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)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu