Monday, December 31, 2018

Best Of 2018 - Movies


As we say goodbye to 2018 I thought I would share my top ten list of the best movies I saw in 2018. I kept this to movies that came out this year to help narrow it down.

These are in no particular order (as that would be impossible). There are also some movies that have come out in 2018 that I haven't had a chance to see yet (like If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice, On The Basis of Sex to name a few).

Here is my Best Movies of 2018 list:

1. A Star Is Born

My gushy review (or the fact that I saw this four times in theatres) probably already indicated this movie would be on this list. I love this movie and I will totally be rooting for it to do well this awards season. It was a critical and commercial success and is filled with stunning, career best performance from Bradley Cooper, a fantastic supporting turn for Sam Elliott, and introduces Lady Gaga as an actress to watch.

2.The Favourite

Three powerhouse performances from Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone are the heart of this movie. It's a darkly humourous, feminist look at the ways in which these ladies use and are used. It flips the genre of period drama on its head and offers up a refreshing take. Watch out for Coleman to clean up during awards season!

3. BlacKkKlansman

An important movie whose gut punch ending is the stuff that stays with you. This movie has lots of humour, but it is the more serious elements that make you realize the message of this movie. Things, sadly, have not changed all that much in the years since this movie was set. All this combined with solid performances from the whole cast make this an easy one to put on this list.

4. A Simple Favor

Possibly the most fun I had at the movies this year in terms of sheer enjoyment. Blake Lively gives a career best performance as the 'bad girl' to Anna Kendrick's equally well done 'good girl'. This movie has more twists than I could count, ensures that Henry Golding will continue to see his star rise, and is more funny than you're expecting.

5.Love, Simon

This movie is a joy to watch. It's a sweet, heartfelt rom-com that also has some great family stuff at its core. Nick Robinson charms as Simon and you'll easily be rooting for him to get his happy ending.

6. Crazy Rich Asians

This movie not only had cultural significance but was another movie that offered a fun night out at the movies. Constance Wu shines as Rachel Wu. Henry Golding charms as Nick Young. The romance is sweet and filled with just enough angst. The movie itself is gorgeous to look at with a bright colour palette and beautiful Singapore setting.

7. Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse

My personal pick for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year. If you're a fan of Spiderman, superhero movies, or just good animation I highly recommend this one. It's a classic origin story, complete with epic moments, and it hits all of the right notes.

8. Boy Erased

A powerful movie filled with solid performances. This one may not have been a 'fun' time at the movies, but it was one that lingered with me long after I had finished watching it. It is one that I wish would be seen by those who most need to see it (which sadly will not happen).

9. Avengers: Infinity War

This one is on my list for the experience of seeing it alone. There is nothing like experiencing a huge pop cultural moment with a theatre full of fellow fans. The movie was big, loud, and pretty much everything I wanted it to be. The humour was pitch perfect, and the characters and the bonds built between them were used to great impact. This was a hard movie to pull off and Marvel not only did it, but they nailed it. The heartbreaking ending ensure that everyone will be just as eager to see Endgame and I cannot wait.

10. Black Panther 

Michael B Jordan's villainous turn as Killmonger is only one of the stand out elements of this excellent superhero movie. Ryan Coogler's directing makes this feel both familiar and unique with his attention to the little details that set this apart from the other Marvel movies. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I have a few exciting things to share this week as we wait to say goodbye to 2018!

BOOKS

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (goodreads)

The splashy book announcement for this one certainly got my attention. It not only is already creating a bunch of buzz BUT sounds incredible too.

Here are the details released so far

MY DARK VANESSA, pitched as a Lolita story for the #metoo era, a tale of the psychosexual manipulation of a 15-year-old girl by her middle-aged English teacher, told from her perspective and alternating between the present day and their years-long affair, pitched in the vein of THE GIRLS with the emotional intensity of ROOM,

Amazing right? It is not released until 'early 2020' but I am already obsessed.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Us Trailer

Jordan Peele's Get Out was a huge moment in pop culture. Everyone was talking about it and it garnered a lot of critical praise. The expectations for his next movie are high to say the least.

If the first trailer is anything to go by I am pretty sure Jordan Peele has another hit on his hands.



There are a bunch of things at play in this trailer, but my immediate take away is, of course, that the 'intruders' are THEM. The theme of us being our own worst enemy has a lot of potential. The trailer is terrifying and I am excited to go see it opening weekend.

Us Movie Poster

Along with the terrifying trailer we also got a new movie poster. It is certainly eye catching.


We know from the trailer that the 'impostor' family is in red and has those scissors. I am even more scared to find out what the deal is with the scissors after seeing the trailer, but the poster is menacing enough.

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

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best Of 2018 - Books


As the year comes to a close it is once again time to reflect back on the books I read and highlight a few that I particularly enjoyed reading this year.

My reading suffered this year. I did not read nearly as many books as I hoped to. I am eager to fix this in 2019 and get my reading (and this blog) back on track. It's been a bit of a disaster. However, there were some amazing books I did manage to read this year.

Here are my top ten reads of this year (in no particular order). They each link to my review if you want to see exactly why I loved them.


1 The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

2 Sadie by Courtney Summers

3 I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

4 Side by Side by Jenni L Walsh

5 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

6 What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

7 Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

8 The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

9 The Idea Of You by Robinne Lee 

10 You by Caroline Kepnes


This list, obviously, includes books released this year and some that were not. My only criteria was that they had to be books I read this past year.

Do you agree with any of the books on list? Feel there is a book I missed this year that I should make a priority to read in 2019? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Boy Erased



Boy Erased

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

Director: Joel Edgerton

Language: English

Length:  114 minutes

Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: November 2, 2018 (limited)

Synopsis: Jared Eamons, the son of a small-town Baptist pastor, must overcome the fallout after being outed as gay to his parents. His father and mother struggle to reconcile their love for their son with their beliefs. Fearing a loss of family, friends and community, Jared is pressured into attending a conversion therapy program. While there, Jared comes into conflict with its leader and begins his journey to finding his own voice and accepting his true self.

********
Lucas Hedges was, once again, an award season darling last year. He was, along with Timothee Chalamet, one of the 'it boys' to grace the awards trail. He offers up another solid performance in Boy Erased. A movie that you know is going to be a tough viewing experience before you even enter the theater. A story of a young man sent to conversion therapy should ignite some strong emotions. Those emotions are there, along with some great performances, but I was also surprised at the amount of hope it instills as well.

Hedges, as mentioned previously, shines as Jared. He ensures that every emotion Jared is feeling registers with the audience. The hurt, the anger, the moments of happiness, and the eventual healing are all display. It's a performance that adds to a resume that is already pretty impressive for his age.

Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe play Jared's parents. Two religious people who are struggling with the fact that their son is gay and what it means in relation to their faith. This movie could have made them monsters. It could have made them be nothing more than a punchline or a joke. Instead this movie takes a more subtle, thoughtful approach. Kidman's Nancy is a mother struggling with what her faith says and the love she has for her son. She, much sooner than Crowe's Marshall, offers the hope this movie needs. Her love for her son shines through even when you're angry at the choices she is making. It's a more nuanced approached to this type of character that I think works for the story being told. Crowe's character never questions things the way Nancy does. He is steadfast in his belief, even as it impacts his relationships with his wife and son. The complexity of the family dynamics was welcome and well developed.

Joe Alwyn has a memorable, and very brief, turn as Henry, a young man Jared befriends at his college. There is, in particular, one scene featuring his character that lingered with me long after I finished the movie. In a movie filled with hard scenes it stands out. It's a brutal, gut punch that I wasn't expecting in the slightest. It is unsettling and is something that exists outside of the conversion therapy center Jared attends, but adds to the theme and greater story being told.

The pain and far reaching consequences of conversion therapy, and the culture that embraces it, are a large part of the message of this movie. We see what it does to people to have it drilled into them that they are 'wrong' or 'unworthy'. We see the self loathing it can lead to and what that pain can drive someone to do. We see the fractures it creates not just in the people experiencing it but those around them. The marriage of Jared's parents is one example of a relationship drastically altered because of Jared's experience and their role in it.

This movie, at times, feels less like Jared's story and more like it is trying to tell everyone's story. It makes the emotional beats hit just a little less deeply than they should have. It means that the audience is not as invested in his story. I was plenty angry about the overall situation, but it makes the characters themselves seem secondary to the over arching plot of the movie. It, for me, ultimately made this a good movie instead of a great one.

I left Boy Erased filled with rage and that is obviously what this movie intended. I was angry for all of the Jared's out there. I was heartbroken for all of the people who have lived this experience. This movie adeptly showcases the damage these conversion therapy programs cause and showcases how none of the people put through it come out without scars. If only the people who most needed to see it were actually the ones watching it. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!



Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope you found some bookish goodies under the tree this morning and that you're spending today with family and loved ones. 

Don't forget to take a little time for yourself during the holiday craziness! See you all Thursday with a new review going up!


Saturday, December 22, 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 days away from Christmas and there isn't a lot being revealed or announced right now so I have a very small Weekly Obsessions post to share this week.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

To All the Boys I've Loved Before Sequel Announcement 

It seemed like my entire Twitter feed fell in love with To All The Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix (myself included) and was eagerly awaiting news of a sequel.

We finally got our wish with Netflix sharing this adorable video!




I am no sure if this means they have recast John Ambrose. I hope not but I am excited for this sequel either way! Fans of the books by Jenny Han will know what awaits Lara Jean in the second book and I cannot wait to see it play out in movie format.

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Last Things


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 Last Things by Jacqueline West


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When strange things start happening to local music idol Anders Thorson, everyone blames his number-one-fan, Thea. But is she out to hurt him? Or protect him?

High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home. When strange things start happening to Anders—including the disappearance of his beloved cat, then his sort-of girlfriend, and, somehow, his musical talent—blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to compromise to get what they want? 
The entire premise of this novel is a guy sells his soul to the devil for musical talent. That alone would be enough to pique my interest. Add in girl who may be there to save him and I am sold. I cannot wait to read this and experience Anders and Thea's story unfold.

It doesn't come out until May (so it might be perfect for your summer reading list) but I am thinking it'll be worth the wait!

Expected release date - May 7, 2019

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

My Sinemia Experiment: Month 4



Month four of my 'Year of Sinemia' experiment was mostly enjoyable. It was another great month at the movies but one filled with tech glitches. The payment details that Sinemia provides to purchase the ticket don't often work right away. It can often take multiple tries to get the ticket to confirm which is beyond frustrating (even if it does eventually work). Anyone thinking of signing up should be aware that this has been an issue that mainly seems to be impacting Cineplex theatres from what I can tell (which happens to be my theatre chain of choice). 

The three movies I saw in November with my Sinemia account were Boy Erased, Ralph Breaks The Internet, and Widows. 


The movie I liked the most out of the three was Boy Erased. It's a tough watch but worth it in my opinion (review coming soon on the blog). Ralph Breaks The Internet was a fun time and the Disney Princess stuff was by far my favourite part of the movie. Widows left me wanting more in a lot of ways. It was not as good as I hoped it would be even as I recognize how others could really love it.

My savings for this month was $19.34 after taking the convenience fees into consideration. This brings my grand total savings up to $94.68 (last month's total was $75.34). I saw Ralph Breaks The Internet in 3D.

Four months in and I feel like a pro at going to the movies by myself. The inner voice that told me everyone in the theatre was judging me for being by myself has pretty much disappeared. This experiment is showing me how to like my own company in a way that I didn't really expect when I started it. I may even say that I LIKE going to the movies by myself now. I get to pick when and where I see it. I can travel halfway across the city to the one theatre that is showing the movie that I want to see if I want. I don't have to think about anyone else's schedule. It's still great to go with friends and I miss talking to people about the movies after I see them but I don't hate going alone anywhere near what I did previously.

The other exciting thing in movie news is that I'll soon have more options of where I can go watch movies using Sinemia. ByTowne Cinema, a theatre that often showcases movies that are not available in other theatres including harder to find Oscar contenders, will soon have online ticket sales. It was cash only previously which meant it was not an option under Sinemia (as they provide a credit card number for you to book the ticket online). This change will happen in the early part of the new year and I am so excited. I am going to contact Sinemia to get them to add it as soon as it is available.

As I begin seeing my three December movies I can't help but think of all the amazing sounding movie offerings the new year will bring. This experiment has definitely ensured I have seen more movies than I ever have before and I think it is going to be hard to go back to not having it. We still have eight months so we'll see but, even with the hiccups I have had, this program has already proven it's worth (or at least a program like it).

I'll end this was a plea for suggestions. January is looking pretty empty in terms of movies I want to see. This does not include any of the Oscar movies that Ottawa inevitably gets later than everywhere else with some of them being limited release at first. I may struggle to find three that I want to see (possibly) so, dear blog readers, what movies are you excited for in January? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, December 15, 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 for The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (goodreads)

The cover for this one is stunning! I love how the colours compliment each other here. The gold rose really pops off the page.



The synopsis sold me with 'whiskey ship'. That was pretty much all I needed to be very excited but it helps that the rest of it sounds great as well.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Us Movie Poster

I, along with a lot of other people, have been eagerly awaiting more details about Jordan Peele's next movie after Get Out. The studio was being careful and not really revealing too much about his next movie. We got a title and a release date and that was pretty much it ... until now.




This movie poster was released and we learned that the trailer will arrive on Christmas day. I have a billion more questions after seeing this poster and am counting down the days until I can see the trailer!

OTHER

Romeo and Juliet Funko Pops

Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet is probably my favourite adaptation of Shakespeare's play. I love how over the top it is, and how vibrant and colourful. I also love the cleverness with how they modernized the play itself while still having the dialogue fit.

Funko recently announced that they will be releasing three Pops from the movie and I am going to need all three of them.


I love the two Romeos! I love the wings on the Juliet Pop! I cannot wait to add these to my collection.

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - Mayhem



The next, and last, book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is another one that doesn't have a whole lot of information revealed about it just yet but the premise is so good that I immediately became obsessed with it. It combines The Lost Boys with the Craft and throws in a bit of Manson Family.


Estelle Laure's Mayhem is also set in the 1980's which basically means I have to read it. I love pretty much everything that was included in its deal announcement. 


The deal announcement synopsis for this novel does not reveal a lot but it was enough for me to immediately run and add it to my 'to be read' list on Goodreads.
The Lost Boys meets The Craft with a splash of Manson family for good measure. Set in the 1980s.
I cannot wait to see how this all comes together. It is such an intriguing mix of things that I have incredibly high hopes for this one.

As part of offering up a variety of posts this year, I am going to share my personal top three reasons to be excited about this book!

1 The potential for vampires! Everyone who has seen The Lost Boys knows it is about vampires so the fact that this book is compared to it has me hopeful it might include some. The comparison to The Craft has me pretty convinced it will have some paranormal elements at the very least. 

2 The 1980's setting. I am a sucker for any book set in the 1980's. I love different time periods being explored in novels and since I was influenced by so much 80's culture I have a particular fondness for the 80s.

3 Estelle's website mentions she is 'obsessed with all things 80s, serial killers, and magic'. This book sounds like it could include all three of those and I am honestly here for it. 


Mayhem releases sometime in 2019 and is currently not up for pre-order but be sure to keep an eye out for when it does come available from your favourite retailer.



You can find out more about Estelle by following her on Twitter, visiting her website, and by visiting her publisher website.

Do you love the sound of this mashup as much as I do? What about books set in the 80's? Let me know what you think in the comments.

That also wraps up my 2019 Most Anticipated Event! Let me know what books you are most looking forward to in the comments.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - Waking Romeo



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is one that doesn't have a whole lot of information revealed about it just yet but the premise immediately caught my attention so I had to include it.


It's a book that combines Romeo and Juliet with Wuthering Heights! Kathryn Barker's Waking Romeo immediately got my attention because of how amazing it sounds for anyone who loves the classics. 


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel sets a futuristic Romeo and Juliet where Heathcliff happens to drop into the story.
Pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Wuthering Heights, the YA novel follows Jules Capulet who, in a future world, is reeling from the end of her romance with a classmate called Romeo; it has left him in a coma and her as a social outcast. Enter Heathcliff Ellis, a time traveler sent on a mission to wake Romeo.
I wonder how this is going to come together. It's ambitious and I cannot wait to find out more details as they are revealed. The official synopsis won't be released until the book is officially scheduled a publication date but I am happy to speculate in the meantime.

As part of offering up a variety of posts this year, I am going to share my personal top three reasons to be excited about this book!

1 Vampires!! I have been wanting paranormal to make a comeback and vampires are a particular fave of mine. They are sexy and these vampires sound vicious which is just a bonus. 

2 The New Orleans setting immediately drew me to this one. I fell in love with New Orleans when I visited and cannot wait to read a story set in this city. The vampires element only adds something extra to the setting because of the vibe New Orleans has. 

3 The murder mystery is another reason I cannot wait to get my hands on this one! I cannot wait to follow Celine as she gets further and further pulled into the sinister events happening in the city. I also love that this is a series and that not all the answers may not be giving in this first installment! 


Waking Romeo releases sometime in 2019 and is currently not up for pre-order but be sure to keep an eye out for when it does come available from your favourite retailer.

I also was not able to find any social media for Kathryn, but be sure to check out her profile on Goodreads. The book will be publishers by Flatiron (a Macmillan imprint) so you can follow them for more info.

Do you love the sound of this mashup as much as I do? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the last book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - The Evil Queen



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is a villain origin story and a twist on a classic fairytale. Villain origin stories, particularly those from classic stories, are hugely popular. I am immediately drawn to them so when Gena Showalter revealed she was writing about the Evil Queen's origins I was instantly intrigued.


I have wanted the Evil Queen to get a well done origin story for as long as I can remember so I am hoping this one is a good as I think it'll be. 


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel certainly helps set high expectations. A conflicted woman who could be tempted to the dark side, a doomed romance, and more await!
Welcome to the Forest of Good and Evil. A dream come true, and a living nightmare.

“Evil isn’t born, it’s made.
One thought and action at a time.
Take a good look at what you’ve made.”

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed.

As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?
Snow White retellings (or reimagings) have begun to give Snow (and the Evil Queen) more complex relationships and more agency so I hope this one continues that trend. I am curious to see if this story's Prince, Roth Charmaine, is more textured as well.

As part of offering up a variety of posts this year, I am going to share my personal top three reasons to be excited about this book!

1 The romance between Roth and Everly is high on my reasons to read this. A doomed romance usually works on me and I am curious to see how this one will be developed. I am guessing this book's version of Snow will factor in some how (but would be pleasantly surprised if she didn't). 

2 This is the first book in what seems to be a series! If this means other fairytale retellings are on the way I am even more excited. I loved Once Upon A Time when it was good (so seasons 1 and 2) and would love another richly developed fairytale world to fall in love with.

3 As previously mentioned these origin stories of infamous villains are hot right now. These stories allow for the reader to see a character they are used to looking at one way in an entirely new light. It, usually, adds some sympathy for the villain (even if short lived) and makes a case that from a different point of view the villain may not be such a villain after all. 



The Evil Queen releases June 25, 2019 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or snag it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about Gena by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love fairytale retellings like I do? Are you a fan of villain origin stories? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - You'd Be Mine



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is one that blends romance, country music, and a road trip of sorts. Erin Hahn's You'd Be Mine is pretty much made to catch my attention and so it only natural it would end up on this list.


A bad boy musician meets a girl with a lot of family baggage? Yes, please. I have a feeling I am going to love this one. 


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel will make you immediately want to go add it to your 'to be read' list! 
Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.
This synopsis sounds like a great blend of plot and romance I am so looking forward to reading all about how Clay and Annie fall in love. I am also here for them going on tour together. This road trip-esque aspect of the story has me so excited.

Erin took the some time to reveal some details about her new book and made me want to re-watch Walk The Line in the process.

1 What gif do you feel represents You'd Be Mine? 

I love the gif of Johnny and June twirling and kissing in each other’s arms on stage from Walk the Line. It’s always felt close to Annie and Clay!


2 If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

At one point, Annie and Clay do shots of tequila… complete with a shake of salt and lime slices to chase the taste away. It’s such a key scene for my two main characters that I’d have to emulate it, despite the fact that it’s not technically a cocktail!

3 Your book has a road trip in it. What do you think makes the perfect road trip? 

Music! Road trip playlists are ESSENTIAL. I like mine to have themes that match our destination.

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

Gah. So many. I have multiple playlists that I used and I’ve even compiled the top tracks on to one list you can access via my website (www.erinphahn.com). But if I had to choose one song that really spoke to me for this story, I’d say “Burning House” by Cam.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel? 

The American wild, Wild West! I am in love with the adventurous pioneer spirit. Obviously that time period was tumultuous but so is today, isn’t it?

6 What 2019 release are you most anticipating? 

So, so many. I feel like choosing just one would be a betrayal. I’d check out the #novel19s on twitter for a full list of what’s to come! I’m so proud to be a part of this debut class.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of You'd Be Mine? 

Of course! I’ll even share the first paragraph. It’s from Clay Coolidge’s POV.

"If I die, it's Trina Hamilton's fault. She's hard to miss; statuesque blonde with angry eyes and tiny nostrils wearing top-of-the-line Tony Lamas so she can kick my ass at a moment's notice. When the early morning sun finally burns through my irises and kills me dead, she's the one you want."


I love how simple her 'cocktail' of choice is. It seems to fit the book in a lot of ways. That opening paragraph already has me DYING to pick this up. It's a great opening.

You'd Be Mine releases April 2, 2019 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or snag it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about Erin by following her on Twitter, visiting her website,  and by visiting her publisher website.

Are you a fan of books set in the music world? What about books that have a road trip within them? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - Melissa from Raincoast Books



Today I have Melissa from Raincoast Books stopping by to fill us in on the titles she feels should be on your radar for 2019. Some amazing choices here! A huge thank you to Melissa for taking the time and agreeing to stop by!

2019 Most Anticipated

2019 is going to be another incredible year for books with highly anticipated sequels, debuts, and new series starters to look forward to! Check out a selection of 5 YA books that should be on your radar in the new year below!


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo


You guys. If you haven’t read Leigh Bardugo or Six of Crows yet, what are you waiting for?! King of Scars takes us back into the world of the Grisha and tells fan favourite Nikolai’s story. If you’ve read the Grisha series and Six of Crows duology, you’ll also be reunited with some familiar characters. This is without a doubt one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I can’t wait to dive back into the Grishaverse!


Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi


Children of Blood and Bone was one of the most talked about YA fantasy novels of 2018. It has a movie deal in the works, and it was even chosen as the inaugural Tonight Show Summer Reads pick! Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the highly-anticipated sequel to Children of Blood and Bone. Mark your calendars for March 5, 2019!


Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith


Hailed as “the hottest YA fantasy of 2019” by Entertainment Weekly, Bloodleaf is the start of a new fantasy series by debut author Crystal Smith. A retelling of The Goose Girl, Bloodleaf features magic, romance, betrayal, and intrigue, and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Check out an excerpt from the book here, and watch for Bloodleaf in 2019!


Kingsbane by Claire Legrand


You all need to go read Furyborn right now! Claire Legrand has crafted an immersive fantasy world, characters you’ll root for, and a page-turning series starter. After that ending in Furyborn, I have been desperately waiting for Kingsbane and can’t wait to be swept back into the story. If you’re looking for a brand new fantasy series, this is one for you!


Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks


Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell and Eisner award-winning Canadian artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create the autumnal-themed graphic novel of our dreams! It’s Deja and Josiah’s senior year and final shift at the pumpkin patch where they’ve worked together for years, so they decide to make it an adventure and go out with a bang. This is sure to be a delightful read, and I am so excited for this book out in August 2019!

Saturday, December 8, 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 for The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)

The third book in Jasmine Guillory's The Wedding Date series has a cover and it is bright, fun, and perfect for this series!


If you're looking for some fun rom-com style books I highly recommend this series. They are more 'companion' novels than direct sequels and they have a great cast of characters.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Trailer for I Am The Night

Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine are teaming up again for a television series that looks amazing. I shared the first trailer when it was released and now a second trailer has been shared.


This is based on a true story and has The Black Dahlia as its hook. I am looking forward to watching this in early 2019!

Avengers: Endgame Trailer

After a lot of waiting and plenty of hype the trailer for Avengers 4, now titled Endgame, is finally here and I love it!


It is, however, entirely unacceptable that Steve Rogers is so sad. I have a feeling this is going to be even more heartbreaking than Infinity War.

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - The Beautiful



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is set in one of my favourites cities. I absolutely fell in love when I had the pleasure to visit and cannot wait to go back.


Yup, New Orleans!  Renee Ahdieh's The Beautiful combines a New Orleans setting, a murder mystery and VAMPIRES! Yup, vampires are (hopefully) coming back to young adult books and I could not be more excited for it to happen.


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel sets up our heroine Celine, probable vampire hottie Sèbastien, and a historical setting that is perfect for the story being told.
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and--especially--to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful. And these vampires don’t sparkle. They slay.
This already sounds spooky, sexy, and is the book I am hoping will be at Book Expo America in 2019. It's got everything I love in a book premise so I am pretty much obsessed.

As part of offering up a variety of posts this year, I am going to share my personal top three reasons to be excited about this book!

1 Vampires!! I have been wanting paranormal to make a comeback and vampires are a particular fave of mine. They are sexy and these vampires sound vicious which is just a bonus. 

2 The New Orleans setting immediately drew me to this one. I fell in love with New Orleans when I visited and cannot wait to read a story set in this city. The vampires element only adds something extra to the setting because of the vibe New Orleans has. 

3 The murder mystery is another reason I cannot wait to get my hands on this one! I cannot wait to follow Celine as she gets further and further pulled into the sinister events happening in the city. I also love that this is a series and that not all the answers may not be giving in this first installment! 


The Beautiful releases October 8, 2019 and is currently not up for pre-order but be sure to keep an eye out for when it does come available from your favourite retailer and pre-order. If you're anything like me you'll be itching to get your hands on this one!


You can find out more about Renee by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you miss the paranormal genre as much as I do? Are you excited to see it have a comeback? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - Ashley from Harper Collins Canada


Today I have Ashley from Harper Collins Canada stopping by to take part in my 2019 Most Anticipated Event. Ashley shares the books coming from Harper Collins next year that she thinks should be on your radar! There are some incredible titles on this list so be prepared to add a bunch to your own 'to be read' lists. A huge thank you to Ashley for taking the time to write this post. You can talk about all of these books with the Harper Collins Canada team on Twitter at @hccfrenzy!


Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi (January 8, 2019)
I had the pleasure of meeting Ibi Zoboi at Epic Reads Day this past summer. She is LOVELY to say the least and after hearing her talk about Black Enough and the work that went into making this incredible collection of stories, I couldn’t be more excited! These are stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America. So. Important.

Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (January 8, 2019)
Everyone in my office and I adored this novel from debut author Ben Philippe. It’s going to be the perfect pick me-up in the middle of the dreary winter! Main character Norris is just so likable and lovely and this novel explores the joys and clichés of the high school experience (of course including falling in love!). I hope you all love it as much as I do!

The Cerulean (January 29, 2019)
New YA duology alert! Not only do I adore the cover of this epic YA fantasy, but the magical world is just brilliant! It follows Sera, a girl who has always felt that she doesn’t belong among her people (the Cerulean) but ultimately ends up having to find the magic within herself to survive. So good you guys, so good.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (January 29, 2019)
We ALL loved The Hating Game and we’ve been anxiously waiting for Sally Thorne’s next novel. Well, she’s finally back with an unforgettable romantic comedy about a twin sister and brother struggling over an inheritance from their late grandmother, and the sexy best friend (/renovation guru) who comes between them…

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (February 5, 2019)
Okay. So. Please read this book. If you’re a fan of Commonwealth or The Nest (which if you haven’t read either of those, they are must-reads!), you’ll love this new book from Tara Conklin. It’s a story of four siblings dealing with the loss of their father (to a heart-attack) and their absent mother (to paralyzing depression). It does the perfect job at describing complex or imperfect families and defining love.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (February 5, 2019)
HELLO! I JUST FINISHED READING THIS BOOK AND I AM SO EXCITED FOR EVERYONE TO READ IT! Angie Thomas has seriously done it again. Her books and writing are perfection. While this story is different from The Hate U Give, it touches on so many important themes and has an amazing main character, Bri, who is impossible not to fall in love with. It’s an ode to hip hop and a story about following your dreams.

Fame, Fate and the First Kiss (February 5, 2019)
Who doesn’t love Kasie West?! Chase your dreams and follow your heart with Lacey Barnes in this new story from Kasie West, perfect for fans of Jenny Han!

If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser (March 5, 2019)
I loved this part-mystery part-friendship story so much and am so excited for more from this author. When Zan’s BFF Priya moves away and fails to stay in touch (other than posting on social media), everyone tells Zan to just let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But Zan can’t, so she takes the investigation into her own hands.

Opposite of Always (March 5, 2019)
A new one for rom-com lovers in the vein of Before I Fall and Everything, Everything! This #ownvoices romance sends Jack back to the moment him and Kate first met again and again, forcing him to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves most.

Heroine (March 12, 2019)
This new story from the beloved Mindy McGinnis is set during the opioid crisis. Mickey is a college-bound baseball star, but then she suffers an injury that sends her down a path she never imagined (involving a little white pill). This is a dark but necessary story about addiction, family, and friendship.

Girl, Stop Apologizing (March 12, 2019)
By now we all must know (and love!) Rachel Hollis, am I right? I met her last year and found her so inspiring and just so real! In her new book, Girl, Stop Apologizing she encourages women everywhere to live to their full potential and to stop talking themselves out of their dreams.

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown (April 16, 2019)
Jaye Robin Brown is the author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. I found her new novel, The Meaning of Birds, to be such a touching story about love and loss. Jess and Vivi fall in love, but then Vivi suddenly dies and Jess’s perfect world is erased. For anyone who has experienced grief, this story is about how to become whole again when it seems like you’ve lost the most important part of yourself.

Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi (April 2, 2019)
The fifth book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series is coming, and we are so excited! Are you ready for more from Juliette & Warner because I sure am!!!!!

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala (April 23, 2019)
So, so excited for this other debut fantasy novel from Swati Teerdhala! This South Indian-inspired story follows one rebel girl, Esha, on the mission to assassinate a ruthless general… but then she meets Kunal, a soldier who captures her heart.

Nocturna by Maya Montayne (May 7, 2019)
I’ve only read the first few chapters of this one so far, but I already know I’m going to love this book. It’s the first in an #ownvoices fantasy trilogy about a face-changing thief and risk-taking prince who team up to fefeat a powerful evil that they accidentally unleashed. So. Much. Fun!

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna (May 7, 2019)
Another adult title for you that I am super, super excited about!

Sarah Dessen’s The Rest of the Story (June 4, 2019)
Confession: I know very, very little about this book right now because I haven’t read it (everything I know is HERE) but I love Sarah Dessen so much, this one is already VERY HIGH on my TBR.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (July 2, 2019)
Alisha Rai offers a sizzling romance story just in time for the hot days of summer! In The Right Swipe (which our in-office book club is reading and LOVING right now), two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom, but in sync in the bedroom… I’ll say no more.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (July 2, 2019)
Words can’t express just HOW MUCH I love, love, love this book! And so did Marian Keyes, just saying. In Don’t You Forget About Me (yes, that’s a music reference and there are plenty more within the book, too!) Georgina finds herself hired at a bar where her new boss, Lucas McCarthy (AKA best book boyfriend ever) turns out to be the boy who she had a relationship with twelve years ago. The only problem? He doesn’t seem to remember Georgina… at all.

Clearly, I could go on forever and ever about all of the great books, but I’ll stop now so that there are a few surprises as the year continues! I can’t wait to hear what books YOU’RE excited for! Tell me on Twitter @ashleyposluns ☺!

Ashley 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - The Kingdom



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is being teased as Westworld meets Serial (the podcast). I read this synopsis and this book immediately became my must read of 2019.


The description brings to mind a true crime inspired story set in a theme park where humans interact with life like artificial intelligence. It has all the makings of a book that will have everyone completely obsessed. 


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel only cemented my need to read this book. There is the potential for a lot of heartbreak as Ana is accused of killing the boy she loved. 
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom™ is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species—formerly extinct—roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty—and what it truly means to be human.
I love the role reversal. It could have easily been gendered swapped with the artificial intelligence 'robot' being male. It would have fit most of the true crime stories out there where a woman gets murdered and it is the male in her life that is responsible. There could have been some great social commentary there. The decision to flip it makes it a much more interesting story in my opinion.

As part of offering up a variety of posts this year, I am going to share my personal top three reasons to be excited about this book!

1 Westworld meets Serial. Enough said. That premise alone should excite you.

2 The Kingdom as a setting has me really intrigued. The potential for world building and creating something really unique has me excited. Getting to play with what is real and what is part of the 'experience' could also make things really interesting and offer up a unreliable perspective. 

3 The part of me that loves mysteries cannot wait to unravel what really happened to Owen. The romance, for me, is going to be such a huge part of this story and its emotional impact so I hope that aspect is well done and that the mystery is satisfying because all of the other elements are there. 


The Kingdom releases May 28, 2019 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or snag it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about Jess by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Does this not sound incredibly unique? Are you a fan of mysteries that also have another strong hook to them? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated - Last Things



The next book in my 2019 Most Anticipated event is one that pairs music with the supernatural (which seems like a natural pairing to be honest).  Jacqueline West's Last Things immediately piqued my interest because I love books that feature music in some way and I love the paranormal genre.


This book has a young hot guitar player whose skills may not be the result of natural talent alone. This premise basically gave me goosebumps because who hasn't heard of the notion of selling your soul to the devil for your talents. It gives this story so much potential. 


The Goodreads synopsis for this novel will be enough to sell you on it and have you rushing to add it to your to be read list!
When strange things start happening to local music idol Anders Thorson, everyone blames his number-one-fan, Thea. But is she out to hurt him? Or protect him?

High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home. When strange things start happening to Anders—including the disappearance of his beloved cat, then his sort-of girlfriend, and, somehow, his musical talent—blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to compromise to get what they want?  
I cannot wait to uncover what Thea knows and what she is really there for! Her part of the story intrigues me even more than Anders to be honest.

 Jacqueline took the some time to share a bit about Last Things and discusses why she thinks music and the paranormal are a natural fit together.

1 What gif do you feel best represents Last Things?

Ooh, probably this one:


But also—I hope—this one (it’s got some twists!):


2 If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

This book is totally coffee-saturated. A bunch of it is set in a coffee house/concert venue called the Crow’s Nest, which is my fantasy ideal of what a coffee house should be. A signature drink for Last Things would have to include coffee, plus something a little weird and unexpected -- maybe a very dark chocolate mocha with clove or lavender thrown in, or a cappuccino with a shot of strong bourbon.

3 I love books that feature music. I also love paranormal books. Last Things, if I am correct, seems to blend elements of the two. What inspired you to combine music with the paranormal?

Well, I too love music and the paranormal/supernatural, so combining the two in my fiction was probably going to happen eventually!

Music has a lot of supernatural qualities of its own—it’s this invisible, extremely powerful thing that connects directly to our emotions, and it’s got deep ties to religion and spirituality. It can take us out of the ordinary world into something much more raw and real. And Last Things is my modern-day, Minnesotan, metal re-imagining of the legend of the guitarist who sells his soul to the devil—so I’ve got your supernatural music story right here!

4 Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel 

I usually can’t listen to music that has lyrics while I’m writing, but this book was a HUGE exception. I listened to a bunch of my favorite metal artists on a loop—In Flames, Trivium, Alaya, Mastodon, Chelsea Wolfe, Opeth. They’re so much a part of the book, they all get thanked in the acknowledgments.

5 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Gah – so many places! I would love to watch Shakespeare onstage at the Globe Theatre in Renaissance London, playing the ghost in Hamlet. I would love to be in the audience to see Beethoven debut his Ninth Symphony in Vienna in 1824 (and then go out for fancy Viennese torte afterward).  I would love to hide in the Bronte parsonage on the Yorkshire moors in the 1840s and eavesdrop on Charlotte and Emily and Anne. But I would want to come back to our own era pretty quickly, because I really like modern dentistry. And indoor plumbing.

6 What 2019 release are you most anticipating?

I’ve been waiting to see what awesome thing Angie Thomas will do next ever since I read The Hate U Give, so I’m looking forward her second book, On the Come Up. Jeff Zentner’s stuff is always great, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee. I’m also keeping an eye out for an anthology called His Hideous Heart, because I’m a sucker for anything involving Edgar Allan Poe.

7 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Last Things?

I like the edges.

That first line is so teasingly short, I feel like I should give you the whole first paragraph:

I like the edges. Places where things end. Fade out. Disappear. Where two things eat away at each other until neither of them really exists anymore. Sharp edges. Frayed edges. Places that are more than one thing, or nothing. It’s more comfortable at the edge. No one really pays attention to you if that’s where you live, or stand, or eat your lunch. Most people don’t even notice that you’re watching them.                                            


I love  Jacqueline's thoughts that music is so powerful thing that resonates with people and that it creates a little magic of it's own and that is part of what makes it blend into a supernatural story so well. Think of all the music you love and how it can emotionally impact you. It's not hard to see where a story like this could be created from those emotions.

Last Things releases May 7, 2019 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or snag it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about  Jacqueline by visiting her website and you can learn more about her books on her publisher website.

Do you love books that feature musicians? What about paranormal elements? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2019 most anticipated list. 

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