25 September 2013

The America's Cup

You can be forgiven for not knowing what the America's Cup is. I think it only matters to New Zealanders (and that's a generalization) and sailors (another generalization). The America's Cup (also known as the 'Auld Mug') is the oldest international sporting trophy. (And it's a beauty!) It was originally awarded in 1851 (by the Royal Yacht Squadron) to the schooner America for winning a race around the Isle of Wight (UK). The trophy was renamed the America's Cup in honour of the schooner and has been contested ever since. Tomorrow is the final race in the America's Cup regatta...between Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA. Winner takes all. If you think sailing is boring, you've never seen 22 metre (~72 feet) catamarans race. It's exhilarating. It's also soul destroying when your team has been on match point for several days and hasn't been able to win the one race it needs too. (And I won't talk about the three races that were abandoned while we were leading because I'm not bitter...[I'm fooling no one.]) Regardless of who wins tomorrow, both teams have shown incredible fortitude.

It's also American football season. I kind of started watching American college football last year. I understand it more now, but I still find it a rather unusual game. (I'm used to games based on tactics, rather than strategy.) And I'm still trying to work out if anyone can actually be sent off. (Red carded as they say in rugby.)

So, do you watch sport and, if so, what the weirdest sport you've ever watched? (Olympic sports [as in sports you watch only while the Olympics are on] don't count as there are some sports I only watch at the Olympics :)

24 September 2013

I'm Back...

...she says hopefully! Yes, from my Testing Testing post it has been another 2 months to this post...I suck at blogging :( RL has been...busy. No more busy than normal I guess. But I've been...I guess the word I'm looking for is overwhelmed. With RL. With trying to cram everything in. Cue high levels of anxiety, which the unnamed expert and I are working on. And something had to give and that ended up being blogging. I'm sorry.

I have this week off. And, yes, I probably should have posted yesterday, but it was fine and the garden beckoned. And now it is weeded (mostly - weeds are like boomerangs :) and composted and ready for spring planting. Yes, it is spring here, although you wouldn't know it looking over the window. (It's currently raining. Heavily.) So I aim to try and post this week. Not big posts, but little things. And try and visit all your blogs. And try and keep that up when I go back to work. Because being on holiday is like being in a little cocoon. Everything changes when you break out. But until then you can just...be...which is what I'm trying to do this week. No places to be or things to do (although I have a huge chore list and should probably get on it, but the fire is lit and I'm watching YouTube videos and I don't really want to do chores :)

So, what do you like to do when you're on holiday?

12 July 2013

Testing Testing

OMG! I haven't posted since the end of April? Where did the last 2 and a half months go? Hm. I think I need to do some dusting...and write a 'This Is Where I'm At' post *grin*

*pulls out feather duster*

27 April 2013

My Little Secret

In February, which seems like forever ago, I wrote a post entitled Random Thoughts in which I mentioned that I had decided to add an 'Unread' category to Stanza (my iPhone reading app).
Well I did that. And the count was 127… *faints* And then I went out and bought two more books! Which is, of course, totally the correct response when one has 127 unread books on the reading device! As of today the count still stands at 127 because I've manged to read two books on the Unread list, including the just finished Prey (Andrea Speed). But upon finishing Prey I decided to re-read (for the third time) Rolf & Ranger's Three Traders...I don't think I'm ever going to get that number down!
 
So, spillage time! How many unread (I originally wrote undread….LOL!) books do you have? And, if one has unread books, should one set up a rule – read one new book, one unread book…or should that be, one new book, two (or three) unread books…or one new book or re-read, two (or three) unread books…. GULP!

26 April 2013

Blurting

So much for my great plans at the beginning of the month in which I hoped to be online a bit more :( The best laid plans of mice and men I guess...

I was in the process of writing another post entirely. Hopefully I'll post that on Sunday. It's more happy happy and about books. This...this is just me blurting out what's in my head. In my favourite series - Falls Chance Ranch (FCR) - one of the characters (Flynn) tells another (Dale) to just blurt out what's in his head when he's chewing on something. That is doesn't have to be right. He (Dale) just has to get it out and then they can sort it out. Together. So that's what this is...

The last two days have been...horrible (in a word). Horrible in that I've been dealing with issues - issues that have cropped up before - on behalf of a particular family member who is unable to advocate for herself. And...I just feel like I'm drowning. I realized tonight that I don't want to do this any more. I don't want to be the go-to person. The constant responsibility is...so heavy; I don't feel like I have time to breathe. I'm either all go or all stop. Plus, it annoys me no end that, according to the Government, I deserve absolutely no remuneration for all of the time and effort advocating for this family member entails. I'm not asking for squillions. Just for some recognition from them that this advocacy role is important. That what I do is important. And valued. (Not by the family member who doesn't understand this at all, but by...I don't know....others?) It probably wouldn't be so bad if this was a short-term advocacy. But it won't be. It will be decades. And if I had time to be an advocate, instead of having to squeeze it in among everything else. The thing is, I made a promise to my mother that I wouldn't spend my life looking after various family members. And while I don't on a day-to-day basis I do...look after them. Their finances. Their health and welfare.I'm their advocate for all of this. And every so often (like on Wednesday afternoon) it all blows up in my face and I realize beneath the small mess is numerous small messes And larger messes. And I know the unnamed expert keeps telling me that I have to learn that I don't need to do everything now, but...it just sits there and it nags and nags and nags at me. And I have to do it because if I don't it's there and I can't sleep and my diet goes out the window because I stress eat. And I have to sort...it. Everything. It's times like this that I realize I have no resilience - if a family issue raises its head I fall apart just like that. Obviously family is a trigger. But there is no one else to do this. Unless it's a stranger. And then I feel guilty that I could even think (even for an instant) about walking away.

I don't think there is an answer. I can't click my fingers and have this all be sorted. Or be magically transported to FCR. Or suddenly get my job. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And part of me will want to delete this post. Or try and excuse it tomorrow. But...it's where my head is at now. But overnight I'll put my Pollyanna hat on, and tomorrow will be a new day. The issues are under control. For now. So I can enjoy the weekend. But I have a list of things that need to be done next week. Because people don't often do what they say they will so I have to follow up. And don't be surprised if I finish my current book and you see my re-reading one of the FCR books. Because if I can't transport myself there literally, then perhaps I can do so figuratively *grin*

02 April 2013

The Earth Isn't Flat

No sirree it's not. Which means I haven't fallen over the edge. I've just been...not online so much of late. March was a....messy month. And by messy I mean I just seemed to spend a lot of time attempting to make my 'to do' list smaller and getting to the end of the month and looking back and not really feeling like I had got anywhere. Story of my life.

But...it's April, so I figured I could start over :) So, here's me, hoping to be online a bit more this month than I was last month. 'Cause, it's not like I can use the falling off the edge of world excuse :)

So, what have you been up to in the last month?

11 March 2013

Books 2013: February Update

Total: 10 books (five books in February: m/m [four books]; urban fantasy [one book])

The 2013 M/M Romance Challenge total: eight books (four books in February)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book in January? I don't know if I had one...

Currently reading: Collision Course (KA Mitchell)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month?

* Dirty Laundry (Heidi Cullinan)

* And more Sterek fanfic! (Quel surprise!)

So, what did you read last month?

28 February 2013

The Bear Essentials

Before you all get up in arms about my utilization of the word 'Bear' in the title of this post, there is method to my madness (isn't there always :) I was going to post an 80s song for your delectation, but the advertisement before the song caught my eye. You see, the national carrier, Air New Zealand, has been creating some rather interesting safety videos...probably in an effort to get people to actually think about aircraft safety. There has been the Richard Simmons safety video, The Hobbit safety video...and now Bear Grylls...



And in case you're wondering, the rather large bird is a moa...they're (supposedly) extinct...

19 February 2013

Random Thoughts

Last year the lovely Cyphomandra, who I am lucky to call a good friend, wrote a novella for Yuletide called Somehow. It is based on The Bagman's Gambit by The Decemberists. I finished it this morning and...oh it's good. I loved the characters and the plot twists...and if you feel like reading something different I would definitely recommend it! (FYI - Cyphomandra recommended that I listen to the song first - I read the lyrics *grin* - and it definitely helped set the scene!)
 
I'm curious - how do you track books...not the ones that you haven’t read yet (GoodReads helps with that :), but the books you’ve bought but haven’t read yet? Cyphomandra and I caught up on the weekend and started discussing this subject...I've decided to add an 'Unread' category to Stanza, which still works with the iPhone 6.1 update - YAH!
 
Which leads me to...Marvin. I'm guessing not many of you read on your iPhone/iPad, but over the weekend I discovered a new ePub app for the iPad - Marvin! There is no iPhone app...yet...but it looks like it might be a suitable (in my eyes :) replacement for Stanza! *fingers crossed* No idea if there is to be an Android option, but the developer appears to be open to suggestions on the forum I read about it on :)
 
Yesterday I finished reading Ilona Andrews' Gunmetal Magic. I adore that there is a gay character in the Kate Daniels series. And I love how seamlessly he appears and how seamlessly his orientation is accepted by the other characters. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like how various authors are…so open and inclusive (apologies - I'm having problems articulating this point). And I must say, I love Barbaras! And I want more of him. I also want more Derek. Obviously now I get to drool over Derek two-fold – in this series and in the Teen Wolf TV show. Which has me thinking of Stiles...
 
I can’t go a post without mentioning Sterek now, can I?
 
And finally...I think I’m going to reduce my GR challenge target to 75 books. I’m already, according to the ‘schedule’ six books behind….and since I’ll likely be reading more Sterek fanfic that won’t change…and I’d rather not put more pressure on myself to catch up… No thinking, I've done it! My GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge total is now 75 books...which means I'm three books behind schedule... *heads desk*
 
So, what random things have you discovered this week?

12 February 2013

To Edit Or Not To Edit

That is the question. Well...kind of. See, I just finished reading a book. An eBook to be precise. (Unless you avoid me like the plague *grin* you probably have a fair idea as to which book I'm referring to...but in the interests of fairness I won't mention it by name. And for the purposes of this post it doesn't matter - this is one of those generic posts :) Anyway, this book had me asking myself that very question almost the whole way through. I'm sure the book was edited...but just not in the manner to which I have become accustomed...

There were misspelt words - 'a heard of alpacas' was my personal favourite - and missing words (although I've come to realize that it must be a North American trait to say 'a couple days' rather than 'a couple of days', so I'm not counting that :) and extra words. Not everywhere, but there were far more examples than I would usually expect from any published book. And it was very distracting. Because I found myself correcting the editing in my head rather than just enjoying the story.

So, I'm curious, what are your thoughts on editing issues? Do they drive you nuts or do you just ignore them? And...if you rate your books at GoodReads or LibraryThing or another similar site, do you grade down a book for editing issues? In the case above I didn't.

07 February 2013

As...

...I love the Falls Chance Ranch series...beyond description, I just had to post the following. Apologies if you watched the Super Bowl and have already seen it. I must confess, it made me cry...



Edited to add: It still makes me cry! Oh, and the foal has a name now (more brilliant work from the advertiser) - Hope!

05 February 2013

Books 2013: January Update

Total: five books (five books in January: fantasy [one book]; m/m [four books])

The 2013 M/M Romance Challenge total: four books (four books in January)

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.
Favourite books in January?

* Color of Grace (AM Arthur)

Currently reading: Laying Ghosts (James Buchanan)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading this month?

* Dirty Laundry (Heidi Cullinan)

* Too Stupid to Live (Anne Tenino)

* And more Sterek fanfic!

So, what did you read last month?

03 February 2013

Quitting A Series

So earlier this week I started reading New York to Dallas (JD Robb), book *checks* 33 *faints* in the In Death series. This was my first GoodReads status update about it:
I have a feeling this is a make or break book for me. I want to see some growth in the characters...well, except for Roarke...since the only thing he can't seem to do it BBQ, I'd like him to devolve :)
And this was my second:
Any of you who love this series with a passion should probably ignore my status updates while I read this book as I'm going to be snarky. Seriously...why does the villain always seem to have some personal beef with Eve? It reminds me of the main character in CSI Miami...
So...not the best start...

As I alluded to in my first status update, I wanted to experience some growth in the two main characters - Eve and Roarke. Because for a while now they have felt (to me) frozen. What I mean is, there doesn't seem to be a book where Eve doesn't rant about paperwork...or about Summerset...or doesn't make a gibe about Roarke buying countries or planets...or try and hide from the hair stylist...or Roarke doesn't try and interfere with Eve's case...which always ends up being personal... And Roarke always seem to be capable of absolutely everything - he's a multi-billionaire who is also a computer whiz (he seems to be able to hack and/or trace anything), a brilliant thief, seems to own every building Eve needs to enter, oh, and did I mention he's tall, dark and handsome? The only thing he can't seem to do (ATM) is BBQ...I have no doubt he will be able to do that at some point in the near future.

Because I borrowed the book from the library I kind of felt obligated to read it and...obligated to continue with the series since I've invested so much time in it. And that's the crux of the matter. I wanted to keep reading so that eventually I will know how the series ends. But last night as I was standing in the shower (I seem to do all my great thinking in the shower - it's one of the few places I sort of slightly relax) I suddenly wondered why I was reading it... I would just end up going through all of the above 'repeats' and then Eve would get the bad guy, and then it would end. Where's the enjoyment? Because as this book was mostly set in Dallas (versus New York), I didn't get to spend time with my favourite (secondary) characters...who do seem to grow, although TBH does everyone have to get paired off? And I was glancing at my iPhone (post-shower now :) where a new Sterek fanfic was sitting I thought 'It's not worth it'. So I hearby officially quit the In Death series. And BTW the new Sterek fanfic is fantastically good - I'm so enjoying it - and I have a lot of great m/m books queued up to read next :)

So, I'm curious...what was the last series you quit and why?

24 January 2013

Snap Poll

Edited to add: I've gone with Color of Grace as I own it, but first some Sterek fanfic snuck in...quel surprise!

So....I'm almost at the end of my library book, which at 598 pages totally qualifies for The Big Book Challenge (except that it's not the book I said I'd read for the challenge - I'm so my own worst enemy :) Anyway, before I dive headlong into the next In Death book (where I'm hoping Roarke stops being Mr Perfect and actually isn't good at something - hey, dreams are free :) I'm going to sneak in an eBook...more about that later :)

Anyway....I can so rabbit trail...I've narrowed my next book down to two books ('cause the rest ain't published yet *grin*):

* Color of Grace (AM Arthur) [I keep wanting to put a 'u' in the title!]

* Too Stupid To Live (Anne Tenino)

So, which book should I read...

21 January 2013

Metal Heart (Meredith Shayne)

Metal Heart is the next book to be published by the lovely and very talented Meredith Shayne! Yes, I must admit that I'm probably the slightest bit biased as I am lucky enough to count Meredith as a friend, but putting that to one side I have been drooling over Metal Heart for a number of months and since it is to be released by Dreamspinner Press on 28 January I thought I would bring it to your attention:
Scott King swore off rock stardom after his band, King Phoenix, crashed and burned. Now in his forties, Scott lives a quiet life as a music producer and session guitarist. But in a box hidden in his wardrobe lie the relics of the past he left behind—a past filled with drugs, booze, and broken hearts. For sixteen years, Scott has had no contact with his former bandmates, so when he’s asked to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man, his world turns upside down. A King Phoenix reunion means a run-in with Scott’s ex, Ash Walker—and sixteen years ago, believing Ash wanted to leave the band, Scott OD’d and almost died.

Since then, Scott has ruthlessly suppressed his feelings. As a result, he's completely unprepared for the impact of seeing Ash again, or for dealing with his emotions about the band’s demise. He definitely didn’t expect Ash to want to start up where they left off. Now Scott has to decide between his safe existence and the twenty-year-old love song that could cost him his sobriety—and his heart.
And isn't the cover just gorgeous?

08 January 2013

Expectation

According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Expectation  • noun 1 a strong belief that something will happen or be the case: reality had not lived up to expectations [mass noun]: I sat down in expectation of a feast of nostalgia; a belief that someone will or should achieve something: students had high expectations for their future; (expectations) archaic one’s prospects of inheritance. 2 Mathematicsanother term for expected value.
 
So, there I was, reading a novella over breakfast, thinking to myself that I had a whole chapter to go until the end and wondering if I'd either be 1) late for work in an effort to finish it or 2) have to finish it over lunch (and, at the back of my mind unsure as to why I was only ~69% through the novella with only one chapter to go but figuring what did I know *grin*) when I saw those words that strikes fear into the heart of any reader who is enjoying a story and doesn’t want it to end: ‘About the Author’. WTF was pretty close to what came out of my mouth. Which translates into: 'And low and behold in the East the reader saw a sign…a sign of other books and the excerpts that surrounded them. And the reader was laid low with horror and grief. For indeed the novella had ended where those dreaded words had been laid, with the remaining almost ONE-THIRD of the novella filled with excerpts. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.'
I do believe there is a free short epilogue somewhere, but…seriously…the novella itself…the one that I bought…only made up two-thirds of the file? I kind of feel…cheated. Not cheated WRT price though - I purchased the book expecting a novella and that it was I received. And US$2.50 for ~16,000 words seems fair to me. It's more that I wasn't expecting the novella to finish where it did. Usually I get up to ~90% before the book ends. And...usually the chapters listed in the Contents relate to the story and not the additional extras....
 
So, have you ever had an eBook finish way before you expected it too, with the remainder of the file filled to overflowing with excerpts?

OT - it seems an English footballer has become only the third footballer to feature on the cover of the UK's bestselling gay magazine Attitude. And, well, yum!

04 January 2013

Vent

Note: I should probably have subtitled this post 'Rant', because that is probably what it will end up being. (No probably about it *grin*) And yes I should be posting about my reading year, but... *waves hands in no recognizable way whatsoever* this is my blog and I'll whine if I want too *grin* FYI - it's a general whine and not directed towards anyone or any site in particular :)

So...book releases. I always get really excited when I know a book I am craving is being released. And I race off to ARe with glee only to realize that the book isn't there *sad* Because for some reason an increasing number of eBooks seem to be released in what I can only describe as a 'limited fashion, and by limited I mean at the publisher's site. Oh, and at Amazon, which for some reason seems to be the exception to the rule. The print book equivalent would be to only sell from one chain of stores...or even from only one branch of one chain. Except it wouldn't happen. Can you imagine if Bloomsbury had done that with the last Harry Potter book? Or how about Little, Brown and Company with the last Twilight book? There would have been riots! So...why does it happen for eBooks? I'm sure there are valid reasons, but...the bottom line is I'm lazy. I don't want to have accounts with numerous publishers - I want to buy my books at one place. And at present that's ARe. Plus that big holiday thing *waves hand in air again* has just been. And because my friends know that one of few ways I can stop my brain from spinning off into anxiety central 24/7 is by reading they very kindly gave me ARe vouchers for...it. So...I have vouchers to spend. So...why would I want to spend money, which has be earmarked for other (house-like) things, on books when I have vouchers? And if it was just a few days then I'd probably be OK with that (although yes I will admit there would be some wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I'm only human), but last year I waited a month for a particular book to end up at ARe and I couldn't decide whether it was the publisher or ARe (or both) that had resulted in the delay. (I did consider [for a couple of seconds] whether it might have been the author, but then figured the author would just like their book available for purchase where possible.) I was lucky enough to complete an ARe survey last year and pointed out that my biggest issue was the delay, but I still don't know why there is a delay. So... *grump*

And then we come to anticipated publication dates. I get that most of the authors whose books I purchase are based in North America or Europe. And up there the seasons are upside down - LOL! But...I think I'd prefer then to use quarters when referring to the anticipated publication of their books rather than the seasons. Because...and yes I know the majority of their readers are in North American and Europe, but...it's a small world now and if they mention a release in say...fall 2013, then I have to first work out that fall means autumn and then work out what months that equates to (I usually have no idea - it differs depending on the country) to actually relate it to me. 'Cause seriously, when y'all freezing up there in winter and complaining about the snow I'm sitting in shorts and a t-shirt complaining about the humidity! So seasons are pointless! (FYI - I watched some college football [American Football] on that holiday I mentioned in said short and t-shirt and was amused to see it was snowing :) The world is so small and yet so big :) Anyway...this is one vote for quarters...or a range versus seasons :) Just sayin'!

OK, rant/vent...over. I know it's not all about me, but...it felt good to get that off my chest! So, what has you almost boiling over ATM?

02 January 2013

Books 2012: December Update

Total: 102 books (12 books in December: m/m [12 books]) [Although I think it should be 103 - I need to find a way of viewing my GoodReads list by year :)]

The 2012 M/M Romance Challenge total: 92 books (12 books in December) [COMPLETE!]

The 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge total: seven books [IN-COMPLETE :(]

The 2012 Big Book Challenge: IN-COMPLETE :(

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2010) can be found at GoodReads.

Favourite book in December?

* How to Raise an Honest Rabbit (Amy Lane)

Currently re-reading: Three Traders (Rolf & Ranger) [I can't get enough of the ranch, especially ATM]

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading in 2013? [This list grew when I wasn't looking!]

* Bad Attitude (KA Mitchell)

* Color of Grace (AM Arthur)

* Dirty Laundry (Heidi Cullinan)

* Laying Ghosts (James Buchanan) [So excited!!!]

* Not So Innocent (Dani Alexander)

* The Boy with the Painful Tattoo (Josh Lanyon)

* Too Stupid To Live (Anne Tenino)

* And more Sterek fanfic!

Wishing your a joyous 2013!

01 January 2013

The 2013 M/M Romance Challenge

Edited to add: a new button! Just for 2013! *beams*

Yes, it's baaaaaack! The M/M Romance Challenge for 2013 is here!


The rules are as follows:

1. This challenge is for those of you who enjoy reading M/M romances (i.e. novels and novellas where the main focus is a romantic relationship between male protagonists) or who might like to try the genre.

2. You can join at any time throughout the year and do not need a Blog, LiveJournal (or equivalent) to participate, just the ability to keep a list of books read.

3. The books don’t have to be selected ahead of time and can be utilized in multiple challenges.

4. The books can be in any format (e.g. audio books, eBooks, and print) [and includes comics and manga] and re-reads are welcome.

5. There are 9 reading levels to choose from:
- Read 1 M/M Romance (For those of you who would like to try the genre) [Any book suggestions from those of you well read in the genre would be welcome!]
- Read 5 M/M Romances
- Read 10 M/M Romances
- Read 20 M/M Romances
- Read 30 M/M Romances
- Read 40 M/M Romances
- Read 50 M/M Romances
- Read 100 M/M Romances
- Surprise me! (This is for those of you who probably read hundreds of M/M romances :)

6. Optional. If you’re not new to reading m/m romances, re-read your first ever m/m title. Do you feel differently about the book now than you did when you first read it? You could also aim to read a series, along a theme, or a book that you wouldn't otherwise read...

Please sign-up below:


To date I have read the following:
1. Custom Ride (KA Mitchell)
2. Inertia (Amelia C Gormley)
3. Custom Christmas (KA Mitchell)
4. Color of Grace (AM Arthur)
5. Laying Ghosts (James Buchanan)
6. DILF (twentysomething)
7. When One Door Opens (JD Ruskin)
8. Gravity's Got Nothing On You (zosofi)
9. Too Stupid To Live (Anne Tenino)
10. Collusion (Eden Winters)
11.