Double Review | Withering-By-Sea & Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell

Withering-y-Sea Paige's PagesAUTHOR: Judith Rossell
SERIES: A Stella Montgomery Intrigue
PUBLISHER: ABC Books
RELEASE DATE
: November, 2014 & October, 2016
GENRE
: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction; Victorian Mystery; Fantasy
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Orphan and adventurer-at-heart, Stella is tragically misunderstood by her three horrible aunts. When a mysterious villain brings death and destruction to the Hotel Majestic, Stella is flung headfirst into a perilous adventure that makes her question everything she thought she knew about magic and her past.

Wormwood Mire Book Review Paige's Pages

I believe this series gets stronger as it progresses! From the first pages of Withering-By-Sea, I surrendered to the heady atmosphere of the Victorian era. I love that there is a fantasy element, but it’s subtle enough that the historical setting is the shining feature. All the fantasy touches are so creative and original, which I appreciated since so many books simply reimagine the same old tropes over and over. As I await the third and final installation of the series, I have so many questions I need answered.

Two things got on my nerves, however. Firstly, I noticed that Judith Rossell repeatedly uses short sentences without much variation. This made both books feel like they had a young reading age, that contradicted the vocabulary she uses. Secondly, we get very little insight into what goes through Stella’s mind. Even after reading two books, I feel like I hardly know what makes her point of view unique. That said, the series so far is entertaining and fascinating.

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My 2018 Top Winter Reads

When I think of winter reading, I picture snuggling up with a cup of tea and a cosy book. But this is not a cosy book reading list! Some of my favourite winter reads are books that are best enjoyed with the weather outside is grizzly and inhospitable. Sure, some of them are snuggly books, but others aren’t so friendly. What are your favourite books to read in winter?

My 2018 Top Winter Reads

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Graphic Novel Review | El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: El Deafo
AUTHOR
: Cece Bell
PUBLISHER
: Harry N. Abrams
RELEASE DATE
: September 2, 2014
GENRE
: Junior Graphic Novel, Memoir
PAGE COUNT
: 233


El Deafo is an utterly adorable Own Voices  graphic novel based on author Cece Bell’s own childhood experience of severe deafness.  One of the many wonderful things about this book is how it avoids representing deafness as a disability.  Although Cece faces plenty of adversity in the form of loneliness, being misunderstood, and toxic friends, she ultimately uses her Phonic Ear hearing aid as a superpower to become the hero, El Deafo.  This is a universally relatable and informative story for junior and middle grade readers that inspires compassion and respect for differently-abled people. Continue reading

Book Review | Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller

elizabeth-and-zenobia-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Elizabeth and Zenobia
AUTHOR: Jessia Miller
PUBLISHER: Text Publishing
RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2016
GENRE: Junior Fiction, Fantasy
PAGE COUNT: 232


Elizabeth and Zenobia is Aussie author, Jessica Miller’s wickedly clever debut.  Although it nods to familiar fantasy tropes, it forges its own unique vision.

Elizabeth and her imaginary friend Zenobia are moving to Witheringe Green, her father’s childhood home.  But there is much more to this old house than meets the eye.  When family secrets lead to even stranger mysteries, Elizabeth must face her fears and save her family from otherworldly danger.

Elizabeth is our first person narrator.  Unlike the fearless Zenobia, she is scared of almost everything, including but not limited to Continue reading

Book Review | When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson

When Marnie Was There Review Paige's PagesTITLE: When Marnie Was There
AUTHOR: Joan G. Robinson
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
RELEASE DATE: 1967
GENRE: Junior Fiction, Fantasy
PAGE COUNT: 286


For a children’s book first published in 1967, When Marnie Was There still feels fresh and magical.  For some readers, this was the book they grew up with.  For me, this is a book to grow old with.  

12-year-old Anna lives with her foster parents in London.  She is sent away for her health to a seaside village where she meets a mysterious girl.  Marnie is Anna’s first real friend – someone who accepts her for who she is.  But Marnie’s life in the beautiful Marsh House is not as perfect as it seems.

Straight away, the mental health aspect surprised me. Continue reading

My 3 Favourite Mothers in Literature | Mother’s Day 2016

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It’s time to celebrate the wonderful women who raised us.  Take a break from brainstorming ways to show your mum some love, and remember your favourite fictional mothers.  Here are my 3 favourite mothers from childhood books:

Miss Honey | Matilda

Miss Honey is Matilda’s school teacher and eventual adoptive mother.  When Matilda’s biological family punishes her for being unique, Miss Honey embraces Matilda’s individuality.  She does everything in her power to nurture Matilda’s special talents and make her feel loved.  Her overflowing joy spreads positivity to her students.

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Molly Weasley | Harry Potter series

Molly Weasley is fiercely protective.  She confronts danger head-on to keep her family safe.  Despite being a tough cookie, Mrs Weasley can also be tender.  Her knitted Christmas sweaters and home cooked meals keep her loved ones warm and cosy all year round.  When Harry visits, she makes him feel like part of the family.

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Marilla Cuthbert | Anne of Green Gables

Marilla Cuthbert may not have signed up for motherhood, but she steps up to the plate when Anne Shirley comes to live at Green Gables.  At first, Marilla is stone cold and strict.  But as Anne warms her heart, she is surprised to experience love like she has never known before.  Sharing in Anne’s misadventures becomes the most rewarding part of her life.

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I hope this list gave you the warm and fuzzies.  Who are your favourite mothers in literature?  Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Reading Lemony Snicket Will Hurt Your Head!

Lemony Snicket has a wickedly clever imagination.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is scattered with these trippy tangents.  This one is from Book 13, The End.  Hopefully after reading, you’ll no longer be in the dark about why he’s one of my all-time favourite people.  

The phrase “in the dark,” as I’m sure you know, can refer not only to one’s shadowy surroundings, but also to the shadowy secrets of which one might be unaware.  Every day, the sun goes down over all these secrets, and so everyone is in the dark in one way or another.  If you are sunbathing in a park, for instance, but you do not know that a locked cabinet is buried fifty feet beneath your blanket, then you are in the dark even though you are not actually in the dark, whereas if you are on a midnight hike, knowing full well that several ballerinas are following close behind you, then you are not in the dark even if you are in fact in the dark.  Of course, it is quite possible to be in the dark in the dark, as well as to be not in the dark not in the dark, but there are so many secrets in the world that it is likely that you are always in the dark about one thing or another, whether you are in the dark in the dark or in the dark not in the dark, although the sun can go down so quickly that you may be in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, only to look around and find yourself no longer in the dark in the dark about being in the dark in the dark, but in the dark in the dark nonetheless, not only because of the dark, but because of the ballerinas in the dark, who are not in the dark about the dark, but also not in the dark about the locked cabinet, and you may be in the dark about the ballerinas digging up the locked cabinet in the dark, even though you are no longer in the dark about being in the dark, and so you are in fact in the dark about being in the dark, even though you are not in the dark about being in the dark, and so you fall into the hole that the ballerinas have dug, which is dark, in the dark, and in the park – page 191

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My Romantic Reading List for Valentines Day 2016

Love is in the air this weekend!  To celebrate Valentines Day I’m revisiting my favourite romantic reads.  Some are old, some are new, some aren’t your average love story.  But one thing they all have in common is a talent for making me swoon.  What are you favourites?  Share below in the comments!

6867Atonement by Ian McEwan

Cecelia and Robbie are torn apart when Robbie is wrongly accused of rape and sent to the WWII frontline.  Through painstaking detail McEwan crafts a rich world around their star-crossed romance, weaving viewpoints and time periods together.  Atonement is heartbreaking but beautiful.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldUnknown

How can you talk about romance without mentioning this masterpiece?  Jay and Daisy’s romance is beautiful, but best of all is the writing.  Set against an intoxicating backdrop of 1920s opulence, The Great Gatsby paints a portrait of humanity more vibrant than life itself.  I am in love with its unforgettable language.

818z5OvvrWL._SL1500_Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a story about finding (and learning to love) yourself.  Eat, Pray, Love isn’t your typical romance, but it IS deeply romantic.  Liz’s self-reflection and personal epiphanies touch upon every aspect of her world.  This book has enormous heart and soul.  If you’re alone this Valentines Day, Liz will inspire you to spend it loving yourself.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë9781471141638_hr

Another obvious addition.  Re-reading this book countless times made Cathy and Heathcliffe’s damned romance immortal to me.  I would agonise breathlessly over the claustrophobic house, the desolate moors, and the characters’ self-destructive wills.  Wuthering Heights is overpowering.

194755Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

My final pick is a children’s book.  Mr Hoppy is desperately in love with his neighbour Mrs Silver, the owner of a disappointingly small tortoise called Alfie.  Mr Hoppy decides to make her happy by secretly swapping Alfie for a slightly larger tortoise every day.  Esio Trot is simple and completely enchanting.

I can think of many more that deserve to be on this list (fodder for next year’s Valentines Day post wink wink).  I hope you enjoy these romantic reads and spend your Valentines doing something special by yourself or with loved ones xo  

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