Red Sister

A quick review of a great book.

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Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Released 2017

It’s human nature to judge and compare right? I know I shouldn’t but I always compare an authors work to their previous stuff. So picking up Red Sister was a little daunting. Prince of Thorns is one of my favourite books and Jorg is a ruthless, determined psychopath who I just happen to fucking adore. My love of Jorg sullied my Prince of Fools reading experience, while its a great book, Jalan is no Jorg and I was hoping for a bit of Jorg like action. Well it turns out I had no need to worry as Red Sister is a complete different world and story.  (Yes sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.) Although I will probably talk about them both as we get into this. Continue reading “Red Sister”

Ferdinand

Movie Review

Ferdinand, released December 2017 by Blue Sky Studios.

Having kids is great for many reasons, one of those is that you get to go to all the kids movies without looking like a weirdo on your own or having to borrow friends children.

Ferdinand is the story of a sweet bull; bred for bull fighting, he’s only interested in smelling the flowers and avoiding confrontation. After his Dad doesn’t return from a bull fight, Ferdinand runs away. He hops a train and ends up at the home of Nina. Here he is treated with love, he can smell flowers all day and he sleeps in Nina’s bed. He is in his idea of heaven. But when he accidentally destroys a market he is sent back to the very place he ran from. A place where the bulls have to fight each other, if they lose they are sent to the slaughter house up the hill. The bulls think this is all there is, they believe they can win their freedom. Ferdinand wants his freedom back, he knows they can’t win it, he knows he has to take it and enlists an odd assortment of friends to help him along the way. Continue reading “Ferdinand”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

A brief look

This was a cover buy. I’m easy like that. Although I did see a couple of authors recommending it on their Insta stories, so I didn’t go in completely blind. I was a little torn, it’s only a 290 page book.. would it just be a typical, tropey, shallow book. Not everyone can write a compelling story with such a small word count.

SYNOPSIS from Goodreads
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Reading this was an absolute treat. It had a little bit of everything; sci-fi, mystery, some angst, love, a healthy dose of fan-fic and the most realistic portrayal of anxiety.

“The close call with the asteroid has kick-started my anxiety. I worry endlessly about things going wrong. On some days, its all i can think about. I’ll lay frozen in my bunk, overwhelmed by the responsibility resting on my shoulders. I can’t run this ship, not without Dad. Not on my own.”

So the answer to my above question is YES, Lauren James can and does write a compelling, intriguing story in only 290 pages.

I think The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is best read blind, as in don’t read reviews, don’t google, just sit down and immerse yourself in the story. It’s a very quick read, easily done in one sitting. You will come out the other end with a smile on your face, Romy is a sweet, endearing character who you will want to cheer for.

 

 

Top 5 reads from 2017

Is your next favourite here?

Narrowing down a list of my favourite reads to just 5 is tough.  I’ve done it, but I’ll probably cheat at the end and tack on a few others, cause its my post and I can…

IMG_75685. Hello, Goodbye by Emily Brewin. This was a total surprise packet. I won it through Goodreads, and it’s my favourite win of this year. Its set in 1968 Victoria, where country girl Maya’s world is turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant to her boyfriend, who is awaiting draft orders. It is wonderful Australian historical fiction. You can get it from AmazonBooktopiaBook Depository.

IMG_35364. Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson. Containing a collection of not so short stories from his different planets in the Cosmere, it brings all his ideas, world building and hints together, to give you a greater understanding of what he has built with his other books. It is worth a read, just beware of possible spoilers. Even his novellas are epic. You can pick it up from AmazonBook DepositoryBooktopia

Continue reading “Top 5 reads from 2017”

The Build-up Season by Megan Jacobson

Book review

I don’t know about you, but i’m a total cover whore. I don’t need to read the blurb, if it’s bright, shiny and pretty, my inner 4 year old comes out and I have to have it. Admit it, we all do it.

That is how I found one of my top 2016 reads; Yellow by Megan Jacobson. It had some of the most authentic Australian teenage dialogue and I read it in one sitting. So when I stumbled across The Build-Up Season, I didn’t read the synopsis, I didn’t check reviews, I didn’t care about that stuff, Yellow was such a strong, engaging read that I will automatically buy her next 10 books.

The Build-Up Season focuses on Iliad Piper, she comes from a violent home, she has been sent from one boarding school to another, her dads in jail, her mum is recovering from the years of abuse and trauma, trying to do the best she can. Ily struggles with all relationships, she is angry, she is a little broken and when she meets Jared she finally feels like she can be herself, maybe even happy.

Firstly the book is set in Darwin, WIN!!!! The descriptive language and dashes of history throughout draw you right into the story, I had only been back from Darwin a couple of weeks when I read this and I was ready to put the family on a plane and get back up there. It made me miss it. Combine this with realistic dialogue and fully fleshed out characters and the story pops off the page. You feel their happiness, you feel their heartbreak, you cry right along with them.

The Build-Up Season delves into some harsh issues. Domestic abuse, physical and emotional. Post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety. All these things that people are only just starting to talk about. Its not preachy, it doesn’t push an agenda, I think what it does do well is make the reader a little more understanding, a little more compassionate and hopefully less judgmental. Lets face it the last thing a victim of domestic abuse needs is the world judging them on why they stayed in the relationship for so long.

Ily is a complex character, she is a teenager, teenagers can be so selfish, I think its just the way they are hardwired at that age. She is angry, she is scared, she is strong and she isn’t overly likable. I like it when writers make a victim not overly likable, it forces us to be that little bit more understanding, more compassionate when it doesn’t necessarily come easy. Its easy to victim blame when you have something negative to say about someone, when you don’t understand their behavior. I adored Ily, she spoke to my teenage self, even my 20 something self. I wanted to hug her, tell her that she would be OK, I wanted to help her put her pieces back together.

The characters around Ily range from the sweet, comfortable friend Mia. Ily’s new age mother, the opinionated gran, the prank war partner Max and her complicated boyfriend Jared. No one in this book is perfect, we have all of these characters that are just trying to do the best they can, with what they have.

The bell rings and people start filing their way inside the theatre. I look around for Mia and see her crouching down to pick at a weed that’s growing through the crack in the concrete. She places it in the elastic that holds up her ponytail and scurries over to me before I hand my ticket to the person at the door. ‘You do know that’s a weed, Mia?’ She looks at me seriously. ‘A weed is still a flower, Ily, it’s just one that nobody’s bothered to appreciate before, so i’m going to’.

It’s lucky I didn’t have a highlighter with me while I was reading, because the pages would have been covered. There were so many truth bombs, it was relevant and I think it’s a book everyone should read. Megan Jacobson is a wonderful Australian author and i’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us next.

 

 

Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed

This one isn’t about a star rating.

As this blog progresses, we will all see just how opinionated I am. I love rating a book on Goodreads, it’s an acceptable form of judging. So when I tell you that I can’t rate this book, please know, I have put a lot of thought into it, but i think this book is about more than how many stars i can give it.

I can’t even tell you if I liked the book or not, I mean the writing is gorgeous, but the story, it hurt my heart. I think the book overloaded my ability to be shocked and horrified and then broke my feelings valve.

Gather the Daughters is set on a remote island hidden from the ravages of mankind and what the community calls the Wasteland. Many generations have lived on the Island, occasionally the wanderers find new families and bring them in, but all in all the island is very remote, isolated. It’s steeped in tradition, ruled by the Church and Wanderer’s and nobody questions their existence or way of life.
One of those traditions is that every Summer, the girls are let loose, they run free and wild, they sleep on beaches, they explore, play and live. Girls from four can join in this Summer fun, but once a girl gets her period another tradition is waiting for her.
This year a girl, reluctant to head home as the frost hits the ground, sees something that she was never meant to witness, something that could make her question everything she has been told to believe.

We get a feel very early on in the story, that not all is right with the community. We get subtle hints here and there, of whats happening; then we get the big bombshells tucked away so neatly, that you have to go back and reread it, just to make sure you didn’t misread it. Chances are you didn’t. I initially questioned why a few things were so casually mentioned and then I had my light-bulb moment and realised that in this Community, it isn’t a big deal, it’s the way it’s always been, it’s very easy for people not to question tradition and social expectations. It takes a thinker, someone who questions, a rebel if you will, to wonder why life is that way, why can’t it be different. It takes someone who is willing to be labelled and judged, who not just sees the worth in the oppressed, but sees they are actually oppressed to start with.

Continue reading “Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed”

First blog post

Why a blog?

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Reviews, book hauls, tags, wrap ups, TV, movies, my ridiculous number of reading challenges, this blog is my place to cover it all. I’m definitely coming to the blogging game incredibly late, but anxiety is a bitch, zero confidence is a mole and my lack of faith in myself means that it has literally taken me years to work up the courage to do this. I’m not a writer, i’m a mum who walks dogs for a living, why would anyone care what i thought? Then it hit me, this blog isn’t for everyone else, it’s for me. It’s another way to explore my love of books and pop culture, it’s a way for me to step outside my itty bitty comfort zone, it’s another way to bring joy into my life.