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Weekend Watching: KILLING EVE, A QUIET PLACE & BLOCKERS

April 8, 2018 – 7:54 pm | 3 Comments

I had a lazy weekend—well, lazier than usual—and ended up watching lots of TV and movies. Good thing they were mostly entertaining. Here are some brief thoughts on the ones worth mentioning.
Killing Eve

I’ve been salivating …

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Nerdy Special List April 2018

April 6, 2018 – 12:25 am | 2 Comments

Happy April! I’ve been wearing shirts and dresses in floral prints all week because I want flowers to be bloomin’ on my body if nowhere else. Hope spring is happening where you are.

To help brighten your day, here are our book recommendations this month.

From Jen at Brown Dog Solutions:

Big Guns by Steve Israel (Simon & Schuster, April 17)

Ex-New York Congressman Steve Israel couldn’t have been more timely with his sophomore novel, Big Guns. A major gun manufacturer is threatened by a call for a national ban on handguns, so the company brings in its top lobbyist to convince the government that every citizen should be legally required to own a firearm.

Israel’s experience lends to the novel’s authenticity, and the current political climate makes the themes especially powerful. This satire is witty, thought-provoking, and shrewd.

Buy it now

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Salaam Reads, April 3)

This heartwarming picture book is beautiful in every respect. The young girl narrating the story finds empowerment wearing her mother’s headscarves. The acceptance of those around her—her friends, teachers, and especially her grandmother who isn’t Muslim—encourages the child to be proud of her identity.

The stunning illustrations compliment the endearing prose, making the whole package one to treasure. This should be a staple of every child’s library. Seeing the wonder and complete absence of threat in diversity is something that can’t be experienced too often or too early.

Buy it now

From Lauren at Malcolm Avenue Review:

The City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes (Arcade Publishing, April 3)

Set in a semi-apocalyptic future in the town of West End, Barnes paints a haunting portrait of a town stripped to its bones and the lives of its few remaining residents. Residents of the bordering town of South End may seem better off, but their existence is filled with traffic, plastic homes, and a hunger for material things.

When a weather-related catastrophe brings the towns together in an unexpected way, the haves are forced to rely on the have-nots. Taut with timely themes of climate change, waning empathy and lack of community, the story hits scarily close to home.

Buy it now

No Way Home: A Memoir of Life on the Run by Tyler Wetherall (St. Martin’s Press, April 3)

By age nine, Tyler Wetherall had lived in thirteen houses in five countries on two continents, yet she still believed her father simply had “business problems.”

In her thrilling and gutting memoir, Wetherall recounts life on the run and how she and her siblings began to clue in to the family secret: her criminal father was a fugitive, wanted by the FBI and Scotland Yard.

Wetherall’s journals inform the first half of the book, a child’s narrative filled with the kind of details that can be found in great spy fiction. The second half, a present-day look at what followed her father’s capture, lacks the emotional touchstone of what came before but is no less compelling.

Buy it now

From Patti at Patti’s Pens & Picks:

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes (Crown, April 3)

I love books where women reinvent their lives in some way and emerge strong or stronger.

Three women in their sixties meet on a tour of a retirement community and become friends, traveling to a cottage several times. This evolves into spending a year sharing a house in Tuscany, Italy.

All three women confront demons while becoming their best selves, working on life goals they never thought they’d tackle. The village nearby helps on aspects of each woman’s changes. One of their neighbors is also confronting an unexpected life obstacle while working on an exciting project. I really enjoyed the adventure taken by the women.

Buy it now

PCN recommends:

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan (Dutton, April 3)

When Leah married Robert, an author, she agreed to let him take a sabbatical from home whenever he needs to focus on writing. The only requirement is that he leaves a note, which he always does, until one day he doesn’t. And doesn’t return.

Clues lead to Leah moving with her two daughters to Paris, where “[o]nce a week, I chase men who are not my husband,” i.e. she follows men who look like Robert around the city.

Callanan’s insightful prose captures what it’s like to be a creative person and to live with one, the sacrifices that are made. Too often we love a movie or book but don’t give much thought to what it took to create it. I especially liked the many tributes to the French classic The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, a childhood favorite of mine.

Buy it now

Which April releases are you looking forward to?

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Book Review: RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas

February 28, 2018 – 1:20 am | One Comment
red clocks

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, coeditor of the literary online magazine Da Mau.
In Leni Zumas’s lyrical yet unsparing novel, red clocks symbolize the identity crises, haunting wombs, ticking time bombs of five female …

Book Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

February 23, 2018 – 12:07 am | One Comment
this is what happened

Mick Herron’s standalone This Is What Happened begins in medias res, with 26-year-old Maggie Barnes hiding in a bathroom in a high-rise building during a dangerous spy mission.
Until recently, she was working in the corporate …

Nerdy Special List February 2018

February 15, 2018 – 11:42 pm | One Comment
sunburn

It’s Friday before a long holiday weekend for some. And after yet another school shooting.
When I’m heartsick, I turn to books to save me, and they always do.
Here are this month’s recommendations.
From Jen at Brown Dog …

Nerdy Special List January 2018

January 12, 2018 – 12:33 am | One Comment
chalk man

Hello, how is everyone? You’re all looking wonderful and that outfit totally suits you.
I hid from the internet for about 3 weeks over the holidays because I wanted to reclaim my mind space. Choose what …

Favorite Reads of 2017

December 8, 2017 – 11:46 pm | One Comment
IMG_4426 2

Though 2017 has been in the rearview mirror for almost a month, with skid marks I left on my way out, I wanted to look back to review my reading stats. Last year was rich for …

Nerdy Special End-of-Year List 2017

December 8, 2017 – 1:36 am | 4 Comments
9781501154591

While all the TV shows and commercials are depicting snow, here in L.A. it’s raining ash and debris. Happy holidays!
Because a smoke advisory is in effect, I have to stay inside and read. Luckily, cabin fever …

Mini Movie Reviews: Holiday Season 2017

November 26, 2017 – 9:41 pm | 2 Comments
Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 7.13.34 PM

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! My Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing and the only drama occurred onscreen, with my trying to catch up on movies being touted as award contenders. If you’re wondering what …

Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE

November 16, 2017 – 3:44 pm | 3 Comments
JLeague

I’ve been attending lots of award-season screenings and am behind in reviews, so I’ll do some in this format. Below are my quick thoughts on Justice League.
What you want to know up front: I liked …

Nerdy Special List November 2017

November 7, 2017 – 8:50 pm | 4 Comments
woman in camphor trunk

It blows my mind Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and Christmas is next month—I’m still wearing shorts!—but this is my favorite time of year so I say bring on the holidays. With time off, …

Book Review: THE CHILD FINDER by Rene Denfeld

October 18, 2017 – 8:47 pm | One Comment
child finder

As the titular character in Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder, Naomi does exactly what her job description says: find missing children. Madison disappeared three years earlier, at the age of five, and her parents have …

This is Spinal Crack: Joe Ide’s RIGHTEOUS

October 15, 2017 – 10:14 pm | 4 Comments
Joe books

Here we are doing another Spinal Crack chat already. Lauren and I are shocked it didn’t take us another 1.5 years.
We were motivated by a book we both loved, Joe Ide’s Righteous (out Oct. 17), the …

Nerdy Special List October 2017

October 6, 2017 – 12:52 am | 2 Comments
we're going to need more wine

October is one of my favorite months. The leaves change colors—well, not in L.A. but back east in pictures from family. The weather is cooler so I don’t have to sweat my back off every …

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