The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview

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TITLE:      The Last Time I Lied

Paperback Release Date: April 2, 2019

AUTHOR:               Riley Sager

GENRE:                 Thriller

PAGE COUNT:       370

Story: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★


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.



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.


“Sometimes the only way out is through.”

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


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.


Disclosure: When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, marketing, author events, etc.

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco ~ Book Review

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  • Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
  • Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★


Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.


I’ve always been fascinated with the minds of serial killers. Not in a creepy way, but in a ‘how could anyone possible do that’ sort of way. My mind tries to understand that which cannot be understood… With that said, I’ve read a number of books about Jack the Ripper and I’ve even played his final victim in the play, The Belles of Whitechapel by Wayne Miller. So, when someone asked me to read and review this book, I jumped at the opportunity.

WRITING (★★★★): Maniscalco’s writing style is detailed and fluid. I love how easily I was swept away to the late 1800’s while Jack the Ripper was roaming the streets. Although, at times, the story seemed to drag, bogged down by unnecessary scenes, it didn’t distract me from the over all story. I loved Maniscalco’s style and am eager to read more.

STORY (★★★★): Audrey Rose, our heroine, is a member of high society expected to attend tea, brunch with the ladies, and accept her place in society as an uneducated woman. However, Audrey Rose doesn’t accept that. She has a passion for knowledge and a curiosity for forensic science. Sneaking behind her father’s back, she studies under the tutelage of her uncle, spending many days elbow deep in the viscera of the latest cadaver.

The author leads us down a few paths, making the reader question who the killer, Jack the Ripper, really is. I’ll admit, I made a couple wrong guesses, but I got it right on my third try about half way through the book. If you pay attention, the clues are there.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): The book has a small cast of primary characters, the two main characters being Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell. We’re also introduced to Audrey’s Uncle Jonathan, her brother Nathaniel, her father Lord Edmund Wadsworth, her Aunt Amelia, and her cousin Liza with a few other thrown in throughout the story.

Audrey Rose isn’t your typical 1800’s lady, but I found her to be fun, feisty, and all around relatable. Like many teenagers, she often acts without thinking, she jumps to conclusions, and she puts herself in dangerous positions. She is strong willed and brave. It’s that bravery and courage that I enjoyed the most about her character. The way she didn’t care about blending in… fitting in… she was who she was and she didn’t care what other people thought about her.

Thomas Cresswell, who fancies Audrey Rose from just about the moment he spots her is the devilishly handsome, smooth talking, bad boy. Or at least that’s what he wants you to believe. I loved the way that he and Audrey play off each other. There is chemistry between them from the start, but back in the 1800’s it wasn’t proper to act on emotions so there is also a lot of restraint. That push and pull of emotions is fun to read.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover is beautiful. We have a clear image of what Audrey Rose looks like, although, I’ll admit she isn’t the girl I was picturing as I read the book. We also get a visual of her world, the dark streets of Victorian-era London. I think the cover artist did a beautiful job.


“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

“In my spare time I flay open bodies of the deceased. Two of whom were victims of leather Apron. The scent that hung in the room would drop a man to his knees, and I aided my uncle during the postmortems while standing in gelled blood. Whatever you have to show us won’t be too much for my stomach to handle, I assure you.”


Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

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

Also by Kerri Maniscalco

Becoming the Dark Prince

In this irresistibly-priced short story, catch a glimpse of the inner struggles and triumphs that drive Stalking Jack the Ripper‘s endearing but troubled hero.
Enigmatic, brooding, and darkly handsome, Thomas Cresswell has always been the one mystery Audrey Rose has never been able to fully solve. As brilliant partners in crime investigation, they understand each other perfectly…

but as young lovers, their passionate natures have led to both euphoria and heartbreak throughout the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.
This novella features a collection of scenes that takes place during and after the pair’s horrifying Atlantic voyage in Escaping From Houdini. Experience new and familiar scenes from Thomas’s unique point of view, including an intensely personal look into his plea for Audrey Rose’s hand in marriage.
With a romance for the ages, Audrey Rose and Thomas reach the conclusion to their epic, irresistible partnership in their final adventure, Capturing the Devil.

Hunting Prince Dracula

In this New York Times bestselling thriller, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life? FEATURES BONUS CONTENT EXCLUSIVE TO THIS PAPERBACK EDITION!

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Escaping From Houdini

Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell find themselves aboard a luxurious ocean liner that becomes a floating prison of horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer.

The #1 bestselling series that started with Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula continues its streak in this third bloody installment…. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, Audrey Rose

Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow more and more bizarre. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation before more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Capturing the Devil

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London.

But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve encountered before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) – Movie Review

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  • Title: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
  • Director: Robert Rodriguez
  • Writers: James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis
  • Stars: Rosa Salazar (Alita), Christoph Waltz (Dr. Dyson Ido), Jennifer Connelly (Chiren), Mahershala Ali (Vector), and Keean Johnson (Hugo)
  • Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Runtime: 122 minutes

Writing/Story: ★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★


Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita’s true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death. Written by Anthony Harmon


Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was Based on a graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro. I haven’t read the graphic novel series so I can’t compare them to the movie. I’m just reviewing what I saw on screen and I personally think that James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis did an awesome job with the adaption and that Robert Rodriquez was exactly the right director to bring it to life.  

Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Complete Series Box Set

Right from the start of the film, you are swept away in this mysterious, dangerous new world where nothing is as we know it today yet the societal struggles of class are all too familiar.  

The only think I really had a problem with was the unnecessary romantic storyline. I didn’t really believe the relationship between Alita and the local boy who falls in love with her.

Cinematography:  ★★★★★

I don’t usually call out the cinematographer by name, but this film was so much fun to watch and the imagery that Bill Pope gave us on screen was truly beautiful. The world created in this film is stunning and the effects are amazing!

The motor ball scenes which depict this world’s sporting event are insane. Basically, the players go around a race-track with a metal ball that they have to capture. Its violent and fast-paced, and so exciting. As a movie goer, I was drawn right in.  

The visuals in this world are insane!!! The fight sequences are so exciting. I love a strong female character, but I do think that Alita is a character than all movie goers can enjoy.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

Rosa Salazar was fantastic as Alita and the special effects associated with her character were astounding. I will definitely be checkout out more of her work.

Christoph Waltz was good as Dr. Dyson Ido. You could really feel his fatherly love for Alita as well as his internal struggle with what he was doing just to survive.

I’m a Jennifer Connelly fan but with this film, I felt that her character was really under-utilized. There just wasn’t much character development with her character. I felt like they could have done so much more with her.    

Mahershala Ali was another actor that just felt stagnant in this film. There wasn’t much to his character. He was a puppet and I felt like just about anyone could have played his role.

Keean Johnson who plays Hugo, Alita’s love interest, actually surprised me. No, I didn’t believe the romance between them, but he did a great job with his internal struggle. He so desperately wanted to get up to the upper world and will do, and has done, literally anything he has to do to get there. Then, when he meets Alita his starts to struggle with some of his decisions.


“This is just a body. It’s not bad or good. That part’s up to you.” ~ Dr. Dyson Ido

“You’ve been given a chance to start over with a clean slate. How many of us get that?” ~ Dr. Dyson Ido


Overall, I loved this film. I’ve seen some less than flattering reviews on it, but I really enjoyed it and think it was a lot of fun. Sometimes you really just want a fun, strong, unstoppable character and that’s what you get with Alita.

Have you seen Alita: Battle Angel yet? If you have let me know, in the comments below, what you thought of it!

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View the Official Trailer Below:

My 2 Cents… The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

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pants 2Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) 
Director: Sanaa Hamri 
Writers: Elizabeth Chandler (screenplay)  and Ann Brashares (novel) 
Stars: Amber Tamblyn (Tibby), Alexis Bledel (Lena), America Ferrera (Carmen), and Blake Lively (Bridget)

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

Buy the movie HERE

Four college freshmen and best friends find that it may take more than a shared pair of jeans to help them stay in touch as their lives go in different directions.

Carmen Lowell is working backstage of a play at Yale when the lead actress, her friend Julia, invites her to Vermont for the summer to work on a play with a professional cast. Because her mother is pregnant and she believes her friends will kill her if she doesn’t visit for the summer, she decides to stay home. However, she quickly changes her mind after she finds that her friends have all made plans to leave town for the summer. Lena heads to New York for a drawing course, Bridget heads to Turkey on an archaeological dig, and Tibby is working in a video rental store and still editing her documentary.

While in Vermont, Carmen develops a crush on the lead actor Ian, who tricks her into auditioning, and she is cast as the lead female role, much to Julia’s dismay. Later Carmen learns the truth about her friendship with Julia. The broken-hearted Lena finds that Kostas has just married, with a baby on the way, and she starts dating the male model from her drawing class. Yet, Kostas is never far from her mind. Bridget finds letters addressed to her that her father has been hiding for years and finally reaches out to her long-lost grandmother.

In last week’s #SundayScreening post, I talked about the first movie in the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants duology, this week I’m talking about the second movie.

I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the first movie in this series. The idea of magical pants keeping friends together even over long distances sounded silly to me. However, it gave just enough mystical, lightheartedness to allow the film to address some pretty heavy topics. The second movie was no different.

In The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, there is love loss, heartbreak, emotional awakening, family reunions, pursuit of dreams, surprise relationships, and personal growth. Lots of personal growth.

The lead actresses in both of these films are very well-known and not at all screen shy. They wear their emotions on their faces for the world to see, feel, and experience with them.

Tibby, played by Amber Tamblyn, is the resident rebel. After suffering a huge loss in the first film, allows herself to get close to someone else… so close they fall in love. Then, after a pregnancy scare, she pushes him away.

Lena, played by Alexis Bledel, best known for her role in The Gilmore Girls, plays the sweet, innocent, rule follower. Yet, in this film she allows herself to break a few rules, follow her heart, even when it feels broken, and go after what she wants.

Carmen, played by America Ferrera, is a hard-working college student at Yale. After a disappointing meet up with her three best friends, she decides to run off to Vermont for the summer to work backstage at a professional theatre. Little does she know, love just might be waiting for her on stage. She discovers more about herself, and true friendship, during that summer away than many are able to discover throughout our college career.

Bridget, played by Blake Lively, is the free-spirited wanderer. Yet, in this film, she is more grounded than any of the others. She takes a journey that leads her to discovering a way to cope with the loss of her mother and reconnects with family she thought would forever be lost to her.

All in all, this film touched on some pretty intense topics and did it in a way that people of all ages can relate.

Have you seen this film? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t watched it, I challenge you to do it. Watch both of the films, they are available on Netflix, and then come back here and tell me what you thought.

“The problem is every time I try to get close to somebody it’s like there’s something out there that just says oh Tibby’s about to be happy, better get her.” ~ Tibby

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My 2 Cents… Unicorn Store

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unicornTitle: Unicorn Store (2017) 
Director: Brie Larson
Writers: Samantha McIntyre
Stars: Brie Larson (Kit), Samuel L. Jackson (The Salesman), Joan Cusack (Gladys), Bradley Whitford (Gene), and Mamoudou Athie (Virgil)
Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

Writing: ★★
Cinematography: ★★★
Story: ★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★ (2.75)

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

It will pass the time. This movie is more about the message than it is the acting or the script.

Let’s start with the cast. The lineup is pretty amazing. I mean, come on… you’ve got Brie Larson (AKA Captain Marvel) playing the lead – and, oh by the way, she directed the film too, ‘A List’ actor Samuel L. Jackson as the strange yet inspirational Salesman, Joan Cusack as Gladys, Kit’s quirky emotional mom, and Bradley Whitford as Gene, Kit’s caring and insightful father. The cast was great, so I expected the film to be great too. That is where I made my mistake.

I knew nothing about this film when I decided to watch it. I was Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson on the Netflix poster and said, “Yeah ok. I’ll give this a try.”

The idea of a store called “The Store” in the movie, or “Unicorn Store” in the title of the film, being able to fulfill your childhood dreams is somewhat intriguing. But then again, what were your childhood dreams? I mean really think back to when you were a little kid and what was the one thing you wanted more than anything?

The lead character, Kit, wanted to have a pet unicorn. Oddly enough, she carried that childhood dream into her adult life. When I was a kid, I’m sure I wanted a pony at some point or another, but more than anything I think I wanted a chauffeur driven limousine. Do I still want a pony? Probably not. Do I still want a chauffeur driven limousine? Sure, but not enough to follow a mysterious invitation into what appears to be an abandoned building to see if my dreams could be realized.

As I’ve gotten older, my dreams (or rather my goals) have changed. In most cases, I would think this is true for just about everyone. I think it would be hard to find someone with the same goals and dreams they had as a child well into their 30s, 40s, or even 50s and beyond. So, for me, this film lost its reality when we find a 20+ or 30+ struggling artist who still have a very powerful dream of one day owning a pet unicorn.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this movie isn’t just about the pet unicorn or struggle to obtain a unicorn. It’s a metaphor. Behind the weird script lies a message is about belief, I not only yourself but others. It is full of childlike love, ambition, wonder, and even fear. Think of it as a mid-life crisis… a coming of age story about a woman in her late 20s/early 30s struggling to find herself, her purpose, and most importantly her place in life.

This movie is not for everyone, and I don’t really think I am part of the target audience. With that said, I’m sure there is an audience perfectly in tuned to its unique sense of quirkiness.

If you’ve seen this film, please comment below and let me know what you thought. If you haven’t and are daring, I’d love it if you’d watch it and then come back to share your thoughts with me and my readers.

“The most adult thing you can do is failing in what you really care about.” ~ Gladys

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You can watch the official trailer here:

One Two See by Bob Lee

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123TITLE: One Two See

Writing: ★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★
Overall: ★★★ (3)

Counting enables Andrew Strong to see the future. He has to be careful though as changing the future can get people killed. He decides to ask a psychiatrist for help but has to save his life first and convince him that his abilities are real. Even with help, it’s hard to stop a kidnapping and break up a Miami Street gang while you’re falling in love.

Buy the book HERE!

WRITING (★★): I love reading. I love supporting self-published authors. I love a captivating story that draws me in… or at least a story that intrigues me. This one did that, which is why I was able to overlook the obvious lack of editing. However, because it was so obvious, I couldn’t give the writing anything higher than a 2-star rating.

I double checked the copyright page, wanting to make sure I was correct, and no editor was listed. It’s sad, because so many readers will put a book down faster than they pick them up, if there are too many editing issues in the first chapter. This story, as you will read next, was very interesting, but the constant grammar issues and incorrectly used words was very distracting.

Just a couple of examples would be the use of the words coarse and cloths

  • Instead of saying ‘of course’ the author used ‘of coarse’ throughout the book. This happened several times, to the point that I began counting and then lost count. Sure, the two words are pronounced the same, but they have different meanings. Coarse is always an adjective meaning “rough or crude” and is often used to describe the texture of something like a material. “This shirt is so coarse, it makes my skin itch.” Course, on the other hand, can be used in several different ways, the most commonly used, of course, is ‘of course.” However, it also can be used as ‘a route, direction, or path’ that something is going. “The trail’s course was steep and winding.” It can be a series of lessons, such as those learned in school. “I’m taking a debate course and learning all about public speaking.”
  • Cloth, which refers to fabric or material was used in the plural ‘cloths’ throughout the book in place of the word ‘clothes.’ This word wasn’t used nearly as often as ‘coarse’, but it was enough that I remembered it.

These are simple mistakes that could have been fixed by the use of an editor. As a self-published author, I know the importance of utilizing beta readers and a professional – PAID – editor before publication. I’m an author, my passion is in the written word… telling my story… and seeing where my characters take me. I am not an editor, which I’m sure if you’ve read enough of my blog posts you can tell. However, that is why all of my books go through extensive rounds of beta-reader edits as well as multiple rounds of professional editing.

My suggestion to Mr. Lee would be, “get this book professionally edited then, republish with a new cover.”

STORY (★★★★): I probably would not have picked this book up if I saw it in the bookstore. The fact that it isn’t available in bookstores, or anywhere I could find online, would make it hard to pick up anyway. However, if I did see it, I can say, I wouldn’t have bought it. The cover alone turned me off, but I’ll get to that later.

The first grammar error I noticed was on the back cover, not a great sign. However, a friend loaned me the book and said she really enjoyed it. She knew the author and wanted to know if I wanted to read it. Since I love reading, I said sure. I pushed aside the grammatical issues and just focused on the storyline. I won’t lie, it’s intriguing. The author is able to weave together a number of small plots very well. He brings characters together at just the right moments and ties them into the main story in a pretty seamless way. Once I got into the story, I was invested in knowing where it was going and what would happen next. Andrew’s ability to count things and see the future was exciting and somewhat daunting at the same time.

There were times when the story seemed to drag on, giving a bit too much exposition. However, in the end, it all tied together and as a reader I was thankful for all the extra scenes he plugged in throughout the book that didn’t seem to be necessary at the time I read them. I know, that may seem a bit cryptic, but I really don’t want to give to much away. I think, for the story alone, this book is worth reading. You just have to be prepared to ignore the grammar.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): Lee brings together two very unlikely characters and turns them into fast friends. That part didn’t bother me. I could envision Andrew and Leo as friends. The character development and back story of both Andrew and Leo was well written, although Bob Lee often used dialogue to tell the reader, instead of descriptive language to show the reader what he wanted us to know.

I felt that the book was a bit to dialogue heavy at times and Lee doesn’t always tell you who is talking, so there were times when I lost track and wasn’t sure who said what.

With all that in mind, I have to say he did a wonderful job of fleshing out the character of Andrew Strong. He is a fully developed character with a complete back-story and a consistent attitude throughout the book. There isn’t much growth for any of the characters, but there is conflict throughout and obstacles that they all have to find their way through.

APPEARANCE (★★): There are two titles for this book ‘1-2-See’ and ‘One Two See’. There are also two covers for this book, the one above (on the left) which I found on Amazon and the one on the right, which I read. Neither does the book justice. The one on amazon looks like a child using scissors and glue put it together. The one I have just had no imagination to it.

A novel’s cover is the first impression a reader has of your book, of you. If the cover isn’t appealing, readers will not pick up the book. As an author, I highly recommend hiring a professional cover artist as part of your preparation for publication. There is so much to this story. I feel a real cover artist could have given it a great, eye-catching cover that would have drawing readers to it.

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On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson

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Golden Pond

PLAY TITLE: On Golden Pond
AUTHOR: Ernest Thompson

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.75)

A comedy for a cast of 3 men, 2 women, 1 boy. This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the forty-eighth year. He is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with heart palpitations and a failing memory-but still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness-and slang-in return. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll, and in the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.

Buy the play HERE!

Buy the movie HERE!
On Golden Pond is a classic. The way that Thompson brings these characters to live is simply beautiful. It’s about life, relationships, and the heart.

I love when an author like Thompson can take a simple story, a retired couple spending the summer at their lake house, and turn it into so much more. By the end of the script, you’re emotionally attached to the characters, you care what happens to them, and you long to learn more about them.

The father/daughter relationship between Norman and Chelsea is heartbreaking. In just the few scenes in which they are together, it is obvious how much they love each other… how much they want to be close… and yet, they aren’t. It isn’t until Chelsea brings Billy, her boyfriend’s son, to visit her parents that Norman finally bonds with a child. It’s just said that it wasn’t his own child.

The husband/wife relationship between Norman and Ethel is exactly what I believe my grandparents had. They lived a similar life and were not only each other’s best friends, but they were soul mates. They were perfect together in every way. I believe that Thompson wrote their relationship to be perfect… almost to perfect, but not unbelievable in any way.

As an actress, reading this script has just added two characters to my list of dream roles I’d love to play. If I ever get the chance, in the next few years to audition for Chelsea, I will not let it pass me by, and of course… Ethel would be a dream role when I get older.

As a director, I have to be honest… I think it would be hard knowing how emotionally connected I am with the characters. I think I’d want to be on stage too much to do justice as a director.

APPEARANCE: Plain green cover with black text… Typical Dramatists Play Service cover. I feel like the plain cover allows the reader to use their imagination when envisioning the characters.

“Sometimes you have to look hard at a person and remember he’s doing the best he can. He’s just trying to find his way, just like you.”

“Well, that’s what happens if you live long enough: You end up being old. it’s one of the disadvantages of a long life. I still prefer it to the alternative.” 

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on golden pond movie posterMovie Title: On Golden Pond
Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn (Ethel Thayer), Henry Fonda (Norman Thayer Jr.), and Jane Fonda (Chelsea Thayer Wayne)

STORYLINE: The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea — whom they haven’t seen for years — feels she must be there for Norman’s birthday. She and her fiancé are on their way to Europe the next day but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiancé’s son. When she returns Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate at last? (IMDB.COM)

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My 2 Cents… Set it Up

Would you prefer to watch the video , instead of reading the review? CLICK HERESet it up

Title: Set it Up
Director: Claire Scanlon
Writer: Katie Silberman
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★ (The only reason this is 4 stars and not 5 is because of the predictability of the script).
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.66)


Two young assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses to date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might be right for each other. Written by

I was in the mood for a fun, predictable, romantic comedy… Set it Up did not disappoint! I loved the chemistry between Zoey Deutch and glen Powell who played off of each other perfectly and looked great together. Even the supporting characters; the guy in the elevator, the best friend/roommate, and the waiter played their characters perfectly.

The script was tight, with little to no plot holes our unanswered questions. Although I had predicted the ending, long before, I was still crossing my fingers and rooting for the characters.

This film has a little bit for everyone… romance, humor, sports, etc. It is a feel-good film that is perfect for a rainy day.

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You can watch the official trailers and video clips here:

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

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TITLE: Girl of Nightmares
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake

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


Girl of Nightmares, the acclaimed sequel to Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood.
It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live―not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Buy it HERE on Amazon! 

The Critical Points:
This is the second and final book in the Anna Dressed In Blood series. Last week I talked about Anna Dressed In Blood, and if you saw that review you know I loved that it.

WRITING: Blake’s writing style is very fluid and easy to read. This was a quick read, I think it took me three days to finish. With that said, I did feel like Blake struggled a little with getting through this story, or maybe figuring out where it was supposed to go. It didn’t feel as well planned as the first book did.

STORY: This is a continuation of the story found in Anna Dressed in Blood, and picks up shortly after that book ended. Although I really enjoyed the first book, I have to say I felt a bit let down by this one.

CHARACTERS: Cas, who I loved in the previous book, came across more as a whiney kid in this one. He was always complaining when he didn’t get his way, or focusing on the negative instead of showing the strength and confidence he had in the first book. I also didn’t really care for the new character we meet… the mysterious Jestine who for whatever reason has to save the day. No, I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say this, I don’t like it when authors feel the need to save the female lead with a pop-up male character, well, I don’t like it when a pop-up female character has to jump in and save the male either.

APPEARANCE: Like the cover of Anna Dressed In Blood, this one is also very beautiful, and whimsical. Yet, surrounded by fire is evokes more fear than the previous cover did. The hit of romance is gone and the truth behind the veil of death is revealed. The cover for Girl of Nightmares perfectly portrays the feel I believe Blake was going for when she wrote this story.

“Every time I question him about the feasibility, he smiles at me like he’s Yoda and I’m just a dumbass without the Force.”

“Everyone seems to know more than I do, and being on the shallow end of the information pool is starting to piss me off.”

“It’s true what they say about answers only leading to more questions. There will always be more to find out, more to learn, more to do.”

“…I kiss her, one time, and try to tell her in that single gesture everything that she’ll forget as soon as she turns away. I tell her I love her. I tell her I’ll miss her. And then I let her go.”

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Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

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TITLE: Anna Dressed In Blood
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.75)


Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

The Critical Points:
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while now. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t read it before now. I’ve loved the cover since it was given to me but just never felt compelled to read it. I’m so glad that I finally did. A couple weeks ago, I was in the mood for ghost stories, which is why I started reading 20th Century Ghosts. Well, when that one left me feeling less than excited, I decided to pick up Anna Dressed In Blood which promised a ghost dressed in Blood. I was crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t be let down again.

WRITING: Kendare Blake has a very easy, fluid writing style. Anna Dressed in Blood was a fast read that left very few questions unanswered. It is full of adventure, awkward teens, death, and although it’s not a love story, that’s in there too.

STORY: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…
Actually, there is nothing average about this story. It’s a fun coming of age Young Adult story of a teenage ghost hunter who finally finds his tribe.

CHARACTERS: Every character, at least the important ones, are fleshed out to the point where you feel like you know them. Blake has a beautiful way of bringing unlikely friends together and making it feel completely natural. You care for Cas, Thomas, and Carmel and when things don’t go their way, it hurts. Sure, there are some untimely deaths (I won’t tell you who or how), but in a ghost hunting story, there has to be… Don’t worry, she kills the right characters.

APPEARANCE: I wish I knew who designed the cover, but unfortunately it isn’t written on the copywrite page. The cover, which shows Anna standing outside of her Victorian home, is actually foreshadowing what happens in the book. It is beautiful, whimsical, and romantic and perfectly portrays the feel of the story that Blake has created.

I had a hard time coming up with a favorite quote from this one. Let me explain, typically, I find my favorite quote(s) while I’m reading. Something will just hit me and I’ll love it and either highlight it or write it down. But, with Anna Dressed In Blood, I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t think about the fact that I needed to find my favorite quote. I was lost in the world Blake had created. Trust me, that’s a very good thing.

So, I had to go back… thumb through the pages to see if I could find a quote that stood out. Of course, I did.

“Until a few weeks ago, none of this was real.”

It’s a simple little quote, and seemingly means nothing without the context of what was around it. However, I like it because its true for any book of fiction you pick up. None of it is real… yet if it is written well, it feels so real. The characters feel like they have come to life on the pages and it is sad and painful when you have to let them go at the end of the story.

OK, one more favorite quote… just for fun:

“But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.”

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NEXT WEEK’S #FRIDAYREADS SELECTION: GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by KENDARE BLAKE The second (and final) book in the Anna Dressed In Blood series.