Book Review #8: Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Posted 2nd October 2017 by Wattle in Reviews / 11 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 #8: Pressed to Death by Kirsten WeissPressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss
Series: A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery #2
Published by Midnight Ink on March 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 338
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski has the perfect exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie. Knowing the perils of amateur sleuthing as she does, Maddie is reluctant to get involved . . . until her mother insists she investigate.

Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder? Facing down danger and her own overactive imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

For the love of…this one was a victim of my site move it seems, I thought I had reviewed it already but I hadn’t!

So here it is, my long overdue review (I’m so sorry!)

And the first note I have on this book is: ‘The continuity is shite.’ Oh my.

I’ve had this problem with a couple of cozies lately, now that I think about it. A character will say they’re going to do something later, or tomorrow, or the next day. Then in the next chapter the time passes and they never do it! With this one it could be because it was an ARC though, so I suppose I can let it slide…even it does seem sloppy.

The first book of the series, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, was a strong start. But Pressed to Death suffers a little from second book syndrome. It was a quick read, but it was also entirely forgettable. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, and I really do like Maddie as a main character, but I never really connected to the story. It felt a bit slow, and like we were treading water for a while, waiting for something interesting to happen.

The second half of the book was better than the first. I like that there’s a mystery in the present, and one in the past, however there wasn’t really much paranormal about this one. It was a little disappointing after enjoying the first book so much. There weren’t enough twists, and it focused on Maddie’s love life a bit too much.

While I will be continuing the series when the third book comes out, that one will make it or break it for me. So far it’s promising, but just hasn’t delivered like I thought it would.

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
two-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
two-half-stars
Overall: 2.9

Tags: , ,


Sunday Post #2

Posted 1st October 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 12 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book 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.

Two posts in one day, what is happening?! IS IT A SIGN THE APOCALYPSE?! I don’t blog for a month and then suddenly…

Okay I’ll stop being dramatic now.

I realised while going through my blog posts earlier that I’ve not done my monthly overview of books since January. Yikes! I might try to start that again next month.

As mentioned in my blog ahead challenge post earlier, I’ve dropped out of university for this semester. I’ll go back next year, hopefully refreshed and with a better outlook. This year has been such a struggle for me motivation wise.

I did finally catch up on Preacher which is such a weird show, but in a good way. Now I’m just waiting for The Librarians to come back! I watched the first movie of the film trilogy The Librarians is based on the other day, it was so cheesetastic. It’s a wannabe Indiana Jones and I enjoyed it a lot (I’ve never pretended to have good taste haha)

As for books…

CURRENTLY READING

Nothing! But I did just finish the first two books of the Bewitched by Chocolate series by H.Y. Hanna, so I’m thinking my next book will be the third one. I do love the covers of this series:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Nothing, but I did sign up for the October blog ahead challenge 🙂

Tags:


2017 Blog Ahead – October

Posted 1st October 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 4 Comments

Hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup (via The Herd Presents).

The goal? Up your number of scheduled posts by 30 in one month. The catch? The posts must be dated November 1st or later.

Blog Ahead aims at helping you cut the stress by blogging ahead and creating a stockpile of scheduled posts that are ready to go when life gets a little crazy.

Sign up HERE!

I’ve failed at this challenge every single time I’ve signed up for it. But since I have dropped my studies for the semester (short version: my mental health was suffering and I decided it wasn’t worth continuing this year), I actually have time to do this. Motivation is another story, but I shall try!

I plan to have a few posts go up in October, but also 30 (eep!) scheduled for November onwards.

Tags:


My Favourite Genres

Posted 3rd September 2017 by Wattle in Books, Random Things / 10 Comments

I am struggling with motivation so much lately. Not just blog and reading related, but life related. Study is such a slog right now! I won’t talk about work, because that’s not great either. Roller derby training is good, aside from the fact I injured myself (outside of training) and haven’t been able to skate since my first session – my physiotherapist reckons I will be able to next week though, fingers crossed!

So I logged into my WordPress dashboard just now, and I was going to do a review, but I don’t want to do a review. Then I was going to do a general ‘this is what’s going on with me’ post, but I didn’t want to do that either (and I just covered that above, I suppose). And then I thought…I could talk about things I like, things book related…favourite things!

And here we are. A post about my favourite genres, and why they’re my favourite genres. Yay!(?) I’ve decided to do a top 3, to keep it simple.

1. Cozy Mystery

When cozy mystery was first offered to me, I was very, very confused by its existence. Was it mystery? Was it chick lit? Did it always involve baking and/or cats? It seemed a bit silly and I just didn’t want to read it. So I ignored it, and then…I can’t remember how this came about, read one by accident. That was the end of that! I read cozy when I want something light, something fun, and something predictable. There’s going to be a murder, the heroine is going to get in trouble for investigating, 95% of the time there WILL be baked goods. Sometimes I’m disappointed by cozies, but I’ve found a few reliable authors over the past few years (and I’m always willing to try more!) This is the genre I read when I’m in a rut.

Cozy mystery recommendation: You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper. This book is a gem, I’m so sad there aren’t more in the series 🙁

2. Fantasy

Not high fantasy (well, not very often), but urban fantasy and ‘low’ fantasy (is that what it’s called?) I like it when fantasy is set in the recognisable world, when it seems possible that magic and monsters could exist. I guess it comes down to me feeling more connected when a setting is familiar?

Neil Gaiman is probably my favourite author – I like how absurd everything is, his work is a bit dark and there’s always some humour. Followed by Rick Riordan (I am a sucker for his YA stuff), J.K. Rowling (of course), Ilona Andrews, etc.

Fantasy recommendation: this is where I’d usually recommend Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman buuuuut let me shake things up, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, also known as Midnight Riot in the USA which makes zero sense, but whatever (the audiobook is also REALLY GOOD!)

3. Holiday/Christmas

Confession: I don’t really dig Christmas. Sure. I like having time off and eating lots, but it’s summer at Christmastime here and it’s always hot and eating hot food on a hot day? Not pleasant. It’s a holiday I find exhausting and it’s always followed by nothing but cricket being on tv.

Christmas themed books though? Give them to me! I tend to read them during July and then again in December. They’re almost always romance or chick lit, but they also always involve winter and that shiny happy ‘this is what Christmas should feel like!’ feeling (well, mostly) *sigh* I’ve read plenty of duds, but there’s some warm and fuzzy ones out there that I really do enjoy!

Christmassy recommendation: Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton. Sappy m/m romance is one of my things 🙂 added bonus if it involves Christmas!

Tags: ,


Sunday Post #1

Posted 30th July 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 20 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book 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 thought it would be a good time to start doing these posts again. You know, when something actually happens haha. As a follow up to my last post (which was forever ago, oops!) I did pass my chemistry unit, with 51% overall. By the skin of my teeth (I’m annoyed that I went from 87% down to that, but whatever. I’ll take it!)

Uni break has been nice. I have done absolutely nothing though. I’m in a reading slump. Like, I want to read, but I don’t want to read; and nothing is really holding my interest (I keep trying though!) Usually when I’m in a reading slump, I’m watching all the tv shows. But I haven’t been doing that either! I’ve caught the first three episodes of season 2 of Preacher; now I’m just watching them pile up and will marathon them at some point (when I’m meant to be working on an assignment, no doubt).

I have been listening to music a lot. With the passing of both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington recently, it hasn’t been exactly happy music *sigh*

Anyway, on to the books!

CURRENTLY READING

Down and Derby by Alex Cohen and Jennifer Barbee. While on break I’ve decided I need a hobby, and there’s a roller derby info night coming up in early August. I’m taking myself along and I intend to sign up as fresh meat, so I’m learning all I can in the meantime!

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie. I’ve been reading this for a while now, I have no idea why I’m stuck.

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews. I put this down in April and haven’t picked it up again *sigh* I sort of hate the plot after the last few books, so I’m hoping some distance will make it easier to read when I do pick it up again.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

lol nothing. And I’m not sure what’s upcoming either (I do have a couple of drafts sitting around, I should do something with those).

And that’s it from me 🙂

Tags:


Book Review #7: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Posted 21st June 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 16 Comments

I’m back! Uni has finished for the semester, and it ended horribly. I’m 99% sure I failed my Chemistry exam, given I only answered half the paper. But that’s okay! I can do it again! I’m not sure what it was about the first half of 2017, but I’ve never been less motivated to study in my life. Onwards and upwards though!

So here goes, a book review *gasp* last time I looked at my Goodreads account I was 4 books ahead of my goal, now I’m 4 behind. Oops!

Book Review #7: Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanPractical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Published by Penguin on August 5th 2003 (first published 1995)
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 286
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: two-stars

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic...

At 85 pages in, I knew how I was going to rate this book. I decided to read Practical Magic as I love the movie (and re-watching it made me go looking for the source material). Usually I prefer to read novels after seeing film adaptations, because they are much richer and add more to the world on the screen. Well. Most of the time.

This is not one of those.

The film is vastly different, the relationships are similar but the setting is not. On paper, those relationships that made the movie for me had absolutely no depth, and there isn’t much in the way of magic (I was really disappointed by this). Alice Hoffman’s writing is beautiful, but the characters felt so lifeless and flat.

I liked Sally until the focus of the story moved elsewhere; when it shifted back, she was lost to me. I didn’t connect with her, Gillian or Sally’s daughters. It was surprising to me how much it focused on the daughters actually, I quite disliked that element.

As for Gillian, she’s the beautiful one; but she’s so weak and spineless! Running away, getting into one relationship after another until she ends up with an abuser she knows she should leave, but won’t. Then he dies and she runs to Sally for help. She’s irresponsible, supposedly a ‘free spirit’, but she just came across as sad and pathetic (whereas in the film, she was rather charming).

And Sally always helps. ALWAYS. Ugh.

The point of view seemed to change from one character to another halfway through a paragraph, which was super disorienting. Unless I read it wrong (which is possible) but it was bizarre, I never usually have a problem with POV changes.

I almost DNF at 206 pages, and then thought that would be a waste, so finished it ASAP just to move on.

I simply cannot recommend this novel, it was lifeless and bland. The movie on the other hand, A+.

Rating Report
Plot
one-star
Characters
one-star
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
one-star
Overall: 1.8

Tags: , ,


Movie Review #1: Dancer

Posted 28th May 2017 by Wattle in Movies & TV, Reviews / 14 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.

Tags:


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)

Tags: ,


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!)

Tags: ,


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.

Tags: