The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
By: Ryan Graudin

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible…

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister…

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out. – Goodreads

Based on the historical location in Hong Kong called the Kowloon Walled City that used to exist as a place with no control from the government where a lot of bad people would live and have very little daylight due to how the buildings piled on top of each other, Ryan Graudin has created a world of her own with this basis changing Hong Kong to Seng Ngoi and using simple Chinese names to easily remember these characters but still have the essence of an Asian territory to make it not a historical fiction but still managing to capture a lot of the essence of this location to bring it to life. The Walled City is an outstanding young adult “dystopian” thriller. In fact, its surprising why The Walled City isn’t used in more stories (whether books or movies) as a background story. Ryan Graudin takes this world and is able to show the gritty and darkness that hangs in its shadows portraying the location really well while also delivering a story about three youths that get entangled in the mess.

The novel is executed with each of the chapters moving between these three characters. Its easy to see the connection of two of the characters but it doesn’t really matter if that was meant to be a minor reveal at some point to make it all piece together. What’s important is that each of these characters represent one part of this closed society. The boy Dai is the only one that knows the countdown element and has motives to deliver some information before he can be free as he works for the kingpin as a runner who pairs up with the second character on a spontaneous run-in, a young girl disguised as a boy Jin looking for her sister who was sold to a brothel by her father for money but also trying to stay out of sight for the street gangs that are after her because she stole a pair of boots from them. Finally, the third character is Mei Yee, one of the brothel girls who wish to find a way out but is approached by Dai to help him find a way to steal the information that he needs in exchange to help her escape. All three of these characters represent their own helpless situation that bond together to try to get out of their own situations.

The Walled City is great because of its writing style. Its vivid writing brings the story to life. Especially with the amount of action and suspense going on, as the story gets deeper and dangerous for the three characters, it builds very well. There’s something really fascinating about bringing a location to life and its characters while exploring somewhere that I’ve always been fascinated about and would love to see more stories based on while also using a novel structure that I’m personally a big fan of. The Walled City ticks a lot of the boxes of a novel that I enjoy reading.

What’s Up 2020: Week 37

Another week has gone by. A lot of last week was catching up, wrapping up, finalizing and then recharging and organizing. At the same time, as I had mentioned last time, I’m starting to get ready for next month’s marathon because I’ve learned from previous years that its not going to happen once the month starts so might as well start accumulating now, right? Yay to being organized..kind of…

READING

Fangirl

Currently reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Finally getting back into a teensy bit of reading. I’ve had some really bad luck with reading on the bus lately as I always end up being next to someone talking on the phone loudly so its not easy to make progress. Either way, Fangirl is pretty fun so far even if I’m still really early in the book like 20% in or so.

PLAYING

Currently playing: Luna, Cat Force

While I took a little to get myself organized, I’ve been playing Cat Force the most on mobile. Its full of cats and its Match-3 puzzle game and then they meow when they get matched up. Its all kinds of cute and I’m about 50ish levels into it right now. If I know myself, I usually cap out on Match-3 puzzle games at the most at 100 levels if nothing significantly new happens.

I do have a few PC games that I have lined up to play after I finish Luna. We are restructuring Game Warp to get some new direction so that we can get back on track somewhat in time. However, I do have some written pieces to go up soon.

WATCHING

  • Girlfight (2000)
  • Hairspray (2007 rewatch, Review)
  • Skyscraper (2018)
  • The Predator (2018, Review)
  • Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
  • Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004 rewatch)

Its fairly obvious with this list that I’m starting to prepare for the Halloween Marathon at this point. Highlight franchise this year (a marathon structure that I didn’t do the past few years) is going to be the Living Dead franchise. Believe it or not, I’ve only seen Dawn of the Dead remake before out of the whole franchise so you know, catching up with that. There’s also other movies set up in between as you can see as well. It’ll be fun. Less festival coverage means more time to focus on doing a proper marathon this year. My awesome co-host did mention the whole 31 Days of Halloween or something, maybe I’ll do that as double features here and then use that as social media since I really just be promoting the blog better.

BINGING

Go Ahead
  • Chef’s Table: BBQ (Volume 1, 2020)
  • Go Ahead (2020)

Currently binging: Great Escape: Season 2, Love Signal 3, Handsome Siblings, Count Your Lucky Stars, Sing China 2020, Go Newbies, The Irresistible

I finally finished Go Ahead which let me tell you is my 2020 favorite series so far. Tops the list right away. Its a different kind of family story; the cast is incredible; the story is really good and it had me hooked from beginning to end. There’s a few moments that gets me every single time. Its really a treat. Of course, it had to be my highlight series. I’m super behind on TV binge posts for C-Dramas so it’ll come out at some point but I won’t make any promises about how soon. Although to be fair, Chef’s Table taking the BBQ themed path is pretty decent also. Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious kind of all ride on each other a little. Its still a decent 4 episodes to go through as a docuseries.

On that note, most of the currently is pretty much the same. I’m taking a mini break from Handsome Siblings as its getting really annoying when its not about the actual siblings or younger cast. I couldn’t focus for more than one episode at a time so I decided to give myself a breather and just start something new which happens to be Count My Lucky Stars that I had wanted to start when it first aired in August which at 5 episodes in had me hooked at the 2nd episode. I do say that nostalgia plays a big part seeing as people complain about the female and male leads age difference in real life but they are the new and old version leads of Meteor Garden and the best parts of the new and old respectively. I fangirled over Jerry Yan when Meteor Garden came out and in his 40s, he’s a different kind of handsome right now. Okay..I’m starting to fangirl here so I’ll stop.

In terms of TV though, Great Escape: Season 2 only has one episode left and probably some finale episode or something as they sometimes have, I don’t know right now but its sad to see that end although the next episode is one to look forward to as its a crossover with Who’s the Murderer. Everything else is fairly early or just in catch-up phase at some point so that’s all. Things are definitely settling down on the TV front which is great so I can get back on some Netflix or Shudder series.

That’s it for this week’s recap!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 36

Another week is gone and Fantasia Festival is behind us now! All the content is up at this point even if there was a week delay in getting mostly everything done. Next week, things should show some signs of returning back to normal as I start sorting through the backlog and what needs to be done as well, start planning for next month’s Halloween Marathon!

READING

Fangirl

Currently reading: Fangirl

I’m just going to confess right now that I did zero reading this week. None whatsoever. I was either watching movies for Fantasia or using every spare moment to write. I’ve also been going through some strange insomnia so it hasn’t helped the energy or productivity. Reading will resume as I do want to keep going with Fangirl once I’ve recharged my Kindle again.

PLAYING

Luna

Currently playing: Luna

The same for reading as gaming basically, which was pretty much expected. Luna is still the game that I’m going to return to very soon. I didn’t get much time for gaming.

WATCHING

  • Homo ErecTattoos (short 2020)
  • Bring Me Home (2019, Review)
  • A Witness Out of the Blue (2019, Review)
  • Legally Declared Dead (2019, Review)
  • Perdida (2019, Review)
  • Chasing Dream (2019, Review)

I ended the last few days of Fantasia Festival powering through a lot of on demand films. It was a bit intense but all the films were pretty fun to watch. My favorites for the week had to go to A Witness Out of the Blue followed very closely with Chasing Dream. Both had their own style that was a lot of fun to watch. Both of the films, I’d gladly watch again if I had the chance (fingers crossed that Netflix might pick it up).

Talking about Fantasia coverage, I do have to to say, the only post that hasn’t gone up is for Fantasia shorts round-up. There were some impressive short films this year that I saw and no doubt the one from this week’s recap, Homo ErecTattoos was incredibly unique.

BINGING

  • Gagman (Season 1, 2020)
  • Little Forest (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Great Escape: Season 2, Go Newbies, Go Ahead, Chef’s Table: BBQ, The Irresistible, Sing China 2020, Handsome Siblings, The Coming One:SuperBand, BLK946

I finally sat down to finish Little Forest which was a charming little show. Its always relaxing to watch little kids with celebrity adults in nature. Plus, I liked the celebrities involved so I had a fun little dynamic. However, highlight show that ended would be Gagman. That show was a treat every single week. I can’t say that I’m particularly happy with the rundown of the Gag6 (top 6 Gagman/Gagwoman winners) since I’m sure there are other people there that would be much more entertaining but its an alright mix of people.

Some of these shows have kind of fallen into the background right now as I only have a pair of eyes that I can’t watch movies and TV at the same time. I have some general shows that I always like to catch when they release like Great Escape 2 which should be ending soon along with the Master Version (which I never list here but its a show with the same escape room with little changes but a younger cast which are pretty much have their own set of intellectual skills).

Go Ahead is one of my favorite dramas this year and its nearing its final few episodes so I’ve been saving up the episodes so that I can binge it in one shot since if its anything like other series, the last 10 episodes will be a torture to have to watch one or two episodes and then wait for the next day’s to release. Because of that, I finally started Handsome Siblings which has been made so many times that its hard to wonder whether it’ll live up to the last one, which it took a little while to get into but I’m about halfway and its starting to get into a rhythm that I like. Aside from that, I keep forgetting to talk about BLK946 which is a show about trends and fashion/design while I’ve also started watching Sing China 2020 which is like American Idol but the Chinese version but hey Nicholas Tse is a judge/mentor so I’m a little late to the party but better late than never.

That’s it for this week’s recap!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 33

Its Week 33! Much like last week, this week was all about amassing content and preparing for whats coming up. Its rather busy but lots of fun. It also makes for a hard to talk about section in this post. So…I won’t talk about this week but rather whats coming up later this current week that you are reading this post. Fantasia International Film Festival’s virtual edition starts on August 20th!! Tranquil Dreams is accredited press so in the next two weeks, the main focus will be movie reviews and festival coverage. As mentioned last week, its going to make this week have a lot of things I can’t talk about but we will work it out. I am working on other content to layer in between all the movie reviews but I really can’t promise anything at the moment.

With that laid out, lets get back on track and look at Week 33’s recap.

READING

  • Conscience by Jonathan Pongratz

Currently reading: Crackle and Fire

Honestly, I need to hunker down and do a lot more reading. The story that I finished reading is a short story so it was a fairly quick read. It was a recent reading commitment that I decided to prioritize since its an easier one to get through and start working on in advance. With that said, its a short story so I don’t want to talk too much about it until the actual review post goes up.

PLAYING

  • The Bunker

Currently playing: Luna

Sometimes I say things and then I realize that it might sound silly but I had time to game but didn’t find time to read. Still, Game Warp has beem in its lonely corner and I really want to get some content for it. It is why I am riding this surge of motivation and doing some gaming. I have two backlogged reviews to do including this one, The Bunker which is FMV game so its like watching an interactive movie. It was pretty fun and was mostly following a linear story and have some quick time events. Definitely one that I would have liked to play on PC instead of Playstation 4.

In terms of PC, I had started to play Luna, which seems to be a fairly short game. I love the art style in the game and its all really cute and has some creativity behind the story itself. Hoping to find some time to wrap this one up in the coming week.

WATCHING

  • I WeirDo (2020)
  • The Lodge (2019, Review)
  • Time of Moulting (2020)
  • A Mermaid in Paris (2020)
  • One Cut of the Dead (2017, rewatch, Review)

While there are some great Fantasia titles here like I WeirDo and A Mermaid in Paris which is definitely worth a watch and you definitely should look into seeing it in Fantasia if you are in Canada (because I think the Festival is limited to Canadian audiences), I won’t talk about it since I don’t have the okay yet. My highlight of the week goes to the only movie not part of the pre-Festival prep or rewatch and that is The Lodge, a movie that I actually didn’t get a chance to see at last year’s Fantasia Festival. How great timing is, right? The Lodge’s review is up already so you can check that out in the link above. Its one that really does build and has a fantastic reveal.

BINGING

  • Mr. Honesty (2020)

Currently binging: Great Escape: Season 2, Little Forest, Go Ahead, Super Nova Games, The Irresistible, Rap Star, The Coming One: SuperBand, Street Dance of China 3

While I won’t say that I particularly recommend Mr. Honesty, its the only series that I wrapped up this week. Its not exactly a bad series and not even that long but there’s some pacing issues and some dialogue that feels rather repetitive and dragged out in the second half. Some of the supporting characters are a tad frustrating. I’ll get around to the TV binge at some point. I’m really behind with these TV binges but I’m working hard on it this past while so hopefully get this one up sooner rather than later.

To be fair, Super Nova Games: Season 3 should be wrapped up since the final round competitions were underway but its like 8 hours split in 3 parts over 2 days or something so I’m still working through the Day 1 Final Round third part and haven’t even gotten to the Day 2 stuff. These are sport things so its not something that I normally binge but more filler material.

On that note, I started a new series last week called Go Ahead starring Wei Long Song, Seven Tan and Steven Zhang. It has a heavy focus on families even with no blood relation. Really great series so far. Well, so far is 11 episodes in so we’re just past the quarter series mark. Too early to say if it’ll fall apart but I’m hoping it stays good since it has a lot of potential.

I need to focus on Fantasia coverage so I won’t be starting anything else new for the next two weeks even if I have another two series sitting in the background that I want to watch.

That’s it for this Week 33 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 30

Week 30 of the year everyone! Last week was a bit of a whirlwind. Not weather-wise since it was incredibly hot and increasingly stuffy. Good news is that I’m kind of back to some kind of normal so things are getting back on track a little on all departments. Plus, you will notice that a lot of variety shows wrapped up so the Binging department will be (hopefully) less crazy. I did also get some good news that I will talk about in My Weekly Adventures coming up at the end of this week…

READING

and then we vanish

Currently reading: And Then We Vanish: Collected Stories

Finally got back to some reading as I decided that reading on the bus was the best thing to do. I finished 2 of the stories in this anthology and they are pretty decent. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the angle each of these stories will take. Hopefully, I will finish up soon as this is rather fun to read and I’m making good progress, and a review will be up soon.

PLAYING

glass masquerade revelations

  • Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions – Revelations DLC

Currently playing: Gorogoa, Find Out

After going into some major gaming sessions of Glass Masquerade 2: Illusion, I’ve wrapped up Revelations DLC which had some pretty fun little puzzles and designs. It felt a little easier than the other DLC since it had more irregular pieces but at times, bigger pieces to put together. However, the art in Glass Masquerade 2 is so nice. The design of each puzzle and the story behind each one and little dialogue is fun. For now (unless they come out with more DLCs in the future), its done as I think about some games to move on.

Although, first priority is to get back into Gorogoa and finish that one up. On a side note, its not exactly just this week but the last month, I’ve been playing a mobile game called Find Out which is a rather quirky puzzle game which has a nice twist on hidden objects mixed with puzzle elements. Plus, it always adds free new levels.

WATCHING

one cut of the dead

  • 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)
  • Deep Blue Sea (1999 rewatch, Review)
  • The Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • The Night of the Living Dead (1990)
  • One Cut of the Dead (2017)
  • One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote (2020)

As we try to get through the Living Dead franchise from the beginning slowly and having some shark week moments with 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and rewatching Deep Blue Sea, the movie that came out of nowhere as a random pick on Shudder is One Cut of the Dead. Its been a while that I’ve loved a movie this much. I have a review coming up so I won’t talk too much about it here but its a must see if you haven’t already. Its takes you for a seriously awesome ride. Its one that pairs really  nice to check out its free Youtube short movie as a project to bring happiness during this tough 2020 as everyone lives through this pandemic.

BINGING

love timing 2

  • Twogether (Season 1, 2020)
  • Love Timing 2 (Season 2, 2020)
  • Woof Meow Story (Season 1, 2020)
  • We Are Blazing (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Great Escape 2, Little Forest, Super Nova Games 3, Gagman, Street Dance of China 3, The Coming One: SuperBand, Summer Surf Shop

Like mentioned in the beginning, a lot of shows ended in the past week, which is quite a relief since it was getting a little hard to track everything. I wrapped up Twogether on Netflix and while that was fun, I think it meant more for fans of Jasper Liu and Lee Seung-gi, although the show did make me want to catch up on some of their series that are on Netflix. We Are Blazing was a bit of a letdown, more that the team I was rooting for didn’t win but then I had already had a feeling who the winner would be and it was them. Its not that they are bad but its kind of a cop out in my opinion. The show overall had some issues but its a nice concept to expose all of these music groups of different forms and variety, especially with the sheer amount of boy or girl groups being created through the different shows on different channels.

Woof Meow Story and Love Timing Season 2 definitely were my faves which I felt sad to end. Woof Meow Story really excelled in the Woof story as the finale saw them working hard to find a suitable home for the stray dogs, and even had a follow-up on their current status. Because I wasn’t a fan of the Meow story part, Love Timing 2 overall was a much more fun reality show. I always liked their format the most out of all the different relationship reality shows and this time they changed it up to a more realistic level that took them after their love confession and acceptance to the final episode where they could go on a trip together and experience the outside world in a realistic world to consider their own lives and how it would be together in a weekend trip and then make another decision whether it was suitable still to be together or at least wanted to work hard to be together. A lot of these shows lack the grounded element and this show already had the merging life but living with everyone else in the show for 30 days so adding this final element does give it one of the more sophisticated structure and perhaps a more solid jumping spot for these different pairs. Two shows that I hope will return for another season in the future.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
This week has been a lot of fun and had some nice discoveries!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 29

Week 29 has gone by and the first week back at work was subconsciously more stressful than I physically felt. Its been nice to be able to walk around outside more back and forth except its also not so easy since it was also heat wave so wearing a mask was rather uncomfortable but of course, needed. As for the actual week of blogging and doing these little things that we cover here, it was relatively unproductive in terms of everything. I actually didn’t feel the fatigue until the weekend hit and the longer than usual run along with the heat just knocked me out. Its probably why motivation level was low and indecisiveness was high. Either way, let’s check how that’s affected progress (and it did because its been a long time that I had posted so little in a week).

READING

and then we vanish

Currently reading: And Then We Vanish: Collected Stories

I’m going to confess right now that there was no reading done AT ALL this past week. I need to wrap up this novel so I’m going to work in some reading time.

PLAYING

temptations dlc

  • Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions – Temptations DLC

Currently playing: Gorogoa

I’m still working on the two games. Currently, I’m more focused on Glass Masquerade’s second DLC because its just super relaxing and essentially a puzzle. Gorogoa is a lot more thinking involved but I did move forward with that a little. The Temptations DLC was all themed around women in various stories and such set in a somewhat pretty fantasy design.

WATCHING

47 Meters Down

  • 47 Meters Down (2017 rewatch, Review)

Currently watching: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Being tired and watching movies is really not helping. I didn’t feel like progressing with much movie watching so here we are, one movie watched and its a rewatch. What can I say? However, we are having half a mind to watch the Night of the Living Dead franchise and it all started with my husband’s desire to watch the 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead, which not to do with its quality but more my fatigue, that I fell asleep and watched half of it only. Currently finding time to finish it up.

BINGING

unsolved mysteries

  • Life is Beautiful (Season 1, 2020)
  • Unsolved Mysteries (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Great Escape 2, Love Timing 2, Woof Meow Story, Super Nova Games 3, Little Forest, We Are Blazing, Gagman, We Are Young, Summer Surf Shop, The Coming One: SuperBand, Rap Star, Twogether

I just noticed that its a complete rundown of variety shows right now. My currently binging is all variety shows over the course of a week. Some of them are ending soon though. I think Love Timing 2 and We Are Blazing has their big finale the coming week. I got back into Twogether to try to wrap up the last two episodes and the series so that I can work on a binge (depending if its worth it) since it is a Netflix series afterall. The new thing this time around is Super Nova Games 3. I’m not sure if I’ll finish it since last season, I watched halfway and stopped. I do need to try and find a new series to watch soon although Netflix has some good stuff coming up. And I have my eye on a Tencent Cantonese series called White War but I’m saving up a few more episodes so that I can do an actual binge.

For the highlight of this week, it was pretty much a fight between the two completed series. Life is Beautiful is a Tencent variety show which looks at the everyday lives of these Chinese actor/actress/musicians/TV host. A few of them are people that I quite enjoy so it was a lot of fun. However, I used to love Unsolved Mysteries and watched it with my dad so there’s a whole nostalgia factor going on there. Its Netflix revival is really impressive. I’m halfway through the TV binge so I’ll discuss it more in the coming post.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

What’s Up 2020: Week 26

Happy Canada Day! 🙂

Let’s get right down to business! Things have been going pretty well this week’s recap in all departments of reading, watching, playing and binging!

READING

call numbers

  • Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians (Review)

Currently reading: The Memories We Bury

I’m in a bit of a reading blitz phase since I apparently have some lag in reading and bad organization so I end up binge reading a lot. In the matter of a 2 days of focused reading, I went through Call Numbers which is definitely a nice setting and built a decent foundation to kick off for its second book. You can check out the review now.

As of now, I’ve moved onto the next book which was a last minute commitment so I’m working hard on reading through this one right now. Luckily, I’ve read this author’s books before and they are quite easy to get into. The Memories We Bury are alright at about the 20% mark. Review coming up very soon.

PLAYING

glass masquerade 2

Currently playing: Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions

Steam Summer Sale is currently in progress so they had a sweet deal of having a few dollars off from purchases over $35 if I remember correctly. I picked up Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions which I loved the first game, one that I had played earlier this year and is this relaxing experience. After that, I picked up a sweet deal on Soul Calibur VI, Luna and Gorogoa. All games that I’ve been wanting to play. The last week was a bit meh so Glass Masquerade 2 came at a good time to relieve some stress.

WATCHING

ready or not

  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • Kidnap (2017, Review)
  • Killer Legends (2014, Review)
  • The Lodgers (2017)
  • Luz (2018)
  • Gone Girl (2014 rewatch, Review)
  • Ready or Not (2019)

Productive movie watching as I tried to get ahead with the double feature selections although once you fall behind, its really not too easy to catch up on. With that said, 2 selections for Movies and Tea this week as well as 4 movies for the double features and then the last one and the one that I’d love to highlight (although there were some decent titles this week) is the rental for Ready or Not. Can I say again how much I love Samara Weaving in this type of movie? Mayhem (review) was great and The Babysitter (review) was really fun Honestly, its so much fun to watch. I’d have no problem watching this one over and over again. Now to pick this one up at some point to own permanently.

With that said, I do want to give an honorable mention to Luz and The Lodgers which is the upcoming double feature which were two rather unique titles. The first was a tad odd but did land a lot of the creepy feeling and the second had a few typical horror jumpscare moments but overall, did have some unique elements and twist to the whole thing.

BINGING

mr fox and miss rose

  • Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)
  • Mr. Fox and Miss Rose (2020)

Currently binging: We Are Blazing, Woof Meow Story, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge 6, Wonderful Little Forest, Produce Camp 2020, You Are My Destiny, Viva La Romance 2, Rap Star, We Are Young

Lots of variety shows handing in the air. I love food reality competition shows and Crazy Delicious did deliver alright on that level. I’ll talk about it in an upcoming TV binge post. With that said, I wanted to give a moment to Mr. Fox and Miss Rose that just wrapped up. I honestly think they got cheated out of this because this aired at the same time as two other more popular choices so Tencent promoted those shows more and didn’t even put this one in its header banner on the Youtube channel. Such a pity because this one was so much fun to watch and it wasn’t even a teen schoolyard romance. The characters and the story and how it linked these characters to The Little Prince all was done so well that it should have gotten more views. I need to seriously think about doing a week of solely TV binge posts at this point as I’ve had too much backlog that only half written.

With the variety show Great Escape 2’s coming up next week, I’m really happy a few of these variety shows are ending in the next week or so to clear up some of the time. All the shows are currently ongoing so it makes for a hard time to remember which is playing when. Actually, the last few weeks have had another Tencent show that I’m watching but it doesn’t have an English title so I never added in. Its really crazy! New addition this week is supposedly the only channel doing a boy group competition called We Are Young run by Youku and featuring among the 84 contestants a good few that did well in other competition shows but didn’t make it in the final winning boy group. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes as a portion of the mentors are also from other shows like Produce 101/Produce Camp 2019 and Idol Producer. As for Produce 2020, its heading into the final episode next week and Katy Perry did a video for the show which is pretty cool.

That’s it for Week 26 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians by Syntell Smith

Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians (Book 1)
by: Syntell Smith

call numbers

Life is a book… and every person is a chapter.

Everything’s looking up for Robin Walker. It’s 1994 in New York City, and he’s been transferred downtown to the 58th Street Branch Library. Ready to move up the ladder, Robin is excited about the opportunities that await him.

But success, personal or professional, is as elusive as a first-edition rare book. Robin struggles with his strange new work environment as this motley crew of employees generates more drama than a runaway bestseller. He doesn’t know who to believe – or who to let in. And as potential romance mingles with devious machinations, there’s no telling where Robin’s story will go. All he knows is that he must see it through to the very last page. – Goodreads

*Received in exchange for honest review*

Call Numbers definitely has a good setting. Libraries don’t seem to be used enough as a central location where events go down. There probably are other titles but I haven’t read them before. Its also a novel that reminds the readers that any location with people is a place for drama and some level of office politics. In this case, this story starts off with a new part-time clerk, Robin joining this library with their own tight-knit group of employees who reject his presence because it has hindered one of their owns future there due to their situation. As he tries to adapt to the new environment and be accepted, this group proves to have their own agenda to challenge him constantly.

Call Numbers is separated into different groups of characters and each side of the story jumping through each of these characters. There’s a lot of characters. While its not exactly hard to follow once all their personalities and plots are straightened out, its quite an information overload situation at the beginning of the book to know each of their names and their alliances and where they stand in the spectrum of this person and then what their own personal challenges are. Having more characters gives a good foundation to have more paths to take in the future of the story and fills up the book but then, it has the downfall of being hard to get into at the beginning as it can get a tad confusing to follow. Although, once the characters are more familiar, its quite an interesting group of characters to read, at least the majority of them, of course, the focal point being Robin and the two managing this library branch, Sonyai and Augustus.

Suffice to say that the characters are the star of this novel and they are quite plentiful as mentioned before. The issues they go through are real enough to understand their different situations. However, if there was something that did bother me a little more is the whole set up for a cliffhanger endings. Its rather a personal preference that books are standalone even in a series and not leaving it hanging in some dire situation to continue to read about in the next novel. It definitely affected my score a little.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

What’s Up 2020: Week 25

Bonne Saint-Jean to my fellow Quebecers (if there’s anyone reading this from Quebec)!

Almost halfway through the year everyone as we hit Week 25 and summer is finally here. The tail end of this week left us in extreme heat wave so I spent a lot of time sitting in or by the pool to cool down than sitting in my partially air-conditioned home. Plus, the Summer Game Fest started off over the last two weeks and it took us a little by surprise so had to clear out some schedule to do some coverage over at Game Warp.  Let’s see how it all went down!

READING

call numbers

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not-So-Quiet Life of Librarians

Sitting by the pool and reading is one of those things that I truly enjoy doing during the evening so I finally moved forward with Call Numbers. I’m about at the 25% mark (maybe a little over) and I need to get more time to read some more but its been an interesting read as its about the dynamics of these characters working at this library.

PLAYING

steam game festival

Summer Game Fest bought along the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition which was a pile (more like a mountain) of free demos to try out on upcoming or released games. It was more games than I could keep track of so I just sat down and downloaded the demos that looked like it would be my cup of tea and took a chance on it.

  • The Almost Gone
  • Moncage
  • Ami
  • Arrog
  • A Juggler’s Tale
  • Backbone: Prologue
  • Unbound: Worlds Apart
  • Slender Threads
  • Under
  • Genesis Noir

With that said, the first 5 demos in the list have already had a First Impressions post go up on Game Warp that you can check out HERE.

I’m working on the last 5 as a second batch so that should come out soon.

WATCHING

social network

  • The Social Network (2010)
  • Jack Frost (1997, Review)

Much to my awesome co-host’s credit and the latest season recordings for Movies and Tea, I finally got around to watching The Social Network. Biopics aren’t usually my go-to genre but this one is pretty good. Its the obvious standout of the week as I can’t say the same for the other movie I saw which was more of a B-horror comedy that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic with but then did have some fun. Still, in terms of biopics, The Social Network does do a good job especially with its characters and how its executed. I won’t say too much and leave it for you all to listen when the podcast eventually comes out (but we’re way ahead with recording so it might be a little while).

BINGING

me to us

  • Me To Us (Season 1, 2020)
  • Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020) Review

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Wonderful Little Forest, You Are My Destiny, Mr. Fox and Miss Rose, Woof Meow Story, Rap Star, Viva La Romance 4, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2

It seems spring/summer season for variety shows and whatnot are all clashing together with content. I’ve been caught up on a bunch of Tencent TV series and then watching a lot of variety shows from Mango TV.  A few new things started up like Viva La Romance Season 4, the first season of Rap Star which is a contest for hip hop music and Wonderful Little Forest which is a show about taking a bunch of young kids on littler adventures to learn about nature.

The highlight for this week goes to the wrap-up of Me To Us which is a show about putting together bands and crowning a band to promote. The structure of the contest and how it puts together the voting system of both industry experts and public audience is a nice one that I’m going to probably do a TV binge post on it.  The first season crowned the band that I liked the most throughout the whole show (and the video above is one of their performances, not the final one since that’s not up yet) plus it has my all-time fave Nicholas Tse as one of the mentors. I’m really hoping that this show gets a second season. Bands have a fairly limited audience in the Chinese music landscape as boy groups and girl groups keep having these competitions, which are good but bands are such a different style and if they do, hopefully retaining the three mentors in this season.

That’s it for this week’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

 

What’s Up 2020: Week 23

Another week has gone by as we step into June! Weather is warming up and we’re starting to find the reason to get back to the great outdoors and hike some more to escape a little and get back into shape a little more. We will leave that for the next Weekly Adventures and upcoming posts.

READING

No Signal

  • No Signal by Jem Tugwell (Review)
  • Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians

Fantastic progress with reading this week. I’ve been reading outside by the pool or in the sun a little during lunch time or weekend mornings. Its a lovely feeling and very efficient in terms of just catching up to the book commitments that I have to try to wrap up before the end of June. I’m definitely getting back on track! Both of the books that I read are really pretty good but I’d have to say that No Signal is impressive as both a sequel and the premise it takes and especially the world building. You can check out the review linked above.

PLAYING

hidden folks

Currently playing: Hidden Folks: On Tour

Hidden Folks, in general, brings me immense joy and then they always deliver new levels for free and that makes me also very appreciative. There’s just so much to love about Hidden Folks from its sound effects made by humans to its cute little things you need to find in the level and the quirky descriptions they use as clues. Its really a lot to love and their latest free DLC level is On Tour is just great. I’m still playing through the 2nd of 6 levels or something so still a long way to go.

WATCHING

the garden of words

  • Harith Iskander: I Told You So (2018)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
  • The Foreigner (2017, Review)
  • Gwen (2018)
  • The Garden of Words (2013)

A little bit of stand-up comedy shows and a few more movies this week. Its really quite the improvement from the last 2 weeks at least. About time too, since I was running out of movies to review for the double feature if I didn’t start picking up some more movie watching time. Some solid movies here which were very different. One was slow-burn, one was nice and the other was action so it had a nice balance. The Garden of Words is my highlight of this week, although the two stand-up comedy shows were pretty decent also. This anime is only 45 minutes and is directed and written by the creator of Your Name and still has some great storytelling abilities as well as visuals.

BINGING

welcome back to sound

  • The Big Flower Fight (Season 1, 2020) Review
  • Welcome Back To Sound (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Me To Us, Woof Meow Story, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2, We Are Blazing, Queer Eye S6

While I had a lot of fun with The Big Flower Fight, I do have to say I’ve been really loving Mango TV’s latest variety reality show, Welcome Back To Sound which is pretty much bringing back the concept of radio shows where people call in with their stories and they listen and give their advice or discuss and try to suggest or guide them. The goal of the show is to pull people away from the screen life and bring back human contact of being on the phone or writing letters, etc. Some of the stories are incredibly touching and some are fairly bizarre and quirky and then each show, they have a listener goal and a different mission/challenge as their own showcase or structure. Its too bad that Mango TV doesn’t have English subtitles as its one of those shows that would be definitely worth a watch especially since the three hosts and their guests are all very fun to watch. At least Season 2 is confirmed so looking forward to that hopefully before next year.

That’s it for this Week 23’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?