Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Hold Back The Tide by Melinda Salisbury

Published by Scholastic Australia, March 2020

Hold Back The Tide is an atmospheric and eerie tale of a young girl in an incredibly small town. It has the classic feel of a Scottish community, with the feel of change blowing through.

Alva is smart, she knows how to tell what the loch needs, what different fish appearing means and how to survive living with her father. She is honest and gritty and brave, someone who is willing to sacrifice herself, her own wants and dreams for the greater good.

For the first half of the book, the pacing is quite slow, giving you time to immerse into the small town. Around the halfway mark, things start to pick up. Things get darker, creepier and stranger.

Hold Back The Tide is terrifying. At first its eeriness and creepiness were chilling yes, but as we learn of what lurks in the lochs surrounding Ormscaula, the terror is turned up. From the halfway point, this book is going to have your heart beating out of your chest. It is race after face, for survival.

I haven’t read a book like this before. So rich with folklore and tradition. Packed to the brim with complex characters and villains who aren’t what you expect. Hold Back The Tide is terrifying, it shows you the overwhelming horror of humanity and of what may be lurking underneath our world.

Thank you so much to the team at Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy. I truly appreciate it. Even if I’ll be sleeping with the light on tonight…

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.