WWW Wednesday – 01 May 2019

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?

I finished P Is For Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones, which is a lot more character driven than books I usually read. But the coastal town vibe was so well done and I really liked the characters so I still enjoyed it. I’ll have a review up soon.

Click to read my review of The Doll Maker, book four in Celine Jeanjean’s The Viper and the Urchin series. This was released yesterday and might be my favourite one of the series so far!

What are you currently reading?

Still listening to Enchantee by Gita Trelease. The last audio books I read were A Thousand Pieces of You and Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray and I was actively cleaning or folding laundry in order to have more time to listen. I… am not having the same desire with this book. It’s going to take me a little while to get through, I think.

I am also reading an ARC of Lucid by Kristy Fairlamb, about a teenager cursed to dream the final moments of the dying. I’m about 20% of the way through and there have been some interesting characters introduced and some pretty nasty dream descriptions, but I’m kind of waiting for the story to get going. There’s a weekend away with friends coming up so I suspect that might be where things start getting interestinig.

What do you think you will read next?

I have accidentally ended up with eight library books out at once! Though a few of them are ready to return, several are for my Children’s Book of the Year reading challenge, which I need to get back to. I think I’ll start with The Things That Will Not Stand by Michael Gerard Bauer.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

Teaser Tuesday – April 02, 2019

Hello, and welcome once to Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too.

I did this meme for a couple of months back in 2015 when it had an entirely different host. I’ve decided that starting this month, I’m going to try to get more involved in the bookish community, and I’ve got a few memes to participate in.  I look forward to getting to know you all better!

Today’s teaser is from page 13 of Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough. I have only just started this, but the two POV characters have completely distinct voices and are obviously complete opposites, so it’ll be interesting to see how they work together.

“Swearing at Coach Hadley. Why did you do that?” she asks Will and not in the weary, slightly cross way she usually asks questions, but more like she is genuinely interested. Her prescription painkillers must be kicking in.

You can visit The Purple Booker for more Teaser Tuesday posts!

~ Emily

#LoveOzYA #aww2019 “Within me, the truth unfurled, opening as a flower. I breathed as if for the first time.” // Review of “Hive” by A. J. Betts

Title: Hive (Hive #1)
Author:
A. J. Betts
Genre: Dystopia
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 22/03/19 – 25/03/19
Rating:
★★

Review:

This was one of those books that I was fairly sure I wasn’t really into, but the ending was satisfying enough that I want to know what happens in the next book. 

This is a slow-moving book and I guess I was expecting something a bit faster. The blurb led me to think that once Hayley found an anomaly in the culty/dystopian world they live in, things would unravel quite quickly. But they don’t really. Instead, Hayley tries to find answers within her community but thinks she’s slowly going mad for the majority of the book.

The world-building is definitely a strong point here. The way people were assigned roles within the community and the history of how it was established was all very solid. I was confused about how they had a forest when they were supposed inside a self-contained building but I may have missed something that explained that.

Hayley and her best friend, Celia, were definitely the strongest characters. I loved that they had created a whole language of signals tapped out on the other’s hands so they could communicate secretly. The Son (of the Judge) became a bit more fleshed out towards the end. There was also a sweet character called Luka who I wanted to give a hug because he reminded me of a young Luka I know and how he would probably react in the same circumstances.

As I said, this definitely picked up for me in the last few chapters and by the end, I found myself wanting to know how things were going to pan out. While this isn’t my favourite book, I will still pick up Rogue at some point when it comes out.


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.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#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
Author:
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
Rating:
★☆

Review:

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.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#LoveOzYA #aww2019 “But it’s not like we pick and choose what to be afraid of. It’s like our fears pick us.” // Review of “Small Spaces” by Sarah Epstein

Title: Small Spaces
Author:
Sarah Epstein
Genre: Psychological thriller
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 17/03/19 – 19/03/19
Rating:
★★

Review:

I have to admit that I had hoped I would love this book more than I did. It definitely had its moments, but I ultimately felt a little bit unsatisfied. 

Tash Carmody is haunted by the memory of her imaginary friend Sparrow leading away family friend when they were both small. Mallory Fisher has never spoken about the abduction and Tash thinks that Sparrow is gone from her mind… until the Fishers move back to town and she starts seeing Sparrow out of the corner of her eye again… 

First of all, I have to admit that I was nerding out every time the setting of the book was mentioned, because I grew up in the same area. My parents were hoping I would stay at home after school and commute to Newcastle Uni (I moved five hours away instead). There was a mention of Gloucester Shire Council, members of whom my mum just recently had a meeting with. And my family used to go camping in Barrington National Park, which is where Mallory was found wandering a week after her abduction. So that was fun. 

The treatment of mental illness in this book was realistic but infuriating. Everyone just thought Tash was doing things for the attention. There was a particularly poignant moment where Tash asks “Why would I want this kind of attention?!” and I wish more people would think about that before hurling such accusations. It was really great to see her validated at the end. 

There were genuine creepy moments throughout. At one point, I was berating myself for reading just before bed, because I was too wired when I turned the lights off. I walked to the bathroom in dim light and kept my back to the wall just in case. 

I did feel that the book felt a bit long. While there were certain things that of course needed to be set up and established, I thought it could have been done a bit faster?! And to be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I felt underwhelmed by the ending. It was well plotted and lead up to a logical conclusion. But for all that, I just found myself thinking, “oh, is that what it was?” I feel like I’m being unfair on the book and the author here because I don’t know what I wanted or expected, but whatever it was, I just feel I didn’t quite get it. 


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.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#LoveOzYA #aww2019 “And there’s a good chance the only *one day* I’ll get is here and now.” // Review of “Between Us” by Clare Atkins

Title: Between Us
Author:
Clare Atkins
Genre: Contemporary
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 14/03/19 – 15/03/19
Rating:
★★★★

Review:

Oof. What a book to start off my challenge of reading the YA and MG books on the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 2019 Notables List.

This is the story of Iranian asylum seeker, Ana, who is only let out of detention to attend school. There she meets and becomes close to Jono, the son of one of the officers at her detention centre. Meanwhile Jono’s father, Kenny, becomes increasinly paranoid about the relationship between his son and the detainee.

This book has real power, though I wonder if some people will dismiss it as being over the top. I certainly had to keep reminding myself that our country wouldn’t be in the situatioin it currently is in regards to refugees if there weren’t people who thought the same way as the characters in this book. It says something about the present situation when the author can’t even name some of the people she spoke to when researching the novel.

These characters disgusted me, but I know they are not far from the truth. I think it might be easy for those less willing to engage to write them off as unrealistic, but I hope that isn’t the case.

The scenes from Ana’s perspective are heartbreaking. Watching her have to take responsibility for her family as her mother sinks further into depression while also trying to cling to some semblance of a regular teenage life through friendships and music and the occasional excursion. 

I didn’t warm to Jono quite as much. This is not really the fault of the character, as he is well written. It is more that he is not the type of character I can easily identify with – he smokes and drinks and lies to his dad about his whereabouts. Look, I admit it, I was a goody two-shoes growing up, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. I did enjoy the scenes where Jono opened up a bit more to his dad, and their bond started to return.

Kenny was the character I struggled with the most, for the reasons I stated above about not quite believing there are people like this. I wanted to shake some sense into him.

Despite these niggles, I still gave it five stars for the way it made me feel,  for the fact that I had a dream about these characters, and the fact that I was still thinking about it days later.


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.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#LoveOzYA #aww2019 Book Review: “The Zigzag Effect” by Lili Wilkinson

Title: the Zigzag Effect
Author:
Lili Wilkinson
Genre: Contemporary
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 04/02/19 – 05/02/19
Rating:
★★☆

Review:

I knew I had to  read this book as soon as I learned that it was about a girl getting a summer job with a magic show. I wanted to be a magician when I was a kid, and while I learned a few card tricks that I’ve now forgotten, I still have a soft spot for all  things magic.

I thought the main character, Sage, was really well-written. She’s homesick and sad, and trying to make the best of it. She’s also really capable, and pulls the magic show into the twenty-first century.

At first, I really loved Herb, the backstage assistant and total magic nerd. I enjoyed learning about magic as he excitedly taught things to Sage. A couple of times I went and googled things to learn more. But he did say a few things that deserved a smack on the upside of the head (like tarot and crystals being “women’s magic”) and while Sage calls him out on it, I never really got the sense that he would stop. He also complained about her stage makeup when she is replacing the usual assistant, but there was no mention of the fact that male performers also  wear makeup onstage. Look, Herb is not the worst YA love interest, by far, but he did still bother me a bit.

I think Bianca was my favourite character. She’s the superstitious magician’s assistant and it is through her character that the book examines the way the magic industry is stuck in a sexist past that a lot of other forms of entertainment are at least trying to move away from. Bianca has a lot of baggage and to be honest, there were times I wished she was the main character, because she seemed a bit more interesting than the other two.

It did weird me out a little that the theatre had no staff of its own, and that the entire thing seemed to be run by three people closely involved with the show, but not the theatre. Where was theatre management?  Where was the tech crew? To be fair, it’s only because I do theatre in my spare time that any of this stood out to me. I’m sure it wouldn’t bother a reader who doesn’t do a musical every year. 

I thought the ending was satisfying but I wondered whether others might think it ended with the kidnapper/saboteur not getting their comeuppance.  I guess YMMV on that one. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything. It definitely picked up a lot in the secocnd half after a bit of a slow start. 


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

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#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”). 

#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.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram