The Lineup: Monica

Monica’s Lineup

Audiobook: The Duke and I (Bridgerton #1) by Julia Quinn

After seeing this series become popular on Netflix, I decided to give a shot at listening to the books. I am currently enjoying listening to the first book of the Bridgerton series on Libby. Although regency/romance isn’t typically my top choice for books, I find that Julia Quinn has done a great job at adding humor and suspense to the story. Despite the melodrama undertone of the whole thing, I find myself absorbed in the fictional world of 1800s high class.

Book: Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette by Anna & Lizzie Post

As my October wedding approaches, I have found myself studying how a wedding should be conducted. On top of everything else to buy, send, or make, there are also certain behaviors expected at a wedding ceremony and reception. Honestly, I have never been married before, so this whole wedding planning business is all new to me. I found this book extremely helpful in deciding how to plan my reception and have an easy flow to the evening!

Podcast: RELAX! with Colleen Ballinger & Erik Stocklin

 I have been a fan of Colleen Ballinger for quite some time now. Her typical content is on YouTube as a family lifestyle video blogger. However, this year she and her husband, Erik, started a podcast to talk about life and current events. I typically turn this on when I am doing chores around the house. It is such a fun and lighthearted podcast, which makes it very easy to listen to. Both Colleen and Erik are famous actors, and they even met on set of Colleen’s Netflix series. They talk about what life is like in their careers, with their two-year-old son, Colleen’s current pregnancy with twins, and so much more. They also post their podcast video recording on YouTube, so you can sit down and watch it like a talk show.

Album: Battle at Garden’s Gate by Greta Van Fleet

Recently, the up-and-coming rock band, Greta Van Fleet, has been all over my social media. This album has been on repeat for me for at least a week now. My favorite song, which constantly gets stuck in my head, is “Heat Above”. They are a group whose sound is reminiscent of the 1970s band Led Zeppelin. Battle at Garden’s Gate is their most recent album and is available here at the DPL!

Television: Manifest

My fiancé and I are not avid TV watchers, so to have a show we both enjoy is rare. This week we started watching the series Manifest on Netflix. From the start, it had us both a little mind blown and confused. Essentially, it is about a group of people on a plane that supposedly had been missing for five years. However, for the passengers, it was only a few hours. We are finding that there is a Christian story line in the series. I am excited to see where the plot goes and to see if it keeps both of us entertained.

  • Available on Netflix.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Every Vow You Break

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

First line: She first spotted him at Bobbie’s Coffee Shop on Twenty-Second Street.

Summary: Just days before her wedding to millionaire, Bruce Lamb, the one night stand from her bachelorette weekend shows up trying to convince her to not go through with the wedding. She tries to ignore his attempts but then he appears at her wedding too. But she thinks that his stalking is over until he appears at the secluded island on her honeymoon. Does she tell Bruce or try to solve the situation on her own?

My Thoughts: When I looked at the rating for this book I was kind of surprised that it was so low. I found the book to be rather enjoyable with lots of dark and twisted moments. I found it to be more like an eighties horror movie than psychological thriller. And part of that can be found that several reveals were rather predictable. But I had a lot of fun reading it nonetheless.

Even though the island is supposed to be secluded and good for getting away from technology it also seems rather scary. You are secluded. On an island. With little communication. What if something bad happens? Well this book answers that question. And it was thrilling and scary.

FYI: Language, death, infidelity.

What’s Ashley Reading?: American Duchess

American Duchess by Karen Harper

First line: Everyone was calling it the wedding of the century.

Summary: Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress to the railroad empire, is marrying the future Duke of Marlborough. However, she is in love with someone else and is being forced into the marriage by her strong willed mother, Alva Smith Vanderbilt. The marriage is an unhappy one but Consuelo hopes to use her influence as the Duchess of Marlborough to help the lower classes living around Blenheim Palace.

My Thoughts: I have been a reader of Karen Harper for many years. I really enjoy her historical fiction even though she seems to elaborate her narratives a bit. Her most recent novel was a fast read about one of the American heiresses whose money helped sustain the British aristocracy. Having recently read, A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler, I was familiar with the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Alva was a force to be dealt with but it sounds like her daughter learned a lot from her mother. I loved hearing about Consuelo’s life and the way she tried to improve her circumstances and those of the poor. I cannot imagine living her life though. She was forced into a marriage, had unimaginable wealth and was very unhappy for many years. Harper does a great job of breathing life into her characters. I loved “meeting” Winston Churchill. As with most historical novels, I googled many of the locations and people to see what they really looked like. This was a fun romp through the Gilded Age and into the time of the world wars.

FYI: This is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey!