Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Feedburner Email Subscription Update


You may have heard that Google's Feedburner is going away in July. This means that those of you who have followed my blog via email subscription would no longer receive email updates unless I shuffle it over to a new provider.

I have decided to go with follow.it as they have made it very easy to switch over as seamlessly as possible. It should mean no disruption to you all recieving my blog posts. It should all be done by the end of the week.

I am not sure if those of you are subscribed currently will be sent an email to confirm you wish to remain subscribed but I figured I would give you advance warning just in case.  You may also receive two emails until Feedburner is officially shut down. If you wish to unsubscribe you will be able to at the bottom of the emails as always.

I hope it is as smooth of a transition as I am anticipating and I thank you all for your patience while it all gets sorted/switched over.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

#PopCultureResolution - Sinister

 


Sinister

Director: Scott Derrickson

Length:
 109 minutes

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Synopsis: True-crime writer Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) is in a slump; he hasn't had a best seller in more than 10 years and is becoming increasingly desperate for a hit. So, when he discovers the existence of a snuff film showing the deaths of a family, he vows to solve the mystery. He moves his own family into the victims' home and gets to work. However, when old film footage and other clues hint at the presence of a supernatural force, Ellison learns that living in the house may be fatal.

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

The type of horror movie that usually doesn't work for me is anything in the paranormal genre. The ones that scare me are typically the ones more rooted in reality.  Naturally there are exceptions and when a movie in this genre works for me it tends to really work. 

Sinister worked, for me, because it starts out like any murder mystery would. A family is dead and a character wants to uncover what happened to them. Add in some effectively creepy home movies and I was definitely unsettled. 

The casting of Ethan Hawke in this was what I was most interested in. Him watching exceedingly horrific home movies and reacting to them was more than enough to create a solid sense of dread and unease. It is this character unraveling that instills the tension. So much of the movie is him with the projector but more than does its job of creating the atmosphere.

These home videos are, in my opinion, the most unsettling part of the movie. Once it gets into the myth and lore behind everything it becomes your standard paranormal horror movie that does boast a twist that I did not see coming. This reveal, which puts the last puzzle piece in place, was what made this be one of those paranormal horror movies that worked for me. I won't spoil it but it made everything just a little more creepy and tragic.

The answer to if this was scary or not is a resounding scary but in the fun way. It would have been fun to experience this with a theatre full of people reacting to the jump scares and plot reveals. It is that kind of horror movie and if that sounds like your kind of thing I recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Roughest Draft

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 Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.

Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven't spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they're forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they'd do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they've hated each other for the past three years isn't easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right. 
This writing duo is known for their young adult novels and this book will be their first adult one. It sounds like a super cute romance with a fun twist of it being a couple writing a romance while working out their own romantic issues. 

This releases in January so it'll be a nice way to help chase away those winter blues (or take on a beach vacation).

Expected release date - January 25, 2022

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler



Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Release Date - May 11, 2021 
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

I was excited to pick up Cool for the Summer after reading its Grease inspired synopsis. It seemed like it would be a fun read and I have previously enjoyed books by Dahlia Adler. It turned out to be quite the enjoyable read filled with just enough angst and romance.

The story is told through a dual timeline. The summer that Lara and Jasmine spend together and the school year after. It allows us to experience the highs of them falling in love and the awkwardness of their reunion. It is effective as it keeps us anchored and connected to both Lara's relationship with Jasmine and her relationship with Chase.

Each of Lara's potential relationships are given weight and care. You believe that she cares for both of these people. Neither person is made out to be awful or shown to be a bad choice. I like that the focus is on Lara and what is right for her. 

Most of this novel is Lara figuring out her sexuaity. She has had a crush on golden boy Chase for forever and is unsure what it means when she starts also having feelings for Jasmine during the summer. I thought that Lara's arc of discovery about herself and what her heart ultimately wants was well done.

Communication is the main cause of conflict as per most romance plot points in novels. Much of the angst could be solved by the characters having a conversation. It is something that works especially well here because there are characters who are figuring things out. They cannot have the conversations that need to be had until they work through things internally first. It added another layer to this often used trope that suited this particular plot.

This book did not disappoint and is definitely one you should toss into your beach tote this summer. I also recommend checking out Dahlia Adler's other books if you haven't yet.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

 




The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Release Date - February 18, 2020 
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 327 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

There is something inherently creepy about a motel (or hotel). That creep factor doubles if it happens to be located in the middle of nowhere. We've all seen Psycho. We've heard the infamous stories about the Cecil Hotel. Places like these allow for a bit of anonymity and you could be staying next door to anyone. It is no surprise that a place like this would make an effective setting for a mystery and The Sun Down Motel proves just that.

The motel of the book's title is the centerpiece of this murder mystery. It has such a presence that it becomes a character in the story. It has the middle of nowhere location, a mysterious disappearance, and its potentially haunted status all helping to create an atmosphere that is perfect for the tense plot that is being woven. The darkness of the motel extends into the surrounding town which has its share of secrets. 

The most fun and interesting element is the dual narration. We have Viv who is working at the hotel in the 1980s and Carly, her niece, who is working there in 2017.  Carly is retracing her Aunt's footsteps trying to unravel what happened the night she went missing while working the night shift at the motel. The story blends these two story arcs together in a way that compliments one another and builds off the other. I found it compelling and  that added an extra element to the twists in the story. The downside is how similar the storylines sometimes are. It adds a bit of a repetitive feel to the writing that might impact some reader's enjoyment of the book. 

Viv and Carly are both determined women who don't give up. They both investigate the mystery within the novel with a single minded focus. They were both engaging characters which made them interesting to read about. 

The first half of the book was incredibly compelling and I could not put it down. It does lose a little bit of its steam towards the latter half and some elements of the plot did not work as well as others did for me. The expanding mystery worked for me and didn't really need all the extra window dressing. The ending itself was also a bit mixed for me. There were elements that weren't as satisfying which created an uneven feeling to the story.

If you are a fan of  mystery novels this one certainly offers up plenty of twists and turns in a unique feeling story. It has a strong atmosphere and setting that makes it easy to immerse yourself in the story. Toss it in your beach bag for an enjoyable summer reading experience.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Maidens

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 Maidens by Alex Michaelides


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
The Maidens sound like it will check all the boxes of a perfect summer thriller. I am especially here for thrillers set in prestigious schools and that promise lots of twists and turns. 

I can see this being a very popular one this summer since the author's other book was a hit. We don't have long to wait as it comes out in about 2 weeks. 

Expected release date - June 15, 2021

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up

June is here and with it summer reading. May ended up being just an okay reading month for me but I am going into June much more hopeful. I am hoping that I'll be able to enjoy some reading time by my sister's pool this month and that I can mange to get through a few more books than normal.

Before sharing what I hope to read this month I have to recap May first.

The books that were on my list are:

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (goodreads)
Animal by Lisa Taddeo (goodreads)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
Elizabeth and Monty by Charles Casillo (goodreads)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in April:

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (goodreads)
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (goodreads)
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler (goodreads)
Elizabeth and Monty by Charles Casillo (goodreads)
Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (goodreads)

I read only five books, but two of them were a little more dense and took me longer than I anticipated that they would. 
 
My #PopCultureResolution book for May was The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James. The movie was Final Girls. I reviewed the movie if you are interested in checking that out and the book review is coming in early June. I, obviously, did not get to When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (again) but I will this month. I am going to make it top priority. 

Here is what I hope to read in May:


Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)

I also have some (okay I have a lot) ebooks I am hoping to get to:




Animal by Lisa Taddeo (goodreads)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
Blackout by Multiple Authors (goodreads)
Survive the Night by Riley Sager (goodreads)
Darling by K Ancrum (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are I Am Watching You by Teresa Discoll and Sinister. I am looking forward to both of them and am genuinely excited to see Ethan Hawke in Sinister.

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

June's pick for my '12 friends, 12 books' reading challenge is The Miseducation of Cameron Post so I'll be getting to that at some point this month. I had already read May's choice back in April.

Jan - The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Kelly)

Feb - 
The Birthday List by Deveny Perry (Emilie)

Mar - Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics (Ciara)

April - Marriage for One by Ella Maise (Katie)

May - Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (Christy)

June -  The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth (Christa)

July - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Jess)

August -  The Grace Year by Kim Leggitt (Christa)

Sept - Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Meaghan)

Oct -   Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston (Katrina)

Nov - Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (Kim)

Dec - Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney (Julia)

As for the reading challenge inspired by The Bachelor I have no books to scratch off the list, but if my reading month goes well I hope to sneak one in. Otherwise I have a few scheduled for August.

1. Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
2. If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
3. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
4. Further to Fall by Catherine Cowles
5. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
6. Isn't it Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
7. My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
8. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
9. Marriage for One by Ella Maise
10. Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by Nathan Burgoine
11. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
12. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
13. Isn't it Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

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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