A backlog of beauties: Review Mash Up

I’ve been pretty out of it lately and have ended up behind on reading and reviews. You may or may not have noticed this, as I haven’t been posting as regularly. I think all the books below deserve a proper review post, but my mush brain is not cooperating and I still really wanted to share them with you. I will get it together. I promise. 


36986313The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls by Adam Cece and Andrew Weldon #LoveOzMG

Published April 2nd 2018 by Text Publishing [Goodreads]

Winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

Kipp Kindle and his friends Tobias Treachery and Cymphany Chan live in Huggabie Falls, the weirdest town on Earth. Weird things happen all the time—that’s normal. But when an extremely weird thing happens Kipp and his friends know that something is wrong. They embark on a fast-paced, action-packed, hilarious adventure to find out what is making everything turn normal, and to return the weirdness to Huggabie Falls.

With an evil villain, Felonious Dark, a creepy scientist and a fierce wand-wielding teacher, who has turned Cymphany into a baby hippopotamus, to contend with, not to mention killer vampire bats, vegetarian piranhas and a Portuguese-speaking lab rat called Ralf, Kipp, Tobias and Cymphany have quite a task ahead of them.

The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls is the first book in a trilogy of sublimely ridiculous laugh-out-loud adventure stories for middle-grade readers.

A trio of friends who live in the weirdest town on earth band together to solve a mystery, foil the bad guys and save their beloved town from normalcy. A humorous story involving friendship, family and acceptance. Definitely one for the younger MG range. I think any 7-10 yr-olds would find it a wacky and wonderful book.


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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Published April 6th 2017 by Simon & Schuster [Goodreads]

From the bestselling author of Night Owls comes a story of summer, first love and hidden identities . . .

Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met . . . and neither of them knows the other’s real name.

When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?

SO DAMN ADORABLE. I smiled like an idiot when I finished reading this book. There is nothing like first love and friends helping each other work through their ‘ish. The 15-yr-old school girl that lives on in my soul was swooning something fierce for Porter Roth. I finished reading this not long before my last doctors appointment and I have decided that i’m blaming Jenn Bennett for the blood pressure meds my doctor has now put me on. Obviously the spike in my blood pressure, which has always been perfect,  came from me reading Starry Eyes and Alex Approximately back to back 😛 😛 AH so freaking ADORABLE! My heart exploded. Seriously, I still haven’t recovered – if you’re reading this, SEND HELP.


38207028Brontide by Sue McPherson #LoveOzYA

Published June 2018 by Magabala [Goodreads]

Brontide is a coming of age story about four boys and their lot in life. Recounted through storytelling sessions at their school over a period of five days, these boys chronicle their lives. They are at times demanding, occasionally rude, always funny and unexpectedly profound. The boys like to challenge themselves and the rules, and soon realise that not everything goes to plan…

I was captivated from the first page and I didn’t move or put this book down until I’d finished it.
Told through a series of interviews, it was fantastic getting different viewpoints on the same event. – Proving nothing is as it seems, one should never judge, you never know the full story etc etc and that teenagers boys aren’t all that bad.

I cried. I sat back and absorbed all the emotions I had experienced while reading. I immediately passed the book onto my mother and told her to read it.

I think this book is a really good tool for opening up the discussion with teenagers about peer pressure, racism, self-identity and friendships.
And is definitely a book I will sharing with my boys when they are older.

Summary: four teenage boys dealing with the pressures of wanting to be liked and wanting to fit in – with deadly consequences.


Draekora Graevale by Lynette Noni published by Pantera Press #LoveOzYA [Goodreads]

Graevale synopsis:

Now that Aven Dalmarta sits upon the throne of Meya, Alex must race against the clock to save the rest of Medora from the Rebel Prince’s wrath.

Haunted by an unspeakable vision of the future, Alex and her friends set out to warn the mortal races. But making allies out of ancient enemies proves difficult.

With her nights spent deep in the Library under the guidance of a mysterious new mentor, Alex is desperate to strengthen her gift and keep all those she loves safe. Because in a world where nothing is certain, she is sure of only one thing:

Aven is coming.

Lynette Noni’s The Medoran Chronicles are fantastic. If you are a fantasy fan of any age they are a MUST READ. I read Draekora and Graevale back to back (books 3 & 4). Devoured them, actually. I did the same thing with Akarnare and Raelia (books 1 & 2). 

I will always love you Niyx. Please come back Xiraxus. I want a dog just like Soraya – None of these things will make sense to you, until you read the books, AND READ THEM YOU SHOULD. These books are brilliant, like Harry Potter brilliant, but all the better ’cause Noni’s an Aussie, aye mate.

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

Starry Eyes: YA Review

From Jenn Bennett, author of Night Owls and Alex, Approximately comes a sizzling, starry romance, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green 

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Genre: Contemporary, YA Romance
Publication: June 1, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Review copy from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.

Wait, let me recover from the adorable overload that was Starry Eyes.

Jenn Bennett, I love you. You writer of beautiful feel good young adult romps you.

I cannot fault Starry Eyes. It had the right amount of drama, humour and heart to make me laugh out loud, swoon and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The two main characters of Zorie & Lennon are easily likeable. Childhood friends who through a series of miscommunications, and a selfishly meddling father, have a falling out and lose each other. But fate intervenes and thanks to a series of events (some rather amusing) they end up stranded together in the middle of nowhere. Cue high emotions, teenage awkwardness and wildlife galore – snakes and wildcats and bears, oh my.

This story gives us: a POV character that is a spunky young budding astrophysicist, some terrific supporting characters, friendships (the good and the bad), positive examples of same sex couples who rock at parenting and the practising of safe sex (not OTT or graphic). AND SUPER CUTE MAPS.

It deals with: parental infidelity, loss of a parent, hiking hijinks, forgiveness and LOVE (in multiple forms). – Yeah, it’s a lot, but it all comes together wonderfully thanks to Jenn Bennett’s skilled story telling.

Starry Eyes was an absolute joy to read and a book that I can see myself reading again when i’m in need of a mental hug.

 

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of young adult contemporary romance books, including: Alex, Approximately; Night Owls; and Starry Eyes. She also writes romance and urban fantasy for adults. Her books have garnered multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list.

Jenn Bennett’s – Twitter | Instagram | Website

Starry Eyes on Amazon | Booktopia | Dymocks | QBD | Readings | Kindle | iBooks

Check out the whole Blog Tour HERE 

If you want the chance to win a copy of Starry Eyes keep an eye on my twitter, HERE. I will be running a giveaway. All it takes is a Retweet (AU only, open until the 20th June). Good luck.

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

The Weekend Bucket List: YA Review

The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick
Genre: Contemporary YA (LGBTQ)
Publication: April 19th 2018
Publisher: Duet Books
Source: Review copy as part of Blog Tour
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

Right out the gate this story entertained me. The POV alternates between the three main characters – Cady, Cooper and Eli. I found all three characters relatable and easily likeable.

The bucket list is Cady’s way of making sure she and Cooper experience all the things that “normal” kids do in high school. The things that they missed out on while they were being model students. Things like getting drunk, going skinny dipping, sneaking into a movie and having a first kiss. She’s also hoping they might be able to figure out their feelings towards each other.

The entry of ‘Hot Jesus’ (aka Eli) cracked me up. Eli’s been drifting, traveling as carny since he ran away from home before finishing high school. His entrance is spectacular. And the combo of a straight female and two bisexual males as leads worked brilliantly. Nobody knew what they were feeling or for who. Oh teenagers. Growing up really is hard to do. But friendship, the truest, strongest and purest form of love wins out in the end. Happily, so. The Weekend Bucket List leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling in the end.

I’m really impressed by Mia Kerick and her writing. It seems that she’s trying to be inclusive and very LGBTQ positive. Bravo Mia, I commend you. I will defiantly be reading more of Mia’s books in the future.

The story touched on: friendship, love, sexually, self-discovery, alcohol and drug abuse, parental pressures and expectations. But it was still a funny, warm and entertaining read.

AUTHOR LINKS:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook | Amazon

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

Want more of the tour > > View tour schedule (and links)

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂 .

Ocean Rules: #LoveOZYA Review

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Ocean Rules (The Bikini Collective #1) by Kate McMahon.
Published February 22nd 2018 by Kate McMahon.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review – Thank You.

Three friends discover, surfing just got serious.

What does it take to be the best, and what does that even mean anyway?

Fifteen-year-old Jaspa Ryder is on the crest of qualifying to join surfing’s prestigious World Junior Tour along with her best friends, Mel and Carolyn. But as the girls soon discover, the ride to stardom doesn’t come easy. Jaspa’s head and heart are in battle – she isn’t sure she wants to be a professional surfer, which, given her incredible talent, infuriates everyone, especially her envious brother. Who will qualify for the tour? Will Jaspa’s friendships survive the pressure of competition? Sometimes in life, you just have to jump to your feet, take off, and hope you don’t wipe out.

“Inspiring. Blue Crush for a new generation. My 13-year-old daughter read it in a day… and then went surfing.” – Sean Doherty, journalist/author.

“A book that gets to the heart of surfing friendships and competition. A must-read for all young ocean lovers.” – Layne Beachley, seven-time world champion surfer.

“I felt utterly invested in Jaspa, Mel and Carolyn’s surfing journey; can we be friends?” – Stephanie Gilmore, six-time world champion surfer.


My Thoughts: While this was a cute and quick read for adult me, I think there are some beautiful messages in there for the teens. The story touches on; the Stress of competition and meeting expectations, the complexity of friends competing against each other, the power of social media (both negative and positive), sibling rivalry and dealing with disappointment.

There is a dash of boy drama in there, but just a dash. The message of the importance of girls supporting and empowering each other, of standing up for themselves together, shines through.

There is a Surf Speak Glossary at the back. I didn’t find it necessary while reading. The writing was easy and pleasant to read, and the story flowed well. I never felt like the surf speak was unobvious, but I enjoyed reading through the glossary at the end anyways.

The reference to Gosford skirts made me laugh out loud. And seeing Newcastle being called Newy made me smile. It’s such a quintessential Novocastrian thing to call it that. Wanna catch the train into Newy, go to the beach and have a perv – yep, words from my teenagerhood *hangs head in shame* In my defence I was happy to prev on either the guys or girl surfers. In all honesty I was super jealous. I’ve always lacked any kind of coordination and they always made it look so effortless and cool gliding through the waves. Ah damn, in all honesty, I was in a Gosford skirt, bahahaha good times. Oops sorry got lost down memory lane there for a moment *blinks repeatedly while slightly shaking head*. -Gosford skirt description at the end, in case you were wondering.

And of course, the power, the danger, the beauty, and sheer awesomeness of the ocean. You can tell McMahon’s a surfer. The way she described riding the waves made you feel like you were out there with Jaspa, Mel and Carolyn.

The ending is rather cheeky, it leaves the reader guessing and in my own experience, looking forward to the second book of the series.

“The Bikini Collective – a girl’s-eye view of surfing”. Fantastic YA debut McMahon!!


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and outdoorKate McMahon has spent the past twenty-years surfing waves all over the world. In 2001 she landed her dream-job and got started on her professional writing career with SurfGIRL magazine. From there she was mentored by several prominent publications, and began working for women’s magazines, and editing teen and tween titles. Since 2006, she’s been at the ABC as editor of magazines, including: the triple j Annual, Mr. Men, Dance Academy, Giggle and Hoot, Octonauts, and many more. She currently lives just one hundred steps from the sand at Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Ocean Rules is her first book, and she’s currently working on other books in the series.

LINKS: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Sarah SAYS: Gosford Skirt = A super short skirt.
Urban Dictionary SAYS: Gosford skirt = Used to describe a very short skirt. Slang from NSW, Australia. Mainly used in Sydney? Gosford is a regional city/town in NSW that is just south of a town called “The Entrance”. Therefore, a Gosford skirt is one which is “close to The Entrance”.

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

Demonic Pact: YA Review

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Demonic Pact
by Majanka Verstraete
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publication: March 2016
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Sixteen-year-old Halfling Angel of Death Riley Scott is on a dangerous mission. To save her friend’s life, she must make a pact with the man who just tried to kill them both and break him out of the Celestial Prison, guarded by Angels of War—fearsome warriors who can squash her like a fly. If caught, she’ll be sentenced to eternity in that impenetrable prison. Riley will have to make deals with demons and her number one enemy, turn her back on her most loyal friends, and risk losing her family forever. Worst of all, her very existence is in the hands of her devious new allies.


Prison breaks, murderous prophecies and catastrophic curses.

Angels, Witches and Demons, OH MY.

The Demonic Pact is the second book in The Angel of Death series, a YA urban fantasy/paranormal series following the life of Halfling Angel of Death, Riley Scott.

The 1st chapter gives a good sum up/refresher of the key points from the first book. The information is delivered quite well and doesn’t feel like an info dump, more like you’re having a conversation with Riley. It created a strong start to the book and got me amped up to continue on. I read the first book back in 2015, so I really appreciated the refresher. I actually think it might have been detailed enough that you could enjoy this book without reading the first one.

Riley Scott is an easily likeable character. She’s still only relatively new to the whole angels and demons are real thing. And she is still pissed off no one let on about her Angel of Death daddy (whose identity has yet to be revealed, maybe in book three?)

The supporting characters from the first book are back along with some intriguing new ones. The cursed Damien being a favourite for me. Here’s to seeing more of him in the next book *raises coffee cup in salute*.

The Council of Angels still seem to be out to get Riley, one member in particular. I disliked most of the Angels in the first book and this book has done nothing much to change that. The parts of this book I enjoyed the most didn’t involve the other angels, but rather Riley’s dealings with witches and demons.

Throughout the two books Riley is unreasonably hated on for being a halfling – Because you know it’s her fault and she can totally control the way she was born – I’m not sure if it was the author’s intention, but it totally feels like a representation of mixed race hate-ism and I love it for that. I think I just made up the word Hate-ism but I’m sticking to it.

The book finishes on a major cliffhanger. Ah Majanka why. Damn good ending though.

My Review of The Soul Thief

Majanka Links: Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads

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The Coven Princess: YA Review

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The Coven Princess
by Lily Luchesi
Genre: YA paranormal
Publication: March 7th 2018
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank You Lily
Your blood does not define you.
Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.
She’s not human, she’s a witch.
Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
My Thoughts:  I’ve read works by Lily Luchesi varying from paranormal crime thriller novels to erotic story stories – all fantastic. This is Lily’s first foray into young adult fiction. The Coven Princess is reminiscent of Harry Potter, but I preferred the parts that were pure Lily. It is set in the same world as Lily’s Paranormal Detective Series. Fans of the series will enjoy the names and events that are referenced throughout the story – It is not necessary to have read lily’s previous works, this is a standalone YA novel.

The story starts off with a strong Prologue. A brilliant little fast recap of protagonist Harley’s life up until the point the “story” starts. It sucked me in. I finished the Prologue and my head was buzzing with excitement.

After years of being bullied at school for dressing “differently” and her “strange” behaviours, Harley’s hopes are high that she’s going to get a fresh start within the coven. She hopes that she will finally be with people that will understand and accept her the way she is. Unfortunately for Harley just after she starts at the coven’s school bad things start happening there. A girl is killed within days of Harley starting at her new school and all hell proceeds to break loose.

The story is set up in four parts, with time skipping forward in-between. With each jump Harley grows, progressing from 14-year-old paranormal world newbie, to a mature 18-year-old potion making prodigy. I enjoyed Harley as a protagonist. And love, love, loved the first section of the book with all the kiddie witches getting to know Harley, being all teenagery and all their school goings on.

Of course, there is a big bad guy who wants to use and abuse Harley’s magical abilities, but she has good friends and talented family members that help her ultimately triumph over evil.

Bravo Lily, fantastic first YA romp. 

 
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 h
as 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.

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

Mini Reviews: Between the Lives + Gemina + Fence-4

Between the LivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Sabine isn’t like anyone else. For as long as she can remember, she’s had two lives. Every twenty-four hours she “shifts,” living each day twice. In one life, Sabine has everything: popular friends, perfect grades, expensive clothes, and the guy everyone wants. In the other, Sabine’s family struggles financially, and her friends are considered rebels. But then she meets Ethan. He’s gorgeous and challenging, and he makes her feel like she’s never felt before.

All Sabine really wants is the chance to live only one life. But when this finally becomes possible, is she willing to risk everything – including losing the one person who might actually believe her – to make it happen?

Published: 1st May 2013. #LoveOzYA Reading Source: Local Library.

My Thoughts: I LOVED loved loved Shirvington’s Disruption duology, so I had extremely high hopes for the quality and my enjoyment for this book – and it lived up to them. I found this book to be super cute and easy to get into. I easily connected with Sabine and felt for her plight. The love interest was to die for, or rather to live for (you’ll understand that if have you read the book) Between the Lives is the story of a young woman literally living two lives. *WARNING it’s a Tearjerker* Oh how I cried!! But the ending did make up for the tears, leaving me warm and fuzzy inside.

29236299Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman Jay Kristoff(Illustrator) Marie Lu

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Published: 18th October 2016. #LoveOzYA Reading Source: Purchased Paperback.

My Thoughts: Bloody Brilliant! I LOVED it! No surprises there, I loved Illuminae. I’m only sorry it took me so long to read book two. The positive is that I don’t have long to wait for the third book, Obsidio 🙂 YAY! It’s out next month (13th March 2018).

I love the way The Illuminae Files story is told, the way the books are set out. I think it makes them stand out from all other YA sci-fi. They are textual masterpieces. 

In this book we get to meet some new characters (I ship Hanna and Nik, and think Ella is the bomb) and catch up with some old faves (woop woop hello again AIDAN, Kady and Ezra). The BeiTech baddies continue their debauchery and the ending leaves you NEEDING the final book.

Fence #4 (Fence #4) by C.S. Pacat (Author)Johanna the Mad (Illustrator)

Nicholas begins to overthink everything as he struggles to prove he deserves his place at Kings Row.
Published: 21st February 2018. #LoveOzYA Reading Source: Purchased eComic.

My Thoughts: Damn I love this series! Four issues in and I’m beyond hooked. Some of the boys are so sassy and snarky, I LOVE it. I’ve always been a sucker for an underdog story, but who would have thought I’d be a fan of fencing? I really enjoy “watching” the fencing as well as the character interactions/relationships. Thank you C.S. Pacat – Awesome stuff.

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It you want to make my day, just Like this post, simples.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Wilder Country: #LoveOzYA Review

35424749Wilder Country (Winter #2) by Mark Smith

Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 28th 2017 by Text Publishing

Finn, Kas and Willow have survived the winter of storms. Severe winds and cold have kept the Wilders at bay. Now that spring has come, everything has changed. They’re being hunted again, and they won’t be safe while Ramage wants their blood.

But Finn and Kas made a promise to Rose—to find her baby and bring her back. And finding Hope means finding Ramage…


The lovely people at Text Publishing sent me a copy of Wilder Country and I’d hung off reading it as I had intended to purchase and read the first book first. Time was dragging on and ultimately, I decided to give this book a go without reading the first one. I’ve started other series with the second book in the past (by accident), loved them, and gone onto to read the rest of the series with no ill effect. While it was easy enough to pick up the pivotal events of The Road to Winter thanks to the aftermath of them in this book. I did struggle to form an emotional attachment to the characters. I am positive that this is because I’d missed all the character background and relationship set up from the first book. I really enjoyed the writing and the plot of this plausible dystopian world Smith has created and am looking forward to reading the third and final book, The Land of Fences.

At the start of the book we get a snapshot of what life has been like in the abandoned coastal town of Angowrie for Finn, Kas, Willow and Rowdy over winter. Through Finns narrative we get a little bit of a recap of how ‘The Virus’ killed practically everyone in Finns part of the world and how everything descended into chaos with a vicious gang trying to rule over all that remains.

Finn, Kas and Willow set out just as winter is ending to check on fellow survivor Ray, return Willow to her parents and track down and rescue Rose (Kas’s niece). What follows is a lot of compelling action packed high stakes drama.

Even though the plot, the landscape, the action and character interactions were all top notch, I think my enjoyment was hindered by not reading the first book. Multiple times while I was reading this story (whenever Finn mentioned the previous winters) I found myself thinking ‘I wish I’d been with Finn through those winters’. And I would have, had I read the first book.

Wilder Country is a story of survival. A story of keeping promises. Do yourself a favour and go and read the The Road to Winter First, then come back and read this one. You won’t regret it.


27803959The Road to Winter (Winter #1)
by Mark Smith

Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 27th 2016 by Text Publishing

Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.

He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.

But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn’s help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush.

And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.

Mark Smith on Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Text Publishing

The Road to Winter on Booktopia | Amazon | Bookdepository

The Undercurrent: #loveOzYa Review

35111722The Undercurrent by Paula Weston
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 31st July 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy
Thank You Text
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin that stings and surges like a live wire. She can use it—to spark a fire, maybe even end a life—but she doesn’t understand what it is. And she can barely control it, especially when she’s anxious.

Ryan Walsh was on track for a stellar football career when his knee blew out. Now he’s a soldier—part of an experimental privatised military unit that has identified Jules De Marchi as a threat. Is it because of the weird undercurrent she’s tried so hard to hide? Or because of her mother Angie’s history as an activist against bio-engineering and big business?

It’s no coincidence that Ryan and Jules are in the same place at the same time—he’s under orders to follow her, after all. But then an explosive attack on a city building by an unknown enemy throws them together in the most violent and unexpected way.


This #LoveOzYA Sci-Fi is sure to please with its sweet romantic subplot and poignant back drop of a not-so-distant future Australia.

This story has it all; big business bullying, blackmail, corporate corruption, attempted murder, unsanctioned secret military trials, genetic modification of crops and livestock, as well as the continued and worsened struggles of living and working on the land and potential nuclear disaster.

The way the world is going the plot seemed rather plausible and for the most part I didn’t feel like I was reading a Sci-Fi – more like a contemporary YA thriller written 20 years early.

The story rotates between four POV’s – Jules, Ryan, Jules’s mum Angie and Ryan’s boss Major Voss. I found that even though the rotating really amped up the pace, it was a little frustrating at times. I’d be really getting into the action, the chapter would end, and then I’d be somewhere else with someone else. It had me tearing through the pages at a ferocious pace to find out what was happening, everywhere with everyone – Frustrating, yes. But it made the book unputdownable, so I guess that’s actually a good thing. Right?

The ending was a bit of a letdown – as in – I wanted it to keep going. I wanted to see what ended up happening with the Paxton’s, and Angie and Voss. But mainly I just really wanted to keep hanging out with Jules, Ryan and Tommy for a while longer. And to see how Jules and Ryan’s lives together unfold. I already know that they are characters that will linger in my mind for a long time.

On the cover of the copy I read there is an orange star that proclaims “Guaranteed Great Read” and it’s speaks the truth people!

Undercurrent Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

Paula Weston Links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

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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

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