Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Review: The Application of Pressure by Rachael Mead

The Application of Pressure brings a very human--and refreshing--side to the kinds of things that we usually hear about in the news. Tash and Joel are paramedics, the people who work on the front line and see all kinds of things, people and situations during a routine shift. Most of the chapters revolve around an emergency of some sort and the effect that it has their mental health and their personal relationships. Both Tash and Joel have a very different approach to life, but with their shared experiences and dark humour, they may just be able to help one another get through.

Told in short chapters that (usually) involve one emergency or another, The Application of Pressure is a fast paced and insightful read, that shows the very human side to those who work on the front line. Joel and Tash (and a few others,) have experiences that are frightening (at one point, Joel witnesses a murder,) touching (Rob gives his son a call after helping a very similar young man,) and sometimes just show the real person who is doing a tough job. (The chapter where Tash gets kicked out of her book club had me raising my fist in the air and cheering. I love how she handled that particular situation.)  

The greatest strength of the story however, is setting. The Adelaide setting and the author's familiarity with the locations mentioned--whether it be Hindley Street, the Zoo, the Adelaide Hills or the North-Eastern suburbs--shows. There are many small subtle things that will be familiar to anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in Adelaide, and I loved the tall tale about the alligator at Adelaide Zoo. 

Overall, this is a moving, insightful read that shows the humanity behind those who work on the front lines. 

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Affirm Press for my ARC of The Application of Pressure

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2020

Monday, 1 June 2020

Friday, 29 May 2020

Friday Funnies: Sesame Street Bathtub Orgy

Sharing another Sesame Street clip this week. So what I am getting out of this one is that Ernie takes a bath and when he starts to sing the other residents of Sesame Street decide to join him in the tub as though it is all one massive orgy. And then they run and hide when Bert expresses some concern for Ernie's welfare by knocking on the door.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Friday, 22 May 2020

Friday Funnies: Dynamite Dance

This short clip was released by Warner Brothers in mid-2019 to advertise that some new Looney Tunes cartoons were coming, ones that were in keeping with the originals, just like this hilarious but explosive

I don't know much about the new cartoons, whether they have launched yet and if they are any good, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

The third volume in the Heartstopper series sees Charlie and Nick travel to Paris with a number of their friends on a school trip. There they are provided with new challenges, in particular Nick, who is slowly coming out as bisexual to his friends ... which in turn means that Charlie and Nick are slowly coming out as a couple. 

Heartstopper Volume 3 gets off to a strong start, but sadly fails to live up to its potential. In particular, a major plot line that involves Nick expressing a desire to come out to his dad, which is then followed by the revelation that his Dad lives in Paris, had a lot of potential, which is then squandered in a few short frames where [[[spoiler alert]]] Nick receives a phone call from his dad to say that he is too busy to catch up this week, and Nick just shrugs it off as though it is nothing and it's not like he and his dad live in different countries and he doesn't have something rather big and important to tell him, and that his reaction (good or bad) could help shape a part of the novel. I have a few other quibbles with the story, for example a subplot where two teachers hooked up on the trip felt somewhat superfluous in a YA novel. Even Charlie's eating disorder appeared to be mentioned purely for shock value, rather than offering readers any real insight into his behaviour or problems. There is a pleasing moment where Charlie stands up to a bully, which will be relatable to anyone who has been on the receiving end of extreme bullying. 

Overall, this felt less like a story that had been carefully constructed and more like a fan fiction featuring the same characters as the first two books in the series. There is no depth, no moments of great insight and no reason whatsoever for me to read on should there be a volume four.

Not really recommended.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Review: In the Time of Foxes by Jo Lennan

The debut short story collection from Australian author Jo Lennan takes readers to places far and wide across the globe as it tells the story of various humans and their complex relationships with the world around them. Cleverly weaved in to each of the stories is the motif of a fox. Sometimes the foxes appear as they are, sometimes as a metaphors. Each time it packs a real punch. The stories vary in their locations and the characters vary in age. 

I read this one over the course of several evenings, dipping in to one story per day, an approach which allowed me to appreciate each story in full. As always in a collection like this, while all of the stories stood up well on their individual merit, I had my favourites. In particular, I loved the third story in the collection, titled Joyride which kept me guessing right up until the end what the clever and cunning Sylvia would do--and I certainly found myself biting my nails wondering whether I would leave the story feeling satisfied or utterly devastated at the ending. (I'm thrilled to report that I loved the ending.) And while Joyride is set in Sydney, many of the other stories gave me a chance to be an armchair tourist as I read about places such as Japan and Russia, which feel so very far away at the moment. 


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of In the Time of Foxes

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2020