Monday, 31 July 2017

Review - Unforgiven by Ruth Clampett

Dean and Jason are best friends and room-mates in their last year of college. They think they know each other inside out and have no secrets, but when Dean stumbles across Jason in an intimate situation with another man at a party, he realises he doesn’t know his best friend as well as he thought.

For Jason, the struggles are much harder. He’s gay, but very much in the closet. He’s in love with his best friend, and he has demons from his past in the form of a priest who molested him as a young boy. When Dean finds Jason with another man, the proverbial really hits the fan.

I found this book extremely frustrating. It’s a great premise, I loved the premise, but the characters … *sigh*.

Dean, especially was frustrating because he spends at least half the book being a complete asshole and saying/thinking terrible things like this:

“I find Jason in the living room, sitting slack on the couch with his legs stretched out wide and a beer in his hand. He’s watching wrestling. Of course he’s watching wrestling … the gayest sport there is.”

And this is how Dean’s thought processes continue for an awful lot of the book. I start to wonder, to be honest, what the hell Jason saw in him and there were several times I nearly just peaced out of the whole thing.

I persisted, however, and there was some payoff. When Dean and Jason do get together, Dean stops being so much of a dick, and goes into full-on protective mode. Where was this Dean earlier???? There was no transition from dick!Dean to lovely!Dean and it kind of gave me whiplash.

Great premise, okay execution that was nearly undermined by bad characterisation.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Sunday post 66; It's Monday, What are you reading? 52

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

I had a pretty unremarkable week, I think. Spawn was back at school after the holidays, and so I'm in the routine of applying for jobs and finding semi-productive ways to fill the hours. It's going ... sort of okay-ish. Well, apart from the job. Nothing on the horizon there, though I do keep applying.

I had lunch with my friend on Wednesday, and did a few hours' casual work proofing pages for the local community paper. Other than that ... hrm.

I did get some blogging done - I wrote a review of Abroad  by Liz Jacobs, and one of the app game, Monument Valley 2. Coming up this week I'll have a review of Unforgiven by Ruth Clampett, a book for which I have very mixed feelings.

Also this week I'm hoping to restart my awesome ladies blog posts, so I need to do some research for that.

J has another week off before starting his new job, so I think we're all just waiting to adjust to a new normal.

I'm still picking away at the Hamilton bio, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through Tongues of Serpents, so I'm hoping to finish that this week. Otherwise it's more of the same: applying for jobs, blogging a bit, reading .... if I'm feeling particularly feisty  I might do some cross-stitching.

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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Review - Monument Valley 2

I’ve talked about the original Monument Valley game before, here:

It’s still one of my favourite games, so I was very excited when seemingly out of nowhere Ustwo Games dropped Monument Valley 2 earlier this year.

This time the playable characters are Ro, and her daughter. The gameplay is similar to the first one, with mind-bending physics, relaxing music and A+ graphics.

The main differences are the characters (obviously) and the colour palette which is much more varied than the first game.

While all that is great, my favourite thing about Monument Valley 2 is how a large chunk of the story centres around the mother, Ro. Often in games, stories, novels … mothers get left behind. Their stories aren’t considered important and their whole entire role is that of mother.

In Monument Valley 2, while Ro being a mother is important, she’s also shown having her own adventures and challenges and as someone who is always looking for the unicorn - the three-dimensional fully-realised mother character - Ro in Monument Valley 2 is a real gift.

Definitely start with Monument Valley if you haven’t played it before. Overall it’s a very rewarding and relaxing experience.

Monday, 24 July 2017


One of the things I'm trying to do while I'm not working is finding activities and things to fill my time. That sounds awful and dire but it's true.

So one of my goals is to blog more often - hopefully every day, but if not at least 3-4 times a week. I'm going to be doing reviews - books mostly, and also movies, and some games. Not TV shows because what I watch tends not to be what everyone else around the world is watching, and I'm sure you all don't want long ranty posts about The Block NZ - lol.

Otherwise I'll be writing about whatever strikes me on the day. Or I'll steal something from one of those endless blog post ideas lists and write about that. Who knows.

I'm also going to get back into doing my awesome ladies project: Next up was meant to be Sally Potter, who directed Orlando but I can't find a copy of the film at the moment. So back to composers, and next up is Kassia from the 8th-9th century.

It's a way to keep my brain ticking - I'm someone who needs something to be happening, or to be doing something pretty much all the time or my brain-muscle starts to atrophy.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Review - Abroad by Liz Jacobs

Nick has always felt out of place. Now in London for university - after travelling from the US, he feels even more out of place.

Then he meets Izzy and her friends - especially the handsome and somewhat grumpy Dex.

Nick struggles with his anxiety, his sexuality and what his family back home will think.

Meanwhile, Dex - having previously suffered a bad break-up, doesn't want to let Nick in at first, but Nick has a way about him that Dex can't stay away from.

Izzy - bright, bubbly and unashamedly living out lout - comes up against her own issues with her previously-assumed sexuality.

Abroad is one of those books - you open it up and you just kind of fall in. It's comforting and uneasy at the same time. All of the characters - particularly the core three of Nick, Izzy and Dex - are particularly well-realised. And although you know what's coming, you can't help but become invested in the story and the characters.

It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, and so I'm just hanging out for book two.

Sunday post 65; It's Monday! What are you reading? 50

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

Well. First off, I'm no longer a student. I woke up on Friday morning, and I just knew it wasn't the right thing, so I withdrew from my course. It means I'm back looking for work, but it feels like the right thing. And I'm not ruling out studying in the future, but I think I'll take up something that I'm more suited to, personality wise. Also I knew - even with all the help in the world - there was no way I was going to pass statistics. It's like my friend said today - there's a difference between something hard that you know you can do ultimately, and something that you can't and fundamentally? Stats is just something I can't do. Plus, I don't really think a BCom is right for me either.

So where from here? Jobseeking, and some casual work hopefully. Otherwise, I have other projects around the house I want to try and get done - mostly sorting things out and throwing out boxes and tidying DVDs.

Spawn and I went to a live wrestling show on Saturday night, there's an outfit here that does periodic events - modelled after the WWE. It was the second one we've been to, and it was a lot of fun.

What else ... not much, really. I'm STILL reading the Alexander Hamilton bio, and Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik. I also picked up Abroad, by Liz Jacobs and I'm hoping to have a review of that up this week.

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

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sunday Post 64; It's Monday! What are you reading? 50

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 hosted by Kathryn right here:

Let's see ... last week was ... something - lol.

For us as a family, the biggest news is that J got a fulltime job. He's been working as a grocery assistant part-time at a supermarket for years so this is good all around - not just for the family, but for him as well.

For myself, I went into Tech last Monday and discovered that no, no I was not enrolled in the course I thought I was. After some to-ing and fro-ing, I somehow found myself enrolled in a graduate diploma in marketing. Now - I really enjoyed marketing last semester but after a week of course, I don't feel ready to tackle a graduate course. So I'm going to go in there tomorrow and talk to the head of department - I have a week in which I can change my course with no penalties, and I want to see if I can switch to a BCom.

It was my intention anyway after the Certificate I did, but because I have a Bachelor of Arts (from 20 years ago I might add) people kept saying that I really didn't need another bachelor's degree, I already have a good education - and yes, that's all good advice and all but I lost sight of what I wanted to do. I want to pursue the BCom, and still major in marketing, as that's what I'm really interested in. So hopefully I can switch.

I still haven't heard from the job that I really wanted, so I think I have to let that one go - I was talking on Friday to one of the people I had put down for a reference, and she said she hadn't heard from them - two weeks later.

So the plan is (hopefully) to switch my course, but keep applying for jobs. Studying is something I can always come back to, now that I know I still have the knack to get the work done, but you can't pin a job to a noticeboard for later.

I'm still picking through the same books - the Hamilton bio and Tongues of Serpents, though the latter isn't the strongest entry in the Temeraire series, I will still persist.

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

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Review - The Crow by Alison Croggon

The Crow is book three in Alison Croggon’s YA fantasy series The Books of Pellinor.

The first two books focused on Maerad, a Bard who had no idea of her skills until she was rescued from slavery. Subsequently, Maerad finds out that she’s the Chosen One and she has to find something called the Treesong to restore the Balance.

Book three focuses on Maerad’s long-lost brother Hem, with whom she is reunited in book two.

I have to admit, I was wary at first going in, because I did become invested in Maerad’s journey, and I also dig the way that Alison Croggan just kind of went “yep, it’s a Chosen one narrative. Look, there she is. She’s the Chosen One. Yep.” It works really well, and it’s cosy because you know exactly what you’re getting so you just sort of …. Dive in.

Hem has been taken to another city by another Bard, Saliman, in order to learn How to be a Proper Bard. Hem is good at some things, not so good at others, but he’s also very likable, and The Crow is kind of a found family story, and if there is something I have a HUGE weakness for, it’s a found family story.

Often in this sort of fantasy story, Hem might have turned bitter or been jealous of Maerad but he’s not. He misses her and wants nothing but to see her again and gosh it just has so much HEART.

On the flip side of that, of course, terrible terrible things happen and I think the descriptions of the child soldiers that serve The Nameless One (yes, the bad guy is called that. The tropes. They live, but they’re handled so. well.) are awful and heartbreaking, and the time that Hem spends in one of the child soldiers’ camps ...well.

Wary as I was, The Crow did not disappoint and I like that it rounded out the story of the Books of Pellinor so well. The next book in the series - The Singing - swings the focus back to Maerad as the good vs evil narrative reaches its climax.

Good stuff. Really, really, really good stuff.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Sunday post 63; It's Monday, what are you reading? 49

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

You know the saying that goes life happens when you make other plans? Nothing I had set out for last week happened. Patrick was sick with a bad cough for most of it and that had the knock-on effect of me not getting anytyhing done.

As for what's going to happen this week, I'm actually not sure. My course is supposed to start tomorrow, but I haven't heard anything from the institute since about June 21 when they emailed me to ask what papers I wanted to take. I replied to that, and ... nothing. I tried calling a couple of times but only got an answerphone. So, tomorrow (they've been on semester break) I'm going in there in person and politely asking whether I'm enrolled or not.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the part-time admin job that I interviewed for, and the other one that I had a phone interview for I didn't progress. I'm living in limbo and it's actually the worst. If I start the course then that's something, and then if I get the job what I'll likely do is put the course on hold and maybe re-enrol next year, but I don't want to speak my plans too loudly - lol.

We're coming into school holidays for two weeks here as well, so spawn will be home for a bit. I don't like things to be this ... disorderly.

I finished The Crow yesterday and I'm hoping to get a review up for that this week. I'm also about to dive into the next Temeraire book - Tongues of Serpents. For everything else - let's say I'd like to get some blogging and writing done, and some stitching and get a few walks in, but honestly - let's see how I go.

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

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Sunday post 62; It's Monday! What are you reading? 48

The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to catch up and chat about what's been going on in their lives - is hosted by Kimba, here: and It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, over here:

I have been rather notable by my absence, I think. Or not notable perhaps. Certainly absent, without intention.

Let's see ... my course finished and I closed out with As and Bs in everything, so that's the good news. I'm back looking for a job, which is the less-good news, but the struggle continues. At worst, I'll re-enrol for another semester of study. It gets me out of the house, gets the old brain cells cranking, and I genuinely enjoy the studying process.

Watch this space?

That's about the most significant thing, I think. I did have a job interview the week before last, but I'll update on that when I know more. It is a job I would love, but I have to wait and see.

I didn't do very much last week at all - it was the week after my course finished, so I decided to take it easy for a little bit - I applied for jobs and belted through a replay of Dragon Age II. This week - although applying for jobs is a given - I need to fill my days a bit more productively. I need to go through the process (again) of applying for benefits, which is always fun, and the course I want to do starts up on July 10, so if something doesn't fall out of the sky between now and next Monday, I need to follow up with the admin for that.

I have some projects I want to get done - I have hoarder pockets in my room that need to be dealt with, and I also want to reorganise the family collection of movies and video games so everything is tidy. It doesn't sound like much besides busywork, but while I have the time I want to get something done. I also want to go for a walk every day - not for fitness, but I find being outside, even for a little while walking around the block, can shift my perspective and clear my head.

I have my Circe cross-stitch that I've had on the go for years, but I've come to the stage where I can sort of see the finish line - it's blurry and distant but it's there, so I want to work on that as well. Get back into blogging regularly, and of course, reading.

My reading has slowed down, but I'm climbing that TBR, one book at a time. Right now, I'm picking my way through Ron Chernow's tome of an Alexander Hamilton bio, and also reading The Crow by Alison Croggan, the third in the Books of Pellinor series. Both good reads, and both very different reads. I'm about 20 books behind on my Goodreads challenge but I'm not losing any sleep over it - either I'll catch up, or I won't. If I don't I'll set myself a less lofty target next year.

I won tickets a couple of weeks ago to a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and went with a couple of women from my course. It was great fun, singing and dancing along with the movie, though I'm getting to the age where being out past midnight is something that my body does not enjoy - lol.

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