Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: The Brass Verdict

The Brass Verdict, Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer/Mickey Haller series #2
Fiction, Ebook

The months of May and June are what I call "Family High Season" because during these two months, we celebrate all three of our birthdays, my dad's birthday, and our wedding anniversary. That's on top of Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. It's a busy time, to say the least, and why things have been so quiet around here. Between all of that celebrating, there hasn't been much time for blogging or reading.

In need of something (relatively) light and fast-paced to help pick up momentum, I decided to revisit The Lincoln Lawyer series. The Brass Verdict is the second book in the series, picking up about a year after the first one ends. When a colleague is murdered and his entire practice is left to Mickey Haller (aka the Lincoln Lawyer, so called because his office is the back of his Lincoln Town Car), he's thrown back into the game after a year away. One of the clients he inherits is a big shot Hollywood executive about to go on trial for double murder. Haller has to figure out how to defend this guy, why his colleague was murdered, and whether the two are connected without making himself another target.

I read the first book a couple of years ago because the movie trailers looked interesting. I really enjoyed it and the movie was well done too. Matthew McConaughey is perfect and it was hard not to picture him as Mickey Haller while reading The Brass Verdict. Just like the first book, I enjoyed Haller's sense of humour and his somewhat loose ethics. I enjoyed the courtroom drama, though the twist at the end was a bit melodramatic and predictable. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between Mickey and Detective Harry Bosch, who is the star of another series by Michael Connelly. The Brass Verdict was exactly what I needed and if you are interested in crime or legal dramas, definitely check out this series!

Here's the trailer for The Lincoln Lawyer. It's too bad they didn't end up franchising it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review: Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
Fiction, book club

It's been a couple of weeks since I finished Pattern Recognition and I still don't have much to say about it. It was a book club selection, one that I'd been looking forward to since it was different from our usual fare. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations.

Kind of like Such A Long Journey, the blurb led me astray. I thought that there was going to be mystery, suspense, maybe some danger. There was a mystery but the whole thing just wasn't very engaging. I kept thinking, "Is this all there is? Really?" I never believed Cayce, the main character, was in any real danger. I still don't fully understand the resolution. All in all, it was a disappointment.

Almost halfway in, this year isn't shaping up to be a very satisfying one as far as books go. Any good recommendations to turn this ship around, kind readers?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Reflecting On Our First Year

Two Fridays ago, Baby A turned one! It was simultaneously the longest and shortest year ever. My online mom's group had a discussion recently about surviving our first year and it was interesting to see what everyone had to say about their most favourite, least favourite, and most surprising aspects of motherhood. I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on these things lately, so here are mine:

Most Favourite 
Without a doubt, A's smiles and giggles are the greatest thing I've ever experienced. They are what I live for. There is such a sweet innocence to them and so much joy in her laughter that it makes my heart burst. 

A close second are her kisses, which she gives without prompting. They often leave me with a wet face but they are the best. In third place is her little voice saying "mama," even though I am still not sure that she knows what she is referring to when she says it. I just love hearing it.

Least favourite
The production required to leave the house with a baby is really fracking annoying. Having to strategize leaving the house around feeding and nap times is a pain, too, but is certainly much easier now than it was during the first few months.

The lack of flexibility in our lives is also a source of frustration at times. We were never really super spontaneous to begin with, but it was nice to be able to pick and up go somewhere whenever we wanted to. Now it's a lot more complicated.

Most Surprising
I think what took me by surprise the most has been the sheer all-consuming nature of this gig.Once that baby is born, you're "on" and there is no "off" anymore. Knowing that intellectually before having a baby is very different from actually experiencing it. Mentally, physically, emotionally, everything was transformed in some way once A was born. It was exhausting in ways that I couldn't have imagined. Babies rely on you for everything and have zero regard for your own need to eat, sleep, or use the bathroom. When you're completely drained and don't feel like you have anything left to give of yourself, the baby cries/vomits/has a diaper explosion (or all three at the same time) and you have no choice but to keep on giving.

That cycle brings with it a complex web of emotions that also took me by surprise. I'm generally pretty even-keeled but both pregnancy and this past year have been a roller coaster. There's the heart-bursting love and pride that I have for this tiny human I helped create. There's also the constant worry about every decision we make and whether it's truly the best one for her in the long run. I remember when she first started smiling at us around 6 or 7 weeks and being totally overwhelmed by the need to prove ourselves worthy of her unconditional love and trust. Then there's good ol' mom guilt. Often, it's all of these at once.

It feels like I am making it out to be a far more negative experience than it was. It was just a really big adjustment and was not without its challenges. There are definitely things I now wish I'd done differently. But all three of us made it through Year One and ultimately, I think we did pretty well. Those smiles and kisses have made all the rest worth slogging through and I have no doubt that they'll keep us going through the impending toddler years!