5 Backlist Thrillers | Book Reviews

10/30/2020

I have an unending list of backlist thrillers on my physical TBR. Whenever I find a vaguely interesting sounding thriller at a library sale, I buy it. In a bid to lessen the load, I made it my mission to pick up at least 5 to read during the spooky month of October. Let's discuss them!


The Last Mrs. Parrish 

by Liv Constantine

(Otherwise known as Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline)

How far would you go to make all your dreams come true? Amanda is willing to do whatever it takes to get a rich husband, a beautiful house, and a hefty bank account. She has her eye on someone, the only problem is that he's already married. Will her game play out the way she wants it to? Have you ever read a book that you find so painfully problematic that you just can't stop listening? Mrs. Parrish is the most fatphobic book I've ever read. The women literally change the man's emotions by changing their weights (one gaining and one losing). I swear I have a new wrinkle between my brows just from reading some of the chapters in this. It was so extremely prolife without ever actually coming out and saying it. Just no, don't read this. I'm so disappointed as it was a Reese Witherspoon book, what was she thinking? Blegh. 


An Unwanted Guest

by Shari Lapena

A group of people get stranded at a remote hotel in the middle of a snowy nowhere. When they all slowly begin to die, they have to question how well they can trust a stranger. It's harsh to say but this book was a huge waste of my time. If it weren't for the audiobook I would've DNF'd at the 40% mark. I was sooo bored. The characters are idiotic and unlikeable at various points of the book, making it very hard to care when they begin to die. I think this book hugely suffered from the multiple POV's as the author naturally had to make each character seem untrustworthy or, well, an ass. I just didn't care, and that's the ultimate bash for a thriller. I feel like a bish continuing to say what I didn't like about this book, but whatever. One thing I really hated was how the author completely skipped over her ability to create an atmospheric setting. They're stranded in a cabin in the snow, yet I never truly felt isolated. I disliked One by One by Ruth Ware, but at least I felt the cold and fear that the characters did. Lapena did an injustice to her own set building. 


Final Girls

by Riley Sager 

When Quincy was a teenager she survived the tragic slaughtering of her friends. Now, as an adult, she's still struggling with blank spaces in her memory of that night and the consequences that came from surviving - just like Lisa and Sam, two other 'Final Girls'. When one dies suddenly and the other turns up on Quincy's doorstep, chaos ensues. How did it take me so long to read this? Riley Sager's thrillers are well hyped and that's because they're so much fun. The author excels at writing fast-paced entertaining books that are incredibly vivid, they almost feel like you're reading a movie. Final Girls was no different. We are all familiar with the Scream Queen trope, this takes that and runs with it. As a protagonist, Quincy was likeable despite making some very questionable choices. I rarely have any desire to reread thrillers, but Riley Sager is the exception. I look forward to rereading Final Girls, not only for the story itself but to have the opportunity to pick up on all the Easter eggs and clues that Sager undoubtedly weaved through the story.


All The Missing Girls

by Megan Miranda 

A girl is forced to return home to pack up her childhood, but can she keep the secrets of her past hidden? This premise isn't anything special. We've seen variations of it in so many thrillers. But in playing with the story structure, Megan Miranda managed to make this book it's own thing. Told through two timelines that work backward throughout the book, this is such an interesting way to tell a story. If you don't like authors purposefully keeping information from you, you'll hate it. In many ways, the format caused the story itself to crumble apart. Rationally thinking, so many things didn't make sense in the plot once you knew the 'twist'. Yet.. I had fun! I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book, but I would urge you to check out something else by the author.


Something In The Water

by Catherine Steadman

This has one of the most compelling opening lines I've ever read in a book. "Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age. However long you think it takes, double that." I mean, how intriguing is that? The story itself is about a husband and wife who get caught up in some dodgy business when they find a plane under the ocean, bodies, and a bag filled with money and diamonds. This was a fun book, not as fast paced as I was hoping but still entertaining. It felt like a modern day take on the classic Bonnie and Clyde. My problems with it are, this book would've majorly benefited from 100 pages less. It often felt like the characters were making idiotic decisions solely for the author to drag the story out a bit more when it really didn't need it. I'd go as far as to say that this could've even been a novella with the same payoff. The audiobook was great, thankfully, as I think I would've DNF'd having read it physically. If this has been your TBR, maybe pick it up..? Just know that it's semi forgettable but a little fun. 



So, all in all this wasn't very successful. But I did knock off quite a few of the thrillers on my TBR and I can now donate most of them to my local library. Yay! What was the last backlist thriller you read?

10 Horror Sequels That Sucked

10/26/2020

It may be controversial in the online horror lovers group, but I actually love a good horror sequel. I will happily look past unrealistic twists for more of the same slasher goodness. However, every now and again a sequel comes and leaves me hanging my head in shame for wanting to watch it. I uploaded a '10 Horror Sequels That Were Better' blog post, so this is my follow-up with the 10 that thoroughly disappointed me. 


Jeepers Creepers 3

Starring: Victor Salva, Stan Shaw, Meg Foster

Jeepers Creepers is a great franchise. The Creeper really creeped (heh) me out as a child, especially in Jeepers Creepers 2. The overall story is fun without being corny and I think they tied the first two movies together wonderfully. They both stand up, which is rare for horrors. When they announced Jeepers Creepers 3: The Cathedral years ago, I was enthusiastic. The original plan as to combine both the two survivors from the movies and have them go hunting for the Creepers. Yes! However, it then kept getting postponed and eventually just vanished. Then out of nowhere they released Jeepers Creepers 3. Oy vey, what a hot mess. Not only was the story severely lacking but the acting was atrocious. The only reason to watch it is for the last 60 seconds which will hopefully lead to 'Jeepers Creepers 4' with the original plot idea for 'The Cathedral'. Painfully disappointing. 


It Chapter 2

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader

I didn't grow up watching the 1990 version of IT so I wasn't a huge fan. However I thoroughly enjoyed the remake that was released in 2017. The child actors were awesome and I loved the Stranger Things vibes it gave. I was looking forward to the second chapter, especially as it seemed to take forever to get released. But... meh. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it definitely didn't stand up to the first movie. All the actually creepy scenes were shown in the trailers or teasers and though the actors were well known, no one really stood out with a great performance. I also didn't care for the death scene of a queer character, it felt very unnecessary and a little icky given Stephen King's questionable retweets or comments. All in all, I just wouldn't give it a rewatch. Highly disappointing. 



Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort

Starring: Sadie Katz, Aqueela Zoll, Anthony Ilott, Chris Jarvis, Roxanne Pallett

Granted, I should've stopped watching after Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, but I love a good cannibal horror so me and my mum have stuck with this series through the good, bad, and truly ugly. I thought the 3rd and 4th movies were bad, but I just didn't know about the trainwreck that was coming with Wrong Turn 6. This would very likely be on a list of the worst horror movies I've ever watched, and I've seen some idiotic movies. There are so many things that I hated about this movie but the main points would be the unrealistic plot 'twist' that the writers took with the villain family, it makes absolutely no sense if you've watched literally any of the other movies. And the stupid amount of nudity that we see of only the female actresses - we didn't see one wiener but have no fear, we see every single actress butt naked at least twice. There's rape of a man that is dismissed as 'he got hard'. Just, blegh. It's awful, never watch it. At this point, if a horror stars Roxanne Pallett just run away.



I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Starring: Brooke Nevin, Torrey DeVitto, David Paetkau, Ben Easter

This one probably breaks my heart the most. I Know What You Did Last Summer is a great 90's slasher with an impeccable cast. I personally equally love I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the 2002 sequel, though I know some found it disappointing. However, I think we can all agree that the third installment was just embarrassing. Not only do they fully remove the scare factor by making the killer a literal ghost, but the characters don't connect to anyone from the previous movies making it pointless. The acting was iffy, the death scenes were so badly done, and the plot was laughable. Let's just pretend this doesn't exist! 



Leatherface

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Finn Jones

In the style of the Rob Zombie 2008 remake of Halloween, this Texas Chainsaw movie is the origin story of Tommy aka Leatherface. We follow a group of teenagers who escape from a psych hospital and make their way across Texas (most being forced by a gun wielding duo). I had hope for this movie but it fell incredibly flat. Instead of resembling anything like it's franchise, it instead felt like a cheap knockoff that you'd find in a bargain bin. It lost the entire spark of Texas Chainsaw and made absolutely no sense if you're familiar with Leatherface's timeline.



The Strangers: Prey At Night

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison

At this point, I think The Strangers is the ultimate cat/mouse horror. You enclose a couple in a house who are being psychologically tortured by a masked trio and you have a fun horror time. Most horror fans were anticipating the much wanted sequel but Prey At Night just wasn't it. It majorly messes with the timeline of the story and all the characters seemed to be making an effort to do the stupidest things possible. It was very hard to care when they died and as they weren't just in a house, it made the overall movie lose it's scare factor.


Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Nancy Kyes, Dan O'Herlihy

Do I even need to say anything? This seems to be a cult classic for people but I really do not get it. Even if this didn't connect to the Halloween series it just.. isn't a good movie? 



The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death

Starring: Phoebe Fox, Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine

This is the most recent sequel that disappointed me. I wasn't a huge fan of The Woman In Black but I did enjoy it's eerie atmosphere so when my husband wanted to watch the sequel, I was done. I was hoping for some more creepy shots and maybe a jump-scare or two. However, this wasn't even creepy. It didn't feel like a horror movie in the slightest, nor did it feel like gothic horror. It was incredibly slow without very many atmospheric scenes. I have never yawned more.



Joyride 2 (Known as Roadkill 2 in the UK)

Starring: Kyle Schmid, Nicki Aycox, Nick Zano, Laura Jordan

I love the first Joyride movie. It's arguably the best of the road cat/mouse movies. Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, and Leelee Sobieski make for a great early 2000's cast. The sequel, however, is a huge mess. It's way too torture scentric for the franchise, and Dusty Nail really lost his touch at making your spine shudder. In the sequel he becomes your average killer without any backstory. 



Jigsaw

Starring: Laura Vandervoort, Callum Keith Rennie, Brittany Allen

The Saw franchise has had highs and lows but as a whole it's enjoyable. I personally preferred the later movies in the series as it had more of a continuous storyline. When Jigsaw was announced I was thoroughly confused as I think the series had done a swell job of wrapping everything up. Nevertheless, I had a tiny bit of hope. What a waste of hope! I said it above with Leatherface, but again, this just felt like a poor attempt at making a movie that's inspired heavily by the Saw franchise. It was incredibly unnecessary and seemed like a money grab with no substance. 

My Paranormal Experiences

10/24/2020


In the Hallotober Tag I posted a week or so ago I mentioned having had a few paranormal experiences in my life and asked whether that'd be something anyone would be interested in reading about. I got a shocking amount of replies saying yes (Thank you for the comments/tweets! They mean the world), so here we are. Since childhood I've believed in the paranormal. I was brought up watching Most Haunted, Haunted Homes, and Ghost Hunters with my mum. Our world is too darn small for there not to be life after death. My scariest experience was undoubtedly the one I had with what is said to be a poltergeist. Yup, a poltergeist. More on that later.

I remember having my first visual encounter when I was around 9-years-old. Me and my mother had gone on a day trip to Beaumaris castle in North Wales. It was midweek and bloody cold so the place was practically disserted. We were wandering around and making it our personal goal to avoid any of the few other visitors - castles are way more fun when they feel secluded - when I saw a long haired brunette woman pop her head around the corner of an alcove, smile, and go back to the window. I thought nothing of it and said to my mum "There are people down there, want to keep going or turn back?" We decided to just keep going as we weren't sure whether there were more stairs at the end or just a dead end. When we walked forward there was no one there, so we assumed there were stairs. Alas, it was a completely dead end. Nobody could have walked past us without us realizing it as the corridors are barely wide enough for us to walk side-by-side. It freaked us the heck out so we made a speedy exit. It was a few years later when we visited once again, and went on a 'tour' with a guide. He mentioned that in that exact area of the tower, a young woman once died waiting for her father to return. The castle went under attack and she didn't make it out. I still get creeped out thinking about it as for a paranormal experience it was so.. normal. She was just an average pretty woman with a friendly smile and a pinkish dress on. Shudder.

My second unexplainable experience happened much later in life. I was in my late teens and our family dog Jess had recently passed away. Me and my mum were "camping" in the living room with mattresses on the floor, all our bedsheets, pillows, blankets, and we were marathoning movies with an array of snacks between us. We had recently gotten a new puppy and she was an epic handful. I was laying with my back to the door on my phone and my mum had just gone outside to put the dogs out to do their business. I heard the puppy come walking in so I quickly shoved myself under the blanket. She had a habit of jumping onto me and licking my face every time she entered the room, so I was making an attempt at saving myself. I felt her walk on the mattress and use her paw to scratch at my back for attention. I ignored her and she proceeded to scratch harder. That one hurt. I used my best scolding vow to say her name and lifted myself up. She was gone. Assuming she had left in a huff, I called out to her. My mum having heard my voice, opened the second door to the front garden and yelled 'what?'. I said that Lily had just scratched me again. Only, my mum had been outside with the door shut since leaving at least 15 minutes ago. She hadn't let either of the dogs in and Lily was still outside That creeped me the hell out as my back was still on fire from the scratch. Never wanting to miss out on something weird my mum came in to take a look. I had an 8 inch scratch going down my back that looked exactly like dog nails (Three claw marks). The mark stayed for a few days but the creeped out factor still hasn't gone away. 

In a similar vain, on the way home from the shops with my mum one day I casually mentioned that the dog was in the upstairs window. I could see her face, ears, and tongue as she seemed to be panting. The dogs had been taken for a walk by a friend so we just thought that he had brought them home early. Unlocking the door to a completely empty house was not the outcome we thought. I still clearly remember the silhouette of a dog. 

Me and my mum have heard an echo of a bark coming from upstairs despite both dogs being the room with us and no one having a dog next door. We've heard what sounds like a dog jumping off the bed only to discover, you guessed it, both dogs with us. I've had scratching come from outside my bedroom door yet both dogs were closed off in my mum's room with her. 

In 2016 me and my now husband took a trip to Edinburgh so naturally we went on all the ghost hunting tours available. The vaults was fun but nothing spooky happened (thank god). Next we went on the much loved Cemetery Tour. Which is exactly what it sounds like, a tour of the infamous Greyfriars Kirkyard. During the tour you walk around the place with the guide telling you all about the stories of who is buried there and it ends with a trip inside the locked The Covenanters' Prison. Only certain tours have the key. You go into a manualism that is supposedly home of the The Mackenzie Poltergeist. Upon entering I started to feel really weird. I was already not well due to a Fibromyalgia flare up but that sensation is something I will never forget. I lost my sight for a good portion of the 5 minute visit, my body was ice cold while still feeling like it was covered in tiny scratches that were burning, my head felt like a train was running through it. I would've passed out if it were not for my partner holding me upright. I wanted to ask to leave but it felt like my throat was closed yet contracting, almost like the feeling when you're about to throw up. The weirdest part to me, is that the moment we walked back outside, I started feeling better. Like a switch was flipped. My body didn't properly recover for a few days.

Lastly, since my Nain passed away last year a lot of freaky things have been happening in my home. Which is weird as she passed in the UK and I'm, you know, in America. However, things are connecting way too heavily with her for it to be anything else. Multiple times now I've put on the Food Network app only for it to be playing midway through Barefoot Contessa, a show we routinely watched together. Neither I or my husband have watched any of it so I have no idea how it's midway through an episode. A Nigella cookbook keeps falling randomly from a high-up cupboard where it had lived for over 5 years without ever falling. (We would also watch Nigella a lot together) Vacuum's keep getting unplugged whenever I'm still cleaning despite having a dizzy spell. I've been making breakfast and the microwave will stop mid-timer, yet it hasn't ever happened to my husband and doesn't if he's in the house. When me and my mum are skyping and one of us is upset, the call will keep going staticky. Multiple times now my cat has seemed to be watching something come down the stairs and would proceed to roll onto his back as though he wants scratches. We had lived in the house for over a year before my Nain passed and nothing weird had ever happened. It's a full on newly built home that no one else has ever lived in. A lot of little weird things can quickly amount to a full on mystery and that's exactly what's happening.

There have been quite a few other small experiences, but these are my main ones. Tell me about an experience you've had! I'd love to hear it.

Horror Movies To Watch On A Date Night

10/20/2020


We all want a cosy night in with our partner. A couch made up mostly of blankets, wine, and a  movie or two. Alas, if you're like me, you may want to see some blood and guts on your screen during the date night. But ya know, something with a romantic twist. (As romantic as horror movies can be, that is) Here is my list of horror movies that I would gladly watch on a date night, that may not entirely kill the romantic buzz.

The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves || Book Review [spoilers]

10/19/2020

 I've put spoilers in the title just so people are aware, but I will put a big warning when I'm about to discuss the ending because it's necessary for my overall review. Enjoy!

Trigger warnings for the novel: Attempted assault, miscarriage, suicide 

The Girl He Used To Know is a story about a couple who broke up yet never stopped loving each other. In a duel timeline/duel narrative, we follow Annika and Johnathon as they rekindle their spark in 2001 while still dealing with the decisions that led to their break-up. The author takes the reader on a journey of mystery, not telling you why they broke up until near the end of the book. Some may hate that, but it kept me reading. This is the first book in awhile that I stayed up until stupid 'o clock to finish in one sitting. I was intrigued and thoroughly emotionally destroyed. 


Annika is on the autism spectrum which is pretty obvious from the first few chapters. She struggles with social norms and interactions, making it very hard for her in university. Her roommate urges her to step outside of her comfort zone with the afterschool chess club which leads her directly to Johnathon, a guy who seems to understand her. From there, their relationship blossoms into something romantic and all-consuming.


I really liked the representation of Annika's character in this novel. She was believably struggling with being on the spectrum without it being a main plot for her. Her relationship problems were believable despite the attempt at a 'plot twist' (more on that later). Her and Johnathan's relationship was very realistic and I actually routed for them, which isn't always the case in contemporaries that mostly revolve around a break-up. Most of the time in books like these, the author makes one of the characters do something unforgiveable as a way of implementing a break-up. That wasn't the case here. Was it your usual miscommunication plot? Yes, but with a decent enough reason for it not to make me want to pull my hair out.


One thing I really enjoyed from The Girl He Used To Know was how great of a boyfriend Johnathan was. There were moments where he failed to have patience with Annika but never in a "why can't you just be normal?" way. He knew the girl she was when they got together and he never resented her for it, which again, is something that could easily happen in a novel like this. He had his own character with his own problems but didn't fail the protagonist.


If you don't want spoilers, stop here. This was a decent contemporary with an ending that failed the story, but I would still say it is worth a read. I personally thought the autism rep was done well (though I can't truly comment on it as I'm not on the spectrum.), it opened my eyes to some of the problems that people struggle with and that's what I usually want from an author representing an illness. 

3.5/5.


**SPOILERS ALERT**


My problems first began with Annika wanting to go on the pill, because her roommate says "he would like that". When she practically repeats that to him he just agrees. I would've liked a little 'but would that make you happy?' back and forth, but okay. Sure. When she loses the baby, however, I felt a real disconnect between the main character and her boyfriend. In the long run, he really didn't seem to have any sympathy towards her when she lost the child. I felt like he ought to of known/saw how broken she felt due to the loss. Nevertheless, I can even look past that.


The ending however I can't ignore. I mean, come on, Johnathon ended up in one of the towers during 9/11? At this point, that just feels like a cheap copout in the grand 'contemporary books' scheme. Don't use real life trauma and disasters to wrap-up your novel. It's tasteless. Not only that, but he ends up being completely fine and she finds him within a few days in the midst of the chaos that was New York? The only thing to come out of using 9/11 as a plot point was for Annika to realize that she still loved Johnathon and wanted to be with him. That could've been done in a multitude of different ways. Blegh.


All in all, I would still score The Girl He Used To Know a 3.5/5. It's a high score, but the audiobook did keep my interest and helped me get out of a reading funk. The first 3/4 of the book was perfect, it just kept falling down in the last 1/4 and never found it's stride again. 


Why It Does Matter Who You Follow

10/18/2020

Over the past few months J. K. Rowling has continued to make headlines for her shit-show tendencies. It's often brought up the topic of 'Does it really matter that I still follow her?' on my Twitter timeline. This question has been in the forefront of my mind for a few years now after some social media drama. and I have to say, yes, yes it does.

You can judge a person by what they tweet or post online, and we know that. That's why we all try to be the best versions of ourselves and that is so much easier to accomplish when you have to power to literally edit the words you put out into the universe. (Obviously when it comes to J. K. Rowling, she is a vile human being so seemingly doesn't give a crap. It's ironic that someone with less than a 100 followers (most of which are friends or family) care so much about what version of ourselves they show online, yet someone with a huge following can't find it in herself to not share hatred. But that's a different topic for a different day.) The Internet is this magical place where you can portray whatever type of person you wish to be, without actually trying that hard. Many find solitude from that, hell, I did when I was a teen. Twitter offered me an invisibility cloak while still making it possible to create friendships and socialize. I acted brave, confident, outspoken and that attitude eventually dwindled itself into my real life self. 

When I want to get to know someone, I always go and snoop on who they're following. More often or not, we follow the people we aspire to be or the people who say/do the things that we secretly wish we could. A guy I was once talking to followed so many 'leaked nudes' accounts, which were literally accounts where people sent in their ex's nudes to publish anonymously. Yuk. Gag. Humans are spineless. But from his own tweets, he seemed very friendly, kind. He retweeted feminism forward accounts. I was and wasn't surprised. Since then, I always take it upon myself to see who people follow first. So, yes, if I have a snoop on someone's profile and see that they're following J. K. Rowling I will automatically assume that they stand by what she says. It's the modern day version of 'You're friends with a openly hostile racist? Then I assume you condone their actions.' It's one thing to follow Donald Trump, I get that, he's the POTUS, you kinda have to know what the hell is going on there. But just people who spread hatred, sadness, and negativity? No. 

We are what we consume. Make yours worth it.

There was no real purpose behind this post besides my own verbal vomit, but I'd still love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think it matters who people follow? 

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman || Book Review [spoiler free]

10/17/2020

 

Alice Hoffman has been a recent discovery for me. I read Practical Magic a few years ago after loving the movie since I was a child, but hadn't delved further into her book backlog. I've since read The Rules Of Magic, Survival Lessons, and Local Girls. I gave both of those books a solid 3 star rating and yet they have stayed with me. I often think back to the writing and will even gravitate back towards them when I see them on my shelves. It's odd. Hoffman's writing is an experience. It's atmospheric, haunting, and so darn beautiful. It speaks to my soul in the same way that Fredrick Backman's deep almost poetic characters do. Because of all this, when I say Magic Lessons on Net Galley I instantly asked for it. This is my review. 

Even as a young child Maria Owen had magic running through her blood. Abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, she is taken in by a fellow witch Hannah who offers to train Maria in the craft. From there we follow Maria throughout her childhood, teens, and eventual adulthood as she learns the hardest lesson of all - who you should love. Being abandoned once more by a man who was said to of loved her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trails. That is the synopsis that I've seen almost everywhere for the book, but that's actually only the first 1/3 of the novel. I like that as it adds a bit of, dare I say, magic to the story.

This was such a beautiful novel. I'm a huge fan of Alice Hoffman's witchy world so reading what is essentially the origin story of the curse that is the main focus of both Practical Magic and The Rules Of Magic was great fun. Witchy books are a must-read for me during October, and though I wouldn't put the other two books from this "series" on my favorites list, they were enjoyable reads with very vivid settings. However, Magic Lessons is on a whole new level. Not only does this book bring such depth to Hoffman's already well excecated world, but I really appreciated the subtle but nevertheless potent look at women's rights spread throughout the novel. 

I already know that Magic Lessons is going to be near the top of my future 'Best Books of 2020' list. I finished it and instantly wanted to reread the entire thing (despite it being 4am).

If it's been on your radar in any way I urge you to pick it up.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the eARC.

A Cozy Fall Wishlist

10/16/2020

So.. It's officially Autumn and I'm back to freezing my booty off at home AND outside. Yay? I do not regulate my temperature well at all, so I constantly some sort of 'cozy wishlist' thing going on. These are all the autumnal things that I'm coveting. Maybe it'll give you inspiration for any Christmas lists? Let's get onto all things warm and comforting...

Is it even Fall if you don't buy some new pajamas? Due to lockdown I can't venture out and buy some in person, so I'm sticking to Target as I already know they have some great pairs that are affordable and super soft. This long sleeved set is a different variation of a pair that I bought a few years ago (shorts and a short sleeved top) they've washed incredibly well so why wouldn't I want a warmer set? The fabric of these are so buttery soft while still keeping you warm (unlike silk sets). I like the pink piping on the black set as I think it makes them look more expensive than they actually are. 


How beautiful are these Floral Printed PJ's from Target? I love the autumnal shades of purples and reds. If I was an Influenster who randomly took photos sitting on my bed with a cup of coffee, a croissant platter in front of me, grinning at my phone.. these are what I'd wear. Plus they're so affordable. 


Every winter I search and search for the right hat, gloves, scarf set. It's kind of comical at this point how many times I've failed at finding some I like. Luckily, Amazon came through with a win! I absolutely adore these knitted items (no scarf, but you can't win 'em all!). They come in a variation of colors but I went with this dusty pink shade. Yeah, I already bought these. Cold fingers are the worst and I love a good pom-pom hat. Both items are lined with a fluffy white fabric for extra toastiness. At just $13.99 each, I think it's definitely worth having a look. Link to the hat & mittens.



Once you own a dressing gown, you basically live in it. Winter is made for wearing warm pajamas with a fluffy dressing gown on top. I have never owned a dressing gown that I've loved. I found one while thrifting a couple of years ago, tags still on, but upon getting it home realized that it was made for children. I mean, yay for being able to find something affordable but boo for not being able to bend over without flashing the cats. So, I've been on the hunt for something warm but still pretty. (Gossip Girl gave me unreasonable expectations) This is Richie House Bathrobe is decently priced, a gorgeous nude shade, and looks very warm.


Will I get judged for saying that I'm a fan of "UGG" boots? Now, yes, they're ugly. But they're warm, and give you the opportunity to stomp around like Yoshi from Mario. I'm down. I've been after some slippers for a while now but due to a wonderful Fibromyalgia symptom where my skin can be rubbed raw by literally any material, it's hard to find the right pair that'll offer comfort without pain. These ZIZOR booties seem rather similar to my outdoor knockoffs that I feel weird wearing indoors. They're also very cute and give me Alexis Rose vibes which is now my aesthetic. I like that the tops can still be rolled down as it'll prevent the dreaded ankle burn that my current pair can give.


Can you even discuss cozy items without mentioning blankets? I think not! Marshalls is a great place to buy affordable blankets especially if you're on the hunt for some seasonal styles. I've been trying to incorporate more red shades in my living room as it's starting to get very bland with so many monotones. I really like the texture to this red Chasity Persian Faux Fur Sherpa throw, it looks exactly like the type of blanket you want to snuggle up in as you watch all the festive movies. In a similar vein but way less comfortable looking, this Dotted Line Throw With Fringe throw has such a great depth to it's design that it could easily be a focus point of a couch while still having a rich red color. Lastly, there's the basic but pretty Plaid Throw With Fringe, and yes, it's grey but I really like the pattern and tassel details. It makes it fun while still being classic looking.


You had to know I'd somehow manage to put some bookish things into this wishlist. Sweater weather was made for Fall/Autumn so this Unisex Matilda Pink Sweatshirt would be the perfect wardrobe staple for lounging around the house, because let's face it, we're not going anywhere.  Pricey at over $40 but oh so cute. Child Anne would've given her soul to own this.


As mentioned above, I'll mostly be reading in my comfies over Fall so let's talk about books I have my eye on. First up, You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria. This was included in my Most Anticipated Book Releases Of 2020 and it's still high up on my 'want to read' list. The setting isn't exactly made for this season, but it would be perfect for escapism. Jane The Virgin meets The Kiss Quotient, this is a telenovela type romance set around two actors who are forced to work together after a tabloid mishap. It sounds drama filled and steamy. So far the reviews have been really positive for the Latinx rep. I'm in! I've been eyeing up The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix for a while now, being a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer and book club fan, this sounds right up my street. A local woman's book club has to learn how to slay vampires when a broody vampire moves in on the street and starts killing off the neighborhood. It sounds cheesy, fast-paced, and fun. A perfect Halloween read!


What are you hoping to purchase this Fall? 



Internet, Depression and Chronic Pain: A toxic love story

10/13/2020


Since the age of thirteen, the Internet has been my safe haven. It's acted as my place to meet people who have similar interests as me, and it's been where I met friends and my husband. It changed my life in a way that younger me could never of predicted. However, over the past few years it's been a place of toxicity to me for various reasons. It's broken my heart numerous times and no longer tries to repair the slices that it's embedded into my heart. If this were a relationship, everyone would be urging me to break up with it. However, as someone who is home for 95% of her life and is often only able to venture around through the world via the Internet, how can I say goodbye? Chronic pain can cripple you in various ways, but for me it's definitely frozen any and all outside world activities. As mentioned above, I rarely go out, I don't have any friendships that aren't defined by distance, and despite moving to a new country to physically be with my husband, it's led me to depend on the Internet for being able to interact with my family. Without my fingers on a screen or keyboard, my outside world is condensed down to a single human being. I love my husband dearly, but as humans we need more than that for sanity. So.. I'm stuck being connected to the WiFi. 

I know I'm incredibly lucky to have the Internet, especially when I'm in pain and stuck rooted in the same spot for possibly an entire day. But I think we can all agree that the Internet can be fucking depressing. It's a bubble of negativity, and as someone who seems to constantly be comparing myself to everything, it's not exactly great for the ole confidence. The Internet and messages it gives me leads me to hate myself daily, and that's ugly. Am I just surrounding myself with it? Is there a magical way to avoid these results by changing up what I choose to view online? Sure, and I can do that. For a few hours. Maybe a few days. But I inevitably end up back in the toxicity, whether by choice or through someone else. It's disheartening and so bloody unhealthy. 

So I hurt and I utilize the amazing Internet to take myself out of my own head and body for a few hours. I feel like I'm socializing by discussing books, or news, or utter nonsense with virtual friends. I feel understood by someone's tweet, or I laugh at TikTok's. But something pops up and BOOM, I'm back inside myself, only now on top of the pain I have a dark cloud of depression around my brain. I can't sleep because of the thoughts that have risen in my head because of this cloud, which leads to more pain the following day. And so on and so forth. It's a cycle of daily life that I hate, but what can I do about it? 

I guess over the years I've lost my safe haven, but have no way of leaving. It's an addiction to social interactions, which.. I think I need to not go insane? I don't really know the purpose of this blog post, but maybe you've been feeling vaguely the same? Perhaps you have chronic pain and struggle with your relationship with the Internet, or maybe Covid has led you to feeling obligated to be online. Let's chat. 


10 Horror Sequels That Were Better

10/12/2020

We're at that spooky time of year where we watch Hocus Pocus on repeat and fight the urge to watch Halloween H20 everyday (just me?) It's no secret that I adore a good horror movie. You can read all about my history with this movie genre in my 'Why I Love The Horror Genre' post. I think 90% of horror movies now have sequels, so here's a list of all my favorites that I scandalously think are better than the original!

The Descent Part 2 (2009)

Starring: Natalie Mendoza, Shauna Macdonald

The 2005 movie The Descent has always been a favourite. A group of women venture to an underground cave for an adrenaline filled weekend away, only to discover that they aren't alone down there. I've seen a recent surge of love for the movie as I think it was finally added to some streaming network, however, I rarely see people talking about the sequel. Was it realistic? No, but so darn enjoyable which automatically gives it more of a rewatch value to me. In Part 2 a group of rescuers go in search of the missing woman mere days since they vanished. I think both movies take place over 36 hours which is such a fun touch. 

The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)

Starring: Daniella Alonso, Jessica Stroup, Lee Thompson Young

Now, we're talking about both the original 1977 The Hills Have Eyes, the 1984 sequel, and the 2006 remake here. The first two movies didn't have rape as such a huge scare tactic which does automatically put them higher in my mind. Rape in horror always puts me off as if it's a decent enough horror, you shouldn't have to use sexual violence to scare the audience. It's cheap and disgusting. (Don't even get me started on movies such as Eden Lake, I Spit On Your Grave, and The Last House On The Left. Blegh.) However, as horrors go, I didn't find the first two very creepy. They had that classic Wes Craven feel which I'm still unsure about. I know, I know, I automatically sacrifice my horror lover badge for saying that. The 2006 Hills Have Eyes had a great secluded feel to it, if you don't already know, the movie is about a family on a roadtrip who break down in the desert where inbred cannibals reside. The 2007 sequel is about a group of National Guard trainees who find themselves battling the same cannibals. What I personally think made the sequel better was how quickly you care for the characters. It made for a more high-stakes watch. The deaths were more gory, and I think the writing have the cannibals themselves more depth. But like always, I suggest you fast-forward the rape scenes.

Halloween (2018)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

I could very easily put Halloween H20 here as it's my all time favourite movie. However, I think 2008 Halloween that completely retconned my favourite movie from the franchise was.. *sniffles*.. better. The story, acting, characters, everything. That scene where Michael puts his mask back on? Classic. I also think it'll age very well, unlike some of the other movies in the series. Don't fuck with Mothers, basically. I'm so glad it wasn't a dumpster fuck like the Rob Zombie movies. I'm still personally offended at those "movies".

Final Destination II (2003)

Starring: A. J. Cook, Ali Carter, Tony Todd, Justina Machado

I recently rewatched this franchise with @BilliamSWN and color me surprised! I always thought that the third installment in this series was my favorite but I have to officially change it to the second. I know! The third is unquestionably a better overall movie. The three year gap between movies really did a lot for the overall quality of the filming and death scenes. However, now I've realized that the second is such a better overall story. It's cheesy AF but in an endearing way and I really like how it connected to the first with Clear. 

Conjuring 2 (2016)

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe

The first Conjuring movie sucked if you're familiar with basic plots from paranormal movies, I'm sorry. The only thing it had going for it were the better effects and actors. However, The Conjuring 2 was made to scare us all. (Ignoring the thin man thingy which was dumb) I don't know what it was about the second to really bring it, but it was so good. The child actors were all great (unlike 89% of horror movies) and I enjoyed the in-depth look at Ed and Loraine's relationship away from the paranormal stuff. The added bonus of it being Christmas time also thrilled me. 

Ouija: Origin Of Evil (2016)

Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Kate Siegel 

I think we can all agree that Ouija was a clusterfuck of a movie. The teens were basic bitches that literally did everything that was mandatory for them to die. Plus the plot was literally an entire Supernatural episode, plot twist and all. Like, huh? However, the sequel was rather enjoyable. I'll admit to mainly watching it because it starred Esme from Twilight  but it surprised the heck out me. The "jump scares" were decent, the story itself was realistic as far as paranormal movies can be, and the ending didn't make me roll my eyes. If you're looking for a haunting type movie, I fully recommend this. 

Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Starring: Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Lulu Wilson

Another movie from The Conjuring universe? Yup. Annabelle was a huge let down. It was filled with cliché jumpscares, obvious plot twists, and 'my wife is just going crazy, let's not believe her' moments. So when Annabelle: Creation was announced I was dubious. However, this was darn good. Creation is centered around a nun and six orphaned girls who move into a farmhouse with a couple who are still mourning the death of their daughter Annabelle. Yup, this is the origin story of that creepy ass doll. There was something so wholesome about this movie while still keeping it's intended freaky elements. The child actors were incredible in their roles and it really sparked a desire in me to foster or adopt. 

The Purge Anarchy (2014)

Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford

As a movie, The Purge has such a cool synopsis. When the first trailer dropped I was so enthusiastic. In a bid to dispense of the lower class, the government has made every crime legal for a 12-hour period each year. I loathed the first movie, it fitted into every cliché possible and good God the characters were insufferable. I hated them all. But then The Purge Anarchy came to save the franchise. The sequel revolves around a group of people who accidentally find themselves outside during The Purge and are thus forced to fight for survival. The characters in this were flawed, diverse, and great. You want them all to survive, which is a miracle when in comparison to the first when I was hoping every single one of them idiots died. I really loved Leo's character in Anarchy and if I'm ever in a situation like this, I want him and Arkin from The Collector with me. 

Scream 3 (2000)

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Parker Posey

Scream was one of the first horror franchises that I remember watching as a child and automatically loving. As it was originally intended to be a trilogy, I think Scream 3 did a wonderful job at wrapping up the story. The twist was surprising and aided in making the story come full circle. Sydney is a scream queen icon and I personally found this to be the movie that put her in the 'bad ass' category. The story within the story aspect of the movie was also really fun and came much more alive in this one with the actors playing Sydney, Dewey, and Gale becoming entwined into the actual characters lives. A whole lot of fun. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) 

Starring: Jordana Brewster, Matt Bomer

Texas Chainsaw is a franchise with so many different remakes or reboots. I've lost count at how many new 'the beginning' movies we've had. Alas, the 2005 is superior in so many ways. It's a great origin story for both leatherface and the family, as I think we can all argue that the sheriff is the real monster. I liked how it only had four actual main characters, meaning that you get more time to grow to care for them without it being a huge cast with the obvious intention of getting a higher kill count. I also found the gore and violence in this movie much more unsettling than the others. 

Are there any movies on this last that you have yet to watch? Let me know! 



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