Thursday, May 28, 2020

Crave by Tracy Wolff



Crave by Tracy Wolff
Release Date - April 7, 2020
Publisher Website - Entangled Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 592 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
Crave was absolutely written with fans of Twilight in mind. It has obvious comparisons while still feeling like it's own thing. This book may wear its influences on its sleeves but it was very much written with this current generation in mind. It offers a fun, fast paced read that feels more like an homage than a direct copy.

If you have read Twilight your feelings towards that series may colour how you react to this one. It has enough differences to not feel like a complete retread but the similarities are there. It goes beyond the inclusion of vampires and romance. It reads in the same incredibly addictive, page turning way that Twilight did. This book packs in modern references and current slang to set it in present day. This is something that will definitely date the book as a product of this particular time. Some readers may find the use of this distracting but I found it fit the story being told.

The are major differences that make this book fully its own thing. Many of them would be too spoilery to include as examples in my review. I will mention that this takes place in a boarding school and that there are not just vampires among the student body. Grace's journey, based on everything we learn in this book, is not going to be Bella's. Her path is very dependent on who her family is and how that factors into the story. Her romance is only part of that journey. The structural dynamics of the various groups we meet and how they all coexist is also something that sets it apart. Family is a strong foundation of this story in a lot of ways and is really what makes this story feel different.

The romance is fairly typical of most books in the genre along with most of the tropes that entails. The supernatural being warns the human to stay away but they end up being unable to keep their distance being an example of one of them. There is a bit of instalove happening here but I feel it works for this style of story. The romance is also little more on the steamy side with some very obvious blood sucking as a metaphor for sex scenes being included.

This is a very plot drive book. The pacing is super fast and really what propels the story forward. The characters are not completely fleshed out but the pacing of everything else distracts you from this fact. I didn't find it a hindrance to enjoying the story but those looking for a character focused story will not find that here.

The story set up at the end of this book certainly leads into an intriguing sequel. This set up will ensure higher stakes both in terms of emotional impact and danger level. It also opens the door to widen what we know about this world and the beings that inhabit it.

If you were ever curious what Twilight set in Alaska might have looked like this book is for you. If you're nostalgic for that feeling you got reading the Twilight series this book is for you. It is a fun, breezy read that will definitely offer a distraction. If Twilight was never your thing you will probably be less enthused. I, personally, am glad that the paranormal genre is making a comeback and that this entertaining read is helping to usher it back in.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday ... Too Pretty To Burn


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 She's Too Pretty To Burn by Wendy Heard


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, power and violence. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They're artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica's dream girl. The days are long and hot—full of adventure—and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next.

One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect... one stalker. This is the summer they won't survive.

New love spirals into lethal danger in this expertly plotted YA thriller.
Today's pick is going to appeal to those who like mysteries and darker young adult books.

It seems to mix the idea of summer love with murder and that is immediately intriguing in a book premise. I am also curious about the comparison to Dorian Gray, especially with this synopsis.

It doesn't come out until 2021 so be sure to add it to your Goodreads in the meantime.

Expected release date - March 30. 2021

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote



In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Release Date - February 1, 1994 (first published in 1965)
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 343 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. At the center of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative. 
In Cold Blood is often referenced as the true crime novel to read. It routinely makes best of lists, and is considered an absolute classic. It is undoubtedly one of the first in its genre and laid the foundation for many books that followed. I was happy to discover that it really is as good as it is made out to be.

I find nonfiction books to be harder to review. You cannot critique the characters as they are real people and that just feels weird. You can, however, talk about the writing and the way the book is put together. Truman Capote was, to me, a very talented writer. He manages to make every facet of this story compelling and rich with detail. This, inevitably, becomes not just a story about the murders, or the people involved, but a snapshot of a particular piece of America. It is just as much a story of the town and how it is impacted by the murders and the aftermath as it is about the murders themselves. Capote brings the townsfolk to the forefront of the story in a way that gives it a little extra heart.

The question that tends to be on everyone's mind after something like this happens is the why. People want to make sense out of the horror and devastation. They want order and having a reason does that. If they know why they can come up with reasons that it won't happen to them. This book answers the why. It tells you the many different things that lead to that night in November. He paints a picture of who Perry and Dick are so completely, and outlines what lead them to the Clutter family's farm in a way that is both terrifying and yet blandly recognizable. These are not monsters, but rather two men who are shown to be all too human. This idea may not seem revolutionary today, but I am sure it was when the book was released.

The care to bring the Clutter family to life was something I noticed right away. It would have been easy to have the entire focus be on Perry and Dick. Capote had access to them that would have provided plenty of material for the book. However, time is taken to ensure we get to know the family who were brutally murdered. The inclusion of Nancy's friend added details about who she was that resonated with me. A typical highschool girl just beginning to discover who she was. There may not have been much focus on the family, but Capote made sure what he did include painted a lasting and striking picture of this family.

There are plenty of rumours about the extent of their relationship between Truman Capote and Perry Smith. There are some who claim that they became lovers. It is evident that they became close during the research Capote was doing, but to what extent is never directly addressed in the book. Capote remains, mostly, detached from the story as a character. His judgement never makes its way into the narrative. His way of writing may read like fiction, but his careful detailing reminds you of the work that went into the interviews and research. He is careful to let that shine here, and not his opinion. The point of all this is to say that if he was in love with Perry I don't think it comes through in his writing. His emotions are kept in check and that, to me, is impressive.

Truman Capote's long, and life changing dive into a horrific crime left its imprint not only on him and the town, but the literary world itself. Many more current true crime books owe their existence to Capote's much praised work. If you're someone with an interest in true crime I highly recommend this one. It's one that I would consider a must read in the genre.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Summer Reading!


Summer reading is going to look different for a lot of us this year. We may read in our backyards instead of crowded beaches. We may bring our favourite ice cream to have at home instead of enjoying at the shop. We may opt to take our book and favourite and find a quiet spot in a park where we can socially distance. While the ways in which we enjoy our summer reads may look different there are plenty of books eager to offer up an escape.

I am going to share the ten books that I personally cannot wait to read this summer. I've linked them all to their Goodreads page so you can find out more about each of them. Some will be titles that are not released just yet (but are coming out during the summer months) and other will be ones I just haven't gotten to yet.

1. The Comeback by Ella Berman (goodreads)


The fact that this novel deals with a timely subject matter will certainly boost its visibility. It also has the Hollywood angle which will appeal to many. It seems like a great book club pick for your Zoom meetings because I think it is going to be one everyone is talking about.

2. The Heir Affair by Jennifer Cocks and Heather Morgan (goodreads)


The much anticipated sequel to The Royal We is almost here! If you haven't read the first book please do so immediately so that you can be ready when this one releases. It is basically made for summer reading with it revolving around a royal family, and family secrets.

3. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (goodreads)


Vampires are back! This won't be the only vampire book on my list (more on that later) and this one sounds especially fun. A book club slaying vampires! I think it'll be a great book club choice, and one that certainly will fit the summer reading vibe for those wanting something on the darker side.

4. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (goodreads)


This book sounds perfect for those looking for a mystery. This has the added bonus of already being released and it being one that people are definitely talking about.

5. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (goodreads)


The book that most Twilight fans never expected would get released is finally coming out in August. This is Twilight retold from Edward's perspective and I am predicting it'll be one of the most talked about books of the summer.

6. Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (goodreads)


This has a true crime element to it as it feels like it could potentially be based off a real story. The premise is certainly interesting and this one had a lot of buzz. It seems like a perfect book to end up with a sun burn reading.

7. Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)


I love the light, fun feel of all of Jasmine's books. This new one sounds adorable and perfect for the summer. If you haven't read her previous books I highly recommend diving in!

8. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (goodreads)


This has been pitched as Moulin Rouge meets The Phantom of the Opera and I was immediately sold. It comes out later in the summer so it'll be a fantastic way to say goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn season.

9. Vengeful by VE Schwab (goodreads)


This is a sequel to Vicious which was excellent. It's a darker take on the superhero/super villain story and how thin the line between the two actually is depending on whose point of view you're using.

10. Empire High Untouchables by Ivy Smoak (goodreads)


This sounds like a CW television show on steroids and I cannot wait! It's bound to be fun, frothy and exactly what I want to read while sipping a glass of wine. 

What books are you hoping to read this summer? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

#2020PopCultureResolution - Niagara



Niagara

Director: Henry Hathaway

Length:  92 minutes

Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, Joseph Cotten

Release Date:  January 211953

Synopsis: Rose Loomis (Marilyn Monroe) and her older, gloomier husband, George (Joseph Cotten), are vacationing at a cabin in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The couple befriend Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray Cutler (Casey Adams), who are honeymooning in the area. Polly begins to suspect that something is amiss between Rose and George, and her suspicions grow when she sees Rose in the arms of another man. While Ray initially thinks Polly is overreacting, things between George and Rose soon take a shockingly dark turn.

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

I went into Niagara with barely any expectation. I knew it was a thriller and that it was one of the few Marilyn Monroe movies I had yet to see. It is, perhaps, the movie I had the most fun watching for my #2020PopCultureResolution event (at least so far). It's a satisfying, suspense filled film that is well directed. It uses its setting to great effect, and manages to make even the more outlandish elements work for it. The setting itself is almost a character in a way and definitely used for symbolism.


The movie follows a vacationing couple who are finally taking their honeymoon. They run into a another couple and things quickly start to deteriorate from there. This film nails that sense of impending doom. It's like a ticking clock always in the background. It's this element that keeps the movie zipping along. It makes this film's already short run time feel even shorter.

The plot, which revolves around sex, jealousy, and murder, is not anything unique or revolutionary. It's a fairly by the book thriller that has an almost comfort feel to it as a result. You feel the impending danger but it's a known one. It allowed me to drift along with the characters and enjoy it for what it is. The sharp turns are definitely clever, they're just not new. 


The performances in this are all perfectly fine. Nothing stands out as either awful or remarkable. The one exception is Marilyn Monroe. This offers one of Marilyn's first leading roles. She is a pure temptress in this one. Gone is any of the comedic chops she'll showcase in later movies. She's luminous and entirely captivating in a fragile way. She really carries the movie in a way that becomes evident later on in the film. It's often noted as her star making turn and it is easy to see why. 


The ending of Niagara is ridiculous in the extreme. It almost feels like an afterthought. Something tacked on to the end of the film to wrap things up. The first half is taunt and well paced which makes the final act feels all the more ludicrous as a result. Will you still have fun while watching it? Yes, and that is precisely why I enjoyed it so much. If your looking for a fun, thrilling noir style film with a Marilyn Monroe performance that saves the film it is one I would recommend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Make Up Break Up


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 Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?
Romance books are always fun to read, particularly around Valentine's Day. I am especially looking forward to this one that seems to tease a bit of a rivals to lovers theme.

This the a pen name for Sandhya Menon who writes super cute young adult novels. I cannot wait to see what she does with her romance debut.

It does not come out until 2021 but it is going to pair perfectly with some wine and Valentine's chocolate.

Expected release date - February 2, 2021

Sunday, May 17, 2020

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 weekend.

BOOKS

Cover of The Project by Courtney Summers (goodreads)

I was already excited about Courtney Summers' new book when she teased us with that majorly creepy teaser. More details have been released and I am even more excited to read it now.



Courtney writing about cults is a very logical fit and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with it. I am most curious to 'meet' her version of a cult leader and what that person might be like.

TV/MOVIES

Hamilton Comes To Disney+

Disney+ recently announced on Twitter that the recorded version of Hamilton with the original cast will be released on the streaming service on July 3rd instead of in theatres. I am sad that my first experience with this play will be via television, especially because I was supposed to see it this July. I am, however, excited that I get to see Jonathan Groff, Anthony Ramos, and Lin Manuel Miranda (among others) perform.

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

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow



The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow
Release Date - September 19, 2019
Publisher Website - Hachette
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 374 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
There are some books that once you finish reading them leave you no strong feeling either way. These are the reads that you might classify as perfectly fine. Those middle of the road reads that you often encounter. A read that leaves you feeling indifferent. The Ten Thousand Doors of January fell into this category for me.

The writing is the main thing I noticed about this book. The book's strength was the writing for me. There is no denying that the writing itself is good. It is a novel that transports you into the story  because of the vivid, detailed descriptions and author's ability to create a setting. I found some of the characters to be lacking in comparison. Most of them felt a little flat when compared to the other aspects of the writing.

The book offers a sort of dual storylines that converge. There is a bit of a story within a story being told within these pages. January finds a book and that book is what propels the story's momentum. I was much more invested in the story within the story. I wanted to follow that story more than I wanted to follow the main one being told. I felt more of a pull and connection to that part of the story than any other element.

The pacing of the novel felt off for me. The inciting incident came much later in the story which made the beginning part feel especially long. The plot picked up in the middle which made that section fly by only for it to slow down again for the end part of the story. The pacing in a novel is something I find crucial and it made this one tougher to get into.

The characters, as I previously mentioned felt a little flat to me. Much of it has to do with me not connecting with the character of January. It made parts of the novel harder to get through than others. It made me not as invested in the story being told. The other characters, like January, all show promise and there are little sparks to them that just never fully ignite.

Any good fantasy novel will have rich and complex world building. This one succeeds in this regard. The world and the mechanics of it are some of the more fascinating elements if this story. The journey that these characters take is, at its heart, a compelling one. I just wish it had been woven together a little more tightly and that all the elements were as strong as some of the others were.

I predict that many others out there will love this book much more than I did. It is well written, imaginative and has an interesting premise. I just didn't find it was executed to its fullest potential so it did not quite work as well for me as it could have. There is lots here to love so I do still urge you to check it out of it sounds intriguing to you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Echo Wife

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 Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride, perfect for readers of Big Little Lies and enthusiasts of Killing Eve and Westworld­

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.

And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty

When they said all happy families are alike, this can’t be what they meant...
I love a good mystery and especially love when there is a unique twist to one. This combines a murder mystery with some sci-fi elements that make the story seem all the more intriguing.

The weird dynamic of your clone having an affair with your husband should prove interesting. I cannot wait to see the dynamic between those characters.

This isn't out for a long time yet so join me in eagerly anticipating it by adding it to your own Goodreads list.

Expected release date - February 16, 2021

Saturday, May 9, 2020

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 weekend.

Well it seems that things are moving along behind the scenes even if everything seems to be in an frozen state otherwise. There was so much news revealed in the last week or so that no matter what your interest there was bound to be something that caught your attention.

BOOKS

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (goodreads)

Pretty much anyone who has read the Twilight series has been waiting for the release of Midnight Sun. Most of us had given up hope that we would ever get to see if published. Stephenie surprise dropped the news that not only was being released, but it was being released this summer. It comes out in August which feels both so far away and very soon.

The cover was released and sort of wish they had gone with an apple that had a bite taken out of it.


I will have this pre-ordered and will eagerly await its arrival at my door. I cannot wait to read it.

Book News From Courtney Summers (goodreads)

Courtney has a new book coming out and if you watch the video in the below tweet you'll get all the details that we currently have about it.


It's called The Project and that teaser is both intriguing and terrifying. It's pretty much what we have come to expect from Courtney.

Cover of Stephanie Perkins' The Wood Are Always Watching (goodreads)

Some details of Stephanie Perkins next horror novel have been released. We have a title and a cover.


We also know that it takes place in the woods and involves a serial killer. I have heard it is even more of a horror novel that her first one was so that is exciting for horror fans.

Cover for A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore (goodreads)

Laurie's books are always  ones I eagerly anticipate. If you are a Courtney Summers fan you need to check out Laurie's books. Her next one sounds really intriguing and I love the cover.


This one comes out in March 2021 so if you haven't read her other books previously you can read them while you wait.

TV/MOVIES

I'll Be Gone In The Dark trailer

All of us Murderinos devoured Michelle McNamara's books when it was released and followed all of the news of the eventual arrest of the Golden State Killer. There is now going to be a documentary released. It is releasing in June so it'll be perfect for everyone to watch while we're still social distancing.


There are, obviously, so many people Murderinos will recognize in this trailer. It's such a great trailer too! I got goosebumps.

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

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Book and Movie Pairings


I am here once again offering up suggestions on what to read and watch while we are all practicing social distancing. I thought it might be fun to pair some books and movies together. Some will be direct adaptations and others will just be loose inspirations or similar in feel/tone.

1. There's Someone Inside Your House and Scream


This may be an obvious choice because Stephanie Perkins was inspired by Scream to write her first young adult horror. Both are incredibly fun, scary, and smart.

2. In Cold Blood and Capote


I am currently reading this book (and it is amazing so far) and decided to put on Capote one night because I had never seen it before. Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives one of the best performances I have ever seen. A tough, but mesmerizing, binge.

3. Overdrive and Gone In 60 Seconds


Both involve car heists and are incredibly fun. I know that these two pair very well because I totally watched the movie after reading this when it came out.

4. Stripped and Magic Mike


Both take place in the world of male strippers so the comparison is easily done. They both also boast really sweet friendships between the dancers that are really the heart of the stories being told.

5. Gone Girl and Gone Girl


This is one of my favourite books and one of my absolute favourite film adaptations. I have yet to read a thriller that surpasses Gone Girl for me. It is, for me, basically perfect. The movie adaptation is so well done (and perfectly cast) that it is one of the rare ones that stands up to the source material.

6. Tiger Lily and Peter Pan



Another of my most favourite books and pretty much my favourite Peter Pan adaptation. If you have not seen the 2003 Peter Pan I urge you to watch it. Jason Isaacs' version of Hook is one of the best I have ever seen.

7. Seduction and The Aviator 


Karina Longworth's book about Howard Hughes actually tells Howard Hughes' story through the various women in his life. It's a written, and meticulously researched read. The Aviator had Leonardo DiCaprio portraying Hughes and is worth the watch. You may not like Hughes much, but his life certainly was fascinating.

8. Catch and Kill and The Assistant


These two both deal with workplace sexual harassment while dealing with the subject matter quite differently. One is a fast paced and reads like a spy thriller, the other is a sort of meticulously done slow burn story. It wouldn't be an easy binge, but certainly they pair perfectly together.

9. Becoming Bonnie and Bonnie and Clyde



These each handle the myth of Bonnie and Clyde quite differently from other but I think both showcase why exactly their story still holds our attention today.

10. Stand By Me and Stranger Things


So technically I am cheating with this one, but I could not end this post without recommending two of my most favourite pieces of entertainment. The movie Stand By Me is my favourite movie of all time. It heavily influenced the Duffer brothers when they were creating Stranger Things. If you have some how not watched both of these bump them both up your to watch list.

Are there any other movie and book pairings that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments because we can all use more recommendations right now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Midnight Sun

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 Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting beautiful, mysterious Bella is both the most intriguing and unnerving event he has experienced in his long life as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he let himself fall in love with Bella when he knows that he is endangering her life?

In Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer transports us back to a world that has captivated millions of readers and, drawing on the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, brings us an epic novel about the profound pleasures and devastating consequences of immortal love.
Every single Twilight fan lost their collective minds today when it was announced that Midnight Sun would finally be releasing! Not only did Stephenie surprise drop this announcement but the book is only a few months away!

I don't really have to say much because even if you haven't read the Twilight books you've certainly heard about them before. This is going to be one of the books of summer and I predict, if we are allowed to go, this will be what many people are reading at the beach.

Expected release date - August 4, 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass



The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
Release Date - May 5, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 2.5/5
**arc received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
I eagerly added The Betrothed to my reading list. I felt that The Selection series was a fun enough read and I loved the idea of Kiera Cass exploring a more Tudoresque setting. Sadly, I did not end up enjoying it the way I thought I would.

I predict that many readers will be disappointed to discover that this is not the frothy, steamy book that it appears to be. There isn't even really a love triangle in the way that you might be expecting. This book tries to be that and something more but ends up not succeeding at either. I am not judging the book for what it is not and would have been happily surprised if the execution had been stronger.

Kiera Cass' writing is addictive in the way her previous novels have been. It is a straightforward, clean style of writing that makes for an easy, quick read. I did not struggle to make it through this one the way I might have with a different writing style.

A lot of this book feels like it was told to me as a reader instead of shown to me. The characters are barely fleshed out more than caricatures and flat box checking. The world building is fairly light. As a result, I did not connect with anyone of them. There are moments where a reaction is almost felt making that loss all the more palpable. The only character I found interesting was Valentina. Her story is one I would want to read and follow. She is, sadly, not given enough page time.

The romance itself felt like it was on fast forward. Hollis and Silas barely interact before they are proclaiming their love. It is another instance of being told something instead of shown. I didn't believe in the connection between them because I wasn't shown it. I was told they were in love and ws barely given time to register it.

The last bit of the story is where the plot kicks into overdrive with everything happening at once. It highlights the pacing issues with the story. The beginning is slower with not a whole lot of plot progression and the major plot points are crammed together in a way that feels disjointed. The pacing, at times, felt so off to me that certain parts of this story feel like a part of a completely different story. The other pacing issue, previously mentioned in regards to the romance, is made all the more glaring by these other pacing issues. It sometimes felt like the author had specific scenes that they wanted to include but did not take the time to stitch them together properly.

The ending, for me, sets up the more interesting story. It opens the door for a much more interesting sequel and is really what I had hoped the rest if the novel had been. I predict the latter half may end up being the least favourite part for some readers but I think it was the most compelling section of the story.

I will still urge everyone who is interested to check out The Betrothed. The elements that that did not work for me may end up being what others love about the book. It, sadly, never come together for me. It, ultimately, is a read that felt too disconnected and one in which I struggled to find any emotional pull.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR


It is now May! April felt like it flew by in no time at all (especially when compared to March which felt like it lasted five years all on it's own).

I have been watching a lot of TV and movies to help pass the time while staying at home. I've also been lucky to have regular check in with friends that have helped keep me sane during all of this.

Before I get into what I am hoping to read in May I have to wrap up April. I did much better this month than in March (but we can all agree that March was a complete dumpster fire).

The books that were on my list are:

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (goodreads)
Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner (goodreads)
The Goal by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:


Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow (goodreads)
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)
The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren (goodreads)

I managed to read six books this month and sadly most of them were not on my list.

Here is what I managed to read in April:

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow (goodreads)
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)
The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Goal by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth (goodreads)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (goodreads)

My #2020PopCultureResolution book for April was Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. My review was already posted if you were interested in checking that out.

Here is what I hope to read in May:


Crave by Tracy Wolff (goodreads)
Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner (goodreads)
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (goodreads)
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (goodreads)
Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre (goodreads)

I also have some ebooks I am hoping to get to.


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (goodreads)
The Chase by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)
She Died Famous by Kyle Rutkin (goodreads)

My May #2020PopCultureResolution choices are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote for the book, and Niagara for the movie! The book has been on my to be read list for years, and Niagara is one of the few Marilyn Monroe movies I haven't seen yet.

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

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