52 Books in 52 weeks – August

This month I read quite a bit actually, three books over my quota. Certainly not complaining though as it has been nice to immerse myself in reading :)

Here is the list :)

Number

Title

Author

32 –

Aug 4-10

Good Omens

Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil

33 –

Aug 11-17

The Last Book in the Universe

Philbrick, Rodman

34 –

Aug 18-24

“Fallen”, “Torment” & “Passion”

Kate, Lauren

35 –

Aug 25-31

Splintered

The Giver

Howard, A.G.

Lowry, Lois

I had the BEST month of reading!!!

I really like the cover though :)

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

I actually started this book last month, I struggled to really get into the text and I am not sure why. It was more towards Pratchett’s way of writing which is right up my alley, but then you could see Gaiman’s style coming through too. To be honest I think the two together for me personally did not work. I did love the characters of Crowley and Aziraphale; their interactions were (for me) the best parts of the book. Really I should have loved this book and I can’t understand why I found myself disinterested, skimming and reading another book then coming back to it.

I feel that this book would be loved by someone who clicked with the writing, unfortunately it didn’t work for me which was quite sad because I do love Terry Pratchett’s other works.

The last book in the Universe – Rodman Philbrick

This book, wow. I found this book at a book sale, it was the end of the day and they were selling you a box for 50cents – you got to fill it with as many books as you could manage (I know, heaven right?!). This was one of the books I grabbed, it looked like the cover had never been cracked and read as though it would be a good book for young male adults. I am always on the lookout for books like this because some of the stuff out there for guys is garbage and I like to have a few ideas on what to suggest for clients.

I was so surprised by this book, the setting is in a post-disaster (of some kind of earthquake I think – let’s blame climate change) city, the protagonist is a teenage boy they call Spaz. One of the interesting things about this book is that this society basically does not read, quite a few of them do not even talk, this whole society basically learns and is educated by either observing or (if they talk) being told. The language that they do have is incredible literal, for example; Spaz is named thus because he has epilepsy, but all the others know is that he ‘spazzes out’. The city is called the “Urb” as in suburb. It is quite fascinating to see how this society functions, also interesting is the idea of “Eden” being a paradise where the “Proovs” (improved or genetically altered humans) live.

I quite enjoyed it, if you have a young man that you are trying to get to read maybe try him on this. It is not magic and broomsticks like Harry Potter, but it has great grit and I think young males will enjoy the language.

“Fallen”, “Torment” & “Passion” – Lauren Kate

Yeah I got a bit carried away here and read three of them haha. I did not really enjoy the first book until the last couple of chapters; there were quite a few times where I felt the characters were acting about 14 years old instead of the age they were supposed to be acting. Oh god dammit I have just read they are making a movie of this for 2015 release, sigh, I have never heard of the actors they have cast (even though I have seen some of the movies/shows they are apparently in) though one is an Aussie who looks like a member of One Direction so it will probably be a huge hit :)

The epilogue of the first book intrigued me so much that I went to get no. 2 (Torment) from the Library. This novel was much better than the first, I would still like to slap the female protagonist around because she is completely stupid at some points and is obviously nowhere near finishing puberty. I really liked the school Shoreline and the new characters that were introduced, I thought her roommate and new male friend were great characters. Ending was a solid-ish lead into no. 3.

Book 3: I really, really, really liked this book. I loved that there were these pinpoint references in time that the geek in me easily recognised like the fire at the Globe theatre and the Aztecs etc. It was pretty cool, teenage history buffs are going to be all over this one. It was the best of the series so far, so good that I am scared to read any more of them hahaha.

Splintered – A. G. Howard

Hilariously, I picked this book up because it had a pretty cover. Little did I know that I was about to discover this crazy amazing, slightly nightmarish hat-tip to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa’s family can trace their lineage all the way back to Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the tale. I read this story in a day you guys! I was that swept away by it. I loved the characters, I adored the spin on the classic characters from Carroll’s book. Morpheus was an amazing character (my favourite), whilst reading I often pictured him somewhat similar to Adam Lambert dressed in costume as Starchild, kinda sexy, kinda scary, very trendy and kinda steampunk.

The Giver – Lois Lowry

I have had this on my “to read” list for a while now. I thought it was good, but to be honest I kind of felt like the story didn’t start until Jonas left the village and then the book ended just as I felt something was about to happen. This book really didn’t fit the norm when it comes to overcoming trials and adventures, very interesting. I liked the idea about a supposedly Utopian society and how the “sameness” slowly loses its appeal and the society is suddenly viewed as a Dystopia, to me it says a lot in relation to points of view. A lot is left up to your own interpretation of how something is possible which I suppose makes sense when you are reading it, but is still an odd thing for a young adult novel.

Oh my gosh I just read the cast list for the movie! This is going to be a money-maker guys! Seriously! We have Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes and Aussie Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, I haven’t seen much of him, but I hear good things. I have seen Odeya Rush in films before and quite enjoyed her so that’s a good pick too. My only casting question is, what the hell were they thinking casting Taylor Swift?

And so we go into September… so many books… so little time.


Breakthrough!

Do you ever feel like you are bashing against an endless wall of incompetent medical babble desperate for some real help?

Yup, just like this! Source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/banging-head

I have felt like this for at least a year. Hubby and I have been trying for a baby since NYE 2011; about 20 months ago I convinced him that we needed to seek further help. It has taken than long and a barrage of tests, most of them blood tests, checking a whole range of stuff and several different doctors for me to finally find one that listened to me.

I went to this new Doctor a couple of weeks ago and told him straight, “we can’t conceive, please help us” we:

  • Stopped using birth control immediately
  • Have been eating well
  • Well “I” have been taking pre-pregnancy vitamins
  • Haven’t been drinking and neither of us do drugs
  • Have figured out my cycle
  • Avoid the positions where semen is not encouraged to travel towards the uterus
  • Have had Hubster checked out
  • Have been exercising
  • Have not killed the million people who told us to relax

Here are the conception techniques we have tried:

  • Charting body temperature
  • Sperm meets egg
  • Mucus investigation
  • “Laying low” after sex
  • Combination of all of the above

Sperm meets Egg

Sperm meets Egg

In spite of all of this I am still not pregnant and have been putting on weight pretty steadily.

He took me really seriously, he believed me when I said that I didn’t seem to be able to get my weight in check (we are talking about a lot of weight guys!) even though I am exercising for around an hour every second day! He immediately sent me for bloods (AGAIN), but this time he was checking EVERYTHING – this was something I had asked other Doctors for several times, but apparently they didn’t actually do it. I also demanded a referral to a Gyno who specialises in fertility issues and he gave me that, I see her this Friday.

I went back for the results of my bloods yesterday and he informed me that I did not have PCOS (quite relieved), but my insulin level was scary high and I had to go on medication immediately. I mean seriously scary high you guys, people are supposed to max out at 10… I am freaking 57!!! [He was also pretty unimpressed that when I had gone to see Dr. Evil a little while back he had not put me on medication immediately - more evidence of his large douche factor!]

He explained Insulin resistance to me and all of the symptoms I have been suffering for many months are on the list;

  • Intestinal bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Inability to focus
  • Weight gain, difficulty losing weight
  • Increased blood pressure – this is only very recently
  • Depression

He immediately put me on Metformin 500mgs, this should not only help with the Insulin resistance which in turn will help with weight loss, but it should also aid conception.

I certainly feel like the other docs over the last 18 months have seriously wasted my time and health. If they had have been as thorough as I asked them to 10kgs ago I wouldn’t be in such a scary position now!!!

But I can see some sunlight slipping through the clouds at last :)


Robin Williams – the Master of Smiles

I am speechless, stunned and deeply saddened.

Today, Earth is a little less bright.

 

I have adored the mastery that is Robin Williams body of work since I was a small child. He was a precious light of acting and comedic brilliance in a world that is often shadowed in trouble. I am not ashamed to say I have suffered from depression and being able to watch Robin’s work often brought a smile to my face.

He was a great gift to this world, much like the real Patch Adams, Robin’s gift to the world was laughter and joy. In my mind his amazing talent has no equal, he was the master. To paraphrase Shakespeare – Robin William’s was the stage [the lights, the whole theatre really] and all of us merely players.

Image source: http://www.fanpop.com

 

He may have left us too soon, but his legend will live on.

What was your favourite piece of Robin’s work?


Dessert Experiments

So I decided (much to my Mothers chagrin) to make my own birthday cake this year, because I wanted to experiment. I found out later that my Mum must not have had very much faith in my cooking ability because they had bought Vienettas as back ups in case my experiment failed. 

The inspiration from this cake came from seeing a picture of an insane multi-layered chocolate, ice-cream and Violet Crumble cake. I decided that it was crazy and just too much, also I bet I could make something like that. So I began planning. 

I wanted the top layer to be ice-cream, my fear of having a chocolate cake bottom layer was that the ice-cream would be too heavy for it… my solution… 

Triple choc fudge brownie base!!!

Triple choc fudge brownie base!!!

Omm nom NOM!!

So then I took 2 litres of Peters Vanilla Ice Cream (No I did not make my own – ain’t nobody got time for that!) and smashed Tim Tams and crunchies all through it. Crunchies I left in BIG chunks so that the honeycomb didn’t get too hard. 

I used the same tin as the brownies and put the ice-cream into the tin and into the freezer overnight to set. 

Then the ice-cream gets laid straight on top of the brownie, you can used whipped cream to “frost” and decorate the top as you like. 

Finished product

Finished product

This cake was such a roaring success that I have already had a request to make one for someone else’s birthday next weekend! 

Side on glory! So many NOMS!!

Side on glory! So many NOMS!!

Seriously you guys, this was my best. Experiment. Ever!


Another year…

Well another year has passed me by, this morning I woke up “older”.

I find myself reflecting on what I have achieved since I turned 30 last year and at first I was disappointed because Husby and I were expecting me to be all knocked up with swollen ankles by now and that has not happened. I don’t know why I thought this was the year, I guess you just always fill yourself with hope as much as you try not to, but I must say I prefer hope to despair :)

So in order to keep myself positive today I am going to concentrate on achievements and things to be grateful for (also as you all know, I love lists). I have also been listening to my favourite happy song:

  • T and I have managed to save enough money to build our own house, we are lucky enough that my parents have allowed us to live with them until the house is being built so we can uber save :) Whilst building has been delayed 2.5 months at this stage which means we won’t be in before Christmas, but it does mean we have saved a lot more money which is great – hey this silver lining thing works a treat :)
  • I have 2 perfect nephews and 2 perfect nieces who love spending time with their Aunty – even when she is not spoiling them :) Ahh being the favourite Aunt is such a burden.
  • I am working as a Librarian, my chosen vocation – there are a lot of us out there not so lucky.
  • I got a new car this year, and not just new for me… brand spanking new! I have never done this before and T and I have worked hard to get to a place where we could afford to do this.
  • T and my parents don’t mind me singing my ass off all over the house at random times. Apparently my outbursts have been likened to an episode of Glee, personally I think it is completely normal when my mother tells my nephew that “A is for Apple, B is for Banana” to break into singing “ABC” by the Jackson 5

Oh… right *sheepish grin* *sings quietly* shake it, shake it baby *shimmying shoulders*

All in all, new house, new car, new job, great family, great marriage… guess I am doing pretty well really :)


Jackhammer

Image edited, original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackhammer

Image edited, original source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackhammer

The jackhammer startled her awake and she sat bolt upright in bed, her hand on her chest she looked around wildly for the source of the noise that was filling her head. It must have been a hot night because the sheets were soaked with sweat, she was freezing now, but sticky with the residue of a sweaty nights sleep.

Sun streamed through the window burning her retinas, she swung her legs out of bed, pushed herself up and shuffled over to the curtains yanking them closed. She tried to take a deep breath, but couldn’t and she felt a strange pain and pressure in her chest, something was wrong. The pit in her stomach that already seemed miles deep deepened further and she moved quickly from the room. The jackhammer got louder, as she moved her joints protested she could almost hear them crying out for her to stop, but she had to see, she knew something was wrong.

She stumbled frantically to each room, checking, dreading, knowing. She pulled out drawers and threw pillows and sheets from beds leaving a path of destruction in her wake. She paused briefly wrapping her arms around her body and rocking back and forth in quick jerky motions.

Where? She wondered, Where is it? I know, I know.

Her breathing was becoming laboured and she was sweating again, she swiped at her forehead and realised her hands were shaking, everything hurt. The jackhammer got louder as she lurched into the kitchen, she held her hands over her ears to block out the noise, but they did nothing, her head was now pounding in time to the jackhammers staccato rhythm. She worried at her nails and cuticles and spun around the room in a quick circle,

Where? I know, oh god something terrible has happened. Have to stop it, have to stop it.

She threw open drawers trying to find something, anything that would help her understand, help her fix everything that was wrong. The jackhammer and her head combined to a volume that was almost overwhelming. Her tongue felt thick in her mouth and she could taste metal, it made her cringe.

Water she thought feverishly must have water.

She moved slower now and swayed her way over to the counter, she tried to pick up a glass and missed the first time. The second time she grasped it and then mused over how the glass seemed to warp in front of her, she didn’t remember noticing that before. She turned to get water from the faucet and stumbled; she flung out her hand to catch herself and missed falling to the floor, the glass rolled across the wooden floors. She turned onto her back and gazed up at the ceiling,

Funny, she thought, it’s swirling.

The pain in her chest was terrible, every part of her body hurt, the jackhammer and her head were louder and faster seemingly building towards a crescendo. The ceiling continued to swirl and now it was changing colour, the pristine white ceiling was turning a shade of grey and she could see black moving in from her peripherals to take over the grey, it was happening so fast. The jackhammer sung on. The black took over in a rush, her eyes closed and her whole body suddenly relaxed, finally the jackhammer slowed, but she could no longer hear it.

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety please seek help:

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety


52 Books in 52 weeks – July

I had a great time reading this month. I actually think I read more books than this, but writing this up now I cannot remember them so they could not have been that good I guess.

Here is the list :)

Number

Title

Author

27 – Jun 30 – Jul 6

The Scorch Trials

Dashner, James

28 –

Jul 7-13

Death Cure

Dashner, James

29 –

Jul 14-20

Rebound

Mathis Thompson, Nikki

30 –

Jul 21-27

Resilient

Mathis Thompson, Nikki

31 – Jul 28 – Aug 3

The Fault in our Stars

Green, John

I had the BEST month of reading!!!

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

YAY it came into the Library finally! I liked this sequel, but nowhere near as much as the original. I am not sure why to be honest, but I just didn’t feel the same about the story, I felt like the person in charge of WICKED must be losing their mind because the trials were a monstrous thing to do to people. Don’t get me wrong guys I still loved it, but just not as much as the original J Also I think Theresa is a crazy person!  

 

 

 

 

Death Cure – James Dashner

Here we go, this was much better than the Scorch Trials. Like the first book I devoured these pages very quickly and never felt like I was skimming the pages. The story was meaty and had twists and turns, everything about the struggle and the craziness going on felt right – even the horrible twists that occurred I thought to myself, ‘Yes, if this was a reality this would probably happen, people would behave like this’. I did love the whole monitoring behaviours etc. part of WICKED, but hated psycho Ratman, still hate Theresa, couldn’t warm up to her. I liked the ending.

 

 

Rebound – Nikki Mathis Thompson

This book was recommended to me by an awesome blogger Cellulitelooksbettertan in her post ‘Of Foodgasms and Muff-Fro’s’ check it out and her out because she is awesome, please make sure to give her great comment :) !

This book, what can I say about it, I just loved it. The name of the Heroine bothered me for like 2 pages (mainly because I have a thing about weird names where the protagonist has to remind people how to say them, it annoys me. This quite possibly has everything to do with the fact I have spent my life telling people my name is not Cath, or Cathy it is CAT! Like Dog, people!), but I got over it quickly. I loved her friends, this is totally what me and my girlfriend are like and how I love to be with people (when they are not prudes) so I thought it was fantastic. The ending was great, it has been a long time since I was satisfied and at the same time pleasantly surprised by an ending. It is all about her, I don’t want to write about it too much because I try to avoid spoilers so you can go and see for yourselves. 

 

Resilient – Nikki Mathis Thompson

YAY! A number two! The characters were just as full and vibrant as the first book. There were some good times and bad had by all. In the sequel the author manages to add in a lot more interaction with old characters and new without unnecessarily overcrowding the plot which is a difficult thing to do (if you’re interested in other authors that are awesome at this check out Fiona McIntosh and Anne Rice!). I really enjoyed the protagonists personal journey, I loved that when a character f’d up the reactions and fall out were pretty much what you would expect in real life.

I think one reason I loved these books and the protagonist in particular is what the character terms her “inner dialogue” where she talks to herself or has arguments to herself in her head. I do this ALL THE TIME! It was seriously awesome to have someone write a character that does that because it made me feel that perhaps the author herself or someone she knows does it and therefore I am not alone :)

The first book and this sequel are totally worth your time check them out!

 

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

I love, love, loved this book, by now you would likely know that I have a thing about reading a book before watching the movie and I am SO glad that I read this book first. I have not seen the movie, but there is just no way it could live up to the book!

I loved that the teens in this movie weren’t typical, I particularly liked the part where they discussed Hazel’s ‘this is not a pipe’ shirt and ‘cancer perks’. There was a lot of depth to these characters, even the ones that weren’t really supposed to have it. There is so much I want to say about how much I liked this book, it was a brilliant surprise for me and I cannot recommend it enough, it is just awesome. I literally could not put it down, I read it within 24 hours and 8.5 of those hours I was working, plus there was some sleep in there somewhere.

And so we go into August… so many books… so little time.

Please feel free to discuss the books below if you have read them. 

Also if you have any recommendations I would be happy to check them out :)


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