WWW Wednesday – 14 November 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.

This has been a good reading week for me! I hit my GoodReads 2018 Challenge of 75 books. Some of them were shorter reads, but I liked them nonetheless.

I do have to apologise if I don’t get around to many of your posts this week. I’m doing an intensive course at uni this week, and while we’re over halfway, it’s still pretty full-on. 

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished All Aces by Ellie Marney and thus the Circus Hearts series. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two but it was a good ending to the series. You can read my review here.

I then went on to read A Ghost in the Glamour by Elizabeth Hunter. This is the first installment in the Linx and Bogie series, which was recommended to me by a colleague. Bogie is the ghost of a LAPD investigator who was killed in action  in 1952, and he is somehow attached to a medium called Linx, who is an artist in the present day. 

Last but not least,  I finished All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill on audio. I liked this one! The time travel stuff wasn’t too complicated but at the same time, it told a really good story.

I also posted my review of Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge, the second in the Spellwork Syndicate series. I loved this one; I think it was one of those times when the perfect book comes at the perfect time.

What are you currently reading?

I finally started my ARC of Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi. I’ve had this for months so of course I’m risking not finishing it before the release date. I am only on Chapter 2 but it’s a queer retelling of the legend of Atalanta if that’s something you might be interested in.

I am also reading Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend because I’m currently doing a lot of screen time and needed a paperback to give my eyes a rest. I honestly don’t know how Jessica Townsend does it. This one is just as delightful as Nevermoor! I am just filled with joy and wonder every time I pick it up.

On audio, I have started The Midnight Watch by David Dyer. This is historical fiction about the SS Californian, which was nearby when the Titanic sank and did not go to assist. My mum recommended this to me months ago and so far it is really fascinating. The chapters alternate between a journalist after the fact trying to figure out why the ship never responded, and chapters from the perspective of the Californian crew immediately after the tragedy.

What will you read next?

I’ve just checked NetGalley and decided it will be ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost, which I’m hoping will stand alone even though it’s a second in a series. I’ve realised it releases a few days before Outrun the Wind, and if I skip reading the prequel, I might just have them both read in time for  their releases. And then I can read the prequel to  this closer to Christmas.

What are you reading this week?  

#LoveOzYA #aww2018 “I’m just considering how I can be an evil genius at the same time as being so very stupid.” // Review of “All Aces” by Ellie Marney

Title: All Aces (Circus Hearts #3)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 06/11/18 – 09/11/18
Rating:
★★

Review:

I can’t really explain why I wasn’t as into this final installment of Circus Hearts as I was the first two. I think it is partly because I am coming out on the other side of my really enthusiastic desire for circus and carnival books. I crammed a lot of them into the last couple of months and I have may have finally worn myself thin on them.

There is still plenty that I liked in this one. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Zep Deal’s performances. I’ve never seen a cardsharp perform before but I trotted off to YouTube after finishing this to find something akin to what is described in the book because it sounded amazing.

Ren, our narrator, is a bit different to the narrators of the previous two books. She’s more awkward, which I enjoyed, and single-minded, which leads to trouble (of the good variety, of course). I really felt for her in the scenes with her family where she felt torn between family obligation and her love of the circus.

I guess one of the things was I just didn’t get an immediate sense of the chemistry between Ren and Zep the way I did with the couples in the previous two books. But I did love the scene where Zep demonstrates his pickpocket abilities while distracting Ren with his proximity, and also, Ellie Marney continues to be the queen of the steamy make-out scene.

As you can see, there is plenty still to like, and I think it’s more to do with me than the book that I wasn’t more into it. If you are in the mood for YA contemporary, this is definitely a series I recommend. Click to read my reviews of books one and two, which were five and four star reads for me respectively. 


(Thanks to Ellie Marney for including me in her review crew and providing me with a free copy of All Aces in exchange for a review)

WWW Wednesday – 7 November 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.

It does not feel like Wednesday for me today! I worked on Saturday, saw a musical on Sunday and had Monday off, so it still only feels like Tuesday. 

But anyway, on with the questions! 

What did you recently finish reading? 

I finished Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge and it was delightful! I totally recommend this series for anyone looking for fun and cozy urban fantasy. My review will be up on Friday. 

I probably wasted enough time playing Super Mario Bros. 3 that I could have finished another book, but there it is. 

I posted reviews of Legendary by Stephanie Garber and Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann this week. Click the titles to read them. 

What are you currently reading?

Circus Hearts: All Aces by Ellie Marney. At the time of writing this post, I’m about 15% in and it’s taking me a bit longer to get into than the other two books in the series. I think that might be because I’m really still in the mood for fantasy, but I do need to get this ARC read. And I’m pretty sure once the romantic tension really starts to build (it’s already there a little bit), I’ll get into it properly. 

I’ve also been listening to All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, which is a very well done time travel book that asks some big questions about the ethics of time travel. I’m using my Audible membership to start books I have had on my TBR for a long time. This one has been there since 2015.

What will you read next? 

Next I’ll be reading Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost, because the sequel is a Read Now on Netgalley and I can’t resist a punny title (the sequel is called “‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas”). 

#WWW Wednesday – October 31, 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.

Has October dragged on for everyone else? It’s been three weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, and the reason I wasn’t posting is because I felt like I hadn’t read anything. Which isn’t true, but I felt like I was in some kind of funk, even as I was getting through things. I’m not sure I’m making any sense whatsoever.

Anyway. Let’s get on with the questions!

What have you recently finished reading?

First of all, I finished my ARC of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy, and while I didn’t love it, I felt it was one that could be enjoyed by MG readers. You can read my review here.

Next I read Two Ways Strong: Jaz’s Story by the Deadly Mob from Concordia, Shallow in the Deep End by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with Jared Thomas and Japarrika by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with David Lawrence & Shelley Ware. These books came in a pack and were put out by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. They were written by Indigenous Australian students with help from mentors and all the proceeds go back to ILF. I wasn’t really sure how to review these so I haven’t written anything yet and I’m not sure that I will.

After that, I finished Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman and reviewed it here. It was tricky to review without spoiling the twist, but it’s definitely a well-written book with lots of social commentary.

Next, I  finished The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor on audio. This was a sweet book and got me quite emotional in the end! I reviewed it here.

Next was Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which was better than Caraval in my very humble opinion. I thought the plot of this one was better developed, and the stakes were higher, but I ended up being a bit disappointed about the reveal of Legend’s identity. It just didn’t seem very epic after all the build-up. 

Last but not least was Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann, which was a very short verse novel and… I had a lot of mixed feelings about it which I will try to explore in my review. 

I also posted my review of Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel for those who are interested.

What are you currently reading? 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

I’ve just started Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge today. This is the second book in the Spellwork Syndicate series (I reviewed the first one here). I’m only about 10% in at time of writing this post but I am remembering what came before and already into the story, so that’s a good sign. Also I love the descriptions of baking witchcraft. And the covers are so stunning, I love them! 

What do you think you’ll read next?      

Circus Hearts: All Aces by Ellie Marney comes out tomorrow so I assume she’ll be sending ARCs to her review team very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series winds up. Say what you want about self-publishing but getting the installments in a trilogy only a month apart from each other been awesome. 😀 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – October 10, 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?

circusheartsallfalldowncoverI finished All Fall Down, the second in Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first one, but I still gave it four stars. I did really like the love interest. He just really had it together. He was attractive and smart and had a good job and everything. I guess this is the nice thing about reading about 19 to 22-year-olds rather than 16-year-olds.

onlyhumancover Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel picked up enough in the last third that I gave it three stars rather than two, but I was still annoyed that a lot of it was quite lecturey. I am all for political books, but I prefer the politics to be woven into the story, rather than characters just having rants about the state of the world today.

After that, I read an ARC of Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising by Francesco Marciuliano. I didn’t find this as funny as I had hoped, but there were still some laugh-out-loud moments and some very entertaining photos of cats throughout.

Click the titles to read my reviews of Caraval by Stephanie Garber, My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace, All Fall Down by Ellie Marney and Claw the System by Francesco Marciuliano.

What are you currently reading? 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

I expect to finish my ARC of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy in the next couple of days. This wasn’t quite what I expected and to my adult reader brain, seems a bit heavy-handed in its message, but it would probably not be quite so to an actual MG-age reader. 

On audio, I am listening to The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor.  I have a really good feeling about this one. Eleven years ago, I based my Year 12 individual drama performance on the story of the Cottingley fairies, and I’ve had an interest in them ever since. And I think this book takes the “the photos might be fake but the fairies might still be real” angle, which is how I feel about it, too. 

I’m also about 100 pages into Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, but I’ve put it on hold a little until I get through some more ARCs. 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have an ARC of The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana. I have a thing for baking witchcraft in urban fantasy. Possibly it’s the covers that are good enough to eat combined with drool-worthy descriptions. Also this one also has murder, which is always enjoyable in fiction form. 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#LoveOzYA #AWW2018 // Book Review: “All Fall Down” by Ellie Marney

Title: All Fall Down (Circus Hearts #2)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 29/09/18 – 01/10/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

After reading the first book in this series last month, I was really excited to find out more about the characters in this universe. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous book, but it was still a really enjoyable read.

All Fall Down centres on Fleur Klatsch, the daughter of the proprietor  of the Klatsch Karnival. After a streak of accidents, one of which finds her father in hospital, she finds herself trying to run the show and keep it all together. She is reunited with childhood friend Marco, who comes in as a PA to help.

I really loved getting to know Fleur in this installment. I wasa a bit wary of her in the first book because I thought she was just going to be a typical “mean girl” type, but there is much more to her than that. As Sorcha says in this book, she did the wrong thing for the right reasons.

I really loved Marco! I don’t know, he was just caring and sweet and really put together with his paisley waistcoats. And he has a really good job and a good head on his shoulders. I totally undestood his reasons for leaving the circus, but I also appreciated Fleur’s hurt and sense of abandoment. The only thing that bothered me a bit about Marco was that he called Fleur “Petal”, which I got was a reference to her name meaning flower, and in the context it was a childhood nickname. But I associate it with “Settle, petal” and my niece calling my mum “Petal” when she’s being cheeky and other condescending things, so it did jar me a bit when he called her that in the middle of an otherwise serious conversation. But I can let it go.

While the sabotage that begins in the first book continues here and the characters are investigating it, I felt that not a huge amount happened in the first half. But both the romance and the investigation took off about the second half, and the climax had me flying through the pages.

I also really appreciate how much research Ellie Marney puts into her stories. I ended up going and googling another circus after a mention of a disaster that took place there in the 50s. And even just how much detail there is in the general circus atmosphere. It’s pretty great.


(I am  grateful to Ellie Marney for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – September 26, 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?

This is the last two weeks’ of reading for me as I didn’t post last week.

I finished Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, which was charming, but maybe a bit long. I persuaded someone at work to order a copy so fingers crossed she’ll read it soon and I’ll have someone to talk to about it. I reviewed it on Monday.

Then I finished Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I actually thought I had downloaded the audio book, but when it ended up being the ebook, I read it in a day. It was very engaging. Like The Hate U Give, it is partially inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement but it presents the issues in a different way. I posted my review on Monday.

After that was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This was… fine. It had a lot of potential that I don’t think it truly lived up to. Everything was just a bit underdeveloped. But I still kind of want to read the next book? I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I picked up The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide because it was on display at the library. It was fine but it was very US-centric for something claiming to be “worldwide” and it also was very literature-heavy. There was a bit of genre fiction and some childhood classics but it was very heavy on the James Joyce and Dostoevsky types.

Last but not least, this morning I finished My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace. This was a good depiction of dealing with sexual assault and other related trauma but I did feel like it went around in circles a bit and there wasn’t a huge amount of character development. I’ll get my review up next week.

What are you currently reading? 

circusheartsallfalldowncoverI’m still in the first chapter of All Fall Down, the second in Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series because I only started it today. Say what you like about self-publishing, I love that I only have to wait a month between each book in this series rather than a year.

onlyhumancoverI have to be honest that Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is a let down after the first two books in this series. It’s just one big lecture. I have a long drive tomorrow and will probably finish it during that, but it won’t rate as highly as the other two.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I’m in the middle of reading various ARCs, the next one I need to get through is Unwritten by Tara Gilboy. This is a middle-grade fantasy and sounds a bit like Nevermoor, which I read recently. So I’m looking forward to it.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – September 06, 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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel on my way to choir last Thursday. This was definitely as good as the first book. I love the way Sylvain Neuvel manages to both highlight the global effects of proof of alien life, and also focus on the person as well.

I also finished Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, which was fine, but with the exception of the main character having a bunch of self-aware hallucinations, it felt like a straight crime book and there were parts that weren’t that engaging. I’m still going to read the third book when it arrives at the library, though.

I actually posted reviews on both Friday and Monday this week! Quelle surprise! Haha. Click titles to read my reviews of All The Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney and Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel.

What are you currently reading?

started Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel on CD in the car the other night, but I haven’t converted it and put it on my phone yet, so I’m not very far into it.

I am also reading Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It’s… fine? So far, I’ve read about six and there’s one story that I’ve particularly liked. The Jack and the Beanstalk one struck me as particularly weird, mostly because part of the vegetarian character’s journey to becoming a villian was “I realise I have to eat meat to fullfil my destiny!” Um.

What do you think you will read next?

I still have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I’ve also picked up a couple of books by Indigenous Australian women because I realised I’m pretty behind on my Australian Women Writers Challenge for this year.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#LoveOzYA #AWW2018 “So in this situation, am I the right hand or the left hand?” “My dear, you are the ball.” // Review of “All the Little Bones” by Ellie Marney

Title: All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 28/08/18 – 29/08/18
Rating:
★★★★

Review:

I’ve stopped opening reviews with “I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but…” because I realised that’s not true anymore. What is still true is that I probably lean away from YA contemporaries that are as heavy on the romance as this one, but as you can see from my rating, it didn’t bother me in this case.

Trapeze artist Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm are on the run from their family-run circus up north after an act of self defence results in a man’s death. Uneasily, they join another circus troupe, where they must navigate the social structures already in place and their growing feelings for each other, all while trying to keep their heads down so the police don’t come knocking.

I loved the performance atmosphere of Klatch’s Karnival, where Sorsha and Colm end up. For a start, the descriptions of the various routines and the costumes, and the set-up were all wonderful. I’m no full-time circus performer but I do perform in amateur musical theatre in my spare time, and there was so much that rang completely true to me. One of my favourite parts was a scene where Sorsha and her roommate Ren have a very philosophical, metaphorical conversation about envelopes, which then turns into a run of bad jokes about envelopes, which then results in laughing fits, and then a second wind of laughing fits over how you’re laughing at such bad jokes. This is me and my theatre friends after a week of dress rehearsals and three opening performances in 36 hours.

Speaking of Ren, I really enjoyed the diverse cast of circus cast and crew, though Ren was a particular favourite. She is Indonesian and there is lots of Indonesian language in the text. I also really liked the way she and Sorsha became fast friends. I was a bit worried because one of the first characters Sorsha meets is Fleur, the daughter of the circus proprietor, and I was getting a Mean Girls vibe from her, which made me a bit wary. Fortunately, though, Fleur is also fleshed out and has her reasons for being the way she is, and we’re getting a whole second book in the series focused on her, which I’m excited for!

Plot-wise, the romance probably happened a bit faster than I would generally like (I am a big fan of the old slow-burn, and when I say slow-burn, I mean, like, five books of will-they-won’t-they :P) but this is not insta-love either because the characters have actually known each other quite some time, and this is where they acknowledge the attraction that has been building. Also, I get super awkward when reading anything romantic that goes beyond a bit of kissing (probably the reason I don’t read a whole lot of romance) but this was just the right amount of sexy and I enjoyed it a lot.

When it comes to the non-romantic aspects, just know that there were certain moments when I was muttering “oh no, oh no!” under my breath on the bus on the way to work. The pace is fast and I was always eager to see what happened next. I can’t wait to see what happens in Book 2!


(I am immensely grateful to Ellie Marney for providing me with a free, early copy of this book via a giveaway. This book releases September 1, 2018.)

This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – August 29, 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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Oh my god, I finally finished Blackwing by Ed McDonald! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. It’s just grimdark fantasy is not really my thing. If it is your thing, you will probably love this book. I still enjoyed a lot of it, it just took me a long time to get through. I’ll try to review it soon.

I was very excited to receive an early copy of All The Little Bones, #1 in the Circus Hearts series by Ellie Marney, as part of a giveaway Ellie was running. I usually don’t lean towards YA fiction that is quite so heavy on the romance, but the writing sucked me in.  Also for various reasons, I’m really into circuses at the moment, so that probably helped. I’m going to have a review up of this on Friday,  in time for its release on Saturday.

I’m still behind on reviews but I’m slowly catching up. I posted my review of Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel and Legion by Brandon Sanderson since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel made me teary while I was listening to it on the bus today. I have already had two of my three favourite characters die, I didn’t need more emotional turmoil! But seriously, this book’s as good as the first in the series.

All The Little Bones distracted me from Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, but I will get back to that now. This is somewhat interesting but I feel like the stakes will need to pick up or I’m not going to enjoy it as much as the first book.

What do you think you will read next?

I have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I actually didn’t finish the first Ellie Marney book I tried reading, but then I really liked the Circus Hearts book, so I’m hoping this experience will be closer to  that one.

I’ve also got Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel, from the library, so I need to put it on my phone so I’m ready to pick it up.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily