Monday, December 12, 2022

Favorite New Shows of 2022

Boy, there are a lot of shows that exist in the world these days. Lots of shows that debut and then don't get renewed, or you only find out about them after they've been on for a couple of seasons. But there have been quite a few this year that I watched and highly enjoyed, with a number of them being a complete surprise as I had no idea what they were beforehand. 

So let's get on with it, my list of my favorite new TV shows watched this year...


By far the best show of the year, Severance is both funny and dramatic, and features a very interesting concept at its core. It's full of tension, and the finale will leave you wanting more. Hopefully the next season can keep up the quality.

Wolf Like Me

I didn't know much about this show going into it, but figured it was worth checking out with the lead cast at its core. It draws you in pretty quickly, and while the concept might seem weird or goofy, it's done in a way that resonates well. What is strange, though, is why Isla Fisher is made to be American when the show takes place in Australia and she could just use her native accent. But, whatever!

I Love That For You

This show really has it all, from an awesome cast, to a compelling story, to a great sense of humor, and more. Vanessa Bayer is great as the lead character - and what's even more interesting is that it is partially based on her own life. If you're looking for a new comedy to watch, give this one a go.

House of the Dragon

I wanted to feel excited about House of the Dragon, but definitely felt a bit trepidatious based on how Game of Thrones ended. That said, the show has been delivering so far. It was a bit jarring to have some of the main actors change partway through the first season, but the story itself has continued to be compelling throughout, even if the characters themselves aren't very likable. Can they keep up the momentum? Let's hope.

The Rehearsal

If you've never seen Nathan Fielder's Nathan For You, then you would probably go into The Rehearsal with a very different mindset. Nathan has a certain quality about him where you can't tell what's real and what's fake, and a sense of humor that likely not everyone would understand. While you may think the show is going to be a certain thing based on the first episode, it really changes and develops over the first few episodes into something else entirely. How much is scripted and how much isn't? That's part of the fun of watching.

Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend

What's this? A reality competition series on this list? Why not! This is an all-new version of Iron Chef, pitting "wannabe" chefs against Iron Chefs in different culinary battles. Some of the food is really amazing, and it's cool to see how different people take on different challenges. Definitely an easy show to binge.


I hadn't really heard much about this show when we decided to watch the pilot. While the pilot itself is good, the show gets better as it goes, with some true laugh out loud moments along the way. The cast is awesome, with one of my unexpected favorites being Calum Worthy as Zack Jackson, a perky former child star. But the rest of the cast is great as well - Keegan Michael Key, Paul Reiser, Rachel Bloom, Judy Greer, Johnny Knoxville... Another great comedy to check out if you haven't seen it!

Love on the Spectrum US

If you were worried that the US version of the original Love on the Spectrum wouldn't be as heartwarming or engaging, worry no more. The docuseries follows autistic adults looking for love, and will have you tearing up when they do or do not find it. It's been renewed for a second season, so let's hope we get to catch up with everyone while also meeting some new people.

Any new shows you loved that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

Past Years:
20212020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Monday, December 5, 2022

Favorite Books of 2022

Life really gets in the way of reading some good books, you know? This year, I had time to actually finish a couple books which was super nice, and also renewed my love for reading, which had felt like it was dwindling somewhat in the last couple years. I've gotten a little lackadaisical in keeping up with writing book reviews for every book I've been reading this year. I only have so much energy, you know?

Anyway, on to the list...

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Synopsis: A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters. Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. 

Why it made the list: I was skeptical about whether I would like this book or not, but I could not keep it down. I was drawn into this book from the start, and even though I knew that the two would eventually get together, I still wanted to see just how they would. It's definitely a romance, so if you're not in to that, you might not like it. But I definitely did!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone. Or does he?

Why it made the list: While I didn't always love Weir's writing style and some of the ways he decided to tell the story, the story itself was super compelling. I could not wait to see what would happen next, just waiting for the next moment I could go back to reading it. I've heard this is being adapted into a movie as well, which I can totally see. You can read my longer review here.

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

Synopsis: True crime can leave a false trail. Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favourite teacher. The case was never solved, but she's sure that the three kids who found Mr. Larkin's body know more than they're telling, especially her ex-best friend Tripp Talbot. He's definitely hiding something. When Brynn gets an internship working on a popular true-crime show, she decides to investigate what really happened that day in the woods. But the further she dives into the past, the more secrets she finds. Four years ago someone got away with murder. Now it's time to uncover the truth...

Why it made the list: I've liked most of McManus' mysteries, and this one was no exception. Not only is there a mystery (and mysteries are always compelling unless they are boring), there is also a developing romance that you know is coming, but can't help but root for regardless. The answer to the mystery is unexpected, even though I now can't remember what it is! 

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Synopsis: Can you stop a murder after it’s already happened? Late October. After midnight. You’re waiting up for your seventeen-year-old son. He’s late. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn’t alone: he’s walking toward a man, and he’s armed. You can’t believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son, he kills a stranger, right there on the street outside your house. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your son is now in custody. His future shattered. That night you fall asleep in despair. All is lost. Until you wake... and it is yesterday. And then you wake again... and it is the day before yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer. The trigger for this crime—and you don’t have a choice but to find it...

Why it made the list: I love a good time travel story, and this one is definitely unique in that the lead character is continually going back in time to try to figure out what happened when the book first starts. There are mysteries upon mysteries, and it all wraps up in a very satisfying way. 

Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't call my favorites: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

Past Years:
20212020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Book Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy WeirGood Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Published: April 30, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

Pages: 417

Synopsis: Pip is not a detective anymore.

With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.

But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh.

The police won't do anything about it. And if they won't look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town's dark secrets along the way... and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it's too late?

Thoughts: In this sequel to A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, one of my favorite books read in 2021, the story picks up a bit after the events that took place in the first book, with Pip having started a podcast about her investigation. It takes a little while for the story to really get going as Pip has decided she doesn't want to be a "detective" anymore, but once a new mystery takes hold, she of course gets pulled back in.

Though it's a slow start at first, once things get going, the story picks up quickly, and before I knew it, I was already nearing the end. The mystery itself takes some unexpected twists and turns, and to be honest I had no idea it was going to end in the way it did. While sometimes that would be annoying because there's something to be said for anticipation, I do enjoy when a mystery isn't cut and dry and goes in an unexpected direction.

While the first book focused on what you'd call a "cold case" and digging up information about something that had happened in the past, this book's mystery is very much in the present and focuses on actively trying to find a person who has gone missing. That mystery, combined with Pip evolving and changing into someone a bit darker than she was in the previous book, gives this one a bit of a different feel. Though I enjoyed it, I would definitely say that I prefer the first book over this one.

Still, I enjoyed it enough to round out the trilogy. Here's hoping it sticks the landing!

Rating: 4/5

Buy on Amazon 

What I'm Reading Next: You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from Amazon links in my posts.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy WeirProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Published: May 4, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 476

Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it's up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he's got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

An irresistible interstellar adventure as only Andy Weir could imagine it, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian—while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

Thoughts: Some years ago, I tried to read The Martian and fairly quickly gave up because of the author's writing style and the abundance of science mumbo jumbo from the get go. Now, if you know me, you might be like, hmm, that's weird, you like science (especially space science), why would the science turn you off? Maybe I just wasn't in the right head space for it, because I loved the movie version. Now, flash forward to this year, when I thought I would give the same author's most recent book a try. Would I feel the same?

To a very small extent - yes. I don't particularly like how he writes character dialogue. I feel like it comes off a little bit hokey, but I pushed through that initial hokey feeling in Project Hail Mary to truly give the story a chance, and I am very glad I did. I will say, though I got used to the writing style of the dialogue, I still don't particularly love it, but I did end up loving the story itself. My only other qualm with the book is in how it was formatted, going back and forth between the present day and the past, with those past moments explaining how the main character, Ryland Grace, ended up on this mission in the first place. While those flashbacks were intriguing at first because Ryland had amnesia, once the story really got moving, I found them annoying and just wanted to get back to the present story as soon as possible. 

Now, I get the point of those flashbacks - they show us that Ryland has grown and yada yada yada - but I feel like that could've been presented in a different way. Still, I zipped through this book, wanting to see what was going to happen next and how each new obstacle would be overcome. I rooted for and grew attached to Ryland and another character, and may have even got a little teary eyed toward the end. And the science in this did not bother me as I found it pretty fascinating and was also impressed with how accurate it all felt. Weir clearly did a lot of research for this book, and it shows.

While I would like to give this the full 5 out of 5 rating, because of those two issues I had with the dialogue and the flashbacks, I had to knock it down a little. Despite that, though, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a space scifi fan, and especially if you read and liked The Martian.

Rating: 4.5/5

Buy on Amazon 

What I'm Reading Next: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from Amazon links in my posts.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Book Review: Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike #5) by Robert Galbraith

Book Review: Troubled Blood by Robert GalbraithTroubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Published: September 15, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Fiction

Pages: 944

Synopsis: Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough — who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.

As Strike and Robin investigate Margot's disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly...

Thoughts: First off, this book is long. Like, really, overly long. For comparison, the previous book in this series was about 775 pages, whereas this one was about 950. Since I use a Kindle to read these days, I generally have no idea how long a book may be when choosing to read it. Compare that to being able to see how thick an actual physically published book is, I probably would make some different choices in the books I decide to read. 

That's not to say there's anything wrong with a long book, if it indeed deserves that length. This book does not, in my opinion. It really starts to drag on in the middle, and honestly made me wonder if the same author had even written it given the repetitive nature of some scenes. The main mystery here, while at times intriguing, was oftentimes convoluted, with many different characters to try to keep track of, which I did not always succeed in doing. Who's Steve Douthwaite compared to Paul Satchwell? I'm still not 100% sure.

Still, the reveal of the mystery was unexpected and one I did not see coming. And, I enjoyed all of the more personal scenes with Strike and Robin -- in particular those featuring Robin. Indeed, the satisfaction those scenes gave really kept me going despite the slog-ish nature of the rest of the book. Seriously, what was the point in making it so much longer than the rest of the books in this series? 

I did consider not reading this book because of all of the stuff the author has said about certain things, but it creates this conundrum -- are you not allowed to enjoy things you once did because the person who created them isn't as decent of a person as you had previously thought? It's a tough question, and one that I'm sure many others also struggle with as well. Like, I don't condone that stuff, but I also still want to see what happens next in the story... Sigh. Anyway. There's that.

Rating: 3/5

Buy on Amazon 

What I'm Reading Next: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from Amazon links in my posts.