Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Neverworld Wake


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 Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Beatrice Hartley has no plans for the summer—except a secret reunion with her five former best friends.

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, they were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius—changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—in the hopes that she will get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. She suspects that her friends knew much more than they ever let on.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, answers seem unlikely. Her friends are all so different now, so splintered and lost. It’s too late. Beatrice senses she’s going to live the rest of her life far away from them, never knowing what really happened.

Then night fades to morning. A thunderstorm rages, and a mysterious man knocks on the door. He looks like the exhausted ringmaster of a cheap traveling circus. Blithely, he announces the impossible.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake. The nightmare. The nothingness. 
I am intrigued by this novel mainly because I loved Night Film and the trip that novel took the reader on. This one is just as mysterious and just as dark sounding. I am excited to devour it in the middle of summer lounging by the pool. I know that, if nothing else, Marisha Pessl will deliver some great writing, but I am sure the twists of this story will be worth the wait.

Expected release date - June 5, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory



The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Release Date - January 30,  2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...
The Wedding Date has a premise that is straight out of a romantic comedy movie. A guy asking a girl to be his date at a wedding he doesn't really want to go to alone kicks off a whirlwind romance. It's the perfect kind of meet cute that seems just plausible enough to happen but also kind of magical.

The chemistry between Alexa and Drew is instantaneous. The reader feels that spark the moment they first banter in the broken down elevator. It is part of what makes any romance novel enjoyable, and this one captures that chemistry easily. It's an easy rapport that they have, and it makes their falling in love feel all the more believable. It also doesn't hurt that this plays with the fake to real relationship trope which is one of my favourites. It can be delightful when done correctly like it is here.

This is a romance novel where the heroine of our story is a black woman and the hero a white man. I cannot speak to the representation held within, but I enjoyed the fact that it's simply a love story. There are parts of the story that are directly driven by the fact that Alexa is a black woman, and things that are specific to things she would experience. There are times where Drew has to confront his privilege as a white man and the impact that has on their relationship. It, however, really is just a love story at it's heart. It is totally a rom-com movie in book format and I look forward to the eventual movie starring Chris Evans and Lupita Nyong'o (at least we can hope).

There is, of course, the required amount of angst to be found within these pages. Each of these characters have their own set of insecurities that come to the surface as their connection continues to grow. With these insecurities come irrational decisions, communication failures, and assumptions that lead to even more ill advised decisions. I appreciated that both characters had issues they had to work through, and that both of them were shown to have flaws. It made for a more realistic read. There may be a feeling of repetition to this element of the story, but I found it worked within this novel. You can't deal with your feelings until you talk about them and Alexa and Drew are the Queen and King of Not Communicating. It may be a little frustrating at times, but only because you want them to work through their issues and just be together already.

There is so much talk of food in this novel that I was basically hungry the entire time I was reading it. Be warned that there are numerous mention food that seem specifically written to induce cravings. It's something that is included in the very first time Drew and Alexa meet so it becomes kind of cute that it is something that is continued throughout the novel.

The secondary characters were one of my favourite things about this book. Both Alexa and Drew have friends and family that are fairly fleshed out. I looked forward to seeing them interacting with their friends and family almost as much as I looked forward to seeing them together. Drew's friend, Carlos, almost provided a lot of comic relief and the friendship between them was something that stood out while reading.

If you're looking for a steamy, fun read that I recommend that you pick this one up. This may be Jasmine Guillory's debut novel, but I anticipate that romance fans will be eager to read whatever she writes next. It's also a perfectly on theme with its release being just in time for a Valentine's Day read. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

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)

Just one book to share this week. I picked this one up because I have been watching the American Crime Story series that is based off this book.

There was so much about this case that I didn't know before watching the show (such as the fact that there were five victims, not just Gianni Versace) and it made me want to find out a bit more.


Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History
by Maureen Orth  (goodreads)


There is also a fantastic podcast called Still Watching: Versace which examines both the show and the case. I especially love that they interview the cast and other people involved to get a behind the scenes perspective of making a show like this. I wish I had found it sooner as they read the book over the holidays to prepare for the show and I would have read along with them. I am playing catch up now though. 

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

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.

BOOKS

Cover Of All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor (goodreads)

Not only does the premise of this one sound AMAZING but the cover is just as incredible. I love that it has almost a true crime feel to it. 



The crossing out of the word true also immediately makes a statement about what this book is. I am in love witht eh vivid red that was use as it's going to be eye catching on shelves. I am even more excited to dive into this one! 

TV/Movie

Zac Efron As Ted Bundy

Zac shared another photo on his Twitter account that offers up a clearer look at his Ted Bundy. The makeup artists on this film are incredible because Zac looks so strikingly similar to Ted Bundy in this photo. It's more than a little eerie.


Copyright belongs to Zac Efron (from his Twitter)

This photo, obviously, caused me and my friends to freak out and completely lose all chill. We're all looking forward to a movie poster and trailer. I am encouraged by the fact that this is going to be focused more on Ted's girlfriend at the time than Ted himself as I think that has the potential to offer up something new to say about this much talked about case.

OTHER

HappyHello Bookmarks (link)

I am sure I have mentioned these bookmarks before. They are super cute and I have quite the addiction to them. I love that a wide varitety of fandoms are offered so there is something for everyone. She even offers amazing customs so you can request your favourite characters.

copyright @ HappyHelloCo

I am currently obsessed with the above Steve and Dustin set from Stranger Things. You should check out her Etsy shop and get a few for yourself!


What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Final Fall (Lock and Mori #3) by Heather W. Petty



Final Fall (Lock and Mori #3) by Heather W. Petty
Release Date - November 28, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  256 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Mori is out for revenge. Imprisoned in the English countryside, with her brothers held as leverage, she’s never felt angrier or more helpless. When an opportunity for escape arises, Mori takes it and flees back to the streets of London, where she is finally able to plot the demise of her recently freed father and his cohorts.

But after a bittersweet reunion with Lock, she discovers that he may not be the ally he once was. In the face of blackmail, threats, and Lock’s noble attempts to thwart her crusade, Mori has an impossible decision to make.

Can Mori wash the blood from her hands and walk away? Or will her final fall from grace be the end of everyone she loves? 
Anyone familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories knows that a story about Lock and Mori can only ever lead one place. Their destiny is already written and with that comes a knowledge that heartbreak is inevitable. Free Fall ends this Sherlock Holmes inspired trilogy with excitement, regret, and tragedy.

Heather Petty, once again, ensures that her characters are the central focus. This story is the perfect blend of plot driven and character driven. It allows the characters and their reactions to the events that are happening to propel the plot forward in ways that make the reader care for everyone involved. I felt invested in both what was going on, and how impacted the characters equally and that makes for an addictive reading experience.

Mori is one of my favourite characters in young adult fiction. She's complex, messed up, and so completely unapologetic for who she is. She is both a force of nature, and vulnerable. She's the type of character that female characters are so often not allowed to be, and the type I ache to read more of. She may even be someone you don't like very much, but there is no denying she's fascinating.

Lock takes more a backseat in this installment as Mori's storyline drives this last part of the trilogy. This series has really always been Mori's story. It's her path to becoming a villain that is the focus. It is her descent that we are seeing unfold as the chapters progress. Lock appears to so firmly know who he is that following his journey would not have been as emotionally rewarding. It's Mori's viewpoint that adds the bittersweetness that this story needs in order to resonate. It's that sense of possibility and loss that make this series have the impact it does, and that is felt because of Mori (and by extension Lock).

The push/pull dynamic between Lock and Mori has always been one of my favourite parts of this series. He sees things in black and white and she lives in the morally grey. They are each other's weaknesses as she pushes Lock to operate a little outside his comfort zone, and he makes her wish for a life where she's less broken. This struggle was felt in every look and interaction that Lock and Mori shared. Their dynamic is the heart of this series, and it was was truly shone in the writing.

The head games that Sherlock and Moriarty are known for are deliciously set up in this installment. They are both intelligent, perceptive, and capable of not letting their emotions cloud their thinking. This makes them perfectly matched, and that makes them such great adversaries. They challenge each other and it is easy to see how they could have been either enemy or lover. The things that make them compliment each other, also make for a great opponent.

There was no other ending than the one this book offers. It was always leading to this. It is just as brutal and devastating as you're expecting, but also incredibly fitting. It is the perfect end to not just the trilogy but the Lock and Mori romance as well.

Heather Petty has written a wonderfully plotted story of a young woman's descent into darkness, and a young man's desperation to help her. It's a story of a love that was never meant to be, and Heather Petty captures every anguishing moment. If you're a fan of Sherlock, or stories that rip your heart out, I highly recommend this series. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Toil and Trouble


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 Toil and Trouble by Various Authors


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A young adult fiction anthology of 16 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. TOIL & TROUBLE delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points-of-view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.
I love novels about witches so this anthology immediately caught my eye. I am excited to see what so many of these authors do with a witch themed short story. 

It's a bit of a wait for this one as it doesn't come out until August, but I expect it'll be a great way to start off the beginning of the fall season.

Expected release date - August 28, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Woman In The Window by AJ Finn



The Woman In The Window by AJ Finn
Release Date - January 2, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  427 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times--and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
The thriller genre is a strong and steady source of buzz worthy books. The Woman In The Window is one of the newest to capture a lot of interest so I was eager to dive in. It's an addictive, if at times predictable, read that I felt had a much stronger back half when compared to its beginning.

Anna is the queen of unreliable narrators. Her use of alcohol, medications, and her overall mental state make her version of events untrustworthy. This is something that we, as a reader, know about her almost immediately. The most important thing, with a story like this one, is that we connect with Anna. We need to want to follow her on her journey, and the novel succeeded. I felt invested enough in her that I wanted to keep reading. I did, at times, find myself jarred out of the story by decisions Anna would make that seemed out of character. I also, at times, felt like Anna was a female character written in the male gaze. It made it so that I wasn't able to fall completely into the story, but it something I predict many people will not even notice.

The use of old movies, especially older thrillers, is done masterfully. It's a natural fit for this genre, and this particular story. Read Window is so obviously an influence, but you can see the love for these classic films throughout the entire narrative. It will make you immediately want to have a movie marathon, and also ensures that this novel reads in a very cinematic way. It's all too easy to picture the movie that would be made out of the novel, and I think that is part of what makes it work. It is the literary equivalent of this big summer popcorn movies and that made the movie references work all the more.

As this novel feels familiar to those who are fans of this genre there are plenty of reveals and twists that are easy to see coming. I predicted a majority of them, but there was a moment that I did not see coming and that made the ending for me. I felt the ending was incredibly strong as a result. It's was a satisfying payoff to the story that felt like a nod to all the classic thrillers Ann was a fan of.

The mystery element is made all the more rich by having the dual mystery unravel at the same time. We have the events that lead to Anna's agoraphobia, but we also have the mystery of what Anna sees through the window. These truths are revealed in small chunks as the story progresses. The pacing of two compliment each other as it ensure that there is a sense of urgency in the reader, and I think it was smart to include the dual mysteries because they work together to hold up the novel.

Ultimately The Woman In The Window will feel similar to other books in the genre. If these books are akin to comfort food to you than The Woman In The Window will be exactly what you're looking for. It may not offer anything new or unique, but there is something to be said for getting exactly what you expect from a book. It's an enjoyable enough mystery that I predict will generate quite a bit of buzz. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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)

A few exciting titles made their way into my mailbox this week.

First up is a book I borrowed from the library after seeing it all over my Twitter feed over the holidays. I hear it is a cute fluffy read and I am excited to start it once I have a chance.


Prince In Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm (goodreads

A huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada (specifically HCC Frenzy) for this package of awesome. I am so excited about both of these titles and cannot wait to read them.


These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch (goodreads)
Puddin' by Julie Murphy (goodreads)

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

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.

Lots of exciting things to share this week! It's been a fun week of me flailing with my friends about a wide variety of stuff, but the biggest freak out definitely happened because of Zac Efron.

TV/MOVIE

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile begins production 

Zac Efron shared this photo on his Instagram account and basically caused me to have a bunch of discussions about it with my friends. We all had a lot to say about this photo.

copyright @ Zac Efron (linked from his Instagram)

Zac is, of course, playing Ted Bundy (if the 'Meet Ted' caption didn't already clue you in). This offers up the first look at him in character. The movie started shooting this past Thursday according to the director (and what I assume Zac was acknowledging with this photo).

OTHER

Porcelain Wolf Bath Bombs

I recently stumbled upon this bath bomb company that makes these amazing sounding horror movie inspired bath bombs. I pretty much want to try all of them. It's such a unique premise and offers up some pretty interesting sounding bath bombs.

Here are a few of my favourites from the website:

Prom Queen (inspired by Carrie)


According to the website it smells like Caramel Apple and will turn your water a blood red as it dissolves. The dark red part on top is a 'coconut glycerine soap'.

JAWSome (inspired by Jaws)


This one has a scent called  Lathyrus Odoratus Beach Breeze and it comes with a cute little Life Savers candy attached to the box. It starts off turning your water a pretty blue colour until the dark red inside starts to seep out giving the 'shark attack' effect. I was able to get one at Hot Topic and am fully in love with these bath bombs now that I have used it. It's a creepy (yet fun) effect and perfect for those who are horror movie fans. 

The Oogie Man (inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas)


The scent listed for this one is Gummy Worms which I am guessing is fruity and sweet. It also apparently comes with a pack of gummy worms candy for you to eat while enjoying this bath bomb. I really love the fun little touches (like the lights around the box) to the packaging for these.

The Nightmare (inspired by Nightmare On Elm Street)


The scent listed for this one is Cotton Candy and it turns your bath a blood red colour. The bomb itself is made to look like Freddy Kruger's sweater and the slashes on the packaging are a nice touch.

I am hoping that Hot Topic gets more of these in as I only saw JAWSome and Arachnophobia while I was there. These seem to be harder to ship to Canada, so I may have to enlist the help of a friend to get some of these.

New York Magazine's Best Performers Shot Horror Film series

I stumbled across this purely by accident. I noticed a link to New York Magazine's list of the Ten Best Performers of 2017. They celebrated by shooting some horror inspired shorts with the actors on the list. 

Actors like Timothee Chalamet, Nicole Kidman, Saoirse Ronan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Daniel Kaluuya (just to name a few) made the list and offer up chilling performances in videos entitled things like "The Vampire", "The Cannibal", and "The Psycho Killer" (so most of them are playing off horror movie tropes).  

Timothee Chalamet as The Cannibal

They all are excellent and worth a watch if you're at all interested. You can see all of the videos by visiting the New York Times website (the videos will auto play). They are only a few minutes each (at most) and each offers up their own brand of chills.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes



The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes
Release Date - January 9, 2018
Publisher Website - self published 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  328 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.

To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.

Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?

Filed with friendship, romance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a book for anyone who's ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.

Contains explicit content. Recommended for ages 16 and up. 
Paula Stokes has more than proven herself capable of writing within various genres so I was intrigued when I heard she'd be writing her first New Adult novel. The Key To Everything ended up being a read that, along with being sexy, ignites your travel lust. It also showcases Paula's versatility as an author along with being a quick, fun read.

The travel parts of the novel are incredibly appealing. They read as more realistic than some of the other novels that have I've read with travel elements in them. The characters have to use frequent travel points, more economic means of travel, and stay in more modest accommodations in order to make their travel plans happen. It made the story feel more relatable, and made the travel seem more accessible than it has in previous novels I've read. There is still that element of wanderlust and wish fulfillment but it is painted in a more accessible way. I wish the culture and history would have been explored more, but it just entices me to do some of my own research on the locations mentioned.

The romance is both a huge part of the character development that Oakland goes through and smoking hot. There is scorching chemistry between the characters that is evident in every interaction they share. Those who read the synopsis may think that there is a bit of a triangle, but it really is not one. At least, not in the way you might think or expect. It's really more about Oakland's character arc and how she grows as a person due to the experiences she is having. The connection between the characters is just a cute bonus that adds to the novels charm.

The friendship in this novel between Oakland and Morgan is just as important as the romance. Morgan and Oakland balance each other and push each other in a lot of ways. Oakland's journey would not have been complete without Morgan. Even when there was friction in the friendship, I always felt like they would be there for each other. It was nice to see this kind of friendship and have it take such a vital role in a New Adult novel.

The real heart of this novel is Oakland's journey. She has to reconcile some things about herself and have some self discovery while on this trip. She becomes so fixated on what she thinks she should want that she ignores what is right in front of her. This fixation makes her act recklessly but I think the fact that she wouldn't make my choices is what I loved most about this novel. They choices she makes on her journey felt right for the character and that, for me, made all the difference.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Paula Stokes writing New Adult novels as I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I highly recommend The Key Of Everything for anyone who wants a New Adult read with a strong character arc. It's a perfect book for those wanting a little New Adult sexiness but still want a great plot that focuses on the characters.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Stay Sweet


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 Stay Swee by Siobhan Vivian


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
From the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best for friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
This sounds like a perfect summer read to enjoy with some ice cream. It's got female friendships, potential for romance, and a synopsis that invokes summer so easily.

I am excited to read this because it seems like it really focuses on female empowerment and love that the ice cream shop has always been owned and ran by local girls.

Expected release date - April 24, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson



Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Release Date - January 16, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
Disappearances, murder, boarding schools, and romance. Truly Devious has all the makings of a great YA mystery read. It starts with a intense first chapter and quickly sets up what is an intriguing mystery. That is, however, all this book really does - it sets up the next two installments in this series..

This is the type of book that is really a small piece of a larger story arc. This installment doesn't wrap up any plot points in a nice little bow. It doesn't have a conclusion by the end of the novel. It's not a novel that could stand on its own. It does, however, set up the next two books in this series rather well. This means that the overarching plot is only moved forward a bit, and that pacing may feel slower to some people as a result. It's a story that involves patience to reach the payoff, but the potential is there for it to be worth the investment..

Stevie Bell is pretty much anyone who is interested in true crime. She listens to true crime podcasts. She analyzes and categorizes her surroundings. She's smart and a little awkward. You'll pretty much love her immediately. She uses her mind to work out problems, and get out of situations. I am eager to see that continue to grow and her have a battle of wills with "Truly, Devious" as the story progresses.

Part of what makes the mystery element of this novel work is the setting. Ellingham Academy is filled with tunnels, hidden rooms, and a feeling of isolation. Locked room mysteries (aka mysteries where the suspect cannot be an outsider) are some of my favourites and this one has that feel. The remoteness of the school, mixed with the overall creepy atmosphere make the logical suspects those within the school. It creates an instant case of unease because one of the characters we're getting to know is, obviously, hiding something. This element of the story is done incredibly well with the tone being perfectly captured.

The two interconnected mysteries compliment each other seamlessly, and increases the chance for a least one of them to pull off a genuine surprise twist. I liked the 'flashback' chapters filling in the older mystery while we saw the pieces to this new mystery start to fall into place. It's done well and helps add to the atmosphere of the novel.

Mystery fans will delight in having two puzzles to unravel and eagerly theorize possible suspects until the next book is released. I think this series might be one to binge read in one sitting, but fans eager for another novel from Maureen will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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)

Only one book to share with you this week and it is one I borrowed from my local library. I decided to read it because of Rebecca Serle's recommendation to check out this book.


Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson (goodreads)

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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.

I hope 2018 has been treating everyone well! We may only be a couple weeks into 2018 but I already have quite a few things to be super excited about.

TV/MOVIE

The End Of The F***ing World

This new extremely dark and humourous Netflix show is incredibly binge worthy. You'll fly through this series far too quickly and immediately want more. The less you know going in the better, but be aware that the emphasis in the darkly funny part of the description is definitely on the dark.


I am going to be doing a full review for the blog so I won't say too much here, but this is possibly the one Netflix show I don't want to have a follow up season. I highly recommend it for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon.

Every Day Trailer

Here is where I admit I have not read Every Day. I know, I know. That is going to have to change SOON because this trailer is INCREDIBLE.



It is romantic and unique and immediately made me start thinking. I am adding the book to my list for 2018 and hope to get to it before the movie comes out (and the movie tie-in edition is actually rather pretty).

OTHER

Thirst Aid Kit Podcast (link) 

This podcast was all over my Twitter timeline this week thanks to the fact that these amazing ladies interviewed Chris Evans. The interview is adorable, so give it a listen, but I also finished that episode wanting to binge the rest of this podcast.


This podcast looks at all the swoon worthy celebs who make us 'thirsty' and offers up a lot of laughs along the way (if the Chris Evans episode is any indication). It's a Buzzfeed podcast and one you should check out if you spend time dishing on hot Hollywood guys with your friends.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - I, Tonya



I, Tonya

Rating: 14A

Director: Craig Gillespie

Language: English

Length:  121 minutes

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Viewing Method: Regular Theatre Screening

Synopsis: Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked––and checkered––glory.

**purchased ticket to review on my own**

Anyone who remembers the assault on Nancy Kerrigan may feel that there is nothing new that could be said about it, and they would be right. I, Tonya is a darkly humourous movie that loses a little bit of steam by asking you to feel sorry for someone who, depending on whose version of events you believe, I am not certain we should feel sorry for.

The movie never attempts to clarify what Harding knew, or didn't know, about the attack. It doesn't present any version of events as the truth. The movie is mostly based off interviews with Harding, and Gillooly with each giving contradictory versions of what happened. It, therefore, ends up being a 'he said/she said' narrative where everyone points fingers at the other. Everyone has their version of the truth, but everyone knows that the real truth is usually somewhere in between.

Harding is shown in a sympathetic light. Abused by both her mother and husband (both of whom deny the abuse allegations), it is easy to feel sympathy for her. The abuse she is shown to have suffered is horrible, especially the childhood verbal abuse by her mother. The movie also, however, includes the fact that Kerrigan's practice location and times were found written on a piece of paper in Harding's hand writing. It reminds you at every turn that all of these characters are unreliable narrators of their own stories.

Margot Robbie gives a transformative performance that, along with Allison Janney's biting performance, stood out during this movie. I could tell that she put in the time, and effort to get this performance right. She physically transformed and ensured that she got the mannerisms pitch perfect. Her performance is big and showy in a way that matches the loud and showy tone of the movie. It's a performance that fits into this setting effortlessly.

Sebastian Stan has the thankless role of Jeff Gillooly, Tonya's ex-husband. He does great work in the role of someone you are supposed to dislike immensely. He was equally capable as the more mild mannered guy telling his version of events, and the violent, triggered temper nightmare of Harding's version. The movie also makes the unforgivable sin of putting Sebastian Stan in that awful mustache.

I love movies that break the 'fourth wall' and have the characters talk directly to the audience. When this is done effectively it is a brilliant narration choice, and I, Tonya uses it to perfection. The 'audience as interviewer' feel that the movie has certainly lends itself to using this narration convention. It also provides much of the humourous moments of the movie. I had mixed feelings on some of the humour, especially the moments that occur during rather graphic spousal violence, but if you like your humour with bite than this hits all those notes.

I, Tonya is, ultimately, a movie made better by the performances found within it. The movie itself may not have anything new or different to say about Tonya Harding, but the performances, along with the extremely dark humour, make it worth the watch.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West



Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Release Date - December 26, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.
Books with lists are one of my (many) bookish weaknesses. I love the idea of a book that revolves around the main character completing a list and growing as a result. Kasie West's newest novel revolves around an artist attempting to gain some life experience to better her art. It's a cute, and heartfelt, read that existing fans will love.

This premise is perhaps one of my favourite out of all the books Kasie West has written. I love the idea of following a character on a specific journey and this book has that at its heart. The fact that this also has some great character growth only adds to this novel's appeal. Abby grows as a result of her journey in really evident ways. It is something I really enjoyed getting to experience because her experiences change her. I think all readers what to see that in the books they read.

The love story is perfect for those who love the 'friends to more' trope. It's classic Kasie West in that there are some adorable moments mixed with some great dramatic ones. I bought the chemistry between the two characters, along with the catalyst for their feelings coming out. It all felt really believable and natural. Their connection was, perhaps, one of my favourite things about this book.

Art is such a large part of Abby's story. It is the driving force behind her character and why she starts the list. It also is used to show how supportive Abby's family is. They take an active interest in her and her art and it was nice to see that reflected. Family dynamics are often missing from young adult novels and I liked seeing complex family relationships be a large part of the story.

The pacing felt a little rushed at the end, and I would have gladly welcomed another 100 or so pages to flesh out the ending and the growth that Abby experiences. It offers that classic Kasie West happy ending, but it didn't feel as tidy to me as some of her others have.

Those looking for a cute read that also has some great character growth will love this one. I just wish it had gone a little deeper into Abby's journey of self discovery. This is one that left a big smile on my face and that definitely makes it one I would recommend for young adult contemporary fans.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Love and Other Words


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 Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
I love Christina Lauren's romance novels. They are always fun and sexy. I was excited to see that they have a new book coming out in April and it sounds adorable.

This is being called 'women's fiction' instead of romance so I am expecting something a little different from the usual with this one, but I am excited to read all about Macy and Elliot!

Expected release date - April 10, 2018

Sunday, January 7, 2018

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.

As we are still early in the new year there isn't a lot to gush about yet. I predict next week is when things get back to normal with annoucements being made.
 
You may have noticed this is also day late. I, once again, postponed it due to not having any books or goodies arriving this week.
 
Just one small thing to share this week! It is a pretty awesome one though!

OTHER

A Twitter user named Shannon came up with this AMAZING reading challenge for us Muderinos out there. I am definitely taking part and hope to complete this and my Goodreads goal this year.


 I have my Anne Rule book picked out (obviously going to be reading The Stranger Beside Me) but am open to suggestions for the other squares. Leave them in the comments.


What are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Call Me By Your Name



Call Me By Your Name

Rating: 14A

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Language: English

Length: 132 minutes

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg

Viewing Method: Regular Theatre Screening

Synopsis: In the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American spends his days in his family's 17th century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Soon, Elio and Oliver discover a summer that will alter their lives forever. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, is based on the novel by André Aciman.

**purchased ticket to review on my own**

Call Me By Your Name is a lot of things. It's a summer romance. It's a coming of age story. It's a story of the whirlwind of firsts that you experience. It's a story that is richly crafted and brought to life by director Luca Guadagnino.

The movie itself is stunning to look at. The setting so lovingly shot that you feel as if you're spending the summer in Italy with Elio and Oliver. The colours used are so vibrant and lush. The attention to detail makes even the littlest element hold significance. It's a truly beautiful film to watch and one you could easily lose yourself in over and over again.

The most incredible part of this movie is, perhaps, the complete lack of the punishment trope that is often found in art and media that feature LGBTQ+ characters. The 'bury your gays' trope that is always so prevalent. The message that LGBTQ+ desire, once acted upon, is something that demands a swift punishment. This 'punishment' can take many forms with the most often one being the death of one of the characters. This 'consequence' is nowhere to be found within this movie. It is simply a love story. It was a refreshing change and hopefully a step forward in the types of stories that are told for the LGBTQ+ community.

This is a quieter movie. The dialogue that is being spoken really tells only part of the story. Much of this movie is expressed through facial expressions and silent communication. Timothée Chalamet, in particular, is capable of expressing complex emotions using only his eyes and facial expressions, many of which are subtle. There is also a physicality to the role that Chalamet captures perfectly. The excitement and exuberance of his youth is in every leap and bound his character makes. It is in the awkward, but breathless, way Elio climbs all over Oliver. All of these elements together make for an incredibly compelling performance that showcases just what a talent Chalamet is.

Armie Hammer has, in my opinion, one of the harder acting roles to pull off. He plays this cool, self assured 'golden boy' and makes it look effortless. His effortlessly delivered "Later" as he leaves the room. The ease in which he carries himself. There isn't a false note in his portrayal of Oliver. The fleshing out of the character as the movie goes on adds layers, but that initial Elio tainted view is something that stayed with me, even as I saw the character's vulnerability.

If I had to pick a theme for this movie I would immediately say longing. The longing to communicate and the desperation that is felt when that connection doesn't seem to be happening. A longing for a person so fiercely that you ache. This is a movie that makes you ache with these characters. You can feel their longing. You want them to be together as much as they want to be together.

The closing moments of Call Me By Your Name are perfection. They are some of the best cinematic moments I can recall experiencing. Chalamet shines the brightest in these moments (I urge you to stay seated as the credits run). He and Armie Hammer both unravel you with nothing more than an utterance of a name, and Chalamet makes you feel every emotional beat using nothing more than the expressions that pass over his face. It's dizzying, breathtaking and demands to be rewatched for it's simplistic beauty.

This review, of course, would not be complete without a mention of the age difference between Elio and Oliver. Elio is seventeen. Oliver is twetny four. The movie (and the book from what I understand) takes great care to show that Elio is mature for his age. He is Oliver's intellectual equal. His agency is never in question. Elio is making choices on his own. The fact that Elio is still a minor is not directly dealt with in the narrative of the story but it is felt throughout. It's one of the (many) reasons Oliver is hesitant to get involved with Elio. It is part of what makes their relationship messy. The feelings you may have about this element of the story are part of what makes this story what it is. It's a deliberate choice and one that I think works in this particular case.

Call Me By Your Name is a story of longing, lust, loss and the bittersweet ache of experiencing them for the first time. It's a powerful love story filled with some stunningly brilliant performances from its highly talented cast. It deserve all of the praise it has been getting and I cannot wait to watch it again and fall in love with not only Italy but, Elio and Oliver's love story all over again.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ..... The Cheerleaders


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 Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.
This sounds creepy and twisty! It sounds like more of a thriller summer read that is perfect for the beach. I love the mystery aspect and cannot wait to dive into this one!

This comes out right in time for beach season as well as it comes out right in the middle of summer!

Expected release date - July 31, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What I Am Excited About For 2018


Happy New Year everyone! With the start of a new year comes a lot of things to look forward to. Many of those are upcoming book and movie releases. I have shared which 2018 books are on the top of my must read list so I thought I would also share what else I am excited about that will release in 2018.

MOVIES

Avengers: Infinity War


It should be no surprise to anyone following this blog that Avengers: Infinity War is on the list. I am excited to see what Marvel has been building up to since Iron Man was released in 2008. If the trailer is any indication it is going to be incredible. I am just preparing myself for, what I assume, are the multiple deaths that are going to happen to close out this chapter of the Marvel Universe. This one comes out May 4th.

Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile

I hope this movie gets a new title at some point during production, however, my excitement for this one is pretty high. Zac Efron is going to be playing Ted Bundy in a movie told from the perspective of the girl he was dating at the time of his arrest. The script made the Blacklist and I have heard good things about it. The rumoured release is Fall 2018, which puts it out right around award show contention time.

Black Panther


See my above mentioned love of all the previous Marvel movies and this jaw dropping trailer and it should be obvious why this one is on my list. I am excited that this one is releasing February 16th because that doesn't seem so far off this side of the new year.

Ocean's 8


Ladies being badass is always exciting and this trailer just looks like so much fun! I am looking forward to seeing all of these ladies interact and pulling off a heist! It's the type of movie you want to go with a group of female friends with to see and just bask in the awesomeness. It releases June 8th.

Love, Simon


This trailer won my heart with the entire 'I like your boots' scene. How charming is Nick Robinson?! This is going to be a fun rom-com like movie that I cannot wait to see on March 16th.

Crazy Rich Asians

I've heard incredible things about this book series (and they are on my list of books to read this year). The cast looks amazing (did you see the Entertainment Weekly photos?!) and it looks like a glitzy, decadent, drama filled good time. The trailer should be releasing in the next few months as it hits theatres August 17th.

TELEVISION

Jessica Jones Season Two


I LOVED the first season of Jessica Jones. LOVED! I loved Jessica as a character and have been eagerly awaiting the second season of the show. It's finally here (or will be on March 8th)! This trailer is everything I wanted and the Spiderman reference made me laugh out loud.

American Crime Story: Versace


It is no secret that I have been on a true crime kick as of late. It is also no secret that I love Ryan Murphy's shows. I especially loved the first season of American Crime Story. The second season will look at the murders committed by Andrew Cunanan, but most specifically the assassination of Gianni Versace. This trailer looks great, and Darren Criss is CHILLING. I'll be watching on January 17th when it premieres.

Waco


Cults are part of the whole true crime fascination and this show looks like it has some amazing performances. Taylor Kitsch seems to almost disappear into the role of David Koresh who was the leader of this particular cult. It premieres on January 24th and I am looking forward to watching this as I expect it might be talked about around awards season.

Mosaic: Miniseries 


According to the press release Mosaic is going to a VERY different form of storytelling. Through the official website/app viewers will have the chance to select which character's perspective they view the story through and that dictates the story experience they get. In order to get the full picture the audience will have to watch each of the perspectives. It'll also have extra content such as voicemails, emails, and etc for you to view or listen to. It certainly sounds ambitious and the fact that there is a mystery at the centre only makes me more curious to check it out.

The official press release states:

MOSAIC lets viewers experience the story from multiple perspectives, going deeper to see the big picture:
– Film view: Watch the film in full-screen, immersive mode.

– Choice moments: Select which character’s perspective you want to adopt to continue your journey.

– Discoveries: Dive deeper into the story through additional content, including voicemails and emails between the characters, police reports, news clippings, and more.

– Look again: Go back and view the perspectives you missed to get the full picture.

Sounds intriguing right? I am super excited to check this out on January 22nd.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? I am always eager to find new movies, and shows (and etc) so let me know in the comments.

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