Waiting on Wednesday: All Our Wrong Todays

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai.

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn't necessary. Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down.

Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality?

Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

I'm really curious to see how this time-travel/alternate depiction of our world as we know it actually comes to form. It certainly sounds like it has the potential to be a thought-provoking read, and I'm looking forward to seeing for myself just how clever it is. Time will tell!

Releasing 7th February 2017 from Penguin Random House

Top Ten Tuesday: Brilliant books you may not know about (but really should!)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. We all seem to hear of the 'big releases' hitting the shelves, those books in the spotlight which get all the attention; glowing or otherwise. So this week I'm sharing my top ten underrated gems which you should definitely check out!

1. Flora Series by Jessica L. Brooks

The Flora series by Jessica L. Brooks is unlike any other I've read before. They're so uniquely enchanting with their own special charm - magical realism at its best. The contemporary elements are so well written too!

2. In The Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker

You can read my full review of this #LoveOzYA gem here, and wow was this book a complete surprise. It is both surreal and brutal, you never know what will be coming next. 

3. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

This is another fascinating read, somewhere between the genres of historical fiction and some sort of dystopia. It wasn't something I'd normally pick up, but found it compelling and original. 

4. The Passion Flower Massacre by Nicola Morgan

It's been years since I first read this but I still remember how cleverly chilling it was. It plays so well on the idea that some things seem to good to be true...

5. India Dark by Kirsty Murray

This is a middle-grade novel, but nonetheless not one to be overlooked. Set in India in the early 1900's, this tale of a group of Australian performers which is based on a true story is mesmerising. 

6. Starters by Lissa Price 

This YA sci-fi novel which explores the extreme lengths the rich can go to in retaining their youth was a gripping read. 

7. Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

This is an emotional YA read which deals with mental illness in an honest and provoking way. Caution: have tissues nearby - you'll probably need them. 

8. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I have come to appreciate Moriarty's slightly satirical and witty writing style, which hopefully comes through in this book. 

9. The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Full review here, but in short this book is a beautiful piece of YA historical fiction told through a maid's diary entries who wants to be something more. 

10. Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson

Set in Paris in 1871, Liberty's Fire is a passionate story of revolution, and a group people caught in its tumultuous midst. Rich in historical detail, this is a YA novel you don't want to miss. 

What underrated books would you recommend?

Genie's Weekly News (55) - My 2017 goodreads challenge, reading Paris through pages and loving La La Land

Monday, 16 January 2017

Okay, so it's been...a few weeks since my last update, but I'm finally back with another recap! 

Currently Reading

Historical fiction set in Paris...I can't wait to see how this story unfolds. 

Recommendation of the Week

This is a novel I can certainly see fans of Liane Moriarty enjoying. Its sardonic tone and twisting plot which plays on all the stereotypes of 'good children' being the product of 'good parenting' is particularly interesting. A domestic drama not to be missed!

Previous Posts

From the Interwebs

Book Haul

What I've Been Watching

'La La Land' was a unique and nostalgic movie which has stood out from the crowd of other releases in recent years. I can definitely see why it won so many awards at the Golden Globes; the music and storyline were sweeping and bittersweet. Though I wish it could have ended differently, I think it's still worth the hype to go and see it.

Other Updates

Savouring the moment where I'm actually ahead of my reading schedule

I've repeated my goal of 50 books this year, which at the moment is going well as I'm reading whenever I can! I'm aiming to make a dent in the books that I own but haven't yet read, as well as finally finishing the couple that I started so long ago and am still "currently reading" *cough* How Proust Can Change Your Life / The Virgin Suicides *cough*. I'll get there eventually! 

How is your reading challenge going?

Review: The Ghost by the Billabong by Jackie French - A breathtaking novel which captures the Australian spirit

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Ghost by the Billabong by Jackie French
Series: Matilda Saga #5
Released: 1st December 2015
Published by: HarperCollins Australia
Genre: YA/Adult Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Pages: 544
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hippies wear beads, demonstrators march against the Vietnam War, and the world waits to see the first human steps on the moon's surface.

But at Gibbers Creek, Jed Kelly sees ghosts, from the past and future, at the Drinkwater billabong where long ago the swaggie leaped to his defiant death. But is seventeen-year-old Jed a con artist or a survivor? When she turns up at Drinkwater Station claiming to be the great-granddaughter of Matilda Thompson's dying husband, Jed clearly has secrets. As does a veteran called Nicholas, who was badly wounded in the Vietnam War and now must try to create a life he truly wants to live, despite the ghosts that haunt him too.

Set during the turbulence of the late 1960s, this was a time when brilliant and little-known endeavours saw Australia play a vital role in Neil Armstrong's 'one giant leap for mankind' on that first unforgettable moon walk.

The fifth title in the highly acclaimed Matilda Saga, The Ghost by the Billabong is a story of deep conflicts and enduring passions - for other people, for the land, and for the future of humanity.
Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Reading a Jackie French novel always provides so much more than a few hours of contentment between the pages of a book. This novel, like all the others which came before it in the Matilda saga, is really something else, something special. Set against the backdrop of the late 1960's, The Ghost by the Billabong not only provides a snapshot of the major events and ideas prevalent at that time in Australian history, but a sincere narrative that I was immediately drawn into.

Men might step onto the moon today, but mankind had watched the moon and stars from this spot for tens of thousands of years. She felt the wind of time sweep about her.

Not only was this book a phenomenal read; it made me even more interested in delving further into the history of our nation. At a time when excitement surrounding the anticipated moon landing was at an all-time high, French offers a perspective which we may not have properly known of before. Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station which features in the story did actually exist and played a role in that momentous event. In today's age when technological advances are fast exceeding even our wildest expectations, the author has truly conveyed the wonder felt by the people at that time witnessing such a feat. For Matilda's ailing husband Tommy it offered a vision at what is beyond our homeland, and for Jed the hope that we can always be something more; that even the most troubled past does not need to obscure the hope for a better future.

He'd fought to save everyone's sisters and nieces back in the war. She supposed he'd done this for them too. That was the trouble with love and protectiveness. It kept on spreading, till you loved the world, and wanted to keep it safe.

As always the character development in this novel is masterfully crafted. Jackie French has been able to weave the stories of all the characters from the previous novels, creating a plot which explores the nuances of their life experiences while retaining a central focus on a new protagonist. I love how even after I finished the other four books in the series, the stories of the characters I came to resonate with did not end there. That in itself is just one thing which makes these books so enthralling. The multiple perspectives alongside Jed's enrich the story further, as we come to understand their innermost thoughts, longings and dreams as to what might be. Jed was a complex character whose life experiences and hardships had shaped her into a savvy young woman who although fiercely independent, did desperately want to be part of a family. Making overtures towards the time period in To Love a Sunburnt Country, Nicholas had scars from the Vietnam war, both seen with the loss of his legs, and those unseen which go so much deeper.

She had known hat her grip on happiness was too fragile, after those war years, to leave here. She was Nancy of the Overflow. Overflow was part of her, just as she was part of it. Travel too far from these plains, these hills, the river, and she would wither like an autumn leaf and blow away.

What links Jed, Nicholas and Nancy whose life also features heavily in the novel, is their resilience. It is the striking combination of the tangible aspects of these characters' lives, especially their connection to the land, and the intangible emotions which shape them, that gives this series its spark. The portrayal of kindness, and kin being bound by more than blood, makes for a heartwarming story I will never forget. Yes, I did shed a few tears, but when you come across a tale that is as beautifully written and emotional as this, you really can't help it. Ultimately this is a story of finding forgiveness, and the humanity in all of us; where time and space may change, but the land is a constant which holds communities and brings them together.

He knew he didn't have to say it to Jed, for she understood. Knew that Nancy's, Michael's, Matilda's love of this piece of land linked them slowly, inexorably, across New South Wales, to Australia, then across the oceans, to the entire planet. They did not need to see Earth from space to know that this one planet held them all.


In all, The Ghost by the Billabong is a breathtaking story which artfully incorporates the real and incorporeal. It offers the reminder that as humans the bonds between us in the present, can be created stronger than we could have ever imagined.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 releases I meant to read...but didn't

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. It seems to be an almost inevitable reality that all the shiny new releases we plan to read every year don't all make the cut. That being said, I'm hoping that I'll be able to make room for these 2016 titles this year!

YA Novels

1. Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Given how much I loved Illuminae, I think I just wanted to save this one for a time when I know I'll need a book I can dive into and not be able to stop reading it. NOW is the time!

2. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heiling

Time travel and...what looks like pirate ships? I can't wait to eventually read this YA debut which seems like a real adventure.

3. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Another book with a pirate theme happening - that could be promising.

4. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

There has been ALL THE HYPE for this book, and (Everything, Everything which I also need to read). Is it time to see what makes these books so noteworthy?

5. Replica by Lauren Oliver

There were some mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver's Delirium series so would like to see whether Replica is as good. 

Adult Novels by Australian Authors

6. Goodwood by Holly Throsby

I've actually just started this and am liking it so far - big drama in a small Australian town, and the mystery is already beginning to unfold. 

7. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire

This is also set in a small Australian community with a murder mystery rocking its core. This psychological thriller looks like it could really hit the mark for a riveting read. 

8. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I have come to appreciate Moriarty's slightly satirical and witty writing style, which hopefully comes through in this book. 

9. Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson

I love books which can capture a sense of place in a poignant way, and Where the Trees Were looks like a book which could do just that. 

10. The High Places by Fiona Mcfarlane

I've been getting more interested in reading short story collections lately, and this one described 'with a particular lens on human behaviour' is intriguing.

Have you read any of the books on this list?