TV Tuesday: A Review of Motive

TV Tuesday: A Review of Motive

posted in: Entertainment, Television | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy Election Day! Have you voted yet? Arizona is an early voting state, so we sent in our ballots about two weeks ago. If you already voted, you’re awesome! If not, please remember to VOTE!

Another benefit of living in Arizona is that we do not participate in the brutal institution known as Daylight Savings Time. So we wish all of you who live in affected areas: Congratulations, you made it to Tuesday! Al lived in Virginia for a couple of years where she had to adapt to the strange tradition after a lifetime of DST-free living. It took an entire week to recalibrate and it always felt like the LONGEST week ever. Now all we have to worry about is adjusting to the new times that our tv shows come on, a much better situation.
motive canadian television vancouver
This week, we wanted to discuss Motive. Motive is a Canadian show that aired in the US on ABC for two seasons and then on USA for two seasons. It starred Kristin Lehman as Detective Angie Flynn and Louis Ferrera as Detective/Staff Sergeant Oscar Vega. It also starred Lauren Holly as Dr. Betty Rogers, the medical examiner, who we loved in Picket Fences and NCIS. RIP Director Jenny Shepard.


The final season of Motive ended this fall. We are very disappointed to see it go. We love a good murder mystery and this show was quite different from others. Every episode started off with a scene showing us who the victim was, followed by a scene showing the killer. Then they jumped to real time, after the murder had been committed. This style of mystery storytelling is called an inverted detective story or howcatchem. Columbo, another great detective show, followed a similar format.

Since most current police dramas are done in the whodunit style, Motive was exciting. You might think that finding out the identities of the victim and murderer at the beginning would ruin the show. However, it actually made the show more exciting because the writers would always put in a surprise that you totally weren’t expecting. You could be sitting there watching, thinking you know the connection between the victim and murderer but then there was a twist to the relationship that was completely unexpected.

We will miss this show and the characters. Kristin Lehman was fantastic as the lead detective. She always had excellent one liners to play off the rest of the cast. The relationship between Angie Flynn and Oscar Vega was an excellent example of friendship goals.

The other great part of this show was the location. Motive was filmed in Vancouver, Canada and it looks like a majestic city.

Vancouver, Canada

We hope to visit someday! Have you every watched Motive? What did you think of the show?

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Zodiac Gift Guide: Scorpio

Zodiac Gift Guide: Scorpio

posted in: Gift Ideas, Home and Garden | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Looking for a gift for the Scorpio in your life? Here is a couple of gift ideas for you. Scorpios are born between October 23 and November 21.

scorpio-gift-guide-2

Scorpios are an intense and mysterious group which makes the scorpion the perfect animal to represent them.

Fossil Women’s Cateye Sunglasses

Scorpios love to be incognito so a classic pair of sunglasses can help them keep a low profile.

IL Caldo Black Sun Hat

A wide brim, black hat can also appeal to mysterious side of the Scorpio woman in your life.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

A great mystery thriller is prime reading for Scorpios. They love digging into a good who-dun-it and aren’t afraid of the darker side of life.

The Rider Tarot Deck

Many Scorpios are interested in the metaphysical and a tarot deck may help them explore tarotology.

The Power of Myth

Scorpios love learning new things, an interesting documentary by a world renowned mythologist may pique their interest.

Armani Genuine Leather Wallet

Scorpios love quality items and a fine leather wallet for your Scorpio man appeals to his masculinity.

Calvin Klein Moto Jacket

A fine leather jacket like this is an excellent choice for a Scorpio man or woman. Not only is it sleek, but it will last her a lifetime due to its high quality.

T Tahari Tulia Dress

A simple black dress is an excellent choice for the Scorpio woman in your life: elegant, classy, and slightly enigmatic.

Luminarc Nuance 10.5-Ounce Goblet

A nice set of wine glasses would be great for the wine-loving Scorpio. Pair with a nice Pinot Noir, because like Scorpio, it is known for its “dark and intense flavoring.” Get more zodiac-wine pairings at Spoon University here.

Spy Gear – Micro Spy Kit

For the little Scorpio, a spy kit is a perfect gift for them to be a sleuth and solve mysteries. We hope you enjoyed this gift guide! Next month, we’ll be back with Sagittarius gift ideas (Mac’s sign!).

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Friday Reads: Inferno

Friday Reads: Inferno

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Friday Reads post is about Inferno by Dan Brown. We are big fans of Dan Brown, we have read all his books including his first two, which are lesser known, Digital Fortress and Deception Point. Inferno is the fourth book that follows Dr. Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconology and symbology, and was preceded by Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol.

Inferno was first published in 2013 and we bought it immediately. The paperback edition came out in May 2014 at which time Dan Brown gave an enlightening interview with CBS This Morning, which you can watch below. From it we learned that Brown’s father was a math teacher, textbook author, and was known to write codes to lead his children on a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning. Brown’s mother was a very religious woman who was also the church’s choir director. This explains so much about Dan Brown’s writing.

 
In Inferno, we are once again taken to a world that is dark and mysterious. It starts with a Prologue told from first person; we are to assume that this is the villain speaking, as is the pattern with Robert Langdon novels. Next, we meet a confused Robert Langdon, sifting through fuzzy memories and scenes that do not make sense to him. He finally realizes that he is the hospital, but has no memory of how he got there.

In usual Dan Brown style, Inferno starts with action and keeps it coming through the whole novel. We are taken on a wild journey through Florence and we also get a history lesson, another Robert Langdon novel standard. In Inferno, Robert Langdon and Dr. Sienna Brooks, his female sidekick in this book, must decipher a modified painting of Botticelli’s Map of Hell. The painting was based on the first part of Dante’s epic poem Divine Comedy, Inferno.

The pair collect clues along the way as to why Robert Langdon is in Florence and why he has no short-term memory. We also continue the adventure of what the modified painting and Inferno have to do with each other. In the end, Robert Langdon must solve the clues and save the world. As with the other Robert Langdon books, Inferno is very long (480 pages for the hardback edition), but with all the action and suspense it really doesn’t feel like it.


One of the reasons we chose Inferno for our Friday Reads post was that today is the American premiere of the movie version of the book. In the movie, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon. He is definitely the perfect actor to play him in our opinion. Tom Hanks is probably one of our Top 5 favorite actors. In fact, we just talked about another of his movies in Tuesday’s postA League of Their Own. We have seen all of the Robert Langdon movie adaptations and we hope to see this movie soon. Here is the trailer, if you haven’t seen it yet.


Happy Friday and have an awesome weekend!

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Friday Reads: “The Silkworm” is a Sophomore Success for Robert Galbraith

Friday Reads: “The Silkworm” is a Sophomore Success for Robert Galbraith

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, British, Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I moved onto Robert Galbraith’s sophomore mystery, The Silkworm. It is set in the land of UK book publishing, with agents, editors, authors, and publishers as suspects. The book is a bit gruesome at times. It does feel as though Galbraith is keen to shock readers, for the mere sake of shock value at times. This may rub some readers the wrong way.

Read my review of The Cuckoo’s Calling here.

However, the ending was quite good, just like with The Cuckoo’s Calling. One maddening thing that Galbraith does is have Cormoran tell Robin, his assistant, who the villain is without telling us. That really kept the suspense going! WHO DID IT!!!??? This little move made the ending a real page turner.

The book is over 400 pages, but I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Robert Glenister, so it didn’t seem very long. The characters are interesting and everyone looks suspicious. But more importantly, we learn more about the backstory of both Cormoran and Robin, which I believe is the real reason why readers enjoy any series of books – to get to know the characters in depth and become “friends” with them.

The Silkworm Review

As I was reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I was comparing the text to Harry Potter. Last month, I wrote a post titled, Good, Evil, and J.K. Rowling, Post-Harry Potter, in which I tried to understand how/why Rowling’s mystery series has so much more evil in it than Harry Potter.

As I was reading The Silkworm, I started wondering more about Rowling as the author of Harry Potter compared to Rowling as the author of the Cormoran Strike series. It was strange to ponder how much of J.K. Rowling’s true sentiments about the publishing world are in this book. She is one of the biggest success stories in publishing history, and even she views the publishing world as dark and sinister?

Also, a big theme of The Silkworm is gender and gender-identity. It’s very current to our times, and I suppose it’s not really a topic that she could examine in such depth in the setting of a Harry Potter book. She also discusses things like Google Maps and indie-publishing. I was like, wait, J.K. Rowling uses Google Maps?

She’s the Queen of Harry Potter; she could be doing anything – living in a castle (wait does she live in a castle?), or entering a partnership with Jeff Bezos to try and make magic real, or perhaps the most obvious choice, writing a dozen more Harry Potter books. Instead she’s writing about gruesome murders! Say what?


I needed some answers, so I turned to YouTube. In a 2014 interview with Val McDermid, Rowling talked about her lifelong passion for who-dun-its, and shared that she actually viewed Harry Potter as a sort of mystery. Indeed, p-p-p-poor st-st-st-stuttering P-P-Professor Quirrell was an unexpected suspect/villain in The Sorcerer’s Stone. The interview was interesting to listen to and in it, she mentions how she picked her pen name.

Overall, the answer that I arrived at of “Who is the real J.K. Rowling” was thus: J.K. Rowling is just herself. She is not some fairy godmother living in the clouds. She’s a real human and an interesting one, at that. I’m happy that she made the brave decision to write mysteries, because if she had not, I would have not dared to read such grisly stories. There is something about facing one’s fears that really boosts the confidence. While I had previously enjoyed mysteries on television, I was not a fan of mystery novels. Now I am and it’s all because of Galbraith.

I did notice some Harry Potter connections in this book. First, there is a reference to Emma Watson, who is depicted on the cover of Vogue magazine. Also, Cormoran’s name is revealed to mean “Cornish Giant” and that seems to be a nod to Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper. Hagrid is part giant and has a Cornish accent. Cormoran is quite big and hairy like Hagrid, but the private detective is not a softy like the wizard with the pink umbrella wand. Others have drawn a comparison to Mad-Eye Moody, in terms of Cormoran’s temperament, and I quite agree.

Have you read the Cormoran Strike series? What do you make of it?

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The Lincoln Lawyer: A Connelly Classic Despite a Rough Start

The Lincoln Lawyer: A Connelly Classic Despite a Rough Start

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The Lincoln Lawyer is the 16th book of Michael Connelly’s and is the first in the Lincoln Lawyer Series. The main character is Mickey Haller, a defense attorney in Los Angeles who works out of his car, a Lincoln, hence the name of the book.

Mickey is doing fairly well defending drug dealers, prostitutes and motorcycle gang members. One day, he gets a call to defend a man accused of attempting to rape and kill a prostitute. The defendant claims he is innocent, and thus we begin the journey of Mickey trying to defend his new client and get an acquittal.

The Lincoln Lawyer Review

Skeptical at First

This book was difficult for me to read for a couple reasons. My first and biggest reason for not immediately liking this book is that the defendant is not a likeable guy. From the beginning, you are very suspicious of him. He doesn’t seem trustworthy.

The second reason I had a hard time with this book is that in the beginning, the storytelling is very choppy and we are introduced to a lot of characters. Now, maybe I would have been able to keep track of who was who if I didn’t read it before going to sleep, but I’m not so sure. There are a lot of names and it became confusing.

Eventual Redemption

I won’t spoil the ending, but for all my dislike of the first three-quarters of this book, in the end, I actually liked the Lincoln Lawyer. The ending was satisfying and brought all of the characters that Michael Connelly introduced along the way together.

This book was made into a movie in 2011 starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller and Ryan Phillippe as the defendant. I didn’t see the movie before reading, so I didn’t have any spoilers while reading the book. This fact made the ending all the better.

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The Tunnel Series 1 Review: Grim UK-France Crossover with a Quality Detective Partnership

The Tunnel Series 1 Review: Grim UK-France Crossover with a Quality Detective Partnership

posted in: Entertainment, Television | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

The Tunnel recently wrapped up on our local PBS station. The following is our reveiw; it has some slight spoilers, but nothing major. It should be just enough to give you a basic flavor for the 10 episode series.

The show starts at the midpoint of the Chunnel (aka The Channel Tunnel) where a body is found half on the UK side and half on the French side. The Tunnel is based upon the Swedish-Danish show Bron/Broen. There was also an American-Mexican version that we had not previously heard of called The Bridge. All three series start with this premise.

Clemence Poesy is transformed from enchanting part-Veela Fleur Delacour of Harry Potter fame to Elise Wassermann, a cold, cerebral French cop with a hint of Rain Man about her. This was our first meeting with Stephen Dillane who plays Poesy’s English counterpart, Karl Roebuck. Dillane too has a Harry Potter connection, with his son, Frank, playing Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Roebuck’s wife, Laura, is played by Angel Coulby who we know and love as Guinevere from Merlin!


The antagonist of the series is a vigilante who torments citizens of both countries with violence supposedly justified as an attempt to illustrate the inequality of society. At first, the murders seem political, impersonal, and even pseudo-altruistic, but as the series progresses, the killer’s motive is revealed to have a much more personal origin.

While The Tunnel has some rather grim and depressing moments, its redeeming factor is the relationship between the easygoing, sociable Roebuck and the reserved, occasionally haughty Wassermann. By the end of the series, these two main characters are no longer such simple cutouts, but complex emotional creatures, fragility exposed and tragedy overcome. We look forward to the second series.

the tunnel

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The Cuckoo’s Calling: A Classic British Mystery with an Expert Ending

The Cuckoo’s Calling: A Classic British Mystery with an Expert Ending

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This is a review of the audiobook version of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, read by Robert Glenister.

Set among many rich, shiny people, as well as some grubby underlings who aspire to fame and wealth, The Cuckoo’s Calling centers around a private detective named Cormoran Strike. Strike is the illegitimate son of a rock star and a “super groupie.” He took up his gig as a private sleuth after part of his leg was destroyed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan where he was serving in the SIB (the British military police).

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a classic mystery. Consistent with the genre, it is not a particularly happy book, considering it’s dealing primarily with crime and death. (The main exception would be the “cozy mystery” which can tend to be quite cheerful, e.g. Father Brown, Miss Marple, or Grantchester. So, if you are looking for a light-hearted sunny read, consider those alternatives.) The ending is quite good with an unexpected surprise, which accounts for a lot when it comes to mysteries.

There is plenty of profanity throughout The Cuckoo’s Calling. If reading the physical book, this can easily be skimmed over but when listening to the audiobook, it can sometimes feel like a verbal assault. But beyond that, the characters are well drawn and the plot kept me guessing throughout, as you would expect from a seasoned author like Rowling.

I am nearly a third of the way through the second book in the series: The Silkworm. As soon as I finish, I will post a review. The Silkworm is set in the world of agents and publishers, including some “indie authors.” So far I am enjoying it quite a bit more than The Cuckoo’s Calling, but will wait until the end to say anymore.

In the coming days, we will be writing a couple more posts related to Cuckoo’s Calling, including how J.K. Rowling explores human nature in her writing, as well as the narration style of Robert Glenister.


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Connelly’s ‘Black Echo’: A Gateway to Gritty LA (Book Review)

Connelly’s ‘Black Echo’: A Gateway to Gritty LA (Book Review)

posted in: Book Reviews, Our Work, Writing | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

I was introduced to Michael Connelly and his main character, Harry Bosch, by my parents. They had seen Michael Connelly’s books for years at local bookstores, but only after seeing Connelly playing poker on an episode of Castle did they finally purchase their first Bosch book: Angel’s Flight (Bosch Book #6). This was a driving factor in our first Woof Trekking stop at Angel’s Flight. They have been hooked ever since and now I am too. We own all 18 of the Harry Bosch novels.


Black Echo is the first in the series and is the first that I read. It was originally published in 1992 and won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award that same year.
Black Echo by Michael Connelly Book Review
In Black Echo, we are introduced to Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, a detective in the LAPD. Bosch is a Vietnam veteran who worked clearing the tunnels of the Viet Cong, a so called “tunnel rat.” He has worked his way up through the ranks to detective in the elite Robbery-Homicide division until a bad shoot gets him demoted to the Hollywood division and assigned to be partners with Jerry Edgar.

Bosch is called out to a crime scene where the body of a fellow “tunnel rat” has been found. As Bosch and Edgar investigate, they discover their body leads to an unsolved bank robbery. This induces Bosch to call on the FBI for information. Special Agent Eleanor Wish is assigned to assist the LAPD in their investigation. As the investigation continues, the case becomes more and more dangerous. Bosch must follow his instincts and re-enter the tunnels under the city of Los Angeles to find out who murdered the tunnel rat.


Overall, this novel was very well written and I can see why it won an award. The book kept me guessing as to what was actually going on up until the end. The first couple of chapters are a bit difficult to get through but once you get to Chapter Four, you are rewarded. The action starts to pick up and you are sucked in. You want to keep reading and reading to find what is going to happen next.

The Bosch series was recently adapted to be a superb web television series, created by Amazon, starring Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch. We were skeptical at first if Welliver could really play Harry, but after watching both seasons, we are convinced. Each season is based on a couple of novels. The upcoming third season will be based off of this novel and A Darkness More Than Night. You can hear it from Michael Connelly himself in this video from his YouTube channel.

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #1: Angels Flight, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #1: Angels Flight, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Los Angeles was our very first stop on our very first Woof Trek. On our second day there, we drove around the downtown area and found a parking spot in the shade of the towering skyscrapers. We were on a mission to see Angels Flight.

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twitter angels flight

Angels Flight is a funicular railway that runs up and down Bunker Hill. It originally opened in 1901, then closed in 1969, and reopened in 1996. Another fun detail is that the cars are named: Olivet and Sinai.

angels flight - 8

As we sat down to write this article, we discovered that Angels Flight closed in July 2013, due to apparent safety issues. What’s more is that the green space around Angels Flight, aka Angels Knoll, has also been closed according to this LA Times article. The park was featured in the movie (500) Days of Summer (Source).

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We first heard about Angels Flight from one of our favorite mystery authors, Michael Connelly. The 6th Harry Bosch novel is titled Angels Flight and is an excellent book that we highly recommend for fans of the mystery genre and of Los Angeles.


Angels Flight (A Harry Bosch Novel)

We hopped on at the bottom and prepared ourselves for an excellent adventure!

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The view from the top. Not a particularly long ride, but fun none the less!

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Here is an official ticket stub that we received once we exited the little train.

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Here you can see the ticket booth at the top of the hill.

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Another beauty shot of the tangerine titans.

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We had a great time going up on Angels Flight. The dogs did not ride with us, as it seemed unlikely that that would be allowed. We realize that this article is not very “Woof,” so we found a couple other articles to compensate:

‘Table for two. One of us will sit on the floor.’ Pet-friendly L.A. restaurants
We particularly like the sound of #3, Lazy Dog restaurant and bars with its dog friendly meal options.

13 Things Your Dog Really Wants To Do With You in Los Angeles
Our favorite from this list is #7, the BowWow Workout, with its human + dog workouts! Check out the video below!

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