Saturday, September 24, 2016

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.

BOOK

Such A Good Girl by Amanda K Morgan (goodreads)

I know almost nothing about this novel, just the brief Goodreads synopsis which makes it sound amazing. The cover was revealed, and while it doesn't grab me the way some covers do, I am much more interested in what the synopsis doesn't give - any details about the plot.


Seriously, just read this synopsis and try not to be intrigued.
Riley Stone is just about perfect. (Ask anyone.)
She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose. (And she suspects he likes her, too.)
Riley has her entire life planned out. (The plan is nonnegotiable.)
She's never had a secret she couldn't keep. (Not ever.)
Riley is sure that her life is on the right track. (And nothing will change that.)
She's nothing like a regular teenager. (But she doesn't have any problem admitting that.)
Riley doesn't usually play games. (But when she does, she always wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start…
But Riley always has a plan…
And she always wins.
I want to read this immediately just for that synopsis alone. It is intriguing while giving no details away.

TV/MOVIE

Mr Robot Season Two

The second season of Mr Robot has come to a close. Once again the final episode of the season was brilliant and left me with more questions than answers. No spoilers here, but the wait for season three is going to be rough. I shall miss this being on my television screen each week until Elliott says "Hello, friend" to us again.

OTHER

Funko Pops

It is time I admit that I am obsessed with Funko Pops. I now have 6 in my collection with more on my wishlist. I am so excited for more to be announced, and really hope they end up releasing Stranger Things Pops. The only downside is how to display them. I am currently looking at shelving options because I can all ready tell this is going to be a problem.

Pottermore's Patronus Quiz

I, like everyone else, took the Pottermore quiz to determine what my Patronus is. Turns out my is cute but deadly! Mine is a stoat (which is part of the weasel family) and pretty adorable.


This is apparently a deadly predator, but I am too busy thinking how adorable it is.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Blog Tour - The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis



I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this important and brilliantly written novel from Mindy McGinnis. I am also honoured to be ending the tour with a Top Ten list from Mindy.

First up, be sure to check out the previous stops on the tour. There are reviews, interviews, and more to check out.

Week 1:
9/12: Swoony Boys Podcast - Review
9/13: A Reader Under the Sea - Q&A
9/14: Pretty Deadly Reviews - Review
9/15: Brittany's Book Rambles - Guest Post
9/16: Lekeisha the Booknerd - Review

Week 2:
9/19: The Irish Banana Review - Q&A
9/20: Fiction Fare - Review
9/21: Fiery Reads - Playlist
9/22: Ex Libris - Review
9/23: A Glass of Wine - Top 10

Here is a little about the book in case you haven't already heard of it.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. 
Be sure to order your copy from your favourite retailer one of the below links

 Amazon | B and N  

Here is a little about the author herself and you can follow her at the following links




Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.



For my part of the tour, I asked Mindy to provide a Top Ten List. The chosen topic was her top ten books written by women. The list is, unsurprisingly, pretty awesome.

Top Ten Books Written By Women

1 ­ The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
2 ­ The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
3 ­ Them by Joyce Carol Oates
4 ­ The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
5 ­ The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
6 ­ A Place of Execution by Val McDermid
7 ­ The Thirteenthh Tale by Dianne Setterfeld
8 ­ In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason
9 ­ Stiff by Mary Roach
10 ­ Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Hopefully you want a copy of The Female Of The Species of your very own now that you've learned a little bit about the book. Be sure to enter the below giveaway for you chance to win one of three copies as part of this blog tour. This is a US ONLY giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis



The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis
Release Date - September 20, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. 
The Female Of the Species is a hard book. It's a hard book to review and at times a hard book to read. It's unflinching and raw in its darkness and message. It's a darkly intelligent novel that is as sharply written as it is necessary.

The cover, while not really part of this review, immediately lets you know what type of story this is. Graced with pictures of the female of various species and their names ranging from vixen, cow and bitch, it hammers home the words we assign to women and how damaging many of them are.

If I had to provide one word to describe this novel I am confident it would be violence. Violence is the heartbeat of this novel. It's represented in my ways and forms. Actual violence, imagined violence, and what the numbing to violence does to society. It's exploration is razor sharp, and gritty. It is uncomfortable because it paints an all too realistic picture of our society. It makes it impossible not to question things, and offers one of the more complex explorations that I've read.

Alex Craft exists in grey. She is one of the most morally complex characters that I've ever met. Her sister's murder has left her justifiably angry. She's allowed that anger to create a dark hardness within in her that allows her to be capable of violence. She could easily be compared to Dexter, another morally complex character. The difference is, this is the first time I've encountered this in a female character. Alex muses that there isn't a word for what she is, and that feels true. She names herself vengeance which feels appropriate.

Rape culture seeps through every page of this novel. It ranges from subtle to glaringly in your face. This novel looks at the danger of gross casual comments, right up to slut shamming and its impact on how women are perceived. You are hit with the reality of this culture right from the initial pages, but it is hammered home with the jaw dropping presentation made by a police officer at Alex's school, complete with jarring statistics. This novel puts things into perspective in a way that is undeniable. Branley, and the way she's viewed and treated, is a direct product of rape culture. She's slut shammed, treated as nothing more than a pair of boobs and an ass. We see how damaging this is, and how it can leave a lasting scar that may not be visible , but hurts just as much getting as a physical one.

I normally don't provide trigger warning in novels, but those who have issues with animal cruelty may have issues getting through the earlier part of this novel. I believe you should, and the reason the animal cruelty is included is immediately evident and does highlight the point the author is making. The story itself is one that is worth reading, even if you have to skim these two occurrences. It is not enough to not experience this incredible novel.

My words are not enough to adequately express the way this novel impacts you. It's the kind of novel that gives you the worst kind of book hanger, and one that makes you see the world around you a little bit differently. A tough novel to read at times, but one that is incredibly important. Mindy McGinnis has given us unforgettable characters, and a novel that will settle itself inside you, and demand that you discuss it with everyone. This novel may make you uncomfortable at times but it is vital and required reading. The Female of the Species is indeed deadlier than the male, and Mindy McGinnis shows us why in her brutal, breath-taking novel that pierces your soul. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Love Interest


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

My pick this week is The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
This synopsis probably sounds familiar .... right up until that final line. It ensured that I would immediately want to read this. I am excited to learn more about this secret organization, and to meet this characters that already sounds so interesting. It's a long wait, but something tells me it'll be worth it.

Expected release date - May 16, 2017

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo



Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
Release Date - September 20, 2016
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
There is something about the Jack The Ripper case that draws people's interest all these years later. Perhaps it is simply us seeking to know the unknown. Solve what appears to unsolvable. It is a hook of sorts, and as a result we see books, movies, and TV shows inspired by the grisly case pop up again and again. Stalking Jack The Ripper may have the infamous case at its centre, but it has more to offer than just a splashy hook.

The setting of this novel pulses through each page. Victorian era England is captured through the vivid descriptions. The tone is set with foggy alleyways and darkened rooms. It is the idea setting for a mystery and Kerri Maniscalo uses it to her full advantage. It is easy to picture the crime scenes, and the other locations within the novel simply because of the way it is written and the care given to ensuring this world was as darkly enthralling as possible.

If the tone is pitch perfect, the characters are delicious icing on an already well constructed cake. They are the pulse of the novel, and what, I feel, people won't soon forget after they have finished. Audrey Rose, in particular, stands out. She will instantly be a new girl crush for many readers. She's progressive for her time, especially wanting to have a job of her own, be educated, and especially her interest in forensic medicine. She has very little patience for people telling her what to do or how to act. This is especially true when it comes to the men in her life. She, as her mother would say, is a 'delicate rose with thorns' and you cannot help but love her for it. She pushes for what she wants, and isn't afraid to scandalize by breaking societal norms. She wears pants instead of skirts when it suits her, and sneaks around at night. The author, however, allows her weaknesses, and a love for things that are considered 'girly' like makeup and pretty dresses. She is this wonderful mix of passion, faults, drive, and intelligence. It made her seem very human. I anticipate many will love her for both her strong opinions, and vulnerability.

The romance in this novel is filled with witty banter, a roguish scoundrel, excruciating sexual tension where you just want to force them to kiss already, and enough scandalous moments (at least for this time period) to add a little something extra to it. It will be nearly impossible to not become invested in this ship if you're a fan of razor sharp banter, and couples who push each others buttons.

Plenty of research went into the mystery aspect of this novel. People will instantly recognize well known elements from the Jack The Ripper case. It is evident that care was taken to ensure that she remained as true as possible to the events that happened, while still crafting her own vision. The Jack The Ripper case weaves seamlessly into the story being told, but is not the whole story. This is really the story of a girl who is forging her own way. She just happens to be solving a crime as she does it.

A entertaining mystery that unravels at just the speed. Filled with romance, danger, action, and a heroine who wants to leave her own mark on the world in her own way, Stalking Jack The Ripper is a perfect Halloween season read that will have you breathlessly awaiting the next case Audrey Rose gets mixed up in. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

American Horror Story: Roanoke - Chapter 1



After much speculation the theme of season six of American Horror Story has finally been revealed. This season will focus on Roanoke, also known as The Lost Colony. If you're not already aware, the short version is that Roanoke is a colony of settlers that 'disappeared' with no concrete answer as to what happened to them. There are plenty of logical explanations as to what might of happened, but this will obviously be American Horror Story's version of what they think happened. If you are curious there is plenty of information on the internet about the real colony and theories of what might have happened to them.

Keeping the theme a secret until the first episode aired was not the only thing new this season. The format in which the story is told has also changed. This season is being presented as a pseudo-documentary that is similar to those true crime shows we've all seen, complete with reenactments. It is sort of a show within a show and each detail is handled so that it feels like a documentary.

It comes complete with it's own title credits. The show within a show is titled ...


We're introduced to Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt (Andre Holland), a happily married couple (the kind that make other people jealous) who are expecting their first child. The two go out to celebrate a promotion Matt gets at work (and the fact that Shelby is newly pregnant). They are accosted by a group of gang members who, as part of an initiation, knock Matt out with a punch.  The tension, stress, and worry proves too much for Shelby who miscarries as a result.

We're introduced to the reenactment part of this season with them showing us the attack on Matt. The 'actors' playing 'Shelby' and 'Matt' in the reenactments are Sarah Paulson (as 'Shelby') and Cuba Gooding Jr (as 'Matt'). Cool concept and one that they have never done before. The casting is rather inspired as well. Side note - it was a little jarring to see 'Marcia Clark' and 'OJ Simpson' from American Crime Story being a couple, but it really worked. I bought into them as a couple by the end of the episode without question.

After Matt's scare, and the loss of the baby they decide to move out of Los Angeles as it did not feel safe anymore. They decide to move to North Carolina, hoping it would offer a more relaxing environment for them.

They stumble upon a farmhouse that was built in 1792 and needed more than a bit of cleaning. They figure they could never afford such a large house that comes with so much land (that they can't build on). They end up taking part in some kind of auction that is basically just them and another group of locals who attempt to warn them away from the house. They figure that it just them trying to scare them away from buying the house. A bidding war starts but quickly ends when Cuba Gooding Jr decides to show them the money and bids forty thousand dollars which the locals cannot afford to match. 'It totally turned me on when he did that' Shelby admits during the interview portion of the 'documentary'.  Shelby admits that she loved the house but instantly felt danger there too.

How cute are they?!

The new home owners settle in and start the process of cleaning out the house, and repainting. They also partake in some sexytimes that is interrupted by some loud banging on the door and weird noises. Matt goes to check it out (horror movies have taught us never to do this) and discovers the trash cans all torn apart and tossed everywhere. Matt immediately suspects that it might be the locals who lost the auction. He figures they are racists who don't approve of them being an interracial couple. They, however,  refuse to be scared away again.

A couple days later while Lily is alone, and just waking up from a nap, she hears what sounds like hail outside and goes to investigate (again, why would you do this?) and discovers that it is in fact not hailing but raining TEETH. Very human looking TEETH. This is about when I would be packing up and running. Forty thousand dollars or no.

I mean... actual teeth falling from the sky. Noooope.



She calls Matt, and Matt tells her it's hail. He drove through hail on his drive. Of course all of the teeth have disappeared and Shelby looks crazy. I believe it though.

Matt's job requires him to travel a lot. That leaves Shelby alone as he has to go away for business. At first it felt normal because that was their routine. Matt would leave on business, come back and repeat. It helped at first because it was familiar. Shelby cooked, drank wine, and jumped at every little noise (so she's basically me).

in which Shelby is basically me

These may in fact be the most normal characters we've seen on the show since season one and the Harmons.

As Shelby is walking through the house she notices two women randomly walking across the hall. They disappear as fast as she sees them and after she investigates decides she was seeing things and decides to go out into the hot tub (because this is a good idea, obviously). Shelby does get bonus points for drinking wine in the hot tub, but I question the rest of her decision making. She attempts to relax and closes her eyes only to be pushed under the water and held there by some unknown assailant (or assailants). This is why you don't go in the hot tub. Bad things happen.

She calls Matt who, like a good husband, comes rushing home. The cops take one look at the wine and determine Shelby was drunk and that nothing happened. He found her description of attackers with pitchforks and torches to be less than convincing. Matt is convinced it's the locals from the auction and tells the cop as much. The cop tells them he'll look into it and recommends they get a gun (which is not great advice). Shelby clues us in (via interview) that she was done with living there. She wanted to move away.

Later that night Matt hears a noise that sounds like the squeal of a pig. He goes to investigate and finds a dead pig in front of their house. I still don't understand why they are not moving.

Matt's reaction to all this is to install security cameras and call his sister Lee (Adina Porter) to come and stay with Shelby while he's away. Lee is portrayed by Angela Bassett in the reenactments. Fun fact - Angela Bassett played Cuba Gooding Jr's MOTHER in 1991's Boyz In The Hood. She now, in 2016, plays his sister. What voodoo is this, Angela? Because sign me up. Lee also happens to have the best lines (such as informing us that she hates assholes). Lee and Shelby don't like each other much. Lee doesn't think much of yoga or anything else Shelby does, and Shelby knows it.

Lee comes with her own sad backstory. She used to be a cop until she became addicted to pain meds after being shot on the job. Her addiction ended her marriage, got her fired, and limited visitation with her kid. Sad stuff all around.

Of course Lee being there doesn't prevent spooky things from happening. Shelby is cooking dinner one night when things start to move from the place she left them. Most glaringly is the knife she left on the counter that is now stuck inside the meat she is cooking. Shelby assumes it was Lee and Lee assumes that Shelby is just a 'jumpy bitch'.  She figures Shelby is just trying to get Matt to move back to LA. Having asked Shelby to not drink in the house while she's there (because she's newly sober), Lee is furious when she figures Shelby is taunting her by rolling a wine bottle into her room. Shelby says she didn't do it.

While this is going on, Matt is seeing people with torches and pitchforks approaching the house on the camera feed he installed. He attempts to call Lee and Shelby who are too busy arguing to answer the phone. He decides to drive the two hours back instead of calling the police for whatever reason.

In the meantime, the ladies have heard noises in the basement and decide to go investigate. Bad life decisions for everyone it appears. They discover a creepy video (including a voice that sounds sort of like Evan Peters) that includes some kind of pigman. While they are watching this video the people with pitchforks and torches took the time to decorate their house Blair Witch style. They find about a million little twig figures strung up around the house. Again, why are you not just LEAVING THE HOUSE AND DRIVING AWAY?!

Matt arrives home and discovers the police came already and have chalked it up to vandalism. They tell Matt about the video and he goes to watch it. It is just as unsettling the second around. Matt is convinced it is the locals trying to scare them away (either for the house or because they are racists). Shelby finally admits she wants to leave because she doesn't feel safe and doesn't trust that the cops will do anything. Shelby does the first smart thing anyone has done on this show - she runs. She gets in her car and drives away as fast she can and drives right into Kathy Bates in very old fashioned clothes. After hitting Kathy Bates (whose character currently does not have a name on the show) Shelby stops and gets out of the car to make sure she's okay. Kathy Bates is already walking into the woods so Shelby FOLLOWS HER. Naturally, this is going to end well for Shelby. 

She chases Kathy Bates through the woods until she becomes lost. She ends up discovering a bunch of those twig figures that were in the house hung up in the woods as well. In a panic she runs away only to fall down and discover that the forest floor is undulating. She gets up from the moving ground and discovers a guy with a missing scalp running out of the woods.  She also discovers, who I assume is, Wes Bentley all decked out in a beard and carrying a torch. Bets on him being part of the group who tried to drown her? Odds are high I wager.

That you,  Wes Bentley?

An unsettling start to a new season of American Horror Story that was seriously lacking in hotties. This already has a very season one feel to it, which I am sure will thrill many fans. Kathy Bates and Wes Bentley are, most likely, members of the Roanoke colony. The question is why they are still roaming around the forest and causing havoc in present day.

I am a big fan of this new documentary style story format, at least for this season, and kind of love that two actors are playing the same characters. I am not entirely sold that Lily Rabe and Andre Holland are the 'real' Shelby and Matt though. We're supposed to think that, but what if the Cuba Gooding Jr and Sarah Paulson parts are real, and Lily Rabe and Andre Holland are the 'actors' telling the story after the fact? Not entirely sold on this, but it would be a fun twist.

Until next week ... be sure to avoid the woods, and no drinking wine in hot tubs

Sunday, September 18, 2016

New To My Book Closet


It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews)

No new books this week, but some movies did make their way into my house!


Kelly, Christy and I have started a monthly thing where we'll watch a movie and tweet at the same time. We have chosen The Breakfast Club for September and I didn't have a copy yet. I was also shocked to discover I did not own Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory so I had to grab that at the same time.

What bookish items made their way into your mailbox this week?

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

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