Esme’s Wish: Guest Post by Elizabeth Foster

33634667Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: October 30th 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Paperback: 252 pages


This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.


Thank you for inviting me to write a few words about the inspiration behind Esme’s Wish!

The idea first popped into my head many years ago, after I finished reading the final book of the Harry Potter series. There was something about HP that reminded me of books I’d read as a child, stories which made me feel like I was sitting by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate. I never wanted that feeling to end and was at a loss! Not knowing the extent of the task I was about to set myself, I decided to try and write a book of my own. My book, of course, is nothing like Harry Potter, apart from the fact that it explores magic and is set in a world not too dissimilar from our own.

Esme’s Wish is, for the most part, set in the canal city of Esperance, capital of the parallel realm of Aeolia. I set the story in a glittering canal city because I love Venice and the sea. There’s already something magical about winding canals and drifting gondolas, so to infuse such a setting with real magic was something I couldn’t pass up. Aeolia has its own unique mythology, but I was also inspired by Greco-Roman myth, especially one of the oldest stories in the world, Homer’s Odyssey. Keen-eyed readers will spot plenty of references to the Odyssey in Esme’s Wish.

But above all else, my inspiration was the sea. I’ve always lived near water and I suppose, like many Australians who reside along the coast, the sea is in my blood. The sea has been a muse for so many writers over the ages, but it has gotten a bad rap, in my eyes. It’s mostly been grist for stories about grief and tragedy. Yes, the sea is dangerous and mercurial, but it’s also a source of life and beauty. Esme’s Wish draws a little from both perceptions.

So if you like the ocean, magic, sea dragons, and a pinch of mythology sprinkled throughout, you might also enjoy Esme’s Wish.


Find out more about Esme’s Wish and where to buy it at Elizabeth’s website. You can also watch the book trailer on YouTube or read a free preview of the first chapter on Kobo (via the contents page).

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Kobo

The Sydney launch for Esme’s Wish is on November 25 from 3.30 – 5.30pm at North Spoon Café at McMahon’s Point.
The launch will be fully catered with canapes, wine, champagne, real coffee and cake!.

The North Spoon Café is a gorgeous café near the harbour, so it should be something special.

If you’re interested you need to RSVP’s by November 10. Click HERE to RSVP.

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Spring Reads

 

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Spring Reads’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


When I saw ‘Spring Reads’ I internally shrieked. I couldn’t think of any stories set in spring (correct me if I’m wrong), so I started to think of other ways to tackle the prompt. What does spring mean? New Life? Still I couldn’t think of anything much. What colours do I think of when I think of spring? Umm yellow! I texted my mother (formally a high school art teacher).

With my mind still screaming yellow, like daffodil yellow. I googled daffodils, turns out they bloom in autumn – far out my brain is muddled. Keeping on the flower brain wave I then googled Australian spring garden’s.

GREEN!! Green Trees!!! Mother knows best, she did say GREENS and pastels.

In the end I picked three books solely by their covers.

This whole process was kind of wonderful. I found three #loveozya books I’d never heard of and that in Australia daffodils blown in autumn. Woop Woop.


Stray (Touchstone #1) by Andrea K. Höst  [View on Goodreads]

On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive. The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she’s being watched? Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people’s skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a ‘stray’, a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow. Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?

The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky   [View on Goodreads]

 Funny, tough-minded and tender, this is the story of Matilda and her two sisters growing up in Sydney, Australia, in the early 1950s. Their father is mentally unstable and largely absent, their mother is possibly in the thrall of his brother, and a headline-making Russian spy defection is taking place next door. Punctuated by the headlines of the times, The Red Shoe depicts how the large events of the world can impinge on ordinary lives. This is a novel to savor by one of Australia’s most gifted writers for young people.

New Guinea Moon by Kate Constable   [View on Goodreads]

Julie has grown up not knowing her father, with just the occasional Christmas card and the knowledge that he flies planes for a charter company in New Guinea. When she comes to stay with him one long summer, she learns to appreciate not only her long-lost father and his love of flying, but also New Guinea itself and the people she meets.

An awkward romance with a young expat contrasts with her growing attraction to the son of a local coffee plantation owner. And, left to her own devices much of the time, Julie learns to rely on herself and gain her own independence. A tragedy and then a mystery leave her reeling, but force her to evaluate what she really wants out of life.

Gary: Children’s Picture Book Review

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Gary by Leila Rudge
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publication: November 1st 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review Copy
Thank you Walker
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Gary, a grounded racing pigeon, dreams of exploring the world—until the day he falls into an adventure of his very own.

Most of the time, Gary is just like the other racing pigeons, eating and sleeping and dreaming of adventure. There’s just one thing that separates him from the ordinary pigeons: he can’t fly. When his friends set off in their travel basket, Gary expects to stay at home, organizing his scrapbook of travel mementos and imagining far-off places. But when he accidentally falls into the travel basket and ends up a very long way from home, he discovers that flying might not be the only way to have adventures. Leila Rudge, in her gentle, colorful style, is sure to charm anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out with this satisfying story of perseverance and being comfortable in your own skin.

Gary @ Walker BooksLeila’s Website & Instagram | Gary pre-order @ Booktopia 


Aimed at ages 3 & up, Gary is a beautiful story about a racing pigeon that cannot fly.

Gary longs to go on adventures like all the other racing pigeons.

One day after an accident leaves Gary far away from home and all alone, he must figure out how to make his way home without flight. Gary doesn’t give up and ends up overcoming his non-flight issues using his intellect. In the end Gary ends up having an epic adventure, the adventure of his dreams.

I found this book easy to read out loud, with the text flowing well. On the surface it is a seemly light and enjoyable story, but there are underlying messages of celebrating everyone’s differences, persevering to overcome obstacles and following your dreams.

The artwork is a delight to look at. The story (lettering) sits over the top of full colour images that take up the whole page.

Riley asked me questions about Gary then requested we ‘read it again’. Ethan tried to eat the book. Yep, ages 3 & up.

If you have any little kiddlets in your life, Gary is one to keep an eye out for.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi: YA Review

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Genre: YA Romance

Publication: May 30th 2017

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Source: Review Copy via NetGalley -Thank you-

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My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The arranged-marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed…

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a frothy, funny contemporary romance set at a coding convention in San Francisco over one exciting summer. Told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists, Dimple is fighting her family traditions while Rishi couldn’t be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents. Could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?


Oh, what awkward wonderfulness this story was. I’m still recovering from the warm and fuzzy overload.

Dimple is quite stubborn and has an intense desire to be free – free of other people’s expectations.

Rishi feels his purpose in life is to please his parents.

Dimple is super excited to be out on her own attending a six-week coding workshop and has no idea her parents have set her up.

Rishi is super excited that he may be potentially meeting his future wife and will be getting the chance to get to know her during the six-week coding workshop they will be attending.

Cue hilarious meet cute that involves Dimple assaulting Rishi with an iced coffee. Wait… I don’t think I can put the words meet cute and assault together in a sentence. Hmm… was it assault… Nar self-defence, she thought he was crazy at the time.

There are bits of humour sprinkled all through this love story about juggling parental expectations, standing up for yourself, following your dreams and arranged marriages. I actually loved the positive examples of arranged marriage, as on my side of the world they can tend to be portrayed in a negative light.

Dimple and Rishi click with each other early on, but Dimple tries and *spoiler* fails to fight it. Yeah so maybe your parents did know what they were doing, hey Dimple!

My inner teenager found Dimple fairly relatable and immediately fell for Rishi. Rishi he is kind, funny, brave, intelligent and talented – it’s impossible not to fall for him, duh.

All in all, it is a cute and quick read that I’d happily read again.


Menon’s Twitter | Website | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository 

Sticks ‘n Stones ‘n Dinosaur Bones: Review

Sticks ‘n Stones ‘n Dinosaur Bones: Being a Whimsical “Take” on a (Pre)Historical Event
by Ted Enik (Author) & G F Newland (Illustrator)

Publication: September 28th 2017
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing

Source: Review copy
Thank you Schiffer & Edelweiss

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The first book in the Unhinged History series is a ripping yarn–full of adventure and deceit–that brings to life the best-known public spat in all of paleontology: the bitter rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.

This frenzy of discovery and one-upmanship–known today as the Bone Wars–was a gold rush-like scramble to find the most and “best” dinosaur fossils, thus bringing to glory to their respective home-base universities.

Lively and witty rhymes plus wonderfully demented illustrations reveal how the paleontologists’ infamous rivalry began, and how–despite making genuine and lasting contributions to the field–their mutual obsession with outdoing one another spun out of control.


The target audience for this Seuss inspired Palaeontology book is Five to Eight year old’s. When I was that age I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I grew up. Ok I really wanted to be a magical princess who could bring dinosaurs back to life and control them, but same-same. I would have eaten this book up a trillion times over. The rhyming is brilliant, it is informative and humorous and the 48 pages are all full of colourful and fun illustrations.

I absolutely adore these type books. The kids will just think they are having fun reading, but they are secretly learning about the early days of Palaeontology.

I will have to pick up a hard copy of this book for my son. I know as he gets older he’ll be a dinosaur lover too. I really do hope that these two go onto to do more books like this together on multiple topics – I’ll be keeping my eye out!

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Favourite Covers

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Favourite Covers’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar. I love the hot pink forefront with the grey scale image behind. I think the cover is bold and beautiful just like the story. A kick-ass cover for a kick-ass book.

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson. Pink and Green, my two favourite colours and a combination of both will always tickle my fancy. I think this cover is super cute and sets the mood for the adorable story.

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. I am still yet to read this one (hope to get into it this month). I think the colours and gold embossing are simply stunning on the paperback, but try as I might I couldn’t get a picture to do the cover justice.

I’ve done a bit more detailed post using these books and their synopsis’s over on the #AusYABloggers site. If you want you can check that out HERE.

A Thousand Deaths: Graphic Novel Review

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Charmed, A Thousand Deaths by Erica Schultz
Genre: Graphic Novel
Expected Publication: October 24th 2017
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Source: Review copy from Edelweiss
Thank you Edelweiss & Dynamite
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

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Dynamite Entertainment is proud to continue the story of Phoebe, Piper, and Paige, television’s fan-favorite witches, in all-new adventures set within the official continuity of Charmed!

A dark force has set its sights on the art world of San Francisco, utilizing a gallery exhibit to feed souls to the underworld and unleash demons into our reality. Only the Power of Three, harnessed by the Halliwell sisters, can stop the madness!


I was so excited when I discovered Dynamite had bought the rights to Charmed. I love Dynamite. But I was a little disappointed when I realised it was a reimaging and that it wasn’t a carry-on from the Zenescope comics that where season 9 and 10, carrying on from the TV show (8 seasons aired between 1998-2006).Season 9, 2010–2012, Issues: 24 & Season 10, 2014–2016, Issues:20.

Nevertheless I call myself a Charmed fan so I was determined to love Dynamite’s take on my favourite sister witches. I pre-ordered and read the first two issues and while I enjoyed them, It all felt a little lacking. My favourite thing about the Zenescope comics was seeing the girl’s children come into their powers and there whole larger family dynamic. I didn’t go on to buy issue three, but when I saw this combined edition on Edelweiss I knew I had to give the whole story arc a go. *spoiler* Possessor demon!

A Thousand Deaths combines one story arc spaced over five issues and I assume that the story was set around the third/fourth season. Leo is always around the manor, but Cole is not. Cole is mentioned in passing as being Phoebe’s lawyer, but that is all. I LOVED COLE, oops sorry.

The Bad: I really did find it hard at times to visually tell the sister’s apart and some of the photo covers were a rather odd.

The Good: It still had the TV show feel to it, be it the earlier episodes. I could hear the actresses’ voices as I was reading the dialogue.

I think this new version of the charmed ones is for all the hardcore fans. So, if you want to step back in time and are dying to hang with the sisters again, race out and buy a copy. I’m planning to buy Charmed #6, as I’m keen to see where Dynamite takes the sisters next.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: YA Review

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker
Thank you, you wonderful people
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .


Wow, what a page turner. The dates across the tops of the pages really push the story along and create a heavy tension. You’ll want to read this in one sitting.

Romy was born on The Infinity, a star ship despatched with the mission to create a human colony on a new planet. Romy has never ever known any other life then that onboard The Infinity and after an incident takes both her parents away from her, she is alone. Romy is further away from earth than any human has ever been, hurtling towards the unknown. The weight of a new human colony, by default, resting on her teenage shoulders. Romy has to grow up fast! to have any hope of completing her parents mission.

Poor mental health due to the toll that guilt and grief cause is a big part of three integral characters storylines and there were some beautiful scenes, like the one where Romy makes peace with her Mother (I cried). But the highlights for me were the sections of the book where Romy is fast thinking and fighting for her life. I was ripping through the pages desperate to see what happened next.

There is so much more I could talk about; Romy’s parents, ‘pen-pals’ and psychological torture, Romy’s cute-as bits of fan-fiction (kind of Rainbow Rowell Fangirl-ish – but it enhanced rather than detracted from the main story). But it’s so much more fun If you find these things out for yourself. Off you go.


Lauren’s Twitter | Website | Goodreads

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe @
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository