#WWW Wednesday – June 13, 2018

Hello, everyone. Just a quick note before we get to the crux of today’s post. I’ve revitalised my Facebook author/blogger page recently, and am talking about what I’m reading as well as my own writing projects. If that sounds like something that might interest you, head on over to Emily Wrayburn and give it a like. 🙂 I’m also cross-posting a lot on Instagram, if that is more your jam.  And now, on with the show.

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?

Let’s start with the good news first! I read a wonderful upper-MG/lower-YA book called Shine by Candy Gourlay.  This was a chance find at the library and I read it in one sitting. I have already reviewed it here. It felt like a modern folk-tale and while I had a couple of qualms about it, I couldn’t put it down.

I also finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik on audio during my bike ride home this evening. It started off strong but in the end, I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. It ended up dragging on a bit too long for me. 😦 I’ll try to have a review up this Friday.

Due to still feeling reading slumpy, I also got ruthless  with some DNFing this week. First it was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. It sounds like the audio book is a lot better but I was reading the hardback and the tropey-ness and 21st century feminist attitudes in the 19th century setting just got too annoying after a while. I googled some spoilers and I have a feeling I would have felt very unsatisfied by the ending had I got there. So that was a relief.

Next I DNFed Purple Threads by Jeanine Leane, because it just wasn’t really my thing, and I turned to Twitter to seek out recommendations of Indigneous Australian authors writing YA and other things I generally enjoy reading.  No point in trying to diversify my reading if I end up giving 2 or 3 star ratings to everything and saying “this was fine, but not my cup of tea.”

What are you currently reading?

I have started All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. I am only three chapters in but I can definitely see why it is such a classic book. Having said that, I will probably go slowly with this and read it in between other things. (Which reminds me, I was supposed to be doing that with Dracula, too. I should get back to  that.)

I am also reading Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen, which is about a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl who infiltrates a Nazi boarding school. I’m only a few chapters in so far but I think it will probably be pretty full on. It doesn’t look like the author is going to pull any punches.

What do you think you will read next?

I am excited to start the audo of A Fever in the  Blood by Oscar de Muriel, which I picked up  from the library this afternoon and currently converting so I can put it on my phone. This is the sequel to The Strings of Murder, which I loved and reviewed here. This will tide me over until my Audible account ticks over into a new month and I can get another book on there.

Not sure what I’ll read physical book-wise. I am still feeling slumpy, dammit! It’s been a good six weeks! Though I have figured out this week that the key to getting reading done is to sit at one of the smaller tables in the break room, rather than the main one where I always end up just talking to people rather than reading. Maybe that will help?

What are you reading this week?~ EmilyP.S. If you’re  interested, head over to my writing blog, Letting the Voices Out, to read a snippet of my current WIP.

“Monsters are in the eye of the beholder.” // Review of “Shine” by Candy Gourlay

Title: Shine
Author: Candy Gourlay
Genre:
YA contemporary
Date Read: 10/06/18
Rating:
 ★★★★☆

Review:

This was a chance find at the library. I sat down with the intention of reading it all in one sitting because it’s a long weekend and I wanted to catch up on some reading. I ended up reading it one sitting because it got to the point where I couldn’t have put it down if I tried.

This book has so much going for it. A main character of colour, who also has a disability (she has  a condition colloquially known as the  Calm, which prevents her from speaking, so she communicates in sign language). There’s an examination of how children cope when it feels like a disable sibling gets more parental love and attention. There’s mental illness rep.  There’s mythology and writing that feels like a modern folk tale.

The book is split into two parts: the present-day narration from Rosa, and letter-style segments from Rosa’s mother Kara to her twin sister, Kat. These two stories seem separate at first, but weave together nicely by the end. The way the story unrolled really gripped me.  I wasn’t sure if there were ghosts or monsters or whether someone was out to get Rosa and I really wanted to know. I was able to guess a few things, but having an inkling of what was coming didn’t impact on my enjoyment in any way.

I did wish there was a bit more about the setting, Mirasol. At first, I thought that it was somewhere to the north of Scotland because part of the mythology is that it rains all the time. But then it seemed to be more of an African nation, perhaps? But then, there was reference to pesos being the currency, which made me think South America at first, but on discovering that the author was born in the Phillipines, I wondered if it was supposed to be there. A bit more clarity on the real-world stuff to go with the mythology would have been good.

I mentioned mental illness rep above. It’s good that it’s there, but at the same time, I was in two minds about it and the way that particular storyline was resolved. There was a scene where a character referred to the mentally ill character as a monster and Rosa stepped in and said “She’s not a monster, she’s ILL.” Which is great. But she never receives any help and the conlusion of her story is less than desirable (I won’t say anything further  because I’m trying not to spoil anything).

While my library categorises this book as junior fiction (effectively, middle-grade), and Rosa is thirteen, I would probably put this book on the younger side of young adult. Some of it was quite dark, and I wonder whether younger readers would be able to pick up on all the clues throughout the book the way I did.


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