Movie Review | Guys and Balls

HEA movie review

Gays and Balls

Okay, this movie was a riot. I laughed so hard throughout the whole thing. Finally a comedy, and honestly, I need more LGBT+ comedies in my life. There are so many tragic stories in this genre that it’s so refreshing to watch something that’s light and oftentimes silly while still managing to portray a positive message. That’s absolutely what this movie does.

When Ecki’s soccer team finds out he’s gay, they boot him off their squad. In order to get back at them, he starts an all gay team with the help of a washed up soccer star.

guys & balls

            Click for Amazon

This is a soccer movie, or football if you aren’t ‘Murican, in case the short summary didn’t tip you off, but I enjoyed it even though I’m not really into soccer. There’s nothing too technical here, so that didn’t put me off. But it is in German, which means subtitles. It’s worth it though, because the overall story is very sweet.

I loved Ecki so much; I wanted to befriend him almost immediately. At its core, this movie is about him coming to terms with his sexuality as he works to enact revenge on his former team. His father struggles with his sexuality as well, going so far as to try and change his orientation with a trip to a skanky strip club, but thankfully Ecki’s supportive sister steps in and helps him assemble an all gay soccer team to beat the homophobes.

The team struggles at first, because nothing is ever easy, but I honestly loved all the characters and really enjoyed watching them become a team. The movie doesn’t go into very much depth with every character’s background—the cast is much too big for that—but they all felt multidimensional to me regardless, even Ecki’s father.

Ecki’s love interest, Sven, is absolutely perfect for him. I really loved them together. If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you know I tend to harp on chemistry either making or breaking a movie for me, but I had no trouble believing these two were in love from the get-go.

And if you understood my slight obsession with sex in elevators, you’d know why I had to stop the movie and flail for a bit when they had their first kiss. Yes, the chemistry is good!

Major warning for homophobia though, especially by Ecki’s old soccer team, and I will say that the movie does rely quite heavily on stereotypes. I read some negative reviews about that, but I think this is going to come down to personal taste. For me, the multidimensionality of the characters saved it. They didn’t feel like caricatures to me, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t see this as something negative, but I can understand how some might.

For example, I was quite surprised—and happy—to see a gay polyamorous relationship shown in positive light, even if the three men involved were into leather and worked at a sex club.

With all that said, this is not a movie for everyone. I especially love stupid comedies, so that’s probably why I’m going to rate this incredibly high and recommend it hard, but if you aren’t into what some may call cheap humor and camp, you might not have the same love for it.

 5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend


Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.

 

Blog Tour | Past the Breakers

PasttheBreakers_FBbanner_DSP

Summer’s on the horizon, and so is the release of Past the Breakers. My first novel follows a hauntingly handsome pro surfer and a down-on-his-luck chef as they try to co-exist in a quaint little beach house in a sleepy coastal town. Grab your Ouija board, wax your surf board, and join the séance on my blog tour!

(Links added as soon as available)

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway starting May 8th.

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Movie Review | Big Eden

HEA movie review

Big Eden

Well… I didn’t hate it. And sometimes that’s all you need from a movie.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. It did move me to tears twice, and I did have a few good laughs in between, but for some reason, I didn’t really connect with this one. Maybe it was the ending….

After hearing that his Grandpa Sam has had a stroke, successful artist Henry leaves his big city life to return to his idyllic birthplace. As he tends to his grandfather, he must also come to terms with his semi-closeted sexuality. Amidst this flurry of painful experiences, he fails to notice the advances of Pike, a sensitive outdoorsman who also cares for Grandpa Sam.

big eden

             Click for Amazon

The movie starts out a little slow, but I really got into it when Henry’s best friend came back into the picture. Dean, played by the handsome Tim DeKay—okay, maybe I’m biased—was Henry’s bff in high school whom he’s carried a torch for going on twenty years. A good chunk of the movie centers around them rekindling their friendship. The only problem is, I felt more chemistry between them than I did between Henry and Pike.

And that’s really unfortunate.

This is never a good sign when it comes to the romance genre.

There are some underlying reasons for this. First of all, Pike is extremely shy. I mean extremely. He has trouble even looking Henry in the eye for half the movie, which means they had very little dialog, aside from one dinner in six months, and you can’t build a foundation with someone when you don’t even know them because you run away every time they try and talk to you. Trust me, I know!

I honestly wanted to root for Pike so much because it’s very rare to see a Native American playing a love interest even in straight movies. And as a Native American myself, I wanted to—and to some degree, I did—relate to Pike. His shyness I understand on a spiritual level, but the problem is Henry is such an extrovert that I don’t see their relationship going very far. They just felt ill-suited to me.

On top of that you have Dean, who is supposedly straight, but kisses Henry, only to change his mind then change it back. Confusing, I know. I say supposedly because I had a really hard time buying that Dean was straight after their interactions. I mean a straight guy who isn’t in love with his best friend doesn’t have a breakdown when he sees said bff talking to another guy through a window. I don’t know how to describe it, but something was very off about how Dean and Henry’s relationship fizzled out.

I didn’t buy it, and I didn’t buy Henry and Pike, which is probably why I didn’t buy the ending. Ugh, I wanted to love this movie. It has stellar reviews, and overall it’s not unpleasant. It just didn’t go the way I think it should’ve, and Henry and Pike needed more than one brief conversation before they somehow fell madly in love.

But maybe that’s just me.

Other than that, the supporting characters were great. Dean’s two sons were adorable, the town had married lesbians, and quite a few gay men, and Widow Thayer was hysterical. She tried to set Henry up with women, but when she found out he was gay, she tried the whole thing over with a room full of men. Bless her heart.

This also gets a big plus because it’s the first movie I’ve watched that doesn’t contain any homophobia. I was worried about that with the whole small town vibe, but this town and it’s people were so loving and supportive. I wish every queer person could grow up surrounded by people like that. Honestly, it’s worth a watch for that alone.

I do recommend giving this a go, despite my weird dissatisfaction with it. And I might even watch it again. Maybe.

 4 stars, 7/10 would recommend


Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.

Imposter Syndrome

insecurity-1306280_960_720So I have this thing called low self-esteem. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, all my life really, and I know I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities because of it.

My shy, introverted self doesn’t exactly help with matters, neither do my random bouts with anxiety and depression, but I also know extroverts aren’t immune to its negative grip.

Mine usually manifests itself in the form of a tiny voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough, that nothing I do is ever good enough.

And unfortunately, being a writer can sometimes compound that voice until it drowns out reason. Maybe that’s just one of the downsides of being a creative person since it requires a critical voice, because sometimes that voice turns against you. Instead of being critical of sentence structure or word choice, it grows into a full blown attack on everything you do.

At least that’s what happens to me.

When I started writing a few years ago, it took me over six months before I let my guard down enough to consider myself a writer, and some days I still don’t. It doesn’t make much sense because as soon as I started tapping into that creative vein and putting the words to “paper,” I was a writer. But after years and years of self-doubt, I never thought something I created would be liked. Despite warm comments from readers, I couldn’t let myself believe any of it.

A similar thing happened after Taming the Wyld was accepted for publication. I was left with a surreal feeling after the initial thrill wore off. I had a hard time believing I was good enough for publication, because some days I’m just not strong enough to ward off imposter syndrome. Some days, I feel like a complete fraud.

I love how TTW turned out, but there was still this part of me that couldn’t accept that it was real, not even after I started edits, or chose the cover, or saw the final galley. My brain just couldn’t fully register it was happening.

But it was. And I have an Amazon link to prove it. It doesn’t get any more real than that.

Some strangers at DSP who know a lot more about the business of writing than I were willing to take a chance with my stories. They have invested money into me and my books, and that’s something that took me a while to realize. That little nugget of truth gave me a different perspective about myself, and it came with a boost of confidence.

On top of that, the release of my first full length novel is only two weeks away. I struggled to finish the last 25k words of Past the Breakers. I questioned if it was good enough, but getting the contract offer validated everything that I’m trying to do here, and it helped to turn down the volume of that nagging voice inside my head. I know I’m not the best writer, I might not even be a great one, but I’m better than mediocre. And some days that’s enough.

Maybe I’ve gotten lucky, three consecutive times, or maybe I’m not as bad as my brain likes to tell me I am. (My friends agree with the latter, but my brain also likes to remind me they’re biased.) Either way, I feel good about things right now for the first time in a long time.

Even so, that voice is like an albatross around my neck, talons digging in as it whispers, “How long can it last?”

Movie Review | The Way He Looks

HEA movie review

The Way He Looks

Next up on my Happy Ending List is The Way He Looks. This movie is just adorable. It’s a coming of age story set in Brazil, which means more subtitles unless you know Portuguese, but it’s very much worth a watch or two. Or more. I watched it on Netflix and didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Leonardo is a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of Gabriel.

The way he looks

            Click for Amazon

That pretty much sums up the plot. The central characters are in high school, so there’s a bit of teenage angst, but nothing too off putting if you’re a little older. It’s a slow build with lots of mutual pining, which I happen to love, so if that’s your thing too, you should enjoy this.

The story felt very genuine to me, and the way they portrayed Leo’s blindness is very well done. He doesn’t want to be treated differently, and I think that’s a sentiment a lot of us, especially in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to. I enjoyed watching him adapt to new situations, like shaving for the first time, and I loved watching Gabriel struggle in their early interactions as he learns how to navigate Leo’s world.

Leo and his relationship with bff Giovana felt as natural as his relationship with Gabriel. All three came off as very real to me, and I very much identified with Leo’s struggle for independence. I remember being a teenager and how it felt to want to run a thousand miles away from everything and everyone I knew. I might’ve related to that part too well, but anyway….

I’m going to warn for underage drinking, bullying, and slight homophobia, just to be safe. Again, nothing too over the top. Although one of the bullies was a real dick. I hated that kid, which means even the bullies felt genuine.

Overall, The Way He Looks is a sweet story about teenage love, and I very much recommend it. I contemplated giving this a 9, but there’s really nothing I didn’t like about it, so ten it is!

 5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend


Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.

 

Past the Breakers | Now available for preorder

 

My first novel is now available for preorder ahead of it’s May 15th release. I’m so happy I’m finally able to share this story after nearly two years in the making. Be sure to reserve your copy today!


Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


PasttheBreakers_FINALCasey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

 

Past the Breakers | Coming May 15th

So I’ve been a little MIA from life lately thanks to Mass Effect: Andromeda. That game took over my life for awhile, but now that I’ve beaten it into submission, I’m ready to get back into the thick of things. And what better way to do that then by revealing the cover for my first novel!

PasttheBreakers_FINAL

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, their love transcending the barriers threatening to keep them apart, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

It should be up for preorder soon, but I’m still in mild disbelief that it’s going to be in print. There will be actual physical copies of something I wrote, something I poured my soul into to hold in my hands, and I’m hoping that I’ll finally feel like a “proper” writer because of it.

I’m not sure what a proper writer is supposed to feel like, maybe nothing at all, but it’s strange that I have such a hangup about it. It’s probably because my crippling self-doubt likes to play tricks on me, but suck it inner self! In one month’s time, I’ll have physical proof that I’m a writer, and nothing can take that away from me. Not even myself.