Sunday, September 30, 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.

Once again posting this on a Sunday because I don't have any new books to share this week. It's also a very small Weekly Obsessions post. Next week should be heavier as there are a lot of movie trailers I am excited for being released and hopefully we'll start getting spring/summer cover reveals soon.

BOOK

Cover of Soul In Darkness by Wendy Higgins (goodreads)

This caught my attention when Wendy promised a 'scorcher' of a novel. I am hoping it is as sexy as I think it is going to be. The cover certainly gives that impression. I love the gold undertones for this Cupid/Psyche retelling.



I am looking forward to seeing what Wendy does with this myth when this book releases next year.

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - A Simple Favor



A Simple Favor

Rating: 14A (Canada) / R (USA)

Director: Paul Feig

Language: English

Length:  117 minutes

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: September 14, 2018

Synopsis: A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

********

I've seen A Simple Favor be described as Heathers meets Gone Girl. That description is pretty apt. It's got the dark comedy that Heathers is known for in spades and while it may not pull off its twists as well as Gone Girl did it definitely has a similar vibe. It's a dark comedy that revolves around a juicy mystery and it is a movie that excels at being both.

Blake Lively's Emily easily joins Amy Elliot Dunne on my favourite female characters list. She is mesmerizing, captivating, and it is almost impossible to leave this movie not a little bit in love with her. She steals your attention every single time she enters the frame. Blake Lively manages to put some nuance into a character that could have easily been one note, and adds some restraint to a character that could have been a caricature. I feel it is a career best for Lively who will surely be entering into an awards caliber career within the next few years. I felt this was easily a step in that direction and that in a less crowded year she could have been in supporting actress talks.

Anna Kendrick also delivers one of her best performances. The socially awkward mommy blogger who finds herself in the whirlwind life of Emily is one that needed a little more sparkle and Anna Kendrick delivers. She makes a character that could easily be overshadowed by the louder presence of Lively's character feel more memorable. She manages to capture a perfect balance between the character's sweetness and her more annoying qualities. There is a darkness to Stephanie that may not be as overt as Emily's and Kendrick shows us that as well. It's the type of performance that is subtle when it needs to be and more dialed up when called for and she nails both.

Henry Golding, the internet's newest boyfriend, once again proves he should be playing the role of sexy love interest in a lot more movies. He plays Sean with just enough of an edge to make you unsure if you should trust him while still being impossibly charming. I am eager to see his career continue to grow and what else he is capable of.

The costuming is another stand out. Each of the women have a to die for wardrobe that will ignite clothes envy. The design of everything from the costuming, sets, and colour schemes work to create the vibe that this movie is going for. It worked for me because, like almost everything else in the movie, it walks that balance of being too much and just enough.

The relationship that exists between Emily and Stephanie is the focal point of the entire movie. Their friendship, and how it drives Stephanie in particular, is what moves the plot forward. The chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively is a large part of why this movie works. Both women are at their best here and the way they bounce off each other is perfect for the characters they are playing.

The ending of any thriller is typically what makes or breaks it for me. This ending worked for me because it fit the tone of the rest of the movie. It had just enough darkness and just enough comedy to work for me. It's one that is also impossible to predict because of how elaborate it becomes. This movie doesn't just deliver a twist. It throws everything it can at you. At times, at least for me, it borders on the ridiculous but the tone of the movie make it work in a satisfying way. They set up the ending to work because of the way the rest of the story is told.

Those looking for a fun, soapy time at the movies will leave this one entirely happy with how they spent their time. It's an enjoyable thriller that packs in plenty of dark laughs along the way and is a showcase for two brilliant actresses who both get to impress with what they can do. I highly recommend grabbing your friends and going to see this movie (and maybe some martinis after). 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Slayer


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 Slayer by Kiersten White


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a brand-new series set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that introduces a new Slayer as she grapples with the responsibility of managing her incredible powers that she’s just beginning to understand.

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
Buffy fans rejoice! There is a new Slayer for us to follow on her journey and I think it sounds AMAZING.

I honestly think the best way to approach any kind of new take on Buffy is to simply have it set in the same world but follow a different Slayer so this entire premise works for me. I cannot wait to meet Nina and her Watcher. I cannot wait to meet her friends and her love interest (if there is one).

The entire 'last Slayer ever' part has me very intrigued. I cannot wait to return to this world and see what Kiersten White has in store for us. It comes out just in time to use those holiday gift cards as it'll release in early January.

Expected release date - January 8, 2019

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - The Morning After



Episode two of this season, titled The Morning After, included more sassy Michael, the return of Rubber Man, and one heck of a reveal. In other words, it was a crazy episode from start to finish.

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

Emily gets a scare when she hears noises while getting ready for bed. She, unwisely, decides to investigate and discovers multiple snakes in her room. Pretty sure some of them are poisonous. Her screams draw both Timothy (her Knight in Shining Armour) and Miriam (along with another of Ms Venable's staff). Miriam quips that they at least have a form of protein to eat now. Emily questions, quite reasonably, whether the snakes might be contaminated. Miriam states she doesn't see any mutations and that the snakes will be scanned first. She seems delighted to be eating the snakes (no, thank you). 

Dinner that night is, unsurprisingly, a snake stew. When there are complaints about eating snake Andre is quick to remind everyone that they ate his boyfriend. The topic of conversation at dinner is, naturally, the new arrival to the outpost. Ms Venable promises their questions will be answered after dinner and demands that everyone eat. They pull the covers off their dishes only to discover LIVE snakes slithering out of the bowls. Snakes that were totally dead and cut into pieces just a few seconds before. Again, I say no thank you to all of this.

After the excitement of dinner everyone meets up in the library so that Michael can make his very splashy entrance. Sorry, but Cody Fern is owning this season and this role. His strut, his cool gaze, and that smirk. It is all working for me. My favourite part of his entrance? Getting into Ms Venable's personal space to make her uncomfortable enough to cede the floor to him. 

He introduces himself as Langdon and tells them that the other outposts in Syracuse, NY, Beckley, WV and San Angelo, TX have been overrun. He also advises that there has not been word from the three other international outposts. He takes great pleasure in telling everyone that the people inside were massacred when asked. He tells them about the sanctuary but refuses to answer most of their questions because in Michael's words "it's classified". Classified information includes who is currently living at the sanctuary. Michael tells them that all they need to worry about is the fact that he is going to decide who gets to join them. He is going to do this using the technique developed by The Cooperative. It's called Cooperating and mainly seems to consist of an interview. Coco declares that she paid her way into this and that is all the cooperating she plans to do. Michael tells her she can decline to be questioned but that means she'll for sure die. Mr Gallant immediately volunteers to be first and Michael obliges. Michael leaves them with what he considers a bit of hope - capsules that he will give to those not chosen that put the taker into a sleep from which they won't wake from in case the 'feral cannibals' come knocking. Again, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! He smirks as he tells them he looks forward to meeting them all. 

The group immediately beings arguing about who is going to be chosen. Coco thinks she will be (and I expect nothing less from her) but so does Evie. Coco is incredulous at this. She snarks that they want people who can repopulate the earth not bingo halls. Evie claims to only be fifty two years old which gets an eye roll from most of the group. 

We cut to Mr Gallant's 'interview' with Michael. Mr Gallant wants to know what Michael is looking for. Michael immediately starts to play mind games by saying that the things Mr Gallant expects him to want may not be what he is looking for. He also promises that if Mr Gallant isn't truthful or tries to trick him that Michael will know. The questioning starts with Michael wanting to know Mr Gallant's sexual orientation. He replies that he is gay but quickly reassures Michael that he could get a woman pregnant if needed because he had sex with one in college. Mr Gallant, obviously, is taking Coco's words to heart and trying to prove he can be useful repopulating the earth. Michael isn't interested in that though. He tells Mr Gallant that he is not needed to impregnate anyone. He then wants to know about Mr Gallant's anger, specifically when it comes to his grandmother. Michael seems to be able to see into Mr Gallant. Telling him how his grandmother shamed him in the past. He demands that Mr Gallant tell him who he really is. Mr Gallant inquires if he wants a confession. Michael muses that he is certainly no priest and doesn't even know if he believes in a god. He thinks religion is just a bunch of rules designed to keep order but there is no need for rules any longer because chaos has won. 

Mr Gallant then shares how his grandmother used to try to set him up with a bunch of boring gay guys via these stuffy dinner parties and to piss her off he would come in to these dinners and be as outlandish as possible. Dressed in leather, blasting music, and drinking his bisque out of a mask that looks a lot like a gas mask. It is highly entertaining. Mr Gallant then asks Michael if he is also gay. Michael inquires if the idea of him being gay excites Mr Gallant who replies with a very quick 'yes'. Mr Gallant inquires what Michael is going to do about that and the answer is to end the interview. 

Mr Gallant, sexually frustrated, goes back to his room to masturbate while thinking about Michael. We get flashes of Michael during the interview and performing some kind of ritual that looks a lot like the one Cordelia used to try to get pregnant in Coven. 


Is Michael a witch? Could he even be the Supreme? This would change everything we know from Coven because male witches were not really addressed in Coven. I am guessing it is because the school was a girls school but it just seemed to be more rare. Is this just his powers as the Antichrist? So many questions from just this brief tease. 

 There is a knock at the door and when Mr Gallant calls for the person to enter the Rubber Man walks in. Mr Gallant thinks it is Michael under the suit and jokingly inquires if this is round two of their interview. I am willing to bet it is not Michael though. The two immediately begin having sex which is overheard/witnessed by Evie. Oh, no! She is scandalized to see her grandson like this but immediately realizes she can use it to her advantage. Bitch is going to sell her own grandson out. She immediately goes and tells Miriam.

Timothy and Emily are tired of surviving on their one kiss a week. Emily wants to get out and suggests sneaking into Michael's room to find out where the sanctuary is. This is a bad idea. Nothing good can come from this. They sneak into Michael's room when they see him leaving. Apparently the Antichrist gets email even in a nuclear apocalypse because they find a computer with recent emails on it. Michael has been emailing the Cooperative about Ms Venable. Seems he is not happy about her breaking the rules. We get a quick glimpse of the email and it looks like he has marked Ms Venable and Gallant for something. I bet nothing good. Timothy and Emily should be careful though because the Rubber Man has seen everything they just did and I bet he's loyal to Michael. 

Next is Ms Venable's turn to be interviewed. Michael immediately tells her that he is on to her. He knows she created her own rules and that he understands how easy it would be to be seduced by the power of making this place into her image. She argues that she received all her orders from the Cooperative. Michael tells her that he drafted all of the communication about how the outposts were to be ran effectively backing her into a corner. Ms Venable tries to hurt his ego by claiming that a man like himself could not handle the fact that a woman had more information than him. She gives an impressive speech about the men who swing their dicks around and have to be 'masters of the universe' which resulted in the mess they are in because their dick swinging resulted in the earth being nuked. 

Micheal is unimpressed and tells her that she needs to be aware what is really going on outside the outpost. He tells a story of a woman and her two children who were far enough away from the blast but still not protected by the radiation. Her one child was dead and she begged Michael to kill the other one because she couldn't do it herself. Ms Venable asked if he helped the woman and Michael easily replies 'no'. 

Michael then asks who Ms Venable thinks is worthy of saving. He inquires what she thinks of Coco to which Ms Venable replies that Coco is a 'vacuous abomination of inbreeding' and the last person she would save. She calls Mr Gallant a 'cowardly homosexual' and his grandmother 'a festering pustule who just will not die'.  She admits that she doesn't know much about Dinah. It's the most fun Ms Venable has been so far and I love it.

Michael tells her that they do not need to be adversaries. Even suggesting that it might just be him and her enjoying the sanctuary. Ms Venable is intrigued by this. Michael demands she take off her dress as part of her 'cooperation' includes a physical. He wants to see her shame. He wants to see the thing that humiliates her the most. He unzips her dress and pulls it open just enough to see her back and her crooked spine. He runs his hand over it (which is very sexy) while asking if it hurts. She says it does not. He tells her that it does bring her great pain to which she agrees. I am curious if she got this spinal deformity because of the radiation or if she was born with it. It explains the cane she walks with. 

This is also where we learn that Cody Fern has chemistry with everyone. He certainly had it with Evan Peters during their scenes together and he has it with Sarah Paulson here. The almost kiss that Michael teases Ms Venable with is super sexy. She is pretty much breathless and dying for him to kiss her. The Antichrist can seduce anyone basically. This feels like it is part of Michael's plan though. It's all part of the mind games he is playing on everyone. I half expect these 'interviews' are for his own amusement. 

Ms Venable asks if she passed her test to which Michael breathily tells her:


They are interrupted by Miriam who asks to speak to Ms Venable and gives Michael a death glare. Someone is jealous! Michael just smirks back at her and once again I suspect that even this is part of his games. He takes a deep inhale after they leave almost as if he is enjoying the taste of the emotions in the air. I wonder if that is exactly what he is doing. Is this an Antichrist thing? 

Miriam fills Ms Venable in on Mr Gallant's indiscretions. Ms Venable is sure that the man in the rubber suit is Michael and that he and Mr Gallant know each other. She thinks they are plotting against her. They chain Mr Gallant up and whip him to get answers out of him but Mr Gallant stays strong. He refuses to rat out Michael and instead just yells out names of gay radicals with each lashing. Ms Venable stops the abuse when she realizes Mr Gallant is getting off on it. Of course Mr Gallant would be into S and M. They leave Mr Gallant chained up and walk out in disgust.

Michael comes into to visit Mr Gallant. Michael muses that greater man had succumbed to less. Mr Gallant tells him that he would have never have ratted him out for coming to his room. Michael tells him that he didn't go to his room and certainly didn't have sex with him. In fact, Michael goes on step further and tells Mr Gallant that:


He tells Mr Gallant that it is not because he's unattractive but because he is needy and desperate. This, obviously, hurts Mr Gallant. Michael isn't done though. He calls him pathetic and lets him know that Evie has reported him so even his grandmother is disgusted with him. Mr Gallant calls bullshit but Michael tells him to go ask her for himself. He exits the room and Mr Gallant's chains fall away (another display of Michael's powers).

Mr Gallant immediately goes to speak with his grandmother who doesn't even bother to lie. She admits she sold him out to further her chances of surviving. Mr Gallant screams in her face that she has lived but he hasn't. Evie spits back that he has packed a whole lot of screw ups into his short life. She financially backed three stints of rehab, fancy lawyers to help him evade prison time, and three bankrupt business attempts. She is ruthless in her undressing of him. Evie is such a heinous person. She is a racist and gross. Mr Gallant inquires why she couldn't just love him and she continues to be awful by telling him that it is just not in her nature. This conflict and strife is exactly that Michael must want though (and kind of the whole point of being the Antichrist, right?). 

Mr Gallant goes and silently weeps to some really sad music. Evan Peters is a really good single tear crier. Stevie Nicks comes on the radio and I immediately begin looking for the witches BUT sadly they are nowhere to be seen (for now). Instead, Mr Gallant heads back to his room where the Rubber Man is waiting. They begin to hook up again and Mr Gallant pushes him on the bed. Thinking that Rubber Man is Michael he snarks "wouldn't fuck me if I was the last man on earth" and grabs a pair of scissors and begins to stab him. Mr Gallant seems sort of in shock as the door opens to reveal Michael walking into his room. Mr Gallant looks down to see who he stabbed (since it wasn't Michael) and sees that instead of the Rubber Man dead in his bed it is his grandmother! I bet Michael is making people see things too!

Checking back in with Timothy and Emily who have discovered that the no sex rule is not mandated by the Cooperative immediately get busy having sex. Teenagers are going to be teenagers even in the apocalypse. They are caught and taken away to face their punishment. They reveal that they know Ms Venable is making her own rules and that the Cooperative doesn't care if they have sex. Ms Venable sneers that the world is falling apart and all they care about is having sex. She demands they be taken away to be shot. Once in the shower chambers where punishments are carried out Timothy decides to fight back. He manages to get a gun from one of the guards and shoots Miriam before being taken down. Miriam staggers out into the hall and inspects her wound. We discover that instead of blood there is a white substance gushing out of tubes. There are also wires instead of bones. Miriam is a freaking robot (or at least part robot)!


Thus ends our episode. I need to know more about how robots fit into this and what the heck is even happening. 

A few random thoughts while watching the episode:

- Coco and Madison meeting is going to be interesting. I bet they hate each other because they are a lot alike and probably not used to sharing the spotlight. 

- Did Micheal conjure the Rubber Man with the spell that he was doing? Is the Rubber Man not a person but an entity now?

- Did Michael also resurrect those snakes? Making it yet another Supreme power that he apparently possesses? 

See you next week where we'll hopefully get to see some witches!

Sunday, September 23, 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 some of you may have heard Ottawa was hit by a tornado that knocked out power for a lot of the city. I myself was without power for 24 hours and there are still those waiting for their power to come back on. My heart goes out to those whose injured or had their property damaged during the storm. It was a scary few minutes and I wasn't even directly in its path.

BOOK

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

I have been excited about this book since I read the deal announcement (and you can expect to see it pop up again a little later on this year) so I was excited to see the cover reveal. The cover is pure perfection. It fits the synopsis perfectly and is eye catching in a fun way.


How cute do the two main characters look? So excited to meet Alex and Henry!

TV/MOVIE

Captain Marvel Trailer

Captain Marvel is here! I love this trailer so much. This is Marvel's first female led movie and I am hoping it does really well. The trailer certainly set up a lot of excitement!


I love the "I'm not what you think I am" line. It got my pumped to see Carol defy expectations and just burn it all down. She is a badass and I cannot wait to see that on the big screen.

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

Friday, September 21, 2018

In Bed With The Beast by Tara Sivec



In Bed With The Beast by Tara Sivec
Release Date - June 5, 2018
Publisher Website - Swerve
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**purchased**


**Spoilers for At The Stroke Of Midnight**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he's a grump with a secret and an extra room...can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places - the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?
The Naughty Princess Club series started with a Cinderella themed romance that puts a little spice on the classic tales we know. The series continues with a Beauty and the Beast inspired tale that paid tribute to the source material while putting its own delightful spin on it.

A story that pairs iconic princesses with a strip club immediately caught my interest. The three ladies behind the Naughty Princess Club won me over in the first book in the series and only continued to do so with the second. The friendship that exists between these women is my favourite part of this story. They are supportive of one another and they give each other the strength to face the hard things that come up. I wish the friendship had even more of a focus because I think the scenes with just the women are some of the best in the novel.

Belle, like many 'beauties' before her is a bookworm whose quiet exterior hides a fierce and capable young woman. This Belle, like those before her, doesn't allow herself to be treated like a doormat. She stands up for herself, others, and what she deems right. She is not afraid to stand up to Vincent and it makes the spark between them feel a little more real.

Vincent is a man of little words. Less is more when it comes to conversation and dealing with people. Underneath that tough, scary exterior is a decent guy who has some secrets that he is hiding. He will probably remind those familiar with romance tropes of the classic alpha love interest. He is protective, broody, and often infuriating. His character really worked for me because of the story being told. He works because he is a stand in for the 'beast' in our story. He is meant to be portrayed this way. He, however, is not typically the romance hero I go for. I found myself warming up to him by the end though.

Fans of the classic tale this is inspired from will delight in the inclusions found within these pages. There are some great puns and word plays that made me chuckle as I realized their significance. I found this book, even more than the first in this series, weaves these inclusions seamlessly. The references only add to the charm of this story and they are the right ones to be using. They build a feeling of connection with the story without overpowering the elements that make this one something all its own. Characters that are iconic to the classic tale show up in unexpected way, and items that are linked to this love story show up in really fun ways.

The romance itself is, unsurprisingly, one that is built as Belle and Vincent get to know each other. The way Belle ends up living with Vincent is rather fun and makes for a slightly less sad version of the story. Belle's father 'giving' her to the beast never sat right with me and so I appreciate any twist on that element of the story. The romance morphs from sexual attraction to something deeper as their mutual appreciation of each other grows. As a result the romance didn't feel rushed to me.

If you're looking for an easy binge ready read I highly recommend this series. They are light, fluffy fun that will certainly work as a great follow up to a heavier read. Tara Sivec puts a new twist on stories that have been told again and again in a way that worked for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Red, White, and Royal Blue


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 Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you? 
I read the synopsis for this and knew immediately that I needed to read it. It mixes my love of books about royalty with a romance that sounds amazing.

Just read that synopsis and not fall in love with the idea of the book instantly. I am so excited to meet Alex and Henry!

The wait for this one is going to be long but entirely worth it I expect. You can expect the one to hit bookstores at the beginning of next summer (just in time for pool reading season).
Expected release date - June 4, 2019

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - The End



** Spoiler Warning** This season is a crossover of seasons one and three (Murder House and Coven) so expect spoilers for both those seasons as well as the episode being discussed.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse starts with both an ending and a beginning. The end of the world as we know it and the beginning of a new kind of existence for those who survive. This season promised the end of the world and that is exactly what the opening minutes deliver. The end is not brought upon by some supernatural means as one might expect with a show like this. No, it instead is caused by something much more mundane: nuclear missiles and people willing to use them. It seems like a nuclear war is the most likely culprit even thought it is never explicitly said.

The main setting for this season is Outpost Three. A bunker like facility that our survivors find themselves at. It's ran by The Cooperative, a shady group that we know next to nothing about. The setting feels a little claustrophobic, even as the sets feel huge, and tense in the best possible way. 

Our survivors include Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), a Real Housewives-ish character who, when we meet her, wants nothing more than to be an 'Instagram influencer'. There is also a talented hair stylist (whom I already love) named Mr Gallant (Evan Peters). There is Coco's long suffering assistant Mallory (Billie Lourde) who could not possibly hate her job more.

We are introduced to this group at Mr Gallant's hair salon. He is, naturally, styling Coco's hair. Coco's assistant is trying to get her to take pictures drinking some gross cold juice press and Coco is totally not having it. Mr Gallant does not think much of Mallory's skills either and hints that she totally should be fired. He's amazing and perfect and Evan Peters is having a BLAST playing this role.


Things quickly take a dark turn as sirens start to go off and emergency notifications start coming in detailing the imminent arrival of missiles. Coco's father calls to say a quick goodbye and tell her that she can still make it out. He purchased four spots on a plane leaving Santa Monica and she is the only one of her family that still has time to make it.

The panic is palpable as Coco and Mallory rush outside and into a waiting car to whisk them to the airport. People are freaking out, news reporters are detailing the chaos that is happening all over the world. Hong Kong, London, and various other cities have been destroyed by nuclear missiles. The effect is pretty chilling. 

Coco has a husband/boyfriend (not sure of his exact status) named Brock (Billy Eichner) whom she calls and implores to meet her at the airport so he can take one of the four spots available. She loves him and doesn't want to go without him. We don't need to worry much about him because he won't be around long, sadly. Coco also convinces Mallory to take one of the four spots instead of going home. 

Mr Gallant decides to rush home to his get his Grandmother Evie (Joan Collins). He quickly tells her that the warnings are real and that missiles are coming. She quips that 'so is global warming' and that it is probably 'fake news'. People will obviously love how ridiculous she is. Mr Gallant rushes them both to the airport in an attempt to take two of the four spots on the plane. Coco is not impressed because Brock is so totally going to be there (except not at all) so there isn't enough room. Mr Gallant points out the obvious: Brock will never be able make it and seals his spot on the plane by reminding her of his usefulness with her hair. 

People, obviously, come to hijack the plane for themselves. Coco basically breaks up with Brock over the phone (ouch) as she is rushed into the plane by her body guard (who is killed for his trouble). Brock is understandably pissed to be left behind but the plane takes off without him anyway. Goodbye, Billy Eichner. 

Elsewhere we meet the Campbell family who provide another one of our survivors. Timothy Campbell (newcomer Kyle Allen) is a teen who is eagerly awaiting news of his college acceptance. He is celebrating his acceptance to UCLA with his family when the alerts start to come in. Their panic is interrupted by government officials storming into their home. They want to take Timothy because his genetics make him an idea candidate for some secret program. Nobody else in the family is allowed to come.Timothy's father wants him to go because it is the only way for him to survive but his mother is not having it. She wants to spend her final moments together as a family. Timothy is eventually taken and brought to a holding facility where he meets Emily (Ashley Santos), a girl about his age, who has also been selected to survive because of her genetics. This totally has to be a 'repopulate the earth' deal, right? As they begin to compare notes we find out that Emily was in jail before she was brought to the facility. The blast happens which shakes the holding cell they are in (which seems to be underground) and Timothy begins to sob as he realizes his entire family is dead.

Two weeks later, Timothy and Emily are finally transported to Outpost Three. They are made to put in hazmat suits to walk from the truck to their new home. Their introduction to this new home is an unsettling one.They view two people getting shot along the path they take to the main door. It may be safe, but they could also shoot you apparently.

Outpost Three was once an exclusive school for boys but is now one of the few remaining outposts still standing. We are introduced to another of our survivors,  Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson). She is in charge but really answers to The Cooperative (shady group who controls the fallout shelters). Each person in the outpost is assigned one of two colours: purple or grey. Purples are the elite. Those chosen to survive. Greys are those who serve the elite and are thankful for such an opportunity. 

The rules of the outpost are plentiful and mostly ridiculous (though some are just common sense). Some of these rules include:

1. Refer to her as Ms Venable
2. Do not go outside (radiation, duh)
3. Dress for dinner
4. No unauthorized sexytimes (no exceptions)

Breaking these rules will result in consequences which can range from being tossed outside the walls with the rest of the puss filled, cancer ridden people there or getting shot in the head. My interest was piqued by the mention of these 'puss filled, cancer ridden' survivors. Could we possibly be dealing with zombies? Is this a zombie apocalypse?!

Our arrival at Outpost Three introduces us to some more survivors. There is Andre and Stu, a gay couple (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Chad James Buchanan) who we barely learn anything about, Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter) an Oprah Winfrey like former talk show host, and Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates) who is Ms Venable's right hand woman. 

The group that we are following is mostly made up of 'purples' with them either being rich enough to buy a spot, or chosen for survival because of their DNA. The only 'grey' of note is Mallory. 

Life at Outpost Three is, as you would expect, really boring. The food is beige cubes that are packed with the required vitamins, proteins, and other nutrition bodies need. There is no hydro, no TVs, or other modern technology. There are some books and a radio that plays the same song over and over. It is the definition of monotonous. This feeling is something that is captured very well. Timothy and Emily are the new people and therefore big news. Naturally our group of survivors begins to get a bit of cabin fever and does not react well to the conditions they are living in. Mr Gallant, in particular, is unimpressed. He would very much like to die. Coco is hangry all of the time. Food seems to be the biggest disappointment among the group. Ms Venable advises they have eighteen months of beige cubes and that things will get worse food wise if their situation doesn't change. Turns out that those who did survive the blast turned to killing each other for food, and the governments all but fell apart. It's chaos basically, so they can't expect anyone but The Cooperative to help them.

The first hint of something supernatural comes with our first shower scene. Timothy is cleaning up for dinner and exits the shower to find 666 on the bathroom mirror and a voice whispering 'beware'. That's real great, spirit. Beware of what exactly? Unfortunately for Timothy my guess is that it is referring to pretty much EVERYTHING. 


At dinner one night they discover that someone has gone outside and brought radiation contamination back into the shelter. Mr Gallant and Stu are singled out and taken to the washing stations. After being scrubbed clean only Stu is determined to still have radiation on him. Stu is immediately killed by being shot in the head for his trespass (remember those rules). Andre is upset at the loss of his lover and Mr Gallant is probably traumatized from having to witness it.

We quickly learn that Ms Venable and Miriam have decided go against the orders of The Cooperative and terrorize the people living in Outpost Three. They faked the entire radiation scare to get away with killing Stu. They make use of Stu's death by offering up a stew for dinner that is made from Stu's body. Yup, you read that right ...


Beyond gross and cruel. Coco demands Mallory come and stick her finger down her throat. Only Evie Gallant decides to keep eating. Ms Venable and Miriam deny it and say it is chicken (why is there is freaking TOOTH?!). Andre demands to see Stu's body. The others point out, perhaps to reassure themselves as well, that Stu was contaminated so it makes no sense that they would be fed tainted meat. Good point, except we know Stu wasn't actually radioactive.

The song on the radio switches to a hopeful tune about morning afters which prompts Mr Gallant to dramatically sing and swear the songs are messages from The Cooperative and they are about to saved. However, we learn eighteen more months pass with the same song playing and nothing else changing either. Mr Gallant is beyond done. He has stopped styling Coco's hair and even suggests eating someone. Timothy and Emily have begun carrying on a very tame, but I bet still forbidden, affair. They've limited themselves to one kiss each week (which keeps them from unraveling like the rest of the survivors). It's cute and chaste and I bet they get in trouble for it eventually.

Just as Mr Gallant is snapping and causing quite the scene (including threatening Dinah with a fork in the neck for spouting some Oprah like wisdom about being strong) there is an alert of a breach. A carriage driven by gas mask wearing horses is approaching. It's majestic and darkly beautiful. The driver (who is in a tricked out hazmat suit) demands to speak with Ms Venable and flashes the following identification.


He also tells those around to 'tend to the animals' which means shooting them (they are contaminated after all) and giving them to what seems to be an unseen entity in the woods. Eeeep!

The name on the id should be VERY familiar to fans of the show. Yup, he is THAT Michael Langdon. As in this adorable little Antichrist from the first season of American Horror Story (aka Murder House). The son of Vivien Harmon and Tate Langdon:


He's all grown up now and is pretty much the hottest Antichrist ever. Michael inquires who is in charge and replies a biting 'of course you are' when Ms Venable states that she is. Michael is sassy. He tells her that is impressive that this outpost has survived. Three others have been overran and the other three won't last the year. Turns out that Michael is from The Cooperative (see the id) and he brings news of a sanctuary filled with supplies. Miss Venable is enthused by this news and inquires if he is there to transport them. Michael, however, is there for an entirely different reason.


Survival won't be that easy. Michael gets to decide who goes to this post apocalyptic paradise. It could be all of them or it could just as easily be none of them. Those who make the cut get to live and those who don't end up like Michael's horses (this is informed with the slyest of smiles from Michael).

I love Michael already. We last saw him taking delight in the fact that he had just killed his babysitter so I am curious to find out what has happened to him in the years since. Antichrists apparently age rapidly outside the womb as well since it has been roughly seven years since he was born (if my math is correct).

Ryan Murphy provided the tweet of the night with this gem:
He certainly does have Vivien's flowing locks and Tate's blue eyes. This casting is pretty spot on because I totally buy him as the grown version of the tyke we met at the end of Murder House. Side note - any bets on how quickly Mr Gallant cuts that hair? I bet it happens pretty quickly.

This is, in my opinion, one of the strongest premieres since the first season. There is something about this premise that just seems to click. I am curious about how Michael ties into The Cooperative and what their ultimate goal is. I am curious about this 'sanctuary' location Michael claims exists. It's probably under the Harmon's house right? It's totally got to be under the murder house. I am also counting down the episodes until all our fan favourites make their appearance. I am wondering if the witches are going to have to turn back time and prevent the apocalypse from ever happening (hence the hourglass used so heavily in the marketing)?! So much to speculate upon.

See you next week where we'll discuss episode two. Until then -  be sure to follow Outpost Three's rules. 

Sunday, September 16, 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.

BOOK

Cover of Meet Cute by Helena Hunting (goodreads)

I saw this cover pop up on my Twitter feed and instantly loved it. It's cute, bright, and looks perfect for a rom-com style read.


I looked at the synopsis and it sounds like it has the potential to be just as cute as the cover advertises.

TV/MOVIE

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Teaser 

I've been so excited about this new version of Sabrina since it was first announced. It's a darker, more horror infused version that will be releasing on Netflix just before Halloween. This trailer has left me with nothing but excitement.


Harvey and Sabrina look adorable. That demon thing looks straight up terrifying and I am so excited to meet Sabrina's Aunts in this one! Who knew that the Happy Birthday song could sound terrifying?!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Poster Art

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina promo is in full swing because along with that spooky trailer this poster art was revealed. It matches the teaser that was released and sets the tone of the show perfectly.


I love the 'Happy Birthday, Witch' tagline! The menacing demon (that is what I am guessing this thing is) behind her! The candles that look ominous!  it is all working. I cannot wait for this to release on October 26th. I plan to binge it immediately.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren



Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Release Date - September 4, 2018
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  309 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?
I've sang the praises of many of the books by Christina Lauren. They consistently offer up romance novels that read like drinking champagne. They have bubbly, fizzy quality to them that feels effortless when you are reading them. Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating is no exception to this. They've once again offered up an incredibly enjoyable read that will leave you smiling.

Hazel is the type of girl who dances like nobody is watching. She is whimsical and quirky. She would almost be a manic pixie dream girl if Christina Lauren hadn't infused her with so much more than these surface observations. She is acutely aware, mostly because it is what she's been told before, that she is A LOT to handle but refreshingly refuses to change. She likes who she is and that makes her someone you immediately love. Hazel is the kind of friend that is the life of the party but also the shoulder to cry on when you need it. She is much more complex than you might think based on the surface and that is exactly what her character works.

Josh Im is your standard romance novel love interest. He's kind, caring, patient, and entirely charmed by Hazel. I found Hazel much more interesting than Josh but he balances her in a way that makes their romance feel inevitable. I appreciated the focus his family bond had within the story. It is a part of his upbringing and culture and it just seemed to fit his character. He radiates goodness and that is hard not to love.

The friendship first element of the romance is something that always works for me, but especially works well here. They slowly fall in love with each other as the story progresses even if there was an instant spark there. Josh's steadiness and Hazel's playfulness just combine into this really sweet connection. It's one of my favourite relationships that Christina Lauren has written.

This book is, in my opinion, one of the more humour filled books that Christina Lauren has written. The disastrous double dates are not only a great way to inject some humour into the story but they also, perhaps surprisingly, deepen the romance being told.

Many people expect a Christina Lauren book to have some pretty sexy scenes. Those are found within the pages of these novel, but it also feels pretty restrained. It is more in line with Roomies where the story has the heavier focus than the sex scenes that do pop up. I think there is a really good balance to this story as a result.

If you're looking for a charming friends to more romance I highly recommend this one. It's got all of the elements that a romance reader could want and more. I, as always, eagerly anticipate whatever Christina Lauren writes next and whatever new couple they are going to make us love next.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... King Of Fools


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 King Of Fools by Amanda Foody

**Spoilers For Ace Of Shades**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all...

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive...

Or die as legends.
Ace of Shades, the first book in The Shadow Game series, was so much fun that I was eagerly anticipating anything relating to the sequel.

The synopsis and cover of the second book as been released and I am even more excited to read it. I am looking forward to Levi and Enne's continuing relationship. I am also looking forward to diving further into the seductive city that is New Reynes.

The next book may not come out until April of 2019 but that just everyone time to devour the first book and join me in waiting for what is sure to be an amazing sequel.

Expected release date - April 30, 2019

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle



The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
Release Date - September 11, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For fans of Me Before You and ONE DAY comes a wondrous novel of first love, loss, and the dinner of a lifetime.

When Sabrina Nielsen arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also her favorite professor from college, her father, her ex-fiance, Tobias, and Audrey Hepburn.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Sabrina contends with in Rebecca Serle’s utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as Sliding Doors, and The Rosie Project.

As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together, and as Rebecca Serle masterfully traces Sabrina’s love affair with Tobias and her coming of age in New York City, The Dinner List grapples with the definition of romance, the expectations of love, and how we navigate our way through it to happiness. Oh, and of course, wisdom from Audrey Hepburn. 

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a modern romance for our times. Bon appetit.
Plenty of us have often wondered who we would invite to our dream dinner. You know the question, the one that ask what five people living or dead that you would want to have at a dinner party. The Dinner List takes this premise and adds a extra dash of something special to create a whimsical feeling read that packs a lot of emotional heft.

Rebecca Serle is known for her young adult novels. The Dinner List presents her first foray into the world of adult fiction. I believe that adult novels may end up being an even better fit for her as The Dinner List completely captivated me. You get a sense of ease and comfort within the genre that worked its way into all of the other elements of the story. I am hopeful we'll get more adult reads from her as I truly think she shines in this one.

There is an ethereal, magical quality to not just the writing but the book itself. Part of this is the inclusion of Audrey Hepburn at this birthday dinner that is being thrown. A certain amount of disbelief has to be suspended to fall into this story. Give yourself over to the story being told and you'll be richly rewarded. This inclusion of Audrey doesn't feel jarring in the slightest, but rather adds to the atmosphere and tone. All of the characters included in the dinner are there for a reason and so much of that ties into the feeling that is captured within the pages. There is an effervescence that is only matched by the sorrow that is also found  here. It ends up capturing the feeling of something real that also feels magical.

Sabrina is imperfect and I adore that about her character. She's messy and flawed in a way that feels realistic. This bleeds into the relationships she has with the other characters. They are messy in the way that real relationships are. They are not always easy and people hurt one another. The real beauty of both Sabrina as a character and this book is that it reminds you to bask in all of the moments. Those that are good and bad along with everything in between.

The remainder of the guests are not something I will spoil. Part of the charm of this book is discovering things along the way and that means allowing them to happen at the exact time they are meant to. Every single character is there for a reason and many of the characters are not just there to flesh out Sabrina's story arc. There are those that require their own closure, or have their own journeys to take during the course of this dinner and that made them feel more developed. Having characters that are not just there for the benefit of the main character is key and Rebecca Serle captures that here.

There is a major plot point that makes up what is the heart of this novel that is impossible to discuss without getting into spoiler territory. It also feels incomplete to discuss this novel without mentioning it. I've decided to include some spoilery thoughts under a tag so that those who have not read this wonderful novel yet won't be spoiled. This reveal is perfectly timed and stole my breath for a moment so please do not ruin it for yourself.


Those who love beautifully written, engrossing reads that leave you emotionally exhausted but full at the same time will want to pick this one up immediately. It's a perfect blend of whimsy, heart, and that undefinable thing that makes something unforgettable.

Sunday, September 9, 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.

Things have been kind of hectic in my real life (job stuff mostly) so it has meant my blog sliding a little. Things are slowly going back to normal so hopefully things will also go back to normal here. With that said, I feel so out of the loop and that may mean this post is smaller than usual as a result.

You also may have noticed it is Sunday. This normally goes up on Saturday but I had my Sadie blog tour post.

TV/MOVIES

American Horror Story: Apocalypse Trailer

The show is just under a week away and the trailer was just revealed this past week. This season is eagerly anticipated as it combines two of the most popular seasons of the show (one and three). A bunch of everyone's favourite characters are back and this trailer offers our first glimpse at some new ones as well.



The big news was Cody Fern's casting in a very important (but spoiler filled) role in this season. We get our first glimpse of him in this trailer and he is PERFECT. I am already fully in on his casting and cannot wait to see what they do with this character.

I was happy to see so many of the witches again and those who follow Ryan Murphy's Instagram feed will be aware that many of the characters from season one will be making an appearance again this season. It's going to be amazing. I am debating recapping/reviewing it on the blog so check back next week for possible updates.

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

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers



I am thrilled to be helping to wrap up the Canadian blog tour of Courtney Summers' Sadie. Raincoast Books put together an amazing tour to celebrate this incredible read and  I urge you to visit the other stops on this tour. 

I was given the opportunity to ask Courtney Summers one question and could not resist the chance to get some podcast recommendations from her. 

Me: This book has a podcast as a central part of its narrative. What are some of your favourite podcasts to listen to?

Courtney: I love Criminal, Sarah Enni’s First Draft Podcast, One True Pairing, S-Town and You Must Remember This, to name a few!

I am intrigued by quite a few of these and am excited to check some of them out! A huge thank you to Courtney for taking the time to answer all of the questions  that were part of this blog tour.


Sadie by Courtney Summers
Release Date - September 4, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  311 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
True crime as a genre of media is experiencing a surge in popularity in our current culture. There are podcasts, movies, television shows, and books that are all consumed by people who are interested in true crime for various reasons. Courtney Summers newest book looks to both ignite discussion about the way in which we consume this genre and offers up a gripping story in the process.

The story starts with something all too familiar - a dead girl. A dead, pretty, and blonde dead girl. The book immediately makes us think about why certain victims capture public interest compared to others, and the almost obsession there is with young, pretty girls who meet a horrible, tragic ending at all too young an age. It also makes us question why they fade from memory just as quickly as they entered once a face is put to the perpetrator. The sad reality is that a majority of people could easily list a dozen serial killers without too much difficulty but would be unable to name twelve victims. Once it is solved the victim almost becomes secondary.

This book makes you examine the ways in which we consume these stories. There is a line about how the grisly details of what happened to Mattie will not be shared because they are not there for our entertainment. It is a jarring, almost a slap in the face, line that deeply resonated with me when I read it. The fact is that plenty of true crime media is offered as entertainment and is consumed as such. The stark reality of this not jut being a story is sometimes lost in the desire to dissect and find out the why.

The book also shines a spotlight on the way in which the focus shifts away from the grieving family left behind. The trauma and hurt that they will have to process and deal with long after the story is splashed across headlines and slowly fades from the news. The 'after' is not something that those on the outside linger on. The lives irrevocably changed by these horrific acts are put in the periphery. This book made me think of why this happens. We keep it at arms length because we can. We can remove ourselves from it and make the families of the higher profile cases relive it as new media is released for 'anniversaries'. It begs us to remember that behind the piece of media we are consuming is an all too crushing reality for someone and a person whose life was ended all too soon.

There are two distinctive narration styles within the book. Each of them compliments and builds off the other. They are dependent on each other in order to tell the whole story. The podcast half of the story is seamlessly woven into the overall arc and is used to flesh out things the reader already knows in a lot of ways. The other half that is Sadie's narration is biting and just as heart crushing as you might expect. Courtney Summers knows how to write fierce, complex, and damaged girls and Sadie is a masterpiece. She's memorable in so many ways, as is her story.

West, the radio personality who attempts to track down Sadie as part of a story, is sort of a stand in for the reader while still being a fully developed character. We see his perspective shift as he gets deeper and deeper into tracking Sadie's footsteps. It becomes more than a story for him by the end of the book and that is what I think Courtney Summers is trying to relay. These are more than just stories and they should impact us as such.

Stories that offer only a glimpse into the lives of the characters we're following can sometimes be frustrating. Those who need everything wrapped in a tidy bow may be frustrated by any of Courtney Summers' books and Sadie is no exception. We get to experience the journey these characters are on but that doesn't mean we own it. We don't necessarily get everything. This works with what I believe the overall message of the book is and just adds to the overall impact of the novel. It's an ending that resonates emotionally and is satisfying even as it is frustrating. This isn't a story meant for happily ever afters and the ending perfect reflects that.

Sadie is the kind of story that gut punches you and demands to be thought about long after you've finished reading it. It has the power to shift the way we think of  how we interact with the media we consume. It's a harrowing story of love and what loss can drive someone to. It's also a incredibly well written book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It'll easily be one of my top reads of the year and I urge you all to run out and buy a copy. I cannot wait for the discussions it sparks.

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