Category Archives: Things & Travel

Crank Palace: The Latest Edition to The Maze Runner Fandom

I was sent a new novella to review called Crank Palace. This is set during the third book of The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. It is an interesting look into the complex world that Dashner has built for his characters. I enjoyed reading this novella but I would say that it really isn’t written for people that haven’t read the rest of the book series.

This novella delves far into the disease-ridden dystopia that Dashner has built for this series and how it has affected ordinary citizens. It also deals with the topic of found family and loss in a very compelling way. Because this novella is placed in the middle of the third and final book in The Maze Runner series there isn’t much that I can tell you about the lot or the characters that aren’t major spoilers for the series itself but it was a fun little read.

The Maze Runner series has a huge following and three movies under its belt and this novella is a great new expansion to the universe, but if you hadn’t gotten into this series yet this book probably isn’t for you. As someone who never really got into this fandom, I still enjoyed reading this novella but I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you were are already invested in these characters. Have you read this yet or are you going to read it?

Let me know in the comments below! I would also love to know your take on novella additions to book series, do you go looking for them or just read the main series. Let me know and I will see you next time!


Frozen 2

Disney is going through a round of sequels and I think that Frozen 2 might have surpassed them all. This movie was simply incredible and I hope you all consider watching it soon. I think that this is the next must-see of 2019 and I hope you all see it as fast as you can.

I know that a feeling a lot of my friends had about the first movie was that it was a good movie but it became too popular to the point that everyone got sick of it. So I know that I was worried if this was just to ride on Frozen’s coattails or be an actually good film. But my worst fears were unfounded because this was an amazing movie in its own right.

One thing that I did want to put out there is that this movie isn’t as child-friendly (at least to me) as the first one. In the first movie, there are a few scary bits that could seem quite alarming especially whenever Marshmallow is on screen but there is also quite a bit of thematic climax like when we see Anna freeze. In this movie, There is nothing quite as visually scary as Marshmallow but there are quite a few climactic scenes that are not for the faint of heart.

Think that is is a movie for an older audience more than the first one. Kristen Bell (Anna) said in an interview “This movie has matured along with its audience.” This was a movie that was full of character development and an ever-changing plot and that is something that is much more enjoyable to an older audience. Because of how much of the screen time was put into plot development I think that younger children will get bored and have a hard time following the movie.

In conclusion, this is an amazing movie and I think that everyone should watch it. The graphics were amazing, the music was incredible, and the plot was well developed. Comment below if you have seen it and what you thought of it and if you haven’t, well what are you waiting for go watch it! Also, let me know in the comments what you want to hear from me next about. I am trying to get back into writing and I would love to hear your feedback about what I should be writing.


Back to School with the Jetson Scooter

We have hit a new milestone here in the NerdFamily. NerdPie has dual-enrolled in college. Going from homeschooling it has been a real change as far as getting around. She is getting dropped off 3 days a week but then takes the shuttle and then the bus home. This made me start to think about things that can help her get around while saving her time and energy all while schlepping it in cars, busses, and classrooms. At the same time, this opportunity arose with Best Buy to be compensated for writing a post about an electric scooter. So it is a great opportunity to include you in my research. 

A friend of ours suggested that she learn how to ride a skateboard. But I know that I am not the most coordinated person in the world and that little apple didn’t fall far from the tree. But an electric scooter…. That requires less multi-tasking coordination. 

Enter the Jetson Quest Electric Scooter. I had no idea that the electric scooters had gotten so cool while being durable and lightweight. The Jetson Quest Electric Scooter has a 250W battery that can go a total of 18 miles before it needs a charge. That could get you to and from a bunch of classes before you settle in to get some studying done. 

You could soar across campus at up to 15 miles an hour but have no fear, the disc brakes can stop you in short order.  It has solid tires so they won’t go flat and will take the random bumps and rocks seamlessly (but buy protective gear just in case, ok?). When you get to class or the bus the Jetson Quest folds up and stows under your seat. So you don’t have to fight with getting that bike into a bike rack if they even have one!

If you have been wondering what to give your college kid (or even high schooler) to help make their lives easier then you must check out the Jetson Quest Electric Scooter from Best Buy!

(This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own. I wish I would have had something like this in college myself!)

Toy Story 4 Is Out!


Hey guys! It’s Nerdpud, and today we’re talking about Toy Story 4. I really like this one more than any of the other ones. One of my favorite things about it was how it embraced time passing and that things don’t stay the same. I also liked how it doesn’t sugarcoat that it can be hard to move on and things changing isn’t always easy. Now to discuss the actual story. In the beginning of Toy Story, A kid named Bonnie finds a box full of toys, and Andy,being a good person, lets her keep all the toys. Then we see a couple of years later, when Bonnie is going to her first day of Kindergarten. There she takes some craft supplies and, being lonely, creates her new best friend, Forky, out of a spork, some glue, googly eyes, and popsicle sticks. Then Forky thinks he is just trash and tries to throw himself away, while Woody tries to stop him along side his friends. The main basis of this one was showing that it isn’t just about the toys, but about caring for their child, no matter where they go. I really liked this one more than the others because it is relatable for people with younger siblings. I myself am a youngest child, so I cannot directly relate to this, but I do understand how it could feel like all the love goes to the youngest, and there is no love left for all the others. I also really liked how they explained why Bo Peep wasn’t in Toy Story 3, and I think they did a good job of pretty much ending the series of the beloved Toy Story movies.

Father’s Day is Coming #ad

Hold on but…. Father’s Day is this Sunday. I know you meant to go shopping and life got in the way. I mean between the end of the school year, the heat, the start of summer, and (in my house) birthdays Father’s Day may have been shoved to the side. But I have paired up with to bring you some last minute Father’s Day sales. Yes, that does mean this is an #ad;). 
For us here in the NerdFamily, food is a huge part of Father’s Day celebrations so I am super intrigued by the BBQ dry rub kit by Piquant Post! It is perfect for all the parties and grilling sessions that are going to happen all summer. I think it will be perfect specifically for the 4th of July. Really, we may call it a gift for Dad but I think it is a gift for all of our bellies;). 
Go, hurry! Do you last minute shopping and thanks to for rounding up all the sales! 

Ralph Breaks the Internet

I may just be saying this because I got to go for free, but my honest opinion is this movie is just on the whole great, and is chock full of story, references, and good lines, telling a touching and passionate story. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is about what happens when Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade gets internet. Like in the Emoji Movie, when Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz go into the internet they encounter a lot of things that are familiar things to us, including the annoying pop-up ads and helpful search bar. This movie is a great combination of a cartoony storyline, the crazy fun and awesome experience of the internet, and a touching tale of friendship and insecurity. I think this movie can teach everyone something, small or large, and ties in so much story as well as some pretty awesome action scenes. It has many touching moments and shows scenes that are true for both cartoon characters and real people.

I only have one complaint about this movie. It shows us glimpses of many different links in the Disney chain, like Star Wars, Marvel, Muppets, and has more Disney princess participation than you would think. But they don’t really tie together in the end. I would have loved a Jedi jumping out of a spaceship to hit the big bad guy, or we saw the Muppets running around and helping out, but that is a super minor thing and really depends on how much you enjoy the Disney crossovers.

Stepping back and looking at the movie, it is great. It is the best Disney movie that I’ve seen in a while (Excluding MARVEL movies, but they rock.). There is something for everyone, and both I and my dad loved watching it because there were just so many different themes in the same movie. Let me give you some advice, though. Stay till the end, because there may or may not be a sneak peek for Frozen 2. (But you didn’t hear it from me!)

Nutcracker and The Four Realms

I was so excited to get to go to a preview with my mom and see this movie because I have been a fan of the Nutcracker ever since I was little. We would watch it every year before Christmas. And this movie exceeds my expectations very well. It was neither cheesy nor overdone and it was amazing. My only problem was that there was not enough dancing or Misty Copeland but other than that it was incredible.

The great thing about this movie is home it took its inspiration from the different originals. The realms are inspired by the tour of the fairyland that Clara takes with her prince. They did a good job of the picking and choosing what should go into it and what should be left out.

I think that the music was my favorite part. They stuck to the music score we all know and love and set it to a whirlwind of different scenes. They had a Ballet with the starring role played by Misty Copeland that was exquisite and of course, it was set to the original music but the truly incredible part is the way that they added the music to almost every scene without making it seem forced, it was truly a work of art.

I have already been asked by others “Was it scary?” and “Would you say that children can see it?” and I would say that it was just a touch scary but no more so than the original. I know that I used to be scared of the scene where Clara faces the Mouse King and it would frighten me but then I would always laugh when Clara would hit the Mouse King with her shoe.

This is definitely going to be added to our watch list for Christmases to come. I am very excited to show the rest of my family this movie. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone whether they are huge fans of the Nutcracker or have never seen it. This movie has that something special for everyone. Once you have seen it let me know down in the comments how you liked it and what your favorite part was.



(Disclosure: I watched the movie courtesy of Disney but all opinions and thoughts are mine.)

Incredibles: The Wait Ends


Well, I am calling it, the wait for Incredibles 2 was totally worth it. Disney generously let my mom, my sister, and I to attend a preview this week and it made me so happy. It was a great family movie and we got to see each of the characters really grow in this movie. There was lots of humor in this movie but it didn’t feel like it was forced in. I loved the balance between the humor (of which there were loads) and the fight scenes.

One thing that thrilled me about this movie was that with the restraints the creators put in the original world, all of the events that take place feel like they were natural progression instead of events forced to create drama. A lot of movies including Marvel movies, have those moments where you are just like you could have done this and none of this would have happened.

I love that in the Incredibles universe it deals with the actual legal problems there would be if we had superheroes in the real world. And this movie continued in that line very well. It was the perfect mix of humor and action and I can strongly recommend it to everyone. 

One of the things that this movie really hit home for me was Jack-Jack. I loved the baby and all of his antics.  This baby looks like my friend’s son that I love, and I couldn’t stop seeing his antics in all of Jack-Jack hilarity. This baby is such an adorable baby even while he is getting up to regular baby hijinks. All I want for the next Incredibles movie is 2 hours of Jack-Jack just being a baby. 

In conclusion, Incredibles Two lives up to all the hype and was definitely worth the wait. There is nothing in this movie that would dissuade me from recommending it to all of my friends, and I hope you all get a chance to see it soon Let me know in the comments what you are most looking forward to in this movie and once you have seen it let me know who was your favorite character.


(Disclosure: I did see the movie for free but all words, thoughts, and opinions are mine and mine alone.)

A Visit to Santa HQ (and a Giveaway)

Visiting Santa was a huge tradition in my childhood. So when HGTV’s Santa HQ and Fashion Fair reached out to me to come check out their high tech Santa experience, I couldn’t resist taking my 2 younger children. HGTV’s Santa HQ isn’t only in Fresno so you can check the site to find a location near you (but I am sure that Fresno’s is the best). You can also set an appointment online. But before I get into telling you all about it, HGTV’s Santa HQ is sponsoring this post and giveaway but these are all my thoughts and opinions!

This is not the boring Santa experience of my youth. This is technology and fun! You can start by picking up a selfie stick so you can grab some great family snapshots along the way. There is so much to see and do before you get to the official picture taking areas, you are going to want to document it!

First, we had to see if they were going to land on the naughty or nice lists! It was touch and go there for a minute;).  Then we go into the Observatory and that is when things got very interactive! We got Elf’ed! They take pictures and then place it into a cute video. They will even email you that video (check NerdFamily’s social media to see ours).

The next area, the proper observatory, is my favorite part. There are interactive spots with AR in a variety of places in the walls and ceilings! Don’t worry about having apps downloaded because there are tablets waiting for you! There are elves, gears, and even snow! 

There is also an opportunity to push buttons!! There is a great dashboard that lets the kids look at the “plans” of the different areas of Santa HQ. 

Next up are the pictures and Santa!!! There are 2 opportunities to have your picture taken. There is a gorgeous backdrop with accessories up first. Then you meet the man of the hour! Santa time! They have the sweetest Santa this year. He really listens to the kids and makes them laugh! And something that the moms will love, he has a large bench that can accommodate more than one child. So you can easily have all your kids in one photo and I love that. 

There are a variety of photo packages you can get right there at Santa HQ that will be printed on the spot. You can also order more online (or let grandma order what she wants). I also love that the digital photos are included in all packages. So while you may print 1 or 2, you will have them all forever. 

One of the best things about this whole experience is the staff. Audrey escorted us through the whole process and even took our pictures. If you see her when you go to Fashion Fair’s Santa HQ please tell her I loved her! We aren’t actually Santa people and this experienced offered so much more than just Santa and you should check it out!
If you aren’t in Fresno don’t worry, HGTV’s Santa HQ is in a variety of locations. Just check the site to find a location and set an appointment! No lines for my readers;).
Fashion Fair wants to help one of my readers to have a Merry Christmas so they are letting me give away a basic photo package. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(HGTV’s Santa HQ did sponsor this post but all thoughts are mine and mine alone.)