Jul 27

Her Dakota Summer – Pre Order

Her Dakota Summer Cover

When you have a male nanny as sexy as Celeste’s, it’s hard to remember you’re supposed to be the boss.

While the actual book isn’t releasing until August 18, feel free to preorder so it’s ready and waiting on your Kindle for a hot summer read!

Click on the cover to preorder!

Jul 14

Tuneful Tuesday: My Top Songs of the 60s

the road of successAnother week is started and once again I try to revive this old blog.  Each time I declare that I’m going to post regularly, but you know what?  I’m going to take it easy and post when I can.

Today’s post is inspired by the break I was taking to day from writing.  As I surveyed new and old music on youtube.com, I realized how many old-time songs (I.e. songs before my time) that I enjoyed.  I decided to gather my top five songs of the 60s.  So get out your soul beads, your round glasses and your  knitted shawls, sit back and enjoy.


5. Stand by Me – Ben E. King


4. House of the Rising Sun, The Animals



3. Sounds of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel




2.   Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles




1. I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Of course, I’m always curious to know what’s your favorite song or songs from the sixties decade.  Let me know in the comments!


Jul 09

Horror Movie Review: Død Snø


Zombies, oh Zombies.  Nazi Zombies. Nazi Zombies who are after their stolen treasure.  What could be better?

Title: Død Snø
Genre: Horror – Zombies…Nazi Zombies!!
Director: Tommy Wirkola
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/

deadsnowHow have I not reviewed this movie yet? For goodness sake, I’m slacking off.


Here is the synopsis according to IMDB:

A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.

I gave this movie an A. I went into it knowing what I was going to get…a B grade zombie popcorn flick. This movie did not to pretend to be anything more than that. And they succeeded in a grand fashion.

First of all, we have the so-called Ice Monster prologue…a scary chase through the woods set to Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, which is awesome stuff in and of itself (spoken like a true band geek, lol), but when included in the movie was just…choice.

Then we have your motley group of med students on vacation in a cabin that is literally in the middle of nowhere, that is lacking….say it with me now….cell service.

What a ride this movie was! It was gross, funny and thoroughly entertaining. I laughed out loud at some parts and covered my eyes at others.

I’d totally watch this again…..at nine in the morning, of course.

Note: Please, I beg of you, watch it in Norwegian with the English subtitles. The dubbed version is distracting. Plus, you get to hear what the actors’ voices really sound like.

Grade: A


Jun 29

Horror Movie Review: The Frozen

Hey all!  I know I’ve been away for a bit.  With three little ones, the end of school week can a be a bit of a blur.  Between the graduations, the teacher’s gifts and the parties, it is a miracle I was able to take a breath.  But I’m back with another review for you.


Though I titled this a horror, it could easily be classified as a thriller.  It’s a little strange and confusing at times, but I enjoyed it…though I would not watch it again.


Title: The Frozen
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Andrew Hyatt
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2363439/

The Frozen Movie PosterNo, this is not the Disney movie that took the world by storm. Look, I’m a huge sucker for going into the woods and bad things happening movies. Here is the synopsis according to IMDB:

After a harrowing snowmobile accident, a young couple is stranded in the woods and must survive while waiting for help to arrive. Events take a turn for the worse after the disappearance of Emma’s boyfriend, leaving her on her own not only to battle the elements, but also to elude a mysterious hunter who is tracking her through the forest.

I’m a simple chick. I like movies that scare, surprise and make me think. I’m not that kind of gal who tries to second guess the movie or make predictions on where the movie is going to go. No. Nope, not me. I just sit back and enjoy the narrative as laid out by the director and actors.

It’s such a simple movie and the backdrop of the cold, unforgiving wilderness serves to put a telling chill into the setting. What would you do if you were in an accident and your companion goes off to get help, leaving you alone in a tent? Then, you start to hear things…..

There is a lot of good camera work and convincing acting by the lead actress. The atmosphere was tense, especially when the pursuing bad guy was introduced. And the pervasive snow in the movie made me feel cold!

I see most of the folks on IMDB gave it a 4 out of 10. I say give the movie a chance. Go into it with fresh eyes and no expectations/predictions of what will happen. I’m not trying to say it’s a masterpiece and it’s nothing new and different, but somehow this quiet little movie endeared itself to me.
Grade: B-

Jun 09

Horror Movie Review – Home Sweet Home

HomeSweetHomeTitle: Home Sweet Home
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Trope:  A killer in the house
Director: David Morlet (As David Morley)
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2348394
Tagline:  Your house, my rules.

I don’t have much to say about this movie. Here’s the plot, according to IMDB:

A young married couple comes home from a date night to discover that they are imprisoned in their own house with a methodical killer inside.

Film opens, you get this set up of a dude going around someone’s house, nailing the windows shut etc. OOOO, boy, you think, he’s going to get a bunch of partying teens in this house and knock ‘em off one by one. Score!!!

Look, I’m no movie snob. I enjoy a good hunt-em-down and kill ‘em flick. But this….this movie was so empty that I could barely make myself finish it.

Basically, it’s what’s on the tin. A young married couple (who didn’t look that young to me) come for a weekend at this house and get trapped inside with a killer.

Whatever message the filmmaker was trying to send, I didn’t get it. The movie was a big yawn for me.
I found some of the victims’ actions strange and inexplicable. I found myself asking why don’t they do this…or that? And why didn’t they do this? (I’m being deliberately vague so as not to give anything away.)

At the end I just sat for a bit, thinking….okaaaaaay, so that’s it?

I will say that the killer’s mask creeped me out to no end and I was watching this in the middle of the day.

Gore: It was rather bloody in parts. Not Jason bloody, but bloody enough. I’d say at least 2 or 3 bottles of Karo Syrup and red food coloring were used. (Do they use corn syrup for blood anymore or am I dating myself?)

Animal Lovers: There is a cat in the movie. He/she is not harmed.

Grade: D
Watch or not to watch?:
I wouldn’t give this a second viewing. Maybe I’m missing some deeper meaning here, but I don’t think so. The movie was devoid of any character to root for or dislike. I found myself glancing away from the screen torn between not wanting to give up on the movie and just turning it off. I should have turned it off – I wouldn’t have missed much.

May 30

Horror Movie Review: Annabelle

Annabelle-posterTitle: Annabelle
Genre: Horror
Director: John R. Leonetti
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3322940/
IMDB synopsis: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

By now you know that I am not the strongest of heart when it comes to watching horror movies, but I watch them anyway because apparently I’m an idiot. Also, I like to be scared.
I started Annabelle waaaay early in the morning because I can’t stand possessed doll movies. In the 1970s, I was scared to DEATH of the Magic trailer because of that weird-looking ventriloquist doll. I rewatched that movie a couple of months ago and it’s still kinda scary.

My list of scary movie dolls or doll type things:
Poltergeist (That damn clown!)
Child’s Play (Only the first one)
Magic (see above)
The Puppetmaster (Ugh, I got chills just typing that.)

But I digress, as a woman with a deep fear of scary movie dolls will do.
Given the creepy movie poster, I figured that Annabelle would join the list.

It didn’t.

First of all, I was annoyed at the main character’s name…..Mia. Can we say Mia Farrow from Rosemary’s Baby? Come on folks….of all the names in the world. Anyhoo, our lovely Mia is given the most evil looking doll ever in the history of movies by her super bland doctor husband and of course, she loves it. I’m like…honey, get yourself an American Girl doll please and thank you.

So la dee dee la dee da, strange things begin to happen of course. She has the baby and they are happy for a bit, then ish starts to jump off, as we all knew it would.

Bonus points for cool sixties/seventies clothes, hairstyles and call backs.

Boo points for the Magical Negro trope, where the Black lady is not only knowledgeable about everything that is bothering poor Mia and the whole curse thing, but sacrifices herself via suicide to save the white couple.


We’re not through with this trope yet? And the sad part was, I saw it coming twenty miles away. The even sadder part was the writers didn’t even make an effort to make the journey interesting.

I was also ticked Evelyn (the Black woman) owned a bookstore. Who’s going to run it now that she’s dead? Dammit!

Oh, and the doll is REAL and resides in this weird museum that I saw on Mysteries at the Museum. But in real life it’s a Raggedy Ann doll. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse….

Grade: D
Not even entertaining enough to laugh at or have fun with. Annoying cliches. However, there were good jump scares and some blood.
Watch or not to watch?: Watch it if you like, but even chicken-me wasn’t scared. I guess I was just too busy rolling my eyes.


Sidenote:  Look how similar the doll is to the dummy from Magic (1978).  And yes, that’s Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Magic Poster

May 29

I Don’t Binge Watch Shows…and Here’s Why

homer-simpsonI’ve seen all over social media about how people are planning to order in and binge watch this show or that show on Netflix (my viewing poison of choice) or from their bulging DVR lists. Take it from me, I love some television. I will watch Mountain Monsters, Law and Order (The Lenny Briscoe years), Finding Bigfoot (you know they’re just thisclose to finding Bigfoot, right?) River Monsters and an occasional Tosh.0.

But I don’t binge watch. It drives me nuts.

Being a detailed oriented person, I tend to notice details and the underlying structure of things. Take Law and Order for instance. The show follows a consistent pattern most times you see it. It’s comforting, knowing what’s coming next, but yet still being entertained by the writing. Most shows, however don’t stand up to that scrutiny.

One show I watched on Netflix was so fascinating to me I kept clicking “next episode”. After the third episode, however, I found myself getting annoyed with the characters. By the fourth, I was rolling my eyes and shut it off in the middle.

The problem was, each and every episode started with one character wandering off and the second character chasing after him. This is how they jumped into whatever hijinks the writers scheduled for them that week. Yawn. Wasn’t there any other way to kick off the inciting incident?

Binge-watching keeps me from absorbing the nuances of an episode, rolling the events of the story around in my head and mulling over what might happen next. Watching one episode after another doesn’t give me space or time to do that.

I like to let the characters and situations linger, allow them to breathe like a fine wine. I certainly wouldn’t pour a bottle of perfume over myself. Binge watching is like eating a whole cake in one sitting. Sure, the first two or three pieces might be pretty good, but after that, the flavor becomes dull and unsatisfying.

So I don’t binge watch. I don’t like it and sometimes it serves to turn me off a show. Plus who has the time to veg out in front of the television? There’s life outside to be lived!

May 27

Movie Review – Shrew’s Nest

Title: Shrew’s Nest
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Director: Juanfer Andrés, Esteban Roel
IMDB link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3417756/

ShrewsNestPoster-thumb-630xauto-47594Synopsis according to IMDB:
Spain, 1950s. Montse’s agoraphobia keeps her locked in a sinister apartment in Madrid and her only link to reality is the little sister she lost her youth raising. But one day, a reckless young neighbor, Carlos, falls down the stairwell and drags himself to their door. Someone has entered the shrew’s nest… perhaps he’ll never leave.

This little gem from Spain took me by surprise. As always, I started in the morning, so that any residual fright would wear off by the time I went to bed. Yes. I love horror movies, but I’m the world’s worst scaredy-cat.

(One time I watched Jeeper Creepers 2 for the first time and went to bed. I kept expecting the Creeper to come out of my closet. And no, I’m not 12.)

Anyhoo, this film is in Spanish with English subtitles, so I had to pay close attention to the screen in order to understand what was going on. Let me tell you, I’ve seen a ton of movies working with the same material, but this one presented it in a new and thoroughly shocking way, at least for me. The actors kept the…some may say “tired” plot going until its climax.

It is a psychological drama combined with a horror/slasher so there’s plenty of dark, spooky shadows and sticky blood for all.

The visuals are top notch and, well, the 50s fashion and hair I just loved.

Grade: B+

Watch or not to watch?: Catholic guilt and sin, religious imagery, blood and crazy ladies your thing? Watch it. It has echoes of both Misery and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. And as I said above, if you have watched enough movies, you know where the movie is going and where it has been….but enjoy it for what it is, spooky, Gothic and damned bloody!


May 20

Movie Review: The Battery

Title: The Battery
Genre: Horror: Zombies
Director: Jeremy Gardner
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2272350/



In a land ravaged by the undead, Ben and Mickey must first learn to survive each other.

It’s a zombie movie. Of course I’m going to watch it, either through my fingers or like a boss, but I’m going to watch it. I liked the movie poster. I’m still a fan of the baseball move to whack a zombie skull, so to see one of the characters holding a bat…I was pretty pleased.

This is not your typical zombie movie with the characters hiding in an attic or basement, surviving on canned food and sniping at each other. Rather, this is an open movie: regaling us with the beauty of the New England countryside in summer while also reminding us of the danger that lurks around nearly every corner.

The director, Jeremy Gardner, is also one of the main characters named Ben. Ben has an epic beard and is the alpha of the two males. The second main character, Mickey, is the softer type. He walks around with headphones on, keeping the music going in his ears as he follows Ben through the woods and along the roads, basically allowing Ben to make most of the decisions and all of the zombie kills.

Ben’s growing impatience with Mickey’s refusal to cope with their reality leads to some interesting scenes that I won’t spoil here.

Overall, this is more of a character study of the two men and how they react to these new circumstance than a run-for-your-life post apocalyptic movie.

Special Effects: The effects are not the point here. If I read correctly, Gardner spent about 6k to make the film in two weeks. Don’t go into this expecting realistic splatter and gross-out gore.

Watch or not to watch?:
If you like quiet, self-contained movies and the dynamic of male relationships, then you’ll like this movie. If you’re looking for blood, gore, brains and breathless chases, you will find this movie boring.

Trivia: In baseball, the term battery refers collectively to the pitcher and the catcher, who may also be called batterymen[1] or batterymates of one another. (wikipedia.org)

Grade: A minus

Apr 07

#ListMission: Books I Re-Read Every Year



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