What Have I Been Up To? November

Seems like only a few weeks ago I wrote about October. . . Sigh time flies by. I won’t have as many movies on this list because I’m currently doing a marathon of classic movies.

But I have been reading a lot of books lately and other series so that will be fun to talk about!

Books

Nightbooks by J.A. White 5/5

A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her a new scary story each night to stay alive. This thrilling contemporary fantasy from J. A. White, the acclaimed author of the Thickety series, brings to life the magic and craft of storytelling.

Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever. He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place.

Goodreads Synopsis

To kick things off, I listened to this amazing audiobook narrated by Kirby Heybourne. I actually thought to myself his voice sounded familiar. Turns out I was right! I’ve seen him in a lot of Church movies from my childhood.

That aside, I really like listening to this story. If I had read this without listening to it I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish. Not because the story isn’t good but because I have a hard time staying focused.

Heybourne made this story interesting for me, just in how he gave the characters distinct voices and personalities. If you like listening to audiobooks I would definitely give this one a look.

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland retold by Kevin Crossley-Holland 4.5/5

Rich and strange, these eerie and magical folktales from across Britain and Ireland have been passed down from generation to generation, and are gathered together in a definitive new collection from the master storyteller and winner of the Carnegie Medal, Kevin Crossley-Holland. Dark and funny, lyrical and earthy, these fifty stories are part of an important and enduring historical tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Described by Neil Gaiman as the “master”, Crossley-Holland’s unforgettable retellings will capture the imagination of readers young and old alike.

Goodreads Synopsis

So, I started listening to this and thought I wouldn’t like it after the first few stories. Then I really got into it and realized I loved the narrator! He did British, Cornish, Irish and Welsh accents and really brought those old stories to life for me.

If you like folktales, give this one a look see!

The Jumbies, by Tracey Baptiste 3.5/5

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for Corinne’s father, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and save her island home.

Goodreads Synopsis

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as others I’ve listened to. I like how the author weaved in the folklore. But, I didn’t find it too interesting. It probably was just me but I thought it was an average story.

Coraline (Audiobook) read by Neil Gaiman 3.5/5 (The audiobook not the book itself)

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

To be clear, I love this book! I’ve read it at least twenty times in my life. However, I didn’t care for the audiobook that much. It was partially the dry way Neil Gaiman read it and the strange music that suddenly would pop up every once in a while.

If you haven’t heard it before, give it a try. Perhaps I’m just weird.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury 4/5

Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. 

Goodreads Synopsis

I think this would be a great book to read to different kids in October. I learned a lot about different cultures, and how they celebrated during All Hallow’s Eve.

What impressed me about this story is how it reminded readers how people have always feared death and connected autumn time with this fear. What I also appreciated is how Ray Bradbury pointed out how we should not forget those who have gone before us but take time to remember them.

Movies

Coraline (2009) 5/5

An adventurous 11-year-old girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

IMDB Synopsis

Ah this movie. I suddenly wanted to watch it again and took the time to pay special attention to small details I’d missed before. It impressed me all over again how many things I notice every time I watch.

Stop motion is harder in ways than other forms of animation because it is completely hands on and you have to treat it like a live set in a miniature film set.

No matter how many times I see this movie, I always find it interesting! It feeds my German soul quite a feast every time.

Shows/ Anime

Fire Force (2019) 7/10

 In the year 198 of the Age of the Sun, Tokyo is a crowded cosmopolis. But the world’s most populous city is threatened by devils that cause people to burst into flame at random. The only ones who can stop it are the Pyrofighters, a team of specialized firefighters. The young Shinra, blessed with the ability to ignite his feet and travel at the speed of a rocket, wants nothing more than to be a hero, and knows that this is the place for him. But he’s not the best at following orders. 

Anime News Network synopsis

So, this story is actually pretty interesting. The sounds effects are FANTASTIC and the animation is engaging and fascinating to pick apart.

Here’s the problem. The fan service is completely unnecessary. I mean, in the third episode the main character “accidentally” grabs a girl’s boob under her bikini and subsequently finds his hands down her pants on her butt.

Yeah, that’s not okay. That’s called sexual assault. It was completely unnecessary and threw off the whole show for me.

I might go back and watch it again but for now I’m annoyed.

High End Crush (2015) 8/10

Choi Se Hoon (Jung Il Woo) is the head of G.Choi, a chart-topping K-pop entertainment agency with a top-billing roster of star acts.

Many think he is blessed with the Midas touch, and he too believes he can make a star out of just about anyone he chooses to. He is rich and successful – but also aloof, arrogant, and conceited.

One day, he meets a very unusual individual, Lee Yi Ryung (Jin Se Yeon), an innocent and naïve young woman from a humble and conservative countryside family. In almost every way, she is his polar opposite: shy, not brash, and humble, not self-important.

He decides to recruit her to become G.Choi’s latest star, but is shocked to discover that she expresses no interest in becoming a K-pop singer.

Things get even more complicated when he starts to fall for her – and discovers that winning this young woman’s heart is much harder than manufacturing K-pop success! Can Choi Se Hoo change his ways – and win her heart?

Rakuten TV Synopsis

Every once in a while I watch this crazy low budget Korean drama. The story is pretty straight forward, with a high end company owner, who is quite full of himself, falling for a country side girl who has no interest in him.

I like the acting in this particular drama, though sometimes the characters are a little over the top. (Too much Anime-esque expressions and reactions.)

Overall, I like how this drama has such a narcissist making a turn around for such a simple girl. Also, the girl DOESN’T have to change to be accepted. She stays true to her principles and keeps her promises.

Bungo Stray Dogs (2016) So far. . . 8/10

While starving on a riverbank, Atsushi saves a rather eccentric man named Osamu Dazai from drowning. Whimsical suicide enthusiast and supernatural detective, Dazai has been investigating the same tiger that has been terrorizing the boy. Together with Dazai’s partner Doppo Kunikida, they solve the mystery, but its resolution leaves Atsushi in a tight spot. As various odd events take place, Atsushi is coerced into joining their firm of supernatural investigators, taking on unusual cases the police cannot handle, alongside his numerous enigmatic co-workers.

My Anime List Synopsis

I haven’t seen more than half of the first season and I can already tell THIS IS MY TYPE OF SHOW. I have a soft spot for detective stories with fantasy elements.

Thus far, the animation is crisp and clean, the opening and endings songs are VERY catchy and interesting to watch multiple times, and I haven’t grown bored of the story.

What is most interesting about this story, from the first 12 or so episodes, are the characters and how their quirks both give them personality but also FLAWS they need to work through.

I’ll keep everyone posted on how my opinion of this shows shifts over the next few weeks.

Accidentally in Love (2018)

Chen Qing Qing, the heiress of a rich family, desperately wants to avoid an arranged marriage and find love on her own terms. On her wedding day, she flees town and heads out to enroll in the same college where her parents studied, hoping to find out more about their deaths. In an effort to hide her true identity, she changes her appearance and begins to blend in with her classmates.

Her school deskmate turns out to be the famous singer, Si Tu Feng, with whom she’s already had multiple run-ins. They start off on the wrong foot, quarreling constantly and causing each other grief. But could there be more between them? Thus starts Qing Qing’s quest for answers about her parent’s death and a chance at real love.

My Drama List Synopsis

I go back and watch this show sometimes because its corny/colorful/ and funny. There’s so much drama but I don’t mind it. I don’t have too much more to say about it because it’s sort of self explanatory.

What I like about this show is it’s message on beauty and accomplishment. It points out how easy it is to misjudge someone based on lookism. Most of the time it isn’t about beauty but CONFIDENCE, something Qing Qing has in abundance.

There you have it! Hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you next month!

What Have I Been Up To? October

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