Two Binge-Worthy TV Shows Based on Books

It's that time of the week again--Friday! :) Normally, on Fridays I give you a Friday Read pick. But the last two weeks have required me to do things that involve intense concentration (going through copyedits, checking for typos, getting everything ready for By the Hour's release, etc.) So after hours of doing that, my brain can't face more printed words. So, I've been doing some TV binge watching in evenings to give myself a break. And I've found two totally binge-worthy shows to recommend. And bonus, they're both shows based on books!

First, is Big Little Lies on HBO. This series is based on a book by LIane Moriarty. I haven't read the book, but I was intrigued by the premise and the show had a great cast, so I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. This show is dark and suspenseful, yet it's not hard to recognize people you may know in the characters. The perfectionistic mom who really is trying to hold it together. The couple that every one envies because they seem so in love, but no one really knows what the relationship is like in private. The single mom who's just trying to do best by her kid but has her own demons. So it's relatable in that way. And no character is purely "good" so everyone is very layered. 

What I liked best about the show is that it's a fully contained story in 7 episodes. You get a wrapped up ending and aren't committing to some ongoing series. I really enjoyed it and found the ending satisfying. I also liked that it's very focused on the female characters.

I'm not sure if you can get it regular streaming, but I assume it's on HBO streaming and you can get it on Amazon with a free HBO trial.


Next up is one I mentioned on Monday. I chose the new Netflix show Thirteen Reasons Why for my "watch" portion of April's Read and Watch Challenge. The premise of the show is a high school girl has committed suicide, but she left behind 13 cassette tapes where she narrates her reasons why. The tapes get sent to a certain list of people whom she picked to hear them. So the narrative jumps back and forth in time, showing you everyone before and the main character listening to the tapes in the present. There's a big element of suspense in the show because you don't know how everyone played into the suicide and Clay, the main character listening to the tapes, doesn't know what role he played and is bracing for hearing it on the tapes.

I started this week and am three episodes in, so I can't speak to the whole show yet. But what I can say is that so far, the show is really well done and very compelling. I read the book years ago, so I can't remember the details of the story, which is making this all new to me again. It's definitely one that when one episode ends, I immediately want to click "play next episode". Fair warning, I know this was a YA book but the show does have language and some brief nudity. it's a TV-MA rating, so be aware of that if you have kiddos around.

All right, that's what I've got for you this week. Hope you have a great weekend!

What I'm Watching: Something Funny, Something Scary, & Something Sentimental

One of the things that has gotten pushed to the back burner since I began a serious writing career (and had a child) is TV watching. A lot of people assume that since I work from home, I must get the chance to watch a lot of TV. But truth is, when I'm home during the day, I'm in my office, working. I can't remember the last time I watched TV during the day on a weekday. And in the evening, it's family time and dinner time and dishes time. So when I get that hour or so with the hubs after kidlet goes to bed, I have to choose shows wisely. And lately, I've gotten pretty lucky. Here's what I'm watching:

Something Funny:

Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin (The CW)- Okay, so I'm not up to date (so don't tell me any spoilers) but I started a Netflix binge of this at Christmastime and am a good way into the first season. It's funny and silly and over the top. All the characters are interesting and the structure (kind of tongue and cheek about telenovelas) is fresh and entertaining. If you're not watching this one yet and like a show that will make you laugh (and has some romance and hot guys), then check this one out. 

Something Scary:

Killing Fields

Killing Fields (Discovery Channel) - This is a true crime show about a cold case from 1997 in Louisiana that happened near LSU. The show itself is creepy because of what it's about, but it's particularly chilling for me because I was at LSU during the time of that murder and the serial killer that was murdering students. One of my grad school classmates was a victim (though her case also remains unsolved, most assume she was part of the serial killings). So this whole story hits very close to home for me and brings me back to a very scary time. However, the show is well done and compelling. I don't know how it will end (and they apparently taped it in real time), but I'm really hoping they solve the case. 

Something Sentimental:

American Idol (Fox) - I have watched every season of American Idol from the beginning, which was when I married hubs. So it's been an annual part of our routine from the start. I'm sad that this is the last season because I've never really taken to the other singing shows like I have this one, but I get that everything comes to an end. Hopefully, it will be a good one.

 

So that's what I'm watching? What's on your TV lately? Any recommendations?

 

Must Watch Wednesday: A Rockumentary directed by Dave Grohl

So I won't lie. I have a hard time resisting documentaries about music. I used to be slightly obsessed with Behind the Music on VH1. So when hubs clicked on Palladia the other night and saw that a rocumentary directed by Dave Grohl was starting, we were both in. And I'm so, so glad I watched this one. It was a fascinating peek into the music industry and the evolution of it told via the story of one famous recording studio. (And it also has a lot of relevance to the book industry regarding the huge shift digital caused, not just in putting out the music but in producing it.)

Plus, if for nothing else, I just love watching artists be passionate about what they do. 

SOUND CITY is currently playing on the Palladia channel and I believe it's also free on Amazon Prime Streaming, so go forth and watch. : )

Here's the trailer:

 

Has anyone else seen this one? Any rockumentary recommendations?

FALL INTO YOU's Television Debut & Book Clubs

Hey everyone! 

I'm buried still with my deadline coming up next week. But I wanted to pop in and share the Buy the Book/Fresh Fiction segment from Good Morning Texas this week.

Very surreal seeing my book on TV.

 

 

And by the way, if anyone is in a book club that selects one of my books as a read, let me know! If you're local, I'm happy to visit. And if you're not local, I can always pop in via Skype. : )  

FALL INTO YOU is going to be on Good Morning Texas!

 

Hi, everyone! Just wanted to pop in and share my good news. FALL INTO YOU is going to be featured this morning on the Buy the Book segment on Good Morning Texas!!! I'm so excited to see my book on TV, squee!

If you live in the DFW area, the segment will air between 9-10am central time on ABC. And if you're not, it will be available online here shortly after the broadcast. I'd love for y'all to watch. Here's a sneak peek on the books selected. The theme is picks for your Book Club.

And thanks to Fresh Fiction (@FreshFiction) for choosing my book! Here's all the info if you want to folow along today and for future segments:

You can find more at FreshFiction.com/GMT, on Good Morning Texas or follow Gwen on Twitter at @ReelVixen and Good Morning Texas at @WFAAGMT

 

The New Fall TV Season Starts: Anyone Else Gun Shy?

Photo by Sarah Reid (flickr cc)I love this time of year, not just for the break in 100+ heat, but because it signals the return of favorite shows and the start of new shows. (Though I will mourn the end of Big Brother summer deeply.)

And in the past, I used to look forward to finding those new TV shows that were going to grab me and keep me. Those shows that were going to become part of my weekly routine for years to come. Remember those? For me, it's shows like Friends, Dawson's Creek, Seinfeld, The Office, Lost... Shows that I can look back and remember the time in my life that they provided the background too. For instance, Dawson's Creek reminds me of making french bread pizza with my college roommates and all of us sitting on the floor to watch a new episode.

But in the past few years, I've started to grow wary of starting new TV show relationships. Besides True Blood and How I Met Your Mother, I haven't committed to anything non-reality show. And this is sad.

BUT, the reason why I've grown so gun shy is because it seems like networks give absolutely no time for a show to catch on anymore. You start watching something, get hooked on the damn thing and then 4-5 episodes in, it disappears forever. Not. Cool.

So I've taken to letting shows run for a while with the intention of going back and catching up if it sticks around. Of course, this usually results in whole seasons of shows on my DVR (hello, American Horror Story) and then I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling it and never get to it. This also means I've missed out on some shows I know I'd like because I'm so behind now--Fringe, Modern Family, Bones. I still want to get some of those on DVD, but it's trying to find the time. It's a bad cycle.

But like a girl who still goes back to the bar after too many failed dates, I'm probably going to give a few shows this season a try.

Here are some that I'm tempted to try. You can click on the poster to find out more about each show.

Elementary (CBS)

A modern day take on Sherlock Holmes, that's a high concept I can't look away from.

 

The Mindy Project (Fox)

I loved Mindy Kaling on The Office so I have high hopes for this one.

 

Revolution (NBC)

A world without electricity. They have advertised the crap out of this one--which is usually a BIG sign that the show is going to end after a few episodes. Seriously, it seems the ones with the biggest budget and advertising campaign get slashed first. But I like the idea of it and I'm always in search for something to fill the hole that Lost left.

 

666 Park Avenue (ABC)

An apartment building where everyone made deals with the devil? This could either go very wrong or very right.

 

Chicago Fire (NBC)

TV Guide promises lots of shirtless firefighters, so yanno, I'm compelled.

 

Go On (NBC)

This is simply because I love Matthew Perry and am pulling for him to find something that works post-Friends

 

Nashville (ABC)

I'm a sucker for shows that involve music, but we'll see...

 

Partners (CBS)

This one is from the people who brought us Will & Grace, so may be worth checking out.

 

Beauty and the Beast (CW)

Okay, so I never watched that show in the 80s and wouldn't have much interest now, but it's on the CW and that station has a talent for doing shows that hold my interest.

 

Underemployed (MTV)

This follows a group of friends one year out from college graduation when their big time post-graduation dreams haven't gone the way they'd hoped. I saw the preview of this one and it looks like it could be funny. 

 

All right, so those are the ones that caught my eye. Which new shows are you looking forward to this season? Are you gun shy about starting and getting attached to new shows like me? What shows have played background to different times in your life?

 

*All TV posters from IMDB.com except for the last which was from MTV.com. Click on each poster and it will lead you to the source.

The Joe Manganiello Growl & Magic Mike to Brighten Your Day

This week I am in the middle of doing major edits on Grant's book, so I am in the writer's cave. However, to keep you occupied on Boyfriend of the Week day, I thought I'd give you a bit of Joe Manganiello growl and some Magic Mike loveliness.

And hottest thing about this video is not the growl. It's the the fact that he thanks Charlaine Harris, the WRITER, in the first part of his acceptance speech. It drives me crazy at movie/TV awards when someone wins with a movie that was based on a book and thanks everybody from casting to craft services, and the author is never mentioned. So annoying.

Enjoy...

 

And Sunday, I finally got the chance to see Magic Mike. My self-sacrificing husband actually went along with me. He gets lots of brownie points for taking me. Good man. Here's a little snippet if you haven't seen it (or even if you have and want to watch again.)

 

Hope you enjoy your Tuesday! And send good editing thoughts my way, I'm in the need of an epiphany that is going to fix everything by next Monday.

The Men of True Blood Video - Boyfriends of the Week

So I'm in the middle of an epic, pain in the ass project (not a writing project unfortunately), so I didn't have time to rustle up fresh mancandy. However, I will not leave you hanging for Boyfriend of the Week Tuesday.

Instead, I have mancandy...in motion. : )

Hope you enjoy the men of True Blood. (This video is safe for work.)

Who's your favorite? I'm on an Alicide kick right now, but I still can't resist Eric either.

Made of Win Monday: People Who Can Laugh At Themselves

Photo by Mark Evans

In general, I'm pretty easy to get along with. I'm not high maintenance, I don't anger easily, and I'm a live-and-let-live kind of person. But one thing I can't handle is someone who can't laugh or make fun of himself (or herself.) If you take yourself too seriously, we probably wouldn't make great friends. Because the more serious you take yourself, the more it's going to stir up my sarcastic side.

So when I see an actor who I've always liked being self-deprecating, it gives me the happys. If you've hung around here long enough, you know I'm a Dawson's Creek fan from way back. And though I've always been Team Pacey, I always had a soft spot for Dawson too. 

And now James Van Der Beek is playing himself on the new TV show Don't Trust the B In Apartment 23  (how freaking long is that title?). But anyway, here is James reenacting a Dawson moment. Pretty funny. And James, this self-deprecating side only makes me like you more.


Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

 

And just for old time's sake, here's the infamous ugly cry from Dawson...

 

So do you have any people in your life who take themselves too seriously? Can you laugh at yourself? Am I the only one who had this as a "must have" quality in a husband and/or friend?

Made of Win Monday: Summer TV Shows


 I'm not going to pretend summer is my favorite season. It's actually my least favorite. I live in Texas so it's soul-scorching hot, my kidlet is out of school so it becomes a juggling act trying to find care for him so I can write, and I have to get in a bathing suit, like, in front of people. *shudders*

However, there is one bright spot in this hated season...summer only TV shows. Some of my favorite shows come on only in the summer. And watching them is almost enjoyable enough to distract me from the fact that I can't go outside for five minutes without wanting to do what this kid is doing with the hose.

So here are the ones I'm looking forward to the most...

 

 

True Blood

Oh Eric and Alicide, how I've missed you.

 

Big Brother

I think of all the reality competition shows this one is right up there with American Idol for me. This may be because it's the only show I imagine I could actually survive. But also, I'm fascinated by how trapped people manipulate and align themselves.

 

The Next Food Network Star

I'm a food reality show whore.

 

So You Think You Can Dance

It's like a methadone clinic to ease your American Idol withdrawals.

 

 

The Bachelorette

I know, I know, none of the relationships last. But I always have hope for the Bachelorette because the women typically choose their partners based on more well-rounded information. Unlike the Bachelors who pick women based on who will get naked for them first.

 

 

 

And a new one I'm looking forward to...

Around the World in 80 Plates

Did you miss the part above about my feelings on cooking competition shows? This one starts Wednesday.

 

So those are some I'm counting down to, how about you? What shows do you look forward to in summer? Or in general, what do you love about summer?

Paul Wesley - Boyfriend of the Week

So I've given a lot of love to the smexy Ian Somerhalder and have even featured Matt Davis (Alaric) from The Vampire Diaires, but I've been remiss in not giving the other sexy vampire on the show some boyfriend time. So today I thought I'd give you a little Paul Wesley. 

Enjoy!

 

Something about him reminds of old Hollywood--maybe the hair. 

So what do you think? Any Paul fans out there? Nina Dobrev must've been really good in a former life to get to play the girl between Paul and Ian on the show.

Zang...Best American Idol Performances Ever #atozchallenge

So I've reached the final day of the month long A to Z blogging challenge. I have to admit, X and Z were kind of killers. So today I'm stretching it a bit. If you've ever watched Wayne's World, "zang" is another way of saying excellent. Yes, I'm reaching, so what. :)

 

American Idol is one of my favorite shows. I've watched every season since the first and though my favorite hardly every wins (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood being the exceptions), I still can't resist watching. This week I'm still in mourning over Colton leaving, so I thought I'd look back at some of my favorite ever performances from the show.

 

 

 

 

These are in no particular order...

Adam Lambert's Mad World - Oh, how I heart Adam. There's nothing better than a true rock voice mixed with mad talent.

(This version is from the finale. It wouldn't let me embed the first time he sang it on the show.)

 

Hailey Reinhart's I Who Have Nothing - Hailey wasn't one of my faves because she had a bit of trouble handling criticism, but she sang the mess out of this song.

 

Carrie Underwood singing Heart's Alone - Okay, so the hairdo needed work but Carrie can sing her face off and this is one of my favorite songs ever.

 

David Cook singing Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. I also liked his version of Hello by Lionel Ritchie.

 

Chris Daughtry singing "Walk the Line"

 

Pia Toscano - I'll Stand by You  (She went home way too early. She was so robbed.)

 

Kelly Clarkson had so many fab performances, but this is one of my faves--Natural Woman

 

Alright, those are the ones that I could think of off the top of my head. What were some of your faves? What's been your fave this year?

 

Shameless Saturday: Saved By the Bell Greatness #atozchallenge

 This week I heard "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" on Pandora and I tweeted that it always reminds me of the break-up scene on Saved by the Bell. So, of course, I had to go look up the clip. I remember how the Kelly - Zack break up just about killed me as a kid, but wow, I definitely didn't remember how truly melodramatic the acting was, lol. I don't care. It still holds a special place in my psyche. :)  Zack + Kelly 4 Ever ;)

 

And then of course the most famous and melodramatic scene of Saved by the Bell history. Even at ten, I knew this one was a bit over the top. The imfamous caffeine pills...

Ah, that one just takes me back. I can go up to anyone in my age range and say "I'm so excited, I'm so...scared" and they know what I mean. 

Hope you enjoy your Saturday! :)

Question: Book Series/TV Show You Wish You Could Experience Again for the 1st Time #atozchallenge

Photo by Nina Matthew Photography (click pic for link)For those of you who aren't familiar, the RT Convention is not necessarily a writer's conference--it's a readers convention. So a good portion of the attendees are not writers, they're fans. This gives a whole different feel to the convention, and it's a lot of fun to see the enthusiasm of readers interacting with their favorite authors.

And this past week I had the pleasure of attending a panel given by a group of paranormal authors including Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series), Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress series), and moderated by Richelle Mead (The Vampire Academy series). Now I'm a big fan of both the Sookie Stackhouse books and The Vampire Academy, but I've never read Jeaniene Frost. So when fans in the audience would whoop and clap when Jeaniene mentioned something about certain characters or books, it made me want to read the books. Clearly, they must be good if people are so passionate about them.

And that got me to thinking--wow, there's this whole great series I've clearly missed out on. But now I get the lovely opportunity to experience these books as a series "virgin". It will all be new to me and I hope that when I do get a chance to pick them up, I feel as rabid as those fans in that room did.

It also got me to thinking about which books and TV shows I wish I could go back in time for and re-experience again because that first time was so, so good. You can always re-read something, but it's never quite like that first time when everything was new and unexpected, when your emotion was fully invested in it.

So I want to know which series or TV shows have given you that "wish I could go back again" feeling.

Here are some of mine...

The Sookie Stackhouse books

 

The Vampire Academy books

 

Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series

 

The Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L'Engle

 

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander

 

TV Shows (I don't know if some of these would be the same now or if they just hit me at the exact right time in my formative years):

Dawson's Creek

 

Friends

 

My So-Called Life

 

Lost

 

Alright, those are a few of mine, tell me some of yours. Share with us what series we MUST read or show we MUST watch. Which do you wish you could go back in time and experience again for the first time?