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?


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

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

Find out more about this book and author:
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.


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:

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



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

by Irene Smit, Astrid van der Hulst
Amazon | Goodreads

FOR arts and crafts inspiration.

Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal

FOR future insight on myself.


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
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

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