Stories for Coffee's BLOG
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Synopsis: A thrilling departure: A short, piercing, deeply moving new novel from the acclaimed author of I Am, I Am, I Am, about the death of Shakespeare’s eleven-year-old son Hamnet–a name interchangeable with Hamlet in fifteenth-century Britain–and the years leading up to the production of his great play.
England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague.
A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers.
PG — 1h 32m — Drama
Release Date: August 28, 2020
Directed by: Brett Haley
Brett Haley, director of Looking for Alaska and All the Bright Places, recently released a new book-to-movie-adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel, Sorta like a Rockstar, titled All Together Now on Netflix. This feel-good movie follows a positive, bubbly protagonist named Amber Appleton, who may look like she has it all together, but she’s hiding a secret from her friends and classmates: Amber and her single mother are currently living in a school bus as they have nowhere else to live. Once Amber hears news that turns her world upside down, she must choose between facing the world on her own or accepting help from those who love her most.
Publication Date: August 2020
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Synopsis: Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers.
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
Publication Date: June 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Gothic, Horror
Summary: He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Yesterday, while scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled upon Enemy (2013) directed by Denis Villeneuve, which is based on the novel written by José Saramago. This relatively short thriller is based on a simple idea: a man seeks out his doppelganger after seeing a glimpse of him in a film he’s watched.
Enemy has been recommended to me many times whenever I ask for films that have the same twisted, multilayered tone of Shutter Island. So, on a whim, I began the movie and dove deep into a world that I can’t stop thinking about, especially after I read a quote dissecting the underlying message of the entire story.
Note: Before I begin analyzing Enemy from my perspective, I do want to preface by stating I haven’t read the book, so my analysis is based solely on the movie itself, and there will be spoilers, so beware. More
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Summary: While on her daily walk with her dog in a secluded woods, a woman comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” But there is no dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, alone after the death of her husband, and she knows no one.
Becoming obsessed with solving this mystery, our narrator imagines who Magda was and how she met her fate. With very little to go on, she invents a list of murder suspects and possible motives for the crime. Oddly, her suppositions begin to find correspondences in the real world, and with mounting excitement and dread, the fog of mystery starts to fade into menacing certainty. As her investigation widens, strange dissonances accrue, perhaps associated with the darkness in her own past; we must face the prospect that there is either an innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one.
A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, and the stakes have never been higher.
The world is full of uncertainty, right now, and many may be looking for peaceful distractions to accompany them as they social-distance or quarantine themselves in their homes. So, I wanted to share some tips on how to keep busy when social-distancing. I hope these tips give you some peace and offer you some normalcy in a time of change.
Remember, not everyone may be able to do these tips due to different situations, and I’m not forcing you to do them. These are just some things I do to keep myself busy when at home for long periods of time. More
A good friend of mine, Alexandra, does monthly wrap ups over on her website, Twirling Pages, and it inspired me to do the same for every month in 2020! Not only is it a fun way to catch everyone up with what I’ve been reading, watching, and doing each month, but it’s also a great way to reflect, savor the big moments and the small, and remind myself that each month is meaningful and filled with wonderful discoveries.
For years I’ve had a fear of seeing a film, alone, in theatres. I had this grand assumption that films should be a collective experience, and it would be foolish and risky to see one in my own company.
What if someone creepy sits beside you? What will others think when you walk into the theatre alone? Movies are supposed to be watched among friends and loved ones, not by yourself. My anxiety always told me it wasn’t safe or good to see movies alone, in public. Something, anything could go wrong.
But, one day, I went out on my own, bought a ticket to a Marvel film, sat by myself, and watched a film. More