Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Goodreads - 2013 Reading Challenge (November Update)

This year I started off the year knowing that I was not going to be very good at keeping up with my blogging, it's really hard to keep the momentum running from the initial start up of the blog when it's all new and exciting. That being said I knew I wanted to keep it going and I hope that I can continue to blog about the books that I love when inspiration and time permits.

Knowing how bad I had been at the reading challenges last year I decided to only do one this year and that one was just the Goodreads Reading Challenge where you set yourself a goal. I even made it a much more realistic goal than the 100 of 2012 which of course I did not even get anywhere near. I settled on 50, thinking that would be an easily achievable number, when I think about how many books I used to read in a year this is laughable but with the invention of TV on the internet I have to say my dedication to books is not what it used to be.

At the start of this month I was startled to realize that it was November, almost December and the end of the year - where has the time gone. It really crept up on me and recently when looking at my blog I also realized that I had only read about 12 books towards my goal of 50 - I was severely behind. I knew that I could give up easily but I also knew that 50 books is a small number and there is no reason I should not have read that in the year so I knew what I had to do - I was going to buckle down and get it done. I had a lot of books I had started and not finished and also many that I had on my nightstand just waiting to be read, so I got through most of those and then tackled some of the ones I've had on my e-reader for a while.  So far I am pleased to report I am up to 28 books towards my goal and it's not even the end of November yet.  It just goes to show what I can do when I set my mind to it.

So lets all cross our fingers that on this I keep up my momentum and get one goal finished for this year. Once I'm finished I might even do some book reviews on a few of the ones I have really enjoyed but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month

Well it's November again and as such time for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. This is the time when people all over the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words.

If you are interested in finding out more you can visit the website at Best of luck to those involved for 2013 and if you did not get a chance to do it this year why not start thinking about it for next year.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Congratulations Eleanor Catton - Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2013

Kiwi Eleanor Catton won the Man Booker Prize for 2013 becoming the youngest author to win, she is 28 years old. Her novel The Luminaries is also the longest book to win the award. This is a great honor for any author and it's awesome to see a fellow New Zealander doing well in the world.

'The Luminaries' is a mystery set in the West Coast of New Zealand during the Gold Rush of the 19th Century.

Follow this link for a full article about the win and to watch Eleanor Catton's acceptance speech on

For another good article about the Man Booker Prize, the other nominees and a more in depth description of 'The Luminaries',  The Telegraph has a good article here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Books into Movies - Coming Soon 2013/2014

There are a few movies coming up that are based on supernatural/fantasy/science fiction books that I wanted to mention.  Books from these genres especially the YA ones are now regularly becoming fodder for the Hollywood engine as more and more of them either make it to the big screen or to TV (I guess we can thank Twilight for that - if for nothing else).  I generally prefer the TV series because they are longer so get to tell the story in more depth but I also think that movies often stick more to the plot of the book than TV does.  This is probably for the exact same reason why I like TV more, it's length - when you have to fill so much more time you often have to add filler characters and story lines in order to keep it interesting and not overwork your main actors too much.

I really like seeing books that I have read come to life, I do prefer it with ones that are a bit older and have had time to reach a good audience   I don't really see the point of releasing a book and then less than a year later the movie (except for marketing purposes to capitalize on the hype and all that). I like The Vampire Dairies because I remember it fondly from my childhood, I read and loved the original books as a teenager. After initially been not to keen on Elena being a brunette when she is blond in the book, and often described as an 'ice princess' to boot, I'm fine with the interpretation now and I like the addition of Jeremy which is a character not in the books - in the books she has a very young sister. The same goes with True Blood, after the initial pilot being really spot on and getting kudos for that - they did veer off into their own story lines making minor characters into major ones and keeping some around that died in the books - but it works and it is its own thing now. I had read the first four or so Sookie Stackhouse books that True Blood is based on quite a while before the show aired. I was initially put off by them because the covers were cartoons so it did take me a while to pick one up.  I felt they were OK (a bit of fluff and fun), I was not that impressed with them so I think in the long run I have liked the TV series better. I guess in all cases there are things that you like about each of the mediums and things that you don't like.

These are some of the ones that I have noticed are coming out in 2013 and 2014 that I have read the books for so I am interested to see what the movies are like:

You can check them out on Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Amazon:

Ender's Game - Book by Orson Scott Card
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - Book by Cassandra Clare
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - Book by Rick Riordan
Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters - Book by Richelle Mead

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Want to Read - Omens by Kelley Armstrong

Omens: A Cainsville Novel
By Kelley Armstrong

Release Date: August 20, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

From Kiwigirl:

I really like Kelley Armstrong's writing, I have enjoyed most of the 'Women of the Otherworld' series.  I did not like the young adult ones as much, nor the Nadia Stafford ones. I thought that this new one sounded like an interesting idea and I'm definitely ready to give it a go based on my enjoyment of the majority of her books. I also recently heard that they are making a TV series based on the Women of the Otherword series which I am looking forward to. I saw a picture of the actress they cast for Elena and was a bit disappointed, she looked very small and I always pictured her as a physically strong woman. I guess we will have to see how it turns out.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July Want to Read - Fin and Lady by Cathleen Schine

Fin & Lady: A Novel

By Cathleen Schine

Release Date: July 9, 2013

Synopsis from The Book Depository:

From the author of "The Three Weissmanns of Westport," a wise, clever story of New York in the '60s It's 1964. Eleven-year-old Fin and his glamorous, worldly, older half sister, Lady, have just been orphaned, and Lady, whom Fin hasn't seen in six years, is now his legal guardian and his only hope. That means Fin is uprooted from a small dairy farm in rural Connecticut to Greenwich Village, smack in the middle of the swinging '60s. He soon learns that Lady--giddy, careless, urgent, and obsessed with being free--is as much his responsibility as he is hers. So begins "Fin & Lady," the lively, spirited new novel by Cathleen Schine, the author of the bestselling "The Three Weissmanns of Westport." Fin and Lady lead their lives against the background of the '60s, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War--Lady pursued by ardent, dogged suitors, Fin determined to protect his impulsive sister from them and from herself. From a writer "The New York Times" has praised as "sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious, and deeply affecting," "Fin & Lady" is a comic, romantic love story: the story of a brother and sister who must form their own unconventional family in increasingly unconventional times.

From Kiwigirl:

Not my usual fare but I came across this when looking for some books on The Book Depository website - it was on the New and Popular list that comes up before you get to what you are actually looking for. Turns out that kind of advertisement works. I liked the cover so I had a look at what it was about and I think it could be one that I will enjoy, worth a chance anyway. I like to read a range of different books even though the bulk of my interests lie in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy realm. I've added it to my 'To Read' list on 'Goodreads' for now.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Want to Read - The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Neil Gaiman

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. 

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. 

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

From kiwigirl:

I love what I have read of Neil Gaiman so far, such a wonderful story teller and I can't say that I have read any of his books and not thought it was amazing. I am sure his next book will be no exception especially if the online reviews posted so far are anything to go by. I am definitely looking forward to getting a copy of this book some time in the not too distant future.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Coming Soon - New Monthly Posts

Hi everyone, it's been a while but I have still been thinking about what I can do to update this blog on a more regular basis.  My book reviews are pretty few and far between these days - I like to do them but I just don't get a lot of time to sit down and write them. 

This year knowing how slack I have been I'm only doing the one book challenge - the 'Goodreads' one where you challenge yourself to read a certain amount of books in a year.  Last year I made the challenge 100 and did not even break 50 so I have realigned my expectations to something a bit more manageable.  I made the goal just 50 - I have my tracker posted on the sidebar so you can see how I am getting on.

I decided that I would try and post once a month and pick a book that has or is being released in that month that I want to read.  It will just be a showcase of the book and any information I can find about it and maybe why I want to read it. Hopefully this will keep me coming back and making regular posts and maybe also inspire me to keep reading even when it's  hard to find the time.

In the meantime, thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Willows by Krystal George (Review by kiwigirlreads)

The Willows Plot Overview:

The WillowsEvelyn Magwire used to have it all, a happy family, great friends and a loving boyfriend. After her parents are killed in an accident things just keep getting worse and worse for Evelyn. Her grief isolates her from her friends and remaining family and it’s not until another tragedy strikes that she is forced to pull herself together.

When one of her brothers goes missing in mysterious circumstances Evie finds that she is the only one who believes he is still out there and wants to track down the truth. Her enquiry leads her to The Willows – what was her brother doing out there, could he really be a killer, and what dark secrets are hiding in the chilled and deserted woods?

Evie finds herself pulled deeper and deeper into a new world of darkness where it’s hard to tell who is friend and who is foe. In the end Evie must make a choice – will she give in to temptation and even if she can resist, will she ever be the same again?

What I thought:
I was provided an ebook copy of ‘The Willows’ by the author for reviewing purposes. I really like the cover of this book, it's one that I would certainly pick up in a book store if I came across it.

First off I’d like to point out here that my rating system veers towards the harsh, even for books that I absolutely loved, so while I have rated this a bit lower it does not mean that it is not a good book. My review will attempt to explain what I did and did not like and you can judge for yourself. If it sounds like something that you might like then I would certainly recommend you giving it a try.
The Willows is one of those books that had a lot of potential and although it was good you can see how it could have been so much better.  It was pretty short at 140 pages and it really could have done with some extra fleshing out of characters, motives and background. It is a paranormal young adult tale which also has a good mystery to it. I think that it will appeal to younger aged teenagers more than adults due to the plot construction being a bit flimsy.

I thought that the story started off slow, I found it a hard to get into as it went about the build up and background information. However once the action starts and the mystery begins to unfold it does get better, it quickly picks up and moves swiftly towards the conclusion. I did think that overall it was a good story with some interesting ideas and I enjoyed reading it.
The characters were likable but lacked depth; this is where some fleshing out was really needed.  I just never felt like I knew anyone especially well. The main character of Evie seemed to be rather shallow and well, a bit ‘fickle’ at times – she has feelings for a lot of boys during the course of such a short book and there does not really seem to be much of a reason for many of these feelings. I like a bit more grounding to my story lines rather than where a girl sees a handsome vampire and is immediately head over heels in love to the detriment of self preservation

In the same vein I felt that some of the reactions and emotions in the book were poorly executed. The main character has tragically lost her parents, when she breaks down with grief at their funeral people act like she is a freak. The same goes for later when she is back at school, people can’t understand why she is not back to her usual chipper self.  I can’t image that people would be so callous, such a loss would take quite a while to recover from and I would like to think that that most people would be a bit more accommodating especially her close friends.
The storyline was rather interesting, I liked the mystery of it and once it gets started there is enough to keep you interested. There are some twists and turns and at times it even gets to be a bit creepy as the protagonist gets closer and closer to the truth. Although there were some flaws and things that I thought could have been better it was an entertaining story and is a nice addition to the genre

There is a bit of swearing, some blood and a small amount of gore in this book.  It’s pretty minimal compared to others in the genre. There is not much in the way of sexual content either, there is some teenage kissing but it’s pretty tame.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:
I did like the story, and although though it might seem like I was harsh, this was mainly because I did like it and I could see the potential for it to be great. Overall ‘The Willows’ was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. If you like vampire or paranormal romance type books then I would recommend you checking it out.

You can check out more on the authors blog.

Rating: ☆☆