Things I watched on Netflix: May 2017 #BeyondTheBooks

The Loft

The Loft

“Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. ”

I watched this one with my husband and we both agree it was….MEH. There is an unpredictable twist that we guessed before the reveal.

Chelsea Season 2

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea is a hilarious show with great guests, and surprisingly thought-provoking. She interviews guests, asking out-of-the-box questions about important topics. There are also funny skits. It’s a seriously intelligent show with a bunch of laughter thrown in. Definitely recommend this one!





Bill Nye Saves the World

Bill Nye Saves The World

“Acclaimed TV host, educator and bow tie fan Bill Nye is back with a new show that looks at topics from a scientific point of view, refuting myths and claims that rebuke science.”

“It’s not magic – it’s science!”

My kids, husband, and I enjoy watching Bill Nye Saves the World. There are some parts that weren’t kid-appropriate in our opinion, but we just paused and watched those parts when the kids weren’t around. It’s precipitated some fantastic conversations about how we can do our part to save our world.

Infinitely Polar Bear

infinitely polar bear

“In Boston, a bipolar individual (Mark Ruffalo) takes over sole responsibility for his two spirited daughters while his wife (Zoe Saldana) attends graduate school in New York.”

I enjoyed Infinitely Polar Bear one evening when my husband was working an overnight shift. Touching. Sad. Happy. Many emotions watching this story unfold. I recommend this one!




“Marcella Backland left the Metropolitan Police for the sake of her family, only to have her husband leave her. She returns to her job on the murder squad, investigating a case that seems disturbingly familiar to her.  ”

If you liked The Fall, then you’ll probably like Marcella.



The 100

The 100

“Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.  ”

My husband and I have been watching this one since it first released. We finished up Season 4 in May, and I’m happy to say it was MUCH better than Season 3. So if you were a fan, but stopped watching – pick it back up. It’s worth it.





“Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.”

I had no idea that there could ever be anyone who tried to say the Holocaust was a myth. Eye-opening emotional film.

Forks Over Knives

forks over knives.jpg


“Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. ”

Interesting! I’ve been cutting back on meat for years now, but had no idea just how much you can alter your health by eliminating meat and animal products.

Call the Midwife

call the midwife.jpg


“Chronicles the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s to early 1960s.  ”

I started re-watching this one from the first episode after putting it aside a couple years ago. If you liked Downtown Abbey then give this one a try.


Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King

Hasan Minhaj.jpg

“In his first stand-up special, Hasan Minhaj weaves humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes to tell his life story as an Indian-American Muslim. Topics include racism, bullying and meeting the demanding expectations of his immigrant parents.  ”

Hilarious! My husband and I absolutely LOVED this special! Knowledgeable, original, perceptive, and entertaining!


Library of Souls: Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #bookreview

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series written by Ransom Riggs began with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, continued with Hollow City, and finished with Library of Souls. If you haven’t read the first two books then stop right here (thank you very much) ♫ ♪

Like the other novels, this one also contains images which are authentic, vintage found photographs. On page 463 Riggs says that a handful have undergone digital processing, but are unaltered. Including the photos throughout the story provides the reader with a unique reading experience.

library of souls

As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

Library of Souls begins with Jacob, Emma, and Addison attempting to escape a Hollow in order to continue their search for the ymbrynes and their fellow peculiar children Horace, Bronwyn, Enoch, Hugh, Olive, and Millard. Jacob discovers he can speak the Hollow language – and with that, he can control the monsters.

Him, I said, in a language not my own.”

Addison, a pompous, witty, funny, talking dog provides some much needed comic relief for the intense story. The three must hurry to find a loop, peculiar children who have been raised in a loop cannot stay in present for long, or time will catch up with them.

They finally find Sharon, a seven foot tall man, offering river tours, day trips and romantic sunset cruises since 1693. He brings them through a loop into Devil’s Acre, which is as horrible as it sounds. Here they find the fortress where their friends are being held captive by Caul, Miss Peregrine’s evil brother.

“It’s quite something to realize you mean less than nothing to your own brother.” p.203

Some have categorized this book and series as Middle Grade, but I would have to disagree. I don’t feel like this book is appropriate for a child under the age of 14-16 years old due to the implied sexual interest, and drug addiction aspects. It’s definitely more of a Young Adult Fantasy novel.

I have loved the Peculiar world – and would love to know even more, about their history, and their future. I wish this novel could have given me more about Mother Dust, the most amazing peculiar I’ve ever read about.

Jacob accomplishes quite the character arc – once a very careful, timid, planner, who doubted himself has now become a courageous, confident teenager not afraid to take risks.

I love Ransom Riggs writing style. Here is a favourite quote:

“I looked at Emma and she looked back, both of us trying to hide how vulnerable we felt. Trying to grow a sheath of steel around our hearts. For what we might see, might do. Might be done to us.” p.288

Library of Souls tackles dark themes such as jealousy, greed, drug addiction, violence, sibling rivalry – but also inspires us with friendship, courage, and redemption. The biggest theme –  that we ALL experience –  is TIME. Having enough time. Wasting time. Time catching up. Time chasing you. Time running out.

Now is the TIME for you to pick up this series and enter the peculiar world 😉

Happy Reading!

Amanda ♥


Books Of The Academy Awards #Oscars2017

Many Oscar nominees for 2017 began as a good book, or short story. Here is a list of books which inspired the Academy Award nominated work for this year.


arrival-1391_1Arrival is based on a 1998 short story called “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang


The film Fences is based on the play Fences written by August Wilson.


The film Lion is based on the non fiction book called A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose.


Moonlight is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.


Elle is based on the novel Oh by Philippe Djian.


Nocturnal Animals is based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright.


Hidden Figures is based on the non fiction book Hidden Figures.


Silence is based on the novel Silence by Shūsaku Endō.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on the book by the same name, written by J.K. Rowling.


Life, Animated is based on the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism written by Ron Suskind.


A Man Called Ove is based on the book by the same name, written by Fredrick Backman.


Blind Vaysha based on a story by Georgi Gospodinov.


Pear Cider and Cigarettes is based on a graphic novel of the same name written by Robert Valley.


The Books Behind the Golden Globes

I have many hobbies and interests that I may have mentioned before in this blog, but you probably didn’t know that I am obsessed with awards shows. The Golden Globes, The Oscars, Much Music Video Awards, it doesn’t matter what the awards are for, I’ll watch it and love every second of it. While watching the Golden Globes on Sunday, I realized many of the winners named books that inspired the movies and tv shows. It all comes back to the written word. To the writer, hunkered over a notebook on the subway, or locked in their bedroom typing on their laptop while their kids are knocking on the door asking, “Mommy, what are you doing in there?” And so, I decided to put together a list of books that inspired the Golden Globe nominated stories.

Carol nominated for best motion picture: drama, actress in a motion picture: drama, and for best score, is based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.

The screenplay for The Revenant, winner for best motion picture: drama, and for best actor in a motion picture: drama, was, in part, based on Michael Punke‘s The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge.

Room, nominated for best motion picture: drama, winner for best actress in a motion picture: drama, and nominated for best screenplay, is based on the novel Room written by Emma Donoghue.

Spotlight nominated for best motion picture: drama, and best screenplay, is based on stories by the “Spotlight team” that earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

The Big Short, nominated for best motion picture: comedy, actor in a motion picture: comedy, and best screenplay, is based on the book by the same name, written by Michael Lewis.

The Martian, winner for best motion picture:comedy, and winner for best actor in a motion picture: comedy, is based on the novel by the same name written by Andy Weir.

Brooklyn, nominated for best actress in a motion picture: drama is based on Colm Tóibín‘s novel of the same name.

The Danish Girl, nominated for best actress and best actor in a motion picture: drama, and nominated for best score, is based on the the novel by the same name, written by David Ebershoff.

Trumbo, nominated for best actor in a motion picture: drama is based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Alexander Cook.

Game Of Thrones, nominated for best TV series: drama, is based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin.

Outlander, nominated for best TV series: drama, and best supporting actor in a TV series, limited series, or TV movie, is based on the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

The story for the TV series Mozart In The Jungle, Winner for TV series: comedy, is inspired by Blair Tindall’s memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music.

Orange is the New Black, nominated for best TV series: comedy, and best supporting actress in a TV series, is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.

Penny Dreadful, nominated for best actress in a tv series: drama, draws inspiration from a variety of characters and stories such as Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray written by Oscar Wilde, Abraham Van Helsing from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Beasts of No Nation, nominated for best actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, is based on the novel by the same name by Uzodinma Iweala[.

Wolf Hall, Winner for Best TV movie or miniseries, and nominated for best supporting actor in a TV series, limited series, or TV movie, is based on Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

Show me a Hero, Winner for best actor in a TV movie or limited series, is based on the book of the same name written by Lisa Belkin.

So there you go. Over 18 books you can add to your “to read” list 🙂


What Scares You the Most?

Scary: causing fear

According to the first known use of the word scary was in 1582. That’s 433 years of humans knowing the name for that feeling of being frightened, terrified, alarmed, horrified, or shocked.

What causes chills up your spine and the hair on the back of your neck to stand up?  What keeps you awake at night?

I’m currently writing a scary short story for a writing contest called “I Made the Darkness” and I’ve been spending this week thinking about all the things that scare me. I’ve always liked scary movies and books, so I’ve been reminiscing about all the scariest movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read.

I remember when I was about 8 years old and I watched The Last Unicorn and was frightened of the Mommy Fortuna character. She is quite a terrifying character for a cartoon. The Exorcist is definitely in my top 10 scariest movies. Along with The Ring, It, The Blair Witch Project, and Poltergeist.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old I read The Amityville Horror – only during the day though. HAHA! I’ve read a lot of Stephen King’s books. Some of the scariest books I’ve read are Cujo, Pet Sematary, Thinner, and of course the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

How about you? What are the scariest movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read? What are your biggest fears?