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Friday, September 25, 2020

Reading, Watching & Listening

Hello, dear friends.  I hope this post finds you well.  The Mister and I met with a few moving companies this week.  I had forgotten how much fun moving really is.  Many of you seasoned movers have written to me with some sage advice which is very much appreciated.  For the lovely readers who suggested that we have the moving company pack all the breakables - thank you - we are definitely doing that.  


Do you blame me?

I packed two whole boxes yesterday.
And you all thought I was a slacker.
Now I need to take a couple of days off.

I did plenty of reading, watching, and listening this Summer.  Because this post is so long, I have skipped the synopsis of the books and just gave you my impressions.

The best thriller that I read all Summer.
It kept me guessing until the bitter end.

Another great thriller.  
The main character is our unreliable narrator who reminded me of Joe in You.
Clever twists and wry humor make a very entertaining read.

I am a big fan of Chanel Cleeton's.
She did not disappoint with this fabulous tale of three strong women in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution of 1933. 


This one is my favorite of Cleeton's books.  
A great love story involving an up-and-coming popular politician.
What makes this story more intriguing is that our heroine works for the CIA.    

The Blue Bistro has officially been unseated as my #1 favorite Hilderbrand beach read.  28 Summers has moved into that spot. I finished the book with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.

This novel has the whole package - exquisite writing, compelling characters, and a masterful storyline.

A riveting historical fiction that is pretty hard to put down.
There are some raw scenes that I fast-forwarded through but so worth it because the story is so darn good.

No ladies, this is not a training manual.
It is a captivating psychological thriller.
Keep your seatbelt on - mid-story there is a twist that will give you whiplash.

All I can tell you about this thriller is that it is one heck of a wild ride.  The twists and turns are real stunners that I never saw coming.  Not only is the story captivating, but the audio
narration deserves five stars.

A beautifully written  Historical Fiction novel with a gripping storyline and a heroine that you can't help but adore and applaud. An added bonus: a heartbreaking love story.

If you are a person of faith and suffer from a healthy dose of anxiety, this book is for you.  It's a short one and I finished listening to it in a few hours.

Pure escapism.
You know I couldn't resist another novel based on Jackie Kennedy.

I spent most of this well-crafted novel on the edge of my seat.  Mid-way I wondered whether there were enough pages in the book to tie up all the loose ends.

This thought-provoking novel explores a friendship between an au pair and the mother of the child.  J. Courtney Sullivan's greatest strength is creating rich, well-developed characters and true-to-life relationships.

A husband talks his wife into buying a sailboat in Panama and sailing around the world with their seven-year-old and two-year-old.  You heard me, two-year-old.  This would never happen in our family but it made one heck of an entertaining story.  

Has anyone read this one?  Leave a comment as to your take on the unique ending.  I'm still scratching my head.

Domestic thriller at its finest. 
I listened to it in one day.

I loved Behind Closed Doors. This novel had a gripping storyline riddled with many surprises.  I did not give it 5 stars because I found the lead female character a bit whiny and irritating.

I have had the pleasure of reading most of Shari Lapena's thrillers.  I have yet to be disappointed.  This one centers around a close-knit neighborhood and a teenager who likes to break into some of the homes for the heck of it.
Thanks to this book, I am watching the teens in my 'hood very closely. 

A refreshing and surprising love story taking place around the time of 9/11.  Be prepared for a huge bombshell halfway through the book.  Something Blue still remains my favorite of Giffin's books.  

About a hundred years ago, I served on a jury.  I enjoyed it so much that I still look back on it as my favorite job of all time. This legal thriller is smart and well written.

A wife who is a successful defense attorney defends her husband who is being charged with the murder of his mistress.
This fast-paced thriller is a bargain at $3.49.

Staub has a way of taking serious issues and humanizes them.  Her characters are intriguing as well as amiable and the family dynamics are well-mapped as well as believable.

The story weaves all of the human emotions that the family members deal with including grief, sibling rivalry, and unresolved mother issues.  The Imperfects is well-written and entertaining. The narration is done by one of my favorites, Cassandra Campbell.

This debut novel touches on many aspects of love - parental, sibling, and last but not least, undying love.  The narrator gives an outstanding performance and reads with her heart and soul.

 As I tried to put the puzzle pieces together while reading this thriller, I became more confused with the effort. It is jam-packed with suspense and twists.  It is the perfect book for a long flight - the time will fly by.


This is a slow-burning thriller where the main character tries to run away from her infamous past.  This story hits the gas midway and doesn't stop until the last page.


I found this novel to be an utter delight. 
Poppel has a gift for creating colorful, likable characters.  The audio narration was music to my ears.  No pun intended.


  This thriller will take you on a rollercoaster ride that won't allow you to exit until the final page.  I listened to this dynamic read in one sitting.  The narration was nothing less than spectacular.

I found myself very distracted this Summer.  It was apparent in my reading and listening skills.  Almost all of the below-mentioned books got very good reviews on Goodreads.  They just weren't for me at that time of my life.

Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors.  As a matter of a fact, I started a book club for the sheer reason that I wanted to hear my friend's thoughts on My Sister's Keeper.
Unfortunately, The Book of Two Ways missed the mark for me.  There was way too much Egyptian History and talk about death which kept me away from finishing the book.

I might have liked this one more if I read it instead of listened to it.






I loved the first season and the second season topped it.


Julia Ormond stole the show.


I enjoyed this almost as much as Downton.
I said almost.

If you loved Mr. Selfridge, you are going to love this one.

I wish that there were more shows like this one.


This series is so refreshing!
Great cast too!


I liked this more than I thought I would.
There's only so much teenage mood swings and whining that I can take.
I'm glad that stage is over with my girls.


This one was a pretty good time filler for sheltering in place.

Has anybody seen this show?  Phil is the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. If you are a foodie and have a sense of humor, you are going to love this series.

Every episode makes me smile.

Pretty good.

This series is dubbed in English which didn't bother me.  I would rather have that than subtitles.  The Mister and I really enjoyed it. It's a combination of The Sopranos and Succession.

I think Liam Neeson produced this movie to showcase his son's talent.  It's a little predictable, but a cute movie.

One of HGTV's most entertaining shows.
We look forward to it every Sunday.


We've been big fans of Below Deck but have never watched the Mediterranean version.
Later, Captain Lee.
We are now Team Sandy.


Another show that is dubbed but a great storyline.

If you're looking for me this weekend, I'll be in front of the tube catching these shows.

I'd love to hear what has kept you entertained lately.
Drop me a line or leave me a comment.

Last, but certainly not least...

 Happy Birthday to our #2!
I hope that you experience as much joy in your life as you have given Daddy and me throughout the years. 

Have a great weekend.

Until next time...

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. Great recommendations! I loved The Paradise, added it to my Amazon library when it was on sale last month.

  2. I always enjoy your book suggestions Katie. I read two good books this summer, The Henna Artist and Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden. She is one of my favorite "old" authors. Her books should be released to a new generation of readers. Alas most of my tv watching has been Floss Tube....cross stitchers sharing their projects. I so enjoy them but not too great on my pocketbook. Happy Packing!!

  3. After you recommended The Paradise, I binge watch both seasons and loved it! Two books that I read this summer and enjoyed. Valentina and American Dirt. Both were thought provoking and made me stop and think about immigration issues. Thank you for all of your show and book ideas!

  4. I love your book recommendations! Thanks!!

  5. Somehow I missed that you are moving. I guess I will have to look back to see where you are heading off to now. I have watched so much British TV that I think I can just slip into England and no one will know I am not a native. xo Laura

  6. We LOVED Somebody Feed Phil!! I took notes all through your post today and thank you for the recommendations!! I would agree that the moving company needs to pack your breakables!! Wow!!

  7. Yay! I just love a good book post. So many great ones on here.

  8. Oh my what a great list of books. You certainly read a lot! I have watched several of the Netflix recommendations, the most recent was Somebody Feed Phil. OMG it was a joy to watch and we were able to get a preview of some of the foreign cities that we have on our bucket list.

    I don’t envy the big move. We moved from Houston to Ft. Worth about six years ago. We had ideas or downsizing so we did a lot of pitching and tossing, but guess what..we bought a bigger house!

  9. It's funny to see "Renovation Island" listed. That series is called "Island of Bryan" for us Canadians and it was available for the last couple of years. We loved watching it and kept shaking our heads thinking they were crazy to do what they did. Thanks for the great list of books! -Jenn

  10. I have to admit, the full cabinets and boxes gave me a trigger of the PTSD of our downsize and move. :0

  11. First of all your organization is enviable, those perfect shelves and cabinets!! Great idea to have someone else do the packing! And second, omg, you read/listened to all those books and watched all those shows??? Wow, and thanks for the recommendations, I'm looking forward to Father of the Bride 3!

  12. Definitely, have the movers pack everything! We have moved so many times and my dish cabinets look like yours. But, pack the priceless collectibles yourself. I did, moved those myself. You'll thank yourself. I enjoyed reading your impressions of summer reads and see a couple I'll add to my every growing list to read. Happy Birthday to your number two.......

  13. Wow -- you've read and watched a LOT. I loved After Life. A season three is in the works and I can't wait. Lots you showed looked good, including some old favorites (Home Fires, The Paradise.) Smart move on the packing situation and three cheers for number two!

  14. Great list. I always find several books and several sitcoms or movies from your excellent recommendations. This past summer it feels like I've watched every possible series, especially Australian and British. I'm currently re-watching 30 Rock and laughing so hard I cry at some of the scenes. I loved Father of the Bride Part 3-ish. I was a huge fan of the original Nancy Myers movie and this one was short and so sweet, I was in tears.
    Book wise, I loved The Gown (can't remember if you recommended it) and am now listening to The 10,000 Doors of January. Both wonderful.
    P.S. Good luck with your move...lots of work but ultimately worth it if for no other reason to go through the stuff. :-)

  15. First off, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw Father of the Bride Part 3(ish). I don't mean to be ungrateful, I loved it ... but we need MORE. If you're a Succession watcher, did Kieran Culkin's character throw you? I'm delighted you'll have help packing. When you alluded to doing it yourself I was concerned. Your summer reading recap puts me to shame. I had high hopes for my summer reading, but my books spent a lot of time in my lap while I doom-scrolled (just learned this term and it describes my summer). Belgravia, Gold Digger and The Paradise are on my watch list. Now that football is back I've lost my viewing partner. Happy Birthday to No. 2. Soon you'll be together in Texas! xo

  16. I saved this email until Sunday night. Omg I need to read these books! I taped the ranch show. My husband loves Reno island. And I forgot everything else. Laura

  17. Now my TBR list is fully stocked. We read many of the same books this summer and had similar reviews. I was also very distracted and set aside more books than I can list. Even listening to audio books, I had a hard time staying focused. Thanks for all the recommendations and happy birthday to your daughter!

  18. Thanks for recommending After Life. I have started watching Season one and love it!


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