Thursday, 14 December 2017

Review - Relics by Tim Lebbon

Angela Gough is leading a happy if unremarkable life when her fiance Vince disappears.

Angela sets out to find him, and discovers that the London she thought she knew is actually a much, much stranger place than she could possibly have imagined.

Beings that were assumed to be nothing more than myths and legends turn out to be real - and the black market that deals in their artifacts is also very, very real.

Angela finds out that Vince has been working for a London gangster and retrieving these artifacts for his collection.

However, someone else is out there as well, and they are bent on killing the Kin that remain...

I have to admit, my reaction to Relics was a bit ambivalent. I enjoyed the pace of the story, and I really enjoyed the premise, but there was something about the execution that kind of made me think "... more?" I'm not sure what it was, or why, but I wanted there to be more to it than there was.

Having said that, it's the first book in a projected trilogy, so hopefully the elements that I found really fascinating - the idea of the Kin, and their fight for survival - might be more prominent in the next instalment.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Sunday Post 80, It's Monday, what are you reading? 65


The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to have a chat and a catch-up - is hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see ... mostly I've been working, I think. The job is going well, though, and I seem to be settling in okay. (I tend to underplay things because I'm naturally superstitious about ... everything - lol).

The Santa parade was on here last Saturday, so I took spawn to that. It was hot and humid, but I found a shady spot and parked myself. Spawn found a school friend to pass the time with, and every so often he'd come and tell me what he'd seen. Last Sunday I went to Murder on the Orient Express with a friend, and I have to say, as dubious as I found Kenneth Branagh's Poirot, I did enjoy the movie.

I've got all the Christmas shopping done - it's been a lean year, so I've not got anything for J - I'm not sure if I'll manage to or not. However, spawn is taken care of and while it's not a lot of stuff, I've managed to get him what he asked for, so hopefully he'll be happy on the day. We tend to have a quiet Christmas with just the three of us, which is nice. If not, we'll likely go to my sister's for Christmas dinner. I like Christmas but I'm not one for decorating the whole house with Christmas lights and a tree in every room. Our tree isn't even up yet because of the cats - lol.

As for reading, I have finished a couple of books - Some Kind of Wonderful by Barbara Feehy and Afternoon Tea at the Sunshine Cafe by Milly Johnson. I enjoyed both of them though they didn't particularly wow me.

I still have Hamilton on the go, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through Fire and Water, an M/M romance novel by Andrew Grey. I'm not sure what's up next - either Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King, or It Devours, the new Night Vale novel.

I have a tradition every year at the end of the year - I re-watch the LOTR movies and start a new cross-stitch project. These are the choices for this year's project. I'm leaning towards the Nefertiti pattern, but the skin tones are very pale and she has blue eyes. So if I chose that one, I'd want to change the skin tone colours.

And of course starting something doesn't mean I'll finish it - I have quite a few starts. But it's about the journey for me.

How about you? How's your week? What are you reading?

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Review - If I Wake by Nikki Moyes

Lucy is 16 years old. Her best friend - who she only sees in her dreams - is Will, someone she encounters at various periods in history.

Lucy lives for these dreams and times with Will, as in the real world Lucy is bullied at school, and somewhat overlooked by her mother.

Lucy's mother can't understand why Lucy will sometimes sleep for days at a time, but instead of talking to Lucy, her mother simply goes to the next doctor, and the next, looking for a quick fix.

However, it's not that simple, and when Lucy is hospitalised after a suicide attempt and is in a coma for a time, Lucy starts to realise that there might be more at stake.

I liked a lot about If I Wake - the dream sequences with Will that were grounded in real historical time-periods, Lucy herself and her struggle to just breathe some days - they kept me reading.

However, and it's a bit nitpicky, when Lucy was admitted to hospital - more than once over the course of the book - and she came to be released, it seemed the hospital let her go very easily even though on more than one occasion Lucy had suffered pretty serious injuries. But instead of dealing with that, the book would skip over them and Lucy would be back at school

Apart from that - and that was pretty jarring on occasion - If I Wake is a pretty good what-if YA romance/fantasy read.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Sunday Post 79, It's Monday, What are you reading? 64


The Sunday Post is a chance for a chat and catch-up with other bloggers. It's hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

First of all, thank you to everyone who left kind comments on my last Sunday Post about Sophie. I didn't respond individually, but I did read all of the comments and appreciate them greatly. So - thank you.

Now, let's see ... I'm largely settled in to a routine (I hope) with work and suchlike, so there's that. Now it's just the delicate balancing act which is so much fun. Which is why I finally caved and bought a crock pot - lol.

Other than that, things have been fairly quiet. Patrick had his first communion today - his choice, so we spent part of the afternoon at church. They also did a batch of baptisms and confirmations, so it was a LONG afternoon.

I did manage to write and schedule a couple of posts last week (yay me) and I'm going to do the same for this week - I have a couple of reviews to write. I also need to do some research for the next awesome ladies post, which is the 10th century artist Ende.

I'm back to reading the Alexander Hamilton biography at lunchtime at work, but other than that I don't have anything started, so I'm not entirely sure what's next.

What about you? How's your week? What are you reading?

Friday, 24 November 2017

Awesome ladies - Wang Zhenyi

Wang Zhenyi was an astronomer, scientist, poet and scholar in 18th century China, under the Qing dynasty.


She was raised by her father and grandparents (the wikipedia article makes no mention of her mother) and, against the traditions of the time for women, worked to educate herself in maths, physics, astronomy and geography. She had a good academic grounding provided by both her grandparents, and her father, and was able to study a wide range of subjects.


Although Wang Zhenyi died young, at the age of 29, she made a significant contribution to the scientific community, particularly in astronomy.


Wang Zhenyi married at the age of 25, but had no children.


She also wrote poetry during her short lifetime, and mastered difficult mathematical theories. When she knew she was dying, she passed all of her papers on to a trusted friend.


She believed in equality between the sexes, which was reflected in her poetry:


It's made to believe,
Women are the same as Men;
Are you not convinced,
Daughters can also be heroic?”


A driven and passionate scholar with a wide range of academic interests and skills, some of Wang Zhenyi’s works survive, though some papers were believed to be lost after her death.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Short reviews

Working It by Christine d’Abo


Noah is ready for a new start after a serious traffic accident left him with severe anxiety and PTSD. He takes a job as personal assistant to the head of IT for a major company.


Zack has burned through his last four admin assistants, and doesn’t see why Noah would be any different. Noah, however, gets under Zack’s skin very quickly and the pair find they have more in common than first thought. Zack is trying to get his passion project - a battered old boxing gym - off the ground, and Noah - Noah is just trying to get through.


This is actually a pretty sweet M/M romance. Zack is kind of a butt at first, but he’s patient with Noah when Noah’s anxiety surfaces, and Noah. Listen. I will fight bears for Noah.

A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susannah Gregory


It’s 1348. At Cambridge University, Matthew Bartholomew is a doctor with revolutionary ideas about medicine and treatment. He’s also a teacher of medicine at the university.


When the Master of Michaelhouse dies unexpectedly in an apparent suicide, Matthew finds himself drawn in to intrigues and conspiracies. And all the while, the Black Death stalks the streets.


I love a good medieval mystery and A Plague on Both Your Houses doesn’t disappoint, although it gets a bit wavery in the middle, story-wise. It’s also the first book in the series, however, and I have high hopes about the rest.


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


Alice has a bad fall at the gym, hits her head, and somehow loses 10 years of her life. Instead of the 39-year-old divorcee with two children, Alice believes she’s 29 years old, blissfully happy with her husband and about to have her first baby.


Alice has to navigate some very choppy waters, including the fact that her ex-husband seems to hate her, she’s an obsessive gym bunny and she has no idea where to start.


What Alice Forgot takes a bit to get going, and I found myself getting oddly impatient with Alice at certain parts of the book.


Overall a good read, though.


Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire.


I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I mean. Um. Jack and Jill (twins) are characters in Every Heart a Doorway, the first book in the series, and Down Among the Sticks and Bones - a standalone novel in the series - tells their story; of the Moors that they ended up in when they took the stairs that suddenly appeared in their house.


It’s a short book at less than 200 pages, but the punch is a whack around the head. It’s just. It’s so good. Jack is great, and Jill … knowing what happens with the twins in Every Heart a Doorway gives Sticks and Bones more emotional impact, and let me tell you, it’s pretty impactful on its own.

Book three - another standalone, I believe, is coming out in January and I cannot WAIT.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Sunday Post 78, It's Monday, what are you reading? 63


The Sunday Post - a chance for a chat and catch-up with other bloggers - is hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see. I have a Sophie update, here: http://lifetheuniverseandcats.blogspot.co.nz/2017/11/dear-sophie.html and I hope you will all understand why I don't want to go into it again.

That happened on Monday, and on Monday night I spilt sauce on my wrist from the crockpot so had to go to A&E. Bandage on till Thursday. I went to the doctor on Thursday to get the dressing changed, and the burn had virtually disappeared. Which was good, because it means I don't have to go back to get the dressing changed again.

What else. Work is going well. I'm apparently done with the induction phase (yay) but still in limbo for a bit because work needs to install new desks. So I'm nomadic for a few more weeks - lol.

Our Sky (cable) was cut off because I fell too far behind on the bill - it's good to be working again but it's going to take a while for everything to stabilise. (And by everything I mean money). But it's been ... not terrible. I read two books this weekend - lol. We have Netflix, which is awesome, and mostly I want Sky back for recording purposes anyway.

I'm on the hunt for crockpot recipes/ideas because working 9-6 means my shiny new slow cooker is going to get a work out.

I have a couple of posts done and lined up - a short reviews post, and, finally, an awesome ladies post that I'll hopefully remember to put up this week.

I'm still reading Relics by Tim Lebbon, and I started The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan today as well.

I think that's all I have for now ... how about you? What are you reading? How's your week?