17 December 2017

Sunday Summary // 17.12.2017

Sunday Summary
Hi guys! So what’s happened this week? I’ve spent a lot less time on my laptop again this week and I’ve enjoyed the slight digital break. I’ve been spending my time thinking about my resolutions for next year and I’m thinking one of them may be me trying to switch off from technology after 9/9:30 because too often I find myself sitting in bed on a night browsing my phone for an hour after I go to bed and there is no reason for it. It would be much better if I just turned off from technology, so you guys heard it here first, I am going to try and switch off. I am also thinking I want to set some non-book/blog related resolutions because I never normally do that. We’ll see, I’m all about 2018 planning right now.

We struggled with the aftermath of the heavy snow we had on last Sunday. We had a real cold snap here and it was a real struggle getting to work all week. Public transport wasn’t too bad but it was slippery and when it went below freezing the snow gradually became ice which was just awesome (not). I successfully haven’t fallen over but was definitely stressful walking up the hill to work, especially as I couldn’t always walk in the road to avoid the ice like I wanted to (if anyone could explain why people don’t grit footpaths that would be awesome).

I won’t move on to work because whilst I enjoyed some things at work a couple of major things pissed me off. I’m working for another week and then I break up for Christmas. I am looking forward to the time off. I am also looking forward to the Christmas party next week.

I have had a fun non-bookish week all in all and I am loving that. I managed to blog a bit, and I read a book and finally finished another. I watched terrible Christmas films on Netflix and that was awesome. And then I watched a funny Christmas film and I don’t even care that it’s not quite Christmas yet, we’re planning on putting our decorations up this weekend so I’m getting into the spirit.

What I’ve Been Reading

Artemis29868612
I decided screw finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin right now, let’s read Artemis and I actually really enjoyed it. Although I did have issues (as discussed in my review) it was fun, though. It was only after I finished and I thought back on it the issues were obvious to me. I also (finally) finished A Life in Parts and I have to say Bryan Cranston has led an interesting life. I am glad I read it.

New To Me

AutoboyographyThe Cruel Prince
I only got two books this week. I am impressed with myself. Autoboyography was a Kindle daily deal so I had to buy, especially since I’d seen plenty of good reviews for it. And then I won The Cruel Prince on Readers First a couple of weeks back and I’ve been sat in doubt about whether or not it would arrive (I am excited about this book, I’m always surprised if I get books I actually want). I will be starting The Cruel Prince this weekend. I cannot wait, Holly Black always does good books.

What are you reading? Anyone else had snow lately? And what’s your favourite Christmas film?

15 December 2017

Artemis // I Loved It But I Have Realised It’s Flawed

Artemis
Published: 14th November 2017
Source: Netgalley/Illumicrate
Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery, Thriller, Heist, Little Bit Of Everything
My Rating:
Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz's problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself - and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first.
Artemis is one of those must read books for me after how much I adored The Martian I knew that reading it was inevitable. I was so excited to get approved on Netgalley and then put off reading for reasons unknown so as soon as I guessed it was coming in my Illumicrate (because I am a genius detective) I knew that I’d wait and read my shiny new physical copy. I am so glad I have a copy because I enjoyed this book immensely. I didn’t want to stop reading and it hooked me in even though I wasn’t sure what type of direction it was going in. I loved the mystery/thriller/heist sort of book that was a mix of all things and I loved that all of the characters were pretty damn smart. After reading a couple of reviews, though, I have realised a glaring flaw in this book, it slut shames and has characters which folks with either like or hate.

Let’s begin with the good, I was gripped by this book. One of my biggest complaints in The Martian is that the science was too hard and too frequent and those chunks of writing bored me, I didn’t have that in this one. Instead, the story was more fast paced and you just sort of roll with it. Is there science and technical explanations? Yeah, but it’s not overwhelming and they aren’t anywhere near as long so I could handle it. This book dives right in with a heist which moves into a mystery which goes into another heist and never did I find myself getting bored or not following the story, instead I was there for every page.

You also get a totally kickass MC in the form of Jazz. She has essentially grown up on Artemis, the only town on the Moon and she has developed her own smuggling business on the moon. As soon as you meet her it’s immediately obvious she is smart, and although many claim she wasted her potential I really loved that she wasn’t striving to take over the world but instead followed her own path and had a wide path of interests. She won’t be for everyone, I know I had a few gripes apart her character, but she is easy to like and I was invested in her story from the get go.

I liked that the folks on the Moon, especially those who lived there, were smart and experts in their chosen fields, not idiots who are there to move the story along. Often when you have a smart MC the characters around them get dumbed down but that wasn’t the case, instead they are just as smart and the MC in fact relies upon their expertise to help her solve a mystery or plan a heist or two. I can’t say whether or not what the characters say is accurate because I know nothing about science or economics or welding but it sounded pretty good at least.

Now, like I said, there were gripes to be had. I loved how Jazz was so freaking smart and that she was smart but still made mistakes (you guys who’ve read it will know the big booboo I’m thinking of) but I kind of felt like it was never fleshed out why she was so smart. Like, it seemed like she had this really good memory but with no explanation I found it a little crazy how she seemed to be able to read up on something and then just knew about it. I was close to rolling my eyes because she was a little too good. And then there was the fact that it was mentioned she was good looking as well, which is totally cool, but it almost seemed like she was a Mary Sue. It wasn’t quite that bad but I did have a couple of ‘seriously’ moments. I also found it weird how a couple of times she did something which a character deemed sexy or she herself was self aware of her sexiness. I know there are moments people can deem someone as sexy and sometimes you can do something intentionally but it was when she was doing something normal and it was just a little weird.

That kind of leads into the other problem of this book, there is slut shaming. I kind of noticed whilst reading but was distracted by the main plot when I was reading but after reading this review over at Smart Bitches I have to say there was slut shaming and it’s not cool. Jazz was a sexually active woman and no more promiscuous than any other person so it’s weird people made such a thing out of that when other characters actions were way more questionable (I’m looking at you Dale). I just didn’t feel comfortable with the whole part of the book where Jazz is continually demeaned or has rubbing from others for who she’s slept with, totally not cool.

Basically, this book is good in one sense. It’s fun and easy to read and totally a great sci-fi romp that I will happily read again. On the other hand, it needed some work doing on the characters and it definitely needed some better female representation. Don’t get me wrong, there were some brilliant women in this book, but why did Jazz have to be slut shamed and good at like everything? These things bothered me, and definitely affected my opinion on the book as I pondered it the day after finishing.

Have you read Artemis? Do you agree with my assessment of the book? And what’s your favourite fun sci-fi read?

13 December 2017

My Blogging Problems // When Real Life Gets In The Way

My Blogging Problems
As you may have noticed (because I remind you every Sunday) I have been a little absent around the blogosphere of late. Both on my blog but also visiting other folks and it sucks because I never feel like I can have a chat as it takes an age for me ever to see or respond to anything. I’ve been feeling bad about it but it’s one of those things. Real life and other interests have just plain old got in the way so I haven’t been blogging. I love blogging, I’ve been doing so for three years now and it’s seriously the best hobby… expect for reading of course.

I want to keep you informed about why I’m not around. Some reasons you guys will know if you read my Sunday posts, and some things you’ll just be surprised at because it’s not just me having real life getting in the way, I also have other interests!

I am not going to keep apologising for not being around because we all get busy but I want to share what’s keeping me distracted of late and you guys can feel free to do the same because we all have lives, I don’t think any of us are full time bloggers so we shouldn’t feel bad for having other plans.

My Nan

isn't fair
As anyone who reads my Sunday posts will know, we have moved my nan into a care home recently. It was a tough (and expensive) decision to make but she has been needing to move for a good long while and this was the best decision we could make. It was a touch and go process over whether we could get her in the home and we are still concerned she isn’t settling in but it was something which needed to happen. now she is in the home we must start the lengthy process of trying to sell the home she has lived in for forty years and it’s heart-breaking. She loves that house, she raised her children there (my dad and uncle) and that is the only home I have ever known her have. I get sad just thinking of selling it so as you can imagine that’s been emotionally draining and I just haven’t always had the mental will power to blog with all of that going on. That has been the most depressing reason why I haven’t been blogging as much and so I thought I’d put that out there first. There are other more fun reasons.

Seeing Friends

hugz
Guys, I know I don’t mention social outings and stuff all that much on the blog and I never name friends from my real life just because they haven’t signed up for me broadcasting their life on here, not like me who made the decision. But I have actual real live friends and I have been seeing a few of them a lot more recently and I’ve loved it. Some I see often and have just not seen in a while as they live down south, others I lost touch with and am now seeing and reconnecting with and it’s rocked. I saw once girl I’ve not seen in ten years and we spoke like we hung out just a few weeks ago. I saw another I have seen in about a year and laughed hysterically with for a night like we hung out just the other day. It’s been a great time for seeing friends and I’ve had the best time but it has meant I’ve not been sat in front of a computer screen. I’d apologise but I’m not even sorry, I love that real life friends are the reason for me neglecting online friends for once.

Sims

sims
Look, I adore the Sims and I fully blame the Tumblrs I follow who are sims based and Kristen for my renewed love for Sims. It’s an addictive game and I love it. I sadly lost my supernatural themed neighbourhood I was going to grow and explore when my old laptop kicked the bucket but I am now deciding to have a very OTT neighbourhood filled with dramatic things like affairs, family feuds and some full on soap like drama. I am looking forward to it because if you can’t give a family grief on the Sims where can you do it? I am thinking people sleeping with the maid and a womaniser who everyone hates. i also want a grumpy old woman to live somewhere. It will be epic so let’s hope I don’t get bored before I finish the neighbourhood.

Final Fantasy IX

final-fantasy-ix-ps4-1
I don’t know if you guys know this about me but I actually really love playing video games. Like, I know I play The Sims but that’s a game everyone plays. I do actually play proper games as well and the one taking up most of my time of late is Final Fantasy IX. They released it on PS4 and it looks like it’s a straight port from Steam from what I’ve seen but I don’t care, it’s awesome and addictive and was one of my favourite RPGs growing up. I definitely think it helped grow my love for fantasy as well. It is just as good as I remember it being when I was 11 and I am so glad I got a copy on my PS4. It will suck up many hours of my day and I don’t care. It does mean I’m reading less, though.

Snow

snow
The final reason for my absence is pretty simple. It snowed here in the UK and I am full on distracted by the white powdery stuff outside my window. It began snowing on Friday where I live and it was distracting for me then because I wasn’t sure I was going to get home from work and so my motivation to blog was low. Then it really snowed on Sunday, my prime blogging day, and once more I didn’t have the motivation to blog as I was stressing about getting to work Monday. I can’t drive and the buses were all cancelled Sunday so I worried i wouldn’t make it to the office. The temperatures have also plummeted now the snow has settled so the is the risk of ice. As pretty as the snow is it totally stressed me out when it came to work and it meant I was completely distracted writing blog posts. I haven’t typed a single word and it was only writing this Monday night I’ve managed to get anything finished. I had all these grand blogging plans for the weekend and a few flakes of snow threw that idea out of the window.

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Basically, real life has worked hard to keep me distracted lately. My mind hasn’t been totally on blogging and reading whilst it sucks I’m okay with it. It’s Christmas and I have interests outside reading and blogging. I won’t apologise for not being around and I don’t know why we insist on doing so. Real life happens and it’s totally okay for us to do other things. It’s always nice to hear what other folks have been getting up to when they’ve not been about on their blog much, though. I am trying to post a couple of times a week because sometimes writing words on a screen are the best way for me to unwind but that hasn’t always been the case in the past couple of weeks.

What keeps you distracted from blogging? Any real life things interrupting your plans or is it just me? And why do we insist on apologising when real life gets in the way like we’re at fault in some way?