Reblog- #Book in the Spotlight from Toi Thomas #OurAuthorGang

So, yesterday I was hanging out over at A Small Gang of Authors sharing excerpts from my short story collection, Legend of the Boy, In the Window, and Other Short Stories. Then I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever really shared many thoughts or samples of that publication here at the ToiBox and decided I needed to share it. If you are interested, please go check out the post and read the excerpts.


“I like the idea of seeing myself progress as a writer and I also like being able to explore different genres. My collection of short stories, Legend of the Boy, In the Window, and Other Short Stories, is an exploration of an author’s voice and developing creativity. It’s, sometimes dark and intense, adult fiction that is suitable for teens.

…” Read more at #Book in the Spotlight from Toi Thomas #OurAuthorGang

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

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse #Review: Monsters In Our Wake #horror #ebook

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you’ve finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we’ll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us below.

Title: Monsters In Our Wake: A Deep Sea Thriller
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction Thriller
Pages: 190
Reading Level: Adult
Content: R (language, gore, suspense, dark theme, mature and adult situations, violence)

This book caught me off guard and I’m glad. I was expecting a great monster story but got something else entirely. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the classic monster elements are there, but the differences make all the difference.

The story is about a strange connection between an ancient sea creature and a marine geologist. As a single mother, Flora takes a job on an oil rig purely for the money, but between her anxiety and the machismo on the ship, it doesn’t take long to wonder if it’s worth it.

Then there’s Nokken and his dysfunctional (sea creature) family. A bit of sport with an oil rig, something that looks like a toy to him, starts the drama that unfolds. Nokken is somehow torn between sticking to his nature and having compassion for the creatures that could destroy his home.

Being familiar with the reputation of Moncrieff, I was expecting an intense horror story to boggle the mind. That’s what I got, but I felt like the story was more of a science fiction thriller, which make sense because thriller is in the title. Because the story is told from the perspective of both the humans and the sea creatures, there’s an element of terror missing, but it’s still scary.

Right from the start, the creatures are humanized to the reader and the story plays out like a crime drama or thriller from then on. The story becomes a mental battle for the sea creature (Nokken), who has the upper hand in all aspects, to decide what is the right thing to do. All the while, back on the ship, the real monsters begin to show themselves as survival takes a back seat to individual self-preservation. And none of the humans come off looking very good, even Flora.

While she’s the best of humanity on the ship, some of her actions or lack there of, don’t make her the fittest in terms of survival. I wanted to like her more, but I didn’t. There were other characters with likable traits and some who did heroic things, but I didn’t really ‘like’ any of them. Of course, I sympathized with Flora and wanted her to make it out alive more than anyone else; I just don’t know why I didn’t like her more. I can relate to her, though, in one respect. Anxiety is crippling in a way no one can understand unless they’ve experienced it.

Overall, I’d recommend this to horror and sci-fi fans, and to anyone who appreciates a good monster story or one with a twist. Not suitable for pre-teens and young children.

I give this book a 4.

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

Please stop by and see what others have read 😀

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

Max Payne #TheToiBoxOfWords #film #review


I decided to take on the challenge of a video game movie adaptation. I wanted to review something a little different and think I found something special, but; does that mean I liked it? Let’s find out.

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching Max Payne, click here to see my notes. Oh, and I think I might start using these notes to make a recap video. I’m working hard to improve my You Tube channel and hope you’ll check out some of the new content.

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?

Loosely, and yet still pretty close, based on the video game of the same name, Max Payne is a NYPD detective out for revenge. (Wait, kinda sounds like the premise for a dozen other movies. Did it really need to be based off this game?) Anyway, Payne turns to cold case work so he can keep looking into and digging up leads for his wife and child’s unsolved murder, earning black sheep status at the precinct and on the streets. Then one fateful night, a series of wing tattoos and a new murder brings him closer to finding answers that he’s not ready to deal with.

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

I remember seeing the trailer of this movie, back in the day, when it was first released and thought it didn’t look too bad for a video game movie. (Let’s be honest, they are 50/50 hit or misses.) In any case, I thought the cast sounded pretty cool at the time. Mark Wahlberg (rapper turned actor) and Christopher Bridges aka Ludacris (another rapper turned actor) appearing on screen with Beau Bridges (no relation) seem like a once in a lifetime event. I’m actually impressed with how both of these men have handled their acting careers, not making it a joke but not taking it so series that they make movies that just don’t fit them.

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

I knew very little about the Max Payne game, but it wasn’t completely foreign to me either. I’d seen other people play the game and so had an idea of what to expect. I don’t think this is one of those films where you can really get the character wrong without doing something completely out of character, like making Max a drag queen or making him walk with a limp and speak with a lisp. I think Wahlberg did fine. All the major actors did fine, though there were a few times I had trouble believing Mila was supposed to be so kick-@ss. Oh, and there were a few priceless performances from the supporting and minor characters, but that just added a bit of humor to the overall presentation.

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

This is where I’m sure gamers will come out of the woodworks to torch my house, but I don’t care. I liked the way this movie was filmed. I don’t know if the director or screenwriter is to credit, but I liked the unofficial supernatural elements they added to the fill, even if it does all boil down to “Kids, drugs are bad.” Seriously, check out my notes on watching the movie.
For the most part, the film is dark, in that classic noir style, but the flashbacks seemed to have an amber tone to them. Not sure what filter they used, but it brightened the movie without adding too much realism. On a scale of one to 10, considering when this movie came out, I’d still give the effects about an 8. They aren’t that bad, and for a story like this, they aren’t really overused.

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

I can’t think of anything that really stood out about the soundtrack, but I do remember liking it. I thought it suited the mood of the film. I think I remember some metal songs and some deep instrumentals.

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

The plot was okay. It wasn’t some ultra-hard or twisted mystery to figure out and the characters weren’t so complex that you could figure out their motives, but it wasn’t bad either. I guess what I liked most was that the story was simple, but not so much so that I became annoyed. This is brain candy.

7. What did I not like about the story?

I thought the government experiment cover up was a bit cliché, but like I said, “brain candy”. Oh, and, who shoots an automatic weapon around blocks of C4?

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

Yes and no. I have a bunch of friends who can appreciate a good action flick for being just that. They can appreciate that some stories don’t have a lot of depth and that violence is inevitable. If they haven’t seen this yet, I’ll invite them over to watch it. And as video game movies go, this is one of the better ones. For a video game movie, I’d give this a 5; but that’s not my general rating.

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 4 reels. What can I say? I appreciate mindless entertainment.

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

I think I would have done a better job of addressing the drug issue behind all of this. Even the additional scene after the credits, suggesting that there might be a sequel, focuses on Payne’s desire for revenge. Someone should be doing something about that drug problem.

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

I like the Valkyrie/demon imagery in this story, though I don’t know how accurate it is. I always thought Valkyries looked like stereotypical angels. In any case, I like how scary they come off and try to capture that kind of fear in my own stories wherever suitable. I do write about angels and demons 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

Charade & The Truth About Charlie #Review – Mock Squid Soup No.21 #cinephiles #film #mystery









Let’s recap my clues from last week:

Clue #1– Both leading ladies are British actresses with a dancing background; one black, one white.

Clue #2– Both leading men are known for their looks, though the original actor has more acclaim.

Clue #3– The original blockbuster movie released 1963; the box office bomb remake released 2002.

So what do you think, was I too vague or was my movie just too obscure? I think I had everyone stumped.

If anyone is interested in my experience of watching these movies, click here (Charade) and here (The Truth..) 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?

Charade is the story of the unhappily married Regina, who discovers that she won’t be needing a divorce because her husband has been killed while she was away on holiday. To make matters weirder, three strange and dangerous people are trying to capture or kill her in hopes of retrieving money her late husband stole. Then there’s the charming “Peter” who’s there to offer her comfort and aid.

The Truth About Charlie is the remake, with some notable changes here and there. The major difference between this and the original is the additional influence of the “Shoot the Piano Player” film, and trust me, it makes all the difference.

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

The original trailer for Charade is quite campy but when your film stars Audrey and Cary, does it really matter?

My interest in the remake stemmed from its association with the original and the fact that I like Thandie Newton.

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

I actually think all the leading performances, aside from Wahlberg, were pretty good; he was only okay. I do wish Audrey’s Reggie wouldn’t have been so dim at times, but it was a different time, I guess. I do wish that Thandie would have been given a little of Audrey’s runway treatment. Her character lacked the glamor that the first Regina had. Oddly enough, I found the instant attraction between Thandie and Mark more believable, but the way Audrey’s character chases after Cary’s is priceless.

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

The original was shot like a typical spy film of the time, but with a bit humor and fashion thrown in. The remake however, was a bit confusing. I think this is where the “Shoot the Piano Player” influence took things too far. The remake felt like an art film, a study in emotional expression, something that just didn’t go well with the plotline. Weird camera angles, color filters, quick flashes of unrelated content to the story at hand- yeah, it just didn’t work for me.

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

The original movie didn’t have a whole lot going on in terms of music. I like the intro music which seemed to repeat as needed throughout the film. Though more than odd in some places, the soundtrack for the remake, was quite fun. There was lots of variety. Some songs set the perfect mood while others set matters askew.

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

Since both stories are essentially the same, and I mean that (I was expecting more changes in the remake), I can say that I actually like both stories. I like the mystery and how it all unfolds, plus what’s a mystery without multiple false identities?

7. What did I not like about the story?

For Charade, I’d have to say that the way Reggie’s character was so dim and helpless was a turnoff.

For The Truth About Charlie, the odd way in which it was filmed and the fact that very few changes were made, made the movie a bit disappointing.

8. Would I recommend this movie to others?

Yes, I’d actually recommend both films.

Charade is a film that a classic movie lover should see; plus the fashion is amazing.

The Truth About Charlie isn’t a bad movie, but it is a bad remake. Anyone who hasn’t seen the first film might really enjoy this one. If for no other reason, I recommend both films for comparison sake.

9.What would I rate this movie?

On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give Charade 4 reels


and The Truth About Charlie 3 reels.


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

Not exactly. I’ve not written a true mystery, though I do incorporate elements of mystery in my Eternal Curse Series. While I don’t know a whole lot about fashion, I do try to utilize elements of fashion in my world building.

Watch, rent, or buy Charade movie here.

Watch, rent, or buy The Truth About Charlie movie here.

Mock Squid Soup – Film Society

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to movie reviews. We invite others to participate and post their reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀

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