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Monday, September 10, 2018

Summer/Fall Books, TV, and Movies

Hello, dear friends.  How was your weekend?  We had a good one.  We spent the day in Boston on Saturday and went to a movie (Mister's choice) on Sunday. 

I don't expect much from most of the Mister's picks, but this time he surpassed my expectations.  I was awestruck by Operation Finale.  Ben Kingsley, as usual, stole the show. I highly recommend this one.

Do you go stages when it comes to your reading material?  I do.  In the warmer weather, I am partial to lighter stories, and during the colder months, I am drawn to historical fiction, biographies, and family dramas.

I enjoy thrillers all year round.  But I have noticed over the past few months that a lot of these books in this genre adopt the same formula which feels a bit repetitive and tedious at times.  So I am in constant search for new authors.  

I begin with my very favorite book of the Summer, possibly of the whole year.  The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is nothing less than extraordinary.  The heartwarming story is one of undying faith and uncompromising love.  This book is like no other.  It tugged at my heartstrings and made me laugh as well as cry.  The Author does a stellar job narrating the audible version.

A great mystery but could have cut 25 pages from the end.

If you're looking for an entertaining, light read, this one is for you.


The Mister and I listened to this one on our road trip to Connecticut.  It moves quickly and keeps you guessing until the bitter end.
BTW... this book is read by the author.  Usually, I prefer professionals doing the audio, but Steadman has a beautiful, rich voice.


I listened to this one and chuckled through the entire book.  If you are looking for a pick-me-up, this one is for you.  Audible version is great.

Natalie Barelli never lets me down.
No set formula to her books.

A delightful read!

This one was just okay.

I enjoyed this memoir tremendously.  Stein does a phenomenal job giving you an inside look into a political campaign and working in the White House.  This is another book that is read beautifully by the author.
Btw... Sista loved it too. 

My friend and fabulous travel agent, Sandy, sent this book to us before we left on our cruise.  Any book that centers around a love story involving a middle-aged couple goes to the top of my list.  I read this while I was in Venice - does it get better than that?  
Btw... The Mister liked it too.
He's such a romantic.

This is a timely novel which got me through an 8-hour flight.  Giffen is a sharp writer who constructs a story with a thought-provoking plot and well-rounded characters.

This one started off strong but lost me along the way.

This one is entertaining and kept me guessing.

Spoiler Alert:  This book is not for everyone.  If you enjoy thrillers featuring a self-described sociopath with a sharp wit seeking revenge, this little gem is for you.  I couldn't put it down.

I was delighted to be on the launch team for I'd Rather Be Reading.  It is beautifully written by one of my favorite bloggers, Anne Bogel, Creator of Modern Mrs. Darcy.  You know how I have a habit of judging a book by its cover?  The cover of this book is gorgeous.
I bought a few copies to give as hostess gifts.


Liane Moriarty can do no wrong in my eyes.  
It's already been pre-ordered.


I enjoyed Trail of Broken Wings.  
This one already has a 5-star rating.

The Mister downloaded this one.
I'll keep you posted.

Fingers crossed that this one is as good as her debut novel.  
I didn't care for the couple in between.

A domestic thriller that may be a good one for my walks. 

The story of the daughter of a famous serial killer who tries to seek anonymity.  
Good reviews on this one. 

A Mother/Daughter saga with an odd twist.

A woman searching for love finds it with a brooding soldier.


A depressed writer receives an anonymous note that brings him back to life. I enjoy James Frey's unique writing style.

The Roy family puts the "fun" in dysfunctional.
If you think that your family is whacko, watch this show.
You'll feel a lot better about your clan.

I watched this on a flight and thought it was pretty good.
Full Disclosure:  I have a lifelong crush on Ed Harris.
Don't tell the Mister.

Sweet movie.

I absolutely loved this movie.  
I am so mad at myself that I didn't read the book first.

Great movie based on a true story.
Hugh Grant was mesmerizing.

I am not a fan of Katherine Heigl's.
I belong to the I miss Mike and Rachel club.

The Affair started off with a slow burn and progressively picked up steam and got better and better with every episode.
Spoiler alert:  One of the main characters dies off.

Our girls love this show.  It centers around a woman working her way to the top of the Mexican drug cartel, every little girl's dream.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of long car chases and gory murders.  
Other than that, it's a lovely show. 


The Mister and I are watching this now. 
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney make a dynamite team.  
Ozark moves quickly, and there is never a dull moment.

Speaking of dull moments...
I felt that Bethenny and Carole hijacked the entire season with their petty spats.
And one more thing...
Dorinda should check herself into Luann's "camp."

I feel a lot better now that I got that off my chest.

Do you have any recommendations for me?
I'd love to hear them.

Until next time...

Chili likes to turn the page.
Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. If you enjoy reading about Wallis Simpson, I would highly recommend Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul. Mary Kirk met Wallis Simpson at a summer camp when they are 15. That portion of the storyline tells of their lifelong friendship through Mary's eyes. The second storyline takes place in 1997 when Princess Diana is killed. Alex and Rachel are in Paris and see the aftermath of the crash. Rachel owns an upscale resale store of vintage goods and Alex is a filmmaker who winds up making a documentary about Diana and the conspiracy theories. It is very good and I had a hard time putting it down.

    1. Hi Sharon! I just downloaded it. It sounds right up my alley! I read Gill Paul's last book and loved it. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

  2. That's a lot of books to read! I would be doing well to get to 3 or 4 of them. Your hub's choice in movies looks pretty good too.

  3. My husband LOVES Suits. I can't stand it. I think the acting is awful, the posturing is posed and fake... can't stand it. I always enjoy your reviews of books and movies! Thanks so much!

  4. As usual, thank you for all the wonderful reading and watching ideas. I added almost all to my TBR list! I'm listening to the Ruth Ware book right now, and the audio book has a really creepy feel. It's a great way to kick off fall, even though it is 90 outside. Rarely do our reviews differ, but How to Walk Away fell flat for me. I finished it and wanted to see what happened, but it wasn't my favorite. I have heard mediocre reviews of the Kubica book. And Ozark is at the top of my Netflix list. We started watching last year, and then that darn hurricane threw our lives for a loop! Have a great week!

  5. Katie I am going hog wild reading the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache mysteries in order. ( Well I read the last two in the series and went back to find out more of the story. I feel like I live in Three Pines, Quebec.

    1. Second your Louise Penny recommendation. LOVE Chief Inspector Gamache!

    2. I was just going to suggest the same series. You'll love the town and the people. My favorite series.

    3. Third the Penny recommendation. But yes, read them in order. The characters evolve beautifully and some of the underlying themes serve as a secondary plot that carries over many books in the series.

  6. Ok. Hugh Grant, Ed Harris, favorites here too. You want to listen to a thriller while out on a walk??? Remember Scott Peterson the sociopath??? I'm wondering if audible is for me. But you pay a monthly fee AND buy the books, right? Amazon already owns my soul, and I doubt audible would settle for my firstborn.

  7. PS. And thanks for the recommendation. I did read The Guernsey... before watching the movie which I loved too. And I want to see operation finale!

  8. Thanks for your recommendations, I'm adding a few to my to-read list. Beck Dorey-Stein was my daughter's high school advisor in 9th grade, so that book is going to the top of the list!

  9. Just picked up All We Ever Wanted for my flight to France. Thanks for the recommendations!

  10. I'm watching NYC Housewives at this very moment, and it's been such a boring season. Thanks so much for all the book recommends!

  11. I always enjoy your book posts. I loved the Emily Giffin one and I am excited to read the next Liane Moriarty too! Enjoy your week!

  12. So many books! I jotted down a few for future book group suggestions. Thank you for the reviews.

  13. The Amazon series, Jack Ryan with John Kransinski, is fabulous if you like a bit of analyst recrited to be spy. John K. is a favorite character. Mr. B. and I just finished the first 8 episodes and will look forward to the next season.
    Love your book lists. I finished Beach Music (I know, I'm slow to the party) and I don't know how I didn't read it when it was out. I write down so many of your titles and have enjoyed each one you recommend.

  14. I'm almost finished with The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell....read until about 2:00 a.m. this morning! Very different from anything I've read lately but I love it! I thought about recommending it to my 98 year old mama as she reads on her Kindle constantly but some of the story lines might not "sit" well with her. I love all of your book recommendations and will be adding some to my fall reading list.

  15. Always love to see your book recommendations! Going to put some of these on my "to read next" list! Thanks for sharing!

  16. I’m sitting here with an empty spot on my end table. Zero books in the que! I need a great biography or non-fiction recommendation stat! I read my first novel in ages this summer and made it half way through (Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One). Yuck! I’ll never make it through winter in Michigan! Please help!

    1. Educated by Tara Westover, if you haven’t already read it, is fabulous.

  17. Oh man I have just flooded my goodreads with all these books! Also, I love Ozarks so far, my bf and I just started it!

  18. Thanks for all the reviews and recommendations Katie, I love Liane Moriarty, will look for that especially!

  19. Katie, I enjoyed “A Thousand Days in Venice, but I also love Venice. Thank you for the reviews, I always have a book in hand. Historical fiction is my preferred reading. Have a wonderful week!

  20. I'm ordering Jane Doe. Neither of my libraries has it - Philly or Ocean City!

    I'd also like to give Natalie Barelli a try!

  21. i am so excited about nine perfect strangers!
    i'm on the fence about jane doe - that author writes romance books under another name and i *love* them but obviously this is a bit different lol.
    yay how to walk away! sooooo good. one of my top reads this year for sure.

  22. Jane Doe sounds right up my alley - adding it to my TBR!

  23. I absolutely love Ozark! I am definitely hoping for a third season.

    I just got How to Walk Away from the library. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  24. I'm a few seasons behind on Suits, but it kind of bums me out that Katherine Heigl is on the show now? I'm not her biggest fan either. It looks like you read some great books this summer-- I have The Death of Mrs. Westaway on my TBR and I've heard so many good things about How to Walk Away.

    and oh my gosh, YES to the RHONY reunion-- I thought the Carole/Bethenny stuff was never going to end, it was all so ridiculous.

  25. I am preordering the Liane also. She has had some misses but I just cant quit her!

  26. I'm adding to my "must read" list and I would love to enjoy the movie Guernsey but I think I want to read the book first. Thanks for the tips. If you enjoy True Crime you may enjoy Shattered by Kathryn Casey.

  27. Hubby and I will be leaving next week for an extended road trip and you have given me so many audio book ideas. Where do I start???

  28. I enjoyed Something in The Water! That is so cool that the author read it and has a good enough voice to read it!

  29. Husbands and Other Sharp Objects sounds interesting!!

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  31. Oh I agree about Mary Kubica...hope her newest is more like her first! Also interested in the latest Ruth Ware book - glad you enjoyed!

  32. I have been catching up on blog reading and when I saw this post I honestly thought-
    "oh boy!"
    I LOVE your recommendations:)

  33. I just finished reading Educated by Tara Westover. It was fascinating and so well written! I breezed through it, which isn't always the case with a memoir. I have not watched Guernsey yet. I absolutely loved the book so I will get to it eventually.

  34. Guernsey was great!! I liked How to Walk Away but not as much as everyone else. hehe Match Making for Beginners sounds like my jam. I like my fluff! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


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