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It is especially nice to be asked to review a book.

I still have to pinch myself (even though I've been getting review-copies for a year) that people want to know what I think. They want me to promote their books. WELL HUZZAH AND CAKE ALL ROUND!

And there is a giveaway at the end of this post! Because it is a fabulous day!

Thank you Black Inc. Books for the review-copy! Nona And Me by Clare Atkins hit shelves in October, 2014.

Rosie and Nona are sisters. Yapas.
They are also best friends. It doesn’t matter that Rosie is white and Nona is Aboriginal: their family connections tie them together for life.
Born just five days apart in a remote corner of the Northern Territory, the girls are inseperable, until Nona moves away at the age of nine. By the time she returns, they’re in Year 10 and things have changed. Rosie has lost interest in the community, preferring to hang out in the nearby mining town, where she goes to school with the glamorous Selena, and Selena’s gorgeous older brother Nick.
When a political announcement highlights divisions between the Aboriginal community and the mining town, Rosie is put in a difficult position: will she be forced to choose between her first love and her oldest friend?
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I am an author, scriptwriter, script editor and producer. I love strong, personal narratives, set in interesting cultural, historical or political environments. My favourite stories are based on people’s real-life experiences and events.
I was born and raised in Sydney, but have also lived in Bathurst (for university), on a small Spanish island called La Gomera, and in Arnhem Land. I have just moved to Darwin.
I wrote my first novel, Nona & Me, whilst living in the remote Aboriginal community of Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. If you are curious as to how I ended up there, you might find some answers in this first post of my old blogI have written for many successful Australian television dramas, including All Saints, Home & Away, Headland, Winners & Losers and Wonderland. You can read more about my TV work here.
I live with my husband, Jarvis, and three children, Louis, Rosa and Nina. In case you’re wondering, Rosie from Nona & Me was named for Rosa, but Nona had her name long before Nina was born. Believe it or not, the similarity is a coincidence: Nona is a Yolngu name referring to a spirit that lives on Elcho Island; Nina was named for Nina Simone.

This is a seriously bittersweet and heartfelt story!

It's about family and friends and wraps around a heart-tugging message about racism. The character development is good. If you actually want to know about Australia and the indigenous people and how STINKIN' HOT it is in the Northern Territory? Read this book. 

So it's about racism, basically, which is one heck of a touchy subject. 

In the back of my head I always think "Racism? Pfft. That was so in the olden days." BUT IT'S NOT. Racism is still an issue today and it probably will be forever. Nona And Me really dug into the heart of the matter. 

Our bonnie lass narrator, Rosie, isn't racist per se...but her boyfriend is and she's struggling with balancing the beliefs she's grown up with verses what she wants to think for herself. It's a story about growing up and using your brain for yourself.

We really got to explore Rosie's thought process. 

She's 15 and...well...15 year olds are not notorious for their incredible intelligence. They seem to think they Know Everything. (I was, of course, never like that when I was 15. No no. I was perfectly agreeable.) So Rosie just makes incredibly DUMB DECISIONS. Lots of them. Drinking, lying to her mum about where she is, going out with people she shouldn't, abandoning her childhood friend, Nona, because Nona is indigenous and Rosie is trying to be "cool"... 

Do you really think this is going to work out for you, Miss Shallow Rosie? 

My only (slight) frown, was that Rosie seemed like a Typical YA Girl Who Needs To Learn A Lesson About What True Friendship Is an STAHP Falling To Peer-Pressure. 

I mean, her boyfriend made some cracker racist remarks and Rosie stands there and defends him? I THINK THIS RELATIONSHIP IS A TRAINWRECK. I won't tell you if I'm right or not. But the warning bells rang so loud they gave me a concussion. 

It's set in Arnhem Land and talks a lot about politics.

I've been all over the Northern Territory (hello Alice Springs and Uluru and Darwin and Kakadu) BUT I have not been to Arhem Land. The description was superb though, and exactly how I remember a lot of N.T. feeling like.

Buuut...I was there to see Nona and Rosie! And did I get them? 

Um. Well, the book is divided into chapters of back-flashing to Rosie's past with Nona as her BFF. But Nona is basically not in the "present" part of the story. I was a little disappointed at how slow it seemed at times, but it was still good.

I appreciate how realistic the storyline was. But I really wanted a Happily Ever After...which, well, NO SPOILERS, but it was mixed. It's a touching story and well written. Ultimately it's a coming-of-age story where a 15 year old grows a glorious brain and starts making better life decisions. 

But really? Living in the NT without an air-conditioner? I'm melting just thinking about it. 

Australians only!

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i definitely don't read enough books by australians and set in australia. do you?! tell me how often you read books by aussies! what are your favourites??

Cait is busy plotting a book to write and simultaneously procrastinating starting said book. It is an art actually. She would LIKE to write it for NaNo, but October is a nice empty looking month. DECISIONS. Currently she's eating roasted apples and drawing zentangle patterns in her notebook. Reading? Well...she can't decide between Touch of Power and Zac & Mia. MORE DECISIONS. 

I eat books vivaciously.

But, like brussel sprouts darn the cursed little objects I don't always like the books I eat. Sometimes I think they've got plot holes so large I could fall into Wonderland. Other times I'm just uncomfortable with the subject. And still other times I haven't got the faintest idea what they're talking about.

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for their incredibly awesome meme: Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme involving lists, peoples. LISTS! I love lists.

This week's prompt is: Top 10 Books I Found Hard To Read (for various or any reasons)

1. This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl

Why was it hard? It's about a dead girl! I'm not being's just the plain honest and simple truth. It's a memoir about a girl who died of cancer (she inspired John Green's TFIOS too, by the way) and I just found it incredibly hard to swallow. It was sad.

And there were also some dubious statements and incomplete tellings that made me frown. Like Esther's parents being mad at her for being tired all the time (um...she has cancer?) and all the medical details were left out of her death AND everyone in the book had an inability to grieve. If anyone was sad for too long they were being "ungrateful". Gosh. It's okay to cry, peoples.

2. Brotherband: The Outcasts by John Flanagan

Why was it hard? Because I'm an absolute die-hard FAN of Ranger's Apprentice, and Brotherband was a woeful companion story. It was absolutely stuffed with mistakes! Contradictions! Illogical events!

I pretty much sobbed because I wanted to like it and it flopped.

3. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Why was it hard? Do you remember me whining incessantly about this book? "I can't read it," I wailed, "it'll be too painful and I might hate it." I'm such a pathetic antelope.

In other news, it was completely painful and I did love it, but only because it broke my brain and all other emotions died. My ship basically sank. Nothing went right. People were mean. The usual, but still, in case you're wondering? I AM STILL UNOKAY. (Don't get me wrong, I loved this book a lot, but it was still incredibly hard to read.)

4. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty 

Why was it hard? Despite the author having an infamously cool last name...this book was ridiculous. I usually LIKE ridiculous! (Hello! Lemony Snicket fan sitting right here, still complaining about not knowing what VFD stands for.) But A Corner of White just was so far from making sense that I choked.

5. Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais

Why was it hard? BECAUSE IT WAS FREAKY. Not in a "horror" a this-kid-is-a-sociopath-but-they're-letting-him-hurt-his-a-teenage-girl-if-only-it-might-make-him-feel-something. So, so, so wrong. It was a very luring tale (I couldn't put it down) but it was more like watching a kid with a very tall glass of juice and realising you'll be moping the floor in 2.4 seconds.

6. Say What You Will by Cammie

Why was it hard? Because it was supposedly about two teens with illnesses (mental and physical) who develop an unlikely friendship. NO. It's actually about a girl with cerebral palsy who bullies a boy with anxiety into being "fixed" so he's in the appropriate frame of mind for a relationship with her. So so wrong. I have zero tolerance for bullies.

7. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Why was it hard? I realise I'm a Hater in a 99.9% crowd of Huge Fans. I APOLOGISE. But I was appalled at this book. I felt physically sick because this was about a girl bullying bullies in an attempt to guilt them into remorse. She (while being dead) affectively destroyed lives. And her "bullies"? Half of them didn't even WRONG her.

8. The Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna

Why was it hard? Because I was too busy sleeping. I'm sorry...I truly am. I suspect this book would appeal more to people who a) like books that don't make sense, b) like period dramas, c) like romances with no emotion because "that wouldn't be proper, sir".

9. Abberant by Ruth Silver

Why was it hard? Look I try my darndest to be a NICE person...but when books blatantly copy famous novels? I HAVE A LITTLE PROBLEM. Abberant actually ripped off Divergent, The Hunger Games and Matched, so badly at one stage I though, "This is a parody, isn't it? It has to be...or so many people could be suing right now."

10. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Why was it hard? I read this about 3 years ago, so be nice. But I was scared witless. Sure I was new to reading YA and dystopian but the whole unwinding children's insides. MY BUNNY SLIPPERS HAVE RUN FOR COVER. Especially the ending and...the arm. If I read it now I'd probably be a lot more logical, but back then, I crawled into Mime's arms and sobbed for the fake and fictional children who died even though they never existed. Trauma has never been so real.

Just because a book is hard to read does NOT mean I hate it! 

But (I see your point) a lot of these I found unnaturally cringe-worthy as just all-round dud books. In my opinion. Yours is no doubt completely different. I will refrain from throwing small hazelnuts at you, because I am fair.

i totally want to hear which books you've had trouble reading! were they too good? like me and heir of fire? or where they too awful? like me and aberrant? do you agree/disagree with any on my list? thoughts? link me up to your TTT posts if you like!

Cait (as you know) is trying to think up blog names and failing. It's a sad state of affairs, to be honest, and let's hope she never has to name a child...imagine the stress. ALSO: she just finished Sherlock. She is now on hiatus with all the sobbing fangirls and is mourning the agonies of her life. It is UNFAIR how she must wait until 2016. The cliff-hanger was cruel. THE PLOT WAS BRILLIANT.

Because this pretty much sounded like an episode of Supernatural, I knew I needed this book in my life.

And I actually got approved to read it on NetGalley! YAY! Sorry, this is cause for great celebrations, because although my NetGalley ration is about 80%...I still get denied everything because I'm an Aussie not American and that's not really fair, don't you think? Okay! Okay! I'm done!

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire on Netgalley for the eARC. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco came out in August, 2014.

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 
A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out. 
The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.
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I have to shout one thing first, okay? Okay. Keep calm, just let me get this off my chest:


Aaaand...I'm done. I am! I could end the review here, to be honest. But, I'm not positive you're convinced. (Although, in all honesty? Everyone knows I'm trustworthy and that if I like a book you ought to drop everything and rush out and read it.) But for the SKEPTICS, I will explain.

Warning: YES THERE WILL BE SUPERNATURAL GIFS. You're not even surprised.

The Girl From The Well is part Japanese ghost stories, part mythology, part scariness.

Not that I was actually scared. Pfft. I don't scare easily. (Unless I lose my library card, then and only then do I admit to freaking out irrationally and perhaps breaking down in heartfelt sobs. But I digress.) I was pleasantly (that sounds wrong, but keep with me) surprised at how chilling this book was. Plus I hadn't heard anything good about it. The reviews I'd read verdicted it with "meh".

But Japanese ghost stories?!! What could possibly be more awesome?!

It's also got a unique narration style. 

For starters, it's narrated by a dead girl. Don't judge. Just because you're dead doesn't mean you can't write a book. Okiku is a ghost who pops around the world avenging murdered children. Which is very nice of her...I guess? She likes to count so her narration is full of interruptions of numbers.
I count the condiments hanging from racks that line the walls. (Eight.) In the time it takes them to finish I have counted the flower patterns on their wallpaper, the lights overhead, the knots in the ceiling, the kitchen tiles. (8% kindle ebook)
I like it. I am a huge fan of books that don't follow the typical styles or rules. BREAK THE RULES, I say. I like Okiku's styles (with the counting) and also her view point which was unreliable to say the least. You, the reader, have to piece together the story from what she says and what she hears. Love that.

While Okiku the ghost is narrating, the book is also about Tark. 

He's a 15-year-old kid with weird tattoos on his arms from some Unnamed Thing From His Past. I was desperate to know the WHYS behind his tattoos. Basically, the book flings all these WHYS at you and you can't stop until you understand it all. Like "why-is-Tark's-mother-insane?" and "why-did-him-and-his-father-just-move?" and "why-does-Okiku-hate-the-number-nine?" It was flipping pages late into the night, just eating it all.

Then there's Callie. She's Tark's cousin. She plays a huge part in the book and in Tark's life and actually...there's no love-interest. The book is about surviving creepy ghosts and Japan and supernatural events. There's possibly noodles involved. Thank goodness. Food saves lives.

These are not Japanese noodles, but whatever.

Then creepy stuff happens. Lots of it.

From ghosts to murderers to weird children (they're the worst) to Tark's freaky mother to travelling to Japan...oh. That's right, I didn't mention that! THIS BOOK ACTUALLY MOVES OUTSIDE OF AMERICA AND GOES TO JAPAN! I'm sorry! I have nothing against Americans, it's just that 90% of American books don't even mention the rest of the world. But we actually journeyed to Japan and saw ancient mountains and temples and noodles (important) and Okiku went along and creepy stuff went down.

Like really creepy. I'm not saying more.

Trust me. You're supernatural senses will be tingling.

Anything I wasn't impressed about?

Well, the Parental-Disappearing-Act happens. Tark's dad doesn't believe in ghosts so we throw him off on a very convenient business trip. Ah-huh. The plot isn't particularly fast. The ending is too tidy and didn't quite throw the -- BAM OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED -- that I was hoping for. Up till then I was stoked on the noir feel. But the end? A little meh.

But in all honesty? I just couldn't get enough of this book. I am so, so happy with it.

For someone who's (okay, I admit it!) a little hard to impress when it comes to paranormal activity, I was really happy with how much I adored this one! I love mythology AND ghost stores AND Japan AND noodles and this book delivered. It's like a 4.5 in the star rating category.

how do YOU feel about scary books? scarier the better or...wait, are you hiding under the bed right now? GET UP. BE BRAVE! face your fears. and (of course) i want your thoughts on The Girl From The Well if you've read it! do you like it when books hop around different countries? noodles, anyone?

Cait's most read genre is urban-fantasy/paranormal. She doesn't necessarily intend to base her bookish diet off them...but it happens. She likes to read books about the impossible, things that don't exist, and delicious food. Currently she's reading ROSE UNDER FIRE, which is actually Historical Fiction (not her norm) and she's crying a lot because it's about WWII and it's sad.

The internet absolutely loves classifying things, particularly: personalities. 

Hey, it's cool! No glares from me. It's very interesting actually. (Though I pretty much blame my mother for this since she analyses personalities all the time...I think it's fascinating, Mum, don't worry.) I'm pretty sure, though, there's an internet quiz for everything.

You've probably heard of the Meyer-Briggs personality tests. With all the letters? WELL. When I was on Engie's blog the other day (because, let's face it, I'm always over there) I read her post on finding which literary characters have the same personality as yourself.


I've always wanted to be in a book.

And now I can see just what kind of person I would be if I was a bookish (or movie) character.

Here's is a neat site where you can take the personality test, and here is the TV Tropes page where you find your literary alter-egos.

I'm an INTJ.

This stands for: Intensely Nice Terrific Jabberwocky. Sums me up quite nicely. 

OKAY! For real now! (But pity about the jabberwocky bit, because, honestly? I would love to be a jabberwock.)  INTJs are the rarest personality type of the world, making up just 2%. And only 0.8% are women.

The TV Topes site sums it up like this:
INTJs are clever, analytical, pragmatic and logical, and are not scared to tell someone (or themselves) when they're being stupid. They emphasize efficiency, making them simultaneously loners and excellent leaders. Their natural talent for planning and system-building often makes them the perfect villains.

I'm a genius, see? Although the villain part is unfortunate.

I definitely relate to a lot of these, particularly the logical and (obviously clever). Ha, I'm joking okay?! And apparently INTJs are very good with dark humour and also very awkward around humans. I am, however, a follower and I've never done anything really villainous! I PROMISE. Except for, you know, killing characters, but these things happen.

Now there is a whole list of literary-characters who are supposedly INTJs too, but I'm picking out ones I recognise.

1. Jafar from Aladdin

Okay, that's a little unfair. Apart from world domination, I would definitely say I hold NOTHING in common with Jafar. Do I look like I have an evil lair and malicious intentions? Don't answer that.

Arthur...what have you done.

2. Arthur from Inception

Although the dude has about as much personality as a fridge, he still manages to be one of the coolest and most loyal dudes in the movie. Which is saying something since NO ONE in that movie tells all the truth. They've got university degrees in omission.

3. Smaug from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This amuses me. I AM FIRE. I AM DEATH. Being a dragon would actually be a great life career, plus all that wealth and no need to ever buy matches again. I'll take this one.

4. Four (Tobias) Eaton from Divergent

Hmm....not so much. Although I really do like cake.

5. Batman AND Scarecrow 

This is a magnanimous pairing and I feel quite accomplished to be two fearsome Gotham scary people AT ONCE. I fit Batman quite fine because I a) am terrified of bats, and b) yell to Mime, "Come up here, Alfred!" ALL the time. No, her name isn't actually Alfred. But. It's a good quote. It is my favourite phrase. I'm nothing like Scarecrow of course.

6. Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol

I OBJECT! Okay, I suck at giving presents. I am the most horrible gift giver in the world and, to be honest, any sort of celebration or fuss is more easily skipped in my mind....but...but I'm not Scroogey! Well. Maybe I am. Just a little.

7. Shere Kahn from The Jungle Book & Scar from The Lion King

What is with all the villains? Does intelligence have to mean evil mastermind? What about just average-nice-mastermind? I AM NOT A VILLAINOUS CAT. I don't even like cats. (I'm allergic.)

8. Captain Hook from Peter Pan

To be honest, you've got to feel sorry for this guy. He spent his whole life driven crazy (and losing appendages) because of a little boy. And Peter Pan was never very old, I might add, since in the original fairy tale he still had his baby-teeth.

9. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice  

I haven't actually read this book because I'm slightly opposed to period dramas and romantic classics. But from what I know of Darcy? I would say yes. Awkward introvert? That is me.
You and me both, Darcy.

10. Chief Vick from Psych

I object! Chief Vick is so snappy and short tempered, which I am actually not. I have quiet simmering temper and am quite able to hold dark grudges.

Although she is tough and doesn't take nonsense from people. I get that. But, personally, I think I'm more like Shawn. Minus the detective abilities, but spot-on with the random name-calling and weird invites to share pineapple.

11. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird

Look! I am GOOD people as well! Atticus is one of my favourite names as well as a character I honestly admire. I like this one.

12. Khan from Star Trek Into Darkness

Well. Yikes. Just let me sleep, okay? Just let me sleep.

13. Snape and Voldemort from Harry Potter

I FEEL ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED BY THIS. You know hating on Snape is my #1 life goal and I rant about it at ever opportunity. I don't care if he has a tragic backstory, bullying is wrong. I AM NOT A BULLY. I am a gentle mover of people in the direction I want them to go. ("Gentle" is used loosely.)

Voldemort is just low. The dude has no nose.

14. Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes

I was going to protest to this mightily until I saw this gif...

Well, maybe. After all if there's only one person who can live up to the brains of Sherlock: it's Mister Moriarty. I won't deny insane intelligence, an interest in mind games, oh and a high pitched voice. I sometimes squeak very, very high when I'm nervous.

What can we learn from this post?

Many, many things, my dear blogglings. Mostly a) this explains why I'm a writer, b) I may steal the moon one day and not put it back c) I have the ability to be an evil genius mastermind I'm in training so far, and d) I think INTJs are very easily squashed into a bucket of intense evil.

After all: there's me.

I'm nice.

Mwhaha haha ha. 

did you take the test? what is your letter-type-thingy combination? and did you look up what characters you're like? i want to know!! and, answer me honestly now, does any of this post surprise you?

Cait is actually usually a very nice person. Perhaps, during 4% of the year, she is jovial and light and dances with dandelions. The other 96%? Well. Let's talk about that later. She's still very wounded that she's being compared to Snape (urgh) but quite pleased at all the genius references. Currently, she's reading THE SKY SO HEAVY and eating evil chocolate.