Fall TV Shows: A Summary

This Fall has been all about TV for me. I haven’t felt motivated to blog, but I sure as heck can find the motivation to watch TV. Here’s my take on some of Fall’s new and returning shows.

New

Ghosted (Fox) – To be honest, I just wasn’t a fan of this one. I really like both Craig Robinson and Adam Scott, but it just didn’t have the comedic tone I was looking for. It was too…much in some ways. The jokes were too obvious. The show seemed too superficial.

Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS) – I did not expect to love this show as much as I do. The characters are fun and interesting to me, not to mention pretty diverse. The idea of a crowd-sourced, crime-solving app is super intriguing to me. I like how there’s an overall case that they’re trying to solve with other secondary cases on each episode.

The Good Doctor (ABC) – When I saw this show was produced by the same people who made House, I knew I had to watch. I LOVED House and I love this show too. It’s a completely separate tone, but with all of the things that I think made House so watchable. There’s lots of hospital politics and cool graphics/special effects. If you’re super squeamish though, I might suggest passing on this. There are a lot of surgery scenes.

The Gifted (Fox) – I am just about ready to give up on this show. I just don’t really feel like any of the characters are super likable and the plot hasn’t gone anywhere since the first couple episodes. I love the Marvel universe, but I’m thinking I’ll replace this show with the next one.

Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu) – I read these comics about 10 years ago and really loved them so I was super excited to see that it was being turned into a TV show. I’m (for the most part) pretty happy with the casting and the first few episodes have been alright. I’m just worried that it’ll depart more from the comics than it already has. Also, I’m worried it’s going to get more…mature.

The Mayor (ABC) – This is another show that surprised me! There’s something about Courtney, his mom, his friends, and even Lea Michele’s character that is incredibly likable. I think the entire cast has really good chemistry and the show is just fun to watch. Even though it’s a comedy, it’s a great platform to bring awareness to certain social issues that are plaguing many cities across the country. Courtney comes across as very genuine and as someone who loves his city and really wants to help it even if he’s a little naive about some things.

Returning

The Good Place (NBC) – S2 – This show is fantastic! I was worried about how the second season would be after the end of season one, but they’ve pulled it off. I wondered if it would essentially be a repeat of the first season, but they’ve managed to keep it fresh without it being too Groundhog Day-y. The cast is great just like they were last season and I’m excited for it to start up again in the new year.

Superstore (NBC) – S3 – THIS SHOW IS SO UNDERRATED. But seriously, why does nobody talk about this show? It’s so funny! The show makes unbelievable things believable. I mean, they literally just found a dead employee in the wall of the store and it wasn’t weird. Also, I ship Amy and Jonah so hard. Talk about OTP.

Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) – S4 – Another show that is just…so great. I thought that perhaps I especially enjoy it because I’m half-Chinese, but my (non-Asian) husband loves it just as much! It’s a fun look back at what it was like growing up in the 90’s and the characters are all really likable as well.

This is Us (NBC) – S2 – I love this show, but I also hate this show. It just pulls my emotions all over the place and I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’m inevitably in tears after every episode. I JUST WANT THESE PEOPLE TO BE HAPPY. Beth is my spirit animal.

Speechless (ABC) – S2 – Minnie Driver is such a great actress and is such a perfectly flawed mother. I think some people could view her as overwhelming and annoying, but for me she’s pretty perfect. I think all of the characters on the show are exaggerated a little bit, but the show still works. I also love seeing a normal character with disabilities. In my enormously unqualified opinion, the show does a great job talking about issues and stereotypes that people with disabilities face in a realistic and respectful way.

Survivor (CBS) – S35 – I grew up watching Survivor and then kind of fell out of it in high school and college. Then, my husband and I started getting back into it and we are now addicted to all CBS reality shows (Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother). It’s awesome. Anyway, this season is pretty much just like all the others. This show knows what works and they keep doing it. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this season.

What are some TV shows you guys are watching? Do we watch any of the same shows?

 

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Revisiting the Russian Fairytale | The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden [ARC]

This is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy. To see my review of the first book, please click here.

The Girl in the TowerAfter the events of the first book, Vasya knows that she can’t stay in her small town. She bridles her horse, Solovey, and takes off to finally have the adventure that she’s always longed for. Soon after, she discovers a village that’s been burned to the ground. Many of the villagers are dead and some have had their daughters taken. Vasya can find no trace of these bandits but doesn’t let that stop her. As she continues on her journey, she’ll find herself embroiled in Moscow politics and longing for a life that she may never be able to have.

This was a great follow-up to the The Bear and the Nightingale. It was very much in the same tone and the characters were just as real and complex as they were before (if not more so). Vasya isn’t always the most likable character, but she does make sense. She lives in a different time where women were just expected to stay in their towers all day, every day. Instead, Vasya longs for adventure and the reader can feel that throughout the book. She’s so conflicted because she doesn’t like lying by pretending to be a boy, but she knows that she wouldn’t be as helpful (or happy) if everyone knew she was a girl.

As far as other characters go, we get to know Morozko, Sasha, and Olga a lot better than we did in the first book in addition to new characters like Dimitrii and Olga’s daughter. This gives the reader a really diverse and interesting cast of secondary characters to get to know. I, personally, was not in favor of the priest from her hometown coming back. He’s just so…creepy. But I guess that’s the point.

The plot is slow-moving, but not boring by any means. I didn’t necessarily feel compelled to pick the book back up after I was done reading for the day, but I think that says more about my own reading preferences than the book itself. Arden is a talented writer and that shows through in this book just as it did in the first one. There’s the smallest little bud of a romance that blossoms in this book. I’ll be honest, I was wanting this romance from the first book, so I’m glad it’s getting explored and I hope we see more of it in the third book.

If you’re interested in historical Russia, Russian fairytales, or just love beautifully written (albeit slow-moving) books, then I would definitely recommend this book. I look forward to seeing what Arden comes out with next.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: None
Violence: Heavy, but not SUPER descriptive
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Not back from my hiatus mini-reviews

As the title suggests, I’m not back from my hiatus yet, but I do have a ton of NetGalley reviews to get off my plate, so here are some mini-reviews for you! And for those of you that care, I’ll have a life update at the end.

Gray Wolf IslandGray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

This book was not anything that I thought it would be really. I guess I just kind of thought it would be a treasure hunt? It definitely did have those elements to it, but it also a magical realism element to it that made it really fun. I can’t say whether or not I would have enjoyed the book more without the magical realism…I think it just would have been a completely different story. With that being said, the five main characters are each unique and interesting. They all have secrets and I really did feel like we got to know them quite well in a short time. 4/5

BerserkerBerserker by Emmy Laybourne

I have no idea why I requested this book. In fact, I feel like I distinctly remember reading the synopsis and deciding NOT to request it. All the same, the approval landed in my inbox so I must read it. It was better than I thought it was going to be for sure. I liked some of the sibling relationships, but I thought the youngest sister was just SO ANNOYING. I mean…she really seemed to have no awareness of their situation and she just seemed so spoiled. Main characters were pretty bland to me. Plot was okay but didn’t make sense at times. I was also a little confused because the characters made it sound like there were two additional gifts, but they never explained what they were. 3/5

A Messy, Beautiful LifeA Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

This book is about a girl who finds out she had cancer. Because of that, I think I expected the tone of the book to be a little more serious or something, but it wasn’t. So the tone of the whole book just felt a little off to me which kept me from really getting into it. I thought the characters were mostly alright, but Jason is unreal. Like, seriously unreal. He’s way too mature for how old he’s supposed to be. The plot of the book was mostly alright, but I thought the ending was too clean–too fairytale. Also, there was like this weird spiritual element to the last 1/4 of the book that wasn’t there for the first 3/4. I have nothing against that kind of thing, but it wasn’t a consistent theme throughout the whole book. 3/5

A Dangerous YearA Dangerous Year by Kes Trester

I like teen spy books and I especially like teen spy books set at boarding schools that may or may not have some of its own secrets. I thought the main character, Riley, was pretty fun. She seemed way smart without being chippy or over-dramatic. And by chippy, I mean having a HUGE chip on her shoulder/needing to prove herself at every opportunity. The other characters were okay as well if a little flat–perhaps they’ll be developed more in later books. I really liked Riley’s relationship with her dad and the security guy. I wasn’t a big fan of the love triangle that developed, but what are you going to do? In the end, I would definitely be interested in reading more from this series. 4/5

Murder, Magic, and What We WoreMurder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Overall, I liked this book okay, but I’m not looking to read more in the series. I thought the main character was pretty annoying, honestly. I wish that there had been more about Millie because she seemed WAY more interesting. At least give us multiple POVs! I could see what this book was trying to do with the plot, but it’s just been done better in other books, honestly (check out the These Vicious Masks books). I thought the magic in this book was really interesting and had a lot of potential, but it was also a little confusing and may have benefited from a bit of an explanation. 3/5

Odd and TrueOdd & True by Cat Winters

I LOVE CAT WINTERS. I know I’ve mentioned that on this blog before, but every book I read by her is amazing! I love how she creates the perfect spooky atmosphere without being too scary. She creates these likable, strong, and independent female characters who are also flawed and vulnerable. Her stories always leave you guessing about what’s real and what’s simply in a character’s head. Also, she does an AMAZING job of putting you in the historical time that the book is set in. Every book of hers is another glimpse at an older America that I feel like we don’t get to see very often and this book is no exception. I really appreciated that this book is about SISTERS and even though there’s a little romance, it doesn’t really play into it. 4/5

Girls Made of Snow and GlassGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

I thought this book moved SOOOOOO SLOOOOOOW. It was honestly very hard for me to get into and then to get through. I didn’t really feel a connection to any of the characters. I didn’t really care what happened to them in the end. I did like how this book gave more depth to the original fairytale, though. The author did a good job at explaining actions by deep-rooted motivations that made sense even if I didn’t agree. Overall, I just don’t think this book was for me. I think I’ve read that some people really loved it, but I honestly can’t get over the pacing. SO SLOW. 3/5

InvictusInvictus by Ryan Graudin

But guys….THIS BOOK. Ryan Graudin has done it again. I am truly converted (not that I really needed converting) and will read LITERALLY ANYTHING that she writes. This is by far the most realistic take on time travel that I think I’ve ever seen. I love the future world that Graudin has created and I honestly want to live in it. I was super into the initial premise of Far’s team performing these historical heists and I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see any of those, but the actual plot was also very interesting. It was a lot deeper and more emotional than I expected. All the main characters were super likable so that made it all the more emotional for me. I care about these guys! I’ll admit to being a little confused by the ending…I fell like it went over my head a bit but overall, I would definitely recommend this book! 5/5

Life Update: Okay, as promised (for those of you who care)…one of the reasons that life has been so crazy lately is that I’m pregnant! I’m almost 14 weeks at this point with my due date being in May. Luckily, I haven’t really had bad morning sickness at all, but I have been super tired and (lately) hungry like ALL THE TIME. So anyway, I just have all that going in my head and haven’t felt motivated to blog. I’m not sure how the baby will change my blogging habits. I won’t be working full-time anymore, but on the other hand…baby? So we’ll just have to see 😉

Note: I received these books free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

ANNOUNCEMENT

First of all, I just want to thank the people who have stuck around with me even though I’ve been posting hardly at all. Life has just taken a weird turn and I have zero motivation to blog right now. I’m working full-time and my husband is just starting grad school, plus, all the Fall TV shows are starting.

With all that being said, I’m putting this blog on an indefinite semi-hiatus. “Indefinite” because I don’t know when I’ll find the motivation to start blogging again. “Semi” because if I feel like it, I might still post every once in a while and I do have some prior commitments that I’ll need to keep. Maybe I’ll write about books, but maybe I’ll just write about the TV shows I’ve been watching.

I do have a ton of ARCs from NetGalley that I need to get reviews up for, so you’ll probably be seeing those, but don’t expect too much else for the time being. Maybe I’ll start feeling more motivated to write in the new year? But I’m not holding myself to that.

Thanks for all the love, likes, and comments.

Ashley @What’s She Reading?

September Wrap-Up/October TBR

Wrap-Up & TBR
September

ARCs
The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes – DNF pg 182, review
Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Read, review coming
A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester – Read, review coming
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones – Read, review coming
A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan – Read, review coming
Berserker by Emmy Laybourne – Read, review coming
Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott – Currently Reading

Other
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer – Currently Reading

So yeah, this month I managed to finish five books and had one DNF. Things have just been super busy with my husband starting grad school, etc. Also, TV. So, there’s that. I’m like 24 books behind on my Goodreads challenge right now *shrugs*. Also, I now officially suck at blogging.

October

ARCs
Nemesis by Anna Banks
Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

Other
Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

There you have it. I have low expectations for October. Luckily, I don’t have any ARCs that are getting published in November, so these are just a couple from my backlog.

September Reading Update

ARCs
The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes – DNF pg 182, review
Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Currently Reading
A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Berserker by Emmy Laybourne
Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Other
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer – Currently Reading

So far this month I’ve only managed to DNF one book. Reading has been going super slow for me and I can’t quite figure out why.

Mini-reviews to prove that I’m still alive

I think I’ve been watching too much TV lately instead of reading and blogging. Actually, to be honest, I usually get posts written during down time at work and work has been SUPER busy recently. So there’s that. But anyway…on to these mini-reviews.

RefineRefine by Nichole Van
I just like all of these books. They’re nice, clean romances with a combination of both modern and regency storylines. I like how we keep catching up with old characters and learning more about secondary characters. This is the fourth book in the series and I would actually recommend reading them in order. I know there’s at least one more after this one as well. Our main character in this one was just as delightful as all the other main characters have been. I was really glad to get more insight into Linwood’s character because he really had been portrayed in a pretty poor light in the previous books. I honestly think I could read hundreds of these books without getting tired. Van does a good job of not being too formulaic. 4/5

My Lady JaneMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
This book is so fun! It’s told from three alternating perspectives, but I honestly loved them all. I’m not sure if each author took one perspective to write or if they all worked on all three, but the whole thing was just so good. It was a really funny and fun take on an alternate history and it actually made me want to look some stuff up afterwards. This isn’t a part of history that I’m super familiar with, so it was definitely interesting to actually learn some things. I thought the chemistry between characters was really well done as well. My only issue was that I wished the shape-shifting had a little more logic to it. Why do people turn into the animals that they do? And why is there a flash of light? I just wish that aspect of the book had been a little more fleshed out. But overall, I REALLY enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to more from this series! 5/5

You Are HereYou Are Here by Jennifer E Smith
For some reason it’s taken me a really long time to read this book. I started it a while back, but just never finished it. It’s not my FAVORITE Jen E Smith book, but it’s also not my least favorite. I think the main character was a little aloof and hard to connect with at times. It was interesting getting the two perspectives because I felt like our main character was one way in her head, but then came off completely different when Peter is just observing her. I obviously liked the road trip aspect of the book (always a good time) and I liked their dog as well. Though…let’s be honest, the three-legged dog was a LITTLE random and didn’t really add much to the story. 4/5

P.S. I Like YouP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Lately, I hadn’t been super impressed by Kasie West’s books. I really enjoyed her first one and moderately enjoyed the next one, but she’s had a few that I just really didn’t connect with. This one was different. A lot of times I find the enemies to lovers trope a little tiresome, unrealistic, or cliche.  Luckily, this one broke the mold a little for me. I thought both characters were pretty fun and I really liked Lily’s family. Her interactions with them seemed so genuine and her parents really just seemed like some of the coolest people. I definitely recommend picking this one up. 4/5

So there you guys go. Proof that I’m still alive and reading stuff.