#5Books: Book recs and December movies

I don’t like boxing, but goodness me do I love Creed. This post is brought to you because I got ridiculously nostalgic realising it was on one of our Australian streaming platforms (over here, Netflix doesn’t always have the best movies. Sometimes the Australian platforms do)

My dad used to watch the Rocky series, and I still have a soft spot for those movies because of him — to be fair, I only watched because he watched them, but then they kind of stuck with me. When Creed came out, I still hate boxing, but the story — of Adonis wanting to live up to his father, and Rocky pottering around alone in his old neighbourhood — just got to me. Lost souls finding hope with each other — yeah I was a enraptured.

I didn’t know what to expect, but the cancer storyline wasn’t it. That stripped Rocky of everything we (I) knew him to be and showed him to be human, I guess. And there was Adonis helping him to the bathroom when he had to throw up, and helping him into bed after treatment.

Yeah, I still hate boxing. But I  cannot wait to see Creed 2.

The Last House Guest

From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls, a suspenseful new novel about an idyllic town in Maine dealing with the suspicious death of one of their own—and her best “summer” friend, who is trying to uncover the truth…before fingers point her way.

Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.

Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Avery Greer and Littleport resident Sadie Loman. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.

Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.

The idea of holiday houses and enclaves mystifies me, but I can’t deny it’s the sort of exclusivity that makes for some great sound thrillers — like this one. The blurb very obviously is pushing the strong female line, so I am kind of hoping for a lot from a book that emphasises the friendships so much.

Friends Like These 

We all know someone like Becca.

She has the job everyone wants, a designer wardrobe, a hot-shot lawyer boyfriend, holidays to exotic locations. And she flaunts her perfect life all over social media.

It drove her colleague Lizzie mad, but she couldn’t stop looking. They were never really friends – and yet Lizzie knew everything about her.

Or did she?

When chance, and a terrible mistake, pulls Lizzie back into Becca’s orbit years after they lost touch, she’ll realise that you can’t always believe what you see online… and that finding out the truth might be the worst thing you can do.

There’s no such thing as a perfect life. Only a perfect lie.

Oh I like this! I fully expected this blurb to end with Lizzie SWF-ing Becca and taking over her life but no, it twists that whole expectation on it’s head. Why on earth would Becca lie??

Salt Lane 

A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher.

No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all.

DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing – resentful teenager in tow – from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Even murder looks different in this landscape of fens, ditches and stark beaches, shadowed by the towers of Dungeness power station. Murder looks a lot less pretty.

The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask – but these people are suspicious of questions.

It will take an understanding of this strange place – its old ways and new crimes – to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt.

Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart.

I haven’t read William Shaw before, but with his flair for social commentary I am already expecting alot for this book. I like that the place this book is set is almost a character unto itself.

Sydney Noir

Nothing lasts in Sydney, especially good fortune: lives are upturned, shops are sold, roads dug up, trees and houses knocked down, premiers discarded, and entire communities relocated in the name of that economic mantra—growth and progress.

Just when you think the traffic can’t get any worse and the screech of the 747s descending over your roof can’t get any louder and the pavements can’t get any dirtier, along comes a wild electrical storm that batters the buildings and shakes the power lines and washes the garbage off the streets and you stand, sheltered under your broken brolly in the center of Sydney, admiring this big beautiful city . . . What never changes, though, is the hustle on the street.

My father was a detective in the vice squad shortly after the Second World War, and he told stories of busting SP bookies in Paddington and Surry Hills, collaring cockatoos stationed in the laneways of South Sydney, and arresting sly-groggers. Policing back then was hands-on for the poor and hands-off for the rich. Crime and Sydney have always been inseparable: a deep vein of corruption runs beneath the surface of even its most respectable suburbs.

Timing is everything. I just discovered this series a couple of weeks ago with Amsterdam noir and now Sydney noir! It sounds kind of dark doesn’t it?? And I like it!

And that’s all for today! Christmas is looming and shopping and other stuff beckons….how are  your Christmas preparations going??


  • I never watch boxing but I loved the Rocky films. The fight at the end of Rocky 2 was classic! I haven’t seen Creed yet though but I plan to at some point.

    • Verushka says:

      You have got to check out Creed, Chuckles. It’s really so impressive in how it reframes Rocky’s story and still makes your heart break and soar at the end.

  • These books look great and while I don’t really hate boxing, I never watched it. However, like you those Rocky movies are something else. I remember watching the one with my husband when we were dating where Mickey died and Rocky sees him giving him a pep talk. I definitely teared up. I liked Creed as well and really want to see Creed 2. Once again, you’ve also picked some great books!

  • I’m not interested in the new Creed, but there ARE still tons of movies out or coming out that I really want to see. Tis the season! LOL I’m about halfway through Christmas shopping, but I MOSTLY know what else I need to get, so that’s a start at least. I’m curious about Friends Like These…need to go check that out on Goodreads.


  • Lark says:

    The Last House Guest sounds like a book I would like. 🙂

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    I love that they made the Creed movies. The casting of Michael B Jordan was perfect, and I grew up with the Rocky movies, so it’s just a fabulous way to keep the franchise alive in some way.

  • Angela says:

    Ooh, Friends Like These sounds fun! I love books that deal with social media.

  • I watched a few of the Rocky movies and really enjoyed them, but yeah, like you I don’t actually like boxing. I cringe when I see people fighting. I’ll have to check out Creed.

    I read Fragments of the Lost Miranda’s YA and The Perfect Stranger and really enjoyed them! I didn’t know she had a new one coming, but it sounds delightfully twisty. I also love a good crime procedural and Shaw’s Salt Lane sounds promising. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  • I’m probably one of the few people on the planet who has never watched a Rocky film, but Creed does have my interest, mainly because I really like Michael B. Jordan.

    I really enjoyed the last Megan Miranda book I read, so The Last House Guest is one that has caught my eye too. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

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