AD ASTRA: A Short Movie Review

Noah and I went to see Ad Astra today and I have very mixed feelings about it. There were some things I dearly loved about it. For instance for well over half the movie it was so believable and that I was in awe. This, I thought, is a real and possible future.

And the acting is terrific!

But once the main mission presented itself? The drama and the dangerous problem that had to be solved? Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but Continue reading

Godzilla: King of the Special Effects (A Review)

So yesterday, not having planned on it, I accidentally got to see the new Godzilla movie and I didn’t even have to pay for it!

In fact, I don’t know how interested I was in paying for it because of how long and boring and dark I thought the last one was…

And having said that, what does that mean in regards to Godzilla: King of the MonstersContinue reading

String Boys: Amy Lane Hits A Home Run Again! (a book review)

I have liked Amy’s stories, as with Clear Water. And I have loved her stories, as with Sidecar. And I have adored Amy’s stories, as with Keeping Promise Rock. But I have never disliked anything I’ve read by her. With String Boys, we have another winner. And any time a cover blurb says something like, “Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz,” I knew I am was in for some heart-soaring myself.

Amy is one of those women who “gets it” when it comes to gay men. I read her and think there must be something akin to reincarnation and she was a gay man in a dozen or so previous lives. She isn’t writing women with penises. She is writing men who love men. Men love differently than women. We’re unique and she “gets” us.

I fell in love with Seth from the get go. And Kelly! OMG! Totally. And as with Keeping Promise Rock, Amy makes us wait painfully and with much angst for the Happily Ever After. But I never doubt (although sometimes I have to stop and close my eyes and take a deep breath and remind myself, “It’s okay! It’s okay! We will get a happy ending) that she will give me an ending that will make my “soul soar.” And as with Keeping Promise Rock, there was some pain to get through and some periods where the lovers are kept apart—and, Aaarrgghhh!—but of course, this wouldn’t be Amy Lane if it wasn’t worth the wait of the lover’s finally getting what they long for. That’s no spoiler, this is Romance after all!

There were some parts where I had to put the book down and go watch some episodes of Friends or Fraiser to lighten me. But I had to do the same thing every time I watched an episode of Chernobyl this week! I am not a fast reader and thankfully an injury at work gave me time off to be able to just sit and read. I do like rom coms and light-hearted books, but they don’t feed me. This book fed me. And the characters came to feel like family and I know in a year or so, I’ll want to return to this family again.

Amy Lane is not only one of my favorite MM writers, but also one of my favorite authors period. With String Boys, she stays on my list. Thank you, Amy! Even though you killed me too!

Here is the COVER BLURB:

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.

Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.

Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.

Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.

Buy Links:
Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon ebook
Amazon paperback
Amazon UK ebook
Amazon UK paperback

Book Club: A Movie Review

My title says it all. This movie could have been better, but overall, when all was said and done, I laughed a lot and I even cried more than once, and as far as I’m concerned, that says it all!

And I liked the fact that this was four women well into their lives proving that being over fifty doesn’t mean you’re dead.

It’s a movie about four post-50-something women who choose to read a crappy book, “Fifty Shade of Grey,” for their book club and how it affects them. The first thing I liked? That at no place in the film do they say the book was any good. To my relief, they groan and roll their eyes, and even make fun of it. But then they can’t deny the story is shaking them up in their later years. Their lives have become complacent. Especially romantically and sexually.

And then we see how each of the women’s personal love-lives change and I really loved that part. I am a romantic. So, yes, the script was less than brilliant—but it was still very cute, and laugh-out-loud-funny, and yes, romantic—and the acting *was* less-than-their-best—but still filled with many moments that made me *happy sigh*—but in the end, the movie was very romantic, and that was what I wanted.

I think the problem with the reviews (both critics and movie watchers) is that the previews and the knowledge of who all was in the movie (eight great performers including the love-interests) made this look like it was going to be THE romantic comedy of the year, and for some reason it…just wasn’t.

Several reviewers said the actresses turned in sub-par performances. I couldn’t go that far. What I think was wrong was the directing. The staging. Like he was letting everyone involved sort of mail in their jobs, from acting to editing to cinematography. In fact, I blame director/co-writer Bill Holderman for all the problems because the script needed tweaking as well. There were too many “talking heads” moments in the movie, where the actresses were lined up on the set like Mount Rushmore. Had the script been polished just a little bit and someone else directed it, I do believe it would have been THE romantic comedy of the year.

I liked this movie despite its problems. And I think it will be one that I see many times. And best of all, each of the four women have happily-ever-after endings without having to be less than who they are by finding a man. What could be better than that?

“Second Hand” is Second to None — A Book Review

To say that I loved Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan’s “new” book, “Second Hand,” is an understatement. I love both of these authors own their own, and together they are 24 karat gold. Oh, I needed this book. And from the first chapter, it was like slipping on a pair of comfortable house shoes. Warm and relaxing and oh, so familiar. But not familiar as in, “Oh, I’ve read that a million times,” but in that delightful way these two authors have in creating characters and spinning their tales.

BLURB: A Tucker Springs Novel

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

MY REVIEW: Paul Hannon hasn’t had much good luck of late. He works for a vet because Continue reading

JOHNNY — A Movie Review

A lonely and confused older man hires a young male sex worker named Johnny to be his first sexual experience with another man, and the intimate evening they share forces both men to confront difficult truths they’ve been trying to outrun….

When I watched Johnny, I thought I was seeing a movie about the older man (who calls himself “Sam”), played very well by Tony Abatemarco (he’s had a number of small parts in films and series like, Sleeping With the Enemy, Moonlighting and How to Get Away With Murder). But after seeing it, I became aware that this sad little film is about both men equally, and their coming to terms with the fact that they are gay. Brandon Crowder is a delightful surprise—his acting is noteworthy and he is quite talented. I want to see him again (he is also the director and producer).

And while Johnny doesn’t have a happily ever after ending, the single evening it shows us has had a deep effect on the two of them. While it is not romance per se, it is worth watching at only nineteen minutes. There is a ton of story revealed in such a very short time and we learn, with few words, a lot about these men—they are very real. I was quite engaged in their lives.

And it is worth watching for surprisingly good acting for such a short, low-budget film. What it proves to me is that you don’t need millions of dollars to make a high-quality little project and that there is just no excuse for the horrible acting, film and sound quality, and more that I see in so many gay movies.

If you want to take the chance, I highly recommend it. So what if they don’t run off into the sunset (in this case, sunrise?)? You will be left thinking and wondering about what happens next for Johnny and Sam. And wishing them all the best.


Brandon Crowder … Johnny
Tony Abatemarco … Sam
Nikita Kochnev … Young Johnny
Luca Alexander … David
Devon O’Kane … Sex Worker 1
Donzell Lewis … Sex Worker 2

MOVIE REVIEW: JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM: (possible spoilers, but I’ll warn you)

So l saw the new Jurassic Park movie Thursday night and… I…. Well I liked it. It was good. It was exciting. It had all the amazing, gorgeous special effects of a JP franchise movie. It had the amazing gorgeous Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It had all those moments that make you jump, squeal, and sit on the edge of your seat. But…. For me it was missing something. And I can’t quite put my finger on it.

It is kind of like how the second Jurassic Park movie was really good, but not nearly as good as the first one. Same thing happened here.

It is like the people who made Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom didn’t know what was so great about Jurassic World, and in the case of the sequel just tried for something, anything, whatever. They put in dinosaurs and the two great characters…but they got this new movie wrong. It didn’t feel like a labor of love, like the first one felt to me. It almost felt like “let’s see if we can make as much money as the first one!” The characters were not very well developed this time. Kind of cardboard. I didn’t believe in them as much as I did in Jurassic World. I saw Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard’s character) change and grow in the first Jurassic World movie but not in this one. Saw her change from a person who saw the dinosaurs as assets into believing they were real, living animals. This time she just mostly filled up space. I did not believe that she was making the lives and rights of the dinosaurs her life’s mission.   Continue reading