Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vote On A New Blog Feature!

I have been debating about adding some new monthly blog posts to the blog and I couldn't quite decide between the two ideas I had so I figured the best way would be to ask you, the readers of this blog, to vote on what you would rather read.

The first idea is one where I would take recommendations of what books you want to see me review and select one for each month of the year. This would allow for you to suggest that favourite book you can't believe I haven't read yet. You could make me read a book to see if you might wan to read it after. You could have me review your least favourite book if you really wanted it. There would be no rules except they would have to be books I have not already reviewed.

The second idea I had was to feature an author or blogger monthly with a fun pop culture influenced Q & A while also highlighting their books (upcoming or already published) or blog. It would be planned as far in advance as I could so that people had time to answer the questions and provide me with anything they wanted highlighted (such as buy links for their book, or a specific blog post they are proud of). It would be a way to spotlight all of the awesome people in this community in a fun way.

Vote below! I may end up doing both BUT your vote will help me determine what idea to start working on and what would be more exciting for the people who would actually be reading it.

Excited to share the results with you and hopefully launching one of these ideas in the near future.
 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Another small post this week. It's just about the middle of the summer and that means that all of the American Horror Story information starts to be revealed which has me very excited.

TV/MOVIES

American Horror Story: 1984 Cast Announcement

Ryan Murphy recently revealed the cast for the upcoming ninth season of American Horror Story which is titled 1984 and takes inspiration from classic 80's slasher movies.

This cast announcement video is so delightful that it has made me want one for any further seasons (and sad that we didn't get one for the previous seasons). The 80's looks, the song, and the playful cast all come together to create a fun tease for the season.



My thoughts after watching the video:
  1. How cute does Cody Fern look? Frosted tips and one earring? Very George Michael of him.
  2. Billie Lourd looks like she is having the most fun.
  3. That one guy (played by Zach Villa) looks A LOT like Richard Ramirez and he was active in 1984 so it wouldn't surprise me if that is exactly who he is playing.
  4. I had to do a double take because I could not believe that was Matthew Morrison at first. It is now, of course, all I can see. 
  5. It's great to have John Carroll Lynch back. He was great as Twisty the Clown in Freakshow.
  6. The cast is a nice mix of returning and new.
  7. WHERE IS FINN WITTROCK THOUGH?!
I am probably going to be doing recaps each week so expect more American Horror Story posts come September.

Mindhunter Season Two 

We finally have a release date for the second season of Mindhunter and it is much closer than I anticipated. It'll drop on Netflix on August 16th and will consist of eight episodes. No trailer or artwork has been revealed yet but I am hoping it'll be soon with the release date being about a month away at this point.

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter



The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter
Release Date - June 25, 2019
Publisher Website - Inkyard Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  538 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as strong heroines take charge and save the princes and the world in this magical action and romance-filled trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Everlife novels and the White Rabbit Chronicles, beginning with a teen prophesied to become the Evil Queen from Snow White who refuses to be pigenonholed into her destiny.

Far, far away, in the magical realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm, and fairytales are real. Except, fairytales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. Though Princess Everly Morrow was brought to the mortal realm as an infant, she knows she’s destined to rule a kingdom in Enchantia, thus fulfilling a beloved fairytale. But which one?

At seventeen, when an ability to commune with mirrors manifests, she begins to suspect the truth, and it’s more sinister than anyone ever realized…

She is destined to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

The battle between good and evil is on!
Freewill versus fate. What is predetermined and what do we have control over. Gena Showalter's new fairytale series, The Forest Of Good and Evil, tackles the idea of making your own fate and gives a inventive twist to the classic Snow White tale in the process.

One of this books strongest strengths is the world building. The setting feels like a fairytale. The world of Enchantia is vast, and brought to vivid lift. The magic of the world and how it works is also really fascinating. It is the kind of world that is created to be the backdrop to many stories with it being rich in potential. We are introduced to some areas only in passing as we are teased that other fairytales are currently taking place in the land of Enchantia. These other tales, and other lands, have already intrigued me and will provide a great jumping off point for the other books in the series.

Everly is the kind of character that you'll go back and forth on how you feel about them. For most of the novel I couldn't reconcile her actions. She was rash, impulsive, and power hungry. It wasn't until towards the end of the novel that I felt some justification for her actions. I could tell it was supposed to be a gradual turn with each betrayal leading her further down the path to darkness, but many of the things spurring her on could have been cleared up by actually talking with others. She had a lack of trust instantly that was supposed to be a carry over of her treatment in the mortal realm, but I don't personally think that was fleshed out enough for it to resonate the way I expect it was supposed to.

Gena Showalter's background of writing romance novels is evident when reading this. Some of the elements of that genre shine through into this book. They sometimes work and blend into the story and other times they don't quite mesh and stick out. I felt this became particularly evident in how she crafts both her main character and the love interest. Fans of her romance books, however, will probably be happy to discover this aspect of her books made its way into this one at well.

Roth Charmaine, the warrior Prince Charming, reads like my least favourite kind of love interest. He's written as your typical romance alpha male. He is a little softer around the edges than others I have read but his over protective qualities shine steep through a lot of his decisions. It, personally, made it hard for me to like him. He is well respected and does try to make amends for his actions which helped make his character more than just a stereotype.

Free will is a huge part of the story. Everly is told that she has a role to play in the Snow White tale but it isn't clear which one. She thinks her destiny is to be The Evil Queen but the books dives into the notion of self fulfilling prophecy. It grapples with the idea of people actively making choices that lead down a path they feel destined to take which then makes it reality. The book constantly questions if Everly (or any of the characters) could make different choices and have things end up differently.

Family is everything to Everly and these familial ties have the strongest connections in the books. Everly and her bond with her mother and sister is what drives the character and the book. It was nice to see these kinds of bonds driving the main character even more so than any romance. Family connections continue to be an important plot point through out the entire book and made for some of the more emotional elements of the story.

An inventive twist on a classic tale that sets up a much larger world filled with other tales. I may not have entirely loved this one but there is enough there to be enjoyed. I think fans of Gena Showalter's other books will love this one but I think those who are not a fan of her particular writing style will find more of the same here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Harley In The Sky


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick is Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.
Carnival (or circus) set stories always tend to catch my attention and the synopsis of Harley in the Sky certainly does just that.

A Las Vegas setting, rival circuses, and what sounds like some family drama all add up to me wanting to get my hands on this book as soon as possible ... even if it is quite a wait with its 2020 release date.

Expected release date - March 10, 2020

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cover Reveal: The St Michaels Duet by Harlow Cole



We are so excited to be sharing the covers for the ST. MICHAELS duet by newcomer Harlow Cole. The ST. MICHAELS duet is an angsty small-town, second chance sports romance. The first book, INTERFERENCE will be released on July 18th and will be free with Kindle Unlimited!


INTERFERENCE Coming July 18th

BRAYDEN
I’m a goddamn prodigy. It’s true. Ask anyone. I threw my first curveball the day I was born.
The whole damn town is waiting on me. To live up to my father’s famous name. To reach for the stars.
All I want to reach for is her.
But Ashley is the sweet addiction I can’t afford. She’s my best friend’s sister. Hell, she’s practically my little sister. For years, I’ve protected her from guys that want one thing. What happens now that I’ve turned into one of them? Who’s gonna shield her from the way I was made, from my little white lies and from what I’m about to become?
My game plan sounds simple: Pitch my way into the Major League draft and stay out of Ashley Foster’s pants. That first part may be statistically difficult.
The second feels damn near impossible.
ASHLEY
From the moment we met, I knew he was trouble. The kind my mother sent me to find. The type that ruins you for any other brand.
When we were young kids, Didn’t know what to call the frogs and butterflies that danced in my belly whenever Brayden came near. Now I know they have a name.
Those three little words that could heal or destroy him.
Before Brayden, my life was normal. And then it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Ever again. How was I to know that stealing his seat would change all our lives?
Anger and forgiveness share two halves of the same coin. Our story might make you choose sides.



STEALING HOME COMING AUGUST 1ST

ASHLEY
I’ve given up. On my childish dreams. On getting out of this town. On love. On him. On everything.
I’m barely treading water.
BRAYDEN
I’m the man with it all.
The pinstriped jersey covering my back garners easy cash, flashy cars and fast women. My gilded name drapes over the city in neon. I have everything. Everything, except the thing I crave most. Ashley Foster.
There’s one addiction I never tried to beat.
They say you can never go home again. I’m out to prove them wrong. But what if returning requires facing all the things you destroyed? To what lengths would you go to earn forgiveness?
Would you beg? Would you borrow? Would you steal?
Stealing home is the riskiest move in baseball. But the reward... If it works? Winning her back is a chance I’m finally ready to take.
My pockets are filled with stars. It’s time to follow them home.
This time, I don’t want to steal her firsts, I want to lay claim on all her lasts.





About Harlow Cole 


Harlow Cole is a former journalism student, turned techie, turned mother, who finally decided at age forty-plus what she wants to be if she ever she grows up. Her writing journey first began in sixth grade, when she and her best friend penned boy band fanfiction in an old spiral notebook. Harlow is a connoisseur of peanut M&Ms, brand-new school supplies and angst-filled love stories that always end happy. At fifteen, she met her first love. They’ve now been married for twenty years. They reside in suburban Washington, DC, where Harlow moonlights as a taxi driver for their farting beagle and teenage twins. Interference and Stealing Home are her debut novels. 
Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Just a small post this week. I have pretty much been busy watching Stranger Things and not much else is going on.

TV/MOVIES

Knives Out Trailer

I was intrigued by the casting in this movie and the fact that it was simply referred to as a 'classic whodunit'. Not much was released about the plot until the first trailer was revealed.




This trailer is really fun. Chris Evans looks like he is having a blast with this role. I looks like a fun mystery that, I think, will play well around USA Thanksgiving.

Stranger Things Season 3

I ended up watching the entirety of the third season in one day. It is, perhaps, the best season to date and filled with so many emotional moments. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I (mostly) loved all of the new characters. I will probably end up watching it at least once more and already cannot wait for season four.

What are you obsessed with this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Yesterday



Yesterday

Rating: PG-13

Director: Danny Boyle

Language: English

Length:  112 minutes

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon

Viewing Method: Advance Screening

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Synopsis: Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC's Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed... and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.


********

What if The Beatles never existed? That is, sort of, the question Yesterday tries to grapple with. It's, however, really more of a high concept rom-com. There are, obviously, some sci-fi elements in the story but its heart is the love story we see unfold. The sci-fi elements and the romance elements don't always work together. It feels, at times, like two different movies that have been pieced together but the pieces don't quite fit.

Himesh Patel is entirely charming as Jack, a struggling musician who just so happens to remember the Beatles when it appears nobody else can remember them. He is a large part of why this movie worked for me. He makes Jack really endearing and you believe him as someone who would stumble into this kind of success. Lily James is sweet as his best friend/manger, Ellie, who also happens to be in love with him. She isn't give all that much to do. It's your standard love interest role but Lily makes the most of what she is given. The romance between Jack and Ellie is pleasant enough. We get a sense of the history between the two characters, but that's really about it.

Guilt is a strong theme of the movie. The guilt Jack feels from his success having come at the hands of songs he did not write himself. This drives the later part of the movie which feels like such a contrast to its more fun first half. Each interaction Jack has as he becomes increasingly famous is an exercise in guilt. He feels unworthy and that spirals into every other aspect of his life.

One would assume that this is a love letter to the music of The Beatles. I did not feel this as strongly as other people may have. Jack has to piece together the songs because he often  can't quite remember them. He certainly isn't a die hard fan who memorized all of their lyrics. You can tell he appreciated their talent as a musician himself but I never got that they were a big influence on the character. The movie makes the case that the world is better off for having their music in it, but the world shown to us is really not that different from the world we know with The Beatles in it. It uses their music effectively, but I didn't feel the movie made its case.

The movie never really examines the ripple effect of The Beatles not existing would have on the music world. There are plenty of things that they and their music inspired and the removal of that influence would impact the music we have today. It also never attempts to explain what the cause of this world wide memory loss is. The audience can guess at a vague answer, but is would just be assumptions. There is a moment where the movie grapples with one such ripple effect and I anticipate it is going to be polarizing to audiences. It is certainly an interesting 'what if' to ponder but is never really used for anything more than progressing Jack's story arc and perhaps easing his conscience.

Yesterday, to me, was a case of an interesting premise not being executed to its full potential. It will play as a decent rainy day movie that you catch on Netflix and I anticipate many will enjoy it as exactly that kind of movie. It's fine in the way most movies like this are. You'll watch it, enjoy it enough, and just as quickly forget about it. You will, however, certainly remember the music.

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