Monday, February 22, 2016

When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis ~ 1993


~  Here's a little girl's simple, childlike celebration of herself as she looks back on her childhood from the lofty height of four and a half years  ~


Author: Jamie Lee Curtis
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (September 30, 1993)
Publication: September 30, 1993
First Board Book edition: 1999
Pages: 32
Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0060210788
ISBN-13: 978-0060210786
Language: English
Illustrator: Laura Cornell
Author photographer: Laurel Chaney


This book was loaned to me from The Henderson Memorial Public Library for use in my Lady Jessica's classroom project.


3 Stars


Annie, Jamie, Thomas
Last Sunday at our library, as I was waiting for my co-volunteer to help with getting Issue 2 noticed in our community, Lori who'd checked my loans out days previous asked if I had liked the memoir.

"Memoir?" "What memoir Lor? I don't read memoirs."

She smiled and said, "You know Jeff, the little memoir." My memory clicked, ah yes the memoir ~

To my audience:
No, I am not delving in children book reviews.  Thought I'd put my two cents in on this book for Lori.

Right off the bat, the title kills me. So cute. An encouraging read for youngster's looking at where you have been and where you are now.

Since I don't review children books, for me,  the sentencing I thought was for children a bit younger than four. The story itself was a bit choppy, but, fun and engaging. The theme of compare and contrast was abundant and enjoyed how the little sister was depicted on each page as whom Annie once was as a child. Good story for self-confidence and accomplishment.

The illustrations were clever in showing 'big-girl-things' next to 'little-girl-things'. As the story unfolds, it shows Annie telling us things she used to do when she was a baby with her baby sister doing just that. The pages reflected pride with brushing her own hair and brushing her own teeth to realizing she was a handful when she was younger to being helpful now since she's bigger.

Accomplishing some things all on your own now, looking at kindergarten shouldn't be all that frightening.  Right?  -  WHAT!!
Well, kindergarten does have its own issues. Thinking of the night before and the first day.

Start them early
Well, lemme tell ya Lori, this little 32 page book of reflections I do have a couple of issues I will mention. My blog does not constitute any reason(s) for conflicts of interest - yet ...

No car seat for a four year old? Mmm. Yep, got an issue.

Ms. Curtis brings up (twice) your sex. She establishes the difference between boys and girls in the beginning of her story. Though, I guess that wasn't enough when you're four and you have to wear a bathing suit to the pool. Completely understandable. For me, it was her banging my head against a wall making sure I knew there is a difference between boys and girls.

Redundancy is a must when it comes to children books. A vehicle of learning, say, brushing your teeth, sharing, or even saying thank you. With this story, the sexual orientation redundancy I felt was not needed.

And c'mon! Reviewers, your issues with Captain Crunch and Cheeto's? - Ms. Curtis did not in any way say those are the dietary means for a child. If you had read that page, you will notice there are also wholesome foods she mentions. Made me think you never snacked on Cheeto's when you were a child yourself? Please.


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Recommendation? Yes. An encouraging book to read to your child.


Here's where you can get your fingers on When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth:
  •  Amazon ~ Hardcover $15.91 ~ Paperback $6.97 ~ Audible $1.95 ~ Board book $7.99 USD


About the author ~

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is the author of eight best-selling children's books that address core childhood subjects and life lessons in a playful, accessible way. Jamie finds the inspiration for her writing all around her - in the experiences of her children, her godchildren, her friends - and of course in her own life.

Her first book, When I Was Little, was sparked by her then-four-year-old daughter's boast that she was no longer "little." Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, a celebration of adoption and the start of a new family, was inspired by the adoption of her own children. And as an author, of course Jamie loves big words and knows that words have power.Her latest book, Big Words for Little People, gives young children the knowledge and power of their own "big words."
Laura Cornell


All of Jamie's best-selling picture books are illustrated by Laura Cornell: Big Words for Little People; Is There Really A Human Race?; It's Hard To Be Five: Learning How To Work My Control Panel; I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off A Little Self Esteem; Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery; Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day; Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born; and When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth.

Jamie is also well known as a film actress, with starring roles in such acclaimed films as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Freaky Friday, True Lies, Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda. Jamie is the mother of Annie and Thomas and is married to actor/director Christopher Guest. They live in California.






Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Killer Season: Betting in Vegas Can Be Murder. by Paul Sekulich ~ 2014



Anyone wanna double-down & say this ain't a killer read?
Or do you have your own MacGuffin?




Author: Paul Sekulich
Publication: July 10, 2014
Pages: 338
ebook
ASIN: B00LPWD4D2
Language: English
Jacket design: Paul Sekulich
Author photographer: His wife Joyce


"This book was provided by Paul Sekulich in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."


5 Stars


Paul Sekulich
As Marine Sargent Collin Nolan and his fellow comrade Eddie Menning were being air-lifted out of harm's way in Nam, Eddie asks what Collin was doing after the war. Coll tells him he wants to be the biggest money winner in Vegas betting on - baseball.

Eddie mentions his uncle Bartel Vandermeer.

Bartel runs a restaurant and the legit business Vandermeer Diamond Brokers of Manhattan. And imports a few high-end cars here and there.

At twenty-three Coll finds himself in NY as anyone else would coming back from the Vietnam War decorated out the ass (hell, the Navy could've used him as an anchor) feeling love and respect only from close friends and family. As for the rest of the hoi polloi, they weren't interested in hearing sob stories of the war. No job and future looking bleak, Coll decides to give Vandermeer a try.

Coll and Eddie worked for almost two years for Vandermeer. Eddie was right, Bartell paid his help well. Coll drove the high-end cars to their customers and Eddie worked the diamond side. Coll would sock some money away and when the time was right to head west to Vegas he'd have enough to last him.

Getting out west was a bitch.

Being one of those true-blue up-standing all-American contributing members of society  yadda yadda yadda - hell, being a moral human-being he had to get into the Witness Protection program because he had to set things straight. All he wanted to do was get out of the war and get a respectable job for a few bucks and then head to Vegas and ... take 'em.

Eddie, well, Eddie might be all right.

Off Collin goes to save his own skin for a moment. Goes in as Robert "Bob" Smith to Montana and do some quite living. Maybe some fishing?

The Big Sky country was not quite like the blinking lights of Vegas, yet, he was breathing and still, he was holding on to that dream of taking Vegas - Ha! at baseball.

After some bad guys go to prison from the NY episodes, Paul brings in a Native-American by the name of Amachee.  Here I was trying to figure out the significance. He plays (according to his character) well with the setting of Montana, yet, I wonder if the 'luck' that it itself plays in this novel has bearing.

Well, hell, he'll need it arriving in Vegas thirteen years later from the witness protection game he was playing with the government. Taking with him the necklace Amachee gave.

Meets Jim Creeger and his wife Dina. Jim is an ex-cop and his lovely wife works at a bank as a Teller who is also a person that believes her friend Connie Hannigan would be a match for lonely 'ole Coll. These guys all become great characters and the chemistry radiates between them. Dinners, laughs, a few kisses, ahh....

As time moves on and Coll places his bets across the casino's of Vegas, some of the bad guys get paroled.

Big Al Marko, Two Ton Teddy and Kyler Rotermund who also worked for Vandermeer were introduced as major characters a few pages ago and their presence in this tale are colorful to so say the least, are out and about again.

Hell breaks out in Vegas - get outta Dodge. Collin makes last minute arrangements, some with conditions and leaves knowing he's got some money to look forward to and off to meet the girl. Doesn't the good guy always get the girl in the end?

Arriving in  Zurich, Switzerland he checks on his money. What money?! He asks the teller who withdrew it and she simply tells him, 'Why, you did sir.'
The account needed a picture as well as number identification for any transactions. After printing out the picture the Teller mentions that passport photos aren't all that flattering. Lo and behold his dear friend Jim Creeger.

After exiting the bank dumbfounded, what does his eye see?! His dear friend Jim and Kyler Rotermund sitting in a cafe right across the street!  Oh, how the story ends ...

There's a few more chapters from here on out with action from a man set on a mission ~ you'll love how it all comes together. And who and with who. The ending was satisfying as it was a Grand Slam, field included. Amachee was satisfied too, I could tell from his smile as he read that card. Amen.


Highly recommended folks. Dynamite read.



Here's where you can get your fingers on A Killer Season: Betting in Vegas Can Be Murder.

  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $4.99 ~ Paperback $14.95 USD 

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About the author  ~





Connect with Paul Sekulich







Paul Sekulich is a thoroughly traveled writer who has lived in New York, Detroit, Chicago; Stuart and Palm Beach, Florida; Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles and Hollywood, California. He holds a B.A. degree in Theatre from the University of Maryland and Masters of Fine Arts credits from Towson University and the University of Southern California.
 
He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (now SAG-AFTRA) and the Actors Equity Association. As a former adjunct professor of theatre he has directed numerous college productions and has taught acting, directing, and screenwriting.
In Hollywood, he worked as a script doctor and contributor for two, prime time television sitcoms.

He has completed his first three thriller novels, The Omega Formula, and A Killer Season. His third book, another Detective Frank Dugan thriller, Resort Isle, is complete and available now. In the spring of 2017, he plans to debut Murder Comes to Paradise, another in the Frank Dugan detective series.
He has written, acted in, produced and directed films, commercials and stage productions since he was eighteen and has won awards for his work. He owned and operated The Limestone Dinner Theatre for several years and now teaches college seminars on novel writing, self-publishing, and scriptwriting for television and the movies.
 
Paul lives with his wife Joyce in Maryland.

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Reviews for

~  Paul Sekulich  ~ 


A Killer Season: Betting in Vegas Can Be Murder.



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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Perfectionist by Simon Duke ~ 2016


... if you do as God does, you become what God is.


Author: Simon Duke
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication: January 19, 2016
Pages: 378
ebook
ASIN: B016WCU56I
Language: English
Jacket design: Oscar Sanchez 
Fonts for the front, back and spine: Bertrand Raes
Author photographer: His niece, Léa


"This book was provided by Simon Duke in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."


5 Stars


Simon Duke
Through this mysterious tale of killings, the murderer randomly kills people - always taking victims from one state and leaving their bodies or body parts in another. Then the murderer goes on another spree, killing in a different modus operandi, but still, repeating and practicing the techniques of death to perfection.

The Perfectionist took me as a tale of exceptional writing crafted by a seasoned pen.
Simon Duke wrote a superb tale of crime and mystery not to be missed folks.

Gerry Stokes, a local reporter/journalist is looking to make amends, for turning the other cheek along with Sheriff Dwayne Clanton, after a severed head was found in a cornfield.

20 years ago back in '88.

Sheriff Clanton closed the John Doe case a year later.

Gerry, the protagonist - what a character. A likeable? womanizing border-line alcoholic with aspirations of leaving Clarion, Iowa and pursuing a career in journalism.

Who could blame him? Needing to leave the pig farm he grew up on and go catch that dream. Enter Chicago and 22 years later ~

Stokes working at the Tribune and living his solitary life with an occasional hooker here and there is contacted by his old editor in Clarion, Earl DeVries. Earl tells him a woman has been asking to contact him, she's thinking the John Doe from back in '88 is her grandfather. Oh hell.

Sara Howard wants to know what has happened to her grandfather and threatens his career if not putting things right. Oh hell again.

This leads to a 3-year investigation in finding a killer. A serial killer who has gone unnoticed for more than twenty years and this where the tale takes flight ~

In the search for the truth regarding Sarah's grandfather Ted Callaway, Stokes starts to see connections no one else has seen and begins to formulate his theory of a serial killer.  As more and more murders appear from the past 20 some years, Stokes and Howard uncover a hell of a story.

Brain Storm - Stokes sees fame ... and money - document all his findings in a book.  He wants to write the book before notifying authorities and it will end by disclosing the murderer. A first in the publishing world!

This guy rubbed me in a way of a self-righteous pompous .... Beautiful writing Simon.

Gerry and Sarah, they work well together trying to piece everything together. I loved the relationship between these two characters, they have really great dynamics with each other. Maybe, just maybe a happily-ever-after? We'll see.

Stokes goes from state to state following nothing more than threads off of leads, many of them from his gut.  Then, in California Stokes, under the guise of his reporter status, tells Elliot Keppler of the FBI he is writing a book on serial killings and this is the reason why Gerry has been poking his nose around these murder scenes. Stokes and Kepplar both want to find The Perfectionist before The Perfectionist commits any more murders.

Instead of telling you from here on out the rest of my synopsis - here's a couple of spots in the read I enjoyed and not enjoyed. Not going to nick-pick, just a couple of spots is all ~

Gerry's breakdown in front of Sarah and the way Sarah handled it in particular. Down to earth and it would be what I believe how people would handle the situation.

Loved how Stokes took a reluctant professor and used his clout to pursue his quest of the killer. Professor Dennis Morton was instrumental for Gerry.

Didn't care for Reggie Wheeler's wage calculations.   Reason being, I can't see someone would stand there and go through that mindless chatter of calculations, especially, when everyone knew where that bottom line was headed.

Enthralling read folks.  Really really good read. There are plenty of  twists and turns as you travel with Gerry across the United States and when you come upon the part with Avery - just watch how Simon Duke's characters meld into other character development.

There were, it seemed to me, places Simon Duke wrote The Perfectionist almost like a procedural manual on how to go about uncovering a murderer. He had to have done his homework to make plausible scenes go according to plot. I'm not an expert, I can say though, I've read Patricia Cornwell's Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper Case Closed - that's how you do your homework for plausible scenes.

As I read, the scenes and settings were coherent with my senses, so, being in the midst of all the action is a must for a reader and Simon Duke does a beautiful job in handling that bit of necessity.

End satisfy? Sure did folks. Hell, The Clincher/Twist at the end summed it up satisfactorily for my needs. Was not expecting that. Thanks Simon for a great crime mystery.


Recommend with a resounding Yes ~ and recommend The Perfectionist to a friend folks.




video


The Perfectionist



 Here's where you can get your fingers on The Perfectionist:

  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $2.99 ~ Paperback $9.99 USD


About the author ~

SIMON DUKE was born in Stoke-on-Trent (UK) in 1979. He obtained a B.A. in French with Film Studies in 2001 and has been working in journalism ever since. He currently lives in France. Out of Bounds, his first novel, was published in 2014.


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