Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Release Date - June 2, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 330 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? 

Mysteries and thrillers with a good setting are some of my absolute favourties of the genre. The Guest List boasts an atmospheric setting along with a taunt mystery that keeps you turning the pages to discover all of its secrets.

The island (and the property) that this takes place in almost becomes a character itself. The unsettling vibe is only heightened by the isolated feel brought forth by the location and detailed descriptions. It combines with the plot to create something the reader gets lost in.

The cast of characters is large as this is placed during a wedding. There are plenty of points of view that we get to experience. Each of them felt distinct and nuanced in their own way. They each are effectively used to further the mystery and create intrigue. It can be daunting to this level of perspective switches but I think it is done incredibly well here. It allows for enough character development while letting the mystery be the focus. You may not like all of these characters but you will be fascinated by them.

The reveals in this one are praise worthy and a few of them took me by surprise. The entire picture is delved out in pieces and I predict that even if you guess most if them there will be pieces to this puzzle that you miss. It was one of my favourite mystery reds of not just this year but in general and that is because of the smartly woven plot.

An intricately woven mystery, a well crafted setting, and fascinating characters all add up to a must read novel for mystery fans. I could not put this one down once I started and I expect itnis only a matter of time before this becomes the next big HBO or Netflix show. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday ... The Club

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 Club by Ellery Lloyd

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
The Club

The A-List is Dying to Join

Envisioned as a luxurious home-away from-home for Very Important People, The Home Group is a collection of celebrity members clubs dotted across the globe, from London to Lisbon, Malibu to Manhattan, where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media.

The most spectacular and exclusive of all is Island Home--a sprawling, closely-guarded complex of faux-rustic guest cabins, spas, bars and restaurants just off the English coast. To mark its opening, Home's mercurial CEO Ned Groom and his team have planned a glamorous three-day launch party, easily the most coveted A-list invite of the year.

But behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point. Years behind schedule and vastly over budget, the project has stretched a long-serving and long-suffering team to their limits. There's Ned's trusted PA, who has over decades maneuvered her way from coat-check girl to Home's inner circle; Ned's younger brother, who has sacrificed his marriage and morals to be Ned's right-hand man; the Head of Membership keeping the world's most spoiled and jaded individuals entertained using any means necessary; the Head of Housekeeping, who plays silent witness to the guests' very worst excesses. All of them have something to hide - and that's before the beautiful people with their own ugly secrets even set foot on the island.

As tempers fray and behaviour worsens, as things get more sinister by the hour and the body count piles up, some of Island Home's members begin to wish they'd never RSVP'd at all.

Because at this club, if your name's on the list, you're not getting out . . . 
This is a newer discovery for me when I started looking at upcoming mystery/thriller novels.

I love the idea of an exclusive club as the setting for one of these novels. The fact that this club is filled with Hollywood A-listers only makes me even more interested.

This releases in just over a month so we barely have any wait at all. 

Expected release date - March 1, 2022

Monday, January 24, 2022

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity by Kami Garcia

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity by Kami Garcia, Mico Suayan (Illustrator), Jason Badower (Illustrator), Mike Mayhew (Illustrator)
Release Date - September 7, 2021 
Publisher Website - DC Comics
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Murder is his art. Catching killers is hers.

In Gotham City, heinous acts of violence are a daily occurrence. Harley Quinn, forensic psychiatrist and profiler, consults with the GCPD on
their worst cases. But she is fixated on an unsolved murder that haunts her—the night she discovered her roommate’s body marked with the
signature of a notorious serial killer known as The Joker.

Five years later, the case remains unsolved, and a new series of horrific killings has begun. As the murders escalate and the meticulously
constructed crime scenes become more elaborate, Harley’s obsession with finding the depraved psychopath responsible leads her down a
dangerous path. When the past and the present finally collide, Harley has to decide how far she is willing to go—and how many lines she is
willing to cross—to solve these cases once and for all.

Written by #1 New York Times and international bestselling author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, Unbreakable, The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos) and drawn by Mico Suayan (Bloodshot Reborn), Jason Badower (Wonder Woman ’77), and Mike Mayhew (The Star Wars), Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity introduces readers to a Joker and Harley Quinn unlike any they’ve seen before, utilizing forensic psychiatry, behavior analysis (profiling), and psychological profiles to create a true-to-life take on these iconic characters that is more terrifying than any psychotic fantasy. This volume collects issues #1-8, as well as Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity—Secret Files.

I was immediately interested in Joker/Harley: Criminal Insanity as both a fan of the superhero genre and someone with an interest in true crime. This imagines Harley as a profiler who is hunting a serial killer known as The Joker. It promised a dark, gritty story and on that aspect it delivered. I, however, ended up not being entirely sold on this particular incarnation of the Harley and Joker story.

The story being told is as dark as you would expect it to be. Harley is laser focused on hunting down the person who horrifically killed someone close to her, and this version of the Joker is perhaps even more terrifying than usual. Its tone is something that it gets exactly right and ends up being one of the stand out elements here.

The art is comprised of a few different styles as there are multiple illustrators. This is used effectively to break up the various parts of the story with different styles being used for different purposes. A lot of the art is eye catching and arresting and infused with the darkness of the story itself. I am new to graphic novels, but I admire their ability to make you transfixed by an image. 

Harley as a criminal profiler operating on the outskirts fits her character incredibly well. The darkness in her works with the darkness of the story. You could see how this Harley could eventually be written to become the Harley from the comics, but she could just as easily be taken in a different direction. I liked her quite a bit in this and mostly like the direction her character was taken in.

The Joker's story has more backstory than the ones I am more familiar with. I think this version is chilling as he is brutal, methodical, and determined. The most compelling aspect may be that he has reasons for his actions. Those reasons do not necessarily need to make sense to the reader. It makes sense to him and that is enough. His reasons may in fact feel cliché and expected. I simply feel it works on a basic level as his motivation.

Those hoping to see a cameo from Batman himself will be disappointed. I, however, found it refreshing that this focused on other characters. Batman's presence wouldn't have been effective here so I am grateful he was kept only to a brief mention. 

I had to search out if this was the end of this particular run of comics and it turns out that this is the full story. It was this fact that made my rating drop a bit as I felt the ending was unsatisfying and abrupt. It didn't, for me, mesh with the rest of the story. It felt like there was so much story left to tell. It didn't live up to the potential I had seen in the earlier portion of these comics. 

The combination of the classic Batman characters mixed with criminal profiling was certainly an interesting draw. It, mostly, worked for me up until the disappointing (and abrupt feeling) ending. I have mixed feelings overall when it comes to this one, as a lot of the earlier stuff was truly fascinating and it offers a unique take on the Harley and Joker characters.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every week. 

It's been a bit since I've done one of these, but I am back and will hopefully be doing them every week again.

I have few things that I am excited about to share. 


How to Survive Your Murder by Danielle Valentine cover (goodreads)

This book first caught my attention when it was teased as Scream meets Happy Death Day. It sounds like a lot of scary fun and I LOVE the cover that was recently revealed.

It is eye catching and I love the blood splatter! I love the white background as it allows the other elements to take the focus.

A Very Merry Bromance announcement (goodreads)

The Bromance Book Club series is a favourite of mine and the fifth novel in the companion series is holiday themed! 

I love this little teaser image to get us excited and it comes out THIS year so we have that to look forward for the upcoming holiday season.

I'm The Girl by Courtney Summers (goodreads)

Courtney Summers releasing a new book is always something to be excited about. She is one of the authors who can make me excited about her upcoming new release with absolutely no details about the plot of the book. I trust her with whatever premise and the teases she has been releasing on Instagram have made me VERY excited to learn more.


Hamilton Funkos

Funko has just released the second set of Hamilton Funkos and I was VERY exited to see some of the inclusions in this newest batch.

We are getting a King George Funko! I am very excited to add him to my collection. I also love the Thomas Jefferson one. If you are a Hamilton fan these are up for preorder at various retailers. I may have preordered King George immediately!

The Lost City trailer

Sandra Bullock's upcoming movie reminds me a little of Romancing The Stone. It seems to be an adventure movie with some romance in it. It looks like a whole lot of fun!

I love everything about this. It looks super charming and like a good film for a night out with your friends. I love the banter between her and Channing Tatum's character and I hope it continues through out the entire movie.

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday .... Book of Night

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 Book of Night by Holly Black

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.

Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.
I am pretty sure there are many people who are excited about Holly Black's debut adult novel. I am even more excited after reading this synopsis.

I am curious to see if her adult novels are just as engaging as her young adult ones are and I cannot wait to see what these characters are like.

This one doesn't release until May so we have a bit of a wait, but I anticipate it'll be worth that wait.

Expected release date - May 3, 2022

#PopCultureResolution - West Side Story

West Side Story (1961)

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise 

Length: 152 minutes

Cast: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Release Date: October 18, 1961

Synopsis: A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes complicated when a gang members falls in love with a rival's sister.


A new year means a new #PopCultureResolution! This year I am focusing on musicals for the movie part of this resolution. First up is the 1961 adaptation of West Side Story.

One of my favourite facts about West Side Story is that Montgomery Clift is ultimately responsible for its creation. He mentioned his idea of a Romeo and Juliet musical but with gangs set in New York to Jerome Robbins who couldn't get it out of his head and ended up creating it.

I had the experience of watching the 2021 adaptation before this one and I think that impacted my viewing experience. I anticipate that most people prefer whichever of the two they have seen first. This, I find, tends to be true with remakes/updates. 

Might as well get the negative stuff out of the way. The egregious use of brownface in this definitely sticks out and is problematic. This is something that the current remake makes sure to correct and is all the better for it. Representation matters and the lack of it stood out here.

There is plenty to love about this movie even with its issues. The actors all manage to charm. I adored Rita Moreno as Anita. She is incredible through the entire movie and it is easy to see why she won her Oscar for this role. Russ Tamblyn is a great Riff (even if I prefer Mike Faist's take on the character). Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer have some chemistry and provide a decent Maria and Tony. 

The choreography is obviously iconic. There are plenty of moments that seared themsleves in to pop culture and those were a delight to experience. Some of songs translated better in the remake (like the updated take on and placement of Cool) but others worked better in this version (like Tony and Maria singing Somewhere). 

While this may, at times, seem outdated it is certainly worth the watch. It would pair nicely with the updated remake as a double feature. The remake may have personally worked better for me, but there was still plenty I liked about this one. It's a fun, energetic, and surprisingly moving movie that makes you want to belt out a few of the songs yourself.

Monday, January 17, 2022

2022 Most Anticipated Movies and Television

Today I am sharing what movies and television I am looking forward to this year. It's a mix of stuff releasing soon and other stuff scheduled to be released later in the year.

Due to the state of *gestures around* these release dates are subject to change as things with the pandemic change. Here is hoping we get most of these on schedule.

These are also not in any real order. I am not going to list the current release dates since they are definitely subject to change (and some don't even one set at this time).

First up are the ten movies I cannot wait to see this year:

1. Elvis (Baz Luhrmann)

I love Baz Luhrmann's movies and him making a film about Elvis Presley makes so much sense. I have been hearing nothing but amazing things about Austin Butler (who is playing Elvis) and the teaser that Baz released certainly looks promising.

2. Babylon

This is Damien Chazelle's newest and has an incredible cast (Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Tobey Maguire to name a few). It is supposed to be set during the time when silent pictures transferred into talkies. I can fascinated by classic Hollywood and this has a lot of promise. I cannot wait to see what this film looks like. 

3. Don't Worry Darling

I loved Olivia Wilde's Booksmart and have been looking forward to her next directorial offering. This seems to be more of a thriller and it is set in the 50s. It also boasts a buzzy cast and that means a lot of interest.

4. The Batman

I love the gritty tone and feel of the trailers. I love what Robert Pattinson is doing with the role of Batman. Love what I am seeing from Zoe Kravitz's Catwoman. It is going to be a huge movie this year and I bet lots of you have it on your list as well.

5. The Lost City

 This is Sandra Bullock's new movie and it looks like so much fun. She plays a writer of romance novels who ends up on an adventure with the model used on the cover of her books (who is played by Channing Tatum). It reminds me a little or Romancing the Stone and seems like a fun girls night out movie.

6. Scream

This is technically out now (it just released on the weekend) BUT since my theatres are closed due to the pandemic at the moment I am keeping it on my list. The original Scream is one of my favourite movies and I am very excited to return to Woodsboro. 

7. Blonde

This movie was delayed from its original release date and is now coming out this year. I have wanted to watch it since seeing the photos of Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. She looks incredible. I cannot wait to finally see this as I have heard A LOT about the book it is based on.

8. Boston Strangler

This film caught my eye because it is about Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole who are the reporters who first connected the Boston Strangler murders. I know the basics about this particular case, and didn't know it was these two women who made the connection. Kiera Knightley and Carrie Coon are attached which makes me even more excited as I love both of them.

9. My Policeman

This caught my eye because of the casting of Harry Styles. It is also an adaptation of a book that is fairly well known. It revolves around a a trio of people who when they reunite after forty years have to deal with events that happened in their past. 

10. Nope

I was basically sold on this because it is Jordan Peele's new film. No plot details are known, but I am going to guess that it'll be another thought provoking horror movie. I cannot wait to find out more and to eventually see this in theatres.

My television list has a mix of both returning and new series on it. Again, release dates will not be provided as they are subject to change (and some do not have them as of yet).

Here are the eight television series that I cannot wait to watch this year:

1. Stranger Things (season 4)

I have been desperate for the next season since I finished season three. This has taken a little longer than expected to get here, but we'll finally be able to watch it as some point this summer. 

2. Daisy Jones & the Six

I love the book (by Tayler Jenkins Reid) this series will be based on and am very excited about the casting. I cannot wait to become obsessed with both this show and the soundtrack when it releases. 

3. Pam & Tommy

My initial interest in this was the casting of Sebastian Stan. My interest only increased when the first look photos were released (seriously, how much does Lily James look like Pamela Anderson in this?!). The trailer was what cemented me watching this. It looks really different compared to what I was expecting and dare I hope it delves in to how Pamela was treated compared to Tommy when their sex tape was released.

4.The Staircase

HBO series are extremely my thing and this mixes that with true crime so naturally I was going to be interested. The casting is interesting and I am looking forward to seeing if this produces the kind of online conversation I think it will.

5. American Gigolo

I have never seen the Richard Gere movie of the same name, but I read the synopsis and it sounds interesting. I also happen to like Jon Bernthal so I am willing to check it out. It seems like it'll have a mystery at the center of the show which also piques my interest.

9. Conversations With Friends

I really enjoyed the book of the same name (by Sally Rooney) and was thrilled to find out it was going to be a television series. I hope it is as good as I am anticipating it will be. I know plenty of people who loved the adaptation of her other book (Normal People) so hopefully this is just as good.

7. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

This has Evan Peters playing Jeffrey Dahmer so I was going to watch it regardless, but I like that the story will be filtered through the lens of one of his neighbours who called the police numerous times about Dahmer's behaviour. It also wants to delve in to the numerous times that Jeffrey was almost apprehended but ultimately released. This perspective sounds interesting and I cannot wait to see what Evan Peters does with the role.

8.  Love and Death

This has Elizabeth Olsen in it and I am curious to see her in something outside of her playing Wanda. It is another HBO show that focuses on the true story of the murder of Betty Gore (Lily Rabe) by Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen). I don't know anything about this particular case but I am excited about the cast as I love both women who are the leads. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday ... How to Fake it in Hollywood

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 How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme . . . faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing? 
I love books set in Hollywood and I love romance books set in Hollywood even more. How to Fake it in Hollywood sounds absolutely adorable and I love the dynamic of Ethan being withdrawn and Grey wanting to recharge her career. 

This one releases just in time for some beach reading and I cannot wait to enjoy this pool side.

Expected release date - June 14, 2022

Monday, January 10, 2022

2022 #PopCultureResolutions

We all have pop culture blind spots. It might be that genre you barely read, or that movie you have been meaning to get to. I have been thinking about the books I read and what my own pop culture blind spots are.  I am going to make an effort each year to help fill some of those blind spots and hopefully make my reading choices more varied and diverse than what I currently consume in the process.

With this goal in mind I launched #PopCultureResolutions.

I haven't read very many graphic novels, but the ones I have read I have mostly enjoyed. I am going to be reading 12 graphic novels throughout the year in hopes of closing that particular blind spot a little bit.

As for movies, I love musicals. There are a definitely some I haven't seen and so I am looking forward to rectifying that in 2022.

My twelve graphic novels are:

My schedule looks like this (and if anyone wants to read any of these as well, I am happy to chat about them). Each of them links to their Goodreads pages for more details.

January - Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity by Kami Garcia, Mico Suayan, Mike Mayhew (goodreads)
February - Lore Olympus: Volume 1 by Rachel Smythe (goodreads)
March - Saga: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (goodreads)
April -  Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman (goodreads)
May - Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (goodreads)
June -Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (goodreads)
July - The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wag (goodreads)
August - V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, David Lloyd (goodreads)
September - Lady Killer, Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones, Jamie S. Rich  (goodreads)
October - Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu (goodreads)
November - Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack  (goodreads)
December - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey by D.J. Milky (goodreads)

Here are the horror movies I am going to watch for this event:

The schedule for this will be as follows (and again, if anyone else wants to watch and chat just let me know).

January - West Side Story (1961)
February - Funny Face (1957)
March - A Star is Born (1954)
April - On The Town (1949)
May - Funny Girl (1968)
June -  Sing Street (2016)
July -  Cabaret  (1972)
August - Dreamgirls (2006)
September - Anchor's Away (1945)
October - Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
November - Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
December - Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) 

What are your own pop culture blind spots? Have you read any of the books, or seen any of the movies that I am going to tackle this year? Let know in the comments. 

Friday, January 7, 2022

My Favourite Movies and Television of 2021

We're wrapping up 2021 and getting excited about 2022 this week on the blog! Yesterday I shared my favourite reads of  2021 and today I am sharing my favourite movies and television.

These are in no particular order (as that would be impossible). I also haven't seen a few movies that have come out this year yet (like King Richard for example) so those will be on next year's list if they make my personal list of favourites.

This is going to be a mix of newer releases and old as the only criteria I had for making this list was that it was a new watch for me this year.

Here is my favourite movies of 2021 list:

1. Promising Young Woman

I watched this in January of 2021 and immediately predicted that it would be my favourite movie of the year and that prediction mostly remained true. Carey Mulligan's performance is incredible and that ending seared itself into my brain. A hard movie to watch at times, but its message is one that I felt deeply. I cannot wait to see what Emerald Fennell writes next. 

2. tick, tick .... BOOM!

This was the year of the musical and Lin Manuel Miranda's directorial debut is high on my list of favourites from this year. Andrew Garfield's performance is transformative. He embodies Jonathan Larson so perfectly that is it mesmerizing. It's a love letter to artists and creativity along with a tribute to someone whose influence on theatre is still felt today.

3. West Side Story 

Another impressive adaptation of a Broadway musical that surpassed my expectations. It's music is infectious and it felt like watching an old Hollywood classic. It boasts two of my favourite supporting performances of the year in Ariana DeBose as Anita and Mike Faist as Riff. Both are mesmerizing on screen and impossible to look away from. It's the rare movie that I immediately wanted to watch again as soon as it was over. 

4. Rope

I dived into a lot of older movies during the pandemic and started to expand my Hitchcock education along the way. I have also discovered a love for Jimmy Stewart who is excellent in this movie. It is loosely based on the real life murder of Robert Franks. It's a taunt thriller that really impressed me. It's one of my favourite Hitchcock movies after Rear Window and Psycho.

5. Mass

A movie drive by it's four outstanding performance. Ann Dowd, Martha Plimpton, Jason Issacs, and Reed Birney all give breathtaking performances in this sometimes hard to watch movie about grief. Its synopsis is sparse - Two couples meet for a painful and raw conversation in the aftermath of a violent tragedy. - but succinctly details what it is about. A heart wrenching look at the aftermath and pain of a school shooting that has stayed with me long after I watched the film. 

6. Judas and the Black Messiah

This movie boasts an Oscar winning performance from Daniel Kaluuya but that is not the only reason to watch this movie. It has an excellent cast overall with Lakeith Stanfield and Jesse Plemmons giving just some of the strong performances in this film. Those not familiar with Fred Hampton's story are in for a thought provoking and captivating watch.

7. The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion's look at toxic masculinity is one of the year's best movies. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a compelling performance in this movie. He is missed cast and that is part of why I think his performance works because his character feels like he is wearing a mask which is a large part of this movie. Kodi Smith-McPhee gives another of my favourite supporting performances. It's ending is what made this one resonate with me and is also what made me want to immediately watch it again.

8. C'mon C'mon

This quite, but powerful, little movie boasts one of my favourite Joaquin Phoenix performances (it may be my favourite after Joker). It looks at the delights and frustrations of parenthood and introduces a new young talent in Woody Norman. This one is incredibly sweet, sometimes sad, but all together wonderful. 

9. 78/52

The only documentary to make my list this year. This is a deep dive into the shower scene from the film Psycho. It examines the impact this one scene had on Hollywood and deconstructs its layers to analyze why it has such an impact on audiences. I could listen to smart people talk about movies all day and this combined with it being about a scene from one of my favourite films made me love it even more.

10. Free Guy

Who doesn't love a good popcorn movie? Those big summer blockbusters that are best enjoyed in an air conditioned movie theatre with an absurd amount of popcorn. Free Guy is absolutely this, but it also has a lot of heart. I, personally, was charmed by the love story in this one and definitely cheered at some of the fun surprises it has in store. It made me list because it was entertaining, and touching.

My television list is going to be much shorter compared to my movie list. It's only going to consist of five shows. There is A LOT of TV that I have not watched so many if your faves may be missing. Please let me recommendations in the comments for ones I have to catch up on.

Here is my television shows of 2021 list:

1. Succession (season 3)

2. Mare of Easttown 

3. Only Murders in the Building

4. Yellowjackets

5. All of the Marvel television shows (WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye)

What movies and television make your Best of 2020 list? Let me know which ones I need to check out in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

My Favourite Books of 2021

A new year has begun and that means looking forward but also looking back. I am going to detail my top reads of 2021 before moving on to what is upcoming this year. I'll also have a post going up tomorrow with my favourite in movies and television for the year.

My reading definitely is still suffering due to the pandemic but I still managed to read some amazing books.

These are not in any particular order as that would have been a even harder choice to make.

My Top Ten Books of 2021:

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

2. All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

3. If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

4. Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics

5. Five Little Indians by Michelle Goode

6. Survive the Night by Riley Sager

7. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

8. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

9. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

10. The Guest List by Lucy Folley

These all link to my reviews (where written) if you want to know why I loved each of these books. The ones with no link will be reviewed as soon as possible (hopefully this month).

I'll be sharing my thoughts on my #PopCultureResolution for 2021 and how it all went soon along with the selections I made for this year!

What books did you love this year? Any on my list make your list as well? What books did I miss this year that I absolutely have to make time for in 2022? Let me know in the comments. 

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR

It's a new year and that means a fresh start! I mentioned in a previous post that I really want to use 2022 to get my reading mojo back and focus on things that I really want to be part of so hopefully that can happen. 

I am going to start the year off with some reading in hopes that it will continue for the rest of the year.

Before I talk about what this new year will bring for me reading wise I have to recap December. 

The books that were on my list are (and these were all ebooks):

Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier (goodreads)
Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu (goodreads)
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich (goodreads)
Here's To Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (goodreads)
We Wish You a Merry Grantmas by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
Fan Club by Erin Meyer (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in December:

Hawkeye Volume 2: Little Hits by Matt Fraction and David Aja (goodreads)
Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman by Matt Fraction and David Aja (goodreads)
Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier (goodreads)
If The Fates Allow by Rainbow Rowell (goodreads)
We Wish You a Merry Grantmas by Morgan Matson (goodreads)
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity by Kami Garcia and Jason Badower (goodreads)
Hawkeye Volume 4: Rio Bravo by Matt Fraction and David Aja (goodreads)
Here's To Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (goodreads)

I managed to read eight books in Dec which is excellent. One of my 2022 goals is going to be to dedicate more time to reading so I hope to keep this up. The shorter books definitely helped but hopefully I can keep this pace up.

My #PopCultureResolution book for December was Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier which I managed to read and the reviewed already. The movie was Better Watch Out and that has already been reviewed. #PopCultureResolution is coming back this year and more on that soon!

Here is what I hope to read in January :

Fable by Adrienne Young (goodreads)
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (goodreads)
Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (goodreads)

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

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich (goodreads)
Bad Girls Never Say Die by Jennifer Mathieu (goodreads)
Fan Club by Erin Meyer (goodreads)
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (goodreads)
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month will be released next week when that post goes up.

Next up is an update on my two reading challenges:

I am not doing any new reading challenges this year. My goal is to finish the one from last year so I am posting what I have left to read here.

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:

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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