Thursday, September 19, 2019

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Release Date - September 3, 2019
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  528 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.
Serpent and Dove has pretty much everything a book lover could want. It has witches, forbidden romance, badass women, terrifying villains, and addictive writing.

The novel feels a little timeless in that it both feels old fashioned and modern at the same time. The church and the Chasseurs who hunt the witches feel historical, as does the expectations put on women (although the way women are treated also felt very timely as well at times) but the language and some details feel very current. It is this blend that makes the rest of the world building feel so authentic. I felt I could easily picture the setting of the story and the characters that inhabit it.

The witches and their magic systems are so well constructed. There are different categories of witches and each has a different relationship to magic. They access it differently and it manifests itself differently. I found myself fascinated by both the differences and similarities that exist. The magic elements are such a strong part of the world building and it makes the characters richer as a result. The witches themselves are portrayed as sexy and a little risque. This is, as expected, painted negatively by the Church so it is interesting to see the juxtaposition of how it is portrayed by each group.

Lou is a tough, determined, strong willed woman who has been through incredibly harrowing things. Her character is everything the Church says women should not be. She's too loud, too bold, too flirtatious, too inappropriate. She is a survivor and I loved her refusal to do what others expected of her. She is also fiercely loyal to those she loves but is not quick to give her trust.

Reid is, in many ways, a lot like Lou. He is stubborn in his beliefs. He is loyal to those he cares about. He carries around a lot of inner issues much like Lou does. He believes in something bigger than himself and that drives a lot of his decisions. His growth and the way in which he changes are some of my favourite parts of the novel.

The romance plays a big part in the story being told. It is forbidden romance at its best. It is electric and filled with its own kind of magic. There are secrets, lies, mistrust, and a pretty big personality clash that creates the tension a story like this needs but it is offset by all of the good that comes from this connection. They bring out things in each other and they are really respectful of each other without sacraficing who they are. It is a slow burn but it makes the moments between them connect just a little stronger with the reader.

I consider this novel to have two 'villains' and both of them are complex and, sort of, exist in a world of grey where nothing is presented in absolutes. The Church and The Chasseurs hunt and kill witches but not all of them are evil. We see that some are just a product of their teachings and believe lies they have been told. The other villain is too spoilery to talk about in full but they are equally layered and everything ties together with some delicious plot twists thrown in to make it evident that no side is good or evil. It all comes down to perception and morality. It made the antagonists more complex and also made for a more satisfying read.

If your looking for a paranormal read to get lost in I highly recommend this one. It will leave you instantly wanting to get your hands on the sequel and eager to read anything this author writes next. It is a page turner in the truest sense as I could not follow Lou on her journey fast enough

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Jack Kerouac Is Dead To Me

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 Jack Kerouac Is Dead To Me

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Fifteen-year-old JL Markham's life used to be filled with carnival nights and hot summer days spent giggling with her forever best friend Aubrey about their families and boys. Together, they were unstoppable. But they aren't the friends they once were.

With JL's father gone on long term business, and her mother suffering from dissociative disorder, JL takes solace in the in the tropical butterflies she raises, and in her new, older boyfriend, Max Gordon. Max may be rough on the outside, but he has the soul of a poet (something Aubrey will never understand). Only, Max is about to graduate, and he's going to hit the road - with or without JL.

JL can't bear being left behind again. But what if devoting herself to Max not only means betraying her parents, but permanently losing the love of her best friend? What becomes of loyalty, when no one is loyal to you?
My friend Kelly is a huge fan of Gae's books so I am lucky enough that this one came to be on my radar because of her fangirling over it when she finished reading it.

The synopsis sounds like it could be an emotional read and something that fans of contemporary young adult novels should have on their own radars.

This doesn't come out until spring next year, but you can find all of Gae's other books out now (and I have been told that they are equally as good).

Expected release date - April 7, 2020

Monday, September 16, 2019

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch
Release Date - August 27, 2019
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  560 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The thrilling sequel to These Rebel Waves—full of deadly magic, double crosses, and a revolution—from Sara Raasch, the bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series.

As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.

Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.

Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?

As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.
The Stream Raiders series is an enticing blend of action, magic, romance, and politics. The first book hooked me with its compelling characters and impressive world building so I was excited to get my hands on the sequel. Luckily the sequel not only offered more of what I loved but also a fitting, if rushed feeling, end to this series.

The time frame between reading the first and second novel was a long one for me and as a result I felt a little adrift when I first dove back into this series. I highly recommend reading the first book again if you are able prior to starting this one. I did eventually find my footing in the story again and once I did I was completely back into this world. The feeling of disjointedness was not helped by the switching of viewpoints during chapters. There are three main points of view and you would sometimes get all three during one chapter with nothing to differentiate them until you got a sense of the character voices. It made connecting back with the story a little harder at first, but eventually became something I barely noticed.

Those looking for a more pirate centric series may be a touch disappointed. Piracy is a small part of the world that has been created but the plot itself mostly dives into revolution, war, religious zealots, and its characters dealing with their pasts. It is, at times, a much darker read than the first book was. The war that was a possibility in book one is a probability in book two. There is torture and intense action scenes that make for a more heavy read.

The characters were a large part of why I loved the first book so much and that fact continues to be true in this sequel. Raasch manages to infuse so much into her characters and you come to care deeply for them. The romantic entanglements are some of the best I have read as well. The character shifts and arcs are subtle at times but so often richly rewarding. She allows the things that happen to the characters to impact them in meaningful ways. They carry that baggage around with them in a way that feels so authentic.

Lu and Vex are still some of my favourite characters from the ensemble. Lu's journey of making a sort of peace with what was done to her and the role that the people she cares about played in those events is heartbreaking. She struggles so much with the weight of the things she has done and you ache for her. Her wish for peace is something you desperately want for her. Her exhaustion is palpable even as she pushes forward. Vex's battle with his own body and the shaking sickness that plagues him is just as crushing as Lu's story. His anger and frustration steeps into every scene and interaction he has. All of the characters within this story stand out in some way but I found these two tugging at my heart a little bit more fiercely.

The world that has been created still enthralls me. The system of magic and the politics at play are both so nuanced and richly crafted that the reader could become engrossed simply because of them. I appreciated that world continued to be explored in this sequel and that the magic elements continued to evolve. It's a world filled with endless potential for spin off stories and still feels like one we've only just begun to explore.

The pacing of this novel becomes unsteady in the back half of the story. The ending, for me, felt rushed when compared to everything before it. The result is that the book feels a little less cohesive than I recall the first one being. The ending itself is satisfying but the way in which we reach it feels a little dizzying.

A duology that  boasts strong characters, incredible world building, and an imaginative story. Even though a had a few, mostly minor, issues with its ending I still highly recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of fantasy reads.

Saturday, September 14, 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 as not much was revealed. American Horror Story: 1984 starts next week which I am very excited about! Looking forward to sharing my recaps once it begins airing.


The Politician posters

I am excited about Ryan Murphy's first show for Netflix. It's a comedy about a man who wants to be President (at least from what I understand). They reently released some posters and I love them!

This show is making all kinds of promises and I am here for it. I love all three of main ones so much. I am excited to see Ben Platt in something new and am always here for Jessica Lange to come show everyone how acting is done. 

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... In Five Years

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 In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.
I loved The Dinner List so much that I was thrilled when it was announced that Rebecca's next book would also be an adult novel. The synopsis seems to point at this book bringing forth just as strong an emotional reaction as The Dinner List did.

I am loving the theme of Rebcca's books - questions that people tend to get asked at parties or on first dates - and how she plays with those questions. I also love that they hold just a little bit of magic in them as well.

Bookmark this one for your bookclubs because I think it is going to be perfect for discussion over a nice glass of wine (or beverage of your choice).

Expected release date - March 3, 2020

Saturday, September 7, 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 Mercy Trailer

The season of trailers for movies with Oscar potential is still upon us and the trailer for Just Mercy was just recently revealed. I have to say that it looks pretty good.

Michael B Jordan looks great in this and I could see it being something the Academy really latches on to.


New York City Comic Con Exclusive - Stranger Things

Funko has been unveiling their New York City Comic Con exclusives and they have one Stranger Things Funko being offered.

The moment between Suzy and Dustin towards the end of the season is perfection and I am excited to add her to my collection.

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
Release Date - July 2, 2019
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Four women learn their boss (a man who’s always been surrounded by rumors about how he treats women) is next in line to be CEO—what will happen when they decide enough is enough?

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are four women who have worked at Truviv, Inc., for years. The sudden death of Truviv's CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames is a complicated man, a man they’ve all known for a long time, a man who’s always been surrounded by...whispers. Whispers that have always been ignored by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching Ames’s latest promotion differently. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough.

Sloane and her colleagues set in motion a catastrophic shift within every floor and department of the Truviv offices. All four women’s lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

"If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened." 
Whisper Network is certainly a timely read that is a compulsively readable mix of a murder mystery with the frothy feel of a television drama. It has a familiar pattern of a group of women caught up in a mystery but also boasts plenty to say about feminism and what women experience in the work place.

Chandler Baker's writing is something that stood out to me. The pacing is part of what propels the reader to keep turning the pages. The parts that are supposed to be a bit snarky and funny hit just as hard as the mystery elements do. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what else this particular author writes in the future.

The book gets its title from a list that gets passed from woman to woman. It is a list of men and their bad behaviour towards women. It is a warning device so that women may be aware and used as a means to protect each other. I could instantly recognize the versions of this list that I have experienced in my own life - actual whispers to not be alone with this man, mentions of misdeeds from others. Women use things like this all over the world and I expect a large majority of us has had some form of warning like this while in the work place. This part of the novel, and the examination of the things women experience and put themselves through in the work place was what made the book work for me. The little aggressions about how women are supposed to balance careers and motherhood while still looking good and being sexy is something that will resonate with plenty of readers. It also highlights the ways in which we grapple with guilt or the lack thereof about everything from motherhood to relationships or how we feel about ourselves and others and how we think we should feel.

The books construction from its characters to the mystery at the heart of the book felt very similar to Big Little Lies to me. There are obvious differences but that comparison is there. I do think that the order in which someone reads them may impact their enjoyment. If you were experiencing this without having previously read Big Little Lies I expect your impression of this book would be quite different.

I could easily see this being a limited television series. I kept casting people in my head as I was reading. I kept picturing Richard Madden as Ames (it's probably the grey/white stripe in the hair). One of the characters felt perfect for Reese Whiterspoon to play and I kept picturing another as Nicole Kidman. This could be because of the previously mentioned similarities to Big Little Lies however. It is, however, something that you could easily see one of the streaming services picking up.

While I enjoyed The Whisper Network I did find myself not as invested due to similarities to other books I had read. The elements that set it apart were the most fascinating parts of the story and the writing itself ensured I remained invested. I do recommend it, and think it makes for a great book club pick. I particularly recommend it to those who may not read as much from this genre as I think they'll really enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... Docile

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 Docile by K. M. Szpara

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
There is no consent under capitalism 

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents' debts and buy your children's future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.
I was instantly drawn to the synopsis of this upcoming release. It also doesn't hurt that I was hearing buzz about this one almost right away.

It has a bit of a dystopian feel and seems like it'll plenty to discuss and dissect. I can easily see it being a book club favourite simply because it seems like it would provide an interesting conversation.

Expected release date - March 3, 2020

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up

It is time, once again, to check in with my monthly reading. August was the worst month for me yet but I did manage to read a couple books. I am hoping September goes much better for me.

To wrap up August ....

The books that were on my list are:

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)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (goodreads)
These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch (goodreads)
Interference by Harlow Cole (goodreads)
Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour (goodreads)

I managed to read three books this month which is horrible. I went to Orlando for a quick trip to Universal Studios and ended up getting really sick which sucked a lot of my time and energy.  Universal Studios was so much fun though. Here are some of my favourite photos from that trip:

I got to try butter beer, play quidditch with Harry and Ron, chase magical creatures with Hagrid, and escaped Gringotts! I picked up an official Hufflepuff scarf and was pretty much the happiest Harry Potter fan ever. The rest of the park was equally awesome though and I loved a lot of the rides (the Jimmy Fallon one is pretty fun, as is the Spiderman ride).

Here is what I actually managed to read in August:

Transcend by Jewel E Ann (goodreads)
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (goodreads)
These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch (goodreads)

Now moving on to what I hope to read in September. I have all new choices as I have to get in some books that are publishing this month. I am going to bring back the ones I didn't get a chance to read from previous months as soon as I can though.

American Royals by Katharine McGee (goodreads)
Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi (goodreads)
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee (goodreads)
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (goodreads)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)

I have some ebooks on my reading list this month as well. Just keeping it to the two I did not read last month. I am looking forward to getting to these as soon as I can.

Interference by Harlow Cole (goodreads)
Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour (goodreads)

I am currently reading The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker. I am enjoying it A LOT so far and will be counting it toward my September reading tally as I technically started it at the beginning of the month.

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.

Sunday, September 1, 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.

Sunday post this week is thanks to the nasty end of summer cold I got this week. I was pretty much in bed for two days straight and am now behind on pretty much everything. I expect that I caught something on the flight back from Orlando.


Cover of Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)

The sequel to The Bromance Book Club recently had it's cover revealed and it is just as fun as I expected it would be. This entire series has me really excited and I cannot wait to read the The Bromance Book Club and begin eagerly anticipating this sequel.

The animated style covers that have been popular with romance novels recently are some of my faves! They're cute and offer up something a little different.


American Horror Story: 1984 Trailer

The first official trailer for AHS: 1984 was recently released and it is giving me major slasher film vibes! I love the camp setting, and the obvious nods to some classic horror tropes.

I am expecting there to be two killers running around thanks to the casting reveal trailer BUT I think one is going to be more featured than the other. I cannot wait for the soundtrack this season!

The Aeronauts Trailer

Heights are not really my thing but this takes them to a whole new level. Some of the images are breathtaking and dizzying. I image it is going to look stunning in IMAX.

The plot also sounds interesting. I have no clue how accurate this is but I predict it'll be a fun, visually stunning film that will offer plenty of tense moments of the characters almost falling to their death.

Joker Final Trailer

This movie is going to be polarizing. It is going to have a bunch of strong opinions behind it (both for and against) and I predict there will be a ton written dissecting it. The trailer, however, indicates a beautifully shot, and incredibly acted movie. A, perhaps, controversial one.

We'll have to see what critics and fans think once it is released but I do like the grittier look of the trailer.

Joker Movie Poster

We also got a new poster to go along with the new trailer. We actually got a few but I love this new poster the most out of all of the new ones we got.


New Stranger Things Funkos

I enjoyed both Robyn and Alexi in this new season of Stranger Things. I was excited that Funko would be releasing Funko Pops for both of them in the next wave and both are featuring moments from the third season that are fan favourites.

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

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - My TIFF Choices

Fall film festival has begun. The Venice Film Festival is happening this week and TIFF is just around the corner. I had talked about some of the titles being showcased at TIFF that caught my eye when the first part of the schedule was revealed. The entire schedule has now been revealed so I figured I would share my top five movies that I would want to see at TIFF this year.

You can see the full list of movies that are being showcased and the schedule by visiting the TIFF website.

My choices for the five movies I would most like to see at TIFF:

1. Marriage Story

Marriage Story stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and tells the story of a marriage falling apart. There is quite a bit of buzz about this one and the dual his/her trailers are amazing.

2. Lucy In The Sky

This movie is, rumouredly, loosely based on a true story. Astronaut Lisa Nowak is who Natalie Portman's character is apparently based on. Lisa was charged with assaulting another woman who was the girlfriend of a man Lisa had an affair with.  Natalie's performance, based solely on the trailer, looks incredible.

3. Judy

This seems like a very straightforward biopic but Renee is giving what appears to be a noteworthy performance. I also am excited to see Finn Wittrock in something different than what he usually gets to do with Ryan Murphy. I am really hoping for this to be good.

4. Joker

Rumour is that Joaquin Phoenix is going to blow everyone away with his performance in this movie. It certainly doesn't look like the usual comic book fare. It seems to have more in common with King of Comedy or Falling Down than any Batman movie I've seen. It certainly looks like Joaquin is giving a mesmerizing performance. I am mainly curious as to what comic book fans are going to think of this highly unusual, and perhaps Oscar worthy, comic book movie.

5. Knives Out

This murder mystery looks like it is going to be a ton of fun. It may end up being the more popcorn fare that is counter programming to all of the Oscar releases that normally pepper November. It will probably end up being perfect Thanksgiving watching for people visiting their parents. Chris Evans looks to be having a blast! I love every scene of his in this trailer. 

What movies that are being shown at TIFF would you most want to be able to see if you could attend the festival? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... Chosen

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 Chosen by Kiersten White

** Spoilers for Slayer**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right? 

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my all time favourite shows. I was originally hesitant to read the first book in this series but I ended up loving it a lot. It's a perfect blend of nostalgia and something new.

I am now excited to see where Nina's journey takes her (and hopefully see more of her and Leo) next and what other cameos may happen in this sequel.

Expected release date - January 7, 2020

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date - June 25, 2019
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?
You never know what someone might be struggling with or facing behind the persona they present in public. There is always more to the story than the rumours that swirl, and the truth is usually different than you think it is. Call It What You Want To looks at the ways in which we don't really see others, the ways in which we hide things from others, and how our mistakes don't need to define who we are.

Rob and Maegan, much like all of Kemmerer's other characters, are complex and authentic. They are, for me, a perfect example of what characters in a young adult novel should feel like. They are dealing with issues and problems that are just as complex as they are and that radiates through the characterization. There isn't a perfect solution or answer to the things they are facing. There is no right way to act in their situations and that makes for some interesting, and dynamic relationships. Even though they are going through some pretty adult circumstances these characters always feel like the teenagers they are. They cannot do this alone and that is evident throughout the entire book. There are adults who are there to help them. It was nice to see teen characters not having to deal with everything on their own.

This is about that is partially about mistakes and the ways in which they can define us, but also how the perception of others defines us. Rob's painted with the actions of his father and begins to act out to become what everyone says he is. Maegan made a mistake and is dealing with how it changed people's perspective of her and carrying that with her going forward. It paints these characters and their actions as neither good nor bad. It's this murky middle ground where things are not so easily definable and that resonates into the entire premise of the story.

The theme of things not being black and white weaves itself into all the side characters as well. There are a few characters who could have been cliches. They could have easily been one note villains but care was taken to show them as just as complex and layered as the story around them. People are not all one thing and sometimes perspective matters. The book asks if you can do the wrong thing for the right reason and that is integral to a lot of the plot within these pages. Plenty of the plot points are things that feel like they should have a definitive right or wrong answer, and we are continuously reminded that life doesn't always work that way. Things can be messy and there are varying degrees to things. The book really embraces those nuances and looks at all angles of a situation rather than just presenting it one way.

This could be a book that had an issue with too much going on. There is a lot to unpack here from the aftermath of an attempted suicide, an embezzlement scandal, bullying, teen pregnancy, and academic cheating. It could have easily gone into a territory where it felt too crowded, or unrealistic that it would all be contained within this one story. Kemmerer's writing, however, meshes it together perfectly. Each of these situations is nuanced and layered in a way that make them feel entirely believable.

Those who have read Kemmerer's other contemporary novels will absolutely love this one, as will those who are just reading her for the first time. Her contemporary novels nail a realistic, complex feel that comes naturally. I highly recommend any of her books, but particularly suggest her contemporary to those who love the genre.

Sunday, August 25, 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.

Sunday post this week thanks to a really quick trip to Orlando. I am probably behind on so many things but here is what is making me excited this week.


A Marriage Story Trailers And Posters

This movie already had Oscar buzz before the release of the trailers but after watching both of these I think it might be warranted.

This is a story of a marriage crumbling and these trailers managed to make me invested in these characters. I also love the 'his and hers' marketing that they are doing for this.

Along with  these two trailers we get two movie posters that compliment each other. These seem to reflect a west coast / east coast vibe. Nicole is California and Charlie is New York, maybe?

I love the colour palette used for these two posters. They both invoke a specific feeling and I imagine that is going to come into play in the movie as well. It's high up on my list of movies to check out during Oscar season.

El Camino Trailer

I am both excited for and terrified of this movie being a thing. I loved Breaking Bad. It is easily one of my top five television shows EVER. Jesse Pinkman remains one of my favourite characters from a television show. I am one of those people who think that revivals/continuations/etc are a double edged sword. You are getting more of something you love BUT it has a high chance of being disappointing or ruining what you loved so much about the show in question

This trailer seems like it is going to answer the question of what happened to Jesse Pinkman after the events of Breaking Bad and I have such a detailed head cannon of what I wanted for that character that I am probably going to be disappointed in anything else (he better have kept driving that car all the way to Alaska and became a carpenter). I do, however, trust Vince Gilligan and the rest of his team to create something amazing. We'll see how it all plays out but I really don't want Jesse Pinkman to suffer anymore, he did that enough.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mini Hiatus

I am off to Orlando for a few days to visit Universal Studios with family so that means a mini hiatus from the blog.

Regular posts will resume next week but you can expect a Weekly Obsessions post this weekend (Sunday most likely).

Hope everyone has a good rest of the week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Yes No Maybe So

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 Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance. 

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely. 
Becky Albertalli always writes really cute and adorable books. I have pretty much loved everything I have read from her so I was immediately interested in checking out what her new co-written book is about. I haven't read anything from Aisha Saeed yet but I am excited to discover her style and how her and Becky's writing meshes together.

The premise sounds really adorable and it'll be out just in time to read for Valentine's Day.

Expected release date - February 4, 2020

Sunday, August 18, 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 Sunday post. A lot of trailers to share this week and a new podcast that I am absolutely loving.

I binged the second season of Mindhunter and absolutely loved it. I am debating reviewing it so you might see one on here next week.

Speaking of next week... this might be a little sparse as I am heading to Orlando for two days and it is going to be a quick, packed week but I am going to do my best to have regular posts on the blog.


Trailer For Little Women

This trailer had been much anticipated by fans of not just the actors involved but Greta Gerwig as well. It was finally released and was well worth the wait.

Those who are fans of Little Women seems to really love the trailer. I was certainly charmed by it and cannot wait to go see this. As long as it is showing in Ottawa on Boxing Day I think that is going to be how I spend the afternoon after Christmas.

Trailer For Last Christmas

This trailer certainly garnered a lot of discussion on Twitter for various reasons. I'll let you watch it before getting into my thoughts.


So I have a specific theory about Henry Golding's character and none of them are indicative of a happy ending for this movie. I wanted a cute holiday rom-com and I think we're getting something else entirely. I am pretty sure it is going to have more in common with It's A Wonderful Life than people were anticipating. The script was apparently inspired by the Wham! song Last Christmas.  Unrelated side note - how charming is Henry Golding in this?!

Last Christmas Poster

The poster for Last Christmas was also revealed and it's super cute. It makes me wish we were getting the rom-com I wanted this to be.

The tag line makes me even more convinced we're getting something more in line with It's A Wonderful Life.


Lover By Taylor Swift

Taylor released another song from her upcoming album and it is PERFECTION. It is romantic, and sweet and exactly what I hoped this album would have on it.

It's got some amazing lyrics but these may just be my favourite:
And there's a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you, dear
Have I known you 20 seconds or 20 years?
They capture so perfectly the kind of connection people want to have. It's a beautiful song.

You Must Remember This Podcast (link)

I came across this podcast after having it recommended to me and I am absolutely obsessed. It's a podcast that tells the 'secret or forgotten history of Hollywood's first century' as the host, Karina Longworth, explains at the opening of every episode

Anyone who is into Hollywood, particularly classic Hollywood, should listen to this. It's well researched, well presented and edited, and entirely entertaining. It's made me want to watch some of the movies discussed, read some of the books mentioned, and dive deeper into stories being told.

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Books I Cannot Wait To Read This Fall

How is it almost the end of August? This summer seems to have flown by. We're about two weeks away from the end of the month and with it comes my favourite time of year. I cannot wait for cozy blankets, pumpkin spice everything, beautifully coloured leaves, and sweater weather. It's honestly my favourite season and for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is that it is the best time for amazing books, movies, and television. We're typically treated to an abundance of goodness during this time from all of our entertainment sources and I cannot wait to dive in.

There are some books that I already have on my radar and that I think should be on your radar too! I am going to share the ten that I am, perhaps, the most excited about.

1 The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

New Orleans, vampires, and a murder mystery. Enough said but throw in the fact that it is also a historically set novel and I am fully on board. I am so glad that vampires seem to be making a comeback and cannot wait to see Renee's take on them.

2 Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The fact that this is written by Leigh Bardugo is kind of enough for me to want to read this one. That is also happens to be her adult debut is just icing on the already tempting cake. This one is about secret societies, the occult, and what seems like possible supernatural/paranormal components (if I hear correctly). It is basically perfect for October.

3 American Royals by Katharine McGee

What if instead of a President America had their own version of royalty? That is the exact premise of this new book from Katharine McGee. Her books usually have a lot fun drama, and some great twists. It'll be perfect for those wanting to offset all the horror, and spooky entertainment on offer during the season.

4 The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

A romance novel with the fantastic premise of a guy joining an all male romance reading book club in an attempt to save his failing marriage. It sounds funny, fun, and entirely unique.

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

A forbidden romance between a witch and a witch hunter was the big draw to this book for me. It also doesn't hurt that this will be perfect for Halloween with witches and magic taking the main focus.

6 Crier's War by Nina Varela

Automae have risen against their human owner's and humans now serve them. Naturally an Automae and a human are falling in love and a rebellion/war might be brewing. This sounds like a fantastic start to a series that could be filled with action, adventure, and romance.

7 Capturing The Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

The final installment in the Stalking Jack The Ripper series that is basically made for the Halloween season. This one take some true crime inspiration in the form of H. H. Holmes and offers up a Chicago setting this time.

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

This series takes famous rom-coms and gives them a twist. This is inspired by "How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days" and is the start of a series of companion novels. It sound fun and again offers something for those not into all of the spooky stuff on offer during this time period.

9 Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

I have loved all of Jasmine Guillory's other books and I am confident that this is going to be no exception. A story of a woman who goes with her daughter (who we've met in previous books) to Europe for a work trip and ends up falling for the private secretary for the royal family is sure to be the perfect way to end a day of holiday shopping. I cannot wait to read this and get into the holiday spirit.

10 Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away With Murder and Behaving Very Badly by Jake Brennan

I love the Disgraceland podcast and this book that will look at both musicians covered on the podcast and those haven't been is going to be perfect for anyone interested in true crime. Jake's writing is so good on the podcast that I have no doubts this is going to be amazing.

What books are you most excited to read this fall? Any of mine make your own list? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Anna K

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

I also realize it is Thursday but this did not post properly yesterday and I wanted to make sure I shared it. Sorry for the delay.

This week's pick is Anna K by Jenny Lee

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna's brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
I have another retelling to share today! This time it is a retelling of Anna Karenina that comes with a fun cover and a delightful synopsis. I love the more modern take and the New York setting.

This book doesn't release until March so we have a bit of wait, but I expect it'll be perfect to bring on those winter breaks.

Expected release date - March 3, 2020

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen
Release Date - August 13, 2019
Publisher Website - Sourcebooks / Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn't have an ending. The killer was still out there.

But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer and author of I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops had given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.

You'll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You'll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle McNamara's pursuit of the Golden State Killer and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown Four. And Billy gives you the tools―and the rules―to help solve murders yourself.

Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true-crime narrative unlike any you've read before.
This is a story of a true crime journalist who went from reporting on unsolved cases to helping solve them. Anyone who has a interest in true crime has probably heard the name Billy Jensen before. Maybe it is from his work helping to finish the brilliant Michelle McNamara's book on the Golden State Killer, or perhaps you are a Muderino and know of him thanks to Karen and Georgia, or perhaps you are familiar with his work on Crime Watch Daily.  The point is that he, obviously, has a lot of experience. It is this experience combined with his passion that makes Chase Darkness With Me so compelling.

The first thing that grabbed me about this book was the voice. There is a fair amount of humour mixed in and I feel like the reader really gets a sense for who Billy is. If you listen to his podcast, The Murder Squad, you'll immediately notice that Billy writes like he talks. This is someone confident in his voice as a writer and that makes for a strong read.

There is also an empathy that steeps out of the pages of this book. Billy is a man who cares deeply about the victims and the loved ones trying to get answers. You get the impression that some of these cases haunt him because of how much he cares. Any voyeristic or sensational tendencies that true crime tends to lean to are stripped away.

Billy takes the reader through various cases he has worked on and the different methods he used to try to solve them. Most fascinating is the way that Billy uses targeted ads to help solve cases. The same algorithms and technology that helps companies target potential customers is also being used to get particular details about a crime in front of the right people.

It's a must read for anyone with an interest in the true crime genre and entirely different from most of the books you would have read. It's a fascinating, and engaging, look at the good one man tries to do and the cases he's helped solve in a way that shines a light on how we look at and discuss true crime. It highlights the work that still needs to be done and gives the reader to tools to safely, effectively, and most important, ethically help if they so wish.

Billy has said before that the villains in true crime are so often the focus because they are larger than life but we need to shine a light on the heroes. He's pointed to Paul Holes as one such hero. I suspect that Billy would be too modest to consider himself to be among the heroes but this book proves exactly that. Billy's passion, dedication, and drive to help not just solve unsolved cases, but to also be an advocate for victims everywhere makes him one in my opinion. Thank you, Billy for not only striving to make the world a little bit safer but for being a voice for the voiceless.

Saturday, August 10, 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.

Mindhunter season two releases on August 16th and that is pretty much all I care about right now (other than Succession returning this weekend for its second season).


Mindhunter Season Two Trailers

Netflix has released both a teaser and full length trailer for the upcoming second season.  Both are incredible and only make me want to watch the next season immediately.

I especially love our first looks at some of the new serial killers being interviewed. This show's casting is always spot on when it comes to the interview subjects.

I was particularly glad to see Cameron Britton back as Ed Kemper. He and Holden are going to have lots to discuss after that first season finale.

Succession Season Two Trailer

Succession is returning this weekend and I could not be more happy. I was late to season one and didn't watch it until after the season had already aired so I am excited to be part of the conversation each week for this season.

Everyone in this show is horrible. I have seen it described as Game of Thrones in boardrooms but everyone is a Lannister and that is pretty accurate. 

The finale of season one was bananas in the best possible way so I am excited to see where the story goes in season two. I am laughing already at the Cousin Greg and Tom scene. I also look forward to see Kieran Culkin deliver another amazing performance (still bitter that he is not up for an Emmy this year).

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

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