Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best of 2019 - Everything Else Edition

Wrapping up my look back at 2019 with the best of everything else (ie: not books or movies). This means sharing the television and podcasts that made my year.


1. Succession 

This is absolutely my favourite new find of 2019. I didn't watch it when the first season aired so I got to binge it before season two premiered and I am obsessed. Everything about it from the acting, directing, writing, etc is phenomenal. It's not a show I thought I would love as much as I do, but it is incredibly addictive.

The entire cast stands out but some of my favourites are Jeremy Strong, who delivers 2019's best acting performance in season two, Kieran Culkin who is a delight as Roman. Sarah Snook who is incredible as Shiv (and has a wardrobe to match). Matthew Macfadyen who, as Tom, manages to steal so many scenes, and Nicholas Braun who kills it as fan favourite Cousin Greg.

2. Stranger Things Season 3

I anticipate that this show will be on every end of year list I do until it wraps up. The third season was absolutely everything I hoped it would be (and more). It gave fans exactly what they wanted by offering up more scenes between our favourite pairings, and managed to make a bigger, more action packed season feel just as emotionally satisfying as the others. Dacre Montgomery's portrayal of Billy this season gave me goosebumps, and I felt the emotional impact of his story arc in particular.

3. Mindhunter Season 2

This show managed to make a riveting season around what is basically, for many, still an unsolved case. There are so many questions that linger around the Atlanta Child Murders that I was curious about how they would address it when I discovered that was what this season was going to focus on. The answer to that question was to be as faithful as possible to factual events. This entire season worked for me, and Holt McCallany's Bill Tench was my MVP of this season.

4. The Good Place

I discovered this super late and actually binged watched the entire thing this year. I normally do not watch comedies and have enjoyed very few, so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up loving this show. It's smart, and charming, and actually funny. I, of course, love all of the main characters and ship Eleanor and Chidi way more than I thought I would at the beginning.


1.  You Must Remember This podcast

If you're a fan of movies, golden age Hollywood, and well produced podcasts I highly recommend you check out You Must Remember This. The amount of research that writer/narrator Karina Longworth puts into each episode is evident and the guest voice actors are always amazing. It'll make you want to watch a ton of the movies that are featured, and will have you searching out some of the books used for the research.

2. The Murder Squad podcast

I am always looking for more true crime podcasts and this one, hosted by Paul Holes and Billy Jensen, is a little unique in that it is being used as a way to get information out there about the cases that are featured in the hopes that new information may be found. It helps channel citizen sleuths by providing avenues to explore and does so responsibly by providing some important rules to be followed. The banter between Paul and Billy make this entertaining as well as informative, and their 'Weekly Distraction' segment has quickly become my favourite.

3. My Favorite Murder podcast

This podcast was on my year end list previously, and I expect that it will be plenty more times, but it is still my go to podcast. I eagerly anticipate the new episode that gets released on Thursday and still find Karen and Georgia just as relatable, and inspiring as when I first started listening. I may have initially been drawn in by the true crime, but am happy to have also found fellow Murderinos to talk to, and the entire community that has sprung up around this podcast.

What television and podcasts from 2019 made your own best of lists? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Best of 2019 - Book Edition

As the year comes to a close it is once again time to reflect back on the books I read and highlight a few that I particularly enjoyed reading this year.

My reading suffered this year. I did not read nearly as many books as I hoped to. I am resolving to fix this in 2020. I did manage to read some pretty awesome books this year though.

Here are my top ten reads of this year (in no particular order). They each link to my review (where one has been written and posted) if you want to see exactly why I loved them.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

3 Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

4 Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

5 The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Transcend/Epoch by Jewel E Ann

Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

8 The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

9 American Royals by Katharine McGee

10 A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

This list, obviously, includes books released this year and some that were not. My only criteria was that they had to be books I read this past year.

Do you agree with any of the books on list? Feel there is a book I missed this year that I should make a priority to read in 2019? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Best of 2019 - Movie Edition

As we say goodbye to 2019 I thought I would share my top ten list of the best movies I saw this year. I kept this to movies that came out this year to help narrow it down.

These are in no particular order (as that would be impossible). There are also some movies that have come out this year that I haven't seen yet (like Uncut Gems for example).

There were plenty of movies I liked this year but only a few that I would say I LOVED. I don't really have a Call Me By Your Name/A Star Is Born movie that I am completely obsessed with this year. It makes this list a little harder, and a little more interesting to write.

Here is my Best Movies of 2019 list:

1. Parasite

There are always movies that people will tell you to go in knowing as little as possible as to not ruin or taint the experience. Many have said it regarding Parasite. This is one of the times where this advice should actually be followed. It's a fantastically plotted movie that is better enjoyed as an experience. The performances, directing, script, and pretty much everything else are incredible.

2. Marriage Story

This movie offers an uncomfortable look at a marriage that is ending. It, at times, may feel too authentic to people who have gone through a divorce. It's, mostly, filled with reasons that this marriage does not work, but does show you these little moments where you understand why they were together. It doesn't take a real 'side' in terms of who is a fault but instead offers that it was a mixture of both people in the marriage that caused it to not work out. Adam Driver gives an incredible performance as do many other members of the cast.

3. The Farewell 

A beautiful, sad, and sort of uplifting movie about a woman and her connection with her grandmother and what happens when that grandmother gets ill and the family decides to keep the diagnosis from her. This is one that manged to sneak up on me and I didn't realize how much it had impacted me until it was over. Awkwafina delivers a different performance than what is typically expected of her and does so brilliantly.

4. Knives Out

A fun, incredibly entertaining, whodunit from director/writer Rian Johnson that I had a blast watching. Great performances from the entire cast (and an especially enjoyable turn from Chris Evans in a fantastic cable knit sweater) and a satisfying conclusion to the mystery at hand make this one a must watch.

5. Booksmart

A supremely fun coming of age story from director Olivia Wilde that boasts amazing performances from Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, and Billie Lourd. Think Superbad but teen girls instead. It's a funny, sometimes raunchy, heartfelt, and entertaining coming of age story that entirely charmed me.

6. Rocketman

Taron Egerton carries this movie and does so brilliantly. It is one of my favourite performances of the year. It also happens to be a good movie. Elton John's involvement ensured that the music was exactly what you wanted from this movie, and he didn't demand they sweep past any of the struggles he went through. Making it more of a musical than a straight up biopic was a fantastic choice as Elton John's story is one that would lend itself to this more than others.

7. Us

I did not like Us as much as I liked Get Out. There were elements from US that fell a little short for me, but it was still one of my favourite experiences at the movies this year. It boasts one of the year's best performances from Lupita Nyongo. She's incredible as Red. The movie itself is a good horror movie, and once again showcases Jordan Peele's directing skills.

8. Little Women

I am pretty sure people will be mixed on this movie, but I enjoyed it immensely. Saoirse Ronan is a great Jo, and Timothee Chalamat is a perfect Laurie. I do think that fans of Little Women, and those familiar with the story, will enjoy it more than those who are going into it fresh (but I doubt that applies to many people at this point). You can tell that director Greta Gerwig loves the source material and that shines through every frame of this movie.

9. Hustlers

This is another movie that is fun to watch. It may be overtly about this group of women scamming money out of a bunch of rich wall street guys, but it is also about female friendship. Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez's performances are great (and Jennifer Lopez should absolutely be in the Supporting Actress talks for Oscar nominations). It is the type of female led movie that I hope to see more of in the future.

10. Lords Of Chaos 

A movie that will absolutely not appeal to everyone. It's violent (sometimes brutally so) and doesn't delve as far into some of the elements surrounding the true crime that inspired this movie as I would have liked. It does, however, boast some pretty good performances and manages to be mesmerizing while you are watching it. Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen, in particular, stand out in the cast, but Jack Kilmer's portrayal of Pelle 'Dead' Ohlin also lingers with you.

What movies make your Best of 2019 list? Let me know which ones I need to check out in the comments below.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Waiting On Wednesday (the delayed version)- Faith: Taking Flight

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

This post is obviously being posted on the wrong day seeing as how it is Thursday today, BUT I did not share it on the regular Wednesday due to the holiday and still wanted to share my pick for this week.

This week's pick is Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin', comes the first in a two-book origin story of Faith, a groundbreaking, plus-sized superhero from the Valiant Entertainment comics.

Faith Herbert is a pretty regular teen. When she's not hanging out with her two best friends, Matt and Ches, she's volunteering at the local animal shelter or obsessing over the long-running teen drama The Grove.

So far, her senior year has been spent trying to sort out her feelings for her maybe-crush Johnny and making plans to stay close to Grandma Lou after graduation. Of course, there's also that small matter of recently discovering she can fly….

When the fictional world of The Grove crashes into Faith's reality as the show relocates to her town, she can't believe it when TV heroine Dakota Ash takes a romantic interest in her.

But her fandom-fueled daydreams aren't enough to distract Faith from the fact that first animals, then people, have begun to vanish from the town. Only Faith seems able to connect the dots to a new designer drug infiltrating her high school.

But when her investigation puts the people she loves in danger, she will have to confront her hidden past and use her newfound gifts—risking everything to save her friends and beloved town.
I love superhero stories. It is no secret that I love the Marvel movies, and routinely check out anything superhero related that comes out on television or in books. Julie Murphy's newest caught my attention because Faith sounds like such a unique superhero while still holding on to the tropes that define the genre. I am excited to discover her origin story and trust Julie Murphy to write something fun.

This is perfectly timed as a summer release as this is certain to be a fun pool side read.

Expected release date - July 7, 2020

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays, everyone! I am taking today and tomorrow to spend time with my family and enjoy Christmas. Regular posts will be back on the 26th.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, and that you find some bookish presents underneath the tree.

If you're not celebrating, hopefully you still enjoy a day with your family/friends (and sneak in some reading time as well).

Monday, December 23, 2019

2020 Movies I Am Excited About

I spent almost three weeks telling you all about the books that I am excited about in 2020. Today I thought I would share the movies that I am looking forward to in 2020.

This is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list. There will be plenty of movies that we haven't even heard about that will release towards the end of the year. There will be movies that get delayed and end up not being released this year.

I decided to cap it at ten movies and they are in no particular order.

1. Promising Young Woman - Such a great trailer and a unique take on the story being told is what caught my attention. Carey Mulligan looks fantastic in it, and I cannot wait to see the conversations that start from this movie. I am half excited and half dreading them.

2. Into The Heights - All I really need to know is that it is a musical and that Lin Manuel Miranda is involved. It's a bonus that the trailer looks incredible.

3. Deep Water - Based on the book from Patricia Highsmith (who has written many other books turned into good films) this caught my attention both because of some of the cast and the synopsis. I love a good murder mystery.

4. Nightmare Alley - This has the biggest chance of not coming out this year, but it sounds amazing. A stellar cast, Guillermo del Toro directing, and a great sounding synopsis. It revolves around a con-man and a therapist who team up to con people out of their money.

5. Happiest Season - Kristen Stewart has been making interesting choices lately and this seems to be one that might catch some awards attention. Directed by Clea DuVall it revolves around a woman wanting to propose to her girlfriend over the holidays only to discover that her girlfriend hasn't come out to her conservative parents.

6. Babylon - This is director Damien Chazelle's next movie and it is rumoured to be about Hollywood and will star Emma Stone as actress Clara Bow. It rumouredly looks at the transition from silent movies to 'talkies'.

7. Supernova - This stars Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth as a couple traveling across England revisiting family, friends, and places that are important to them, something even more important now that one of them has been diagnosed with early onset dementia. This screams Oscar bait and I hope it is as good as it sounds.

8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things - The cast has me super excited for this one! It stars Toni Collette, Jesse Plemons, and Jessie Buckley. It's based off the novel by Iain Reid.

9. Mank - This revolves around the making of Citizen Cane, has an actor I like playing Orsen Wells, and is apparently focused on screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz.

10. Blonde - Not much is known about this one yet, except that it is about Marilyn Monroe. Ana de Armas (whom I liked in Knives Out) starts as the famous blonde and it appears to look at her early life.

What movies are you looking forward to in 2020? Let me know in the comments. I am always looking to hear about movies that may have flown under my radar.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date - October 8, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**obtained at Book Expo America**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 La 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 La 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.
Paranormal, particularly paranormal romance, has always been a favourite genre of mine. Vampires, in particular, have always caught my attention. Nothing really gets me to add a book to my to be read pile faster than hearing it has vampires in it, especially if they are hot vampires. Needless to say, I was immediately sold in the premise of Renee Ahdieh's The Beautiful from the moment I heard about it. Luckily, it surpassed my expectations and it ended up being a romance that is built around a taunt mystery.

Part of what charmed me about The Beautiful was its setting. New Orleans under Renee Ahdieh's prose is a lush, vivid backdrop for the atmospheric and seductive tale she is weaving. It was exactly what I hoped for. I love New Orleans and the particular atmosphere than can only be felt in that particular city. The history seeps through every single part of it, and Renee captures its essence. The historical setting shifts the city a bit, but it makes you appreciate the history that is felt there in modern times all the more.

Celine is a head strong girl. She is exactly the type of character that people would, wrongly, describe as too much. She wants too much. She wants, period. She pushes societal boundaries in ways that I found exciting. She speaks her mind and is not willing to settle in any way. She especially stands out in this historical setting in a way that I enjoyed and I found complimented the story being told. You needed this character to be the type who was willing to break rules and get into some trouble for the story to work.

Sebastian is the mysterious, alluring man who catches Celine's eye. He has secrets and is reluctant to let anyone in. The back and forth between he and Celine feels electric and inevitable. His group of friends, The Court of Lions, are equally as charming and fascinating. My only real issue is that Sebastian remains mysterious until the latter part of the novel and I want to learn more about him and his secrets.

Michael, the young and good looking police detective, is another character that I found fascinating. His story unravels slowly, but it offers a delicious set up for the next novel. Those who are not a fan of love triangles may want to proceed with caution because there is definitely the potential for one to flourish in the second novel. The way everything ties together at the end is my absolute favourite part of this novel and Michael's storyline is a large part of that.

The ending, for me, packs the most spellbinding punch. It shifts the story into high gear and offers tantalizing possibilities for the sequel. It is the kind of breathtaking set up that made my pulse race a little faster and had me desperate to get my hands on The Damned.

If you have missed vampires in literature as much as I have I highly recommend this delicious take on the creatures of the night. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Vampires combined with sexy always work for me and this book was no exception. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday ... The Heir Affair

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 Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

** Potential Spoilers For The Royal We **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Making it up the aisle was the easy part: After marrying the heir to the throne, Rebecca “Bex” Porter must survive her own scandals as she adjusts to life in the glamorous British royal family, in this “highly anticipated” follow-up to The Royal We, the “fun and dishy” bestseller and NYT Summer Reading List pick inspired by Will and Kate’s romance (People).

After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca “Bex” Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world’s judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they’d placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick’s brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten — nor forgiven.
The Royal We was one of my favourite books the year it came out and I still recommend it to people whenever they ask me about books they should read. I was incredibly excited to find out that a sequel was going to released in 2020 and that it seems to be continuing right after the events of the first novel.

I loved the character of Freddie and am thrilled he will be back, but I am also very nervous about this secret that is being mentioned. Readers of the first book will know what it might be and if I am right I expect this book will be filled with plenty of angst.

It is going to make a great summer read and I anticipate it'll be spotted on beaches and airplanes everywhere as people bring it along on their summer vacations.

Expected release date - June 16, 2020

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Epoch by Jewel E Ann

Epoch by Jewel E. Ann
Release Date - April 9, 2018
Author Website - Jewel E Ann
Author Media - Twitter
Pages -  28pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from a friend**

** Spoilers for Transcend **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Some lives end unfinished, and some transcend time.

After a horrific incident, Swayze finds herself trapped between two lives. Patchy memories and fear for her own safety thrust her into a gut-wrenching journey to uncover the truth.

Will she let her dreams slip away to seek retribution and find the missing pieces to a puzzle that existed a lifetime ago?

“I’m not going to watch you self-destruct. I’m not going to watch you fall in love with another man.”

Or will she discover the only truth that matters?

Epoch pushes the boundaries of what we believe and what we know. It redefines fate and proves that the only thing separating the heart and the soul is an infinite timeline.

“I think a part of you will be mine to love in every life.”
Certain love stories sell us the idea that love is eternal. What could be more romantic than two souls gravitating to each other again and again throughout history no matter the circumstances. The Transcend Duet, and Epoch in particular, embraces that epic kind of love story and offers an incredibly romantic, thoughtful look at what it would mean, messiness and all, if we could remember those past lives.

I thought going into Epoch that it was going to be more of mystery. The events at the end of Transcend certainly set it up that way. The book, however, is more interested in the emotions of its characters and the connections being forged, broken, and mended between them. It is not that the events that close out the first book are not important to the events in this one, it is just that the book is much more interested in how those events impact the characters and their actions.

I still stand by my assessment that this is not really a love triangle. I think there are pretty distinct love stories going on that prevent it from being a true triangle. It is one in its own way but definitely not in the typical meaning of the word. It feels more complicated than that label. It was nice that both Griffin and Nate are decent men who truly do care for Swayze in their own ways. They both have their flaws but untimely want what they think is best for her. I also appreciated that there was no way this untypical triangle could end in the typical fashion of most triangles.

The idea of reincarnation, and how much you retain from those past lives (and why you retain it) is very much the heart of this novel. It asks the question of how much of  Swayze is Daisy and what that ultimately means for her life in complex ways that do not have easy answers. It makes the book more thought provoking than I anticipated. I was constantly asking myself if she was Nate's Daisy and what it meant that she both was and wasn't in many ways. I think this would make a good book  club pick for the conversation that could stem just from this plot point.

Many readers will delight in the swooniness of Nate and Griffin. They, as mentioned, are both great characters. It is, however, Swayze that stood out to me. She goes through hell in this novel mentally and shows a strength that is incredibly satisfying. She isn't afraid to be vulnerable and doesn't handle things perfectly but she manages to still be standing in the end and that is impressive. I love that she is this mix of strong and weak. She is a mess but so driven and focused. It is a type of female character I want to see more of.

I found myself ugly sobbing while reading this without really knowing why. There is, obviously, the unfinished love story of Nate and Daisy, everything Swayze finds herself going through, and the impossible situation Griffin finds himself in. It is all of these things and none of them that is the cause of this book emotionally wrecking me. Bittersweet is the word I would use to describe this duet if I had to choose only one and it is that duality of the despair with the joyous that wreaks havoc on your emotions.

If you love your books to be thought provoking, emotionally impacting, and unputdownable, I highly recommend this duology. It has made me excited to pick up other books by this author and certainly has me anticipating whatever she writes next. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - Kim from Pingwing's Bookshelf

Today's post continues the posts where others share what books they are anticipating in 2020. My friend Kim, who blogs over at Pingwing's Bookshelf, shares her list today to close out this year's event.

I'm already excited about 2020! I love thinking ahead to a new year, planning the things I want to do on the blog, the books I want to read, and the feeling of possibility and optimism that, to me, the new year signifies.

When it comes to books, there are so many 2020 releases that I'm excited about! Here are 10 2020 releases that I can't wait to read:

1. Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2), Tamsyn Muir (out June 2, 2020) - I've already preordered this book, which is the sequel to  my favourite read of 2019, Gideon the Ninth. This book promises more necromancers and skeletons and murder, and as it focuses on my favourite character from book one, you can be certain that I'll be reading this as soon as it shows up at my door!

2. Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2), Justina Ireland (out February 4, 2020) - I loved Dread Nation, and I've been eagerly waiting for this sequel!

3. The Return, Rachel Harrison (out March 24, 2020) - I am a big mystery/thriller reader, and I've already been hearing great things about this one.

4. Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3), Victoria Schwab (out February 1, 2020) - Victoria Schwab is my favourite author, and I've been really enjoying this middle grade series about a young girl who can see ghosts - and who's best friend is a ghost.

5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Victoria Schwab (out in 2020) - We will be blessed with two Victoria Schwab books in 2020, and I absolutely cannot wait to read this one! I've been following Victoria on social media for a long time and she has discussed this book and the writing of it over the years, and I can't believe it will be a real book in the world soon! I know Kathy has already written an entire post about this one, so go read that so you can get excited for it too!

6. Home Before Dark, Riley Sager (out July 7, 2020) - I've enjoyed each of Riley Sager's previous books to varying degrees, so I knew I was going to read whatever he put out next, but when I read this premise, the book jumped up on my most-anticipated list. I love scary stories and books about stories, so this definitely sounds like my kind of read. And it makes me think of Marisha Pessl's Night Film, which I loved.

7. Girls Save the World in This One, Ash Parsons (out April 14, 2020) - I was already drawn in by that title, but Shaun of the Dead meets Clueless?? Yes please!

8. We Are the Wildcats, Siobhan Vivian (March 31, 2020) - I really like Siobhan Vivian's books, and this one sounds so intriguing.

9. Blood Countess, Lana Popovic (out January 28, 2020) - "A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula" OK that sounds awesome!

10. Chosen Ones, Veronica Roth (out April 7, 2020) - Veronica Roth's first adult novel sounds incredible. It follows a group of five people who, as teens, defeated an enemy called The Dark One, and became heroes. But years later, one of them dies and when the rest of them come together to mourn, it turns out The Dark One might not really be gone...I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!

So there you have it - ten of my most anticipated 2020 releases. I'm fortunate to have some of them in ARC format, so I'll be reading a few of these over my Christmas holidays.

It was so hard to keep this list to ten, but writing this has made me even more hyped up to read these books. Thank you Kathy for giving me the chance to flail with excitement about books!!!

A huge thank you to Kim for participating in this. There are so many amazing sounding books on her list as well. 

That's a wrap on my 2020 most anticipated event this year! Let me know what books you're looking forward to in the comments. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - Something To Talk About

The next book on my 2020 most anticipated list is one that seems poised to give romance readers something to talk about, and get a certain song stuck in their head.

Rumours start to fly when a moment between two women on a red carpet gets taken out of context. Rumours that kick off the slowest of slow burn romances.

I am excited to include Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner in this year's most anticipated event.

The Goodreads synopsis pretty much ensures that romance readers will be desperate to read it.
A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn't come at a worse time—threatening Emma's promotion and Jo's new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames? 
Emma and Jo's story sounds swoon worthy and I am already eager to fan cast the movie I hope gets made for Netflix.

Meryl graciously took some time to answer my questions about the book and made me want to blast a little Bonnie Raitt and get my hands on this book immediately.

1. What gif do you think describes Something To Talk About?

I actually just joined some other 2020 debuts in describing our books with multiple gifs. You can find the post here. If I had to pick only one, it’d be this one:

2. If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

A signature drink for Something to Talk About would have to be sweet (but not sickly sweet). It would have more alcohol in it than you could taste, so the effect would sneak up on the drinker—just like feelings sneak up on Jo and Emma! 

3. What is your favourite rom-com trope? 

In case you missed it with the gif to describe Something to Talk About, I’m a sucker for a slow burn.

4. I cannot be the only one who immediately starts signing Bonnie Raitt's song when I see the title of your book. Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel.

I definitely did listen to the Bonnie Raitt song while writing. But I think my top artist for this book was Hayley Kiyoko. I kept trying to pick what song of hers I’d want in a movie version of my book, and I think I eventually settled on Cliff’s Edge.

5. If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I really like the idea of being able to see the world when people had less of an effect on it. I don’t even care about any particular place or landscape, just lots of unspoiled wilderness.

6. What 2020 release are you most anticipating?

I always say The Roommate by Rosie Danan, because I’m lucky enough to have already read it, so I know exactly how good it is. But as for books I haven’t read, I’m really looking forward to Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall.

7. If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Something To Talk About. 

I know there’s a big emphasis on great first sentences, but for me, first pages as a whole are such an experience. When you’re first being exposed to the world and characters—I love that too much to just share the first sentence!

I now want to read that first page even more than I did before. I am already thinking of a wine to pair with this when I get to read it.

Something To Talk About releases May 26, 2020 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer so that it arrives in time for summer reading.

You can find out more about Meryl by following them on Twitter and visiting their website. You can also find out more about Something To Talk About on the publisher website

Do you love romance novels as much as I do? How do you feel about books with really catchy titles that get a song stuck in your head? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the last post in this year's event.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - More Than Maybe

The next book in my 2020 Most Anticipated event is one that incorporates both a character's love of music and blogging about something you love. It also happens to be written by an author whose debut novel I really enjoyed.

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn seems poised to be one of 2020's must read young adult contemporary novels. It also happens to have an adorable cover.

The Goodreads synopsis seems to promise a fun, contemporary young adult read, but if Erin's first book is anything to go by we can also expect some angst. 
Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?
I cannot wait to see the music playlist for this, and what details get worked into the story. Does Vada get that Rolling Stone internship? Is the song really about her (of course it is!)? All things that make me want to read this as soon as I can.

My top three reasons for wanting to read More Than Maybe:

1. I really enjoyed You'd Be Mine and have been eagerly anticipating whatever Erin wrote next. 

2. Music. Music. Music. I hope there is an awesome playlist for this. I cannot wait to see all of the different ways music is incorporated into not only the plot but the romance that is sure to develop.

3. The characters are a blogger and a podcaster. I am looking forward to seeing how that manifests itself into their personalities and the overall plot of the story. I do hope it is a prominent part of who these characters are, and from the synopsis it certainly seems like it is.

More Than Maybe releases May 12, 2020 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer (or get it with those holiday gift cards).

You can find out more about Erin by following her on Twitter, and by visiting her her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website.

Do you love books that incorporate music in some way into the plot? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2020 most anticipated list. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - Darling

The next book on my 2020 most anticipated list is inspired by one of my favourite Disney movies, and one of my favourite children's books. I am, of course, talking about Peter Pan.

Darling by K. Ancrum is all about embracing the darker parts of the Peter Pan story .. particularly when it comes to the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Anyone who has read the book (and not just seen the Disney movie) will know how dark the book actually is. I am curious to read an adaptation that uses that darkness, and sets the story in modern times.

There isn't an official synopsis for this one yet. The  Goodreads blurb currently describes it as the following:
A retelling of Peter Pan in modern day Chicago, in which Wendy Darling follows Peter and his Lost Boys through the city's nightlife and underbelly, only to discover that Peter isn't what he seems...and the Lost Boys are in more trouble than they realize.
I cannot wait for a full synopsis and cover to be revealed. I am also really excited about the Chicago setting. I think it is going to be a great backdrop for this story.

Kayla kindly answered some of my questions and definitely made the wait for this book even harder in the process.

1. What gif do you think best describes Darling?

Wendy Darling, specifically lmao. 

The Lost Boys: 

Tinkerbelle at Peter:

"Tiger Lily" at Peter

2. If someone were to make a signature drink in honour of your book, what might be included?

Something that starts out sweet but has a very sour syrup at the bottom. So you think you're drinking one thing, but slowly the drink gets more and more bitter until its completely intollerable.

3. This sounds like it'll be a darker (and more modern) take on the classic Peter Pan tale. What about it inspired Darling to be the novel it is?

I was head over heels in love with the idea of taking everything that already existed within the book and just giving it modern context.  The original book is dark enough, I didn't need to embellish it much.  Most of it is just direct equivalencies. Captain Hook = Police Inspector Hook, Tinker Bell  "a fairy who mended pots and kettles"  = Tinkerbelle a whiz at engineering who Wendy suggests take a few classes at the local college. Peter Pan, a serial killer who is literally described as murdering lost boys when they got too old and well = Peter pan a serial killer who murders lost boys when they get too old.

I reread the original book when I was in college and its such a different experience from the Disney movie. I couldn't believe how many small nuances of terror they glossed over regarding Peter's character. They kept most of the plot but completely reworked everyone's feelings about Peter: he was magical and cunning and beautiful but he was also terrifying and had little to no humanity left.  I think, honestly, that keeping it so close to a direct translation of the text actually makes DARLING scarier because I can say things like "the only part of the book that isn't a direct translation is the justice for his actions at the very end."

4. Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel

I was really into songs that sound happy but are actually sad or threatening. My favorite was Hot Chip's  "The Warning". I really love the indie-dance-pop vibe accompanied by threatening lyrics like:  "Hot Chip with break your legs, snap off your head, Hot Chip will put you down, under the ground" .  

When I was writing some of the more romantic scenes I would listen to a lot of 6lack because its such an urban vibe during all the romantic scenes. Just really cool "one-night-only-romance" feelings to all of them, not mushy at all.

5. If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

The future! or the moon during the space-race. Im a bit obsessed with space and love looking forward instead of back.

6. What 2020 release are you most anticipating?

CEMETARY BOYS i am O B S E S S E D with ghosts romances so Im head over heels for the concept of this. Also Aiden Thomas is such a darling, one of the coolest guys. Definitely follow him on twitter:  https://twitter.com/aidenschmaiden

7. If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Darling:

The first line of DARLING is: “I said no.” but the first piece of text in the book is actually a quote from the original 1904 book and it is:

The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according to as they get killed and so on;
 and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out

Darling does not have an official release date but it will be sometime in fall of 2020.  Preorder links are not available just yet, but I urge you to add it to your Goodreads to be read list so that you'll be updated when those become available.

You can find out more about Kayla by following her on Twitter or by visiting her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website

Do you enjoy different/unique twists on beloved stories? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2020 most anticipated list. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - Mayhem

The next book on my 2020 most anticipated list has a lot of 80s inspiration and is a mix of some of my favourite movies with some true crime thrown in. It's pitch is that it is a mix of The Craft and The Lost Boys with some Manson family thrown in and is set in the 80s.

I already feel like I am going to love this book. It hits so many of my specific interest points that is basically made to appeal directly to me.

I am excited to feature Mayhem by Estelle Laure as part of the books I am looking foward to in 2020.

The Goodreads synopsis for this novel is pretty much tailor made to make you want to read this novel. It offers enough teases while still making you desperate to pick up the novel to find out more.
Mayhem Brayburn and her mother are on the run, not away from home, but back to it: Santa Maria, California, a beach town that looks like paradise, like carnival rides and street food and bikinis under the hot sun.

It’s where Mayhem has always wanted to be. It’s where generations of Brayburns have lived and thrived, and she has never understood what made her mother leave Santa Maria in favor of the arms of her abusive stepfather.

But when she befriends her aunt’s foster kids and they take her to their hideout, decades of secrets unravel, and Mayhem is thrust into a world of chaotic magic, a serial killer’s mind, and finally, even the answers to her own past.

Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure. It’s original, compelling, and a little bit rock-’n’-roll, and reading it will leave you feeling deliciously wicked.
The boardwalk vibe screams The Lost Boys to me and I am really looking forward to the California setting.

Estelle graciously took some time to answer my questions about her book, and made me want to rewatch both The Craft and The Lost Boys before the book comes out.

1. What gif do you feel represents Mayhem?

2. If someone were to make a signature cocktail in honour of your book, what might be included?

Jalapeños, vodka, lime, on the rocks, with smoke.

3. Your book is described as having a lot of 80s influence. Why do you think 80s nostalgia is so popular right now?

 The world was slower then, sillier in many ways (the fashion the fashion), filled with cliques,  and it was all sort of goofy with this undercurrent of the truly threatening. I’m nostalgic for the stories that were told then, like The Lost Boys and Stand by Me, but not for the actual time. Serial killers ran amok, misogyny and racism were so rampant they were accepted, not to mention homophobia, but it was still fun to go back because….FASHION!

4. Name a song you listed to for inspiration while writing this novel (if you didn't listen to music let me know and I can quickly send another question)

You Should See Me in a Crown by Billie Eilish. That was one I listened to before writing just to get me in the head space.

5. If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

I would definitely go ahead ten years to see if we make it that far. I would never want to go back. Things have been bad for women, always. And I would definitely not want to be in any time period before plumbing, electricity, heating and medicine.

6. What 2019 release are you most anticipating?

I LOVED Wilder Girls by Rory Power. Died. It was so good. I’m about to start The Wicked King by Holly Black. I’m obsessed with her. And with fairies. But mostly her.

7. If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Mayhem.

All I ever do anymore is swim. I like how the world is muffled underwater. I float.

The gif Estelle chose, while from The Craft, also has The Lost Boys vibes. It could be the way the girls walk reminds me of David and the rest of the 'lost boys' slinking around the merry-go-round. It could be the beach, and the secluded areas that are part of both movies. Either way, I am here for that being an indicator of the story and its setting.

Mayhem releases July 14, 2020 but you can pre-order it right now from any retailer so that it arrives to be perfectly timed for your summer reading.

You can find out more about Estelle by following her on Twitter or by visiting her website. You can also find out more about her books on the publisher website

Do you enjoy books or other entertainment set in the 80s? Are you as excited about this book as I am? Let me know in the comments.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to for the next book on my 2020 most anticipated list. 

Sunday, December 8, 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.

We're heading into the holiday season and that is the time that announcements and reveals tend to be less frequent. People are busy and distracted by holiday cheer and shopping.

There are a few things that caught my attention recently that I am excited to share.


FX Network's A Christmas Carol Trailer

This trailer showcases that the upcoming FX holiday special, A Christmas Carol, is going to be a much darker take on the classic story.

Really dark and I actually cannot wait to check this out. I hope it's good. The cast is certainly interesting.

Locke and Key Key Art

Netflix is adapting Joe Hill's Locke and Key graphic novels and they have just released their spooky first key art (no pun intended) for the series.

I have read some of this since the announcement and I am hooked. I cannot wait to read more and I hope this series is just as good. It will launch February 7th on Netflix and I expect you'll see lots of people picking up the graphic novels after binging the first season.

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

Friday, December 6, 2019

2020 Most Anticipated - Marisol from Harper Collins Canada

Today I have Marisol from Harper Collins Canada stopping by to take part in my 2019 Most Anticipated Event. Marisol shares the books coming from Harper Collins next year that she thinks should be on your radar! There are some incredible titles on this list so be prepared to add a bunch to your own 'to be read' lists. A huge thank you to Marisol for taking the time to write this post. You can talk about all of these books with the Harper Collins Canada team on Twitter at @hccfrenzy!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen – January 7, 2020
Who doesn’t love books that take us to new places? Loveboat, Taipei follows Chinese-American girl Ever Wong who is sent from Ohio to Taiwan to learn Mandarin for the summer. Expecting a strict, educational program, Ever is pleasantly surprised when she finds Loveboat in its place: an unchaperoned free-for-all where the fun (and romance) never stops. A charming #ownvoices novel that’s Sarah Dessen meets Crazy Rich Asians, this book is incredibly honest in its portrayal of family, friends, and teenage rebellion – and I am HERE FOR IT!

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera – January 14, 2020
I absolutely adored They Both Die at the End, so I was super excited when I found out that Adam had a new novel coming! This one is a gritty, fast-paced fantasy (yes, Adam is writing fantasy now and it’s amazing!) about a magical turf war generations in the making. I love that Adam is committed to writing LatinX and queer characters, and I cannot wait to see how he integrates them in what is sure to be one of this year’s biggest books!

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles – January 21, 2020
No one is pure, and life is definitely not simple! I love this book for the questions it raises about masculinity, and what it means to be a “real” man. Incredibly nuanced in the way it approaches teen relationships, the diversity of this book made me an instant fan, but it was the story itself that won me over completely!

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha – January 28, 2020
Anyone who says they don’t like graphic novels NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK! In this graphic memoir, Robin Ha revisits what it was like moving from Seoul to Alabama as a teen. Unable to speak English and suffering from extreme culture shock, Robin struggled to fit in. Heartbreaking and honest, the story is made all the more poignant by Robin’s stunning illustrations and speaks to art’s capacity for bridging cultural divides – and even saving lives.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed – February 4, 2020
Both Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed?! Sign me UP! I love the premise of this novel: two teens become unexpectedly involved in their town’s politics, only to become entangled in the cross-cultural romance of the century. This definitely sounds like something that would happen to me. I can’t wait to get my hands on this romcom!

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold – February 25, 2020
A darkly feminist retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, I am OBSESSED with this book and can’t wait for it to hit shelves. I love adaptations of fairy tales and folklore, and this one really brings the drama. If you loved Elana’s last book, Damsel, do not miss Red Hood!

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – February 26, 2020
The cover alone on this is so stunning I had to pick it up! Taking place in New York, British Columbia, and at sea, this beautifully written novel is about money, ghosts, morality, and a Ponzi scheme. The interweaving storylines and alternating points of view bring readers on a journey that haunts long after the book is finished. Add this one to your TBR immediately!

The Fire Never Goes Out by Novelle Stevenson – March 3, 2020
I’m a huge fan of both memoirs and comics, so this one is right up my alley! The Fire Never Goes Out is an illustrated memoir by the creator of Nimona and Lumberjanes that spans eight years of Noelle’s life, following her creative journey, coming out, and mental health struggles. Witty and full of wisdom, I literally have a space saved on my shelf for the finished book. I can’t wait to see Noelle’s incredible illustrations on paper!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – March 10, 2020
I was instantly hooked on this one! Exploring the psychological trauma of a relationship between a teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, this  is propulsive, explosive, and thought-provoking, particularly in the age of #MeToo. Lots to dig into with a book club!

Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi – March 31, 2020
If you haven’t gotten into the Shatter Me series yet, there’s still time before the final installment, Imagine Me, hits shelves this March! I love a good dystopian, and Imagine Me is no exception! Following Juliette Ferrars (now Ella) who is fueled by rage, justice, and love, the final book in the series may just bring down the Reestablishment – permanently!

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno – April 7, 2020
Smart and funny and heart wrenching, this novel has everything I want! Following one girl’s crusade to expose sexism at her school after a run-in with a predatory teacher, this #MeToo story is incredibly timely and manages to explore its more serious topics with grace, humour, and a healthy dose of feminism. The perfect book for starting an important discussion, Rules for Being a Girl is SO good – a must-read for today’s young women!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – May 5, 2020
The moment I found out Elizabeth Acevedo had a new book coming out, it was on my TBR! This is such a beautiful and bittersweet novel, it completely blew me away and I can’t wait for more people to pick it up! Clap When You Land follows two sisters, one in New York and the other, in the Dominican Republic, who must deal with the devastating loss of their father in a plane crash. But there’s an unexpected twist: neither of them knew the other one existed.

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass – May 5, 2020
Royalty, castles, and a mysterious stranger? Count me in! If the incredible cover for this book hasn’t already drawn you in, the world of courtly romance and intrigue that Hollis Brite inhabits definitely will! But with so much at stake and her marriage to the king on the line, Hollis begins to wonder, is there more to life outside the palace walls?

Parachutes by Kelly Yang – May 26, 2020
There is so much to love about this book, including that it gave me major Gossip Girl vibes! The title refers to parachute kids: wealthy Asian teenagers, whose parents send them to study in the US and stay with typical American families. Although Claire and her American host sister Dani feel like they couldn’t be more different, they come to discover they have more in common than anyone would’ve guessed. Touching on serious issues ranging from racism and assault to love and family, this book packs a punch!

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith – May 26, 2020
This book is so incredible and I’m positive there’s nothing else out there like it! Written by a transgender author, this teen love story follows a transgender boy and cisgender girl and draws from the author’s own personal experiences. While there are more and more books featuring transgender characters, very few are actually written by transgender authors. Tobly’s characters feel wholly authentic, and it is literally impossible not to fall in love with them!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown – June 2, 2020
Calling all fans of Children of Blood and Bone! Fantasies inspired by different cultures are among my absolute favourites, and A Song of Wraith and Ruin is no exception! This is an immersive fantasy based on West African folklore. If you love highly developed worlds and mythology, you NEED to add this book to your TBR! 

You Say it First by Katie Cotugno – June 16, 2020
Who knew I was such a romantic? You Say It First is about two teens from different sides of the political spectrum who fall in love after a voter registration call turns into a long-distance romance. I can’t wait for more people to read this book! It’s so cute, and the relationship between the characters feels so real. Although they come from completely different backgrounds, the candid conversations between them really highlight how sometimes all it takes is one special person to change us forever.

Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy – July 7, 2020
Julie Murphy is back with the first in a two-book series that tells the origin story of Faith, the first plus-sized superhero! I am so excited to see a book like this on the market. It has all Julie’s hallmarks (body positivity, complex relationships, a queer love story) and a TON of fast-paced, awesome action. I fell in love with this one the moment I saw the cover!

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull – July 21, 2020
If you’re a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, this book is definitely for you! By now, chances are you’re familiar with Wallis Simpson, Prince Edward’s love interest and arguably one of the most notorious women in Britain’s history. This book goes back even further in their story and introduces the first American woman Edward loved: Thelma Furness, sister to the first Gloria Vanderbilt. Steeped in royalty, riches, and drama, this book totally raises the bar for historical fiction and definitely helped me get over my post-Crown malaise!

What books from this list are you most excited to read next year? Let me know in the comments.

Come back next week for more books on my 2020 most anticipated list.

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