Friday, 29 June 2012

Five On Friday #6 (MORE (!) Recent Reading)

Well regular readers will have noticed the complete lack of scrapping here following my operation.  My elbow flared up a bit as I was doing too much, despite doing less than normal and so scrapping has had to take a definite back seat.  Even surfing has to be done in short sessions - hence the limited commenting I've been doing - sorry!  Turning the pages of a book does seem to be within the limits of my abilities so here are another 5 of this month's novels:

Next - Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton's "Next" was a very thought-provoking novel about the consequences of patenting genes.  Lots of scientific research and data is put into context as the fall-out from scientists cutting corners, judges making ill-informed decisions and company CEOs putting profits before people all hits home.  A thrilling and unfortunately all too believable read.

"Hornet's Nest" by Patricia Cornwell - I have to say I prefer her Kay Scarpetta series, this was a bit 2 dimensional and completely unbelievable in places.  I know most police thrillers generally get their man (or woman) at the end, but it helps if you care about the characters doing the chasing or getting killed and dislike the perpetrators or their motives ... not the case here I'm afraid.

Mockinjay - Suzanne Collins
The third of the Hunger Games books, "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins was better; I enjoyed a look at life outside Panem but felt that the storming of the Capitol was overly long and complicated.  Still not as gripping as the first book but plenty to keep the pages turning.

I then raided the local library to get more supplies: Having tried out Ian M. Banks at the beginning of the month, I thought I'd better read one of his non-sci-fi books, written without the middle initial, and picked out "The Wasp Factory".  What a twisted and complicated book - various shades of madness in the main characters, murky secrets, jaw-dropping, eye-watering violence - fabulously written, drip-feeding clues that gradually make some sense, culminating in a shocking twist in the final chapter.  Definitely a good read, but not for the faint-hearted!

Cold Earth - Sarah Moss
"Cold Earth" by Sarah Moss was very interesting - six people working on an archaeological dig in an isolated corner of Greenland, coping with inner (and outer?) demons as a flu pandemic sweeps across the rest of the world.  Beautifully written final(?) journal entries/letters from each of the characters tell the tale - I can imagine this being a very spooky and atmospheric film.

Do you enjoy films of books?  Do films of books make you want to check out the book too?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Things To Do

Summer's here - and for once it is sunny with blue skies, white fluffy clouds and a gentle, warm breeze!  Child No.3 had her last exam yesterday and we can all now relax for ten days until No.1 Son's results are known!

Photo - Paeony June 2012
I wish my blog had smell-o-vision so that I could share this paeony properly!
There's plenty to do though - gardening while the weather permits, de-cluttering in advance of No.1 Son's return with ALL his "stuff" after four years away - eek!!! - and several interesting crafty things to occupy me.

First off there's Rinda's Summer Scavenger Hunt which starts today.  I looked on in awe and envy last year while blog friends collected a diverse and eclectic series of photos during the summer months.  This year I shall be having a go too :o)

Then this weekend there's a Cyber Crop at one of my favourite on-line scrappy shops, A Trip Down Memory Lane.  There are already class lists and a timetable posted but the fun starts in earnest on Friday night here on their blog.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the following weekend there's also a fun-looking event planned over at Jennifer's Jumbles which will help me get organised.

I had to take a break from the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog this month due to my operation, but I'll be back in action with July's kit soon.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Five On Friday #5 (Recent Reading)

Whenever a book grips me I find it hard to put it down and get on with housework, cooking, gardening or other commitments.  TV programmes get ignored; I disappear to bed very early for undisturbed chapters; rainy weather is welcomed!!!

So, thanks to my enforced inactivity following my surgery and the recent rainy weather, I have been reading ... A LOT!

Ian M. Banks Player of Games WBN 2012 Edition Bookcover
I took "The Player of Games" by Ian M. Banks with me into hospital to while away the time, but despite having a 7½ hour wait I couldn't concentrate enough to read more than a chapter or two.  I didn't know what to expect when I received it and was dismayed to realise it was Science Fiction of the most complicated and scientific sort!  {Think "Dune" on a cocktail of steroids and Omega 3}  This type of book requires  a large investment of time to get in tune with - you have to cope with long, unpronounceable names for characters and locations (e.g. "Mawhrin-Skel", "Meristinoux"); you have to accept that robots have independent personalities and thought, that science has progressed to allow people to regrow body parts, change sex on a whim, and live for hundreds of years - which means that they have a LOT of time for sitting around philosophising!  On top of all of this there were cons and double-bluffs within the story so some of the characters were nearly as confused as I was.  I didn't like the rather selfish, self-centred main protagonist, "Chiark-Gevantsa Jernau Morat Gurgeh dam Hassease", and despite rooting for him in his adventures within a distant barbaric civilisation during the final ⅓ of the book, I don't think I'll be looking out for any of his further exploits or indeed any more Culture novels by Ian M. Banks

John Grisham The Rainmaker Bookcover
My next book choice needed to be more accessible and less of a struggle so I raided our bookcase at home thinking that I'd re-read something, but it turned out that Hubby has quite a stack of books that I've missed over the years.  I started with "The Rainmaker" by John Grisham who didn't disappoint with this story of litigation in America.  The main and supporting characters were well fleshed out, the pace kept the pages turning and the corporate baddies were suitably unpleasant.  I had to Google the reason behind the title though - apparently a rainmaker is a lawyer good at drumming up new business for the firm.

Next came "Blind Instinct" by Robert W. Walker.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!  This book should be held up as a lesson to all authors not to set their novels in a foreign country without having spent a reasonable amount of time there.  Walker has the decency to acknowledge the help he got from "British English From A to Zed" but it would have been better if, rather than add a phrase from every page, he'd watched some modern British TV programs if he was too lazy to come and research in person.   British men in the year 2000 do not invite ladies to "alight" from a taxi no matter how gentlemanly they are and I can honestly say that I have never, ever heard anyone say ""Something is afoot!" outside of period dramas such as "Downton Abbey" or "Miss Marple".  We might have avoided taking the Lord's name in vain back in the day of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Poppins, but believe me, there are plenty of Brits that use far stronger words than "Gor Blimey" and "bloody" even as long ago as the turn of the Millennium!  Our own police are rarely armed and so I find it highly unlikely that a visiting FBI medical examiner would be allowed to even bring her gun into the UK, let alone walk around London with it in her handbag!  I could go on ... the plot resembles a string vest ... this book is so bad that it is now in the recycling!

Jim Kelley The Fire Baby BookcoverAfter that disaster, it was with some trepidation that I picked the next book from Hubby's section of the bookcase.  "The Fire Baby" by Jim Kelly.  Reading the cover synopsis I was expecting a supernatural tale of some sort but was pleasantly surprised to find a "normal" mystery story intertwined with a journalist, Philip Dryden, getting mixed up with illegal immigrants in East Anglia.  A book set in Britain written by a Brit!  There were lots of twists and turns, and while the characters often got themselves into scrapes (where would the story be if they didn't?) it was a darn sight more readable than my previous book.  This was the second in a series ... I think I'll seek out "The Water Clock" in which Dryden's adventures begin.

Suzanne Collins Catching Fire Bookcover
My fifth book in a fortnight was Suzanne Collins' second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, "Catching Fire".  This was as un-put-downable as the original story.  We're introduced to more of the Districts surrounding the Capitol as Katniss & Peeta tour in the run-up to the 75th Hunger Games.  The evil, scheming President Snow has threatened Katniss' family and friends if she doesn't do her best to suppress the stirrings of rebellion ... A great page-turner with lots of action, ethical dilemmas for the character, interesting settings ...
I've already started on "Mockingjay"!

What are you reading right now?  Ever felt a book should never have been published?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Ten on the Tenth: Toes

Child No.3 was given a nail art kit for Christmas and had some fun trying out lots of different effects for a previous Ten On The Tenth.  The kit gets taken to sleepovers and she has fun with her friends' nails as well.  This morning she proudly showed me the latest art work:

Various national flags on her toes!  Of course they only look right when seen from her perspective, but I amazed that she attempted anything other than stripes!!

6.Great Britain

And on Child No.3's hands?

Well that's ten different toes and ten different fingers - if you want ten of anything else you'd better pop over to Shimelle's place right here.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Happy Mail #3 & A Winner

Thank you Blogger for publishing the posts I'd scheduled since May 28th - the day of my surgery.  They ran out rather quicker than I expected ... or perhaps I took longer to feel up to blogging again?

My surgery went without incident ... other than waiting 7½ hours before being wheeled into theatre ... my recovery (so far) has been pretty painless and I've been dutifully doing my physio exercises and taking things very easy (no driving, no lifting).  I'd had a trapped nerve in my elbow which was causing pins-and-needles-like numbness in some of my fingers.  Nerves take a long while to recover so it may be some time before I know whether the operation was successful ... things certainly haven't got any worse which I'm sure is a good sign!

While I'm still not up to spending much time at the computer, I couldn't let today pass without shouting out a huge


to Alison who really brought a smile to my face when the postman popped a lovely envelope through my letter box.  In the envelope were a gorgeous hand made card, filled with kind words, and some lovely goodies to enjoy once I get scrapping again.

Happy mail with scrappy goodies

You made my day week Alison

And, hoping to do the same for somebody else, I remembered that I was overdue making a draw for my {Inter-}National Scrapbooking Day challenge to make something using up left over alphas ... if you linked back to my blog you doubled your chances of winning a small prize. did the work and .... 
JJABauer was the winner - the goodies will be on their way as soon as you let me know your address.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sunday Jubilations

Welcome to another Sunday Story (part of Siân's Storytelling Sundays).  This weekend the UK is celebrating 60 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth which got me thinking about our celebrations ten years ago.  We closed off the centre of our housing estate, bought balloons and bunting, borrowed tables and chairs, hired a bouncy castle, baked cakes, organised games and dressed in patriotic colours and had a simply brilliant time ... until the hail storm!!!

Sheltering from the hail - Golden Jubilee 2002
No.2 Son under our table - more waterproof than the parasol!
We Brits rely on our weather being unreliable, so we  found shelter where we could and waited for the clouds to pass.

Enjoying the hail - Golden Jubilee 2002
Child No.3 had a ball!
I've scrapped a selection of our Golden Jubilee photos over at Julie's blog as part of her continuing exploration of the alphabet - I did "J" for Jubilee & Union Jack.  Unfortunately there won't be an equivalent Diamond Jubilee page; nobody made the first move to put together a local street party committee; perhaps it's because the majority of children on our estate are all 10 years older and no longer interested in flag waving and sack races; perhaps those of us that helped last time felt someone else should take a turn?  We'll have to make do with the general village celebrations ... let's hope the weather is kinder this time!

Are you celebrating? Do you have a story to tell?  Why not share it with Siân?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Jemma's Joining Julie!

Today I'm guesting over at Julie's blog Letting The Days Roll By.  Julie was on the DT at the Scrapbookers Anonymous blog, where they had started an A-Z challenge.  Sadly the SA blog closed a couple of months ago, but Julie is continuing the A-Z in their absence.  She's done "I" and I'm doing "J".  Please pop over and take a look at what I've been making and perhaps even join in yourself!

Portobello Road Sun detail Party Jubilations Layout - Jimjams