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.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How To Walk Away
by Katherine Center
narrated by Therese Plummer

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: May 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Chick-lit
Hardback: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
The biggest irony about that night is that I was always scared to fly.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

My two-bits:

Lovely story on the healing process involved after a major accident. The hope, inspiration and happiness found in the day to day really makes a difference.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of BookSparks Reading Challenge, Summer (here)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Blog All About It: Trees

At the end of the day, I drive home along the San Francisco coast. I am treated to the sight of this row of trees in the Presidio.


The Overstory
by Richard Powers
Amazon | Goodreads

A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most "prodigiously talented" (The New York Times Book Review) novelists.

An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers―each summoned in different ways by trees―are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of―and paean to―the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours―vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity’s self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? "Listen. There’s something you need to hear."


The Sea of Trees (2015)
imdb | my review | my rating: 4


Chopped, Loved and Discarded - the life of a xmas tree


* part of the Blog All About It Challenge (here)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu