I'm a Book Vetter

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Charles Ray's Frontier Justice: The Story of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S Marshal [Book Review]

Bass Reeves knows the land they call Indian Territory in Arkansas as well as the surrounding areas. And because of this, Reeves is given a job as US Marshal by Judge Fagan. Only thing is, Reeves can't read nor write. Reeves was born into slavery and slaves weren't allowed to learn to read or write. He was to become a run away slave after roughing up his master up a bit over a card game. Bass hid in Indian Territory among the Indians until he knew things were safe enough for him to carry on his way. He would make a life for himself and his family by cultivating a farm.

Fagan has hired Reeves as a US Marshal (or Marshall) to serve warrants to a few outlaws, but with Reeves not being able to read this might be an issue. At least to Fagan. Reeves explains to Fagan that he has a great memory and if Fagan reads the warrants to Reeves he'll be able to do his job. Fagan tests Reeves by reading a warrant to him in which Reeves repeats all the details back to Fagan. With this, Fagan is satisfied and sends Reeves on his way to get his men.

I have to say, after writing that summary, it sounds better than what the book really was.

I'm not a fan of old west books, but wanted to open my mind and give one a shot. I think I should have kept my mind shut.

The book was filled with unnecessary details. When Ray describes Fagan's office he goes into great details. Down to describing exactly where the large map of Arkansas was hanging in his office. I'm not one for details like that. I don't need to know the thread count in the rug or the shape of the desk legs (exaggerating here, of course, about the thread count and such). All I need to know is that "Fagan sat in a high backed chair that placed him in front of his large wooden desk. Fagan motioned for Reeves to sit in the chair placed before the desk". More details were given to the facial hair everyone had, their brows and how they formed to make certain facial expressions. I think saying "he had a look of anger" or "he looked at Reeves with a curious face" would have sufficed. I made up those lines to make a point.

The other thing that turned me off was the history of the land. Wherever Reeves went to look for the outlaws, the history of the land was given. I felt like I was in school and had to read this book for an assignment. Again, I feel the history of the land could have been incorporated into the story telling. I think this has to do with my short attention span. While I was reading the over abundant of details provided along with the history lessons, I kept thinking about the movie Mozart when Mozart, played by Tom Hulce, is being told by Emperor Joseph II, played by Jeffrey Jones, that his music has too many notes:

I tried hard to overlook the amount of details written but it became too cumbersome at times. The reading, thus, became non enjoyable, at least for me and I really wanted to like this book. After reading I wanted to be excited about reading another book set in the old west, but I think I'll hold off a little longer before I give it a shot again.

I wouldn't write off this book for others at all. It's a short book of 253 pages. If you want to read about a man who chased outlaws in the old west, you might want to give this a try. The reason I say this is because what I think is not law. I'm a book reviewer - I review books. Good or bad, I review them.

I tried to like it because it is a historical fiction book, but, as mentioned already, the details and history lessons kept me from doing so.

The book did open my eyes to Bass Reeves and now I'm interested in learning more about him.

If you read the book and have a different take, please let me know. I may have a change of heart after hearing your take on it.

UPDATED 15 NOV 2017 I decided to read a sample of another old west book to see if it was just this particular I reviewed that I didn't like, or old west genre in general, I don't like. I now know it's the genre I don't like. I can watch a western, but I just can't read about it.
Frontier Justice: The Story of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S Marshal 

Author: Charles Ray
Publisher: Uhuru Press
Pages: 253
Release Date: 1 February 2014
Where To Buy: Amazon

You can read about Bass Reeves on the Legends of America site.

Bass Reeves

Monday, November 13, 2017

M. William Phelps Don't Tell A Soul [Book Review]


Cherry Walker was a kind hearted 29 year old who matured mentally slower than the rest of us, but that's not to say she wasn't smart. Cherry loved everyone and everyone who met Cherry loved her. Her one joy in life, besides kids and her parents, was getting her done on Saturdays.

Cherry met Kim through an upstairs neighbor who used to watch Kim's kids. Kim's youngest son started being cared for by Cherry, which most thought shouldn't be the case since Cherry is child herself, mentally. But there was one quirk about Cherry, she loved horror movies and when I say love I mean LOVED horror movies. And because she wan't mature enough to understand, she would watch these movies with Timmy, Kim's youngest child she watched.

Cherry would soon be the star witness in Kim's custody hearing and the one who could expose Kim for the rotten mother and human being she was, but Kim couldn't let this happen and would do anything to prevent Cherry from testifying. With the help a male friend, Kim killed Cherry, burned her body and left her on the side of the road.


Kim felt she was entitled to her kids just because they were her kids. But then again, Kim always had this entitlement complex her entire life. Some make chalk it up to her being adopted and this effecting her self-esteem. But after reading this book and the despicable things Kim did to her kids and people around her who disagreed with anything she wanted to do, my bet is on Kim and no one or nothing else. Kim was just born bad and no amount of counseling would cure the evil inside of her.

She lived in complete filth. Had four kids by four different men. She yelled at her kids and physically abused them. She was just down right mean to her kids and degraded them any chance she got, especially the oldest boy Brian, whom she seemed to take her aggression on since he was a baby.

When Kim's ex-husband found out Cherry was taken care of Timmy he filed for custody (it was thing along with marks he saw on the kid's body - not from Cherry but from Kim) and paid with his life. As mentioned, Kim will stop at nothing to keep her kids from being taken away from her. She would also use people for the same purpose.


Kim needed people to be character witnesses for her so she went to her high school reunion to reconnect with a few people she was friends with in high school. After the reunion, she made sure to keep up the charade with one of her friends and in doing so, she was able to get this 'friend' to lie on her behalf through letters. Soon the friend was not feeling right about what she was doing, as well as realizing she could face prison time for falsifying information (she wrote what a great mother Kim was and such when the friend had never seen Kim with her kids) and stopped helping Kim. Let's just say Kim gave the friend a tongue lashing she'll never forget.


I'm not sure what gets into people who think killing others will make things better for them. I've always wondered where does the thought of causing harm and actually causing harm to others stop for us normal folks? And where is that lined blurred for people like Kim. How did she think she wouldn't get caught in the killing of Cherry Walker? Kim was so blinded by the fact that someone was going to tell her No by way of taking her kids away, her thought process only focused on stopping the one person who could stop her and who wasn't afraid of Kim. 

Cherry might have had the mind of a child but she had the heart of gold and ensuring the little boy be removed from the toxic environment (both by filth and his mother) was her goal. Cherry also wasn't afraid of Kim, which I think through Kim off her game and I think this added the need to kill Cherry for Kim.


This is another great book by Phelps. Anne Rule used to be my true crime author, but now it's Phelps. He has a way of telling stories that keeps you on the edge of your seat. His writing style puts you in the middle of everything so much so you want to warn those about to be killed or hurt.

Other books I recommend by M. William Phelps:
and his latest book Targeted: A Deputy, Her Love Affairs, A Brutal Murder (I will be doing a review of this book in about a month).

Author: M. William Phelps
Pages: 469 
Publisher: Pinnicle - 28 February 2017
Where To Purchase: AmazonBarnes and Noble, iBook

Tori Telfer's Lady Killers [Book Review]


When people think of female serial killers, they automatically think of Aileen Wuornos. Why? Because in the day and age of television and newspapers and the media just wanting to get that piece of news out, she became well known while she was alive. But she wasn't the first female serial killer and we may never know who was the first female serial killer by the mere fact that there were so many before her and more wicked than her.


It's hard to phantom a female being a killer, not to mention a cold blooded killer, but that's just what these females in the Lady Killers book by Tori Telfer were: cold blooded serial killers. Their primary weapon: poison. If you were a noblewoman back in the 16th and 17th century, or any century for that matter, then beating or torturing someone to death, mostly servants or Serfs, was the way to go. When they didn't want the cause of death to be detected, poison, particularly arsenic, was the weapon of choice. 


From reading this book, it seems the rich has always gotten a way with murder, literally, as they do today. And even when they got caught years later, they have gotten away with murder or murders. As mentioned, most noblewomen resorted to beating their servants, in the case of Erzsebeth Bathory or their Serfs in the case of Daryl Nikolayevna Saltykova. Because these women came from money and then married into money or men of noble status themselves, they were able to beat, torture and murder upwards of 50 people without being questioned. It wasn't until they fell out of a favor of those in power or, in the case of the King that owed money to the Bathory's, the King was no longer in their dept, the crimes of these women were investigated, found guilty and sentenced to death. 

Other women of means during the same time period was Marie-Madeleine who was convicted of killing her father, brothers, attempted murder of her sister and sister-in-law among other people. Her reason for killing was simple: they either stood in her way of money or disagreed with her. Unlike her counterparts who beat their victims, Marie's method of murder was poison.


A good point that was brought up in either in this book or an episode of Deadly Women or both is how some feel that poison is a coward's way to murder. That's far from the truth. With poison, unlike beating someone, strangling someone or shooting/stabbing them, poison takes time to work. The poisoner has to be patient, but also have the coldness to watch their victim die a slow and painful death. Arsenic was readily available for some time and thus the perfect poison to use. Why? With arsenic poisoning, when given in small dosages over time causes the following:

It could play a role in the development of diabetes, cancer, vascular disease and lung disease. The Food and Drug Administration says that long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with higher rates of skin cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer, as well as heart disease (google.com)

For a long while, arsenic was easy to get. No one questioned anyone buying arsenic, no matter how much they bought because arsenic was also used to kill rats. And back in those days in which arsenic was readily available tracking who bought it and how much was not necessary. 

A famous poisoner was The Giggling Grandma Nannie Doss. She was also known as the Lonely Hearts Killer for she would find lonely older men who had money, marry them, and then kill them. Her killing spree was from the 1920's to 1954.


Serial killers being men is the popular consensus. I think it's because men are more brutal in their acts. Men use guns or knives on their victims.They also leave a trail of blood. But when women kill, they do it silently via poison. Even today, women use poison such as antifreeze, to kill their victims including their own children.

Women are known to be nurturers, kind hearted (this is why Nannie Doss got away with it for as long as she did), mothers who love their kids. If the woman was good looking as in the case of Erzsebet Bathory and Marie-Madeleine no one EVER suspected them of killing any one. But if you weren't good looking, in the case of ahem, Wuornus, it's still hard to accept that fact that she would murder the number of people she did. And mind you, Wuornus's murders were brutal and bloody, like the women noblewomen of the 1600's and 1700's.


I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in murderers or murders, and trust me, we all wonder and want to know. But what I really enjoyed was the diverse group of women that became serial killers and their reasons. One thing they all had in common is they felt they would get away with it and when caught still maintained their innocence and used their feminine wiles to try to win either the judge or jury over. I was more intrigued by those from the 1600's and 1700's.

I find the most brutal of them all was Kate Bender of the Bender family who ran an Inn in the 1800's. Kate used a knife to kill her victims, but she wasn't alone in the killings but she was the most brutal.

Author: Tori Telfer
Released: 10 October 2017
Publisher: Harper Perennial sold by Harper Collins
Pages: 352
Available: AmazonBarnes and NobleiBooks

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Merlin Santana: Promising Life, Untimely Death [Jabbering Jaws]

Originally published 2013


I used to have a lot of time in my hands right now, so I spend some of it reading and most of it watching movies or TV shows on my iPad via the Xfinity Player. While looking at the different TV shows on the Xfinity Player I came across a show called Celebrity Crime Files. This show is broadcast on TVOne and chronicles the death of high profile African Americans and this particular episode focused on Merlin Santana, who played Romeo Santana  The Steve Harvey Show from 1996-2002. He was also on Moesha and Hangin With Mr. Cooper. Some may remember him as Stanley on The Cosby Show from 1991 to 1992.

While on The Steve Harvey Show Merlin gained more fame and the perks that come with it which includes being able to jump to the front of the line when going to clubs, which Merlin did from time to time (go to clubs). But once the show ended so did the perks. He found himself having to wait in line with everyone else and not getting the special treatment he come accustomed to. In addition, he found the roles, TV and movie, were not flying in as he had hoped. The auditions he thought he nailed, he learned the roles went to someone else and this was a blow to him for he had been working as an actor since about the age of 10, and now at the age of 26, he was out of work.but I believe his claim to fame was The Steve Harvey Show.

It is believed that Merlin had severe depression after The Steve Harvey Show ended, but instead of staying inside and dealing with his depression, he tried other avenues, one of them being recording a rap album. He thought he could sell the album off his fame as Romeo, but I do not believe the album fared well and people found it hard to believe that Stanley and Romeo put out the type of rap album as Merlin did. People saw Merlin as the sweet and lovable Stanley and Romeo, not a gangsta rapper.


One particular night he's out with his friend Byron Adams (also a child actor People Under the Stairs) at a Chinese restaurant when they met up with a girl and her friend. The girl told Merlin that her name was Mercedes. All four of them hand dinner and went to a club later that night and hung out. Later on that evening, Merlin and "Mercedes" had sex and then went their separate ways afterwards. The next day when "Mercedes was hanging with Merlin he didn't show her the same attention he did the day before and this fueled something in her. But let's get the back story on "Mercedes" whose real name is Monique King.

Monique had been in 18 foster homes due to her mother being a prostitute and a drug addict. Monique's father was not in the picture at all. Monique learned to manipulate people to get what she wants or to get people to do what she wants. Her ability to do this would lead to Merlin's untimely death.

I am not sure if it was the same night or a few days later, but Monique met up with some friends of hers, Damien Gates and Brandon Bynes, along with the girl she was with the night she met Merlin. Because she was mad at Merlin for "giving her the cold shoulder", she told Gates and Bynes that Merlin had raped her and she told in a way that it got her friends fired up and wanting to do something about it. That same night, they went back to their place and got their guns. Gates got a 12 gauge shotgun with a laser on it and Bynes got a hand gun. After retrieving their weapons, they learned where Merlin would be, which was at a house party, and waited for him to come out of the house. When Merlin and his friend left the party, they sat in Brandon''s car for a second or so. While sitting there they noticed a red laser in the review mirror and both looked back to see what it was and that's when Gates and Bynes opened fire on Merlin and his friend, mostly at Merlin. Brandon was able to drive off and once he was at a safe spot, he noticed that Merlin was slumped over in the passenger seat. Brandon immediately called 911 in which Merlin was taken to the hospital but later died. The cause of death was a bullet to the head.

The police later arrested Monique, (who was really 15 and not of age as she had Merlin believe). and her accomplices. It was later learned that the shot that killed Merlin was from the 12 gauze (Gates) and that the handgun (Bynes) never fired a shot because it jammed. Monique only got 10 years in juvenile hall  for her participation in the crime. She will be 25 years old when exiting from Juvenile Hall, which means she has her whole life a head of her, as long as she doesn't get killed or end up in prison for life. Gates got three consecutive life sentences plus 70 years in prison. Bynes received 23 years for assault with a deadly weapon and voluntary manslaughter.

I am not sure if Santana would have had a long career in the movies, but I'm sure he would have had one on TV, and from what I gather from the show Celebrity Crime Files, Santana was a descent guy. A good guy.

His murder was senseless, as most murders are. The person who initiated the hit is out and about enjoying her life and more than likely not caring about what she did. She might even be planning to take someone else out or someone has or will take her out. But I believe strongly in Karma and she will get hers, either now or in her old age. As for the gunmen, they both learned a hard lesson and let's hope that lesson stays with them for a long time. I know it will with Gates.

Correction: The friend that Merlin was with on the night he died name was Brandon, not Byron

The Murder Pact [Movie Review]

Originally posted on 13 September 2015


I just finished watching The Murder Pact on @LifetimeTV via DVR since the movie was Lifetime’s Saturday night movie (last night, 12 September 2015) and it’s Sunday. The movies are recorded for I enjoy watching them on a Sunday and last night’s movie was not exception. I absolutely enjoy this movie and these type of movies is the reason I watch and love movies on LifetimeTV.


The Murder Pact centers around four college friends who partake (one does) and witness (the other three do) the death of classmate atop of a roof of a building.

The friends:
Will LaSalle (Beau Mirchoff, Awkward, I am Number Four, Scary Movie 4)
Camile (Alexa PenaVega, Spy Kids 1 and 2, The Middle, Nashville)
Annabel (Renee Olstead, The Insider, The Secret Life of the American Teenager )
Rick (Michael J. Willett, Faking It, United States of Tara)

The classmate:
Heidi (Madeleine Dauer, The Cobblestone Corridor)


Will comes from money; a lot of money and he’s poised to take over his father’s business once he graduates from the prestigious college he and his friends attend. Camille is Will’s girlfriend but does not come from money. This information is important to know.

One particular night Heidi goes looking for Will. She finds him on top of a roof of a night club. When she finds Will, Rick and Annabel are there as well. Camille has yet to arrive, but does so shortly after Heidi arrives. Heidi tells Will she needs to speak to him alone, emphasizing “alone” to his friends but they don’t leave. Shortly thereafter, Heidi threaten to tell Camille that Will was stepping out on her.

Will, not wanting to lose Camille, pushed Heidi (in an attempt to keep her from leaving).  Will was not aware the railing was broken and Heidi’s death was an accident. But there’s a fifth witness. The fifth witness is Heidi’s friend and roommate, Lisa. Lisa was outside the building with her camera taking pictures of Heidi and Will and when Heidi fell. She got a picture of Camille as well who is now looking on to the pavement where Heidi is lying. It isn’t until a class that Will, Camille and Lisa are in that Will and Camille learn that Lisa was there.

The instructor of the class wanted the students speak about the feelings of what has taken place. A few people say a few words. When it's Lisa turn she begins hypothesizing on what could have happened. Her theory is so on point, only someone who was there could imagine such a possibility. Will and Camille feel they might be in trouble. After class Will pulls Lisa aside and asks her how much does she want for the pictures. She claims she doesn’t want any money and tells Will that he can’t buy himself out of everything and walks away. Camille tells Will that she can get Lisa to change her mind and she does for Lisa shows up at Will’s house and is asking for $4 million to be transferred to an account and that’s when everything goes down hill and fast.

I’m not going to give away the rest of the movie for I really hope this was enough for everyone to want to see it if you haven’t done so already. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and the end..well the ending you will never see coming. I don’t mean the final ending, right before the credits, but the part where everything comes to a head.


LifetimeTV does get a lot of flack for it’s movies, mainly for two things: bad acting and plot holes, and I agree at times. But I still find the movies enjoyable and I look forward to them every Saturday night and the days in between. However, LifetimeTV can put out really good ones, and as I said earlier, this one was really good. Not only did it have a good story line, nice twists, but it also had good actors and actresses.

It has been asked if this movie was based on real events and the answer is no. I can see why the question would be asked because it did play like a “based on a true story” type of movie due to the plot being so realistic.

Written by John Doolan and Directed by Colin Theys. Both Doolan and Theys worked together on Remains, Remains: Road to Reno, Dead Souls, and Banshee!!!
Download the soundtrack and movie from iTunes. Music by Matthew Llewellyn. Make sure to check out the song Deadly Romance below:

Gerald's Game [Movie Review]

Originally posted: 8 Oct 2017


i have tried reading some books of Stephen King's #stephenking and I can't get through them. They are way too detailed, drawn out and at times pointless. I seriously wonder how he became such a successful novelist as he has.

Don't get me wrong, I think the man is talented..but only in the idea department. But when it comes to writing out the idea, I'm not impressed.


If it wasn't for the movies, I wouldn't know who Stephen King is. I absolutely love the movies made of books from ChristineStand By Me, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, and definitely Carrie. The only movie I didn't care for is It. 

Now I can add another King novel turned into a movie to my list of likes and that's Gerald's Game.


Gerald and Jessie head to a friend's vacation house in the middle of nowhere to try to save their marriage but adding a little spice to their sex life. But when Gerald dies and Jessie is left handcuffed to the bed, it's Jesse who needs saving. Not just her life, but her mind and definitely her soul.


The movie does a great job of setting everything up. I was concerned they were going to spend a lot of time on a sex scene because people think they have to have soft porn in movies to bring in the viewers. Let me tell you, you don't. There was a time when movies indicated something went on without showing something going on and those movies were successful and are not classics. But I digress.

As mentioned, I thought a lot of time was going show the unnecessary, but it didn't. It showed enough to set up to provide one of the symbols and I guess you can say, another character in the movie. The handcuffs.

We are introduced to another character in the movie early on which is a stray dog. But what makes the dog an interesting character is he has a collar so he belongs to someone. However, Gerald won't let Jessie get close enough to the dog to find out who it's owners are. This is an interesting fact when you know the rest of the movie.


While Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, she begins having conversations with her dead husband as well as herself. There is also an unwelcome guest that shows up here and there and Jessie begins to wonder if this person is part of her delusion as well. We also have the dog that is there throughout the time of Jessie's delusions or illusions. It depends on how you see it.

Through these incidents we learn a lot about Jessie and that the handcuffs are not only physical torments for her but also a symbols of her past, which she has carried her entire life. This isn't something I'm thinking up. It was actually mentioned in the movie by herself to herself during one of her illusions. But the handcuffs were not only a symbol, they were also another character in the movie as was the bed and her slip. But the main symbol in the movie was her being stuck in a place in which she can call out for help all she wants, but no one will hear her.


Jessie was stuck in the bed for almost two days and not once did she make a bathroom run in the bed. Everyone has to go the bathroom at least once or twice a night, but apparently not Jessie. I know it's only a movie, but this is something that kinda had me scratching my head. However, I was able to let this go rather quickly because the movie itself was so well written and directed it kept you sitting on the edge of your seat and mind constantly trying to solve this enigma we called Jessie's life.


It wouldn't be a Stephen King movie it there wasn't some disturbing gore scene within the movie. Although brief, it will have you squirming and groaning with pain as you're watching. I personally found this to be a symbol as well. Not the squirming and groaning by the viewer, but what actions Jessie had to take. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.


I absolutely loved this movie. I will be watching it a few more times for I feel I will find something new each time I watch it.

Everyone on this planet should watch the movie. You don't have to be a Stephen King fan to enjoy the movie. I'm not a fan of his but I love his movie. And as mentioned, this has been added to my favorite King books made into a movie.
: Carla Gugino (The Watchmen, Sin City); Bruce Greenwood (Knots LandingI, RobotAmerican Dad)
Written By: Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard (based on the Stephen King novel)
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
Release Date: 29 September 2017
Country: United States
Location: Mobile, Alabama
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoe Rating: 91%
Current Streaming on Netflix


There are a number of references to previous King novels/movies within this movie:
  • Gerald refers to the stray dog as Cujo
  • Gerald says the line: "all things serve the beam" - Dark Towers reference
  • Jessie describes a woman looking over a well (a dream she had) - this is a reference to Delores Clairborn
  • Jessie describes a man with a bag of bones - Bag of Bones is another Stephen King novel

Berlin Syndrome [Movie Review]

 Originally posted: 9 Sept 2017


Clare (Teresa Palmer), an architect photography is traveling through Eastern Europe to take photos of building when she meets Andi (Max Riemelt) in Berlin, who is a native Berliner and a professor at Uni (a university). They immediately hit it off. Clare ends up having a one night stand with Andi at his apartment. When she awakes the next morning she finds Andi has left (for work) and the door boarded with no way out. Clare doesn't think much about it but still tries to find a way out. But it doesn't take Clare long to realize she's gotten her self in quite a fix. She also learns later in the movie that she's not the only one Andi has done this too.


As Clare spends her days locked in Andi's apartment she finds more disturbing things about Andi and the things he has done to other women. Each day becomes a desperation to get out. The closer Clare gets to escaping the more obstacles she runs into and the more controlling Andi gets.


This is a hard movie to watch for it makes you feel Clare's pain, anguish and desperation. You want to fly to Berlin, if you're not there already, and try to save her.

What makes this even more disturbing is this sort of thing happens every day. The most infamous one is The Cleveland Kidnappings in which Ariel Castro held three women (Michell Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus) prisoner in his home for 10 years, from 2002 to 2013. Because of Castro's demeanor when in public no one suspected a thing from him, as with Andi in the movie. Yes, Andi is a bit strange, but people have come to accept him as such. But he's also a likable guy
Palmer and Riemelt make the movie even more hard to watch due to excellent acting by both.


Some dubbed what Clare had with Andi the Stockholm Syndrome.

Feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor (Google)

I disagree with this analogy. I felt Clare did what she needed to do to keep her sanity to continue to gain and keep his trust, even in times of when he caught her trying to escape. When someone puts you in a situation in which your freedom is taken away, there's no way you could fall in love or have affection for that person. What you end up having is survival instincts and if making your captor think you trust them and having feelings for them is the way to go, then you do it.


This is one of the reasons why I love foreign films, the acting. Palmer and Riemelt were excellent, as I've mentioned. But there were actors I've never heard of. Not knowing the players won't have me comparing them to other roles I've seen them. However, because of movies such as this, I am inclined to watch other movies Palmer and Riemelt were in.

Foreign films don't seem as restricted as American films seem to be, unless you're an indie filmmaker. But even indie filmmakers don't hold a candle to foreign films for me. As mentioned, the acting does it for me. But also learning of other countries is another reason I enjoy foreign films. Learning of different cultures and traveling the world without leaving the comfort of my living room is great. On the same note, these movies make me want to actual visit the countries they are filmed in.
Release Date: 26 May 2017
Country: Australia
Languages: English, German and Russian
Run Time: 116 minutes
Stars: Teresa Palmer as Clare and Max Riemelt as Andi
Directed by: Cate Shorland
Written by: Shawn Grant (screenplay)
Based on the novel of the same name by: Melanie Joosten
I heard the novel was just as hard to read. It's been said that both the novel and movie were          great; neither was better than the other, which is rare when it comes to book to movie adaption
Currently streaming: Netflix

Wentworth, Gold Fish and Joan Ferguson's Reflection

Originally posted: 13 Aug 2016


There's a show called Wentworth which is set in a fictitious women's prison in Wentworth, Australia, currently running on FOXTEL (new season to begin in May). In this drama there is a character named Joan Ferguson (but you can all her Governor). If the name sounds familiar it's because there was a series (soap opera) on some thirty years ago called Prisoner: Cell Block H in which there was a screw (guard) of the same name played very well by Maggie Kirkpatrick. Joan Ferguson is synonyms with evil and manipulation and anything else you can think of, yet, she's a fantastic character, both in Wentworth and Prisoner because the character is more than what we see on the surface, but to keep reminding us of our pain, sorrow, anguish, we choose not to look too deep and just enjoy the antics that is Joan Ferguson.


In Wentworth Ferguson is played by Pamela Rabe who does a excellent job of becoming evil personified, yet I am fascinated with her (the character, that is) and most don't know why and for me to explain would be difficult. In a nutshell, I see more than just evil lurking in the eyes of this character. I see hurt and anguish in which there is no outlet. It's something we all can relate to if we take the time to look past the antics of the character and look inside the character. The writers did a great job in taking Ferguson to the next level by reminding us that loss is the most painful thing we can experience, and loss can haunt us for years, if we let it.

But Ferguson's pain goes deeper than just the loss of someone she loved. Her pain and anguish also stems from year of verbal, and possibly, emotional abuse by her father. Although Ferguson is a fictional character, all characters are created from someone's truth that soon becomes out truth. This is why we, at times, grab on to fictional characters. I tend to gravitate towards troubled characters; those that the world would soon turn it's back on rather than try to understand. Someone else's truth, sometimes, becomes my truth.


The picture below was captured by me while watching S3:E8 (titled Goldfish). I feel this is an extremely important episode in the whole series and there were a few scenes that played into my thought, this one being one of them. It depicts Ferguson in her office staring at her reflection (I captured the picture when she turned from her reflection). You see her turning from side to side watching her reflection do the same. Then she turns from her reflection to walk away but her reflection remains standing.

It's also interesting this episode was named Goldfish:
In Buddhism: The golden fish symbolizes the auspiciousness of all living beings in a states of fearlessness, without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without free through water.

I added the poem tonight because this particular picture kept staying with me in my mind and as an artist, I had to write it's tale through my eyes.


My reflection stares
though I can't comprehend
The meaning behind my eyes
and a heart that won't mend.

A master controller
has invaded my space
Bringing me closer
to my dead end race.

Memories are lacking
behind my cold gaze
My soul is entangled
in my homegrown maze.

I stand face to back
on this bleeding leading ledge
Always planning my demise
with this dull razor's edge

I know of no solace
from the destruction I did comprise
For my reflection can't comprehend
the soul that has since left my eyes.

(c) 2016 by Nikki Hoskin
All rights reserved.

Her Infidelity [Lifetime Movie Review]

Originally posted 11 Nov 2017


As someone who enjoy Lifetime TV movies and LMN (Lifetime Movie Network) movies I'm always seeking movies I haven't seen before. There was a time I had seen all the movies on either Lifetime channels. However, with us getting rid of DVR and me watching Saturday Night Football (college) I missed a lot of the movies. And working full time does not allot a lot of time for movie watching during the day.


Lifetime movies are not known for their great acting nor great writing and at times cheesy, but I have to admit they are good, if you can get past the fore mentioned.


This is how I select my Lifetime movies, by the premise. Well, this is how we select all our movies, isn't it. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't. And this time it didn't at all.

The premise of Her Infidelity is this: A woman feeling down about her marriage has a one-night stand with her son's teacher. Sounds simple right? Of course it does. And since it said "her son's teacher" I was thinking teen age son. But noooooooooo. The son is in grade school so the teacher is probably in his late 20's, right? Well the mother looks like she's in her 40's. Yeah, she looked old. There are people that look great at that age, so I'm not knocking the age at all. I shouldn't since I'm so old I can tell you about Noah's Ark from personal experience. But I digress.


Besides everything? The connection/chemistry between the wife and husband was off not to mention the acting between the two was just horrid. The son's acting was even worse. He sounded like he was reading his lines instead of speaking them. The only good acting was from the psychopath teacher and that's from facial expressions to his actual acting. The best friend in the movie was one of those you were hoping the psychopath would kill so there would be one less torturous character to have to deal with.


Yeah, I could change the channel but as mentioned these movies are good if get past everything I just mentioned. But sometimes the movie is just so bad that even the premise starts to seem like a bad idea.


I always wonder who writes these horrible movies and why Lifetime picks them up. I wonder how many stations have the writers pitched their ideas to before they went to Lifetime? I'm starting to think that Lifetime is the starting point for most writers, producers and actors/actresses. I know it may sound like I'm bashing Lifetime movies, but I'm really not. I'm just bashing this one.
For the most part, Lifetime (both channels) have some really good movies despite the bad acting. Unwanted Guest is a prime example of this.


Premise: When Amy has nowhere to go for winter break, her friend Christine insists she come stay with her family. What begins as a dream situation turns into a nightmare when Amy starts to obsess and wreak havoc on her welcoming hosts (imbd.com).

Here's another movie with a good premise that I thought would find worth watching and it was. Again, the only good acting was done by Amy. The mother was pretty descent as was the father, but the daughter, Christine, was just awful. However, the writing and directing was well done that you overlooked a lot. If you can find this movie, it's worth the watch.


While researching this movie I learned that the mother was played by Rachel Hunter. If that names sounds familiar it's because she used to be married to Rod Stewart. But that doesn't give her the right to think she can act, does it? See, now I'm being hard on the woman. She did her best with what she was given, both script wise and directing wise.


I disliked the movie. The potential was definitely there, especially given the premise. As with all Lifetime movies (both channels) it had a happy ending. This is the cheesy part of these movies, but sometimes they are done well and sometimes they are done so cheesy you quickly grab the remote and change the channel to anything.


Country: CANADA
Language: English
Release Date: 22 April 2015 (Canada)
Also Known As: Infedele
Stars: Rachel Hunter (the mother), Clayton Chitty (the teacher) and Lane Edwards (the husband)
Written By: Alan Donahue and Christine Will
Directed By: Christine Will

Even the trailer looks inviting:

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru [Documentary Review]

original post: 6 August 2016


As someone who thoroughly enjoy documentaries, I was glad to come across Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru for I have always liked Tony, yet I’m not a follower. I’ve never bought any of his books or attended any of his over priced seminars, especially the Day of Destiny six day seminar that takes place in Boca Raton, FL every year, costing $4995 to attend (that’s 2014’s cost). If I spent $4995 on a seminar that lasts 6 days, 11-12 hours a day, I would need a shrink, and not a so-called self-help guru. So, being able to watch the process from the comfort of my home, without having the pay the hefty fee, allowed me to enjoy more. Sort of.


I would watch the documentary before going to sleep because during the day I was watching shows that would only produce a stressful sleep such Marcella (Netflix original), The Man in the High Castle (Amazon original based on the book of the same name), along with binge watching Mr. Robot and Queen of the South ( both currently in Season 1 – via USA Network, either on the computer or the app). I wanted to end my nights with something a bit more calming, and Tony’s documentary did the trick, to a point.


The documentary is the brain child of Joe Berlinger, who, after attending one of Tony’s Date with Destiny seminars, wanted to document the whole thing, including Tony. After two years of asking, Tony finally agreed. Not sure if begging was included, but you would think that someone who believes in helping others, would have conceded sooner than two years. Problem number one for me with this whole documentary.

Everything started out great for me, when learning of Tony’s goal for the attendees and what he offers people in the 12 hour a day, six day seminar, until the fee was announced: $4995. In 2015, it was $6k for the seminar. For 2016, here are the prices for the seminar that took play in May of this year (2016):
date with destiny
They try to con you by stating you are saving $4k, but the prices are still ridiculous and seem to go up every year. As mentioned, the one in 2014 coast $4995 and I couldn’t get this out of my mind while watching the show. The people at the seminar were not broken people, they were idiots. If someone gave me $4995, I’ll fix them myself. Being a self-help guru doesn’t not take skill, it takes compassion, and compassion can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t.

I feel if you can fork over $4995 bucks, you are doing fine, financially that is. Save $4971 and go buy a $24.00 book by Tony that will do the same thing as the seminars will do. Or, how about someone just forks over $25.00 to me and we go have a beer or two.


Picture it. Sicily, 1924…a little Golden Girls joke there. Seriously. Picture it. You’re in a room with 24,999 other people you don’t know (that’s if you came alone. If you came with someone, then there’s 24,998 strangers in the room with you). Tony picks you out of the crowd (I’m not sure the process, but he does) and now you have to tell you bleeding heart story to a room full of strangers. Why? Because Tony makes you feel that comfortable. He makes you feel like it’s just you and him in that room, while reminding you there’s thousands of strangers in the room rooting for you. He starts by asking what your issue is, and you tell him. He asks you again, and again, you tell him, with more details added on. This process goes on until he has reached the real underlying issue you’ve been carrying around. He makes you think it’s OK to express yourself in front of total strangers, and perhaps it is, for some. But this is the beauty of this documentary’ we are only seeing those that were willing to share and had a “break through.” We are not privy to those who refused to share, not to mention, just refused to stand. Not all are there to share, but to listen.

I can barely express myself in a room full of people I’ve known for years, how can I express myself in a room full of total strangers?

Tony claims he goes by the energy in the room and can tell who he should pick. But he has another method. At the end of each day (or almost each day), Tony and his crew go through some flash cards that were filled out before the seminar began by those attending and emails sent to Tony’s office of those with issues. He and his crew go through the cards and emails and pick out “red flags”. Red Flags are people in real need of help, such as those contemplating suicide. There was one person who attempted suicide two days prior to the seminar. I, personally, doubt this, and feel it was to get attention. And yes, there are those who do go there for the attention, the hope of being singled out by Tony. This is one thing I enjoyed, watching Tony determine who was there for attention and who isn’t. And when one of his team members read someone’s story to Tony, and he knew it was for attention, he would say, “she only wants attention” or “he only wants attention.”

Once he and his crew picked out the red flags the previous night, Tony single those people out in the seminar the next day.


As mentioned earlier, Tony singles out some people to tell their story, or get to the root of the issue so he can “help” them. I use the world ‘help’ very loosely. My understanding is, he spends one to two hours with these people in the seminars, but the documentary only allows us 10 minutes of he is interaction with them.  One particular person he singled out was a lady named Hali. Hali states her father always treated her like a princess. She also states she was in a bad relationship, but is currently in another relationship. Tony seemed to narrow it down to her being the issue and not the other person in the relationship. Why? Because she knows she will always get love from daddy so getting love from other men is not important to her. Or some BS like that. Knowing that we are not seeing the entire interaction with the person, I am going boldly says that Tony has CONVINCED her that she’s the problem in the relationships. What we are able to witness is Tony telling Hali that she should break up with her current boyfriend because he does not deserve what she’s putting him through. He first asks Hali if “Joe” (I can’t remember the boyfriend’s real name) is the one, to which she really has to think about it. The next words out of Tony’s month is, “take out your phone”. With this comment from Tony, comes the gasp from the audience for they all know what Tony wants Hali to do. Tony wants Hali to break up with her boyfriend right there on the spot, yet he says to her, and tried to convince everyone in the room, that the choice is hers to break up with him or not.
peer pressure
Hali is standing in room full of her peers and being told by Tony that she needs to break up with her boyfriend. He convinces her, and the others in the room, that it’s of her free will to do this, while telling her she must do this. She is faced with two decisions: follow the silent crowd and break up with her boyfriend right then and there, or tell Tony that she wants to think about it. If she does the latter, Tony will make her look like a coward, like she’s not facing her fears and she’ll never grow. Hali caves in and calls her boyfriend (phone on speaker) and breaks up with him. During the call he hangs up on her. Tony convinces her it’s OK and she did the right thing.

I have to admit I had to turn the show off before Hali’s phone call for I was feeling a great deal of embarrassment for her and a great deal of sadness for the soon-to-be-dumped boyfriend. I viewed Facebook, Twitter and played a round of Candy Crush Soda before making my way back to the disaster about to take place. I cringed when she dialed the phone and cringed at each ring that took place. I was hoping it would go to voicemail and save her the embarrassment and him the heartache. But luck was not on my side, nor hers, for you could see on her face she was hoping it would go to voicemail as well.

The boyfriend answers and she gives some lame story and breaks up with him. After he hangs up on her, she is still under the impression that what she’s done is OK and for her own good. We learn, at the end of the documentary, that Hali and her boyfriend got back together, which I was glad to hear. This speaks volumes about the interaction earlier, in that Hali felt what she did was not right. What Tony told her she did not believe, and that this person she’s with is the one and she’s willing to work on her own issues, while keeping this special someone in her life.

you go girl


Another thing that bothered me about this whole process was Tony’s unwillingness to talk about his past completely. He does mention during the seminar that his mother used to beat him every day. He also mentioned that his mother was depended on drugs, prescription drugs, for he would have to go the pharmacy a lot to get Vicodin for her, telling the pharmacist his mother lost the bottle. I’m not sure how things were back when Tony was old enough to get Vicodine for his mother, but I don’t think it was that easy to get a prescription that often without a red flag being thrown up at the doctor’s office as well as the pharmacy. But this is the story he told.

Tony doesn’t reveal much of himself on stage nor on camera. There was a member who shared with the world that she grew up in a commune in Brazil (I hope I have that right) called Children of God and at the age of six on, was engaged in sex with different people (sex slave, basically) in the name of God. While telling the story, Tony begins shedding tears. Back stage the director asks Tony about the incident and tries to get him to talk about his past and what has happened to him. I understand not wanting to tell you story to others. We all have bad things that has happened to us, that we don’t want to share. And I also understand Tony’s stance that the bad he’s endured makes him the person he is today. Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stranger. I get that. However, how am I to trust you can help me if you won’t open yourself up to me, yet, you want me to open myself up to you?

I’m aware when you go see a counselor or shrink, they are there to listen to you and advise you. However, I, and I think the director too, was expecting Tony to open up more about himself. After all, this documentary was about him and his Date with Destiny seminar, but that was not to happen. Berlinger asked Tony multiple times, throughout the film, about his past and Tony just would not talk about it. This tells me that Tony has not fully healed from his past. As the saying goes, if you say it out loud it makes it real. All I got from the film is Tony’s mother used to beat him a lot, he used to protect his brother and sister and he had to go to the pharmacy a lot to get Vicodin for his mother. We don’t need to know every single detail of his rough past at home, but I think he should show more of the human side of him instead of this “I can heal you of your issues”.


Here’s something else that got me throughout the film: Tony’s house in Florida
Robbins' home
A modest life he does not lead. Parts of the house was featured (so you could say it was another character in the documentary) a few times throughout the documentary. This is another reason I find the fee for the seminars (which keeps going up each year) to be a bit much. When I look at what was included in the prices (for their are two packages – refer above for chart), I didn’t see anything about food and lodging being included in the prices. Not only that, the seminars each day, are 12 hours long: 11:30am – 11:30pm. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Jim Jones have 12 hour long services? I’m sure you are free to come and go during the seminars, but 12 hours is a bit much for six days. So now, I have the $4995 fee stuck in my head along with Tony’s fat house and the 12 hour days. I think the fee stuck in my head more than anything else.

I believe in the adage, do what you love for free and the money will come later. Did Tony do this for free at all or has he always charged for his “words of wisdom” that can be found anywhere if you look hard enough. And now-a-days, you don’t have to look that hard. There’s YouTube, books, articles on the Internet. But more importantly, surround yourself with good people and you won’t need to pay $4995 for someone to tell you what you already know or can find out in a $24.00 book.


I do admit that I enjoyed the documentary. I took some things away, such as when Tony said that settling for a low paying job means you feel you are not worthy of high paying job. I almost fell into this statement. I took a very low paying job because I felt I wasn’t going to find another job in my respective IT field paying what I should be getting paid and have been getting paid. I ended up not taking the job and decided to pursue what I am worth. He also states that when you settle you are not moving forward. Very true.

The whole 1:56 mins wasn’t completely wasted. I did sleep a bit better at night, until I finished the film and realized a lot of things that brings to mind a lot of questions.

  1. Why were we only shown people that Tony was able to reach or did what Tony wanted them to do and not shown those that would not stand up, or possibly disputed what Tony said?
  2. At the end of the documentary, why are we only privy to those that got something out of the seminar, and not those that may have found the whole thing a waste of money and time?
  3. Why was Tony so secretive of his past, but wanted others to express themselves completely and expose themselves in a room full of strangers?
I understand the purpose of the seminar is for others to find whatever it is they are seeking in FL with a fee $4995 (yeah, I’ll never get over that and the fact it increases each year), and that’s all well and good. But I feel in a documentary, Tony should have shared more of his past. Him not sharing his past was not a deal breaker for me with this film. Would I watch this film again? No. Would I recommend this film to anyone? Probably not. And if I did, I would give the three things mentioned to keep in mind when watching the documentary.

The lady that was part of the commune sold all her furniture to attend the seminar. Somehow, she ended leaving Boca Raton with $100,000 due to people giving her money. I guess she told anyone that would listen that she sold her furniture so she could attend the seminar and people fell for it and just handed money to her.


I feel Tony Robbins has a good heart and wants to help people. I also believe the same of Deepak Chopra, but I lean more towards Chopra than I do Robbins. It’s a preference thing, that’s all.
If anyone told me they were going to the Date with Destiny seminar or thinking of going, I would quickly talk them out of it. This is where I would tell them to watch the documentary and save them $20 million dollars. I would advise them to buy one of Tony’s book, look him up on YouTube, find articles, if they are set on Tony. I would recommend they explore Chopra or other ‘self-help’ wizards out there.

I don’t doubt there are people that have and will continue to benefit from Robbins, I’m just not one of them. I don’t need Robbins telling me I’m good enough and I shouldn’t be down on myself about anything. One, it’s not realistic, and two, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger. I prefer to continue being strange and getting stranger by the day.


Here is the trailer for Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru currently playing on Netflix.


If you haven’t seen Shallow Hal with Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jason Alexander, you have to find this movie and watch it. It’s about a man, Jack Black, who only sees people from the outside. It’s not until he’s giving a key word (provided by Robbins) that he begins to see people’s inner beauty.

Here’s a scene with Jason Alexander asking Robbins to undo whatever he did to Hal:

Stalker's Prey [Movie Review]

Original posted 26 March 2017
Courtesy of John Doolan


As someone who enjoys LifetimeTV movies and have become a fan of both Colin Theys and John Doolan (both involved in The Murder Pact), I was excited to learn of their new collaboration Stalker's Prey. Stalker's Pray aka Hunter's Cove centers on a high school student who loses her boyfriend to a shark attack. Shortly afterwards, she is stalked by the man who saved her from being attacked by the same shark.


Laura (Saxon Sharbino - Touch [TV series]) sneaks out of house to meet a friend of hers and they drive down to the docks where her boyfriend, Nick, is supposed to meet her. Laura soon learns that her boyfriend has a surprise for her. A boat ride into the ocean.

While swimming Laura and her boyfriend feel something on their leg. Each blame the other for the antics. It isn't until Laura sees the shark's fin and then the shark, does she realize that they are imminent danger. It's too late for Nick who gets attacked by the shark, but not for Laura who is rescued by a stranger.

We learn that the stranger is Bruce Kane (Mason DyeFlowers In The Attic), the son of a politician in their town.


While in the hospital Bruce visits Laura three times. Two she's aware of, and one she's not. Bruce visits her in the middle of the night while she's sleeping. When he visits her at night, we learn that he's had his eye on her for a long, long while.
While at home Bruce visits her again and asks her to a dinner party his parents are hosting. They do end up sleeping together.

Laura is at the beach when she gets a phone call from Bruce who is there as well. She tells him she needs some space and she didn't mean for last night to happen. He complies with her wishes and head to his car. This is where we see him lose it.

At school Laura learn her substitute English teacher is Bruce Cane. We did learn earlier in the movie that Bruce not only volunteers at the hospitals pediatric unit visiting the kids, but he's a substitute English teacher.

There's another little thing we learn about Bruce. He used to date someone named Allison, who he refers to as Allie.

It's not long before Bruce begins showing up wherever Laura is and physically hurts Laura's friends Parker Lowe (Camerus Johnson Luke Cage, OA) and Bre Hendricks (Gillian Rose - in her first role).

Bruce will go to any length to be with Laura and mean any length.


I'm not sure what history Theys and Doolan have but Theys does a great job of directing Doolan's scripts. And if it wasn't for Doolan's great writing, Theys wouldn't be able to bring it to life.  My first introduction to this team was The Murder Pact (2015). I don't think I have ever enjoyed a LifttimeTV movie as much as I did with The Murder Pack. 

You know a movie is good when two hours go by and it didn't feel like two hours. Stalker's Prey holds your interest from the time Bruce shows up until the very end.

Mason Dye (Bruce Kane) is an excellent actor. I remember watching him in Flowers In The Attic and automatically thought of Ricky Schroeder. Not only his is looks but his acting as well.

As for Saxon Sharbino (Laura), I hope to see her in more dramatic movies. I wasn't too sure about her when the movie first started, but once she got to show her acting chops against Bruce, I knew she would be someone I want to keep an eye on in future roles.


I hope we don't have to wait two years for another collaboration from @ColinTheys and @Johnny_Doolan. These two bring out the best in each other.

I highly recommend checking out The Murder Pack after you have viewed Stalker's Prey. It's currently on LifetimeTV.

Stalker's Prey - Synthetic Cinema International