Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo

As many of you know - today is the day. 



November 1st is the day that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins.

Thousands of people around the globe will be busily typing or writing away, filled with optimism for the coming month. Many will fall by the wayside, as the days turn into weeks and the inspiration fizzes out or life intervenes, to mention but a few tales of the unfinished.

The goal is to write 50,000 words - it's a huge task and one that only a few achieve.  But even if you don't reach your goal at least you took part and you might have the start of something great.

If you are not doing NaNo this year but it sounds interesting, be sure to check out the site and see what goes on.  Maybe you might be inspired to try it out in 2013.

For those who are participants this year - best of luck.  If you feel like sharing your tips and or any other feelings about NaNo please do so in the comments.  I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Epic Fail :(

Well as you can see by my lack of posting recently, my resolution in July to read less books but actually finish and review them has not worked out very well. I definitely am reading less books that's for sure - but more like just not reading at all.

I'm still on the same place with the few books I have open and have been for about a month now. They are ones that I have promised to review so I really want to finish them and do the reviews.  So this is just a quick message to say I'm still here and I'm still trying.  I have another blog which I have been trying to get up and running and the content is a bit easier for me to write as it's just personal life stuff. I have been focusing a bit more on this one recently.

If you want to check it out it is called kiwigirl in Suwon, South Korea and it's about my life in South Korea, also some other random stuff like music I like and other things but mainly centered around Korea. It's going pretty well but harder to get followers as it lacks the community that you get with the book world - everyone visiting each other sites, commenting and following.  That's one thing I really love about my book blog, finding like minded individuals.  I am getting lots of page views however, so that is encouraging - I just hope some people find it useful or interesting.

One thing I did on my other blog to make sure I posted, even if it was just a few words, was to institute a 'Music Monday' post where every week I post a link to some music I like or think is interesting and worth sharing.  I think I might need to do that here also to give me something that I have to do every week - it needs to be something easy so that I do it even if I only have a short amount of time to post.

I'm thinking that it might be something to do with covers because I love cover art, there are a couple of artists that I've started to follow over the years as I kept recognising their work.  I think that they deserve more attention as for me the cover is what makes me want to look at the book in the first place. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by it's cover but - come on who doesn't?

Anyway I will keep thinking on it and get back to you soon with my (hopefully) brilliant idea for a regular segment.

That's all for now,
kiwigirl

Friday, July 20, 2012

Demon High by Lori Devoti (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Demon High Plot Overview:

There are demons attending Caldera High!

How does Lucinda Dent know?

Because she’s the one who called them and accidentally set them loose.......
Lucinda knew it was a bad idea to call demons - her Mom disappeared ten years ago after dabbling in demon calling for too long.  She’s seen what it can do, but with the bank about to foreclose on the only home she’s ever know, Lucinda needs to find some quick cash.
 
She and the local ‘acquisitions expert’ at her school work out a way to make some money putting on a ‘unique’ show for those who can pay.  When it all goes horribly wrong Lucinda finds herself in way over her head. 

Now Lucinda needs to find a way to clean up the mess she’s made, before she loses her heart, her soul, her life, or all of the above.

What I thought:
I think that Demon High was a decent enough book, I had a few issues with it but I liked the story well enough.  I did think the name let it down a bit, Demon High just makes it seem like it would be a much lighter kind of book where it is in fact in the dark paranormal spectrum. It is of course Young Adult, the characters are in high school as the name suggests.  I think that it’s one that still reads as a teenage book (albeit one with mature themes and language) but as an adult I still enjoyed it.

I have seen two cover art pictures for this book, I read it as an eBook and I have to say that the cover art on this edition was a much better reflection on the story.  The cover art with the girl with the long hair and white dress along with the name set quite a different tone.  I have used the cover art from the eBook edition that I read in this post, I think it might be a later one, and like I said it is much more appropriate.
I have been trying to figure out just what it was that made this book not as enjoyable as others I have read.  It was a combination of a few things which I will outline below but I do want to note that I did think it had some good qualities and I would not be reviewing it here if I did not think it was worth reading.

First off it was a bit slow starting, and then even once the demons were called and let loose it was all a bit underwhelming.  I felt that it did not really get interesting until they were finally tracking down the bad guy.  For me that part was the best, it was where the characters really shone and I began to get into the book.  In the beginning there was a lot of new information dropped that was not accompanied by much of an explanation.  I know that it’s hard to find a balance and the beginning was slow enough to start off with but some things need to be set up when introducing a new world – we need to know the lingo and the parameters.
Secondly Lucinda, I did not connect with her as a main character, she just seemed a little flat and lacking depth to me. I never ‘got’ how she fell in love like she was supposed to be, it was just never explained enough for me to really feel it.  On the other hand I really liked the character of Brittany; she was tough and I thought she was fresh and funny. I liked that she was a bit on the shady side which seemed incongruous with her perky popular girl personality.

I saw that on other reviews a lot of people did not like the ending; I had no issues with it.  I think that a lot of people reading may be too caught up in happy endings. I liked that this played out more ‘realistically’ if I can use that term when talking about paranormal fantasy.  Of course you have to suspend disbelief for most of the storyline but the human elements and plot continuity still need to work.  The world that was created by the author told us demons were bad news, if it had ended all happy fluffy bunnies I would have been disappointed.
Final Comments and Overall Rating:

Overall I liked the story, it was compelling and dark. I would certainly give another book in the series a chance just to see where it goes and perhaps it will improve on the aspects I did not find as appealing.
Rating: ☆☆☆

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dog Days by John Levitt (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Dog Days (A Dog Days Novel) Plot Overview:

In San Francisco not everything is what it seems. Mason is a talented Jazz guitarist who scrapes by playing the odd gig around town. He is also part of a secret community of magical practitioners and although he has tried to leave that life behind him he is about to be dragged right back into the thick of it.

Leaving a gig late one night Mason is attacked by a supernatural creature, he narrowly escapes thanks to his companion Louie (an Ifrit – a magical being that looks like a small dog) and his talent for being able to improvise with his magic.

Mason realises that he is out of his league and reports the incident to his former boss, the self-appointed law for the magical community in San Francisco. Mason learns that there is something seriously wrong in the magical community, practitioners and Ifrits are in danger. Despite Mason’s initial reluctance to get involved in the end it will all come down to him and Mason will find himself tested to his limits – will he be able to save those he cares about?

What I thought:

I really liked Dog Days and have since read the next three books in the series, I read this one a while ago, but I went back and reacquainted myself with it so I could do a review. I figure if you have not heard of the series or have seen it but not given it a go yet then you will be more interested in the first book, especially if you are like me and like to read things in sequence.

First off I really appreciated the clear amount of effort that John Levitt has put into the storyline and details of Dog Days. The book has a very good plot, lots of interesting characters, the setting is described in detail and the magic system is creative and interesting. Dog Days is a fun and entertaining read with a lot of depth.

If you find yourself thinking it’s a bit slow to start off with, all I can say is please stay with it. Compared with some contemporary urban fantasy it’s not as fast paced, but if you stick with it you will find that it has more than enough action to keep you entertained along with some great twists and turns. I also thought that overall it was a bit darker than some novels in the same field that try to wrap everything up in a neat little happy bow at the end, there are real repercussions even for the winners.

I liked the feeling that you get from the setting, there are a lot of descriptions in the story so you can really appreciate that they are in San Francisco – Levitt describes the landmarks, the neighbourhoods and the feeling of the city - for someone who has never been to America this is great and it really adds to the atmosphere. You can feel like you are there, or at least get an idea of what it is like there.


The magical system in the Dog Days universe is well constructed; it is creative and well thought out. There are lots of things that are still a mystery to the characters such as where Ifrits come from and why only some practitioners have them. I think this is great as I like a good mystery. There are quite a few variations on how the practitioners use their magic and some have more talent than others, this is all well explained and seems fairly coherent so far.

The characters on the whole were well written and you get to know them during the story, they all have their own personalities, rivalries and issues so they come across very human. I did think that the women in the story were a bit light and stereotypical however there were only really only two, so I guess it’s not a huge issue. I liked that the characters responded to most situations realistically and that magic is never the be all and end all, it’s used as a tool and they need the skills and talents of many to help resolve the situation.

Mason is the narrator of the story and is not your typical first person hero (compared to a lot of Urban Fantasy nowadays); he’s much more laid-back and less of a smart ass than many of his contemporaries. While I do like that kind of character I still found Mason likable for the most part, he comes across as very real. Differences are what make the world go round and if all books had the same characters then I am sure we would all get bored in no time. I did find him a bit whiny and judgemental at times but I liked that even though he is magical, he is not all that powerful; he knows how to use what he has to his advantage but suffers no delusions of grandeur.

I think for a lot of people the hero of the book is not Mason but his ‘dog’ – Louie. Louie is a magical being called an Ifrit - some practitioners have these creatures but no one knows why or where they come from. They look like normal pets but are smarter and have talents of their own. Louie loves food and acts just like a dog most of the time; he cannot talk either physically or mentally. I think that’s actually a good thing as it adds to the mystery of the Ifrits and makes his relationship with Mason all the more interesting. I liked that even though they can't talk you still get a very real idea of their personalities, the animosity between Louie and Victor's cat Ifrit is a good example of this.


As with all books there were a few things that did not work so well. I found that there were some ideas that got rehashed to often - the idea that Mason treats his magic like his music and is much better at improvisation than planned study and that he has a lot of undeveloped potential if he could just focus. I felt that these two ideas were talked about a bit much, we get the hint you don’t need to bash us over the head with it every five minutes.

The other thing I noticed was that many times in the middle of the action Mason would go off on a tangent and fill in back-story. I know that sometimes this is necessary if the information is really needed but it often ended up being a distraction from the action. When a character is about to have his face chewed off by a monster, I don’t really need to know about a conversation he once had with his mentor. This might be something that the character could reflect on once the action has finished if it is really important to the story.


Final Comments and Overall Rating:


Overall I really liked Dog Days; I thought it was intriguing, suspenseful and imaginative. John Levitt has a nice and easy to read writing style - the mood and the details of the novel are great and this all adds up to a compelling read.

Dog Days Series: Dog Days, New Tricks, Unleashed, Play Dead

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cartoon - Simon's Cat

This reminded me of a few cats I have known - love this series of cartoons.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kate's Blog Giveaway - Win a Paperback Copy of Taste


Break Curfew!

Cover - Taste by Kate Evangelista


Head on over to Kate Evangelista's blog for you chance to win her new book - Taste. 

You can enter the international giveaway  via Rafflecopter to be in to win you very own paperback copy.



Rafflecopter Giveaway - Taste by Kate Evangelista
Best of Luck Everyone!

Monday, July 2, 2012

New Month, New Hope

I have been very bad at blogging over the past few months, I find I just don't have the time for reading or writing but I really want to as I am pleased with how this blog is going and I have enjoyed getting into the blogging world. I spent the latter part of June making a concerted effort to finish books I have had sitting around for many, many months - some even from last year. I have such a bad habit of reading too many books at once - I'm good at keeping them all straight and picking up where I left off even if its months down the track but it does lead me to getting a bit swamped. Recently I had a long weekend and with nothing else pressing to do I decided to get onto it and get some of them out of the way. I finished about five that weekend - ones where I only had a few chapters left to go; it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. I had three more that I had only made it about a third to half of the way through so those were next on my list. The one that was the longest and that I had only read the first few chapters of was the last one on my list and I finshed it last night. It was Terry Goodkind's - Wizards First Rule and once I got into it on the weekend I got it read pretty quickly. It was a great book and I am not sure why I never read it before now.

Anyway there a only two more on my Goodreads list, one I'm not sure that I want to finish as it's not really my thing and the other one I just wanted to wait until it had my undivided attention so its next on my list to finish. After that I have a few review ones that I need to get started on as I have not done a review in a while. I'm going to try and only read two or three at a time so that I can get them finished and do my reviews on them.

That is my mission for July - read fewer books but actually finish them and do some reviews on said books. Sounds simple but lets see if I can handle it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Two fellow boggers have kindly nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award, the nominations came from Alicia from Book A World and Candi from Just Can't Beat Books.


The Liebster Blog Award is for new bloggers with under 200 followers. Apparently 'Liebster' is a German word which means something like - nicest, sweetest, kindest among other things along those same lines. Thanks very much for the sentiment guys, its' really nice.

So these are the rules (although one said 10 and the other 11 so I went with 10):

1. Post 10 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 10 questions the blogger who nominated you has provided
3. Choose 10 people and link them in your post
4. Give another 10 questions from you to the people you’ve nominated in your post
5. Tell the people you have chosen that you have nominated them
6. Remember, no tag backs - choose new people.


TEN FACTS

I'm a New Zealander
I live in South Korea
I'm addicted to Energy Drinks
I eat way too much chocolate
I love Muay Thai
I love Punk Music
Cats not Dogs
I love shopping
I'm really shy
Friends and Family are very important to me


10 QUESTIONS (Book A World)
1. How long have you been blogging?
Since February
2. What genre do you blog about?
Urban Fantasy and some Young Adult
3. Where are you from?
New Zealand
4. Do you have any ARCs right now? If so, what?
No
5. What are you currently reading?
Skinners: Howling Legion by Marcus Pelegrimas
6. Who is your favourite author of all time?
Chaz Brenchley
7. Do you usually read mainstream or indie authors?
Usually mainstream but sometimes indie.
8. Do you give your read books away, run contests with them, or keep them?
Usually keep them, I have not done a giveaway yet but hopefully in the future
9. How many books are in your TBR pile?
Lots
10. What is your favourite food?

Pasta

11 QUESTIONS (Just Can't Beat Books)

1. What is your favourite piece of clothing?
Jeans
2. What do you hate the most?
Intolerance and people dog-earing my books
3. What can you not live without?
Books and Chocolate
4. Who would be your fantasy boyfriend if you could have one?
Hmm I think I'd rather go with reality all the same thanks
5. Who are you most like from a book/ series?
Hmmm that's a hard one, I can't think of one - there are lot's that I'd like to be like
6. What book/stories do you think should have a different ending and Why?

Who am I to argue with the author, its their story. The only thing that came to mind that I really hated was the movie Dogma - I love Kevin Smith and loved the movie right to the end then its ruined by Alanis Morrisette and all the ensues after she comes into. Way to ruin a perfectly good movie guys.
7.Name a song that would complement the book you are reading right now?
Rooster by Alice in Chains
8. What shouldn't have a series or second novel in your opinion?
If they are good enough for me to like then I will probably want another novel, I can't think of one that has one that I thought should not have one. There are some long series that maybe should have quit a bit earlier, the same as when TV series run for too long - they lose their edge.
9. What do you plan to do or have done with your life?
Still not really sure - it's a work in progress
10. What book should never be or have been turned into a movie?
The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
11. What book have you read that you think has been made into a successful movie?

Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone

The Ten Blogs I have nominated for the Liebster Award are:

A Bookworm's Treasure Trove

Batty for Books

Bookluvrs Haven

Hooked in a Book

Midnight Reader

Nothing Better than A Book

Ruby's Books

You can choose any of the questions above from the ones given to me by Book A World and Just Can't Beat Books - just choose the 10 you like best.
And lastly just wanted to say thanks again for the thought with these nominations, it was really nice of you to have included me. I will ask that these are the last nominations for the award as I've had two so far and it’s super hard to answer all these questions :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reign Check by Michelle Rowen (Review by kiwigirlreads)


Reign Check is the second book in the Demon Princess Series.

Last week high school girl Nikki Donovan met her Dad for the first time, found out he is a Demon King, stopped an attempted coup and saved both her and her father's lives.

Now Nikki has to deal with the fact that she is a ‘darkling’ half human and half demon, if that’s not enough, the king of the fairy realm just enrolled at her high school to assess if Nikki is a threat or not. Looks like this week is going to be just as busy.

What I thought:

Light and fluffy is what I would call this series. Not that that’s a bad thing, just make sure it’s what you are after. This is teen paranormal chick lit and it’s a cute and entertaining read. 

The characters are likable, the story is fast paced and interesting.

The main thing I did not like about this book was the timing, there is only one week between what happened in the first book to what is going on now – it just seems really forced. I don’t really like it when books (or TV) try to push heaps of activity into a short time-span, it seems like this should take place over a month or so. The character keeps talking about how last week she almost died – there could have been more healing time or I don’t think she would be dealing with it as well.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

If you liked the first one in the series then you will certainly like this one, it carries on and develops in both characterization and themes. A fun, cute read that will that will please most lovers of young adult paranormal romance.

Demon Princess Series: Reign or Shine, Reign Check, Reign Fall

Rating:☆☆☆

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bite Me by Parker Blue (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Bite Me Plot Overview:

When Val Shapiro turns eighteen her parents kick her out of the house and fire her from her job at the family bookstore.

Not exactly you hallmark moment . . . .

Val is part succubus and since she won’t give into her other half and feed on lust, she hunts vampires to take the edge off. Being part-demon gives Val special powers - she's fast, strong, heals quickly, and is immune to vampire mind control - all of this makes  for great vampire slaying. When Jen, Val’s human half-sister, follows her out on a vampire hunt their Mom blames Val and decides that she is too dangerous to be around.

A chance encounter with a police officer who watches her take down a vampire all by herself leads Val to a new life and job with the Special Crimes Unit. The Special Crimes Unit is investigating a new Vampire Movement in town. The usually unorganized and solo vampires are uniting and claim they seek peace between humans and vampires. However there has also been an increase in vampire-related deaths, now her own sister is mixed up in whatever is going on and that just makes Val more determined to find out the truth.

What I thought:

*I received Bite Me, part of the Demon Underground series, via NetGalley along with the second and third books in the series which I will review later*

I had actually read this one before but I liked it enough to want to read the other ones in the series so I got the bundled eBook edition from NetGalley. I re-read this first one as it had been a while and I wanted to give a good review about the book.
I liked the book from the start as it opens with an action scene. You feel like you really get to know Val right away and action is always a good way to start in my opinion. Bite Me is a Young Adult novel that easily spans the generational gap. Val is eighteen years old and not at school so it really reads a bit older than a lot of Young Adult stories where the protagonist is usually fifteen or sixteen and still in high school.

The story is a little bit dark and a lot sassy; it’s a great girl kick ass book. One of the best parts of the novel is the humor; the mystery part of the story is slightly predictable but it is still an enjoyable read. With any book about a teenage girl slaying vampires you are automatically going to think of Buffy, the writer deals with this by making references to this cult icon and essentially paying tribute wherever possible.

Val is the main character and we immediately feel sympathetic towards her when she is treated so poorly by her family. She is a tough, kick ass vampire slayer on the outside but we know how vulnerable she really is on the inside and how much inner turmoil is going on as she tries to reconcile her human and demon sides. One of the main themes of the book is self-discovery and Val goes though a lot, you really get the feeling that she grows as a character which is nice. I think that Val is one of my favourite YA heroines, she is strong and tough and has a kick ass attitude. She also has her soft side and literally her ‘inner demons’.

My favourite character in Bite Me was Val’s tiny, part hellhound, sidekick Fang. He provides the comedy and is a great counterpoint to the teen drama, making sure that the story does not get too melodramatic. Fang and Val’s relationship and conversations are definitely a highlight; I especially liked the scene where he helps her pick out what to wear to a club.

The rest of supporting characters are a bit thin, I did not like the love interest character - Dan, it felt like he was potentially a good character but just did not quite get there, he was also very judgemental which annoyed me. Val’s family are all a bit stereotypical and don’t really get enough coverage to be developed any more. I think that it would have been more enjoyable if the other characters had been fleshed out a bit more.

The main issues that I had with this book surround the plot, first off it was a bit simplistic which made it predictable but this can be forgiven because overall it was a good story. Another issue that was a bit harder to get over was how the police worked in the story. Val’s entry to the Special Crimes Unit is much too easy; she phones them up and starts work that same day - because Police Units always hire eighteen year old girls of the street? It was just such a gloss over; surely there was a way to have her working for the police as an outside consultant or something to make it a bit more believable. Lastly, the other noticeable thing was that there seemed to be a lot of travelling for no reason, they are always getting into a car to go somewhere. Surely that time could have been better spent.
Final Comments and Overall Rating:
This book was fun and easy to read if a little predictable, it had its issues but overall it is an entertaining and action packed novel and I enjoyed reading it.

I would recommend Bite Me for those who love a kickass female heroine, some good humor and a light read.

Demond Undergound Series: Bite Me,Try Me,Fang Me,Make Me

Rating: ☆☆☆

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Cover Feature: The Willows by Krystal George

The Willows Book Cover


Life is easy when you have everything you want; great friends, a boyfriend who loves you, a happy family that supports you and brothers that both protect and annoy you. I had all of that… once.

That was before the accident. That was before the murder. That was before… The Willows.

Evelyn Magwire now has a choice to make. Does she turn her back on the mysteries that have consumed her life, or does she face the darkness and find the truth? When her brother goes missing, the choice is made for her; forced on a path where friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Evie soon learns that the changes happening to her are the scariest she will face. She’s not sure she will ever be the same again… Because some changes are forever… and bloodlust… never dies.

Release Date: April 2012
Available from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords


I offered to do a cover feature for Krystal George's new book 'The Willows' because I was really impressed with the cover.  It looks great and so I really wanted to share it with you all.  I have not read the book yet but Krystal has supplied me with a copy so I will read it as soon as possible and follow this up with a review.

Please comment if you have read the book, what did you think about it?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chimera by Rob Thurman (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Chimera Plot Overview:

When Stefan Korsak was fourteen his younger brother Lukas was kidnapped and he has never forgiven himself for the part he unwittingly played. It was Stefan who convinced Lukas that they should sneak out to ride their horses on the beach that day and so ten years later Stefan is still searching for answers.

In the meantime he has fallen into the family business – the Russian mafia, he has no illusions about his lifestyle choices and it funds his obsession to find his brother which is all Stefan cares about these days. Finally one of his contacts comes through with new lead that points him towards a shadowy ‘institute’ where a boy matching Lukas description has been seen.

Stefan mounts a dangerous rescue mission and finally is reunited with his brother, but after ten years Lukas is no longer the boy he remembers. Lukas insists that he does not know who Stefan is and that his name is Michael. The ‘institute’ has spent years training and conditioning Michael to be a weapon and they will do whatever it takes to get him back.

Now the two are on the run together, Michael from his captors and Stefan from the mafia he left behind, they must learn to trust one another if they want to stay alive. Michael has no reason to trust this stranger except that he has risked his life for him and Stefan will do anything to make sure his brother has a chance a real life.

 What I thought:

I really enjoy Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series so wanted to give this one ago as well. I ordered it off Amazon a while ago and finally got around to reading it recently. On the whole I think that I prefer Rob’s previous novels over this one, I might read the next one in the series but it’s not going to be high on my list.

That does not mean it was bad by any means, I just didn’t really feel that it was great. It was a compelling read, had some good points, and was pretty entertaining. There's not much of a supernatural aspect to this book compared to others that Rob Thurman has written. It’s a bit hard to categorise as it’s not completely mundane either but its more science fiction than fantasy as it deals with genetics.

The story starts off slow introducing Stefan and his mafia background but it soon picks up as Stefan finds and rescues Lukas, after that it rolls along pretty well towards the conclusion. It’s a good thriller, action type story with twists and turns in the plot to keep you interested.

Rob Thurman always does characters well so there are no complaints on that score, there is a lot of depth to the two main characters and she really works out their interactions very well. There is a lot of thought about how these two boys would deal with each other, one has been searching for the brother he lost 10 years ago and the other does not believe he has a brother. They both have their issues but they need to rely on each other to survive.

There is a good dose of Rob Thurman’s signature snarky dialogue and the brother’s relationship is well written. It does not come naturally as the boys have been estranged but Stefan is determined to get his brother back and Lukas despite himself wants to believe.

I thought that sometimes the plot seemed a bit easy,Stefan breaks into a top secret compound which surely would have top of the line security. Obviously this is needed for the story line as most of the reminder of the story is about them running but I think there could have been a more plausible way to get Lukas out. Something where there was less security like when they were outside on a trip or something. It’s just a small point but it’s at the start so it sets the scene.

I was not a huge fan of the ending but I don't want to give away so I won’t say too much. I didn't have a problem with the resolution of the story but the twist at the end left me feeling a bit underwhelmed, I’m sure many will see it coming and I thought it might happen but would have rather it had gone another way.

Finally I just thought I would mention I was not a big fan of the cover but as I knew the author from previous books it did not matter too much. If it was debut author I might have hesitated on the cover, it’s not the most attractive. A minor point I know but I really enjoy the cover art so thought I would add it in.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

Overall, Chimera does not disappoint, I myself preferred the Leandros series but it’s better to view this as something apart as it is not urban fantasy. It’s an exciting thriller about genetic experiments and sibling relationships. While it has its flaws it’s still a great read, well written and it will keep your interest.

So if you are interested in action, thriller type books then this might just be what you are looking for or if you are a Rob Thurman fan I’m sure you will not be disappointed if you give it a go.

Rating: ☆☆☆

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NetGalley

NetGalley logo request, read and comment on upcoming titles






I joined a website called NetGalley last week.  Its where publishers list books that they have where they want people to review them. You can request a copy of the book from the publisher and if that request is approved you can download the book for free.  You then have to review it and let them know where your reviews are posted.

It sounds like a good way to get copies of some books that I might not have considered otherwise.  There are a lot of different publishers listed, some of them really big names and other smaller ones as well.  Some of them have conditions to release the books such if you are a blogger then you have to have a certain amount of traffic.  That ruled out a lot for me as my blog is still pretty small, I just don't have the time to read and review as much as I would like to.  I still found a couple of books that looked interesting and did not have as stringent reviewer guidelines so I think it will be worth it.

I will let you know in the review if it is a book that I got from NetGalley (or from any other free source) but please be assured that this will not influence my reviews.  Regardless of where the book comes from I will always give you my honest opinion about what I thought of the book.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Coexist by Julia Crane (Review by kiwigirlreads)


Keegan is a sixteen-year old girl who lives a fairly typical life of friends, shopping and parties. However Keegan, despite all outward appearances, is definitely not your typical teenager. Keegan is an elf, a race of beings that live among humans and as beings of the light help where they can.

In elfin society mates are chosen at birth but the identity of said chosen is not revealed until both parties reach the age of 18. Keegan’s brother Thaddeus is a ‘seer’ and his visions have warned him of impending disaster, in an attempt to ward this off Thaddeus has told Keegan the name of her intended – Rourk.

Now every time Keegan thinks his name Rourk feels pulled towards her. He watches her from the shadows, silently protecting her and waiting until she turns 18 so that they can finally meet and be together. Fate intervenes before this can happen when Keegan’s life is in danger and Rourk is forced to revel himself to her before their time.

As Thaddeus’s visions continue to come to pass he sees that the war that has been brewing for centuries between the light and the dark has become imminent. Keegan’s family is bound by tradition and prophecy to be at the very centre of the war -her father is the chosen one that will lead them all into battle.
As the battle between light and dark rages on – will Keegan and Rourk be able to have the life they both yearn for - together?

What I thought:
I downloaded this book free from Amazon; I thought the cover looked really nice so I would give it a try. I have not read many self-published novels but I decided give it a chance and I am glad that I did. It was a really promising story but I do think that it could have been a lot more.

I want to start by saying that even though I have rated this a bit lower than other books I don’t think that it’s a bad book. I’m pretty harsh in my ratings so I will explain what my issues were and you can judge for yourself if it sounds like something that you might like to read. I don’t’ want to put anyone off it as I do think that it has a nice story and as it is the debut for the author I think that experience may improve the things that I did not like about the book.

I will start off with the story as I think it was really good, it gets points for originality and for keeping me interested even though there were a few things I did not like. It was a quick, light and easy young adult read. I think that it is very much aimed at the teenage girl market and is quite heavy handed with the product name dropping.

Next the characters, they all could have done with a bit more fleshing out. The main character is of course Keegan; she is likeable but spoiled and comes across as a bit shallow at times, she also thinks way too much about her intended, Rourk. I would have liked Keegan to be a bit more self-sufficient. The whole family is very wealthy and wants for nothing which seems a bit easy at times, for most people this is not something that you can relate to. I would have liked it if Keegan had grown a bit more during the story.

I also thought that Rourk was lacking in personality, he seemed to be distant and cold. If he did not have this pre-determined love for Keegan he would probably be classed a sociopath. At one point he wildly overreacts to Keegan being in a bit of danger – the repercussions of this are not even hinted at (I don’t want to put in too much and spoil it but the event could have shown a lot more depth to the character instead it just reinforced how cold he is).
There are a host of other characters many of which are other supernatural beings; it seems a bit weird because Keegan is oblivious to this fact. She knows there are other things out there in the world and she is supposed to be ‘gifted’ but on her own she only ever identifies one other being – a dark elf. This reinforces that she is somewhat self-absorbed; you think that someone hiding her own secret would be aware that the people around her might be doing the same.

And lastly the pacing of the book could have used some work, there was a lot of build up at the start (lots of teenage scenes that may not have all been necessary) and the action did not happen until the end of the book. The main conflict between the two types of elves seemed to be solved way too easy and fast. I think there should have been more persuasion and reflection, perhaps even a glimpse into the dark side camp first so we knew what was going on there.
I am usually the first to praise a fast paced book but for the first time I think I have to say that this one went a little too fast. There could have been a lot more detail to the big battle. It was very much a broad strokes kind of approach; we went, we fought, many died and then it was over. I think that it could have really benefited from more depth, I found myself not really feeling like it was such a big deal as it was not written like one.

I think that I was expecting some editing flaws in a self-published novel but to be honest I did not really notice that much. It was well put together and looked very professional. The major weakness was the pacing of the story it seems like in its haste to resolve the conflict many details, descriptions and really just the meat and bones of the story got left by the wayside. The book was pretty short so it could have easily supported more which would have made it a much more satisfying read. As I said before this does not make it a bad book I just think that it had the potential to be better.

Final Comments and Overall Rating:

Although it might seem like I picked this apart a bit, I would like to finish by reiterating that I did like it. It has some flaws but the story kept my interest and I think that I will probably check out the next one in the series to see what happens.

Although many young adult stories are ones that can cross the generational gap seamlessly, Coexist is probably not one of them, it’s more your light and fluffy type read and as such is really is one for the teenage girls. As that’s probably what it was aimed at there is no problem, just make sure its what you were looking for.

You can find out more information and purchase the books in Keegan's Chronicles at Julia Crane's website (also on Amazon, link at the top of the review). Links below to Julia Crane's website for all three books in the series.

Keegan’s Chronicles: Coexist, Conflicted, Consumed
Rating: ☆☆

Sunday, April 15, 2012



Excerpt and Trailer Reveal
Taste by Kate Evangelista


At Barinkoff Academy,there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud







The Author:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Twitter (kiwigirl is now one of the lemmings)

Well I finally succumbed and joined the realm of twitter.  You can follow me if you like - there is an option on the side bar under followers. 

Not sure if I am exactly excited about the fact, but it seemed like the way to go to try and get my blog out there a bit more.

Still learning how to use it, I've never even looked at the site before so its all pretty new.  Will see how it goes. . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Technical Problems Update

Well my computer seems to be running better now.  I have a new power adapter and so it is actually charging which is a good thing. 

I've been super busy with work the last month, heaps of new classes which of course means more preparation as well as actual teaching time, so have not had much time for reading or blogging.  I am going to try to make sure I have a few hours to devote to this over the next month. 

I also finally have my new e-reader, I bought it from New Zealand and had my Mum send it over to me so I am very excited.  I'm going to do a small review on it when I have used it a bit more so will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hexbound by Chloe Neill (Review by kiwigirlreads)

Plot Overview:

Hexbound picks up soon after the events of the previous book Firespell end.

Lily Parker has been sent to boarding school, St. Sophia's, while her parents are out of the country working.

At St. Sophia's things are not always what they seem and Lily soon stumbles onto a hidden world of magic - where teen 'adepts' try to keep their counterparts the 'Dark Elite' from preying on the innocent . Lily also finds herself wielding a new and powerful magic called 'firespell' that she must learn to control.

Hexbound sees Lily learning more about her magic and looking into the secrets that surround her parents, their job and why they sent her to St. Sophias.

At the same time Lily, her best friend Scout and the rest of the 'adepts' encounter some strange, slimy and fanged monsters roaming the tunnels that they patrol. The adepts will need to find out what they are and where this new threat came from if they are to stop them.

As if Lily did not have enough to deal with, ‘Dark Elite’, Sebastian Born is also following her – he wants to talk about the magic, ‘firespell’, that they both wield but Lily is not sure that she can trust someone from the other side.

What I thought:
Hexbound is another good installment in the Dark Elite series. It is the second in the series and is a nice addition to the plethora of Young Adult Paranormal books out there.

Hexbound is a fun, fast paced and entertaining story. This book is well written and compelling, it’s a story that has been done before (boarding school, teens with magic) but I think it has its own spin on things and stands out amongst the crowd.  The story expands nicely on what happened in 'Firespell' and continues with a new and exciting adventure. There are still a lot of mysteries but the progression is there and I am sure the next book will continue to unravel them.

The magic system has not been fully explained but what we have so far is nicely done and pretty varied, the characters each have their own powers and as new characters are introduced we learn about new abilities. There are also some supernatural beings like werewolves and vampires that inhabit the world alongside the 'adepts' and the 'Dark Elite'. In Hexbound we meet the vampires when the 'adepts' stumble into a territorial war between two clans.

The characters in the book are smart and witty and the girls are always right there in the thick of the action. The friendship between Lily and Scout is a draw card for the story, the lighthearted banter between the two really makes it an amusing read. I liked the character of Scout; she is fun, smart and has her own style which is really refreshing. There are of course the requisite cute boys and mean girls to round out the cast of your typical school set story.
The books are PG so far, some young adult stuff, a bit of making out and hand holding. There is some violence but to be honest you would see worse in a video game. 

The romance in the books is an addition to the story; it does not drive the action.

Final Comments and Overall Rating
All in all this is a nice, quick and lighthearted read. It's not rocket science but it’s compelling and well done.

If you like Young Adult Paranormal books like 'Morganville Vampires' series by Rachael Cain then this is for you.

Hexbound is book two of the Dark Elite Series, the first one being Firespell.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆