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 28

Another week has gone by! I do apologize in advance for the lack of the posts the last few days. I’ve been occupied with some other obligations and preparing to go back to the office as work from home phase ends. Real life took over writing. However, last week was pretty efficient and did have some nice progress some way or another.

READING

and then we vanish

Currently reading: And Then We Vanish

I’m still working on this book. I took a little break from reading so progress is not a whole lot of difference to last week’s. Its intriguing so far but I’m still way too early to say much more about it.

PLAYING

gorogoa

Currently playing: Gorogoa & Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions

I’m still gaming sporadically as this past weekend also saw some gaming conferences like Devolver Digital and Ubisoft Forward. I got in some Gorogoa in and moved the plot forward a little. Its such a clever game of moving the pieces and getting them to work together properly. Glass Masquerade 2 is my relaxing end of the day or morning game. Its a nice little break. I picked up the 2 DLCs right before the Steam Summer Sale ended which was pretty good since I also wrapped up the main game and will start working on the DLCs soon.

MOVIES

doctor sleep

  • Doctor Sleep (2019)
  • Matilda (1996)
  • The Net (1995)
  • 3615 Code Pere Noel (1989)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

Between working on the double features, getting some rentals watched and then preparing for a blogathon entry, my movies watch list looks rather impressive, right? To be fair, I caught up with some older movies like Matilda and The Net that has been on my to-watch list forever. Christmas In July Blogathon over on Drew’s Movie Reviews is happening again this year and I chose to do a double feature piece and its fairly obvious which two titles above were my picks. 3615 Code Pere Noel was a great alternate Christmas movie though but my highlight of the week goes to Doctor Sleep that was such an awesome watch. It gets more and more awesome the more that I think about it and then the more that I think about it, the more I want to read The Shining because I feel like the movie was missing so much of its actual nature that Doctor Sleep dove into, plus, I own the Doctor Sleep novel but haven’t read it because I never read The Shining.

BINGING

you are my destiny

  • You Are My Destiny (2020)

Currently binging: Little Forest, Viva La Romance 4, Rap Star, Woof Meow Story, We Are Young, Great Escape 2, Yes I Do 2, Love Designer, We Are Blazing, Gagman, Let’s Sacalaca, The Coming One: SuperBand

It seems my currently binging list keeps expanding while the shows ending are just too little. I’ve actually ended up watching mostly variety shows at this point which are all currently airing so its only one episode a week which looks like a lot but in reality, its not all that bad. New to the group is Gagman (a show to find the best comedian/variety show host), Let’s Sacalaca (a show about celebrities running a surf shop) and The Coming One: SuperBand (Season 4 of The Coming One focused on creating a 5 person band).

You are My Destiny finally ended and boy, do I want to talk about this one? Being a remake of a Taiwanese series is hard stuff especially one of the series starring the talent Joe Chen and one that was super popular. I had caught up with the series last year and rewatched it earlier this year and did a TV binge HERE. This remake has its moments and then it also has its fair share of issues. Not quite as successful of a remake as 2018’s Meteor Garden and this one was only 30 episodes instead of MG’s 50 episodes.

Either way, I have a line-up of back log TV binges to do so we’ll get to this one soon. Plus, I’m brainstorming a new little project (like I need another one, right?) but stuck on a title for it so if that comes together, I’ll make an actual announcement and if its in this section, obviously, its TV-related.

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 27

Another week has flown by. We passed the half of the year of 2020 point and head into July which as usual, its pretty much another heat wave.

READING

The Memories We Bury

  • The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel (Review)

As I’ve been reading on rush mode for the last little while, I finished up The Memories We Bury and took a few days off to catch up. The review for The Memories We Bury is already up for the blog tour last week. You can go check out the review. H. A. Leuschel has a really nice angle whenever she writes her thrillers especially in crafting her characters.

PLAYING

gorogoa

Currently playing: Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions, Gorogoa

I’m still working on the Glass Masquerade 2 game. However, I needed a little change in pace so started another puzzle game with a little more story line. Gorogoa has been on my to-play list since its release. I’ve played 2 chapters of the game so far and its been impressive. Its all about moving the pieces around to create doorways and other interactions to move the story forward and move the character to its next area. Its incredibly clever.

WATCHING

charlie's angels

  • The Meg (2018 rewatch, Review)
  • Charlie’s Angels (2019)
  • Maniac (1980)

I took it a little easier on the movie watching element. There’s been a bit of backlog and some rentals to review before they fade from my memory. However, in all this, I had the urge to rewatch The Meg. Its still as fun as I remember it being. The movie that I’d like to highlight is one that surprised me and that’s Charlie’s Angels. I wasn’t a big fan of the old one but this one was a lot of fun and in many ways, its very Elizabeth Banks and that works for me. Its not some masterpiece but very entertaining. I’m working on a double feature soon so I’m not going to talk too much about it here.

BINGING

Chuang 2020

  • Go Fridge 6 (Season 6, 2020)
  • Produce Camp 2020

Currently binging: Twogether, Wonderful Little Forest, Viva La Romance 4, Rap Star, We Are Blazing, Woof Meow Story, We Are Young, Great Escape 2, Yes I Do 2, You Are My Destiny, Love Designer

Produce Camp 2020 (aka Chuang 2020) had Katy Perry sharing her song, Daisies for their final performance which is pretty awesome. The final episode created the 7 girl group “Bon Bon 303”. There wasn’t a huge change in the rankings in general so it wasn’t exactly surprising. I’m a bit disappointed that more people didn’t vote for one or two of the girls in lower rankings as it would have given the group a unique flare. Right now, it feels very balanced in terms of vocals and dancers but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like it will stand out as much (especially in comparison to the former girl group from Tencent Rocket Girls 101).

With that said, two new shows on the list. The first is Season 2 of Mango TV’s Great Escape. Half the team of Season 1 is back (with a few that I wonder whether one or two will be back since they had a message about being in isolation) but the new members are pretty fun and they are using other actors/actresses as NPC in the escape room, which is pretty fun. The other show is Love Designer (which had another name before) and its drama with Dilraba Dilmurat and Johnny Huang. I’m about halfway through and its alright.

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

Blog Tour: The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel

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From June 29th to July 5th, you can purchase her book for ONLY $0.99 on Amazon! You can also try to win a digital copy of The Memories We Bury by entering the giveaway below!

The Memories We Bury
By: H.A. Leuschel

The Memories We Bury

Publication Date: April 17, 2020
Genre: Contemporary/Psychological Suspense

SYNOPSIS

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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REVIEW

The Memories We Bury is a psychological sort of novel that alternates between the first person narrative of its two main characters: Lizzie, a new mother and her elderly neighbor, Morag who has a strong desire to be needed and control and views this opportunity to be a chance to nurture another child. The first person narration style gives these two characters a slowly building development and very much suited as in many ways, this story is something of a character study, especially in terms of Morag who gradually reveals the reason why her children have left her and the other secrets that others have hinted at but never mentioned as it builds up to the big finale where she truly oversteps. On the other hand, Lizzie’s side of the story is much more about motherhood and the suspense behind her suspicions of Morag and her intentions. As their friendship develops over the course of the story, the dynamic changes and it moves between control and manipulation. In that regard, both of the characters are very well-written.

The flow of the story is probably one of the elements that is much  more of a slow-burn. Just like the chapters move through a timeline to give an idea of the progression of time, which didn’t really impact my own reading experience too much. The story unravels very slowly. It could definitely have been paced a little better. As mentioned before, the characters did need the time and events to develop however, it did also feel like it dragged on a little in the middle bits between the beginning build-up which was intriguing to introduce and set-up the two characters and the big climax that was quite scary and shocking overall.

Overall, The Memories We Bury keeps in line with the strong psychological elements of H.A. Heurschel stories. Much like some of the previous works that I’ve read, this one also delivers with another completely different sort of relationship as it jumps into the topic of motherhood as well as friendship. The characters are intriguing to watch and even manages to add a little uncertainty at the end. Its an impressive way to end the story which leaves a little space to contemplate.

Score: 3.5/5

Where to buy: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo - Helene edited

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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Digital Copy of Book

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

June 29th

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales
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Rajiv’s Reviews (Review) https://www.rajivsreviews.com/
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June 30th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Libroum in Sepiternum (Review) http://libroruminsempiternumhome.wordpress.com

July 1st

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/
My Comic Relief (Review) https://mycomicrelief.wordpress.com/
Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

July 2nd

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com
Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com
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July 3rd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
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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?

Blog Tour: Forgotten Magic (Magic Underground Anthology #3) [Excerpt/Giveaway]

Welcome to the blog tour for the final installment from the Magic Underground trilogy, Forgotten Magic! Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a paperback copy of the book!

Forgotten Magic (Magic Underground #3)

Forgotten Magic

Publication Date: May 2020
Genre: Anthology/Fantasy/Magic
Publisher: Magical Mayhem Press

SYNOPSIS

For the last time, these heroes, witches, wizards, vikings and more will put it all on the line. No quest is too dangerous. No monster be it a dragon or something cuddlier with teeth is off-limits in the epic conclusion to the Magic Underground Trilogy. Stay tuned for details.

Add to Goodreads

EXCERPT

Excerpt: The Ones Who Choose by C. S. Johnson

Before I’d left to return home, Ai started talking to me about the Bloodmagic.

After I’d rescued him from the tower, I had taken him down to the caves. I’d settled him in one as best as I could, and then faced the cave entrance, keeping a lookout for Aiden. I was more concerned for Aidan at first; I didn’t know if he was coming or not. There was a good chance that when Ai was taken, the Community Elders would find a way to keep everyone in the tower until they had answers. As much as we were both in this together, I didn’t know what to expect now that we’d accomplished something this big.

But as Ai kept talking to me, and considering his talk of condemnation, I began to ask Ai questions. It didn’t take us long to talk about Bloodmagic.

“Bloodmagic is their word for the sacrifice,” Ai said.

“What?” My head snapped to look at him, as if to make sure he wasn’t trying to fool me. Instantly, I regretted my action, seeing his mangled body and the sad condition it was in. That was part of the reason I’d offered to stand watch in the caves, keeping my focus on the entrance. While I did not want the Community Elders to find us, and although I was watching for Aidan, I did not want to look at Ai too much. He made me feel uncomfortable.

Ai slumped beside me, looking out toward the cave entrance. The last of the sunlight was gone, and the temperature dropped. Ai did not seem to notice, even if he was nearly naked, with only a thin cloth around his loins.

“They call humanity’s curse ‘Bloodmagic,’” Ai said. “That is their name for it. I don’t think they like to think about it much.”

“If this is why you’ve been hurt, they probably don’t like to think of it,” I said. I glanced at him quickly, before reverting my eyes back to the cave entrance. “This is terrible.”

“It is,” Ai agreed. “But it is like I told you before. All of my suffering is your suffering.”

“That’s not right.”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I have been alive for nearly a century, thanks to the Bloodmagic, and this is just the way things are. That is why I would prefer that you return me to my tower room.”

“What?” I gasped at the remark. “No. Why would you want that?”

“The Community won’t survive long, Skyla,” Ai said. “Without the Bloodmagic Covenant, the full effects of suffering will return to your friends and family swiftly and mercilessly. They will suffer, and in their suffering, they will make others suffer more. They might even begin to enjoy hurting others if we don’t hurry.”

“But you will suffer if you return,” I said. “And I will make you suffer, too. I don’t want that. Can’t something else be done about the Bloodmagic?”

“There is nothing that can be done about human nature,” Ai said quietly. “We are prone to self-destruction, and we live in a world where pain and suffering are constants. All the countries and nations of the world have wrestled with this question, and in the end, all of the pain still exists. Many tried to fix the problem and only made it worse.

“So they decided to try something else. And it works.” He reached up and touched the shard on his forehead, the one what was darkening along with the sky. “If I am not returned, the suffering will only increase, and you will see people at their very worst. Every evil, selfish, and ignorant thought will manifest into danger and disaster. I’ve been able to hold off their degeneracy for a long time, and without me, they will exponentially become violent and careless.”

“Surely we still have some more time to stop them.” I put my hands together, trying to think of something else. “Maybe it is a matter of education. The adults here are smart. They’ll be able learn how to deal with the pains our Community has.”

Ai shook his head. “You don’t understand,” he said with a sad sigh. “But you will, once you see it. You must promise me you will not forget me when you do, or you could be at risk, too.”

From that moment, we lapsed into silence, and I was grateful.

I shivered as we sat there, but I didn’t think it was because of the chill in the air.

Purchase Link: Amazon

AUTHOR LIST

Melinda Kucsera
Joynell Schultz
Lee French
H.B. Lyne
Raven Oak
L.C. Ireland
Alesha Escobar
Tiffany Shand
C.S. Johnson
Anela Deen
Erik Kort
Devorah Fox
Stephen Wallace
Gwendolyn Woodschild
Leah W. Van Dinther
Barbara Letson
C.K. Rieke
William C. Cronk
Majanka Verstraete
Toasha Jiordano
H.M. Jones
Krista Ames
A.R. Johnston

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Print copy of the book
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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

June 1st

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Tranquil Dreams (Spotlight) https://klling.wordpress.com/
Lunarian Press (Review) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

June 2nd

C. Vonzale Lewis (Spotlight) https://cvonzalelewis.com/index.php/blog/
Crystal’s Book World (Spotlight) http://crystalsbookworld.wordpress.com
Jennifer Mitchel, Bibliolater (Spotlight) https://www.jennifermitchellbooks.com
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June 3rd

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news
Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

June 4th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
Carrie’s Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Indies Reviews (Spotlight) http://indieproreview.blogspot.com/
Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
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The Cozy Pages (Spotlight) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/
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June 5th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/
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Lecari’s Live Journal (Review) http://www.lecari.co.uk

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To Wake The Dead (The Dead Dreamer #2) by Sarah Lampkin

Review for To Dream is To Die, Book 1 of The Dead Dreamer Series HERE

To Wake The Dead
(Dead Dreamer #2)
By: Sarah Lampkin

to wake the dead

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.

The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely. – Goodreads

To Wake The Dead is the second book in The Dead Dreamer Series. The story picks up a few months after the events of the first book as university resumes again for Brenna. As a sequel, the story itself fully utilizes the foundation of the first one and builds from those events. However, its more of a second level deal. In the first book, it showed more of the general world of how the alternate plane, Fade would work and the different roles of Dead Dreams, Watcher, the Gatekeepers and more. The story goes further this time as it picks up those pieces and drives it towards something with a deeper scheme with even more characters and other elements involved and some more mysteries. It all says a lot to the entire world building for the premise itself and its incredibly well thought out as more factors come into play.

The characters are mostly the same as before. To Wake The Dead is in first person narration by its star Dead Dreamer, Brenna who tries to navigate the situation. What really builds on her character is that its not only a “battle” with the outside dangers in the Fade and the Gatekeepers but at the same time, its a battle with herself, the whole soul and spirit fight makes for a lot of the intrigue as her inner person, Maura, speaks up once in a while and then also has its danger elements. These unknown moments creates for changes in her mood and unexpected results of different severity and show of abilities that were unseen before. There’s a constant changing element presented each time and it makes Brenna become an intriguing character to follow in her adventures. Of course, it helps that her friends, Aeria and Damon also have a great part as they also get pulled deeper into the equation. The three actually find a balance in their characters especially with the banter between Damon and Brenna (which started off in the first book) and these situations that come up in the story also create some tension as expected.

Overall, To Wake The Dead is a very decent sequel. There’s more depth in world building, plot development and character development. The story does start off a little slower than the first book therefore, pacing at the beginning dragged just a little bit to set up the new situation. Once things started moving again, it was an engaging read. Solid sequel and can’t wait for the next book!

Score: 4 out of 5

What’s Up 2020: Week 21

Welcome to What’s Up weekly recap of Week 21 of 2020! Last week was somehow very busy or perhaps, its just that I had some writing slump as I’m trying to push through some TV binges and they take a little more writing motivation. Either way, it seems balance is the hardest to achieve in these categories on a weekly basis. This time, I’ve managed to get more reading during the week and now, movie watching is decreasing. I’ll talk more about it all in the different parts below!

READING

to wake the dead

Currently reading: To Wake the Dead

I’ve been working hard on reading To Wake the Dead. So far, I’m almost halfway through the book and its been a pretty fun read. I can’t say that I’m quite as enamored with it as I was in the first book at the moment but its still a solid sequel. There’s still half a book to go and I’m in a semi crunch time to start up the next book so you should be seeing a review for this one sooner rather than later!

It sure feels nice to get back into some morning or evening reading time! Its been actually rather motivating and a nice change in pace to not stare at the PC monitor all day.

PLAYING

Color Spots

  • Color Spots

Currently playing: Orwell, M.O.N.I.T.O.R.

Steam released their Spring Cleaning Event so I’ve been playing around their suggested games. After a little bit of a back and forth on what to review for the next Game Warp, we finally decided on Orwell and that’s what I’ve been playing lately. Its very weird because the event queued up a bunch of surveillance style games on my list including the free game MONITOR that I’ve played less than an hour of before it got hit with a bug that froze it (probably before a save point but I’m scared to go look to find out that I have to replay the section) so I had to shut it down.

On a fun note, I don’t finish a lot of mobile games unless its story-based but Color Spots has 100 levels of main game and 9 extra levels and I actually was having so much fun with this one that I finished all 100 levels and working through the bonus levels right now. I’d say that’s as close to finishing a mobile game as I’d get, right?

WATCHING

Zodiac

  • Zodiac (2007)

Currently watching: Flavors of Youth

As the week ended, I had started up Flavors of Youth but didn’t finish yet. The very sad watching section consists of one movie. Maybe its the long Fincher movie that took a lot of energy to watch and then I just didn’t feel like watching anything. Its not the truth though but more that real life took over and I had to make choices and movie watching was put in the back burner. However, my first time watch of Zodiac (if you don’t count the unfinished first time watch that I dozed off and forgot to go back to finish it) was pretty good. I’m not a fan of the length but its a pretty good movie to say the least.

BINGING

The Love Equations

  • Oh! My Emperor (Season 1, 2018)
  • X-Fire (Season 1, 2015)
  • The Love Equations (2020)

Currently binging: Me To Us, Youth With You 2, Produce Camp 2020, Oh! My Emperor 2, Welcome Back To Sound, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge S6

I’ve been on a Sean Xiao revisit lately since its been pretty much 2 months and I’m still stuck on The Untamed and a little bothered by the whole stupidity (my opinion on the situation) that he went through or is currently still “kind of” going through, I guess. Either way, I went back to watch the competition show that he joined that kickstarted his career called X-Fire and then went on to watch the TV series with the X-NINE boys called Oh! My  Emperor. I only finished Season 1 and needed to take a moment before continuing Season 2. Love Sean Xiao’s character but not a big fan of the main male lead though. The female lead though has already been in 2 Chinese dramas in 2020 so its inevitable that I’ll watch her in more shows and she’s actually rather fun to watch.

However, the highlight of the week goes to The Love Equations ending and its still such a sweet romance. Its a little quirkier than the previous sister series but this male lead is also rather memorable. I’d have to say that pros and cons in all three. I wonder how long they can make these series because its a nice break from those really dramatic ones, plus these ones usually stay around the 25 episode length which is a well-paced length.

Lots of TV going on so I’m losing track of when certain shows release their new episodes so I’m taking a little break from TV right now to catch up on all the series that I need to do TV binges for. Probably will go back to rewatch some of them in the background as I write or something (if I can stop rewatching The Untamed…).

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 20

Another week has passed and I’m going to say that Week 20 was a rather low point for myself. The week itself had a few issues that lingered on my mind and made the entire week rather unproductive. Perhaps its mildly the lockdown getting to me but then at least things did round out better on the weekend as the weather got better.

READING

double barrel horror vol. 3

  • Double Barrel Horror Vol.3 (Review)

Currently reading: To Wake The Dead (The Dead Dreamer #2)

Reading is definitely back on track as I have managed to get in more time for reading every day. At least its progress from no progress, right? I wrapped up Double Barrel Horror Volume 3 really quickly as I needed to get the blog tour done. I’ve moved onto the last book from the first batch of reading commitments of this year that I had wanted to get done earlier but didn’t end up doing but its better late than ever. To Wake The Dead is the sequel of To Dream is to Die (review) which I read earlier this year in March and was an incredibly enjoyable read.

PLAYING

need for speed no limits

Currently playing: Need For Speed: No Limits, Color Spots, Happy Color

Mostly mobile games in the progress right now as I haven’t quite been in the mood for starting anything more challenging. Our next Game Warp recording is just around the corner so I need to get cracking on the next game. Its going to be an interesting one to say the least and one that I’m looking forward to. New game that I tried this week is Need For Speed: No Limits which is quite similar to console games like Most Wanted and the newer titles where its campaign and cops chase and different races and moving up the racing world. I still think the thrill of playing on mobile is not quite as good as on console but why  not, right?

WATCHING

exists

  • Exists (2014)

Slim pickings when I only watched ONE movie last week, right? Exists is on Shudder currently and is directed by one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project (review). Its still a found footage project with what seems like a fairly low budget (although I haven’t done any research on that yet) but instead of supernatural lores in a forest, its also set in a forest with bigfoot roaming around. While my opinions are rather mixed, it had its charm and I’ll talk about it in an upcoming double feature.

BINGING

youth 2018

  • Youth (2018)

Currently binging: The Love Equations, Yes I Do 2, Me to Us, Welcome Back to Sound, Youth With You 2, Produce 2020

As variety shows are flooding my currently binging category, I had to start looking for something that was all released to have a proper binge among my rather subpar week and ended up starting (and finishing) Youth, a 2018 series about flat with 5 university roommates and their trials and tribulations through finding themselves, embracing their relationships as well as resolving their own “ghosts”. Its been one thats been on my list for a little while and it had a decent amount of episodes and I’m a big fan of watching stories about girls and their friendships/sisterhood that builds.

A few of the currently binging is in its final week or two and should wrap up soon. Its a good thing since there are some new series landing and playing right now that I’ve put aside due to the long currently binging list. Its hard to track all the days of new episodes landing sometimes. Two ending soon would be The Love Equations which has one more weekend to go and Youth With You 2 which has two more performances before their big reveal of who makes it into the final 9 girl group. Some optimal group choices has pretty much fallen apart at this point but luckily, some of my faves are still in the running. Its good also because its hard to track all these trainees between Youth With You 2 and Produce 2020 just starting.

That’s it for What’s Up Week 20!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Blog Tour: Undead Ultra by Camille Picott (Review/Giveaway)

Undead Ultra
By: Camille Picott

thumbnail_Undead Ultra Cover

Publication Date: April 7, 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction/Post-Apocalypse/Zombies

We’re celebrating Zombie Awareness Monthwith a mini tour of Undead Ultra by Camille Picott! Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt, and a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Synopsis

It’s life or death…

…and two hundred miles to run.

Can she survive the zombies and save her son?

When the virus hits, nobody is prepared. Society collapses and Kate’s son doesn’t have a way out of his dorm. She has to go get him, but the roads aren’t safe, and the government has blockades.

Everything is at a standstill.

It will be the race of her life.

Kate loves running. She’s gone from marathons to ultramarathons and knows what it takes to run a hundred miles at a time, but this is different.

This is twice as far as she’s ever run…

…and finding food is a problem.

Is it even possible?

You’ll love this unique take on the apocalypse because the struggle is unlike anything you’ve read before.

Add to Goodreads

Review

 Zombie apocalypse stories are a bit overused in the current landscape whether its books (or movies). However, Undead Ultra takes on a different take from the fast-paced style to taking the characters on an ultramarathon of over 200 miles for these two running best friends to rescue their kids from their different locations as they realize that cars attract too much attention and are dangerous to use in the current zombie apocalypse world that has overrun the country. Packed with a lot of unknowns and their expertise in running and the limited supplies, they go on this insane run that tests them both mentally and physically to not only survive the length of the run and weather but also their biggest unknown factors, zombies.

There’s a lot to love about Undead Ultra. The execution of the whole story is done incredibly well. It balances the zombie threat in a myriad of different encounters as well as the limited amount of people they meet on this run, some good and some bad as well as sharing their own darker stories with each other that they may not have shared previously. At the same time, they strategize on supplies and the different phases that they go through during this ultramarathon, probably something that not a whole lot of people are incredibly familiar with in the first place. The zombie element brings in the bad ass character elements and builds the two characters as they harden to having to fight them. The story element gives both characters a lot of insight on their past and builds them up so that the readers can know them more and connect with them. The last element of ultramarathon is simply a survival element. Its both strategy as well as survival and sheds some light on the whole concept of ultramarathon and how tough it is and the mental exercise it really is. All of these balance well together to put together this thrilling run.

Undead Ultra features primarily the two characters, Kate and Frederico. Kate wants to go find her son Carter at his unversity where she has news and communication that he is still managing to stay alive but danger is moving closer and closer. She is the main voice of the story. However, her running companion and best friend Frederico is something of a rock and has his own hardships which include some alcohol abuse and trying to find his daughter on the way as well. These two characters have a lot of depth to them as the story unfolds further with each of their conversations and especially Kate’s memories of the past as well as Frederico’s recounts of his past. As they go through their ordeals, their characters build with the knowledge of their past as well as their present actions and decisions.

There’s a lot to love about Undead Ultra. Its a fun read and a page-turner. Its incredibly well-executed and has well-developed characters as well. While the zombie apocalypse landscape might seem familiar and there isn’t a lot to change about it, somehow the execution of sending the characters on foot for an ultramarathon-esque rescue mission is one that sounds crazy but makes all the difference in making this story stand out.

Goodreads Score: 5/5

Purchase Links

Amazon
UBL
Audible

About the Author

Camille Picott

Camille Picott has been writing Stories from the End of the World since she figured out how to turn on her family’s Apple IIe computer and wrangle a floppy disk into the drive. She loves nothing more than penning an epic action scene or pushing a character to his limits.

When Camille isn’t writing or spending time with her family, she loves to run absurdly long distances. It’s not unusual to find her hitting the trail in her running shoes long before the sun rises or cranking out miles (and stories!) on her treadmill desk. She considers sleep optional and largely overrated.

Visit Camille at www.camillepicott.com to sign up for her newsletter.

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Giveaway: $5 Amazon GC

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 11th

Backshelf Books (Review) https://backshelfbooks.com/
Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

May 12th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

May 13th

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

May 14th

Cup of Books Blog (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/
J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

May 15th

Gemma’s Book Reviews (Review) http://www.gemmmasbookreviews.wordpress.com Read and Reviewed (Review) http://readandreviews.blogspot.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Blog Tour Organized by:

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