Sunday Sum~Up

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The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer that I am linking my Sunday Sum-Ups with. Stop by and say hello!

Most of my posts this week were scheduled, so I apologize for my lack of response and visits. I am currently fighting another flare up and require a lot of rest and meds. I will respond where I can today and this coming week, but may continue to remain a bit quiet until this passes. Most posts will continue to be scheduled in advance. I cannot thank you all enough for being so wonderfully understanding. I will try to share an update post on health and life when the time feels right ❤


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giant peachJames and the Giant Peach

likewaterLike Water for Chocolate


 

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Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
By Neal Shusterman (Goodreads Author

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Synopsis:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

1857397The Picture of Dorian Gray
By Oscar Wilde

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Synopsis:

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.

Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”

The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a “driveling pedant.” The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for “gross indecency,” which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement, and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.


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What I am listening to:

girlinsnowGirl in Snow
By Danya Kukafka
Narrated by Candace Thaxton, Kirby Heyborne and Jacques Roy

Synopsis:

WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

What I am watching this week:

penny dreadfulPenny Dreadful
Series: Fantasy/Horror (2014-2016)
Cast: Josh HartnettTimothy DaltonEva Green & Billie Piper

Rundown: Set in Victorian London, Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, an American gunslinger, scientist Victor Frankenstein, and medium Vanessa Ives come together to tackle supernatural forces and seek out Murray’s missing daughter Mina. *Please note this series is extremely graphic (violence and sexual content) but also extremely good 😉


That is about it for me. More film and audio than books this week thanks to my headaches and reading fatigue. I hope you have found plenty of time to read and enjoy your week! What are you currently enjoying?

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.” 
~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Happy Reading & Be Well,

Danielle ❤

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Friday Favorites: Netflix Originals To Binge, Part 2

Friday Favorites

Picking up where we left off last week, I am wrapping up my Netflix Originals with a few more binge-worthy series this week. Here are five more favorites to consider adding to your queue.

Binge-Worthy Part II

aliasgraceNetflix Original: Alias Grace
Cast: Sarah GadonEdward HolcroftRebecca Liddiard
IMDb Synopsis: In 19th-century Canada, a psychiatrist weighs whether a murderess should be pardoned due to insanity.

Why you want to watch: This adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel delivers an outstanding cast backed by an incredible script and setting. From costumes to dialect, be prepared to be transported back in time and immersed within a series that only improves with each episode.

breakNetflix Original: The Break
Cast: Yoann BlancGuillaume KerbushAnne Coesens
Personal Synopsis: Inspector Yoann Peeters finds himself called to the scene of a crime shortly after moving back to his home town. The discovery of 19 year-old Driss Assani’s body leads to an ongoing investigation that begins to reveal many troubling details surrounding the town and its residents.

Why you want to watch: Because while this Belgium crime thriller moves at a leisurely pace, it ultimately leads to an incredible plot full of twists and turns. Atmospheric and brooding, this one manages to grab you unexpectedly and pull you in. It is worth hanging out through the first few, slower episodes.

hotelbsNetflix Original: Hotel Beau Séjour 
Cast: Lynn Van RoyenInge PaulussenJan Hammenecker
IMDb Synopsis: A young woman wakes to discover her own murder on her hands. Struggling to get help and solve the case from five locals who are somehow involved with the night of her death, she uncovers so much more.

Why you want to watch: Because you will think you have it figured out only to continually discover you do not. Dark and immersive, Hotel Beau Séjour delivers a unique experience in a very subtle yet rewarding manner that manages to keep you guessing and leaves you satisfied in the end.

stranger things.jpgNetflix Original: Stranger Things
Cast:  Millie Bobby BrownFinn WolfhardWinona Ryder
IMDb Synopsis: When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends, must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

Why you want to watch: From an opening theme that brilliantly captures the show’s nostalgic, 80s science fiction vibe to an incredible cast, Stranger Things will instantly deliver a fun throwback for older fans and something rare for younger. And with 2 seasons available, there is plenty to binge!

wormwoodNetflix Original: Wormwood
Cast: Peter SarsgaardChristian CamargoEric Olson
IMDb Synopsis: In 1953, Army scientist Frank Olson takes a fatal plunge from a hotel window. In 1975, a bombshell report ties his death to a top-secret experiment.

 

Why you want to watch: While Wormwood will not be everyone’s cup of tea, this docudrama attempts to shed light on the truth while exploring the CIA’s Project MK-Ultra (aka Mind Control Program). If offers a unique look at the often illegal experiments that took place.

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Have you watched any of the above? Or maybe you have enjoyed some of the series from Part I of my list. I have to admit that I am a fan of Netflix Originals. I would love to know what you are watching!

Happy Friday!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

 

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

 

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Like Water for Chocolate:  A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies 
By Laura Esquivel
Translators: Thomas Christensen, Carol Christensen
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN13: 9780385420174
Genre: Magical Realism

Synopsis:

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, “Like Water For Chocolate” is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit – and recipes.

A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her. For the next twenty-two years, Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.


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This was a buddy read with Kim at Traveling, Gladly Beyond. Being that this was a shorter title, we opted to forgo the usual 5 question format you see in buddy reads here on the blog and simply link up so you can compare our thoughts. You can find Kim’s review here

2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt: A book by author of a different ethnicity than you

Like Water for Chocolate was ultimately selected after Kim and I discussed wanting to read more translated titles. She was kind enough to produce a nice list of potential books, and this was our final choice. It is a title many have probably encountered if not in books in film. It has been on the bestseller lists in both Mexico and America, and the film has earned several awards. It was an easy selection.

Told through twelve monthly installments that each feature a new recipe, Esquivel delivers a unique narrative of Tita, a young woman forbidden to marry, but passionately in love. When her heart’s interest, Pedro is denied her hand by her mother, he agrees to marry her sister as a means of remaining close to her. But when Tita’s emotions began to carry over into her cooking, something magical happens and a series of side effects ranging from unbridled passion to deep sorrow surface within those who consume her food. Realizing this, Tita begins a slow seduction of Pedro through the art of cooking.

I am torn about my experience with Like Water for Chocolate and find it rather difficult to review. I can easily appreciate why this novel has made a mark, but I encountered a few barriers. Part of me enjoyed the book and another part of me knows I am not the ideal audience. So please keep both in mind here.

The biggest challenge I found lies within the characters. Initially, I liked Tita. Then I did not, then I did. And “loathing” would be an accurate description of my feelings for Pedro. This was a result of their continually bad terrible decision-making. While I respected the difficulty and heartache of their situation, I was never able to fully remove myself from my own logic and morals long enough to be “OK” with their responses and actions, and they offered no other form of distraction. It was simply one bad choice after another. And this is where my focus remained. In the end, it made for an uphill read.

Another issue (that I am learning to overcome) is that this is a love story. For the entirety of my reading life, I have struggled with them. However, with that said, the added element of Tita’s emotions literally feeding her family and a genuinely original narrative were the saving grace here. I was drawn to the incorporation of recipes into the story. It is magical realism and food! The author manages to beautifully segue meal preparation into the events as they occur and it works, giving the story a new layer of depth and facilitating a breezy, fun read carried effortlessly by the author’s fluid and spirited writing.

My final quibble would fall to the conclusion. Again, this is the result of poor actions on the character’s behalf. I found it to be disappointing and effectively solidifying of my dislike for each of them and ultimately lessening my overall rating.

But do not let my personal experience sway you away from Like Water for Chocolate. It offers a nice dose of culture through cuisine and tradition packed into an eccentric tale of passion that is incredibly easy to digest. If you enjoy a unique love story and do not mind heavily flawed protagonists, this is worth exploring.

Untitled design Served with a  tall glass of iced tea served and fresh lemon.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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