Thursday, February 2, 2023

Monthly Movie Picks - February


Welcome to a brand new post on my blog. It'll be a monthly post and focus on the new movies I most want to see that month. I am excited to see what movies you are excited for as well.

Here is what I am excited for in February:

1. Knock at the Cabin

Release Date: February 3

This movie piqued my interest when I heard it was based off a well reviewed novel by Paul Tremblay. It has an intriguing premise and I like many of the cast.

This seems like an impossible choice - save your family or save the entire world. I hear the book has a divisive ending so I am curious to see if they change it for the movie.

2. Magic Mike's Last Dance

Release Date: February 10

I really enjoyed the first two movies in this trilogy and am excited that it is going to be set in a new location.

The first movie was a mix of fun and serious. The second focused on the fun. I am curious to see what the third one focuses on (it seems to be fun based on the trailer). I am also hoping that some of the other guys in the previous two movies make cameos at least. 

What are you most excited to see this month? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Monthly TBR/ Recap

The month of love is upon us. February always feels longer than it actually is. It seems like it takes double the amount of time January does. I always get impatient for winter to be over and for the snow to go away. The extra long feel to January through March does not help.

Since February is (technically) a shorter month I have a smaller to be read list. It is something I feel, and hope, are doable.

Before we dive in to what I read in January. I had the following books on my reading list:

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

9 and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Six Ways to Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce

American Queen by Sierra Simone

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski *ebook*

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Spare by Prince Harry

I ended up reading the following;

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

9 and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Six Ways to Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski *ebook*

Spare by Prince Harry 

For February I decided to pick a smaller batch of books so that I can attempt to finish them:

American Queen by Sierra Simone

Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree *ebook

If there is time I may try to sneak in a romance read of some kind since it is February.

I also thought I would share my Bookly update. I have friends who absolutely love it and that is why I decided to get it. I am having to remind myself to not forget to use it but I am liking it otherwise. I am not obsessed yet like others are, but I am definitely finding it useful. I like how it can get you reading more which is what I really want it for. 

I have have my twelve books set in Hollywood challenge going on and I completed my book for January - Six Ways To Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce. Review to come soon.

What books are you reading in February? Let me know what books you are excited about in the comments. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

2023 TV I Can't Wait To See


I've already talked about the movies I am most looking forward to this year and so I thought I would also share what TV shows I am most looking forward to. 

There are fewer shows that I am anticipating as there will be plenty that we only find out about later in the year. There is also one show that I am the most excited for compared to rhe other.

1. Daisy Jones and the Six

This is my most anticipated show. I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel that this is based on and the casting is perfect. I am obsessed with the fact that this fictional band technically exists now and I cannot wait to have the album in my hands. I am counting down the days to March 3.

2. Succession 

This is one of my favourite shows on television right now. The acting is incredible and the writing is always sharp. I cannot wait to see the fallout from the events of the season three finale.

3. Love and Death

I am intrigued by the cast in this one. It has Jesse Plemmons, Lily Rabe, and Elizabeth Olsen, among others. It details the murder of Betty Gore by Candy Montgomery. 

4. Ted Lasso

This is another show that I cannot wait to see the fallout from the previous season. This show is so wholesome and charming. It is a show that leaves you with a smile - at least normally. 

What shows are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday ... Will They or Won't They

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 Will They Or Won't They by Ava Wilder.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
On screen, they're in love. Off screen, they can't stand each other. Two co-stars with a complex history reunite to film the final season of a beloved paranormal drama in this tension-filled will they won't they romance from the author of How to Fake It in Hollywood.

Lilah Hunter and Shane McCarthy are madly in love— at least, their characters are. As the stars of the hit paranormal TV show Intangible, they spent years pining for each other on-screen… until Lilah ditched the show at the end of season five in hopes of becoming a film star. With no such luck, she’s back to film the much-hyped ninth and final season, in which their characters will get together at last.

But coming back means facing one of the biggest reasons she left: Shane. Ever since their secret behind-the-scenes fling imploded at the end of the first season, the two of them have despised each other.

Now back on set together for the first time in years, with the world’s eyes on them and their post-show careers on the line, they’ll have to grit their teeth and play nice. But under pressure to give Intangible’s fans the happy ending they’ve been waiting for, Lilah and Shane are forced to get closer than ever. And if they’re not careful, they just might get blindsided by one final twist: a real-life happy ending of their own.
I am all about Hollywood set books this year and this new one by Ava Wilder sounds incredible. I love the idea of former co-stars reuniting combined witb enemies to lovers definitely appeals to me.

I also love that the TV show they starred in was paranormal. Hoping it is a vampire show just because that would be fun.

Expected release date - June 27, 2023

Friday, January 20, 2023

2023 Movies I Can't Wait To See


A new year means getting excited about all the possibilities that the new year can bring. These, for me, include the possibility that every upcoming book, movie, or television could be amazing. It is the potential that leaves me excited. With this in mind I decided to create a list of movies that I am most looking forward to seeing this year. These movies do not have trailers and some only have the vaguiest of synopsis but something about them has intrigued me.

These are in no particular order and release dates/year are subject to change.

1. Saltburn

This is the second full length feature from director Emerald Fennell. She made my 'will watch anything from this director' list with Promising Young Woman and I cannot wait to see what she does with Saltburn. Not much is known about the plot except that it focuses on a rich family and is about obsession. It has Roseamund Pike and Barry Keoghan in the cast which only increases my excitement. 

2. Challengers 

Luca Guadagnino directs it and I will automatically watch it. I have really enjoyed his last few movies and this one sounds equally great. It stars Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O' Conner is a story about two tennis players, a rivalry, and what sounds like a bit of a love triangle.

3. May December

This stars Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, and Carles Melton. It focuses on a married couple whose relationship was tabloid fodder as she was his teacher when they got together. An actress comes into their lives to do research for a film about them. This intrusion coincides with the husband grappling with being an empty nester in his late 30s as their children graduate high-school and begin to get ready for college. It sounds like this will cause him to reexamine  the relationship and the events of his youth.

4. Fair Play

This has been called an erotic/corporate thriller that revolves around a woman's promotion at her company sends her partner on a downward spiral that threatens to unravel their engagement. It stars Pheobe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich. I miss erotic thrillers so I am excited to see if this will mean a comeback.

5. Nosferatu

Bill Skarsgard is starring in this remake of the classic vampire tale. It is all about obsession and horror and I cannot wait.

6. Oppenheimer 

Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan teaming up again was reason enough to see it but Cillian Murphy getting the spotlight was an even bigger reason. This is the story  of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb.

7. Renefield

This is a Dracula story told from the perspective of his familiar/servant. I was sold on it thanks to the fantastic trailer and that the cast includes Nicholas Hoult and Nicholas Cage. It looks both hilarious and scary.

8. Flowers of the Killer Moon

This is based on real events and a bestselling book. This true crime story is set in the 1920s and tells the story of the murder of some Osage tribe members. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Jesse Plemmons and should be in consideration come Oscar time.

9. Barbie

This is perhaps the movie I am most curious about. We do not have any real plot details but the fact that Greta Gerwig is involved is enough to get me excited and Margot Robbie looks amazing as Barbie.

I am going to leave it as 9 picks. I am sure there will be many more that I add throughout the year. 

What movies are you looking forward to in 2023? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday ... Kiss The Girl


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 Kiss The Girl by Zoraida Cordova.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A modern tale of unexpectedly falling in love, and finding your voice—the highly anticipated third installment of in the acclaimed and best-selling Meant to Be collection.

Ariel del Mar is one of the most famous singers in the world. She and her sisters—together, known as the band Siren Seven—have been a pop culture phenomenon since they were kids. On stage, wearing her iconic red wig and sequined costumes, staring out at a sea of fans, is where she shines. Anyone would think she’s the girl who has everything.

But lately, she wants more. Siren Seven is wrapping up their farewell tour, and Ariel can’t wait to spend the summer just living a normal life—part of a world she’s only ever seen from the outside. But her father, the head of Atlantica Records, has other plans: begin her breakout solo career immediately, starting with a splashy announcement on a morning talk show.

The night before, Ariel and her sisters sneak out of their Manhattan penthouse for a night of incognito fun at a rock concert in Brooklyn. It’s there that Ariel crosses paths with Eric Reyes, dreamy lead singer of an up-and-coming band. Unaware of her true identity, Eric spontaneously invites her on the road for the summer. And for the first time in her life, Ariel disobeys her father—and goes with him.

Caught between the world she longs for and the one she’s left behind, can Ariel follow her dreams, fall in love, and, somehow, find her own voice?
I love this series that offers up modern twists on the classic Disney stories we love. It has included Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast so far and I am so excited for The Little Mermaid to be next.

Zoraida Cordova is a perfect choice for this in many ways and I love the music infused take to the story that is all about finding your voice. I can't wait to see the nods to the Disney tale we know and love but I am equally excited to see how Zoraida makes it her own.

Expected release date - June 6, 2023

Monday, January 16, 2023

Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Release Date - January 1, 1978

Publisher Website - Harper Collins

Publisher Social Media - Twitter

Pages - 144 pages

My Rating - 4.5/5

**gifted **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film—with an afterword by the author's daughter

Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away.

Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met in a chance encounter. Their sexual excitement depended on domination and humiliation, and as their relationship progressed they played out increasingly dangerous and elaborate variations on that pattern. By the end, Elizabeth had relinquished all control over her body—and her mind.

With a cool detachment that makes the experiences and sensations she describes all the more frightening in their intensity, Elizabeth McNeill deftly unfolds her story and invites you into the mesmerizing and shocking world of Nine and a Half Weeks—a world you won't soon forget

This review deserves (and needs) to start with a trigger warning. 9 and a Half Weeks is the story of an abusive relationship. It is physically, mentally, and sexually abusive. It is a complicated, complex relationship but an abusive nonetheless. It is told through the prism of the woman who lived it and that lends it a lens that is interesting and biased.

There is something to the matter of fact way that this story is told that lingers with me. We get the sense that Elizabeth was still grappling with the impact that this relationship had on her while writing this novel. It has both the tone of someone deep in the throws of a toxic relationship that they see as something else entirely and someone with the benefit of hindsight. It is called a 'cool detachment' in the synopsis and this feels like the perfect description for the tone of this book. 

There is a romantic thrill to the early stages and this relationship and that is sharply contrasted with the later abuse that occurs. Her lover pushes boundaries in a way she finds sexy and a little dangerous in the beginning. She, at first, likes it. It doesn't take long for those inches he takes to become miles. The abuse doesn't register as such as first because part of her likes giving up control and it creates this hazy, blurry existence for her that quickly spirals out of control. 

The most fascinating part to me was reading how this woman was eased into accepting things she would not have normally accepted. It feels like Stockholm Syndrome brought on by sex and exhilaration. It was a short relationship, lasting just a little over two months, but it is one that definitely left a lasting emotional scar on her. It is a defining experience that I cannot imagine did not permanently change her.

The breaking point, when it comes, is just as swift as the beginning. The author says that she believes she could have ended up dead and I believed that in the end. The way things were progressing could only have led down a path that was dangerous to not only Elizabeth but others. 

Those looking for the erotic read promised in the synopsis may want to look elsewhere. It gets pretty unsexy fairly quickly as it quickly escalates to abusive. The sex scenes are tinged with a sense of dread. It is not so much sexy as it is voyeuristic. The reader knows the wreckage is coming but can't look away. I have not seen the movie made from this book but I cannot imagine it remains sexy for very long either.

I think this novel showcases just how rapidly you can get caught up in something that is damaging and absuive. It adeptly highlights that anyone can find themselves in a situation like this even if they think otherwise. It definitely will be triggering for some, but I found the honesty and vulnerability that Elizabeth shared in her story to be the core of this novel. 

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