Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday Funnies: Don't Take Life Too Seriously

That's some nice troll work. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Review: Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Eve is an orphan living with her Grandpa Silas and best friend Lemon Fresh in a apocalyptic version of California (now separated from mainland USA and known as the dregs.) Grandpa doesn't have much money, he's dying of cancer but he has a knack for building robots and Eva has a knack for making them fight for money. One day, she encounters a lifelike, a robot that looks human. He recognises her, but the girl he recognises is named Ana and her and Eve's lives may be more entwined than what Eve realises ...

Lifel1k3 is an action packed adventure that is likely to appeal equally to male and female readers. Like all good novels of this type, there is a lot of blood, explosions and mutant children amid a vivid landscape of a world that is just like ours, only a zillion times worse. As the cover suggests, the whole thing is a little bit Mad Max, and a little bit X-Men. And a little bit of a whole lot of other things. In any case, the author knows his genre and his intent quite well and the whole thing is well done. I felt a bit lost in all the detail in places--the nasty nicknames the characters had for each other were amusing, but it was very easy to lose track of who was who. 


This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

The sixth and final novel in the Mortal Instruments series lives up to the momentum that was set early on in the series. This time around Shadowhunters (human's with angel blood,) Clary, Jace and their friends take on Sebastian in a deadly final showdown that happens inside a demon realm ... and the results are spectacular. 

This one was a fitting--and winning--conclusion to a series that had started to drag on a bit. Many of the problems with the previous two books are absent in this one and I felt that there was an improvement to the writing overall. (In all honesty, I think the events in books four and five could have been condensed down to one book.) Plotwise there are some interesting twists, and of course, Simon, a character who is as brave as he is under-appreciated by his so-called friends, sacrifices the most for the greater good. Without giving too much away, I do wonder if perhaps what Simon really gained toward the end was freedom. The novel also introduces a number of key characters from The Dark Artifices, another series featuring Shadowhunters penned by Cassandra Clare. (At present Clare has written three interconnected series, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifaces series. All feature Shadowhunters and are set in different eras and cities.)

It was also delightful to see Jocelyn get some closure after all that she had suffered.

A fitting conclusion. Recommended.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Happy Birthday Garfield!

Well, today is June 19 and as is traditional on this blog, I'm posting to wish Garfield the cat a very happy birthday. Of course, only a few people know why I do this every year, but for those who do know, it makes perfect sense. Anyway, this year, the Garfield comic strip, which debuted on June 19 1978 turns forty, making the tubby tabby forty years old. His owner, John, is probably in his seventies by now, but that's the magic of comics ... Garfield and Jon don't have to age in real time.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Review: If Kisses Cured Cancer by T.S. Hawken

If Kisses Cured Cancer is a breath of fresh air in a market over-saturated with stories of young love that tell the same story over and over again. Matt is twenty-five, working a job he hates and feeling a bit uninspired about life in general. Then one day at the supermarket he encounters Joy ... who is busy stealing other people's shopping trolleys. The pair make a connection and go on a series of unpredictable dates, all of which change each others lives for the better. Then Joy's past catches up with her, and it may just tear this pair of young lovers apart forever ...

Told from the perspective of Matt, this is a hilarious story of a young man whose unhappy life is slowly changed for the better by a combination of choice and circumstance. There are some truly laugh out loud moments--such as their trip to the fish and chip shop, or what they get up to at the airport (not what some readers may think.) There are some sound morals about changing the patterns in your life. Joy's story is, of course, quite heartbreaking, though she remains true to herself until the very end ...

An enjoyable read, sure to be loved by a variety of readers. Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018

Thank you to author T.S. Hawken for my copy of If Kisses Cured Cancer.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Review: Marge and the Secret Tunnel by Isla Fisher

Marge, that zany babysitter with rainbow hair and a penchant for not following the rules is back in three fun filled stories. As always, the most ordinary situations become something much better as babysitter Marge turns every day into an adventure for her two young charges, siblings Jake and Jemima Button. The first story is a love letter to Australia of sorts, with the trio making their way through a tunnel that Marge promises will lead to Australia. It doesn't, but Marge informs the children of many things about Australia as they make their way through the tunnel and out the other side, where Jemima makes a new friend her own age. Unlike some children's books that are published overseas that talk about Australia, this one has more of an authentic feel, thanks no doubt to the fact that the author grew up in Australia and started both her acting and writing careers here. In the next story, the trio have the kind of shopping trip that all kids secretly want, racing shopping trolleys and discovering what actually happens if you stay in the shopping centre after the dreaded closing time. Finally, we close off with a search for a missing kitten that has fun and unpredictable results.

As always with the Marge books, there is a lot of fun to be had. There is just enough to keep parents entertained, though emerging readers will be quite safe reading this on their own. The author provides some true laugh out loud moments (like Marge getting stuck in a fence whilst wearing a tutu,) and Eglantine Ceulemans illustrations provide an extra layer of fun. And speaking of, I don't think I've mentioned in one of my reviews of the books in this series, but I just love the little adventures that the mice seems to get up to in the corners of the illustrations. The writing itself is light, fluffy and most of all, fun.


Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday Funnies: Walt Disney Animation Studios' Steamboat Willie

Following on from last Friday ...