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.
Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – I picked this book up a long time ago, after seeing it as one of the recommendations for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. I had high hopes for this, and although it was an okay read it unfortunately drove me into a bit of a reading slump. I enjoyed elements of the book, it was fun to explore the world of the widows, and their lives, but the mystery elements that were weaved into the story fell flat for me.
Girl A by Abigail Dean – This was the main book I read during June’s Read Your Face Off weekend, and it was the first book in a very long time that I’ve managed to read in one day. This book included so many of my favourite elements, and I loved it. Warning – it involves themes like child abuse/children locked up inside their own house (and I blame reading Flowers in the Attic at a young age for my fascination with this sort of plot), so reader beware.
Sweet Valley High Superstar #1 – Lila’s Story – “Lila Fowler is the richest girl at Sweet Valley High. She wears designer clothes, lives in a mansion, and has an allowance at least three times the size of her friends’. And as an only child, she’s always had all of her father’s affection. Lila has everything a girl could possibly want. But before long Lila’s happiness is shattered. Her father brings home a beautiful new girlfriend, Joan. And Joan has a daughter, Jacqueline, who’s the same age as Lila. Soon it seems that Joan and Jacqueline are taking over Fowler Crest and Lila is furious. Then Mr. Fowler drops a bombshell – he and Joan are getting married! If Lila can’t stop them, her life will change forever!”
Sweet Valley High Superstar #2 – Bruce’s Story – “The license plates on Bruce Patman’s Porsche read 1BRUCE1, and that’s exactly how he thinks of himself – as Number One. Handsome and arrogant, Bruce is used to getting everything he wants. Bruce’s cousin Roger, who lives with the Patman family is nothing like Bruce. Roger was penniless for most of his life. He only recently found out that his late father was a Patman and that he was heir to his father’s estate. Roger is still trying to adjust to his newfound wealth. The boys have only one thing in common – their grandfather, who is one of the richest men in California. A shrewd, hardworking businessman, Mr. Patman decides to set up a contest between Bruce and Roger. The winner will inherit the grandfather’s entire estate. The war is on – and Bruce will do anything to win!”
Sweet Valley High Superstar #3 – Enid’s Story – “People who meet pretty, quiet Enid Rollins find it hard to belive that she ever ran with a wild crowd. She’s popular, a straight-A student, and is best friends with Elizabeth Wakefield. Finally, Enid seems to have her life together. Then everything starts to go wrong. She’s interested in Jeffrey French, Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend, and thinks that he likes her, too. But it turns out he hasn’t gotten over Elizabeth. Then Enid’s father shows up drunk for his Christmas visit. The only person left in Enid’s life is Elizabeth, and when they have a terrible disagreement, Enid feels totally alone. So when Brian, a boy from her past, asks her out, Enid is thrilled. She knows that being with Brian is risky, but he’s the only person who seems to appreciate her. Can Enid resist temptation, or will she return to her wild life?”
Sweet Valley High Superstar #4 – Olivia’s Story – “Olivia Davidson’s offbeat style sets her apart from the other students at Sweet Valley High. And until now, her mother has always encourage Olivia in her artistic pursuits. But ever since Olivia started spending time with James Yates, another intense artist, Mrs. Davidson has been pushing Olivia to change her ways and begin thinking about college and earning a living. Then Olivia’s career-oriented cousin Emily comes to town, and it’s more than Olivia can take. Emily’s got her whole life planned and organized in color-coded files; meanwhile, Olivia doesn’t even have the money to buy a paintbrush! She’s ready to give up her art and James forever. Then Mrs. Davidson reveals a startling secret about her own past that forces Olivia to make what could be the most difficult and important decision of her whole life.”
Sweet Valley High Superstar #5 – Todd’s Story – “When Todd Wilkins and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Wakefield, land jobs as counselors at Secca Lake Day Camp, the summer is off to a great start-until Todd runs into a counselor named Kevin Holmes. Everyone else thinks Kevin is terrific-including Elizabeth. But Todd knows Kevin’s secret: Kevin was in jail, and Todd helped put him there! Todd suspects that Kevin wants revenge, even though Kevin acts as if he’s turned over a new leaf. When Kevin’s around, Todd becomes edgy, defensive, and rude. Soon even Elizabeth is siding with Kevin. But when a crime wave hits Sweet Valley, Todd knows he was right all along. Can Todd expose Kevin’s criminal scheme before Kevin gets his revenge… and hurts Elizabeth in the process?”
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?“