After skiing, I was pretty unwell, so I had a lot of reading time (11th-17th July)! I made it to the library, and got caught up on some ARCs – if only I was as successful at posting as I am at reading!
Lily and the Octopus – Stephen Rowley (4 stars)
This was a lovely, if totally devastating, story about a man and his Daschund, Lily. The book made me want a Daschund very very badly. It’s about growing old with your pet by your side, and dealing with the inevitable – that your pet won’t last as long as you. It is strongly metaphorical, but I liked it a lot. (Surprising, given I generally dislike books which are overtly metaphorical!) A gorgeous story.
The Crooked Sixpence – Jennifer Bell (4 stars)
This was a very interesting new children’s book. The publishers did elect to compare it to Harry Potter, but I think that does this book a disservice – it is wholly new. Ivy Sparrow and her big brother Seb discover a new world, populated by the Uncommoners, immediately after their grandma is taken to hospital. Uncommon objects don’t work the same way as real-world objects – belts can make you fly, candles can make you invisible, bags are for travelling. It’s very exciting! There’s a big family secret to uncover, in order for Seb and Ivy to get back home to their Grandma Sylvie.
Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige (3 stars)
This book needed to establish exactly which fairytale it was trying to be! It was a mish-mash between the Ice Queen and Snow White. I did like the different elements, but sometimes it got a bit confusing! The main character, Snow, has spent most of her life in a high-security mental hospital. But she discovers another world adjacent to her own, one where her psychiatric issues make sense. My biggest problem with this book is that there were THREE love interests; I don’t like love triangles – a square was a bit much! There was also a hell of a lot of deception going on. It did keep me guessing until the very last page, and I’m interested to see where Danielle Paige takes her characters next.
This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab (3 stars)
I absolutely loved the idea of this book – based on a quote from my favourite Schwab offering, Vicious – but the execution fell a little bit flat for me. This Savage Song is set in a city where two forces are at war. It’s monster versus human. The story centres around two main characters – August and Kate. August is a monster who eats souls – but only bad ones. His adopted parents are the leaders of the rebellion against an evil criminal overlord on the other side of the city. Kate is said evil overlord’s daughter. She is human, but has regular contact with monsters, due to her father’s alliances with them. Both characters are damaged. This book was violent and gritty, but still raised interesting questions about good and evil. I plan to write a longer review for this sometime soon!
Tracy Lacy is Completely Coo-Coo Bananas – Tania Lacy (Australian author) (4 stars)
Tracy Lacy is nervous about high school – she is determined to reinvent her awkward self. I normally dislike books written in diary form, but Tracy’s voice was too funny that I couldn’t help but love it. It is a fabulous book for anyone getting ready for the move from primary to high school. It reminded me of all the awkwardness of that age – just figuring out boys, trying to be a bit more cool – Tracy was totally endearing!
The Leaving – Tara Altebrando (4 stars)
Six five-year-olds go missing. Eleven years later, five of them return. They can’t remember anything about their time away, and they definitely don’t remember Max, the boy who didn’t return. This was an incredibly intriguing YA thriller. There were a lot of pretty interesting theories about why the children went missing, and I really enjoyed the progression of the narrative. Some deaths really didn’t need to happen though. Overall, a great, fast-paced read that kept me guessing.
The Easy Way Out – Steven Amsterdam (Australian author) (4 stars)
I am very interested in the issue of euthanasia. This book envisions an Australia where it is legal for a terminal patient to request assistance to die. It is told from Evan’s perspective – he is a death nurse; he assists those who want to commit suicide. He must consider the moral and legal implications of his work, at the same time as his own mother begins to decline due to Parkinson’s. She has always wanted him to ensure she doesn’t become a burden, by assisting her to die. As her mind deteriorates, Evan has some tough decisions to make. It was a very interesting story about a contentious ethical issue, though it was scattered with some gratuitous sex scenes which I didn’t feel added to the story.
The Things I Didn’t Say – Kylie Fornasier (Australian author) (4 stars)
I enjoyed this book so much more than I expected to. It was mostly romance, hence my hesitation. It was a romance between the most popular boy in school, and a girl with selective mutism. I learned a lot about selective mutism, and absolutely loved seeing Piper and West interact despite the boundaries her disorder posed. Overall, just a very cute love story with a very Australian feel to it.
What have you been reading?