I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading a lot lately. And when I say a lot, I mean almost 30 books since the new year began. What can I say? I spent last year blowing through all of Netflix and all of the Hallmark Channel, so it was time to go back and indulge in my first love: books. Therefore, when Lisa from the podcast Which Was Better? reached out to invite me to participate on her show and combine my love for books with all things Hallmark, it felt serendipitous. It was an easy “yes.”
Although I have reviewed Hallmark Publishing books on this blog before (here, here and here), I’ve never before been asked to review one on a podcast. My assignment was to read The Perfect Catch by Cassidy Carter, which is based on the Hallmark Channel Original Movie of the same name; watch the movie; and then have a (virtual) afternoon chat with Lisa.
Truth be told, I had already seen the movie when I accepted the assignment, and I don’t usually read a book after watching the movie; I’d rather read a book where I don’t already know what happens. If I was going to make an exception, though, this one felt worth it. It’s a movie I always re-watch whenever it’s on, so I didn’t mind snuggling up in a blanket one 27-degree day to read the book.
When it came time to meet with Lisa face-to-virtual-face during a global pandemic, with her safely ensconced in Connecticut and me in Manhattan, I was nervous. Not to meet her—she and I had communicated on social media for at least a year at this point—but to be recorded. Would I sound cheesy? Did I have anything unique to contribute? Would I be a boring guest? And, fundamentally, how did this podcast thing work?
I soon learned I had nothing to worry about. I might have sounded cheesy, I may have been boring, and who knows if I contributed anything of value (you can be the judge of that once you listen), but my host seamlessly put me at ease by engaging in a good old-fashioned girl chat. Two women who love books, sports, and Hallmark have a lot to talk about. The rest, as they say, is history.
I won’t give away any spoilers; you’ll have to listen here (Which Was Better?) to learn for yourself which I liked better, the book or the movie. What I can say is that reading during a pandemic leads my brain to ask different questions than it used to. I have always been able to easily lose myself in a story, but nowadays I find myself posing questions of the characters. In this case, as Jessica or Chase walked through locations such as the Parker Falls hardware store or the fairground, hung out at the baseball field, or served customers from a food truck, I wanted to ask: “Why aren’t you wearing a mask?” “Where is the hand sanitizer?” It takes me conscious effort to sooth my anxiety as they interact with crowds. At some point soon, when I am vaccinated, I hope that even my imaginary world will begin to remove the caution that my brain has come to embrace as normal. In the meantime, stay safe, happy reading, and happy listening!