Tranquil Dreams Podcast #21: What’s Up 2021 August Recap (Week 32-35)

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast as we still try to catch up with the What’s Up 2021 as we cover the month of August (aka Weeks 32 – 35). Between catching up on reading and maneuvering through bigger blogging priorities, this month was heavily focused on TV series while still getting some gaming done in co-stream with my friend BrandelSavage on Twitch.

Thanks for listening! Hope you enjoy!

The next few episodes will still be some form of catch-up in the next week! Keep an eye out for the next episode which is a little special as a do a Fantasia Festival coverage (a little later than expected but still deserves some attention).

Related Links

Hope – Book Review
Blackthorn – Book Review
The Visitor – Book Review
Brandel Savage – Twitch Stream (I co-stream on Friday’s for horror and co-op games)

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

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Book Review: The Visitor by Terry Tyler

The Visitor
By: Terry Tyler

Genre: Mystery/Post-Apocalyptic

In 2024, a mystery virus ravages the entire world. ‘Bat Fever’ is highly contagious and a hundred per cent lethal.

A cottage tucked away in an isolated Norfolk village seems like the ideal place to sit out a catastrophic pandemic, but some residents of Hincham resent the arrival of Jack, Sarah and their friends, while others want to know too much about them.What the villagers don’t know is that beneath Sarah’s cottage is a fully-stocked, luxury survival bunker. A post-apocalyptic ‘des res’.

Hincham isolates itself from the rest of the country, but the deaths continue―and not from the virus. There’s a killer on the loose, but is it a member of the much-depleted community, or someone from outside? As the body count rises, paranoia sets in; friend suspects friend, and everyone suspects the newcomers.

Most terrifying of all is that no one knows who’s next on the list… – Goodreads

Having read two books before by Terry Tyler, The Visitor continues on being able to showcase her ability to craft engaging murder mystery thrillers. The Visitor’s plot benefits from our current pandemic situation as it sets itself in the future after another pandemic has struck the world which is 100% lethal and much more brutal but sets it in a little village where another threat has hit them simultaneously in the form of a murderer which causes the fear to grow in its inhabitants. The backdrop is one that feels almost like it could happen in our current landscape with variants popping up in our current landscape, making it hit home a little more.

There’s a lot to love about The Visitor other than its familiar backdrop. One of them is a familiar form in Terry Tyler’s books which focuses around the point of view from a few of its core characters. In this one, its from the view of the few inhabitants living in the cottage and bunker who ends up there through some connection whether it is the leftover family and companions of friends that had gotten the invitation. As they gather in the bunker and keep it secret, they observe the people around them and get to know the different members of the village. As they each struggle with their own loss and current situation, they each have their own speculations. The benefit of jumping between characters is that it leaves some blind spots and blank spaces giving the unknown to spark. At the same time, who actually knows the depths of someone’s mind although the killer’s perspective usually does draw certain clues from one chapter to the next and slowly does give an idea of who is behind it by the end.

The Visitor also crafts really good characters. The group in the bunker themselves having their own differences and backgrounds and how they get there is one that definitely sets their own character as much as what they do after the settle into the village and each having their own pursuits and responsibilities. Two of them being best friends but also old flames, one of them being a survivalist (but also could be viewed as selfish), one dealing with her massive loss but navigating through being more of a loner: add in their own sort of purpose and personality that grows throughout the story as they get more involved into the village’s affairs and the villagers themselves, human nature is a tricky thing to say the very least.

The great part is how the focus of the novel smoothly shifts from its beginning of the big threat with this mystery virus which takes the front seat and determines their own means to survive and the desperation of the whole situation due to its lethal nature. However, subtly the story shifts to the murder and slowly the routine of surviving through this “post -apocalyptical” world becomes secondary as the murders become more frequent. It almost blends the two together so well that the story and character plot shift is done incredibly well.

Overall, The Visitor is a fantastic murder mystery. Not only does it have well-developed characters but it also builds a great post-apocalyptic world that is not only relatable in the current age but also pushes it further. Perhaps at times it feels a little bit too soon to be already diving into it but it also adds to the unsettling and uneasiness. Smooth plot transition and executed well, The Visitor is a well-paced and engaging thriller to dive into.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels by Catherine Hanrahan

Lost Girls and Love Hotels
By: Catherine Hanrahan

Margaret is doing everything in her power to forget home. And Tokyo’s exotic nightlife—teeming with drink, drugs, and three-hour love hotels—enables her to keep her demons at bay. Working as an English specialist at Air-Pro Stewardess Training Institute by day, and losing herself in a sex- and drug-addled oblivion by night, Margaret represses memories of her painful childhood in Canada and her older brother Frank’s descent into madness. But Margaret’s deliberate nihilism is thrown off balance as she becomes increasingly haunted by images of a Western girl missing in Tokyo. And when she becomes enamored of Kazu, a mysterious gangster, their affair sparks a chain of events that could spell tragedy for Margaret in a city where it’s all too easy to disappear. – Goodreads

Lost Girls and Love Hotels has a decent premise that explores Japan’s culture and nightlife. At the same time, the book is primarily about Margaret’s journey into this city. Moving between her present and her past, it pulls together the pieces of why she decided to go to Japan to be alone and the reason to escape her life. The novel is a fairly quick read (finished it in 2 days). It mostly has to do with the fact that everything is fairly concise and moves quickly from one event to the next. It moves through Margaret’s past quickly as well, jumping through her past in something like 2 year age progression and using one significant event between her and her brother Frank to portray their sibling and/or family relationship. Drawing a parallel with this is her present to be in Japan to be alone, a concept which outlines how “being alone isn’t about people” (I’m paraphrasing at best, I can’t remember the exact line). An interesting angle for sure as it does focus on Margaret’s trek through how she deals with her loneliness and how she fills up her own void through her nights with strangers at love hotels and her days at her uptight job that she doesn’t seem to take very seriously for the most part.

There are a few elements that is explored in the novel as a whole and everything does get touched on lightly. Which does progress the story quickly but at the same time, some of these elements feels like it could have benefited from having some more depth. Especially in terms of characters, it lacks in building up Margaret outside of the pieces of her past or constructing her decisions. Probably because it strays away from going too in-depth into any scene construction and simply leaving the space for the reader’s imagination. Its not a bad route at times but other times, it can feel a little empty. Much like Margaret, the people she meets and the emotional connection she has with them are also fairly shallow as well. Unlike the synopsis of the dangerous yakuza she meets Kazu, this relationship isn’t nearly as fleshed as it could be. Not in terms of the sexual elements but simply the connection that she has with him. At least not enough to support the extent that she goes and the “suffering” she ends up going through because of this.

Despite the shortcomings though, the setting itself and the pace of moving through the different scenes and the love hotel settings plus the nightlife all does feel very intriguing. The shortcoming from the character development is compensated by the overall structure of the novel which helps in being intrigued by how Margaret grew up and seeing what the deal with her brother is while moving in parallel with her life in Japan. The setting of Japan is portrayed fairly well while it intertwines the missing girl tangent that might not have been explored enough but still manages to bring in the thriller element as it becomes a question of whether she is missing and if so, whether the dangerous life she leads might take her down to some unfortunate endgame.

Goodreads score: 3/5 (its probably more of a 3.5)

In comparison to the film adaptation (you can check out the review HERE), Catherine Hanrahan also writes the screenplay however surprisingly, a lot of the events of the book right down to the characters and how certain elements are panned out are fairly jumbled together. There are pros and cons to either where some elements are done better in the book since it dives in Margaret’s past which the film doesn’t do and outlines her motives of being in Japan more while in terms of Kazu, the film does a better job of giving them a strong romantic connection but still not bringing in some of the elements of Kazu’s personal life that gets intertwined with Margaret which would endanger her. The film does also fall short when it comes to the missing girl plot point. Like I said, a lot of the film is the basic scenario and structure that stays the same but a lot of the events are executed differently which works in one way and doesn’t in some other way.

Blog Tour: Up The Creek by Alissa Grosso (Review/Giveaway)

Up The Creek (Culver Creek #1)
By: Alissa Grosso

Expected Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Supernatural Thriller

SYNOPSIS

An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.

Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.

In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.

How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.

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REVIEW

Being the first book for an upcoming series, Up the Creek sets a good foundation. Up The Creek is well-paced and executes the story back and forth between its characters. In this case, it involves 3 main characters: Caitlin Walker, her husband Lance Walker and the new detective in Culver Creek Sage Dorian, who has been hired to take a look at the cold case. As a thriller, it also is executed quite well to slowly give the reveal of what is the secret with Caitlin and Lance that links them to the disappearance of their child and the cold case. It also sets up the story so that the finale delivers a question that makes you think whether all this could have been avoided if one person’s decision had been different and whether some secrets are best exposed.

One of the best elements of Up The Creek is the character design/development. The three characters each have their own connection to the past that brings up some flashbacks and through various conversations with the new situation that comes up reveals their secrets little by little. With that said, the characters are fairly complexed and suitably so for a thriller. Caitlin’s secret is probably the easiest to piece together: the reason that she takes medication for her dreams and the quick reveal of her tendency for nightmares pieces together easily to see her deal. However, this ends up connecting to her young son Adam that eventually goes missing and no one truly knows who took him and what happened. Lance Walker is probably the character with the most secrets from what seems like every day habits to slowly see that he has a much stronger connection to the case. His character is actually rather fascinating as he unveils and everything comes into place. That leaves Sage Dorian which probably starts to feel like the balance for his part is a little smaller however he is a key part as he pulls the cold case with the new missing child case together. At a certain point at the end, it is fairly clear how it all pieces together however, there isn’t an issue for this character to draw the conclusions clearly. As a side note, while this isn’t mentioned but there seems to be one connection that probably will come into play at the end in future books as it may connect to Sage Dorian that wasn’t addressed.

As a first book of a series, Up The Creek leaves a lot to look forward to for future books set in Culver Creek. Already by the end, there still is the issue of Sage Dorian’s own family mystery that hasn’t been addressed yet and only mentioned that gives his character some foundation. Writing good thrillers are very difficult and something that I mention quite a bit. Up The Creek does a great job to make it both gripping and thrilling to watch from beginning to end with decent pacing and execution. Up The Creek is a great thriller and well worth a read.

Score: 4.5/5

Where to Buy
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. You can find out more about her and her books at AlissaGrosso.com.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card (Open to Everyone) Ends January 16th
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Blog Tour: The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel by K.T. Rose (Review)

We are thrilled to share this amazing new novel by K.T. Rose! The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel just proves that ghost stories are perfect any time of the year!

Read on for an exclusive peek and an amazing giveaway to enter!

The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel
By: K.T. Rose

Publication Date: November 5th, 2020
Genre: Supernatural Horror/Paranormal

SYNOPSIS

Pride and greed infect the soul, anchoring the dead to Gallagher Hotel.

When Chris, a master thief, and Riley, a contract waitress, get mysterious invites to an exclusive party at the haunted Gallagher Hotel, they discover that there is more at play than simple celebrations.

Hidden truths are revealed, and all hell breaks loose. But the “party” has just begun.

Now, Chris and Riley face their demons as they fight to survive a hellish nightmare full of spoiled secrets, carnage, and vengeful spirits lost to the hotel dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Will they survive the night? Or will their souls be devoured by the most haunted building in Michigan?

Add to Goodreads

EXCERPT

Chapter One

She’ll never forget the day she died.

Torches lit up the town square, illuminating scowling and shouting faces. The townspeople launched stones and spit, pegging Trudy’s arms and face as she trudged through the abhorrent mob. She cringed when a pebble struck her cheek. Pain erupted, shooting through her face like lightning striking the earth.

Deputy Hill yanked her arm, leading her through the narrow path the townspeople created. Fists balled, Trudy groaned as the rope around her wrists dug into her skin. Her bare feet picked up glass shards and debris from the cobblestone path as she shuffled along.

She glared around at the angry faces and recognized the men, women, and children of Holloway. She’d done more for them than any God before her. Many of those people owned the very businesses that lined the stone slab she marched across that night. Building and financing the rows of wooden businesses lining the town’s square accounted for half the things she’d done for Holloway. She fed the hungry, made clothes for cold children, and taught woman’s independence. The ever-growing list of the townspeople’s wants was endless. At one point, she didn’t mind the busy work. Fulfilling dreams of the once poor town kept her boisterous and distracted from her bitter reality. Trudy was Holloway’s personal shepherd, making the people her needy sheep.

Hands snagged at her lavender tea gown, adding dirty prints to the blood drops and grime from the beatings in that putrid cell. She glared at the bare-faced man towering over her. The brim of his deputy hat cast a thick shadow, hiding his dark eyes and pale face.

Deputy would miss her. She was sure of it. He got off on the assaults that bruised her face. His heavy fists pounded her bones and scraped her skin until she confessed. And even after her confession, he continued with his evening visits, slamming her body into cinder block walls and passing off open-handed blows to her nose, cheeks, and eyes.

Trudy sighed. A bath with lavender and Epsom salt sounded good for the swelling. She didn’t realize how bloated and purple her once beautiful, fairly smooth skin had become until she passed by the picture window in front of the town’s jail just before they began her walk of shame. Her dark hair matted to her forehead, washed by sweat and blood. Her plump lips were chapped and bloated with bruises.

Even then, her face pulsed with intense hurt. Pain shot through it whenever she winced.

The sea of convictions roared, growing louder as she drew closer to the opposite end of the square.

“Adulterer,” yelled a woman.

“Traitor,” screeched a boy.

“Murderer,” said a pot-bellied man.

Their accusations sent a sickening jolt through her bones. She watched the path underneath her slowing feet, fighting back the tears.

How could they turn on me like this?

REVIEW

The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel is a decent horror story packing in both elements of haunted house (well, in this case, its a hotel) and the ugly side of humans which is what gathers this “elite” group of invites for an overnight stay at Gallagher Hotel, a place not only known for being haunted but with a lot of history. The story itself follows some key characters, jumping between Riley, a woman specially requested to work there who has suffered quite a bit of loss; Chris, a young man who is part of a thief ring however wants to use this as his final job before leaving town and Trudy, the woman who haunts this hotel.

The story itself does pack a lot. There are a handful of characters which all have their own character build and past which determines why they were invited to the hotel. As each of their motives get revealed and perhaps their ugly side, its where the story is at its strongest especially since it reflects on how they essentially get ended. Those scenes are well-executed and in vivid description. However, the main characters do have these disjointed storylines jumping back and forth. It spends a lot of time with each of these characters separated from each other for most of the story however, its almost like a mystery as the group goes through their own visions that pop up to haunt them from their past. At the same time, Trudy’s storyline fills in the blanks with the history of what lead to her death and how she came to be haunting the hotel and how this world of evil works. The balance between executing the lore and the haunted house was where the pacing started to go off in the middle section.

With that said, the story itself blends bits and pieces from stories told mostly in movies and TV. The element of being invited in, a key book to the story, the hotel resembling that of The Shining, some haunted house elements that give off the vibe of that from the recent Haunting of Hill House. Its not a bad thing to pull certain elements and add their own twist. In fact, it has a certain level of creativity as all these elements and atmosphere do blend well together. Its more an observation than a criticism.

Overall, The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel is decent. Horror novels don’t normally scare me and this one wasn’t a pure horror novel. It has some horror elements from the death scenes and how that was described but it is mostly mild (of course, that differs to the reader but I do watch a lot of horror so my tolerance is fairly high). There are some pacing issues in the middle parts but if anything, this is a rather ambitious story as it does try to build its own lore and history to the hotel while adding in this group of characters and exploring their darker side.

Score: 3.5/5

Where to buy: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.

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What’s Up 2020: Week 47

Welcome to another Weekly recap! Week 47 friends! Its almost the end of 2020 and winter is definitely arrived for us as we’re snowing outside as this posts goes up! Its been a decent week overall. Sorting out a few things and finding time to do some other bits and pieces of stuff. Work is still a bit wild so I’m taking it easy on the blogging front so its been fair and few for posting schedule (which let’s admit is close to non-routine at this point). Let’s check it out!

READING

Currently reading: Wayward Kindred

I haven’t actually started it but I figured I needed something to cleanse my palate from reading novels so I wanted to check out my latest graphic novel addition from TO Comics that I had backed for Kickstarter. They always publish really awesome content but they had mentioned that COVID-19 has caused some potential issues so hopefully, it won’t be the end. I haven’t gone back to check on the news regarding the TO Comics situation. Excited to start this one up.

PLAYING

  • Typoman: Revised

We finished an entire game in one sitting on Saturday night which was crazy. Its been a while since we’ve done that. Typoman: Revised is a pretty fun platformer. Short and sweet for the most part. Its fairly straight-forward and plays with the use of battling with words. The words do get a little more repetitive by the end as to which to make but the final battle is about quick reflexes so that was pretty fun. I’ll get a review on Game Warp soon. Game Warp activity should be getting back soon with written reviews as our main focus and the podcast being discussion content but we are organizing schedule to make it all work out right now. Too many projects, too little time..haha!

WATCHING

  • Kevin Hart: Zero F**ks Given (2020)
  • Dumplin’ (2018)
  • Work It (2020)
  • The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)
  • The Crossing (2018)

This week has been pretty great on the watching front. A good pile of fun stuff. Kevin Hart’s latest Netflix Comedy special is very to the times as the audience is all wearing masks plus, its overall a fun time. Some bits worked a little less but that’s normal in any stand-up comedy show. I had a lot of laugh out loud moments so for me, that’s already pretty good.

On the movie front, there were some meh movies but I’ll talk about Princess Switch’s sequel for next month’s Christmas rundown. The movies that I’ve been watching on repeat a lot in the background or whatnot is Dumplin’ and The Crossing. Dumplin’ is a feel-good movie through and through and The Crossing is this indie Chinese film that is done so well. Every time I watch it, I see these subtle details that make it even better. Really awesome stuff! If anything, its made me really focus on hunting down some indie Chinese cinema. There seems to be a lot of hidden gems and some upcoming talent to discover.

BINGING

Currently binging: Meeting Mr. Right S3, You Are So Sweet, Professional Single, Walk Into Your Memory, Our Song S2, Sing or Spin S2, Detective College S3, Everybody Stand By S2, The Wolf, Nothing But Thirty

Everything I’m watching is fairly decent although I’m debating whether to finish Walk Into Your Memory right now as its starting to lose its appeal halfway through. Professional Single and You Are So Sweet are my faves as its really just sweet romances overall but Professional Single is ending soon so I figured I’d share that one since the pairing is really cute.

As for new series, I started up a ton of new things, the only two that will stay right now is The Wolf which was a surprise drop that came with a lot of news which is why it caught my attention. Plus, its the first series of Sean Xiao released after the dumb news stuff that happened in February 2020 which I believe might still be stirring up another wave of stupid, but hey, I support the guy since I don’t think the situation is his fault. This series has high potential to be those revenge and love stories which I might find frustrating. Right now, its still okay. We will see since Sean Xiao hasn’t even showed up yet. I’m hoping his existence will help since I’m really not enjoying the main actress’s acting style. Some issues but nothing detrimental just yet since its only 6 episodes in.

With that said, I decided to finally start Nothing But Thirty because that was the breakout series this year about three ladies in their 30s experiencing different things. It churned up a lot of talk and its been recommended to me so I figured that I’d check it out. I’ll report back when I get further whether I think its worth all the chat.

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 46

Its another week! And I finally remembered what day of the week it is! Improvements, right? Getting things back on track and trying to pull myself out of all this delayed posts that need to go up. Either way, this week was okay. I took things a little slower but its all moving forward gradually. Plus, its mid-November, which means I can start putting Christmas decorations in the house which making this gloomy autumn feel a little less gloomy.

Enough rambling, lets see what’s happening!

READING

  • Nothing Good Happens After Midnight (Review)

Currently reading: The Girl on the Train

After a huge reading frenzy for Nothing Good Happens After Midnight, I managed to get it up on time. Its a pretty decent book and definitely so because of the authors that was involved in all the stories compiled. I’ve only actually read one or two authors other works in this list but definitely going to look up some of their other books.

However, The Girl On The Train has been sitting around in the currently reading for a while so I’m going to work on finishing that. Once that’s done, 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge will be done and I can start surpassing it. I shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch though, right?

PLAYING

  • Double Kick Heroes

Currently playing: Numberzilla

Technically speaking, Double Kick Heroes is still something that I’m playing. I did finish up the second difficulty, Hard Rock and will working on some of the achievements. However, I’m on the 3rd difficulty Metal and I might have plateaued at one of the levels so I’m going to put it aside and start something else on PC soon while having it in the background as something to go back to. Double Kick Heroes is still a fun game. There’s some hidden achievements that will open up new levels that I’m aiming to do. For rhythm game lovers like myself, its a fun one especially since it packs the beat ’em up concept and zombies and metal. For a non-metal music listener typically, I liked a lot of its music.

As for right now, I’m playing Numberzilla on mobile. Surprisingly zen experience. It plays with matching numbers and a little simple addition to play through the puzzle. A fairly challenging sort of game seeing as I’ve only been able to clear the board once (or it might be just my own issue).

Still thinking about the next PC game to check out, I’ll check in with that next week.

WATCHING

  • The Reef (2010 rewatch, Review)
  • Robin Hood (2018)
  • Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia (2020)

A quiet movie watching week as I spent more time reading over the weekend and watching some TV and such. Either way, I did a rewatch for upcoming Season 6 production for Shark Week for Movies and Tea for The Reef. It’ll be a while before that gets released. Finally went back to finish up Michelle Buteau’s Netflix Comedy Special, Welcome to Buteaupia which was pretty good overall.

That leads up to the only new watch of the week making it no choice but to highlight it and that’s Robin Hood. It’s an alright movie. Its pretty much what is expected for this one. I had rented it as a cheap rental and it was going to expire so had to watch it. I do like the Robin Hood story and they shuffled it around a little. I couldn’t help but compare it to the Robin Hood segment for Once Upon a Time though, which feels like I probably shouldn’t…

BINGING

  • Dash + Lily (Season 1, 2020)
  • Love Signal S3 (2020)
  • The Journey Across The Night (2020)

Currently binging: Meeting Mr. Right S3, You Are So Sweet, Professional Single, Walk Into Your Memory, Our Song S2, Sing or Spin S2, Everybody Stand By 2

This week saw a few shows wrapping up. Love Signal Season 3 had its final episode where it had people from all three seasons showing up for a final little talk. I’m sure its a last minute arrangement due to issues with one of the candidates for Season 3 making them have to edit out a lot of content. At the same time, I also started up Dash + Lily on Netflix in preparation for December content. Its a fun series especially in COVID times where we can’t go anywhere and it goes on a little New York adventure.

However, my highlight goes to The Journey Across the Night which ended. The series itself is pretty good. I just thought maybe they ended it at a point where it could have gone on to more interesting premise. I’m hoping its all a plan to have a Season 2 but I don’t know. It has a focus on mental illness and the ending hints at this misunderstanding of this mental illness that takes on nice little twist. Either way, I’m going to do a TV binge on it at some point. Maybe clear out a bunch of this before the end of the year (which seems like it’ll arrive faster than I can imagine).

The only new addition this week would have to be starting up a drama that was released earlier this year called Walk Into Your Memory also starring Eden Zhao in You Are So Sweet. I have to say that I still like it using his own voice instead of being dubbed. Either way, we will see how both pans out. I can’t say I’m really engaged in Walk Into Your Memory so its something of a filler series right now.

That’s it for Week 46 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Blog Tour: Nothing Good Happens After Midnight (Review/Giveaway)

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Anthology
Publisher: Suspense Magazine

The sun sets. The moon takes its place, illuminating the most evil corners of the planet. What twisted fear dwells in that blackness? What legends attach to those of sound mind and make them go crazy in the bright light of day? Only Suspense Magazine knows…

Teaming up with New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, Suspense Magazine offers up a nail-biting anthology titled: “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight.” This thrilling collection consists of thirteen original short stories representing the genres of suspense/thriller, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, and more.

Readers’ favorites come together to explore the mystery of midnight. The ‘best of the best’ presenting these memorable tales include: Joseph Badal, Linwood Barclay, Rhys Bowen, Heather Graham, Alan Jacobson, Paul Kemprecos, Shannon Kirk, Jon Land, John Lescroart, D. P. Lyle, Kevin O’Brien, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Take their hands…walk into their worlds…but be prepared to leave the light on when you’re through. After all, this incredible gathering of authors, who will delight fans of all genres, not only utilized their

award-winning imaginations to answer that age-old question of why “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight”—they also made sure to pen stories that will leave you…speechless.

“NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT is a treat—dark, chilling, and delicious. Grab it.” —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-Winning Author of The Dark Corners of the Night

“Something very good happens after midnight…just pick up this brilliant book and be transported—and very afraid!” —Peter James, UK #1 Bestselling Author of the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Series

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REVIEW

Anthologies are a great way for authors to share some short stories and to show off their writing style. With any anthologies, its always a bit of a mixed bag. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight is also somewhat of a mixed bag however as a lot of the writers are much more experienced, they all showcase an array of suspenseful stories that have rather good premises. The stories offer a different set of characters that range in age and the context which gives it a different setting and spin showing off each of the author’s different approach to their writing and story ideas. Across 13 stories from 13 different authors, there is quite a lot of creative ideas. Overall, its a rather enjoyable read.

As with any anthology, there are its own standouts. This will be probably different for each reader. For myself, the standouts are the stories that are more memorable than the others whether on story structure/execution preference or decent angle or the characters itself as well as the ideas all coming together along with a good setting. The first that comes to mind is Easy Peasey by John Lescroart which structures its story in an engaging way about a home invasion plot and jumps from one point of view to the next via its different characters and their different intentions. Night Shift by Linwood Barclay is a type of story that plays on a call that turns into a “negotiation” sort of deal as the characters work with police to try to talk a man out of their killing spree plans all culminating to a fantastic ending (the type of ending that I particularly enjoy).

Midnight in the Garden of Death by Heather Graham, A Creative Defense by Jeffery Deaver and All Aboard by Hank Phillippi Ryan also craft some brilliant stories. The first one crafts a story in a great setting, the second takes a fantastic musical angle of a musical piece that has the power of hynopsis and the third is set on a train as someone overhears a phone conversation. The final story of the anthology called ATM by Jon Land is also a decent one mostly for its unique angle of taking it on a suspenseful route but having a different approach.

A rather successful compilation of short stories in this anthology. While I listed six of the thirteen stories as more memorable. The others not mentioned are also fairly decent. Perhaps the only one that didn’t appeal to myself as much was the first short story since it felt a little familiar. Overall, a fun little suspense anthology. For a fan of suspense stories, this one fulfills.

Score: 4 out of 5

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JEFFERY DEAVER is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages. He has served two terms as president of Mystery Writers of America.

The author of forty-three novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards. His THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller THE BROKEN WINDOW and a stand-alone, EDGE, were also nominated for that prize. THE GARDEN OF BEASTS won the Steel Dagger from the Crime Writers Association in England. He’s been nominated for eight Edgar Awards.

Deaver has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Strand Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award in Italy.

His book A MAIDEN’S GRAVE was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel THE BONE COLLECTOR was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Lifetime aired an adaptation of his THE DEVIL’S TEARDROP. NBC television is airing the popular prime time series, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.

His latest novel is THE GOODBYE MAN, a Colter Shaw thriller.

Website

Author Bios

JOSEPH BADAL grew up in a family where storytelling had been passed down from generation to generation.

Prior to a long business career, Joe served for six years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army in critical, highly classified positions in the U.S. and overseas, including tours of duty in Greece and Vietnam, and earned numerous military decorations.

Joe is an Amazon #1 bestselling author, with 16 published suspense novels. He has been recognized as “One of The 50 Best Writers You Should Be Reading.” His books have received two Tony Hillerman Awards for Best Fiction Book of the Year, been top prize winners on multiple occasions in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards competition, received gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America, the Eric Hoffer Award, and Finalist honors in the International Book Awards.

He writes a regular column titled “Inspired by Actual Events” in Suspense Magazine.

To learn more, visit his website at http://www.JosephBadalBooks.com.

LINWOOD BARCLAY, a New York Times bestselling author and with nearly twenty novels to his credit, spent three decades in newspapers before turning full time to writing thrillers. His books have been translated into more than two dozen language, sold millions of copies, and he counts Stephen King among his fans. Many of his books have been optioned for film and TV, a series has been made in France, and he wrote the screenplay for the film based on his novel NEVER SAW IT COMING. Born in the US, his parents moved to Canada just as he was turning four, and he’s lived there ever since. He lives near Toronto with his wife, Neetha. They have two grown children.

RHYS BOWEN is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of two historical mystery series, as well as three internationally bestselling standalone novels. Her books have won multiple awards and been translated into over twenty languages. A transplanted Brit, Rhys now divides her time between California and Arizona, where she escapes from those harsh California winters.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, HEATHER GRAHAM, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas family fare.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty-five languages. She has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from booksellers and writers’ organizations for excellence in her work, and she is also proud to be a recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers and was also awarded the prestigious Thriller Master in 2016. She is also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from RWA. Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.

Heather loves travel and anything that has to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves ballroom dancing. Each year she hosts the Vampire Ball and Dinner theater at the RT convention, raising money for the Pediatric Aids Society, and in 2006 she hosted the first Writers for New Orleans Workshop to benefit the stricken Gulf Region. She is also the founder of “The Slush Pile Players,” presenting something that’s “almost like entertainment” for various conferences and benefits. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.

ALAN JACOBSON is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fourteen thrillers, including the FBI profiler Karen Vail series and the OPSIG Team Black novels. His books have been translated internationally and several have been optioned by Hollywood. Jacobson’s debut novel, FALSE ACCUSATIONS, was adapted to film by acclaimed Czech screenwriter Jirí Hubac.

Jacobson has spent over twenty-five years working with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the DEA, the US Marshals Service, SWAT, the NYPD, Scotland Yard, local law enforcement, and the US military. This research and the breadth of his contacts help bring depth and realism to his characters and stories.

For video interviews and a free personal safety eBook co-authored by Alan Jacobson and FBI Profiler Mark Safarik, please visit http://www.AlanJacobson.com. You can also connect with Jacobson on Facebook (Facebook.com/AlanJacobsonFans), Instagram (alan.jacobson), Twitter (@JacobsonAlan), and Goodreads (alan-jacobson).

PAUL KEMPRECOS is the author of eight novels in the Aristotle “Soc” Socarides private detective series, including COOL BLUE TOMB, winner of a Shamus award from the Private Eye Writers of America for Best Paperback, and SHARK BAIT, nominated for a Shamus in the same category. Grandmaster of Adventure writer Clive Cussler blurbed: “There can be no better mystery writer in America than Paul Kemprecos.” Paul became the first fiction co-author to work with Cussler when they created and wrote the New York Times bestselling NUMA Files series. After collaborating with Cussler on the first eight books in the NUMA Files, Paul wrote two adventure novels including THE MINOAN CIPHER, nominated for a Thriller award by the International Thriller Writers. Paul lives on Cape Cod with his wife Christi, a financial advisor.

To learn more about Paul Kemprecos, check out his website at http://www.paulkemprecos.com.

SHANNON KIRK is the international bestselling and award-winning author of METHOD 15/33, THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF VIVIENNE MARSHALL, IN THE VINES, GRETCHEN, VIEBURY GROVE, and short stories in four anthologies: THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD, NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT, and BORDER NOIR. Shannon is also a contributor to the International Thriller Writers’ Murderers’ Row. Growing up in New Hampshire, Shannon and her brothers were encouraged by their parents to pursue the arts, which instilled in her a love for writing at a young age. A graduate of Suffolk Law School in Massachusetts, Shannon is a practicing litigation attorney and former adjunct law professor, specializing in electronic-evidence law. When she isn’t writing or practicing law, Shannon spends time with her husband, son, and two cats. To learn more about her, visit http://www.shannonkirkbooks.com.

JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 books, including the award-winning, critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which is STRONG FROM THE HEART. He has also penned six novels in the MURDER, SHE WROTE series and has recently taken over Margaret

Truman’s CAPITAL CRIMES series as well. He’s a 1979 graduate of Brown University, lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and can be reached at jonlandbooks.com or on Twitter @jondland.

JOHN LESCROART is the author of twenty-nine novels, nineteen of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Libraries Unlimited places him among “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors.” With sales of over twelve million copies, his books have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies.

John’s first book, SUNBURN, won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award for Best Novel by a California author. DEAD IRISH, THE 13TH JUROR, and THE KEEPER were nominees for the Shamus, Anthony, and Silver Falchion Best Mystery Novel, respectively; additionally THE 13TH JUROR is included in the International Thriller Writers publication “100 Must-Read Thrillers of All Time.” HARD EVIDENCE made “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.” THE SUSPECT was the American Author’s Association 2007 Book of the Year. THE MOTIVE was an Audie Finalist of the Audio Publishers Association. THE MERCY RULE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, THE SUSPECT, THE FALL, and THE RULE OF LAW have been major market Book Club selections. John’s books have been Main Selections of one or more of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Book of the Month Club.

P. LYLE is the Amazon #1 Bestselling; Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Award-winning; and Edgar(2), Agatha, Anthony, Shamus, Scribe, and USA Today Best Book(2) Award-nominated author of 22 books, both non-fiction and fiction, including the Samantha Cody, Dub Walker, Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series and the Royal Pains media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS, his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER, and his short story “Bottom Line” in FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME. He served as editor for and contributed the short story “Splash” to SCWA’s anthology IT’S ALL IN THE STORY.

He hosts the Crime Fiction Writer’s Blog and the Criminal Mischief: The Art and Science of Crime Fiction podcast series. He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.

Learn more at http://www.dplylemd.com.

Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times bestseller list, KEVIN O’BRIEN was a railroad inspector. The author of 21 internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery, and is a core member of Seattle 7 Writers. Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin’s latest nail-biter is THE BAD SISTER.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, winning 37 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. A USA Today bestselling author of 12 thrillers, Ryan’s also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her “a master of suspense.” Her highly-acclaimed TRUST ME was an Agatha nominee and chosen for numerous prestigious “Best of 2018” lists. Hank’s book THE MURDER LIST is an Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee. Her newest standalone is THE FIRST TO LIE (Forge Books August 2020). The Publishers Weekly starred review calls it “Stellar.”

Publisher:

SUSPENSE MAGAZINE was founded in 2007 on the premise that every author in the genre needed a platform to have a voice. From that original concept, Suspense Publishing was born in 2010 to publish high quality books in the suspense/mystery/horror/thriller genre. Suspense Publishing’s goal is to be a leader in producing the highest quality books in the genre.

Website

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November 16th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)
I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight)
Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Review)
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November 17th

Jessica Belmont (Review)
Meli’s Book Reviews (Review)
@the.b00kreadser (Review)
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Horror Tree (Guest Post)
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What Emma Did Next (Review)

November 19th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight)
Bonnie Reads & Writes (Review)
Book Review Crew (Review)
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November 20th

@BrendaJeanCombs (Spotlight)
@52weekswithbooks (Review)
The Faerie Review (Review)
@thecrookedhouse (Review)

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What’s Up 2020: Week 43

Another week is upon us. This past week was rather unproductive in a lot of regards since its two film festivals are going to overlap so I’m in preparation mode to try to get ahead which has proven to be a little less productive than I’d like. Let’s check it out!

READING

Currently reading: The Girl on the Train

No progress in reading. I really wanted to but just didn’t get around to it. I’m not going to say anything for this right now since progress should be minimal for at least another week or two.

PLAYING

Currently playing: Double Kick Heroes

Took a little moment as a palate cleanser and to brush off some writer’s block to play Double Kick Heroes. Its been something that I’ve been meaning to do since its full release. I started back up from lower difficulty since I hadn’t played a long time plus started the game from the beginning because I realized that the progress I made in demo didn’t really translate into achievements. Its definitely more polished and I’m really enjoying it a lot (just as much as when I played it in early access phase).

WATCHING

Caught in the Net
  • Sin La Habana (2020)
  • Slender Man (2018, Review)
  • Drowsy City (2019, Review)
  • The Tremor (2020, Review)
  • Caught in the Net (2020, Review)
  • Truth or Dare (2017, Review)
  • Truth or Dare: Extended Director’s Cut (2018, Review)
  • Cocoon (2020)
  • Anything For Jackson (2020)
  • The Book of Vision (2020)

Technically I still have a whole 10 to 15 short films that I also watched during the weekend but its a bit intense so I left it out. Not a whole lot of difference from the last week as trying to power through Festival du Nouveau Cinema (which is still not as optimal progress as I’d like), still working through 31 Days of Horror/Halloween and started working on the Blood in the Snow Festival coverage. Its taking a little longer than usual and I’m pretty much behind but I will find some way to catch back up with everything. At least as of today, I’m only one day behind for 31 Days of Horror and that’s the most pressing.

A few movies that I wanted to highlight this week especially the Festival du Nouveau Cinema. I don’t usually highlight documentaries but Caught in the Net really shocked me a lot. At the same time, I really do need to mention coming of age film Cocoon and horror movie Anything For Jackson which both are quite impressive also. I do want to add that The Book of Vision is a beautiful movie but I will talk more about it in the review as I need a day or two extra to figure it all out in my mind about what I watched.

BINGING

  • Unsolved Mysteries (Volume 2, 2020)

Currently binging: Perfect and Casual, Our Song 2, Professional Single, Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, The Journey Across The Night, Meeting Mr. Right: Season 2

We are big fans of Unsolved Mysteries Volume 1 on Netflix (review) so its not surprise that we got onto watching Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2 the weekend after its release. I had started watching it a little before on my own. There are some very good cases to look at. At the same time, there are always some that stand out more than the others. Actually in this case, my husband and I actually had opposite feelings about one case in particular.

Perfect and Casual and The Journey Across the Night will both be in the last week or two. Our Song 2 has been pairing up some good stuff. The B group included some powerhouse singers like Coco Lee, G.E.M.,Jordan Chan Yunlong Zheng, a few that I really do like quite a lot. Professional Single is quickly becoming a series that I love a ton. The new addition this week is the prelude episode to kick of Meeting Mr. Right: Season 3 which includes Elva Hsiao and her boyfriend which seems like an interesting one. One thing that the pandemic has done is pull a lot of these people that previously didn’t do variety/reality shows to pop up in more places.

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 42

Time is just flying by, right? I feel like I start off this segment the same way every week. I just happen to need more time in a day to get everything done (and maybe an energy boost with all the gloomy rainy weather this week). Either way, Festival du Nouveau Cinema is still going on until the end of October and I’m trying to work super hard (which is not going quite as planned) in order to start getting ready for the next festival coverage. Regardless, let’s check out the week!

READING

Currently reading: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Just cracked open a new book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while. The Girl On The Train is one that I’ve been wanting to read. I literally just opened the book so haven’t really gotten really far. Not much to say at this point.

PLAYING

  • Detective S

I had wanted to play this game Detective S but its one of those fake free games where it gives you the first case for free and then tries to get you to unlock the rest by buying in-game stuff without any way to unlock it for free. The game is really a mystery case solved by find the difference mini-games.

WATCHING

  • The Edge of Seventeen (2017 rewatch, Review)
  • Siberia (2020, Review)
  • Violation (2020, Review)
  • The Bridge Curse (2020, Review)
  • Wish Upon (2017)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
  • My Salinger Year (2020)
  • Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
  • Kill It and Leave This Town (2020)
  • XX (2017)

Some rentals, some prep for Movies and Tea, some Halloween movie marathon picks and of course, FNC watches: There’s some pretty good movies that I had to decide between. Violation is a really good one that I liked quite a bit and the horror anthologies were pretty good as well but that double feature is coming up really soon. Jumanji: The Next Level was pretty on par to nice fun and entertainment, exactly what I needed to cut through all the more serious or horror picks this past week. However, the highlight of this week goes to My Salinger Year which was a lovely little story that played a little like The Devil Wears Prada but in the literary agent/publishing world.

BINGING

perfect and casual

Currently binging: Perfect and Casual, The Journey Across The Night, Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, Our Song 2

Nothing that wrapped up this week. I did rewatch Julie and the Phantoms quite a bit as background whenever I was writing so I didn’t add it in since that doesn’t really count. I have to get a TV binge for that one done soon.

Some new additions of the currently binging like Perfect and Casual which is my highlight this week and Our Song 2 which is also quite good since this season they found some great singers to join in like Joey Yung, Alan Tam, Kenny Bee and Jeff Chang as well as some good younger generation to pair with them that were great like recently Bonbon 303 centre Curley Gao and Tai Yi which were the two that I knew from before.

Perfect and Casual was my actual binge this week as I caught up with 3 weeks of episodes or something. I love the actor Miles Wei and he’s been mostly doing supporting or 2nd male leads but this time, he has the 1st male lead and I’m all for it. Its such a cute chemistry between the two plus I really hope this is successful and he gets more first lead roles in other TV series.

That’s it for this week’s What’s Up!
I’m falling a bit behind on everything so hoping to catch up in the coming week! Fingers crossed!
What have you been watching/reading/binging/playing?