The Survivors by Jane Harper – “Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl and questions that have never washed away…”
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – “On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways …Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?“
Sweet Valley High #26 – Hostage! – “When Elizabeth Wakefield learns that Regina Morrow has returned unexpectedly to Sweet Valley from Switzerland, she drops by to visit. A strange woman answers the door and says Regina cannot have visitors. With the help of Jessica, her twin, and Bruce Patman, Regina’s boyfriend, Elizabeth discovers that Regina and her parents are being held hostage! If Elizabeth calls the police, the Morrows may be killed. So she, Bruce, Jessica, and Regina’s brother, Nicholas, vow to rescue the Morrows on their own – before the kidnappers take desperate action!”
Sweet Valley High #27 – Lovestruck – “No one at Sweet Valley High can believe that football star Ken Matthews has fallen in love with super-sophisticated Suzanne Hanlon. Suzanne likes poetry, gourmet food, and art films, while Ken’s idea of a good time is listening to rock ‘n’ roll and eating pizza. Two people couldn’t be more different. Elizabeth Wakefield knows that snobbish Suzanne is wrong for Ken. But Ken seems to be blindly in love with Suzanne and is willing to do anything she wants. Can anyone help Ken come to his senses before he gets hurt?”
Sweet Valley University #22 – Elizabeth’s Summer Love – “Ryan Taylor is a loner at heart. But he can’t keep his eyes – or his lips – away from irresistible Elizabeth Wakefield. Will giving in to his feelings be the biggest mistake of Ryan’s life? Jessica Wakefield’s summer is ruined. First Elizabeth steals the hottest guy on the beach, then housemate Ben Mercer decides Jessica’s the woman of his dreams. Can Jessica prove this loser wrong before he convinces her he’s Mr. Right? Life can’t get much worse for Winston Egbert. Not only did he completely embarrass himself at lifeguard tryouts, but now he’s accepted the most humiliating job on the beach. Sure Harry the Hamburger pays big bucks, but Winston isn’t that desperate for cash… or is he?”
Sweet Valley University #23 – Sweet Kiss Of Summer – “Elizabeth Wakefield has lost her summer love. In the midst of a passionate kiss, head lifeguard Ryan Taylor missed a critical save. Now Ryan has disappeared. Can Elizabeth find Ryan and make him hers again before the summer is over? Nina Harper is determined to get even! Convinced that her new boyfriend, Paul Jackson, is a spy for the rival beach, Nina creates the ultimate test to prove his guilt. Will her plan backfire and destroy her chance for an unforgettable summer? Winston Egbert is one persistent guy. No one wants to be a lifeguard more than Winston – but no one’s less qualified. Can Winston make a miraculous rescue and show everyone he’s not a beach-blanket bozo?”
Some days you just have to get paid and then drop a bunch of money on an Adore order, ya know? I blame this order on the number of “that girl” routine videos I’ve seen on Tik Tok lately, because a lot of those girls seem to use Olaplex as part of their daily routine. So I picked that up, and a few old favourites and one new skincare item (also a Tik Tok recommendation) as a little mid-week treat. Here’s what I bought –
RuPaul’s Drag Race US [ season 13 ] – Watching this at the same time as the UK season probably did it a disservice, as I didn’t find any of the queens this season as interesting or as charming as the queens from the UK this year. Having said that, Drag Race is always a fun time for me, it’s a great way to escape my life and switch off for an hour every week and I’m guaranteed at least one laugh out loud moment per episode. I was happy with who won this season, and now I say bring on All Stars!
The Sons of Sam [ season 1 ] – This was a True Crime series about Son of Sam, and the events that took place following his arrest. This was a really interesting viewing experience for me, because I knew of Son of Sam but I knew very little about what had taken place, and the killings that occurred. This is definitely worth a watch if you’re interested in learning more. It was well put together, and kept us interested throughout.
Wonder Woman 84 – I remember seeing the trailer for this at the movies and being excited to watch it. Sadly, it was a bit of a flop for me. I felt like the plot had so many holes in it (more than the standard comic book movie standard), and the overall vibe just wasn’t that good. The highlight, as always, was Chris Pine – who can charm his way through any movie, it seems.
Deepwater Horizon – I don’t remember much about this disaster at all, so this movie was a fascinating watch for me. I felt like there was a good balance of build up and action, and although I am a huge fan of disaster movies, knowing that this was a real-life event made this quite a sombre viewing experience.
The Conjuring – This is one of my favourite horror films, and I’ve seen it so many times now that it almost feels like a “comfort” movie. I love this entire universe and most of the films from this franchise, and this is the one that kick-started that obsession for me.
The Conjuring 2 – The third Conjuring movie is coming out this year, so I figured after watching the first film I should probably watch the second to make sure I’m up to date and ready for the next one to come out. I love this movie just as much as the first, and it was a perfect watch for a stormy weekend afternoon.
The Dry – I read this book last year and was keen to watch the movie, so when we were over in Perth visiting my parents I jumped at the chance when they suggested we watch this. I felt like this was a decent adaptation of the book, but as always it’s hard to translate the depth and context of a novel to film and I feel like this movie struggled a bit in that way.
Mulan – Also while we were visiting my parents in Perth we set them up with an Apple TV and got them hooked up to Disney+ and this was one of the first movies my dad wanted to watch. I’ve never seen the cartoon version of Mulan but I adore this live action version. It’s such a beautiful film and of course, a heart-warming story.
Empire Records – This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and I’ve seen it so many times that I can quote it by heart. Re-watching this brought me so much joy, and even though I had “oh Rexy you’re so sexy” stuck in my head for days afterwards I want to watch it all over again.
Almost Famous – I had not watched this movie in years, probably since it first came out, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Kate Hudson is one of those actors who I feel like I don’t like her (?) until I see her on screen in a film and I fall in love with her. She was incredible in this, along with the rest of the cast, and the story is something I feel like I could appreciate a bit more on re-watching it now that I’m older.
Alice in Wonderland – Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite Disney films, and although this live-action version by Tim Burton is beautiful, it doesn’t quite live up to the original for me. Having said that, it was a bit of fun and I enjoyed it despite re-living the horror of Johnny Depp’s breakdancing scene at the end of the film.
Three To Tango – This was a rom-com from the late 90s and it absolutely did not stand the test of time. There was a lot to be offended by in this movie, I don’t know where to begin. Neve Campbell was as charming as always, and Matthew Perry’s weirdly orange hair will probably haunt me for the rest of my days.