The #AusYaBloggers 2018 Reading Challenge: January

It’s Back Baby! The challenge is based on four prompts each month, including one prompt that will be specifically for a #LoveOzYA title.

YA Graphic Novels can be counted, as can YA Novellas and MG novels, but only one can be used each month and a book may only be used once per prompt. There are three YA book price packs up for grabs and it’s not too late to join.

Disclaimer: to be eligible for the prices you must be either an Aussie or Kiwi, be a member of the #AusYaBloggers and signed up for the challenge.

> > Find out more here < <


My Pick #1: Shadows of the Realm, is a self-published #LoveOzYA fantasy novel that is the first in a trilogy. I’ve had this book on my shelf and TBR list since I met Dionne at a Hunter Writers Centre event in 2013. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to crack it open.

My Pick #2: The YA romance Every Day, is another one that has been on my TBR list for a while now and as above, this seemed like the perfect opportunity read it.

My Pick #3: The 2017 highly anticipated #LoveOzYA Contemporary Take Three Girls went on my TBR before it was even published and I got my hands on a copy as fast as I could. Bring it on Cath, Simmone and Fiona.

My Pick #4: And last but not least, Gemina. Ah Gemina, I pre-ordered you back in 2016 because I loved Illuminae so much, but *sigh* I haven’t had a chance to read you yet – this is the perfect excuse to push you forward on my TBR!

Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

33281816

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemp/Paranormal
Publication: May 29th, 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Thank you TEXT
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.

Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Damn, what can I say to get you to read this book without giving it all way. – The only thing that disappoints me about this book is that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time!

I felt a connection to the protagonist, Grace almost immediately. You only make it to the third page before she tells you of her mother’s death. Grace’s hides her grief and dark inner thoughts from everyone around her, behind the shield of being her school’s resident joker and daredevil.

An incident late one night, during one of her daredevil stunts, leaves Grace questioning her sanity. Grace struggles keep a grip on her normal day to day life resulting in her relationships with her friends and family becoming strained, this then pushes her to keep dangerous secrets and go off on her own. Grace is compelled, seemly to her by an outside force, to Investigate a twenty-year-old mystery. The disappearance of a local girl named Hannah. Investigating Hannah’s disappearance leads her to discover secrets about two other local’s deaths, one being her own mothers.

This is a brilliant bloody book. The tale Grace has to tell is deliciously dark and spine tingling. The story’s pace and flow are fantastic. A thrilling murder mystery with some seriously creepy scenes. The story explores grief, belief in the paranormal, family, friendship, mental illness and criminal redemption. 5/5 a #LoveOzYA must read.


Links: Vikki’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Mad girl on Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Esme’s Wish: YA Review

33634667

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: 30th October 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Elizabeth
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world.” – Wendy Orr,author of Nim’s Island and Dragonfly Song.

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, Ariane – 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.

Esme’s Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Elizabeth’s Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Odyssey Books


My Review: The story starts off with a wedding, but unfortunately for Esme it is not a happy one. Esme lost her mother when she was only eight years old and has never been able to move on. Esme never truly believed her mother had disappeared at sea and spurred on by her father moving on, she decides the time has come to go off on her own and discover the truth. What she soon discovers is another world full of magic, myth and secrets.

Back home Esme and her mother were always considered outsiders and as a child Esme struggled to find real friendship. On her journey Esme meets Daniel and Lillian, both offering friendship and whatever help they can. At first she finds it hard to believe that anyone would want to help her, let alone be her friend. She learns to trust in Daniel and Lillian as they join and help her on her journey.

The writing followed well, was easy to read and the story was steadily paced for the most part, kicking up with a action packed fast paced last few chapters. I raced through the last few chapters desperate to know how the story ends – and if that isn’t a sign of a good story, then I don’t know what is. 

The bad ‘guy’ was deplorable and the good ‘guys’ easily likeable. The setting for the story, a mythological wonderland. There were Dragons – always a plus. And they rode them – even more of a plus!

The ending gives us just enough resolution for it to be satisfying, but also leaves enough unanswered that it makes you really want to read the next book.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Happy New Year Everybody!

I sat down to do a Fave Reads of 2017 post, but have realised it is going to be way too hard to narrow a few down. I gave 31 five-star reviews on Goodreads this year (94 read all up).

I will say that The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Marsh and Me by Martine Murray, No Stars to Wish on by Zana Fraillon, No Limits by Ellie Marney, Never Again by Lily Luchesi, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Fence #1 & #2 by C.S. Pacat (Author) & Johanna the Mad (Illustrator) were highlights,

 but there were also many more.


I am Super excited for continuation of Fence in 2018.

And have already pre-ordered Lynette Noni’s February and May new releases.

Bring on 2018.

Happy Reading Everybody.

 

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).