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?

Friday, 17 November 2017

Dear Sophie

We adopted you from the SPCA nearly five years ago. You climbed up on to my shoulder, and, I like to think, chose us.

You were tiny, eight weeks old, black and white, and you looked like someone had spilt a bottle of black ink down your front.

You did all of the normal kitten things - playing, pouncing, sleeping ... but as you grew, we realised we had a rather ... unique cat on our hands.

I don't know if it was that you never learned how to meow properly, but you sounded exactly like a seagull. You were scared of everything, and when you went outside, you did nothing but hide until we called you back in, and you would loudly proclaim your distress at the OUTSIDES until you got back inside.

Even though you only ever went outside voluntarily.

You were not a traditional lap-cat. You did, however, crave attention, and somehow worked out that one way to get that attention was to land on a human and start chewing clothing. We never could break you of that habit.

One of your favourite spots to get the attention you believed was your due and right (and it was), was on my desk, between me and my keyboard, so I often had to type or game with my arms carefully stretched around you. For you, this was the best of all possible worlds. Attention, a place to stretch out, AND a human to inconvenience, all at once.

Playing Dragon Age now just won't be the same without you. I'll be able to reach my mouse, and see the keyboard keys, and not have my arm scratched, or my cardigan slobbered and chewed on.

I can't imagine it.

Week before last, you were in pain. On the Thursday night, you growled if we touched your stomach. J took you out to the emergency vet, who gave you painkillers and sent you back home.

By Saturday you weren't eating or drinking, and we were worried but more, "how much will this cost to make you better" worried and not, "I hope this isn't life or death for you" worried.

The vets admitted you, and did x-rays, and took blood samples. You were constipated. Uncomfortable yes, but surely an easy fix.

Last Monday morning, the vet rang as spawn and I were leaving for school and work. "Oh, good," I thought. "She'll be ringing to say we can bring Sophie home." You had perked up the day before, and starting eating.

But. It was not the conversation I ever imagined having. The vet was calling to say that you had passed away just that morning in front of her - unexpectedly. I was in shock, and went on autopilot, so I could get through my day. I called J at work to tell him, let spawn's teacher know that he would likely have a rocky day, and asked the vet if they would do a necropsy so we could find out what happened.

Dear Sophie, you had a twisted intestine. With the best will and most amazing vets in the world there would have been nothing that we - or they- could have done for you. It's a rare condition in cats, Sophie, and you were most certainly a rare cat. Scared of everything, and not quite sure HOW to cat, but you were loving and sweet in your own weird way.

There is a gap on my desk where you should be right now, rolling around and squawking at me if I dare to move the wrong way, and there is an even bigger gap in the centre of my heart where your spirit lives now.

The cold consolation with your cause of death is that I'm not left with any "if-onlys". Taking you to the vet earlier wouldn't have helped, nor would any level of attention or care we could have given you changed this outcome. It's not something that will show up on an x-ray, dear Sophie, and I am very, very sorry.

You should have lived to be old and curmudgeonly, taking your rightful place on my desk, between me and my keyboard for many more years, but it was not to be.

Know that, wherever you are now, Sophie, I will miss you forever. Even as I'm sitting here typing this out part of me is waiting for you to jump on my desk and insist I make room for you.

I will always have room for you.

Rest well, Sophie. Rest gloriously.

You were loved.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Sunday Post 77; It's Monday, What are you reading? 62





Well, that was quite the break, wasn't it? Completely unintentional. Moving on.

The Sunday Post is a chance for a chat and catch-up with other bloggers. It's 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've been in the new job for about three weeks now. So far so good. I'm still in training, which is reassuring to be honest. It's very different from what I did before, and getting my head around completely new work and work practices is going to take time. Luckily the company recognises that, and lets people learn at their own pace. With, I believe, a polite push now and then when needed.

What else has been happening. Work ... um. We're all still settling into a new routine, I think, as J and I are both working fulltime for the first time at the same time. Spawn struggles with it a bit, as he's going to after-school care for the first time, but I think he'll adjust and be okay. I make sure I talk to him when he's looking a bit down, and try to make sure we do something together at the weekends if possible.

As a surprise last Saturday I took him to see Thor: Ragnarok, which was an excellent choice - lol. The movie was great, great fun and Taika Waititi's Kiwi sense of humour was all over it. Highly recommend that one.

My reading has been a bit rocky, but I did read Down Among the Sticks and Bones yesterday, the second book in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. It was really, really, really good. I loved Every Heart a Doorway, but Sticks and Bones was GREAT. I'm trying to get into a more regular reading pattern, but I'm not going to stress. I'm massively behind on my Goodreads goal and I'm probably not even going to hit 50 books for the year, but these things happen.

Right now I'm reading Relics by Tim Lebbon, a kind of urban fantasy/crime thriller. So far so good.

We had a scare with one of the cats last week as well - Sophie suddenly started acting growly and strange. J took her to the emergency vet but they essentially just gave her painkillers and sent her home. She wasn't eating at all so we took her back to the vet on Saturday morning - and she's constipated. They admitted her to get fluids in to her and to take x-rays and bloods, and she's blocked up the poor thing. She's still there, but hopefully we can bring her home tomorrow.

What about you? What's been happening? What are you reading?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Readathon - opening meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
New Zealand


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I'm hoping to make a large dent in Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Potato chips, om nom

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

One husband, one son, eight cats. Many many many many many many books

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I always say I'd like to get more reading done, rather than getting distracted - lol.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sunday Post 76; It's Monday! What are you reading? 61


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/

As you can see by the complete lack of content here, I got exactly 0 blogging done. That's zero. Zip. Zilch ... well, you get the idea.

I meant to - I meant to research my latest awesome lady, and review a couple of books, but ... I did not.

Last Sunday, one of our cats, Snowy suddenly spiked a bad fever out of nowhere. So J took him to the emergency vet, and they couldn't pinpoint what it was. They gave him jabs for antibiotics and painkillers and sent him home. I watched him pretty closely the next day, but he wasn't getting any better. So, on Tuesday, it was back to the vets. And the vet raised the possibility that it could be FIP, which isn't curable.

I am normally very careful with my cats - I get them desexed, and vaccinated ... and while Snowy was desexed, somehow his vaccinations fell through the cracks, which is why the vet raised the possibility of FIP. So I spent a lot of Tuesday on  pins and needles waiting for the blood test results.

Thankfully, it wasn't FIP. Like. I was so damn relieved. I've had a cat with that before, and it's an awful decision to have to make. Anyway. They kept him in overnight then, because he was dehydrated and the fever was still high. He turned the corner overnight at the vets and got so bored he chewed out his dripline.

So he came home on Wednesday with painkillers and antibiotics and - so far - seems to be fine. Once I start working, I'm going to put some money aside for the vaccinations. I never would have forgiven myself if we had lost him because I was forgetful.

Also spawn was home last week, and is home this week as well because of school holidays, and somehow last week got away from me entirely.

I don't have anything much planned for this week; just dropping off my contract at the new office and doing some research for both my awesome ladies post AND for new shirts. Because I've been working in a fairly casual job outfit-wise for the past 20 or so years, I pretty much dress like a university student. However, that's not going to cut it in this new job. I have skirts, somehow, but I need new tops, so I'm going to do some online browsing and some secondhand shopping when spawn goes back to school next week.

As for what I've been reading ... I got The Girl With Seven Names out of the library again as an ebook and actually finished it. It was a fascinating read and I'm hoping to get a review up this week.

I also read Working It by Christine d'Abo, a really cute M/M romance. It was just what I needed after The Girl With Seven Names. So, fingers crossed, I'll have a couple of reviews this week as well as the post on Wang Zhenyi.

So, what about you? What are you reading? How's your week?

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Sunday Post 75; It's Monday, What are you reading? 60


The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to have a chat and 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/

Okay. Up first. *Clears throat*.

I GOT THE JOB.

The one I interviewed for a couple of weeks ago.

Well, actually, I didn't get THAT job, but the hiring manager said I interviewed so well, that she offered me one of the other positions that they had coming up with the company. So I start on October 24.

And, I have to tell you, it is a GREAT relief. I still have some battles - mostly related to childcare since J and I will both be working fulltime and I likely won't get paid till about three weeks in.

BUT.  A JOB. I HAVE A JOB.

I have three weeks to work out the rest and surely in three weeks I can come up with something.

What else. As you can see, I got 0 blogging done last week, despite having good intentions.

Something, something good intentions.

But on Wednesday I worked at the paper I proof pages for sometimes for a few hours, and Wednesday is also quiz night (we won) and on Thursday I volunteered for a school trip, so blogging took a bit of a back seat.

What else.

I finished season three of Hannibal and GGRARRRRGHHHHH. That means, it was great. Like. So great. And gory and horrific, but mostly great and I wish there was a season 4.

Up next is season 4 of Game of Thrones as I slowly and surely catch up. I'm also reading book 4 but I'm not very far in because I keep getting distracted.

The Girl With Seven Names came back up on the library's ebook reserve list, so I'm back into that one again, and I also started Contact by Carl Sagan, which I'm greatly enjoying so far.

I'm still doing the #30daysofreadathon challenge on instagram, and seem to be sort of keeping up with it so far.

It's school holidays here now - spawn has the next two weeks off so I expect we'll be doing some hanging out before I become a salaried person again in a few weeks. He's excited about me starting work because he believes it will lead to him getting Lego Dimension packs - lol.

The library is having its annual sale to cull withdrawn books, and I'm planning to take spawn to that on Tuesday. I fully expect I will come home with books, even though ... I don't need more books.

I think that covers the highlights.

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

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sunday Post 74; It's Monday, what are you reading? 59


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

Let's see ... I actually managed to post a mobile game review last week, for Gordon Ramsay's Dash. I also did a bit of research and started a post on my next awesome lady - Chinese astronomer Wang Zheyi. I'm hoping to get that post up this week.

I had my job interview last Tuesday, but I don't know anything yet. The woman who conducted the interview has some personal stuff going on, but she did let me know that I had interviewed well. Hopefully I'll know something by the end of this week.

Other than that ... I went pub quizzing with my quiz team on Wednesday, and we came third, which was nice.

I got some stitching done on the project I'm doing for my friend who is going to police college next month. I'm hoping I'll have it finished by the time she graduates next year. I also embarked on season 3 of Hannibal, which I didn't finish when it was on TV, so I'm hopeful this time around.

It's spawn's last week of school before two weeks of holiday, so I'm mentally preparing myself for that - lol.

I'm still reading The Girl with Seven Names, though I've paused it for now - the ebook was due back at the library, and now it's on my hold list. I need something short and fun, I think.

What else. Oh! It's the 10-year anniversary of Dewey's Readathon next month: http://www.24hourreadathon.com/ and in celebration, there's a 30-day challenge, which I'm doing on instagram. Here are the prompts, if you want to play along ...
I think that's all ... what about you? How's your week? What are you reading?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Mobile game review - Gordon Ramsay's Dash

This is a fun one. You play through levels of different restaurants in different locations around the world, and also you get sworn at by Gordon Ramsay.

Starting with Big Bay Burgers, you work through each level of each season of the game, with the difficulty increasing as you go along. Every so often there’s a new recipe to make and prepare, and you can also create VIP recipes to attract special customers to increase coinage, and maybe earn gold and ingredients.

You use the ingredients to create the recipes that attract the VIPs, who all have their own special boosts. For example, one VIP gives you the ability to carry more dishes, and another one gives you the ability to move around the restaurant at high speed.

You earn coins with each successful level, and 1-3 stars depending on how many coins you’ve earned and whether you’ve served all customers - for which you get a boost.

Earning VIP points and star points can also net you prizes in the form of coins and gold bars. You can duel other players, which is fun and you can also earn Wishelin Stars - watch out for when the Wishelin Inspector arrives, and complete the level he visits for coinage, gold and ingredients.

The game does have a few glitches which, for me, are pretty minor and tend to be related to the weekly events for some reason.

But if you like zoning out with a mobile game, and you’re a Gordon Ramsay fan, then this is definitely a game to check out.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sunday Post 73; It's Monday, What are you reading? 58



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

Let's see. Last week was much the same as the week before, although I did manage to get a couple of blog posts done and posted, so that was pleasing. I've also decided to try and increase my typing speed - I touch-type about 50wpm at the moment and my goal is to get up to 70 with as few errors as possible. So I've been practicing that as well. I also got an Access for Dummies book out of the library - I want to see if I can teach myself database. I did a little bit on my course, but that was very much a surface skim. While I'm not working, I want to see if I can still keep my brain cranking.


I'm hoping to do an awesome ladies post this week, and a couple of reviews, depending on what I get finished - if anything. :)


I did have a phone interview on Tuesday, for a position that I had applied for previously. I got as far as the phone interview last time, but no further. This time, I actually prepared a bit better, and have made it to the in-person stage. My interview is on Tuesday morning. It's for a job that I know I would be good at and it's ideal for this stage in my life - they actually advertised it as perfect for someone either just entering the workforce, or looking for a change of career. Mentally, I waved my hands in the air and yelled ME ME PICK ME but I'll have to see how it goes.


Good thoughts, positive energy, prayers, kittens ... I will take them all. 


The SPCA was looking for volunteers last week for their new Op Shop, and I had a weirdly vivid dream that I went in to apply, but was laughed out of the store. I was thinking about going in as it's close to spawn's school, and it would give me retail experience. Perhaps After The Interview.


What else. Yesterday, spawn randomly decided he wanted to do some baking, so we made banana choc-chip muffins, and they turned out not too bad.


As for what I'm reading - I still have a bookmark in book 4 of the Game of Thrones series, and I started The Girl With Seven Names by Hyenseo Lee, about growing up in - and escaping from - North Korea.


Apart from the job interview on Tuesday, I'm not sure what this week will bring. Good news, hopefully.


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

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review - A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer

Star Trek novels are my go-to read when I need some pure escapism. With Star Trek: Voyager novels, I have a weakness for post-finale novels that explore what the crew are doing after returning from the Delta Quadrant.

I also read them randomly and out of order - pretty much the only series I do that with - so any references to previous stories, I just kind of roll with. Luckily, the way they tend to be written is that they reference previous events enough that you don’t get confused, but not so much that you get bogged down.

A Pocket Full of Lies has Commander Liam O’Donnell of the USS Demeter setting up a meeting with the Nihydron species in the Delta Quadrant. However, when the Nihydron see Admiral Kathryn Janeway, they are visibly shaken and retreat.

The mystery reaction is explained when another Kathryn Janeway is discovered - leading the war effort of the Rilnar against the Zahl on the planet Sormana.

Referencing back to The Year of Hell episode from the TV series, A Pocket Full of Lies explores how and why there are two Kathryn Janeways.

A Pocket Full of Lies was exactly what I wanted - pure Star Trek escapism with familiar characters and a really compelling storyline. It’s pretty far along the Voyager timeline in terms of the novels, but Beyer’s deft narrative touch meant I wasn’t confused and could just enjoy the story that was right in front of me.

Monday, 11 September 2017

The awesome ladies project 5 - Kassia of Constantinople

Kassia or Kassiani was born into a wealthy Constantinople family between about 805- 810AD.

She rejected the proposal of Theophilos, who was destined to become emperor at the time.

Instead, Kassia became a nun, founding a convent in the western part of Constantinople, where she was the first abbess.

She was a composer of religious poetry and also composed music. Unlike some of the other early musical ladies on here, many of Kassia’s works are still extant, and still used in Byzantine liturgy today.

The emperor Theophilos was an iconoclast, meaning he didn’t believe in the worship of icons, and Kassia suffered for her beliefs under his reign. When his son Michael III came to power, the iconoclastic period came to an end.

Kassia eventually settled on the Greek island of Kasos and her tomb and reliquary can be found in a church in the city of Panaghia.


Some of her works can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioWWIiG_sHc

I don’t understand the language at all but the music is lovely, and the harmonies are amazing. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel like you’re flying.

Source: (which also includes links to more of her compositions) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassiani

Next up on the awesome ladies project is Chinese astronomer, Wang Zhenyi.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sunday post 72; It's Monday, What are you reading? 57


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

Let's see ... not that I had any particular plans for the week, but last week did not go to plan at all.

I sent spawn to school on Monday, half-noticing he had a few spots around his mouth, but not thinking anything of it. When I went to pick him up after school he said his friends had been teasing him about having chickenpox. Which he's not vaccinated against (though he is vaccinated), and which he hasn't had. 

Well. Okay. It wasn't chickenpox - it was hand, foot and mouth which is ALSO a very contagious virus. I talked to a nurse at my doctor's surgery who said there wasn't much point bringing him in unless he took a turn for the worse, so I ended up keeping him home last week.

He wasn't particularly ill, but it's contagious and I'd hate for him to pass it on to someone more vulnerable and less robust than he is. So I spent last week pretty much stuck at home and not doing a lot of anything. 

It turns out that a couple of girls in his class had had it a few weeks ago, which they - or their parents/caregivers - hadn't told the teacher. She discovered it had reared its ugly head when her baby contracted it. It's frustrating because to me it's common sense to inform the school if your child has something contagious. 

Luckily spawn's case was very mild, and he's back off to school tomorrow.

He also had his confirmation today and did extremely well. I'm not particularly religious, but I sent him to my old school out of sentimentality perhaps. But it has a small roll, which I like and for a school with about 100 pupils it also has an extremely diverse roll, which I think is important for him as well. Somehow I forgot about all the religious stuff that comes with a Catholic education - lol. The good thing is that he's embraced it for himself, and I figure when he's older he can choose his own path. 

I did apply for a few jobs last week, and there was a pop-up job market going with displays of vacancies and CV advice, etc, and I was able to go there on Monday. I've tweaked my CV - again - and. Well, who knows. I have a pre-interview phone interview tomorrow - for a job that I applied for a while ago but didn't get further than the phone interview, but when it came up again, I thought "what the hell".

I also started a new cross-stitch - I have a friend who is about to go to Wellington to attend police college. She's a little older than me, and it's a long-held dream of hers. She's been working hard for the past two years or so to get her fitness up to scratch and tick all the necessary boxes, so I'm doing this project for her. I was originally going to try and finish it before she headed up to Wellington, but that's impossible given its relative size, so now the goal is to finish it for her graduation in February. 

What else. I spent Friday stitching and mainlining the four-part series Britain's Bloody Crown, about the War of the Roses. It was really really really excellent and if anyone has any War of the Roses-related recs, I am here for them. I have The Sunne in Splendour and I started it a few years ago, but I need to get back to it.

This week the aim is to start blogging more. I meant to last week but ... well. I'm hoping for about four posts a week - that's the goal, anyway.

As for what I'm reading - I picked up a Star Trek: Voyager novel, called A Pocket Full of Lies. Star Trek novels are my go-to when I need absolute, pure escapism. This one is set post-series, and so far it's really good. I also finally ventured to start book 4 of Game of Thrones, so we'll see how that pans out. I was going to rent season 4 from the library, but it's out at the moment, so I got season 2 of Hannibal instead. I never finished season 3, and I really enjoyed Hannibal, so I'm hoping to go the full distance this time.

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

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Sunday Post 71; It's Monday, what are you reading? 57



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

Not much new last week. I had the job interview on Wednesday and I'm still waiting to hear back. I have no optimism left about the process at all, but who knows. I should hear something tomorrow.

I meant to blog more last week and I'm not sure why I didn't. Towards the end of the week - Thursday/Friday - spawn came down with a sore throat and fever so he was home from school on Friday. Other than that ... I'm not sure. I did finish the CSI novel I was reading which filled the procedural slot nicely. So hopefully I'll have a review up for that this week sometime.

I haven't really done much else, I don't think. For this week, there's a pop-up job market in town so I'm going to go to that and see what happens.

Other than that I need to figure out what I'm going to read next, I'm not sure at the moment. I'm also thinking of joining in with RIP XII, which is being hosted by https://mycapriciouslife.com/ and http://estellasrevenge.blogspot.co.nz/ this year.

Anyway.

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

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sunday Post 70; It's Monday, What are you reading? 56



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

Sorry for the double post today - I remembered that I had a review languishing in my docs and wanted to post it before this one went up.

Let's see ... nothing outstanding, I don't think, but that means nothing bad, so there's that. I went quizzing with my team on Wednesday night and we won, so that was fun. 

Spawn and I have been walking home from school a few days a week - I don't have my licence and (let me just say, if you have teens, encourage them to get their licence; I should have back in the day and I didn't and now ... blergh. anyway) - and so we've been walking home rather than rely on buses and taxis, the cost of which racks up very quickly.

It's a pain mostly because it's a good 30 minute walk, but on the other hand, we talk, which is great, and we also slay dragons. So there's an up side and a down side. My friend also suggested we could hunt Pokemon to help it go faster.

I missed out on an interview for a job I really wanted (archive assistant) but I also have a job interview this week for a part-time short contract job at the hospital. So cross fingers, prayer, good thoughts ... I will take all of it. I'm a big believer in the power of positive energy, wherever it comes from. :)

I actually managed to put up two book reviews (okay, so one was today, but who's counting), and I STILL haven't finished my latest awesome ladies post - hopefully that one will go up this week.

I'm also hoping to get another mobile game review up this week. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet; I'm trying to avoid doing match-3 games but there are so many. Maybe I'll do Gordon Ramsey's Dash.

For what I'm reading ... I caught half an episode of a CSI Miami repeat on TV and it put me in the mood for something procedural, so I got a CSI (Vegas) novel out of the library. It's pleasant and largely forgettable and very easy to read. I'm also re-watching Hannibal from the beginning because I never watched to the very end of season 3 for some reason. So my procedural mood is satisfied for now.

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

Review - Saga Volume 1

“When two soldiers from opposite sides of a neverending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.”

This has been on my to-read radar for a while. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels (no particular reason, it just doesn’t usually occur to me), but I figured it would be a quick read - which it was - and it was also awesome.

It starts with the star-crossed lovers having a baby and then immediately going on the run from both sides of the conflict.

There are a lot of near-misses, and mercenaries with names like The Will and The Stalk on their tail.

The story is narrated from the baby - Hazel’s point of view as her parents do everything in their power to escape and find a safe haven where they can find some peace.

Nothing, of course, is ever that simple.

It’s a great, sweeping sci-fi story with a very heartfelt tale right at the centre of it, which means it never feels out of reach.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review - Every Heart a Doorway

I love a good story. I love a good fantasy story that takes the tropes and shamelessly says “yes, yes these are the tropes - there’s a chosen one, and an epic quest, and clear lines of good and evil.” It’s comforting, you know?
Equally, I love a good fantasy story that looks at those tropes and goes … “hmmm. Not this time. How about this?” Neil Gaiman is good at this, as is China Mieville in novels like Un Lun Dun and Railsea.

And in Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan Maguire takes the notion of happily ever after and just kind of … shakes it down for lunch money. She makes it empty out its pockets and then runs off laughing.

It’s a short book - about 170 pages, and won this year’s Hugo for best novella.

The ideas that are packed in to such a short space are absolutely astonishing.

It posits the idea: what if the fantasy worlds were real? What if you could take one step and end up somewhere else? But - what happens when you come back? The children who return to the mundane from their fantasy worlds often end up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. There, they meet other children like themselves who have returned from a fantasy realm and cannot find their footing any more in the “real” world.

Nancy arrives at the school as one of these wayward children, but her arrival sets of an unforseen chain of events, murder and nothing will be the same.

It’s so good, and I keep mulling over its ideas. It’s clever without being showy or show-off, and that subtlety feeds into the story in the best possible way.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Sunday post 69; It's Monday, what are you reading? 55


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

Last week continued in much the same vein - some days I have to stop and think what the day is, or what the date is. 

There were, however, a couple of highlights. On Tuesday night a friend of mine and I - as a team of two - attended a book-related quiz at the library. For library week, the library has been doing all kinds of events and fundraisers with the proceeds going to Furever Homes, a local charity that fosters and cares for abandoned or lost pets.


There were only two of us on our team because we couldn't draft anyone else - lol. The idea was to pit teams against a team of librarians in a series of book-related questions. It was a lot of fun - and we won. Heh. :D We impressed the librarians I think - lol. It was a good night all around.

On Saturday at the library, the Furever Homes people hosted a kind of meet-and-greet and people who are fostering pets brought their dogs and cats in to the library for visiting. It was slightly chaotic, but also great fun. 

For reading - I finished volume one of the Saga graphic novel, and enjoyed that a lot. I'm still working on Hamilton, and I'm eyeing up Everfair by Nisi Shawl next.

So for this week - more job applications, housework, hopefully some blog posts, and try not to go quietly insane.

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