Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Kate In Waiting

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 Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From #1 New York Times bestselling author and rom-com queen Becky Albertalli comes a buoyant new novel about daring to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight in love, life, and, yes, theater.

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.
Becky Albertalli writes super cute contemporary reads. They are filled with loveable characters and swoon worthy romances. 

Her newest involves theatre, crushes, and friendship which means I am already obsessed. All of her books have great friendships but this one seems to focus on that element even more than usual which has me excited.

There is a long wait for this one as it doesn't come out until April of 2021, but the good news is that Becky has a lot of books that are out already for you to read while we wait.

Expected release date - April 20, 2021

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Q and A with Kara McDowell

Anyone else having difficulties making decisions recently? It's been a real struggle thanks to pretty much everything that is going on right now. That is why I could really relate to the premise of Kara McDowell's upcoming book One Way or Another. Today I am excited to have Kara stop by to share a little about the upcoming release. It sounds perfectly suited for the holiday season and perfectly adorable. 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis:
The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That's about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she's destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That's why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she's paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family's romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in -- in the form of a slippery grocery store floor -- and Paige's life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she'll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety -- and learn that you don't have to be "perfect" to deserve true love.
I was fortunate enough to have Kara answer a few questions about One Way or Another. She dishes on ice cream, her main character and more!

 1. What gif best describes One Way or Another? 

There’s a gif of Phoebe Buffay from Friends running back and forth in a wedding dress store yelling “WHAT DO I DO?” That frantic, anxious, confused energy is 100% my main character in the beginning of the ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. She can’t decide between spending Christmas break at a snowy mountain cabin with the boy she secretly loves or exploring New York for the first time. Fortunately, we get to see what happens in each scenario! 😉

2. If someone were to design a signature ice cream for your book what would be included? 

Oooh, I love this idea. It would be Frozen Hot Chocolate with White Chocolate Peppermint chunks. Sweet, indulgent, and perfect for the holidays. 

3. Describe your main character in three words. 

Paige Collins is ANXIOUS, filled with WANDERLUST, and IN LOVE. (Sorry, I cheated a little!)

4. Is there a particular song you listened to while writing this book

Yes! I have a whole ONE WAY OR ANOTHER playlist that can be found on Spotify. One song from it that really captures the spirit of the book is “You Are in Love,” by Taylor Swift. It’s about falling in love with your best friend, which is extremely relevant to Paige’s story. There’s also a line that says, “you two are dancing in a snow globe round and round,” which inspired one of the final scenes in the book. It’s cozy and romantic, just like ONE WAY OR ANOTHER!

I love how it sounds so cozy and romantic and perfect for a snowy day read. It releases October 6th so it'll be out in time for hot chocolate season! Side note, how amazing does that ice cream sound?!

Kara is running an amazing preorder campaign that will get you some fun goodies if you submit your receipt. Here are the details directly from Kara herself:

I am running a pre-order campaign for ONE WAY OR ANOTHER! Email your proof of purchase to by October 6, 2020, and you’ll receive ONE WAY OR ANOTHER bookmark, a signed bookplate, and two character inspired temporary tattoos! The options are: pine trees, world map, black and white mistletoe, and a glitter snowflake. Let me know which ones you want or it will be random! I will also be signing all pre-orders through my local indie, Changing Hands Bookstore

She also offered up a peek at what those goodies look like!

 So cute, right? Be sure to add it your Goodreads and preorder from the retailer of your choice!

I love book that reminding me of the movie Sliding Doors and this one is definitely giving me those vibes. It is on my radar for my holiday reading.

Will you be reading One Way or Another? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

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 weekend.

This is a very trailer heavy post because Netflix has released so many trailers for the autumn movies. Lots of excellent stuff is coming up!


A Teacher trailer

FX and FX on Hulu have been announcing some intriguing projects and we have a trailer for one of those projects.

This is a story of a teacher who gets involved with one of her students but from what I understand it is not going to be romanticizing this type of situation but will address how the student comes to realize he was a victim.

We cannot tell much from this trailer, but I am intrigued by that cast and will check it out to see how they handle everything.

Rebecca trailer

I wasn't sure about the casting of Armie Hammer in this but this trailer changed my mind. I think what he is doing here definitely works.

Lily James looks lovely and the costumes are gorgeous. I am excited to check this one out when it premieres on Netflix.

Freaky trailer

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this trailer. Horror movies are not usually my thing (and I hear this one is a solid R for really graphic violence) but I may have to check this one out.

I burst out laughing every time Vince Vaughn breaks out into that cheer. So fun. It looks fun and scary which worked really well for Happy Death Day so I hope it works just as well here.

The Haunting Of Bly Manor trailer

Everyone who watched and loved The Haunting of Hill House was excited when it was announced that a second season would be coming and that it would be an anthology style show with many of the cast coming back to play new characters.

This season focuses on another classic, The Turning of the Screw, and the trailer looks especially creepy.

The Boys in the Band trailer

Ryan Murphy has turned a few Broadway plays into Netflix movies and we just got the trailer for the first one. The Boys in the Band looks really good.

I know almost nothing about this play, so I am definitely looking forward to discovering it when this releases on Netflix.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Release Date - September 15, 2020
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too. 

The Roommate has been making a big splash with early buzz being a cascade of enthusiastic praise. As a result of this I had fairly high expectations picking up this one. Luckily this book not only met those expectations but surpassed them.

I've seen this referred to as a raunch-com in various write ups about the book. I think that's a clever description that is worthy of the characters in the book for a few reasons. This book is funny and sexy (with a heavy emphasis on the sexy). It is seriously fan yourself steamy but also manages to pack in a lot of heart and humour. It balances everything perfectly and keeps the pace going so that the pages seem to fly by.

Sex positivity and female sexual pleasure are a huge focus of this book. It is all about being both shameless in asking for what you want in bed and for shaming less those who do. It advocates a healthy, consensual sex life that is enjoyable for both partners. It gives a female gaze to an industry that normally is strictly focused on the male gaze. 

The opposites attract style romance works especially well here. Sheltered and more reserved Clara and more outgoing and social Josh are surprisingly perfect for each other. The road bumps they face along the way feel organic to who these characters are and blend in with the character growth they both have to go through. They each have issues outside the relationship that have to be overcome in order to move forward and I think both of them have very satisfying arcs. 

Josh is going to be a favourite among romance readers. He is confident, charming, and easily likeable. I think he may end up being one of my favourite romantic heroes. Clara is fantastic heroine as well that I predict many will love.

Another way this book circumvented my expectations was with the inclusion of Josh's ex Naomi. It went in a direction I was not anticipating but should have expected from the rest of this book. The female support and empowerment was woven in seamlessly with the rest of this book's message.

Rosie Danan has quickly launched herself on to my list of must read romance authors. She has given us a delightful debut that will instantly leave you craving more. I definitely will have no shame in wanting to get my hands on her next book as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Mary Shelley Club

 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 The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times –bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that's Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror.

New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past. 
I enjoyed Kill The Boy Band a lot when I read it and this upcoming book by Goldy Moldavsky sounds like something I am going to love.

Secret clubs, pranks, escalating stakes, and all named after the incredible Mary Shelley. I cannot wait to see how she ties into this book as I am sure the title isn't just a mere reference.

It doesn't come out until April of 2021, but you should definitely read Kill The Boy Band in the mean time.

Expected release date - April 13, 2021

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Mayhem by Estelle Laure
Release Date - July 14, 2020
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It's 1987 and unfortunately it's not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy's constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem's own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren't like everyone else. But when May's stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem's questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
Mayhem was basically written as a love letter to the 80s, The Lost Boys, and The Craft. If you love any of those things I expect that you will also love Mayhem. It is a surprise filled read that combined so many of the things I love into something entirely unique and yet deeply familiar.

The world being built and the magic like elements surrounding it were very intriguing. I wish that this had actually been a series because I would have loved more time to deepen that element of the story and expand upon it. It feels like we just scratched the surface while still offering enough details for this story. It made the story feel quick and contained but I would have liked it to have more room to breathe.

This book, while mainly plot driven and focused, does allow for some great character moments. The character growth and exposition are mainly done via the relationship we get to experience. Familial bonds and secrets run like swift currents through this story and those connections are where all of the good character moments reside. Mayhem and her mother, in particular, stood out as an example of this. 

The Lost Boys inspiration is undeniable. Fans of the classic 80s movie are in for a treat due to the sheer number of incredible nods included in the story. The author captures the tone perfectly whole ensuring that those unfamiliar with the movie will still be able to follow the story. Readers are just in for a richer experience if they are familiar with it. I cackled with glee numerous times and had to instantly message my Lost Boys loving friend reactions. It will not disappoint.
The Edgar and Alan Frog cameos are worth the read all on their own. Estelle Laure captures their voices so perfectly that I could easily her their words in Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander voices.

The love story worked for me in this largely due to the more mystical/paranormal elements. It just made the accelerated timeline feel a little more plausible. The family lore and history explored with these pages also added to that feeling. 

I found myself easily getting lost in the pages of this one. It blended together so many things that I love in way that was both comforting and exciting. It reminded me of  hot, restless summer days mixed with danger and unlimited possibilities. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Release Date - July 7, 2020
Publisher Website - Hachette 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 464 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

**spoilers for The Royal We**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca "Bex" Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world's judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they'd placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick's brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten—nor forgiven.
I adored The Royal We immensely when it cam out. I was entirely charmed by pretty much everything about it. I was especially charmed by Freddie, the second born heir to the throne. I was delighted when a sequel was announced and while it may not be the Freddie focused read I wanted it was a delight nevertheless. 

The novel picks up pretty much right after the events of the first book. Only a short amount of time has passed and that allows us to deal with the ramifications of some of those events. It also means that you absolutely have to read the first book before picking this one up. It is a direct sequel and not a companion novel.

Similar to the first book it is not as light as you imagine it being. There are a lot of heavy topics dealt with in these pages. The events that happen to these characters are allowed to be felt. They resonate with the characters in palpable, realistic ways. It is part of why I love this series so much. It makes the characters feel real. It pays attention to the public and private personas these characters would have and both aspects of these characters are nuanced.

Freddie may not be the sole focus but he has a very significant role. The fallout from his confession to Bex and his offer to run away with her features heavily in this book's plot. Freddie's feelings for Bex and how that makes everyone else feel (including Bex) is messy and complicated. It isn't easily wrapped up. It is not neat or pretty. It is given the heft it deserves and it impacts so may relationships in different ways. My only issue with the previous book was that this confession was barely dealt with  in a significant way and this rectified that. 

These characters are not always going to make the 'right' decisions. The authors constructed them to be imperfect and that includes making mistakes. I predict many may not 'like' Bex and will feel frustrated with her at times (among other characters). They are characters that you understand however. They are all under intense scrutiny in high pressure situations. The fact that they are disasters every so often makes them more authentic and realistic.

There are some lighter, more fun moments in among the drama and heartbreak. These moments ring like joyful bells and will have you craving more of them. They are timed perfectly and allowed the reader to connect with the characters even more.

Family secrets are revealed and the way everything is wound together is very clever. There are story parallels that will eventually be obvious but I enjoyed how it all came together. It's juicy and scandalous enough to be worthy of a fictitious royal family.

If you loved the first book I highly recommend picking up the second. It gives you more of everything you loved in the first book be that drama, royal family secrets, Bex and Nick cuteness, or (thankfully) more Freddie.

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