Movie review: The Dry

Saturday, December 19, 2020 Permalink

The Dry, the movie based on the book by Jane Harper is officially being released in Australia on 1 January 2021. But my local cinema (and others I assume) is offering advance screenings so I decided to get in early.

I didn’t ‘love’ The Dry as much as most people. I read a similar book that year which I preferred. Thankfully I’ve a mind like a sieve and read far too much so I was very murky on the details of the book. Which was good as I’d forgotten whodunnit.

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Book review: Contacts by Mark Watson

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Permalink

Contacts by Mark Watson is going to be hard to review because though I enjoyed it – to an extent – my main issue with it is the content (underlining premise) itself. I can’t decide whether I think it’s ill-conceived, irresponsible and totally inappropriate or perhaps cathartic or helpful.

Either way it needs a big trigger warning as the entire book is about someone planning to suicide and how they got to that point.

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three-stars

Life lessons from Palm Springs – the movie

Sunday, December 6, 2020 Permalink

I watched Palm Springs (the movie) a couple of days ago. I like Andy Samberg in his role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine but actually had little idea what the movie was about. I figured it to be some sort of rom-com. And it is… kinda. Except with a groundhog day theme activated by some weird phenomenon in a desert cave.

But if you ignore the mystical element (required if you’re a logic-lover like me who needs to understand how and why) it’s a really enjoyable movie.

I found however that I was struck by something more profound than I expected from a light romp.

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Book review: The Stepdaughter by Debbie Howells

Friday, December 4, 2020 Permalink

The Stepdaughter is the fourth book I’ve read by Debbie Howells and it sat on my iPad for months and months as I’d believed its publication was deferred until next year. (And I only just discovered it wasn’t / isn’t.)

I very much enjoyed Howells’ first psychological thriller, The Bones of You, in particular.

Her latest is another complex story of relationships and of secrets and lies. I should also mention that it features domestic violence and references to child pornography (though no details etc).

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Permalink

The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland arrived wrapped with a gold bow and handwritten note from the author. It was a lovely gesture from Vanessa and Harper Collins and an acknowledgement that 2020 has been pretty shitty for almost everyone and we should grasp any glimmer of light and joy we can get.

I read McCausland’s The Lost Summers of Driftwood last year and enjoyed it though took umbrage at a couple of references to the fact a character in her late 30s must have felt like a failure because she didn’t have a partner or child.

Her new novel similarly traverses women’s fiction – a group of women and the problems in their lives with parenting, relationships and their identities – but with a little suspense thrown in.

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four-stars

Alexander: Read. Listen. Watch.

Monday, November 30, 2020 Permalink

I returned to University to study (another) Masters mid year. Although I find some of the referencing requirements laborious and confusing and some of the academic-speak a bit wanky, it’s actually aligning with my interests. In a publishing subject for example, we discussed changing technology and its impact on the industry. It seems that good old print books are hanging in there, despite the increase in ebooks but that audiobooks are an area of growth. This, I understand is possibly piggy backing on the popularity of podcasts*.

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Book review: Hideout by Jack Heath

Sunday, November 29, 2020 Permalink

I blame our lack of daylight saving but I’ve been waking early which was my excuse for starting Jack Heath’s latest release Hideout at 5am in the bath accompanied by diet coke (my caffeine of choice) and brownies (the… ahem, breakfast of champions).

As is my habit, before starting a new book in a series I re-read my review of its predecessor.¬†And in my review of the second in the Timothy Blake series, Hunter, I commented that we were left with a cliff-hanger. Annoyingly I don’t include spoilers in my posts which meant I had to get out of the bath and get my copy of Hunter off the shelf to re-read the ending. (Surely risking my neck on wet slippery tiles.)

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

Friday, November 27, 2020 Permalink

I’m not sure why I wasn’t drawn to The Miseducation of Evie Epworth earlier. I’m a sucker for a weird book title. Think, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Not to mention almost everything by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.

One of my friends loved this debut novel by Matson Taylor but it still took me months to get to it and I am so thankful I did. In fact, although I was keen for something light… a good psychological thriller about some murderous psychopath; from the opening lines of this novel I was transported into Evie’s world. It’s written in first person from 16 year old Evie’s point of view and almost akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking. Taylor gives Evie a really delightful voice and this is a quirky and often-funny read. At the same time however, there are moments of poignancy, some of which come as a result of life experience and realising things young Evie does not.

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four-half-stars

Shame versus guilt

Thursday, November 26, 2020 Permalink

Like many I’ve seen Brene Brown’s famous TED talk, watched her Netflix documentary and read a million other things about her shame research.

Despite this I’ve only just realised I’ve been misconstruing what she means by shame.

When I’ve thought of shame I’ve thought of BEING ASHAMED. Not being shamed by others, but feeling that way ourselves, akin to embarrassment. And I’ve not really thought it applied to me. However, I now recognise when I talk about feeling guilty – by her definition, I’m actually talking about feeling shame.

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