Thursday, January 31, 2019

My Sinemia Experiment: Month Six



I cannot believe I am already half way through this little experiment of mine. Month six of my "Year Of Sinemia' was all about getting to see those movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that I hadn't already seen. This will be the first year that I have seen all of the nominees before the ceremony and that is entirely because of signing up for Sinemia.

January is usually not a great month for movies. There doesn't tend to be a lot of them released and the ones that are never really seem to grab my attention. I am lucky that it can sometimes take forever for Ottawa to get some of the smaller movies so I was able to see a lot of movies that had limited releases in December and finally made their way to a theater near me in January. 

The three movies I saw in January with my Sinemia account were Vice, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Green Book (which I will technically be watching the day this post goes up).


I loved If Beale Street Could Talk. It's such a beautifully made film and incredibly well acted. It was by far my favourite of the three that I saw this month (and I say this without seeing Green Book). I am only seeing Green Book to complete my watch of all the Oscar nominees. It, and Roma, are the only two I have not seen yet and I intend to watch Roma very soon.

My savings for this month was $17.86 after taking the convenience fees into consideration. This brings my grand total savings up to $137.64 (last month's total was $119.78). I can easily see me saving over $200 by the end of the year. It makes signing up again seem like a good idea. I'll reassess closer to the end of my membership.

My experience with the app this month has been really positive. I had no issues again this month. I am almost afraid to hope that their bugs have mostly been sorted out. It's been perfect for two months in a row now so I am, obviously, waiting for it to get bad again. The worst part of this experiment for the month of January was going out in the freezing cold to see a movie. It's been a really bad month weather wise with the cold and huge amounts of snow so it hasn't made going out appealing. 

As previously mentioned the movies for February are not looking much better than the ones releasing in January so I may have to get creative in order to not lose any of my three movies. Sinemia may have actually helped me with my dilemma. Sinemia has recently announced a roll over option which I might test out. Apparently one of your movies can roll over into the next month. March has a lot of amazing ones coming out so I might try to save one to use on one of those instead of just going to something for the sake of going to something. 

What movies are you excited about this year? Anything I should keep on my radar? What movie do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Serious Moonlight


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 Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
This book sounds like such a fun read. It has romance, a mystery, and a hotel setting. It also happens to be written by Jenn Bennett whom I have heard amazing things about but have not yet read one of her books. This sounds like the perfect one to start with!

It comes out in April, so only a couple months to wait and luckily this author has some already released books for you to catch up on if you like the sound of this one.

Expected release date - April 16, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hollywood Playboy by Natasha Madison


Jessica

An entertainment journalist was the last thing I thought I would be doing.

I thought once I got my degree, I would be reporting on stories that made a difference, but now all I do is report on who broke up with who and who is dating who.

I was over it.

Then I got my next assignment.

He’s Hollywood’s bad boy.

He works hard, and he plays even harder.

He’s rude, he’s condescending, and he’s made it known he doesn’t want me on the tour.

With one month on the road with him, two things might happen

One, I may never work in this industry again.

Two, I may just be like everyone else and fall for Hollywood’s Playboy.



 
         AVAILABLE NOW



When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...



***************************************************************************************************************************

Hollywood Playboy by Natasha Madison
Release Date - January 29, 2019
Pages -  261 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Hollywood set romances are an immediate must read for me. I am also a huge fan of the 'enemies to lovers' trope. Needless to say, I was instantly intrigued when I saw the details for Natasha Madison's latest. It mixed the Hollywood setting, the 'enemies to lovers' trope with some hot chemistry, and some intriguing characters.

Jessica  is a sassy intelligent woman who knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go out and get it. She's a character who is easy to relate to and just as easy to root for. She's had to grow a thick skin because of her job but that just makes her all the more interesting. She stands up for herself, and doesn't take anything from anyone. She can dish it out just as well as she can take it. I also appreciated the more vulnerable side that she got to show. It made her feel like a character who was well crafted and more layered.

Tyler, on the outside, seems like the typical Hollywood bad boy. That would be true if you only read what is being said about him. There is great care taken to show that he is more complex than it first appears. He grows on you in much the same way he grows on Jessica. The reader is introduced to the story from Jessica's point of view, and that means the reader connects with her first. It also means that it takes just a little longer to appreciate Tyler. There is a hint of some alpha male characteristics, but not enough to infuriate me. He's a good balance of sweet, protective, and supportive. It also helps that Jessica does put him in his place when those characteristics do pop up.

Jessica and Tyler's romance may have 'Hollywood' as the background but their connection seems realistic rather than the stuff of movies. They bond while at the gym. The time they spend together is much more low key than I anticipated going into this novel. It makes for a more grounded relationship between the two of them that feels authentic. This book could have had the epic stuff of movie love stories, but I found it offered something much more real. There is still the odd scene that feels straight out of a movie, but even those felt a little more obtainable. The more 'Hollywood' stuff is saved for the plot rather than making it a focus in their relationship.

This book also has the side effect of unexpectedly igniting your wanderlust. The press tour takes them to some amazing sounding destinations and the scenes that feature the locations in a prominent, touristy way made me want to go plan a trip of my own. The element isn't a huge focus, it is more just sprinkled in, but the use is entirely effective and creates a wonderful backdrop for a love story. 

Those who love companion novels as much as I do will delight in meeting the character who will be the focused on the second novel in this series, Hollywood Princess. She's a delight and I cannot wait to get to know her better. The tease of her given in this novel gives the reader plenty of incentive to grab the next book and experience her love story. 

If you're looking for a fun, sexy read that offers up a look at Hollywood movie promotion, entertainment journalism, and a whirlwind romance. It's exactly what romance readers love in a book and I highly recommend it, especially for those how love a little Hollywood glitz with their romance.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Slayer by Kiersten White



Slayer by Kiersten White
Release Date - January 8, 2019
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  404 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Into every generation a Slayer is born…

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

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

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

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

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

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
It would be an understatement to say I was excited when the details of Slayer were announced. A story set in the Buffy universe and featuring an all new slayer? It instantly became a must read for me. I was even happier to discover that it not only hit that nostalgic sweet spot but offered up an intriguing story with an equally intriguing heroine.

The nostalgia elements are going to be the initial draw to this book. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are going to seek this out simply because of the brand recognition. Those fans, luckily, will not be disappointed. The thrill of recognizing a reference made the experience of reading this incredibly fun. The familiar last names, beloved characters we get to see again, mentions of plot points that pull at our hearts. It creates an instant connection to the world that feels effortless. The nods to the source material never felt heavy handed or squeezed into the story. It felt organic and used sparingly. Those who have not read the comics that continued the series should be aware that the events of those comics are cannon to the universe and therefore part of the backstory to this novel. I do, however, think that you can jump into this without having read those comics and not feel like you're missing anything. This book does a fantastic job of filling in the backstory just enough so that the story works. Those who have never seen Buffy could even just right in (but it would be shame because they would miss out on so many amazing references).

Those worried that this wouldn't work without the Buffy connection will be relieved to know that it has a plot that could easily stand on its own. It is a story that uses the tropes of its genre to great impact and has all of the heart, humour, and snark that you could want. Nina's story really is a coming of age one ... it just also happens to involve monsters.

Kiersten White knows the Buffy universe. She knows how the world her character's inhabit works. Her writing has the fantastic one liners that the show is known for. It has the humour and wit that made Buffy herself so appealing. Nina isn't a carbon copy of Buffy but she has a sense of humour all  her own and the writing itself has the essence of the show all over it. As a fan of the television show reading this felt like reconnecting with old friends. It was comforting in a way that anything that invokes nostalgia is and that is because it captures what made Buffy so captivating.

Nina is a girl who never wanted to be a slayer. She, in fact, is more drawn to helping and healing. She wants nothing more than to continue her education as a medic. Fate, however, pushes her down a different path. Her journey of discovering what being a slayer means on her own terms is an empowering one. That message of female empowerment that Buffy is known for is carried on within these pages. Nina's self doubt and missteps while finding her way will be all to recognizable to anyone who went through, or is going through, the processing of growing up. Her impulses to heal and protect as well as the inner call to action and violence makes Nina a very interesting slayer and one I am excited to follow on her journey.

This story has a very 'Watcher' slant to the narrative. Nina is at the Watcher's Academy. Her family is part of the Council. We see everything through the lens of this group. It paints Slayers in a different light than what I had previously considered. Part of that journey was confronting how their actions, Buffy's in particular, would seem to this group. I was always Team Buffy when it came to whatever was happening with the Watchers but this provided something to think about. It didn't change my opinion (for a variety of reasons) but you can see, particularly through Nina, how things might look and why she would see it a certain way.

There is a romance within these pages and the less I say about it the better. It, however, has the potential to be just as heartbreaking, captivating, and romantic as the one between Buffy and Angel. It has so much potential that I am hoping this story arc continues in the subsequent books that will come in this series.

A new Slayer's journey begins and I could not be happier to be back in this world. Kiersten White's managed to create something that both scoobies and newbies alike will devour. I'll be eagerly anticipating when I can return to this story a

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... The Unhoneymooners


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

This week's pick is The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancĂ© 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.
The Queens of Romance are back with another delightful sounding read that is going to be perfect for your beach tote this summer.

The enemies to lovers trope is always a favourite of mine and  the setting for this one would make it an instant read for me even if it wasn't written by some of my favourite romance authors.

Excitedly waiting for when I can get my hands on this one!

Expected release date - May 14, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 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.

Lots of exciting things being revealed this week! I am especially excited that covers for books coming out in fall 2019 are starting to be revealed!

BOOKS

Cover of Renee Ahdieh's The Beautiful (goodreads)

This book has shown up on my blog a few times already but I am excited that it now has a cover!



I think this fits the synopsis perfectly and is really pretty! It fits the vampire theme and catches your attention. I am so excited to get my hands on this one!

Cover of Victoria Aveyard's Broken Throne (goodreads)

I loved the Red Queen series so I am really excited that Victoria is returning to that world for a collection of short stories to finish off the series.


The cover is just as amazing the previous ones in the series. I love that it has a different colour palette than the main series while still matching it.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Spider-man: Far From Home

This trailer promises as much fun as the Homecoming trailer did and manages to make the idea of a Spider-man movie that takes place outside New York seem like a good one.



I love the bit with Flash Thompson at the end. Tom Holland is a perfect Peter Parker and Spider-man so I am excited we get to see him in another movie.

Lords Of Chaos Trailer

The amazing podcast Disgraceland made me aware of this story that will appeal to any other Murderinos out there. It is beyond messed up and the trailer only starts to capture that.


I wasn't sure what to make of this when I first saw the trailer. This happened in Norway and those are American accents I hear. However, the reviews I have read are largely positive and I think the story could make an interesting movie if done well.

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

Cover Reveal: Handle With Care by Helena Hunting


Today I get to help reveal the cover for Helena Hunting's new book titled Handle With Care.

I think it's super cute and I cannot wait to find out more about this book. 


It releases August 27th and it is the next book in her Shacking Up series. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads so you can find out more details (including a synopsis) as the release date nears. 

I also get to share an excerpt with you today. It's a fun one!


You can now pre-order Handle With Care from pretty much all major retailers and at any of the following links right now.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She's writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Social Media Links:

Author Web Site
Facebook
Twitter

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd



The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd
Release Date - March 6, 2018
Publisher Website - Harlequin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**borrowed from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Twenty years ago, Dennis Danson was arrested and imprisoned for the brutal murder of a young girl. Now he’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a frenzy online to uncover the truth and free a man who has been wrongly convicted.

A thousand miles away in England, Samantha is obsessed with Dennis’s case. She exchanges letters with him, and is quickly won over by his apparent charm and kindness to her. Soon she has left her old life behind to marry him and campaign for his release.

When the campaign is successful and Dennis is freed, however, Sam begins to discover new details that suggest he may not be quite so innocent after all.

But how do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?

The winner of the Daily Mail First Novel Competition, Amy Lloyd’s The Innocent Wife is gripping psychological suspense from a brilliant new voice in crime fiction.
Fans of true crime novels will instantly be drawn to The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd. It features a woman who falls for a man convicted of murdering a young girl. It also has loose comparisons to the West Memphis Three case and an enticing premise. It basically has all the elements of a really good mystery but I found it worked better as a study of these characters.

Sabrina is a woman who gives up pretty much everything in her life to go be with a man who she feels is wrongfully convicted of a murder. The press surrounding the case, the celebrity supporters, the huge documentary film all serve to create her fascination with the case and eventual interest in Dennis. I found Sabrina's character fascinating. She struggles with self esteem, insecurity, and other issues. She's incredibly brave at times and I admired that side of her. She also takes risks and does things without fully thinking them through which could tie back to her mental health issues. She, obviously, makes some really bad choices in this book and I ended up wanting to protect her from herself a lot of the time.

Dennis, for me, was never as charming as the novel says he is. I think if the reader had gotten to read some more of his letters, or experiencing them interacting more before his release, it would have helped. I also immediately distrusted him because of the synopsis. The book telegraphs pretty hard that he is not what he first appears to be. There could have been an interesting story of Dennis trying to readjust to a society that had changed greatly while he was imprisoned and the added mystery elements were mostly, for me, just a distraction.

There are large sections that are filled with the awkwardness of being married to someone that you don't really know. Dennis and Samantha would have put their 'best selves' forward in their letters and visits with one another. Interacting without all of the other background noise is entirely different and spending large amounts of time with someone is different than seeing them occasionally or communicating in words. The novel captures a heightened version of what I imagine it would be like to marry someone you've only gone on three or four dates with. I felt these elements of the story fascinating. The character elements of the story were much stronger than the actual plot and I felt like the story could have easily focused on this without the added twists.

The first half of the novel worked better for me than the latter half. The tension felt like it was building only to never crescendo. I was invested in the characters, particularly Samantha, which made the book much more gripping in the first half. I cared about what was happening to them, and the book lost a little of that when we knew where it was going to go in the second half.

This didn't work as well for me as a mystery but it did work better as a character study of Samantha. The plot beats are predictable, but enjoyable enough to have kept my interest. The end twist did not work for me at all because it felt disjointed from the rest of the novel. I expect that those who have an interest in true crime will especially enjoy this one though and do think it's worth the read.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Her Royal Highness


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 Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel Royals, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins.

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can't believe her luck when she's accepted into one of the world's most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille's roommate Flora is a total princess.

She's also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other--Flora is both high-class and high-key--but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn't a fairy tale . . . or is it?

This second book in Rachel Hawkins' fun, flirty Royals series brings a proud perspective to a classic romance.
I loved the first book, Prince Charming (previously titled Royals), and was excited to hear that there would be a companion novel featuring a character I loved in the first book.

The book is set in a boarding school which automatically makes it a must read for me. It also sounds pretty funny and romantic. I am excited to read all about Mille and Flora's love story and see how they go from hate to love!

It's May release date ensures that it'll be a perfect pool side summer read.

Expected release date - May 7, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

My Sinemia Experiment: Month Five



Month five of my "Year Of Sinemia' experiment was interesting when added to the general holiday craziness that always ensues. I was able to use all of my passes for the month though and saw some great movies. 

This month's wrap up will be shorter than previous ones. December was seriously a blur thanks to how buzy I was and the movies were just a nice escape from that for me. It was nice to use my passes as a way to unwind from the stress so I discovered that extra bonus this month!

The three movies I saw in December with my Sinemia account were A Star Is Born (again), The Favourite, and Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse


I had already seen A Star Is Born (obviously) but I wanted to go see it in IMAX when they did the re-release and added the special 'making of' featurette (yup, I am THAT person). I also saw The Favourite which I loved so much. It's a darkly funny movie that featured some great performances. I also loved Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse. It is my personal pick for the Animated Feature Oscar. It's not just a great Spiderman movie, but a great superhero one as well.

My savings for this month was $25.10 after taking the convenience fees into consideration. This brings my grand total savings up to $119.78 (last month's total was $94.68). I am saving quite a bit but I have basically acknowledged that my concession spending really negates any savings I am getting on the ticket price. 

The good thing about this month of Sinemia? Basically no tech issues. I booked all of the tickets without incident and I was able to check in with zero issues. I am (perhaps naively) hoping this means they've begun to sort out their app. It's been a pretty good experience on my end compared to some of the others I have heard about so I am thankful for that at least.

As we close in on a half a year I am starting to consider if I'll sign up again for another year. It's still too early for me to decide, but I know I have enjoyed going to the movies. It think it would be hard to go back to not going as often.

I've already used two of my Jan tickets this early in the year. I have been catching up on some likely Oscar contenders that have finally made their way into Ottawa. I am excited to share more about them in my next round up!

February looms with even less choices of movies than Jan. I need some serious recommendations for movies I should go see next month. Let me know what you're excited for in February in the comments.



Saturday, January 12, 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.

We're a little bit into 2019! Hope the new year has been treating everyone well.

I have a few fun things to share this week. Super excited about these new shows that are coming our way (hopefully) soon.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Sarah Michelle Gellar Return To Television

Deadline reports that Sarah Michelle Gellar will star in the limited series Sometimes I Lie. It's adapted from the book by Alice Feeney. It sounds like a twisty thriller and I cannot not wait to read the book and see this show! I have always been a huge fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar's work and I cannot wait to see her in this.

Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse Comes To Netflix

Deadline also reports that Netflix has ordered a series based on the Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows novels by Leigh Bardugo. I loved these books and I think there is so much potential for a really good series to made from them.

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory



The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Release Date - October 30, 2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  327 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn't turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own...

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...
Whenever I turn to a romance novel it is usually because I am looking for something fun to read. I want something that is going to have a guaranteed happy ending and, hopefully, make me laugh. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory was a delight to read from start to finish in a way that really good romance novels are, and had the added bonus of offering up some amazing characters as well.

It starts with an embarrassing proposal. The kind of proposal that would instantly become a viral sensation on the internet. This sets the tone for the entire book. It's a book with a lot of humour, a lot of awkwardness that the characters have to work through, but also a lot of heart.

Those who have read The Wedding Date will be happy to see Carlos, best friend of Drew, return. He was a stand out in that novel and, happily, only gets better the more we get to know him. Men in romance novels can sometimes aggravate me if they are too 'protective' of the women in their life. They can be suffocating and act like a woman cannot have her own agency. This is why I am not a huge fan of the alpha male character type. Carlos is the right balance between being caring and supportive. He's one of the sweetest love interests I've encountered in romance novels, and I love that his kindness extends to all those he cares about.

Nikole is a fun, confident character that leaves you a little in awe of her. She is allowed to have moments of vulnerability but the reader never doubts how capable she is. She has a wonderful group of friends that are such a vital part of the story. Her bonds with these women show you the type of character she is and I love that attention was paid to her friendships. Nikole values her independence and I see a lot of women relating to her in a lot of ways.

The romance in this is one of my favourites. It has been a long time since I have seen a romance in a novel develop the way this one did. It starts out from a place of mutual admirable that morphs into friendship. That friendship only grows as they both come to respect one another. Those feelings slowly change into love. It's a subtle shift that feels so natural. The reader gets to experience the easy way they fall in love. It is a shining example of relationships not always having to be hard. The previous relationships showcase the difference between a wrong relationship and one that is right (even when things hit a rough patch).Carlos and Nikole also balance each other. They bring out the best in each other which I think the author took great care to show rather than tell the reader. You can see the good they do for each other.

Those looking for a smart, sexy, enjoyable read would be encouraged to pick this one up (along with The Wedding Date). Jasmine Guillory's books will leave you a little bit happier than when you started reading it, and make you eagerly anticipate whatever she writes next. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cover Reveal: Hollywood Princess by Natasha Madison



I am so excited to be helping reveal the cover for Hollywood Princess today. I revealed the cover for this book in this 'series (Hollywood Playboy) and I loved it so much I immediately signed up to help with this one as well.

I LOVE THIS COVER! It's got some old Hollywood glamour to it, and the black and white colour scheme is striking.

Here is the full cover for Hollywood Princess!


Stunning right? This series is going to look amazing together when all the covers have been revealed. Here is a a little more about the book for those who may be curious after seeing the incredible cover.



Behind the "lights, camera, action" of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction. Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty? Kellie An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all. She's the most sought-after woman in Hollywood. Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can't deny the camera loves her. The problem is so does everyone else, and she's about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life. Headlining for the first time in five years. Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake. Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm. It's only a matter of time till he falls for Hollywood's Princess. 

  



PREORDER NOW


When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...



Do you love Hollywood set stories as much as I do? What about this amazing cover? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Kingdom


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

This week's pick is The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

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

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

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty―and what it truly means to be human. 
This book has been described as Westworld meets Serial and I am dying to get my hands on it. I love the entire premise and think there is a lot of potential for this one to be amazing. I cannot wait to discover the world building that went into this story because it sounds like it'll be pretty impressive.

Expected release date - May 28, 2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What I Am Excited For In 2019


We are a week into 2019 and I figured now would be an excellent time to showcase the things in pop culture that I am most looking forward to this year. I am not going to discuss books because I had an entire event dedicated to showcasing some of the titles I am excited for in year to come. Today's post will focus on movies, television shows, and podcasts that I am looking forward to entertaining me this year.

PODCASTS

The podcast section will most likely be the shortest but there are a few things I am excited about. It is hard to predict what will be the next big thing and may podcasts do not announce themselves months in advance the way movies and television shows do.

1. Exactly Right

The podcast network started by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark (aka the amazing ladies behind My Favorite Murder) has definitely got my attention. They launched late 2018 with some pre-established shows and are going to expand this year with some that they helped create specifically for the network. The exciting part for me? These have all been chosen with fans of My Favorite Murder in mind! I am fairly certain that one of these podcasts will quickly become a new obsession for me (and I have a feeling that Paul Holes may end up being the host of one of them). 

2. Disgraceland Season 3

This is easily one of my favourite podcasts and I am so excited for it to return from hiatus in February. I cannot wait to see what musicians he features and what episodes will end up being my favourites. 

TELEVISION


I could, again, list a bunch of television shows I am looking forward to in 2019, but I am going to keep this to my top five.

1. Stranger Things Season 3

It is probably no surprise that this made my list. It is the show I am most looking forward to in 2019! I gushed already about great the poster is and am (im)patiently waiting for a trailer! 

2. I Am The Night

Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine once again team up for this limited series that seems to revolve around The Black Daliha. 


The trailer is really gripping so I hope the show is as good as I think it is going to be.

3. Game Of Thrones (Final Season)

It's all been leading up to this final season! We're finally going to know who will sit on the Iron Throne at the end of it all. Winter is here!

4. Mindhunter Season 2

The second season is rumoured to feature both Ted Bundy and Charles Manson as Holden Ford and Bill Tench continue to interview serial killers and help solve cases. The Atlanta Child Killings are supposed to have a large focus and I expect that we'll have Cameron Britton's Ed Kemper show up again.

5. Fosse/Verdon

 I saw this trailer during the Golden Globes and immediately wanted to watch this show. Both Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell are great actors and this looks like a potential Emmy contender.


I love the way this trailer bounces from the obvious more dramatic elements, but also has the flair and fun of the dancing.
MOVIES

There are way too many movies on my list for 2019. Instead of listing every single one I figured I would keep it to a maximum of 10. As more and more movies are announced I am certain there will be some that end up my favourites that are not even on my radar this early in the year. The list is in no particular order other than by release month as it was easier.

I am also going to keep all of the Disney and Marvel movies off this list. It goes without saying that I am excited for them and it gives me a chance to spotlight other titles instead of a whole list featuring them.

1. Us (March 15th)

Anyone who has seen Get Out knows exactly why Jordan Peele's newest movie would be on this list!


The trailer is creepy and I am so intrigued by the entire premise! There is a lot of potential with the 'we're our own worst enemy' vibe that this movie has. 

2. Wounds (March 29th)

I was intrigued by this one the instant I heard it was a New Orleans set thriller.


No trailer yet so I'll share the description provided on IMDBDisturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar. 

3. Rocketman (May 31st)

This Elton John biopic seems to be offering a unique twist to the genre.


Taron Egerton looks great as Elton and I love the 'based on a true fantasy' tagline.

4. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (July 26th)

There has not been much released for this one yet but I've been cautiously optimistic about it since the movie was announced.  For those who may have missed what this one is about, here is the IMDB description.

A faded TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles.

The true crime aspect of this movie was the hook, but I appreciate that the murders are going to be in the background. Plenty of movies have already been made about these crimes. It'll be interesting to see it from a different perspective.

5. The Goldfinch (October 11th)

This is based off the book by Donna Tartt and it seems to already be popping up on potential Oscar contenders lists. The IMDB page has this description:

A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It also caught my eye because it has Sarah Paulson in it. I am looking forward to seeing a trailer (and reading the book this year hopefully).

6. Last Christmas (November 15th)

This sounds like a fun holiday movie with a very charming cast! It also happens to be named after the famous song.

There isn't a description or much known about the movie other than it is a holiday romance set in London. It stars Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding which is enough to get me to go see it.

7. Queen and Slim (November 27th - rumoured)

Again, not much is known about this movie. It has a rumoured release date of November 27th and I was intrigued by the fact it stars Daniel Kaluuya whom I have loved in everything I have seen him in.

The IMDB and release date sound like potential Oscar bait to me:

A couple's first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.

8. Knives Out (November 27th)

This one sounds like it could be a lot of fun. It's described as a modern murder mystery in a classic whodunit style (as per IMDB) and stars Chris Evans, Toni Collette, and Michael Shannon (to name a few). 

9. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (release date unknown)

Our first glimpse of Zac Efron as Ted Bundy was enough to get me excited for this movie.


This tells the story from the point of view of Ted's girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, and her coming to terms with the fact he was a monster.

10. The Highwaymen (release date unknown)

I have always been fascinated by the story of Bonnie and Clyde. This movie seems to offer up a different point of view by focusing on the law enforcement who tried to apprehend them.

The description from IMDB reads:

A pair of police officers come out of retirement to catch the infamous outlaws Bonnie & Clyde.

There is, interestingly, no Bonnie or Clyde listed in the cast so we may not even see the infamous duo. This one has a rumoured release date of March 29th but I cannot find anything definitive.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019? Let me know in the comments! I am excited to add new books, shows, and movies to my list (and always love podcast recommendations) so I cannot wait to see what you're all excited about.

Sunday, January 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 Weekly Obsessions post this week to fangirl over some Stranger Things news that was recently revealed! It is also being posted on a Sunday as I did not have any new books to share this week!

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Stranger Things Season 3 Details

We have a release date for the third season and a brand new poster!



July 4th cannot come soon enough! I have lots of theories about this season based on this poster (like the fact that Eleven, Will and Dustin are on the darker side and are three most connected to the upside down) and I cannot wait to see if any of them are correct!

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

Friday, January 4, 2019

Best Of 2018 - Everything Else


Wrapping up my look back at 2018 with the best of everything else (ie: not books or movies) before looking forward to what I am excited for in 2019!

Television 

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

This was, perhaps, my favourite season of television in 2018. Darren Criss' incredible performance as Andrew Cunanan, the show introduced us to the talented Cody Fern, gave us a fantastic Judith Light performance, reminded us that Finn Wittrock is incredibly talented, and it offered up a socially relevant message about the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. It may have been quieter than the OJ Simpson season, but, I personally feel, the performances were event stronger.

Killing Eve

Two amazing performances from Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. It's a cat-and-mouse style thriller that was also really fun to watch!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

This fun, and darker, twist to the Sabrina Spellman story was a welcome one. The casting is pretty perfect (I especially love Ross Lynch's Harvey and Chance Perdomo's Ambrose) and the show has just enough humour to balance its darker plot. 


Other

Disgraceland Podcast

I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts so it will come as no surprise that I immediately gravitated towards this podcast that is basically musicians behaving badly. Some of the episodes are very true crime based, others are just outrageous stories of performers at their worst. It's a fascinating, entertaining podcast whose host also happens to have an incredible voice and a talent for storytelling.

Little Gold Men Podcast

Vanity Fair's podcast focusing on the path to the Oscars has been a delight for me this year. Following them through this entire year from immediately after the last Oscars to this one has allowed me to follow the long and interesting path to get there in a way I never had before. It's a must listen for fans of movie award shows, but particularly if Oscars are your thing.

My Favorite Murder Podcast

This also made my list last year but Karen and Georgia continue to be my go to podcast. I also got to attend a live show in 2018 and it was one of my favourite moments of the year.

What television and podcasts from 2018 made your own best of lists? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Four Dead Queens


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 Four Dead Queens Astrid Scholte


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them
I was in as soon as I read the synopsis! A mystery revolving around four murdered Queens, and a sci-fi feel to the story are making me eager to get my hands on this one.

Luckily, the wait time for this is barely anything at all with the release date being in February. It'll be here before you know it!

Expected release date - February 26, 2019

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