#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 10 August, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI have just started The Rook by local author Daniel O’Malley. The tag line is “On her majesty’s supernatural secret service” and it sounds quite fun, and comes highly recommended. IIt’s been described as “supernatural public service” among my public service colleagues and even in the first 30 pages, there have already been a couple of moments where I’ve laughed out loud because the bureaucracy element is too real.

On audio, I’m listening to Tallow by Karen Brooks. This is a fantasy inspired by Italian culture – the main city is basically a fictional, magical version of Renaissance-era Venice. Enjoying it so far!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

amibalckenoughcoverI finished Am I Black Enough for You? by Anita Heiss. I really appreciated the renewed understanding of racial identity that this book gave me.

Reviews of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly went up this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

bigbanggenerationProbably Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation by Gary Russell. This is a challenge item – “A book you intended to read last year but didn’t”. It is set on Christmas Day 2015 and I had grand intentions of reading it that day, except then I didn’t manage to get a copy in time. I’m actually pretty excited that there’s a DW novel set in Australia. 😀

So I made a list of all the books I own in various forms that I have to read before I’m allowed to buy any more or go to the library again… there are ten on it, and that’s not counting the books that have been on my Kindle for years, for example, just my most recent purchases. Sigh. What’s that quote about dying next to a pile of books I intended to read?

And now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. I’m going a bit backwards from last week’s excerpt, this is when Grace first returns home after leaving her job in Frederick Merrow’s household (which was a maid in this draft, but will be governess in subsequent versions). Claire is one of her younger sisters, aged about elevent. Ten paragraphs for the 10th day of the month.

“I’ve come home, Claire.”

“You lose your job or something?”

“Well, yes. Is mother home?”

“Yeah, she’s here. Mum! Grace’s home! She’s been fired!”

Grace cringed. She would have preferred to deliver a gentler blow to her mother. She heard her mother’s footsteps approaching the door a few moments later, and found herself looking down at the ground under her mother’s hard stare.

“Hello, mother,” she said quietly.

“Is that true? Fired?”

“Yes.” Grace’s voice was nearly a whisper.

“What the bloody hell did you do?”

Grace cringed again, this time at her mother’s language. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, she grew up with it, but after six months living among people who spoke properly, it grated on her ears.

Even though I’m still sharing from Lessons Learned, I’ve actually been revising Operation: Sugarplum over the last couple of weeks. Most of the stuff I’ve bene working on is really similar to stuff I’ve shared before, though, so for the moment, I think I’ll continue with Lessons Learned. I might switch it up when you least expect it, though! Who knows! 😛

All right, better finish this up! See you all later!

~ Emily


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“I walk among my enemies, but I carry my friends with me.” // Review of “The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf” by Ambelin Kwaymullina #aww2016

Title: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Genre: YA/dystopian
Date Read: 26/06/2016 – 01/08/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I had high hopes for this book, and while it didn’t quite meet them, I really appreciated the fact that it didn’t rely ono so many tired tropes that are prevalent in the YA dystopian genre.

Ashala Wolf is an Illegal, someone with an ability that allegedly causes a disruption to the Balance. She has been taken prisoner by Neville Rose, the Chief Administrator of Detention Centre 3, and is subjected to The Machine, which can harvest memories from a person’s  mind. All the while, Justin Connor, her betrayer stands by… but all is not as it seems, including Ashala’s of her Tribe and her capture…

First of all, there is no love triangle in this book! I know! And on top of that, the dysoptia is not constructed around a regression to bygone sexist and racist ages. Anyone can be born with an Ability (Ashala’s is sleepwalking, and being able to do whatever she wants in her dreamstate; others can cause fires or earthquakes, heal others or alter memories),  and there are people of all races and genders in Ashala’s Tribe. The same is true of Enforcers, Adminstrators and Citizens. So this book gets major props for that, because goodness me, I tired of those awful tropes.

There is a romance, but it was a bit ploddy, and never convinced me entirely. I think part of this is due to the structure of the book. Ashala believes things to be one way for a significant portion fo the story, but a revelation part way through completely changes the way she, and the reader, sees things, meaning a lot of her past is restructured as she comes to terms with it. While I liked this structural arrangement in terms of plot, it did mean the relationships between some of the characters got a little confused.

(^^ I hope that makes sense. I’m trying to be spoiler-free).

The world-building was mostly good; there was definitely enough to go on, and things were explained as they needed to be throughout. However, I think I was hoping for a bit more evidence of inspiration taken from the author’s Palyku (an Australian First Nation) culture. There is a serpent character who is rather reminicent of the Rainbow Serpent, and certainly the idea of the Illegals could be taken as an allegory for the Stolen Generations (up until the 1970s, Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from the families and raised with white people so as to better “assimilate” into “proper” Australian culture), but I was hoping for something more in this vein.

The story actually concludes rather nicely, making me wonder whether Kwaymullina actually intended it to be a series from the outset. Since it feels wrapped up, I don’t feel the need to rush out and get the second book straight away, but the synopsis of the second book is intriguing, so I might still give it a go at some point.


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016. Click here for more information).

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 03 August, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

amibalckenoughcoverI have started Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss, and so far I really like the writing style. I think it will be a bit of a challenging book for me as a white person, but that’s why I picked it up.

On audio, I’m listening to Disruption by Jessica Shirvington. This has really good reviews so I have high hopes, but I’m  not very far in yet.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

paperdaisiescoverFinally reached the end of the audio of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly. I actually did like the story itself, but the book could have been about half the length. Maybe two thirds. Definitely not as long as it was.

After that, I listened to Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant. It was another one of those books where it was absolutely fine but nothing special.

ashalawolfcoverThe only print book I finished this week was The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullin. This is one of those books where it’s really hard to explain my feelings, because on one hand, it avoids some really tired YA tropes and I really wanted to love it for that, but it also just wasn’t that exciting?

Reviews of Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page and Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French went up this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

All I know is I’m not allowed to get anything else out from the library! I have two books on my Netgalley shelf, along with all my other unread ebooks, and I received two shiny new paperbacks for my birthday, again on top of all the ones I already had. I’ll think of something, though!

And now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. In this scene, Frederick has gone searching for Grace, who ended their affair by disappearing from his house without a trace. He has finallytracked down her family home. Eight lines for the eighth month.

“Er, Mrs Kent?” he asked.

“Who’s asking?”

“My name is Frederick Merrow, and I believe your daughter was in my employ for a time. Your daughter, Grace?”

Mrs Kent’s eyes narrowed. “You’re the one who was teaching her the magic, then, are you?”

Frederick couldn’t believe Grace would have been so open about her abilities, but he nodded. “Yes. That was me.”

Mrs Kent took a step back from the door, and held a hand up to keep Frederick at a distance. “I don’t want you coming any closer.”

“Please,” he said, “I just want to see Grace. I don’t even need to come into your house at all, just send her down, please?”

“Grace is dead.”

Ouch.

Given that I had today off work, this post is ridiculously late, so I shall go now and try to visit some of your blogs before bed. Apologies for being so awful with doing the rounds last week. It’s been a busy time and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed. I hope to do better this week!

~ Emily


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 27 July, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

ashalawolfcoverStill going with the audio of Paper Daisies by Kim Kelly. It’s going on a bit, but I’m kind of at that “Well, I’ve committed now” point.

In print, I have started The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina. This is one of my Indigneous Australian author reads for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. I only started it today, but I like it so far and I’m hoping it might be the book that ends my long slew of 3-star reads and gets a four or a five.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

islasinheritanceAs expected, I finished Wonder Women by Sam Maggs, and my review went up on Monday. I do want to go back through it and note down some of the books written by the featured women and bios written about them, because I would love to find out more.

I then proceeded to finish Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page very quickly (less than 24 hours). It was enjoyable enough, but I didn’t feel compelled to continue the series.

melodybittersweetgirlsghostbustingagencycoerAfter that, I finished off Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French, which I saw on someone else’s WWW posts in the last couple of weeks. It was cute, though I did not like the love interests at all, which did put a damper on the “romantic comedy” aspect. I did really like the mystery, though.

Last night, I read the preview excerpt of Vicarious by Paula Stokes, which is available on NetGalley in the lead-up to the release next month. If I had actually read the listing properly and realised it was a preview, I probably wouldn’t have requested it, but it was interesting.

I also posted my review of Blood of My Blood, the third in the Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga, on Friday.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I also Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss out from the library for the AWW Challenge, so it may well be next. I also have a few books of my own that I’m going to try to read soon.

wednesdaybannerAnd now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one.

In this scene, Frederick has just told Grace that he shouldn’t teach her any magic, and should instead tell her to go back to her room and never think about it ever again. Seven sentences for the seventh month.

Grace looked at him with a wry expression. “You think you can just tell someone to forget about this sort of thing?”

“No,” he replied. “I know you can’t. No one can. That’s what makes it so powerful. The second you get a taste for it, it has a hold over you.”

Frederick does have his reasons for showing Grace the magic in the first place. I’m not saying they’re good reasons (in fact, they’re pretty weak), but they are reasons nonetheless.

This week I’ve been writing from Frederick’s POV, and that’s been interesting. He’s very private but I’ve managed to needle out a lot of his past, which has been good. I also had an epiphany the other day (after writing the first 16k, of course!) that the whole thing would work a lot better if Grace were the governess to Frederick’s children, rather than a maid in his household. So I’ll have to a whole lot of revision there, but that’s okay.

That’s it from me, as I have a few things I need to get done tonight. I also need to consume the rest of this delicious lemon meringue pie sitting next to me. See you on your blogs!

~ Emily

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