Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Tercentennial Baron by Will Damron

The Tercentennial Baron
by Will Damron
narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
Smashwords | Audible
BookExcerpt | Website
Facebook | Twitter

Just released: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Odyssean Studios
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Scotland
audio version
Rating: 5

Bellirolt Chronicles series:
The Tercentennial Baron
book 2 - tba

First sentence(s):
Scotland - the present
The boy scrambled up the rim of the shadowy hill.

A vengeful, wild-eyed warrior, he’s the most sinister figure in Scottish legend. For three centuries, the Tercentennial Baron has fought his way through famous battles—then vanished without a trace. Now he’s reappeared in the quiet town of Bonnybield, where he’s about to be discovered by thirteen-year-old Percival Dunbar…

Armed with a secret stash of books on the supernatural, Percival is the only one to recognize the ghostly signs emerging around his town. When he tries to decipher them, he’s terrified to suddenly find himself face to face with the murderous Tercentennial Baron. However, the Baron reveals he’s come not to attack Bonnybield, but to save it from an ancient, demonic evil.

Through an epic journey from the battlefields of 17th-century Scotland to the underworld of Victorian London and beyond, Percival races to uncover the truth of the Baron’s past—and what it means for his own destiny.


My two-bits:

Got pulled in with the telling of this tale. But confess that the scottish accent was a major draw.

The story is a good start of a series that includes the backstory and beginning of mentor and friendship relations in a paranormal setting.

--~ Audio Giveaway ~--

signup to win this audiobook (here)


~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* review copy courtesy of publisher

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Zenka by Alison Brodie

Zenka
by Alison Brodie

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website | Blog
Facebook | Pinterest
Twitter

Just released: November 6, 2017
Publisher: self
Genre: Thriller, Romance
ebook
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
7 July, 2011
My dearest Alina, Olga Savchukis is a lying bitch.

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?


My two-bits:

This Cinderella-like story is a fun romp into the London underworld. Surprising twists caused some chuckles and exclamations.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

Monday, November 6, 2017

Happy Release: All the Tomorrows by Nillu Nasser

All the Tomorrows
by Nillu Nasser
-Women's Fiction, Marriage, India
Release date: November 6, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

Sometimes we can't escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya can't contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash's reach?


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy Release: Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

Have You Met Nora?
by Nicole Blades
-Women's Fiction
Release date: October 31, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

HAVE YOU MET NORA? is a juicy and compelling story about reinvention and the lengths we go to conceal our former selves. Nora’s painful childhood secrets begin to haunt her picture-perfect life as a promising fashion designer and fiance of a privileged, yet loving man. The novel explores how the mistakes of our past can have a significant impact on our future. At the end of the novel, you will be asking yourself, would you do what Nora did to protect her future?

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Nora opened her eyes and stared through the darkness at the ceiling. Three twenty-eight, she thought, before rolling up off her back a little and craning her neck to look just past Fisher’s shoulders at the blue numbers on the clock by his nightstand. He was dead asleep, the rhythmic flow of his deep breathing like white noise. The numbers gleamed: 03:41 AM. Close enough, she thought, and returned to the ceiling. Although Nora had long been an early riser—she couldn’t remember a time when she had slept later than the sun—this was different.

She eased the covers off and slid out from under Fisher’s muscled arm, moving slow and steady toward the edge of the bed. She hopped down, landing with a soft thud and then froze, shifting her eyes back to Fisher. No change. Not even a break in the beat. Nora grabbed her iPhone and padded along the hall. The moon, pushing through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the penthouse, provided more than enough light for Nora to find the handle to the mini champagne fridge that Fisher bought for her last year. Nora gave the half-drunk bottle of Armand de Brignac—a gift from a client—her deepest bow with prayer hands before grabbing it and shutting the fridge door with her foot. She pulled the orange stopper from the bottle, letting it drop to the floor, and started typing into her phone on her way to the bathroom at the far end of the penthouse. Nora waited until she was inside the empty, freestanding tub before taking her first, long swig from the bottle. She rested her phone on the ledge of the tub and pressed a button on a remote that sent the massive blinds skyward. Nora stayed there in the empty basin, soaking in the city’s glow, and waited.

Her phone buzzed and vibrated against the acrylic. She took another sip before answering it.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” a croaky voice said.

Nora shook her head. “I’m just—”

“Nervous? You’re just nervous, hon. It’s pre-wedding jitters. You’re fixin’ to get married to that gorgeous, big-dicked, super hot bastard in twenty-two—no—twenty-one days and you’re feeling anxious. That’s all. No Biggie Smalls.”

“Jenna, I’m sitting in an empty tub, pounding old champagne straight from the bottle and staring out the fucking window. Do you really think it’s necessary to remind me that there are twenty-two days—”

“Technically it’s twenty-one—”

“Jesus, fine, twenty-one days. It’s twenty-one days before the wedding. I’m aware. My whole entire body is aware. We’re all very aware.”

“Deep breaths, sweetheart. You’re freaking out. This is what freaking out looks like on all normal women,” Jenna said. Her Southern twang, though soft, still tickled Nora. “You’re just different. It’s foreign territory for you.”

Nora stopped mid-swig, her arm wobbling and then dropping with the weight of the bottle into her lap. “What does that mean?” she said, squinting her eyes and bracing her body.

“Nothing, just, I don’t know...I mean you’re always even and calm; it’s preternatural,” Jenna said. “No matter what’s going on, you’re on like perma-chill. It’s automatic for you. No headless chicken stuff.” A chuckle. “It’s why we kept calling you I.Q. when we first met you. Ice Queen.”

Jenna’s full creaky cackle made Nora move the phone away from her ear and level it on the ledge of the tub. She could still hear Jenna from that distance, but pushed speaker anyway and went back to drinking her champagne. Nora reclined, cradling the bottle into her chest. “Ice Queen? Seriously? And here I was thinking you were dazzled by my smarts.”

“Oh, we were. Totally. By your smarts, for sure, and also your long legs, your frat-boy mouth, your perky tits, them Kelly Ripa arms, and your entire wardrobe, espesh the shoes. Plus, you speak fluent French—I mean, fucking French—and you’re the first white girl I’ve ever met who can actually dance. Like, legit, BeyoncĂ©-backup-dancer dance. Need I go on?”

“Yes. You need. Come on, I’m practically perfect,” Nora said, the beginnings of a laugh tickling her throat.

“Practically?” Jenna said, yawning. “Okay, so we’ve thoroughly covered your Boss Bitch status. It’s why Fish is locking you down so fast, while those eggs are still viable.” Nora’s expanding grin disappeared, replaced by a clenched jaw and gnashed teeth. “What I need clarity on is: Why are dry-tub drinking again?”

“How did you know I’m in the tub?”

“Echoes, booby. Also, I’ve got you pretty much figured out. You’re not the QB on this play. What’s the wedding planner’s name again, Gloria? Glenda? Whatever. She’s the quarterback. She’s the one calling all the plays, and you’re watching from the sidelines and it’s driving you bananz”

“First, are you talking sports at me?”

“A little,” Jenna said through her teeth.

“You’re still hooking up with that sports writer guy?”

“A little.”

“Wait, isn’t he the one who sent you the dick pic when you asked to see his new coffee table?”

“Well, it was pretty impressive...the coffee table.”

“Jesus, Jenna. What needs to happen to get you out of these dating app traps? Nothing but dumpster fires on there.”

“Hold up, I met Sports Guy the old school way, my dear: at a bar, not on a dating app,” Jenna said. “You kidding me? My filters are tight. He would’ve never made the cut.”

“What about the one who called you from rehab on what was supposed to be your third date?”

“Oh, that whole thing was about me trying to be charitable. I’m from Texas. It’s how we do.”

“Father-God, you need prayer,” Nora said, closing her eyes and leaning her head back in the tub.

About the author: Nora is your reckless, drunk-texting, gal pal. She’s also your talented colleague with the cute and kind beau. Except Nora Mackenzie has dark childhood secrets she’s too afraid to share even with her best friend Jenna. This contemporary novel tackles the idea of identity and race, facing the wrongs of our past, and fiercely protecting our futures.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
narrated by Tavia Gilbert and J.P. Guimont

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Website
GET it online free

Published: 1897
Publisher: Archibald Constable and Company, Westminster
Genre: Classic, Horror, Vampires
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 p.m., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.

A junior solicitor travels to Transylvania to meet with an important client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Ignoring the dire warnings of local townsfolk, he allows himself to be seduced by the count’s courtly manners and erudite charm. Too late, the solicitor realizes that he is a prisoner of Castle Dracula, his guards a trio of voluptuous young women with sharp white teeth and a taste for blood.

Soon thereafter, the solicitor’s fiancĂ©e, Mina, visits a friend on the English coast. The town is full of speculation over a Russian ship run aground nearby, its crew missing, the dead body of its captain, crucifix in hand, lashed to the wheel. A giant dog was seen leaping from the deck before disappearing into the countryside. The ship’s cargo: fifty boxes of Transylvanian dirt. As the beautiful Mina will soon learn, Count Dracula has arrived.



My two-bits:

Classic gothic vibe and slow pacing. Not as scary as I thought it would be.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Sarong Party Girls
by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Blog
Twitter

Published: 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Chick-lit, South Asia, Singapore
Hardback: 320
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
Aiyoh, I tell you. If we do nothing, we are confirm getting into bang balls territory.

A brilliant and utterly engaging novel—Emma set in modern Asia—about a young woman’s rise in the glitzy, moneyed city of Singapore, where old traditions clash with heady modern materialism.

On the edge of twenty-seven, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends: Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh—Western expat—husbands, with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow. Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn't lose.

As she fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, this bombastic yet tenderly vulnerable gold-digger reveals the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore’s glamorous nightclubs and busy streets, its grubby wet markets and seedy hawker centers. Moving through her colorful, stratified world, she realizes she cannot ignore the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes which threaten to crush her dreams. Desperate to move up in Asia’s financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?

Vividly told in Singlish—colorful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang—Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of this young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.



My two-bits:

Got a sense of a single gal's world (parties included) in Singapore. Fun way to learn a bit about Singapore and its culture.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lovely Books and Things - 10.28.17

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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

~*~

Been trying to get mentally prepared for an upcoming trip to Singapore and will be offline for a couple weeks. It will be a first visit there. I hear that it is a yummy place for foodies :-)

Currently reading: to get familiar with the travel destination

Sarong Party Girls
by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
-Chick-lit, Singapore
Amazon | Goodreads

Most of my reading will most likely be on the airplane. So, I should be able to finish at least one book with the long flight. But then, I may get distracted with the sight-seeing a travel related doings.

Happy things:

1. Yin and Restorative Yoga in the evening - great way to get a good night's sleep
2. Fresh bone broth - building up the immune system - winter is coming
3. Colored brush pens - to create fancy lettering in journal

~*~

Bought:

A Book That Takes Its Time:
An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness (Flow)

by Irene Smit, Astrid van der Hulst
-Crafts
Amazon | Goodreads

FOR arts and crafts inspiration.

Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal
-journaling
Amazon

FOR future insight on myself.


Review:

Demon Freaks
by J.R.R.R. Hardison
-Horror, Humor, YA
courtesy of Wunderkind -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

A Halloween treat in the mail - as I was not expecting it.


Author event:


Books Inc. of Opera Plaza, San Francisco presented Bruce Campbell with his latest release. He was hilarious!

Hail to the Chin:
Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor

by Bruce Campbell
-Memoir
Amazon | Goodreads

AND, here's a fan with her puppet creation of Bruce...



OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Frankenstein Mary Shelley
and includes The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge

A new audio release narrated by Alison Larkin!



JUST right for Halloween.

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

This week's prompt: Candy Corn, a chocolate bar, or Popcorn. Which of these snacks are your favorite to eat while reading?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

CHOCOLATE BAR - chocolate goes with everything ;-)


AND watched: in theatre

one. above suspicion.
Thusitha Jayasundera, The Foreigner (2017)
imdb | my rating: 4

JACKIE Chan plays a serious and sad and vengeful character which is reflected in the fighting scenes as well. Amazing how he still can pull off those scenes.

Wormwood (2017)
TV mini-series
Netflix release: December 15, 2017
Director: Errol Morris
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker
-Documentary, Biography | imdb | my rating: 5

This six-part series explores the limits of our knowledge about the past and the lengths we'll go in our search for the truth. A family story of one man's (Eric Olson) sixty-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father's mysterious death. A quest which brings him face-to-face with some of the darkest secrets of the United States.

WATCHED the premiere screening of this. And afterwards, was treated to a Q&A with Oscar-winning director Errol Morris. Loved listening to his views and inspiration on documentary story telling. One of his goal mentioned is trying to uncover something about the world. In this film along with theatrical pieces interwoven in the story, collage work by Eric Olson are interspersed as well.


AND watched: on DVD

Dumplings (2004), Hong Kong
Director: Fruit Chan
Writer: Pik Wah Lee
Starring: Pauline Lau, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Bai Ling
-Drama, Horror | imdb | my rating: 5

A former TV star, plagued by the thought of her shallow and unfaithful executive husband leaving her due to her advancing age visits Mei, a retired gynecologist who now makes "miracle dumplings" for women looking to regain their youth. The main ingredient, however, might be more than she can handle. —lazypixel

For Fall Film challenge: about gluttony

CAN'T help but want to eat some dumplings after watching this despite the ingredients. The visuals and colors were done beautifully. Something to be said on the birth issues in China.

This film completes my Fall Film Challenge. Loved this challenge! I will continue film watching through November with the Bonus Round (here).


~*~

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

:-)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Release: The Tercentennial Baron by Will Damron (with giveaway)

The Tercentennial Baron
by Will Damron
narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
-Fantasy, YA, Scotland
Release date: October 27, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords | Audible

A vengeful, wild-eyed warrior, he’s the most sinister figure in Scottish legend. For three centuries, the Tercentennial Baron has fought his way through famous battles—then vanished without a trace. Now he’s reappeared in the quiet town of Bonnybield, where he’s about to be discovered by thirteen-year-old Percival Dunbar…

Armed with a secret stash of books on the supernatural, Percival is the only one to recognize the ghostly signs emerging around his town. When he tries to decipher them, he’s terrified to suddenly find himself face to face with the murderous Tercentennial Baron. However, the Baron reveals he’s come not to attack Bonnybield, but to save it from an ancient, demonic evil.

Through an epic journey from the battlefields of 17th-century Scotland to the underworld of Victorian London and beyond, Percival races to uncover the truth of the Baron’s past—and what it means for his own destiny.


About the author:
Will Damron is an award-winning audiobook narrator who has recorded books in virtually every genre, from fantasy to sci-fi, YA, romance, thriller, nonfiction, and literary fiction. He was raised on a 350-year-old farm in southern Virginia, where reading was just about the only reliable pastime. His narration work has earned him multiple AudioFile Magazine Earphones Awards, two Voice Arts Awards, and an Audie Award.

About the narrator:
Tim Gerard Reynolds has received multiple AudioFile Magazine Earphones Awards, and has been named as one of best narrators of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2016, three books he narrated were among the highest grossing audiobooks in the country. Tim has been nominated for both Audie and Voice Arts Awards. A native of Ireland, he has performed onstage Off-Broadway and throughout the US and Europe.

Excerpt:

Chapter 2 Sample

At that moment, something in the earth around them shifted. The trees ceased their rustling, the clouds encircling the moon grew still… and Percival realized the breeze had stopped. Not died down, just stopped. Everything felt too calm, too hidden, as though the night were holding its breath.

Percival rose to his feet. Abi shifted, as if from a prickle on her skin.

“I don’t know, Perce,” she said, closing the book and hugging her warm thermos. “Let’s call it a night, yeah? Maybe tomorrow we can—”

Abi.” Percival was staring past her, his body as rigid as the standing stone.

“What?”

“Somethin’ just moved behind you.”

“… What? Perce, if you’re kiddin’ me on ’cause of this Baron thing—” And then she turned and saw it, too.
A tall, lanky man was standing out on the slope by a patch of heather. He hadn’t approached from nearby, but had just materialized, like an image on the TV. He was motionless, outlined against the purple horizon, gazing down toward Bonnybield.

“Oh my God…” Abi’s words barely passed her throat. “Who is—”

Shh.” Percival pulled her to her feet. No sooner had he done so than the man turned his head, and disappeared. It took less than a second: his entire body simply blinked away. He might as well have been a mirage.

Perce…” Abi began haltingly.

Suddenly, the man appeared again—this time less than twenty feet away.

Abi jumped, and Percival’s heart lurched in his chest. Neither of them could make a sound. The man, however, couldn’t be less concerned with them. He continued staring down into Bonnybield, as if waiting for something to happen. Even his attire was strange: he wore a dark greatcoat and tall hat like somebody from a Dickens novel, and his face was unnaturally smooth and delicate, like porcelain. He looked as if he’d stepped out of a nineteenth-century photograph.

Yet his eyes were not green, Percival noticed. Nor was there a scar—not even a mark—upon his skin. This was not the Tercentennial Baron. But it was, finally, the first supernatural being Percival had seen. His mouth quivered in a thrilled smile, and his limbs thrummed with adrenaline.

Abi’s hand inched toward her coat pocket.

“A… photo,” she breathed. “Otherwise nobody will believe—”

“No. No, we must leave him be.” Percival didn’t know why, but he felt that the hillside, for that moment, was not quite part of his and Abi’s world. He became drawn to how focused the ghostly man’s stare was on the town. Somehow, Percival was sure this was no spirit come to revisit a scene from life, as Grimm said many ghosts did. This man was searching Bonnybield for something very particular.

“I want to see what he’s lookin’ at,” Percival whispered. He set the book in Abi’s trembling hands and crept down the slope, trying to place himself near the man’s sightline.

Perce!” Abi hissed as she clutched the book.

Percival raised his hand to quiet her. He reached a point directly beneath the man and was scouring his eyes for some sign of intent when, without warning, the man’s head flicked down—fast as a raven’s—and fixed his gaze on Percival.

Percival jumped so violently he fell back on the grass. Everything inside him turned to ice: he saw now that the man’s eyes burned bright yellow, like a panther about to pounce. Those eyes pinned him to the hillside, and the man’s face took on a look of wonder as he stared at Percival. Almost imperceptibly, his lips parted, and two whispered syllables escaped:
Dun… bar…

The air exploded. A brutal wind burst from atop the hill and swept down the slope, knocking Abi to her knees. Percival clung to the grass and felt his gut tighten when he heard, even louder than before, a tormented moan pierce the wind. The man’s yellow eyes went out like a pair of lights, and he turned and vanished, not even leaving a footprint in his wake.

--~ AUDIO Book Giveaway ~--

WIN the audio version of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: November 26, 2017

TO DO: (2-parts)

1. ADD this book to your Want To Read list on Goodreads (here).

2. LEAVE a comment.

AND, leave your email.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard

Mary Rose
by Geoffrey Girard

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Release date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Adaptive Books
Genre: Horror, Gothic
Paperback: 272
Rating: 4

Zombie sighting:
In the distance, below the hill, lay Cameron's "field of zombies "—the cairn field—they'd passed through earlier, "finding" among dozens the one stack they'd built together and then again, the one Mary Rose claimed to have erected as a child. -from ARC, chapter 18, page 166

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.


My two-bits:

This story starts with a slow build up with an unlikable (to me) main character, Mary Rose. But then a mystery is presented and that kicks it into gear for me.

A good proportion of speculation, doubts and creepy playout to create the right ambiance for this suspenseful read.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of publisher

* part of my FrightFall Readathon 2017 (here)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall Film Festival 2017: Bonus Round

The Fall Film Challenge: BONUS ROUND
October 15 to November 30, 2017
hosted by Quirky Pickings | details | facebook group
MY MAIN CHALLENGE picks (here)

Gonna work on the bonus round...

THE RULES:
if you have seen the twenty-five films selected for your original list for this year, you are eligible to compete in the bonus round. this one's a bit more complicated than normal. i've chosen twenty-five television series, past and present. for each program, choose a film which stars an actor or actress who has appeared on that show at least once. that individual does not have to be a member of the main cast.

THE CATEGORIES: (and my picks)

AND feel free to let me know your thoughts on any of these films.

one. above suspicion.
Thusitha Jayasundera, The Foreigner (2017)
imdb | my review | my rating: 4

two. the big bang theory.

Kaley Cuoco, A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 3

three. the crown.

Anna Madeley, Brideshead Revisited (2008)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

four. downton abbey.

Lily James, Baby Driver (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 4

five. elementary.

Chasten Harmon, Paterson (2016)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

six. firefly.

Alan Tudyk, A Knight's Tale (2001)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 5

seven. game of thrones.

Iain Glen, My Cousin Rachel (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 5

eight. how i met your mother.

Cobie Smulders, Killing Gunther (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

nine. it's always sunny in philadelphia.

Danny DeVito, Tin Men (1987)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

ten. judging amy.

Siena Goines, Flight of the Living Dead (2007)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

eleven. knight rider.

David Hasselhoff, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 4

twelve. lethal weapon.

Chin Han, Ghost in the Shell (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

thirteen. ally mcbeal.

Justin Theroux, American Psycho (2000)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 5

fourteen. ncis.

Liza Lapira, Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

fifteen. outlander.

Graham McTavish, Creed (2015)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

sixteen. parenthood.

David Denman, Logan Lucky (2017)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

seventeen. dr. quinn, medicine woman.

George Furth, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

eighteen. rizzoli and isles.

Tina Huang, Drive (2011)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 5

nineteen. sex and the city.

Amy Sedaris, Chef (2014)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

twenty. true detective.

Travis Hammer, Frank (2014)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 4

twenty-one. the unusuals.

Jeremy Renner, The Bourne Legacy (2012)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

twenty-two. veep.

Gary Cole, In the Line of Fire (1993)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

twenty-three. the west wing.

Allison Janney, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

twenty-four. the x-files.

Donna Yamamoto, 50/50 (2011)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: tba

twenty-five. the young pope.

Diane Keaton, Annie Hall (1977)
imdb | my review: tba | my rating: 5


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Monsterland by Michael Okon

Monsterland
by Michael Okon

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
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Just released: October 13, 2017
Publisher: Wordfire Press LLC
Genre: YA, Horror, Vampire, Werewolves, Zombies
ebook
Rating: 3

series:
Monsterland
book two - tba

First sentence(s):
The sky was a sparkling, powder blue, mosquitoes droned lazily over the tepid water, frogs croaked messages while they sunbathed on waxy lily pads.

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?


PeekAbook:



My two-bits:

This amusing light horror read captured the amusement park setting with the added element of monsters on the loose. Although I wanted a little more on the why's and how's of it.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of blog tour

Monday, October 23, 2017

Happy release: Zenka by Alison Brodie

Zenka
by Alison Brodie
-Thriller, Romance
Release date: November 6, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

"She's the one to die for"

Zenka is a black comedy/crime/romance set in gangland London in the months leading up to Christmas.

Ruthless, stubborn and loyal.

Zenka is a Hungarian pole-dancer with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knuckle-dusters and shotguns.

Jack learns he has a son, Nicholas, a community nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charge. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she aims to turn Nicholas into a son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a crime boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?



Excerpt:

An hour later the doorbell buzzed.

Zenka?

Nicholas turned down the lighting, turned up the Mozart, grabbed a sparkler from the mantelpiece and lit it. This would make her laugh. He ran down the stairs, flung the door wide and waved the sizzling stick above his head.

It wasn’t Zenka. It was a baby-faced man bowed under the weight of a long black-plastic parcel thrown over one shoulder.

‘Package for Jason Sloane,’ the man said, eyeing the sparkler with suspicion.

Nicholas recovered from his disappointment. Zenka could still turn up. He studied the package. It was obviously heavy. ‘Shall I take it?’ he asked half-heartedly.

‘Nah, you’re awright.’ The delivery man mounted the stairs as if he knew the way. ‘Sodding traffic. Thought I’d never get ’ere.’

Nicholas, buoyed up with thoughts of Zenka, followed behind. ‘What’ve you got there?’ he quipped. ‘A dead body?’

The man - obviously lacking a sense of humour - failed to laugh. Nicholas had already guessed what it was. A rug. A large rug by the look of it. What would it be: fake zebra-skin or yellow shag-pile? Jason’s pathetic attempt to stamp his identity on an elegant Louis Quatorze apartment.

As the delivery man banged into the flat, Nicholas called out merrily, ‘Jason! Delivery for you.’

In the sitting room, the man paused. ‘Where do you want it?’ Without waiting for an answer, he dumped the package on a dining chair. It bent to the angle of the chair, giving the strange illusion of a seated human figure. Nicholas was still staring at it when Jason appeared, towelling his hair dry.

The delivery man grinned. ‘Mr Acid Bath himself!’ He shook Jason warmly by the hand. ‘I’m Lloyd. Pleasure to meet you, at last.’

Jason allowed his hand to be pumped hard. ‘Lloyd-?’ he queried.

‘Gibson. Didn’t the boss mention me?’

‘Um, no.’

‘He will. Anyway, sorry to spring this on you, but Charlie’s up to his ears in nappies.’ The man jerked a thumb in the direction of the package. ‘But I want you to know I’m not taking all the credit for this. Mr Murray’s going to know this was a joint effort.’ As if to confirm this, he held up a pink disposable camera. He produced a flick knife, strode to the package, slit an opening in the top section and pulled apart the black plastic.

Nicholas stared. It looked too dead to be real. But Nicholas had seen a dead face before, and he knew what he was looking at. Jason obviously didn’t.

Because Jason laughed.

Lloyd grinned back at him. ‘Merry Christmas Mr Murray, eh?’

Nicholas, wrenching his gaze from the corpse, stifled a whimper as Lloyd approached and thrust a camera into his hand. ‘I want you to take a photo of us,’ he instructed.

Nicholas gazed at the camera. Everything had become dream-like and fuzzy round the edges. He heard Lloyd whisper to Jason, ‘Is he, you know, a bit simple?’

‘Yeah, sad, isn’t it?’

Lloyd held a sprig of mistletoe over the corpse’s head. ‘Okay, Jace, you stand the other side. Ready?’

Jason got into position. ‘Ready.’

‘I could have given him chocolates,’ the man chatted, ‘but it’s always chocolates, isn’t it? The photo’s to put in his Christmas card. From the both of us,’ he added quickly. ‘Merry Christmas from ….’ He shrugged, at a loss. ‘Who?’

Jason deliberated. The answer, when it came, was flat and uninspired, ‘“Waste Management”?’

The man laughed. ‘Good one.’

Waste Management! Nicholas’ brain grabbed on to this. That was where Jason worked. The boss. Christmas card. Up to his ears in nappies. Lloyd Gibson obviously worked for the council and had found this dummy in a skip, and decided to give the boss a good laugh.

There was nothing for Nicholas to worry about.

So why was his brain still screaming in horror?

He went forward, pulling back the plastic, as if posing the right shot. He stared at the ginger freckles on white skin, the curly ginger hair. He touched the skin. It was real. He opened his mouth and took in gulps of air, feeling himself about to faint. He backed off, afraid that he would make some shocking noise, a bark of terror, a high-pitch whinny.

Jason and Lloyd were complaining about the traffic on the North Circular. ‘So, what’s your speciality, Jace?’ Lloyd enquired.

‘Recycling.’

‘Recycling?’ Lloyd shifted uneasily. ‘What?’ He swallowed. ‘Like in,’ his gaze dropped reluctantly to the body beside him, ‘pig feed?’

Jason threw Nicholas an impatient look: ‘Are you taking the photo, or what?’

Nicholas’s brain told him to run, but his knees had turned to jelly. He lifted the camera to his eye and framed the three heads under the mistletoe. Lloyd pursed his lips in an exaggerated kiss. Seeing this, Jason smiled at such silliness, and did the same.

The minute the camera flashed, Lloyd straightened up. ‘Sorry, Jace, I’ve gotta love you and leave you.’

Jason called after them: ‘’Bye Lloyd.’

‘’Bye Jace.’ The man guided Nicholas along the hall. ‘I want a little word with you, sunshine.’

Nicholas felt as if his tongue had doubled in size. ‘Okay.’

They reached the door and, here, the man released his arm. ‘I’m going to walk out of here and you won’t see me again. But if you snitch to the Old Bill, I’ll be back.’ Then he was gone, his shout of “Merry Christmas” echoing in the stairwell.

Nicholas closed the door and slid to the floor. He saw Jason’s face loom large, coming in and out of focus. Suddenly, he felt a sting lash his cheek. The pain shocked him out of his stupor. Jason had slapped him.

‘You silly sod!’ Jason cried. ‘It’s only a dummy.’ His face was alive with laughter. ‘I’m obviously in the wrong department. I’d love to meet this Mr Murray. I bet he’s a scream.’

Nicholas groped along the wall and into the sitting room. He turned up the overhead light. Up close he could see every acne scar, every hair. He could smell the earthy scent of dried blood. A sob lodged in his throat.

‘My God, he’s good, isn’t he?’ Jason muttered.

Nicholas swung to him, his eyes hot with unshed tears. It was a moment before he could speak. ‘You idiot, you stupid fucking idiot.’

Jason chuckled. ‘What do you think it is, eh?’

A corpse. A cadaver.’ Nicholas’ voice rose to a shriek. ‘A fucking dead man!’

Jason gave a patronising sigh. ‘Oh, Nick-’

‘Look up his nose.’ Nicholas was inhaling deeply and letting out long shaky breaths.

‘What?’

‘Look up his nose.’

‘What am I looking for?’ Jason stepped forward and with his head to one side, stared up the nostrils.

He remained in that position for some time.

‘Well?’ Nicholas demanded.

Jason straightened slowly. The silence continued and then the words came, crawling on a long low moan, ‘Oh, God …’ When he turned his face was bloodless. He stared at Nicholas, his eyes wild with a quiet, but desperate, appeal.

‘He’s … real.’

Nicholas fought to keep his hysteria from breaking loose and sending him spiralling into madness. ‘I fucking know!’ He clung to his anger like a drowning man clinging to a life-raft.

‘Call the police!’ Jason lunged for the telephone.

‘No!’ Nicholas grabbed him back. ‘He’ll kill me. He said if I snitched to the Old Bill he’d be back.’

Jason stared at him in acute horror. ‘But he called me … Jace.’

Nicholas was trying to think, trying to assimilate what had happened. Their visitor had asked for “Jason Sloane”. He had walked into this flat as if he’d been here before. And he had welcomed Jason like a long-lost friend.

Nicholas bunched his fists and confronted his flatmate. ‘Okay, who is he?’

Jason glanced at the corpse. ‘How the fuck should I know?’

‘Not him. Lloyd.’

‘You think I know him?’

‘Yes.’

‘Why? Because he called me Jace?’

‘No, because he snogged you under the mistletoe.’

Jason’s voice was low and venomous. ‘What are you accusing me of?’ Suddenly, he pointed a finger in Nicholas’ face. ‘You were the one who let him in.’

‘Because he had a package for Jason Sloane.’

‘A package I didn’t fucking ask for!’

‘Well, sunshine, you’ve got it now, haven’t you?’

~end

 
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