Mirror Me by Rachel Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Rachel Sanderson’s last book, The Space Between was a well-constructed thriller and Mirror Me is too. Sanderson Shows a surer hand here – the characters are more clearly realised, and the tension is tighter, and more nuanced.
Central character Abbie moves to the rural community of Derrington with her mother, Mum’s partner Stacey, and little brother, Tom. Mum is a doctor who is taking over the local practice for a year after the sudden departure of Dr O’Brien. Abbie has left her school, her BFF and everything she knows and feels safe with to come and live in the back of beyond. Initially she feels a bit our of her depth, but she makes some new friends and all seems to be going okay until she discovers she is the spitting image of another girl, Rebecca (Becky) O’Brien, who was murdered a year ago. Weird things start to happen. Abbie has dreams about Becky’s murder, she feels drawn to the house where it happened, and begins to obsess about the details.
Abbie also has to cope with a bully named Dave, a blossoming romance with a guy named Zeke, and a deepening friendship with the local handyman, Andy. Little by little coincidences start to stack up and Abbie is convinced the dead girl is trying to communicate with her.
Sanderson builds the growing tension well in this novel. The pace is just right. In The Space Between the ending felt a little rushed, but she takes her time here, giving the characters time to breathe and explore their own stories. The result is a really great, suspenseful story that had me gripped to the very last page.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. I EMBRACED this book. Mark Manson delivers much of his message with his tongue firmly in his cheek, and sometimes over-simplifies things, but the kernel of what he is trying to say is never in doubt. We are free to choose what we give a f#ck about, and those choices determine how successful/loved/important we think we are. There are many other books around sending the same message, but this one is the first in a long time I have read right to the end. Some friends of mine have not been able to get past the first few pages, which is a shame because this book pays off in spades in the last 4o pages or so. It is in those pages you come to understand Mark Manson, and why he’s written this book, and says the things he does.
My favourite piece of advice?
“When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just have to learn to like the taste of lemons.” Period.
So true. Sometimes life is just shit.
This book does not pretend it can make your life perfect, nor does it purport to be the “one guide” to living. What it DOES do, is demonstrate how to cut through your own bullshit; to kill the self-talk that can hold one back; to stop blaming everyone and everything else for the way you react to situations.
A great read and a timely wake-up call for me.
ROAR by Samantha Lane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you love AFLW, and the spirit behind it, this book is for you. Sam Lane has done a great job of slipping behind the scenes in this book that profiles some of the marquee players and some who are not, with equal vigour.
The first chapter, which outlines how the AFLW competition finally happened, is the most journalistic in the book. The rest of the book is so much more engaging and resonant. It shows just how diverse the players and coaches are in this brave new world and celebrates them all. I loved reading about Kirby Bentley (who I did not know much about at all, despite the fact that for a while she played for Melbourne – oops); her family, her home town and her road to playing AFLW for Fremantle. And reading about AFLW Crows coach Bec Goddard; her commitment to the game, and her hopes for the future, broke my heart as I read it already knowing that she has had to walk away from her greatest passion because she could not earn her living from it as she wanted to.
The thing that comes through most is that these women, and one man – Craig Starcevich – have been treated pretty shabbily by the AFL, who are happy to ride the wave from the surge of interest in the women’s competition, but are bloody miserly with the money to help it grow properly – not just in terms of player pay, but also in terms of development, coaching and scheduling. I really hope the AFL can sort itself out on these issues, because the other thing that is CRYSTAL clear is that all the AFLW personnel featured in Roar love the game. The highs, the lows, the injuries, the wins and losses – they love it all and just want to be a bigger part of it. Sam Lane’s book is, as the great Robert Murphy is quoted saying on the front cover: “A powerful and timely call to arms.” It certainly is.
Recommended for all footy lovers, and those who want to see the AFLW grow into what it should be.