Lost in LA (The Bikini Collective #2) by Kate McMahon
Publication: February 28th 2019
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Kate
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Three friends discover, surfing just got serious.
Pack your bags, the Bikini Collective girls are California bound to compete in their very first overseas surfing event. The LA sun is shining, Santa Monica’s shops are bursting with bargains and the point break is pumping. It should be happy days, right? Wrong! Mel has her party pants on and is ready to ravage this Hollywood scene, but her best friend and wingwoman, Jaspa, is welded to the hip of her new boyfriend. If Jaspa wants to be the Mayor of Lame Town, Mel figures she’ll just have to find someone else to get into trouble with. Swept along by the local celebrity brat pack, Mel finds herself on a wild ride that soon lands her in deep water, and she is way out of her depth. Will Mel be kicked off the World Junior Tour already? This is an adventure to rival any rogue set, so hold your breath and dive down deep … and pray you pop back up again!
In the first book we saw the three friends – Jaspa, Mel and Carolyn – competing in Australia, while learning how to navigate staying friends and competing against each other. The second book sees the girls head to Malibu to attend their first World Junior Tour as part of the Australian team. The first book focuses more around Jaspa, her awkward adorableness and her relationship with her brother. This book was all up in Mel’s head as she learns how to tell who her real friends are and learns to appreciate the things she has in life.
Lost in L.A. is full of all the things I loved from the first book. Fast and furious surfing action scenes that are written so descriptively you feel like you are out on the wave. It’s full of girl power; friends sticking up for each other and woman banding together to make the sport/world better for the next generation.
Lost in L.A. is a short and sweet ride, one that could probably be read as a standalone, but then you would be depriving yourself of book one and building a deeper connection to the characters.
Who would like this book: This is a clean book with a 15 year old POV. This book is perfect for the younger YA readers, even a high-level MG reader and hey I enjoyed it as an adult. I applauded Kate for managing to create an exciting series that doesn’t use sex, violence, or OTT romance to make it captivating. So many of the YA books coming out these days feature 17/19-year-olds doing things that 13/14-years-olds just cannot relate to, this is a perfect in-between.
I sincerely look forward to the next installment of the Bikini Collective and following these girls’ journeys onwards and upwards.
View my review of book one HERE.
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.
“Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says.
What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamiaca between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.
As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
I finished reading Dig by A.S.King the other day and I still can’t figure out what I want to say about it.
I part hated it (some of the characters are truly disturbing and examples of the worst parts of humanity) and I part loved it (there were three characters I connected with and the last quarter of the book made up for the first three quarters).
It is skillfully written and tackles some dark stuff. I feel like it’s the kind of novel that should be read and dissected in a high school English class. King is a phenomenal writer and isn’t afraid to get dark with it.
The story jumps between six characters, with each short chapter alternating the POV. The jumps never get confusing, it is rest-bite from the not-likable to the likable characters. It created a balance and pushed the story along.
This is not a light read, it tackles: terminal illness, poverty, physical & sexual abuse, parental neglect, racism, white privilege and the danger of family legacy.
Dig is Intense and at times it gets real dark! It’ll make you uncomfortable, and if it doesn’t, there is something wrong with you. But the journey that is reading this book is worth it in the end.
Dig is a story about the way our actions tunnel down and affect those around us, generation after generation. A story about digging our way out from under our past and moving forward to better future.
Total books read in March: 6
Comics/ Graphic Novels = 3 | #LoveOzYA / #LoveNzYA = 0 | the remainder = 3
The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James.
A YA Sci-Fi tale that follows Lowrie and Shen, the last teenagers on earth, as they live in the aftermath of a virus that caused global infertility. There are plenty of twists and turns and plenty of moments that make you ponder life and what it means to live.
Published March 7th, 2019 by Walker Books [View on Goodreads] [My Full Review Here].
Runaways, Vol. 4: True Believers by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona & Craig Yeung.
The teens get a grave visit from the future, fight off against some retired superheros and dodge a supreme bad guy. I wasn’t as into this one as the previous three, but it was still enjoyable and it ended with a cliff-hanger that has me keen for Vol.5.
Published November 29th, 2006 by Marvel [View on Goodreads].
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.
A queer contemporary tale of a young woman drowning in, then dealing with her grief for the grandfather and life she’s lost and for the mother she never knew. A beautiful story that will break your heart, then turn around and heal it.
Published March 5th, 2019 by UQP [View on Goodreads] [My Full Review Here].
Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans.
A sweet and heart-warming 44-page story set in Melbourne. It’s a meet cute and the two MAIN characters giving it Transgender and Nonbinary representation (woop woop). Alison is the bomb when it comes to inclusive queer YA, but I’d have to say this short would be considered an adult because of the sex.
Published January 28th, 2015 by Less Than Three Press, LLC [View on Goodreads].
Heartstopper Volume One by Alice Oseman.
I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this. It is just about the sweetest thing I’ve read. Two teen boys meet, grow as friends, one openly gay, the other not so much, and the ending leaves us with the hope they could be more.
Published February 7th, 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books [View on Goodreads].
Darcy Swipes Left (OMG Classics) by Courtney Carbone (Adaptor) & Jane Austen.
Pride and Prejudice told entirely through social media posts and emojis. I’ve previously read the Shakespeare retellings in this series and enjoyed them. This wasn’t bad, but how could you ever capture the beauty of P&P in so few pages.
Published September 27th, 2016 by Random House Books [View on Goodreads].
March was an off month for me reading wise. I only actually managed to read two full length books, I just had too much going on.
I did however manage to write and publish a short poem, which i’m going to try and do each month and I got to do a fun Q&A with author Michael Earp.
Read I Can’t, a poem HERE
Read Michael Earp Q&A HERE
My Top Five Inspirational Books
By Christina Bauer
As part of the launch tour for my new book, UMBRA, the lovely Sarah at The Adventures of SacaKat asked me to share the top five books that inspire me as a writer. (Actually, they asked me for ten, but I got blabby).
So without further ado, here are the top five books!
Book Number Five. The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
This book had a massive impact on me when I read it for the first time as a teenager. This was back in the 1980’s, and the fantasy genre was a lot less developed than it is today. LOTR opened my eyes to a new kind of fantasy that was separate from fairy tales, and I loved it.
Book Number Four. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brother’s Grimm
My first entrance to fantasy was through the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Now, I’m not referring to the sanitized Disney version, although I enjoyed those as well. I’m talking the gritty stuff where Snow White ends up dead, that kind of thing. My work is often classified as dark fantasy and this is where it all came from!
Book Number Three. Mythology by Edith Hamilton
This is not so much a story as a compendium of Greco-Roman myths written in the style of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Such an eye opener in terms of themes, character, magic and fantasy!
Book Number Two. The Egyptian Story of Isis
I read this one for a decade—in different translations—before I truly understood it. Isis was the original goddess story and stretches back in use at least 40,000 years. It’s a tale of power, sacrifice and intellect. For more analysis, check out my blog post on the subject.
Book Number One. The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The first time this crossed my path, I was in high school. Campbell writes about what he calls the hero’s journey. I then became interested in mapping out the heroine’s journey, which brings me to why I write today.
So there you have it—the five books that most influenced my journey as a writer! I enjoyed sharing this list with you and hope to return on a future tour!
Umbra by Christina Bauer
(Dimension Drift Prequels, #2)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: March 26th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
A prequel novella to the new series from USA Today’s ‘must read YA paranormal romance’ author, Christina Bauer.
One day, eighteen-year-old Thorne will be the Emperor of the Omniverse, the single being who rules countless worlds. Trouble is, his father Cole–who’s also the current Emperor–is a sadistic freak.
In fact, Cole won’t even keep his promises to the very humans who got him his throne.
Thorne won’t stand for it. He decides to travel to the human world and make good on his father’s promises. What he doesn’t count on is falling in love….
“I love how Bauer manages to add some awesome new world building to each of her books.”– Woven Magic
This new series is perfect for: fans of urban fantasy, action and adventure, cool science, evil corporations, forbidden romance and hot new classmates who may or may not be aliens.
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates
* * * Follow the tour HERE * * *
Michael is a Children’s and Young Adult bookseller and writer.
He is the editor of the collection Kindred: A Queer #LoveOzYA Anthology which will be published by Walker Books Australia this coming June.
And he also contributed the story ‘Meet and Greet’ to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories, ‘Regulation’ to Aurealis #99 and ‘The Next Stop’ to The Victorian Writer.
Michael graciously took the time to do a Q&A with me earlier in the week and I am very excited to share it with you.
DID YOU ALWAYS DREAM OF BECOMING A WRITER?
My desire to be a writer developed gradually. I’ve always written. Starting with the terrible teenage poetry, of a 14 year old. But I never stopped journaling in free verse. Then I got a job in a bookshop as a 19 year old and rediscovered my love of books. Then started wondering if I couldn’t write them myself.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS; WHERE YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM FOR YOUR STORIES, DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-WRITING RITUALS OR MAYBE EVEN A PREFERRED WRITING PLACE?
I often have to tidy my desk. Clear workspace, clear mind and all that. And while I can journal and/or daydream stories anywhere, I find it very difficult to write or edit a work in progress with other people around, so I tend to do most of my writing at my desk at home, trying hard to pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I’m VERY easily distracted.
As for inspiration? A lot of my ideas come from images, or snapshots from a scene that appears in my head. Then I get really curious to what came before, or what comes next, and I tease it out. Occasionally a story is in direct response to something I’ve heard. Regulation, my story in Aurealis #99 for example, was my reaction to comments someone said during the Safe Schools debate and I just felt erased in a single statement. That story just poured out of me, and I’m really proud of it.
[Note from Sarah: I purchased Aurealis #99 specifically to read Micheal’s short story Regulation. It was gripping, poignant and beautiful. It was a story that resonated within me. I am now feeling an even deeper level of connection to Regulation, after reading how it came about – I encourage you all to read it]
HAVE YOU FOUND THAT ANY WRITERS, CHILDHOOD FAVORITES PERHAPS, HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING?
There are certainly authors that while I don’t actively try to emulate their style, I maybe try to channel their vibe? Because I want my writing to be mine. But it’s hard not to aspire to be like the people you admire.
ARE THERE ANY BOOKS YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN?
Ummm YES! But only in that the writer in me has grabby hands every time I read something I feel is brilliant. Margo Lanagan, Patrick Ness, David Levithan, David Almond just to name a few.
WHAT ISSUES DO YOU LIKE TO EXPLORE IN YOUR WRITING?
I’m really interested in the way that people relate to each other. The nuance of individual connections and relationships is what makes them fascinating. This includes people (or characters) relationship with themselves. All these connections are so bolstering and fraught that regardless of what the plot is doing, it’s that balance that intrigues me most.
I WAS ELATED WHEN I HEARD THAT YOU WERE PUTTING KINDRED TOGETHER (Kindred: A Queer #LoveOzYA Anthology). THE WORLD NEEDS MORE QUEER BOOKS! HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU GOT THE GO AHEAD?
ELATED! The world does need more queer books, so the fact that I was going to be able to help usher these amazing stories into the world was so exciting! I’ve been riding that wave for almost 2 years now. So now that the release is so very close (!) I’m ready for the world to have Kindred in their hands!
CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR TOP FIVE QUEER READS? – I KNOW, I KNOW, ONLY FIVE WHAAAAT. JUST GO WITH THE FIRST FIVE THAT POP INTO YOUR HEAD.
How. Dare. You.
Only 5? Sigh. Ok, here we go:
Release by Patrick Ness
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Welcome To Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Deadendia by Hamish Steele
WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK THAT YOU READ?
I’m currently reading Prisoncorp, the 3rd and final in Marlee Jane Ward’s FREAKING BRILLIANT series that started with Welcome to Orphancorp. Really, if you haven’t read it, go out and get it in your face.
My last 2 reads were After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson which was great (and I loved that the main character was bi, even though it wasn’t about her sexuality at all and the romance storyline was F/M). The other was Highway Bodies by Alison Evans, which all I can say is: If zombies are your thing, then what are you waiting for, and if they’re not, read it anyway. The characters and relationships Alison has created are heartwarming, crackling with life and so delightfully queer.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MICHAEL FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!
Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories – June 1st 2019, Walker Books Australia.
What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #OwnVoices collection, twelve of Australia’s finest queer writers explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.
Compelling queer short fiction by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to the #LoveOzYA community including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.
Sign ups are OPEN for the queer own voices Kindred tour.
To sign up or for more information see HERE.
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
I was a little apprehensive going into this read. I knew being a book dealing with grief that it would be a ‘sad book’ and I was afraid it might drag up somethings for me. But being that I had only heard good things about the book from trusted bookish friends, I dived in.
I found We Are Okay to be a slow burning and beautiful queer contemporary tale of a young woman drowning in, then dealing with her grief for the grandfather and life she’s lost and for the mother she never knew.
I adored the protagonist Marin and connected with her deeply.
I liked how the chapters go back and forth between the present and the past, slowly bringing the truth to light.
And I felt that the ending leaves with the reader with the knowledge that while Marin still has a lot of healing to do, she is on the mend and she will be okay.
We Are Okay is a beautiful story that will break your heart, then turn around and heal it.
We Are Okay is a story for everyone who has lost something or someone.
We Are Okay is a story for anyone who has ever ran away from pain.
We Are Okay is a for anyone who has every lost themselves and had to fight to get themselves back.
Jade and I did a little We Are Okay book chat over on the
#AusYABloggers group site, you can view it HERE.
How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .
Oh, Lauren James you’ve done it again. “A boy and a girl, living on the outskirts of a collapsed civilization, watching their species go extinct.”
The Quiet at the End of the World is a YA Sci-Fi mystery that follows Lowrie and Shen, the last teenagers on earth, as they live in the aftermath of a virus that caused global infertility.
I love that Lauren’s leading ladies are always strong, smart and sciencey. Lowire is an adventurous and spirited young lady with her engineering mind always whirling and a backpack full of tools always ready to go. Lowire identifies as bisexual and there are also Bisexual and Transgender side characters, so yay for representation. Ultimately Lowire ends up with her childhood bestie, a boy and the only other teen, the intelligent and thoughtful Shen. It’s more than a romance of convenience though, as the two complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses magnificently.
A highlight for me was the interlaced life of Maya in the past with Lowrie’s present, via Lowrie reading Maya’s posts on old social media servers – It really created a depth, relatability and realness to the story. AND Mitch the robot was awesome! a handy pal and he made for a little humorous relief at times.
The Quiet at the End of the World has plenty of twists and turns, plenty of moments that make you ponder life, the future of the human race and what it means to be alive, what it means to truly live!
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bravo Lauren James.