MIRROR – Writing Wednesday

Did you participate in last week’s #WritingWednesday post? It was about an unopened box. If you haven’t posted your response, click HERE so you can do that now. Then, make sure you check in here ~ every Wednesday ~ for the latest #WritingWednesday writing prompt! Now, back to today’s regularly scheduled post…

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of The Twin, a character in one of my current ‘WIP’ manuscripts.

Today’s writing prompt:

MIRROR

Have you ever been in a fun house? You know the kind with the mirrors covering every wall. You go in a dark entryway and come face to face with what seems like a thousand clones of yourself. It’s not dark, not really, but it isn’t light either. Because the walls are made out of mirrors, you can’t tell which way to go or even which ways you can go.

That’s me. I’m the mirror.

They call me ‘The Twin.’ They have since I was a little girl.

“Which one are you? Are you The Twin?” they would ask.

Sometimes they were right, but most times they were wrong. I was pretty good at mimicking others when I was young. Now that I’m older, they’ve stopped guessing. I guess when you’re always wrong, you stop playing the game.

I don’t mimic people any more. I become them. If you’re my target, good luck. You’re going to need it.

© 2020 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt [MIRROR] inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 


What books have made your March 2020 reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out my latest post for the New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Running on Empty…

A ticket in hand, I was almost home.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
Ten o'clock turned to eleven.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
Eleven turned to twelve.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
I walk in the door, it's a quarter past two.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
The alarm goes off and the day begins a new.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
Only three hours of sleep and I'm running on empty.
Delay... Delay... Delay...
No coffee is strong enough but my purpose is plenty.

~Running on Empty by Nina Soden

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Movie Review)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW!

Title: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Story By: Chris Morgan

Screenplay Writer: Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce

Based on Characters Created By: Gary Scott Thompson

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba

Genre(s): Action | Adventure

Runtime: 2 hrs. 17 minutes

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★+ (3.66 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★     Cinematography:  ★★★★   Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

MY 2 CENTS:

Now, I am all about a good action film and I will admit, I have seen all of the Fast & Furious movies.

  • The Fast and The Furious (2001)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  • The Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift (2006)
  • Fast and Furious (2009)
  • Fast Five (2011)
  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
  • Furious 7 (2015)
  • The Fate of the Furious (2017)

This movie gives you exactly what you expect from the Fast & Furious franchise… fast paced action!

Writing/Story: ★★★

Honestly… the story isn’t all that great. In fact, there really isn’t a story. But, are you really expecting to see well thought out plots, twists, and drama? No. You’re going for the action, the car chases, and the gun fights and this movie gives you that in spades, with some minor “character” conversations sprinkled in for good measure.

If you’ve watched the previous Fast & Furious films, then you know what you’re getting into. The movie doesn’t make all that much sense, there really isn’t a point, but yet like the other films in this franchise, it managed to be entertaining which is why we continue to watch them. Plus, who doesn’t like watching Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in an action film? It is what they do best.

I was surprised to find how much comedy was actually in this film. How much I actually laughed. There is one scene, probably my favorite out of the entire movie, where Hobbs and Shaw are in these two parallel hallways with just a window between them. They each have to deal with their own sets of challenged or obstacles to get to the end of the hall at which time they need to open a door using an optical reader. The whole time Shaw is fighting off bad guys and Hobbs is doing what he is doing and still they are participating in their personal competition of who is better… tougher… stronger… whatever and having a very clear non-verbal conversation. It was awesome.

Cinematography ★★★★

I commend the camera man in this one. With all the fight scenes, car chases, helicopter scenes, and just the over all craziness… his job had to be difficult. With so much action going on at one time it would be really easy to mess up the shots and make it feel to boxed in or way to spacious, but it was beautifully filmed allowing the audience to feel like they were right there in the action but yet far enough out to see the full picture.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

I’ll admit the acting isn’t that great but the fight scenes are pretty awesome and both The Rock and Jason Statham are 100% invested in their characters and you truly believe them in these roles. Maybe they are just like this in real life or maybe it comes from years and years playing roles very similar to these.

The best thing about this film, for me, is how well Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham work together. Their on-screen chemistry is fantastic. The entire film is basically them exchanging insults and trying to one up each other. It’s a long pissing contest and it works to keep the audience entertained in between and even during the incredibly unrealistic yet enjoyable fight sequences.

Idris Elba plays a great supervillain.

This movie contains a number of really great cameos… meant to complement the film. I wont give them all away, but you just might spot Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, and Helen Mirren just to name a few. This film doesn’t take itself seriously and it doesn’t expect the views to either. It just wants to provide entertainment, keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you cheer. It does that!

FUN FACT:

During the London car chase, as Brixton’s motorcycle changes shape to slide under the oncoming truck, we can clearly hear the iconic sound effect that is used during the transformations from the Transformers cartoons and films. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, listen for it… you’ll recognize it. (You can see the clip in my video review below.)

TO SUM IT UP:

This movie was way longer than it needed to be, which made it drag for me, but I still left entertained and wondering what type of movie they would come up with next.

Have you seen Hobbs & Shaw yet? If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.

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


#WritingWednesday #WritingPrompt Challenge

Today is the 36th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin, the main character in my current work in progress, The Beast Within.

Today’s writing prompt:

Write a quick love story. The story must end badly.

“It isn’t love,” I tell myself, mumbling as she walks away. “You don’t love her. Don’t follow her,” I say, as I stand and start toward the door she just disappeared through. “Wait, Sophie, please don’t go.”

I watched as her steps slowed and finally stopped, but she didn’t turn around.

“I… I can’t lose you too,” I said, instead of the words I knew she wanted—needed—to hear.

Her back stiffened. She rounded her shoulders and held her chin up high as she gripped her car keys in her fist. I could imagine the look on her face, strong yet sad—broken yet determined, but she never looked back.

The car beeped twice. She had unlocked the door.

I’m losing her, I thought. I reached out, started to call her again, but she didn’t give me a chance. She took the last few steps toward her car door and climbed in. The door slammed shut with a load echo that reverberated off the building behind me and a shutter shot through my body. I crumpled to my knees as I watched her car drive away.

“I love you.” It was only a whisper, one she would never hear, yet they were the truest words I’d ever spoken.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write a quick love story. The story must end badly.


What books have made your November reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the December 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


Week 35 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 35th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of my turtle, Elle.

Today’s writing prompt:

Look around you and choose an object in the room. Now write something from the point of view of that object.

There she is, the one who feeds me. My human. I don’t know what to call her, she hasn’t told me her name yet, but she calls me Elle, or Elle-belly which I really like. Especially when she sings to me. I may not know her name, but I do know how to make her smile. She likes it when I swim laps. I start at the soft tentacle covered plant that sticks out of the side of my cozy little room. Then, I climb onto my sunbathing rock and run across it to dive into the water. From there, I spin around and shoot myself through the water, as fast as I can, until I end up back at the plant. I could do it over and over for hours and she would just giggle and smile the whole time. I like making her happy.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Look around you and choose an object in the room. Now write something from the point of view of that object.


What books have made your November reading list? Comment below and let me know! Then, click on the links below to check out the November 2019 New York Times Top Ten Lists and see which books you’d like to add to your reading list!


The Shining (Movie Review)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? Click on the video below!

I love receiving review requests. So, when a request to review The Shining came in, I jumped on it. Did I really need a reason to re-watch The Shining? No, but I’ll take it. 🙂

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

STORY LINE:

Jack Torrance, a writer and former teacher, signs a contract to spend the winter, with his family taking care of an old hotel with a violent past. Secluded in the Colorado mountains for 5 months, Jack, who is recently sober, slowly gets more violent and angry. His son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the “Shining”, to inform the people outside about what is going on in the hotel.

MY 2 CENTS:

The Shining has always been one of my favorite horror films. It is perfect in just about every way. When The Shinning was first released, in 1980, it received mixed reviews. People didn’t really know what to make of it.

The fact that it was nominated for a Razzie award – honoring the worst of cinematic under-achievements – just blows me away. In my opinion, it is pretty perfect! Much like Citizen Kane or Schindler’s List, I can’t think of anything wrong with this film.

Sure, it’s metaphorical and it leaves the audience wondering what they just watched. What is wrong with that?  

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

I loved the novel. It was one of the first books I ever read that truly scared me. And the film, although very different than the novel, had the same effect. I have read that Stephen King hated the movie and recently read the following quote:

“The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice. In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene. I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I’m thinking to myself the minute he’s on the screen, ‘Oh, I know this guy. I’ve seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part.’ And it’s so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that’s just me, that’s the way I am.” ~ Stephen King, on The Shining

In my opinion, yes, the book and the film are very different. However, just because I love the book doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the movie for what it is. The Shining is a classic horror film that will, until I die, send chills up and down my spine and nightmares into my sleeping mind.

Cinematography ★★★★★

This film has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen and to say that about a horror film is pretty amazing. Most horror films, especially these days, are all about the jump out at you scares, the blood and gore, and less about the visual aspects of the film.

The opening scene, where he is driving up the mountain, is stunning.

Fun fact… Although the inspiration for the fictional hotel came from Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, Kubrick ended up using Oregon’s Timberline Lodge for the exterior shots of The Shining’s Overlook Hotel and all of the interior scenes were filmed in England.

The entire film, from the opening until the closing credits, visually draws you in and leaves you on the edge of your seat in anticipation and fear.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Jack Nicholson is absolutely fantastic in this film. When you first watch him, he is oddly and uncomfortably comical. His is so light hearted in some of the scenes, especially the terrifying ones. However, as you watch his insanity settle in, you realize it is a great performance. One of the scariest scenes is when Jack is stalking his wife up the stairs. He is telling her, with a crazy smile on his face, “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in. …”

Shelley Duvall appears to be on edge and devastated throughout this entire film. I’ve heard that Stanley Kubrick treated Shelley very poorly throughout filming. Some people say he did it in order to get this devastated performance, and although I don’t agree with his methods, I have to admit it worked. Watching her, you truly do believe she is afraid… devastated… and just completely lost.

Danny Lloyd is amazing and, in my opinion, gives us one of the all-time best child actor performances. He is natural and completely believable. I find it hard to believe that his film credits pretty much start and end with this film. However, he does make an appearance in the film Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. But, I was disappointed to find out he is playing just a spectator and not reprising his role as Danny.

FUN FACT:

There is a photograph at the ends of the film, that shows Jack Torrancce, Jack Nicholson’s character, smiling at the 1921 July 4th Ball at the Overlook Hotel. It leaves the audience on edge, because it leaves you questioning reality. Has he been there the whole time? Was he there before? The worst part is that the questions are never answered.

When asked what the photograph means, Stanley Kubrick said, “The ballroom photograph at the very end suggests the reincarnation of Jack.” That would mean that Jack Torrance is the reincarnation of a guest or someone on staff at the Overlook in 1921.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”

“I like you, Lloyd. I always liked you. You were always the best of them. Best goddamned bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.”

This quote makes me wonder… ‘I always like you.’ Is he referring to the fact that he knew him before, from time spent at the hotel? Plus, the mention of Portland, Oregon… is that a nod to the fact that the exterior hotel shots were filmed in Oregon? Just food for thought.

TO SUM IT UP:

This film is a terrifying glimpse into the declining mental state of a man on the edge. It’s a horror film where the lead character – a drunk on the wagon – is an abusive husband and father. Sure, it is an extreme situation but the fact that this type of thing can, and has, happened makes it all the more disturbing.

This movie came out in 1980, so you’ve probably already seen it, but if not, I highly recommend it.  Especially if you plan to see Doctor Sleep while its still in the theatres… watch The Shining first, even if just to reacquaint yourself.

Have you seen The Shining? If you have, let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. If not, I recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.

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


The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

TITLE:      The Last Time I Lied

Paperback Release Date: April 2, 2019

AUTHOR:               Riley Sager

GENRE:                 Thriller

PAGE COUNT:       370

RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★.75
Story: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★


AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

In this New York Times bestselling thriller from the author of Lock Every Door and Final Girls, a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago.

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees.

Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera–the only one on the property–pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.

BOOK TRAILER:

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

You probably recognize the author’s name, Riley Sager. I recently reviewed his book Final Girls, which I loved. It was the first book in a while that I actually gave a 5 out of 5-star review. Well, he did it again with The Last Time I Lied. It was amazing.

STORY (★★★★★): This story follows Emma, who at the age of 13 goes to summer camp at Camp Nightingale and bunks with three other girls who end up going missing and the camp is shutdown. This book takes place 15 years after that event and Emma is now an accomplished artist in New York City who secretly paints the three missing girls into all of her paintings, hidden under layers of paint.  Basically, she suffers from anxiety because of this tragic event that happened during her childhood and she uses her art as a form of therapy.

During her art show, at the gallery, Franny the owner of the camp shows up and asks her to return to camp for the camps re-opening. She wants her to come and be an art instructor at the camp. Emma eventually decides to go hoping for closer, and also hoping to maybe do a little investigating and find out what happened to the three girls.

WRITING (★★★★★): The pace of this story is great. It’s a very fast read, I think I finished it in just a few days.

The structure is interesting, it jumps back and forth between the past and present a lot. This allows us to not under understand what Emma is going through today but also what she experienced 15 years prior and how that colored her world as she grew up.

This book was so much fun to read. Sager is great at putting suspicion on so many of the characters making it hard for the reader to trust anyone. Usually I can figure out ‘who done it’, but with this one I didn’t know the end until the twist happened and the answers are given.

I really like how Riley Sager writes and I love his vivid settings and descriptions. He uses a lot of similes in his comparisons that just paint a wonderful picture for the reader. I love his plot twists and the big reveals – like in Final Girls, the reveal in this one really surprised me.

I love how Riley Sager is able to tie up all the loose endings by the end of the book. It makes for a very clean story with no plot holes, which I like when it comes to single story books as opposed to series. In a series, I want to be left with a cliffhanger until the last book.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): There are so many characters that I wanted to trust, but couldn’t. You even find out things about the lead character, Emma, that make you question whether or not she is the “good guy” or the “bad guy”.

Since this book is told from the perspective of a female character, there are a number of scenes where the author, being a man, could have really messed up. However, Sager is really good at writing from the female perspective and capturing the emotions that come along with the events that happen throughout the story both in the past as well as present day.

APPEARANCE (★★★★): The cover, designed by Alex Merto with photograph by Aaron Smith, is beautiful and haunting, although the photo doesn’t look like the character of Emma.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Sometimes the only way out is through.”

“My future is quite literally a blank canvas, waiting for me to fill it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Riley Sager is the pseudonym of a former journalist, editor and graphic designer. Now a full-time author, Riley’s first thriller, FINAL GIRLS, became a national and international bestseller and was called “the first great thriller of 2017” by Stephen King. Translation rights have been sold in more than two dozen countries. His second book, THE LAST TIME I LIED, was a New York Times bestseller. His latest novel, LOCK EVERY DOOR, which is currently on my TO READ LIST, was an instant New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today bestseller. A television adaptation is being developed by Paramount TV and Anonymous Content.

A native of Pennsylvania, Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. When he’s not working on his next novel, he enjoys reading, cooking and going to the movies as much as possible. His favorite film is “Rear Window.” Or maybe “Jaws.” But probably, if he’s being honest, “Mary Poppins.”

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

ALSO BY RILEY SAGER:

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