What’s Up 2020: Week 7

Welcome to another week. We’re halfway through February 2020 now. This week ends over Valentine’s Day weekend and yet things are surprisingly not very romantic this year. So much that the whole Valentine’s marathon fell somewhat in the background. Its not too bad since I do watch a lot of romantic TV series already so I’m a little more picky. Regardless, this week is moving forward rather okay. Gaming is falling a little behind as I’ve been preparing for the blogathon which is going on this current week.

READING

when stars are bright

  • When Stars Are Bright by Amber R. Duell (Review)

Currently reading: To Dream is To Die (Book #1)

Another book is tucked away as I wrapped up When Stars Are Bright for 2020. Reading has definitely been on track this year. Its not too weird since the first half of the year usually is good until the film festivals start and then things start falling apart. I’m trying to do a lot more reading now. I think I have some pretty interesting books lined up so a lot to look forward to before I even start digging into my TBR pile sitting on my bookshelf.

PLAYING

brothers

Currently playing: Overcooked 2, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I’m going to confess that while there are currently playing games, I’ve been busy with other things like catching up with movies and such that I haven’t really had time to play any games. Even mobile games haven’t really been in the picture so this week is a little hard to say what stood out. I do have to start playing exploring the games on the Xbox Game Pass for PC before it expires so expect better things happening soon. Currently, I’ve downloaded a few of them so will be talking about it soon.

WATCHING

The Wandering Earth

  • Lust, Caution (2007)
  • Catcalls (short 2017)
  • Come and Find Me (2016)
  • The Wandering Earth (2019, Review)
  • The Night Comes For Us (2018)

This week is a tough call on what to pick for my fave. Everything really delivered overall. The lesser movie might be Come and Find Me. Between Movies and Tea Podcast recording and getting ready for Ultimate 2010s Blogathon and making a final decision on what to pick, its been a lot of movie watching. The Night Comes For Us is a solid Netflix Original film which deserves so much attention. I did have to choose The Wandering Earth because that ended be my choice for Ultimate 2010s Blogathon as my kick-off review, which I have since had an opposing opinion, which is still pretty neat to read about because I thought it was a solid movie.

BINGING

who's the murderer 5

  • Who’s The Murderer 5 (2019)

Currently binging: Find Yourself, The Singer 2020, Where Are We Going Dad 5, The Little One 2, Eternal Love of Dream

A lot of TV series ongoing right now that I am becoming very determined to work on finishing the few that I can. Luckily, a few of these are wrapping up. Who’s The Murderer 5 wrapped up its finale which is always sad because this variety is amazingly fun and this season really stepped up its game to have these cases that were well-thought and always had a good message to share. At the same time, they used a lot of the resources to their maximum and the group all had so much improvements in how to focus on the search. Anyways, I reviewed Season 4 so I’ll probably do a quick TV binge on Season 5 to talk about whats improved and such.

As for things wrapping up, I’m working hard on finishing Where Are We Going Dad 5 since that’s a season from 2017 so its already done. I’m only a few episodes from the ending and I think it’ll be sad to see that finish since watching father and kids interact together is so cute and funny. Its a happy show. At the same time, Find Yourself wrapped up as this post goes up and I had purposely decided to not watch it daily to group up more episodes to binge and just wrap it up. These shows have more impact like that especially in its ending episodes. When that is done, I will only have TV shows that are going on currently so only updated one to a few episodes a week and I’ll think of what to watch next. I haven’t quite decided yet.

That’s it for Week 7 of What’s Up 2020!
Probably the first wrap-up focused week to do some housekeeping and catch-up!
What have you been watching/playing/reading/binging?

Blog Tour: When Stars Are Bright by Amber R. Duell (Review/Giveaway)

When Stars Are Bright
By: Amber R. Duell

when stars are bright

Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Genre: Young Adult/Fairy Tale Retelling
Publisher: Crescent Sea Publishing

SYNOPSIS

For Lina Holt, a Dutch seventeen-year-old with a flair for singing, 1930 is going to be her year. Her long-time boyfriend is about to propose and her mother will finally realize their relationship isn’t a passing phase. But when a stranger snatches her from her backyard, everything changes.

Lina is thrust into the spotlight of a New York vaudeville show where she’s paired with Nik, a mysterious pianist. The two bond during rehearsals and it doesn’t take long before Nik puts himself at risk to confess a hidden truth. Without Lina, the show is in its last season and there’s no way she’ll be allowed to slip through the owner’s fingers. Not when she carries fairy magic in her blood—an gift that turns her song into a dangerously addictive drug.

If Lina ever wants to return home, she must learn who to trust before she’s forced to remain a prisoner on stage forever.

WHEN STARS ARE BRIGHT is a historical Thumbelina retelling with a touch of magic.

Add to Goodreads

REVIEW

I’m a big fan of fairy tale retelling stories.  The ones that I have read are usually rather unique and have their own twist. However, Thumbelina is not one that I’m familiar with so in this case, I can really only base it on the historical setting and its young adult story elements.

While the story itself is rather predictable in its foundation, there are quite a few decent elements used here. For one, the fantastical elements used such as injecting the magical bits in its characters and the different abilities that these characters have especially the show crew that the main character Lina meets as she learns about her own abilities in this world that is unknown to her. Have the moment for its characters reveal their own abilities and then using this and the situation that they are pushed into gives the character a good level of development, which is always a good element to have in a young adult story. The 1930s historical setting is also one that almost always fascinating to use as it gives it a lot of charm as well as its societal conflicts to revolve around.

While Amber R. Duell has written quite a few books as well as some book series, this is the first book of hers that I’ve read and its definitely a fun book to read. Its a good world to dive into. The characters here focus mostly on Lina and Nik and it navigates a lot as their friendship grows and she starts to slowly trust him more despite her unfortunate situation that causes her to end up in the show in the first place, hoping to find a way home. Of course, things are what they seem on the surface, especially the people that she meets. Its in these little moments of character building that the story shines at its best.

The endgame of the whole thing does do a good job at giving it a decent set-up. The ending itself is rather bittersweet, probably more bitter than sweet, but that all depends on how you connect with Lina’s story in the first place. At the same time, there is a good deal of cleverness at the end that makes sure to add in the element of the fairy tale retelling that was a pleasant surprise.

Score: 3.5/5

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber R. Duell

Amber R. Duell is an award-winning young adult author, Navy wife, and mom of 2 awesome boys. She has been a #WriteMentor mentor since 2018 and is a co-host on the live broadcast show Young Adult Edition. Red Bull keeps her kicking.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway: Win a paperback copy of When Stars Are Bright!

Enter HERE

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

February 17th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) https://gwendalynbooks.blog/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Tales of Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/

February 18th

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
C Vonzale Lewis (Review) https://cvonzalelewis.com/index.php/blog/
Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/
Once More with Reading (Review) https://oncemorewithreadingx.wixsite.com/welcome Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

February 19th

I Love Books and Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com
Cup of Toast Blog (Review) https://cupoftoast.co.uk
Bibliophile Ramblings (Review) http://lego–ergo–sum.blogspot.com/

February 20th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1 Crossroad Reviews (Review) http://www.crossroadreviews.com
Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/
Port Jerricho (Review) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

February 21st

Ghoulish Life & Reviews (Review) https://ghoulishspirit.wordpress.com/
Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com
Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/
Vick’s Bookish Writing (Review) https://vicksblogcom.home.blog/

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

 

What’s Up 2020: Week 6

In a blink of eye (or at least it feels that way), we’re looking at Week 6 that has passed us by. As we get into February and things are still quite busy and probably won’t stop for the rest of this month at least, other things are moving along fairly okay. Let’s see whats up.

READING

when stars are bright

Currently reading: When Stars Are Bright by Amber R. Duell

Nearing the halfway point with this current read, When Stars Are Bright is a rather interesting novel set in the 1930s. It says that its a Thumbelina retelling but I don’t really know since I don’t quite know that fairy tale in the first place. Probably should do some research at some point on that. However, I can say that this book is a decent read and it’ll be interesting to see where the character will go from this point.

PLAYING

life is strange 2

  • Life is Strange 2

Currently playing: Overcooked 2, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

As we get back into gear for Game Warp Podcast, the next game is Life is Strange 2 on our list of games to review. Life is Strange and games from Dontnod Entertainment has been a staple in the podcast gaming roster so the episode should come out soon-ish so I won’t talk too much about it. This is a different game from its previous games set in the same universe, some things done better and some things not quite at par.

With that said, I’ve been on a gaming kick as I picked up the deal for $1 Game Pass for 3 months for PC and am getting ready to look at some of those games. Before that, this weekend, I finally decided to start up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which has some unique mechanics that needs some getting used to. I literally started the game not too long but I don’t think its a long game so will have to find time to wrap that up at some point.

WATCHING

La La Land

  • La La Land (2016, Review)
  • Bumblebee (2018)
  • In My Dreams (2014, Review)

A quiet week of movie watching as I got caught up in having a hard time to decide what romance to watch for Valentine’s Day marathon as romance in movies just wasn’t really feeling it. Landed on La La Land, which was a surprisingly fun movie for  Oscar fodder and then the husband chose Bumblebee as the weekend movie (along with a few other ones on Shudder that I fell asleep so I’m not including it here), which was a ton of fun as well.

BINGING

Find Yourself

Currently binging: Who’s The Murderer 5, Eternal Love of Dream, Where Are We Going Dad? 5, The Singer 2020, Find Yourself, The Little One 2

I’m watching and started watching too many things that I’m starting to forget things here and there. Luckily, one of them will be ending next week and I have a few that is just updating on weekly basis and then, one for viewing in between as its an older season. Ending series which will wrap up in a week is Who’s The Murderer 5 which has been a fun and wild ride with some nice boosts in the quality of their cases. Eternal Love of Dream and Find Yourself is currently dramas that are playing that I’m watching via Youtube and Netflix respectively. They are updated weekly about 6 episodes or something. As for variety shows, The Little One 2 and The Singer 2020 literally just started with one new episode a week. Finally, Where Are We Going Dad? 5 is the older variety show that I’m watching just because its cute and fun. I’m not going to lie that everything I’m watching right now is pretty decent. My fave does go to Find Yourself which has started off really strong, but I’m a bit worried might lose its steam a little if the main couple has the fate that I’m thinking they will have. Hoping really hard that it doesn’t get frustrating…

That’s it for the Week 6 recap!
What have you been watching/reading/playing/binging?