Magic Harbor: Review & Giveaway

Magic Harbor
Kristen L. Jackson
(Keeper of the Watch, #2)
Publication date: October 10th 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

When Alyx Eris convinced him to become a keeper of the watch, Chase Walker knew he gained the ability to traverse the twelve dimensions.

He knew there were others—the hunters—who would do anything to put an end to the watches’ existence.

He knew his status as a keeper was completely binding until his nineteenth birthday.

Most importantly, he knew he’d be spending the year by Alyx’s side.

What he didn’t know was that in this dimension resides a ruling mage that poses more of a threat than the hunters ever could.

He didn’t know that magic-born hybrid beasts lurk in every corner of the surrounding forests.

And he didn’t know that nothing—and no one—is what it seems in the mystical world of Dimension 8.

Magic Harbor kicks of with a really strong start that had me hooked. The book was action packed and fast paced throughout – never was their a dull moment, but never did anything seem too rushed. I certainly didn’t feel that starting at book two hindered my enjoyment or understanding in anyway.

I loved the premise – Twelve parallel worlds, the existence of which remained hidden from most people within those dimensions. The keepers being granted the ability to jump to a new dimension each month of their eighteenth year, visiting all twelve by the end of it. Of course they have tasks their are suppose to carry out in each dimension, defeat the hunters and find the last Keeper. But after their year is complete, so long as they survive it, they can then pick a dimension to live out the rest of their lives in.

This book is set in the 8th dimension, with the previous book being set in the 7th dimension. Early on in the story the keepers, Chase and Alyx, get separated. The story bonces around between Chase and Alyz, and later on the POV’s of some other characters that we meet along the way. Sometimes swapping multiple POV’s can get confusing, but this story and the writing flowed well and I never once found myself muddled. I especially liked getting visit the past through Liz’s memories as it rounded out the characters and the world building.

This book is filled with action, adventure, magical beasts and waring dark mages. The story is about consequences, dimension jumping magic, the bonds of family and friendship and doing what you feel is right.

I really enjoyed reading this book and am keen to see what happens in book three and the 9th dimension.


Author Bio: Kristen L. Jackson been a teacher for over twenty years, and lives in Reading, Pennsylvania with her husband, two grown sons, and three large-breed dogs. Books inspire her. From children’s picture books to adult literature in all genres, she has loved reading all her life. Becoming a published author has been her dream come true, and she loves to share her stories with readers of all ages. Sign up on her website to follow her blog to stay up to date on what she’s working on now! Kristen loves writing, reading, and spending time with her family and dogs at their cabin in the Poconos…her favorite place to escape and write!

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77saturday – Magic Harbor

#77saturday is a blog feature / meme the #AusYABloggers do every Saturday.

The Rules:

  1. Pick up a Book (your current read, or the closest book to you, or your next read, etc.)
  2. Turn to page 77 (or 77% if you are using an e-reader)
  3. Find a Snippet, Sentence or Paragraph you like.
  4. Share it on your blog or Twitter or Instagram and link back to the @AusYABloggers and use the hashtag #77Saturday

 

Today’s Book

46141781Magic Harbor (Keeper of the Watch #2) by Kristen L. Jackson
Released: October 10th 2019 by Black Rose Writing
View on Goodreads

When Alyx Eris convinced him to become a keeper of the watch, Chase Walker knew he gained the ability to traverse the twelve dimensions.
He knew there were others—the hunters—who would do anything to put an end to the watches’ existence.
He knew his status as a keeper was completely binding until his nineteenth birthday.
Most importantly, he knew he’d be spending the year by Alyx’s side.
What he didn’t know was that in this dimension resides a ruling mage that poses more of a threat than the hunters ever could.
He didn’t know that magic-born hybrid beasts lurk in every corner of the surrounding forests.
And he didn’t know that nothing—and no one—is what it seems in the mystical world of Dimension 8.

The 77: “I wonder what that thing was? Not a wolf, exactly. I was thinking coyote because of its size, but its features were wrong. The snout was too blocky. Maybe some kind of a dog?”

“It doesn’t matter, its gone. Now, we can get on with finding our way out of here.”

Chase nodded. “We ought to find shelter before night fall.” His eyes scanned the area. “You hear anything?” She shook her head.

My Thoughts

I’m reading Magic Harbor as I’m part of a Blog Tour for it on Wednesday (16/10). My plan is to get it read and have my review drafted up by the end of the weekend. The book had a really strong beginning and I’m into the jumping between dimensions. I’m keen to get back into it – so bye for now.


The #AusYABloggers Seventy-Seven Saturday was inspired by The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Small Spaces: #LoveOZYA Review

36242050. sy475 Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein
Genre: Thriller, #LoveOzYa
Publication: August 1st, 2019
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Source: Publisher – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing.

As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?


Enter the lovely Star who read and reviewed Small Spaces on my behalf.

Small Spaces is a book that I found would stay with me for a long time after I finished reading it. If I had to do something, I found myself thinking about when I could pick it up again. I thought about it constantly, and wondered what was going to happen next in the story.

The book had me hooked from the start. I was intrigued about Sparrow and just exactly what was going on with them.

Tash Carmody, the main character, was an interesting character to read about. She has had obvious childhood trauma when she witnesses her friend Mallory Fisher be lured away by her imaginary friend, Sparrow. But surely that can’t be? An imaginary friend can’t actually lure away a little girl from a carnival. After the incident, and after Mallory is found, the Fishers move away to never be heard from again.

Tash spends years trying to get past the memory, but it all comes rushing back when the Fishers move back to town several years later.
At the same time, Tash starts seeing Sparrow again.

She’s understandably confused, and all of the old memories of Sparrow, and no one believing her that he was real, comes back to her. She has no idea what to do, or how to begin to process it, but one thing she does know is that Mallory, who is mute, is the key to finding out exactly what went on that night Mallory was abducted.

Small Spaces had me on the edge of my seat, and not only did I doubt Tash, but I doubted everyone around her.

This book was thrilling, a bit creepy, and explored having an imaginary friend in ways that I had never thought of, or experienced, before.

This was an absolutely enthralling read for me.

You can find Star at her Book Blog, Twitter and Instagram.
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

The Memory Thief: Author Q&A & Giveaway

The Memory Thief
Lauren Mansy
Published by: Blink
Publication date: October 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Q&A with Lauren Mansy:

  • What was it like to write your first book and have it published?

Incredible! It’s been such a wonderful journey filled with many sweet moments. I began writing over seven years ago, and it’s definitely surreal that The Memory Thief is now on shelves! As of late, there have been quite a few teary moments—and I’m totally not a crier! I’m truly overwhelmed by every kind word, the support, and the willingness to walk alongside me as The Memory Thief has gone from something imagined to a real book. I couldn’t be more excited to share this story with readers!

  • What was your inspiration behind TMT?

When I was a teenager, my mom was diagnosed with a heart condition, which led to an unexpected heart surgery. On the way to the operating room, her heart stopped six times, and the doctors warned my family that it was unlikely she’d survive. And if she did, she may not remember us due to the trauma she’d experienced throughout the entire ordeal.

I was sitting at her bedside when she first began to stir after her surgery, and I slipped my hand into hers and told her that it was me. Then she began to squeeze my hand three times, our signal for I love you! That’s my most favorite memory because I’d never felt such fear suddenly overcome by the most incredible joy. That collision of emotions was the moment which first sparked the idea for The Memory Thief.

Ever since then, I always struck by how memories make up so much of our identity and influence our relationships with others. It terrified me that my mom wouldn’t remember me, but I’m so thankful to say that she made a full-recovery. Though it was long and difficult process, she never gave up hope that things would one day get better. Her unwavering courage inspired me to want to share this story.

  • What kind of impact did writing TMT have on you personally?

Writing TMT has had a huge impact on me. I first began writing after completing treatments for Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. It was a very difficult time in my life, and writing fiction helped me express myself in ways that I’d never done before. It helped me process through some of my most difficult memories.

When I first began drafting The Memory Thief, I realized there were still some emotions about being faced with the possibility of losing my mom that I’d yet to express out loud. Writing this book proved to be a source of healing, and a wonderful platform for exploring truth in my own life through a backdrop of fiction.

This story is very dear to my heart, and reflecting back on the process of writing this book is what made the moment of holding it in my hands so amazing.

  • What is your favorite part about TMT?

I think my favorite part is the relationship that Etta has with her mother.

Gwendolyn was one of my favorite characters to write because she’s full of opposites. Because of her coma, she hasn’t spoken a word in four years yet that entire time, she’s been teaching Etta how important it is never to give up, even when all the odds are stacked against you.

On her journey to save her mother, Etta discovers that Gwendolyn’s story is intertwined with Etta’s in ways that she never imagined. Writing this aspect of the plot was so much fun, and definitely one of my favorite parts of the drafting process, as well!

  • What do you hope readers take away from TMT?

The main thing I hope readers take away is that it isn’t the hardships of the past which define us but the strength we find in overcoming them. Etta has been through a lot of difficult things, and she struggles with trusting others because she has a hard time trusting herself. At the beginning of the story, Etta has spent four years hiding from both the people and events which haunt her, but to save her mother, she’ll have to come face-to-face with the past. I hope her journey will inspire readers to never lose hope, even in the midst of impossible odds.

  • How are you reflected in TMT (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?

Because this story is based on my own journey with my mother, many of Etta’s worries, doubts, and fears are things I also experienced when faced with the possibility of losing my mom. The questions that Etta asks about how to deal with a situation like this are questions that I often pondered myself.

So when I first began writing TMT, I thought, “What if I wasn’t the only one who faced this fear? What if there was an entire society that feared their loved ones no longer remembering them?” It was these kinds of thoughts which ultimately let me to want to explore a world where memories reign over everything. Then writing Etta’s emotional journey also helped me process through a lot of my own memories, as well.

That’s one reason that I love not only writing but reading fantasy novels. Even though these characters live in worlds that are vastly different than our own, what they love, hate, and fear can often be so relatable. That often sticks with me long after I read the last page, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share this journey with readers.

  • What is your favorite thing to do to promote your book?

My favorite thing has been getting to know readers. I had the privilege of attending BEA and ALA this past summer, and I loved meeting librarians, educators, fellow writers, bloggers, and industry professionals. Writing can often be a solitary venture, but the publishing process has been filled with creating some wonderful relationships. I couldn’t be more grateful for this community!

  • Why should readers be sure to place TMT on their TBR list?

The Memory Thief is a book full of secrets, lies, and betrayal. It’s set in a world where memories are currency, people are struggling to hold onto their true identity, and nothing is quite what it seems. And Etta is a very flawed character. She has a lot of regret and has made many mistakes, yet she never stops fighting to save her loved ones. If any these things appeal to you, I hope you’ll consider adding TMT to your TBR!

  • What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being a writer?

I think the biggest lesson being a writer has taught me is the importance of the “story behind the story”. Though the publication journey is filled with exciting moments (like seeing the cover for the first time and holding the final copy!), the journey of getting here has changed me for forever. There have been highs and lows, moments of uncertainty coupled with unexpected encouragement, and wonderful support from family, friends, and even strangers! Writing fiction gave me a voice when I was still struggling to find mine, and I’ll be forever grateful that even as the last page of The Memory Thief ends, my own life story is still being written

  • Additional thoughts?

If you’re interested in learning more about The Memory Thief, I have more information of my website, and I also LOVE connecting with readers!

Author Bio:

Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel. You can visit her online at http://www.laurenmansy.com.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram

 

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77saturday – Whisper

#77saturday is a blog feature / meme the #AusYABloggers do every Saturday.

The Rules:

  1. Pick up a Book (your current read, or the closest book to you, or your next read, etc.)
  2. Turn to page 77 (or 77% if you are using an e-reader)
  3. Find a Snippet, Sentence or Paragraph you like.
  4. Share it on your blog or Twitter or Instagram and link back to the @AusYABloggers and use the hashtag #77Saturday

 

Today’s Book

36356854. sy475 Whisper (Whisper #1) by Lynette Noni
Released: May 1st 2018 by Pantera Press
View on Goodreads

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

The 77: “I’m amazed to be witnessing something so normal. Something I haven’t experienced in so long. My heart hurts as memories try to flood my mind, but I stay in the moment and enjoy the beauty of what is unfolding around me.”

My Thoughts

I’m reading Whisper in preparation for it’s squeal, Weapon, coming out on the 4th November – Supper exciting! I have no other thoughts for now other than – Shhhhh i’m reading – bye for now.


The #AusYABloggers Seventy-Seven Saturday was inspired by The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

The Man In The Water: #LoveOZYA Review

47239279The Man in the Water by David Burton
Genre: Mystery #LoveOzYa
Publication: October 1st 2019
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Source: #AusYaBloggers Tour
– Thank You AusYaBloggers & UQP
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

On the first day of year 10, Shaun sees a dead body.

When 16-year-old Shaun discovers a dead body in the lake of a quiet mining town in outback Queensland, he immediately reports it to the police. But when he returns to the site with the constable, the body is gone.

Now his mum and the authorities question whether he saw a body at all.

Determined to show the town the truth, Shaun and his best friend, Will, open their own investigation. But what they discover is far more sinister than a mining mishap or a murder, and reveals a darkness below the surface of their small mining town.


The story kicks into action immediately with POV character Shaun finding a dead body floating in the lake. He runs (literally) to the cop shop for help, but by the time a Copper comes back with him to the lake the body is gone, and Shaun looks like a liar.

Only Shaun’s best mate Will believes him and together they mount their own investigation. The fast who-done-it pace pushes you through the story, rapidly flipping to the pages to find out the who”s, whats, whens, and hows.

After some sleuthing, interfering and putting themselves in danger the boys do ultimately catch the “bad guys”, but it doesn’t exactly go down how you think it will.

On the surface this is a fun, captivating, page-turning who-done-it mystery. But it really does highlight the darker human casually side of the mining industry, of small mining towns, of the working conditions /quality of live /mental health dangers of such a money hungry industry.

The town the year ten students Shaun and Will call home grew into existence because of and revolves around coal mining. Will’s dad was a coal miner who’s declining physical health thanks to his job’s poor conditions lead to the decline of his mental health, and later suicide. And then there is the man in the water and all the people involved in that – which for spoiler reasons I obviously won’t go into.

So while this is a fantastic who-done-it romp, with a relativity happy ending for the two boys we grow to care for, that I absolutely enjoyed reading – it does tell some hard truths – but it’s done in a way I think kids will absorb without releasing it.

This story is a must read for any and all #LoveOZYA aficionados and who-done-it mystery aficionados.

 

Follow along the rest of the #themaninthewatertour via the hashtag on IG and Twitter or head on over to the tours master post HERE for links to all the participants.
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

September 2019 Bookish Summary

Total books read in August: 7
Comics/ Graphic Novels = 1 | #LoveOzYA / #LoveNzYA = 1 | the remainder = 5

The Ritual (Tales of Mentara #2) by Ashley Uzzell
A YA fantasy about a rag tag band of kids who end up accidentally trapped in another world.
I really like the world Ashley has created, I liked the plot, and I love the magic abilities Ashley has created for POV Charlotte. But in both the first and second book, while reading and being in the characters heads, they felt older to me, more like 15-19 rather than 9-13.
My Review | View on Goodreads

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Mr Fox and his furry family and friends Vs Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Classic Roald Dahl. I read this out loud to my boys and they were both captivated. Mr Fox is still just as fantastic as I remember from my childhood!
View on Goodreads

Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell
Vol 1 collects the first 6 episodes of Rowell’s reboot of Vaughan’s original series and what a fantastic reboot it is!! I’ve already gone and ordered the next two collections!
I don’t think you would need to have read all the previous series by Vaughan to enjoy Rowell’s reboot, she does summarise a little, but It makes it all that much more epic if you are already invested in the characters.
View on Goodreads

My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones
My Father’s Shadow is the kind of book you just can’t put down. The constant uneasy vibe that Jannali Jones has created with her magnificent writing propels you forward and keeps you right on the edge of your seat. It is an outstanding #ownvoices #loveozya debut. It is nail bitingly, edge of your seat brilliant!! A must read for all #loveozya aficionados and crime/mystery/thriller buffs.
My Review | View on Goodreads

Minecraft: Diary of a Minecraft Enderman Book 1 by Pixel Kid
My son brought this home from his school library for us to read, rather strange as he’s never played the game – Nevertheless it was an amusing read and quite easy to read out loud.
View on Goodreads

Nemesis (Circuit Fae, #4) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Lesbian Fae queens, magic and mayhem, multiverses collapsing and colliding, action packed battles, love triumphing overall…it would have been better if I hadn’t come in at the fourth book in the series but…ummm…oops.
My Review | View on Goodreads

The Jinni (The Forbidden Wish prequel) by Jessica Khoury
This is the story of the Jinni we grow to love in The Forbidden Wish. You do not need to have read The Forbidden Wish in order to enjoy this short story, but you might find it contains mild spoilers.
Add to Goodreads

Conclusion: I managed to get three review books in during the month, and a few shorts and comics to boost those reading feels.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂