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I've had a lot of down time. I flew home (international flights mean lots of movies for me) and tore my ACL (lots of time spent in bed with Netflix) so that means I'm spending more time reading books, watching TV and movies, and listening to Audible and podcasts. Every few months I like to break down the best and worst. Here's what I've been hooked on recently.

Shirt (old and originally from Victoria's Secret but similar here)/ Shorts / Sunglasses / Jewelry from Hole in Her Stockings

A note about my rating scale:

5/5 means best ever, do everything in your life to get your hands on this. So I'm pretty spare with that rating.

4/5 definitely watch, read, or listen, because this is great stuff.

3/5 worth your time, just not the best ever.

2/5 not bad but skip.

1/5 utter rubbish.

0/5 trash to the world and sad that this was ever made.

What can I say? I like it or I loathe it.

Reading

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 3/5

I've decided to go back to some of my required high school reading assignments and actually comprehend them. Turns out a lot of them are excellent books. Who knew? The story is about a 14-year-old kid named “Ponyboy” trying to figure out life, especially when he's on the wrong side of the tracks. The astonishing thing is that Hinton wrote the book at the age of 16. Makes me wonder what I was doing at that age.

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle 2/5

I love psychological thrillers and I keep searching for the next “Gone Girl” meets Liane Moriarty but just can't seem to find it. The plot focuses on Iris, a woman with the seemingly perfect marriage to Will. A man she apparently knows almost nothing about. Huh? Go figure their marriage is, well, a bit of a lie. He gets on a plane to Seattle, it crashes, he dies. Or does he?! The story is convoluted and a bit too ridiculous for my liking. This book wasn't bad, just not very good either.

These are the only books I physically read. Although I did listen to some on Audible (below) most of my time was spent watching TV and movies. Whoops!

Watching

Wild Wild Country  4/5

I am embarrassed about how fast we watched this series on Netflix. It's the documentary story of a cult that started in India and arrived in rural Oregon. The story has so many twists and turns and it's shocking how much footage was recorded. I love the layers of footage from the 1980s, when the cult formed, to today, with interviews from people who were in the cult, witnesses, and the prosecutors and lawyers trying to unearth the truth. It was pretty unreal and I kept wondering how this could possibly happen. Loved it!

Darkest Hour 3/5

I'm a bit of a history buff and loved walking through Churchill's war rooms in London. The movie takes place at a pivotal time when newly elected prime minister, Churchill, must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler or fight. Gary Oldman gives an incredible performance as Winston Churchill and seems to nail many of his mannerisms. It really puts into perspective just how close we came to Hitler winning. I recommend watching this for sure.

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri 3/5

After the brutal rape and killing of her daughter, a mom decides to put up billboards about the ineptness of local law enforcement. It makes quite a statement and brings out the best and worst in well, everyone. The acting in this is spot on, chilling, and sometimes funny. But a lot of it was just over-the-top crass, for really no reason. This Oscar nominated and winner is one to watch but just go in expecting that it's very Hollywood.

Wind River 4/5

This true and unbelievable tale focuses on the death of a young woman on an Indian reserve. A veteran tracker becomes heavily involved in the case and helps the FBI agent get to the bottom of what really happened. It was scary and all too real. Elizabeth Olsen (Mary Kate and Ashley's sister) does an excellent job in the role and the movie kept me on the edge of my plane seat!

Eddie the Eagle 2/5

Michael and I watched two movies on the plane that were back to back about women being murdered. So it was time for a feel good flick.  This movie isn't bad. There isn't much plot, but it goes like this: British underdog Eddie was determined to be an Olympic athlete. The only sport that seemed like it made sense was to be a ski jumper. Having basically no fear he goes to the 1988 Winter Olympics to prove himself.

Sing Street 5/5

My one and only 5/5 on the list! I adore coming of age stories. They are some of my favorite stories of all time. Sing Street totally nails this. Set in Dublin in the 1980s, it focuses on a boy changing schools, parents getting a divorce, and trying to figure out his path. He forms a band to impress a girl and life ensues. I adored how the movie portrays relationships with siblings and felt myself tearing up on multiple occasions. The director, John Carney, is also responsible for other movies I adore like Once. My most recommended movie in a while!

Listening

With Open Arms: Short Stories of Misadventures in Morocco by Matthew Félix 0/5

What can I say? There were some highs and lows. This was a low. I'll admit I did not finish listening to this book. It was just too stupid. The book says he went to Morocco with open arms but I think it was more like Félix crossed them the whole time. The book was an account of the narrator's real life journey in Morocco. What I found was complaining and sheer lunacy when it came to the locals. Having gone to Morocco I felt them to be open-hearted and kind. He took a different approach.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell 3/5

On our way to and from Austria Michael and I listened to “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. I'm a fan of his work having listened to others like “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point.” This book gives an introspective look at the way we think, how we make such quick decisions, and how our brains work. I always feel like I learn something new about myself when I read Gladwell and Blink is no exception. If you want a chance to look into the human subconscious, this book is for you.

Heaven's Gate Podcast 4/5

After watching Wild Wild Country on Netflix I couldn't stop my “cult” binge. I was reading so much stuff and a few of you recommended Heaven's Gate Podcast to me on Instagram. I immediately started listening to it. This one is super weird. They believe in UFOs and 39 of them killed themselves collectively in 1997. What I love about this is that the narrator explains why someone might join a cult. Which is something I find so interesting. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm super into it already. Thanks for the recommendation @our21stcenturyodyssey!

I had so many people give me recommendations that I haven't got to yet but wanted to share with you here! Most are based on cults because I kept talking about it on my Instagram story. And I also might have spent an hour or so in the middle of the night reading up on them after finishing Wild Wild Country. Check out these if you're interested:

Colonia – movie from @maeveizabeth

The Killing and Bates Motel (series on Netflix) from @thecoffeefreak

The 100 on Netflix from @emilydodsondesign

Have any recs for me?! Let me know below. And check out all my past reads, watches, and listens right here.