Sunday, August 13, 2017

…and Scene

I love a good Hollywood story. It doesn't matter if it's fact or fiction, comedy or tragedy, romance or mystery …as long as it is set against against a Hollywood backdrop I will get excited about it.  So I thought I'd share two of my non-fiction favorites with you:



I have read many books about '80s teen movies, but none of those can compare to Smokler's Brat Pack America. He covers a lot, including some movies I had never heard of (something I definitely want to fix),  but instead of focussing on the characters or stories Brat Pack America is a journey through all the real and fictional places that made these movies so great.  

 From the Goonies Day festivities in Astoria, to a Lost Boys tour of Santa Cruz, Smokler goes everywhere, from north to south. But that is not everything, Brat Pack America also includes interviews with actors, writers and directors, and is full of little tidbits and facts. So if you're in the mood for some time traveling and can't get your hands Doc Brown's DeLorean, this book is the next best thing.





If you have not read the story behind the greatest bad movie ever made, you are really missing out.  Sestero, who stared as Mark in the Room, tells the story of how he met the mysterious figure that is Tommy Wiseau and how The Room came together.  

I am a fan of The Room. Yet, I do not think that you necessarily have to love the movie – or even be familiar with it – to enjoy the book. The whole tale is so bizarre that it might as well be a fictional story – a well written, interesting, and hilarious story that will have you rolling on the floor.  


The thing that makes The Disaster Artist so great is, however, not the comedy but how honest and heartfelt Sestero's words feel. It would have been so easy to write a tell-all book that makes fun of Wiseau's antics, but at the end of the day The Disaster Artist is a story about one man with a big dream. And soon, you can even see it play out on the big screen. I can't wait!




Peace, Love, and Lobsters 
Laura 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Girl in Snow

When I read the description of Girl in Snow, I figured it was just another small town murder mystery, where the homecoming queen ends up dead in a ditch and we slowly find out that her perfect life was not that perfect after all…

I could not have been more wrong. When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda is found dead with a cracked skull on a carousel (which is much creepier than your average ditch), no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched. There is Cameron, the boy who was madly in love (or rather obsessed) with her. Jade, the girl who hated her, but also wanted to be her. And Russ, a police officer with a questionable past.

Author Danya Kukafka does an amazing job of going back and forth between the perspectives of these three characters. Switching perspectives can be confusing, but Kukafka does it so seamlessly that it feels completely natural. The three different voices make the story incredibly vivid, and offer a level of insight that would have been lost with a single narrator. In short Girl in Snow is a solid character study that disguises itself as a murder mystery and explores the way death and grief affect a small town.

I won't recommend this if you are looking for a fast paced thriller that you won't be able to put down. But if you are in the mood for something a little deeper, that focusses on characters instead of clues, then give Girl in Snow a chance. You won't regret it.


Girl in Snow hits the shelves on August 1


Peace, Love and Lobsters
Laura




Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an advance copy of Girl in Snow

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bayport Noir

Something that a lot of people do not know about me is that I love graphic novels. I was never into comic books as a kid. It wasn't because I didn't like the concept, I just didn't have access to the kind of stories I enjoyed – as the whole superhero thing just wasn't for me. But today, some of my favorite books are in fact of the drawn variety as the graphic novel section in the bookstore is one of the best places to find interesting detective stories – and you all know how much I love detectives stories.

Now imagine my joy when I spotted my favorite teenage detectives on the cover of a new comic book series – The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew have gone noir.

I am a bit of a purist when it comes to the Hardys and Nancy. While I do love the 1970s TV show for all it's campy glory, I could never get into any of the book series that put them together. But I guess there's always an exception, and that exception is:

"Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie"

    

In true noir fashion, this new series starts on a very dark note when the Hardys find themselves in the middle of a corruption scandal that hits its peak when the boys are accused of murdering their own father. And when the whole town of Bayport turns against them they team up with an old friend to clear their names and find the real culprit.

What I love about this series is that even though it is a very modern and gritty take on the books, the characters are still recognizable and none of the conflicts feel forced. There is for example a rift between Nancy and her father — something that would usually be unimaginable — that is handled really well, and feels completely natural. Writer Anthony Del Col (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Werther Dell’edera (Batman: Detective Comics, House of Mystery) did not just throw these beloved characters into a noir universe, they found an organic way to make them a part of that universe — and I cannot wait to see more of it!

And grab issue #4 this Wednesday (June 21)

For fans of:
The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, 
Veronica Mars, Riverdale

…and fans of Stratemeyer's mystery books will also appreciate a couple of fun cameos (those Bobbseys sure like to party). 

Peace, Love, and Lobsters
Laura 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Documentaries

I'm finally at the finish line of this whole moving and renovating adventure and trying to get back into my regular Sunday posting routine. And today that means sharing a couple of must watch documentaries with you.



Mommy Dead and Dearest (HBO)
The thing that shocked me the most about this case was that I had never heard about it. Everything about it sounds too crazy too be true, but nope it actually happened. Mommy Dead and Dearest documents an extreme case of Munchhausen by Proxy. A mom tricked the whole world into believing that her daughter had every ailment one could imagine, until the daughter had enough and murdered her mother. It's as weird as it gets, but a must watch if you're a fan of true crime documentaries that are on the crazier side. 



Casting JonBenet (Netflix)
I've seen countless documentaries about this case (really, who hasn't?), but this one really stood out. Instead of a classic documentary, this is basically a casting session for a documentary where all the actors share their theories. It's definitely a fresh and unique approach and adds new interest to an old case.



American Epic (PBS) 
This three part event is the untold story of how the ordinary people of America gort to record music for the first time. Narrated by Robert Redford, and featuring performances from the likes of Willie Nelson, Elton John, and Jack White and T Bone Burnett who also lead theses truly epic recording sessions this series is an experience that every music lover will enjoy. And you're gonna want to buy the recordings right after. Trust me.  


Peace, Love and Lobster
Laura

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Back in Time

It's been way too long, but who knew that moving (and remodeling) would be so much work? And I'm not even the one doing the work. But being stuck supervising the construction site I call home right now also means a lot of reading time. And most of that time was spend in the '80s:





Five boys, one deadly secret, and a mysterious summer – The Boys of Summer might be the best Stephen King book not written by King. It follows a group of boys who live through the monster tornado that hit Wichita Falls in 1977. A few years later the boys—now teenagers—are forever bound together by another horrific event that follows them into adulthood.

Richard Cox tells the story in multiple timelines and switches back and forth between the '70s, the '80s, and present day. The book is also rather hard to qualify. It is science fiction but not really. There are thriller elements but it's also a coming of age story. And those who are worried that it's just a Stephen King rip-off will be pleased to hear that it's also sprinkled with a good dose of Southern Gothic elements.

I found the book on a 10 things to read if you enjoyed Stranger Things list, and while the plot has little resemblance to the Netflix hit, it does get the vibe right. If you enjoy Stephen King, Stranger Things and anything '80s, then slick that hair back, put those wayfarers on and check out The Boys of Summer.




If The Boys of Summer is the literary equivalent to Stranger Things, then The Impossible Fortress is The Goldbergs. The year is 1987, the players are three teenage outcasts – Billy, Alf, and Clark – and the great prize is a copy of Playboy, the copy that features local celebrity and wheel of fortune host Vanna White to be specific.

The impossible Fortress reminds of an '80s sitcom in the best way possible. It's hilarious but touching. There are twists around every corner (especially one that shocked me more than the protagonist himself). And between the playboy heist plot, the love story, and a part that almost feels like a Goonies like adventure there's really something for everyone – even a playlist at the back of the book (all authors should do this!)




I know non-fiction is not for everyone but Freeman's essays on the lessons we learned from beloved classics, like Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Pretty in Pink, When Harry Met Sally, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Steel Magnolias and Back to the Future are as witty and charming as those movies themselves. That said, I did not agree with everything Freeman addresses (particularly her understanding of current films felt a little off), but her arguments kept me interested. And, personally, I'm always intrigued by opinions that differ from my own. Overall, Life Moves Pretty Fast is a fun and quick read for anyone who is a fan of '80s movies, just remember that it's mostly based on Freeman's own opinions and experiences and not fact.

Do you have a favorite Eighties themed book?


Peace, Love and Lobsters

Laura  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Time Off

I have a bitter-sweet announcement to make. With some pretty big and exciting things on the horizon  — the biggest thing being a cross country move —  I am taking some time off from blogging.  The main reason for this is that my little "office" is gonna be all packed up in boxes, and instead of posting whatever I can manage to throw together on my phone I'd rather wait until I have a new space to create something that is worth stopping by — and hopefully also also worth waiting for!



Until then you can of course still find me on:



and 


Hope to see you there!



Peace, Love, and lots and lots of Lobsters!
Laura

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays…

It's officially Christmas morning! And just like every year, I want to take a minute to thank you for hanging out in my little corner of the Internet and wish you a Merry Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

And since it's Christmas, here are some major holiday throwbacks:  





See you in 2017!


Peace, Love, and Lobster

Laura

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Merry Ex–Mas

There are times when you just finished a great book and just can't figure out what to read next, so you go with the first thing Amazon recommends. In some cases you'll end up with something that makes you question the sanity of those Amazon elves, but in others you want to run to the kitchen, bake a fresh batch of cinnamon buns, and personally deliver them to those elves to thank them.

Kate Brian's Ex-Mas was such a cinnamon bun situation.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you know that romance isn't exactly my thing unless there's a mystery element to it — yet, I finished this book in two nights.  

Ex-Mas 

For 17-year-old Lila Beckwith popularity is everything, but when her plans to throw the biggest party of the season are ruined by her kid brother, Cooper, her revenge backfires in a way that puts more than just her social life into perspective. After Lila shows Cooper an article about global warming, the Christmas-obsessed kid and his best friend Tyler head up North to save Santa and the North Pole – which means they jump on a train to Seattle. And of course, Tyler just happens to be the younger brother of Lila's antisocial ex Beau. And so, the two exes are forced to embark on road trip to bring their brothers home before Lila's parents get back on Christmas Eve. Bah Humbug.  

There are a couple of reasons why I enjoyed this book as much as I did. For once I do love road trip stories, especially holiday road trip stories. And Brian captured that feeling so well that I almost felt like I was in the car with Lila and Beau. Then there was the Santa element with the runaway boys, that gave it that DCOM feel, I adore. And finally, something that would usually be considered a bad thing: the story's predictability.  I knew how this was going to play out after reading the summary, but it still kept my interest. Which also works well with the road trip theme, because sometimes it really is about the journey and not just the destination.  

So no matter if you're looking for something to read in front of the fireplace, or if you need something to get you through a long car or plane ride, Ex-Mas won't disappoint. 


Peace, Love, and Lobsters
Laura