March Empties (P50P Pt 3)

12: Paula’s Choice Hydralight One Step Face Cleanser – This is usually an automatic repurchase for me, but as this was not the last bottle in my stash I’m still including it in my Project 50 Pan empties tally. I’ve said it a million times, this is absolutely the best cleanser in the whole world and I love it.

13: Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion – This is another product that I would usually repurchase right away but as I’m working on whittling down my stash, I have a few other moisturisers that I need to use up before purchasing anything new. Another long-term favourite of mine, this is a great moisturiser to use in summer because of how lightweight it feels on the skin.

14: Ecoya Reed Diffuser in Coconut & Elderflower – This is one of my favourite room scents, and I had this in our laundry area to help combat the unavoidable and undesirable fragrance of kitty litter. I would consider repurchasing this (I think this is the second or third one I’ve used up so far?), but I already had a backup of the vanilla version ready to go.

April TBR

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.

Fearless by Fiona HigginsSix strangers from across the world meet on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their fears – which range from flying, public speaking and heights, through to intimacy, failure and death. Friendships and even romance blossom as the participants are put through a series of challenges which are unusual, confronting and sometimes hilarious. A week of fun in the sun suddenly turns into something far more serious, however, when the unthinkable happens – a tragic disaster that puts the group in deadly danger, testing the individual courage of every member.

I Let You Go by Clare MackintoshA tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she? In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever. Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.

The Girl Before by J.P. DelaneyEnter 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.

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka – Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case. Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManusOn Thursday 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 bad boy, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the jock, 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 Thursday, he died. But on Friday, 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 just 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.

February/March Reading Wrap Up

Books read: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and Antisocial by Jillian Blake.
Total Books Read: 3
February/March TBR Books Read: 3
2017 TBR Challenge Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 1125
Total Hours Listened: 0

I fell quite heavily into a reading slump in February, but thankfully having a week off work and some time travelling helped get me back into the swing of things in March. February felt like a bit of a slump-y month in general, and I think that was due to be not being able to find a proper work/life balance. Hopefully I have that under control now, and April will be far more successful for me in a few different areas of life.

Book Review: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Book: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – paperback edition, 485 pages.

Synopsis: At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity – all the passions and conflicting beliefs – that family can arouse.

My thoughts: I felt like reading some contemporary Australian fiction this month, and pulled this off my shelf because it seemed to suit my mood. I’d heard positive things about this book from quite a few people in my life, and I figured that plus the fact it had been turned into a television series (and subsequently adapted for American audiences) meant it was guaranteed be a good read.

I ended up in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I loved the setting. I don’t read nearly enough books that are set in Australia, and they’re always such a joy to read when I do. Also, at one point in the story two of the characters travel to Bali which was a pleasant surprise for me because that’s where I happened to be when I read the majority of the book. I found the story interesting, and the characters well developed (if for the most part completely unlikeable). The book switches between character viewpoints in each chapter, and I felt like this detracted from the book a little bit because it interruped the flow of the story for me.

Now for the negative. I don’t consider myself particularly prudish but I found the language used to be really shocking and confronting, and I was even considering putting the book down because of it. The racist and homophobic terms used made me feel really uncomfortable, and I really had to make an effort to push past the language to be able to continue reading the book. If this is something you are particularly sensitive about, I would not recommend this book for you.

Rating: 6/10

February Empties (P50P Pt 2)

08: Tanda Lychee & Black Tea Candle – I’ve had this candle sitting in my cupboard half-burned for a couple of years now. I go through phases with candles and for some reason I never seem to be able to burn one completely through in one go. I dug this one out of the cupboard because it was summer and I wanted a nice fresh scent.

09: Karuna Hydrating Face Mask – Unfortunately, I can’t give this mask a very good review as I had some sort of reaction to it that left my face red and inflamed the next day. I felt like it left a lot of product on my face once I removed the sheet mask, and my skin did feel hydrated that night, but what happened the next day discounts any of the positives for me.

10: Benefit Erase Paste in Light – One of my old school “holy grail” products, that has since been replaced but is still up there with products I would repurchase. I really like this for under-eye coverage, but I find it a bit too thick for spot coverage.

11: L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes in Black – I picked this up once I ran out of my last tube of Lancome Hypnose and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. This wore well throughout the day, and did add quite a bit of volume to the lashes. I also really liked the style of the wand, which is important for me when it comes to mascara. Having said that, I’ve now switched back to Lancome Hypnose because honestly nothing compares.