Blog Tour: Ginger Snapped by Chloe Sunstone (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Ginger Snapped Blog Tour

Ginger Snapped: A Cybercrime Thriller with a Shocking Twist
by: Chloe Sunstone

Ginger Snapped

Publication Date: October 22nd, 2018
Genre: Thriller

SYNOPSIS

How does an amazing professional opportunity descend into a living nightmare?

Carefree Ginger’s motto of “Work Hard, Play Harder” shapes her life. So when her husband, Jake, gets a job offer on the other side of the country, she is up for the adventure.

But after Jake accepts the promotion, nothing is as expected. While Ginger remains in Cleveland to sell their house, she is plagued by strange prank calls, premonition-like nightmares, and the feeling that she is being watched. Is Jake’s new job putting her in danger?

Unfortunately, she ignores her intuition and soon finds herself face to face with a ruthless killer. Trapped in a deadly world of corporate corruption and murderous greed, she must overcome her own fears and rely on her wits if she plans to survive.

Although the first in the Ginger Gibson series, this is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon UK

EXCERPT

Oh No! I’m back. I am surrounded by inky black nothingness. The air is musty…damp, my nostrils fill with the smell of dank basement. Like in a haunted house, filled with saws and chains and bloody hooks, this is the perfect place for any psycho to hide his tools of the crazy trade. I’m trembling, from the all-encompassing fear, eating at every cell in my body. Where am I? My fingers search out for clues. Beneath me is a thin mattress on a hard surface. My head rests on a concrete-like pillow. My breathing escalates as the panic rises in my chest. I open my mouth to scream, but only a muted croak escapes. Over the thunder of my pounding heart, I hear a booming crack, a gunshot. I recognize the sound from a trip to the range with Jake years earlier.

I swing my legs over the side of my perch, thinking in my blind panic to run even though I cannot see. I can’t ignore this intense urge to flee. But my impulse is thwarted by an unknown restraint trapping my left arm, a rope? Panic has me in its grip. I gasp for air to fill my lungs but produce only whimpers and muted pleas.

A loud screech reverberates through the darkness. Rats? Oh, please, no rats! Could this get any worse? Hysterical, I yank relentlessly on the rope tethering me. With each tug, the line cuts deeper into my skin. My arm warms as blood seeps from the gouges, coating my hand and fingers. Behind me, the pounding sound of footsteps startles me. Before I can turn to confront my visitor, I feel the rush of air preceding the impact to the back of my head. A blaze of bright stars then, a different blackness envelopes me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chloe Sunstone

After over twenty years in Human Resources, Chloe decided to make a change. She returned to her first love of writing. She combined her corporate experience with her love for the written word to create engaging cyber-crime thrillers.

On a personal note, Chloe lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her loving husband, Mike. They spend their free time boating, scuba diving, and of course, reading. Her latest cybercrime mystery, Ginger Snapped, is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732013608

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GIVEAWAY

Giveaway: Signed Print Copy of Ginger Snapped (North America Only). Sign up HERE.

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Announcing the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

Join Drew and I in the 4th annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon as we ask you to review your 2000s movie that defines that decade for you.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends!

The 2018 holiday season is over. Now it is time to get ready for the first big event of 2019: The annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon! That’s right, I am once again teaming up with my partner in crime, Kim from Tranquil Dreams, for one of our favorite events of the year. We started in the 80s, moved ahead to the 90s, then went back in time to the 70s. This year, we are going back to the future with the first decade of this millennium. The prompt for the blogathon is simple: What do you think is the ultimate 2000s movie? What movie embodies the decade of the 00s to you?

My co-host Kim and I would love to see you participate in this blogathon. If you are interested in participating, tell us in a comment down below or email Kim, kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com, and/or me, drewt510@gmail.com. …

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Announcement: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! Sign up now!

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

WELCOME TO THE 4TH ANNUAL ULTIMATE DECADES BLOGATHON HOSTED BY MYSELF AND DREW’S MOVIE REVIEWS!

We’ve gone through the 70s, 80s and 90s in the past three years. For our 4th year, we jump forward to the 2000s. This blogathon is all about your ULTIMATE, Favorite films released between 2000 to 2009.

Like any other year, you ask why 2000s, right? Other than the fact that you might have noticed our pattern at this point. The millennium brought some fantastic films. It might not be any choices that quite classify themselves as classics yet for you but there are definitely some signature movies that not only define the decade but also brought to light some great directors, intriguing stories and brilliant actors and actresses. We sure have a few in mind. For example, if you like teen movies, Mean Girls is one that is great. In terms of foreign directors, Guillermo Del Toro landed on everyone’s map with Pan’s Labyrinth and Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli began highlighted with Spirited Away being part of the Oscar game joined by Ang Lee coming on the scene with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

spirited away

The Lord of the Rings franchise also was released throughout this decade and of course, James Cameron came around and delivered us the innnovative 3D experience that has kicked off a whole new 3D phase with Avatar. We also can’t neglect to look at some memorable Pixar titles that came to light: Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Up, The Incredibles. Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino also released so great films like Memento which kicked off the decade and Kill Bill Vol. 1 respectively. Before we go away, let’s give some more variety from outstanding zombie films like 28 Days Later to wonderful indie films like Juno and Little Miss Sunshine.

Look at all those great titles! Suffice to say, its really only scratching the surface. There are a ton of choices other than these ones that I’ve probably not mentioned and available for everyone to choose from. What 2000s film is one that you can watch over and over again? Which made an impression on you? Or maybe for some of you younger bloggers out there, you  might have even grown up with the 2000s film.

The details of the blogathon:

  • Any movie released from 2000 to 2009 is a valid choice
  • You can choose to do more than one review (just give us a head up in advance)
  • We are posting up the reviews on our blogs so it has to be submitted to us (notify us if you want to post on your blog also and we will work our the release date)
  • Submission Deadline: Entries sent in to us by February 11th (if you need more time, don’t be afraid to email us)
  • Blogathon kicks off on February 18th!
  • Email me at kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com and/or Drew at drewt510@gmail.com to notify us of your participation and your selection(s). (we’d like to keep your choice a surprise)

Welcome all to join in! We’re looking forward to your choice and submissions. Feel free to use the banner above to show off on your sites. Also, if you know anyone that you think would be interested in joining into the blogathon, please do spread the word. The more the merrier!

Sunday Lists: Hayao Miyazaki, Directed Films Ranked

Hayao Miyazaki List

January 5th marked the 78th birthday of one of the best Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki. I don’t watch a lot of Japanese stuff in general but I grew up with Studio Ghibli films so some of these hold very close to my heart. There is this fantastic magical and fantasy world that he manages to create.

With that said, there is no better way than to kick off this year’s first Sunday Lists with a list of Hayao Miyazaki’s Directed Films ranked from what I think is the best to the the not so great ones, because lets be honest, there is no worst. Even the last choice here wasn’t a bad film just didn’t execute as well as the others or connect as well with me.

There are a few films not seen yet. The list will be updated over time.

*Only full feature animated films DIRECTED by Hayao Miyazaki has been included here*

1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

my neighbor totoro

My first Miyazaki film in my memory is My Neighbor Totoro and it has never stopped being my favorite. I know the movie almost by heart, the Cantonese dubbed version dialogue almost all memorized. Its about family and its charming. The little girls are adorable and the Totoro super cute. There are some heartwarming moments and some hilarious ones as well. It balances light-hearted and heartbreaking moments. Its cute and serious in equal measures. Plus, how do you beat a CatBus? You just can’t!

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

kiki's delivery service

I love cats and witches. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a well-rounded film as well. I remember there was a phase in the early stages when I had some crappy blogging server somewhere that I had used Kiki has my name. Watching this one when I was a kid was a ride for sure. Witches weren’t evil, they were nice and helpful. This one is  fun little trip full of charm whether its the people that Kiki meets on her deliveries or her learning how to be independent.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a children’s novel which actually diverts quite far from its source material a fair bit especially when interpreting Howl’s character. However, maybe it has to do with this being the first Miyazaki film that I saw in theatres and the enchantment that comes from the big screen but this is one film that I love watching over and over again. Because of that, this film is filled with charm. It does get a tad dark and scary here and there but its so magical as well.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

nausicaa

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind that makes me think about how Miyazaki is quite before his time in story telling as you can see how this film set the bar for his career, whether its the female characters he uses or the world that he creates. At the heart of it all, Nausicaa is about a world that has fallen apart environmentally and Nausicaa is trying to find a way to revive it while at the same time, nature has revolted in an unexpected way and she needs to find a way to solve the mystery of what happened. Its such a beautiful film. The only reason its placed lower is because its one that took me a second or third viewing when I was older to fully appreciate its message and its story.

5. Spirited Away (2001)

spirited away

Spirited Away is what put Miyazaki on the map along with Studio Ghibli. Its quite a feat when we think about it. In fact, there is so much to love here. I like this one a lot also. It has dragons and fantastical creatures and some pretty hilarious moments intertwined with a story about reuniting family, gluttony and life in general. Its colorful and beautiful and there are such charming array of characters wrapped up in this one story.

6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

laputa castle in the sky

I know a lot of people who would put Laputa really high up or even consider this one their favorite Miyazaki film. I don’t disagree with that at all. Laputa: Castle in the Sky is beautiful, especially once we arrive at the castle in the sky and all the events that happen from there on out.  It has a cast of silly bandits and a gentle robot and the castle design itself is so detailed and intricate. The only deal is that I’ve never been prone to watch this one a lot but I always enjoyed it whenever someone puts it on.

7. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

castle of cagliostro

I saw The Castle of Cagliostro because of a blogathon a few years back when it was looking at a debut of a director. I always thought Miyazaki started out his career with Nausicaa but before the existence of Studio Ghibli, he had created The Castle of Cagliostro adapted/based on the Japanese manga Lupin III. Its crime and comedy mixed together for this film and boy is it an adventure. The debut of Miyazaki is a fine start. There are its flaws with this one in terms of storytelling and pacing but there is still a ton of heart and charm.

8. Ponyo (2008)

ponyo

Ponyo is something like Miyazaki’s version of The Little Mermaid fairy tale story which takes a little fish girl who becomes human and meets a little boy. Its so adorable and imaginative. It takes this angle of making the creative angle of the tsunami and then links the whole story together. It is actually quite clever.

9. The Wind Rises (2013)

the wind rises

I saw the premiere of The Wind Rises at TIFF a few years back, the same year that Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 (of course, now we know that he has decided to not retire and is working on his next film). Putting aside the ridiculous couple next to me who sobbed the entire movie from start to finish who was incredibly annoying, The Wind Rises is a passion project of  Miyazaki’s and you can see it by the subject he chooses to take as he tells the story of World War II engineer who designs the fighter aircraft. His love for aircrafts and his country and his admiration for Jiro Horikoshi is all highly visible in his work. My issue here is that I don’t share the same admiration and for that, the story falls a little short of what I liked. Its not a bad film in any means because the animation, the visuals, the character designs and the music all work well. I just failed to connect with it but that is the risk of making a passion project film.

Not Seen or Can’t Remember

Conan The Future Boy: The Big Giant Robot’s Ressurrection (1984)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Princess Mononoke (1997)

How would you rank Hayao Miyazaki’s film?
Which one of his directed feature films is your fave?

Wine Recap – December 2018

Wine Recap

Welcome to the wrap-up for 2018’s December wine recap. Its one of the final wrap-ups of this year. I’ll do a little wrap-up at the bottom for my fave wine of the year and the one that was disappointing for us (as it should stand-out). Without further ado, December is a gathering month and holidays and our health is slowing climbing back to par so we had a few other drinks to relax and enjoy.

Here it is!

Petit & Fils Sparkling Rosé Cider

Petit & Fils Sparkling Wine

Producer: Petit & Fils Cidrerie
Alcohol Content: 6.5%
Location: Quebec

If I remember correctly, we picked this one up at Costco. Its pretty light and more on the semi-dry area in taste. We liked it okay. I can’t say that it left a very memorable sort of feeling. It wasn’t quite on our palette but it also wasn’t a hard one to drink. Plus, if it remember correctly, the price was fairly reasonable.

Note to self: Should really make a note of the price and where I bought it for 2019 recaps.

Bulles de Nuit Sparkling Pinot Grigio

bulles de nuit

Producer: Bulles de Nuit
Alcohol Content: 6.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve been a big fan of these Bulles de Nuit collection of sparkling wines. I like the Rose a lot and enjoy the normal one but surprisingly, this pinot grigio one is quite fantastic. I’m not usually a fan of pinot grigio because it tends to be on the sour and dry side of the spectrum but this one is really good. I would consider this one almost better than their Rosé one and I like that one a ton.

Bow & Arrow Cider

Bow & Arrow Cider

Producer: Groupe Geloso
Alcohol Content: 4.5%
Location: Quebec

I’m a big fan of these type of ciders. This one is made in Quebec. I got it for its cute can. I won’t lie about it. However, this was super delicious. Its light and fruity. The way I like my ciders. It doesn’t feel dry and is very pleasant overall experience. I’d definitely get this one again.

Blanche Jasmine Ginseng De-Glutenized Beer

Gluten-Free Beer

Producer: Brasseurs du Monde
Alcohol Content: 4.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve pretty much given up beer since 10 years ago mostly because when it comes to gluten-sensitivity, nothing hits me as hard as beer does. Its not a huge loss since I was never a big fan of beer anyways. The taste just never quite worked for me. We’ve been trying to lower gluten in our diet a little bit and since my husband liked the deglutenized beers that we had bought before but I never covered here, we’ve been giving that a go until they don’t sell it anymore, I guess. If you think my wine terminology is bad, wait until you see my beer terminology. This White Jasmine Ginseng Beer actually is pretty tasty for a beer. I have to say that it does quite please my palette. I’ve only taken sips of the other 3 flavors so I will share that when I actually have a glass of it.

Albert Bichot 2016 Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes

Alex Bichot Chardonnay

Producer: Alex Bichot
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Location: Bourgogne, France
Taste Tag: Aromatic & Mellow

An actual wine, everyone! We had this at my friend’s place for the holiday gathering. I have to admit that French wines are usually a hit and miss for myself. I think it depends on the region and the variety. This one was a bit too dry for my taste. It had a very sour finish and was pretty tough to drink overall.

Moving on to the picks of this year…

My Picks of 2018

Banrock Moscato 2016
Queen Street 501 Cider
Frisky Beaver VQA 2015
Somersby Red Rhubarb Cider
J.P. Chenet Ice Edition

Surprise: Rodney Strong Chardonnay

This wraps up the December 2018 Wine Recap as well as my picks of the year!
Did you try any new wines (or alcoholic beverages) lately? What was your fave of the year?

What’s Up 2019: Week 1 A Good Start

Welcome to the What’s Up 2019 for the first week of the new year. I know that I said that I’d do some more videos for it and I’m not lying about it except I currently am fighting a cold so its not exactly pretty to film under these circumstances. I have been pondering turning this into a quick podcast format so that I don’t have to edit video so much as also having an audio version for it. More and more ideas..just not sure what would work best.

Bear with me as I get out of this unwell phase and hopefully next week, I’ll get things back on track!

READING

the penultimate peril

  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11)

Currently reading: The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12)

I’m still working through the 4 book pack to wrap up A Series of Unfortunate Events currently. I’m getting one of the books done every week. To be honest, I’ve been kind of tired so I only read on the bus which also is when I sometimes take a nap (its not good to nap on the bus so I try to refrain). However, its still moving along quite nicely. I did want to read the book and watch the matching episode and as you will soon see, that didn’t go as planned.

PLAYING

Bound Game

  • Bound
  • What Never Was (official release on Jan 11/2019)

Currently playing: not decided yet…

Its been a pretty good gaming week. I finished up Bound this week which uses dancing with a platforming sort of narrative story. Its a beautiful game with some beautiful music and hints of a lot of my gaming faves however, there is something that I find seems to take away from the game. Aside from that, I tried out an upcoming free game called What Never Was that will be released on January 11th. Its an exploration puzzle game that takes less than an hour to finish. I’ll have the review this coming up very soon.

WATCHING

a quiet place

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (rewatch)
  • A Quiet Place
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (rewatch)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (rewatch)

This weekend, we wrapped up rewatching the Harry Potter franchise. It is nice to see that it still holds up and we had a lot of fun watching it. I haven’t reviewed any of them on the blog before so I’ll be getting that up either as a huge post or maybe individually, we’ll see how I feel about it. However, A Quiet Place also ended up on the roster, pretty much a year after its theatrical release and it was one that I was really anticipating in 2018 but decided against going to see it in theatres because other moviegoers could easily ruin the experience. I regret not seeing it earlier but liked it a lot. I didn’t love it because there’s one element in the story that I thought felt a bit forced and I’ll talk about that in the upcoming review.

BINGING

a series of unfortunate events

  • The Inn (Season 2)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 3)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer S4, Meteor Garden 2018, My Amazing Boyfriend, My Little One S2

The Inn finally wrapped up Season 2 on Friday. It was a sad thing to see leave. It had so many great messages wrapped in that one little show and was such a genuine sort of reality show that I got pretty connected with the celebrities involved. It seems Season 3 should be a go so I’m hoping that it’ll be coming back later this year or next year or something. January 1st also kicked off the final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix which I was super excited to see but as you saw before didn’t manage to finish the books but still went ahead and finished the series. Its one of those shows that every season is better than the one before in my opinion. TV binge for both of these coming up soon.

As for some new shows that went on, one is a new reality show which is a girl version of My Little One that was aired last year. Other than that, I started watching My Amazing Boyfriend which as Janice Wu from An Oriental Odyssey. This is from 2016 so its more in line with a binge.

This wraps up the first week!
Some old and some new! Somethings got wrapped up as well!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

Double Feature: Moonlight (2016) & Hidden Figures (2016)

Welcome to the first Double Feature of 2019! We’re starting off with a strong pair of Oscar-nominated/winning films that I caught up with over the holidays. I went into both of these films with only a general knowledge of what it was about. Most of the time, I don’t stay too current with Oscar movies and are in no big rush to catch up with them because I’m not a huge fan of watching dramas however, a little spoiler, no regrets on watching either of these.

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight

Director (and screenplay): Barry Jenkins

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, Naomie Harris, Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, Andre Holland,

A chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. – IMDB

In some ways, Moonlight reminds me of Boyhood except it takes an African-American boy’s life in chapters, taking a snapshot parts of his life from when his young childhood when people called him Little and finding refuge in a man’s care who accepts him and takes him under his wing to face the cruel reality out there. The second part takes us into his teenage years as Chiron as he grows to embrace his sexual orientation. It highlights his friendship with his childhood friend Kevin who has always been there even from the first part who never questioned all the bullying towards him. The third part fast forwards to Chiron, now an adult who others called Black and has followed the footsteps of his mentor.

Choosing to look at the snapshots of his man’s life from boyhood to adulthood is a very nice way to execute this film. In fact, its part of why this film shines. , there are always factors that give the story a thread to tie it all together from the start to the finish. It also lies heavily on its cast who does a fantastic job. Mahershala Ali may have had a small role but his role’s influence plays a big part. At the same time, Janelle Monae is also spectacular as well. I’d go to the say that the supporting roles here are as powerful if not more powerful than its main lead. All this really dials down to the fact that the script itself has created some compelling characters that feel incredibly genuine.

Hidden Figures (2016)

hidden Figures

Director (and screenplay): Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Glen Powell

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. – IMDB

Hidden Figures is one of those films that I finished up the film and was so pleasantly surprised because of not only its content aka the story its telling but also due to its well-rounded messages and tone which is serious but managed to also give it a fair bit of lighthearted humor to round it out. It gives a lot of credit to its incredible cast. The main reason being its three leading ladies whom I liked a lot to begin with: Taraji P. Henson (can’t remember if its from Hustle & Flow, The Good Doctor or Date Night); Octavia Spencer (from The Help) and Janelle Monae (from Moonlight). They do such a great job especially when looking at their dynamic together in some scenes where they carry the film and highlight the inequality in the workplace and the inconveniences. Of course, the film is also full of other memorable roles whether its Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons including Kirsten Dunst as well.

Its been honestly years since I’ve been incredibly impressed by an Oscar-nominated film. Its a shame that it didn’t win anything. It isn’t a surprise of course because Oscar has a specific type of films that always wins. Hidden Figures feels too light-hearted and fun albeit having its drama. Regardless of Oscars or not, Hidden Figures is a fantastic film lead by three spectacular female actresses, a poignant supporting cast and managing to find a great balance between a lighthearted tone despite its serious historical drama.

This wraps up this double feature of Moonlight and Hidden Figures!
Have you seen these two films?