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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

My Little Pony: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

Have you ever wondered how ponies in Equestria get their unique markings on their flanks?  My Little Pony: Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders explains the whole process.  Ponies are not born with their "cutie marks" - they are obtained when discovering their unique talent or characteristic about themselves.  It's a rite of passage that every young pony strives to achieve.  

Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom are three young ponies with one thing in common:  they are all lacking their cutie marks.  They form a friendship and call themselves the "Cutie Mark Crusaders."  This DVD collection contains five episodes and spans 110 minutes in length.

Here's a breakdown of each episode:

  • The Cutie Mark Chronicles - The Cutie Mark Crusaders want to find out how Rainbow Dash got her cutie mark so they ask her and learn her story along with several others.  Coincidentally, many of the Mane Six ponies got their marks as a result of Rainbow Dash's.
  • The Cutie Pox - Apple Bloom steals some potion ingredients from Zecora in order to speed up her cutie mark process.  Instead of one cutie mark, Apple Bloom gets several along with new abilities that she must perform constantly.  After missing out on valuable sleep and realizing her wrong doing, Apple Bloom must confess the truth and learn patience.  
  • Flight To The Finish -   The Cutie Mark Crusaders wish to carry the Ponyville flag to the Equestria games.  Can they agree on a routine?  Their friendship will be tested as they learn and cope with the strengths and shortcomings of the trio.
  • Pinkie Pride - Pinkie Pie wants to be in charge of planning Rainbow Dash's birth-iversary party.  However the job is given to a visiting pony named Cheese Sandwich who is voice acted by "Weird Al" Yankovic.  They challenge each other to a goof off to see who is best suited for the job.  
  • Twilight Time -   Twilight Sparkle is kind enough to privately tutor the Cutie Mark Crusaders but word quickly spreads and all of their friends want to spend time with Twilight Sparkle too.  How can they keep everyone happy?

All episodes were great and taught valuable lessons on telling the truth, keeping promises, and valuing friendship.  My favorite episode was Pinkie Pride because I totally did not expect to see "Weird Al" in this show.  All of my kids enjoyed were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the whole disc.  I highly recommend this collection to any My Little Pony or "Weird Al" fan.


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Adventure Time: Frost & Fire

Thank you Cartoon Network for sending us this DVD to review!

Adventure Time: Frost & Fire is a collection of sixteen episodes from seasons one, three, four, five, and six.  The title episode begins with Finn and the Flame Princess on a date and the Ice King gets in the way. Hilarity ensues when the Ice King and the Flame Princess duke it out.  Not only was this fight entertaining to watch, Finn experienced a pleasant dream that he wanted to experience again.  To make that happen he sends fake letters to both parties and waits for the battle to take place.  While he gets to see them fight again, and experiences a variation of his original dream, Finn regrets his actions and attempts to make things right. 

Other than the title episode some of my favorites include Jake the Brick where Jake wants to experience the collapse of an old beat up shack, by being one of its bricks.  Since being a brick is pretty boring, he entertains himself by narrating the nature around him.  Little does he know that Finn is broadcasting his rambling across Candy Kingdom with the help of a walkie-talkie.

I was pleasantly surprised to find another gender reversing episode  with Fiona and Cake in The Prince Who Wanted Everything.  Lumpy Space Prince takes the lead role in that episode.  Since season five or six have not come out on Blu-Ray or DVD yet, many of these episodes were new to us.  There are some classics thrown in like Memories of Boom Boom Mountain that explain how Finn and Jake met.  

While the list price is under $20, it can be yours for less than twelve dollars on Amazon.   There is close to three hours of entertainment (176 minutes) to be had in this DVD collection.   While this DVD can provide hours of entertainment for people of all ages, make sure you're okay with fart jokes before letting youngsters watch this show.    Despite the juvenile potty humor, there are redeeming qualities and good lessons to be learned from this series. 

Here's the episode list:

  1. Frost & Fire
  2. Earth & Water
  3. Jake the Brick
  4. The Prince Who Wanted Everything
  5. Something Big
  6. Return to the Nightosphere
  7. Daddy's Little Monster
  8. Joshua and Margaret Investigations
  9. Davey
  10. The Pit
  11. Freak City
  12. Memories of Boom Boom Mountain
  13. James
  14. Time Sandwich
  15. Apple Thief
  16. Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season5

My Little Pony has been on TV for a very long time. Ever since it started back in the 80's, My Little Pony has been adored and loved by fans from the beginning. From then to now, fandoms have been hoping that the show will bring some excitement. They still are hoping with their hands folded as we speak. The show will always be respected and remembered as a loved classic and will always be in our hearts.

But now, we enter into the the new series of My Little Pony. It has been titled "Friendship is Magic". I'm sure you all have heard of it. And with this new show comes the dawn of the Bronies. Bronies are the strangely adult fans of My Little Pony. Some people think that the show needs Bronies to continue the show. And now that the new show has come out, there are more Bronies then ever, even with all the Bronies from the past combined.

Now Bronies are grinding their teeth and folding their hands for the next season of My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic to come out on TV. It is now going for a fifth season and probably will continue after that. This next season is probably going to be about Twilight Sparkle and her pony friends having a whole bunch of adventures, as we have grown to excpect from the other seasons.

If you haven't seen the Teaser Trailer for the next season, then you can watch it now. Enjoy!

Season 5 will be the best season yet. You watch. No, seriously, watch the season when it premieres.

Thank you for reading my first blog. I hope it was okay and that you enjoyed it.

by CRCBrony

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CRCBrony
It was scary for me to post my new blog. I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope that there are also Bornies on the site too.... Read More
Thursday, 19 February 2015 01:42
CRCBrony
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Cheryl Gress
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Sunday, 22 February 2015 18:47
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The Song review

 

My wife and I, a few scant days prior to V-day, sat down and watched a film that is new on DVD called, "The Song."  It is produced by AFFIRM Films, a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment and I believe it was released straight to DVD and digital download.  It was newly released, coming out on the 10th of February.

So, what were my expectations going in to what I predicted to be a Christian-themed "chick-flick" almost strong-armed upon me by my wife?  Well, I expected a cookie-cutter predicable plot with cliche-ridden sappy dialogue; or the usual experience of such films as "the Notebook," "Sleepless in Seattle", or even (heaven help me) "The Proposal."  Thankfully, I was quite surprised.

"The Song" may be a comedy in the literary sense, but it is not a "romantic comedy" in the vein of "The Proposal" (or any other Sandra Bullock film), "50 First Dates" (or any other Adam Sandler film), or "Runaway Bride" (or any other Julia Roberts film).  Instead, the closest film I could compare it to would be "Walk the Line."  It's much more dramatic than any romantic comedy I've ever seen, with a depth of character that isn't really found in most rom-coms.

This movie is essentially a dramatization of a modern-day King Solomon.  The title of the movie, "The Song" intends to invoke "the Song of Songs" or "The Song of Solomon" from the Bible.  Throughout the movie there is a monologue narration of scripture passages from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon that pertain to what is happening in the story.  

In "The Song", the main protagonist is a man named Jedidiah (Jed) King, who is a struggling country singer/songwriter trying to escape the shadow of his famous father.  The film features several biblically-themed love songs which are performed by the actors and are very catchy.  The relationship between Jed and his love interest - the local vineyard owner's daughter Rose Jordan - is initially sweet, believable, and came across as genuine.  The genuine feel remains even as their relationship begins to deteriorate due to his long absences while touring and his eventual infidelity.  While Jed does try to restore their relationship in the end, it is clear in the movie that the pain he inflicted on Rose did not fully go away, and was not healed magically at the end, adding an element of realism to the film that I appreciated.

At times, the film was predictable.  There were not many surprises in the plot, but the writing was not corny and the performances were believable.  One complaint my wife has is that much of the movie is spent on Jed's failures and his descent into adultery and drug use, and the restoration of their relationship felt rushed.  

The main themes in the movie are the corrupting influence of fame and money, the pain that infidelity causes in marriage, and the power of forgiveness.  I ended up enjoying the experience and felt that as a film it accomplished the goal it set and that it told a compelling love story.

The film is rated PG-13.  I believe this is an appropriate rating.  While this film does not riddle us with scantily dressed teenagers or have any foul language, it does have some drug and alcohol use as well as some suggested philandering.  I would recommend "The Song" to folks who are over 12.

The film came with a soundtrack, which features the original songs from the film, as well as a workbook written by the producer Kyle Idleman which is a 6-week couple's bible study focused on journeying through marriage together.  It's called "Awaken Love."  My wife and I have not yet gone through it, but it is an added resource that may help people build a stronger marriage.

Thanks to AFFIRM Films for sending us this film to review!  My wife and I enjoyed it, me more than I was expecting to at the start.


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Guest — John
Sounds interesting enough. The main reason I avoid romance films is the sappy dialogue and shoehorned romance. If this one is diff... Read More
Monday, 16 February 2015 13:45
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LeapTrade Review

Disclaimers:

Thank you Leap Trade for providing us with credit on your website to trade/purchase a game!
Although Leap Trade does advertise with us, it does not influence this review of their service in any way. 

Many of us have games laying around that we no longer play or want anymore.  While GameStop is convenient for trading them in, they give you very little money for them.    If you're not in a rush to sell your games, Leap Trade will give you  more credit for them than Game Stop and Amazon.

There is no cost to join the site and after joining,  you can buy Leap Trade credit at a reduced price for a limited time. The game prices are competitive and updated every couple of weeks.  There is a forum to suggest pricing changes if needed. 

The game price is the final price to your door as shipping is included.  The United States Postal Service shipping labels are paid for by the seller and it's very reasonably priced at $3.50.   Tracking is included and easily accessible via Leap Trade's website.

Buying a game is pretty easy to do.  Their site is easy to navigate by console platform.    All the current consoles are represented along with classic systems like the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis.  Many recent and popular games are available to buy or put yourself down on a waitlist to trade for when it becomes available.    There are plenty of copies of Destiny available, but the game I was the most interested in, Hyrule Warriors, was not immediately available.

There are two forms of trading.  You can trade for credit or do a game swap.  For the sake of this review, I traded in credit for Destiny on the Play Station 4.  The first seller I was matched up with had zero feedback which made me a little nervous.  Sure enough, they never confirmed the trade and after a couple of days the site transferred my trade request to the next seller in line.  That user had positive feedback and shipped the game out to me quickly. I had it in my possession within a couple of days. 

Unfortunately,  they didn't use a padded envelope and the game's case got cracked in transit.  Thankfully the game was in working order (after wiping off some fingerprints).    I left positive feedback regardless.  Had there been a problem, it's comforting to know that Leap Trade 100% guarantees their trades and works with both parties to ensure that the buyer is satisfied. 

Since the game I have listed hasn't sold yet, I can't comment on the shipping label process.  Listing my game took a little bit of effort.  My copy of Just Dance Kids 2014 on the Wii U wasn't available as a sellable title, so they had to be contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to list the game.   If it sells I'll get $20 in Leap Trade credit for it which is very fair.  When listing a game to sell you'll be notified of your selling position.  Not surprisingly, I'm the first in line to sell Just Dance Kids 2014.  

Between  the two adults and three kids in my household, there aren't too many games we like to part with.  There are always exceptions,  and if there's a game we can agree to trade in, we'll do it though Leap Trade in the future.  Besides earning credits for trading games you can earn $5 in credit for every friend that registers and sells a game through your referral link.  Here's mine, if you care to try it out.

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Do You Believe? Movie Review

"Do you Believe" is a film from Pure Flix, the creators of "God's Not Dead," about how 12 people's lives are changed and impacted by a small number of people truly living out their faith.  This was a very ambitious story which took at least 6 different story lines and wove them together.  The result was an impressive and inspirational film that I genuinely enjoyed.  

It's set in Chicago, with many areas of the city clearly recognizable to those of us who have lived there.  The film opens with a man wheeling a wooden cross down the street asking people he meets if they believe in the cross of Christ.  This man is unnamed, and never seen again until after the resolution of the movie, but it is ultimately his action that sparks the chain reaction in the various stories through the movie.

There are 12 main characters in this movie, but its easier to think of them as groups of two or three or four.  These groupings form the heart of the story, since all the groupings are based on the needs that the group exhibits.  These needs are then met at the end as a result of the active faith of the members within the group.

This movie deals with issues of illness, barrenness, the loss of a child, abortion, adoption, homelessness, crime, murder, suicide, PTSD, and workplace evangelism in the lives of the characters.  It does a very good job of making these issues real for the people involved, and reveals the miraculous handiwork of God in resolving those issues.  Not all of the issues are resolved at the end.  The movie makes it clear that faith is not a cure-all for every circumstance in life, but it can empower you to live your life not as a victim, but as a faithful believer.

I have just a couple of criticisms about the movie in general.  The first is that I feel as though the movie didn't have time to adequately present all the characters to me.  For example: After the movie I only knew the names of about two-thirds of the characters.  I had to look up their names on IMDB afterwards because the film didn't really do a great job of introducing all the characters they are dealing with.  

Secondly, a couple of the issues in the lives of the characters that they need to resolve are told to the audience and not shown.  In a visual medium such as a film it would be more impacting to show the audience the things that occur in the character's life that make them who they are.  For example, in the movie the marine's friend lost his life because he came to save him.  So instead of having a scene where the marine is under fire, with a helicopter swooping in to save him only to be shot out of the sky by an RPG, that story is simply told to us in his dialogue with another character.  

I do not fully understand why they decided to go this route with him, since the film did not actively try to avoid violence.  There is at least one instance of off-screen gun fire, and one protracted gunfight/chase which directly results in an on-screen murder.  They easily could have worked in a scene of the marine's experience and fleshed out his character a little more, making his PTSD more understandable, and making his story more compelling.  They may not have had time or budget to allow for this, but I felt that it short-changed his character and made him more of a side character as opposed to a main influence on the story.

The movie is still unrated.  The Pure Flix representative said it will probably get a PG-13 rating.  I would concur with that assessment myself.  It definitely deals with issues like suicide, and there is a murder on screen that young children probably should not see, as well as an intense multi-vehicle pile-up.

Overall I enjoyed the movie.  It was moving, ambitious, and dealt with hard real-life issues head-on.  I would recommend seeing it if you are a believer, or bringing an un-churched or de-churched friend to see it.  The movie opens in select theaters on March 20th, 2015.  Their website is doyoubelieve.com.  You can find theaters showing the film there, as well as buy a theater or showtime if your group or church is interested.

Thanks to Pure Flix for extending us an advance-screening invite!  Overall, I think you made an excellent film that deals with hard issues responsibly and biblically.

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Idiot's Guides: The Bible

Thank you Alpha for sending us this book to review!

Having read many translations of the Bible cover to cover, I'm still amazed by how much I have yet to learn from this divine book.  The Idiot's Guides: The Bible gives the back-story of each book of the Bible including its author, origin,  location, key verses, and characters.    This book is 346 pages and is broken down into five parts: Understanding The Bible, The Old Testament, History Between The Old and New Testaments, The New Testament, The Apocrypha.  

This book isn't meant to be a replacement for the Bible, but it is a nice compliment and it tells you the key verses and themes in each book. You won't find heavy theological breakdowns as the commentary in Ezekiel doesn't begin until chapter three.  This is an Idiot's Guides book after all.  ;)  I did find the play by play break down of Song of Solomon insightful though.  

There are colorful illustrations for all of the books and many of them have helpful maps too.  Each book has a highlighted verse quoted from the HCSB translation; you'll have to crack open your own Bible to read the rest of the key verses though.  

I appreciate the explanation and history of the Bible, its canonization and the Apocrypha's account.   There are helpful timelines for the chronological order of the Old and New testament books.  I may try reading the Bible in chronological order next time!

After reading this book I'm left with more questions than answers.  It was discouraging to see claims that many of the New Testament books like ( 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1&2 Peter, Revelation ) are considered "pious forgeries".  Since no sources were cited , I'll have to do my own leg work on this one.

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The Daniel Plan

Thank you Affirm films for sending us the Daniel Plan In Action DVD set!

While I haven't done any serious dieting, I have tried to stay active and pay attention to what I eat.  After watching the movie Fed Up, our family has cut back on our sugar intake.  The Daniel Plan has five foundations that have a good chance of transforming your body for the better if they are in place.  These include:

  • Faith - Relying on God's power
  • Food - Eating natural food in proper proportions
  • Fitness - Regular workouts  
  • Focus - Don't give up!
  • Friends - You have a better chance of success if you have accountability partners 

Pastor Rick Warren is one of the founders of The Daniel Plan and is featured on the first DVD with his sermon of The Five Habits of Healthy People.  He goes more in depth of the five foundations and uses Bible verses like Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 12:2, Ecclesiastes 4:9, and Ephesians 4:22 to back up their diet program.  While I am all for taking care of my body/temple as 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with pastor Rick Warren that it is not a sin if you don't exercise.  Is it a good idea to exercise?  Yes, and the ones on the second disc are pretty good.  

There are four exercise routines and they focus on cardio, abs, upper, and lower body.  Each session is thirty five minutes long and you're bound to break a sweat.  There are lower and higher impact workouts to follow if you need less or more of a challenge.  I must say that after completing these workouts I was feeling muscles I have long forgotten about.  You'll want to have a set of light weights handy for two of the sessions. if you don't have a set of weights available you can use a couple of cans of soup as a light weight replacement.  

I enjoyed the upbeat and remixed praise songs in the background.  If you like them there is a soundtrack CD available for $9.99,  or you can buy the deluxe DVD plan that comes with it and a third workout DVD.  (I was sent the two DVD version so I cannot comment on the third disc or soundtrack).

The instructors were engaging and valued our time together without wasting much of it talking.  Although I'm Christian I'm not used to hearing "Christianese" while working out.  When I'm doing stretches I don't think of them as reaching out to God. Sure it's uplifting, but non-Christians may get weirded out  by these workouts.  It seemed cheesy to me; can't imagine what non-believers would think.  Jumping Jacks for Jesus anyone?

Along with the DVD came a forty day calendar with a recommended workout schedule and a downloadable Daniel Plan recipe sampler.    I tried a few of the recipes and was pleasantly surprised by their quality.  Then again they do have an award winning team who created this diet plan.

Many well-known doctors have lent their expertise in developing the meal plans and exercise routines.  Dr. Mehmet Oz is probably the most well known out of the three; I have seen Dr. Mark Hyman in the Fed Up movie, and lastly Dr. Daniel Amen has contributed with his brain science expertise.  

Overall this is a nice DVD set with the recipes and workout routines that focus on key parts of your body.  The price is a reasonable $20 at http://www.danielplan.com or close to that amount on Amazon.


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JavaScript for Kids

Thank you No Starch Press for sending us this book to review!

My oldest daughter is 10 and has a knack for math and an interest in game development.  When I heard about the release of JavaScript for Kids, I knew it would be right up her alley.  I was right.  After completing the seventeen chapters, she's still cracking open the book and tweaking her code.  I like how the book has challenges at the end of the chapters to encourage the kids to take their coding skills to the next level.  If you're not an IT major, you can download the code solutions from their website.

This 309 page book is broken down into three parts: Fundamentals, Advanced JavaScript, and Canvas. In parts one and two your kids will learn about syntax, comments, variables, strings, booleans, arrays, objects, HTML, loops, conditionals, prompts, functions, ODM elements, jQuery, animations, and time outs.  The last section focuses on the canvas element and drawing objects like squares, arcs, circles, and later controlling them with keyboard input.

There's definitely a lot to learn in this book and I like how they made it fun to put these concepts into practice.  Throughout my daughter's learning adventure she has created a text based Hang Man game, a random insult generator (what kid can resist that?), a treasure hunt game with a map, and the final program was a Snake game.

The Notepad++ editor that this book recommends is free and will catch some, but not all syntax errors.  Debugging broken programs takes just as much (if not more) time to fix than they do to write.  Sometimes the show stopping errors are typos, other times it's a misplaced space or semicolon.  Fortunately, my computer science major husband was able to catch some of the errors in my daughter's programs when I couldn't find everything.  

Despite the frustrations of debugging, this has been a positive learning experience for our daughter.  She has been so excited about this that she showed her teacher at school what she has done, and was so impressed that her teacher made a whole lesson about it.  As a parent, I have seen the confidence and motivation this has given her and I am both proud and excited for her.  I feel like this could be a big first step towards a lifetime of self-learning and I can't wait to see where she goes with it next.

My seven year old son has been inspired by her and has started doing the Ruby Wizardry book.  Expect a blog about that soon!  I highly recommend either book to tech savvy kids, or to anyone who wants to introduce a potentially highly rewarding hobby to someone they love.

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My Little Pony Classic TV Collection

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD set!

I remember collecting and playing with My Little Pony toys as a kid.  I don't recall watching the show much though.  Fortunately with the helpful DVD set My Little Pony Classic TV Collection, I can relive my childhood and be reminded of how animation has vastly improved since the eighties.  :)  The lessons of helping others and treasuring friendship are timeless and my kids enjoyed watching the 4 disc set.

Each disc is approximately 3 hours, so there's twelve hours of entertainment to be had.  My daughters and (surprisingly) my son enjoyed watching the show.  For any person who has seen The Simpsons, they will recognize the voice of Nancy Cartwright who also voiced Bart Simpson.  

The episodes are pretty short, being around eleven minutes each.  Not surprisingly, there are many multi-part episodes so it's important to watch them in their proper order.  There's a wide variety of ponies including earth ponies, pegasus ponies, unicorns, sea ponies and Spike, their dragon friend.  Some episodes feature male ponies!  (I always wondered where the baby ponies came from!)  Megan and her sister Molly are their human friends that tag along for many wild adventures.  

Enemies abound including greedy queens, witches and evil sorcerers.  There is some enchanting and magic used throughout the series.  More often than not, the episodes conclude with the enemies learning to regret their actions after the ponies speak some sense into them.  They then work together towards a peaceful compromise.  The redemption message is powerful and this show has way more ups than downs when it comes to moral issues.

While the retail price is $29.99, Amazon sells it for less than $25.  For twelve hours of entertainment and every classic My Little Pony episode, it's worth every penny!

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CRCBrony
Are you a brony?
Monday, 16 February 2015 23:02
Cheryl Gress
I'm a girl
Monday, 16 February 2015 23:24
CRCBrony
Oh, well, have you seen the new My Little Pony TV show? I'm a huge fan of it and it is for all ages and for the whole family. P.S... Read More
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 01:27
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Echo Connect Plus

Thank you Echo Connect for sending us a prototype review sample.

Echo Connect has launched an Indiegogo campaign for their revolutionary dual connector charge key.  It's an Apple licensed and micro-USB charging device.  Because of its small size it can be worn on a lanyard or key chain.  

We were sent  an early prototype that unfortunately broke for us within hours of use.  Our review sample only had a micro-USB connector that came out completely.  The final version of the product will have both connectors attached to each other in a Y shape that should prevent that from happening again.  Another modification from the prototype sent to us is that the USB connector will have metal housing around it.  One change I hope they make in the final product is that they flip (or give the option to) the micro-USB connector around.  My Samsung Galaxy 4 phone had to be upside down when I connected it to my laptop to charge.  It won't matter for portable charging devices though.  Since this is a small device there's not much clearance for tablets and I had to remove my 8" LG tablet's cover to charge it.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Very portable, does not tangle
Weak Points: Mine broke; charged my phone upside down; writing comes off easily

Because we do not own an iOS device and our review sample did not have an Apple connector, we cannot comment on that aspect of the Echo Connect.  As I'm writing this post their campaign is fully funded and all of their $9 early bird sales are gone.  The $15 tier is limited and the $19 tier is unlimited.  For $25 you can get a personalized key.  The writing on the prototype was rubbing off within hours of receiving it. I hope the quality is better for the final product.      

The retail price will be $35 and that's way over priced in my opinion.  Cheaper cables have lasted me longer and I have the luxury of charging my phones right side up with them.  Call me old fashioned, but this is one revolution I won't be taking part in. 

 

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CheapDigitalDownload

Digital gaming on PC is taking off with services like Steam, GOG, GamersGate, Green Man Gaming, Origin, and Uplay.  Electronic versions of games are often cheaper than their physical counterparts.  Consoles also offer games in digital formats in their electronic stores like Nintendo's eShop, Play Station's store and Xbox's marketplace.  Many console games are only available digitally so checking out the shops every now and then is highly recommended.     Instead of comparing prices on several sites to get the best deal, CheapDigitalDownload.com does all of the price comparison shopping for you!  They also anonymously test their suppliers to ensure the confidence of their customers.

CheapDigitalDownload features prices for the latest games on many platforms including PC, Play Station, Nintendo, and Xbox.   Besides games, CheapDigitalDownload also offers competitive prices on gift cards and subscription plans.   While the Nintendo prices are well above retail, there are plenty of deals to be had in the Xbox, PS4 and PC section.  Some games can be yours for less than a dollar!

When I was in the market for an Xbox Gold subscription I purchased my two year code through them.  Instead of receiving a physical code, I was e-mailed a clear photograph of the back of a card and it worked flawlessly.  Why pay fifty dollars on Amazon for a one year membership when I can get a two year subscription for the same price on CheapDigitialDownload.com?  

There are plenty of ways to get free games through CheapDigitalDownload if you have social media accounts.  If you connect your Facebook account with their website you can earn points by registering, visiting, and commenting on the site.   There are also daily and weekly raffles to enter in as well using e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience

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NIV First-Century Study Bible

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Book Info:

NIV First-Century Study Bible
Notes by: Kent Dobson
Published by: Zondervan
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Price: $36 hard cover or $7.99 on kindle
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Zondervan Publishing for sending us a copy of this Bible to review! 

It's been a while since I've carried around a physical Bible.  I've gone digital and have used the ESV bible on both my phone and tablet.  Even my 3DS has a digital Bile on it!   Finding the verses digitally is easy and usually faster than people flipping pages getting to a particular verse.    

What my electronic versions are lacking is commentary, maps, timelines, and Greek translations and explanations.  The NIV First-Century Study Bible has all that plus lots of pretty colorful pictures of ancient art and artifacts dug up by archaeologists.

At the beginning of each book there is commentary about the book's title (Hebrew text and definition), author, date it was written, historical setting, structure,  and purpose in the Bible. The verses are explained on the bottom of the page. Even tricky books like the beginning of Ezekiel is explained in a manner that makes sense.   Scattered throughout  the text are word studies that explain and show the Greek origins of many words.  One of my favorite examples was the cubit which is a source of measurement often referenced in the Bible.  

Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent commentary and cross references
Weak Points: Big Bible with 1850 pages, New NIV Translation
Moral Warnings: Descriptive violent acts 

Many of my paper bound Bibles have maps thrown in the back for reference.  I like how the NIV First-Century Study Bible has maps everywhere!  It shows Abram's travels, Jacob's journeys, Solomon's divided kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns, places mentioned in Isaiah, Alexander's Empire, and Jesus' pit stops in Judea and Samaria.  The verses really come alive as you can literally see where they took place and how much distance was covered by these men.   

I love the timeline in 1 Kings that shows the scripture and reigning periods of Israel's kings.   The cross reference of Old and New Testament versus in Isaiah 53 is extremely helpful.   There is also a time of Jesus' life that covers and indexes his various events with the scripture references behind them.    

There is a lot to like about this Bible.  The only problem I have with it is the translation used. There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this First-Century Study Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't mind the latest NIV translation, this is a solid Bible to consider adding to your library.  The price for the hard cover is under $40 while the Kindle version is less than $10.  My ten year old daughter took a liking to this Bible so I guess it's hers now since I'm done reviewing it.  I'm sure she'll learn a lot from it and will benefit from the easy to read translation.

 

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Rethinking Christmas

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Eli
That was a good video, thanks for sharing.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014 02:33
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The Golden Thread: A Memoir

Thank you Kelly and Hall Book Publicity for sending us a copy of this book!

Kristiane Cates was living the dream with a successful, handsome, and doting husband.  After three years of marriage they were having some difficulty getting pregnant and prayed to have children to which the Lord provided them with a boy, and later on a girl.  Things continued to go well for them - in fact too well as they had a feeling that they were soon going to weather a difficult time in their lives.  While their premonition was correct, looking back on it all, Kristiane recollects how the Lord was with them every step of the way.  It's amazing how He dropped several hints of His presence in the most trying of times.  

Just because we're Christians, we're not entitled to an easy life.  After losing her son in a car accident in which she was the driver, Kristiane struggled to cope with the grieving process and hold her family and marriage together.  It was a long and difficult journey that doesn't have a fairy tale ending.   While the book ending seems a little rushed, it was cool seeing how the Lord turned her into a powerful prayer warrior.  

There are many lessons to be learned from The Golden Thread.  Just because somebody looks like they have it all together on the outside doesn't mean that is the case.  If you're blessed with a wonderful family, do not take them for granted and thank God for them DAILY.  As a happily married mother of three, this book made me give thanks for my many blessings and it made me cry on several occasions.  While there were moments where I didn't want to put it down, other times I was afraid to pick it up in fear of it making me cry again.

 

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Gary Wilson
Wow! This is a great topic to discuss here. Thanks a lot!... Read More
Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:46
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Transformers Beast Hunters: The Complete Series

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD set to review.

Transformers Beast Hunters takes place after the Beast Wars series.  In this universe the part organic part robotic Maximals are descendants of the autobots and are led by Optimus Primal who has a gorilla like appearance.  The Decepticons are now known as Predacons with Megatron as their leader.  The scenery on Cyberton has changed as the planet is lifeless and mostly empty with the exception of deadly Vehicon drones patrolling it. Since Cybertron is filled with Enregon, both factions are fighting to save or control it.  Can the Maximals master their beast like forms and stop Megatron from taking over? 

This DVD series has 4 DVDs which include both seasons and all twenty-six episodes.  There are 690 minutes of nonstop action with 3D rendered computer animation.  The voice acting and character development is pretty good if you can look past their animal appearances.  Many episodes teach about the value of friendship, teamwork, restoration, and forgiveness.   While those are good attributes, there are some flaws worth mentioning as well.  There's some adult humor and a few phrases may go over younger kid's heads.   For younger kids/preschoolers  I recommend the Rescue Bot series since the action in Beast Machines may be a bit intense for them.    

For grade school age boys this is a DVD set worth looking into.  The price is a reasonable $22, especially for nearly 700 minutes of entertainment!

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Adventure Time: Finn the Human

Thank you Cartoon Network for sending us this DVD!

The Finn the Human DVD has sixteen episodes from various seasons and will entertain people of all ages for 176 minutes.  Here's a breakdown of the episodes:

1. The New Frontier - Finn dreams of Jake's demise; can he save him from his fate?

2. The Lich - The world is in danger and it's up to Finn and Jake to save it.

3. Finn the Human - The sequel for The Lich; Finn gets a wish granted by Prismo.

4. Jake The Dog - The conclusion of The Lich; can Jake's wish save Finn and the World?

5. We Fixed a Truck - With the help of Banana Man, Finn, Jake, and BMO repair and enjoy a broken down truck.

6. Blade of Grass - Finn replaces his broken sword with a cursed grass sword, but is it worth it?

7. The Red Throne - Flame Princess and Cinnamon Bun reclaim the Fire Kingdom.

8. The Great Bird Man - Finn and Jake reunite with the former Goblin King.

9. One Last Job - Jake gets back together with his former thief gang for one more heist.

10. Little Dude - Finn's hat is brought to life and causes a lot of trouble.

11. City of Thieves - In an attempt to help a girl retrieve her stolen basket Finn and Jake enter the City of Thieves.  Can they stay virtuous or will they get corrupted?

12. Conquest of Cuteness - Finn and Jake must defend their home from Cuties.

13. Who Would Win - Finn and Jake vow to defeat the Farm; can they train hard enough to do it?

14. Ignition Point - Finn and Jake discover that the Flame King is in danger and try to save him.

15. Furniture & Meat - Finn and Jake decide to spend all of their loot and pay people to do random things for gold.  Hilarity ensues.  

16. Sad Face - Jake's tail has a mind of its own and works at a circus while Jake sleeps.

Even though a majority of these episodes are from season five, there are some from three, four, and six as well.  Since we own seasons three and four, I was glad that the conclusion to season four's cliffhanger The Lich was included in this collection.  The same juvenile potty humor prevails like in other episodes, and there's no shortage of fart jokes. Our whole family enjoys this show and it's good to see that it's still funny and going strong in season five and beyond.  I look forward to watching upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases.

This DVD sells for $21 and includes a vinyl draw string backpack. The backpack is nothing special, but my son likes it. 

 

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I Love Books Like Your Love Games

I Love Books Like Your Love Games

You like games and I don't want to take you away from that — But I like books like you like games! I didn't always like books. I used to hate them. I hated following thoughts. I hated assigned pages of reading. I even hated the smell of libraries ... but then I started reading.

Good ideas are contagious. In a great sense, that is why I started Brave Reviews. When you come across a good idea, it can transform your life and the lives of your neighbors as well as cities and so on. Books are real life stories and ideas that have been poured out onto pages so they can be shared with others. We need to hear new ideas so to grow, so to transform (check outColossians 1:10).

Brave Reviews exists as a trustworthy corner of the web where people can find unbiased reviews of contemporary books and software. I do not believe in a “bad book.” Like some video games that get a bad name, we (as believers) have got to engage and understand our culture. Why do we get to know our culture, whether it is books, music, video games? Because it is our role to help God redeem our cities. To redeem our families.

If you ever need a break from you games and you want to pick up a book and give it a read, visit Brave Reviews to get insight on what's hot. 

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My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this movie to review!

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks takes place after the Equestria Girls movie that was released in 2013.  While I recommend seeing Equestria Girls first, it's not required since there are a couple of flashbacks to fill in the story gaps.  Most of the seventy-minute movie takes place in the parallel human world where each pony personality resides in humanoid form.  

Canterlot Highschool has gotten three new students that seem to be mesmerizing everyone they come in contact with.  Instead of a peaceful musical showcase, these newcomers convince the school to host a Battle of the Bands.  Will the newcomer's band, The Dazzlings take the crown, or will The Rainbooms (with the help of Princess Twilight) win the contest?

The music from both bands is catchy and fun to listen to. My kids liked the music, visuals and character personalities.  Even my son enjoyed the movie.  There are some good messages taught including the power of forgiveness and friendship.  Any fan of My Little Pony or Equestria Girls should consider adding this movie to their library.  The blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy sells for $17.99.    


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CRCBrony
I'm going to follow any My Little Pony blog from now on And so far, you're number 1... Read More
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:37
Cheryl Gress
Awesome, glad you like them! We'll be posting a review for Adventure of the Cutie Mark Crusaders soon!
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 01:00
Guest — CRCBrony
I really need to read what wikipedia says again. 'Cause I never have heard of that. The next blog I will post will be about Equest... Read More
Thursday, 19 February 2015 14:55
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NIV Live - A Bible Experience

Thank you NIV 2011 Bible Properties LLC for sending us a review sample!

NIV Live - A Bible Experience is a cinematic performance of the Bible that brings Genesis through Revelation to life.  It's more than someone reading the text here; the Bible is being acted out and even sung in some cases.  This rendition features Oscar winning actors, background music and sound effects to make it an immersive experience.   My kids, who normally ask to play music instead of talk radio while driving, did not mind listening to the book of Acts.  They enjoyed hearing the story of Paul being shipwrecked while trying to seek an audience with Caesar.  There was the sound of ocean waves, seagulls in the air,  the ship's crew in the background along with the narrator and Paul, Felix, and Agrippa being voiced by different voice actors.    The audio quality is really good and has 3D theatrical sound. It includes deep bass that you can hear through a subwoofer.

The gospels are all extremely well done and the voices for the apostles, God, Jesus, Roman soldiers, and Pharisees are all top notch.   I enjoyed listening to Isaiah, Proverbs, and Psalms as well.  Some of the Old Testament sections like Jesus' lineage and the temple specifications are still a little yawn worthy, but are well voice acted regardless.  :)  

There are three ways to enjoy this audio Bible experience.  For $19.99 you can gain access to the app on a single (Apple, Android, or Amazon) device.  This includes both text and audio versions.  You can create custom playlists and synchronize them.  The app is really easy to use and sounded great on my Samsung Galaxy S4.  

For $49.99 you can have up to six devices using the mobile app.  You'll also have access to the online web Bible and mp3 downloads.  Make sure you download and backup the mp3's right away since you only gain access to them for thirty days after registration.  

The ultimate package is $124.99 and includes everything from the $49.99 tier and adds seventy-nine CD's and a bonus DVD.  The CD's and DVD are enclosed in a high quality carrying case.  The DVD shows behind the scenes footage and has some trailers and samples.  The CD's are not in chronological order, but are labeled clearly and numbered accordingly.

There has been some controversy regarding the most recent NIV translation and this audio Bible does use the gender neutral verses.    So if you look at the verse John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers...” The new NIV changes it to, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers...”  The classic Proverb 27:17 is changed from “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to “…so one person sharpens another” .  

If you don't like the scriptural changes, there are other audio bibles out there.  Faith Comes by Hearing offers multiple translations for free.  If these kind of changes don't bother you, then I recommend checking out the NIV Live - A Bible Experience.  Their prices are comparable to other Audio Bibles available  and the six device limit is pretty generous.  Just make sure you download and back up the mp3's since the access is limited to only thirty days.  If you want to check out an audio sample, go here.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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