Deadly Delusion aka The Lease: LifetimeTV Movie Review

Deadly Delusion (aka The Lease) sees Julia, who had a good childhood until the murder of her parents, on, what seems, a spiral downfall in her adult life. When her boyfriend gets a well paying executive job at a movie studio, she and he lease a house in upscale Los Angeles. Julia and her boyfriend Shane hopes the movie to a new place will help Julie with her issues, mainly her delusions of someone always after her.

amazon ID: jabberjaw-20 / courtesy of Lifetime Television

NEW TOWN, PROMOTION AND DR. LEARY

Julia (Haylie Duff, The Bachelor Next Door, Bad Twin, His Secret Family) has been suffering nightmare, both in sleep and waking hours, of someone after her. When she tries to tell her boyfriend Shane (Mike Faiola, Psycho In-Law, Awkward TV series, Bones TV series) he thinks she has delusions for the person she claims is after her can never be found. Shane has been supporting Julia with her delusions while Julia is seeing a mental doctor named Dr. Leary (played by Teri Polo, The Fosters TV series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).

Shane is able to obtain a nice house in upscale Los Angels through his boss while getting a promotion at work as an executive at a movie studio, as already mentioned. This house is in a new city for Julia, in which Shane hopes will allow her to focus on her job as a fashion photographer while giving her a new place to help with her recovery. Her doctor is just a video conference away, which Shane insists she contacts when she’s feeling a bit off.

DIFFERENT PLACE, SAME DELUSIONS

The delusions, or illusions, Julia has of someone after her don’t slow down, but rather, seem to be getting worse. She constantly in video conferences with Dr. Leary and calling her husband at work throughout the day. The illusions aren’t just of people after her, but of snakes in her bathroom and noises, she hears in the house.

Shane, being the ever loving boyfriend, tries to assure Julia that there isn’t anything going on. When she tells him someone is in the house, he checks to find no one there. When Julia feels they are being watched, he proves to her that that’s not true either, even when she begins pulling the Network cable from the ceiling claiming it’s a cable to a hidden video camera. The cable, he tells her, is to the TV and he shows her. Everything Julia says or shows Shane, he is able to show or tell her the opposite

NOT EVERYTHING IS AT IT SEEMS

As with Mistress Hunter, this movie had a lot going on as far as twists. When Julia does some snooping on her own because she knows she’s not crazy, she discovers a lot of secrets, which only has us, the viewers, wondering what’s going on. But the more Julia learns the more we think we’re going to crazy.

The delusions or illusions (however you want to label them) are real for Julia, but not by way of her mind playing tricks on her. They are man-made illusions but the reason for the mind games is very surprising and makes you wonder about people as if I don’t wonder about them as it is.

FINAL THOUGHT

I love me some Haylie Duff, the older sister of Hillary Duff. Ever since I saw her in His Secret Family (2015), I have watched all of her psychological movies on LifetimeTV or Lifetime Movie Network. I think she’s a fantastic actress and she doesn’t disappoint in Deadly Delusion aka The Lease. Haylie brings her characters to life to where you feel what they are feeling and want to help. When someone wrongs her in a movie you want to help her get even with that person. This is the type of actress she is.

Haylie made this movie for me. It’s one of the reasons I watched it. But when the twists started coming about and the final twist happened at the end, I put this movie on top of my list of another great movie from Lifetime. I saved this movie on my DVR, as I did with Mistress Hunter, to watch again.

Deadly Delusion aka The Lease is currently playing on LifetimeTV and must see.

Mistress Hunter: A Lifetime Movie Network Movie Review

Mistress Hunter tells the story of Jackie, a housewife, who thinks her husband might be stepping out on her. When she hired the Mistress Hunter to get the goods on him, she gets more than she bargained for.

courtesy Lifetime Movie Network

JACKIE’S SUSPICIONS

Jackie has been getting the feeling that something is not right with her husband, Karl (Martin Copping, Zombie Hunter, Hand of God), for he keeps telling her that never has time for lunch. One particular day, Jackie calls Karl’s job (I forget the reason) but learns that he has an appointment during lunch he’s had set for a while. Jackie decides to go to his job and follow him to see where he’s going and follows him to an apartment building in which a woman greets him at her door. This crushes Jackie.

YOU CAN COUNT ON US

Jackie is at Valerie’s house (played by Laura Plaxco, Superstore, Shameless), where another friend of hers, Melanie is there as well (played by Christy Meyers, Black-ish, Scandal). Jackie begins pouring her heart out to her friends about Karl stepping out on her and she’s not sure how long this has been going on and so forth. Valerie suggests she hires the mistress hunter to get more information on Karl. Jackie is a bit skeptical, mostly because the word ‘hunter’ in mistress hunter sounds a bit harsh. Valerie explains that’s just her handle, but that she’s the best in town. Melanie, on the other hand, is not to keen on the idea. Jackie wants to think about it.

WHERE DO I FIND THIS MISTRESS HUNTER

Remember Karl has been telling Jackie that he’s been stuck at the office and not able to take a lunch. Jackie, being suspicious, and even more suspicious since she caught him, calls his office (I forgot the reason why, but it was a ploy) to which she is told he’s out to lunch that he’s had booked for some time. That evening when Karl comes home, she tells him she called the office only to learn he’s at lunch. He states some clients come into town at the last minute and therefore, the lunch was last minute. LIE! After this blatant lie, Jackie decides she wants to hire the mistress hunter and asks Valerie for her contact information.

WAREHOUSE WHERE ARE YOU?

The mistress hunter Hannah (Lydia Look, Deadpool, Rush Hour, General Hospital) has an office in the warehouse but does not provide a phone number, only an address. Jackie arrives to find Hannah’s office in the back of the warehouse. Jackie tells Hannah her story to which Hannah gives her some advice and some disclaimer’s, some of which require Jackie to do some snooping herself. Jackie feels if she’s going to snoop at well why hire Hannah. But Hannah gives her more information and tells Jackie she can either hire her or not. After thinking about it Jackie decides to hire Hannah.

MORE THAN JACKIE BARGAINED FOR

Hannah is the type of person who will find you when she needs to and this throws Jackie off a bit for Hannah shows at odd places at odd times dressed as various professions. Jackie starts getting a little spooked about this but is told by Hannah that this is how she does business. During these encounters, Hannah provides Jackie with information she’s seeking but also asks Jackie to acquire certain physical information for Hannah. It’s during of these expeditions (by Hannah) that Jackie learns that her husband has been stepping out on her with a number of women. Not at the same time, mind you. He gets rid of one and has another one waiting in the wings. His current is a lady named Beth, who doesn’t know he’s married and has a child.

TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME

The more Hannah has Jackie do the more Jackie starts becoming a different person, and goes for the juggler herself, starting with Beth. And the more she does the more Melanie starts to see a difference in Jackie and is not comfortable with everything going on. It’s at this point that Melanie decides to distance herself from both Valerie and Jackie. Jackie, too, feels she’s gone to drastic measures to get the goods on her husband but feels she’s justified in doing so and continues on, with the support of Valerie.

FINAL THOUGHT

I really enjoyed this movie. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, Lifetime has been coming through with some pretty good movies lately. Some still lack the acting chops, the writing and execution of these movies are really good, and Mistress Hunter does not disappoint at all. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning for I thought this was going to another perdictable movie. But once she hired Hannah, the movie picked up and so did the twists.

I loved Hannah. She was sarcastic and brutal at times, but she got the job done. The way she acted at times, I thought there was something dodgy about her, but she turned out to be on the up and up. She provided her backstory to Jackie and how she got into the mistress hunter business. After hearing her story, you understood her actions better.

It was the friends, Valerie and Melanie, that had me a bit suspicious on their motives for why they did what they did. Why did Valerie suggest the mistress hunter to Jackie and why did Melanie not support Jackie, even when she was she was going hardcore? When a murder takes place and Jackie is on the top of the suspect list, things get even more interesting.

Mistress Hunter is currently playing on Lifetime Movie Network. Check your local listing. I highly recommend this movie.

Close to Home (DI Adam Fawley Series Book 1) by Cara Hunter [Book Review]

amazon ID: jabberjaw-20

MERMAIDS, BAR-B-QUES AND A MISSING KID

It’s 2016, July in Oxford, England, and The Masons are having a bar-b-que for the parents and kids of the local school. It’s a way for Sharon to get to know Daisy’s classmates and their parents. Barry Mason is cooking on the grill, while Sharon is trying to be the life of the party. Their son Leo is just being Leo.

2:05 am THE COPS COME A KNOCKING

Eight-year-old Daisy Mason has been reported missing. She was last seen wearing a mermaid customer, but it’s not her usual costume. Her usual costume is Daisey, like her name. Her room is made up of daisies. The Masons say they saw Daisy running around the yard during the bar-b-que but can’t say for sure because neither of them paid that close attention. The brother, Leo, can’t be sure either because he was too occupied with something else. DI Adam Fawley and DC Gislingham arrive to get more information about the disappearance and anything else that will help with the investigation. But the parents are dodgy and Leo (age 10)..well, Leo is just Leo.

DI ADAM FAWLEY

DI (Detective Inspector) Fawley is still dealing with the loss of his son Jake, who passed away a year earlier. Therefore, this case hits a bit home for him. The loss of a child, no matter the case, at times, is a bit too much for him to handle. Fawley wants to solve the case quickly. DC (Detective Constable) Gislingham just wants to solve the case. With many other players from the police department on the case, it becomes a cat-and-mouse game with the Masons, minus Leo.

Barry is hiding things and Sharon could careless about her missing daughter. Sharon’s only concern is how she looks when she’s at the police station and definitely how she looks in front of the camera when she’s supposed to be there pleading for the safe return of her daughter, Daisy. Everything for Sharon is perception. She’s more concern with how people will view her than hoping to find her daughter alive. Barry is concerned with finding Daisy alive, but with trying to hide is own secrets, showing his concern stars to fade into the background.

CAST OF CHARACTERS AND PLENTY OF SUSPECTS

I was convinced who had something to do with Daisy’s disappearance but wasn’t too sure if she would be found dead or alive. The latter would remain a question until the very end of the book, and I do mean the very end. As for who is the culprit, just when I had someone made, more suspects come into play. About midway through the book, things become complicated and a bit confusing. As someone whose attention span is rather short, I started to lose track of who was who. And when a new character was introduced, I really became confused. But that has nothing to do with the writing.  This is strictly me. To adjust I found myself rereading a sentence or a paragraph again, which is a good thing for I picked up on certain things the second time around.

WE’RE TAKEN ON A JOURNEY

The story is told through the eyes of DI Fawley. We are taking this journey and investigation into the disappearance of Daisy Mason with him and his colleagues. The story is told as each day passes. Some mystery books will tell the story with a few days or months passing, but Close To Home didn’t do that. If DI Fawley went home, you went home with him. If he got a phone call in the middle of the night, you got the phone call with him. Going this route with the book really shows the frustration the police face when solving missing children cases.

When there were interviews going on at the station, it was written like a script. You felt like you were on the other side of the two-way mirror witnessing the whole thing.

LET’S FLASHBACK SO WE CAN MOVE FORWARD

Flashbacks are told throughout the book titled 27 days before the disappearence, or 55 days before the disappearance. I liked how the days were in chronological order. It starts out 27 days then a few chapters down it could be 57 days and few more down it could be 40 days. This book made you sit up and take note of what was happening those days before Daisy disappeared. The different interactions Daisy had with her father and mother. The kids at school. The parents of the kids she went to school with. We are shown Sharon’s childhood to an extent as we are shown Barry’s life before Sharon. The flashback of Sharon just made me dislike her even more.

AND SO IT GOES

This was a book hard to put down. From the first page until the very last (read the Epilogue as well, please), I was intrigued. I love a good mystery, suspense book, but this one is by far my favorite and looking forward to the second book in the DI Adam Fawley series. I have been touch with the author is going to try to get me an advanced copy of the second book for my review.

ENGLISH SLANG

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, suspense book. I promise you won’t be disappointed. But you must know the slang of the English people.

Fag is used a lot throughout the book. Fag means cigarette. I bring this up because if you didn’t you know what fag meant, you would be bit bothered by Fawley needing a fag.

Sod 1(British English, taboo, slang) used to refer to a person, especially a man, that you are annoyed with or think is unpleasant You stupid sod! (British English, taboo, slang) used with an adjective to refer to a person, especially a man The poor oldsod got the sack yesterday. You lucky sod(Oxford Learn’s Dictionary).

You can purchase the book by clicking on the book’s title Close to Home: A Novel (A DI Adam Fawley Novel) / 314 pages, published by Penguin Books on 6 March 2018.

A Sister’s Nightmare [Movie Review]

CAN I STAY WITH YOU?

A Sister’s Nightmare (2013) centers around Cassidy who has spent 15 years in a mental institution. When her regular doctor has a stroke and takes an early retirement, the replacement doctor feels Cassidy is well enough to enter society, after consulting with her regular doctor. With no place to go and other alternative reasons, Cassidy seeks out her sister Jane, a cop, with a live-in boyfriend and a high school daughter who suffers from a nightmare of drowning.

HI EMILY, I’M CASSIDY

amazon ID: jabberjaw-20

When Cassidy first shows up at Jane’s house it’s Emily (Jane’s daughter) who greets her, not knowing she Jane’s sister. When Jane introduces Cassidy as her sister, the daughter blurts out, “You told me your sister died.” This was the first instance of this kid being a complete ass. Then comes a series of strange things happening around the house. For instance is a knife ends up missing from the knife block in the kitchen.

A MISSING KNIFE, BARS ON WINDOWS AND LOCKS ON DOORS

The second instance is Jane catching Cassidy in the kitchen getting water to drink, and the third is Cassidy climbing into Emily’s room to wake her from her nightmare. Yes, I said climb. Because of Cassidy being in the house, Jane has put locks on her daughter’s room as well as her (Jane’s) room. Due to Emily’s door being locked, the sister climbed in through the window. Now, if that doesn’t scream weird and troubling, I don’t know what does. Yet, Emily didn’t find anything off about that, but Jane does and soon she’s having bars installed on her daughter’s bedroom window. At this point, I’m not sure whose more off their rocker, Jane or Cassidy.

Through flashback of Jane and Cassidy as kids, we come to understand the volatile relationship these have had for all their lives.

When Cassidy decides to take Emily camping, without the consent of Jane, all the buried secrets and lies come to the surface.

MY THOUGHTS

I enjoy anything Natasha Henstridge is in when she’s playing the stalker, the killer or any bad person, and this movie is no exception. I became a fan of hers since Species (1995).

The daughter, Emily, played by Peyton List, was annoying to me. When the bars were on her bedroom window she didn’t notice them until she was sitting on her bed listening or looking at something on her tablet. I’m not sure how she missed them when the window is right next to her bed.

The live-in boyfriend, Phil (played by Matthew Settle) was middle of the road. He neither added anything or took away anything from the movie itself. It was like they just needed Jane to have a boyfriend. I feel if you’re going to have a male in the picture, at least have him contribute something to the movie.

Jane, played by Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl) was enjoyable to watch. Even during her paranoia states when she was adding locks to rooms and bars on windows, she was still enjoyable to watch. She’s one of those people that can hold a movie on her own. This is also how I feel about Henstridge, she can hold a movie on her own.

But the twists and there were a few, happened in the middle of the movie and rest towards the end. I didn’t see any of it coming, which is always the case in a Natasha Henstridge movie. And the final scene of Jane and Cassidy as kids bring everything together.

If you get a chance to see this movie I highly recommend it.

Other Henstridge movies to look out for are Inconsivable (2016) and Cold Spring (2013). If you find Species streaming somewhere it’s worth the time. I haven’t seen Species II and III for sequels can never be done right.

The Subway Girls [Book Review]

THE DESCRIPTION GOT ME

I received an advance copy of  The Subway Girls due to me being a book reviewer. I choose it by the synopsis

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever. (amazon.com)

IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME

Then I started reading it and it begins in March of 1949. I was hooked straightaway. Why? Because I enjoy books set in a certain time period for I learn about those periods and the people that lived during that time. And this book really gave insight not only into how men thought, how women behaved and adhered to as their duties as women, but also how the city the story is set in, looked and felt like.

CHARLOTTE

Set in New York, 1949, Charlotte Friedman is a 21-year-old college student in her last year at school. Her goal in life is to work in the advertising field. She has applied to the top advertising company in New York called J. Walter Thompson. After losing out on the job she hopes to get a job in the typing pool. The typing pool was just that, a pool of typers, and this was the most a female could expect to become back in those days outside of secretary or housewife. Charlotte is even turned down for that job at the same company. Then there’s her father’s paint store.

PAINT ME HELPLESS

Charlotte’s father owns a paint store, kinda like an Ace Hardware Store but geared towards paint for fences, houses and the likes. The plan was for Charlotte’s brother, Harry, was to take over the store once her father retired, but Harry didn’t return home while fighting in World War II. Due to Harry’s death, her father has left the burden of the store, working in it on Saturdays. But the paint shot isn’t doing and her father, Fred, has to dismiss his assistant manager and wants Charlotte to work full-time once she finishes college. This is a blow to Charlotte’s plans. Charlotte believes that if she enters and wins Miss. Subways, she can bring more attention to her father’s shop to where it will make the money it needs and she won’t have to work in it full-time after college.

JULY 2018

We are introduced to Olivia, a big player in the advertising world who faces the same issues women back in 1949 did and that’s having to prove herself as a valued employee. Olivia has been in the game for a long time but finds herself having to work harder and longer hours than her male counterpart to create an ad for a big ad agency in New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. With help from her neighbor, Mrs. Glasser, Olivia learns that the struggles she’s facing today, Mrs. Glasser faced in her day. Through her connection to Mrs. Glasser, Olivia has the idea to bring Miss. Subways back to life by featuring the original Miss. Subways, as many, as she can find, for her ad idea for the MTA.

CONTRACT BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY

I liked how Susie Orman Schnall had each chapter set in either 1949 or 2018. By starting the book off in 1949 with a seemingly intelligent woman with more going for herself than staying at home to raise kids and then bringing us to 2018, Olivia, to show that not much has changed for women. The only difference is women are allowed to have careers, but sometimes the struggle is still there when in you’re in a career that been considered a man’s world.

You find yourself rooting for both Charlotte and Olivia in different aspects. You really appreciate the times you live in when you read how women were treated and thought of in the 40’s and 50’s. And do I dare say, even today? Beauty is the way to make your mark. Strong-willed women are looked at as B’s. Strong-willed men are looked at high achievers. Not all the time, but sometimes.

GOODREADS

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. And I’ll give it 5 out of 5 stars anywhere else.

MISS. SUBWAYS

This book was reading too true to me about the Miss. Subways contest that I looked it up and here’s some of the links I found with great information.

Miss. Subways Through The Years

Miss. Subways

Miss. Subway Winners Through The Years

______________________________________

The Subway Girls comes out 10 Julye 2018 but you can pre-order the book at Amazon 

RECOMMENDED READING

This Could Hurt: A Novel

The Best of Everything

 

 

Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig [Book Review]

jabberjaw0c-20

THEATER, MISUNDERSTANDING, AND MURDER

Quinn Bellandini runs a B&B with her sister Deliah and their father Papa Sal in Savannah, Georgia. Quinn is given a pair of theater tickets to see a play by Drew. She misunderstands the offering of tickets as Drew, a long time friend, asking her out on a date. Upon feeling awkward, and not really wanting to go to the play, she gives the tickets to her sister.

Feeling guilty about giving the tickets away and her misinterpreting Drew asking her about going to play as a date, she decides to confess. It’s late night, approximately 10 pm when Quinn heads over to Green’s, a restaurant owned by Drew and Jason Green. Drew isn’t there by Jason is. Unfortunately for Quinn, he’s dead. To make matters worse, Quinn is the one that found him and while trying to leave the restaurant in a hurry, she has slipped and fallen into a puddle of Jason’s blood.

YOU’VE ARRESTED THE WRONG PERSON

Quinn is the first to find Jason, which makes her the prime suspect. But it’s Jason’s brother Drew that is arrested for the murder. Not wanting her friend to go to prison for a murder she knows he didn’t commit, Quinn embarks on some amateur investigation that produces more secrets than she expected. When Deliah finds out what’s she’s doing, she joins in the sleuthing.

ALL’S WELL THAT STARTS OUT WELL

I received an advance copy of the book based on the premise (basically what I just said above, but shorter). The copy I received is an unedited copy. Meaning, it’s not the final copy that will be released to the public 6 March 2018.

I enjoy stories set in the south for I love the south, although I live up north. I was expecting the book to take me to Savannah, Georgia. Where it ended up taking me was the worse Lifetime TV movie I’ve ever seen.

I READ BOOKS AS IF I’M WATCHING MOVIE

I try to visualize the book as a movie. It helps me get a clear understanding of what I’m reading. I feel if I can visualize what’s taking place, the writing is good. And at times, excellent. This was neither. Although I could visualize everything that was going on, my mind kept going back to the most ridiculous movie I’ve seen where the writing is horrible, the plot is off kilter and the acting is just as bad. It’s also one of those movies you can’t turn off because you have to see how it ends.

SOUTHERN SAYINGS THAT TRIED TO HARD

There were a number of southern sayings I want to share that I feel were forced.

Well, sugar honey iced tea.
Diddly darn it!
Ding Dang it!
Cheese and crackers.
Fiddlesticks.

Each of these saying was said when Quinn would run into a brick wall when seeking information. And each time they came up I laughed for they seemed, well forced.

The story as a whole didn’t ring southern. Although the family was a transplant from New York, they writing felt more New York, than Savannah, Georgia.

The author, Caroline Fardig, would refer to tea as sweet tea when offering some to anyone. She could have said tea. We all know tea in the south is sweet. Food, that is found in the south, was constantly brought up. I wish I could remember some of them. As with the southern phrases, the naming of food seemed forced to make the book seem authentic.

THIS IS FARDIG’S FIRST BOOK, RIGHT? NO?

When I read a book yet to be released, I don’t do any research on the author. I believe I mentioned this in my last review. I like my fresh mind and eyes to read the book with no preconceived notions about the author or the author’s writing style. This allows me to unbiased towards the book and/or the author.

In the back book of this book, there was a list of books Fardig has written. I was sure she wrote mostly young adult books and this was her first foray into adult contemporary. Was I wrong or what?

One series of booked mentioned were the Lizzie Hart Mysteries. There are five books in the series. AH HA! I thought. Lizzie Hart must be teenagers, along the lines of Nancy Drew, and the writer IS in fact, a young adult mystery writer. How wrong was I. How wrong as I about the other books mentioned. None of them were young adult books.But I figured with a name like Lizzie Hart surely the protagonist had to be in her teens. And with a title like It’s Just a Little Crush” who wouldn’t think this was set in high school? So much for judging a book by its title.

FINAL THOUGHT

I won’t be reading another book by Caroline Fardig, but I won’t deter anyone from reading Southern Discomfort. That’s if you like simple writing, corny sayings, and forced southern references such a food and sayings. I will say this about the book. I was surprised by who killed Jason. That’s not to say Drew didn’t do it, but it does not say he didn’t do it.

I give the book 3 out of 5 stars. No matter how much I was laughing at force southern sayings in the book and how many times Quinn rubbed her temples throughout the book, it was a decent read.

You can purchase Southern Discomfort by Caroline Fardig below

Southern Discomfort: A Southern B&B Mystery (released 6 March 2018)

There’s another Southern Discomfort that came out a while back by Rita Mae Brown that I really enjoyed, and I think you will too. It’s not a mystery book. I just a good southern drama book in which the writing is authentic and real. Just click on this link
Southern Discomfort to purchase the book from Amazon.

Meet Hortensia Reedmuller Banastre, a beautiful woman entrenched on old money, white magnolia and a loveless marriage–until she meets an utterly gorgeous young prizefighter.  Amid such memorable characters as Banana Mae Parker and Blue Rhonda Latrec (two first-class whores) and Reverend Linton Ray (who wears his clerical collar too tightly for anyone’s good), Hortensia struggles to survive the hurricane of emotions caused by her scandalous love.  How she ultimately triumphs is a touching and beautiful human drama–an intense and exuberant affair of the heart. (Goodreads)

 

Thandi’s Love by Angel Strong [Book Review]

COTTON HARVEST TIME – I NEED MORE SLAVES

Thandi’s Love by Angel Strong is set during slavery, in which Tom Lexington, Jr. is needing help during the cotton harvest season and seeks out Thandi and her brother Issac to assist. Issac will work in the field, becoming a second overseer to Ben. Thandi will work along Esther, the house manager (aka slave). Tom, Thandi, and Issac used to be childhood friends, for Thandi’s mother used to be a slave of Tom’s father Tom Sr. Since Sr’s passing, Jr is now the owner of the plantation and has his own slaves, inside and outside the house.

amazon affiliate ID: jabberjaw0c-20

MORE TOM’S LOVE THAN THANDI’S

Tom has always had a thing for Thandi, ever since they were kids. But now that he’s seen what a beauty Thandi has become, his heart beats even more for her, while his wife’s eyes show nothing but contempt and anger towards both Thandi and her brother Issac.

Soon as Thandi’s arrival Tom begins spending as much time as he can with her and her brother, but more with Thandi. This is one of the reason’s his wife, Anna has contempt and anger for Thandi. The other reason being is Tom invites them to have dinner and breakfast at the family dining table. Not the kitchen table where the in-house slaves eat, but the formal dining table reserved for Tom and his wife and dinner guests.

Thandi likes the attention Tom is showing her and she likes the room she’s able to stay in during harvest season.

OTHER STORYLINES

There are other storylines within the book than just the relationship between Tom and Thandi. After all, it is set during slavery, so you can pretty much guess the other storylines.

LET’S JUMP RIGHT INTO MY THOUGHTS

When I started reading the book I was enamored with the writing style of Angel Strong. I felt the writing alone would get me through a love story, which is one genre of books of books I stay away from. The reason I read this one is due to author reaching out to me. But then I started losing interest pretty quickly. The late night walk in the garden by Thandi and Tom was the beginning of the end for me. I felt the description was long and drawn out. The dialogue between Thandi and Tom was also long and drawn out. I found myself yelling, “Spit it out, will ya!” Conversations between other people were of the same caliber.

There were scenes that were also long and drawn out that could have ended sooner than they did. Think back to a movie you’ve watched in which a particular scene seemed to drag on, you thought it would never end. That was some of the scenes in this book. But I soldiered on. Hoping things would get better.

HISTORICAL FICTION BUT WHERE’S THE HISTORY?

There were a number of other things I found wrong with this historical fiction book set during slavery. Slaves, no matter who they are, never eat at the main dining room table. The book should have kept it real when it came to slaves, especially those who worked outside the house. The way this book was written, it seemed like everyone had it pretty good for being slaves, inside and definitely inside.

I think I expected more of this book than what I got. If I’m going to reach a historical fiction book based on a horrific tragedy that took place, in the United States or in Europe, I expect reality to be incorporated into the fantasy. I didn’t get that with Thandi’s Love. The only part of the book that had any effect on me was the writing style. Other than that, shock, anger, happiness, nor any other emotion was garnered from me save for wanting the scene to hurry along.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? No. Would I deter anyone from reading it? Definitely not!

I give it two out of five stars.

Thandi’s Love: A Novel <- click on the link to view and/or purchase a copy of the book.
published 1 Jan 2017 by CreateSpace, an independent publishing platform.

Losers Bracket by Chris Crutcher [Book Review]

 

https://www.amazon.com/Losers-Bracket-Chris-Crutcher-ebook/dp/B0722N651Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519076708&sr=8-1&keywords=loser%27s+bracket+-+book

 amazon ID: jabberjaw0c-20

ANNIE BOOTS

Annie Boots is a 17-year-old high school student who is living two lives. She has her life with her foster family, the Howards and their son Marvin, and then there’s her life of sneaking around to see her biological mother and half-sister Shelia. To accomplish seeing her bio family Annie uses the sports she competes in during the summer as their secret rendezvous sites. It’s not long until Annie learns that Pop Howard has known all long of these meetings. But this is the least of Annie’s worries.

As mentioned, Annie plays in summer sports, and the book opens with her sport of choice being basketball. But right now, her team is in the loser’s bracket.

Loser Bracket is defined as such

The first-round winners proceed into the W bracket and the losers proceed into the L bracket. The bracket is conducted in the same manner as a single-elimination tournament, except that the losers of each round “drop down” into the L bracket(Source google.com)

This can also be said of Annie’s place in her bio family.

THE LOSER BRACKET

Annie has been in foster care since she was in the single-digit age but was lucky enough to be placed with the Howards. Her sister, Shelia, wasn’t so lucky. Shelia wasn’t lucky in the families she was placed in nor the number of time she had to move. Their mother, Nancy, is a drug-addict and shoplifter who choose drugs over her daughters. Shelia is the apple that didn’t fall far from the tree. Annie, on the other hand, is the apple that fell from the tree, but somehow was able to roll away.

Shelia has a five-year-old son named Frankie who is suffering the same fate Shelia did with regards to his mother choosing drugs over him. However, Frankie, thus far, has not ended up in the system and if Annie has anything to do with it, he won’t.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FRANKIE

When Annie switches to swimming (her choices of sports are more of a coping mechanism than a choice) it’s during one of the swim meets that Frankie disappears during a chaotic scene caused by her mother Nancy and sister Shelia. Through the search for Frankie we are introduced to Walter, Nancy’s latest boyfriend, and according to Annie, the most decent one.

PRE-SPIRAL AND POST-SPIRAL

The books open with Annie at one of the basketball games and the loser bracket her team is part of, mostly because of her. We are introduced to three of her friends Hannah, Mariah, and Leah, but it’s Leah who is seen throughout the book. Marvin, the Howards biological son, age 13, is also part of Annie’s life. He’s a well-adjusted kid who prefers books to sports. Because of this, his father, Pop Howard, thinks his son might be gay. As Marvin puts it when it comes to Annie, “she’s the son he father wished Marvin was.” We are privy to Annie’s life through the eyes of Annie, which is one thing I loved about the book. I enjoy books written in the first person for it helps me experience what the protagonist is experiencing. When it comes to Annie’s counseling sessions, it is seen through the eyes of Emily.

After Frankie’s disappearance, Annie begins to spiral more out of control. Throughout the book, we wonder if the parachute will open or not for Annie.

We’re taken on a journey of Annie Boot’s life beginning with the summer of her soon-to-be-senior. Along the way, we’re introduced to a cast of characters. These characters, which include her foster brother Marvin and her friend Leah.

FINAL THOUGHT

Chris Crutcher has a way of finding the teenage voice in his stories. And as a male who writes from a female’s perspective on things, he does a great job. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. Chris makes us think about our own lives, regardless if we are teenagers ourselves or into our adulthood thinking about our teenage years because of this story.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone along with Athletic Shorts which is a compilation of short stories by Chris Crutcher. Athletic Shorts was my first introduction to Crutcher’s work via an email I received on recommended reading. Since reading that book I’ve become a fan. I plan on reading other books by Chris but was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Losers Bracket before it’s release on 3 April 2018.

You may pre-order Losers Bracket by clicking on the book’s title Losers Bracket.

Losers Bracket is 256 pages published by Greenwillow Books, part of Haper Collins / pubished date 3 April 2018

I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.

Movie Review of Brawl In Cell Block 99 Starring Vincent Vaugn

PREMISE AND BACKSTORY

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) stars Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Wedding Crasher), plays Brandley Thomas, a recently fired auto mechanic. His wife, Lauren Thomas (played by Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter, White Chicks) is a substitute teacher whose assignments have slowed down significantly. To make money, Bradley becomes a runner for drug dealers. 18 months later Bradley and Lauren have moved out of their shooty house into a nice size home and Lauren is six months pregnant.

One of his well-to-do drug dealers, Gill (Marc Blucas, Necessary Roughness, Underground) wants Bradley to work with another drug dealer, and his two runners, Pedro and Ramon. Bradley is comprehensive about working with the new runners due to him having a bad feeling about them. However, his boss promises Bradley two months off and baby support, but Bradley wants three months off along with the baby support. His boss agrees and the partnership is on. What could possibly go wrong when you go against your instinct in lieu of what seems like a good deal?

THE TASK

Take Gil’s boat out into the middle of the water, dive for a trunk that is chained at the bottom and bring it to the surface. Remove its contents and take it back to Gil. Again, what could possibly go wrong?  How about cops showing up, a shootout ensues between Ramon, Pedro and the cops. Instead of Bradley continuing to walk in the opposite direction of the action, he walks back towards the action and gets arrested.

Bradley is sentenced to seven years in a medium security prison.

AND NOW THE FUN BEGINS

This is where I won’t provide details of Bradley’s stay in the prison as I did with on the outside, for this is where I hope you are wanting to watch the movie. Also, this is where I say to you that this movie is worth watching, if not for Vaughn’s stellar acting in a drama. But I will set things up for you. As mentioned, Bradley gets sentenced to a medium security prison. However, he must find his way to Red Leaf Maximum security prison and quickly. This is where cell block 99 is located.

Don Johnson (Miami ViceNash Bridges) does a fine job as Warden Tuggs of Red Leaf. He prefers the term minimum freedom as opposed to maximum security.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Vince Vaughn was stellar in this role. Most know him as a funny guy who plays in comedy movies. My favorite by him is Wedding Crashers. But Wedding Crashers is the only Vince Vaughn movie I’ve seen and will ever watch for I don’t find him that funny and worth my time watching. Until now.

As mentioned Vaughn was stellar as Bradley Thomas. I hope to see Vaughn in more grittier roles such as Brawl in Cell Block 99. Don Johnson, as sadistic Warden Tubbs, was equally as good with calm demeanor when dishing out threats. The movie, overall, was well made. It did come through as an indie film made on a low budget, yet with good cinematography. I could be wrong (about it being low budget), but this is my observation.

This is definitely a movie I will watch again just for the acting by Vaughn. If you’re a Vaughn fan because of his comedies, this might not be the movie for you, for after watching this you won’t see him in the same comedic light. If you’re not a fan of Vaughn, such as myself, this might be the movie for you in which you might gain respect for Vaughn as an actor and not just someone who plays in mindless comedies (minus Wedding Crashers).

Brawl In Cell Block 99 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Directed and Written by S Craig Zahler, who also wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk

 

Book Review of Extinction by Josephine Wilson

THE SETUP

Extinction by Josephine Wilson, tells the story of Professor Frederick Lothian, a well-renowned instructor of engineering, is now living in an assisting living facility. His wife Martha has been gone for two. His daughter, Caroline, is adopted. She studies animals that are extinct or are in danger of being extinct. Caroline is also an aboriginal. His son, Callum, lives in a facility that tends to those with physical or mental challenges. Callum was involved in a car accident 13 years prior that left him brain damaged.

LIFE HAPPENS THEN IT DOESN’T

Frank was a well respected instructed at uni and now he’s been sent to live in a retirement home that allows people to have their own apartments (rooms really) and carry on with their lives as they always have.

But Frank is sad for a number of reasons. He’s gone from a great job, a good wife (who drove him crazy) and raising two kids, to living alone and the glory years of teaching long behind him. Frank thinks a lot about life and how it’s passed.  With his wife gone, his connection to happier days is his daughter Carolina, who is dealing with issues of her own.

THE NEIGHBOR

Then there’s Jan from next door. This was one character I didn’t care for but she served a purpose for Frank.  Jan learns that her five-year-old grandson might have to go into foster care if no one can take him in. And to avoid this Jan agrees to be his legal guardian. Frank wonders how is she going to take care of a five-year-old in small living quarters. But to keep from losing her grandson to the system, she will do what she needs to. This determination relights a fire within Frank and the course of the book begins to change, and in a good way.

CAROLINA’S DEMONS

As mentioned, Frank daughter is adopted and was an only child until Callum came long. Carolina is also an aboriginal (and her adopted parents are white). She is trying to cope with being adopted, even though she’s in her 40’s (there’s something about being adopted us, adoptees, never get over and it because before we’re adopted we’re abandoned). On top of being adopted, she learns she’s aboriginal, or of the indigenous people.  Her being adopted and being part of the indigenous people has driven her to study extinct animals. I believe this is because, she herself, feel like she’s is extinct. But the extinction part, to me, is more towards the history of indigenous people.

STORIES AND DESCRIPTIONS

The book is written in the third person but in a way, every description (without being overly described) gives a clear picture of what is taken place, the set up of the room and other descriptives given in the book to allow the reader to feel what the person being spoken at that time, is feeling. Not only feeling on the inside, but the feeling of an object being described.

The stories the author tells when taking us back to the life of Frank and Martha and their kids are so well written that you are able to connect current day with past events.

But of all the things the author does with the book, she makes us realize how fast life can pass you by and if you stop living because of your current situation. It’s a hard pill to swallow to know that one day we will all be old and there’s nothing we can do about it. But we don’t have to be a prisoner of our circumstances.

I think everyone should read this book. If you’re young, learn something about getting old. If you’re older, you will find yourself thinking about your life gone-by. With a variety of characters in the book, readers will be able to relate to one of them. For me, I was able to relate to both Frank and Carolina.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

  • Paperback: 300 pages but also available on the Kindle or Audiobook
  • Publisher: UWA Publishing (December 20, 2016)
  • Language: English