Book Review – A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

madness.jpgBLURB: On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Nalini has been a must-buy for me for a while now, with the exception of her Archangel series. When she revealed that she was moving into a suspense genre, I was pumped to read it and pre-ordered as soon as it was available (note Nalini, I STILL hate a Tuesday release. Especially when I couldn’t take the day off. Please talk to your publishers about that one!).

Initially my thoughts were that the overall format was like a Nora Roberts suspense (thinking of 2016’s The Obsession) but there are solid reasons for picking this one up over a recent Nora. It’s well-crafted and the characters are more than one dimensional right from the start. I loved the pacing and flow, and at no point did I think this was either rushing me or wasting my time.

There’s several possibilities as to whom the killer is, and each one is very plausible. There’s other spooky stuff going on in the background – alcohol, abuse, lying – all the things you find in any community. I’ve read one review which was indignant that Singh didn’t re-phrase this book in “woke” terminology and had everyone learn from their mistakes – oh whatever. We all know someone who relies upon other’s view of themselves as gospel. We all know someone who has p*ssed their life away for whatever reason and is angry about it, but doesn’t change. We all know someone who relies on an artificial product (alcohol, drugs, shopping, gossip) to bleed away any pain they might have. We all know someone who focuses on a trait & choses partners based on that, be it physical or emotional. And that makes the characters real, IMO.

This gets a solid 4.5 stars from me & I’ll be buying copies for Christmas presents. Can’t get much better than that!

AUTHOR SITE: https://nalinisingh.blogspot.com/

Back Roads to Belonging

Recently I’ve been reading an ARC of Kristen Strong’s latest, which released yesterday. It’s a worthy follow on from Girl Meets Change & I love it. Parts are like I’m actually sitting down with a girlfriend, it feels that personal.

Anyways, I encourage you to pick it up and review. There are always parts of our life where we feel like an outsider & this is about how that’s kind of normal. We aren’t all the same square peg.

There’s a lovely article on Ann Voskamp’s site today. Again, I encourage you to take a read.

When You Don’t Belong – and why that’s Okay

WIP Wednesday #251 & bonus book mini-review

Morning everyone! This time last week I was absorbing the fantastic Becoming by Michelle Obama (audible version, which has the bonus of being in her voice and so with her intonations and emphasis). It was great, for work and playtime and transit time. The only obvious problem is of course the book hangover that results from a great read. Regardless of your colour, creed, race, status or whatever – this one will have some lesson to take onboard, even if it’s just that what’s on someone’s surface isn’t necessarily true. Look to their actions, and be empathetic. Remember that person next to you in the supermarket queue also has problems and prejudices, and work to minimise yours in such a way that others are enabled. Or at least, not inconvenienced or damaged.

Right. Onto the lighter stuff. Last week was the first relating to The Order of the Phoenix. I worked on the actual challenge points:

  1. Boring neighbour – 300 on something that can get boring – I used Mermaid of Atlantis’ borders and you’d think that would be straight forward. EHHHH no. Not when you look at the chart and count the BS line as where a ten block finishes…and it actually doesn’t! I had to frog 70-odd silk stitches (carefully!) and their corresponding BS line as I was two rows out. I’ve now started on the filigree corner for an Extra Credit task.
  2. Unapproved Magic – 300 on a project that’s been suspended for 5 months or your oldest WIP – Teresa Wentzler’s Tapestry Cat certainly qualified, as I started this in Christmas 2006! I worked in the Greek key sections on that top right corner and got in 600 back stitches. Boring but necessary.
  3. Dementor Attack – 300 on a project that has no faces –a new start, the Mill Hill Princess Carriage. As per, I’m making one for me and one for Ms Lou. I managed to get in all the stitching to be at the beading point – 758 stitches at work/training/travel.

This week’s challenge is around the address of 12 Grimmauld Place, the Black house that lies semi-hidden in London & is the home of the Order of the Phoenix. The options were either 500 stitches on WIPs 1 & 2, or 1000 on WIP 12. I’ve gone for the first option so there will be another session on Fairy Idyll and Tapestry Cat, as I just couldn’t face Guardian. I may or may not get this out – we’re leaving on a combo work/play trip tomorrow and neither of these WIPs is something I can take with me, FI being on the floor stand and TC being a complicated blend of multiple threads (plus white evenweave, eep!). At least there are large blocks of colour on the Mirabilia.

Bonus shot is of a mural we found in Point Chevalier, another suburb of Auckland. Not sure who the men are, perhaps the composers? But I liked it anyway.

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Have a good week!

WIP Wednesday #244

20190513_134524Morning! Our week has been pretty good – MIL is back home (on oxygen permanently) but is more able to participate in family life, is great with her friends and we had a lovely Mother’s Day dinner (I cooked, but I left the cleaning J). Ms Louise chose flowers for both of us & did a lovely, slightly unconventional, job of it.

20190510_081046Mase had Book Week and on Friday, dressed as Calvin and Tiggr “dressed” as Hobbes. Yep, we’re all about the classics in our house! On the redeeming front, Zac is chosing to read & study To Kill a Mockingbird.

On stitching, I finished the second part of the biscornu but haven’t FFO’d it (insert chicken noises here). I did start another Mirabilia – Mermaid of Atlantis – and am planning to use this for most of the #magicalstitches extra credit challenges for the Goblet of Fire May/June months. I started with #2, as the shell chandelier/light was approved as something that might be at a fancy ball AND it was the middle of the top; now I’m working on task #1 (500 on something that could be found in the lake) with the fish, and I’m about 70 stitches off completing that challenge (I need to take an update photo), and combined with task #10 (200 stitches on a piece that has something that lays eggs) I’m working on the border, on the theory that fish lay eggs. That’s not quite at the half-way mark. Like a lot of people, I’m very motivated at the start of a piece!

This week’s challenge is WIP list based again – and as I have less than 20 WIPS, I’m allocated to option 2, 350 stitches each on WIP #1 & #7. Seven is actually the biscornu, so I have approval to jump the line to #8, which just so happens to be Raven Queen. Progress shots next week!

10 Things to Tell You Podcast Edition – On Reading

screenshot_20180911-214351_instagramLast year in September I took part in Laura Tremaine’s Instagram challenge about 10 Things to Tell You. She’s now expanded this to a podcast (iTunes or if you’re on an android phone, I recommend the Podcast Addict app) and each week, there will be a mini challenge. This week it’s about reading, and we all know how addicted I am to books! I have my childhood favs on the shelf still and made an effort to encourage all of my children to read, & three of the four do chose to read for leisure. Mase even reads himself to sleep like I do!

WHEN DO YOU READ? All. The. Time. I don’t really stop.

HOW DO YOU READ? I read printed, electronically and thru Audible. I consider most written word to be worth having, whether it’s me reading or someone else reading it to me.

WHAT DO YOU READ? Almost anything. I don’t like horror, or sci-fi, but I will devour high fantasy (think Tolken, Eddings, McCaffrey) and love novels that have historical facts woven in (Edward Rutherford, Rosalind Laker, etc). There are some authors I will pick up, almost without prejudice to the genre that they are writing in, and if there’s a bit of humour it is even better (Nora Roberts, Rosalind James, Suzanne Enoch & the late great Georgette Heyer are examples here). I am also quite the aficionado of Sandra Boynton, Linley Dodd & Margaret Mahy.

I’d love to see your answers! Please link to your posts in my comments field x

what the?

in a break from the twitter mess of what is the NZ political scene at the mo, I bring you something else that’s weird and impractical and frankly, dumb.

debby-hudson-1056837-unsplash1Who thought that displaying books without their spine was actually pretty or functional? Hmm?

*disclaimer – I stole this photo from another blogger. Their actual post made a lot of sense. Mine? Not so much.

(Audio)Book Review – Circe by Madeline M Miller

circeBLURB: In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

 

MY THOUGHTS: After listening to only a portion of this title, it was easy to see why it was a recommendation on multiple book lists (NYT, Publisher’s Weekly, Boston Globe etc). It’s lyrical, engrossing, and suspenseful (even tho I’ve read the Iliad and roughly remember what happened). For me, the most interesting portions of the book were after the fall of Troy, when Circe’s isolation is removed by various turns and I wasn’t ready for the story to end.

I’ll be buying The Song of Achilles once I’m over this book coma as frankly, Stephen Fry’s Mythos isn’t doing much for me so far.

AUTHOR SITE: http://madelinemiller.com/circe/