Feb 22, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: DEMON CHILD by Kylie Chan

Kylie Chan is one of those authors that has burrowed right into my brain by writing books that I simply can’t get enough of.

Demon Child is book 2 in the Celestial Battle trilogy, which is the 3rd trilogy to continue the story of these characters. And it is just as brilliant as the 7 books preceeding it.

It’s very much a “middle series” book, everything is starting to ramp up, many plot lines are smack in the middle of their span, and not much is unexpected as far as the overall story goes. That doesn’t make it boring or predictable, however – the writing style and pacing keep everything nice and fresh.

There are a lot of battle scenes in this one, but that’s the nature of the story. There are plenty of things going on around the fighting, including the introduction of a new and precocious character – I don’t want to spoil anything, but she’s adorable. On top of that, I love any time the Tiger comes out to play.

If you haven’t read any of the previous books, I strongly recommend going back to the beginning and picking up White Tiger, although I take no responsibility for any addictions that may follow.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository
White Tiger: Booktopia | Book Depository

Feb 21, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

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Feb 17, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS by Kristi Charish

I enjoy urban fantasy. It always makes a nice, and usually light, change from the epic fantasies I usually prefer. I never quite seem to enjoy it as much though, and despite being a very good read, Owl and the Japanese Circus doesn’t really do it for me.

I liked the premise – Owl is an ex-archaeology student who found herself on the wrong side of a professor, and now makes her living well and truly outside academia. Everything inevitably goes pear-shaped, and she needs to find a way to save the day.

The pacing of the story is – I can only assume – meant to be action packed, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat right until the end. It’s something that Jim Butcher and Matthew Reilly do incredibly well. This does not reach the same level though. Many parts felt rushed, and for at least the first half of the book, I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to care about Owl or her predicament(s).

Much of that is probably to do with the fact that I’m not a fan of Owl herself. More than once, I found myself rolling my eyes at her thoughts and behaviour. She comes across as whiny, and there’s a trend of not taking responsibility for the situations she finds herself in.

Highlight of the book for me was Captain, Owl’s vampire-obsessed cat. He was a thorough delight throughout the whole book and I’ll keep reading the series just for his antics.

Overall, it was a good book, and I’m far from hating it. I just look forward to less whining and more character growth from Owl.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Feb 15, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: CANNONBRIDGE by Jonathan Barnes

Cannonbridge is really two different stories, all muddled up and co-dependant. First, we have Matthew Cannonbridge, named as “the most influential creative mind of the 19th century” and his encounters with various well known authors of the time. Then, we have Toby Judd, whose life is not going as well as it could be – and that’s before he realises that Matthew Cannonbridge is a hoax.

The book alternates between the two main characters, and I did find that a bit hard to get used to. Some of it has to be chalked up to the ebook I received, but a portion of it is because of the abrupt changes, especially when leaving Cannonbridge himself.

I enjoyed both threads, Cannonbridge is particularly intriguing, and the way the story was drip fed as the book progresses definitely keeps you reading. Toby’s story was a lot more straightforward – more like a standard action/thriller type. That doesn’t make it less interesting, though. There were a few times where I wished that the two stories weren’t intertwined, because there is so much more that I wanted to see happening.

And the ending. Oh my goodness. No spoilers here, but suffice to say I didn’t see it ending the way that it did. That’s partly because I get so caught up in the story that I never see anything coming, but also because it’s on the “well, that’s a thing!” side.

All in all, it was well worth reading. I’m very curious to see Jonathan Barnes’ other work now, to see how it compares.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Feb 13, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Many moons ago, I lived in Christchurch.

While I was there, I read a series that left me feeling a bit fuzzy at the end. I couldn’t quite decide whether I liked it or not, or if I had any idea what was happening. I had always intended to go back and read it a second time, to try and figure it all out, but like so many things in that period of time, I completely forgot the specifics. In my head, it became “that weird series with lots of crows and stuff”. 

Definitely not helpful when doing a google search. I know, I tried. 

But! There’s some good news! Tor have just announced their new novella/short story imprint, and afflicted with curiosity as I am, I just had to check out their upcoming publications (you can see them here, if you’re interested). The very first title/author on the list is by K.J Parker. The name looked familiar, so of course I had to check and see what else has been written and BAM! There it was! The weird old crow book! 

Looking at the reviews on goodreads, I’m definitely not the only one who had such an ambivalent reaction, and that makes me a bit hesitant to go in for round two. 

TL/DR: I finally found the book I was looking for and am really excited about that, but I’m not sure if I want to read it again. 

Feb 7, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

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Feb 3, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE GIFT OF CHARMS by Julia Suzuki

I received a teaser copy of The Gift of Charms, consisting of the first 3 chapters. This is the first book in the Land of Dragor series, and follows Yoshiko as he begins dragon school.

I know this is a children’s story and probably not best suited to my tastes, but I couldn’t quite get into it. It has a rather interesting plot, but I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, the pacing felt a bit off, and if I’m being absolutely honest, the writing style reminded me of a short story I wrote in high school (I’ve yet to decide whether this is good or bad!).

I found that the story was a bit rushed, especially once Yoshiko reaches school and finds himself face to face with a bully. The escalation from initial meeting to hatred was quite rapid, and seemed a little out of proportion.

If I had a copy of the whole book, I don’t doubt I would read the whole thing, but based on what I have read, I’m not in a hurry to finish it, or read the rest of the series. If you know someone in the 8-12 age range, they might enjoy it, but there are plenty of other books I’d recommend over this one.

Purchase: Amazon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Feb 1, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE VERY BEST OF KATE ELLIOTT

I first encountered Kate Elliott’s work as a wee splotch, when her Crown of Stars series was being written. They were a huge part of my first foray into “grown up fantasy”, and I loved every book. So, you can imagine how excited I was to see this book being released, especially as it had been quite some time since I’d read any of her work.

The Very Best of Kate Elliott is a collection of short stories and a couple of essays. Some of the stories are set in the same worlds as her other series, others are completely separate. All are brilliant, and I found the essays to be really interesting.

One of my favourite things about her work has always been the variety in her characters – especially the female ones. They so often form the core of her stories, and as much as it shouldn’t be a remarkable thing, it is. It’s really nice to pick up a book and find women that aren’t there just to pad out the story for the men, and to find a main character that I can truly relate to. The range of women in this collection is just brilliant, and the exploration of the various forms their strength and bravery can take is fantastic.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, I really enjoyed each story. If I had to choose a standout though, it would be The Gates of Jorium. This one really tugged my heartstrings, and I couldn’t help but cheer aloud when I reached the end.

Finally, the essays. There are three, and it was The Omniscient Breast that I enjoyed the most – while I was aware of the difference between the male and female gazes, the way each is used, and the narrative choices made by writers (both male and female) were things I hadn’t stopped to think about, and that is definitely something that will be changing from now on.

Basically, this book is a great introduction for new readers wanting to know more about Kate’s work before committing to a whole series, a delightful read for older fans wanting to reminisce, and a must-read for anyone who likes their women badass and their fantasy epic.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository
Release date: 10th February 2015

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jan 31, 2015 - Weekend Wrap Up    No Comments

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