One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I should start this out by saying I was a little hesitant to read this book. I read One of Us Is Lying because I really enjoyed the TV adaptation on Peacock, and the book was just as good. After I finished the book, I realized that the second book in the series wasn’t so much about the original characters but about Maeve and a new group of people that go to Bayview.

At the end of the show, it seemed like the next season would be a continuation of the original Bayview Four’s stories. The book ended differently, so it makes sense that their stories have mostly ended, but I still wanted more of them.

They do make appearances throughout the second book, but the story isn’t about them anymore. This time, the focus is more on Bronwyn’s sister Maeve and her group of friends. A new Simon impersonator has come into the picture and is playing games of Truth or Dare with the students of Bayview.

I was surprised to find how much I really did enjoy this book despite my earlier hesitations. The new characters were interesting and the revelations of secrets kept me reading chapter after chapter. The story had a pretty good twist that was different enough from the first book to keep it interesting. Would definitely recommend continuing the series if you’re a fan of the show and have read the first book.

I’ve seen things about a third book coming in 2023, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read that as well.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Back again with another tv adaptation-inspired read!

The last time I went to a bookstore (which was who knows how long ago) I remember looking at the section of upcoming adaptations and seeing this book. It sounded interesting, but I ended up buying something else instead and adding it to my list of potential future books to read.

I get Peacock for free with my Xfinity account and hadn’t really used it before, but when the Chucky series came out I would go there to watch episodes that I missed and saw One of Us Is Lying had already come out. I binged through the series and had to read the book after that.

The storylines were very similar and I really enjoyed reading the book. There were a few changes made, but overall kept to the same story.

One of Us Is Lying is basically The Breakfast Club with a murder. A group of totally unrelated people end up in detention for reasons that don’t seem to make sense and one of them ends up dead. You spend the rest of the book jumping into each character’s mind and trying to figure out whodunit.

It’s a interesting story with a good amount of twists and a fairly surprising ending. I thought that I had it figured out, but I was only half way there.

I liked how the ending played out in the show better, but it’s always easier to improve on something the second time around. The show also left room to have a second season with the same cast, where I think the sequel to the book is an entirely different group of people. I’m definitely going to read the sequel next, so expect another update soon!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

It’s been awhile since my last book review, but don’t worry, I’ve still been reading!

I felt like there was a lot of hype for the Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers. They had such a great cast and were promoting the show off the success of Big Little Lies. I made sure to watch it every week and it was certainly interesting. I feel like I enjoyed it for the most part. I cared about the characters and was happy with how things ended for all of them. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Masha was a bit odd, but kind of worked? Overall, I enjoyed it.

I really liked Big Little Lies and have wanted to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work, so it only made sense to read the book. I think it’s important to mention that Liane Moriarty is Australian and both books take place in Australia, so it’s interesting to me that they’ve been adapted to American locations. I guess this is Nicole Kidman’s doing, right? She has to be the reason these Australian books are being made into American TV.

Anyway…I have to say that I liked the show more than I liked the book. It was still a good read, but I almost wish I would have read it before seeing the show. It just wasn’t as dramatic or interesting and we didn’t get to see as much of the personalities of the characters.

There were quite a few changes that were made when they adapted it into a show, and I think all of the changes were for the better. The biggest ones for me for the house they stayed in and Masha’s character.

In the book they’re in an old Victorian house that has cracks in the plastic and gave me sort of an eerie feeling. I’m assuming that’s what Moriarty was going for, but it seemed like it would be a better location for a ghost story than a meditation retreat. Changing it to a modern facility worked better in the show. Although it didn’t have that eerie, old feeling I think there’s still something creepy about those cold, empty facilities. Almost like Kim Kardashian’s empty, white, seemingly endless hallways.

The other big change was Masha. In the book she was an overweight business executive that didn’t take care of herself and had a near death experience that made her change her lifestyle. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal was also unhealthy, but not quite in the same way. They had similar traumas prior to their NDE, so that was the same, but their personalities afterward were very different.

Both Masha’s pushed the boundaries to extremes with their guests, but while Nicole Kidman’s moves were carefully calculated and kept in control, book Masha really lept off the deep end. They both helped the guests in similar ways, but by the end Nicole Kidman’s character was respected where book Masha should’ve been institutionalized.

I definitely liked the way that the show handled everything better. It felt intentional, where the book made her seem too crazy. It was a good read though. At the end I found myself wanted to just keep reading one more chapter. I was glad too that they tied up all the loose ends by the end and didn’t leave the reader guessing what happened to everyone after they left the retreat.

The Bridgerton’s Second Epilogues

So! I noticed after reading The Duke and I that there was a second epilogue at the end of the book. I did a little research and found out that there were second epilogues written for each of the books in the Bridgerton series. It seemed like Daphne’s was spoiling a little bit about the other books, so I decided to put off reading them all until I had finished all of the books.

Since they were all so different, I’ll just list my thoughts about each of them.

The Duke and I: It was so nice to see Daphne and Simon older, with another baby on the way. It was so nice to see them still so happily married, though I wouldn’t expect anything different. I also liked how it finally showed us what was in the letters, even though they weren’t really important at all. It felt like a nice way to end their story.

The Viscount Who Loved Me: This second epilogue was really fun. It was cool to see Anthony and Kate still messing with each other, and nice to know that the Bridgerton’s all get together for their annual game of Pall Mall.

An Offer From a Gentleman: I’m glad we got to see Posy have a happy ending. Benedict’s story was probably the least interesting, though I did like the appearances that he and Sophie made in the other books. I didn’t feel like there was anything else that needed to be added to their story, so it was a nice twist to add in a little happily ever after for Posy.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton: I’m SO glad that we got to experience Penelope revealing herself as Whistledown to Eloise. Though I wish it hadn’t been spoiled so that we could get Eloise’s genuine reaction when Penelope told her. I feel like it would’ve been different, but I’m also happy with how it turned out.

To Sir Phillip, With Love: Again it was nice to have the story from another viewpoint here. We got to see what happened with Amanda Crane as she found herself a husband. It was cute, but I would’ve liked to know more about Eloise and Phillip.

When He Was Wicked: I’m so happy that this one was included. It was super disappointing for Francesca and Michael to not have a baby by the end of their story. The readers really needed this happy ending. It was sweet to see them happy and finally to have their own baby. It was also interesting that they were able to keep it a secret from her mother for so long.

It’s In His Kiss: This one might be my favorite. I’m so glad that Hyacinth finally found the jewels. It was funny that she had never given up and that her daughter had known about them the whole time. I appreciated that she let her mother find them instead of just revealing that she had them all along.

On the Way to the Wedding: This one was kind of unnecessary. Basically it just told us that they had a lot of kids and that it was kind of dangerous by that point that they were continuing to have babies. It was interesting that they had named their children after all their siblings. Will there be a second generation of Bridgerton’s with the same name?

Overall, the second epilogues were enjoyable. I appreciated how some of them tied up loose ends and gave a little insight into the future of the Bridgerton’s.  Definitely unnecessary to have this as a second book, but I guess I understand for people who had read the books before the second epilogues were written. I feel like it should be mentioned though, that Happily Ever After is just the collection of second epilogues, because it’s a bit confusing what it actually is.

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

Does anyone else drag things out when they’re really enjoying something and then you’re getting close to the end and you don’t want it to me over? Like when you’ve binged 8 seasons of a show and then take forever to start the 9th because you’ve just spent the last month of your life obsessed with the characters and you’re not ready to say goodbye. Just me?

I really don’t have a good reason for why it took me so long to finish the last Bridgerton book. It was actually really enjoyable and I liked the story. Maybe it was getting a puppy and not having time to actually sit down and read at first, or maybe it was that I wasn’t ready to be finished with the Bridgertons. I am a little sad to say that I’m finally done.

Gregory’s story wasn’t anything special, but it was certainly enjoyable. From the beginning you know the hero and the heroine, so you know that they’ll eventually end up together. It was kind of a cute story, but I wish there was a little more drama and suspense for who Gregory would end up with.

I appreciate that Kate was so involved in this one. If you’re a fan of the show and haven’t read the books, they’re starting to show previews with Kate and she’s easily one of my favorite characters throughout the series.

It’ll be interesting to see if the show gets renewed for 8 seasons of Bridgerton weddings. I feel like it could if they can keep up the drama like they did in the first season. I hope it does. I definitely want to see Hyacinth’s story and would like to see Gregory’s as well. Would they cast different actors? It would be weird for these children to have the sexual scenes in the future seasons after watching them grow up.

I’m going to do a separate post for the Second Epilogues. I think they are published together in a Bridgerton Happily Ever After book, but I’m 99% sure that they’re the same thing, so I’m not going to spend money on it again. Not sure what I’ll read after that. Outlander maybe??

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

This might be my least favorite of the Bridgerton series so far…

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. It just wasn’t any special kind of love story. It reminded me of Cinderella in a lot of ways and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think this. There were too many similarities. The masquerade ball so no one would recognize her, the evil stepmother, two stepsisters, being a servant to them after her father died. It was basically just a re-telling of the fairy tale with Benedict Bridgerton as the prince.

It wasn’t a bad re-imagining of the story, but it was just so unoriginal that it wasn’t exciting to read. I still read it quickly, but mostly because I know Penelope and Colin’s story is next and I wanted to get through this as quickly as possible.

I know the show has been renewed for four seasons, so I’m hoping they improve on this story. That’s really all I have to say about it. I hope the rest aren’t as lazy with the creativity and writing.

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

I blew through the second book in the Bridgerton series. They’re definitely not quality literature, but they’re easy to read and the stories are very enjoyable.

I’m sure whoever writes the show has read the books and has written the characters to match their personalities exactly. Knowing who plays Anthony in the show and imagining Kate as Simone Ashley made it fun.

It’s interesting to me how they’ve diversified the cast in the show, but how it still works. I’ve seen Simone Ashley in Sex Education and based on that I think she’s going to be perfect in this role.

Part of me didn’t expect to love Anthony and Kate’ s story as much as I loved Daphne and Simon’s. Anthony wasn’t exactly my favorite character in the show, so maybe that played a role in it, but reading his story definitely made me understand the man better.

There really isn’t much to say about the book. It was a good love story. It was interesting how they came together and the chemistry was amazing once again. I’m sure that’ll be a theme throughout the rest of them as well. Violet approves of love matches after all, so all of her children must find love, right?

I’m sure I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on the third installment. I’m already half way through it as I type this.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

You knew this was coming, right? I can’t resist reading the books when I love the adaptation. To say that I love Bridgerton would be an understatement. I’ve watched it twice already and, honestly after reading this I need to watch it again.

I loved this book. I literally could not put it down. I’m not surprised at all that they made this into a TV series, it’s so good!

I won’t pretend that there’s anything intellectually stimulating about this book, but it’s fun and exciting and easy to read. It’s definitely a nice break after the last two, which were very serious and made me think and question so many things in my life.

I just love Daphne and Simon. The characters and their chemistry are so well written. They’re not perfect people and they find each other and it’s just so obvious that they’re meant to be. How could you not love their love story?

There really isn’t much to write about this. If you loved the show, you should definitely read the book. The show follows the story line closely, but it adds their thoughts and give more insight to what was going on.

I think there are 9 books in the Bridgerton series. If you hated it you’ll probably want to avoid my page for awhile. There’s no way I’m not going to read them all.

Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss M.D.

I’m really glad that I decided to read this after reading Only Love Is Real. Part of me wishes that I would have read this first because I feel like it really helps to understand how Dr. Weiss got involved in past life regression through hypnotherapy.

It was crazy to me how he just sort of stumbled onto this. While reading, you get this sort of “meant to be” feeling about Catherine and Dr. Weiss coming together. Like he was the one who was supposed to hear her messages and she needed him to help resolve her trauma.

The fact that she was able to resolve these issues in her current life by re-visiting her past lives was kind of amazing. It makes you really wonder how many thing in your current life are influenced by these subconscious experiences.

I really like, and connected to, the idea that each lifetime has these experiences that you’re meant to learn from. It’s interesting that once you die there’s this period of rest and reflection with the “masters” where you sort of come to realization of what you were supposed to learn and what you carry with you from those experiences. From what he wrote, it seems like there’s some consciousness of what you still need to learn and that you will choose your next path based on that.

I feel like we kind of accept that life has a path for us and when things don’t work out it’s because they weren’t meant to be. Maybe this is because we have this subconscious “knowing” of what we picked for this lifetime and we know that it isn’t part of the process.

It was interesting again to see her recognizing people in her current life from her past lives. It’s nice to have that idea that people who are important to you will keep recurring in your lifetimes. Death and loss don’t seem as final.

I guess the real take away from reading this book is that life isn’t always in your control. You can do your best, but things may happen to you that you don’t understand and can’t control. These things happen as lessons and it’s important to remember that you’ll grow from those experiences. Everything has meaning, and when you can learn and accept these things you’ll just come out even better in the end.

I definitely still want to do some type of past life regression. It’s so interesting and I’ve always had ideas of what I experienced in my past lives. It’d be so cool just to see if any of those things really happened and to maybe understand things a little better. I also would totally love to see if I recognize anyone in my current life from the past and what the relationships were. Seriously if anyone is reading this and knows where I can get this done, let me know!

Only Love Is Real: A Story of Soulmates Reunited by Brian L. Weiss M.D.

I’m not going to lie…I definitely only read this book because I saw Kylie Jenner post about it on Instagram. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love and absolutely keep up with the Kardashian/Jenners and all that they do. This time I’m so glad I decided to screenshot her recommendation.

I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile, but have had other books already on my list that I wanted to finish first. Now that I’ve finished it, I wish I would’ve read it sooner because it’s absolutely confirmed so many of my beliefs.

I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone that hasn’t read it, but to summarize Dr. Weiss is a psychiatrist and hypnotherapist who uses past life regressions to treat his patients. In his first book (which I’ll be reading next) he was able to help a woman deal with traumas and anxieties in her current life by taking her through a past life regression. In this one, he began working with two patients who had recently experienced losses of people who were close to them when he discovered that the patients (who did not know each other in their current lives) may have been acquainted in past lives.

This book was so interesting, I literally read it so fast and really didn’t want to put it down.

I’m someone who already believes in soulmates, past lives, reincarnation, destiny etc. so maybe that’s why I felt so drawn to this story. At one point, Dr. Weiss describes his findings as being magical and honestly they really are.

I’m not necessarily someone who believes in God, but I do feel that I am spiritual and I do believe in a higher power and that your soul will continue on once you die. I believe that you have past lives and that our souls are reincarnated into new bodies. I believe that we come in contact with souls that we’ve met before on our journeys. All of this is kind of confirmed in this book.

Personally, I feel that I’ve experienced meeting one of my soul connections. When I met this person, I felt immediately that I knew them my whole life and possibly even longer. They felt familiar to me, and when we were together in person I always felt safe and comfortable. Almost like having that person feel like home. Even before reading this book, I looked into our connection with astrology and found that my Vertex is conjunct his Venus. Vertex conjunctions are said to represent karmic relationships with people from past lives.

After reading this book I feel even more so that this person was destined to be a part of my life in some way, and honestly when I look back at our time together I do recognize that he’s had a huge impact on my own personal growth. We aren’t currently in contact with each other and sometimes it feels like a part of me is missing, but after reading this book I feel like maybe this is just part of our journey. Maybe we knew each other in a past life and something difficult happened that is keeping us apart this time. Maybe we’ve fulfilled our purpose with each other in this life and we’ll meet again in the next. Maybe we needed to do more work separately before coming back together.

The one thing that I’ve really taken from the book is that the possibilities of your lifetime are limitless. There’s always another opportunity. There’s always growth that will happen. Your life and your soul are limitless. It’s kind of amazing.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to find a hypnotherapist now to do my own past life regressions and see if I recognize any souls. It’s just so interesting. Maybe I will eventually, maybe we all should.