Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cover Reveal: Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Those of you who love romance novels are probably familiar with both Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen. They've both written many books and have collaborated in the past on a few. Their newest book is about to release on May 7th and you may have already seen a tease pop up in your social media as some lucky bloggers (myself included) got to read an advance copy.

I am excited to help share the cover for Top Secret! It's a fun, bright cover that I feel matches the synopsis perfectly. Here is a little more about the book to get you excited!
Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy return with their first Male / Male romance in 3 years.

LobsterShorts, 21
Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.

LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.

SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.

LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?

SinnerThree: All the time. I’m an equal opportunity player. You?

LobsterShorts: [crickets!]

SinnerThree, 21
Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF.

SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?

LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.

SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries...

LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?

SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.

LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing...
Doesn't this sound amazing? I basically was intrigued just from the premise and I promise it gets even better once the story starts to unravel.

Sarina and Elle also answered a few questions about Top Secret (just in case you were curious).

Q and A about Top Secret:

Q: Have we met these characters before in another book?

A: No! These guys are brand new, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.

Q: Is this story MM? Or is it a MMF / MFM / menage?

A: This book is MM.

Q: Is this a love triangle story?

A: Not really. You’ll see.

Now that you've read the amazing sounding synopsis and have seen the absolutely perfect for this book cover I bet you're wanting to read some of it immediately. Luckily I can help with that! I also get to share the first chapter of Top Secret. Be warned: You'll want to go pre-order it as soon as you're finished.

Top Secret is now available to pre-order at some of your favourite ebook retailers!

You can also add it your Goodreads right now so that you don't forget to get your copy on May 7th!

Sunday, April 28, 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 Sunday posting! I was off seeing Avengers: Endgame and hanging out with my younger sister so things got delayed a bit.


The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos (goodreads)

This book caught my attention with its deal announcement. It sounds amazing and immediately became one of my must reads of 2020!
pitched as The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, about an openly gay high school senior in small-town Georgia. He may or may not be in love with his best friend, and his hopes for his last year of school are thrown off course when old secrets, new crushes, and a brush with dark magic threaten his close-knit group of friends.
The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is not something I knew I needed until it was presented as an option. I can excited to hear more about this book as the summer 2020 release date nears.


Avengers On The Tonight Show

Arguably the biggest movie of the year was just released this weekend but I prepared by watching this fun and nostalgic clip over and over. If you are a fan of the Marvel movies I expect you'll love it as much as I did.

I love Paul Rudd's part! So fun! The Groot part makes me giggle. Also, Chris Evans is adorable as always. I also loved the 'everyone assemble' line. It is hard to believe that the first chapter of this epic franchise is ending.


Taylor Swift's Me!

You may recall me sharing a countdown that Taylor Swift had going on her official website. It ended at midnight on the 26th and her newest single was revealed. It's a catchy song featuring Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie.

Taylor's cats make a fun cameo and there are a lot of fun little references for Taylor Swift fans to sleuth out. I love the new colour palette that Taylor is working with for this upcoming album. It's a mix of cotton candy pastels that is much softer than the blacks and reds of the Reputation album.

Porcelain Wolf's Themed Box (May)

I have gushed about this company before and the amazing bath bombs that they make but they also host movie nights every month and offer a themed box to go with it.

The themed box for May is based off of American Horror Story (specifically my two favourite seasons Freakshow and Hotel).

I was sad that I couldn't order it because they do not ship to Canada but my friend Kelly and I will be seeing each other in May when I am in NYC so I am shipping it to her and she'll bring it to me!

I am excited to see what I get in this box. The box will include the following:

- An Exclusive Bath Bomb by us.
- A Shower or Skin Care Product
- Bar of Soap and or Shower or Skin care Product
- and 3 additional Outsourced items

It is only on sale until April 28th so you still have a bit of time if you want to snag one. You can find out more about Porcelain Wolf and place at order at their website.

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

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Release Date - May 7, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love. 
Helen Hoang's first novel The Kiss Quotient shares a few similarities with her second book. They both are romance novels that have characters who are autistic. The Bride Test, however, is not just a retread of that plot. It offers up a story that it entirely its own and a different portrayal of autism and how it effects people differently.

The heroine of this novel is a strong, brave, determined woman who I absolutely loved by the end of the book. Esme's a woman who is determined to make her own path and puts in the work to achieve the dreams that she has. Helen Hoang's strength is creating these characters that you cannot help but root for.

Esme and Khai both have to learn something about themselves as part of their journey. Esme's arc is all about her learning self confidence and finding her own way. Khai's is a little more complex, but it mainly deals with dealing with things he buried deep inside himself and healing from that trauma. Their personality traits lead to a lot of miscommunication and the introspective parts of their story are needed to bring them to a place where the both understand each other and can fully love one another.

The romance in this is one of the best I have read. It's respectful and very equal. Both Khai and Esme grow and learn from their relationship. They compromise to ensure that each person gets what they need while making concessions for who the other person is. Neither of them wants to change the other but instead fully accepts the other person for who they are. They, most importantly, get one another (at least eventually) and that makes all the difference. It's an incredibly sweet, caring romance that I found really refreshing. It also showcases consent as the sexy thing it is. This is something that was true for The Kiss Quotient as well so I happy to see it be the case again here.

The relationship between Khai and his brother Quan is a part of the story that really stands out. Their love for one other is clear and it often provided some of the more humour filled moments of the story. Quan's way of helping Khai sees things more clearly is really well written and possibly one of my favourite elements of the story.

While this book can be read without having first reading The Kiss Quotient I highly recommend that you do. Fans of Stella and Michael's story will be rewarded with a fun cameo that made me smile just as much as Esme and Khai's story.

If you're looking for a romance that is a slower burn with some wonderful characters I highly recommend The Bride Test. Helen Hoang continues to showcase why she's one to watch in the romance genre. It's the type of book that is meant for summer reading and I anticipate many will enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... The Bromance Book Club

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 Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The first rule of this book club:
You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
I love the entire premise of this book so much! A group of men meeting to read romance novels is perfect. I need this to become a Netflix movie and I haven't even read it yet.

I am excited to meet these characters and get to know Thea and Gavin and their love story.

It releases in the fall and while it may sound like a perfect summer book I think this is going to pair nicely with a cozy blanket and some delicious wine!

Unrelated but how cute is that cover?!

Expected release date - November 5, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 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.

Happy Easter, everyone. It's a short post today because not too much has been revealed.


When They See Us Trailer

When They See Us is just one of the true crime based movies hitting Netflix in May. A trailer was just released and if you devour anything true crime related the same way I do this will become a must watch for you after seeing this trailer.

It is based on the Central Park Five and it is a enraging and gripping story. Ava Duvernay seems to have done incredible work here.


Book Expo Autographing Sneak Peek

I am going to Book Expo again this year and they recently released a sneak peek at the authors who will be in attendance. The list is pretty incredible with me especially looking forward to Renée Ahdieh, Leigh Bardugo, Jasmine Guillory, Brigid Kemmerer, Kim Liggett, Kerri Maniscalco, and Rainbow Rowell. It is already looking like it is going to be filled with amazing authors and I cannot wait for the full schedule.  

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Lords Of Chaos

Lords Of Chaos

Rating: R (Canada)

Director: Jonas Åkerlund

Language: English

Length:  112 minutes

Cast: Rory Culkin, Jack Kilmer, Emory Cohen, Valter Skarsgård

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: February 8, 2019 (limited)

Synopsis: A teenager's quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in a very violent outcome. Lords of Chaos tells the true story of True Norwegian Black Metal and its most notorious practitioners - a group of young men with a flair for publicity, church-burning and murder: MAYHEM.



There are three things I forgot before heading to the theatre to see Lords of Chaos. One was that this was a movie that involved black metal music which is something I know nothing about. I showed up to see this in a bright pink t-shirt which certainly stood out in the sea of black that was present. The second thing I forgot were the details of the case. If I had remembered the suicide/murders that anchor this unbelievable story I would have anticipated how graphic this would end up being. Lastly, I forgot how vital the music was to this story. I may have been there for the true crime aspect but plenty of the other people in the audience were there for the music.

The tone and direction of Lords Of Chaos creates a duality. It is very dark, visually and tonally, at times, but it has these moments of humour pierced throughout that give the movie its outlandish feel. It also captures the cult like mentality that existed and created this scene of one-upmanship. The director clearly knows the black metal music scene and paid aching attention to detail when it came to costumes and scene setting.

The movie, while set in Norway, has a cast that speaks English and none of them even attempt a Norwegian accent. It was a confusing choice, and one that certainly stands out while watching the movie. There is an aspect of being taken out of the movie because the accents do not mesh with what you are being told. It, eventually, becomes a minor thing that oddly ends up working for the story but something worthy of noting.

Øystein Aarseth aka Euronymous (protrayed by Rory Culkin) is portrayed as someone who liked to take credit for the ideas of others. Someone who was a narcissistic show-off and braggart. He, at least in the movie, is portrayed as an opportunist who used things to his advantage when he could. He is softened with reminders of his vulnerability that are shown throughout the movie. He is torn between wanting the influence that is bestowed upon him and terrified of that same influence. It hammers home time and time again that he was just a kid who didn't know what he was doing, and who was brutally murdered in the end. Rory Culkin gives a truly impressive performance (and one that is better than anticipated). He captures both the bravado and vulnerability of the character and showcases a young man caught up in something he quickly realizes he cannot control.

Emory Cohen plays Varg Vikernes, Euronymous' murderer. Emory Cohen also gives a memorable, and chilling performance that plays perfectly off the one given by Culkin. Their combined performances, in my opinion, are what make this movie as good as it is. Emory captures the narcissistic, attention seeking, power hungry persona that drives this portrayal of Varg. Cohen's shift from this excluded outsider to someone who gleefully burns down churches feels entirely plausible. His envy and anxieties create the perfect storm that eventually leads to murder. He plays Varg with a type of detachment that makes the eventual murder of Euronymous feel almost inevitable.

The violence shown is often grotesque and brutal. The two murders that drive this unbelievable story are just as graphic as you would expect.. Every minute of the scenes depicting the death of Euronymous is felt. The suicide of Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead (portrayed by Jack Kilmer) stand out as a scene that feels too much for many reasons. It's a jarring, and arresting scene that lasts far longer than it should. The death of Dead serves in creating some of the mythology that surrounded Euronymous. He famously took photos of Dead's body before calling the police and those photos were later used for album cover art. The movie takes time to show how much the death did impact Euronymous even if he didn't always show that to people. Jack Kilmer's performance is brief, but memorable. Dead is someone who is haunted in many ways and the light, almost fragile, way Kilmer plays him, and those scenes, is captivating.

Those going to get an insight into the black metal scene may be disappointed. This movie focuses on the true crime elements of the story and while that is driven by the music scene it is set in, it seems to push the music itself to the background. It also seems to want to ignore the ideologies that drove some of these young men. The movie doesn't really examine toxic masculinity that this is actually steeped in. It would have had a huge impact on the events that happened but is ignored in favour of portraying these characters as just a bunch of young men who were what they accused everyone else of being - posers.

Euronymous ends the movie listing off all the things he accomplished in his young but short life, albeit in his narcissistic fashion, and asking the audience 'what in the fuck have you done lately, poser?' filled with arrogance. This to me sums up not just Euronymous as Culkin is portraying him, but the real young men who were at the core of this horrific story. The movie paints a picture of them as bored, entitled young men who wanted to make music, be as shocking as possible, and who tried to one up each other with deadly consequences. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Release Date - May 14, 2019
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
This is one of those books that I fell so completely in love with that words will not be enough. Red, White and Royal Blue will easily make my list of best books I read in 2019. It's the kind of book that works its way into your heart and leaves a lasting impression. It is one of those rare occurrences where a premise that dazzled me was executed to perfection.

This book a salve for those of us who were weary and broken after the 2016 election. It offers up a very bittersweet ‘what if’ but also manages to bring such joy. A female president may be something that only exists in fiction but this, somehow, makes the reader hopeful for it to one day happen in reality. It also paints a portrait of a powerful woman who can be there for her family and run the country. It is not that this should be a shocking idea, but the way that Casey crafts President Claremont circumvents some of the expectations I anticipate people are going to have. She could have been a very different character, as we see elsewhere, but I am glad she wasn't.

We get to know Henry mostly via Alex’s perspective as the story mostly exists through him. We also get to know both of them through the achingly romantic email exchanges that they exchange. The emails are the stuff of romantic legend. The kind of thing hopeless romantics dream of receiving. They, much like the relationship between the characters themselves, are a mix of humour, banter, and  emotion with just the right amount of sexual tension.  I found myself swooning one minute, giddy the next, and delirious from the amount of emotion showcased in this correspondence. The little details make all the difference and Casey McQuinston obviously gets this. The inclusion of quotes from various famous writers not only revealed a lot about the characters but their feelings in a simple, yet clever, way.

The romance is much more complex and complicated than I was expecting. This shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. I anticipated reading more of a fluffy rom-com. A book where Henry and Alex falling in love would not have ignited any backlash  just some tabloid fodder. Instead, this book is very much grounded in our reality. It's a poignant look at what falling in love in the spotlight would look like for the First Son and Prince of England. It is messy and real but always tinged with hope.

Both Alex and Henry have baggage that they need to deal with. It is baggage that relates to their romance, but would have surfaced at some point regardless. Having a story for your main characters that is separate from the romance always makes the story richer and this story is made all the better because of the detail given to building up the characters. It really is the characters who make you fall in love with this story because you wholeheartedly root for them. The obstacles they face are ones that feel organic and real that this, at time, feels like it could have been inspired by real events.

The relationships outside of the core romance are just as important to the story. The family bonds and friendships showcased add nuance and texture to the story just as well as the romance does. These other relationships add layers to the main romance and flesh out the book in important ways. I loved the dynamic and friendships that exists between Alex's group and Henry's group. They're the cool kids you want to hang out with. A group whose lives come with certain expectations that make them cling to the people who understand what that is like. Their love for one another is evident as we see them be there for each other time and time again.

I can only hope this novel finds the readers who need it. It might inspire them to, like Henry and Alex, make some history of their own. Casey McQuiston became a must read author for me after this knock out of a debut. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I expect you'll love Alex and Henry's love story as much as I did.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday .... City Of Girls

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 City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves-and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now ninety-five years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time, she muses. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is. Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other. 
I was immediately sold on this one with the mention of the 1940's theater world setting. It sounds like a wonderful love story and hopefully feminist as well. It seems like it's going to tackle female sexuality and promiscuity in a way that isn't shaming at least.

I am very intrigued by the cast of characters listed and how they might impact the life of the main character. There are a few that seem poised to be stand outs and perhaps one of them is the love her life.

Its summer release is perfect because I predict this one will be a beach read favourite and one of the most buzzed about books of the summer.

Expected release date - June 4, 2019

Saturday, April 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.


The Lion King Trailer

I thought Baby Simba was adorable when we get our first glimpse of him in the teaser trailer that was released a little while back.

The full length trailer is here and it looks even more incredible.

Visually it is stunning. I am hoping we see a little more personality from the CGI animals in the actual movie, but otherwise I am really excited about this one.

Lucifer Season Four Promo

This promo is little more than some great Tom Ellis eye candy and a release date but it is effective nonetheless.

The little head tilt he does makes me giggle every single time. I cannot wait for this show to come back!

Veronica Mars Trailer

I love Veronica Mars which is why it pains me that the revival is on Hulu. We here in Canada do not have access to Hulu and I am desperate for any way that I will be able to watch it.

This trailer is so much fun. It captures who Veronica is and sets up the tone of the next season. I cannot wait to return to Neptune and hopefully I will get to do it soon.


Entertainment Weekly's Avengers: Endgame covers

All of the main Avengers (the original squad if you will) are highlighted in this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly. They each get their own covers, and naturally I love Chris Evans/Captain America's the best.

The Bucky and Steve reference on the cover is the best and I appreciate that everyone got their time to shine.

Cameron Monaghan and Noel Fisher Return To Shameless

Many media outlets are reporting that Noel Fisher will be joining Cameron Monaghan when he returns to Shamless next season! I am so happy. After the AMAZING reunion they shared I hoped that the writers would not break them up when Cameron decided to return. Excited to have one of my favourite ships back on television.

Taylor Swift Countdown

New Taylor Swift music is upon us! She recently started a countdown on her official website that is counting down to April 26th and some kind of annoucement/release. 

Many are predicting a new single and album release details as part of this annoucement. Based on the aesthetic it appears that this album will have a very different vibe from Reputation. Bring on the sparkles, cotton candy colour scheme, and summer vibes. I hope for a fun album with a lot of great light and flirty love songs.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hired by Zoey Castile

Hired by Zoey Castile
Release Date - February 26, 2019
Publisher Website - Kensington Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  231 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For a man who makes his living pleasuring women, what happens when the only pay-out worth having is love? 

Faith Abigail Charles has always done the right thing. So when her mother runs for mayor of New Orleans, Faith puts her law career on hold to help her win. But when tensions run high, Faith trades one kind of heat for another--in the arms of a hard-bodied stranger. He's everything a woman dreams of in a lover. So much so that her one-night stand turns into two, then three, then four . . .

For Aiden Rios, meeting smart, sexy Faith feels like fate. After being ditched by his client in the Big Easy, the high-paid male escort needs a little company himself. Aiden knows he'll have to come clean about his line of work, and he plans to--right after another taste of Faith's sweetness--and another and another. . . . Until a chance meeting with his client leaves Aiden exposed--and Faith shocked and hurt. Now the hired hottie must show Faith that the love they share is bigger than the scandal threatening to destroy them . . 
I went to visit New Orleans last year and immediately wanted more books set there. I read the synopsis of this book and immediately knew I had to read it. It's a sexy, fun read that highlights the less well known side of New Orleans in a way that ignites wanderlust and provides a satisfying romance read.

The New Orleans locations used in this book are not the typical tourist hot spots that you would expect. They are more off the beaten path and showcase the heart of New Orleans. It's the kind of book that makes you immediately want to book a flight. New Orleans has a vibe all its own and Zoey Castile makes full use of this fact. It is also a setting I hope to see more of. Its rich history and culture make it an obvious choice, and this book makes full use of its many charms. It does manage to incorporate a few touristy traditions, like Aiden's love of Hurricanes, but those feel authentic to the story and not like a box being checked off.

Faith is a women who lives her life based on the expectations of others. Her mother is in politics and that comes with some clearly defined behaviour. Faith thinks of others before she considers what she wants. This book, in many ways, is her coming into her own. Her daring to make decisions and choices for herself. We get to see her take this journey that is inspired by the whirlwind romance she has with Aiden. She's a character who is instantly recognizable and I loved that she learns to do things on her own terms.

Aiden is a hot mess. He's lost his way and cannot seem to find the way back. He's the kind of guy who floats through life with everything kept at a surface level because anything more serious would crumble his carefully constructed defense mechanism. His brokenness reacts to Faith's own baggage and the sparks fly. Aiden's character arc to becoming a better man (with a little help from his Mayhem friends) is one of the best parts of this book and its heart.

The romance is steamy. There is a touch of exhibitionism at play with the couple unable to keep their hands off each other even in public. The all consuming, got to have you now, chemistry is matched by the genuine emotions that are written into their love story. Their banter adds another layer to their scorching chemistry. The end part of this novel is pretty predictable if you are familiar with romance tropes, but the characters made it feel fresh and fun.

Aiden and Faith both have side plots that are not connected to the main romance. It's their own personal baggage that they are bringing to the table. It impacts the romance, but mostly aids in the character arcs. Faith's relationship with her mother, and how it has impacted her life is the driving force behind her part of the story. Aiden's past mistakes weigh heavily on him and making right on those mistakes defines a large part of what he has to work through to find his happily ever after. This allowed both of the characters to feel more defined even though the primary focus is the romance.

Those who read romance know that this will end up in a happily ever after. Faith and Aiden's story wraps up in such a satisfying way. It is perfect for their story and who they are as characters. There are elements that needed to be included for them to have a happy ending with each other and I was thrilled to see them tied up just as nicely.

If you read and loved Stripped you'll definitely want to read Aiden and Faith's story. It is the kind of book that is a delight to read and I think will appeal to anyone who loves romance. It has got an incredible location, plenty of steamy scenes, and character side plots that only add to the romance being woven. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Summer Reading

Winter does not seem to want to leave and as a result I have been daydreaming more and more of summer and all of the poolside reading I am going to get to do. This has, of course, lead to thinking about what books I'll toss into my beach bag this summer.

I am going to share the books I hope to get to this summer and one that I think everyone should have in their own beach bag this year!

Here are the books I hope to get through before the end of summer. There is a bit of everything with a heavier focus on romance/lighter reads as those tend to be what I am drawn to in the summer months.

1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (goodreads)

I always love anything Christina Lauren writes and this one that seems like it has the enemies to lovers trope is high on my must read list.

2. Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey (goodreads)

This delightful sounding rom-com inspired read basically seems made for summer.

3. The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter (goodreads)

A Snow White retelling from the Evil Queen's point of view that also promises a lot of romance? Yes, please!

4. The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)

This is the finale of the Wedding Date series and I cannot wait to devour what is sure to be a fun, sexy read that will be perfect with some decadent ice cream.

5. The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (goodreads)

This is described as Serial meets Westworld and that alone is enough to make this a perfect summer read (and that hasn't even taken into account its Disney-ish sounding setting).

6. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker (goodreads)

This #metoo era book sounds like a timely, and important read that focuses on a group of women who take a stand when their boss (who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women) is promoted to CEO.

7. The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (goodreads)

A true crime book had to make this list, and since I'll be reading Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How To Guide way before summer, this is the one I picked. I have heard good things and I'll break up the rom-coms nicely.

8. Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson (goodreads)

Another cute sounding read that features a pop culture reporter falling for a Scottish internet star.

9. City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (goodreads)

A love story set in the 1940's theatre world of New York City. I am very intrigued by the description and the time period this is set in.

10. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (goodreads)

An older title than the others on this list, but it is one that I have been meaning to get to. A novel about the behind the scenes of one of the biggest movie franchises in history sounds like a great summer read.

All the listed books have links to their Goodreads pages if you want to learn more.

Now, my own personal recommendation for a book that everyone should toss into their own beach bag is one that I absolutely loved. It is also one that I saw everywhere so I anticipate there will not be many of you who haven't read it.

It's Daisy Jones and the Six! I encourage anyone who has not read it to add it to your own summer reading lists. You'll thank me later.

What books are you hoping to read this summer? Do you have any suggestions for books that I should add to me list? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, April 6, 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.


The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth (goodreads)

This book's deal announcement caught my attention because it sounds absolutely adorable. A series of dates inspired after iconic rom-com montages?! Yes, please!

Here is the full blurb given as part of the announcement...
YA contemporary romance follows 17-year-old Saoirse Clarke, who is looking for anything but a relationship after an epic breakup with her girlfriend—until she meets Ruby, who convinces her to embark on a summer of carefree, no-strings-attached dates inspired by the montages in Ruby's favorite rom-coms. 
Cute right? This one doesn't come out until summer of 2020 but I am already really excited.


Joker Trailer

I am sort of intrigued by this premise of this movie and was curious what the trailer would look like. It appears the answer to that seems to be Taxi Driver, Falling Down, and The King of Comedy.

Joaquin Phoenix certainly seems to be delivering one of his best performances in this. There has been some online chatter of him possibly being worthy of Oscar consideration. We'll have to wait and see when the movie is released, but I am still very intrigued. I do however feel like this could have not had any ties to Batman and they could have made the same movie.

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hollywood Prince by Natasha Madison

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

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?


A blonde, a brunette, a redhead…he can have his pick of them all on any given night and he knows it. They wait, hoping he looks up and gives them his signature smirk, choosing them over the others because that’s his game.

Except now he’s signed the contract of a lifetime, one with a pesky little clause that says his zipper must stay up and his playboy image has got to tamp down. It’ll be fine—a piece of cake, even—he can do this and he’s almost convinced himself of that … and then she walks in the room

The new PR girl whom they’ve hired to change his image, she’s the star of all his dreams, but there’s one tiny little problem … she can’t stand him and all of his player ways.

He knows he only has thirty days to show her why they call him Hollywood’s Prince. He’s up for the challenge, so game on.


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...


Hollywood Prince by Natasha Madison
Release Date - April 2, 2019
Pages -  287 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Natasha Madison's Hollywood set series with the gorgeous covers is coming to a end. The last book in the series, Hollywood Prince, introduces us to a womanizing actor, a woman who isn't impressed by his good looks or charm, and the sort of happily ever after that readers have come to expect from these books.

Erin is a woman with her eye on the prize. That, in this case, means her dream job. All that is standing in her way is Hollywood's most eligible bachelor and his penchant for hooking up with more woman than he can count. She's tasked with fixing his reputation in the public eye and jumps into it with a relatable mixture of excitement and nervousness. She felt really relatable for a lot of the story and I could not help but root for her. She is shown as being good at her job while still having time for romance and a family which I found set the perfect balance for this character.

Carter comes complete with a sympathy inducing backstory that almost makes up for him being pretty awful in other parts of the story. It almost reached the point that I could not forgive him. He is not my favourite love interest from this series, but I predict many will find him very appealing. I wish his redemption arc after his rage inducing behaviour had been a little more earned. The big incident is pretty awful and I felt the latter part of the novel rushed past this element a bit too quickly for my personal tastes. The good news is that there are some pretty amazing moments from this character as well. Those moments are often standout ones that will make most romance readers swoon.

The relationship starts out a little rocky with Erin being entirely unimpressed by Carter's womanizing ways. They banter and bicker a lot with sparks flying the entire time. Erin is quick to call Carter on his bullshit and can see through his swagger that he uses like armor. Their relationship grows as they let each other in and they each wriggle past the walls that the other has up. Fans of relationships where they keep each other on their toes will be a big fan of this dynamic.

This novel felt a little more Hollywood than the last one to me. The set visits, the team of people invested in the reputation of an actor and what it means for their business, the tabloid fodder. It all felt like the Hollywood we are used to in our media. It proved to be a great backdrop for this story and allowed the pacing to not feel as rushed when it came to the romance. The time on set allowed the relationship to build at a natural pace that fed into the pacing of the novel itself.

Another fun element of the story were the cameos from the characters in the previous books in this series. A treat for readers who have followed this series without distracting from the story being told. It was nice to catch up with the couples in the previous books and have this world feel a little smaller at the same time.

Hollywood Prince offers up another solid read from Natasha Madison. They are light, quick reads that are the perfect distraction from a hard day, or a pick me up on a rainy one. They're filled with all of the romance tropes that readers of this novel love and offer up some Hollywood glam in the process.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

My Sinemia Experiment: Month Eight

March has come and gone and I only made it to the movie twice this month. Luckily, Sinemia is now rolling over unused days so I'll get my third movie next month along with my three movies for April. I went to go see Us and Dumbo. 

Sadly, I also had a lot of issues with the service this month. I manged to get them all sorted out and still get to use my subscription, but it was the first time I had really gotten a taste of what I had seen other people talk about. 

My savings for this month was $9.91 after taking the convenience fees into consideration. This brings my grand total savings up to $173.89 (last month's total was $163.98).  

Do I recommend this service? That depends. I highly recommend going in with your eyes open. There are definitely some issues but I am still enjoying the service overall. It is not going to be for everyone and I can no longer so that I haven't experienced the issues everyone else has been. I have been lucky in that they have been mostly prompt in assisting me and that things have worked out. It is not the same story for everyone if you take a look at various posts on social media.

That leaves the big question of whether or not I'll sign up for another year. I might regret doing it, but I am going to chance it again. I've enjoyed this little experiment so far and am looking forward to it continuing and getting to have another Oscar season like I did last year. We'll see how the summer goes, but I am hopeful (which is saying something considering where I started earlier).

Monday, April 1, 2019

Monthly TBR and Recap

It is the start of another month which means checking in with how I did with my March list and what I have added for April.

March was not the success I wanted it to be either. I think I am going to have to just admit that I am not reading as much as I used to. I need to make adjustments for what that looks like for the blog, and just read whatever makes me happy (and not necessarily towards a particular goal).

The books that were on my list are:

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)
Enchantee by Gita Trelease (goodreads)
We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (goodreads)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (goodreads)
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (goodreads)

Plus I had two ebooks on my list:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor (goodreads)
Hired by Zoey Castile (goodreads)

I managed to read three books that were on my list and two that were not. I read The Cruel Prince, Daisy Jones and the Six, and Hired from the above list. I also finished A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

The books not on my list that I managed to read were:

Hollywood Prince by Natasha Madison (goodreads)
The Umbrella Academy: Volume Two by Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba, Dave Stewart (goodreads)

I am now looking forward to April and the books I am hoping to read. I have so many amazing sounding books (plus ones that have been on my list for months) so here is hoping I manage to clear some from the list.

Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap (goodreads)
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (goodreads)
We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (goodreads)
Enchantee by Gita Trelease (goodreads)
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)

I also have some ebooks on my list:

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (goodreads)
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (goodreads)
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (goodreads)
Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan (goodreads)
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (goodreads)
You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn (goodreads)
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting (goodreads)

I will, obviously, be focusing on ebooks this month to try and clear as many of them off my list as I can!

What books are you reading this month? Have you read any of the ones in my list? If so, let me know what you think in the comments.

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