The Man In The Water: #LoveOZYA Review

47239279The Man in the Water by David Burton
Genre: Mystery #LoveOzYa
Publication: October 1st 2019
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Source: #AusYaBloggers Tour
– Thank You AusYaBloggers & UQP
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

On the first day of year 10, Shaun sees a dead body.

When 16-year-old Shaun discovers a dead body in the lake of a quiet mining town in outback Queensland, he immediately reports it to the police. But when he returns to the site with the constable, the body is gone.

Now his mum and the authorities question whether he saw a body at all.

Determined to show the town the truth, Shaun and his best friend, Will, open their own investigation. But what they discover is far more sinister than a mining mishap or a murder, and reveals a darkness below the surface of their small mining town.


The story kicks into action immediately with POV character Shaun finding a dead body floating in the lake. He runs (literally) to the cop shop for help, but by the time a Copper comes back with him to the lake the body is gone, and Shaun looks like a liar.

Only Shaun’s best mate Will believes him and together they mount their own investigation. The fast who-done-it pace pushes you through the story, rapidly flipping to the pages to find out the who”s, whats, whens, and hows.

After some sleuthing, interfering and putting themselves in danger the boys do ultimately catch the “bad guys”, but it doesn’t exactly go down how you think it will.

On the surface this is a fun, captivating, page-turning who-done-it mystery. But it really does highlight the darker human casually side of the mining industry, of small mining towns, of the working conditions /quality of live /mental health dangers of such a money hungry industry.

The town the year ten students Shaun and Will call home grew into existence because of and revolves around coal mining. Will’s dad was a coal miner who’s declining physical health thanks to his job’s poor conditions lead to the decline of his mental health, and later suicide. And then there is the man in the water and all the people involved in that – which for spoiler reasons I obviously won’t go into.

So while this is a fantastic who-done-it romp, with a relativity happy ending for the two boys we grow to care for, that I absolutely enjoyed reading – it does tell some hard truths – but it’s done in a way I think kids will absorb without releasing it.

This story is a must read for any and all #LoveOZYA aficionados and who-done-it mystery aficionados.

 

Follow along the rest of the #themaninthewatertour via the hashtag on IG and Twitter or head on over to the tours master post HERE for links to all the participants.
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

September 2019 Bookish Summary

Total books read in August: 7
Comics/ Graphic Novels = 1 | #LoveOzYA / #LoveNzYA = 1 | the remainder = 5

The Ritual (Tales of Mentara #2) by Ashley Uzzell
A YA fantasy about a rag tag band of kids who end up accidentally trapped in another world.
I really like the world Ashley has created, I liked the plot, and I love the magic abilities Ashley has created for POV Charlotte. But in both the first and second book, while reading and being in the characters heads, they felt older to me, more like 15-19 rather than 9-13.
My Review | View on Goodreads

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Mr Fox and his furry family and friends Vs Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Classic Roald Dahl. I read this out loud to my boys and they were both captivated. Mr Fox is still just as fantastic as I remember from my childhood!
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Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell
Vol 1 collects the first 6 episodes of Rowell’s reboot of Vaughan’s original series and what a fantastic reboot it is!! I’ve already gone and ordered the next two collections!
I don’t think you would need to have read all the previous series by Vaughan to enjoy Rowell’s reboot, she does summarise a little, but It makes it all that much more epic if you are already invested in the characters.
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My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones
My Father’s Shadow is the kind of book you just can’t put down. The constant uneasy vibe that Jannali Jones has created with her magnificent writing propels you forward and keeps you right on the edge of your seat. It is an outstanding #ownvoices #loveozya debut. It is nail bitingly, edge of your seat brilliant!! A must read for all #loveozya aficionados and crime/mystery/thriller buffs.
My Review | View on Goodreads

Minecraft: Diary of a Minecraft Enderman Book 1 by Pixel Kid
My son brought this home from his school library for us to read, rather strange as he’s never played the game – Nevertheless it was an amusing read and quite easy to read out loud.
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Nemesis (Circuit Fae, #4) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Lesbian Fae queens, magic and mayhem, multiverses collapsing and colliding, action packed battles, love triumphing overall…it would have been better if I hadn’t come in at the fourth book in the series but…ummm…oops.
My Review | View on Goodreads

The Jinni (The Forbidden Wish prequel) by Jessica Khoury
This is the story of the Jinni we grow to love in The Forbidden Wish. You do not need to have read The Forbidden Wish in order to enjoy this short story, but you might find it contains mild spoilers.
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Conclusion: I managed to get three review books in during the month, and a few shorts and comics to boost those reading feels.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Nemesis: YA f/f Review

NemesisTourBannerNemNemesis by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
(Circuit Fae, #4)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: March 26th 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
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 “I found the writing to be on par with Queen [Sarah J. ] Maas and Elise Kova; I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy read that steps out of the box and makes a name for itself.” – FairestSkyeBooks

What would you do if your beloved girlfriend suddenly became your worst enemy?

That dilemma’s all too real for Syl Skye, the last princess of the fair Fae. Even though Syl is all things sun and Summer, she’s drawn to her polar opposite, Rouen Rivoche, the dark Fae princess-assassin of the Winter Court.

They should be mortal enemies, but they’re best friends. Girlfriends. In love.

That is, until Roue falls under a dark spell that makes her forget all about Syl, their lives and their love. Now Roue rules Dark Faerie as a cruel and cold Queen. A Circuit Fae who can harness the killing magic in technology, she wants nothing more than to destroy Syl and her fair Fae people.

But when an old enemy brings both Faerie realms to the brink of destruction, only their queens, Syl and Rouen, can save the day—and only if they can put their differences aside for two seconds and team up.

With the clock’s ticking on Syl and Roue’s relationship—not to mention all of Faerie—will Rouen remember the love she and Syl once shared, or is she destined to be Syl’s nemesis forever?


Nemesis is the fourth book in The Circuit Fae series, and it piqued my interest when it came up on an expresso tour with the tag line “What would you do if your beloved girlfriend became your worst enemy”. It has a synopsis speaking of dark spells, princess assassins and Faerie realms, IT’S QUEER and the tour blurb stated that it could be read as a standalone – how could I not sign up!

Yes, I did read it as a standalone and I did enjoy it. But the whole time I was wishing I’d got to see these two teenage Fae queens come together and fall in love despite one being a dark Fae and one being light, given they were meant to be enemies and all that.  In this book they’ve already fallen for each other and have now been ripped apart by the scheming dark forces hell bent on their and both the mortal and Faerie realms destruction.

“I’ve felt every month, every day, every second I’ve been without Rouen Rivoche, the rightful Queen of the dark Fae. My mortal enemy.
We defied the odds -and the ancient war between our Faerie Counts- by falling in love. Now, every breath without her hurts. It’s all I can do to stand here, captive to my mortal life.”

The POV alternates chapter per chapter between Syl Skye, Queen of the fair Fae and Rouen Rivoche, Queen of the dark Fae. The “bad guy” is a real evil bitch, so hey, at least it’s powerful woman all round! Nemesis is a clean and quick read, with fast pacing and plenty of action.

While I felt a missing connection to the story, jumping in at book four, what reading nemesis has done is make me want to go back to the beginning of the series and kick of meeting Syl and Rouen as they meet each other.

A series that features Queer Fae queens, magic and mayhem, multiverses collapsing and colliding, action packed battles, love triumphing overall – How could you not be into that.

Capture.FAE

Syl and Rouen’s adventures continue in: EIDOLON, book 5 of The Circuit Fae.

For the full CIRCUIT FAE experience, start with: MORIBUND, book 1 of The Circuit Fae.

Author Genevieve Iseult Eldredge writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance – where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds – Find out more about her via her Twitter, Website, Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

 

My Father’s Shadow: #LoveOzYA Review

46163179. sy475 My Father’s Shadow by Jannali Jones
Genre: Thriller, #LoveOzYa
Publication: August 1st, 2019
Publisher: Magabala Books
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Kaya is completing her Higher School Certificate when she is woken in the middle of the night by her mother. They are to pack immediately and go to their holiday home in the Blue Mountains. Her father is ‘not coming back’. He has been involved in a court case to give evidence against some dangerous criminals.

Months later, they are still in hiding and the mysteries are multiplying. Kaya is not sure who to trust: her mother’s new friend, the policeman or her new friend, Eric, from the local store. She is also recovering from memory loss caused by PTSD after a chilling encounter with the criminals. She is seeing a psychologist in an attempt to recall the evidence she might have to give in a forthcoming trial.

Her best friend, Jemma, has gone overseas and Kaya is trying to make sense of what is really happening. Jannali Jones has crafted a thrilling story which stays on the edge right to the end.


My Father’s Shadow is the kind of book you just can’t put down – it was so hard to rip myself a way from. The constant uneasy vibe that Jannali Jones has created with her magnificent writing propels you forward and keeps you right on the edge of your seat.

An intense prologue kicks the book off showing us the night that POV Kaya and her mother go into hiding. This is a fast pace book that doesn’t let up for the whole 217 pages, but never feels rushed. I commend Ms Jones for fitting so much story into so few pages.

Kaya suffers from memory loss caused by PTSD after an encounter with the criminals her father was trying to gather evidence on. Throughout the book she slowly gets her memories back, which we witness through flash backs, it’s a brilliant mechanism for ramping up the unease and tension – As are the two particular characters that you spend most of the book wondering; are they goodies or baddies.

The budding friendship with Eric was a lovely bit of light in the darkness that had become Kaya life and provides some balance in the story.

I would have loved an epilogue showing Kaya safe and happy, seeing what becomes of Eric and with the “bad guys” being brought to justice – but the ending does hint at this, so I’ll just happily daydream about it.

I don’t want to say too much and risk spoiling the story for others, so I will just say that – My Father’s Shadow is an outstanding #ownvoices #loveozya debut. It is nail bitingly, edge of your seat brilliant!! A must read for all #loveozya aficionados and crime/mystery/thriller buffs.


Jannali Jones Links: Twitter | Website | Magabala Books | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

The Ritual: YA Review

45451152. sy475 The Ritual (Tales of Mentara #2) by Ashley Uzzell
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: May 17th 2019
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵

Five children stranded in a strange world continue their adventures in the land known as Mentara. Twelve-year-old Charlotte feels the weight of her mistake in bringing her friends here. The local tribe of children who call themselves The Orphans are in a constantly warring state with a neighboring tribe, The Bomen. Drawn into this fight because of her magical abilities, Charlotte struggles to keep her friends safe while defending a group of strangers she is starting to see as family.

Tomas, the leader of The Orphans, is drawn to the kind and motherly Lena, impressed by the strong and intelligent Fred, and bewildered by the ever-moody Charlotte. He has his own personal issues to deal with while he prepares for a ritual that will change his status in the eyes of his people forever. But is this path he has chosen, this future he has worked and planned for what he really wants? Is it too late to change his mind and explore these newfound feelings of wanderlust?


After a prologue that drips with future devastation, chapter one picks up right where the first book let off – the orphan Tara tribe about to head into battle with the raiding Boman tribe.

I had the same likes and dislikes with this book as the first one in the series [ Book 1’s review HERE ]. The dislikes mainly just came down to the characters ages. I’ve been pondering on it. Trying to figure out why it irks me so. Don’t get me wrong, the book has a lot of good qualities: it has good world building, I really like the world Ashley has created, I liked the plot, I love the magic abilities Ashley has created for Charlotte (one of the main POV characters) and there has been character development.

I’ve been thinking about the things Harry Potter gets up to in the first two books when he is the same age as Ashley’s characters. I’ve been thinking about everything Amal goes through in Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed.
I’m not saying kids aged 9-13 aren’t capable of doing the things Ashley has them doing, because they can. Children are snatched away from their parents and taught to fight young in some counties. A 12-year-old can be in charge of all their younger siblings and essentially run the household, it happens in some countries – so I’m not sure exactly sure what my problem is.
I just found the characters being so young didn’t fit. Being in the characters heads as a reader, they felt older to me, more like 15-19 than 9-13. But that might just be me.

Honorable mentions that Ashley gets brownie points for:
Charlotte getting her period and a whole chapter being devoted to girls’ things, and girls coming together over this shared and inevitable experience.
One of the young POV male characters having realisation that women are equal and should be treated as such!
The books whole undertone of equality and acceptance.

This the second book of the series lets us get to know the inhabitants of Mantara a little better, spend more time in lush wilderness, witness Charlotte and Tomas infuriate each other repeatedly, and see the children assimilate to their new home even more.

The Ritual is a quick book to read at only 147 pages. Frustratingly the book ends abruptly on a doozy of a cliff-hanger and you are left desperate to know what happens next – I think Ashley was being cheeky and did this purpose so us readers would be hanging out for the next book – sneaky and cheeky.

All in all, The Ritual is a good sequel to The Portal and has set up further expected events for the third book. 


39836110The Portal (Tales of Mentara Book 1) by Ashley Uzzell

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.

My Rating: ✵✵✵✵ – Check out my review of book one HERE.

You can find Ashley via her Website | Twitter | Facebook Goodreads 

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

AUGUST 2019 BOOKISH SUMMARY

Total books read in August: 3

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish #1) by Jessica Khoury
A dreamy retelling of Aladdin, that dare I say I prefer to the Disney version. The writing is beautiful and the action captivating. This version has so many kickass female characters and that’s always a win for me. Girl power!
The biggest differences: the jinni is female! She is powerful, smart and cunning, but also lonely and sad. The princess is a great warrior, but also compassionate and caring of her people. And then there is her kickass Watchmaidens who are loving, loyal and fierce warriors also.
View on Goodreads

Silken Scales & Perfect Pitch (The Chameleon Effect, books 1 & 2) by Alex Hayes
By the end of the epilogue of Silken Scales I was hooked! Aliens, Action and Romance. What more could you ask for – well some Queer characters would have been nice.
Amongst the romance and alien slaying, there are some deeper things dealt with; mental health, alcoholism, and parental neglect/abuse.
All in all, I liked both books and I am keen to read the next one.
My review | View on Goodreads (book 1) | View on Goodreads (book 2)

Conclusion: August was a super busy and I only managed to get three books read and I am now super behind on my years TBR, but it was a AWESOME month.

On August 1st Shane and I went down to the Sydney international boat show and lusted after things we can’t afford.

I partook in the @AusYABloggers Buckley’s tour HERE.

Brooklynne and I chatted about Trans fiction and Brooklynne’s hunt for excellent Trans girl fiction. We discussed books we’ve read and books we are looking forward to reading HERE.

I took a solo trip down to Sydney to attend an event for the release of It Sounded Better In My by Nina Kenwood, view my review of the book is HERE.

I then attended a @read3rz_revu luncheon celebrating the release of The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim.

And then of course there was the Sydney Tea Festival that mum and I attended.

So a fantastic, but busy month 🙂

Past Monthly Summaries: Jan 19Feb 19Mar 19April 19May 19 | June/July 19 

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

CONVERSATIONS 002: QUEER BOOK CHAT

Today, over on the #AusYaBloggers group site, I chat with the fantastic Brooklynne Michelle about the lack of good Transgirl fiction, some Trans fiction we are looking forward to reading and Queer books in general. As with the last Queer #AusYABloggers chat I took part in, we give some reading recommendations. You should definitely go check it out HERE.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂