Books & Podcasts

PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: LIFE IS SHORT WITH JUSTIN LONG

For laid back celebrity interviews with a hint of comedy, Wondery presents Life is Short with Justin Long. A lighthearted podcast hosted by actor Justin Long and his brother Christian. Each week he interviews a different celebrity from actors to athletes to musicians and digs deeper with them to find out what’s important in their life. Whether it be what gives them meaning or which Golden Girl they most closely relate to. Because, well life is short, so why waste time with the unimportant stuff!

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THE GUEST LIST

For a murder mystery novel that will be almost impossible to put down, The Guest List delivers. On an Island off the coast of Ireland, we meet some of the most unlikable yet intriguing characters as they come together to celebrate the union of two people. The venue is luxurious, the location is remote, and the guest list is exclusive. But what happens when people all with their own secrets and deception gather under one roof on an island? There’s a storm on the horizon and it’s not just part of the forecast.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: THE VAPING FIX

You’ve probably heard that vaping is dangerous, and you may have seen the anti-vaping commercials on TV becoming more prevalent. However, if you’re like me, you may not really understand what the dangers of vaping are. Or the story behind the creation for that matter. The Vaping Fix hosted by Laura Beil, the same reporter behind Dr. Death takes us to the beginning. She introduces us to where it all started, how it became so bad, and what’s happening now to control it.

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A CROOKED TREE

A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion is a coming of age story that is told through the lens of Libby Gallagher. Libby is forced to grow up fast when her sibling faces a traumatic experience that changes everyone’s lives. In this story, you’ll feel anxious, sad, joyful, and more. There are so many pieces to this story that by the end you can’t help but have more questions. Let’s take a look at the basics.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: EVEN THE RICH

I’ve decided to take a quick break from true crime podcasts and dive into something a little more light hearted. Don’t worry though, it’ll be short lived and I’m sure I’ll have more recommendations for true crime soon. In the meantime, I’ve been listening to Even the Rich. A comedy podcast that goes behind the scenes into the lives of some of the most famous families of our times. If you’re into reality tv and celebrity gossip, then this is the perfect podcast for you.

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SUCH A FUN AGE

This is probably one of the more challenging book reviews to write for several reasons. Such a Fun Age tackles important topics of racial inequality, white privilege, and societal issues. These are never easy to approach so I do commend her for this. However, although it addresses these really important issues, I feel that it was lacking in its delivery. The story itself wasn’t strong enough to acknowledge these controversial topics in an effective way. Instead, it leaves you with more questions than answers.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION : JOE EXOTIC

If you haven’t caught on by now, if there’s a podcast hosted by Wondery, I’m there. Joe Exotic is a 6-episode podcast series following the story of the self proclaimed “Tiger King”. Now, you may have already watched the Netflix special. However, I feel like you get a broader scope of the story by listening to this podcast. I only watched the first 2 episodes of the Netflix series and I just couldn’t deal. His mullet, his personality, and then add Carole Baskin in the mix, I’m out! Joe Exotic allows you to listen the story in an uninterrupted fashion where you can form your own opinion based on facts.

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THE LAST MRS. PARRISH

the last mrs. parrish

True crime, thrillers, and murder mysteries are my absolute favorite genres. The Last Mrs. Parrish, although it’s a psychological thriller, in my opinion is not. I would say this book incorporates more drama than thrill or maybe even a slight concept of dark humor or just plain fiction. However, that doesn’t go to say that it won’t disappoint. With a different secret coming to light on almost every page, you can’t help but keep reading. So what makes this book such a page turner?

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: THROUGH THE CRACKS

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to find a good true-crime podcast that I can sink my teeth into. Through the Cracks captured my attention right away. It’s true crime meets societal issues which is super timely and relevant. This podcast takes a dive into how the system has failed Relisha Rudd, a second grader who went missing for 18 days before anyone even noticed. How does this happen?

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IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND

If you’ve ever watched any movie ever, when a woman goes missing or is killed, who is always the number one suspect? This murder mystery novel, “It’s Always the Husband” puts that theory to the test with no shortage of potential suspects. Three frenemies, an overbearing husband, and a mister on the side. So who really did it and how did it get this far?

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: DEATH OF A STARLET

Wondery has done it again with another true crime podcast mini series, Death of a Starlet. Hosted by Tracy Pattin and Josh Lucas (major older guy hottie), Death of a Starlet tells the story of the rise and fall of Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten. This 5 episode series is full of glamour, love, and revenge. What else could you ask for?

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AMERICAN DIRT

Have you ever read a book that just completely made you forget the rest of the world? As if you’re lost in the words and immersed so deeply that you’re on the emotional journey with the characters. If you have never experienced such an incredible feeling before, you will when you read American Dirt.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: DR DEATH SEASON 2

Since I was working at home for most of December, my podcast listening has declined a bit. But I’m back to my lengthy commute and ready for some juicy content. This month, I started Dr. Death season 2. If you haven’t listened to season 1, I highly recommend it. It’s a true-crime podcast as usual, so if you’re squeamish then I would steer clear. Otherwise, it’s a must listen to and will have you searching for a second opinion the next time you visit your Doctor. Season 2 is just as startling as the first but focuses on a different killer Doctor.

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ONE DAY IN DECEMBER

This months book club choice was a little different than the average selection but it was still a good one. Josie Silver’s One Day in December is Hallmark holidays meets Lifetime movies in a book. If you’re looking for an easy read to cuddle up by the fire with during the holidays, One Day in December will be for you. It’s got scandal, drama, and of course, love.

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MIDNIGHT SUN

If one good thing came from the 2020 quarantine, it was the release of Midnight Sign – or so I thought. If you’re a twi-hard fan then you’ve been waiting anxiously for almost a decade for this. Probably ever since Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 was released to read this book. There was even a tease when a part of Midnight Sun was leaked in 2008. This lead most of us to believe that Stephenie Meyer would never finish. Well, she finally did and this was my October/ November book club book. Let’s just say I’m glad that I did read it because of my dedication to the saga but overall I was less than impressed.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA

With gyms opening back up again, I’m finally able to get my listening time back in. At the top of my list to listen to is “To Live and Die in LA” podcast. Yes, it’s another true crime series. What else can you expect from me? This series from Tenderfoot TV and hosted by journalist Neil Strauss will keep you guessing until the very end to uncover the truth about the mysterious disappearance of Adea Shabani.

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THE OUTSIDER

Well, we’ve finished another book in book club, ‘The Outsider’ by Stephen King. I’m not super excited about this one but just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean that you won’t. After all, that’s what a review is for. To help you make a decision on whether you want to read it. So although it may not be my cup of tea, I’ll try not to ruin it for you.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: OVER MY DEAD BODY

It has become a tradition to listen to podcasts when Justin and I go on road trips to give us something fun to talk about. So, we had to continue this when we went to Santa Barbara recently. He always leaves me in charge of finding the podcast and that’s when I came across ‘Over My Dead Body’ by Wondery. I was sold because afterall, anything done by Wondery has been good in my opinion. This true crime series goes behind closed doors of a seemingly perfect couple whose divorce takes a nasty and deadly turn.

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INCOMPARABLE

Now you all know I love the Bella Twins and have been following them for years through wrestling, reality, businesses, and now babies. So when I found out that they were coming out with a memoir, I immediately pre-ordered it. Sure, I’ve seen their lives play out on TV but we’ve never been shown they got to where they are so my interest was piqued. From inspirational to unbelievable, their story is relatable and empowering reassuring us as Women that we really can do and be anything.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: SERIAL SEASON 1

If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m a true crime junkie. It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with but the thing that I find most interesting is the investigative component. Following the clues, the DNA, the timelines, the alibis, it all comes together to solve one big disastrous puzzle and hopefully serve justice. So when I learned about this pretty epic podcast by Serial which takes you into the tragic murder of Hae Min Lee and the investigation into her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, it definitely raised an eyebrow. Hosted by Sarah Koenig, this is one podcast you won’t want to turn off.

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ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS

This months book club book was ‘All the Ugly and Wonderful Things’ by Bryn Greenwood. Typically we pick three book options that we present to the group and then we all agree on one book together. Well, this one was my sister’s pick but when we read the description we definitely did not expect it to be the way it was. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a great book but boy were we in for a surprise as we started reading.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: MY FAVORITE MURDER

This is probably one of the first podcasts that I ever listened to and it did not disappoint. I kept hearing about podcasts and I could never get into that kind of thing until my brother-in-law recommended My Favorite Murder. It’s a combination of true crime and comedy which I know sounds insane. But, if you’re as obsessed with true crime as I am and don’t like how heavy it can be at times, then this could be for you.

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THE MOTHER-IN-LAW

The book club continues and our most recent read was ‘The Mother-in-Law’ by Sally Hepworth. This was my pick for the month and it turned out to be even better than I had expected. As you may know by now, I’m all about the murder-mystery but this story is so much more than that and is a true page turner. The character development in this book is portrayed so vividly that it immerses you into wanting to know more.

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PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: THE BELLAS PODCAST

If you’re not familiar with the Bella Twins, they’re WWE Superstars, entrepreneurs, and all about Women empowerment. Nicole and Brie are WWE retired champions who have their reality show ‘Total Bellas’, Birdiebee clothing company, Nicole + Brizee hair and skin products, Belle Radici wine, and now the The Bellas podcast. These two ladies are unstoppable and such an inspiration to young girls and Women everywhere with all that they have accomplished. Not to mention they’re super hilarious because they’re not the brightest crayons in the box and they’re not afraid to admit it.

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THE FIRST BOOK CLUB BOOK: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

When shelter in place first went into effect, my girlfriends and I started using zoom to meet regularly on Friday’s for a virtual happy hour which helped relieve much of the every day stress and uncertainties. Of course we had a lot to talk and gossip about especially when the drinks started flowing and that’s when we came up with the idea of starting a book club. We had to do something to fill our time after all and it would be a great excuse to meet virtually, sip wine, and chat.

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About Me

Reading and podcasts have become some of my favorite pastimes. Here you’ll find book and podcast recommendations and reviews so you can grab your favorite drink, relax, and enjoy on your own.

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