Wednesday, April 24, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: "Gracie's RV Mis-Adventure" by Violet Favero

BOOK REVIEW
Gracie's RV
Mis-Adventure
by Violet Favero
(Meadow Road Books)
__________

As adults, we likely all recognize that our greatest natural resource is — kids. As a result, we should strive to offer our little ones the best in books, games and programming. And although my own son now is a grown up adult, I still champion quality children's content.

I first became familiar with celebrated Florida-based children's author, Violet Favero, a few years ago through her popular Silly Yaya series. In 2019, Favero returns with the first in her new series chronicling the silly R.V. adventures of Yaya and the sillier mis-adventures of her lovable traveling canine companion, Gracie.

The latest from children's author
Violet Favero is just plain fun!
In a style reminiscent of the popular kid's books I loved while growing up back in the '60s, Gracie's RV Mis-Adventures is just plain fun — and educational. Throughout the book's 70 illustrated pages, readers enjoy a back seat glimpse of Yaya and Gracie's lively cross-country R.V. excursion. Along the way, readers also learn interesting factoids about each state on the dynamic duo's journey.

I don't "do" book spoilers. And that promise holds true for kids' books. But I will say that something has gone TERRIBLY WRONG, and Gracie is in quite a predicament. Let the adventure begin! 


-Christopher Long
(April 2019)


SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

"SUPERSTAR" BOOK SIGNING: Finding My Way Home!

"SUPERSTAR"
BOOK SIGNING
Finding My Way Home!
__________

Linda Ronstadt's current hit,
"You're No Good" was playing
on the radio when my mom
came into my bedroom that
afternoon in April and made a
heart-stopping announcement
— "We're moving to Florida."
__________

My family had relocated from the outskirts of Chicago to some unheard of locale called Springfield, Missouri back in October 1967. I was just four years old at the time. By the spring of 1975, I'd recently turned 12 and Springfield had become the only home I knew. The "Queen City" was where I'd gone to school. It's where ALL my friends were. It's where I got my first pet, my first bike, and it's where I got my "first kiss." To say that being torn from the Ozarks was personally traumatic would be to understate the experience.

Mom didn't want a bunch of crazy kids running around the house. So, although she agreed to me having a going away sleepover, I only was allowed to invite my three BEST friends — Joe, Brad and Kerry. Little did I know then, that the spring of '75 was ushering in the end of our "Beaver Cleaver" days of innocence. Joe would enjoy a solid career in the corporate world and Brad later became one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. I don't know what became of Kerry.

MY FIFTH GRADE CLASS PHOTO
(Can you spot me?)
As for myself, I married my Florida high school sweetheart in '85. We divorced in '98. Our son now is 25. Over the years, I've traveled on national arena concert tours, working as a personal assistant to world-famous rock stars. I've also found myself on the wrong end of assault weapons while in the jungle during various international missionary excursions. Oh yeah, I've written a few books too.

I still live in Florida. But, for the record, I've NEVER felt like a Floridian. I've always felt like a Springfield kid who had been misplaced and never could find his way back home. I've enjoyed making several return trips to Springfield over the last 44 years — each one, equally memorable. But it's my upcoming sojourn that has me particularly jazzed.

Entitled SUPERSTAR, my latest book tells the explosive story of country music sensation, Trent Davis — his meteoric rise to fame, his scandalous fall from grace and his heart-stopping fight for survival. The authentic SUPERSTAR narrative plays out primarily in two locales; Orlando, Florida and — Springfield, Missouri. Hence, there will be two official U.S. SUPERSTAR launch events; one in Melbourne, Florida and the other in, you guessed it.

I was so moved when my third grade
teacher, Donna Jones, attended
my 2010 Springfield book signing.
The last time I was in Springfield was during my 2010 U.S. book tour. And I look forward once again to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, this time while signing copies of SUPERSTAR at ABC Books on Thursday night, April 25th. And I welcome all of my Horace Mann Elementary classmates to come out and say, "Hi!"

I'd love to spend some quality earbud time with Carole King's Tapestry from a private perch overlooking the Ozark Mountains. But, I doubt this trip will provide much opportunity for personal reflection, as I'll be doing press for the ABC in-store event throughout most of my "Queen City" stay. However, I genuinely encourage any of my friends from the old neighborhood to hit me up if you wanna go grab a coffee while I'm in town — April 22-25.

(AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com) 

-Christopher Long
(April 2019)


SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

MOVIE REVIEW: Shazam!

MOVIE REVIEW
Shazam!
New Line Cinema / DC Films
PG-13 | 2 hr 12 min
__________

Truth be told, I'm not
the biggest fan of comic
books. And while I have
seen several over the
years, I typically fail to
connect with superhero
films. But I thought this
one might be different. 
__________

Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! is the just-released superhero action film based on the popular DC Comics character of the same name.

A troubled foster kid, 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is proving diligent in trying to locate his birth mother who seemingly abandoned him 10 years earlier. After being placed with his latest foster family, Billy soon experiences what he believes is an outrageous dream — one in which he's face to face with the ancient wizard, Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). Upon being accepted by Shazam as "the champion," Billy returns to the "real world" possessing the ability to transform himself into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) simply by proclaiming the name, Shazam! Let the good times roll.

However, Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), failed a similar test with Shazam years earlier. As a result, he would later receive the evil powers of the "seven deadly sins." In short order, Sivana pursues Billy to also gain the teen's magic powers. Let the conflict begin.

LET THE CONFLICT BEGIN
Mark Strong as the villain first
meets Zachary Levi as the hero.
Shazam! scores high for having the nards to not try too hard. The CGI is impressive, but the technology doesn't hijack the experience. The story travels the high road primarily, and the characters are engaging. The heartfelt budding relationships between Billy and his foster family members feel warm and authentic, while the tension between hero and villain also comes off completely legit. Kudos to Jack Dylan Grazer as Billy's foster brother and confidant, Freddy, for his consistent scene-stealing performances and Faithe Herman as Billy's irresistibly adorable youngest foster sibling, Darla.

In sum, Shazam! is a super-fun, enormously entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable treat — offering edge-of-your-seat action and suspense, with loads of laugh-out-loud moments along the way. 4/5

-Christopher Long
(April 2019)


SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

SUPERSTAR: Pre-Release Promo Video

SUPERSTAR
Pre-Release Promo Video
__________

With the release of my long-awaited
fiction debut, SUPERSTAR finally
rolling up this weekend (4.7.19),
I wanted to share the book's official
pre-release promo clip. Go ahead
and take a peek, if you get a chance.



__________



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012