Book Review

Book Review: Aim True by Kathryn Budig

Sometimes, self-improvement books can be really frustrating. Often, they’re filled with bad advice or they just feel super impractical. However, every so often, I stumble upon a truly amazing one and then I just have to share. The most recent one I’ve been loving is: Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! by Kathryn Budig.

25817626

Like most females, I don’t always feel super positive about my body. Well, in this book, renowned yoga instructor Kathryn Budig delivers solid advice for loving yourself inside and out. She also has a lot of anecdotes about her own experiences with body image, mental health, and physical health. Her writing style is light and humorous, and it almost felt like I was reading a very long letter from a new friend than reading a book.

This book includes a lot: recipes, yoga guides, meditation guides, and self-care/homeopathy tips. But what I loved most was the personal, honest way that Budig shares her own journey. Even if you’re not in to yoga, I think this one is worth giving a try because it’s just so positive an uplifting.

I highly recommend this book for all women, but especially those who sometimes struggle with their self-esteem and body image.

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

 

Movie Review

Movie Review: Witch Hunt (2017)

Well, it’s nearly mid-August, so my mind is already wandering towards Halloween! Summer is great, but my favorite season has always been Autumn – from the crisp air to the cardigans to the horror movies. So, as I’ve been gearing up for the upcoming changing of the seasons and trying to decide what my costume will be (all suggestions welcome!) I’ve been thinking a lot about horror movies. One that I saw recently on Amazon Prime that has really stuck with me is Witch Hunt, an independent film that just came out last year. You can watch this one FREE on Amazon Prime if you’re a member.

Image result for witch hunt movie

I’ll admit that when I first turned this one on, I was a bit hesitant about the acting in the beginning, but overall, I’m so glad that I stuck with it. It was so well-written and fresh for a horror movie. Let’s dissect some of the elements:

*Plot – The plot of this one was really interesting. Five young women gather for a birthday party and end up playing a nostalgic board game from their youth. But the board game, called “Witch Hunt,” may not be quite the innocent experience they remember. There are plenty of twists and turns here, as well as paranoia befitting of the Salem Witch Trials (of which there are several clever allusions).

*Characters – Viewers learn about the characters very gradually in this movie, and that is a big strength. It’s rare for a horror movie to be truly character-driven, but that’s what we have here. In this movie, there are so many psychological elements to unpack: female friendship, childhood trauma, religious fervor, sexuality, and more.

*Style – I adored the stylistic way that this movie unfolds. With each round of the game, we learn more about a specific character. It has a very unique but defined structure. I actually finished the movie and immediately wanted to watch it again because it was such a refreshing take on the genre.

*Scare Factor – For a horror movie, this one is extremely light on fright. There is very little gore or jump scares. Rather, this movie is propelled by its suspense and evocative atmosphere.

* Final Verdict – I loved this movie! I would definitely recommend it to those who like psychological or character-driven horror. And, since it’s not really scary, I think this would be a fun movie for anyone to watch for Halloween!

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal

First Acceptance Since Grad School

The life of a writer is filled with rejection. After a while, you learn to not take it personally in order to stay sane. The other day, I noticed an email from a publisher in my inbox, so I started reading the email. I guess I’m so accustomed to hearing “no” that it took me a while to realize I was reading a “yes!”

Free stock photo of hands, woman, girl, blur

One of the short stories (“Nature’s Graveyard”) from my MFA thesis is going to appear in the Emerging Ohio Writers anthology published by Z Publishing. This book will be available for purchase in September! (Just in time for my birthday!)

Anyway, I wanted to share the good news, especially since this is my first acceptance since completing my MFA at the end of March. I hope there are many more to come!

 

Book Review

Book Review: Magick & Mayhem

I love the wide variety of subjects that come up in the cozy mystery genre. You can find almost any hobby, profession, or setting if you look around at Cozy-Mystery.com (my favorite resources for finding new cozies to read!)

Even though it’s July, I’ve been thinking a lot about Halloween because my coworkers and I are trying to decide what our costume theme will be. Because of this, I’ve been in the mood for something spooky and paranormal. While no cozy is really spooky, I have found some great paranormal picks, and one of my new favorite series is the Abracadabra Mystery series by Sharon Pape, which begins with the book Magick & Mayhem.

31491757

First off, can we just acknowledge how adorable this cover is? I love it so much!

This book starts off with our spunky protagonist Kailyn Wilde who unexpectedly inherits her grandmother’s shop and ends up stumbling upon a murder. This jumpstarts a very cozy and humorous adventure through this small-town infused with magic.

Kailyn comes from a long line of magical descendants, and some charming (literal) ghosts from her past help to guide her along the way. As she tries to prove her best friend’s innocence in this murder mystery, Kailyn also learns more about her powers and grows stronger in her magical practice. This book sets up a unique world of magic mystery. I was so pleased by the balance between traditional magical elements and fresh, new twists on the typical cozy witch story.

The mystery itself was more detailed and richly plotted than the average cozy mystery. I enjoyed the adventure and the great world-building. Rather than stumbling upon clues, Kailyn and her sidekicks are smart and resourceful. They are really solving puzzles here to discover the identity of the real murderer.

Kailyn is a really fun protagonist who is kind of insecure about her powers. She’s got a lot of growth to do, so I think this is the start of a really wonderful series where she will get more and more confident with each book. There are three books so far in this series, and I hope many more are to come.

Book Review

Book Review: When Books Went to War

I don’t often read a lot of historical-themed nonfiction, but my book club always tackles one a year. This year, we read When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning.

22715829

This was a fascinating book about WWII and the Armed Services Editions of books that librarians and publishers from the USA made sure went overseas for soldiers to read in their down time. The result was a new generation of readers. Even soldiers who hadn’t been interested in reading before the war, fell in love with these paperback books. Fan letters from soldiers were written to authors, and some long-forgotten books like The Great Gatsby might never have become classics without finding this new audience. Over 100 million books were banned and burned in WWII, but this effort resulted in keeping literature alive.

If you’re interested in history, publishing, or just interesting facts, give this one a chance!

Book Review

Book Review: Black Ice

I’m currently working on a romantic suspense project, so I’ve been reading a lot of romantic suspense to learn as much about the genre as I can. Recently, I picked up the book Black Ice by Anne Stuart, and I was not disappointed!

24248

This book is a lot steamier than mine will be, but it was so exciting to read. In this novel, innocent American book translator Claire Underwood (this is an older book, so this is not an homage to House of Cards) runs into sexy Bastien Toussaint during a business conference in Paris. There’s been a dire misunderstanding, and soon she’s dragged into the Parisian underworld filled with dangerous arms dealers and ruthless assassins. Sparks fly as Claire and Bastien spend more and more time together on the run.

There were so many intriguing elements in this book. First, there’s the romance, which was more lustful passion than anything else. Also, the fast-paced adventure was filled with fun twists and turns. I never was sure who was good and who was bad until the very end. I really enjoyed this little guilty pleasure, and I’m excited to read the rest in this series.

I do think I should note that this is really aimed at audiences who love to suspend disbelief and just want to go along for the ride. It’s over-the-top and unbelievable, which is negative for some and great escapism for others.

 

Movie Review

Movie Review: Hell House LLC

I mostly review books on this website, but I also really love horror movies. As I continue working on my own horror screenplay (details to come!) I’ve been watching all types of horror movies as inspiration and research. Recently, I stumbled upon one that I absolutely loved: Hell House LLC.

Hell House LLC Poster

This is a low-budget indie film that was just as effective, if not more so, than a lot of mainstream flicks with larger budgets. The premise is simple but fantastic and fresh. This is a mockumentary-style found-footage film about a film crew that is making a documentary about a tragedy that happened at a Halloween haunted house attraction a few years before. As they piece together what happened, they learn that something sinister might have been lurking in the house well before theĀ  haunted house crew set up their theatrical props.

One of the things I loved about this movie is that there are very few jump scares. They are used judiciously and effectively, and the general ambiance of the film and the tension as the viewer is waiting to see what is going to happen next create a genuine feeling of dread. This film works because it has a fresh concept, builds tension well, and doesn’t rely on excessive slasher-like gore to create the feeling of horror. It’s just genuinely creepy and contains characters whose lives you really start to care about. There’s also an element of mystery pervading the storyline.

This film came out in 2015, and I just learned that they are working on a sequel. I’m so excited to see what is in store next!

Have you seen this one, or do you have a great indie film you want to share? Be sure to let me know in the comment section!