I am delighted to host Marc Estes

Today is the final day of the Rave Reviews Book Club’s “Bethany Turner Pay It Forward” week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with #RRBC, it is an online book club designed to promote Indie authors on Twitter and other social media platforms, and through honest book reviews. It’s a great group, and if you are an author or a reader of indie books, you should consider joining #RRBCconsider joining #RRBC. The positive attitude that is part of the foundation of this club is simply amazing.

Today I get to spotlight the author of Four Pieces For Power: Book 1 of the Vendicatori, Marc Estes. Marc is a highly supportive member of #RRBC, and it gives me great pleasure to share a little bit about him and his book with you today.

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Four Pieces For Power

When mysterious strangers arrive athe home of Andrew Correo, they provide him with life changing news. He learns of the Vedicatori, a secret organization established by his ancestors, an organization he now has the chance to inherit control over. In order to gain this control, he needs to compete with Robert Stavero in a global scavenger hunt. They must search for four illusive crystals that, when brought together, will tell them their final destination. Also in Edson, Monica Correo is planning a wedding to her love, John Weaver. With the wedding so close to Halloween, the pair decide to have a masquerade ball for the wedding reception. It will be an event no one in Edson will ever forget. With just a clue and limited guidance, both Andrew and Robert set out on their secretive journey. For both, the path leads to mystery, suspense, and self-discovery. As Andrew looks forward to his future, while putting parts of his past behind him, Robert grows greedy and develops a love for deception and hate. The hunt brings them through the ruins of Teotihuacan to the Eternal City and its history, but who will have the cunning to come out on top?

Add Four Pieces For Power to your library:

http://t.co/bfGgNPSp6B

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Award winning writer, Marc Estes, is proud to present his debut novel, Four Pieces For Power, Book One of the Vendicatori. This marks the first in a series of Vendicatori novels developed by Mr. Estes. He is a two-time winner of the Vermont Playwright’s Award for his plays, What Would Dickens Do? and Glass Closets. What Would Dickens Do? also won the 2012 Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence. His play, Gumbo (adapted from the short story by Charles Huckelbury) was a finalist in the 2011 Safe Streets Arts Foundation Short Play Competition and was presented at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His play The Practice of Killing (co-written with Robert Johnson, and adapted from the short story by Mr. Johnson) has been published in the Spring 2013 edition of Tacenda Literary Magazine. Estes is a native of New England and graduate of the University of New Hampshire.

You can find Marc at the following places:

Email: estesmarcw@gmail.com

Website: http://estesmarcw.wix.com/author-page

Twitter: @vendicatori33

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Thank you for stopping by my blog today, & for supporting talented author, Marc Estes.

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Please Welcome Micki Peluso

Welcome to the second day of Rave Reviews Book Club’s “Bethany Turner Pay It Forward” week. This week, we were given three authors to spotlight, and today, I’m privileged to host fellow #RRBC member Micki Peluso. Micki is the talented author of And The Whippoorwill Sang, which is available on Amazon in both eBook and paperback.Please read on to learn a little about Micki, and about her book.

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In Micki’s own words

   I have written since I learned to hold a pencil. But life interferred with serious writing until a tragedy struck my family. I have written since I learned to hold a pencil. But life interfered with serious writing until a tragedy struck my family. This time I took up the pen and wrote as a catharsis to my grief–where spoken words failed, written words helped heal my wounded soul. 

   My first short story of the incident was published in an International Journal, and a career in writing was launched. After enough rejection slips to wallpaper my kitchen, I discovered writing for newspapers. After that there were no more rejections, which was a great relief. I became a staff freelance writer for a bi-weekly award winning newspaper and freelance slice of life writer for the larger local paper, serving a city of 500,000 people. The diversity of writing for newspapers let me experiment in many areas of writing from essays, commentaries, interviews, humor, pathos, analogy, and short fiction.

   I have recently published my first non-fiction book, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, dedicated to the one I lost. Published by Light Sword Publishing, it is a funny, poignant celebration of life rather than a eulogy of death. My next book is a sci-fi chapter book for children, co-written with my 11 year-old grandson, who demands top billing. I still write short stories, my favorite category, especially humor and paranormal and have several other children’ books in progress.

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About And The Whippoorwill Sang

It is a day like any other, except the intense heat wave has broken and signs of early fall are in the air. 

Around the dining room table of her 100 year old farmhouse Micki Peluso’s six children along with three of their friends eagerly gulp down a chicken dinner. As soon as the last morsel is ravished, the lot of them is off in different directions. Except for the one whose turn it is to do the dishes. After offering her mother a buck if she’ll do them, with an impish grin, the child rushes out the front door, too excited for a hug, calling out, “Bye Mom,” as the door slams shut. For the Peluso’s the nightmare begins. 

Micki and Butch face the horror every parent fears—awaiting the fate of one of their children. While sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room, Micki traverses the past, as a way of dealing with an inconceivable future.
From the bizarre teenage elopement with her high school sweetheart, Butch, in a double wedding with her own mother, to comical family trips across country in an antiquated camper with six kids and a dog, they leave a path of chaos, antics and destruction in their wake. Micki relives the happy times of raising six children while living in a haunted house, as the young parents grow up with their kids. She bravely attempts to be the man of the house while her husband, Butch is working out of town. 

Hearing strange noises, which all the younger kids are sure is the ghosts, Micki tiptoes down to the cellar, shotgun in hand and nearly shoots an Idaho potato that has fallen from the pantry and thumped down the stairs. Of course her children feel obligated to tell the world.
Just when their lives are nearly perfect, tragedy strikes—and the laughter dies. A terrible accident takes place in the placid valley nestled within the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On a country lane just blocks from the family’s hundred year old haunted farmhouse, lives are changed forever. 

In a state of shock, Micki muses through their delightful past to avoid confronting an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension.
One of her six children is fighting for life in Intensive Care. Both parents are pressured by doctors to disconnect Noelle, their fourteen-year-old daughter. Her beautiful girl, funny and bright, who breathes life into every moment, who does cartwheels in piles of Autumn leaves, who loves to sing and dance down country roads, and above all loves her family with all her soul. How can Micki let this child go?
The family embarks upon yet another journey, to the other side of sorrow and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin. . .to weep. . .to laugh. . .to grieve. . .to dance—and forgive.

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Add this fantastic book to your library

http://t.co/xUhrv4Adrp

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Contact Micki at:

Email: mallie1025@aol.com

Blog: http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/

Twitter Handle: @mickipeluso

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/?_rdr

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I hope that you enjoyed reading about Micki Peluso and her novel And The Whippoorwill Sang. Please join me on Friday, when I will be showcasing Marc Estes, he author of Four Pieces For Power: Book 1 of the Vendicatori.

 

 

#RRBC’s 2nd Pay It Forward Week

Today began Rave Reviews Book Club’s second Bethany Turner “Pay It Forward Week”, and I was given the pleasure of showcasing Bethany Turner, herself! I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first PIF week, and I think it says a lot about Bethany that she came up with such an awesome idea. So please read on for a little bit about Bethany Turner, and her novel I’ve Loved These Days: Abigail Phelps, Book One.

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About I’ve Loved These Days

The very first time you met me you knew that he would never be the same again, didn’t you? For the record, I was never the same again either. And while times have changed and opportunities have been lost, I still know in my heart of hearts that I never will be. But we can’t go back, and we can’t undo. What’s more, I don’t really want to. While my life is not perfect, it is uniquely, ridiculously mine, and I would not trade it.”

Abigail Phelps has written her memoirs, but the world has never heard of her. So why should anyone care? Perhaps no one would, if the letter in which Abigail reflects on changing times and lost opportunities weren’t addressed to Jacqueline Onassis, and the man who would never be the same weren’t John F. Kennedy Jr.

Put aside all you think you know and jump into the greatest love story the world has never known.

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A five star review by Sarah Stuart

Dear Mrs Onassis… even to me, English to the core, those three words screamed “Jacqueline Kennedy”. Bethany Turner has found the all-time brilliant hook, and she doesn’t disappoint. If you want to relax and forget reality “I’ve Loved These Days” is the book for you; you don’t even have to daydream. Abby Phelps, with the occasional input from Dr Redmond, a psychiatrist from Colorado, does it for you. George Clooney… John Kennedy Jr… Christopher Dean… and so many others, closer than you’ll ever get to them any way but this.

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Bethany Turner was born and raised in Kentucky, but now lives in Colorado with her husband and two sons. She studied theatre at the University of Kentucky before going on to a career in bank management, which eventually gave way to writing. She finally knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

 

Please visit Amazon and get your copy of I’ve Loved These Days.

http://t.co/LsExeinZsX

Bethany Turner’s Contact Info:

Email: seebethanywrite@outlook.com

Website: http://www.seebethanywrite.com
Twitter Handle: @BTLiteraryStuff
Facebook Page URL: www.facebook.com/seebethanywrite

John and I went to the movies

My friend John was in town this weekend, and we went to the movies. This time we saw Mad Max: Fury Road, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2, The Age Of Adaline, and Hot Pursuit. We had two fairly good days at the theatre, and here are the reviews.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron – A good action flick. The plot was solid, the acting was good, and Robert Downey, Jr. was perfect again as Tony Stark/Iron Man. If you like comic book heroes, and if you like high-powered action films, you will probably enjoy this movie. 4*

Pitch Perfect 2 – This movie was not quite as funny as the previews suggested it would be, although Rebel Wilson was hilarious again as Fat Amy. I loved the interactions between the Bellas and the German group, Das Sound Machine. John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks were a perfect team in every way, and I loved their time on screen. Snoop Dogg played himself, and I really enjoyed his Christmas carol moment. It seemed to both of us that there was less singing in this film, but it was still a great movie. I’m deducting a star because there were two factors in the Bellas final performance that neither of us thought would have been accepted in an actual singing competition. 4*

The Age Of Adaline – This was a great feel-good film, for the most part. After a bizarre series of events that should have killed her, Adaline ceases to age. The film follows her through several solitary decades while she avoids commitment and watches her daughter grow old. Finally, she meets a man, Ellis, who steals her heart in spite of her attempts to deflect him, and that’s where what we both thought was an excellent film began to lose us. It turns out that Ellis is the son of Adaline’s long ago love who she abandoned in London because he was going to propose. (Not a spoiler – this was in the previews) So what are the odds that, forty years later, she will not only run into her former lover, but be dating his son? It’s definitely an “of all the gin joints” moment. But it gets even worse. See, I have this thing, a pet peeve. I don’t care how unrealistic a plot line is, I still expect it to follow the lines of logic and reality. I hate it when completely unbelievable situations are created just to ensure a pat, “happy” ending. For example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy could obviously never happen in real life. Which is fine – it’s a fantasy; and a damn good one. But am I the only person who thinks that for the Fellowship to get from point A to pint B, and toss the ring into the fires of Mt. Doom, while every evil creature in Middle Earth tries relentlessly to kill them and only loses one member is pretty far outside the realm of believability? You’ve read the books or seen the movies. Am I wrong? Logic and reality. Anyway, to say more about Adaline would be too much, but if you see the film you’ll know what I mean. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think. But aside from that, it’s a great film and I actually do recommend it. 4*

Hot Pursuit – I can’t say enough good things about this movie. The plot was good, the acting was superb, but the real star was the combination of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara as a by the book cop and the dead mobster’s wife she’s assigned to protect. These ladies were absolutely hilarious! This film was lighthearted frivolity from beginning to end, and it’s one that I will definitely get on DVD as soon as it’s available. An absolute 5*!

Mad Max: Fury Road – Um…no. Just…no. I was over this film before five minutes had passed, and when the ending credits began to roll, my opinion hadn’t changed. This is a car chase movie and…well, it’s a car chase movie. And if that’s the kind of thing that gets your motor running then you will no doubt love this movie. However, if you do care about frivolous incidentals like plot, and character development, Fury Road will probably disappoint you as much as it did us. I have to say that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many one-dimensional lead characters. Max has a dead wife and child that he was unable to save. And that’s pretty much the extent of what we learn about him. Charlize Theron takes on the female lead as Imperator Furiosa, but they tell us less about her than they do about him. Furiosa has taken a few female “Breeders” from a desert warlord named Immortan Joe, who wants them back. He musters his war boys and sends them out in a fleet of insanely modified vehicles with orders to run Furiosa down and bring the women back. We are given no back story on him, and no explanation as to why these women are so important to him. Maybe he’s just the kind of man who won’t allow anyone to take anything hat he considers his, but if so, we aren’t told that, either. Actually, we’re told next to nothing about any of it. Tom Hardy played the role of Max as well as he could, given the limitations of the role, but he just wasn’t given anything to work with. I loved the cars and the war boys, and I really loved the crashes and the explosions, but those things were not enough to offset the complete lack of any substance whatsoever. At least, not for us. 2*

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I hope you enjoyed the movie reviews. If so, please feel free tp ;eave a commemt  amd I hope you drop by again.

Potential Pet Hazards

 

I don’t know how many of you have pets, but I bet every one of you knows someone who does. There are several things that are often found around the house that are poisonous to cats and dogs and can cause severe problems, including death, if ingested. I want to share some of them with you, and I’m going to start with things that should not be allowed around a cat.

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Lilies – Some varieties of lily are non-toxic, and will only cause irritation of the upper GI tract if ingested.  The Peace and Calla lilies are in this category. It would probably be best for your cat if they did not have access to these plants, but it’s not likely that they would die from making a snack of one  However, there are other lilies like the Casablanca, the Japanese Show, the Tiger lily, and the Easter lily that can cause kidney failure and death if evem a small amount  is eaten. There are other lilies that fall into the “lethal” category, so before you add a lily to your décor, take a minute and check to see if it is a potential cat killer before you bring it home.

Azalea, Mistletoe, and Philodendron – are also poisonous to cats, and should probably be kept out of the house that you share with your fur baby. 

 Anti-depressants such as Cymbalta can result in cardiac and neurological damage. Cats seem to find these pills tasty, so be sure to keep the lid on tight.

 NSAIDs – Keep Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other such medications away from your cat. If NSAIDs are prescribed by your vet, use them only as directed and for as short a time as possible. Never try to treat your cat with an NSAID meant for human use, as they can be life threatening to a cat.

Cold and Allergy medications – These often contain acetaminophen, which will cause liver failure in cats.

 String, yarn, and rubber bands – these are often used as cat toys, but they are easily swallowed, which can result in intestinal blockage or strangulation. 

Flea & Tick products for dogs – Never use a flea or tick product that is meant for dogs on your cat. They often contain ingredients that can kill a cat within hours, even if only a small amount is applied.

Antifreeze that contains Ethylene Glycol – This has a sweet taste, and animals are attracted to it. But even a small amount is deadly, and it takes only a teaspoon to kill a seven pound cat.

 Household insecticides – These are often used on indoor plants. If you use them, make sure that the spray has had ample time to dry before letting your cat into the area where the plants are.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry – Many cats enjoying gnawing on glow sticks and jewelry, which contains dibutyl phthalate. If this leaks out, it will cause chemical burns to your cat’s mouth and tongue.

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And here are some things that should be kept away from dogs.

Chocolate – This contains caffeine, and can cause tremors, increased heart rate, and possibly death. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are at the top of the toxicity list, but a good sized amount of milk chocolate can also be dangerous.

Rodenticides – Mouse and rat poisons are designed to entice ingestion by rodents, but dogs also find them tasty. Ingesting it, or a rodent who has eaten it, can cause massive internal bleeding and death. If you think your dog might have been poisoned, induce vomiting and get him to the vet immediately. 

 NSAIDs – As with cats, anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Aleve are meant for humans and can cause GI ulcers and kidney failure in dogs. Only veterinarian-prescribed NSAIDS should be used.

Raw meat – Tossing chunks of steak or other uncooked meat to your dog can result in salmonella and other kinds of bacterial poisoning.

 Plants – This is more of an issue with cats, but dogs have been known to chew on plants when they have an upset stomach. Plants to avoid are Narcissus, Oleander, and Rhododendrons. It’s wise to check the dog-toxicity status of any plant that you’re not sure of before placing it in reach of your dog.  

Nuts, fruits, etc. – Even small amounts, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Macadamia nuts can cause GI upset and tremors, and Avocado can cause vomiting and diarrhea, Again, it’s best to spend a few minutes on Google if you’re unsure of how a food will effect your dog.

Insect bait stations – Nowadays, the toxicity level of the bait is not high enough to prove lethal to mammals. However, the bait tends to include an attractant such as peanut butter, which most dogs can’t resist. Because of this, a dog may swallow the bait container, which is a potential  choking or gastric hazard.

 Veterinary pharmaceuticals – These medications are often flavored to be more appealing, but a dog will often mistake them for treats. Be sure to keep them safely out of reach so that your puppy can’t get into them on his own.

Pennies – Pennies minted after1983 are composed primarily of zinc, which some dogs can’t resist. Signs that your dog has eaten pennies are gastrointestinal upset and anemia resulting from the destruction of red blood cells. Surgery is usually required to remove the pennies and stop the absorption of zinc. Like so many other things, it’s best to keep pennies and other change in a place tht your dog can’t get to. 

Oxygen absorbers and silica gel packs – Oxygen absorbers are found in packages of pet treats and beef jerky, and Silica gel packs are the small white packs found in new shoes and purses. Both of these are easily eaten by a dog, and can cause poisoning. 

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I hope you found this topic to be of interest.  I’m going to be posting more pet related things over the next week or so. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this post.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver and Jumpy by WernerStejskal

I was asked yesterday to read and review a children’s book entitled Oliver and Jumpy Stories 13-15, by Werner Stejskal. He’s written a series that follows these characters and from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of kid-friendly entertainment between the various covers.  I read Oliver and Jumpy, and you’ll find my review farther along in this post. But first, I want to share a little bit about the man behind the books.

* * *

Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna. His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally got married to. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children’s stories, had them illustrated through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the ebooks on most platforms. Werner’s dream is to see “Oliver and Jumpy” animated as a TV series.

There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia he watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance. Some very capable illustrators have helped to create this picture book series.

 Author Peter Frederick sums it all up!

Here are books created by Werner Stejskal, an author who has a wonderful sense of adaptability into the world of a child. Movements, sentiments, expressions and ideas are being visualised, that enthral and win over the little reader. Plus, his terminology is perfectly matched to the mood of each self-contained story. The author also displays amazing sensitivity and is able to transport even adults back into long-past childhood. All good virtues are being emphasized, like friendship, loyalty, determination and civility, giving the fascinated reader the right signals for spiritual development. The main characters, Oliver and Jumpy, are the masters of a variety of situations that draw the reader into the stories. But one of the main reasons for the success of these children’s books is the artwork! The graphics, outstandingly created by the artist, have their hues and shapes completely adapted to the respective situation and so contribute to the emotional absorption of each picture. Text and message. sombre feelings and cheery situations are being created and masterly entertain the little readers. One can only recommend this series of children’s books to all adults who wish to keep their little ones occupied in a positive, entertaining and learning environment! 

* * *

And here is my review of Oliver and Jumpy stories 13-15,

I don’t normally read kid’s books, so I’m not the one to give any kind of professional critique to a book like this. However, I can definitely tell you what I like, and what I think is good, and Oliver and Jumpy scores highly in both of those categories. The stories themselves are well written, and I think they would entertain a child nicely. I noticed that they touch on subjects that are not usually found in these kinds of books, but they are handled with sensitivity in a way that a child can relate to. The illustrations are beautiful, perfect for helping a child fall more fully into the story. I have only one issue with the book, and it’s the reason I didn’t give it a five star rating. Because the author put three stories in a book, it was necessary to use a smaller font and pack a lot of writing onto each page. Therefore, this is more of a “read to” as opposed to a “read along” book. I think that if each of these stories was an individual book it would be possible to maybe cut out some of the unnecessary text and enlarge the font so that a young reader could follow along. But aside from that, it’s a great book and I’m very happy to give it four stars.

 * * *

Add these adorable books to your library

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_16?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=oliver+and+jumpy&sprefix=Oliver+and+Jumpy%2Cstripbooks%2C377 

* * *

You can read about Werner Stejskal on his Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Werner-Stejskal/e/B00NFANG58

And learn more about Oliver and Jumpy at

www.bedtimestory4you.com

Some Belated Movie Reviews

John and I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago, but I had several other posts of more importance that had to come first. The movies we saw were: It Follows, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Unfriended, Get Hard, The Longest Ride, and Furious Seven. So…here are a few thoughts on the films:

 It Follows – A horror film that wasn’t very horrifying. It was rated R, so we expected a mix of language, nudity, and some pretty gruesome death scenes. We got none of it. People did die, of course, but none of the deaths would have produced so much as a blip on the radar of horror movie death scenes. Aside from that, the plot wasn’t too bad, and the acting was surprisingly good. Because of that, I’ll give it 3*.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – The plot here was much better than we expected, and the acting was top-notch. To me, the standout of this film was Raini Rodriguez, playing Paul Blart’s daughter, Maya. Having seen the first one, we expected that there would be a fair amount of silliness, but this film took it waaay over the top into stupidity on several occasions. Both of us were repeatedly rolling our eyes and, at times, questioning our decision to see the film.  A lot of the humor seemed forced and there was one scene involving a melting ice cream cone that I felt was obscenely out of place. I’d like to think that the scene’s inclusion was an accidental oversight but I refuse to believe that NO ONE involved with the making of the film saw any resemblance between that scene and a sexual act. Good plot, great acting, too much stupidity, and ice cream. All in all, we decided it was worth 3*.

 Unfriended – Oh my goodness! Unfriended was a complete waste of time for this blind woman to spend money on! The concept was an oldie but goodie: a high school girl is driven to suicide, and then comes back to take revenge on the teens who pushed her over the edge. I’ve seen this movie countless times before, always low budget, high gore. Ya know ’em, ya love ’em, and Unfriended seemed like it would be a perfect candidate to take its place among the ‘classics’. Or…maybe not. It turns out that Unfriended is viewed by the audience completely on the computer screens of the characters involved.  The movie begins with a chat session between a group of friends that is crashed by a person who is unknown to them. As the film progresses, the mysterious person begins to kill the teens one by one, while forcing the others to admit dark secrets of betrayal. I’m sure that kids will love Unfriended, since they seem to live their social lives online. But as an adult, I was bored with the lack of things like location changes and people talking face to face. Heck, I would have been thrilled just to see these people get out of their chairs! Also, a great deal of the conversation was viewed as text, so it we had to focus on what was being said, as well as what needed to be read. I could tell from the whispers around me that several people were having a hard time keeping up, but for someone like me, it was pretty much impossible. John tried to read me the text that was appearing on the computer screens, but we both ended up more lost than not. Even the deaths were viewed mostly on the computer screens, so the gorefest that we were anticipating never happened. Had this been filmed in a more mainstream manner, I would have gladly given it a 4.5* rating, but it is what it is, and this is the best that I can do. 3*

 Get Hard – This movie was a lot of fun! Typical Will Ferrell fare, it was pure entertainment from beginning to end. Kevin Hart was perfect as the “ex con” hired to butch up Ferrell’s candy-ass millionaire patsy who is facing a long prison term for a crime he didn’t commit. There was a lot of pretty raw humor, such as when Hart’s character decides that the job can’t be done, and sends Ferrell off to cruise a gay brunch in hopes that learning how to be someone’s “girlfriend” will save him once the prison gates have closed behind him. There was also a lot of racial humor and stereotyping, on both sides of the black/white fence, so if you find these things offensive, don’t see this movie. But if you can enjoy something that’s funny without reading to much into it, Get Hard will keep you laughing all the way through. 4*

 The Longest Ride – I loved this film! A sweet love story between a bull rider who’s chasing a championship time and a college student preparing to take her dream job in New York City‘s prestigious art world. The plot is predictable, but the acting is wonderful and believable. Alan Alda captivates as Ira Levinson, an older man who enters the young couple’s life following a car accident, and Oona Chaplin is fantastic as his deceased wife, Ruth. Scott Eastwood (yes, Clint’s kid) is a pretty good actor, and looks great with his shirt off. Britt Robertson plays his art loving girlfriend and both bring a great deal of depth and likeability to their roles. It’s a good film, and will leave you teary-eyed and nostalgic for whatever great love you did or didn’t have in your own life. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, and only because I did not find it believable that Ira would have done what he did with the portrait of his wife, painted by one of her students. I just don’t buy it. But other than that, it’s an easy 5*, and definitely a movie worth seeing.

 Furious Seven – It’s the latest in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, and was only partially completed when star Paul Walker ironically died in a car accident. I’ve seen all of the movies in the series save Tokyo Drift, and I make no apologies for that. In my opinion, Furious Seven is by far the best of the set. Vin Diesel dominates the screen as Dominic Toretto, and the film reunites several series favorites such as Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordanna Brewster, Ludacris, and Dwayne Johnson. This is a high-octane, pedal to the metal thrill ride that is guaranteed to get your heart pounding and shoot your adrenaline level into the stratosphere. It does stretch the imagination, at times far beyond the realm of believability, but the movie is so freaking fun you won’t care in the least! The plot is pretty basic, and seems designed to showcase the cars and the awesome driving sequences, but again – the movie is so much fun that it just doesn’t matter. Because of Walker‘s death, the strong bond of brotherhood between the two main characters that has been a factor since the original film is achingly poignant, as is Dom’s statement that he doesn’t have friends, he has family. It’s impossible to look away from the screen, from the beginning until the inevitable ending where Dom, his team, and all of us say goodbye to Walker‘s character, Brian O’Conner, accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful See You Again. (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth) Furious Seven is an easy 5* rating, but I’m adding a bonus of 25* for the sheer, unadulterated fun of it, plus 20* for the audience tear factor by the time the credits began to roll. This gives Furious Seven a well deserved total of 50*

I hope you enjoy my reviews. John is coming back up next weekend, so I’m sure I’ll have more for you then. Thank you all so much for following my blog and reading my stuff.                

 

 

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Welcome Rebecca Reilly

   Today is the final installment of Rave Reviews Book Club’s very first Bethany Turner “Pay It Forward” week, and what a week it’s been! I’ve had so much fun bringing you a different author each day, and learning more about them myself. I’m looking forward to the next PIF week, when I get to introduce you to five more incredible Indie authors. I hope you take the time to acquaint yourself with them, and with the fantastic books that they have written.

   The last author on my PIF schedule is Rebecca Reilly. She’s the author of several books, and has a pretty phenomenal blog as well. So now, here’s a little bit about Rebecca.

* * *

Rebecca loves to laugh, dream, ponder, and write. She doesn’t often say “no” to a challenge; consequently, Rebecca works as a Pastor, a Health Coach, a Massage Therapist, a Zumba Instructor, a musical theater Director/Producer, and a Writer – all at the same time!

She took on three, wildly different genres for her first three novels – a murder mystery at sea, a humorous look at sex and marriage, and a children’s chapter book on bullying (under the pen name, Becky Reilly).

Rebecca’s current work is a non-fiction: Christian Sex and Marriage–It’s Complicated.

Rebecca has been happily married for thirty-one years, is the mother of two, grandmother of one, and lives in Northern California.

* * *

Here are a couple of reviews of her thriller, Haunting Megan.

 By Nicole D – August 11, 2014

Haunting Megan is a true page-turner. I couldn’t wait to get the answers to my questions! Rebecca Reilly displays fantastic character development in this mystery from the main character Megan, to the local law enforcement. I particularly loved the setting of this story and could almost feel the crisp Sierra Nevada air on the forested trails as I read. A great mixture of mystery, humor and love!

 By Sarah Hovatter – July 27, 2014

Wow! I loved this book! Ghost stories are not usually my thing, but this is more a story about a young girl broken by tragedy. The spooky elements are fun and surprisingly believable. The murder mystery and the romance take Haunting Megan over the top. Rebecca Reilly’s voice and writing style are similar to Nora Roberts. Highly recommend!

Add Haunting Megan to your library,

And learn more about Rebecca and her books by visiting her website.

 * * *

Contact Information

Website:   http://rebeccareilly.net

Twitter:  @RebeccaReillyL

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLynnRe

 

Have you read the Myrddin’s Heir series?

Today is the fourth day of Rave Reviews Book Club’s “Pay It Forward” week, and I have to say that I’m eagerly awaiting the next round. I told my friend and fellow RRBC member, Robin Lindzer, about it, and she wants to join in next time so maybe I’ll get to host her, or vice versa. But regardless, I’m loving this opportunity to introduce you to so many amazing Indie authors.

I am privileged to host Robin Chambers, author of the Myrddin’s Heir series. I don’t normally read Fantasy books, but I am a huge JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis fan, with a secondary a passion for the work of Lloyd Alexander. However, based on what I have read of this series, I foresee a new literary addiction in my life. Here is a little bit about Book one, A Wizard of Dreams.

 * * *

“Gordon Bennett was born on 7th August 1999 with extraordinary powers. Where have those powers come from? Who – or what – is “Zack”…? His mother begins to notice that Gordon is different when he speaks his first words at just 5 months old and that’s before the really strange things begin to happen! 

Fun, refreshing and certainly different, A Wizard Of Dreams is Book 1 in The Myrddin’s Heir series by author Robin Chambers. Written at a quick, entertaining pace it’s a potent blend of magical intrigue and adventure and whilst the theme is familiar, Chambers has a unique style of writing that sets his work apart. Much more than a trite fantasy plotline his young protagonist is defined in a realistic and empathetic way that pulls the reader through the story with him, and when Gordon interacts with Zack there is always much to be taken from these well observed exchanges. With well-defined characters, Chambers demonstrates a meticulous eye for detail that makes them instantly identifiable and whilst some are more endearing than others they are all very memorable. Each captured with a distinctive tenor that adds greatly to the thematic undertones of his tale. A tale that not only entertains, but encourages thought and timely reflection. 

Original and highly engrossing, A Wizard Of Dreams is a wonderful read throughout and sets the tone for a series that undoubtedly deserves your attention. It is highly recommended.”
Book Viral Author Spotlight review

Book 1 ends on 6th September 2010 – Gordon’s first morning in secondary school: when he finds out for certain that he’s not the only one. There’s a girl in the frame…
The Myrddin’s Heir series will challenge you. One of the most important questions, therefore, is: “Are YOU up for the challenge?” 

 – A couple of reader reviews –

 Wizards, fairies, spirits from long ago, time travel, mental telepathy and a Spirit attendee are just part of the adventure you’ll find in The Wizard of Dreams. From the first paragraph, we know that Gordon, who is just moving out of his toddler years and ready to begin school, is an extraordinary boy.. He has what his mum refers to as a “imaginary friend,” but whom we find as we read on is either a guardian angel, spirit guide, or an alter-ego of this extremely gifted child. Gordon possesses uncanny intelligence and knowledge that exceeds his age. He stands up to bullies much older and larger than himself and I won’t tell you how that turns out. You’ll need to read the story to see.

Zack, Gordon’s attendee, is as much a part of the story plot as Gordon himself is. Together, they go on adventures in dreams where they save fairies from fire-breathing dragons, travel backward in time to meet Gordon’s sixteen generations back great grandmother who gives him a gift and reveals shocking information that will serve Gordon and the planet earth well.

 I don’t want to tell too much and spoil the story. I will say this is a delightful read for any young adult or young-at-heart adult. If you like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, you’ll love this book about Gordon and Zack and their many adventures. Robin Chambers did a fantastic job of crafting this story. The writing flows and in that flow, carries you right along with it. With vivid descriptions, you can see what Gordon and Zack are seeing. You are flying on broomsticks with them or kneeling before kings. This is the first book in this series and I look forward to book 2! 

By: Jan Sikes

 Myrddin’s Heir, Book 1: A Wizard of Dreams is a delightful, fresh twist on aspects of Arthurian legend, in the style of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series. We follow the tale of the early years of Gordon, a boy with extraordinary powers and a legendary destiny, on a journey of self-discovery through several fascinating adventures that had me eagerly turning the pages. From antics in school to a (quite literally) haunting family vacation in the British countryside, to Avalon itself, this book spins a magical tale with heart and beautiful themes and life lessons, perfect for young readers as well as older and wiser ones! As a former teacher, I wish I had this book in my classroom, for after each chapter is a list of themes, events, and metaphors to be discussed, and there is a wonderful glossary at the end with more information on each of these items. The author, Robin Chambers, a medievalist and teacher himself, infuses his book seamlessly with wisdom as well as historical and literary knowledge. I was overjoyed at the number of Shakespearean references hidden in the narrative! Myrddin’s Heir, A Wizard of Dreams is truly an enjoyable read not only for its unique plot but also for its timeless lessons and plethora of information. It truly is a one-of-a-kind Arthurian adventure, and I am thrilled that Robin Chambers has continued Gordon’s journey in this book series so I can follow along on this magical reading adventure!

   By: Lori Fitzgerald

* * *

I’m going to end this post with a few words from Robin that struck a chord with me.

 “I think the world would be a much better place if children everywhere were brought up to have open minds and to love learning, to respect difference, and to do whatever they can to protect the planet.”

Learn more about the Myrddin’s Heir series by visiting Robin’s website,

and

Add Wizard of Dreams to your library”

http://t.co/IdwoCgH3lQ

Contact Information

Website:   http://www.myrddinsheir.com

Twitter:  @myrddinsheir

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/robin.chambers.739?ref=tn_tnmn