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Top 5 Austalian Authors

This is a list that I could have made go on for ever, but we all know that, that would be horrible to read, so I made it a list of 5! I wanted to write this list purely so I could get some more Aussie Authors out there. I, as a reader, have often struggled with finding books written by an Australian Author, not just because the book industry is flooded with authors from everywhere else, but a long time ago, the books written by Aussies, just had a completely different feel, and the pacing was slower. I guess that reflects our over-all personalities though. But lately I have discovered a whole treasure trove of fantastic Australian Authors, from a wide range of genres. Some I have found recently, others I have been reading for years!  So, without further ado and in no particular order, let’s begin!

#1 – Matthew Reilly,

Do I even need to go on? This man has written some of the best, most action-packed fiction, ever. The Scarecrow series being one of my favourites! He writes with such passion and energy, it is hard to not get swept away by his writing. I was first shown the world of Matthew Reilly by my aunty, she has every book he has ever written and kept telling me about him I foolishly assumed that it was romance or something that I wasn’t interested in at the time (I was 16ish). But eventually I let her force Ice Station on me, and I was hooked. Since then I have slowly been collecting his works in Hard Cover. My latest obsession is the Seven Deadly Wonders series. I love how Reilly combines illustration and text, how he takes you on an adventure that could be highly possible, in each book.

 

#2 Scot Gardner

This man is a little less well known, yet his works are incredibly relevant and raw. Scot writes novels such as White Ute Dreaming and Gravity. Both of which are purely Australian and look as different aspects facing teenagers in the Australian culture. He writes with a rawness that pulls at your heart strings and creates a relationship with the characters within the first page. Scot Writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, fiction that will make you feel and instantly be able to relate to the characters or know someone who has gone through what Gardiner’s characters are going through.

I discovered Gardner in high-school and it was the prefect time to find him. His writing is so honest and filled with the knowledge of what it is to be Australian, what it is to live somewhere isolated and not have as many social outlets or channels for progression and growth as those who live in suburban areas. His books are often quite short, around 250 pages, but their content is quite in your face and hits the mark early in the book. Definitely an author you need to try!

 

#3 Jenna Guillaume

I have only just stumbled across Jenna, through her debut novel that was sent to me by MacMillan Australia for reviewing. Her debut novel, What I Like About Me is a coming of age novel about finding yourself and your place in the world. Accepting who you are and learning to love that person. It is an uplifting tale of growing up in Australia, with such typical Aussie characters. Jenna has a way of creating settings and characters that feel incredibly real, that make you feel as though you have been there too. And seeing how it is set in Australia, you probably have!

 

#4 Rachael Treasure

Can you call yourself an Aussie if you haven’t read at least one of Rachael Treasure’s novels? Rachael is near and dear to my heart, as she is a fellow Tasmanian. I have been reading her novels since I was 16 and I lost myself in them. She has written Jillaroo, The Stockman, The Rouseabout, The Farmers Wife and many more, including her own spin on Fifty Shades of Grey called Fifty Bales of Hay. Rachael is an incredible writer who encompasses the true Aussie spirit within her writing, not leaving of the ‘hard stuff’ out of her writing. Her novels are more aimed towards adults, as some of the content may be a little much for the YA audience.

 

#5 Lynette Noni

I couldn’t really get into her first series, The Mendoran Series, however, Whisper, was speaking my language. I feel as though Lynette has a way with words that throw you into the deep end, keep you thinking and then slowly reveal the secrets that she has been keeping. I also love the way she is able to show you exactly what she wants you to see, she doesn’t telly you that the sky is blue, she describes the day, the feelings of the characters and lets you make your own mind up about the colour of the sky.

 

I know there are quite a few that I have missed from this list, but these were the first five, that jumped into my mind when I sat down to write this post. If you haven’t checked out these authors, you seriously need to. Their writing is incredible! If you have any other Aussie Authors that you think I need to pay some reading visits to, please comment below and let me know!

 

Thanks for reading!

Julie

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume

This book came to me as a complete surprise from MacMillan Australia, and I am so excited! It is my first book from MacMillan and I can’t wait to jump into it! It does have a blogging review embargo on it so this review, obviously has been posted after the 26th of February, even though I wrote this a while ago.

As always, here is the disclaimer telling you that this post does contain SPOILERS! So if you haven’t read this book and are planning to, I suggest you look away now, click THIS link which takes you to my spoiler-free GoodReads review!

 

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What I Like About Me by Jenna Guilaume

Publishes in March 2019 by Pan MacMillan

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Well, firstly let me say, I am so so soooo excited that this book is by an Aussie author and that is it set in Australia and is about Australian people. I can relate to this book on so many levels. This is the book that I wanted to write when I was in high school, written from the point of view and voice of young adults, wanting to be someone that they aren’t, and too scared to be who they really are. I can see this book being a masterpiece of coming of age and accepting who you are, being proud of who you are.

I did find the voice to be quite young, but then again, she is 15/16 so it makes sense. But I am loving the writing style and the voice of Maisie, she is funny and vibrant and brutally honest (with her journal anyway). I’m not too sure about Anna, she seems to want the best for Maisie, as most best friends do, but it feels a little fake? As though she is saying what she thinks she has to say, not what she wants to?

Hello new female character! You are so much fun! I love how free-spirited Leila is! What a breath of fresh air, I think she will be great for Maisie, maybe get some of her inner monologue out, into conversation!

Ooh, so we have just found out that Maisie is a slightly bigger girl, I rarely see size when I am reading, so to be told that Maisie feels insecure about her body as it is on the bigger size is a great piece of information. It makes the book make a little more sense, as to why she is so jealous of Anna and her perfect body and #hotgirl status. I can feel this book becoming a body positivity bible and I am so ready!

Yaaas Maisie! We are 150ish pages in and finally Maisie has turned the corner. She is beautiful, funny and worth people’s time and now that she has realised that, I can’t wait to see what she can achieve!

Also woohoo Maisie and Beamer! I love their fling, It will totally turn into a relationship, it has the feels of Lara-Jean and Peter Kavinsky written all over it. It is so incredibly obvious that Beamer really likes Maisie, and has since the beginning of the book, but Maisie was too blindsided by how she thought she felt for Sebastian and by her own body image that she couldn’t see Beamer. And woah was she missing out, the moment when you can tell there is a shift in Maisie is when she starts to tell us about Beamer, up until the pool party Beamer doesn’t really get a description, he is just a super annoying boy who isn’t Sebastian, but woahh, now we know he is tall, broad and muscular. Why did you not like him Maisie! Who doesn’t like a bit of banter! I can’t wait to see what this blossoms into, I think they are well suited.

Also this whole beauty pageant thing, is giving me Dumplin’ vibes. Body positivity for the win. I understand why Maisie didn’t want to enter, not just because of her own self-image, but to live up to the expectations of her mother and that her sister won it previously, does add some pressure. But I am so proud of her for listening to Leila and entering! I think that there is also much more to her sister and their relationship than meets the eye. I think her sister is also experiencing some image issues, trying to work out who she is but is so used to everyone expecting her to be perfect that she doesn’t really know what to do anymore.

This book deals with so many aspects of family life, of growing up and of finding yourself, it is incredible. We have body image issues, divorce, relationships, gay/queer relationships, friendship dilemmas, family dilemmas, the list could go on. I just love that it is so diverse in its content! That is isn’t completely about the plus size girl, doing things that traditionally, only skinny girls would do.

Okay, so I just finished this book, but before I go into my end of book review, can I just say, yes things tied up neatly and were presented with a bow. Yes Maisie kicked serious pageant butt and eventually realised that she actually did like Beamer. But it was the final page that really stole the show. It was laugh-out-loud funny, just what this book needed to finish with.

This book was great, I am so grateful to MacMillan for sending it to me to review. I had a blast reading it. It is honest and raw and looks at so many different aspects of growing up. It is well written and fast paced, the pages keep turning faster and faster until there are no pages left and you wish there were more. I love that this is an Australian book, I find it makes the characters easier to relate to because they go to places I go to and speak like I speak and use slangs that I use. I loved that about this book, and I think that is what made me like it so much. Yes, this book has some similarities to other popular novels such as Dumplin, but this took on a world of its own. I adore how it was written in diary entries, not only did it give the reader a much clearer sense of how the protagonist was feeling and why she was doing what she was doing, but it made it easier to read. It broke up the intense moments and also intensified the moments that usually would have been overlooked.

So, as you can see, I am definitely a fan of this book. It is both light-hearted but also incredibly thought provoking, one quote in particular stuck with me:

“You don’t think Eva is brave for going to the beach in a bikini do you? Or anyone else? That’s what you wear to the beach. A bikini. The idea of wearing one is a brave act just because you aren’t a stick figure is kind of fucked up.” Bess Page 220

This book is a wakeup call to all of the teenage and twenty something girls out there that have been smacked in the face with tiny models on their tv’s and magazines all of their lives, and think that in order to be respected and to matter, that they need to be skinny and eat certain things and if they don’t fit that mould, then they can’t wear certain clothes or go to certain places. This book is made for girls who feel that way. Love who you are, you are you for a reason! Wear that Bikini, eat that cake, get the hair cut!

This book is a must read for 2019 and sums up the change that the world needs to see!

Thanks for reading.

Julie.

 

Ps. Seriously, read this book…

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

As always, here is your review and ramblings Spoiler disclaimer. This post includes spoilers for both Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. I highly recommend you look away now if you haven’t read either of these books, these are such deep and complex novels, you don’t want them spoiled! My GoodReads, spoiler free review is HERE if you are interested.

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Letters To The Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

Published April 4th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

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So, This is book one in a stand-alone series. Meaning that you can read them on their own or as a series and they will still make sense. They follow the lives of different characters within the books. I actually read More Than We Can Tell (Review and Ramblings HERE), before Letters To The Lost, something that people keep grumbling at me about.

I love Kemmerer’s writing style, it is always easy to read and to get into. But I already think Rev’s story (More Than We Can Tell, MTWCT for short), is better? I’m only 30 pages into this book and I just feel like it hasn’t really taken off yet and we don’t’ know much about Declan either. Other than he is a creepy grave letter reader and writer. I am so torn on the subject of him picking up a letter written to a person who has passed away. I realise if he didn’t then we wouldn’t have this book, but it feels so disrespectful? Like he has taken Jules’s private mourning and turned it into a game to make himself feel better? I’ll see if my impression changes as I get further through the book.

I’m a little more invested in this book now, it has really started to pick up and now, after seeing more of Declan and feeling his pain, I understand why he read and replied to Jules’ letters. He needs them just as much as she does. I still think it was a horrible thing for him to pick up the letter and read it, but if he didn’t, both of them wouldn’t be getting stronger or braver. They wouldn’t be starting to heal.

Oh wow, she thinks the person writing the letters is Rev, I soooo hope that she doesn’t say it out loud, or worse, ask Rev if it is him, in front of Declan. They are both giving so much of themselves away in their e-mails, but Jules isn’t looking deep enough at what Declan is saying.

I think it is a little cruel that Declan knows who she is, yet Jules is completely in the dark. At the same time though, I think it taught Declan a valuable lesson, that he is doing to people, what he hates people doing to them. That he has to look deeper than the façade that everyone is putting up in public.

I still adore Rev’s character. I am learning so much more about him in this book. What a kind and giving soul he is. Which is surprising after what he suffered as a child. I read More Than We Can Tell first, and it made me completely obsessed with Rev, he is one of my all time favourite characters. But in this book we see almost another side of him. The side that his friends and family see, rather than the Rev he wants us to see? Pushing a foster baby around the neighbourhood in a pram so that she will stop fussing and have a sleep so his mum can do the same thing, helping strangers jump start their cars, being an honest and reliable friend to Declan. He is such a deep and complex character. I almost want another book just about him!

Declan’s character development from start to finish is incredible. He was always a smart, educated and strong guy, but in the beginning we just saw him as he wanted to be seen, a thug with a criminal record and a death wish. By the end, we see the smart student, the caring child and to be sibling. We see the love he has for his mother and for Rev. We see him wanting to succeed, to help people and to help Juliette be the best person she can be.

I had 50 pages left of this book and I thought to myself, that I didn’t find this book as emotionally charged as More Than We Can Tell, but then I finished it, and found myself crying. I am still trying to work out what it was that gave me this emotional reaction. If it was Declan’s strength, to overcome his fears and confront Allan, to speak up to his mum, to be brave enough to take on working on other people’s cars as work. Or if it was his realisation that he wanted a life, he wanted to do well in school, wanted to live with his mum and step father, wanted Rev to be proud of him, wanted Juliette to know who he was, who he really was.

I didn’t find myself very reactive to Juliettes story line. I understand how it will be confronting and moving for a lot of people who have had to deal with similar things. I can’t even imagine losing my mother, let alone in such a difficult way. But she seemed to be like the antagonist of the book. Always pressing, over-reacting, acting as the victim. I’m not judging, she was suffering and probably highly traumatized. I just found it hard to like her.

I went into this book with high expectations, I am a huge fan of Kemmerers work, and I wasn’t let down. Well written, easy to read, fantastically complex characters. The pacing is perfect, Kemmerer really knows when to slow things down and speed them up. She knows the right amount of sarcasm to use to hide pain, to hide truth and to show a characters sense of humour.

I didn’t enjoy it as much as More Than We Can Tell. But it was still a wild Ride!

This is a shorter Reveiw & Ramblings post, than usual. Shorter than I’d like, but I was camping while reading this and didn’t have access to anything to jot my thoughts down as I was reading. I like to write them as I read, as a diary as well as a review.

Thanks for reading!

Julie

Reviews & Ramblings

Review and Ramblings – Genine Fraud by e. lockhart

I have had this book on my shelf for longer than I would care to admit, so when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I had to have it, and read it… Yes I am one of those people who like to keep my books perfect and not looking like they have been read, so the library is my best friend. Anyway, as usual, this review and ramblings will be totally spoiler filled, so look away now if you haven’t read this book. My non-spoiler filled GoodReads review can be found HERE.

Also this is a TRIGGER WARNING, this book  and hence this review contains mentions of murder, shootings, suicide through multiple ways. If any of these things are triggers for you, then this review and ramblings is probably something I would give a miss xx

Also before I begin, a little note. I write these Reviews and Ramblings as I am reading. They are like a diary of notes I take as I am reading the novel. If something happens, I write my reactions, thoughts, ideas and personal opinions. I love this aspect of reviewing a book and I find it makes them more honest. The reviews, I post on GoodReads, I condense from these ramblings. Lets begin!

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Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart

Published September 5th 2017 by Delacorte Press

4/5 Stars

 

 

 

 

Well, once again Lockhart has created something with such a relaxed writing style. It Is easy to read, even though it feels like the story isn’t going anywhere. I am feeling like I am being told snippets of Jule’s life, but none of them match up, so to speak? I am 60 pages in, well past my cut off for intrigue, and I am interested to see what happens, but It is feeling like nothing is happening and we are stuck in a pattern of reliving the past.

 

I’m not sure about Jule, I can’t tell if she is truthful or if she is an unreliable narrator. Her life seems rather enchanted for someone who was raised with nothing. I have this dreadful feeling that she was the one who murdered Imogen too, for her money, so she could seek revenge for her own parents lives.

 

Woah, this book has gone from zero to one hundred in like 40 pages. I knew Jule was crazy, but I didn’t realise she was a murderer! But she is so incredibly smart too! She knew exactly how to trap Brooke, how to get her to go hiking, how to kill her, push her over the edge and then leave her car, dispose of the evidence. She didn’t even look back, she killed her then forgot about it, until Paolo mentioned that they had found her body. I am almost positive, now that she killed Imogen, to assume her identity. But who is Jule anyway? She keeps mentioning how there is no record of her, no fingerprints in the system. She changes her identity and hair colour and bank accounts regularly. Who is this girl!? I am halfway through now and I need to know more. A tiny part of me feels like I am being played? Like maybe we have an unreliable narrator here, spinning tales?

 

This book is psychologically thrilling! The whole way through I am in a state of constant confusion, trying to piece together Jule’s chapters, to work out what is real and what is fake. I’m not going to lie I have had several WTF moments, where I have had to re-read a chapter several times, to make sense of it. I’m loving the pacing, the writing style and the shorter sub-chapters. It keeps the story flowing, the characters active and the mind completely confused.

The backwards orientation of the plot is slightly off putting, but I think that may be the point? Like I am so used to reading a book and having the character progress and learn things and grow, but we are seeing Jule, regress into a murdering, identity stealing, psycho.  I am finding, I am going back the start of a chapter and checking the month and year, then flicking back to the start of the book to see where I am up to, in relation to the beginning of the book. It is getting progressively creepier as we regress into Jule’s past. And it is a recent past, I think that is what makes it so creepy. It starts off as not too creepy, but you can tell something is off, and now it is just all out crazy town.  I am devouring this book, I am sure I’ll finish it one sitting, it is the kid of read, that is kind of like a car crash, the whole you know something is horrible and feels wrong, but you can’t look away? Yeah well that is me with this book. I know it is creepy and that something horrible is coming, more horrible than what I have already discovered, but I can’t stop reading. I need to know what happens next!

I knew it! I effing knew it! She killed Imogen! Page 173! Imogen called her on her stores that made no sense, on her dressing like her, admiring her, and Jule couldn’t take it and wacked her over the head with an oar! I knew it! But some tiny part of me wants to know more about Jule, about her past, why, other than seeing her parents dead on the street, is she they way she is? Clinging to any kind of human interaction like it is air, and then turning into a murderer when things start to go south. What happened to her to make her that way? But seriously, I wrote this paragraph to gloat. I knew it! It may have taken me the first 100 pages to nut it out. But yay! Julie -1 Genuine Fraud – 0!

 

Well there is one lie down Jule! Your parents weren’t brutally murdered in front of you! Your mum died of an illness and your father couldn’t live without her so he slit his wrists in the bath. I just realised that I sound quite callous, this is not my intention, but I literally have 30 pages left in this book and any small truth reveal is a victory at this point. I feel like we are slowly learning about Jule and what makes her tick. As well as why she lies, but woah I was not expecting her stalker-ish love of Imogen, I thought maybe their friendship naturally happened and it grew into something more, but not that Jule stalked Imogen and placed herself in front of her, hoping that Imogen would take an interest.

We are also learning about Imogen, how she has the need to surround herself with people, and that these people have to be alternated every few weeks. She needs to be the centre of the earth, be with people that value her, that need her. She wants to be wanted and needs to be needed. Until she doesn’t. In this way, she is using people. Taking all of the love and energy that they have to give, then casting them aside for a new source of this love and adoration.

Woah hello page 233-34! I was so wrong about Jule! She didn’t stalk Imogen. Imogen’s parents, her sweet, over caring, super loving parents hired her to go and see if she was okay. To look for her and let them know that she was alright… Their hearts were in the right place but honestly, they gave her thousands of dollars in gift cards, flights to get to the Vineyard and basically told her to make their daughter trust her and report back to them. This story is wrong on so many levels! Little did they know that they were sending a girl with murderous tendencies after their daughter!

 

Well the last few pages are getting mighty dull. This conversation with a pimp who wants to employ here feels like forced backstory, it is all coming out at once. However I don’t know how much of it is truth after all of the lies I’ve been told by Jule… It feels like fluff that we need to be told to fill plot gaps. I do appreciate it, but I didn’t think there needed to be a focus on her accents, yes I picked up through the story that she changes her accents, but for there to be a whole chapter about the way she learned them and how many she can do, seems a little over kill.  I get that it lead up to her running away to New York and ultimately meeting Imogen’s mother while working a catering job, but it felt like a lot of back-fill in one tiny chapter.

Ooh finally a time jump back to the present day! I’ve been waiting for this! WHAAAAAAT!!?? No! The detective is investigating the disappearance of Jule’s! She thinks that Jule’s is Imogen for reals! This book man. I am dead. I sooo expected this to go a different way! I thought Jule’s was about to be arrested for all of those bloody murders she had committed! No WAY! Woah this is some crazy shit! Now Imogen, who is really Jule, is getting investigated for faking her own death and then murdering Jule and stealing her identity… what the heck is happeniiinnngggggg!

What a cold hearted bitch! She just dropped her identity, got rid of everything that tied her to Imogen and now is moving on to someone else, to live her life in a different place, as someone else. After the whole book being about Jule and Imogen and it wasn’t even about them at all, Imogen was just a way for Jule to make some money, an identity to assume until its perks ran out!?

I love e. lockharts writing style and her ability to create characters that are incredibly deep and rich with emotion and a rawness that you don’t often see in YA fiction. I did enjoy the ride this book took me on. I was constantly on the edge of my seat and second guessing every conversation, every action and every thought that these characters were having. This book is psychologically thrilling and really makes you think about what is actually going on.

These characters – Imogen and Jule – are so complex in themselves, that the settings they are in around the world and the other people in their lives hardly matter. They are incredible characters. There is so much you can read into each of them and this is what makes this book such a good and confusing read. The ending blew my mind! Honestly, who would have expected that plot twist! I had Jule all wrong! I had her pegged as a stalker, as a needy, I’ll kill you if you don’t love me kind of stalker. I was soooo wrong. She is tough, she doesn’t need anyone and she is more than capable of being on her own. She uses people until she has no need for them, then leaves, taking their identity, their accent and their money with her. She is such a strong character!

This book was different from a lot of the current YA fiction books I have been reading lately. There was hardly any romance involved from the Protagonist’s point of view, which was so refreshing. I love that this book didn’t need a love interest to keep the ball rolling. I also feel the way it was set out, reverse chronologically gave it an edge. Yes it confused me to begin with, but after reading the whole thing it made total sense! This is one I definitely will be keeping on my shelves to read again, when I next need me some phycological thrilling!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Julie

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review and Ramblings: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

As always, here is your spoiler warning, loud and clear. This review will go into detail about everything that happens in this book, from page 1 to page 407. HERE is your spoiler free GoodReads Review. If by chance you haven’t read this book, I suggest you pop on the above link and save yourself from ruining this amazing book.

 

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The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

5/5 Stars

 

 

Wow, why did it take me so long to read this book? I went into this book knowing only that it was about horses in some way, and woah was I surprised with that I found! I love Stiefvaters writing style, it draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page has been read.

I am loving Puck and I think her nick-name fits her perfectly, she is plucky. Brave, smart and full of energy, she loves her family, her horse and wants to better herself and her chances in life.  In saying that, I also Love Sean, and by love I mean love. He is the book boyfriend type, good with horses, a man of few words, and has the power of the sea in his suggestions. He is also quietly confident in himself, he knows his abilities, knows that people’s safety and ultimately, their lives rely on him and his abilities. A lot for a 19-year-old to deal with.

I need to know how Sean got his ability, to whisper with the power of the ocean and have his intentions heard and heeded. Was this his wish that was granted from the Horse Goddess and the Riders Festival? Or was he born with a connection to the ocean that he uses to assist his talents with horses. I think that there is something we aren’t being told surrounding this question. We are being told that he gets another wish, which hints that the first was his ability to speak to horses on a level that they understand. Also How did he learn all of the hints and tricks with the Capalls? With the stones, berries and tracing clockwise circles on their veins.  Was it his father who taught him, or did he just come to know it all through his work with them? Or is it also  an aspect of his gift?

 

My heart is actually breaking for Sean, he gambles everything and lost it all, his income, his job, his place to live, and his soul. By losing Corr, he has ultimately lost his soul. He has spent 7 years working with Corr (I know, 7 years!! Makes him incredibly young when he started) and now he has lost the one thing that makes him who he is. Or so he thinks. Corr to me is Sean’s comfort, his security, he feel that as long has he has Corr, he will be okay, he will have something to aspire to, to care for and be cared for in return.

The connection Sean has with Corr is incredible, we already knew that from the first half of the book, but now I am into the second half  and see Sean and Corr save the lives of countless men and horses, all due to their connection and Sean’sability to whisper his intentions and have them heard and heeded. We see in all of the other Capall Uisce, that they are damaging, violent, wild things, but Corr wants to please Sean, he wants to look after him, to let him teach him new things. He loves Sean, as Sean loves Him.

The Water horses are mesmerising… or they would be if we were given images to look at. Just the descriptions of them are incredible. Part of me wishes they were real. The folk-lore surrounding them is fantastic, they are these sentient beings, swimming through the ocean, targeting drowning sailors or swimming children, mostly content until November when the oceans get wilder and the rains come, drawing them up onto the beach in inland seeking food. The fact that they are almost impossible to hear coming, that they eat meat and that they are as fast as the wind, are all just chilling factors that make them even more appealing to me!

Time after time the people of Thisby rely on Sean Kendrick to save them. He is who they go to when something happens with a water horse, the one who drops everything to help them, to save them and the horse. Yet he is the outcast, the person no one likes or wants to be around. They all depend on him, yet no one shows him an ounce of kindness. I guess it is true what they say, ‘It is lonely at the top’.

Sean offering Puck a ride on Corr is like him offering her a piece of his soul. Like he so wants her to see the real him through Corr. He wants to be near her, to have that companionship, but he wants to make sure she will respect and care for the one thing in his entire world that means more to him than his own life. Sean and Puck, they make sense, they complement each other and they also challenge each other. Their strength and passion for horses draws them together, but they are both too stubborn and set in their ways to act on their feelings. In a way I am glad for this, this book is amazing as it is without a romantic spin, it doesn’t need it to make the story better, but I would like to see Sean happy. He deserves it.

Omg yes finally a kiss! But it is so much more than a kiss, it is a proclamation, a directive that they are a team, that they are in this thing together and will fight for each other.

George Holly… what an interesting character. He encourages Sean to be his best self, to realise his self-worth, he is also investing in Seans advice, in his knowledge, but he also pushed him. He pushes Sean, he pushes Malvern and he seems to do so in a quite manipulative fashion. What is this guys deal? Is he friend or foe?  I think he may be a friend, after all, he has stuck around for Sean and helped him discover what it is that he really wants from life. He is almost a father figure towards the end of the book. Holly hits the nail on the head when he tells Sean, and I am paraphrasing, that his dream is to return to Thisby and purchase the colt from the pairing of his brood mare and Seans Stallion Corr, that he will find Puck in Seans bed and a paddock full of horses in his yard. I think that Sean is also starting to realise that this is his dream. To be recognised properly for all of his hard work. To have someone to believe in him is turning him into a man, just as quickly as finding the woman who will fight with him, and stand by his side.

Mutt Malvern, what a disgusting excuse for a human being. He is malicious, callous and cares for nothing and no one who isn’t himself. The way he can destroy an innocent horse’s life, just to stab Sean in the heart, because of something his father said, is absolutely horrific. This character is definitely the villain of our story. He isn’t even the tiniest bit likeable. I feel pity if anything for him, that his father regards him as a bastard, that he isn’t good enough to be trusted to catch, break and train his own capall uisce. He is cowardly, he makes his decisions based on hate, then doesn’t follow through once he has been confronted. When he took Corr to the beach, he did so because he wanted to show up Sean, not because he thought he could control the horse. He is full of spite and hate and cowardice.

Heck yes Puck Connoly, you did it! You faces the odds, the hundreds of people who doubted you and you won. Your island horse out ran the Capall uisce, she fought hard and bravely and you held her to the finish line! What an achievement. Yes, your achievement is bitter-sweet, poor Sean, poor Corr, but the beauty of Corr being Sean’s is that now he can use him as a breeding stallion to set up that future he never thought he would have access to. Any other owner would simply put him down, but not Sean, if he can get him from Malvern, he will rest him, heal him and together they will build a future.

 

I’m not crying, you’re crying! What an ending! What an amazing horse, what an amazing read. The strength it took for Sean to let Corr go, to where he could heal and be free, and Corr couldn’t go without Sean. He cried and keened for him to follow, and when Sean didn’t enter the ocean, Corr came back. Needing Sean just as much as Sean needed him.

This book was something else, something special. Showing that love truly does conquer all. That there is strength in friends, in the people you choose to surround yourself with. The character development we see within this book is incredible. We see Puck go from a slightly outspoken child to a brave, strong woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and go after what she wants in life. We see Sean taking advice from someone he never expected to walk into his life, an ally he didn’t know he needed. We see him realising what it is that truly makes him happy, that breaking horses for Malvern isn’t all he needs or wants from life. We see him grow from a boy to a man.

What I love the most about Puck and Sean’s relationship is that there is no obvious sex orientated scenes, like we see in so many young adult novels. They share one kiss throughout the entire book, they barely touch and yet their connection is so strong, it leaps from the pages. That is the kind of relationship I want more of. Which brings me to needing another book. Come on Maggie, tell me more about Sean, more about his and Puck’s future. More about Corr and Holly. There is so much more to be told and experienced.

 

“I will not be you’re weakness, Sean Kendrick”

“It’s late for that, Puck”

 

I’ll leave you with that

Julie