Category Archives: Uncategorized

PS I Miss You

Finished PS I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy. (In the interest of full disclosure, Jen is my friend and I was the first person to beta read this book—which I did twice—and I am in the acknowledgments, which may or may not have made me cry.)

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this epistolary middle-grade debut novel, a girl who’s questioning her sexual orientation writes letters to her sister, who was sent away from their strict Catholic home after becoming pregnant.

Eleven-year-old Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. But when her parents forbid her to even speak to Cilla, she starts sending letters. Evie writes letters about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

As she becomes better friends with June, Evie begins to question her sexual orientation. She can only imagine what might happen if her parents found out who she really is. She could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back.”

Jen told me that the final product was different and better from the two versions I’d read. (The second version was different and better from the first, but I was still very skeptical. How could this book be any better? Well. Somehow it is. (Witchcraft?)

This novel touches on almost everything in its 310 pages—friendship, family, faith, crushes, teenage pregnancy…and it’s all handled with dignity and respect. Nothing is gratuitous and nothing feels added for shock value. Evie grapples with her faith and spends time trying to figure out what she believes (as opposed to what she’s been raised to believe) and ultimately continues to find comfort in the church, even when she’s mad at God (and her parents).

This is a story that trusts kids to draw their own conclusions. Who’s right in this? Who’s wrong? If the wrong things are done, can they still be done for the right reasons? Are some things unforgivable? (These questions will make more sense in the context of the story when you read it, but they’re things to think about anyway, right?)

This would be a good book to read with your kids or as part of a book club. Great discussions are sure to follow. Highly, highly recommended.


Weekend Update

I’m currently reading PS I Miss You by my friend Jen Petro-Roy! The review should be up tomorrow, but I’m absolutely in love with this book. It’s incredibly sweet and just a really great book. I beta read it a while back, and it’s really different but the book that I loved is even better. If you like middlegrade fiction, you need to read this book.

I’m seeing A Wrinkle in Time (Saturday, with my book club; before that, we’re eating Mexican and talking about Little Women) and Love, Simon this weekend and I’m excited for both. I’m also nervous (AWiT isn’t getting good reviews and we just re-read the book for book club, so I remember exactly how great the book is and I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which Love, Simon is based on) but I’m also excited.

This is also a hard weekend. It’s the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s always an awful day anyway, but since this is a milestone…

So yeah, I’m just trying to stay busy with good things.

Weekend Update

Hey, remember these?

I’m excited to make my triumphant return back to the movie theater this weekend! Friends have guessed that I’d be a little sick of them after last week’s Oscarfest, but nope! I’m seeing Hurricane Heist and Strangers 2 (my book club is seeing A Wrinkle in Time next weekend and I’m excited, even though reviews haven’t exactly been good), and I’m looking forward to both. I’m pretty sure they’ll be more fun than good, but I have no problem with seeing fun movies. They don’t all have to be art.

I’m reading 806 by Cynthia Weil, and I should have my review up tomorrow. I’m not a huge fan of the main character but I love the concept. Next up is a book my friend Erin recommended and then I’m reading Little Women for book club (we’re meeting Saturday). #prayforKelly

Beyond that, not much going on. Next weekend, I’m excited to see Love, Simon! The trailers look so good and I loved the book. My birthday is also coming up, and I don’t really have any plans but I do always love celebrating. :)

If I Die Tonight

Finished If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Late one night in the quiet Hudson Valley town of Havenkill, a distraught woman stumbles into the police station—and lives are changed forever.

Aimee En, once a darling of the ’80s pop music scene, claims that a teenage boy stole her car, then ran over another young man who’d rushed to help.

As Liam Miller’s life hangs in the balance, the events of that fateful night begin to come into focus. But is everything as it seems?

The case quickly consumes social media, transforming Liam, a local high school football star, into a folk hero, and the suspect, a high school outcast named Wade Reed, into a depraved would-be killer. But is Wade really guilty? And if he isn’t, why won’t he talk?

Told from a kaleidoscope of viewpoints—Wade’s mother Jackie, his younger brother Connor, Aimee En and Pearl Maze, a young police officer with a tragic past, If I Die Tonight is a story of family ties and dark secrets—and the lengths we’ll go to protect ourselves.”

This is such a fascinating story. We’re kept in the dark about pretty much everything and the only thing that’s clear is that every single character has secrets. (Pretty much huge secrets, too.) Everyone has something that they desperately need to keep hidden, and so this makes everyone seem like they’re lying, even when they’re being completely truthful about one particular thing.

While obviously the story centers around what happened to Liam and who’s responsible, there are a bunch of little mysteries (WHAT IS EVERYONE HIDING AND ALSO WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS TOWN). This is such masterful writing, though; every subplot was fascinating and every character felt fully realized. (There are four narrators and each felt different and equally interesting.)

If you are in the mood for a book that won’t let you go, this is for you. Recommended.



Ever since the big theater chains started doing Oscar passes, I’ve wanted to do it. The problem is that for most of those times, I worked weekends (up until last year) and had a dog (also up until last year).

I’m spending the better part of today and the next three days (up to and including Oscar Sunday!) at the movies. I’m seeing the nine best picture nominees (four of them are rewatches) and the Oscar shorts (live action and animated) AND Black Panther. (If you’re going to see nine, why not see 10, right?)

Today’s offerings: Black Panther, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (rewatch) and Phantom Thread.

Tomorrow: Dunkirk, Lady Bird (rewatch), Get Out (rewatch)

Saturday: Call Me By Your Name, Shape of Water, Oscar shorts

Sunday: Darkest Hour, The Post (rewatch)

I’ll try and post on Facebook and Twitter each day, but we’ll see. I’m happy to get to see all the nominees and to also get to FINALLY see Black Panther!

Surprise Me

Finished Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella. I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.”

I have loved Sophie Kinsella since I read Confessions of a Shopaholic (which I did way back when it was a standalone). She is one of the longest literary relationships of my life. Her books are always must-buys, and this is my favorite in a while.

I absolutely love Sylvie, even though she has a tendency to jump to the worst possible conclusion. (It is highly possible that I overidentify with Sylvie.) She’s funny and good at her job and she adores her family. And yet, there are secrets. Because of course there are. Who knows absolutely everything about another person?

Except obviously sometimes secrets are horrible, even if there’s a very, very good reason for them.

Anyway. This is incredibly fun but also a solid read. It’s probably a perfect antidote for whatever’s going on in your life right now.

Sister of Darkness

Finished Sister of Darkness: The Chronicles of a Modern-Day Exorcist by R.H. Stavis. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“The world’s only non-denominational exorcist—the subject of a forthcoming major motion picture—tells her astonishing true story: a riveting chronicle of wrestling entities from infected souls, showing how pain and trauma opens us to attachment from forces that drain our energy . . . and can even destroy our humanity.

As a secular exorcist, Rachel H. Stavis has cleansed thousands of tormented people, from small children and Hollywood moguls to stay-at-home moms and politicians. But for many years, the horror screenwriter and novelist denied her gift. As a little girl, she began to see “monsters” floating around her bedroom or attached to other children. Told it was only her imagination, Rachel learned to ignore the things she saw.

But a series of events in adulthood forced her to acknowledge her unique ability and embrace her power to heal. Since then, Rachel has dedicated her life to helping others cast off the forces feeding off of us. Performing her services pro-bono, she quietly worked in the shadows, until she unknowingly revealed her work to a journalist, who told her story to NPR.

A unique look at demonology removed from religious dogma, Sister of Darkness recounts Rachel’s journey to becoming an exorcist and chronicles some of her most extreme cleansings cases, including those that put her and her clients in peril. Going deep into her world, we meet the diverse range of people she has helped—young, old, famous and not—in gripping stories of danger and sometimes sadness, that are ultimately about redemption. Rachel teaches us that there are a diverse range of “entities” surrounding us—some of these are playful or misguided, while some are dangerous and harmful. She introduces each of them and explains their power, helping us understand what is attacking and hurting us, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Frightening, eye-opening, and utterly enthralling, Sister of Darkness brings to light a world ruled by destruction, chaos and fear, and the woman who bravely fights to protect those who seek her out.”

As a caveat, I love religious horror; it always freaks me out. But I don’t believe in demons or possession or the devil or any of the typical premises. So it’s both super obvious and very weird that I would want to read this book, right? And yet here we are.

This is a very interesting book, and Rachel Stavis tells it well. She is obviously more of an expert in this than I am, and if she says it’s real, who am I to be like, “Yeah…no, I don’t think there are entities everywhere and that almost literally all of us have been possessed at some point”?

So if you’re at all curious, absolutely check this out. It’s an insanely fast read, and you’ll almost definitely enjoy yourself. (Or get completely freaked out, which I mean, let’s face it, you’re not going to read this if you’re not a fan of scary things, right?)

And if there is a show about her performing an exorcism at the Cecil Hotel, I will absolutely watch.


I’ve cut the cord, as I mentioned before. Unfortunately, that means I’ve been doing a lot of watching (Great News, The Good Place, 911, Black Lightning, Geown-Ish) and not much reading. I’m hoping to get that more in balance next month.

I also haven’t been keeping up with my MoviePass. I hope to get THAT in balance next month, too.

Meanwhile, my book club has decided to read classic YA and MG this year. We read Anne of Green Gables and A Wrinkle in Time and Little Women are our next two books. Suggestions welcome!

Cutting the Cord

After two years of considering it and six months of threatening, I’ve ditched cable.

I decided to do Hulu Live and HBO Now, with the subscriptions to Amazon Prime and Netflix I already had.

I opted to do Hulu Live because I have a very real need to watch movie award shows and also This is Us live.

It is possibly the best decision I’ve ever made.

Weekend Update

Greetings from the ice planet Hoth! I know that Baltimore fared a lot better than most East Coast cities, but we are currently dealing with subzero wind chills, so I do feel justified in complaining.

I’m hoping to finish the rest of the January 2 releases and then dive in to the January 9 ones (so excited! I am really psyched for The Chalk Man and The Immortalists especially but they all sound amazing). I’m also hoping to really make a dent in my movie watching. I’m planning to see I, Tonya today. I haven’t decided what tomorrow’s movie will be, but there should definitely be a better MoviePass update on Monday.

I’m already sick of winter and we have so much of it to go.