Release Days!, Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Again Again by e. lockhart

Published 2nd June, 2020. Allen & Unwin

Straight away I am reminded why I love books by e. lockhart. The way she pulls words together in an almost prose like style. How she fills them with so much emotion and power. Her style is unique and relevant and current.

Adelaide is such a complex character. And her complexity is written so authentically. She pushes out the vibe of someone gentle, of someone who is so used to experiencing pain and confusion that she thinks being someone happy is more important than being herself. Getting to know Adelaide is a joy.

I like how Jack complements Adelaide. How he calls her on her subtelties. How he sees her, not the persona she puts on. But the person she is inside. How he knows what she wants but he knows himself enough to not enter into something that he can’t handle. Jack is such an intriguing chatacter.

Again Again, is a book that talks about so many heavy subjects, from drug abuse to relationship breakups. And it tackles them so elegantly. We are shown love throughout this book. It feels as though it is the centre of Adelaides world. And why shouldn’t it be.

We see love as it appears to Adelaide. Messy and hard. Neat and organised. Fast and loud. With her whole heart, openly and also hidden deep within. Lockhart has written a book that shows us all aspects of a persons ability to love.

Again Again is a fascinating, coming of age tale, that shows us we aren’t alone when we are thinking of every possible way a conversation can happen, before it happens. It is honest and gritty and definitely a must read.

Thank you so much to the team at Allen and Unwin for sending me out a review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Riverdale: The Maple Murders by Micol Ostow

Published by Scholastic Australia

And just like that, we are back in the world of Riverdale! This is the third book by Micol Ostow and the third original tale from the fictional town.

I feel as though the beginning of this book felt stuffier than usual. Jughead’s prologue felt harder to read and following that with a Cheryl chapter made it clunky. I’m not detered though. I love this town and its characters. I just feel it started slower than the previous books.

Going deeper into the book, I love the contrasting chapters from alternate points of view. Espcially the lightness that Kevin’s chapters bring to the overall feel of the book.

There is never a dull moment in Riverdale. Yes some of it is a little over the top and peppy. But it is enjoyable to be whisked away in a story that you don’t have to think deeply about. With characters and a town that you can see in your mind. Ostow has created stories belonging to the original world so well that they integrate perfectly. And it shows though the ease of reading and the way the characters voices feel the same.

For me, this book is the weakest of the three Riverdale books I have read. Yes, the characters are amazing and the different medias which their points of view are delivered are original and compelling. But the tale overall, was lacking. The plot didn’t really go anywhere and was full of Betty back tracking and pushing the plot based on her suspicions. It felt forced and more like a ghost story that just so happened to have characters we already know.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, I definitely did. Any time spent in Riverdale is time well spent. But it didn’t have the same feel as the previous titles and that let me down a little. I think it is to do with, we expect so much from Riverdale to be creepy and action packed, and The Maple Murders had more of a relaxed vibe with a slightly creepy tone. It wasn’t the usual feel, which threw me off. But it was also nice to see something slightly normal, if not doused in murders from the past, happen in the town.

As always Ostow has created a wonderful trip back to Riverdale. You don’t need to havewatched the show to enjoy these books, but there are some major show spoilers, so avoid if you do want to watch the show at some point. Ostow has a writing style that is modern and incredibly easy to read. I am looking forward to the next installment!

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

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Gargantis by Thomas Taylor

Published by Walker Books 2020

I am so excited to be back at Eerie-on-sea! This follow up title to Malamander draws you in from the first page. We are reminded of Herbert Lemon’s amazing personality. The way he breaks through the page and talks to us directly.

Already the action has started. I do feel for Herbie, he just wants to hide in his cellar with his lost items but having a friend as formidable as Violet Parma means he is always out on an adventure. Wether he likes it or not.

Taylor has a way of writing that captivates you, wraps you up in the world he has created. It really feels as though you are trapped in the storm at Eerie-on-sea, as though you can feel the earth move under your feet.

Obviously Gargantis is aimed towards middle grade readers, but what makes it enjoyable for young adult and adult readers is how aware Herbie is. He makes comments about his situation that makes him reach through the page and seem like he is reading along with you. This awareness makes it so fun to read as an adult reader.

Taylor has written the ultimate follow up adventure. Gargantis is filled to the brim with action, gadgets, mystical creatures and folk lore and it is mesmerizing. This is a book you won’t be able to or want to put down! Written cleverly, it is great for all ages with characters you can’t help but love.

Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a review copy of this amazing read!

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Aurora Burning by Kristoff & Kauffman

Published May 2020 by Allen & Unwin

In true Kaufman and Kristoff style, we are thrown back into the world of Squad 312 and it is all action from the get go. Aurora Burning takes off where Aurora Rising ended and the transition between the two is effortless.

At the beginning of Aurora Burning, the reader is provided with a refresher on the characters. I love this idea. It is giving the reader snippets of the characters, what they look like, what they do, their heritage. It gives the reader the perfect refresher before entering the world of Squad 312 again.

No one in the entire galaxy wants this squad of misfits to survive and I am finding that so frustrating. We make it to halfway through the book and there is no clear plot, no path that the squad are following other than survive this, romance that. For those of you who need a more defined plot, just hang on for the ride, it soon sorts itself out.

As I did in Aurora Rising, I love the multiple points of view. I love the additional information it gives us on each character. The way it lets us know them. I was happy to see longer chapters for Zila, this time around. I find her and her story fascinating.
I’m also enjoying Aurora’s new purpose. Her character is evolving and growing but her personality is colder, through learning what being the trigger means, she is losing herself.

I struggled deeply with what Squad 312 did to Kal, I won’t go into details because I want to avoid spoilers. But they didn’t even give him a chance to tell his story. They seemed to forget that he has been there for each of them, they just decided “nope, Kal sucks” in the moment and that was that. Not a fan K&K!

Aurora Burning ends on such a high impact cliff hanger that all of us readers are going to be spinning from until book 3 comes out. The action scenes in this book are fantastic, so detailed and articulate. So much research into solar systems and technology has gone into these books and it shows.

Once again Kristoff and Kauffman have provided us with a high action, sci-fi. Filled with snark, killing and sexy pixie people. Incredibly fast paced and so easy to read, books by these two authors are unlike any you will ever read.

Thank you so much to Allen and Unwin for sending me out a review copy! I loved rejoining the Squad and can’t wait for the next book!

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Who We Were by B.M. Carroll

Published April 2020 by Viper Books

Right off the bat, Who We Were is engaging and thought provoking. We are immediately thrown into Annabel’s busy life and are shown the first instance of our creepy antagonist.

The chapters are short and punchy, we aren’t locked into a single characters point of view for too long, which keeps the book moving. I love the multiple points of view, it gives the reader more information and back story and gives more chance for an unreliable narrator, which is always an interesting turn of events.

Who We Were encapsulates high school perfectly. How much we, as teenagers ignore our better judgement and go along with things we know we shouldn’t. I’m enjoying meeting the different characters and learning how different they are from their past selves. But some aren’t as different as they think.

The first half of the book allows us to really get to know the characters and their families. Learn about their lives and their secrets, which paves the way for the second half of the book, where our antagonist really comes out to play.

The overarching takeaway from this book is that teenagers are so impressionable, what happens to and around us in those formative years, impacts who we grow up to be. Who We Were encapsulates that so well, shows how as adults, all of these people are still deeply effected by what happened at highschool. And looking back, can any of us say that we weren’t.

The other strong takeaway from this book is the strength of family. That when it comes down to it, they are always there for you. Sometimes in ways like Nick was and sometimes in ways like Izzy was. Family is what makes us strong, gives us a sense of belonging and often shows us where we stand in the world. Carroll has explored these aspects brilliantly in Who We Were.

I enjoyed this almost light, psychological thriller, throughout the book, there was no way to pick who the antagonist was. No real clues, only the characters suspicions, which was refreshingly different to many other adult fiction novels on the market.

Who We Were is fast paced and filled with interesting characters. This book will keep you guessing until the final twenty pages and you won’t be dissappointed. Carroll has written a book about how lives intertwine, how the connections you make growing up can stay with you, long into adulthood. Well written and easy to read, Who We Were is unique and captivating.

Thank you to the publicity team at Allen & Unwin for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts are my own.