Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ebook, 332 pages
Published November 2013 by Razorbill (first published August 16th 2007)
Source: Netgalley

'Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires - the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .'

My Thoughts:
I was kind of excited to start reading this book as it was one that I was always interested in years ago when it first came out but never got around to reading at the time.

Unfortunately I now wish I'd been able to read it when I was a few years younger because I probably would have loved and appreciated it a lot more back then to how I did now.

Putting this aside, I still found this book a pretty good read even though it was full of teen drama and gossip which isn't really my cup of tea nowadays.

There was some interesting character development and it contained some refreshing twists on the usual vampire culture and traditions that made it appealing in its own way.

I liked Rose's fiery personality and found her enjoyable as a character. To me she did act and talk a little beyond the teenager she was supposed to be though and I had to keep reminding myself of the ages of the main characters a few times because of the way they were all portrayed in general.

Lissa seemed a little too submissive and weak as a character to me and I literally felt like shaking her a few times in the book as the story moved along.

I'm definitely interested in reading more of this series now though, if not purely to catch up on how Dimitri develops as a character. He's certainly the most intriguing one and leaves you wanting more by the end.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review - Being A Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

Being a DogBeing a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ebook, 336 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Source: Netgalley

Alexandra Horowitz, the author of the lively, highly informative New York Times bestselling blockbuster Inside of a Dog, explains how dogs perceive the world through their most spectacular organ—the nose—and how we humans can put our under-used sense of smell to work in surprising ways.

What the dog sees and knows comes mostly through his nose, and the information that every dog takes in about the world just based on smell is unthinkably rich. To a dog, there is no such thing as “fresh air.” Every gulp of air is full of information.

In Being a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz, an eminent research scientist in the field of dog cognition, explores what the nose knows by taking an imaginative leap into what it is like to be a dog. Inspired by her own family dogs, Finnegan and Upton, Horowitz sets off on a quest to make sense of scents. In addition to speaking to experts across the country, Horowitz visits the California Narcotic Canine Association Training Institute and the Stapleton Group’s “Vapor wake” explosives dog training team; she meets vets and researchers working with dogs to detect cancerous cells and anticipate epileptic seizure or diabetic shock; she travels with Finnegan to the west coast where he learns how to find truffles; Horowitz even attempts to smell-train her own nose.

Featuring more of the fetching and whimsical drawings by the author that charmed fans of Inside of a DogBeing a Dog is a scientifically rigorous book that presents cutting-edge research with literary flair. Revealing such surprising facts such as panting dogs cannot smell to explaining how dogs tell time by detecting lingering smells, Horowitz covers the topic of noses—both canine and human—from curious and always fascinating angles. As we come to understand how rich, complex, and exciting the world around us appears to a dog’s sense of smell, we can begin to better appreciate it through our own.

My Thoughts:
After reading Horowitz's first book 'Inside of a Dog', I was really excited to be able to get my hands on this one too. Being a self-confessed dog lover I am fascinated by books to do with our canine friends and just love reading everything I can about them.

Being a Dog was very highly focused on how dogs smell and how their noses work. It really got me thinking a lot more about how my own dogs smell and why they find certain scents so appealing compared to others.

I was totally amazed at some of the statistics given in this book in relation to the power of a dogs nose. I own two beagles and being that they have one of the strongest noses around I now pay so much more attention to how they react to certain smells and find myself watching them a lot more in everyday situations. It's very interesting when you start to compare how much scent rules a dog's world whereas ours is much more vision orientated. You start to realise just how little we do pay attention to the smells around us throughout the day and it starts to make you more aware of your surroundings once you do pay more attention to everyday scents.

The author tells about her experience in controlled scent tests and these just fascinated me. I couldn't imagine how interesting it would be to participate in something like that. It is obvious that the author is very passionate about her subject and willing to do practically anything to gather research material.
I admit that I was expecting this book to be a bit more dog orientated like the first one but it ended up focusing a lot more on the author's journey of trying to experience life in the way that dogs do.

Even though there were definitely some interesting parts in this book, I did feel that it dragged on in some sections as the author tried to be a bit too over-descriptive to get her point and experience across. There definitely could have been some major condensing down in some chapters and the point still would have come across just as well.

Overall I did enjoy this book and would easily read anything else this author brings out in the future.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway - Something Missing by Glenice Whitting

Something Missing
Glenice Whitting

Two women, two countries. Serendipity, life, friendship

Diane, a young Australian mother meets Maggie, a sophisticated American poet, in a chance encounter. Everything – age, class and even nationality – separates them. Yet all is not quite as it seems. Maggie is grieving for her eldest daughter and trapped in a marriage involving infidelity and rape. Diane yearns for the same opportunities given to her brother. Their lives draw them to connect. This is the story of two unfulfilled women finding each other when they needed it most. Their pen-friendship will change them forever.

Something Missing is published by Madeglobal Publishing and is available from:

About Glenice Whitting

Glenice Whitting is an Australian author and playwright and has published two novels. She was a hairdresser for many years before she became a mature age student. It was during an English Literature Fiction Writing course that her great midlife adventure began. Rummaging through an old cardboard shoebox in the family home she found a pile of postcards dating back to the 19th century, many of them written in Old High German. The translated greetings from abroad introduced the hairdresser to her long hidden German heritage and started her on a life changing journey. She fell in love with the craft of writing and decided to pursue a writing career. Her Australian/German novel, Pickle to Pie, was short -listed for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest and was launched during The Age Melbourne Writers' Festival.
Three years as an on-line editor and columnist at introduced her to web writing and resulted in an ebook Inspiring Women. Glenice’s play Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow was produced during the Fertile Ground New Play Festival. Her published works include biographies, reviews, numerous short stories and two novels. Her latest novel, Something Missing, published by MadeGlobal Publishing is about two countries, two women and lies that lead to truth. She completed the journey from VCE to PhD when she gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2013. Along the way she was awarded entry into the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic excellence. She currently enjoys teaching Memoir Writing and encouraging other women to write their stories.  Glenice’s blog Writers and Their Journey can be found at her website,

Guest Post

Note from Glenice: I have chosen to write a post from the 'voice' of Diane, the younger of the two main characters in my novel, Something Missing. I hope this will give readers an insight into her psyche.

Academic Armour: Diane tells her story
After meeting Maggie, I somehow felt as if the universe, fate or something was falling into place for me. She recommended books to read, opportunities presented themselves, friends recommended courses, people and places to be. Ever since I was fourteen I had made my way in life and was now a successful wife, mother and hairdresser. But I always felt as if something was missing; my thoughts and suggestions devalued and disrespected. Was it because I was a poorly educated woman? The everyday derogative comments would pierce my heart and damage my self esteem. Big brother would say, ‘No use you entering that writing competition. I’ll beat you.’ And he did. When I asked my parents about going to High School they laughed and replied, ‘You? High School? No way. You’ll only get married and have children.’
I remember resentfully vacuuming my brother’s bedroom and taking great delight in hearing his B.B. gun pellets ping when they hit the housing of the carpet cleaner.
Maggie’s letters inspired me to become a mature aged student and go back to school where I embraced every educational opportunity that came my way. No matter how scary. I wanted to be well educated like Maggie, write like Maggie. During classes I gave 110%, loved to study and found that I could succeed. I had finally found my wings and soared to the moon.
During the academic journey that followed I soon realized that success did not depend on gender, intelligence or having a gift from God. It all boiled down to how passionate and enthusiastic you were and how much time you were prepared to devote to your course, study and research. During those years of study I discovered many past and present women and men, who investigated a topic, teased it out and came to their own conclusions. It was time for me to stand tall, enter the conversation and add my hard won knowledge to the literary and social discussions.

When I’d completed the journey from VCE to PhD I found I did not need to use the prefix Doctor and no longer would take to heart the jibes and jokes of male friends. Many times I’m told, ‘So you’re now a doctor. I wouldn’t let you operate on me.’ Or, ‘you should know that, you’re a doctor.’ Instead of walking away hurt and belittled I quietly reply, ‘I’m a doctor of creative writing. Ask me anything about that and I’ll give you an answer.’ I am finally secure. Unassailable. The cultural arrows of my generation now bounce off my academic armour.
Since graduating I’ve had to watch that my pendulum does not swing too far and I become inflated with my own importance. I am a small cog in a big wheel. However I now understand the how, when and why of my life and I’m thankful for that chance meeting with Maggie in the Australian Outback, the years of inspirational pen-friendship and the opportunities presented to me. Many women do not have the privilege. 


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