Thursday, January 26, 2023

2023 TV I Can't Wait To See


I've already talked about the movies I am most looking forward to this year and so I thought I would also share what TV shows I am most looking forward to. 

There are fewer shows that I am anticipating as there will be plenty that we only find out about later in the year. There is also one show that I am the most excited for compared to rhe other.

1. Daisy Jones and the Six

This is my most anticipated show. I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel that this is based on and the casting is perfect. I am obsessed with the fact that this fictional band technically exists now and I cannot wait to have the album in my hands. I am counting down the days to March 3.

2. Succession 

This is one of my favourite shows on television right now. The acting is incredible and the writing is always sharp. I cannot wait to see the fallout from the events of the season three finale.

3. Love and Death

I am intrigued by the cast in this one. It has Jesse Plemmons, Lily Rabe, and Elizabeth Olsen, among others. It details the murder of Betty Gore by Candy Montgomery. 

4. Ted Lasso

This is another show that I cannot wait to see the fallout from the previous season. This show is so wholesome and charming. It is a show that leaves you with a smile - at least normally. 

What shows are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday ... Will They or Won't They

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 Will They Or Won't They by Ava Wilder.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
On screen, they're in love. Off screen, they can't stand each other. Two co-stars with a complex history reunite to film the final season of a beloved paranormal drama in this tension-filled will they won't they romance from the author of How to Fake It in Hollywood.

Lilah Hunter and Shane McCarthy are madly in love— at least, their characters are. As the stars of the hit paranormal TV show Intangible, they spent years pining for each other on-screen… until Lilah ditched the show at the end of season five in hopes of becoming a film star. With no such luck, she’s back to film the much-hyped ninth and final season, in which their characters will get together at last.

But coming back means facing one of the biggest reasons she left: Shane. Ever since their secret behind-the-scenes fling imploded at the end of the first season, the two of them have despised each other.

Now back on set together for the first time in years, with the world’s eyes on them and their post-show careers on the line, they’ll have to grit their teeth and play nice. But under pressure to give Intangible’s fans the happy ending they’ve been waiting for, Lilah and Shane are forced to get closer than ever. And if they’re not careful, they just might get blindsided by one final twist: a real-life happy ending of their own.
I am all about Hollywood set books this year and this new one by Ava Wilder sounds incredible. I love the idea of former co-stars reuniting combined witb enemies to lovers definitely appeals to me.

I also love that the TV show they starred in was paranormal. Hoping it is a vampire show just because that would be fun.

Expected release date - June 27, 2023

Friday, January 20, 2023

2023 Movies I Can't Wait To See


A new year means getting excited about all the possibilities that the new year can bring. These, for me, include the possibility that every upcoming book, movie, or television could be amazing. It is the potential that leaves me excited. With this in mind I decided to create a list of movies that I am most looking forward to seeing this year. These movies do not have trailers and some only have the vaguiest of synopsis but something about them has intrigued me.

These are in no particular order and release dates/year are subject to change.

1. Saltburn

This is the second full length feature from director Emerald Fennell. She made my 'will watch anything from this director' list with Promising Young Woman and I cannot wait to see what she does with Saltburn. Not much is known about the plot except that it focuses on a rich family and is about obsession. It has Roseamund Pike and Barry Keoghan in the cast which only increases my excitement. 

2. Challengers 

Luca Guadagnino directs it and I will automatically watch it. I have really enjoyed his last few movies and this one sounds equally great. It stars Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O' Conner is a story about two tennis players, a rivalry, and what sounds like a bit of a love triangle.

3. May December

This stars Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, and Carles Melton. It focuses on a married couple whose relationship was tabloid fodder as she was his teacher when they got together. An actress comes into their lives to do research for a film about them. This intrusion coincides with the husband grappling with being an empty nester in his late 30s as their children graduate high-school and begin to get ready for college. It sounds like this will cause him to reexamine  the relationship and the events of his youth.

4. Fair Play

This has been called an erotic/corporate thriller that revolves around a woman's promotion at her company sends her partner on a downward spiral that threatens to unravel their engagement. It stars Pheobe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich. I miss erotic thrillers so I am excited to see if this will mean a comeback.

5. Nosferatu

Bill Skarsgard is starring in this remake of the classic vampire tale. It is all about obsession and horror and I cannot wait.

6. Oppenheimer 

Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan teaming up again was reason enough to see it but Cillian Murphy getting the spotlight was an even bigger reason. This is the story  of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb.

7. Renefield

This is a Dracula story told from the perspective of his familiar/servant. I was sold on it thanks to the fantastic trailer and that the cast includes Nicholas Hoult and Nicholas Cage. It looks both hilarious and scary.

8. Flowers of the Killer Moon

This is based on real events and a bestselling book. This true crime story is set in the 1920s and tells the story of the murder of some Osage tribe members. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Jesse Plemmons and should be in consideration come Oscar time.

9. Barbie

This is perhaps the movie I am most curious about. We do not have any real plot details but the fact that Greta Gerwig is involved is enough to get me excited and Margot Robbie looks amazing as Barbie.

I am going to leave it as 9 picks. I am sure there will be many more that I add throughout the year. 

What movies are you looking forward to in 2023? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday ... Kiss The Girl


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 Kiss The Girl by Zoraida Cordova.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A modern tale of unexpectedly falling in love, and finding your voice—the highly anticipated third installment of in the acclaimed and best-selling Meant to Be collection.

Ariel del Mar is one of the most famous singers in the world. She and her sisters—together, known as the band Siren Seven—have been a pop culture phenomenon since they were kids. On stage, wearing her iconic red wig and sequined costumes, staring out at a sea of fans, is where she shines. Anyone would think she’s the girl who has everything.

But lately, she wants more. Siren Seven is wrapping up their farewell tour, and Ariel can’t wait to spend the summer just living a normal life—part of a world she’s only ever seen from the outside. But her father, the head of Atlantica Records, has other plans: begin her breakout solo career immediately, starting with a splashy announcement on a morning talk show.

The night before, Ariel and her sisters sneak out of their Manhattan penthouse for a night of incognito fun at a rock concert in Brooklyn. It’s there that Ariel crosses paths with Eric Reyes, dreamy lead singer of an up-and-coming band. Unaware of her true identity, Eric spontaneously invites her on the road for the summer. And for the first time in her life, Ariel disobeys her father—and goes with him.

Caught between the world she longs for and the one she’s left behind, can Ariel follow her dreams, fall in love, and, somehow, find her own voice?
I love this series that offers up modern twists on the classic Disney stories we love. It has included Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast so far and I am so excited for The Little Mermaid to be next.

Zoraida Cordova is a perfect choice for this in many ways and I love the music infused take to the story that is all about finding your voice. I can't wait to see the nods to the Disney tale we know and love but I am equally excited to see how Zoraida makes it her own.

Expected release date - June 6, 2023

Monday, January 16, 2023

Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Release Date - January 1, 1978

Publisher Website - Harper Collins

Publisher Social Media - Twitter

Pages - 144 pages

My Rating - 4.5/5

**gifted **

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

The powerfully erotic memoir that inspired the legendary film—with an afterword by the author's daughter

Nine and a Half Weeks is a true story so unusual, so passionate, and so extreme in its psychology and sexuality that it will take your breath away.

Elizabeth McNeill was an executive for a large corporation when she began an affair with a man she met in a chance encounter. Their sexual excitement depended on domination and humiliation, and as their relationship progressed they played out increasingly dangerous and elaborate variations on that pattern. By the end, Elizabeth had relinquished all control over her body—and her mind.

With a cool detachment that makes the experiences and sensations she describes all the more frightening in their intensity, Elizabeth McNeill deftly unfolds her story and invites you into the mesmerizing and shocking world of Nine and a Half Weeks—a world you won't soon forget

This review deserves (and needs) to start with a trigger warning. 9 and a Half Weeks is the story of an abusive relationship. It is physically, mentally, and sexually abusive. It is a complicated, complex relationship but an abusive nonetheless. It is told through the prism of the woman who lived it and that lends it a lens that is interesting and biased.

There is something to the matter of fact way that this story is told that lingers with me. We get the sense that Elizabeth was still grappling with the impact that this relationship had on her while writing this novel. It has both the tone of someone deep in the throws of a toxic relationship that they see as something else entirely and someone with the benefit of hindsight. It is called a 'cool detachment' in the synopsis and this feels like the perfect description for the tone of this book. 

There is a romantic thrill to the early stages and this relationship and that is sharply contrasted with the later abuse that occurs. Her lover pushes boundaries in a way she finds sexy and a little dangerous in the beginning. She, at first, likes it. It doesn't take long for those inches he takes to become miles. The abuse doesn't register as such as first because part of her likes giving up control and it creates this hazy, blurry existence for her that quickly spirals out of control. 

The most fascinating part to me was reading how this woman was eased into accepting things she would not have normally accepted. It feels like Stockholm Syndrome brought on by sex and exhilaration. It was a short relationship, lasting just a little over two months, but it is one that definitely left a lasting emotional scar on her. It is a defining experience that I cannot imagine did not permanently change her.

The breaking point, when it comes, is just as swift as the beginning. The author says that she believes she could have ended up dead and I believed that in the end. The way things were progressing could only have led down a path that was dangerous to not only Elizabeth but others. 

Those looking for the erotic read promised in the synopsis may want to look elsewhere. It gets pretty unsexy fairly quickly as it quickly escalates to abusive. The sex scenes are tinged with a sense of dread. It is not so much sexy as it is voyeuristic. The reader knows the wreckage is coming but can't look away. I have not seen the movie made from this book but I cannot imagine it remains sexy for very long either.

I think this novel showcases just how rapidly you can get caught up in something that is damaging and absuive. It adeptly highlights that anyone can find themselves in a situation like this even if they think otherwise. It definitely will be triggering for some, but I found the honesty and vulnerability that Elizabeth shared in her story to be the core of this novel. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday ... The Daydreams

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 Daydreams by Laura Hankin

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
A deliciously entertaining novel about the stars of a popular teen show from the early 2000s--and the reunion special, thirteen years after their scandalous flameout, that will either be their last chance at redemption, or destroy them all for good.

Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won't-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.

Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show's golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah's fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.

But now the fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface--including the real reason behind their downfall.

Will this reunion be a chance to make things right? Or will it be the biggest mess the world has ever seen? No matter what, the ratings will be wild.
This feels like it could be Daisy Jones and the Six-esque which I am very excited about. It is focused on a television show instead of the music scene. 

I am fascinated by the idea of discovering what drama happened behind the scenes and being in the middle of this reunion.

Expected release date - May 2, 2023

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Monthly TBR/ Recap


A new year hopefully means a new focus on getting this blog back on track. Since I majorly fell behind last year I am starting these monthly the lists/recaps from scratch. 

January also has a hint of promise about it. The entire year an unknown question mark that could become anything. I decided to take that notion and make this year all about joy. My reading challenge is about books that make me happy and that is what I want to focus on as I start the reading year. I forsee lots of light romance reads in my future as that is what I feel like embracing.

I have picked a few books to read this month and I hope to finish all of them before Feburay.

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

9 and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill

Six Ways to Write a Love Letter by Jackson Pearce

American Queen by Sierra Simone

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski  *ebook*

I am also including two books I have not gotten yet as they come out TOMORROW.

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

Spare by Prince Harry

I have included the first book in my Hollywood reading challenge. I cannot wait to read Six Ways to Write a Love Letter. It got compared to A Star Is Born and I was immediately sold. 

I have also discovered something that I am hoping will help me keep focused - Bookly (thanks to my friends Kelly and Kim). It has already helped me put aside time each day to focus on reading. It allows me to be accountable and to track my reading time. We will see how it ultimately ends up helping me with my reading journey this year.

Are there books you have picked to read in January? How has your reading year started off in 2023? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Monthly Movie Picks - January 2023


Welcome to a brand new post on my blog. It'll be a monthly post and focus on the new movies I most want to see that month. I am excited to see what movies you are excited for as well.

Here is what I am excited for in January:

1. A Man Called Otto

Release Date: January 6 (limited) / January 13 (wide)

This is not only a remake of a Swedish movie but it is adapted from a book titled A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It has Tom Hanks playing a curmudgeonly man who learns to live again. It looks sweet and worth watching in this typically slower month. 

I have heard good things from early screenings and it has piqued my interest enough to be the only movie releasing this month that I plan on seeing in theatres.

The only other thing I will be going to see will be any potential Oscar movies I haven't seen yet.

What are you most excited to see this month? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

New Year, New Books.

It's a new year and that means reading challenges. I normally do #PopCultureResolutions but I have decided to switch it up this year.

2022 was not a great year for me in a lot of ways so I have decided to make embracing joy my them for 2023. This means actively choosing what makes me happy and putting my energy towards things that will help me be happier.

I also wanted something that was a little bit more low key for me to work towards. 

I kept all this in mind and decided to read 12 books (one a month) that are Hollywood set or Hollywood adjacent in some way. It includes fiction and non-fiction and I have selected a range of newer and older titles.

My picks for this challenge are:

Jan - Six Ways To Write A Love Letter by Jackson Pearce (goodreads)

Feb - Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger (goodreads)

Mar - Strangers In The Night by Heather Webb (goodreads)

Apr - Anthony Perkins: Split Image by Charles Winecoff (goodreads)

May - The Daydreams by Laura Hankin (goodreads)

Jun - Once More With Feeling by Elissa Sussman (goodreads)

Jul - Will They or Won't They by Ava Wilder (goodreads)

Aug - The Lady From The Black Lagoon by Mallory O'Meara (goodreads)

Sep - Tab Hunter Confidential by Tab Hunter and Eddie Muller (goodreads)

Oct - Coreyography by Corey Feldman (goodreads)

Nov - A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (goodreads)

Dec - Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin (goodreads)

This challenge, plus my Goodreads goal of 60 books, are the only ones I am setting for myself this year. I am excited to get started with the first of my Hollywood set reads. I got the Jackson Pearce one as a gift and I cannot wait to get started.

Are you setting any goals or challenges for yourself this year? Let me know in the comments.

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