Reading / Trying / Watching / Buying – it’s the series where you get no posts at all for months on end, and then two come along at once, you lucky, lucky people!
Anyway, the long, dark nights have been forcing me to turn to books, Netflix and, well, shopping, for refugue lately, so here’s a quick look at what I’ve been reading, trying, watching and buying…
The Step Mother, by Claire Seeber
Amazon describes this book as “a gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist”: now, I’m not sure I’d describe it as a killer twist, exactly, but this book did keep me guessing right to the end, so I guess “gripping” is a fair enough description, all things considered. I’ve read quite a few books lately in which I’ve felt the “twist” was fairly clearly signposted, but this wasn’t one of them, which is either a credit to it, or a sure sign that I’m starting to lose it. Let’s not think too hard about which option is the correct one, huh?
The step mother of the title, is Jeanie: a newlywed who finds herself struggling to fit into her new husband’s family – and particularly to get along with his two children. Things start to go wrong almost as soon as Jeanie moves in, and aside from more than a few moments of tearing my hair out and shouting, “Why doesn’t she just LEAVE, already?!” I really enjoyed this, and have already added a few more of Claire Seeber’s novels to my Amazon wish list, which is as good a recommendation as you’re going to get from me.
I managed to kill off my old blowdryer a couple of months ago, using my patented method of randomly dropping it on the floor, mid-dry. I have no idea how I manage to do this, but it’s like, one minute I’m pointing the dryer at my head, the next I’m STILL pointing at my head, but the hairdryer’s on the floor, sometimes with smoke coming out of it. A true mystery of our times.
Anyway, when this happened, I went to my basket of random electrical products, and unearthed an old hairdryer that I’ve had since God was in his teens. I’ve been using it ever since, and although I knew it wasn’t as fast, or as powerful as the old dryer, I didn’t realise just how bad it was until the people at Nicky Clarke Electricals sent me this one to try. I mean, WOW, guys: I’ve seriously been on airplanes with less powerful engines than this thing. (Well, one airplane with less powerful engines. I’m still not over that experience, though.) It has three heat settings, and two speed settings, and I don’t know about you, but I always just ram everything up to max with hairdryers, and hope for the best. (I actually don’t understand why they even HAVE different speed settings, to be honest. I suspect they’re there for proper adult people who know how to style their hair properly, but I can’t really think of a situation in which I’d find myself thinking, ‘I really wish I could dry my hair more slowly’, so…)
In this case, ‘the best’ is pretty damn good: this dries my hair in about half the time it was taking me with my old, dinosaur hairdryer, so while it would be a mistake to say it’s changed my life, I’m not NOT saying that. You know?
This Australian drama posits the question, “What would happen if dead people suddenly started crawling out of their graves, all, “Hey, why’d you bury us, we’re totes alive, dudes!” And let’s face it: we’ve all been there, haven’t we?
Before you start rolling your eyes, thinking, “Not another freaking zombie show!”, however, you can relax: these are not zombies, they’re just plain ol’ dead people, only now they’re alive again. So, rather than being all, “Waaaa, zombies!” this show is more, “Waaa, my dead wife just found out I married her BFF less than a year after the funeral: the baby’s due next week!” Awkward, no? This is an enjoyable watch, which – obviously – requires some suspension of disbelief, as you’ll have gathered from the “dead people crawling out of their graves” bit. There are quite a few missed opportunities here, too: I wanted to watch it because I was quite fascinated by the idea of people from 200 years ago, say, experiencing the modern world, or the aforementioned ‘dead wife returns to find that her husband has now remarried’ situation, but the show doesn’t make quite as much of these, er, unique situations as I’d have liked. I mean, I’m pretty sure someone who’d died 200 years ago would take more than a few minutes to find their way around an iPhone, for instance, but these people barely skip a beat, which I suppose is fairly necessary, unless you want the entire plot to be taken up with explanations of modern technology, but also just a little bit unrealistic. Because the original premise of this show is TOTALLY realistic, obviously: it’s just the way the newly-awakened dead REACT that I found a bit ‘off’. Ahem.
OK, OK, I’ll admit that I’m not being fair here, and I’m also making this show sound less enjoyable than it actually is. Nevertheless, I will just add that if you like the idea of this, you might want to check out the French series ‘Les Revenants‘, which is a similar concept, but a whole lot spookier.
Uh-oh. And right after I published that post about not dressing for my imaginary life, too!
In my defence, I’ve been obsessing over this dress since it was released this summer. Most of my dress obsessions will wear off in a few days, if I don’t indulge them by buying the things, but this one didn’t: I’d been regretting not buying the stripe dress of dreams for weeks now, so when I noticed that it was still available at ASOS, AND that it was on sale, I wasted no time in ordering it. (Also in my defence, I don’t really see this as an ‘imaginary life’ purchase, as, well, it’s a black and white stripe prom dress: when WON’T I wear it?)
This dress is, however, the source of a small amount of drama at the moment, owing to the fact that, based on the ASOS size guide, I decided I should size up in it. As soon as it arrived, however, I realised that, no, I really shouldn’t have – I should just have stuck to my regular size, like a sensible person, shouldn’t I? The dress in the photo, then, is currently back with ASOS (or, at least, I hope it is. It’s either that or the postman is prancing around in a stripe prom dress right now…), waiting to be exchanged. I, meanwhile, am on the edge of my seat, because when I requested the exchange, I totally forgot it was Black Friday weekend, and that ASOS would probably have a sale. Which they did. Will they manage to exchange the dress before it sells out in my size, I wonder? And how will we possibly cope with the suspense? Other than with that second ASOS order I placed on Thursday, I mean?
I have no idea, folks. If you want to find out the fate of the dress, however, all I can suggest is that you check back soon: because you just KNOW I won’t be able to stop talking about it if it doesn’t arrive, don’t you?