Monthly Archives: December 2014

‘Heir of Fire’ by Sarah J. Maas

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This series has finally taken a turn I can cope with. I don’t feel like throwing up frilly dresses and pinkHeir of Fire sparkles again. That’s really all I can think of when it comes to the plot of Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight.  I don’t know if it was the hard core training in a forest, or a halfway decent love interest that doesn’t make my bathroom wall look sexy. And my bathroom wall is not even slightly sexy. That is how dull I found Chaol. Eugh. God I hope she doesn’t go back to him. I might have to drown myself in boredom tears.

I’m not sure if the sudden excellence of this book was due to the lack of shopping, the lack of Celaena and Chaol scenes, or the fact that I can now call Celaena, Aelin (much easy to mentally pronounce). And Rowan! What a hateful, vowels-in-proper-places, not-putting-up-with-yo-shit lad.

The changes in Celaena’s personality are definitely due to this foresty environment. The list of the things that irritated me about Celaena are as follows; her excessive vanity, materialistic values, and lack of actual killing. The simple addition of a forest means no reflective surfaces, no shopping malls, and everything wants to kill you so you have to kill them first. It’s like Sarah realised that she created Cinderella and forgot to get her the personality of an assassin when she changed her job title. Bam! Enter the forest. Breaking necks and taking cheques.

Sarah also introduced the witches storyline. I started off being a bit grossed out by the whole cannibalism aspect, but hey, fish gotta swim.

Okay I have nothing else to say about this. I’m out.

‘Hex Hall’ by Rachel Hawkins

This isn’t going to be a nice review. I read all the books and while I was remotely interested in theHex Hall plot, the characters and the writing were pretty bad and it spoiled the whole process for me. Safe to say I am advising you not to read it. I would leave it there, but I get the feeling you want some concrete evidence as to why you shouldn’t read it – especially if someone else has recommended it to you. Secretly they probably don’t like you and want you to waste three evenings.

Continue reading

What 2014 Taught Me

Every year I begin a ‘goals’ list. It’s exactly like New Year’s Resolutions, but without the societal criticism.  The usual contenders are, get fit, stop eating magnums for dinner, make new friends, save money, get a better job, wash your sheets every two weeks. Whatever. Then we get to the end of the year and fuck, I haven’t achieved any of that. Better wash my sheets and do 50 push ups before the clock strikes 12 and I turn into a pumpkin for not accomplishing anything.  So instead of resolving to do more washing – I’m reflecting on what I did wrong/right this year – and just not do/continue it next year. Genius.

  1. If you are a blonde – don’t dye your hair blue.

My hairdresser sometimes puts colours in my hair – if he is having a flat day. Maybe all he has had are trims and roots and he just wants to spice it up. I always let him because they are wash outs, and I feel all punk rock for a week. But blue, oh innocent blue betrayed me. I have had blue hair for about 6 months because it found living with me was just too enjoyable to part ways after a week, like every other colour. Damn it blue. Damn it Greg.

There is a side note here: don’t think that you should start a band just because your hair is blue.

 Don’t leave your door/windows open when a hail storm is coming.

Now you think that this would be common sense. But no. This one actually wasn’t me, but my delightful sister – who were pre-drinking for a Katy Perry concert and forgot to shut the door. Usually I don’t mind. We live on the 4th floor, and if you can be bothered to climb up 4 floors of flat wall, you honestly deserve the meagre possessions we have. Brisbane experienced its worst hail storm in 50 years, and my lounge room experienced rain. Which is an outside element – and the two should never have met. Damn it Katy Perry. Damn it Shani.

Stop brushing your teeth so hard.

It doesn’t make them any cleaner! And it will catch up on your gums if by chance you decide to put poison on them and they hurt for a week whenever you eat, drink cold water, or breathe too heavily.

Start a Blog.

If you like to write, or even if you don’t like to write, but pottery is getting to be an expensive hobby and it ruins your nails. It is an excellent way to rave and rage and receive compliments from strangers that have nothing to do with your blue hair. Also there is always that slight hope that a publisher will come across it and say – What gold this is! I must have this blogger publish all of her thoughts into a book. Here is one million dollars.

Don’t be unhappy because it’s an inconvenience to change

I only really started applying it this year.  I quit a job that made me want to cry every time I went there. I started seeing someone new. I stopped having so much dairy. I built an Ikea couch to replace my old Ikea couch. All of this was an effort. Like a big, large, massive effort. It’s scary sometimes, and you think people are going to judge you. “The other couch was fine! Sure it had unexplainable stains and was broken in the middle, but was comfortable.” But now they look at my couch and say: “new couch?” And that’s all they actually say, but I just know they are thinking: ‘damn. She made the right choice. She is much happier on this couch.

Let me clear on this part: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Don’t go reading into my couch metaphor.

Anyway, Merry Christmas readers. I hope you all grew and learned from your 2014 and we can all positively contribute to the average intelligence of the human race. Go us.

‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is a bad land for Gods.

If there is one thing that can force you back into reading it is a long voyage. Or as some people like to call it – Cruising. There only thing better than reading on a beach, is reading anywhere else. Not a beach fan. Not even sightly. But back to the American Gods.

What an absolute treasure. From the moment I started reading it I remembered why I usually don’t stop reading. I actually felt my brain restarting.  You can just tell Neil Gaiman is super duper smart when he throws ‘pontificating’ into a sentence like it was born to be there. This week it has been my goal to say ‘pontificating’ once a day. The only problem is, I have a maximum of two people in my life this week so seven days later, they aren’t as impressed as they were when I said it the first time. Never matter. I will remember it until the day I die now. I now also say “my back teeth are afloat” if ever I need to pee really badly. Because some oddball in the book said it and I laughed out loud. Yes sir, that is exactly the way to describe a full bladder.

American Gods  as written by a Englishman – oh you cheeky lad Gaiman – is, in true Gaiman style, full of mythology, and excellent characters, all in a darkly humours wash. Fresh out of prison, Shadow is informed of his wifes death in a car accident. On his way home to his suddenly empty life he meets Wednesday – who is a person and is nothing like the day of the week Wednesday. If anything – he would be a Friday night with a full moon, or a Sunday night with a public holiday on Monday. He’s sort of annoying and sort of fun, and mostly mysterious and dodgy. He doesn’t really grow on you. You feel the same way about him throughout the entire book, even when he does good things and bad things. He’s just one of those characters you judge from the beginning and you end up feeling pretty confident about your judgement skills by the end of your book.

Anyway Shadow and Wednesday go on a journey – much like my cruise – full of storms, weird people, and lots of alcohol.  They do some magical stuff, visit some gods who are struggling in the modern world now that we don’t sacrifice goats and virgins to them anymore. For real – these Gods aren’t that nice.

One of my favourite moments (quotes) in the book, was when Shadow said – “Call no man happy, until he is dead”. I thought that was fantastically dark and nodded appreciatively at the time. But oh – it is much more than that. At the end of the book it is explained what that actually means. Not that life is terrible and death is the best part about it, as I originally thought – But that you can’t judge a man’s life until you can see the whole of it. Nobody can determine how someone’s life was, halfway through it! Oh the brilliance.

In a chapter called ‘Coming to America’ (p. 345) was where I had to put thebook down and think a bit. Gaiman stops narrating the story for a moment and gets all preachy – but in the best possible way.

“There are stories that are true, in which each individual’s tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it too deeply. We build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating it with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function, day in, day out, immune to other’s pain and loss. If it were to touch us it would cripple us; but for the most part, it does not touch us. We cannot allow it to.”

Gaiman uses the starving children in Africa as an example. We know that they are starving, but to try and properly acknowledge the grief we have to focus on an individual and his daily struggles. But then we are not doing his sister justice who is also struggling, we cannot multiply that empathy by a million, for all the other million people who are starving. We cannot compute large scale to an individual’s loss and pain. Don’t think about it too long though. Someone will no doubt try and get your attention while you experiment trying to compute that much struggle. And they will not be able to get to you.

I know I say it a lot. But damn. What an excellent book. I’ve read a few of his novels – and even more of his short stories, but this one is most definitely his crowning achievement. Well done sir. Five Stars.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

ps. Sorry that it took me so long to read this Bec.