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Review: I Don't by Clementine Ford

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Australian feminist and author Clementine Ford takes a look at the history of marriage in I Don't and makes a provocative argument against an institution that was never originally about romance. The book makes an ambitious claim, that it not only wants to prevent marriages, but to end them. Ford takes a deep dive into the history of marriage, its relationship to the church and most importantly of all, probes whether marriage is in a women’s best interest. Like any work by an author who believes in what they say, and who has done extensive research to back it up, it is very difficult to argue with the case presented in this book.  I am familiar with the author's previous work. Sometimes I agree with what she says, and sometimes I disagree and, unsurprisingly, this is a reflection of my feelings about I Don't. It is hard not to feel angry when she shares accounts of women who are humiliated on their wedding day with casually cruel acts by the groom disguised as 'comedy&#

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Review: The Witch by Polly Esther Rayon

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The first novel in Sweet Valley satire series Saccharin Valley Twits and Fiends was so well done that of course I just had to read the sequel. This volume satirises classic Sweet Valley Twins title The Haunted House and the whole thing works so beautifully well that I found myself laughing out loud in multiple occasions.  In this one, the kids at Saccharine Valley Middle School have become convinced that the old Morrison Mansion, the one that has never been mentioned before in the series, is haunted. Everyone is afraid of the place, including twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wastefeld. When Fallon Morrison moves in to the mansion and enrols at Saccharine Valley Middle School, it follows that everyone thinks she is a witch and bullying soon becomes rife. Then, it turns out that Fallon may very well be a witch ... and she's intent on getting her revenge on these meddling, bullying kids. This one was pure fun. I like the way that it pokes fun at the original series, whilst offering a ne

Review: Binding 13 by Chloe Walsh

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I picked up a copy of the first novel in the Boys of Tommen series assuming that it was set in a university. Turns out that I was wrong. The characters are all in high school, though as per the note in the front, the novel is pitched at readers over the age of eighteen. The setting is quite dark and topics addressed include alcoholism, physical abuse and bullying. The romance, pairing a fifteen year old girl who is small for her age and described as having a childlike appearance with a boy who is physically mature, sexually active, who invades her privacy and is not far from his eighteenth birthday seems questionable.  After suffering through years of bullying at school, some of which put her in hospital, Shannon has transferred to a private school, one so expensive that her mother has to take out a loan to pay all the fees. Things are going well, she has friends at her new school, there are strong anti-bullying rules in place and everything at Tommen College seems well, nicer ... espe

Review: A Country of Eternal Light by Paul Dalgarno

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A Country of Eternal Light is a story of memory and grief with one almighty and powerful twist at the end. Margaret Bryce has passed away and is finding herself rewatching all of the big events that shaped her life, as well as watching how her death impacts those who are closest to her. We see important moments in history from Margaret's home of Aberdeen as well as her family life, in particular her life as a wife of a tradesperson and mother of twins, Rachel and Eva who couldn't be more different. We watch as Margaret takes trips to visit her adult daughters, Rachel's life in Melbourne with her partner Gem and their two sons, and Eva's somewhat more mysterious life in Spain. However, what really holds this novel together is the sense that things that something isn't quite adding up--what is Margaret hiding not just the reader, but from herself? I absolutely refuse to spoil or drop hints about this one, because the twist at the end is one best discovered by the read

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Review: Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

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The second novel in Ashley Herring Blake's Bright Falls series is just as fresh and fun as the first. In this instalment, Delilah's stepsister Astrid takes centre stage, along with Jordan Eastwood, who has returned to Bright Falls to help her grandmother restore the beloved family hotel. Astrid is the interior designer tasked with the restoration, and she needs this project to work, in order to restore her reputation after she broke up with her fiancĂ© a year ago. (As was depicted in the previous novel in the series.) This is made more complicated by one, the fact that the restoration is being broadcast on a reality TV series, two, she and Jordan have a major personality clash, three, Jordan hates the design and feels that it doesn't capture the history of the hotel and four, Astrid might just be falling for Jordan and maybe she is beginning to realise that she is bisexual.  This was an interesting read. Both characters are easy to identify with and to feel empathy for. Each