Today I’m bringing back another old Forever Amber … I was going to say “favourite” there, but that might be over-stating it slightly, so let’s just go with “series” instead.
Reading /Trying / Watching / Buying is exactly what it sounds like: a quick round-up of the things I’ve been…. I don’t actually need to say it, do I? OK, let’s just dive right in, instead…
The Killer Next Door, by Alex Marwood
I’m a huge fan of Alex Marwood, who I first discovered a few years ago, when she was writing under her real name, Serena Mackesy. Those books were very much in the ‘modern gothic’ genre (and actually some of the best I’ve read, so, you know, check them out, people, what are you waiting for?), which is why I loved them so much. Her work under the pen-name Alex Marwood, however, is just as good, although I’d probably loosely classify it as thriller/crime rather than gothic. The Killer Next Door is, as the name suggests, about the people you spend your life living next to, without every really knowing them… until one day the police come knocking at the door, and you’re all, “But he seemed like such a NICE man! I can’t believe he did THAT?!”
As for what “THAT” is, well, the clue is the title, really. I’m not going to spoil it for you, other than to say that this is a very, very dark novel, and it’s not for the faint-hearted – or for anyone who enjoys a snack or two while they read. Alex Marwood is a truly talented writer, with a real gift for characterisation, and for those turns of phrase that make you stop in your tracks and think: “THAT. That was masterful.” If I were to compare her to anyone, it would probably be Gillian Flynn: both writers tend to explore the dark underbelly of society and expose the horrors they find there there – in sometimes excruciating detail. I’ll say again (because I don’t want to be accused of spoiling anyone’s lunch…) that you’ll need a strong stomach for this one: if you’re new to this author, you might want to try either The Wicked Girls or The Darkest Secret first – I actually preferred both of those to The Killer Next Door, but if you like this kind of thing, you’ll probably want to read all three!
My preference for eyeliner is for those marker-pen style liners, which I personally find give a much smoother line than pencils, gels, or other liquid liners. There’s only one problem: so many of the pen-style liners I try seem to dry up as soon as I start using them – it’s basically like as soon as you hold them horizontally, against the eyelid, the liquid can’t make it all the way to the tip, so I end up scribbling frantically on my eyelid, without getting any result. When I was sent these liners to try, then, I was keen to see whether they’d be any different, and I’m pleased to report that yes, they are! I was sent the Precision Micro Eyeliner and the Thick and Thin Eyeliner, both of which are really easy to use, and keep on producing ink, no matter which direction you hold them in.
My one slight issue with these is that they only seem to come in black, whereas I generally prefer to use brown eyeliner, which is a little less harsh with my colouring. It’s not a deal-breaker, and I know black will suit most people, but if they ever release these in some other colours, I’ll definitely be buying them!
Once we’d finished binge-watching The Tudors, I was desperate to have a new historical drama in my life, so The Crown came along at exactly the right time. I’m neither a Royalist nor an anti-Royalist, particularly: to be honest, I don’t really have strong feelings about the Royal Family either way, but I do find them fascinating, in that “how the other half life” kind of way – and, for that reason, I absolutely loved The Crown, which tells the story of the first few years of the current Queen’s reign.
This is apparently the most expensive TV show ever made, and it shows: the costumes, sets and attention to detail are all spot-on, and there are moments when it would be easy to forget you’re not watching the actual Queen. (Speaking of which, I would LOVE to know what she makes of this, if she’s seen any of it: I mean, imagine how weird it would be to have someone make a TV show about your life, without actually involving you in any of it?!) If you enjoy historical drama, I think you’ll probably like this: if you just like 1950s fashion, meanwhile, you’ll probably still like it, because some of the dresses are TO. DIE. FOR. Seriously.
OK, so I didn’t technically buy these: they were a gift from the people at Octer, which is one of those aggregate websites which show you thousands of different products, from various different brands. This type of site is pretty lethal to me, because not only does it show me essentially the entire high street at one glance, it also allows me to sift through products I might not otherwise have discovered. Not that that was the case here, mind you: I’d been obsessing over these red peep toes for weeks, and they turned out to be even better than I’d hoped, with their low vamp and Louboutin-style curves: I absolutely love them, and while I’ll obviously have to wait for warmer weather to get them into regular rotation, I’m hoping the Christmas party season will give me some opportunities to break them in!