Saturday, 29 October 2016

Sunday post 47; It's Monday, what are you reading? 32

The Sunday Post - a chance for a chat 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 here:

Let's see ... I blogged this week! Woo hoo! I managed to write a couple of quick reviews for Illuminae and Nevernight, both of which I greatly enjoyed.

Last week didn't differ greatly from any other week recently, but I'm working on improving my outlook, which in turn has improved my attitude somewhat. Who knew? I have vague plans to start going for a walk after lunch when I can, just to get out of the house. We'll see how that goes. :)

I have a job interview tomorrow afternoon, so I'm in wait-and-see mode. Even if I don't get it, the interview itself is a good experience. See? Positivity. :D :D

Yesterday I sat down and read the entirety of Trade Me by Courtney Milan, a contemporary romance. Romance isn't usually my genre but I really enjoyed The Duchess Wars by Ms Milan and Trade Me was also great. No one is arrogant or a dick, and it has a great storyline and characters, so A+.

Apart from that ... that's all I have for now, I think. Next up for reading is Book 2 of Patrick Weekes' Rogues of the Republic series - The Prophecy Con. Other than that I'll likely be playing the new Lifeline game Flatline, and Gordon Ramsay's Dash - lol.

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

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Review - Nevernight

I don't usually read back-to-back books by the same author (see also: Why I Am Bad at Finishing Series) and at first didn't make the connection between the author of this and the co-author of Illuminae.


Anyways. Mia is 16 years old and lives in the city of Godsgrave. A fledgling assassin, she joins a school to learn how to become the Blade that will take revenge for her father's death and her family's ruin.

Mia has to best her fellow students in contests of blades, poison, secrets and the ~subtle arts~~ in order to take her revenge.

As she navigates Tric, The Boy, the school with its own built-in Mia-haters, and friendship, Mia grows into who she is meant  to be.

Listen, this is the girl assassin book I have been waiting for since I fell down the fantasy hole when I was 14. I was 14 in the 80s. Do you know how many girl assassin fantasy novels there were in the 80s? NONE. At least, none that I could FIND.

So I was predisposed to like Nevernight anyway. And THEN Jay Kristoff layers on this Roman Empire-style universe AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT gives the Red Church layers on layers of history and ceremony and the whole thing adds up to basically catnip.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Review - Illuminae

Kady thinks her biggest problem right now is breaking up with her boyfriend Ezra.

Then her planet is invaded.

She finds herself separated from Ezra, from her mother, and from everything she knows. Ezra, on a different rescue ship from Kady, is also struggling with the sudden and sharp changes in his life.

Soon, both Kady and Ezra realise there's a lot more going on than the invasion of one small speck of a mining planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

With a plague invading one ship, and an AI that may or may not be insane, Kady and Ezra find themselves fighting for their lives.

I have to say, I did enjoy Illuminae a lot, although I found the graphic art element of it a little bit distracting and unwieldy at times. I get why it's been put together like that, but.

Anyway, Kady and Ezra are both great characters - brave in their own ways, and each with their own fully realised personalities and skill-sets. Illuminae is fascinating, deep sci-fi storytelling at its best.

Definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sunday post 46; It's Monday, What are you reading? 32

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba here; and is a chance for a chat and a catch-up with fellow bloggers each week.

The 24 Hour Readathon takes place every April and October, and you can find out about it here:

It's Monday, What are you reading? Is now hosted by Kathryn, and it can be found over here:

Let's see ...

I'm only sort-of doing the readathon, which is what I always do. I dive in, read as much as possible in the time that I have given that it starts at 1am my time, and cheer on other readers on the twitter. This year I managed to read half of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, which I'm really digging. I've put it down for the night now, and will encourage other readers.

I blogged last week - actually did a few posts. Finally wrote that Secret Life of Pets review I've been threatening, wrote a couple of readathon posts, and also reviewed Alexis Hall's new novel, Pansies.

Went to a quiz night last Wednesday with some friends - we usually do all right, and came in fourth, which was a pretty respectable showing.

Got a few more job rejections, but I'm trying to ..... not be down about it? I'm looking into ways to fill in my time, like maybe volunteer work of some sort, or picking a subject I really want to know more about and doing some research. You know how we always say "I'd do .... if I just had TIME." Well. I have time. I'm going to keep applying for jobs, I just refuse to let the process grind me down. A self-pity pit is an easy one to fall into but climbing back out of it ... so. Ideas?

What would YOU do, if you had the time?

I've signed up for nano next month as well. At the moment I'm planning on writing Dragon Age fic, but the idea I have for that is ridiculously complicated, so I might have to change it.

I finished Illuminae on Saturday, and really enjoyed it, though I did find the format a bit annoying. So there should be a review of that coming up this week. I'm halfway through Nevernight, so possibly will review that this week, too.

It's Labour Day here tomorrow, which means spawn will be home from school. Other than that for this week, my goal is to ... get out of my own head a bit. Look into volunteering, and maybe some kind of studying for next year if I can't find a job. It's a much more disheartening process than I realised, but I refuse to let it grind me down. REFUSE.


How's your week?

What are you reading?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Readathon - opening meme

The Readathon officially starts at 1am my time, so my plan is to stay up for the first hour, go get some sleep, and spend as much time tomorrow as possible reading. 

Let's see how I go - lol.

Meme time: 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
New Zealand. :) Specifically my living room. Possibly outside for a bit if it's sunny.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I'm not sure actually, but I have Wizards and Glass by Stephen King, and The Prophecy Con by Patrick Weekes, so I might dive in to one of those.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Caramel popcorn ... om nom nom nom  nom
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Um. At this point, I'm not sure what people don't know about me - lol.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? Hopefully get a bit more reading done ...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

It's (nearly) readathon time again!

Every year, I whitter over whether I'm going to sign up for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon or not, and every year (well, twice a year) I talk myself into it.

This month is no different. I signed up earlier in the week, and I'm all set to go, although I still need to stock up on snacks and figure out what I'm going to read.

If you're reading this and going ... huh? Go here: and all will be made clear and all that jazz. Readathon is fun, and it brings all corners of the book blogging community - from the old-school crusty bloggers like myself - to the young'ns on the tumblr and the instagram together to unite in the same purpose: read as much as possible, and consume mass quantities.

This year I'll be diving in a little bit late, as I'm going out on Saturday night to my stitch-and-watch friend's place - Saturday is her birthday, and she not long ago lost her mum, so I'm sticking to my leave-the-house plans this once. On Sunday, however, my "plan" is to find a book, park up somewhere comfy, no doubt with a cat ... and probably spend far too much time on social media, like I always do.

Join us! It's fun! :)

Review - Pansies by Alexis Hall

Alfie Bell, on paper, has everything. A flash London flat, a six-figure salary, and good friends. Going home to South Shields for a wedding, however, throws into relief for Alfie how shallow his life really is. And now that everyone back home knows that he's gay, well, that just adds to the complications.

Alfie expects to grit his teeth through his best friend's wedding, head to London and never return to South Shields again. Fate, however, has other ideas, in the form of Fen. Fen, with his sharp tongue and pink-tipped hair, draws Alfie in straight away. The trouble is, Alfie doesn't remember Fen, but Fen remembers Alfie and the torment he put him through back at school.

Once Alfie realises who Fen is, he wants to try and put things right, and hopefully move on WITH Fen. But there are a lot of obstacles in their way ...

Oh, I liked this. I liked this very much of a lot. Fen, especially is a great character and Alfie is like this blundering, well-meaning Great Dane who still thinks he's a lapdog.

Pansies has more in common with Glitterland (incidentally my all-time favourite Alexis Hall novel) than, say, For Real, and it's just a very, very good read with an awful lot of heart.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Review - The Secret Life of Pets

Ever wondered what your pets get up to when you're not around? Well, here's the answer and it's adorable and funny.

The Secret Life of Pets follows terrier Max as he goes about his day in New York while his owner Katie is at work. Max, as per every kids' movie ever with animals, has a host of quirky animal friends, including Gidget the pomeranian, Chloe the cat and Mel the pug.

When Katie adopts a new dog, Doug, Max lets his jealousy get the better of him and shenanigans ensue. There's a bad-tempered bunny (an abandoned pet) called Snowball, an ancient basset hound called Pops and a whole host of cats, dogs, birds and others.

I took spawn to this during the school holidays, and we both enjoyed it greatly. It's light-hearted for the most part, with some sniffle-inducing emotional parts as well.

Great for the kids, and a really enjoyable family movie.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Sunday Post 45; It's Monday, what are you reading? 31

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

Let's see ....

Well, I'm now a fully functioning beneficiary.  A ward of the Government, as it were. It feels ... weird. It's good, to have some kind of money coming in, but the longer I'm out of work, the more heavily the days weigh on my hands. I'm applying for everything even remotely likely and so far all I've had are a couple of interviews, a vague expression of interest from a recruitment agency, and rejections, rejections, rejections.

I think my favourite one so far said that although my experience was "of interest" to them, it didn't' line up perfectly with what they wanted. They wanted a content writer with sub-editing skills. Which. That's. That's what I did, essentially. So right now, my job-seeking mode is ... frustrated. I feel like ... I don't know. If I'm not filling my days productively then I'm somehow ... cheating someone somewhere. But after I've applied for all the jobs in the morning, what CAN I do? Spawn is at school, and he's nine, so he needs me less than he used to and so ... ugh. I didn't mean to start a pity party. I'd just rather be working. Being home was nice and fun and all when I had funds, and then I was working for a bit, and now that I don't have funds and I'm not working? Less fun.

Anyway. Spawn is sick - it never fails, he goes back to school after the holidays, and comes home with a bug. Sore throat/sore ear/fever again. He's had it for a few days, so it'll be off to the doctor again. The school has done a hearing assessment on him too, and he's been referred to the hospital, so we're waiting for an appointment there. Likely he'll need grommets, but I'm adopting a wait-and-see approach because what-ifs aren't productive.

My Saturday night stitch-and-watch friend's mother died last Monday. She had had Alzheimer's for about nine years, and my friend was her main caregiver. Her funeral was on Friday.

I have been reading a bit, and I finished Pansies by Alexis Hall on Saturday. It never fails when I get one of his books, I have to sit down and read it till it's done. It was great, but I don't think anything can replace the standing Glitterland has in my heart. Review to come this week,  hopefully! I still need to write up The Secret Life of Pets, too.

I'm picking away at the audio for This Census-Taker, and it's going okay. I don't really listen to a lot of audiobooks but I had a free Audible credit, so I took advantage. I also started Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof. The formatting takes a bit of getting used to but I'm enjoying the story so far.

I think that's all - lol.

What about you?

How's your week?

What are you reading?

Monday, 10 October 2016

Short reviews

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay Jensen comes home to find a box of cassette tapes on his doorstep. He soon realises they're a recorded suicide note from classmate Hannah Baker, who had recently taken her own life.

Hannah has tapes for various different people from her life, and how they impacted and affected her decision. Clay spends a long night listening to them all, to find out why Hannah did what she did.

13 Reasons Why was a difficult read for sure, and I found the plot a little bit clumsy at times, but it was an absorbing and moving book.

Leviathan Wakes: Book one of The Expanse by James S A Corey
Humanity has spread itself out across space - from earth to Mars and beyond. It hasn't, however, conquered the stars as of yet.

When the crew of an ice miner runs into an abandoned ship and a secret they don't want on their hands, events tip out of their control very quickly.

On Mars, security officer Detective Miller is looking for a missing girl. When his case and that of the abandoned ship collide, things happen that no one expects.

Leviathan Wakes is like a noir novel but set in space, and I enjoyed the fusion of genres greatly. Also the adverserial relationship between cynical Miller and idealistic Holden from the ice miner. Good stuff.

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes
Set before the events of Dragon Age Inquisition, Empress Celene is fighting to keep her throne as the ruler of Orlais. Her cousin, the chevalier Gaspard is right on her heels for the throne, and complicating things even further is Celene's Elven lover, Briala.

Orlais is a kingdom of masks, and the Game, which plays out among the nobles and the elite. Meanwhile, the elves of Orlais suffer under the burdens of prejudice and poverty. Briala is trying to improve their lot, but when Celene takes drastic action against an elven uprising in Halamshiral, things spiral even further out of control.

I love this stuff. Honestly. Murder and masks and conspiracies and magic ... The Masked Empire fills in a lot of the background as well for one of the main questlines in Dragon Age: Inquisition and honestly leads me to the conclusion that Orleisians are collectively terrible, terrible people.

Dead Wrong by Leighann Dobbs

I picked up the first three books of this series free on iBooks. It happened to be just what I needed at the time - something relatively light, with a hint of mystery and a touch of romance.

The Blackmoore sisters all enjoy their life in a small sleepy Maine town, even as they struggle with property taxes on their home. However, when a woman that Morgan Blackmoore had a long-running feud with turns up murdered, things get a whole lot murkier.

All four sisters pull together to find out whodunit, and for Fiona Blackmoore, there's the new detective in town: Jake. Romance, mystery, family bonding. It's a short, slight novel to be sure, but it's also ideal for filling that I-don't-know-what-to-read-next gap.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Sunday post 44; It's Monday What are you reading? 30

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

It's been a couple of weeks since I did one of these posts. There's something disheartening about sitting down to write one and realising it's essentially the same thing over and over again. I'm still looking for a job. I had .... six? rejections last week, I think?

Spawn has been on school holidays but heads back tomorrow.

I've applied for benefits but the wheels of bureaucracy grind exceedingly slow.

I've done one short reviews post, and I have a couple more posts lined up this week - another short reviews one, and a review of The Secret Life of Pets which I took spawn to in the first week of the holidays.

So. I'm applying for jobs, applying for benefits, trying to fill my days as best I can at the moment.

Up next reading-wise is the audiobook of This Census-Taker by China Mieville, that I'm co-reading with Jodie from

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

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Short reviews

Former best friends Clark and Bryce are reunited unexpectedly at a comic convention. They have a bit of a history, and Bryce is wary, especially after Clark broke his heart a few years ago.

Clark, however, is determined to make it up to Bryce and to get back into his good books (and his pants).

Super-cute novella about life, love and second chances.

I got these two as freebies on iBooks. Book one and book two of Aria Grace's Mile High Romance series. I didn't really know what to expect, but hey, the price was right.

I was mostly pleasantly surprised overall, although the angsty parts felt overdone and awkward. One of the characters - both grown men who presumably know how to use their words - ups and leaves one day with no explanation, and just assumes other grown man will move on with his life with no closure. Um. 

I enjoyed book 2 more than book 1. There was still some angst, but it felt more organic and plot-relevant than the angst in book 1. Pleasant M/M romances, both of them.