#WWW Wednesday – 13 February 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

First of all, a bit of a plug!

So do you remember in my last WWW post, I mentioned I was contemplating starting a Booktube channel to talk about Australian authors? Well, I didn’t think about it for too long and I started one! I’ve already put up two videos, so check it out if you feel inclined.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled WWW post.

What have you recently finished reading?

This was a good reading week!

I finished The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book by Celine Jeanjean. I enjoyed seeing the world of the first two books expanded as the characters travelled to a new country. I reviewed it here.

After that, I read my ARC of In Another Life by C. C. Hunter, which comes out at the end of March.  This is a YA contemporary about an adopted girl who finds out that her adoption may not have been strictly legal…

Then I read Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham, which is queer retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  This was really good except I didn’t realise it was a novella, so it was really short! I reviewed it here.

Lastly, I read The Zigzag Effect by Lili Wilkinson. This is a YA contemporary about a teen who gets a summer job working for a magician and I had hoped to really love it. It was enjoyable but not my favourite.

I’ve got to get a few reviews written but I also posted my review of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor here.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading an ARC of Second Star by J. M. Sullivan, which is a sci-fi retelling of Peter Pan. It has some really strong aspects and some… not so. Like Harry Potter references in the very far future? Except some of the character dynamics feel more like they are from the time period of the original story… so. Still, I am enjoying it. I’m about 40% of the way through and at the moment it’s feeling like a solid 4 star read.

I think I went at least a week without listening to Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, but I’ve started up again with it this week. Minya was frustrating me for a while but we are now getting to know her a bit more, which is good. But at the same time, as with the first book, I can tell the different story threads will intersect at some point and I kind of wish they’d hurry up about it!

What do you think you will read next?

I should probably start focusing on my Australian Women Writers Challenge, since I upped my goal to twenty for this year (the previous few years I’ve only offficially aimed for twelve) and I’ve only read two. It’d be good to get ahead in case i start lagging around uni and travel times later in the year.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

“Do you still think I’m a singularly un-terrible demon?” “No,” he said smiling. “I think you’re a fairytale.” // Review of “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Audio book narrator: Steve West
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: Upper YA
Date Read: 16/12/18 – 21/01/19
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

This is such a huge book and it took me so long to get through the audio version, all 18 hours of it! I was going to return the audio book and get the ebook instead, but then I ended up powering through the last third. I have a feeling that had I read it at my own pace, it may have even been a five star read. That is not to say that the audio book was bad, far from it, but it did stretch the story out more than perhaps it should have been (not that there would have been any way to pare it back other than abridge it and … yeahno).

This is a dense, slow-burn, character-driven fantasy, filled with beautiful language. Its about dreams in all senses: one’s hopes for the future and the visions we see when we’re asleep. Some might find the writing too flowery, but I found it fell just on the right side of that fine line. It is jam-packed with details, though, and sometimes I wondered whether it was a little too much. I think this is partially because I was reading the audio book and couldn’t make the decision to skim over a few things that  I might have were I reading the print version.

For a book with such  a large cast of characters, Taylor does a wonderful job of giving them all individual personalities. Even the mythology is delicately crafted, and I could imagine the past events described by many of the citizens of the city of Weep. And of course, as a librarian, I particularly loved that the hero in an epic fantasy was a dorky librarian whose nose was broken by a book of fairytales.

Needless to say, I was very keen to begin the second book as soon as I reached the end of the first. This was my first foray into Laini Taylor’s work but it certainly won’t be the last.


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#AWW2019 // Book Review: “Finding Aurora” by Rebecca Langham

Title: Finding Aurora
Author: Rebecca Langham
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: YA/Adult? (I’m honestly not sure)
Date Read: 02/02/18
Rating:
★★☆

Review:

This will be a fairly short review, as the story itself was also quite short! It was originally published in the anthology Once Upon a Rainbow (Volume 2). I wasn’t aware of that until after, so I did get a bit of a surprise when I got through it so quickly.

And that was my main thing about this book. I wanted more! I wanted to know about Amir and Talia growing up together, and more about how Talia first met Red, and more about the legend of the Sleeping Princess.

I know. I’m greedy.

None of this is to say that I didn’t enjoy the story. It’s a well done Sleeping Beauty re-telling, without a lot of the questionable bits from the original story. And it even addresses the fact that it’s weird to kiss a sleeping stranger (don’t worry – there is actually consent in this version). I already knew from following the author on Twitter than this had at least a bisexual character and an asexual character, and I loved how this tied in with the story and the character dynamics.

I did predict the twist but I don’t think that it is an issue of predictability. I think it rounded out the story nicely.


This review is part of my 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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Book Review: “The Slave City” by Celine Jeanjean

Title: The Slave City (The Viper and the Urchin #3)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 24/01/19 – 01/02/19
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

I’ve got to say, I was pretty excited when I got an out of the blue email from Celine Jeanjean offering me an ARC of this book, as it had been a while! I re-read the first two in antipcation and then dived into this third one, where we are not only reunited with all the fabulous characters from this series, but also get to  see what this world is like beyond Damsport.

In this instalment,  Rory and Linginus, along with a ragtag group of friends, are sent to the nation of Azyr to rescue a Damsian machinist, and assist with the rebellion against the ignorant Prelate and evil Seneschal. Of course, nothing goes to plan…

In this book, Jeanjean diverges from the pattern in the first two books of only having Rory and Longinus as POV characters. We get to see what Cruickshank is doing, along with some of the new characters from Azyr. Sometimes I felt that it let us know what was going on a bit too too early, but it definitely made sense later when nearly all the characters were separated from one another.

I really enjoyed Rory’s character growth.  She realises over the course of the book that you can’t always hold onto things from the past, and sometimes you have to let go of things that once seemed the most important things in the world.

The plot is once again tightly structured. Having read all three books in the series in quick succession, I have to say I’m jealous of Jeanjean’s ability to craft a story. Things are foreshadowed and references made in the beginning of the book come full circle by the end.

I’m gather Celine Jeanjean has plenty more ideas left for these characters and I’m definitely looking forward to continuing adventures in this series.


(Thank you to Celine Jeanjean for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This did not affect my opinions in any way)

You can read my reviews of The Bloodless Assassin and The Black Orchid by clicking their titles.

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January 2019 Reading Wrap-up

And the first month of 2019 is finished already!

Past Month’s Reading:

It’s felt a bit slow but still six books accounted for. 

    1. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (fantasy – 3 stars – review)
    2. The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean (re-read – steampunk – 5 stars – 2015 review)
    3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (fantasy – 4 stars – review forthcoming)
    4. The Black Orchid by Celine Jeanjean (re-read – steampunk – 4 stars – 2016 review)
    5. The Slave City by Celine Jeanjean (steampunk – X stars – review forthcoming)

I‘m a little bit behind on my reviews but I am hoping to get more into the swing of things this month. 

Favourite Bookish Photo:


I put this one together for the release of The Slave City, which is the third book in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series, which comes out today! You can see all my bookish photos (plus some RL as well) on my Instagram.

Currently Reading:

Physical book:  Nothing on the go right now.

Ebook: At time of writing, I haven’t started anything new since finishing Slave City. 

Audio book: I am about a third of the way through Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I was glad to be able to follow up 


Planning to read next:

I’m leaning towards In Another Life by C. C. Hunter, which is a YA contemporary and I’m hoping a bit of a thriller. There is a mystery involved at the least. I think I need something different after all the fantasy. 

What are you reading? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – 29 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished The Black Orchid, which is #2 in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series. I remembered a fair bit of it from the first time I read it, but I still enjoyed all the little details I had forgotten. l

am behind on my reviews, so nothing new posted this week.

What are you currently reading?

I am making progress with Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I get the reasons for Minya’s single-mindedness but it is still irritating me. But Lazlo and Sarai are still great.

Also reading The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book. It hasn’t quite grabbed me the way the other two did but I remain jealous of Celine Jeanjean’s ability to craft a world and structure a plot.

What do you think you will read next?

I have no idea! I haven’t read anything for my Australian Women Writers Challenge yet and considering I upped my goal this year, I should probably get on that. I’m also contemplating starting a BookTube channel focusing on Australian authors, so if I want to do that any time soon, I’ll need to get started.

Short and sweet post this week! What are you reading? 

#WWW Wednesday – 23 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished my re-read of The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean. I only remembered a few little details and so I enjoyed revisiting this story a lot. Definitely recommend this series for any steampunk fans. I’m not reviewing this again but you can read my original 2015 review here.

I also finished Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor on audio and didn’t even need to get the e-book in the end! This is a great fantasy book, and I’ll have a review up soon. If I try to express any thoughts here, I am sure I will start rambling.

What are you currently reading?

I have moved on to The Black Orchid, which is #2 in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series. I am remembering a little bit more of this one than I did of the first, but that’s not hampering the experience too much.

I have also started Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I decided to get the audio book because it is a few hours shorter than Strange the Dreamer so I don’t think I’ll have quite as much trouble getting through it.

What do you think you will read next?

I have an ARC of The Slave City, the third Viper and the Urchin book, which comes out on January 31 (hence the re-read of the first two). Going by the summary, it looks like the characters will be venturing out of their home of Damsport, and I am excited to see Jeanjean expand on the world she has built.

It feels slightly strange to have only two authors represented in a whole WWW post, but there we are! Not gonna lie, I’m a little bit proud of the layout of this post, lol!

What are you reading this week?

#WWW Wednesday – 16 January 2019

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

Sad to say I ended up DNFnig The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. This was a real disappointment as it sounded like something I would really love  but just nothing about it worked for me. Since it’s a DNF, I didn’t review it as such, but I wrote some thoughts on my GoodReads. But don’t take my word for it, as there are 277 five-star reviews and onlyl 41 two-star. It was released yesterday so go find yourself a copy if it sounds like your thing!

While that was the closest I came to finishing something this week, I did post my review of Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway, which you can read here.

What are you currently reading?

Still going with  Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor on audio. It’s 18 hours long and I’m around the 9 hour mark! I’m actually tempted to return the audio book and buy the ebook, maybe with WhisperSync included. I’m not good at long audio books! Plus I’m not doinig a lot of solo driving and it’s too hot to go walking at the moment.

I have started re-reading The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean. I gave this five stars when I read it in 2015 and was gushing all over it. It’s possibly closer to a four star read for me now? But I really love Jeanjean’s world-building and the characters are very strong. I’ve always found steampunk books a bit hard to get into but I never had that problem with this series.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ll move onto The Black Orchid, which is the second book in the The Viper and the Urchin series by Celine Jeanjean. After that, I’m not sure!

What are you reading this week?

“You’re nobody’s rainbow. You’re nobody’s princess. You’re nobody’s doorway but your own…” // Review of “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire

Title: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1)
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Historical fiction
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 03/01/19 – 06/01/19
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This is one of  those books where I can see why other people rate it so highly, but that just didn’t quite work for me. I found the idea interesting but just didn’t love the execution.

In a very superficial way, it reminded me of Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which turns an adventure story’s background characters into the main ones. In this story, we see the characters who have gone to fantastic worlds trying to cope after having returned for whatever reason, and I think partly my dissatisfaction stems from being more interested in the worlds they’d come from than the characters themselves.

… Yes, I realise to feel this way is to kind of miss the point of the entire book.

I found the characters to be the strong point. Or at least, most of them. I really loved the MC Nancy, and her two friends, Sumi and Kade, and I found the head of the School for Wayward Children, Eleanor West, also interesting. But beyond that, I didn’t really feel like I got to know the other characters. That includes the antagonist, which made her motivations fairly weak to me.

In fact, to be honest, I felt the entire murder mystery subplot felt a bit weak, and I think I possibly would have enjoyed the story more if it had just been a character-driven exploration of “what comes after happily ever after”.

Having said all of that, I know that at least some of the Wayward Children books are set in the past when the characters first discover their doors. McGuire’s writing is very good, so I’m interested to try a couple more books in the series to see if they are closer to my preferences.


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#WWW Wednesday – 09 January 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

My first book for 2019 is Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan Maguire. I have followed Seanan on Twitter for years so I figured it was time I actually read some of her writing. This is one of those books where I can see why a lot of people love it, but I just didn’t completely love it. I still gave it 3 stars and I’ll have a review up as soon as I figure out exactly what I liked and disliked (it’s that kind of book).

What are you currently reading?

Not much movement on  Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor in the past week. There have been times where I could have been listening to it (cleaning, etc.) but just wasn’t quite in the mood.

I’m also still going with The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. I don’t know why I’m not more into  this?! I love historical fantasy but maybe I’m not into heist plots?

What do you think you will read next?

I am planning to re-read The Bloodless Assassin by Celine Jeanjean and its sequel in preparation for the release of the third book in the series at the end of the month. Depending how much I remember, I might do a bit of a skim, but it’s been a while, so might not remember much. I did give this book 5 stars the first time I read it, so I hope to get the same reaction this time around.

What are you reading this week?