Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy new year and all that

Goodness, it's 2015. That's come around rather quickly, hasn't it?

I didn't do very much to ring in the New Year - just beetled on with my annual LOTR re-watch and a new cross-stitch project, which is always my very own end of the old year/start of the new year ritual.

Of course, I start thinking about all of the things I could do in the new year, all of the possibilites ... it does feel like turning to a fresh page, doesn't it? There's nothing on there yet, but by the end of the year it will be packed with memories - photos and movie tickets, memorable quotes, lists of books and films and TV shows and Stuff that Spawn Says. Well, mine will be. Also, cats. Always cats.

The photo today is of my optimistic TBR bookcase. There are 85 books on it, and of course I won't get to them all this year, but I'm hoping to make a reasonable dent at least. I'm also going to try and not buy books if I can. Well - not NEW books anyway because they are so very expensive. Bargain, secondhand and withdrawn library books are fair game, however.

My goodreads goal for 2014 year was 75 books. I managed 62 - - which isn't a bad effort. I did fall behind but I'm not losing sleep over it. So I'm going to aim for 75 books again, with a hopeful tilt at reading more diversely.

Which means I'll be going in for the More Diverse Universe challenge later in the year, assuming it's all go again - I hope so. :-)

Other than that I'm not signing up for anything right now. That's part of the trouble with the new year - you feel all earnest and energised and like your cape/hair are blowing gently in the breeze but then you remember things like Real Life and distractions and you kind of go, wait, hang on, I have some VERY IMPORTANT nothing to do right now and .. uh, anyway.

Later on I'll likely sign up for Carl's OUAT and RIP because I always do that and then I forget I've done that and  fail anyway, but I love the IDEA of the challenges so much, so there's that.

And I'm in for another readalong with Trish's readalong gang, although I've consistently failed out of the last two but never mind. Also next up is Goblet of Fire, for Sheila's Harry Potter readalong. Goblet of Fire is my favourite of the Harry Potter books, so I'm looking forward to that.

I am going to try, if I can manage it, to make 2015 The Year of the Series. I'm terrible with series - I'll read one book and then not pick up the next one for months and years and wonder what on earth is going on. THIS year, all going to plan, I'm going to read Stephen King's The Wasteland and also Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. I'm also going to search for two series by writers of colour, to balance out the white dude-ness.

My plan, such as it is, is to read one series book, another book, second series book, another book .... you get the idea.

So for 2015, I'm hoping to read more widely and diversely, actually make my goodreads goal, FINISH at least, say, four? series, read more graphic novels and uh...

Oh. Non-reading. I want to finish two cross-stitch projects. One for myself that I've been working on on and off for about 10 years, and one for a friend, that I started this week.

And, I don't know, save a puppy from a burning building maybe

What do you want your 2015 to look like?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

An anniversary, sort of

I realised last week that on Friday, I would have been blogging here for seven years. I meant to do a post on Friday, but sunk into post-Christmas laziness instead. Yesterday I went out into the real world (went to a friend's), and so here I am, hastily writing a post before I forget.

My modest goal, at the time, was to have somewhere to record an also modest goal of reading one classic novel a month, and maybe a space to write some reviews.

Over the years, of course, my focus has shifted slightly. Some years I've hardly blogged at all. This year, I made more of an effort because I do like my little corner, but I've ... I can't really say expanded. I don't really post many reviews, but that's fine. I half-decided to try this new thing instead, where I talk about life and books and cats and spawn and general things.

It's sort of working.

Seven years ago, I poked my nose over the book-blogging fence. There wasn't anyone at first I could say "hi" to, but I went out in search of other bloggers, and memes, and put myself out there as it were.

This tiny space has never, and will never be a place people visit for deep and insightful reviews, or posts. But I hope in my ramblings about books, cats, spawn and life in general, people find something to smile at, and something they recognise.

Onward, yes?


Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted by Sheila here:

I missed last week because I forgot to put the post up. I had it written early and efficiently and then I forgot. Oop.

Anyway. I finished Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday for Sheila’s readalong, so I’m going to dig into Bag of Bones over Christmas for Trish’s readalong. Festive, no?

I also have Hogfather by Mr Sir Terry Pratchett to read, and it’s out of order for my Discworld read all of the books, but it’s Christmas, so that might showup as well.

The week before,  I read Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - it’s a sort of sequel to Code Name Verity and is just as heartbreaking in its own way.

I also read The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. It’s not a very long book at all - really a very well illustrated short story - but it’s chilling and odd and heartbreaking.

I was picking at Throne of Glass on iBooks but I sensed the presence of a love triangle looming, and some of the plot points were puzzling, so it’s gone on to the metaphorical perilous shelf for now.

Instead, at lunchtime, I’ve picked up The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which is so far, so good.

What are you reading?

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I failed out of Trish's Drood readalong pretty hard, but I promised myself I'd be back for this one, so here I am - ready for some Stephen King.

I just finished Revival, which I liked a lot and I'm eyeing the Dark Tower series for January maybe, so I'm definitely in a King place.

I read Bag of Bones many years ago and remember enjoying it very much, so this is a very timely readalong because I have been meaning to re-read it for some time.

If you want in on the fun, the link is here:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted here:

I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for Sheila’s readalong/re-read. I’m going to do a big post at the end. Actually I think that I might even do a vlog, and just ramble for a bit - lol.

Other than that I still have Stephen King’s Revival on the go, and I’m hoping to finish it this week. We’ll see.

My lunchtime read on iBooks is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I like the premise, and the writing is decent, so, so far so good.

After that, of course, is Prisoner of Azkaban for the readalong, and then … I’m not sure.

I went to the library on Saturday and I’ve got a bit of a stack going on there. I also bought The Miseducation of Cameron Porter on ibooks on the recommendation of a friend.

There are a few others on the horizon, but I can’t think of any right now.

Oh!!  Trish’s readalong for December - more Stephen King! I’m definitely joining in for this one. We’re reading Bag of Bones. It’s been many years since I picked it up but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

What are you reading?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted by Sheila here:

I had to stop and think for a minute - what AM I reading?

I finished The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld, a short but very powerful novel, narrated by an inmate on death row. It's infused with a lot of magic realism, I think, and it's also very hard to describe. It's well worth a read, though.

Stephen King's new book, Revival, came out last week, so I have that on the go as well.

My lunchtime reading is a novel for $2 that I found on iBooks called UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn.  It's not the best book ever, but it's readable and nice and easy for workday lunches.

I did start Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, which I was liking a lot but I realised it's a spinoff from The Vampire Academy novels, so I want to go back to the start on those.

And, of course, up next is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for Sheila's readalong.

I've decided, I think, not to do a post for every book, but to do a wrap-up post at the end. I'll see how I go.

What are you reading?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Challenging times

I love reading challenges. I mean, I think I love the IDEA of reading challenges more than the challenges themselves, though that never stops me from rampantly signing up.

Patrick is out at a birthday party, so I'm using this small, unexpected window of peace to do an update post.

I definitely failed out of the 2014 TBR challenge hosted here: - I think I read four or five of the books I'd  pulled off my shelves, but I'm going to re-do my TBR shelf and sign up again, because hope springs eternal and all that.

I have, however, managed to do reasonably well on the women writer's challenge, hosted here:

I signed up to read at least 20 books by women writers, and so far I've read 31, out of the 54 books I've read this year. I still need to work on diversifying my reading, but it's a decent start, I think.

If that's on offer again next year, I'll definitely sign up again, with a focus on diversity. And, of course, I'll try and dovetail it with the More Diverse Universe challenge:

Two challenges I consistently fail out of are Once Upon a Time and RIP, and I don't know why because sci fi and fantasy and horror/suspense are some of my favourite genres. Perhaps 2015 will be my year.

Who knows, right?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's Monday ...

Sheila hosts the meme here:

I'm eleven books behind on my goodreads challenge, apparently. Hrm.

Anyway. I had a reasonably productive week last week, I think. I read Fox Forever, which is the last book in the Jenna Fox Chronicles and it was a satisfying end to the series. I highly, highly recommend The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and while I didn't like the two sequels quite as much, I did enjoy them.

I also read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for Sheila's Harry Potter readalong. I just finished watching the movies, and intended to re-read the books after, so the readalong was very timely.

I also read The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison and by "read" I mean "inhaled it in two days and then made whale noises into a cushion." It's so so SO GOOD.

Right now, I'm reading The Enchanted, by Rene Denfeld, which is good so far, and also short, which is what I need at the moment.

Up next, of course, is The Chamber of Secrets.

What are you reading?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

In .. out ...

Time goes fast.

It’s a cliche, I know, but it’s also very, very true.

It’s January, and you turn around and suddenly it’s November and everyone is talking Christmas.

You have a baby, blink, and he’s seven.

I try not to think about it too much, because Patrick is doing what he’s supposed to do - growing up, going to school, making friends, being curious about the world, asking me about who controls souls (yes, really) … that kind of thing.

One of the things that he’s still … wee? small? young enough to want are big, big cuddles. He comes up to me with his big blue eyes, and his spray of freckles across his nose, and says “I want to be on you, Mummy.”

And one day, one day in the not-too-distant future, I’m going to turn around, or I’m going to blink, and I’m not going to remember when the last time was he asked me that question. Asking to be lifted up on to my lap for a cuddle, even though he’s only a head shorter than me now. When he does do that, my favourite thing for myself to do is to spread my fingers over his ribcage, and feel him breathing, in … out … in … out

I think about how I grew him. How I pretty much fell in love the second I saw the positive test, and how, when I finally held him for the first time as a baby, I realised that here was the person I would die for if I had to. I would walk in front  of a train for him without thinking.

It’s a profound, and terrifying thought.

Now, he’s seven, and has his own quirks, and charms, and interests. But he’s still small enough to need to crawl on to my lap; still young enough to need the reassurance of my arm around him, still wee enough that I can spread my hand over his ribcage and feel him breathing, in … out … in … out

The day will come that I no longer get to do that. He’ll be too old, too big, too eager for bigger things.

Meanwhile, I hold on to what I can, without holding him back, I hope.

I put my hand on his ribcage - a ribcage that I formed - and I feel him breathing. In … out … in … out

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Talking about cats. Well. A cat.

Everyone’s read those stories about the neighbourhood cat who embarasses their human servants by stealing small, portable household items - socks and the like.

But what if you have one of those cats, and that cat is agoraphobic?

Meet Sophie.

Sophie is a black and white domestic short-haired spayed female cat. We got her from the SPCA in January of 2013, so she’s nearly two years old.

She’s also a massive weirdo.

I don’t blog about our individual cats very often but I feel that an agoraphobic sock-stealer warrants a few words.

She will go outside - she actually waits for the front door to open, bolts outside and then turns around like she’s saying “I have made a terrible mistake.”

If she’s out for longer than a few minutes, she goes under the house and we get to hear about her trials and tribulations until J can coax her back in.

The socks … our hallway is always decorated with at least two socks. I wear thick socks instead of slippers and I’ll often find one or two of them in the hallway. Given half a chance, she’ll also pinch them straight out of drawers if the drawers are left open enough for her to get her paw in.

I went into Patrick’s room one day and she’d emptied his whole socks and undies drawer on to the floor. I can’t even imagine why.

She’s not a lap cat, in the traditional sense. She won’t sit on my lap at all if I’m on the couch. If I’m on the bed, or in the bed reading, however, I am - apparently - fair game.

She has a permanently startled look, not aided by the fact that her face looks like she stuck it in an inkwell and the colour stuck.

She is odd, and endearing and squawks when she meows, like she never learned how to make the noise properly.

An agoraphobic, sock-stealing cat who can’t meow properly and who has her own very clear boundaries with humans.

Well. It could be WORSE.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Harry Potter re-read

Fun, fun, fun!! Sheila of is hosting a Hary Potter re-readalong. The details can be found here:

It’s oddly timely for me because I’ve been re-watching the movies - I still have The Deathly Hallows Part 2 to go - and I was planning on re-reading the books once I was done, so this is actually perfect.

So I’m signing in for the readalong as a seventh-year Slytherin.

Yes, Slytherin. I joined Pottermore and got sorted and everything.

Hogwarts awaits!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Monday, what are you reading?

Your meme is hosted by Sheila here:

I have to admit, I’ve had a reasonably productive weekend. By which I mean I finally finished two of the books I talked about in my readathon vlog. *Ahem.*

I finished Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie on Saturday, and it’s always a pleasure for me to revisit Dame Christie. I love a good mystery.

Yesterday I finished Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson - a re-telling of Peter Pan of sorts. It focuses on the character of Tiger Lily, who was a relatively minor presence in the original novel. It’s narrated by Tinker Bell, and fleshes out Neverland in some very interesting and unexpected ways. I did enjoy it rather a lot and it made me unexpectedly melancholy at the end, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I’ve had to rather shamefully bail on Trish’s readalong of Drood by Dan Simmons. I started it, and immediately found it incomprehensible. So. Onward.

I am a massive, massive idiot and it took me absolutely forever to realise that I could use my iPad mini as an e-reader. I had an e-reader - a Sony - that I basically never used so I gave it to J. THEN I saw a promo on facebook for like, iBooks where you could get the first of a series for free.


So that’s what I did. Which is a very roundabout way of saying that one of the books I have on the go is The  Maze Runner. it was cheap on iBooks and so it’s my lunchtime book. It’s not bad but  I’m finding it a little bit … YOU KNOW NOTHING JON SNOW which is irritating.

I’m also reading Fox Forever, book three of the Jenna Fox series. I only started it today, but so far, so good.

What are you reading?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Readathon end of event meme

Once again, fashionably late!

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Uhm, waiting for it to start, I think, given that it starts at 1am my time - lol.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I was reading Agatha Christie, which are short, punchy detective novels, so those would be good.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope :-)
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Social media engagement. It's hard to strike that balance, but it's also fun to go hang out on twitter and find like-minded souls.
  5. How many books did you read? 2/3 of one book.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Elephants Can Remember which I STILL  haven't finished.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? N/A
  8. Which did you enjoy least? N/A
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Have fun!!! There's always boatloads of readers so don't get bogged down. Follow the excellent spreadsheet, stay positive and have fun! 
  10.  How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Very. What role would you be likely to take next time? Little bit of both, like this year :-)
Lastly, a massive, massive shout out to Andi and Heather who keep the readathon going every year - it's a huge job and it seems to keep growing. You rock your socks, ladies. :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Sparrow review

I barged in on the readalong for this which was held by Trish at

We're Drood-ing this month, with Drood by Dan Simmons aka the book that is bigger than one of my cats: I actually ended up buying it on iBooks because holy crap. You could take out an orc with that thing.

Anyway. The Sparrow. 
In 2060, Father Emilio Sandoz has returned from a disastrous mission to the planet of Rakhat.

The planet had been discovered some 40 years before, and the Jesuits had hastily pulled together a disparate group of people - including Father Sandoz - to travel to the planet.

The mission doesn’t go how anyone envisioned it.

Forty years on, Father Sandoz is back as the only survivor of the mission, nearly broken in body, mind and spirit.

The Sparrow goes back and forth in time, from 2060 back to 2019, where it explores the background of Emilio and the other people drawn in for the mission to Rakhat.

It’s clear from the start that the mission ended in tragedy and chaos, and it’s up to Father Sandoz’s Jesuit order to try and piece together exactly what happened.

This is my second reading of The Sparrow and somehow I’d forgotten what an emotional whumpage of a book it is.

I remember loving it, but somehow forgot the bit where it tore my heart out and ate it in front of me.

It tackles some very, very big themes - the nature and existence of God, faith, love, life … all filtered through the eyes of Father Sandoz, the crew who first travel to Rakhat, and the Jesuits charged with Father Sandoz’s care after he’s brought back to earth.

It’s like. This book broke my heart and then stomped on the fragile fragments, grinding them to dust.

Here, read it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dogside Story review - A More Diverse Universe challenge

Dogside Story is set at the end of the last millennium, and there’s unrest in the whanau. Te Rua, a young man with a life that he likes - he’s got his own little house up in the bush, he fishes for what he needs and for what the whanau needs - comes to realise that he needs to do more. He needs to claim his daughter Kid (Kiri) in order to get her away from The Two - sisters Babs and Amaria - who have raised Kiri from a baby.

They are, however, not kind women. They’re not kind to Kiri - leaving her home alone (she’s 10) and forcing her to cook and clean for them.

When Kiri is injured, Rua realises that it’s time for him to step up, and be the parent that Kiri needs, even though it means bringing secrets to light that the whanau have kept for 10 years.

He’s been reluctant before, thinking that it should be up to the kaumatua to deal with the Two, and to get Kiri away from them. However, once Rua acknowledges what happened 10 years ago in a meaningful way, he knows it’s up to him.

But the sisters don’t want to let Kiri go. There’s something else festering in Dogside - but what is it?

I have to confess, I don’t read as much New Zealand fiction as I should. That’s doubly true for Maori literature, so A More Diverse Universe at meant I had no excuse.

I picked up Dogside Story when I was trying to find The Bone People in the library, but I’m honestly not disappointed. Dogside Story was such an interesting story, and along with the drama of Rua and The Two, there’s so much loving description of the landscape itself, of the marae, of the history steeped into this small Maori coastal community, and it all kind of knits together.

As a Kiwi who grew up in the 80s, a time when Maori was just being introduced back into schools (I think, that’s how I remember it anyway), Dogside Story represents a kind of immersion for me into a world that I never ever knew, because you can’t compare token school marae visits to actually living it (ugh, I’ve expressed that badly, I’m sorry), but I still felt at home in Dogside Story somehow.

It’s not my experience at all, but it feels familiar and deeply rooted in a New Zealand - or Aotearoa - landscape, that may not be mine, but I feel like I recognise it.

Rua is an interesting and sympathetic main character, and though it took me a little while to get everyone straight in my head, once I did, I was away laughing. The Two come across a little two-dimensional at first, but when Rua starts digging, and starts demanding answers of their treatment of Kiri, and also demands that the kaumatua stand up and hold them to account - more comes out about their past and I felt a grudging sympathy.

Dogside Story was so interesting, and so very readable. And I’ve rambled and not made a lot of sense, I know, but I definitely recommend it. Also yay, I actually finished the challenge this time!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Three short reviews

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Jonas is a member of the Community - a safe, enclosed society that dedicates itself to Sameness and a bland, beige kind of world.

When Jonas and the other Twelves of his Community are called to their assigned life-long tasks, which they will be trained and work in,  Jonas is left until the end, when he finds out he is to be the new Receiver of Memories - the receptacle of all human memory. A burden that is only taken on by one person in a generation, so as to preserve the Community’s bland and safe lifestyle.

However, Jonas soon finds out that even in such a safe place, dark secrets are lurking. And he has a choice to make - one that could have far-reaching implications.

I loved The Giver. I keep coming back to bits and pieces of it, like Jonas and the present Receiver, and their relationship, and how Jonas first discovers memories of such simple things as snow.

The relationship between Jonas and the Receiver itself is surprisingly warm and has a lot of depth, which gives Jonas the catalyst to take the action that he does towards the end of the book.

It’s a short book, but it packs the whump of an emotional Whomping Willow Tree.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Mia is hovering on the brink of life and death, after a terrible car accident. Her parents and younger brother die in the crash but Mia is clinging on and the story is narrated from her point of view as she contemplates whether to stay, or whether to move on.

She dives into her memories - not just of the day itself, but of her family, and the very deep and great sense of loss that she has is definitely felt.

If I Stay is another short book, but it has such emotional depth that you kind of forget it’s not 500 pages long.

Moving Pictures by Mr Sir Terry Pratchett

This is, I think, the 10th Discworld novel? I’m slowly picking my way through them in publishing order.

For some reason it took me absolutely ages to read this one.

Something is coming through a small, tiny tear in the fabric of reality. That something will draw peole to Holy Wood - people like Ginger, who wants to be more than a milkmaid, and Victor - can’t sing, can’t dance, can handle a sword a little - and Cut My Own Throat Dibbler, who may not know a lot of things, but he sure knows how to sell dubious sausages.

Moving Pictures is pretty classic Pratchett humour - funny and satiric with a healthy dose of magic and absurdity. Good times.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Monday ...

Your meme is hosted here by Sheila:

It’s been a few weeks for me, because I had a bit of a slow-down. I have no idea whether I’m back on track or not, but at least I won’t be repeating myself with what I’m reading.

I finished The Giver by Lois Lowry and If I Stay by Gayle Foreman in reasonably quick succession, and liked both of them a lot, although I liked The Giver more.

Then I troughed for a bit before picking up Moving Pictures by Mr Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve been trying - off and on, and more off than on lately - to read all of the Discworld novels in publishing order. When I started, I hadn’t read any and wondered - upon reading The Colour of Magic - what on earth I had been doing with my life up till that point.

I finished Moving Pictures on Saturday and hopefully will get on to the next one in relatively short order.

I’m also re-reading The Sparrow for Trish’s readalong: I forgot how much I LOVE The Sparrow.

At work, my lunchtime reading at the moment is Sand by Hugh Howey. I acutally liked Wool a lot better, but Sand is still pretty readable.

What are you reading?

Friday, September 5, 2014

RIP IX, Sparrow readalong and a More Diverse Universe .

I’m failing pretty epically at the TBR challenge and the women writer’s challenge, although I haven’t added up the numbers for the latter in a while. For TBR though, I lost track of it in….. May.

However, it’s time for RIP IX and although I also failed out of Once Upon A Time (again), I see no reason to let that stop me. So I’m signing up for RIP IX and have hastily put together a small pile of books for Peril the First.

I’m going to read (re-read in all cases but one, I realise) Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, By The Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie, My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier and Bag of Bones by Stephen King.

I’m also going to do Peril on the Big Screen and watch the recent remake of Rosemary’s Baby - the miniseries with . Zoe Saldana? That one.

One of my favourite books is The Sparrow, by Maria Doria Russell and I discovered - on instagram actually - that Trish  of is hosting a readalong this month. So, naturally, I barged in. :D I”m hoping to start it tomorrow.

Lastly, Aarti of is holding another A More Diverse Universe reading challenge. It’s a great challenge that I also failed out of last year, but I’m going to give it another go. It’s super simple: read and review a book by a person of colour during the last two weeks of September. That’s it. The sign-up post is here:

I don’t have a book picked out for it yet, but I’m going to do that this week. I’m aiming for something by either a Maori writer, or at least a writer from the South Pacific. I need to do some spelunking. :D

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Innocence review

Addison Goodheart lives below the city, only coming out at night. Whenever anyone sees his face, they have an immediate and visceral reaction and try to attack him.

Addison lives an ordered, considered life. He explores the city after dark, and he mourns the man he called Father, who had taken care of Addison before his own life was cruelly taken.

Everything changes for Addison one night when he saves a girl from a monster with a human face in the library. In the blink of an eye, both Addison and Gwyneth's lives are changed forever.

Dean Koontz can certainly get to  the dark heart of the human condition, and there's a lot of bleakness in Innocence. I keep meaning to dive into his early works, which I never have, because I understand he took a turn somewhere along the way.

Anyway. Good v evil, true love, and also dogs.

It could be worse.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted here:

I finished A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold and goodness me, that was quite a ride between weddings and people dying and dragons and all sorts. I loved it.

I'm halfway through The Long Earth, but I've struck a bit of a dry patch with it, so I've put it on what my workmates and I call the perilous shelf for now.

I also started Innocence by Dean Koontz which isn't bad so far, and I have a non-fiction book on Nefertiti on the to-read pile as well.

What are you reading?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Above by isla Morley review

Given my blog name, and the fact that it's a books blog of sorts (very general sorts, the kind of sorts that get cast in crowd shots in movies, or as zombies 55-67 in the Walking Dead) I've decided to give this whole reviewing thing another shot.

Anyway. First off the shelf so to speak, is Above, by Isla Morley.

It caught my eye in the bookstore, and given that it was payday and I lack moral fibre, I bought it, despite books costing HELLA MONEY here in New Zealand.

But the back cover promised me much, things like TRUST NO ONE in big shouty letters and something like NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS which led me to believe there would be an awesome plot twist.


Anyway. At 16, Blythe Hallowell is kidnapped by extreme survivalist Dobbs Hordin, who worked in her school library. He puts her in a silo, and plans for the end of the world.

So far, so interesting. But there were many things about Above that I couldn't get my head around.

Blythe herself, for one. She's a shadowy character, and it makes the book feel a bit slippery, as she's the one narrating the story. Dobbs is a pretty standard villain type, and while there are a few rants here and there about the impending end of the world, his reasoning isn't really fully explored. He does see Blythe as the saviour of the new world and basically as the mother of the new race to come. So, unpack that any way you like, but Above does get pretty dark.

Spoilers ahead I guess?

Above covers many years in the silo with Blythe - and eventually her son, Adam, and Dobbs, and it's all rather .... hopeless.

Until of course, Blythe and Adam escape finally, and head out into the real world.

Where the whole NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS thing comes in. I had the most trouble with this part of the book - it drags and sags a bit under the weight of the reveal that you know is coming and honestly if I were watching a movie, this is the bit I would fast-forward.

The premise of Above is interesting, and super-promising, but I feel like it falls short of that promise. It's a good idea, it just didn't quite come off for me.

Moral of the story: If a book has BIG SHOUTY WORDS on the back cover, don't believe the hype.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Monday

The meme is hosted here:

Most recently I've finished V for Vendetta, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Wool by Hugh Howey and Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber.

That looks like quite the list, but I haven't done this meme in about a month - lol.

As for what I'm reading now, I'm deep in book three part two of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold. I'm also still picking at The Two Towers and I have The Long Earth on my radar as well.

What are you reading?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stuff, some things maybe

It's Sunday night, I have a Lily-scarf across my neck, so of course it's the perfect time for a vague sort of life-update post.

I say "vague" because not a lot has been happening, really. Patrick turned seven(!!!) last month, I turned 43(!!!) a couple of weeks ago, and life shuffles along as it is wont to do.

Patrick asked me a few weeks ago if scientists were real, because he wanted to know if he could learn to make potions. After assuring him that yes, scientists are real, he now wants to be  a chemist. It's an advance on a ninja or Spider-man anyway.

All valid career choices, obviously.

Work remains work-ish. There's not a lot to say when you literally, actually work in an office from 9-5.

The period of doom hasn't returned *fingers crossed*, and now I'm just waiting to hear about a scan.

I saw What We Do in the Shadows - a Kiwi-made vampire comedy - yesterday, and it's hilarious. Very, very Kiwi in its sensibilities and sense of humour, and very unapologetic about it.

Great fun.

Uh ...... I also slayed a dragon and discovered life on a distant planet.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted by Sheila, here:

It's been a couple of weeks, I'm not sure what happened there.

Anyway. I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it remains as devastating as ever.

I also embarked on another graphic novel, and read the first part of Y: The Last Man. I liked it a lot, but I'm going to dig deeper into it before I go any further than "like."

I finally picked up Shirley Jackson, and read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is a creepy little novel.

I finished Dog Will Have His Day, which is .... odd. Interesting, but kind of odd. However, that might have been the translation, I'm not sure.

I'm still reading Wool, and The City & The City. I got Mr Mercedes by Stephen King for my birthday last week, and I'm half way through that.

That's ... a lot of dudes. Next up, to balance the universe, a lot of ladies.

What are you reading?

Monday, June 2, 2014

It's Monday

It's that time of the week. :-)

Your meme is hosted by Sheila, here:

I finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Levy last week, and I have to say I liked it really rather a lot. It's set in 1920s Alaska, and it felt like the landscape was a whole other character.

It's based on the old fairytale which, from memory ends rather sadly, but The Snow Child was great. A little sad, but great.

I also read Daytripper, a graphic novel by Fabio Moon. It's a kind of day in the life/stream of consciousness thing, which highlights different days in one man's life. At the end of each segment, the man dies, and it all kind of knits together at the end. I really, really enjoyed it.

I also read The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon, which was a nice, light read after the previous two angst-fests.

Now, I'm reading Wool by Hugh Howey, and I'm about to start Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas, and embark on a re-read of The City & The City by China Mieville with Jodie. And I'm slowly making my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude for the fourth time.

What are you reading?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan is framed as the memoirs of the early days of famed dragon naturalist, Lady Isabelle Trent.

Lady Isabelle decides to write her own story her own way, and delves into her own early life with refreshing honesty.

I was, I have to say, expecting more dragons, but ultimately A Natural History of Dragons isn't really about dragons at all, but about Lady Isabelle forging her own path in a world that has very definite ideas about what is and is not suitable for a young lady.

Needless to say, Isabelle has her own ideas on what's appropriate, and before she knows it she's on an expedition with her new husband to a remote location to study dragons.

I enjoyed A Natural History of Dragons, but I felt like I was waiting for something to happen the whole time. There's a lot of sort of .. running about with not getting much done, and a sub-plot that reminded me of an Enid Blyton novel I read as a youngster (I can't remember the name of it - it had Mountain in the title), and then at the end there's a bit of a rush of  A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENING VERY QUICKLY and it felt a bit unbalanced.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

It's Monday

Your meme is hosted here:

I'm about halfway through One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I'm reading on my lunchbreaks at work, so it's slow-going.

It's always good to revisit a favourite though.

I started The Snow Child by Eowyn Levy yesterday, and on Saturday, finished The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.

Not sure what's up next, but I'm hopefully back on track after a relatively slow reading patch.

What are you reading?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Health stuff and hey I read some books

See here:

And now, the sequel. (This gets TMI for anyone who's a bit delicate about discussion of interior ladyparts).

I went back to the doc, and I'm anemic (which, I had my period for three weeks, NO SHIT SHERLOCK) and I have an infection. So I have iron tablets and antibiotics. Yay.

Anyway. I'm waiting to hear back from the hospital about an ultrasound, and after that the doc said the next likely step would be a Mirena coil, which is apparently a tiny magic piece of plastic that gets fitted inside your ladyparts, lasts for five years, and reduces/stops your period.

I AM VERY ON BOARD WITH THIS. But nothing can happen till after the scan. Doc said getting the coil fitted wouldn't be my best day ever but honestly after the period of doom, I don't care - lol.

I also learned that, at the tender age of 42, I'm not menopausal. So, there's that.

And that's what you missed on Glee!

Now, reading. I'm a bit behind with the goodreads challenge now - six books apparently - but I have finished a few since I last did a mini-reviews post. I'm not going to do another one now - I'm too lazy - but suffice it to say I'm keeping up with my challenges - Women Writers, the TBR challenge and also Once Upon a Time, so there's that at least.

Most recently I've finished
A Storm of Swords part 1 by George R R Martin
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Adaptation by Miranda Lo
While We Run by Karen Healey.

I've had a good run because I did enjoy all of those books a lot. Especially Adaptation, and While We Run, which is the sequel to Healey's novel When We Wake. I'm going to hand-wave writing reviews because I'm lazy and still kind of recovering.

Now I'm re-reading One Hundred Years of Solitude for the fourth time (RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and reading A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan which is taking me ages to finish for some reason.