Read to Me, Dad! Review – The Revenge of Magic: The Last Dragon

The Revenge of Magic

Aladdin, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division sent me both books in the Revenge of Magic series by James Riley for free to review. Opinions are my own.

Read to Me, Dad! Reviews are reviews for parents to help them find great books for their kids. The book series The Revenge of Magic is geared for the 8-12 year old kid who enjoys magic and action and adventure. The latest book The Revenge of Magic: The Last Dragon releases on October 8, 2019.

About the book – Fort Fitzgerald is determined to uncover the truth, but a new student at school and the secrets he has to keep complicate matters in this second novel in a thrilling new series from the author of the New York Times bestselling Story Thieves! You can see my full thoughts and impressions on the book in the video below.

If you wanted to pick these books up for your kids then please use my Amazon.com affiliate links below. They cost you nothing extra and using them helps out this channel.

The Revenge of Magic (out now!)
The Revenge of Magic: The Last Dragon (releases Oct 8th)

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Book Review

Read to Me, Dad! Review – The Time Machine

The Time Machine
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I received a review copy of The Time Machine from The Quarto Group for free. Opinions are my own.

H.G. Wells is easily the father of the science fiction novel. His works are timeless. The Time Machine is a perfect candidate for the Classics Reimagined series that the Quarto Group has put out. Other works include Frankenstein and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A story like The Time Machine has been redone by so many people over the years. This take on the work uses the unabridged version of the book with illustrations by Ale + Ale, two Italian artists Alessandro Lecis and Alessandra Panzeri. The illustrations are beautiful and the way the book is laid out also includes interesting typefaces and graphic design. It is a classic made modern again.

While the content is very dense I can remember reading it as a kid. Or maybe I know the story because in science fiction it is ubiquitous, everyone has sampled from it in most time travel movies, books, comics, and TV shows. No, I’m pretty sure I read it as a kid. Reading it again I still find the wording challenging. However, it is worth reading because of how influential the book was been. It may be easier to convince your kids to read it in this format because of the illustrations throughout. They break things up and enhance the enjoyment of the read.

You can pick the book up on Amazon.com and if you do please consider using our affiliate link to get the book. The Time Machine.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Science Fiction

The Zax Influencer Package Contents

With Zax
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I received a free blogger/influencer package from Zing Toys with ZAX inside. They sent a target, 4 Zax axes and the package was incredible! I will be doing a review at a later date. Opinions are my own.

Axe throwing is a new trend with Axe throwing bars and locations popping up everywhere. Well, it is a bit too heavy and dangerous for kids so Zing created Zax. I saw these at Sweet Suite and had to check them out. I’ve had a couple of them for a while but no target. Now I have a perfect target for them and Andrew and I will be playing with these often. The full review will be part of my Video Holiday gift guide in November.

Z-Ax Blogger activation

I did bring the pack to work so everyone could try them out during out downtime.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Axe Throwing

Missing Voltron

Voltron Pop
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Voltron: Legendary Defender was one of my favorite shows a couple of years ago. I wish that it was still running because there has to still be stories to tell. It had an amazing cast of talented actors. It was a show that I could share with the kids and we’d all enjoy watching. I collected a ton of Voltron things and I never got this large Funko Pop figure. I noticed it on someone’s desk at work and it is pretty sweet. Not that I need any other toys but I may look for this one.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Voltron

Eva’s Birthday Party

Birthday Girl Eva
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We spent this afternoon celebrating Eva’s birthday. She had a bunch of girls from her class over along with their parents and her cousin, Shaylee. This was a low key birthday and that worked out really well. Eva wanted to do a photo scavenger hunt over at the park and so she set up two teams of her friends and we had a third team that had Andrew and one of his friends from school who has a sister in Eva’s class. I think this was great for Andrew because he has been having a difficult time at school and some one on one time with a classmate might help with the feelings that he’s been having lately. They seemed to have gotten along really well.

The girls had a nice time. The scavenger hunt went well and it was over quickly. We had allotted an hour for it but only really needed about 15 minutes. Maybe a longer list next time or something. The kids played at the park and had fun after everything was over.

I added one thing to the list and that was to get a bullseye thrown the Zax foam axes. There was no place to mount the target so I held it up in front of my face so they could all take a turn throwing the axes. I did not get too dinged up.

We returned home to cake and ice cream. Eva’s theme was a cross between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. She had a cake with the Deathly Hallows symbol on it but the cake itself was blue to represent the blue foods that Percy’s mom would make for him. I have to say, Eva’s friends know her well. She received An Unlikely Story and Joann gift cards, some wigs and drawing tools. She was thrilled.

When all the guests left we had pizza with my mom, dad and our friend Colleen. It was a nice day to celebrate Eva’s birthday.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

birthday party

Exceptional Sound Quality in a Stylish Design with Sennheiser M3 Momentum Wireless Headphones

M3 Momentum Wireless headphones

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. All opinions are my own.

The more that I have been gaming the more I have embraced the over full ear covering headphones. I’m also quite sensitive to sounds around me and love being able to cancel them out and just enjoy what I want to hear. Whether that is rocking out to some 80’s hair band power ballads or the full surround sound experience of my favorite movie. I want to be able to hear it all in crisp crystal clear sound. I also want those headphones to be wireless. With the new Sennheiser’s NEW M3 Momentum Wireless headphones I would get all that and much more.

M3 Momentum Wireless headphones

These Sennheiser M3 Momentum Wireless headphones can be found at Best Buy in their Magnolia department. These are premium headphones that produce studio-quality sound. They are stylish and can be found in both Black and Sandy White. However, it is the innovative features that I am very excited about.

There is an Auto On/Off feature and a Smart Pause feature. This allows you to take your headphones off and the music will pause so that when you slip them back on the music starts again. This is very useful when you have kids in the house and they are coming up to you with a myriad of questions. Let’s say that those same kids are running around the house being kids and having a great time, but you want to hear your favorite audio book, YouTube channel or streaming music. This is where the Active Noise Cancellation feature comes in. There are actually 3 modes for Active Noise Cancellation. There is Maximum Mode Cancellation for air travel. If you are going to use these headphones outside then there is an Anti Wind mode but if you are just at home and want softer noise cancellation then choose the Anti Pressure mode. There are also times when you have to be able to hear your surroundings. So for me, at work I have to listen for overhead pages and I would use the Transparent Hearing feature. Although I’d love to just use the Maximum Airplane mode to block everything else out.

M3 Momentum Wireless headphones

The headphones also have Smart ‘Tile’ Technology so that you can easily track and find your headphones. That way you can stay lost in your music. Although, there are times when you need to switch from listening to music to taking phone calls. In those cases you can use the built in microphone to take that call and even do three-way calling. These headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with aptX support. That way you can connect to two devices simultaneously. I like that feature because I may be watching a movie on my iPad but want to take a call that comes in from my phone and I never have to remove my headphones to do so. There are some very innovate features are built into these MOMENTUM Wireless headphones. You can learn more about Best Buy’s Magnolia Experience at https://www.facebook.com/MagnoliaExperience/ and also more about the Sennheiser devices at their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SennheiserUSA/

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Gadgets

Halloween Cereals from General Mills

Halloween Cereals
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Every once in a while the folks at General Mills Cereal send me new products to try out. I use them to make recipes or take photos or whatever. They send me these for free and I appreciate that.

With Halloween coming they sent me some Reese’s Puffs Bats and Count Chocula. It enjoy eating the two of these cereals together. I think there is something special I should make from them, maybe a cereal bar or something. Or maybe get a Halloween mold to make cereal bars shaped like bats. Oh, maybe I should do that.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Cereal

Toy Story 4 Is Out on Blu-ray Today!

Toy Story 4 Blu-ray

We were provided a digital download of the movie Toy Story 4 for free to review and also additional copies were provided for a giveaway. Opinions are our own.

In the fourth installment we find the toys on a road trip with their new kid, Bonnie. Bonnie is starting Kindergarten and during her orientation she makes a toy named Forky. Forky becomes her most important toy and while Woody begins feeling useless he finds meaning in trying to convince Forky that being a toy is important. Meanwhile Forky only wants to throw himself in the trash.

While on the road trip Forky and Woody end up at a store called Second Chance Antiques. There they also meet Gabby Gabby. There are many new friends and challenges that Woody and Forky encounter as well as an old friend, Bo Peep. There is an underlying story that focuses mostly on Woody and his journey. The overall outcome is quite satisfying and I would say that this time around it a natural stopping point in the story.

Along the way we meet some fun characters like Duke Caboom played by Keanu Reeves. He’s quite funny. Then there is also Ducky (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (voice of Jordan Peele) who are some very funny carnival toys.

We have some fun activity pages and a snack mix you can download to enjoy while you watch the movie or a road trip of your own.

Road Trip Bingo

Snack Mix
Duke Caboom’s DareDevil Snack Mix

The World’s Favorite Toys Are Back in the Adventure of a Lifetime!

Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 Captures the Hearts of Fans Old & New Coming to Homes Digitally Oct. 1st and on Blu-rayä Oct. 8th New on 4K UHD™

Extras include all-new deleted scenes, conversations with the talent and filmmakers sharing the most memorable moments and characters and much more!

BURBANK, Calif. — This summer, Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” took audiences on a hilarious and heartwarming road trip with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the whole gang, earning a 98 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and more than $1 billion at the global box office. Packed with old friends and new faces, the fourth film in the beloved Toy Story series, which leads Woody to an unexpected fork in the road, arrives home on Digital in 4K Ultra HD™, HD, and Movies Anywhere Oct. 1, and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray,™ DVD Oct. 8.

Fans who bring home “Toy Story 4” will be treated to over an hour of bonus features celebrating the film’s iconic characters, Pixar’s filmmaking team and the legacy of “Toy Story,” which began as the world’s first fully computer-animated feature film released nearly 25 years ago. Extensive extras includes deleted scenes such as an alternate ending, an all-new featurette with an endearing look back on Woody and Buzz’s legendary friendship throughout the years; entertaining studio stories shared by members of the Pixar team; a nostalgic look back at the creation and first storyboard screening of “Toy Story” with filmmakers; and the pioneering efforts of Pixar artists who created the sets, characters, look and feel of the original film and much more.

In “Toy Story 4,” Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy Forky (voice of Tony Hale) calls himself “trash,” Woody decides to teach Forky how to embrace being a toy. But a road-trip adventure, including an unexpected reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts), shows Woody how big the world can be for a toy. In addition, carnival prizes Ducky (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (voice of Jordan Peele) bring a new level of fun to the film.

The must-own, fourth installment in the Toy Story series will be packaged several ways to ensure families get the most out of their in-home entertainment experience. “Toy Story 4” arrives home a week early on Digital 4K Ultra HD™, HD and SD with two exclusive extras including a deleted scene, “Bonnie’s Playtime”. A physical copy of the film is available as a 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital Code), a Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD. Fans who wish to relive all four Toy Story adventures may opt for a Digital bundle, which is available for pre-order.

BONUS FEATURES (may vary by retailer)

Blu-ray & Digital:

  • ‘Toy Stories – The Toy Story 4 cast and crew share their love of toys!
  • Woody & Buzz – Take a look at the relationship between these two legendary characters.
  • Bo Rebooted – Discover how Team Bo reimagined all aspects of Bo Peep’s identity to arrive at the fully realized character seen in the film.
  • Toy Box – Enjoy a collection of mini-docs on the film’s memorable new characters, featuring the voice actors, director Josh Cooley and Pixar artists talking about the many elements that make these characters fun and lovable
  • Let’s Ride With Ally Maki – Ally Maki, voice of Giggle McDimples, learns all about Pixar’s dialogue recording process from director Josh Cooley and his team.
  • Deleted Scenes introduced by director Josh Cooley including:
    • Scamming Playtime
    • Bo Knows Hippos
    • Desperate Toys
    • Knock-Offs
    • Recruit Duke
    • She’s The One
  • Audio Commentary, Trailers and more!

Digital Exclusive:

  • Anatomy of a Scene: Prologue – Filmmakers and crew review key scenes of the movie and dissect the practical and technological methods used to bring them to life.
  • Additional Deleted scene – Bonnie’s Playtime

“Toy Story 4” Cast and Crew

“Toy Story 4” welcomes both veteran and new voices, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Annie Potts as Bo Peep, Tony Hale as Forky, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny, Madeleine McGraw as Bonnie, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples and Joan Cusack as Jessie. The voice cast also includes Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, the late Don Rickles and Estelle Harris.

“Toy Story 4” is directed by Josh Cooley, and produced by Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera. Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and Pete Docter are executive producers, and Stanton and Stephany Folsom wrote the screenplay. Longtime “Toy Story” collaborator Randy Newman composed the score and wrote two new original songs, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” performed by Newman, and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy,” which is performed by Chris Stapleton for the end credits.

Social Media

Website: movies.disney.com/toy-story-4

Facebook: Facebook.com/PixarToyStory

Twitter: Twitter.com/Pixar

Instagram: Instagram.com/toystory

YouTube: Youtube.com/DisneyPixar

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS:

For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; and Lucasfilm. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.

ABOUT MOVIES ANYWHERE (MA):

Movies Anywhere simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Movies Anywhere brings together the movies from Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers at launch are Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Movies Anywhere offers a library of over 7,300 digital movies at launch, including new releases, and will continue to expand the consumer experience as more content providers, digital retailers and platforms are added. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can connect their Movies Anywhere account with participating digital retailers and enjoy their favorite digital movies from the comfort of their living room and across multiple devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Apple TV; Chromecast; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Roku® devices and popular browsers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-ray and DVD disc packages from participating studios and enjoy them through Movies Anywhere.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Holiday Gift Guide Shaping Up

Holiday Gift Guide
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I’ve decided that this year I would produce a Holiday Gift guide for parents. The guide will be a video one where I showcase some great toys and the features of those toys so parents can decide if they want to get them for their kids. From my visits to The HoliDAY of Play and to Sweet Suite I’ve made some fantastic contacts in the toy community. They have sent me a ton of things that will be part of the gift guide and I cannot wait for the videos to begin posting.

Of course, I have to get filming and soon!

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Holiday Gift Guide

Birthday Breakfast with Eva

Birthday Breakfast with Eva
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Each year I take Eva for breakfast on her birthday. This year we are doing a morning program at school and it falls on her birthday. So, if we were to actually do the breakfast on her birthday then we would have to get up incredibly early tomorrow to do it or we go a day early. So we went a day early.

We went to Mackie’s for her breakfast and it was the first time that Eva got to ride in the front seat of my car. While this will not be a regular thing it was special to her.

We sat at the counter and chatted about Eva turning another year older. I can’t believe that I’m getting closer to having a teen in my house.

Tonight I took Andrew to karate and he did really well. I find that he is more focused on Wednesdays than Tuesdays.

Copyright (c) 2019 BenSpark Family Adventures

Birthday