Sunday, December 29, 2013

It's Monday

Meme hosted here:

I finished Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox on Saturday. Loved  it.

It's set in the same Southland as Knox's Dreamhunter/Dreamquake duo, but there are major differences. It's full of magic and wonder, though; two of my favourite things.

I'm still working through An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris. But very slowly. There's something in it that I'm not connecting with.

However, I'm planning to start the New Year on Wednesday with The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton.

What are you reading?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 2014 TBR reading challenge list

I finally pulled this together. I've cleared part of a bookshelf so all the books could hang out, keep each other company.

The list is, from left:

Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson
Nefertiti (non-fiction) by Joyce Tydesley
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher
Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
A Song of Ice and Fire bk 3- A Storm of Swords by G R R Martin
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint
The Children's Book by A S Byatt
The Looking Glass War by Frank Beddor.

I'm starting with Eye of the Dragon in January, and then working through month by monh in the order they're in the bookcase. :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your mission ....


I've been going through the challenges for 2014 posted on and as always, everything is the most tempting.

For now, I've narrowed it down to two, so I don't get too distracted by the shinies - lol.

First up is this challenges hosted at - the TBR Pile Challenge. It has structure, and montly posts, and it's exactly what I'm looking for. I just need to make a TBR list :-)

Next is this one hosted by It's a challenge to read women writers, which is something I want to try and do more of.

Later in the year I'm planning on taking on RIP and Once Upon a Time, both of which are hosted here, if you're new.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Monday - what are you reading?

Meme hosted here:

Right now, I'm reading Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox and An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris.

Mortal Fire is set in the same universe as Knox's Dreamhunter/Dreamquake novels, but  about 40-50 years into the future. I'm only about two chapters in but it's promising.

An Officer and a Spy is based on the 19th century Dreyfus treason case in France. My reading has been a bit patchy of it, but if I get the chance to sit down and really get stuck in,  I'm expecting to get caught up in the story.

What are you reading?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A post

How's it hanging interwebz? How's every little thing? How FAST has 2013 gone? You know what, let's not talk about that.

Recently I started going back through my blog archives and looking at how much I used to blog in a year compared to now. I am an intermittent blogger at best. I have decided to try and change that.

One of the things I noticed from previous years was I had structure to hang posts on - things like the Weekly Geeks (Dewey

To be honest, I don't think I'm going to start doing reviews again. There are so many clever and insightful reviewers out there and I sit in my little corner playing with the laser dot and going OMG THIS WAS AWESOMEEEEEEE which isn't really helpful - lol.

I'm still going to be talking about books, and what I'm reading but not writing reviews. Probably. If that even makes sense.

Anyway, we were talking about structure and how I need to have something to hang blog posts upon.

So the plan is to hang them on the It's Monday What are You Reading meme hosted here: and to pick up on a few (a very few, I've met myself) reading challenges and post about those, say, once a week.

So, posting twice a week talking about books and reading, with a framework.

Hopefully, that way, I can get back into the swing of things.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A More Diverse Universe

So I've signed up for this: and I'm hoping/trying to find a  sci-fi or fantasy novel by either a Maori or Pacific Island author to read for it.

So far, googling around, I'm not having  a lot of luck, but I'll keep at it. Possibly something by Witi Ihimaera might work, but I'll keep searching for now.

I'm also open to suggestions. :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Holiday time

I'm on holiday, and this, essentially, is my week. Stitching, a little bit of reading (not as much as I'd hoped) and catching up with AHS: Asylum.

It's a pretty good week all around really. I go back to the salt mines on Monday so I'm making the most of it. :-)

Well, I'd like to be reading a bit more, but apart from that, it's all going all right.

I'm enjoying Asylum, overall. Not as much as I enjoyed the first series, perhaps, and I'm excited for Coven, but there's still a lot to like about Asylum. It's creepy, it has Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto, so it for sure could be worse.

Also I need to catch up on so many things, so I need to get through some shows on my hard drive.

And then there's Supernatural BUT I CAN'T TALK ABOUT THAT because I'll end up rending my garments and sounding like an over-invested fang-

Wait, never mind.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Readathon and also stuff and maybe things

I'm about five hours early but I've only read about 120 pages total and I'm so distracted, ugh.

Next time, back to cheerleading. I like cheerleading, it's fun, and I get to "meet" new bloggers. I love meeting new bloggers.

My attention span is so short lately, and I blame the other love of my life, my iPad Mini. (Patrick being a given, my Mini is what I'd save in case of fire). I can play games on it that take little mental acuity at all, and it contains all of the social media.

I love social media. By which I pretty much mean twitter. Little bit of tumblr. I'm "eh" on facebook, but I have it so I know what my brothers and sisters are doing - lol.

Anyway. Cheering for next readathon, yes.

I have this week off before heading back into the wilds of the office, and my plans are pretty simple: Finally watch American Horror Story: Asylum because Coven, do some cross-stitching and revel in a bit of alone-time as Patrick goes back to school tomorrow.

I started Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin, so hopefully I might have that finished by the end of the week as well.

... let's not get too carried away though. There are still zombies that must be killed by plants  out there ...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Readathon introductory meme

First meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Middle Earth :D (New Zealand)
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Hmmm... Probably Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Smoked paprika chips, which I haven't tried before :-)
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Um. I'm 42, my favourite colour is red and uh .... I like cats
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?Try to read more, if I can. We'll see how that goes - lol 


It's that time of year again - readathon time.

I'm so very disorganised this time, I've only just thrown together a pile of books and some snacks.

And by "disorganised" I mean "spending too much time playing Plants v Zombies 2 and Candy Crush (damn you Candy Crush)".

But I have a pile now, and I have snacks, which will be more relevant tomorrow to me, because it's nearly midnight my time. I'm hoping/planning to  get a bit of reading done tonight, and then sleep and then more reading tomorrow. I won't be reading for a full 24 hours, but I will be here in spirit so

*\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/*  here's a line of cheerleaders for you if you're taking part. Have fun! Read lots! Have more fun! :D

Anyway, here's the pile in question:

The books are, from top to bottom, Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The World of Jeeves by P G Wodehouse, Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy and The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

The snacks (mmm snacks) are smoked paprika chips, crunchy M&Ms and Schweppes Sparking Duet - all of which will be saved for tomorrow. The corner of the couch by the cat is my reading spot, and the cat, who will probably be keeping me company, is Lily.

My plan tonight is to read until the first hour meme goes up, do the meme, get some sleep and pick up again in the morning.

I'm not, of course, going to read all of those books, I just like having options. I'm going to start with Winter's Tale and then just go from there. If I get through that and a few Jeeves short stories, I'll consider it a win.

Are you doing the readathon? What's your plan? What are you reading? :D

Monday, October 7, 2013


I have been going back and forth a bit lately about what I want to do with this little corner of the internet I haven't blogged since readathon in April. Wow.

That was completely unintentional on my part. And by "unintentional" I mean completely, 100 per cent lazy.

I'm still going back and forth on what I'm going to actually do with my little corner of the world wide web over here. I was never really a committed books blogger - more of a lazy reviewer who basked in the company of other, smarter and more insightful readers, and I think - for me - I can set the reviewing thing to rest with a pretty easy conscience.

I'm not quite ready to let the blogging thing go, however, even though you wouldn't know it after six months of radio silence.

Stay tuned, I guess? Or follow me on my tumblr, because I finally changed the password and can now remember the log in: because I'm going to try and start posting daily pix there again.

It'll just be pix of Patrick and my cats, so don't get too carried away. DO come say hi, though. :D

And now, I'm off to sign up for readathon, and you should too:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Readathon final meme (fashionably late)

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
For me, the first couple because I started before the official launch time. It was very very quiet - lol. I appreciated the people who dropped by to say hi in those hours :-)

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I really only finished two books: Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and The Forests of Hands and Teeth. They were both short though, so quick reads, and definitely engaging.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Not really, no. Great work like always. :D

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?
Everything. :D

5. How many books did you read?

6. What were the names of the books you read?
See answer to question two. :-)

7. Which book did you enjoy the most?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I enjoyed both but some of the themes in Whores were a little .... off.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?
I wasn't this time, but I have been in the past. Relax, and have fun. Try and leave personal comments rather than generic, if you can.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Very likely. What role would you likely to be take next time? Not sure. Might do a little of both, maybe. :-)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Random readathon update

I thought I'd pop in and leave a quick update. I haven't been doing any of the memes/contests apart from the introductory one because I've been reading/twittering/hanging out with Patrick/cooking/stuff.

You know, the usual.

I finished Memories of My Melancholy Whores last night, took a  small Fellowship of the Ring break, and now I'm about half way through The Forest of Hands and Teeth, so I'll at least have finished two books.

Not *too* shabby at all. :-)

Read long, and prosper \\//

Readathon introductory meme

 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Middle Earth :D Er, I mean, Invercargill, New Zealand :-)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Hmmmm .. I've already powered through the shortest, Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez so .... I think maybe The Forests of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, because I've had it on my shelf for quite a few years. I understand there are zombies.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to trying these: (to your right). Pizza flavoured twisties!!!! But that's for tomorrow :D

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Uhhhh .. I'll be 42 this year, but my inner 14 year old is winning, I spend too much time on the internet and I'ma little hopped up on sugar right now.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I did, as a cheerleader. I've been  a cheerleader since the first readathon, and it's fun and I love it, but I wanted to do one readathon where I was just a reader, so here I am. :-)

Readathon is upon me!

Well, nearly. I'm starting in about an hour because the official start time is 1am here, so I'm getting the jump - lol.

I have a smallish pile of five books, and I'm going to start with the shortest which is Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In fact, here is the pile  I prepared earlier. :D From the bottom up we have: The Best of Both Worlds by Karen Lord, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Fellowship of the Ring (which I'm about halfway through in a very lazy re-read; I wanted something cosy and familiar in the pile) and Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, short story fairytale retellings, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

I'm not expecting to get through all of them because of sleep and Patrick, but I'm just reading this year and not cheering (though cheerleaders are awesome), so I'm going to get through as much as I can.

I have potato chips, chocolate, coke in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer.

Hit it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Readathon ... and Once Upon a Time

It's getting to that time of year again - readathon time. Hie thee here, if you're wondering what I'm talking about:

One of Dewey's passions was building a community of book bloggers, and I know she'd get a kick out of how many people participate in the readathon every April and October.

I feel like quite the old-timer now, I have to say - lol.

I hummed and hawed over this one, I have to admit. Do I do it, do I not, do I read, do I cheer ..

Usually, I cheer, and I encourage anyone who doesn't have time to dive in as a reader, to join a cheering team. The cheerleaders do a great job at keeping readers motivated, and I always have fun doing it.

But this year, I'm being selfish. I'm doing readathon for me, which means being just a reader (I've tried both at the same time, and I found it stressful).

I'm going to start early, because the readathon starts at midnight-1am my time, which is a bit late to settle in and start reading. So I'm going to start on the Saturday night after Patrick has settled - about 8pm NZ Time.

My plan is to read for a few hours on Saturday night, do the first mini-challenge, get some sleep, then spend as much of the Sunday as I can reading.

There will be food, of course as well, I just need to decide whether I'm going to vlog it this year or not. And decide what books I'm going to stack up, which leads me to ... - a reading challenge run by Carl every year. I tend not to do reading challenges now, but I do love at least TRYING Once Upon a Time, and RIP, both hosted by Carl.

So my readathon stack (short stack probably), will also be my Once Upon a Time stack.

I'm just going to sign up for the journey, which is beautifully open-ended and means I can draw from any number of books.

I'm also going to do the journey on screen. I bought LOTR extended edition on blu-ray, but haven't revelled in it yet, so that will be my Once Upon a Time on-screen journey.

So. Are you readathon-ing? Are you Once Upon  a Time-ing? Let's talk. :D

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Very short reviews

Somehow I ended up about four books behind, given that I'm making an effort to, like, write reviews ..

Four books. I'm not writing separate reviews for four books, I'm far too lazy for that.

I'm going to, instead, give very short reviews for all four books.

Starting with ...

When We Wake by Karen Healey.

This is a good one to start on, as it's NZ Book Month (which I haven't blogged about at all. Um. It's NZ Book Month. You should read a book by a Kiwi author this month. They're awesome.)

When We Wake is also one of my favourite genres (though for some reason I haven't read as much in it as I'd like to have) - YA Dystopia. Sixteen-year-old Tegan pretty much has it all - a loyal best friend, a cute new boyfriend, and her future looks bright. That, is until, she's shot in the chest, is cryogenically frozen and woken up 100 years later to a very different world ...
MMm ... yes, good. Strong female protagonist? Check. Believable dystopic future? Check? Kick-ass friends? Check. Cute love-interest but no love triangle in sight? CHECK CHECK CHECK :D

Next up is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I've had this book for a few years, but finally made a concerted effort to read it, and I'm glad I did, and this won't be a revelation to anyone who HAS read it but it's so good.

It focuses on Thomas Cromwell, who  was an adviser (I think? To be honest my English history is extremely shaky) to Henry VIII and apparently all up in the whole marriage thing. This is the kind of historical fiction that I love because it makes my brain go OM NOM NOM NOM NOMMMM

I honestly can't remember all that much about this book. Something about a woman who'd been in prison for shooting her husband after he'd shoved her hand in a box of rattlesnakes at gunpoint or ... something?

When she's parolled, she ends up living above the garage of a single professor at the university she starts attending and then ... uh ... stuff happens?

It was fine, I remember reading it in a day, so it wasn't bad. I just haven't retained very much about it at all.

Last but not least: The Shining by Stephen King. Well. IT gave me a fear of clowns. Now, I have an irrational fear of topiary animals. Thanks for that, Stephen King.

Jack takes his wife and young son to the Overlook hotel, where they're going to act as caretakers for the winter off-season.

The Overlook is, of course, haunted ...

The Shining is vintage Stephen King. Don't read late at night, or on your own, or get it wet or feed it after midnight ... wait, that's Gremlins.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Killing the Shadows review

I have to be honest and say I tend to be a bit wary of modern British crime-writers. I love a good mystery, but for some reason I have the impression that there’s a lot of … what I call “Oi, Guv,” in my head in them.

You know – rebelling Against the System and Working too Hard and Having Troubles at Home because of it, and so, usually, I  don’t read them, because I’m not a big fan of personal lives in crime stories. (I’m aware of how that sounds. Hush.)

However, I picked up Killing the Shadows at the library and decided to give it a shot last weekend, and I was pleased I did. I got an intelligent thriller with a solid plotline and characters that I could invest in on a personal and professional level because they had their shit together.

Which just shows, for me, that  you don’t have to produce 500 pages of miseryguts lit to make a decent thriller.

Anyway, that’s enough of that mini-rant. On to the book itself.

Psychologist Fiona Cameron is just coming off the back of working a case with the Met, that ended up going badly and led to Fiona severing her relationship with the System.

However, she gets drawn back in when a killer begins targeting mystery writers, and her partner happens to be bestselling crime writer Kit Martin …

I’m not big on feelings in crime stories, like I say, but I liked Kit and Fiona – they’re a happy, successful couple and goshdarn, I like that.

Killing the Shadows taps along at a pretty good pace, with plenty of gruesomeness – actually, a bit more gruesomeness than I’m comfortable with, and it doesn’t normally doesn’t make me squeamish.

But it’s a good thriller with well-rounded characters and a who-dun-it that really does keep you guessing. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Celebrating favourite things.

Favourite things.

If you ask most people what their favourite book/movie/TV show/etc… is, they often say ‘oh, I can’t pick, there are too many’.

I can pick. Yes, yes I can. I have favourite books, movies, TV shows, chocolate … you get the picture. And for no good reason, other than I haven’t finished my book yet and so can’t write a review, I decided to do a post of my top five favourite favourite things.

Let’s start with movies because … I can.

1)     All About Eve – this is my all-time favourite movie ever. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, but Bette Davis is perfection always, and basically my queen. Trailer:

2)     And okay, yes, this is probably cheating but I’m counting The Lord of the Rings as one movie. Because … I can. I’ve loved the books for years, and as Emma Thompson says in Love, Actually, true love lasts a lifetime.

3)     The Avengers. I cannot express how much I love this movie. It basically has everything I love, and nothing I hate, even after repeated viewings.

4)     Some Like it Hot. Marilyn Monroe! Dudes in dresses! Singing! Shenanigans! One of the best movie endings ever!.

5)     The Matrix. Yes, I know, by now it’s been often imitated in style and suchlike, and the sequels were, quite frankly, pants but  let’s take a moment to appreciate its innovation.

Honorable mentions:
The Women.  Unusal in that the entire cast is women – not a man in sight. It’s deeply catty, but also deeply witty and I’ve always harboured a secret desire to shop in one of those department stores even though they went out with the dinosaur. *sigh*
Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Arnie! Cyborgs! Morphing! Linda  Hamilton kicking ass and not even bothering to take names! I love it. Trailer:
Pan’s Labyrinth. Trailer presented without comment, because
Pitch Perfect. Forget Bridesmaids (which for the record I thought was kind of terrible) – this is the lady-centric movie that you should be watching. Also, Anna Kendrick is flawless. Trailer:
Rise of the Guardians. It’s a shame that this movie didn’t seem to make any noise anywhere, because it is as near to perfect a kid’s movie as I’ve seen in a very long time. Trailer:


My top five favourite books are:

1)     The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien. Yes. Second-favourite movie but all-time favourite book(s). I inhaled the whole thing when I was about 14-15 and it was my gateway book for epic fantasy which I also inhaled for a while, and I will love it forever.

2)     One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve read this three times, the last time being when I was home with Patrick just after I had him – heh. :D It follows the fortunes of one family in the fictional South American town of Macondo. Be warned, though, you need to pay close attention to the family tree, because some of the names are repeated.

3)     The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. I’m cheating again, really, because this is five books, but hey, semantics. I read this a lot as a youngster, when I was about 11 or so. The library had an omnibus of all five books and I remember borrowing it, and borrowing it, and … well, now I have my own copies. I re-read them last year, and they hold up brilliantly. Arthurian legend mixed with a kind of Famous Five feeling, The Dark is Rising makes for great reading at nearly any age.

4)     The Stand by Stephen King. It’s a doorstopper for sure, but it doesn’t even matter because King has such a way with words that you fall into the story of a world gone horribly, badly wrong after  a catastrophic virus is released. There are good guys, bad guys and lots of Big Thoughts.

5)     Persuasion by Jane Austen. My absolute favourite Jane Austen. It’s followed pretty closely by Pride and Prejudice but Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth – for me – trump Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. Anne is so quietly competent, even though she’s been taken for granted for years, and I love the fact that, at 27, she’s older than your average Austen heroine. I love it. I do.

Honourable mentions:
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. This is the only novel I’ve read by Gavriel Kay so far, but I love it so much. This is totally cheating but here’s a review I prepared earlier:
Every Day by David Levithan. ‘A’ wakes up every single day in a different body, inhabiting a different life. When ‘A’ meets Rhiannon, however, ‘A’ starts to want more … ugh, this book broke my heart. It’s so good and so very shattering.
Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness: I recommend this series to everyone. Everyone. The premise is clever and Viola is forever one of my favourite YA heroines.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Oh, God, how I love this book. how I love this book I cannot count the ways.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Honestly, I tracked this down because I was curious to read it after seeing The Hours and I’m very glad I did. I’ve read some of Virginia Woolf’s published diaries, and they’re fascinating reading of a clever woman who battled her inner demons as hard as she could. And hey, look, a review I prepared earlier:


1)     More Than One Way Home by Keb Mo’ – I love the lyrics and the message of the song. It’s uplifting no matter what my mood is.


2)     I Think I Love You Too Much by Jeff Healey ft Mark Knopfler. I can’t even tell you why I love this so much. It speaks to me somehow, on all kinds of levels.


3)     Shady, by Adam Lambert, ft Nile Rodgers and Sam Sparro. I’m putting two videos of this song here – the album track, and the only version of it live with all three of them performing at the We are Family Foundation celebration thing.  I love the vibe of this song. It’s fun and a little bit filthy and pretty much demands to be turned up up up.


4)     Down the Rabbit Hole, Live acoustic version, by Adam Lambert. Two Adam Lambert songs? Yes, hush, this is my list, go make your own ;p. This song is ridiculous. Like. Actually ridiculous, the lyrics make no sense, but it’s so much fun, it’s impossible not to like. Have a listen, judge for yourself:


5)     Girl in a Catsuit by Dave Stewart, ft Orianthi. I wasn’t sure if I liked this song on first listen, because it’s a little bit unusual, but on  a second listen, it really started to grow on me and now it’s a never-go-past when I’m shuffling my ipod (high praise). It’s kind of sly and kind of joyful and it totally has the feel of a song that’s just got away with something.


Honorable mentions:
God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash:
Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men:
Talk Show Host by Radiohead:
Highway Unicorn by Lady Gaga:
Similar Features by Melissa Etheridge:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three short reviews

Three short reviews

Another short reviews post so soon? Well, yes. I’m on holiday, and also on a bit of a reading streak, so I’m getting through some books at a pretty steady clip.

And, I believe I’ve said before, I’m lazy. So short reviews it is.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

Ah, the zombie love-story with a twist. In that it’s the zombie, R, who falls in love with the living girl, Julie … after, that is, he eats her boyfriend’s brain.

Zombies, remember?

Something big and bad has happened, and the world is divided into the Living and the Dead. The Living are confined to large Stadiums (actual sports stadiums), with occasional foraging trips into the dead city, where, of course, the Dead tend to be waiting.

R is slightly different from your average zombie. He seems to still have goals and aspirations, despite well, being dead, and also not remembering anything about his life. And then he meets – and rescues – Julie, and everything changes.

I did enjoy Warm Bodies. I liked it a lot. Lol that’s profound, isn’t it?  There’s lots to consider in such a short book, of course there is, especially given the subject matter, but at its heart, it’s a zombie-meets-girl love story, and although it hints at some profound changes beyond the scope of it, that story is the heart of it. (Could my sentence structure BE more awkward?)

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

I always forget – until I read another one – what a weakness I do have for fairytale retellings.

Rapunzel gets the treatment in Bitter Greens, which is set in 16th and 17th century Italy and France.

In 1697, Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been sent to an isolated convent by the King of France, for licentious behaviour. Charlotte-Rose – used to a life of luxury – has a difficult time adjusting, until one of the older nuns begins telling her a story of a girl called Margherita, who was locked in a tower 100 years ago by a witch …

Bitter Greens weaves the stories of the three women – Margherita, Charlotte-Rose, and Soeur Seraphina – in a truly compelling tale of magic, love and redemption.

Recommended. And then recommended again. :D

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by  Brian Selznick

Hugo Cabret is unusual, in that it’s really part novel, part graphic novel, with about half the book taken up with pictures and sketches, which you do have to pay attention to because they fill in for part of the action.

I’m torn on Hugo Cabret, to be honest. I really want to see the movie, because in the book, neither Hugo nor Isabella, are particularly appealing characters. The story itself – of Hugo being fascinated with clocks and automatons without really knowing why, until he meets an old toymaker – is interesting, even though, for me, it feels a bit rushed.

Overall, good, but for me, not great.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What are you reading on Monday

What are you reading on Monday?

Meme is hosted here:

At the moment, I’m reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.

I’m (obviously) having a bit of a historical fiction moment. :D

This is my second try at Wolf Hall, I didn’t get much further than about 150 pages in last time, but this time around I’m loving it, it’s absolutely fascinating.

I’m really enjoying Bitter Greens, too, which is a Renaissance-era take on the Rapunzel story.

Also in the queue this week, Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchett.

So … what are you reading? J

Friday, January 18, 2013

Short reviews

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

I love the premise of this one. It’s essentially every good thing about Jane Austen novels – satire, sisters,  social commentary, with the addition of magic.

Sisters Melody and Jane Ellsworth are very different from one another – at 28, Jane is heading for spinsterhood while Melody, who is a good 10 years younger than her sister – is flighty and never thinks past the end of her own pretty nose.

Jane Ellsworth is particularly skilled at ‘glamour’ – the use of magic and Melody is… pretty.

I loved the premise so much, and I enjoyed Shades but I wanted to like it more than I did. I think it would have been more cohesive if Kowal had focused on one Austen novel, rather than trying to force elements of all of them into the book. Still, a fun read and an intriguing premise.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

A young woman wakes up in the rain. She has  no memory of herself at all, and she’s surrounded by latex-glove wearing corpses. There’s a letter in her hand, and she opens it to read “The body you are wearing used to be mine.”

So begins The Rook, a very thinky sci-fi novel by Daniel O’Malley. I have to admit, like the heroine of the story, I spent large parts of it massively confused. But O’Malley’s worldbuilding, and the idea that there’s a tradition-steeped, super-secret organisation like The Checquy watching over us, were fascinating enough to keep me going.

I really liked the main character, Myfanwy, who is literally a brand-new person, and the way she sets about finding out what happened to her predecessor.

Confusing and mind-bendy as it is, I would definitely recommend The Rook.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

I joined up at in order to take part in this: and Beauty Queens was the first read for that challenge.

The contestants for Miss Teen Dream have crash-landed on a desert island on their way to the competition. After some Survivor-style in-fighting, the remaining girls figure out how to survive in the hostile environment of the island.

However, not everything is as it seems …

I loved Beauty Queens. Absolutely loved it. The satire – while a bit obvious at times – was incredibly sharp and it’s good to see a book with girls being completely, 100% kick-ass. Even when the sexy pirates show up.

Fun, great stuff. :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oh, hey

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 only brings good things. :-)

I decided not to do a best-of list for 2012 - entirely out of laziness, even though I love reading those lists.

I read 50 books in 2012 (yay!) and I'm aiming/hoping to read 75 in 2013. I also watched 76 movies, so 2012 was a pretty good year for reading/watching.

I'm hoping that in 2013 I can Read All of the Things, and also Watch All of the Things. I already have a pretty extensive list of TV shows.

Other than that, I'm going to try and curb my addiction to iPhone games. So far ... well, let's not talk about how I'm doing so far ...