Girl Asleep #TheToiBoxOfWords #film #review


So, I’ve been ill and haven’t really been able to give this review the attention I would like, but since it’s already a day late, here goes nothing.

If Wes Anderson got really high and was held at gunpoint by the Australian mafia to create a film inspired by Pan’s Labyrinth, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and Alice in Wonderland, Girl Asleep might be the result. With a 6.5 IMDB rating and 82% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, this is bound to be an odd adventure (53% audience vote).

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching Girl Asleep, click here to see my notes.

This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.


1. What is this film about?

14-year-old Greta is new at school and very shy. She’s also turning 15 in a few days and her oddball family thinks a big party is just what she needs. Too bad she hates the idea.

2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?

I literally discovered this film surfing through Netflix and knew absolutely nothing about it ahead of time. The poster of the two kids in their school uniforms seemed interesting to me. Plus I wanted to try something different, and this certainly looked different.

3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?

Everything about this movie was odd. With that being considered, it was difficult deciding whether the actors were performing their roles well or not. I’m only vaguely familiar with the work of Bethany Whitmore, who plays Greta, but as child actresses go, I think she did a fine job with the odd material.

4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?

I’m not sure how I feel about the direction of this film. As I mentioned before, I got the sense that Wes Anderson might have been an influence but so might have Tim Burton and Jim Henson. I didn’t really get it. Sometimes it seemed like close-ups were the focus, but then a wide-angle scene with one individual in the shot would come up next. I’m not even going to try to understand the use of stop-animation at one point.

5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?

This movie takes place in the 70s, so of course, the music is fun. Even with tunes I don’t clearly recognize, the music helped ease the oddness. That is until an unnecessary musical number broke out, more than once… Yeah.

6. What did I like about the story as a whole?

Well, I guess the anti-bullying and self-acceptance message is a good point to drive home, so… that was good. I did actually like the end where…SPOILER… Greta puts on her friend’s suit and he puts on her dress to prove a point.

7. What did I not like about the story?

So much. It’s difficult to pinpoint one thing.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others and what would I rate this movie?

Probably not.

The moral of the story seems to be that being a teenager sucks. I’m still not quite sure why the critics liked it so much. I honestly don’t think this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not that bad. It’s just really not good, to me.

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film reels.

P.S. This should really be a 1 reel rating. I discovered a glitch in my rating system for works I “Didn’t Like” or “Didn’t Finish”. I will leave all previous ratings as they are but will apply adjustments for all future book and movie reviews. 

9. Is there anything I would have changed or done differently?

Perhaps it’s simply a cultural difference, but I wouldn’t have made the people seem so sitcom-like. They just didn’t feel the slightest bit real. I also probably wouldn’t have had the kids curse so much. Kids cursing in movies has its place, but hear it just seemed like too much.

10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?

In this movie, Greta takes a trip, I mean that in the “puff, puff, pass” sense (if you don’t get that reference, don’t spend too much time thinking about it). It’s supposed to be a dream, I think, but it quickly becomes a nightmare. It’s like many other films where reality and the dream world collide. I often write stories where that happens, especially in my Eternal Curse Series.

Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Back of the Drawer #WEPFF Challenge No. 4 featuring “He Knew It; I Knew It” #amwriting #flashfiction

Surprise, surprise, I waited to the last minute, but here it is. Hope you like it.

He Knew It; I Knew It

No one saw what happened, but I did.

He knows I saw, but he doesn’t care. He knows I have no voice and he knows about my spells. He knows no one would believe me even if they did take the time read my handwritten statement with is childlike lettering.

I can’t help being what I am. I was born this way. I can’t help that sleep doesn’t always come so easy for me. And I can’t help that I was out digging for worms to put in my tank the night Larry turned dangerous.

It had just stopped raining and the ground was soft and sponging. The perfect time to pluck out worms, causing them little harm, and the perfect time to drag a body around. One sweep of the garden hose and the evidence would disappear with all the other mud and leaves that the rain washed away.

I tried to hide myself as he passed by, huffing and straining against the heft of the body. He never would have seen me had I remained behind the bush, but something caught my eye and I could ignore it. I ran out and scooped it up. That’s when he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to my feet.

Tears ran down my face and my fists clenched in agony. When looked into my eyes and saw my silent scream, he dared to chuckle, but quickly silenced himself. He dropped me to the ground. “No one can hear your scream, stupid mute girl. No one will come to your rescue if I end you right here.”

I curled in the fetal position and protected my jar of worms from the point of his boot. Vomit spewed from my mouth when the blow hit my stomach. He ran for the hose and sprayed the evidence away, dousing me just for fun.

He walked to put the hose away as I rocked in my cradle of protection, hoping this was the end of my pain. Hoping that he’d simply kill me or leave me there to pass out. When I heard birds chirping and sensed a brightness behind my lids, I knew he’d spared me.

I opened my eyes to let the sun burn away my sleepiness. I could hear the morning nurse, Samone, screaming for help as her heavy feet thudded toward me. “Oh Clara. Oh Clara, what are you doing out here? Are you hurt? You’ll catch your death.”

She tossed a blanket over me and rubbed my head. Soon Terence followed and scooped me up. “What happened Miss Samone?”

“I don’t know. Looks like she was collecting worms again.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t on duty last night.” Terence winked at me and slowed his pace as he turned a corner, so as not to bang my head. “I never would have let this happened if I had been.”

Samone was livid. “Don’t know if you could have stopped her. This one is stubborn. Seems the harder I try to keep her safe, the more harm she causes herself.”

Terence placed me down on a cot and two more nurses rushed in to tend to my cleaning and injuries. One of them called out, “Go get her note pad. See if she can tell us what happened.”

Terence began to step out of the room, but I kicked my feet and shook my head. I stared at him, willing him to look my way. He paused a moment, leaning his head as if baffled by my sudden outburst. Then he looked me in the eyes.

I blinked as fast as I could and extended the jar still wrapped in my arms. Terence smiled at me and stepped forward. “It’s okay Clara. I’ll put them in your room.” He slid the jar out of my hand and I exhaled. “Get better so you can take care of these little guys.”

After Terence left, a note pad was shoved into my hands as my soiled clothes were ripped away and warm soapy water washed across my skin. Samone grasped my hand, “Clara, tell us what happened.” Despite her strict rules and military-like marching about, Samone really did care about each and every one of her patients. I hated to see her so worried over me. I was happy to tell her exactly what had happened, but then he walked past the exam room.

He stood there, outside the window, with a broom in his hand pretending to clean the floors. I couldn’t stop myself from reacting. I flinched and kicked my feet again. Samone became agitated with not having the answers she sought. Leaving the other nurses to finish my clean up, she ran out the room and retuned shortly with a needle. It was time for me to calm down whether I want to or not.

After I was calm and fully treated, Samone asked me again what happened. Again he was there, outside the window of my room. Surely his shift was over. Did no one else wonder why the Larry, the night custodian was still hanging around? Under his scrutiny, I couldn’t tell the truth.

I wrote slowly, “I fell on the ground and hit a rock.”

Samone rubbed my head, clearly blinking to hold back tears. “You were collecting worms, weren’t you?”

I shook my head.

“Why, why do that alone in the middle of the night? What if you had an episode and suffocated in the mud?”

I nodded my head, “I couldn’t sleep. I’m sorry.”

After a while, Samone left me to attend to other patients. Larry walked by my room few more times that day before finally heading home. A week went by and Larry was starting to act smug, no doubt thinking no one would ever find out. None of the other nurses or staff could explain why Gail had stopped coming to work, but she was new and they all agreed that this wasn’t the right job for every nurse.

One Saturday afternoon I convinced Terence to play cards with me in the kitchen. We programmed my communication board to say ‘go fish’ and “you got any…”, then all I had to do is hold up the card I wanted. Terence and I had played the game a lot and figured a single suit of cards for me to use as choice options was the best way to go.

As we played, Ron the handy man came through to fix one of the drawers that had gotten stuck at some point during the week. It held all the specialty utensils for grilling, and with family day coming up, we’d surely need those.

Only partially paying attention to my game, I watched Ron out the corner of the eyes as he banged on the drawer trying to loosen it. Finally, the drawer snapped out and fell to the floor with a crash. Then Ron yelp.

“Oh my God!”

Terence was already on his feet, standing in front of me protectively. “What it is Ron?”

“Look what’s in the back of the drawer.”

Terence patted my shoulder and then stepped toward the drawer. Just then Samone and Larry came rushing in from the hallway, each just starting their evening shift. There it was; even with the sparkly new engagement ring missing, the moon shaped birthmark gave it away.

Terence yelled, “I think it’s Gail’s finger. Gail’s finger is in the back of the drawer.”

Samone covered her mouth and gasped. She blinked a few times and then pulled out her cell phone. “I’m calling the cops. I hope no one here has anything to hide.”

Larry stared daggers into the back of my head, but I didn’t bother turning around to look at him. He knew I’d done it; just like I knew he’d done it.

1306 words – He Knew It; I Knew It © Toinette J. Thomas 2017

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Happy Valentine’s Day! Fall in #love with a #book.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Toi Reads “We Are Jardin” #wip #sample #fantasy

For anyone interested, I’m updating the free short story that comes with my email list sign-up. I’m offering a story that’s only been offered previously in an sci-fi anthology; you can have Clepher’s Heart free when you join my email list.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Review: Penryn & the End of Days Trilogy #paranormal #YA


Title:  Angelfall

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 288

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, some gore, doom, mature themes)

So the fact that I’m really into the whole angels and demons thing really helped me get passed my issues with YA fiction and really appreciate this story, which in many ways reads like a Dystopia. Penryan is, typically, nothing special to look at and small, but when she encounters a wounded angel, everything changes. Those who took the angel down have taken her younger sister. Her crazy mother, who may not be as crazy as we all think, remains hidden in the shadows, unable to offer aid. The simple human girl, Penryan, and the beautiful wounded angel, Raffe, must team up in order to survive.

I hope my tone doesn’t exude sarcasm. Despite my personal misdealings with YA fiction, this is a really good story. It even caught me off guard a few times, throwing in an element of terror I hadn’t expected and truly appreciated.  The whole idea of angel fall takes on a new meaning at the end of the story when a twist is thrown at you. Raffe kinda gets what he’s been after this whole time, but it’s a greater curse than he could have imagined … but then there’s still Penryan, the human girl who can wield his sword.

I have to read the next book.

This is definitely geared towards teen readers, but anyone who appreciates dark themes and or a non-religious take on angels and demons will enjoy this story.

I give this book a 4.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.


Title:  World After

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 320

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, gore, doom, mature and dark themes)

Unlike most, I liked this one more than the first.

Yes, the pace of this book is slower, but that’s part of why I like it. We actually get to take some time to understand certain characters and connect more with Penryn. The only thing I wish there would have been more of this book was Raffe, but I accept the substitution of mother and sister. In the first book we really didn’t get to know Pen’s family and in this book we do. I like that.

In book one, I feel like we got to see inside the world of the angels, but in book two we get the see the human ‘world after’ the arrival of the angels much better. Plus, there are layers to the story of why the angels are really here and figuring that out is important.

Even though Pen keeps reminding us that she’s just a teenager, we all know her youth and innocents are gone. By the end of this book, I think she finally realizes it too. And for all those who want action in their books, let me just point out that in book one Pen picked up the angel sword and in book two she actually uses it. Yaaasss!

Family gets the spotlight in this book and romance is put on the back burner, but not too far away.

End of Days, here I come.

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.


Title:  End of Days

Series: Penryn & the End of Days #3

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Pages: 344

Reading Level: Teen

Content: PG-13 (adult situations and content, violence, gore, doom, sensuality, mature and dark themes)

I sigh with relief at the finale of this series. It’s everything I wanted.

Pen and Raffe are united, and the kick-butt team they’ve been from the start. They are still battling against the world, and in some ways each other, but they never stop fighting. She is humanity and he is angel-kind. At some point they will have to choose “us” or “them” and the suspense is almost unbearable, especially since their relationship finally gets a bit physical. There’s really no turning back from that, and yet, they still have choices to make.

Poor Paige seems to be destined to suffer, but perhaps her destiny is more than pain. As I read this book, I kept wondering if the price of her life and her destiny was worth the cost. It’s not an easy question to answer, but rather or not I’d be willing to pay it, her mom would surely make sure her baby has what she needs. I really like that crazy lady, but wouldn’t want to be on her bad side.

The scene where the people realize their own injustices and accept their true humanity- it really gets to me.

Meeting the Watchers was nice. I almost felt sorry for Beliel, almost, but his role was critical to the whole struggle.

I thought the final battle would last longer, but I’m kinda glad it didn’t. The doctor ended up saving lives after all.

Oh and Pooky Bear. He’s so confused by the end, but remains safe in Penryn’s hands. Perhaps, that’s where he belongs now. Not a white lace and church bells happy ending, but a happy ending humanity can live with.

Man, was this a good series!

I give this book a 5.

This review has been posted to GoodReads.

If you’d like to obtain a Kindle copy of this book, try this link: Amazon

Get a print copy with free international shipping at this link: Book Depository.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords