#aww2018 “The boy steps into the day like he owns it.” // Review of “Sixty Seconds” by Jesse Blackadder

Title: Sixty Seconds
Author: Jesse Blackadder
Genre: Contemporary drama
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 09/12/18 – 13/12/18
Rating:
★★☆

Review:

knew I wanted to read this book from the moment I read an interview with Jesse Blackadder around the time of its release. This book, dealing with the aftermath of a backyard drowning, is the author’s creative response to exactly that tragedy occurring in her own family when she was twelve. 

I think my main reason for not rating it higher is that I just couldn’t necessarily get into the characters, which I think is partly due to some stylistic decisions. There are three different POVs, Finn’s in third person, Jarrah’s in first person, and Bridget’s in second person… the second person in particular took quite a while to get used to. It’s a difficult POV to pull off, and I am sure I am not the only one who kept thinking “No, it’s not me doing these things.” But after  a while, I did get more used to it. Jarrah was the POV character I felt the closest to, I think because the first person narration really worked for his character and it made me feel closer to him than either of the other characters. There were actually some side characters I had stronger reactions to than the main ones.

The writing and pacing in this book is well done and quite tight. However, I did find that sometimes an event was glossed over, and we only got to see a character’s  quick reflection on it afterwards, rather than reading the event itself. I think some of the reason I wasn’t quite able to get into this one is because I don’t read a lot of straight contemporary stories. I read things set in the modern day, but they’re usually a romance or a thriller or some such. This focus on the everyday lives of people, even in the aftermath of something huge, is not quite my thing.


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

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#WWW Wednesday – February 28, 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

I didn’t post here last Wednesday as I have decided to alternate Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog. That way I might actually find time to visit fellow participants in each blop hop! So this post covers my last two weeks of reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

First up, I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. While I had a couple of issues with the pacing and being able to keep track of a fairly large cast of characters, I thought this was a great insight into the life of a Black teenager in present-day America. I reviewed it in more detail here.

I also read Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen. This is the book form of the webcomic Sarah’s Scribbles. It is cute, though I think I like it better as an isolated comic I sometimes see on the Internet, rather than all of them packed in together.

Because of the amount of walking and hiking (and driving to the mountains) I’m doing to train for my trek in Nepal in April, I’ve finished many audio books! Though I haven’t necessarily loved many of them, they have been a good distraction when I have been walking uphill for four hours (I am not even kidding).

First I finished Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, which was fine, I guess. I felt the balance between the sci-fi elements and the fantasy wasn’t quite achieved, and most of the characters annoyed me, but I did like most of the world-building and the mythology. You can read my full review here.

Then I finished the audio book of Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. This was another 3-star book, as I felt it read more like a MG book, except it had more mature content in it. While it is the first in a series, it concluded enough that I’m not going to keep going.

After that was The Matchmakers by Jennifer Colgan. This was a cute fantasy romance about a cupid-type Fey who has to team up with a human to help three couples fall in love or they both lose their ability to love forever. I did enjoy this one.

And then there was Bootleg by Alex Shearer, which was a fairly short kids’ book about a Britain under control of the Good For You Party, which bans chocolate and all other sweets. This one was a bit silly but in the way you let slide when reading children’s books.

I’ve still got to get reviews written for most of these!

What are you currently reading?

I’ve had barely any time to read, what with hiking and actually finding inspiration for my own writing again, so I’m still reading the same ebook I started after The Hate U Give. It’s called Deadly Sweet and is by Lola Dodge, and even if I end up hating it (I am enjoying it so far), that cover is going to be one of my favourites of the year.

I am also reading Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. I am sure many of you remember the blog of the same title, which gave us such gems as The Alot and This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult (where “Clean all the things!” originated). The book is a mixture of some of the blog posts and some new content.

What do you think you’ll read next?

That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked it! I’m actually working on my March/April TBR right now! Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon are the two left over from my January-February TBR but knowing me I’ll probably get distracted by something else 😛

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – February 14, 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?

Only one finish this week: Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker. I know many people really loved it but I wasn’t a fan. I just couldn’t make sense of a lot of it. You can read my review here. Sorry it’s a bit ranty.

I actually DNFed Hellhole by Gina Damico, as the humour wore off after a while and I wasn’t really into the story. And given that I had completely forgotten about it until I looked at last week’s post to start this one, I guess that shows how much I was into it.

I also posted my review of Hunted by Meagan Spooner this week. You can find that one here.

What are you currently reading?

I am finally reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. For those unaware, this book came out of the Black Lives Matter movement and is about a black teenager whose best friend is shot by a white police officer while unarmed. I have put it off for a long time because I was worried about how I would find it. And it isn’t an easy read and is making me frustrated and angry a lot of the time, but in a good, this-book-is-challenging-me way.

On audio, I am still listening to Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, though I’ll probably finish it today or tomorrow. I like many of the ideas, but I’m not so sold on the plot itself. The MC is surrounded by characters who refuse to explain what is going on, mostly for the sake of padding out the plot, which is annoying. And I don’t care about her best friend who is trying to find her back on earth. I’ll finish this but unless the ending is really impressive, I don’t think I’ll read the sequel.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m going to try to knock a couple more books off my February TBR. Possibly Dollhouse by Anya Allyn will be next. Or The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon if I feel like a physical book instead of an ebook.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – February 07, 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 two more audio books this week! All my training for my Nepal trek in April is paying off. I was driving for about five hours on Saturday, with a two-and-a-half hour hike in the middle. Good for audio books but my bum was rather sore by the end of the day.

First off, I finished Hunted by Meagan Spooner. The style of writing in this is a bit like The Night Circus in that half the time, I wasn’t sure I was into the story much. Then I sort of got used to its rhythms and the fact that it was more character-driven than anything else, and I really loved the descriptions of the setting. So if you like your Beauty and the Beast retellings and those things mentioned above, I recommend this one overall.

Next I finished You Sent Me Letter by Lucy Dawson. The problem with this was that it wasn’t very thrilling for a thriller. Though I wanted to know how it ended, I felt a bit unsatisfied by the time I actually got to the end. Oh well.

I also finished the ARC of Your One and Only, a sci-fi YA romance by Adrianne Finlay. I had been putting this off for ages, but I ended up really enjoying it.

This week I reviewed Lion by Saroo Brierley and Your One and Only as well.

What are you currently reading?

I started Hellhole by Gina Damico which is about a squeaky-clean teenager who ends up accidentally summoning a demon, who moves into his basement. It started off quite funny, though it’s worn a little thin. I’m still waiting to see if it picks up again.

On audio, I am listening to Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. This is not what I expected at all; from the descriptions, I expected it to be a lot closer to literary fiction, but it’s actually far more standard YA than that (by which I mean, accessible language, snarky teenage MC, etc). But it is interesting to see a totally different mythology being drawn on to most fantasy books.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I didn’t get around to it this week, I will stick with saying Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker. I’m hoping this will be a better “wake up to find a stranger in your home” thriller than You Sent Me A Letter turned out to be.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – January 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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

My goodness, two autobiography/memoirs finished this week? And they were both audio books? That is most unlike me. I reached the end of The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin on Friday. I have to admit that there were times when I disagreed with things she said, but that just went to show that someone can have different values to you and still be a wonderful person overall. I actually went and donated to the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation as soon as I had finished.

Over the weekend, I started and finished Lion, previously published as A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley. This was made into a movie last year starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. Saroo was separated from his family at age 5 with only scant knowledge of his name or hometown, and lived on the streets of Kolkata before being placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, the advent of Google Earth meant he was able to trawl through satellite images of India looking for familiar landmarks until he identified his home town and was reunited with his birth mother. It’s a fascinating story. My review will be up on Friday.

Unfortunately, I decided to DNF Every Breath by Ellie Marney. I had hoped to enjoy this one as I have seen Ellie Marney speak and she is a great person, and I also admire her for kick-starting the #LoveOzYA movement. But I think maybe her books aren’t for me? I was just bored.

Two reviews this week: Mr Stink by David Walliams and The Hospital by the River. Click the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

In print, I am reading and ARC of  Your One And Only by Adrianne Finlay. This is a YA sci-fi romance that will be released next week. I haven’t read any proper sci-fi in a while and I am liking this one, though I do have some questions about the science the premise is based on. But the story is engaging enough that I’m willing to let that slide, so that’s a good sign.

On audio, I am listening to Hunted by Meagan Spooner. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in medieval Russia and drawing on other Russian fairytales as well. So far I’m really enjoying it.  I am also really enamored with the cover. I’m finding my groove with audio books again. For a while, I was distracted by some new musical discoveries, but the novelty of those has worn of a bit now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I might go with Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker, which I  requested after seeing such good reviews from other bloggers. I have been reading a fair bit of YA lately, so an adult thriller is probably a good option.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – January 24, 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 The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud and it was a very satisfying conclusion to the series. Sometimes when I had read the previous installments, I didn’t really get why the characters were doing things or going to certain places, but everything drew together very nicely at the end.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what Stroud comes up with next. I posted my review on Monday.

 

What are you currently reading?

I have started reading Every Breath by Ellie Marney. Ellie Marney was one of the instigators of the #LoveOzYA movement, so I’ve been keen to check out this series for a while. I am only in chapter 2 at time of writing so it’s very early days, but based on the couple of chapters and the blurbs for all three books (I picked up all three from the library at the same time), it might be one of those YA series that could either go very, very right or very, very wrong.

I am still going with The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin on audio but I have made some good progress and I think I’m at about the 80% mark now.

What do you think you’ll read next?

As it was last week, I’m not quite sure. I would like to knock one more book off my Jan-Feb TBR before the end of January, as then I’ll be halfway through it. I also need to look at some of my ARCs pretty soon.

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – January 17, 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 Everless by Sara Holland and while it was still a little bit tropey, it did subvert other tropes and completely sucked me in! I’ll be looking forward to the next book.

I also read Mr Stink by David Walliams. This is a children’s book very much in the style of Roald Dahl (complete with illustrations by Quentin Blake). I liked it but I wasn’t quite sure what it was trying to say. I’ll have a review up on Friday.

Two reviews this week! My review of Everless went up here and I also reviewed False Awakening, an urban fantasy by Cassandra Page, here.

What are you currently reading?

I haven’t had a lot of time for reading this past week as I’ve been on holidays with a couple of friends, but I have been reading The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud. Feeling a bit bittersweet as I have been following this series since it began and this is the last book.  Also, last time I finished a series by Jonathan Stroud, I threw my Kindle across the room (the ending wasn’t bad at all, just gave me a lot of feelings), so I’m a little apprehensive.

I am still going with The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin. I haven’t had much time for audio books but I’ll be getting back to my longer walks tomorrow so I will be able to make some more progress with this one.

What do you think you’ll read next?

So I requested some ARCs from NetGalley that I thought were not going to be published until June and October, only to discover after I was accepted that they were actually published last June and October (and are still available to request?!). And also there was that time on Sunday when I went to the library and accidentally came away with six books. Which is all to say, I really don’t know, but I have plenty to choose from!

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – January 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.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I’m still getting back into the swing of things for the new year, so I’ve been a bit slow at reading. I finished reading False Awakening by Cassandra Page.  I enjoyed it but I think it suffered a bit because it had been so long since I had read the first book, so I had trouble remembering some of the details it referred to. My review will be up on Friday all being well.

I have posted three reviews since my last WWW post. Click the titles to read them:

Warcross by Marie Lu (YA sci-fi)
Vicious by V. E. Schwab (sci-fi)
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian (YA contemporary)

What are you currently reading?

I am reading an ARC – Everless by Sara Holland. I’m really enjoying this! It’s a bit different to the usual YA fantasies that are coming out at the moment (though it does admittedly fall into some typical tropes). I love the idea of time as currency.

I have also just started The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin. Catherine Hamlin is an incredible woman who has done so much for women in Ethiopia. I knew a bit about her but I’m interested to learn more about her in her own words.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think it needs to be Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay, a YA sci-fi. I’ve had this ARC for a while now and it publishes in early February, so I want to make sure my review is up in time.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – December 27, 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

I totally thought I posted last week, then I found last week’s post sitting in my drafts a few days later, which explained why no one had interacted with it. So there is the last two weeks of my reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

I accidentally powered through my Christmas books and forgot to save them for reading over Christmas! I finished both What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham and Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber and I enjoyed them both quite a lot.  My reviews are here and here respectively.

Warcross by Marie Lu was next. This was fun, though it did feel a bit like a series opener. I predicted one of the twists but not the other one, and even though I called it, it didn’t actually affect my enjoyment. I’ll definitely continue with the series as it comes out.

After that, I read Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. This was a great YA contemporary about two teens dealing with mental illness and helping each other through it. The ending was maybe not the greatest, but it was really good mental health representation (along with supportive parents and a healthy attitude towards medication, amongst other things).

On audio, I finished Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I honestly have no idea how I felt about it. I mean, it was kind of an addictive read but I didn’t agree with anything the characters did so I was constantly cranky at them… the thirteen-year-old showed more sense than any of the adults…

My reviews of The End by Lemony Snicket and Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy also went up since my last post. Click the titles to read them.

What are you currently reading?

I just started False Awakening by Cassandra Page. This is the sequel to  Lucid Dreaming which I read last year. I have only read the first chapter at the time of writing this, but I do enjoy Cassandra Page’s writing style, so I think I will enjoy it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure yet. I have a couple of ARCs that release fairly early in the new year so I should probably get onto  those. Not sure what I’m  in the mood for at the moment, though.

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday – December 13 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 finished The Penultimate Peril  and The End by Lemony Snicket, the final two books in A Series of Unfortunate Events. I actually really liked the way the series wrapped up, though I can see how some people were disappointed. I plan to read Lemony Snicket’s other series, All The Wrong Questions, which is set in the same world as ASOEU but follows adventures of the young Lemony Snicket.

I finally got my review of Stay by Jesse Blackadder posted last week. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I picked up Warcross by Marie Lu from the library last week and I have finally got around to starting it. I haven’t had a chance to read too much of it yet and I’m still getting my head around some of it but it’s promising so far.

I also started the audio book of Vicious by V. E. Schwab. After not loving the second two books in the Shades of Magic trilogy, nor being impressed by Our Savage Song, I had pretty much given up on Schwab, but since listening to it as an audio book means not taking away from reading other physical reads, that was okay. I’m at about 80% but I honestly can’t tell you whether I’m enjoying it or not. I think it’s one of those books where “enjoy” is not quite the right word.

Still sort of slowly working on The Game You Played by Anni Taylor when I have nothing else to read.

What do you think you’ll read next?

While I had one Christmas book on hold at the library, I decided I needed another, and I knew from talking to others that there is no short supply of Christmas reads on Netgalley. I looked through a few but chose What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham, because I liked the sound of a mystery set at Christmas. I should probably read that before the library copy of Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber (which I heard about thanks to Laurel-Rain Snow).

What are you reading this week? 

~ Emily