The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay – “Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road. One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: ‘Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.’”
Into The Water by Paula Hawkins – “In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind. But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped. And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool…”
Sweet Valley High Super Edition – Spring Break – “Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are nearly bursting with excitement. Spring break has arrived, and the twins are off to the glamorous South of France! It’s the vacation of a lifetime: Elizabeth can’t wait to practice her French, but Jessica’s dying to meet those romantic French boys. The Riviera turns out to be even more beautiful and wonderous than the twins had imagined, with its beach clubs, magnificent mansions, and the glittering Mediterranean Sea. But while the Frenchwoman with whom Jessica and Elizabeth are staying with is a welcome hostess, her handsome son, Rene, is arrogant and rude. Can the twins figure out why Rene seems to despise them, or will he spoil their dream vacation?”
Sweet Valley High #28 – Alone In The Crowd – “Lynne Henry is tall, awkward, and painfully shy. The one bright spot in her life is her songwriting. In her room, playing her guitar, Lynne forgets how lonely she is and becomes someone special. When The Droids, Sweet Valley High’s most popular rock band, announce a songwriting contest, Lynne enters it. But she is so insecure about her talent that she submits her song anonymously. As soon as they hear Lynne’s song, The Droids know they’ve got a winner. Guy Chesney, the attractive lead guitarist for the band, vows to find the songwriter, no matter how long it takes. Only Elizabeth Wakefield knows Lynne’s secret. Can she persuade Lynne to come out into the open and share her talent, or is Lynne destined to remain unnoticed?”
Sweet Valley University #24 – His Secret Past – “Jessica Wakefield has hooked up with the perfect guy. Nick Fox is sexy, smart, and dangerous. And just like her, he lives for excitement. Jessica knows Nick has secrets to spare – and she’s determined to find out every last one! Elizabeth Wakefield is worried about her boyfriend, Tom Watts. His twenty-first birthday is just a few days away, and he’s depressed that he doesn’t have a family to help him celebrate. Elizabeth’s sure the surprise party she’s planning will cheer him up – but will her gift be more than he can handle? Celine Boudreaux is back at SVU and determined to make a splash with the most exclusive sorority on campus. Celine will do anything to get into Thetas – even if it’s illegal…”
Sweet Valley University #25 – Busted! – “What is Nick Fox’s secret? Jessica Wakefield’s curiosity leads her deeper and deeper into the middle of Nick’s mysterious world, and the middle of a drug bust! Will the guy Jessica loves send her to jail? Tom Watts has never been happier. He’d once thought that his entire family was dead, but George Conroy changed that. Now Tom has a father, brothers, sisters, a trust fun – even a dog! It looks so perfect. But sometimes looks can be deceiving. Elizabeth Wakefield is thrilled that Tom finally has a family. But she’s afraid that his father’s affection for her isn’t as innocent as it should be. How can she tell Tom her fears without destroying his newfound happiness?”
The Stand – I’ve been wanting to read ‘The Stand’ for a very long time, but because it’s so massive I’ve never been able to find the time to get properly stuck into it. This TV adaptation of the book was a lot of fun. The theme of a fast-spreading virus was slightly too close to home, but it was still an enjoyable watch and we binged it over the course of a week or so. Alexander Skarsgard was perfection as Randall Flagg, and I would LOVE to see something (anything) in the future featuring Alexander as Flagg and his brother Bill as Pennywise. Make it happen, universe.
Clarkson’s Farm – This was exactly the kind of stupid, light-hearted entertainment I was needing this month and I absolutely adored it. Watching Jeremy Clarkson learn about farming, beginning to love it, and also somehow learning some important life lessons along the way was pretty much what I expected from this show and it was a delight to watch.
James May Oh Cook! – Watching Jeremy Clarkson’s special put us in an old-school Top Gear mood, so when we saw this pop up on Amazon we decided to give it a go. This was another silly and light-hearted show that was a bit of a comfort to turn on at the end of a long day. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to cook anything we saw on the show, but it was still enjoyable to watch.
The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It – This was a great way to kick off my June month of movie watching, as The Conjuring is one of my favourite movie series and I get super excited when a new film in this cinematic universe is released. This was probably my least favourite Conjuring film so far, as I didn’t find it particularly scary, but I did enjoy the true crime element that was weaved into the story, and I enjoyed the exorcism/demon vibes as always. Despite any plot holes I do truly believe that any film that allows me to look at Patrick Wilson for an hour and a half is incredible, so I enjoyed this a lot.
The Bone Collector – I’ve seen this film before, but it was long enough ago that I forgot most of the plot, the twist, and most importantly who the killer was. I really enjoyed this, and it was interesting to see a younger Angelina Jolie on screen. Denzel Washington was perfection as always.
Two Hands – I always feel bittersweet when I watch a Heath Ledger film. This was one of his earlier pieces of work, an Australian film with lots of twists and turns and more than a couple of ‘what the fuck did I just watch’ moments (including the opening credit sequence and the entirety of Rose Byrne’s acting throughout). It was a lot of fun though, and kept me entertained throughout.
Little Children – Speaking of movies that are worth watching for Patrick Wilson, this is another. I am a huge fan of Tom Perrotta’s writing, so was excited to watch this (although I didn’t know anything about this book before viewing), and it definitely had his feel to it. Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson were perfection, and the ending, although somewhat bleak, left me feeling satisfied.
End of Watch – This movie is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It starts out feeling relatively funny and light-hearted, but by the end of it I was on the edge of my seat holding my breath with fight-or-flight response well and truly triggered. Jake Gyllenhaal is one of those actors that I feel like I’ll be distracted by the celebrity of him, but I always find myself lost in the character he plays. This was a great movie, that took me on an emotional ride from start to finish.