Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yoga Books: The Bhagavad Gita

Title: The Bhagavad Gita
Published: Penguin Classics, 2010 (First published -500)
Author: Anonymous

Description: 'The Bhagavad Gita', a scintillating jewel embedded in the great Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna set against the background of war. At the beginning of the poem, we learn that there is going to be a great war for the rule of a kingdom. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I'm going to make my thoughts on this book quite short. Basically, this is one of the essential readings of Yoga, if you're interested in the spiritual and I guess you could say, religious aspect of a Yoga practice.

I read the Penguin Cloth bound classic version of the book and the translator was Juan Mascaro. He included a pretty comprehensive introduction that talked about the translation as well as some of the other ancient sanskrit texts on the same sort of topics.  I found the introduction to be really interesting and it gave a lot of insight into the history of the book and the translations surrounding it.

In terms of the actual text itself, I found it to be quite easy to read and really insightful. The poem is split into smaller pieces so you can read a section and take a break and let the ideas and philosophy being presented sink in a little and then move on.

I quite enjoyed reading The Bhagavad Gita and I definitely think I'll read through it again at some point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Yoga Books: The Beginner's Guide to Classic Yoga by Frances Houlahan

Title: The Beginner's Guide to Classic Yoga
Author: Frances Houlahan
Published: D&S Books, 2001

Synopsis: Not just a form of exercise, Yoga helps you achieve physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Classic Yoga is an introduction to the principal Yoga postures, each with fully illustrated step-by-step instructions, and is suitable for all ages and abilities.Featuring an introduction to the history and principles of the different styles of yoga, together with advice on general health care and relaxation. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Normally in this section I will talk about well-known or easy to find books about Yoga but today I wanted to talk about this little gem of a book. I found this book on a table of free books at the university and decided to pick it up because, hey it's a book about Yoga so I'm definitely keen to read it.

This book is such a good introduction to Yoga. There's really great colourful sections on so many different things. There was a section all about the chakras and what they mean and I thought it was the best explanation for beginner's that I have found so far.

There are sections on Yoga philosophy and the different types of Yoga. I felt like this book was just a better guide to beginning yoga than the Yoga for Dummies book was. It just had more simple explanations, the poses weren't dumbed down and it was in a nice format to look at. I'm just so impressed by this book I found on a free book table.

There were two things I wasn't a huge fan of in this book. The first was that for some of the poses it would have been better if the person was lying on a mat or standing on a mat because when you have a person surrounded by white it's hard to tell if they're lying or standing. The other thing was there was a list of healthy eating rules and one of them was don't eat food prepared in a microwave and it gave no explanation as to why this was the case and I just thought it was a strange thing to say.

I really liked The Beginner's Guide to Classic Yoga, I wasn't able to find copies online for purchase but if you ever see it anywhere when you're out and about I would definitely suggest picking it up because it's such a handy little guidebook.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yoga Books: The Tree of Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar

Title: The Tree of Yoga
Published: Harper Thorsons, 2013 (First published 1988)

Synopsis: Iyengar developed a form of yoga that focuses on developing strength, endurance, correct body alignment, as well as flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method integrates philosophy, spirituality, and the practice of yoga into everyday living. In The Tree of Yoga, Iyengar offers his thoughts on many practical and philosophical subjects including family life, love and sexuality, health and the healing arts, meditation, death, and PataƱjali's Yoga Sutras.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading Light on Yoga, I decided that my next book should be another of Iyengar's. This time it's The Tree of Yoga. Light on Yoga is more about the poses and how to do them correctly and The Tree of Yoga is a collection of Iyengar's teachings on how to incorporate Yoga into every day life.

There are so many short little chapters that have so much information that I had to take the time to read a little bit and then let the information sink in. I like this approach when 'studying' Yoga books so this was good. I did find that the content of the book wasn't too heavy so it was a pretty straightforward read.

Iyengar provides insight into a lot of different areas including an explanation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. I haven't read that text yet but it will probably be something I get to soon. That being said, I felt as though I didn't necessarily need to have read the text to understand what was being said. I actually found it to be a really good summary of some of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras so am more interested in picking them up than I was before.

I definitely think that The Tree of Yoga is a good resource about incorporating Yoga into every day life. It goes into the philosophy behind Yoga and gives advice from the perspective of someone who actively lives a Yogic lifestyle in every aspect. Iyengar has so much to say about Yoga that I will be continuing my journey by reading more from him soon.

Where to purchase the book:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yoga Books: Light on Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar

Title: Light on Yoga
Published: Schoken, 1995 (First published 1966)


Summary: The definitive guide to the philosophy and practice of Yoga--the ancient healing discipline for body and mind--by its greatest living teacher. Light on Yoga provides complete descriptions and illustrations of all the positions and breathing exercises.  (Taken from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: This is basically the must-read book on Yoga. On all of the sites I visited Light on Yoga is mentioned as a book that everyone should read to get a good solid knowledge of Yoga. And this is true. It really is a great resource.

The first part of the book explains a lot of the history and foundations of Yoga. It explains what it's about and all about Yoga philosophy. It's a lot to get your head around but if you take it in small doses it's really informative.

Then the majority of the book is a detailed description of the asanas or poses. Each one has accompanying pictures and it's really impressive just some of the poses that are out there and how B. K. S. Iyengar can manage to do them all so well. I also really like how some of the mythology of certain poses and how they got their names is featured in the book too. I'm always fascinated by information like that.

Towards the end of the book there's a section on how to create a routine and regular practice with a program that starts off for a beginner and then it moves on to intermediate and advanced stages after a certain number of weeks.

At the end of the book there is also a section with different ailments and a selection of Yoga poses to try for each one. I haven't tried any yet but it is certainly a handy resource.

In most Yoga circles this book is considered to be one of the must-read books and I completely agree. There is so much information in this book that I will definitely be going back to it on a regular basis. I will say that there is a lot of information in this book so it's a good idea to take your time with this one and just let the information soak in.

Where to purchase the book:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Yoga Books: Yoga All-In-One For Dummies

Title: Yoga All-In-One for Dummies
Authors: Doug Swenson, Georg Feuerstein, LaReine Chabut, Larry Payne, Sherri Baptiste, Stephan Bodian, and Therese Iknoian
Published: For Dummies, 2015


Summary: Everything you need to make yoga an integral part of your health and well-beingIf you want to incorporate yoga into your daily routine or ramp up what you're already doing, "Yoga All-In-One For Dummies" is the perfect resource! This complete compendium of six separate titles features everything you need to improve your health and peace of mind with yoga, and includes additional information on, stretching, meditation, adding weights to your yoga workouts, and power yoga moves.

Yoga has been shown to have numerous health benefits, ranging from better flexibility and athletic performance to lowered blood pressure and weight loss. For those who want to take control of their health and overall fitness, yoga is the perfect practice. With "Yoga All-In-One For Dummies," you'll have everything you need to get started and become a master of even the toughest yoga poses and techniques. Find out how to incorporate yoga to foster health, happiness, and peace of mind. Get a complete resource, featuring information from six titles that are packed with tips. Use companion workout videos to help you master various yoga poses and techniques that are covered in the book. Utilize tips in the book to increase balance, range of motion, flexibility, strength, and overall fitness.  (Taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts: I usually enjoy reading the For Dummies books as they offer really good basic information about a topic. So, when I found this Yoga resource for dummies, I just had to read it as part of my quest to read as much about Yoga as possible. This book has six different Yoga books inside, there's a basic Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga with Weights, Meditation, Stretching and Mind-Body Fitness. So there's a lot of information contained within this handy compendium.

Now, I know that the For Dummies books often have very basic information but I was disappointed with just how basic the information was. By the point of my reading this book I had been practicing Yoga for a couple of months and had already read two other books. I felt like the information in this book was a little too basic. Especially when it came to the poses. So, it would give the names of traditional poses but then it would give an even more modified version than teachers tended to give beginners. I didn't really understand why but I am no expert. I just thought that was a little odd.

I guess I just didn't particularly enjoy this book because I found it far too simplified. That being said, the meditation section was actually pretty good.  There are also some very handy pictures of people in the poses and if you're learning a pose through reading, good pictures are always helpful.

I think this book is probably best for those who know absolutely nothing whatsoever about Yoga as it really is only the very basic stuff.

Other information: Most Dummies guides come with a cheat sheet and some online resources to check out alongside the book. This cheat sheet is a good summation of the main points of the book.

Where to purchase the book:

Friday, June 24, 2016

White Sand Volume 1

Title: White Sand Volume 1

Author: Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin

Illustrator: Julius M Gopez

Published: Dynamic Forces, 21 June 2016

Series: Book 1, White Sand

Pages: 160

Purchase Links:
Book Depository

Summary: On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss -- a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love Brandon Sanderson's books so I jumped at the chance to read this one early as I try to get my hands on everything Sanderson has written. I was a little nervous as I'm not the biggest graphic novel fan but it's Brandon Sanderson so it has to be good.

The art style is quite interesting. It's quite unique compared to other graphic novels I've tried out. I'm not a visually minded person so I did find it hard to tell some characters apart from others. I felt their names were a bit confusing too. That being said this is the first book in the series so it was setting everything up and I definitely think I'll be reading it again soon.

The story itself is mostly setting things up and I'm really hoping that the rest of the books will things well because I honestly feel a little confused. I almost feel like I need to wait until all the books are out so I can see the whole picture.

Overall, I enjoyed the story but I wasn't completely blown away by it. I think I'll definitely be needing to read this one again soon to try and wrap my head around it some more. I would definitely recommend it to fans of Sanderson and fans of graphic novels. I think that because I'm not a regular reader of graphic novels it's hard for me to say if this is good as a graphic novel or not. That being said, I am definitely excited for the next book in the series.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Yoga Books: Forty Days of Yoga by Kara-Leah Grant

Title: Forty Days of Yoga
Sub Title: Breaking Down the Barriers of a Home Yoga Practice
Published: Aarohati Publishing, 2013
Summary: Forty Days of Yoga is a powerful resource for anyone interested in committing to a home yoga practice. 

Drawing on her years of home practice experience, yoga teacher and writer Kara-Leah Grant examines many of the obstacles - both internal and external - that one can face when undertaking a self-directed practice, especially while living an ordinary life in the busy, modern world.   (Taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts: This was the second book about Yoga I found and read. It's about how to create a home practice and it talks about what a home practice is and it also gets you to think about how you can create a home practice.  I think it's definitely a good resource to provide a person with the tools to start and maintain a home Yoga practice.

One thing I really like about this book is that it isn't just a book you read, there are also activities to fill out and it really gets you thinking. I love her idea of starting out slowly and just practicing Yoga for 40 consecutive days. I actually followed this plan and have been practicing Yoga every day since.

The back of the book has a lot of resources to books and videos and all sorts of Yoga related things and I found that to be really helpful as in the beginning it was pretty hard for me to find more Yoga related resources.

Now, I am just starting out on my Yoga journey and am nowhere near the point of starting a home practice even though I do see that happening somewhere down the track. I do think this book is a really good resource and I'll be keeping a hold of this so that I can go back to it in the future.

I've also recently discovered that she has a new book out which is a guide to Yoga to give you confidence to get out there and get to Yoga classes which is something that I really need so I will definitely be checking that one out soon.

Where to Purchase the book:

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Title: The Miracle Morning

Author: Hal Elrod

Published: John Murray Learning, January 2016

Pages: 224

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: What if you could wake up tomorrow and any - or EVERY - area of your life was beginning to transform? What would you change? The Miracle Morning is already transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world by showing them how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take your life to the next level. It's been right here in front of us all along, but this book has finally brought it to life.
Are you ready? The next chapter of YOUR life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. It's time to WAKE UP to your full potential...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts after reading the book: I'm not usually one to read self-help books but for whatever reason, this one stuck out as being one that I should read. Now, I am going to be honest in my thoughts and say that I was originally open minded but also skeptical of this book. I know that some self-help books can be extremely repetitive and also really cheesy. I wasn't sure how much this book was going to help me, but I was willing to be open-minded about it as a whole. 

The beginning of the book has a few pages of peoples praise for the book and I always ignore those because I have noticed from past experience that people tend to give excess praise and it just annoys me and makes me appreciate the book less. So, I read the first page or two and then decided that I would read this book in its entirety that day so I could get started on my Miracle Mornings the next day.

There is a lot of helpful information in this book about how to get started and what to expect. There are lots of little strategies and Hal Elrod explains the whole plan really clearly and in great detail. It was enough to get me really intrigued and willing to give this a go because really, I have been looking for a way to get up early and work on practicing Yoga in the mornings before work.

I do have a couple of things that bothered me a little. One of those is that every few paragraphs Hal Elrod mentions that you can check out his website for lots of extra free resources. Sure, I think it's great that the book has complementary material but I also hate when people try and push things at me constantly. Maybe the book isn't meant to be read in one sitting, and in which case I guess that would be less irksome. I did check out the free resources and utilized the Fast-start kit which is a little pdf file of how to get started on your 30 day journey.

Now, I read this book 33 days before I posted this review and that is because I decided that there would be no point in me talking about how great of a book this is (or isn't), if I didn't take the time to actually implement the advice being given. So the evening after I finished the book I decided that the next day would be the day that I tried out the 30 day challenge.

Thoughts after trying this out for 30+ days: Elrod's system is comprised of a series of things to do known as life S.A.V.E.R.S and he talks about how to personalise them to create our own miracle morning situation. So, before I started on this journey I did a little bit of customising. I set the intention to use this time to further my Yoga practice and leave me calm and more productive during the day through meditation and Yoga. So, I fine-tuned my mornings around this practice. Now, applying the life S.A.V.E.R.S principle I decided to get a little S.A.V.vy (see what I did there) and combine the first three principles into one guided meditation because that's what I wanted to do.

The way I set up my mornings was then: 1) Guided meditation, 2) Exercise, 3) Reading and 4) Scribing. (For a more comprehensive break-down of this check out my Yoga blog which contains the Scribing part of this). I will admit that I felt a lot better doing the whole miracle morning thing but I fell off the bandwagon in terms of the scribing aspect just because I don't really care about my writing anymore. I didn't really have anything to say and so I didn't see the point in trying to write something I didn't care about. I also did not manage to complete the 30 day challenge due to lots of little things happening that got in the way. However, I will be trying to get up early again for the next 30 days starting today and I'm just going to focus on my Yoga practice. I don't see the need to follow all the steps because really the point is to just get up earlier and do something to make yourself more productive.

So, 30 days after I read the book I have changed my mind about it a bit. It's a good idea but I feel like it has a lot of extra things that I don't need to do. So I'm simplifying it down into something that works for me.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Unspoken by Heather Graham

Title: The Unspoken

Author: Heather Graham

Published: Harlequin Mira, 2012

Pages: 384

Series: Krewe of Hunters, Book 7

Description: 1898: Bound for Chicago, the freighter Jerry McGuen goes down in Lake Michigan, taking with it every man aboard. But what other fate could befall a vessel carrying the ill-gotten sarcophagus of an Egyptian sorcerer?

Now: A veteran diver and "ghost ship" expert is exploring the legendary wreck for a documentary. He dies inexplicably inside the freighter's main saloon. Then another diver is killed and panicked rumors rise like bubbles from the lake: ancient demons have awakened below!
The expedition's beleaguered financier calls paranormal investigator Katya Sokolov to Chicago to save the film—and perhaps some innocent lives. Along with media forensics guru Will Chan, Kat plumbs the depths of an evil that may date back to the time of the Pharaohs. But some secrets are best drowned in the seas of the past... (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is the seventh book in the Krewe of Hunters series, and before that are the Harrison Investigation series which are somewhat related to these books. So, by this point I have read about 16 of these paranormal investigations series. I still have a pile of 4 more Krewe of Hunters to read of my own collection.

In the beginning I found these books to be really interesting mysteries with a creepy supernatural aspect. Now that I've read so many of them I notice that the focus is more on the romance and less on the murder mysteries. The books are also getting a little more formulaic in which they follow the same kind of pattern.

I picked up The Unspoken and was surprised that this book actually followed on more closely from the book prior to it, in that they both feature the Pharaoh Amun Mopat and they actually discussed the events of the previous book.

The mystery felt like it was more of an afterthought and the main focus was the romance aspect. That was kind of unbelievable though. Neither of the main characters seemed that appealing and they honestly didn't seem like they had chemistry.

Overall, I thought The Unspoken was OK. I didn't think it was anything special and the mystery aspect was held so far on the backburner compared to the romance that I was a little disappointed. At this point in time, I will read the next book in the series but if they continue to degrade in quality then I'll give these books a miss. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The New Zealand Section: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

Title: The Rehearsal
Author: Eleanor Catton
Published: Granta Books, 2010 (First published 2009)

Synopsis: A high-school sex scandal jolts a group of teenage girls into a new awareness of their own potency and power. But when the local drama school decides to turn the scandal into a show, the real world and the world of the theatre are forced to meet, and soon the boundaries between private and public begin to dissolve.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Before she wrote The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton wrote The Rehearsal so I decided to start here rather than The Luminaries.  Not to mention that this book is a lot smaller than The Luminaries. Anyway, The Rehearsal is Eleanor Catton's debut novel and I believe she originally wrote it as part of her MFA.

I really enjoyed The Rehearsal, it's not at all like anything I would usually read but I found that to be kind of refreshing. The opening page was so strange and fascinating that it drew me into the book and I read it in a couple of sittings.

As this book is set in a New Zealand high school, I found that I could actually relate to a lot of what the character's were going through and what they were talking about. It was pretty easy to sympathise with the characters and it was kind of cool to see references to things that girls at my high school also did.

I really enjoyed the writing of The Rehearsal, Eleanor Catton just seemed to write in a fasinating and wonderful manner.  I definitely feel like she's an author I could read more of so I will be reading The Luminaries some time soon.

Where to purchase the book:

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Bands of Mourning

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: Gollancz, January 2016

Pages: 437

Series: Book 6, Mistborn; Book 3, Alloy Era

Purchase Links: 
Book Depository
The Nile

Description: May Contain Spoilers! The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love these Mistborn books a lot more than I do the original trilogy so after the previous book in the series I was looking forward to reading this one. The Bands of Mourning was so good! I honestly feel like that's everything I can say about this book but I'll say a little bit more.

This book was so interesting. There was so much going on, that I just couldn't wait to read more about. I read this book in about three sittings because I was so intrigued by everything that was going on. The Bands of Mourning was so interesting and I really enjoyed the discoveries that Wax and the others made in this story.

I felt like all of the characters really stepped up their game in this one. Steris was so cool in this book, I think I liked her a lot more in this book. But of course Wayne is still my favourite character.

I just really loved this book and I eagerly await the release of the next book, and really anything else that Brandon Sanderson writes.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Consider her ways: and others by John Wyndham

Title: Consider her Ways: And Others

Author: John Wyndham

Published: Penguin, 2004 (First published 1956)

Pages: 192

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Description: The six stories in Consider Her Ways: And Others, the second collecton of John Wyndham's short tales, continue his exploration of the science fiction staple - what if? In the title story we are introduced to a world where all the men have been killed by a virus and women continue to survive in a strict caste system - bottom of the heap are the mothers. In others we meet the man who accidentally summons a devil and then has to find a way of getting rid of him without losing his immortal soul, as well as the woman who, thanks to an experiment in time, discovers why her lover abandoned her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I love John Wyndham's writing and I'm slowly making my way through his books. This one is a short story collection and the first of Wyndham's I have read. There are only two out in these Penguin editions and I'm not sure if he has any more short stories but that's all good. I'll take as much of John Wyndham's work as I can get.

So, there are six short stories in this book but the first one, the title story is actually the longest by quite a bit. I quite enjoyed this story. It was really unique and quite intriguing. Basically, the world only consists of women. There were a couple of things in this that made me laugh for instance, there is one woman who suggests that they could have made it to the moon by now if men were still around. I feel like this was just a trademark of the times.

The others stories are all quite interesting, and I don't have too much to say about most of them. However, there was one story that I didn't quite get. I think I might have just missed something somewhere or it was supposed to be mysterious in a confusing way. Off the top of my head I think it was called The Disappearance of Peggy MacRafferty. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Consider her ways and others. The stories were all entertaining and John Wyndham is definitely one of my favourite authors right now. I look forward to reading even more of his books.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Yoga Reading: An Introduction

This section of the blog will be a fortnightly post in which I talk about the most recent Yoga related book I've read. I want to make this as a resource list of all of the Yoga related books I've found and whether or not I found them to be a good resource.

As soon as I started practicing Yoga I wanted to read as many books on the topic as possible so I could learn more about Yoga in theory while also practicing. I found it difficult to find books in the beginning as there were only a few posts here and there about favourite books related to Yoga. I found that the people who made the posts tended to refer to only a small handful of books. 

As I read through the books about Yoga I'll be making these posts about them. I'll also compile a master list with books listed under sub-headings so books about specific parts of Yoga can be easily found. The goal of this is to compile a list of books about Yoga in one place so anyone can find them.

I'm going to be posting the book discussions here every second Wednesday but I have also made a separate blog in which you can find them and more about my Yoga journey.

Important Links:

Monday, June 6, 2016

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Title: City of Blades

Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

Published: Broadway Books, January 2016

Pages: 484

Series: Book 2, The Divine Cities

Purchase Links:
Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After quite enjoying City of Stairs I was looking forward to reading the next book in the series, City of Blades. I was especially excited as this book features Mulaghesh as the main character. We didn't get to know too much about her in the first book so I was curious as to what she would be like in this book.

I found that City of Blades didn't take me as long to read as City of Stairs, I think this was because I was more familiar with the world and also Robert Jackson Bennett's writing style.  It took me a chapter or two to get rolling as in the beginning things are a little chaotic and it takes a bit to adjust to whats happening and the new location. Once I got into the book I was off and read this book in only a couple of sittings.

I felt like the mystery in this book wasn't as mysterious as the first book. There was more of a focus on the military aspect and I'm not the biggest fan of militaristic fiction. It was interesting from a different angle so I did find it somewhat interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed City of Blades, I just didn't find it overly amazing. This could have been because I wasn't completely in the mood for a fantasy book at the time that I read it. I really enjoy the world building in these books and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Source: Netgalley for review

Friday, June 3, 2016

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Published: Knopf, 2012

Pages: 315

Purchase Links:

Book Depository
The Nile

Summary: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have been having trouble with completing books lately. I've been starting them and then putting them down after a couple of pages because I just couldn't get into them. I went through my entire wishlist on the book depository looking for anything that might keep my interest. I found Wild and picked up a library copy to have a go at. As soon as I started reading this book I knew that it would be one to break the curse of the reading slump.

Wild isn't the kind of book that I would normally be interested in but as I'm getting older I'm finding my tastes in books to be changing up a bit. Anyway, on a whim I grabbed this one because it sounded intriguing. I know there was a lot of hype about this book being really inspirational and things and I tend to ignore things like that because I felt like this book could have potentially been overhyped.

Wild broke me a little. It is just such a heartbreaking read in more ways than one. I've always found the idea of divorce to be heartbreaking. You make this commitment to be with someone forever and then something happens and you're no longer able to make that promise. Cheryl's divorce coupled with her mothers death made for a very sad read. Cheryl Strayed wrote the emotions and how she was feeling so well that I felt awful. I felt as though I wanted to go crawl into bed and stay there for a while after reading some of the parts of this story.

The PCT and Cheryl Strayed's journey along it was also intriguing, every time something bad happened I felt myself cringing internally. I also felt that her descriptions of the outdoors and hiking along the trail made me want to get out and experience more of the wilderness for myself and the weekend that I read this book I went out and did a nice walking track where I live.

Wild was such a good book. It's definitely a book I can see myself coming back to every now and again, and it has inspired me to actually get up off my seat and get outside and see more of the world. I'm not going to go off hiking in the woods by myself but I still feel like I want to get outside more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The New Zealand Section: The Salted Air by Thom Conroy

Title: The Salted Air
Author: Thom Conroy
Published: RHNZ Vintage, 1 June 2016

Synopsis: 28-year-old Djuna is without a foothold. The suicide of her partner has left her derailed and casting about for the joy she fears may be gone for good. Her parents' relationship has disintegrated, her family home is occupied by Burmese refugees, and she is drawn to the one man she must reject.
In pursuit of a roving father and a renewed sense of belonging, Djuna wanders from Wellington to the natural beauty of New Zealand's remote East Cape. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  As I read more books by New Zealand authors I'm finding that I'm also expanding my reading horizons a little and reading books I wouldn't typically read. Literary fiction is a new foray for me and I think The Salted Air falls into that category.

This book is written really beautifully. Thom Conroy has a nice poetic writing style and it just made reading this book a really nice experience. He captured the emotions of the book really well too. There were so many times when I felt just as Djuna was feeling.

There is great descriptive writing within this book and it explored and described the East Cape of New Zealand so well. There were times where I could picture it so vividly in my head and it really made me want to go there.

The main character Djuna is 28 and I felt like she didn't act like it a lot of the times. Just the relationship with her parents seemed so strange. It made the book have a strangely fascinating angle as I struggled to understand the relationship she had with her parents.

I found The Salted Air to be a really intriguing and enjoyable read. It's quite complex but the shortness of the chapters made the book easier to digest. Thom Conroy has another book out called, The Naturalist which I think I'll pick up some time soon.

Where to purchase the book:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Taking a break

Every May here on the blog I tend to take a break. This month is no exception and so I will be taking a break from blogging (but not reading) for the month of May. This is pretty good timing and there are a few reasons why I would like to take this month long break from blogging.

  1. I'm beginning my PhD studies in May and would like to spend the first month of it just getting my bearings and seeing how things will go.
  2. I'm feeling a little bit like I'm in a reading slump at the moment so my reading (and therefore my reviewing) is reduced.
  3. I'm currently working two jobs (one of them is temporary so won't be too long) so a lot of my spare time is taken up with that.
  4. I want to spend some time getting specific books read to get on top of them so that I can work on the New Zealand section and so I can start another section when I get back.
Anyway, those are all the things. I'll still be answering emails and such so you can still contact me at  Have a good May everyone and I will see you in June!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Title: Running with Scissors

Author: Augusten Burroughs

Published: Picador, 2003 (First published 2002)

Pages: 300

Purchase Links:
The Nile
Book Depository

Summary: The true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. 

So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a paedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This book is strangely addictive and somewhat disgusting.  I say disgusting just because of the amount of dirt and things that were in the house Augusten went to live in and it was something I found hard to stomach. That being said, the book really was addictive and I had a hard time putting it down.

Running with Scissors centers on Augusten and his life from a young boy to a teenager. His life is very crazy and so much happens in such a short amount of time. He ends up living with his mother's psychiatrist and him and his family are very eccentric.  There are so many strange things that happen, at times it seems crazy that all of this actually happened to someone.

There are some pretty intense parts to this book. Augusten Burroughs had a very strange life and a lot of it was not good. There were quite a few parts of this book that I was a little shocked at. It's really difficult to write about my thoughts on this book because it's someone else's life and their telling it. I will say that it's very well written and the way that Augusten Burroughs writes is definitely engaging.

Overall, I found Running with Scissors to be strangely engrossing and I definitely feel like I will be reading more of Augusten Burroughs' work. I've already had a look at his other books and they sound very intriguing.