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G B Ralph, Author

Winter reading and streaming

Winter reading and streaming cover images. 2 books, 2 TV shows, 2 movies.

I know for many, June is the start of summer, pride month, etc. But for us in the southern hemisphere, it’s all the other way around. This week has been the coldest (nudging up against zero) and darkest (shortest day!) this year for me.

So, that means less time outside, and more time for snuggling up to read books, watch Netflix, and all that. You’d think we’d have had our fill, the amount of time spent inside these past 18 months? But I’m still discovering great entertainment to get stuck into. Some older material that I’ve somehow missed, and some fresh stuff that I’ve jumped straight on.

I’ve rounded up a couple of my favourite books, TV series, and movies that I’ve discovered recently…

Books

Book cover for The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

I’ve heard the author describe this book as “gentle fantasy”, which I think is perfect. I struggled with the first few chapters which represented the main character’s mundane, frustrating life. But I was charmed by everyone we meet at the orphanage and couldn’t help wanting to know what happened next. This story is so sweet, like a big bookish hug.

Buy links on author’s website
Add to Goodreads shelf

Book cover for Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

The two main characters in this were equal parts infuriating and hilarious as they worked at being each other’s fake boyfriends for their respective important events.

I couldn’t help wanting to know what was going to become of the consistently self-sabotaging Luc O’Donnell and the stubbornly single-minded Oliver Blackwood. I enjoyed the audiobook version, with narrator Joe Jameson doing a fantastic job bringing this turbulent tale to life.

Buy links on author’s website
Add to Goodreads shelf

TV

Lucifer TV series poster

Lucifer

Based on a DC Comics series, itself a spin-off of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman… How did I let this go unwatched for so long?

Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, has abandoned his responsibilities in Hell to spend time on Earth, fulfilling his many desires and uncovering those in others.

I’m not huge on police procedurals, but the bonkers cast of characters and Lucifer’s wholehearted irreverence meant I couldn’t stop bingeing. Yes Netflix, I’m still watching!

The fifth and final season was recently released, but I’ve since seen it’s been renewed for a sixth and apparently final season. But coming back from the dead seems to be par for the course when you’re dealing with the devil.

Stream on Netflix
Add to IMDb watchlist

Younger TV series poster

Younger

I’m embarrassed to admit how quickly we flew through all seven seasons of this series from Darren Star, creator of Sex and the City.

Liza Miller is a 40-year-old divorcee struggling to break back into the publishing industry after years away raising their daughter. She takes a chance to relaunch her career as a 20-something after being mistaken for being younger than she is.

There is a lot of will-they-won’t-they, but all the stories and supporting characters kept it fresh. Two of my favourites were the condescending and temperamental boss, Diana Trout; and the best friend, roommate and self-identified OWL (older wise lesbian), Maggie Amato.

Stream on Paramount+ or Neon (in NZ)
Add to IMDb watchlist

Movies

Luca film poster

Luca

A coming-of-age fantasy adventure from Pixar about friendship, and packed with summer vibes, nostalgia, and sea monsters.

This only came out a week ago, but I forced my partner to watch with me, and afterwards he grudgingly admitted he was charmed. My sister, who took no convincing, watched with us simultaneously/remotely and was also delighted.

Stream on Disney+
Add to IMDb watchlist

Cruella film poster

Cruella

Cruella is The Devil Wears Prada meets Oceans Eleven set against a punk rock seventies London backdrop.

I love a good villain origin story à la Maleficent, especially when you’ve got two Emmas trying to outdo each other. Disney’s treatment of The 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil was gleefully chaotic. The fashion was fantastic and the frequent nods to the character she would become were a lot of fun.

Stream on Disney+ (premium access)
Add to IMDb watchlist

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