So Not Bookish: Firewatch, History Buffs and More.

Here comes a new series! So Not Bookish is a monthly post about all the things I’ve enjoyed that are not book related.

Movies

Deadpool

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Deadpool was easily my favorite movie of the month – it knew exactly what it was and was incredibly hilarious and fun to watch. Most of the time superhero films tend to be quite droll and uninspired, I can only really say the most recent X-Men film and Captain America: Winter Soldier are movies in this genre that I really enjoyed. So let’s add Deadpool to that already short list.


TV Shows

Broadchurch

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Broadchurch Season Two finally came to Netflix Australia, hooray! I loved this season despite the naysayers – it was broody, intense and depressing at times. The court scenes. The new mystery centralized around two young murdered girls. And of course the dynamic between Hardy and Miller – fantastic! If you are a sucker for crime dramas, particularly in small coastal towns – this is definitely the show for you.


Video Games

Firewatch

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This is a wonderful little narrative focused video game that moved me to tears. Here you play Henry, a fire lookout in the wildness of Wyoming, who during the course of the game uncovers clues about mysterious occurrences in the vicinity. His/Your only communication – a woman called Delilah based in another watch tower. I loved interacting with Delilah, the voice acting was spot on and the game looks so beautiful. If you are looking for a narrative based game, or want to try gaming for the first time I would really recommend Firewatch.


Youtube

History Buffs

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Thanks to the power of Reddit I’ve found a new favorite Youtube channel. History Buffs is essentially about dissecting historical films and whether the history presented in the film is up to scratch. These are incredibly high produced videos with awesome intros and that are funny, easy to watch and full of interesting facts about history. Now I really need to watch Waterloo!


So what were your favorite non-bookish favorites in February?

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February Reads | 2016

It looks like I’ve have a jam-packed ladies month this February, all female authors and a mix of fantasy, classics, historical fiction and a memoir. Not too bad, I say.

The Seven Sisters & The Storm Sister (Seven Sisters #1 & #2) by Lucinda Riley

Can I just say I have found a new favorite series? A mixture of historical fiction, mystery, romance – a series with women at the front and center and each book exploring a new destination…Brazil, Norway! The series starts off with the death of Pa Salt, the adoptive father of six women and the clues he leaves them regarding their heritage. Each book stars a new sister, but what I really enjoyed was the structure: half of the novel revolves around the sister and the other about her ancestor. For e.g Maia in the first book and a Brazilian socialite from the 1920s. I did enjoy the first book more but I’m beyond excited to continue the series with the third book that comes out later this year.

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser #1) by Meghan Ciana Doidge

This was a little bit of fluff I read for one of my bookclubs – a short, easy read about witches, vampires, werewolves and cupcakes! Basically it’s about a young woman called Jade, owner of a cupcake store, who becomes involved in a mystery concerning the brutal deaths of werewolves. I enjoyed it, but as the book develops you realize there particularly no meat to the characters or the story, which is a shame.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K Rowling

The only re-read of the month but an enjoyable one to say the least. Chamber of Secrets continues Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts, a story that involves spiders, weird Slytherin things and that funky Polyjuice potion! I preferred this to the first book, and the Oh Witch podcast (discusses the series in an academic way) was a great accompaniment to the book.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

I really wanted to love this. I adored the Jo Walton books (Among Others & The Just City) last year, and this book, a mesh of Regency flair and dragons sounded delightful. But I felt disconnected from the characters and the plot (too many perspectives!) and found it hard to visualize most things. I enjoyed the world building though but it wasn’t enough for me to truly enjoy it.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Ok, here comes the first Austen book I truly enjoyed. Pride and Prejudice was ok. Persuasion was ok. Mansfield Park was…Errgh, no. But I adored Sense and Sensibility and I think that was because I loved the characters. Elinor was complex and charming. Marianne was awesome – if a bit too much passionate. Colonel Brandon, oh how I love thee! Now I’m off to see if I enjoy Northanger Abbey and Emma just as much, hopefully!

The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

The Driver’s Seat is an interesting novella – weird, strange and a bit alarming. It’s sort of a mix of a backwards crime story and a distorted fairytale. Where we know quite early as what is going to happen, but also read with despair as we become increasingly aware of a woman’s journey to self annihilation – using the man as an object of destruction. This is a book to read in one sitting, to see that tension rises. And it definitely rises.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

The only book I’ve done a proper review of this month – one that I found funny, full of heart and relatable. See my review here.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Another Muriel Spark novel! I think I’ve found another author that I admire – which is awesome. And I think, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie might be my favorite of hers so far. It is about an unorthodox female teacher who has a special, and ultimately dangerous relationship with six of her students. I adored the character of Brodie, despite her very visible flaws – but she was complex, fun and now I can’t watch to see the film adaptation starring Maggie Smith.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

My only Australian novel of the month, which sadly left a lot to be desired. All the Birds, Singing is about a woman called Jake who lives in an old farmhouse on a British island. Something, someone is killing her sheep and she is tormented by her secret past. I found some parts of the book quite interesting – the broken timeline, the mystery behind the sheep killer, her relationship with Otto and the book was easy to read. But I found the ending dissatisfying and felt disconnected and bored by most of the characters. I wish I enjoyed it more – but honestly I didn’t.

Favorite book of the month: The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Stay up to date with what I’m reading and my ratings by following me on Goodreads.


So what were your favorite books that you read in February?

 

A Few Favourite Youtubers

So how do I like to spend my free time?

  • Read a book (I’m looking at you Sense and Sensibility).
  • Watch a TV Show on Netflix (Broadchurch, oh my!)
  • Listen to a podcast (Galactic Suburbia, all the wonderful examinations of pop culture).
  • And Youtube.

It’s not only a place for cat videos and children being dicks – but a place for discussion and adventure and a look into the exquisite nature of human lives.

And here are a few of the wonderful channels I love and adore and are addicted to:

Simon and Martina

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I’ve been following this Canadian couple for awhile now – their adventures in South Korea, their cute fuzzy pets called Spudgy and Meemers, a few KPOP videos here and there and their fun, wacky humour. This is a great channel for learning about the hotspots around South Korea, for food and travel. However they’ve just moved to Japan and I cannot wait to see more their content, particularly Martina revving up her Sailor Moon love.

Suggested videos: Gong Cha Bubble Tea | Korean Stereotypes on Foreigners | What to Do in Busan

Books and Quills

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For all the lover of books, books, books – that’s why you are here on this blog, right? Filmed by a lovely Dutch lady called Sanne who lives in London, this is a great place to drool over beautiful covers, envy her perfect eyeliner skills and get way too many book recommendations that you can handle.

Suggested videos: How Do Book Covers Work? | Room Tour | 5 Graphic Novel Reviews

tyrannosauruslexxx

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Are you looking for an awesome, witty human in your life? Well, Lex is it. She never fails to make me smile, laugh and completely agree with her sentiments. She tends to talk about a whole range of subjects: Vegans, Books, Feminism, Geekiness etc This is a great channel to subscribe to if you need a dose of sarcasm every now and again.

Suggested videos: Teen Cersei Lannister | What Your Favorite Tea Says About You | Dear Prince Harry

Good Game

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I don’t follow a lot of gaming channels – as I’m very selective. But if you are looking for gaming videos that are funny, to the point and so entertaining to watch – that you literally starve for them every day, this one I’d recommend. Good Game is the web show spin off to the popular Australian TV Show – frontlined by the ever charismatic Nichboy, who is so quotable that the community loves to make memes about him. Despite loving the TV Show, I’ve actually come to enjoy the webshow even more.

Suggested videos: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes| Rock Band 4 | Fallout 4 Character Creator


So what are your favourite youtube channels?

Notes on a Bookclub: Vaginal Fantasy

Today I want to talk to you about a wonderful little bookclub (open to all on Goodreads) called Vaginal Fantasy. The name is…a bit out there, but a great conversation starter if anyone asks me if I’m in any bookclubs. Ah, the face of abhorrence and surprise – brilliant!

I’ve been a member of this group since 2012, a group led by four awesome internet ladies: Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton. Each have a wicked sense of humor and a skill for discussing oily chests, tiny wine, descriptors for genitalia and relating this all back to Benedict Cumberbatch. Sort of.

If you haven’t guessed it already, the type of books the bookclub reads are generally within the speculative genre/mostly female-centric. Although this can bend a little bit – mostly for some really interesting picks.

I haven’t read all the books – some can be pretty terrible. There is one that comes to mind – Eternal Pleasure (dinosaur romance?!) But it’s incredibly fun to watch the hosts dissect and mock these particular picks.

Although the best part is discussing these books through local hangouts. I formed my main bookclub through the awesome Australians who attended the Vaginal Fantasy Google Hangouts.

Basically – I’m encouraging you to try it out! And I will do this by discussing some of my favorite books that have been picked.

Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach

This is the kind of book I found that a lot of people adored and so came to be addicted to the Paradox series. Fortune’s Pawn is an awesome space opera about a mercenary called Devi. It’s fast paced – rollicking with romance, adventure, humor, and weird space powers.

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

A big complex novel wide in scope and themes, The Lions of Al Rassan is that historical epic that is easy to drool over. Set in a country similar to medieval Spain – the novel is oozing with wonderful world building, characters and deadly politics. I also loved the fleshed out, awesome female characters in this.

Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Universe #1) by Jacqueline Carey

I feel like I need to read this novel again – I yearn for the beautiful, evocative descriptions of a world so dark and complex. If you are like me and love deeply political books with back stabbing and mystery – you’ll love this. And at the center, Kushiel the courtesan spy – a wonderful character through and through. I can understand why this novel is often touted as one of the best fantasy novels of all time.


Hope you enjoyed this post!

You can check Vaginal Fantasy out through these links:

Goodreads Group
Youtube Channel

 

 

 

A Few Favourite Australian Authors

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G’day all! Today is Australia Day – a day of which I’m celebrating by drinking French Earl Grey tea and day dreaming of being transported in time to Regency era England. /very. Australian. of. me/

So this post is being published to console the patriotism gods. Whom, I think would prefer me to be outside cooking snags and listening to Aka Daka. Erggh, no.

As this is sort of a book blog, I thought I might note a few of my favorite Australian authors and their books. None of which are set in Australia – sorry patriotism gods!

Jennifer Fallon – world building extraordinaire

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I have read 10 of this lady’s ever growing backlog of books, mainly because Fallon is wonderfully gifted at worldbuilding. From the Hythrun chronicles, a political family drama to The Tide Lords series, a somewhat weird but epic story about gods who love to get up to mischief.

Recommended starting point: Wolfblade (drama, politics, magic, gods).

Garth Nix – teen bookish heart throb

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Garth was one of those go to authors when I was in my teens. The Abhorsen series? Awesome! The Keys to the Kingdom? Fun! The Seventh tower? Cool! (Basically how I described things in my teens). 

Recommended starting point: Sabriel (magic, talking cats, terrifying deathly things).

Kate Forsyth – historical fiction eclair

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I’m kind of addicted to Kate Forsyth, an author who easily pulls out riveting historical dramas out of somewhere. Plus she blends two of my favorite things: fairytales and historical fiction. Rapunzel! The Grimm brothers! Beauty and the Beast! Oh my! She also has some fantasy series under her belt as well – which I definitely will be trying in 2016.

Recommended starting point: Bitter Greens (Rapunzel, a French novelist, witches, nuns).


Hope you enjoyed this post and happy reading!

 

 

 

Top 5 Books of 2015

Happy new year! I’m hoping you are enjoying it so far – with plenty of reading and culture consuming. Me? I’ve had a lazy start, but I’m trying a few new things: journaling, looking after a cat, trying those famous freakshakes…

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Mhmm, nutella…

But I think you are here for something different? Yes? Books. Books. Books. And the books I enjoyed in 2015.

I read a total of 110 books in 2015, a new best for me and one I will not be beating anytime soon. I read a nice mix – although there were a few too many duds. But I also found a few new favorites, ones that I’ll likely re read over and over again. Now let me show you:

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

It was nice returning to the kind of books I devoured as a teenager. Epic fantasy. Wonderful worldbuilding. Endearing characters. And a kind of magic I hadn’t encountered before: using metal as a conduit for different types of power.

Voyage of the Basilisk (Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan

This series only gets better and better. I love the character of Lady Trent, an adventurer navigating her way through Victorian- inspired society, studying dragons, encountering vastly different cultures and all sorts of mischief. Plus Voyage of the Basilisk was so epic and exhilarating – riding a…? I’ll let you figure out that one.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

I love Felicia Day. She is such a wonderful, funny person who I cannot help but watch all the content she creates. This is no different. This memoir follows her life towards becoming an actor, writer, producer, entrepreneur, internet idol and the list goes on and on and on. It made me laugh, but it also made me cry. And I heartily enjoyed the heck out of it.

The Just City by Jo Walton

It turns out I love fantasy novels about philosophy – especially if they are penned by Jo Walton. This is a wonderful novel about a Greek Goddess creating an ideal city that is governed by the notion of justness. And yet…The city isn’t entirely perfect. Also I freaking loved Socrates in this.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

A female pirate kidnapping a chef to cook her fabulous feasts? Yes please, sign me up! This is a brilliant, fun adventure novel with lovely characters and wonderful conversations over dinner. It made my heart swell with joy and I loved it so much, it was definitely my favorite novel of 2015.

So what were your favorite novels of 2015?

A Medley of Book Reviews

A thought popped into my head today: I haven’t written a review in awhile…

Which of course prompted me to check how many books I’ve read since my last review. 9. 9 wonderful, enlightening reviews that I’m sure all of you have been savoring to read.

Ahem… So I guess now is the time to do a roundup, with me snuggled under the covers of my bed with a laptop at hand and some fun tracks to listen to.

Let’s get started!

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Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1) by C.S Pacat

I love some court intrigue and bit of romance sprinkled on top – which is partly what this M/M fantasy novel is. Captive Prince is about a prince, who after his bastard brother takes over the throne – he is sent to a rival country as a slave to its own prince. Except no one there knows who he is…

If you are looking for novel with complex characters, chemistry and interesting world building – this is the one for you. It surprised me a bit by how much I enjoyed it.

I give it 3.5/5*

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Tower of Thorns (Blackthorn & Grimm #2) by Juliet Marillier.

Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and this novel doesn’t disappoint. This is the second novel in the Blackthorn and Grimm series about a snarky healer and her companion solving fantastical mysteries in a medieval Britain. And I’m so glad it didn’t suffer from second book-itis, it expands on the depth of the characters and the world in a brilliant way and main mystery was so interesting.

I give it 4.5/5*

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The Deep: Here Be Dragons by Tom Taylor

I picked this up on a whim whilst browsing the stalls at OZ Comic Con Sydney and I’m so glad I did. It’s a wonderful, fun adventure story about a mixed-race family discovering the secrets of the ocean. Also the art style is so bright and gorgeous!

I give it 4/5*

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Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

This is the kind of novel that produces more questions than answers – and I’m not sure if that is a bad thing. Annihilation is a slow burning novel about a group of four women on an expedition to discover a place called Area X. It’s very gothic weird, but the world building is interesting despite the lack of character development. That said, I’m still intrigued to read the second novel in the series.

I give it 3/5*

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The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

I really enjoyed this novel at the beginning – a fantasy novel about an female accountant taking on a revolution and empire. Wow. A novel with some really interesting world building at its core with complex characters with murky ambitions. I did drift off about half way through due to the hardcore politics and ever-increasing dark turns the plot took, which negatively affected my emotional investment in the characters. However I’m still thinking about it till today and that in my book is a good thing.

I give it 3.5/5*

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Gold Fame Citrus by Clare Vaye Watkins

Set in a future California where water has nearly run out, this is a beautifully written novel about a couple and a child surviving in this ugly scenario. In a way this novel felt very dream-like, and every line felt like it needed to be interpreted. Because of that I could admire the writing – but it left me rather detached to the characters.But overall I enjoyed it – the cult, the bleak descriptions, the mood that all the reasons why people would come to California (gold, fame and citrus) are rather obsolete now.

I give it 3/5*

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was fun, moving novel about fanfiction, university and growing up. I really enjoyed it, not only for how easy it was to read but also because it had depth to its characters and the issues that it dealt with. It really hit home and I kind of wish now that I had read it when I first started university.

I give it 4/5*

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A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

I think this is the first classic Australian novel that I’ve really enjoyed – partly due to the permeate melancholy found in Australian fiction. A Town Like Alice is a wonderful novel full of romance, intrigue, violence and fantastic descriptions. A tale of love and war, and an awesome heroine at the center who ‘get things done.’ I loved the parts set in the Malayan jungle during the war, and although the other parts were wonderful too (Australian outback) – it really made this novel shine.

I also may be biased as I used to live in Alice Springs…So yes, if you want to try some Australian fiction – this is the novel I would recommend.

I give it 4.5/5*

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Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal

Looking for a Austen-ite novel full of magic and romance? This is the novel for you. It really feels like a mix of Jane Austen’s novels and I powered through the audiobook (yes, the audiobook!) in a few days…I rarely finish an audiobook that quickly. I also loved the magic system – it really worked for the story (characters use glamour to change the appearances of things, make a room smell like lavender, to paint a mural etc). I don’t know what else to write, only that it was a fun novel and I enjoyed it.

I give it 4/5*