Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Recent reviews

Due to my serious lack of ever updating my blog (and my feeling that no one reads it anyway), here are the links to my reviews over the past year. All books provided by Booksellers NZ, and all links below are to their blog.

Te Ara Puoro – A journey into the world of Maori music, by Richard Nunns with Allan Thomas

Barefoot Years, by Martin Edmond

The Healthy Country? A History of Life and Death in New Zealand, by Alistair Woodward & Tony Blakely

One Life: My Mother’s Story, by Kate Grenville

Forged From Silver Dollar, by Li Feng

Two Pedants: Season One, by Sean Molloy

While some were heavy hitting, making me check my values and life choices, others made me smile and chuckle to myself.

My highlight so far was definitely One Life: My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville, from whom I will leave you with this golden advice:

"What other people did was up to them. Your job was to live - as richly and honestly as you could - your one life."

Until next time,

K xx

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Confessions Part II

For all you Usher fans out there, I apologise if you've found this post due to the title. It is clearly misleading. 

"There are bridges you cross you didn't
know you crossed until you crossed." Deep.
This post serves as a follow up to my last (proper) post in March. It's been a while. It's also been a while between today and when I actually started writing this post. And I am very aware of how much smack I talk, so apologies if you're bored by my ramblings. Just easier to type it all out here than talk to someone face to face and see their eyes glaze over. 

What's been going on? Not too much. I went to Melbourne with one of my best friends. It was super pleasant. Saw Wicked then Les Mis, hit up galleries, shopped in the places with the free wifi, ate dumplings and dim sum, watched as many World Cup games as possible, and lost money at the casino. We did well. 

As a result of this trip (which was in June/July) I have been listening to the Wicked soundtrack almost everyday. Once something is in my head, it takes a long time to go away. However, if I'm not listening to it, I'm listening to the Harry Potter audio books. I'm up to Prisoner of Azkaban. It's been less than 2 weeks since I started. I spend my time well.

My last post talked about wanting to work as an editor. So, last month I quit my job to take up a job as an editor at Te Kura - The Correspondence School. I'm just covering maternity leave, but I figured it's a good step in the right direction. Going well so far, great group of people, always learning new things I clearly never learnt at high school, and gaining invaluable editing experience. 

It is now September as I come to complete this post. I started it in June I think, so it's taken me a short while. I forget about the drafts, upload reviews instead, etc. I've also stopped listening to the HP audio books in preparation for our trip overseas (need something else on the plane, just in case).

My favourite.
Life's been busy too. Sort of. Work's good, actually being able to call myself an editor is rather satisfying. I spend my days editing the work students enrolled with Te Kura will be given next year. As I tell people, I'm learning all the things I never paid attention to in school.

I guess the more exciting thing is that it's exactly one month today until we leave for America. My partner will be running the NY marathon on November 2, while I eat bagels and drink coffee. Then South Carolina, Orlando, and Hawaii. 

I have no doubt my next post will be some time long after that trip, explaining how great Harry Potter Land is.

Until then,


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Book Review: Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand, by Margaret Sparrow

Originally published on the Booksellers NZ website.

I had several people ask ‘Why would anyone volunteer to read this book?’, during the course of reading it. It took me longer than usual to read; after reading about two deaths from apparent poisoning, the last thing I wanted to move on to was the heading ‘Kate’s death – wielding a whalebone?’ Following the success of Abortion Then & Now: New Zealand abortion stories from 1940 to 1980, Margaret Sparrow has created a thorough and, at times, harrowing account of New Zealand abortions in the 1800s.

No leaf has been left unturned in this book, covering abortion laws and practice in the 19th century, through to real and bogus doctors, and even self-abortion. Using any and every resource available to her, Sparrow has created a book full of real women and their real stories. With a fleeting reference to Minnie Dean, Sparrow explores the limited choices available to women, and the extremes to which they went after having an unwanted child. These included child farming, adoption, and infanticide. The latter provides a wealth of examples of women charged with murdering their own child – these women were often sent to gaol or a lunatic asylum.

The concept of helping others comes through several times in the book. Whether they were doctors turned abortionists, a neighbour being friendly, or an employer helping their domestic servant, these people faced imprisonment, as did the woman, if caught. Chemists played an integral part in the process too, often as the first port of call to provide “patient-friendly abortion services.”

While this book covers 19th century New Zealand (as expected), Sparrow devotes a chapter to ‘Lessons from history’. She takes the time to look closely at the history of the legislation surrounding abortion, and is critical of the our current laws – “New Zealand’s current laws are no better than those of the 19th century in preventing or controlling abortions, and this is not surprising.” Reading this sentence didn’t surprise me either; during university I remember one article of a student couple’s attempt to get an abortion on the grounds of simply not being ready or wanting the child. Why should a woman be forced to lie when simply she doesn’t want a child? And for exceptional cases? The argument of ‘what is an exceptional case’ will erupt, of course. But as Sparrow reminds the reader: “That rape should not be a ground for abortion is a shameful infringement of human rights.”

So why did I elect to review this book? Because, quite simply, it’s an important issue, and I believe we don’t talk about it enough. If you’d like a hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and all together gripping read, I cannot recommend Rough on Women more. Sparrow’s critical stance and outspokenness in this field makes me smile and hope that we will have a serious change for the better in the foreseeable future.

Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-Century New Zealand
by Margaret Sparrow
Victoria University Press
ISBN 9780864739360

Friday, 27 June 2014

Book review: City of Lies – Love, Sex, Death and the search for truth in Tehran, by Ramita Navai

Originally published on the Booksellers NZ website.

“Let’s get one thing straight: in order to live in Tehran you have to lie. Morals don’t come into it: lying in Tehran is about survival.”

Searing words form a harrowing reality, giving the reader an excellent basis to start an exceptional book. British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai tells the real-life stories of eight protagonists in City of Lies – Love, Sex, Death and the search for truth in Tehran. The sycamore-lined Vali Asr Street is the central setting, while the stories span over years.

Navai has created a remarkable non-fiction book. Her choice of stories may make the reader think they’re reading a collection of fiction short stories. Every now and then I remembered that these were true stories, throwing me in to disbelief and I found myself researching the author and book to ensure that these weren’t made up.

The Tehran in City of Lies is one made of gangsters, housewives, terrorists, and schoolgirls. Following extensive research and interviews, Navai has been able to bring the reader in to the world of an Iranian-American terrorist who has been given an important task, a schoolgirl finding love in an unexpected place, and a basiji making a life-changing decision.

The stories reveal a Tehran riddled with political, religious, social, and sexual contradictions. In one story, following her first encounter as a prostitute “she did not feel dirty or degraded. Just scared of God”. Navai doesn’t shy away from any topic throughout the book, and an open-mind from the reader is required. The ending of at least one story left me shocked, a ringing in my ears. Just be prepared. “This was the new Tehran, where tradition and class are blended together and trumped by money.”

Navai provides a short autobiography at the end of the book, which sheds further light on her relationship with Tehran. A glossary appears also, and is accompanied by her sources divided by chapter. The sources provide excellent information for the reader, but I suggest waiting until you complete all the stories before reading them.

With an excellent mixture of stories, characters, and settings that Navai has managed to track down and document, City of Lies is a must-read for any person interested in astonishing stories of human survival.

City of Lies – Love, Sex, Death and the search for truth in Tehran
Written by Ramita Navai
Published by Weidenfield & Nicholson
ISBN 9780297871316

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Student editing information and rates

Do you need assistance proofreading or copy-editing your essays, reports or thesis? 

Take a look below for student rates, my qualifications, and how to get in touch with me. 

If you're a student looking for someone to proofread your essay, I can ensure the document is in mint condition at a very good price. No job is too small or subject too complex. ESOL students welcome. 

I can work in a variety of formats - in hard-copy, using tracked changes in MS Word, Adobe inDesign (currently running CS6), and Adobe Acrobat (X Pro). 

What will I do?

Proofreading your work means I will:
  • check your spelling 
  • ensure your grammar is correct
  • remove any inappropriate usage of words (contractions, colloquial, etc.)
  • amend your punctuation usage. 
I will not:
  • write or re-write your work
  • check or do your references
  • ensure you are answering the question.
A proofreader checks that your work is free of typos and has correct grammar. My job is not to ensure you are answering the question or check if you've stayed in the word limit. This is copy-editing and will incur an extra charge (see below).

Student Rates

I'm here to provide students with a realistic option to ensure their work is the best it can be. I have been a student recently, and know that students can lose marks for basic spelling and grammar mistakes.

My proofreading flat-rate for undergraduate students is $40 an hour (charged in 15 minute increments). 

Rough pricing guide (based on hourly rate):

Up to 1500 words: $20
Up to 3000 words: $40
Up to 5000 words: $60

You'll only be charged for the time it takes me to complete your work. For example, if your 2000 word essay takes me 45 minutes, you'll be charged $30.

Postgraduate students

Please contact me to discuss a quote. I am happy to provide a two page sample proof of your thesis. 

Rough pricing guide:

Honours thesis (9000-12,000): $90–$120
Masters thesis (28,000-33,000): $170–$200

Most people charge by the word, or by the hour. Choosing me and a fixed rate for your thesis will definitely save you money.

Please note: the subject matter, length of the text, and urgency of work will be taken into consideration before providing a quote. 


If you'd like me to use a heavier hand on your work (cutting out words, querying what you've written), this will incur an extra charge, which can be negotiated. This will be a flat rate added on top of your proofreading quote. 

Note: Some work will take me longer than others, depending on the complexity of the subject – this will be discussed with you before the work is undertaken. 

Note: The average charge for proofreading is $60-80 an hour, and the average for copy-editing is $80-120 an hour. 

Why should you trust me?

I have a BA in English Studies and History from Victoria University, spending 4 years there writing numerous essays and assignments. Following this, I completed the Diploma in Publishing (Applied) through Whitireia New Zealand. I focussed on editing throughout my year, and now work as an editor full time at The Correspondence School. Take a look at my LinkedIn profile for further information. 


Great! Contact me via email at KimayaEdits@gmail.com - please provide as much information as you can, and we can meet in person to discuss if needed.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Book review: Thorndon, by Kirsty Gunn

Originally published on the Booksellers New Zealand blog.

I've mentioned previously I much prefer to read non-fiction over fiction – there’s something that sparks interest for me when I know what I'm reading is a true story. Delight came to me when I realised the slightly-smaller than an A5 book I’d been given to review intertwined fact and fiction perfectly. Excellent way to kill two birds with one stone. 

Published by Bridget Williams Books as part of the BWB Texts series, Kirsty Gunn’s memoir Thorndon Wellington and Home: My Katherine Mansfield Project stands proudly alongside other great New Zealand authors including Claudia Orange and Maurice Gee.

Thorndon beautifully recounts Gunn’s time in Wellington having been awarded a Randell Fellowship. Gunn comes home to the city she grew up in and swore to never return to, having set up camp in Scotland and London. "A couple of years ago I came 'home' to Wellington. I came at first alone, and then I brought my daughters with me."

Whether you know Wellington well or could care less about the city, Gunn’s account of her time spent as a Fellow here resonates with all who despise the place they grew up in. Her two daughters are able to attend the same school she did, create the same memory of the Zig-Zag stairs, and remember the way horizontal rain is created by wonderful winds.

Alongside her wonderfully written and easy to read account of Wellington, Gunn has intertwined quotes and extracts from Mansfield, as well as from biographies. A selected bibliography is included for any person looking for the place to start their Mansfield readings. Alongside these, Gunn's own stories she wrote while here sit perfectly. As a non-reader of modern fiction, I found these simply delightful to read.

Gunn has produced a simple yet effective book in Thorndon. She tells her own story, which could have been a rather dull subject, in a real and relatable way. I, for one, don't find myself particularly attached to the small town I grew up in, but something resonates with me every time I go back there. Gunn's account draws my thinking back to the words I wrote in that town, and makes me long to visit soon.

"Coming or Going. Leaving or returning. Whether dark or light, north or south, present or past… The words themselves are real. As I have written before, as I continue to write… The words themselves bring us home."

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Confessions of a blogging failure.

Why? Just because. Also seemed like a good time to change up the look of this blog.

I started this blog two years ago as a fresh publishing student ready to make my mark on the world. I used it as a place to review the sessions of Writers and Readers Week I'd managed to make it to on my student budget. It seemed like a good idea at the time. This turned in to reviewing anything I could get my hands on for Booksellers New Zealand. When I remembered, the reviews made it on here too. The post with the most hits was my review of Secrets and Treasures. Stunning book.

My year of publishing eventually ended, and I began volunteering with The Lumière Reader. Reviews, proofreading, transcribing, and an interview have been my (ongoing) legacy with the fantastic website.

I went through two jobs at NZICA over 13 months. I now pay my bills working for the government. Publications and Administration Co-ordinator is my 'official' title. I like it. 

Ultimately I want to work in editing, preferably proofreading and/or sub-editing, for an institutional press (university, museum, etc.). For now, I'm trying to pick up as many proofreading jobs as I can. I really do love proofreading (just not my own work).

Words in any shape or form build our entire culture and fill our society with more than we care to think about on a daily basis. 
I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do though. It's hard to be 24 and lock down a career path. I'm also aware I don't need to, but it's nice to feel like you know where you're going. 

I'm a big believer in if it's meant to be, it'll happen. However, I know that good things don't come to those who wait, but rather those who go out and work hard to get what they want. But if you try sometimes, you might just find you get what you need.

So, we shall just see what comes my way.