When good intentions fail…

Best Intentions Emily Listfield 338 pages; published 2009
Listfield - Best IntentionsThere was a time when we were happy, purely happy, there must have been.
The relief we had at finding each other, reclaiming each other again after that early separation, the night I told Sam I was pregnant with Claire, and two years later with Phoebe, those times of course. But it is the smaller, incremental moments that return to me, the instances when recognition and desire take you by surprise, the evening we made love on the kitchen floor after a dinner party if only to put off cleaning up, our first parent/teacher conference, when the nursery school director spent forty minutes deconstructing the way Claire held scissors and our suppressed laughter burst out in torrents on the street until tears were streaming down both of our faces. We were on the same side once, completely on the same side, I'm sure of it. (245)

I’m not a big reader of mysteries, who when Atria books asked if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of Emily Listfield’s new book, Best Intentions, I was a little unsure. I needn’t have worried, however, as it was nothing like I expected; a beautiful read that was over far too quick for my liking!
Lisa lives in the upper suburbs of Manhattan. She’s the Vice President of a small but well respected PR company, her husband is a well-known journalist, her daughter’s attend a very prestigious school and her long time best friend owns a chic up-and-coming boutique. She would seem to have it made.
But Lisa is never quite comfortable in this flashy world, she never feels like she truly fits. It’s not the life she imagined for herself when she, husband Sam, girlfriend Deirdre and friend Jack were in college. So when this world that she works so hard to stay afloat in starts to crumble around her, Lisa is left with nothing to cling to. Everything she holds to be true is fading away a little more each day. Her career, and worse, her marriage is in shambles, her best friend is dead and she has to face the very real possibility that someone she knows and loves may be responsible.
Emily Listfield’s murder mystery is not your typical whodunit (and nope, I was way off course with who I thought did it), and I loved it all the more because of this. More than anything is this was the story of Lisa, and her struggle to find some balance in her constantly shifting worlds of work, love, and life.
The true pleasures of the book surface in all the in-betweens, in all the tiny details of the minor passages. Listfield paints scenes of home life with a brush of true beauty. A father eating breakfast with his daughters, a child’s messy room, an awkward teenager’s interactions with her mother – both bitter rival and most trusted confidante at the same time – these were the moments that made the book truly memorable.
I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys character driven mysteries or family dramas. 4.5/5

Thanks you guys!

I was very lucky to receive some lovely awards this fortnight. Thanks so much to all of you for coming by from time to time to read my ramblings!

090405 Lemonade Stand Award

From Viki over at Reading at the Beach

 090523 Enchanting

From Molly over at My Cozy Book Nook

'The only requirement for this award is that you shared it with whomever you like, sharing the love is always a good thing. The blog has to show only one characteristic, caring. So, start sharing this enchanted award with five other bloggers. Let your bloggers know they have received this enchanted award. (Remember, fairies are fickle wee things, don't incur their displeasure by ignoring their gift). '


090527 Literary Blogger Award

From Diane over at The Book Resort

The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading!

I’d like to pass these awards on to all of you who come by regularly because I so enjoy reading your comments, you always make me smile!

Take a Chance Challenge

Take a Chance Challenge I told myself that I wasn’t going to sign up for any more challenges this year, that I had picked out some good ones and didn’t need anymore. Yeah. I lied.
I was really peeved that I missed out on the Good Books Inc. Scavenger Hunt as I love a good scavenger hunt and who could pass up a booky one? So when Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here announced that she was holding one of her own, I was very excited! So head on over to her blog to sign up and play along!

This challenge is all about taking chances in your reading. There are 10 tasks in all -- 7 involve finding a book to read in very random ways. The last three tasks are about taking chances as a writer as you are challenged to take on the role of short story writer, poet and movie/book reviewer. The challenge is meant to be fun and no pressure. Complete as many or a few of the 10 challenges as you want. However, the more you complete, the more chances you'll get to win the grand prize.

  1. Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

  2. Random Word. Go to this random word generator and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

  3. Birth Year Book. Find a book that was published or copyrighted in the year of your birth. Read the book and write about it.

  4. Judge A Book By Its Cover. Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect.

  5. Phoning An Author. Pick a random last name out of the phone book. Find an author with the same last name and read a book by them. Write about it. (I'm flexible ... if the first random name you pick is Xprxyrsss, you can pick again!)

  6. Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

  7. Random Bestseller. Go to Random.org and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2008 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that Random.org generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

  8. Lit Riff (inspired by the book Lit Riffs by Matthew Miele.) Choose a song and then write a brief story that is inspired by or further explains the lyrics of the song.

  9. Poetic Review. Write a book review in three different forms of verse: haiku, limerick and free verse. (You can pick any book you want to write about.)

  10. Movie/Book Comparison. Find a book that you haven't read that has a movie based on it that you haven't seen. Read the book and watch the movie within a few days of each other. Write about your reactions to both the book and the movie and compare the two.

Friday First… on a Wednesday?

Friday_FirstsOops, forgot to FF this week.
Last week we all contributed some words to make up a sentence. Wendy cobbled them together and we ended up with:
Andrew was worried about the piercing because the warning gave him a terrible sinking feeling that perhaps he shouldn’t have attempted  pierce that part of his anatomy on his own.
She says she’s going to write a short story from it. And I’ve got to say, I’m equal parts scared and eager to see what she comes up with.
Now for this week: grab the closest reading matter to hand and let us have a first line teaser.

Wax - The Accidental BestsellerKendall Aims’s writing career was about to  go down for the count on that Friday night in July as she hurried down Sixth Avenue toward the New York Hilton.
The Accidental Bestseller – Wendy Wax

I haven’t started this book yet, but it was the closest at hand.

Life as we knew it is over…

The Dead and the Gone Susan Pfeffer
301 pages; published 2008
Pfeffer - The Dead and the GoneGod save their souls, Alex prayed. God save ours. It was the only prayer he could think of, no matter how inadequate it might be. It offered him no comfort, but he repeated it unceasingly. As long as he prayed he didn’t have to think. He didn’t have to remember. He didn’t have to decide. He didn’t have to acknowledge he was entering a world where no one has laid the rules out for him to follow, a world where there might not be any rules left for any of them to follow. (63/4)

Last year I read Susan Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. So when I saw the sequel, The Dead and the Gone, in the library I practically pounced. What makes this sequel such an interesting one is that it isn’t really a sequel at all but a reimagining of the first story – same situation, different location and characters. I was very much looking forward to seeing how Pfeffer could do this while still keeping the book fresh and interesting.
While Life As We Knew It tells the story of Miranda and her family in the country, The Dead and the Gone relocates to the centre of New York City. When the moon is hit by an asteroid and knocked ever so slightly out of orbit – just enough to wreak havoc – it is high school senior Alex and family this time who we focus on as their lives are upturned. With the whole world up in the air, Alex’s parents just never make it home, and with his older brother away in the Marines, Alex is left alone to look after his two younger sisters. That would be an unsavoury job at the best of times but with little food, less money and no one at all to help, it’s almost impossible.
Like I said, I loved the first book, but this was even better. At first I thought it was just my pre-existing interest in how the story would go, but I truly think it was a more moving story all over. I just felt so bad for Alex, doing the best he could for his sister but just having no hope. There were chapters that made me sob (and yes, my family were a little concerned), and chapters that frightened me. I found certain parts chilling to the point where even now, over a month later, I’m still unnerved by it.
It’s not necessary for you to read Life As You Knew It before The Dead and the Gone, thought the first does give you a little more information on what exactly is happening with the moon. If you have the chance to read either, I’d definitely recommend you take it. 5/5

Other Reviews
Have you written a review for this book? I would love to include it; comment below and I'll add your link!

Teaser Tuesday (May 26)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!



Roy - The God Of Small ThingsThey were made to write In future we will not read backwards. In future we will not read backwards. A hundred times. Forwards. (60)

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy*




* Yep, same book I used for TT last week. That’s how I know I’m having a slow reading week.

Musing Mondays (May 25)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about gift certificates…

Do you give gift certificates to book stores as presents? If so, do you give for actual stores or online stores? Do you like to receive them yourself?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

I do like to give gift certificates for bookstores as presents, though I don't do it very often. I love the idea of giving a person a book as a gift, but unfortunately I don't have very many booky friends and so I try to restrain this impulse unless it's something I know they'll love.
As for the booky friends I DO have, I prefer to give certificates instead of actual books because then they'll get the book they want. I think it's the perfect gift. I mean, I know they'll use it and I know they'll get something they enjoy. It's usually a certificate for the local bookstore (as opposed to the online store) because browsing is all part of the birthday experience. Plus, for me, it's got the added bonus of being a bit of a game.
My cousin and I have been exchanging book certificates for our birthdays for the past couple of years. Every time her birthday comes around, I consider getting her something else, but at the end of the day she (as a mother of two) and I (as a student who really shouldn't be spending money) really look forward to our guilt-free birthday book. Every year we get our gift card and every year we hold onto it, hoarding it for as long as possible (my birthday is at the start of March... the card is still nestled away in my wallet) because, you see, there are rules for book certificate spending.
Firstly, it has to be something REALLY special. Something that you really want but wouldn't normally buy - it's too expensive, I'd have to order it in, it's hardcover, etc - and therefore worthy of book certificate-spendage. Consulting over said purchase is also necessary. My cousin and I usually send three or four emails ("Dear Book Consultant...") over the course of a book certificate-possession, discussing which book is worthy. This is good because we always have a laugh, but bad because it usually means we each add three or four books to the list before any decision is made.
I always love to have a book certificate - but that's just it, I love to HAVE it. I hate the actual spending of it (new book aside) because then the game is over. But of course, by the time I actually do spend it, it's usually pretty close to my birthday again :)

You got here how?

I often laugh over posts showing the odd search terms that direct viewers to blogs. I was having a look at mine tonight and picked some out, not as interesting as some I’ve seen, but I still had fun.

why is it a sin to kill a mockingbird in to kill a mockingbird (plus about 50 different versions)
I think people are trying to get some help with their homework… and I don’t think my review would have helped any, sorry bout that.
yes grasshopper - thanks Wendy.
I do believe in fairies - That’s great! I bet Tinkerbell is very appreciative of this fact
fan fiction kindle – good to know I’m not the only one who had the thought. I’d definitely download my tbr fanfiction onto a kindle (much bigger screen than my phone), not sure I could justify buying one just for that though.
jodi picoult change of heart ending--did June actually kill her husbband? – Uuuuuum well, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but email me and I’ll let you know the answer.
pride and prejudice fanfiction – oooh this sounds so bad… and surprisingly intriguing. You’re not going to find any of that here, but I took the liberty of finding you some. Please note that I did not write it and haven’t read it, so, Austen fans, please don’t throw your tomatoes my way.
i want a fairy but how – I have no idea, but please, if you find out let me know!
cold skin steven Herrick Isnt a stereotypical crime fiction novel because – DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK! (sheesh, I’m going to be a mean teacher…)
i have one more page to write – yay! good for you, keep going, you’re almost done!
Images of Rachel Walker by Daisy Meadows – here you go.

Bits and Pieces

This post is a bit of a grab bag, things that I’ve been meaning to mention but haven’t gotten to yet…
A few people asked if I had seen the new Star Trek movie yet. I have! I rambled on a bit about it here , so head on over if you’re interested. Be warned, there are spoilers (under the cut), so be careful if you haven’t seen it yet.
While at the movies I saw the cut-out for the upcoming Coraline movie, which I am very much looking forward to. (Picture’s a little dodgy, I’m sorry, I was in a rush)
I’m so looking forward to it, in fact, that I got over my fear of spoilers to look up the trailer.

Tomorrow night Wendy and I are going to listen to Catherine Jinks (author of, among others, The Reformed Vampire Support Group) give a talk at our local library as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival. Yay!
I’ve been meaning to thank Wendy for this award – THANKS! I’m so glad that you agree with my flannel-theories :)

From the comment…

Emily said... Can't wait to hear what all of you think about my book, Best Intentions! I really do love hearing from readers, getting a conversation going. […] www.emilylistfield.com

I LOVED Best Intentions. I’ll have the review up as soon as I finish writing it. Until then, I’ll just let you know that it was a really enjoyable read.
Elena said... Same thing happened to me today, i had to do some grocery shopping, which involved walking past the library....and came back with an armful of books!!

See, I have a theory that the library emits subliminal messages to unwitting passerby-ers. There we go, just minding our own business and the nefarious library just lures us in.

wendy said... and btw I really hate it that you ALWAYS find fabulous in the library sales rack and I never, not once, ever have - and it's the SAME library! :P

Yes I know you hate it. It it one of my life’s great pleasure to annoy you in this regard :) To be honest, I don’t know how I do it. Maybe the library likes me better ;)

Belle said... A chaperone for the library is a very good idea, I think. And combined with a book sale! My library doesn't hold regular book sales. I'd be sunk if they did.

I buy most of my books second hand from the library these days, so I’m pretty glad they have a regular sale rack :)

Teaser Tuesday (May 19)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!


NOTE: I haven’t really started this one yet, so I’m playing it safe and sticking with the opening sentences – I’m avoiding spoilers for me too!


Roy - The God Of Small Things

May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid.

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

Musing Mondays (May 18)

Musing Mondays (BIG)Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about early reading…

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to  you, as a young child? (question courtesy of Diane)

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks



I find it very frustrating that I don’t have many memories of reading as a small child, at least not very many clear ones. My parents are not big readers, then or now, so when I cannot say that I my love of reading was passed on from them, I still have to thank my mother for my love of books.

My mother has had difficulties with reading her entire life and often recounts the fear she experienced throughout her schooling, just dreading the time a teacher would ask her to read something in front of the class. Because of this, she says, she was determined to make sure I never experienced this myself. She was always sure to read to me: a brief stint of picture books before heading over to fairy tales and Enid Blyton. I don’t remember ever not having books around me, even if, as a three year old, I had more books than both my parents combined.

I don’t remember any of the titles of the picture books I was read to – but I do recall one about a kitten who went back-to-school shopping with his mother – but I do know that I had my fair share of Enid Blyton. They’re all still on my shelf.

Library Loot (aka why I need a chaperone)

Today I had to drop my brother off at the library so he could study with some friends. I thought to myself:


“Self, not a problem. Sunday is your library day anyways. Remember though, you haven’t even started your book for book club yet, so just drop him off, stick your returns in the shoot and then leave.”


Turns out I can’t even follow advice from myself… I mean, I’m not really worried about the borrowing (what’s one more book in the pile?), but I’m a little concerned about my seeming lack of will power hehe.


Harris - Grave Sight Harris - Grave Surprise Ballard - Complete Short Stories Block - The Story of Forgetting Bronte - The Foundling

  • Charlaine Harris – Grave Sight
  • Charlaine Harris – Grave Surprise
  • J.G. Ballard – The Complete Short Stories
  • Stefan Merrill Block – The Story of Forgetting
  • Charlotte Bronte – The Foundling

How’d that happen?? How’d they make it into my bag??


I also entered via the sale rack (I know, I know!) and got myself a nice little pile. The best thing – they all smell so good.


  • William Shakespeare – As You Like It
  • Denys Kilham Robert (ed.) – The Centuries’ Poetry, Vol. 2: Donne to Dryden
  • John Donne – Selected Poems
  • Quentin James Reynolds - The Amazing Mr. Doolittle*
  • Thomas Hardy – Jude the Obscure


The best find was the lovely little copy of As You Like It. Very tiny, very beautiful, very battered. It was published in 1889, and all for the grand price of … 20c. I love my library.


*Which, I found out when I got home, is not the stories of Dr. Doolittle, but a biography of Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle. Oops. Oh well, might be interesting.

Teaser Tuesday (May 12)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!


Listfield - Best IntentionsI watch Sam, yawning as he takes his first sip of coffee, breaks of a piece of Claire’s toast and gets his hand slapped, a shopworn routine that nevertheless tangles me up with comfort and affection.

This is what we have created, this family. (10/11)

Best Intentions – Emily Listfield

Musing Mondays (May 11)

Musing Mondays (BIG)Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about rereading…

Have you ever finished a book, then turned around and immediately re-read it? Why? What book(s)? (question courtesy of MizB)

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

EDIT: It's clearly not a question about boys and reading. I forgot to change it. *sigh* I'm hopeless.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually done this, though there are books that I could understand the sentiment for. Off the top of my head I’m thinking of

  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick (actually did reread this one)
  • Song of the Sparrow - Lisa Ann Sandell
  • My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  • Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  • Looking for Alaska – John Green

Okay that’s probably far too many for an off-the-top list.

Thinking about them these are all books that I’ve either absolutely loved the characters or loved the way they’ve been told – both in some cases, and a lot of them are on my all time favourite list (The Time Traveller’s Wife, My Sister’s Keeper, Anne of Green Gables).

Though I don’t immediately reread them (my pile of books yet to be read is often far to big to allow this) I do usually skim back through them and reread all the bits that I loved.

A book for every mood…

Book Lust Nancy Pearl
287 pages; published 2003
Pearl - Book LustReading has always brought me pure joy. I read to encounter new worlds and new ways of looking at our own world. I read to enlarge my horizon, to gain wisdom, to experience beauty,  to understand myself better, and for the pure wonderment of it all. I read and marvel over how writers use language in ways I never thought of. I read for company, and for escape. Because I am incurably interested in the lives of other people, both friends and strangers, I red to meet myriad folks and enter their lives – for me, a way of vanquishing the “otherwise” we all experience. (ix)

Nancy Pearl, librarian, describes herself as being a “professional reader” for over thirty years, and taking one look at this book was enough to convince me of that.
Book Lust boasts ‘recommended reading for every mood, moment and reason’, with books gathered around both general and random topics such as
  • Africa: Today and Tomorrow
  • Armchair Travel
  • Bicycling
  • The Classical World
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • Three-Hanky Reads
For the most part it was a good read: it was well written and the books recommended were a pleasing mix of comforting regulars and never-before-seens. However, I found the format a little off-putting. The premise behind the book is, basically, a big list of books… but the format was not at all list-like, each topic being written up in prose. For some this may be a plus, for me I found that it caused me to skim a lot. 3.5/5

Ex astris, scientia

Capture the Flag (Starfleet Academy, #4) John Vornholt
114 pages; published 1994
Vornholt - Capture the FlagStarfleet Academy attracted only the best, the smartest, the most ambitious. They were young people who didn’t fear outer space or the unknown. They didn’t fear Romulans or Tholians. They wanted to command starships, space stations, planetary outposts, and have hundreds of people following their orders. Only failure at the Academy could stop them, and each cadet had his own secret fear about that. (1)

I don’t read a great deal of science fiction*, preferring to watch it (though I watch plenty to make up for it). I do, however, have a real fondness of Star Trek fiction. Moreso than any other genre, these are my real comfort reads. The character are already oh-so-well known to me, the world already so real. it’s something I can read for pure, stress-free enjoyment.
So this week, in between lots of naps and rushed assignment completing (fun, fun week) I picked up one that I’d been saving.
This book is part of the Starfleet Academy series (“before they became officers aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, you favourite characters struggled through the Academy…”) aimed at YA fans of the series. This was focuses on Geordi La Forge during his first year at the Academy. Having travelled the galaxy with his ’fleeter parents, Geordi’s blindness and reliance on his VISOR has never been a problem, but now at the Academy he finds that it separates him from the others, causing him to always be chosen last.
When he wins a game of elimination against the strong, athletic and very arrogant Cadet Jack Petty, La Forge is made a captain in the upcoming round of offworld war games. He picks himself an unusual team – an Andorian, a Tellarite, a Vulcan, and a Saurian – all those who are usually chosen last. They’re not exactly an imposing group, but they intend to do their best. After all, as Geordi sys, that’s the most anyone can ever ask of you.
I was very curious to read these books, interested to see how they would approach the characters for a younger audience – especially considering that, presumably, they are already fans of the show and, as such, would reject too heavy a modification.
In that regard I think Vornholt did a well. Characters, locations and procedures all stayed true to form. I was hoping for a little more of a back story (along the lines of Jeri Taylor’s wonderful treatise on Kathryn Janeway, Mosaics, or the rest of the Voyager senior staff, Pathways), but not being a writer involved in the creation of the show I can understand why this was not the case. I also would have liked to have seen more of Academy life than just Geordi’s gym class, but as this was only one part of a larger series (and not the first part at that), I imagine I can look forward to that in other installments.
If you’re an avid fan of the show(s) who likes to taste all the different avenues this universe has explored then I’d recommend the series. I did enjoy it, and found it a nice change of pace from the action of the mainstream novels. If you’re a non-obsessive fan of show (as if that exists) then I’d maybe just stick with the regular novels. The book did not have a great deal of substance and didn’t reveal anything too exciting about the characters. 3/5
*I’d like to try to change this – anyone got a favourite they’d like to recommend?

Friday Firsts: Non-First-Line Firsts

Friday_FirstsHaha, and it’s still Friday!!
Head over to We Read to play along

First Book I Remember Reading: The first book I ever remember reading on my own would probably be Heidi by Joanna Spyri. I’m sure I read more before that but I don’t remember.
First Job: Kmart – first in layby then on the checkouts. I thought I’d hate working on the checkouts, but I absolutely loved it.
First Real Job: What kind of real job? As in like a career? Then none as of yet.
First Favorite Politician: I don’t have a favourite politician
First Car: My little rocket ship, Bella. Okay, she’s a Toyota Starlet, but don’t tell her that, she thinks she’s a rocket ship

First Record/CD: Alannis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill
First Sport Played: Um…like in a team? Then none. I did do sport at school but only cause they made me.
First Concert: The Seekers
First Foreign Country Visited: None :(
First Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: Voyager. The first show I ever obsessed over.
First Favorite Actor: Richard Gere, or Harrison Ford.
First Favorite Actress: Julie Andrews.
First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: Nope, homebody through and through.
First Encounter with a Famous Person: Sang in a concert with Vanessa Amourossi once (and then with Kylie Minogue and Taxi Ride later) but the first face-to-face conversation would probably have been George Takai.
First Brush With Death: Was a car accident (not major) when I was little, but that’s about it.
First House/Condo Owned: Would kind have to have money for that. Oh, I had a doll house, does that count?
First Film Seen: Probably either The Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz or Sound of Music – which were and still are my favourites.
First Favorite Recording Artist: Julie Andrews or Judy Garland.
First Favorite Radio Station: don’t listen to the radio.
First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: Booking Through Thursday.

To be or not to be…

Sucks to be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) Kimberly Pauley
293 pages; published 2008
Pauley - Sucks to Be MeMy parents are trying to ruin my life. Oh yeah, I know that every teenager says that, but I  really mean it. they want me dead. Or actually, undead.
My parents are vampires. Some people might think that sounds cool, but I’m not talking about those romanticised bloodsuckers, like in novels where everybody walks around in ruffled white shirts and can quote poetry. I don’t know where people get that stuff. Nothing could be further than the truth. My dad couldn’t quote a nursery rhyme if somebody paid him. He likes to watch football and CNN. He wouldn’t know (or care) who Stephenie Meyer was if she came up and bit him. (1)

Mina Hamilton is a normal 15 year old girl. She goes to high school with quirky teachers, she has a best friend she adores, and a speechless-rendering crush on the cutest boy in school. Oh yes, and her parents are vampires.
That’s right, vampires, members of the Northwest Regional Vampire Counsel. It’s not so cool as you might think however. For starters, she can’t actually tell anyone (and who’d believe her if she did?), then there’s the fact that they have amazing hearing, so there’s absolutely no sneaking anything past them, and now (how wonderful) Mina has to decide if she wants to be a vampire too – ah, no!
Turns out he wasn’t really supposed to know about her parents at all, and now she has to go to vampire lessons to help her make an informed decision about her life (or should that be her death?). Her choices: 1) become a vampire and *gulp* drink blood for the rest of her life, or 2) face the possibility of never seeing her family again. What on earth can she do?
I’m curious to see exactly how long the vampire book fixation is going to last. I’m good for a while yet, but the end must be coming soon, right? Still, the parents being the vampires was a nice twist. It was new to me at least – anyone know of others?
I found Mina to be a realistic narrator. I felt sorry for the poor girl. I particularly enjoyed her interruptions of the narration to insert varying pro/con lists or lists about why it “sucks to be her”. What can I say? I can appreciate a character with a list obsession.
Pauley’s take on vampirism was an interesting one – blood bars and vampire pamphlets and ‘sponsoring’ – though I’m not sure how I feel about her transformation process (read it and see). Not the most reinvented I’ve see so far though, that would probably have to be the House of Night series).
All in all a pretty good read. Recommended to any YA vampire lovers. 3.5/5

The real reason…

Last week on MM Diane asked if we read non-fiction differently than fiction. I said that I didn’t read a great deal of non-ficiton and that the only real difference was that I tended to take more notes.

Apparently I lied.

Well, okay, I didn’t really LIE. I simply forgot a critical fact that came crashing back to me when I decided to rectify the ‘I don’t really read non-fiction’ statement. I had to go pick up some research books for my assignment so I figured that, while I was in the library, I’d pick up something interesting and non-fictiony to read.

Then bam! it hit me. I actually read quite a few books of essays. Mostly essays about science fiction (my not-so-secret secret love). At the moment I’m reading Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Science Fiction on the Frontier, a collection of essays edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox and Tanya R. Cochran.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         So there I was happily reading away when, bam! a bus*. No okay, not a bus, I realised the number 1 reason WHY I don’t read non-fiction for fun. Any guesses? No? They all come with a big list of MORE BOOKS in the back. And, after all, I am a sucker for lists.

The reference list frequently gets photocopied  and I cross them off as I get to them or lose interest. See, non-fiction reading a is dangerous business for me…




* F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans anyone?

It is a sin to kill the mockingbird….

Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
309 pages; published 1960
“Atticus, are we going to win?” “No, honey.” “Then why –” “Simply because we’re licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win,” Atticus said. (84)

I find it far harder to review a book that I’ve read (and loved) more than once, than one I’ve only thought okay – is that strange?
I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time in my Year 10 English class and, more than the book itself, I remember best my teacher’s utter devotion to the novel – or, more accurately, to Atticus Finch. I reread it for book club last month (again, alongside some Atticus devotees) and fell in love with it all over again.
For those of you who don’t know the story (and you really should read it!), it is set in the deep south of the 1930s and told through the perspective of Scout Finch (then six). Her father, Atticus, is assigned the defence of one Tom Robinson, a young negro man charged with the rape of a white girl, Mayella Ewell. Scout and her brother Jem, both too young to completely comprehend the situation and the implications thereof, are placed in the position of dealing with the fall out of such a case; forced to grow up just a little quicker while learning some of the world’s harsh realities.
What can I say about this book other than to recommend your reading it? I loved the characters, all – wise, innocent, kindly and cruel – I loved the small town and their range of relationships. I love Scout’s fights, Jem’s cranks, and Atticus’ morality.
Diane asked what I thought of the movie. I did watch the movie also before going to book club, and while I did enjoy it, I don’t think it can stand up to the novel (does any movie made of a book ever really?). I thought the film was (perhaps understandably) too compressed. All the lovely little moments from the book were either removed or combined with others. So while I’d still give a good recommendation of the film, I’d have to hand it over with the book at the same time. 5/5

Is a Book Still a Book on Kindle?

(Thanks to Cathy for linking to this!)

amazon-kindle-booksNew York Times article asks is a book still a book if it’s read on Kindle/Sony Reader/any other device? It was an interesting article and I’d recommend giving it a read.

I don’t have a Kindle or Sony Reader for several reasons. Firstly, I couldn’t afford one , and secondly, I’m just not sure than I do want one even if I could. I know the real book versus e-book debate isn’t a new one and I’m not about to go over it all again – mainly because I can see both sides of the argument. I am, however, pleased and fascinated to read a new (to me) arguing point in the New York Times, a reputable, one might even argue ‘high-brow’ paper…

If you’re reading on a Kindle, no one can be impressed with what you’re reading.

I’m not saying that I read to impress, far from it. In fact, the range of my reading habits are more likely to confuse than impress. But I do agree with the articles point that what you are seen to be reading does make an impression, favourable or otherwise. I like being out and about and being able to see what other people are reading. I enjoy people-watching via their book covers. With the e-device, I have no idea what they’re reading.

I myself have been caught out reading documents on my phone (not an e-reader, but it does support text files) – people have asked me what I’m reading, knowing that I’m a reader, and surprised when I answer that I’m reading fanfiction*. The Kindle takes the fun out of book-spying. And, hey, I like book-spying!

What about you? Has (or do you anticipate) these devices taking some of the fun out of your reading in this regard? Or is it just me?



*Not that there’s anything wrong with fanfiction, I’m somewhat of an addict, but it’s not exactly Shakespeare.

Some Awards and Tag, I’m it.

I was lucky enough to receive some lovely award over the past fortnight or so and haven’t yet mentioned them. I’d like to thank Diane, over at The Book Resort, for passing them my way :)

090315 Proximade Award 090424 2009 Friendly Blogger Award


Diane also tagged me to do this meme:

Here are the rules...

  1. Mention the person who nominated you.
  2. List six unimportant things that make you happy.
  3. Tag six blogs, state the rules & notify them with a teeny comment on their blog.

Some of the unimportant things that make me happy are:

  1. Coming home from the library with a huge stack of books
  2. Meeting up with my friends for just-for coffee
  3. Woolen socks and flannel pyjamas – I’m telling you, the world would be a better place if everyone wore flannel all the time. You can’t be angry at someone who’s all fuzzy
  4. Getting real mail.
  5. Teasing and being teased in return by my friends
  6. Dropping a finished essay into the submission box – which is usually followed by a little dance (the only time I ever dance)


I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m hopeless at tagging, so if you feel inclined to play along, consider yourself tagged. But if you do, please come back and comment so I don’t miss it!

Challenge Updates

Ladytink posted an update on her challenges (she’s doing really well, made me a little nervous…) and since I’ve been meaning (and forgetting) to do it for a while I thought I’d check my own. Click on the images to for more information about the challenges or what I’ve read so far.



Whoops, ended back in March, but I did finish it! The challenge was to read 12 Arthurian books/movies/tv etc


 42 ChallengeI am absolutely loving this challenge: 42 science fiction texts, again of any kind. I’m currently sitting on 33 so I’m doing okay :)


A-Z ChallengeI’ve got 24/52… But I’m concerned that I’ll probably get stuck like last year, so if you’d like to head on over and give me some suggestions for the tricky ones (Q, X, Y, Z for instance) I’d really appreciate it!


Support Your Local Library ChallengeI originally signed up for the 25 challenge, because I’m combining it with the RYOB challenge, but I’m on 14 at the moment, and not terribly worried about reaching it, so I may shoot for the 50… maybe.


Casual ClassicsAnd I’ve read… one. But, technically speaking I’m not really behind yet. So I’m not going to worry.


RYOBAgain, I went for the 25 but have only read 4. I’ve read more of my own than that, but I made rules to go with it (why??). I told myself that they couldn’t be new, they had to be from my shelf and they couldn’t be re-reads. I had to go and make it harder on myself huh.


2nds Challenge*hangs head*… one book. Would have been two but – stupid stupid stupid – I returned Betrayed to the library.


100_Challenge35 so far, which (according to the graph I made which I can never show any maths person because they would shoot me) is apparently right on target.

Teaser Tuesday (May 5)

Teaser TuesdaysTeaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!



Wilcox - Investigating Firefly and Serenity_Science Fiction on the FrontierFood, as well as holding trade value, is prized for taste and texture and functions as another element in the progress versus primal (natural) structure. While the products of Serenity’s kitchen are mostly synthetic proteins, they are prepared traditionally and the crew eat around a wooden table, itself a familiar signifier of ‘down home’ family values. (110)

Investigating Firefly and Serenity: Science Fiction on the Frontier – Edited by Rhonda V. Wilcox and Tanya R. Cochran