Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway Hop

Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway Hop
November 20-26, 2018
hosted by Reading Reality and Caffeinated Reviewer (details)

I am giving away my review book box subscription of Once Upon A Book Club.
August theme: A Starry Night Murder!

-The Space Between by Dete Meserve
-packages with page numbers corresponding to the book
-Quote card

The Space Between
by Dete Meserve
Amazon | Goodreads

The truth isn’t what it seems in this stirring novel of suspense.

After presenting a major scientific breakthrough to a rapt audience across the country, renowned astronomer Sarah Mayfield returns home to a disturbing discovery. Her husband, Ben, a Los Angeles restaurateur, has disappeared, leaving behind an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. The only answers their son, Zack, can offer are the last words his father said to him: keep the doors locked and set the alarm.

Sarah’s marriage was more troubled than anyone suspected, but now she is afraid that her husband’s recent past could be darker than she dares to admit. Suspecting that nothing about Ben’s vanishing is what it seems, Sarah must delve into the space between old memories, newfound fears, and misleading clues to piece together the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and find what she hopes in her heart is the truth.

--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN this box of cheer!

Open to US only.

Offer ends: November 26, 2018


TELL me one of your holiday traditions (old or new).

AND include your contact email.

NOW hop-along for more goodies...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 11.17.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Conversation about the theatre audition process and in particular the play, The Lion in Winter.

2. Reconnecting with friends.

3. Fruitcake during the holiday season - Thanks E!



Browse: The World in Bookshops
edited by Henry Hitchings
-Non-fiction, Essays | Goodreads

BOOKSHOPS, bookstores, book related places in general are magical places to read about. Found this on the yoga studio giveaway shelf. Reading a story a day and loving it.

Author event:

Green Apple Books on the Park hosted an event featuring, author Kat Gardiner with musical performance by Sea of Bees and Rose Droll. I was mesmerized and neglected to take a picture of these amazing artists.

Little Wonder
by Kat Gardiner
-Micro-fiction | Goodreads

Asymmetric and misremembered, Kat Gardiner fictionalizes the experience of opening and closing an all-ages music venue and café with her husband in the small Pacific Northwest town of Anacortes, Washington in 2008. An adult coming-of-age story told in fragments, Little Wonder explores the bittersweet love affair that takes place between despair and hope whenever you try with all your heart to do something you believe in, and fail.

WAS taken with the reading and wanted more. Loving this one too :-)

AND watched:

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World (2018)
Directors/writers: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana
Stars: Apl.de.Ap, Dan Auerbach, Scott Barretta
-Documentary, Music, Native American Indians | imdb
Released on PBS: January 21, 2019

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World is a feature documentary about the role of Native Americans in popular music history.

ACTUALLY this was an event at Today at Apple at the San Francisco Union Square Apple store. The trailer and clips from the film were featured along with a Q&A with the Executive Producer, Tim Johnson. We were also treated to a performance from PJ Vegas, son of Pat Vegas of the legendary Native Rock Group REDBONE.

AND watched: on DVD

The Mission (1986)
Director: Roland Joffé
Original story/screenplay: Robert Bolt
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson
-Adventure , Drama , History | imdb | my rating: 4

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

THE soundtrack is what led me to watch this. Surprisingly, the documentary of the making of this film was more interesting to watch.

AND watched: for Fall Film Challenge - six degrees from Kevin Bacon (here)

Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
Director: James Foley
Screenplay: Niall Leonard
Based on book by: E.L. James
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson
-Drama, Romance, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 2

Anastasia and Christian get married, but Jack Hyde continues to threaten their relationship.

Watched: 11/12/18
Connection: Dakota Johnson was in Black Mass with Bacon
Meh. Now I know the ending of the trilogy (could not get through the third book).


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, November 16, 2018

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend
by Kevin Kwan

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Chick-lit, Romance, Asian American, China
Hardback: 400
Rating: 5

Crazy Asians series:
Crazy Rich Asians
China Rich Girlfriend
Rich People Problems

First sentence(s):
London, 8 September 2012, 9:00 a.m. GMT
A red Ferrari 458 Italia crashed through the window of the Jimmy Choo shoe boutique on Sloane Street sometime between 4:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. last night.

Zombie sighting:
"Whatever we can't eat, we'll save for the zombie apocalypse..."
-chapter 2, page 172

On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris, and a fiancé willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won't be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendor beyond anything she has ever imagined.

Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore's It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband.

A romp through Asia's most exclusive clubs, auction houses, and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters, and offering an inside glimpse at what it's like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.

My two-bits:

This series continues to engage me and is perfect for Asian arm chair traveling. Includes views into both decadant and low-key (under the radar) rich living lifestyles.

I loved learning more and more of this world of rich and not necessarily famous people.


* part of World Reads challenge - China (here)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone In The Dark:
One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
by Michelle McNamara
narrated by Gabra Zackman

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: February 2018
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery, True Crime
Hardback: 352
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Before the Golden State Killer, there was the girl.

Zombie sighting:
Zombies were scientifically implausible.
-Afterword, page 317

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

My two-bits:

Interesting to see the aspects of this story through various character perspectives. The meticulous research and attention to details throughout reaches ever so close to the killer.


* listened to the audio version

* part of R.I.P. 13 (here)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Blog All About It: Truth



Truth and Beauty
by Ann Patchett
-Memoir | Goodreads


On Truth...

Say Her Name:
The Life and Death of Sandra Bland
Director: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

An investigation into what happened to activist Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a routine traffic stop.

SCARY to know that things like this are still happening in America.

On Beauty...

Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Writer: Jeannine Dominy
Based on book by: Margaret Rosenthal
Stars: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell
-Biography , Drama , Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.

NICELY done with wonderful scenes of Venice and its canals. Never knew about this woman, Veronica Franco.


In poetry...

Sonnet CI
-Shakespeare (here)

O truant Muse what shall be thy amends
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?
Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer Muse: wilt thou not haply say,
'Truth needs no colour, with his colour fixed;
Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay;
But best is best, if never intermixed'?
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?
Excuse not silence so, for't lies in thee
To make him much outlive a gilded tomb
And to be praised of ages yet to be.
Then do thy office, Muse; I teach thee how
To make him seem, long hence, as he shows now.


In science...


* header from Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith (here) which was mentioned in the exhibit, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters, at the Legion of Honor which I attended over the summer.

* part of the Blog All About It Challenge (here)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 11.10.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Lots of movies - both old and new

2. Yoga teacher leading us into Michael Jackson Thriller moves/poses before Halloween

3. Memories of recent Portugal trip.

I visited the infamous Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal which was one of the places of Harry Potter inspiration for J.K. Rowling. I picked up The Lusiads by Luís de Camões (Goodreads)

AND watched: in theatre

Private Life (2018)
Director/Writer: Tamara Jenkins
Stars: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Kayli Carter:
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

An author (Hahn) is undergoing multiple fertility therapies to get pregnant, putting her relationship with her husband (Giamatti) on edge.

INTERESTING things to consider if in this situation. FYI: this is currently on Netflix. We were treated to a Q&A with the director, Tamara Jenkins and Kathryn Hahn.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Director: Marielle Heller
Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant
-Biography , Comedy , Crime | imdb | my rating: 4

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception. An adaptation of the memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the true story of best-selling celebrity biographer Lee Israel.

FASCINATING with a who woulda thunk moment. Makes me want to read more about Lee Israel.

AND watched: on Netflix

The Walking Dead (2017)
tv series, season 8
Creator: Frank Darabont, Angela Kang
Based on comic book series by: Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride
-Drama , Horror , Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 4

Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins, and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.

Lots of guns and battle scenes amongst the survivors. Oh, and zombies on the side (used as weapons).

AND watched: for Fall Film Challenge - six degrees from Kevin Bacon (here)

Beautiful Boy (2018)
Director: Felix Van Groeningen
Screenplay: Luke Davies, Felix Van Groeningen
Based on book by: David Sheff, Nic Sheff
Stars: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

Watched: 10/28/18
Connection: Steve Carrell starred with Bacon in Crazy Stupid Love.
Parent perspectives were portrayed well.

Diary Of A Chambermaid (2015)
Journal d'une femme de chambre (original title)
Director/Writer: Benoît Jacquot
Writer: Hélène Zimmer
Based on book by: Octave Mirbeau
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Clotilde Mollet
-Drama, France | imdb | my rating: 3

A scheming servant works for a wealthy couple in France during the late 19th century.

Watched: 10/30/18
Connection: Lea Seydoux was in The Grand Budapest Hotel with Ralph Fiennes who was in The Bigger Splash with Dakota Johnson who starred with Bacon in Black Mass
Mostly liked this for Lea, the costumes and setting.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writers: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Based on characters by: Michael Crichton
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall
-Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 4

When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Watched: 10/8/18
Connection: Jessica Chastain was in The Help with Emma Stone who starred with Bacon in Crazy Stupid Love
Interesting take on the next generation in a world with dinosaurs.

Ocean's Eight (2018)
Director/Screenplay/Story: Gary Ross
Screenplay: Olivia Milch
Based on characters by: George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway
-Action, Comedy, Crime | imdb | my rating: 4

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City's yearly Met Gala.

Watched: 10/8/18
Connection: Sandra Bullock starred with Bacon in Loverboy
Heist with some serious girly fun.

Sing (2016)
Director/writer: Garth Jennings
Co-director: Chritophe Lourdelet
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane
-Animation, Comedy, Family | imdb | my rating: 3

In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario's attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists' find that their lives will never be the same.

Watched: 11/6/18
Connection: Taron Egerton starred with Bacon in Black Mass
The singing auditions were cute and fun.

Tag (2018)
Director: Jeff Tomsic
Screenplay: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen
Based on Wall Street Journal article entitled "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It" by: Russell Adams
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.

Watched: 10/8/18
Connection: Jeremy Renner was in American Hustle with Jeffrey Corazzini who starred with Bacon in Black Mass
I liked the young at heart attitude and friendship bond.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Screenplay: Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
Based on book by: John le Carré
Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
-Drama, Mystery, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 4

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6.

Watched: 10/23/18
Connection: Benedict Cumberbatch starred with Bacon in Black Mass
I liked this all star cast uncovering the mystery mole.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Billy Old, Arizona Ranger by Geff Moyer

Billy Old, Arizona Ranger
A Historical Novel Based on a True Story
by Geff Moyer

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Sunstone Press
Genre: Historical, Thriller, Western
Paperback: 270
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
October, 1934, Taos, New Mexico
She couldn't remember the last time she tasted meat, let alone what type of meat it was.

In this historical novel, Billy Old and Jeff Kidder were Arizona Rangers at the turn of the twentieth century and best friends. In 1908, while acting in the line of duty, Kidder was murdered by five crooked Mexican policemen. No charges were filed against his killers. They were quietly skirted away to various locations throughout the county of Sonora, Mexico, a vast, desolate area covering nearly twenty thousand square miles. In 1909, shady politics in the Territory of Arizona brought about the disbanding of the Rangers, leaving many to drift into obscurity and some into degradation. In that same year Billy Old vanished into Sonora to find and kill the men responsible for his friend’s death. He returned close to two years later with that deed accomplished. During Billy’s search of hundreds of sleazy Sonora whorehouses and cantinas he experiences many exciting, humorous, and tragic encounters. There’s a bloody and deadly confrontation with four scalp hunters; a mystical meeting with an old, dying Hopi Indian; an attack by the legendary “Red Ghost” of the southwest; a sorrowful meeting with a past fellow Ranger; cannibal Indians from East Texas; renegade Apaches; flushing toilets; the wonders of ether; Dancing Devils—fifty-foot high swirling dust funnels that can blind an animal; and a whore named Abbie Crutchfield who proves vital to Billy’s quest. And then there’s his horse Orion and a mule named Captain, all a part of a critically changing time in the American Southwest. Includes Historical Background and Readers Guide.

My two-bits:

Got a good sense of the location and vibe of the American Southwest while following this mystery/revenge story.

The story is told in flip flop fashion with its past and present incidents to unfold the friendship formed between Billy and Jeff.

All kinds of characters are met along the way to adequately create the time and place. I was taken with the side stories about horses.


* review copy courtesy of author

* part of the Blog All About It Challenge: Escape (here)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

I found a set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Funko POPs (here). That would be a fun treat for the holiday.

ALERT: Jane Austen Miniature Library is set to release April 2019. So cute.

All six of Jane Austen's classic novels are included in this twelve-volume boxed set that looks wonderful on your shelf. When arranged in order, the spines create a lovely montage of a scene from eighteenth-century England, drawn right out of the world in which Austen's novels take place. Each volume is small enough to be taken with you when you're on the go, but still packs the enduring charm of Austen's stories.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Happy release: Embolden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
-Paranormal, Angels, Romance, YA
Release date: October 30, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

The world is trying to tear them apart. Will they stand together and fight back?

After a season of psychic visions and super-powered drama, Claire Brennan and her angel-gone-AWOL boyfriend Alec MacKenzie can finally be together. Under the protection of Claire’s grandmother, they are trying to lead a normal life, going to high school at Emerson Academy and hanging out with their friends. But jealous teenagers, vengeful enemies, the city’s new Watcher, and even the school play threaten to break them apart. Not to mention Claire’s surprising second power, which could sabotage the trust of everyone she holds dear. And just when they need to stick together, they finally get a lead on where Claire’s missing father might be.

The threats, which come not only from without but also from within, will test the strength of Alec and Claire’s relationship.

Is the love they share enough to keep them safe?

If they want to stay together … can they learn to fight together?

About the Authors:

Syrie James is the bestselling author of eleven critically acclaimed novels translated into eighteen languages. Syrie loves paranormal romance and all things 19th century. Her books have been Library Journal Editor’s Picks and won numerous awards including the Audiobook Association Audie for Romance, Women’s National Book Association Great Group Read, B&N Romantic Read of the Week, Best Snowbound Romance (Bookbub), Best of the Year (Suspense Magazine and Romance Reviews), and Best First Novel (Library Journal). Syrie thoroughly enjoyed working with her son Ryan on Forbidden and Embolden, her only forays into novel co-writing. Syrie is a member of the Writers Guild of America and has addressed audiences as a keynote speaker across America and England. A theater enthusiast, she has also written, directed, and performed in numerous stage productions.
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Ryan M James has enjoyed co-writing not only Forbidden and Embolden with his mother Syrie, but also two screenplays as well. By day he works as a performance director, lead editor, and co-writer for the video game industry, recently being honored by the Writer’s Guild of America award for his work on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. By night, he conjures stories for print, screen, and web, including an independent feature, a handful of short films, and the machinima webseries A Clone Apart. He, his brilliant wife, and their vertically-challenged corgi live in Los Angeles within walking distance of Syrie.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Monday, October 29, 2018

Forbidden by Syrie James

by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

Find out more about this book and author:
Syrie: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
James: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Published: 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Romance, Paranormal, Angels
Paperback: 416
Rating: 4

Forbidden series:

First sentence(s):
It had been a really crappy morning.

When Claire Brennan begins to get psychic visions and mysterious warnings that she’s in danger at the start of her junior year, she isn’t sure what to think. But the truth is stranger than anything she could have imagined.

Alec MacKenzie has fled his duties as a Watcher angel and come to L.A. in search of normalcy. He never dreamed he would find a half-angel at his school, or that he would fall in love with her.

Romantic, with a touch of humor, readers will be swept away by this thrilling stand-alone novel from bestselling adult author Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) and her son, Ryan James.

My two-bits:

Can't go wrong with a Scottish laddie as the love interest ;-)

I enjoyed learning about a world with angels along with the protagonist. There was a nice amount of action, mystery and romance.


* FYI book 2, Embolden is released tomorrow!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Korean Psychological Thrillers

The Hole: A Novel
by Hye-young Pyun
translated by Sora Kim-Russell
-Horror, Thriller, Korea
Release date: October 2, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

In this tense, gripping novel by a star of Korean literature, Oghi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife's life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Oghi is neglected and left alone in his bed. His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Oghi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started.

A bestseller in Korea, The Hole is a superbly crafted and deeply unnerving novel about the horrors of isolation and neglect in all of its banal and brutal forms. As Oghi desperately searches for a way to escape, he discovers the difficult truth about his wife and the toll their life together took on her.

* Winner of the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award


City of Ash and Red
by Hye-Young Pyun
-Horror, Thriller, Korea
Release date: November 6, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of Hye-young Pyun's City of Ash and Red is sent by the extermination company he works for on an extended assignment in C, a country descending into chaos and paranoia, swept by a contagious disease, and flooded with trash. No sooner does he disembark than he is whisked away by quarantine officials and detained overnight. Isolated and forgotten, he realizes that he is stranded with no means of contacting the outside world. Still worse, when he finally manages to reach an old friend, he is told that his ex-wife's body was found in his apartment and he is the prime suspect. Barely managing to escape arrest, he must struggle to survive in the streets of this foreign city gripped with fear of contamination and reestablish contact with his company and friends in order to clear his reputation.

But as the man's former life slips further and further from his grasp, and he looks back on his time with his wife, it becomes clear that he may not quite be who he seems. From the bestselling author of The Hole, City of Ash and Red is an apocalyptic account of the destructive impact of fear and paranoia on people's lives as well as a haunting novel about a man’s loss of himself and his humanity.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Haunted House

by Pornsak Pichetshote
Aaron Campbell, José Villarrubia
-Horror, Ghosts, Graphic Novel
Release date: October 2, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

A haunted house story for the 21st century, INFIDEL follows an American Muslim woman and her multi-racial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Happy Release: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess

A Sorrow Fierce and Falling
(Kingdom on Fire #3)
by Jessica Cluess
-Historical, YA
Release date: October 16, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

It's time for war.

After suffering terrible losses, Henrietta and Lord Blackwood have led their warriors to Sorrow-Fell, a vast estate where only those invited by a Blackwood may enter--and the ideal place to plan a final assault against the Ancients.

It's time for a wedding.

Henrietta nervously awaits her marriage to Blackwood, but when the ritual to become his bride reveals a dark secret, she realizes that Sorrow-Fell is not a safe haven; it's a trap. Convincing the sorcerers of this, however, is not easy. So with Maria, the true chosen one, and Magnus, the young man who once stole her heart, at her side, Henrietta plots a dangerous journey straight into the enemy's lair. Some will live. Some will die. All will be tested.

In this stunning conclusion to the Kingdom on Fire series, Henrietta must choose between the love from her past, the love from her present, and a love that could define her future. While battles rage, the fate of the kingdom rests on her decision: Will she fall or rise up to become the woman who saves the realm?

It's time for Henrietta to make her stand.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Gothic

by Sarah Perry
-Horror, Gothic
Release date: October 16, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters—and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . .

Friday, October 12, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Monster

Frankenstein in Baghdad
by Ahmed Saadawi
translated by Jonathan Wright
-Horror, Middle East
Release date: January 23, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial.

But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path.

A prizewinning novel by “Baghdad’s new literary star” (The New York Times), Frankenstein in Baghdad captures with white-knuckle horror and black humor the surreal reality of contemporary Iraq.


* Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

* Winner of France’s Grand Prize for Fantasy

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Historical Horror

The Hunger
by Alma Katsu
-Horror, Historical
Release date: March 6, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Horror Release: Supernatural

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
aka The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton
-Horror, Supernatural, Occult
Release date: September 8, 2018 US
Amazon | Goodreads

A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express One of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018 One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018 One of Marie Claire, Australia's 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018 'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight.

It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once.

Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 10.6.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Spur of the moment coffee dates with friends

2. Safeway's "Legendary Pumpkin Pie" - LOL

3. Anticipation for travel...



What We Were Promised
by Lucy Tan
-Contemporary, China, Shaghai | Goodreads

FOR World Reads Challenge: China (here).

For Review:

Billy Old, Arizona Ranger
A Historical Novel Based on a True Story
by Geff Moyer
-Historical, Thriller, Western
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

PART of my Blog All About It: Escape (here).

AND watched: in theatre for the San Francisco Hong Kong Film Festival (here)

The Brink (2017)
Kuang shou (original title)
Director: Jonathan Li
Writer: Paco Wong
Stars: Jin Zhang, Shawn Yue, Yue Wu
-Action , Crime , Thriller, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Reckless police inspector Tung (Zhang Jin) is on a mission to crack down on criminal Shing's (Shawn Yue) gold smuggling scheme, yet fails to arrest him. As Tung continues his manhunt, he discovers Shing's involvement with triad boss Blackie (Yasuaki Kurata), who hides on a casino cruise ship on the high seas. Shing has been involved in a power struggle within the smuggling ring, and is forced to kill his adopted father. He also loses his share of gold smuggling to Blackie. To get even, Shing appears on the cruise, while Tung is there to hunt for him.

SATISFIES that Asian action craving with the added element of water. Interesting though in that things are not so black and white.

Somewhere Beyond the Mist (2017)
Director/Writer: King-wai Cheung
Stars: Stephy Tang, Rachel Leung, Zeno Koo
-Drama, Thriller, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Angela is a cop in charge of the murder of a married couple. Her father, who suffers dementia, has always been a pain in her neck. Sensitive from pregnancy, Angela discovers strange aspects of the murder while investigating Connie, a high school girl who turns herself in. Connie, born with a heart defect, is close with Eric, her gay classmate. Upset by her violent, perverted father and indifferent mother, Connie conspired with Eric to commit the crime. With Angela's crises-her husband, and her father with Alzheimer's-at its core, the film follows Connie's testimony on the shocking murder. The film resembles a documentary, rather than crime or detective movie, as it reenacts what has happened bluntly and faithfully. It is probably due to the director's background in documentary film. The opening sequences from the distant view of Hong Kong to a lone old man lost in the streets, and the dark and gloomy flashbacks from Connie's testimony read as the sentiment of today's Hong Kong.

EERY whydunnit tale that got me thinking of bullying.

Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)
Gao geung jing dou fu (original title)
Director/story: Sin-Hang Chiu
Director/screenplay/story: Pak-Wing Yan
Screenplay: Wing-Hong Ho, Ashley Cheung
Stars: Babyjohn Choi, Min Chen Lin, Siu-Ho Chin
-Action , Comedy , Horror, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Tim Cheung joins the Vampire Cleanup Department which is a secret task force for dealing Chinese vampire Goeng Si. He is instructed by his uncle Chau and he saves a female Goeng Si, Summer from her evil lord Goeng Si who buried alive her.

UNUSUAL cheesy vampires in this fun tale of vampire slayers.

AND watched: on DVD

Director: Ayelet Menahemi
Writers: Shemi Zarhin, Ayelet Menahemi
Stars: Mili Avital, BaoQi Chen, Alon Aboutboul, Anat Waxman
-Drama, Comedy, Israel
imdb | my rating: 5

At thirty-seven, Miri is a twice-widowed, El Al flight attendant. Her well-regulated existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been summarily deported from Israel. The film is a touching comic-drama in which two human beings -- as different from each other as Tel Aviv is from Beijing -- accompany each other on a remarkable journey, one that takes them both back to a meaningful life.

BEAUTIFUL film with the interactions between the characters and their growth.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Director/Screenplay: Christopher Landon
Screenplay: Carrie Lee Wilson, Emi Mochizuki
Story by: Lona Williams, Carrie Lee Wilson, Emi Mochizuki
-Action, Comedy, Horror, Zombies
imdb | my rating: 5

Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.

FUN YA zombie flick with some hilarious unique memorable scenes to add to the zombie genre - one being a zombie singing a Britney Spears tune.

The Visit
Director/Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
-Horror, Thriller, Comedy
imdb | my rating: 4

Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.

CREEPY horror story for parents.

AND watched: for Fall Film Challenge - six degrees from Kevin Bacon (here)

Paddington 2 (2017)
Director/writer: Paul King
Writer: Simon Farnaby
Paddington Bear created by: Michael Bond
Stars: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville
-Animation, Adventure, Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

Watched: 10/1/18
Connection: Michael Gambon was in Kingsman: The Gold Circle who was with Colin Firth who starred with Bacon in Where the Truth Lies
Love the whimsical vibe of this film. London landmarks are highlighted. Hugh Grant was perfect in his role.

The Sisters Brothers (2018)
Director/screenplay: Jacques Audiard
Screenplay: Thomas Bidegain
Based on book by: Patrick DeWitt
Stars: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
-Adventure, Comedy, Crime | imdb | my rating: 5

In 1850s Oregon, a gold prospector is chased by the infamous duo of assassins, the Sisters brothers.

Watched: 10/2/18
Connection: John C. Reilly starred with Bacon in The River Wild
Shootouts, male bonding and greed play out in this wild west story. Loved the slow pace and vista views.


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