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Review: Fangirl 2 by Sam Maggs, Rainbow Rowell and Gabi Nam

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It has been a heck of a wait for fans but, finally, the second instalment in the Fangirl Manga series is here. Adapted from Rainbow Rowell's brilliant novel of the same name, the series tells the story of Cath, a first year college student who is navigating social anxiety whilst being abandoned by her beloved twin sister Wren who has plunged headfirst into student life. A talented writer, Cath hides behind her popular fan fiction series, but it seems that life is going to happen to her whether she likes it or not ... Volume two picks up right where the first volume left off. We see Cath and her friend Levi race to a bar to find Wren, who has sent Cath an SMS indicating that she may be in trouble. Of course, the SMS is a misunderstanding, and the situation between the sisters becomes increasingly tense, leaving Cath with more feelings of abandonment, though it soon becomes clear that her friendship with Levi may be developing into something else. There are some extremely cute and h

Review: My Body by Emily Ratajkowski

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Model, actor, entrepreneur and influencer Emily Ratajkowski knows better than most about the perverse dynamics that exist within the film and fashion industries, and it was for this reason that I opted to pick up a copy of her memoir, My Body. And it is true. Ratajkowski does know better than most, and lifts the lid on the blatant sexism and objectification that she has been subject to.  The memoir soon takes a dark turn as the author describes a shocking instance of sexual assault on the set of a music video. From there we get a very real--and horrific--glimpse into the many, many ways that models can be treated, and taken advantage of. From no longer having ownership of intimate photographs, to sexual assault, the stories that the author tells of her experiences are so utterly horrific that I had to occasionally put the book down. Ratajkowski raises an important question of who truly has ownership of her body, and why so many people think they have the right to objectify it. And the

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  My dear, I don’t give a damn ~  Gone With the Wind

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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  Earwax is a type of sweat.

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. ~  The Great Gatsby

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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  Avocados are single seeded berries.

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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Neighbours bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbour. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives. ~  To Kill a Mockingbird  

Review: Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Illustrated by Colleen Doran

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Beautifully illustrated Chivalry is the graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's beloved short story of the same name. It tells the story of an older lady who purchases the Holy Grail from a secondhand shop. Into her life comes a good-hearted knight, keen to exchange the Holy Grail for all manner of gifts, until both discover that the true exchange going on is friendship. This was a beautiful adaption. It is clear on every page that Colleen Doran truly loves Gaiman's work and appreciates the subject matter. Every part of the story is lovingly recreated and brought to life through her superb artwork. Apparently this adaption has been a long time in the making--according to the notes Doran had to wait a whopping twenty-five years to secure the rights. Now that in itself is a labour of love. (And I'm so glad she got there in the end.) Overall, this is a terrific adaption, suitable for readers of varying ages and backgrounds. Highly recommended.

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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  This post was created a year ago and scheduled for today.

Review: Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls by Anne Casey-Hardy

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Award winning short story writer Anne Casey-Hardy never fails to awe the reader in her debut collection of stories, Cautionary Tales For Excitable Girls. Blending the inner and outer lives of each of her protagonists, the author never fails to surprise, and kept me turning pages all the way to the end. It didn't matter whether I was reading about a pair of teenagers who had abducted a baby, a young woman who was employed by a drug outreach service that had something more sinister going on, or a character haunted by the murder of a child that happened in their town, each time I found myself wanting more. I found each of these stories to be well written, and haunting. My personal favourite was New Years Eve which was about a teenage party down by the creek that goes very wrong. The author is adept on playing on the fears of every day people, and blending the imagined inner worlds of the characters with the outer world. In some ways, the collection reminded me a little of The Yellow

Review: Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

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Reminiscent of After by Anna Todd Good Girl Complex is a story of a nice girl who meets a bad boy. Mackenzie, or Mac as she prefers to be known, has just started college after taking a year off to start her own, very successful online business. A wealthy but sheltered daughter of a politician and a socialite, Mac has always played by the rules and lived a charmed life. She's gained the attention of a cute boy from an equally wealthy family and she has no reason to question her life ... until she chances upon bad boy Cooper at a local bar. Unbeknownst to Mac, Cooper has a score to settle with Mac's boyfriend, and as far as he and his friends are concerned, the best way to do that is to steal Mac away from him. Soon, there's a bet on that Cooper can seduce Mac. But what happens when Cooper falls for Mac instead? What follows is a bit of light weekend reading. The scenario is entertaining enough, the romance gets delightfully heated at times and there are some amusing and oc

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  At the temple there is a poem called "Loss" carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it ~ Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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  Swearing is banned at Wimbledon.

Review: The Accident by Katie McMahon

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Three women, all loosely linked by various connections to family, friends and colleagues are all hurtling toward a tragic event in The Accident, the second novel by Katie McMahon. There's Grace, a single mother of a teenage girl who is having an affair with her former university sweetheart, Zoe who, after being dumped, has just found a new and better man, and Imogen, a registrar at a hospital who is struggling with the pressures of work. Each of them have more in common than they realise, chiefly, all have experienced painful forms of rejection, and each cope differently ... and some better than others. This was an interesting read and meditation of how rejection and various painful experiences can shape us. The actual event is, of course, quite shocking, as is the reasoning behind it. I felt no sympathy whatsoever for a certain character, though I appreciated the insight into their behaviour offered by the author.  Overall, a twisty, suspenseful read about the interconnected live

Review: The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

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Carolyn Huynh's debut novel is a beautiful story about generations of cursed women. It is well known in Little Sagon that the Durong sisters are cursed--that the women in the family never find love or happiness, and that their daughters always give birth to more daughters, not sons. Then one day, Mai Nguyen hears a surprising prediction from her trusted psychic, a son will be born into the family at last, lifting the curse. In preparation for this even, she begins reuniting the women of the family, with surprising consequences. This was an amusing, and occasionally heartbreaking, read about a family of women who not only believed themselves to be cursed, but the hardships the encountered in their lives--coming to the United States from Vietnam as refugees, rebuilding their lives and trying to shape better lives for their daughters, all of whom have different hopes and aspirations from their mothers. Parts of the story reminded me a little of The Joy Luck Club, while some of the nov

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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The collective noun for a group of porcupines is a prickle.

Review: Better the Blood by Michael Bennett

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A killer intent on avenging past wrongs is at the heart of this twisty crime novel set in Auckland. Hana Westerman is a Maori detective, and a singly mother, working in the Central Investigations Branch. She has always had to walk a very difficult line between her culture and her work, and even more so when she discovers a link between a number of supposedly unrelated murders and the colonisation of New Zealand. While it would be easy to write Better the Blood off as yet another story about a serial killer whose crimes are investigated by a cop who has all kinds of trouble in their personal life, that would mean totally ignoring one of the finest, and key points of difference in this novel--it's intimate glimpse into past wrongs, Maori culture and the effect those wrongs have in modern day New Zealand.  Initially, I had trouble getting into this one as much of it is quite confronting and I wasn't in a great headspace. However, a second reading, when I was in a better mindset,

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am ~  Sylvia Plath , The Bell Jar

Review: Between the Lines by TJ Ryan

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Meet Tessa, a hardworking student with a tragic past who is in her upper years of a screenwriting course. Meet Jonathan, a Hollywood actor with famous parents who has seemingly lived a perfect, privileged life. What could the pair possibly have in common? Well, there is the small issue of a drunken one-night stand that has just made headlines. Then there is the fact that Jonathan's 'people'  are in damage control mode after he has lashed out at a reporter. To them, Tessa seems like the perfect distraction. Orchestrate a fake romance between the two, and make the bad publicity go away. Even better is the fact that Tessa desperately needs a leading actor to star in her latest film project. But what happens when the pair fall in love for real? TJ Ryan's Between the Lines is a superbly written romance packed full of depth, heart wrenching situations and a whole lot of heart. Tessa and Jonathan are characters to fall in love with, while they fall toward an explosive ending.

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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  Snails can sleep for up to three years.

Review: The Boy From Boomerang Crescent by Eddie Betts

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There is no denying it. Eddie Betts is a true AFL legend, having played a whopping 300 games (or possibly more,) and kicking more than 600 goals during his time with Carlton and the Adelaide Crows. His goals were often spectacular, some kicked from odd angles which led to a portion of Adelaide Oval being lovingly renamed Eddie Betts pocket by fans. In later years, he became an advocate for Literacy and Learning through Eddie's Lil' Homies a clever series of children's books which also promote kindness, acceptance and equality. ( Read more about Eddie's Lil' Homies here. ) The Boy From Boomerang Crescent tells the full story behind the footballing legend. Growing up between Port Lincoln and Kalgoolie is tough, and more so for those who are still feeling the impact colonialism. Sadly, racism and police targeting Aboriginal people is a way of life (so much so that when Betts was about eight or nine years old, he was wrongfully arrested when police apparently mistook h

Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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   “All great achievements require time.”  ~ Maya Angelou

Aunt Cole's Believe It or Not

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Your small intestine is longer than your large intestine ... and you probably remember learning that in primary school.

Review: The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex by Gabrielle Williams

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Aussie author Gabrielle Williams takes a true--and bizarre--event and unsolved crime and shapes it into a story of love and loss. In August 1986 a group purporting to be the Australian Cultural Terrorists stole Picasso's Weeping Woman from the wall of the National Gallery and held it to ransom. Their demand was increased funding to the arts. The painting was eventually discovered, undamaged in a locker at Spencer Street Station. The perpetrators have never been caught, despite a large scale investigation.  The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex offers a wholly fictional, and very entertaining, account of how the painting could have been stolen, told from the perspective of four characters. There is Guy, who is in his final year of high school and set to fail his exams, Rafi who came to Australia from Brazil with her mother to live with her uncle after a terrible event, Luke an artist directly connected to the crime who is too selfish and immature to sort out his many interperson

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Uncle Chip's Literary Quotes

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  “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ~ Virginia Woolf

Review: Our House is on Fire by Malena and Beata Ernman, and Svante and Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg is a name that will be instantly recognisable to many people across the globe thanks to her work in environmental and climate change activism. Our House is on Fire is, in one part, the behind the scenes biography of her complex family life, and the events that led her toward activism. In another, it has a lot of information about the family's beliefs, passion and desire to make a difference.  Narrated by Malena Ernman, the biography tells of her life as an opera singer who made a living travelling and working throughout Europe and how things began to change suddenly when her oldest daughter, Greta stopped eating and spoke very little. Their family life improves after both of her daughters, Greta and Beata are given formal diagnosis and find ways to convert their so-called problems into superpowers, and how Greta converts her concerns about climate change into an unstoppable call to arms, through messages that made their way right across the globe. Beata, meanwhile,

Review: Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover

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Colleen Hoover's latest offering is a short, heartwarming and occasionally over-emotional novella that acts as a sequel to both Finding Cinderella (itself a companion novel and sequel to the Hopeless series,) and her stand-alone novel All Your Perfects.  It's thanksgiving break, and Six is sad, and her boyfriend Daniel is sad because Six is sad, and it all comes down to the secret they have been keeping from everyone. And then it turns out that two strangers--Quinn and Graham--hold the key to helping them find their way. There is no denying it, this is definitely a story written for diehard fans who want to revisit their favourite characters and know what happened next. In many respects it works as a lovely crossover, with each pair able to give the other exactly what they needed. Unfortunately, it also feels overly sweet in places and the situation tied up a bit too well. The characters themselves, particularly Daniel and Six, come across as one-dimensional and shallow, in sp

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