Category Archives: Reviews

The Unleashing

I have just finished reading The Unleashing which is Book One in the Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston. I have not read any of Shelly’s other publications so this was a new author for me too. I got this book through my local library’s Overdrive account.

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I was drawn to the book not just because of the cover (hehe), but also because I have always enjoyed Norse mythology and was very intrigued by the idea of the Norse clans in a modern setting.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It was full of very strong female characters, I read a review that said they were not believable… I am guessing that reviewer was male because I have absolutely met women like that 🙂 I am a sucker for fiction that displays women in a strong light. I like it even more when they do not swoon at the first glimpse of abs. The story centers around the journey of Kera and her growth and discoveries about herself and her world. She’s strong, doesn’t take crap and the main love of her life is a pit bull she rescued off the street after it had been dumped for dead after being used in a dog fight ring… who wouldn’t love this girl?! Obviously I am totally biased as soon as a rescue dog became involved. My dream would be to buy a ranch where abused dogs are rehabilitated and given a second chance so I was hooked as soon as I read this part.

I liked the character of Ludvig as well, wasn’t sure I would at first, but he definitely grows on you. In fact all the characters do. It can get a little chaotic trying to keep them straight as there are a lot of characters running about, but it is not too bad.

I didn’t realise that the book was part of a series when I chose to read it which is a bummer because I will have to search for book two as my library does not have it. The end was a definite cliffhanger and I wasn’t expecting the book to end there. Just all of a sudden people were making statements and overtures and I was thinking to myself ‘huh, that’s weird, this is wrap up talk, but there’s so much more plot to work… oh it’s finished…’ the wrap up was a little to abrupt for me, but I think I felt that way too because I wasn’t ready for it to end.

Goodreads says there are two more books in the series. I would definitely like to check them out. I just like giving fair warning to anyone interested in reading that they might be committing to a series hahaha.

What are you all reading?


Burned

WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead. Short non-spoiler version: This was a good follow on from the other novels. Found some surprises in here. There were things I liked and didn’t like. Was interested very much in how she developed Dani’s character whilst hating it at the same time.

BurnedThis book seems to be receiving some serious flack in some of the reviews I have read. I was pretty happy in general with this book. I didn’t tear through it as much as the other books in the series for some reason, but it certainly wasn’t the travesty that people are making it out to be. There were parts of it I loved and parts not so much, but the likes far outweighed the dislikes.

In general this was a good installment in the series and I am looking forward to the next one. I still LOVE the world building in this series. There were a couple of completely new areas that we visited with the characters and I could completely construct a visual in my head thanks to Moning’s world building. Her descriptions of the Crimson Hag are just spot on and at times made me cringe, they could possibly give someone nightmares haha.

The characters interacted well and I still love the arguing between groups and the banter that goes on. We saw more of some characters that have so far been mostly in the background which was great and I liked the development of Lor’s character very much. I also appreciated getting to know more about the Nine and finding out about some of Ryodan’s much protected secrets.

-WARNING – BIG SPOILER – SKIP THIS PART IF YOU WANT –

I loved the character of Dani from the other books, I was a bit put off with the changes to her character. I knew something was coming with her because it felt like this was the way we were going with some kind of hidden personality. I was just disappointed when Dani disappeared right at the beginning of the book and I guess her character was so full of life that I really felt the loss in the group. Especially when she was replaced with this next gen Dani/Amazon warrior with the personality of a paper bag. I struggle with this because I love Dani, but at the same time it was such a clever development.

I’m glad I finally got to read this book. It has been on my TBR pile for some time (like you know… since it was published haha). Looking forward to getting hold of the next one.


The Princess Diarist

WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead. Short non-spoiler version: It was good… you should read it 🙂 Yay Carrie Fisher!

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Ahh The Princess Diarist… When I found out this was coming out I made sure the library was getting a copy. With the release of the Star Wars VII there was a lot of renewed interest from our patrons in Carrie Fisher’s books. As well as pretty much anything that could in some way maybe be slightly related to anything Star Wars 🙂

When we got it in there was definitely interest and I wanted to read it myself so I put on a reserve and waited patiently. Unfortunately no librarian perks when it comes to the reserves queue hahaha.

When I borrowed the book I got a few chapters in that night and the next day Carrie Fisher passed away. Some of what she wrote in the book talked about her eventual passing and it was just too weird and sad to continue reading it at that time so I returned it and let the other masses waiting for it go first.

So a couple of months down the track now the hordes have cleared I decided to give it another go. I really enjoyed this book. Bios are not generally something I steer towards, but I have found that when they are well written and interesting I do enjoy them.

It was quite interesting to see the differences between the writing styles of “present” day Carrie and the pages of 19 year old Carrie’s journals. It was very apparent from 19yo Carrie’s writing that she was very much infatuated by Harrison, though present day Carrie is reasonably discrete about the affair itself 19yo Carrie seemingly (to me) struggled under the banner of secrecy. If you are looking for some ground shattering literary genius out of those diaries you are not going to get it. They are what you would expect of a creative, somewhat angsty 19yo who’s smoking joints and head over heels. Kind of felt as though perhaps she had gotten hold of some of my old journals except I had more of a penchant for songs than poems.

I really enjoyed the behind the scenes parts of the memoir and I liked how she simultaneously loves and hates cons. She has a special tongue in cheek love for her fans as well.

Her writing style is quite quirky and you can almost imagine her saying the words as you read along. Actually the audio book would probably be great!

She does make a few references to her inevitable passing as well as that of her mother which made reading the book quite touching, but beautiful at the same time. One of the most poignant parts of the book for me was in the acknowledgements when she thanks her mother for “being too stubborn and thoughtful to die, “I love you, but that whole emergency, almost dying thing, wasn’t funny. Don’t even THINK about doing it again in any form.” Given that her mother died just one day after Carrie what was probably meant to be a wry joke took on a much more tender meaning.

If you are a fan of Carrie Fisher you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for some scandalous tell all on “Carrison” then this is probably not for you 🙂 But you will likely find some amazingly graphic fan fiction online hahaha. Whatever floats your boat, no judgement.

 


The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness is book 3 in The Remnant Chronicles saga and is my book number 2 for 52 books in 52 weeks.I talked about the second book in a recent post and was looking forward to reading the final installment. I will be as vague as possible, but some might consider what I will write slight spoilers 🙂

This was a thick book at 679 pages, so if you are someone who cannot commit to long books you might struggle, but I don’t mind them personally and I felt it was worth the read. When the story is good I don’t generally notice how long it is. Plus I was already two books in, I wasn’t about to stop now 🙂

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Love the cover art for this series!!!

There was this really interesting message through this whole story that I felt repeated over and over again through different storylines and that was that ‘no one is too great to fall’. This is SUCH a true message in day to day life for every person as well as in this book and I think that is why I appreciated it. It also shows how those that fall respond, do they become desperate and cruel or evil, or do they have an inner strength and sense of self that sustains them through the harshest of times. Let’s not mince words, these characters went through some hellish ordeals, particularly the female protagonist Lia. From a waited on princess to someone’s prisoner covered in filth and blood wearing a hessian sack, Lia’s resolve never faulted and her inner strength and leadership qualities just grew. Everything was taken from her and she didn’t crumble. This is a great book for young women to read for this message alone.

The other thing I liked about Lia and some of the other main characters is that they often didn’t make the popular choice. They were not afraid to make the difficult choice that would be immensely harder and possibly end in death because ultimately it was the right thing to do and could save many lives. Too often you read books where people throw the lives of thousands out to dry in the name of love and whilst I understand that being an impossible choice I do get frustrated by the sheer amount of these type of novels – like the Fallen series for example (not that I didn’t enjoy it – you can tell here and here).

Relationships were so interesting in this book. To be honest it didn’t end the way I wished it had. The ending I wanted wouldn’t be the popular version, but to me it was more realistic and I cannot say much more about how I felt about this without spoiling things so I will stop here.

I was a fan of the overall ending and was definitely a fan of many of the messages in the book. I was a particular fan of the women in this book. There is a strength to the women in this book that you cannot help but admire. Seriously SUCH a great read for young women today.


Gözleme all the way

Have you tried gözleme? If not you should absolutely put it on your ‘must try before I die’ list. Technically I do not have one of these lists (yet!), but it rolls off the tongue beautifully so I think it should be a thing 🙂

I have an amazing group of friends at my work. They are brilliant people and truly without them my day to day life would not be half as shiny. We often like to have lunch together and one of my friends had been eyeing off a gözleme place that has been under construction for some time now. Finally it opened, so obviously we had to go on the first day.

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Potato, spinach & feta – SO GOOD!!!

Looks great on the plate and even better when you taste it. It is served on a wooden board with a wedge of lemon. We all loved it and have already visited again a couple of times. It is promoted as Turkish street food and is made fresh, you can literally watch them make it for you from rolling out your dough to placing the finished product on your board. It is completely tasty and the people that run it are (from what I can gather) 1-2 families who are all Turkish, spanning across 3 generations, which I think is really cool.

Last week we went there and were offered Turkish tea (or Rize tea), it was a promotion and you got a free cup with every gözleme. I was a little hesitant because I had been warned off Turkish coffee, but I promised to try new things this year so I did… and I LOVED it. It was super yum. It is served in this elegant tiny little glass with a teeny teaspoon and a sugar cube. My friend and I were only disappointed that there wasn’t more.

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Turkish tea with spinach and feta gozleme

Such an interesting contrast to be eating street food with your hands and sipping on tea out of an elegant cup like a posh lady.

9/10 will eat and drink again – A LOT.
It is probably not good that this is such a short walk from my work, but honestly it is not that bad for you is it?


The new Ghostbusters

NOTE: Will do my best to avoid any spoilers 🙂

So I saw the new Ghostbusters film. Actually I asked my Dad if he wanted to go see it on my birthday as I had taken the day off (Dad and I often go on movie dates), Mum decided to come along too which was great.

I had heard a lot of hate about the movie and therefore was not going in with really high hopes. And well… wow you guys.

I totally loved it. I laughed so much.

They basically completely ignored the existence of the other films, but still paid homage to them which I thought was great and there were all these little references to look out for.

I adored the female characters. They were so vibrant and funny and intelligent and awkward and I loved it. I have spent time thinking about why I enjoyed them so much since and I feel like this movie could be quite ground breaking.

The thing is that this movie does not walk around boasting about girl power or anything of the sort. What it does do is present 4 complex female characters who are intelligent in different ways, incredibly unique and I must say incredibly geeky. Not once do any of these characters waste time thinking they are losers or not good enough. They are completely unapologetic about who they are and they kick ass and invent incredible things and hire a dumb male secretary because they feel bad for him and he looks good. There is also ZERO relationship drama and not one of them is wearing skin tight body suits or short skirts or plunging tops.

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Some seriously kick ass women in this film.

I NEEDED this movie as a teenager. Hell I NEEDED this movie now. If I ever have a daughter this will be mandatory viewing.

Each one of the actresses was amazing in their roles. They work so well together and obviously feed off of each other. I would love to know how much of this was off script 🙂 Chris Hemsworth was so good in this role. I think working with these ladies brought the best out of him as far as comedic timing goes. He was just so good in this role!

Can’t wait to purchase this when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it again. Mum and I have already declared a movie night for when it does 🙂

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Seriously awesome!!!


It’s okay to be me

This post was inspired by WordPress’ Daily Prompt ‘It Builds Character’.

I have already accidentally deleted this entire post twice because of strange things that the new interface does. I am unimpressed to say the least. So I will now write this in Word and copy paste 🙂

When I think back on characters that have had an effect on me, there is one in particular which stands out as being integral to the person I have become.

When I was young (prepubescent young), I was already aware that I was different from most of the other girls in the class. Whilst they were obsessed with ‘The Baby Sitters Club’ and ‘Sweet Valley High’ (both of which I read and enjoyed, but mainly they just gave me numbers for the read-a-thon each year) I was off reading ‘Matilda’ and authors like R.L Stine (not the Goosebumps books, the advanced stuff) and Tamora Pierce. I had great access to YA novels because my Mum was a Teacher Librarian at a High School.

Other girls my age wanted to play makeovers and weddings and I wanted to ride bikes and run through the bush. The girls I knew made games of imagining their weddings to a member of the Backstreet Boys or Hanson whilst I danced about the house singing to the score of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

Jo March from ‘Little Women’ was a trailblazer, in a time where it wasn’t proper for women to run through the woods, traipse about through brooks without shoes, yell out to or play with boys or write epic novels she did it all and everyone who mattered accepted her and loved her for who she was. Everything about this girl/woman appealed to me. It would be fair to say that as a young girl my biggest dream was to grow up to be Jo March. She was a hero to me. To this day she remains one of my favourite literary characters. In fact Jo March is probably the reason I have the guts to write online.

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Jo also appealed to me because of her love of the written word and her strength of character and independence. You have probably noticed from my reviews of my books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks that I have a thing for strong female characters that shuck the norm and stereotypes. I still believe that this love of certain qualities in this character made me try to develop those characteristics in myself. As soon as I was old enough to work (14) I got an after school job. This made me feel amazing because I didn’t have to ask my mother to buy me things like deodorant and tampons (you have no idea how amazing it was as a 14 year old to not rely on someone else for your tampon stash!), this was my first step to real independence and I liked it. I saved my money from my job and when I graduated I paid my own way on a holiday with my friends, that is a pretty huge thing for an 18 year old to be able to do. Then when I was 19 I moved interstate to the desert, yup I moved to Ayers Rock, it was arid, hot, confronting and I was pretty innocent at the time (I hardened up quick though – read more about that here), I had no safety net there. I knew no one. It was the bravest and most awesome thing I think I have done. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it to this day!

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I believe I have a lot to thank Jo March for. I have previously written about my love of both the book and movie and after reading back over this post I realise how big an impact my love of this character has had on me. As far as role models go I am pretty proud that she has been and continues to be mine.