Outrun the Wind

Author: Elizabeth Tammi 

Publisher: Flux Books

First Published:  27 November 2018

Rating: 4 stars

Professional Reader


“I sigh as we walk into the hall, maybe for the last time with Kahina. I want to twist time around myself make it bend and grow where I need it most”  

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Flux Books and NetGalley!

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A Superior Spectre

Superior Spectre

Author: Angela Meyer

Publisher: Ventura Press

First Published: 01 August 2018

Rating: 4 stars

Professional Reader
“This water is so clear I can lean over and see myself. I am Narcissus, in love with the image of my suffering, fixed in place and soon to drown.”  

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Ventura Press and NetGalley!

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Bones and Bourbon

Bones and Bourbon

Author: Dorian Graves

Publisher: NineStar Press

First Published: 23 April 2018

Rating: 3 stars

Professional Reader

“’Maybe just a lunch date? Or , well I’m sure you don’t go to restaurants a lot now that you’re made of plants, but maybe we can find a coffee shop that doesn’t mind if you blend in with the shrubbery,’”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to NineStar Press and NetGalley!

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Poems of Sappho

Poems of Sappho.png

Author: Sappho

Translator: John Maxwell Edmonds

Publisher: Dover Publications

First Published: 15 February 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader
“For those I have done good to

               Do me the greatest wrong,”

 

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Dover Publications and NetGalley!

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Sky in the Deep

Sky In the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

First Published: 24 April 2018

Rating: 4.5 stars

Professional Reader

“I wouldn’t last in this village the whole winter. I couldn’t wait for the thaw. I had to find a way home.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley!

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Circe

CIRCE

Author: Madeline Miller

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

First Published: 19 April 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead then anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

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The Red Word

The Red Word

Author: Sarah Henstra

Publisher: Black Cat

First Published: 13 March 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader
“This is the trouble with myth. Each of us scoops out our own rotten core and spits it out on stage. We stand around the heap of smoking corpses and declare it fate.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

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The Boy Made of Snow

The Boy Made of SnowAuthor: Chloe Mayer

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 14 November 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

‘I looked at the sunbeams, hoping to see the constellations inside them, but there was nothing there but dust in the air.’

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

It’s 1944, in the sleepy English village of Bambury, where Daniel and his emotionally distant mother, Annabel, remain home while his father is off fighting a war that seems both all consuming and worlds away.

During the year, the army set up a Prisoner of War camp for the captured German soldiers in Bambury. It’s not long before both mother and son befriend, Hans, the POW working on a nearby farm. Suddenly their lives are filled with excitement as the prisoner comes to be important to both but in different ways. To Annabel, he is the only light that’s reached her from the darkness that’s engulfed her since Daniel’s birth. To Daniel, a solitary boy caught up in the magical world of fairy tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise or mystical woodchopper. But Daniel has often struggled to tell the difference between what’s real and imagined. And Hans, he has plans to spin a web to entrap both mother and son for his own needs.

I adore this book, which was a big surprise for me since I’m not a fan of WWII fiction. But Mayer’s writing is stunning. I found myself slowing my reading pace and rereading paragraphs just so I could savor it. She managed to balance the World War elements, with the fairy tale threads perfectly and both where used in a way to explore the relationship between Annabel and Daniel. The world and the characters feel very real and have been beautifully crafted. The narrative tore at my heart. It was heartbreaking is a stunningly subtle way.

This story is told in alternating perspective and the way Mayer has chosen to do this is stunning. Annabel’s sections are written in third person, which feels like an extension of the distance she feels towards her son. While it’s never stated my best guess is that she is suffering from untreated postnatal depression. In contrast, Daniel’s sections are written in first person. We are with him as he imagination runs wild turning sticks into swords and fences into gallant steeds. Because each perspective is highly tailored and personalised to the character they feel like real people. We spend the whole narrative with them explore all the complexities of life during the war, dealing with a difficult family situation and feel the exhaustion of having to keep up pretenses.

The fairy tales are a huge part of this story. Annabel reads to Daniel every night before bed even though he’s nine and should be too old. It’s through these tales that Annabel can feel some kind of connection to her son and in turn that Daniel feels like his mother wants him. One of my favourite things about having the fairy tales woven in both perspectives is that we see how the different themes and character in these classics tales resonates within the pair differently. Daniel relates with the hero of the story. He is obsessed with trying to save his mother so that in turn she will love him. While Annabel is reflecting on how naïve she was when she was young and finds herself relating to the evil step-mother characters. I definitely want to go read the traditional fairytales and come back to this book and see what little clues I’ve missed.

The Boy Made of Snow is a beautifully crafted novel that takes the dangers of living during WWII, twists them with the whimsy of fairytales and lets you deep inside a broken family who are trying to hard to be ‘normal’. This is a story that I’ll be hard-pressed to forget. I highly recommend.

Bayou Born

Author: Hailey EdwardsBayou Born

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 31 October 2017

Rating: 4 stars

Professional Reader

‘The urge to pat him came out of nowhere. One did not pat grown men in praise for learning a new trick.’

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

This book is a mystery, thriller all wrapped up in an urban fantasy bow. Bayou Born follows the story of strange wild child who was found in the swampy bayou of Canton, Mississippi. She had no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings; swirls of metal bands embedded into her skin. The policeman, Edward Boudreau, who rescued her, adopts her. 15 years later Luce follows in the footsteps of her beloved father and joins the police force determined to prove her worth and distance herself from her controversial past.

Luce and her partner, Rixton, are working on finding missing girl, Angel Claremont, when there’s a call about a body in the swamp. On arrival they discover this isn’t the girl they were looking for because of the strange markings on her skin. Markings that match Luce’s own. A freelance security group called The White Horse show up on the scene to help. They’ve been hired by Angel’s parents to help with the rescue effort. The security group stays to help fish out the unconscious Jane Doe. Hope blooms within Luce. Maybe this is her chance to find out about her past, a chance to learn about her markings and her family. From here the story unfolds with Luce trying to find the missing girl and helping Jane Doe. However, there’s more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one – including Luce herself – could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny.

This was a fantastic start to a new series. The world building was amazing. I really enjoyed that we got to spend time with Luce and get to know the cases she’s working on before the fantastical elements kicked in. It was like the more Luce unraveled in the case the more it became obvious that it wasn’t the work of a regular person. The magic elements went in a direction that I did not expect but I super glad they did. I haven’t read many books like it.

I love seeing the relationship Luce had formed and how different they were. I also adore that a female friendship, between Luce and schoolteacher, Maggie, was at the heart of this novel. These relationships are hugely important to see especially given the bullying and ostracised nature of how the other people in Canton treat her.

Luce herself is a well-crafted character. Yes she is snarky and gives off a vibe of apathy but that’s not all. We see just how much she does care through her relentless word effort. She wants to fit it so much, despite what she may say, that she join a career where the staff take care of one another. Her humor is darkly funny and at time self-deprecating which again is another layer to keep her from being venerable. I found her highly relatable.

I cannot wait for the second book! So many questions left unsaid. Highly recommend for any urban fantasy fan out there.