Friday, November 9, 2018

The Idea Of You by Robinne Lee



The Idea Of You by Robinne Lee
Release Date - June 13, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  372 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.
The Idea Of You immediately caught my eye with it's unique premise. A woman dating a much younger man isn't something I routinely see in novels so I was intrigued to see how it would play out. Add to this the extra element of the younger man being a member of one of the world's largest boy bands and I was immediately sold. The Idea Of You ended up being a thought provoking read that extremely well executed.

Robinne Lee's ability to create characters you care about is perhaps one of her strongest talents as a writer. I immediately cared about Solène and her journey. We come to like Hayes and eventually come to care about their love story. This is a story you feel and become engrossed in and it is in large part because of the way the story is crafted.

The cost of fame and how much fame can take from someone is a large aspect of the story being told. We see how your personal life, and personal moments, are no longer personal. We see the toll the constant scrutiny has on the relationships the famous person has with others. The impact isn't just felt by the person who entered the spotlight but all of those who enter their orbit. This novel offers up a fascinating look at how it can easily unravel bonds and twist things to the point that they break.

I was cautious going in about the love story being told. I wasn't sure what an almost forty year old woman would have in common with a twenty year old man. I wasn't sure if the relationship would feel natural and healthy. I mainly wasn't sure what either of them could get from the relationship that would make it interesting and complex. I expected it to be surface level and mostly about the sex. The author adeptly address these concerns by making the characters benefit from each other in a lot of ways. The growth that they both have because of this relationship makes it feel genuine. It also helps that Hayes is shown to be more mature than his years. The logical issues that would naturally exist because of the age gap are addressed in a thought out manner that still manages to make the relationship feel viable. It works for this set of characters because of who they are and great care was taken to have this be the case. You , as a result, end up deeply caring about the romance, achingly so at times.

The romance also works because it builds naturally. What starts out as 'only lunch' turns into something fun and sexy. This morphs into feelings of affection that gradually turn into something deeper and more meaningful. It's a romance filled with memorable moments and a really great initial flirtation that highlights the electricity that is palpable to the reader. Robinne Lee made a relationship  that I wasn't sure would work impact me deeply. It was a relief because if the relationship doesn't resonate with the reader the novel itself wouldn't work.

There is a commentary here about women and how society views them as they age. One of Solène's worries is how the age gap between her and Hayes would look to those on the outside. This type of age gap is more commonly seen with older men dating younger woman and I think it is more easily accepted as well. The idea that Solène is considered less desirable as she ages is a notion that hovers over parts of this story. I like how the author circumvents this by making Solène more confident in herself even as she struggles with her worries. We don't see Solène devaluing herself even as she worries about what others may think. The entire commentary on the way society equates a woman's worth with her beauty is subtly, but effectively, woven in

There is a realism to this love story that is brought home by the inevitable ending. The ending may not necessarily be everything readers want it to be, but it is the most logical one based on the story being told. Those looking for a nicely wrapped up ending will not find that here but I think the book is made all the better because of it.

A story with a surprising amount to say about fame, love, and the aging of women. Fans of novels that make you want to discuss with others will love this one. It's a perfect book club pick because it has so many discussion worthy elements. Robinne Lee has definitely caught my attention as a author to watch out for and I cannot wait to read whatever she writes next (even if I do secretly hope it's a companion novel about one of the other August Moon members).

Thursday, November 8, 2018

2019 Most Anticipated Event



It's the most wonderful time of the year! That's right, my annual event showcasing my most anticipated books of the upcoming year is back again this year and it's going to look a little different. I have a ton of books I am anticipating, but there won't be as many Q and A's with authors this year (even though there will be some). I'll be spotlighting book is different ways and including a few posts from publishers and other bloggers as well.

I am looking forward to sharing the books that already have me hyped and hearing back from you all about what books you're super excited for.

The event will begin Monday November 26th and will run for about three weeks. Be sure to stop by to see what is included and hear all about the books I think we'll be talking about next year!

A few teases of books that are included:

- a book that is being described as Westworld meets the Serial podcast
- a book that has the First Son falling for the Prince of England
- more than one fairytale retelling
- a book that blends Romeo and Juliet with Wuthering Heights

 I hope some of these have piqued your interest and that you'll check out the event at the end of the month! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... There's Something About Sweetie


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 There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?
This books cover screams joy to me. Sweetie looks so joyful and the colours are bright and eye catching. This has me hopeful that the story inside it is just as smile inducing as this cover is.

If you haven't read When Dimple Met Rishi you have plenty of time before the May release date of this companion novel.

Expected release date - May 14, 2019

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Return To Murder House



The eighth episode of this season, titled Sojourn, was perhaps one of the craziest of the season. Michael's dealing with some daddy issues, and we learn the origins of Ms Meade.

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

We start this episode off with Michael finding out what happened to his beloved caretaker. He, as predicted, does not take it well at all.


Cordelia interrupts his grief to come and tell him that she knows exactly who he is now. His plan is over, and he's failed. Michael reminds her that he is capable of bringing Miriam back (turns out the lady has the same name as the robot). Cordelia tells him to go ahead and try. She tells him that he can certainly go to hell but he won't find her soul there. Cordelia has hid it and only she knows the location. Cordelia tells him that he is alone to which Michael says that he is not because he has his father. Cordelia questions where 'his father' is now. She offers Michael an olive branch. She sees humanity in him and tells him that he can join her instead of following his father's path. Michael does not react well to this at all.


Eeeep. I am legit worried for some of our witches now as not all of them made it to the outpost. We know that Michael is capable of making people disappear (including their souls) and I anticipate we'll see that again before this season is over (which is in two episodes).

Michael storms off and is spiraling. He needs guidance and decides that his father will be the best one to give it. He draws a big circle in the earth and beseeches his father to tell him what to do. He threatens to not leave the circle until he is told what to do. He tells his father to either tell him or let him die. Michael waits for four days but it doesn't seem like Satan is all that interested in helping out his son. Michael starts hallucinating what looks like little kids who are offering him food and drink and when he declines he starts hallucinating Miriam and Anton LaVey who offering reassuring words. Anton's praise though infuriates Michael who calls him a liar and strangles him. Anton turns into a legit angel however (complete with wings) who tells him that God loves him. Michael next sees a goat who he thinks might be his father but he kills it and snakes slither out of the corpse.

Michael is completely weakened and lost. He stumbles around until he finds a building with an upside down cross on it and approaches the door. The doorman asks if he is lost to which Michael can only kind of shrug in reply.


The building holds a church of sorts. It one where the people who attend praise Satan and are doing their best to usher in the end of the world. Hannah (Sandra Bernhard) is the priestess and is, as Michael walks in, giving an impassioned speech asking everyone what sins they have committed to help bring in the apocalypse. Their sins range from cheating on their spouses, to stealing petty cash from work which does not impress the priestess nor Michael who gets more and more devastated as he hears the sins of the group, at one point even covering his face with his hands. 


This entire church scene both offers a commentary on religion and gives us insight into Michael's head space. He is grappling with his father ignoring him. He's having a hard time living up to the expectations his father (and others) have placed on him.

He is approached by a kindly Satan worshiper named Madelyn who offers him food and a place to stay after the service. Michael tells her that is very kind of her to which she replies that nobody is perfect. This lady sure is sweet for being someone who praises the devil.

They two eat and share details about their lives. Michael reveals that his father abandoned him and that his mother tried to kill him. This is why Michael is so lost. You have to have some sympathy for this young man who is just trying to find his place in the world and is being rejected by everyone who should love him. 

Madelyn reveals that she sold her soul to the devil. The perks of this transaction apparently include a lazyboy, the ability to do all of the heroin she wants (without consequences), as well as weekly sex dates with both Brad Pitt (on Wednesdays) and Ryan Reynolds (who comes on Friday). Seems like Madelyn has it made. This does not comfort Michael though. He expresses dismay that all Satan offers is carnal pleasure. Madelyn tries to ease his mind by telling him that the son of Satan is coming and that his son will plunge them into darkness. Michael tells her that she is waiting in vain because he is the one she is waiting for. This makes Madelyn try to kill him as she views what he just said as blasphemy as she doesn't believe it. Michael shows her the '666' branding behind his ear which causes her to immediately bow in respect. 

She drags Michael back to the church so that everyone can bask in the glory of the Antichrist. The church is holding their sacrificial offering to Satan by murdering two do gooders. Michael gets to take over and complete the sacrifice as the guest of honour. It's kind of funny that everyone immediately believes Michael is the Antichrist because of his branding. 

After the sacrifice they have a pot luck (seriously, these Satan worshipers are ridiculous). Everyone is eager for Michael to like the food they brought and are crowded around him watching him eat. Madelyn chases them off. As Michael is eating she asks him what comes next. She wants to know how he intends to usher in the end times. Michael admits he doesn't know what to do. Madelyn is confused. How could he not know what to do, he is the Antichrist after all. Michael's response to being reminded of this fact is to lash out. 




Michael is, obviously, having difficulty with the pressure that is being put on him and I predict being ignored by his father isn't helping matters. Michael brings up Miriam and how he feels alone now that she is gone.This inspires Madelyn to give him a pep talk. She reminds him that there is no one and nothing that he can't have. I mean, she's not wrong. 

Michael's mood makes Madelyn decide to introduce him to some other 'true believers' who she insists will help him. She praises Michael some more during the ride and tells her that he is still the same guy she met at the church. Michael is humble here and it is the duality he showcases that makes his character work so well. They arrive and say goodbye. Madelyn asks him to put in a good word with Satan for her. He promises her that he'll see what he can do.

 This final exchange between them is perhaps my favourite of this episode:


Her exuberant 'Hail Satan' and Michael's smirk (along with cute reminder for her to keep it quiet) works for me here. Madelyn reminds me of a more stable Miriam and I think that is what Michael needs (a mother figure). 

The building she has dropped Michael off at is home to a tech business, the brains of which are Jeff (Evan Peters in a ridiculous bowl hair cut and his fourth role this season) and Mutt (Billy Eichner). These two are super rich tech designers who are working on sex robots. They also happened to be addicted to cocaine and overseen by Ms Venable. These guys are surely the Cooperative. No wonder Michael has so much high-tech stuff at his disposal. 

Ms Venable fires another assistant when she is late bringing in the newest shipment of cocaine. The assistant complains about the treatment she is receiving and threatens to go to Human Resources. Ms Venable's reply to this is everything:


Basically Ms Venable was always Ms Venable. She always loved purple and she was always a bit of a bitch. 

We learn that Jeff really likes easy listening music (including the song The Morning After which played in the outpost). It helps him focus even though Mutt hates it. Ms Venable delivers their cocaine and it is enough to distract Mutt from the blow job another assistant is giving him from under his desk. Ms Venable informs them that the dog poop they sent Mark Zuckerberg is on its way, Rihanna has confirmed that she'll be available to them all weekend, and the island they wanted has been purchased. She also tells them that the gentleman who they are expecting has arrived. They tell her to send him up the private elevator. 

Michael walks in and the guys immediately start off on the wrong foot. They are kind of insulting about his name and Michael immediately turns around to leave. They panic and call him back and apolgoize. They want proof Michael is the Antichrist is all. They are not swayed by the branding so Michael burns one of their assistants. This gets their attention and they immediately bow and offer up a 'Hail Satan'. 

They take Michael for lunch outside and tell him their story. They worked for a bunch of start up companies but never got any recognition or any advancement so they sold their souls as well. They now own a robotics company worth billions, they can do as much cocaine as they wish, and they also have weekly sex dates with Ryan Reynolds and some Victoria Secret supermodels.  They offer up their services to Michael in any capacity that he needs. Michael wants them to bring Miriam back for him. We see them building Miriam and they bicker over the details. They want her to be perfect because the son of Satan is their customer. 

They remind Michael that she won't be exactly as he remembers Miriam, not at least at first. It is going to take time. A relationship has to be built. They power her up and the first thing she does upon opening her eyes is to sit up and tell Michael how much she missed him.

See you next week where we'll probably find out exactly how the apocalypse was actually caused by Michael and why he thinks he killed all the witches. Eeeep!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

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.

BOOK

Cover of Finale by Stephanie Garber (goodreads)

The final book in Stephanie's series was recently revealed by Entertainment Weekly and it is just as amazing as I was hoping it would be.


It is so eye catching and matches the other two perfectly. It is hard to believe that the end of this series is so close. It's bittersweet. 

Cover of There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (goodreads)

Sandhya Menon always has really fun, bright covers that immediately catch your eye and her newest is no exception to that. She has a brand and I love that all of her covers compliment each other. 


Sweetie looks great on the cover and I love how joyful she looks! It makes me think the book is going to be just as joyful.

MOVIE / TELEVISION

Isn't It Romantic Trailer

Trailers for the early part of 2019 have started to come out and this really charming one caught my eye. I am tentatively optimistic but this type of movie has the potential to be pretty cringe inducing.


This trailer seems to indicate that this is partly a satire of the rom-com while still being a rom-com. I laughed at a few moments (I loved the PG-13 part of the trailer) and it could be a good Valentine's Day hit.

Five Feet Apart Trailer

This is based off an upcoming YA release (it releases Nov 20th) that will be released on this blog a little later this month. I was immediately curious about the trailer and now that I have seen it I am totally going to see this movie when it is released.


It seems like a movie that is going to make me cry but it also looks like it'll be good. I think this movie (and the book) may end up proving more popular than people think simply because it is reminding me a little bit of The Fault In Our Stars.

OTHER

TBTBSanta

If you've followed me for awhile you'll know about The Broke and Bookish Santa Swap that happens yearly. It's an amazing way to spread some holiday cheer and I highly recommend signing up if you are able. It's really heartwarming to see all the excited tweets as people shop and send/receive their packages.

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Cover Reveal: Hollywood Playboy


Today I am excited to share the cover reveal for Natasha Madison's newest novel, Hollywood Playboy, which is the first book in a new series. I am a sucker for any book that is set in Hollywood and this one sounds amazing. The cover is also pretty amazing in my opinion. Check it out:


Now that you've seen the amazing cover, I bet you're wanting to know what exactly the book is about. Here is the synopsis and I am pretty sure you're immediately going to want to pre-order it once you've read it. 
Jessica

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

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

I was over it.

Then I got my next assignment.

He’s Hollywood’s bad boy.

He works hard, and he plays even harder.

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

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

 One, I may never work in this industry again.

 Two, I may just be like everyone else and fall for Hollywood’s Playboy. 
Amazing, right? And the back cover is just as eye catching if you ask me!


It's pretty much a must read for those who love Hollywood set romances so follow the links below to pre-order and add it to your Goodreads.

  ADD TO GOODREADS      

PRE-ORDER NOW




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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered


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 Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
 The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder!

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.
I am a huge fan of the My Favorite Murder podcast and I was thrilled when it was revealed that Karen and Georgia would be writing a book. I am expecting this to be a humour filled book with a lot of heart in it as well.

This comes out next May (so we have a bit of wait) but I am really excited to get my hands on this one.

Expected release date - May 28, 2019

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