Reviews & Ramblings

Review: Riverdale: Death of a Cheerleader by Micol Ostow

Published May, 2020 by Scholastic Australia.

Returning to Micol Ostow’s Riverdale is always a joy. Back to this messed up band of friends and their crazy little town.

Ostow perfectly captures the overall vibe of Riverdale and its characters. Giving readers an additional slice of the proverbial pie.

Death of a Cheerleader follows events of season 4 of the Netflix series. As always Ostow effortlessly joins her novels to the show, allowing for readers to go from tv to book with no hassle at all. The characters read and feel the same as those we love from the show.

I love seeing all of the characters interracting and having their own lives, but part of me is sad that the gang wasn’t together for this book. But I was happy to see Cheryl Blossom in full flight. She may be one of those characters who you can’t believe actually talks like that, but she is so strong and brave and believes in herself and her own worth, she is a fantastic character.

Death of a cheerleader takes us inside the minds of our beloved characters in a new way, things are changing so much for them, they are splitting up, starting new chapters and that change is scary. Ostow perfectly encapsulates that feeling of change and being overwhelmed.

I loved the inclusion of JB (Jelly Bean) in this book, it really showed the reader lore of what Jughead’s home life is like and how much he loves and values his little sister. Not to mention how smart and savvy JB is!

This was a great addition to the Riverdale franchise, fast paced, mysterious and in true Riverdale form, never a dull moment.

Thank you to the team at Scholastic Australia for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Sister’s Gift by Barbara Hannay

Published by Penguin Australia

From reading the prologue of this book, I knew I needed to put it down and seek out a box of tissues for what was sure to be an emotional read. The Sisters Gift starts in such a raw way, the emotion draws you in to the pages and the writing style is effortless.

The Sisters Gift is the sort of book that pulls you from inside yourself and makes you think. Its characters aren’t as black and white as they seem, its premise isn’t as straight forward as you may think and it it hits so close to home.

The Sisters Gift is a heartfelt tale of family, love and finding yourself. We follow the lives of Billie and Freya and how their paths intersect in ways deeper than we expected.

I love the strong female characters shown in this novel, how it shows them being happy to be on their own, happy to be finding themselves. Freya, Billie and Pearl are all so different but each is strong and resilient and gone through so much in their lives.

The setting of The Sisters Gift is magical and it is giving me the need to travel. Magnetic Island is such a fantastic and magical place and Hannay has captured it perfectly.

The Sisters Gift is heart-warming and filled with emotion. Easy to read and to get lost in, it shows the strength we all have inside, if we dare to look.

Thank you so much to Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking

Published by PanMacmillan 11th August, 2020.

The plot thickens as we dive back into Pan and Ulla’s adventures in The Morning Flower. Pages filled with complex characters, picturesque landscapes and questionable bars all lead Ulla and Pan back to Merellä, back to where it all began.

The Morning Flower takes off exactly where The Lost City ends. Making it easy to go between the two books. The Morning Flower does feel more urgent, there are more things being revealed, more characters playing big roles and more twists being taken.

Once again we see Ulla and Pan setting off on a new adventure. And although it makes for a great story, it feels surreal. How they, as well as Dagny and Elof, can simply take off from work. Drop all commitments and leave on a wild goose chase across the world.

The pacing of The Omte Origins feels a bit off. Through both books it is slow and deliberate, even in times of high action. It makes the pages turn slowly and makes it read slowly. It doesn’t take away from the plot, but it does take away from the feel of the book itself.

Ulla and Pan, I just wish Ulla wasn’t so sensible. She has feelings for Pan but won’t act on them because she plans to leave Merellä, but he is clearly perfect for her. Enter Jem-Kruk, he is smarmy and flirty and chiselled and I am not here for a love triangle thank you very much. Its Pan or its nothing.

The Morning Flower sees Ulla finally get some answers about who she truly is. But in a cruel twist she is left with more questions than answers.

Well written and engaging from beginning to end, The Morning Flower was a great follow up book to The Lost City and I can’t wait for book 3!

Thank you to PanMacmillan for sending me a review copy. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: You Were Made For Me by Jenna Guillaume

Publishes on August 11th by Pan Macmillan Australia

I was delighted to receive a copy of Jenna Guillaumes’ second novel, You Were Made For Me. And rightly so! Immediately you are submersed into teenage angst, a protagonist and her best friend who are laugh-out-loud funny and that classic Guillaume writing style that is so easy to read.

You Were Made For Me is a light and fun read, it broaches subjects like bullying and family loss in a gentle way, as well as the dangers of social media. But at its heart it is a warm and fluffy novel about a girl who wants to be loved perfectly, and through her rose tinted glasses, she is blinded to what she already has.

I think I am a little too old to fully enjoy what creative genius this book is. 16 year old me would have loved this, would have read it over and over. The creative way it has Kate and Libby interjecting over the story breaks through the traditional style of wrtiting and makes it fun and feels more real. This will definitely be a hit for those on the younger side of the Young Adult age range.

Kate and Libby’s friendship is what gives this book its substance. It is warm and real. Libby’s sarcastic nature gives You Were Made For Me, the down to earth addition that it needs. And don’t even get me started on the spud that is Theo. He is kind and gentle and honest. He is literally the perfect boy next door.

You Were Made For Me is a heart warming, coming of age title, with some science stuff thrown in for good measure. We see Kate grow so much throughout this book and even though I saw the ending coming from the very first page, I still loved it and it was still adorable.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this title. All thoughts are my own.

Reviews & Ramblings

Review: The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

Published by Allen and Unwin, 4th August, 2020

Gripping and thought provoking from the first page, The Erasure Initiative, will have you on the edge of your seat, determined to find the answers to all of Cecilys questions.

Lili Wilkinson has a way of writing that gives you just enough information to keep you hooked. It is suspenseful and clever. Wilkinson presents us with an endless stream of ethical and moral dilemmas, she makes us question ourselves as well as the characters. It is psychologically gripping.

The Erasure Initiative, keeps you on he edge of your seat, keeps your brain running at a million miles an hour trying to work out what is happening and who is telling the truth. These characters are so complex and throw in the added idea of them having their memories wiped, it adds a layer of unknowing, there is no predictability to them at all.

The ending was bitter sweet. Yes we get to see what is truly behind The Erasure Initiative, the technology and the person behind it. And we get to see Cecily stay true to herself and finally be happy. But it is done in such a way that the reader will forever be guessing, wondering if Cecily made it to her beachside cottage.

The ending was a little anti-climactic. It was evident, pretty early on that none of them were making it off of that island in one piece. I felt as though there was a build up, just for it to all fall apart. Like we were encouraged to think our protagonists might stand a chance. Which is amazing writing on Wilkinsons’ part, but devastating for the reader.

Fast paced and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire book. Characters, so complex you won’t know if you love or hate them and an original concept done with incredible flair for psychological thrilling. The Erasure Initiative is a must read.

Thank you so much to the team at Allen & Unwin for sending me out a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.