Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday .... Golden Boys

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 Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
National bestselling author Phil Stamper crafts the perfect summer friendship story, starring four queer boys with big hearts and even bigger dreams.

Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. They are about to embark on the summer before senior year of high school, where each is going on a new, big adventure. Reese is attending a design school in Paris. Gabriel is going to Boston to volunteer with a environmental nonprofit. Sal is interning on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. And Heath is stuck going to Daytona Beach to help out at his aunt’s beachfront arcade.

What will this summer of new experiences and world-expanding travel mean for each of them—and for their friendship?
I loved the idea of this book as soon as I read the deal announcement. It sounds like a book that will help chase away the winter blues with its summery vibe and coming of age story.

I anticipate this being prefect for fans of contemporary young adult novels. I cannot wait to meet these four characters and see what adventures they have during this epic summer.

Expected release date - February 8, 2022

TIFF Virtually

 Autumn is approaching and with it all of the film festivals that spotlight the movies being released in time for Oscar season. There are plenty of movies featured that have some Oscar buzz going into the festival season. This includes TIFF and I am thrilled to be taking part virtually this year!

I have just secured tickets to some of the movies I wanted to see from the festival and I could not be more excited to see all of them. I was disappointed to discover that Last Night in Soho would not have a virtual option at all. It was my most anticipated, but I still managed to secure digital tickets to some amazing sounding movies.

Here are all the movies I'll be watching (and talking about on the blog) at TIFF. These are listed in the order in which I'll be watching them and they all link to the TIFF website page for the movie.

What Is It About:

Synopsis from TIFF.net

High school student Evan Hansen (Platt) suffers from social anxiety disorder. Under the advice of his therapist, Evan writes letters to himself with the goal of recognizing the good things in his life, such as his classmate Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever, TIFF ’18’s The Front Runner), on whom he has an enormous crush. But when a fateful encounter with Zoe’s brother Connor (Colton Ryan, also reprising his role from the stage production) puts Evan in an awkward position, that self-correspondence provides an irresistible opportunity for deception. Evan concocts a friendship that never existed, constructing a whole new life for himself — one that could come crashing down at any minute.

Why I Am Excited:

This musical has some great songs and I hear it works better seeing it performed rather than just hearing about the plot. There are definitely some problematic elements to the plot itself but I am interested in seeing how it all resonates. I am not necessarily expecting any Oscar buzz for this one (maybe original song if there is one created for the movie). Stephen Chbosky directed this and I loved what he did with Perks of Being A Wallflower so we'll see how this turns out.

What Is It About:

Synopsis from TIFF.net

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst lead Jane Campion’s drama about two brothers whose lives change when a widow and her son arrive at their ranch

Why I Am Excited:

There have been rave review of Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in this from those who have already seen it. He is one of the actors being heavily talked about for Best Actor consideration. The trailer was just recently released and it teases a tense, well crafted movie. The rest of the cast is equally exciting with Jesse Plemmons, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also having awards buzz. It was my second most anticipated of the festival line up getting a ticket to this helps with the sting of missing out on Last Night in Soho.

What Is It About:

Synopsis from TIFF.net

The lives of three people converge in Wen Shipei’s thrilling debut: a young man who believes he’s killed someone, the dead man’s widow, and the policeman in charge of the investigation..

Why I Am Excited:

I had purchased a pass that entitled me to select 3 'regular' movies and this was one that caught my eye. It's described as a neo-noir movie and I figure it might be an interesting watch. I don't really know anything about the director (this is their directorial debut) or the cast, but the plot certainly sounds interesting. It's also a short and sweet 95 minutes which is appealing.

What Is It About:

A woman’s dreary life is forever changed after a risky sexual encounter in the latest from Harry Wootliff, starring Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke.

Why I Am Excited:

This is another of my three 'regular movie' selections. I chose it almost immediately because I am a fan of Tom Burke's after seeing him in a few things, and liked Ruth Wilson in The Affair. It sounds like this could be interesting and it is directed by a woman. 

What Is It About:

Jessica Chastain stars as flamboyant televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker in this humanizing portrait of the rise and fall of the Bakker network empire.

Why I Am Excited:

I think everyone was kind of blown away by Jessica Chastain's physical transformation when first look photos were released. The trailer only served to cement the idea that this will be in the running for any makeup/hairstyling awards. I also like Andrew Garfield and am excited to see him in this role. It's certain to be a film that starts conversations at any rate.

What Is It About:

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Antoine Fuqua’s thriller set over the course of a single morning in a 911 dispatch centre.

Why I Am Excited:

It sounds like this is going to be a tense thriller that has the unique perspective of being set in one location. It sounds like it will mostly focus on Jake Gyllenhaal's 911 dispatcher and the emotions that he is experiencing. We'll mostly just hear the voices of the rest of the cast. The cast does also include Riley Keough whom I have loved in everything I have seen her in. 

What Is It About:

A hairdresser and her teenage daughter hunt a notorious killer in this erotic sci-fi acid western from cult iconoclast Bertrand Mandico.

Why I Am Excited:

This is another one of the three 'regular' movies my pass allowed me to access. I didn't know which one to select for my third and this one had an interesting premise that sounds like it could be fun. I don't know anything about anyone involved with the film, but I figure I have a solid batch of movies even if this one turns out to not be for me.

Are you going to be watching any movies at TIFF (either in person or virtually)? What movie from my list would you most want to see? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, August 27, 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. 


The Power of the Dog poster

Oscar season is almost upon us as all of the big fall festival start very soon with the Venice Film Festival kicking off September 1. As a result we are getting a lot of Oscar buzz movies starting their advertising campaign. 

We just got our first look at The Power of the Dog with both this poster and a teaser trailer.

Benedict Cumberbatch is said to give an incredible performance and I feel this poster captures the essence of what I heard the book this is based on is about.

Spencer Poster

Everyone has been eager to get their first look at Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer. The first teaser released and they also revealed this AMAZING poster.

The poster is amazing! I love how simple and yet how eye catching it is.    

The Power of the Dog trailer

The teaser trailer for this has made me so tense. It doesn't really give much away in terms of performance (but I am already keeping my eye on Kodi Smit-McPhee for a Supporting Actor nomination) but you can tell Benedict Cumberbatch is going to a memorable performance.

The whistling is unsettling. He looks menacing and he hasn't delivered a single word of dialogue. I cannot wait to see more. The cinematography is beautiful and I think this is going to amazing on the big screen. 

Spencer Trailer

Kristen Stewart delivers two words of dialogue but it appears she's captured Diana's accent. This is from the same director as the movie Jackie (with Natalie Portman) and I think you can see that in the trailer. 

I cannot wait to learn more about this movie as well. I have read that it takes place during the time in which Diana decided to divorce Charles but otherwise I don't know much about the plot of the movie. I am looking forward to finding out more.

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Spooky Season Reading!

 Pumpkin Spice is officially back at Starbucks and August is almost over. This means that not only is it fall reading season but it is the season for spooky reads! September through October is some of the best time to read some spine chilling books or cozy up with a good mystery. 

Today I am going to share some upcoming spooky seasons reads that I cannot wait to get to! These all release between now and the end of October. 

1. The Wood Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins

I loved There's Someone Inside Your House, her first scary read. I was therefore really excited to hear she was releasing a second horror read. This one two friends who go hiking in the woods and things go very wrong. 

2. The Ex-Hex by Erin Sterling

This is for those who want something lighter but still appropriate for the season. A witch hexes her ex when they break up to disastrous results. Her and her ex need to team up to break the curse before it is too late. Sounds like it could be a fun and romantic read for the season.

3. Reprieve by James Han Mattson

A group goes into a full contact haunted house/escape room (meaning the actors in the haunted house are allowed to touch you). Things take a very bad turn when someone is murdered. This is told via court transcripts and media articles, etc which I am sure will give it an all too real feel. 

4. All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

This follows a girl who is found covered in blood at the murder scene of her entire family. She naturally becomes a suspect. Since this is Kendare Blake I will not be surprised of there is some paranormal/magical element to this.

5. White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson

This is described as Get Out meets Haunting of Hill House. This is a ghost story (or so it seems) that sounds great for this time of year. A family moves in to a house that may be haunted is certainly a fantastic set up. 

What spooky reads are you hoping to read? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday .... Horror Hotel

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 Horror Hotel by Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation.

When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.

But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.

Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.
This book seems like it should be a spooky season release and very much inspired by the infamous Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. It sounds like a fun and possibly unsettling read.

This comes out early January which seems to be another great time for thrillers with a few being released around this date. It is the perfect excuse to curl up with a blanket, some hot chocolate and read while the snow falls.

Expected release date - January 4, 2022

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll


I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Release Date - October 1, 2017
Publisher Website - Amazon Publishing
Pages - 293 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella. 

I Am Watching You starts out promising enough. A woman sees two young women interacting with two men who have recently gotten out of prison. She discovers, while watching the news the next day, that one of the young women have gone missing. It seems like a great premise for a mystery novel, but it ended up not being as strong as I hoped it would be.

The characters felt mostly surface level to me. This is a book fully built around its plot with the characters and other elements coming in second. It makes connecting with the book harder when compared to others. 

The plot is engaging and it races at full speed. There is a lot going on in this book and it can feel both compulsively readable and dizzying at times. It feels crowded at times but this is also exactly what makes it readable. The plot is doing all of the work so it needs to be as full as it is. I am not sure I would have finished if I was compelled to find out what came next. It could be a case of too much going on for some readers however.

There is a lot revealed as we unravel the mystery of what happened that night. Things that needed  bit more breathing space to hit the way they should have. It speaks to the busyness of the plot that these elements do not get to linger.

The mystery itself is enjoyable to unravel. The truth of what happened is satisfying and fits within the confines of the story. It was, for me, one of the aspects of the novel that worked. Unsettingly enough to propell the reader forward and grounded enough to feel all too plausible. 

The narration is split between numerous characters. This has the effect of giving the reader a wider perspective and it works on that level. Each of the perspectives had elements I enjoyed and I felt they added to the story. It also, however, created a need for each narrator to have their own reveals and twists which adds to the overcrowded feeling this book ultimately suffers from.

This is an fairly enjoyable mystery that has some impressive elements but did not fully work for me. There are plenty of positive reviews out there however so I encourage you to see if this one might be something you'd enjoy. I felt compelled to continue reading but this isn't one that will linger with me after I've turned the last page.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn

The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn
Release Date - May 11, 2021 
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for review from the publisher**

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. 

The Anatomy of Desire is a reimagining of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. It's a modern take on the novel that was itself inspired by the real life murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette.

The book is written like a transcript for a podcast or documentary. This format works incredibly well for this true crime style plot. It is even split into episodes instead of chapters and progresses in a similar manner. It may take a bit of getting used to but once the reader catches their rhythm It becomes a very fast paced read.

The biggest surprise for me was how easily this story was adapted in to a modernized setting. It was updated for current times while still keeping the main elements intact. I wasn't sure it was going to work when viewed through that modern lens but it just shows that murder and the reasons people commit it have remained pretty consistent.

It is hard to discuss the characters in this because I feel like we only get to know the surface level details about them. This is, of course, deliberate because it matches what we would learn in a documentary or podcast. We only learn what the people involved reveal in sound bites given in an interview, or testimony given during trial for example. We are not privy to the inner workings of these characters. It makes the narrative style work even better but it does keep the reader at arms length.

The other element of characterization that I had an issue with is that we never really got to know Beck. The events of the novel take place after her death and she is only seen through the perspective of others. Her voice is not present. This is something other adaptations (such as the movie A Place in the Sun) avoided by giving the victim more of a voice. It is a very focused perspective on the aftermath and therfore, like most true crime, the victim gets lost in the narrative. 

If you enjoyed either An American Tragedy or A Place in the Sun I definitely encourage you to pick this one up. It has insightful things to say the themes handled in both of those works through an updated perspective. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Waiting on Wednesday .... Reckless Girls

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 Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Upstairs comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set on an isolated Pacific island with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape.

Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace.

But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared.

When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.
I really enjoyed Rachel Hawkin's The Wife Upstairs so I was excited to learn that she would be releasing another thriller. This one is set on a boat and an island which has me thinking it'll be a great way to chase away those winter blahs. 

Put this one on your list to purchase with your holiday gift cards and join me in waiting for its release date.

Expected release date - January 4, 2022

Friday, August 13, 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. 


American Crime Story: Impeachment Poster

The next season of American Crime Story is almost here! This one is going to focus on the Impeachment of President Clinton and the marketing campaign has just kicked off. This amazing poster has Monica Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein) front and center heading into the White House. 

I love this poster and I also love that Monica is a producer on the series. It feels like her side of the story is finally going to be told. I can only hope that it will also deal with the power imbalance that existed in this situation.

American Crime Story: Impeachment 

Along with the amazing poster they also revealed the trailer for the series. It looks amazing and this cast is stacked. I cannot wait to see what Sarah Paulson does in this.

It has many recognizable moments that played out in the media during this time period. It definitely captures the circus that was that situation. Beanie looks great as Monica and I am eagerly anticipating September 7th. 

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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

#PopCultureResolution - Ready or Not

Ready or Not

Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

 95 minutes

Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien

Release Date: August 21, 2019

Synopsis: After the wedding ceremony of a young woman, her new in-laws force her to participate in a seemingly innocent game. Things soon turn bloody and sinister, revealing the sick rituals of the family.


Hide and Seek is a game many of us played as a kid. It reminds us of childhood and innocent fun. My August pick takes this notion and twists it in to something darker and darkly funny.

It should be one of the happiest days of Grace's life. She is marrying the man she loves and it is happening at his amazing family home. A simple request of a family game night after thr wedding seems innocent enough (if a little ill timed) and it is a tradition. Her wedding night plans turn into some much more sinister when the game that is chosen is hide and seek.

The movie is surprisingly fun. It definitely veers on the more fun side of the horror genre. There are plenty of laughs but also plenty of horror movie staples. Those looking for jump scares and blood will find those but it also feels surprisingly light for what is happening.

The ending does land on the ridiculous side but everything prior to that was perfect toneally. It also offers a few twists that you kind of see coming but the movie remains enjoyable. It may come across as a little silly but it is part of its charm. The family's connections to games is used cleverly in the plot and makes the tone feel all the more playful.

If you want your horror a little lighter in tone but still want it to pack that horror punch I think this is a good one. If feels like it would appeal to those with only a casual interest in the genre. To answer the question I always end these off with - it isn't too scary, and it's tone mostly prevents that but I predict it will make you plenty mad because you really hate some of the characters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday .... Duke, Actually

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 Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday follows A Princess for Christmas with another delightful contemporary Christmas romance between a playboy baron and a woman who has said goodbye to love.

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything? 
This sounds like a Christmas time read that embraces the magic of Christmas in New York. I think this is going to be the perfect book to curl up with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate in front of a fire.

I am probably not the only one that immediately thought of the movie Love Actually after the title and cover and I hope it does have some of that movie's vibes.

This comes out in spooky season, but get it as a future gift to yourself so you can read it as a reward for finishing your holiday shopping.

Expected release date - October 26, 2021

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Isn't It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams

Isn't It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
Release Date - July 20, 2021 
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
With his passion for romance novels, it was only a matter of time before Vlad took up the pen to write a novel the Bromance Book Club would swoon over.

Elena Konnikova has lived her entire adult life in the shadows. As the daughter of a Russian journalist who mysteriously disappeared after speaking out against government corruption, she escaped danger the only way she knew how. She agreed to marry her childhood friend, Vladimir, and move to the United States, where he is a professional hockey player in Nashville.

Vlad, aka The Russian, thought he could be content with his marriage of convenience. But after four years, it's become too difficult to continue in a one-sided relationship. He joined the Bromance Book Club to learn how to make his wife love him, but all he's learned is that he deserves more. He's ready to create his own sweeping romance--both on and off the page.

The Bros are unwilling to let Vlad forgo true love--and this time they're not operating solo. They join forces with Vlad's senior citizen neighbors, a group of meddling widows who call themselves The Loners. Just when things finally look promising, the danger from Elena's past life intrudes, and the book club will face their first-ever life-or-death grand gesture as they race to a happy ever after.

Fans of the Bromance Book Club series have been eagerly waiting for the character affectionately known as The Russian to have his own stand alone book which Lyssa Kay Adams has delivered with the fourth book in the series. Vlad takes center focus in this sweet romance that is sure to please fans.

If you like your romance on the sugary sweet side this is definitely the book for you. It may be a little on the too sweet side for some readers. There is plenty here for fans of the series to love but I predict this will be most popular with those who like this specific type of romance. If Vlad isn't your favourite character a large dose of him may not be for you.

Vlad is a fan favourite because he is an incredibly sweet soul. He is a gentle giant, and it was a delight to have his character expanded further. He is often the comic relief in the series but we get to see what a caring, and consuming heart he has. I think fans of his character will be pleased with how he is portrayed and the love story he has been given. He is a romantic at heart and very sensitive so it makes his romance a little more of the wear your heart on your sleeve variety.

Elena is a great character. Determined, stubborn, and focused. She is a natural fit with Vlad in a lot of ways. Her desire to be a journalist was something I found interesting and I wish that a certain part of her story arc had been developed more. It felt a little quickly tied up and I think it would have worked a little better if fleshed out more.

The romance is a blend of sweet and sexy. The sex scenes are similar to the other books in their more retrained but still sexy way. There are definitely moments that the chemistry is palpable between them. This is a connection built on friendship so that element feels especially earned.

The members of the aforementioned book club are delightful as usual. This group of tight-knit friends is always a joy to return to. All of the guys have grown throughout the series and each new addition works their way into your heart. I cannot wait to see who the next book is about (I have my guesses) because this is a world I cannot wait to visit again.

While this particular book may not have been my favourite in the series it still offered up a strong and enjoyable addition to it. I highly recommend this series if you enjoy romance reads. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday ... Only A Monster

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 Only A Monster by Vanessa Len

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.
This sounds so unique and I am already excited about the lush world building that this book is sure to have. I love fantasy books and this one being more contemporary has me really excited.

I cannot wait to find out what kind of monsters we're dealing with here, and I am definitely here for the forbidden romance that is sure to spark between Joan and Aaron. It gives me Buffy and Angel vibes (slayer/vampire) and that makes me even more excited to read this.

Expected release date - February 22, 2022

Monday, August 2, 2021

Monthly TBR and Wrap Up

It's August which means the end of the summer is almost here. I know many love the summer months but autumn is my absolute favourite. All of the spooky movies. Pumpkin spice everything. Cooler weather. Cozy blankets and delicious smelling candles. September through December is normally my favourite time of year.

By the time August ends Starbucks will have pumpkin spice lattes back in stores, and all of the Halloween stuff will have started appearing on shelves! I cannot wait. My apologizes to those mourning the upcoming end of summer.

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

The books that were on my list are:

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)

Plus I had some ebooks on my list:

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)

Here is what I managed to read in June:

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (goodreads)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth (goodreads)
If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy (goodreads)
Isn't It Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams (goodreads)

I managed to get in four books this month. I have been working a different shift at work and it has majorly cut into my reading time. Thankfully, I'll be going to a shift that is more like my regular one soon and I hope that equals more reading time.
My #PopCultureResolution book for July was Survive the Night by Riley Sager. The movie was Frailty. I reviewed the movie and the book if you are interested in checking them out. 

Here is what I hope to read in August:

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (goodreads)
Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin (goodreads)
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney (goodreads)
I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll (goodreads)

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

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard (goodreads)
The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn (goodreads)
The Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month are The Golden Cage by Camilla Lackberg (called The Gilded Cage here) and Ready or Not. I am expecting a fun campy vibe for Ready or Not and I am excited to read my first Camilla Lackberg novel.

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

August's pick for my '12 friends, 12 books' reading challenge is The Grace Year by Kim Leggitt so I'll be getting to that at some point this month. I am also going to read The Song of Achilles since my library copy did not come in on time.

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 a few to scratch off my list!

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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