Thursday, July 18, 2019

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Loveboat, Taipei

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected release date - February 4, 2020

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vote On A New Blog Feature!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Weekly Obsessions

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

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


American Horror Story: 1984 Cast Announcement

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

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

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

Mindhunter Season Two 

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

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... Harley In The Sky

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

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

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

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

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

Expected release date - March 10, 2020

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cover Reveal: The St Michaels Duet by Harlow Cole

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

INTERFERENCE Coming July 18th

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


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

About Harlow Cole 

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