Monday, 6 August 2012

Weather Woes

Well, my previous post suggested that perhaps I needed some bad weather to get some good reading done.

We haven't had much of a summer yet here in Scotland!  And I still haven't got all that much reading done either... work's been crazy and life has been busy.

Thunder storms and rain showers tend to distract me from the books just now... after a heavy downpour I like to explore the neighbourhood.  I live in a part of a city where trees are protected, it's illegal to just chop one down... and they're old trees which have roots that are playing havoc with the drainage systems.  So there's often mini floods on the roads... which can be quite entertaining as long as I'm not getting splashed head to toe by cars driving through 3 ft deep puddles at full speed... which has happened recently!

I'm now going to the gym every second day, trying to keep as active as possible and with the Olympics in London happening thinking about taking up another sport.

I used to be a keen surfer and into canoeing.  Now that I live in a city and there isn't a beach within easy walking distance I've given these up.  What else can I do?  I was born with a slight problem with my spine so I can't run fast etc, I have terrible hand eye coordination so maybe tennis is out of the question (though I used to play badminton at school, I didn't really enjoy it that much).  Maybe marathon reading should be a part of the Olympics but I am in desperate need of some training before the next time the Olympics comes around!

I did manage to get through New York by Edward Rutherfurd since my last update.  At last!

It really was a remarkable read.  I loved the way the book told the story of the city from the days when it was called New Amsterdam.  The stories of the families involved in the city were incredible!  I felt like I knew each central character... or maybe I can relate their quirks to that of people I know.  Still, all the families followed through the story crossed paths with each other so it read quite smoothly.

I also read A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin which was slightly more tedious than the previous books in the series for me.  I was thoroughly frustrated by Catelyn's 'woe is me' attitude, though to be fair I'd be utterly miserable if I were in her position as well.  Tyrion remains one of my favourite characters and the events involving him in this book made for an interesting twist to the plot (the marriage, but I won't mention it in case there's anyone out there who's also just plodding through the books at their own, slow pace lol).

Fallen by Karin Slaughter... FINALLY!  Will and Sara... well, that was the highlight for me.  It was an enjoyable read, it had me gripping the book tightly with suspense.  It also concentrates on Faith as the daughter, sister and mother rather than the GBI agent which I liked.

I'm thinking another take on Amanda would be very interesting and would love to see what Karin would be able to do with her character.

Currently on the bedside table is:
Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (YA paranormal romance)
Mort by Terry Pratchett (book 4 of the Discworld series, reading sporadically on my kindle)
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James... I'm not sure that this is worth the hype.  It's either incredibly badly written or edited by an idiot. I don't quite see the connection between this and Twilight though, but I haven't read Twilight and don't intend to... though I do have it and I might one day.

As to buying books... yes, I'm still hoarding them.  I have several shelves which are overflowing with books that I haven't read yet and frustratingly I keep adding to them!  I'll catch up with the rate at which I flash the cash in book stores eventually lol

Until next time... xx

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Maybe all I need is bad weather!

Since my last update I've not had much chance to read.

So much has happened. I moved from a very deprived part of My city to one of the most sought after areas in the city. It's absolutely beautiful in the new area, with everything I could want (stores, cafes, restaurants, delis) right on my doorstep.

Work has been good, busy and getting busier. Never a dull moment and something new every day.

I had planned on curling up with my kindle on the train to Edinburgh on a trip to the second annual tattoo convention. But ended up chatting to a friend all the way there. She introduced me to her tattoo artist who has shading without borders down to a T!

Not a week goes by where I don't have an adventure now.

Last week, my Mum came for a visit. We live so far apart that we can't just visit each other for a chat and a cup of tea. That alone would require an over night stay. So I took some time out to show her around.

Shopping was done as well. She needed jeans, I needed jeans and I remembered that my brother had said he needed some as well. So weighed down with plenty of denim we made for the subway. I didn't know at the time but it was her first time on the subway. Milestone reached! Lol

Previous to Mum's visit I had been cat sitting for three special cats. The old moggy who was originally found as a stray on the street I now live on, many many years ago. Then a large Burman who has the most amazing blue eyes I've ever seen and the softest fur I've ever touched. And the crazy Norwegian Forest Cat - probably the only one of the cats I am acquainted with to have been a successful show cat.

Ok, so they're not special to anyone other than the people that know them and their huge personalities, but special enough to mention!

And the week before I was at a champagne reception thing at a store and came away with freebies probably worth more than I spent. Result.

So with all these distractions I'm not surprised that I'm well behind on my still growing reading list.

The next couple of weeks could put a halt to that. I need to concentrate on my work but if this May is going to be a repeat of last May, we're in for some cold, wet and windy weather. At least one person tragically died in my area when a falling tree hit his car during the May storms last year. I sincerely hope there isn't a repeat of events this year but the poor weather is great for putting the kettle on and devouring a good book or two and that is what I intend to do.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Feed Review

Well, I finished reading "Feed" by Mira Grant in the early hours of Saturday morning.  I just couldn't put it down!

I was asked a few times what it was about while I was reading it and when I replied, "Zombies!" I was usually met with a groan from my questioner.

"No, no, not one of those silly 'zombies have thoughts and feelings' type books, actual proper zombies!" was what my usual reply was.  These are zombies that want to eat your flesh, that groan and moan and if they bite you you're a gonner... either they eat you alive or they bite and you turn into one.  Yes REAL zombies.

Really, the book as the blurb says follows a group of bloggers.  They report the news, they have a multitude of footage and one of them even likes to go poking these zombies with a stick.

These bloggers are 'out there', living an exciting life while many of the world are cooped up inside trying to find ways to deal with their cabin fever because they're too afraid to go out into the big bad zombie ridden world.

This life of excitement is clearly not without danger - and thanks to the type of danger, tragedy.  There was one part of the book towards the end where I wanted to cry out and scream, "NO!!!  You zombie mother-f..."

I enjoyed the way the characters were developed.  I went from thinking that they were stupid kids just out to get their kicks in the opening scenes to thinking quite early on in the book that these people were brave given the circumstances.

I'm not sure how I will like the sequal, but I'm keen to read it.  The end of Feed was great, it was nicely wrapped up so I feel like I've read a good story without feeling like I need to read on to find out how it ends.

I originally decided I hated zombie books thanks to the 'Anita Blake vampire hunter novels' that Hamilton is churning out at a rather blaze pace.  Hamilton glamorises the zombies in her novels and makes them friendly creatures while Grant keeps it real as it were.  I now feel like I really might enjoy World War Z.

Yes, it's on my to-read list but only because I feel like I'd rather read it before I watch the movie, and only felt like I should watch the movie because some of it was filmed in the city I live in - less than a 30 minute walk from where I was living at the time (and still do live, for another week or so).

In all I gave this book a rating of 4 out of 5.  It would have been a 5 had I felt that the second book is going to be as exciting as the first, I did like the way it was neatly wrapped up but it doesn't hold much promise for the next.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Oh blessed day!!

My Kindle arrived!!! Happy times ^.^

No more big pile of books next to my bed. Ok, so that's an outright lie but I'm still delighted.

Thanks Mum, best birthday present ever.

In other news - I'm making great progress on Feed. It may be just another zombie book but it portrays zombies for what they are supposed to be, flesh eating dead people. Doesn't glamourise them at all. Zombies are not our friends and someone really ought to tell Laurell K. Hamilton this little fact. I'll add Stephanie Myer into this category too since both she and Hamilton glamourise other nasties like vampires.

They're supposed to be evil and not one of them is supposed to be friendly! Zombies and vampires aren't pretty and I'm tired of books that say they are. Liars!!

Ok rant over, I'm off to spend money at the kindle store.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

First post of 2012

I'm terrible at updating my blog!

So much has been going on lately. My year started terribly! I travelled to the far north to spend Christmas and New Year with family which was fab. Returning to the city proved troublesome thanks to sone stormy weather cancelling trains across the country.

Kept myself warm and dry with Wuthering Heights which I absolutely loved!! So I've decided to read some more of the classics this year.

I'm also determined to catch up on the Anita Blake novels no matter how tempted I am to give up on them. I must finish them! I almost can't believe I am persevering with such badly written books that I can only describe as 'trashy'. Oh well, there's no accounting for taste.

I'm gearing up to read Feed by Mira Grant. I've been meaning to read it for a while but never really got round to it.

I am planning on moving to a more upmarket part of the city in the next few weeks as well, I'm sick of the slums littered with broken glass and being accosted by curb crawlers on the way to my local corner shop.

Plus my birthday is in less than a week so there are busy times ahead.

Actually I'm super excited about my birthday as my mother has promised me a kindle!!! Hurrah! If she can't manage it for any reason I'll probably just buy myself one lol, but it would be better looked after if it was from and therefore reminded me of a loved one.

Anyway back to the books until I fall asleep. Until next time - hopefully soon ;)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

1940's Soho Prostitution

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly!  I've just read a book called "West End Girls" by Barbara Tate.  I've never written a review on goodreads before... but this book compelled me to!  I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone.  It's makes you laugh, care, want to slap a girl across the face from time to time, and grieve.

ISBN: 1409116069

Here's my review:

An enjoyable and insightful read.

I felt as though some of the characters in this book had become my friends - it's all in the way Tate portrays them I guess, maybe it's that I saw a little of myself in Barbara.

The end of the book almost had me feeling like I was grieving for someone, yet you could almost see it coming -  I still found myself reading on to find what became of these people, and with each person a hope of happier times.  Although it wasn't the case I would certainly read this again.

Tate raises good points on how the girls who were running their businesses were pushed out of sight for seedy massage parlours to spring up and billboards with women who weren't dressed as well as the working girls may have been.

After reading this book I had to hand it back to my local library (which incidentally is in a red light district) and felt a pang of loss at putting it on the counter.  It was easy to feel for the characters and you felt like you really knew some of them, especially Barbara.

On the whole I feel like I have caught a glimpse into another, darker yet crazy and hectic world and am happy to have 'met' those girls.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Well, last week was very emotional!

Nicky passed away peacefully with the help of a vet on Monday morning.

While I am devastated about the cancer that caused us to have him put to sleep I am so glad that he isn't suffering.  Thanks to Scottish law being so much better than English law, he's not at rest in my grandparents back garden.  Close to his favourite tree which he loved to sit in and next to a sizeable vegetable patch so he can continue to watch ovr my grandfather working in the garden.

On with the books!

"Don't Blink" by James Patterson.  Now I read this in around 2 and a half days which is frustrating as it's JP after all, and I usually read one of his books much quicker than that.  But I guess I had a lot on my mind this time around.

While visiting the 'homeland', my grandmother gave me several more books.  And tried to get me to take the other book which I had already bought at the trainstation on my way North in the two for one offer or whatever that I got at the same time as the JP.  I have no need for two coppies of the same book, do I!?

The one book that I couldn't say no to my grandmother on when she tried to 'de-clutter' onto me (if that makes any sense) is one that I've been trying to get my hands on for a while now;

"The Black House" by Peter May.

It's about a cop that's sent from Edinburgh to the Isle of Lewis to investigate a murder.  The Main character is called Fin and "The Black House" is about his life, the investigation and his past - growing up in the small island community that is Lewis.

The part of the book (about half way through) that I'm at just now is a very descriptive account of the guga hunt that happens every year.  Only the men of Ness do this strange hunt.  A crew of 12 men leave the Isle of Lewis for two weeks to live on a small uninhabited 'piece of rock' island and hunt the young gannets.  It's a tradition that I understand has continued for longer than anyone alive can remember.  I don't know the full history of this though.  I may be Scottish but I'm a Highlander and not an Islander.

And while I haven't tasted the Hebridean 'delicacy' of guga - I have no desire to try to get my hands on a bird.  I understand that it's an acquired taste and I'm happy to stick with my haggis, thank you very much!!

There have been a few mentions of the city that I live work and play in though I'm hoping that we hear a little more of Fin's adventures while he studied in this fine city.

So far I'm really enjoying this book and as it is I'm looking forward to curling up in bed tonight to read a few more pages.  I wouldn't be surprised if I read too late and sleep in tomorrow morning as I would certainly describe this one as a page turner.

Far from finishing this book but I anticipate that I'll be quite excited to get my little mitts on a copy of the sequel which is due to hit the shelves in February 2012 and titled "The Lewis Man".   I have so many books to read before then though that I will no doubt be kept very entertained until then.