Hunting Monsters: This was a story that attempted to define the boundaries between good and evil in monsters and humans aliOriginally posted on my blog
Hunting Monsters: This was a story that attempted to define the boundaries between good and evil in monsters and humans alike. It describes a world where otherkin have the same rights as humans, whether they're monsters or not. This is a story based loosely on what happens after Little Red Riding Hood, and Beauty and the Beast. What I loved most about this story was the deviation from a traditional family setting. Xiao Hong lives with her mother, and is raised by both her and an estranged woman whom she calls Auntie Rosa. This alteration in the traditional family setting, as well as creating a Chinese main character in a white, traditional world creates a richer world and makes her mother a far more complex character than previously believed. Loved it. 5/5 stars
In Her Head, In Her Eyes Hase is a woman with a pot over her head, covering her eyes. As such, she is ridiculed not only by her fellow servants but the wives of her masters. She comes from the Island, where patterns are made up and people are born with them. Hase has been sent to get inspiration for pattern ideas. This was certainly an imaginative tale, a retelling of a Japanese tale that I've never heard of. This story changed tones very quickly, and I found that to be jarring at some points, and as a result, I'm giving it 3/5 stars.
Mrs Yaga I love that this story uses Polish words; it makes me feel right at home, just like Uprooted did. It also explores a mother-daughter relationship that isn't fully noticeable until the very end, when Aurelia realises that Yaga is sending all those boys on hopeless quests because she knows they're not good enough for her daughter. It's very reminiscent of Brave, in which the daughter claims herself, instead of letting a boy do it for her. 4/5 stars
The Mussel Eater This is a retelling of a Maori myth, which is a category I'm very unfamiliar with. Even so, the tone of the story feels ideally exotic and foreign, yet still familiar enough that I can understand some of the concepts (with Australia being so close to New Zealand). The story is utterly seductive, with food being a way to seduce--and ultimately, shackle--the Pania. Food is the focal point of the story, with Karitoki attempting to lure the Pania with cooked food and rubbing her with scented oils in a way to humanise her, to make her his. The ending is wonderful, paying homage to the imagery of food, and is a delightfully dark feminist twist. 5/5 stars
The Astronomer Who Met the North Wind I wasn't too much a fan of this story. It was mainly the constant telling versus showing. That sort of thing feels jarring to me, and I've never really liked it. The sotry felt rushed, and while it was a beautiful premise with interesting characters--I loved the tricksy North Wind--it never felt fully formed to me. I liked the honesty of the story, of Minka being defiant of all the people who try to dissuade her from being an astronomer because of her age or because of her gender. Her resistance to this wall of negativity is what drives the story, and I really liked the strength and will she displays. 3/5 stars
The Ninety-Ninth Bride This was the longest tale, and once again, relied on telling instead of showing. As a retelling of the 1001 Nights, of course there's going to be some quick recapping of some of the stories, but it just felt so derivative. The big reveal at the end, though, was what made it stand out. 4/5 stars...more
It is believed that only one thing will stop the centuries-old war between the bird-like Avicen and the dragon folk, the Read my review on my blog HERE
It is believed that only one thing will stop the centuries-old war between the bird-like Avicen and the dragon folk, the Drakharin, and it's up to Echo to find it.
After being found in a library after dark, Echo is adopted by the Ala, one of the Avicen, and brought to live in their magical world, hidden amongst the folds of humanity. When given the opportunity to end the war that ravages her people, Echo jumps at the chance, even if it means following a fairytale.
I liked this book a lot. It reminds me of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, in that it features a world that lives on the fringes of human society, beneath the subways, and in the in-between. The world-building is frankly gorgeous, and I can't wait to emerge myself into it again in the next book.
Echo is a nuanced character with a love for books and words. I loved how she would think of delicate and appropriate words for her situations, such as tsundoku, which translates as letting books pile up without reading them all, and psiturism: the sound of wind through the trees. It adds to the poetic and delicate prose, which is also gorgeous.
I think my biggest grievance is the romance. It develops too quickly, and turns into a bitter love-triangle. I think I would have tolerated it more if not for the fact that Echo already has a boyfriend while she pursues something with Caius, the Dragon Prince of the Drakharin.
The supporting cast is fun and varied, from the flamboyant peacock-Avicen, Jasper, to the quiet, brooding Dorian, who is in love with his best friend, Caius. I applaud the use of queer characters who have actual agency, and aren't just used as scenery. Here, they are given pivotal roles, and are as important as Echo herself.
I have severe anxiety. Leaving the house is sometimes a dreaded chore. Talking to people makes me want to cry. Everything feels too much in my brain. This is how Finding Audrey feels, as well. And it's amazing to finally find a character who is like me in so many ways. To be honest, my anxiety isn't near as bad as Audrey's, but anxiety is anxiety, no matter how bad.
I kept tearing up at how real her struggle is, because I know what it's like to have a panic attack. I know what it's like to avoid eye contact. I placed myself in Audrey's shoes and it was a brilliant experience.
Audrey's anxiety makes her unable to look people in the eyes, so she wear big, dark glasses everywhere, even inside the house. Her struggle is real and poignant, and it hurts so much because I know where she's coming from. I can't look people in the eyes properly, I get shaky when someone talks to me, even if it's a loved one, and I stutter when I speak to people because the words just don't want to come out. I understand her pain, and it makes the novel all the more realistic. It's obvious that Kinsella has researched for this book. There is one segment in the book where Audrey decides to stop taking her pills, just out of the blue. It takes a careful eye--one that perhaps only someone who takes pills would notice--but her behaviour becomes more erratic and unpredictable. This is the first time in a novel I've seen someone praise the use of medication for mentally unwell people. Most of the time, they stop taking their pills and are all better, but here, Audrey learns that she needs her pills to keep her stable. This was a big selling point for the book.
Other stellar mentions were the writing: it was fun, lighthearted, and I could barely put it down. This is such a brilliant book, and I love love love it. It's made me want to read more of Sophie Kinsella's books.
This feels like a precious gem, raw and unfiltered and sharp. It looks gorgeous on the outside, and it shines brightly froOriginally posted on my blog
This feels like a precious gem, raw and unfiltered and sharp. It looks gorgeous on the outside, and it shines brightly from the inside.
Lucy has to deal with the death of her brother, and doesn't know how to deal with it--as to be expected. She feels the pressure of life pressing down onto her: the stares from people at school; looking after her depressed mother; dealing with a father who just can't accept her way of grieving; swimming finals, when she can barely stand to be near water. When texts start being sent to her brother's phone from an unknown number, things get weird, and it draws Lucy even closer to the brink of obsession over her brother's death. Who is the mysterious girl that he drew before he died? Who is the person sending intimate messages to his phone? Since when has her mum had a history of depression? It makes her question her brothers death: was it merely a stupid accident, or was it suicide? The very idea that he could have killed himself is a chilling thought.
My one issue with this book is that out of nowhere, we would be in a flashback, and it was difficult to discern whether I was stuck in the present or the past. Lucy would be doing or thinking something, then she would be having a conversation with Cam that had happened before he died. It doesn't even use past tenses to denote the flashbacks, which made things very confusing.
The romance was sweet. Evan is a cute guy, and the things that happen between them is so realistic, and so so so sexy at times. It made me yearn for that first-love feeling. It's been a while since I felt that way from a book.
I read it in one sitting, within 3 hours, devouring every single word and sighing constantly at how perfectly relatable it was. It felt so distinctively Australian, and as I write this, I'm surrounded by eucalyptus trees, and kookaburras are laughing their little heads off. There's the screech of cockatoos, and I saw a kangaroo yesterday from the train. It made me smile and embrace these things.
This book is so raw and emotional, I kept crying for most of the second half. Even now, just reminiscing about it is making me tear up. How does Doyle manage to get right into my heart with those amazing words of hers?
Doyle has captured the Australian voice so well, it made me feel right at home. This was a stunning debut, and I can't wait to read more from her. ...more
I really love that Lani put so much depth and darkness into a seemingly innocent nursery tale. She has fleshed out the characters so richly, and in suI really love that Lani put so much depth and darkness into a seemingly innocent nursery tale. She has fleshed out the characters so richly, and in such unique ways. And, as always, her writing is gorgeous. Distinctly prosaic with a touch of the gothic classicism. I could get lost in her words forever. It had an expected ending--if you know the nursery tale, then you wouldn't be too surprised by the outcome. It was a tragic and morbid ending.
But for anyone who needs trigger warnings: TW: abuse, TW: self harm...more