Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Six Seconds by Alan Sunderland

Published March 2021 by Scholastic Australia

Six Seconds is fun and punchy, it is a Middle Grade work that is easy to get swept up in. Michael’s innocence gives the book an edge, giving the reader a different perspective on world events and the importance of sand sculptures.

The addition of newspaper articles and Michael’s drawings add to the feel of this book. It perfectly encompasses growing up in an Australian Summer.

I enjoyed how Six Seconds looks at anxiety and how children perceive worries. It shows that everyday things that adults brush off can stay with children and cumulate into anxieties. I liked how it was talked about and worked on within this book. It is so important to show younger readers that it is okay to feel worried, and it’s okay to talk to people about your worries.

The book may have centred around an earthquake, but it felt more than that. It shows the strength of character that Michael has as he helped all of his town folk, how he faced danger to help his nan and how he faced his own fears and overcome his anxieties.

Six Seconds is a fun, fast paced and easy to read. It is a Middle Grade work that has an important message, as well as having a wonderfully Australian vibe throughout.

Thank you to Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Footprints on the Moon is a stunning fictional work of effortless prose and lyrical stanzas that fill your heart. It is beautifully written and thoughtful, evoking a range of emotions from the reader.

The simplistic prose makes way for important and powerful notions to be spoken. It allows for the heaviness of Sharnie’s world to be explained and processed in such a lyrical, heartfelt way.

Sharnie’s innocence is refreshing and honest. It lends a unique viewpoint to the harshness of the Vietnam war and to seeing someone you love slowly fade into old age and beyond. It is Sharnie’s innocence that propels Footprints on the Moon forward, what gives it, it’s authenticity.

Sharnie’s grief is a vivid thing, I can relate to her loss, a grandmother is like a best friend to a young girl and losing one is devastating. It is heartbreaking to read about Sharnie’s loss, how she spirals down into herself and can’t see joy for her pain.
I love the way that friendship is shown within this book. How it vividly shows what friendship is like and feels like in the beginning of high school, how every little gesture can feel like the worst thing in the world. How teenagers can be horrible and hurtful without realising the lasting consequences. Sharnie finding Gail was a light in Sharnie’s grief and that friendship taught her a lot about who she is and who she wants to be.

We are gently shown the protests surrounding surrounding Vietnam War and reasons behind them, in a way that is easy for younger readers to digest. We are shown how the past generation and new generation butt heads when it comes to social norms and changes within society around what is expected of its people. I really enjoyed how it dabbled in what happened for returned soldiers too, how they were shown animosity upon their return home.

Footprints on the Moon is a sweet tale of friendship, family and growing up. It is eloquently written in prose that has you pausing to think about what has been said. This Middle Grade work is powerful and demands to be read.

Thank you to AusYaBloggers and UQP for including me in the blog tour for this title. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Published January 2021 by Walker Books Australia

I’ll admit, I haven’t read The Hate U Give, but I have seen the movie, and I figured that was enough to go into Concrete Rose with some knowledge of the people I’d meet within the pages.

Concrete Rose is written with such grit and authenticity, its pages is filled with pain and the constant effort to get ahead.

I’ll admit, I set out reading this alongside another book. But after the first three chapters In was hooked. Thrown into the middle of Maverick’s imploding life. Maverick is one of those characters you can’t help but want the best for. He is seventeen and has gone through so much in his short life. The reader just wants him to be happy, to get ahead and be safe.

Concrete Rose, is powerful, gritty and raw. It tugs at your heart and provokes questions about your own life.
From start to finish, Concrete Rose is a powerful book with a powerful message. It shows you the strength of humanity, the power of perseverance and the gift that is children. This isn’t sn easy book to read, but it is an important one. The language and speedy pace, keeps pages turning until you are lost in Maverick’s world, fighting along side him for a better life.

Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a review copy of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue

Publication February 2021

All Our Hidden Gifts, sparked my interest from the first page. Our protagonist is vibrant and her enthusiasm oozes from the pages. However I was surprised to learn that she is 16, she reads much younger than that, through her actions. That being said, she is growing as the book progresses, which gives it an overall, more authentic feel.

The magical element to this book is wonderful. Learning about Tarot, eradicating the cliche beliefs around them and showing them for the powerhouse celestial items that they are.

This book is so incredibly easy to read. The writing style is fluid allowing the reader to flow through the book easily.  It does feel quite simple though, it is easy to predict what is going to happen with the characters, even if the world they are in is mystically unpredictable.

Filled to the brim with diverse characters, from different backgrounds, religions and sexual orientation. All Our Hidden Gifts has something for everyone. It is confontational and creates conversations around sexuality and beliefs, both huge and important aspects.

The last 40 pages of this book are a whirlwind pf magic, friendship, acceptance and growth. Above all else, this book screams at the reader to be more accepting, be more aware that everyone has their own burdens, that life isn’t as simple as it appears.

Well written and easy to read, All Our Hidden Gifts was a lovely read. I may be a bit older than its intended audience, as I did find it quite simple and juvenile in places. But it was still enjoyable and I can definitely see it being a popular read upon its publication!

Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Ever After by Amanda Hocking

Publishing January 2020

The Ever After is an action packed concluding book to the Omte Origins Trilogy.

The book picks up where book two ends. It is easy to get into after having a long gap between book 2 and 3, all the back story is provided early on and allows the reader to be enveloped in the story once again.

It feels like such a rich folklore and magic system within the Trylle world. Amanda Hocking has a way of describing elements and creating a magic system that is enchanting.

The short chapter length keeps the book feeling punchy and fast paced. There is so much happening that the faster pace is really keeping the ball rolling. This element is crucial for The Ever After, as there is so much travelling within the pages that if the chapters were longer or the pacing slower, it would detract from the overall feel of the book.

I love how Pan and Ulla have come together finally, their relationship is sweet and honest and they complement eachother so well. That being said, their intimate scene felt awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t think they needed to have a sex scene, It didn’t feel necessary to the plot or their relationship. It felt like an afterthought addition.

The multiple points of view towards the end of the book are fantastic. They come at the height of the adventure and battle and allow the reader to get a better idea of what is happening. As well as the different perspectives of key characters at this crucial and final time in the trilogy.

The Ever After wraps up in such a wonderful way. Yes there are some losses that are truly heartbreaking, but it is wonderful to see Ulla finally starting her own life.

Written eloquently, with characters that we have gotten to see grow throughout the trilogy, The Ever After is the perfect final book for the Omte Origins Trilogy.

Thankyou to PanMacmillan for sending me a review copyn of this title. All thoughts and opinions are my own