#LoveOzYA #aww2019 “You told the story to show me how to move on.” // Review of “Catching Teller Crow” by Ambellin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Title: Catching Teller Crow
Author:
Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Audio book narrator: Miranda Tapsell
Genre: Contemporary/magical realism
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 20/03/19 – 23/03/19
Rating:
★☆

Review:

Ah, man, I hate being the unpopular opinion person! So many glowing reviews of this book. So many “I read it all in one sitting!”s. And here’s me feeling kind of underwhelmed. 

Looking back now as I write this review, some of this could be down to being in a bit of funk life-wise at the time. I wasn’t really enjoying anything, books included. So it’s probably partly on me. 

I also feel like some of this was to do with the audio book. It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever listened to, but I felt like the way it was read made the character of Beth Teller sound kind of annoying, and a lot younger than her 15 years.

On the other hand, there were also sections of Isobel Catching’s chapters where it was read with no expression whatsoever. I’m deliberately using passive voice here because I’m assuming that there are directors and other people involved in the recording of an audio book and this is not all Miranda Tapsell’s fault, so I don’t want to seem like I am ragging on her alone. 

In terms of the content of the book, it was one of those stories where I got what it was doing, but I felt it needed to be explored further. It’s quite a short book and it’s dealing with a lot of issues. I also figured out fairly early on what Catching’s chapters were really about, so I think the revelation towards the end lost some of its impact because of that. 


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

I am trying to read as many of the books as possible on the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia Notables List. Click here to see the titles.

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WWW Wednesday – 27 March 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 Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina. I’m not quite sure I “got” this. There is a magical realism component which I figured out fairly early on was an allegory, but there was a lot of telling, even with that… and the main character felt about twelve rather than fifteen…

I also finished Hive by A. J. Betts. This was one of those books that I wasn’t terribly into, but the ending was interesting enough that I still felt that I would continue with the series when the second book comes out.

I posted two reviews this week: Between Us by Clare Atkins and Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein. Click the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

I have returned to The Dying Flame by R. L. Sanderson, after being a bit distracted by other things. The MC is about to meet the King, so I think things are going to really start rolling now.

I’m listening to A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. I really enjoy parallel universe stories though this one has a lot of flashbacks establishing life before Meg and Theo jumped dimensions. Still, I’m about a third of the way through and still enjoying it.

What do you think you will read next?

Everything I’ve been reading lately has been YA and it’s beginning to wear a bit. So I think I might read my ARC of Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine.  I have pretty high expectations of this after loving the first two books in the series so much. So I hope it lives up to them.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

WWW Wednesday – 20 March 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 read An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, which I found to be an enjoyable fantasy but forgettable. I reviewed it here.

Next I finished Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I didn’t love this. There’s a difference between being ambiguous and just creating a whole bunch of stuff that’s never explained. I found it a bit too unsatisfying. Here’s my review.

Next I read One Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston. I think I was lucky I was in the right mood for it or it might have easily been a DNF. Really beautiful writing and a good plot but I’m not sure I actually picked up on important aspects of the world-building, so some of the things that were happening made no sense to me.

I finally started on my challenge of reading the books on the 2019 CBCA Notables List and read Between Us by Clare Atkins, which is a story about the relationship that forms between an Iranian asylum seeker in detention and an Australian teenager at her school.  It was not an easy read but very powerful. Here’s my review.

Last but not least, I finished Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein, a YA psychological thriller. This had some genuinely creepy moments but ultimately was a bit too long and the ending fell a bit flat.

This list is nowhere near as impressive when you realise I haven’t done a WWW post in 2 weeks and I finished  the first two books listed the day after my last one.

What are you currently reading?

I have returned to The Dying Flame by R. L. Sanderson, after being a bit distracted by other things. The MC has just been rescued and whisked off to a strange place so I have a feeling things are about to really get going.

I’m also listening to Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina. I’m… really not loving the audio book narrator, but it’s really short and I’ve got less than 3 hours  to go, so I’m going to stick with it…

What do you think you will read next?

Depending how I feel about The Dying Flame, I might go on to its sequel, The Sharpened Blade. Or I’ve got Hive by A. J. Betts waiting for me at the library so I can continue with my challenge to read the 2019 Notables list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Award.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – October 25, 2017

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I breezed through Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer, due to having some car trouble and having nothing to do but sit in the car and read for a couple of hours while I waited for roadside assistance. So that was pretty great. I will have a review of this up this week. I enjoyed it a lot!

I also finished the ebook See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. This is a fictional of the Borden murders and Lizzie Borden’s trial. This was a hugely anticipated read for me but in the end it didn’t really work for me. I read a review that said it didn’t really add anything new to all the theories and stories surrounding the Borden murders and that was exactly how I ended up feeling.

I also DNFed The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones, which I was listening to. It couldn’t seem to decide what tone it wanted to take. Sometimes it was quite funny (a bit of a Discworld vibe), then suddenly it’d be really violent and someone would be nearly dying, or a group of side characters would be leery and gross towards a female character.

I’m a bit behind on my reviews at the moment. Only one posted this week, for The Asylum by Johan Theorin. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I am over halfway through Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron. This is a slow read, but I am going to renew it from the library and take it on holidays with me in a couple of weeks, where I can knuckle down and enjoy it. Because I am enjoying it, it’s just taking a while to get through.

I’ve also started reading Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. I don’t read a lot of anthologies but I am definitely enjoying the writing in this one. It features a lot of new-to-me authors whom I will definitely be looking into further, along with authors I’ve known of and loved for a long time. The LoveOzYA movement is about foregrounding Australian YA authors, and I’m all down for that. I saw three of the authors speak at the Canberra Writers Festival and it was very inspiring.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I don’t really know at the moment! I’m not feeling drawn towards much at all on my official TBR. I might not have much time for reading in the near future as I have two 3000-word papers due at the end of next week. Then I’m going on holidays for five days, and I want to take the last three Series of Unfortunate Events books with me. So that’s really the only plan I have for now.

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily

 

 

 

#WWW Wednesday – October 18, 2017

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

In print, I finished The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina, which means I have actually completed reading a series. It didn’t quite work for me (all three books got 3 stars in the end) but I still recommend it as a very good example of YA dystopian fiction.

I also completed The Asylum by Johan Theorin on audio. I have a review scheduled for this one but in short, the plot required a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me to really enjoy it. I also think the translation from Swedish was a bit clunky?

Reviews of Fake Geek Girl by Tansy Rayner Roberts and  Georgie Spider are posted here and here respectively.

What are you currently reading?

I am about a quarter of the way through Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron. I’m usually more into thrillers than straight crime fiction but I am enjoying this one. PI Kit O’Malley is a good lead character.

‘I have also started Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer, because the crime fiction is pretty straightforward and while I am enjoying it, I need something to get a bit more invested in. But at time of writing, I have literally read half the prologue, so it’s far too early to make any comments.

On audio I am listening to The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve always found DWJ’s books a bit of a mixed bag:  I loved Howl’s Moving Castle but A Tale of Time City and Hexwood didn’t work for me. This one is leaning more towards the latter two, but I’m moving through it pretty quickly so we’ll see how it turns out.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am feeling drawn to See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt next. This is a fictional of the Borden murders and Lizzie Borden’s trial. I’ve had this on my radar nearly all year, but I wanted to read it even more after seeing Sarah Schmidt talk at the Canberra Writer’s Festival. Though that was back in August and it’s still taken me this long to get to it. Though when I went to the GR page to get the link, I see the reviews are very mixed. I really want to love this one, though!

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily

 

 

 

#aww2017 #LoveOzYA “Everything connects, but not everyone hears those connections. ” // Review of “The Foretelling of Georgie Spider” by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Title: The Foretelling of Georgie Spider (The Tribe  #3)
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Genre: YA/dystopian
Date Read: 08/10/2017 – 11/10/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I really wish I could tell you why I wasn’t more into this series. It ticked all the right boxes. Interesting premise, well-developed characters and tight plot, and yet I was never invested. I actually probably found this to be the case with this third instalment most of all.

While Ashala was still a strong narrative voice, I didn’t really connect with Georgie Spider, which made it difficult reading her POV. I liked the theme of the series coming together, that there is one person to look to the past, one to be in the now and one to look to the future, but I found Georgie’s naivety a little too much at times.

The action scenes were really good in this book; as I said, it was tightly-plotted and I loved the way it was structured. That was the one point where I did think Georgie’s POV worked – when she was seeing futures that were only a minute or so ahead of her present and helped the Tribe to be in the right place at the right time to defeat them.

Also, just a ilttle thing, but I loved that this series uses terms like “Detention centre”, terms we’re all too familiar with here in Australia at the moment when it comes to asylum seekers and refugees.

As I said, I think this series suffered from a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” as I was reading it. I would definitely recommend other fans of dystopia checking it out, even if I didn’t have the best run of it.

Reviews to the previous books in this series:

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

The Disappearance of Ember Crow


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).

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#WWW Wednesday – October 11, 2017

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

pretty good reading week this week! I finished The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Morena-Garcia. This was nearly a four-star read but became a 3.5 in the last quarter. It was really moving along and I was really involved and then it just sort of slowed down. Review here.

Then I read Fake Geek Girl and Unmagical Boy Story by Tansy Rayner Roberts, which are part of the Belladonna University series. It’s basically about a bunch of Australian university students who are also nerdy and into fandom and that sort of thing but also have certain magic abilities. The university is divided into Real (magical) and Unreal (non-magical) campuses. These are really short (like, short novella length) and really enjoyable. The third is coming out soon and I’m pretty sure I will read it. I’ll probably review these two together since they were so short.

I also posted my review of Garth Nix’s Frogkisser! this week. It is posted here.

What are you currently reading?

At the time of writing this post (Tuesday evening), I am about 150 pages from the end of  The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina. I thought the first two books in this series were fine (3 stars) but this one hasn’t grabbed me. Still, it will be nice to have completed a series.

Still going with The Asylum by Johan Theorin on audio. This is one of those thrillers were things are revealed to the reader gradually, but in order to keep the reader in the dark, the characters act like they didn’t already know about certain things. Which makes no sense. But I’m about 65% of the way through and I have some driving to do over the next few nights so I should get a decent amount listened to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I thought I would try to read Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron next. This will be my second LGBTI* read for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge and will mean I will have finished the diversity challenge I set for myself within the regular challenge this year. And it also gives me enough time that if I don’t like it, I can find a different title (which is where I failed last year by leaving my second LGBTI* read until the week after Christmas, and then not being into it).

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you feel so inclined, head on over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, where I’ve shared an excerpt from my current WIP today.

#WWW Wednesday – October 04, 2017

.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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I didn’t post last week because at that point I hadn’t fininshed anything or posted any reviews since the previous week.

This week, though, I have finished A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill, which was the 8th book in the Rowland Sinclair historical mystery series. I posted my review here. Then I read Life is Like a Musical by Tim Federle, which is theatre-themed self-help book, which I loved. I reviewed it here.

I  also finished reading The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells via the Serial Reader app. As predicted, I did purchase the full version of the app, so I read it a bit quicker than the estimated 21 days. I felt this story was actually much more compelling than other Wells I have read, but nothing will ever quite beat Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.

What are you currently reading?

I am about 35-odd% of the way through The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Morena-Garcia. There are aspects of it I really like, like the world-building, particularly the fact that what would in other books be “magic” has a scientific explanation. Or at least, science is interested in it and people are doing research and stuff. And I love Nina, but there are other characters I’m not into so much and it’s a bit slow-going. So we’ll have to see.

On audio, I am listening to The Asylum by Johan Theorin. This is a Swedish thriller and I’m listening to the English translation of course. The hero is a bit naive and has a ~past~ in which he did some things that make him an idiot (imho), and not especially sympathetic. But I’m still listening for now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina from the library, and I imagine it will be quite a quick read like the first two books in the series. I might actually pick it up before I finish The Beautiful Ones if I want something with a faster pace.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you feel so inclined, head on over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, where I’ve shared an excerpt from my current WIP today.

#aww2016 #LoveOzYA “And whatever you end up discovering – try to think of me kindly. If you can.” // Review of “The Disappearance of Ember Crow” by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Title: The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe  #2)
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Genre: YA/dystopian
Date Read: 12/09/2017 – 14/09/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Knowing that I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, well enough but was not blown away by it meant that I went in without expecting to be blown away by this one.  I had pretty much exactly the same reaction to this one: it has a tight, interesting plot and is well-written,  but for some reason, it just didn’t wow me.

Even though it had been over a year since I read the first book, I didn’t have too much trouble getting back into this world, so that was a good sign. This instalment took the world-building of the previous book and expanded on it, and I did enjoy seeing more of the physical setting as well as getting more of the history.

I didn’t find the romance between Ember and Jules interesting at all. They barely knew each other, and there was no chemistry between them. It didn’t really make much sense to me that Jules would go out of his way to help Ember on a few days’ acquaintance.

I did enjoy the climax of the novel. It was exciting and had some good twists. I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t get more into this book. I think it was just a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).

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#WWW Wednesday – September 20, 2017

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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Finished two books this week! The first was The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina. It was kind of text book definition of a 3-star read – there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and I enjoyed it but that was as strong as my reaction got.

I also finished  Frogkisser! by Garth Nix, which was cute and definitely picked up in the last quarter, but I think it is better suited to its middle-grade audience and doesn’t quite transcend that. At least in my opinion.

I also posted my review of  A Semi-Definitive List of Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland over here.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started an ARC of A Dangerous Language by Sulari Gentill. It’s actually the eighth book in the Rowland Sinclair mystery series, but I’m hoping they stand alone enough that I won’t have too much trouble following it. I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I did hear her speak at the Canberra Writer’s Festival, so when I saw this ARC available on Netgalley, I thought I would check it out. When I say I’ve just started, I mean I am literally about 2% in or something, so I’ll say more about this one next week.

I am also reading The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells via the Serial Reader app. The aim of this app is to deliver a bite-size portion of a classic book (10-20 minutes of reading) to your device each day. I’m hoping I might read a few classics this way. If I like it I will upgrade to the paid version, which lets you get more than one issue a day if you are keen. Also it has badges and achievements, which I am all about.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Foretelling of Georgie Spider, also by Ambelin Kwaymullina from the library, and I imagine it will be quite a quick read like the first two books in the series. I also have an ARC of Life is Like a Musical by Tim Federele, which seemed appropriate for a musical theatre nerd like me. That one releases on October 3, so I do need to read it fairly soon, too.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily