My Review of Choosing Hope

5 Mind Blowing Stars!

Choosing Hope is very well written. The characters and situations felt very real. At first, I thought this was just another romance novel; Insta-love, timid female, alpha male, happy ever after (eye roll), but it turned out to be very unexpected.

The author kept me guessing and made me identify with the characters even though I have never been in their situation.

Hope’s marriage looked great on paper. Her husband provided for her and their two boys. They lived in a big house, took fancy vacations, drove nice cars and seemingly wanted for nothing. But something was lacking between them.

Here we have two broken adults. Conversation and intimacy damaged beyond repair but the glue holding them are their two kids. At times it felt that there was hope for the relationship, but in walked Adrian— Hope’s high school sweetheart.

Adrian appeared perfect! He promised to give Hope everything she couldn’t get in her marriage, but Adrian had a secret that slowly bubbled to the surface.

This is not your average romance novel folks, it is a story about strength and finding the courage to move on after your life plans get shot straight to hell!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Continue reading

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Review of Riverdale, the first three episodes

Growing up my sister and I were avid, no rabid fans of Archie comics. I think at one point I wished I lived in Riverdale so that I could hang with Betty, Veronica, and the bunch. Maybe that’s why I based The Family Portrait Series mostly around the teenagers — God knows the adults have enough drama to warrant a series of their own, but we’ll leave that there.

When The CW announced that they were doing dramatic series based on the characters from the comic book my sister and I were a little horrified, especially since they had no previews to show us or they kept it under wraps for as long as they could.

Finally, Riverdale premiered on January 26, 2017. Granted I missed the premiere because I forgot, had other things to do, and don’t like watching television in real time anymore. Nowadays missing a premier is no big deal because you can always catch it digitally (if digital technology was a person, I’d marry it). Anyhow, I was able to give the show my standard three episode test.

Here is the synopsis from IMDB.com:

A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness, and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.

Not much right? A bit vague.

The show’s Wiki page was no better. Oh well, on to my take… Continue reading

Review: That Was Then, This Is Now

I was given a digital copy of That Was Then, This Is Now in exchange for an honest review.

This book came to me at exactly the right time. If you are like me and looking for meaning or some kind of light at the end of your tunnel of darkness, give this book a read.

Ms. Harper pulled out the right passage from the bible that goes with the trouble she was facing at the time. Her issues and mine were completely different yet the passages spoke to me.

In That Was Then, This Is Now, Ms. Harper told about the hardship she went through and how through prayer and faith she got through her tunnel of darkness and emerged stronger than she ever was.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what is your vocation, we all go through hardships and wonder “Why me?” The answer to that is that God has a plan for every individual’s life and even though we can’t see the next step in front of us, we press forward and when we get through the tunnel and look back we are able to see the entire picture. This gives me hope in my life and Ms. Harper reminded me of that.

This book is very well written and structured, I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to deal with the hardships in their life. You are not alone and there is a way through it.

This book reminds you that every trouble has a season, and when that season passes you will enjoy the rewards. Continue reading

My thoughts on Home Chef Food Delivery Service

I’ve tried Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and now Home Chef. If you missed my thoughts on Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, you can view it here.

Hello Fresh won out Blue Apron for me, but I was looking for something more. I wanted to incorporate more veggies into my diet. An ideal mix for me would be more veggies and seafood and much less meat.

With Hello Fresh you either got all veggies or all meat and seafood. I didn’t like their choice of veggie meals; most were sandwiches at the time I was looking (keep in mind they change their recipes all the time).

Enter Home Chef. I checked out their menu for the month. I was highly impressed with the selections. You could mix and match which sold me, so I signed up for the special (they always offer a special to get you started).

First off Fedex dropped my box straight to my door! The others usually leave the heavy box at the office, and I go get it when the office remember to call me or leave a note.

The box was much smaller than the others and I got worried. It was in excellent condition though.

When I opened the box, the first thing that greeted me was the menu binder. That simply warmed my heart, it was so thoughtful of them to take the time to put together something like that. Continue reading

Review King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

About King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from the stone, Arthur embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader. 

(Source: Google)

The Cast

Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Aiden Gillen

My Review

I can usually tell if I would like a movie from the opening scene. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword had me from the jump. Okay granted I only became interested in it because Charlie Hunnam was the lead. With that said, I did not see The Lost City of Z nor do I intend to unless it comes on Netflix (maybe).

I felt that the story was really well told, the characters were interesting and easy to care about. It was a story that had a lot of heart.

Jude Law’s Vortigern was an excellent bad guy! He had all the qualities; devilishly handsome, witty and power-hungry.

Charlie Hunnam’s King Arthur was cunning, likable and funny. Who knew! He was cheeky but that played well considering that the movie did not take itself too seriously. I mean come on, they were wearing beanies, and Vortigern was seriously styling in a white button-down soft shirt and black slacks. Those tiny details could have taken me out of the time period but it didn’t.

The graphics felt kind of like a video game, my sister thought, and I’d have to agree.

I usually don’t get into mythological stories because they tend to lag on and I get bored or I don’t know what the hell is going on. But the storytelling in King Arthur was pretty good.

What really got me was the ending sequence when Arthur comes face-to-face with his demon (Uncle Vortigern).

SPOILER ALERT!

Stop now if you do not want to know. Continue reading

Inspiration can be found in the strangest places

Inspiration can be found in the strangest places, in this case it came to me within the pages of The Red Bulletin magazine.

For about a year I’ve been getting this magazine called The Red Bulletin from the makers of Red Bull. The magazine consists of people who live extreme lives; their sports are extreme and so is their partying. The magazine also features down-to-earth interviews with up and coming artists (actors, singers, painters, inventors, etc).

At first I didn’t think much of the magazine because all I saw were revelers who partied for three days straight in Ibiza. Recently I took another look, a more in-depth look. I found it to be very inspirational. The writers just seem to know the right questions to ask whomever they are interviewing to get the most honest answers. That right there is a talent that few of us possess.

Red Bulletin RzaIn the March 2016 edition, Rza from the Wu Tang Clan was interviewed. He talked about setting aside egos to accomplish his task and about finding his inner peace. I never would have guessed. I never would have guessed that he was the type who seeks solitude. The interview showed me a different side to Rza, it made me feel connected, like we had something in common. For the first time I saw this celebrity as a real person. That’s the element that I find lacking in typical Hollywood interviews.

Whether the interview is with extreme sportsmen or women, or daredevils who refuse to conform to society, the magazine shows that these people all have a very real, identifiable quality to them. They have the same fears and insecurities like you and me, but the difference is, they don’t let it stop them. A matter of fact they use it to propel them forward and expand their comfort zone.

One prominent theme in The Red Bulletin is that it brings the world together. They feature people from the back country of Greenland to the Caribbean. Being an international, I really appreciate that. I’ve always felt that the world is one place and we are one people.

Society tends to highlight the differences between us. When you think about it, countries are separated by water—an act of nature, but walls are built by man to protect and rule over what isn’t even his. The Red Bulletin bridges that gap by introducing its readers to the lives of these extraordinary people. Continue reading

Review of Lucifer

The Premise of Lucifer

Based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, this series follows Lucifer, the original fallen angel, who has become dissatisfied with his life in hell.

After abandoning his throne and retiring to Los Angeles, Lucifer indulges in his favorite things (women, wine and song – eh shouldn’t that be sex?) — until a murder takes place outside of his upscale nightclub.

For the first time in billions of years, the murder awakens something unfamiliar in Lucifer’s soul that is eerily similar to compassion and sympathy. Lucifer is faced with another surprise when he meets an intriguing homicide detective named Chloe, who appears to possess an inherent goodness — unlike the worst of humanity, to which he is accustomed. Suddenly, Lucifer starts to wonder if there is hope for his soul.

My Review

Tom EllisI didn’t get to see the first episode when it aired, so I had to watch it several weeks later on my Roku (love that thing). I was hooked on Tom Ellis’s charm, the devil is British!?! Something about bad guys with British accents makes them so hot. But then again Lucifer is not bad, actually he’s not bad at all, no really—considering he’s supposed to be the devil and all.

Here’s what I loved

Lucifer’s humor! He gets the best lines! See the trailer. The first time I caught a bit of Lucifer, I had the TV on but not really paying attention, the scene was Lucifer’s brother, Amenadeil comes to earth to find him and take him back to hell. He appears in Lucifer’s bedroom and wakes him from slumber, of course Lucifer has two other people in bed with him, (obviously somebody had a decadent night). His brother, the angel, is disgusted and Lucifer says casually, “It’s called the devil’s threesome for a reason,” (I may have paraphrased, but he did mention the devil’s threesome), from then on, I was curious about this charmer.

Here’s what I don’t like

Continue reading

The Ranch – A Netflix Production

You’all know Netflix is king for me for discovering new shows, cable shows (I don’t have cable), or movies I missed. As you may know Netflix also produces their own shows: Daredevil, Fuller House, Orange is the New Black etc.

“Orange” was my first introduction to Netflix original programming. For the most part, to me they are okay. I liked Orange but lost interest in season 3. I do like giving the original programming a chance, but most of them are forgettable.

Netflix sent me an email about their newest production The Ranch. I read the synopsis and felt it was interesting so I gave it a shot. I started on Friday night with the intention of watching the pilot and two episodes (I usually give a new show 3 episodes to see if I like it or not). The poster looked interesting, I saw a hot guy, not realizing it was Ashton Kutcher (no offense to Kutcher) but I thought it was eye candy I’d never seen before.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Kutcher’s old pal Danny Masterson playing his brother. From the start they had good timing and chemistry. Their father, played by Sam Elliott to me was dull and unlikable. He is so unlikable that Debra Winger, who plays his wife and mother to the boys can’t even stand to live in the same house with him. Who could blame her? Continue reading

How The Walking Dead Parallels Life

As a writer it is hard to keep up with tv shows and have time to write, do book promos, and manage my career along with everything else non book related. This is where Netflix comes in, since I don’t have cable, I catch up with shows I would not normally be able to see. That’s how I was introduced to Bates Motel and American Horror Story, not to mention my obsession with Sons of Anarchy. My latest binge worthy show is The Walking Dead.

Now, a show about zombies or the zombie apocalypse really didn’t interest me no matter how many people raved about it. A few Saturdays ago I decided to give it a try and I haven’t stopped watching it. It’s like I’ve been infected by the zombie virus and the side effect is finding out what happens next.

I usually can tell if a show is worth my time by the pilot plus three episodes in.

The scene that really struck me was when the hero of the story was critically wounded in a shootout with the bad guys. To the outside world, he is unresponsive and seemingly in a coma. On the inside, he is in and out of awareness.

He hears and sees in his mind’s eye, when his best friend/buddy cop brought him flowers and talked about how the department pitched in to get him a nice vase.

Our hero slowly comes back to reality and cracks some wise-ass comment to his friend, who he thinks is in the room. He hollers out to him thinking he is in the toilet but there is no answer.

He manages to turn his head and sees the flowers have withered and died. He tries to get out of bed and falls, calls the nurse but there is no answer. He makes it to the door and sees that the whole place have gone to hell in a handbag.

Bodies, blood and gore everywhere. He is the only living thing, the zombie apocalypse has hit. Seriously, imagine going to sleep and waking up to that. It was beautifully executed on screen and pulled me into the world of our hero, which made me want to know more.

All I can say is, thank heavens for Netflix, I don’t have to wait the next week for another episode. As the show progresses the drama intensifies, infecting me with it’s zombie venom, causing me to stay up much later than I should to see what happens next. Continue reading

My Review of Delirium by J.F. Penn

Delirium book cover

Cover from JFPenn.com

Synopsis

“Those who the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

LONDON. When a prominent psychiatrist is found murdered in the old hospital of Bedlam, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke finds herself investigating the history of madness to fathom the motive. Blake Daniel, a reluctant psychic, helps her to research the case, only to discover that his own family are entwined with the shadowy forces that seek to control the minds of the mad.

As the body count rises, and those she loves are threatened, Jamie discovers that the tendrils of conspiracy wind themselves into the very heart of the British government. Can she stop the killer before madness takes its ultimate revenge?

A thriller with an edge of the supernatural, Delirium is a story of love for family, revenge for injustice and the question of whether we all sit on the spectrum of madness somewhere.

My Review

J.F. Penn’s Delirium is like Nancy Drew on acid. J.F. delivers a sensory overload on this one, by that I mean the way she describes everything from the oil slick on the street to the smell of rotted bodies, really takes the reader to that place in the story. At times I felt like there was too much information that didn’t really move the scenes forward but other times they worked really well. These books are not for the faint of heart, if you really get engaged in a book to where you smell and see the locations you’re in for a treat.

I would have loved to learn more about Blake Daniel, I loved his character from the first novel in the series, Desecration. We got a little teaser about him when we found out that his estranged father was dying and he returned home. We even met his mother, but all of that was glazed over.

Blake has special powers that allows him to see the history of an object by holding on to it. Neat right? Not so much if you’re Blake, some of the things that he sees are absolutely horrendous! One scene that stuck out in my mind was of him seeing demons opening his dying father’s skull and eating his brain. Blake finds his father’s grimoire, and of course I wanted to know more, but Blake was kidnapped and that was kind of the end of that.

I would have liked to see more interaction between Blake and Jamie, they have such awesome similarities; they are both such broken characters and it left me yearning for them to turn to each other. Their paths crossed when Jamie asked him to help her on a case she was working on (Jamie is a detective), but Blake declined because he was dealing with facing his dying father who treated him like a demon seed all his life. By the way, his father was a man of the cloth. Jamie and Blake meet again towards the end. I’m not going to say more on that because I don’t want to give away anything. I would have prefered to read more about Blake than the politician. I love the way it ended, it had me shouting “you go girl!” about Jamie’s character’s making the decision to make her own destiny.

Overall I enjoyed this story but it didn’t connect for me like Desecration. Thank goodness I bought the next book in the series, Deviance I started reading it right away. It is the final book in the trilogy and I can’t wait to see where J.F. takes it.

One of the things I really love about J.F.’s novels are the research that she puts into it to make sure everything is accurate. At the back of the book she shares her experiences and I really appreciate that. Thank you J.F. for reminding us that we all have a little “crazy” in us and that is quite normal.

Purchase Delirium on Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

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