Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Release Date - November 22, 2016
Publisher Website -  Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  257 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**own - gifted**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The last book from beloved Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist is an intimate, hilarious, and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved--plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naivete, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before her passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher's intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time--and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into one of Hollywood's most beloved stars.
Biographies in which the person writing seems to be sharing part of themselves feel special. Carrie Fisher opens about about filming Star Wars in The Princess Diarist but also shares so much of herself. It reads like what I imagine a conversation with the actress would have been like.

My biggest takeaway from this is that Carrie Fisher was a witty, self deprecating, funny, flawed woman who also happened to be an incredible writer. She has such a strong personality that comes through in her writing. She was skilled and that talent carried over to talking about herself which is not always the case.

Star Wars fans will enjoy this little glimpse into the behind the scenes of Carrie's experience on the set. She obviously had a deep love and affection for not only the movies but the character of Princess Leia. I am not a huge Star Wars fan but even I could appreciate how this movie became this big, life altering thing for her.

A chunk of this book is made up of diary entries that were written during her time on set. There some absolutely incredible poetry and general musings that reflect the writer we experience throughout the whole book. There is a mix of everything from hope to heartbreak laid out in these entries and it is inspiring how much she chose to share.

The big reveal is, of course, the affair with co-star Harrison Ford. Many of the diary entries are about him and their time together. It feels like the book is mostly about that with the other set experiences being more in the background. This affair could have been written about in many different ways and the most classy way is what was chosen. There is nothing salacious and the details that are shared are done so respectfully I feel. She is careful to only share what she wants to and in the manner she wants to.

Reading this only increased my admiration for Carrie Fisher. She was an talented woman who shared so much about herself. She's brutally honest about herself and how this time in her life impacted her. I recommend this to anyone who has ever looked back at a situation with hindsight and saw everything much more clearly, maybe cringed a little at your own behaviour, but ultimately realized you wouldn't be the same person without those experiences. It's entirely relatable, and worthy of reading even if you're not interested in Star Wars.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday ... They Wish They Were Us

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 They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Gossip Girl meets One of Us Is Lying with a dash of The Secret History in this slick, taut murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Freshman year Jill's best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.

Now, it's Jill's senior year and she's determined to make it her best yet. After all, she's a senior and a Player--a member of Gold Coast Prep's exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill's year. She's sure of it.

But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham's innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn't kill Shaila, who did? Jill is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy. 
The synopsis sold me with the Gossip Girl comparison. I am also into the mystery element and that the person accused .at actually be innocent.

This has a summer release date so it will be perfect for beaches everywhere. It sounds like frothy summer fun and I cannot wait.

Expected release date - August 4, 2020

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Release Date - February 18, 2020
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can't shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. 
Ever have a book that seemed, on paper at least, to be exactly everything you love in a book only to read it and not be as into it as you expected to be? That is, sadly, exactly what happened when I read Of Curses and Kisses.

Those who love Sandhya's other novels will be happy to hear that her writing style is carried over to this novel. The romance really is well done with a bunch of sweet moments woven into the story. There is also a lot of humour tossed in and some interesting side characters. I do think that those who have loved her previous novels will find a lot they like within these pages. What stumbled for me was the world building. I didn't feel like I got a full realized picture of the castle that is going to be the setting of this series, and I wish it had been more prominent.

Jaya was the strongest part of the story for me. I loved her desire to protect her family and sister. I appreciated her character growth and how she had to find her own voice and make her own path. Even though this is written in the vein of a modern version of a fairytale, the elements that worked the best in the story were those where Jaya was struggling with not disappointing her family and yet being true to what she wanted for her own life. I think that is relatable for a lot of people growing up and fit nicely into this version of the Beauty and the Beast tale.

The part of the Beast's story that I always gravitated to is that he has to learn something. He has to grow and change. There is some sort of transformation that he has to go through. I felt that was missing from Grey's story arc. He doesn't start out as the enraged jerk that we know the Beast to be. He, in fact, seems to be the opposite. He keeps people at a distance, and is a little abrasive, but he does things that would be considered a kindness. The growth his character typically goes through was missing for me. I actually felt Jaya's character goes through a lot more growth. His character didn't feel as fleshed out as I would have wanted and that left other elements lacking for me.

There are some great nods to the inspiration from the beautiful rose shaped ruby pendant that plays a pivotal role, to a sweet, snowy romantic moment that will delight fans. These nods are integral to making this story feel like a retelling and I think that part was mostly successful. I wish that some of the other elements had been included though.

I ended up feel not really strongly either way about this one. There are elements I enjoyed and others that I didn't connect with. This will undoubtedly have many others who love it so I encourage you to check out those reviews as well. I, perhaps, would have enjoyed this one more if I hadn't gone into it expecting a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I think it works better just as a charming modern fairytale with any of expectations. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

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 weekend.

Another week in which this did not auto post!


cover by Majesty by Katharine McGee (goodreads)

I enjoyed American Royals when it came out last year. It, of course, leaves of on a cliffhanger so I have been excited to get my hands on the sequel.

The cover was just revealed and it is just as fun as the cover for the first book.

I think I like the colour scheme for this one more than the first though! It is bright and light in a way that the other one wasn't.


Hollywood (Netflix)

We have a release date and poster art for Ryan Murphy's next Netflix series. It's based on Hollywood in the 1940's. Other than someone playing Rock Hudson I believe all the other characters are created for the show.

The post is amazing and I love that tagline. I cannot wait to see a trailer and I hope we might see some other well known celebrities of that time period worked into the story.

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

Friday, February 21, 2020

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Release Date - February 4, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely. 
Everyone who has read my reviews knows that I love Becky Albertalli's books. They are some of my favourites. I have no experience with any of Aisha Saeed's writing, but have heard nothing by great things about her books. I was, therefore, excited when it was announced that they would be writing a book together. While I liked parts of Yes No Maybe So, I did not love it as much as I expected to.

The writing styles of the two authors mesh rather well. I believe that since this is dual narration that each author wrote one point of view. It means that the styles could be different as each of the character's voices are different.

Teens wanting to volunteer and get more involved in local politics will probably enjoy this one. I am not an American so while I didn't connect with every part of this aspect, I do feel like our systems are similar enough that I wasn't lost with anything going on and following the news helped fill in the rest. The enthusiasm and heart that these characters put into getting involved is inspiring and I predict it could even inspire readers to get involved themselves. It advocates for getting involved at the local level, and being the force for the change you want in ways that are tangible and practical.

The romance, well very sweet, did not work as well for me as other elements may have. I felt like Jamie and Maya were just really good friends. I don't know if it is because I felt the characters themselves were not as developed and therefore didn't connect with them on their own. I felt at times that the message of the story took over to the determent of the character development. This made it harder for me to be invested in relationship being built between them.

The parts of the characters that I feel readers will relate to the most are the elements that that felt the most authentic to me. Jamie struggling with public speaking and working through how that might impact his future career aspirations. Maya dealing with both the separating of her parents and a changing friendship. It is very much a story of these two teens finding their voices in a way and discovering who they are and these 'background' plots are where any character develop that does happen shines.

I do think that there will be plenty of people who enjoy this book way more than I did. I had a harder time connecting to the story and feeling the chemistry of the characters. I did find the political elements well done and interesting however. It is one that I would definitely recommend checking out for yourself as I think it was probably just a case of it just not working for me specifically.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

#2020PopCultureResolution - Movie Recommendations Needed

I have been having so much fun watching the movies on my list that I have already decided to do it again next year.

I want to ensure that I am casting the widest net possible in my search for movies to add to next year's list. With this in mind I am asking for recommendations. What classic movies do you think should mandatory viewing? What movies are ones that you simply cannot miss?

My only stipulations are that I am looking for older titles (older than 1990) and it cannot be on this year's list.

You can leave your recommendations below or share them with me over on Twitter.

I cannot wait to see what everyone recommends. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Hush

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 Hush by Dylan Farrow

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
How do you speak up in a world where propaganda is a twisted form of magic?

In the land of Montane, language is literal magic to the select few who possess the gift of Telling. This power is reserved for the Bards, and, as everyone knows, the Bards have almost always been men.

Seventeen-year-old Shae has lived her entire life in awe of the Bards—and afraid of the Blot, a deadly disease spread by ink, which took the life of her younger brother five years ago. Ever since, Shae fears she’s cursed. But when tragedy strikes again, and her mother is found murdered with a golden dagger—a weapon used only by the Bards—Shae is forced to act.

With a heart set on justice, Shae journeys to High House in search of answers. But when the kind, fatherly Cathal, the High Lord of Montane, makes Shae an undeniable offer to stay and train as a Bard, Shae can’t refuse.

Through this twisty tale, Shae endures backbreaking training by a ruthless female Bard, tentative and highly-forbidden feelings for a male Bard with a dark past, and a castle filled with dangerous illusions bent on keeping its secrets buried.

But sometimes, the truth is closer than we think. We just have to learn to listen.

A stunning and timely debut from activist Dylan Farrow, HUSH is a powerful feminist fantasy full of surprising insights, that casts a ray of light into the shadows of a society based on silencing and lies.
The synopsis is pretty intriguing set up to a fantasy series and I am really looking forward to discovering this world. The disease that is spread by ink. A woman finding her voice. The forbidden romance. I am here for all of this.

This seems like it'll be a perfect book for the autumn season for those who don't want something scary but are still looking for a bit of an atmospheric read. It comes out in October and I personally think it is going to pair nicely with my pumpkin spice latte.

Expected release date - October 6, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

#2020PopCultureResolution - A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

Director: Elia Kazan

Length:  122 minutes

Cast: Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter

Release Date: September 19, 1951

Synopsis: Blanche DuBois, a young woman, must take a streetcar to her sister's house in New Orleans. She faces scorn from her brother-in-law and simultaneously gets attracted to his friend.

**Spoilers Included Below**

A Streetcar Named Desire was my introduction to Tennessee Williams plays. This Southern Gothic is, perhaps, one of his most well known. It was also my introduction to Marlon Brando. I had not seen a movie with him in it previous to this. Pretty unbelievable, right? I am sure everyone is screaming at me to watch The Godfather immediately (don't worry, I am on it).

I have a bunch of jumbled thoughts about this movie. My main takeaways were that Stanley Kowalski is the absolute worst, and that young Marlon Brando was ridiculously good looking.    

A very basic description of the plot would be that a woman who is attempting to run from her scandal filled past goes to see her sister and her sister's husband. Things do not turn out well for her at all. 

This might just be one of the most well acted movies that I have ever seen. The entire cast is at the top of their game, but special mention must be made of Vivien Leigh's ability to play fragile and broken so convincingly. She's on another level entirely.

Marlon Brando's performance showcases why he became as revered as he was. He is captivating, and mesmerizing while on screen. You cannot take your eyes off him. Much is made of Marlon Brando being the one to popularize the Stanislavski  method of acting (aka method acting). His style was something new and electric at the time and I think that comes through in this performance.

I didn't know much about the plot before sitting down to watch. I knew of the iconic 'Stella!' scene and another iconic line of dialogue but otherwise I was not familiar with the major plot points.  Needless to say, I was not prepared for the complete awfulness of Stanley Kowalski. He is a brute, and exudes a particular kind of toxic masculinity that is wrapped up in violence and aggression. 

Stanley cannot be seen as anything other than a villain. He is antagonistic from the moment he meets Blanche because he feels she has withheld an inheritance from his wife (and her sister) Stella. Blanche and Stanley are at odds as he finds her Southern Belle demeanor infuriating, and she considers him unrefined and vulgar. Blanche very much represents the past and the Old South, while Stanley represents the harsher present of the New South. Blanche's fantasy world is encroached upon, and finally violently decimated, by Stanley's more boorish nature. His behaviour leads to the fracturing of Blanche's already fragile mental state and finally, in one violent act, the complete breakdown of it. 

A Streetcar Named Desire is a story of realism and fantasy. It's also a story of desire and sex in a lot of ways. It also focuses on rape and its connection to the downfall of women. We see that the rape of Blanche is responsible for the fracture of what remains of her already fragile mental state. However, we also see that her desire has caused her financial ruin when she lost her job because of an affair with a student, and destroyed her reputation because of her behaving in other ways that society deemed improper This affair would, if the student was young, be considered statutory rape today. Her desire is ultimately what leads Blanche to these events and her downfall whether that is the desire for someone or something (such as her desire to remain young and beautiful).

Based on this, and the few other details I have heard, I am going to guess that most of  Tennessee Williams' plays are as bleak as this one. It may not have a happy ending, but it does offer up a fascinating character study. The story itself is heightened by the incredible performances of the entire cast. Definitely worth watching for those looking to have a well rounded knowledge of classic Hollywood 

Monday, February 17, 2020

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.

I know this is late, but it is a holiday here for most of Canada so I decided to share it today instead. Happy Monday, everyone!


Cover of Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)

This cover is incredibly cute! I love the covers for this series and think this one just might be my favourite out of the bunch

I need to read this as soon as possible! I urge you to read the other books in the series if you haven't already done so.



The Stranger Things creators gave us a Valentine's Day present when they dropped this teaser for the fourth season of the show. The fact that they revealed the information contained in this video has me excited for a couple different reasons.

If you're okay with knowing some information about the fourth season check out the video below.

The fact that they are revealing this only makes me excited for what BIGGER reveals are to come. This felt like a huge thing to share so I expect that whatever they are holding back is going to be pretty exciting.

I am just glad we got this bit of information so that it doesn't have to be the focus of the upcoming marketing campaign for the show!

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date - September 24, 2019
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  356 pages

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.
If Carry On was about being the 'chosen one' and what that entailed Wayward Son is about the after. It questions what comes after you have fulfilled your life's purpose. It captures that feeling of emptiness when something that is such a part of you is over. Simon has no focus because he doesn't know who he is if he is not 'Simon Snow'. He is so adrift in his despair and depression that he is barely recognizable as the hero we met in the first book. This fact makes Wayward Son a worthy follow up to Carry On in that we see our characters and their world from a new perspective.

Those wanting a fun road trip read will find that within these pages. It is an adventure that spans across the United States which gives the story a different feel. The spells that are used are more American. This however is a book that is primarily focused on giving the characters space and time to be fleshed out and to deal with their trauma.

In Baz Rainbow Rowell captures the ache of seeing your loved one hurting. Baz doesn't know how to reach Simon but he can feel him drifting further and further away. Both guys feel this widening distance but are at a loss of how to fix it. There was a line that I felt perfectly captures what Baz is feeling:
“Simon Snow, it hurts to look at you when you’re this happy. And it hurts to look at you when you’re depressed. There’s no safe time for me to see you, nothing about you that doesn’t tear my heart from my chest and leave it breakable outside my body.”
The romance between Baz and Simon is what pulsed the strongest in this story. There are these poetic lines like the one above that resonate like cat nip to readers like myself who have fallen for their love story.  Her writing especially shines in those grand romantic passages. She understands Baz's voice so well and that made his parts my absolute favourites.

As previously mentioned Simon is in a dark place. He is dealing with all his trauma and hurt by not dealing with it. This book is all about how he comes to terms with his issues. How he learns to cope and heal. It allows Simon's to grow and change in this way that felt really earned. His support system is shown as being a vital part of what makes him feel safe.  Simon's journey felt authentic and his struggles are going to resonate with people. There may not be as much magical wonderment in this book but I believe it is to the betterment of the character development and allowing things that happen to have consequences.

Wayward Son is a story of afters. It is the story of carrying on when you feel you can't any longer. It is about falling to pieces and finding yourself again. It is about redefining who you are on your own terms. It offers the next, often unexamined, chapter in the 'chosen one' story  and I cannot wait to see what waits for Simon and the gang next.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Saint X

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

** This was supposed to go live yesterday but Blogger had other ideas. It's a day late, but I still wanted to highlight this awesome sounding read **

This week's pick is Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort - are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth - not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
This book seems to be made to appeal to those of us who are Murderinos. There is the murder mystery at the heart of this book. The main character who is obsessed with finding out what happened. I have a feeling it'll be on a lot of summer reading lists.

I am also intrigued by the story arc with the potential wrongful accusation. It seems to be focusing on how this event changed both of these characters lives. I hope that is the case and not one of him actually being guilty. Mostly because I think the other has much more potential and is offering a different perspective than you might expect in this type of story.

We don't even have long to wait as this comes out on the 18th of February.

Expected release date - February 18, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Seduction by Karina Longworth

Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina Longworth
Release Date - November 13, 2018
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  560 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In this riveting popular history, the creator of You Must Remember This probes the inner workings of Hollywood’s glamorous golden age through the stories of some of the dozens of actresses pursued by Howard Hughes, to reveal how the millionaire mogul’s obsessions with sex, power and publicity trapped, abused, or benefitted women who dreamt of screen stardom.

In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes—the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer.

His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes—perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era—commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes’s grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.

Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age—a legacy that endures nearly a century later.
I have always been interested in movies and by extension Hollywood. I have been fascinated by what is considered 'golden age Hollywood' and the time of the studio systems. I credit the You Must Remember This podcast with feeding that fascination and helping me gain a much wider Hollywood education. Karina Longworth's book feels a lot like her podcast. It has the same tone, and sharp writing along with the details that make her podcast spark the way it does.

The research in both this book and the podcast are impeccable. Longworth takes care to ensure accuracy and includes sources and verification where available. Most importantly, however, is the inclusion when certain things are hearsay or rumours. The research really is what makes this book what it is, and you can tell that the author is just as fascinated by the subject matter as the reader will be.

The women in this story are, most of the time, more important than Howard Hughes to the story that Karina is telling. She makes sure the spotlight is on a few of these ladies who were Howard's loves. She paints a portrait of each of the ones spotlighted here, and makes you feel like they are not just an extension of this man and his story. She is, in fact, using him to tell the stories of these women. It's a nice change to say the least.

This book viewed through the current #metoo lens paints Howard Hughes has a sort of predecessor to the Harvey Weinstein's out there. Not in the exact same way, but Howard found young women and took advantage of their desire to be actresses. He found them when they were vulnerable and manipulated them. Most of them would never even step foot on a movie set. The bright spots in this repetitive cycle are the women who managed to break free of Howard's influence.

Howard Hughes's single minded focus seemed to be showing as much of an actress as he absolutely could in a movie above and before anything else. Longworth calls him 'the consummate tit-man' and that felt so accurate after I finished this book. It should, perhaps, therefore come as no surprise that he wasn't terribly good at making movies. He had a knack for finding talent, but only successfully launched the careers of a few women. Most of those women made it in spite of Hughes, and not because of him. The stories of Jean Harlow and Jane Russell are both perfect examples of this and were both fascinating to read.

Those who have listened to Longworth's multi episode series dedicated to the many loves of Howard Hughes will be delighted to know that the material is not just a direct copy of that series. There are elements that are woven into the narrative of the book, but this is a more in depth look at both the ladies and Howard himself. It offers a comprehensive look at his life in a way the podcast series just couldn't.

As much as Hughes is painted as a man with flaws who treated women (and those around him) horribly, there is a touch of sympathy reserved for the end of his story. Hughes ended up a recluse who probably had a few undiagnosed medical conditions (both physical and mental) brought about by various factors of the life he lived. Longworth is careful to paint everyone in a more complex light, and trusts the reader to make up their own minds about everyone involved. Nobody is a pure saint, or all sinner.

If you love this book I highly recommend checking out the You Must Remember This podcast (and vice versa). It is made for anyone who is fascinated by Hollywood, but in particular, Howard Hughes. A man who is remembered as many different things, and this book focuses on all of it - the good and the bad. It also gives a voice to the many women whose lives he stormed into in a way that I hadn't come across before. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

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.


Synopsis for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (goodreads)
I have been eagerly anticipating any news on this book and we finally got a release date and synopsis. I am even more obsessed with this book now and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

In the vein of The Time Traveler's Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab's #1 New York Times Bestselling Author genre-defying tour de force.
Doesn't this sound incredible? It is pretty much the number one book I hope is at Book Expo this year.

Cover for Hush by Dylan Farrow (goodreads)

Not only does this book sound amazing, but I LOVE the cover. It's simple and yet so eye catching.

I love that it sort of looks like a blank page with dark ink spill across it. Very fitting of the blurb. It also sounds really feminist and like it'll be about a woman finding her voice.

Cover for Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin (goodreads)

I loved the first book in this series way more than I anticipated loving it and was therefore happy to hear that we would be getting the sequel this fall.

The cover is so vivid and bright that it instantly draws your attention and it also keeps the theme from the previous cover going.

That tagline though! I am not liking the sound of death parting Louise and Reid.


Daisy Jones and the Six casting news

We have our Billy! Sam Claflin will join Riley Keough to star in the television adaptation of Daisy Jones and the Six. I first saw the news in The Hollywood Reporter but quickly saw it verified all over.

I am mostly really into this casting except for the fact I am not sure if Sam can sing. I do think he and Riley will be terrific acting wise though. Here is hoping they have insane chemistry.


Marilyn Monroe Funko

I have always been a fan of Marilyn Monroe and her movies. I have gotten even more into the golden age of Hollywood recently, so it should come as no surprise that I need to buy this immediately.

She is one of her most iconic poses, and actually transfers into the Funko style pretty well.

Book Expo 

I got my press pass for Book Expo approved this year so I'll be heading to New York in May! I cannot wait to go again and have already started looking at what theater tickets I want to get, and what else might be going on in NYC while I am there. Shake Shack is a must, but I am so excited to discover what is new in the city that is always changing.

Hamilton Comes To Ottawa (and theaters near everyone)

Hamilton is coming to Ottawa thanks to the Broadway Across Canada performance that will be at  NAC. I managed to get a ticket in for a performance in June and I am really excited to be in the room where it happens. This also brings me to the fact that Hamilton will be coming to cinemas everywhere thanks to Disney securing the rights to distribute the recording that was done with the original cast. It doesn't come out until 2021 but it'll be worth the wait.

I love that everyone will get to see it with the original cast! I am so excited to see Jonathan Groff in this!

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

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Oscar Predictions

The Oscars are this weekend and I thought it was a good time to reveal my predictions for who will take home the big trophies. These are not necessarily my personal choice in the category, but rather who I think WILL win.

I kept wavering between Sam Mendes and Bong Joon Ho for director and I still feel there is a very good chance Sam Mendes will end up winning. I think the four acting categories are pretty well locked in at this point with the biggest potential upset being in the Actress In A Support Role category. 

There is a chance of a Parasite win in Best Picture, but something tells me it'll be 1917 that walks away with the big prize.

Excited to watch and see which of my predictions are correct on Sunday! Anyone else watching? What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday .... Kingdom of the Wicked

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 Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The #1 New York Times bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next blockbuster series, a dark, intoxicating tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a lush 19th century Italian backdrop.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe - witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family's renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin...desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn...
Witches are definitely having a moment in young adult literature right now. There are so many amazing sounding witchy reads coming out within the next year.

Witches seem to be a new upcoming trend for the later half of 2020 and into 2021. Kerri Maniscalco's new series is just one of the many witch centered reads that will be releasing and I am definitely in. I am a huge fan of the paranormal genre and I am loving this resurgence that we seem to be having.

Kerri's previous series, which started with Stalking Jack the Ripper, is one that I am definitely enjoying and I look forward to seeing what she'll do with this take on witches.

The book, unsurprisingly, has a fall release date which will have it perfectly timed for the spookiest season.

Expected release date - September 15, 2020

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up

How are we already one month into 2020? It feels like we just started this year. This month kind of got away from me (which is indicated in my reading) and I am hoping February doesn't fly by quite as quickly.

To wrap up January ....

The books that were on my list are:

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Goal by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (goodreads)
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

Interference by Harlow Cole (goodreads)
Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J Christopher (goodreads)
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (goodreads)
Chosen by Kiersten White (goodreads)
Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom In Howard Hughes Hollywood by Karina Longworth (goodreads)
The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (goodreads)

I managed to read four books this month which is not great, but I am hoping to improve this in February.

Here is what I actually managed to read in January:

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera (goodreads)
Chosen by Kiersten White (goodreads)
Madly by Amy Alward (goodreads)
Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom In Howard Hughes Hollywood by Karina Longworth (goodreads)

Now moving on to what I hope to read in Feb. It is mostly the same as last month with one new addition (well substitution).

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Goal by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (goodreads)
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (goodreads)

I also some ebooks on my list. I am being ambitious again and including a lot of titles that I have been meaning to get to.

Interference by Harlow Cole (goodreads)
The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne (goodreads)
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon (goodreads)
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (goodreads)
She Died Famous by Kyle Rutkin (goodreads)

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

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...