Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sunday Post 43; It's Monday, what are you reading? 29

The Sunday Post - hosted by Kimba here - is a chance for a chat and a catch-up with other bloggers. It's Monday! What are you reading? is now hosted by Kathryn over here:

Let's see .... I had one job interview over Skype last week. It seemed to go okay but I'm reserving judgement. For one thing, it would mean moving to a different city, which would avalanche into all kinds of upheavals, but I'm keeping my options open. The red tape grinds on. I got one form back that I needed from my former employer - on which they had filled in my name in one part with "Jane." Which is my middle name. Not my real, legal name that I go by. So I need to get that sorted out before I can move on with applying for support because I can just imagine the red tape nightmare that would be.

It's so frustrating. And I'm trying not to be demoralised, but ... it's demoralising. I have to email the form back to former employer to get them to correct the name. I have to call Winz (Work and Income - the government agency) and ask for the contact details of whom to send the form to, because they don't provide that ON the document. Which will eat up half my morning, as, inevitably, I will be on hold for at least half an hour. I have to email the documents to former employer because they no longer have an on-site pay clerk. Everything is done out of Wellington, which means I can't just drop off the form at the office. Everything gets a little more complicated when Winz says "please take this form to your employer to fill out" and you just can't. I had it emailed to me, then employer  made the mistake.

Urgh. Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

ANYWAY. On to other things. I managed to do a couple of blog posts last week - reviews of The Waste Lands, Wishful Drinking, and A Thousand Pieces of You. I've also started putting things for sale up on Trade Me. I'll sell every single damn thing I own if I have to. I mean, I hope I won't have to, but I will, because ultimately it's just stuff.

Spawn's class won tickets to a basketball game through a radio station competition last week - they had to provide the loudest chant. So I took him to the game on Saturday, as the class all got free tickets. I have no interest in sport of any kind usually, but if I get to a live game, within five seconds I'm yelling along with everyone else. I have a competitive streak - lol.

I begged off my usual Saturday night stitch-and-watch with my friend because I was so tired from the game and spawn and just everything. I spent a pleasant evening watching Merlin repeats and playing Gordon Ramsey's Dash. :)

I started reading Leviathan's Wake by James S A Corey - the first book in The Expanse series. I want to get to it before diving in to the TV series. So far, I'm very pleasantly surprised. It's kind of a genre-blend of sci-fi and procedural cop drama.

What else. I have a mammogram on Tuesday (hooray). When you turn 45 here, apparently, you get a form that says congrats, here's your free mammogram. So that's. A thing that I'll be doing this week.

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

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Short reviews

Wishful Drinking is a short and somewhat wild ride through Carrie Fisher's life. From being the child of celebrity parents - Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher - to playing Princess Leia in Star Wars at 19 and weathering the storms of addiction, bipolar disorder and other stressors - Carrie Fisher tells the story with a wry eye to the punchline and a sometimes un-nerving honesty.

You're laughing, for sure, but at the same time there's a lot of sadness just under the surface.

It's a witty and memorable memoir from a woman who has certainly earned her Hollywood stripes.

Marguerite Caine is having possibly the worst day of her life so far. She's landed in an alternate dimension, using the Firebird - an invention of her brilliant physicist parents, and she's on the trail of the man she believes has just killed her father.

Marguerite has joined forces with Theo, one of her parents' grad students, as they plan to jump across as many universes as it takes to find Paul and take revenge for Marguerite's father's death.

Of course, nothing is ever THAT simple, and as the book unfolds, so do the truths and lies that Marguerite has to contend with.

I enjoyed this very much of a lot, I really did. It felt ... cosy somehow? And okay, yes, there's a touch of a love triangle, which is normally enough to put me off because I HATE love triangles but it's handled very deftly and never takes over the narrative.

The different universes ... om nom nommmm I needed more of that. More of alternate London, and Russia and under the sea, and I think that's why the book was such cosy catnip for me. I love love love a good multiverse.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review - The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands

So Roland's quest for The Dark Tower rolls on in volume 3 of Stephen King's epic fantasy series.

He's drawn Eddie and Susannah to help him in his quest, but Roland is suffering - he thinks he's going mad. And he's not the only one.

On our world, Jake - the boy that Roland let go to his death previously ("go then. There are other worlds than these") has memories of this death, and is desperate to get back to Roland's world so his mind can be at peace.

Once they've drawn Jake back, and worked out that they have to travel along the Beam, Roland, Jake, Eddie and Susannah carry on with the quest.

Now, because this is Stephen King, The Dark Tower is not your average high fantasy series. Yes, there's a quest. Yes, there are fantastic creatures. But there's also a city full of insanity and disease, and a train that has gone mad, but is also their best chance to get where they're going.

The Waste Lands, for me, is peak King. A+ storytelling, scary as all get out, and a running thread of absolute weirdness.

Will Roland get to the Tower? Will everyone survive? Who really knows?

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Sunday post 42; It's Monday What are you reading? 28

The Sunday Post - a chance for a natter and a catch-up with other bloggers - is hosted by Kimba over here: and It's Monday! What are you reading? Is now hosted by Kathryn right here:

Life is rolling on. I'm getting through the long and painful process of applying for benefits and for jobs. One is going about as well as the other at the moment. But I'm sure something will turn up.

Other than that I'm really just trying to fill in my days as best I can. Hooray for a house full of books and an iPad full of games - lol.

As for what I'm reading .... I managed to write a couple of blog posts last week, so go me. I also finished book three of the Dark Tower series, and Carrie Fisher's sort-of memoir, Wishful Drinking.

Reviews will be coming up for those this week. Next up I think I'm going to tackle book one of The Expanse, Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey. And I have One Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray on ibooks, so I'm digging into that as well this week.

The sci-fi channel here, The Zone is running a pop-up channel to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek and around 8.30 each night there appears to be a Star Trek movie. So far I've watched Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock. So tonight's entertainment is sorted.

What about you?

How's your week?

What are you reading?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Review - Lucy

Let's just get this out of the way - Lucy is a terrible, terrible film.

According to Wikipedia, it made a lot of money, but I''m not sure how, because it's arrant nonsense.

Scarlett Johanssen is Lucy, a young woman on holiday with her loser boyfriend. When her loser boyfriend tricks her into becoming a drug mule, Lucy's life changes forever.

She's "given" a sachet of blue powder to carry in her abdomen but when someone kicks her in the stomach, the powder is released into her system and suddenly Lucy's brain power starts ratcheting up at an alarming rate.

Something, something. 10 percent of our brain, something something Morgan Freeman trying to persuade us that we're not watching arrant nonsense.

Sorry, Mr Freeman, even your gravitas can't save this one.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Short reviews - Too Many Fairy Princes; Looking for Group

Okay, yes that's a terrible title. And the cover ...... well. But I read a few reviews on goodreads and the consensus was largely positive, so I dived in.

And you know what, the story itself is much better than both the title and the cover suggest.

Kjartan is the titular fairy prince - one of four brothers vying for the throne of the kingdom, once their father decides to actually .... die. Well, he's already dead but he's still ruling because magic.

Kjartan doesn't want the throne, but that doesn't stop his younger, more murderous brother from making an attempt on Kjartan's life. Kjartan is forced to teleport away, and ends up in our world, where art gallery worker Joel - who is having The Day From Hell, discovers him.

What delighted me the most, is that Joel just goes straight to "well, here, clearly is a being from another world", and not "oh, a theme restaurant must have opened", or "there must be some kind of convention on this weekend, A+ cosplay". Nope. Joel goes straight to "being from another world" and gets dragged into Kjartan's shenanigans.

I wanted the book to be longer, to explore more of the dynamic of Kjartan as a fish-out-of-water and the politics of his own world, but what I got was fun and delightful. And they met the queen. Grand.

Ever since I read For Real, Alexis Hall has been one of my go-to authors. I even broke my $10 ebook limit for this one (by $1 but it's the thought that counts) because I knew it'd be a good'un.

Drew plays Heroes of Legend - an fantasy-based MMO, and at the start of the book, he's just left his previous guild and is looking for a new one. The guild that "Solace" plays for, needs a new tank. It's a match made in gamer heaven.

Drew hits it off with Solace, and they start hanging out in-game. Drew develops a crush on who he believes is a nerdy, funny girl. When he finds out that Solace is actually a nerdy, funny GUY, he stumbles for a bit, but picks himself up and goes for it anyway. They meet, sparks fly, everyone is happy.

Except Drew thinks Kit is playing Heroes of Legend too much; that he's too invested in the friendships he's formed with other guildmembers. Is Drew right? Or should Kit be allowed to form his own bonds wherever he wants to?

My favourite Alexis Hall novel now and forever is Glitterland, but I liked Looking for Group very much of a lot. A lot of the dialogue does take place in-game and that takes a bit of getting used to, but Drew and Kit are great characters - especially Drew, and I read the whole thing in one big go.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Sunday post 41; It's Monday What are you reading? 27

The Sunday Post is a chance for a chat and a catch-up with other bloggers, and is hosted by Kimba here: while It's Monday! What are you reading? is now hosted by Kathryn here:

Hmmmm .... not a lot is going on in my corner, to be honest. I have to start the process of getting financial help tomorrow, which I'm dreading in only one sense - the red tape, or the possibility that I'll be turned down, which is a genuine concern. But I won't know if I don't try.

Otherwise, I'm applying for jobs and figuring out how to fill in my days. It's funny - just after I took redundancy last year (and it's been a year - my ~anniversary was today) I didn't have the same problem.

Of course, then, I had money in the bank and my brain always goes "money = entertainment" so now that I don't have money in the bank, my brain is going, "I don't understand, what do we do?" Even though I'm surrounded by projects - books for one, cross-stitch; I have five or six colouring books and one very large dot-to-dot book (I used to love dot-to-dot as a kid - more than colouring in). I have movies, and games, and Netflix and a bus stop right outside the door to take me out for a bit.

And spawn, of course. But my brain rebels and goes "no money = nothing to dooooo." Lies. Damn lies.

We went to the library today, which was  a fun trip - spawn asked to go, which is unusual. He likes to read, but lately he's been getting more interested and invested in it which is great to see. We're slowly making our way through Harry Potter at bedtime and he's about the right age I think to  really enjoy it.

As for myself, I polished off two M/M ebooks last week - Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft - which was FAR better than the terrible title suggests - and Looking For Group by Alexis Hall, which I really enjoyed. I meant to do a review post, but ... didn't. I'll do it this week.

I'm still reading Dark Tower #3 - The Waste Lands, and so far so good. Not sure if I'll meet my goal of finishing the whole series by the end of the year, but you never know.

I also started Wishful Drinking - Carrie Fisher's memoir. It's short and so far pretty entertaining.

My Friday night movie was Lucy, the Scarlett Johanssen one, and it was bloody awful. Review coming this week also.

How about you?

What's been going on?

What are you reading?