Sunday, May 30, 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. 

MOVIES/ TELEVISION 

Trailer for Last Night in Soho

Trailers for movies releasing in the fall have started to release. This includes movies that will be headed to film festivals and many of them will start out with Oscar buzz. 

Last Night in Soho has just released its first trailer and it looks incredible.

It is being called a psychological thriller and it seems to have some horror elements. I love the colour pallette! 

Poster for Last Night in Soho

They released the poster art for the movie along with that fantastic trailer. Again, I love the colour choices and it captures the vibe of the trailer perfectly.


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

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles Casillo


Elizabeth and Monty by Charles Casillo
Release Date - May 25, 2021 
Publisher Website - Kensington Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Violet-eyed siren Elizabeth Taylor and classically handsome Montgomery Clift were the most gorgeous screen couple of their time. Over two decades of friendship they made, separately and together, some of the era’s defining movies—including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Misfits, Suddenly, Last Summer, and Cleopatra. Yet the relationship between these two figures—one a dazzling, larger-than-life star, the other hugely talented yet fatally troubled—has never truly been explored until now.

“Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you.” -Richard Burton

When Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, “That’s when I began to act.”

To Monty, she was “Bessie Mae,” a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamored for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men—a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home, when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty’s accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons—and the loyalty that united them to the end.

I remember watching A Place in the Sun and thinking that Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor were two of the most beautiful people I had ever seen. They both have an ethereal beauty that you cannot look away from. It also doesn't hurt that it is a really great movie with each giving one of their best performances. That movie also launched a life long friendship between Monty and Liz which is the focus of Charles Casillo's book. 

Nonfiction books are always a bit of a challenge to review. You can't discuss them the same way as you would fiction. Research is vital to a nonfiction book and Charles Casillo has certainly done his research. Peppered throughout are quotes from people to highlight and expand upon the points being made and to source where information is coming from. Quotes from both Elizabeth and Monty are also used which I found important in this case. The writing is smooth and concise making for a quick and enjoyable reading experience.

I only knew the barest of details about Montgomery Clift going in. I knew about his tragic accident that left him a vastly different man than he was prior. I knew about the substance abuse that started before the accident and worsened after. I also knew about his early death. The story of Montgomery Clift is a heartbreaking one but I wasn't sure just how much until reading this book.  Montgomery definitely had his demons and seemed like he would both trigger the impulse for people to take care of him and push them away with his outlandish behaviour. The book paints a portrait of a broken man who was loved by those around him very much despite his flaws (and he was definitely a hot mess, especially at the end).

I was even less familiar with Elizabeth Taylor. I have only seen one or two of her movies but I was certainly aware of her scandals and affairs as any fan of classic Hollywood would be. Her story parallels Montgomery's in many ways which I what drew them to each other. They had similar childhoods which bonded them. Their friendship was unconditional and easily the most important relationship to either of them. They both seemed lonely even when surrounded by other people. 

This book mainly focuses on their friendship and the time when they were in each other's lives. It does briefly touch on their childhoods and Elizabeth's life after Montgomery's death but that is not the focus. Those looking for an indepth look at the infamous Liz and Richard Burton relationship will not find that here, but it is touched upon. This is the story of a friendship and the two people within it. 

Fans of either Elizabeth or Montgomery will definitely want to pick this one up. It gives you a great snapshot into the lives of these two stars and the enduring friendship they shared. I also recommend it to those with an interest in the golden age of Hollywood. They will also want to pick up this read that spotlights two of that era's brightest stars.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday .... Like Me

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 Like Me by Hayley Phelan


Here is the Goodreads synopsis

A propulsive psychological thriller that follows an aspiring model down a social media-fuelled rabbit hole of obsession, narcissism and self-destruction.

For nineteen-year-old Mickey, Instagram offers a tantalizing portal into the world she wishes she inhabited. Though beautiful, cunning and privileged, Mickey finds herself with a stalled modelling career, an escalating drinking problem, few friends and next to nothing in the bank. To numb her growing despair, she spends her days frantically refreshing her Instagram feed, obsessively tracking the movements of Insta-famous model Gemma Anton.

Gemma is a perfected version of Mickey, living a seemingly perfect life: a skyrocketing career, a famous photographer boyfriend and adoring followers--the life Mickey wants more than anything for herself. She studies every detail Gemma offers through the window of her phone, trying to absorb, learn, mimic, become the object of her growing fascination.

Then, a chance encounter thrusts Mickey into a world of opportunity, and she is met with surprising, and immediate, success. But as her online persona begins to take over her life, Mickey finds it increasingly difficult to separate reality from the fa├žade of Instagram.

Engrossing, sharp and astute, Like Me is a shimmering portrait of infatuation, disconnection and identity in the digital age--and a dazzling introduction to a brilliant new voice in contemporary literature.
I have seen this one described in glowing terms and it definitely made me curious to check it out. This one seems to dive into the social media age we are living in and the obsession that can come from that. 

This feels like a perfect book to toss into your beach bag for a day at the beach or poolside. If you're Canadian you can enjoy it this summer as it releases July 6, 2021. If you live in the USA you'll have to wait until February of 2022 to pick this one up!

Expected release date - July 6, 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Pumpkin by Julie Murphy


Pumpkin by Julie Murphy
Release Date - May 25, 2021
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon, so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.

So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape accidentally getting shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.

Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.

Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . .

Julie Murphy's books are like little jolts of sunshine. They leave you happier than you were before picking them up. It's not that they don't deal with tough topics, because they do, but there is a feeling of hope at the center of them that shines through. Pumpkin fits the Julie Murphy mold perfectly and it does so with an extra bit of snark.

Waylon, like most teens, is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants. Self discovery is something that weaves through the entirety of this book. He knows some things about himself and isn't afraid of showing what he is comfortable with in himself but there are still some things he is learning and figuring out. He doesn't have all the answers even if he has some of them. This felt so important to me. Who you are can flow and change as we experience new things and that is shown to be true with Waylon's journey in this book. There isn't one correct path to adulthood for everyone and that is such an uplifting theme to see explored in these books.

Waylon and Clementine's codependent relationship is having a bit of a shake up as they both start to want different things for themselves. Their bond as twins is special to them both but they are discovering they each have their own dreams and hopes. The unsettled feeling that Waylon in particular experiences feels like a stand in for the uncertainty of that time in your life. You are just learning who you are but are expected to  make all these decisions that will impact your future. I loved the sibling connection in this one because it showed you so much of who Waylon is through it.

A Julie Murphy book would not be complete without a romance. This very sweet romance makes the rest of the book even sweeter. The family connections and friendships are given as much weight as the romance and that balances everything out and gives it a more grounded perspective. Waylon and his grandmother have the sweetest connection. It is such a joy to read about all of the relationships in this book because they are all nicely fleshed out even if they are just a side element.

My favourite part of any companion novels are getting to catch up with the characters you've loved in previous books. This trio of books is no exception. It offers us a chance to see those characters through new eyes and gives us a glimpse at how they are doing. It's a treat for those who have read the previous books and one I was thankful for.

Julie Murphy is says goodbye to Clover City with what is perhaps her most heartwarming read yet. Waylon sends off the series with impeccable style and offers a thoroughly enjoyable read in the process. 

Friday, May 21, 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 is a very small one this week as, again, not much was released.

MOVIES/ TELEVISION 

Trailer for Dear Evan Hansen

As someone who enjoys musicals this adaptation of the Broadway hit was obviously going to be on my radar. The trailer, to me, looks great.

Lots of chatter about Ben Platt perhaps being too old for the role, but I think it works. I am glad that those of us not able to go see him perform on Broadway are getting to see him in this role. The music makes you emotional and I predict a bunch of people will cry while watching in theatres. 

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

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto

 


The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto
Release Date - February 2, 2021 
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A classic sort of love story... except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”
A classic sort of love story... except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.
But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.

Obsession, blackmail, and murder. The synopsis of The Obsession sold me on this book. I was intrigued by the little tease about Delilah and could not wait to pick this up. The Obsession is certainly fun in an over the top way. It's got everything dialed up to an eleven which, sadly, is not always a good thing.

The writing is zippy and keeps the narrative flowing. It crests the sharp turns of all the plot twists going full speed. This means that not all of them land but you can't look anywhere else. It's a book easy consumable in one sitting for those who just hang on and go for the ride.

This is a book that hangs itself on its twists and reveals. Some are genuinely clever and well handled. There are others that venture into the more outlandish category. It requires the reader to suspend disbelief in order for the plot to work. This book demands the reader to check everything st thr door and follow where it leads.

There is nothing passive about Delilah. There might have been once, but abuse at the hands of her stepfather has changed her. We see this side of her character surface when she kills that abusive stepfather. We see a character who is intriguing and compelling. Part of me wishes we had this character in a different plot. She was the most interesting element of the story to me and the ending definitely made me want to follow her.

Logan is your typical unstable stalker. He is convinced that Delilah is meant to be with him and is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen - even if he has to blackmail her into dating him. We've seen his type before and there is nothing new or interesting to be found in his character. If the plot did not deviate from where I expected it would go, and if Delilah had not been so interesting, I would have rated this one lower than I ended up doing. 

This book's content warnings should be pretty obvious. There is a lot of focus on abusive relationships. The stalking aspect of the story could also be triggering to some. I would not recommend it to those who may struggle with those themes as they are prevalent and woven into the story.

If you like Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale I predict you'll enjoy this. It will offer a fun read that will definitely be a distraction. Just keep your expectations in check, and remember that some of it is more on the ridiculous side. I am invested enough to pick up the sequel, and I feel that is a testament to how well the author set up the ending of this one.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Ex Hex

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 Ex Hex by Erin Sterling


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.


Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
This releases in early Oct which makes it a perfect read for the spooky season. Based on the synopsis it seems to mix witches and romance which happen to both be favourites of mine.

I love that Vivienne has to work with her ex to unbreak a curse she put on him. It's going to be a fun one to read and I think a perfect pairing with Practical Magic as there are definitely similar vibes.

Join me with your pumpkin spice latte, and fall scented candles while enjoying this one under a cozy blanket when the Halloween season arrives.

Expected release date - October 5, 2021

Friday, May 14, 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 is a very small one this week as not much was released but we do have a cover to talk about.

BOOKS

Cover For Defy The Night by Brigid Kemmerer (goodreads)

Brigid Kemmerer has a new series releasing this fall and it just had its cover revealed (and it is a very pretty cover). 

This is a fantasy series that is definitely anticipated after her Cursebreakers series has wrapped up. I cannot wait to read this myself and  that cover is going to look pretty on shelves! 

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

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli

 


Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Release Date - April 20 2021
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s 

Becky Albertalli's books feel like a warm hug. There is something satisfying picking up one of her books and knowing exactly what you are going to get. Kate In Waiting delivers the sweetness and grin inducing novel fans will be anticipating and reminds you exactly why she is such a favourite of YA readers.

This book deals a lot with high school theater and so I expect those who love and participated in theater will particularly enjoy this read. It includes this as something Kate (and Anderson) are passionate about without it taking over the story. It instead shapes it the way that characters do. This means you don't necessarily have to be a theater fan to enjoy this book but it will enhance your enjoyment.

Kate and Anderson are shining examples of the attention to detail that Becky Albertalli gives to her characters. Care was taken to ensure the history between them felt authentic and that their friendship shone through. Their connection is pivotal to the story and carries it. The plot hinges on the reader caring about this friendship and that is accomplished easily. I ended up loving the two of them but especially loved the way they were together.

This novel is the typically teen coming of age story. It is about the bonds of friendship and what happens when they are tested. The shared crush angle leads to some deeper issues coming out and for each of the characters to learn something about themselves and each other. I loved that there is romance within these pages but the friendship really is the heart of the novel.

Anyone who has read any young adult contemporary novels before will quickly clue in to how this plot will unravel. It is the journey and not the destination that is important here. This means that the reader doesn't feel let down by what transpires because you can see it coming. 

My only real issue with the novel is how uneven it feels. The ending feels a bit rushed and not as emotionally satisfying as the rest of the novel. It feels especially noticeable because the beginning is so strong. It is more nuanced and care is taken to flesh everything out whereas I felt the resolution was a little too quickly handled. The issues brought about during the course of the novel didn't feel resolved to me, even though the reader is supposed to feel a sense of closure. It felt told and not shown when compared to the rest of the novel.

If you are looking for a fun read with just the right amount of angst I definitely recommend Kate In Waiting. It is another stand out read from Becky Albertalli that I predict both fans and newcomers alike will enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... If This Gets Out

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 If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them? 
If you have ever been a fan of any boy band I am pretty sure you will want to read my Waiting On Wednesday pick for this week.

Two member of the world's most famous boy band fall for each other is such a fun sounding premise that has the potential for lots of angst as well.

This December release means it will be the perfect reading choice for the holidays (and the perfect wishlist item).  Join me in making a boy band playlist to help with the wait!

Expected release date -December 7, 2021

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

#PopCultureResolution - The Final Girls


The Final Girls

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Length:
 92 minutes

Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev

Release Date: October 9, 2015

Synopsis: Max, recently orphaned, goes to see a screening of a B-horror movie that her mother made 20 years earlier. When Max and her friends find themselves in the world of the film itself, they must apply their knowledge of horror tropes to survive.

***********************************************
Horror movies that lean in to (and make commentary on) tropes are some of my favourites. Scream does this masterfully. It allows the movie to be self aware and adds a little more of a playful tone to the movie. It can still provide the scares, but also supplies the laughs. The Final Girls is cut from this style of movie and embraces its tropes in a very clever way.


The movie's tone comes primarily from having its cast enter a fictional movie within the world it is creating.  This allows for its characters to make commentary on what is happening around them. It allows them to have horror movie knowledge that is used to highlight the genre itself. It creates a scenario in which the audience can easily put themselves in the shoes of these characters and how they would react if they found themselves trapped in the world of a horror movie. That self awareness is exactly why this movie works. It doesn't take itself seriously and that makes for a fun (and funny) time at the movies.

The other element that really works is the cast - particularly the female characters. Taissa Farmiga showcases exactly why she would make an excellent Scream Queen. She is able to be both vulnerable and bad ass.


Also of note are Malin Akerman, Nina Dobrev, and Chloe Bridges who are all equally bad ass in their own way. The movie also allows these characters to support each other in ways I didn't expect to see at the beginning of the movie. I really disliked Vicki (Nina Dobrev's character) at the start of the movie, but ended up appreciating her in the end. Each of them has their moment in a movie that has elements of female empowerment built in to it.


There is plenty of inspiration from classic 80's horror movies to be found here, in particular the Friday the 13th movies. That includes a lot of references to sex and its link to being a victim in horror movies. It doesn't change the discourse or have anything new to say on the topic but those elements feel like an homage rather than a retread. Those tropes have survived for a reason even if they are a little dated. The movie does provide some genuinely funny moments and anyone who is a fan of those classic horror franchises will walk away from this one quite pleased.

The Final Girls celebrates all those iconic Scream Queens from horror days of yore. It raises a glass to what came before it and offers up an entertaining movie in its own right. If you like your horror on the lighter side I highly recommend this one. I'll wrap this up by answering the scary or not question by simply saying that the movie focuses on other things, but there are some effective jump scares and tense moments. It's just not the focus here and I appreciated those other elements more. 

Friday, May 7, 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. 

BOOKS

The Hurricane Blonde Deal Announcement (goodreads)

This mixes my love of Hollywood with true crime and I am definitely here for it.


This sounds like a good mystery read and I cannot wait to see a cover!

MOVIES/TELEVISION

Stranger Things Season 4 Teaser

Everyone is desperately waiting for a new season of Stranger Things and we got a little clue that it might be coming sooner than we think. 

A teaser was released that seems to showcase that we'll be diving deeper into Eleven's past in the upcoming season.

This comes after the other teaser showing us what Hopper has been up to. That teaser was labeled 001/004 and this one is labeled 002/004. I am predicting that we'll get four teasers before we get a full length trailer and a release date.

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

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Movies On My Radar For This Oscar Season


As each Oscars season ends I always get excited to look forward to the incredible movies we have to entertain us in the upcoming year. 

There are many journalists, podcasters, etc that offer up what is on their radar for the upcoming year and I thought it might be fun to do the same. These are not mypredictions, I won't go that far, but simply the movies I am anticipating and that I think have a strong chance of being in the conversation this year.

They are in no particular order (that would be impossible).

1. House of Gucci

Why It's On My List

There are a few reasons this one is on my list

  • It is based off a true story and those are always interesting.
  • The cast! Adam Driver and Lady Gaga are the two main stars and, if paparazzi photos are anything to go by, excitement is high to see these two share the screen together.
  • The director, Ridley Scott, is a favourite of many and has had awards attention before.
  • The clothes and sets are going to be incredible. This is high fashion and glamour. I expect the movie to look incredible.

This is one of my most anticipated movies which should surprise nobody who knows my interest in true crime.

2. In The Heights

Why It's On My List

Musicals are big this year with this, West Side Story, Dear Even Hanson, and Tick, Tick ... Boom all slated to release during this year. Lin Manuel Miranda has a few chances to snag the missing piece of his EGOT but I am most interested in this one from him. The trailer made it look incredible and I am excited for Anthony Ramos to get his time in the spotlight 

3. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film (working title - Soggy Bottom)

Why It's On My List

This 1970's set movie follows a successful child star and not much else is known about this upcoming movie directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Plenty of people are very excited about this one, and I am predicting that it'll definitely be in conversations this year. It doesn't have a super well known cast (Bradley Cooper has a small role) but something tells me this one is going to be pretty good.

4. The Power of the Dog

Why It's On My List

This is based off a well revered book (by Thomas Savage) and seems to offer roles that are worthy of showcasing an actor's skill. Combine that fact with a ridiculously talented cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemmons, and Kirsten Dunst) and you have the makings of an awards contender. It revolves around a man who sets out to destroy his brother's new wife. I've seen the book compared to another book that was also adapted in to an Oscar nominated movie (the title of which I think could possible spoil The Power of the Dog) so there is certainly precedent for it being nominated if worthy.

5. Don't Worry Darling

Why It's On My List

Almost nothing is known about Olivia Wilde's directorial follow up to Booksmart. It seems to be in the vein of a thriller/horror with the only description I can find being that it follows 'a 1950's housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.' which is from its IMDB page. This could easily take the spot that typically goes to something like Promising Young Woman or Get Out. The movie also boasts a buzz worthy cast with Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan starring.

6. Spencer

Why It's On My List

The big draw for this movie is Kristen Stewart portraying Princess Diana. It takes place during the time period where Diana decided to divorce Prince Charles which may provide some great material for Stewart. The first look photos generated quite a bit of interest and I am certainly interested in seeing what she does with the role.

7.  Blonde

Why It's On My List

When I first saw photos of Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe I was blown away. She is certainly well cast and with the help of makeup strikes a remarkable resemblance to Marilyn. This is based off the very well reviewed novel by Joyce Carol Oates and while it might end up being a little too artsy/experimental to gain any real traction during awards season the rumour is that Ana de Armas is incredible in it. I could easily see her getting a Best Actress nomination and I cannot wait to see what she does with the role. 

8. Nightmare Alley

Why It's On My List

A  Guillermo del Toro film is always going to spark awards chatter no matter what, but this one also has an excellent cast with Bradley Cooper, Toni Collette, and Cate Blanchett starring. This is also adapted from a novel (by William Lindsay Gresham), and is about 'an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is' as per its IMDB description. I expect it to look incredible, and for the acting to be equally amazing.

9. My Policeman

Why It's On My List

This is currently filming so I am not one hundred percent certain it will release this year so it may end up not being eligible. It sounds like it has the potential to land some nominations if released though. It is, once again, based on a novel (by Bethan Roberts) so your movie loving book club will have plenty to read for next Oscar season. It examines a gay love story that must be kept secret due to the time period it takes place in. It's the second movie staring Harry Styles so it will instantly draw some attention, but also has Emma Corrin and Rupert Everett rounding out the cast. The comparisons to Call Me By Your Name are already being made but we'll have to see what it looks like once a trailer is released.

10. Zola

Why It's On My List

A movie that is entirely based on a Twitter thread that tells the story of a stripper's wild road trip to Florida with a woman she just met. Early viewers of this one have praised Colman Domingo in particular and have predicted him to be in the Best Supporting Actor conversation. The cast also includes Taylour Paige and Riley Keough and the trailer seems like a fun night out. It may even end up as a contender in Adapted Screenplay.

These are just some of  potential awards worthy movies we have coming our way in the next few months. I couldn't list all of them and I am sure there will be ones we're not even aware of yet that come to the forefront as festival season approaches in late summer/early fall. 

What movies are on your radar as potential Oscar contenders this year? What ones do you want to see from my list? Let me know in the comments.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... The Anatomy of Desire

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 Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A modern tale of American striving, social media stardom, a fatal love triangle, and a young woman on trial for murder—a mesmerizing reimagining of Theodore Dreiser's classic novel of crime and punishment, An American Tragedy.

Claire Griffith seems to have it all, a thriving career, a gorgeous, successful boyfriend, a glamorous circle of friends. She always knew she was destined for more than the life her deeply conservative parents preached to her. Arriving in Los Angeles as a flat broke teenager, she has risen to become a popular fitness coach and social media influencer. Having rebranded herself as Cleo Ray, she stands on the threshold of achieving her most cherished dreams.

One summer day, Cleo and a young woman named Beck Alden set off in a canoe on a quiet, picture-perfect mountain lake. An hour later, Beck is found dead in the water, her face cut and bruised, and Cleo is missing. Authorities suspect foul play and news about Cleo’s involvement goes viral. Who was Beck and what was the nature of her and Cleo’s relationship? Was Beck an infatuated follower who took things too far? If Cleo is innocent, why did she run? Was it an accident? Or was it murder?

As evidence of Cleo’s secret life surfaces, the world begins to see just how hard she strived to get to the top— and how fast and far the fall is from celebrity to infamy.

L. R. Dorn’s reimagining of Theodore Dreiser’s novel, told in the form of a true crime docuseries a la Serial and The Jinx—with characters speaking through the “transcripts” of recorded interviews—The Anatomy of Desire exposes the ambition, sexual passion, and dark side of success that readers will find as achingly poignant as they did a century ago.
I was instantly interested in this modern retelling of An American Tragedy. The original novel is loosely based on the murder of Grace Brown and was adapted into an incredible movie titled A Place in the Sun. 

This modern take on the story follows the basic premise of the original but I look forward to seeing how this author makes it their own.

My fellow Murderinos and I don't have long to wait before we can get our hands on this one since it releases next week. I could see it very popular at the beach this summer as it definitely holds a promise of a page turner. 

Expected release date - May 11, 2021

Monday, May 3, 2021

Month TBR and Wrap Up

It is May which means I am officially kicking off my summer reading season. I do not care that it is technically not yet summer yet. Give me all the sweet romance reads and twisty thrillers. 

April was a much better reading month. It was a strange month because we entered a new lockdown here in Ontario and my birthday was not what I was hoping for but it got warmer and I was able to get more sun and take some walks. I'd say it was a pretty mixed month and I am very much looking forward to the summer and hopefully getting vaccinated soon. 

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

The books that were on my list are:

Marriage For One by Ella Maise (goodreads)
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

Written in The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur (goodreads)
Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli (goodreads)
The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison M Dickson (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in April:

Written in The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur (goodreads)
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (goodreads)
The Other Mrs Miller by Allison M Dickson (goodreads)
The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto (goodreads)
Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli (goodreads)
Marriage For One by Ella Maise (goodreads)

I am happy that I managed to read 6 books this month. It is something I hope to repeat in May. I have a week of vacation coming up so I am feeling pretty good about my chances. 
 
My #PopCultureResolution book for April was The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison M Dickson. The movie was Frankenstein. I reviewed both the book and the movie if you are interested in checking those out. I, obviously, did not get to When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole but I will this month. I actually got ahead on one of my reading challenges so I should easily be able to double up this month.

Here is what I hope to read in May:


When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)

I also have some (okay I have a lot) ebooks I am hoping to get to:





Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)
Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (goodreads)
Animal by Lisa Taddeo (goodreads)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
Elizabeth and Monty by Charles Casillo (goodreads)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
Pumpkin by Julie Murphy (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James and Final Girls. I am looking forward to both of them and am very curious to see if I love Final Girls as much as I am anticipating. 

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

May's pick for my '12 friends, 12 books' reading challenge is Written In The Stars. I already read it this month because my library hold came in. This means I will not have a book to read for this month.

The book for April, Marriage For One, was a read I ended up enjoying. Look for a review soonish.

Jan - The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Kelly)

Feb - 
The Birthday List by Deveny Perry (Emilie)

Mar - Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics (Ciara)

April - Marriage for One by Ella Maise (Katie)

May - Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (Christy)

June -  The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth (Christa)

July - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Jess)

August -  The Grace Year by Kim Leggitt (Christa)

Sept - Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Meaghan)

Oct -   Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston (Katrina)

Nov - Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (Kim)

Dec - Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney (Julia)

As for the reading challenge inspired by The Bachelor I have scratched two more books off this list. I finished Kate In Waiting and Marriage for One. I should have Realm Breaker to scratch off next month if all goes according to plan! 

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

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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