Reading, Watching, Listening

I wrote a “reading, watching, listening” post a few months ago and I recieved so many great recommendations, and opinions, I decided it was time to write another one. I try and read as much as I can but I also include “listening” since I love Audible and podcasts as well. And of course, I have my Netflix shows. Here's what I've been digging lately.

How pretty is this little book store where I live in Heidelberg?!


Beautiful Ruins By Jess Walter 4/5

I feel like I was in a major book slump (see the following ratings) and my friend Taylor recommended this one. Thank goodness. I loved this. Great characters, ping ponging back to the 1960s in Italy and to present day America. The story follows various characters intertwined to the movie Cleopatra to the future where life has turned out very differently. If you need a good beach book this is it. Beautifully written and kept me interested throughout.

A Dog's Purpose by Bruce Cameron 1/5

Had to put this one down. To me, this is a masochistic outlook on dogs. As a dog lover, I'm aware that dogs are treated horribly all the time, I don't need a fictional story to play on my heart strings. Want a book that follows a dog being reincarnated to just be killed again? This is it. How anyone can like this is beyond me. But apparently I'm in the minority here.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg 1/5

Am I slightly embarrassed to admit I picked up this book? Yes. This book is by ultra famous Blogger/YouTuber “Zoella” but I thought I would enjoy her “fictional” story of how a young girl writing a blog was suddenly in the spotlight. But it's very teen-bop and written like a Disney Channel movie might read. Sometimes I go too quickly and buy a book when it's on sale and the reviews are stellar. I have to remember that people have fan girls and flood the reviews with glowing, positive accounts of a poorly written book.


When Harry Met Sally 5/5

I know this is an old movie. And if you're like me, you've seen it more than 15 times. But I had to re-watch it recently. I wanted a feel good movie with some good dialogue. Obviously, this did the trick. Not only is this one of my favorites, I forgot how many great songs play throughout. Michael and I's first dance song was Harry Connick Jr.'s “It Had to Be You”, which is the climatic song in the movie.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 4/5

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't get this show at first. I love Tina Fey and everything she does in life, why wasn't I digging this show? Because I wasn't paying attention. This show made me laugh so hard actual tears came to my eyes. Definitely one of the best Netflix originals along with Stranger Things and Narcos. The show follows Kimmy, a girl once held hostage inside a bunker and now living life in New York with her very flamboyant roommate and odd ball upstairs older neighbor. It's so hilarious and the writing is stellar.

GLOW 3/5

I just started watching this after everyone on Instagram told me it's a must. So far, so good. I dig the dialogue and love the characters. To me, this might be following suit with shows like Orange is the New Black where we follow various characters and their lives. Oh and in case you aren't aware, this is about women's wrestling. You might be confused on my 3/5 star rating, but 4 are for definitely watch and 5s are for greatest of all time. So this is a strong 3 that might move up as I watch.

Girl Boss 1/5

It's safe to say I'm not sure how anyone on the planet can like this show. Plot: a whiny brat is a “self-made” entrepreneur by selling clothes online. Getting fired from her job (where she acted like a bitch) and treating people with general disdain is quite alright. Gross. This, to me, is the opposite of someone I look up to as a female role model. I watched 2 episodes and threw in the towel. Literally. At my TV screen.

Beasts of No Nation 4/5

This book turned movie is the incredible and dramatic and heart-wrenching and unbelievable (yes, all of these things) tale of the life of a child soldier in war-torn Africa. After the young boy gets separated from his father and older brother he gets lost in the jungle and is discovered by a group of rebel soldiers. His only choice is to follow along and become part of the rebels. This movie has a powerful message and is definitely worth the watch.


Cocoa Beach: A Novel by Beatriz Williams 1/5

I am a huge Beatriz Williams fan. I've probably read 5 of her books. But I had to stop reading this one in the middle. It was just so boring I couldn't continue. This novel follows the young Virginia and a slightly older one (same person, different times) in World War I France, meeting her husband. Fast forward to five years later, the newly widowed Virginia is in Florida, sorting her husband's affairs. This moved painfully slow and the way the narrator talked was just annoying. This might have been better but the narrator spoke with such an “air” I wanted to turn it off immediately. Fave comment on Amazon: “Was this even edited?” SAME.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson 4/5

This is the story of two vastly different, but influential men in the 1890s in Chicago. The event happening at the time is the Chicago's world fair and the city is swept up in preparation and excitement and equal strain of making sure it can execute it properly. The men are the architect Daniel Burnham and in stark contrast the murdered Henry Holmes. The brilliant part of this novel weaves the true tale of these two men and the actual history of the 1893 fair.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware 3/5

I love psychological thrillers, despite being a closet scaredy-cat. I really liked this because it didn't leave me scared, per se, just interested. The story follows a woman, who can't make up her mind on her name, a crime writer, who goes to her ex-friend's “hen” party before the wedding. It's a strange mix of people that are at the bachelorette party and the setting seems even more strange: a glass house in the woods. The story takes place with the invitation to the party then, fast forward to the protagonist waking up from her hospital bed to try and figure out what has happened. Now mind you, this story is far fetched and I don't know why so many authors try to force action that seems inconceivable. But it was intriguing.


So that's what I've got! What have you been reading, watching or listening to lately? Would love to get out of my present book slump!


Girl boss is the true story of a girl who went from nothing to a a multi-billion dollar industry in just 10 years. Her on-line business is called Nasty Gal. I agree that the acting in this series really sucked, but I was fascinated to see how she did it, so I persisted with the series. In the end she realizes she’s a whiny bitch and that she treated a lot of people badly, and mends her ways.

I’m very aware of who she is. I also think know she bankrupted multiple businesses in the process. To me she is unlikable and the epitome of the “gimme” attitude that I cannot handle. even if she later realize it! Ps, if you don’t believe me, check this out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/real-girlboss-rise-fall-nasty-gal-founder-sophia-amoruso/

The Devil in the White City is one of my all-time favorite books and made me a lifelong fan of Erik Larson. It also forever changed how I look at Ferris Wheels. Who knew something that brings such entertainment to people all around the world has such a sad story behind it. I actually cried at the end when it moved for the last time before “dying.” <— not embarrassed in the least!


SAME. Ferris wheels now make me so proud.

I want to go to Heidelberg just for that bookstore! Beautiful Ruins has been on my shelf for a year or two. Need to get to it! i haven’t read a dog’s purpose, had no desire to, only because i cry really easily with books about animals, literally no matter what they are about, i cry immediately. good to know i’m not missing anything.
i had never seen when harry met sally until recently! ha. loved it.
is girl boss based on the book? i didn’t read it but heard it was awful.
i have not read a ruth ware book. bummer about the beatriz williams book! i’ve only read one or two of hers and loved them. i’ve not heard great things about that one though.

I stuck it out and finished Girl Boss only to realize it never got better… Britt Robertson is a great actress (she NAILED the whiny brat), but honestly it made me sad because i like her but hated the character. I felt like the show emphasized tearing people down in order to get ahead, which is the OPPOSITE of the kind of message we want from strong female leads. I just couldn’t get over how poorly Sophia treated the people in her life. It was terrible. Maybe it reads more redeeming in the book version, but the show really highlighted how terrible she is.

Carrie @ Season It Already!

OMG! A Dog’s Purpose is one of my favorite books! I read it a few years before the movie came out (and haven’t seen it). I guess I didn’t look at it that way. I just liked looking at life through the point of view of a dog. I’m a huge dog lover and have fur children myself. I personally liked Cameron’s book A Dog’s Way Home even more.

OMG I *hated* Girl Boss. I watched one episode & was outttttttttttttt. Also I JUST saw When Harry Met Sally for the first time like, a year ago, and LOVED it. Such a great flick 🙂

The promos for Boss Girly seemed like just a show about a braty girl but I didn’t know the whole series would be like that, what a waste.

I love your take no prisoners reviews. You are always so honest. I was so let down by Girl Boss I LOVE Britt Roberston, the main actress and she did a great job, but there’s no redeeming Sophia. The woman behind Nasty Gal is actually kind of the worst – I used to listen to her podcast but she rubs me the wrong way. Lots of different women can succeed and we don’t have to like them all and men are often allowed to be awful but ugh I just couldn’t get past how the show (and Amorusso’s book) essentially just says that it’s totally fine to treat people like dirt.


I love this! I actually just watched When Harry Met Sally for the first time and loved it so much. It’s still so funny and relatable. I started watching GLOW, but need to really focus on it. I’ve heard amazing review of it.

I recommend watching Friends From College on Netflix too.

SAME ABOUT GIRL BOSS. I’m so confused by all the glowing reviews?!

I’ve been looking for a new book, thanks for the recos!!

xx Kelly
Sparkles and Shoes

I LOVE Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! This show makes me laugh so hard. I wasn’t a big fan of Girlboss either. The girl is just awful and I wanted to punch her in the face. The last few episodes were really good though (or I should say better than the rest of the season). I also added Beautiful Ruins to my TBR!

I also hated Girlboss! She was such a brat the whole time and took advantage of her best friend so many times, it made me angry after watching it. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a gem though. It took me a few episodes to get into the humor but I LOVE it now. The Pinot Noir song gets stuck in my head all the time.

UNBREAKABLE – they alive dammit! That show is my favorite, it cracks me UP! the characters are all just sooooo good! Hated girl boss too. Watched it on a plane and it was the only show I had downloaded. Big mistake.

I loved Beautiful Ruins and Devil in the White City!
I also love Beatriz Williams. I picked the audio up from the library and was planning on listening, too. I have read all of her books. I was waiting all summer for it to come out/get it from the library. I am disappointed to hear that it wasn’t good, but she puts out 1-2 books a year. I guess everyone will have a flop at that rate.
I started Glow, but didn’t finish it. It seemed average for all the hype surrounding it. I prefer Will & Grace DVDs, if I’m bored!

A dogs purpose if on my list. I hate that I watched the movie before even knowing about the book but it is what it is!

I’m reading the Harry Potter series for the first time! I remember you listened/read it last summer for the first time didn’t you? I’m on book 5 right now. Which one was your favorite?

Kayla | kaylablogs.com

Uh oh. A Dog’s Purpose has been in my TBR pile for a little while – now I’m wary. Also I keep hearing people talk about When Harry Met Sally and I know I’m super super late but maybe I’ll actually finally watch it lol.

So glad to hear other people aren’t into Girl Boss. I read Sophia’s book when it originally came out but in recent years it came out that she didn’t treat employees well at her company and there were even some issues with women taking maternity leave being fired instead. So not OK and I could never support her as a “Girl Boss” after that.

Same. I wasn’t into it at all. Glad to hear I’m not the only one!

I agree that Sophia was a whiny brat in Girl Boss but I liked that in the sense that it seems to be how she actually was! I get that it made the show annoying but after reading Girl Boss a few years ago (then seeing everyone idolize her & totally not getting it myself) I was happy Girl Boss at least accurately represented the woman instead of turning her into a deity haha. I read Devil in the White City a few years ago in college and it totally creeped me out but I agree it was REALLY well written. Now I want to read Beautiful Ruins! Thanks for the recommendation!

I love Devil in the White City!! It’s made me go and get another Erik Larson book and I’ve been loving it too! Non fiction that feels like fiction is up my alley!

Girl i am so glad to hear you disliked Girl Boss too! I couldn’t STAND it. Didn’t even finish the season which is something I never do!! But ugh so annoying! I didn’t understand why everyone was so crazy about it! I’ve been afraid to try Glow because I thought it might be the deal – talked up on social media but lacking in reality. I may have to check it out now!

Yeah I can’t bring myself to pick up anything from Zoella, I’m like 20 years too old to be her target demographic haha. I’m not surprised the book wasn’t great.

I wasn’t a fan of the GirlBoss show either! I hated it, I watched 1 & a half episodes and gave up. I actually enjoyed the book but the show is horrible. Such a lazy whinny brat. I told myself I’d never read or watch A Dog’s Purpose after the rumors that the dog used in the movie wasn’t treated well at all.

I’ve heard other people say the same thing about “Girl Boss.” Pass.

Awesome! A great mixture of stuff there : )


Thanks for the reviews!! Have you watched Master of None? I’m obsessed with season 2. As far as reading, I recommend Anne Helen Peterson’s Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. I’ve also been in a bit of reading slump, so this was fascinating to me. And for listening, the podcasts: It’s Been a Minute, Revisionist History, Hidden Brain.

I’m going to have to check out Beautiful Ruins. I’m in need of a new book too and have started a few that I am just not loving. That bookstore is dreamy!!!

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