie, Daisy, and Pluto; and Jake and his Never Land Pirates crew.

Sofia the First: Practice Makes Princess includes sweet images of Sofia, her family and friends, as well as lots of wisdom from the Princess herself. 

Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Moments serves up the royal treatment with illustrations from some of Disney’s most beloved princesses, including Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Aurora, Jasmine, Merida, and Pocahontas.

I was also sent to review the Disney Junior Poster-a-Page: Let’s Play book. I brought that one into work with me. We care for young children (newborn to age 16 – most are under 8). I know that a lot of the characters in the book – Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Mickey Mouse & Friends – are all recognizable by the little ones. Not only does it give them something fun to look at the images add a lot of fun and whimsy to our room.

Here is the book as well as some of the posts and mini posters we put around the room.

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So cute!

We put the posters and pictures up on Friday. We didn’t have any children during the morning when I work. I’m not sure if there were any kids in the afternoon so I am not sure how the kids reacted to the images. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough when I go back to work.

The kids normally point out the Mickey and Minnie Mouse poster we have and the Clifford the Big Red Dog poster. I KNOW they are going to love all these fun, colorful and adorable posters and mini posters that adorn our room.

Look for these fun books on Amazon and other places where books are sold.

These would make wonderful gifts for the holiday season.

Another Poster-A-Page book from the series.

Another Poster-A-Page book from the series.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Book Review: My Very, Very, Busy Day!

 

My Very Very Busy Day

Not too long ago we took our dog to Banfield Pet Hospital for the first for a regular check up and to receive his heart worm preventative medicine.

While we were waiting I saw an adorable book on the counter where the receptionist sits. The children’s book is from Banfield Pet Hospital. It’s titled “My Very, Very, Busy Day!”

This is a super adorable book that is mean to not only entertain children but also to educate them on what it means to be a responsible pet owner. The book also touches upon the importance of pet receiving regular preventative veterinary care, just like why we were at Banfield Pet Hospital that day – getting our dog Espn preventative health care.

Contributing to the forward in the book is Quvenzhané Wallis. She’s a pet lover and star of the upcoming musical movie “Annie.” In the forward Quvenzhané shared her love of animals, including her two dogs, Sammie and Shuga. She also aspires to be a veterinarian one day.

I also thought about being a veterinarian because I love animals so much. I just couldn’t get past the gross stuff like surgery. LOL!

“My Very, Very Busy Day” follows a day in the life of four-legged friends, Captain Noodles, a feisty, energetic dog, and Kitty, a wise cat, as they keep very, very busy eating, sleeping, playing, getting a bath – and most importantly – receiving a very important six month check-up at the veterinarian. The book also includes Banfield’s “Best Friend Promise,” which lists the responsibilities of pet ownership and asks readers to sign, signifying their understanding of what is needed to keep pets healthy and happy.

I have a copy of the book that was sent to me to review. Not only is it a cute story book (with an important message) the illustrations are absolutely adorable. I LOVE all the creatures seen in the book (not just dogs and cats).

“My Very, Very Busy Day!” is available at Banfield Pet Hospital locations nationwide for a suggested donation price of $10.00. The proceeds will go to Banfield Charitable Trust to help provide preventive care to pets in need. Talk about a “win-win” situation – your family get a delightful book about animals that teaches pet responsibility to children and pets in need get preventative healthcare.

To find a Banfield Pet Hospital near you please visit Banfield.com.

To read more about my experience with Banfield Pet Hospital use the search box on my site (upper right side) and do a search for Banfield.

Banfield Pet Hospital Book

Kimberly

*I received a free copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Create a new family tradition with The Good Deed Manger (giveaway ends 11/22/14)

 

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The holiday season is upon us. Many people have already begun to make plans to visit family and friends, decided on who is hosting family gatherings and asking their children what they want Santa to bring them Christmas morning.

Sadly I think the holiday season has got way too “commercial”. I think a lot of people will agree with me. I mean seriously, our local grocery store had Christmas candy and decorations on the SAME shelves as the Halloween candy. How awful is that? Not only that, what happened to Thanksgiving? Sigh…

I think the real reason behind the holiday has become “lost” behind power shopping at the mall and waiting online for hours for the “must have” toy of the season. Sadly, your child won’t really remember that toy that you searched all over town for and waited on a long line to purchase. What they will remember is the quality time and great memories you made together as a family.

I honestly can’t remember any of the toys I received for Christmas except one. It was a Ballerina Barbie I received when I was about 9 or 10 years old. The only reason why I remember it was because my mom was in the hospital that Christmas. I was not allowed to visit her in the hospital (she was in intensive care) but she did call me on the phone on Christmas Eve to wish me a Merry Christmas. She let me unwrap one toy while I was on the phone with her. It was that Barbie doll. That is why I can remember that specific toy.

When I think about Christmases from my past I can only remember the things my family did together that was special, like how my great-grandparents would come over Christmas morning for a big breakfast and how excited I was when my father would retrieve our giant light up Santa and Frosty from the attic, which means it was time to decorate. I also remember how we did the “Elf on a Shelf” thing long before it became popular like it is today.

Our now almost 18 year old daughter with Frosty at her great-grandparent's house.

Our now almost 18 year old daughter with Frosty at her great-grandparent’s house.

I place a lot of sentimental value on certain items in my possession. My family now owns the giant light up Santa and Frosty, which we display every year (even though Frosty has seen better days). I also have my Elf from when I was a young girl and many ornaments and holiday décor that belonged to my parents. I cherish these items.

I have the manager that belonged to my mom and dad too. It’s very old. The bottom of some of the figures have prices on them such as .30 cents and .50 cents. They are VERY old pieces that were imported from Italy. They are all in great shape, even for being about 60+ years old.

We also have my mother in law’s manager that we also display. It’s not as old as mine but it has sentimental value to my husband.

Jesus is the reason for the season so it’s very important for us to celebrate his birth with a nativity, along wit more traditional holiday décor. It’s a reminder of what the holiday season is all about. It’s not so much about getting gifts as it is giving to others and good will towards others. It’s a reminder that we need to think of others and be kind and giving whenever possible

There is a wonderful new product available that will help families teach their children about the real reason for the season and how it’s not all about getting gifts. It’s called The Good Deed Manger.

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The Good Deed Manger is a book and plush toy set. It comes with a book, a plush donkey, a manger, “hay” and a cute baby Jesus.

The beautifully illustrated book is about a donkey named Jordan. Jordan lives in Bethlehem. He comes across the pregnant Mary and Joseph and invites them to stay in the stable with him and his animal friends.

Jordan doesn’t want the baby to come into the world with no place cozy and comfy to sleep so Jordan and his friends gather up all the hay they can find to make a comfortable bed for the newborn baby. When Jesus is born the manger is full of hay. Jordan’s selfless act of  kindness does not go unnoticed. Baby Jesus is so happy that Jordan and friends were kind to him and repay their kindness with a smile.

The purpose of the book is to teach children about doing for others during the holiday season and not focus on the toys and tech items they want Santa to bring them from their wish list.

To teach and encourage children to do good for others, The Good Deed Manger set comes with an empty manger with felt “hay” strands. Baby Jesus can not arrive into this world on Christmas day to an empty manger. In order to add hay to the manger to make it comfortable a child needs to do a good deed. For each good deed a child does they are given a piece of “hay” to place in the manger. The idea behind this is to encourage children to do many good deeds before Christmas day so that the manger is filled with “hay”. Then on Christmas morning before your child awakes place the plush baby Jesus into the manger so your child can see they created a comfortable place for baby Jesus.

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Although this is geared towards younger children I personally feel that the entire family can take part in this. It’s a beautiful activity for the whole family. Not only does it remind us to do good for others, but it also means that others are benefiting from the good deeds your family does.

Good deeds don’t have to be huge. They can be simple things like shoveling the walkway for an elderly neighbor, or donating a toy to a children’s charity. Even doing a siblings chores for them without being asked could be considered a good deed. All deeds would qualify for a piece of “hay” – big or small.

I LOVE this idea. It’s a wonderful idea that can become a family tradition. It’s also a great way for families to work together and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

The book is beautifully illustrated. I LOVE the donkey and baby Jesus. They are very well made. I can see the donkey quickly becoming a family favorite (baby Jesus shouldn’t make his appearance until Christmas morning). They is made out of thick felt so the set can be reused over and over again for many years to come.

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The Good Deed Manger can be purchased as a complete set for $39.99. You can also purchase  book, mange and donkey separately.

For more information or to make a purchase visit www.TheGoodDeedManger.com. You can also connect with The Good Deed Manger on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

One lucky reader will win the complete The Good Deed Manger set (book, donkey and manger) compliments of the wonderful people from The Good Deeds Manager.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen a random using a random number generator. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you want to win The Good Deed Manger?

For extra entries you can the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify. I do check.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Book Review: Unlikely Heroes by New York Times bestseller Jennifer Holland

 

Unlikely Heroes

I am a huge animal lover. I love all kids of animals. I would own a zoo and a farm if at all possible. For now I’m happy with our “mini-zoo” which consists of five cats, a dog and two fish. We also feed a wild bunny that lives in our condo complex.

I have always had animals in my life – both big and small. I grew up with several dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, fish and even a horse. I can never imagine a life without pets. They mean the world to me.

Most pet owners will agree that our pets provide us with unconditional love. They don’t expect much in return except for a warm place to sleep, fresh food, clean water and your love.

Pets prove themselves time and time again. There are so many stories about pets who rescue their owners from dangers and uncertain death. Even animals that are not pets have turned into heroes.

A new book by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Holland highlights 37 incredible stories about how animals became heroes.

Jennifer Holland has shown us animal friendships and love with her New York Times bestsellers Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves. Packed with beautiful full-color photos Unlikely Heroes: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom (Workman Press, October 2014) uncovers and celebrates a side of animals that we often think belongs primarily to people—heroism—and shares heartwarming stories that can only be described as remarkable.

A pod of dolphins who protected swimmers in New Zealand from a great white shark. A cat who provided comfort to soldiers in Afghanistan. A llama who shines his very special light of love on the elderly patients in an Oregon rehab center. A paralyzed bunny who brings joy to paralyzed children. An abandoned puppy who lost all four paws to frostbite—that’s him, smiling on the cover of the book—who learned to walk on prosthetics and inspires others with disabilities.

I have another book from Jennifer Holland (Unlikely Friendships). You can read my review here – Unlikely Friendships book review.

When I was offered this book to review I knew I wanted to read it. I does break my heart to hear about animals such as Alyna the paralyzed bunny and Naki’o (pictured on the cover of the book) the abandoned puppy who lost all for paws – but at least their stories have happy endings. Sadly many other animals in the same situation don’t.

These incredible TRUE stories show how ordinary animals go above and beyond without any thought to risk to themselves to save others or to make a difference in someone’s life.

You hear stories every day about dogs and cats who are heroes, but what about a sea lion, otter, camel, horse and a cow? There are animals featured in this book that you would never expect to have the metal capacity to protect others – especially humans. These stories only prove just how intelligent animals really are.

The book has over 200+ pages. You could easily read it in one day if you’d like. I personally enjoy that it’s broken up into individual stories so you can read a few at a time or what ever “free time” allows you to read. I often don’t have time to read so it worked well for someone like me. I actually took the book to work with me and read a story or two whenever we had “down time”.

You don’t have to be an animal lover to enjoy this book. It’s a great read even if it was human’s in place of the animal heroes.

I found this book to be inspiring. I am in awe of these amazing animals. They did things even humans wouldn’t do. Often they were heroes for complete strangers too without a thought for their own safety.

Unlikely Heroes: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom is published by Workman and is available where most books are sold.

This book would make a great gift for an animal lover. Even children could appreciate the stories in this book. Plus there are plenty of pictures to go along with the stories too.

My teenage daughter is currently reading this book. :-)

Jennifer Holland PHOTO SOURCE: Workman

Jennifer Holland
PHOTO SOURCE: Workman

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Gone Girl Movie Soundtrack & Book Giveaway (ends 10/24/14)

 

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Have you seen the film Gone Girl yet? I hear from others who have seen it that it’s an awesome film. Personally I have not seen it yet but I might go and see it this weekend. It’s our wedding anniversary and we were thinking about dinner and a movie.

If you are not familiar with the movie it’s based on the novel by Gillian Flynn and stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

I heard the book was really good too.

Neil Patrick Harris and  Tyler Perry also star in the film.

Here is the trailer for your enjoyment.

 

If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit the Official Website as well as follow the film on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

I’m hosting a giveaway for a $25 Visa gift card and a Gone Girl movie tie-in book that ends on 10/18/14 if you are interested. You can find it here – Gone Girl Giveaway.

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In addition I have another Gone Girl giveaway for my readers. This one is for the movie soundtrack and a copy of the Gone Girl movie tie-in book.

Enter to win the “hypnotic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross” that perfectly sets the chilling tone in Gone Girl.

The soundtrack comes from Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Reznor and Ross have worked with director David Fincher on two previous films, The Social Network, for which they won an Oscar for Best Original Score, and the critically acclaimed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Find more details on iTunes and Amazon.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on October 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this giveaway?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I will received a gift card for my participation. There is no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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