Category Archives: review

American Son – Netflix

No spoilers!

She waits, trying to patient, but unaware of where her son is or why she’s even been called into the police station. She is a black woman with a black son and the police officer giving her the run around is a young, fairly new white officer. She speaks articulate, yet firm, but he offers no information. He says he doesn’t have any. She knows she is being handled and managed, but he stands firm on not knowing anything.

While she walks to get water, in walks her husband, a white man in a power suit. “I’m so glad you’re here. This woman has gone from zero to ghetto in an instant.” He doesn’t know that this is her husband. He thinks this is the detective. He runs off information that he doesn’t tell her. Until he realizes he has made a mistake, where he then reverts back to not knowing anything.

They want to know where their son is. Her husband tells her to not jump to conclusion. He makes excuses for the cops and talks about the things he has noticed recently about their son. He is wearing baggy clothes now, listening to rap music and is hanging out with other black boys. He is having an identity crisis. She tries to explain the fear her son has as a black man, because when you are older than 10 in America, you are considered a man, but only if you are black. Yet the husband still doesn’t understand.

They wait and they wait to hear what is going on with their son, to speak with their son, to see their son. They go through the motions discussing racial differences as they wait. Her husband, not really understanding the mental confusion Jamal has, being one of three black students at his school when the world is watching young black men being shot and killed by police.

Have you seen it? I will not spoil it. But if you have not, be prepared to go through a world whirl of emotions as all that is wrong with the Justice system and race relations is played out in front of you. It displays a generational difference in what complacent “black people should do” verse our generation who prefers to fight for our rights.

Kerry Washington mastered this role, when she was angry, you were angry. She was stuck and not knowing what to do next, because placed in front of her was a situation where she felt she had no control. Oh and did I say her son just turned 18? No mother really knows how to raise a black son in todays world. She talks about how she lays awake at night afraid of what can possibly happen to her son. What has happened to other black boys who look like him. She fears because as a black male you are looked upon as a suspect because of the clothes you wear; the music you listen to; or just because you are, you. When you want your child to have a better life than you, but they are angry because no one around them looks like them.

I am at lost for words. This movie is powerful. This movie has my emotions on a rollercoaster and the movie is over. I think I will watch again. Knowing the ending…. but maybe not. What did you think?

This ending is how strong I want every book, every play I write to hit.

Official Trailer – YouTube

The Moment We Fell – Kelli Warner

Paige, a 17 year old high school senior, has lost her Mom and is now going to live with her father who never knew she existed. Kelli takes us on a journey of fear, abandonment and forgiveness. It hits some cliché moments, like every romance that starts with a trauma, but it was natural. You felt every emotion that Paige felt, every fear, every frustration. Cade, who is also a main character, the one that Paige confines in, has his own situations that he is trying to come back from. The biggest difference, is Paige’s Dad is the school principal and Calebs Dad is in prison.

Cade slides off the rock and moves to stand in front of me. The rain has stopped. “Tell me about your mom.” Everything in my body threatens to shut down, as if he just pulled the fire alarm on my soul.

“What was she like?” Unable to look him in the eyes or grasp a cohesive sentence that consists of more than three words, I stare at the dirt and mumble, “She was amazing.” Cade’s tenor is soft when he asks,

“What made her amazing?” “How much time do you have?” Leaning in, he whispers, “As much time as it takes.”

As I read this book, I followed through the emotions as if I was part of the story, I couldn’t fall asleep because I had to know what happens next. And every time it was something new around every corner.

The best thing about this book, is that Paige’s Mom had a plan for her, this book shows the importance of having a plan for your children, it also shows the importance of standing up for yourself and for the one you love. So many people let go of someone they love due to misunderstandings. I know I have, this book shows being yourself, and loving yourself no matter what.

Kelli gives us so many lessons in between these covers. She teaches us empathy, honesty, and love. How no matter what you go through in life, you should ALWAYS be true to yourself and find your happiness. Someone else’s death doesn’t mean you don’t get to be happy.

Fallen Trees by Stan Finger

Robbie, a freelance writer and a bachelor with a quiet dating life has done everything to keep his heart guarded from a second broken heart. From staying away from a relationship, to closing doors before they open. He wasn’t open to love until he met up with an old friend who went through a few years of tragedy. She told him to not close his door, and his path took surprisingly twisted path.

This story is not only about his family, his career but his love life. This was a book I needed to read this year and didn’t know it. I took my time reading it, but I was sliding over for more pages after it ended. I feel in love with the characters and how Robbie went about his life. This book had no boring parts, there was so much going on that kept feeding this story life with realistic events.

The story took me a little to get into, only because life was busy for me, not because the book was boring or long winded. Every time I started reading, I remembered each character because the author really let you get to know the characters and nothing was out of character for any of them. There was strong character building, because I felt Hannah’s pain, Robbie’s confusion and Ricky’s frustrations.

Stan Fingers

Finger wrote this novel with grace. There was a genuine good guy, who never forced situations or boasted about his life. He was the type of guy that would draw women to him. He never lied about his situations, nor himself. He was hungry for his career but made time for everyone in his life. He had balance, as a writer, he was the organization that I could never be.

I cannot wait to read more from Finger. I will not spoil the book for you, because you HAVE to read it. This will be on my list of must reads at the end of the year. According to Amazon’s author bio, Finger is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a veteran journalist for the Wichita Eagle newspaper in Kansas. He has co-authored another book about a flash flood in 2003 that killed six people. He has definitely made his mark in fiction.

She’s Gotta Have It Season 2

The truth isn’t never pretty, and not many want to accept that.

Nola Darling is back, and she is not for the foolery and games. I will try not to spoil, but I can’t make promises.

Nola starts off this season trying to have a committed relationship with Opal, but as opposites have it, Opal’s control issues and Nola’s rebellious spirit, it doesn’t last past the first episode. The funny thing is, she didn’t run back to her trio of guys, as they all had their own lives to deal with.

For all of us who saw the original movie, this is what happens afterwards, all the questions you had after the movie – resolved, and I don’t think Nola is done with us yet. As an artist we saw her reach grow, her spirit shift and her outlook on life change.

She had some heart wrenching conversations with friends, that needed to happen. You remember her crew, Shamekka, Clorinda and Rachel. And yes, Raqueletta Moss is back as well. We learn more about all of them, and watch them grow or show who they really can become. There are some new faces, as well as all of the old ones.

This season talked about envy, greed, paid homage to Puerto Rico, showed you how gentrification of “urban” neighborhoods never reveals the whole truth. It shows how some “allies” just don’t get it, how not all black people are ready for the truth, and will step on your toes just to stop your growth. This season was in your face and raw. It was needed, it was deep, it was a Spike Lee joint!

The ending, is what I want to hear the most about, I want comments and conversation about what you personally felt about her piece. Some hated it, even tried to block it, some loved it and saw its strength and others were offended, saying she had no right.

I won’t say how I feel, but if you know my views, you probably already know. I sure hope there is a season 3. And DeWanda Wise… girl… you once again embodied Nola and kilt that role. I cannot wait to see more of you, I demand more of you! I am truly a fan!

Here’s the trailer!

See You Yesterday – A Netflix Film

Being black in America is hard, and knowing there is something you can do to fix something and failing, is what this movie is about. CJ and Sebastian, two black teenagers, have developed time traveling, something that the world has never seen. They go back just to test it and it works!

A few days later, CJ’s older brother is killed, another unarmed black man in a mistaken identity. CJ comes up with a plan, she and her best friend have to go back and save her brother. Only it gets worse and worse at every turn.

CJ defines a strong black female, determined to not fail, although she is thrown test after test, failure after failure. There is a problem and dammit she is going to try everything to fix it.

My heart dropped several times. To see the bond CJ and her brother had, and the friendship between CJ and Sebastian, makes it hard with every minute this movie continues. CJ and Sebastian can never celebrate their invention because they have to use it to save the world that CJ is left with.

Spike Lee and Stefon Bristol brought the drama to this Netflix film. I just finished watching this and I feel the world needs to see this. Not only because black people can be scientist, but black people can be heroes, victims and prejudged all at the same time. Life meets science and yet life wins every time.

Can CJ change the world? Can CJ change her reality? And really what would happen if she did? This movies leaves a pain in my heart and the hairs on my arms at attention. I want more, but I also want peace. My heart hurts for CJ because she has experienced loss way too much and too close up.

This film was full of newcomers, including Eden Duncan-Smith (Annie, Steps) who played CJ, and brought her to life. The cast also starred Dante Crichlow, Astro, and Marsha Stephanie Blake. Each character, each actor brought the fire to make this and each of them new names you need to recognize. I need to read this. If anyone knows if this is a book, send me a link. I have to see if this ends differently than the movie. I have sooo many questions.

Until we meet again. Remember:

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. FAIL AT IT. TRY AGAIN. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. OWN IT.”

~Oprah Winfrey

Ann, Not Annie – Sage Steadman

Ann, Not Annie, is tired of her normal existence and has vowed to turn things around by dating the hottest guy in school, Jacob Waters. Easier said than done since Jacob isn’t even aware of she exists. But when a chance encounter in an empty hallway changes everything, Ann finds all her dreams coming true and she is well on her way to living the perfect life she’s always wanted. But appearances aren’t always wanted. But appearances aren’t always what they seem and Ann is going to have to face not just cold hard facts, but also her past.

As a person who suffers from anxiety and depression, this book spoke words I understood. It is never easy to lose someone and everyone takes it differently. Ann, the main character was so distant from everyone. She didn’t trust anyone and felt like she was in the world alone. To Ann, losing her father took everything from her. Her mother was always drunk, her older brother disappeared and she was responsible for her younger brother. All she had was detention and her best friend, whom she rode to school with daily.

Things slowly started to change around her. The guidance counselor took an interest in her, her best friend was acting weird and never available, and then there was Jacob. He was someone so far out of her league but a dream to be around. And he showed interest in her. She remembered him as a guy her older brother hung around. So when he asked her out, she immediately said yes, even though there was someone else who was close by that made her feel more than she ever had.

This book is more than a novel. It’s healing. It’s helps you to think of other people and realize that everyone goes through something, everyone has a story and how you can heal your own. It teaches you how bottling up your feelings stops the process of healing. This book is a much needed novel in the world we live in now. Definitely a must read!

Check out Sage Steadmans other books under MmHmm Books.

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced – A Must Read!!

Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with Finn Wilds, a rebellious local who lives with his volatile and abusive stepfather, who also happens to be the town sheriff.

Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping — they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?

R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels

R.J.Garcia links: Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook

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Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Evoke – Review

No Spoilers. YA/NA Romance – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The summary talks of a tale of five friends, bonded in a tight friendship, one day Laney wakes up a sole survivor of a car accident that killed three of her friends. But this story is so much more than that.

Cover

In this story, we are following Laney’s mind as she loses a whole week from her life. We walk with her as she remembers pieces and the pain of losing those closes to her.

The grief you feel in the beginning is a lasting one, it’s as if your own heart has been ripped out. Danielle Simmons takes you on a journey to find a love you never knew was there, a beauty you never saw in the mirror and confidence you never knew you had. This story makes you question the friendships you’ve had over your lifetime and a relationship you’ve had with yourself.

Laney is the smart one, but the bond that sticks them all together, but she is also clueless of who she is to everyone around her. Always in her friend Lisa’s footsteps, she never stopped to think about what she wanted, what she needed and when she did, life changed for her. Her life was something to envy, but she never knew that.

This book was a romance I never knew I needed. It makes me look at love in a new way. Love is patient, love is dependable and love is forever. If you like romance, hell, even if you don’t, you should read this book, because it’s not your typical cookie-cutter love story, it’s so much more than that.

Purchase Evoke here:
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Danielle Simmons

About the Author
Danielle grew up in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills. A voracious reader from an early age, she began writing poetry and short stories in elementary school, and continued that passion throughout high school and college. She studied literature, creative writing and communications at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, sons and two cats, where she is a PR executive by day, and

writer by night.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter

Blog Tour Organized By:YA Bound Book Tours

Not Cinderella’s Type

A realistic Cinderella Story

I have seen many reenactments of Cinderella and it’s always the same. A foster child was taken in being physically and mentally abused while the family uses all the money left for the child. In this movie, it was no different. Her mother died in a horrible crash, her aunt and uncle take her in, put her in an attic instead of a room in their 8 bedroom house.

Screenshot 2018-10-16 17.18.54She walked to school, while their daughters had a car and absolutely everything they wanted. Here’s where things change. The super popular guy that the sisters were obsessed with was a son of a therapist. He accidentally ran over her cat but did everything to make it up to her.

That’s when he noticed the abuse. Her best friend, a guy, decided he didn’t like that someone else was trying to talk to her and claimed his undying love for her.

Screenshot 2018-10-16 17.19.20

Bryant, the popular guy, didn’t give up. He encouraged her to check into feelings for her best friend. Told her to date him, even though he really liked her. He gave her a choice, never tricked her or played games. He always went with his gut about taking care of her.

One day, after Indy went to her best friend Max’s soccer game to support him, she got home and it was the worst it had ever been. She snapped and when sent to her room was scared of what was going to happen to her. She called Max, he said ‘Oh just let your Aunt calm down.’ She told him she was scared and he said he would talk to her tomorrow (Some best friend and way to show your emotions.)

Bryant, on the other hand, was scared for her. He pulled up and came in the house. He saw her bags packed and got her out of there. Her father was a mandated reporter. This is where I fell in love with Bryant’s character, he did what others around he should have done in the past. She was being abused. Locked in her closet and forced to do slave work,  and was never treated as an equal.

I love how this story was realistic. It didn’t make me cringe at the tv like so many Cinderella movies in the past, in the beginning perhaps, but it set the scene. Bryant was supportive, understanding and helped build her self-esteem. I have seen reviews saying it was lame, but those are the ones who like the original “I need a man to save me” “let the family abuse her until she’s 18” type Cinderella story, to me, this one is the best one for the message alone.

Screenshot 2018-10-16 17.18.17

Can you guess who she decided to date? You should check it out, now I have to read the book written by Jenni James to see just how amazing this story really was. The cast was amazing. It’s definitely a realistic movie I watched with my daughters and loved how they reacted to it.

Here’s the trailer:

Sierra Burgess Is A Loser – Netflix

Not everyone is a fan – and I can see why…

I watched this movie when it was first added to Netflix and although I enjoyed it, I had so serious concerns while watching the movie. As an adult I can see the obvious problems, but what about the teenagers who feel the same way as Sierra, or who have no adults who can reassure them this was only a movie?

Screenshot 2018-09-09 23.42.28Sierra Burgess was a heavy set “outsider” in a typical high school setting. She was a band member and people generally didn’t notice or see her, minus Veronica, the head of the cheerleading squad, who is a rival of hers. So at the beginning of the movie, Sierra is seen posting adds with her phone number for tutoring. Veronica sees it and removes her phone number from the form.

Screenshot 2018-09-09 23.43.04Veronica is the typical mean girl from teen movies because she doesn’t believe in dating “losers” and thinks that a person’s friends define them. So when Jamey approaches her for her number she gives Sierra’s number because his friends aren’t her type and since he hangs with them, neither is he.

 

Screenshot 2018-09-09 23.44.41Now, Jamey starts texting Sierra who has never had a boy interested in her, nor was ever distracted from her work before. She begins to fall for him but decides not to tell him that she is not who he thinks she is. Basically, she is a catfish. She comes up with a plan to get him to think she is still Veronica when she finds out that Veronica’s college boyfriend thinks she’s stupid and dumps her.

This movie gives teenagers complete wrong information on so many levels.

  • Number one Sierra was absolutely gorgeous and never accepted who she was
  • It tells the old story of being fat is unattractive and being a band member is an outsider
  • It says that having straight A’s is not enough you have to have a big following on social media to be important
  • The writer put gay jokes in which is not ok.

Its as if the writer was trying to bring back all the old high school/teenager stereotypes back into play. And the ending was super predictable and a complete lie. If you catfish someone or start a relationship based on a lie, it will not end in happy ever after.

I wasn’t super upset until I watched this video

She’s totally right!

Screenshot 2018-09-09 23.42.44How can we allow this kind of narrative happen in this day and age? I thought part of the movie was funny because it reminded me of the old 80’s movies and Dan kept asking questions like “Is being a cheerleader still a thing?”… Dan is Sierra’s best friend who tells her all the things I wanted to tell her. Like tell Jamey the truth and nothing good can come from lying.

There are deeper stories told in this movie, as Veronica mother was pressuring her to be skinny and a mean girl because of her insecurities. Sierra’s father is a famous writer and her mother a self-esteem self-help writer, who never see their issues with their daughter in the home. Even when she brought it up, her parents never reassured her, never made her see the beauty in herself. (A huge plot hole – I have questions.)

I let my twelve-year-old watch…

…and I was so happy to see that she had the same thoughts that I had. I think that we need to not try to bring back the insecurities of the 80s and 90s in movies but make more relevant movies to the messages that we have been putting out for so long.

Shame on the writer, who is a woman, Lindsey Beer, for writing a script that brings back fat shaming and stereotypes for all.

There was, however, a great cast:

  • Sierra – Shannon Purser
  • Veronica – Kristine Froseth
  • Dan – RJ Cyler
  • Jamey – Noah Centineo
  • Ms. Thompson – Loretta Devine
  • Stephen Burgess – Alan Ruck
  • Trish – Chrissy Metz

Here is the trailer.. watch it, and tell me what you think.