Sunday, April 29, 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)

I am sure that the book I have this week will also appear in many mailbox posts this week! I am a huge fan of Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda and am very excited to be returning to this world and these characters. 


Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (goodreads)

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 28, 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.

Not a whole lot to share this week. My attention was pretty much taken up by the fact that they arrested the Golden State Killer this week and all of the media attention surrounding it. However, there were still a few things that made me fangirl that I wanted to share.

TV/MOVIES

Stranger Things Season 3 In Production

The official Stranger Things twitter revealed that production on the third season kicked off on April 20th with some new additions to the cast. 

I am beyond excited for the third season so the fact that they are now actively working on it makes me very happy. I am also really excited to see Cary Elwes join the cast.

Trailer For Crazy Rich Asians

This looks like such a cute summer movie that is going to be exactly what I need to fight off superhero fatigue. Constance Wu and Henry Golding have some great chemistry in this first trailer and I laughed so much.


It looks funny, romantic, and filled with family drama which all make it a must see for me. Here's hoping it is as good as I am anticipating. 

Movie Poster For Crazy Rich Asians

This poster is also super cute! I love the colour scheme and the bright pop of colour against that green background. It catches your eye immediately.


Constance Wu and Henry Golding are, once again, super adorable together. Is it August yet?

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... The Royal Runaway


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 Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory!


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
For fans of The Princess Diaries and The Royal We comes a fun and daring novel about a modern-day princess who teams up with a spy to find out what happened to the fiancé who left her at the altar—and who just might get her own fairytale in the process.

Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.

After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.

So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.

Funny, fast-paced, and full of more twists and turns than the castle Thea lives in, The Royal Runaway is a fresh romantic comedy that will leave you cheering for the modern-day royal who chucks the rulebook aside to create her own happily-ever-after
My pick this week is something a little lighter than my previous two picks. This book seems fitting as so many of us have Royal fever right now with a new Royal baby being born and a Royal wedding on the horizon.

It's going to be a long wait until Oct for this one, but we have plenty of Royal excitement to keep us occupied in the meantime.

Expected release date -October 9,  2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What's On The Horizon For True Crime Fans



True Crime Week is officially coming to an end. I thought I would wrap up this special event with some suggestions of books, TV shows, and movies to watch out for in the next year or so. A lot of these do not have definitive release dates, and therefore are subject to change.

1: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile 

Pretty sure we all saw and freaked out over the pictures of Zac Efron looking scarily similar to Ted Bundy that he posted on his Instagram while filming this movie.


I love that it seems to be focused on the girlfriend he had at the time of his arrest, and her journey to work through those events. It's a different perspective than I thought it would be and it makes me more interested in seeing the movie.

2. Sadie by Courtney Summers (goodreads)

While not directly inspired by real life events I think true crime obsessives will be curious about this book. It's has a Serial like podcast at its core and focuses on the story of a girl named Sadie who went missing attempting to find her sister's killer, and a radio personality who becomes interested in her story and and attempts to find her by retracing her steps.

3. The Staircase

I have not watched the original episodes that make up this true crime documentary, but with the announcement of new episodes coming to Netflix this summer I am going to have to change that immediately.

4. Dirty John 

This popular podcast has turned into an upcoming TV show with Connie Britton and Eric Bana attached to star. I don't know much about this one, except that it involves a con man. I am hoping to listen to the podcast before the TV show starts.

5. The Devil In The White City

Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star as HH Holmes in a movie based on the wildly popular book of the same name. This one is the most likely to be pushed back from 2018/2019 because there hasn't been very many details released, and it has been in development for some time. Here's hoping it makes some progress soon as I think it has the potential to be really good.

6. Theodore: The Documentary 

This is a documentary about Ted Bundry from Celene Beth Calderon. I have heard quite a bit about this documentary and how it is going to have a focus on the victims and their families. I also was impressed that part of their Indiegogo campaign funds were donated to RAINN. It sounds like it could be a well researched documentary and one that I am hoping is released this year. It may be delayed as they are still in the process of filming. You can still check out the details of the documentary on the Indiegogo site even though it is no longer available to pledge money for. 

Anything I missed? Something you're waiting for that is not on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, April 22, 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)

I have been on a true crime kick as of late, so these two purchases will probably come as no surprise. 


Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowry (goodreads)

I loved My Friend Dahmer when I saw it, and was happy to add it to my movie collection. I also have had this book on my radar for awhile and had the perfect excuse to pick it up this week.

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 21, 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

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)

This book was recently announced and I was immediately sold by the synopsis.
a joyous reimagining of 2019 in which the President of the United States is a woman and her son falls in love with the Prince of Wales. This is a romance of bacchanalian proportions.
What isn't there to love about this synopsis? It sounds like a fun, swoony read that has both a Prince and the son of the President. Let's also bask in the fact that it's a female President! I am all about this book and I cannot wait for it to be released.

TV/MOVIES

Cary Elwes Joins Stranger Things

Many news outlets reported recently that Cary Elwes is joining the cast of Stranger Things for the third season. He'll be playing the Mayor of Hawkins. As a fan of The Princess Bride this news makes me really happy. I am so glad that the third season will be filming soon!

You Official Trailer

I have not read the book that this series is based off (at least not yet) but I am very intrigued by the premise. The first trailer is pretty much what I expected which leads me to believe I'll be into this show.  


Penn Badgley is perfectly creepy in this and it has only made me even more excited to finally pick up this book. One of my bookclubs has this as a pick for May so I'll be diving in soon!

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace




American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Rating: TV-MA

Network: FX

Language: English

Episodes:  9

Cast: Darren Criss, Finn Wittrock, Penelope Cruz, Cody Fern, Edgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, Max Greenfield

Synopsis: Based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History, the season examines the July 1997 assassination of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) by sociopathic serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), who killed himself in a Miami Beach houseboat after a manhunt that lasted eight days

**spoilers included in review**
==============================================

Reviewing a fictionalized account of real event is often much easier than reviewing a documentary or nonfiction novel. There is the fact that events will have been modified for dramatic purposes, and that this is simply a portrayal of the people involved, and not the actual person themselves that you are critiquing. I was eager to review the second season of American Crime Story as piece of entertainment media and not a reflection on the real life events that inspired it.

The first season of American Crime Story dived into the OJ Simpson trial and the media circus that surrounded it. It also offered commentary on how the events at the time fed into both the coverage, trial, and verdict. The second season was to look at the assassination of Gianni Versace. Those looking for a splashy, decadent look at the fashion designer ultimately found themselves with a story that was actually about Andrew Cunanan, the man who murdered five men on his cross country crime spree. They also found a story that had a lot to say about homophobia, and the pain that many gay men felt in that early to mid 90's time period.

The image of Antonio (Ricky Martin) being interviewed by detectives while still covered in the blood of who essentially was the love of his life is jarring. The needless, and insensitive, questions about their sex life, and accusatory tones are just the beginning of what is a theme of homophobia that this series leans into. A monologue by Max Greenfield's character Ronnie perfectly captures what this entire series is attempting to say about what it was like being gay in this particular time. When asked about Andrew and his hiding out in South Beach Ronnie is quick to point out that Andrew is not hiding. He also points out that it doesn't seem like the police were doing much to actually catch Andrew. The power of this monologue is best felt watching the delivery of these lines because Max Greenfield nails it. 
 'The truth is that you were disgusted by him long before he became disgusting. You're so used to us lurking in the shadows, and you know, most of us we oblige. People like me we, we just drift away. We get sick and nobody cares. But Andrew was vain. He wanted you to know about his pain. He wanted you to hear. He wanted you.... he wanted you to know about being born a lie. Andrew is not hiding.'
This story really is a commentary about the harm the closet can do to not only those who are forced to live in it, but those around them as well. 

The story device of telling the timeline of events in reverse chronological order is not only unique, but a perfect fit for the story being told. We begin with Gianni Versace's murder, and work backwards to Andrew's childhood. This allows the viewer to see Andrew at his worst, and slowly fill in the gaps of what his motivations might have been, and what might have led to these actions. It forces the viewer to grapple with a lot of their own emotions towards Andrew as the series unfolds. It's clever, and requires some thought by the audience to follow the timeline being presented. It also allows for the jarring impact of seeing someone brutally murdered and having them appear again in earlier, happier times later in the series. It makes their deaths hit a little harder, particularly in the cases of two of the victims.

Darren Criss gives a stunning, career altering performance as Andrew Cunanan. Every single note of his performance is pitch perfect. He captures the charming, slick side of Andrew as naturally as he exhibits the manipulative liar who would eventually become a murderer. I have no doubts that Darren's name will be tossed around plenty during television award season and with good reason. He steals the entire show, and the last few episodes in particular are a showcase of his talent. So many of Andrew's final moments were spent alone on a houseboat and Darren Criss manages to pull off what, I am sure, were difficult scenes perform. 

Cody Fern as David Madson is another revelation of this series. His version of David Madson is a wide eyed (almost unbearably so), charming architect. Cody plays him with a tenderness and kindness that radiates from the character. You can simply feel the goodness that David Madson had within him. His performance is the glue that holds episode four, "House By The Lake" together. It is the cornerstone of that episode and Cody manages to steal the spotlight from Darren Criss, even if just for a moment.

Finn Wittrock is always consistently good and he once again shines here as Jeffrey Trail. His portrayal of Jeffrey is nuanced, heartbreaking, and raw. You can feel the pain that Jeffrey felt as he grappled with who he was and what that meant for the Naval career he hoped to have. You could feel the desperation he felt, and the relief of the lifeline being offered to him when he first meets Andrew. All of the victim's stories are heartbreaking, but David and Jeffrey's sat with me the longest after watching this show. Not only were the two episodes dedicated to them some of the strongest of the series, but they captured the reality that these two men obviously meant something to Andrew. 

The episodes that are stands out for me are "House By The Lake", "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and "Alone". Each has a little something extra that resonated and stayed with me after I had finished the series. They are also some of the hardest episodes to watch. There is both a sadness and brutality to each of them, for different reasons. The show is almost reverential towards its victims, but it has a lot of sympathy for aspects of Andrew's life as well. It doesn't excuse his behaviour, and showcases him as the monster he was, but admits that there is something to be felt for the child he was and how that shaped the man he became. 

The scene in which Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan commits suicide is arresting for many reasons. The camera work here is remarkable in the way it shifts perspectives. It first has Andrew stare, almost fourth wall breakingly, at the audience (all while there is a gun in his mouth). This felt to me like our turn as a society to be judged for our role in the harm done to all of the gay men who felt they needed to stay in the closet (seems fitting after all the blame put on the police for their role in these events). We are judged, as I see it, for the role society played in creating someone like Andrew Cunanan and the media exploitation that happens in cases like this (and all for our consumption). Next the camera shifts and we see that Andrew is not looking at the audience, but rather a mirror, and it is his turn to judge himself for the horrific crimes he has committed. There is a layer of sympathy that filters these scenes even as you are entirely repulsed by everything Andrew did. It's a stellar piece of camera work and those images have stayed with me. 

This series is a beautifully shot, well written, stunningly acted look at one of the most talked about crimes in America. It, in my opinion, more than holds its own against the first season. It's a series with a definitive message to deliver and I think it succeeds in making the audience feel what they set out to invoke. It is, perhaps, a more fictionalized account than the first season was, but that can be forgiven because of the amount of details still unknown about this case. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vulgar Favors: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth




Vulgar Favors: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth
Release Date - March 9, 1999
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  560 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Two months before Gianni Versace was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by Andrew Cunanan, award-winning journalist Maureen Orth was investigating a major story on the serial killer for Vanity Fair. Culled from interviews with more than four hundred people and insights from thousands of pages of police reports, Orth tells the complete story of Cunanan, his unwitting victims, and the moneyed, hedonistic world in which they lived . . . and died.

In fascinating detail, she reveals how Cunanan met his superstar victim, why police and the FBI repeatedly failed to catch Cunanan, and why other victims' families stonewalled the investigation, as well as the controversial findings of the Versace autopsy report. Here is a gripping odyssey that races across America--from California's wealthy gay underworld to modest Midwestern homes of families mourning the loss of their sons to South Beach and its unapologetic decadence. Vulgar Favors is at once a masterwork of investigative journalism and a riveting account of a sociopath, his crimes, and the mysteries he left along the way.
A novel about the crimes committed by Andrew Cunanan seems like it would be almost impossible to write. There are so many people who were reluctant to talk, so many lies and half truths that were told, and rumours that spread like wildfire. It makes getting to the truth extremely difficult. Maureen Orth's book gives, what I consider to be, the most researched detailing of events while still acknowledging how much will always remain unknown.

I was, of course, aware of the fact that someone shot Gianni Versace outside his home. Those were almost the only details I did know before looking deeper into this case. I did not know that Jeffrey Trail, David Madson, Lee Miglin, and William Reese were also victims. I didn't know that Andrew Cunanan had killed anyone other than Gianni Versace. This part of the story was an eye opener for me. I couldn't believe that four men had died and it wasn't something that was well known. Each of the victims are given a chapter entirely devoted to them in this book. They each get, what I feel is, a respectful look at who they were. They are given the attention they deserve and the loss of these five men is hammered home. The potential each of them left behind, and the loved ones who mourn them are palpable.

Andrew Cunanan was a skilled liar. It was pretty much his defining personality trait. He wove elaborate tales of self grandeur, and his story changed to suit whatever his current agenda was. He was narcissistic, and felt entitled to things without working for them. The fact remains that it seems like nobody really knew the real Andrew Cunanan. The motivations for his crimes are unknown, but as more details of what we do know to be true about him are revealed, you can speculate as to what sent him down this murderous path. There is a sympathy to some of the elements in Andrew's life, but those are instantly stripped away when he commits his first murder. I feel that Maureen Orth does a wonderful job of balancing this in her exploration of Andrew and his crimes.

There is a political heartbeat that thrums in the background of this novel. The OJ Simpson trail and backlash was ever present in the minds of those attempting to apprehend Andrew Cunanan. This is often referred to as 'the largest failed manhunt in US history' and that seems pretty accurate. There were times that Andrew should have been apprehended during his murder spree, and things that should have been done that would have assisted in him being caught much sooner. The larger commentary is one of homophobia in both the police force, FBI (and etc) and in the media itself. It was what allowed for the identification of Jeffrey Trail's body to take as long as it did, it is what allowed for the 'gay love triangle' story to be perpetuated as long as it was, and what allowed David Madson to be considered a suspect for as long as he was. These two driving forces both played a part in what allowed Andrew to remain at large, even though he wasn't necessarily hiding.

Maureen Orth's journalism background is evident throughout this entire book. She has sifted through all of the lies, rumours and innuendo to focus only on the elements she could confirm through multiple sources. The sad reality is that there are so many things that can only be speculated on. The novel does a perfect job of balancing the facts she felt she could corroborate and making an educated reasoning based on her findings. Maureen's writing makes it glaringly evident when she believes in someone's account of events, and when she thinks someone is embellishing or lying outright. This, to me, made the story feel balanced. It's a crushing reality that the only people who know the absolute truth of some of the events are dead, and therefore unable to speak for themselves. It is what, in my opinion, makes this case so fascinating. There is so much that is ripe for gossip and speculation that it takes on a life of its own.

I have seen some criticism of the gay scene that Andrew inhabited and how it is represented. I feel that it is made evident that this isn't representative of the entire gay population, but instead reflects the lifestyle Andrew was part of. He was (arguably) a drug user and dealer who was also possibly an escort. He ran in circles where drug use was common and spent his nights partying. The older men he was involved with are presented as affluential and far removed from the lifestyle Andrew was part of. The other criticism is Maureen's research not always meshing with the facts put forth by the families of the victims. I, personally, felt Maureen cited her sources clearly, and plainly. She also includes the families version of events, and clearly indicates her personal beliefs as exactly that. It read as fair, balanced reporting to me with some personal commentary woven in, and that allows for the reader to draw their own conclusions. This uncertainty was always going to be a reasonable part of a case like this where so much is unknown.

This is a story that goes deeper than just the assassination of a famous designer. There are so many layers to pull back, so many unanswered questions, and ultimately a lot of grief left behind. Maureen Orth respectfully tells the story of the victims, and shines a light on the man who was their murderer. If you're interested in a true crime read that will leave you plenty to discuss with fellow enthusiasts I highly recommend this one. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Our Kind Of Cruelty


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


In keep with this week's theme I decided to pick a book that I think true crime fans will enjoy. My pick this week is Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall.


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
This is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.
I decided to pick this novel after reading that Araminta Hall got inspiration for this novel from the Amanda Knox case. She was specifically inspired by the idea of female sexuality and the way society views it. It also sounds like a great suspense novel which will also appeal to those with an interest in true crime.

The good news is that it's not a very long wait for this one as it comes out May 8th!
 
Expected release date - May 8, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

True Crime Week - Podcasts For True Crime Fans



Podcasts have been the biggest addition to my media consumption this year and many of them have been true crime related. When figuring out the details of this theme week I knew I wanted to have a post about all of the true crime podcasts that I have been loving. This morphed into the idea of giving a list of the podcasts I think true crime fans should try.

There will be some obvious choices on here, but I hope people will discover some new ones as well. I am offering a list that is a mix of ones I have personally listened to and loved, and a few that I haven't gotten to just yet, but are on my list.

1. My Favorite Murder

I figure this one comes as no surprise. I am pretty much obsessed with this podcast. The two hosts, Karen and Georgia, immediately make you want to be best friends with them. The podcast offers up a relatable perspective on true crime, mental health, and self reflection. They infuse just the right amount of humour in each episode, and ensure that the victims of the horrific crimes they feature are treated with respect. They've also personally helped me embrace being imperfect by showing their own personal struggles. It's, as strange as it may sound, like a weekly therapy session.

2. Disgraceland 

This is one of the more unique true crime podcasts I've discovered. It blends a rock and roll vibe, impeccable research, and strong writing to create a podcast that fully engrosses you into the story being told. This is more storytelling than conversational and it quickly becomes addictive. It also manages to tell stories you're familiar with in a new way. It finds a unique element of the story to focus on which makes it feel fresh. The host also happens to posses one of the most amazing speaking voices I've ever heard. If you love true crime and music I highly recommend this one.

3. Hollywood And Crime

This podcast, which soon starts its third season, is all about the dark side of Hollywood. The first season focuses on the murder of Elizabeth Short, the second focuses on Charles Manson. The third, which hasn't officially been announced, seems to be focusing on the Wonderland murders. The podcast uses a storytelling format and is incredibly well produced. Every element is meticulous and the research they do shows in every episode.

4. Crime Writers On

This is a podcast for those wanting to keep up on all things hot in true crime. They discuss books, movies, TV shows, other podcasts (and much more) which offers up an never ending supply of recommendations to add to your growing list of things to read/watch/binge/etc. It is a fun way to keep up to date on all the true crime happenings in media  while also getting updates on high profile cases that are currently in the news. 

5. Serial

I am probably the only person who hasn't listened to this yet, but I am hoping to change that soon. 

6. Dirty John

This podcast came on my radar thanks to the television show that is currently in the works. Connie Britton and Eric Bana are set to star in the series, and I figure I should listen before it airs.

7. Someone Knows Something

This is, again, one I feel so many people have listened to already and I just very late in discovering it. I am hoping to get to this one soon. It's format is digging deep into a murder/disappearance over the course of an entire season of the podcast. 

I am, of course, always looking for more recommendations for new podcasts to add to my growing list. If there are any you feel I must check out please let me know in the comments. What podcasts are your favourite (both true crime and non)?

Sunday, April 15, 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)

 Super late posting this today, but I wanted to make sure it got up today.

I got an amazing package from Penguin this past week and I am so excited to read all of these! A huge thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for the chance to review these!


Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (goodreads)
Royals by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
The Lost Kids by Sara Saedi (goodreads)
The Strange Fascinations Of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold (goodreads)

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 14, 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.

TV/MOVIES

To All The Boys I Loved Before Movie Release Date

Jenny Han announced on her Twitter account that the Netflix movie for To All The Boys I've Loved Before has a release date. We'll be able to watch the adorableness while eating cookies on August 17th. It's a perfect movie for the summer and also seems a great fit for the streaming platform. I am so excited to watch it!

OTHER 

My Favorite Murder Fan Cult

I am, as most of you know, a huge fan of the My Favorite Murder podcast. They recently announced a 'fan cult' that you can sign up for. It includes all of the goodies mentioned below:


You can sign up by visiting their website. I have already joined the cult (and I am not calling my dad) and cannot wait to get my t-shirt and pin! I am currently looking into maybe going to the New York stop on their fall tour.

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

Friday, April 13, 2018

True Crime Week - Jenni L Walsh Guest Post


True Crime Week continues with a guest post from Jenni L Walsh. Her novel, Becoming Bonnie, is inspired by the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. It's a must read for fans of novels inspired by true crime and offers up a grounded, humanizing look at the women who would become one half of the most infamous crime duo in history.

It also happens that Becoming Bonnie is on sale. It is currently on sale at many ebook retails for $2.99! That's less than your daily coffee order, and such a steal for this amazing book. You can read the first half of Bonnie's story before the companion novel, Side by Side, released on June 5th.

The sale ends April 16th! Be sure to snag your copy from your favourite ebook retailer and have an amazing beach read for the upcoming summer season!


Jenni is also offering up a special pre-order incentive for Side By Side. If you pre-order and follow the instructions on her website you can get a package of goodies that includes temporary tattoos, bookmarks and  a signed book plate.


Amazing right? I definitely need to submit my own pre-order to snag these goodies. However, there is also the chance to win an amazing prize pack when you submit your pre-order. One lucky winner will receive  a tee shirt, Bonnie and Clyde wine glasses, custom Bonnie and Clyde magnetic bookmarks , and an amazing mug. 


I am personally keeping my fingers crossed that I get selected for this amazing prize pack. Those wine glasses are amazing. I love them!

Be sure to pre-order your copy from the retailer of your choice and take advantage of this incentive!


Jenni was kind enough to share a guest post with me about the allure of Bonnie and Clyde that exists even after all of these years. It's a fantastic read and I am so thrilled to be sharing it with you. A huge thank you to Jenni for taking the time to write it. 

Bonnie and Clyde: America’s Outlaws

Often when thinking about criminals or outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde come to mind. While the duo found themselves in various headlines throughout their twenty-seven month crime spree, it wasn’t until their deaths in May of 1934 that “Bonnie and Clyde” became fixtures in American history.

To this day, Bonnie and Clyde remain polarizing figures, their names frequently in the media. The phrase “modern-day Bonnie and Clyde” is often given to male/female criminal partnerships, especially when the couple is romantic. Two capybaras—quickly given the names Bonnie and Clyde—made headlines after the rodents escaped a Canadian zoo. Like it or not, Bonnie and Clyde are infamous.

I asked a group of individuals what the names “Bonnie and Clyde” were synonymous with for them. As expected, their answers varied.

Some reiterated history’s portrayal: criminal duo, bank robbers, gangsters, outlaws, doomed lovers.

Others attributed nouns, such as guns, death, dangerous, violence.

A few individuals responded with how Bonnie and Clyde exhibited sociopathic or psychotic behaviors and how their relationship was toxic. This answer didn’t come as a surprise; hybristophilia—when a female is attracted to a person who has committed an outrage or a gruesome crime—is called the “Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome.”

Adversely, a responder said, “I’ve always wondered what the love connection must’ve felt like between them… Bonnie entered a life of crime because she loved him so fiercely.” Another said, “I think of their close relationship first.” A third said, “dangerously in love.” These responders are not alone in their reactions. A quick scan of #BonnieandClyde on Twitter is littered with phrases of solidarity between couples, such as “I got your back gurl” and “partner in crime.” Sometimes the hashtag is accompanied by additional sentiments like #MyBestFriend #LoveHim

I’ll admit my own interest in Bonnie and Clyde was originally sparked by their loyalty and devotion to one another. I had been brainstorming a historical topic for my novel, when “Bonnie and Clyde” surfaced. I had seen the film, but over a decade prior, and it was their partnership I recalled the strongest in that moment. Curiosity filled me and I began to dig into their story. Bonnie was a church-going, straight-A girl with big dreams for herself. Clyde made multiple attempts at an honest life, before turning to violence. These interesting tidbits strengthened my desire to understand who they were at the core. So I set out to tell their tale, in Bonnie Parker’s voice, beginning before she ever met Clyde Barrow, before their crime spree, before any victims.

In my novel, Becoming Bonnie, I gave her a fictional name—Bonnelyn—and sought to show her evolution from a wholesome young woman to a gun-wielding gal—Bonnie—who was willing to risk it all for a fella named Clyde. In the companion novel, Side by Side, releasing on June 5, 2018, I explore their ultimate fate: death, danger, and violence. Ultimately, there’s much more than expected behind the infamous Bonnie and Clyde.

Begin Bonnie’s story with Becoming Bonnie, which is on sale for $2.99 until April 16th!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara




I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara
Release Date - February 27,  2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer. 
True Crime books, I've discovered, are hard to review. You cannot talk about them the same way you would a piece of fictional work. There is no commentary to make on the characters. The plot cannot be deconstructed. It mostly falls to the writing of the book to pull the reader into the story. I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara is one of those true crime books that you instantly recognize as a stand out in its genre for so many reasons.

The writing in this is sharp. Michelle McNamara had such a distinct style to her writing that echoes in every single sentence of this book. It has the readability of commercial fiction, mixed with the attention to detail of any good investigative piece, and the passion of a woman whose words made you feel every emotion she was experiencing. You felt the exhilaration of a potential new lead just as strongly as you felt the disappointment when that lead resulted in a dead end. It takes a brilliant writer to pull off what this book does, and I can only mourn the books Michelle would have written as a result.

Every true crime obsessive will see a little of themselves in Michelle. She was drawn to true crime because of a need to make all the pieces fit. The puzzle like element to solving a case appealed to her. Others may be driven by a need to understand what would cause someone to commit these horrific acts, or even as a means of dealing with and facing anxiety they may face. People with an interest in true crime tend to bond together pretty quickly and that feeling is there with this book. The reader will feel connected to Michelle pretty quickly if they share that interest.

I'll Be Gone In The Dark paints a vivid picture of Norther California at the time of these attacks. The atmosphere is pitch perfect. Michelle has captured the essence of what it was like to live in these communities during this time. It captures that pulse pounding fear the victims felt, and ensures that you'll check your doors and windows an extra few times after reading. It's definitely not the kind of book to read in the dark while you are alone in your house.

The writing is so deeply personal that this book becomes almost a character study of not only the Golden State Killer, but Michelle McNamara herself. She divulges the depths of her obsessive need to follow up on leads. She shares details of how this investigation found its way into so many parts of her life. I found it remarkably brave that she would share so much of herself and it also makes the book connect with the reader in way that true crime books tend not to. Michelle McNamara seemed like someone I would have liked. She was someone I would have wanted to know and talk true crime with. I am only saddened to have only discovered this amazing woman's work after her death. This book is a stunning part of her legacy and destined to become a true crime classic that fans of the genre will pass along to those just entering the fold.

Patton Oswalt, Michelle's husband, mentions in his section of the book that he hopes Michelle somehow knows when the Golden State Killer is finally caught. I echo that sentiment, and hope that her research is carried on by other and that justice will eventually be served for the victims. If you're looking for a really well written, meticulously researched true crime read I cannot recommend this one enough. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... The Real Lolita


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


In keep with this week's theme I decided to pick a book that fits into the true crime genre. My pick this week is  The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A gripping true-crime investigation of the 1948 abduction of Sally Horner and how it inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel, Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
I was not aware that there was a real kidnapping that inspired Lolita. so this immediately caught my eye. I am excited that it is written by a woman and hope that this means it'll be handled with care and respect for the victim.

This one comes out in November, so it is a bit of wait for this one, but there are plenty of true crime books to devour in the meantime.

Expected release date - November 13, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cover Reveal For Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut


Taking a quick break from True Crime Week to help reveal the cover of what sounds like a fun middle grade book. I can easily see my nieces wanting to read this one and I am always on the look out for new books they would be interested in.

Here is a little bit about Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut before we reveal the cover:
Bad enough Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in the family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying wolf-like creatures, known as skinners. He must also learn how to match his father’s skills at monster hunting. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a million to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Now, with the skinners multiplying, both in numbers and ferocity, Matt is desperate to keep his father and hot-tempered older brother from killing each other, prevent his new friend, Perry—a horse-crazy girl who recently moved to their small town of Huerfano, Colorado—from discovering the true nature of his odder-than- oddball family, and save a group of paleontologists from getting skinner-ed.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.
There is a lot that I think middle grade readers will love in that synopsis and the cover is pretty adorable and makes the book look like a lot of fun.


Visit the author at her website or on Twitter, and be sure to add the book to your Goodreads account.

While not currently up for pre-order from book retailers, be sure to visit the publisher's website for more information and up to date details.


Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON, releases Fall 2018 from Owl Hollow Press

Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com



Monday, April 9, 2018

Lizzie by Dawn Ius



I am kicking off True Crime week on the blog with a review of a book that comes out TOMORROW!


Lizzie by Dawn Ius                           
Release Date - April 10,  2018
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Borden has never been kissed. Polite but painfully shy, Lizzie prefers to stay in the kitchen, where she can dream of becoming a chef and escape her reality. With tyrannical parents who force her to work at the family’s B&B and her blackout episodes—a medical condition that has plagued her since her first menstrual cycle—Lizzie longs for a life of freedom, the time and space to just figure out who she is and what she wants.

Enter the effervescent, unpredictable Bridget Sullivan. Bridget has joined the B&B’s staff as the new maid, and Lizzie is instantly drawn to her artistic style and free spirit—even her Star Wars obsession is kind of cute. The two of them forge bonds that quickly turn into something that’s maybe more than friendship.

But when her parents try to restrain Lizzie from living the life she wants, it sparks something in her that she can’t quite figure out. Her blackout episodes start getting worse, her instincts less and less reliable. Lizzie is angry, certainly, but she also feels like she’s going mad…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 heLove, 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).
r 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.
Anything relating to true crime is hot right now. The resurgence has led to some amazing podcasts, movies, television series, and books being released. Being a true crime addict myself, I was thrilled with Dawn Ius announced her next novel was to be inspired by the infamous Lizzie Borden case. This fictional account modernizes the story, and while it weaves in plenty of details from the real case, this story is something all its own.

Lizzie is a  sharply written story of a young girl falling in love for the first time. It's also the story of a young girl spiraling into madness. It also boasts one of my favourite kind of narrators. Lizzie is unreliable. Everything she tells us as readers should be held as suspect. She cannot trust herself which immediately sets a sort of tension over everything she does. This book is a character study more than anything else, and I think it succeeds.

The writing invokes the feeling of slowly spiraling into insanity and it perfectly mirrors Lizzie herself in this regard. As Lizzie becomes more and more frenzied so does the writing pattern. It ensures the reader feels just as disoriented and unsettled as Lizzie does in the best possible way. It's a stylized narrative style that really only works for this type of story and character and it's used to great effect here.

Those who are looking for a true crime inspired read will certainly find that within these pages. They'll also, however, perhaps surprisingly find a love story. The connection between Lizzie and Bridget is one of the lighter moments in the darkness that is this novel. It's a safe haven for Lizzie and the reader, as much as it is a catalyst for much of what happens. Those moments of happiness is what makes Lizzie a narrator we can invest in. It's the anchor to the story and a way in for the reader. I found it incredibly well done, and that Lizzie's inexperience was woven into this part of the story perfectly. This is, in essence, her for crush and those strong emotions that come from feeling everything for the first time are expertly captured.

Bridget is a breath of fresh air from the moment she enters Lizzie's life. She's kind, supportive, patient, and caring. She's pretty much the perfect girlfriend. She, through Lizzie's eyes, seems almost too good to true. This, to me, felt like a very deliberate choice. Bridget has no faults because Lizzie doesn't see them. She is in that initial stage of being attracted to someone where everything about them is perfect.

The real Borden murders were never officially solved and as a result of this I was especially eager to see how this fact would be worked into this novel. Lizzie was ultimately found not guilty of the murders, so in many ways this story is missing a nice 'tidy' ending. Dawn Ius manages to provided not only a satisfying ending, but one that makes you want to immediately re-read the book to experience it with a new perspective.

True crime obsessives will be drawn to this novel due to its inspiration, but I predict even those who are not familiar with the Lizzie Borden case will find plenty to love within these pages. It's a haunting, unsettling story that, for me, was a perfect blend of atmosphere, characters, and plot wrapped in some strong writing.

Sunday, April 8, 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)

I've had a few fun books make their way into my mailbox this week!

First up is one I borrowed from my friend Ciara.


Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (goodreads

Next up is is an exciting package from Simon and Schuster Canada. I huge thank you to them for these amazing sounding reads. I am especially excited about the new Siobhan Vivian!


Love and Luck by Jenny Evans Welch (goodreads)
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian (goodreads)
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (goodreads)

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

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 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.

A few things to share this week! Not much was released in terms of book news, but there are some equally exciting things to share.

TV/MOVIES

First Look At Sabrina and Harvey from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Creator Roberto Aguirre Sacasa released (via his Twitter) the first image of the new Sabrina and Harvey from the Netflix show based off the comics titled The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. They are adorable and pretty perfect. I think I love Sabrina's entire outfit.


 Is it just me or does Ross Lynch have a very Dane Dehaan vibe in this photo? I might just be the lighting/angle of the photo but that's all I keep thinking. I wasn't sure about the darker hair, but it works. I am super excited for this show!

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights & Stranger Things

Every year Universal Studios unveils the pop culture properties that are to inspire their Halloween Horror Nights mazes and Stranger Things is the first one to be revealed.


Not going to lie, it immediately got me looking up flight prices in the month of October to Orlando. I am hoping I can make a trip happen (it'll depend on finding someone to go with) as I would love to experience this!

OTHER

My Birthday Cake

My birthday passed recently and I had the most amazing birthday cake! I loved it so much!


It's very on brand for me, and looked even better in person. It's incredible and tasted as good as it looked.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn



Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Release Date - April 10,  2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 224 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**borrowed from a friend**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The New York Times Bestselling duo behind Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily return with twins out to throw the party of a lifetime--or at least the best party of high school!

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends--and now they've prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn't know who's coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well...in rather surprising ways.
David Levithan and Rachel Cohn are known for cute, almost rom-com like reads. I enjoyed the previous books they released, and was excited to see that they had a new one coming out. Sam and Ilsa's Last Hurrah feels a little more serious than their previous works, while still filled with the charm they are known for.

This novel offers up a whimsical dinner party that is filled with an eclectic, larger than life, cast of characters. The characters are a vibrant contrast to the deeper, more serious elements that the novel eventually introduces. There is a lot of heft to this novel that I wasn't expecting and I wish some of these topics had been fleshed out a little more as there was a lot of interesting elements at play within the plot the authors constructed.

Sam is the perfect twin, or that is how everyone sees him He's hiding a lot from those he loves (or at least thinks he is). He's someone who falls in love with pretty boys, and uses cooking as a way to distract himself from some of the things he is dealing with. He struggles with the future, and what he wants from it in a way that is pretty relatable. Who isn't nervous or scared about leaving home for the first time? It is a turbulent time, and filled with unknowns and that is reflected in Sam perfectly.

Ilsa is the twin that is always in trouble. She feels that everyone likes Sam more than her (and admits that she would like him more too if she were someone else). She also thinks she is hiding things from those she loves, and is struggling with letting go. There are many similarities with what Ilsa and Sam are going through, even if they wouldn't admit it to themselves. Ilsa also undergoes a discovery about herself at this party. Ilsa discovering her bisexuality was one of my favourite elements of the novel. It's done in a way that felt realistic. She isn't sure what it means, but she knows she is attracted to Li and wants to see where it goes. It's sweet and filled with promise without being instalove.

The romance between Sam and Johan is sort of a bittersweet one. It's filled with promise and potential but also with a heavy dose of reality. Both of the romances within this novel are pretty realistic in that neither is promising forever. All of these characters are starting off on different journeys. College, and other things, are taking them in various directions. I appreciated that this book didn't try to make these some grand romances. The hint of a possibility and the hope for something more is enough in a case like this, along with the reality that the future could hold endless other possibilities for them.

This novel is really about Sam and Ilsa at its core. It's about the complex dynamics that exist between siblings. It's about the pain and excitement of growing up and growing apart. It's about the fear of starting out on your own and making something that is just yours when you're so used to be part of a set. This dinner part is a goodbye in more ways than one and those emotional beats are perhaps the strongest elements of this novel.

My only real complaint is that the fast, almost frenzied pace, of this novel doesn't really allow for the more serious parts of the novel to breathe. The impact isn't felt as deeply as it could have and that just feels like a missed opportunity. There is a lot to unpack here and I am not sure it got the time to do it.

Fans of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's other works will find much to love within these pages. Readers who are new to their work will discover a whimsical dinner party that is actually about so much more than you expect when first opening the novel. It's a perfect read for those wanting something quick and enjoyable. 

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