Book Review: Nymph by Tonya Alexandra

Nymph (The Love Oracles #1)

Title: Nymph (The Love Oracles #1)
Author: Tonya Alexandra
Genre: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Publication Date: 1st February 2014
Pages: 432
Rating: 3 stars

Please feel free to check out my interview with Tonya as a part of the Nymph blog tour hosted by Walker Books Australia!

Synopsis (from goodreads):
An idyllic Greek island. Obsessed demigods. A fallen nymph. A mortal boy. Merope, a beautiful but faded star nymph, is banished to Earth for displeasing the gods. She tries to fit in, go to school and live a normal “human” life. And then she meets Lukas … but relationships between men and goddesses are forbidden. Will their love grow? Or will Merope and Lukas feel the wrath of the gods?

My Review:

Merope has lived for thousands of years as a star nymph in the land of gods, Olympus. But life isn’t always easy for the faded star nymph. She’s been exiled to Earth and has had to leave her sisters behind. Living like a mortal is worlds apart from her other life but Merope is starting to see that there might be benefits to a human existence. One of which is the gorgeous and kind Lukas, a farm boy with exquisite imperfections. Romantic relation between a goddess and a mortal are forbidden but the way Merope feels is like nothing she’s felt before in all her immortal existence. Is a chance at forbidden romance worth the punishment the gods met out?

I’ve read quite a few modern takes on classic myths but never before have I read one about star nymphs. I was intrigued by the idea and the romance angle drew me in. Merope is ancient in comparison to mortals but rather naive about so many things. She’s lived in the shadow of her sisters her entire life and would prefer to hide in corners than take centre stage. But she has some spark to her. Rejecting a god who has been after her for centuries and then living with the consequences of her actions. For a nymph who has only ever called Olympus home, being exiled to modern-day Greece is such a shock but Merope does try to make the most of things. She enrols in a local school to learn as much as she can about humans. She makes some friends and she even goes as far as trying to embrace technology.

And then there’s Lukas. He’s hideous perfection in Merope’s eyes. The son of a local farmer with whom Merope falls for at first sight. I’m not usually one for instalove. But their initial chemistry works for me because if I can suspend belief and believe in mythological gods on Earth wearing Nike and driving sports cars, then I can believe in love at first sight within the world this book exists in. I would have liked to see rationale behind their fierce feelings been built on throughout the book (some kind of moments where despite already being in love, have causation behind falling deeper) but they do have some tender scenes and I can barrack for them as a couple.

Along for the ride on Earth – we get to see other Greek heroes experience life the mortal way. Merope’s Uncle Pro (Prometheus) is helping her adapt in the foreign place and I liked his presence in her life. Merope’s mother is an interesting character who I do hope we get to see more of in the series but the character I wanted to read about most was Hercules. Herc isn’t anything like the hero Disney made him out to be. He’s arrogant and conceited and has a proclivity for nymphs but he’s so entertaining. Gorgeous and vain, he is everything Lukas isn’t – and he knows it. A hero in the legends of old, his presence in the mortal world shakes things up a bit. I love reading his interactions with the modern world and how Merope reacts to him. He brings the a fierceness out in her and made her a little more real to read.

Nymph, the first book in the Love Oracles series, is an entertaining read. It’s surprisingly funny in parts and the romance is sweet and pure. There’s friendship and the pressures of family all coexisting in a lovely re-imagining of ancient Greek mythology. An easy read, this book is suited for younger teens and older readers who enjoy stories about true love and soul mates.

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colours of Madeleine #2)

Title: The Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colours of Madeline #2)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary, Magic, Young Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: February 2014
Pages: 544
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Time slides around the world so strangely …

It’s not easy being Princess Ko. Her family is missing, taken to the World through cracks in the Kingdom, which were then sealed tightly behind them.

Now Princess Ko is running the Kingdom, and war is looming.

To help her find her family, she gathers a special group of teens, including Elliot Baranski of the Farms. He’s been writing secret letters to a Girl-in-the World named Madeleine Tully – and now the Kingdom needs her help.

Madeleine and Elliot must locate the missing royals, convince them of their true identities, and figure out how to unlock the dangerous cracks between the Kingdom and the World.

All before their enemies can stop them.

My Review:

One of the best things that has happened to me in the past two years of blogging is discovering Jaclyn Moriarty’s books. She has a beautiful way of telling stories and this second book in the Colours of Madeline series did not disappoint.

Elliot Baranski, a boy who lives on a farm in a Kingdom named Cello, and Madeline Tully, a girl from the world we know in a city called Cambridge, are still communicating though a crack between the Kingdoms. A broken TV turned art installation and a malfunctioning parking meter allow the two to pass messages to and fro from Cello to Cambridge. Madeline is still not completely sure she believes the boy is real and the tales he tells about colours harming and seasons with minds of their own – but she lets best friends Belle and Jack in on the secret. Elliot is entrusted by the Princess to try to work out how to use the crack to bring her family back… that is if they are even there to begin with.

I love the characters in this series. They’re as vibrant as the colours which wreak havoc in the realm of Cello. Madeline is inquisitive and unwilling to take things on faith. She needs to find things out for herself and disbelieves things – even things in front of her very eyes – without some kind of scientific proof. Elliot is almost her opposite. He gives his all for everything he does and doesn’t do anything half-hearted. His belief in his family and himself is strong and he would do anything, sacrifice anything, for his loved ones. Where Madeline is theoretically based, Elliot is physical and spontaneous. They work well off each other despite being worlds apart – both physically and metaphorically.

This book is a great addition to the series. Elliot being inducted into the Royal Youth Alliance causes much drama. He has to covertly carry out secret missions for the Princess whilst at the same time pretending just to be there for the sake of uniting the Kingdom. His liaisons with Madeline grow strained under the pressures of the missions but throughout it all they are there for each other. Getting to experience what the different parts of the kingdom of Cello have to offer though Elliot’s eyes was interesting and I loved the trip to the Lake of Spells. Cello is a world that is full of magic and yet it feels believable because of how similar it is to the World Madeline inhabits.

At over 500 pages, this is a long book but it never felt that way. I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Elliot and Madeline and their friends. The plot took me places I wasn’t expecting and I enjoyed the journey. There are surprises and a lot of questions still to be answered. What happened to the Royal Family? Will they come back? Why are the cracks between the worlds? What’s the deal with the rebels? And whilst many of these questions were not either fully or partially answered – I felt so involved in the story that I didn’t mind not knowing.

The ending was one I wasn’t anticipating but perfect. That said – I’m incredibly eager to find out what Jaclyn Moriarty has next install for Elliot, Madeline and the people of the two Worlds they come from. I enjoyed every step in this novel and recommend the series for fans of well written and exciting young adult literature.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Also by Jaclyn Moriarty:

A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeleine, #1)

A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeline #1)

Interview and Giveaway: Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney

I’m honoured today to share with you all an interview with the author of Almost Dead, Kaz Delaney. Kaz has generously given her time to answer some of my questions about her book, writing and her life as an author. I had a great time reading Almost Dead and I loved reading Kaz’s answers to my questions. You can find my review for Almost Dead here. I also have a copy of Almost Dead to giveaway to one lucky person so make sure you keep reading to the end of the post for more information on how to win. 

Almost Dead

Interview with author Kaz Delaney!

Macey, the main character in Almost Dead sees ghosts and another character, Zordastramus (that name is brilliant!), has psychic abilities. Do you believe in spirits and supernatural phenomenon?

Thank you for having me here Kate! And yes, I do! I’ve had a few spooky things happen that have been way too specific to be random. Once I awoke to a bright light beside my bed and I yelped. It wasn’t there for long, but in it was the image of a child just hovering beside me (children and young people feature a lot in my experiences) – but it was a child from a long ago time. It seemed to be wrapped in swaddling. Frankly, a bit scary. It disappeared very quickly and suddenly the room seemed very black. Anyway, I finally chalked it up to a dream and tried to get back to sleep. However the next morning, our teenage daughter whose room is adjacent to ours asked if I was okay. She said she’d been woken by a bright light coming from our room and heard me cry out. When the light went out again, she figured everything was okay. When she told me that, I knew I hadn’t been dreaming.

Another time during a reading, a psychic kept reassuring me that a friend (distant) with a very unique name, was going to be okay. She was annoyed because I wasn’t reacting strongly enough to the prediction and so kept repeating it over and over with urgency. It meant little to me, and really? I just wanted her to move on and get back to me! 😉 I mean, this friend wasn’t someone I was very close to. I was glad for her that she was going to be okay, but what more did the psychic want me to say? I went home puzzled. The next day, however, I got a phone call from another friend to ask if I’d heard any news reports. She had – and she’d just heard that our mutual friend (the one mentioned in the reading) had been involved in a serious accident. Wow. That was very sobering. (And yes, I did feel the most horrid remorse for being so cavalier. And yes, the prediction was right – she survived and thrived. Thank goodness.)

These are just two random things I remembered, but there have been many. Too many for me to brush them aside. So yes, I do have an open mind about such things. But all that aside – it’s fabulous, fabulous fun to write about!

As someone who grew up on the Gold Coast – I loved the setting! Was it hard for you to decide on the location for Dead Actually and Almost Dead?

You are so lucky! The Gold Coast is one of my favourite places in the world. I love the colour – and the way the natural light makes everything shinier and brighter. I love the buzz; the energy! The atmosphere. I feel alive when I’m on the Gold Coast and had always wanted to set a book there (and NOT just so I could claim my trips as expenses!!! 🙂 ), so it was a no brainer for me.

When I’m there I spend a lot of time people-watching, hopefully not in a creepy way (!) and some of the ideas came from watching young people just having fun, being themselves. When I created the cast and had the outline for Dead Actually, the first in these loosely connected series, I knew the GC was the perfect setting. And it’s proving to be a great choice. So many people can relate to it – even if they’ve just seen it on the telly! It’s just such a cool place!

Kaz Delaney

Author of Almost Dead, Kaz Delaney

Are there any similarities between you and Macey? 

Oh wow – I’d love to answer with a resounding ‘YES!’. I mean, Macey’s so cool. She’s so strong and feisty and sassy. She’s takes no prisoners and she’s so self possessed! Most of us like to think we can rise above what people think about us – but secretly, we do care. And it makes us vulnerable. Macey is one of those rare beings who really doesn’t care. Not in an ‘I-am-so-cool-and-you’re-not’ way, but just because she doesn’t waste time on that kind of trivia.

So, yes, of course, I’d love to say ‘Yes!’

But truth be told, I’m way more of a doormat. I stress over what people think and so I try hard to make people like me. (By the way – would like a back massage with this interview??? 🙂 ) Actually, I truly just believe in being nice to people – that’s my nature.

But we are alike in two ways: Fashion. O.M.G. – I love it. And it’s such amazing fun to have that as a component of these books. Although, it does require serious sacrifice. I mean, do you know the effort involved in trawling designer sites to see what’s happening and who’s designing what??? And the shoes? I have worn my fingers to the bone researching designer shoes! It’s a tough job but thankfully I could steel myself to do the hard yards. True! Do you doubt me? (Excuse me while I untangle myself. It’s not easy typing with your fingers, toes and fallopian tubes crossed…)

Second likeness? We both have a shut-down button. I am much more tolerant and forgiving than Macey, but neither of us suffers fools lightly. It might take me longer to get there, (a LOT longer) but ultimately, we’ll both roll out the spike strip if you’re speeding headlong into stupid-ville. (The difference is that I’ll probably make you a cuppa and point out the error of your ways. Macey will leave you stranded to work it out for yourself. )

Can I just add here though, that Macey is vulnerable like the rest of us. Her vulnerabilities are just buried deeper and therefore much painful when we reveal them throughout the story.

Many authors are categorized as being either plotters (having plotted their novels out in advance) or pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants). Would you consider yourself to be a plotter, a pantser or a little of both?

Definitely both. I ‘have’ to know where the story is going. That’s my safety net. But how I get there is a journey that takes us on many side roads; the scenic route. So, I’m a good mix.

Did you always know you wanted to write?

Absolutely. I had my first work published in the Sun Herald when I was nine years old. Writing has always been my passion. In fact when I was a kid I used to think it was all I could do well. I’m not sure why, because I was a fairly good student – but writing was always the thing I felt most confident about. I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I considered that I wouldn’t one day write for a living.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

It’s fairly busy, actually. Number one, naturally, is reading. I read at every opportunity. I teach, so that takes a fair bit of time. I’m a trivia nut, so I play pub trivia once a week in a team that’s been together for hundreds of years. (At least twenty. 🙂 ) To unwind and keep fit(ish) I walk by the lake and just recently I’ve discovered kayaking! So, I’m so thrilled you asked that question because I get to give an answer that makes me sound really fit and sporty! LOL.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished the gorgeous ‘Cinderella Moment’ by Aussie YA author Jennifer Kloester. Loved it, loved it. Such a sweet story with so much heart. But now I’m reading a book I found on the back of my shelves entitled ‘The List of Seven’, by Mark Frost. It fictionalises Arthur Conan Doyle on a quest against the so-called ‘dark arts’ – spiritualism, psychic prediction etc. I’m not far enough into it to pronounce judgement, but I’m sure it’ll be brilliant once I get into my stride with it.

Dead, Actually

Dead, Actually – a companion novel to Almost Dead

I’ve just finished a mid grade novel that was heaps of fun about kids with special abilities, and have gone back to working on another book in this loosely connected series that will shortly head off to my agent and publisher. Can’t say too much just yet, but it features Flick and a country girl who is suffering the whole fish out of water thing. Macey and Willow both have cameos. After that, is a YA that’s completely different and new, that begins in Paris and ends up (ultimately) in Australia.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I’d love to tell the readers that they must never forget how important they are in the scheme of books and publishing. Without readers, we don’t have an audience – we don’t have an industry!
So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting us and reading our works so that we can continue to write stories that you will (I hope) love.

Almost Dead is a story I love. It’s one of those special books for me that, as an author, I am so proud of, that I want to burst. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as well. I hope you laugh and cry with Macey and Finn. And I wonder if you will solve the mystery before you get to the end? Mwahahah!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kaz. I enjoyed reading Almost Dead and loved getting to witness Macey’s story!

Thank you Kate! This has been a brilliant interview with loads of fun questions. Clever girl! I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity to talk about ‘Almost Dead’. Thank you, again!

 

 

Giveaway!

 

Thanks to Allen & Unwin

I have

1 print edition of Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney to giveaway

**Open to  Australian Residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post to enter and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close January 23rd, 2014

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Book Review: Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney

Almost Dead

Title: Almost Dead
Author: Kaz Delaney
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Ghosts, Paranormal, Mystery, Young Adult
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: January 2014
Pages: 400
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Macey’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has left, her father is absent and her two best friends (her brother Seth and his girlfriend Willow) are MIA. On top of that Macey is being visited by ghosts who need her help to ‘move on’. But as wild as all that sounds, it’s all under Macey’s control until a rakish, good-looking spirit called Nick turns up … in her bedroom!

Nick’s a spirit with spirit who insists he’s not dead, he’s astral travelling and has a message for Macey: someone is out to get her. Macey’s biting wit has got her in trouble before, so she’s not surprised but when the threatening notes start turning up, she’s seriously shaken. Does someone want her dead?

It’s all rather disturbing but she’s finding it hard to focus on who could mean her harm with the annoyingly handsome surf god Finn turning up at the most inopportune times and a father with a rather large surprise of his own.

Is it a case of bad timing? Or are these things somehow connected? And if they are, what on earth should she wear when she’s solving the mystery?

My Review:

Power, love, hate, bad language tears and great shoes. Just another day at RTHS, really…

Macey Pentecost is getting used to seeing ghosts. When the spirit of a cute almost rock star Nick appears in her bedroom, Macey learns that is more than just ghosts out there. Nick isn’t dead. He’s had an accident and is in a coma but feels that he needs to protect Macey from something out there. Threats aside, Macey’s family life is in turmoil. Her mother has abandoned her and her father has some secrets of his own. Lucky for her, Macey meets Finn – surfer god extraordinaire who is willing to help get to the bottom of who is tormenting Macey and just how Nick is connected to it all.

I thought Almost Dead was a fun read. There is mystery, ghosts and romance topped off with plenty of high school drama. Macey is a privileged and feisty seventeen year old (on first impressions, she’s a bit of a mean girl) who has many vulnerabilities deep down. When creepy things start happening to her, she doesn’t run and hide but uses all the resources at her fingertips to try to track down the villain. It took me a while to warm to Macey. She’s blunt and (dare I say) a tad spoilt but after getting into the story and coming to understand her I realized that her frank ways are a defence mechanism. She’s loyal to her friends and (after a while) acts rather maturely in very difficult family circumstances.

The secondary characters are interesting and I liked how they interacted with Macey – I adored how Nick didn’t bow down to Macey and didn’t allow her to dismiss him. Felicity, Finn and Madame Zordastramus all add something extra to the story and I enjoyed getting to know more about them as Macey’s story unfolded. The mystery in this book was great. It’s one that I didn’t see coming till right near the end but once everything was explained it made perfect sense! The supernatural elements of ghosts and spirits was handled with humour and were entertaining to read.

Almost Dead is a companion novel to Dead, Actually (also by Kaz Delaney) and as such shares a setting and many characters but you don’t need to have read Dead, Actually in order to enjoy Almost Dead.

 

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Blog Tour: Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Button-long_captivate_final

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! On this very auspicious day I’m very honoured to be a part of the Harlequin Teen Australia blog tour for Vanessa Garden’s debut novel. Captivate. The cover is gorgeous and the book is a great read. Hope you enjoy my review and character spotlight on Miranda! 🙂

Title: CaptivateCaptivate
Author: Vanessa Garden
Genre: Mermaids, Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date Published: January 2014
Pages: 304
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…

My Review:

A few days before the first anniversary of her parents’ death – and her seventeenth birthday – Miranda, her older sister Lauren and their grandparents holiday at their beach side shack on Bob’s Bay to try and escape. But during a midnight swim with Lauren, Miranda gets taken. Waking up in a mysterious place, Miranda is determined to get back to her family and her life. But a break out is not an option because Miranda has been taken to an underwater city known as Marin and she’s a very valuable asset. King Marko needs Miranda to save the city from his enemies and isn’t likely to let her go any time soon. Miranda’s only hope of escape is to hope that Robbie, the King’s personal guard, best friend and the very person who took Miranda in the first place, will help her return to her family. But with the dangers lurking below and Marin’s version of a sun memorizing her into forgetting her past, Miranda might be captive and captivated in Marin forever…

It took me a little while to get into this book and some time to warm to Miranda but once I did I loved getting to experience the world of Marin. The world building is one of its strengths and I thoroughly enjoyed learning as Miranda did about day to day life and the origins of the incredible underwater city. Whilst the citizens are not mermaids, I still liked the mermaid elements that we got to see.

Miranda is a character that I grew to like very much. Her bold personality and brave actions made her interesting to read and I wanted things to go right for her. She didn’t give up nor did she let her capture define or defeat her. I thought that she coped with her situation incredibly well. Her relationships with King Marko, Robbie and the other people of Marin were fascinating. I didn’t feel entirely convinced by the romance that bloomed between Marko and Miranda mostly because of the pacing but I do think they are a promising couple.

Captivate is a great start to what promises to be an interesting series. There are characters with some secrets and not entirely clear motivations, handsome love interests and a world that is nothing quite like any that I’ve read before. I’m glad I got to read this novel by Vanessa Garden and after the ending in Captivate am eagerly awaiting another instalment of Miranda’s Marin adventures.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Character Spotlight!

Name: Miranda Sun

Nickname: Randy

Birth date: January 13th, 

Age: 16 (turns 17 during Captivate)

Appearance: Long chocolate brown hair, 

Family: Lauren (older sister), Nana and Pop (grandparents). Parents died on Miranda’s 16th birthday in a car accident. 

Personality: Miranda is brave, stubborn and determined. She believes she is dangerous to everyone she loves. She’s fiercely loyal and a fighter who will do what she can to protect her loved ones. 

Other Interesting Facts: 

• Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is her favourite book

• Can appreciate beauty of Marin despite her captivity there

• Feels inferior compared to her sister, Lauren, and lives in her shadow

• Is not the most graceful dancer

• Feels responsible for her parents’ death.

AUTHOR BIO

Vanessa Garden

A bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not raving about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her next novel, she enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

Vanessa is represented by Helen Breitwieser of Cornerstone Literary Agency.

Author Links:

Blog Tour (Q&A and Review): The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Firstwood

Today I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Ambelin Kaymullina’s novel, The Disappearance of Ember Crow. I am loving the Tribe series so far and was very excited to be given the opportunity to ask Ambelin a few questions.

Q&A with Ambelin Kwaymullina

  •  What inspired you to write The Tribe series?

Ashala Wolf herself, and the rest of The Tribe. I can her voice so clearly, and see around me the towering trees of the Firstwood.

It was autumn the last time I was there. I stood just outside the wolf den, my feet sinking into the sodden earth, and inhaled the sharp tang of eucalyptus from the leaves of the tuarts. And I thought, I have missed you.

If I didn’t write, when would I go home?

  •  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you have other dream careers in mind?

I always knew. Although I’m not sure ‘career’ is the right description – obsession, maybe. Necessity of life, like air or water or food. The thing that I do not give up, that I hold onto tightly even when all else is taken. Writing is the love of my life.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Work at my day job. Read. Watch sci fi dvds. Hang out with my dogs. Although the truth is that there is always a part of my mind that is lost in a story. Sometimes it is a large part – leaving me susceptible to walking in front of traffic, into light poles and three blocks further than I wanted to go.

  • What books do you think have influenced your life and your writing the most?

Not books but a story. An ancient tale, of blue sky and purple hills and the travels of generations of feet across red earth. The story of my people, the Palyku, my Ancestors, and my Country.

  • What are you currently reading?

Nothing right now – because I’m writing and I don’t read when I write, I simply don’t have the time.

  • Are you working on anything now?

The next book in the Tribe series, The Foretelling of Georgie Spider.

  • Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

You matter. You matter to me – you have taken the time to read my story, and that is a gift. You matter to Ashala and the Tribe – you have walked in their world, following Ash through the hallways of the detention centre and along the trails of the Firstwood. And you matter to this world too. Never believe that your thoughts or feelings lack meaning or significance. There are mistakes enough to be made, in this existence; don’t make the one of assuming that you cannot change your own or someone else’s reality for the better.

Thank you so much Ambelin for taking the time to answer my questions.

My Review

Title: The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2)The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2)
Author: Ambelin Kwaymillina
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: Walker Books
Date Published: November 2013
Pages: 443
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
“However this ends, you’re probably going to find out some things about me, and they’re not nice things. But, Ash, even after you know, do you think you could remember the good? And whatever you end up discovering – try to think of me kindly. If you can.”

Ember Crow is missing. To find her friend, Ashala Wolf must control her increasingly erratic and dangerous Sleepwalking ability and leave the Firstwood. But Ashala doesn’t realise that Ember is harbouring terrible secrets and is trying to shield the Tribe and all Illegals from a devastating new threat – her own past

My Review:

All is not well with the Tribe. They may have had a triumph at Detention Centre 3 but life is far from peaceful for the residents in the Firstwood. Ashala Wolf has gone and embraced her wolf and is running with the pack. Ember Crow went to Gull City months ago and never returned – leaving Ashala only a dog and a memory to reassure her that Ember is okay. Not one to stand back when her tribe family are in danger, Ashala starts digging into Ember’s disappearance to try and find her best friend. Things come out that make Ember’s cryptic leaving and parting message seem even more complicated and dangerous than Ashala ever considered.

Starting a few months after the end of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, this second book of the Tribe series has Ashala still feeling the effects from her actions at the end of the first book. She can’t trust her dreams, her ability or her feelings for her loved ones. Feeling it’s safer to run with the Pack Master, Ashala abandons her human self and becomes the wolf to protect the Tribe – from herself. Her relationship with Connor is on edge after Ashala doesn’t believe that she is good for him.

Ashala’s grandfather, the Serpent, who lives beneath the lake, is full of obscure and confusing advice wanting Ashala to “beware the angels“.Nothing is making sense and Ashala’s need to keep her tribe safe may be conflicting with what’s best for them.

I enjoy Ambelin’s writing. She’s brutal on her characters – we get to see the best and worst from them and I like them more for it. Ashala is flawed and doesn’t always know what’s best for everyone but she’s a good leader because she accepts her faults and learns from her mistakes. She loves fiercely with her whole being and is unapologetic about always thinking the best of her tribe and family. Ember is someone I was fascinated by after the first book and it was great to see more about her and her ability through this book. There are some incredible new characters introduced in this novel (like Jules!) and many familiar faces popping up again.

Whereas the first book took place over a few days – not including memories – The Disappearance of Ember Crow is setting the series up for the long game. Months pass and we get to see a lot of character development. People are growing and changing as the world takes its toll and as relationships mature. The Firstwood is a character in itself with the beauty and majesty of the forest evident throughout the novel.

This series is quickly becoming a favourite of mine and both The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow have been some of my favourite reads this year. The writing is vivid and beautiful, the story is creative and brilliantly executed. I love that the romance is there but not distracting from the plot nor is it too intense. I will definitely be continuing this series when the third book, The Foretelling of Georgia Spider, is released in the future.

Purchase the novel from:

Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Author Bio

Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ambelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she works in cultural heritage, illustrates picture books, and hangs out with her dogs. She has written a number of children’s books, both alone and with other members of her family. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is her first novel.
Thanks for visiting my stop on the Disappearance of Ember Crow blog tour. Feel free to stop by Aussie Reviews for the next stop on the tour!

Book Review: The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster

The Inevitability Of Stars

Title: The Inevitability of Stars
Author: Kathryn R. Lyster
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Grief
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.

Rip and Sahara have always been together. Primary school friends to high school lovers, their ties to each other are as intertwined and inescapable as the roots of the Byron Strangler Fig. But like that same tree, the tendrils of their love are beginning to stifle and choke, and soon, Sahara finds she must leave — moving to Sydney to pursue her career as an artist.

In Sydney, Sahara draws the attention of Sean, a charismatic entrepreneur, and is quickly drawn into his expensive and glamorous world — so very different from the quiet, simple place of her youth. But even as she creates a new life, and a new version of herself, Sahara cannot seem to leave Rip behind.

Back in the Byron hinterland, Rip moves to a working farm to recover from the wounds Sahara left. It’s here that he begins to understand his past and reimagine his future. But as Rip rebuilds, Sahara unravels, losing herself in Sean’s shiny, but meaningless world and plagued by visions of her previous life and lover.

Heartbreaking and haunting, The Inevitability of Stars is a poignant novel about the burden of fate, the viscosity of reality and the resilience of love.

My Review:

This book starts with heartbreak and for the characters, things are downhill from there on. Rip and Sahara have always had each other in their lives. Even when Rip’s mother died – he has always had Sahara. But she had dreams for more than small town life. So she flees to Sydney to paint and leaves a grief-stricken Rip to try to make his way in the town he’s always lived in without the girl he thought would always be there. Without Sahara, Rip doesn’t want to live. Sahara learns that life without Rip is harder than she thought and begins to lose herself in a world of glitz, glamour and high-profile socialites.

I wasn’t expecting this book to be so spiritual. Rip finds himself on a farm where his work there leads him to discover himself and how to heal his soul. Lead by a collection of quirky characters, Rip finds who he can be without Sahara. And she learns how to survive in a world so different from the small town she grew up in – and without the boy she still loved.

All of the characters are interesting to read – and I liked that they were well-formed and had a life outside of facilitating the journeys of the two main characters. The switching point of view worked well to show how deep Rip and Sahara’s feelings for each other were. The speech took a little getting used to with dialogue being italicized and thoughts being in quotation marks but as I got further into Rip and Sahara’s story I got used to it.

This book is beautifully written and I loved how the story flowed. However I did find the character of Sahara very hard to like and connect with. The settings – of both Byron Bay and Sydney – contrast each other well and the author did a great job of using the environment to show the mental state of the characters. There were small details like the gardenias and Rip’s song that I really enjoyed and thought added an extra something special to their story.

The Inevitability of Stars is a story about the spiritual journeys that two lovers must take when they’ve lost each other. Written beautifully, and yet at times confusing, it’s a lovely book that was nothing like I was expecting from the blurb and yet I’m glad I read it.

Thanks to Harlequin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Bookworld

Also available on Harlequin Books