Saturday, June 29, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 6.29.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Grooving to Varona tunes (details) at the Milk Bar

2. Volunteer usher duties for Frameline43 - LGBTQ Film Festival - Happy Pride Month!

3. Monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News!

I attended this one with the kid. Could not resist and got 3 bars this time around. They are paired with a book, Made for Love from this year's summer reading pile.

June picks:
chocolate - Letterpress based in Los Angeles, California

Bachelor's Hall, Jamaica 70% Dark
Tasting notes: Star fruit, mocha, spice
Ingredients: Cacao beans, organic unrefined cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Kosher Information: Parve

Ghana, Ashanti 70% Dark
Tasting notes: brownie crust, graham cracker
Ingredients: Cacao, Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Kosher Information: Parve

Ucayali, Peru 70% Dark
Tasting Notes: Star Anise, Mocha, Pepper, Cedar
Ingredients: Cacao beans, Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Kosher Information: Parve


Bought: thrift store finds

by Edward Rutherford
-Historical, France, Paris | Goodreads

PERFECT find at the thrift shop as I am gearing up for a Paris reading binge in July.

The Unwalled City
by Xu Xi
-Contemporary, Hong Kong | Goodreads

WAS drawn to reading another story with Hong Kong after reading Maurene Goo's Somewhere Only We Know.

The People In The Trees
by Hanya Yanagihara
-Historical, Magical Realism | Goodreads

HAVE wanted to read more from Hanya after A Little Life


The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang
-Romance, Asian American, Vietnam | Goodreads

The Bride Test
by Helen Hoang
-Romance, Asian American, Vietnam | Goodreads

PICKED up these two in the Kiss Quotient series.

AND watched: in theatre for Frameline43 - LGBTQ Film Festival (here)

Razor Tongue & the T
-Episodes, LGBTQ

Razor Tongue
Director: Natalie Heltzel, Sarah Poynter, Puppett, & Kalena Ranoa (2019) USA | 39m
With a sharp comedic touch and real emotional bite, Razor Tongue explores the complexities of manifesting self-love in a world filled with misogyny and discrimination. Creator Rain Valdez, Sterling Jones, and Alexandra Grey star in this fantastic, no-bullshit web series.

the T
Director: Deven Casey, Bea Cordelia, & Daniel Kyri (2018) USA | 43m
Told through small moments and life-changing ones, two characters' stories—a trans woman and a queer Black man in Chicago—feel wonderfully authentic and intimate. After the first two episodes proved to be an audience favorite at Frameline42, we're pleased to showcase the entire first season of the T at the Festival this year.

Queering the Script (2019)
Director: Gabrielle Zilkha
-Documentary, LGBTQ | imdb | my rating: 5

Q&A panel discussion with some filmmakers and actors.

Queer nerd alert! Frameline alum Gabrielle Zilkha (Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny, Frameline38) takes us into the cosplay-wearing, fanfic-writing underbelly of queer fandoms. At conventions like ClexaCon, the largest multi-fandom LGBTQ+ event, fans geek out while connecting with like-minded folks. Queer fandoms are undeniably passionate when it comes to LGBTQ+ characters in film and television, but it doesn’t stop there. Queering the Script explores the influence they have in the slow but steady rise of LGBTQ+ characters in the media.

Engrossing interviews with figureheads from Autostraddle and GLAAD Media contextualize the history of queer women in popular media, while Pose actress Angelica Ross, The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, and Xena: Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless, share their experiences with fans and how they’ve helped to reshape narratives to be queer inclusive. Queering the Script takes a fun and forthright look at the importance of queer representation in mass media and the undeniable influence of LGBTQ+ fandoms on the shows we watch. — DOMINIQUE ONEIL

FASCINATING research on queer fandoms and its history.

No Box for Me. An Intersex Story (2018)
Ni d'Ève ni d'Adam. Une histoire intersexe
Director: Floriane Devigne
-Documentary, LGBTQ, France, Switzerland | details | my rating: 5

Often intersex is still dealt with as a pathology that must be treated and repaired. The film reflects on the way intersex people seek to reappropriate their bodies and construct their identities. It questions what our societies are ready to do in the name of social norms and what it means to be a man, a woman or a little of both...

Realness And Revelations
-Shorts, LGBTQ

Q&A with some filmmakers and actors.

Gentleman Spa
Director: Yu Jhi-han (2019) Taiwan | 18m
For Hao, a heavy-set janitor at a gay spa, romantic relationships feel like an unreachable dream. But when he gets the opportunity to massage a handsome stranger, an exciting—but bumpy—ride ensues.

Director: Searit Huluf (2019) USA | 10m
A lesbian gamer gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to try out for a pro league team, but crippling self-doubt tests her ambitions.

The Bony Lady
Director: Adriana Barbosa & Thiago Zanato (2018) Brazil, USA, Mexico | 20m
In this captivating documentary-fiction hybrid, transgender Death Cult leader Arely Vazquez attempts to fulfill a promise she made to her saint years after a life-threatening episode.

Director: Bretten Hannam (2019) Canada | 12m
Stalked by his abusive white father, a rebellious Mi’kmaw runaway meets a Two-Spirit teenager drawn to his journey. As he learns the Mi’kmaw language and culture from his new companion, a deeper bond begins to take shape.

MC Jess
Director: Carla Villa-Lobos (2018) Brazil | 20m
Jessica, a lesbian Black woman, goes through bouts of doubt and loneliness, thanks to daily forms of prejudice. But in poetry, she unearths a powerful means of expression that allows her to finally overcome deeply ingrained insecurities.

-Shorts, LGBTQ

Q&A with some filmmakers and actors.

Director: Hammad Rizvi (2018) | Pakistan, USA | 15m
A poor and socially outcast transgender woman from Pakistan sets out to take care of an abandoned baby in this award-winning short film.

Desperately Seeking Shavers
Director: Emmett Aldred (2018) | Australia | 6m
This insightful documentary shines a light on gender and identity through its candid look at the way trans and gender-diverse people express and actualize their identity through facial hair.

Prisoner of Society
Director: Rati Tsiteladze (2018) Georgia | 15m
Within the strict and repressive atmosphere of Georgian society, we meet a young transgender woman trapped between her personal desire for freedom and the traditional expectations imposed upon her by family.

Tell-By Date
Director: Sarah Ball (2019) USA, UK | 14m
Ryan has something important to tell his seven-year-old son, but an unexpected revelation about his own father forces him to confront his past before he can move forward.

Here with You
Director: Nona Schamus | 2019 | USA | 7m
May meets a boy at a party who piques her interest. She invites him over to hang only to realize that they have more in common than she thought. This film was produced with an entirely trans cast and crew and offers a look at a healthy romantic relationship between two trans individuals.

Director: Lorin Murphy | 2018 | USA | 4m
This fabulous music video for the song “Homosafe” by The Homobiles is shot in and around The Stud and features queer hero Lynnee Breedlove.

Director: Audrey Rosenberg | 2019 | USA | 22m
A queer teenager (Rhys Fehrenbacher of They, Frameline42) struggling with the onset of puberty discovers a living cave that presents them with a new skin and a chance to explore their identity.

Transfinite (2019)
Director/Writer: Neelu Bhuman
Writer: Ryka Aoki, D'Lo, Stefano Gonzalez
Cody L. Makil, Davia Spain, Lida N. Vala
-Shorts, LGBTQ | imdb | my rating: 4

Transfinite is a sci-fi omnibus feature film composed of seven standalone short stories where supernatural trans and queer people from various cultures use their powers to protect, love, teach, fight and thrive.

Q&A with some filmmakers and actors.

Memories of My Body (2018)
Kucumbu tubuh indahku (original title)
Director: Garin Nugroho
Stars: Muhammad Khan, Raditya Evandra, Rianto
-Drama, LGBTQ, Indonesia | imdb | my rating: 5

In Center Java Juno, a pre-teen abandoned by his father, joins a Lengger dance centre where men assume feminine appearances but the political and social upheaval in Indonesia forces him on the road, meeting remarkable people on his journey.

LOVED learning about the culture and the snippets of dance performances.

Kissing Walls (2019)
Season 2
Director: Zak Payne
Stars: Zak Payne, Nathaniel Tenenbaum
-Comedy, Black/African American, LGBTQ, Chicago | details | my rating: 5

Set in the rapidly gentrifying gayborhood of Chicago, two misfit roommates struggle in the local dating scene as they search for happiness. Despite his best efforts, commitment-phobic Cameron finds himself falling for one half of a couple he’s been sleeping with. James, on the other hand, is anxiously trying to convince people to come see his nightclub act after weathering a bad breakup. When a chance encounter with a florist sparks romantic interest, James has to decide if he’s ready for a new relationship.

Through it all, James and Cameron have each other’s back as they navigate the indignities of everyday life.

Q&A with director, Zac Payne and actor, Nathaniel Tenenbaum.

LOVED the fusion of romance, jazzy music and Chicago.

A Dog Barking at the Moon (2019)
Director/Writer: Lisa Zi Xiang
Stars: Renhua Na, Gaowa Siqin, Zhang Yinyue
-Drama, LGBTQ, China | imdb | my rating: 4

A Chinese family saga, told in different periods of time, commencing with the wife's discovery of her husband's homosexuality. When her adult daughter comes to visit, other secrets slowly come to light.

STORYTELLING included theatre enactments pieced in with past and present scenes which did not gel so much for me.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & the Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2019
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical, 1970s, Music
Hardback: 467 Large Print
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Daisy Jones was born in 1951 and grew up in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California.

Zombie sighting:
It was like zombies at 10:00 a.m. Until the coffee and the coke kicked in.
-section Aurora 1977-1978, page 261

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.


My two-bits:

Initially resistant to this kind of story but read it because of the hype. It was told in rock-n-roll interview mode with comments and thoughts from each band member and a few periphery characters.

Reminded me of the film A Star is Born in regards to the rise of a band with two strong leaders of a band as well as the usual sex, drugs and rock-n-roll doings of the 70s.

Got that creative artist outlook on things as well as the struggles of love in the art and in relationships.


* part of Reese's Book Club 2019 (here)

* part of the Camp ToB 2019 (here)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

The Cactus
by Sarah Haywood
-Contemporary, Romance, England
The Cactus
by Sarah Haywood

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: May 2019
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, England
Paperback: 384
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
I'm not a woman who bears grudges, broods over disagreements or questions other people's motives.

For Susan Green, messy emotions don't fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an "interpersonal arrangement" that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan's due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go.

My two-bits:

Cute cover. This is one that grew on me. The character growth was so good that I came around to liking her in the end as she was very much of the prickly sort.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of Reese's Book Club 2019 (here)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 6.22.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Welcoming home my college graduate :-)

2. Listening to live accordion tunes at North Beach Italian festival

3. Surprise ticket to Hamilton to see with friends!



Death in Brittany
by Jean-Luc Bannalec
-Mystery, France | Goodreads

FOR face-to-face group, Foreign Mystery Book Club, July pick.

Freebies: from Free Little Library

by Kim Stanley Robinson
-SciFi, Space Opera | Goodreads

FOR a future sci-fi binge reading pile.

AND watched: in theatre

The Dead Don't Die (2019)
Director/Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny
-Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Zombies | imdb | my rating: 4

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.

FUN cast with dark and depressing points made regarding the state of today's world.

Maiden (2018)
Director: Alex Holmes
Star: Tracy Edwards
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

SCREENING included Q&A with director and Tracy Edwards. Amazing story and boat crew that made historical strides for women in the sailing world.

And the story of this vessel continues with a current world tour...

The Maiden will be visiting San Francisco August 21-30, 2019 (details)

AND watched: at Davies Symphony Hall accompanied by orchestra

Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Screenplay: James Ivory
Based on book by: André Aciman
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
-Drama, Romance, LTBTQ | imdb | my rating: 5

Based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, this coming-of-age romance evokes the feeling of a golden Italian summer, filled with music, food, art, and the heady feelings of first love. It’s 1983, and amid the sun-kissed landscapes of Lombardy, Italy, a precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending lazy days with his family at their 17th-century summer villa. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome American doctoral student who works as an intern for Elio’s professor father. Little by little, an unexpected bond grows between Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) that will alter their lives forever. Imbued with hauntingly beautiful original songs by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, don’t miss the SF Symphony perform this hypnotic score live to film on the big screen. (details)

LOVED it the first time I saw this and loved it again with this special screening. The soundtrack was performed by the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by George Stelluto and composed by Sufjan Stevens.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Happy Release Day to One of the Girls by Robin Daniels ($25 Giveaway)

One of the Girls
by Robin Daniels
-Romance, YA | Goodreads | AmazonKindle
Release date: June 20, 2019


Senior Nick Moody is the second string quarterback on Roosevelt High School’s championship football team. He’s crushed on Mia for years, but she doesn’t know he exists. It’s time to come off the bench and into the game. Nick refuses to graduate without getting the girl or the glory.

Mia Ashlock is the remarkably kind cheer captain. She’s a yes girl, and her penchant for people pleasing always leads to bad relationships. After being humiliated in a very public dumping, her teammates decide to break her bad habit with a ban on boyfriends.

When Nick sees a poster, advertising cheer tryouts, he has a crazy idea: quit football and become a cheerleader. It’s perfect! He can get close to Mia and steal the spotlight, using his true and hidden talent—gymnastics. Nick and Mia have instant chemistry, but it does him little good. If Mia’s zero dating rule weren’t bad enough, the team treats him less like boyfriend material and more like one of the girls. Breaching the friendzone will be much harder than he thought.

Content: This book contains kissing along with limited/mild swearing and minimal inuendo/crude humor. No explicit language or references to sex.

Praise for One of the Girls:

This is one of those feel-good sweet high school romances that totally took me back in time. Daniels has a talent for creating a realistic teen scene with believable characters who my teenage self wants to be friends with. A slow-burn romance, all full of sparks and subtle chemistry, is my favorite and this story is definitely enchanting. I enjoyed the way everything played out and loved the secondary characters too, as they really added to the book. I hope Sean gets his own story, hint hint. This one was so much fun!

Loved the concept and execution of this story. Daniels has a way to make you laugh and root for a HEA. Great characters! This book had me smiling long after I finished it. Can’t wait for more!!

This is such a fun book! While it deals with real-life issues, Daniels handles them with her usual wit and humor, making for a sweet story. I love the characters, and as I’ve come to expect from her, Daniels is on point with their interactions and dialog. Daniels is one of my go-to authors for fun, feel-good, sweet romance, and this newest offering did not disappoint!

This is now my favorite Robin Daniels book. Her swooniest hero, who is unabashedly himself, and a perfectly happy ending.

--~ Giveaway ~--

$25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Ends 7/8/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The prize will be delivered from the author via Email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Someday We Will Fly
by Rachel DeWoskin

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: January 2019
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Historical, WWII, YA, Jewish, Shanghai
Hardback: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
In the last act I saw my parents perform, they already looked like ghosts of the Stanislav Circus.

Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is 15 when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive?

Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. Lillia finds an outlet for her artistic talent by making puppets, remembering the happy days in Warsaw when they were circus performers. She attends school sporadically, makes friends with Wei, a Chinese boy, and finds work as a performer at a "gentlemen's club" without her father's knowledge.

But meanwhile the conflict grows more intense as the Americans declare war and the Japanese force the Americans in Shanghai into camps. More bombing, more death. Can they survive, caught in the crossfire?

My two-bits:

This refugee/immigrant Polish Jewish experience in Shanghai during WWII was a fresh and interesting perspective for me to read about.

I loved how the protagonist artistic talent pulls her through the story which also bring about a couple tissue box moments.


* review copy courtesy of publisher

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Blog All About It: Risk


With the San Francisco Coffee Passport in hand, I will venture out to local cafes for coffee tastings throughout the year and will post about the visits (here).

This is an amazing book of coupons created by Broke-Ass Stuart and offers 31 cups of coffee at 31 excellent cafes for $35.

The first visit was to Jane on Fillmore with Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin.


True Stories People Never Thought They'd Dare to Share
edited by Kevin Allison
-Memoir, Short Stories | Goodreads | my rating: 5

Collecting the most celebrated stories from the hit podcast RISK!, along with all-new true tales about explosive secrets and off-the-wall adventures, this book paints a spellbinding portrait of the transformational moments we experience in life but rarely talk about. No topics are off-limits in RISK!, no memories too revealing to share. From accidentally harboring a teen fugitive to being poisoned while tripping on LSD in the Mayan ruins, these stories transport readers into uncharted territory and show how your life can change when you take an extraordinary leap.

In these jaw-dropping stories, edited and introduced by RISK! host Kevin Allison, writers reveal how they pushed drugs for a Mexican cartel only to end up kidnapped and nearly killed, how they joined a terrifying male-empowerment cult and fought desperately for a way out, how they struggled with pregnancy complications and found a hero where they least expected it, and so much more. A lifelong construction worker shares the intimate details of transitioning to being a woman, a bestselling author discusses how he assumed the identity of his babysitter online in a social experiment gone awry, and a beloved comedian discusses how a blow job from a prostitute changed his life. By turns cautionary and inspiring, RISK! presents an extraordinary panorama of the breadth of human experience and a stunning tribute to the power of the truth to set us free.

This is a set of mostly humorous stories and an entertaining read.


podcast on Stitcher (here)

About the show:
Take a walk on the wild side with the RISK! podcast, an on demand version of selections from the RISK! live sessions where everyone from comedians to regular folks divulge true stories they had always thought they'd keep to themselves. Hosted by Kevin Allison of the comedy group The State.


The Cactus
by Sarah Haywood
-Contemporary, Romance, England | Goodreads

Found a mention of the game Risk in this novel.


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

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Shadows on the Lake by Giovanni Cocco and Amneris Magella

Shadows on the Lake
by Giovanni Cocco and Amneris Magella
translated by Stephen Sartarelli

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Mystery, Italy
Paperback: 270
Rating: 4

Commissario Stefania Valenti series:
Shadows on the Lake
Omicidio alla Stazione Centrale
Morte a Bellagio

First sentence(s):
At the end of the first year of the enforcement of the legislative decree of 4 January 1944, XXII, no.4, which provides for the seizure of properties belonging to citizens of the Jewish race, I hereby submit to you, DUCE, the statistical data relating to the work thus far accomplished.

A new atmospheric Italian mystery novel set in Lake Como, introducing the clever and captivating Inspector Stefania Valenti.

During the construction of a new road to the Swiss border in the mountains above Lake Como, the remains of a young man are unearthed on the powerful Cappelletti family's property. On the case is Stefania Valenti, forty-five, divorced with a young daughter, and a brilliant, determined police inspector.

Her investigation takes her back to World War II and deep into the history of the region, a place that during the war attracted smugglers, deserters, secret agents, and fleeing Jews. Steeped in the beautiful atmosphere of Northern Italy, Valenti's investigation brings to light a family's secret, a tragic romance, and reveals a fascinating piece of Italian history.

My two-bits:

I felt like this gently plodded along and comes to a halt with a classic mystery motive with a small town Italian vibe.


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

Monday, June 17, 2019

Books and Coffee

With the San Francisco Coffee Passport in hand, I will venture out to SF cafes for coffee tastings throughout the year and will post about the visits.

This is an amazing book of coupons created by Broke-Ass Stuart and offers 31 cups of coffee at 31 excellent cafes for $35 (details here).

I got a second passport for kid to join me on the coffee adventures.


1. Jane on Fillmore
beverage: mocha
eat: biscuit with butter and jam
book: Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

2. Spike's Coffees and Teas
beverage: latte
eat: chocolate croissant
book: Waiting For Monsieur Bellivier by Britta Röstlund

3. tba

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 6.15.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Received my first San Francisco Coffee Passport from Broke-Ass Stuart. This amazing passport offers 31 cups of coffee at 31 excellent cafes for $35. I will post more about it and adventures to the cafes in another post.

2. Cherries

3. New Yorker artwork from Charlotte Mendelson - love this picnic spread


For review:

Someday We Will Fly
by Rachel DeWoskin
-Historical, WWII, YA, Shanghai | Goodreads
courtesy of publisher - Thanks!

INTERESTED to see how Shanghai comes into play in this WWII story.


The Cactus
by Sarah Haywood
-Contemporary, Romance, England | Goodreads

FOR Reese Witherspoon's Book Club June selection. Listening to the audio version.

Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
-Historical, Music | Goodreads

FOR Reese Witherspoon's Book Club March selection and Camp ToB 2019 challenge.

AND watched: on DVD

Wanda (1997)
Director/Writer: Barbara Loden
Stars: Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins, Dorothy Shupenes
-Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Wanda, a lonely housewife, drifts through mining country until she meets a petty thief who takes her in.

A lost soul. I found that Wanda is one of those characters I wanted to continue to follow despite her aimless walk through life.


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken

by Elizabeth McCracken

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: February 2019
Publisher: Ecco
Genre: Historical, Literary
Hardback: 384
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
They found a body in the Salford Cemetery, but aboveground and alive.

A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alley.

From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person—Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark—with Bertha its most notable resident.

When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.

In a voice laced with insight and her signature sharp humor, Elizabeth McCracken has written an epic family saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America. Bowlaway is both a stunning feat of language and a brilliant unraveling of a family’s myths and secrets, its passions and betrayals, and the ties that bind and the rifts that divide.

My two-bits:

Loved the imagery for some of the sentences crafted in this storytelling. Learned about bowling especially the difference with Candlepin and Ten pin.

Got of sense of place and its hold on people.

The characters were quirky and strings you along well.


* part of the Camp ToB 2019 (here)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

The Lost Girls of Paris
by Pam Jenoff
narrated by Candace Thaxton, Henrietta Meire,
Elizabeth Knowelden

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: January 2019
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Historical, WWII, Paris
Hardback: 384
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
If not for the second-worst mistake of Grace Healey's life, she never would have found the suitcase.

1946, Manhattan. Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

My two-bits:

An interesting mix of past and present gives this story a mystery tinge as a modern day gal researches the doings of women involved in the WWII resistance. Also, interesting to see how love and romance plays a part.


* A New York Times Bestseller
Cosmopolitan Best Book Club Book of 2019
PopSugar Must-Read Book of 2019
Glamour Best Book of 2019

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of ibc book club (here)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Happy Release: This is Home by Lisa Duffy

This is Home
by Lisa Duffy
-Contemporary, Women's Fiction | Goodreads
Release date: June 11, 2019

From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home.

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.


Chapter 1 - Libby

The year I turned ten, my father shot the aboveground pool in our backyard with his police-issued pistol.

I don’t remember it, but I hear about it all the time. My father likes to tell the story at the bowling alley bar, when all eyes are on him. There’s usually Wild Turkey over ice in the glass in front of him, or maybe a bottle of beer. Sometimes both. The story gaining speed with every sip. The guys egging him on, all of them off-duty cops, remembering the fall cookout in my backyard.

My mother in the kitchen with the other girlfriends and wives and the men outside in rusty lawn chairs watching my father scowl at the eyesore of a pool taking up space on his newly purchased property. Stagnant water the color of tree bark sat high against the rim, and the entire structure leaned off center, and someone called out: Jesus Christ, that thing’s a damn cesspool Tower of Pisa.

The scum-filled pool had come with the house, and my father hated it. None of the guys remember who first joked about pumping it full of bullets to empty the water, but they all remember my father standing up, taking two steps forward, and drawing his weapon. (more here)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 6.8.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Yummy dinner outings to celebrate my birthday

2. Preparing and creating post for arm-chair book traveling to Paris, France ;-)

3. Monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News!

It poses here with Angie Kim's Miracle Creek which I picked up a couple weeks ago and the program for the CAAMfest37.

May pick:
chocolate - SOMA chocolate based in Canada
Crazy 88, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, 88%
Origin: Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador + Ucayali. Peru + Canoabo, Venezuela
Cacao content: 88%
Tasting notes: black tea, balsamic vinegar, fresh cream, lemon, jasmine, apricot, walnut

Canoabo Ucayali. Hacienda victoria. if these names mean something to you then you are on of us: nutty. cacao-obsessed. and ready to infiltrate the world of chocolate flavor.

Crazy 88s seek out the best cacao from all over the globe.

Secret mission: to skillfully blend different origins to make a potent, and beautifully nuanced extra dark chocolate.

Crazy 88 is our secret flavour weapon.

Crazy 88 ninjas cast a shadow in the form of a cat.

Updated posts:
Hamburger post includes an extra picture of something I found (here)
Bloom post includes a picture of what I created inspired by Martha Stewart Living magazine (here)


Author event:

Bookshop in West Portal hosted a celebratory event (with some bubbly) to cheer for Cara Black's 19th book in the Aimee Leduc mystery series. Fellow mystery writer, Jacqueline Winspear was also in the house for a conversation and Q&A with Cara.

Murder in Bel-Air
by Cara Black
-Mystery, Paris | Goodreads

The American Agent
by Jacqueline Winspear
-Mystery, Historical, WWII | Goodreads


Killing November
by Adriana Mather
-Mystery, Thriller, YA | Goodreads

HYPE got me curious about this one. Listening to the audio version.

AND watched: in theatre

The Third Wife (2018)
Director/Writer: Ash Mayfair
Stars: Long Le Vu, Mai Thu Huong Maya, Nguyen Phuong Tra My
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

19th century rural Vietnam, fourteen-year-old May is ready to become the third wife of a wealthy landowner. Little did she know that her hidden desires will take her by surprise and force her to make a choice between living in safety and being free.

LOVED the lush scenes and scenery of daily living in the country.

Booksmart (2019)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Writers: Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
Stars: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein
-Comedy, High School | imdb | my rating: 5

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.

SUPER fun ensemble cast. Light and comedic side of high school.

AND watched: in theatre for SF DocFest (here)

Candice (2019)
Director/Writer: Sheona McDonald
Star: Candida Royalle
-Documentary, Biography | imdb | my rating: 4

Now a sexagenarian, adult performer Candida Royale tells her story as a "godmother of feminist porn," who began thirty years ago to direct films of her own focusing on women's sexual enjoyment.

WHAT a lady, what a life. She rocks!


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

Thanks for stopping by :-)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu