Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 10.21.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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


Change is in the air. With the change in seasons and weather, I have been thinking about my current status and the future. I am starting to organize stuff in each aspect of my life. And, getting inspiration and advice from various people about living and lifestyle. However, the one constant and comfort is books.

Happy things:

1. Cute Halloween nail stickers
2. Everything bagel with cream cheese and coffee
3. Somewhere in Time theme song from film



Stone Rider
by David Hofmeyr
-Dystopia, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

READ the ARC of this, but I wanted a final copy.

The Power
by Naomi Alderman
-Dystopia, Feminism
Amazon | Goodreads

CURIOUS about the hype for this one.

The Making of Jane Austen
by Devoney Looser
-History, Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

TRICKLED over from last week's Jane Austen mini-binge.

Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King
Amazon | Goodreads

SO curious to see how this joint effort comes out.

by K. Bromberg
-New Adult, Romance, Sports
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
BarnesNoble | Amazon | Goodreads

LOVING the selections for this club.

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: What is your favorite scary movie?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

The Ring (2002) with Naomi Watts. It's one of those film that loops in the brain if you think too much about it.

AND watched: in theatre

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green
Story by: Hampton Fancher
Based on characters from the novel: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas
-Action, SciFi | imdb | my rating: 5

A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.

LOVED how I was whisked into that world at the start.

Breathe (2017)
Director: Andy Serkis
Screenplay: William Nicholson
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville
-Biography, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 5

The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis.

BEAUTIFUL film based on a couple's relationship.

AND watched: on DVD

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Director: Peter Jackson
Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
Based on book by: J.R.R. Tolkien
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage
-Adventure, Fantasy | imdb | my rating: 4

Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

For Fall Film challenge: starring ian mckellen

GOT through loads of fight and epic battle scenes and finally watched the ending to this series. Not my favorite but had some words of wisdom sprinkled in.

Rogue One (2016)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Story by: John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Based on characters created by: George Lucas
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
-Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | imdb | my rating: 4

The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

For Fall Film challenge: set in space

ACTION packed with a more serious and sad tint. Good prequel to the Star Wars series.

Schindler’s List (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Steven Zaillian
Based on book by: Thomas Keneally
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
-Biography, Drama, History | imdb | my rating: 5

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

For Fall Film challenge: listed on nathan bransford's best hundred movies challenge (here)

WWII history worth learning about. Wonderfully done in black and white.

Trumbo (2015)
Director: Jay Roach
Screenplay: John McNamara
Based on book by: Bruce Cook
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
-Biography, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.

For Fall Film challenge: about justice

Wow. Had no idea Trumbo wrote so much. And is an award winner in film. Loved how he stayed true.

Wonder Boys (2000)
Director: Curtis Hanson
Screenplay: Steve Kloves
Based on book by: Michael Chabon
Starring: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand
-Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

For Fall Film challenge: starring robert downey, jr.

NICE coming of age story for more than one character.


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


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Happy release: Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard

Mary Rose
by Geoffrey Girard
-Horror, Gothic
Release date: April 17, 2018
Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Rose into a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.

Praise for MARY ROSE:

“MARY ROSE is that uncommon thing, an elegant, classic ghost story that is, at once, truly literate and truly scary. Filled with surprises and eerie mystery. Geoffrey Girard is a storyteller at the top of his game.”
- Jacquelyn Mitchard, #1 NY Times Bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN and TWO IF BY SEA

Girard’s eerie descriptions exploit the fear of the unknown and the unnatural, and secretive characters, including the enigmatic island, hide their intentions. This is a nightmarish tale of repressed memories and misdirection."
- Publishers Weekly

"An exceptional gothic thriller.
Girard's literary roots shine through, and the dread rises with every turn of the page. MARY ROSE will send a true chill down your spine. A haunting, scary, and beautifully written novel."
- J.T. Ellison, NYT bestselling author of LIE TO ME


It was another few minutes before Simon also heard the music. Barely, at first. Only a soft indefinable sound carried somewhere deep within the enduring rustle of cool summer wind in the surrounding trees. Fading in and out. Obviously imagined. A trick of sound. Then, more distinct. Deliberate. More melodious.

“That is music,” he agreed, still doubting enough. The island was deserted. There’d been no other boats. “Right? I thought you were kidding.”

Mary Rose continued without remark.

They followed a slender and loose trail, overgrown with scrub, the trees stretching overhead in a heavy canopy that allowed the sun to split through only in well-defined fixed beams, and the sunlight somehow made the copse seem darker, casting blacker shadows than what should be. The musical drone had grown stronger, more real, with each step.

Twice, he’d turned. Convinced they were being followed. They weren’t alone anymore. That someone had stepped onto the path no more than twenty yards behind them, and then jumped back again into the shadows each time he’d turned. The unique prickle of being watched coupled every step they took. “You know where we’re going?” he asked, striding through a wide shard of light.

“I want to show you something,” Mary Rose said. Her voice star- tled him and he took a deep breath to bring his racing imagination back to real life.

“Something you saw as a girl?”

She only nodded.

“Did you ever—”

Movement at the corner of his eye passed between several trees at their far right. Shadows, maybe, in the shifting sunlight. Or someone running. He’d automatically reached out a hand to stay Mary Rose.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, turning.

He held up his other hand for quiet. “Wait . . .” he whispered, listening, and also squinting ahead. The music had become unmistakable words. Chanting, even. And not in English, for sure. Several voices intoning as one relentless drone of those concealed within the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead. It was a sound that somehow evoked the pounding of animal-skin drums and dark primordial shapes swaying in the moonlight before open fire—he could even smell it—and antlered demigods, or maybe just Brodie, “The Druid,” painting bull blood on some virgin’s bare ass.

What a load of shit.

But there was definite movement between those trees. Not an- other swaying birch, but someone. If it was such a “load of shit,” why was he holding his breath? Why did it feel as if his whole body were trembling?

“We should go,” he decided. Had even searched the ground for a fallen limb as some pathetic sort of weapon.

Mary Rose looked at him oddly, puzzled.

He tugged her backward. “Come on. We can’t—”

A terrible scream filled the woods.

A woman, or some animal, maybe, the shriek of something having its throat slit over an ancient stone altar. The horrific echo drifted away between the trees slowly and deliberately.

Simon was frozen, mostly wanting to pull Mary Rose to safety, but knowing someone was—

Mary Rose had made the decision for them both, jerking her hand free and sprinting ahead.

His mind exploded with panic, and anger. “Mary,” his voice hissed in warning, but it was a voice for dogs broken free from their leash or unruly children in public places safe from spankings: a voice with no real control.

She’d gone straight at the sound, and he dashed after her.

Between the trees ahead, straight beyond Mary Rose, he glimpsed tall distorted figures coming directly toward her. And then the unmistakable shine of bare flesh—sinewy, powerful, bronzed and glistening in sweat, a flash of plump pale breasts—the skin and surrounding trees spattered in vibrant dripping blood.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy release: Monsterland by Michael Okon

by Michael Okon
-Horror, Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies
Release date: October 13, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth. Wyatt Baldwin's senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?


Chapter 1
The Everglades

The sky was a sparkling, powder blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads. The fire he created burned bright, rabbit roasting on a spit made from hickory, the juices dripping to hiss in the flames. Seven of them lay in scattered repose, enjoying the late afternoon lull—two napped, the others tossed a stuffed fur in the form of a ball around the clearing, hooting with amusement when it rolled into the brush. They traveled in a pack, his group, his makeshift family, foraging together, hiding in plain sight. It had been that way for generations. But the glades were getting smaller, the humans invasive.

The sun started its slow descent into the horizon, hot pink and lilac clouds rippling against the empty canvas of the sky. Their color deepened as the sky filled, the rosy hue morphing into a burnt orange as the sun hid behind the condensation. The air thickened, moisture causing the leaves to lie heavily against the branches. Here and there, fireflies lit the gloom, doing a placid ballet in the humid air. The men moved closer as the sun sank into the western treetops, the fading sky promising another clear day tomorrow in the Everglades despite the moving ceiling of clouds.

A lone hawk cried out, disturbing the peace of the glade. Huge birds answered, flapping their wings, creating a cacophony of swamp sounds. The area became a concerto of animals responding to the disruption of their home—wild screams, squeaks, and complaints of the invasion of their territory.

The lead male stood, his head tilted. He heard it again. It was music, the strange organization of sounds, predictable as well as dangerous. Where those rhythms originated meant only one thing—they were not alone. They all rose, tense and alert, searching the waterway. Billy pointed, his dirty hands silently parting an outcropping of trees to expose a flat-bottom boat with strangers floating slowly toward them. It was filled with people, excitedly searching the banks of the swamp, their expensive khaki bush clothes ringed with sweat. Many held huge cameras. It was obviously a film crew, invasive, nosy individuals looking for something, anything, to enhance their lives. Men’s voices drifted on the turgid air. Billy stood, sniffing, his mates following suit. He glanced at the sky, gauging the time, his eyes opening wide. It was late. The bald top of the moon peeked over the ridge in the south, the sky graying to twilight with each passing second. Night came fast and furious in the swamp, dropping a curtain of darkness, extinguishing all light except for the beacon of the full moon. That chalk-white orb floated upward, indifferent to the consequences of its innocent victims. A halo of lighter blue surrounded the globe, limning the trees silver, the cobwebs in the trees becoming chains of dripping diamonds in the coming night.

What were the interlopers doing here? Billy thought furiously. This was their territory. The humans didn’t belong in the swamp. The moon continued its trip to the heavens, the familiar agony beginning in his chest. Billy fought the demons churning within his body, feeling the pain of metamorphosis. He curled inward, hunching his shoulders, the curse of his nature making his spine pull until his tendons and muscles tore from their human positions to transform into something wicked. A howl erupted from his throat, followed by another, and then another. Grabbing handfuls of dirt, he tried to fight the awful change, but, as the sun dipped to its fiery death, the moon took control of his life, and the unnatural force tore through his unwilling body. Reason fled; his heart raced. Falling on his hands and knees, he let loose a keening cry as his face elongated, his body changing into a canine, fangs filling his mouth. He raced in a circle in a demented dance, knowing his fellow pack members did the same thing. Slowing, he regulated his labored breathing, forcing the icy calmness he needed to keep some semblance of reason. He peered through the dense brush. Lights from the search party bobbed in the distance. The odor, the stench of humanity, filled the clearing.

He turned, digging furiously on the ground, throwing dirt on the flames, hiding their existence. It was no good. Discovery would ruin everything. No one could live with their kind. Humans brought disease, humans brought anger, humans brought hatred. They were there; he could smell them, see their clumsy bodies invading his home. “They’ve found us,” he growled in the special language they used. “Run!” he barked as he turned to his pack, watching his friends’ naked skin transform until it was covered with the same silvered fur. They cried out in unison at the pain, howling with the injustice, and then ran in fear from the interlopers threatening their habitat.

About the author:

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Find out more about this book and author:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 10.14.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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


The air quality has been poor here in the Bay area this week. Smoke hazed days since Monday has put a damper on outdoor activities and lots of stress, worry and sadness emanates from the fires up north. I am looking forward to being able to take a deep long refreshing breath outside soon.

Uhhh, OK. I am resigned to a slower reading pattern nowadays. With the holiday season kicking in starting with Halloween festivities there is a lot of competition to go out to fun events and parties.

NOTE to self: next year, avoid booking requested book reviews from October to December

Current happy things:

1. Fall Film Challenge (here) - I enjoyed good ones this week. And now, inspired to see more films with or directed by Clint Eastwood.

2. Thick slice of toast topped with honey and peanut butter from Trouble Coffee. The honey and pb combo was a first, yum.

3. Pedicure treatment with a purple color called, Serenity. I treat myself to this once in awhile. So relaxing. It is especially fun to see pretty colored toes while doing certain yoga poses.



Murder Under the Bridge:
A Palestine Mystery

by Kate Jessica Raphael
-Mystery, Thriller
Amazon | Goodreads

PICKED this up for a face-to-face book club that reads foreign mysteries. This is the third club I am trying out this year.

Bookshop in West Portal, San Francisco, CA hosted a panel discussion on the current state of activism featuring:

Kate Harding – Nasty Women Editor
Samhita Mukhopadhyay – Nasty Women Editor
Carolyn Jasik – Director of California Women’s March

Nasty Women:
Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America

edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay
-Essays, Feminism
Release date: October 3, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Twenty-Three Leading Feminist Writers on Protest and Solidarity

When 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump and 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, how can women unite in Trump’s America? Nasty Women includes inspiring essays from a diverse group of talented women writers who seek to provide a broad look at how we got here and what we need to do to move forward.

Featuring essays by REBECCA SOLNIT on Trump and his “misogyny army,” CHERYL STRAYED on grappling with the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s loss, SARAH HEPOLA on resisting the urge to drink after the election, NICOLE CHUNG on family and friends who support Trump, KATHA POLLITT on the state of reproductive rights and what we do next, JILL FILIPOVIC on Trump’s policies and the life of a young woman in West Africa, SAMANTHA IRBY on racism and living as a queer black woman in rural America, RANDA JARRAR on traveling across the country as a queer Muslim American, SARAH HOLLENBECK on Trump’s cruelty toward the disabled, MEREDITH TALUSAN on feminism and the transgender community, and SARAH JAFFE on the labor movement and active and effective resistance, among others.

Author event:

Booksmith in San Francisco hosted an event with Celeste Ng to celebrate the release of Little Fires Everywhere. Her inspiration for the book was a place - Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng
-Contemporary, Family
Amazon | Goodreads

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

For Review:

Mary Rose
by Geoffrey Girard
-Horror, Gothic, Ghosts
Release date: April 17, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

ADDED this to my FrightFall readathon (here).

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: Who is your favorite horror/suspense author and why?
(submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)

Stephen King tops my list for the horror/suspense genre because his stories are meaty even without the horror element.

AND watched: on DVD

This Beautiful Fantastic (2016)
Director/Writer: Simon Aboud
Starring: Jessica Brown Findlay, Jeremy Irvine, Andrew Scott
-Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | imdb | my rating: 5

A young woman who dreams of being a children's author makes an unlikely friendship with a cantankerous, rich old widower.

For Fall Film challenge: about prudence

SWEET feel good film with quirky characters. Sherlock Cumberbatch fans will be treated with a performance by a very un-Moriarty. Inspired me to do some gardening.

The Accountant (2016)
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons
-Action, Crime, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities, and the body count starts to rise.

For Fall Film challenge: released last year and reviewed on (here)

ANOTHER trademark performance from Ben with an interesting autistic take.

The Beguiled (1971)
Director: Don Siegel
Screenplay: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp, Claude Traverse
Based on book by: Thomas Cullinan
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman
-Drama, Thriller, War | imdb | my rating: 5

While imprisoned in a Confederate girls' boarding school, an injured Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women's hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him.

For Fall Film challenge: about envy

CLINT is so charming in this. He also sings in it. I was amused with this jibe "hussy is a hussy." I liked how still photos depict a flash of history during the beginning credits.

Unforgiven (1992)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Screenplay: David Webb Peoples
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
-Drama, Western | imdb | my rating: 5

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

For Fall Film challenge: about wrath

CLINT is charming in his cowboy way. This captures the gritty wild west story with a melancholy vibe.


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


Friday, October 13, 2017

Happy Dreams Jia Pingwa

Happy Dreams
by Jia Pingwa
Nicky Harman (Translation)

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: October 1, 2017
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Genre: Literary, China
Paperback: 492
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
"Happy Liu."
"It says 'Hawa Liu' on your ID card. What's with this 'Happy Liu?"
"I changed my name. Everyone, calls me Happy Liu now."

From one of China’s foremost authors, Jia Pingwa’s Happy Dreams is a powerful depiction of life in industrializing contemporary China, in all its humor and pathos, as seen through the eyes of Happy Liu, a charming and clever rural laborer who leaves his home for the gritty, harsh streets of Xi’an in search of better life.

After a disastrous end to a relationship, Hawa “Happy” Liu embarks on a quest to find the recipient of his donated kidney and a life that lives up to his self-given moniker. Traveling from his rural home in Freshwind to the city of Xi’an, Happy brings only an eternally positive attitude, his devoted best friend Wufu, and a pair of high-heeled women’s shoes he hopes to fill with the love of his life.

In Xi’an, Happy and Wufu find jobs as trash pickers sorting through the city’s filth, but Happy refuses to be deterred by inauspicious beginnings. In his eyes, dusty birds become phoenixes, the streets become rivers, and life is what you make of it. When he meets the beautiful Yichun, he imagines she is the one to fill the shoes and his Cinderella-esque dream. But when the harsh city conditions and the crush of societal inequalities take the life of his friend and shake Happy to his soul, he’ll need more than just his unrelenting optimism to hold on to the belief that something better is possible.

My two-bits:

The minutiae of life in a city of China as a trash picker. Interesting small adventures in this story.

The topic of friendship with its ups and downs is one I enjoyed from this story.


* review copy courtesy of Wunderkind

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy release: The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

The Breathless
by Tara Goedjen
-Mystery, Thriller, YA, Gothic
Release date: October 10, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

For fans of the dark family secrets of We Were Liars and the page-turning suspense of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Breathless is a haunting tale of deeply buried secrets, forbidden love, and how far some will go to bring back what’s long dead.

No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.

And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.

And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.


Chapter One

Steam settled over the bathroom mirror. In the candlelight, Mae traced a name on the glass. The more she stared at it, the sicker she felt. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she stepped out of the pile of wet clothes at her feet and eased into the hot bath. A flush shot through her body, all the way to her toes, and she watched the paint streaks running from her hands in faint trails of color.

Mae thought of her sister and shut her eyes, trying to block out everything else. Small waves sloshed against the cracked sides of the tub, and she turned on the faucet so it was dripping, making ripples. There was a slight lift underneath her, that feeling of being raised by the water. She’d read once that you could rid yourself of pain by pretending you were floating outside your body. Or you could breathe into it, make yourself feel the edges of the pain, try to find the end of it.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale. Mae dunked her head and held herself down, needing to know what her sister had felt. She opened her eyes under the water and looked at the dark ceiling, at her hair floating out in wavy strands. Then over at the foggy mirror, the melting white candles by the sink, the rusting tub. That waterline above her—­the surface so close with the promise of air. Her lungs were burning, but she forced herself to stay under, staring at the line of water like a horizon, her chest hot and tight. Ro was found on the shore, the tide at her legs. Her head bloody, with no other sign of struggle. Ro dead and everyone blaming Cage Shaw.

When her lungs were about to burst, Mae finally shot up for air, gulping it in. It was hard to drown yourself, maybe impossible, unless there was something or someone holding you down.

(read more excerpt here)

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald
by D.E. Night

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: July 21, 2017
Publisher: Stories Untold Press
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Paperback: 314
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
The village, well, it had a lot of secrets. And its secrets need to be kept safe. So, the town's name was like a key—those who knew the name could find the village. Let's call it The Town.

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald's mysterious gems. When Ivy's magic and her life is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

My two-bits:

This first book in a series is an introduction into a magical world by way of a girl who finds out that she has a bit of magic in her - possibly more than expected (ahem). She learns about the possibilities of her abilities after being enrolled in a magic school.

Came across one fun creature called a "notical" which is a little itty-bitty that like to read.


* review copy courtesy of publisher

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 10.7.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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


My reading efforts remain the same. I realize that this slower reading pace may be the new norm for me. Some of it is due to impending changes in life and lifestyle. The questions "to move?" or "not to move?" roll about in my mind.

Current happy things:

1. Anything Jane Austen
2. Beach scenes showcasing beautiful sunsets
3. Coffee flavored gelato dipped in chocolate and rolled in hazelnuts from PopBar
4. Visit with a long time friend



A Jane Austen Education:
How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

by William Deresiewicz
-Memoir, Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend
by Cora Harrison
-Historical, YA, Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew:
From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England

by Daniel Pool
-History, British, Jane Austen
Amazon | Goodreads

For Review:

by Michael Okon
-Paranormal - Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies
Release date: October 13, 2017
courtesy of author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

FrightFall Readathon 2017
October 1 - 31, 2017
hosted by Seasons of Reading
Details | Facebook group | #FrightFall | my list

JOINED an October challenge to get some hoopy hoopy scary things in my reading mix this month.

Book Blogger Hop
features a book related question
Sponsored by The Coffee Addicted Writer (details)

This week's prompt: Both Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein are considered classics. Have you ever read either of them?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

I read Frankenstein a couple times. But not Dracula... yet. It is a perfect candidate to add to my FrightFall readathon ;-)

AND watched: in theatre

SEOUL, ONLY: Korean Shorts (2015-2017)
-Shorts, Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

1. HAPPY PAPA’S BIRTHDAY! (2016. 17 mins.)
Director: Ryu Yeon-Su
Today is the day, papa’s birthday. As usual, Dayoung’s family is acting weird.

2. FAMILY PLAN (2016. 27 mins.)
Director: Ji-Yun Chung
High school girl Jeongmin suggests a bizarre plan to her same-sex lover Yoonseong; that they have a child who looks like both of them. Nine years later, Jeongmin’s wedding, scheduled in a few days, is just the start of that scheme.

3. FLY TO THE SKY (2015. 14 mins.)
Directors: Lee, Okseop and Koo, Kyohwan
After Sunghwan comes back from Italy, he reunites with Kyohwan. His goal is to obtain a license to operate construction machinery. But first Kyohwan must teach Sunghwan to drive.

4. TRIVAL MATTERS (2017. 33 mins.)
Director: Jo Yong-ik
Aspiring director Dohwan, still suffering from the breakup with his girlfriend, attends the gathering of freelancers and makes the acquaintance of the strangely attractive Eunha. With her help, he begins to gain insight to what really happened with his past love and his script finally comes together. As their relationship deepens, Dohwan resists the urge to become romantically involved all over again.

Curated by Jee Yeon Min of Orange Film, these short films are made by four of the more promising young filmmakers emerging from South Korea’s thriving film industry. -Roxie, theatre

GREAT perspectives of South Korea outside of the Kdrama genre I usually watch.

AND watched: in theatre - part of the Hong Kong Cinema film festival (here)

77 Heartbreaks (2017)
Yuen Loeng Taa 77 Chi (original title)
Director: Herman Yau
Writer: Erica Lee
Starring: Charlene Choi, Pakho Chow, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
-Drama, Romance, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Adam made up his mind to restore Eva's love after he went through Eva's diary that filled with heartbreaking mistake made by Adam.

GOT me thinking about journals and how they can me used for more than just diary entries especially with personal growth.

This Is Not What I Expected (2017)
Director: Derek Hui
Writers: Joyce Chan, Yuan Li, Yimeng Xu
Based on book by: Lan Bai Se
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Dongyu Zhou, Yi-zhou Sun
-Comedy, Drama, Romance, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

An obsessive CEO of a company meets a ragged chef by chance. They are drawn closer together because of their love for delicacies, yet their personalities clash big time.

THE foodie in me adored this one.

AND watched: on DVD

Secret Sunshine (2007)
Milyang (original title)
Director/Writer: Chang-dong Lee
Based on book by: Chong-jun Yi
Starring: Do-yeon Jeon, Kang-ho Song, Yeong-jin Jo
-Drama, Korea | imdb | my rating: 5

A woman moves to the town where her dead husband was born. As she tries to fit in, another tragic event overturns her life.

For Fall Film challenge: about faith

AN exploration of faith, oh boy. Great cathartic cry scene by main character.

Tharlo (2015), Tibet
Director/Writer: Pema Tseden
Starring: Shide Nyima, Tsemdo Thar, Yangshik Tso
-Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 5

Tharlo is an orphan whom lives a simple life but could a brief encounter with a woman in his local town change his life forever?

For Fall Film challenge: set in an exotic locale

VIEWING long vast countryside scenes in black and white was beautiful. One of those slow movies and long shots that hit you well after watching it.

Pride and Prejudice (2003)
Director: Andrew Black
Screenplay: Anne K. Black, Katherine Brim, Jason Faller
Based on book by: Jane Austen
Starring: Kam Heskin, Orlando Seale
-Comedy, Romance | imdb | my rating: 3

Jane Austen's classic is transplanted to modern-day Utah. While her college roommates search for love, aspiring writer Elizabeth Bennet focuses on her career but constantly finds herself fighting haughty businessman Will Darcy.

For Fall Film challenge: about pride

CUTE contemporary rom-com P&P version with locations set in Utah and Las Vegas.


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


Friday, October 6, 2017

Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Take Me On
by Katie McGarry
narrated by Graham Halstead, Saskia Maarleveld

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Romance, Sports (kickboxing), YA
Hardback: 544
Rating: 5

Pushing the Limits series:
Pushing the Limits
Dare You To
Crash Into You
Take Me On
Chasing Impossible

First sentence(s):
A door squeaks open at the far end of the barren hallway and the clicking of high heels echoes off the row of metal post-office boxes.

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

My two-bits:

I like how this romance comes about despite the hardships the couple endure in regards to family and future.

Got a dose of the kickboxing world and its athletes.


* Listened to audiobook version.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee
narrated by Christian Coulson

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Historical, LGBTQ, Romance, YA
Hardback: 528
Rating: 5

Guide series:
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy - 2018

First sentence(s):
On the morning we are to leave for our Grand Tour of the Continent, I wake in bed beside Percy. For a disorienting moment, it's unclear whether we've slept together or simply slept together.

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.


My two-bits:

An adventure filled European summer road trip of sorts set in the 1700s. Loved the banter and personalities of the three main characters in this tale.

Includes tidbits on life and culture of the times with just the right amount of romance and heart-to-heart moments.

Looking forward to reading more from this series.


* Listened to audiobook version.

Monday, October 2, 2017

FrightFall Readathon 2017

FrightFall Readathon 2017
October 1 - 31, 2017
hosted by Seasons of Reading
Details | Facebook group | #FrightFall

The one main "rule" of FrightFall is that you must read at least ONE scary book (which can be a thriller, mystery, Gothic novel, or similar for those who are faint of heart).

I plan to read this...

by Michael Okon
-Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies
Release date: October 13, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads | my review -coming

Mary Rose
by Geoffrey Girard
-Horror, Gothic, Ghosts
Release date: April 17, 2018
Amazon | Goodreads

by Bram Stoker
narrated by Tavia Gilbert
-Horror, Vampires
Amazon | Goodreads

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