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Review & Ramblings: Mulan by Elizabeth Rudnick

Mulan by Elizabeth Rudnick. Published by Scholastic Australia 2020

From the first page, we are thrown into Mulans world, full speed ahead. The pacing starts off so quickly that pages are turning just as fast as Mulan is chasing that pesky chicken around her village.

Mulan, The Live-action Novelisation, is incredibly easy to read, this revamped tale has so many twists alongside the original plot, that it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

You don’t need to have any knowledge of the Mulan original story to enjoy this book. You don’t even need to have seen the Live Action adaptation. This book reads as a stand alone, more than a tie in novelisation. Meeting Mulan in this new way, brings life to her original tale and tells it in a new way for the younger generations.

Mulan: The Live-Action Novelisation, is easy to read, written in a way that honours the traditions of China yet isn’t written traditionally. This modern twist keeps pages turning and the plot evolving.

I loved watching Mulan evolve into the strong and brave woman we see at the end of this book. She wa always brave and courageous, but she wasn’t sure why or if what she dreamed was possible. Seeing her become someone that her father was proud of was wonderful.

This book is filled with non-stop action. Characters that make you smile and the courage and bravery of a young woman.
Mulan: The Live Action Novelization, is fast paced, easy to read and will sweep you up in the traditions of China.

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

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Review & Ramblings: As Fast As I Can by Penny Tangey

Published April 2020 by UQP books

Vivian is a firecracker. From page one we are bowled over by her enthusiasm and energy. Her eagerness pushes the pacing of this book forward.

This book is oozing with innocence, friendship and growing up. We see Vivian striving to meet her goal of competing in the Olympics and finding herself along the way.

I love how this book deals with friendship issues, about teasing, bullying and how jokes can be hurtful. I think it is sending such a great message to the audience it is aimed at. Showing readers that winning isn’t everything and that words can hurt.

As Vivian finds her passion for cross country running she starts to run into friction with her friends. The internal conflict feels so real and relateable. Trying to choose between what you want and what will keep you sitting with friends at school.

As Fast As I Can is a heartwarming tale of finding yourself and overcoming hardships. Our protagonist Vivian is 10 years old, sport obsessed and incredibly smart for her age. Reading from her point of view was refreshing, it was honest and innocent.

Incredibly easy to read and with the pacing set by an energetic 10 year old’s perspective, this book flies. It is the perfect tale of resilience and learning to overcome difficulties by finding the good things in your life.

Thank you so much to AusYaBloggers and UQP for having me along on the blog tour for this book.

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Review Post: Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

Published 2018 by Scholastic Aus

I love how we are thrown straight into the midst of the fighting, a scene we are familiar with from Disney’s Mulan. It brings the reader into the right mindset to get into this new, twisted tale.

The writing style is so easy to read, but it still has that feeling of a traditional style.
The scenes throughout this book are so richly detailed, it is so easy to imagine the levels of Diyu, because Lim is a wizard with descriptive writing.

Reflection is so action packed, there is never a dull moment. But the real action picks up when we encounter Mulan’s ancestors and her credibility as Ping, starts to come into question.

This book is such a fun addition to the Mulan franchise. I, personally am choosing to believe that this is actually what happened because it shows a gentle and vulnerable side to Shang and even more of Mulan’s loyalty and perseverance.

I did find Reflection to be a little lengthy, probably longer than it needs to be, to get the point across, but Lim’s descriptive writing makes it a beautiful read. I have loved diving back into the world of Mulan and saving China. This was a wonderful, deeper glimpse into the characters we know and love, as well as meeting fantastic new characters such as ShiShi.

The ending was perfect, it leads the reader perfectly into he end of the movie. What I especially loved was that even though we know Shang is Mulan’s love interest, the romance side of things is never pushed. It is there, gently being suggested, but it isn’t the main focus. I think that really shows not only respect for culture but also for the fact that this is a middle grade title.

Thank you so much to Scholastic for sending me a review copy of this title. It was a lovely dip back into Mulan’s world.

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Review: The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe

Published by Scholastic Australia

Before we get started, let the record show that I am a huge Jurassic Park/World fan and the minute I saw this book, I knew I had to have it. And I have quite high expectations going in. So lets get started!

This book has captivated me from the first page. Sharpe has a way with words in that you are learning as you read, but it feels like fiction. All of the historical facts and dinosaur facts woven into this book are incredible and add to the over all authenticity of it.

Arriving on Isla Nublar is incredible. I feel as though I am an intern taking my first steps on the island. The joy and curiosity is infectious and written so well. I find myself smiling and being genuinely excited as they uncover new things. Sharpe has such a way of deacribing what is happening, showing the reader what this new world is like. And the way she explains what each intern is doing, their physical responses, gestures, makes it so much easier to read their emotions and feelings on a situation.

I love how you don’t need to have seen any of the Jurassic Park/World movies to enjoy this book. It is easy to follow, quick to pick up and the perfect introduction to the movies, for younger readers. Or, if you’re like me and are obsessed with the films, this book is a fantastic adaptation that gives you, what feels like a backstage pass.

The respect I have for Sharpe is immense. The amount of research she would have had to do for this book is crazy. Yes, she had the movies to go to for visuals, but tje science, the plant names, the animal names themselves. It would have been a huge task. Not only does her research add so much authenticity to this book, it shows her passion for her content. And wow, is the content fantastic.

There are so many different characters, from different backgrounds, with different interests and it makes this book feel so diverse and real. Like a real internship program. Sharpe has taken the initiative to show readers it doesn’t matter how different you or your interests are to others, you are amazing and can do amazing things. The varied scientific skills that are shown, the media skills, the political and social skills. All of these are showing readers that your chosen skill set can get you places. It is inspiring and I hope it gets young readers more interested in the sciences.

This book is a rollercoaster. There are mysteries, plot twists, characte twists. Happiness and laughter followed by extreme sadness. This book has everything a reader wants, or needs, rather. The dinosaurs are just an added bonus!

It is chilling to see the events that changed the sweet, funny Claire we see in ‘The Evolution of Claire’ that turn her into the woman we first meet in Jurassic World. The elements of her personality that she loses through her trauma. I think she sums it up perfectly. She survived. And that alone changes a person. But this change has made her stronger, made her want to make Jurassic World be the best it could possibly be. Make it as safe as possible. And this is where we meet the Claire we love from the films.

What a fantastic read. Fast paced, jam packed full of action, science, friendship and loss. It is fun, and it takes a deeper step into what goes on in the park behind the scenes. Well written and so, so easy to read. This book is perfect for lovers of the films, of dinosaurs, or for younger girls looking for a positive, strong female scientific mind, to look up to. I love the amount of female scientists in this book. It is showing young girls that it is okay to want to know the answers to the big questions. To want to know how things work and why they work.

Thank you so much to Camila and the team at Scholastic Australia, for providing me with a review copy of this book. I am so grateful for the opportunity!

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Havenfall by Sara Holland : Review.

Publishes March 3, 2020. By Bloomsbury Australia

Havenfall was at the top of my list of anticipated reads for 2020, and after reading the first 20 pages, I am reassured that the excitement over it, is very real. As usual, Holland’s writing style is lyrical and mesmerizing. She has a way of writing and world building that makes you believe everything she is creating. That the worlds she is showing you, are completely real and have always exhisted.

I love the concept of this book. Of having worlds linked to earth via portals. It makes the story feel more accessible, like there may be alternate worlds just a hidden cave away. The Havenfall Inn is somewhere I wish I could go. Where people from all walks of life and from all worlds meet once a year, to share stories and gorge themselves on fancy food and drink.

I am so intrigued by the other worlds we see in this book. How Holland has created them to be so different yet so complementary. And what of Solaria, is it a place full of brutal murderers, like Maddie’s history suggests?

Maddie is such a fantastic character. She is strong and confident in herself and who she is. She knows her limits and her abilities. She knows what is expected of her. Even when she is thrust into a position that she wasn’t expecting for a number of years, she takes the bull by the horns and embraces it.

Wow, this book is keeping me on the edge of my seat. There is a feeling of impeding doom, of something big going to happen and from the sounds of the creatures from Solaria, I can only assume the doom is going to be incredible. It is hard to discern who trust within the walls of the Havenfall Inn. Everyone has their own agenda and plan for how to solve the problems they are facing. But who has the treaty’s best interests at heart.

Havenfall is a fast paced whirlwind. Filled with drama, danger and the sense of doing what is right, not for yourself, but for the greater good. From the first page you won’t be able to put this book down. Holland has a way of world building that draws you in. Her characters are so rounded and multi faceted. They leap from the page, wanting you to be part of the tale they are living.

Havenfall is a book that will leave you smiling. It is rich in character, detail, incredible worlds and strong people. Fast paced and pages that fly through your fingers. Sara Holland has written a fantastic piece of fantasy fiction.

Thank you so much to the team at Bloomsbury Australia for sending me an advanced reader copy of this book. I am already in dire need of the next book!