The Portal: YA Review

39836110The Portal by Ashley Uzzell
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: April 13th, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵

Five children find themselves stuck in a beautiful jungle on a strange planet. But all is not as peaceful as it first appears.

Twelve-year-old Charlotte has been different all her life. It isn’t just that her father left when she was a child, or her mother ignores her. What really makes her an outsider is the fact that she has strange abilities that she can’t explain and struggles to control. Everything changes in the summer of 1993 when she feels drawn to a certain spot outside of town. Unfortunately, she isn’t alone when things go sideways.

When the children realize they are definitely not on Earth anymore, they have to learn not only how to fend for themselves, but how to get along. The problem is, even Charlotte has no idea how to get off the alien planet. And, perhaps, she doesn’t want to.
It doesn’t take long for the five to realize they aren’t alone in this strange land and that life here is more dangerous than they could have imagined.


This story is split into three parts and when I got to the end of the first, below is verbatim what I jotted now in my notebook:

“Part one: absolutely delightful. I love the magic and the young witch that Ashley has created. I love the way that Charlotte connects with nature. I love the ragtag gang of earth kids and journeying with them as they are stranded in the strange new world. So far the story feels fresh and exciting. So far the story has touched on bullying and feeling like you never fit in.”

I didn’t take any notes after parts one and two – I was just racing through to the end. And once I got there I would have happily kept on reading.

The Portal is the first book in Ashley’s Tales of Mentara series, with the second installment planned for april next year (2019). The series intends to follow the main set of characters as they grow from middle graders into teens and on. In this the first book the eldest of the main characters is 12, but due to their life circumstances most of them act quite mature for their age. I actually kept forgetting that they were meant to be middle graders, I kept seeing 15/17 yr olds in my head. I am looking forward to seeing these kids grow and seeing the dynamics of their relationships change. I’m especially keen on seeing how Charottle’s whitchly powers develop as she ages and what becomes of Thomas’s health.

The YAY parts: The ragtag group of earth kids stranded in a strange new world. Their adventures in a new world. The tribe of native war orphans who accept the earthlings into their ranks. The way Charlotte connects to the world around her. The story touching on bullying, acceptance and the beauty of nature.

The NAY parts: To me the Characters felt older than they were meant to be and as such I had some Huh? moments, but not enough to disrupt the story flow or hinder my enjoyment too much. And damn, it was so long ago that I was twelve how would I know how a twelve year olds think and behave these days. 

Conclusion: A fantastical tale of friendship, nature magic and mysterious new worlds – best suited to the younger YA audience.

Ashley’s Links – Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads 

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

All Aces: YA Review

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All Aces by Ellie Marney
Genre: YA Romance, #LoveOZYA
Publication: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Bearded Lady Press
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

A teenage contortionist and a young cardsharp risk danger to right a family legacy of injustice.…

Nineteen-year-old contortionist Ren Putri is committed to circus, study and self-discipline – in that order. But after being rescued from a carnival fire by cardsharp Zep Deal, she’s overwhelmed by some highly disorderly thoughts. Zep has a history of trouble, and now he’s been suspected of sabotaging the circus that’s become his whole life. Ren is already coping with family, and keeping secrets of her own – but she can’t resist a mystery. Will Ren’s penchant for solving puzzles bring the case against Zep to rights, or will digging further into the bad blood between rival carnivals only put them both in danger?

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.


All three books are set in Klatsch’s circus, with the times lines of the characters’ lives continuing from one book until the next. That being said, all books could stand alone, but I think you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t read them all and you may as well do that in order.

I was captivated with this series right from the start. In book one I adored the POV character, Sorsha.
With Fleur as the POV character in the second book it took me a little while longer get into the groove of the story, as I didn’t really like her in the first book, but I got there in the end.
Ren is the POV character of the third book and I liked Ren right from the moment Sorsha met her in book one, so I connected with her voice immediately.

Oh, adorkable Ren. Overthinking, overstressing, hardworking to the point of breaking, world on her shoulders and in desperate need of some good loving, Ren.

And I can’t forget the other star of this instalment – Zeb! Delicious Zep Deal, with his A****** of a father and his dark past. I love me a bad boy who is trying to break free of his past and make good for himself. Zep made a fantastic love interest for Ren.

A connection of sorts sparks up between Ren and Zep rather early in the story. One good dead is returned for another, that then turns into a tentative friendship, that then develops into the two of them partaking in some sneaky and very risking business together, which leads to them falling hard for each other.

Ren learns she has limits and how far she can push them. She learns how to stand up for herself and fight for the things she wants – she also learns what the things she really wants are.

Zep gets the break he deserves and a good woman to help him heal his heart – aww.

Damn, I’ve made this sound like its all mushy romance, but it not. There is plenty of action, punch ups with bad guys, revenge on the circus saboteur, and just more circus life in general!

Yes All Aces has a rather adorable first love romance for Ren, but it also has a you-gotta-fight-for-the-things-you-want vibe going on the whole way through. We also get a conclusion to the circus saboteur storyline that has ran through all three books.

I said this in my reviews for the previous books and I’ll say it again for book three as it still holds true – Fast paced action. Hot romance. Circus life. What more could you want people. Do yourself a favour and check the series out.

Who would like this series: Fans of swoon worthy romance. #LoveOzYA aficionados. Anyone after a captivating and fast paced read.

Ellie’s Links: Amazon AU | Amazon US Goodreads | Twitter | Website 

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

Lily Luchesi: Author Shout Out

A little bit about about Lily:
Lily Luchesi is the author of one of my favorite adult series, the “Paranormal Detectives Series”.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Lily is an out and proud member of the LGBT community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga, drinking copious amounts of coffee and sharing her struggles and triumphs with PTSD and depression.

As a person she is a kick ass sister, who inspires me.
Lily writes horror, paranormal fiction and erotica, her stories always feature LGBT characters, always have one or more characters fighting mental illness and always focus on strong females kicking ass.
The last book I read by Lily:

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The Coven Heir (The Coven Series Book Two) by Lily Luchesi
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication: October 5th 2018
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank you
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The Dark never dies.One year after The Company of Clan Munro was defeated, things in the UK Coven are settling down, and also beginning to be shaken up.

The Princess, Harley Sinclair, is building her potion business and planning a wedding to James Quigley, while still taking lessons from her father, the Coven King.

Her younger half-brother, Nick Smith, is moving to London with three friends … including Roger Ainsley, the son of the former leader of the Dark.

When a mysterious stranger appears back from the dead, his words of warning of another Dark Clan rising might change Nick and Harley’s lives forever.

There’s a deathwitch in the Coven, and she has her sights set on the Princess.


Set in the same world as Lily’s Paranormal Detective Series books, split into four parts, The Coven Heir follows Harley and her comrades as they track down and defeat a Necromancer who is hell bent on destroying all Harley holds dear and wreaking havoc on the Coven.

I struggled to connect with Harley a bit this time around. Which is strange because I loved her in the first book, seriously check out my review of book one. I found myself enjoying the parts of the story that followed Harley’s half brother Nick the most.

☹ I didn’t like how the Harley-James-Caelum ish went down. And while I wasn’t real keen on the Harley & James romance part of the first book, and did much prefer the dynamic of Harley and Caelum, it all happened too fast for my liking.

❤ I did like the addition of the newly resurrected Caelum and enjoyed his interactions with Harley and the other characters.

I loved how there was multiple homosexual and bisexual characters in safe and loving relationships, with all characters surrounding them behaving as if it was the most natural and normal thing on earth – as they should, because it is!
I loved how Lily showed Harley battling her herself (internally) and still kicking ass (externally) – because mental illness doesn’t make you weak.
I even screenshotted character inner monologues and speeches because they resonated with me – and you see those as quotes in my Monthly Bookish Babble at some point.

 

Who would like this story: The violence and romance isn’t too aggressive or graphic and I think the story would be best suited to younger paranormal fans, and any Lily Luchesi fans. It could be read as a stand alone.

Lily’s latest: COMING SOON! on the 14th.
Lily’s first co-written novel, SOUL SYNDICATE, written with Faith Marlow.
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Soul Syndicate by Lily Luchesi & Faith Marlow
Genre: Horror, Paranormal Fiction
Publication: November 14th 2018
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
A soul is a heavy burden to bear.
There’s a gala celebrating the city and many notable celebrities are attending, including a rock star, a socialite, a baseball player, and an entertainment reporter. Each one notable in their own right, and each one holding a secret.
When they all get stuck in an elevator together after the gala is over, they think that that is the worst thing that could happen to them…until the doors finally open.
The world as they knew it has gone, now they have poppies attached to their chests and are facing down soulless friends, family, and strangers, including a crotchety old woman and a former drag queen.
It’s a battle for the ultimate prize: their souls and the souls of everyone else on Earth. Can they save the world, or will these disparate individuals kill each other first?

 

Lily’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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

The Bogan Mondrian: #LoveOzYA Review

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The Bogan Mondrian by Steven Herrick 
Genre: Contemporary, #LoveOzYA
Publication: September 3rd 2018
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Source: Review copy from UQP – Thank You
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

‘There are worse things than school.’

Luke sleepwalks through his days wagging school, swimming at the reservoir and eating takeaway pizza.

That is until Charlotte shows up.

Rumour is she got expelled from her city school and her family moved to the Blue Mountains for a fresh start.

But when Luke’s invited to her house, he discovers there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.


Woop woop! The Bogan Mondrian, another contemporary #LoveOZYA title from Steven Herrick. Whether he is writing a Prose or Verse Novel, he excels at both and is a brilliant storyteller. One of my favourites. SO, as you can imagine I was super excited when I heard he had a new release coming up, and I was over the moon when I got a copy for review from UQP.

I was heartbroken that I didn’t adore The Bogan Mondrian (prose novel) the way I adored The Simple Gift (verse novel) or Slice (prose novel), but I still really liked it and it is still a Herrick masterpiece.

Herrick’s stories always deal with heavy issues, but leave you with a feeling of hope. I think that’s why I didn’t love this one as much. It didn’t leave me as heart-warmed as all the others have. But within a story dealing with domestic violence, I guess that was always going to be the case. I wanted a more severe punishment for the perpetrator of the domestic violence (and animal murder). I felt he got off lightly. But that is the real world, and this is a contemporary novel. They don’t get locked up when they should. They continue to roam free.

Herrick writes his male leads with such heart and compassion. He writes his teenage boys behaving the way I want my boys to behave once they hit their teens, loving and respectful. Yeah most of them muck up at school, so what, they are always loving and respectful to the women in their lives and their elders. The world needs more men like Steven Herrick. The world needs more books like The Bogan Mondrian shining a light on the way boys/men should behave. And the best part is, the kids wouldn’t even realise that Herrick’s characters are teaching them good morals and values because his stories are so compelling and entertaining.

The Bogan Mondrian deals with friendship, grief and domestic violence. It follows 17-year-old Luke as he grieves the loss of his father to cancer and struggles to figure out how to help a friend in need. Luke is a fantastic character and I warmed to him immediately.

Thank you, Steven Herrick, please keep writing more books. You make the world a little bit better place each time.

Trigger warnings. Domestic Violence, Animal Abuse.

 

Herrick’s Links: Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Blog | Facebook | UQP
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Bookdepository | Booktopia

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

All Fall Down: #LoveOzYA Review

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All Fall Down (Circus Hearts #2)
by Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary, #LoveOZYA
Publication: October 1st 2018
Publisher: Bearded Lady Press
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Ellie
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A ringmaster’s daughter and a bearded lady’s son join forces to stop a saboteur…

Nineteen-year-old Fleur Klatsch is loyal to her trapeze team and her ringmaster father, dedicated to the circus, and tough on everyone around her. After a series of accidents at Klatsch’s Karnival, Fleur is left holding the ball: she’s running the carnival, trying to stop a saboteur, and taking care of her dad. She doesn’t need anyone’s help, least of all Eugenia Deloren’s son, Marco, who’s been trying to break out of show life since the moment he was born into it. All Marco needs to do is get Klatsch’s back on its feet so he can leave. But after one fateful kiss with Fleur, will he really want to? And will Fleur and Marco figure out who’s trying to kill the show before someone kills them…

Dark YA romance with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.


I was captivated with book one, All the Little Bones, from the first sentence up until the last. I adored the protagonist, Sorsha, and didn’t want the story to end. So, obviously I was super excited when the opportunity to read and review book two came along and I jumped at it.

The first book is told from the POV of Sorsha and tracks her journey to the circus, her struggles to forget her past and fit in at the circus the second book is wholly set in. Fleur the POV in this, the second book, is a secondary character in the first one and I really didn’t like her…
My residual ill feelings towards Fleur made it hard for me to get into the story at first. But once I got to know Fleur, it was all good, GAME ON.

The second book has a thrilling Circus saboteur who-done-it feeling. With a friends to lovers type smouldering romance weaved through. And also a slight coming of age kind of vibe.

With Fleur’s father injured and in hospital thanks to the saboteur, Fleur must run the circus, figure out who the saboteur is and what on earth is going on between her and Marco. Thankfully she has some great side characters to help her along the way. Sorsha’s still there in the background with her muscle man, Colm and Genie and Mitch are wonderful. Oh, and I can’t forget Marco, glorious Marco. Marco lights up book two like petrol on bonfire.

Who would like this book: Fans of swoon worthy romance. #LoveOzYA aficionados. Anyone after a captivating and fast paced read.

I think All Fall Down could stand on its own. But then you would be depriving yourself of meeting Sorsha and Colm, and trust me, that’s not something you want to do.

Fast paced action. Hot romance. Circus life. What more could you want people. Do yourself a favour and check the series out.

Bring on book three and the POV of Ren!!!

Ellie’s Links: Amazon AU | Amazon US Goodreads | Twitter | Website 

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

Amal Unbound: MG Review

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Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Genre: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Publication: June 1st 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy from Text, Thank you.
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.


Amal Unbound is a Middle Grade novel, but I appreciated and enjoyed this story as an adult. I found it to be a captivating and delightful read, even though it dealt with some not so delightful things.

I am sure that the idea of village hierarchy, an all power landlord and forced servitude would shock a lot kids, which is why books like this are so important. It is a story that I feel will give it’s target audience, and any others who read it for that matter, a connection and compassion for a child in totally different circumstances then themselves. It’s one I’ll definitely be giving to my boys to read when they are a bit older.

Essentially, while 12 year old Amal is under the intense pressure of running her parents household, caring for four younger siblings as her mother suffers from post-natal-depression, she snaps and says the wrong thing to the wrong person. Amal then finds her life turned upside down as she is ripped from her home and forced into the servitude of the man whose ego she bruised.

Ultimately Amal Unbound It is a story of hope. A story of right and wrong. A story of Karma catching up with those that think they are untouchable. A story of a young girl fighting her her freedom, and winning.

Who would enjoy this book: anybody who craves knowledge (Amal dreams of knowing everything there is to know of the world), anybody in need of a feel good tale and being reminded that sometimes right does win out over wrong, anybody who loves an underdog, anybody with a passion for women’s rights.

Aisha Saeed is a New York Times bestselling author, a Pakistani-American writer, teacher and attorney. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC and the BBC, and, as one of the founding members of the much talked about ‘We Need Diverse Books’ campaign, she is helping change the conversation about diverse books. Aisha lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and sons.

Aisha Saeed links: Goodreads | Text Publishing | Instagram | Website We Need Diverse Books

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

The Girl Who Fell: #LoveOzYA Review

36985967The Girl Who Fell (The Chess Raven Chronicles #1) by Violet Grace
Publication: September 3rd 2018
Publisher: Nero (an imprint of Black Inc.)
Source: Review copy from Publisher
Thank you Nero
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


[Add To Goodreads]

The first book in a thrilling fantasy series about a girl who learns to embrace her inner power.

Chess Raven is a hacker who has grown up with nothing and no one. Her parents died when she was three and her foster care situation turned out badly – very badly. But on her sixteenth birthday, her life is turned upside down.

Chess learns her mother was Queen of the Fae and her father was a brilliant physicist. The unique blend of her mother’s fairy blood and her father’s humanity gives Chess – and Chess alone – the ability to unlock a mysterious vessel that will unleash unimagined powers – with devastating consequences. Thrown into a new world where nothing is at it seems, Chess must work out who to trust as vying forces race to control her. Or kill her.

Reunited with her childhood friend Tom Williams, an enigmatic shape-shifting unicorn, Chess discovers love for the first time and is prepared to risk her life for it. But first she must learn to overcome a fear of her own power and stop waiting for other people to save her. She is the one she’s been waiting for.


Chess is an orphan with no real knowledge of her parents. She spends her childhood a victim of a set of foul foster parents. The daughter of a brilliant human physicist and a rebellious Fae queen, Chess grows up not knowing of the royal Fae blood hiding in her veins or her ability to tap into it.

On Chess’s sixteen birthday she is attacked by what I can only describe as Zombie Fairies and that is when the story really begins. What comes next is a whirlwind adventure of Chess finding out about who she is, who she can and can’t trust, learning to harness her Fae abilities and getting to know a spunky unicorn shifter.

The world building is detailed and really had that whole Urban Fantasy thing going for it.

I got a mutant marvel x-man meets disney princess vibe from Chess (which i liked) and I did find myself connecting with, and liking her chararter.

For the most part this book feels like it’s aimed at the younger side of the YA market, but that in no way means that older readers won’t enjoy it.

Conclusion: It is a simple, fast and fun read. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the second book, in which the blurb intrigues me even more than the first.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Fae, Parallel Realms, Rags to Riches fairy tales and Unicorn soldiers.

Violet GraceAbout the author

Violet Grace is the pen name of wife-and-husband writing team Kasey Edwards and Christopher Scanlon. Kasey is an author and columnist and Christopher is an academic and social commentator. They live in Melbourne with their two daughters.

Chess Raven Links: Nero | Instagram | Website | Goodreads |

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

We Three Heroes: #LoveOzYA Review

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We Three Heroes (The Medoran Chronicles, #4.5) by Lynette Noni
Genre: Fantasy, LoveOzYA
Publication: September 1st 2018
Publisher: Pantera Press
Source: Review copy from Publisher – Thank you Pantera

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“We all have to do our part if we’re to survive the coming storm.”

Alexandra Jennings might be the hero of The Medoran Chronicles, but she would be lost without her three closest friends. They are her heroes, and like all heroes, they each have their own story.

Meet the real D.C. in Crowns and Curses and discover how she becomes the princess Alex once despised but now adores.

Follow Jordan on his healing journey in Scars and Silence as he struggles in the wake of being rescued from his living nightmare.

Walk beside Bear in Hearts and Headstones as he faces an unspeakable trauma while helping his world prepare for the coming war.

D.C., Jordan and Bear are the heroes of their own stories.

It is time for their stories to be told.


I read Akarnae and Raelia back-to-back and was blown away. I devoured Draekora and Graevale as soon as I could. So you know I was super excited when Pantera and Lynette Noni announced We Three Heroes. Stories told from the POV of Alex’s besties while I’m waiting for Vardaesia to be released, hell yeah!

D.C.’s Story – Crowns and Curses. In this short we get to experience what made D.C. the sassy ice queen supreme we first meet in Akarnae. We then follow her healing journey and see her become the loyal and loving friend we know from books 2-4. Themes: bullying and friendship.

Jordan’s Story – Scars and Silence. At a first glance Jordan appears to be just an adorable cheeky ruffian with cool disappearing powers, but through this short we get to dive deeper into the boy and recover with him as he deals with the blows he received from Aven in books 2-3. Themes: suicide, family expectations, loss of loved one.

Bear’s Story – Hearts and Headstones. I knew from Graevale what was coming but living the battle again through Bear’s eyes still made me tear up. Unlike the previous two stories I didn’t feel I learnt anything new about Bear, but we did get to learn more about Declan’s past. Themes: loss of loved one, strengthening friendships, war.

I really enjoyed this book. It allows us to get to know the side charters better and I think getting a deeper understanding for them will make the final instalment all that more epic! Bring on VARDAESIA!

I still haven’t forgiven Noni for chapter 33 in Graevale, and my forgiveness hinges on three things I hope go down in Vardaesia regarding Bear and Declan, Alex and Kaiden, and a certain MIA winged Draekorian.

Noni’s The Medoran Chronicles are top notch. If you are a fantasy fan of any age or a #LoveOzYa supporter, then they are a MUST READ! The series has it all; action, adventure, a kick ass heroine, fantastic side characters, friendship, humour, romance, deeply built parallel worlds, humans with fantastical abilities and immortal beings.

I’m running off talking about the series aren’t I – oops – and this is supposed to be a review of We Three Heroes. In my defence it is an amazing series and the stories in this book weave through the timelines of the first four books.

Who would enjoy this book: fans of Noni’s Medoran Chronicles. This novella compendium is a MUST for fans of the series, but unless you’ve read the first four books and loved them, it’s not for you – too many spoilers and too many things you need to already know for the stories to flow.

Lynette Noni’s Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pantera | Goodreads

Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

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

How to Hang a Witch: YA Review

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How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Genre: Paranormal YA
Publication: 1st January 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank You)
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

After Sam’s father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with her stepmother, Vivian. Unfortunately, Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and to say she feels unwelcome in Salem is an understatement… She is particularly unnerved by The Descendants, a mysterious and tight-knit group of girls related to those persecuted in the Trials. At the same time, she must deal with Elijah, the handsome but angry ghost who has appeared in her house, and her new neighbour Jaxon only complicates things further.

“I am utterly addicted to Adriana Mather’s electric debut. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, twisting and turning with ghosts, witches, an ancient curse, and – sigh – romance.” Jennifer Niven

“They really love their witches here,” I say, ignoring Vivian’s last question.
“This is one of the most important historical towns in America. Your relatives played a major role in that history.”
“My relatives hanged witches in the sixteen hundreds. Not exactly something to be proud of.”
But in truth, I’m super curious about this place, with its cobblestone alleys and eerie black houses. We pass a police car with a witch logo on the side. As a kid, I tried every tactic to get my dad to take me here, but he wouldn’t hear of it.
He’d say that nothing good ever happens in Salem and the conversation would end.

 

The story opens with the protagonist Sam’s dad in a coma. Sam and her step-mother Vivian have sold their New-York apartment to cover his rising medical bills and as such need to move back to Sam’s dads’ ancestral home in Salem.

I found Sam (Samantha Mather) to be easy to connect with right from the start. But I found the character of Elijah the most compelling and ended up by far my favourite.

There is an anti-bullying undercurrent to this whole story which I was completely on board with.

The plot was interesting and well executed. The pacing was good. And there were light and dark moments balanced the whole way through.

The only negative I found with the book, that dropped it from a five-star to a four-star read for me (so still an awesome book) was the romance. It felt forced at times and the story already had enough suspense and drama on its own. I just don’t think it was needed. Maybe the reason I couldn’t get on-board with the romance was because I didn’t connect with the Jaxon character? No, I think if they’d just been friends it would have worked fantastically! I did prefer the romance with Elijah, even though it was never going to work, and even if at times it didn’t sit right with me, at least the characters connection felt more built out. Meh, still an awesome book and one I’d happily read again.

How I felt reading this book: intrigued, entertained, occasionally annoyed at some of the characters and angry at bully behaviour (but for the most part just the first two).

I loved the mix of history and fiction and I loved how much the author put herself into the character*.

Who would enjoy this book: anyone with a fascination of Salem and the witch trials, anyone who likes young adult and paranormal fiction.

*At the back of the book there is an author’s note where Adriana talks about her connection to the infamous Salem witch trials, which is fascinating, and which I read before starting the story. I think reading it first gave me some sense of who the author was, her strong connection to the story and some of her hopes for the message behind the book. I think it made for a more connected read – so if you are going to read this book, I suggest you read the author’s note first.

Adriana’s Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

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

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

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