“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

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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.

CAST:

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