Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore



A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore
Release Date - March 16, 2021 
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Laurie Devore's new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea . . .

Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer.

Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind.

A reckoning is coming . . . and not everyone is getting out alive.
A Better Bad Idea focuses on three complex, messy teenagers who get caught up in a destructive whirlwind. It focuses on two girls just trying to survive their small town by grabbing on to whatever seems like a lifeline. It looks at the different ways their story could end and it makes no apologies for who these girls are or the choices they make.

The prose in this book is fantastic. The writing is always strong in books by this author and fans of her previous work will undoubtedly love this one as well. Characterization is where the writing really shines with them becoming vivid, fully realized characters. It really is the strongest element of the story and why readers will connect with thr story.

Laurie Devore has become known for her female characters and how she allows them to be flawed and unapologetic. Evelyn is no exception to this. A girl who society let fall unnoticed and who reacts as a result. She is the type of character whose actions the reader may not agree with. They may not be able to see her choices as choices they would make. They will, however, be able to understand her and therefore her actions. It is easy to see things through her perspective because she is such a well constructed character. She is messy and makes mistakes but she still matters and the writing ensures the reader sees this and the character.

This book is told via dual narration with Evelyn and Reid's point of views being told in alternate chapters. We know how Reid's story ends pretty much immediately and it is not a happy ending. The book barrels towards Reid's demise and the reveal of Evelyn’s fate with both an increased tension and resignation. There is some catharsis wrapped in there but it is a harrowing path to get there. Reid has her own flaws and makes her own mistakes but I think her and Evelyn’s stories compliment and contrast each other in interesting ways that bring out the themes of the book and highlight the fact that these girls have fallen through the cracks and make desperate choices while trying to find what they think will be their salvation. 

This book deals with some hard topics like toxic relationships, domestic violence, alcoholism, and more. It goes without saying that it could be triggering for some readers so pick this one up with care. There is a lot of thought provoking questions this book is asking and so I definitely think it is worth the read for those who are able.

A story of two young girls. One already dead and the other trying to survive. It's another intensely readable novel from Laurie Devore that asks us to see girls like Evelyn and Reid. See them and understand them - flaws and all.

Friday, April 9, 2021

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 week. 

BOOKS

Cover for The Righteous by Renee Ahdieh (goodreads)

The third book in Renee's vampire series has had its cover revealed and it is just as pretty as the other covers for this series. I love the green colour against the black. It makes it really pop.

These books are such fun reads and I am even more excited to get my copy of this one now.

MOVIES/TELEVISION

American Horror Story Season 10 Announcement

I am very excited about the next season of American Horror Story and Ryan Murphy recently revealed the theme/title for the tenth season. 

It's called Double Feature and it means that we're getting TWO seasons this year. It's inspired by the old drive in double features that were extremely popular. One of the seasons will revolve around the sea, and the other will take place on land as per the teaser. It was also revealed that we'll have different casts for each so plenty of fan favourites will be back.

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


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Summer Reading

Spring is here and before you know it summer will be here and with it summer reading. Summer always brings to mind good books read by the pool or at the beach. Lazy afternoons reading in the park. It is the time of year that everyone seems to be reading the latest thriller, or catching up on some romance novels from their reading list.

I always look forward to the summer months and the books I get to read. Autumn is my favourite season but there is something about the summer reading season.

To help you plan your own summer reading lists I thought I would share the books I hope to read this summer.

1. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have read two Taylor Jenkins Reid's books and they have made her an author whose work I will immediately buy. I am very excited about her upcoming release that follows a group of siblings during the summer party they are hosting. I expect family drama and secrets which makes for a perfect summer time read.

2. Survive The Night by Riley Sager

Thrillers are always popular but they seem even more so during the summer. There is typically a big release that everyone has in their beach bag. My thriller read for the summer is Riley Sager's Survive The Night. A college student finds a ride using a ride share board at her school and may have inadvertently gotten into a car with a serial killer.

3. Animal by Lissa Taddeo

The early reviews for this one have piqued my interest and have definitely made me want to pick it up this summer. It sounds brutal, thought provoking, and memorable. It revolves around a woman who 'is tired of being prey so she turns into a predator' which is all I needed to know to become interested.

4. The House of Gucci by Sara Gay Forden

My true crime pick for the summer will also ensure I am ready for the film version when it releases in the fall. High fashion, a murder, and plenty of scandal will surely make this a page turner that is perfect for the beach.

5. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

I have heard nothing but excellent things about Sally Rooney's books and have decided that this summer should be when I finally pick up one of them. This one is being adapted as a television show and is about a group of four friends and their relationships and interactions with one another. 

6. If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy 

This sounds like it is going to be such a cute read. It is a contemporary Cinderella retelling that is the start of a new series from Disney. It seems like a perfect candidate to read while enjoying a Pina Colada (or beverage of your choice).

7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

The title says it all. This one has been highly recommended to me and I think this summer is the perfect time to finally read it. Its plot revolves around two writers who challenge each other to a competition in order to help each other out of their writer's block.

8. Fable by Adrienne Young 

This young adult fantasy novel comes highly recommend to me and the synopsis definitely intrigues me. It seems like it will have a lot of danger, intrigue, and some romance.

There are some of the books I hope to get to.this summer. What are some books on your own summer reading list? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... White Smoke

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 White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.
Spooky reads are always best read in the fall. White Smoke's release date ensures that many of us will be reading this right in the midst of the spookiest season.

This has been pitched as a haunted house story meets Get Out and that instantly sold me on reading this. I wanted to read it even more after the amazing cover was revealed.

The Sept release date may seem far off but it will be here before we know it. 

Expected release date - September 14, 2021

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Written in the Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur



Written in the Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur
Release date - November 10, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**borrowed from the library**

Twelve Books/Twelve Friends Selection

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy... a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle's new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because... awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars? 
The notion of 'opposites attract' is a popular trope in romance novels. Characters finding themselves attracted to someone widely different from themselves is a trope that I enjoy when done well. It is used to fun effect in Written In The Stars when the free-spirited Elle and the more reserved Darcy fall for each other.

Elle believes in astrology. Darcy doesn't. Elle wants to fall in love. Darcy definitely doesn't. This story plays up the opposites between the romantic pairing while also celebrating their differences. These two are perfect for each other because of what they bring out in one another. They challenge, and support the other in various ways that make their romance work.

Those who are fans of the fake to real dating trope will enjoy this book in particular. Their fake dating leads to some real sparks. Those wanting a romance filled with sexy moments, grand gestures, and sweetness will absolutely swoon for the romance in these pages. The romance is one of the elements that worked the most for me. The disastrous first meeting through to the final moments all serve to build the relationship between the characters. It made me connect with thre story even if other elements did not.

The writing style took a bit for me to get into but once I was invested I found myself flying through the pages. I would definitely pick up another book by this author and am looking forward to the companion novel to this one. The side characters, like any good book with a companion novel, were endearing enough that I want to continue to follow their various stories. Elle's roommate, in particular, needs to have her own book. 

Those with an interest in astrology will delight in all of the inclusions within this book. Elle's interest (and job) ensures that it is wound into the story in an effortless and fun way. 

The ending, for me, felt rushed compared with the rest of the book. I think it needed something at the end to close out the story in a way that made it feel more whole. It felt abrupt and I just wanted a little more from it.

I think many will find this sweet romance enjoyable. It has plenty of the ingredients that make this genre so appealing. It may not linger with the reader long after they finish but it is one of those books that will deliver on the promise made in the synopsis and provides you with exactly what you need it to.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Month TBR and Wrap Up

April is here! It means I get to celebrate another pandemic birthday and eat Easter chocolate. I also hope to read more books than I did in March because I really didn't have the energy to focus much at all this past month.

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

The books that were on my list are:

Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics (goodreads)
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

City of Villains by Estelle Laure (goodreads)
A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in March:

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis (goodreads)
A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore (goodreads)
Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics (goodreads)

It was a bad reading month all around. I only managed to read three books. I did however enjoy all three of them immensely in different ways. 

My #PopCultureResolution book for March was When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole. The movie was The Stepfather. I reviewed the movie if you are interested in checking that out. I, obviously, did not get to the book, so I'll attempt to double up this month.

Here is what I hope to read in April:


Marriage For One by Ella Maise (goodreads)
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (goodreads)

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


Written in The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur (goodreads)
Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli (goodreads)
The Other Mrs Miller by Allison M Dickson (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are The Other Mrs Miller by Allison M Dickson and Frankenstein. Very intrigued to finally see Frankenstein after hearing about it during the incredible Bela and Boris season of You Must Remember This.

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

April's pick for my '12 friends, 12 books' reading challenge is Marriage For One. I am excited to get to read this one because it's come highly recommended by both the person who recommended it and others. I am also reading Written In The Stars this month (I am almost done in fact) so I can get ahead on my other challenges (and it came in early at the library).

The book for March, Mouthful of Forevers, ended up being one I absolutely loved. The poetry was beautiful and has made me curious enough to check out more.

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 had no updates. I'll hopefully have some next month when I can cross both Marriage for One and Kate In Waiting off the list!

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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... A Certain Appeal

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 A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A sparkling contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the tantalizing world of New York City burlesque, perfect for fans of The Kiss Quotient and The Roommate.

After a betrayal derailed her interior design career, Liz Bennet found a fresh start in New York. Now an executive assistant by day and stage kitten by night, she's discovered a second home with the performers at Meryton, Manhattan's top-tier burlesque venue. Love's the last thing on her mind when she locks eyes with Will Darcy across the crowded club. The spark between them is undeniable--that is, until she overhears the uptight wealth manager call her merely "tolerable."

Bennet is determined to write Darcy off, but once their besties fall head-over-heels, they're thrown into each other's orbit again and again. Each encounter begins to feel more heated than the last, but is their chemistry enough to topple that terrible first impression? What's more, when a charming newcomer arrives on the scene with accusations against Darcy, his claims leave Bennet torn. And when a sudden development leaves Meryton's fate in jeopardy, she will have to decide who to trust in time to salvage her design dreams, her heart, and the stage she shares with her found family... 
I instantly wanted to read this novel.when I heard it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the world of burlesque. It sounds flirty and fun.

The fall release ensures that this will pair nicely with a pumpkin spice latte and a cozy blanket.

Expected release date - November 2, 2021

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