Review: Welcome to Orphancorp


Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward

five-stars 5 stars

Read from 14 – 15 June, 2017

Synopsis: Winner of the 2015 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize

‘Takes all of your dystopian nightmares and connects them to a mother lode of pure emotional intensity. There’s so much keen detail here about the cruel logic of oppressive institutions, you’ll feel Mirii’s yearning for freedom in your bones – and you’ll rejoice at every tiny moment of escape that she achieves. Welcome to Orphancorp is harrowing, scarily real, and ultimately super moving.’ – Charlie Jane Anders (i09)

‘Punchy, crunchy, sexy and smart, Welcome to Orphancorp is a short, sharp shock of a story with bruised-but-not-broken characters and a bonsai dystopia you can actually believe in. Marlee Jane Ward is a writer of heart and passion, muscle and slow-burning anger.’ – Ian McDonald

Welcome to Orphancorp is an intimate, heartfelt story set in the darkest of places. I can’t stop thinking about these characters.’ – Kij Johnson

‘An object lesson in how to dehumanise young people by locking them up and depriving them of all warmth and care – has never been more timely. This gritty, greasy story is peppered with violence and lit with the slenderest shafts of affection and hope. It will make your jaw clench with fear for the indomitable Mirii Mahoney, and your fist punch the air at her every tiny victory.’ – Margo Lanagan Continue reading

Review: Heart of the Country


Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

five-stars 5 stars

Read from 23-24 April, 2017

Synopsis: Heart of the Country is the first book in an epic historical saga of three Australian families. Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.

Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…

1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.

But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.

But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives. Continue reading

Review: Red Clover by Florence Osmund


RedClover

five-stars

Read from July 01 to 03, 2015 — I own a copy

Synopsis: Imagine feeling like an outsider. Now imagine feeling like an outsider in your own family.

The troubled son of a callous father and socialite mother determines his own meaning of success after learning shocking family secrets that cause him to rethink who he is and where heʼs going. In Lee Winekoop’s reinvention of himself he discovers that lifeʾs bitter circumstances can actually give rise to meaningful consequences.

Bookish Things: 248 pages. The cover is lovely.

Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for $2.86 or paperback for $12.50

My Review: 

I loved this book!

For a book to focus so intently upon the personal struggle and growth of the main character, one could be forgiven for thinking it’d be boring. But Red Clover is anything but.

Florence’s writing lures the reader into its murky depths with a siren song of beautifully engaging prose, fully formed and believable characters, and a twisting plot. She wraps it up in a way akin to the tender loving care of a mother with a new born babe.

Red Clover encourages the reader to firstly lose themselves, and then find themselves again. A little wiser and perhaps a little more whole for having experienced Lee’s story.

Witness the complex social rules and run the family gamut of the high-class Winekoop’s and experience the feeling of isolation, lack of belonging and crippling social anxiety issues Lee faces from his early years right throughout his life.

Engaging too is the twisting plot. The way new truths are discovered, unearthed and thrust upon the characters, it leaves the reader guessing as to how things will work out. Some twists are more obvious than others, but their guess-ability lends itself to drawing the reader in rather than boot them out.

Lee is a likeable character, he grows with the reader, and the gaggle of supporting cast is just as likeable. Florence caters to all tastes. Be they kooky, rough, highbrow or anything in between. You’re sure to find a character to like.

This story encourages the reader to look at themselves and check to see if they’re whole, or merely existing to please others. It lends its strength to the reader too in a way I can’t do justice to in this review. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself. 5 stars.

Review: Solstice Day Gifts by Lindsay Buroker


SolsticeDayGifts

five-stars

Read from June 25 to 26, 2015 — I own a copy

Synopsis: After a year full of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy, Sicarius agrees to spend Solstice Day on a tropical island with Amaranthe, resting and relaxing far away from the chaos of the new republic. But there are a couple of problems. First off, the island is riddled with old wanted posters of Sicarius, along with countless people who would like to collect the bounty. Second… Amaranthe is hoping for a Solstice Day gift.

Sicarius, having never given a gift in his life, finds the second problem far more daunting.

This holiday-themed short story takes place after Forged in Blood II and before Republic. Continue reading

Review: Captive Prince Volume Two


CaptivePrinceVol2

five-stars

Read from December 01 to 06, 2015 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Synopsis: With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot. Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .

Bookish Things: 342 pages. This is book 2 in the trilogy, book 3 is scheduled to be released on 2 February 2016. My review of book 1. This cover is simplistic, some of the other covers are more detailed and have era specific items on them (swords etc). I like the subdued cover of this… it leaves so much room for the book to fill in the blanks. Continue reading

Review: Captive Prince #1 by C.S. Pacat


CaptivePrince

five-stars

Read from April 23 to 28, 2015 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Synopsis: 

“This was Vere, voluptuous and decadent, country of honeyed poison”

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else… Continue reading