REVIEW: The Game Player By BJ Harvey

Published: 23rd March 2016

Publisher: Self- Published

Pages: 211

Format: Ebook (Free on Amazon)

RRP: $3.99 – but currently FREE on AMAZON!

4/5 Stars

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Bliss series comes a new spin off series featuring your favorite Bliss series characters who are yet to meet their match.

Matt Taylor’s motto:
“I’m the king of the cut ‘n’ run. I wine them, dine them, then slide inside them, making sure I get up, get dressed and get out before they can even utter the words “second date.”

Mia Roberts’ motto:
“I’m queen of the chase. I meet them, greet them, date them and leave them. A social butterfly, I’m happily single and happy to stay that way.”

The players have been found.

The challenge has been set.

Whatever happens, they’ll soon find out that playing the game can get you played in the best possible way.

Game Player is the first book in the Bliss series by New Zealand author BJ Harvey. It’s a super fast rollicking read that left me smiling from ear to ear and wondering why it took me so long to pick up a BJ Harvey book in the first place!

Game Player is not a sports romance book like I first thought, but rather a fast paced romance between a self confessed man-whore and the girl who got under his skin. The characters are sassy and command attention through their lightening tongues and their soul baring honesty. What I think I loved best about them perhaps was that while the characters did bare their souls, and their incredible strength through out the duration of the novel, neither character permitted themselves to fall victim to stereotypes and they challenged every preconceived notion I might have had going into the book.

Matt Taylor is an Alpha male  with a capital ‘A’.  He is also a man well known by his peers – and let’s face it, perfect strangers – as the ultimate play boy. For years he has no trouble picking up women, using them and moving on. As easy as that …. but when it comes to Mia Roberts, he finds his game lacking it’s usual appeal. Matt was a lot of things in this book, but he was so refreshingly honest and direct that I loved his character almost instantly. He was the type of character who was brave enough to stand out for his differences and I found him not only charming, but compelling as a the hero and lead. It was refreshing to see this type of character not represented as a snarky-but-hot-asshole.

Mia Roberts is one hell of a heroine. Forget your damsel-in-distresses, and lacklustre heroines who take whatever shit the alpha male, or any male for that matter, might dish up to them. Mia is smart, sassy and has a mouth on her that will have you laughing out loud. She takes no shit from anyone, and while she isn’t a player like some, she isn’t looking to settle down any time soon. So why does Matt get under her skin so much? I loved Mia’s character so much. While she didn’t have life all figured out like some, she was willing to try things outside of her comfort zone when allowed to do so on her own time. She was passionate and fiery and fiercely loyally and proud. While there were some scenes that made me cringe at her choice of words, her viper tongue and the way she dealt with situations when she felt she had no control (particular a few of those towards the end of the book), I respected her for her differences.

There wasn’t a lot I didn’t love about this book, in fact I thought for sure it was going to be a 5-star book. But on reflecting the narrative while I sat down to write this review, a little voice nagged at the back of my mind about the pacing of the story. Like I said at the beginning, this book is fast. Like super fast. While the characters have known each other for more than two years, the events happen in the space of a matter of months and some times the characters timeline was hard to comprehend and even at odds with what they were saying. The story also seemed to jump around a bit, like it was missing a couple of scenes that possibility needed to be slotted in at certain points. Then again, maybe that was just me reading it and wanting more. More of the characters, more of the story. More of everything.

As a whole I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to get stuck in the rest of the series. The characters were uniquely original and familiar all at once, the setting and plot fiery and fierce and all in all it was a super hot romance that I was sad to see finish (when the story ended naturally ended not because of how it finished!).

To learn more about BJ Harvey, visit the following social media sites:

BJ Harvey’s website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

To purchase a copy of Game Player visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Amazon CA | Amazon uk | Amazon Us | BArnes & Noble | Ibooks | Kobo 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: The Impossible Story Of Olive In Love by Tonya Alexandra

Published: 27th March 2017

Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia

Pages:  284

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $19.99

3/5 Stars

A break-out quirky novel that will appeal to readers of Rainbow Rowell.

I get that I’m impossible.
I get that I’m mad and rude — perhaps even a drama queen at times.
But you’d be impossible if you lived my life … You’d be impossible if you were invisible.
Shakespeare was an idiot. Love is not blind. Love is being seen.

Plagued by a gypsy curse that she’ll be invisible to all but her true love, seventeen-year-old Olive is understandably bitter. Her mother is dead; her father has taken off. Her sister, Rose, is insufferably perfect. Her one friend, Felix, is blind and thinks she’s making it all up for attention.

Olive spends her days writing articles for her gossip column and stalking her childhood friend, Jordan, whom she had to abandon when she was ten because Jordan’s parents would no longer tolerate an ‘imaginary friend’. Nobody has seen her — until she meets Tom: the poster boy for normal and the absolute opposite of Olive.

But how do you date a boy who doesn’t know you’re invisible? Worse still, what happens when Mr Right feels wrong? Has destiny screwed up? In typical Olive fashion, the course is set for destruction. And because we’re talking Olive here, the ride is funny, passionate and way, way, way, way dramatic.

This story is for anyone who’s ever felt invisible.

This story is for anyone who sees the possible in the impossible.

Invisibility. It’s something every human being on the planet has considered at some point in their life. For some, it’s the means to the end when we would rather the floor open up and swallow us whole to stop others witnessing our transgressions and embarrassment. For others, it’s that daily reminder that you have once again been over looked and ignored by your peers and others. For me personally, there have been vast periods of my life where I have experienced both sides of the coin, and yet I’ve never really thought through the ramifications of invisibility. Debut Australian Author Tonya Alexandra has.

The Impossible Story Of Olive In Love is an intriguing read with a fascinating basis. The book is centred around seventeen year old Olive, who through not fault of her own, is suffering from a gypsy curse her family brought on three generations before her. Totally invisible to everyone around her – her family included – Olive is forced to tackle the world alone and in a way most of us couldn’t deal with. She can’t open doors, or eat in public, strangers constantly run into her and no one is really aware of her existence outside of her family and even they haven’t laid eyes on her. Olive lives her life as though she is in limbo, waiting for her one true life to magically appear before for, as he is the only person gifted to truly see her.

I wanted to love this book so bad. I was so excited to be asked to review it and eagerly dived into the book full heartedly. I was sucked into the story almost immediately and despite reading it quickly I’m still mystified and confused by my feelings on the book, even now some months later. It’s also why this review is so late. I keep yo-yoing with my take on the book!

I don’t think I liked Olivia as a character. She is snarky and horrible to those around her; and yet I can understand why. Here is a seventeen year old girl whose life is largely dictated to her by the convenience and beliefs of others. Unlike you and me, she can’t walk in through her own front door because society could not deal with or process seeing a phantom door opening on its own. Or perhaps even more alarming, she can’t even see what she looks like. To have such a fundamental part of who you know yourself to be – as partly given by knowing what you look like – is something every person would crumble under. I applaud Tonya Alexandra for writing such a flawed and complex character that I can appreciate, but sadly I just didn’t connect with Olive as much as I would have liked and I fear that may have swayed the book slightly for me.

What’s more I didn’t feel anything between Olive and Tom, our leading man. I tried so hard but she was such a bitch to him and he was just too good, to the point he almost had no dimension beyond the words on the page. Meanwhile, Olive’s blind best friend Felix felt real to me. While Tom did absolutely nothing for me, Felix was my hero. Through his character and Olive’s, Alexandra touches on the concept of disability and the socially accepted scale of what makes one ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ to ‘invisible’ and ‘made up’. Thus we get a glimpse into the realities of living with mental illnesses in current society ; if you can’t see it then people assume it just isn’t there. As a whole I really enjoyed Felix and Olive’s interactions and really loved this side sub plot. The book’s ending has given me some hope that perhaps there will be a second book in the series. Despite not connecting with this one, I would still read a sequel as there is so much left unanswered in what is a relatively short narrative and the ending is rather intriguing as well.

All that said there are pure moments of gold in this book. When Olive isn’t dramatising everything, you can see the heart of a real person and those around her. She is strong, but vulnerable. Snarky and almost cruel, but there’s a hint of something else there waiting to be explored. What’s more the way in which Alexandra has dealt with the issue of mental illness and it’s awareness is nothing short of amazing. I defy anyone to read it and not recognised people they know. She has given a voice to group of people who have been constantly silenced through societies own blindness and stubbornness.

To learn more about Tonya Alexandra, visit the following social media pages:

Tonya Alexandra’s Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | harlequin australia

To purchase a copy of the book, visit the following online retailers:

Harlequin Australia | Booktopia | Angus & Robertson’s bookworld | Amazon Au | AMazon US | ibooks | Google Play | kobo | Dymocks AU |

 

REVIEW: Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls (100 Tales of extraordinary Women) by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Published: 20th March 2017

Publisher: Particular Books (Imprint of Penguin Books)

Pages: 212

Format: Hardcover courtesy of the Publisher

RRP: $32.99

5/5 Stars

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

More than a month after this gem of a book was released, it is still trending on most online book stores as one of their top five books sales. There’s a reason for that; this book is not only one of a kind, but it is a remarkable piece of non-fiction that is as inspiring as it is ground breaking and humbling. It’s the kind of book that every household needs as it speaks to our fundamental rights in an easy, down to earth, conversational way that will appeal to both young and old.

Now that you’re holding this book, all we can feel is hope and enthusiasm for the world we’re building together. A world where gender will not define how big you can dream, how far you can go. A world where each of us will be able to say with confidence: “I’m free.”Foreword by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls consists of 100 short stories- almost snapshots – about real women from both the present and the past, young and old, black and white and from every corner of the globe. Every single one of these women featured have stood up and tried something that no one believed they could, or should do. All 100 stories illustrate that just because you are female, you are not limited or inferior to anyone based on gender, culture or race. It seeks to nurture and reaffirm the belief that we are all people and the sky is our limit, while questioning why should we stop there – there is nothing you can not do without hard word, persistence and belief in yourself.

‘Hilary became the first woman nominated by a major party for President of United States of America.

There was a time when girls could not be whatever they wanted, but that time is gone.” Hillary Rodham Clinton – Presidential Candidate – USA

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a highly passionate, powerful and engaging read that is sure to get readers thinking. It’s the type of book that will appeal to all ages, socio-economic statuses and cultures. What is truly divine about the book is the simple fact that is covers so many different women across time and the planet. It’s seeks to not only inspire the next generation, but reinforce the current ones that our fight is still relevant today and to show just how far we have come and how far we have yet to go with a smile on our faces and a spring in our step.

Alek wants every girl on the planet to know, “You are beautiful. It’s okay to be quirky, it’s fine to be shy. You Don’t have to go with the crowd. – Alek Wek – Supermodel – Sudan

I read Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls from cover to cover in one afternoon and it just about brought me to tears – happy ones I assure you – and left me speechless. I knew this book was going to be amazing when I read the publishers pitch on it months back, but nothing and no one could prepare me for irresistibility of this book. It seeks to empower, inspire, enliven, and encourage women of all ages and races from all around the world. It’s ground breaking and breathtaking and truly a sight to behold.

I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it, because I want to do it. Women must try to do the same things that men have tried. If they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart – Aviator – USA

Packaged as a hardcover short story anthology for children, the book features bite sized stories that pack an emotional punch. Each story covers one personality and their achievements/fight through a double page spread (one page text, one full page coloured illustration). Let me tell you these illustrations are simply superb with a number of illustrators having contributed throughout the length of the book.

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”Malala Youzafai – Pakistan – Activist

The stories themselves are reasonably short, ensuring that they are the perfect length for a parent to read a story to their child before bed and still have time to discuss anything that might arise. However do not mistake their brevity for lack of substance or for a barrier to age. These stories might be aimed for children, but their include just the right amount of information to inform and inspire, while giving the reader some food for though and something to look into later.

‘That’s when I realised why princesses in their films were so helpless: they had all been created by men.’ She promised herself that she would create a new type of princess: strong, independent, and … brave!’ – Brenda Chapman – Director – USA

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls is a truly delightful and empowering read, that I urge every parent to consider purchasing for it is one of the most important books you and your child may ever read together. Together you can read the awe inspiring tales of the pioneering women, and true heroines of our time, who have gone before us and made our reality what it is today.

When Girls see other women doing this job, they will feel that they can do it, too.”Xian Zhang – China – Orchestra Conductor

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls seeks to sing the praises to the unsung heroines who refused to be told no and bow in inferiority. It’s a testimony to the women who wouldn’t be told ‘no’ regardless of what it might have cost them, who believed they were worth more and who have contributed to society in such significant ways whether it be working for NASA, teaching children and fighting for educational rights, building new technology, overcoming disabilities and running for political office. There is something in this book for everyone, if only they are game enough to open it’s pages.

 

To purchase a copy of Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Books Australia | Booktopia | Book Depository Angus & Robertson Bookworld | QBD | AMazon

 

REVIEW: The Boy And The Spy by Felice Arena

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Puffin Books, Imprint of Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 159

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $16.99

3.5/5 Stars

Life has never been easy for Antonio, but since the war began there are German soldiers on every corner, fearsome gangsters and the fascist police everywhere, and no one ever has enough to eat. But when Antonio decides to trust a man who has literally fallen from the sky, he leaps into an adventure that will change his life and maybe even the future of Sicily…

 

The Boy And The Spy is a fast paced, adventure seeking, dangerous ride that kids aged 8+ are going to love.

Set during World War Two, The Boy And The Spy is not only an educational tale about what the war was like for children in Italy, it’s also a great narrative that is sure to get kids, particularly boys, reading.

Full of danger, adventure seeking and of course a healthy dose of espionage, the narrative is an intense and quick read. In many ways it is similar to books like The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas, for it offers a rare glimpse into history from the perspective of a child, but with a slightly more upbeat and possibly unrealistic ending.

The biggest problems for me with this particular novel were due to my own preconceptions of reality and books. Being a well-read women in her twenty-somethings, I’m not the target audience for this book, and thus I bring to the narrative a bunch of expectations if you will. A lot of these were adhered to in the novel – well paced, engaging characters and storyline etc – but some boxes weren’t so easy to tick off either. As an adult I was able to suspend my disbelief throughout most of the initial read of the narrative, but once I shut the covers for the last time, I was well aware that parts of the story didn’t gel for me as well as I’d have liked. The plausibility of a spy being so open with the child of the enemy seemed a bit out there for one, as did the a few of the time jumps and a few other elements that I can’t mention without giving spoilers.

That said, I did really enjoy this little book and was certainty taken for a whirlwind adventure with Antonio through war torn Italy. I really loved the parallels drawn between The Little Prince and this narrative, and the way Arena has captured the raw vulnerability of childhood and friendship and one’s place in the family was brilliant.

All in all I was really moved by Antonio’s plight and I’m really hoping that Felice Arena does write the companion novel/sequel that the end of this book hints at.

The Boy And The Spy is the perfect book for any child who dreams of being a spy. It is a courageous, intelligent and uplifting tale of a child finding his place in the world and the true meaning of family depicted against the harsh reality of war torn Italy.

 

To learn more about Felice Arena, visit the following social media pages:

Felice Arena Website | Facebook | Instagram | Penguin Books Australia

To purchase a copy of The Boy And The Spy, visit the following online retailers:

Paperback – Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Booktopia | Dymocks | Kinokuniya | Penguin Books Australia | QBD | Readings

Ebook – Amazon Au | Amazon US | Google Books | IBooks | Kobo

 

 

 

REVIEW: Tempting Justice by Fiona Archer (Sons of Sydney Book 2)

Published: 18th April 2017

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 340

Format: Ebook courtesy of the author for review

RRP: $ 5.42

5/5 Stars

His reckless behavior as a child caused the deaths of his entire family. On the lonely Sydney streets, the orphan found friends. Found “brothers.” Never again will Seattle Homicide Detective Heath Justice break the rules and risk his new family. Order and discipline govern his life…until he meets a curvaceous redhead. With two ugly murder cases to solve, the last thing he needs is this disconcertingly lovely, whirlwind of chaos, yet…charmed by her wit and intelligence, Heath can’t resist.

She believes rules are meant to be broken

Deep into writing a murder mystery, author London Shaw is shocked when she herself is implicated in a homicide. She can’t believe the ever-so-authoritarian Detective Heath Justice expects her to simply ignore the crime and go on about her business. Not happening. Although the man’s whiskey rough voice, cuffs, and masterful touch could melt any woman’s resistance—and does—she has a craving to do a little investigating herself.

When all or nothing is your only play

When Heath’s murder investigation threatens a far-reaching conspiracy, everyone he cares for becomes their target—including the woman he’s come to love.

The Justice brothers are back in the last instalment from Aussie author Fiona Archer, Tempting Justice, but this time it’s Heath’s time to get down and dirty with his leading lady London, a YA writer.

Following on from the explosive Craving Justice, Archer leaves nothing behind in this whirlwind of mystery, suspense, murder and the sweetest and truest love story I’ve read in a while.

Set about a month after the events of book one, Heath Justice meets his leading lady in one of the most quirky and adorably sexy cute meets there is. Right from the first time London creeps on to the page I was instantly drawn to her character and loved the contrast between the controlled rule-abiding Heath and the laid back sassy London. The pair will have you laughing one second and swooning the next as they learn to navigate each other and the situations they unwilling encounter as the book’s main events unfold.

I really am speechless when it comes to this book. Not only did I encounter just about every single emotion there is during the initial read of the book, but I’m in awe of the way Archer was able to pull the whole thing off. There is so much going on in this book, that I can not even begin to understand the mastery of the story telling that Archer has under her belt in order to pull the whole thing together so powerfully and effortlessly.

Every time I think I know what to expect from Archer’s writing, she ups the ante and has me dancing on the edge of my seat as I race the book to it’s epic conclusion. This book is everything I could have dreamed and then some. Archer’s writing style is flawless, her characters engaging and larger than life. The plot itself is complex and everything you could want from a romantic suspense book that is heavy both on the suspense and romance. This book seriously has it all and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

To purchase a copy of Tempting Justice, visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | ibooks AUS  | Kobo |

 

To learn more about Fiona Archer, visit the following social media sites:

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |

 

 

REVIEW: Zak’s Safari by Christy Tyner and Illustrated by Ciaee

Published: 4th December 2014

Publisher: Self published via Kickstarter

Pages: 38

Format: Hardcover Picture Book (Borrowed from a friend)

RRP: $34.99 (hardback in AUD)

4/5 Stars

Zak’s Safari is a book about donor-conceived kids of two-mom families. When the rain foils Zak’s plan for a safari adventure, he invites the reader on a very special tour of his family instead. Zak shows us how his parents met, fell in love, and wanted more than anything to have a baby—so they decided to make one.

In the first half of the book, Zak teaches us about his biological origins. Using simple but accurate language, we learn about sperm and egg cells, known-donors, donors from sperm banks, and instructions called genes that make up who we are. Zak’s enthusiasm, combined with his scientific curiosity and gratitude for his inherited “awesome genes” make him the perfect tour guide for this contemporary conception story. The second half of the book celebrates family. Gorgeous illustrations depict Zak and his two moms living the adventure of everyday life: eating meals together, playing at the beach, going for nature hikes and hanging out with friends and family.

Zak’s Safari aims to provide a starting place for many future conversations with your kids about their conception story and donor. Zak’s Safari is written in a style that is genuine, informative, casual, and easy to understand. It will be most meaningful to kids ages 4-8.

Zak’s Safari is a cute and educational picture book designed for young children to inform them on the donor process. For many parents, this is a scary topic of much confusion and heartache – after all, how and when you decide to let your child know is a big decision.

When the narrative starts the reader is introduced to Zak, a Safri tour guide who has to alter his plans to show a “rare baby albino alligator’ due to weather conditions and instead takes the reader through an ‘adventure tour’ of his family. The tour starts from when his parents first meet and goes through concepts of what conception is, through to the various pairings parents can make (same sex, two men, two women etc), to what genes are and the role they play in making us who we are and to a rough sketch of Zak’s life. Nothing is off limits, and everything is up for discussion and that in itself is one of the best things about this book.

Zak’s Safari isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone. For many it will be too confrontational, and others just too overwhelming. While I’m not a same sex parent (or a parent at all), I really admire this book for what it is doing; helping to give parents and children a safe outlet to discuss what is ultimately a very confusing and confronting concept for everyone involved.

One thing I loved about this book, was the fact that it opened with a detailed two page letter from Alice Ruby ( MPH, Excetive Director of the Sperm Bank of California and a mother through donor conception) to the reader. While this letter is aimed at the parents, it’s a helpful guide to how to handle the initial discussion of donor conception and same sex parents. The book further goes above and beyond by including a blank page for the reader’s family to record their own story journey, so that they too can understand exactly where they come from.

Zak’s Safri is an exceptional little book. With big ideas it seeks to break down the misunderstandings and prejudice against donor conceptions and help families with same sex parents, or donor conception babies, to break through the social barriers of families and their origins.

To learn more about Zak’s Safari and Christy Tyner, visit the following social networks:

Zak’s Safari Website | Facebook | Twitter

To purchase a copy of Zak’s Safri, visit the following online retailers:

Zak’s Safari website | Book Depository | Booktopia | Amazon US

 

REVIEW: The Beast Of Hushing Wood by Gabrielle Wang

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Pages:180

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $16.99

4/5 Stars

By the award-winning author of The Wishbird. A powerful magic realism story about Ziggy Truegood, a young girl who has a premonition that she will drown on her 12th birthday.

Ziggy Truegood lives in a tiny town deep in Hushing Wood, where strange things are happening. The townspeople are fighting, Ziggy feels like something is hunting her, and her beloved woods have become dark and hostile. When exotic Raffi and his grandfather arrive in town, Ziggy finds herself strangely drawn to them. But are they there to save Ziggy, or are they the hunters?

Thought-provoking and engaging, Hushing Wood is a lovely blend of action, fable and magic realism.

With illustrations by the author
Recommended for children 10 -13 years old.

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is an adventure style novel perfect from children on the cusp of young adulthood, but not necessarily ready for the older themes of Young Adult books. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to adventure/risk takers and lovers of magic and the unknown. It’s a book that continued to surprise me and kept me guessing for the entire 180 pages of the novel.

With adventurous themes and settings, magical aspects and mythological beings, there is a lot to take in and love about The Beast Of Hushing Wood. When the book opened, I expected a self-discovery-slash-coming-of-age style narrative and while there are elements of both of those things in the story, the narrative has so much more to offer in a remarkable short amount of pages.

For one, it’s illustrated! I can’t remember the last novel I read that had illustrations scattered throughout the pages and so I really enjoyed the illustrations that spanned everything from a two page spread to small chapter style headings. Not being familiar with the author’s previous work, I wasn’t aware at the time of reading that Wang is both the books author and illustrator and looking back knowing this gives the book a larger than life feeling. You can literally see and read the tale unfold before your eyes as the author intended it to be and that’s kind of magical in itself..

I loved the book’s sense of otherness. The world of Hushing wood and the town Ziggy and her friends call home is crowded in by the woods and not kind to foreigners. But then there is Ziggy, a spirited eleven year old who knows her own mind. She’s not easily mislead by the closed mind towns folk and uses logic and her limited knowledge of the world to problem solve. If anything I think the world needs more books about young girls like her. What’s more the use of Eastern mythology and the re-telling of those tales brings a sense of wholeness and completion to the story. By including these tales that many westernised kids are not used to, Wang is both teaching and widening the readers knowledge and social construction, while adding another level of mystical and compulsion to the book.

But perhaps my favourite aspect of the book was the insistence on the power of one’s imagination. There are countless examples within the novel that express to the readers that your imagination is fantastic. With children from 12 plus heading to a highly indoctrinated and exact educational system, our imagination and it’s place in our day to day lives is often forgotten and left behind. We are not taught to be creative and imagine life outside the walls presented to us, but it happens every day as a child, and again as a reader of any age through books.

“But the imagination isn’t real,” I say.

“People only say that because their power of imagination is weak. When it becomes strong, your imagination can take you to incredible places. These are real places, although you cannon touch them with your hands.’ He taps his chest. “True imagination is your door to a real world. Sometimes people glimpse this world when they’re not looking straight at it.”

The Beast Of Hushing Wood is a highly imaginative and creative story that will appeal to readers of all ages. The best way I can sum up the book is to suggest that it has the power and intensity of adventure of J.R.R Tolkein (with perhaps no where near half as many characters), the magical and paranormal immersion and focus of Holly Black’s Darkest Place Of The Forrest, the mythological presence of Rick Rordan’s Percy Jackson’s Series but the light heartedness and tenderness of a book suitable for readers from 10 plus, while remaining a safe stepping stone into Young Adult themes and narratives.

 

 

To learn more about Gabrielle Wang, visit the following social media pages:

Gabrielle Wang Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

To Purchase a copy of The Beast Of Hushing Wood, visit the following online retailers:

Paperback:  Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD | The NIle 

Ebook:  Amazon AUS | Amazon US |