December 01, 2020

What I've Been Reading, Watching, & Listening To

I've really enjoyed writing my "Reading, Watching, & Listening To" posts and this one is far overdue. I feel like I've probably forgotten most of it, but I'm going to do my best.

I haven't been reading much at all lately (I just can't find a book that pulls me in!) but I've been listening to audiobooks and I've watched some interesting shows/movies. So here goes--what I've been reading, watching, and listening to... (I don't include spoilers unless I specify beforehand)

The Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase through the links, I may get a small commission. But I encourage you to check your library, because that's where I get all of these!

Also, you can find me on Goodreads here. I *try* to keep up with what I've been reading and/or listening to.


'Open Book' by Jessica Simpson

This book was mentioned by several readers when I asked for recommendations. I love memoirs, so I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it! The problem with celebrity memoirs (for me) is that I really don't like the name-dropping. When Jessica Simpson wrote about Ryan Gosling and how he thought she was the hottest girl at the Mickey Mouse Club auditions, she just lost me. 

I may try reading this one again because it got a lot of praise from some of my readers. When I was reading it, however, my library loan expired and I just moved on.

'The Boy in the Photo' by Nicole Trope

This was a book that I had downloaded on my Kindle Paperwhite and I don't know why--maybe it was a Kindle First Reads book? (When you have Amazon Prime, you get a free e-book each month from a  short list.) 

I really enjoyed this! It's about a mother whose son was abducted by her ex-husband when her son was only six years old. As much as she tries to find him over the years, she is eventually forced to move on. She never gives up hope of seeing him again, though. 

At the beginning of the book, she gets a phone call that her son has been found and is at a police station waiting for her to pick him up. Her world changes, as you might imagine. As a mother myself, I kept trying to imagine myself if this situation and how I would handle it. There are lots of questions which she tries to find the answers to throughout the book.


'Good Sam' movie on Netflix

This is a nice family movie. A reporter takes on a story of someone who leaves bags of cash for people in NYC. It's a "feel good" movie--a far cry from my typical slasher films or documentaries! haha. 

'Many Sides of Jane' on A&E

My friend Sarah from Arizona sent me a text recommending that I watch this. It's about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder. I wasn't really interested in watching this because I've always found DID to be... well, kind of unbelievable? Before you hate on me for saying that, this docuseries was very eye-opening! 

I never had interest in DID because it seemed so far-fetched and I just couldn't even wrap my mind around it. I almost didn't watch this show! But Sarah never recommends that I watch particular shows, so I gave it a try and I'm glad I did. It gave me an idea of how DID comes to be (usually from extremely traumatic childhoods).

While I'm still not sure what to truly believe about DID, it was very obvious to me that Jane was NOT faking her symptoms. As someone who loves psychology and is passionate about mental health, this was eye-opening and very interesting to learn about.

'Bully' Netflix documentary

This was absolutely heartbreaking. The documentary follows five children who are being bullied and their families. I desperately want EVERY child to be loved, to feel happy, to have friends, to "fit in" and to just generally enjoy their life!

I don't even know why I watched this, really. I hate to see any child feel left out or bullied and it kills me to to see them feeling upset. There is one boy who takes his own life after being bullied and just watching his parents, the funeral, makes my heart ache so badly. I won't get into much detail about the documentary except that I think school-aged KIDS should watch it. So that they can see that every child matters and that words can really do more damage than they might imagine.

'I Am Jazz' on TLC

This series on TLC has really educated me on the transgender community and helped me understand it so much better! Jazz (the transgender teen that the show focuses on) is SO likable and informative. I can't even describe how much I learned about what it means to be transgender from watching this reality show (documenting a family who has a transgender child). I adore the entire family featured in the show.

'Borderline' on kanopy

I know a LOT about various mental illnesses, and I thought I knew Borderline Personality Disorder pretty well... until I saw this film. It follows a woman with BPD who lives in NYC. Watching her day-to-day life, I was just stunned. Granted, her psychiatrist told her that her BPD was an 8.5/10 (in terms of how bad it is), seeing the effects of her disorder was mind-blowing to me. I'm very glad that I watched this--I feel like I learned a lot about BPD!

(By the way, "kanopy" is an app that is connected to libraries that allows you to borrow digital films--five per month. I only just learned about it when I watched this film! But I'm going to take advantage of it now. They have a TON of documentaries that I'm interested in (I haven't even looked at the other films yet). 

Listenting to... (audiobooks)

'Three Days Missing' by Kimberly Belle

I wish I could write about this, but I don't remember it! I did like it, though. A woman's son goes missing while on a school camping trip and she (like any mom) does whatever she can to figure out what happened to him and how to find him. I only gave it two stars on Goodreads, so I guess I don't recommend it! Haha.

'Stranger in the Lake' by Kimberly Belle

This is another murder mystery (basically the only thing I've been listening to!). I felt like it was very predictable, but I still enjoyed listening to it. Basically, a woman and her fiancé live in a house on the lake and the woman discovers a body in the lake behind their house. She recognizes the woman but wants to protect her fiancé, so things become complicated.

I felt like this was very predictable, but it was a good listen. There were some surprises at the end. I always looked forward to it on my walks!

'Dear Wife' by Kimberly Belle

This book kind of blew me away. I can't really write anything at all without spoiling it. It reminded me a lot of 'Gone Girl' for a while, but about halfway through, it takes off on its own. I will say that the narration on this audiobook was AMAZING.

This was one of those books that you think you figure out from the very beginning, but then you start questioning yourself, and you just can't make up your mind about whodunit. I gave this four stars.

'The Marriage Lie' by Kimberly Belle

This book literally had me crying for the first two hours or so of listening! I listened to it on my morning walks, so it was pretty embarrassing, but I couldn't help it. I just kept putting myself in the main character's shoes and it was rough.

Basically, a woman learns her husband was in a plane crash on a plane that he wasn't supposed to be on. She goes investigating to figure out why he was on the plane and what happened, which leads to all sorts of further questions. The more I listened, the more I realized that there could not possibly be a good outcome. But I kept listening, because I wanted to know what the story was! I gave this four stars.

'The Perfect Wife' and 'The Perfect Block' by Blake Pierce (part of a psychological suspense series)

I was VERY into 'The Perfect Wife'. The series focuses on a woman, Jesse Hunt, who is a criminal profiler (in training). This series reminds me very much of The Silence of the Lambs, with Jesse being Clarice Starling. I can't say anything more without spoilers. If you liked The Silence of the Lambs, you'll like this series! I started listening to the third book, but the narrator just wasn't meshing with me. I'll have to read the book.

'The Stranger Inside' by Lisa Unger

I REALLY like this book! The male narrator was fantastic and I loved the psychological aspects of the book. I couldn't really see where this was going until about halfway through, and I wish I could write more, but I don't want to spoil it. The general plot is that three kids were playing on their bikes and two were abducted. One was murdered and the other escaped. The one who was not abducted moved on with her life (sort of) and the one who escaped did not leave without mental issues. Meanwhile, there are some vigilante killings that may or may not tie into the abduction.

While this may sound like any other psychological suspense book, it was actually quite unique because of the in-depth psychological components. And did I mention the male narrator? I really love his voice!

I actually didn't even mention a few things I watched, so I'll write them next time if I look back and find them worth mentioning. I need to make these posts at least monthly, if not bi-weekly. Since I've been walking for 90-ish minutes per day, I listen to a lot of audiobooks! (I always listen with the speed on 1.25x, which means I finish them faster.)

Are you reading/watching/listening to anything awesome? Please mention!


  1. I'm listening to Ready Player One for the fourth time, in anticipation of listening to the sequel, Ready Player Two. It's great if you grew up in the 80's/early 90's and were into video games/nerd culture.

    The last book I read that was so good I almost started it again as soon as it was over was Waiting for an Echo, about the prison system in the United States. It was SO GOOD! Very eye opening and frank, and just when you think it's just going to be a bleak report on our prison system, she talks about how it could be reformed.

    Did you ever read Grit by Angela Duckworth? That's another book that I thought was so good that I actually did start it from the beginning as soon as it was over. I've read it three times, and will probably read it more over the next few years.

    Mexican Gothic was the last 5 star read for me. Very atmospheric, and while you'll have to suspend belief a bit, I really really loved it. It's about a socialite who goes to check on her cousin who married a guy and seems to be having some health problems that her new family isn't addressing.

    I also really liked The Silent Patient. I think you'd like that a lot!

    I just started Designated Survivor, and think the first episode was really good (haha...I'm not very far into it!).

  2. I read Silent Patient for a book club I am in. It lended to interesting discussion. Also have watched Designated Survivor, great series!!

  3. I love when you do posts like this!! They're my favorite.


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