Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sunday post 59; it's Monday! What are you reading? 44


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

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is hosted by Kathryn, here: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let’s see …. I’m settling in okay to my course, I think. Assignments are looming already, so this week will be about studying and time management so I don’t end up doing them at the last minute – something that has never worked for me. I may have picked up some work as a peer tutor, which is only a few hours but I’d get paid for it, so that’s something possibly promising. (I’m not sure yet.)

There’s only about a dozen of us on the course I’m taking, which is good, and so we’re working on doing a study group at least once a week to exchange ideas on upcoming assignments and offer support, etc.

Last week was a bit more lively than I’m used to as well. I went to quiz night on Wednesday night with my team, and we came fourth, which wasn’t bad. On Friday night I ended up taking spawn to  a live wrestling show. There’s a nascent professional league starting up down here and the brother of one of my classmates is a wrestler, so she got us free tickets. I used to watch a lot of WWE back in the day, and this is structured a lot like that. It was a lot of fun. It ran a little long, and there were kids at the back of the room who were just yelling the whole time, but other than that it was a good night out, and spawn had a great time.

On Saturday, spawn and I went into town and went to Sing, which was a very cute movie. We also had Subway, went to the library and poked around the shops. By the time we got home I was knackered, so begged off my regular stitch and watch night with my friend. I watched TV and played games on my iPad instead – lol.

I haven’t done a lot of reading, though I’m working through Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray. I loved One Thousand Pieces of You, and this is good too, though there’s a bit of a love triangle … theme? Kind of that I don’t like. Other than that, the story is good, and it’s alternate universes, which I love.

I’m also eyeing Orlando, as the director of that film Sally Potter is one of my awesome ladies, and I want to read the book before diving into the movie. I also need to get into my Back to the Classics books, so possibly The Count of Monte Cristo or Howard’s End might be on the immediate to-read list as well.

I think that’s all. I’m still adjusting to being out and about and doing (well, going to classes and such) and so I’m not doing much at night beyond watching TV which is about all I feel capable of.


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

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sunday post 58; It's Monday! What are you reading? 43


The Sunday Post is a chance for a chat and catch-up with other bloggers to find out what's been going on in their world during the past week or so. It's hosted by Kimba, right here: http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ It's Monday! What are you reading? Is now hosted by Kathryn, here: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see .... I'm now officially a full-time student - until June, anyway. The course runs for 32 weeks. After that - at this stage I don't know. At this stage I'll be happy to get through the course in one piece - lol. Week one was all right. All of my classes are quite small, and there's a range of ages and backgrounds among us, which is a good thing. I think the most I had in one class was something like nine people. I imagine we're all going to get to know each other pretty well by the end of it.

I haven't been doing a lot of reading this past week. I did read Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan, the sequel to Dance With Me. It was set during the time the Marriage Equality bill came into law. Its background is intense - there's that, and also one of the main character's parents are undocumented immigrants, and there's issues of childcare and homophobia and ... and despite all that, it's a really sweet, optimistic book about love.  I'll review that one this week,  hopefully.

I'm struggling with The Summer Queen - not because it isn't good, or interesting, but it's the wrong time for me to be reading it. I worked out that I like reading historical fiction when I'm on holiday. Not bodice-rippers, but things like this and Wolf Hall, and The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough. I started the latter on holiday with my parents one year, and the idea of it has stuck with me. I think because I like having time to dive into those big, complex novels. So The Summer Queen will go back to the library for now and I might give it a whirl in April, when I have a two-week semester break.

This does mean that I'm sort of between books. I'm flirting with Ten Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray - I really dug One Thousand Skies Above You and it's about my brain-speed right now, but I'll see.  I should also dive into a classic for the Back to the Classics challenge - handily I've downloaded several on to my ipad, as they tend to be cheap or free on iBooks. Other than that ... textbooks I guess - lol

What else. I think that's all? I'm considering doing a "Nevertheless, she resisted" cross-stitch - someone I follow on instagram designed one and put it on Craftsy as a freebie. That's a maybe though. I still want to try and get Circe finished this year, and 2017 is already racing away from me!

I've also reached my first modern era awesome lady - Sally Potter, who directed Orlando. I'm hoping to read the book and watch the film before I do the post, so that's possibly at least a couple of weeks away.

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

Friday, 17 February 2017

Review - Slim to None

Abbie is the food critic for the New York Sentinel newspaper. Or she was – until her photo is splashed across the front page of a rival newspaper, and Abbie finds herself shuffled sideways at her job, and it would seem, in her life as well.

Her husband, William, thinks this is the ideal time to start talking about babies, her best friend Jess is having an affair, and Abbie's homeless friend George isn't who he seems, either.

Abbie has to go on a diet in order to keep her job, which she does, sort of. Well.

I don't know. I mean, I'm in two minds about Slim to None.

There was a lot about it that I liked. The recipes that intersperse the text are a nice touch, and Abbie – when she's not distracted by food metaphors – is interesting. But ... it's a very slight book (excuse the pun).

The food metaphors get distracting – there seems to be at least three on every page, which, in my opinion, detracted from the overall story and from Abbie's internal struggles.

Abbie kind of rambles about everywhere, and there are dropped threads that are just never picked up. Also some of the editing was sloppy, which is always annoying.


It was pleasant enough? I guess? By which I mean "I liked enough to finish it but beyond that ... eh."

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The awesome ladies project 4 - Lady Xu Mu of China

Awesome lady number four is Lady Xu Mu, who lived in China, circa 7th century BC.

She was the first recorded female poet in Chinese history.
According to her Wikipedia article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Xu_Mu she was married to Duke Mu of Xu, though when her homestate of Wey was invaded in 660BC by the Northern Di barbarians, she attempted to return and call for help from Wey's neighbouring states on the way.

Unfortunately, Mu's courtiers caught up with her on the road and returned her to Xu. Her appeals for help succeeded, however and the state of Qi came to Wey's aid.

Lady Xu Mu's highly acclaimed poems Bamboo Pole and Spring Water expressed her longing for her home state, and her most famous work Speeding Chariot (or Chariot Speeding – I've seen it written both ways on different websites) offers a scathing attack on beaurocracy. This is from the website article http://www.colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=asianwomen&x=xumu

This article http://history.cultural-china.com/en/48History12830.html offers more insight into Lady Xu Mu's life

It took me a bit of digging around, but I finally found English translations of some of Lady Xu Mu's poetry, here: https://rebelwomenembroidery.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/xu-mu-%E8%AE%B8%E7%A9%86%E5%A4%AB%E4%BA%BA-b-690-bce-kingdom-of-wei-china/


Lady Xu Mu was a creative and clever force who gave her people hope when they needed it most, and expressed herself through some very moving poetry.

We're moving forward in history for the next one, as it's film-makers. Up first is Sally Potter, and her film adaptation of Virginia Woolfe's novel, Orlando. 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Sunday post 57; It's Monday! What are you reading? 42


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, here: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see ... I had orientation on Friday morning for my course, and I officially start tomorrow. I have Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and Fridays off, but I anticipate I'll be using that time to study. Not only has it been a very long time, the papers I'm doing are a million miles from anything I've studied before. Still. Out of the house. Doing something. That can only be positive, I think.

I can't think of anything else of note I did last week. Bought stationary I think - lol.

I blogged - I finally caught up on my book reviews with a short reviews post. I still have an aim of a movie a week, but I haven't been able to pin that down to any kind of regularity yet. Unless you count NZ's sci-fi channel The Zone's Cinema Z on a Friday night. Though those movies are really meant to be mocked rather than reviewed. It is something I want to do, so I'll figure it out.

What else. My reading has dipped a bit since I finished Return of the King but I did manage to finish Slim to None by Jenny Gardiner. Which I liked, but didn't love. Now I'm flirting with The Summer  Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick, the first of a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine. I'm only about 30  pages in, but so far so good.

I'm also still chipping away at my awesome ladies project with Lady Xu Mu - the first recorded female verse writer in Chinese history. It was supposed to be Hypatia, but put her in the wrong category - she was a mathematician, so I might do a post on her down the track a bit.

So this week will be all about the backpack life for me - classes and note-taking and juggling life and studying. I'll let you know next week how my first week went!

Anyway. How's your week? What are you reading?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Short reviews

I didn't realise it had been a while since I had done any reviews. And now suddenly here we are - five books behind. Well. Here I am. You all shouldn't have to suffer because of my laziness.

Speaking of which, these are going to be very very short reviews. Highlight reels, even. But then at least I'll be caught up.

First up is Dance Off by Ariel Tachna and Nessa L. Warin. It's an M/M romance novel, set during a reality dancing show - think Dancing with the Stars. Professional rugby player Olivier and Olympic
swimmer JC are both competitors. Soon, though, they're doing more than just cutting a dashing rug. Dance Off is sweet, undemanding and the developing relationship between the two men is shown really well - not too fast, but not so slow that you want to shout JUST KISS. There's little angst, and it's a really pleasant way to pass a few hours.




Next is Foreign Affairs by Patricia Scanlan. I picked up the free ebook a few weeks ago and honestly didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It's not the kind of novel I read very often, but it made for a pleasant change of pace. The book follows four friends - Paula, Jennifer, Brenda and Rachel through different stages of their lives. It opens with the four of them waiting to go on a Greek holiday together, and they're all bringing different kinds of baggage. The novel then travels backwards and traces how each women came to be there. It was an oddly cosy read somehow, and I enjoyed dropping in on the women in the different stages outlined in the book.



Third in this highlights reel is How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J. C. Lillis. And it's absolutely delightful. Another M/M romance, but this time it deals with first love, and pining and also road trip. Add in found family and honestly JC Lillis can have my axe. A sweet, sweet story, with some teenage-relatable angst thrown in, but not so much that you get impatient with the characters. Friends and sci-fi show Castaway Planet fans Brendon and Abel set out for a series of Castaway Planet conventions, their sights set firmly on the fangirls who ship two of the characters in the show. Not so simple - Brendon and Abel's feelings. As they travel from con to con with Brendon's best friend Nat, feelings surface and shenanigans happen and EVERYTHING IS GREAT.

 


Next up is What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy.
 A sweet (sorry) novel about family, changes, baking and love, it's an easy and fun read with a great main character. Marie Dunwoody has
a husband she loves, three great kids and an equally great life. However, when she compares herself to her seemingly perfect neighbour Lucy, Marie feels somewhat lacking. A chance purchase of a cookbook by Mary Berry at a school fair changes pretty much everything. Marie is relatable, and her family is well-rounded as well. Lucy, the perfect neighbour, doesn't have everything as great as Marie thinks, and when the two women find common ground, both their lives change. So fun.




Okay, four books. The last book I finished was Return of the King and Lord of the Rings is the book series of my heart, so I'm not going to review it because it's my heart. :)


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Sunday Post 56; It's Monday, what are you reading? 41


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 now hosted by Kathryn over here: http://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

Let's see ... school's back! SCHOOL IS BACK. I mean, I love spawn of course, but dear LORD he can talk!!! Having him at home all the time also makes working at home that much harder, so I'm hoping that I can productively finish this spreadsheet this week. I need to have it done by Friday anyway, and on Friday I have an intro thing to go to for my course. I'm officially a student again!

Ha! Hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Never ever saw myself doing any kind of business course - I have a degree but it's in English literature and is also from 20-plus years ago. This will be .............................. interesting.

There's still some paperwork things to clear up, as there always seems to be, but other than that, as of Monday Feb 13, I will be a card-carrying student. I'm taking papers in employment relations, intro to law, workplace communication, intro to computers, intro to marketing and intro to management. That should spark up some dormant brain cells!

I finished two books over the weekend - Dance Off by Ariel Tachna and Nessa L. Warin - a very genial and sweet M/M romance novel set during a Dance with the Stars style competition, and Return of the King (LOTR) which packs a different emotional punch every time I read those last words of Samwise Gamgee's "Well, I'm back."

I'm flirting with The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick, and possibly Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray - I loved One Thousand Pieces of You, and this is the sequel.

Other than that, more spreadsheeting, school, getting ready for uni - and also being a grown-up and bidding for freelance editing work on Upwork.com. Why not, right? I have 19 years' experience as a copy-editor, I feel like I can still put it to good use.

I did one post last week - my third awesome lady; Helena of Egypt. Once again, frustratingly, not much is known. Next up is my first author, but I may have to re-think that. I've put Hypatia in that category, but from what I've found she seems to have been a mathematician. So I need to dig around for a very early lady author for the next slot.

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