Sunday Lowdown #183


I was so pleased to have another buddy review posted over at Sugar & Scream, a blog for all things horror. This time, we watched a movie called Winchester, starring Helen Mirren and several Aussie actors. Why this movie? After learning that Sarai Walker’s newest novel, The Cherry Robbers, was advertised as having borrowed some of real-life Sarah Winchester’s fear of ghosts that she thought would haunt her if they had been killed with a Winchester rifle, I wanted to see another depiction of Sarah. Walker’s novel didn’t have ghosts, but the movie delivered.

Speaking of Australian actors, I also watched an Australian killer croc movie on Friday called Black Water, which really delivered thanks to the unpredictable plot and use of real footage of fourteen-foot salt-water crocodiles. You also get that “Based on a True Story” memo in the beginning, too.

And, I also discovered that Chisholm Catholic College in Australia is leading readers to Grab the Lapels (or, in particular, my review of Follow the Rabbit-proof Fence). This has happened in the past with my Hidden Figures review, and I always wonder, “Why did a teacher or student link to me? What is the assignment? Are people using my reviews as an example, or are students plagiarizing?” Anyway, it was an Aussie-filled week!

Here are some photos with notes to give you more about my week:

My monthly horror club that meets online but is out of Ottawa. I told the group I have hearing aids and that our last movie was tough because it was older/small distribution and did not have subtitles. This message about next month’s movie from the group’s leader actually made me cry. Could my spouse create subtitles for me? Yes, but that’s not the point.
Picked more blackberries to clean and freeze. Learned too much about blackberries and other fruit thanks to Google, which I don’t recommend you do because you may never eat fruit again or realize that vegans who eat fruit aren’t really vegans.
Kitty seems lethargic lately, so I got down her favorite toy to play with while I sat by her and drank coffee: the grocery bag. Most of my groceries go in reusable bags, but I occasionally get plastic so I have something to put her poo in.
Found at Goodwill store: two Halloween bird houses and a zombie sign still wrapped in the original packaging.
Obligatory ToadMan photo. This was the day he was hanging out behind my car, but I had to leave. I tried to pick him up, but he kept bopping away. Nick explains, “And a merry chase ensued!” He also gave Toadman a full name and occupation: Frogerick Toadman, Animal Attorney.
Storm rolling in over our field. Our/Farmer Mike’s soybeans are about up to my hip. I never knew they got so tall just from driving by soybean fields.


Whew, the streak of negative reviews is over. I was hoping Double Love by Francine Pascal wouldn’t be an utter horror show compared to what I thought of it back in the 90’s, and it wasn’t. In fact, I was reminded of the serious topics YA was covering thirty to forty years ago, a fact I had in mind during my re-read in mind thanks to having read Paperback Crush a few years ago . Do people still write about suicide, cancer, and missing persons in today’s YA? Mostly, I see social justice issues and meet-cute.


Somehow, Abbi Waxman was able to write a novel that was sad and thoughtful, cute (but not meet-cute) and quirky when she published The Garden of Small Beginnings. My first experience with her was The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, which I enjoyed and had a hard time putting down. I’d put Waxman in the same camp as Love Literary Style and Girl Meets Class (why didn’t I review it!?) by Karin Gillespie. Review Wednesday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 185
Owned Books on TBR Today: 182


  1. OMFG, I am in love with Toadman’s new full name. ❤
    I very much enjoy our horror movie chats, even the ones that don't make it on the blog. I've been slacking lately watching them but will probably get back to it soon. I think Winchester is the only one I've watched in the last two weeks. Oh! There was Shaun of the Dead as well. I fell asleep though because I've seen that one a lot. I still love it though.
    What do you plan to do with all these frozen blackberries? Moth's parents make the world's BEST raspberry rhubarb jam. I'm seriously obsessed with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re doing well with the TBR – what’s your secret for bringing the total down? I thought I was doing well but really I was lulled into this sense of complacency and all my efforts were undone by a spate of buying…


    • I think two books I started, got about 5 pages in, and decided to DNF. That helped. Otherwise, I’ve been focusing on just reading my own books lately. My mom helps me with that by agreeing to read books I own for our book club.


    • My mum always cooked rhubarb with apple. I loved it. We had a simple dessert every night. Stewed rhubarb is ok, though I’m not a fan of custard, but rhubarb pie was a treat. Balckberries are generally poisoned in Australia to stop them spreading, but when I was young we’d go out in the paddocks and pick a billy full. To eat, not to freeze and anyway, we didn’t have a fridge.

      I don’t like Karin Gillespie’s covers but Love Literary Style was so good I really must try another one.


      • Yeah, the covers are pretty fluffy, but the stories are great. I also listened to Girl Meets Class.

        Biscuit and I are going to listen to the Dollar books for our book club. They look like some good southern fun, which I appreciate. There ARE some gems in the south of the U.S., which you wouldn’t know reading the news.


  3. Frogerick Toadman! Since he is an attorney you need to add “Esquire.” And I think he deserves a little sign above his hole. It’s not easy being a solo attorney and he needs to advertise 😉

    And what a kind thing for your horror club to do! I got a little teary and it have nothing to do with me!

    I am not a horror genre fan, I get bad nightmares, but I do love me a good sc-fi movie and just watched Everything Everywhere All at Once. It was weird and awesome!

    Congrats on all the Aussie love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually get much more frightened by science fiction because a lot of it involves suffocating in space or some alien bacteria that will kill us all, or even a space ship that malfunctions, and how are we going to get home?! That sort of stuff terrifies me.

      The thing with the subtitles has made me think a lot. In my interpreting classes we talk about how ethically a Deaf person has a right to an interpreter, not just their family member or someone who knows some sign language. Part of it is that family members and friends can be biased, not only in a misguided attempt at being helpful, but there are cases of the friend/family member interpreting being the Deaf person’s abuser, etc. Anyway, I was thinking about how my husband, Nick, could have made the subtitles for me (he’s an IT guy), but the point is that he’s not my caretaker. If the horror club wants to be inclusive, it is up to the horror club to make sure movies have subtitles and are easily accessible. I think I may need to write more about this on my ASL blog, because I find it interesting.

      Okay, I’m making a billboard, lol.


      • No need for a billboard, an elegant brass plaque will do 😉

        Oh that’s funny because I am 100% with the science fiction because my brain absolutely knows it isn’t real–I will never be stuck in the vacuum of space, and the chances of becoming a nursery for an Alien that will hatch from stomach are pretty close to zero as well. But my brain says serial killers and supernatural monsters are totally possible 😀

        So interesting about the subtitles! You are right that Nick should not have to act as your caretaker. Unfortunately, I think in a lot of cases that this is assumed as the norm. As you note about interpreters. That is what kids have to do for their non-English speaking parents, which is totally unfair and questionable. It is also assumed in other settings like health care, especially for chronic diseases. I get emails from the MS Society all the time for meetings and seminars for caretakers to support my physical and mental health since they assume I am doing all the work of taking care of my spouse. When it comes to caring for people, this culture is really messed up. But I would love to read more of your thoughts regarding this!


        • See, the parasites I can see as real because I learned that a lot of fruit (and apparently all blackberries) have fruit fly worms in them, there are more ticks with their Lyme disease-spreading ways (though there is work on a Lyme disease vaccine!), etc.

          Okay, I’ll work on the post about accessibility for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I do not know either of those Aussie movies, which is perhaps not surprising. But my, I can see why her comment made you cry. Breathtakingly oblivious, I’d say, i

    Your questions about why your posts are linked to by schools mirror my questions. I sometimes wonder if I’m presented as an example of how not to do it!

    Love Toadman’s full name and occupation. Good luck with the zucchini. Just pick them before they get too big.


    • I actually changed the name of my Hidden Figures review. It used to be Hidden Figures: A Comparison of the Book and Film. Hooboy, I got a lot of hits then. I changed the title to simply Hidden Figures, added a note about plagiarism, and included the citation in MLA formatting, and since then, the hits have gone way down. It could be that teachers aren’t using the book/movie in class anymore, but from what I know about public education, once they buy a book for the classroom, they use it until that thing is factually out-of-date because public schools are so underfunded.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s interesting about the link! I get weird hits for my reviews of Chetan Bhagat’s Two States and a random volume of the Forsyte Saga which must be off book lists. And what a lovely varied selection of incomings!


    • I can see how folks get to me using my stats. They’re not terribly specific; most of the time it’s just someone found me using an internet search. A link must mean someone put a direct URL on their own site.


  6. I always knew that frog was an animal attorney! he had that look about him.

    Gawd that’s really nice about the subtitles – and fellow Canadians – yay!!! I’ve only been to Ottawa once, and it’s cold and windy haha

    I used to overwater my indoor plants, it’s a super tricky line!


    • Yeah, this dude from Ottawa is just so nice! And I think at least two other people in the group are from Ottawa as well. Very nice people. I was getting worried that a lot of these online groups would start transitioning to in-person only, which would mean I’d lose all my new friends, but I gotta say, introverts across the continent are uniting and refusing to meet in person when they can do stuff at home instead!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats to ToadMan on his job! (Is he an attorney that is an animal or specifically an attorney for animals? Please clarify.)

    We’re picking lots of blackberries here too and, yes, I’m sure we’re eating many microscopic insects as well, but I’d rather not know!


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