Blog Tour: Corpselight by Angela Slatter

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Note: I received a copy of Corpselight from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Angela Slatter’s works are a perfect fit for my reading tastes, she specialises in distinctive female characters and dark re-imaginings of familiar folklore and mythology. With the Verity Fassbinder duology, she breathes new life into the Urban Fantasy genre. If you enjoyed American Gods for reinterpreting numerous cultural mythologies and their place in America, you’ll love this Australian exploration of supernatural beings. If you loved the Dresden Files butthought there were not nearly enough females taking charge, Verity is the answer to all your woes.

Here’s a list of reasons why you should get into this series immediately:

  1. The Aussie Setting: There are countless of paranormal fantasy unfolding in the streets of New York or the underbelly of London, they have begun to blur together in my mind. Vigil and Corpselight are set in an alternate Brisbane, affectionately nicknamed Brisneyland. Within these books, I can delight in recognising landmarks such as the stunning Mount Coot-tha, yet still be enthralled by the presence of supernatural mysteries about winged-women and shapeshifters.
  2. The Dry and Sarcastic Humour: Verity is such an entertaining narrator, partly because she knows how to make me laugh (especially when it comes to the Fassbinder’s Law of Handbag, I can 110% relate). She’s witty and pragmatic, and I love her banter with all of the characters she comes across.
  3. Well-Balanced Romantic Relationship: While most of the books are concerned with supernatural investigations, there is a sweet love story developing in the background of both books. I find many of the alpha-male characters we often come across in the Urban Fantasy genre off-putting. Verity’s love interest, with his earnest and golden-hearted nature, is a welcomed change of pace. I love the reversal of gender roles in their relationship.
  4. The Distinctive Worldbuilding: Although there are plenty of books about the hidden supernatural world, Angela Slatter manages to create something unique with the Weyrd of Brisneyland. You won’t find just the regular vampires and werewolves amongst the denizens of Verity’s world. The creatures and beings within the Weyrd community are born of the belief of the multicultural mix within Australia. There are various mythologies from all around the world being used to create a complex and vivid urban fantasy landscape.
  5. The Intriguing Mysteries: Like the next reader, I adore a good whodunnit mystery – and these books combine the mystery elements deftly with the supernatural ones. If you’re a fan of paranormal investigators such as Harry Dresden, you’ll love the company of Verity Fassbinder and her team. There are twists and turns throughout the novels, and I was kept guessing until the very end with both books.
  6. A Heroine Who Defies Categorisation: Aside from the aforementioned sarcastic and witty sense of humour, I also love how complex Verity’s characterisation is. She is strong and independent, resourceful and clever, but she’s also riddled with insecurities and prone to rash impulses. She’s perceptive of human nature, yet she also judges people too quickly. In short, she’s flawed and lovable, and I adore how human she remains despite the constant fantastical happenings within her world.

Continue reading “Blog Tour: Corpselight by Angela Slatter”

Blog Hop: All About Aussie YA

One of the things I love most about blogging is its ability to connect me to all the readers around Australia. Some of my most treasured memories as a blogger are moments where I got to meet my fellow Aussie bloggers, like the time Jeann and Jenna came to Melbourne, or when I went to Sydney for the Writer’s Festival back in May, and more recently the Nevernight Launch in Melbourne.

The Oz YA community has helped shaped me into the blogger that I am today, and I will forever be grateful to their collective passion, intelligence and wit.

Aussie YA Blog Hop

This blog hop is organised by Jeann at Happy Indulgence, along with the Aussie YA Blogger admin group. There will be a twitter chat
on 14th July so follow @AusYABloggers and #AusYABlogChat for more information!

What I Love About Aussie YA

I love the familiarity of the setting and the immediate relevance in the issues touched on in Oz YA books. Although I adore books for their ability to transport me into another country or another realm altogether – reading Australian fiction and their familiar surroundings help ground my emotions and make the characters come to life in a more profound way. We are also blessed with a host of amazing authors who regular engage with their readers and share their experiences. Continue reading “Blog Hop: All About Aussie YA”

Book Review: When Michael Met Mina

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Title: When Michael Met Mina

Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah

Series? No.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads // Book Depository // Dymocks // Bookworld


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

When Michael Met Mina is a courageous, unwavering and relevant portrayal of Australia, as well as global social climate. The book looks at Islamphobia right in the eyes are challenges it. It also comes with a cast of flawed yet endearing characters.

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One of the things I loved most about When Michael Met Mina is the pure Aussie feel to it all. For a book that challenges the status quo in this country, the text also shows a lot of pride in this nation.

Like Mina, when I first moved to Australia, I lived in West Sydney. Admittedly, we are in different life stages and I was only there for one year – but in that time-frame I have faced the same stigma that seems to plague residents of the wrong side of the harbour bridge. I love that the book acknowledges the ugly, deep-rooted bigotry – but it also takes pride in the multicultural landscape of Australia. The book and its familiar settings also reminded me why it’s so important to have books telling stories you can immediately resonate with, and why we should fight to protect Australian stories.

Amongst the deeper ruminations on the status of refugees and immigrants in Australia, the book also delved into personal challenges and triumphs of the characters. We have Mina, who’s attempting to assimilate to life in North Sydney and at her prestigious new school. The story also follows Michael, who’s parents ‘Aussie Values’ oppose everything Mina stands and her family stands for. Their personal struggle parallels the larger story Randa Abdel-Fattah is telling and cautions that politics and the wider social climates have intrinsic ties to our day-to-day life. It’s a call to be more active and engaged, whether it’s against prejudice, against preconceived ideas the media feeds us, or even against the opinions of those people we love most.

I love the portrayal of the individual characters. The book fulfils all my needs for a strong, at times abrasive and unapologetic female protagonist. I found Mina very easy to love. I also adored the friendship that she cultivates with Paula. In fact, I love these two ladies so much, I kind of thought ‘Michael who?’ – I would read volumes of just these two completely slaying the patriarchy and racists together. The sense of family and community in this book was also incredibly richly drawn, making Mina and her family feel like fully-fleshed out characters.

For a book with very serious themes, it’s not without its moment of light-heartedness and humour. I loved that Randa Abdel-Fattah reminds us of the hope and joy that can be found, even in the darkest situation – and that people do not have to wear their misery on their sleeves to validate anyone’s opinions. This entire book is filled with quotable phrases, of both the sassy and insightful kind.

The book never feels preachy or forces any opinion on its readers. Instead, it presents the quiet fear and anger that fans within Mina, or the conflicts which Michael feels – and let us draw our own conclusions without hand holding. It’s an important novel and I am ready to push this book upon everyone of all ages and background. It’s more than a love story, it’s a relevant snapshot of the issues of our current world.

I did feel that the book floundered a little bit in terms of plot direction, it felt very slice-of-life. A lot of the book was Mina or Michael’s day at school and their extracurricular event – which is authentic and true to life, but made the book felt repetitive towards the midway point. As such, the concluding chapters of the book felt anticlimactic. Despite this relative lack of dramatic tension in its ending, the book remains a thought-provoking and recommended read!


Have you read any Australian stories lately? Which are your favourites?

Book Review & Tour: Who’s Afraid

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3star

Title: Who’s Afraid

Author: Maria Lewis

Series? Yes.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads

Booktopia


 

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book by Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

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I was excited about Who’s Afraid the moment I read the blurb. It mentioned rural New Zealand (for those who don’t know, I spent my formative years in NZ and have all the love for it), werewolves and promised action. It’s been a while since I’ve read urban fantasy as well, so I was eager to dive back into the genre. For the most part, Who’s Afraid was an engaging read, filled with elements you’ve come to love about paranormal tales, but with enough twists to stand on its own.

Aotearoa – With Werewolves!

For all her life, Tommi’s mother has never been frank about her heritage – hiding her in Scotland with brutal half-truths about her father and his family. With the help of her best friend, Tommi discover he may be a Maori man residing in rural New Zealand. As mentioned above, I was most excited about New Zealand being mentioned in the blurb, and basically could not wait for Tommi to land in Rotorua. From the get go, the setting is fraught with tension – she’s there to find her biological father and alleged rapist of her deceased mum. The truth she finds is even more horrifying, involving a Maori tribe of werewolves (I know! What a premise!) and truths about herself she’s not quite ready to uncover.  Continue reading “Book Review & Tour: Who’s Afraid”

Book Review: Risk

3star

Title: Risk

Author: Fleur Ferris

Series? No

Rating: 3 stars

Goodreads

Book World


Twitter has a way of making me read books I would normally never pick up, I just really like participating in twitter chats!  When I heard that the newly established #bookclubaus’s August pick was Risk, I went to purchase a copy promptly.  While I really appreciated the main message in the book and ultimately found it emotionally tight, I did have a couple of problems as well.

At first, Risk starts out unnervingly like a typical high school drama – and while I love watching Mean Girls – my tolerance for this type of fiction is low in my old age.  Thankfully, the frenemy plot soon got left behind and Risk started to confront larger issues.  Risk mainly looks into the danger of catfishing and victims of internet dating scams.

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PLOT

Taylor and Sierra are best friends from childhood, they love one another, though Taylor can’t help feeling that Sierra’s life is too charmed, too perfect.  They were both approached by a charming guy on a chatroom, though he ultimately chooses to take Sierra out on a date, leaving Taylor envious and hurt.  However, the story takes a dark twist when Sierra does not return from her date.

There is nothing but overwhelming waves of grief wedged between periods of disbelief and numbness…

Continue reading “Book Review: Risk”