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 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Program

Since our little romcom discussion was so much fun, I asked Samantha to talk Christmas movies with me. 'Tis the season and all…




LAURA: All time favorite Christmas movie? Don’t think about it.

SAM: Ah, right off the bat, huh? I think 12 Dates of Christmas. Back in the olden days before Freeform when ABC Family still made originals.

LAURA: Oh, that's a good one, Mark-Paul Gosselaar! As much as I love all the silly Christmas movies we get from Hallmark these days, the ABC Family ones were better. One of my all time favorites is actually an old ABC Family one, too: Christmas Every Day, the 1996 version with Erik von Detten – I could watch that one every day.

SAM: For sure! And agree, as epic as Hallmark ones are, they tend to be a bit repetitive. Christmas in Boston with Patrick J. Adams is another great one. Pen pals for years destined to meet under the moon...just the right amount of cheesy.

LAURA: You're making me miss ABC Family. Hallmark movies come with one plot, polar opposites are supposed to work together, and whoever is the bigger Grinch finds their Christmas spirit by the time the credits roll. Still they’re the perfect background entertainment for baking cookies, or wrapping presents.

SAM: Or for unwinding after your hard day of shopping. And as a bonus, you can always count on the trademark actors or actresses that make the rounds. It's a safe bet that Lori Loughlin, Melissa Joan Hart or Marla Sokoloff will be standing under some mistletoe at least once every year.

LAURA: Is there one you'd consider part of your Christmas routine?

SAM: I think Desperately Seeking Santa makes the cut. I mean - shirtless hot guys in Santa hats? That one's a must.

LAURA: That’s a very good reason. I’m all about the classics in that department. I actually can’t remember a Christmas when my family didn’t watch Christmas Vacation.

SAM: Yet, I don't think I ever seen it. Does Serendipity count? 'Cause that one as we've discussed is amazing.

LAURA: I'm shocked! I’ve already caught it twice on TV this year alone. I half watch it at least three or four times each year, and then there’s always one time I actually sit down to watch it with friends and family, even though everyone knows every line backwards by now. And sure we can let it count. Even though only about 20 minutes actually take place around Christmas. But It’sa Wonderful Life is the most played Christmas movie each year (not A Christmas Story, as most people are surprised to find out), and the Christmas percentage of that one is pretty low, too.

SAM: We mentioned the similarity between a lot of them. Do you have a favorite trope?

LAURA: When it comes to Christmas movies, I definitely prefer family over romance. But the ones that I do love, Christmas Every Day, Christmas Vacation, and yes I’m also pretty big on a Christmas Story (even that ridiculous sequel) all have that theme of expectations, and Christmas blowing up in your face – but in the end it’s exactly that chaos that brings everyone together under the burning Christmas tree. And as over the top as all these comedies are, they're very real and relatable in that aspect.

SAM: Oh for sure – I think one that strikes me as a really awesome blend is The Holiday. The romance definitely drives is, but there's a sweet family component in there too. But you know I'm all about the romcoms. The more bickering the better.

LAURA: That is a very sweet one! It’s also very cozy, gives you that fireplace feeling even if you don’t have one.

SAM: Yes! And a must for 99 percent of them –cute kids.

LAURA: That and the right weather. I’m definitely more inclined to love them if there is snow. I have a soft spot for the Black Christmas remake, because it’s basically set in a snow-globe. A snow-globe with a serial killer in it, but still a snow-globe.

SAM: A white Christmas makes everything better – in real life too.

LAURA: Is there one you can’t stand at all? Or do the Christmas trappings make everything watchable?

SAM: Good question. Not any in particular I can think of. But in that vain the influx of hallmark ones haven't given me that fuzzy feeling this year. I guess there's s reason the classics are classics.

LAURA: Or, maybe they’re just saving the good ones for last this year. Gotta put something under the tree. 


Peace, Love, and Lobsters
Laura (and Sam)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Holiday Spirit

It's that time of year again, the time when we don't change the channel whenever the commercials come on, because these Christmas ads are just too good:


Sainsbury's:


This captures the christmas spirit in the most hilarious way possible. And it should be a full length movie.  


M&S:


Because we all knew that Mrs. Claus is the real hero of the North pole.


Aldi:


I always had a strict no reindeer meat rule, but I guess we'll have to add carrots to the list of foods that shouldn't be consumed on Christmas.


Heathrow Airport:


Airports are probably the last thing I think of when it comes to heartwarming Christmas ads. But this one wins. Everything.  


Mercedes Benz:

It's so cheesy, and I'm a Volvo person... but what can I say? It's Christmas.


What is your favorite Christmas ad of 2016?


Peace, Love, and Lobsters
Laura