Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 Happiness Jar Review


Just been reviewing the Happiness Jar (only officially did it Jan- Apr) and 2013 was the year of:

Harry Potter – and consisted of a:
Full re-read of all seven books
Movie Marathon themed weekend inc travelling by floo powder, homemade Butterbeer and all eight films. Even sleep was had.
Dressing up in Robes for World Book Day at work (for an hour)
LeakyCon inc Starkid, Wizard Rock concerts – Alex Carpenter, Whomping Willows, Lauren Fairweather, Hank Green and Harry and the Potters melted us.
Another two studio tour visits – one included snow.
Seeing Daniel Radcliffe in the Cripple of Inishmaan
Joining HOL virtual Hogwarts. Resorted into Hufflepuff. Taking classes.
Starting HPA Chapter – Phoenix Rising and helping Hope for Food as our first activity.
Getting Dumbledore’s (The Elder) wand for Xmas.

2013 was Potterific but here are some more highlights.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale – “You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everyone else be who they are. Differences are a good thing.” (Also got to go to my first blogger event and meet Holly who got eaten by a chair!).

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – “As a writer if you took away my paper I would write on my heart. If you took away my ink I would write on the wind…It wouldn’t be an ideal way to work!! (Need to get this into my PhD).

Kirigami – Clarissa I never did make an origami nappy like Miranda.

1970s Turmeric!!!

Failing miserably and entertainingly at Laser Quest with Cas.

Moving back on the chair rather than moving the chair back (and other hilarious haircut adventures).

The fun and giggles while making up a very special gift package. OTGeeks!

Attending and Presenting at Conferences:
Narrative Day
Auto/biography Barcelona
Occupational Science in Cork

Cupcake decorating
Oil painting
Driving challenge – lots of new vehicles

Musicals – top of the bill Matilda

Reading and achieving my reading challenge to read 52 books (I managed a few more too).
“We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.”

Winning NaNoWriMo for the second time and finishing a whole 0.5 draft (i.e. needs editing and additing but the story’s all there) of Tetrana.

Lots of my happy memories revolve around family (especially spending time with my sister) and friends (both bestie school chums and online geeks) so thanks to you all for the happy moments of 2013.

It was also a very sad time because it was the year I lost my Taidy. But I hope my sister and I did him proud by reading a piece for him at his funeral. He is still missed.

What were your happiest memories of 2013?

Plan to think a little more about what I want from 2014 – post to follow at the weekend.


2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Shards and Ashes (Various Authors) – Book Review


Overall rating 4/5 stars

A mixed collection of dystopian stories that started and ended really well. A couple were too confusing or didn’t give me a real sense of motivation or purpose but others were beautifully nuanced, scary or intriguing. One or two I’d love to see developed into longer pieces, a number would be great as episodes of a Shards and Ashes TV series.
I commented on each story as I finished it but here are my mini reviews.

Hearken by Veronica Roth’s – 5/5 stars

This was a beautiful tale of Darya who learns she has the potential to be a Hearkener, someone who can hear people’s life or death songs. This has potential to be a much longer story but shares a message in itself for us to listen to each other. To look beyond the surface. Highly recommended

Branded by Kelley Armstrong – 3.5/5 stars

I liked the voice of the protagonist Rayne and the story/world building of the fortress community. The second part of the story almost felt rushed and I just didn’t completely feel that it was satisfactorily explained. The conclusion would have been good had I felt able to understand motivation a little clearer.

A Necklace of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl 4/5 stars

This was a clever tale that kept me guessing about this world of necklaces and drops. I loved the title. I struggled to care immediately for the first character we met but cared about his sister. The idea of living without living was one people can connect with.
I wanted a slightly clearer explanation of the world though. It was there but I still didn’t quite grasp it.
The repetition at the end was both frustrating and poetic. It didn’t quite end in the right place and the final point of view distanced me. I wanted a little bit more from Jai’s perspective.

Dogsbody by Rachel Caine – 5/5 stars

Excellent story, great pace, a protagonist you are rooting for from the off. Revenge planned meticulously over years. Of course nothing ever goes to plan.

Pale Rider by Nancy Holder – 1.5/5 stars

Unfortunately I just didn’t connect with this one. The beginning was interesting, a character called Dana being very excited about finding some batteries. Had the story stuck to a dystopia and explored this more I think I would have preferred it. Instead it went into fantasy right that the end with a lot of telling not showing. I was left very confused.
Realised I have read Nancy before, she wrote some of the Buffy TV tie-ins.

Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr – 3/5 stars

I’d have liked a little more meat on the bones of this one (pun intended). Liked the two main characters. Interesting story of a god/monster coming to earth and humans ending up as corpse stew. Harm and Chris are fighting back. Wasn’t that keen on the ending. As a longer piece I think this could be much better.

Burn 3 by Kami Garcia – 5/5 stars

Phoenix and her sister Sky live in Burn 3, that used to be New York before the holes in the ozone sent the sun out of control. Children are vanishing and, when Sky is taken, Phoenix heads into the Abyss and finds an unlikely ally in a one eyed crazy man who thinks the Skinners have Sky. This was an excellent short, just the right amount of world-building and tension.

Love is a Choice by Beth Revis – 5/5 stars

Set on a spaceship, a young man hides from Eldest, the ruler who drugs everyone on board to prevent a mutiny. With help from Mag, a girl who had taken her grandfather’s place as the Recorder (librarian of sorts) they plot how to overthrow Eldest. I believe this is set in an existing world and you could tell, although this story did stand alone. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but certainly explained the title. Going to hunt out this author’s work now.

Miasma by Carrie Ryan – 5/5 stars

Love the word Miasma and I also loved this story. Almost a mythical Fairytale nightmare rather than dystopian. Beaked doctors and ferret like plague eaters with forked tongues. Reminded me a little of the Buffy episode Hush. A girl struggles to keep her sister’s illness hidden by stealing Rose petals from the gardens of the rich.

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