It’s my favorite end of the month activity! Actually, I’m a few days early this month because we’re getting ready to head out of town on vacation and I want to make sure I get this post written. I decided to make my recommendation lists even longer each month by adding a podcast segment after my consumed books, movies, and tv shows. Might as well just let you know what I’m feeding my brain in every area of entertainment!
Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg
Rating: 3 Stars
This is the third and final book in this series. I rated the first book (Girl Online) 5 stars. I gave the second book (Girl Online: On Tour) 4 stars. And this one gets a measly 3 star rating. The third book is about, you guessed it – going solo. It’s about the main character, Penny, getting back to her regular life post-famous musician boyfriend. The storyline focuses mainly around Penny’s regular friends and the drama in their lives. It’s a little bit boring and slow with a neat and tidy ending that I didn’t particularly love. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise fairly good series.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Rating: 5 Stars
Once again, a book has proven how much I absolutely adore a relationship that begins over the written word. Especially when it involves a little mystery in who is writing those words. This book is about a teenage girl, Bailey, who has a deep connection with an anonymous online friend, “Alex.” Without telling him, she decides to move cross country to live with her dad in the same town Alex lives and hopes to sleuth her way into figuring out who he is without the risk of an actual meet up. In the meantime, she gets a summer job and develops an interesting relationship with her co-worker, Porter. I’m sure you can guess who Porter ends up being. While it’s very much a given in books like these, I still completely delight in seeing two characters fall for each other not only through letters/emails/chats, but in person at the same time – without knowing who the other really is. I loved the deep character development of both Bailey and Porter and the things they had to overcome to trust each other with who they were. Read this book, seriously. I loved it.
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead}
Rating: 3.5 Stars
This is the story of a very poor Countess who is desperately trying to get out of a love-less arranged marriage. She pretends to be her maid and joins the The Glittering Court, where she is trained in what it’s like to be high bred, with the end goal of a finding a well to do husband in a newly pioneered land. She has to pretend not to know anything, while also competing with fellow women to earn the highest jewel rating and therefore getting the best husband. Of course Adelaide doesn’t want to follow the rules and ends up falling for the forbidden man who recruited her and knew of her true identity from the start. This book almost feels like a combination of four or five shorter books. A lot happens. Very little of the book is actually about The Glittering Court, so petty as it may seem, the title bothers me. But overall it was a mildly intriguing read. I didn’t love it, but it did keep my interest.
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Rating: 4 Stars
It took me six months to read this book. If you look back on a post in January or February, you’ll see that it was one of my main goals to finish this book. Well, it finally happened. I’m always pretty slow with nonfiction because fiction just calls to me so much more strongly! But I LOVED Niequist’s book Bread and Wine, so I was hoping this would hold my attention in the same way. And it did – at first. The first few chapters felt SO MUCH like my life. I felt so connected and extremely eager to read this book and learn how to be more present in my life. But the middle of this book just lost all of its magic for me. The chapter topics were all over the place and felt so unimportant. But she pulled it all back together at the end, enough for me to still give it a 4 star rating overall. It didn’t change my life, but it did make me think.
Dear Thing by Julie Cohen
Rating: 3.5 Stars
This was an interesting read about a long term married couple that was childless despite so, so many attempts. The husband Ben, had a best friend Romily, who was a huge part of his and his wife Claire’s life. Secretly in love with Ben, Romily decided to offer herself as a surrogate to Ben and Claire. With a whole lot of mixed emotions, you see how Romily and Claire build a friendship that eventually is destroyed with Claire finally realized how in love Romily is with Ben. And how much Romily loves the baby growing inside of her because it’s part her and part the man she’s loved forever. Despite her best efforts not to. There’s a lot of packed feeling and difficult decisions that are made in this book. I enjoyed how much each character grew and how the story ended.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Rating: 3 Stars
This is the story of overweight, introverted, crafty Molly and her seemingly perfect twin sister Cassie. Despite what you would assume, Molly and Cassie are best friends, even though they’re so different. Cassie ends up meeting the girl of her dreams and wants to set Molly up with her best friend, Will. A lot of this book focuses on how Molly wants to fit in, but also really struggles with finding her own identity and accepting that she likes herself, despite what other people might think. In the middle of all her friend drama, she forms an easy friendship with her new co-worker Reid. I loved watching their story unfold and really could have done without all the extra sister/friend mess.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Rating: 4 Stars
Another third and final book in a series. I love reading series, though I definitely prefer when they’re already out when I find them! Waiting is the worst. I thought this was a fitting end to this particular trilogy. It’s always a little less exciting when the guy and the girl are already together. But their relationship is fun and true and I enjoy reading about that too! This story focuses pretty heavily on Lara Jean’s dad and his soon-to-be wife’s upcoming wedding. I liked the book because it was like returning to an old friend. Nothing epically grand about it, but good nonetheless.
Flower by Elizabeth Craft
Rating: 4 Stars
I’ve been waiting quite awhile to read this book by one of my favorite podcasters, Elizabeth Craft. Craft is a tv writer and producer and I kept thinking while I read Flower that it was really reading more like a screenplay than a well developed novel, just hitting a lot of the dialog and interactions between characters. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was noticeable. This story is about Charlotte – smart, driven, and focused on staying away from boys and not repeating the mistakes of every other woman in her family. She meets Tate, a famous musician and is immediately attracted. She doesn’t know who he is and is pretty upset when she finds out. This book is all about the constant give and take the characters have. It’s messy and a bit frustrating. Charlotte is willing to give up everything for Tate after barely knowing him, which feels so against her character from the beginning of the book. I liked the book, it was a fast read. But it definitely had a few flaws that kept it from being a 5 star rating for me.
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Rating: 4 Stars
I have to say that Amazon Prime’s Kindle First program is pretty awesome. I love getting that email at the beginning of each month with my list of free books to pick from. I usually wait until later in the month to read reviews before making my choice. This month’s was a winner! Stillhouse Lake is about a family of a serial killer that is constantly on the run from the victim’s families and internet trolls that are determined to destroy them because they were associated with the murderer. I did get a little sick of reading about how paranoid and on guard they had to be. I got it, I didn’t need it repeated a thousand times in the course of the book. But the story was fast paced and thrilling, with a little bit of mystery. I’m excited to see that there will eventually be a second book and better conclusion to the family’s story.
I’m feeling pretty indifferent about Allied. It was entertaining enough, I suppose. I don’t regret watching it. But nothing special either.
I knew absolutely nothing about this movie when I made Greg watch it with me. Judging from the photo above, I just assumed it was going to be some sort of hilarious comedy. Well…it wasn’t. I guess small parts of it made me laugh, but overall it was pretty serious and mildly disturbing. Like all those kids digging up their mother’s grave, mourning her open casket on the bus, and then lighting her body on fire to cremate her the way that she wanted to be… But the story was definitely original and I was pretty captivated by the characters.
We went as a family to see this Father’s Day weekend. I really liked Wonder Woman was a character. She was so innately good and it would be hard not to adore her. But the movie as a whole was kind of long and bland for me.
Big, big WOW to this movie. Lion was amazing. They cast the most perfectly adorable and intensely sad looking little boy for the first half of the movie. What a tear jerking true story!! I really loved everything about this movie. It was so intensely good.
TV – Together
We watched the first two episodes of Legion. It was a lot for my tired mind to handle. Very much a sensory overload kind of show. Which was the point. I’m not sure if the craziness eventually settles down. I’m not sure if we’ll continue watching or not. And side note, Dan Steven’s American accent feels very, very strange to me. Not loving it.
We watched this entire season in the last few weeks. I’m still not really sure what to think about it. I think it’s kind of supposed to be a comedy? It felt a lot like Master of None, in which each episode was kind of its own entity. There wasn’t a huge overlap in what was happening from one episode to the next. But Master of None did it WAY better. Overall, though, Atlanta got some pretty big unexpected laughs from me.
The new season started up and we only watched the first episode. Orphan Black was so incredible in the first season and just got so muddled up after that. I still watch because it fascinates me how Tatiana Maslany can play so many different characters SO perfectly. But I think Greg has basically no interest in it anymore.
We just started this the other day. Again, not sure what to think of it! We’re clearly running very low on tv shows to watch together. I think this show will maybe be good? But maybe more the kind of show I’d watch on my own.
TV – Alone
Okay, another quick reminder before you think I watch way too much tv. I do watch too much tv, BUT I only watch while I’m sewing. And as I was trying to get back on track with work during summer school this month, I watched a lot of tv!
I binged Royal Pains about two years ago and somehow missed that they had a final season. So I picked that up again and loved how they tied up everything so sweetly. This is such a lighthearted and happy show that was always interesting and funny to watch. I’m going to miss it.
I got pretty sick of this show near the end. I don’t know, everyone just kept talking about how amazing it was and I didn’t really feel that way. I liked it, but it wasn’t worth all the hype it was getting. But I was running out of things to watch, so finally finished up the season. Those were a couple of very emotionally packed episodes! I’m glad I went back to it and now I’m looking forward to next season.
Still love it! Such a good show. I couldn’t believe that tomorrow is already the season finale. It just started back up at the end of April! I’m sad. 🙁
I watched the entire last season in two days last week. This show is so utterly ridiculous. And yet I can’t stop watching. (Greg gave up like three seasons ago.) It’s just insane how many crazy life threatening things happen in Scandal. But…I like it.
Another two day one season binge. I was hoping I’d like this as much as E’s The Royals. It was good, but not amazing. I wasn’t expecting all the crazy cult stuff that most of the show focused on. I also didn’t really buy any authenticity from the male lead, Kyle. But I really loved Megan’s character!
As I run out of more exciting things to watch, I’ve been trying to catch up with things I gave up on in the last year or two. I watched three episodes of The 100 yesterday and I just can’t do it anymore. I’m giving it up for good. I loved it at the beginning and now I literally cannot stand to see another minute of it. Bleh.
Okay, I’ll try and keep this segment relatively brief, mostly because I just listen to the same couple of podcasts every week. I’m mostly caught up on them, so appreciate the excitement of looking forward to a new one downloading each week. I’m not listening as much as I used to, but I still don’t go a day without at least one podcast in my ear.
Still one of my absolute favorites. The proof is that I’ve listened to almost 300 episodes of it. 🙂 Funny, food related topics are covered in each episodes. They’re pretty short, they’re entertaining. I love it.
Front Porch with the Fitzes
Another favorite. I anxiously await listening to the new one each Tuesday morning. Just a family sitting around talking every week. It’s so funny. I wish I was part of their family!
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
I listen to this one the most because I’m not yet caught up with it. Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth (Craft) talk each week about happiness hacks, try this at home tips, personality types, and more. It’s such a positive focused podcast and they always have so many fun things to talk about. I highly recommend.
That Sounds Fun
This is a new one I started recently. Actually, she had a month long Christmas special that I listened to in December. The host, Annie, just talks to a different person each week about their lives. She’s entertaining and positive.
Okay, this is maybe my favorite podcast of all. I LOVE Wednesdays when I get a new Popcast episode. Knox and Jamie are just so funny together! I’m not caught up on their almost 200 episodes, though I’ve been listening to recent ones for months now. It’s good. Especially if you’re highly immersed in pop culture already.
The Girl Next Door
I still try to keep up with the newest episodes of this. Just two neighbors (no longer neighbors) chatting about a topic or two every two weeks. I envy their friendship and enjoy listening about their lives.
My Dad Wrote a Porno
They’re back with season three! Oh so funny, you guys. I couldn’t care less about the erotic novel they’re reading. I just love, love, love the three people behind the podcast. I always listen to this one while I’m walking so I can focus on it more than other multi-tasking things I usually do while listening. So if you see me walking down the street laughing hysterically and looking like an idiot, I’m surely listening to the latest episode.
And that’s it for June! Nobody ever takes me up on this, but I’d love to hear what you’re reading, watching, or listening to and can recommend to me!!