Category Archives: Reviews

The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness is book 3 in The Remnant Chronicles saga and is my book number 2 for 52 books in 52 weeks.I talked about the second book in a recent post and was looking forward to reading the final installment. I will be as vague as possible, but some might consider what I will write slight spoilers 🙂

This was a thick book at 679 pages, so if you are someone who cannot commit to long books you might struggle, but I don’t mind them personally and I felt it was worth the read. When the story is good I don’t generally notice how long it is. Plus I was already two books in, I wasn’t about to stop now 🙂

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Love the cover art for this series!!!

There was this really interesting message through this whole story that I felt repeated over and over again through different storylines and that was that ‘no one is too great to fall’. This is SUCH a true message in day to day life for every person as well as in this book and I think that is why I appreciated it. It also shows how those that fall respond, do they become desperate and cruel or evil, or do they have an inner strength and sense of self that sustains them through the harshest of times. Let’s not mince words, these characters went through some hellish ordeals, particularly the female protagonist Lia. From a waited on princess to someone’s prisoner covered in filth and blood wearing a hessian sack, Lia’s resolve never faulted and her inner strength and leadership qualities just grew. Everything was taken from her and she didn’t crumble. This is a great book for young women to read for this message alone.

The other thing I liked about Lia and some of the other main characters is that they often didn’t make the popular choice. They were not afraid to make the difficult choice that would be immensely harder and possibly end in death because ultimately it was the right thing to do and could save many lives. Too often you read books where people throw the lives of thousands out to dry in the name of love and whilst I understand that being an impossible choice I do get frustrated by the sheer amount of these type of novels – like the Fallen series for example (not that I didn’t enjoy it – you can tell here and here).

Relationships were so interesting in this book. To be honest it didn’t end the way I wished it had. The ending I wanted wouldn’t be the popular version, but to me it was more realistic and I cannot say much more about how I felt about this without spoiling things so I will stop here.

I was a fan of the overall ending and was definitely a fan of many of the messages in the book. I was a particular fan of the women in this book. There is a strength to the women in this book that you cannot help but admire. Seriously SUCH a great read for young women today.


Gözleme all the way

Have you tried gözleme? If not you should absolutely put it on your ‘must try before I die’ list. Technically I do not have one of these lists (yet!), but it rolls off the tongue beautifully so I think it should be a thing 🙂

I have an amazing group of friends at my work. They are brilliant people and truly without them my day to day life would not be half as shiny. We often like to have lunch together and one of my friends had been eyeing off a gözleme place that has been under construction for some time now. Finally it opened, so obviously we had to go on the first day.

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Potato, spinach & feta – SO GOOD!!!

Looks great on the plate and even better when you taste it. It is served on a wooden board with a wedge of lemon. We all loved it and have already visited again a couple of times. It is promoted as Turkish street food and is made fresh, you can literally watch them make it for you from rolling out your dough to placing the finished product on your board. It is completely tasty and the people that run it are (from what I can gather) 1-2 families who are all Turkish, spanning across 3 generations, which I think is really cool.

Last week we went there and were offered Turkish tea (or Rize tea), it was a promotion and you got a free cup with every gözleme. I was a little hesitant because I had been warned off Turkish coffee, but I promised to try new things this year so I did… and I LOVED it. It was super yum. It is served in this elegant tiny little glass with a teeny teaspoon and a sugar cube. My friend and I were only disappointed that there wasn’t more.

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Turkish tea with spinach and feta gozleme

Such an interesting contrast to be eating street food with your hands and sipping on tea out of an elegant cup like a posh lady.

9/10 will eat and drink again – A LOT.
It is probably not good that this is such a short walk from my work, but honestly it is not that bad for you is it?


The new Ghostbusters

NOTE: Will do my best to avoid any spoilers 🙂

So I saw the new Ghostbusters film. Actually I asked my Dad if he wanted to go see it on my birthday as I had taken the day off (Dad and I often go on movie dates), Mum decided to come along too which was great.

I had heard a lot of hate about the movie and therefore was not going in with really high hopes. And well… wow you guys.

I totally loved it. I laughed so much.

They basically completely ignored the existence of the other films, but still paid homage to them which I thought was great and there were all these little references to look out for.

I adored the female characters. They were so vibrant and funny and intelligent and awkward and I loved it. I have spent time thinking about why I enjoyed them so much since and I feel like this movie could be quite ground breaking.

The thing is that this movie does not walk around boasting about girl power or anything of the sort. What it does do is present 4 complex female characters who are intelligent in different ways, incredibly unique and I must say incredibly geeky. Not once do any of these characters waste time thinking they are losers or not good enough. They are completely unapologetic about who they are and they kick ass and invent incredible things and hire a dumb male secretary because they feel bad for him and he looks good. There is also ZERO relationship drama and not one of them is wearing skin tight body suits or short skirts or plunging tops.

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Some seriously kick ass women in this film.

I NEEDED this movie as a teenager. Hell I NEEDED this movie now. If I ever have a daughter this will be mandatory viewing.

Each one of the actresses was amazing in their roles. They work so well together and obviously feed off of each other. I would love to know how much of this was off script 🙂 Chris Hemsworth was so good in this role. I think working with these ladies brought the best out of him as far as comedic timing goes. He was just so good in this role!

Can’t wait to purchase this when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it again. Mum and I have already declared a movie night for when it does 🙂

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Seriously awesome!!!


It’s okay to be me

This post was inspired by WordPress’ Daily Prompt ‘It Builds Character’.

I have already accidentally deleted this entire post twice because of strange things that the new interface does. I am unimpressed to say the least. So I will now write this in Word and copy paste 🙂

When I think back on characters that have had an effect on me, there is one in particular which stands out as being integral to the person I have become.

When I was young (prepubescent young), I was already aware that I was different from most of the other girls in the class. Whilst they were obsessed with ‘The Baby Sitters Club’ and ‘Sweet Valley High’ (both of which I read and enjoyed, but mainly they just gave me numbers for the read-a-thon each year) I was off reading ‘Matilda’ and authors like R.L Stine (not the Goosebumps books, the advanced stuff) and Tamora Pierce. I had great access to YA novels because my Mum was a Teacher Librarian at a High School.

Other girls my age wanted to play makeovers and weddings and I wanted to ride bikes and run through the bush. The girls I knew made games of imagining their weddings to a member of the Backstreet Boys or Hanson whilst I danced about the house singing to the score of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

Jo March from ‘Little Women’ was a trailblazer, in a time where it wasn’t proper for women to run through the woods, traipse about through brooks without shoes, yell out to or play with boys or write epic novels she did it all and everyone who mattered accepted her and loved her for who she was. Everything about this girl/woman appealed to me. It would be fair to say that as a young girl my biggest dream was to grow up to be Jo March. She was a hero to me. To this day she remains one of my favourite literary characters. In fact Jo March is probably the reason I have the guts to write online.

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Jo also appealed to me because of her love of the written word and her strength of character and independence. You have probably noticed from my reviews of my books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks that I have a thing for strong female characters that shuck the norm and stereotypes. I still believe that this love of certain qualities in this character made me try to develop those characteristics in myself. As soon as I was old enough to work (14) I got an after school job. This made me feel amazing because I didn’t have to ask my mother to buy me things like deodorant and tampons (you have no idea how amazing it was as a 14 year old to not rely on someone else for your tampon stash!), this was my first step to real independence and I liked it. I saved my money from my job and when I graduated I paid my own way on a holiday with my friends, that is a pretty huge thing for an 18 year old to be able to do. Then when I was 19 I moved interstate to the desert, yup I moved to Ayers Rock, it was arid, hot, confronting and I was pretty innocent at the time (I hardened up quick though – read more about that here), I had no safety net there. I knew no one. It was the bravest and most awesome thing I think I have done. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it to this day!

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I believe I have a lot to thank Jo March for. I have previously written about my love of both the book and movie and after reading back over this post I realise how big an impact my love of this character has had on me. As far as role models go I am pretty proud that she has been and continues to be mine.

 


52 Books in 52 Weeks – September

Here is the September post… I realise that I skipped a couple of months there and I am truly sorry, but I have been extremely busy and to be honest the fatigue has been so bad and work/life so busy that I haven’t had the brain power to truly appreciate a book in awhile.

The one good thing about my surgery and the following infection was that I spent a lot of time off my feet with my head in books and I LOVED that part guys, it was so great!

So without further delay… here are Septembers reads…

34. Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

I know, I know, don’t start with me, but it is true, I have never read the Harry Potter books. So I decided to start working my way through them. I believe the books get more complex as we go along so that will be good. I quite liked this first book, I liked it different to the movie though, not necessarily better *she says whilst dodging rotten fruit and veg*.

I’m sorry you guys I think I had myself all worked up about how awesome it was going to be, but let’s be honest it is Junior Fiction and I am an adult. For JF I think it is AMAZING and great world building and I can really appreciate it for that.

I feel my appreciation is only going to grow and I move on through the series so I am looking forward to that 🙂

35. Deception (Defiance #2) – CJ Redwine

deceptionI read the first of this series back in March and really liked it. I hope you guys read it because I try not to include spoilers, but it is hard not to when you are mentioning characters that were in life and death situations in the first book so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of this review and number 36 too 🙂

This was pretty good for a middle book, it had its own challenges that were part of the bigger journey and there were some great twists in there. All up it was pretty good. Really I was expecting a LOT of relationship drama in this book because authors can’t seem to avoid putting it in, but there was a lot less than I expected. Logan really stepped up to being a leader and though he was dealt blow after blow I loved the strength of his character, getting back up, reassessing the situation and moving forward again.

Rachel’s character I found a little bit annoying at first – only for one area of her characters development though (man it’s going to take ages to pick this rotten fruit and veg out), to be honest I kinda understood her trying to delete her emotions and not feel and let’s face it it’s pretty realistic to what people do in real life *cough* I mean so I have heard anyways, but so much time was spent on this. This development in the character made more sense as the story went on though and dealing with it/working through it became pivotal to the characters persona so I get it now.

I really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to start number 3… in fact I believe I started it the next morning. The only good thing about having surgery was all the downtime I had to attack my ‘to read’ pile.

36. Deliverance (Defiance #3) – CJ Redwine

Oompf this was a good end to the trilogy and parts of it hit you right in the feels.

I loved that the two main characters were split up having their own separate journeys in this book, it lifted the final novel to a new level. So many times I thought that Rachel was going to not rise to the occasion and then she did and I was almost proud of her. Which I admit sounds kinda strange, but she has come so far from the first book where she was a girl who wanted to (and in small doses did) rebel. I really liked where her character ended.

All the loose ends were tied up nicely, but the book didn’t feel rushed. The last battle scene is as ugly as it is awesome and not all will be left standing at the end. Very nice end to a series.

37. An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) – Sabaa Tahir

Gorramit! My friend at work the Youth Librarian keeps putting these good books on my desks that have a bitch of a cliffhanger at the end and then it turns out it is book bloody 1 and I have to wait a year for the 2nd installment.

This is a good YA book, I liked the development of both the main characters and enjoyed that we were able to spend time in both their worlds. Some of the things that were discussed happening to the slaves/women and families were quite confronting and mentions of rapes and whatnot leads me to say that this is not at the younger scale of YA Fiction. There were things described in this that mage me cringe.

I thought the trials were good and the plot well thought out. World building was pretty good as well, but realistically limited to what the two main characters would know/experience because the book was from their POVs. I REALLY enjoyed this book you guys and would definitely recommend it, just be prepared for the fact that there are some seriously confronting and ugly scenes in it. It is not a sparkly vampire book, there is some good grit in here!

38. Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) – Tamora Pierce

I haven’t read a Tamora Pierce series since high school so it was beyond time. I don’t know how I have previously missed this series, but that was an error I was happy to fix 🙂

When I first started the book I think I actually groaned out loud and thought it’s in diary form, ugh I don’t think I will like this, just to be clear I do not hate all diary form books… Bridget Jones for instance is great :), but as a general rule I don’t usually enjoy them. Oh how wrong I was. As soon as I got to Beka’s “diary” (you’ll understand the parentheses if you read it) I was swept away. I read the first book in just over a day and couldn’t wait to tear into the second.

The character building is great. Beka’s back story is a good jumping off point and that explanation allows you to throw yourself into the story with her with total understanding of her character. I love the linguistic style of this book, the slang is fabulous and after being immersed in this world for a week I found myself almost dropping into it hahaha. Her informants are literally a different breed and I love the whodunnit style that emerges.

Favourite characters… well it is incredibly hard to choose, but aside from Beka I would have to say Pounce and Rosto. Hmm and many others. What can I say it was a great read.

39. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper #2) – Tamora Pierce

*WARNING – Read the first book before reading this review, there will be spoilers!!!*

This was a great follow up. I was worried it would traipse into “middle book” land, but my fears were completely unfounded. This book is a stand alone and very clever, who would have thought counterfeiting would be so interesting? My only complaint was that it was based away from Corus so we missed out on seeing a lot of the characters I loved from the first book, but I loved the addition of Achoo. Seriously, cats and dogs?! You know I am going to love that. I kind of wanted her to hurt Achoo’s old handler, but I guess as in the real world animal abusers get away with it.

Dale and his friends have an interesting relationship, they seem best of mates, but can they really be? I was into Goodwin and Cooper basically going undercover and found her trying to act the lady to be quite amusing, the addition of Dale as a love interest was interesting too, but I found him ultimately unsatisfying to be honest.

It was a bit of a different story to the first, you are well aware of who has done the crime by halfway through, but the frustration in major part comes from proving it, to be honest I thought this change worked and I enjoyed the book 🙂

40. Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3) – Tamora Pierce

I am not going to lie, the cover of this book weirded me out for awhile, what is going on with her head? Lady is possessed! Call an exorcist!!!

Hmm… to be honest I am not sure how to review this book. I was right there with it the whole way, a solid 4.5/5 in my head. I pretty much tore through this in a day and I HAD to know what happened… and then it did… wtf?! 3/5

I still LOVED the story, it was so strong and the characters so awesome. Once again though it took part away from Corus so none of the characters from the first book are really in it which again is disappointing. Again I LOVE Pounce and Achoo, they are fabulous characters, Pounce was a particular favourite from this book.

Man I am pissed at the ending, let’s just say I felt a beloved character was given a serious injustice. It was BS and I still don’t believe it. In true tanty fashion I forced my Mum to read the series, which was kinda cool because we were both exploring the same world that was different from our own at the same time (cool concept) and she agreed it was BS. Please read the series so you can agree with my outrage hahaha.

What are you guys reading???


52 Books in 52 Weeks – May (running late)

Wow, this is really, really late and I am so sorry you guys! It’s not that I haven’t been reading, it is just that with so much other stuff going on I haven’t had time to sit down and get my thoughts together about what I read. So here comes May’s list… give me a little while to get June together 🙂

I should warn you that there are SPOILERS in the following because one of the books I did not enjoy and the only way to explain it properly was to “spoil” it.

27. The Adultery Club – Tess Stimson

the-adultery-clubLet me start by saying that it was probably stupid of me to pick this book. To me adultery is a no, no. If you are having serious feelings for someone other than the person you are married to then there is something in your marriage that needs addressing… before you start an affair… not after. But, I am doing this whole, ‘try something new’ thing so I picked it.

Here’s the basic blurb… Husband is a divorce lawyer who is happily married to Mal and loves their little family (young children), he would never do to his wife what his clients do to their other halves. Then a 20-something woman comes to work in his office, apparently she is okay looking, but he turns into a 17 year old hormonal freak whenever he catches a glimpse of her knee (I mean come on you guys, seriously? A knee? I can honestly say I have NEVER been turned on by a persons knee, but whatever, different strokes and all…). The story is told from 3 peoples points of view, Hubby, Wifey and Mistress, pretty much the only likable characters in this for me where the wife Mal and her ex boyfriend. I just wanted to smack Hubby and the mistress around so much!

The mistress at the beginning seems like a normal chick, then she becomes the mistress and it is like she is replaced with this braindead clingy, whingy thing that kind of looks like the character at the beginning of the book. She tells lies, she does some serious manipulating, I mean, she pretty much does everything a person should not be doing in a relationship!

I think the biggest kicker for me is that I don’t think that the husband learned from his mistakes, I found the end very unsatisfying. I won’t say too much in case you guys want to read it and like I said I am really against adultery so I am likely biased, but this was definitely not a book for me.

28. Renegade – Diana Palmer

renegadeYup it’s a harlequin book hahaha. I knew it was a romance novel, but didn’t realise it was harlequin at first. Besides it is a best seller 🙂

I actually enjoyed this book, it was a nice, light reading story. I wasn’t too into the name ‘Tippy’ at first, but she grew on me in general. Since reading this book I have discovered there was actually one before it which probably explains a few things, but it was okay as a stand alone also.

I liked the character of Cash, usually the males in romances are over bearing macho types that have big barriers up that the women slowly overcome, this book wasn’t like that which is a nice change. Although the first time they sleep together he asks for something which is really odd and I am pretty sure no man has ever said that the first time they had sex with someone. It was a nice book and I would probably read the first one.

 

29. The Recipe Box – Sandra Lee

the recipe boxI thought this book was a totally sweet and moving story. I don’t know why, but I always love when people find creating through food therapeutic, maybe because I find cooking and experimenting with food therapeutic… who knows 🙂 I am also a sucker for stories where people visit, move to or really have anything to do with small towns hahaha.

Grace (our main character) is newly divorced Mum who has a daughter who is having some issues, her best friend has been fighting cancer and she has been regularly visiting her at her old hometown. Due to a number of events Grace desides to take her daughter there to finish out school. They move in with her mother with whom she has a strained relationship.

I don’t want to say too much because I did really like this book and apparently it was the author’s first so kudos to you 🙂

What can I say? Drama, cooking, good food, family, love… I’m all in 🙂

30. Immortally Yours (Monster M*A*S*H #1) – Angie Fox
immortally yoursWell I read the second one and kinda liked it so I figured I would go back and read the first one. I liked this one too and the second one in many ways made SO much more sense to me after reading this. But in some ways reading this first book made me not like the second one. For starters the relationship in this one is good, I really like both the characters and how they develop and how their relationship develops. So it kind of felt like the relationship in this book was cheapened by the fact that in the second one she moves on (…or is it backwards? Crap, I don’t know) so quickly.

Generally speaking the story was pretty decent, although I enjoyed the plot in the second book more. Again the sex scenes were pretty RAUNCHY so I guess points for that hahaha.

All round it was an okay book, I don’t know why I am so on the fence about it to be honest.

 

 


Movie review: Mad Max: Fury Road

WARNING: Some Spoilers 🙂

The other night Mr. T. and I decided we would head off to the movies. The original plan was to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, but when we got to the cinemas there was approximately 30 10-year-olds there for someone’s birthday screaming, “ULTRON! ULTRON! ULTRON!” and running around the place like maniacs wrestling each other and climbing over things. There weren’t many parents there, maybe 1 to every 5-6 kids and it was pandemonium. Seriously it was as if they were trying to control the dwarf army from the Hobbit, just not going to happen!

So we did what any sane person would do, we went for a walk for half an hour and saw Mad Max: Fury Road instead 🙂

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Movie poster wikipedia.com

As a proud Aussie I am all about supporting Australian cinema… even if it by definition sucks hahaha. Luckily this did not. I have always wanted to see the orginal movies in the series, but the opportunity has just never come up. Can you believe it has been 30 years since the last installment? I am so glad they didn’t try to bring ole Mel back.

Going into this I honestly didn’t know too much about the plot. From the trailer I gathered there was a dude named Max who had something to do with Charlize Theron and there would be a LOT of explosions. Turns out I was right, but there was a lot more to it than that obviously.

Let’s talk about performances first.

Max is played by Tom Hardy who I haven’t encountered a lot for one reason or another. He does a great job as the character of Max, I know I said before that I haven’t seen the other movies, but he kind of embodies what I imagine Mel would have done with the role with the obligatory head cocks and the “Mmm”‘s 🙂 Physically he is very capable in the role and I must apologise to him because I said to Mr. T. that if they wanted to get any more Mad Max movies out of him they would have to hurry up or he would get on in age, because of the grittiness of the movie I took him to be mid-forties when the poor sot is only 37… sorry buddy… can I blame it on all the dirt and mud?

Charlize as Imperator Furiosa just kicks some serious ass. She was a perfect choice for this role and for me physically was reminiscent of Ripley circa Alien 3 with some of the amazeballs moves from Alien Resurrection. If I looked that badass in a grease paint mask I would rock it everyday 🙂 (I did think that if you really put that on your head and face and went into the desert you would probably get some serious burns, but it’s a fashion choice hahaha). Man this lady is great with showing emotion in every little part of her face and body. Loved her performance.

Nicholas Hoult was a nice surprise I didn’t anticipate as the war boy Nux, I was reminded a little of his portrayal of “R” from “Warm Bodies”, but a lot of that could have been the make up. I really liked this character and his development throughout the film, he was probably the character who experienced the most change within the actual time space of the film and it was very interesting to watch. The war boys are some crazy characters that is for sure.

Shout out to some other characters:

Josh Helman as Slit was unrecognisable, I seriously did not recognise him at all.
I rated Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus (seriously what is with the character names) – I liked that they didn’t make his character all about bashing and wrestling – I mean there was plenty of that, but there was more to the character as well.
I loved Zoë Kravitz in this movie, but then I am just a fan of hers in general so what can I say 🙂
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was great, took me a little while to recognise her as being from Transformers, but give me a break people this thing was super fast paced! Numerous times in the film Riley Keough reminded me of a young Drew Barrymore, Mr. T. agreed, but maybe it was just us. Abbey Lee, hmm… to be honest this character annoyed me until right at the end, she sounded like when people overact pretending to be bogan. Courtney Eaton, where did you come from? I have never heard of her and here she is a main character in a major movie?! Wow, you go girl.
John Howard… oh John Howard… how could you?! I am a fan of John, but I was so distracted by the fact his nipples were showing and had a chain running between them to notice his acting whenever he was on screen, it didn’t help that he often stroked them too *shudders* bad Johnny!

The explosions were awesome, the frankenstein-like vehicles were amazeballs. The effects were really great and the pace was cheetah fast, but along with all the action there were some seriously emotional and poignant moments which didn’t at all feel out of place so I was impressed. I found it interesting that considering it was a “Mad Max” film his involvement was secondary to the film, in fact the majority of what occured in the movie would have happened even if he was never in it (except right towards the end). For the first 20+ minutes of the movie he is basically a background character which I found very different and interesting. I also liked that an explosive smash and grab had at the core of it a feminist theme, I found that quite cool and completely unexpected.

Now for some negative points…

b055071008f65d1b70343194416083f19e9ece45What the hell was with the random war boy playing war guitar on the front of a rig? No wonder they have no resources if they waste half their war party on an entourage!

I also had a major issue with the fact that the characters on the rigs were climbing all over the place hugging and holding onto air exhausts etc. Oh, and the fact that they were doing repairs whilst driving? To the engine? Umm, no! I do also wish more of it could have been filmed in Oz like the originals, but apparently our desert is too green now or something?

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