Author: Wattle

Movie Review #1: Dancer

Posted 28th May 2017 by Wattle in Movies & TV, Reviews / 3 Comments

Title: Dancer
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Steven Cantor
Starring: Sergei Polunin
Format Watched: DVD
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Sergei Polunin is a breathtaking ballet talent who questions his existence and his commitment to dance just as he is about to become a legend.”

 

Source: IMDb
 
 

 

 

I must admit, ballet? So not my thing, but then a couple of years ago this came into my life:

And I was all ‘I guess I can appreciate dance after all…’ haha this video led to reading articles and watching interviews. Sergei Polunin’s story is interesting and at times sad, so of course a documentary came about.

Trailer:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I finally got my hands on this. It was out in cinemas for a brief period last year, so brief I blinked and missed it. Promotion for the dvd was pretty huge (at least, on my Facebook feed!) so I pre-ordered, watched it, and then sat on my feelings for a while.

Polunin was a huge young talent in the ballet world – he was the Royal Ballet’s youngest principal dancer at 19, and then a couple of years later he skipped out and decided he was done. He was known as a ‘bad boy’, covered in tattoos (that he had to cover to perform), living it up at parties, getting himself into trouble. Basically just a young guy, in a stressful environment, acting out as only he knew how.

This documentary looks at his life from when he was a young boy, how his parents pushed and supported him – which led to the breakdown of their marriage. He lived away from his family at such a young age, and didn’t see them for a very long time (and then refused to let them see him perform).

Polunin seems to harbour a lot of anger and resentment for himself and his parents, his mother wanted better for him than she could provide, and in the process made it so he didn’t have a choice when it came to his career. In turn, he blamed himself for the end of his parents relationship and thought if he just did better, everything would be all right.

Watching this made me think that he both hates and loves dance, hates it because it was forced upon him, loves it because it’s how he can express himself (and he is very good at it). He went from being at the top to then being at the bottom when he moved to Russia; and that video of ‘Take Me to Church’ was what he intended to be his last performance.

But instead of ending his career, it seemed to reinvigorate it. He has been through so much personal hardship, I get the feeling he doesn’t really know what he wants, but right now dance is enough. I felt it ended in a hopeful place; but I cannot imagine the pressure he must have felt as a child to succeed. And because of this he didn’t really have a childhood at all; he was constantly working toward the goal of being the best; and when he got there it wasn’t as satisfying as he thought it would be.

An interesting documentary, though I felt it was a bit short (it’s 85 minutes long). I hope he ends up in a good place, he’s still so young (only 27) and has so much ahead of him.

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Here we go again…

Posted 3rd May 2017 by Wattle in Whimsical Nature / 16 Comments

I’m back! I think the site is all together (I worked on it solidly for two days and then did nothing so…if something is broken, let me know!)

Yes. I decided to move back to Whimsical Nature. I just feel like this space fits me better than Fleeting Whimsies – I was never really comfortable with the name. I’ve also moved back to regular hosting – which really just means I can break things by accident again, and when I do, I get to fix it lol I missed all the behind the scenes stuff; as weird as that is.

I must admit, I’ve not really read much for the past few weeks. I was on fire with the Kate Daniels series and then I hit book 6 and a plot I don’t like so…meh. I’ll get back to it, I think I’m just burned out on urban fantasy for now. It happens (I was waiting for it, I read SO MUCH in such a short time).

This post is very me, me, me isn’t it? I hope you are all doing great, I’m going to visit some blogs very soon (and then hopefully get back to reviewing things…more than once a month haha)

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Life Happens #3

Posted 22nd March 2017 by Wattle in Life Happens / 7 Comments

I was going to do my monthly review for February, but then realised I don’t have all my data tallied so…that’s not going to happen!

I really didn’t mean to neglect my blog for a month (I’m actually having trouble with the fact it is indeed, one whole month!) but uni started again and for the first week it was fine, the second it was not. I dropped a unit, picked up another, dropped that too and am sticking with Chemistry for this semester. Adding anything else on top just seemed too hard.

For a couple of weeks I didn’t read a thing, but somewhere along the way I have become obsessed with the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Goodness me. I’m up to book 4 (yes, I went and bought ALL OF THEM in paperback haha) and it is SO good, I sure hope it stays that way!

The fact I’ve been neglecting my blog means I totally and completely failed the Blog Ahead challenge *sigh* I got a grand total of zero posts done. Ooops! So I’m just going to have to wing it for a while, I’m hoping I’ll find some motivation somewhere to get some drafts done up at the very least.

My motto these days is to not stress and take care of myself first. So I imagine my posting will be totally sporadic (now I’ve said that, I bet it ticks over like clockwork 😛 ) but I am still around. Off to catch up with some blogs now, I’ll have actual content soon (I hope!)

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2017 Mini Blog Ahead #1 (March 1 – 15)

Posted 25th February 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 8 Comments

Hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup (via The Herd Presents), this challenge is all about getting ahead in your blogging by upping your number of scheduled posts by 15 during the challenge.

This is great prep for vacations, emergencies, and just helping get through blogging slumps or busy weeks. Having posts ready to go can be a huge relief! Stop last minute blogging in its tracks and join in! Sign up HERE!

I always fail at the Blog Ahead challenges haha but this is a mini one, less chance to fail! There’s another mini challenge scheduled for the second half of June and the main one that runs for all of October. I will of course be taking part in all three, since I need all the motivation I can get!

So come the end the middle of March I hope to have 15 posts scheduled for the rest of the month and into April. We’ll see how it goes.

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Life Happens #2

Posted 20th February 2017 by Wattle in Life Happens / 14 Comments

I have a list of reviews to write, and the notes to write them; but I’ve not quite got there yet. Oops! There is a Blog Ahead challenge coming up I believe and I will be taking part (once I get that post up haha!)

Things have been busy in my world. I’m not entirely sure where the last month has gone.

I finally got myself out of the public system when it comes to my kidneys (I love Australia’s public healthcare system; but since I can afford to not be in it, I’d rather go private – it frees up space for someone else), and was told entirely different things by my new specialist compared to the old. I don’t have a serious condition; it’s something that may eventually lead to one though. He’s taken me off half my medications (not necessarily a bad thing) and we’ll revisit everything later this year. I am cautiously optimistic.

Last week I had another skin cancer removed. Getting a bit sick of those, but there’s nothing I can do about it (they’re not caused directly by sun exposure, but by a medication I’m on). It wasn’t on my face this time, so that’s a win 🙂

University starts again very soon. I went in today to sort out some parking and get my ID revalidated and it was a madhouse! Students eeeeverywhere! I usually study externally but I have to go in a few times each semester – this coming semester I’m studying one unit on campus; I’m not really looking forward to it but I have to do it!

Aside from that, I’ve been reading – slowly. I’m hoping to finish at least one more book before the end of the month. I’ll be spending some time on public transport later this week, which will give me some extra time to read.

I hope everyone is having a lovely February!

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Book Review #6: Size Matters by Alison Bliss

Posted 12th February 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review #6: Size Matters by Alison BlissSize Matters by Alison Bliss
Series: A Perfect Fit #1
Published by Forever on November 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 337
Format: E-Book
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars
Heat Level: 2.5 Flames

The rules of (fake) engagement . . .
Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she's sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren't enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper - or the fact that he just told her mother that they're engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah's date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay "just friends," and make Leah's family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah's decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren't going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he's for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

I’m not entirely sure how to review this book. I absolutely hated parts of it, and other parts were really funny? And it was a bit…frustrating. There’s a few spoiler cuts in this review:

Let’s start at the beginning. Size Matters starts out badly – Leah is so focused on her size it made me uncomfortable, and her drowning her self pity in alcohol made me angry. I know it happens, we all have our insecurities, but her self esteem issues are very triggery and generally unpleasant to read.

My main issue with the book were the characters (ALL OF THEM). Sam’s inner monologue (where every sentence starts with “Hell…” I don’t care about the word itself, but it was so repetitive! “Damn” was used a lot too) did not help, going on about how he liked a woman with something to hang on to – I became worried this would slide into the ‘fetish’ zone (it didn’t, thankfully).

And then there was the fact that View Spoiler »

Leah’s mother View Spoiler » *shudders* if my mother was like that, I would disown her or at the very least spend as little time in her presence as possible. Leah herself just sucks it up and goes along with it (self esteem issues) which was endlessly frustrating. View Spoiler »

There were some laugh out loud funny moments, and then the negativity ramps up all over again. Sam is such a dick (and in a weird type of denial) and Leah isn’t any better. All this really boils down to is that neither of them can communicate, they are both stubborn and they’re not really likeable apart or together.

Leah needs to grow a backbone, and Sam needs to use his words. And her mother needs to butt out. The plot was completely ridiculous, I feel like it could have been executed much better (a fake fiancé story could be so fun!) but the mass of misunderstandings that took place just drew it out to the point of disbelief.

The one upside of this book is that it was written really, really well, and some of it was hilarious, but overall it just wasn’t for me because of the characters and their choices.

Rating Report
Plot
two-stars
Characters
half-star
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
two-stars
Overall: 2.1

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Book Review #5: Good Omens (BBC 4 Radio Dramatisation) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Posted 6th February 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review #5: Good Omens (BBC 4 Radio Dramatisation) by Terry Pratchett and Neil GaimanGood Omens (BBC 4 Radio Dramatisation) by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Full Cast
Published by BBC Worldwide on December 22nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Humour
Length: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: five-stars

A full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s apocalyptic comic novel.

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4….

Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse - War, Famine, Pollution and Death - are assembling.

Witchfinder Shadwell and his assistant Newton Pulsifier are also en route to Tadfield to investigate unusual phenomena in the area, while Anathema Device, descendent of prophetess Agnes Nutter, tries to decipher her ancestor’s cryptic predictions.

Atlantis is rising; fish are falling from the sky; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.

Everything, that is, but for an unlikely angel and demon duo, who have been living on Earth for several millennia and have become rather fond of the place. If they are to prevent Armageddon they’ve got to find and kill the one who will bring it about: the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him…

Adapted, sound designed and co-directed by Dirk Maggs (Neverwhere, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) this first ever dramatisation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel features a large cast including Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Josie Lawrence and Paterson Joseph.

I was at work a couple of Fridays ago, and as the Thursday beforehand was a public holiday there was next to no one in. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to pop my headphones in and listen to something, but I didn’t want to start a long audiobook. Then I came across this version of Good Omens (which I’m counting as a book, because it’s pretty much an abridged version) and thought ‘yes! That will do!’

It’s only 4 hours and 20 minutes long, I had to take a couple of breaks when I needed to concentrate on something important but I listened to it all that day 🙂

I giggled a fair bit during this: “Earth is a Libra”, I mean…come on!
 
The radio adaptation is a condensed version of the story and it just works so well. The sound effects and different voice actors are just so great. I wish actual audiobooks were done like this (I think some do exist?) it would make it easier for me to listen to – I’m struggling with audio at the moment.

As always, it’s all about Crowley for me. He’s my standout character, a demon who doesn’t really want the apocalypse to happen as he’s quite fond of Earth. He and Aziraphale (an angel with a similar outlook) do have a lot in common, even if they are on opposite ‘sides’. What their superiors don’t know, won’t hurt them 😉 There’s a mix-up with the antichrist, witches, witchfinders (hunters, if you will), and the four horsemen (or…persons). What’s not to like?
 
A great, though also very short listen, it was absolutely worth the time and energy spent. It actually made me fire up the proper audiobook of Good Omens, which is my favourite book of all time. When I’m done with that, I’ll probably re-read it again.

Seriously. Favourite. Book. Ever.

AND a tv show (written by Mr Gaiman) has been announced. Woohoo!

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Performance
five-stars
Quality
five-stars
Enjoyability
five-stars
Overall: 5

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Monthly Overview #1: January 2017

Posted 1st February 2017 by Wattle in Monthly Overview / 8 Comments

This year I’ve started using a spreadsheet created by All About Books to track how many books I’ve bought/received/read and I thought that would be a good monthly post, because seeing those numbers just before I wrote this made me go ‘oh god…’ lol

January 2017
Books Bought: 21
NetGalley: 3
Freebies: 15
Total: 39

Books bought also includes freebies on Amazon, because I one-clicked, it’s like I purchased them. The spreadsheet has a ‘gifted’ source which I’m using to track freebies from author newsletters and sites.

Of the books I bought:

6 of them were freebies

15 were ones I purchased
– 4 of those were ebooks
– 9 were paperback
– 2 were cookbooks

Ah cookbooks, blew my budget out of the water. Oops. The spreadsheet is great for tracking how much I’ve spent (even if the figure did make my eyes water, thank goodness for people that bought me book vouchers for Christmas!)

Stores I bought from were Booktopia, Book Depository, Wordery and a local 2nd hand store. Amazon US for my ebooks.

Books I Read:

In January I read 6 books (and 2 short stories; I’ve not decided how I’m tracking those yet, since they’re in actual books but are being read out of order).

5 were regular books, 1 was an audiobook (actually it was a radio dramatisation!)

All 6 were adult books 😮

1933 pages read, 259 minutes listened

Not a huge amount (I don’t read as fast as I used to) but certainly more than I thought I’d get through 🙂

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Book Review #4: Dirty Deeds by A.J. Nuest

Posted 31st January 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 6 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #4: Dirty Deeds by A.J. NuestDirty Deeds by A.J. Nuest
Series: Likely Story #1
Published by Lyrical Underground on January 31st 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 285
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 3.5 Flames

An Eye for an Eye
As owner of Dirty Deeds, a tech-savvy company specializing in the age-old art of revenge, Eden Smith knows first-hand that secrecy is critical. But when a dead body washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan clutching her business card, Eden’s well-constructed world begins to fall apart. Apparently, she’s not the only one with a passion for payback, and staying alive to outsmart a killer has become her most important job of all.

A Game for a Game
Hardened homicide detective Kelly Riordan is convinced Eden Smith is hiding more than she’s willing to admit. Years on the force have taught him that nothing is what it seems, and that couldn’t be truer than when it comes to investigating the alluring owner of a revenge-for-hire business. But revealing her past could put everything Eden has worked for in jeopardy. And trusting a man like Riordan goes against the very instincts that have kept her alive this long.

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Dirty Deeds by A.J. Nuest. This tour is being run by Love Reading Romance Tours, check out the tour page for more reviews!

I had one significant issue with this book. I’m going to get the bad stuff out of the way first – because really, I don’t want to be a downer, but…

I don’t like it when characters immediately objectify each other, like their looks are the only thing of interest about them. I can understand thinking someone is hot, but to imagine sexual activity within 5 seconds? Nope (or is this just me?) This book has instalust, that turns into instalove.

Turns out I don’t dig it; I just cannot buy it as part of reality *sigh*

Now on to the good stuff.

The premise? Super interesting. The thing I liked best about this was the plot. Also, I loved Eden as a character (and Kelly wasn’t so bad either, but Eden is where it’s at), she was independent and didn’t often do as she was told – I like a rebel. I felt the other characters were a bit hit or miss, and they definitely faded into the background (I couldn’t tell you most of their names) but since this story isn’t about them, that’s okay.

I did have a bit of a lull around 60%, to 65%. The pacing sort of fell away, everything was rushing at breakneck speed and then I hit a bump. But the last 35% of the book was great and really held my interest, it was a bit stressy, although that ending – I’m not sure if what happened is possible, I guess maybe? I’m not keen to conduct an experiment to find out haha.

The writing was excellent, even if the pacing was a bit much for me. I would have liked a bit more background on Kelly and Eden to be honest, we did get bits and pieces about them but I didn’t feel like I knew them very well (although in the case of Eden, that is probably the point).

All in all it was a fun read, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Nuest’s work in the future!

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
two-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: 3.5

About A.J. Nuest

Multi-published, award-winning author and editor AJ Nuest resides in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. Her four-part serial fantasy romance, The Golden Key Chronicles, was awarded the RONE Time Travel Romance of 2015 by InD’tale Magazine, and her spin-off series, The Golden Key Legacy, was chosen as a Must Read Romance by USA Today’s Happy Ever After. Her contemporary romantic comedy, She’s Got Dibs, won First Place in the Heartland Romance Author’s Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2013. For more please visit her at ajnuest.com

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Book Review #3: Entwined by J.C. Harroway

Posted 28th January 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 8 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #3: Entwined by J.C. HarrowayEntwined by J.C. Harroway
Series: Recovery Series #2
Published by Escape Publishing on January 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 200
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 3 Flames

Your true family is the one you choose...

When nurse Jess Bellamy returns to her hometown for a cousin’s wedding, she hopes to completely avoid her ex and first love, Morgan Price. But Morgan is the best man, and the groom’s best friend, so try as she might, Jess can’t avoid him. Teenage Morgan, she got over. Grown up Morgan is infinitely hotter, infinitely more successful, and infinitely harder to ignore.

When they re-kindle the explosive physical connection between them, Jess hopes they've burned it out of their systems. She left everything behind five years ago after her father’s funeral, including Morgan, and she's leaving again in two days. She had good reasons for going, and good reasons for staying away.

But as Morgan and Jess explore their searing passion during that lost weekend, Jess is tempted by what might have been and haunted by the ghosts of what was. She has two days to decide whether to keep her secrets or keep the only man she's ever loved.

I read this on the afternoon that I downloaded it from NetGalley (it’s beside the point I have hundreds of other books to read, right?) it was very well written, and given it’s fairly short was a quick read. Perfect for a rainy day (or a hot afternoon, when moving is difficult).

Entwined by J.C. Harroway is a second chance romance, which, it turns out, I enjoy a whole lot more than instalove/lust. Phew! I liked the connection between Jess and Morgan, their past history was a bit messy and it was mostly believable to me (because humans are weird). They are both stubborn and unwilling to share their secrets after being apart for 5 years, which makes for some tension.

There’s some weird family dynamics going on which made the plot fall over a little bit. I just couldn’t wrap my head around Jess trusting someone during a stressful time (which is to do with why she was gone from her hometown for so long), a person she does not have a healthy relationship with. Nor did I get the blame that was shoved in her direction for past events that were not her fault. It gave an easy ‘villain’ though I suppose.

This book does use my least favourite trope EVER, and I saw it coming from a mile away. It was a bit of a downer and affected the ending for me, which was a pity; but I enjoyed it up until then. Although I must admit, Jess’s ‘wailing’ with pleasure made me giggle each time, because I associate wailing with grief/despair/crying, so the use of that word was a bit strange to me lol

All in all, this was a well written quick read, though the plot had a few faults. I’ll definitely be checking out more of J.C. Harroway’s work in the future – I have the first book of the series on my kindle to read since I opted to read them out of order; but as far as I can tell they work just fine as standalone novels 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 3.6

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