The Stand In

Have you ever been told you look like a celebrity? What would you do if given the opportunity to fill in for that celebrity twin of yours?

That is exactly what happened in “The Stand In” written by Lily Chu. When Gracie Reed got the opportunity at right time in her life. Right when she was debating whether she was going to quit her job because of her boss or whether to suck it up because she needs the money to get her ailing mother into the top nursing home in town. She was ambushed by the talented Chinese actress Wei Fangli on a walk and asked to step in for her at events while she is filming a movie in Canada.

Will Gracie be able to full fill her duty without being recognized or caught? What will happen between her and Wei Fangli right hand man and friend Sam Yao? And what will happen to the relationship between Wei and Gracie when Gracie finds out they maybe closer than they might have original thought?

“The Stand In” is that guilty rom com of a story that will leave you with your own question of “what if I was given an opportunity of a life time by my own celebrity look alike?”

All Good People Here

Infuriating, determination and captivating are three words that come to mind after reading “All Good People Here” written by Ashley Flowers. Ashley Flowers has an incredible way of telling true crime stories with her popular podcasts Crime Junkie and with this fictional novel.

I have been hooked on Crime Junkie for a while now and look forward to a new episode every Monday morning and I know that I am not the only one.

Which makes me ask the question:

what makes humans so captivated with true crime? According to an article published 2021 on “The University of Law” blog it states:

“True crime gives an insight into our culture and norms as well as our anxieties and values.”(https://www.law.ac.uk/resources/blog/why-we-love-true-crime).

  I get invested in the human aspect in of these cases. What brings people to commit these crimes and how can so many of these cases go unsolved. In all these cases what part does the media play in all of this?

From the mid 90’s with the first high profile case of OJ Simpson vs. The People of California, or my first ever case that I remember “Casey Anthony vs. the State of Florida.” I remember being glued to the tv from the beginning to the end of the case. Being incredibly disappointed with the outcome. Now I’ll admit it, I had my judgement of Casey before the trial even began and I still believe that she is guilty beyond belief. However, I know now that not all cases are all clear cut and open and shut cases. There is always more to the story than what is being shown on the news. I still think about how this little 3 year old girl would be a young teenager today and there is still no justice for little Caylee and we just have to be ok with that.

The media has had the important responsible to bring the world facts but these cases. However, I believe the media has become irresponsible with these times of cases. Only highlighting one side of the story. A lot of times with cases media painting the suspect has some sort of celebrity and “throwing them in the slammer” before a fair trial is even given. Sometimes even forgetting who the real victim is by the time everything is said and done.

However, Ashley Flowers and all people at Audio Chuck Production, has a real gift of telling these stories with an unbiased mind. Laying out all the facts of the stories on both sides of the aisle. Treating both the victim and the suspects has real human beings. Without ever forgetting who the real victim is. She interviews people connected to the cases that the police have never even thought about talking to. And she tries and sometimes succeeds in getting true justice for these families that have been through hell and back!

And she does just that in “All Good People Here” where the main character Margot moves back home to help with her haling uncle. And starts investigating a case of a missing little girl a town over. Her mission is to connect it to another missing girl case from when she was a child. A girl she considered her best friend. As she sets off trying to connect this puzzle, she reconnects with people from her past and soon realizes that this little town holds more secrets than she original thought. Even secrets in her family.

This story is a powerful and insight story of a story of a missing little girl isn’t always an open and shut case.

Sources:

[Website] Schmidt-Petersen, J. (2021). Why are we so obsessed with true crime. https://www.law.ac.uk/resources/blog/why-we-love-true-crime/#:~:text=True%20crime%20gives%20an%20insight,is%20a%20common%20psychological%20trait%E2%80%9D.

Episode 31: Memorial and Demi Lovato

Summary

My review on “Memorial” by Bryan Washington. Including my thoughts and opinion on the Demi Lovato documentary “Dancing with The Devil” part 1 & part 2 — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bridget-hadley/support

Transcription

One to Watch

Love, Diversity and Reality Television are 3 themes that come to my mind after reading “One to Watch” A book about viewing love in all different forms. A love story that we did not think we needed but we really did!

Bea was riding a high on instant social media fame with her blog about overweight fashion. When the executive producer of the hit reality television show “Main Squeeze” about finding love on nation TV approached her about being the lead on the upcoming season. At first Bea is very hesitant because she did not know how people would perceive her and she did not want to become a laughingstock of national television.   However, when Lauren the executive producer, convinces her that it will help grow her platform. Bea is in!

This book takes us through the trials and tribulations of Bea’s journey of love. This book just like the reality is full of crying, love and above all drama! Will Bea finally be able to believe in the process and she be able to find love?

Diversity was the biggest topic in this book and is the biggest problem in the Batchelor Nation franchise as well. Even though the franchise have made steps in the right direction with casting the leads Rachel Lindsay, Tayshia Adams, the first black bachelor Matt James and two incredibly great diverse casts on contestants. On the heels on the events that have occurred in the franchise this past week, it shows the franchise has a long way to go! As a long-time fan of the franchise I look forward to seeing the progress take place!

41: A Portrait of My Father

Service, Family and History are the three themes that come to my mind after reading “41” A Portrait of My Father” written by Former President George W. Bush. A book written about a President that left his first and only term with grace and respect. Written by his son a President that united our country during one of the country’s most difficult times.

From early on George H.W Bush had the heart and will to serve this nation. By putting college aside and enlisting in the Navy and becoming a hero in WWII.

Whether it be with his job as a businessman in the oil business, his career in government and politics, and being a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, George H.W Bush have his heart to everyone that came into his life good or bad. By writing specialized notes to personal phone calls to just check in, there was no doubt the impact the George H.W Bush had on the people in his life and the legacy he left on the country.

By reading this book the reader gets a special insider perspective of not just one Former President but two Former President. The reader gets a special view from the biggest and most important seat in the country. For myself who was just understanding the Presidency as Former President George W. Bush was leaving office, reading this book gave me a whole new respect of one countries Great American Dynasties.

In Five Years

Love, Life and Unforeseen circumstances are the 3 themes that come to my mind after reading “In Five Lives” written by Rebecca Serle. A beautiful story of how life doesn’t goes as planned no matter how are you try to stay on track.

Dannie Kohen always lived by numbers and a plan. She had everything planned out from her professional law career to her personal love life with her boyfriend David. Everything was working out and going as planned. Then on the night of her engagement she has an unexpected dream, a dream of herself in 5 years.  Now she tries everything in her power to prevent her dream from becoming reality. However, when her best friend gets unexpected and heartbreaking news Dannie soon realizes that she cannot prevent all of lives hurdles. Did Dannie’s own five-year plan work out or did her dream become reality?

Rebecca Serle does a wonderful job with a story about how life doesn’t always go as planned no matter how hard you try. She highlights a non-perfect yet beautiful friendship of two friends that would do anything for each other. How someone you love and consider your best friend and partner in life might not be your soul mate or your partner for life after all. Promises were made/promises were broken; mistakes will be made but that is what life is all about. It is not perfect but that is what makes us human.

Capital Gaines – Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Things

Author: Chip Gaines Published: October 2017

Lessons learned, Family and Dreams are the 3 themes that came to my mind after reading “Capital Gaines – Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Thing” by Chip Gains. An insightful story on the journey that Chip Gains took that led him to being a star on the hit television show about fixing up houses in Waco, Texas Fixer Upper.

From a young age Chip had to learn that dreams do not always work out the way that you plan. No matter how much passion and hard work you put into them. That is what happened when his dream of becoming a player in the MLB came to an end, when he was suddenly cut from the Baylor University baseball team in his Sophomore year. He became down on himself believing he did not just disappoint himself but also his parents especially his father. However, one day while sitting in class, he looked out the window at the landscapers cutting the grass and an idea came to him. After a conversation with the landscaper’s owner, her got himself a job and shortly after a new dream of becoming a business owner himself!

Many viewers who have seen Fixer Upper might think that Chip Gaines is just the goofy, lovable contractor. Yes, he is all of those things and so much more. He is hard working business man and a dedicated husband and father. He was the one who had the passion to be a business owner and who actually started several small business at a young age. When his new bride Joanna came to him about opening a small antique shop, he was the one the helped get Magnolia Homes off the ground. Then they both started building and flipping houses.

It was not until the show their businesses started to grow into what they are today, and they make that very know in this book. Chip talks about the struggles that they faced early on in their relationship with his passion for business but lack of planning. The way that mistakes needed to occur in ordered to realize for himself what was right in front of him and what he could lose if he did not try harder. He talks about Joanna and his decision to step away from TV and focus on the important things in life, family and love.

Chip encourages the reader to find their passion and create a plan. He encourages us to work hard for that passion but to never lose sight of yourself and those who is helping you get to your end goal. I say encourage because I felt as if he was never forcing step by step tips to get to your goal but lending encouraging lessons to a happy, healthy, and successful life!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Life, Hollywood, and Love are the 3 themes that come to my mind after reading “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” written by Taylor Jenkins Reid. A beautiful story that will take you on a up and down journey through the life of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

This is a lot more than just a book about a Hollywood queen marring every Hollywood king. It is a story about love, life, and challenges. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for a young and inexperience journalist Monique Grant to sit down for a cover story for the magazine that she works for. However, she soon realizes that Evelyn has something else in mind. Evelyn decides to indulge in her whole story, from beginning to end. Covering all the ups and downs, all her marriages and the birth and tragic death of her daughter Connor. She even reveals her one true love! Evelyn has chosen Monique to write her biography. The reason behind Evelyn choosing Monique is the turning point in the book and will leave you like myself wanting to throw the book across the room!

Taylor Jenkins Reid does a fabulously job betraying Hollywood throughout the decades starting in 1950 and right through to present day. She highlights women and the LGBT community particularly and the challenges they faced in Hollywood.

The one thing I took away and makes me appreciate a lot more is the challenges that the LGBT community faced in Hollywood and around the world. I remember when gay marriage became legal in 2015 and what a beautiful moment that was for our country and all the people that benefits from it. I believe that everyone should be allowed to love whoever they love and marry whoever they love!

The Midnight Library

Life, regrets and second chances are the 3 themes at come to my mind after reading “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. A beautiful and powerful story that will have the reader left with a whole new outlook on life.

Have you ever made a decisions you instantly regretted? A decision you wish you could revisit in order to change your path. An extra minute with a loved one is the strongest regret a person can carry. Of course you do! After all we are all human beings. We have and will continue to make decisions that will have us taking a left instead of a right. However, it is up to us as human beings and living creatures on this earth to make the best out of every decision that we make or that is handed to us.

Here is another thing to ponder:

Have you ever wondered what happens when a person leaves this earth? Some people believe that there is a heaven. Where people go and reunite with God and live peacefully, watching over their love ones for eternity. Other people believe in other forms of the afterlife. Have you ever wondered if there is a moment in between life and death?

That is exactly what happens in “The Midnight Library” Nora Seed is at a crucial point in her life where she believes that she is better off dead than alive. However, it is that decision that will send her to “The Midnight Library.” It is there that she meets a person from her past and is given the opportunity to see what would occur if she had taken the right instead of the left.

“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig is a breathtaking and beautifully written novel about life, regrets and that once in a lifetime opportunity. A book that will leave a mark on the reader for a long time.

 

 

 

 

Fly Away

Family, grief and healing are the 3 words that come to my mind after reading “Fly Away” written by Kristin Hannah. A heartfelt sequel to the magnificent novel “Firefly Lane”. A novel about managing the ups and downs of life after a beloved love one passing on.

With the recent passing of Kate Malarkey ½ of the dynamic duo Tully and Kate, Tully and Kate’s family have to figure out a way to live life without their glue. They hit rough patches and one particular rough patch lands Tully on life support and fighting for her life. Now on the brink of death Tully has to decide whether she wants to give up and join her best friend on the other side or continue to fight and keep her promise to her best friend and be a mother and support to Kate’s family.

Kristin Hannah has the unbelievable ability of pulling the reader into feeling the characters pain in losing a love one. The reader feels as if they are going through the stages of grief alongside the characters. I believe it has to do with the readers connections to the characters that was there from the first book and now continues with the second. This book does not leave anything unsaid and it wraps up the Tully and Kate story beautifully.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Kristin Hannah novels!