September 20, 2016

All moved in

Already on my way to the new house (8th September, 2016)

I am finally in my new home.  I can't tell you how amazing it is to be in a nice quiet neighbourhood where the only noise I wake up with is the chorus of birds each morning.  Bliss...

However, moving day was a bitch.  I took two carloads of stuff up before the movers were due (stopped to take a pic of the sunrise as it was amazing!) and felt like a wrung out washcloth before the morning was over.  The movers took forever to get all my stuff boxed up and loaded.  Unloading was by far the quickest job, but the carport was wall-to-wall boxes with only a narrow path to navigate through.  How did I end up with so much stuff?!  By the time they finished unloading all my stuff, they had been on the road for over 11 hours!  They had stopped by my childhood home first to pick up my huge bookcase, as well as the old piano (and 2 couches), but even after they were done they still had a 2½ to 3 hour trip back to look forward to.  However, they were great.  No breakages, no lost items.  Just a lot of hard work and friendly conversations.

It's now over a week and a half later and I am still swimming in boxes.  Empty boxes, full boxes, half dug through boxes.  It will be a red letter day when I finally have the last of the unboxing done.  Thankfully the very nice Telstra man who fixed my landline was also moving soon and was happy to take any boxes that we left out for him.  Yeah!  I don't have to figure out what to do with a gazillion empty boxes ;-D  But when I get to that final box, perhaps I'll set it on fire?  I'll just have to wait and see. 

So while the house is slowly being whipped into a semblance of order, the yard is another story.  It's getting so unkept looking already.  It has bucketed down rain at least every second day since I've been here - which would be great under other circumstances - but I only just got a lawn mower (didn't need that in a unit!), so I need to wait for the ground to dry out a bit before I head on out to cut the jungle that is my front lawn.  Ah, the joys of being a homeowner ;-D

On the reading front, since I'm still unboxing, my bookshelves look like a train wreck.  I have my three big bookcases spread throughout the house.  Will be splitting the books up into genres I think so that I can just go to a bookcase when the mood strikes.  Discovered I need to buy a slender tall set of bookshelves to house my classics as they take up too much space on my big bookcase, but there are too many of them for one of my smaller bookcases.  Would have loved to put all my books in the one room, but they just wouldn't fit.  Bummer... oh well, a problem for another day.

My first bookmail arrived to the new address and while I still need to read my newly purchased title for my September Miss Marple challenge, A Caribbean Mystery, the move has put my 'A Classic a Month' challenge on hold.  Still, 10 classics during the year is nothing to sneeze at either.

Hopefully the weather will sort itself out soon, and I can post some book pics from around the garden for IG.  I really miss not being able to just snap a couple of pics when the mood strikes.  Finger's crossed that I can get back into the swing of things soon - once this whole moving mess is sorted out ;-D

Until next time,

August 30, 2016

Quick update

Sorry for the lack of posts, but moving is a real time suck.  My current place is a mess and I have stuff everywhere, and I've almost finished organizing all the annoying details like new address notifications to the million and one businesses, government departments, or social clubs as well as arranging for utilities at the new house.  Can't wait until its all over and I can sit back and relax with a book on the deck with a glass of something yummy while I listen to the sounds of silence (aka, no noisy neighbours!).

Read quite a few books over the last couple of weeks.  At least one good thing about moving is that you uncover books that you'd forgotten you even owned.

Anyway, until the move is over - and I'm connected to the internet again - I think this will be my last blog post (though I'll still be posting Instagram pics).

Can't wait to post some pics from the new house!

Until then,

August 7, 2016

Friday sucked

I bought this on Friday afternoon, desperately trying to find something to distract myself from the decision to let my furry old friend, Titchy, go.  My mother and aunt took her home with them - and to their lovely vet.  So, after bawling for about an hour, I pulled myself back together and went back to our small local shopping centre and picked up a copy of Nevernight (which I had eyed off earlier in the day).

Unfortunately I didn't, and still don't, really feel like picking up a book.  I've been binge watching multiple seasons of The Murdoch Mysteries, and snuggling up to my remaining furry buddies.  Will try to get to it after I move into my new house next month.  In the mean time I need to avoid all the spoiler reviews!

Also, isn't the cover art beautiful!  Love how the artwork wraps around the whole book.  Reminds me of the artwork of Kerby Rosanes (that gorgeous and quirky adult colouring book, Animorphia).

Let me know in the comments what you thought of Nevernight.  Did you enjoyed it, or perhaps not.  But please, no spoilers!

Thanks, and until next time...

House update

Okay, we have now passed the 'cooling off' period, and the house is officially listed as UNDER CONTRACT!  Had a mini freak out when the bank would not let the money out of the account when we wanted it (had to wait 31 days!), but it's been sorted out and we have a new date for closure.  Thankfully there were no existing plans in place in regards to movers,  and we can now arrange them - as well as organize the other million and one details associated with moving - accordingly. 

Can't wait to get into this home and finally set up my own library and sewing room!

I am already falling into the trap of mentally planting the gardens, and arranging the furniture, and I know I shouldn't do this until I get the keys in my hands as anything could go wrong in the next couple of weeks.  But, my fingers are crossed oh, so tightly because I think this house is just what I am looking for - and I want to be moved in by this time next month!

In the meantime, there is not much happening on the reading front.  I will try to get to my August Miss Marple, The Mirror Crack'd, read, but realistically that will probably be the only book I consume this month as trying to organize and sort through all the stuff to pack, as well as cleaning and doing the usual household chores, is really kicking my butt at the moment.  My poor wrists (and now my back) are very sore at the moment, pins and needles all through it, which means that I'm only going to do a few small jobs today.  No point in pushing it and being totally out of commission.

Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well.  I'll update my move as it gets closer.

Until next time,

July 31, 2016

Did we really just buy a house?

image source: Shutterstock

Yes, I think we really did!  

Went to see the property on Friday morning, we loved it, and had a contract signed by morning tea.  So, for the next couple of weeks I'm going to be on tender hooks, waiting for the day I can pick up the key and move away from my noisy neighbours from hell!

We're now waiting for the pest and building inspections to be completed (fingers crossed), then we have a couple of weeks for the contract to go through, but if all goes to plan I'll soon be posting pics - here and on IG - from my new house!  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this.

At odd times of the day - and night - it pops into my head and I begin mentally placing furniture, what plants go where, how the garden might one day look.  I can also begin to plan for some places to take my book-ish photographs in as well.  {hint: there is a huge expanse of small plants growing on farmland behind my block so I expect some amazing sunset inspired pics}

I still feel like it's not real.  I just can't believe it's happening.  Again, so excited.  Really looking forward to giving notice to my landlord and escaping the rental rat-race for my own little ¼ acre piece of paradise!

So until this is all sorted out, I don't think I'll have much time to sit down and read, or blog.  Will be spending hours just sorting through and boxing up my 3 large (and 3 smaller) bookcases for the move as well as organizing all the other thousand and one details that also need to be attended to when one moves.

It's really happening!  Somebody, just pinch me! 🏡

Until next time,

July 25, 2016

From beneath the sea they came

On Friday I picked up this interesting book, The Blood in the Beginning by Kim Falconer, and on Sunday night I devoured it in one sitting!

The storyline was interesting, fast paced and action packed.  Characters were fleshed out enough that they weren't wooden and one dimensional, and the author's twist on a mer-people species was refreshingly different from the usual syereotypes.  These guys, and gals, are tough as nails, brutal, and as cold as the sea.  Good times ahead for this series I feel.

If you can find a copy I'd recommend giving the Ava Sykes series a go!

Until next time,

July 24, 2016

Going back to Mistborn

It looks like history has repeated itself with the second set of Mistborn books.  Yes, I once again devoured the three books over three days - a Friday to Sunday marathon (just like last time).  Thankfully this time round, I wasn't left feeling completely betrayed and devastated by the deaths of the main characters, and I was surprised- and delighted - to see certain characters making a reappearance.

As you can see, once I finished Shadows of Self I made myself a little nest, surrounded by all the items I might need, so I could bunker in and get stuck into The Bands of Mourning - and it worked!  Finished it in about 4 hours 😸

Enjoyed the final book immensely, but the ending was left unfinished... okay, a little odd - until I read the postscript and discovered that there will be a fourth book, The Last Metal (due in 2018!).  What the...?!  I was so close to finishing, and yet it's still so far away.

So, like everyone else who is up to date with Wax & Wayne, I'm left pondering their fate until  I can get my hands on the next book.

Until next time,

July 22, 2016

Back to Mistborn

Loved the newspaper sections that popped up now and then ;-D

After almost 10 months I finally found myself heading back to the mists, only this time with Waxillium Ladrian, as he hangs up his six shooters for good.

Binge read this in two sessions, and after about 4 hours I was done with The Alloy of Law, and grabbing my copy of Shadows of Self so I could continue on this journey with Wax.

Loved the interactions between not only Wax and Wayne, but their reactions to the intelligent Marasi, the illegitimate sister of Wax's aristocratic, snobby, and very bossy fiancé!

Am hoping as I read these books that Wax ends up with Marasi, but you just never know what Brandon Sanderson intends (think end of Hero of Ages!).

The Alloy of Law: 4 stars

July 20, 2016

Look what arrived today!

Hadn't been home long after a visit to the hospital physio when the courier knocked on my door.  Inside the surprisingly chunky parcel was my pre-ordered copy of the illustrated edition of Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE (illustrated by Chris Riddell).  

So excited to flick through this.  There are illustrations everywhere, even it they only frame the page, and although not as crisp as those in The Sleeper and the Spindle, they still capture the mood very well.

Can't wait to read this.  

Until next time

July 19, 2016

Review: The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides
Jeffrey Eugenides

First published: 1993 (my edition 2002)

Bloomsbury, paperback (format B), 249p.
ISBN: 978-0-7475-6059-3

The haunting, humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, The Virgin Suicides, is Jeffrey Eugenides' classic debut novel.

The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date in their lives.  Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshiped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.

I read this book over the course of perhaps 3 hours last night, and to say I was left feeling unsettled is an understatement.  In The Virgin Suicides, we span the course of a year as we follow the narrator  as he reflects on the memories he has of those fragile Lisbon sisters some 20 years later, and the implosion of their family as the sisters all commit suicide that year.

Now that sounds a bit trite, but the way this book is written - through the eyes of a man reflecting on his adolescent crush on these girls, and how he - and the other boys who adored them, too - have seemingly spent 20 years gathering evidence and taking witness statements from as many people who knew the sisters as possible, gives you a real insight into this families dramatic decline.

After the first sister, 13 year old Cecilia, tries to take her life, you get a hint of things to come in the way this family is structured.  So when Cecilia finally succeeds in killing herself, it sets in motion a chain of events that still leaves the narrator, and reader, wondering. . . why?

Mrs Lisbon rules her house.  She is not demonstratively affectionate (and seems to carry no sense of blame in later interviews) and does not seem to see the withering of her daughters under the iron fist she uses to keep them under control.  They are not allowed to have boys in the house, no makeup, and she even went so far as to pull them out of school.  But was that for their sake as she claimed, or rather for her own selfish reasons?  You never really see a softer, loving side of this mother.

Then we have their father.  He is just lost.  He wanders around in a fog, escaping the house only to teach at the school, never seeming to see the isolation and ostracism his daughters encounter at school - and how they cleaved together in support of each other (or looking back, was it?).  Even the attitudes of the community were amazingly destructive. 

While reading this book I didn't see this as a story about adolescent teenage boys fantasizing over the sisters in general (i.e., didn't matter which sister, they were all beautiful and fragile), but rather as a window into this families destruction witnessed through the eyes of young observers who were baffled, scared, and angry at the treatment the girls endured at the hands of their parents, friends, and community.

Note: I also found the symbolism of a dying elm tree as well as the house and yard falling into disrepair and decline wonderfully reflective of the decay of the family as the year went on.  From suburban paradise, or at least no different to any other house in the neighbourhood, to an almost abandoned shell of a home when it was eventually sold.  Broken, just like this family.

If you are reading this book in the hopes that you will discover answers as to why they died, then you will be disappointed - but I think that is the point.  There are no answers.  You can't possibly know what is going through someones mind as they contemplate this course of action.  You can try to puzzle it out, try to use logic to fit all the evidence together, but there will still be key pieces missing, and the picture will never be complete.

Now it has been at least 10 years since I've seen the movie adaptation with Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett, but I think I'll try to find a copy as this book is something I wish we had read in high school as it is an amazing piece of social commentary about a very taboo topic.  It invites discussion, which is a wonderful thing, and a great way to broach this subject matter.

Will try another Eugenides in the future I think as I found his writing style easy to get through, and well written.  

I hope you enjoyed my thought on The Virgin Suicides.  I'd love to hear what you thought of the book, or movie, did you like it, hate it.  Let me know ;-D

Until next time,

July 15, 2016

Grumpy reader at the moment

Hello, my lovelies!

I hope you're having a better July than I am.  I have two neighbours (in my unit complex) who seem to think that the only good music is extremely loud heavy metal and techno/dance music!  Earlier this month I even bought some noise cancelling headphones to try and dampen the sound, but it still bleeds through.  Reading is difficult at any time, but especially at night, and I've literally had to plug those headphones into my iPod to watch movies, or listen to a local radio station on my phone, to try and distract myself from going nuts!  Arrrrrgh!

However, you really don't want to hear any more of that, so on to some happy news - my latest bookmail!

Evie Nyxx likes the box most of all!

On Wednesday the courier dropped off a rather large box that only contain five books.  Yes, five smallish books all wrapped up in some amazing bubble wrap and held in place by those air pockets to make sure that my items were not going to move in the slightest.  It's so funny when you rip open the box as you have to make your way through all the protective wrapping to get to the books ;-D

Phrynekinns wouldn't get off the bed (or my pillow!), so she got surrounded by the books ;-D

In this haul I took advantage of Booktopia's free shipping period and bought some long standing items from my wishlist. 

I couldn't resist trying one of the graphic novel adaptations of Agatha Christie books.  I've seen them hauled and review quite a bit on BookTube recently, but the titles I would have loved to get (The Man in the Brown Suit, Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None, and Murder on the Orient Express) were all unavailable, or worse still - out of print!  So, I bought Hallowe'en Party, and I was very happy with it.  I read it that afternoon and it took no time at all as it's only 45 pages long.  Liked the art style, it was interesting but without being so odd or weird that it was distracting.  However I adore the cover art.  So good! 😸

Then I read Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones.  This is the seventh book in the Charlie Davidson series, and while it is still okay, I'm not sure that I will be continuing to buy these in hardcover - unless I come across some amazing bargins (books 1-3 for $1.49 each on Book Outlet, but the p&h was just highway robbery!).  Thankfully, this book was only $10, so I'm okay with that.  Will try and get a mini-review up at some point in the future.

The last three books are on my TBR pile.  Unseemly Science sounds amazing, but I don't know if I have to read The Bullet Catcher's Daughter first, or if I can just jump straight in?  So that's why it's on the back-burner at the moment.  Next is Shakespeare Undead, which sounds like a hoot and a half - and an odd coincidence as I reread Shadow of Night on Tuesday, and I love that books as we see Kit Marlowe as a daemon, and young Will Shakespeare as a wannabe playwright hanging around with the members of the School of Night - and eventually stealing Marlowe's work (given to young Annie).

Finally there is Stray Souls by Kate Griffin.  This sounded amazing when I read the synopsis online, and I love this style of contemporary urban fantasy that mixes element of mythology.  Since the Dark Heavens series finished earlier this year, I have been on the lookout for a new series (or stand alone) that can fill the void.  Hopefully, this may be it.

And that my lovely ladies and gentlemen, is what came in the mail for me this week.  Next week I am expecting the new release of the illustrated edition of Neverwhere.  I nearly bought the previous release of the author's preferred text edition (I love that cover!), but when I found out from an IG account I follow that this was on it's way - I had to pre-order it as I love Chris Riddell's illustrations!  So look out for a pic of that when it arrives ;-D

Until next time,


July 7, 2016

Winter reading has cometh

A chilly Phrynekinns curious about the water on the INSIDE of the window!

Yes, my lovelies, Winter has certainly made itself known.  But in case I was in doubt the negative temperatures, freezing winds and excruciatingly blue skies were a bit of a clue.  On the plus side this has meant more time spent indoors - to escape the cold - snuggled up somewhere reading a book {at them moment I'm rereading the Guild Hunter series}.

In the past 4 weeks I have purchased a few items from Book Depository, but in small lots - none of those huge splurges I made last year, fun as they were.

Recently I bought two more titles from Susanna Kearsley's bibliography, The Shadowy Horses and Mariana.  Enjoyed both thoroughly.  While not action packed and full of adventure, they are a slow steady romance that always seems to comprise of a time travelling element.  Still quick to read as I need to know what happened, but not as exciting as my Urban Fantasy books.

Also added two new (to me) authors to my shelves.  Alice Thompson's The Book Collector, which sounds amazing, yet is rather on the shorter side, and Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers.  I have already started this Lord Peter Wimsey mystery as Sayers was a contemporary of Agatha Christies, whose Miss Marple books I'm reading this year.  Only a fraction of the way through this tiny book, but I'm cerainly getting my dose of snooty entitled upper-class attitudes with this little number.

Bought one pre-order this month, Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan.  Although I enjoy the way her books are written, they are all starting to sound the same - same alpha male, same in distress female... I don't know whether or not I will continue with this new series.  I'd like to read something different from her after all these years of same ol' same ol'.

Book Depository was full of good deals for me this month.  Found a heavily discounted edition of Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs.  I love the Mercy Thompson world.  The books are amazing, and full of the mystery, humor and romantic moments that I love.  However, this anthology of short stories was a little disappointing in that it only included one story from Mercy!  Yes, just the one - and it was tiny.  However, it is nice to have all the short stories from the associated series all in one bind up, so there's that at least.

Have been trying to stay away from the book section of Big W lately, but when you go through the checkout you have to pass a bin of bargain books.  So, while I was waiting in line, I caved and just started looking through it.  And, of course I spied a name I recognised.  Sarah Pinborough.  Luckily the title they had, Mayhem, looks to be the first in this series, trilogy?, and it sounded amazing, so for the princely sum of $5 it came home with me.

Oh, I did happen to win a book as well!  Yes, I seem to have had a little bit of luck with IG giveaways from Allen & Unwin ;-D This is only an ARC copy of The House Between Tides, and it's now on the shelves at my local Big W, but it looks, and sounds, so interesting that it's jumped up my TBR list and I'm hoping to get to it sometime this winter.

And finally, I picked up The Fireman by Joe Hill from Big W about two weeks ago.  This massive chunker of a book clocks in at 752 pages and has to be at least 2 inches thick!  A monster to be sure, but I am looking forward to reading it at some point in the future.

Which leads me onto my biggest disappointment on the book front.  It concerns the condition my AbeBook's items arrived in.  The first two to arrive, The Stand and Misery, were in fairly good condition, some tears to the cover, and yellowing pages.   However, I'd ordered the 'very good' condition copies so while I was annoyed, it was okay.

Then arrived Bag of Bones and Carrie.  This was the book that started me on the quest to get the six editions of the King Classics that Hodder released in these interesting covers.   Ah, Carrie... you weren't in 'very good' condition, and you reeked of cigarette smoke to boot!  Seriously, my whole unit smelled of disgusting smoke for days - and nothing I tried seemed to take the pong out of it.  Finally had to leave it outside for about 48 hours (sunny days and freezing nights!) but at least the smell came down to a barely detectable level.  Still not impressed as I am allergic to the smoke, so I had itchy eyes, scratchy throat and a stuffed up snoot.

So, that's what's been happening in my neck of the woods on the bookish front.  Making a new Book Depository order in the next few day - have my eyes on so many new stories.

Until next time,