Monday, May 28, 2018

Blog All About It: Organize


Behold my dining room table morphs into my desk ;-)

A third of the table is for eats.

The second third is for the laptop.

And the rest is for the "organized" piles.

My piles are somewhat neat and under control at the moment.

1. new acquisitions to shelve
2. review books recently received
3. current tbr
4. books and dvds from the library

1. magazine subscriptions - New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic Monthly, Cooking Light
2. flyer for my upcoming chorus performance, Alexander Nevsky at Herbst Theater
3. film poster for Ready Player One
4. related material for the upcoming June vote

1. basket filled with embroidery paraphernalia
2. book binding pocket kit (on top of basket)
3. canvas zipper bag of stickers, washi tape, colored pens and markers


I love using my Happy Planner for the daily, monthly and yearly planning of to-do's and to-go's.


I read this book awhile ago and picked up great tips from it that I have incorporated and continue to do. The online YouTube video how-to's that go with her concept are helpful too.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondō, Cathy Hirano (Translator)
-Japan, How-to
Amazon | Goodreads | my review


The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story
by Marie Kondō
illustrated by Yuko Uramoto
-Graphic Novel, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Marie Kondo presents the fictional story of Chiaki, a young woman in Tokyo who struggles with a cluttered apartment, messy love life, and lack of direction. After receiving a complaint from her attractive next-door neighbor about the sad state of her balcony, Chiaki gets Kondo to take her on as a client. Through a series of entertaining and insightful lessons, Kondo helps Chiaki get her home--and life--in order. This insightful, illustrated case study is perfect for people looking for a fun introduction to the KonMari Method of tidying up, as well as tried-and-true fans of Marie Kondo eager for a new way to think about what sparks joy.


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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Quiet Place by Seicho Matsumoto

A Quiet Place
by Seicho Matsumoto
translated by Louise Heal Kawai

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Japan
Paperback: 224
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Tsuneo Asai was on a business trip to the Kansai region when he heard the news.

While on a business trip to Kobe, Tsuneo Asai receives the news that his wife Eiko has died of a heart attack. Eiko had a heart condition so the news of her death wasn’t totally unexpected. But the circumstances of her demise left Tsuneo, a softly-spoken government bureaucrat, perplexed. How did it come about that his wife—who was shy and withdrawn, and only left their house twice a week to go to haiku meetings—ended up dead in a small shop in a shady Tokyo neighborhood?

When Tsuneo goes to apologize to the boutique owner for the trouble caused by his wife’s death he discovers the villa Tachibana near by, a house known to be a meeting place for secret lovers. As he digs deeper into his wife's recent past, he must eventually conclude that she led a double life...

My two-bits:

I was taken by surprise with how this slow burning mystery evolved. The protagonist does some of his own detective work in regards to the death of his wife. And then, the story turns. It turns in a way that made me anxious with dread. Certainly something to be said about "letting sleeping dogs lie."

It was interesting to get exposed to the life of a civil servant worker with its system and in-house politics.


* part of World Reads challenge - Japan pt 2 (here)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 5.26.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. Millionaire's Bacon at Sweet Maple (here)

2. Movie release of the latest Star Wars story - Solo!

3. Mail from Japan - a friend went to visit Morioka Shoten & Co., Ltd which is a bookstore in Tokyo that I mentioned to her as something to see on my bucket list. She sent a brief note and pictures of her visit. Makes me want to go even more!

I featured this place a couple years ago (here)



I Am A Hero
Omnibus, Volume 4
by Kengo Hanazawa
-Graphic Novel, Zombies, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads

I Am A Hero
Omnibus, Volume 5
by Kengo Hanazawa
-Graphic Novel, Zombies, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads

HOOKED, got these two to continue this series.

Dread Nation
by Justina Ireland
-Historical, YA, Zombies
Amazon | Goodreads

KEEPING up with Zombie month awareness.

Sky in the Deep
by Adrienne Young
-Fantasy, Historical, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

WANTED to meet this kick-ass heroine.

Author event:

THE library hosted a local author event with Jasmine Guillory featuring The Wedding Date. It was fun to learn about her "day in the life of a writer" thoughts.

The Wedding Date
by Jasmine Guillory
Amazon | Goodreads

AND watched: on Netflix

Santa Clarita Diet
Netflix series, season one
imdb | my rating: 4

Sheila and Joel are married real estate agents in Santa Clarita, California. When Sheila dies, their lives take a dark turn.

HAS the campy suburb humor with a zombie element. How the family copes with a mom turning into a "mombie" as well as the mystery of why/how kept leading me to the end. And of course into season two.

AND watched: on DVD

The Greatest Showman (2017)
Director: Michael Gracey
Screenplay/story: Jenny Bicks
Screenplay: Bill Condon
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron
- Biography, Drama, Musical | imdb | my rating: 5
Oscar 2018 nominee

Celebrates the birth of show business, and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

MOSTLY upbeat and uplifting with a good soundtrack.

AND watched: in theatre

Deadpool 2 (2018)
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin
-Action, Adventure, Comedy | imdb | my rating: 5

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

MORE of the same style and humor that I enjoyed from the first film is unleashed in this second film.

Life of the Party (2018)
Director/Writer: Ben Falcone
Writer: Melissa McCarthy
Stars: Debby Ryan, Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Luke Benward
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 3

After her husband abruptly asks for a divorce, a middle-aged mother returns to college in order to complete her degree.

CUTE and fun mom chick flick fantasy.

First Reformed (2018)
Director/Writer: Paul Schrader
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Ethan Hawke, Cedric the Entertainer
-Drama, Thriller | imdb | my rating: 4

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion.

MEANING of life kind of story. Ethan does really well with the struggle and portrayal of his character.

Solo (2018)
A Star Wars Story
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Based on characters by: George Lucas
Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke
-Action, Adventure, Fantasy | imdb | my rating: 5

During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.

AGAIN - I must watch this one more time on the big screen. Always love back stories and the how friends/enemies initially meet. Loved it. The opening night fan screening included goodies to celebrate.


* giveaway offer on the sidebar

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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Strange New World by Rachel Vincent

Strange New World
by Rachel Vincent

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

Release date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Hardback: 368
Rating: 5

Brave New Girl series:
Brave New Girl
Strange New World

First sentence(s):
At one point or another, most parents declare their daughter to be the most beautiful girl in the world.

Dahlia 16's life is a lie. The city of Lakeview isn't a utopia that raises individuals for the greater good; it is a clone farm that mass-produces servants for the elite. And because Dahlia breaks the rules, her sisters--the 4,999 girls who share her face--are destroyed. She and Trigger 17, the soldier who risked his life for hers, go on the run, escaping into the wild outside the city walls. But it turns out Dahlia has one remaining identical, one who shouldn't even exist.

Waverly Whitmore is teenage royalty, a media sensation with millions of fans who broadcasts her every move--including every detail of her wedding planning, leading up to the day she marries Hennessy Chapman. Waverly lives a perfect life built on the labors of clones like Dahlia. She has no idea that she too is a clone... until she comes face to face with Dahlia.

One deadly secret. Two genetic sisters. And a world that isn't big enough for both of them.

My two-bits:

My love continues for this series.

The ensemble cast was fun to follow with each a hero in their own way.

Social media is a heavy player in this story wielding its powers for the positive.

Got me thinking of clones and the impact they would make.


* review copy courtesy of publisher

* part of Bout of Books 22 (here)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 5.19.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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



1. CAAMFEST36 - film festival that highlights Asian related films and filmmakers

2. Watching the taped Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan

3. AND tea at a Crown and Crumpet event held at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel



You Think It, I'll Say It
by Curtis Sittenfeld
-Short Stories, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads

FOR Reese Witherspoon's book club May pick (here).

For Review:

Matchmaking for Beginners
by Maddie Dawson
-Contemporary, Romance
courtesy of Amazon Kindle First -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

LOOKS and sounds cute.

AND watched: in theatre - part of CAAMFEST 36, celebrating Asian American film, music and food (details)

Jimami Tofu (2018)
Director/Writer: Jason Chan, Christian Lee
Stars: Jason Chan, Mari Yamamoto, Masane Tsukayama, Rino Nakasone
-Drama, Romance, Japan, Singapore | imdb | my rating: 5

A Chinese Singaporean chef, formerly working in Tokyo, finds himself in Okinawa begging a disgruntled old chef to teach him traditional Okinawan food. A top Japanese food critic finds herself in Singapore on an eye opening discovery of Southeast Asian cuisine. In reality both are looking for each other after an emotional breakup years ago. Emotionally crippled by their breakup he searches her home-town for her but discovers instead the art of traditional Okinawan food. Through it he learns the incredible balance of two cultures: Chinese and Japanese - a balance they never had in their relationship. When she suddenly appears in Okinawa looking to find closure he cooks and serves her their final meal. Through it she discovers what she had been yearning for all these years.

LOVELY picture postcard scenes of Okinawa and great intro to this island in Japan. Also delicious-looking foodie moments. And romance in the midst as well.

Nailed It! (2018)
Director: Adele Free Pham
Stars: Tippi Hedren, Kelvin Saint Pham, Charlie Vo, Olivett Robinson
-Documentary | website | my rating: 5

A fortuitous encounter with 20 Vietnamese refugee women and The Birds actress Tippi Hedren in 1975, sparks the Asian nail salon as we know it. In this hour long documentary, Nailed It presents a lineage of legacy moments in nails, like Mantrap, the first nail salon chain to cater to Black women in the hood. The democratization of the manicure fans the fire of Vietnamese “discount” nail salons blazing across the country. Through the international journey embarked upon by Nailed It director Adele Pham, this unique film captures an unforgettable and often hilarious saga born of tragedy, charting the rise, struggle, stereotypes, and steady hold Vietnamese Americans have on today’s $8 billion dollar nail industry.

HISTORY behind the nail salon industry and Vietnamese connection.

170 Bucks for a Cab, One Ride, One Night (2018)
Director: Ye Na Kang
Stars: Seul Lee, Minyoung Lee
-Short, South Korea | my rating: 5

When the party’s all over, all she’s left with is empty pockets. After paying $170 for one cab ride during a night of partying, Mija and her friend struggle to uncover the driving force behind the excessive fare.

FUN crazy attempt of two students trying to solve a mystery cab ride.

A Letter for Sang-ah (2018)
Director: Mina Fitzpatrick
-Short, Documentary, Family, South Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

A short documentary about the social stigma against unwed mothers in Korea, and the long-term impacts of overseas adoption.

INTERESTING historical and contemporary look at this issue.

Pragma (2018)
Director: Jihyun Park
-Short, LGBTQ, South Korea | my rating: 5

Yoo-Hee and Joo-Yeon fell in love in high school, but their school’s persecution of gays tore them apart. When meet again years later, sparks fly.

PEEK into the LGBTQ issue in South Korea.

Oh Lucy! (2017)
Director/Writer: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Writers: Boris Frumin, Atsuko Hirayanagi
Stars: Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho Minami
-Comedy, Drama, Japan | imdb | my rating: 5

A lonely woman living in Tokyo decides to take an English class where she discovers her alter ego, Lucy.

SERIOUS life changes for a middle-aged woman in a modern Japan with office setting scenes to a trip to California.

A Quiet Place (2018)
Director/Screenplay: John Krasinski
Screenplay: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck,
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski
-Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 5

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

Oooooo. So quiet that you may feel uncomfortable eating popcorn during most of this film. Good suspense thriller with parts that can make you jump out of your seat. Got me thinking of parental love.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, May 18, 2018

I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 3 by Kengo Hanazawa

I Am A Hero
Omnibus, Volume 3
by Kengo Hanazawa

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2017
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Genre: Graphic Novel, Zombies, Japan
Paperback: 512
Rating: 5

I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 1
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 2
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 3
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 4
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 5
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 6
I Am A Hero, Omnibus, Volume 7

First sentence(s):
...that was from the ministry of health labor and welfare, and now, if everyone watching could please listen carefully...

Hideo and his new ward, young Hiromi, head out of the desolate forest they've been hiding in, hoping to find refuge at a local shrine. Once there, however, they soon realize that populated areas are just as dangerous as the haunted woods they've left! A new ally may help them find a safe place to hole up again--but one quick, deadly bite could threaten all of their lives! Collecting two of the original Japanese volumes into each Dark Horse edition, this value-priced excursion into the world's weirdest zombie apocalypse is not to be missed!


My two-bits:

Got some baby zombies and swimming zombies as the duo travels to the fifth station of Mt. Fuji. They gain an addition to their group.

Starting to get into types of survivalists.

Interesting definitions for "hero" are presented that cause for pause.


* part of May zombie month (here)

* part of World Reads challenge - Japan pt 2 (here)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Brave New Girl by Rachel Vincent

Brave New Girl
by Rachel Vincent

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Hardback: 272
Rating: 5

Brave New Girl series:
Brave New Girl
Strange New World

First sentence(s):
When I was little, I thought every girl in the world looked just like me, because that's how it is in the nurseries.

In a world where everyone is the same, one girl is the unthinkable: unique. A high-stakes fast-paced series launch from New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent.

Dahlia 16 sees her face in every crowd. She’s nothing special—just one of five thousand girls created from a single genome to work for the greater good of the city.

Meeting Trigger 17 changes everything. He thinks she’s interesting. Beautiful. Unique. Which means he must be flawed. When Dahlia can’t stop thinking about him she realizes she’s flawed, too.

But what if Trigger is right? What if Dahlia is different? But if she’s flawed, then so are all her identicals. And any genome found to be flawed will be destroyed, ONE BY ONE BY ONE. . . .

My two-bits:

GOT sucked into this dystopian world and its orderly ways that are in for questioning and major change per the protagonist of the tale.

This story gives an overview and brief history of its world. Just enough for curiosity to grab a hold in order to find out what befalls the characters.

Loved the likable characters with their friendships and budding romantic interests.


* review copy courtesy of publisher

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo

Needle in a Haystack
by Ernesto Mallo
translated by Jethro Soutar

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2010
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Buenos Aires
Paperback: 190
Rating: 4

Inspector Lascano Mystery series:
Needle in a Haystack
Sweet Money
book 3 - tba, not yet translated

First sentence(s):
Some days the side of the bed is like the edge of an enormous abyss.

Superintendent Lascano is a detective working under the shadow of military rule in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. Sent to investigate a double murder, he arrives at the crime scene to find three bodies. Two are clearly the work of the Junta's death squads, murders he is forced to ignore; the other one seems different.

The trail leads Lascano through a decadent Argentina, a country poisoned to its core by the tyranny of the regime. The third corpse turns out to be that of Biterman, moneylender and Auschwitz survivor. When Lascano digs too deep, he must confront Giribaldi, an army major, quick to help old friends but ruthless in dealing with dissenters such as Eva, the young militant with whom Lascano is falling in love.

My two-bits:

Interesting storytelling format with reveals that occur before the end. It started to feel mystery-ish to me midway in the book.

Lots of good character development of several different characters that paint a picture of the place and time period.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bout of Books 22

Bout of Books 22
hosted by Bout of Books
May 14 to 20, 2018
signup | details | daily
#boutofbooks @boutofbooks

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


TBR pile:

Brave New Girl
(Brave New Girl #1)
by Rachel Vincent
-Dystopia, YA
Amazon | Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Strange New World
(Brave New Girl #2)
by Rachel Vincent
-Dystopia, YA
Amazon | Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5



Monday 5/14
Introduce yourself #insixwords

adventurous, curious, whimsical, foodie, bibliophile, cinephile

Tuesday 5/15
Year of You
Share a book that was published the year you were born. If you don't wish to disclose your age (that's fine; you'll get no judgment either way here), pick a book that was significant to your childhood.

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger series)
by V.C. Andrews
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

I've said this before...
This is the ONE that hooked me to reading. It was a book I found in the library in the adult section of the library. At the time I was a tween. What got me first was the super cool keyhole cover on the paperback version. And then, the story about the forbidden.

Wednesday 5/16
Show Me Your Precious
Everyone has a book that they love; now is your time to bring out your precious and shine. Share your favorite book (in whatever format you choose)! You know the one that has that beautifully illustrated map, or gorgeous writing, or whatever it is that draws you to it. Share with the world what makes that book your precious!

I am currently loving these whimsical Pushkin Press Japanese Novella paperback covers.

Thursday 5/17
Read Alikes
If you liked a particular book, then recommend a book(s) similar to the one you liked. If you've played our "If you like . . . try . . . " challenge before, you've got the idea!

by Ottessa Moshfegh
-Historical, Mystery, Thriller
Pen/Hemingway Award 2016
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

IF you like Hitchcock thrillers, this may be one for you!

Friday 5/18
Space Scavenger Hunt

Mercury - Favourite short story/novella:
Strange Weather in Tokyo
by Hiromi Kawakami
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Mars - Favourite book with a red cover:
The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Jupiter - Favourite tome over 500 pages:
A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Venus - Favourite book with female protagonist:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Uranus - Favourite book set in winter:
Secrets in the Snow
by Michaela MacColl
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Space - Favourite book set in space:
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Moon - Favourite book set anywhere other than Earth:
by Melissa Landers
-aliens, YA
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Sun - Favourite book set in summer:
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Saturn - Favourite book with circle/ring on the cover/in the title:
by Koji Suzuki
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Neptune - Favourite book set at sea, on a boat, or under water (for the most part)
Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan
-Historical, Literary
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

Pluto - Favourite books featuring a dog/with a dog on the cover (twist... this is one I want to read)
The Friend
by Sigrid Nunez
Amazon | Goodreads

Earth - Favourite book about nature/nature word in the title (twist... this is one I want to read)
The Overstory
by Richard Powers
Amazon | Goodreads

Saturday 5/19
Share Your Favorite Bout of Books Moment

I like being introduced to books to add to my tbr pile.

Sunday 5/20
Stretch Goal

Almost done with the second book I have slated for this challenge. The review link should be active later this evening. So, yeah - will be reading most of today ;-)

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