Friday, February 3

Movie Review: Black Bear (2020)

Black Bear
Length:  1h 44m
Released: 2020
Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Rating: R
Where I Got It: Amazon Prime

A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.

Click here for the trailer

Watched this with a friend of mine and then I felt the need to re-watch it. This is for sure a movie you have to pay attention to and tbh - watch twice. 

The story follows a filmmaker who is at a creative impasse and seeks solace at a rural retreat in hopes to find inspiration.

My friend and I finished it....and we talked about what it all meant. Once we had our theories, we looked up some explanations online and it made sense. I decided to re-watch again with that knowledge and all the dots connected for me. 

This is for sure a refreshing movie. It has an interesting narrative and interesting characters. This is also a people movie so lots and lots of talking. There are some slow moments, especially in the beginning. But tension builds and things happen. 

There is some comedy...some of it is pretty dark, but it is there and it worked well. It felt like real-life comedy like the scenes with the coffee.  

I'm still not 100% sure about the connection with the bear? I may have to read more and figure out how that all ties in. 

Interesting movie. If you like slower films about people then I recommend this one. 3 stars from me. 

Thursday, February 2

Best of January

New year! New trophy design! Hopefully, you all like it. 

Here are our bests of January. 

Best Movie of the Month:

Blodeuedd - Strange World (2022)
"Movies are meh these days, but I watched Strange world in one of our many must stay home with sick kid days."

"This is a documentary everyone should watch."

Best Book of the Month:

"This was intriguing, makes you feel, thriller-ish, mysterious....and just a good story."

"January has been a terrible reading month. I am already behind on my GR challenge! But best book would be Written in red by Anne Bishop. I am re-listening and I love all equally."

Best TV show of the Month:

Blodeuedd -  The Way of the HousehusbandThe Rookie (S3), & The Recuit
"It was a tv season! New season of The way of the househusband! Tv finally got s3 of the Rookie. And The Recruit was really thrilling!"

"Trying out the streaming service Peacock...and I've been binging Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks & Recs! I really have missed these two shows!"

Best Cover of the Month:

Carole's pick
"Love this cover!"

Blodeuedd's pick
"Best cover cos it looks fun!"

Wednesday, February 1

Kickstarter Blast - The White Sails series by Emma Lombard (+ Giveaway!!!)

The White Sails Series: Special Hardback Omnibus by Emma Lombard

If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures?
Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers?
Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?

Then hop aboard Emma Lombard's hardback Collector's Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!

But Why?

Well, firstly, let me tell you what my Kickstarter campaign isn't. It isn't a plea for donations, it's not a beg for money, and it's not just another retailer.

Okay, so what is it then?

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for me to give more to my fans.

It allows fans access to a special collector's edition that is not (and will never be) available from online retailers.

It allows fans to have each and every copy personalised, which is just not doable on retailers.

It also allows fans a more intimate view of the story behind my series.

And best of all, it allows fans to get involved in my next series, whether through an exclusive sneak peek of the first draft or even having a character named after them.

Oh, and did I mention there's an opportunity to win the original oil painting of the cover?

Where else in the world do you get all this extra cool stuff thrown in just because you bought a book?

What's in it for you, Emma?

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, I'm beside myself to put such a pretty book out in the world. I'm mean, just look at that dreamy sunset! I'm not going to lie, I love a chunky book. This collector's edition fulfils my ultimate author dream—to be able to hold (and smell) a weighty tome. I'm not the only one—I've had folks walk up to my books at the market and pick them up just to smell them! My kind of peeps!

I know it's taboo to talk about money, but the pledges received for this campaign will help me recoup some of the upfront expenses that I have already laid out, like editing, book cover design, audiobook narration, and it will give me the momentum I need to invest in those same services for my next series, The Gold Hills Series.

You'll be helping keep the indie publishing ecosphere turning, which in turn lets me keep creating more stories.

So, what's The White Sails Series about?

One of my readers described it best: If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

The idea for this series was born from a tiny nugget of family gossip that my grandmother shared with me. She told me how my 3x great grandmother left her well-to-do family in England to elope with an English sea captain, and live aboard his ship with him.

I took the basic concept of this story and had a blast creating an entirely fictitious imagining of what it might have been like for a woman to live aboard a ship in those days. Quite ironic considering that I get terribly sea-sick myself.

Curious? Never seen what a Kickstarter campaign looks like?

Just looking: Take an exclusive pre-launch look at Emma's campaign to see it in detail, click HERE.

Note: clicking on this link will not sign you up to anything, it's simply an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.

To follow the campaign: Open the campaign, and click 'Notify me on launch' button at the top of the page

Note: this will not commit you to any pledges, it's how you will be able to have ring-side seats to watch the campaign play out.


Batten down the hatches, m’lovelies, for a chance to win an exclusive, personalised, hardcover Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series: Fill out the entry form HERE.

Book Blast Hosts

Books & Benches
Passages to the Past
The Book Junkie Reads
Books, Cooks, Looks
Elodie’s Reading Corner
Carole's Ramblings
My Reading Getaway
Gwendalyn's Books
Bookish Mya
I'm Into Books
Reading Is My Remedy
CelticLady's Reviews
History from a Woman’s Perspective
Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, January 31

Audiobook Review: Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

Author: Julia London
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Title: Sinful Scottish Laird
Series: Highland Grooms #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Published: February 28, 2017
Where I got It: Borrowed from library

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years' time or forfeit her son's inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly and unwillingly bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy's brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

This is the 2nd book in the series. I read book 1 last year. 

Here we follow Daisy Bristol, aka Lady Chatwick, and Cailean who is the laird of Arrandale. When Daisy's husband passed away and she is forced to remarry in three years' time or forfeit her son's inheritance. There are plenty of suitors vying for her hand...and her money. However, she wants to marry for love or at least for friendship, so when she receives a letter from a long-lost love sends her to her Scottish estate to buy time for his return. Along the way, she will meet Cailean who is not only a laird but a notorious smuggler. She is utterly bewitched but he has no use for a woman and especially not an English lady. 

This is book 1 but you can read this as a standalone. There are some references to the other couple since they are Cailean's parents, but they explain what you need to know. 

This was a slow start for me. I really and truly struggled to get into the story. I found myself zoning out, however, I kept pushing forward. Things did turn around for me after page 50 and I found myself invested in our characters. 

I liked Daisy and Cailean. You can see the lust and even some friendship, but the love took a while which worked for them. They both were burned by love in the past (in different ways) so you can see why they are unsure of their feelings. Plus Daisy is living in a fantasy that Robert (who was her first love) and her are meant to be. Poor thing believes he loves her and not her fortune. Spoiler...not spoiler....he doesn't. She does figure it out but it takes a while. 

I really did love how our two MCs are a little older and not virgin-y. She is a widow hitting 30 soon and Cailean is about to turn 36 any day. It was also nice seeing how complex they were. Lots of issues and flaws. They have been hurt and there is some external issues they have to deal with too. Between her being English and him Scottish....and then the political issues impacting this romance. It is not an easy romance but they will find their HEA (not a spoiler of course). So yes, it took a while and it worked. 

The ending was nice and the resolution was dealt with perfectly. However, there are some things not 100% settled. I feel like there is something heading their way 3 is about Cailean's brother so I'm sure the other shoe will drop then. 

The narrator was the same as book 1. He did a good job then and did a good job here. Nice voices and flawless changes in accents and different genders. 

In the end, I struggled with the beginning but I pushed through and I grew to enjoy it. I liked the characters and you can't help but root for them to find love. 3 stars from me. 

- #8 for Audiobook challenge
- #7 for Romance Reading Challenge - MC 35+ years old