Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Night Killer by Beverly Connor

Forensic investigator Diane Fallon fights for her life in her eighth mystery.

Diane is driving through a downpour on a windy mountain road after picking up a set of rare Indian artifacts when a tree suddenly slams across the hood of her car, revealing a human skeleton in its hollow trunk.

As she starts to investigate, she's ambushed by a stranger and forced to run for her life. Stranded in the night with a killer, Diane must uncover a secret hidden away by time and distance-or she may not live to see another morning ...


Again, I enjoyed this one. I like the series but I suspect it is getting a little formulaic. Every one I read has the lead character ending up personally embroiled and attacked in some way ... which I suspect is not how it happens in real life at all, ever.

That said I still enjoy the characters and will keep reading.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Laziness

Ah, the weekend. I definitely need more of those. I am struggling to find the motivation to come to work these days ... at least I have another 2 4-day weeks in a row :D Yip we're going away this weekend with The High Life (who is out visiting from Bermuda) and his family.

This weekend was good. I definitely have lost interest in doing too much! So on Friday we did nothing: stayed in, ordered take-out (Nandos) and watched Birdman. I'd heard it was brilliant. It wasn't. It was boring. It felt like a Woody Allen movie ... something that was taking itself far too seriously but didn't really go anywhere. Yawn. Although these days that probably means it'll win a ton of awards. Michael Keaton also seemed to be playing a role written for Bill Murray.

Anyhoo. On Saturday we had a lazy morning and then headed to Smile to try it out (I was thinking of it as an alternative to Papachinos as a possible Baby Shower venue ... since it is new and has a pretty cool kiddies area). My meal was delish, but the service was pretty erratic. And the menu is fairly small. The play area looks like fun, but it wasn't easy to see from all the tables.

After that we did a few random errands that didn't really amount to much (nursery related). And then when we got home The Trucker mowed the lawn - the grass grows so fast in summer!

In the evening we headed to Col'Cacchio with friends for dinner. Wonderful evening.

On Sunday we woke up to a very overcast morning and took Pepper out to Walkhaven. Awe she absolutely loved it! And then we got the grocery shopping done and The Trucker went to play cricket while I relaxed for the afternoon. The lazy has set in big time! I am justifying it as there will not be much time for lazy in a few months!

Then when The Trucker got home he made us zucchini noodles with a tomato & bacon sauce. OMG. It was so good. We'd bought ourselves a julienne peeler in the morning's grocery shop ... we lucked out and found one at Verimark for a mere R20 (I thought they must've listed the price wrong!). All in all, a meal we will definitely be making again :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

27 weeks

So we had another scan on Wednesday :) All is going well. I feel like I should actually mention how awesome this whole pregnancy thing has been a bit here ... I feel like I'm only really saying anything when I have an occasional symptom / side effect.

So, in case you were wondering, it has been awesome. It is awesome. Not having had any nausea and even the few symptoms I've had haven't lasted very long. The sheer exhaustion only lasted about 2 weeks in the very beginning. I haven't had a sip of Gaviscon in ... okay I can't remember when I last did (I needed it for about a week on and off). I had that tendon pain for 24 hours. I had some lower back pain in early to mid December. And that, really, is that.

It's awesome being pregnant. Well, it feels the same as not being pregnant mostly. Aside from this huge bump ... which I LOVE. I know, how can you love a bump? It feels amazing. I have no idea why. But it is awesome to just stare at in the mirror and to rub (like a self soothing). It is quite something to celebrate being bigger. And I think it looks fantastic. Okay, so my boobs have not gotten any bigger ... which I was sorta hoping for, but hey, I haven't had to spend money on new underwear either :)

And, I can categorically say that it is so SO so much better now that she is kicking. I got a bit nervy there, worrying about it, but all that has stopped. She kicks fabulously and it is such fun. I find myself staying awake at night to "play" (feel) her. The Trucker has felt her quite a few times since ... although I think he is actually a bit bored with it now, haha.

So yeah, the latest scan wasn't anything very impressive. She is lying horizontally across my middle with her back/spine facing out ... hope she turns before our 4D scan at the end of January!

Her current estimated weight is a whopping (?) 914g ... apparently that puts her in the 40th percentile (or something). So yeah, from here it's mostly just packing on weight for her. Eep.

And then we made 5 gynae appointment bookings before we left o_0 It's kinda mind-boggling. We went from monthly ... now our next will be in 3 weeks, then every 2 weeks in February and every week from mid-March. Can not even begin to think how much that'll add up to o_0 $$$

And then she'll be here ... I've put in my intended maternity leave (assuming she's not too early). That was weird! Haha.

We're no closer on her name, although the giant sheet of paper on her bedroom door has quite a few ideas. We're still waiting on the shelves for the garage before we can start really clearing out her room (fingers crossed that will all come together in Feb!). We still want to meet with a Family Lawyer and update our wills. We've booked our Antenatal classes (we start in Feb). I think that's everything ... it's feeling a bit like it's really going to be a speedy downward slide from here. A little terrifying since this is such a nice phase. Haha.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

THEY'RE BAAAAACK.

Their first caper, The Spellman Files, was a New York Times bestseller and earned comparisons to the books of Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich. Now the Spellmans, a highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators, return in a sidesplittingly funny story of suspicion, surveillance, and surprise.

When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She's been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on a suspicious next door neighbor (suspect's name: John Brown), convinced he's up to no good - even if her parents (the management at Spellman Investigations) are not.

When the (displeased) management refuses to bail Izzy out, it is Morty, Izzy's octogenarian lawyer, who comes to her rescue. But before he can build a defense, he has to know the facts. Over weak coffee and diner sandwiches, Izzy unveils the whole truth and nothing but the truth - as only she, a thirty-year-old licensed professional, can.

When not compiling Suspicious Behavior Reports on all her family members, staking out her neighbor, or trying to keep her sister, Rae, from stalking her "best friend," Inspector Henry Stone, Izzy has been busy attempting to apprehend the copycat vandal whose attacks on Mrs. Chandler's holiday lawn tableaux perfectly and eerily match a series of crimes from 1991-92, when Izzy and her best friend, Petra, happened to be at their most rebellious and delinquent. As Curse of the Spellmans unfolds, it's clear that Morty may be on retainer, but Izzy is still very much on the case...er, cases - her own and that of every other Spellman family member.

(Re)meet the Spellmans, a family in which eavesdropping is a mandatory skill, locks are meant to be picked, past missteps are never forgotten, and blackmail is the preferred form of negotiation - all in the name of unconditional love.


Ah, just an awesome confirmation that I love this series and style. It's such a fun, easy and enjoyable read with great characters ... although the "twist" was very predictable (without detracting from the general enjoyment of the storytelling).

* These books are part of The Spellmans series: The Spellman Files (2007), Curse of the Spellmans (2008), Revenge of the Spellmans (2009), The Spellmans Strike Again (2010), Trail of the Spellmans (2012), The Last Word (2013)

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur: the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe's population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been - a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt.

This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world's greatest scientific minds - in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practised religions and Christianity is merely a historical footnote.

Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. Rewriting history and probing the most profound questions as only he can, Robinson shines his extraordinary light on the place of religion, culture, power, and even love on such an Earth. From the steppes of Asia to the shores of the Western Hemisphere, from the age of Akbar to the present and beyond, here is the stunning story of the creation of a new world.


So I *really* don't like to quit reading books half way thru. I knew this was a long one and was really looking forward to reading it. Such an interesting idea, what if history had veered off down a different path, one specifically affecting the continent I live on ...

I got about 16% of the way thru (according to my Kindle). And then I stopped. I just could not get into it. The style never felt easy. I almost gave up sooner, but I persevered, thinking it may come together. But it never clicked with me. I am glad that the last lines of each chapter eventually stopped telling me to read the next chapter (so weird!). And in the time I was reading there was only a vague hint of  the alternate history. And it seemed to hinge too much on the Buddhist concept of reincarnation ... the same people repeating in different story lines (I think I got to the 3rd mini story before giving up).

Nope. This one was not for me. I prefer to look forward to picking up my book for some absorbing escapism ... not tedious concentration (unless it is really interesting).

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to the five day weeks...

Shew. It is always surprising to me how quickly a holiday becomes a very distant memory when you get back into the routine of regular life. I know, this year is not really going to be the year for regular life in the grand scheme of things, but for now, it still is the same day-to-day back at work.

The weekend was mostly good. Aside from a very annoying and painful (and presumably) pregnancy side ,that I'll tell you about in the next preggie update, which lasted from Friday evening to Sunday morning. It did rather put a damper on my mood.

That was after The Trucker & I took Peps for her afternoon walk at Golden Harvest where something peculiar was on the go apparently (we didn't see anything but heard from other dog walkers as we arrived). And we heard a horror story of how one of the little old ladies I bump into while walking often had been attacked there on New Years Morning. Can't find news reports on either incident ... So now The Trucker won't let me walk Pepper there anymore :( Such a pity because she loves it so! It's the only place during the week I can take her and let her off her lead and really let her run around.

But the good things were a surprise dinner on Friday eve with the ex-Housemate (up for the weekend for a visit from Cape Town) and CollegeInstructor at Let's Meat. Very cool to catch up again :) I went for the Surf & Turf again but didn't think it was as good as the last time I had it ...

On Saturday, The Trucker and I got our grocery shopping out the way for the weekend. Because on Sunday he had 2 cricket games scheduled and I definitely had a do nothing day planned (recapture the holiday!)!



That was pretty exhausting and we napped when we got home. And then he woke me to go to a braai with friends. I was definitely feeling very grumpy-pants by this point, but it turned out to be a really nice afternoon/evening. Luckily it wasn't a late evening and we headed home around 19h30 and I climbed straight into the bath!

Luckily, when I woke up on Sunday morning I was feeling much better :) So I spent a very lazy morning at home reading and not getting out of bed till late and then just relocating to the garden. A leisurely breakfast at home. Eventually The Trucker came home at about 2pm (ish) and we had lunch. He was quite exhausted so we had a lazy afternoon and then watched American Sniper in the evening.

I dunno what I thought of the movie, really. The Trucker recently read the book, which is why he was super keen to see the movie. As war movies go, I think it's pretty good. I'm glad I don't have to deal with a partner going off to war. I think it must be very hard to deal with and understand what makes them keep going back when it seems obvious their loyalty should be to their family, but they feel a stronger sort of loyalty to protect their country. Nope, I don't really understand that at all.

I found the ending terribly sad as well. So unnecessary.

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