One of Us Is Next: Bayview High Book II

Books, Entertainment

How’s that new blog schedule going? Terrible πŸ˜› I have just been incredibly lazy lately, I literally cannot sleep enough even though I’m in bed by 8 most nights. Well, aside from one night where I decided that I would check out the Star Wars saga and stayed up until 3 AM. I can now say that I have watched these movies at the ripe old age of 33. You heard me, I had never seen a single one but they were OK if a little light on plot. Anyway, this post was supposed to be my January To Be Read but it’s already mid-January and I’ve read most of my picks. Instead, I will share my thoughts on the wildly anticipated sequel to the YA novel One of Us Is Lying which I really enjoyed. Now, I’m almost middle-aged and don’t dabble too much into this genre because of the corny high school scenarios but the plot of both books is pretty shocking and twisted for a YA novel which I appreciate.

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This book picks up where the first left off, there’s drama at Bayview High again and this time, the stakes are deadly. The main characters from the first installment have gone off to college, started lives of their own but still share an unbreakable bond after the death of one of their schoolmates, Simon. He ran a gossip app that tormented and entertained the population of Bayview, in his absence some have tried to rekindle the popular gossip forum without much success. That is until an anonymous schemer kicks off a game of Truth or Dare exposing the darkest secrets of the students.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the author brought back some of the main characters from the first one but also fleshed out a few of the supporting characters that we didn’t know a lot about. The story is told from different points of view, the main characters this time are Phoebe, Maeve and Knox whose lives are somewhat already intertwined before they become the focus of the Truth or Dare game in one way or another. I like this narration style but it can be hard to follow each story line which is why I will most likely give this one a second read. As the story picks up towards the end, I found myself losing track of small details. The game kicks off with the anonymous texter exposing Phoebe for sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend which starts a rift between the sisters who are already under strain after the death of their father. Then Knox is exposed for an unfortunate performance during what was supposed to be he and Maeve’s first time. The game turns deadly though when a fellow classmate Brandon falls to his death after deciding to take the seemingly lesser high risk dare option. You’d think that everyone would tell their parents what was going on at this point but in true teenage fashion, they don’t. Problems only escalate when the anonymous texter tries to bomb a rehearsal dinner. Yeah, apparently high school students know how to build bombs and aren’t afraid to use them. Knox and Maeve save the day and we find out that the most unlikely student was involved with the anonymous bomb maker and Brandon’s death.

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It’s really a sad story all around, all of the kids involved have had their lives ruined by some family tragedy. There’s a weird feeling of revenge not being the answer but also thinking that some people deserved what they got. Then, when you find out who was really behind the whole ordeal, it just gets even sadder. After I read these types of books, it always makes me wonder if these things are really happening in schools or if it’s just the author embellishing the sometimes irrational actions of the American teenager. Not to get real dark here but in light of some of the violence that has happened in our schools, some of these events really wouldn’t even shock me. I enjoyed the pace of the writing, the characters are fun if a little moony at times and apparently none of these kids had any homework…or parents around to pay attention to what they are doing. Even if you aren’t into the whole YA genre (which I’m not) I would still recommend both Bayview books as pretty decent thrillers. I also like the writing style of the Author, Karen M. McManus and plan to check out her recent standalone novel.

Have you read either of these, let me know what you thought!

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Blogmas Day 25: So This is Christmas

Blogmas - 2019

It’s raining & foggy in Minnesota, on Christmas. Most of my merry making happened yesterday since that’s how we did things growing up. Christmas day was spent at Mass & eating dinner. I also spent a large portion of the day cleaning. I tried relaxing in the bath but then noticed that the tubs needed cleaning, then I decided to go through my bathroom cupboards and throw out at stuff I wasn’t using. This led to cleaning the kitchen cupboards out and then the oven πŸ˜‚ Then I watched Die Hard and had some pie. I just have a few items to take care of tomorrow before my vacation. I was supposed to post my December beauty favorites today but do you ever start something that ends up taking way longer than anticipated? That was like everything I did today. I will post them tomorrow and hopefully the sun will come out for photos. Anyway, I’ll just wish you & yours a Happy Christmas. What did you get up to today? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do on the extra days off? I’ve always wondered this, to a lot of folks this was just another Wednesday. What’s your Christmas wish? Mine is for greater understanding & empathy for others this year.

I think I’m going to get in one more viewing of The Grinch & enjoy some tea ☺️

Blogmas Day 21: Best Television Christmas Specials

Blogmas - 2019

Have you ever heard that jazzy, doowop mash-up version of What Christmas Means to Me with the bitching harmonica solo? Literally my favorite Christmas song but until this evening, I thought that it was a woman singing – it isn’t, it’s Stevie Wonder and I’m shocked. I might love it even more now but am I the only the thought it was a lady singing, let me know…

I’m just waiting on a couple of gifts to be delivered and I am officially done gift shopping. I like to stay up really late and listen to holiday music or watch old television Christmas specials while wrapping. I did a wrapping paper and gift bag shop yesterday, now I just need to queue up my favorite shows/songs.

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The Conners decorate their home for the holidays, after receiving a note from their neighborhood association asking that the decor be removed – they retaliate with even more lights and over the top decor. I grew up in a very white trash community, this episode resonates with me on so many levels.

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Just about everyone is having a miserable holiday and regales their woes to a masseuse that Frasier has treated the household to as a holiday treat. Daphne and Martin are in a quarrel as Daphne though the old guy was dying on account of his mysterious visits to church. Frasier spills the beans about Roz’s pregnancy to her unwitting mother and Niles is just Niles.

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I know that most everyone’s favorite holiday episode is Benihana Christmas but I think that episode is just tragic. In this one, Phyllis blackmails Angela into allowing her to throw a really bizarre Moroccan themed office party. Meredith lights herself on fire while belly dancing and gets hauled to detox and Angela’s tryst with Dwight comes to light.

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Even the crypt keeper gets into the holiday spirit with this kitschy slasher episode. After offing her husband to cash in on his insurance policy, a disgruntled housewife falls victim to a serial killing Santa.

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George thinks he’s scored the best Christmas gift for Elaine when he finds a cashmere sweater on clear out. He soon finds out that it is stained with a small red dot, he seduces the cleaning lady and gifts her the sweater. Jerry accidentally servers Elaine’s alcoholic boyfriend booze and it’s all around a bizarrely hilarious episode.

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Have we talked about my love of Northern Exposure lately? Maurice meets his son he fathered while in the Marines and Joel sets out to find his first Christmas tree. It seems light on plot but it’s one of the most endearing episodes.

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Christmas is a rough time for Monk since it was his wife Trudy’s favorite time of year. He’s having a hard enough time when he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and apparently guilty of shooting Santa.

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Springfield Elementary gets snowed in, Homer and Flanders are tasked with rescuing the kids before the students drive Principal Skinner completely insane.

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There are so many good Christmas specials but this will at least get you started πŸ™‚ Are you done shopping or do you like the chaos of last minute shopping πŸ˜‰ I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season, thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 16: The Holiday

Blogmas - 2019

I am not a rom-com kinda’ gal unless we’re talking the Brat Pack era films or anything with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I think that rom-coms portray an unrealistic idea of love and being in love. I do know some couples that seem like they are straight out of a film script but not many. I mean, not everyone can get engaged during the Holidazzle (barf, by the way). Does that mean everyone else’s relationships are bad? No, it means that most people probably have real life relationships without the ridiculousness of manufactured romance. Anyway, The HolidayΒ was on while I was making cookies this weekend and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this movie!

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The movie starts where all of these movies seem to start, heartbreak. Iris finds out that her love interest has just become engaged and Amanda has just broken up with her boyfriend. Iris is a plain Jane type (I mean, as plain as the stunning Winslet could be) and Amanda is a jet setting business mogul, the two could not be more opposite. Looking for a change of scenery, the two swap living spaces – is this a thing? It sounds like something that I would be interested in doing so let me know if you want to swap spaces for a while πŸ˜€ Iris heads to the states and Amanda heads to Surrey. Of course, the two women fall in love with unlikely new acquaintances overseas. I was surprisingly pleased with the male leads in this one, Jude Law is your standard rom-com fare although, I like that he has kids in this one. Jack Black was a pleasant change from the usual hunks. Everyone loves a funny man but he was delightful in this role. Kate Winslet is hands down my favorite actress, I enjoy most anything that she is in. Aside from Titanic which is ironic since that’s what launched her career (more on this later). It is wildly unrealistic, I mean, maybe two people could meet and fall in love under said circumstances but probably not. I think what I enjoy most about this one is that it reminds me of older films in this genre that were wildly unrealistic with a touch of perhaps it could happen. It is a long movie but from start to finish, it’s just fun. I think it has definitely become a new must-watch holiday movie for me! If you haven’t seen it and aren’t really into this genre of movies, I would still recommend giving it a watch.

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Let me know if you have seen this one and if you were a fan or not! Also, legit let me know if you want a little holiday in the Twin Cities and I will come to wherever you are. Thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 15: Sunday Funday

Blogmas - 2019

I have a two week vacation coming up next week and I cannot wait. This time of year, while one of my favorites, is hard for an introvert. There’s just so much going on; potlucks, parties, work, shopping all on top of just regular existing and I’m exhausted. I’m in the middle of making 3-dozen chocolate spoons, I have to make a dish for work on Wednesday and a dessert for Friday and it will all be here and gone before you know it. I thought I’d just do a rambling update post for this evening.

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I don’t have a metabolism that allows me to not work out everyday. It’s been so cold and icy that I decided to join a gym. So far so good, for $20 a month I can use all of the equipment and attend their classes. I’m liking it more than I thought I would, partly because I also picked up some cute new workout clothes 😝

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Yup. I’m getting a new kitten, I have one senior cat and one younger cat who is a bit rambunctious. I’m thinking the younger cat could use a companion since my senior kitty is really mellow. I’ll be sure to post about him when he arrives in about 2 weeks.

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I’ve been doing really well with not buying stuff I don’t need but I’ve been in a shopping mood. I think it’s partly due to the fact that I’ve been gift shopping and keep gifting myself πŸ˜‰ Also though, my birthday is coming up and I’ll get back to better spending habits after that.

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I totally spaced on sending any cards this year! On the one hand, I don’t mind because they’re just unnecessary waste but this is the first year since I was 18 that I haven’t sent any ☹️

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I always claim that winter is my favorite season and then we have a winter like this one, we’ve already received 20 inches of snow and the first day of winter isn’t even until the 21st! Also, we’ve been having January temps and it’s been driving my MS crazy. Apparently, it makes me more sensitive to the cold and this year I’m really feeling it.

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I don’t know where but I’ve had a hankering to see new places and meet new people lately. Unfortunately, all of the places that I’d like to live (in the middle of nowhere) don’t have an abundance of jobs. Living in a metro area has worn on me, I don’t like it but I do like my job. Who knows where I’ll end up but hopefully somewhere new soon.

That’s it for today, let me know what’s on you mind. Thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 13: Thirteen Festive Facts

Blogmas - 2019

I am delighted that we get a Friday the 13th in December, I’m going to see a horror movie tonight and can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy winter’s eve. I think that there are probably elements of Christmas rooted in the supernatural but I couldn’t find enough facts related to this so just rounded up some kinda’ interesting ones instead!

  1. Evergreen was used during the winter solstice by the ancient Romans and Egyptians as a reminder of spring.
  2. Christmas was deemed a pagan holiday in the colonies from 1659-1681 and anyone caught celebrating it would be fined.
  3. 65% of Americans identify themselves as Christians but 90% celebrate Christmas.
  4. Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25, the date was likely changed to align with the pagan festival of Saturnalia.
  5. The same man who dreamt up the Headless Horseman is also responsible for Santa’s sleigh.
  6. Eggnog was popularized in Jamestown in 1607.
  7. Christmas wreaths began as symbols of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus.
  8. Tinsel was once made with real silver and was outlawed for a period of time for containing real lead.
  9. Christmas is not actually recognized in the Bible as a holy day.
  10. Coca Cola was the first company to capitalize off the holly jolly image of Santa, he was originally depicted much older & creepier.
  11. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa emulates the Dutch practice of feasting on St. Nicholas day.
  12. Mistletoe was thought to be an aphrodisiac.
  13. According to Austrian folklore, Krampus is the demonic opposite of Santa and will drag naughty kids to hell. Way scarier than coal πŸ˜‰

There you have it, 13 festive facts. Thanks for reading!

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Blogmas Day 5: Favorite Holiday Movies

Blogmas - 2019

I thoroughly enjoy holiday movies, have I watched the same handful of them over and over for the last 20 years? Pretty much but for some reason they never get old. It probably helps that I usually just have them playing in the background while I’m doing other festive things but I really do look forward to watching them every year. They’re wholesome, predictable and all around fun!

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A young boy is left home alone after wishing that his family would disappear. The posh family home is the target of two local burglars, he has to defend the homestead. It’s terrifyingly plausible when you actually think about it. I just have to say that the remake will never work because there are hundreds of ways to track your kids these days, it will just be ruined!

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Does this movie have any actual plot? It doesn’t seem like it but still a classic. I think that every child has that one gift on their list that they know is just a dream but want it anyway. A tragic trip to the mall Santa, a really bizarre Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant and one frazzled housewife. It’s a delight.

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Most everyone in my life roasts me for enjoying this movie so much but I can’t help it. Arnold forgot to purchase the hottest toy of the season and heads out on Christmas Eve to secure the item. I love that it takes place in Minnesota, I think it’s hysterical and Phil Hartman is so good as the creepy, single dad neighbor.

Amilya Regular

Another dad flick, Tim Allen is a recently divorced dad who tries to give his young son a great Christmas and unwittingly becomes Santa. I think they could have left out the whole part where the mom takes custody away from Santa but it still has a happy ending.

Amilya Regular

Now that I’m thinking about it, this one is on the sad side too. Charlie Brown is the most disillusioned 8-year old ever. He is made director of the Christmas play which is bound to flop since he’s Charlie Brown but actually turns into a delightful anti-consumerism message that was lost on me as a child.

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Let me know what holiday films you enjoy, thanks for reading!

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