Thursday, 31 October 2013

Review: Surrender by Donna Malane [Jan]


Diane Rowe finds missing people.  Usually she works for the police finding identities of bodies found in crime scenes or washed up on the beach.  Then her little sister, Niki, was murdered.  Diane focused on pushing the police to find the killer forcefully.  Too hard, as it lost her credibility as she put it above all other cases.  It also caused the breakup of her marriage, as finding Niki’s killer became her only thought.  Her policeman ex-husband quickly found a replacement.

Then the main suspect, Snow,, turns up dead, murdered the same way Niki was and in the same place.  The new case turns up evidence of Niki’s seedy past and Diane learns things she’d rather not know.  She embarks on a journey to uncover the killer of her sister, as the police case is finished now Snow is dead.  At the same time she has been asked by the police to find the identity of a 30 year old skeleton found in the bush, her chance at regaining credibility and more work.

This story had a strong plot, believable characters, quite a bit of action, and a strong heroine who could look after herself.  Oh, and a cute but tough dog.  I really enjoyed this book, I was kept intrigued by the unfolding of the story, and it offered up a few twists I didn’t see coming.  Set in New Zealand, it won the 2010 New Zealand Society of Authors – Pindar Publishing Prize and has some glimpses of the breathtaking beauty of the bush.  The cover has an instantly recognizable picture of the lights on Wellington’s waterfront.  Definitely a must read and I plan to read more of the Diane Rowe series.

I received my copy as a paperback from HarperCollins and it seems to only be printed in New Zealand.  There is a kindle edition on Amazon.

Title: Surrender
Author: Donna Malane
Published: HarperCollins, c2010
Series: Book 1 in Diane Rowe
Reviewer: Jan

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Queen Bey

Last week I was one of the 48,000 that went to Beyoncé's Mrs Carter World Tour at Vector arena. It was an amazing experience. I've been a huge fan of Beyoncé for a very long time and she had been at the top of my 'Artists I must see live' list just as long so seeing her last week was a dream come true. The show was incredible, as you would expect Bey completely killed it. Her show was so well thought out and top quality. Everything from her dancer's, the crew and her kick-ass all female band we're amazing and I almost feel as if you need to see the show more than once to truly appreciate it.

Check out some of our Beyoncé and Destiny's Child items below:



I Am - World Tour DVD

If you missed out on going to The Mrs Carter World Tour we have the live DVD of her I Am World Tour.This features one of my favourite things Bey has ever done: her mash-up of If I Were A Boy and Alanis Morissette's You Oughta Know. It's worth watching this just for that performance.


4

Hands down my favourite Beyoncé album. It features the Grammy winning song Love On Top and the iconic Run The World (Girls). If you have never seen what is possibly the best live performance in the world, check out this video of Bey performing Run The World at the Billboard Awards a couple years ago.

            
I'm never sure how many people realise what a great selection of sheet music Auckland Libraries has. We have both Beyoncé's sheet music and some Destiny's Child too so make sure you check those out.

#1's -Destiny's Child 

I couldn't do a post about Bey and not include something of Destiny's Child could I? I love D Child and I was so stoked when the had a mini reunion at the super bowl. We have all of their albums and their live DVD so make sure you rock out to Independent Woman sometime soon. That song is my jam.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Stalking the catalogue: Movie dinners - Reel recipes from your favourite films

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chanti."
- Sir Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

This isn't just any ordinary cookbook. Oh, no sir, it's not. In fact...

"Let us get one thing straight here: The delectable dishes celebrated in this book are not available at your local multiplex cinema concession stands. Gloopy nachos and fluffy hotdogs are not what this book is about. These lovingly made recipes are for those movie moments that made you look away from the popcorn bucket, and up at the big screen and think 'Ooh, I bet that tastes amazing.!'
 - Becky Thorn in Movie Dinners

Bridget Jones' Diary had blue soup. A Fish Called Wanda had fish ceviche. Diner had poutine. American Pie had apple pie. Blazing Saddle had rude baked beans. Sweeney Todd had meat pie. (In a word: UGH). Garfield had lasagna. Annie Hall had lobster. Fatal Attraction had rabbit stew. Lost? Thorn's Movie Dinners is a cookbook of the strangest kind in that it contains recipes from big screen movies. Is it just me, or does that seem like a win/win situation? Food. And drink. (Including a velvet hammer from Cocktail, although I'm not so in love with the idea of a chocolate martini or a 'a horse's neck,' WHAT EVEN IS THAT?). And film. And dessert. WIN. And yes, before you ask, you will find a recipe here for liver, fava beans (and a nice Chianti) because no self-respecting movie cookbook would be without it. (Although EWW I'm not eating it).

If strange cookbooks with a rather unusual theme are your kind of schtick, look no further than here. Allons-y.

Title: Movie dinners: Reel recipes from y our favourite films
Author: Becky Thorn
Publisher: London: Portico, 2010

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes



Claudia Morgan-Brown leads a privileged life in Edgbaston with her husband, James, and two stepsons.  Heavily pregnant, with a busy job and James at sea a lot, she needs help with the twins.  Their ad for a live in nanny is answered by Zoe, who has impeccable references and seems ideal.  Zoe has a secret though, and a deep desire for a baby of her own.

Lorraine Fisher is a Detective Sergeant currently hunting a killer who targets heavily pregnant women and cuts the baby from them.  She’s working with her husband Adam, another cop.  Their marriage is shaky and the gruesome crimes aren’t helping to restore it.

This is very well plotted and the characters come to life.  As the story unfolds you see how everything is interconnected and it s very clever.  There’s a real twist in the ending of this gripping thriller.  I was expecting one story and got another, better one.  I love being surprised at the ending as I did not expect how the story wound up.  The last line was chilling and I urge people to read it.  If you enjoy physiological thrillers and authors such as Tess Gerritson, Jilliane Hoffman, and Karin Slaughter, you’ll love this book.

Title: Until You're Mine
Author: Samantha Hayes
Publisher: Century, 2013
Reviewer: Jan

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban

I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban 

"When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price. When she was shot in the head at point blank range while riding the bus home from school, few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, and of Malala's parents' fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. It will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world." - (From the book jacket). 

I have so much respect for Malala and the work that she does so I can't wait to read this book! Nothing infuriates me more than women and other minorities being treated as second class citizens so I am truly grateful for the work that Malala and her family are doing. Malala is the ultimate bad-ass. 



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fangirls (And Boys) Unite: Armageddon Is Here

Just say the word Armageddon to any science fiction fan in New Zealand and Australia and they will know exactly what you are talking about.

The Armageddon Expo is the event that fans of all ages look forward and the ongoing success is all down to creator, founder and god-like organiser Bill Geradts who started Armageddon 18 years ago because he was (and is) a Doctor Who fan.

Talk about an awesome job, doing something you love and sharing it with others.

As usual the Auckland event is being held this weekend, because what is Labour Weekend without a little Armageddon.

Personally I can't wait.

It's a chance to see some of my favourite actors from my favourite shows; Ben Browder, Ben Browder, Ben Browder.  And yes I have a thing and and yes I'm really looking forward to seeing him and you would too if you had ever watched Farscape or Stargate SG-1.  It is also a chance to met up with some of my twitter like-minded friends; some for the first time - which is kind of nerve wracking and awesome.

Even more awesome is that Auckland Libraries will be having a booth at this year's event.  So if you happen to be there why not pop on in and check us out.  You can even borrow a book or graphic novel while you're there and we will also be live-tweeting the event.  Now how is that for service.

For those who can't attend why not check out some if not all of the following.

The Hobbit : an unexpected journey : chronicles : creatures & characters

The second Hobbit movie is due for release just in time for Christmas but until then why not check out the above title which looks at each of the characters in detail and is filled with a array of behind-the-scenes photos.

Farscape. [7], The war for the uncharted territories. Part one [graphic novel]

Someone did a Farscape comic?

How did I not know this?

Somehow I feel like I am letting down the entire fangirl community by not knowing about this sooner.  Still never mind I know now and am off busy placing holds on the entire series.

As you do.

Doctor who : the doctor's lives and times.

November the 23rd is the 50th anniversary of the very first broadcast of Doctor Who.

So of course it is only natural that you just have to check out as many books and comics on Doctor Who that you can possibly find.

Well it is if your me.

The legend of Korra.

If you haven't heard of this show then you soon will.  The Legend of Korra has been getting rave reviews since it started screening in the United States last year with accolades calling it the "smartest cartoon on TV" and representing "some of the highest quality fantasy".

Intrigued?

Once upon a time.

Imagine if fairy tales and fairy tale characters were real.  And imagine again these characters living amongst us with no memory of who they really are.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, then Once Upon A Time is the show for you.

It also features the wonderful Robert Carlyle which is reason enough to watch it.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Stalking the catalogue: Twitter wit

"Once again it occurs to me that you could kidnap anyone by standing confidently in an airport with a card with their name on it."
 - Neil Gaiman | @neilhimself

Sometimes, what happens on Twitter shouldn't stay on Twitter.

Warning: this title contains much hilarity!  Twitter is not for everyone.  I feel like that should go without saying...and yet I stated it anyway.  Just in case.  The good thing about this book is that you don't have to be a Twitter-user to understand the jokes.  If you like your humour in small doses (i.e. 140 characters or less) or have a goldfish attention span (much like me) then this is ideal.

Title: Twitter wit : brillance in 140 characters or less
Editor: Nick Douglas
Published: itbooks, c2009

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra [Jan]



In 2004 Chechnya was in the middle of a war with Russia for independence – and control of the oil supply.

After the Russians Feds come for Dokka in the middle of the night, his 8 yr old daughter Havaa hides to escape them.  Burning his home to the ground, they take him to the Landfill – a pace people don’t come back from.  His neighbour and friend Akhmid takes her to the only person he knows who might hide her, a doctor running the nearby hospital, Sonja.

Sonja left a fiancé and brilliant job in London to return to Chechnya. She’s searching for his sister Natasha, who disappeared from Chechnya after escaping a brothel in Italy.  Akhmid, a poorly trained doctor, bargains to help Sonja in the hospital if she helps to hide Havaa.  The Russian Feds are searching for her......

The story slowly unfolds, jumping from the present day to flashbacks explaining events leading up to now.  Each chapter is marked by the year and the story is told by different characters.  Glimpses of the future for random characters were also given.  The descriptions of living in a war zone are vivid and horrific; you can see the dust from the rubble and taste the desolation in the air.  The story fits together well and you eventually see how events intertwine.

I found this book slow at first and now know more about performing amputations than I want to.  The story was well written and compelling though; I had to read more to find out why.  I’m glad I did as most of the questions I had were answered.

Title: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Author: Anthony Marra
Published: Hogarth, c2013
Reviewer: Jan

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Organisation Porn

Does anyone else spend their evenings on Pinterest scrolling through the amazing home decor and home organising posts while a sense of calm falls upon them? No? Oh me either. I was asking on behalf of a friend. I don't ever do that, it would be weird...

Okay I lied. For me organising things is like crack to an addict. I crave it and if things are out of place it irritates me until I fix it. Everyone makes jokes about how I have OCD but I'm pretty sure I don't. I just like things a certain way and no I will not clean your house for you.

If you're like me then this post will be like porn for you, if not then stop judging me at get these books out. They're wonderful.

Organize your home

Home organization tips from the experts at Better Homes and Gardens. Most homeowners struggle to stay organized. "Stuff" accumulates quickly, and finding practical and efficient ways to store it — and the know-how to pare down possessions to those that are truly needed — can be tricky. Organize Your Home: Clutter Cures For Every Room is your comprehensive guide to getting—and staying—organized at home.

Packed with solutions for every room that any homeowner can put to use right away, Organize Your Home covers both sides of the organizing equation: the psychology of paring down possessions, reducing clutter, and staying organized as well as the nuts and bolts of finding the right bins, baskets, drawers, and more to store the items you do keep in attractive and efficient ways.

Organize for a fresh start : embrace your next chapter in life by Susan Fay West

Transform your home and your schedule so they perfectly meet your current needs and reflect who you are and what you value now. Changes and life transitions often leave people with unbalanced schedules and homes full of obsolete items. Certified Professional Organizer Susan Fay West shows you how to make room for your new interests and responsibilities while honoring your past.

Inside you'll find: Step-by-step advice for de-cluttering and reorganizing every room in the home, specific tips for where to start and how to stay motivated, reflective questions and exercises to help you make no-regrets decisions and time-management strategies to create and maintain a regular schedule. 

Organize your digital life : how to store your photographs, music, videos, and personal documents in a digital world by Aimee Baldridge 

Now that digital cameras and music players have become so incredibly widespread, a forest of sound and
imagery is blossoming in our homes. Weve got digital pictures in the camera, scans on the computer, JPEGS attached to e-mails, and tunes on tiny players. But theres also the old-fashioned stuff: photos in shoeboxes, videos in the attic, documents in desk drawers, songs on tape and vinyl. How do you transform all of these different elements into a convenient archive you can store in your computer, easily reach, and actually enjoy? This book delivers basic step-by-step instruction on streamlining and organizing your "digital life" so you can find what you need instantly and create presentations your friends and family will love. In addition, youll be amazed at the decrease in household clutter and paper waste. For everyone from teenagers who thrive on the technical to families with overflowing photo albums and seniors whod love to collate decades worth of letters and pictures this reader-friendly source has all the answers. These easy-to-follow solutions can truly enhance and simplify the hectic, over-saturated lives so many of us find ourselves leading today

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Stalking the catalogue: Beauty in decay II

"Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.”
- Iwan Goll

My iPhone is always a pocket away from a photo. I'm not even kidding. I mean, sure, I take photos of meals (because this is what Instagram is for, yes? What do you mean NO!), Mr3 and Mr9 doing cutesy things, books I'm reading, people doing THINGS and STUFF and, as ever, decay. That sounds odd but I find beauty and comfort in buildings/parks/grounds/objects that are old, unused, forgotten, and falling apart. If I had to pinpoint why, I think it'd be because they have character. They have a story. They have LIVED and been a part of lives. And half the attraction for me is making up a backstory for what that may have looked like.

Imagine my delight to find that New Orleans was a city full of exactly this on every street, at every corner, in every building (and person). I remember telling someone recently (sitting on a patio in Parkes, NSW as the sun set, surrounded by well-travelled and highly articulate people and feeling a little like Alice down the rabbit hole) that it was a city of "faded beauty." Beauty in Decay II captures all of those feels (even if it's not about New Orleans in particular) and, I think, expands on it a little. Chillery takes the time to dig a little into some of the places photographed and, every now and then, makes up little stories about what could have happened there. Maybe that makes me somewhat of a romantic. I can deal with that.

Title: Beauty in decay II
Author: Photography by RomanyWG and essays by Polly Chillery
Published: Carpet Bombing Culture, 2012

Stalking the catalogue: 500 ice creams

"I am thirty-two flavors and then some..."
- Ani DiFranco in the song 32 Flavors

When Ani DiFranco sang the lyric "I am thirty-two flavors and then some..." she was, I think, talking about beauty - how we ourselves define it, and how society defines it (not always in a way that's best or healthy or meaningful). It's my favourite DiFranco song AND YET I forever associate it with ice cream. Whenever I see ice cream, think about it, or hear people talking about it (which is often because those are the kinds of people I hang with), I immediately hear DiFranco in my head. (I've just realised I've spent forever and a day talking about DiFranco, and have yet to get to the point of this post: a book about ice cream).

Barker's book is about ice cream. Well, ice cream and ices, to be technical. So. Many. Flavours. New York cheesecake ice cream. Fudge brownie ice cream. Crunchy peanut butter ice cream. Blueberry muffin ice cream. Bitter chocolate gelato. Jasmine tea sorbet. Champagne cocktail sorbet. Lavender granita. Baked apple water ice. Banana custard ice cream. And I am going to TRY ALL OF THE THINGS. (Maybe not all, chocolate-dipped gelato pops look like hard work, and ricotta ice with roasted figs makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth).

I could go on. I won't. Barker's book doesn't give you one good reason to read it. It gives you 500 - and all of them as mouth-wateringly delicious as you'd expect them to be.

Be right back. Off to buy an ice cream maker.

Guess what we're doing this weekend?

Title: 500 ice creams: The only ice cream compendium you'll ever need
Author: Alex Barker
Published: New Holland, 2009

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Man Candy

Okay I admit it this is a post about raunchy books featuring hot guys on the covers - in other words man candy.  It may seem kinda shallow and even a little sexist, something of which I am neither, but enjoying a look at a hot guy (or girl) is something that we all do at times.

Personally what makes me go weak at the knees is a sexy voice, a bad boy attitude and good dose of seductive charm  - and yes I'm looking at you Mark Sheppard, Richard Armitage and and a few others I won't bother naming but who are all very much swoon worthy IMO.

My first hot guy crush was Andy Gibb.  I kid you not. What can I say. It was the 70's and I was only 8 at the time so my taste in guys was probably not the best.  Since then crushes have come and gone.  There was Leif Garrett (whatever happened to him... *goes off to check out online*... comes back horrified), John Taylor (still pretty hot), Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightly and so on

Crushes are fun and harmless and book publishers are certainly aware that a good looking guy on the cover can be a pretty good incitement so if you're looking for some eye candy why not check out some (if not all) of the following.

 Changing the game / Jaci Burton.

"Sports agent Liz Darnell will do anything to win back her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley. And Gavin's more than ready- especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain."

What can I say except the guy has a hot chest.

Sometimes it's nice to be shallow.

Mystery man / Kristen Ashley

"Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot and sexy... it's just a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night..."

A touch of mystery is always a good thing.  Pretty much all of my fictional crushes from Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice to Lucas North in Spooks had that air of mystery about them and just made them all the more enticing...

 All out of love : a cupid, texas novel / Lori Wilde

"Football star Pierce Hollister finds himself back home, running a ranch in Texas, wondering how it all went wrong. But one thing is right: Lace Bettingfield -trouble is, she won't even give him the time of day."

Cowboys are a thing. Especially when they wear a gun.  I love a man with a gun or a sword or any kind of weapon really.  Which is probably why I love shows like Justified (sign... Raylan Givens)

Tiger magic / Jennifer Ashley

"Carly thinks her life is complete--until her car breaks down on the side of the road and the only one around to help her is a wild-looking Shifter. When Tiger sees Carly he knows instantly he has found his mate. But, as Carly is drawn into his Shifter world, will she risk everything for love."

Shape shifters sounds so cool.  Especially if they can turn into tigers.

 Forever / Jacquelyn Frank

"Police officer Jackson Waverly cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses in Jackson is intense desire, a desire that could cost her her life."

Another bare chest, another shallow moment.  Cops can be pretty hot also.

Bound by night / Larissa Ione

"Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there's one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate the most: a vampire"

As you may know from a previous post (see Vampires and Bad Boys) I have a thing for vampires, especially bad boy vampires.

 Men out of uniform / Maya Banks

 "They may enforce the rules, but when men in uniform are off duty and under the covers, they're experts at breaking them. And in this anthology these men know all about breaking the rules and then some..."

Cops, Sheriff's, US Marshall's; there is just something about a man in a uniform and even more so when he is out of it...

Uncommon pleasure / Anne Calhoun

"Two tales of two women, each daring to challenge the boundaries of the toughest of men...But in these edgy, heated encounters, the greatest thing each woman will risk is her heart."

More men who spend more time out of uniform than in it and who know how to make a woman go weak at the knees...

Review: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern


Kitty Logan has made a huge mistake in her career as a journalist.  Now her mentor, Constance, lies dying of cancer.  She’s given Kitty a last story lead; a list of one hundred names.  Before Kitty can ask who the names are, Constance passes.  Kitty must figure out how the names are connected and write the story as a tribute to Constance.

Light, frothy, and fun to read, this book cheers you up while not being sickly.  There’s bad things happening but everything turns out right in the end.  There’s a positive theme throughout, with the message being one of hope and to follow your dreams.  There are multiple stories of people, and they’re all cleverly entwined at the ending.

The whole book there’s the undercurrent of the connection the names share and in the back of my mind I was trying to figure it out, while enjoying the story.  Then we were teased and told Kitty had figured it out and I still couldn’t find it, and can’t wait for it to be revealed.  Then the secret is uncovered and ‘of course!’  It’s perfect, very fitting with
who Constance was.  Read this, see if you can figure it out, but don’t forget to enjoy the story.

A really good book I hugely enjoyed and read in one sitting.  I just had to see what happened next!

Title: One Hundred Names
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Published: HarperCollins, 2012
Reviewer: Jan

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Pure Heroine by LORDE

We're number 1! We're number 1! We're number 1! Kiwis are doing it for themselves! Standing on their own two feet, ringing their own drum machines.

I'm a huge fan of Lorde and her brand spanking new album Pure Heroine is incredible! If you didn't catch the news headlines you may not know that Lorde's song Royals went to number 1 on Billboard Hot 100 making her the only Kiwi solo artist to do so.

We have her new album in the library and her Love Club EP so make sure you give them a listen. My favourite tracks are A World Alone, Glory and Gore and Tennis Court but the whole album is fantastic. It's hard to believe she's only 16 years old.

Check out her Singles Royals and Tennis Court below:

Royals


Tennis Court

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Walk like a zombie - special event!

To celebrate the launch of Blue, a debut zombie novel by Aucklander Brandy Wehinger, there'll be a zombie shamble down Queen Street.

I am not making this up.

Dress as a zombie or just walk like one from Britomart to the Auckland Central Library on Lorne St this Friday, October 11 at 12.30pm. The walk will be followed by a fun and *free* event at the library at 2pm, and you'll get to meet Brandy herself.

According to the publicity from Random House: "Blue is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans live in colonies high above the ground and have forgotten a lot of what pre-zombie life was like. For instance, there are no cell phones or internet etc.

The main character, Blue is a half-zombie, half-human. The Blue is an interesting state of being: somewhere between ‘normal' and a walking corpse. The Blue is mostly immortal, yet desperately alone.

Apocalypse, zombies, shopping malls – Blue has it all! Told by multiple narrators of different genders, ages and ideologies, it's both a gripping, visceral thriller and a philosophical and lyrical love story." (It's also supposed to be quite funny.)

Brandy works in appearance medicine (what is that exactly?) here in Auckland, although she originally hails from California, traditional home of the zombie apocalypse. She'll be happy to answer your questions at the event. It's one thing you might want to be caught dead at...

Meanwhile, whet your undead appetite with these recommendations:


and my personal favourite...




Saturday, 5 October 2013

Stalking the catalogue: Manga Mills & Boon

"She was a superbabe. Her longs were so long...I'd die for the chance to see her again."

We have Mills & Boon in Manga *blink blink* I'm late to this party. (My life story, I suspect), because they've been around for a while in Japan, already.

I remember watching Guilty Pleasures a couple of years ago, and hearing that such a thing existed but it went in one ear and out the other. And then yesterday I was stalking the catalogue (best job in the world, really) and came across The Forced Bride in eBook...and you know what happened then. That's right. I requested ALL OF THE THINGS *gulps*

So far we have 9 in total and you can find all of them listed here, and I'm going to read them all because CURIOSITY! It will not kill me as it did the cat. Maybe. This particular title pictured above? I chose it because Amelia is a 'typical bookworm librarian' who, by night, sneaks out of the house and works as a 'provocatively dressed waitress named Amber.' QUE? *suspicious look*

People read romance. Don't believe me? Consider this (Romance Writers of America romance reader statistics):

  • Women make up 91 percent of romance book buyers, and men make up 9 percent
  • The U.S. romance book buyer is most likely to be aged between 30 and 54 years
  • The greatest percentage of romance book buyers (39 percent) have an income between $50,000 and $99,900
  • According to RWA's 2011 Romance Book Consumer survey, slightly more than half of survey respondents live with a spouse or significant other
  • Forty-four percent of romance book buyers consider themselves "frequent readers" (read quite a few romances); 31 percent are "avid readers" (almost always reading a romance novel); and 25 percent are "occasional readers" (on and off, like when on vacation)
  • Readers have been reading romance for a long time: 41 percent of romance book buyers have been reading romance for 20 years or more
I read it for the happy ever after moment. I want one of those for everybody in the world. (Just not myself because eww feels).

Author: Sharon Sala
Illustrator: Mayu Takayama

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

I am the F word


I was reading an interview that Time Out New York did with Amy Poehler the other day and in it she said "I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5'2" or whatever". I consider myself a feminist in the same way. It's who I am. I don't remember ever choosing to be a feminist but the belief in equality and recognising the strength in women has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. 

I have been a feminist even before I knew what one was. As a kid I wanted to be a plumber just because my big brother told me I couldn't be one because I was a girl. When I was about 13 I took wood work at school in a misguided attempt to never have to rely on a man to build or fix something for me (also I was good at it and it was easy marks). I  have been subconsciously buying my friend's daughter the brown haired, skateboarding Barbies for the past few years.

To clarify, I don't hate men or burn my bras (like I would anyway, bras are expensive!) the fact that I can make a dovetail joint with the best of them does not mean that I am not feminine. We need to stop expecting people to fit inside our own expectations of what we think a man or a woman should behave like. For me being a feminist isn't about making women stronger. Women are already strong, its about getting society to recognise that strength and allowing woman to thrive in equal opportunity.

There have been so many different things that as a woman I have found empowering in my life and most have them aren't in your face blatant feminist works. They're Loretta Lynn songs and YA books. I thought I would share a few of the things that have, and continue to, inspire me in my quest for equality.

Sex and the City

Say what you want about this show but to me it is so refreshing to have a show about 4 women who are well thought out 'real' characters who are successful in their work and aren't either portrayed as high-powered bitches or haggard mothers trying (and failing) to 'have it all'.

Lean In Women, work and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg
"Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential."
I listened to the audiobook of Lean In and really enjoyed it. This book wont be for everyone but I enjoyed extracting the bits of it felt I could use and applying them to my own situation. Sheryl is a wealth of knowledge so any woman looking to get ahead career wise or any man looking to understand better how to work with women should read this.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler 

It is no secret that I love these two women. Amy Poehler's Smart Girls is a new love of mine that I wont talk about it too much as I talked about it in my last blog but it's excellent and you should check it out.  Tina Fey's Bossy pant's is my favourite book and contains a chapter called 'I don't care if you like it: one in a series of love letters to Amy Poehler' This chapter contains one of my personal mantras so I thought I would share and bit of it with you:


"Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.” 
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t f***ing care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit. (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them. Insert penis joke here.) 
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted and she did not f***ing care if you liked it."
Ellie Linton, Hermione Granger

The Tomorrow When The World Began and Harry Potter series are my childhood. To this day Ellie Linton from TWTWB is my literary hero. She's strong, independent, stubborn, loyal and uncertain of herself in a way that I couldn't help but relate to. Hermione is nothing like Ellie but I love her just as much. In the Harry Potter series she isn't the love interest, or the token female. She is the brains of the operation and the boys wouldn't have survived without her. These young women are a force to be reckoned with and I love it.

So these are my views and opinions unfiltered. Feel free to comment and ask questions if you want to but in the words of Amy Poehler - I don't f***king care if you like it!