Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mr. Max and the book of lost things by Cynthia Voigt

The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Max’s parents mysteriously go missing, can Max rise to the challenge or will he crumble under the weight of it all? You will just have to read this fantastic book to find out. To tell you the truth I finished this book some time ago, but have been unable to review it. Not because it was bad in any way; on the contrary, it is so good I was afraid that I would not do justice to another wonderful book by one of my favorite authors of all time. It is funny, as an avid reader, I have read many wonderful books, several of them are in my top ten, but for some reason I have been apprehensive about writing this review. When I was little, I was abused by my stepmother and her son. At age ten I was taken out of my home and placed in the care of my aunt and uncle. I was lost and unsure of myself so I went to the only place I have ever felt fully at home: the library. The librarian saw me sitting alone at a table reading and approached me. She asked what kind of books I like to read. I promptly told her that I read whatever I could get my hands on. She smiled and led me to a section where all of Cynthia Voigt books were kept. I started with Homecoming and worked my way through all the books they had by her. When I finished, I re-read them all. I even got the privilege to give a vote to A Solitary Blue, and Dicey's Song for their reader rewards. I am now 35 years old and I have shared Cynthia Voigt’s work with my children. She is now their favorite author as well.
I recently I got the privilege of reading the pre-review copy of Mister Max And The Book of Lost things through NET Galley. This honor was so overwhelming I will be forever grateful for it. If the author ever reads this review I wanted to tell you that you have not lost the ability to touch my heart. I would recommend this book to everyone and as soon I can I will be adding it to my library.
I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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When It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front-lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc L Prey

When It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc L PreyWhen It Comes To Spooning I’m a Fork and other tales from the front-lines of marriage and parenthood by Marc Prey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book that the title doesn’t do for me? Well for starters, this book is fantastic, funny and well written. I definitely would recommend this collection of short stories about one man’s different relationships. They range from finding is soul mate to the birth and raising of his two sons. I think that my favorite would have to be the one about the low gas gage. I don’t know how many times I have pushed our large mini-van those last few feet to the gas station. If you have a chance and need a good laugh get this book today!

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

Bio: Marc L. Prey is the acclaimed screenwriter of such films as "Bury the Dog" (2012), "All I Want for Christmas" (2007) and "Damaged Goods" (2006). He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and has spent most of his life in the Great Lakes State. Marc has written comic strips, graphic novels, short fiction and blogs. He holds a bachelor's degree, master's degree and law degree and previously worked as a journalist and attorney. Marc's screenplays have won numerous screenwriting competitions, and he is frequently called upon to "doctor" scripts for producers, directors and other screenwriters. Due to his work promoting the Michigan film industry, Marc was appointed by Michigan's governor to the state's Film Advisory Council in 2008 and reappointed in 2011. Marc currently resides in the quaint Michigan village of Milford with his wife and two sons. When It Comes to Spooning, I'm a Fork is Marc's first published book.

1) What genre do you like to write?
My book is considered nonfiction humor. It might also be classified as a memoir. Many of the stories originated from a humor blog I used to write about my foibles as a husband and father. My profession, however, is screenwriting. As a film writer, I've produced work in nearly every genre, from comedy to drama, romance to horror. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be comedy. It should come as no surprise, then, that my first foray into traditional publishing is with a humor book.

2) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
From the moment I first learned how to match a verb with a noun, I've been fascinated with the written word. Growing up, I spewed out reams of angst-filled poetry and pretentious short stories, and in college I dreamt of writing the Great American Novel. Even when I later went to work as a lawyer, it was always writing briefs and memoranda that gave me the most satisfaction. Once I discovered I could make a living at writing, the law didn't stand a chance.

3) What inspires you to write?
As a screenwriter, my inspiration rises when I view a quality film or read a great script. I also find inspiration in a good idea, something that screams “film” and drives me to transfer it from my mind to the page.

4) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
Since my experience is primarily as a screenwriter, I will answer this accordingly. I always start by outlining my film ideas. This process can take approximately one-to-two weeks. From there, I jump into writing a first draft of the screenplay. A feature film screenplay is generally in the neighborhood of 120 pages (general rule: one page of script = one minute of film). I can usually complete the first draft in four-to-six weeks. Once done, I try to put the script aside for a week or two before re-reading it and performing revisions. From start to finish, this process may take as many as three months to complete. There are times, however, when an external deadline may cause me to shorten this period by as much as half.

5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? The easiest?
In writing the essays that were eventually compiled into my book, the most difficult part was finding the time to write. This was prior to my transition to a full-time writer, when I was working sixty hours per week as an attorney while simultaneously trying to be a successful husband and father. As a result, I was forced to write early in the morning and late at night. The easiest part of the process was coming up with the idea for each weekly story. I simply reflected on all the things I had messed up at home that week, picked the funniest one, and started typing.

6) Of all your characters, whom do you most relate to?
Since my “characters” consist of myself, my wife, my two sons and our pets, I would have to answer this by saying Rocky, the family cat.

7) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
I'm going to have to plead the Fifth Amendment here.

8) What is your least favorite part of about writing? Favorite?
With screenwriting, my least favorite part is dealing with the notes from producers and corporate development executives. It is not unusual to have a producer respond to your screenplay with effusive praise, pay you a nice sum for it, then immediately ask you to change everything about it. My favorite part of screenwriting is the satisfaction I get when a reader is moved upon reading my work.

9) When you are not writing or editing, what do you do for relaxation?
In no particular order, I enjoy reading, watching my favorite television shows and bothering my children. Actually, bothering my children probably comes first.

10) What genre of books do you like to read?
When reading for pleasure, I mostly choose mysteries, thrillers and science fiction. I also enjoy reading other humor books.

11) What authors do you enjoy reading?
My favorite humor writer is Dave Barry. Not only is he a funny guy, he also happens to be a first-class storyteller. In fiction, I'm a sucker for the works of Dan Brown, Scott Turow, Elmore Leonard and Neil Gaiman.

12) Tell us where people can find your book.
My book is available at all the major online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, as well as through the publisher, Motivational Press. It is also available at many book stores, including Barnes & Noble, or through my personal website (

Author photo, bio and interview answers were provided by Marc L. Prey and used with permission. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

There Once Was a Man from the U.S. A.: 50 State Limericks by Joshua Kraushar Illustrated by Victoria Rose Weiss

There Once Was a Man from the U.S. A.: 50 State Limericks by Joshua Kraushar and Illustrated by Victoria Rose Weiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There once was a man who use to be a teacher
He tried to write a new creature
There was no rhythm to his rhyme
This book was a waste of time
I hope its not a double feature.

     All kidding aside, I requested the early review copy of this book because I thought it would be a fun way to teach my kids about the 50 different states. Much to my disappointment, this was not the case. Other than the names of the states in alphabetical order, this book has nothing to do with any of states themselves, with the exceptions of maybe Tennessee and Montana. It would have been one thing if the limericks were witty or funny, but since the author had a hard time rhyming the names of the different states with other words, the overall intended rhythm of all the poems was thrown off, making them really hard to read. On top of that, some of the limericks were vulgar and inappropriate for younger readers. The illustrations were decent, but there needed to be more of them; the blank pages were really distracting. I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is certainly is not educational or funny and, therefore, not worth the read.

Edit: On further examination I realized that this book has to be read with a New York accent to be funny try that and you mite like it better.
I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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