Monday, April 25, 2022

Summer Reading 2022


The weather is ever so slowly becoming warmer and it has brought to mind frozen cocktails, ice cream, and pool side reads. This time of year is always when my mind starts to drift to the books that I want to read this summer. 

1. Groupies by Sarah Priscus (goodreads)

I immediately wanted to pick this one up after reading the comparisons to Daisy Jones and the Six. The rest of the synopsis immediately sold me. It sort of reminds me of Almost Famous and I cannot wait to devour this in one sitting.

2. By The Book by Jasmine Guillory (goodreads)

This is the second book in the Meant To Be series (the first is If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy). These are modern Disney retellings and the one is Beauty and the Beast retelling. I have loved all of Jasmine's previous books so this is a highly anticipated read for me.

3. Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (goodreads)

I enjoyed We Were Liars and was pleasantly surprised to learn that a prequel novel was going to be release. This sounds like a perfect summer reading choice for those who want a mystery book in their beach bags. I cannot wait to continue the story of the Sinclair family and find out what other secrets they are hiding.

4.Release by Lucy Christopher (goodreads)

This book does not currently have a North America release date, but it is release in the UK/Australia in time for me to read it this summer. I am eagerly awaiting this to arrive in my mailbox as it is the sequel to Stolen (which is one of my favourite books). This is going to continue Gemma's story ten years after her kidnapping.

5. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid  (goodreads)

It just doesn't feel like summer now without a Taylor Jenkins Reid book. I love that Taylor's newest is releasing at the perfect time to be a final summer season read. It revolves around tennis, has a connection to Malibu Rising, and is written by one of my favourite authors. This inclusion should surprise nobody.

6. Misfit by Elle Kennedy (goodreads)

I have enjoyed many of the Elle Kennedy books that I have read and this one definitely caught my interest when I read the synopsis. This boarding school set read sounds perfect for a summer read and I am already looking forward to meeting this cast of characters.

7. Six Ways to Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce (goodreads)

This was compared to A Star is Born so I was immediately interested. I have enjoyed previous books by Jackson so I was pretty excited when this was announced. The synopsis definitely sounds like it'll be a book I enjoy. 

8. I Kissed a Girl by Janet Alexander (goodreads)

This one sounds adorable! It revolves around an actress and a makeup artist falling in love on the set of her newest creature feature. If you gravitate towards fun and romance filled in the summer this may also be one you want to check out.

9. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (goodreads)

This one has come highly recommend to me by a bunch of people (specially my friend Kelly) and I have decided that this summer is when I finally read this one. It  certainly starts off with a interesting premise as the main character randomly marries another woman while in Las Vegas.

10.  More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez (goodreads)

This is for those of you who want a mystery read to help you get that summer sunburn. This featuresa woman married to two men and when the men find out one of them kills the other. Obviously things are not what they appear and there is a mystery to figure out but that premise instantly sold me.

What's on your list for this summer? What are some of your favourite places to read when it gets nice outside? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Elle Kennedy New Book Announcement

I am very excited to share some amazing news for those of you who are fans of Elle Kennedy's books! She is not only releasing a new book but that book is the start of a new series. The cherry on top of this exciting news sundae? The release date is not that far away!

Misfit is the first book in the Prep series and it is definitely going to appeal to those of you who have loved Elle Kennedy's previous books. It definitely sparked my interest after reading the synopsis. 
Finding out your mom is marrying some rich dude you’ve never met is enough to make any eighteen-year-old guy’s head spin. But for RJ SHAW, it only gets worse: he’s being sent to Sandover Prep for senior year. If there’s one place a misfit hacker like RJ doesn’t belong, it’s an ivy-covered all-boys boarding school for rich delinquents.

RJ knows his stay at Sandover will be temporary. Which means there’s no point making friends or trying to fit in. But the plan to remain antisocial goes awry when he meets a gorgeous girl in the woods on campus. SLOANE TRESSCOTT is pure temptation, with a sharp tongue and an ice princess attitude RJ’s determined to crack. Except there’s a catch. Sloane is the one girl he is forbidden from touching.

The headmaster’s daughter.

Good thing RJ doesn’t believe in rules. Sure, Sloane insists she’s swearing off guys this year, but their connection is impossible to deny. He wants her bad, and he’s going to win her over if it kills him.

Unless her ex-boyfriend kills him first.

DUKE, the ruling king of Sandover, will stop at nothing to get rid of his competition. Luckily, RJ’s unwittingly made some friends—his new stepbrother FENN, a pretty boy with a self-destructive streak; LAWSON, self-proclaimed agent of chaos; and SILAS, the All-American Good Guy who can’t actually be as nice as he seems. 

If RJ wants to survive prep school and win Sloane’s heart, he’ll need to adapt—and fast.
How fun does this sound? I cannot wait to meet this cast of characters and figure out who might be the focus of the other books in this series.

You can preorder this at your favourite retailers and it'll be ready for you during prime beach read season. It sounds like it'll pair perfectly with a frozen cocktail of some kind while enjoying the sun.

Amazon // Apple // Kobo // Nook 

Are you counting down the days until July 26th like I am? Do you love books set in boarding schools? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday ... A Merry Little Meet Cute

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 A Merry Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Cowritten by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone—a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor. 
I love most of Julie Murphy's previous stuff but her adult stuff has been particularly enjoyable. Her next is being teased as a raunch-com and I am definitely excited to get my hands on it.

This is set during Christmas and I love romances set during the holidays. This one sounds absolutely delightful. It seems like a fun mix of raunchy and romantic.

This doesn't come out until the fall, but join me in (im)patiently waiting for this to be released. 

Expected release date - September 20, 2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
Release Date - May 5, 2020
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. A sweet and charming coming-of-age story that explores friendship, love, and coming out.

Shy and softhearted Charlie Spring sits next to rugby player Nick Nelson in class one morning. A warm and intimate friendship follows, and that soon develops into something more for Charlie, who doesn't think he has a chance.

But Nick is struggling with feelings of his own, and as the two grow closer and take on the ups and downs of high school, they come to understand the surprising and delightful ways in which love works.
There are some books that leave you feeling happy and light. They are a tiny jolt of sunshine and offer you exactly what you need when you read them. Heartstopper is exactly this kind of book. 

This is a snapshot of your first crushes and all the highs and lows that come with them. It captures the thrill of crushing on someone with the anxiety of if they will like you back. Charlie and Nick's tentative and adorable steps to liking each other are instantly recognizable to those who have experienced the same emotions. 

This cast of characters is instantly loveable. It is the type of story where you need to be invested in the characters and this definitely succeeds in making you care. I left volume one wanting to both know more about the characters and continue the story.  

A graphic novels artwork can be flashy and eye catching but if it doesn't match the story being told it will not work. This has a fresh and clean art style. It allows the story to take central focus while still offering so some artwork. It works with the plot and enhances it where it needs to. 

The sweetness of the story is woven with some storyline that have the potential to dig deeper and make the next volumes feel a little more heavy. Any good romantic plot line has obstacles to overcome before the couple can have their happy ending and I expect this to be no different. I also anticipate that this will remain charming and sweet throughout.

If you are looking for a fast read that will compel you to pick up the next volume as soon as you can and leave a smile on your face I highly recommend this one. This is one of the few graphic novels that I will continue on with and check out the second volume.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Open Book by Jessica Simpson


Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Release Date - February 4, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Jessica tells of growing up in 1980s Texas where she was sexually abused by the daughter of a family friend, and of unsuccessfully auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club at age 13 with Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling before going on to sign a record deal with Columbia and marrying 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey.

Along the way, she details the struggles in her life, such as the pressure to support her family as a teenager, divorcing Lachey, enduring what she describes as an emotionally abusive relationship with musician John Mayer, being body-shamed in an overly appearance-centered industry, and going through bouts of heavy drinking. But Simpson ends on a positive note, discussing her billion-dollar apparel line and marriage with professional football star Eric Johnson, with whom she has three children. 
I, like many people, had preconceived ideas about Jessica Simpson before picking up this book. There were things about her that I assumed I knew. Open Book showed me that many of my assumptions were incorrect and that I had done a disservice to Jessica in making those assumptions.

Jessica is someone that I am adding to the list of female celebrities of the 90s that I feel society owes an apology to. Many of us who were teenagers in this time period are still unlearning a lot of that conditioning that shaped our viewpoints of other women at the time. Jessica herself seems to struggle with this at times. She is very open about wanting to embrace her body and yet still being desperate to be skinnier. It may seem like a mixed message (and it totally is) but it shows how deeply society can impact how we view others and ourselves. 

The first thing I took away is how funny Jessica is. She absolutely laughs at herself, doesn't take herself seriously and that makes her endearing as well. She is incredibly insightful, especially about herself, and this means that you feel like she has confided in you the way she would a friend.

The honestly that she shares is brutal at times. She isn't afraid to display the messy parts of who she is and I cannot over emphasize the mess part. She bares everything and a lot of it doesn't paint her in the best light.  She is not perfect, and I think she'd be the first to tell you that. She's also full of contradictions as a lot of the words she is saying do not always match her actions. However, the frankness in which she shares the details of things like the ending of her marriage and her struggles with alcohol are what makes the whole thing work. She is sharing a part of herself that allows the reader to connect with her no matter how different their life experience. She also turns an insightful gaze on the people in her life and some of them do not come off so great either (looking at you John Mayer). 

There are experiences and events in her life that are obvious touchstones. Things that shape and define her. These include a death of a family member she was close to, her marriage and divorce, and the birth of her children just to name some of them. You can tell each of these has impacted her in profound ways and she is open about the fact that she needed therapy to work through it all. I appreciated that she highlights this point through her book. You don't have to do it alone and shouldn't.

This is Jessica's truth and with that knowledge we do have to admit that some things will been viewed through a biased prism. She is telling us what she perceives to be true. There are definitely things in here that people will judge her for. She does show all the messy parts of herself as I said before. There are things she is still hopefully going to learn and grow from. I took these parts of the story as proof that we're all works in progress. We all learn from or mistakes, but that doesn't mean we won't make new ones.

I left this book with a greater respect for Jessica Simpson and what she has been though. I think it takes a certain kind of bravery to let people see all these unflattering parts of yourself. Nonfiction books are strange to review as you can't really talk about them without addressing those within them. They are real people and that feels like judging them as much as you are the book. Do I think everyone will like Jessica Simpson after reading this? Not at all. Do I think people's opinion of her will have changed from what it was before they read it? Absolutely. She shares so much of herself that it has to. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR

This is a little bit late as it's been a crazy beginning to April. My birthday was on the 3rd and I have been promoted at work and have moved into my new position as of the first of April. It's exciting but an adjustment which means I have wanted to sleep more instead of reading because I am so tired at the end of the day.

I unfortunately failed the Taylor Swift readathon as I had one book left to read. I am going to read it still but I am sad that I didn't complete it in March. 

Before I talk about what April will bring for me reading wise I have to recap March. 

The books that were on my list are:

Open Book by Jessica Simpson (goodreads)
Anatomy by Dana Schwartz  (goodreads)
Marry Me by Bobby Crosby (goodreads)
Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (goodreads)

I also had some ebooks that I hoped to read:

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
Gallant by V.E Schwab (goodreads)
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (goodreads)
The Club by Ellery Lloyd (goodreads)

Here is what I managed to read in March:

Marry Me by Bobby Crosby (goodreads)
Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (goodreads)
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (goodreads)
Open Book by Jessica Simpson (goodreads)
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (goodreads)

I managed to read five books this month. I am proud of that because I started a new position at work and had a lot going on life wise.

My #PopCultureResolution book for March was Saga: Volume One by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, which I managed to read and will review soon. The movie was A Star is Born and that has already been reviewed.

Here is what I hope to read in April :

A Night to Die For by Lisa Schroeder (goodreads)
Anatomy by Dana Schwartz  (goodreads)

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

The Club by Ellery Lloyd (goodreads)
Birds of California by Katie Cotugno (goodreads)
Groupies by Sarah Priscus (goodreads)
How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder (goodreads)

My #PopCultureResolution picks for this month have been adjusted a bit. I was supposed to read Heartstopper this month but my hold at the library has still not come in yet. I am going to jump to my next pick instead and circle back to Heartstopper hopefully next month. That means the choices are Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda. The movie is On the Town. I am definitely excited for On the Town and I have already read Monstress so expect a review soon.

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. I have made no progress, but hopefully I can scratch these off this summer.

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 am happy to say I can cross another one off the list wish me finishing off Open Book.

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A Glass of Wine at the Movies - A Look Ahead at Awards Season

The 2022 Oscars are behind us and with that we are going to look at the movies coming out in the next year that I am personally excited about and may end up having Oscar buzz. Since these are films that I am personally looking forward to seeing you may notice a few films missing from the list that are already being discussed.

These films, of course, may not end up receiving any nominations at all. It is way too early for actual predictions. This is, instead, a list of movies that I am going to ensure to see as part of my goal to watch all of the Best Picture nominees again this year.

In no particular order here is my list of the top ten potential Oscar movies of 2022.

 1. Elvis

People tend to roll their eyes when you say that a biopic is going to be nominated. The history of the Academy though tells us they do tend to nominate them a lot. They also tend to like musical biopics. This has Austin Butler playing Elvis and if rumours are true his performance is a star making one. It also has Baz Lurhmann directing which makes me more interested as I love many of his other films. 

2. Babylon

This is set in Hollywood and is rumoured to be around the time of the switch from silent films to 'talkies'. There are not many other plot details but reactions to test screenings have been positive and Damien Chazelle movies tend to create some buzz. 

3. Don't Worry Darling

Olivia Wilde's follow up to Booksmart is one I have been looking forward to since it was announced. It's described as a psychological thriller in which 'a 1950s housewife whose reality begins to crack, revealing a disturbing truth underneath'. It has the potential to be a critical and box office success due to its cast which include Florence Pugh and Harry Styles.

4. Bones and All

This is based off a novel and it sounds like it might have some horror influence so it may have a harder time getting acknowledged by the Academy. I am including it because I am definitely excited to see but it is the next film from director Luca Guadagnino. It also stars Timothee Chalamet and the last time these two worked together it resulted in a lot of Oscar nominations. 

5. My Policeman

This is adapted from the book Bethan Roberts. It's a love story of sorts and the cast is certainly buzzworthy. The dual time line (spanning 40 years) is also interesting. It revolves a man and a woman both in love with the same policeman set in a time where two men couldn't openly be together. 

6. Rustin

This tells the story of Bayard Rustin, a gay, civil rights activist, who organized the 1963 March on Washington. It stars Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin and that was enough to pique my interest.  

7. Till.

This follows the mother of Emmitt Till and the events after his death from what I have read. Not a whole lot is released just yet but the brief synopsis I could find mentions that it follows her pursuit of justice for her son and it leads to the creation of the civil rights movement. 

8. The Fabelmans

This is mostly here because it is one of the buzziest movies for this upcoming season. This is Steven Spielberg's sort of autobiographical movie about his childhood. I expect it'll get compared to Belfast a lot (Kenneth Branagh's autobiographical childhood movie) during the season. I like the cast (Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play his parents). I am intrigued to find out what the plot of this actually ends up being and what they decide to focus on.

9. Killers of the Flower Moon

This is probably the movie with the most buzz right now. It's got Leonardo DiCaprio reuniting with Martin Scorsese so that already has people's attention. This is adapted from a true crime book so the true story nature could also be a drawn. I expect this one to get plenty of nominations. 

10. I Wanna Dance With Somebody 

Another biopic on my list. This one focuses on Whitney Houston and has Naomi Ackie in the lead role. I hope this movie celebrates her amazing career and her music most of all. The Academy seems to like nominating musical biopics so I wouldn't be surprised to see Naomi Ackie up for Best Actress.

What movies do you think might be in discussions for award season? What ones are you excited to see? Let me know in the comments.

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