Thursday, 31 May 2018

Review - The Break by Marian Keyes

Amy is shocked when her husband Hugh suddenly announces that he's leaving.

Except - he's not planning on leaving forever, just for six months - a break, if you will.

Amy is devastated, confused, and angry. Hugh has had a tough time lately, she understands, with the death of his father and his best friend, but this seems a bit ... extreme.

With three daughters in the mix - two teenagers and one very angry early-20s in the mix - how will Amy pick up and keep the day-to-day going while Hugh's off riding around Thailand?

Add in an extended and chaotic Irish family, an ill-advised flirtation and Amy struggling to keep everything together, she feels like she's constantly on the edge of disaster.

I love Marian Keyes, I really do. Her early novels are some of my absolute favourites, but I feel really ambiguous about The Break, and I'm not sure why.

Maybe I've been conditioned by the string of novels I read in the 90s where women were ditched by their husbands and then started catering companies.

I was expecting ... something. Some kind of revelation, or emotional payoff, but it felt like that never came. Amy is - rightfully - roaringly angry at Hugh, and her feelings rollercoaster so much that parts of the book are genuinely exhausting.

I'm just. I'm not sure. I'm still thinking about it a few days later, so maybe that's a sign that there's more to it than I thought.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Review - Star Trek: Beyond

Star Trek: Beyond is the third Star Trek film in the reboot series.

one starts with the Enterprise in the midst of its five-year mission, seeking out new life, etc. And everyone's a little bit restless.

Kirk is considering a promotion, and Spock is thinking about leaving the Enterprise altogether.

The ship touches down at Yorktown, a starbase, for some repairs and some R&R. When an escape pod drifts in from a nearby nebula, the crew of the Enterprise are tasked with helping its occupant, Kalara.

As the Enterprise exits an asteroid field near the nebula, the ship is overtaken by Krall and his massive swarm of small ships.

Kalara is revealed to be Krall's spy, the Enterprise crew are split up, and everything sort of goes to hell in a handbasket for a bit.

I have to admit, I enjoyed this one more than Into Darkness. For one thing, Kirk is more than just an arrogant dickhead, and you know - character development is always nice. The story hangs together better, and it's more about working together, and figuring out what to do next for the crew.

It definitely kept me interested.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Sunday Post 102, It's Monday! What are you reading? 87

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

Let's see ... I finally did the post for the first #spbkchat reboot - it's here: - feel free to drop in on the post and leave topic ideas, and definitely feel free to drop in on the chat - 9pm NZ Time on Friday night. :)

What else. I went pub quizzing with my friend on Wednesday night, and despite there only being two of us out of a  potential four-person team, we won. It was a fun night.

I've had a quiet weekend apart from going to my friend's and watching the Survivor: Ghost Island finale, and then to the annual Rotary book sale today. In the last hour you can get a bag of books for $5, and I think I did all right.

Here's what I got. Not a bad selection, I don't think, and because it was the last hour or so, it wasn't too crowded around the tables.

Other than that - and I suppose including that - I had a pretty quiet weekend. The weather's been absolute crap - cold and rainy, so a good weekend to harbour inside for sure.

I watched a movie today, and I FINALLY watched a halfway decent Netflix one. It's a horror movie called The Ritual, and there'll be a review up for that later this week.

I also read The Break by Marian Keyes. She's one of my favourite authors, but I have to admit, I'm ambivalent on how much I enjoyed it. I'm still not sure.

I'm reading The Bear and the Nightingale at work on Overdrive, and I'm delving further in to I'll Be Gone in the Dark as well. I've still got Railsea and The Fifth Season on the backburner, too.

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

Thursday, 24 May 2018

South Pacific Book Chat - the reboot

I actually meant to get this post done earlier, but with losing Chloe last week, and then work was busy, I just didn't get around to it, so I apologies.

The previous chat ran on a Thursday night, as I recall.

Friday night is the only night I have free to do this, so I'm proposing Friday nights with  a start time of 9pm, NZ Time. To work out what time that is for you, you can go here:

The idea behind the time is to make it suitable for readers/book bloggers in the South Pacific area.

Obviously, however, anyone's welcome to join in as long as you abide by the golden rule: be excellent to each other.

The chat will start on June 1, on twitter, at 9pm NZ Time. If you're joining in, pop up and just use the #spbkchat hashtag. For week one, we'll keep it to a general chat and then refine topics from there.|

Feel free to drop me notes with topic ideas here, or on twitter at

There's an #spbkchat blog from when it was active before; and I'm going to leave links here from there to topic ideas, just to give you an idea of the types of things that were talked about previously.

Here's hoping we can kick this off again and have fun :)

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review - Avengers Infinity War

Spoilers ahead, probably, though I'll do my best to avoid them.

Infinity War pulls in The Avengers, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Dr Steven Strange, a  partridge in a pear tree, some beans, eleven ducks, and also the kitchen sink.

Thanos, who's been a baddie in previous Guardians films has decided he absolutely needs all of the Infinity Stones, each of which is imbued with a different power - space, time, life, something, something, something, something, and if he gets all of the stones, he'll be unstoppable.

The film itself picks up from the end of Thor: Ragnarok, with Thor, Loki and remaining Asgardians under threat by the Children of Thanos.

That goes... about as well as you'd expect, and then everything plummets from there.

I have very, very mixed feelings about Infinity War. Parts of it were absolutely heartbreaking, but it felt like there wasn't ENOUGH emotional payoff for what was happening, if that even makes sense.

Basically, the movie is a 2.5 hour long fight with Thanos. It's a superhero action movie that's eaten too many lollies too late at night and it just sort of RUSHESABOUTEVERYWHERELIKETHISANDOHNO*SPOILER*BUTTHENFIGHTAGAINANDOHNO ... and it's just. It's kind of exhausting.

Everyone's also kind of scattered about on earth, on Titan and Knowhere, and I kept waiting for that come-to-Jesus moment where everyone's in the same place and it's time to kick ass.

Given that the WHOLE MOVIE is one long ass-kicking, and there's NO payoff for that at ALL, I really don't know how I feel about it as a whole.

Well. I know how I feel about SOME things.

Mostly? Mostly exhausted.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Sunday Post 101; It's Monday! What are you reading? 86

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

First - thank you all who left messages on my last Sunday Post about Chloe. I didn't get around to thanking everyone individually like I had meant to, but I did read everyone's messages, and I appreciate them greatly.

Last week was a bit up and down. Tuesday was spawn's birthday, but it was just a quiet one this year, which isn't a bad thing. We had cheesecake for pudding on Tuesday night, and I ordered pizza for tea last night as a kind of ad-hoc birthday tea.

On Wednesday I made mistake after mistake at work, and it was basically the worst day. On Thursday, me and a few of the others who've started over the last few months went on a training course, which turned out to be interesting. It was also nice to be off the phones for a day. A good re-set. There was also a work dinner thing that night, which was also pretty good. I'm not the world's biggest social butterfly, but I'm glad I went.

Other than that ... I finally saw Infinity War on Saturday - I just went on my own, and it was nice to just have a bit of time to myself.  So I'll review that later this week.

Also over the course of this weekend I've managed to burn the index and middle fingers on both hands on two separate occasions. Not bad burns, thankfully, but uncomfortable enough.

I'm still picking away at the Jonestown book on Overdrive, but I think I'm going to stop for a bit, and get the physical copy out of the library. I find ebooks really handy for reading at lunchtime, but that particular book doesn't really lend itself to the format very well.

I'm still reading Railsea as well, and I started I'll Be Gone in the Dark today, so that's what I'm reading at the moment.

I'm also - finally - going to do a blog post for the South Pacific Book Chat - #spbkchat - twitter chat that I'm hoping to get up and running. I meant to do it last week, but with Chloe and all the work stuff, it just didn't happen.

In terms of starting, I'm looking at possibly June 1 for the first actual chat, and on the post itself I'll ask for topic ideas.

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

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Review - The Dark Tower

I'm still sort-of picking my way through the book series, although I've come slightly adrift halfway through book four, and so I finally decided to sit down and watch the movie.

Now - I love Idris Elba. He's my pretend husband, my hall pass. He's everything. And as the Gunslinger, he's GREAT.

However - that's where the greatness ends.

Stephen King has an exceptional narrative touch when he's truly on his game, and that's exhibited clearly - for me - in the first three books (again, so far the only books I've finished)  - and that deftness is just ... missing. It's almost like whoever adapted the screenplay missed the point.

I can understand leaving out Eddie and Suzanne - from a strictly narrative point of view movie-wise that makes sense. But I couldn't understand why they altered Jake's storyline so drastically. Not only that, but they ignored his most compelling line: "Go, then. There are other worlds than these", which packs a real emotional wallop in context.

Matthew McConaughey is fine as the Man in Black, but the movie as a whole left me feeling cold.

  1. As long and as epic and weird as The Dark Tower book series is, it still has an emotional core, which, unfortunately, is missing from the movie.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Review - Dragon Age Knight Errant

Knight Errant is a five-comic book series set in the Dragon Age universe. Set after the events of the final DLC Trespasser and the previous comic series Magekiller, Knight Errant follows the adventures of Vaea, city-elf and squire to a wandering knight who now makes a living telling stories of his past glory.

Knight and squire arrive in Kirkwall for the appointment of Varric Tethras as Viscount. However, what Ser Knight doesn't know about his squire is that she's also a talented thief. She takes a job in Kirkwall which goes badly, and finds herself taking on a job for the Inquisition.

Knight Errant is a fun addition to the Dragon Age canon, and it's always fun revisiting characters from the game and also from Magekiller.

Vaea is a fully-realised character, and her knight is also equally well-realised.

As fans of the series wait for definitive news of a date for Dragon Age 4, Knight Errant fills a little bit of that void.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Sunday Post 100, It's Monday What are you reading? 85

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

First of all, we had to say goodbye to a beloved cat today. Chloe - who was 14-15 - had been slowly going downhill. She was still eating, but was also steadily losing weight, and today, she deteriorated very rapidly. So I called the emergency vet, and we let her go.

This was Chloe. We took her in as a four month old kitten after friends of J couldn't find a home for her, and were going to have her put down. We, obviously, couldn't let that happen.

She was a proper sweetheart of a cat - a lap fiend, a lover of ice cream and toast - just yesterday she enjoyed a tidbit of toast with marmite from me - and just a sweet wee lady of a cat.

Losing her today was sad - it's always sad losing a pet that has been such a large part of your life - but I know that we did the right thing for her.

Otherwise, life goes on as normal. I still need to do the post for South Pacific Book Chat, which I'll try  and get done this week, but I'm not entirely sure if I will. Work is... work - lol.

Spawn turns 11 on Tuesday, and we gave him an early birthday present of a couple of video games yesterday so he'd have time to play and enjoy them.

I"m still reading the Jonestown book, and I started Railsea yesterday - it's a re-read but going well so far. I also finished the Knight Errant comic series for Dragon Age, so I'll do a review of that this week.

I alss watched The Dark Tower movie, and I'm watching Star Trek: Beyond while I'm writing this. I'll review The Dark Tower this week sometime and Star Trek: Beyond next week, most likely.

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

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Sunday Post 99, It's Monday, What are you reading? 84

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

Let's see ... my week was fairly ordinary, I think. Spawn started in his new after-school programme, and is enjoying it so far. Partly, I think, because this one is run out of another school, and so he can play outside in the playground, unlike the previous one he was in, which was essentially run by a kids' restaurant. It had play areas, but nowhere to go outside.

Other than that, the week ticked along as normal.

I took Spawn to the library yesterday for Free Comic Book Day, but unfortunately when we were there, the comics hadn't yet been delivered. So they're going to deliver them to the schools. We also went to Subway and had a bit of a browse around town.\

I also watched a terrible Netflix movie yesterday (again), and painted my nails today. So all in all, a good weekend. I'm not going to review the movie I watched - Bachelorette. It had Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher in it, and managed to waste every single one of their talents. Quite a feat, really.

There was some discussion on twitter last week about the possibility of reviving the South Pacific Book Chat discussion - a weekly chat that Marg from and I used to host, several years ago. It went the way of these things and fizzled out after a while. However, when I spotted a  mention of it between two other bloggers on twitter, I considered the possibility of reviving it again.

Here's the thinking:

The time zone for the chat - #spbkchat on twitter - is designed for NZ/Australian/other South Pacific book bloggers/tweeters - so I was thinking the start time could be 9.30pm NZ Time on a Friday night. I'm happy to "host" and get the chats up and running - but I can only do Friday nights, and 9.30pm my time is as late as I want to start.

If other bloggers/tweeters are keen, let me know here or on twitter at If you have any ideas for weekly topics, drop those off as well.

The chat would be designed to go for a couple of hours, with the chosen theme as the focus of discussion. Beyond that it wouldn't be structured apart from the edict of course, of be excellent to each other.

I'm thinking of gearing it up from the 25th, which gives me time to get a list of potential topics together and gauge interest.

That.... went off track - lol.

As for what I'm reading - I started The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People's Temple by Jeff Guinn, and I'm also working my way through the last series of Dragon Age comics - Knight Errant.

Wizards and Glass appears to be on the backburner for now. I'm sure I'll pick it up again... eventually.

I'm waiting for I'll Be Gone in the Dark to come in at the library -  I can feel one of my rare true-crime reading sprees coming on, I think.

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

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Review - Rivers of London by Ben Aarnovitch

I have a feeling someone recommended this to me, but I don't remember who it was.

Anyway, if they did, they were right. This was GREAT.

I tend to be really picky with urban fantasy - if it's got a scantily-clad girl on the cover and there's some kind of forbidden romance brewing then I'll give it a hard pass usually (though I did enjoy the first book in the October Daye series), because ... ugh. It's just not my genre.

Rivers of London, however, is exactly the kind of urban fantasy that I want.

Peter Grant is a constable in London, about to be assigned to whatever department his supervisor deems him fit for. Peter seems destined for the Case Progression Unit (paperwork mostly), until he sees a ghost in Covent Garden one night.

This brings Peter to the attention to the only magical Police Inspector in London, and Peter finds himself apprenticed and one of two police officers specifically assigned to investigate the inexplicable.

When ordinary people suddenly start committing murders seemingly out of nowhere, Nightingale and Peter are on the case.

Rivers of London was the perfect blend of crime procedural and urban fantasy, and it's the first in a series. I'm a very happy reader today.