Real Neat Blog Award Nomination II (+ tags)

The Hall of information has received it’s fourth award nomination of 2019!

It truly is an honor to be noticed as a blogger and I would like to thank big time blog-star Megan from A Geeky Gal for the nod. Let me take this opportunity to tell you about what a great blogger she is!

geeky galMegan is the epitome of blogging and without doubt one of the benchmarks that I follow for inspiration . Not only does she blog about all things geek but she also blogs about some very important subjects in the field of self care and mental health in the geek community. Very recently Megan completed a 30 Day Geek out Challenge which not only shows how dedicated she is to blogging but also how similar our tastes are in so many different things! So thank you to Megan for the nomination! 

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The Rules:

  • Display the Award Logo.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them seven questions.

Questions from Megan: 

1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

That depends of how self assured you want me to be… If things continue the way they are going now then the dreamer in me would like to think things would be pretty good. I’m certain the next decade will probably be the most important of my life as a writer and of course the person outside of those efforts. There’s a big motherfu**ing world of opportunity out there that I intend to go after and that includes seizing every moment I get. A couple more amazon reviews wouldn’t be a bad thing either…

2. Who or what is your spirit animal?

The cliche answer would be Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters but I’ve heard at least two people say the same. I like to be different because I am so I’m gonna say my spirit animal would be the wind. Fierce sometimes and gentle on other occasions. You can’t see it like most spirits but it’s there, always (deep right).

3. What is one thing on your bucket list?

Above all I would love to see my writing make its way to the big screen and then be a success. Most of my stuff is written in a cinematic style and to even see the trailer of something I wrote would be enough to convince me this was all worth it (plus there would probably be tears…).

4. What is your strategy for the zombie apocalypse?

Well I can’t shoot, I don’t like to run (even though I can) and I’ve never really been one to fight so my efforts would sway towards hiding out of sight most probably above ground with some beer and just let the whole thing play out…

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5. What movie/book character are you most like?

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Great question! And right now I have the perfect answer although I may appear to be reaching here but at this point in time I see myself as being mostly like Charles Dickens from the 2017 film ‘the man who invented Christmas’. The film highlights Dickens struggle to pen his most famous, the most famous Christmas story.

Now people are probably thinking how dare you compare to such a literary master and if I told you the true reason why I see myself as him I would be giving all my cards away – let’s just say this year and the festive season coming may have a quite a surprise in store… For anyone who is a fan of Dickens, literature and of course ‘a Christmas Carol’ I highly recommend taking a look at this film!

6. If you could do anything you want for a living, what would it be?

The older I get the more I have come to appreciate the English language. Now I don’t see myself as an academic but if money was no option I would seriously consider being an English literature teacher. There’s a lot of great literature out there that just isn’t reaching the generations of kids in a way it deserves to be recognised, teaching stuff like that needs someone relatively hip and with it; I am both of those things, plus I’ve written books and plays… #morethanqualified – and I mean that without any course to put down any teachers currently out there – you guys rock!

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7. If we were all forced to wear a warning label,  what would yours say?

‘Warning: This writer will use what you say, do or think in a future project. Speak, act or think at your own risk’…

or more realistically ‘keep away from booze’ 

A huge thanks to Megan for the nomination and now it’s my turn to nominate the following for the real neat blog award: 

  1. LillBlu1981
  2. Mullen Crafts
  3. Stoner on a Rollercoaster
  4.  Debjani’s Thoughts
  5.  Christina Engela
  6. The Alchemist’s Studio
  7. Book Steff’s Bookish Blog

And here are the questions for the nominees: 

  1.  If you were to give a TED talk, what would be your specialist subject?
  2.  What is your favourite season of the year and why?
  3.  If you could time travel, where are you going? The past or the future? And why?
  4.  (Stolen from Megan because it’s a good question) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  5.  Name a book, a tv show or a film that you could watch or read over and over again?
  6.  Are you superstitious?
  7.  What do you think is the most important invention of the past 20 years?

 

Of course anyone who hasn’t been nominated is free to participate and those that do remember to link me in the post so I can see those answers! Rock and roll man! Peace out….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviewing The Teleporter by Kurt Brindley

I raise my glass to fellow author and friend Kurt Brindley for his awesome review of the Teleporter.

Check out what he had to say below!

I urge you check out Kurt’s most recent release ‘The Good Kill’ which I reviewed a short while back; it’s an enthralling, gripping tale of epic proportions taking the reader on a ride full of twists, turns and action… so trust me, it’s good!

Buy it here!  Go now!

 

BOOK | FICTION | HUMOR THE TELEPORTER LEE HALL RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch happened to stumble where nobody has stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!Just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…Kurt […]

via THE TELEPORTER by Lee Hall – A Review — KURTBRINDLEY.COM

The city of Edinburgh – a review, part 1

Having recently returned from my travels to Scotland I felt compelled to share with you my experience of visiting a truly wonderful city.

The premise of this trip; to celebrate the fact my brother is tying the knot later this year and so I was in fine company best described as the ‘lads and Dad’s’. In our two night’s residence we made the best of what was a fantastic weekend in possibly the nicest city I’ve ever visited. Here’s a brief highlight style review of some things to do in Scotland’s capital.

After an early start (pre 5am) the majority of our group assembled at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for a 07:45 departure to Edinburgh Airport.

Side note: There is a whole British Airways saga that almost threatened to hamper our efforts for this trip, you shall hopefully see a very scathing review of their very below par customer service of what is not a bad airline or even flying experience; if you can get on a damn flight) 

Terminal 5 of Heathrow is the flagship home of British Airways and although it looks shiny and relatively new, it was busy and overall Airports have no way of looking particularly fancy for what they are. For the first twenty years of my life I did reside a stone’s throw away from the place so my bias is what it is. The terminal’s Wetherspoon’s (A budget chain of UK pub’s or the Walmart of UK pubs) was busy with some travelers beginning their trip with an early 6am beer. Me, I chose a cup of tea and not a lot else. I’m a nervous flyer so I’ll eat if I survive…

With a flight time of less than 60 minutes our time in the air I found to be relatively comfortable and short. We were on the ground again just before 9am, making what would be an 8 hour car journey from London seem a no brainer. Internal UK flights for the win!

Edinburgh Airport to the city Center via tram – 30 min or less

Located only half an hour from Edinburgh city center we made the short walk to the airport tram station and got ourselves a reasonably priced  return ticket (for our way back on the Sunday) for £8 – probably better than any taxi fare it’s as direct as a railway and more frequent (every 15 mins). An unlimited day ticket excluding airport travel is just £4.

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The tram system in Edinburgh is new and a spacious relaxing way to travel right into the very heart of this Victorian version of a smaller New York. Cobble side streets accompanied by wide avenues make this city a spacious and spread out gem. It feels like a regional town but has a certain charm, the hustle and bustle doesn’t seem overcrowded. There are large park sized gardens spread out amongst a city which was designed with some real thought.

Princes Street to the Hotel – 6 min walk 

After a thirty minute tram ride we had made our way into the very heart of Edinburgh, with the high placed castle to our right and the main drag known as Princes street amongst us. It has the usual shops and places all high streets do but just on a grander Scottish scale with that picturesque castle overlooking it all.

We made our way towards the newer side of town and only a few blocks over did we find Queen street and our digs for the weekend; a travelodge – cheap and cheerful no nonsense accommodation. Looking over some quaint gardens and a part of Victorian terraced street the hotel is a room only kind of deal but there is no need for a restaurant or a bar because they surround us. The rooms were spacious, clean and simple.

Brunch – ‘Browns’ located on George Street

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Our ‘lad’s and Dad’s’ tour started off relatively civilized and that made for the theme of the entire weekend. ‘Browns’ is pleasant ‘high end’ looking  bar and restaurant that happily took our table for 9 on both this day and the next for an extensive brunch menu that boasts not only eggs Florentine, Benedict and Royale, but there’s also a host of smoothies, vegetarian options and of course steak and eggs!

The service both times we visited was spectacular and we were even given a semi private table tucked away at the back of the place. Located just minutes from our hotel, it was a welcome treat after an already long day.

 

Afternoon drinks – ‘The Alexander Graham Bell’ – Wetherspoons 

Our second Wetherspoons of day consisted literally across the cobbles to this not to large and not too small watering hole where we had a handful of beers. The atmosphere was good, most of the punters were locals in rugby shirts laying in wait or preparation for the day’s game later on and overall this pub was on the better scale of Whetherspoons out there.

Whisky Tasting Experience – ‘The Royal McGregor’ – Located on the ‘Royal Mile’ 

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As Ron Burgundy once said ‘when in Rome’ and the same goes for Edinburgh when referencing to whisky. We found ourselves (as part of my best man organizing endeavors) booked in a quaint compact pub which not only offered a unique whisky tasting experience but they also provided great value for money food. Located in the older part of town and up a partially steep hill (non walkers may struggle) known as the ‘Royal Mile’.

Our evening passed tremendously quick after tasting three types of whisky initially, all from different areas of Scotland. With reference to the map, the tastes and styles vary depending on where they are distilled and created. We then treated ourselves to another three rounds because as Rob Burgundy said…

I  highly recommend this place for anyone looking to get the full Scottish culture experience along with perhaps getting slightly merry for their efforts. Our hosts at the pub were fantastic and hospitable throughout.

And so that wrapped up our first day in Edinburgh, stay tuned for part two where I review a German bier keller experience! 

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Let’s talk about the Breaking Bad film…

A slight delay in reaction over here at the Hall of information because I have been in the cave of intensive writing and with the fear of my brain becoming mush I’m attempting to pallet cleanse as well as discuss the fact Netflix have announced a Breaking Bad movie.

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‘El Camino’ will grace the screens (of those who have paid, mostly) this October and from the reaction I have seen, only present’s one real question:

AM I THE ONLY ONE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS? 

I’m trying not to be a party pooper here but can anybody entertain my point which I fully intend to defend.

Breaking Bad is simply a masterpiece, a fu**ing masterpiece of modern television storytelling. Some of you will know my favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer but even I know and appreciate there is a difference between something being the outright best and my personal favorite.

Digressing here but you can link the two shows, they both would have shared the same number of seasons initially but Buffy was basically ordered by the higher ups to keep running. (spoilers here but it’s no longer 2001) Buffy’s season five and it’s finality of the main character’s death sort of expressed that and quite honestly it’s the most powerful and beautiful moment of the whole deal. The same goes for the finality of Breaking Bad’s final episode (well we think ‘W.W’ died anyways). The story of Breaking Bad had a beginning and middle and finally an end. And it avoided cancellations, apart from the writers strike all seasons were of decent length and above all it finished on its own terms.

Of course the second billed ‘Jessie Pinkman’ rode off into the sunset during that finale but can’t the rest be left up to the imagination? A lot of what I liked about this show was killed off during the experience – the characters.

The defense

I am only suggesting this if ‘El Camino’ is bad, so my counter is simple.

Vince Gilligian – the genius behind Breaking Bad has returned for this film. So no matter what, we are in safe hands right?

Your opinion?

Don’t come at me with that ‘I haven’t seen it’ crap and I mean that in the most polite of ways, but seriously its the show of the decade! I’m excitedly concerned and look forward to seeing how they carry on what is a perfect story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #43

And so the final words of Jack Thorn appear on the horizon. What stands before me is still a mountain of a task but behind me is 100,000 plus words drafted of a story that I originally created fifteen years ago; the first attempt came out with 40,000 words, I guess that’s the true reflection of how much I’ve grown over the years much like this book which will change science fiction – I suppose one can dream… 

This book and it’s contents I carry with me, everywhere I go, I have done since I was a teen so why did I decide to write this now?

Jack Thorn is and always will be home to me, it’s my dream book, the one I have always wanted to read. This year has been hard, I knew that from the onset, and so because I moved into my own place I needed something to make me feel at home, and I’ve decided now to that this attempt is justifiable by the fact I’ve learned how to write and tell stories by simply doing that.

I care so much about this story that I was willing to put it to one side and delve into other worlds so I can hone this craft I now have before me. I wanted to be my very best for this tale and it’s been a long journey and even now I have battled to carve a path I mostly already knew, it just needed to be updated, polished and adapted to today’s standards.

The full title I have now chosen and will reveal in time. Hopefully by the end of the month ‘Jack Thorn’ would have been drafted. I said next year’s plan I would be querying, but I will probably be editing for a long while.

The ultimate question you probably have is what’s the premise of Jack Thorn? Like all of my stuff it appears as one thing but is actually a stack of different things – right?

Jack Thorn is a science fiction epic about robots in the future. But it’s really about; friendship, family, war, prophecy and above all humanity. From what started as quite simple story has spider webbed into a epic mess of a story and journey of darkness, action, fun, emotion and destiny.

After all these years this dream stands strong, every single word of it…

Chapter motherfu**in’ 30

Well I guess I survived my twenties. And everything I’ve laid down in the past ten plus years is going to pay off in this next decade of my life… I say that like I know what’s going to happen and even though my word is good, nothing ever turns out how you expect it. Maybe that’s what the best and scariest part of life is, the fact we’re not really in control, the unexpected is where our fate truly stands. 

Now I would never have thought I would be penning this blog post at this exact time and this exact place; a place where readers like you support my slowly growing presence in the world of words. There have been some phenomenal achievements that have really been defined by my readers during my twenties, in fact, none of the 4 books I have currently published would actually be anything without their readership. The 3 plays I wrote and subsequently saw (2 of the 3) brought to life were indeed nothing without those who put them together and those who were an audience. This blog would be a ghost town if it wasn’t for the support of my pretty fuckin’ epic readers; some of which go above and beyond for me.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what we do and how we personally define our creations; plays, books, blogs and hopefully soon to be films. Our efforts are defined by how they are received by others. We are inspired by the company we keep no matter what corner of the world they may be in.

All of you inspired all of this, and for as long as I’ve known what dreams are, I’ve been chasing them.

Only those bold enough to chase are the ones who catch.

And like that I’m thirty years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dieting tips for weight loss

Yes I’m busting out the nutrition advice because in the past 3 months I have been on a big time health kick, I also weigh less now so like all science types, I have recorded the results to pass on to others as advice.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a medical physician or a diet-ologist so before you embark on any type of change to your regular diet or lifestyle; seek professional medical advice. This also goes for any type of exercise.)

Backstory – gotta love a prequel…

Last year was an enduring and mostly stressful mess for me. Things ran hot, I published 2 books, drafted another and even wrote a play; that is without mentioning the fact I moved out and got my own place while holding down a job that follows a sometimes grueling shift pattern. It was an arduous journey which rolled into 2019.

Even though I managed to get back into running short distances after being injured basically for 5 years (shin splints, bad knee, bad back, sciatica, procrastination) my exercise regime consisted of basic yoga, some running and mostly walking. Let’s just say I wasn’t doing enough to look after myself both physically and dietary wise.

Tip 1: Cookin’ fresh…

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Even into this year in which the start was mainly hectic things didn’t really calm down until the beginning of May but around March my significant other and I decided to call time on our not particularly great diet. To elaborate I’m speaking convenience quick to cook foods of most persuasions, jars of sauces, full dairy ice cream and processed meats. We (she) signed up to a thing called slimming world and this gave us access to a bunch of awesome recipes that are ranked in something called ‘syn’s’ – this basically means the more ‘syn’s the less good it is for you.

Early on we opted to choose ‘syn’ free meals to cook in the evening. This also means everything has an emphasis on freshness. From veg to meat and carbs alongside everything else, you cook these meals from scratch.

You don’t have to sign up to slimming world to access low calorie healthy recipes, there are plenty of other places to find them just ask the google… 

Tip 2: Keep stocked up with spices…

We now have an impressive range of spices, herbs and seasonings. We’re making meals that we would normally just buy ready to cook. Those jars and packets contain so much more crap than you need. The recipes instruct you to make it from scratch which in essence begins to transform the diet and you begin to taste things properly.  From paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, mustard seeds, mixed herbs, tandoori powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, basil, chopped garlic and even cinnamon all of our meals have this stuff in frequently for curries, low cal pasta dishes,fajita’s to even burgers.

Side tip: Buy a pestle and mortar – this helps crush herbs and spices easily, and you also look sophisticated 

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Tip 3: Keep the veg section of your fridge stocked…

Every meal is made better for you by adding vegetables – just ask vegetarians… but seriously your fridge has always got to be stocked with stuff like onions of the red and brown persuasion, peppers, potatoes, chilies, tomatoes (technically a fruit) and spinach which blends into near enough any pasta dish.

If your fingers don’t constantly smell of onions like mine then you aren’t chopping enough vegetables!

Tip 4: Take it seriously and kick the habits

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After what seemed like a barrage of weddings, parties and other gatherings I attended this year (I know it’s a tough life…) it felt like I was an Olympic alcohol drinker and guess what I weighed as much as an Olympic alcohol drinker. This takes real will power but if you are committed to losing weight, you have to kick any habit that increases your weight- sounds logical right?

Now I really love booze, I like most booze, I like the flavor and what it does to me, hell my third book the Teleporter is basically a love letter to booze but I knew I had to stop even if it was just a beer or two a day, it had to go. Booze effects people differently, but it increases my weight big time. So since May I have only consumed alcohol on one occasion. First time around I got to 38 days without booze, now I am on 45ish! You can do it, because I can!

Tip 5: Change it up

My current diet doesn’t just revolve around some slimming world recipes, we only really have their meals 4 times a week but I do follow their concepts for all of my eating. Here’s what an average few days looks like:

Day 1

Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and 2 slices of toasted wholemeal bread

Lunch – 1 large Baked potato with beans

Snacks Between meals if hungry – Fruit, 1 of – Apple, Pear or handful of Grapes. 

Dinner – Chicken and vegetable fajitas with grated cheese in wholemeal wraps

Dessert (yes I said dessert) – Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream – four scoops 

Day 2 (Zero carbs day)

Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and two slices of bacon with visible fat removed

Snack – Fruit

Lunch – One can of tuna in sunflower oil and salad with some feta cheese

Snack – whole nuts

Dinner: Two home made beef burgers without the buns and side salad

Day 3 (Meat free day) (I should do more of these)

Breakfast – 1 boiled egg, baked beans and 1 slice of toasted wholemeal bread

Snack – Fruit

Lunch – Potato wedges made from one large baked potato and vegetables 

Snack – Sweet and salted popcorn 

Dinner- Quorn meat free sausages and fresh mashed potato

Dessert – A couple of reese’s peanut butter cups

Tip 6: Beverages, always bet on zero

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Carbonated drinks, you can’t escape them, they are everywhere and they add a little life into the sometimes plain world of water or coffee. Of course I drink tea with soy or almond milk but it’s nice to have a little flavor. I drink coke zero quite a lot, and even now when I hit the cinema or a food place my beverage will be of the zero persuasion. Trust me, go zero, the scales will reveal why.

Zero per cent non alcoholic beer is my second go-to zero beverage. Heineken do a great one, and it’s got me through my booze free journey.

Tip 7: The scales don’t lie

The first thing I do every morning is weigh myself. If it’s good or bad; this will determine what I eat that day. It’s a great daily reminder to keep on track and when it’s good you get a real sense of reward from putting in the effort. Of course when it’s not so good that can be a motivation to do more also!

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Tip 8: What killed the dinosaurs? THE ICE AGE!!!

Terrible batman film quotes aside, if you have a freezer use it. Frozen vegetables and meat/meat free meat add to the already well stocked fridge you should be prepared to have in order to gain a depth of ingredients. The quality is so much better these days also.

Tip 9: Don’t expect quick results… and it’s okay to cheat sometimes..

It takes time and effort to lose weight healthily and effectively. Our bodies are designed to regulate our current conditions. Eventually our metabolism changes as we burn away fat and eventually that metabolic rate of burning stuff will speed up. The best way to notice is via the scales because we can’t visually see our own weight loss particularly well. Keep a record of it somewhere and look back to track progress.

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This leads into the fact that as humans we will indulge at some point. We have to so we can stay happy. Indulge every now and then but don’t take it too far. Order that Friday night pizza but make it a thin base. When I have my cheat days I look on the scales the very next day and see a number I like because my body burns it at a quicker rate now. Loosing fat will mean new fat burns quicker.

Conclusion:

Moderation is the key word to dieting. Vegetarian and vegan stuff is getting better and better these days and I am more prone to choosing it. There are also environmental factors that all of us need to take into regard. Starvation isn’t the answer and neither is dropping a particular food group you regularly eat. Some people will pursue the no carbs route to just give up a few paces down the track. They say variety is the spice of life and when it comes to dieting, give yourself options!

Of course all of this stuff works for me but is there anything that works for you? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ramble #41

I turn 30 this weekend and I’m okay with it, mostly. It’s been a ride and I’m looking forward to being taken more seriously; that’s the impression I get with age, experience. It’s kind of strange when you turn around and take a moment to think how much road has passed underneath your feet. Looking back, I don’t regret much, everyone has few steep or sharp learning curves but I have a lot of pride in the things I’ve achieved. 

We don’t stop learning or evolving and those two things alone are probably what keeps anyone driven along with persistence. All of the results I have got took time and a lot of work. Nothing in this world worth having comes unless you roll up your sleeves and do the work. 

4 books, 3 stage plays and possibly a short film is a pretty decent repertoire for someone just starting to get old. Jack Thorn – my dream story is shaping up well and if you tune in to my Instagram stories I recently discussed what exactly Jack Thorn is. Instead of studying as a 15 year old impressionable lad; I was writing ‘JT’ – now I’ve got more published works than qualifications for the exams I was studying for and more importantly, writing experience which you can only get from churning out stories. Guess it worked out but stay in school kids…

I can’t go without mentioning the recent success of this blog considering yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of the opening of the Hall of information. The numbers have never been higher, the follows are flowing in from all angles and I’m producing content like a motherfu**er. This time last year I set out to get more than a handful of views by changing the way I do things. How did I do that? I changed my philosophy and did 2 things.

  1. Interaction – don’t be an island and say ‘buy my book’ all the time.  
  2. Started reviewing indie books/regular persistent blogging

Eventually I picked up the attention of some great people along with the already established 4 year following I had, things started to move. In order to succeed with creating content you have to convince people that the content is needed. People need book reviews because they want to know about the product- everything else followed. The numbers speak for themselves and so it’s simple, if I can do it, so can you!

 

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Dirty Lawyers (A Night Audit Series Book 5) by Bruce Knapp – Review

Fun gross out comedy…

Dirty Lawyers is the gross out comedy of the ‘Night Audit’ Series. Here we see Zach move into a new place while also finally pursuing his schooling. There’s a hint of 90’s nostalgia in this story and paired with new room mate Jake they host a party in their new apartment which ends with mixing drinks, truth or dare and then an embarrassing attempt in courting the impossibly out of reach Ashley for Zach; all of which is slightly cringe worthy but also fun.

Back at the hotel a group of Lawyers have taken up residency in true ‘animal house’ form making Zach’s hangover ten times worse as these ‘lawyers’ appear to take over. This of course results in more cringe and laugh moments which all ends with an even funnier twist.

4 Stars 

Guys’ Night Out (A Night Audit Series Book 3) by Bruce Knapp – Review

A hilarious account of one drunken night out…

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We all think we have good ideas and they seem even better when you add alcohol. In this story we see Zach away from the workplace and out on the town with Randy and Jake. That is without letting on to their colleague Wade who appears to be somewhat of a drip so inviting him is out of the question. What ensues is the typical ‘guys night’ that the title suggests, from chugging beers to a friend going missing to even getting thrown out of one place.

Eventually all roads for Zach lead back to the hotel he works at and Wade. What follows is the drunken idea of initiating him with hilarious results which at the very end of the book have dangerous consequences leaving this story finishing on a cliffhanger.

5 stars