Thursday, 16 May 2013

Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookclub in the Brisbane area

I work at TLC BOOKS in Manly, QLD and I run the Science Fiction and Fantasy Bookclub. I'm not sure if there are any similar bookclubs in the Brisbane area so I thought I would post here what our bookclub is about and the contact details. 

Please pass it on if you know anyone who's looking for something like this.

We are next meeting on Friday 24th May to discuss what books we've read over the last few months and agree on the books we will be reading over the rest of the year.

"High Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction and Science Fiction & Fantasy Classics, these are areas we are going to cover in our Sci-Fi & Fantasy book club this year.
We’ll be choosing classics from the 19th century all the way up to new releases from across all the sub genres of science fiction and fantasy.
So whether you like Asimov, Kim Stanley Robinson, Joe Abercrombie or Veronica Roth or you just want to broaden your sci-fi & fy minds, hopefully we’ll have something come up over the year that you would like to read.
The book club will meet at Manly Pizzeria on a designated day each month so keep an eye out in store or on our website or Facebook for the up to date bookclub dates. If you wish to attend then you just need to pick the book up from us with 10% off and confirm you attendance the day before so we can book a table."

If you have anymore questions, please contact TLC BOOKS
on 07 33935130
or send a message via,

Friday, 10 May 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness Review *beware of spoilers*

I was extremely lucky to be offered a free double pass to the preview of the new Star Trek movie, thanks to the Queensland Star Trek Fan Club.
Of course, I would have gone anyway, being a Trekkie but it was a lovely treat to go free along with other huge fans!

As I watch the 2009 Star Trek movie plus a few episodes of DS9 and Voyager at least once a month, I was a little pessimistic about this new movie living up to its predecessor.

So here we were, all sat in this lovely cinema (which was really quite posh compared to my usual movie theatre-no sticky floors nor did it smell damp), 3D glasses on, all highly anticipating what Abrams has done to the second movie, who Benedict Cumberbatch (my vote was for Section 31 to be involved-high 5 to me!) was really playing and whether we were going to be on the edge of our seats or not.

First thing I noticed was that the movie was really dark compared to the first movie, though if I took off my 3D glasses, I noticed it was a lot brighter, so that annoyed me a lot! Definitely don’t bother with 3D, not that much crack, though I’ve never been a fan of 3D anyway. I always find it extremely overrated.
Then it got straight into the action, and it never stopped.  I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole movie, much to my hubbie’s annoyance, and my blood pressure was sky high all the way through.

And a bonus to the beginning of the movie was old Mickey from Doctor Who-loved seeing him! (which reminded me, I really must watch his movie, Storage 24)

The storyline was interesting with lots of little twists, though I could quite easily have done without Carol Marcus. She was completely pointless, not a great actor and there was no chemistry whatsoever between her and Kirk, I’m hoping for her and Bones to get together instead!!
I felt poor Chekov got a bum deal in this movie, bless his little Russian ass!

I quite enjoyed the relationship between Spock and Uhuru and that it was not overplayed, which was great. It showed the respect they have for each other’s abilities and the Federation. By that, I mean, even when their lives were in danger, they trusted each other and what was meant to happen, was meant to happen. There were no, ‘I must jump out of this airlock and risk my life or the ship to rescue him/her’ issues (that came from the other love in Spock’s life instead!), that there usually is in this kind of working relationships in movies and tv series (such as Dax and Worf in Change of Heart).
For some reason, even though I loved the character, John Harrison, I did think, they underplayed him a little. I mean, I know he had quite a bit of action and there was some great badness and some lovely moments of humanity but it just didn’t ring right at the end when he tried to kill them even after they gave him what he wanted. It seemed like an unnecessary thing for someone who so much empathy earlier, to kill a crew who helped in when they themselves were incapacitated.

I did love the Spock/Kirk moment towards the end, I had my Vulcan salute ready and waiting, because, sadly, I could see it coming-boo, many tears….

Unfortunately, I could also see the end of the movie coming a mile off too, which was disappointing.

Despite all the things that annoyed me though, there was far more that I adored and I will definitely be buying this on blu-ray (2D of course) and having a Star Trek (new timeline)-a-thon every month!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

book reviews-many!!

I know, I've been a bit slack lately with reviews! Sorry! 
So here are some of the books I've read in the last couple of months.

A few customers came in looking for this or recommending it, so I felt I really should give it a go.
Well, I have to say, I was quite disappointed really, and I think it’s my own fault. I expected a dystopian style novel, only for it to be a coming-of-age-in-time-of-disaster type of novel instead. Very Judy Blume-ish.
In that vain, it did a great job, though the main character seemed a lot older than her 11 years of age, to me anyway.
I thought the author portrayed the way humans are likely to cope with a situation like this very well, though a little exaggerated. I don’t really think there would be such a divide between the 2 ways of life i.e. living with a 24 hour clock or with the sunset/sunrises, or I have more faith in human nature than her!
However, as I said, it did what it said on the packet and in a successful way.
Another book to recommend to the teenage girls today who are loving their dystopian/coming-of-age novels

Shades of Grey By Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde has an odd mind, that’s what I kept thinking all the way through this book!
To invent a world where our class/position in life is determined by the colours we see, is an odd concept to come up with but because of the incredible detail he went into with this world, it works! 
There were many little things in the book that made me laugh, and even more that made me yell out ‘What!!’ much to my hubby’s annoyance!
The storyline itself is fairly dull, but it’s the world the characters inhabit that makes this book so much fun to read.
If you enjoy a little bit of silly with your books every now and then, this is definitely worth a read.

Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi
I had this book on my shelf for quite a while before I read it. I bought it because I thought the blurb made the book sound interesting.
I wasn’t disappointed. From the start, I adored the way the author wrote, the way she portrayed this girl and her broken mind, how she’d coped being locked away from any human contact for nearly a year. As the book went on with the main character having more and more contact with the outside world, she slowly got better and better at coping with reality and the many people she came in contact with. She was strong and fought back when she had to so she could survive.
I also loved that the author didn’t forget what the girl went through, that the fears never truly left her.
I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series.
If you love dystopian teen fiction, this is a series for you.

The Things We Never Said By Susan Elliot Wright
I was sent this book by the publishers as a possible book club book.
It arrived and I was very excited-my first reading copy! It had a lovely cover and I thought the blurb about a past and present life intertwining sounded very intriguing.
So I sat down with this book with a great deal of anticipation. I read this book very quickly as I wanted to know why Maggie was in the psychiatric ward and how it related to Jonathon. However, I have to say, whilst I thought the story was good, I felt a little flat after reading it. I’m not sure if it’s because Maggie and Jonathon needed more depth or the story did. I also got a little annoyed at the fact that if Jonathan’s wife couldn’t handle the obvious stress he was under, how was she going to cope with a baby?
Also Maggie seemed to be doing a great job of raising her twins, then later in the book, she says that she was a terrible mother but that just didn’t come across to me at all.
So whilst it’s a book that I would recommend as a light read, I wasn’t entirely convinced my bookclub group would like it.

The Casual Vacancy By J K Rowling
Of course I heard about this book before it was even released, we all did. I just did not seem to be able to get around to reading it until now. No particular reason, I knew it would be in a completely different vain to Harry Potter of course, so it wasn’t that, I think I just didn’t have time to fit in such a large book amongst my already huge reading list!
Once it was released, the vast majority of readers of this book seemed to fall into 2 categories, those that loved it and those that hated it. I did wonder if that’s because most of them really did expect a Harry Potter style of writing and were just disappointed but I couldn’t comment until I read it.
Well, I have read it now and I loved it! The descriptive style of writing that she developed through Harry Potter is very evident is this book and sometimes to it’s detriment but aside from that, it is a wonderfully written piece of literature that shows an honest and comical take on a small English town. Being English myself and having grown up in a small town, I felt she did a brilliant job of capturing the attitudes of the men and women who live there (myself included, though I’m not saying what traits of mine those were!) as well as the attitude to council estates and the populace who abide in them.
I adored all the characters and couldn’t put the book down until I knew what would happen to them all. I laughed out loud on many a train ride, much to the disapproval of fellow train passengers and also cried like a baby a couple of times, though luckily not in public!
I felt Rowling must surely be a fan of Roddy Doyle as I did feel the style of writing in some places was very similar to his.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Roddy Doyle, A.M. Holmes even Michael Chabon.

My Life as a Traitor By Zarah Ghahramani
This is a beautifully written memoir full of fascinating facts about the history of Persia, quotes from many wonderful Persian poets and fables tied in with the brutal honesty of Zarah’s experience in prison. What made the book for me was Zarah’s account of how she emotionally coped with the torture, how she quite easily backed down and was happy to give them whatever they wanted, which know we would all do in the same situation, just to make it all stop. She thought she was weak but in reality, I felt she was incredibly strong for not just lying down and giving up. I finished this book with a realisation, which I must admit I’d never thought about before, of how lucky I was to be born where I was.
How lucky to have been able to wear pink shoes or say what I think or wear what I like without worrying about retribution.