Book Review: The Sunday Girl.

A review of: The Sunday Girl – By Pip Drysdale.

Source: https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-sunday-girl-pip-drysdale/book/9781760851743.html?source=pla&gclid=CjwKCAjwgbLzBRBsEiwAXVIygCSCjAc-SeKZXMCPTw4-QMBT9gLNFsdWBcwXc7kZKuGZ0zNR48wlHxoCE_MQAvD_BwE

TITLE:
The Sunday Girl

AUTHOR:
Pip Drysdale

GENRE:
Thriller

PUBLISHED:
2018

PAGES:
336

GET IT HERE:
booktopia.com.au

Overview:

Taylor and Angus serve two parts of a whole lot of drama. They have a volatile relationship. And when they break up, it gets ugly.

For Taylor, getting dumped is one thing. Having your ex-boyfriend post an explicit video of you on to a porn site is something entirely different. And now she is out for revenge.

But what starts out as a plan for some kind of petty vengeance, soon turns into something more twisted. Taylor soon realises the person she loved is not who she fell in love with.

With Taylor’s plan for revenge spiraling out of control, she soon realises it’s not just a petty game anymore.

My Thoughts:

Drysdale’s novel, ‘The Sunday Girl’ is narrated in the first person by the main character, Taylor. This is much the same as Drysdale’s second novel, ‘The Strangers We Know’. And in much the same fashion, the reader sees things from Taylor’s perspective and gets a first-person account of Taylor’s thoughts and feelings.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of first-person perspective, but I did find ‘The Sunday Girl’ to be written better than ‘The Strangers We Know’. ‘The Sunday Girl’ was far easier to relate to, and the feelings the narrator felt, I began feeling too.

This novel had some interesting twists, and although neither party (Taylor or Angus) was completely in the right when it came to their actions, the ambiguity was realistic.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and the modern storyline.

My Rating: 3/5

Book Review: The Strangers We Know.

A review of: The Strangers We Know – By Pip Drysdale.

Source: https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Strangers-We-Know/Pip-Drysdale/9781925685848

TITLE:

The Strangers We Know

AUTHOR:

Pip Drysdale

GENRE:

Thriller/ Mystery

PUBLISHED:

2019

PAGES:

336

GET IT HERE:

amazon.com.au

Overview:

Charlie’s life gets turned upside down when she discovers her husband, Oliver, on a dating app on a girl’s night out. Unwilling to believe her husband could be unfaithful, Charlie digs deeper, becoming suspicious of his friends, his work and his overseas trips.

But the deeper Charlie digs, the more danger she puts herself in. In a search for the truth, she finds far more than she was bargaining for.

My Thoughts:

Pip Drysdale’s novel, ‘The Strangers We Know’ is narrated in the first person, as Charlie. I find that writing in the first person can be slightly risky, as the story can become jumbled.

Drysdale does do an alright job writing in the first person, although I found the plot line jumps a little bit, as sometimes you’re in the moment, and then ‘Charlie’ will say things like:

And that should have been it: rock bottom. A cheating husband and broken dreams. Fair is fair. But no. Life was just getting warmed up.’

For me, it created an air of disorientation, and broke the suspense I was feeling beforehand.

Regardless, the plot itself was quite dramatic and had many twists and turns, which would keep any reader on their toes, no matter the perspective or tense. Everyone is a suspect, and no one is immune to Charlie’s scrutiny.

I can’t say much more without giving away all of the juicy details, so I’ll leave it at that.

My Rating: 3/5

Quote Of The Day 05/02/2020

WEDNESDAY, 05/02/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/620582023632589178/

‘You read and write and sing and experience, thinking that one day these things will build the character you admire to live as.

You love and lose and bleed best you can, to the extreme, hoping that one day the world will read you like the poem you want to be.’

– Charlotte Eriksson

Quote Of The Day 17/01/2020

FRIDAY, 17/01/2020:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/563442603352792277/

‘To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.’

– W. Somerset Maugham

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy.

A review of: The Casual Vacancy – By J.K. Rowling.

SOurce: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Casual_Vacancy

TITLE:

The Casual Vacancy

AUTHOR:

J.K. Rowling

GENRE:
Fiction, Contemporary

PUBLISHED:

2012

PAGES:

503

GET IT HERE:

bookdepository.com

Overview:

The small town of Pagford appears, at least on the surface, to be an idyllic and almost predictable part of the world.

But things are not so idyllic, at second glance. After Councillor Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly and without warning, the town erupts into an all out drama-series. Pagford becomes a place of gossip, lies and selfishness as people jostle into position for Barry Fairbrother’s seat.

And while all of this is happening, Pagford’s citizens shine through in the undercurrent, with the author, J.K. Rowling, showing the reader a side to every-day life that often gets swept under the rug and forgotten about.

My Thoughts:

‘The Casual Vacancy’ was J.K. Rowling’s first publication after the ‘Harry Potter’ series. In it, Rowling breaks away from the magic by plonking the reader head-first into a completely commonplace town, with seemingly dull issues, such as the upcoming Pagford election.

However, it soon becomes apparent that while the election is on the forefront, it is the undercurrent of activity from every-day citizens that is of most interest.

The story of Pagford is innocuous at first glance, and yet, it somehow gives the reader a grim taste of reality. ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is a story of the every-day cruelty and selfishness of human-kind, wrapped up neatly as the town of Pagford, with a bow and on show, like a goldfish in a bowl.

My Rating: 5/5

Book Review: The Silent Patient.

A review of: The Silent Patient – By Alex Michaelides.

Source: https://www.hachette.com.au/alex-michaelides/the-silent-patient

TITLE:

The Silent Patient

AUTHOR:

Alex Michaelides

GENRE:

Thriller/ Mystery

PUBLISHED:

2019

PAGES:

336

GET IT HERE:

Kmart.com

Overview:

Alicia Berenson won’t say a word – not since she shot dead her husband, Gabriel.

Once a famous painter, now turned notorious, Alicia now resides at ‘The Grove’ – a psychiatric ward. Refusing to speak for over 6 years, when she shot her husband point blank 5 times in the face, Alicia suddenly becomes aware of a new Doctor in the ward.

Psychotherapist Theo, has recently switched jobs – intrigued by Alicia’s case, and desperate to unravel the mystery behind the silent patient at ‘The Grove’.

My Thoughts:

‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides is gripping, from start to finish. Alicia Berenson is an extremely interesting character, providing thought-provoking moments, even in the absence of her voice.

This novel has many twists and turns, partly written from Theo’s point of view, and partly from Alicia’s, in the form of her personal diary entries. There are so many questions, all culminating into a final up-ending.

Without giving away too much, all that can be said is that as the reader, it was easy to become drawn in, invested and intensely mystified – and subsequently de-mystified – all in the space of a few hundred pages.

My only criticism is that ‘The Silent Patient’ ends as quickly as it started, and although that is partly intentional, it left me wanting more – more information, more backstory and more pages.

My Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Suitcase of Dreams.

A review of: Suitcase Of Dreams – By Tania Blanchard.

Source: https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/Suitcase-of-Dreams/Tania-Blanchard/9781760851675

TITLE:

Suitcase of Dreams

AUTHOR:

Tania Blanchard

GENRE:

Historical Fiction

PUBLISHED:

2018

PAGES:

448

GET IT HERE:

Simon & Schuster

Overview:

Suitcase of Dreams, by Tania Blanchard, is the sequel to ‘The Girl From Munich‘. Picking up where the last book left off, the main character, Lotte, arrives in Sydney Australia, after the war in Germany.

Lotte and her family are desperate for a new beginning in Australia, hearing promises of abundant work and opportunities in the new and vibrant country. But Lotte and her husband Erich soon find Australian life to be much harder to settle in to.

Erich’s engineering qualifications aren’t recognised, the migrant working conditions are dismal and the attitude of some Australians toward them and others put a different spin on the life they were sold.

Erich and Lotte find they have to work doubly hard to provide a safe and secure place for their two daughters in this strange, new country. Slowly but surely, the two of them begin to find their place in Australian life – Erich building a business in carpentry, while Lotte pursues her photography career.

But will the family’s challenges and misfortunes build them up, or break them down?

My Thoughts:

This sequel follows the struggles of Lotte and her family now that they are in Australia. The author, Tania Blanchard, provides an incredibly moving insight into how life was for migrants after the war – many promised lives that never came to fruition.

Much like the first novel, Blanchard gives a strikingly raw story of love, loss and sacrifice, reminding the reader of the not-so-distant past. Touching on not only Nazi-Occupied Germany, but the Vietnam War and migrant conditions, she captures the true essence of their struggles, but more importantly, how Australia became somewhere so many could call home.

Whether you’ve read the first installment or not (which I would highly recommend), this novel is beautifully written and worth reading.

My Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Firestarter.

A review of: Firestarter – By Stephen King.

Source: https://www.stephenking.com/library/novel/firestarter.html

TITLE:

Firestarter

AUTHOR:

Stephen King

GENRE:

Horror, Fiction, Thriller

PUBLISHED:

1981

PAGES:

416

GET IT HERE:

amazon.com

Overview:

Charlie McGee is no ordinary child.

But when you haven’t got ordinary parents, it’s only to be expected.

Charlie’s parents (Andy and Vicky) took part in a Government-run college experiment in the 60’s, when scientists were trying to find a link between psychedelic drugs and psychic abilities. Their experience was something they tried to brush off, but strange things begin to happen to them.

Andy and Vicky try to live a normal life, in a normal neighbourhood, eventually having a child – Charlie. But Charlie is not normal. At an early age, Charlie shows signs of extraordinary talent – drawing power from seemingly thin air.

But the Government isn’t done experimenting yet. ‘The Shop’ – a firm of secret Government agents – is determined to detain Charlie and her father, and continue studying Charlie and her father’s abilities.

Andy and Charlie go on the run, trying to evade and expose The Shop, in order to live out their lives in peace. But keeping one step ahead of The Shop is harder than they first thought…

My Thoughts:

This was the first Stephen King novel I have read – so I went into it with an open mind. Usually I steer clear of Sci-Fi and stick to historical fiction and story-lines based on facts, so this was a little out of my comfort zone.

That aside, the story was great to follow – filled with suspense and anticipation for what was going to happen next. The role of Andy being a father who simply wanted to make sure his daughter had a normal life is very relatable and also quite heartfelt at times.

Although the ending left me with some unanswered questions, I felt like that was all part of the intrigue of this sort of genre, and still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

My Rating: 4/5

Book Review: The Woman In The Window.

A review of: The Woman In The Window – By A. J. Finn.

Source: https://www.amazon.in/Woman-Window-J-Finn/dp/0008294372

TITLE:

The Woman In The Window

AUTHOR:

A. J. Finn

GENRE:

Mystery/ Thriller

PUBLISHED:

2018

PAGES:

449

GET IT HERE:

amazon.com.au

Overview:

‘The Woman In The Window’, by A. J. Finn tells the story of Anna Fox, a reclusive ex-psychologist who is afraid to leave her up-town, New York home. Diagnosed with Agoraphobia, Anna spends her days drinking wine and spying on her neighbours.

Anna’s only glimpse of the outside world is through her windows, where she keeps track of her neighbours movements. When the Russells family move in across the street, Anna becomes excited – but as she spirals into her depression and medicated delusions, she begins to question the strange things she sees from her upstairs-window.

With no-one to turn to, let alone believe her, Anna begins to investigate further.

My Thoughts:

‘The Woman In The Window’ is fast-paced and dripping with mystery from the get-go. The novel gives the reader a glimpse into the sufferings of someone so afraid of the outside world, they cannot leave their own home.

Anna is grasping at reality most of the time, struggling with loneliness, medicated sleep and a drinking habit she relies on to pass the time. The reader must decide if Anna is reliable and her account of the happenings in her street truly happened. Was she hallucinating? Dreaming? Drunk? Panic-stricken?

There are moments where the story takes dramatic turns, and the reader falls easily into the whirlwind of Anna’s confusion, fear and frustration, making the novel a true page-turner.

It is definitely worth the read, if you’re into fast-paced and page-turning, with a small dose of cliche to go along with it.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Editor’s Note: SEPTEMBER.

And just like that, Winter has passed us by!

And just like that, Winter has passed us by…

I always say that I hate winter – and I do. I don’t like being cold, rained on, shivering and muddy. But winter has been an exciting time for me this year – I’ve taken risks, tried new things, spent time on projects and learned a lot of new skills.

But most of all, this winter has been a time of true reflection. I told you all last month that I was celebrating quitting my office job, seeing a new psychologist and have a new baby brother – and so much more. Mostly though, I’m celebrating the fact that there is a lot of good in the world, if you know where to look.

This past month has been a whirlwind – sometimes I’ve found it hard to even find time to sit down and write anything at all. But it makes me happy, because it means that life is keeping me busy.

Today, I just wanted to let you know about a few things I do to keep me grounded in reflection and improvement – especially when life gets crazy and it feels like time is going faster than normal (it’s SEPTEMBER ALREADY!!).

Photo of Lighted Lantern Lamps
Yellow Pencil Color in Clear Glass Case

ONE: WRITING

This one is pretty self explanatory – but when life feels crazy, one of the best things to help me clear my head is to get it out, and onto paper.

TWO: READING IN THE BATH

I love reading – but I tend to get interrupted by my partner, my family, my dogs… the list goes on. But here’s the funny thing: no one wants to interrupt me when I’m naked. So chilling out in the bath with a good book is the perfect time to chill out.

THREE: PURPOSEFUL READING

This type of reading is sort of like homework to some people, but I love it. I love reading self-help books, books about psychology, nature… things that help me understand myself and my environment better. It’s so nice to have that light-bulb moment like: ‘Oh! That’s why I am like this…’ or ‘Oh! That’s how that works.’

FOUR: DRAGON BOAT TRAINING

There is something incredible about being on the water at dawn or dusk. Although training can be hard-work physically, the mental benefits are the best thing about it for me. If you haven’t heard of Dragon Boating, I’d sincerely encourage you to have a sus of my blog post on it: 10 Reasons To Try Dragon Boating.

FIVE: SEEING OLD FRIENDS

I’ve had a little bit more time off since quitting my office job – and I’ve used it as an opportunity to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Maintaining friendships with people who have played integral roles in your life is a great way to stay grounded and avoid the ‘noise’ and criticism of the world.

SIX: LISTENING TO TALKS

I said in my last Editor’s Note that I was going to start a weekly segment called ‘Top Talks’. Mainly, it’s because I feel like it’s important to continuously learn and improve, and listening to others is vital to understanding ourselves and the way we feel about the world, compared to how other people might view it.

Body of Water
Pink and Blue Watercolor Painting

SEVEN: SEEING A PSYCHOLOGIST

Sometimes, we don’t know all the answers. And that’s okay. What isn’t okay, is expecting someone else to know them. We are all flawed and limited, and speaking to a professional is a great way to begin to understand not only our weaknesses, but out strengths. Sometimes the idea of speaking to someone can be daunting, but it’s worth it.

EIGHT: PAINTING

This is a new one for me. I haven’t really painted much since high-school, but I decided to give it a try. I won’t share any of my paintings just yet (they’re average at best), but the point isn’t to show them to anyone. The point (for me at least) is to see where my mind takes me and the brush.

NINE: SAYING THANK YOU

We sometimes forget that there are people around us who are all working on themselves, and trying to keep their head above water too. Being able to appreciate the people in your life, whether it’s a partner, the check-out person or a friend, is such an amazing feeling.

What next?

Spring is starting to look busier and busier… I’ll be starting my first shifts, Dragon Boat Race Season starts, the weather is getting nicer and the pile of books I’ve bought (but haven’t read) is rapidly increasing.

Which reminds me, if you have any reading suggestions for me – let me know! I’d love to know what everyone else has on their bookshelf at the moment! You can email me, or add me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn.

In the coming month, I’ll hopefully be posting a weekly ‘Top Talk’ still, as well as finding time for a few articles in between. I’m hoping that spring will be a good time find my creativity, and maybe a little bit of down-time too.

I hope you all have an incredible September, full of happiness and love – and don’t forget to reach out and ask for support when you need it, and check in on your friends. x

Selective Focus Photo of Pile of Assorted-title Books