Thursday, July 18, 2019

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey



Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Release Date - June 11, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  274 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from a friend**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn't always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who's sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.
When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn't be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can't be an actor who's leaving town in a matter of days...can he?
Fans of classic rom-coms will delight in Kerry Winfrey's debut. It gives you the same comfort and blissfully happy feeling that watching your favourite rom-com does. It's filled with all different kinds of love and the way it shapes us. It's a celebration of not just the rom-com but of taking chances, and stepping outside your comfort zone for the things that really matter.

Annie's dreamed of the day that she'll meet her own Tom Hanks. She wants the epic meet cute, and to move straight on to her happily ever after. She wants her life to play out exactly like all of her favourite movies. This element of the book is meshed with the idea that nothing in reality could really live up to that. Real life is messy and complicated. Annie's determination to have the rom-com means that she is, as her friends point out, possibly missing out on something great that may not be 'perfect' but is perfect for her. We eventually see that it is a defense mechanism that is tied up in grief and self preservation.

Annie's the type of character you may not like. She can be a lot at times. You will want to scream at her to see what is right in front of her. However, every single thing she does, every decision she makes, works with who the character is. Kerry Winfrey ensured that the essence of who this character is, and the past that drives her, comes through in everything she does. I still rooted for her even when I was frustrated by some of the choices she was making. The more realistic and honest a characters actions seem the more that character will resonate and that is true for Annie.

Drew is an easy to like love interest. He's level headed, down to earth, and a dreamy Hollywood actor. He's exactly what is needed in a 'Tom Hanks', even if Annie doesn't see it right away. Drew and Annie's romance sparks with the banter that the two have. The spark is there right from the minute they have their version of the meet cute. Their scenes together are really some of my favourite simply because the chemistry is evident. The pacing of their romance is a little bit of a whirlwind but it works so perfectly for what this story is.

All of the characters, from minor to main, are all written very lovingly. Kerry Winfrey is, obviously, a fan of romantic comedies and I get the impression she feels like everyone deserves their own version. That shone through the way she wrote everyone and made the story feel quaint in a really cozy way.

This book has fun with all of the classic tropes we all love from rom-coms and circumvents it. It twists them while still leaning into them in a way that felt natural. Everything from the meet cute, the obstacle to be overcome, to the really well done grand gesture, had something about it that laid homage while still being Annie' s story. I particularly liked what was done with the grand gesture.

This book plays on Annie's desire for her own real life rom-com and  balances the idea of reality with the classic tropes of a traditional rom-com. It paints the picture that life may not be like the movies but there may just be a little bit of magic to be found in romance, friendships, and family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Loveboat, Taipei


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 Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
Those comparisons are enough on their own to make me immediately want to add this to my reading pile. It also happens to have a fantastic sounding premise and a great cover.

I love the twist that this program ends up being something different from what Ever's parents expect and that it sounds like a great set up for a series.

I am already intrigued by Ever and her going off on this journey. I expect some romance, heartbreak, and hopefully a lot of fun that will help chase away the winter blues.

Expected release date - February 4, 2020

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vote On A New Blog Feature!

I have been debating about adding some new monthly blog posts to the blog and I couldn't quite decide between the two ideas I had so I figured the best way would be to ask you, the readers of this blog, to vote on what you would rather read.

The first idea is one where I would take recommendations of what books you want to see me review and select one for each month of the year. This would allow for you to suggest that favourite book you can't believe I haven't read yet. You could make me read a book to see if you might wan to read it after. You could have me review your least favourite book if you really wanted it. There would be no rules except they would have to be books I have not already reviewed.

The second idea I had was to feature an author or blogger monthly with a fun pop culture influenced Q & A while also highlighting their books (upcoming or already published) or blog. It would be planned as far in advance as I could so that people had time to answer the questions and provide me with anything they wanted highlighted (such as buy links for their book, or a specific blog post they are proud of). It would be a way to spotlight all of the awesome people in this community in a fun way.

Vote below! I may end up doing both BUT your vote will help me determine what idea to start working on and what would be more exciting for the people who would actually be reading it.

Excited to share the results with you and hopefully launching one of these ideas in the near future.
 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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.

Another small post this week. It's just about the middle of the summer and that means that all of the American Horror Story information starts to be revealed which has me very excited.

TV/MOVIES

American Horror Story: 1984 Cast Announcement

Ryan Murphy recently revealed the cast for the upcoming ninth season of American Horror Story which is titled 1984 and takes inspiration from classic 80's slasher movies.

This cast announcement video is so delightful that it has made me want one for any further seasons (and sad that we didn't get one for the previous seasons). The 80's looks, the song, and the playful cast all come together to create a fun tease for the season.



My thoughts after watching the video:
  1. How cute does Cody Fern look? Frosted tips and one earring? Very George Michael of him.
  2. Billie Lourd looks like she is having the most fun.
  3. That one guy (played by Zach Villa) looks A LOT like Richard Ramirez and he was active in 1984 so it wouldn't surprise me if that is exactly who he is playing.
  4. I had to do a double take because I could not believe that was Matthew Morrison at first. It is now, of course, all I can see. 
  5. It's great to have John Carroll Lynch back. He was great as Twisty the Clown in Freakshow.
  6. The cast is a nice mix of returning and new.
  7. WHERE IS FINN WITTROCK THOUGH?!
I am probably going to be doing recaps each week so expect more American Horror Story posts come September.

Mindhunter Season Two 

We finally have a release date for the second season of Mindhunter and it is much closer than I anticipated. It'll drop on Netflix on August 16th and will consist of eight episodes. No trailer or artwork has been revealed yet but I am hoping it'll be soon with the release date being about a month away at this point.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter



The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter
Release Date - June 25, 2019
Publisher Website - Inkyard Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  538 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as strong heroines take charge and save the princes and the world in this magical action and romance-filled trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Everlife novels and the White Rabbit Chronicles, beginning with a teen prophesied to become the Evil Queen from Snow White who refuses to be pigenonholed into her destiny.

Far, far away, in the magical realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm, and fairytales are real. Except, fairytales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. Though Princess Everly Morrow was brought to the mortal realm as an infant, she knows she’s destined to rule a kingdom in Enchantia, thus fulfilling a beloved fairytale. But which one?

At seventeen, when an ability to commune with mirrors manifests, she begins to suspect the truth, and it’s more sinister than anyone ever realized…

She is destined to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly 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 the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

The battle between good and evil is on!
Freewill versus fate. What is predetermined and what do we have control over. Gena Showalter's new fairytale series, The Forest Of Good and Evil, tackles the idea of making your own fate and gives a inventive twist to the classic Snow White tale in the process.

One of this books strongest strengths is the world building. The setting feels like a fairytale. The world of Enchantia is vast, and brought to vivid lift. The magic of the world and how it works is also really fascinating. It is the kind of world that is created to be the backdrop to many stories with it being rich in potential. We are introduced to some areas only in passing as we are teased that other fairytales are currently taking place in the land of Enchantia. These other tales, and other lands, have already intrigued me and will provide a great jumping off point for the other books in the series.

Everly is the kind of character that you'll go back and forth on how you feel about them. For most of the novel I couldn't reconcile her actions. She was rash, impulsive, and power hungry. It wasn't until towards the end of the novel that I felt some justification for her actions. I could tell it was supposed to be a gradual turn with each betrayal leading her further down the path to darkness, but many of the things spurring her on could have been cleared up by actually talking with others. She had a lack of trust instantly that was supposed to be a carry over of her treatment in the mortal realm, but I don't personally think that was fleshed out enough for it to resonate the way I expect it was supposed to.

Gena Showalter's background of writing romance novels is evident when reading this. Some of the elements of that genre shine through into this book. They sometimes work and blend into the story and other times they don't quite mesh and stick out. I felt this became particularly evident in how she crafts both her main character and the love interest. Fans of her romance books, however, will probably be happy to discover this aspect of her books made its way into this one at well.

Roth Charmaine, the warrior Prince Charming, reads like my least favourite kind of love interest. He's written as your typical romance alpha male. He is a little softer around the edges than others I have read but his over protective qualities shine steep through a lot of his decisions. It, personally, made it hard for me to like him. He is well respected and does try to make amends for his actions which helped make his character more than just a stereotype.

Free will is a huge part of the story. Everly is told that she has a role to play in the Snow White tale but it isn't clear which one. She thinks her destiny is to be The Evil Queen but the books dives into the notion of self fulfilling prophecy. It grapples with the idea of people actively making choices that lead down a path they feel destined to take which then makes it reality. The book constantly questions if Everly (or any of the characters) could make different choices and have things end up differently.

Family is everything to Everly and these familial ties have the strongest connections in the books. Everly and her bond with her mother and sister is what drives the character and the book. It was nice to see these kinds of bonds driving the main character even more so than any romance. Family connections continue to be an important plot point through out the entire book and made for some of the more emotional elements of the story.

An inventive twist on a classic tale that sets up a much larger world filled with other tales. I may not have entirely loved this one but there is enough there to be enjoyed. I think fans of Gena Showalter's other books will love this one but I think those who are not a fan of her particular writing style will find more of the same here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Harley In The Sky


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 Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.
Carnival (or circus) set stories always tend to catch my attention and the synopsis of Harley in the Sky certainly does just that.

A Las Vegas setting, rival circuses, and what sounds like some family drama all add up to me wanting to get my hands on this book as soon as possible ... even if it is quite a wait with its 2020 release date.

Expected release date - March 10, 2020

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cover Reveal: The St Michaels Duet by Harlow Cole



We are so excited to be sharing the covers for the ST. MICHAELS duet by newcomer Harlow Cole. The ST. MICHAELS duet is an angsty small-town, second chance sports romance. The first book, INTERFERENCE will be released on July 18th and will be free with Kindle Unlimited!


INTERFERENCE Coming July 18th

BRAYDEN
I’m a goddamn prodigy. It’s true. Ask anyone. I threw my first curveball the day I was born.
The whole damn town is waiting on me. To live up to my father’s famous name. To reach for the stars.
All I want to reach for is her.
But Ashley is the sweet addiction I can’t afford. She’s my best friend’s sister. Hell, she’s practically my little sister. For years, I’ve protected her from guys that want one thing. What happens now that I’ve turned into one of them? Who’s gonna shield her from the way I was made, from my little white lies and from what I’m about to become?
My game plan sounds simple: Pitch my way into the Major League draft and stay out of Ashley Foster’s pants. That first part may be statistically difficult.
The second feels damn near impossible.
ASHLEY
From the moment we met, I knew he was trouble. The kind my mother sent me to find. The type that ruins you for any other brand.
When we were young kids, Didn’t know what to call the frogs and butterflies that danced in my belly whenever Brayden came near. Now I know they have a name.
Those three little words that could heal or destroy him.
Before Brayden, my life was normal. And then it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Ever again. How was I to know that stealing his seat would change all our lives?
Anger and forgiveness share two halves of the same coin. Our story might make you choose sides.



STEALING HOME COMING AUGUST 1ST

ASHLEY
I’ve given up. On my childish dreams. On getting out of this town. On love. On him. On everything.
I’m barely treading water.
BRAYDEN
I’m the man with it all.
The pinstriped jersey covering my back garners easy cash, flashy cars and fast women. My gilded name drapes over the city in neon. I have everything. Everything, except the thing I crave most. Ashley Foster.
There’s one addiction I never tried to beat.
They say you can never go home again. I’m out to prove them wrong. But what if returning requires facing all the things you destroyed? To what lengths would you go to earn forgiveness?
Would you beg? Would you borrow? Would you steal?
Stealing home is the riskiest move in baseball. But the reward... If it works? Winning her back is a chance I’m finally ready to take.
My pockets are filled with stars. It’s time to follow them home.
This time, I don’t want to steal her firsts, I want to lay claim on all her lasts.





About Harlow Cole 


Harlow Cole is a former journalism student, turned techie, turned mother, who finally decided at age forty-plus what she wants to be if she ever she grows up. Her writing journey first began in sixth grade, when she and her best friend penned boy band fanfiction in an old spiral notebook. Harlow is a connoisseur of peanut M&Ms, brand-new school supplies and angst-filled love stories that always end happy. At fifteen, she met her first love. They’ve now been married for twenty years. They reside in suburban Washington, DC, where Harlow moonlights as a taxi driver for their farting beagle and teenage twins. Interference and Stealing Home are her debut novels. 
Website | Facebook | Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, July 6, 2019

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.

Just a small post this week. I have pretty much been busy watching Stranger Things and not much else is going on.

TV/MOVIES

Knives Out Trailer

I was intrigued by the casting in this movie and the fact that it was simply referred to as a 'classic whodunit'. Not much was released about the plot until the first trailer was revealed.




This trailer is really fun. Chris Evans looks like he is having a blast with this role. I looks like a fun mystery that, I think, will play well around USA Thanksgiving.

Stranger Things Season 3

I ended up watching the entirety of the third season in one day. It is, perhaps, the best season to date and filled with so many emotional moments. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I (mostly) loved all of the new characters. I will probably end up watching it at least once more and already cannot wait for season four.

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Yesterday



Yesterday

Rating: PG-13

Director: Danny Boyle

Language: English

Length:  112 minutes

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon

Viewing Method: Advance Screening

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Synopsis: Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC's Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed... and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.


********

What if The Beatles never existed? That is, sort of, the question Yesterday tries to grapple with. It's, however, really more of a high concept rom-com. There are, obviously, some sci-fi elements in the story but its heart is the love story we see unfold. The sci-fi elements and the romance elements don't always work together. It feels, at times, like two different movies that have been pieced together but the pieces don't quite fit.

Himesh Patel is entirely charming as Jack, a struggling musician who just so happens to remember the Beatles when it appears nobody else can remember them. He is a large part of why this movie worked for me. He makes Jack really endearing and you believe him as someone who would stumble into this kind of success. Lily James is sweet as his best friend/manger, Ellie, who also happens to be in love with him. She isn't give all that much to do. It's your standard love interest role but Lily makes the most of what she is given. The romance between Jack and Ellie is pleasant enough. We get a sense of the history between the two characters, but that's really about it.

Guilt is a strong theme of the movie. The guilt Jack feels from his success having come at the hands of songs he did not write himself. This drives the later part of the movie which feels like such a contrast to its more fun first half. Each interaction Jack has as he becomes increasingly famous is an exercise in guilt. He feels unworthy and that spirals into every other aspect of his life.

One would assume that this is a love letter to the music of The Beatles. I did not feel this as strongly as other people may have. Jack has to piece together the songs because he often  can't quite remember them. He certainly isn't a die hard fan who memorized all of their lyrics. You can tell he appreciated their talent as a musician himself but I never got that they were a big influence on the character. The movie makes the case that the world is better off for having their music in it, but the world shown to us is really not that different from the world we know with The Beatles in it. It uses their music effectively, but I didn't feel the movie made its case.

The movie never really examines the ripple effect of The Beatles not existing would have on the music world. There are plenty of things that they and their music inspired and the removal of that influence would impact the music we have today. It also never attempts to explain what the cause of this world wide memory loss is. The audience can guess at a vague answer, but is would just be assumptions. There is a moment where the movie grapples with one such ripple effect and I anticipate it is going to be polarizing to audiences. It is certainly an interesting 'what if' to ponder but is never really used for anything more than progressing Jack's story arc and perhaps easing his conscience.

Yesterday, to me, was a case of an interesting premise not being executed to its full potential. It will play as a decent rainy day movie that you catch on Netflix and I anticipate many will enjoy it as exactly that kind of movie. It's fine in the way most movies like this are. You'll watch it, enjoy it enough, and just as quickly forget about it. You will, however, certainly remember the music.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Book Buzz Words


Happy Stranger Things Day (and July 4th). When thinking up what post I could share today I was inspired by Stranger Things and came up with the idea of sharing what will make me add a book to my reading wishlist. What inclusions in a synopsis will make me immediately want to get my hands on a book. We all have these little 'buzz words' that make us take a second look at a book without knowing anything else.

Here are some of mine:

1. Peter Pan Retellings


It is fairly obvious to anyone who has been a long time reader of this blog that I love Peter Pan. Any sort of retelling of this still will immediately be added to my must read list. Luckily, there have been quite a few released.
I particularly love when the story is given a darker twist. I am even okay with the ones that make Peter evil.

2. Carnival Settings


Carnival settings offer their own kind of magic. They can be filled with wonder and excitement or spooky and filled with terror. You can make it so many things. There have been a few books with this setting released and I am always on the look out for more.
Combine a carnival setting with some fantasy/paranormal elements and I will become obsessed.

3. Vampires


I love all things paranormal but I have a particular love for anything involving vampires. They can be sexy, scary, intriguing, and heartbreaking. I am glad that they are making a return to young adult literature (and hopefully adult as well).
There is something about the ability to live forever and the impact all those years would have on someone's psyche that fills these stories with the potential to be a great character driven read.

4. Anything Inspired By True Crime


Books that offer fictionalized accounts of true events always catch my eye. This Murderjno tends to seek out ones inspired by real life crimes. There are no shortage of these but I am always looking for more.
When done right these can be compelling and a way for people to dip their toe into true crime.

5. Love Triangles


It probably doesn't t surprise anyone that I enjoy love triangles. Even though I am the Patron Saint of Doomed Ships I love shipping. I know this opinion is probably not the popular one but I love when a book has a love triangle. When a love triangle is executed properly it can something extra to the story. It is a staple in young adult novels and is the cause for many ship wars.
We seem to not have as many of these in novels as we used to but, like most things, I anticipate it will circle back around.

6. Any Fairytale Retelling


Beauty and the Beast. The Little Mermaid. Snow White. Cinderella. I love any sort of fairytale retelling/reimagining. They can be modern or stay close to the source material. They can offer a darker, more edgy tone. They can be filled with twists. There is so much potential and that is exactly what I love about them.
These have always been popular and I hope they expand to less well known fairytales in the future.

7. Royalty


Any book involving any sort of royal family will instantly catch my eye. I am not sure what exactly draws me to them but I especially like romances involving some sort of royal element. They can be based on a real royal family or entirely made up. I just want to feel whisked away by the story and hopefully swoon a little along the way.
These are always popular and tend to have spike whenever there is a royal baby or wedding in the news.

8. Fame/Hollywood



Books set in Hollywood, particularly 'old Hollywood' will catch my attention. There is something captivating about that time period and just Hollywood in general. It isn't just the older Hollywood set ones that I love. Books set in the music industry, or current Hollywood hold just as strong of a draw for me.
I would love to see more books in the genre be released. I feel there is lots of potential for fictionalized accounts of the true stories of Hollywood legends in particular.

What is something that will instantly make you add a book to you reading list? Let me know in the comments. Do you know of any books that include any of my 'buzz words' in them? I would love if you shared those in the comments as well.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Disgraceland


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 Disgraceland by Jake Brennan


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the creator of the popular rock 'n' roll true crime podcast, DISGRACELAND comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history.

You may know Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen-year-old cousin but did you know he shot his bass player in the chest with a shotgun or that a couple of his wives died under extremely mysterious circumstances? Or that Sam Cooke was shot dead in a seedy motel after barging into the manager's office naked to attack her? Maybe not. Would it change your view of him if you knew that, or would your love for his music triumph?

Real rock stars do truly insane thing and invite truly insane things to happen to them; murder, drug trafficking, rape, cannibalism and the occult. We allow this behavior. We are complicit because a rock star behaving badly is what's expected. It's baked into the cake. Deep down, way down, past all of our self-righteous notions of justice and right and wrong, when it comes down to it, we want our rock stars to be bad. We know the music industry is full of demons, ones that drove Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious and that consumed the Norwegian Black Metal scene. We want to believe in the myths because they're so damn entertaining.

DISGRACELAND is a collection of the best of these stories about some of the music world's most beloved stars and their crimes. It will mix all-new, untold stories with expanded stories from the first two seasons of the Disgraceland podcast. Using figures we already recognize, DISGRACELAND shines a light into the dark corners of their fame revealing the fine line that separates heroes and villains as well as the danger Americans seek out in their news cycles, tabloids, reality shows and soap operas. At the center of this collection of stories is the ever-fascinating music industry--a glittery stage populated by gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, groupies with violence, scandal and pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll entertainment.
I love the Disgraceland podcast. Jake's writing is sharp, and each episode is filled with a mind blowing amount of detail and research. I was immediately thrilled when I heard that there would be a book as a companion of sorts to the podcast. The writing displayed on the podcast ensures this is going to be one hell of a book.

Those of you who love true crime podcasts and haven't managed to discover Disgraceland yet make sure you get on that immediately. I anticipate it'll make you want this book as much as I do. Luckily the wait for this isn't too long. It'll be out just in time for Halloween season reading (which is kind of perfect).

If you're just starting the podcast I highly recommend the Van Morrison, Michael Alig, and the John Lennon episodes. You really can't go wrong with any of them though. Go binge all of the episodes and pre-order the book (like I have already done) and let me know what episode ends up being your favourite in the comments below.

Expected release date - October 1, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up


It is time, once again, to check in with my monthly reading. I feel like the worst blogger right now, but I am hoping the summer will help me refocus and get back on track.

July is going to be filled with some pretty great reads but before we look ahead we have to wrap up June first.

Sadly, I did not get as much read in June as I wanted to (this seems to be a continuous issue) but I did read some really great books. I was in Prague at the beginning of the month so that cut into my reading time. I always think I am going to read more on vacation than I actually do.

To wrap up June ....

The books that were on my list are:

Finale by Stephanie Garber (goodreads)
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (goodreads)
Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen (goodreads)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (goodreads)
Season Of The Witch by Srah Rees Brennan (goodreads)

Plus I had a bunch of ebooks on my list:

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (goodreads)
King Of Fools by Amanda Foody (goodreads)
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
There's Something About Sweetie by Shandya Menon (goodreads)
Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey (goodreads)
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)

I managed to read four books this month which I am pretty happy about considering how much travel I did. I read:

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen (goodreads)
Season Of The Witch by Srah Rees Brennan (goodreads)
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Opposite of Always by Justin A Reynolds (goodreads)

Summer is always a great time to read. I hope to increase the number of books I am reading per month because I am really behind. In July I am hoping to read:


Finale by Stephanie Garber (goodreads)
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (goodreads)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (goodreads)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)
Transcend by Jewel E Ann (goodreads)

I also have some ebooks on my list for July as well. You can see that many of them are left overs from last month:



Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (goodreads)
King Of Fools by Amanda Foody (goodreads)
There's Something About Sweetie by Shandya Menon (goodreads)
Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey (goodreads)
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)
Crashing The A List by Summer Heacock (goodreads)

What books are you reading this month? Have you read any of the ones in my list? If so, let me know what you think in the comments.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy Canada Day!



Wishing all of my fellow Canadians a very safe and fun Canada Day! I hope you all get to enjoy doing whatever you want today as a way to celebrate. I am going to read (hopefully outdoors and away from the massive crowds) and have some ice cream!

Regular posts resume tomorrow since I am going to take the day off to relax.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

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.

Another week with some fun reveals. We're getting into trailer reveal season for movies that have Oscar potential so I am especially excited for all of those coming up.

TV/MOVIES

Poster for Last Christmas

Everyone who reads this blog knows that I adore rom-coms. The second I heard about this one starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding I wanted to know more.

We now have the first official poster and it's pretty cute!




I hope it is as cute as I am expecting. I need a trailer to be released so that I can get a better sense of what this movie is going to be like.

First Trailer for Queen and Slim

Speaking of movies that have Oscar potential  .... the first trailer for Queen and Slim was recently released. It looks intense and really good.




Daniel Kaluuya look like he is giving a fantastic performance. I am going to be curious to see how the buzz builds for this one as festival season approaches.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Together We Caught Fire


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 Together We Caught Fire by Eva V Gibson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A forbidden attraction grows even more complicated when the guy Lane Jamison has crushed on for years suddenly becomes her step-brother in this sexy and gorgeously written debut novel about the lines between love, desire, and obsession.

What happens when the boy you want most becomes the one person you can’t have?

Lane Jamison's life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancée: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s secret, longtime crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend

Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metal working artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction.

Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.
I recently saw the deal announcement for this book and was immediately intrigued. It sounds like it'll be a great choice for those readers who love their young adult contemporary novels to be a little more gritty but still really romantic.

This doesn't come out until winter 2020 but I think it'll be a great book to help beat the winter blues.

Expected release date - February 11, 2020

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren



The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Release Date - May 14, 2019
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  395 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
Enemies to lovers has always been one of my favourite romance tropes. The whole 'I don't know if I want to hit you or kiss you' thing works especially well if you include some banter and electric chemistry between the characters. The Unhoneymooners has all of this and also manages to ignite your wanderlust.

Olive has always considered herself to be unlucky. Bad things happen to her all the time. Her twin sister on the other hand has all of the luck. This novel, however, looks at how much of what happens to us is because of our choices rather than luck or chance. Olive has to, eventually, examine some things within herself and her own behaviour. Owning up to your own actions is, at times, hard for people to do and I loved how this element was tackled here. It, ultimately, is a positive message of going after what you want, and making your own destiny.

Ethan and Olive's interactions spark with both their desire and hatred for each other. The sexual tension is there underneath the exasperation and impatience. It laces their conversations with extra meaning. They are the slowest of slow burns as a result, but it is entirely worth it when it finally does happen. They compliment each other really well and bring out things in the other that are healthy. Their connection felt really natural and they are one of my favourite couplings from any Christina Lauren book.

The inevitable obstacle that the couple must overcome was different than I anticipated it being. I thought that the story was going to go in one direction and it veers off into another. Resolving the obstacle in a romance novel can often feel rushed or unearned but that is not the case here. It felt appropriate and authentic to who all the characters were.

Hawaii, and the type of trip featured in this novel, seems incredibly romantic. I'll make you want to go visit the islands of Hawaii and fall in love. It offered a subtle backdrop that was used just enough to move the story forward and provide a tropical paradise in which romance blooms. It definitely made me eager to read more books set in this location.

This book is perfect for those who are just dipping their toe into the romance genre and perhaps want something a little tamer in the sex scene department to start off with. It, for me, read as more restrained than their other books while still being sexy. I enjoyed all the development that went into building the relationship between Ethan and Olive and how it all felt perfect for who these characters are.

Christina Lauren keeps releasing addictive, fun. flirty reads that are like little shots of endorphins. You're much happier when you've finished reading one of them than when you began. If you are romance reader and somehow haven't managed to pick one of their books up I strongly advise you do so immediately. You're missing out on some of the best romance novels out there and you'll thank me later.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

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.

The third season of Stranger Things is so close now! We're less than two weeks away and that means we're getting a TON of content. I am pretty much counting down the days until I can binge watch the third season and immediately want season four.

TV/MOVIES

Final Trailer For Season Three Of Stranger Things

This trailer has A LOT going on. So much. I am very worried about a lot of the characters after watching the two trailers that have been released. I am fairly certain Billy isn't making it out of this season, but there may end up being more casualties.


 


I love how badass Eleven gets to be here. I am glad that they are recognizing Will's connection to the Upside Down. This trailer was very much focused on the action and it seems like Netflix gave them a pretty big budget.

First Look Photos For Little Women

A new adaptation of Little Women will be released at the end of 2019 and Vanity Fair just released some first look photos that have been really intrigued.

My favourite, of course, is this one of Jo and Laurie.


Both actors look amazing and I am hoping we get a trailer soon so I can see what this movie might look like.

OTHER

Stranger Things Season Three Merchandise

As mentioned above the third season is quickly approaching and that means a ton of merchandise is being released. Target just unveiled a bunch of exclusive merchandise including these glasses.


I need an entire set. I love the Scoops Ahoy and Hawkins Pool ones so much. There is no Target's in Canada so if I can't get them shipped to me I may have to get my friend Kelly to get grab them and I'll get them next year when I see her at Book Expo.

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

Friday, June 21, 2019

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly


Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date - May 14, 2019
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl. 
It's easy to root for Cinderella. We want her to break free from her abusive home and find happiness. What of her stepsisters though? The cruel and mean women who taunted Cinderella? Are they worthy of change and redemption if they want it? Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly tackles these questions and looks at the infamous stepsisters through a more feminist viewpoint that I found refreshing, even if I felt disconnected with the book at times.

Isabelle is told that women should be kind, beautiful, patient and good. They shouldn't be loud. They shouldn't want so much. She's continuously compared to Cinderella and found lacking. This, naturally, stirs jealousy within Isabelle's heart and leads her down the path we find her on. It is a much more sympathetic view on the character because she's instantly relatable. Women are always told who they should be and what they should want. Isabelle dared to want something different for herself, and dared to want to make her own way and society judged her for it. The jealousy that seeps into this story isn't just Isabelle's however. The people who are assumed to be the charmed ones have issues of their own and perhaps are just as jealous. This story looks at the pressure that is put on women and how that, sadly, often dictates the relationships we have with one another.

 The character growth that Isabelle undergoes during her journey is really what made this book work for me. We see her change and become a better person as her story progresses. The changes feel earned and authentic for the type of character she is. It is the gradual realizations and self reflection that made the character endearing to me and the author ensured it was the focus.

There is a secondary storyline that features the characters of Fate and Chance and this is where the story lost me a bit. It sometimes felt like this part of the story was meant to be a different story entirely. It didn't mesh as seamlessly with Isabelle's main storyline even with them being connected in a lot of ways. The story, for me, would have been stronger without this particular element. The scenes featuring these characters often felt disjointed and thrown in. It, for me, took me out of the story I was enjoying too many times for me to fully enjoy the book overall.

Pacing was a bit of an issue for me overall. This book feels too short for it to effectively achieve all of what it is attempting, This is most evident in the Chance/Faith sections. It causes the book to feel uneven in a lot of parts. The characters are well crafted, and the story is interesting, but I don't think it was executed to its fullest potential.

Ultimately this ended up being a bit of a mixed read for me. There were elements of the novel that I felt really worked, and other elements that I felt distracted from the story and took the reader out of what was happening. I do applaud the message of not being afraid to forge your own path regardless of what society may expect of you and recommend it for those who have loved this previous author's work.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Royal Holiday


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 Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory makes her hardcover debut with a heartwarming Christmas romance. 

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie's work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can't refuse. She's excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn't expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain Private Secretary and his charming accent and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has been the Queen's Private Secretary for years and has never given a personal, private tour...until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy fling come New Year's Day...or are they?
This sounds like the perfect read to save to be enjoyed with a hot chocolate on a snowy December day (preferably after finishing up the holiday shopping). It seems like the perfect way to treat yourself after all of the hustle and bustle of the season.

Jasmine's books are always a fun read and I predict this one will be no exception.

Expected release date - October 1, 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Best Reads Of 2019 .... So Far


We are quickly approaching the midway point of the year and that means checking in on my reading progress and the books that have stood out so far.

I am always amazed at how fast the year is going whenever I decide to write one of these posts. It seems like it is flying by in particular this year.

I have not read nearly as much as I wanted to. I am already 8 books behind in my Goodreads challenge. I am hoping to refocus my attention on reading and the blog and making some progress this summer.

Taking a look at what books I have read this year has made me realize that I have become quite good at picking books that will appeal to me. I feel like my reading is made all the richer as a result. I still stray outside my comfort zone (especially if friends recommend a book) but feel like I genuinely know what books I will and will not enjoy. This has made picking my ten favourites even more difficult.

Here, in no particular order, are the ten books that have stood out to me during the first half of the year;

1. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

2. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

3. Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

4. The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

5. A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

6. You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn

7. Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

8. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

9. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

10. Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

All of the above books are linked to my reviews so you can discover exactly why they made my list if you so choose. Chase Darkness With Me is not currently reviewed so there is no link for that, but expect a review closer to release date.

I will be curious to see which books make it on to my year end list as the year continues! What book makes your own best of 2019 (at least so far) list? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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 was out of the country for most of the week so I was very much out of the loop with announcements and releases. However, there are a few things that came to my attention.

TV/MOVIES

Jessica Jones Final Season

The final season of Jessica Jones dropped while I was away. I haven't had a chance to watch any of it yet, but I am hoping to get to it soon. I am so glad to have another season to watch but sad that this is the final one.

Lucifer Renewed For Final Season

Netflix also renewed Lucifer for a final season and announced it with a poster for the fifth season.


I am sad it is ending but so thankful that it gets to end on its own terms. It gets to give us the ending the creators wanted to give the fans. I am excited to see what is next for Chloe and Lucifer after that STUNNING season four finale.

OTHER

Taylor Swift's New Album News

While I was out of the country Taylor Swift released a new single and news of her next album. It's called Lover and will be releasing August 23rd! The next single, You Need To Calm Down, is amazing and I have been listening to it on repeat since I got back.

The album cover is pretty amazing as well.


It has the cotton candy colour scheme that everything else Taylor has released recently has. It's soft and romantic which is what I hope this album is. I hope there are a ton of love songs on it.

I am excited to see the entire track list and to pick up the album on release day.


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

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