Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hollywood Princess by Natasha Madison

I am once again helping to celebrate the release of Hollywood Princess today. This time by sharing my review! Be sure to check out my release day post for more details about this awesome read!


Hollywood Princess by Natasha Madison
Release Date - February 26, 2019
Author Website - link
Author Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  262 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
 Behind the "lights, camera, action" of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction.

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?


An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all.
She's the most sought-after woman in Hollywood.
Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can't deny the camera loves her.
The problem is so does everyone else, and she's about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life.
Headlining for the first time in five years.

Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake.
Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm.

It's only a matter of time till he falls for Hollywood's Princess.
Romance mixed with a little bit of mystery is a fantastic combination and Natasha Madison proves that with her next Hollywood Royalty book. Hollywood Princess is filled with just enough danger, plenty of hot chemistry, and sexual tension filled banter to spare.

Kellie is the darling of the music industry. She's super talented and has already snagged plenty of accolades and awards as a result. She's also a down to earth country girl who is just as happy binge watching her latest TV obsession as she is on stage. She's hard working and loyal to those who earn her trust. Needless to say I ended up loving her and her strong willed nature.

Brian is a former Navy Seal turned bodyguard and he takes his job incredibly seriously. He is one hundred percent focused and determined. This characteristic makes him a swoon worthy hero and adds another obstacle into the plot. He's so professional he doesn't want to do anything about the bubbling sexual tension that is evident whenever he and Kellie interact on the page. He's fiercely protective without being overbearing and that made all of the different for me. He's a character who could have been the opposite and I would not have loved the story as much as I do if that were the case.

The romance in this one is interesting. It has shades of being a second chance romance. There are elements of a hate to love story at the beginning but it isn't really that either. It gives you these little teases of the classic tropes you're used to and sort of mixes them together. It is also, obviously, the story of a bodyguard falling in love with the person he is charged with protecting (which is an inherently sexy premise). That extra layer of danger heightens their romance and made the chemistry work in my opinion. Everything was heightened and urgent in a way that pushed them together. I, also, appreciated that they had bonded before the story even begins because it meant the speed of their relationship was more believable. I don't think the story would work as well without this added back story between them.

The little moments between Kellie and Brian are what make this novel. The day in Chicago, him getting her the fast food that she loves after a show, and the truth being told on long bus rides between shows. It is those moments that shine the brightest for me. It adds up to a pretty romantic story whose foundation isn't built on the big, celebrity-ish moments but on the smaller, more real ones, instead. The sexual tension is palpable, and there is plenty of sexy banter, but it is these moments that make up the heart of novel.

The mystery was engaging enough but didn't take over the story. I feel this is still firmly a romance read that happens to have some thriller elements in it. Kellie's need for security detail because of a stalker is what brings our couple together. The plot is mainly about them getting together and finding their way through obstacles to their happily ever after. These obstacles just happen to include someone who is sending Kellie creepy gifts and following her every move. It's jarring enough to keep you invested, but not too much that it takes the reader out of the romance story being told. The resolution for this part of the plot was really well done with the reveal working to further the main romance plot.

Romance novels are like comfort food in that they give you exactly what you what. You know going in what to expect and that brings a certain feeling of comfort. I recommend this book (and Hollywood Playboy) to those looking for exactly this kind of read. It's pure escapism that leaves you contented when you've finished reading it. I cannot wait to dive into Hollywood Prince and I expect other readers will be just as eager with the introduction of Carter at the end of this one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Release Day Blitz - Hollywood Princess

Behind the "lights, camera, action" of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction.

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?


An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all.
She's the most sought-after woman in Hollywood.
Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can't deny the camera loves her.
The problem is so does everyone else, and she's about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life.
Headlining for the first time in five years.

Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake.
Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm.

It's only a matter of time till he falls for Hollywood's Princess.

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...

Saturday, February 23, 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.

There have been quite a few exciting things released this week (mostly television and movie related)! A few trailers that look promising and some announcements of things to come that have piqued my interest.


Ryan Murphy's Hollywood

Ryan Murphy recently announced on his Instagram that he'll be creating a show titled Hollywood for Netflix. He calls it a 'love letter to the Golden Age of Tinsletown'. This has so much potential and I cannot wait for more details (and casting news).

The Dirt Trailer

Netflix's The Dirt tells the story of 80's rock band, Motley Crue. It's based off the autobiography of the same name. The trailer was just released and it looks promising.

A lot of my musical influences are 80's rock bands so this immediately piqued my interest. It premieres on Netflix next month and I will definitely be checking it out once it releases.

Rocketman Trailer # 2

I am not even sure what it is about both of the trailers released for Rocketman but they have made it become one of my most anticipated of the year.

This second trailer really showcases the incredible job Taron Egerton has done with the role.

I personally think that this second trailer is better than the first. Looking forward to watching this one when it releases in May.

Rocketman Official Poster

The official poster for the Rocketman movie was also released along with the second trailer. I think it captures what the movie's tone is perfectly and I still love that tagline.


Disgraceland Podcast Branches Out

I have gushed about the Disgraceland podcast on here before. It's amazing and you should be listening to it if you're not already.

Variety recently announced that creator Jake Brennan will be creating two new podcasts that fit within the same genre of Disgraceland and to say that I am excited would be an understatement.

image copyright @ Jake Brennan

Rocka Rolla will be a serialized podcast that focuses on one subject (with seasons for Phil Spector and Johnny Cash already announced for 2019 and 2020 respectively). The other new podcast, The 27 Club, will debut in 2020 and focus on the infamous members of the 27 Club (famous people who died at age 27). My podcast feed has never been happier.

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

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)

The Umbrella Academy

Rating: TV-14

Network: Netflix

Language: English

Episodes:  10

Cast: Ellen Paige, Aidan Gallagher, Tom Hopper, Robert Sheehan

Synopsis: Reunited by their father's death, estranged siblings with extraordinary powers uncover shocking family secrets -- and a looming threat to humanity.


The Umbrella Academy asks what kind of adults would be produced from taking a group of kids with superpowers and combing them with a not so nurturing home life. Dysfunctional ones, it turns out, is the answer. The show is an interesting character study combined with the action and excitement of the superhero genre. It also happens to boast some pretty impressive performances by everyone in the cast. 

I recently devoured the first volume of the comic book this is adapted from and fans of the comic will be reassured to know that the show follows the established storyline pretty closely but fleshes out things where it needs to. Characters who were not as developed in the comics get an opportunity to be more nuanced. Plot points that felt glossed over get a chance to linger. I, personally, felt like the changes that were made serviced to make the story even better.

The bonds that exist between the Hargreeves are vital to the story being told. Those connections are this story's heart and it would not work without them. I bought into their history in episode one. The cast has a chemistry together that just works. The family dynamic is complicated, and messy in so many ways. These are all broken, damaged individuals. There is, however, also something hopeful at the heart of their reunion and a genuine love between them. This duality is perfectly captured by one of my favourite scenes in which they all dance by themselves to the same song while in the same house. They could be dancing together but history, time, and their own personalities make it easier for them to be on their own. This is contrasted by how far they've progressed as a unit by the end of the first season. It's a work in progress but this family dynamic feels authentic to who these characters are.

Aidan Gallagher is a delight as Number Five. I don't want to spoil too much about his character so I'll just say that the actor has to nail the portrayal of a fifty something year old man in a teenage body and Aidan Gallagher does exactly that. You fully believe every aspect of his performance. There is a lived in quality to it that ages his character in a way that felt natural. It's not a role that every teen actor could pull off but Aidan manages to make it feel like a second skin. 

Robert Sheehan's Klaus (aka Number Four), in my opinion, steals the entire show. He's a complex character who goes through such growth during just this one season. He's way more developed than he was in the comic (at least the volume I read). He has added layers to him that really worked for me and made him incredibly sympathetic. His powers involve communicating with the dead which results in him self medicating with drugs and alcohol as a means to numb himself and his powers. His outlandish personality belies the heart underneath. Robert Sheehan nails every comedic punchline and delivers the perfect mix of outrageous and vulnerable that the character requires. It may be hard to not love all of the Hargreeves siblings but Klaus easily became my favourite and I cannot wait to see his powers continue to progress in the second season.

Ellen Paige's Vanya (aka Number Seven) has one of the more interesting character arcs. Her arc was also frustrating because her character doesn't really get to have any real agency. It's just a bunch a men continuously deciding things for her without discussing anything with her or taking what she wants into consideration. Often these men are not doing it to be malicious. They think they are doing the right thing and feel they are protecting her. However, we see the toll it has taken on Vanya and the price that is paid as others once again make choices for her instead of with her. I hope the second season dives into this aspect of her story a little more. There are a few times when it was called out by other characters but it feels like excellent material for them to mine from in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Every superhero needs a good villain and The Umbrella Academy is no exception. The antagonists are just as quirky, dysfunctional, and interesting as our heroes. Hazel and Cha-Cha (played by Cameron Britton and Mary J Blige respectively) stand out in particular. This show really is about the relationships that exist between the characters and these two are no exception to that. Their dynamic is not as straight forward as you might expect. The larger reality of the villains in this show serves to add to the world building and tantalizing possibilities for where the show could go.

A solid first season that has made me excited to see where this show, and these characters, could go. I highly recommend this for people who love the superhero genre, quirky characters, and plenty of family drama. Watch it for the superhero antics but stay for the heartbreaking, messy, hopeful sibling dynamic that is the true heart of this show.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Beautiful

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

This week's pick is The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
It seems that vampires may be making a comeback to young adult novels and I am here for all of it. I've missed them terribly and cannot wait to see the unique twists we get as they reemerge back into popular culture.

This New Orleans set murder mystery that just so happens to also include vampire seems like a fantastic way to usher in the new reign of vampire novels. The setting is perfect for a vampire story and I love that it has a historical aspect to the novel as well.

The book's October release will make it an excellent Halloween time read. This one seems poised to be just as romantic as it is spooky so it really is offering something for everyone.

Expected release date - October 8, 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine

The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine
Release Date - February 12, 2019
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.

Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating tension among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.

When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
CJ Redwine's Ravenspire series has been filled with delightful fairytale retellings that blend magic, well crafted world building and some clever references to some of the iconic elements from each of the fairytales tackled. The Blood Spell offers her twist on the Cinderella tale which, once again, has magical results.

The story of Cinderella has been taken and stretched into a more complex, more interesting story of a young woman discovering family secrets, falling in love, and following her heart. It takes the more memorable elements of Cinderella's story and weaves them into a much larger, richer story.

The world building in this story is always impressive, along with the magic that is infused into each of the fairytales. The magic is so integral to the plot that I hesitate to talk too much about it. It's more detailed than I first anticipated when I started reading this book. This particular kingdom is different from the ones previously featured, but still feels like it exists within the same universe which is important for this series. It's a perfect backdrop for the story and one made all the better by having a well defined world for its characters to interact with.

Blue is a courageous, outspoken, loyal, and kind young girl. Cinderella is always painted as someone who cares about others and this is true here as well. Blue's desire and need to help those around her is one of her most defining qualities. She's strong in the most horrible of circumstances and it s strength that comes entirely from within her. It's a strength of character rather than a physical strength which I find makes her more interesting.

Kellan isn't just a background prince who only appears to whisk Blue off her feet and away from her horrible life. He is a fully developed character. He is given a chance to be more than just the prince and that makes him a much more engaging character. I enjoyed the backstory he was given and that he had his own trauma and issues that he had to deal with that were not strictly related to Blue.

Nessa and Blue's grandmother are two side characters that shine brightly. Nessa is a fascinating character who I could easily read an entire book about. She is brave, loyal, loves to sass her brother even though he will one day be king, and is so eager to learn. She's fierce in her own special way and I predict many will find she leaps off the page. Blue's grandmother is funny, and used exactly how she should be. She loves Blue, and is here to support her always. Her character adds a little something extra to the story just by existing. It makes Blue's character seem less alone and her options more open than they usually do for the Cinderella character.

The romance is filled with so many of my favourite things. They have a history that feel authentic. It starts out as a mutual dislike for each other. Their families are old friends and this has pushed them together over the years. These interactions has lead to a foundation that turns into a friendship. That friendship eventually turns into something deeper. There is a delicious uncertainty that is felt as their feelings begin to chance. Kellan is the prince and must marry for the good of his kingdom. He is not free to choose for love. Blue is a commoner and definitely not someone suitable for the prince to marry. This tension results in a delightful slow burn romance. There is something delicious in them attempting to fight their feelings only to be drawn together. This relationship really has a little something for everyone has it touches on so many of the popular tropes and does so in a way that feels natural. I was also a huge fan of the Prince and 'Cinderella' knowing each other before the fateful ball. It makes you more invested in their happily ever after and their connection more believable.

The Ravenspire series are more companion novels in that they could technically be read out of order, but I recommend reading them in release order as there are always side characters and references to the previous novels buried like little gems to discover in the subsequent books. Those references are little bonuses that reward careful readers of the series and, sometimes, hold a significance that would be lost if the reader were unaware of the events in the previous novels. Luckily, all of the books are wonderful and worthy of your time.

I highly recommend this book, and the entire series, to anyone who loves a well crafted fairytale retelling. It captures the essence of the original well creating something entirely unique and new. I eagerly await my return to this series and getting to see what fairytale CJ Redwine tackles next.

Sunday, February 17, 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.


Cover of Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi (goodreads)

The synopsis of this makes it sound like the main character has a lot in common with Britney Spears. She was a Disney Mouseketeer, a famous pop star at a young age, and a world wide sensation before she's twenty. It also sounds like an interesting love story that deals with fame and social media.

The cover reveal has only increased my desire to read this book. It's stunning.

The design fits the author's previous book which I am sure will please fans. I just love how simple it is while still being increadibly eye catching.


Trailer for Yesterday

What would you do if you woke up one day and were the only person who remembered the Beatles? That is the question that the movie Yesterday asks. The first trailer released and it looks like it is going to be funny, sweet, and filled with some great music.

Himesh Patel seems to have the perfect amount of bashfulness mixed with charisma (based on the trailer) to pull off this type of role. This trailer makes the movie look like it'll be a ton of fun and I cannot wait to go see it this summer.

Yesterday Movie Poster

Along with the amazing trailer the official movie poster was released as well. It's perfect and matches the tone of the movie perfectly. It also includes an iconic reference to the Beatles. 

This movie just looks like a lot of fun and the poster (and trailer) telegraph that really well. 

Trailer for The Sun Is Also A Star

I have not read the novel that this movie is adapted from but the trailer charmed me so I've bumped it up my reading list.

The use of the song Crimson and Clover in the trailer is perfection and the two leads have amazing chemistry. 

Super cute, right? I love everything about this trailer and cannot wait to buy my ticket to go see the movie!

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Evil Queen

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

This week's pick is The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Welcome to the Forest of Good and Evil. A dream come true, and a living nightmare.

Evil isn’t born, it’s made. One thought and action at a time. Take a good look at what you’ve made.

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she 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 another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?
I love fairytale retellings and especially love those that take on the villain's perspective. I was immediately intrigued at the idea of a story from the Evil Queen's point of view.

The triangle between Snow, Roth, and Everly has a lot of potential. I think love triangles can be used effectively if well done and I am curious to see what route this takes since it seems likely he is going to end up with Snow.

The book's summer release means I'll be able to have it as a pool side read! I hope it is as good I am am anticipating.
Expected release date - June 25, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Umbrella Academy: Volume 1 by Gerard Way

The Umbrella Academy: Volume 1 by Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and James Jean
Release Date - July 22, 2008
Publisher Website - Dark Horse Comics
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  184 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from friend**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born to women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, "To save the world."

These seven children form the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

Collecting: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite 1-6, as well as out-of-print short stories and an expanded sketchbook section featuring work by Gabriel Bá, James Jean, and Gerard Way
I am still rather new to reading graphic novels, comics, and manga. I have only just begun to dip my toes in and am still learning the differences between them. I typically am nudged to take the plunge by others or jump in out of curiosity when a show or movie is announced. I decided to read the first volume of The Umbrella Academy because of the Netflix show but, much like my foray into graphic novels and manga, I discovered I really liked this media of storytelling as well.

Superhero stories are something I enjoy. Superheroes with family baggage are even better. The Umbrella Academy takes these kids who grew up being superheroes and examines the trauma that might come with that. They are a thrown together 'family' that feels more like kids put together in a boarding school at times. It makes their connections more interesting and alters the dynamics. They are the closest thing they all have to having someone who can understand what they are going theough even when it gets complicated between them.

The first volume of this story builds the world that these characters inhabit. It also begins to show the reader who these characters are and their various bonds. Reviewing one of these from the perspective of someone who usually reviews books feels strange. It feels like reviewing part of a book even though there is a complete story with this volume. There is so much more character development to be done in future volumes that the story feels incomplete. It doesn't quite feel like a book series but it is close.

I am a fan Gabriel Bá's art style. It suits the world being created and fits the tone of the story. I felt that the story idea and artwork blended together perfectly to convey what the various creators wanted it to. The characters are also wonderfully crafted. The creation of these characters is equal parts the artwork and the story on the page. The White Violin is particularly striking visually and I love how she was drawn.

I enjoyed the story arc set out in this first volume of The Umbrella Academy and all the family dysfunction it possesses. I am eager to continue my journey with the Hargreeves family and see where the story takes me. It also made me even more excited to check out the Netflix show as I see a lot of potential from this first volume.

Saturday, February 9, 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.

A small post this week as not much has been revealed. We are starting to get many of the covers for books being released in later 2019 revealed so hopefully I'll have more to gush about next week.


The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter (goodreads)

 I am always excited for a fairytale retelling and thsi one immediately caught my attention as it is more from the point of view of the Evil Queen. I am curious to see what Gena will do with the Snow White tale and how she'll twist the character of the Queen.

The cover is amazing! I love the mirror elements and the rose at the top is a great touch. The tagline is amazing. This also hapens to be the first book in a new series so I look forward to seeing what other fairytales she retells in the future.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Release Date - January 29, 2019
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
The Hating Game was an undeniable hit with the romance community and one of the most buzzed about books in the genre in 2016 when it was released. To say expectations were high for Sally Thorne's second novel would be an understatement. Luckily, 99 Percent Mine delivers a book that is just as funny, swoony, and delightful as The Hating Game while ensuring we get something new as well.

Comparisons to The Hating Game are bound to happen which I think is unfortunate. 99 Percent Mine deserves to be judged on its own merit instead of just being compared to something else. The book offers up a love story that is compelling along with some memorable characters. It's a strong romance read that really does deliver on what the synopsis promises.

Those who have read The Hating Game knows that Sally Thorne has a gift for creating characters. The ones we meet in 99 Percent Mine only confirm this. Her characters are vivid and layered in a way that ensures the reader is captivated by them.

Darcy is a flawed, messy character who is incredibly bold. She's half fascinating and half exasperating but she is one hundred percent lovable. I always appreciate characters that are developed enough for me to understand their motivation. I feel like Darcy is exactly this kind of character. The reader gets a real sense of who she is and that allows for them to understand the choices she is making even if they aren't always the best choices. I loved her wild, live life to the fullest personality and that she was still shown to be vulnerable and have insecurities.

Tom Valeska has raised the bar for future leading men in romance novels. He's so kind, patient, and solid. He's dependable and protective without being overbearing. He is the good boy that just happens to also have  bit of a sexy edge to him. He's allowed to show his own vulnerabilities and weakness which is something not often showcased in romance novels. I mostly just appreciated that his protectiveness never felt suffocating. It never felt like he was dismissing Darcy's agency even as he wanted to care for her. It might be that Darcy is quick to call him on this behaviour, and that she is quick to do whatever she wants to do,  but it just the right level of 'alpha male' behaviour for me.

The relationship in this one comes with a history. They've known each other for years before the readers meet them. It's a relationship that feels lived in. This history is evident in every aspect of their romance. Their bond and friendship shine brightly through everything else. There is an ease and chemistry that is captured and comes through because of the writing. Their history feels genuine and makes the romance feel even more believable.

The other connection that is important to the story is the one between Darcy and her twin brother, Jamie. They drive each other crazy but love each other just as fiercely. This relationship felt pretty authentic as well. They fight like most siblings do but would do anything for each other. Jamie's golden boy status and attitude often infuriates Darcy while Darcy's tendency to ignore her health issues, and run away from all her other ones, aggravates Jamie just as much.

Darcy's best friend Truly needs her own book. She's charming and memorable in a way that lends itself to a companion novel. I found myself wanting to know more about her when I was reading and that is a testament to Sally's ability to craft vivid secondary characters. I also would love for Underswears to be an actual thing that exists.

Romance fans will eagerly devour this one and immediately beg to know when the next book by Sally Thorne will be released. She's definitely proven herself to be a writer to watch in the rom-com genre and that she can consistently deliver a book that will make you swoon and leave you feeling a little happier than before you read it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Devouring Gray

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

This week's pick is The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?
I was intrigued when I saw Stranger Things being used as a comparison for this title. I am even more excited now that I've read the whole synopsis. The vague references to powers ('otherwordly destruction') and the unraveling of a mystery have me firmly invested in getting my hands on this as soon as possible.

The wait for this one is barely anything at all as it comes out in early April!

Expected release date - April 2, 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Reading Slump, A New Blog Feature, and Accountability

Part of my goals for 2019 were to whip this blog back into shape. It kind of got pushed to the side a bit in 2018 and it's made me want to refocus on it this year.

I have already failed in that mission so I decided to do something about it! I need a way of being more accountable, and a more fun way to pick out the books I read for the month. I decided to share my monthly 'to-be-read' list at the beginning of each month. This is a way for me to hold myself more accountable and to share what reviews will be upcoming on the blog.

I've hit a pretty big reading slump and I am hoping having this focus will help me get out of it! I have a bunch of amazing sounding books for February and with the weather being awful I hoping to make a sizable dent on this before the middle of the month.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (goodreads)
Enchantee by Gita Trelease (goodreads)
The Umbrella Academy: Volume One by Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, Dave Stewart (goodreads)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (goodreads)
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (goodreads)

I am almost done 99 Percent Mine (so expect a review of that soon) and will probably be able to quickly devour The Umbrella Academy so I am expecting those will put me off to a great start.

I also have two ebooks that I am going to be reading this month:

The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine (goodreads)
The Au Pair by Emma Rous (goodreads)

I'll provide an update of my progress at the beginning of March along with my March TBR pile! This one is a little late but you can expect the March one to fall on the 1st (and it'll be around the first of the month from there on out).

What books are you excited to read this month? Any of the ones on my list also on yours? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin
Release Date - January 29, 2019
Publisher Website - Inkyard Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  464 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.

Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…
I never expected to read a feminist twist to the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. The Dead Queens Club provides that along with a funny, sarcasm laced, modern take. This may not appeal to those looking for a more historically accurate read but those wanting a fresh take on this story will find much to enjoy within these pages.

The adapting of King Henry VIII's reign to a highschool setting works incredibly well. It's dramatic and filled with heightened emotions. It fits within a setting that breeds rumours and gossip as naturally as breathing. The setting is helped by the winks to the historical inspiration of this story. Many of the side characters are ones that history enthusiasts will recognize. The six girlfriends easily represent the six wives with fun details woven in for those Tudor obsessed. It's all done in a way that isn't overt and allows the story to go outside its inspiration. Some of my favourite details are the way Jane Seymour's Jane Seymour-ness was written into the story, the way Anne Boleyn's iconic necklace was woven into the story, Henry's obvious insecurity, and the portrayal of the character who represents Jane Parker. She is a character often vilified in recounts of this story so what was done with her here was a little more interesting.

The stories of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard have always angered me.  The smear campaign, slut shaming, and overall character assassinations these ladies endured was nothing short of a travesty. Capin, obviously, shares this anger (and has an apparent soft spot for Katherine Howard). She twists their story into something empowering. It becomes a story of support and sisterhood. It, at times, made my heart soar with how these ladies were portrayed. Their defense is something this book gets incredibly right. Both Anna and Katie were more than their reputations within this novel and I appreciated that care was taken for us to get to know both of them, even though Anna is already dead when the story begins. Along with slut shaming other topics like toxic masculinity and gaslighting are also represented with the snark and wit that the main character dishes out at every turn.

Cleves (aka Henry's fourth girlfriend) is the type of character that many will label 'unlikeable'. I personally loved her. Her anti-slut shaming rants are thing of beauty and she's intelligent if a little unfocused. She may be indecisive at times, and may hide behind her sharp wit but she's quick to defend those in need. She's also relateable in that she isn't sure she what she wants from her future. She's a teen who is still figuring it out. I think that will resonate with a lot of people in comparison to some of the other characters. She isn't perfect but I think that makes her a much more interesting character.

My only real issues with this novel are some pacing issues as it feels uneven at times and that I wanted more time with the other characters. I was intrigued by so many of them and just wanted to see them developed a little bit more. It worked for me overall which is why I will be looking forward to whatever Hannah Capin writes next.

Those looking for a very different take on the drama of Henry VIII will want to snap this one up. It's a clever take that gives the focus to the women instead of the tyrannical nightmare that was Henry. It celebrates female friendship, overthrowing the patriarchy, and manages to be a fun read in the process. Long live the queens, indeed!

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