COYER Winter Switch – 2017/2018

Posted 29th November 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 10 Comments

Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge hosted by Berls @ Fantasy Is More Fun, Michelle @ Because Reading and Stormi @ Book, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!

I’ve never done COYER before, but have seen it around the blogosphere over the years. And this time I’ve decided to take part, but not regular COYER, I am going to be doing COYER Switch!

COYER Switch has 3 components: The Strict, The List, and The One with the Twist. There will be three phases, one for each component (in the order you choose):

  • December 16 – January 12
  • January 13 – February 9
  • February 10 – March 9

 
The Strict
Regular COYER.
Every book you read must be an eBook or audiobook.
Every book must be either free or less than $5.
No library books, borrowed books, or Kindle Unlimited.

The List
Make a list of up to 30 books you want to read.
Every book on the list must be in your possession BEFORE you put them on the list.
You can add 5 new books for every 5 books you read.
Books on the list can be any format, any price, obtained any LEGAL way.

The One with the Twist
You can read ANY book. ANY price. Obtained any LEGAL way.
The Twist is, you have to stick with one format (audiobooks, e-books, etc).

You can sign up for the COYER challenge HERE!

I’ve not decided on my goals as yet, but I shall be putting them together in another post in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to it and hope you’ll all join in 🙂

Tags:


Movie Review #2: Thor: Ragnarok

Posted 27th November 2017 by Wattle in Movies & TV, Reviews / 20 Comments

Title: Thor: Ragnarok
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo
Format Watched: Cinema screening
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Imprisoned, the almighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.”

Source: IMDb

Yes. I chose my favourite poster to represent the film since there’s a few to choose from haha (even if the date is wrong, it was released 26th October here *sigh*)

Now, I have to make it clear; Thor is my favourite Marvel character aside from Captain America/Steve Rogers (though I prefer the Thor movies). Thor: The Dark World was loved by no-one except me and one of my friends, we saw it 3 times in 3 days before I left the USA to fly back home, and then I saw it 2 more times at home (I was carrying out cinema screen quality research!)

Thor: Ragnarok had some rather massive expectations, and it mostly lived up to them for me. I couldn’t give this film 5 stars though, because there’s some things that bothered me.

But first, the good!

  • The colour. I loved how colourful this film is, literally! It fits in with Guardians of the Galaxy in terms of visuals, it’s very pleasing to the eye (or, my eyes).
  • The humour. Hemsworth has great comedic timing that has been wasted in the Marvel ‘verse for the most part. Hiddleston brought more personality to Loki (he’s so smug, I love him lol). Waititi totally stole the movie with his rather amusing cameo though!
  • Jeff Goldblum. I’m pretty sure he was just playing himself for the entire movie, and it was so fun!
  • Cate Blanchett is pretty badass as Hela. I really enjoyed her in this.
  • The plot. Finally, a Thor movie with a cohesive plot (mostly). The story itself worked pretty well, they didn’t try to make it overly dramatic and ridiculous.

 

The bad:

  • Karl Urban’s character didn’t do much, I felt like he didn’t really fit into the film properly.
  • Major spoiler alert (seriously, don’t click this if you haven’t seen it): View Spoiler »
  • Mark Ruffalo. I feel so bad for saying this, because I adore him as Bruce, but while everyone else felt genuine in this boisterous movie, he seemed to overact to keep up? Perhaps comedy doesn’t suit him, unless it’s dry humour.

 

So all in all, an enjoyable film but not my favourite. My top 5, for reference:

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier*
2. Thor: The Dark World
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Ant-Man
5. Thor: Ragnarok/Thor (can’t decide!)

*I know I said I prefer the Thor movies, and I really do as a whole. But TWS is a beast of a film (in comparison, Civil War made me bitchface multiple times). My least fave is Avengers: Age of Ultron which I will be bitter about forever (they should dump it and get Waititi to do a remake! 😆 )

Tags: , ,


Sunday Post #9

Posted 26th November 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 35 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I just saw Murder on the Orient Express with my parents, at a cinema that has just been renovated so all their cinemas have reclining seats. Being short isn’t the best with these, one’s feet don’t touch the floor and the reclining aspect was too far back to be comfortable. I might have to take a pillow next time 😆

This week has been unexpectedly busy, so my Thor review didn’t get done as planned. I am aiming for this week (I did say Monday somewhere, but it might be Tuesday. It will happen though!)

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

Still listening to this (well, I’ve not touched it for over a week, but whatever), and I’ve not had time to pick anything else up 🙁 I’m not really sure what I want to read next.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Sunday Post #8
Book Review: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland. I’m a bit bummed this book seems so niche (m/m and Australian) that not many are enthused by it, but while it has a handful of reviews they’re all good ones 🙂

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (for real this time!)

With any luck there’ll also be a book review, but it’ll be whatever takes my fancy when I get to writing it out.

NEW ON MY SHELVES

Bought:

All the Yasmine Galenorn ones were on sale when I bought them ($1.29 AUD, $0.99 USD).

I also ordered a bunch of historicals last night, as I’ve decided that’s my next genre to try. It’s baffling that the first of many series aren’t available on kindle, so I went for paperbacks instead (which were cheaper than the rest of the series e-books anyway. Weird).

For Review:

None! I consider this a success, now if only I could stop buying books until the end of the year (pre-orders don’t count 😛 )

Tags:


Book Review #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

Posted 22nd November 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 #16: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. MarslandBy The Currawong's Call by Welton B. Marsland
Published by Escape Publishing on November 20th 2017
Genres: Australian, Historical, M/M Romance
Pages: 352
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Heat Level: 2.5 Flames

A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful...

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

In 1891 homosexuality was illegal, and for much of this story it was a cloud hanging over Matthew and Jonah. Something that could destroy both of their careers and send them to jail. Victoria, where this is set, didn’t legalise it until December 1980 – they were the second state to do so; the last did in 1997…the treatment of men convicted of sodomy is still being dealt with today. Legislation was introduced to parliament just a few weeks ago in my state to expunge historical convictions.

I would just like to remind everyone it’s 2017, and politicians in my country are currently arguing about how discriminatory people are allowed to be to gay people if they choose to get married when it is (finally) legalised, hopefully before Christmas (not holding my breath).

Oops. Tangent. Let me get back on topic.

By The Currawong’s Call is…not something I would have picked to read myself, but I was in such a mood for m/m romance and nothing else jumped out at me. I picked it up on NetGalley a while back thinking ‘I’ll totally read this within the next few months!’ and to my surprise, I actually did!

My favourite thing is probably the setting. I spent the first part of my life in bush suburbia in Victoria, I’ve driven through many a country town in various states. Victoria will always feel like home, I could see it all in my mind. Simple buildings, unsealed roads, dust, trees, kangaroos. Perfect.

For the first half of the book though, I was a wee bit bored. Matthew was fine, Jonah was fine. But I didn’t get their chemistry at ALL. I would have liked to have seen more of what Matthew did as the new local priest, instead we were just told ‘he did X, Y and Z’. The background characters were just that, background and barely rated a mention. I didn’t really feel much life in it.

But as soon as they went to Melbourne? It became so much more interesting! I’m not sure if it was the change of scenery, or the fact they were doing more than hanging out together (though they were still sneaking around), but it’s like everything just jumped off the page and came to life. And I ended up adoring them together ♥

Because of how mixed I felt about it, I had a difficult time rating everything. The pacing was a bit shit at first, but then it just fell into place. Everyone was 2 dimensional, until they weren’t. Hmmm. I gave it 4 stars simply because it left me grinning like an idiot when I finished; and I reckon if I read it again it’d feel like a different book.

And as much as I enjoyed the second half, the epilogue was my favourite bit. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, but I’ll put it behind a spoiler cut anyway: View Spoiler » I do wish we had a bit more of them afterwards though, I would have liked to know what happened.

All in all this was a satisfying read once it got going. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more by Welton B. Marsland.

Fact of the day: the currawong is an Australian bird that looks like a raven/crow (but a bit smaller, and doesn’t sound like them) and has yellow eyes. I’ve never seen one to my knowledge, but I live out west and they are on the east coast. When I’m over there next I shall keep my eyes peeled!

They sound like this (yes, I got that curious lol)

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Overall: 3.8

Tags: , , ,


Sunday Post #8

Posted 19th November 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 32 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I didn’t do one of these last week, but I’m back this week…with an awful lot of books added to my shelves, oops! Though in my defence, it took 6 weeks for half of them to arrive, and then they all came at once 😆

And I finally got back to roller derby this week, I hadn’t been for a while due to some health issues; so it was fun to start all over again. I can slow down now (still can’t stop haha) 😀

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

Yep. Still listening to the audio! I really do need to come up with a better way to listen to my books that isn’t at work, when I’m not focused on something 🙁 I’m not reading anything else at the moment, I just finished a book and haven’t decided what to pick up next.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Well…the last two weeks:

Sunday Post #7
2017 HoHoHo Readathon
Book Review: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes
Letting The Fangirl Out #1
2017 HoHoHo Readathon Round-Up

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok
Book Review: By The Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

There may be a second book review, but I haven’t quite decided yet (I really should do posts in advance!)

NEW ON MY SHELVES

Bought:

E-books (Southern Spirits and Rescued were freebies):

Paperbacks (the last three are non-fiction). All the cozy mysteries! I’ve discovered a lot of the ones I want to read aren’t available on kindle (and if they are, I’m geoblocked 🙁 ) so physical books it is!

For Review:

None!

Tags:


2017 HoHoHo Readathon Round-Up

Posted 16th November 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 8 Comments

It’s that time of year when the holiday and winter-themed books hit the bookshelves. It’s also time to sign up for the Fifth Annual HoHoHo Holiday/Winter Readathon! hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. Gather up your favorite cocoa, comfort foods, holiday music and books and join in the fun!

This years event will run from Wednesday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 15th at 11:59 pm.

I thought I’d post a quick round-up of the books I read during HoHoHoRAT this year! I managed 5 of the 6 novellas I had lined up to read. Unfortunately I had less time than I thought I would, so was pretty pleased with that effort. I’ll review three of them properly, so let’s start with the two that I won’t:

The Christmas Gift was actually two short stories that totalled about 15 pages, not 34. The rest was just synopsis of other Monica McInerney novels. I was a bit disappointed. The first story was great, it really packed an emotional punch for something so short. The second one was just a few paragraphs and…eh *shrugs* it was okay. I’ll probably read more by her though.

A Prairie Dog’s Love Song was really sweet, I love Eli Easton’s other Christmas novellas and this one was great too. I really hate reading accents though, so I don’t think I’ll be reading her other cowboy stuff 🙁 it was only 70-odd pages long and I would have loved if it were longer.

Now for the three I plan to review:

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt made me roll my eyes, but it also made me cry. Heh. It was cute. Holiday Outing and Sweet and Sour were both by Astrid Amara, I preferred the latter out of the two, it just flowed better. Both would have benefited from being longer. It was really neat to read about Hanukkah celebrations, that’s a first for me 🙂

As for my other goals, I did take part in two challenges. But failed at keeping up on Twitter 🙁 there’s always next year though!

I’ll be back to my regular posts next week, this past couple of weeks has been crazy, so I’m looking forward to catching up!

Tags:


Letting The Fangirl Out #1

Posted 12th November 2017 by Wattle in Letting The Fangirl Out / 16 Comments

I wasn’t actually sure what to call this post, so…there. I have a couple more gigs coming up over the next 6 months that aren’t my usual heavy metal in a nightclub sort…and last night was about as far away from metal as I can get.

Dad and I went to see Take That. People’s reactions to this have generally been, ‘are you fucking serious?’ because they don’t know me very well 😆

And if you don’t know who Take That are, think English boyband from the 90s. And then watch this:

They actually played that last night, boyband dancing and all. And the only thing that was in my head was that video ^ and I laughed the entire way through it hahaha

There’s only 3 of them these days (they started with 5, then were 4, then broke up, and on it goes).

Apparently they were out here 22 years ago, but I was in Papua New Guinea then. I grew up on the musical diet that MTV Asia served (UK top 40, J-Pop and K-Pop), when we returned to Australia everyone was into the Backstreet Boys and I was all about Boyzone, 911, Take That, Caught in the Act, the list goes on and on (and on lol)

Don’t get me wrong, I like BSB well enough, but I think all those UK groups far outstripped them in talent and terrible music videos 😛

Take That weren’t my favourites (though they gave me Robbie Williams ♥ ) but they were up there.

And they were pretty damn amazing last night. It didn’t seem like anything was missing. Their band was excellent, they were excellent. Their dancing was hilarious (and I’m pretty sure they just do it to certain songs to take the piss – also they obviously have perfect knee joints to be bouncing around like that 😆 )

The crowd was mainly my age and older, lots of reluctant husbands in tow (and I mainly heard English accents all night, so I guess the expats were out in force!) some had brought their kids who all had their grumpy faces on by the end of the night lol

It was good fun, I’m glad I went. But I do wish they wouldn’t let people bring alcohol into venues like that, particularly if it’s an all ages event. Let them drink outside, but not during. We had an incident where a lady went a bit crazy when Dad accidentally knocked over a glass of wine she had left in the middle of the row, where people walk to get past. She had already had a few and her husband spent 15 minutes talking her down. It was an accident but having her spit ‘what’s he done to rectify it?!’ and hissing and swearing at her husband about wine possibly being all over his expensive shoes took the shine off the night.

It’s the second large concert I’ve been to in a row where drunk people have ruined the experience. The last one was Adele, where a guy who was off his face got really angry at a security guard for blocking his view, and then got all sappy and apologetic later on. I spent half the time expecting him to punch someone and get thrown out.

And the funny thing? I’ve never had an experience like that at rock or metal gigs, which are usually in bars or nightclubs! I did have beer spilled all over me once, but that’s what you expect in a mosh pit (if you can move).

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post was. But it was pretty cool to see a boyband from my tween days now I’m in my 30s, I think they’d put most current acts to shame.

I just found this gem on YouTube, I am so amused. And I’m waffling, so I’m going to end here.

Tags: ,


Book Review #15: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

Posted 8th November 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 19 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 #15: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen HughesA Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes
Series: Keepsake Cove Mystery #1
Published by Midnight Ink on November 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 264
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of souvenir and collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.

A Fatal Collection is my first experience of Mary Ellen Hughes and it certainly won’t be my last! I was a bit worried because this started at breakneck speed, and I thought it would continue that way and be a nightmare pacing wise; but it was really enjoyable.

The mystery starts almost straight away. Callie is visiting her Aunt Melodie for the first time in years, they spend an evening catching up; but the next morning Callie awakes to find her Aunt dead in her own store. Her death is quickly ruled an accident, and as Callie is preparing to return home she’s told that she has inherited everything.

She sees this as an opportunity for a fresh start and to leave her deadbeat boyfriend (I’m so glad he only featured in phone calls!) But she’s unsettled by how quickly everything was resolved, and wonders if there’s more to her Aunt’s death.

Keepsake Cove is a community of people with stores that sell collectibles (I found that a bit ridiculous, but I guess perhaps somewhere it could be a thing). Melodie’s store sells music boxes, and Callie takes her time to learn all the stock in the shop and goes on a mission to meet the other shop owners in the area.

There’s some interesting small community dynamics going on here, with some bickering between parties and some suspicious folk around. I enjoyed the secondary characters and I hope we see more of them in the future. There’s also a slight hint at a potential romance that was pretty cute, but in no way impacted on the main plot.

I liked that Callie wasn’t chummy with the police, and indeed, they barely featured at all. I did peg the murderer soon after meeting them, they just didn’t seem right to me. And I do enjoy being right haha

After the initial ‘whoa this is happening really quickly!’ moment at the start, the pacing turned out to be great. It flowed at a steady pace and the writing certainly kept me engaged.

This was a really enjoyable cozy mystery, though a bit predictable. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing the series!

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: 3.9

Tags: , ,


2017 HoHoHo Readathon

Posted 7th November 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 18 Comments

It’s that time of year when the holiday and winter-themed books hit the bookshelves. It’s also time to sign up for the Fifth Annual HoHoHo Holiday/Winter Readathon! hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. Gather up your favorite cocoa, comfort foods, holiday music and books and join in the fun!

This years event will run from Wednesday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 15th at 11:59 pm.

This year I have chosen some fun, short Christmas and holiday reads. I’m aiming for 6 over the week (but will be happy to make 5!) Book covers will take you to their respective Goodreads pages 🙂

Sweet & Sour and Holiday Outing by Astrid Amara are both m/m Hanukkah novellas, and I’m really looking forward to reading them. The others should be good fun too!

Oops I forgot, I also intend to take part in at least two challenges! And use the #hohohorat tag on Twitter to share my progress (and stalk everyone else’s!)

Tags:


Sunday Post #7

Posted 5th November 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 32 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This week has been…something. Work was completely insane as it was month end, and I was all on my own. The trouble with having deadlines like this is that one week is super stressy while the rest of the month is pretty cruisy.

I decided to change my degree at uni in the midst of all this. I’ve been thinking about it since I dropped the current semester. Environmental Science and Marine Science just hasn’t turned out to be what I was expecting. So I’ve requested a change to Genetics & Molecular Biology with Biological Sciences as a secondary major (yes, I can still make it about plants and the environment!) I won’t find out if it’s approved or not until mid-December, but as it’s not a restricted course it should be fine 🙂

It’s been quite warm this weekend, so I went clothes shopping yesterday 😮 I bought shorts! I usually spend summer wearing skirts; but my preference is for trousers/jeans/not skirts. I’ve hated shorts forever but I now own 4 pairs. Madness!

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

Still listening to Case Histories (I’m very slow with audio, since I tend to listen to them at work), and I started The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop yesterday. I was pretty peeved with it at 12% but it’s got a bit better (not very Christmassy at all though, I’m disappointed!)

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Sunday Post #6
Book Review: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Book Review: The Best Little Christmas Shop by Maxine Morrey

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

2017 HoHoHo Readathon goal post

And I’m not sure what else yet, it shall be a surprise for everyone!

NEW ON MY SHELVES

Bought:

I don’t buy box sets like this often, but I just couldn’t resist. It’ll give me an opportunity to try some new to me authors 🙂 I also pre-ordered a couple of other box sets, but they totally don’t count this week!

For Review:

None!

Tags: