Friday, February 26, 2021

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 week. 

It's been too long since I have posted a Weekly Obsessions post. There hasn't been a lot being announced, and everything was getting pushed back and delayed. I am restarting this because we've been getting more announcements lately and I have hope that with a vaccine being rolled out and things being released to streaming that this trend might continue.

I have decided to shift this post to Fridays to close out the week!

We've got some fun things coming up and I am very excited to share what has me most excited this week.


Cover of Gilded by Marissa Meyer (goodreads)

I love Marrisa Meyer's novels, especially her fairytale retellings. I was thrilled to discover that she is releasing another one that is based on the Rumpelstiltskin tale. It's very pretty cover was just revealed and it has made me even more excited.

Also exciting? It's releasing THIS year. It'll be out in November which makes it perfect for peak fall reading.

Cover of All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman (goodreads)

This book sounds incredible and it has an excellent cover to go along with its amazing synopsis.

I have been looking forward to reading this since the deal announcement so I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on a copy in November. 

Cover of The Final Girl Support Group (goodreads)

How eye catching is this cover?! I love the red against black color scheme and the blood dripping off the chair is perfect. 

The blood smudges on the title are a nice touch! I anticipate this one being a popular beach read this summer.


Promo for the Law and Order: SVU and Law and Order: Organized Crime Crossover Event 

Olivia and Elliott from Law and Order: SVU were one of  my early ships. I was not happy when Chris Meloni left the show without them ever exactly getting together. 

Chris Meloni has decided to return to the Law and Order franchise in their newest spin off - Organized Crime. There will be a cross over episode with the SVU team though and that means Olivia and Elliott are going to reunite!

I love this promo! The way that Olivia breathlessly says 'Elliott' at the end makes me so happy. She's obviously shocked (and hopefully happy) to see him. It gives me hope they might eventually end up together after all.

Shadow and Bone Television Show Key Art

Fans of Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse books are eagerly waiting for the release of Netflix's television adaptation. We received a new series key art image and it is INCREDIBLE!

It also seems that a trailer is being teased to be released on Friday (today when you are reading this) so don't be surprised if it ends up in next week's post.


Hamilton Funko Pops

It was only a matter of time before Hamilton Funkos became a reality and they were just recently announced. I am sure they are going to be VERY popular so I recommend getting them early.

My only question? WHERE IS KING GEORGE?! I need him to complete the set.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian


The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian 
Release Date - March 18, 2018
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 480 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the author of The Guest Room, a powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man - and no idea what happened.

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

When I was looking for mystery novels to read for this year's #PopCultureResolution I knew I would be adding The Flight Attendant to the list. A woman in a foreign country wakes up next to the dead body of last night's one night stand and some serious gaps in her memory. This premise sets the stage for a story filled with murder, travel, sex, and lies. 

Cassie is the type of character people would easily describe as a hot mess. She's self destructive, and admits that she can be a bit of a disaster. Her choices are not always the best ones and she manages to make situations worse than they have to be thanks to those choices. Worse is the fact that she rarely registers or thinks of how those choices impact others. I can see many people having a negative reaction to this character simply because she is an imperfect female character. I imagine she would be an exhausting friend to have but there is something endearing about the vulnerability she shows that makes her character feel more than just the caricature she could have been. I also liked reading about someone whose choices were completely different than I would make. Her actions fit the character and that was all that ended up mattering to me.

Being a flight attendant certainly has some perks and could be considered a little sexy because you possibly could be traveling to all these different paces. It, in reality, is less glamorous than people think. They never really show the less fun side of the job in media so I was delighted to see that portrayed here. You deal with highly tense and emotional people in already high pressure situations. Her job is, in a lot of ways, perfect for Cassie though because she seems to be someone who always likes to run and escape whatever is going on. She hides from things and her job lets her do that with a ready made excuse.

The mystery elements are fun to see unravel but they are not super unique or surprising. There is a some comfort and familiarity here that made the story more fun than twisty. This could be because I watched the television adaptation first but I think it is more than that. There are tropes in this genre for a reason and I think that some of this shines through a little here. It is also a slower burn of a novel (and mystery) so those wanting a faster paced mystery may be disappointed. This is one that spends time with the main character and lets the mystery move at a pace that allows those character beats.

The Flight Attendant ended up being a fun, quick read that satisfied. It is not only has a thrilling plot but it is an interesting look at a flawed character thrust into situations that go from bad to worse. I highly recommend watching the excellent television adaptation when you are done. There are enough differences to make both enjoyable and enough the same to appeal to those who have read the book first.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday .... Fresh

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 Fresh by Margot Wood

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experiences––and missteps––of a girl's freshman year of college

Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe. 
Most young adult book fans know Margot Wood from her time at Harper Collins/Epic Reads. Her sense if humour and love of books help create a fun community. Needless to say I was pretty excited when I heard she had written a book.

I was immediately sold on Fresh when I heard it was set in college and that it was going to have elements of breaking the fourth wall within it. I was even more excited that Margot was the writer because I knew it meant it would have her sense of humour.

This releases in the summer and it sounds like a fantastic choice for your beach read.

Expected release date - August 3, 2021

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Birthday List by Devney Perry


The Birthday List by Devney Perry
Release Date - April 3, 2018
Publisher Website - Self Published 
Author Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 402 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Twelve Books/Twelve Friends Selection

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Poppy Maysen carries a journal in her purse. Its pages were filled long ago by a man who craved adventure, lived life to the fullest and never failed to make her laugh. The journal is his birthday list—one she vows to complete.

She’ll do the things he wanted to do most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can finish his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who watched her heart shatter be the one to put it back together again?

The Birthday List deals with processing grief and the ways in which opening ourselves up after a traumatic experience can be both complicated and rewarding. It's a beautifully told story that manages to both break your heart and mend it as you are reading.

The idea of the list from the title of this book is such an interesting one. There have been plenty of books about completing something in honour of someone who has died. The biggest thing that stood out to me about this particular list is how much we can tell about Jamie from the items on his list. The character work of explaining who he was is done in large part through this list and memories and it was done rather well. His sense of humour and outgoing nature is clearly captured.

The idea of moving on after Jamie's death is understandably something Poppy has mixed emotions about. She logically knows that Jamie would want her to live her life and be happy but she doesn't want to lose those precious memories of him. It brings up conflicting feelings and the reader gets to see her processing all of those emotions. The rush of falling in love again, the guilt that it stirs up, and finally acceptance as she works through all of it. Poppy was a very sympathetic character and someone that the reader is drawn to root for. 

Cole is one of the best love interests I have read about in quite a while. He is patient, gentle, and supportive. He knows what Jamie means to Poppy and respects that while still very much wanting to be part of her life. I appreciated that the book contrasted him and Jamie while making both guys seem decent and good for Poppy. The book doesn't shy away from either of their flaws and doesn't make Jamie a footnote in Poppy's story to further the new romance.

While this is a stand alone novel it does have a companion novel that focuses on some characters we meet in this novel. I am certainly curious to check out out the second book because the characters that it features are written in a way that makes you want to continue their story. 

Devney Perry is definitely an author whose work I want to explore more of in the future. The Birthday List made me cry, laugh, and swoon while also having a sweet message about healing. If your looking for a bittersweet story I highly recommend this one.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

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 week. 

It's been too long since I have posted a Weekly Obsessions post. There hasn't been a lot being announced, and everything was getting pushed back and delayed. I am restarting this because we've been getting more announcements lately and I have hope that with a vaccine being rolled out and things being released to streaming that this trend might continue.

I have decided to shift this post to Fridays to close out the week!

We've got some fun things coming up and I am very excited to share what has me most excited this week.


Birds of California by Katie Cotugno (goodreads)

I was really excited when I heard that Katie Cotugno was releasing her first adult novel. I was even more excited when I read the synopsis because it is definitely something I am desperate to read.

It sounds amazing and it is going to be a long wait for summer 2022 when I can get my hands on it!


Cruella trailer

Disney's villains are iconic and are just as popular as their other characters so I was not surprised when it was announced that they were going to do a live action movie detailing the origin story of Cruella from 101 Dalmatians. 

Emma Stone stars as a younger Cruella and based on this trailer she has nailed the part.

Her laugh is perfection. It reminds me so much of the one from the original animated movie and I love all of the fashion that is showcased here. I am also entirely here for them making her a villain right from the beginning. It doesn't seem like they are going to offer a sympathetic backstory (at least from this trailer). 

It's scheduled to be released in May. No word on if it'll be a theatrical release, or offered on Disney+ as part of their 'Premier Access' releases. 

Cruella Poster

Along with the trailer they also released a few posters that are amazing.

Excellent use of Cruella's black, red, and white colour palette. This particular poster was my favourite of the two they released. 


WandaVision Funko

I cannot be the only one completely obsessed with WandaVision. I've been eagerly awaiting the release of each episode on Disney+ each Friday and have so many theories.

I am loving the inclusion of Evan Peters in the show and absolutely need this particular Funko!

It's from the Halloween episode which was one of my favourite so far and I think there is much more to be discovered both in the show in general and this character in particular. 

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

Predicting Five Star Reads


I have seen a lot of posts on Twitter talking about predicting which upcoming releases might be five star reads for yourself. I love this and it immediately got me thinking of which upcoming books I think will be five star reads for me.

I decided to share the three books that immediately came to mind. This was actually harder than I thought it would be. There had to be something extra than just excitement for me to predict this. It may have been previous experience with the author or something in the synopsis that made a deeper impact.

1. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)

Why I Think It'll Be A Five Star Read:

The previous two novels from Taylor Jenkins Reid have cemented her as one of my favourite authors. I loved both Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and rated them both five stars so I feel confident that her 80s story of a group of siblings throwing a party in which a lot of drama ensues will also become a favourite. 

2. Survive The Night by Riley Sager (goodreads)

Why I Think It'll Be A Five Star Read:

This book not only has movie references (seemingly many classic Hollywood related) but it also seems to be written for those with an interest in true crime. The main character may be traveling with a serial killer. I have enjoyed the previous Riley Sager books I have read and have it on good authority (my friend Kelly) that this is one very good. 

3. All These Bodies by Kendare Blake (goodreads)

Why I Think It'll Be A Five Star Read:

I have rated every book I have read from Kendare Blake either 4 or 5 stars. I love her writing and am very much looking forward to her newest that has been referred to as a 'fictional In Cold Blood'. Not only do I have a good track record with this author's previous book but the synopsis definitely appeals to me.

What books would be on your own five star prediction list? I am definitely eager to see what everyone else is anticipating. Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... All These Bodies

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 All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.

It starts with a lone victim, found on his front porch with his throat cut and his body drained of blood. By the time it’s over, the Bloodless Murders leave a trail of sixteen bodies littered across the Midwest, with no suspects and no witnesses. Only questions: how were the victims chosen? Why didn’t they fight? And where, where is all the blood?

Michael Jensen yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town life. He never imagined that the Bloodless Murders would come to sleepy Black Deer Falls, not until the night in September when the Carlson family is murdered in their farmhouse. The only suspect in the case is found with them in the house that night: fifteen-year-old Marie Catherine Hale, unharmed but covered in blood. She claims the murderer abandoned her at the scene, and though her story is suspicious, no one believes her capable of committing the crimes on her own.

When Marie refuses to talk to anyone but Michael, he agrees to record her side of the story. But how can he trust her confession when it calls into question everything that he holds to be true?

Marie knows that her time is running out. But she chose Michael for a reason, and his search for answers gives her one last chance to tell her truth. 
My pick this week will appeal to all those with an interest in true crime. I have seen this described as a sort of fictional In Cold Blood and was immediately interested in reading it.

We now have the full synopsis that makes me want to read it even more. Kendare writes amazing books so I am sure this will be no exception.

This releases just in time for the autumn reading season which is perfect for this kind of book.

Expected release date - September 21, 2021

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Release Date - January 5, 2021
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi and Nicola Yoon, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just...gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

But as Tessa checks off each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?

Happily Ever Afters is a story of discovering who you are along with fun romantic elements wrapped in the love of writing. It also is fast paced read that announces a new author to watch in the young adult contemporary genre.

Elise Bryant has taken a clever hook of  meet cute tropes to write what is essentially a coming of age story. It may feel fairly predictable but there is a comfort in that fact. It's one of those books that is exactly what you need when you're search out this specific genre. 

I have seen many calls for stories with Black main characters that don't just focus on trauma and pain. These types of books are important because representation matters. This book's entire premise is that Tessa is writing the types of books she has never gotten to see herself in previously. This book only offers up  the typical angst teenagers deal with - friend drama, family dynamics, crushes, school stress, and discovering who you and your beliefs. 

The fact that Tessa writes romance in her free time was such a perfect framing for this story. It will instantly connect with those readers who also write (or those who only wish they did) and it is used as a means to effectively push the plot forward. Tessa learns so much about herself through her writing and her writers block that it becomes a meaningful part of the story. 

Tessa's journey really is one of finding out who she is and discovering what she wants for herself. She definitely feels like an imposter at her new school and struggles with who she is outside of her writing and what it means if she can't do it anymore. She also feels her writing isn't as important or worthy because of what she is writing. All of this makes her very relatable. Many people struggle with imposter syndrome and feel out of place. 

Everyone has heard the saying 'perfect on paper' before. Something (or someone) can appear perfect because you don't really know anything except surface level stuff. This allows you to make that thing (or person) fit into the idealized version that you have in your head. This usually ends in heartbreak because rarely does the dream match the reality. Tessa's journey through a few of these discoveries was well done and written in a way that felt realistic to me. 

While the romance is important to the plot of this story I was happy with how much weight was also given to the relationships Tessa has with her friends and family. Tessa has to learn about herself and how she acts within both of these dynamics. These relationships actually provide the most opportunity for character growth. I, particularly, liked how complex her relationship with her mother was and the connection she had with her brother. The brushstrokes of friends growing at different speeds is woven in really well and captured in a realistic way within these. pages. 

This is an excellent choice for fans of young adult contemporary novels. It has a main character you'll root for, and offers a fresh take on a comfortingly familiar story. Just be sure to have some sweet treats on hand before diving into this one because it will definitely leave you craving them.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Release Date - June 13, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 391 pages
My Rating - 5/5

Twelve Books/Twelve Friends Selection

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Taylor Jenkins Reid has basically written a juicy celebrity tell all about a celebrity readers will wish existed. This lush story of a complex woman is told through the framing device of her seven husbands and offers a rather engrossing love story.

Evelyn is a mixture of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Sexy, glamorous, and driven. The term unlikable is probably one that is thrown around to describe her but that is only because she is unapologetically herself and that self was imperfect. She would be the first to admit that she has made mistakes and people are quick to judge female characters for those mistakes. She may be willing to do anything to keep her career and to protect those she loves but I loved her flaws and all. Her determination is something to respect even if you do not agree with her actions.

Each of Evelyn's husbands add something to the story and reach Evelyn something. You will love some of them and despise others. My favourite is Harry Cameron. His character basically screamed Montgomery Clift to me even though he wasn't an actor. Something about the deep friendship (among other things) he shares with Evelyn made me connect the actor with this character. He is a stand out among the characters we meet and adds heart to the story in so many ways.

Taylor Jenkins Reid seems to effortlessly create these incredibly vivid and realistic worlds where you almost expect them to live outside their pages. You want to immediately search out Evelyn's movies. You want to dig further into her life. It's breathtaking that she is able to do this and make it look so easy. Part of this is the duality of what was presented in the tabloids and media versus what was the reality. This pulls back the curtain on Hollywood glitz to show that things are not always what we see them as.

The love story is not as straightforward as you would expect. Evelyn's seven husbands are a means to an end to tell her life story. The real love story is messy, complex, and at times not pretty. It feels epic though and like the stuff of Hollywood legend.  

Monique is an interesting pairing with Evelyn. They contrast and play off each other nicely. The mystery of why Evelyn chose Monique to write her life's story is one that compels both the story and reader forward. It doesn't take the entire focus but it is a thread the reader wants to pull at and unravel. You want to discover what is at the other end and I wasn't disappointed when I did.

If you eagerly devour movies from the golden age of Hollywood this is a must read. It captures both the magic of the time period and the hidden side of Hollywood. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly become one of my favourite authors and I cannot believe I took so long to pick this one up. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... Neon Gods

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 Neon Gods by Katee Robert

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Society darling Persephone Dimitriou wants nothing to do with her mother's ambitions. She's biding her time until she's able to leave the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start her doctorate degree. The one thing she never planned on? Her mother ambushing her with an engagement to Zeus—a man with more than a few dead wives in his past. Persephone will do anything to escape that fate...even flee the sparkling upper city and make a devil's bargain with a man she once believed was a myth.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. Not even for the woman who flees into his territory as if the very hounds of hell are on her heels. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he's spent his entire life craving? It's all the excuse he needs to agree to help her—for a price. She'll be his for the summer, and then he'll see her safely out of Olympus and away from her mother and Zeus.

Hades and Persephone's deal might seem simple enough, but they both quickly realize it's anything but. With every breathless night spent with Hades, Persephone wonders at her ability to leave him behind. And Hades? Now that he has a taste for Persephone, he's willing to go to war with Olympus itself to keep her...
I have enjoyed the previous Katee Robert books that I have read. I was excited when I found out she was writing a new series inspired by Greek mythology. 

I have always been fascinated by the Hades and Persephone myth so the fact that this series kicks off with them is definitely a bonus.

It is fitting that this is releasing in the summer because Katee's books are pretty steamy and I expect that this one will be no different.

Expected release date - June 1, 2021

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

#PopCultureResolution - My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine

Director: Patrick Lussier

 101 minutes

Cast: Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, Megan Boone

Release Date: January 16, 2009

Synopsis: Ten years ago, an inexperienced coal miner named Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) caused an accident that killed five men and put a sixth, Harry Warden, into a coma. A year later, on Valentine's Day, Harry woke up and murdered 22 people with a pickaxe before dying. Now Tom has returned home, still haunted by the past. And something else is back in Harmony: a pickaxe-wielding killer in a miner's mask, who may be the ghost of Harry, come to claim Tom and his friends.

I added My Bloody Valentine to this year's #PopCultureResolution list because I wanted February's choice to be themed for Valentine's Day. The plot may not have much to do with the day of romance it did provide lots of nostalgia as it was very clearly a movie from the mid to late 2000s.

I knew Jensen Ackles was going to be in this one before starting it, but I very much appreciated that Kerr Smith was in it as well. Those who watched the CW television shows around this time will instantly feel a familiarity with this movie because it captures that tone immediately.

This was more bloody than last month's movie (Jennifer's Body) and it made good use of its small town setting. This was originally made to be shown in 3D, but mid 2000s 3D. This technology does not necessarily transfer well to a non 3D format and there were plenty of unintentionally funny and delightful moments. It has some really obvious moments where you know it was filmed specifically to have that 3D element.

This movie does create tension rather effectively as it ramps up to the ending. It makes two different people very convincing suspects and that fact creates some unsettling moments. I honestly went back and forth and who the murderer was until it was revealed. 

Now for the question I am ending all of these reviews with - was it scary? I am going to say no but it did make me tense for part of it which is just as important for a horror movie.

This would be a good selection if you are looking for silly fun from your horror movie. It's the kind you want to watch with friends, or in a theater, as I think it is suited to a group experience where you can laugh, cheer, and maybe even scream together.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Release Date - March 17, 2020
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 398 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

The House in the Cerulean Sea was one of those books that seem to come out of nowhere to be one of the most buzzed about books of the year. I kept seeing it everywhere as 2020 progressed and so many readers had it on their best of lists as the year came to a close. That much hype can be hard for a book to live up to but I am so glad to say that this gem of a read does just that.

This is a book that reads like it is written as both an adult fantasy novel and a middle grade one. This could easily be read and enjoyed by anyone because its themes and messages are so universal. It captures that special something that crosses literary boundaries and I could easily see this becoming a favourite for families to read together before bedtime. It has a little something for everyone within its pages and is absolutely made to share with others once you have finished.

Its endearing and loveable cast of characters really are the heart and soul of this novel. You come to care about each of them in different ways so that you both want to protect them and show them the entire world. My particular favourite is a precocious little boy named Lucy who immediately captures the reader's heart. It's a found family story to its core and that resonates because of the characters and how much you grown to love them.

There is also a very sweet, tentative love story at the center of this read that is entirely charming. It's slowly fleshed out and feels inevitable from almost the moment these characters meet. It's languid pace reminds me of lazy summer days. 

There is magic in so many elements of this story. There is the island itself, the magic of music, the magic in accepting others just as they are, and the magic of learning to accept oneself. It's a story that delights in the magic that is created in the bonds people form with each other. The fantasy elements of this story are whimsical and add to its charm but its the mundane, easily recognizable ones that truly make this book shine.

This is exactly the book we need right now. A soft, feel good, soothing book that teaches us about growing, kindness, and the joy that should be found in the little things. It was a breath of fresh air and the perfect read to start this year off with.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... Realm Breaker

 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 Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Irresistibly action-packed and full of lethal surprises, this new fantasy series begins where hope is lost and asks: When the heroes have fallen, who will take up the sword?

A strange darkness grows in Allward.

Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:

A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.

Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed. 
I loved the Red Queen series and was excited to hear that Victoria Aveyard has another book coming out and that it would start a brand new series.

I love the sound of this cast of characters and I cannot wait to meet them. The fact that this is is another fantasy series is also something that has me excited. I love books that have maps and this one promises to include one.

This comes out in time to help kick off summer reading season. Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy it at the beach or by the pool!

Expected release date - May 4, 2021

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Project by Courtney Summers


The Project by Courtney Summers
Release Date - February 2, 2021
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo's sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there's more to the group than meets the eye. She's spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what's real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn't know if she can afford not to.

We tend to like to believe that we would never join a cult. We tell ourselves that we would never fall for what they are selling. Courtney Summers' newest novel asks you to question that belief and offers a thought provoking read in the process.

We usually only get to see the before picture when it comes to cults. We are let in after the smoke has cleared, the unthinkable has happened, and all that is left is shock. We rarely see the beginnings. Cults do not start out with extremes, it is a gradual turning of the dial. A dial usually controlled by a charismatic, intelligent leader who gently leads you down a darkening path.

The Project lets you see the before. It is a before that perhaps doesn't seem so bad. It is this fact that makes what Courtney Summers is doing here all the more remarkable.

Lev, the charming, well spoken leader of The Unity Project is undeniably compelling. He is complex and captures that indefinable thing cult leaders tend to have. He is able to make you think he knows exactly what you need and what will fill that ache in you. He is manipulative in a way that doesn't make you feel manipulated. He is controling but makes it seem like it is of your own free will. It is no surprise that people, women especially, are pulled into his orbit. The people are definitely there for him, and because of what he is saying, more than anything else. As a reader I think you buy into his bullshit for awhile and that fact is what makes the book resonate as much as it does. 

I have a lot of empathy for not just the character of Lo but the people who join the Unity Project. There is something that each of these people are searching for. Some fundamental thing they need and Lev offers this to them along with their fellow member. It can be very seductive to be offered salvation of some kind. I finished this book more sympathetic to the people who do find themselves ingrained in a cult because they are usually hurting in a way that we can all recognize and relate to. They could be us.

Courtney's books tend to have endings that feel honest even if you don't like the outcome. There is often an unfinished feel to them that allows the reader to fill in the rest. This ending is one of those classic Courtney Summers endings while still feeling different from anything she has done before. The book left me with a lingering regret that things could not be different.

I fully believe that Courtney Summers has written her best book yet. It definitely does what she promises and destroys you while making you question everything you thought about cults and those who join them.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Month TBR and Wrap Up

The first month of 2021 is over. It's felt incredibly long for a bunch of reasons, but I am ready for February! It's got some great booking coming my way along with movies and television shows that I am excited to get to watch.

Before sharing what I hope to read this month I have to recap January first. 

The books that were on my list are:

Sanctuary by V.V. James (goodreads)
Vampires Never Get Old by Various Authors (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (goodreads)
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (goodreads)
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in January:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (goodreads)
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (goodreads)
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant (goodreads)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (goodreads)
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution book for January was The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. I did not get to it in January, sadly, but I will be doubling up in February and it is actually the next book I am going to be reading. The movie was Jennifer's Body. I did get to watch it and even managed to review it.  

Here is what I hope to read in February:

Vampires Never Get Old by Various Authors (goodreads)
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian (goodreads)
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (goodreads)

I also have some ebooks I am hoping to get to:

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
City of Villains by Estelle Laure (goodreads)
Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce (goodreads)
Lore by Alexandra Bracken (goodreads)
The Birthday List by Deveny Perry (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian and My Bloody Valentine. Excited to check both of these out!

I also started two reading challenges. I read January's '12 Friends, 12 Books' pick which was The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo. February's pick is The Birthday List by Devney Perry and I am excited to get to it.

The other challenge is based off the Bachelor reality television series (hosted by the ladies of the What You Should Read podcast). I have read one of the books on the list so far!

The list without the various prompts:

1. Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
2. If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
3. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
4. Further to Fall by Catherine Cowles
5. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
6. Isn't it Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
7. My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
8. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
9. Marriage for One by Ella Maise
10. Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by Nathan Burgoine
11. Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
12. Open Book by Jessica Simpson
13. Isn't it Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Yup, I have the same book for a few of the prompts so I'll be crossing them out for each of the prompts as I read them. You can visit my post about the reading challenges for more information.

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

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