Tag Archives: Alt-text included

Monthly Forecast: October 2017

Image Description: a picture of cherry-blossom tree. It's a close-up picture of the branches so that you can see numerous tiny bright-pink flowers blossoming all along the branches.

In the Southern Hemisphere, October is the time of Spring, hence the flowers (no, I am not bitter how purely American things such as pumpkin spice lattes are dominating social media, what makes you think that?). For this month, my October Reading List is more spooky themed than floral themed, however, I have made sure to include some Australian Women Writers in this list (I’m doing a terrible job on the AWWC this year, oh well *shrugs*).

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge:
Image Description: book cover of The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer. The background has a large stone cross and a graveyard. The foreground is a close-up picture of the back of a pale-skinned brunette woman wearing a black Victorian-style bodice dress, around her wrist is a latern with a skull inside it, the eyes of the skulls are green and glowing. There is a green tint across the cover.
~The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer (The Ministry of Curiousity #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book-cover of Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn. The cover image is colour scheme is dark-tinted, it features a pale-skinned young lady with blonde hair, she's wearing a black dress with white polka-dots, and she's sitting on a carousel-style blue horse.
~Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn (Dark Carousel #2)
Available for Purchase: Amazon

RMFAO Genre Challenge – Horror:
Image Description: book cover of Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. In the foreground, a pale-skinned brunette young lady is extending out her hand towards the viewer. In the background is a mountainous landscape with a break in the ground, just before the young lady's feet, from within the large crack in the landscape is lava and red spirits coming out of the crack.
~Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book cover of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The cover is in black and white and the main image is of a small pale-skinned girl wearing a fancy head-piece and a fancy party dress, she appears to be hovering above the ground.
~Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Diverse Books Reading Challenge – Intersection:
Image Description: book cover of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. The cover has a purple tint across entire cover, in the background is a golden gate with a skulls design within the entrance doors of the gate. In front of the gate is the silhouette a female figure, the female figure is standing in front of the gate with her back to the viewer.
~Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book cover of Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. The cover image consists of a close-up shot of the back of someone's head, displaying cascading bright-pink hair with the title and author text displayed ontop of the hair.
~Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

I don’t have high hopes of reading most these books on the list, especially since October and November tend to be my busier months at work. I hoping to get some of these books knock-off my TBR pile via The Reading Quest, which was a great idea, but a massive failure on my part. In all honestly, I should have read most of these before now, so while I have my doubts, I’m going to give it a go anyway.

Image Description: a participation banner for NaNoWriMo 2017. The banner is turquoise-blue with white text, in the centre of the banner is two over-crossed pens and four stars surrounding the pens.
October is also the month of NaNoWriMo Preparation. I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll be working on Orion – Volume II of the Pushing Boundaries, which means I’ll need to finish the Outline before the end of October, the Outline I’ve been trying to finish for months now. I have a special notebook put aside just for working on Pushing Boundaries stuff.
Image Description: a notebook with a light-blue and dark-blue colour-scheme. The cover consists of a start-chart of the Northern Hemisphere constellations with a black band of elastic around the edge of the notebook to keep it closed.

So yeah, what you’re reading and what you’re plans are for October? Are you thinking of getting involved with NaNoWriMo? What project are you going to work on? Let me know in the comments section down below :).

Stim Toy Review: Knock-Off Fuzzy Tangle Jr

Image Description: a rose-pink Fuzzy Tangle Jr curled up on top of a couch cushion, which is navy blue with gold-coloured fleur-de-lis pattern printed on it.

Image Description: a rose-pink Fuzzy Tangle Jr expanded to resemble a circle, lying flat on top of a couch cushion, which is navy blue with gold-coloured fleur-de-lis pattern printed on it.

Item: Knock-Off Fuzzy Tangle Jr  – Rose Pink

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: US $2.49 (Shipping Fees: US $0.00) = US $2.49 or AU $3.25 (at the time of conversion)

Date of Purchase: 01/08/2017

Date of Delivery: 17/08/2017

Store: eBay

Store Location: Hong Kong

Review:
I was so excited when I when I opened the package (which contained a small amount of bubble wrap on the inside of the packaging) and began playing with it immediately. For half an hour, I repeated the phrase “It’s Fuzzy!” over and over again, which (given its name) should not have come as a surprise, but hey. I insisted that my partner (who normally has no interest in Stim Toys) feel the Fuzz for himself, naturally he approves.

I completely underestimated just how good the fuzzy flocking on the Fuzzy Tangle Jr would feel, for Fuzzy Factor alone, I would totally recommend. I also got the rose-pink coloured one, which was the one I wanted, so I’m super happy with that. There was a small problem, I think the links might be a little looser than what I’m used to, but I’m willing to put up with that in exchange for a cheap knock-off Fuzzy Tangle. Must obtain more in various colours.

Links:
~Stim Toy Box: Knock-Off Fuzzy Tangle Jr Collection

Stim Toy Review: Artist’s Collection Knock Off Tangle Jr.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR all coiled up on a flat wooden surface. The Tangle JR has a hexagon pattern all over it, and the hexagons are coloured in a rainbow spectrum on one side (red-orange-yellow-blue-green and then a small selection of grey hexagons).

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR all coiled up on a flat wooden surface. This picture details the reverse side of the Tangle JR, which is mostly light-grey and dark-grey coloured hexagons, with a few red and orange coloured hexagons in the top-right corner of the Tangle JR.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR uncoiled so it forms a circle on a flat wooden surface, there is a spectrum of rainbow-coloured hexagons visible.

Image Description: a picture of a Tangle JR uncoiled so it forms a circle on a flat wooden surface (the reverse side of the previous picture), there is a spectrum of rainbow-coloured hexagons visible, but the colours appear to be muted or faded.

Item: Artist’s Collection Knock Off Tangle JR – Rainbow Honeycomb Print

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: 2 X US $1.19 each (Shipping Fees: US $1.18) = US $3.56 or AU $4.66 (at time of conversion)

Date of Purchase: 21/07/2017

Date of Delivery: 08/08/2017

Store: eBay

Store Location: Singapore

Review:
While, on the surface, this Tangle Jr. is aesthetically pleasing (I do like the rainbow-spectrum of hexagons), I was hoping to get the Galactic Print Tangle Jr. instead (it’s so pretty). I know this will sound petty, but I truly dislike the random selection option, even if the Tangle Jr. is considerably cheaper than normal.

With regards to the colour design, I have noticed that on the reverse side of the Tangle Jr., the design print has faded significantly, it almost resembles a white ring and I can use this white ring to match up the individual pieces of the Tangle Jr. I know it’s a small flaw, and it should be expected with the knock-off variety of Tangle Jr., but it irritates me.

The links of the Tangle Jr. are stiffer than normal, especially in comparison to my Tangle Jr. Classic, however, while I don’t mind stiffer links, but this might be something of consideration for others. The packaging was pretty minimal (Banggood-style) but everything arrived in one piece.

All in all, if you need a Tangle Jr. that is aesthetically pleasing and cheap in price, this is a good starting point

The First Date Book-Tag

Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square-shaped glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has resulted in me developing the habit of lurking on YouTube and watching videos of books I’ll probably never read (I’m so far behind on the new, at this point I’m giving up entirely on keeping with new releases), one of the YouTube Channels I’ve been lurking on recently is Katrina @ Little Book Owl, as I said before, I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has made it difficult to write posts like this, and I feel as though I’m just repeating myself at this point, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway.
1. The awkward first date – a book where something felt off. It wasn’t a bad book, but lacked that spark for you.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There's a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there's a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there's a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There’s a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there’s a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there’s a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.

Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy

My PWE teachers rave about Cate Kennedy, they use her short stories in the university readers at any given opportunity and I’ll admit I did like a few of the short stories contained in this anthology (and a couple of her other short stories which aren’t included here). I can see this book being popular or being widely read by literary types with an interest in Australian Literature.

The thing is that I don’t know if this is just a generational thing, or it’s a just me, but this is definitely a book that doesn’t sit well with me. I dislike how Cate Kennedy handles the complicated and multi-faceted situations and circumstances surrounding the topics of women, children and motherhood. The depictions of motherhood (or the lack of it) weren’t outright offensive but I would consider them shallow (and perhaps problematic), which I suppose could be a reasonable assessment as it’s a short-story collection.

2. The cheap first date – book that turned out less than you expected
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the top and a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom.
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the the top and a a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom

Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan

It’s called Red Phoenix, but it has almost nothing to do with the character it’s named after and, in short, it’s a hot mess. It’s why I won’t be finishing the rest of series, or read any of Kylie Chan’s other books, however, I accidentally converted my mother-in-law into reading this series and she seems to enjoy them *shrugs* so maybe this is just me.

The Dark Heavens series started out alright but began to fall apart in this book, the annoying elements were amplified, worse elements were added like how all the men (with the exception of Leo because he’s gay) wanted to bang Emma, despite having pretty much no personality. The plot became non-existent and thus it became tedious and boring, this is because the author chose to focus on stuff that wasn’t interesting (like all the men wanting to bang Emma) and not on things could have been genuinely interesting.

Such as the family dynamic between Tiger and his son, who is now a bodyguard to John’s daughter. If, as an author, you’re going to take a step back from the plot and place a bigger focus on the characters (which is fine if done well), these characters need to be interesting or engaging (preferably both) and none of the characters met this criteria.

3. Well-prepared first date – better than expected
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

To be honest, I thought The Cuckoo’s Calling was a bit meh, it was an alright beginning to a new series but nothing to rave about, so as result I began The Silkworm with low expectations, however, I thoroughly enjoyed The Silkworm, now this may be due to cognitive bias as Cormoran Strike is investigating the disappearance and murder of a writer, but I enjoyed it.

4. Hot but dumb – pretty book, not so hot on the inside

Image Description: book cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I reviewed this book on my other blog and I felt that there were a lot of problems hiding behind this gorgeous cover, I got to a point where I was so sick of it, I was relieved to finally finish the review, that way I would never need to think about this book again. The worst part is that everyone seems to love this book, which just amplifies the confusion.

5. Blind date – book you picked up not knowing anything about it
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched, with her knees pinned to her chest.
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched with her knees pinned to her chest inside the bottle.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

I picked up this book, purely because of the cover, which I later regretted as the book turned out to be considerably mediocre, it adds nothing new to the genre as far as I’m concerned and there’s some problematic elements  of sexism and internalized misogyny involved as well. So, let it be known that literally judging a book by its cover will also result in regrets.

6. Speed dating – book you read super fast
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I was glued to the pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (as well as the second book in the trilogy Days of Blood and Starlight), the book has some cliché and problematic elements like a Female Protagonist with Special Snowflake Syndrome and Super Dramatic Angsty/Wangsty Romance with Much Older Male-Character (its justified in-universe, but Authors, could you please stop doing this? It’s creepy. Thank you), however, despite those problems (Karou and Akira’s relationship can get eye-rolly at some points), I definitely enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I’m happy to recommend the trilogy.

7. The rebound – a book you read too soon after a book hangover and it kind of ruined the book for you

Image Description: book-cover of Matched by Ally Condie. The cover has a grey-beige background with a green bubble taking up the top one-third of the cover, inside the green bubble is an adolescent female with brown hair, wearing a bright green dress, she is posed as though she is trying to get out of the green bubble that surrounds her. The Text underneath is “WATCHED BY SOCIETY. TRAPPED BY RULES. FREED BY LOVE?” with the book’s title written underneath in large capital letters and a pink font.

Matched by Ally Condie

I read this book and Divergent close together, which was a bad idea, reading mediocre Dystopian novels in quick secession highlights the mediocrity. I picked up this book because I liked the cover and I was intrigued by the premise (yes, I read the blurb for this one, I learnt my lesson), but the book doesn’t live up to the premise, the main protagonist suffers from what I like to call “Female Protagonist Problems”, more specifically “Bella Swan Syndrome”.

While Cassie isn’t a sociopath like Bella, there’s definitely a lack of personality and/or emotions in her character, she doesn’t seem to feel very much, which could have been an interesting case of Alexithymia, but I suspect it wasn’t done intentionally. Cassie is a bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself (with the exception of plot-orientated eye-colour) or interests outside of her romantic object of affection, as a result, she is super boring, it’s also why it’s completely unbelievable that she has two guys fighting over her (I despise Love Triangles).

Then there’s the world building, or perhaps the lack there of it, the author fails to take into consideration a lot of factors that would influence this world, while there are many examples I could use, I’ll just stick to one example such as LGBTQIA+ people. How the society goes about finding appropriate statistical matches for the people who fit under the incredibly diverse umbrella-term of LGBTQIA+ (let alone doing it without coming across as being an arse-hole) is never addressed. In fact, there are no mentions of the LGBTQIA+ community at all, it’s like they’ve never existed. That’s super creepy, but the worst part is that I don’t think this was an intentional move on the author’s behalf, I think she just didn’t think about the deeper ramifications of her world building.

I know it’s supposed to be a Dystopian novel that centers around a glorified breeding program, but the author couldn’t even explain how past-problems have been resolved, there’s no mention of teenage pregnancy, there’s no discussion of infertility or sterilization (does IVF still exist? Are Foster Parents still required? Does the Adoption process still exist? Who knows, it’s never brought up). I have no idea why this book even exists, let alone comprehend why people enjoy it.

8. Overly enthusiastic date – a book that felt like it was trying too hard
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is currently crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict skyscrapers.
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict sky-scrappers.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I felt that Divergent was trying too hard to be a combination of The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, with the flaws of both series but none of the positives.The Hunger Games flaws it has perpetuated are bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself and the Harry Potter series problem of poor or inadequate world-building the author hasn’t acknowledged or addressed (for example: What category does an Engineer fall into? Because they certainly need a few of them).

On the plus side, Divergent has no Love Triangles, so that’s something, but as a Book Reviewer, I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to use shitty plot-devices. In saying that, Tris and Four’s relationship is a welcome change from the relationships typically found in Dystopian Young Adult Novels (*cough* Red Rising Trilogy *cough*), although once again I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships between minors or involving minors (Authors aren’t supposed to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships in general but clearly that’s still a problem).

Divergent’s main flaw is that was trying to hit all the right marketable “Young Adult” buttons, that it results in nothing interesting happening for the majority of the novel, and I suppose I’d rather be offended then bored.

9. The perfect first date – book that did everything right for you

Image Description: book-cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The cover has a white background, in the foreground is the black silhouette of a male character wearing a coat in various shades of red. On the ground, the male character is standing on multiple overlapping circles (black, white, red, and grey), it looks as though his feet are standing on the red and grey circles.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I reviewed this book on my other blog, and to be honest, there’s not much else I can say, I just enjoyed it immensely and I cannot praise V.E. Schwab enough.

10. Humiliating first date – book you’re embarrassed to admit you liked/ embarrassed to see reading in public for whatever reason
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her back).
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her hair).

The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

It’s a Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, A Hunger Like No Other is technically the second book in the series but as I didn’t particularly like A Warlord Wants Forever I’m not going to recommend it, the series definitely plays the long-term game in terms of plot, but I enjoy it. I don’t like all the books in the series, however, I have read all the books in the series thus far. And yes, I’m well aware it’s trashy and a couple of the books (okay, fine I’ll be honest, more than a couple) have some… problematic elements to them (I can’t stand Dreams of a Dark Warrior, but due to its significance with regards to the plot, it can’t be skipped, unfortunately).

It’s a quick and easy read if you’re currently in a slump like I am. What I hate the most is that the publishers are changing the trashy covers, you know, trying to make them more subtle and stuff. Although the trashy covers are one of the reasons I’m inclined to review Romance books on my other blog, the changing of the covers is stupid idea (did they even ask the readers?) because then they don’t match the rest of my books and changing the covers defeats the entire purpose, as far as I’m concerned, the covers are supposed to be trashy (the cover serves a purpose).

So yeah, leave me a link in the comments section if you want to participate and I’ll check out your post. What you think about the books I mentioned? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments section.

My Treasure Chest – Part 4: The Sum of Our Parts

Image Description: a small blue and silver chest with a handle and silver press-studs along the edge of the box on both sides. On the main body of the chest is swirling silver designs and silver Asian-style Dragons in flight against a blue-fabric background.
Image Description: a small blue and silver chest with a handle and silver press-studs along the edge of the box on both sides. On the main body of the chest is silver designs and silver Asian-style Dragons in flight against a blue-fabric background.

Unfortunately, I’ve kind of fallen behind with My Treasure Chest series and as I need to get Part 5 written and all the images described, this post will probably come across as rushed, so my apologies in advance for that.
Image Description: a 50 gram packet of assorted coloured acrylic beads with the title,
Image Description: a 50 gram packet of assorted coloured acrylic beads with the title, “Assorted Coloured Beads” up the top of the packet, with red sections at the top and bottom of the package with clear plastic in the middle. There’s illustrations of various coloured pencils at the bottom of the package.
Location: Currently, you can find these at Toyworld (Highpoint Shopping Centre, Footscray) for a AU $1 per packet.
Purpose: Crafting. Primarily, I use these for making beaded lanyards and beaded jewellery, but feel free to use them however you want.

Image Description: There are three packets of chrome coloured key-rings/split-rings, in each packet there are five key-rings/split-rings.
Image Description: There are three packets of chrome coloured key-rings/split-rings, in each packet there are five key-rings/split-rings.
Location: Kim got these for me from Yen Huot Gift Shop (18A Paisley Street, Footscray), I think they’re about AU $0.80 a packet? They have gone up since I’ve been there.
Purpose: Crafting. Primarily, I use these for making beaded lanyards and beaded jewellery, but feel free to use them however you want.

Image Description: a large red balloon sealed inside a transparent-plastic zip-lock bag.
Image Description: a large red balloon sealed inside a transparent-plastic zip-lock bag.
Purpose: This balloon serves as a squishing stim toy. It’s filled with play-dough, Kim managed to get the play-dough in there (somehow?) using a funnel, I think…? It’s very squishable but it’s a firmer squishable texture in comparison to the balloons filled with flour.

Image Description: a small yellow bandanna.
Image Description: a small yellow bandanna
Purpose: To wear on one’s head

Image Description: a package of Baby Solutions Shaped Teether in the shape of a strawberry.
Image Description: a package of Baby Solutions Shaped Teether in the shape of a strawberry
Purpose: This is a chewable baby teether, so it’s main purpose is for being chewed (I suppose). You can obtain these from K-Mart and perhaps certain Coles Supermarkets.

Image Description: a two-wired bead maze set into a round wooden base. The base is painted yellow with an outline of a teddy-bear in orange paint. The two wires are blue and orange; the blue wire goes straight across while the orange wire twirls in two circles. Both wires are strung with red, yellow, blue, orange and green wooden beads.
Image Description: a two-wired bead maze set into a round wooden base. The base is painted yellow with an outline of a teddy-bear in orange paint. The two wires are blue and orange; the blue wire goes straight across while the orange wire twirls in two circles. Both wires are strung with red, yellow, blue, orange and green wooden beads.
Purpose: To entertain. Kim thought my niece would enjoy this, although I must confess, my niece appears to enjoy the squishy caterpillar more (pictured further down).

Image Description: a small squishable grey dolphin with eyeballs pointing in different directions.
Image Description: a small squishable grey dolphin with eyeballs pointing in different directions.
Purpose: Honestly, not entirely sure, I think it’s one of those bath toys you can purchase from K-Mart (they come in little plastic bags). Kim meant it as a joke gift as people have this habit of giving me generic dolphin-themed gifts. Now, I’m not a marine biologist, but I’m fairly certain that a dolphin is not supposed to have eye-balls pointing in different directions, but my niece doesn’t seem to mind.

Image Description: from left to right, two square crimped biscuit cutters, the first one is larger and pink and the second one is smaller and orange.
Image Description: from left to right, two square crimped biscuit cutters, the first one is larger and pink and the second one is smaller and orange.
Purpose: I think Kim intended these as moulds for Kinetic Sand, but the pink one is definitely too big for sand, however, they work well for making shortbread biscuits.

Image Description: a packet of Macron Erasers inside a transparent zip-lock bag.
Image Description: a packet of Macron Erasers inside a transparent zip-lock bag.
Purpose: they are squishable, however, they are also scented, which is why Kim passed them onto me (Kim is awesome at finding adorable stuff, it’s their super power)

Image Description: a white and robin's egg-blue My Little Pony with blue eyes and bright-orange mane and tail.
Image Description: a white and robin’s egg-blue My Little Pony with blue eyes and bright-orange mane and tail
Purpose: Unfortunately, due to a lack there of storage space, Kim had to cull their herd of My Little Ponies and gifted me with this one, this one is currently sitting on my bookcase (near my collection of piggies), reminds me of the first episode of Daria, “Like a herd of wild ponies, running free across the plains.”


Image Description: a mini tsum-tsum of Disney character Piglet, small pink piglet, from the book series and animated cartoon series Winnie-The-Pooh.
Purpose: the mini tsum-tsums are great for on-the-go stim packs, they’re small, soft and fuzzy and can easily fit in a hand-bag or messenger-bag. If you’re interested in more information on Disney Tsum-Tsums, Kim has a tag dedicated to these plushies.


Image Description: a rainbow coloured (purple, blue, red, pink, green) squishable caterpillar
Purpose: To squish (obviously), however, this item has a strong plastic-y smell, so Kim offered it to me. It has the same texture and feel as a critter-puff, here’s a link with more information on how to obtain one.

Image Description: a small green plastic car with red plastic wheels and a white tag attached to the car with text displayed Tough Toys - Mini.
Image Description: a small green plastic car with red plastic wheels and a white tag attached to the car with text displayed “Tough Toys – Mini”.
Purpose: These are are a good texture stim, the wheels feel good across my skin and it feels good across certain surfaces. More information provided here.


Image Description: a transparent glass jam-jar filled with white slimy liquid, it kind of looks like there’s small grains of rice combined with the white liquid.
Purpose: I suspect this was a slime experiment conducted to gain knowledge for Kim’s Great Slime Quest, I think it’s Toothpaste Slime? I’m not entirely sure.

Image Description: a heart-shaped glitter-studded clear plastic popper made of thick pink plastic.
Image Description: a heart-shaped glitter-studded clear plastic popper made of thick pink plastic.
Purpose: These are supposedly large poppers, but they don’t work very well (at all in fact), however, I tend to use this to hold beads for when I’m making beaded lanyards or other beaded jewellery, it can hold a substantial amount. Here’s a link for more information on Stimtastic poppers.

Image Description: a packet of thin rubber/silicone bracelets in multiple colours.
Image Description: a packet of thin rubber/silicone bracelets in multiple colours.
Purpose: Pressure stimming, which is actually a big thing for me (mental note: look into DIY binders), however, these bracelets tend to be a loose on my wrists. I’m fairly certain you can obtain these items from K-Mart. It’s good for me to have a collection of loose and tight telephone-cord hair-ties and bracelets, this is because I often have RSI due to my day-job and I don’t think it’s recommended to have tight objects around my wrists when they’re sore.

Image Description: a transparent-zip-lock-bag with four multi-coloured bouncy balls, two red mini-prickle-balls and a pink dinosaur-prickle-ball.
Image Description: a transparent-zip-lock-bag with four multi-coloured bouncy balls, two red mini-prickle-balls and a pink dinosaur-prickle-ball.
Purpose: Fidgeting stims, I cackle everything I bring out my ever increasing collection of bouncy balls (I keep my large Kids & Co rainbow-string bouncy ball in my on the go stim-toy-bag), the reason for such a large collection is because I’m easily prone to losing things and these are cheap and easy items to replace, although I do try to avoid losing my hoard of bouncy balls (I should probably try keeping them in a separate glass jar).


Image Description: a small number puzzle with a pink background and border.
Purpose: Fidget stimming, this type of number puzzle can easily be found in the toy section/puzzle section/board-game section in the K-Mart and Target toy departments

Image Description: a transparent plastic container used for holding business cards (or at least I think that's what it is).
Image Description: a transparent plastic container used for holding business cards (or at least I think that’s what it is).
Purpose: To print out and hold business cards presumably, also so I can say “It’s Business Time!” (while wearing business socks) whenever I feel like it.



Image Description: From left to right, a hedgehog sponge from Daiso with dark-pink fuzzy/nubbly chenille material in place of quills, the pink hedgehog-sponge is named Poppy. Next to Poppy, there is another a hedgehog sponge from Daiso with neon-yellow fuzzy/nubbly chenille material in place of quills, the yellow hedgehog-sponge is named Daisy.
Purpose: These hedgehog plushies make great weighted-lap-pads (even though they are on the small side), these ones are also scented with lavender essential oil so they’re stimmy to touch and smell. I really enjoy gathering them around me in bed when I type in bed all snuggled up and warm under the covers.

And yeah, I know, Daisy flowers are white not yellow, so technically I should have named Daisy something else, like Sunny (short for sunflower) or some other yellow flower, but Daisy stuck for some reason and I was absolutely determined that my hedgehogs should have matching/connected names, so now I own a collected of weighted-plushies with ultra-feminine names. It’s not a bad thing per say, it’s more that this is a situation I did not envision. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed the fact that Poppy has legs, but Daisy doesn’t have legs (something I felt a bit guilty about).

There are more items in this particular collection, but this post is already super long and I’ve decided to write a separate post focusing on the beaded items as a Arts & Crafts post, honestly I’ll be super surprised if anyone actually manages to get to the bottom of this post. I’ve trying to write this post for days and brain has not been the most helpful in this regard (I know it shows).

So, just in case this isn’t obvious (because sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of discovering new stim toys), I just wanted to iterate how grateful I am for all of this, but also how I’m supremely grateful for having someone like Kim in my life. Thank you Kim, thank so much and I’m sorry if my gratitude doesn’t show clearly enough.

Arts and Crafts: For Whom The Bell Tolls

Image Description: a title-post picture with the words Arts and Crafts written in the centre of the picture in rainbow word-art with a clip-art picture of a red rose in each of the corners.
Image Description: a title-post picture with the words Arts and Crafts written in the centre of the picture in rainbow word-art with a clip-art picture of a red rose in each of the corners.

Articles to read before I begin:
~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #6 – What’s Wrong With Autism Speaks? by Amythest Schaber
~Autism Women’s Network: Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group? by Amy Sequenzia
~The Caffeinated Autistic: Why I am Against Autism Speaks (and you should be, too)
~My Autistic Point of View: April is Autism Awareness Month, Autism Acceptance and #RedInstead

One of the problems with working in Retail is that you quickly lose your faith in humanity, especially when you see people do questionable stuff in the name of profit. Take hot-cross buns, as far as I’m concerned, supermarkets and bakeries shouldn’t be selling them until at least March. But on January 1st, year after year, the supermarket I work at has hot-cross buns ready to go at 06:00 am when the store opens.

The first day of the year, the Christmas season has only just finished and yet, the desire to shove Easter in our faces is clearly a temptation some corporations clearly can’t resist. Now, you could blame the customer for buying in the product, after all no one is forcing them to buy hot-cross buns on January 1st, but my experience with customer service has taught me that convenience is the key.

Unless the customer has come in for a specific item for a specific purpose, if the product isn’t there on the shelf, the majority of customers won’t bother, they only want the item because it’s right there. This is why, in my personal view, I feel that boycotting a product because the company displays unethical behaviour doesn’t achieve much in the long term.

Sure, it makes me feel better not to purchase items from Nestle (reasons why here) or Lindt (reasons why here). But the reality is that I know that by the end of the Easter period all those chocolate bunnies and chickens are going to be sold and consumed, and there’s not much I can do to stop them.

I understand that boycotting and choosing to abstain from certain companies and items is the only form of protest some people can participate in, this isn’t a judgement of that, I just dislike grappling with the feeling that I should be doing more.

Eventually, I got an idea, what if I could combine Neurodivergent traits like crafting and hoarding with those little bells that accessorise the chocolate Lindt rabbits and chickens and use them as part of a beaded lanyard? Behold!

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black elastic, with four different types of beads (hourglass, pearl, acrylic, transparent) displayed in nine colour-variations of beads (light pink, dark pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black elastic, with four different types of beads (hourglass, pearl, acrylic, transparent) displayed in nine colour-variations of beads (light pink, dark pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of lavender coloured elastic with with four different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, hourglass) displayed in variations of purple with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of lavender coloured elastic with with four different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, hourglass) displayed in variations of purple with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of robin's egg blue coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, glittery, hourglass) displayed in variations of light blue with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of robin’s egg blue coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, glittery, hourglass) displayed in variations of light blue with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of pink coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, hourglass, glittery, pearl) displayed in variations of light pink and dark pink with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of pink coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, hourglass, glittery, pearl) displayed in variations of light pink and dark pink with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black rat-tail cord with eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with gold glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black rat-tail cord with eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with gold glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

So while I’m aware this might be a bad idea, if I had to pick one, I’d probably pick the last one. I love pearl beads and rainbows and that covers both. It also might not be obvious from the picture but the pearl rainbow lanyard is slightly shorter than the other ones, which I’ll admit are ridiculously long. I bought the black rat-tail cord off Ebay, I paid AU $2.00 in shipping fees (the seller is UK-based), but I honestly didn’t care. I’ve noticed the black rat-tail cord is thinner than the black rat-tail cord Kim obtained for me from Lincraft, but I felt this worked for me, the hot-pink wrap-tail cord I bought is too thick for me to use with my current collection of beads, which is super frustrating.

So what do readers think? Are the bells a good addition? Or just another one of my shitty ideas? I would offer to sell these and donate the profits to AWN or ASAN, but seeing as my Diverse Books Giveaway didn’t really take off (who had thought it would be difficult to tempt Australian and New Zealand book bloggers with free stuff?), I’m beginning to think I’m not as persuasive as I thought. Let me know what you think in the comments section down below.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.
Title: The Silkworm (Book 2 in The Cormoran Strike series)
Author: Robert Galbraith
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group. Imprint: Sphere
Format and Price: Audio-book at $30.73 (for non-members) or $14.95 (for members) – I got it as part of the free 30-day trial via Audible (although I do have the book in Ebook format as well)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About The Book:
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before . . .

General Observations:
~Read Diverse Books 2017: The Cormoran Strike series main character is Cormoran Strike, who was previously a soldier in the armed forces and eventually became an investigative officer within the army. During a tour of Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike was in the back of a jeep when the car he was traveling in hit a land-mine and blew up, the result was that Cormoran Strike lost half a leg and left the army shortly after. Readers might be thinking that a white British man missing half a leg might not count as a representation of Diversity, but I will argue that it’s a good depiction of a physical disability.

The disability is shown as having a realistic impact upon the character Cormoran Strike (how it affects him physically and mentally, such as the PTSD moment while he was being driven in the car) and upon the plot of the novel (Cormoran Strike is forced to acknowledge that because of his leg injury and prosthesis, there are just some tasks he can’t do and has to delegate them to Robin). The Cormoran Strike series acknowledges the difficulties and side-effects of having a physical disability, but it also acknowledges that it’s still possible to lead a relatively happy and successful life and I would consider Cormoran Strike successful.

~Door-stopper Material: The physical paperback is about 400 pages and the audio-book is 17 hrs and 16 mins, reading the Cormoran Strike series is a long-term investment of your time. Am I saying it’s an unworthy investment of your time? No. But the sheer size of the book was one of reasons I delayed reading this book and why I eventually decided to go the route of audio-book instead. The audio-book was enjoyable to listen to and I was able to listen to my book as well as perform other valuable tasks at the same time.

~Make or Break: There is a small flaw with the Cormoran Strike series, the characters withhold evidence or thoughts from the reader in order to build suspense for the main case and, while I know some readers of crime fiction who find this intolerable, I was willing to tolerate it, however, this might not be the case for everyone. The majority of the novel has a slow-build-up type of pace, which means all the pieces of the puzzle are slowly being put together and key information is being with-held for the final confrontation. I feel this results in the ending coming across as a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the narrative pace.

~The Sliding Scale of Plot VS Character: In basic terms, some writers choose to focus more of the plot elements of a book (events that happen leading the character and the reader towards a narrative destination or journey) and the plot is what drives the book, while some authors choose to focus more on the character elements of the novel (how the character feels or reacts to an event), the character (how they think and feel) is what drives the novel, the event is secondary to the method in which the character acts or reacts to the event.

I would consider In the Woods by Tana French to be at the far end of the Character-Focus scale. How the officers felt, thought, and how they interacted with other characters in the novel was the focus of In the Woods and thus presented as more important than the crime itself. I don’t enjoy that kind of novel, I’m more of a plot-orientated reader and writer.

I feel that the Crime/Mystery/Thriller genre is more suited to plot-oriented focus, however, while Robert Galbraith’s writing style does sit slightly more towards the Character-Focus end of the scale, I feel that Robert Galbraith blends the elements of plot and character together in a better attempt at balance. The Cormoran Strike series does have more characterization than plot, but I feel that there is enough plot to keep the reader engaged and the characterization is interesting enough to persuade the reader to continue.

~Authentic Sources of Conflict: While there are slow moments in the books where the personal elements of the main characters Comoran Strike and Robyn’s lives, such as Cormoran Strike’s ex-girlfriend Charlotte getting married and how he feels about that, Robyn’s fiancé Mathew’s insecurities and dislike that Robyn’s job despite the fact that it is a high priority to her, and the personal conflict between Cormoran Strike and Robyn about where they stand professionally and whether or not Cormoran Strike will give Robyn Surveillance and Tracking training.

I think the Strike/Charlotte relationship was resolved as best the circumstances could allow and Robyn and Mathew (after having several arguments about the subject) were able to to come to an understanding about Robyn’s career choices. These conflicts were perhaps dwelt upon longer than they should have, but they were conflicts that needed to be acknowledged and addressed, I also felt they were resolved to a satisfying conclusion.

~Alternative Character Interpretation: While this could just be my personal interpretation, Leonora Quine (the murder victim’s wife) came across as someone with undiagnosed Autism, she was direct and perhaps a little too honest (or at least Cormoran Strike seemed to think so), her method of grieving (wanting to speak with the private detective she hired and making sure he was okay) is seen as odd to other people.

They were all expecting her to break down sobbing and when she didn’t perform to the police’s standards, she was considered suspicious. Leonora Quine did show outward signs of grief and distress, it was mostly centered around how she and her daughter had been forced out of their usual routine, which is very important to Autistic people. I’m not sure, perhaps it’s just me, I’d be happy to discuss it in the comments section.

In conclusion, an enjoyable suspenseful addition to the Cormoran Strike series with good character development, I’m looking forward to the third installment – Career of Evil (links below).

The Cormoran Strike Series:
01. The Cuckoo’s Calling
02. The Silkworm
03. Career of Evil

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. There is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book.
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. There is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book.

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