My 2 Cents… Book Club

Book Club

Movie: Book Club
Director: Bill Holderman
Writers: Bill Holderman and Erin Simms
Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen,

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club.

Amazing cast!!! I just have to put that out there right from the start. This is a comedy, which is obvious if you’ve seen the trailer, but it’s so much more than just a comedy! The script dives into some pretty serious topics too; grief from the lose of a spouse, retirement, adult children who end up parenting their parents, dating in your later years, and the cause and effect of life choices!

I definitely recommend this one. I laughed so hard and truly enjoyed the wonderful characters these talented women brought to life.

Now, the real question… who wants to start a book club with me?!?! I’m ready to commit to a night a month to discussing books and drinking wine!

So, have you seen Book Club? Have you read Fifty Shades Of Grey? If you answered yes, to either of these questions, what did you think? Please share your thoughts!

Watch the movie trailer here:

Wake by Lisa McMann

AUTHOR: Lisa McMann

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody- notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 

WRITING: This is a quick read. The style is unique in that it is broken down by date and time instead of chapters. It starts when Janie is a little girl and moves quickly with large breaks in time. Then, as she gets older and starts high school the breaks in time become smaller and smaller until they are hours or minutes apart. The result leaves the reader feeling like a voyeur, peaking in on Janie’s life. It is a very effective style for this story, but I don’t think it would work in every situation.

STORY: I picked this book up at a used bookstore, with no idea what it was about. When I read the back cover, I was instantly intrigued. As an author, about six months ago, I outlined a story idea that had to do with entering other people’s dreams. So, finding a book that dealt with the same topic, although very different, was exciting.

Overall, I think the story was interesting. You can empathize with Janie, as well as the other characters. You’re emotionally invested as a reader and want to know how Janie and Cabel will get out of their crappy home life situations and where the story will take them. There is a twist… which I will not give away… but it allows you some closure. If there were a stand-alone book, it would work. However, it isn’t and I’m very excited to read book 2 (FADE) which I had to order online. Book 3 (GONE) was available at the used bookstore and I picked it up when I bought this one. So, I’ll be reading that one soon enough.

APPEARANCE: There are two covers for this book. I have the simple back cover with the floating pillow and purple text. I love the simplicity of this cover – it was the reason I picked up the book in the first place. The second cover (see above) probably wouldn’t have caught my eye. I may have missed out on this book all together.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE: “Your seat adjustor you ass. We have to pull them together. It’s a bench seat. As you can see.”

I’m not really sure why this is my favorite quote. It just made me laugh really hard when I read it. I suppose it was just the perfect line to show the true Janie and how comfortable she was in that moment. There are other lines, ones with more emotion, more sentiment, more… just more, but this one made me laugh.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

When Are You the Most Creative?

creative thinking

Do you have a specific time of day when you feel you’re at your creative peak? Is there a place you go to get a quick surge of creativity? Or, is it an activity you do that helps you put your creative thinking cap on?

I read that studies have shown; people are typically at their most creative in the late evening hours and at their least creative late afternoon/early evening. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that my best ideas come to either while I’m in the shower (morning, afternoon, or evening), while I’m on a road trip, or when I’m half asleep. It seem ironic to me that in all three cases I am, more often than not, unable to jot down my thoughts… unless I’m a rider not a driver! I’m an author… I can’t let my most creative moments pass me by! 

The thing is, I don’t really believe that this is something a “study” can tell us. Everyone is different. I’m typically a morning person, while my husband is typically a night owl. I say typically because life… jobs… kids… they often dictate what type of lifestyle we have to adjust to, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy it. I do believe however, that there are certain times of the day when we feel the most creative and other times when creativity seems impossible. I just believe the ‘creative zone’ happens at different times for everyone.  

The truth is, it doesn’t matter when or where you feel you’re at your most creative. What matters is that you know when/where that is ,so you can use it to your advantage. Below I’ve listed a few tips on how you can figure out what your most creative times of the day are, where you’re most creative, and what activities spark your most creative thoughts/ideas. 

Keep a “creativity log” to track your tasks. When tracking project progress, you want to jot down when the project started, when/where you worked on it, and when you finished. Long periods of time spent working on one task is typically a sign that you were focused and in a creative zone. However, taking a long time to complete a task because you are working on it sporadically may indicate you were distracted, un-focused, and not in a creative time/space. Tracking tasks from week to week will allow you to determine your most creative times/locations each day and which days you tend to be the most productive.

In order to use your creative time the most productively, you may want to consider juggling your schedule a bit. Whether it’s at work or home, make sure you are scheduling fun, creative tasks during the hours you feel your most alert and focused. Use this time to write, create, or work – if that’s what you’re passionate about. Just make sure you are spending your most creative time of day on creative tasks.

Once you know when your creativity is most likely to sneak up on you – like me in the shower or on a nice long road trip – you can start to plan for it. For me, I always have a pen and notebook with me… yes, even in the bathroom. That way, if inspiration hits me, I can jot down my thoughts as soon as I jump out of the shower. Whenever it is that creativity seems to be at its peak for you, you need to be prepared. So, think about how you can plan for that next inspiring moment. 

Do you have suggestions on using your creative time wisely? Comment below and share when you’re most creative and how you make sure to never let inspiration slip by!

My 2 Cents… DUDE!

DudeMovie: Dude
Director: Olivia Milch
Writer: Olivia Milch
Stars: Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott, Alexandra Shipp, and Awkwafina

A group of teenage girlfriends deal with life after high school.

DUDE is a grounded comedy about dealing with first losses in life–leaving your best friends, the death of loved ones, and the passage of time–and that odd mixture of grief and nostalgia experienced by young people as they try to understand these losses. It is also about getting stoned with your friends in your car while listening to hip-hop.

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.66)

My 2 Cents:
Netflix recommended this movie to me because I had just finished watching Life Sentence also with Lucy Hale. I did sit through the entire hour and 37 minutes of Dude, although I’m pretty sure I’ll never get that time back. It wasn’t that it was a bad movie, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. Definitely not another typical teen comedy where girl meets boy, they fall in love, break up, and eventually end up together again.

Right from the start, a mix-match group of high school aged girls are smoking weed, drinking, and cussing like gangsters. As a mom, this put me on edge. One of my biggest fears is that I’m not raising my kids right and they somehow end up going down the wrong path and end up like the teens in this movie.

Back to reality… I’ll leave my parenting choices out of this.

The acting was good, especially Lucy Hale. [SPOILER ALERT] During the party scene… when Lily finds herself alone with the overly aggressive boy that she only partly knows, Lucy shows just how good her acting chops really are.

The directing, not bad… I can see why she made the choices she made.

The writing wasn’t bad either, and I’m sure there are more high school kids out there living lives just like the ones seen in this film than I’d like to believe. Overall, I think it was a good movie, but I do hope it’s not one my kids watch while staying up late watching Netflix on their iPads.

You can watch the official movie trailers here:

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks


TITLE: The Notebook
AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that it becomes more than a story-it becomes an experience to remember forever. The Notebook is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again… At thirty-one, Noah Calhoun, back in coastal North Carolina after World War II, is haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier. At twenty-nine, socialite Allie Nelson is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but she cannot stop thinking about the boy who long ago stole her heart. Thus begins the story of a love so enduring and deep it can turn tragedy into triumph, and may even have the power to create a miracle…

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 

THE NOTEBOOK is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever.

Set amid the austere beauty of coaster North Carolina in 1946, THE NOTEBOOK begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories… until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is not engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape.

Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, THE NOTEBOOK establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.


WRITING: Nicholas Sparks has a way of transporting you, emotionally, into a world all his own. When I cracked the spine of this book, I found it hard to put it down. I was reluctant to leave Noah and Allie, wanting—needing—to know what would happen next in their epic adventure. If it weren’t for Sparks’ amazing writing style and his ability to engage the reader on a deeply emotional level, this could have been just about any other love story filling the Romance shelf of your local book store. Yet it isn’t. The Notebook stands out among the others as a true classic in my eyes.

STORY: WOW… Just WOW! I was delighted to find out that this story was based on the lives of Nicholas Sparks’ wife’s grandparents. To know that this kind of deep… unbendable… love exists doesn’t surprise me, as I am truly, madly, deeply in love with my own husband. However, to know that this kind of love, can withstand even the hardest of obstacles thrown at it, gives love a whole new meaning. I imagine this to be the kind of love my own fraternal grandparents must have shared. I remember as a child, watching them look into each other’s eyes in such a loving, longing way. Years into their marriage, and long past their youth, they still loved each other just as much as the day they first realized their love existed.

Nicholas Sparks’ story is a love story to which all love stories should be measured by. I won’t give anything away, because although I am tempted to tell you all about the story, from start to end, this is one book I don’t want to ruin for you. I want you to read it for yourself. I want you to experience it first hand, take the journey with Noah and his beloved, and find out what fourteen years apart can do to the “love” they shared during their fairytale summer romance.

APPEARANCE: The cover is simple, the view from Noah’s front porch. At first glance, the cover reminded me of On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson. The cover didn’t draw me in, at first, but as I read I longed to sit on that porch and see the world through Noah’s eyes.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE: “…But most of all, I learned that life is about sitting on benches next to ancient creeks with my hand on her knee and sometimes, on good days, for falling in love.”

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Check out the official movie trailers here:

Scenes from the movie:


woman reading book

Photo by Pixabay on


• Cover Design – YES, people do judge books by their covers! The cover is your books first impression, if people don’t like it they aren’t going to pick it up to read the back blurb (2nd impression).

• Detailed Editing – The more editing the better! Readers will give your book on average 1-3 chapters to impress them, often less.

• Strong Story – Some editing issues can be forgiven as long as your story is strong.

• Marketing – You should start marketing your book at least 6 months prior to the actual book release date.

I want to know your thoughts too!!! Comment below and share your suggestions for ensuring a successful book launch and consistent sales after your book has been published!

My 2 Cents… Life Sentence (Season 1)

LifeTV Series: Life Sentence (Season 1)
Creators: Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith
Stars: Lucy Hale, Elliot Knight, Jayson Blair, Brooke Lyons, and Carlos PenaVega

When Stella finds out her terminal cancer is cured, she must learn to live with all the choices she made when deciding to live like she was dying.

Stella (Lucy Hale) has lived the last 8 years of her life making every day count. 8 years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer, but when she finds out that her cancer has been cured, she struggles to make some life choices. How do you make choices when there isn’t a weight on your shoulders anymore?

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

My 2 Cents:
OK Lucy Hale… I’m a fan. Having known Hale only from Pretty Little Liars, I was glad to see her in something a bit more serious. Something that could challenge her acting abilities. Life Sentence is a fun, yet serious, dramedy (drama/comedy) that touches on topics such as cancer, mixed marriages, discovering yourself, sexuality, and marital affairs.

No, cancer isn’t funny… but, in the context of a young girl who discovers her new-found life, the series creators have found a way to make all of life’s ups and downs entertaining. I laughed. I cried. I was disgusted and pissed off. To say that I was emotionally involved by the end of the season would be correct. Sadly, I have learned that there will be no season two as the CW canceled the show. So, I guess if you’re just looking for a short commitment… with minimual time investment… you should binge watch Life Sentence on Netflix, but be prepared for all the feels.

You can watch the official season one trailer here:



Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M. Yardley


TITLE: Pretty Little Dead Girls
AUTHOR: Mercedes M. Yardley

Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.5)

“Run, Star Girl.” Bryony Adams is destined to be murdered, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny. Mercedes M. Yardley’s Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy is a dark, lovely fairy tale with lyrical language and a high body count, and features a cover by Hugo award-winner Galen Dara. Includes “Oliver Bloom” by Ryan Johnson, a short story featuring characters from Pretty Little Dead Girls.

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 


Let me start by saying I know I’m in a minority with this book review. I’ve seen the amazon reviews… Pretty Little Dead Girls has an average of 5 stars with 82 reviews and that is awesome! I guess this narrative style of writing just really isn’t my cup of tea. Or maybe it isn’t the narration, its more that every character seems to have the same voice… but more of that later, when I talk about characters. 

With all that said – I still think that Mercedes M Yardley is a talented writer, and I do plan on reading more of her work.

WRITING: I have never read anything like this… The author writes from a narrator’s point of view, but instead of standing outside the story and telling you what happens, the narrator speaks directly to the reader. Addressing the reader, outside the context of the story, is very jarring.

STORY: Right from the start of the story, the reader is intrigued. We’re told that Bryony is the type of girl who gets murdered. We don’t know why, but we accept it as truth. Starting on page one, you are drawn in and you start searching each new character you meet to find out if they might be the one to murder Bryony.

This is when the story falls apart for me. I’m intrigued by the concept of the story, the idea that this girl has a destiny that is so plainly clear to everyone, but it’s never explained. We never – throughout the whole book – learn why she is destined to be murdered or who EVERYONE KNOWS IT! The whole story is about how she is destined to be murdered, everyone knows it and tries to protect her, and how she escapes her destiny as people around her die.

I just felt like the potential was there for this to be a really amazing story, but it fell flat for me.

CHARACTERS: I’m not really sure how to describe the characters in this book. Honestly, they all feel the same, other than Bryony. Because everything is told from the Narrator’s point of view, everyone seems to speak in the same voice. I think the part that really threw me, was when there was a full conversation, between Bryony (our lead) and the Murderer, using only eye contact. A conversation that was so absurd… so ridiculous in the moment… that it pulled me right out of the story. This is only one example of many, where I found myself shaking my head and asking myself, “why am I still reading?” Yet, I read it from page one until the end. 

APPEARANCE: The cover was designed by Galen Dara, and the artwork is truly beautiful. Reading the story, I didn’t really envision Bryony looking like the girl on the cover, but that didn’t take anything away from the book for me.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE: “Bryony Adams was the type of girl who got murdered.” It’s the first sentence of the book and immediately draws you in.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.


fashion woman girl women

Photo by Negative Space on


• A strong opening – Right from the start of your story the setting should set the mood and tone for your readers.

• Balance – You need to have a balance between SHOWING through strong, but not overwhelming, descriptions and TELLING through script-worthy dialogue

• Diverse, well-developed characters – Keep in mind that not everyone is beautiful, people have scars (emotional and physical). Your characters should all be uniquely themselves, with their own back-stories, personalities, etc.

• Conflict and Resolution – Every good story needs conflict, it’s what allows the characters to develop, adapt, and change, throughout the story.

• A satisfying conclusion – This doesn’t mean a Hollywood “happy” ending, it just means that all the plot holes have been filled in and questions have been answered… that is unless you’re leaving your readers with a cliffhanger! I have to admit, I love a good cliffhanger. 

What else do you feel are key ingredients for a strong story? Share your thoughts and comments below! 

My 2 Cents… Same Kind of Different as Me

Same kind ofBlurb:
International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

Ron Hall lost track of what matters most in life. It took an affair, a confession, a dream and an unlikely friendship with a homeless man to help him remember. From the outside, Ron Hall’s seemingly charmed life looked pretty perfect: He had a flourishing art business, a beautiful wife, two fine teen children and an amazing 15,000 square foot house in Fort Worth, Texas. But appearances can be deceptive.

Director: Michael Carney
Writers: Michael Carney, Alexander Foard, and Ron Hall (screenplay) | Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent (book)

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

Based on a true story, Same Kind of Different as Me will bring you to tears, so make sure to have some tissues on hand when you watch it.

I hadn’t heard of the film until sitting on the airplane (it seems I watch most of my films while flying), but it had Renee Zellweger in it so I hit play. It is definitely a film driven by the story and the acting. There are no crazy expensive special effects to keep you entertained and in awe. The story is strong… heart wrenching… and an important one to be told! The acting is perfect in every way.

Denver (played by Djimon Hounsou) is a homeless man who through fate is befriended by, Debbie, a wealthy white woman (played by Renee Zellweger) and reluctantly, Ron, her husband (played by Greg Kinnear). Where their journey through friendship takes them and how they grow as they learn more about one another is beautiful. I won’t give away the ending, or spoil the story for you, but if you’re in the mood to watch something truly beautiful… something with a message… something that isn’t just pure entertainment, then I suggest renting this one.

You can watch the official movie trailers here: