Monday, November 10, 2014

Mini Reviews (8)


Mini Reviews
(8)




I was determined to give Apple and Rain a good shot. I've seen lots of positive words on it popping up recently, and it was promising- the novel sounds bittersweet and moving and, though I was wary after not having had a positive experience with The Weight of Water, the only other novel I've sread by Crossan- but unfortunately I just couldn't get through it.
I got close to halfway through before deciding, with regret, that it wouldn't be good for me to keep going.

The story focuses around Apple, who was left with her grandmother as a baby when her mother decided to go to America and take up acting, and when her mother re-enters Apple's life 11 years later, when she's 13, I just could not understand Apple's behaviour- or I could, but to the extent she took it was too much for me. I found her to be really frustrating, but also the behaviour of those around her, who were so wrapped up in themselves they couldn't spare a moment for her. From the situations she was put in by her mother, where Apple was encouraged to drink under her mother's acknowledgement and approval, a mother who has had years to learn to be responsible but at 31 still can't take care of her own children, to the actions of Apple's father and stepmother and even her grandmother, who should have just explained, trusted Apple to be old enough to understand. If anyone had give her some responsibiliyu and trust, maybe she would have been bearable.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy!
Image Credit: Bloomsbury.




Image Credit: Allen and Unwin.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!

Tashi and the Wicked Magician and other stories- Barbara and Anna Fienberg. (Link to Allen and Unwin- unavailable on Goodreads)
I grew up reading (devouring?) the Tashi books, and between me and my two siblings I believe we have the whole collection. I could not pass up reading some new Tashi stories for a moment.
For each story (there are four, one in two parts) there is a colour illustration on one page, and these, quite possibly, were my favourite parts of the book. I loved seeing Tashi, his world and his friends come back to life, and the illustrations (though I yearned for more!) were just beautiful. Amazing detail and colour and ability to capture the scenes.

The stories, unfotunately, did not work quite so brilliantly for me. They are short stories, probably less than half the size of the stories I grew up with, but they didn't captivate me, didn't give themselves enough time. The way they would play out, though not from a plot point of view, was predictable and for me it didn't have the magical wonder of the old Tashi books. They would, however, be excellent bedtime story reads, since they're a good length for that.

These stories did still hold lots of wonder, and the imagination of the plots in each, from a dragon born of Tashi's own imagination to the consequences of a boy with a beautiful voice, was the same. They were unique and creative, and I just wish they'd been longer so they could've been marvellous, too.

14 comments:

  1. Apple & Rain kind of disturbed me. I mean...the mother was pretty abusive by her neglect and I was surprised it kind of wrapped up more with a cuddle and "aw I'll try better" even though the mother HAD been supposedly "trying better" the whole book. wut. just wut. I did think it was cute in places though, and pretty bittersweet.

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    1. I get that- I skimmed to the end and was perplexed how it all fitted back together so nicely when things had been so dreadful. If I had really been enjoying the book, that ending would have really struck me as... really sad, I guess.

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  2. These two books have interesting premises, but it's too bad they didn't capture you. Apple and Rain sounds like I book I would have problems with too but the Tashi sounds really good - I have to check out the originals. I've never heard of them before!

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    1. Oh I hope you do, Charlene! They were staples of my childhood, those books, and they're just so wonderful and creative and just Great! x

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  3. I have never read a Tashi book. I was too old for them when they started being a thing, though I am impressed that they have still maintained popularity with the younguns.

    That is basically the end of my thoughts.

    BUT, I wanted to tell you I have started the audiobook of Is It Just Me? and it is glorious and had me laughing like a crazypants in the car and I think I am in love.

    Also, I am attempting to come out of the cave and catch up on all the reviews of yours I have missed. (Sorry)

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    1. I don't know how popular they are now, I know that my niece really likes them, but I suppose we've bought them into her childhood. I thikn there's a TV movie happening this month, actually, which seems like an interesting idea.

      Oh I must listen to that! It sounds so hilarious! I read the book and really enjoyed it, but I think the experience would just be so much better on audio with Miranda reading it and everything.

      You don't have to read all my reviews- whichever ones you do, I am very grateful! xx

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    2. EVERY TIME I forget to ask for notifications of follow up comments and then you say stuff and I NEVER KNOW. Now I'm trawling through your back pages.

      It was very fabulous having her actually narrate it. Such FUN. SUCH FUN. I will def listen to it again.

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    3. I do this too. And I say THE funniest things. Perfect for a cartrip, methinks.

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  4. I haven't read the 2nd book yet, but like you I was disappointed with A&R. I read so many reviews about how wonderful it was but Apple just was desperate for her mother's approval and it was so heart wrenching seeing her sacrifice herself like that you know? Great review Romi!

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    1. Oh, you got Tashi, too? How neat! I was so excited for it, since I've loved Tashi for years!
      I guess I felt similarly, though the fact she acted so rashly, was such a frustrating character for me overshadowed it. It was that, though, exactly. She just needed the approval and she gave so much for it.

      Thanks, Jeann! x

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  5. OMG TASHI WAS MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD <3 I love the sound of the illustrations but it sucks that the actual stories didn't live up to the ones that we grew up with. Lovely review though, Romi and thanks for the heads up! x

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    1. That's so neat to hear, Jess! I get to relive a bit of the Tashi-awesomeness with my niece just coming into the love of it, but I was disappointed in this, since it just didn't seem quite the same. Very happy to hear of another Tashi fan! xx

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  6. I'd heard a lot of great things about Apple and Rain, but to be honest, not sure that it's the type of book that I enjoy. It can definitely be hard to like a book when you don't understand the motivations behind a characters' actions. I probably won't end up reading it...we'll see...

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    1. I agree with that completely. Sometimes it's okay, because they make their case, but there was so little sense in Apple's actions, and her mother was really, really a hard character for me to read.

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