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Max Rockatansky returns. Haunted by his turbulent past, the wandering Road Warrior becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. Seeking escape from the tyranny of Immortan Joe, what follows is a high-octane Road War – and a chance for redemption. The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road is the official companion to the highly anticipated movie.

Publisher: Titan Books, May 2015

Reviewer: Jim Murdoch

Nowadays movie makers will do just about anything to gain another dollar. With the huge impact the new Mad Max: Fury Road has had on cinema goers and hardcore fans of it’s earlier series, there was no hiding that this book may just be another piece of memorabilia that most of us would part cash with for names sake. Generally expecting it to be just another drab, unthoughtful annual containing a few selected film stills. The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein however, is a must own for any fans of a film, that with so many major blockbusters, such as The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World, has become one of the best films to see in 2015. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was produced by George Miller, who also produced the earlier films and has recently announced the making of ‘Mad Max: The Wasteland’. The book, forwarded by Mr Miller himself, contains endless pages of original storyboards and concept-art. There is so much behind the scenes detail that will wet the lips of any fan. A quite brilliant insight into the making of such an extraordinary movie. Through the journey you will find yourself set out on, it becomes very apparent, almost immediately, how remarkable the attention to detail is. As George Miller himself writes; “Every vehicle, motorbike, weapon, costume, prop, every character and indeed their manner of speaking, came by way of this unifying back-story.” As someone who loves a good film just as much as a book, I’ve never been one that has ever taken the time to think about what went into making such a visual extravaganza. The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road had me fascinated at every page. Who knew how long winded the process was in finding just the right skull logo on Immortan Joe’s bad guys. With Father’s day just around the corner, why not treat Dad to an extension of a film he probably already has pre-ordered on blu-ray.

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Dave vs. The Monsters by John Birmingham Review

When an oil rig off the Gulf of Mexico digs too deep, a torrent of nightmares is unleashed the creatures of legend, always thought to be figments of our imagination, are now a very real threat to the survival of humankind. Safety worker Dave Hooper has the hangover from hell, and the last thing he needs is an explosion on his oil rig. But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, terrorists aren’t to blame for the carnage. The rig is swarming with monsters. As he fights to save his co-workers from the ravenous demon horde while holding down last night’s tequila, Dave is suddenly transformed from a foul-mouthed, overweight, booze-soaked slacker into something else entirely. An honest-to-goddamn monster slayer.

dave

Publisher: Titan Books, April 2015

Reviewer: Jim Murdoch

Dave vs The Monsters – Emergence. Review

Having read John Birmingham’s ‘Without Warning’ series and enjoying them at that, I did try to read Dave vs The Monsters with an open, non biased mind.

Where I found his earlier work portrayed hints of Tom Clancy, very detailed war-time writing. I was pretty much expecting a continuation. Many times I had to Google that I was reading from the same author and not two with the same name. It seems Mr Birmingham has had a ‘writing make-over’, Dave vs The Monsters is just as funny and light hearted as it’s title suggests. I believe I’ve found the Sci-fi/Thriller equivalent of Joe Hill, author of the very popular ‘Horns’. In both books the lead character awakes from a hangover and with that their entire worlds become a nightmare. Time and time again I was found reading with a smile from ear to ear. The main character ‘Dave’, is hardly likeable, the situation he is in is ridiculous and the entire plot is far-fetched. But. This book is brilliant.

I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who isn’t a fan of guts and gore as there are some very graphically written scenes inside. Dave Hooper’s character is a little rough around the edges who lives his life hard and drug induced, a lot of what he says and does could be very offensive to some. However if your tired of the same old girl meets vampire, falls in love kind of stories, it will be a guaranteed ‘dirty little secret’ of yours, a read that you really aren’t supposed to enjoy, but you will and you will pass it onto anyone that needs a lift in life. With two more in the series that I find myself dying to get my hands on this makes Dave vs The Monsters a sure winner.

Famous last words. Parenting.

You just had to say it didn’t you?

 

Yes, you all know what I’m talking about. Of course you do, you’re a parent too. Those things you say or do that ultimately come back slapping you right across the face.

 

“I’ve got a feeling she will sleep well tonight”

 

What follows is a two, three and four am screaming session, that would make even a pack of howling monkeys run for the hills. With a day of piercing looks between you and your partner through the dark circles around your eyes.

 

“Go on hun, he can sleep in our bed just this once.”

 

Two months on and you are maxing out your credit card on a queen size bed just to accommodate a little more arm space. That and the chiropractor bill for all those knees in the back you receive in your sweet slumber.

 

“No need to stop off yet, the kids always fall asleep in the car.”

 

When you’re looking for a good night sleep and the kids have run themselves ragged all day, you know how important that half hour drive back home is. Keep them awake at all costs, get the juices out, something to snack on and a rock album turned up just enough to get their little heads bopping along. Simple, no it never is, before too long you and your wife will be deep in conversation about bills, a funny thing Matt said at work or what to have for tea, then before your tyres have even warmed up there are a couple of snoring, dribbling children flopped in their chairs. After that, there is no manner of keeping those sleepy eyes open. So, why is it when you’re stuck in an hour long traffic jam, the rock music is making you want switch to classical, you and your wife have run out of topics to discuss and you are craving a coffee, do your children just not sleep like they’re supposed to do in a car journey. Instead opting for the screaming, the fidgeting, the back arching and the seat kicking. Who ever said parenting was fun?

 

“I’m taking him for a walk into town, it’s ten minutes away. I won’t take the pram it will do him some good.” 

 

Is something I will never say again, along with explaining to my wife that the need to carry with me, the ‘in case of national disaster bag. I will hold my hands up and surrender to the shame, I’m one of those dad’s, the ones who will go through a child’s changing bag and question why we need everything in it. I mean do we really need over ten nappies just for a trip to Ikea? But to not bring a changing bag for even a twenty minute outing… big mistake. On this occasion my toddler soiled himself, but so much so it leaked through his nappy and began to appear on his trousers. With no nappies, no wipes, no change of trousers (to think I could have had a choice in colour scheme, had I taken the bag) and no bank card on me, it was home or bust. What should have been a ten minute walk back home turned into one of the most emotionally painful, excruciatingly embarrassing hours of my life. Nobody would want to walk anywhere with their excrement running down their legs, so why would a two year old? But he didn’t want carrying either, just a nappy and a clean pair of light tan cords that were sitting at the front door step. Guys, I don’t care how much you can lift at your local gym, one hundred press ups you say? Yeah, well try carrying a kicking and screaming child a couple of miles on a fairly warm day. All while keeping up the energy to show the public your smile, letting them know that you are not in-fact stealing this young boy, just one of those terrible fathers.

 

– If you can’t laugh about parenting, we will all be crying. With that in mind, do you have any ‘famous last words’ stories?

 

Written by MojoDad Jim, author, husband and father of two

– Aspiring to Inspire

http://www.LastoftheAuthors.com

Follow Jim on Twitter @lstoftheauthors

Exclusive first look into my upcoming book.

Thought I would give you a little taster of my forthcoming book with a small insert from chapter 13.
Working Title is: My Time To Die
Let me know if it intrigues any of you.

 

Every time I thought I was uncovering more of a hidden memory, Liu’s face appeared, always there watching, always there preventing me for searching deeper. Thoughts began wondering off, remembering the state I had left her in. Was she still alive, did they leave her drowning to death in a pool of her own agonising tears? I missed her, I missed her so much it hurt, I couldn’t deny the feelings that were growing inside. I had that giddy feeling, like when I would eat an apple as a boy, accidentally swallowing a pip and being told a tree would grow inside me. I could feel the seed of love-making its way out to overgrow me, to overcome me, to swallow me up and kill me.
The night we spent together, the memory playing out through my closed eyes like a silent black and white movie that only emphasised every single breath. Not wanting the images to disappear, afraid that I would lose another memory to the blackouts I was having, I kept my eyes closed standing still as a rock, losing myself in that wonderful moment.
Like an emergency broadcast almost, the memory was interrupted by other memories, flashing in and out of view like a poorly planned computer virus. I was in a café, but I was hovering on the ceiling as if I were having an outer body experience. Liu was there, sitting on a table all on her own, playing with a mug of coffee that seemed as if it had long-lost its heat. She looked sad, she looked lonely, she kept looking over at a novelty clock on the wall. I tried to make out the time but there was no face, it looked blurry as if it had been censored for post water-shed viewing. Why couldn’t I see the time? Trying with every ounce of subconscious strength to get a closer look, but just like trying to follow an eye floater, the more I tried to look the further away it got. Giving up, my vision focused back on Liu, only now she was no longer sitting. An involuntary shiver came over me as I watched over Liu; she was standing against the wall of the café pointing up at the clock, not looking at the clock but staring at me. Liu’s face was wide-eyed with fear, mouthing a message as there was no sound, although the harder I looked for a clearer view of what she was trying to tell me, the louder her screams got. Beginning as a high-pitched noise only the canine species would recognise, the screams escalated into an ear drum piercing sound that made my head want to burst. Through clenched eyes I could still make her out, now sat with knees pressed to her chest. Her hands grasping her head in agony, eyes still open with fear, jaw locked open releasing sound excrement. Slowly I pulled out a hand to reach her, the pain no longer mattered to me as long as I could tell her everything was going to be okay, but in my heart I knew that was a lie, nothing was going to be okay. It was if she read my thoughts, her mouth closed and everything stopped at the eerie silence. Still I remained pinned to the ceiling, Liu’s expression turned to that of seriousness, she clawed her way onto her feet using the wall. Her focus was me and me alone. Just as I was beginning to familiarise myself with just how cute she looked, she then flipped that feeling on its backside when she opened her mouth again. This time there was no high pitch scream, but a remarkably deep and frightening voice.
‘Look at the time Mason. Not your time!’

MojoDad Jim’s guide to fatherhood – Part Three

Part Three. Walking and Talking

Welcome to my third and final part of my mini guide to fatherhood, final only because I am still only at this stage myself, I believe after this it’s all plain sailing, right…right?

 

Danger

 

Now that your little one is up and about, its all a bit easier to manage right, wrong. Your toddler is now a walking-talking accident waiting to happen. You will, probably overnight, become Mr health and safety, seeing dangers in every minute of every day. Who knew plug sockets were more than just something that powered your toaster, who knew that glass table was anything more than a place to rest your cup of tea. Every day objects will become hazards that you probably wont see until your heart is jumping out of your chest as you dive in to save the day. Stairs, they used to be something that I used to go up or down a level, they now, more than anything else, haunt my every nightmare. I’m still pretty certain I wont be able to trust my boys on stairs until they are least of eighteen years old. Toddlers are unpredictable, one of my first realisations of this was when Ruben, my oldest, saw Thomas the Tank Engine on my 42” plasma screen and, well I guess decided he wanted to join him in there. He ran full speed into my beloved television, it was broken beyond repair only a week before the World Cup.

 

Quality Time

 

Up to now your baby has been pretty routine; sleep, cry, eat, cry, smile, cry, eat, sleep, blow raspberries, cry. It’s very easy to feel like your not involved too much, but now he or she is a toddler, it’s your time to shine Daddy. Why, because as men we will never really grow up, there will always be this big kid inside dying to get out, I swear I’m more into Ruben’s Brio train set than he is. Studies have actually shown that a toddler who spends a lot of time with their father will develop well in certain areas of their lives, including behaviour and social skills. I personally don’t agree with this to a certain degree, every child is different and who-ever the parent or guardian is, as long as they love and spend time with their child, they should grow up to be just fine. Time, quality time that is, is very important, already as a father you will become less and less selfish, but now is the time to really make sure your around as much as possible. There is no denying there is a bit of a gym fad among men at the present, it’s great that you would want to keep in shape and look your best, I will be the first to admit I could lose a couple of pounds. However, unfortunately I’ve seen and heard of so many broken families just because of a guys obsession with the gym. Now I can’t speak on behalf of every mother of course, but where she may have fallen for those ‘Guns’ to begin with, she may now actually find you being a great father a lot more sexier than someone who can now lift an extra few kg’s – after-all, post pregnancy a lot of mothers will become very self-conscious about their bodies, it might not help when you come in looking like a topless Brad Pitt.

 

Hey, You Look Like Me

 

Unless your a natural replacement for the Eastenders’ Mitchell brothers, there aren’t going to be that many similarities between you and your baby. You will however hear things like ‘She has your nose’  but a lot of the time you wont start seeing this until they become a little toddler. Certain expressions and key visual features will begin to appear that will sometimes frighten the life out of you. I’m often bemused when I see my little one pull the exact same ‘angry’ face that I do when I don’t get my way. Speaking of not getting your way, it smoothly brings me onto the tantrums. To say a toddler’s tantrums are not usually over anything important, is one big understatement. Although they can now walk and talk on their own, there will be plenty that will frustrate them, plenty that they wont understand. Why his parents don’t wish to see Despicable Me for the third time today, I guess its a mystery of life. I’ve found one of the best ways to combat tantrums is to quickly change their thoughts rather than to just say no. Their attention span is short, so if you can muster up another activity to focus their mind on, they will soon forget you just turned off the DVD player and chucked the film out of the window. We are human after all and there will be times you simply have to let them have their paddy, try not to vent anger at them and instead ignore; it’s the attention they are after.

 

Perception

 

Toddler’s minds are expanding all the time, they are taking in every surrounding, now is the time to look at what you are saying and doing and deciding what you want your little one to not pick up. I find I’m not a natural swearer anyway so I haven’t had the ‘hilarity’ of hearing him repeat a swear word, I would probably suggest to not react when they do, because if you do, you may find it quickly becomes part of their everyday vocabulary. I must say my toddler still speaks a language like no other, my wife is usually his interpretor. It’s not just words that little one will pick up, they will look to you, therefore showing affection and kindness towards your partner could play a major role in their later life.

 

In The End

 

There is nothing in the world that can take away the warmth in your heart when your toddler wants a big, long cuddle. It’s moments like these that you will hold onto for the rest of your life. You will plant the seeds for an unbreakable bond, a love like no other. Love your children and you can do no wrong.

 

– To finish up my mini guide to fatherhood, I put forward a question to my fellow Daddy Bloggers, the response was incredible, here are a few of the best.

Q: What is your one major piece of advice you would give to any first time father?

– Deep breaths! They are not logical creatures yet. As frustrated as you will get with a situation, take a deep breath and know that as they have no idea what they are doing.

(Doubletroubledaddy.com)

– Do what YOU think is right based on information gathered, and ignore the naysayers.

(Dadrambles.com)

– Despite what it may seem like, relish each and every moment. When you look back, the time you have with your kids will have passed like the blink of an eye.

(father-of-five.com)

– Always carry an extra diaper in your back pocket. And a plastic bag. And wipes. Trust me.

(anordinarydad.wordpress.com)

– Hugging, whispering, and forgiving is always better than spanking, yelling and punishing.

(1awesomedad.com)

– Forgive yourself and your kids for the mistakes you and they are going to make. No one is a perfect dad and you are bound to mess up many times. You are both going to learn along the way, so don’t be so hard on yourself.

(athomedad.org)

 

Happy parenting everyone!

 

Written by MojoDad Jim, author, husband and father of two

– Aspiring to Inspire

www.LastoftheAuthors.com

Follow Jim on Twitter @lstoftheauthors