What’s Up 2019: Week 38

Tranquil Dreams (43)

Welcome to Week 38 of What’s Up! We’re almost done the 3rd quarter of 2019! Fall is almost here and things are definitely going back on course. Everything is almost back on track and next week, we should be seeing a lot more of the signs of October horror themed things coming into the picture (although one thing here actually is going to be for October). At the same time, I’ve also reactivated my Shudder subscription and should keep it for at least 2 months or so unless something else fun comes out and holds my interest after that.

Let’s check it out!

READING

Since September

  • Since September by Noelle MacLeod (Review)
  • The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel by Ian Hamilton (Review)

Currently reading: Hope by Terry Tyler

Two novellas definitely made up the majority of my reading this week. I wanted something fun to break between the blog tour reading and decided to finally get around to continue on the Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton which pretty much never disappoints. I’m a good few books behind on the series as it is so I’m hoping to catch up with it especially since the Kindle versions have been on sale on Amazon lately. With that said, both books were pretty fun to read. Since September had a Girl Interrupted vibe to it and The Dragon Head of Hong Kong was a prequel that talked about how Ava Lee started her job which is interesting as it comes after the first phase of the series ends.

PLAYING

kaiju big battel: fighto fantasy

Starting next: Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy

Since this week, I’ve been focusing mostly on some mobile games to wrap up the Mobile Games Roundup, the plan to start Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy was delayed which will hopefully be the restart/comeback of our Game Warp restructuring to go back to our initial roots of having an episode for Game Warp per month with a highlighted game. We will try to get some new releases in there but games will be decided on our collective interest to discuss and obviously accessibility. However, we are still somewhat restructuring and finding our footing again in writing reviews and slotting time to record for Game Warp and such so there may still be changes but the effort to get back to action is there.

WATCHING

mary poppins returns

Two rewatches this week of films that I really do love quite a bit and they are both for Movies and Tea as one is our After Hours Shark week pick and the other is my pick. Its coming up on Movies and Tea in the coming weeks so I won’t talk too much about it but you can check out my reviews when I first saw the films.

With that said, I caught up with Battle at Big Rock which is a short that supposedly follows Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which I haven’t caught up with yet. Regardless, it  feels fairly standalone and was pretty fun. You can find it on Youtube. As for my recommendation this week for a fresh new feature film would be Mary Poppins Returns. I still don’t think doing a follow-up was necessary but in terms of how it lands, its very similar in set-up to Mary Poppins but it still has a fun and musical vibe to it.

BINGING

million pound menu

  • Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)
  • The Mist (Season 1, 2017)

Currently binging: Relation Ship, Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2, When I Grow Up, A Discovery of Witches (Shudder)

I never reviewed the first season of Million Pound Menu but I did catch up with the Season 2 of it this past week as its one of the newer releases on Netflix. I’ll be talking about that one in a TV binge. We ended up finishing The Mist as well which I can’t say is anything to call home about but TV binge for that one fits into the October horror month so I’ll have that out in next month to also help out with the progress.

The first signs of using the Shudder is showing up already with the mention of Tigers Are Not Afraid in the “Watching” section. We’re halfway through A Discovery of Witches which is Shudder series starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer. So far, its alright. A lot goes on so it feels a little convoluted.

As for currently watching, Youku finally released their version of those matchmaking reality shows on Youtube called Relation Ship. After this one, I’ll be doing a huge post on this type of variety show because I’m still very inspired about this subject. Other than that, its When I Grow Up which is a trip for some celebs, father and son/daughters duos who go on the trip in a camping/hiking style that brings them together or understand each other better. Its interesting because renowned actors from Hong Kong like Tony Ka Fai Leung and Elvis Tsui (who was in Stephen Chow films as supporting roles) as well as some popular China stars. Its nice to see some of these renowned stars now finally participating in these reality shows that shows their personalities more.

That’s it for What’s Up Week 38!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel (#0.5) by Ian Hamilton

Ava Lee Series – previous book reviews

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel
(An Ava Lee Series #0.5)

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Young Ava Lee is a forensic accounting who has just opened her own private firm. One of her clients, Hedrick Lo, has been swindled of more than a million dollars by a Chinese importer named Johnny Kung. Desperate, Lo persuades Ava to find and retrieve the monies owed. Ava goes to Hong Kong, where she plunges into the dangerous underground collection business and meets a man who will forever change her life . . . – Goodreads

It always seemed a possibility to go back to the beginning. As Ava Lee Series step into a new era for its series, it definitely is good to give a wave to the first phase (what I’d call it) and see how Ava Lee got started in this business with Chow Tung (aka Uncle). The Dragon Head of Hong Kong refers to Uncle and how they met through her first case doing forensic accounting and realizing that while she could hold herself in most scenarios. In some others, realistically, she still needed some support. While hesitant to deal with Chow Tung at the beginning, as you would with strangers, its about trust and connections in her business and how her business with Uncle starts as partners, based on mutual respect and business requirements.

In that sense, The Dragon Head of Hong Kong is done really well. We see a much more younger and perhaps, slightly more naive Ava Lee who goes into this tough but never quite seeing too far and taking a lot of it by chance. However, there’s still signs of her character having those traits that she still has in the current books but just less refined. Its still the tough Ava Lee at work. At the same time, this book is fairly short in comparison to the other books in the series and rightfully so, since the story isn’t too complex, at least much less complicated than the current ones and involving less people but gives a foundation of how everyone whether its family and business falls into place. Therefore, the book is fast-paced with a lot of action on the pages and still doesn’t forget a lot of the key characters in the main series that we’ve grown to expect and love.

Its a little backwards to do the prequel after the series turning point (or looking at the release date, right before the last book that leads there). However, it does work. The Dragon Head of Hong Kong shares not only a first look at Ava Lee and Chow Tung but also gives the basic landscape of how she came to those items that she holds preciously in her life and does a good job and giving those connecting points, giving the current series some more substance and meaning to little things that didn’t get explained (or if it was, never thoroughly). Prequels aren’t always necessary but in this case, it was a fun quick read and was appreciated (for me).