5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

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Article from Popsugar.com
50 Things Only Book Lovers Understand I think I said yes to just about every one of these on the list except 32. I didn’t slowly come around to enjoying Kindle, I’ve loved it fully since it came out and it’s the one aspect of my reading life I can’t live without.

Podcast I’m Loving 
Forever35  A podcast about the things we do to take care of ourselves. How did I not know about this podcast?  A good friend turned me on to this podcast a couple weeks ago and I’ve been tearing through their back episodes. Kate and Dorree are writers and friends who love to talk about skincare, friendship, books, makeup, etc really anything that we do that would be “self-care” for ourselves. Doree reads a ton of books which is fun and they both love to talk about serums, Sephora, and skincare…YES!!

Favorite Winter Must Have for Dry Skin
Lush’s Naked Body Conditioner in Snow Fairy  I LOVE Lush although it can be pricey on certain things. I love their products though and this one is at the top of my list. This is a solid square shaped bar that works as an in shower lotion so you just swipe it on, lightly rinse and that’s it. I don’t feel the need to use any more lotion when I use this and, BONUS, it doesn’t make the shower floor slippery or leave a greasy feeling of any kind. This scent is my favorite but it’s seasonal so it will disappear after the holidays. Needless to say, I stock up a little now and then Lush has a 50% off sale the day after Christmas and I buy more!! (P.S. I’m not an affiliate for Lush)

Book I’m Enjoying This Week 
In Cold Blood  by Truman Capote. I enjoy nonfiction true crime so Nonfiction November along with my son reading this for  class seemed like a great time to pick this up. I went in thinking it wouldn’t be all that suspenseful or page turning because we know who did it but I’m wrong, it’s both those things!

Blog Post I’m Loving This Week
Fiction-Nonfiction Book Pairings by Sarah’s Book Shelves For Nonfiction November Sarah is hosting a week of Fiction – Nonfiction book pairings, not only giving her pairings (which have increased my tbr:) but at the bottom there are tons of other bloggers who have linked their own pairings. I’m really hoping to have mine up tomorrow!

Are You Also Enjoy Anything From My List This Week?

Have a great Weekend!

 

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A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne: Book Review

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
Publication: November 13, 2018 by Hogarth Press
384 Pages
Buy on Amazon    

From Publisher: A seductive Highsmithian psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame

My Thoughts: Bottom line: I really wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. I’ll start by saying that I don’t have to like main characters in order to love a story. Nor do they have to be mentally sane. In fact, I loved You by Caroline Kepnes and I’m not sure there could be a bigger psychopath than Joe. So I knew going in that Maurice was going to be an unlikeable, manipulative character and I was fine with that. Really, I suspected that might even make the story more enjoyable.

Like many others, I loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies last year, it was actually my top book of 2017 so I definitely had high hopes for this one, although I did remain open to the idea that this was a completely different story. And, if anyone has the writing ability to shift gears and write a totally different type of story it’s John Boyne. That being said, the writing quality in A Ladder to the Sky was excellent. Boyne has such an ear for dialogue and every character was so well drawn. Most were flawed which I loved and I even thought Maurice was very multidimensional…I didn’t like him at all but he had many layers which I appreciated.

The novel is structured in an interesting way in that the sections alternate between Maurice and those he manipulates. Actually manipulates may be too nice of a word for what he does to some of them…I’m thinking of you Edith! This technique provided fresh perspectives and insights, moving the story along at a faster pace. Maurice’s main goal was literary fame and success at any cost which kept me reading to find out how many lives he’d ruin along the way and whether he’d ever get his comeuppance? You’ll have to read to find out but for me, getting that answer didn’t prove as surprising as I thought it would be. I expected much more and was left feeling underwhelmed. Despite this, I still love John Boyne’s writing and will be waiting on his next book!

Thanks to Hogarth Press for my copy 

 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Ted Talk That’s Got Me Thinking
Quit Social Media with Dr Cal Newport. Now, I haven’t been thinking about quitting social media entirely but I do have to say I’m thinking about staying off of Twitter for awhile and greatly decreasing my scrolling through Instagram. I joined both for books, authors, and connecting with other bookish people which has been great but lately Twitter has become constant politics and arguments…and that’s from authors and other book people who are mainly all I follow. I’m tired of it and I’ve unfollowed some favorite authors because I’ve just had enough of the complaining in my feed. I think Instagram has steered clear of this for the most part and my main issue with it is just the tons of time I spend scrolling through looking at other’s cool book pics and reviews. Plus the stories! There’s so much good stuff to see on IG BUT I think I need to take that scrolling time and put it towards more reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts and how YOU manage your social media time, especially Instagram. This TED talk gives me much to consider 

Book I’m Enjoying 
The Nowhere Man by Greg Hurwitz. This is the second book in the Orphan X series which follows Evan Smoak, assassin raised and trained by a secret government agency which he broke away from and who consequently wants him dead. What I love about this series is that along with the suspense of Evan being hunted, he is also a hunter, going after and eliminating very bad poeple (think child molesters, human traffickers, etc). The writing is superb and since I was in the mood for suspense and action, I’m getting plenty! No fluffy descriptive setting details here. I would recommend starting with Orphan X  though so you’ll get Evan’s full story

Article (and website) I Found Really Interesting…and Hopeful for Blogs!
Do You Still Read Blogs?  by Tsh Oxenreider on The Art of Simple blog. I’ve been a little worried lately that some of my favorite bloggers have forsaken their blogs for quicker book snippets and “reviews” on Instagram so I was happy to read this article and the many comments following it that says yes people are still reading blogs. I completely agree with her take on blogs being like sitting down for coffee with a friend verses social media platforms feeling like being in a large crowd of people. (Can You tell I’ve been thinking about social media this week?!) I still read and enjoy blogs that’s for sure, I’d love to hear what you think about this as well!

Goodreads Reviewer and Blogger I Really Enjoy 
Larry H  (on Goodreads) and from the blog It’s Either Sadness or Euphoria . Larry reads a crazy amount of books and always has thoughtful, insightful reviews. I especially like his well placed use of Gifs! Sometimes a Gif does say it all

Quote that Resonates With Me Recently
“True Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.”- Ed Cunningham

 

Have a great weekend! 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

Article from Bustle.Com
9 Novels You Probably Didn’t Know Are Inspired By Real Crimes

I love when real life can be blended in a good mystery or thriller so I was really happy to come across this list. I already have Our House and I picked up The Long Drop at the library. See any you like?

A Simple Thing I Find Relaxing, Especially in the Fall and Winter
10 Ways You’ll Benefit From Burning Candles  
I love candles but have gotten away from burning them the last few years in favor of Scentsy . This fall I’m bringing back candles, I love the ambiance they create and there’s something relaxing about having one lit on a cold night. My favorites are Cinnamon from Bath & Body or WoodWick (these actually crackle!)

Podcast I Love
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
I’ve listened to just about all of the episodes and I have many favorites…The recent one with Jonas Elrod, Elie Wiesel, Anthony Ray Hinton, Diana Nyad, Dr Phil, and Mitch Albom to name a few. Every time I listen to an episode I learn something new or think about things in a different way

Beauty Product I Can’t live Without 
Green Tea Blotting Papers (Sephora) 
I’ve used these blotting papers for years! I love that they work to take shine off your face without stripping makeup and I don’t need to carry powder anymore

The Book Organizing App I’m Loving
BookBuddy Library Manager  
I discovered this App last week when my friend Janel at Keeper of Pages featured it in her weekly Ramblings post. I had never heard of this but I promptly downloaded the BookBuddy Pro ($4.99) rather than the free one which only allows you to catalogue 50 books. This App is just what I’ve been looking for to keep track of all my books in 1 place. You can catalog your books and keep track of what you’ve read and want to read. This is working much better for me than Goodreads.

Have a Great Weekend! 

Daisy Jones & The Six By Taylor Jenkins Reid: Book Review

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication: March 5, 2019 by Ballantine Books
368 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

From Publisher: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

My Thoughts:  I’ve got to admit, when I first started reading Daisy Jones & The Six,  the author’s note at the beginning is so completely realistic that I found myself heading to Google to figure out how I missed hearing about this band way back when. I kept reading though and realized, no this is just really good fiction writing! With that being said, I know I’m standing out from the 5 star Goodreads crowd on this one but I’ll share my thoughts on why I didn’t love this book overall, one of my MOST anticipated books of 2019.

I’ll start by saying I’ve loved several of TJR’s books that I’ve read this past year…The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoOne True Loves, and After I Do … so even though I knew this was about a rock band in the 70s with a tribute to rock music in general, neither of which I enjoy, I still believed I’d enjoy this because it’s TJR! Keep this in mind… if you enjoy rock music, classic rock bands and reading about the lifestyle from the 70s you may really love this book.

The story is structured in an interview style format (for the whole book) with many characters getting a chance to speak, including the band members and all those involved in their lives. This interview format lent itself to short snippets from the characters, repetitive behind the scenes music details, concert details, song details, an abundance of party scenes involving drugs and alcohol, etc.  I get it, drugs and alcohol, especially in rock bands, was big in the 70’s and 80s but I wanted more from this story and these characters if that makes sense. For me, this structure left me feeling disconnected from the story and characters because I didn’t feel immersed in the storyline. I should’ve connected with the main characters Daisy and Billy but I didn’t. I liked Camilla (Billy’s wife) but honestly couldn’t understand her motivations so I’d say my favorite character in the end was Simone, Daisy’s best friend. I love that TJR took a chance on a completely different format for telling this story and for a gazillion others it will work, just not for me unfortunately. I’m still a fan though and will be eagerly waiting for her next book!!

Thanks to Ballantine Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review 

2 Must Read October Releases: One Day in December by Josie Silver & The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

One Day in December by Josie Silver
Publication: October 16, 2018 by Broadway Books
416 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

Short Summary: Laurie has a case of insta-love through a bus window, spends close to a year trying to find him, only to have him show up one day as her best friend’s new boyfriend

My Thoughts: I know a lot of people hear instant-love and automatically write a book off but I really hope you’ll give this one a chance. Whereas another recent love story, Ghosted (My review) didn’t work for me, this one completely did. I would describe the initial “love at first sight” as more of a “wow, I feel an attraction/connection with you” but they can’t even speak to each other because one is on a bus and the other is outside at the stop. Then, just as quickly, the bus is gone, resulting in a missed opportunity for both Laurie and Jack. To me, this was believable.

Time goes by and despite Laurie’s attempts, she’s never able to track down her mystery bus man. During this initial set up we get to know Laurie and her best friend Sarah and I immediately loved both of them and their friendship. You see, the author deftly explores female friendship along with the story’s inherent dilemma of what happens if the love of your life shows up as your very best friend’s new boyfriend. I know this may sound similar to Something Borrowed  by Emily Giffin but it’s really nothing like it. Silver has put her own spin on a familiar storyline, taking me down so many unexpected paths that I couldn’t stop reading! And I didn’t.  I read this in one sitting, laughing, crying and in the end slowing down because I didn’t want it to end. I have a feeling you might be seeing this on my top 10 books of 2018 list.  Yes, it was that good!

Thanks to Broadway Books via Netgalley for my copy 

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The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
Publication: Oct 16, 2018 by Minotaur Books
432 Pages
Affiliate LinkThe Craftsman

From Publisher: Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. But now, decades later, he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

My Thoughts: Sharon Bolton is an auto-buy author for me, I don’t care what she writes, I’m buying and reading! That being said, I was a smidge hesitant about this one only because I knew it contained a hint of the supernatural and witches. Trust in Sharon Bolton, that’s all I can say because I loved this story.

One thing that really made this story for me was the fact that Bolton has created a multidimensional character with Florence Lovelady. We first meet her in 1999 when she’s returned for the funeral of Larry, the serial killer/creepy coffin maker whom she arrested and had convicted of the murders of 3 young kids in 1969. Can I just say, the scene involving one of these kids being buried alive was not only heartbreaking, but also one of the most uncomfortable, claustrophobic feeling scenes I’ve ever read. Luckily, Bolton doesn’t drag it out but it was enough to cause me to hold my breath.

The story continues by going back to 1969, allowing us to get to know Florence as she faces the many difficulties of being a female detective in the good old boys network of the police. The puzzle is intricate, the suspects many, and I was right there rooting for Florence as she sorted through the intricate web of layers to these crimes. I’ll be honest, the further I got in the story the more I had myself convinced I knew what had happened and I was a little disappointed that this was going to be the first Bolton story I had figured out. Yes, I was feeling smug. Then came some stuff…some happenings… and by the end I wasn’t so smug anymore. Sharon Bolton fooled me again and I’m SO happy she did. Seriously, if you enjoy mysteries, you have to read this book! Then go check out her backlist. You won’t regret it.

 

October Reading Update: My Hits, Misses & In-betweens

Hi Everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend! Life is a little hectic for me right now so I wanted to do a quick reading update in case I don’t get any reviews up this week, although I hope to. Looking back over the last few weeks, I noticed I’ve been reviewing mostly 5 star reads, however, my reading hasn’t been all 5 star books, not by a long shot. I’ve had a couple average reads and I’ve DNFed many. I’m not afraid to put books down if I’m not in the mood or the writing or story isn’t working for me. Anyone else out there a serious mood reader?

Recent Hits

    

Both One Day in December  and The Craftsman will be published tomorrow, Oct 16th, and both are fantastic! (I hope to have mini reviews up soon) I’m so glad I gave One Day in December a try, you might think this is just another run of the mill instant love story/missed connection BUT I promise you it’s not. I loved the unexpected paths the author ventured down with respect to love and female friendship. Set over a decade, this had shades of One Day by David Nichols but also reminded me a little of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s type of writing style. I laughed, cried and just loved this book.  The Craftsman is another hit by Sharon Bolton…seriously, the lady can’t write a bad book! This story, filled with graveyards, coffins, an undertaker, murder and a feisty female detective named Florence Lovelady (best name!) checks all my boxes for a must read mystery. If you enjoy puzzling mysteries with perfectly spooky settings this book is for you.

 

The In-betweens

    

I call the in-betweens those books I didn’t love but didn’t hate. They fall in a shaded gray category and are my hardest ones to review. I’ve loved Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and Inside the O’Brian’s but Every Note Played was just ok. I found the main characters really hard to like and the story seemed to lack the emotional connection I felt with her others. There was an abundance of medical data and details, at the expense of the story, in my opinion. Night Film is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time so I’m really glad I did. I had this in print and audio and chose to go with the audio because the narrator was amazing. I’d give him 5 stars and without him I wouldn’t have stuck this LONG book out in print. While I really enjoyed the creep factor of the overall story, I found it to be very dense and repetitive and the ending was, for me, anticlimactic and disappointing. I’m bummed about this one, I’d hoped to like it more.

 

The DNFs (Did Not Finish)

    

The Royal Runaway DNF 40%….I gave this a good chance to turn around but even with skimming this wasn’t for me. I felt no chemistry between Thea and Nick and expected more romance and less running around trying to be spies. Maybe if they were actual spies or even good ones this would’ve worked better but I found too many plot and character inconsistencies to keep going with this one. The Clockmaker’s Daughter DNF 10%…I know I’m in the minority for this but I couldn’t get into it. This is the second Kate Morton book I’ve tried and DNFed (also The Secret Keeper) so I’m thinking I might not be the reader for her type of writing style. I found the beginning of this too descriptive and the language flow and writing style wasn’t for me. By 10% I found myself confused rather than intrigued.

 

What I’m Reading Now

I thought I could wait until winter for this March release but I can’t! I need a surefire winner to read right now and Taylor Jenkins Reid never disappoints. I’ve only read 15 pages and I’m already interested in the story and characters.

 

Likely to Read Next

I’m in the mood for another missing person (not child) story after reading Night Film and I love Alafair Burke plus I own this one so it seems like a good bet.

Hope you have a good week, let me know what you’ve been reading and loving…or not loving! 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Article from Bustle.com
13 Haunted House Stories that Will Make You Scared to Ever Go Home .
 I’ve been in the mood for creepy stories this month but I was surprised that I haven’t heard of most of these books on this list. I thought 2 sounded really good ( The Haunting of Hill House & The Little Stranger) so I grabbed them at the library yesterday. Let me know if you’ve read and loved any of these

Audiobook I’m Enjoying
Night Film  by Marissa Pessl, narrated by Jake Weber. It’s not often I prefer the audio to print but I have this book in both versions and I’m loving the audio so much better thanks to this narrator. He does voices so well, I had to keep double checking that there wasn’t actually more narrators. He really brings this creepy story to life. I’ll warn you though, this book is longgggg, 23 hours on audio! I’m almost done and can’t wait to find out what’s going on.

Quote I like from Katie Couric’s Instagram Account
Be Careful Who You Vent to: a Listening Ear Could Also Be a Running Mouth Good words of wisdom!

TV Show I Love is Finally Back!
Will and Grace. Anyone else love this show? I watched all the seasons religiously when it was on years ago as well as last year, so I’m thrilled it finally came back on last week. Jack and Karen are the best!  Who’s your favorite character?

New Favorite Lip Conditioner 
Milk and Honey Lip Butter  I”m always on the hunt for a good organic lip moisturizer that actually stays on and so far I really like this one. It also smells really good. If you have any other suggestions for me, leave them in the comments! I’m not an affiliate for this, just want to share the find:)

Have a Great Weekend! 

 

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Book Review

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven  By Mitch Albom
Publication: October 9th by Harper
224 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon 

From Publisher: In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven ! That book has always stuck with me so I wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long. In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven , Albom tells Annie’s story, the little girl Eddie (who was killed) saved one day at an amusement park. If you haven’t read the first book I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary as Albom does a really good job of providing some backstory in this one but I do think my reading enjoyment was greater having read the first one. I actually realized I remembered more about the first book than I thought.

Obviously, if we’re getting Annie’s story you know something has happened to her for her to end up in heaven. I loved that Album starts the story with Annie’s story while she’s still alive, it allowed me to get to know her as she was but also created suspense because I knew what was going to eventually happen but Annie didn’t…and I really liked her! Albom structures the story alternating brief glimpses of Annie’s childhood with her journey in heaven and I LOVED this! I was equally invested in both parts of the story because of how Albom created interconnections. That may seem like a vague reason but you’ll understand when you read the story.

A couple other things really stood out to me: Albom’s creative vision of heaven and the fact that he can sneak a twist into a story when I least expected it. Well done. This book is the perfect length for a one sit read but, honestly, I would’ve loved for it to be longer and I don’t often say that about a book. I’m still thinking about parts of this story days later, especially Albom’s take on fate in our lives

Had he taken the truck, this story would be different. Had the limousine driver remembered to bring a bag that was sitting by his apartment door, this story would be different. The tale of your life is written second by second, as shifting as the flip of a pencil to an eraser

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, bittersweet story that just might give you much to contemplate, give this a try. My last advice: have tissues handy!

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Netgalley for my copy

 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Instagram #Bookstagram Account I Love Following
Dennis at Scaredstraightreads Not only does Dennis review books, he has some very funny Instagram stories. I always look forward to his posts

Book Review That Has Me Wanting to Read a Book That Wasn’t on My Radar
Susie at NovelVisits Review of Waiting for Eden  I challenge you to read Susie’s review of this book and not add it to your tbr as well. This sounds like such a unique story

This Gem of Advice (from Bookrioter Abby Hargreaves) is Going to Change My Reading Life! 
How to Keep Library Ebooks Longer (and the drawbacks)  I had no idea there was a library hack that enables us to keep our ebooks longer. I needed this info! I read almost exclusively on my kindle and I’ve scrambled one too many times to finish a book at the last minute before it vanishes into Overdrive

Article I Enjoyed from NBCNews.com (and a term I’d never heard of but practice regularly) 
How the Simple Act of Nature Helps You Destress I walk in the woods just about everyday, year round, so I can relate to this article. I think walking in the woods is one of the most relaxing things I do. I’ll take nature, even in freezing cold whether, over the gym any day.

Movie That Will Be My Favorite of the Year
A Star is Born  I can’t say enough about how fantastic this movie was! You guys, LADY GAGA, wow. That’s all I’ll say and Bradley Cooper was amazing. Go see it. Bring Tissues.

Have A Great Weekend!