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text 2018-08-09 06:10
The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style -- Written by Joseph Strickland with B.J. Patterson and Cat Ellington

 

The Making of Dual Mania: "Filmmaking Chicago Style" is coming soon, baby! In fact, the literary work of nonfiction paying homage to the upcoming motion picture, Dual Mania, will drop on the same day as Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2.

Stay tuned, baby!

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review 2018-07-13 03:04
A Solid Sequel featuring a Procedural and a Puzzle
The Death Pictures - Simon Hall

So here we are a few months after the events of <b><a href="https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3nh" rel="noopener" target="_blank">The TV Detective</a></b>, and while Dan Groves, TV reporter, and DCI Adam Breen aren't working together any more, their friendship has grown and both of the careers are improving from their collaboration. So when there's a serial rapist on the loose -- one who made a point of leaving a calling card at the crime scenes to get public attention -- both of their bosses are interested in them renewing their partnership (even if no one ever gets to hear about his calling card).

 

Around the same time, there's a famous artist dying of cancer who is using his impending death as a launching pad for a contest of sorts -- it raises money for charity, and raises his public profile a bit, too (not that it needed much). Dan has been tapped by his producer and the artist's wife to help with the final part of the contest, and to do his final interview -- most to be aired upon his death. This is so far from the rape case that it seems odd to spend time on it -- until the artist dies under mysterious circumstances. A murder inquiry into a celebrity's death obviously gets the police's and public's attention -- although it's really seen as more of a distraction from protecting women who are prospective targets of the rapist by Adam and his team. For the most part at this point, Adam and Dan tackle the murder investigation and his team handle the rapes, and Dan pretty much only covers the case as a reporter (with an inside track, of course), but not as an investigator.

 

Arrests are made pretty early on in both cases -- it's in the aftermath of the murder investigation and the contest that the latter part of the novel focuses on. The puzzle's solution is clever, but the reader can see it coming (we do have a little more information than all the characters), but that only adds to the sense of drama leading up to the Reveal. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dan through this story -- both his official work as a reporter or with the police and his unofficial personal obsession with the puzzle.

 

As for the rape story? I don't mean to sound cold, but there was something very cookie-cutter about the motivation and perpetrator. Horrible, yes; disturbing, yes, but nothing that hasn't been on <strong>Law &amp; Order: SVU</strong> an estimated 3,709 times -- I'm not saying badly written or boring, just something I've seen before. But when Adam gets him in the interview room and he starts laying out his defense? That was utterly chilling. As I write this, I imagine the accused's approach is not completely novel in Crime Fiction, but man . . . the way that Hall depicts this guy? Chilling.

 

Dan's frequent work on the contest is reminiscent of his search for the Ted Hughes Memorial in <b>The TV Detective</b>, but is obviously tied more closely to the plot of this novel. I don't recall another series doing something like this in book after book -- I hope Hall continues it.

 

There's something that happened to Dan in the past that was alluded to in the previous book and is talked around a good deal here. We're not going to get more details on that in Book 3 (I bet), but I expect to see it wreak havoc on Dan's life and various relationships soon. Similarly, there's something that happens in this book to Adam -- that will possibly do worse pretty soon. Both of these guys are ticking psychological bombs.

 

I have one gripe: the formatting. There are occasional -- maybe even rare -- white space breaks between sections of the story, but by and large they are conspicuously absent. Which is problematic when the perspective changes from character to character -- what's worse is when the perspective change introduces an entirely new character and you don't know how this new name connects with anything. It honestly only caused a real problem for me once, but was frequently annoying.

 

I should stress when your complaint about a book has to do with Kindle layout (who knows what the paperback looks like), there's a lot that's working pretty well.

 

<B>The Death Pictures</B> is a solidly entertaining mystery novel that recaptures a lot of the high points of its predecessor, but isn't just a repeat of it. This series has legs, that's obvious, and I look forward to returning to it to see what happens next.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/07/12/the-death-pictures-by-simon-hall-a-solid-sequel-featuring-a-procedural-and-a-puzzle
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review 2018-02-23 02:28
The Book With No Pictures
The Book with No Pictures - B.J. Novak

This book is so ridiculous - and that is what makes it great! B.J. Novak dared to be different. He created a funny and interesting book for children, but he wanted to make it with no pictures! This book is designed to make grownups sound incredibly silly. The text itself is bright and exuberant, and will hold the attention of young readers. I would allow my students to write an advertisement for this book and present it to their peers, the school librarian, or the principal. I think it would also be fun to write letters to Mr. Novak and thank him for writing this crazy book!

 

Read aloud by author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiiS2NDkfI4

 

Guided Reading - L

Lexile - 380L

DRA - 20

 

 

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text 2018-02-14 11:00
Facts About Me: Photography

I used to be a really keen photographer, and, if I say so myself, I was pretty good at it. But, over the years, I began having trouble getting decent pictures. I have a nerve condition that makes it hard for me to hold a camera still, plus a balance problem that means I often sway when standing still, so the combination really makes getting pictures nearly impossible.

 

However, I do love some of the old pictures I took, when I was able to, so I thought I'd share some of my favourites. I still try, now and then, to get a good picture when I'm having a good day, but none of them come out as well as these lot did.

 

~

 

 

(taken in my own back garden)

 

 

(taken in East Lothian)

 

 

(taken in Oban)

 

 

(taken in Oban)

 

~

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