This book was a very nice surprise. I wasn’t very familiar with author Mo Rocca when I got the book, but I saw it on a New Releases list and I was immediately interested when I saw what it was about. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to how much I love pop culture, trivia, and even obituaries of “obscure” people, so I had a feeling this book might be right up my alley.

I’m glad I picked it up because it was very enjoyable to read. I immediately liked Rocca’s writing style and now I’m anxious to explore more of his works. In this book, he uses humor, of course, but what’s nice is that it’s not some absurd collection of silly stories about people who have died. Mo Rocca obviously did a lot of research while writing this book. He not only shows a lot of knowledge of the things he writes about, but he also shows respect for those he features in the stories he shares. While there may be humor, he doesn’t turn their lives into jokes. As a reader, I very much appreciated and respected that.

It was not only a fun book to read, but it was also incredibly informative. I learned far more than I expected to when I picked up the book. I’m very glad I read it and highly recommend it to others.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.

I don’t heart Bob & Abishola, but here are other new things I heart (or at least semi-heart)

And I’m going to now make it a goal that for the rest of my life, I never again say “I heart” or “don’t heart” about anything else. “Like” or “love” will be enough for me going forward, thank you.

Some short and random thoughts on some (mostly) new things in the world of entertainment:

BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA: My wife (Hi Lisa!) and I had been looking forward to this one. The commercials made it look like a cute, romantic sitcom. Maybe it will become one over time, but I didn’t see any sign of that in the 15 minutes that I watched of the first episode. Why did I watch only half of it? Because the jokes were mostly forced or very bad in what I saw. Also, the laughter from the laugh track or studio audience was WAY too much and WAY too over-used. Did I stress “WAY” too much there? I don’t care if I did. It’s my site and I like the word.


Okay, that’s out of my system now – much like the way that BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA is now out of my life. (Sorry, B &S.) Any show that resorts to a fart joke within the first minute or so and also makes light of someone potentially suffering something as serious as a heart attack, well, that show just isn’t for me.

nicole anthony

BIG BROTHER – SEASON 21: This was the first season I watched in a very long time, since maybe Season 3 or 4. Anyway, I loved it. In fact, my wife and I were enjoying it so much that we were inspired a month or so ago to get CBS All Access so that we could watch live feeds of the house guests. This led us to enjoying other things on CBS All Access like THE GOOD FIGHT and WHY WOMEN KILL. I’m also excited about the upcoming PICARD series on there. So, yeah, this was all a good thing for us Gotts.

I would have preferred if Nicole Anthony had ended up as the winner of Big Brother, but I’m happy she won America’s Favorite Houseguest. Way to go, Nicole!


SURVIVOR – ISLAND OF THE IDOLS: Only one episode has aired so far, but I liked it a lot. Like BIG BROTHER, I took a nearly 20 year break from SURVIVOR. I was into it the first few seasons it aired, but the season that recently aired in the Spring and Summer was the first one I’d seen since back then. Going into this new season, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the new players being mentored by previous players, but it actually looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.



BOOKS: I haven’t read too much in the past few weeks, but I’m currently reading and enjoying two books: THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith and MOBITUARIES: GREAT LIVES WORTH RELIVING by Mo Rocca. (P.S. – The latter isn’t on sale yet, so don’t rush out to buy it just yet. I was lucky and got an advanced reading copy of it from NetGalley.)

I’m not very familiar with Rocca, but his book is very entertaining and informative. I kind of geek out over books that focus on unknown or underappreciated people, so this is totally my kind of book. As for THE SILKWORM, it’s the second book of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling.) I recently read the first book, THE CUCKOO’S CALLING, and liked it a lot. This one is off to a very good start and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up liking it even more than the first one.


MIRACLE PILL by The Goo Goo Dolls: This is the band’s 12th studio album. I don’t have all of their albums, but I own or have listened to most of them. I even saw them a couple of times in concert, so yeah, I’m definitely a fan. For whatever reasons, though, I didn’t pay too much attention to their last couple of releases. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy what I heard from those albums, but I ended up not listening to them much.

That’s not going to be the case for me with MIRACLE PILL. I like this one a lot. Seriously, I’m talking A LOT here. My favorite albums by them are DIZZY UP THE GIRL and GUTTERFLOWER. After listening to MIRACLE PILL several times over the past week or so, I’ll  say it’s right up there with those other two albums and I’m going to now rank it in my personal Top Three Favorite Albums by the band.

Standout songs: Indestructible, Fearless, Miracle Pill, and Step In Line. Having listed those, I’ll also say that each of the other songs are also very good or at least pretty good. This album is one of those nice, rare albums where you (or at least me) doesn’t need to skip over any bad songs while listening to it.

COMING UP: That’s actually a very good song by Paul McCartney, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about here. I was just going to say that there are also some other new things I’m excited to check out soon, including some other new television series: PRODIGAL SON, THE UNICORN, CAROL’S SECOND ACT, EVIL, and one or two others I can’t remember right now. I’m also excited to get back to an audio book I just started listening to: A KEEPER by Graham Norton.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this. If you’d like to leave a comment about any of the shows, books, or music I mentioned, please do so. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on them.

Thanks again. Have a great day!



Book Review: I KNOW EVERYTHING by Matthew Farrell

i know everything

From the publisher:

A psychiatrist grapples with his own sanity as murder evidence mounts against him.

Police investigator Susan Adler is ready to close the book on a deadly car accident, but after the medical examiner discovers evidence of foul play, she knows she has a murder on her hands. The victim was the wealthy wife of Randall Brock, a renowned psychiatrist who treats patients with disturbing, brutal fantasies. And just like that, Susan’s got a suspect.

Randall has a violent past but knows he didn’t kill his wife. In the midst of his crushing grief, Randall receives a visit from a stranger with information to share about his wife’s death. But there’s a catch: in exchange for the stranger’s information, Randall must reveal dark secrets he’s kept hidden for years. As this shady figure applies more pressure and Susan closes in, Randall begins to doubt himself, clinging desperately to the pieces of his sanity.

Revelations and suspicious coincidences send shock waves through the investigation, and circumstances spin out of control. Susan must race to put it all together before it’s too late—before the next murder strikes too close to home.

From me:

I’ve been curious about Matthew Farrell ever since I heard a lot of acclaim for him after the release of his first novel, What Have You Done. Well, one thing I personally haven’t done yet is read that book, but I plan to get to it soon – especially since he impressed me so much here with his second novel, I Know Everything.

I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers and I’m a little picky about them. This makes me sometimes cautious with books by authors that I’ve never read before. If I begin reading it and I start to see plot points or predictable story “twists” that I’ve seen repeatedly in other mysteries/thrillers, I can then quickly become bored and then lose interest in the book and then stop reading it.

There were a couple of times here when I thought those kinds of things were starting to happen and I was afraid the book was beginning to lose me. However…a big “however” here so let’s go with big letters…

HOWEVER, things in the story DID (I really like big letters) quickly turn around and I was given some nice, very unexpected twists and turns that kept me interested in the story throughout the entire book. Actually, “interested” is a bit of an understatement here. I got totally wrapped up in the story and found it to be VERY (there I go again) compelling.

Author Matthew Farrell has a lot of talent as a storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed reading I Know Everything and I’m definitely interested now in reading more by him.

*This book will be published on August 6, 2019. I received an advanced reading copy of it from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.

Book Review: MILTON IN PURGATORY by Edward Vass

Milton in Purgatory

From the publisher, Fairlight Books:

Milton Pitt leads an uneventful life, with a dull job and a secret longing for adventure. One morning, after he is hit by a speeding car, he suffers an out-of-body experience and awakens back in his bedroom. Everything is just the same – that is, except for the bloody footprints leading to the chimney…

Is this his chance to lead a better life? Was it just a dream? Or is he simply dead?

In this richly inventive and humorous novella, Edward Vass brings the themes of Dante’s Divine Comedy 700 years into the future.

From me:

As I first read the above description of Milton in Purgatory, I instantly became curious about the story. I was also very intrigued by the book’s cover and I immediately had several questions. Is there something evil going on with the sharp-looking objects above the person in the chair? Speaking of which, do people get comfortable-looking chairs like that in purgatory? Also, what’s going on with that butterfly in front of that person’s obscured face? Are there butterflies in the afterlife? I’m not too keen about butterflies as it is, so will I have to continue to deal with the nasty little things after I die?

My personal feelings about butterflies aside, I decided to press on and see what this book was all about. And I’m so very glad that I did. I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything quite like Milton in Purgatory before. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

This is one of those books that is quite difficult to say too much about without giving away too many things about the plot. It’s a very clever and highly original story and I feel that readers of it would be best served by not knowing too much about it before they begin reading it.

And they should definitely read it. You, the person reading this review right now, you should be part of the “they” that I just mentioned. If you read Milton in Purgatory, you’re going to be experiencing some very good writing from author Edward Vass, who is an incredibly talented writer. In this book, he gives us a unique story that is all over the place. It’s funny. It’s dark. It’s surreal. It’s uplifting.

A book has to be very special for me to already want to re-read it, directly after I read it for my first time, but that’s exactly how I feel right now about Milton in Purgatory. I think it’s brilliant. I loved it.

*This book will be published on August 1, 2019 by Fairlight Books. I received an Advanced Reading Copy of it from them, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.



Book Review: HOPE RIDES AGAIN by Andrew Shaffer

hope rides again

From the publisher, Quirk Books:

In the sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel Hope Never Dies, Obama and Biden reprise their roles as BFFs-turned-detectives as they chase Obama’s stolen cell phone through the streets of Chicago–and right into a vast conspiracy.

Following a long but successful book tour, Joe Biden has one more stop before he can return home: Chicago. His old pal Barack Obama has invited him to meet a wealthy benefactor whose endorsement could turn the tide for Joe if he decides to run for president.

The two friends barely have time to catch up before another mystery lands in their laps: Obama’s prized Blackberry is stolen. When their number-one suspect winds up full of lead on the South Side, the police are content to write it off as just another gangland shooting. But Joe and Obama smell a rat…

Set against the backdrop of a raucous city on St. Patrick’s Day, Joe and Obama race to find the shooter, only to uncover a vast conspiracy that goes deeper than the waters of Lake Michigan—which is exactly where they’ll spend the rest of their retirement if they’re not careful.

From me:

While I enjoyed HOPE RIDES AGAIN, I enjoyed it a little bit less than I enjoyed HOPE NEVER DIES, which is the first book of the Obama Biden Mysteries.

Even though I liked it less, this one is still good. Actually, there are even some ways in which I think it’s slightly better than the first one. For example, I think this one may actually be a little bit funnier than the first book. Also, the character of President Obama seems more well-rounded in this one. Not that I felt there was anything wrong with him in the first book, but there’s something in this one that makes him a little bit “better.”

I think it’s because author Andrew Shaffer keeps growing as a writer. He did an awesome job on the first book and has even stronger writing in this one. What I especially was impressed with was the many times he’d have Joe Biden refer to things that were going on in “the real world.” Even though this is a work of fiction, Shaffer kept it very much tied to reality. And he does it in a way that’s respectful to people in the real world too. There are some instances where Biden or Obama might refer to the current administration or to others in politics, but it’s done in a way that’s not directly slamming those people. For example, you might get the sense that the Joe Biden character doesn’t care for a particular person, but it’s done in a way that’s not rudely insulting them.

Considering how heated things often are in the real world of politics, I’m sure it could have been easy for Shaffer to write the book in that way, where it got heavily into the “nastiness” that we see daily coming from famous politicians. But since this is a humorous fiction story, I’m glad he avoided those kinds of things and wrote it the way he did.

Personally, I read books like this one because I want to have a fun journey into a story that I can get lost in and have a good time reading. That definitely happened for me here with HOPE RIDES AGAIN.

So, why did I like this one less than I liked the first book? Well, without giving away anything about the story itself, I felt that Joe Biden’s motivation for investigating the mystery here wasn’t as strong as it was in the first book. In that one, he had a very personal connection to the case and I could easily see why he got wrapped up in it the way that he did. In this one, he barely even knew the victim of the crime that he was investigating, so his reasons for doing what he was doing seemed a little less believable to me this time around.

Having said that, I’d still very much be interested in reading future books in this series. I’m also interested in seeing what other types of stories Andrew Shaffer writes later in his career. I think that he’s a very talented writer and I bet he’s going to be giving us many great stories for a very long time.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review. Thank you to Quirk Books and NetGalley.