The Things We Can’t Undo: #LoveOZYA Review

38402124The Things We Can’t Undo by Gabrielle Reid
Genre: Contemporary, #LoveOzYA
Publication: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Gabrielle
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.

Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other.

Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?

Triggers: sexual assault/rape & suicide.


I was a little shell shocked upon finishing this book. I was captivated from beginning to end and the book is terrifically done, but it does deal some heavy hits. The story highlights and deals with: mental illness, suicide, rape, (what is) consent, friendship, and the importance of communication. While also touching on: social media (the possible backlash and dangers), parental pressure and expectations, social pressure and expectations, cultural pressures and expectations, underage drinking/parties, dating and first times/loves.

Yep heavy stuff! But Gabrielle Reid has done a brilliant job of containing it all in a captivating story and format that discreetly educates. It is set in present day Sydney and told in the duel POV of Dylan and Sam. The story is told using the inclusion of diary entries, text messages, forum messages and twitter feeds from the characters. I really enjoy it when authors do this as part of the story telling. It seems to be the in thing to do, very now and I love it. Gabrielle has, not only told a good yarn with an important message, she has created a time capsule of how the world is now, not unlike how Puberty Blues is a time capsule for the late 70’s.

I think this book could be a great tool/way to get teens talking about consent. Both main characters were easy to connect with and I found I could relate to both on some level. Yes, the mother in me wanted to jump into the pages at times and shake the crap out of some of the characters, but that was mainly Sam’s parents.

Gabrielle did a guest post on my blog back in May where she talks about her book, the issue of consent and her intentions behind the character Dylan. I urge you to take a look at it, CLICK HERE, and of course the book itself.

I have two sons, yes itty-bitty babies now, but one day they will evolve into hormone fuelled monsters and I hope I can instil in them the knowledge and understanding necessary to make sure the scenarios in this book never happen to them or someone they care about.

GABRIELLE’S LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The Things You Can’t Undo on: Goodreads | Ford Street Amazon AU

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

Dreaming Big: Guest Post by Brian Wilkinson

Brian Wilkinson attempts to juggle multiple careers as an author, high school teacher, and librarian. He currently lives in East York, Ontario, with his wife, Catherine, and his two children, Owen and Nora, who served as the inspiration for the main characters in his first novels, Battledoors and Paramnesia.


Brian Wilkinson

Once I finished writing my first novel, Battledoors, my mother eagerly read it and then said, “Wow, this would make a great movie!” I’ll admit, I got pretty excited at the notion and immediately started dreaming up all sorts of scenarios that culminated in my characters showing up on screen. I remember a few times when I was in a movie theatre and looking up at trailers playing on giant screens and all of the cardboard standees and posters and thinking, “That might be my book someday.” 

At that point, I didn’t even have a publishing contract for the book. That in and of itself would be a major success, and yet there I was, aiming for the 1% of books that are lucky enough to be translated into film.

That led me to wonder why the book alone wasn’t good enough. It’s a strange thing, when you really think about it, that the ultimate goal of your artistic creation is to hand it off to someone else to create, potentially, a more popular and consumed version of what you came up with. Maybe it’s because we equate that kind of visibility with success.

And there are lots of examples we can pull from. TwilightThe MartianReady Player OneHunger GamesDivergentLord of the Rings (masterful works in both cases), heck, even the AvengersX-Men, and Batman are all more popular because of the films, while the source material is left over for those who are willing to take the time to read them. And before you mention it, yes, there is the case of Harry Potter, which was a book phenomenon long before it became a film phenomenon, but I’ll tell you now that as a teacher and a librarian there are a lot more kids these days who have seen the films but not read the books.

For me, books are the best form of entertainment out there. My mind gets to create voices, imagine the landscape, and see in greater detail and more depth than the typical film run time allows for. There is a patience that is required and a level of focus that is all too often easily lost by an audience passively taking it in. At a theatre, I can pay attention. At home, I’m often distracted by some device or another. With a book, I have to really be present

And considering how much time it took me to write the things, I’d like any audience I’m lucky enough to have to be able to take their time with it and see it, hear it, and feel it for themselves however they might choose. 

All of that said, I wouldn’t argue if Hollywood came knocking on my door.

I know; I’m a terrible hypocrite. “But you just said that books are better!” you’re shouting at me. And yes, they are. Still, one can’t deny the awe and splendour of seeing someone else’s imagining of the same thing you read and comparing notes. Harry Potter, for the record, was pretty spot-on in its translation. For all of its deviations, Lord of the Rings is a stunning achievement. The Hobbit… not so much.  Still, those are books that earned their place on the silver screen by building an audience and by rising to meet the lofty standards that the books set up. It’s exciting to see a great filmmaker do something special with your work and hold it up as the gold standard. I mean, seriously, Ernest Cline got Steven Spielberg to adapt his first-ever novel! How cool is that?

So, yes, I’ll dream big and stare at the movie poster on the wall. And yes, it would be cool. No, I’m not about to put together a “dream cast” for my books, as I would get it all totally wrong. The only actor I ever pictured bringing any of my characters to life was Patton Oswalt in the role of Dr. Westlake from my second novel, Paramnesia. Don’t know why, either. The rest of the characters I’d leave in the hands of others. Why? Well, I never would have tapped Chris Pratt for Starlord. I cringed at Chris Evans as Captain America. And who the heck is Gal Gadot?

See? All of those people are amazing in their roles to the points where the comic characters are adapting to match up. Now that’s something special. Nope. Leave the casting to someone else.

But look, you’ve caught me dreaming absurdly big again. I’m already doing that just by getting published in the first place and hoping, just hoping, that someone finds my books, reads them, enjoys them, and watches the movie versions play out in their own heads. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that the definition already of a huge amount of success?

It’s more than good enough for me.


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Battledoors: The Golden Slate

Life constantly seems to be wavering between really good and really bad for Owen, a lonely sixteen-year-old still reeling from the unexpected death of his mother and a fresh move to Toronto. After ducking into an old bookstore to escape high school bullies, Owen discovers that he can travel to a parallel, twisted version of the city with a magical tablet called a Battledoor, where he encounters new allies, bizarre creatures, and the ultimate antagonist who will stop at nothing to procure the magical Golden Slate for himself. 

Forced to work together with friends and enemies in order to return home, Owen is faced with a series of choices that will prompt him to find courage he never knew he had, explore the possibility of romance, and try to find a way to let go of his painful past and move on. But is Owen ready to finally take control, and become the protagonist of his own story?


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Paramnesia: The Deadish Chronicles

Nora Edwards finally had everything she wanted out of life, including the boy of her dreams, Andrew, until one night that dream turned into a nightmare. On their way home from prom, Nora and Andrew are attacked by a supernatural creature called the Revenant that sucks the souls out of the living in order to feed itself. Nora manages to escape from the creature, but tragically, Andrew is not as fortunate.

Although Nora suffered loss that night, she gained something, as well: the ability to see the dead. Whether the skill is a gift or a curse is yet to be determined, as those around her assume Nora has developed “paramnesia,” a disorder where one confuses dreams with reality. She’s also attracted the attention of the Revenant’s masters, who need to preserve the secret of their supernatural existence. Nora, along with Andrew and her living and dead allies in the Deadish Society, quickly finds herself in a battle for the souls of her city—and her mind.


Links to Brian’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

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

Beau Kondos: Author Q&A

38413033The Path of the Lost (The Path of the Lost, #1) by Beau Kondos

Published July 2nd 2018 by KoHR MEDIA

The first book in a timely fantasy series about discovering the power of representation and perception in a world without art.

Zynthia is a Delver of the Cosm, one of the last of her kind. She has the ability to unleash the power of art, melody and narrative in a world that has outlawed creative expression. After her grandmother’s death, she is left to Delve on her own in the hope of discovering a lost ‘key’ that could preserve the Cosm’s light and save her world from fading into oblivion.

A single painting leads her to James, a man who is caught between two worlds.

After forming a fragile alliance with a Guardian and a rebel, Zynthia and James embark on the Path of the Lost. This ever-changing trail is haunted by forgotten creatures and secrets of the Cosm’s past.

Is James really the key Zynthia has been searching for? Can he learn to harness the power of his art to help in the battle against the Lost? Or has Zynthia’s Delving initiated a chain of events that will plunge her world into darkness forever?

Capturing themes of imagination lost, sexual awakening and coming to terms with the psychological anxiety of becoming independent, The Path of the Lost explores how the power of creativity can be used to unlock the colour caged inside a seemingly grey world.

The Interview

THE PATH OF THE LOST HEART WAS PUBLISHED ON THE 2ND OF JULY, FIRSTLY CONGRATULATIONS! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, OR HOW THE STORY CAME TO BE?

Thanks so much, Sarah! Inspiration tends to always flow in from multiple directions but I guess the main one was witnessing the rapid evolution in technologies and the consumer habits that formed around them.

Back in high school mobile phones only sent texts and made phone calls, so I’d rarely see anyone enthralled by a screen on the train home after school. Now you see mobiles, iPads and Kindles everywhere on public transport. I’m all for technological advances, but it got me thinking of some of the consequences of the decrease in ‘dead time’ we once had so much of. If there’s always an app or a group chat that can easily distract us, where do we find the free time to really process the day’s events, and just tune out and experiment with our imagination?

My storyworld is based in the Cosm, and it was inspired by this dilemma. The Cosm is a world where creative expression has been outlawed where most people have the time to explore their imaginations, but they don’t want to. The story asks some pretty big questions about what could potentially happen when we don’t make the time to explore what’s going on in our heads and the world around us.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR PUBLISHING JOURNEY WITH THE PATH OF THE LOST?

It’s very hard to get picked up as a debut author. Usually the big Aussie publishers won’t look at your stuff unless you have an agent and unfortunately for Aussie writers, young adult fantasy has a bigger market abroad than at home. I couldn’t find an agent to take me on to sell the novel locally, so it felt like my hands were tied. Publishing locally was something that was very important to me, so I created a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to plead my case. Fortunately there was an overwhelming response to ensure The Path of the Lost was published on home turf first, so I was able to use the funds to have my manuscript professionally edited and printed in Australia. Now I’m currently working on finding a publisher abroad.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK PRE-PUBLICATION DAY AND GIVE YOURSELF ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Learn to say no. I’m a social animal and I find it quite difficult to say no to invitations to social events. Self-publishing has been an enjoyable challenge, but it does eat up a lot of my free time. Sadly I’ve been using my writing time to work on things a publishing house would traditionally do, when I should’ve left my writing time as is, and said no to social events instead. Friends mean a lot to me, and I feel terrible saying no to them haha.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT, BOOK TWO PERHAPS, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

The Path of the Lost was originally double the size. Book one was the first half of the novel, however during my six years of writing it evolved so much, that the second half needs to be re-written. I hadn’t planned for the characters to take control and end the first instalment the way that they did. I discovered that one of the rewards of writing was witnessing the characters grow organically. They revealed that there was a bigger story to tell, and a different path I needed to take to do so. I can tell you that the second novel will deal with heavier themes but it will introduce a few new characters and highlight the complexities of what makes a villain.

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

I just finished Circe, which had been sitting on my TBR pile for so long. I’m a huge mythology buff and from the first chapter I fell in love with Madeline Miller’s writing. It’s really poetic and lyrical and she’s done such an excellent job of tying together some of my favourite Greek myths into a single narrative with a powerful protagonist. It’s quite beautiful.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO BEAU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Sarah!


Beau Kondos

Beau Kondos grew up in Melbourne and was captivated by strong women kicking arse on TV. After realising he wasn’t cut out to save the world, he started training to be a geeky sidekick by soaking up the contents of Greek mythology and philosophy books.

He has a double bachelor’s degree in media and communications/commerce from the University of Melbourne and a graduate diploma in creative media from RMIT University.

One of the highlights of his career was working for a not-for-profit, where he met many undiscovered superheroes. When he’s not working at a publishing house, you’ll find him travelling the world on a food adventure or making big decisions at his local supermarket’s ice-cream freezer.

BEAU CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK & HIS WEBSITE.

 

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

The Art of Taxidermy: YA Review

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The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Fiction
Publication: July 1st, 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy – THANK YOU
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Lottie collects dead creatures and lovingly cares for them, hoping to preserve them, to save them from disintegration. Her father understands—Lottie has a scientific mind, he thinks. Her aunt wants it to stop, and she goes to cruel lengths to make sure it does.

And her mother? Lottie’s mother died long ago. And Lottie is searching for a way to be close to her.

The Art of Taxidermy is a heartbreaking verse novel exploring love and death, grief and beauty, and the ways we try to make sense of it all.


The Art of Taxidermy has been marketed as “for fans of Steven Herrick (The Simple Gift) and Diana Sweeney (The Minniow)”. I’m a big Herrick fan, and I’m inclined to agree with this statement. I haven’t read any Sweeney, but I do intend to rectify this.

Australian born Lottie is the daughter of two German migrants. After the loss of her mother, Lottie’s aunt takes over the maternal role. Lottie is trying to preserve the beauty of life with her taxidermy experiments. Trying to understand the world around her. Trying to make sense of the devastating losses she has had to face at such a young age. But her aunt doesn’t understand this, or really understand Lottie at all.

Sometimes reading MG or YA the mother/adult in me takes over and I side with the parental figure. But at times while reading this I was internally screaming at Lottie’s aunt and wanted to slap her back to last Friday.

I found the protagonist Lottie easy to connect with. I was Lottie! I think that is a sign of how well a story is told, of how good the story is, If you are so engrossed that you can’t unattach yourself from the character. That you struggle to see it any other way, other than the way the character sees it.

We (as the reader) feel the grief that drags Lottie down and together we deal with it, learn how to live again, and figure out who we are without the ones we love.

Words I would use (and am) to describe this book: beautiful, moving, engrossing, captivating, heart-breaking, heart-warming, hopeful and healing.

This #LoveOzYA verse novel by Mount Barker native Sharon Kernot is a moving testament to life and death. This is a hauntingly beautiful story that will stay with me for a long time.

Find it @ Booktopia | Bookdepository | Goodreads | Text Publishing

 

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

Bloodspell: Adult Review

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Bloodspell by Lily Luchesi
Genre: M/M erotic fantasy/romance
Publication: August 10th 2018
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Source: Review copy from Author
– Thank you Lily
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bound by an ancient prophecy, freed by love.

Mages have lived by a prophecy that states that once there are two mage houses left, one must kill the other to maintain a magical balance. But the prophecy is disrupted when a new mage is revealed and begins killing everyone in his path.

Simon Moonspell and Tobias Bloodworth, the last two mages of the ancient houses, must put their animosity aside in order to stop this new mage and fulfill the prophecy. However, when their hatred slowly turns to love, can they remain impartial or will they be forced to battle to the death?


In 73 pages Bloodspell give us; high action magical battle scenes, a prophecy foretold and solved, an evil villain defeated, and some fiery M/M BDSM sex scenes.

Two school yard enemies, mages Tobias and Simon, put aside their “ish” to work together to defeat a common foe, an evil villain by the name of Thornhill, who means corrupt and consume all the worlds magic.

There is a lot of story in so few pages. I would have loved more pages so that the characters relationship could have been more fleshed out. And I would have happily read a full-length book about Tobias and Simon falling in love and defeating baddies together.

This is an ADULTS ONLY tale and one not for the faint hearted or small minded. BUT if you’re brave enough BLOODSPELL will give you a hot and steamy roller-coaster ride that’s sure to entertain.


BUY NOW for #99c or read #FREE on #KindleUnlimited HERE

Join the release party and win prizes HERE

Add the book on Goodreads HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Facebook | Website | Amazon | Twittter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Quotes Collection Part Seven

Nothing profound this month. Just a quote that transported me to my late teens and made me laugh out loud. Oh those pub rat days.

I loved the line, because as I read it, I could smell the exact smell the author was on about. You youngins will never get to experience this, what with the no smoking laws and modern metrosexuality – hey don’t get me wrong both of these things are awesome. But you will never experience the wall of STANK as you enter a dingy little pub or club. That mix of beer, B.O. and cigarette. Yes, this is probably a good thing, but for a second I was nineteen again and I was out on the town, drawing the toxic fumes into my lungs, and I loved it.

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The quote is from To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan, a book a read in May last year (2017). To Betray My King is set in a medieval world. There is forbidden love (a love triangle), elemental magic and war.

While I enjoyed stepping into Ms Lavan’s medieval world of Sol and meeting the magic weavers she filled it with, it was only a Three Star read for me all up. I found it hard to warm up to either of the male leads as love interests and the ending felt out of place, like I’d missed multiple characters. BUT I did enjoy the playful banter and friendship between Prince Roland and his bodyguard/best friend, Conrad :-).

To view previous Bookish Babble Quote Collections click HERE.

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Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Women of Resistance

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Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism edited by Danielle Barnhart & Iris Mahan
Genre: Poetry, Feminism
Publication: March 13th, 2018
Publisher: OR Books
Source: Audible Audiobook
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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A collection with a feminist ethos that cuts across race, gender identity, and sexuality.

Creative activists have reacted to the 2016 Presidential election in myriad ways. Editors Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan have drawn on their profound knowledge of the poetry scene to put together an extraordinary list of poets taking a feminist stance against the new authority. What began as an informal collaboration of like-minded poets—to be released as a handbound chapbook—has grown into something far more substantial and ambitious: a fully fledged anthology of women’s resistance, with a portion of proceeds supporting Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Representing the complexity and diversity of contemporary womanhood and bolstering the fight against racism, sexism, and violence, this collection unites powerful new writers, performers, and activists with established poets. Contributors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Sandra Beasley, Jericho Brown, Mahogany L. Browne, Danielle Chapman, Tyehimba Jess, Kimberly Johnson, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Maureen N. McLane, Joyce Peseroff, Mary Ruefle, Trish Salah, Patricia Smith, Anne Waldman, and Rachel Zucker.


“This anthology does not have a singular purpose. It is part love letter, part manifesto, part confession, part wish and those are just the raw materials.

It is also a meditation on grief. We grieve for the woman we have lost, the violence and oppression we endure, and the children who will never make it to the terrifying and glorious world of womanhood.” –Taken from the introduction by Danielle Barnhart.

I originally received a e-arc for this poetry collection from Netgalley, but I struggled so much with the formatting on my kindle app that I couldn’t get into the poems. I couldn’t find the rhythm. So I decided to stop trying, as I was beyond frustrated. I decided to wait until the book was released and buy a paperback edition and then try that. What I ended up doing was buying an audiobook version – much better. Hearing the poems read out loud, being able to hear and feel the rhythm, muuuuuuch better!

This collection made me ache. So much anger and pain held in their words. So many wrongs against women told with their words. Some of the poems saddened me deeply. Some I found truly profound. Some spoke to my soul. And some made me want to set the world on fire.

If you are after a beautifully flowing lyrical rhythmic masterpiece – then this isn’t for you.

If you want to feel something real. If you want to know you are not alone in the shit you have been dealt. If you want to embrace your fellow womenkind and experience some of their journeys. If you want to feel empowered by the strength of women – this is for you.

NOTE: This anthology is trigger central. It touches on everything that is Woman. Everything that is life for a woman. The beauty and the danger and the rotten core of it all. Touching on everything from physical abuse, sexual assault, racism, sexism, abortion, marriage, motherhood and menstruation.

Find it @ Booktopia | Bookdepository | Audible | Goodreads

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Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).