blog tour, Reviews & Ramblings

Blog Tour: Taking Down Evelyn Tait by Poppy Nwosu

Taking Down Evelyn Tait. Set to publish, 1 April 2020

From the first page, this book is so easy to read. Nwosu’s use of modern language and its integration into characters with thoughts and emotions that we can all relate to, really make this book stand out.

30 pages in and the first plot twist hits, I definitely didn’t see it coming. But I love it. I am already Lottie’s biggest fan, she is hilarious, unapologetically herself and yet also, so vulnerable and angry and sad.
The more we get to learn about Evelyn is that she is just as vulnerable and angry as Lottie. Her life hasn’t been easy or in some cases, she hasn’t been given the life that she thought she would have. These girls are so similar and I think that is why they clash so much.

I love the Australian-ness of this book. It really gives it an added layer to relate to. We have all been to the local pub with our family, for dinner and a milkshake. It makes it easier to get lost in the story.

Watching Jude and Lottie’s relationship grow is so sweet to be part of. They complement each other, Jude shows restraint and thought where Lottie shows impulsivity and not thinking part the current moment. Jude centres Lottie and she makes him brave.

I can’t stress enough, how raw and honest this book is. The emotion that flows from the pages feels so real, it wraps you up in it. Poppy is a story teller of epic proportions. Not only has she written incredibly real and deep characters, she has also written them into a landscape and onto paths that are easy to relate to. That you have lived or seen friends and family live through. It is authentic and it is fantastic.

Jude breaks my heart, he is kind and gentle and soft, yet he lives in a world where he needs to be tough to survive. Then there is Lottie. A girl who has been so caught up in her own head and what image she wants to portray that she has lost sight of the people in front of her.

It has been a joy to watch Lottie’s charactet grow into someone that she is proud of. Into someone who is deep and seeks connection and understanding with the people in her life. What I love the most about Lottie is that she is real. I knew girls like Lottie growing up, a lot of us were girls like Lottie and that really makes this book something special.

The ending is perfect for this fast paced book. You know that everything isn’t resolved, but the ground work is being done to get those issues resolved. It is sweet and warm and the character growth is incredible.

Taking Down Evelyn Tait, is a book about finding yourself, about seeing more than what is immediately in front of you and adapting to the circumstances you find yourself in. It is about family and friendship and love.
Incredibly well written, with a writing style that makes the pages turn all on their own. Perfectly paced, to keep you on the edge of your seat, but also to give you time to slow down and really think about where Lottie and Evelyn are coming from and what they are dealing with personally. This is a book you do not want to miss out on.

Thank you so much to Aus Ya Bloggers, Poppy Nwosu and Wakefield Press, for having me on the blog tour for this amazing book!

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Origin of Me by Bernard Gallate

Published 19th March, 2020 by Penguin Books Australia.

The Origin of Me, is a quirky and unique, almost memior of fifteen year old Lincoln Locke. We are taken on a journey, visiting all aspects of Lincolns life, dealing with his parents separation, a new school and the struggles that come with being a teenager in Australia.

The Australian-ness of this book is fantastic. The slang, suburbs, land marks and buildings all make it a book that you can relate to, as it is set somewhere that the reader can physically go. It definitely adds to my relationship with he book.

Lincoln is a great narrator. His voice is honest and funny. That being said, as character, I find him rather annoying and a little naive. Especially when it comes to “The nub”. I realise it would be embarrassing, I thought everything was the end of the world when I was fifteen, but it is a health issue. And by halfway through the book, I was sick of hearing about it. That being said, it does hold significance throughout the book.

The idea of having the protagonist be working his way through a book and providing exerpts from the book is a unique way to add some dimension. The parallels between the ancient book and Lincoln’s life are intriguing and draw you in to the mystery of it.

The Origin of Me, is filled, cover to cover with interesting characters, each with their own stories to tell. That being said, each character neatly fits a stereotype, the bully, the nerd, the jock, the absentee parent, the hypochondriac. But they all meld together in Lincoln’s world, to create his point of view.

The pacing is slower than I would have liked and is consistent throughout the book. It did make the title feel longer than its 350+ pages as there was no real turning point to amp up the pacing. That can also be said for the story line itself. I felt that The Origin of Me, read more like a diary or memior, rather than a work of fiction and so there was no clear storyline or climactic event. We are just along for the ride as Lincoln does life.

In the end we see Lincoln slowly accept himself for who he is, “nub” and all. We see him patch together his broken family and be brave enough to battle his own fears. After finishing this book, it is clear to see that it is about finding yourself, about wading through the endless input of others and from society, of the pressures and stressors and coming out of it, a person who you are happy to be.

The Origin of Me is quirky and unique, it is easy to read and has multiple characters that you will find yourself attached to. I did struggle with the pacing and he lack of a defined plot, it felt like we were constantly reading and learning new things, but nothing eventuated from those new things. Essentially, this book allows you to lose yourself in someone elses life for the duration of the book. And that isn’t always a bad thing.

Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for providing me with a review copy of this title.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review Post: My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List by Rena Finder

One person with courage to stand up for the innocent can make a big difference.” P3

A Girl on Schindler’s List, is written plainly which not only makes it incredibly easy to read, but it makes it easy to understand the depth of what is happening. In some instances, it makes the horrors of what Rena suffered, so much clearer. But it also gives the reader time to process and to see what it was like for so many people.

The pacing is perfect, it doesn’t rush or lag. It allows the reader to proceed at their own pace, to lose themselves in Rena’s story. What really makes this memoir stand out, other than its amazing adaptation to a middle grade work. Is the way that Finder has explained what is happening, why it’s happening, what things are called and how politics plays a part in what happened. Even though we are reading a memoir, it reads as fiction, which makes it easy to read, but when Finder tells us something factual, the stark reminder that this is truth hits you like a tonn of bricks.

From the first page, the overall feel of this book is heavy and heart breaking. As we keep up with Rena and her horrors, she keeps us updated as to how old he is. To watch people you love, being taken away to be murdered is horrific, let alone when you are a thirteen year old child. The sadness that pours from these pages is unpalpable. This is such an honest and raw memoir.

My only gripe is that this book isn’t longer. I got swept up in Rena’s memoirs and before I knew it, the 111 page book was finished and I was wanting more. I understand why it is short and not highly detailed, but if Rena ever wanted to do a more in depth memoir, I would be lining up for a copy!

Fantastically well written, the simple language used makes it so easy to understand and process, and Rena is such an amazing woman who was one of the lucky few to make it onto Schindler’s List.
This is an amazing read, impactful, simplistic and powerful.

Thank you so much to the team at Scholastic Australia for providing me with a review copy of this title.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Riverdale: Get Out Of Town by Micol Ostow

Published 2019 by Scholastic Australia

Riverdale: Get Out Of Town, is quite a bit darker than the first book in this series. It is my belief that it is set after the events of season one of the Netflix series. And, to my knowledge, it flows quite freely, following the series end.

In this book, we have a lot more points of view, and although I enjoy this for the most part, I think there may be too many, it seems to make the book lag a little, compared to the first book. I do love how the book is delivered using different mediums, diary entries and text messages, give the tale a more authentic feel. Like it is a true tale about a group of friends.

Once again, Ostow has written a book that ties in with the Netflix series. It takes our favourite characters and shows a side story that lets us in, a little bit closer.
That being said, I feel like nothing really happened in this book, there was such a build up, just for nothing to happen in the end. All we learned is that Hiram Lodge’s rage knows no bounds. Which, really, isn’t all that surprising.

Even though not a great deal happened, it was still an enjoyable book. Perfect for fans of the show and a great way to wasye some time, solving mysteries with this crew of oddities. Riverdale: Get Out Of Town is well written, action packed and will keep your mind racing, trying to solve the many plot twists and deceptions we are given. The characters feel like the ones we know and love from the show and it is so easy to read.

Thank you so much to Camila and Scholastic for sending me out a review copy of this title. And for sending me the next one in the series. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Published by Hachette. March 3, 2020

Right from the first page, you can tell that this book is going to be light, funny and have amazing characters.
Gonzales has done an amazing job of combining moving to a new city, family illness and starting a new school and not making it heavy. Yes these are sad, nerve wracking, emotionally laden topics, but somehow Gonzales has made it easy to read and not focussed solely on the hard stuff.

I am living for the Grease parallels. Even though this is definitely its own story, the parallels are fantastic. Will is definitely a Danny and Lara is mosy definitely a Rizzo. I can’t wait to read on and find more similarities throughout.

Our protagonist is such a gentle and kind figure. He babysits so his Aunt can have her treatments at the hospital, he gives up his senior year at his old school, without argument, to save his mum any additional stress. He is so selfless and wants, so much, for others to be happy. To a fault. He will lose himself if he isn’t careful.

Will and Ollie are so cute. They complement each other perfectly, yes they have their obstacles, but I am solidly in their corner. Will is slowly opening up and showing us who he is. I do find his story to be incredibly cliche, but that aside, I really enjoyed watching his character grow and evolve abd become the best version of himself. Staying true to himself and following his own dreams.

To piggyback off the above thoughts, I am so proud of Ollie. He stood up for himself and for his beliefs. He realised his self worth and refuses to be treated any less than he deserves. It is such a powerful message to any reader, that it isn’t okay for people to make you feek crappy about yourself, to make you feel anything negatively. You go, Ollie!

Only Mostly Devastated, is a book that deals with multiple, hard to deal with issues that so many people come into contact with, in their everyday lives. But Gonzales writes them, in such a way that they are easy to digest. They are easy to read and to be a part of, through her characters. Yes someone passing is horribly sad, no matter how it is written, but Gonzales writes her characters reactions with such care, kindness and authenticity, that it makes it easy to read, even if you are shedding a tear with Ollie.

The ending of this book is so sweet, it has its bitter moments, but overall such a sweet ending that makes you smile. It was the kind of ending that gives you warm and fuzzies yet promotes acceptance and tolerance of other people.

Only Mostly Devasated is fast paced, so, so easy to read and so relevent in today’s teen society. It reads easily and the pages practically turn themselves. The chatacters are deep and their progression feels natural, their growth doesn’t feel forced or faked. Ollie is a fantastic protagonist. He owns that he has flaws, he owns who he is and he isn’t apologising for either. He is the protagonist we didn’t know we needed.

Thank you so much to Hachette AUS for sending me out a review copy of this title. It is such a unique and fun read.

Only Mostly Devastated, is out NOW. You need this book on your TBR!