June TBR

One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus Pay close attention and you might solve this. On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

The Fever by Megan AbbottThe panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community. The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

Black by Fleur FerrisEbony Marshall is in her final year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days …She can’t wait to leave the town where she’s known only as ‘Black’. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too. Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed. Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she’s used to being on her own. It’s easier that way. But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quiet little Dainsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge. If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara BourlandRAGE Fashion Book is the world’s most dynamic, ambitious magazine. Its editors – like Cat Ono – have the power to change minds and the market. They’re savvy, sisterly and polished to perfection. Even the one found dead in her office. Everyone thinks Hillary starved to death – but Cat knows her friend’s dieting wasn’t a capital P problem. If beauty kills, it’d take more than that. Hot-headed and fiercely feminist, Cat’s sure she can match the investigating skills of Detective Mark Hutton, solve the case, and achieve sartorial fulfillment. But going undercover, Cat’s in over her head, and soon becomes snared in a very stylish web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that will change her look – and outlook – forever. Cat’s about to find out what it really means to be a fashion victim.

Book Review: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Book: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney – audible audiobook edition, 10 hours & five minutes.

Synopsis: Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection… but can you pay the price?

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before.

As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

My thoughts: I’m a sucker for a good domestic thriller so when I saw this book recommended by a handful of people, I decided to pick it up and see what it was about. I got the audiobook (mostly because I have a handful of Audible credits that I need to use), and I was excited to see how it would play out in this format. Unfortunately, I think listening to the audio book rather than reading it myself was a big part of what let this down for me.

The concept is interesting enough, but I feel like there is a strong need for suspension of disbelief throughout the story. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind signing up for the scenario these women place themselves in, but maybe that’s just me. The book moves back and forth between the story of two women, Jane who is currently residing in the house, and Emma, the ‘girl before’. I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with stories that move between character perspective, and listening to audio that used similar voices for the two main characters was difficult for me. I had to stop listening to the book half-way through and start again just so I could follow the story properly.

I found nearly all of the characters unlikeable, even the ones we as the reader are supposed to sympathise with. I couldn’t help but picture Mr. Schue from Glee when the women were describing the ‘enigmatic architect’ throughout the book, which became very distracting and I found it hard to find this character attractive in any way. There were a couple of twists and turns throughout the story that did keep things interesting, but the ending was ultimately unsatisfying for me. If you are going to pick this up I would recommend picking up the hard copy of the book rather than the audio book.

Rating: 4/10

May Goals

Honestly guys, April was a terrible month for me in a myriad of ways. But it’s a brand new month, and I have a feeling that May will be a beginning of things turning around for me and becoming a bit more positive. With that in mind, I have decided to bring back my monthly goals. They’re a bit of fun and I feel like they’re a good way for me to keep track of how I’m doing. Here are my goals for the month –

* Practice daily affirmations to encourage positive vibes
* Make an effort to read every night before bed
* Work going to the gym back into my weekly routine
* Work on transferring our mortgage to a different bank
* Plant some new things and mulch the front and back yard
* Get a haircut (finally!)
* Re-watch the original Alien movies and go and see the new film when it comes out

I think that makes a nice little list that combines things that I need to get done with the things I want to do for myself to help bring some positive energy back into my life. I’ll be sure to check in next month and let you know how I went, and what my new goals for the month are.

April Empties (P50P Pt 4)

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths – My local Coles doesn’t seem to stock the Nivea Fragrance-Free Wipes anymore, so I decided to pick these up and try them as a potential alternative. I’m glad I did because they have easily surpassed the Nivea wipes and become my new favourite. They are just as gentle as the Nivea, but with the additional bonus of not feeling ‘dry’ on the skin. If you’re a fan of the Cetaphil skin care range or have sensitive skin, these are definitely worth checking out.

15: Glasshouse Candle in Galapagos – Sebastian bought me this candle as part of my Christmas gift a couple of years ago, and it had been sitting half-burned in my cupboard ever since. I really love the Galapagos scent range, it’s fresh and summery and one of those fruity scents that desperately make me want a cocktail. I’m trying to make my way through the candles in my cupboard so that I have less stuff to move when we (eventually) move interstate, so I’m burning through one at a time and this was the next to go.

16: Nivea Men’s Power Refresh Shower Gel – Sebastian picked this up because he had run out of his usual body wash, and I absolutely could not wait for him to finish this up. This smelled so bad, I could barely stand to be in the bathroom with him when he was using it. He’s since made the switch back to more gourmand-type scented body washes and I am incredibly grateful.

May TBR

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

It by Stephen KingTo the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing… The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

Every Last Lie by Mary KubicaClara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident… until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out–and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Amnesia by Peter CareyWhen Gaby Baillieux, Australia’s most formidable hacker, releases the Angel Worm virus into her country’s prison system, cell doors are opened and inmates walk free. Since those prisons use American software, the doors in thousands of jails in the United States are opened as well. Is this an accident or a declaration of cyber war? Does it have anything to do with the largely forgotten Battle of Brisbane between American and Australian forces in 1942? Or with the CIA-influenced coup in Australia in 1975? Disgraced writer Felix Moore known to himself as our sole remaining left-wing journalist is determined to write Gaby’s biography in order to find the answers that could save her, his career, and perhaps his country. But how to get Gaby on the run, scared, confused, and angry to cooperate?