You may or may not have noticed that my blog themed changed. After five years I felt like something new. After five years I am not the same person I was when I started The Adventures of SacaKat. So, here we have a new theme and a new name, Sarah Says. But it’s still just me stuffing around on the internet. And this blog will continue to grow as I grow, change as I change, just as it has for the last five and a half years.
At thirty-two I decided I was getting too old too quick to give a shit. I decided that 2019 was going to be the year I did the things I’ve always wanted to but haven’t out of fear. GRAB A CUPPA this post is a long one.
A few months ago, I bleached my hair and dyed it bright pink, because I’ve always wanted hot pink hair but never has the guts to do it. And I intend to keep it pink. BOOM!
I recently entered a piece I wrote about my late grandmother in the Newcastle grieve competition. I’ve always psyched myself out of entering my poems and writing into anything. But I did it (It’ll be months before I know the outcome of that). BOOM!
While volunteering on the Friday of the Newcastle Writers Festival (early April) I wore makeup. I was self-conscious about it the whole time. Kept looking the mirror to check how It was looking and cringing. When I got home that night, I decided I wasn’t going to wear makeup on my next shift. I don’t wear makeup to work. My current social profile is me with no makeup and no filters (still is). I thought, why am I doing this to myself. I went back without makeup and felt better for it. I wasn’t worried about how my makeup looked or how it was holding up. I knew that when someone looked at me, they were seeing me. It was their problem if they didn’t like what they were seeing, not mine. BOOM!
Now don’t get me wrong. I love watching the amazing makeup transformations people do on YouTube. I love looking at IG models and Queens in full glamour makeup. But I suck at. I suck at doing makeup and it always adds this extra layer of anxiety. I always think I end up looking worse when I put it on. The only time I bother to try and do it is when I’m going somewhere and I feel like people would expect a woman to wear makeup, you know, dinner at a restaurant, drinks at the pub etc. But I serve customers five days a week sans-makeup. So why the fuck am I putting it on to volunteer at a writer’s festival. Yes, plenty of the other female volunteers had make up on, but not one of them looked at me judgmentally because I didn’t, just as I didn’t look at them judgmentally because they did. I didn’t wear makeup to my cousins’ concert in Sydney (Late April). Shout out to The Beautiful Monument. And I didn’t wear makeup to the Sydney Writers Festival a fortnight ago. The world kept spinning and I felt fine. BOOM!
I still feel that my sexuality is nobody business but mine, my husbands and a few of my close friends who I choose to share it with. I think that a persons sexually and gender doesn’t make them anymore or any less than anybody else, so it shouldn’t matter! But to raise awareness, and to try and make life easier for the next generation, I will be open about it. I will say that I identify as Queer. Queer being the umbrella term used for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender. I am a Cis woman. I was lucky enough to be born in a female body and identify as female. When I was younger the only options sexually appeared to be straight or gay. Bisexual didn’t exist, you were just promiscuous and/or slutty and kissing your females friends was just something you did when you were all bored or drunk. Shove your Biphobia, I’m too old to care. BOOM!
I will say that I got married too young. I was twenty and I was trying to fill the void in my soul. Turns out the only way to do that is through loving yourself, not others – TRUE THAT.
I married a man because it was what was expected of me and because it was easier (at the time). But that turned out okay. He knows me and loves me (and he’s seen the darkest ugliest parts of me). With that man I have two devil children, oops I mean adorable children, who I would destroy the world for.
To all you youngsters I say:
Fuck doing what is expected of you, if doesn’t feel right, RUN.
Adulthood and responsibilities are a one-way door, don’t open them until you are at least sure of who you want to be.
Never try to be something you are not to impress someone, or to make someone other than yourself happy – It’ll all turn to shit in the end.
I am old and wise. Listen to mother.
The Little Wave by Pip Harry
Genre: Middle Grade Verse Novel
Publication: May 7th 2019
Publisher: UQP Books
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
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When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves.
Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around?
Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn’t know what to do about it.
Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.
The Little Wave was is a delightful Middle Grade verse novel. The POV switches between there year five students, Noah and Lottie from the beachy inner Sydney suburb of Manly, to Jack from the beach-less more rural town of Mullin.
Three different kids dealing with different things.
Noah is being bullied by the boy who is supposed to be his best friend and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
Lottie is on the outside at school, with no friends other than the insects she spends her time studying. And for the most part Lottie feels she has no father either as he has been emotionally absent since the death of her mother.
Jack’s woes are more socioeconomic and at one point in the story he and his sister are sleeping on the floor at his aunties place.
The Little Wave deals with grief, bullying, navigating new friendships and the struggles of low-SES families. Ultimately it is a book about the healing power of friendship and even though the book deals with some heavy things, it is an immensely enjoyable read.
Pip Harry has done a remarkable job putting so much story and heart into so few words.
The Little wave is well worth the read. Regardless of your age it will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.
Total books read in April: 6
Comics/ Graphic Novels = 0 | #LoveOzYA / #LoveNzYA = 2 | the remainder = 4
Highway Bodies by Alison Evans #LoveOZYA
Highway Bodies is an utterly Australian and brilliantly Queer Zombie Apocalypse story with heart and soul. It is a story of survival and learning how to function in a new world. It is a story of friendship and finding a place with people where you feel you belong.
Published February 1st 2019 by Echo Publishing [View on Goodreads]
Winter Wishes of the Heart by Ashley Uzzell
Winter Wishes of the Heart is a short and sweet read for when you need a quick pick me up. It contains four holiday themed tales of romance that were a delight to read. All the stories centre around protagonists dealing with varying levels of social anxiety, I loved that part!
I commend Ashley for fitting so much heart into so few words.
Published November 30th, 2017 by Ashley Uzzell [View on Goodreads]
Stay With Me by Kira Hawke
I went into this thinking I was going to get a little snap shot romance between two guys. What I got was an intense and bitter sweet story of two strangers lives colliding. A bitter sweet short story that highlights some of the worst and best parts of humanity. Wow, just wow. I was blown away by this one! I need to find more works by Kira Hawke!
Published October 18th, 2014 by Kira Hawke [View on Goodreads]
Dig by A.S. King
A skilfully written, intense and at times extremely dark tale of terminal illness, poverty, physical & sexual abuse, parental neglect, racism, white privilege and the danger of family legacy.
If you put in the emotional effort and get to the end of the book, you will be rewarded – the ending if worth the journey.
Published April 2nd, 2019 by Text Publishing [View on Goodreads] [View My Full Review]
Lost in LA (The Bikini Collective #2) by Kate McMahon #LoveOZYA
Back with the three Aussie surfer girls again; Lost in LA is a charming tale of friendship and learning to appreciate the things we have, set to the back drop of the Malibu round of the World Junior Tour. There are surfing scenes that are written so descriptively you feel like you are out on the wave and there are friends sticking up for each other and woman banding together – A fantastic combo.
Published February 28th, 2019 by Kate McMahon [View on Goodreads] [View My Full Review]
Concrete Queers – issue 4 (romance), #6 (smut) and #7 (spec fic).
Concrete Queers is a zine made by queer people for queer people, edited by Katherine Back and Alison Evans.
I enjoyed all three zines very much, but there was a personal essay by Tegan Elizabeth in the romance issue that I really connected with.
Find out more at the Concrete Queers Website and Alison Evan’s etsy zine store.
Conclusion: April, oh April where did you go. You came in a rush and I don’t want to let you go. While I only managed to read 3 actual books this month (with some short stories and zines in between), it was still a fantastic month as the Newcastle Writers Festival took place. This year was my 5th year volunteering at the festival and yet again I had a great time. Friday was the highlight for me as I was ushering as part of the schools program and it was so fantastic to see the kids and authors engaging.
The Newcastle Writers Festival first ran in 2013, I heard about it through the Hunter Writers Centre, of which I was a member at the time, and attended the festival as a patron. I missed 2014 (baby drama), but started Volunteering in 2015 and will continue into the foreseeable future.
Lost in LA (The Bikini Collective #2) by Kate McMahon
Publication: February 28th 2019
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Kate
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Three friends discover, surfing just got serious.
Pack your bags, the Bikini Collective girls are California bound to compete in their very first overseas surfing event. The LA sun is shining, Santa Monica’s shops are bursting with bargains and the point break is pumping. It should be happy days, right? Wrong! Mel has her party pants on and is ready to ravage this Hollywood scene, but her best friend and wingwoman, Jaspa, is welded to the hip of her new boyfriend. If Jaspa wants to be the Mayor of Lame Town, Mel figures she’ll just have to find someone else to get into trouble with. Swept along by the local celebrity brat pack, Mel finds herself on a wild ride that soon lands her in deep water, and she is way out of her depth. Will Mel be kicked off the World Junior Tour already? This is an adventure to rival any rogue set, so hold your breath and dive down deep … and pray you pop back up again!
In the first book we saw the three friends – Jaspa, Mel and Carolyn – competing in Australia, while learning how to navigate staying friends and competing against each other. The second book sees the girls head to Malibu to attend their first World Junior Tour as part of the Australian team. The first book focuses more around Jaspa, her awkward adorableness and her relationship with her brother. This book was all up in Mel’s head as she learns how to tell who her real friends are and learns to appreciate the things she has in life.
Lost in L.A. is full of all the things I loved from the first book. Fast and furious surfing action scenes that are written so descriptively you feel like you are out on the wave. It’s full of girl power; friends sticking up for each other and woman banding together to make the sport/world better for the next generation.
Lost in L.A. is a short and sweet ride, one that could probably be read as a standalone, but then you would be depriving yourself of book one and building a deeper connection to the characters.
Who would like this book: This is a clean book with a 15 year old POV. This book is perfect for the younger YA readers, even a high-level MG reader and hey I enjoyed it as an adult. I applauded Kate for managing to create an exciting series that doesn’t use sex, violence, or OTT romance to make it captivating. So many of the YA books coming out these days feature 17/19-year-olds doing things that 13/14-years-olds just cannot relate to, this is a perfect in-between.
I sincerely look forward to the next installment of the Bikini Collective and following these girls’ journeys onwards and upwards.
View my review of book one HERE.
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.
“Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says.
What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamiaca between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.
As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
I finished reading Dig by A.S.King the other day and I still can’t figure out what I want to say about it.
I part hated it (some of the characters are truly disturbing and examples of the worst parts of humanity) and I part loved it (there were three characters I connected with and the last quarter of the book made up for the first three quarters).
It is skillfully written and tackles some dark stuff. I feel like it’s the kind of novel that should be read and dissected in a high school English class. King is a phenomenal writer and isn’t afraid to get dark with it.
The story jumps between six characters, with each short chapter alternating the POV. The jumps never get confusing, it is rest-bite from the not-likable to the likable characters. It created a balance and pushed the story along.
This is not a light read, it tackles: terminal illness, poverty, physical & sexual abuse, parental neglect, racism, white privilege and the danger of family legacy.
Dig is Intense and at times it gets real dark! It’ll make you uncomfortable, and if it doesn’t, there is something wrong with you. But the journey that is reading this book is worth it in the end.
Dig is a story about the way our actions tunnel down and affect those around us, generation after generation. A story about digging our way out from under our past and moving forward to better future.
Total books read in March: 6
Comics/ Graphic Novels = 3 | #LoveOzYA / #LoveNzYA = 0 | the remainder = 3
The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James.
A YA Sci-Fi tale that follows Lowrie and Shen, the last teenagers on earth, as they live in the aftermath of a virus that caused global infertility. There are plenty of twists and turns and plenty of moments that make you ponder life and what it means to live.
Published March 7th, 2019 by Walker Books [View on Goodreads] [My Full Review Here].
Runaways, Vol. 4: True Believers by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona & Craig Yeung.
The teens get a grave visit from the future, fight off against some retired superheros and dodge a supreme bad guy. I wasn’t as into this one as the previous three, but it was still enjoyable and it ended with a cliff-hanger that has me keen for Vol.5.
Published November 29th, 2006 by Marvel [View on Goodreads].
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.
A queer contemporary tale of a young woman drowning in, then dealing with her grief for the grandfather and life she’s lost and for the mother she never knew. A beautiful story that will break your heart, then turn around and heal it.
Published March 5th, 2019 by UQP [View on Goodreads] [My Full Review Here].
Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans.
A sweet and heart-warming 44-page story set in Melbourne. It’s a meet cute and the two MAIN characters giving it Transgender and Nonbinary representation (woop woop). Alison is the bomb when it comes to inclusive queer YA, but I’d have to say this short would be considered an adult because of the sex.
Published January 28th, 2015 by Less Than Three Press, LLC [View on Goodreads].
Heartstopper Volume One by Alice Oseman.
I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this. It is just about the sweetest thing I’ve read. Two teen boys meet, grow as friends, one openly gay, the other not so much, and the ending leaves us with the hope they could be more.
Published February 7th, 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books [View on Goodreads].
Darcy Swipes Left (OMG Classics) by Courtney Carbone (Adaptor) & Jane Austen.
Pride and Prejudice told entirely through social media posts and emojis. I’ve previously read the Shakespeare retellings in this series and enjoyed them. This wasn’t bad, but how could you ever capture the beauty of P&P in so few pages.
Published September 27th, 2016 by Random House Books [View on Goodreads].
March was an off month for me reading wise. I only actually managed to read two full length books, I just had too much going on.
I did however manage to write and publish a short poem, which i’m going to try and do each month and I got to do a fun Q&A with author Michael Earp.
Read I Can’t, a poem HERE
Read Michael Earp Q&A HERE