Saturday, February 27, 2016

Stacking the Shelves - 2.27.16

Stacking the Shelves
hosted by Tynga's Reviews (details)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


I did LOTS of movie watching than reading this past week due to the upcoming Oscars and the Mostly British Film Festival - good stuff ;-)



(The Beautiful Creatures of Beverly Hills #1)
by E. Van Lowe
Just released: February 11, 2016
Amazon | Goodreads

OTHER things: kinda book-related

Book Passage
Ferry Building, San Francisco
Author event: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

=====> Beautiful woman. Loved hearing the stories behind the characters and creation of her latest book.


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

February Box includes:
- The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
- Author signed bookplate for The Love That Split The World & note from author
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (published by Rock Paper Books)
- Tote bag: The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (Owlcrate exclusive)
- TARDIS brooch created by Vector Engraving

The Love That Split The World
by Emily Henry
-SciFi, Romance, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
Amazon | Goodreads

=====> I continue to love the boxes coming from Owlcrate. As I have not been purchasing or receiving ARCs of YA books lately, the selection is a hit for me.

AND watched: on Netflix, Oscar nominees

Winter on Fire (2015)
Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Starring: Bishop Agapit, Serhii Averchenko, Kristina Berdinskikh
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 4

A documentary on the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014, as student demonstrations supporting European integration grew into a violent revolution calling for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.

Cartel Land (2015)
Director: Matthew Heineman
Starring: José Manuel 'El Doctor' Mireles
-Documentary, Action, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A physician in Michoacán, Mexico leads a citizen uprising against the drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Across the U.S. border, a veteran heads a paramilitary group working to prevent Mexico's drug wars from entering U.S. territory.

Last Day of Freedom (2015)
Director: Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman
Starring: Bill Babbitt
-Documentary Short, Animation | imdb | my rating: 5

When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime he agonizes over his decision to call the police. Living Condition: Bill's Story is an animated account of his decision to support and help his brother in the face of war, crime and capital execution.

AND watched: in theatre, part of Mostly British Film Festival SF (details)

Chicken (2015)
Director: Joe Stephenson
Writers: Chris New
Based on play by: Freddie Machin
Starring: Scott Chambers, Yasmin Paige, Morgan Watkins
-Drama, UK | imdb | my rating: 5

RICHARD, 15 with learning difficulties, longs to put down roots but his restless and destructive brother, POLLY, needs to keep moving. When the land they live on is bought by a new landowner, and the electricity supply to their caravan is cut, their already precarious living conditions get even worse. Then a chance meeting with the new landowner's daughter, 17 year old ANNABEL (Yasmin Paige), leaves RICHARD besotted; whilst POLLY befriends the guys who run a seedy traveling fair. Richards optimistic view on life becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as Polly's abusive behavior worsens, family secrets are revealed, and he is torn between loyalty to his brother and his first true friend in ANNABEL. For better or worse, Richards life is about to change forever.

=====> Gut-wrenching film. The one film that stands out for me in this film festival. Impressive debut from this director. Joe Stephenson is one to watch out for!

What We Did On Our Holiday (2014)
Director/Writer: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin
Starring: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly
-Comedy, Drama, Scotland | imdb | my rating: 5

Doug and Abi take their kids on a family vacation. Surrounded by relatives, the kids innocently reveal the ins and outs of their family life and many intimate details about their parents. It's soon clear that when it comes to keeping a big secret under wraps from the rest of the family, their children are their biggest liability...

=====> Touching and thoughtful with some amusing scenes (with the kids).

Last Cab to Darwin (2015)
Director: Jeremy Sims
Writers: Reg Cribb, Jeremy Sims
Based on play by: Reb Cribb
Starring: Michael Caton, Ningali Lawford, Mark Coles Smith
-Comedy, Drama, Romance, Australia | imdb | my rating: 5

When Rex, a Broken Hill cab driver, is told he doesn't have long to live, he sets out on an epic journey to Darwin in a bid to die on his own terms.

=====> Pleasantly surprised with this one. Premise of storyline handled well and well-delivered.

You're Ugly Too (2015)
Director/Writer: Mark Noonan
Starring: Aiden Gillen, Lauren Kinsella
-Comedy, Drama, Ireland | imdb | my rating: 5

After her mother's death, Stacey moves with her uncle Will to a remote region in the Irish midlands. As the two cautiously get to know each other, they have to deal with the dark shadows of the past. An astute character driven study on the need to regain footing and let go, told with a good dose of Irish humor.

=====> Snarky dialogue with misfit characters who grow on each other (and on me).

Dark Horse (2015)
Director: Louise Osmond
Starring: Dream Alliance
-Documentary, Drama, UK | imdb | my rating: 5

An inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men's club who decide to take on the elite 'sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse

=====> Loved this story that gives a look into the horse racing world from the owner's perspective. Dream Alliance ranks up there as one of those underdog winners.

Strangerland (2015)
Director: Kim Farrant
Writers: Michael Kinirons, Fiona Seres
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving
-Drama, Thriller, Australia | imdb | my rating: 4

A family finds their dull life in a rural outback town rocked after their two teenage children disappear into the desert, sparking disturbing rumors of their past.

=====> Captured the landscape well. Got too artsy for me at times.

A Nightingale Falling (2014)
Director: Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn
Writers: Garret Daly, Martina McGlynn
Based on book by: PJ Curtis
Starring: Tara Breathnach, Muireann Bird, Gerard McCarthy
-Drama, History, War, Ireland | imdb | my rating: 4

Set in Ireland during the War of Independence, two sisters lives are changed forever as they care for a wounded soldier. What transpires is a tragic love story of a household and its inhabitants, caught in the crucible of dark deep secrets.

=====> Tragic, indeed. Done well and captures the time period (Downton Abby-ish). But not sure I really liked it - because of unlikable characters.

One Million Dubliners (2014)
Director: Aoife Kelleher
Writers: James Mitchell
Starring: Shane MacThomais
-Documentary, Ireland | imdb | my rating: 4

Glasnevin Cemetery is the final resting place of 1.5 million souls; it is Ireland's national necropolis. ONE MILLION DUBLINERS reveals the often unspoken stories of ritual, loss, redemption, emotion, history - and the business of death. But this is really a film about life: the Saint Valentine's Day rush in the florists; the American visitors eagerly searching for Irish ancestors; lost and longed for love; discovery and bereavement; earthy gravediggers and musicians in celebration. Above all, it's the story of an immensely engaging Tour Guide shepherding his charges - and us - through the headstones and monuments, through opinions and beliefs. Filled with the familiar and the fascinating, this is a documentary that offers a glimpse into the unknown, into a world we will all come to share. Often humorous, always affecting, ONE MILLION DUBLINERS explores life, death and the afterlife, and ends in a way that will stay with you forever. Even in a cemetery you never quite get used to death.

=====> Interesting perspective of Glasnevin cemetery with a subplot that surprised me.

My Name is Emily (2015)
Director/Writer: Simon Fitzmaurice
Starring: Evanna Lynch, Martin McCann, Michael Smiley
-Drama, Ireland | imdb | my rating: 4

A teenage girl runs away from a foster home with the boy who loves her. She searches for her visionary writer father who is locked up in a psychiatric institution. It is a story of redemption.

=====> Beautiful imagery transitions. But, went a bit overmuch with the voice overs.

Felony (2013)
Director: Matthew Saville
Screenplay: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney, Tom Wilkinson
-Thriller, Australia | imdb | my rating: 4

An accident involving a young child sets off a chain of events that brings an Australian police officer's world crashing down.

=====> This is one where you find yourself stewing over. Gave me mixed emotions.

Sunset Song (2013)
Director: Terence Davies
Screenplay: Terence Davies
Based on book by: Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Starring: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie
-Drama, Scotland | imdb | my rating: 4

The daughter of a Scottish farmer comes of age in the early 1900s.

=====> Lovely landscapes and scenes. But the voice overs killed it for me (again).

The Little Death (2014)
Director: Josh Lawson
Writer: Josh Lawson
Starring: Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman, Josh Lawson
-Comedy,Drama, Romance, Australia | imdb | my rating: 4

The secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney reveal both the fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them.

=====> Some hilarious moments and interesting to see how the stories intersect - all involving sex and relationships.

The Dressmaker (1988)
Director: Jim O'Brien
Screenplay: John McGrath
Based on book by: Beryl Bainbridge
Starring: Joan Plowright, Billie Whitelaw, Pete Postlethwaite
-Drama, Romance, England | imdb | my rating: 4

In England during World War II, a repressed dressmaker and her sister struggle looking after their 17-year-old niece, who is having a delusional affair with an American soldier.

=====> If you watch Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series, you will be tickled to see some the of the actors in this film. Also, a young Jane Horrocks appears and surprised me with her character arc. Looking forward to seeing her again as Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie later this year.

Delicious (2013)
Director: Tammy Riley-Smith
Writer: Tammy Riley-Smith
Starring: Nico Rogner, Louise Brealey
-Comedy, Drama, Romance, UK | imdb | my rating: 3

A passionate chef resorts to extreme measures to get an obsessive dieter to eat good food.

=====> A bit lightweight compared to the others in this festival, but entertaining if you are in the rom-com/foodie mode.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

* per usual, check out the sidebar for my current giveaways offers

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Happy release: Moondancers by E. Van Lowe

(The Beautiful Creatures of Beverly Hills #!)
by E. Van Lowe
Just released: February 11, 2016
Amazon | Goodreads

Do you believe in Soulmates?

Josh Butters didn’t until the summer of his sixteenth birthday. That summer a creature began haunting the pools of Beverly Hills, and a beautiful girl moved next door. Does Josh see a secret connection between the girl and the creature?

The summer of Josh Butters’ sixteenth birthday will be very different from all the summers that have come before.

That summer Josh will meet his one true love.
That summer there will be an amazing and romantic adventure
That summer one of them is going die.
That summer the girl of Josh Butters’ dreams is right before his eyes. But the price for loving her may be far too high.



* ooo, a new e. van lowe! just got my copy and looking forward to dipping into it ;-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2015
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Genre: Literary, Family
Hardback: 368 pages
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny.

"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family--their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog--is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red's father.

Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler's hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.

My two-bits:

This story is a light family drama with details of each member and daily living that plods along life through three generations.

It is written well and will not disappoint Anne Tyler fans. However, I was lukewarm to the characters and doings.

The story picked up for me towards the end where we hear about the romance of Abby and Red.


Tournament of Books short list nominee (details)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Happy release: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Kim Barker

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
by Kim Barker
Amazon | Goodreads

From tea with warlords in the countryside to parties with drunken foreign correspondents in the “dry” city of Kabul, journalist Kim Barker captures the humor and heartbreak of life in post-9/11 Afghanistan and Pakistan in this profound and darkly comic memoir. As Barker grows from awkward newbie to seasoned reporter, she offers an insider’s account of the region’s “forgotten war” at a time when all eyes were turned to Iraq.

Candid, self-deprecating, and laugh-out-loud funny, Barker shares both her affection for the absurdities of these two hapless countries and her fear for their future stability.

SEE the movie: out in theatres on March 4

Now a Major Motion Picture titled Whiskey Tango Foxtrot starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, and Billy Bob Thornton.


* previous title: The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Love-A-Thon Mini-challenge #3: Book Spine Poetry

February 20-21, 2016
hosted by:
Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books
Cee @ The Novel Hermit
Hazel @ Stay Bookish
Mel @ The Daily Prophecy

One of the most popular Love-a-Thon challenges is returning this year! All you have to do is create book spine poetry. (If you guys don’t know what that is, it’s basically using book titles to write your own poems.) You can type out titles, take a photo, or design a collage. All creative ideas are encouraged!

fates and furies
postcards from the sky
the cuckoo's calling
soundless worlds of ink and shadow


* links to more book spine poetry (here)

* image source: aurora borealis

* Love-A-Thon schedule

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Love-A-Thon Mini-challenge #1: Mix and Match

February 20-21, 2016
hosted by:
Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books
Cee @ The Novel Hermit
Hazel @ Stay Bookish
Mel @ The Daily Prophecy

Along with reading, listening to music and watching movies are currently big to-dos for my entertainment. I love when I find crossovers with favorite books into these other media. Below are some interesting finds for my all-time favorite classic book...

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

READ it in daily calendar format...

Pride & Prejudice 2016 Calendar (here)

READ a retelling...

A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
(The Austen Project #4)
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Release date: April 19, 2016
Amazon | Goodreads

From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. A bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

IN audio (sampler clip)...

Pride and Prejudice
read by Rosamund Pike (available here)

IN Japanese manga...

Pride and Prejudice
(Manga Classics)
by Stacy King, Po Tse (Illustrations), Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

IN Kpop...

Pride and Prejudice by Zico (feat. Suran)

IN food...

Pride and Prejudice
Anniversary Notions Sampler
from Bingley's Teas (here)

IN lingerie (ahem)...

Pride Prejudice and Zombies
lingerie at Hot Topic (here)

AND of course, currently in theatres...

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) | imdb
Based on book by: Seth Grahame-Smith
which is based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


* Love-A-Thon schedule

Stacking the Shelves - 2.20.16

Stacking the Shelves
hosted by Tynga's Reviews (details)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!



Bats of the Republic:
An Illuminated Novel
by Zachary Thomas Dodson
-Historical, SciFi
Powells | Goodreads


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
by Kim Barker
-Memoir, Pakistan
Amazon | Goodreads

=====> Stay tuned, I will be posting a giveaway offer for this on Tuesday.

OTHER things on my shelf: kinda book-related

Participating in the Love-A-thon this weekend (details).


From Uppercase package (details & signup):
A hand-selected young adult book & fun bookish item, delivered monthly #UppercaseBox

February Box includes:
- Starflight by Melissa Landers -signed
- Starflight themed quote poster and bookmarks
- Starflight themed nail wraps
- Anne of Green Gables infinity scarf (Uppercase exclusive)

(Starflight #1)
by Melissa Landers
-SciFi, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it's not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.


AND watched: on Netflix, Oscar nominee

Chau: Beyond The Lines (2015)
War Within the Walls (original title)
Director: Courtney Marsh
Story: Courtney Marsh and Marcelo Mitnik
Starring: Le Minh Chau
-Documentary Short, Biography, Vietnam | imdb | Website | my rating: 5

Chau, a 16-year-old boy living in a Vietnamese peace camp for kids disabled by Agent Orange, battles with the reality of his dream to one day become a professional clothing designer.

Chau's artwork: view more (here)

=====> Interesting to learn just how Agent Orange has affected Vietnam and the people living there.

I am finding that watching Documentary shorts are a good way to get into the genre of documentaries. The timing is just right for those not used to it.

AND watched: in theatre

Race (2016)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree
-Biography, Drama, Sport | imdb | my rating: 5

Jesse Owens' quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy.

=====> Fascinating bit of history about Jesse Owens. He is finally getting a proper spotlight for his part in Olympic history.

AND watched: in theatre

Deadpool (2016)
Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Characters by: Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
-Action, Adventure, Comedy, Superhero | imdb | my rating: 5

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

=====> Loved the pop culture references and snarky dialogue.

AND watched: in theatre, these next three are part of Mostly British Film Festival SF (details)

A Royal Night Out (2015)
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writers: Trevor De Silva, Kevin Hood
Starring: Sarah Gadon, Bel Powley, Emily Watson
-Comedy, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.

=====> Lovely whirlwind evening of the V.E. day festivities. The soundtrack really pulls you in.

Cut Snake (2014)
Director: Tony Ayres
Screenplay: Blake Ayshford
Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Alex Russell, Jessica De Gouw
-Thriller, Australia | imdb

An ex-convict is trying to make a new life for himself in a new city. But his new life is challenged when his foreboding and charismatic former cell mate arrives in town.

The Long Good Friday (1980)
Director: John Mackenzie
Screenplay: Barrie Keeffe
Based on book by:
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Dave King
-Crime, Drama, Mystery, Noir, Thriller, UK | imdb

Harold, a prosperous English gangster, is about to close a lucrative new deal when bombs start showing up in very inconvenient places. A mysterious syndicate is trying to muscle in on his action, and Harold wants to know who they are. He finds out soon enough, and bloody mayhem ensues.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

* per usual, check out the sidebar for my current giveaways offers

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu