Monday, July 31, 2017

Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

by Orhan Pamuk

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2006
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Biography, Travel, Turkey
Paperback: 400
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
From a very young age, I suspected there was more to my world than I could see: Somewhere in the streets of Istanbul, in a house resembling ours, there lived another Orhan so much like me that he could pass for my twin, even my double.

A shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world’s great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul and still lives in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy–or hüzün– that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost empire. With cinematic fluidity, Pamuk moves from his glamorous, unhappy parents to the gorgeous, decrepit mansions overlooking the Bosphorus; from the dawning of his self-consciousness to the writers and painters–both Turkish and foreign–who would shape his consciousness of his city. Like Joyce’s Dublin and Borges’ Buenos Aires, Pamuk’s Istanbul is a triumphant encounter of place and sensibility, beautifully written and immensely moving.

My two-bits:

The details gives a special look at the city that is Istanbul. I could feel the love the author has for the city despite its melancholy vibe.

The author also shares details of his family history which is equally engaging.


* part of Diesel Book Club, Larkspur (here)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

That Crazy Perfect Someday by Michael Mazza

That Crazy Perfect Someday
by Michael Mazza

Find out more about this book and author:
Instagram | Twitter

Just released: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Turtle Point Press
Genre: New Adult, Sports - surfing, California, Australia
Paperback: 318
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
My Charger clocks eighty-three miles an hour up North Harbor Drive, past the airport, headlights blazing, tachometer redlining, the V-8 roaring as if it's heading into war.

Zombie sighting:
Weakened by the prospect, I recline the seat all the way back, close may eyes, and numb as a voodoo zombie, let the car loop around the city into the dark, decaying hours of the night.
-page 217, chapter 38 (ARC)

The year is 2024. Climate change has altered the world's wave patterns. Drones crisscross the sky, cars drive themselves, and surfing is a new Olympic sport. Mafuri Long, UCSD marine biology grad, champion surfer, and only female to dominate a record eighty-foot wave, still has something to prove. Having achieved Internet fame, along with sponsorship from Google and Nike, she's intent on winning Olympic gold. But when her father, a clinically depressed former Navy captain and widower, learns that his beloved supercarrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to be sunk, he draws Mafuri into a powerful undertow. Conflicts compound as Mafuri's personal life comes undone via social media, and a vicious Aussie competitor levels bogus doping charges against her. Mafuri forms an unlikely friendship with an awkward teen, a Ferrari-driving professional gamer who will prove to be her support and ballast. Authentic, brutal, and at times funny, Mafuri lays it all out in a sprightly, hot-wired voice. From San Diego to Sydney, Key West, and Manila, That Crazy Perfect Someday goes beyond the sports/surf cliché to explore the depths of sorrow and hope, yearning and family bonds, and the bootstrap power of a bold young woman climbing back into the light.

My two-bits:

I found this to be a fun way to get into the surf world with a female perspective.

This story also gets into tackling the hardships in life that come with sports, fame, relationships (family and friends).

Admired the protagonist's courage and perseverance.

Had me watching some YouTube GoPro footage by surfers on Australian waves.


* review copy courtesy of publisher

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 7.29.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Felt a little crafty and created some paper cut creations which I added to the Glossies Made Me Do It post (here).

Been thinking of cutting down on doing requested reviews for the Fall and Winter seasons. I want to devote some time with Jane Austen themed and Dystopia genres.

Also, started to work on reorganizing bookshelves. It is a daunting task to start. But I ended up emptying shelves and creating "keep" and "donate" stacks. It is going to take awhile. My goal is to be done with this part of the project by the end of August.

And, culling my written tbr lists (including on Goodreads) by removing titles that no longer appeal - at least 10 per week. I've seen other book bloggers who read excerpts to help decide on whether or not to keep a title on their list. I might do this too.



Gork, the Teenage Dragon
by Gabe Hudson
-Fantasy, YA, Dragon
Amazon | Goodreads

GOT this for my daughter, but plan to read this as well.

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book
by Jomny Sun
-Graphic Novel, SciFi, Humor
Amazon | Goodreads

ANOTHER one for my daughter. Sounds hilarious.


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

JULY Box includes:
theme: Wanderlust
- Owlcrate spoiler card (not pictured)
- Owlcrate button - monthly theme
- The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (exclusive cover)
- Signed bookplate, letter and art print map from author
- Backpack inspired by Lord of the Rings created by Owlcrate
- Luggage tag, Owl, created by Mudpuppy
- Keychain, Newt Scamander, created by Funko
- Pocket mirror inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic, created by Miss Phi
- Pocket journal, map theme, from Ooly

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee
-Historical, LGBTQ, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

A hilarious and swashbuckling teen historical fiction novel, named one of summer's 20 must-read books by Entertainment Weekly! A New York Times bestseller!

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Jane Austen Society of North America (details)

FINALLY joined a Jane Austen face-to-face group. Been meaning to go beyond Jane's words see what all it out there. Let me know if you are part of a JASNA or any other Jane Austen organization. Would love to hear any of your experiences.

AND watched: in theatre

Body and Soul: An American Bridge (2016)
Director: Robert Philipson
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

The performance history of the most recorded song in jazz reveals the influences, creations and conflicts between Blacks and Jews in American popular song.

THE SF Jewish Film Festival featured this show along with a brief intro from the director and a live jazz quartet performance after the screening.

Loved how the song, Body and Soul, was featured and learning about its history.

Dunkirk (2017)
Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard
-Action, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 4

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Nice visual history story that captures the air, sea and the mole.

The Vietnam War (2017)
Director: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
-Documentary | imdb

Award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein share the epic story of the Vietnam War with testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

WE watched a preview of this series with filmmakers and two people in the documentary in conversation with Scott Shafer, KQED's senior politics and government editor.

Seven clips were just the right amount to tease. Now we are properly excited to see this documentary which starts September 7 on PBS.

*event photo by Aberswyth N.T.

Blind Detective (2013)
Man tam (original title)
Director: Johnnie To
Writers: Ryker Chan, Ka-Fai Wai, Nai-Hoi Yau, Xi Yu
Starring: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng
-Comedy, Crime, Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 5

A cop is forced into early retirement due to retinal damage. But after witnessing a bank robbery along with a female inspector - who believes he has acute senses - they team up in hope to solve the case.

PART of a Johnnie To film festival at the SF MOMA. This film captures all the Johnnie To film elements that he is famous for including scenes for foodies to get chuckles from. More on the fun side.


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


Friday, July 28, 2017

The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel

The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo
by Ian Stansel
narrated by Jordan Killam

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: July 4, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Contemporary, Western, California
Hardback: 208
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
What are you doing, brother?

These words clung to the gnarled oak of Silas's consciousness, climbing, nesting, making themselves at home.

A contemporary Western debut about two brothers locked in a deadly feud, a woman on horseback trailing her husband’s killer, and the inescapable ties of home and family

When Silas Van Loy flees home on horseback to avoid capture for his brother’s murder, he is soon followed by both the police and his brother’s wife, Lena, who is intent on exacting revenge. She reluctantly lets her trusted stable assistant join her in a journey across the wilds of Northern California in the hopes of catching Silas for one final showdown. Stansel follows the chase and shares the story of the brothers’ rise from hardscrabble childhood to their reign as the region’s preeminent horse trainers, tracking the tense sibling rivalry that ultimately leads to the elder’s death.

A fully realized tale that challenges notions of the modern West, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo will satisfy fans of Kent Haruf, Larry McMurtry, Molly Gloss, and Smith Henderson, and establish Stansel as a new voice in this grand tradition.

My two-bits:

Surely captures the western genre in a modern day setting. The location is set in my backyard (Marin county), so it was a treat to hear references to places I am familiar with.

The drama includes a cowboy on-the-run, a horse named Disco, a vengeful woman and a journey to an eventual showdown.


* Listened to audiobook version.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Ill Will
by Dan Chaon
narrated by:
Ari Fliakos as the Narrator
Edoardo Ballerini as Dustin
Michael Crouch as Aaron
Alex McKenna as Wave and Kate
Scott Aiello as Rusty

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Hardback: 480
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Sometime in the first days of November the body of the young man who had disappeared sank to the bottom of the river.

Zombie sighting:
Night after night this zombie of Dustin would rise and try to wander around if he wasn't woken up.
-part 6: Fall 1983

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves.” This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient's suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.

From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

My two-bits:

The "ill will" vibe was certainly felt throughout this book. Creepy moments.

Character development and interplay were presented well in the audio version.

Got me thinking about repressed memory and affects of childhood traumas.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Cloak & Dagger Challenge (here)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Vestige by Caroline George

The Vestige
by Caroline George

Find out more about this book and author:
Blog | Facebook
Instagram | Pinterest
Snapchat | Twitter

Just released: June 30, 2017
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
"The loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."

Zombie sighting:
"Jack," he says and shuts his book—some obscure zombie novel.
-chapter 1

Choose to see the unseen...

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.
2nd Layer: What you know is real.
3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

My two-bits:

Coming of age and some romance during the perils of a world that has transitioned into a dystopia setting.

The experience of being part of a military unit with missions into enemy territories provide pieces to what has become of this world.

I liked the epigraphs which were mostly from well-known dystopia related books.


* review copy courtesy of author

* part of Dystopia Challenge (here)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

Jane of Austin:
A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility
by Hillary Manton Lodge
narrated by Kate Handford

Find out more about this book and author:
BookExcerpt | Website
Facebook | Instagram
Pinterest | Twitter

Just released: June 13, 2017
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Romance, Jane Austen theme, Retelling, Recipes, California, Texas
Paperback: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
San Francisco, CA 2009
"Well, girls," our father began, "it's been a good run. And I'm not saying it won't be again, but we're going to have to… economize."

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

My two-bits:

This definitely captures S&S in a modern setting with lovely characters and gentle romance dramas.

The story starts off in San Francisco (one of my favorite places in the world) and incorporates lots of tea (another favorite). Delicious sweet and savory recipes are interspersed within the story which makes me want to get the print copy to experience the yummy-ness.

Loved learning about Austin, Texas and it's culture including the SXSW scene.


* check out Hillary's Jane Austen week celebration, July 16-21, 2017 (here)

* part of Foodies Read Challenge (here)

* Listened to audiobook version.

Winner for July

Here are the winners for giveaways that
ended July 23, 2017
during the My Favorite Things Giveaway Hop (here)

Thanks to all contestants!


To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads

Winner: poetry in leaves


* 7/26/17 updated winner as previous did not have an email address

* I will email winners for mailing addresses within two weeks.
Winners, feel free to contact me with your info if you don't get my email
or if you are just too darn excited and want to let me know -- like NOW ;-D

* contest policy

* if not this time, maybe next time

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 7.22.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Busy week of work and play. But, did more eating out rather than attending events and films. Experienced yummy dishes.



Made for Love
by Alissa Nutting
-Literary, Humor
Amazon | Goodreads

BEING that I enjoyed Alissa's storytelling style in Tampa, I wanted to see where she goes with this one. Also, looks like a good one to read for summer. Love that cover.


Devotion by Meg Kerr
by Meg Kerr
-Jane Austen theme
Amazon | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY treat from Savvy Verse & Wit (here) book tour. Might have to go on a Jane Austen reading binge.

GET YOURS (here)! For Jane Austen's deathiversary, July 18, Signature is offering an Essential Guide to Jane Austen.

For Review:

Happy Dreams
by Jia Pingwa
-Literary, China
courtesy of Wunderkind -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

LOOKING forward to learning a bit about this part of the world.

The Hawkweed Legacy
by Irena Brignull
-Fantasy, YA, Witches
courtesy of Wunderkind -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

LOVED the first book in the series and ready to read what happens next.

I picked up Eat Pretty Live Well: A Guided Journal for Nourishing Beauty, Inside and Out to get a handle on my world of food.

And, to prepare for the future, I got I'm Dead, Now What.

AND watched: online

Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution (2003)
American Masters series, episode 4
Director/Writer: Doug Hamilton
-Documentary, Biography | imdb | my rating: 5

Follow Alice Waters through a year of shopping and cooking, and discover the vision of an artist and advocate, who has taken her gift for food and turned it into consciousness about the environment, nutrition and a device for social change. -PBS

GOT me thinking of visiting restaurants that are farm to table oriented.


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


Friday, July 21, 2017

Happy release: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald
by D.E. Night
-Fantasy, Middle Grade
Release date: July 21, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.



In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

Read more excerpt (here).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Happy release: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

No Good Deed
by Kara Connolly
-Fantasy, YA
Release date: July 18, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Happy Release: Darcy in Wonderland by Alexa Adams

Darcy in Wonderland
by Alexa Adams
-Mashup, Jane Austen theme
Release date: July 15, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Twinkle, twinkle, amber cross!
For a chain, it’s at a loss.
Heavy links or simple loop,
Do not dunk it in your soup.

The worlds of beloved authors collide as Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Austen’s immortal hero, finds himself thrust into the topsy-turvey world of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.

Many years have passed since Elizabeth Bennet became mistress of Pemberley, and the Darcys’ six children are a testament to their enduring love. As the eldest prepare to enter the world, the youngest, Alice, makes sure that life at Pemberley never grows dull. She stands out as the most intrepid of the brood, and while beloved by all the family and staff, her curious mind and penchant for mischief often proves rather inconveniencing. Never is this truer than when her father follows her down a mysterious rabbit hole, disrupting his orderly world in ways never before imagined. A treat for the young and the old, Darcy in Wonderland is both an adventure and an homage to two of literatures greatest minds.

Excerpt: Chapter One: A Troll and a Rabbit

“Papa! Papa! The most wondrous thing has happened!”

Fitzwilliam Darcy stifled the indulgent smile threatening his lips. “Alice, please recall our many conversations on manners.”

The little girl who had so unceremoniously burst into his office instantly checked her advance, freezing in place like a statue. Slowly she began to move, creeping her way backwards until she was again outside the door, upon the frame of which she knocked.

The smile could no longer be retained. “Can I help you, Alice?”

She returned it with one full of mischief. “How can you know it is me, Papa?”

Bennet, who sat on the opposite side of the massive mahogany desk, a mirror image of his father at the same age, rolled his eyes. “What is wrong with that child?” he muttered, incurring a quelling glance from his father.

“I can see you, my dear. The door is open. You may come in.”

“No, I cannot. There is a troll guarding a drawbridge, and one must have a password if one wishes to proceed,” she explained.

(more excerpt here)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 7.15.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace
Amazon | Goodreads

MANY references to this book has caused me to finally pick this up. This is another chunky book over a thousand pages.

The Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry
-Historical, Literary
Amazon | Goodreads

IMPULSE buy due to the description and this blurb...

“An irresistible new novel…the most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice…By the end, The Essex Serpent identifies a mystery far greater than some creature ‘from the illuminated margins of a manuscript’: friendship.” -Washington Post

AND watched: in theatre

A Ghost Story (2017)
Director/Writer: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
-Drama, Fantasy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

HEE hee hee. I see a ghost.

This screening included director, David Lowery, for a Q&A session. He told us that inspiration for the film stemmed from wanting to create something using the guy in a bed sheet ghost imagery.

The movie was a beautiful and sad ghost story. Loved its comment on life and death.

Chocolate pie.

BTW: for the duration of the release there is a special A Ghost Story pop-up store in New York City. READ more about it (here)

Moscow Never Sleeps (2017)
Director/Writer: Johnny O'Reilly
Starring: Anastasiya Shalonko, Yuriy Stoyanov, Aleksey Serebryakov, Lyubov Aksyonova, Mikhail Efremov
-Drama, Russia | imdb | my rating: 4

The volatile intersections of contemporary Moscow and the intimate lives of five people.

SNIPPETS of the contemporary scene in Moscow gave a general sense of the place and people not unlike the stereotypical depressing portrayals we are familiar with.

We were treated with a Q&A with the director, Johnny O'Reilly. Being Irish, his main goal was to introduce and celebrate the Moscow he came to know and love.


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


Friday, July 14, 2017

A Contrary Wind by Lona Manning

A Contrary Wind
by Lona Manning

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: January 2017
Publisher: self
Genre: Romance, Jane Austen, Retelling
Paperback: 351 pages
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
"Fanny," cried Tom Bertram, from the other table, "We want your services."

Fanny Price, niece to Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park, is an intelligent but timid girl from a poor family, who is grateful for the advantages of education and breeding conferred upon her as result of growing up with her wealthier cousins.

But the cruelty of her Aunt Norris, together with a broken heart, compel Fanny to run away from Mansfield Park and find employment as a governess.

Far away from everything she ever knew and the one man she loves, will Fanny grow in fortitude and independence? Will a new suitor help her to forget? Or will a reckless decision threaten to destroy her own life and the lives of those she holds most dear?

This variation of Jane Austen’s novel includes all the familiar characters from Mansfield Park, as well as some new acquaintances. There are some mature scenes.

My two-bits:

I enjoyed this variation on Mansfield Park. The different take and new characters fit well. The new characters portrayed other happenings during that time period especially in relation to the naval world.

The familiar characters were presented equally well.

The general vibe of the story was Jane Austen-like and had me engaged. The familiar Fanny anxieties and the dislike for the Crawford manipulations came through just right.

Definitely a novel with Jane Austen drama to be read with tea and scones.


* review copy courtesy of author

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman No. 17
by Edan Lepucki
narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Hogarth
Genre: Art, Women's Fiction
Hardback: 320
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
It was summer, the heat had arrived harsh and bright, bleaching the sidewalks and choking the flowers before they had a chance to wilt.

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.

But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear.

My two-bits:

Another one of those novels that include unlikable characters left and right. But, the story managed to keep me interested despite knowing the general downward path. The curiosity of how far will it go was the draw.

Liked the concept of life imitating art and pushing its limits.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of BookSparks Reading Challenge, Summer (here)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It by Stephen King

Stephen King IT Parade
hosted by Daniel Kraus (details)
July 10 - September 4, 2017

Author/editor Daniel Kraus posts a 10-week journal of re-reading King’s classic. He is inviting folks to join in this venture and then watch the movie version which will be released September 8.

I will be posting my read-along tidbits here each week throughout.

B E W A R E: could be spoilery

by Stephen King

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Scribner; Reissue edition
Genre: Horror
Paperback: 1156
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

Soon to be a major motion picture—Stephen King’s terrifying, classic #1 New York Times bestseller, “a landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

First off, I was not expecting that the book was a chunkster! The other Stephen King novel I read that was similar in size was The Stand which was an awesome read indeed. So based on that and the hype for this book, I am excited to put in the time for this horror-ific experience.

My two-bits:

CHAPTERS 1-3: (Daniel's post)

This section covered the introduction to the main six (maybe seven) characters. Each individual is presented with their quirks and ugly sides. However, what is interesting to note is the common loyalty they share to fulfill a promise they made in their childhood past. This is the mystery. What is the pact they made?

Already, I can tell that I am in for a wild ride.


Zombie sighting:
George's eyes would be blank and terrible, the eyes of a zombie in a horror movie.
-page 248, chapter 5

New friendships and boy bonding begin amongst the main characters.

IT experiences are shared.


More IT experiences shared. And, we get a girl's perspective. With the formation of friendships, the courage and self esteem of the kids start to build. The time period details and descriptions are captured so well.

CHAPTERS 10-12 & THE THIRD INTERLUDE: (Daniel's take)

A reunion of the kids as grown-ups takes place. But also, each experience a brief reunion with their personal It. Horror images and all-around creepiness begins for them again. More dark Derry history is revealed as well.

CHAPTERS 13-16: (Daniel's take)

This section takes us back to the past with the kids and Mike's entry into the group along with his experience with It. So yeah, more history. And the kids are coming to terms with the need to do something about It.

Also, there is an interesting bit where Eddie talks about grownups and monsters.

CHAPTERS 17-18 & THE FOURTH INTERLUDE: (Daniel's take)

Major bullying and retaliation. The Loser's Club solidifies as a group.

CHAPTERS 19-20: (Daniel's take)

Zombie sighting:
Although still afraid, Mike had gotten over the debilitating idea that it might be Stan Uris, returned from the grave, called back by the scars on his palms, some eldritch magnetism which had brought him back like a zombie in a Hammer horror film.
-chapter 19, page 933

Quick flip flopping between terrors of the past with terrors in the present with the Losers club. King does so well with the transitions.

CHAPTERS 21-22: (Daniel's take)

The showdown and reveal of what truly is IT.

CHAPTER 23-EPILOGUE: (Daniel's take)

The town of Derry reverts back to a sleepy town. Great to get a wrap-up with the aftermath and battle scars.


It (2017)
Director: Andy Muschietti
Screenplay: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
Based on book by: Stephen King
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis,
Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer,
Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgård
-Adventure, Drama, Horror | imdb | my rating: 4

A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of clown, begins hunting children.

For Fall Film challenge: about fortitude

Gotta hand it to the kids for figuring out things. This version did not get too much into the paranormal bits found in the book. Clown creepiness cringe moments, indeed.

TO add to the creepy, we spotted this in the theatre lobby after the show. Ahhhh.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Favorite Things Giveaway Hop

My Favorite Things Giveaway Hop
July 9-22, 2017
hosted by Shooting Stars Mag
(details and complete list)

I found out about this hop on Herding Cats and Burning Soup (here) and thought her comment on man candy was a hoot.

Thought I would share some of my current faves and offer a giveaway as well.

* Whimsical, colorful pencils

* Craft kits

* Scarves

* YA romance books...

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - Amazon | Goodreads

WIN my review copies!

Open to all.

Offer ends: July 22, 2017

TO DO: (2-parts)

1. READ and comment on one of my Happy Release posts (here).

2. LET me know a favorite thing of yours along with your email.


Contest has ended - (winner is here)


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Glossies Made Me Do It: Mollie Makes

Glossies Made Me Do It
hosted by
Happy. Pretty. Sweet.
Shooting Stars Mag
cat eyes & skinny jeans

Sharing something that a current magazine has “made” us do!

JOIN in and add your link on any of the host sites above.

I came across Mollie Makes magazine: Living a Creative Life at the bookstore and immediately was taken. It is a magazine that includes creative project ideas and a bonus gift that is craft related.

This magazine reminded me of my younger days when I used to get a craft box kit subscription. The crafts were random and skill level for craft-making varied.

I love the girly vibe and interactive element of this magazine. It is visually fun to look through and gets the inspiration mode on.

Also, love the do-it-yourself kit included as it is a great way to be introduced to a craft. And gets you crafting right away - no need to go out and acquire the necessary items to complete it.

The June gift was a loom kit. I have done basic weaving - those art paper cut-outs from the elementary school days. Along with the basic tabby weaving, soumak knots are taught to create a mini textured wall hanging.

The instructions were easy to follow. The only part that had me stumped were in regards to finishing. Based on my crafting experience I "tied up the loose ends" as best I could, but I am not sure if it was done the proper way.

The magazine includes exclusive papers of graphic florals and greenery, but the downside is that patterns are back-to-back. If you want to cut and paste the paper, only one side can be used. Too bad.

I had a great time and went ahead and got the July edition of this magazine for the next kit.


*updated 7/27/17

HERE is what I came up with for the paper, inspired by the current Degas, Millinery Trade exhibit at the San Francisco Legion of Honor...

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu