Posted in Books, ebooks

See You Again I’m not sorry…Not sorry I took a blogging break to question myself. I was seized with a feeling, a feeling that I had nothing else to say…I know that doesn’t stop some folks, but I didn’t want to waste my time or yours, you know, overstay my welcome. lately, everything I read or watched seemed to have the theme of atonement, redemption – maybe my brain was begging to reclaim my blog, atone for not believing in myself, redeem my poor little lonely blog sitting here, hoping against hope, to be read, so I thought, what the heck, a few more posts couldn’t hurt (er, famous last words?).

  • Not sorry a couple of wonderful bloggers/authors, Teagan and John knew just how to lure me back, putting down Reese’s Pieces, or in this case, books/ARCs, to lead me back to blogging (Be Good).

Atonement in Bloom, like the first book in the series (it is a series, please please please say it’s a series), roars and purrs with mystery, magic, hope, and intriguing characters you just need to know more about (unlike some people). This book review would not be complete without advising you of something quite dire indeed – this book should come with a warning label, “Read at your own risk, addictive and time-consuming in the best way possible”. Not sorry I’m not a big fan of flowers, never was, but I do like hedge mazes or a cool Labyrinth  (yes, including the awesome movie with David Bowie and the muppets) and this book had enough twists and turns to do any of those, even the Royal ones, proud. This is one of those Indie books, like it’s predecessor, that should be made quickly (but well) into a series of hit movies, starring, just to throw a few names out there: David Tennant, Aden Young, Norman Reedus, Nathan Fillion, Richard Armitage, John Krasinski, Ian Somerhalder, James Spader, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Roday…I’ve got a whole list (you know that’s right) and of course be these books should be and remain #1 on every Best Sellers List, magical and otherwise. They are simply the cat’s meow.

  • John W. Howell is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word, you will never be sorry if you visit his blog and books.  His latest book, The Contract (Between Heaven and Earth)  is co-authored with Gwen M. Plano  (I look forward to reading more of her work as well).’s a complex story that could be hard-to-follow, perhaps because it’s such a unique fusion of the natural and supernatural, but instead this tactile and celestially charged story has wings that fly in a metaphysical rush through love, hope, honour, action, and mostly, redemption. It was one of those, I’ll-just-read-a-little-more-maybe-a-few-more-pages-just-one-more-chapter-until-I’d-devoured-the-whole-book-and-had-to-write-this-book-review-or-my-version-thereof type things. Heart-thumping, in more ways than one. I can clearly picture The Contract  as a movie, or a Netflix series (hint hint Netflix, get this before Hulu, Amazon Prime, Playstation Vue, HBO, or someone else gets it).

  • Not sorry I’m honest (even in book reviews, though I’ve severely tempered my extreme, sometimes remorseless bluntness over the years, so please, send me your books). Remember when honesty, truth, facts, used to be a good thing? If you think you have a valid point, or story, or belief, or you didn’t break the law, why lie?

  • Not sorry life isn’t fair (doesn’t mean I won’t complain about it now and again…and again?).

  • Not overly sorry I didn’t get everything or give everything.

  • Not much point being sorry I screwed up and will do so again.

  • Not even slightly sorry I have opinions and can still compartmentalize, be objective and effective…as can many others. #sorrynotsorry

  • Not particularly sorry I’m dumb about some things and smart about others, addicted to chocolate and gifs and memes and books…also, not sorry I’m not: young, rich, stunningly beautiful, stick insect thin, famous, infamous, or quiet.

  • Not sorry I ignore the trolls, their utter and intense cruelty, while still feeling slightly nauseated that people are so angry, so hurt, so pathetic that they have to lash out at others to feel better, or maybe just to feel anything?

  • Not sorry I found the staggeringly absorbing TV series,  Rectify  Sundance/Netflix starring the remarkable Canadian-Australian actor Aden Young (in looks a cross between Nathan Fillion and Tom Hardy, but quite different from either, and I say that as a fan of all),, Abigail Spencer, Clayne Crawford, Linds Edwards, J.D. Evermore, J. Smith-Cameron, Nathan Darrow, Caitlin FitzGerald, Adelaide Clemens, Luke Kirby, as well as an impressive amount of Deadwood  and The Walking Dead  (idea for a new show, The Walking Deadwood? ) alumni. This is a compelling cautionary tale of how our carelessness with people can start chain reactions of brokenness. That despite unspeakable (but needs to be spoken of, long and loud) cruelty and injustice, you can find hope, kindness, justice, and even, redemption, sometimes in the most unlikely places. If this doesn’t fix in your mind how easily life can come undone and redone, I surely don’t know what would.

  • Not sorry I believe piracy is not a victimless crime, but shiver me timbers, charge less, yo ho ho and we’d buy more, you scurvy dogs!

  • Not sorry I don’t know everything. I can’t rectify all mine and the world’s problems. I can’t readily atone for all my alleged “sins”. Partly because I don’t see some of them as sins, my truth isn’t your truth and your truth isn’t my truth. Partly because time takes care of all that – a memory is not a fact. Perhaps I’m reaching an age where I’m unapologetic, but that’s a story for another day.

  • Not sorry to see you again.

Posted in Books, Cats, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Here We Are Now Entertain Us

1bull18People have many different ideas about what is ‘entertaining’. At times, entertainment can go over-the-top, get over-inflated, and well, confused. Let me help.
Rape is not entertaining.
Not sexy, not hot, not romantic, not cool.
It shouldn’t just be used as a plot device, trope, or to increase ratings.
Rape should never, ever be used to sell T-shirts.

It’s simple, rape, like any other kind of abuse is about control, forcing someone to do something against their wishes, it’s about taking away choices, and having power over someone. It’s not something to be trivialized, used, excused, ignored, rationalized, or worse, not talked about because it’s uncomfortable or awkward.

Strangely, the internet is agog about a TV rape instead of real rapes.
Battle cries roar, you must boycott Game of Thrones and HBO!
If you watch this show you’re supporting rape culture and misogyny!
I won’t stop watching a show because I’m told I have to, anymore than I will start watching a show because I’m told I have to; it’s my choice.


Rape is about a choice being taken away.
We sometimes forget we have choices. We can turn the channel or not stream it. We can buy a different brand. Read something else. Watch something else. Listen to something else. Go to different restaurant. Cancel a subscription. Choose not buy at all…not because we’re told not to, but because we choose to.


I love TV, I make no apologies.
Like most people, I have varied reasons I start watching programs and varied reasons I stop:
I grow bored, I forget it’s on which clearly implies I wasn’t that interested, cancellation, moving to a network or streaming service I don’t have, or they do something that strikes me as bizarre, annoying, disgusting, doesn’t fit with the show, etc.
I feel the same with all forms of entertainment.
In this case my choice was to keep watching a series I’d enjoyed or to do something else.
I had to ask myself, was I supporting rape culture so HBO can sell more:
Stark hockey jerseys, All Men Must Die baseball caps,
Winter Is Coming mugs, replica weapons, Pop! toys,
I Will Take What Is Mine With Fire and Blood T-shirts,
jewelery, games, action figures, and collectible dragon’s eggs?


TV is an evolving entertainment medium, so it’s not surprising sometimes it loses its way. Fangirls, fanboys, tweets, memes, podcasts, conventions, cosplay, posts, and on and on. All that attention must be overwhelming. Imagine the pressure of having all those ratings, revenues, adulation, actual worship thrown at you? Wouldn’t it be tempting to try to get more and more and more?
I understand the need for: ads, commercials, publicity, product placement, merchandise, etc., but where will it end?

1blog44History and the world today certainly aren’t all sugar and spice and everything nice, nothing sells faster or gets tongues wagging more than sex and violence, it’s been that way for a long time, but I wonder, for Game of Thrones and their viewers, could their gratuitous Jump the Stark moment turn out to be their Jump the Shark moment?

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 20:  HAPPY DAYS - "Fonzie Goes to Hollywood, Part III" - Season Five - 9/20/77, Fonzie (Henry Winkler) accepted a challenge to jump over a shark tank while water skiing.,  (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)Perhaps I need to revisit some of my entertainment choices.

As for the entertainment industry, remember, those with the most power should also show the most grace.


Posted in Christmas, Food, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

Of Interviews, Missing Shoes, and Mouse King Blues

1christmas64I had the peculiar dream last night, one of those dreams where you wake up and wonder if you’re still dreaming.
It’s said that the brain processes all the information it received that day…I guess my day was messed up.

It began innocently enough, I’m baking cookies, except every time I turned around, they’re gone. I decided the cookies must be outside, which makes no sense, but hey, it’s a dream. I couldn’t find any of my shoes so I put on ballet slippers I don’t own, my ballet skills are limited to a very, very scary-looking Pirouette and if I Jeté I end up on my derrière.
But I digress.

Putting on the slippers I’m transformed into The Mouse King from The Nutcracker, really, not The Sugar Plum Fairy or Clara, not even a candy cane dancer? Sigh.

1christmas63I find the cookies outside, growing near where Seth Rogen and James Franco are resting on the lawn looking at clouds. I ask them what’s up with their movie The Interview. They’re reluctant to talk to me, I’m a scary Mouse King munching on cookies right beside their head, but eventually they dish. They admit the hacking stuff was part publicity stunt via Sony and part mad North Korea. We chat for awhile about censorship, freedom of speech, and that giving terrorists and blackmailers what they want is a bad idea, but people getting hurt is bad too. It’s a conundrum. I mention their ‘usual’ audience would barely remember this movie afterwards. These threats actually give it credibility. James Franco agrees wholeheartedly then politely points out that I’m nibbling on Seth Rogen’s arm. I apologize profusely, but in my defense, he is cheesy.

I’m carried back into the house by Daryl Dixon, technically Norman Reedus, but it’s my dream, so he’s Daryl from The Walking Dead and we find Lena Dunham (Girls), making more cookie dough. We chat about how her show, which we agree to disagree is just Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex and the City for 20-somethings, and naturally the subjects of censorship and where my shoes could be come up again as I used my mouse tail to mix the dough.

I woke up realizing I should probably cut down on TV and stop baking so many cookies. Anyone have any interpretations?

Posted in Books, Televison, Uncategorized

The Leftovers

1left1HBO is really pushing their new series, The Leftovers.
Eerie press kits, tweets, commercials, videos, lots of stills of Justin Theroux shirtless – working all the angles.

Created by Tom Perrotta (based on his book of the same name; excellent as well) and Damon Lindelof this is a world of After.
After the sudden departures of 140,000,000 humans.
After realizing you’ve been left behind.
After you process the loss.
After you accept they’re not coming back.
Then what?


This series isn’t about the Suddenly Departed or The Rapture or alien abduction…I doubt they’re ever going to tell us where the people went.
It’s not really about The Gone at all.
It’s about who’s left and how they go on.
How would you cope if people just disappeared? Family members, friends, celebrities, leaders, etc.

1left2As audiences we’re now used to post-apocalyptic worlds, but this one has some intriguing differences.

1. It looks like our world. Still families, jobs, parties, teen angst, cults (I hope the GR isn’t just a big brand placement for big tobacco), stores, bureaucracy (yes, even new government departments and jobs for Departure Related issues), religion, despair, hope, etc. – but all have even bigger question marks.

2. People are all coping with the losses in different ways, just as they do now, but on a much larger scale.

3. No zombies, unless you count The Leftovers who seem to be going through the motions of life without being fully conscious.

4. No releasing weapons of mass destruction, no deadly outbreak, no alien invasion, no walking dead, no catastrophic event of any kind…2% of the world’s population just disappeared.


Yet this is exactly how we feel when someone who we love dies, or leaves, or stops being there for us. They’re gone, we’re left behind, but at least there’s sometimes an explanation, sometimes.


The cast is interesting, a strange mix that seems to work: Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston (so weird to watch The Doctor with an American accent), Scott Glenn, Liv Tyler (who’s your Daddy?), Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley (hit the gene jackpot with parents Andie MacDowell and Paul Qualley), Paterson Joseph, Carrie Coon, Amanda Warren, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Max Carver, Charlie Carver, Emily Meade, Janel Moloney, etc

This is the first HBO series not exclusively produced by them, actually obtained from an outside studio, Warner Bros Television. An adventurous new direction perhaps or running out of ideas?

Thinking of The Leftovers my mind used to jump to food which I may or may not eat depending on time and situation, now I’ll think #GracePeriodIsOver and #StopWastingYourBreath …and food.

This series starts slow, but soon has you hooked, almost before you know it.

1left10Best line so far?
I get the Pope but Gary ?#@! Busey? How did he make the cut?

Posted in Political, Televison, Uncategorized



Imagine Elaine Benes from Seinfeld being Vice President of the United States of America.
So now imagine she could become President of the United States if something happens to POTUS. Mind blown yet?

HBO’s Veep stars the hilarious Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer as a divorced mother of one who also happens to be the Vice Prez (the nickname Veep from VP).

She is ambitious. Impatient. Rarely says the right thing. Narcissistic. Easily bored. Obnoxious. And yet oddly charming.

Is it a coincidence this show has aired since Joe Biden became Veep? I’m sure it is.

As the Veep’s incompetent and obnoxious staff get her into one mess after another which she then always makes much worse, it’s hard to know who to feel sorry for…oh yes, the people of the country.


While the show is carried by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, other standouts include Anna Chlumsky (as I watched the first episode a few years ago I thought, gee, she looks familiar then I realized she’s the little girl from My Girl, all grown up), Matt Walsh, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, Timothy Simons, Tony Hale, Christopher Meloni, Diedrich Bader, 1veep8and Gary Cole.

As much as I love political satire, I sometimes wonder if this just reinforces political stereotypes for viewers.
You know, the self-absorbed politician who has to bow to the pressures of corporations and their lobbyists.
Pandering to the lowest common denominator for votes.1veep2

Because as much as this Veep seems to want things to change, the only thing she changes often, are her dresses.

Although there have only been 28 episodes in 3 seasons I look forward to what they’re going to do in Season 4…no spoilers as she hums Hail To The Chief.

Veep’s cutting and clever writing makes it a show worth watching…too bad voting can’t get the same numbers this show does.

Posted in Movies, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

The Normal Heart

ImageDoes love really have to be so categorized?
Love has existed throughout the ages between people in various ways, platonic or sexual.
If someone loves you and treats you well, I really doubt their anatomy should make a difference.

The Normal Heart isn’t so much about homosexuality or a disease, it’s about humans treating each other with humanity.
The heart has nothing to do with love, so what is normal? Even the fact that we say the heart has to do with love shows how mixed up we are about the emotion.

I’ve heard people kind of cluck and say, oh, I couldn’t take an actor seriously as a leading man once I found out he was gay.  He’s an actor. He’s acting. He’s not a leading man, he’s playing a leading man. I can think an actor is lovely to look at and watch just as easily if he’s gay or straight, it’s not like I’m going to hook up with them either way.


HBO has adapted Larry Kramer’s mostly autobiographical play, The Normal Heart into a heart-wrenching TV movie event.
It’s primary focus is the  HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984. Mark Ruffalo brilliantly takes on the part of writer/activist Ned Weeks who struggles to organize not only the gay community, but make everyone understand how devastating this disease is while receiving push-back from all quarters.

There was a moment when I thought, gee, Ruffalo, just turn into The Hulk, they’ll have to listen to you then, but it passed.

Julia Roberts is luminous and passionate in the severe role of Dr. Emma Brookner, an abrupt, but caring physician in a wheelchair who becomes a reluctant expert on the gay cancer as it was first known, and also an advocate for those suffering from this terrible illness.

Other standouts? Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, Joe Mantello and more.

The script is often virulent and preachy, but I understand the intensity should match the urgency. The actors wrangled the script well, giving us a memorable and moving performance. Have tissues ready.

This movie isn’t just about love, but about the power of fear, prejudice, and oppression.

Whether or not you agree with certain lifestyles there should be no doubt that we should have compassion and empathy if we are going to have hope.

This movie stressed the simple point, each and every person that dies of AIDS whether straight or gay was also someone’s son, or brother or friend or father or uncle or mother, sister, daughter, lover, husband, wife, or maybe a soldier, doctor, teacher, chef, engineer, athlete, mechanic, designer, dog trainer, construction worker, social worker, actor, plumber, musician, artist, astronaut, author…more that that, they were human beings.

I don’t feel I have to agree with everything a person says or does to love them. I don’t think love should be so conditional.


Posted in Books, Televison, Uncategorized



OK, weddings are well-known for bad food, tacky decorations, heavy drinking, theatrics, awkward conversations, and general self-absorption, but Game Of Thrones always takes wedding issues nuclear. I’m guessing George R. R. Martin has a general distaste of weddings.

Trying not to do spoilers, but good thing they have servants to return all those wedding gifts. Anyone else cheer during last night’s episode of GOT?

Margaery Tyrell (the tgot32alented Natalie Dormer) goes through husbands quickly. And anyone shocked by Joffrey (the most hated guy around and I’d be surprised if he ever acted again which would be a shame because he’s brilliant, Jack Gleeson) really needs to read the books. He’s been dead since around 2000. Love to say we’ll miss him, but it’s amazing how you don’t miss sadistic idiots. Although he was riveting.

I was on the edge of my seat, as always, watching the intricate machinations, the drama…the characters just keep me coming back for more.

So, Game Of Thrones Wedding Edition Part 2 shows us once again, you really have to watch who caters, who you invite, and those tricky seating arrangements.got27