The Lineup: Monica

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Monica’s Lineup

For what I have taken an interest in lately, see below!

TV Show: The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window

I had been putting off watching this series because I enjoyed the book The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn so much. However, enough is different about the show and the book that it didn’t feel like a let down at all! I love Kristen Bell as an actress, and I think that she played the role of Anna perfectly. I am not a binge-watch kind of person, but I finished this whole season in one day.

Overall it is definitely a satire of the book, but it is done well. I am not sure what it would be like if I hadn’t read The Woman in the Window, but I thought all the twists were done in a non-predictable way. It really portrayed how an unreliable main character like Anna can impact the viewer or reader’s perception.

Mixing wine, pills, casseroles and an overactive imagination, Anna obsesses over a hunky neighbor across the street and witnesses a murder. Or did she?

Available on Netflix.

Book: Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering

Summary: On a brisk fall night in a New York apartment, Billie hears terrified screams. It’s her lifelong best friend Cassie Barnwell, one floor above, and she’s just realized her infant daughter has gone missing. Billie is shaken as she looks down into her own arms to see the baby, remembering—with a jolt of fear—that she is responsible for the kidnapping that has instantly shattered Cassie’s world.

So begins the story of Billie and Cassie’s friendship–both in recent weeks, and since they met twenty-three years ago, in their small Hudson Valley hometown the summer before seventh grade. Once fiercely bonded by their secrets, including a traumatic, unspeakable incident in high school, Cassie and Billie have drifted apart in adulthood, no longer the inseparable pair they used to be. Cassie is married to a wealthy man, has recently become a mother, and is building a following as a fashion and lifestyle influencer. She is desperate to leave her past behind–including Billie, who is single and childless, and no longer fits into her world. Hurt and rejected by Cassie’s new priorities, Billie will do anything to restore their friendship, even as she hides the truth about what really happened the night the baby was taken.

My Opinion: This reads like relational drama with a splash of suspense. The story is narrated by Cassie and Billie, which was nice because, despite their character flaws (and they both had plenty!), I could see the complexity of their relationship from both POVs and understand their feelings, even if I often didn’t agree with them. It’s cool to see a book that gives voice to both experiences without showing preference!

This was a good read that had me feeling the range of emotions and wanting the best for everyone by the end. Please read the content warning at the end, if you have any concerns, as the book does have a couple potentially upsetting topics for some.

Available here, or as an eAudibook on Libby.

Comedy Podcast: Wild ‘Til 9

What do you get when a DIY influencer dates an ex-frat-president tech mogul? Honestly we’re not really sure either, but we’re all about to find out together. Hosted by Lauren Riihimaki (LaurDIY) and husband, Jeremy Lewis, Wild ’Til 9 is about relationships, spotting the red flags and giving the green lights, and the lifestyle in which this polar opposite couple found themselves. Things are about to get wild… but only until 9PM.

This is very new to my entertainment rotation, so I haven’t listened to a ton of their episodes together. However, I have been a fan of the LaurDIY channel on YouTube for several years, and I am happy to have found more content from Lauren and her husband Jeremy. Their banter is lighthearted and is comparable to listening in on a fun conversation with friends.

Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Music: Hozier

Hozier has definitely been my recent music obsession. Majority of people would recognize his hit song “Take me to Church”. His most recent album, Unreal Unearth, has by far blown me away. I could go on and on about the poetry portrayed in his songs, but you should give it a listen yourself!

My favorites on this album are Francesca and Unknown/Nth.

Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, known professionally as Hozier, is an Irish musician, singer and songwriter. His music primarily draws from folk, soul and blues, often using religious and literary themes and taking political or social justice stances.

Check out the album from the Derby Public Library here, or any music streaming platform.

Hobby: Jessica Braun for Lifestyle/Influence

As I am typing this, it feels so bizarre to finally share that I am expecting my first baby! I have been watching baby-prep videos on YouTube regularly to find the best and most useful products to purchase.

Most of my purchases have been based on Jessica Braun, whose down-to-earth lifestyle speaks to me. She has great recommendations and gives reasoning behind all of her choices. 90% of my registry was based on hers! I enjoy watching her daily lifestyle vlogs as well, but in the spirit of something I have been hyper-fixated on lately, this one takes the cake!

If you are expecting a baby, I highly recommend watching her videos. She links all of the products in the description of her videos for easy online shopping!

Check out her channel here, or click the pictures above to be taken to the videos!

Monica’s Musings: A House with Good Bones

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

“Strange, the powers you find sometimes, in a garden at the end of the road.”
― T. Kingfisher, A House with Good Bones

Summary: “Mom seems off.” Her brother’s words echo in Sam’s ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.

She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam is excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.

But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. When Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.

To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.

My Thoughts: Sam is hilarious with her quirky sense of humor, which captured my attention immediately. She is a great protagonist, but most of the book is listening to her inner monologue. There are just a few characters in this book, and it takes a very long time for them to begin to interact with one another. I did think that the characters complement each other well in the story, and I enjoyed how it all came together by the end.

T. Kingfisher’s horror in this book is surprisingly normal-ish. She uses very ordinary people in very ordinary settings and then allows the dread to grow. Unlike the previous T. Kingfisher book I read, What Moves the Dead, I found this story much less creepy.

Podcast: And That’s Why We Drink

If you are a fan of paranormal and true crime stories, I highly recommend giving this podcast, And That’s Why We Drink, a shot! I found it while I was in-between books, and I have been binging the content for a few weeks. Hosts Christine and Em are both very well-spoken, and their friendship reflects in their banter back and forth on topics. Each host brings a story to share, and the episodes are each two hours long or more! I personally listen on Spotify or YouTube.

*Found wherever you get your podcasts!