#WWW Wednesday – August 23, 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 the audio book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I really loved how it ended but at the same time, I was reluctant to let go. As I said in my review, there were times throughout where I planned on rating it everything from 3 stars through to 4.5, but I finally went with 4.

I also posted my review of Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh this week. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I need to pick up my game with Miss Muriel Matters by Robert Wainwright. I just don’t read non-fiction very quickly, but my review of it is due by September 3, which will be here before we know it. And it’s a uni assignment, so I do actually have to have it written by then. There’s just so much other class reading, I’d rather be reading books for my own leisure than also for class!

I have also just started Utopia by Lincoln Child on audio. It has one of the worst covers ever but the story is intriguing. I’m about 10% into it, and so far I have noticed that the author’s ability to describe women and non-white characters leaves a bit to be desired (is “almond-eyed man” really the best you can do? Twice?) but I’m willing to give it a bit longer at this point.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I honestly have no idea at this point! Probably something easily digestible. I have some library books.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

Oooh, also, before I go! Australian readers will be familiar with Book Week, a week sponsored by the Australian Children’s Book Council.  It’s been going for years and one of the features is the annual Book Parade, where kids get to dress up as their favourite book characters. And we got to dress up at work today! I dressed a Offred from  the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I knew there was a reason I kept my bonnet from doing The Crucible tucked away for three years. You can see the photos on the National Library of Australia Facebook page

~ 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.

“The entire time she’d watched him … her features had remained serene. A flame in the mist.” // Review of “Flame in the Mist” by Renee Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Date Read: 06/08/2017 – 15/08/2017
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I don’t really know why this book didn’t impress me more. It ticked all my boxes for what makes a great YA fantasy. It was one of my most highly-anticipated releases this year, so there is a chance I just hyped it up too much in my head, or maybe I am actually still in my reading slump a bit. Either way, while this was enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Mariko is on her way to be united with her betrothed, the son of the Emperor of Wa, when her convoy is attacked and everyone around her murdered. Certain that this is the work of the Black Clan, she infiltrates their ranks disguised as a boy, intent on finding out who sent them to kill her and why. But the more time she spends with them, the more she realises that there is more the Black Clan than their reputation would suggest, and there is also a lot that her sheltered upbringing has kept her blind to…

I did really love the Japanese-inspired world-building, even if I did have to flick to the back to find out what the Japanese words meant. I felt this was the strongest aspect of the novel. I do believe this shouldn’t have been sold as a Mulan-retelling or even as Mulan-inspired. There are plenty of stories about girls dressing up as boys. The resemblances of Flame in the Mist to Mulan were superficial at best. Why not let a story sell on its own merits rather than comparing it.

The characters were where I got stuck. For a start, I didn’t feel like there was a huge difference between Ranmaru and Okami, and even with the helpful prologue to establish a few things, I got lost trying to remember who/whose father betrayed whom.

Mariko was an interesting character in that she is far from the usual kick-ass babe who usually dominates the “strong female character” role. While I appreciated that, her coolness and rational nature actually made it a bit harder to connect to her. Yes, I realise I’m giving Renee Ahdieh a bit of a damned-if-she-does-damned-if-she-doesn’t situation here, but hey, I’m just describing the reading experience for me. I also found her repeated mantras about not being weak and striking when they least expect it quite repetitive and annoying, and I also didn’t buy a lot of the decisions she made. Maybe that’s why I didn’t connect with her.

That being said, I did really like some of her character development. Particularly towards the end, Mariko realises how sheltered she has been and that her family is not as good and honourable as she had always thought. She also realises that they Black Clan is not as evil as it has been depicted. I do like it when a character can come to those realisations.

I felt the romance was full of tell and little show. I’m actually not a fan of romances where one character falls for the other in spite of everything. As far as Mariko knew, Okami had wanted to kill her. Still wants to. She keeps telling herself that he’s her enemy, but hey, he’s sexy, and that can’t be helped or overlooked? I didn’t think there was any chemistry between them, so all their private thoughts about each other didn’t really do much for me.

I did enjoy the explorations of what it means to be a girl/woman, particularly in societies such as this one. Mariko’s experience is contrasted with that of Yumi, a young maiko (geisha), and Mariko realises that just because she aims for something more, does not mean that every woman will, but that it’s the opportunity that’s important.

This was my first experience of Renee Ahdieh’s writing; I’m yet undecided on whether to read The Wrath and the Dawn. While the writing was good, I don’t feel especially compelled to pick up the sequel when it comes out.


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#WWW Wednesday – August 16, 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  Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh last night, and have kind of weird feelings about it. I definitely enjoyed parts of it, but at the same time, I never felt really invested in it. Maybe I’m still slightly in my reading slump, or maybe I hyped it up too much to myself, but I felt it was just missing… something. My review will go up on Friday.

I also posted my review of The Space Between by Rachel Sanderson this week. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I have just started Miss Muriel Matters by Robert Wainwright today. It’s a biography and I don’t usually read a lot of non-fiction, but I have to write a critical review of a biography for a history course I’m doing this semester. I’m only about 30 pages in so far but it’s really interesting!

I am nearly 3/4 of the way through the audio book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I think once I got into it and got used to the narrator, the rhythm of the descriptions started really working for me, though every now and then I get frustrated by certain aspects of it (mostly the plot, or lack thereof)

What do you think you’ll read next?

I thought I might go back to The Ship From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig and see if I can get into it enough to finish it. The love story was overpowering the time travel and I wasn’t terribly interested, but I think they were just going off to a mythical country when I put it aside, so maybe it will pick up.

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 – August 9, 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 got myself out of my reading slump and finished two books this week! Yay! I pushed through Daughter of the  Burning City by Amanda Foody, despite wanting to DNF if a couple of times. My reading slump suddenly disappeared about 3/4 of the way through it and I was able to review it properly. I reviewed it here.

After that, I finished The Space Between by my friend and writing buddy Rachel Sanderson in two days. This was a really great contemporary YA drama that I found hard to put down. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Ampersand Prize, which is a big Australian YA/MG prize, but after a year of submissions and some (albeit very nice) rejections, Rachel recently decided to publish it herself. My review will go up on Friday, but if you like this sort of thing, I recommend checking it out!

What are you currently reading?

I’ve started Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, which is one of my most anticipated reads this year. I’ve only about a quarter of the way through it at this point, but it’s a solid read and I’m enjoying it. The only thing that’s mildly annoying me so far is the fairly frequent use of Japanese words, which helps with the world-building a bit, but also requires constant flipping to the glossary.

I also recently started the audio book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, though I am not entirely sold on it yet. I’m not sure the narrator really fits the story and I’m also not sure the story really lends itself to an audio book with so much jumping around in time… so I will see how I go. I did actually DNF this back in 2012, so it could just be a case of it not being for me.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m only reading Flame in the Mist already because when there’s a queue for a book at my local library, you can’t renew it, so I only have it for two weeks. Once I’ve finished it, I have to put the rest of my recent library haul aside and read Miss Muriel Matters by Robert Wainwright. This is a biography of an Australian actress who became a prominent figure in the women’s suffrage movement in the UK, then faded into obscurity and is now basically forgotten. I’m doing a uni course on biography this semester and have to read one and write a critical review. That’s due on September 3, so I need to start reading soon to give myself plenty of time.

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 – August 2, 2017

Hi everyone! Sorry this blog kind of died over the last couple of weeks! Apart from things like it being my birthday last Wednesday and being out rather than at home writing WWW posts, the main reason for my absence is:

I AM IN THE DREADED READING SLUMP

In the two weeks since I last posted a WWW post, I have finished one book! ONE! And it’s taken me 4 days to read 22% of a YA fantasy that I received as an ARC. At the moment, reading feels like a bit of a chore but I’m trying to find my groove again. Getting back onto the blog regularly is part of that.

So with that in mind, 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 my reread of 1984 by George Orwell, though not before I saw the stage play. I think I would have benefited more either having reread the whole book or not at all. The play was still good, though, and I think I appreciated it more as I completed the book. The first time I read the book was prior to me reviewing on a regular basis, so I’ll have a review up soon.

I didn’t post a single review since my last WWW, either! Stupid reading slump.

What are you currently reading?

I started Daughter of the  Burning City by Amanda Foody; it’s the one I mentioned has taken me four days to get through the first quarter of. I don’t mind it, but the characters seem a bit bland and I’m having trouble getting my head around some of the world-building. I’m hoping that it’ll pick up, though, as I had quite high hopes for this one.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I got a text from my library today to say that Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh has come in for me. I’ve had really high hopes for this one, too, so hopefully the reading slump won’t affect it too much.

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.