Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Review - Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone is the fifth book in The Others series by Anne Bishop. 

In book 4, the Elders took exception to humans thinking that they could just take over everything and acted with devastating consequences for everyone.

Book 5 picks up in the Lakeside Courtyard, a place that has become a kind of litmus test for how humans and the Others can find a way to co-exist.

The story centres on part of the human pack if you will - police officer CJ Montgomery and his no-good brother Jimmy who shows up at the Courtyard expecting an easy ride.

The Courtyard's leaders, especially Simon Wolfgard, are reluctant to let Jimmy stay, but the Courtyard is being observed by Elders, and they insist on wanting to see what happens when an undesirable human moves in to a relatively stable community.

As well as CJ's story, there's more Simon and Meg interaction, and their relationship .. well it progresses, anyway.

I actually enjoy how Anne Bishop portrays their obvious bond, and also Simon's respect for Meg's past as a cassandra sangue - a blood prophet. Meg is trying to find other ways to express prophecies when the feeling comes on her, and the Lakeside Courtyard - to me anyway - is nothing so much as one really large found family.

There's something cosy about the whole series that I just really really respond to, so I'm ambivalent about book six, which is set in the Others' universe but not in the Courtyard.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Sunday Post 89, It's Monday, What are you reading? 74

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 ... last week shaped up much the same as the week before - no great dramas to report.

To be honest, I prefer it that way. Give me a quiet real life any day, and I can get my excitement from books and movies - lol.

I took Spawn to see Black Panther yesterday, which I had been promising him we'd do. We had what he calls a "town day" - we went into town on the bus, went to the local gaming store, the movies, and had Subway for lunch. All in all a good day and the movie was GREAT. I'll post a review of it later in the week, though it will mostly be lots of shouting about how great it was.

I also finished Etched in Bone yesterday. I probably stayed up a bit late, but I was invested and wanted to get through it. I enjoyed it a lot, and so there'll be a review of that this week, too. Hooray for scheduled posts. :)

What else. Just work, and a quiet weekend. I painted my nails pink today and played some Dragon Age. Spawn got a certificate at school for variety of vocab in his descriptive writing, so I'll post that as a bit of a brag, since I don't usually do that.

It's been raining and windy today - perfect gaming and nail painting weather.

I'm still reading Wizards and Glass - that's going to take a fair bit to get through - and I have City Stained Red by Sam Sykes lined up, but I'm thinking of reading something a bit more light-hearted before I dive into that one. I'm not sure yet.

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

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Review - Slide by Garrett Reid

Ash and Pete have been together for a long time, but with Pete's long hours working as a paramedic, and Ash's past causing him problems, it isn't long before things come to a crisis point.

Pete's working so hard that he doesn't notice how far Ash is sliding until the crisis point comes and everything comes crashing down around them.

Okay. There were a lot of things I liked about Slide.  I liked that it started with an established relationship between Ash and Pete, and as characters themselves they were interesting and engaging - especially Ash.

Their friends - especially Ash's friend Ellie - were well-realised, and the relationship between Ash and Pete was also really well done, as they both struggle with working too many hours, and not having enough time.

BUT, and there IS A BUT, when the crisis point comes  - Pete's reaction felt - to me - completely out of character.

He's a paramedic. And he knows that Ash had struggled with drug use in the past (Ash had been homeless for a long time). And okay, Pete's mother is in crisis at the time, but when he comes home and finds Ash passed out, he just assumes that Ash has gone back to old habits, kicks him out, and then doesn't even TRY to find him.

In Chicago.

In winter.

Pete just assumes that Ash will go to Ellie, but then sulks for LITERALLY A MONTH.

Again. Pete is a paramedic.

Sigh. I enjoyed so much of the book, but that was just ... it felt out of place to me.

And let's not start on the massive and unlikely coincidence ...

My feelings. They are mixed.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Sunday Post 88, It's Monday, What are you reading? 73

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/

I'm trying to think what I've been doing ... working, mostly, I think. I have clearly had a very quiet week. Which is no bad thing but it means I have nothing to really blog about.

I .... finished a book? I went to my friend's last night like every Saturday and I ... uhm. Nope, nothing to see here.

I spent a large part of today watching The Winter Soldier again, and it just reminded me how great the movies in that franchise could be, which in turn made me angry about Age of Ultron again.

Spawn started touch this week (it's like rugby but kind of not) and I'm extremely grateful for other mothers, because I was able to organise people to pick him up and take him to the games, and pick him up after the games, which is great because otherwise he wouldn't be able to play.

I had an up-and-down week at work, but I guess that's just part of the process. Ehn.

I'm still reading Wizards and Glass, and I also started Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop, which I'm really enjoying.

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

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Review - The A-Team

I need to stop watching random movies on Netflix. Or finding BETTER movies to watch on Netflix ...

I used to love The A-Team in the 1980s - the old TV series. My favourite character was Murdoch. Good times.

The movie is ......... the movie is a thing I watched while I did my nails today. I painted them silver. It looks very nice.

Right. The movie. Okay, look - I really like Liam Neeson. I do. But I'd just like to have a quiet chat with whoever went "Hey, you know who would make a great Hannibal Smith? Liam Neeson." Because that person is wrong.

He lacks  .... something. Charisma? To carry off that particular role. Bradley Cooper was surprisingly all right as Face - he's got that kind of cocky goodlooking dickheadishness to pull it off.  Sharlton Copley was pretty all right as Murdoch - though no one can ever replace Dwight Schultz - and Quinton Jackson had really very little to do except yell a lot as BA Baracus.

There was ... a plot? Something, something military, something, something exchange plates. As far as action movies go it felt kind of lazy somehow? There were plenty of boomy and blowing-up set-pieces, but ... ehn.

That's the word. ehn.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Short reviews

Somehow I've read three books over the past week or so and not realised. Instead of doing three separate posts, I'm doing one short reviews post for all three books.

First up, is It Devours, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Oh yeah, I've read that book.

It's the second Night Vale-based novel and let me tell you - I love Night Vale. I'm behind on the podcast, but that doesn't make my love for it any less true, pure and full of spiders.

In It Devours, Carlos the Perfect tasks another scientist - Nilanjana ("Interloper!") with figuring out what's behind mysterious rumblings in the desert outside of town.

Nilanjana's investigations lead her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God - and to Darryl, one of its most devoted members. As Nilanjana and Darryl figure out what's happening, a romance starts to blossom, houses start disappearing, and Carlos is, as always, perfect.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the first Night Vale novel slightly more than It Devours, but it was still greaet. Full of Night Vale weirdness and insight and absurdities, which are all the things I love about Night Vale.

Next, we go from both the sublime and the ridiculous to... just the ridiculous. I picked up The Exodus Quest by Will Adams from the withdrawn shelf at the library. And - I mean - it's just. It's a very very silly book.

Archaeologist Daniel Knox spots something in a bazaar somewhere in Egypt that sends him off on a chasey-chasey quest for .... uhm.

I *think* the fundamental premise of the book is that there's solid proof that the heretical Pharaoh Akhenaten was actually Moses and the Old Testament of the Bible is just a collection of folk stories that all have to do with the same Exodus event? Honestly, I'm not even sure.

Hanging the premise on Ancient Egypt is catnip to me, so I forgave A LOT, including Knox rushing about Egypt like a lunatic with a fairly serious concussion. That's mentioned once and then completely ignored for the duration. It's a bit Da Vinci Cod in the whole ... absurd theory turning out to be true, but it was readable enough and just seemed to want to be LIKED.

Jasper Richardson is struggling. His house has turned into little more than twisty corridors between piles of books and papers and he knows he needs help.

He finally calls hoarding clean-up specialists Carroll and Lewis for help to manage his home and figure out why he's basically barricaded his life behind his hoard.

When he meets Lewis, Jasper starts to realise that maybe there is more to life than giant piles of stuff. As for Lewis, he struggles to remain professional in the face of his obvious attraction to Jasper.

This was really good - readable and it had a lot of depth. Jasper is just so vulnerable and clearly lonely when he meets Lewis, and Lewis does his level best to act ethically and professionally towards Jasper.

The two eventually fumble towards something solid and lasting. A really good read.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Sunday Post 87, It's Monday! What are you reading? 72

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/

I hit another work milestone last week.

I had my first sick day. With the changing weather, colds are almost inevitable. I had a blocked nose, blocked ears and on Thursday I woke up and just went .... "Nope." Spawn stayed home with me as well with a blocked nose.  We had a very quiet day - hanging out and watching a doco series on Ancient Egypt, which was really fascinating, and I think I finished a book maybe.

I felt better on Friday so I went back to work and it went okay.

Spawn had a friend over for the afternoon yesterday and I did very very very very little. As little as I could get away with.

This week will bring much the same. :)

I was looking at my Goodreads, and somehow I've finished three books since last week? Which seems a lot, but is possible I suppose. Wait, it does seem possible. Tuesday was a public holiday here, so I probably finished one then; one on Thursday, and one today.

It does mean I'm going to write a short reviews post for this week though, rather than write three separate reviews. I also watched The A-Team (the movie) today, so I'll put up a review of that sometime this week. I sort-of watched Kong: Skull Island last night - one hundred per cent because Tom Hiddleston was in it - but I kept going in and out of the room so can't really review that one.

Next up reading-wise is Wizards and Glass, book 4 of The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Hopefully I can finally finish the series this year - like I meant to last year.

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

Review - Gods of Egypt

I have regrets. I have many, many regrets. One of my biggest regrets right now is pressing "play" on this movie and losing two hours of my life to it.

I mean, I got my nails repainted at the same time so at least I was productive but oh my god. This was AWFUL.

1) Almost every single character in this - main or otherwise - is white. In a movie set in Ancient Egypt. I mean. I mean. No.

2) Gerard Butler - who plays the Egyptian God Set - SPEAKS WITH A SCOTTISH ACCENT. Like. I'm sorry but. No. No. No. No. No.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO As bad as it was, even Angelina Jolie made a bloody effort with her accent in Alexander.  He's all "I'm doin Egypt a favour" sounding  like bloody Braveheart.

3) The.. .main? guy? Idk, he looks like the embodiment of Generic White YA Hero and had absolutely zero charisma or chemistry with the equally bland girl who played his ... wife? I think?

4) Bryan Brown and Geoffrey Rush were cast as gods. GEOFFREY RUSH PLAYED RA WITH AN AUSTRALIAN ACCENT.

5) The sets looked okay? But everything else about this movie was a bad choice piled on a worse choice piled on a terrible choice piled on a pile of camel dung. Not that there were any camels in the movie. THAT would have been an improvement.

So, so many regrets.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Review - One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Described as "The Breakfast Club" meets "Pretty Little Liars", One of Us is Lying begins with after-school detention for four unlikely students.

There's Nate, the rebellious teen who deals in drugs and is on probation, Bronwyn, the Type-A good girl, Addy the girlfriend of the popular jock, Cooper, all-American pitcher - and Simon.

Simon, who everyone hates and no-one trusts, thanks to his gossipy app, About That where he posts scandals about students.

The thing is, everything on About That is true, and Simon has posts - not yet published - queued up about each of the other people in detention with him.

However, when Simon dies of an allergic reaction, suddenly the other four find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation.

Who did it? Who could have done it? Simon was unpopular with everyone, and all of the students who had been in detention with him had reason to want him silenced.

I really, really enjoyed One of Us is Lying. I can see the comparisons to The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars, but I felt there was also a bit of Cards on the Table (Agatha Christie) about it - in Cards on the Table there are only four people in a room, and one is murdered. With such a limited pool of suspects it makes everything that much more heightened.

I found myself caring about all of the main characters - in their own ways their secrets were heartbreaking and potentially damaging. The story kept up its pace and I ended up staying up till about 1am so I could finish it and find out what REALLY happened to Simon.

Definitely recommended.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Sunday Post 86, It's Monday, What are you reading? 71

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/

It rained, it rained it rained!! Normally this wouldn't be quite so newsworthy, but before it rained the temperatures were climbing up to 30deg celsius and we were on water restrictions. Then, on Thursday, the heavens opened up. We're not out of the woods yet, but the rain brought cooler temperatures at least which was a great relief.

Spawn went back to school on Thursday. Luckily his uniform from last year still fits, and we can buy his stationary straight from the school, so it's been fairly low-stress. For me, anyway. :) He's happy to see his friends again, and also happy he doesn't have any homework as of yet.

Other than that, just work, mostly. Yesterday I went into town for a bit of a wander - with my hours and with the office being juuuuust outside the main centre, I don't really go out and about at lunchtime much. So I took the chance yesterday morning to have a quiet wander. I also bought some new makeup as it'd been a couple of years since I'd bought anything - time for a change. :)

I had lunch with some former workmates as well, and that was nice, catching up with people and getting news etc. I didn't do much else over the weekend. I read a book, and I'm helping spawn slowly build a floating Lego city. So far we have a throne room, a king, and of course, robot bodyguards.

Today I painted my nails and watched Gods of Egypt and I will never see those two hours of my life again. I'll post a review later this week.

I read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus which I really enjoyed. Review coming later in the week for that, too.

I'm still working through The Exodus Quest and also It Devours. Both of which I'm greatly enjoying but it was kind of nice to just pick something up and fly through it in  a day.

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

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Review - Into the Woods

I was trawling Netflix looking for a movie to watch today, and came across this one. I hadn't seen it so I clicked "play".

Into the Woods is a musical mash-up of pretty much every popular fairytale you can think of. It's based on the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name.

Uhm. There's such a mishmash of stories, it's hard to know where to start. Meryl Streep plays a witch who promises a childless couple (James Corden and Emily Blunt) if they bring her a series of items she can give them a child.

Cinderella is in there... Red Riding Hood ... okay. Honestly? I got bored. I love musicals usually, but with this one, I started reading my book halfway through and just sort of looked up once in a while. I'm sure it's amazing on Broadway, but as a film it's just... ehn.

There's lots of singing (obviously) and not really a lot of story to hang those songs on, unfortunately.