ACOWAR: A Most Excellent Bogan Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin
A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Three
Written by Sarah J Maas
Fantasy, Romance, New Adult
720 Pages
Published 2nd May 2017
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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★★★★
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit  and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
Our sheila Feyre is back and a bad arsed. She's finally gone and got herself a spine and has returned to Tamlin's shithole Spring Court, ballsy and ready to pull the wool over their eyes by leaving them up shit creek without a paddle. Mate, they've got Buckley's. Tamlin is still a wanker and beating his chest like it'll impress the sheila's and Feyre isn't having a bar of that. So once Feyre knows what that shifty prick is up to she's all hooroo dickheads, I'm going back to my hot man. Until Lucien pulls a swifty and says, I've got the hots for your sister, she's my mate and the two set off on a ripper of an adventure.

Shit's about to hit the fan. Rhysand is growling up a storm mate and the King is chucking a tanty. You see, this bloke is a bit ambitious and the greedy bastard wants to take over everything. Because the Night Court is a ripper, they're having none of that and plan on taking him on. Fistycuffs and all.

That Maas chick is shit hot right now, the sheila knows how to spin a tale and it's pretty fucking epic. Knocked my socks right off. Feyre is as cunning as a shithouse rat now, a sly sheila that's thinking bugger this shit and takes the bull by the horns. Of course it'll take a chick to get shit done. Fark oath mate.

Which brings me to why I'm speaking in bogan. For most Aussies, everyone is mate. See Dano over there? He's me mate. Robbo? Mate. Pulling at the pub on a Friday? That's not a mate, that's just pulling. I get it. Feyre and Rhysand are hot for each other and having a shag in the back paddock but fair go, when you're in the middle of epic fisticuffs with a deranged whacker, keep it in your pants son. There's a time and place to go hammer and tongs.

Translation

I really enjoyed it. Sarah J Maas is a wonderfully accomplished storyteller. Emotional and captivating.

A Shadow's Breath and Giveaway

A Shadow's Breath
Written by Nicole Hayes
Contemporary, Romance, Survival, #LoveOzYA
263 Pages
Published January 30th 2017
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★★★★
Then, things were looking up for Tessa. Her mum was finally getting her life back on track. Tessa had started seeing Nick. She was making new friends. She'd even begun to paint again.

Now, Tessa and Nick are trapped in the car after a corner taken too fast. Injured, stranded in the wilderness, at the mercy of the elements, the question becomes one of survival.

But Tessa isn't sure she wants to be found. Not after what she saw. Not after what she remembered.
Sixteen year old Tessa is conscious, her arm dislocated, bloodied and bruised as the car left the highway that promised a new direction. Nick rests behind the wheel and on a lonely, isolated road in country Victoria, the fragmented debris a contrast to the Australian landscape. 

After her father's passing, the darkness emerged. Her mother unable to care for her only child and used alcohol to paralyse her grief while her daughter felt isolated and alone. Alcoholism is an illness that in many cases also accompanies domestic violence, incidences which continue to haunt Tessa. During the depths of despair, the handsome and intelligent Nick reaches out to Tessa and offers her solace from the alcoholic fueled violence of home.

The narrative is profoundly resonating. Alcoholism and domestic violence are issues rarely encountered in young adult novels although predominant within our communities. Ellen is an alcoholic. Throughout the nonlinear narrative Ellen is determined to maintain her sobriety after the breakdown of her former relationship, her partner abusive and creating a toxic environment. The remnants of abuse and neglect weigh heavily upon the parental and daughter relationship and understandably, Tessa is reluctant to place her confidence in Ellen.
Family violence. No one had been brave enough to use that term, given there were no charges, no evidence.

Atmospheric and vibrant, the portrayal of our arid land was immaculate as the two adolescents attempt to survive. The arduous Australian climate scorching the barren Victorian landscape while on the horizon, fire approaches. It was captivating.

A Shadow's Breath is a compelling nonlinear narrative, breathtaking and atmospheric. Resonating and personal, a reminder of human fragility.
When Nicole Hayes isn't yelling at the Hawks on TV or sharing hosting duties on the all female AFL podcast The Outer Sanctum, she teaches writing and writes fiction, essays and scripts. Her debut novel, The Whole of My World was published in 2013 and was shortlisted for a Young Australians Best Book Award and longlisted for the Gold Inky Award. One True Thing, Nicole's second novel, won the Children's Peace Literature Award, is a CBCA Notable Book and was shortlisted for the WA Premier's Book Awards.

#ashadowsbreathcontest 

To celebrate our love for A Shadow's Breath, Nicole Hayes is giving away a choice of two of her titles and a $20.00AU gift voucher. To win, simply head over to Eugenia's Instagram page for more details.

Giveaway


The Names They Gave Us

The Names The Gave Us
Written by Emery Lord
Contemporary, Spirituality, Romance
400 Pages
Published June 1st 2017
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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★★★★
Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters, in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend pauses their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp, one for troubled kids, Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle.

Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
Lucy Hansson finds glory in the inspiration of Our Father, a passionate parishioner honouring thy father and thy mother. A wonderful community of support for the sixteen year old high achiever. Lucy's character is delightful. She's a wonderfully positive young woman with a tremendous sense of community for her fellow parishioners. Her strong Christian beliefs extend to her relationship with fellow Christian Lukas until Lucy challenges the boundaries of their physical relationship.

Daybreak is a summer program for children and teens enduring grief, displacement and despite Lucy's reluctance, she accepts the position of counselor to satisfy her mother. The Names They Gave Us explores adolescence grief and acceptance. Lucy's mother is breast cancer survivor although in the summer of Lucy's senior year, her mother is rediagnosed and scheduled for surgery.

Lucy begins to challenge her Christian ideology, an aspect of the narrative I found fascinating. Lucy is a compassionate humanitarian but her ideology often leads to the judgement of others, including a pregnant young lady seeking guidance. Lucy's character encounters a diverse and wonderful company of counselors who have all experienced trauma or loss throughout their young lives. In particular gentle Anna and the magnificent Henry. The delicate romance between Lucy and Henry was captivating. Daybreak is a positive and maternal environment and the counselors all share a wonderfully affirming perspective.

Although Christianity and illness are components of Lucy's narrative, The essence of The Names They Gave Us is compassion. Through her interactions with fellow councilors, Lucy experiences a sense of belonging and immeasurable admiration, now accepting of new experiences guided by the group of diverse, young individuals. African American adolescents, transgender, exploring sexuality, displacement, socioeconomics, race, religion, anxiety, grief, adoption and illness. Both children and councilors were wonderfully representative of our diverse communities.

Unfortunately it ended rather abruptly and I needed closure.

Emery Lord is a prolific contemporary author, creating socially conscious characters with compassion and consideration. The Names They Gave Us is marvelously delightful, beautifully written and enchanting.

Release

Release
Written by Patrick Ness
Contemporary, LGBT, Paranormal
288 Pages
Published May 4th 2017
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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★★★
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn It's a big day. Things go wrong. It's intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches...

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything.

It's a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won't come out of it unchanged.

And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.
Adam Thorn is sensitive, compassionate, beautiful, complicated. His grief is palpable, poignant and often confrontational. The Thorn family believe in the capacity of faith. To rehabilitate and to offer judgement especially concerning Adam's sexuality. Emotionally depleted after his relationship dissolved, Adam is navigating the parameters of a new relationship, desperate to find love once more.

Adam identifies as gay, his father using his faith to thinly veil his homophobic beliefs and whilst his sexuality isn't acknowledged categorically, he is often discussed as being dishonourable and needing to rediscover his own faith. Adam is nursing the heartbreak of first love while trying to commit to a new relationship. Adam's narration was wonderful, profound, often poignant and takes place over the span of a single day. Throughout his narration, Adam questions his own faith by being in a same sex relationship and when reaching out his evangelist father, he is ridiculed and dismissed.

Release touches on issues such as homophobia, substance abuse, manslaughter, sexual assault and the religion verses sexuality contention. Courageously and compassionately. The incorporation of sexual relationships was wonderful, a mature inclusion rarely seen in young adult novels accentuating same sex relationships.

The emphasis of Release is familiar relationships and in particular, the relationship Adam shares with his father. LGBTQIA teens and adult readers as an extension may find these particular passages confronting as it explores homophobia and erasure. Adam's family is homophobic, expressing the view that gay love is fraudulent.
It's not real love. Everybody's convinced themselves that it is, but it isn't. And it never will be.
Angela is a tremendous support to Adam, compassionate and maternal. Angela's adoptive family are wonderfully inclusive of her Korean ancestry, supporting Angela who identifies as bisexual and offering sanctuary to Adam.

The magical realism elements of Release were enchantingly lyrical, perplexing and synonymous within Patrick Ness narrations. A Queen infused with the spirit of a young women, dying from asphyxiation by her narcotic effected partner. Her companion is an anxious Faun. The two narratives converge and although peculiar and lyrically enchanting, the significance was nonsensical other than two characters seeking release


Patrick Ness is a magnificent author and Release is a tender and compassionate read, confronting and captivating until the final page.
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