Friday, July 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

House of Gucci Posters

Promotion for the House of Gucci movie has kicked in to high gear on Thursday. We got both a trailer and these amazing posters. 


I love the lipstick colour Lady Gaga is wearing here. I also love the esthetic this photo shoot had.


Adam also looks great here. They're going to look fantastic on screen together.

Dexter Trailer

Fans of the television show Dexter were cautiously optimistic when it was announced that the show would be returning. The original finale was not great and this is a chance for them to do it right. 


Dexter was incredible when it was at its best and this has me pretty excited. Michael C Hall is electric in this role and I am so happy to have him return. I'll be watching (and crossing my fingers it is more like seasons one through four). 

House of Gucci Trailer

It's the time of year when all the Oscar buzz movies release their trailers. This week sees the release of the House of Gucci trailer. I am so in to this trailer. I love the campy vibe to it. The real story is incredibly out there and this trailer captures that. 


This is the Lady Gaga show (at least on based on this trailer) and she is even better in this than I thought she would be. The rest of the cast looks amazing (which is expected). I cannot wait to watch this in November. 

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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Looking Ahead To Fall Reading




We are just days way from August and that gets me thinking about the end of summer and the arrival of autumn. My favourite time of year. I love everything about the fall, including all of the amazing books that come out. 

As I early anticipate my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, I put together a list of five books I cannot wait to read this fall.


This one looks at our 'celebrity obsessed internet age' and how easily someone could lose themselves in it. It revolves around a fan club for a child star turned pop singer and secrets that bind the members together. 


Pride of Prejudice set in the world of burlesque is how this book is pitched. I really didn't need to know anything else about this book to add it to my reading list. 


A romance featuring the son of the devil? Sign me up. This sounds funny, romantic, and filled with adventure. The synopsis mentions cults and that's just another bonus. It sounds perfect for fans of the television show Lucifer. 


Marissa is well known for her fairytale retellings and this one takes on the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. I don't really need to know anything more because I will immediately read anything Marissa writes. I am very excited she is returning to fairytales as I love her retellings in particular.  


This sounds like a must read for fans of boy band. The premise is that two members of the world's most popular boy band fall in love. The synopsis teases lots of angst and romance which is pretty much all I needed to know.

What fall books are you most excited for? Which ones can you not wait to read? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... We Were Never Here


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 We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An annual backpacking trip has deadly consequences in a chilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Lost Night and The Herd.

Emily is having the time of her life--she's in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of their trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she'd been flirting with attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year's trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can't believe it's happened again--can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving head-first into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her friend's motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their coverups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can she outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom--even her life?
I read the synopsis of this only recently and immediately added it to my reading list. Everything about it screams a perfect end of summer read. It has got an incredible premise and I am excited to read about this complex friendship with some murder at its center. 

The wait for this one is not long at all since it releases next week! It'll be my reads for the transition from summer to fall as it seems to fit either season.

Expected release date - August 3, 2021

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy


If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
Release Date - August 3, 2021 
Publisher Website - Disney/Hyperion
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America's favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn't expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn't fit, maybe it's time to design your own.

Julie Murphy writing a fairytale retelling was enough to get me excited but also finding out that it would be her adult novel debut made this book one I was desperate to get my hands on. The fact that it was also kicking off a new series from Disney was only more incentive for me to get my hands on it as soon as I could. This book lived up to my incredibly high expectations and offers a fun, clever, and breezy read that is every bit as magical as you hope it will be.

Our main character, Cindy, is an aspiring shoe designer with a flair for fashion. She is a main character that you cannot help but fall in love with. She is comfortable with who she is and knows her own worth. She may have struggled with the death of both her parents but she is working through it with the amazing support system she has.

The representation for plus sized women is, unsurprisingly, excellent in this. Julie Murphy's books always have fat main characters without the story only being about them being fat. It is just part of who Cindy is and it was refreshing to see her story not revolve around her weight. It is part of her story, an important part at times, but it is not THE story.

There are little fun nods to the classic Cinderella tale sprinkled throughout in clever ways. The pumpkin, the glass slippers, the ball, and more all make unique appearances that blend perfectly with this more modern take on the story. It helps the story feel fresh and current in a way that compliments the general tone of the novel.

Those who are not a fan of the evil stepmother trope will be happy to hear that it is nowhere to be found in this novel. Erica Tremaine is a supportive, loving stepmother. The stepsisters, Drew and Anna, are equally caring which makes for welcome change. For a novel that would seem to have women competing with each other at its core it, surprisingly, is filled with examples of wonderfully supportive connections between women. There is an antagonist but most of the relationships are different compared to what you would expect. They may be complicated at times, but are supportive at their core.

I cannot wait to find out which Disney Princess is the subject of the next Meant To Be novel. I was completely charmed by Julie Murphy's take on Cinderella and I hope the rest of the books are just as delightful.

Thursday, July 22, 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. 

This typically goes up on Friday but I have switched it this week because I have another post going up on Friday! 

BOOKS

Cover of One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle (goodreads)

I love Rebecca's previous books and am very much looking forward to her newest one that she just announced. This cover reminds you of a sunset which is perfect for Italy. 


This one seems to focus on a mother/daughter relationship which I think is a great choice for Rebecca to dive in to. 

MOVIES/TELEVISION

Trailer for The Eyes of Tammy Faye 

Movies that have been buzzed about for Oscar season are starting to have their trailers released. This one stars Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield. 


Jessica Chastain should easily be in talks for Best Actress as she is barely recognizable in this role and is typically awarded by the Academy. It's definitely on my list for movies to check out in the autumn. 

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday .... Lore Olympus

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 Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus
I am in the middle of researching graphic novels for my #PopCultureResolution next year and this one was immediately on my radar. It takes the Hades and Persephone myth and modernizes it in a graphic novel format.

The collection of episodes will release in the fall of this year (which is fitting for the Hades/Persephone angle) and I am very excited to check it out. I may have to buy a copy and keep it for the event next year though.

This seems perfect for fans of Greek mythology and it offers a fun way to experience this classic tale.

Expected release date - October 5, 2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

#PopCultureResolution - Frailty

  



Frailty 

Director: Bill Paxton 

Length:
 99 minutes

Cast: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Jeremy Sumpter

Release Date: April 12, 2002

Synopsis: Set in present day Texas, "Frailty" centers on the FBI's search for a serial killer who calls himself "God's Hands." McConaughey plays Fenton Meeks, a young man who approaches the lead investigator, one night, claiming he knows the identity of the killer. The FBI agent is curious, but unimpressed until Fenton reveals that the killer is his younger brother Adam. This is a film about faith, family and the end of innocence.

***********************************************

Religious based horror isn't something I would have naturally watched on my own. It just isn't a genre that appeals to me. Frailty, therefore, surprised me with how much I ended up liking it.

Frailty works mainly because it lets the audience decide things for themselves. It is a story that could be viewed through two different lenses in the end and both offer interesting possibilities. It creates two different movies in a way and both are unsettling in different ways. 

The movie has a pretty decent cast with Bill Paxton giving what I believe is the stand out performance. The two kids we see in the flashback part of the movie (played by Jeremy Sumpter and Matt O'Leary) are also worthy of mentioning. This is one of Matthew McConaughey's earlier movies and I think he is also well cast here.


As mentioned above this movie can really be viewed two different ways. Both are interesting and the reveals that make this possible are really what make the movie in my opinion. You could easily discuss this with friends for a long time after watching. There are some reveals that you see coming but all of them sort of shift how you view what has come previously.

This is a movie that looks at childhood trauma in a very specific circumstance. The two boys are made to watch and endure trauma and violence because their father feels he is doing God's will. It is often uncomfortable to watch and upsetting. I liked how each of the boys handles and reacts to it differently while both being scarred by the events of their childhood.

The lingering questions this movie leaves made me appreciate this one all the more. It also is exactly the type of religious horror that does work for me. It is thought provoking, not in its message exactly, but in the way it is told. It isn't one of those fun horror movies with jump scares that you can laugh about as you're leaving the movie theatre. This one sits with you and that is exactly why it works.

I end these by answering the question of whether it was scary or not. I would say it is more unsettling instead of scary. I also think that of the two ways you can interpret this movie one is scarier than the other. It is one of my favourites out of the horror movies I have watched so far which was definitely unexpected. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Marriage For One by Ella Maise



Marriage For One by Ella Maise
Release Date - May 8, 2019
Publisher Website - Self Published 
Author Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 520 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from a friend**

Twelve Books/Twelve Friends Selection

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You'd think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You'd think he must be madly in love.

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancĂ© only weeks before. You'd think I'd laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I'd imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.

It wasn't long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn't talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.

One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

A slow burn romance can create a delicious tension that makes the reader desperately want to keep reading. Marriage For One is the kind of slow burn romance that accomplishes exactly this. A slowest of slow burns it makes the most out of every little moment and provides a very swoon worthy love story.

This book will not be for everyone. There are readers who lose interest if the book is too slow paced. They need the romance to happen a little quicker. I would advise those people to skip this one. They'll be missing out on an incredible read, but it's not meant for them. Those who appreciate the elements I mentioned will be very into what this book has to offer. It's meant for a specific audience and those who find it will be very happy they did.

The book reads deceptively fast given its page length of over five hundred pages. The book isn't plot heavy. It revolves around the feelings of the characters instead of what is happening outside of them. It's a basic, straight forward plot that is made into something more because of the characters and their connection. This is exactly why it reads the way it does and what makes this as good as it is. The characters go on an emotional journey that makes it feel like so much has happened and that is where the satisfaction at the end of reading this comes from. It allows the reader to take that journey and I think that is why I become as invested as I did while reading.

Jack is exactly the kind of love interest that I like reading about. He is supportive, helpful, kind but aloof. It takes a lot for him to open up but he is incredibly loyal once he does. His surly demeanor masks his caring nature and the reader, just like Rose, cannot help falling for him. He isn't perfect, some may not even like him, but I found him very redeemable and charming.

My favourite element of the romance were the little gestures that both Rose and Jack do to show they care about each other. Everyone loves a grand gesture but real love is in the small moments and those are plentiful here. Helping without even being asked, baking your loved one's favourite treat, holding their hand when you know they need it. This all speaks volumes and in this case made the romance for me. 

Communication is, once again, the main conflict in this romance novel. I am sure we would all love for the couple to communicate more effectively but that would stop the story before it started. This felt like a well done version of that familiar trope that is given the space to breath with its slower pace.

If you like reading romances where the connection is slowly built I highly recommend this one. It is a romance read that offers exactly what you expect, and hope, it will. It's a satisfying fake to real romance that feels earned and therefore all the more satisfying in the end.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday ... 56 Days

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 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
No one knew they'd moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him. She sees a unique opportunity for a new relationship to flourish without the pressure of scrutiny of family and friends. He sees it as an opportunity to hide who - and what - he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver's apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Will they be able to determine what really happened, or has lockdown provided someone with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime? 
I am pretty sure that this might be the only COVID inspired book that I decide to pick up for a long while. I am not at all ready to have the events of the pandemic reflected in my media but this one caught my eye thanks to its mystery angle.

We don't know who the body is. It could be Oliver. It could be Ciara. It could be someone else. Unraveling that mystery, I hope, will be part of the reading experience. 

I think the mystery element will take the focus and I am hoping that the pandemic inclusion will be background stuff that adds another layer to the mystery.

This one is timed for an end of summer read and I hope to get to it before pool side reading season ends.

Expected release date - August 17, 2021

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Best Movies of 2021 .... so far!

 

I recently shared my favourite books of 2021 since we've reached the halfway point of the year. I decided to also check in with my movie watching to see what movies have stood out to me so far this year.

I am only considering movies that I watched for the first time this year. They do not have to be released this year though so there may be some older movies included. These are in no particular order.

1. Promising Young Woman

It was my personal favourite of that Oscar season and I thought Carey Mulligan was incredible in it. 

2. Minari

This movie (and its great performances) will charm you. It is a quiet, but resonating watch.

3. Judas and the Black Messiah

Daniel Kaluuya's Oscar winning performance is just one of the many reasons to see this film. 

4. Collateral 

Yes, the Jamie Fox / Tom Cruise movie. It is one of the few Tom Cruise performances that I enjoyed and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this one.

5. North By Northwest

One of my favourite Cary Grant films and a Hitchcock classic. It hit the notes a film of the genre has to while still feeling fresh and inventive.

6. Final Girls 

A fun movie that plays with horror tropes in interesting ways. 

This list was MUCH harder to make compared to my book selections. I left off movies that I really enjoyed (Jennifer's Body and The Father for example) but wanted to keep it small. I've had an excellent movie year so far and it is only going to get better as we head into the fall movie season.

What are some of your favourite movies that you watched this year? Any upcoming movies you are especially excited for? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday ... It Happened One Summer

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 It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town... where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong. 

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar... in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 
I was immediately interested in this thank to the comparison of the main character to Alexis in Schitt's Creek. She definitely sounds like she is a little bit Alexis. 

The synopsis sounds super cute and like this could be a really fun read.

We, luckily, don't have to wait long for this one. It releases next week and will be a perfect addition  to your beach/pool side reads.

Expected release date - July 13, 2021

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Best Books of 2021 .... so far!

We are in July which means we are half way through the year. This means it is time to do my list of the best books I have read this year (at least so far).

I, once again, haven't read nearly as much as I wanted to by this point, but I was able to put together a list of nine book that have stood out to me so far this year.

Here, in no particular order, at the books that have stood out to me during the first half of this year.

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid



The ones that I have already written a review for will link to those reviews, and the ones I have not are upcoming reviews to expect on the blog soon!

What books are your favourites so far this year? Any books I should make sure not to miss before 2021 ends? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up

It's July and I am already eager to be in autumn. I am looking forward to spooky books, horror movies, and everything pumpkin spice. Summer has never really been my favourite and that feels extra true this year. 

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

The books that were on my list are:

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (goodreads)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

Animal by Lisa Taddeo (goodreads)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
Blackout by Multiple Authors (goodreads)
Survive the Night by Riley Sager (goodreads)
Darling by K Ancrum (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in June:

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (goodreads)
Blackout by Multiple Authors (goodreads)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (goodreads)
Survive the Night by Riley Sager (goodreads)
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (goodreads)

I managed to get in five books this month. I am hoping for more this month. I will have a bit more time so that will hopefully turn into more reading time.
 
My #PopCultureResolution book for June was I Am Watching You by Teresa Discoll. The movie was Sinister. I reviewed the movie if you are interested in checking that out. The book did not come in from my library holds until the end of the month so I am reading it now.

Here is what I hope to read in July:


Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin (goodreads)
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney (goodreads)
I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll (goodreads)
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (goodreads)

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





Animal by Lisa Taddeo (goodreads)
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (goodreads)
Darling by K Ancrum (goodreads)
Isn't It Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)
If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are Survive the Night by Riley Sager and Frailty. I have read (and loved) Survive the Night (and it is already reviewed). I am excited to check out Frailty though! 

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

July's pick for my '12 friends, 12 books' reading challenge is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller so I'll be getting to that at some point this month. I am almost done with The Miseduction of Cameron Post so expect an update next month.

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 no books to scratch off the list, but I am hoping to change that in the August update.

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.

 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Survive The Night by Riley Sager




Survive The Night by Riley Sager
Release Date - June 29, 2021 
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received in exchange of an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over--especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud--because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own--including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind. 

Riley Sager's Survive The Night takes so many of the things I am interested in and blends them together in to a engrossingly readable novel. It has elements of classic Hollywood, true crime, and cinematic flair. It should therefore be no surprise that this is now my personal favourite Riley Sager novel.

This book feels cinematic in so many ways and it definitely reads like a movie. You can visualize everything that is happening but the format of the writing invokes a movie as well. It captures that essence so thoroughly that I will be upset if this doesn't end up getting a movie adaptation. 

This is a love letter to to both Hitchcock films and women in them. Charlie displays the characteristics of a classic Hitchcock blonde and the plot feels very Hitchcockian to me. It will make you want to pair reading it with a watch of Shadow of a Doubt (and possibly binge a bunch of older thrillers). 

The entire premise of this book is entirely unsettling to me. You are in an enclosed space that is not easily escapable and with every moment that passes you become increasingly convinced that the person in that space with you is a serial killer. It is a great plot idea that was even more effective than I imagined.

The 90s setting is especially effective at creating more tension and raising the stakes. No cell phones means no easy access to help and that heightens every beat of dread woven into the story. This story wouldn't feel the same in more current times and that is part of what makes the story work.

The interaction between Josh and Charlie is the crux of the novel, especially at first. The limited setting, the inside of the car, makes the focus shift to the characters. There is something thrilling at each stomach drop and skipped heartbeat as things start to unravel. The first half is a restrained, but pulse pounding, increase in fear that feels more psychological when compared to the latter part of the book.

A suspense novel is built on the twists that it unveils. This one has reveals that you will see coming and hopefully a couple of surprises as well. I was very satisfied with the ending and felt it only added to overall tone of the novel. It is definitely a Hollywood type of ending that you only see in the movies.

This is a book for those who have ever gotten lost in a movie. It has a plucky and resourceful heroine at its core and is filled with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. If you are someone who loves reading thrillers at the beach this will be your new obsession. 

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