Friday, 23 June 2017

On holiday!

Pollen free flowers!
So the post pre-scheduling I hoped to do yesterday didn't happen - Wednesday ended up taking more of my energy than anticipated, so you'll have to wait until some time next week for reviews on books I've read recently (a few not so recently...) Really sorry, but heading to Devon tomorrow for a few days so this afternoon is set aside for resting. Have a super weekend, and thank you for being patient!
 Eid Mubarak! Happy Eid for this weekend!! May Allah swth bless us all.(Yes I'll be watching Azumanga Daioh very soon, which this artist gave all the characters modest & elegant dress)

Friday, 9 June 2017

Nayu's News #233 Cat company, reading and gaming lots!

Nyan!!! (Japanese word for mew)
First off hi if you've come over from my craft blog, Nayu's Crochet Dreams. When I do catch up posts I try to alternate where I post the original, and which blog I direct people to from the other blog. There is sense in that sentence somewhere...

My baby girl! (not a baby, but definitely a girl with Attitude!
The last few days I've seen a lot of my cat - I haven't been well and my cat often stays with me until I'm better. I'm on the mend from Wednesday afternoon's completely random & horrid being ill episode (sort of like flu but for a few hours only - my body is known to be weird), managed to tackle all emails today and hope to do some blog work in a few days. I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow and I've family over on Sunday so nothing will happen before Tuesday (Monday will be a rest day).

I switch to audiobooks when I'm tired.
I've been reading quite a bit lately, and almost finished all my review books! Since I'm reviewing less these days that's not as big of an achievement as it sounds, but it's nice to be on top o things. 

As usual if you want updates on how I'm doing I'm most active on Twitter under the name Nayuleska (with the @ in front of it). Those of you who follow me know I'm making steady progress on my current crochet project (I'm so used to speaking about it on Twitter I almost automatically adding a hashtag to the word crochet just now!) I don't know how big it will be, depends when I run out of yarn. It won't be huge, so more of a baby/lap blanket size. I love the colours and it's rather soft to the touch. 

Who could this be? Hint: it's a certain vocaloid I love...
Gaming wise I've been playing a lot of Love Live School Idol Festival - all updates are pretty much on hold until Ramadan is over as my focus in the day is less on how gorgeous the cards are and more on listening to the Quran/appropriate audibooks while I play with the sound on the game off (none of the songs are appropriate for Ramadan) & cute pop ups during the game turned off. I've yet to see any cute pictures where artists have given the girls hijab (headscarfs) & more modest clothing, like this one of Hatsune Miku which is so cute! Miku's on hiatus until after Ramadan (songs definitely not appropriate!) too. However, there are quite a few Aikatsu songs I can listen to, not that I have gamed much on it. Animal Crossing New Leaf has featured a lot in my gaming time - little beats shaking trees for fruit to be sold! 

There will be a Ramadan post next week (albeit copy and paste from previous years...), and several book reviews too. Thank you for being patient with my lack of posts - have a super weekend! 
No donuts for me but there will be cheesecake!!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Over On Nayu's Crochet Dreams #25 Soap box time

Cute! Not drawn by me...
Please head on over to view my brief thoughts on the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London over on my craft blog Nayu's Craft Time #257 My thoughts on recent events in Englan

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Life Without You by Shari Low (Contemporary, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

 April 2017, Aria, 378 pages, Ebook, Review copy  from NetGalley

Content: drunk driving, grief, some romance, I think some strong language (can't quite remember)

Summary from Aria (there was a popup on the screen so link may not take you to straight to the blurb)
30-year-old Dee Harper and her husband, Joe, are blissfully happy. Everyday she makes her loyal parents Val & Don incredibly proud.

Jen has been her best friend and 'adopted sister' since their days of teenage crushes, bad 90's make-up and huge hair.

They are just like any other group of family and friends, living life, getting by with equal measures of love and laughter. 

Until one day everything changes.

Dee is gone, killed by a reckless driver, leaving the people she loved to deal with their grief in different ways. 

A marriage is rocked as a parent becomes consumed with seeking justice. A husband struggles to accept the loss of his wife and their future. And a friend discovers that there were shocking secrets that went unshared. 

But all of them have to learn that the only way forward is to let go of the past.

Nayu's thoughts 
I think this is more of a hard hittig read if you've already had someone you love leave this life for the next, as I have. What Jen goes through is horrific. She loses almost everything when Jen dies, she has to muddle her way through while being  supportive for all those affected. She saw Dee die an honorouable death protecting others, but dead is dead. At least while we are all in this life. 

I felt so sorry for her when she has her partner leave her-as if she didn't have enough on her plate! The thing is life goes on, and unfortunately being left alone couldn't be avoided just because of Dee dying. I knew Jen would be fine in the long run, it was just hard watching her deal with that fall-out so soon after losing Dee. I promise it ends happily!! There's a lot of tense moments especially when not everyone knows key information and Jen has to tiptoe around certain subjects.

I liked the different points of view because it helped examine the various views of Dee's death and just how many lives were turned upside down by the tragedy. Everyone pulls together when needed, which is important as the trial is emotional and you'll need tissues. There is life when someone dies, it's not a nice or easy one at first but eventually Jen and the others find ways to cope without Dee physically beside them as she will always be in their hearts. 

Find out more on Shari's website.

Mainely Needlepoint #5 Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait (Cozy Mystery, 10E/10E)

March 2017, Kensington Publishing, 304 pages, Ebook, Review copy from NetGalley
Content: some romance, murder, humour
Summary from Kensington
In the coastal town of Haven Harbor, blood runs thicker than water—and just as freely . . .

Antique dealer Sarah Byrne has never unspooled the truth about her past to anyone—not even friend and fellow Mainely Needlepointer Angie Curtis. But the enigmatic Aussie finally has the one thing she’s searched for all her life—family. And now she and long-lost half-brother, Ted Lawrence, a wealthy old artist and gallery owner in town, are ready to reveal their secret connection . . .

Ted’s adult children are suspicious of their newfound aunt Sarah—especially after Ted, in declining health, announces plans to leave her his museum-worthy heirloom paintings. So when Ted is poisoned to death during a lobster bake, everyone assumes she’s guilty. If Sarah and Angie can’t track down the real murderer in time, Sarah’s bound to learn how delicate—and deadly—family dynamics can truly be . . .

Nayu's thoughts 
 (I feel bad as this is quite a delayed review-I thought I hadn't read it on my tablet, so went to start it then realised I'd read and enjoyed it greatly! Although I didn't start the series from book 1 and haven't read all the earlier books yet, I felt like I was coming home to familiar faces with this latest book in the series. I love the community spirit which outsiders don't necessarily share, an aspect that is a key point to the murder. I love Angie how she trusts her instincts even when she disregards her own safety to check on others. I was worried for her a fair few times, especially when the police had their eye on her, as she hadn't done anything wrong but how she investigates murders isn't always above board. 

Having personally visited Chesapeake in Maryland I could imagine the feel of the coastal town Angie and Sarah call home, and loved learning snippets of info about the dangers of the sea. I can't stand being on boats so thought her extremely brave when she put herself in a precarious position on the sea. 

I loved the humour that seems inherant to cozy mysteries, which softened the at times tense atmosphere due to imminent dangers. I loved the continued craft aspect of the series which makes my crafty self happy, as well as the cat appearances which I could so relate to! The heart of the mrder is family related, an area where there are lots of secrets, miscommunication, and misunderstandings that both Angie and Sarah have to put up with unil the truth comes out. Sarah is lucky to have Angie as a friend and investigator. I'm very eager for book #6!!! 

Find out more on Lea's website.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A Brightness Out of the Blue by Jill Atkins (Young Adult, 8/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Gorgeous cover!
November 2016, Raven Books, 200 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: teen romance (both going wrong & right)

Book summary
Ella's life is falling apart in front of her until she helps an old lady home. Little does she realise that this small gesture will lead her to discovering her fortune Ella's father is married to an evil stepmother and she is forced out of home and stuck in a dead end job. Ella is convinced life cannot get any worse. But then she meets the mysterious Martha, and finds herself irresistibly drawn to a woman hiding secrets of her own... Can Martha help Ella get the guy and get rid of her poisonous step-mother? Better yet, can Ella turn her life around?
Nayu's thoughts
This is a great modern twist on a classic fairytale as the back of the book says, but it didn't quite have the edge that I expected. I'd hoped that Ella would directly be with her step-mother, but as you will see from the tale she isn't. What I love about the Cinderella story in general is just how rough life is for the Cinderella character, and how magic and kindness help change that rough life. That doesn't make Ella's plight any worse/better than the average Cinderella. She has a hard life, and seeing Martha truly does change everything. 

I liked the subtle presence of magic, which doesn't always have a positive or predictable outcome and isn't all sparkles in the modern world which Ella resides in. I liked how she learnt that appearances can be deceptive, and what she thinks she wants isn't what she actually wants. Usually the father figure in Cinderella is kind and doting on his daughter (& usually dead...) but that's not quite true for Ella, creating moments when I wished her father was out the picture because his choices are simply awful for Ella. I liked the realism of Ella's romantic interest, I can't say more than that without spoiling the plot!

You won't be disappointed by the bittersweet ending, although it did have me wanting to know what happens to Ella in the future. I don't think I'll reread it, but I'm not sure yet, as some parts are very sweet.