Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015, you rocked!

Oh wow. What an amazing year!

I moved to the US and settled in a little town called Seattle. It is the home of Amazon (work), Microsoft, Boeing, REI, T-Mobile, Theo Chocolate, Nordstrom and many other countries.

Awesome things happen here and yes they did.

This year brought me some brilliant new friends.
This year brought me my centre.
This year brought me love and then heartbreak.

It is a wonderful and successful year.

I don't even know how to thank everyone. How often do you live a year with no regrets? Let's do that again.

Thank you to all my friends.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Six-Gun Snow White

Book 72 of 2015 is Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente.

This is a very modern retelling of a famous fairy tale, set in the Wild West.

Everyone is rewriting fairy tales these days and it is is enjoyable to see the more Grimm versions emerging over the happy saved-by-a-prince Disney versions.  In fact, this Snow White is so far from Disney that I immediately gave her a chance.

With a horse called Charming, a jewel mine and seven more interesting allies than singing dwarfs, she lives a story that made me sad but hopeful.

This is a short book that I would recommend all self-rescuing princesses and their supporters read.

4 of the fairest and most kickass stars out of 5.

Should I read this? If you are willing to part with the world Disney gave you then yes.
What did I learn? Don't expect your Prince to come and save you. Save yourself. Actually, I already knew that,

Friday, 25 December 2015

The Hanged Man

Book 71 of 2015 is The Hanged Man which is book 1 of the Her Majesty's Psychic Service series  by P. N. Elrod.

This book took me a while to read because it felt predictable and my guess is that it was written for women who are new to the fantasy genre. Yes, it is very much aimed at women and that is absolutely not a fault.

The book starts in the style of Sherlock Holmes but goes on to include the intrigue of British India and the painfully dysfunctional world of the British aristocracy. This is something I could see happening, minus the magic.

The writing is simple and in the language of the late 1800 and early 1900s and soaks the world of that time in to your mind as you read. That was quite enjoyable.

4 pairs of tough walking pants out of 5.

Should I read this? An easy and enjoyable read with a touch of fantasy..
What did I learn? The world changed when women had the right to wear clothes that didn't totally restrict their movements.

A Christmas Carol

Book 70 of 2015 is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

This was the free audio book for Christmas from Audible. It was read by the always brilliant Tim Curry, who has given me another version of this book to love.

It took less than three hours to listen to and I shared it with my sister. It made Christmas Eve quite lovely.

For those who care, it is not an interpretation but a very accurate reading of this classic tale that we have all heard many times. You will love this edition.

4 humbugs out of 5.

Should I read this? Oh yes, at Christmas.
What did I learn? Some books make brilliant audio books.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Brief History of Holiday Music

Book 69 of 2015 is an audible book called A Brief History of Holiday Music by Professor Robert Greenberg.

I am starting on the Audible Great Courses and decided to start with this. The narrator is enthusiastic to the point of obnoxious but he kept me engaged the whole time.

This was only 45 minutes and was in the form of my dreaded audio book but it was worth the listen. Christmas music may never be quite the same again.

4 carols out of 5.

Should I read this? Listen away. This is not a waste of 45 minutes.
What did I learn? There is much more depth to Christmas carols and chants than I realised.


Book 68 of 2015 is Beauty by Robin McKinley.

McKinley wrote one of my favourite fantasy books of all time, Sunshine. She refused to write a sequel probably because she knew it was so good. This has resulted in to reading a whole bunch of mediocre books she has penned.

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies but not my favourite fairy tales. I've read and watched quite a few incarnations of this famous story and have been delighted along the way. This was not one of them. It was a boring version. No, seriously. Imagine making this so British that nothing happened and then take steroids. That was this book.

3 reboots out of 5.

Should I read this? No. Read it if like me you love Beauty and the Beast stories.
What did I learn? It is hard to justify giving your daughter to a beast just to save your life. There are no real grounds.

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Princess of Mars

Book 67 of 2015 is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The first book in the John Carter series is much better than the movie. Considering it was written in the early 1900s, this is a very good book. Much better than War of the Worlds in writing, that I often rant about with much dislike and was written in a similar era.

Written in the first person from Carter's point of view, the read was easy and not as predictable as I was expecting.

The world created will draw me back at some stage but not soon.

3 giant leaps forward for mankind out of 5.

Should I read this? Only if you like sci-fi. If not, do not bother starting here.
What did I learn? Tom Cruise does no justice to anything and anyone. Don't watch the John Cater movie.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dear Mr. You

Book 66 of 2015 is Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker.

This is an original and well-written autobiography from an actor I have enjoyed and respected since watching Fried Green Tomatoes. Weeds is still one of my favourite TV shows of all time and she my favourite suburban sociopath.

She writes this as a series of letters to the people who were important in changing her life. Sometimes it is overly wordy and feels like she is trying too hard to write a good book and then she writes a chapter that leaves you crying and telling those around you that you are ok and not to worry.

Even if you don't know Mary-Louise Parker, you should read this. This is my second favourite memoir of 2015 after Not My Father's Son.

4 letters to my dearest loved ones out of 5.

Should I read this? Totally. Absolutely. Yeah, like now.
What did I learn? I need to rewrite my whole book.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

How to Run with a Naked Werewolf

Book 65 of 2015 is How to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper.

I can truly recommend reading an electoral pamphlet over this. Maybe a street sign. Just do not read this tripe.

Let's not spent more time on this than anyone should.

1 badly implemented heroine out of 5.

Should I read this?  No.
What did I learn? I do love vampire chick lit but this stuff is shite.