#LoveOzYA #aww2019 “You told the story to show me how to move on.” // Review of “Catching Teller Crow” by Ambellin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Title: Catching Teller Crow
Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Audio book narrator: Miranda Tapsell
Genre: Contemporary/magical realism
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 20/03/19 – 23/03/19


Ah, man, I hate being the unpopular opinion person! So many glowing reviews of this book. So many “I read it all in one sitting!”s. And here’s me feeling kind of underwhelmed. 

Looking back now as I write this review, some of this could be down to being in a bit of funk life-wise at the time. I wasn’t really enjoying anything, books included. So it’s probably partly on me. 

I also feel like some of this was to do with the audio book. It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever listened to, but I felt like the way it was read made the character of Beth Teller sound kind of annoying, and a lot younger than her 15 years.

On the other hand, there were also sections of Isobel Catching’s chapters where it was read with no expression whatsoever. I’m deliberately using passive voice here because I’m assuming that there are directors and other people involved in the recording of an audio book and this is not all Miranda Tapsell’s fault, so I don’t want to seem like I am ragging on her alone. 

In terms of the content of the book, it was one of those stories where I got what it was doing, but I felt it needed to be explored further. It’s quite a short book and it’s dealing with a lot of issues. I also figured out fairly early on what Catching’s chapters were really about, so I think the revelation towards the end lost some of its impact because of that. 

This review is part of my 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

I am trying to read as many of the books as possible on the 2019 Children’s Book Council of Australia Notables List. Click here to see the titles.

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#AWW2018 // Book Review: “Ruby Moonlight by” by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Title: Ruby Moonlight
  Ali Cobby Eckermann
Genre: Historical fiction/verse
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 30/10/18


Every time I read a book of poetry, I start my review with “so I don’t read a lot of poetry…” and I want to give that disclaimer again. Going by the other reviews of this book, people who read poetry regularly liked it a lot more than I do, so their reviews probably have more standing than mine. But I still wanted to express my thoughts.

For a start, at 70 pages, this is a very short book, and the poems rarely take up the whole page. I found it hard to truly connect to the characters as there wasn’t a huge amount of detail. I would have liked to see more of Ruby’s interaction with the spirit that was watching over her, and more of a development of the relationship between Ruby and Jack. There were also sections where I wasn’t entirely sure whose side I was supposed to be on, or how I should feel, and I was left feeling conflicted and unsatisfied.

And… well, this is possibly the controversial bit. It didn’t feel like poetry? It just felt like the author had written sentences and then added random line breaks. Like I said, I don’t read a lot of it, but I always felt there should be a bit more to it than that. I tried reading parts out loud to try to grasp the flow but even then I didn’t really get it. Maybe I just don’t get it overall?

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

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#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? 🙂

#AWW2018 // Book Review: “Terra Nullius” by Claire G. Coleman

Title: Terra Nullius
Claire G. Coleman
Genre: SF (Dystopia)
Target audience: Adult
Date Read: 22/09/18 – 29/10/18


I have to start this review by saying if Terra Nullius gets recommended to you as a particular type of book, and you read the first few chapters and think “This is not what I was told it would be”, just keep going. About a third of the way through, there is a shift in the storytelling, and after that, everything changes, even though nothing has actually changed. If that makes sense.

It’s hard to say too much without giving away vital spoilers, but I will try.

This story is told from multiple perspectives.  At first, they are disparate, but as the story goes on, they begin to converge until the majority of characters are present at the climax.

The characters are all very well constructed. I sympathised with some, questioned others and outright hated a few more. And the thing is, people like these characters have existed, and continue to exist. This might be science-fiction, but it is relevant to Australia’s history, and its future. The social commentary is always underlying, never exactly outright, but it is clear the comment Coleman is making on our past and future.

The writing style may feel a little dry to some, but I thought it worked for  the story being told. At first I was a little worried it will be “literary” than I usually like (in quotes because I am always iffy about that word to describe a particular writing style but I never know what to replace it with) but once I got into it, that didn’t bother me.

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

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“What will this experiment hold for her?” // Review of “Heat and Light” by Ellen van Neerven #aww2016

Title: Heat and Light
Author: ellen van Neerven
Genre: Literary fiction/queer fiction
Date Read:
28/11/2016 – 30/11/2016
Rating: ★★★


This is quite an interesting book, split into three sections. The first two, I really enjoyed, though I have to admit, I didn’t quite “get” the third one. Still, the writing is gorgeous and this is a fabulous debut novel.

In Heat, we meet several generations of the Kresinger family, and see the effects of the matriarch, Pearl, on her descendents. In Water, we see a dystopian Australian future, where an ancient spirit still thrives, and in Water, we see the effects of familial ties on a struggle for identity.

In these stories, aboriginality, sexuality, and womanhood all intersect. These three themes are not usually dealt with all at once and it was really interesting seeing them explored together. Water was my favourite of the three stories, perhaps because it took the form of a genre I prefer over the other two, which were more literary and contemporary.  It also dealt with issues of displacement and race, using a metaphor that was , while fairly obviousk still nuanced and never heavy-handed. Water was also more linear in its storytelling, while the other two parts are more fragmented, jumping between characters and between time periods.

The characters in all three stories read as genuinely Australian, and genuinely aboriginal (from my, admittedly limited, experience). The writing style is really beautiful; it flows really naturally and never feels like it is trying too hard (apart from maybe that fragmented style). As I said earlier, I didn’t really get the third part quite as much. It did seem more disjointed than the other two pieces. I read in some other reviews that this part actually tied in with the first, but if that is the case, I missed the connection.

Ellen van Neerven is definitely an author to keep an eye on. She has a great way with words and a way of exploring complex issues without feeling too pretentious or over-the-top.

This review forms part of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2016. Click here for more information.

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