Friday, August 31, 2018

My SInemia Experiment: Month One

I am now one month in to my year long experiment with Sinemia. I wanted some way to track my experience to help determine how beneficial it is at the end of the year. These monthly recaps will help do that and also serve as a good end of year recap reminder.

Having used the three tickets my plan allows for in the month of August I've already discovered that this has the bonus of getting me to go to the movies even more than I normally do. I will be going at least three times a month (if not more). It seems like it might also push me out of my comfort zone to see movies I normally would not see. The slower months for movies may present a challenge finding movies to go see. I've promised myself that I will go at least three times a month and that will eventually mean seeing movies not initially on my radar. 

My first three movies watched were BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, and Searching (which I will watch on Saturday). 

My overall experience has been incredibly positive. I found the app easy to use and the check in process easy to do. I had no technical issues and I was able to get tickets for my favourite theatres. I had heard some stories of app issues but have managed to avoid any of them so far. I am pretty impressed with how painless the entire process is.

If I had to decide whether to extend my subscription right now the answer would be a fairly easy yes. I have saved $34.74 so far after the first month and have had zero issues with any part of the service.

My September allotment because available on the 4th and there is not a whole lot coming to the theatres that month. I will be checking out A Simple Favor because I love both Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. I am curious about White Boy Rick mainly because it has been mentioned as having some potential Oscar buzz. I might use ny last September ticket to get my advance tickets for A Star Is Born as that will be right around the last day to use the September tickets.

Any suggestions for movies to go see in September? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Toil and Trouble by Various Authors

Toil and Trouble by Various Authors
Release Date - August 28, 2018
Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely--has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.
Stories about witches have always fascinated me. The Salem Witch Trials were ushered in because of fear. Fear of the power of women and fear of anyone who was different. The stories in Toil and Trouble embrace this reality and presents a collection of stories that offer both a feminist slant and focus on sisterhood among women in general.

The stories contained within the anthology are as diverse the authors included. There are many different representations found within these pages. They range from sexuality, race, social status, and religion. This stood out while I was reading and I honestly feel it made the collection more well rounded as whole. All of the stories combine the themes of witches and women in power. They fluctuate between being lighter in tone to some darker, more thought provoking stories. All of this ensures that the reading experience is varied, and engaging.

I enjoyed most of the stories over all, but like any anthology there were some that left a more lasting impression on me while I was reading. I feel that in a collection this varied that this is subjective. What impacted me will inevitably be different from the next person who reads it.

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord was, unsurprisingly, the story I immediately wished was a full novel. The relationship between this group of sibling witches is the primary focus. This is a story that highlights the bonds between women and the sisterhood that exists between them. It's filled with the undeniable charm that makes an Emery Lord novel shine. I instantly fell in love with all there of the sisters and their stories and the ways in each they were both different but also so similar.

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May was a powerful story of women bonding together and being stronger for it. It advocates helping each other and supporting each other in so many ways. It shouts about how much more powerful we are if we do and the limitless possibilities of what could be accomplished as a result.

Beware Of Girls With Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswoods offers up a darker look sisterhood and the fierceness in which siblings protect each other. It's a story with a darker tone and one that I would have loved to have seen fleshed out more because I fell into the character's and the world Jessica created.

Love Spell was a surprising read that didn't quite take the turn I expected it to. It's a love story that was filled with a little bit of extra magic. It also tackles differences in people and what love is capable of overcoming.

Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia offers a more contemporary feeling story that also hints at the possibilities of new love and the kind of magic that holds. It's a great way to start off the anthology and has piqued my interest in anything else this author writes.

This is ultimately a fun read for the Halloween season. It's a great way to incorporate some themed stories into your fall reading and ensures that there is a little something for everyone. If short story collections are something you enjoy I recommend checking this one out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... My Favorite Half-Night Stand

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 My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
From the New York Times bestselling author that “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly) comes a sexy romantic comedy about online dating, and its many, many fails.

With a world-famous speaker at their university, Mille Morris and her four woefully single male colleagues make a pact that they’ll all find dates. Unfortunately, Millie has more success helping them make matches online than she does navigating the onslaught of lewd pics in her own feed. But when she creates a fictional name for a new account, Millie finds herself vying for the online attention of a man she sees every day in the flesh.
I always love Christina Lauren's novels. They're always fun, sexy and enjoyable. Their newest focuses on online dating and included the added bonus of a secret identity being part of the plot. I also love the idea that she falls for a guy she knows in real life element because of the online dating twist to the story.

The December release always make for great holiday season reading as a way to treat yourself after a long day of shopping. I cannot wait to enjoy this one with a peppermint hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

Expected release date - December 4, 2018

Saturday, August 25, 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.

A very small Weekly Obsessions post again this week. Not to much new to report.


First Look At Bravo's Dirty John

Entertainment Weekly published the first look at Connie Britton's new show. Based off the popular podcast of the same name it focuses on a con man and fits right in with the current true crime media boom that is happening.

I love Connie Britton so I am excited to see her in something else. This is supposed to be more of an anthology series with theme being 'manipulated love' as per the series creator, Andrea Cunningham.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Fall Reading List

As summer slowly comes to its end I immediately think of all of the exciting books, movies, and television that await us in the fall season. Fall happens to be my favourite season. It is filled with some of my favourite things - pumpkin spice everything, cozy blankets, and an excuse to drink more tea than usual.

The fall season is, as previously mentioned, when a lot of really exciting books are released. I thought I would share my own personal reading list for this fall season. I am hoping to kickstart my reading as I have been in a serious slump this year despite reading some amazing reads.

Here is my own personal 'Must Read List' for fall 2018

1. The Reckoning of Noah Shaw

Release Date: November 13, 2018

This is the second book in the Noah Shaw Confessions series. This spin off of the Mara Dyer trilogy continues the story  from Noah's point of view and I am looking forward to jumping back into this world.

2. What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Release Date: October 9, 2018

I love books written by both of these authors so I was immediately intrigued by them teaming up to write what sounds like an adorable book. The only question is will it have more of the happy ending Becky is known for, or the rip your heart out endings that Adam is known for.

3. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Release Date: October 2nd, 2018

Fans of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue fell in love with Felicity, the sister of the main character, and begged for her to have a book all her own. Mackenzi Lee made that wish a reality and I am so excited to read Felicity's story.

4. Sadie by Courtney Summers

Release Date: September 4, 2018

The pitch of this book comparing it to Serial immediately caught my attention. The buzz for this one just keeps growing and is almost impossible to miss. This seems to be releasing at just the right time with the current bump in visibility that true crime related media is enjoying.

5. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Release Date: October 30, 2018

I loved The Wedding Date so immediately knew I needed to read The Proposal. I have been adding in more romance novels into my reading pile and I anticipate this one will be just as amazing as The Wedding Date was.

Honorable Mention

The above list only included books I have not yet read so I wanted to just make a special mention of a fall release that I have already read.

You can expect my review up in September one this one release (Sept 11th to be exact) but I loved every single minute I spent reading this one. I am excited for others to get to read it so it should be on your fall reading list.

What books are you looking forward to in the fall season? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Daisy Jones and The Six

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 Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
In 1979, Daisy Jones and The Six split up. Together, they had redefined the 70’s music scene, creating an iconic sound that rocked the world. Apart, they baffled a world that had hung on their every verse.

This book is an attempt to piece together a clear portrait of the band’s rise to fame and their abrupt and infamous split. The following oral history is a compilation of interviews, emails, transcripts, and lyrics, all pertaining to the personal and professional lives of the members of the band The Six and singer Daisy Jones.

While I have aimed for a comprehensive and exhaustive approach, I must acknowledge that full and complete accounts from all parties involved has proved impossible. Some people were easier to track down than others, some were more willing to talk than others, and some, unfortunately, have passed on.

All of which is to say that while this is the first and only authorised account from all represented perspectives, it should be noted that, in matters both big and small, reasonable people disagree.

The truth often lies, unclaimed, in the middle.
Taylor Jenkins Reid's last book had plenty of buzz so I was immediately intrigued when I read the synopsis for this.

I love that this is basically a biography of a fictional band and I am so here for that premise. I hope it is as good as I am imagining it to be.

It releases next March so there is a bit of a wait but it gives me time to read The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo first!

Expected release date - March 7, 2019

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - BlacKkKlansman


Rating: R

Director: Spike Lee

Language: English

Length:  135 minutes

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: August 10, 2018

Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It's the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award (R) winning Get Out.


I left BlacKkKlansman knowing I wanted to review it. I also am very aware that my voice is not the one you should be seeking out when looking for opinions on this movie. If my review is the first you've read for this movie I urge you to go and check out the reviews written by black people before reading mine. 

Spike Lee always draws interest as a director. I have only seen a few of his movies, but if this one is anything to go from, he has a detailed eye and a gift for capturing a beautiful shot. The advance buzz of a potential Oscar nomination for his work on this movie is warranted. There is that undefinable quality that is evident when you're watching a well directed movie and BlacKkKlansman has it.

The movie is set in the 70's and yet  parallels to today are blatant and unmissable. This is particularly true when Topher Grace's David Duke begins spouting rhetoric about making America great. The harsh truth is that we like to think we've made a lot of progress in last fortyish years, but we really haven't. The movie hammers home this fact time and time again while almost screaming at the injustice of it. I predict it would be a sobering wake up call for many (if only the people who actually needed it would see this movie).

The movie manages certainly has its comedic moments despite dealing with some more serious issues. There is humour to be found in many of the scenes where Ron Stallworth is dealing with members of the Ku Klux Klan. He makes them look like fools and there is something gratifying about seeing these exchanges that take place. The blending of two different tones of this movie is another stand out of the directing choices. The fit naturally together without feeling abrupt or out of place. The humorous moments are used at the right time as well. They're not jarring or placed where they wouldn't work as effectively.

In a movie with a ton of memorable moments, there is one that stood out to me and has been something I've thought about multiple times since seeing the movie. A scene where two characters are talking about the slicked up David Duke and how he is looking to present a more 'sanitized' face of the Ku Klux Klan and what implications that has. The one character mention this hatred getting into public office, for instance, as a natural result of this. The other character guffaws and says that the American people would never vote someone like that in. It is a moment so steeped in the present that you almost expect the actor to break the fourth wall and look directly into the camera (a la Jim Halpert). Spike Lee had a loud message he wanted to get across in making this movie and he certainly succeeded, and offered up a conversation starter of a movie as a result.

All of the performances are solid. It is hard to pick a stand out because everyone has pretty great material to work with and does convincing work with what they are given. John David Washing, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace are certainly the three I think people will talk about after leaving the movie but there are some great actors in supporting roles that are just as interesting.

Adam Driver's role as the white cop who is the 'face' behind this undercover operation ends up having more of the tension filled moments. The bulk of the tension is woven into his story arc which, at times, made John David Washington's arc feel a little uneven. It is saved by a great storyline involving a woman Ron meets. The conversations and interactions between the two characters show us a lot of about who Ron is and I felt they were where John David Washington did some of his best work.

The ray of light that this movie offers is the notion that people working together is the best way to combat racism. We get numerous scenes of people of different backgrounds working together in various ways to expose, and dismantle, racism. This message that it is not something that one person, or one group of people, can undo by themselves is a powerful motivator and the subtle brushstrokes of this theme are well done.

I left this movie angry. Angry that the people who need to see this movie are exactly the ones who would never go to it. This movie's message is one that the people going to see will already be on board with. My only hope is that it angers people who do watch it enough to inspire them to get more involved in politics and to take their right to vote seriously. That anger has to lead to action and that is, perhaps, the movie's strongest message.

Saturday, August 18, 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.

A small Weekly Obsessions post again this week. Not to much new to report.


Widows Trailer

Widows is one of the movies I have my eye on this Oscar season. The second trailer was recently released. I love that Gillian Flynn wrote this screenplay and I think you can kind of tell.

The cast looks great. Still very into whatever Daniel Kaluuya is doing in this movie. It's sure to be one that does well at the box office and we'll see how it does come awards season.


Happy Hello bookmarks for The Hating Game (link)

My favourite Etsy bookmark shop has made adorable bookmarks for The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. They're perfect and I love them so much!

I highly recommend this shop. It's popped up a few times on this site but the bookmarks are cute, the service is great, and she even offers custom bookmarks.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cover Reveal - Betting On Him by Kelly Collins

Today I am thrilled to help reveal the cover for BETTING ON HIM by Kelly Collins. BETTING ON HIM is the first book in a brand new mafia romance series and will be published on October 15th!

Amazing cover right? Here is a little bit more about the book:
He’s a gangster going straight. She’s a waitress going bankrupt. Will their gamble on a marriage of convenience pay off in true love?

Alex Wilde desperately wants to be free of the family’s mob business. But when his infamous father is murdered, the family attorney makes a suggestion he can’t ignore: find a bride before the funeral or they'll force a wedding with a nice Russian gangster girl. When he meets a feisty cocktail waitress, he thinks he’s found his way out.

Faye Tandy is desperately in debt and hard-pressed to find help. Alex’s offer of a phony marriage for a ton of cash couldn’t come at a better time and she’s happy to help him exit the criminal world. The fact that he’s tall, dark, and handsome is an attractive bonus. But when she discovers the Russians have a contract out on her head, she wonders if divorced and bankrupt would be a better choice than rich and dead...

As Faye’s fake feelings for Alex turn real, she’s terrified her trip to the altar might be her last. Will Alex and Faye’s throw of the dice succeed or will they lose the lawless game of love?
Don't forget to use the below link to add it to your Goodreads, and preorder your copy on Amazon!

International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly lives in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her husband of twenty-eight years, their two dogs, and a bird that hates her. She has three amazing children, whom she loves to pieces.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Release Date - August 7, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  480 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.
I had been craving a well written book that revolved around pirates when I heard about These Rebel Waves. It promised to mix magic, pirates, court politics, and a revolution. Thankfully it more than delivered on these promises and also offered a compulsively readable story with some very memorable characters.

The setting is almost a character itself. Grace Loray is a swampy area whose humidity could be almost felt through the pages. The setting is vividly captured within these pages with the descriptions that make use of not just telling us about the setting but showing us details about it through the characters. The world building is such a vital part of the story for many reasons and that is brought to fruition because of the picture that is painted.

The intertwining of magic and religion is done interestingly within the story arc that is set out. The idea of magic being 'evil' is not a new one, but the way it is presented here is compelling. The impact it has on all of the characters is far reaching and far more interesting than I anticipated. The foundational elements of the world being built are directly tied to the magic within the novel. The magic is grounded in botany. The use of herbs and plants make it feel more plausible even as some of the plants used offer a more mystical flair to the story.

The characters are a large part of why I loved this novel so much. Sara Raasch's ability to write flawed, broken, and charismatic characters ensures that you immediately fall in love with them. They are so richly developed and have fleshed out backstories that both are vital to the plot and allow the reader to know the characters better. I ended up feeling rather protective of all of the main cast as each of them has experienced so much trauma in their short lifetimes. The fact that they are shown to be functioning at all is impressive. More than a few of them are obviously struggling with post traumatic stress and I think each of them showcases the horror of their circumstances in different ways. Each of them have things they loath themselves for. I appreciated how much these character could relate to each other because of that and how different from each other they all were despite having these shared experiences. They're all broken in their own way.

All of the darker aspects of the character's journeys are offset by some fun banter filled moments and the lightest possibility of a romance. There is also some friendship dynamics that are intriguing and also offer some bright spots. There was one romance in particular that I enjoyed seeing develop. The little moments of happiness are peppered throughout which allows the reader a respite that compliments the rest of the story being told.

Those who hate cliffhangers should be aware that this one offers a gut punch. I highly recommend making a friend read it at the same time just so you have someone to talk to about it after. The last few chapters of this book take the story into a direction that was unexpected and incredibly welcome. A few of the reveals offer tantalizing possibilities for the future of this series as well as set up some great character arcs moving forward. This is very much a first book whose job it is to set up a much larger story and I cannot wait to see that unfold. The heartbreaking elements of the implications of the ending are going to ensure that readers pick up the next installment as it will be almost impossible not to.

Those seeking adventure, romance, amazing characters, and lots of intricately woven plot points and incredible world building will want to pick up this impressive start to a new series. It predict it'll be your newest obsession as it offers a little bit of everything in a well written package.

Sunday, August 12, 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.

This is popping up on a Sunday since I didn't have any books to share this week!


My Favourite Murder Book News (goodreads)

My reaction to the news that Karen and Georgia would be writing a book was nothing short of embarrassing. I was lucky that I was on my break at work and not surrounded by people I have to be professional around.

I love the title so much! I cannot wait to see a cover for this and I hope there are ARCs because I want to read it as soon as I possibly can.


A Star Is Born On The Cover Of Entertainment Weekly

The fact that I am super into this movie has been well documented. I was also sort of expecting it to be the cover of an Entertainment Weekly issues sometime before its release. It is even better than I hoped it would be!

Canada, for whatever reason, seems to always be a week behind on Entertainment Weekly issues which means I won't get it until NEXT week but I am so excited to sit down and read everything. The fact that it also happens to be the fall movie preview issues is just icing on the cake.

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies: The Start Of My Sinemia Experiment

Programs that give you movie discounts are all the rage right now. Programs like Moviepass, AMC's Stubs A-list and Sinemia are showing that there is a hunger for movie going to be more accessible and that people will see more movies if they were not so cost prohibitive.

I have just recently decided to include more movie and television focused content on the blog and decided to join one of these programs. My choices in Canada were very limited so when Sinemia offered a great sounding plan I jumped at the chance to join.

The summer promotion offers 3 movies a month for $14.99 a month (one of which can be viewed in IMAX/DBOX/etc).

I decided that sharing my experience with this service via the blog throughout the year will would not only help me decide if it was worth it when it comes time to renew but also perhaps inspire others to check out if the program might be right for them.

I have purchased my first ticket using the Sinemia app. I'll be seeing BlacKkKlansman today. I found the app easy to use and the entire process painless. You simply pick your movie, your theatre (as long as it is one that is covered under the program) and showtime. You then go to the Sinemia app and provide them with that information and they in turn provide you with payment details so you can process the purchase on the theatre website. I love that I can still earn Cineplex points while using Sinemia and that I have the choice of where I want to go see movies.

My other two movie choices this 30 day period will be Crazy Rich Asians and Destination Wedding. So far I have paid 14.99 for an 11.99 movie BUT I expect my savings to be more than worth it once I add it up at the end of the month.

Do you go to the movies often enjoy to join a service like this? Are you already a member? Let me know in the comments and tell me about your experience using it. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Release Date - July 31, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. 
I personally love a good villain. Ask most readers and I anticipate that plenty of them would agree with that statement. A well written villain can make a story feel richer for their inclusion. I am always fascinated by stories that showcase the origin of a villain and finding out what made them turn into the characters we love to hate.

This origin story takes its inspiration from the original Hans Christian Andersen tale rather than the Disney version. One of my favourite parts of retellings are when an author included nods to the original that don't feel forced. Sea Witch excels at this. Sarah Henning weaves in elements from the tale we all know in a way that felt authentic and natural. It didn't feel like there was a list of things to check off as she was writing. My favourite reveal is perhaps the reason behind the Sea Witch's desire to have a voice as payment. It is both heartbreaking and offers an entirely new perspective on this iconic villain.

The magic of the world being created within these pages is wonderfully set up. It's forbidden nature makes it alluring, and having Evie's relationship with it be tied to wanting to help others reveals so much about her character. This seaside town is brought to life through the magic that is part of it. It enriches the setting and causes unforeseen circumstances that drive the plot forward. If the characters are this story's heart, the magic is its driving force. Every other element from setting, plot, and characters is depended on it and it being fully defined.

Evie, our main character, is just a girl who wants to fall in love, practice her magic, and keep her father safe. She mourns the loss of her friend and her inability to save her. She's someone who wants to help her community and those in it flourish. This story really makes you look at her story as one of heartbreak, betrayal, and loss more than anything else and that makes her surprisingly more sympathetic than people may expect.

The pacing of this novel worked for me but I anticipate others may find this has a slower start. This is a story that takes its time to build the characters before it dives into the main plot of the story. It does increase the tension as the story progresses and the end crescendos into a whirlwind, stormy finale that left me captivated and breathless. The ending was exactly what it should have been and exactly what I wanted. The impact it has on the reader is largely because of the pacing during the rest of the story. That tension is felt because the events are so vividly captured and life altering for the characters.

Stories like this are fascinating. The reader knows going in that it is going to be heartbreaking. These villain origin stories are often rip-your-heart-out brutal and are written to ensure sympathy for the eventual circumstances that make our main character break bad. It stands to question why we would pick up something guaranteed to break our heart and the answer is a simple one. These stories, when done extremely well, offer up a mix of nostalgia along with something entirely new and Sea Witch does this incredibly well.

Saturday, August 4, 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.

A small Weekly Obsessions post this week. It seems the abundance of reveals calmed down a little bit this week.


Prodigy by Jacqueline West (goodreads)

This book immediately caught my attention when I read the synopsis with the book deal was announced. It so intriguing.
Anders Thorson’s band, Last Things, is on the verge of stardom. While Anders shines onstage, Thea Malcolm hides among the crowds, watching his every move. At first, Anders thinks she’s just an obsessive fan, but Thea knows the truth about his talents: that Anders made a bargain with something dark and powerful, and the darkness is quickly closing in.
Sounds amazing right? It is taking that notion of a 'deal with the devil' and mixing it with becoming a rockstar. Thea also sort of sounds like a demon hunter or something since she is aware of what is going on. All of it sounds amazing.


If Beale Street Could Talk trailer

This movie already had a ton of buzz around it for being Barry Jenkins' follow up to Moonlight. Now that the trailer has been released it certainly looks like a contender for Oscar season. It'll definitely be in the conversations and is one to watch as awards season kicks off.

This trailer is more of a tease as we don't get a full sense of what it is about. A woman attempting to free her wrongfully convicted husband from prison is the simplified version of the plot that I have seen around. It is an adaptation of a book I have not yet read but that seems to be true based on this trailer.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date - October 6, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  522 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.
This is a chosen one story. It's exactly what you would expect a Rainbow Rowell chosen one story to be like. Fans of Fangirl and those who loved the fanfiction parts in particular, will recognize that voice with these pages. It's both a love letter to the stories that inspired it and something entirely its own.

Rainbow Rowell goes for emotion and nostalgia over intricate plot in this one. It's a simple, straight forward story that allows the reader to get lost in what the book is making them feel. It also looks at the genre this book is an homage to and points out the well known paths they must tread.

Simon, the main character, is insufferable at times but in a lovable, recognizable way. As someone who would occasionally get frustrated with Harry when he let his own hype go to his head, I found myself with similar feelings for Simon. I loved that Simon was written as imperfect. The story being told demands it, but the character also works better as a result.

The fact that magic is conjured with spoken words or phrases that have strong pop cultural significance was a delightful touch. For a story that celebrates fandoms in such an loud way this detail folded into the story perfectly. It was an element of the world building that I felt really worked to enhance the story. The power of words is undeniable and this story embraces that fully.

The romance is, surprisingly, sweet. There were moments I found myself swooning over some of passages in the Baz sections of the book. Him talking about Simon may even be better than the kissing scenes. There is nothing like longing when conveyed perfectly and Rainbow Rowell captures that longing and makes it look effortless.

The side characters are all pretty fascinating. I wanted to know more about Penny and Agatha in particular. Agatha had, in my opinion, the more interesting story arc after Simon and Baz. Following her journey was fascinating and I wouldn't mind an entire book or series about a character going through what she goes through. I wanted it explored and flushed out more because the idea is intriguing. I also loved Baz's Aunt so much!

My only slight issue with this book is the pacing. It, for me, really only picked up once Baz makes his appearance. Baz is, hands down, the best part of this novel in so many ways. His snark and voice were exactly what this book needed. I also felt the book was a bit uneven in terms of the ending. It felt rushed in a way that I cannot really put my finger on. It felt like parts of the story were missing to make it feel whole. It's an otherwise enjoyable read and I am not sure if others would even feel the same way.

A perfect book to ignite some Harry Potter nostalgia. It's a book that I predict will not be for everyone. If the fanfiction parts of Fangirl were not your thing than this will not be either. However, if you love stories about whimsical worlds, main characters who are chosen to save the world, and a really great romance than I would recommend picking up this one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday ... Crashing The A-List

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 Crashing The A-List by Summer Heacock

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
After four months of unemployment, former book editor Clara Montgomery is still stuck sleeping on her little brother’s ugly couch in Queens. Determined to keep her minuscule savings account intact, she takes a job clearing out abandoned storage units, but is in no way prepared for stumbling upon dead snakes or trying to identify exactly where the perpetual stench of beets is emanating from.

When Clara comes across a unit that was once owned by an escort service, she finds the brothel “résumé” of a younger Caspian Tiddleswich…an astonishingly famous British actor. Her best friend thinks she should sell the gossip to a tabloid to fund her way off the couch from hell, but Clara instead manages to track down Caspian’s contact info, intending to reassure him that her lips are sealed.

Unfortunately, Caspian misinterprets Clara’s attempt at altruism and shows up on her doorstep, accusing her of blackmail. When the paparazzi capture a photo of them together, Caspian’s PR team sees an opportunity to promote his latest film—and if Clara wants to atone for her “crimes,” she’ll have to play along. Pretending to be Caspian’s girlfriend seems like it will be a tolerable, if somewhat daunting, penance…until their fake romance becomes something more than either of them expected. 
Hollywood set movies are something I have been super into recently and this one immediately caught my attention because of it's cute (and hilarious) sounding synopsis.

This is going to be perfect for a vacation read and sounds like it might be a fun bookclub pick as well!

March feels REALLY far away at this point so join me in pining for this until its released.

Expected release date -March 1, 2019

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