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Review and Ramblings: Mother Knows Best.

Mother Knows Best Published by Scholastic Australia

Mother Knows Best is the back story to one of my favourite villains, Mother Gothel. We meet Gothel as a teen, living with her sisters and mother in the deadwoods. We see her passion, her drive, her want for power and all of this helps to see why she is the witch we see in the movie Tangled.

Mother Knows Best is written so atmospherically, in a way that makes you feel like you are in the Deadwoods, that you can feel the bitter winds and hear the scraping of dead branches on tomb stones.

I loved the way Valentino worked this prologue into the movie towards the end. How we got to see it from a new point of view, however it did lose me when we are told about it being a story and about the dreamscape. It felt like one too many twists.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Gothels life, it felt completely separate to the Tangled movie, until the last 60 pages. We got to see Gothel in a new light.
Definitely do NOT pick this up if you haven’t seen the movie because it will spoil it for you.

All in all, this was fast paced, easy to read, original content and a fascinating character. The ending did let me down, too many non essential twists that took away from the plot.

Thank you so much to Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Dark Blue Rising by Teri Terry

Published July, 2020 by Hachette Australia

Synopsis:

Tabby’s life is turned upside down, ripped away from the woman she called her mother. She finds solace in the ocean, but there’s something wrong. What is the symbol of interlocking circles that follows her everywhere? To learn the truth, Tabby must uncover the terrible lies about her past. And the secret is hidden in her DNA

My Review:

Dark Blue Rising is fast paced from the get go. We are thrown into what feels like an incredibly small town, with tyrannical teenagers and our mysterious protagonist.
As always Terry has a way of making you want to learn more, she writes so well that you lose yourself in her words.

Tabby is such a complex character. Everything she knows is a lie, her world is shattering around her, it is heart breaking. She is pure and innocent and lonely and the loss of Cate and her own identity is adding salt to the wound. You genuinely feel terrible for her, and want everything to be okay.

Tabbys‘ call to the ocean is something that resonates with me. There is something about the ocean that is calming and invigorating all at the same time. But for Tabby, it feels like the ocean is her home, like she is meant to be there and I can’t help but feel like there is a somewhat supernatural link for her.

When we are first told about the Penrose Clinic I knew something was up. Abnormal blood tests, the ocean calling, monthly check ups, it all felt off. And slowly we are shown the extent of what The Penrose Clinic is doing and what they are trying to achieve.

From the first to last page, Dark Blue Rising is intense and captivating. It is unique and in true Terry style, written beautifully. Our protagonist Tabby goes through so much in these 390 pages. More than anyone should have to deal with in a life time. Yet she is still brave and strong at the end.

I need the next book. I need to know what happens, what Tabby is, what the Penrose Clinic has been doing and about the dolphins.
Dark Blue Rising is a fascinating read, one that will leave you guessing, long after you read the final page.

Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me out a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Who I Am by Anita Heiss

Published May, 2020 by Scholastic Australia

Synopsis:

Mary lives with the Burkes, but they’re not her real family. She hasn’t seen her real mum and dad since she was taken away from them five years ago. Everyone tells her to forget about them, but she can’t. She wants to find out why she was taken, and where she really belongs.

Review:

Before I turn the first page, I know this book is going to be heart-wrenching. But that is what makes it important. Mary’s story is just one that makes up the history of Australia’s Stolen Generation and learning about it, one story at a time, gives me hope that nothing like that will ever happen again.

Written in the form of a diary, Who Am I, is a memior of sorts. We get to see what life is like in a Home for Aboriginal Children. It is written softly, perfect for younger readers to be able to absorb and process.

Who Am I, is easy to read, broken into easy to process sections and feels so authentic and real. Heiss uses language that brings an authenticity to Mary as well as introducing words from the Aboriginal language.

Mary is a wonderful character. Her innocence and inquiring nature shine through making her so easy to like. It is heart breaking to see Mary getting told to forget her life before the Burkes. To stop going in the sun because it will make her skin darker, to stop speaking to other Aborinal people. They were trying to make her someone she wasn’t.

I devoured this book in one sitting. The pages flew through my fingers. It was such an honest book about a controversial and discriminatory part of Australia’s history.

Thank you so much to Scholastic Australia for sending me a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The Lost City by Amanda Hocking

Published 7 July 2020 by PanMacmillan Australia

Synopsis:

Nestled against the coast lies a forested kingdom filled with wonder and secrets.

Ulla Tulin was abandoned as a baby and raised amongst the Kanin, like many half-blood trolls. And though she was hidden because of her heritage, she never forgot her origins. So when Ulla is hired by an institution that helps those like her, she is delighted.

She teams up with handsom Pan Soriano, a half-human researcher. However, their efforts to find her family are blocked when it seems Ulla has royal connections. They think helping amnesiac Eliana, with her own unique gift, may be more successful. But as Ulla and Pan dig deeper, they find someone will do anything to keep these mysteries hidden.

Review:

I am excited to be returning to the world of the Trylle Series. Trylle was my first series from Amanda Hocking, so there is quite a bit of nostalgia surrounding it for me.

From the opening page, The Lost City is easy to read and engaging. With just enough back story woven in for it to flow easily. The characters are fantastic, complex with their own back stories being smoothely integrated into the book.

Towards the middle of the book, there is a lull where nothing is happening, just Ulla going to her internship and nothing is really progressing. I get that in real life people go to work and its boring, but this lull really takes away from the overall feel of the book. Yes it may be important in that this is where Pan and Ulla are establishing their friendship and we are learning about them as characters. But it isn’t adding anything to the book.

The addition of Eliana’s story line adds excitement to this book. It adds the action that it was missing. Eliana is such an intriguing chatacter, also a little frustrating but interesting none-the-less. She feels mysterious and adds a flare of unknown to the book.

The ending was fast paced and action packed, leaving me yearning for the next book, for Pan and Ulla’s adventure. As always Hocking has written something dreamy and fantastical that lives alongside our world. It makes you wonder if they are real.

If you loved the Trylle and Kanin series from Amanda Hocking, you definitely need to pick up The Lost City and dive into learning about the Omte.

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book.

All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Bluffs by Kyle Perry

The Bluffs by Kyle Perry. Publishes 2 July, 2020.

I can’t express how excited I am for a book set in Tasmania, written by a Tasmanian author. The Bluffs is the book I have been waiting for. It perfectly encapsulates the Tasmanian wilderness, how it feels so empty and isolating yet filled with life.

Perry has taken the essence of small town life and amplified it, being a teen is never easy and it is even harder in a small town. Jasmine is such a captivating character. She feels rebellious, gritty and raw. Her friends on the other hand are a mixed bag of teenage angst, deceptions and the age old battle of doing what your friends expect of you and doing what’s right.

The Bluffs doesn’t feel like fiction. It reads like a true crime story, and the fact that I have been to and stayed in places that this book touches on, makes it feel even more real. Not to mention the characters could easily be based on people I have known over my lifetime. This feels so Tasmanian, the people, the setting, the humour. And I love it.

We are thrown into small town life where each moment is important. All the details are important, but it is so fast paced, blink and you will miss something. The detail that Perry has gone into for this book is immense, as is the research he must have done. The folklore, forensics, police work, physcology. And it all pays off. It gives The Bluffs dimension and depth.

Up until the last fifty pages, I had no idea who was behind what, or what was really happening to the girls. Perry has woven such an intricate string of confessions and falsehoods of red herrings and loose ends, that it is hard to work out who is behind it all.

The frienship between Murphy and Con is my favourite. I love their banter their differences and how they recognise themselves in eachother. They are exactly what the other needs, someone strong to take the brunt of what they are feeling off their shoulders. A mate. Someone they can count on. It lifts this book. Gives it heart, amidst all of the plotting and death.

The Bluffs is all action from the get go. It perfectly encapsulates small town living and the Tasmanian wilderness. Not only has Perry written a dramatic sense of untamed wilderness, he has done so in a way that shows the eerie quality of being in the bush, the smells, sounds and vibe. The Bluffs wouldn’t be as powerful without that element.

Complex characters overflow from the pages of this book, from your stereotypical small town drug dealers to the generation X, social media influencers and everything in between. The phrase, ‘everyone has a story to tell’ comes to mind when reading about Limestone Creek.

If you are looking for something eerie and atmospheric with a modern crime-fiction twist, then The Bluffs is for you. So easy to read, with a writing style that makes the pages practically turn themselves. Kyle Perry’s debut novel, The Bluffs, is the book not to be missed in 2020.

Thank you so much to the team at Penguin for sending me a review copy of this title.