#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 11 January, 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 today, and just answer the three questions.


What have you recently finished reading?

I finished reading The Nnaturalwayofthingscoveratural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, and I liked it, but it was a bit too open-ended for me to really love it. My review is here.

I then finished The Diary of a Young Girl (the Definitive Edition) by Anne Frank. It’s funny, you see all the really profound quotes everywhere that it annefrankcovertook me by surprise at first to realise she really was just like any other teenager in a lot of ways. This edition was printed in such a way that her final entry finished on the last line of a page, and when I turned it, all that was written on the next page was “Anne’s diary ends here”. I knew I was close to finishing, but that felt like a bit of a punch in the gut.

I also posted my review of Stars Above by Marissa Meyer this week. You can find it here.

What are you currently reading?

rebirthofrapunzelcoverCurrently reading The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower by Kate Forsyth. This is the academic component of Forsyth’s doctoral research; her novel Bitter Greens, which I reviewed a bit over a year ago, was the fiction component. I had known about this research, but didn’t realise until now that it had been published in full last year. I’ve now got a couple of other Rapunzel retellings on my TBR that I really want to read!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I probably should read The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias, since I received a copy of it from NetGalley. I think I will actually enjoy it once I start it, but I’m really enjoying reading physical books at the moment, and don’t really feel like an ebook?

What are you reading this week? 🙂

other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This scene takes place not long after last week’s. Clara ended up losing her job over the incident where it seemed she had thrown a box of Christmas lights at a customer, so she has gone home early, forgetting that she was supposed to meet Max after work. He’s now home and asking her what happened today. They’ve been discussing her developing powers and she’s starting to put two and two together about him and his aunt. 17 lines for 2017.

“I hurt someone today. He upset me and I hit him in the head with a box of Christmas lights.” She smiled weakly. “It sounds so stupid. But he thought I threw them at him, and he could sue the shop if he wanted to. Max?”

Max had been listening while watching the water in the kettle start to boil, but when Clara turned her attention on him so fully, he looked up and returned the favour.


“What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you.”

Clara scoffed. “No one else I know is able to move objects with her mind, or make the lights come on and off, or hear the thoughts of everyone around them. You seem to know what’s going on.” She held up a finger as he started to object. “You’ve been way too calm about all these things I can do, and you never seem surprised when I talk about it. It’s like you knew this stuff was all going to happen. Is this why you and Aunt Jana invited me to live with you?”

Indeed it is, Clara. Sort of. It’s kind of complicated. You’ve kind of always lived with them, there was never an invitation but you don’t remember that.

So this thing keeps happening where every now and then I’ll write a moment between Max and Clara that’s totally adorable and I’ll think, “Yep, totally shipping these two”. Except a lot of the time they come across more as friends than anything romantic and I JUST WISH THEY’D DECIDE. I mean, I can work with “Long lost Princess falls for protector while unaware that she’s a Princess and then its awkward later” but I NEED TO KNOW.


In other news, I found a really awesome plot prompt on the NaNoWriMo forums. It’s a contemporary Wizard of Oz retelling and I really want to write it, but I’m nervous about it. Throw me random encouragement!

I should probably leave this here! I’ll catch you all soon! 🙂

~ Emily

#AWW2017 “What would people in their old lives be saying about these girls? Would they be called missing?” // Review of “The Natural Way of Things” by Charlotte Wood

Title: The Natural Way of Things
Author: Charlotte Wood
Genre: Thriller
Date Read: 05/01/2017 – 06/01/2017
Rating: ★★★


What a difficult book to review. While I wouldn’t say it was “hyped” to me, it certainly came highly recommended,  which I think resulted in some unrealistic expectations of what I was in for.

Ten women wake up on a property in the Australian outback surrounded by a giant electric fence, and as time wears on, they find themselves prisoners of two inept gaolers and a young woman playing at being a nurse .As hope of rescue dwindles along with their food supply, and it becomes clear that even their captors did not know what they were in for, the girls find they must take power into their own hands.

The writing in this book is very good. It’s mentioned in the official blurb and therefore not a spoiler to say that the common link between all the women in this book is that they were all involved in high profile sex scandals, and underneath the writing, there is a simmering anger at the misogyny and rape culture rife in today’s society. The anger is very measured, but it is always there, much like the anger many of us experience at these same issues.

The main reason I couldn’t rate this any higher was because I felt there were too many loose ends. I needed more information about the alleged security company that had set up the prison, and how the women ended up there. There is an implication that they were coersed and that other people in their old lives knew what was going to happen to them, but this is never really cleared up (probably a deliberate choice by the author, but one I couldn’t really get into). There was also no real explanation of who was running the whole joint. Why had they simply abandoned these women with incapable supervisers and dwindling supplies?

I gather the ending is rather divisive, some reviewers seem to think it was perfect, others that it was unsatisfying. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter camp. I was left just thinking, “Oh, come on!”

I also would have liked to know more about the scandals that happened to each girl. In most cases, small morsels of detail were often dangled in front of my nose, but I never really felt like I knew enough about them to really appreciate their plight. That sounds callous, as I should be appreciating their plight regardless of the details of what happened to them. I imagine this might have been the point, but there it is.

Sometimes with books like this, I feel there might be deeper meanings, more subtle or metaphorical, that I didn’t truly “get”. I’m a pretty literal reader; I take things at face value. This is probably also reflected in my enjoyment and rating of this book. Those who can find that deeper level will probably have a higher appreciation for it.

This review forms part of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2017. Click here for more information.

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 04 January, 2017

Hello to those of you who join me each Wednesday for this regular blog hop, and happy new year! I am wishing I was still on holidays, but at the same time, really glad to be finding my routines again. I had just under two weeks off work, but it’s amazing how even that short time can throw you off everything.

On that note, time for the blog hops! The first one is WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.


What have you recently finished reading?

pyramidscoverI finished a few things over the holidays, though nowhere near as much as I would have liked. First, there was Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. I really enjoyed reading this; I hadn’t visited the Discworld in quite a while and this has made me think I should spend some more time there this year. I have a whole shelf of Pratchett books that I bought off a uni friend who was moving overseas, but I have only read a few of them.

starsabovecoverI spent my whole NYE reading Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, which is the short story collection set in the Lunar Chronicles universe. I have to be honest, I wasn’t actually that fussed. With a couple of exceptions, I didn’t really feel like they added anything to the overall narrative. But as usual with Meyer, it was really easy to read and I powered through it very quickly.

motherofdreamscoverAnd today, I finished Mother of Dreams;: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, edited by Makoto Ueda. As with any short story anthology, I found some of the stories more meaningful than others.  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that it was published in the 1980s, and the stories featured were published over the previous 20-30 years, so some of it felt a bit dated.

Unfortunately, I DNFed Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker, which I had planned to make the final book of my 2016 Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. It was just a bit too literary and character-driven for my tastes.

I posted a review of The Two by Will Carver just before Christmas, and my review of Pyramids went up on Monday

What are you currently reading?

naturalwayofthingscoverI should be reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I’ve had from the library since before Christmas and which is due back next week. But I’m not, I’m about to start The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, which will be my first Australian Women Writers Challenge book of the year. A few people were discussing it on the AWW Facebook group and I felt I needed an un-put-downable book, so here it is.

What do you think you’ll read next?

annefrankcoverDefinitely need to read Anne Frank next. After that, I have a copy of The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias from  NetGalley (is it still an ARC if the book was released nearly a year ago?) and the few pages I skimmed on my phone the other day were appealing, so I’ll probably continue with that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I was having a bit of a freakout about Operation Sugarplum over the last couple of days, but I did some brainstorming and I know where I’m going now. I seem to have developed this method of outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining some more. It works for me!

I wouldn’t usually share so much on a WIPpet post, but today you have 16 paragraphs (17 for the year minus 1 for the month – don’t worry, it’s mostly dialogue) of Clara dealing with a grumpy customer at the shop where she works. He’s trying to return some Christmas lights. Warning for some bad language.

Clara put on her best customer service smile. “What can I do for you?”

“These don’t work. I want a refund.”

“Okay. Do you have your receipt?”

“No. I lost it. But it’s your store brand, so obviously I got them from here.”

Clara grimaced inwardly. This was going to be fun.

“I’m afraid I can’t issue a refund without proof of purchase, sir.”

“It’s got your bloody brand on it. Where else would I have bought it?” He pointed to the store’s logo emblazoned on the box. Clara agreed with him, but there was still nothing she could do.

“I’m sorry, sir, but that’s the store policy. Would you like me to call my manager?” She reached for the phone, sensing that this was going to get beyond the level of customer service she was paid to deliver.

“I don’t want you to call your manager; I just want to get my money back for the shitty product that didn’t work!”

Clara took a step back as the man’s voice rose. He towered over her, his cheeks red, and Clara felt adrenaline spike through her body. She hated it when customers intimidated her. She lifted the phone to her ear to call her manager but saw the man throw up his hands.

“Bloody useless,” she heard him mutter.

She knew he was just venting, and that she shouldn’t take it personally, but she felt anger bubble up in her stomach regardless.

The next thing she knew, the box of Christmas lights was thudding to the floor and the man was swearing at her while rubbing a bruise that was quickly forming on his forehead.

“You little bitch!” he screamed. “Did you throw that at me?”

“No, I…”

Had she? She didn’t remember picking the box up at all. Was this another one of her unexplained abilities?

Oooh! 😉

I’m posting this a bit later than usual, so I shall head off and get my links done and hopefully get to some of your blogs as well. 🙂

~ Emily