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?

Blog Tour: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series Book 3) by Sarah Lampkin (Review/Giveaway)

To Reap the Spirit
(The Dead Dreamer Series #3)
By: Sarah Lampkin

To Reap the Spirit

Publication: October 13th, 2020
Genre: New Adult/Urban Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Sanguis daretur. Ignis invocavit.

The third installment in the haunting Dead Dreamer series.

Somehow Brenna Whit has survived to her junior year at Nephesburg College. Despite all odds, she’s fought against the Gatekeepers and lived. But the battle for the Fade has only just begun.

New pieces have been added to the board.

The Fade opens to the Veil.

And a Shade from the past returns.

With Brenna’s secret out, everyone is after her: dead and living alike. Those from across the sea have come and they’re determined to regain control of their broken faction.

Questions will be answers

Fires will be lit

Chaos will reign

Add to Goodreads

REVIEW

Picking up from the situation of Book 2, To Reap the Spirit explores further into the Fade as more moving parts of the dangers surrounding Brenna’s Dead Dreamer side of things take on a new meaning. Much like Book 2, the Gatekeepers have called in another Dead Dreamer, Bridget to remedy and control the situation of her unsealing the doors to stop their conflicting goals. However, Bridget is a much more dangerous character that takes things further as she can cause some dire consequences with her power.

Book 3 brings in the equation of the different stances that the Guardians and Gatekeepers have as well as things that they also can’t seem to control while also giving Brenna her own further struggles with balancing life in the Fade and how far she can go before even she has her limits while also having the side of life with the living that she can’t seem to get involved with. At the same time, it explores another dimension other than the Fade called The Veil. At the same time, pulling in more characters to have bigger parts to play that were either present in previous books or at least mentioned. There’s a bigger element of action and danger throughout which does make it more engaging but at times, what made the previous 2 books stand out was the smaller scope from at least the character standpoint but to be fair, it was inevitable that it had to get bigger since we had already hints of bigger parties at play than what was happening in the college campus.

Overall, as a 3rd book of a series, its engaging because of how it manages to expand further into the story and world building on the elements from the previous books. At the same time, adding more characters expands further from just its main character Brenna while giving more room for other people to be involved like her interaction with her best friends, Aeria and Damon as well as having more roommates and new “enemies” that adds quite a bit to the story overall.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Purchase Links
The Parliament House
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

DEAD DREAMER BOOKS

To Dream is to Die (Book #1)

Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural

Goodreads

To Wake the Dead (Book #2)

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.

Classes have begun…

The battlefield is set…

Let the fight for the Fade begin.

Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

Dead Dreamer
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Twitter
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GIVEAWAY

Digital collection of the Dead Dreamer series (Everyone)
ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

October 12th

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://readsandreels.com
It’s a Novel Life (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/
The Faerie Review (Guest Post) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Cocktails & Fairy Tales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales
@bearpiglovesbooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bearpiglovesbooks/

October 13th

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader
I Smell Sheep (Guest Post) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news
PoptheButterfly (Spotlight) https://popthebutterfly.wordpress.com

October 14th

@a.p.reading (Review) https://www.instagram.com/a.p.reading/ @joanna.zoe (Review) https://instagram.com/joanna.zoe?igshid=1xipr7pa6a9zl
@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/ @BETTER_OFF_READ (Spotlight) http://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/BETTER_0FF_READ/
Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

October 15th

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/
Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

October 16th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Guest Post) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com Book Dragon Girl (Interview) https://bookdragongirl.com
Entertainingly Nerdy (Review) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com Lunarian Press (Spotlight) https://www.lunarianpress.com/
Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized by:

R&R Book Tours


What’s Up 2020: Week 41

A bit of a late one today since I lost track of time with Thanksgiving happening on Monday and having a day off and a change in my work situation which has everything all upside down right now. Either way, I realized it just now so here we are with a rushed What’s Up piece before I run off to wrap up something else!

READING

To Reap the Spirit
  • Undine

Currently reading: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series #3)

I’ve been a little bit lazy with reading of late and it has to do with another film festival that popped up. With that said, I have a reading commitment for a blog tour that’s literally happening this week so its been a rush phase finishing up the reading last week. However, I did watch a movie that inspired me to go check out Undine which is a German fairy tale novella. Its an interesting one to say the least.

PLAYING

cat force

Currently playing: Cat Force, Find Out

I never got around to starting Simulacra although its definitely still on my mind but I’m going to be realistic and not tease it any further and just stick with that I’m actually having time to play and that’s Cat Force, which I believe that I’ve reached the end of that game for me although I’m also still playing Find Out and that game is still so much fun.

WATCHING

Topside
  • Raw (2016, Review)
  • Future World (2018)
  • Hall (2020)
  • The Cloud in Her Room (2020)
  • Topside (2020, Review)
  • Diary of the Dead (2007, Review)
  • Survival of the Dead (2009, Review)
  • Mamà, Mamà, Mamà (2020, Review)
  • Undine (2020)
  • Jack Whitehall: At Large (2017)
  • Jack Whitehall: I’m Only Joking (2020)
  • #Alive (2020)
  • Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)

Between Festival du Nouveau Cinema coverage (which the writing is going incredibly slow) and October’s Halloween marathon trying to hit the 31 Days of Halloween, its been a wild ride on the movie watching front. I did watch a few really good movies though plus everything isn’t completely off track considering FNC is just a week into the festival and it runs for the rest of the month. I’d recommend a few like Mamà Mamà Mamà and Undine and of course, my highlight of this week goes to Topside which is an amazing movie!

Although, if we talk about other movies here, Raw is a very good movie and I have some upcoming double feature for Halloween marathon picks that were some great watches! Lots on the movie front in terms of writing coming up once I get things back into a certain routine this month with all the changes.

BINGING

  • The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

Currently binging: Love Signal 3, The Journey Across the Night, Go Newbies

Would you look at the short list of TV happening right now? I really shaved off a lot of stuff that I was watching and didn’t start new things. Obviously the reason is because of movies but then I just couldn’t not watch The Haunting of Bly Manor right away. Plus, I was scared social media would start sharing all kinds of spoiler even if I try to avoid it. I love Mike Flanagan and The Haunting of Bly Manor is really great. It was a trip that sent shivers down my spine and had me on a edge a lot. The horror that gets me the most is anything related to ghosts and spirits so this stuff is right up my alley.

With that said, The Journey Across the Night that no one is watching sadly is a TV drama with that kind of psychological thriller twist to it that I really like. Plus, its set in Hong Kong and meshes Cantonese and Mandarin dialogue which I really appreciate. Its a ton of fun so far with some creepy moments. Hopefully more people will watch it. I would have loved to do a TV binge for it in October but the series runs into November since it only releases 3 new episodes a week.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Hopefully your week has been less of a confusing rush of stuff!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

What’s Up 2020: Week 40

Every week is going by so fast. I don’t know if its just being really busy with work or trying to focus on getting the Halloween movie marathon going on track this past week or its just trying to make it through day by day and not think about those record high pandemic case increase every day. Either way, Week 40 means 12 weeks until the end of the year. Judging from how quickly the year has gone by, its probably going to zoom by as well. Another film festival is just around the corner and I apparently hate free time so I’m trying to get organized so that things run smoothly with the movie marathon month as well but I’ll talk about that more in the “WATCHING” section. Let’s check out how the week went!

READING

To Reap the Spirit

Currently reading: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series #3)

Started up the third book of The Dead Dreamer series To Reap the Spirit which has been accompanying me throughout the past year (if not less than that). Its been a fun world to dive into. I’m still very early in the book so I’m not going to say much about it yet but I went into this with high hopes so I’m hoping that it’ll live up to it!

PLAYING

Playing next: Simulacra

I’m not going to lie that gaming as really been in the back of my mind. Just generally running out of time when it comes to trying to start up a new game. Its a bit wild seeing as I haven’t changed my mind on what to play but really just haven’t sat down to do it. Although I do blame it on a few things. My constant replay of Julie and the Phantoms as background to work on stuff and the need to get stuff prepared for the movie marathon. I’ll get back to it but my mind is a little scattered…

WATCHING

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
  • By Night’s End (2020, Review)
  • Day of the Dead (1985)
  • Land of the Dead (2005)

Moving along with the movie marathon mostly this past week while having some picks for Movies and Tea working really well into what I need for this Halloween/Horror month. Aside from that, media accreditation for Festival du Nouveau Cinema came in and as Montreal moved into maximum alert meaning theatres are shut, they have gone completely virtual running from October 7th to 31st with an array of new age cinema that always has something interesting to discover every single year. I have a preliminary list set out to cover but the challenge is to see how on track I can be between festival coverage and the Halloween marathon!

As for highlight this week, it has to go to A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night! An incredibly unique take on a vampire film and another Spectrevision win! It’ll be part of a coming double feature and also happens to be part of production for Season 6 of Movies and Tea so I’m not going to talk too much about it here.

BINGING

  • Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1, 2020)
  • Count Your Lucky Stars (2020)
  • Sing On! Germany (Season 1, 2020)
  • Ratched (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, The Journey Across The Night, Intense Love

I just can’t decide for this week which stood out more so I decided to just forget about choosing and highlight all three! I’ve been harping on about Count Your Lucky Stars the past week or two so I finally decided that I had to let it go and watched the last 2 episodes and I still think its a great series. Top 5 of the year from what it looks like. However, I did manage to finally get back into more Netflix series and finished (then finished another 2 times) Julie and the Phantoms. It brought some High School Musical vibes and then I realized that the director of HSM is responsible for Julie and the Phantoms so it all makes sense, right? Finally, I’ve had my eye on Ratched since I’m a big fan of Sarah Paulson and it didn’t disappoint at all. I want to add this one to the Halloween marathon rundown so I’m working on the TV binge sooner rather than later.

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

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
By: Ryan Graudin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 39

Two recap posts in a day everyone! I would usually put them together but I wanted to do the announcement portion separate so bumped this post to release later than usual instead. Things are relatively back on track as preparation mode for Halloween marathon has been underway, reading is relatively back on track and TV is slowing down a little but always finding something new to binge. Let’s check it out!

READING

  • The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Technically at this point that the post goes up, I’m done reading the book yesterday. So I wanted to count it as done even if its past the week. Either way, The Walled City was a ton of fun. I read it so very fast. It uses a slice of history and adds its own twist so its a dystopian based on Kowloon Walled City which was a very real place in Hong Kong in the past which is just a park now (that I happened to have gone to before). So many stories could come out of that location and its odd that not more have been done (or maybe I just never seen it before). Review of The Walled City is coming up. I literally just finished the book but I already know my next book.

PLAYING

Playing next: Simulacra

I don’t know what happened last week but everything kind of did fall apart once I think back and I forgot about gaming. Actually, I was playing a lot of Cat Force in between random stuff but didn’t decide on what game to play but with October around the corner, I’m thinking doing some horror game reviews so a quick one that I’ve had for a while that I’ve been meaning to play so instead of “currently playing”, I’m doing the “playing next” which fits better the situation…

WATCHING

  • We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011 rewatch, Review)
  • Go Back to China (2019)
  • Anna And the Apocalypse (2017 rewatch, Review)
  • Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
  • Enola Holmes (2020)
  • The Babysitter (2017 rewatch, Review)
  • The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)

C’mon, look at this list of movies. Its a pretty solid watch list. Some great movies that I rewatched and even among the first time watches, it was some great choices as well. However, I think the one that I had the most fun was Enola Holmes. It was quite the adventure plus I loved the whole character talking to the camera breaking the fourth wall constantly.

Although, I did rate Go Back To China fairly high as well and that was pretty good but I’m not sure whether I’d rewatch this one as frequently so it didn’t make the highlight movie for this week.

BINGING

  • Great Escape: Season 2 (2020)
  • Sing On! (Season 1, 2020)
  • Sing On! Spain (Season 1, 2020)

Currently binging: Love Signal 3, Handsome Siblings, Count Your Lucky Stars, Sing China 2020, Go Newbies, The Journey Across the Night, Intense Love

I had completely dismissed Sing On! (in any country format) when it first was released but it turned out to be pretty entertaining background show to put on while I was doing writing and working on. Plus, when the singing is bad, it wakes me up a little more. With that said, as much as thats the case and its fun and stuff, my highlight show that finished is Great Escape: Season 2 which is a variety game show that I love so much. I was catching it at midnight Youtube premier every week. Luckily, with the end of this show, they announced that Who’s the Murderer’s next season is coming up soon so thats a win overall.

With that said, started another Chinese drama called Intense Love which is pretty cute. I’m trying to figure out whether I’m on board with this hype of this TV actor that’s been in a lot of dramas and variety shows. That’s the main reason why I started the series but then its been a lot of romantic and cute moments and generally a good time.

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

What’s Up 2020: Week 38

Another week as passed and as things in real life is going slowly out of hand again where I am in terms of the pandemic as we are pretty much in the beginning of the second wave, its been just wrapping things up here and there and taking it a little slower in the past week. Let’s check it out!

READING

Fangirl
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Review)

Currently reading: The Walled City

Back to reading some TBR from my own shelf and not reading commitments actually feels kind of nice. I actually have a lot of stuff sitting around on my book shelves waiting to be read like the entire trolley that I’ve dedicated to it so its a work in progress. Fangirl took a little while mostly because of having no time to read but once I found time, it was one that I blazed through. It was a lot of fun and I did like it quite a bit. The review is up already so you can check that out for all my thoughts on it.

I did start up a next novel inspired by a conversation that my husband and I had about Hong Kong’s Walled City back in the days and well, I happen to have a book called Walled City so figured, why not! I’m about 25% through and its been rather fun also. Its set on a countdown of days which what its for is still a mystery so we will see where it all goes from there. I should get through this fairly quickly as have to hop onto another book commitment for an upcoming blog tour.

PLAYING

Luna
  • Luna

Currently playing: *contemplating Xbox Game Pass titles: Tell Me Why/Ori and the Will of the Wisps/Night Call/Wolfenstein Youngblood*

Like I said, wrapping things up, right? Got into some more gaming time and finished up Luna. Honestly, this game is really simple and really short so its all about dedicating the time to just do it one go. Its rather charming both in its art style and the story and narration although the game itself had some little one-dimensional puzzles but I don’t know if its more of an experience and not meant for deep gameplay since it is also geared for VR experience and probably more immersive as that than a normal gaming experience.

With Xbox Game Pass for PC leaving beta, its price is increasing to something I think its a bit high so I stopped by subscription finally since I wasn’t doing much with it anyways but there are some nice additions that I want to check out hopefully before the sub ends. Its just which one is what I’m contemplating for the next game as well as maybe some streaming. Its been on my mind for a few months so I probably should just do it. I have a general list above so let me know if you’ve played any of these and which you’d recommend.

WATCHING

  • Michael McIntyre: Showman (2020)
  • Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015 rewatch, Review)
  • Dr. Jason Leong: Hashtag Blessed (2020)
  • Fantasy Island (2020)

While the stand-up comedy shows were both more entertaining than Fantasy Island, Fantasy Island is the only new actual movie that I watched this week. I did start another movie but fell asleep due to some funky insomnia last week so going to give that a go again. Fantasy Island is alright. The premise is better than the execution to be honest. Its definitely more thriller than horror. I won’t dive too much in it since I will be doing a review on it soon.

On that note, its not my highlight but my go-to rewatch is always Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong. Mostly because its a digital version and I can easily put it on whenever I want so its a good pairing and a fun little premise that I truly love more and more. Plus, its made me think about doing a month of just movies set outside of Canada since in this current state, there’s no travelling to other countries and we can only live through movies that explore other cities in their own movies. Could be fun, right?

BINGING

  • The American Barbecue Showdown 2020 (2020)

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

As some Chinese shows come to end or just fall of the map from my watch list for picking up later, I got back to some Netflix stuff. Of course, its always the food shows that I’m on track with. We checked out The American Barbecue Showdown which was really fun to watch and made us immensely hungry at the same time. I have a TV binge coming within the next week. On that note, some promising shows popped up Netflix in the last while that I’m hoping to check out, especially Ratched because I love Sarah Paulson in pretty much everything that I’ve seen her in and the premise looks really good.

As for variety shows, Great Escape S2 has only one side episode to wrap it up. Count the Lucky Stars was a true binge and I’ve caught up to the current episode and its probably going to do the pain in the ass thing where the final episode will get bumped to the following week just to torture its viewers a little more with the wait. But I can’t get enough of Jerry Yan and Shen Yue…the former is just fantastic, so much better than the Meteor Garden days, both appearance and acting skills. The new series that I started would be The Journey Across The Night which is a little bit of a horror psychological thriller sort of show set in Hong Kong and creepy hauntings and schizophrenia. I’m only 2 episodes in so it could veer off from my first impressions, who knows. Fingers crossed that it won’t.

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

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl
by: Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan.. But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? – Goodreads

Playing on the world of fanfiction, Fangirl highlights a college girl who finds solace in her protected world of her twin sister and her popularity as her Internet self of writing fan fiction on a Harry-Potter-esque sort of world except its called Simon Snow. College brings its own challenges and a different perspective of what she needs to embrace as she slowly steps out of her comfort zone because of her sister’s desire to have her own experiences. New friends, new environment, new expectations and somehow Cath is still holding onto what makes her comfortable and its weird for those around her. This is pretty much a coming of age story and strip it away from its fanfiction premise, its actually fairly common however, Rainbow Rowell gives Cath as well as the other characters very contrasting personalities that complement each other really well.

Perhaps where the story structure seems a little less flowing is in the Simon Snow segments that get sandwiched in between the chapters, which are short and mostly draw some kind of parallel to the reality on hand but because its so similar to Harry Potter, Simon Snow itself almost feels like a fanfiction. Putting that aside, the world of fanfiction is portrayed fairly well and in the sense, those side segments of Simon Snow fiction from its actual author contrasting with those as fanfiction pieces written by Cath which draws the key element of what fanfiction is and is what brings the unique elements to the story of how Cath crafts her version of Simon Snow’s life on the foundation of something built by someone else’s world.

What is the best draw of Fangirl does go down to the witty cast of characters. Cath has this sassy attitude that is unique to her introvert self with her own set of baggage stemming from her family and in contrast to a clash and friction in her relationship with her twin Wren as well as slowly stepping out of her shell with her roommate and boyfriend who both also have quite distinctive personalities. The dialogue written between these characters are entertaining and colorful and a lot of fun, packed with laugh out loud moments. It highlights a lot of the different types of people that we meet in college as the world expands and there are different perspectives on things that were once familiar. It looks into different elements of Cath’s life that highlights why she is the way she is.

With a fun writing style and some well-crafted characters as well as dynamic power of dialogue that brings out each of these characters even more, Fangirl is a fun little dive. While striping away its fanfiction background, its really a fairly normal sort of coming of age story, there is still something engaging about it that gives it that unique light. I’m not quite sure whether its the fanfiction since that didn’t play too much into reading experience but more the fact that its the way that Rainbow Rowell crafts her story and the way she writes it that lifts this story to another level. I do however think that the first two-thirds of the story is a little better written than the last act that seemed to fall a little more flat. Overall, its still pretty great.

What’s Up 2020: Week 37

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

READING

Fangirl

Currently reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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

PLAYING

Currently playing: Luna, Cat Force

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

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

WATCHING

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

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

BINGING

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

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

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

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

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

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