Saturday, January 20, 2018

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 Saturday.

Lots of exciting things to share this week! It's been a fun week of me flailing with my friends about a wide variety of stuff, but the biggest freak out definitely happened because of Zac Efron.


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile begins production 

Zac Efron shared this photo on his Instagram account and basically caused me to have a bunch of discussions about it with my friends. We all had a lot to say about this photo.

copyright @ Zac Efron (linked from his Instagram)

Zac is, of course, playing Ted Bundy (if the 'Meet Ted' caption didn't already clue you in). This offers up the first look of him in character. The movie started shooting this past Thursday according to the director (and what I assume Zac was acknowledging with this photo).


Porcelain Wolf Bath Bombs

I recently stumbled upon this bath bomb company that makes these amazing sounding horror movie inspired bath bombs. I pretty much want to try all of them. It's such a unique premise and offers up some pretty interesting sounding bath bombs.

Here are a few of my favourites from the website:

Prom Queen (inspired by Carrie)

According to the website it smells like Caramel Apple and will turn your water a blood red as it dissolves. The dark red part on top is a 'coconut glycerine soap'.

JAWSome (inspired by Jaws)

This one has a scent called  Lathyrus Odoratus Beach Breeze and it comes with a cute little Life Savers candy attached to the box. It starts off turning your water a pretty blue colour until the dark red inside starts to seep out giving the 'shark attack' effect. I was able to get one at Hot Topic and am fully in love with these bath bombs now that I have used it. It's a creepy (yet fun) effect and perfect for those who are horror movie fans. 

The Oogie Man (inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas)

The scent listed for this one is Gummy Worms which I am guessing is fruity and sweet. It also apparently comes with a pack of gummy worms candy for you to eat while enjoying this bath bomb. I really love the fun little touches (like the lights around the box) to the packaging for these.

The Nightmare (inspired by Nightmare On Elm Street)

The scent listed for this one is Cotton Candy and it turns your bath a blood red colour. The bomb itself is made to look like Freddy Kruger's sweater and the slashes on the packaging are a nice touch.

I am hoping that Hot Topic gets more of these in as I only saw JAWSome and Arachnophobia while I was there. These seem to be harder to ship to Canada, so I may have to enlist the help of a friend to get some of these.

New York Magazine's Best Performers Shot Horror Film series

I stumbled across this purely by accident. I noticed a link to New York Magazine's list of the Ten Best Performers of 2017. They celebrated by shooting some horror inspired shorts with the actors on the list. 

Actors like Timothee Chalamet, Nicole Kidman, Saoirse Ronan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Daniel Kaluuya (just to name a few) made the list and offer up chilling performances in videos entitled things like "The Vampire", "The Cannibal", and "The Psycho Killer" (so most of them are playing off horror movie tropes).  

Timothee Chalamet as The Cannibal

They all are excellent and worth a watch if you're at all interested. You can see all of the videos by visiting the New York Times website (the videos will auto play). They are only a few minutes each (at most) each offers up their own brand of chills.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes

The Key To Everything by Paula Stokes
Release Date - January 9, 2018
Publisher Website - self published 
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  328 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.

To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.

Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?

Filed with friendship, romance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a book for anyone who's ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.

Contains explicit content. Recommended for ages 16 and up. 
Paula Stokes has more than proven herself capable of writing within various genres so I was intrigued when I heard she'd be writing her first New Adult novel. The Key To Everything ended up being a read that, along with being sexy, ignites your travel lust. It also showcases Paula's versatility as an author along with being a quick, fun read.

The travel parts of the novel are incredibly appealing. They read as more realistic than some of the other novels that have I've read with travel elements in them. The characters have to use frequent travel points, more economic means of travel, and stay in more modest accommodations in order to make their travel plans happen. It made the story feel more relatable, and made the travel seem more accessible than it has in previous novels I've read. There is still that element of wanderlust and wish fulfillment but it is painted in a more accessible way. I wish the culture and history would have been explored more, but it just entices me to do some of my own research on the locations mentioned.

The romance is both a huge part of the character development that Oakland goes through and smoking hot. There is scorching chemistry between the characters that is evident in every interaction they share. Those who read the synopsis may think that there is a bit of a triangle, but it really is not one. At least, not in the way you might think or expect. It's really more about Oakland's character arc and how she grows as a person due to the experiences she is having. The connection between the characters is just a cute bonus that adds to the novels charm.

The friendship in this novel between Oakland and Morgan is just as important as the romance. Morgan and Oakland balance each other and push each other in a lot of ways. Oakland's journey would not have been complete without Morgan. Even when there was friction in the friendship, I always felt like they would be there for each other. It was nice to see this kind of friendship and have it take such a vital role in a New Adult novel.

The real heart of this novel is Oakland's journey. She has to reconcile some things about herself and have some self discovery while on this trip. She becomes so fixated on what she thinks she should want that she ignores what is right in front of her. This fixation makes her act recklessly but I think the fact that she wouldn't make my choices is what I loved most about this novel. They choices she makes on her journey felt right for the character and that, for me, made all the difference.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Paula Stokes writing New Adult novels as I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I highly recommend The Key Of Everything for anyone who wants a New Adult read with a strong character arc. It's a perfect book for those wanting a little New Adult sexiness but still want a great plot that focuses on the characters.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Waiting On Wednesday .... Stay Sweet

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 Stay Swee by Siobhan Vivian

Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
From the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best for friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
This sounds like a perfect summer read to enjoy with some ice cream. It's got female friendships, potential for romance, and a synopsis that invokes summer so easily.

I am excited to read this because it seems like it really focuses on female empowerment and love that the ice cream shop has always been owned and ran by local girls.

Expected release date - April 24, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Release Date - January 16, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
Disappearances, murder, boarding schools, and romance. Truly Devious has all the makings of a great YA mystery read. It starts with a intense first chapter and quickly sets up what is an intriguing mystery. That is, however, all this book really does - it sets up the next two installments in this series..

This is the type of book that is really a small piece of a larger story arc. This installment doesn't wrap up any plot points in a nice little bow. It doesn't have a conclusion by the end of the novel. It's not a novel that could stand on its own. It does, however, set up the next two books in this series rather well. This means that the overarching plot is only moved forward a bit, and that pacing may feel slower to some people as a result. It's a story that involves patience to reach the payoff, but the potential is there for it to be worth the investment..

Stevie Bell is pretty much anyone who is interested in true crime. She listens to true crime podcasts. She analyzes and categorizes her surroundings. She's smart and a little awkward. You'll pretty much love her immediately. She uses her mind to work out problems, and get out of situations. I am eager to see that continue to grow and her have a battle of wills with "Truly, Devious" as the story progresses.

Part of what makes the mystery element of this novel work is the setting. Ellingham Academy is filled with tunnels, hidden rooms, and a feeling of isolation. Locked room mysteries (aka mysteries where the suspect cannot be an outsider) are some of my favourites and this one has that feel. The remoteness of the school, mixed with the overall creepy atmosphere make the logical suspects those within the school. It creates an instant case of unease because one of the characters we're getting to know is, obviously, hiding something. This element of the story is done incredibly well with the tone being perfectly captured.

The two interconnected mysteries compliment each other seamlessly, and increases the chance for a least one of them to pull off a genuine surprise twist. I liked the 'flashback' chapters filling in the older mystery while we saw the pieces to this new mystery start to fall into place. It's done well and helps add to the atmosphere of the novel.

Mystery fans will delight in having two puzzles to unravel and eagerly theorize possible suspects until the next book is released. I think this series might be one to binge read in one sitting, but fans eager for another novel from Maureen will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews)

Only one book to share with you this week and it is one I borrowed from my local library. I decided to read it because of Rebecca Serle's recommendation to check out this book.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson (goodreads)

What bookish goodies made their way into your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

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 Saturday.

I hope 2018 has been treating everyone well! We may only be a couple weeks into 2018 but I already have quite a few things to be super excited about.


The End Of The F***ing World

This new extremely dark and humourous Netflix show is incredibly binge worthy. You'll fly through this series far too quickly and immediately want more. The less you know going in the better, but be aware that the emphasis in the darkly funny part of the description is definitely on the dark.

I am going to be doing a full review for the blog so I won't say too much here, but this is possibly the one Netflix show I don't want to have a follow up season. I highly recommend it for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon.

Every Day Trailer

Here is where I admit I have not read Every Day. I know, I know. That is going to have to change SOON because this trailer is INCREDIBLE.

It is romantic and unique and immediately made me start thinking. I am adding the book to my list for 2018 and hope to get to it before the movie comes out (and the movie tie-in edition is actually rather pretty).


Thirst Aid Kit Podcast (link) 

This podcast was all over my Twitter timeline this week thanks to the fact that these amazing ladies interviewed Chris Evans. The interview is adorable, so give it a listen, but I also finished that episode wanting to binge the rest of this podcast.

This podcast looks at all the swoon worthy celebs who make us 'thirsty' and offers up a lot of laughs along the way (if the Chris Evans episode is any indication). It's a Buzzfeed podcast and one you should check out if you spend time dishing on hot Hollywood guys with your friends.

What are you obsessed with this week?

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - I, Tonya

I, Tonya

Rating: 14A

Director: Craig Gillespie

Language: English

Length:  121 minutes

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Viewing Method: Regular Theatre Screening

Synopsis: Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked––and checkered––glory.

**purchased ticket to review on my own**

Anyone who remembers the assault on Nancy Kerrigan may feel that there is nothing new that could be said about it, and they would be right. I, Tonya is a darkly humourous movie that loses a little bit of steam by asking you to feel sorry for someone who, depending on whose version of events you believe, I am not certain we should feel sorry for.

The movie never attempts to clarify what Harding knew, or didn't know, about the attack. It doesn't present any version of events as the truth. The movie is mostly based off interviews with Harding, and Gillooly with each giving contradictory versions of what happened. It, therefore, ends up being a 'he said/she said' narrative where everyone points fingers at the other. Everyone has their version of the truth, but everyone knows that the real truth is usually somewhere in between.

Harding is shown in a sympathetic light. Abused by both her mother and husband (both of whom deny the abuse allegations), it is easy to feel sympathy for her. The abuse she is shown to have suffered is horrible, especially the childhood verbal abuse by her mother. The movie also, however, includes the fact that Kerrigan's practice location and times were found written on a piece of paper in Harding's hand writing. It reminds you at every turn that all of these characters are unreliable narrators of their own stories.

Margot Robbie gives a transformative performance that, along with Allison Janney's biting performance, stood out during this movie. I could tell that she put in the time, and effort to get this performance right. She physically transformed and ensured that she got the mannerisms pitch perfect. Her performance is big and showy in a way that matches the loud and showy tone of the movie. It's a performance that fits into this setting effortlessly.

Sebastian Stan has the thankless role of Jeff Gillooly, Tonya's ex-husband. He does great work in the role of someone you are supposed to dislike immensely. He was equally capable as the more mild mannered guy telling his version of events, and the violent, triggered temper nightmare of Harding's version. The movie also makes the unforgivable sin of putting Sebastian Stan in that awful mustache.

I love movies that break the 'fourth wall' and have the characters talk directly to the audience. When this is done effectively it is a brilliant narration choice, and I, Tonya uses it to perfection. The 'audience as interviewer' feel that the movie has certainly lends itself to using this narration convention. It also provides much of the humourous moments of the movie. I had mixed feelings on some of the humour, especially the moments that occur during rather graphic spousal violence, but if you like your humour with bite than this hits all those notes.

I, Tonya is, ultimately, a movie made better by the performances found within it. The movie itself may not have anything new or different to say about Tonya Harding, but the performances, along with the extremely dark humour, make it worth the watch.

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