“Potentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped.” // Review of “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Title: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban fantasy
Intended audience: Adult
Date Read: 04/08/19 – 11/08/19
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Well, this is a bit awkward. From what everyone’s been saying, I was expecting this to be a 5 star read. And it definitely started off that way. But after a while, I just wished I was reading a Discworld book instead.

There is definitely a fascinating premise here: what happens if the child destined to bring about Armageddon, rather than being evil, is just… basically a good kid?

I think my main issue was that there were a lot of characters, and most of them could have been done without, and the same story still told. I often felt like characters were being introduced just to give the authors a chance to be funny, such as with the Other Four Horsemen. There were pages devoted their conversations and they didn’t even make it to Armageddon.

I honestly feel you could have just had the Crowley and Aziraphale scenes and the Adam and Them scenes, and had roughly the same story. Everyone else I found a bit superfluous.

I do wonder if some of this comes from the fact that I have never clicked with Neil Gaiman’s writing. While it is not written in such a way that you can point to certain parts and say “Gaiman wrote that bit” or “Pratchett wrote that section”, perhaps the Gaiman influence is what put me off? I have always enjoyed Discworld and as I said, reading Good Omens made me wish I was reading a Discworld I haven’t read yet (and there are stll a lot of those).


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 04 January, 2017

Hello to those of you who join me each Wednesday for this regular blog hop, and happy new year! I am wishing I was still on holidays, but at the same time, really glad to be finding my routines again. I had just under two weeks off work, but it’s amazing how even that short time can throw you off everything.

On that note, time for the blog hops! The first one is WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

pyramidscoverI finished a few things over the holidays, though nowhere near as much as I would have liked. First, there was Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. I really enjoyed reading this; I hadn’t visited the Discworld in quite a while and this has made me think I should spend some more time there this year. I have a whole shelf of Pratchett books that I bought off a uni friend who was moving overseas, but I have only read a few of them.

starsabovecoverI spent my whole NYE reading Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, which is the short story collection set in the Lunar Chronicles universe. I have to be honest, I wasn’t actually that fussed. With a couple of exceptions, I didn’t really feel like they added anything to the overall narrative. But as usual with Meyer, it was really easy to read and I powered through it very quickly.

motherofdreamscoverAnd today, I finished Mother of Dreams;: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, edited by Makoto Ueda. As with any short story anthology, I found some of the stories more meaningful than others.  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that it was published in the 1980s, and the stories featured were published over the previous 20-30 years, so some of it felt a bit dated.

Unfortunately, I DNFed Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker, which I had planned to make the final book of my 2016 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. It was just a bit too literary and character-driven for my tastes.

I posted a review of The Two by Will Carver just before Christmas, and my review of Pyramids went up on Monday

What are you currently reading?

naturalwayofthingscoverI should be reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I’ve had from the library since before Christmas and which is due back next week. But I’m not, I’m about to start The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, which will be my first Australian Women Writers Challenge book of the year. A few people were discussing it on the AWW Facebook group and I felt I needed an un-put-downable book, so here it is.

What do you think you’ll read next?

annefrankcoverDefinitely need to read Anne Frank next. After that, I have a copy of The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias from  NetGalley (is it still an ARC if the book was released nearly a year ago?) and the few pages I skimmed on my phone the other day were appealing, so I’ll probably continue with that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I was having a bit of a freakout about Operation Sugarplum over the last couple of days, but I did some brainstorming and I know where I’m going now. I seem to have developed this method of outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining some more. It works for me!

I wouldn’t usually share so much on a WIPpet post, but today you have 16 paragraphs (17 for the year minus 1 for the month – don’t worry, it’s mostly dialogue) of Clara dealing with a grumpy customer at the shop where she works. He’s trying to return some Christmas lights. Warning for some bad language.

Clara put on her best customer service smile. “What can I do for you?”

“These don’t work. I want a refund.”

“Okay. Do you have your receipt?”

“No. I lost it. But it’s your store brand, so obviously I got them from here.”

Clara grimaced inwardly. This was going to be fun.

“I’m afraid I can’t issue a refund without proof of purchase, sir.”

“It’s got your bloody brand on it. Where else would I have bought it?” He pointed to the store’s logo emblazoned on the box. Clara agreed with him, but there was still nothing she could do.

“I’m sorry, sir, but that’s the store policy. Would you like me to call my manager?” She reached for the phone, sensing that this was going to get beyond the level of customer service she was paid to deliver.

“I don’t want you to call your manager; I just want to get my money back for the shitty product that didn’t work!”

Clara took a step back as the man’s voice rose. He towered over her, his cheeks red, and Clara felt adrenaline spike through her body. She hated it when customers intimidated her. She lifted the phone to her ear to call her manager but saw the man throw up his hands.

“Bloody useless,” she heard him mutter.

She knew he was just venting, and that she shouldn’t take it personally, but she felt anger bubble up in her stomach regardless.

The next thing she knew, the box of Christmas lights was thudding to the floor and the man was swearing at her while rubbing a bruise that was quickly forming on his forehead.

“You little bitch!” he screamed. “Did you throw that at me?”

“No, I…”

Had she? She didn’t remember picking the box up at all. Was this another one of her unexplained abilities?

Oooh! 😉

I’m posting this a bit later than usual, so I shall head off and get my links done and hopefully get to some of your blogs as well. 🙂

~ Emily

“People needed to believe in gods, if only because it was so hard to believe in people.” // Review of “Pyramids” by Terry Pratchett

Title: Pyramids (Discworld #7)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: SFF/Satire
Date Read: 11
/12/2016 – 22/12/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This was the first Discworld book I’d read in quite a while, and it was just what I needed at the time. I read a few Discworld books back when I was a bit too young to get them, but this time around, I was laughing out loud.

Teppic is the heir to the throne of the River Kingdom, but he has been training in the Assassin’s Guild in Ankh-Morpok for several years when his father passes away and he has to return home. Having got used to the modern trappings of the city, such as plumbing, puts Teppic at odds with the High Priest, Dios, who insists that millenia-old traditions must be followed. And then things only get worse when the giant pyramid built to house Teppic’s father starts causing quantum havoc and the gods of the River Kingdom start appearing up and down the river.

Given the nature of satire, this isn’t really the sort of book I’m used to reading – the YA ones where I can get completely unhealthily invested in the characters, but the characters were all well-developed in a way that furthered the points that Pratchett was making about religion and sticking to tradition in the face of every suggestion to get with the times. I laughed at Teppic’s awkwardness regarding Dio’s inability to let him actually do any ruling, and I sympathised with the dead former King, who was unable to move on and had to watch all his wishes being decidedly not carried out.

Some of the quantum stuff got a bit confusing, as there would be several versions of the same character, all from slightly different time periods, in the same room at the same time. For the most part, though, I was able to keep these straight. Time travel-type stuff always runs the risk of getting confusing, but I think Sir Terry managed to strike the right balance.

The writing style and narrative voice reminded me a lot of Douglas Adams. Given the era during which the book was written, this isn’t entirely surprising. It is interesting to see how an author aws prolific as Terry Pratchett developed over the course of the series and his career.

As I said, it had been a good while since I last read a Discworld book, but Pyramids has definitely put me in the mood to return to my shelf of Pratchett books and keep working through them.


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 14 December, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

fairestcoverJust one book completed this week, and that was Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I had mixed feelings about it, as it is a helluva lot darker than the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. My review will be up on Friday.

My reviews of Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Eléonore by Faith Rivens went up this week. Click the links to read them.

What are you currently reading?

pyramidscoverI’ve got to be honest, I’ve been barely reading at all over the past week. I’m really tired and in need of the Christmas break, and don’t have the attention span for anything. However, the two books that are on my GoodReads currently reading shelf right now are Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker and Pyramids by Terry Pratchett.

My copy of Pyramids was picked up for $2 from a market raising money for an animal shelter, and when I opened it, I discovered an inscription that appears to be from Terry Pratchett himself. I’ve compared it to a few photos of his autograph online and it resembles some more than others, so at some point I’m going to post on the official TP forum and ask.

What do you think you’ll read next?

motherofdreamscoverI’ve still got Mother of Dreams edited by Makoto Ueda and Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank to read to finish my challenges for the year, so it will be one of those. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to get the challenges finished, but I’m going to try!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

So today’s excerpt is not exactly related to the date but to the fact that this will most likely be my final WIPpet before Christmas. Imagine that you’re from a medieval-verging-on-Renaissance-era fantasy world, and you’ve ended up in today’s modern world. The person you’re protecting has had her memories altered so that she fits into this world (and for other reasons), but you need to remember that you’re protecting her, so you’ve had to keep your regular memories and wing it. This is Max’s situation with Princess Clara right now. Clara dragged him Christmas shopping, and they’re waiting for the bus.

They had waited for Thursday night and late-night shopping so that they could do their errands in the early evening and not have to spend too much time outside. Even so, waiting just a few minutes for the bus was long enough in the hot weather. 

“One day when I’m rich and famous,” Clara remarked, “I’m going to have a chalet in the Swiss Alps so I can have cold Christmases every year, like it was supposed to be. Mulled wine and ugly sweaters and all of that.”

Max just nodded attentively. He had done a lot of research into Christmas over the past month. He had been confused for quite a while, as everything he looked at referred to snow and baked dinners and ugly sweaters, and he couldn’t work out why people would put themselves through that when the weather was so sweltering. Eventually, he had mentioned it to Clara. She had gently slapped him on the upside of his head and told him that he was reading about European Christmases and that the seasons were reversed here. He’d gone away and researched Europe and hemispheres and how the seasons worked her, and eventually grasped the rough idea of why it was different in Australia.

Back in Ye Olde Days, Australian families used to try to emulate an English Christmas with baked dinner, etc, but thankfully, times have changed. I travelled around Europe at Christmastime in 2013 baffling everyone with my talk of 40*C/104*F Christmas Days and seafood and salad Christmas lunches. And you have lunch and open presents and then just lie in front of the air conditioner with a cold drink while you digest, because that’s all you have the energy for.

There should be more Australian Christmas stories! Every year around this time, I say I’m going to write a one (or maybe a play), and it still hasn’t happened. One day! (I say that, but actually, cold English Christmas is 2013 was basically my favourite Christmas ever).

That’s it from me for now. This may well be my last unscheduled post for the year (apart , as next Wednesday, I will be getting my bags packed to head to my parents’ place the next day. With that in mind, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whether you’re celebrating anything or just enjoying some time off. I’ll be back in 2017 for more!

~ Emily

December 2016 TBR

Who else can’t believe it’s already December? I certainly can’t! I’ve still got two reading challenges to finish, and while I have the various things I need to finish over this month recorded in various places, I thought it might be a good idea to list it all here. In any other month, I wouldn’t be too worried about trying to finish this number of books, but December is always so busy, and I barely have a free weekend between now and Christmas. We can only hope!

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge

lettersendoflovecoverThe goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to read and review at least 12 books by Australian Women, including two by Indigenous authors and two by LGBTQI* authors. While I have reviewed 15, I still need to read one more by a lGBTQI* author. The book I have chosen is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. This book sounds really enjoyable from the blurb and the reviews, so I’m hoping I enjoy it. I have this one out from the library at the moment, so I can get to it asap.

The 2016 Choose Your Own Challenge Challenge

This challenge has been run out of a GoodReads group. At the beginning of the year, I chose 20 prompts, and I still have five to go, but I’ve worked out which books to read to fill them, and I have copies of all of them, so here’s hoping!

elenorecoverElenore by Faith Rivens = a book with a protagonist who has your occupation

Librarian, that is, not demon hunter. I’d be no good at that. Faith was good enough to provide me with an ARC of this book, and I’m really excited to read her debut.

motherofdreamscoverMother of Dreams edited by Makoto Ueda = a book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A colleague who recently passed away wanted her library to given away to family and friends. She was very interested in Japanese culture and had a lot of books pertaining to that among her shelves. This is one of the, uh, seventeen that I ended up with.

fairestcoverFairest by Marissa Meyer = an “in between the books” book (i.e. Book 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 of a series)

I recently replaced “the 16th book on your TBR” with this prompt, as for various reasons, that one wasn’t going to happen. But I’m gradually working my way through Marissa Meyer’s books that I am yet to read, and I’m excited to finally get to this one.

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett = a book published on the year you were born pyramidscover

I already had this on my list and was planning to get it from the library when I picked up a copy from a local market stall. It’s been a while since I read any Terry Pratchett, and this one is quite short, so I think it will be a good one to get back into his books with.

annefrankcoverDiary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank = a book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge

I remember starting Anne Frank’s diary once before, but I never finished it. I understand a lot more about the Second World War now, though, and I have seen the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (I didn’t go in as the queue was around the block and I was quite sick; I ended up going back to the hotel and sleeping). I have a feeling this one is going to result in lots of tears.

So that’s it! I have 29 days and six books to get through (plus the one I’m reading at the moment)! Wish me luck!

~ Emily