Updates and Reviews

Well, here we are. November 18, 2019 and it’s been another minute since my last blog. I’ve sworn that I won’t ever promise consistent blogs again, because every time I do, I get a bulk order of book covers and that takes up most of my time. 

 

What can I say except I need to learn better time management skills, but another problem is I can’t stand sitting on my butt for too long. I need to move around. I have a lot of nervous energy that I work off during the day. I get restless easily, and I always find something that needs to be done from mopping the floor, to preparing dinner. My mother was the same way. She could never sit still for too long. I definitely inherited those genes. 

So, some quick updates before I start my reviews. 

 

  1. I call my next draft “The Doll Garden.” It’s book two in the House of Restless Souls series. Book one is “House of the Golden Butterfly, which you can find on Amazon. I made it an anthology series with each book taking place in the fictional town of Lingate, NC. Each story is a standalone novel and can be read as such. 
  2. After obtaining author feedback, I’m moving Broken Candle Book Designs to a new Web Host on December 6, 2019. I organized a better store for my pre-made covers and offer more payment options besides PayPal. I’m really excited because I found the perfect template to improve Broken Candle Book Designs and make it easier to shop. I’ll even be offering a marketing materials section. 

I’m writing another blog about book covers. I know, I know, you think I blogged about it to death already, but this is important and if you want to make your own book cover, you must follow certain steps to achieve a decent book cover. There’s so much more to book cover design than blending images together and I’ll show you what they are when I post my next blog.

 

First Review. 

I usually enjoy his books. The House of Long Shadows and the second book Malefic are two of my favorite ghost stories, however, Beacon Hill didn’t engage me like the other two books. Without spoilers, Sadie is a young librarian who runs from her psychic gift. After her friend is possessed by an entity called “Mother Maggot,” Sadie is asked to help the friend defeat the evil spirit. 

 

This is the first book in the series. Unfortunately, it didn’t explain much and the scares never happened until the very end and when it did the story dropped. I don’t complain about cliffhangers like other readers, but the end was a slap in the face. The story just stopped and there wasn’t closure which I found weird. I’ve written a trilogy and even if you write a cliffhanger, the characters need some closure to move on to the next book. 

 

Another complaint was the flowery language. In the House of Long Shadows, Ambrose made a simple and enjoyable ghost story, but in Beacon Hill, he overused a thesaurus to where it took you out of the story. 

In summary, I didn’t hate the book. There were great parts that made you anxious, but it wasn’t a hit for me like his other books. I will give the second book in the series a try to see if Ambrose calms down and settles into the story. 

Second review. 

 

WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

Joker (2019) 

 

If you haven’t seen Joker, stop here, because this review contains spoilers.  

 

I’ve been a Batman fan since I was 15. In my bio, I always mention my first writing project was a Batman fanfiction after the movie came out in 1989 with Jack Nicholson playing the Joker. That had me hooked and I consumed everything Batman for years. 

 

One day, I’ll write a blog about the trials women face for being comic book fans. It’s been a tough climb, but we’re getting there. 

 

Anyway, I’ve always said Joker is the best villain ever created in the comic book universe. He’s downright scary and gives me chills every time I re-read books like “The Killing Joke.” 

 

As for the media hysteria, it’s all bullshit. I try not to use foul language in my blogs, but I will use it here. It’s all bullshit. When Joker opened the media looked for something to report on so they made up stories about possible mass shootings because of the movie. They referenced the Batman shooting in Aurora, CO. I lived in Denver at the time and that mass shooter was not copying the Joker. He never mentioned the Joker. That’s been a myth that never died.  Instead, people are dancing on the Bronx stairs just like Joker. Doesn’t sound like mass shooting material to me.

 

Onto the movie itself. I didn’t know what to expect when my husband and I went to the theater to watch Joker. I knew it was a character study about a man’s fall into insanity, but I didn’t know if it would work since Heath Ledger was by far the best Joker ever to grace cinema screens. 

 

Arthur Fleck is a down on his luck man who receives his medication from the city to help control his mental illness. He lives with his mother who also suffers from mental illness and they struggle to get by with very little income and Arthur’s low-paying jobs. 

 

In the meantime, Gotham is in the midst of a terrible recession and Thomas Wayne from Wayne Enterprises vows to get elected mayor and turn the city’s bad luck around. You find out that Penny Fleck, Arthur’s mother, is obsessed with Thomas Wayne. She worked for him years ago and implies she had an affair with him. 

 

Arthur ignores his mother’s constant railing against Thomas Wayne, and you can tell it’s grating on his nerves. Arthur also falls in love with his neighbor and starts imagining a relationship with her. You find out later in the movie she’s actually afraid of Arthur when he breaks into her apartment.

 

After Arthur is attacked in the first scene of the movie, one co-worker gives Arthur a gun. He takes the gun to a children’s hospital where it falls out of his pocket. The temp agency fires him from his job and while riding the subway home, Arthur kills 3 businessmen who work for Wayne Enterprises. 

 

This incident starts riots where people are wearing clown masks and causing chaos through the city. 

 

Arthur gains confidence after the murders and tries his hand at stand up comedy at a club. He fails and they feature his video on late night talk show host Murray Franklin who humiliates Arthur on his show. 

 

Even more bad news. Penny has a stroke and that’s when Arthur finds out his true parentage by confronting Thomas Wayne about possibility that Thomas is his father. Wayne denies it and Arthur finds out at Arkham Asylum that Penny adopted him and she abused him as a child. 

 

While these scenes played out, I wondered how one man endures so much bad news. It could break a regular person and with Arthur’s mental problems, it broke him to the point where he planned on committing suicide. 

 

Murray Franklin invites Arthur on his show. Before that he’s confronted by detectives about the Wayne employee murders. He escapes and plans to commit suicide on air. Instead, Arthur murders Murray and hence the final change in Arthur from a meek man who just wanted to make people laugh to a full-blown killer who laughs in the face of death. 

 

Stairs are very important in the movie. They symbolize Arthur’s difficulties and the scene where he’s coming down the stairs while dancing is his final descent into madness and he accepts himself for who he is. 

 

Even if this didn’t have the Joker label slapped on it, the movie would have been a great story about a man’s mental illness and how society rejects him and treats him less than a human being. It’s heart-wrenching, powerful, and brilliant. Definitely my pick of the year. 

 

As the film ends, you don’t know if Arthur imagined it all or not, but the message stays the same. Arthur Fleck deserved better from society, his mother, and the people who were supposed to help him and he never received that help, so he turned to a life of crime because he finally received the recognition he’d always wanted. 

 

If you’ve read my spoilers, then you must see this movie. When I first saw the trailer, I didn’t know if I’d like it or not, but I’m happy I gave it a chance. 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

Click here. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/

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