Q&A With David R. Dowdy – Author of The Pull and Kick Murder – Includes Book Review & Paperback Giveaway!

I discovered David R. Dowdy’s book The Pull and Kick Murder on Goodreads a few months ago and couldn’t wait to read it. I was able to get a Q&A with the author and have included it below for those who’d like to learn more about this book and the author. I’ve also included my book review for The Pull and Kick Murder below.

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The Pull and Kick Murder by David R. Dowdy

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Blurb: Woodward High’s annual contest to determine the captain of the swimming team has come again. When a star swimmer is found murdered in the pool, an unlikely pair are thrown together to find the killer. Follow the story as a shady Detective Lieutenant and a highbrow philosophy teacher tries to solve the case. How far will the detective go? What drives the teacher to work with the detective? – Goodreads

My Review:

I’ve had my eyes on The Pull and Kick Murder for some time and was lucky enough to receive a copy from the author. I was hooked by this book just after reading the first few pages as the story unfolded.

The book begins with Mr. Haynes, a well-respected philosophy teacher who teaches at Woodward Highschool. Aside from reading Socrates and discussing morals in class, some of the students are involved in the high school swim team and it’s time for the new team captain competition. Jack Harrier and Harry Dawes, two of the swim competitors, aren’t interested in a fair tournament and they’ll do whatever it takes to stop a fellow student from winning the competition. Jack wants to be the new team captain and he’s not taking no for an answer. Not long after the race, a student is found murdered and two unlikely partners will be put to the challenge of solving the case. The book becomes a whodunit mystery with clues, twists, and turns that grip you until the surprising end.

The character development was spot on. The writing is profoundly descriptive and with such a strong plot and characters, it felt like I was immersed in a captivating episode of “Law and Order.” I had people envisioned in my mind for each character as I read along. The story is very convincing and felt remarkably true to me. I enjoyed the banter between Mr. Haynes and Detective Sparrow who must work together against Sparrow’s wishes to find the perpetrator. As more clues emerge, Haynes might have a lesson or two of his own to share. This was one of my favorite components in the book.

I haven’t read a whole lot of crime fiction, but if I can find similar books in crime fiction, I’d make it a favorite genre for sure. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime and mystery books. 5*****

 

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My Q&A with author David R. Dowdy

Could you tell readers a little bit about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

One of my earliest jobs was caddying for old rich guys at Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Township Michigan. I went to the stand where the golfers drove up and dropped off their clubs. My guy had one of the worst no-name sets I’d ever seen. The woods were worn and dull and the irons dinged. So, I was thinking, there’s no big tip coming.

I carried the bag to the first tee and there was just one other caddy and “his” set of clubs were beautiful. We talked a bit and the golfers came up. Would you believe it? The one who came up and introduced himself to me was Ernie Harwell, the legendary, preeminent radio announcer for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. The one I listened to every ball game day. The one who announced the World Series the Tigers won in 1968.

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Ernie Harwell

No set of clubs would ever be that light. I practically flew around the course. The best thing was hearing his folksy, smooth, Southern voice. It was just like he sounded on radio only not transistorized! His playing matched his worn out, amateur clubs, but it didn’t matter. This man, to me, was a giant. It turned out, the tip was typical. I took it, shook his hand, and thanked him. Inside I was giddy and still am.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

For some reason, I was academic in high school. Not always the best grades, but I had a yearning to learn. Unfortunately, I was torn between arts and sciences. I loved Chemistry, Economics, and Physics, and somehow hated Math. On the other side, English, Mythology, Philosophy, Investigative Paper beckoned me.

author_ecourse.jpgJournalists were gods at the time. They’d turned the political world upside down. I read everything in the news and I felt writing had something going for it. So, that’s when I knew I wanted to write. But, the volcanic forces of basic needs erupted and I turned to engineering as a career path. Hanging on barely was the desire to write. Even though I went on to become an engineer, I still found time to write short stories and poetry. Nothing monumental because I hadn’t put enough time into them.

How does writing make you feel and does it come easy for you?

Writing makes me feel in control. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction and power when I’ve created something unique and solved a problem. It has become easier in the sense that knowing story structure and the mechanics of writing means I take less time planning and editing. But, I wouldn’t say easy because creating something in fiction that sounds plausible takes time and a lot of thought.

What are your writing plans for the future and is there anything you’re working on now?

*This answer contains spoilers*

I plan to keep writing mysteries featuring Haynes and Sparrow who solved the case of The Pull and Kick Murder. If I’m lucky, I’ll keep writing until my mind gives out, so that could be a long time. Currently, I’m planning and doing some early sketches of a mystery with my investigative duo and a high school female teen protagonist.

What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

As I went directly to self-publishing The Pull and Kick Murder, I have no idea what it’s like to work with a publisher. Maybe I’ll have the chance someday. For now, writing a novel and making it available on Amazon and all the other online outlets is enough for me. If a publisher wanted to pick me up, I wouldn’t be against it. As for marketing, I have Goodreads and Amazon author and book pages. I have done giveaways on Goodreads and Amazon. I’m fishing for reviews!

Who are some of your favorite authors and were there any that heavily influencedfavorites.jpg your writing?

James Joyce showed in Dubliners how important characterization is and how personality affects everything. I learned from Patricia Highsmith the brilliance of how evil can infect a person without them realizing it. Graham Greene writes about the nasty people who inhabit our world. To Hammett, there’s always a quick bon mot. And Salinger understands how inner dialog is often the story if not the theme.

What is your favorite childhood book?

The Cat in the Hat. Wrecking the house on a rainy day was something I enjoyed as a kid and TCITH showed me that it was OK if one tidied afterward. I also enjoyed the Bible Stories and the oversized illustrated dictionary we kept.

What do you consider literary success?

Having my work read by thoughtful readers who generously provide feedback through reviews. Whatever comments, I will churn them back into my writing.

What would you say are the hardest tasks when it comes to writing?

Creating a lush plot (sounds like a garden!). The Pull and Kick Murder is linear in my opinion and I would like to use it as a springboard to a more complex novel.

Finding the correct voice for characters.

Showing characters coming to terms with what they thought they believed, throwing away the disbelief, and embracing the truth.writing-center-1024x692.jpg.jpg

When it comes to writing, what tools do you use? (Pen, type writer, or computer) Do you outline?

First, I outline with a pen in my notebook, usually by creating a premise and drawing a sketch or two of how the story should proceed. Then I graduate to Microsoft Word and begin to write intensively. I cross things out of my notebook as I use them. Although I may write the first chapter first, my writing does not go from start to finish. There are times when I have five pots cooking on four burners.

What inspired you to write The Pull and Kick Murder?

Someone close to me in my childhood suffered a suspicious death and the truth never came out. I asked myself ‘why?’ for many years. Then, when I realized the power of mysteries, my appetite grew. I realized that writing was something I needed to do and the genre was familiar. The Pull and Kick Murder offered a chance to right a most evil wrong in a purely fictional book.

How long did it take you to write this book?

From writing initial ideas in a notebook to reading and correcting the proof, a little over two years. I’ve had some of the story in my head for years. Often, ideas linger in a writer’s mind over their lifetime and I know that was my experience.

What was the most difficult part for you when writing this book?

Creating the suspense when writing the twists and climax. They were also the most rewarding and memorable times. It was difficult writing about the devastation that occurs following a murder.

How much research did you do for the book?research-definition-iStock.jpg

Quite a bit as I’m always concerned about being precise and getting all the details right. For example, I had to learn how to swim the breaststroke and put myself inside the swimmer in such a way that a true swimmer would believe it to be true. I hope I’ve succeeded, but we’ll see!

Also, I had to learn how an investigator goes about his or her job, especially how they read suspects and use follow up questioning.

Did you make any major edits to it?

I’m not afraid to write something and rewrite or even delete it. It’s just necessary to become clear. Often, I would read something later and find that it wasn’t good. As for major edits, yes that happened several times. An unfinished story is in flux so there’s always an opportunity to improve it.

Are any of the people, places, or events in the book based on any truth?

Definitely! My high school philosophy teacher is there front and center and nearly everything about him is true. The high school, Natatorium, and the city are from my youth. Of course, The Pull and Kick Murder is entirely fictional.

How did you come up with the character names in the book?

*This answer contains spoilers*

Lew Haynes: Lou Hayner was my philosophy teacher in high school. Altering his name was easy.
Ian Sparrow: Sparrow’s don’t fear much and they’re always looking into their surroundings. Ian is my son’s first name.
Billy Touraine: He’s renamed after a great friend, Bill Tourville, from high school who was on the swimming team. Bill, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry you had to fictionally die and I hope you’re in good health!

To go into the other main character’s names might reveal too much. Secondary characters come from people I know. Alex is the nick of my son’s middle name Alexander and the male protagonist from a novel that I couldn’t complete. Kunta is a great name from someone I worked with. Yolanda is a wonderful lady from Peru who cleaned at my previous job.

The ending was such a surprise for me! Did you have any other alternative endings for the book?

Yes, because my characters weren’t cooperating and they were keeping things from me. At times, I had envisioned two other characters each as the culprit. But, the more I wrote (I had a plan and it morphed on me), the more I loved their flaws and everything. I had so much invested in them, they were innocent. To have used either one would have been asinine.

After reading your brother’s review for the book, readers will learn that your book was kept secret from your family until after it was published. What made you decide to keep the book a secret and what was your family’s reaction when they found out about it?

It wasn’t as much secret as it was risk avoidance. I felt if I had let on too early, my book would have become a weight of questioning when I would ever finish. Towards the end I told a few people at work who I had become close to, but only when I knew the book was inevitable. You may have read the first review on Amazon where my brother Jeff was surprised that I had kept the book secret. The second review is from my brother Mike. I was so happy to get those reviews!

Who designed the cover and did you have a part in it?

I get full blame or credit for the cover. Create Space provides the dimensional specifications. I chose one of the stock layouts. Later I realized that I could have done better. I searched for a stock photo and when I discovered the one at the top of my final cover, I was enthralled. The guy is coming up and taking a deep breath and his hands are outstretched. I imagined in that half-second he’s offering something spiritual in himself. Immediately, I purchased the photo and stuck it over a blood red swatch where I put the title. That’s the current and last edition.

If The Pull and Kick Murder were adapted into a movie, which actors would you choose for the main characters?

Haynes: Ben Affleck

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Sparrow: Samuel L. Jackson

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Damon: Dane Dehaan

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Evelyn: Sigourney Weaver

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Beth: Angelina Jolie

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Alex: Christian Bale

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Jack: Zack Effron

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Billy: Robert Pattinson

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Mykayla: Selena Gomez

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How do you feel about e-books vs. print books?

To each his own. However, e-books have never appealed to me.

When reading The Pull and Kick Murder, I couldn’t help but think about some of my favorite crime shows like Law and Order and CSI. Do you have any favorite TV shows or movies? Anything that inspired the book?

I have only Netflix for TV and even so I avoid crime documentaries. I would rather read about human chemistry, motivation, and criminal tendencies from fiction and biographies. Among others, I watch Midsomer Murders and Inspector Morse for entertainment. For movies, I like film noir. Radio mystery such as Suspense is very inspiring.

 

 

Continue reading “Q&A With David R. Dowdy – Author of The Pull and Kick Murder – Includes Book Review & Paperback Giveaway!”

Award: Liebster Award #3

I was nominated by Heidi@BookLoverBlogs.com for The Liebster Award. Have you been to her blog yet? If not, please check it out. She has amazing reading goals with booklists! I was so impressed and inspired. I’m very glad to be connected with Heidi and hope that more will discover her blog. I’d like to thank Heidi for this nomination. This is my 3rd Liebster Award and I’m very excited!

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The Rules for the Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award
  2. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 11 blogs
  4. Notify them of the nomination
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer

11 Facts About Myself:

  • I have one sibling, an older brother.
  • Some of my favorite music artists of all time are: Alice in Chains, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Audioslave, STP, Faith No More, Neil Young, Creed, and so many more. 🙂
  • I graduated a year early from high school in an accelerated program.
  • I have a book addiction and can easily spend hours in the bookstore! Not only that, I have way too many books.
  • Denzel  Washington is one of my favorite actors all the way back to “Glory”, one of my favorite movies of all time. Also: Philadelphia, The Equalizer, Man on Fire, Training Day, Eli, Déjà Vu, John Q and so many more.

If you haven’t seen Glory, I highly encourage you to watch it. Here’s the trailer…

  • I love fried chicken so much; I wish I could eat it everyday.
  • I’m a mother of 5 wonderful kids.
  • I’m my children’s sole educator and have been a home educator since 2005.
  • I don’t like to fly in airplanes.
  • I really enjoy swimming.
  • I’m addicted to sweets,  especially birthday cake.

Continue reading for Heidi’s questions…

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review – Movie Trailer

I’m really late to the party on this one guys! I finally picked this up at Barnes a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to read it. You can see my book review below and also the movie trailer! It’s scheduled for 2018

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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Blurb: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Add it on Goodreads


My Review

This was my first buddy read with the one and only *Craig* and what a pleasure this was. I’d like to thank Craig for reading this one with me. Craig always makes me smile and this was fun!

I’m not even sure where to start with my review.  I was highly anticipating this book for some time after seeing so many 5 star reviews and awesome comments, but the book was just a “like” and I wasn’t overly impressed like I thought I’d be.

The story takes place in 2044 and the world is in a Grimm state. A man by the name of James Halliday has created a virtual video game world known as the OASIS which becomes an escape for people. He’s hidden something in the labyrinth that everybody wants to find, and a teen by the name of Wade wants to be the one to find it first. The person who finds the prize is promised riches and as more people come in to play, it becomes a fight to the end as the gunters hunt for the prize while making their way through game after game.

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The story fell a tad short despite some action and fast paced reading. I felt like there was a lot going on, maybe too much detail even, but the best parts in the book that really held my interest were all the ’80s pop culture references. Some of my favorite movies, music, and games from the ’80s were referenced and I found myself looking up old music videos like “The Safety Dance,” a fave. Oh, the memories. ♡

The music references really took me back and as a child of the ’80s I can still remember sitting on my mom’s harvest green carpet in front of the Zenith watching them on MTV, which is nothing like what it used to be. And the games! It took me back to the days of my Atari and my Amiga Commodore: jousting for hours, and Burgertime!  There were literally hundreds of references, even old Tv shows, and I almost want to rate it highly for that one reason. Sure, there were interesting parts in the book with Wade’s adventures in the OASIS and with all the competition, I continued to think it might pick up for me, but the book just kept me hanging on until the end with all the nostalgia.  I was yearning for a pick me up.

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I did think the story was unique and enjoyed the characters. I also thought it was very descriptive and I was extremely pleased with the ending. For me, I simply felt like the story maybe had too much added information which made me a little uncomfortable.

I’m still glad I read it and can’t wait to see the movie because the trailer looks awesome and I ♡ Tye Sheridan! 3.5***

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  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 32089th edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307887448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307887443

Ready Player One Trailer

 

Continue reading for author info!

Continue reading “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review – Movie Trailer”

Award: The Unique Blogger Award

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I was nominated by Claire@Brizzlelassbooks.com for this Unique Blogger Award! I was super excited as I haven’t received this award yet. I’d like to thank Claire for nominating me. If you haven’t checked out Claire’s blog yet, please do. She has many book reviews, tours and giveaways to explore. I feel very lucky to have met Claire and we have some things in common which I think is awesome!

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The Rules

  • Share the link to the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

 

Claire’s Questions

1. If you could have any animal or mythical creature from a book as a pet what would you pick?

I admire horses so I’m going to go with unicorns. I truly lOVE unicorns and I’ve always been fascinated by them. I loved “Uni” from Dungeons and Dragons and also the movie “Legend” with Tom Cruise which had Unicorns in it. How awesome would that be to have a unicorn?

2. Which is one of your least favourite characters of all time?

Denethor from Lord of the Rings. I didn’t like the way he treated Pippin and I despised him for trying to kill his own son, Faramir. Ugh!

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3. Is there a supporting character who you liked far more than the main one?

Many of the characters in LOTR. Mainly Samwise Gamgee. I also loved Boromir, Gandalf, Aragorn, and others.

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Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

A main activity I enjoy is watching movies and this is one of the things I originally wanted to blog about and review when I started readrantrockandroll. I have definitely completed more book reviews, but I have scads of movies to talk about and I thought I’d start out with a few that I really enjoyed this year. This review will be for the movie Hell or High Water which was released in 2016.

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Title: Hell or High Water ( Released August 26th 2016 – USA)

Director:

David Mackenzie

Writer:

Taylor Sheridan

Stars:

Chris Pine

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Runtime: 1hr 42 Minutes

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Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality

 

 

My Summary: Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) who has recently been released out of prison, need to raise enough money to pay off the reverse mortgage on their mother’s ranch. She has just recently passed away, and now that oil was discovered on the ranch, they need to secure the future of Toby’s sons and ex wife by raising $43,000 dollars to pay it off. After they make two robberies, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner deputy (Gil Birmingham) try to stop them from committing their final crime.

 

Continue for my review: 

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Q&A with Author Andy Carrington – Plus Book reviews for S.O.P.H.I.E & Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul

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*Warning – This Post Contains Explicit Language*

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I’ve been wanting to read some of Andy Carrington’s work for some time now. I’ll admit I haven’t read much Satire or Punk Poetry and became intrigued just by the titles of these two books. I recently read Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul and S.O.P.H.I.E. Please see my reviews for both books below and the Q&A with Andy Carrington as well. Add these books on Goodreads by clicking the covers.

Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul

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Blurb: Human anxiety / disillusionment in the machine age.

My review

I had an idea what the subject of this poetry would be just after reading the title, but what I got was more than I anticipated. Andy Carrington flat-out tells it how it is when it comes to technology and our world today. The writing covers real world scenarios and I found myself more than once saying, “Exactly!” There’s so much truth here and we have to admit it folks. It makes me think back to when I was a kid and life was more simple. Now our kids are growing up in a very different world with multiple electronic devices.

One of my favorite poems in the book is #Twits. Andy mentions Twitter and how everyone say’s what they want on the computer, but never face to face. There’s no fear behind the screen. Effective communication is out the window with social media in my opinion. I’m one of the those people who thinks social media isn’t social at all, but yeah, I finally succumbed to Twitter and so would my grandpa if he were here.

Another one that really caught my attention was “There’s an APP for a that.” I like this part…

     -we’re taken in by the waves

with our fate

being determined by the furious tap-

tap tapping

of our

fingers.

I really hope a machine won’t take my postman’s place. I love that guy! Plus, privacy? There’s no such thing anymore. I’m amazed with all the thought-provoking and valid points here.

I enjoyed the film references and especially the links to the news articles pertaining to each poem. I’m glad to have read this. Technology is scary and effects everything about the way we think and act. We don’t even realize it.  I think everyone will agree.

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You can pick up a copy of Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul for only £2.00 on Andy’s website by clicking HERE. 

 

Continue reading “Q&A with Author Andy Carrington – Plus Book reviews for S.O.P.H.I.E & Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul”

TAG: Get To Know Me

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I’m going crazy with tags here lately. I mean, there are so many awesome tags! I found this one at this-is-my-truth-now. I love this blog. James has everything you could want in a blog and it’s organized and easy to navigate. From book reviews to a thought-provoking 365 day challenge. Be sure to check it out. New content daily!

VITAL STATS:

Name: Mischenko

Nicknames: A nickname from school was Jade because I had this jade stone necklace that I used to wear all the time.

Birthday: September! My FAVORITE time of year due to fall.

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Star Sign: Libra

Occupation: Self-employed.

 

Continue reading “TAG: Get To Know Me”

My Second Liebster Award Nomination!

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I was nominated by Rachel@ her blog paceamorelibri for another Liebster Award! I was so amazed by this. I’d like to thank her for nominating me first and foremost. ❤❤❤ Please check out her blog if you haven’t already. She has loads of book reviews, tags, awards, and amazing monthly wrap ups!

I’m excited to answer some new questions and present the award to some marvelous bloggers! Here are the rules…

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog ✔

2. Answer the 11 questions the person asked you ✔

3. Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know) ✔

4. Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions✔

 

Continue reading “My Second Liebster Award Nomination!”

Q&A with Justin Roberts – Author of The Policewoman

 

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I read The Policewoman this past May after reading a few reviews on Goodreads. People had good things to say about and it sounded like a unique story. I noticed that The Policewoman was even on Amazon’s Best-Seller list for awhile as you can see below. I gave it a go and was very pleased with the story. I originally did a post in May with my review, but after speaking with Justin Roberts, I thought it would be nice to learn a little more about him and share it with readers. You can see my review below, what a few other Goodread’s friends are saying about the book, and a Q&A with Justin Roberts.

 

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Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review

As soon as I saw the cover of Pets Rock, I had to get it. Who doesn’t want to see real dogs & cats dressed as some of the celebrities we know today? I noticed the Pulp Fiction dogs Vincent and Jules and couldn’t help but laugh as it was obvious who they were as they looked just like them, even if they were dogs dressed up.

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I had fun scrolling through the book and figuring out which celebrity each dog or cat depicted. The book doesn’t tell you, but gives you a little hint in the text. The world leaders were the most obvious.

I was planning on rating this a 4 star book as it’s a fun read, until I got to the pages with the dogs dressed as Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, ironically next to each other. Tupac’s page was the one that made me stop and think with the sentence the author of the text uses, “ I got a shot… for the fleas.” I personally like Tupac and don’t find him being shot funny. Is that what the author of the text is saying, or is it a reference to All Eyes On Me? I realize it’s meant to be a joke book and perhaps I’m taking it too seriously and reading into it too much, but that’s just my opinion. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this…

My favorites were The Blues Brothers, Jules & Vincent, Bowie, Slash and Clint Eastwood. You can actually purchase some of these prints online.

I’m going to give it 3 stars because most of the book is funny and it’s a cool, cute, and entertaining concept.

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Continue reading “Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review”

Top Five Netflix Favorites

I love watching Netflix in my free time and thought I’d share with others my top five favorite Netflix series of all time. You can read about them below, but first…

Why do I love Netflix?

  • It’s cheap compared to cable or satellite.
  • There is so much variety and I’m never bored with it.
  • There are so many Netflix originals that are my favorites. You can’t see them anywhere else.
  • There are NEVER commercials.
  • You can watch a series in it’s entirety without having to wait a week or more for the next episode.
  • You can stream from more than one device at a time and anywhere, including the car.
  • Netflix offers umpteen shows for kids including TV series.
  • New shows and movies are added all the time!

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#1 – Breaking Bad

 The story is based on a chemistry teacher named Walter White (Brian Cranston) who is diagnosed with Stage III cancer. He’s told by his doctor that he has only two years to live. He instantly Walter_White2starts to panic about how his family will be well off without him and he’s determined to find a way to give them a secure future. Walter lives with his teenage son, and wife, in New Mexico. He uses his chemistry knowledge and begins producing and selling crystal meth in order to make as much money as he can before he dies. He becomes a top seller in the drug trade and along with it comes crime and unfathomable events.

This series literally threw me for a loop! The actors are perfect and the story is so insane, you will most likely binge every episode until the end. I will say that some of the episodes are quite brutal. It’s downright violent at times. I believe this was originally an AMC series. It isn’t technically a Netflix series, but can be watched on Netflix.

Season #1 Trailer

I was late to the party with this series and didn’t start watching it until it was out on DVD. I ended up streaming the majority on Netflix. I highly recommend this one and it’s my #1 favorite series. 

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#2 – Stranger Things

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The story takes place in Hawkins Indiana in 1983. A group of kids play Dungeons & Dragons together and in the evening when one of the boys, Will Byers, leaves to go home he disappears. Everyone begins searching for Will, including his friends and family when they discover something mysterious is happening involving top secret government activities. The group of boys meet Eleven, a girl who not only has a strange appearance, but super powers as well. The boys soon learn that somehow she has a strange connection to their friend Will, and may be the answer to finding him.

Season #1 Trailer:

I LOVE this series. It’s so bizarre! The cast is amazing and the story is one that is so unique-it’s nothing like anything you’ve seen before. It’s not incredibly horrible with language and adult content, so older kids can watch it. It’s scary though, don’t get me wrong! The final Season #2 comes out Halloween 2017, so better get caught up!

Season #2 Trailer

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#3 – Bloodline

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Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Sissy Spacek, need I say more? This series had me completely captivated! The story revolves around a family, the Rayburns, who have some dark secrets. They live in the Florida Keys and the family owns an Inn for tourists. As time moves on they have a hard time keeping their secrets to themselves. When Danny Rayburn (pictured lower left) comes home, everything seems to fall apart. John (lower right) is running for sheriff and seems to be keeping it all together, or is he?

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This series contains unthinkable crimes that you won’t see coming. There are many twists as well. People start doing some very bad things and relationships are lost.

Watch the official #1 season trailer below:

This was my #1 Netflix original for awhile, until I watched the final season #3. I’m going to give a mild spoiler here and say that I absolutely DESPISED the ending. It seemed like they just couldn’t figure out where to take the series. I did read that they were having issues filming in the Florida Keys due to how expensive it was, but I was really hoping for an awesome end considering how captivated I was by the series.

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Continue reading “Top Five Netflix Favorites”

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated

I’ve been anticipating reading this book for some time. This is one of my favorite stories from childhood. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie this week! I have no idea at this point how the movie will compare to the book, but I’ll come back and leave a review for the movie once I see it.

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This review may contain spoilers…

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book is comparable to the classic Beauty and the Beast, yet so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction which was so unique. It pulled me right in with the interaction between Love and Death-so intriguing. It’s no surprise that Death would cheat, but who will win?

The story starts with Belle in Beast’s castle after she’s been imprisoned. Beloved Belle and her love for books begins the journey into Nevermore which is so imaginative and pulls you in like you’ve entered an enchanting dream you don’t ever want to leave. Can Beast change and will Love prevail, or will Belle be so enticed that she’ll be lost forever?

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I loved the author’s writing style and this is a super simple read that even young readers at the age of 10-12 can enjoy as its YA. Even though the story is simple, I believe adults can enjoy it as well. It took me extra time to finish it because I’m reading so many books right now, but one could easily have it read in half a day. Some of the characters are a little lackluster at times but there’s plenty of other detail and depth to the story which makes up for it in my opinion, like learning more about the Beast’s background. I loved the addition of the new characters in Nevermore. I also love the beautiful cover which fits the story so well.

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My only issue with the story is that I wanted a different ending or perhaps MORE of an ending. It was so abrupt and not what I expected. I’m really hoping there’s another book on the way! I’ll be forgiving if there is! *Excessive Sobbing*

If you’re a Beauty and the Beast fan, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this even more magical version of Beauty and the Beast. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed. Now I’m off to discover more books by Jennifer Donnelly and to see the movie!

4-stars Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated”

Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings Book Review + update

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings is a book about the Guardian’s of the Galaxy from the very beginning. You can see my review below as well as the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie trailer which is in theaters TONIGHT!

18774185.jpgWe loved Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings. The book starts out explaining all about Peter Quill as a child and his origins. It explains about his father and how he had to leave Earth. Peter quickly determines he must journey to space to find his dad.

The illustrations were great and the reading wasn’t too complicated. It’s a very happy story and I didn’t find anything wrong with that. It’s perfect for any Guardians of the Galaxy fan.

Follow along and learn about Peter’s determination to find his father and how the Guardians of the Galaxy are formed with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket.

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baby-groot.gif Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings Book Review + update”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The Movie Storybook

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The Movie Storybook by Paddy Kempshall is a retelling of the first Hobbit movie An Unexpected Journey.

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The book retells the movie in a simple summary that even children can understand. It’s loaded with beautiful full page photographs and smaller ones in between. A few of the photographs look like paintings which offers a nice feel.

I haven’t read the original Hobbit story yet, but plan to this year. I personally loved The Hobbit movies which are continuously playing in our house. This book is certainly one to keep around. One of my favorite characters in The Hobbit movies is “Kili” played by Aiden Turner.

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I’m really looking forward to picking up the other two movie storybooks, Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies. (Natasha Hughes)

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Dreamworks Trolls Movie -Soundtrack & Books

I have to start by saying that as a kid I was a complete freak about trolls! I had over 100 different trolls and even some specific trolls for the holidays. So, when the new Trolls movie came out in 2016 I was super excited and couldn’t wait to go see it with my family. We loved it! You can read about the movie, soundtrack, and also see a few book recommendations below.

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What’s to love about this movie?

I personally loved everything about the movie. It’s super colorful, musical, funny, and it sends a positive message to everyone about the power of friendship, the importance of working together, and how we should try to refrain from being negative. It’s just a feel good movie that anyone can enjoy. Kids just love it and the entire soundtrack is awesome.

Summary: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

Watch the Trailer Here: 

Click here for Troll’s Coloring Sheets!  Continue reading “Dreamworks Trolls Movie -Soundtrack & Books”