Tuesday, 29 May 2018

King's Ransom by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

I've reviewed quite a few of this authors books. Her Aussi sense of humour appeals to me a lot. And like in this case; she is always willing to send me a free copy for a fair and honest review.
My favourite genre is historical fiction, so I was pleased that Tabitha had something in the genre. Even though the book was well researched the dialogue and the characters seemed more modern than the 1190's. The book is firmly in spoof territory. I gave it 4 stars.

I’ve read a few of Tabitha Ormiston-Smiths books and short stories. Most of them have been contemporary comedies, but this one intrigued me as it is set in the middle ages. I like that she often uses a cat or dog as one of the characters and, like in this book, they add a lot of humour. Here it comes in the shape of a great big Deerhound named Pansy, a dog that his owner John (King Richard the Lionheart’s brother.) is convinced is a she, even though it is clear that she has bits that say otherwise. The story is very loosely based on the story of Richard and the time when England was struggling with the costs of funding his crusade and ransom. It also weaves in the legend of Robin and maid Marianne and makes some unusual (and somewhat scandalous) assumptions. Tabitha has taken a motley crew (or merry band) of familiar characters and rearranged them to her own unique blend of comedy. If you are a fan of Monty Pythons Holy Grail and more concerned with comedy than historical fact, this will appeal to you.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town by Leslie Tall Manning

This was rather a fun read and I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars. I wasn't a big fan of the cover, but don't let the embroidery fool you, this is contemporary YA fiction.
Click the picture to take you to Amazon.

This book surprised me, from the cover I could not have guessed it would be a modern YA fiction. This book certainly has a bit more grit than the usual YA books. Brooke is a modern heroine that has to deal with adversity (the death of her mother) and everyday teenage dilemmas. Her way of dealing with grief is to party, drink and smoke pot. She is a normal teenager that is on the cusp of going off the rails. Her father’s rather novel solution; to drag them all on a reality TV show, I found really refreshing and original as a story line. The writer’s immaculate research into 1860’s America showed through as Brooke had to dress, cook and take care of personal hygiene with only 1860’s means. Hilarious but also brutal as an attempt at shaving legs goes pear-shaped. A stark reminder that we do live a comfortable and privileged life now. (Especially women, my god what would we do without our monthly sanitary products!)
The message of the book is firmly in YA territory; live a clean and simple life, value your nearest and dearest and don’t throw yourself at the first boy that shows an interest. I liked this book a lot and would recommend this to YA and adult readers alike. Enough plot twist and turns to keep me interested.