The Beast Within Blog Tour STARTS TODAY!!!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Below are direct hyperlinks to the tour blogs, just click on the link to open them. Tour posts will be up no later than 9:00pm CST on the date scheduled.

February 22nd

February 23rd

February 24th

February 25th

February 26th

March 1st

March 2nd

March 3rd

March 4th

March 5th

March 7th

March 8th

March 9th

March 11th

March 12th

March 15th

March 16th

March 17th

March 19th

March 22nd

March 23rd

March 24th

March 25th

March 26th

March 27th

March 28th

March 29th

March 30th

March 31st

April 1st

April 2nd

Thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours and all the amazing tour hosts that are participating and sharing The Beast Within!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published My Book #guestpost

Guest Post by Author @authorKristinP (Kristin Ping)

This one is always fun, and hopefully, new and aspiring authors could take something from my experience.

I started to write in 2009. I was 29 years old and thought I would become the next J.K Rowling. I’m honest as can come, and let’s face it, every new author who gets an idea thinks their book will be the next Harry Potter.

Newsflash, and it is a big wake up call, your book won’t be the next Harry Potter unless you really have something gold in your hands.

So yes, that is my number 1. Your book won’t be the next Harry Potter.

Number 2: Reviews.

If I knew reviews could be that harsh, I probably would never have started to write. The funny part is, it’s like 5% of my reviews are so negative, I wanted to sit in a corner and cry. The other 95% struggle to actually wait for my next book.

Authors quit writing because of their reviews. They can be brutal, and less than a percent of those reviews are actually helpful. You get negative reviews that you learn from, and those readers I treasure as they tell you what they find wrong with your book. The other part likes to tell you what trash your book is, and we call those reviewers, Trolls. They are known as trolls as they do not know how to write a review that helps authors and actually trash their writing dreams. It’s one of the reasons I do not read my reviews anymore as I always concentrate on those 5% negative reviews and forget about the 95% that actually loved it.

Number 3. Marketing.

If I knew that I would spend so much time on marketing, I would probably choose a different career. But I love the first part so much, it’s like breathing that marketing is just something I have to do.

Number 4. Writing the book.

My first book took three years to write, and I thought it was the most challenging part I’d ever done. Writing the book is the easiest part. I wish I knew that before I published.

Number 5. Wattpad.

I wish I knew about Wattpad before I started. Wattpad is a beautiful site if you are starting out, trying to build your fan base. It’s a bit harder if you are an established author using Wattpad and then developing your career.

Number 6. Publishers.

I was with a publisher first before I stepped out on my own. Publishers can really make things sound so sparkling and pretty. Giving you the idea that all you are going to do is write the book. It’s not the truth. If you are not a prominent name author, you will work your tush off for a crazy small amount of the percentage when it comes to royalties. You are lucky if publishers give you half, but most provide you with anything from 12 to 25% of the cut. So be careful when it comes to publishers. They have their strong points in getting your book out there, but you can also step in a ditch and struggle to get out.

Number 7. Editing, editing, editing.

English isn’t my first language, and I can’t tell how important it is to get an editor that can actually edit a book. I had many, many people telling me that they are brilliant at editing. Then I trust them and guess what, when my book gets released, plenty of reviews streamed in about my book being riddled with mistakes. It’s hard to find an editor, and I wished that I actually took an editor’s course before writing.

Number 8. You are going to work your butt off.

If you are not prepared to work your butt off (not meaning literally as you sit on a chair), then don’t do this. I never worked this hard at any of my jobs. So be prepared to work your butt off.

Number 9. Funnel sites.

Ever heard of Book funnel, Prolific, and StoryOrigin. Yip, I wish that I knew about them when I started. They are excellent sites that help you gain newsletter subscribers that love books. You need those to make a success from your writing career.

Number 10: Networking.

You need authors to help you make a success in this career. I started late in life when it comes to this, but glad that I discovered it eventually. This industry is not a competition. The sun is big enough for all of us, and you need author buddies to help with pushing and cross-promoting. It’s like one hand washes the other. Bloggers. Bloggers are gold. Treasure them, and work on your blogger list as you grow.

And that is my ten top list of things I wish I knew before I published my book. If you have anything to add, leave it in the comments. I might not even know about it.

Kristin resides in South Africa, East side of Johannesburg with her husband and two beautiful little girls. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she’s living the dream, being able to write every day. ” I love life, cherish every special second of it and live my dream.” She has recently started her own Publishing company – Fire Quill Publishing in South Africa – http://www.firequillpublishing.com/

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Youtube * Amazon * Goodreads

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


Inception ~ Movie Review

Title: Inception (2010)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay Writer: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Ken Watanabe

Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

Runtime: 2 hours 28 minutes

Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible, inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea, but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. Written by Warner Bros

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story:★★★★★ | Cinematography:★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting:★★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

Nolan not only wrote a script that is incredibly brilliant and unlike anything else out there, but then he went and directed it to perfection. There are so many plot twists and story arcs that you could easily get lost in this story and yet, it is filmed in such a way that you know exactly where you are and who’s dream you are in at every moment.

Watch this film with an open mind and just give in to the adventure and suspend your disbelief. For as long as the film is (2hrs. and 28 minutes) it doesn’t feel that long at all.

Casablanca (1942), Chinatown (1974), The Usual Suspects (1995), Vertigo (1958), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and of course Citizen Kan (1941) have all been deemed the most perfect scripts of all time. Now, whether you agree with that list or not no skin off my back. My point is, I would argue that Inception is damn near perfect as well and should be included on the list.

Christopher Nolan has given us Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk, and so many others. The man is a fantastic writer, an amazing director, and at his core an artist.

Cinematography ★★★★★

How they did so many amazing shots, I have no idea. The fight scene in the spinning hallway… WOW. I understand how it works, having a background in theatre and film, but to pull it off as flawlessly as they did is unbelievable.

Inception was nominated for a total of 8 Oscars, but only won 4: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. I agree with all of these wins, but do feel the movie still got robbed as it should have won more!

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

This film was packed with amazing, talented actors! It was so much fun to watch them dig into their characters and let the unusual plot twists take them for a ride. Their performances sucked you in and kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

I won’t rant about this, but I have to share my two cents… Leonardo DiCaprio deserved an academy award for this film. He was robbed.

FUN FACTS:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all but one of his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.

Christopher Nolan has said that the snow-based third-level dream was inspired by his favorite James bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Leonardo DiCaprio was writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan’s and producer Emma Thomas’ only choice for the role of Cobb.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” ~ Eames

“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” ~ Cobb

TO SUM IT UP:

Inception was made 10 years ago, I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. However, if on the off chance that you haven’t, I highly recommend this film. I don’t give a full 5 starts to just any film and honestly, I’d give this film a much higher star-rating if I could, but 10 out of 5 just doesn’t sound right.

So, have you seen Inception yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


Dora and the Lost City of Gold (Movie Review)

Title: Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Director: James Bobin

Screenplay By: Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson

Stars: Isabela Merced, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Pena, Benicio Del Toro

Genre(s): Adventure | Comedy | Family

Runtime: 1 hour 42 minutes | Rating: PG

IMDB STORY LINE:

Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure ever: high school. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots, Diego, a mysterious jungle inhabitant, and a ragtag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilization. Written by Nick Moreau

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (4 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★  |  Cinematography:  ★★★★  |  Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★

My kids are still young. Young enough that I remember them watching Dora the Explorer over and over when they were really little. Admittedly, because they watched it… so did I. I didn’t love the cartoon, but I didn’t hate it either. The ‘Map’ song got stuck in my head more days than it didn’t, but those were good times and good memories.

When I heard they were making a live action Dora movie, I was not surprised. My kids weren’t all that interested in seeing it in the theatre, nor was I, but free on TV… sure why not. Especially since I was asked by a reader to review it.

The screenplay was written very true to the original cartoon. It definitely felt like they brought the cartoon characters to life. I appreciated their loyalty to the original animation and found that it was surprisingly really fun to watch. I agree with Libby when she says it was refreshingly funny.

Cinematography ★★★★

It was live action… as life action as a kid’s movie can get. The cinematography helped to bring the audience into the action sequences making viewers feel like they’re in the action and running through the jungle right alongside Dora and her friends.  

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

The kids in this film did a great job. They took on their roles 100% and looked like they were having so much fun during filming.

FUN FACTS:

* Isabela Merced, who plays Dora, had earlier starred as Dora’s friend Kate in Dora and Friends: Into the City! (2014)

* Weeks before the film’s release, a pair of red boots were digitally applied to Boots after it was found he wasn’t wearing any.

* The film was released in 2019 which is one year shy from the 20th Anniversary of the original Dora the Explorer (2000) series.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“This is a golden poison tree frog! Can YOU say ‘extreme neurotoxicity’?” ~ Dora

“Oh look, Dora brought a knife on the field trip everybody!” ~ Sammy

TO SUM IT UP:

Not my favorite movie of the year and I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but I enjoyed it and I’m glad I saw it.

Have you seen Dora and the Lost City of Gold yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


The Way Back (Movie Review)

Title: The Way Back (2020)

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Screenplay Writer: Brad Ingelsby

Stars: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Janina Gavankar, Michaela Watkins, and Brandon Wilson

Genre(s): Drama | Sport

Runtime: 1 hour 48 minutes | Rating: R

IMDB STORY LINE:

Back in high school, Jack Cunningham had everything going for him. A basketball phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game, forfeiting his future. Jack’s glory days are long gone…but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself, and as the boys start to come together as a team and win, he may get his last shot at redemption. Written by Warner Bros

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★  |  Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★  Cinematography:  ★★★★★ 

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

This was such a powerful script. If you are looking at this film as a sports film, it holds up. The story surrounding the basketball scenes are really good. It’s an underdog story where the worst team in the league ends up winning it all. I loved that.

If you are looking at this film for the human, emotional aspect… WOW! The dramatic aspects of this script along with the truly heartfelt acting take the movie beyond just good and make it a great film.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

The Way Back stars Ben Affleck and if I’m being 100% honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of his. I liked him in Good Will Hunting and he was ok in Gone Girl and a few other movies. Although, for the most part, he is just ok. He tends to play the same character in everything he is in. I guess that is why I was so surprised when I watched this movie. Ben Affleck gives us an AMAZING performance. It is the best acting I’ve ever seen him do. The emotion he puts into the role is so beautifully devastating and real. Knowing that he has suffered from addiction in his real life, I can only imagine that some of these scenes had to be extremely hard for him to do.

Cinematography ★★★★★

I have nothing bad or good to say about the cinematography. I think that because the script was so good and the acting was even better, I didn’t notice the cinematography, but that means it was also good enough not to be noticed in any negative ways. So, it gets five stars too.

FUN FACTS:

* The movie's original title was 'The Has-Been'.
* Like Jack, Ben Affleck has also struggled with alcoholism.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“You want to know why they’re leaving you open? It’s because they don’t think you can hit the ocean from the beach.” ~ Jack Cunningham

TO SUM IT UP:

Four little words say it all, “I LOVED THIS FILM!”

Have you seen The Way Back yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


Doctor Sleep (Movie Review)

Title: Doctor Sleep (2019)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Screenplay Writer: Mike Flanagan

Novel By: Stephen King

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran

Genre(s): Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Runtime: 2 hours 32 minutes | Rating: R

IMDB STORY LINE:

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death. Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.” Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul… Written by Stephen King

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★ (3.66 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★  |  Cinematography:  ★★★★  |  Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★

WTF?!?!?!

Ok, for the most part, I really enjoyed this movie. FOR THE MOST PART. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that Stephen King is my favorite author. However, I have not yet read Doctor Sleep, so I can’t say how well the movie follows the book.

With that said, I will just speak to the movie on its own.

The scene where ‘baseball boy’ is killed… NO, JUST NO!!! There was no need for the director to show that scene in such detail. It was horrific. It was grotesque. It was over the top and made me sick to my stomach. To be honest, I almost turned the movie off I was so disgusted by the fact that the director would show the scene in that way when he clearly had other options.

Cinematography ★★★★

The cinematography was good. There were a number of really cool shots, interesting angles, and zoom features that made caught my eyes. Very artistic in ways that I didn’t expect.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

I felt like Ewan McGregor did a great job as Danny. I’ve always enjoyed him as an actor and thought he was perfectly cast for this role.

Rebecca Ferguson was creepy and ethereal all at the same time. Right from her first scene you feel drawn to her character, but yet there is a tugging feeling that screams DANGER – DANGER – DANGER in your mind.

A huge shout out to Jacob Tremblay who played Bradley Trevor (baseball boy). Although it was my least favorite scene in the whole movie (not because of the acting but because of the act), Jacob gave a fantastic performance. No child should ever experience what his character went through and personally, I believe, not child actor should ever have to experience it either. It was violent in a way that should never have been scene, but he did a wonderful job and get a truly spectacular performance.

FUN FACTS:

* Danny Lloyd, who played the character Danny Torrance in The Shining, makes a cameo in this movie at the baseball game and is listed in the credits as “Spectator.”
* Most elements from The Shining (1980) were recreated with duplicate sets and lookalike actors, though three shots were reused: the aerial shot of the water and the island and the two shots after it of the car driving on the mountain road. The shots were degrained, recolored as day-for-night, and had snow digitally added.
* Mike Flanagan painstakingly recreated the sets of the Overlook hotel from blueprints acquired from Stanley Kubrick's estate.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Our beliefs don’t make us better people. Our actions make us better people.” ~ Danny Torrance

“We’re all dying. The world’s just one big hospice with fresh air.” ~ Danny Torrance

TO SUM IT UP:

Would I watch it again? Probably not. Will I read the book? Absolutely.

Have you seen Doctor Sleep yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Movie Review)

Title: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Director: Cathy Yan

Screenplay Writer: Christina Hodson, Paul Dini, and Bruce Timm

Stars: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ewan McGregor, and Ella Jay Basco

Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Crime | Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes | Rating: R

IMDB STORY LINE:

A twisted tale told by Harley Quinn herself, when Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (4 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★  |  Cinematography:  ★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★

I’m not a comic reader, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the character’s story/timeline, but I did like this story. I thought the character of Harley Quinn, which I had not been introduced to before was very interesting. I thought that the script really was successful at giving her a complete backstory with clear intent as to why she does the things she does and why she will continue to be the criminal she is.

Cinematography ★★★★

There were some great camera shots, especially in the beginning of the film when Harley is running from everyone who now wants her dead. I think the cinematography during that scene as well as the fight scene in the fun house was particularly well done.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

FUN! FUN! FUN! The lead actresses in this film seemed like they were having the time of their lives. They dove into their roles, head first, and didn’t look back. I thought they all did a great job brining live to these over the top, comic book characters.

FUN FACTS:

* Jurnee Smollett-Bell does all of her own singing in the film.
* When Harley Quinn is leaving the police precinct she points to a wanted poster and says, "Hey, I know that guy!". The wanted poster is that of Captain Boomerang with whom she worked with in Suicide Squad (2016).
* The egg sandwich that is made for Harley Quinn is not made with chicken eggs, but instead with duck eggs because Margot Robbie is allergic to chicken egg white (she gets migraines from them).

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“You know what they say: behind every successful man is a badass broad.” ~ Harley Quinn

TO SUM IT UP:

I definatly think Birds of Prey is worth seeing. Especially now, when we are all pretty much locked in our houses trying to avoid COVID-19. So, renting it online, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a night in!

Have you seen Birds of Prey yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, like I always say, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


Gemini Man ~ Movie Review

Title: Gemini Man (2019)

Director: Ang Lee

Screenplay Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, & Darren Lemke

Stars: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong

Genre(s): Action | Drama | Sci-Fi

Runtime: 1 hour 57 minutes | Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

A retiring assassin, Henry Brogan, finds himself pursued by a mysterious killer that can predict his every move. Discovering that he’s being hunted by a younger clone of himself, Henry needs to find out why he’s being targeted and who the creator is. ~ Written by Bixy Gello

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (4.75 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★ | CG: ★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

I loved this story. The whole concept of the assassin, created as a clone, sent to kill the man he was created after. WOW! The script was fantastic, fun, and just packed with action. There were just enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat. I loved it!

Cinematography ★★★★★

With all the action shots, this one could have tanked, but it was great. There were some beautiful shots, but that isn’t really what you watch a movie like this for. For me, it was all about the action and the fight sequences and the camera work in these scenes was magically. As a viewer, you really feel like you’re right there in the thick of it.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

This film features an amazing cast. With Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong… WOW! They were all fantastic. I loved every second and was sucked in from the very beginning. Usually, when I watch super stars like Will Smith, my mind wanders and I think about other roles they’ve played. Not with this film. Will Smith instantly became Henry Brogan and there was no looking back.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead was perfect as Danny. She was completely natural as the touch girl but also had a very appealing innocence to her. I thought she did a great job and the subtle chemistry between her character and Will Smith’s character was charming.

Computer Graphics (CG): ★★★★

Sure, you can tell the Will Smith clone is CG… of course he is, Will Smith can’t be two different ages at the same time. However, I think they did a fantastic job of making him look as real as possible. As with all CG characters, I find the mouths never are quite natural, but it didn’t distract from the film at all.

FUN FACTS:

* The original script was written for Clint Eastwood.
* Johnny Depp turned down the film in 2012.
* From 2003 to 2010 Nicolas Cage was attached to this project, but he convinced Jerry Bruckheimer to work on The Sorcerer's Apprentice instead.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“You can tell me now or you can tell me in five minutes without all your teeth.” ~ Danny Zakarweski

TO SUM IT UP:

WATCH THIS FILM!!! Seriously, if you haven’t seen Gemini Man, I highly recommend it, but don’t take my word for it, see it for yourself and form you own opinion.

Have you seen Gemini Man yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

TITLE:                    Turtles All the Way Down (2017)

AUTHOR:               John Green

GENRE:                  Young Adult Fiction

PAGE COUNT:       320

Re-Print:                June 11, 2019

RATING OVERVIEW [Overall: ★★★★.★ (4.5)]
Story: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

THE INSTANT #1 BESTSELLER IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

FEATURED ON 60 MINUTES and FRESH AIR

“So surprising and moving and true that I became completely unstrung.” – The New York Times

Named a best book of the year by: The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Publishers Weekly, BookPage,A.V. Club, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Vulture, and many more!


JOHN GREEN, the acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, returns with a story of shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Aza Holmes never intended to pursuethe disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Pickett’s son Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

I knew nothing about this book, other than what was stated in the Amazon description, when I started reading it. It was a book club selection and probably one I wouldn’t have picked for myself otherwise. With that said, I am very glad I read it. I enjoyed it way more than I expected to.

STORY (★★★★★): In a nutshell, this story is about Aza Holmes, a young girl who suffers from a mental disorder that keeps her trapped in an inward spiral of her own thoughts, as she struggles to live a normal life. We get to see a glimpse into Aza’s life, watching/reading as she learns new things about herself and life, pushes her best friend away, finds love, looses love, and fights internally to decide what is right and what is wrong.

There is also a secondary storyline weaved throughout Aza’s story, that is of the missing billionaire. Ok, maybe it isn’t so much about him, but more about the two sons he has left behind; Davis and Noah. Davis, a long-lost friend of Aza’s and Noah, his little brother, are living in a mansion alone because their mother abandoned them when they were younger and their father has disappeared.

John Green is a wonderful storyteller. He knows his characters inside and out. The way he writes Aza is so detailed its as if he is literally in her head. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. The way he ties the two storylines together is seamless and beautiful. I think there could have been more about the missing dad, allowing us to relate to that family a bit more, but he gave the reader, and Aza, just enough to understand what the boys were going through and how to react.

WRITING (★★★★★): John Green’s writing style is fluid and easy. His chapters flow from one to the other with little, if any, breaks. Everything feels cohesive and complete. I think I read this one over a five-day period in about three sittings. I have no complaints about his style and would definitely pick up another book. In fact, I have my eyes on Paper Towns next.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): I loved the characters of Davis and Noah, honestly, I wanted to get to know them more. Aza, the lead character, was very well written, but I couldn’t relate to her in any way. Her anxieties and OCD behaviors were so realistic and well developed, but her constant negative self-talk and obsessions with her inner thoughts drove me a little crazy. Maybe that was the plan… maybe the author wanted the reader to feel a little trapped in Aza’s constant thought spiral, trapped so that we could experience what she feels. However, for me, her thought spirals were the reason I’d put the book and take a break. I needed a little time away from the negativity, second guessing, and often disturbing thoughts.

APPEARANCE (★★★★): I have the paperback, and it is a pretty simple cream-colored cover with large black lettering and an orange spiral. Again, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up and read it, if it hadn’t been for book club, the cover just doesn’t really pull me in. The cover just doesn’t do justice to the story inside.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Your now is not your forever.”

“Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

“No one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Green
(Photo from Author Amazon Page)

John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars.

His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers) and co-created the online educational series CrashCourse (youtube.com/crashcourse). You can join the millions who follow him on Twitter @johngreen and Instagram @johngreenwritesbooks or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com.

John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Also by John Green

Click on the cover image to read the book’s description and purchase your copy!

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Movie Review)

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Title: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Story By: Chris Morgan

Screenplay Writer: Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce

Based on Characters Created By: Gary Scott Thompson

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba

Genre(s): Action | Adventure

Runtime: 2 hrs. 17 minutes

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★+ (3.66 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★     Cinematography:  ★★★★   Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

MY 2 CENTS:

Now, I am all about a good action film and I will admit, I have seen all of the Fast & Furious movies.

  • The Fast and The Furious (2001)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  • The Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift (2006)
  • Fast and Furious (2009)
  • Fast Five (2011)
  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
  • Furious 7 (2015)
  • The Fate of the Furious (2017)

This movie gives you exactly what you expect from the Fast & Furious franchise… fast paced action!

Writing/Story: ★★★

Honestly… the story isn’t all that great. In fact, there really isn’t a story. But, are you really expecting to see well thought out plots, twists, and drama? No. You’re going for the action, the car chases, and the gun fights and this movie gives you that in spades, with some minor “character” conversations sprinkled in for good measure.

If you’ve watched the previous Fast & Furious films, then you know what you’re getting into. The movie doesn’t make all that much sense, there really isn’t a point, but yet like the other films in this franchise, it managed to be entertaining which is why we continue to watch them. Plus, who doesn’t like watching Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in an action film? It is what they do best.

I was surprised to find how much comedy was actually in this film. How much I actually laughed. There is one scene, probably my favorite out of the entire movie, where Hobbs and Shaw are in these two parallel hallways with just a window between them. They each have to deal with their own sets of challenged or obstacles to get to the end of the hall at which time they need to open a door using an optical reader. The whole time Shaw is fighting off bad guys and Hobbs is doing what he is doing and still they are participating in their personal competition of who is better… tougher… stronger… whatever and having a very clear non-verbal conversation. It was awesome.

Cinematography ★★★★

I commend the camera man in this one. With all the fight scenes, car chases, helicopter scenes, and just the over all craziness… his job had to be difficult. With so much action going on at one time it would be really easy to mess up the shots and make it feel to boxed in or way to spacious, but it was beautifully filmed allowing the audience to feel like they were right there in the action but yet far enough out to see the full picture.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

I’ll admit the acting isn’t that great but the fight scenes are pretty awesome and both The Rock and Jason Statham are 100% invested in their characters and you truly believe them in these roles. Maybe they are just like this in real life or maybe it comes from years and years playing roles very similar to these.

The best thing about this film, for me, is how well Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham work together. Their on-screen chemistry is fantastic. The entire film is basically them exchanging insults and trying to one up each other. It’s a long pissing contest and it works to keep the audience entertained in between and even during the incredibly unrealistic yet enjoyable fight sequences.

Idris Elba plays a great supervillain.

This movie contains a number of really great cameos… meant to complement the film. I wont give them all away, but you just might spot Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, and Helen Mirren just to name a few. This film doesn’t take itself seriously and it doesn’t expect the views to either. It just wants to provide entertainment, keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you cheer. It does that!

FUN FACT:

During the London car chase, as Brixton’s motorcycle changes shape to slide under the oncoming truck, we can clearly hear the iconic sound effect that is used during the transformations from the Transformers cartoons and films. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, listen for it… you’ll recognize it. (You can see the clip in my video review below.)

TO SUM IT UP:

This movie was way longer than it needed to be, which made it drag for me, but I still left entertained and wondering what type of movie they would come up with next.

Have you seen Hobbs & Shaw yet? If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.