Monday, October 26, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
#FirstLine PROLOGUE: The girls didn't blame me at the time and all these years later they still don't, but I've never quite forgiven myself for instigating what happened during the summer the three of us were eleven.
Can I give this book 100 stars??? Because this book deserves that many and then some. Nobody is better at writing from a child's perspective than Lesley Kagen. She captures the wisdom, humor and straight talk you get from kids, as well as their curiosity and the shenanigans they get themselves into. She captures the way kids navigate the world around them with sheer perfection. This book was a real page turner. You cannot stop reading. There is mystery, suspense and a richly written story with such depth it seeps into your bones. The dialogue is spot on and the pacing of the story is flawless. You are right there with the characters experiencing everything they are because Kagen is a master of place and time. You will not soon forget this book and will want to tell everyone you know to read it! She keeps getting better and better with every book she writes. Now, as a huge fan, I am left to sit and wait until she come out with her next masterpiece!
View all my reviews
Thursday, October 22, 2020
#MMBBR #VirtualBookTour #yourepullingmyleg #Review #GuestPost @theallenwolf @morningstargames #playmorningstar
Also check out YOU'RE PULLING MY LEG! JR
When you hear a story, vote points on if you think a player is telling the truth or pulling your leg. You'll win points if you're right but lose them if you're wrong. Think you can bluff your friends and family? Don't let them fool you! Score enough points, and you win!
This game book features cards with over 600 questions and instructions on how to play this game in person or over a video call with two or more people.
Praise for You're Pulling My Leg! Junior:
"This is pure fun! We loved this game. It made us laugh hysterically. Encourages the players to interact and gives them a chance to learn about each other." -iPARENTING MEDIA AWARDS
"Teaches while challenging children to understand what makes an interesting, compelling, and believable story. Knowing your audience, playing to that audience, and selling your ideas are some pretty heavy things to find in a simple game, but that is just what testers reported witnessing in their children as they played this game over and over. There are elements of improvisational acting here, and along the way, you'll be surprised how much you learn either about your own kids or about others." - THE NATIONAL PARENTING CENTER
"Everyone enjoyed this game. The kids got a big kick out of it and just could not stop laughing." - PARENT TO PARENT
About Allen Wolf
Wolf has won multiple awards as a novelist, filmmaker, and board game creator.
His debut novel Hooked won a Book of the Year Award from Foreword Reviews, Gold
Medal from the Readers' Favorite Book Awards, Silver Medal from the Benjamin
Franklin Book Awards, Bronze Medal from the IP Awards, and was a finalist for
the USA Book Awards. Kirkus Reviews wrote, "The high-concept narrative is
entertaining, well-paced, and highly visual."
Allen wrote, directed, and produced the movie version of Hooked that is expected to debut in theaters in 2019.
As a filmmaker, Allen wrote, directed, and produced In My Sleep which was released worldwide, won multiple film festivals, and is available on Amazon and iTunes. Hollywood Reporter raved, "In My Sleep never rests, a credit to the tight, psychologically astute pacing of filmmaker Wolf."
Wolf created five board games that won 38 awards - You're Pulling My Leg!, Slap Wacky, JabberJot, You're Pulling My Leg! Junior, and Pet Detectives. They have brought smiles to hundreds of thousands of people around the world through his company, Morning Star Games.
He graduated from New York University's film school. He married his Persian princess and they have two kids together. He enjoys traveling around the world and hearing other people's life stories. Allen also cherishes spending time with his family, chocolate, and visiting Disneyland.
5 Key Questions to
Get to Know Your Kids
My wife and I helped our five-year-old boy, and seven-year-old girl ride their bikes when a stranger approached us on the street.
“Are those your grandkids?” he asked with a smile.
“No, I’m their dad,” I said with a shrug. The stranger chit-chatted about his grandchildren before moving along.
After he left, my daughter turned to me with a wry smile, “I told you that you’re super old!”
She certainly had. A few months earlier, she told me she thought I was “a million, thousand years old.” I’m in my late 40’s. I didn’t scold her for saying something that is horrifying to hear for people living in Los Angeles where youth is revered. At first, I did want to mount a convincing defense about how young I look for my age. But, I realized she had not yet learned the cultural norm of suppressing her thoughts. I held a rare position to hear her unbridled opinions.
I created the You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior game so parents could hear those same unfiltered opinions of their children – the good and the bad. Typically, if you ask your kids direct questions, they might feel a little intimidated to answer. But, in the context of a game, I’ve discovered that kids love sharing their thoughts, and they get a kick out of crafting their stories.
When The National Parenting Center reviewed You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior, they wrote, “Knowing your audience, playing to that audience and selling your ideas are some pretty heavy things to find in a simple game, but that is just what testers reported witnessing in their children as they played this game over and over. Along the way, you’ll be surprised how much you learn either about your own kids or about others.” Are you ready to be surprised at what you can learn about your kids?
Here are five questions I think will help you get a deeper glimpse into your kid’s hearts and imaginations:
Tell me about a time when you worried about something.
This question will give you a window into how your kids perceive their world. They might share about a time you knew nothing about, and you can use this as an opportunity to speak into their fears.
Tell me about something you would do if someone paid you a lot of money.
Children usually light up at this question. It’ll help you get a glimpse into their dreams for the future.
Tell me about something you would bring if you moved to another country.
Their answer will give you a window into what they feel like they can’t live without.
Tell me about a time when you acted like one of your parents.
Get ready to find out how your children perceive you.
Tell me about something mean that someone said about you.
Here’s an opportunity for your child to share about a time that might have been hurtful that you might be new to you.
You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior features these questions mixed in with many others throughout the game, and kids get to choose which three questions they’d like to answer. The best that can come out of playing You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior is that you and your family will get a lot closer, and you’ll have a lot of laughs along the way.
1. Tell us about yourself. What’s it like being both a filmmaker and a game creator?
I’m a game creator, author, and filmmaker, and I live in Los Angeles with my wife and two kids. I love creating games, books, and movies because I enjoy seeing stories spring to life, whether it’s through something I’ve made or the stories people tell as part of one of my games. Storytelling is at the heart of what I do. I feel tremendously blessed that I can inspire people to expand their imaginations as they experience my games or stories.
There’s a lot of crossover between my work. I featured the original version of my You’re Pulling My Leg! game prominently in my first movie, In My Sleep, which is now streaming on Amazon. I also featured the game in my first novel, Hooked, that will be released as a movie in 2021. I love that I can work in multiple mediums, and I’ve been able to feature my games in the stories I tell. It gives me great joy to hear that my games bring people together, helps people build relationships, and inspires their creativity.
2. How did you first come up with the idea for You’re Pulling My Leg!?
I came up with the idea for You’re Pulling My Leg! just before Christmas years ago when I was thinking about a gift I could give to a good friend. He was dating someone he thought might be his future wife, and I wanted to create something that helped them get to know each other better but within the context of a game to make it extra fun. They loved the game, and so I created more versions for other friends to play. It became a hit with those friends, and soon people encouraged me to turn You’re Pulling My Leg! into an actual game so more people could experience it, so I did. The game ended up selling in toy, game, and book stores worldwide, and I love that it all started as a gift.
3. What does the process look like for creating a game?
When you have a game idea, the first step is to create a prototype. I often visited craft stores and grabbed different sized boxes, jars, whatever I thought would help me make the game’s components. Once you’ve tested the gameplay, the next step is to create the playing instructions. The goal is to create instructions that work without you saying anything since people can’t ask you questions when they’re not sure how something works in your game. You’ll next want to observe people playing your game so you can see what works and what doesn’t, in particular when people you don’t know are playing your game. That way, you’ll get a clearer idea of how the game will play with the general public. When you feel like the gameplay is solid, you can start hiring graphic designers to help create the look for your game. After that phase, you can either pitch the game to a game company or ask game manufacturers to provide estimates on the cost if you’d like to make the game yourself. Creating a game takes a lot of creativity, time, energy, and resources, but when you see how much people enjoy playing your game, it’s all worth it.
4. How do you balance managing all your creative projects?
I start most days around 4:00 a.m. and sometimes even earlier. In those early morning hours, I’m able to work on my creative projects without interruption. I try to work on a project consistently and chip away at it day after day. Then, one day it’s finished, and I’m able to move onto something else. Starting any new project feels like standing at the base of an enormous mountain, and it can feel overwhelming to think of what’s ahead. But if you’re able to move forward with one small step after another, eventually you’ll discover you’ve made it to the summit. It takes a lot of perseverance, but it’s worth it when you see your creative work come to life.
5. Where do you get inspiration from? What is currently inspiring your creative process?
I’ve drawn creative inspiration from friendships with others and adventures I’ve taken in my city or around the globe. I’ve also felt creatively recharged when I visit museums, experience a great movie, enjoy a game night with friends, or visit Disneyland, where I’ve visited over 500 times. Everything in Disneyland is based on a story, and I have often spent time at the park to work on novels, screenplays, or other creative ideas.
I also draw inspiration from the Bible, and I try to read every day. It is an epic story of love, sacrifice, and redemption that takes place over thousands of years and continues to impact me today. My family greatly inspires me. I love seeing how my kids are uninhibited with their imaginations. They create stories, games, and characters using whatever resources they can find around our home. They perform with abandon and delight in whatever they make. I find that very inspiring. I’ve been married since 2009, and my wife inspires me as I continue to get to know her story and experience life with her.
6. When the pandemic happened, you were able to create new versions of You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior that people can play virtually. How were you able to adapt the games? What do the new versions look like?
After the pandemic happened, it struck me how much we were all becoming isolated or cut off from our everyday relationships and interactions. At the core of You’re Pulling My Leg! is the idea that we can have a great time getting to know each other as we share stories from our lives. So, I started brainstorming on how people could play the game in person or over a video chat without needing the cards, shaker, and other playing pieces that came with the original game.
I experimented with having different groups of people play the game over video calls until I came up with a version that worked within a book. Then I gave the book to various people to test it independently, and I was happy to hear how much they got a kick out of playing it. It’s now very easy to play You’re Pulling My Leg! and take it anywhere. You can store it on your bookshelf instead of in a closet, and it’s simple to grab and start a game. My kids are much younger than the age I recommend for the Junior version, but they noticed the book and wanted to play, so we played together by just asking each other the questions, and they loved it. I hope this game will continue to bring people together when so much in our world is trying to pull us apart.
7. What are your favorite questions from the books?
I have many favorite questions from this game. What I appreciate about You’re Pulling My Leg! is that you’re able to ask people questions that typically wouldn’t come up in typical conversations, so you can get to know that person much better and more quickly. Since the questions are asked in the context of a game, it adds an extra element of fun as you try to figure out if that person is telling a true story or pulling your leg. My favorite questions from the book help you get a deeper glimpse into people’s lives.
From You’re Pulling My Leg!: One of my favorite questions is, “Tell me about a time when you panicked about something” because you get to hear a story about when that person freaked out about something, and it’s usually very funny in retrospect. “Tell me about a time when you did something you never thought you’d do” is a great question to hear about unexpected moments in that person’s life. “Tell me about something you’d do differently if given another chance,” allows you to learn more about someone’s history and how they would have made different choices. “Tell me about a date that didn’t go well” typically leads to some hilarious stories. “Tell me about a fictional character you would be if you could” lets you see a different kind of life that friends would like to experience.
From You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior: One of my favorite questions is, “Tell me something silly you have done” because it helps you get a glimpse into what that person sees as funny and silly, and it’s usually hilarious, especially when a kid answers the question. “Tell me about a time in your life you would repeat if you could” helps you see what that person thinks is a highlight from their life. “Tell me about something not many people know about you,” gives others a chance to tell you something that might surprise you. And I’ve never been able to ask, “Tell me about a time when you ate too much candy,” without laughing hysterically at the answer.
8. With the holidays around the corner, what are the best questions to get to know your family better?
When people play with their families, they sometimes think they’ll know all the answers to the questions, and they’re often surprised when they don’t. My favorite questions for families are, “Tell me about a time when you tried something for the first time” because it’s a chance to share about moments when you had new experiences. “Tell me about one of your imaginary friends” will get you laughing as you try to figure out if that family member is pulling your leg. “Tell me about something you would buy if you could afford it” might give you a future gift idea. “Tell me about a time when you were a supportive friend to someone” will give you a window into how people in your family have cared for others. “Tell me about something you have worried about” will help you see what’s on your family’s minds. “Tell me about an awkward conversation you had with someone” typically leads to entertaining stories.
9. Why do You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior, make great gifts for the holidays?
When you give You’re Pulling My Leg! or You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior as a gift, you’re showing the person you’re giving it to that you value their life stories, want to get to know them better, or think they’ll enjoy connecting to others while having a lot of fun. To me, one of the greatest gifts is friendship, and this is a game that helps people build relationships and get closer while sharing laughter. I wrote the questions so they can have multiple answers so you can play the game over and over again, and it’s always fresh. The book is also printed locally in most countries, so you’re supporting local businesses. It’s eco-friendly, has a small footprint, and books are easy to gift wrap, a massive plus for me!
Game Website: https://morningstargames.com/
- You're Pulling My Leg!: https://morningstargames.com/
- You're Pulling My Leg! Junior: https://
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #Victim2117 @jussiadlerolsen via #partner @DuttonBooks and @NetGalley #NetGalley who provided a #free #reviewcopy
The newspaper refers to her only as Victim 2117--the two thousand one hundred and seventeenth refugee to die in the Mediterranean Sea. But to three people, the unnamed victim is so much more, and her death sets off a chain of events that throws Department Q, Copenhagen's cold cases division led by Detective Carl M�rck, into a deeply dangerous--and deeply personal--case: a case that not only reveals dark secrets about the past, but has deadly implications for the future.
For troubled Danish teen Alex, whose identity is hidden behind his computer screen, the death of Victim 2117 becomes a symbol of everything he resents and the perfect excuse to unleash his murderous impulses in real life. For Ghallib, one the most brutal tormentors from Abu Ghraib, Saddam Hussein's infamous prison, murdering Victim 2117 was the first step in a terrorist plot years in the making. And for Department Q's Assad, Victim 2117 is a link to his buried past--and a clue that the family he assumed was long dead may still be alive.
With the help of the Department Q squad--Carl, Rose, and Gordon--Assad must finally confront painful memories from his years in Syria and Afghanistan in order to hunt down Ghallib. But with the clock ticking down to Alex's first kill and Ghallib's devastating attack, the thinly spread Department Q will need to stay one step ahead of their most lethal adversary yet if they are to prevent the loss of thousands of innocent lives.
#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #Reputation @sarabooks via #partner @DuttonBooks and @NetGalley #NetGalley who provided a #free #reviewcopy
Aldrich University is rocked to its core when a hacker dumps 40,000 people's e-mails—the entire faculty, staff, students, alums—onto an easily searchable database. Rumors and affairs immediately leak, but things turn explosive when Kit Manning's handsome husband, Dr. Greg Strasser, is found murdered. Kit's sister, Willa, returns for the funeral, setting foot in a hometown she fled fifteen years ago, after a night she wishes she could forget. As an investigative reporter, Willa knows something isn't right about the night Greg was killed, and she's determined to find the truth. What she doesn't expect is that everyone has something to hide. And with a killer on the loose, Willa and Kit must figure out who killed Greg before someone else is murdered.
Told from multiple points of view, Reputation is full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals. It's a story of intrigue, sabotage, and the secrets we keep—and how far we go to keep them hidden. Number one bestseller Sara Shepard is at the top of her game in this brand-new adult novel.
Monday, May 4, 2020
#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #LittleWhiteSecrets @CarolMasonBooks via #partner #lakeunionpublishing and @NetGalley #NetGalley who provided a #free #reviewcopy
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine --- Feels Like Falling by @kristywharvey is one of @ParadeMagazine, @_workingmother_ and @SheKnows' Most Anticipated Reads of 2020! Pick up a copy on your @Walmart or @Target run. Available NOW wherever books are sold! @GalleryBooks @simonschuster #tallpoppywriter #feelslikefalling #books
Kristy Woodson Harvey is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Southern Fiction. She has managed to find her voice in that genre and she continues to knock it out of the park with each and every one of her new books. I loved Feels Like Falling, so much! It may be a new favorite of mine. This book was like taking a vacation you never want to come home from. I did not want this book to end, as I savored it cover to cover. It was a breath of fresh air during a time when it was needed more than ever before!
Kristy Woodson Harvey captures the charm of the South, the essence of life for her individual characters and creates a depth in characters that make her stories both memorable and meaningful to her readers. It is bringing together those elements in perfect unison that creates a page turning and an emotional read. This story causes you to search within your heart and to think about yourself as if you were one of the characters. You think about what you would do, how you would react and how you would proceed if you were in the story.
Saturday, April 25, 2020
#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine #TheLastDay by @andrewhunterm via #partner @DuttonBooks and @NetGalley #NetGalley who provided a #free #reviewcopy
THE WORLD HAS STOPPED TURNING. THE HUNT HAS JUST BEGUN.
It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet's rotation to a stop. Now one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain--lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight--where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world.
Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts--and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation's fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Such a powerful story about a mother and her daughters. A story that spans time and place, tugging at the heartstrings the entire time. Deeply written with multidimensional characters that are believable and those you can relate to. It was a powerful and thought provoking book that kept me buzzing through the pages! I loved it!
Author Bio: Though Andrea Lochen had dreamed of being an author since the third grade, she didn’t realize creative writing was “an actual thing” until she stumbled upon the program at the University of Wisconsin as a college freshman. After graduating from college, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan and later achieved her dream of becoming a published author.