Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Layoverland


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 Layoverland by Gabby Noone



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Two teens, one stuck atoning for her sins and one destined for heaven, fall in love in purgatory in this darkly hilarious and heartfelt rom-com, perfect for fans of The Good Place.

Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell. At least, that's what she thinks. On her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most--her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed for a mysterious destination, she's confused, to say the least. Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: not only is she in purgatory, but she has been chosen to join the Memory Experience team. If she wants another shot at heaven, she'll have to use her master manipulation skills to help 5,000 souls suss out what's keeping them from moving on.

There's just one slight problem. Bea's first assigned soul is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. But as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of listening to other people's problems, she can't help but notice that he's kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she's totally falling for him. And to make matters worse, he's definitely falling for her. Now, determined to make the most of her time in purgatory, Bea must decide what is truly worth dying for--romance or revenge.
This novel is been compared to The Good Place which I am sure will delight fans of that television show (which I have not yet watched). I can certainly see why that comparison was made from the synopsis.

I already love that there is going to be a romance at the heart of this story! It sounds like it will be a cute read that will offer up some summer time reading vibes in the winter.

The book doesn't release until January 2020 so save your holiday gift cards and pre-order as a belated present to yourself.

Expected release date - January 21, 2020

Sunday, July 28, 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.

It is, obviously, Sunday but I had a lot going on this week so I wasn't able to get this post done in time for Saturday.

Another small post this week as not much was revealed that caught my eye.

BOOKS

Cover For Layoverland by Gabby Noone (goodreads)

The cover of Layoverland is eye catching and filled with bright colours that don't necessarily fit the description of the book but also manage to be absolute perfect.


It is teased as being perfect for fans of The Good Place and I can certainly see why after reading that synopsis. It sounds like a great mix of a unique premise with a complicated romance.

TV/MOVIES

All Of Marvel's San Diego Comic Con News

Marvel revealed quite a bit at San Diego Comic Con. They released details on the new Doctor Strange and Thor movies. They introduced us to The Eternals. They gave us details on the Black Widow movie and even revealed that we would be getting a Blade reboot.

I love that Natalie Portman's Jane will be following her comic book path. I love that Scarlet Witch will feature prominently in the new Doctor Strange movie. I am excited to see who Valkyrie's Queen is (I expect it a new Captain that we just met recently). I cannot wait to see what Mahershala Ali does with the Blade character.

They also revealed more details about their Disney+ television shows that will tie directly into the new movies.

It's all made me very excited for the future of Marvel and the new characters we're going to meet.

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - TIFF 2019 Early Line Up



It may seem like the autumn months are far away but the TIFF line up is here to remind us that the fall film festivals are just around the corner.

As someone who follows Oscar buzz these festivals always ensure certain movies get a little boost going into awards season. Green Book won the People's Choice Award, which is the award given by the festival audience, at TIFF last year and went on to win Best Picture. 

I personally have never been to TIFF but there are always movies being showcased that I am interested in seeing and this year is no exception.

Here are my thoughts on some of the movies selected that I want to personally see or that I think will create some buzz. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I am sure I am missing some must see movies. Each is linked to the TIFF page for that particular movie if you want to learn more about any of them.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The documentary about Fred Rogers did well both at the box office and during awards season. Only time will tell if people got their fill of Mr Rogers nostalgia with that documentary of if that success will translate to this movie as well. The movie focuses on a writer who is assigned to write a profile piece on Mr Rogers for Esquire magazine).

Tom Hanks is always a potential Oscar favourite, but this movie could pop up in many categories if it does well. 

Endings, Beginnings

This is a movie that I am personally interested in. There isn't much known other than a young woman is trying to get her life back together and ends up in a love triangle with two friends. I enjoy everyone in the cast (which is Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan, and Sebastian Stan) and it just sounds like a movie I would potentially enjoy. Excited to see a trailer once one is released.

Ford v Ferrari

Focusing on the 1966 "24 Hours of Le Mans" endurance race that saw Ford taking on Ferrari. Christian Bale is an awards favourite so he is always a possibility and this one could show up in tech categories if done well. It was moved from its original summer spot to a more awards friendly fall release which speaks to confidence in the movie from the people releasing it.

Harriet

Cynthia Erivo already has a lot of buzz attached to her portrayal of Harriet Tubman. I think it is more expectation than from anyone having seen it, but there is a large interest. The movie itself looks like it could have some promise in multiple categories.

How to Build a Girl

This is based off of Caitlin Moran's book of the same name and stars Beanie Feldstein as a teen who is trying to reinvent herself as a music critic in London. I think this one is going to be fun and I really enjoyed the book it is based off of.

Joker

This first 'comic book' inspired movie to premiere at the festival (I believe anyway). It is being presented as a origin story for the infamous Batman villain. There will obviously be an awards campaign for Joaquin Phoenix so it makes sense that it will do the festival rounds. It only makes sense if they are serious about him getting a nomination. The trailer certainly makes it look like he is giving one heck of a performance.

Judy

Renee Zellweger stars as Judy Garland and the trailers that have been released showcase what seems to be an incredible performance. It is probably your standard biopic but Renee could walk away with a nomination if her performance is as strong throughout the the movie.


Just Mercy

The cast of this one caught my eye - it has Brie Larson and Michael B Jordan in it. It doesn't reveal much about the plot, and I haven't seen a trailer yet, but I enjoy both of those actors immensely. It follows a lawyer going to defend a man who was wrongfully convicted of a crime despitet there being evidence proving him innocent.


Knives Out

This one just looks like it is going to be a lot of fun! The trailer boasts that it is a 'whodunit like nobody has ever done it' and it certainly has an impressive (and large) cast filled with both big stars and character actors.


The Goldfinch

This is being adapted from the book of the same name. I saw it pop up on a lot of early Oscar lists and hopefully it is a good as everyone thinks it is. Ansel Elgort stars as a man who lost his mother when he was much younger in a museum bombing. I don't know much more about it other than it takes it name from a painting that is important to the plot.

The Report

This sort of reminds me of the movie Spotlight. It is about investigative reporters who are looking into the CIA's use of torture tactics after 9/11. Another impressive sounding cast and it rave reviews after its premiere at Sundance. 

My pick for movie that wins the audience award this year? I have to go with It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. Something about the notion of Tom Hanks playing Mr Roger's feels like a combination that could be especially people pleasing.

What movie that is being showcased at TIFF would you most like to see? Did I miss anything that you feel is a must see? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... Infinity Son


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 Infinity Son by Adam Silvera


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
Adam Silvera's new novel, a fantasy, is on its way and the early buzz is only growing for this one. I have seen so many advance readers singing this one praises that it is making it hard to not read it immediately.

I love the premise of one brother really wanting powers and the other not wanting them (and that it is the brother who doesn't want them that ends up having them). It should provide a really interesting dynamic between.

Save those holiday gift cards and pre-order this one! It comes out in January and seems poised to help chase away those post holiday blues.

Expected release date - January 14, 2020

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory



The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Release Date - July 16, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

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

1. Alexa is their best friend

2. They hate each other

After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking.

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love. 
The Wedding Party has a little bit of everything you could want as a romance reader. It has some great banter, chemistry, a unique slow burn, and the added bonus of returning favourites. The Wedding Date series continues to charm with this next installment while showcasing why Jasmine is a must read romance author.

The relationship between Maddie and Theo is a fascinating one. It isn't a slow burn sexually but it is in every other way. They begin sleeping together which leads to them feeling more tolerable towards each other which eventually leads to something more. This felt so natural to who the characters are. Their sexual compatibility clicks before everything else does and that slow burns makes every other element feel more earned.

There is a touch of Pride and Prejudice in this one. Both Maddie and Theo can be stubborn, proud people. They also both have very set opinions about the other without taking the chance of getting to know each other first. Snap decisions are made and those prejudices will not be easily changed. Each made judgements based on the other person's job, style, and perceptions and reacted based on those opinions. Seeing those opinions shift and grow as the relationship progresses was the heart of the novel for me.

Cameos in companion novels are always my favourite but it is even better when some of your favourite characters have a larger supporting role in a subsequent book. As the synopsis reveals the novel is leading up to Alexa's wedding to Drew (the couple from The Wedding Date) and Alexa is a significant part of the story. Seeing all of these characters was comforting and familiar. It made easing back into this world feel effortless and provided the most satisfying payoff for readers who have loved and followed the series. Past events are shown from a new perspective which created a dynamic that can only be enjoyed by someone who has read all the books. It feels like a secret the author is sharing with the fans of this series.

The Wedding Party works as both a fun romance read and a wonderful goodbye to these characters. It is like a wonderful thank you to the readers who have devoured all three books. It was a delight to read and I cannot wait to experience whatever Jasmine Guillory writes next.

Saturday, July 20, 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.

BOOKS

The Beautiful Pre-Order Campaign

Penguin Teen just announced the pre-order campaign for Renee Ahdieh's The Beautiful and it is amazing!



This enamel pin is a must get for me. I cannot wait to devour this book and I am fairly certain I am going to be obsessed.

TV/MOVIES

The Witcher Trailer

I don't know much about this other than it originally was a book that got adapted into a video game and is now going to be a Netflix series.

I've heard that it is a serious contender for the next big thing that could take the place of Game of Thrones now that it has ended.


The first trailer definitely hooked me. Excited to learn when we'll be able to watch the first season.

His Dark Materials Trailer

I haven't read this book series (I know, I know) but I had seen the original movie that was released at one point or another. I am pretty sure everyone agreed it was not a great adaptation of the book series.

HBO is releasing a series this fall and released a trailer at San Diego Comic Con. A television show seems to make much more sense for a series that expansive and complex. The trailer certainly seems to indicate it was a better choice.


The CGI for the bear is incredible. I am excited to watch this in the fall and hopefully pick up the books eventually.

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

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - My Favourite Book To Movie Adaptations



Some of my favourite things after books are movies and television shows. I especially love it when the two come together and an adaptation of one of my favourite books gets released. I am sure there are probably a lot of people who dislike when one of their favourites gets turned into a movie or television show. There is a high likelihood that it will not be satisfying. It might end up being miscast. Your favourite scene could be cut from the show or movie. The story could change so much to make it unrecognizable from the source material. There are, however, the few exceptions where the adapted version lives up to the source material.

I was thinking of good adaptations and how they can honour the source material and create something entirely new. We all discuss when we've been disappointed but rarely spend as much time discussing when Hollywood gets it right.

Here are my favourite book to movie adaptations. These are mostly in no particular order but I especially like my top three. They are among some of my all time favourite movies.

1. Stand By Me (adapted from a short story by Stephen King called The Body)

One of my favourite movies of all time and one that is basically a comfort movie to me. It is one of the movies I watch when I am sick in bed, or just when I need an evening filled with all of the things I love.  River Phoenix may break my heart every time I watch it but it is perfection to me.

2. Gone Girl (adapted from Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name)

Everything from the setting, the casting, the directing, script writing, and editing was amazing here. Rosamund Pike brought one of my favourite characters to life with a delectable precision and all of the major moments from the book translated to screen perfectly.

3. Goodfellas (adapted from Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi)

This movie is an incredibly faithful adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi's book. It's one of  the best, if not THE best, gangster movies ever made and it is filled with some iconic performances.

4. Room (adapted from the book by Emma Donoghue)

Both the book and movie are heartbreaking and hopeful. They both allow you to believe that your experiencing things through Jack's eyes for the first time. The movie boasts electric performances by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay (who gave the best performance by a male actor that year).

5. A Simple Favor (adapted from the book by Darcey Bell)

Here's where I offer a confession ... I tried to start this book and had to put it down. I might go back and try again later, but I think this may be a case where I like the movie more than the book it was adapted from. Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are both on top of their game and the blend of dark comedy with an absolutely bananas plot works perfectly in this campy, over the top thriller.

6. Brokeback Mountain (adapated from the short story by Anne Proulx)

Another faithful adaptation of the source material (the length of the source material may account for this a little) that boasts a career defining performance from Heath Ledger. The movie is also beautifully shot and I am still angry it was robbed at the Oscars.

7. Silence  of the Lambs (adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris

I feel like this one is given. The movie is a classic for a reason. The acting is incredible, and I felt the same tone and atmosphere that I did while reading the book. It also doesn't hurt that it is just a well made movie with some truly memorable moments.

8. Interview With The Vampire (adapted from the novel by Anne Rice)

I recently rewatched this and was surprised with how much it holds up. Tom Cruise gives an impressive performance as Lestat and Brad Pitt broods rather well as Louis. New Orleans is the perfect back drop for this story and it makes for one heck of a beautiful film.

This is, obviously, not an exhaustive list. I am sure I left many amazing movies out. What adaptations are your favourite? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Loveboat, Taipei


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

This week's pick is Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen



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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected release date - February 4, 2020

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vote On A New Blog Feature!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Weekly Obsessions


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

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

TV/MOVIES

American Horror Story: 1984 Cast Announcement

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

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



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

Mindhunter Season Two 

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

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter



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

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

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

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

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

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Harley In The Sky


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

This week's pick is Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman


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

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

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

Expected release date - March 10, 2020

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cover Reveal: The St Michaels Duet by Harlow Cole



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


INTERFERENCE Coming July 18th

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



STEALING HOME COMING AUGUST 1ST

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





About Harlow Cole 


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

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Weekly Obsessions


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

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

TV/MOVIES

Knives Out Trailer

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




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

Stranger Things Season 3

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

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Yesterday



Yesterday

Rating: PG-13

Director: Danny Boyle

Language: English

Length:  112 minutes

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon

Viewing Method: Advance Screening

Release Date: June 28, 2019

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


********

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Book Buzz Words


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

Here are some of mine:

1. Peter Pan Retellings


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

2. Carnival Settings


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

3. Vampires


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

4. Anything Inspired By True Crime


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

5. Love Triangles


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

6. Any Fairytale Retelling


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

7. Royalty


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

8. Fame/Hollywood



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

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Disgraceland


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

This week's pick is Disgraceland by Jake Brennan


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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected release date - October 1, 2019

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up


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

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

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

To wrap up June ....

The books that were on my list are:

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

Plus I had a bunch of ebooks on my list:

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy Canada Day!



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

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


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