Friday, 31 January 2020

January: Month in Review

Is it wrong to salute the passing of January by waving the middle finger at it?
No? Good. Because January kinda sucked for me.
Work has been really tough, I've struggled with a CFS flair up, and I've not had anything going on at home to balance out the bad... Mostly because I've no bloody energy to do anything!
So, January can officially go do one and I'm glad it's over.

I'm determined that February is going to be a better month. 
I've set out a list of things I'd like to achieve this month and I'm hoping that my fatigue abates so I can actually achieve it!
Work is still going to be busy (it's just that time of year) but if I can get my energy level off the floor, I can handle it.

I'm structuring my monthly recaps a little bit differently this year so that they encompass more than just reading challenge progress but since I didn't really do much in January, there isn't much to recap!

In January, I read 10 books. 

My favourite book of the month was Druid Vices and A Vodka by Annette Marie but it was a super hard choice between that and Helen Hoang's The Bride Test (which was wonderful!).

I have various reading challenges this year and I'm happy with the progress I made towards them.

Audiobook Challenge is at 2/20

New Release Challenge is at 3/30

Beat The Backlist is at 5/80

Retellings Challenge 0/10

Bookish Resolution - Shut Up & Read It 1/16

Bookish Resolution - Nuke Netgalley (pt.1) 0/16

Bookish Resolution - Nuke Netgalley (pt.2) 1/21

Bookish Resolution - Read The Series 0/12
(No complete series but I started on reading The Mercy Thompson series so I'm happy!)

Outwith the first week of January (when I was still off work from Christmas), I haven't watched any movies. However! That first week of Jan, I watched all four Indiana Jones movies for the first time and I went to the cinema to see the Little Women movie which was lovely.


Tv watching was much more productive.
I finished the Big Bang Theory re-watch we'd embarked on at the end of last summer, and binge watched all four seasons of The Good Place.

We also started Good Omens and S2 of You (but I haven't finished either of those yet) and made a little more progress with Lucifer S3.

I posted 20 blog posts in January. 

In future, I'd hope in this section to pull out the posts I'm most proud of (like discussion posts or something) but January was a month of reviews with a couple memes thrown into the mix and nothing that particularly jumps out at me for sharing again... Maybe next month I'll finally write a discussion post and/or have some family adventures to share!


I think I'll remember January as the month of Vesta. 
The month may have sucked she has settled in beautifully and her personality is really shining through... She's a wonderful lapcat (and reading/computer companion) so she fits right in!

That's it from me. How was your January?

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #1)

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...


~ 289 pages.

First person, single pov.

No, book one in a series.


No, romance is very much on the down-low with this book but I fear one could develop in future books!

Werewolves, guns, knives, death and general crazy.

I read this book well over ten years ago, and although I don’t remember why, I didn’t like it.
Needless to say, I haven’t read another Mercy Thompson book since despite quite enjoying the sister series - Alpha and Omega.
Deciding to give the series another try was based upon the fact that my reading preferences have shifted a lot over the years and UF has become an enduring love of mine, so much so I’d say it’s probably my favourite genre. Back then, I was more of a paranormal romance lover and that probably explains a lot of my original problems with the book: It is not a romance. Not that UF should be a romance but the UF I read always has a strong romantic link - or great potential - otherwise it loses me quickly. I am what I am and I am a romance junkie.

Anyway, re-reading it was a gamble but seeing as I own up to book six already it seemed like a worthwhile thing to do.

And I’m glad I did! This time around, I really enjoyed the book. It’s nothing like I remember… Which is so odd! I usually have good recall of books I’ve read but with this one, even though I remembered key facts, the detail completely escaped me and the devil was in the details with this book.

Mercy is a shapeshifter. She’s fiercely independent, owns her own business and, for the most part, seems to mind her own business right up until a young werewolf turns up at her garage seeking cash-in-hand work. She helps him and inevitably gets sucked into his business thus introducing him to the local alpha - a sexy wolf named Adam - who just so happens to own the property next to hers and who seems to be a source of friendly irritation for Mercy. As it’s UF and nothing can ever be simple, bad things happen and Mercy is forced to return to the pack she grew up in - despite not being a werewolf - with a wounded Adam in tow and then gets further embroiled in werewolf politics and dastardly plots.

It was a lot of fun for despite being a shapeshifter, Mercy does not have ‘superpowers’. She isn’t super strong, she doesn’t heal super fast… She is human in those respects and very breakable. A very breakable human playing with ‘monsters’ who are very strong and can recover from pretty much fatal wounds and are incredibly volatile and violent… Not to mention exceedingly prone to the proverbial pissing contest.
As I said, it was fun.

The story moved smoothly, the world building was delivered in digestible chunks, the characters were all introduced in a way that told you they were important - either now or in the future - and nothing felt pointless. Every detail mattered, every character had their part to play and from reading the Alpha and Omega sister series, I was able to pick up on details directly linking into that storyline too which amused me greatly.

It’s clear from the events in Moon Called that Mercy’s time of avoiding the pack and living her life mostly outside of pack politics is over. She’s clearly back in the fold and she’s going to need all her wits about her to survive!

While romance is pretty much non-existent in this book, I have high hopes for Mercy and Adam hooking up in the future. They had nice chemistry and I’m rooting for them. However, if Mercy and Sam - the head honcho werewolf of North America’s son - hook up, I’m going to be ragey! His past with Mercy - i.e courting a 16 year old girl when he’s hundreds of years old! - was just too weird…

Anyway, if you like werewolves and shifters with a side of fae and vampires then you should give this series a try!

Nope! No cover love from me.
While I appreciate that they capture Mercy being a mechanic and her tattoo (because details are nice) the practical, kick-ass woman that she is deserves more than standing there with her tits half out. *shrugs*

“Hard truths can be dealt with, triumphed over, but lies will destroy your soul.”


“Dance when the moon sings, and don't cry about troubles that haven't yet come.”


Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Task It Tuesday: February's Goals

Beyond the bookish resolutions I set out at the beginning of January, I haven't decided on what else I want to achieve this year. 
The truth is, there is a lot I want to do and most of it would fall into the long term goals category. 
The only way to achieve the long term goals is by breaking them down into bite-sized chunks and that's fine... But it still leaves me feeling like I've achieved nothing when I look back on the year. 
(Plus, the big goals have a way of casting long shadows over all the little things that give you a buzz of achievement.)

That's why each month, I'm going to be taking part in Task It Tuesday. 
I'm going to use it to track all the things I want to achieve in a month regardless of whether they're mundane, ridiculous, or pretty damn important. 
It'll give me a reminder, every single month, to celebrate the little things and when I feel like I'm getting nowhere it'll give me something to look back on and think, "actually, I'm doing ok."

There are five key areas that tie into my goals: Home, Blogging, Family Adventures, Health and Finance. Each month, I plan to set goals out under these categories but the emphasis on each will vary month-to-month... Plus there will be some random ones that don't fall into any of the main categories.

February's goals!

Arrange a roof cavity inspection.
We got a letter in recently about fire cavity spaces in the attic not being up to code in some of the new build houses so they want to come and inspect each build and - if your house is affected - rectify. 
Finding time is tricky but not something to be ignored so I need it dealt with in Feb.

Arrange a boiler service.
Because we're grown ups and homeowners now and we need to do these things.
(I have to remind myself frequently of both those points.)
Plus, I like heating and hot water and don't like big repair bills so preventative maintenance all the way!

Start sowing February seeds.
Last summer, we started a vegetable garden and we're at that point of year where it's time to start sowing some of the crops! It's early in the season but if you want a steady harvest you need to space out the sowing of the seeds or they all come at once! (We learned this lesson last year. 😆)

Sort through the little dude's clothes and remove all the things that are too small & sell/donate.
The kid grows like a weed. 
Every time I do this, I feel like I've just done it! Grrr.

Yes, it's one word not a goal... But I have Instagram and barely use it! Which is frankly ridiculous because I'm a complete picture ho and photograph everything. 
So, I guess my goal is to post a minimum of three times a week and to post varied (and more bookish) content

Prep blog posts for the week ahead the weekend before.
It's simple, I don't have time during the week to write posts, read posts, return comments and do all the things I need to do to keep my house/family/life ticking over.
So, if it's not scheduled by the Sunday night before, it's not happening.
I'm hoping this gets me into a good blogging rhythm and helps balance things out.

Read (at least) two of the books on my Nuke Netgalley Challenge.
I have so many to choose from and get through before the year is out... I should be able to find a couple I'm in the mood for!

Visit at least one National Trust property. 
I paid for an annual membership last summer and we've not come remotely close to making it economically viable. Thus it's time to get our money's worth!

Visit the Fleet Aviation Museum
We bought tickets for this when they were half price last year but haven't redeemed them yet. If we don't do it soonish, they'll expire. 

Look into Penguin feeding at the oceanarium for the little dude's birthday.
He's obsessed with penguins and he wants to feed the penguins... Should be interesting since he doesn't even like feeding dry food to his hamsters! 😂

Lose 7lbs/half a stone/3kg (ish)
The weight I lost a year ago has crept back on. I'm grumpy that my jeans are pinchy. So, I'm going to get it off again. But, slowly... Because it's not a race and following a diet plan makes me evil.

Keep the family accounting up to date on a weekly basis. 
I'm a project manager! I love spreadsheets! But I'm completely hit and miss at tracking our household expenditure and because of that it turns into a laborious task at the end of the month and sucks up half a freaking day instead of being a quick and simple review job. 
An hour (or less) a week seems much better for my sanity... 

Pokemon Go: Evolve my Eevee into an Umbreon
(Yes, I play Pokemon Go and yes I have goals, lol.)


Tell me, what are your February tasks/goals you need to tick off your list?
Or are you a rebel with no to-do list?