Me, Myself and Thrive: Product Review

I’ve felt further and further under the weather for years now. You might remember when I was chasing down all my aches and pains and trying to self-manage with essential oils. A while back I finally broke down, gave up and went crying to my GP. My doctor then sent me for numerous tests and to multiple specialists. In the end I got a diagnosis of spondylo-arthritis, sleep apnoea and high blood pressure. Yay me! Not! But hey, it could be much worse. I’m on meds for the arthritis and blood pressure and have been seeing a Chiropractor and Remedial Massage Therapist regularly.

I’ve had all of the above compounding on me for years and the births of two children to add to it. But I’m not here to bitch and carry on about health issues. I’m here to talk about something proactive I’m doing to better my overall health.

I’ve got a friend who’s been harping-on, all over Facebook, about how she is now “Thriving”. She’s been doing this “Thriving” thing for quite a while now. Her name is Jody and I love her to pieces. So, SHOUT OUT TO JODY! Anyways, Jody sent me a ten-day sample of the health supplements she’d been using and being the super-special-critter I am, I wasn’t holding out much hope that I’d feel any different. I read a shit tonne of testimonies on the products and couldn’t see any reason not to give it a go.

What the heck is thrive you ask. Essentially you are taking a vitamin and mineral super bomb, with an appetite suppressant. So, think of it as going into the chemist and buying every Blackmores product there is and taking one of it each, every morning.

From day one I had more energy and my hunger was decreased. But from what I’ve read you are either a first day Thriver or don’t feel it kick in to around day ten.

This is a word for word message I sent to my friend Jody after a week Thriving.
“I got up at five this morning and did some light exercise before my shower/get dressed/get the kids up morning ritual. It’s the first time since having kids that I’ve managed to do this. I used to do yoga or go for a walk early in the mornings before I had the kids. So that feels like a step back in the right direction.”

I’ve been using it for over four months now and am still finding I’ve got more energy and am less hungry then I was pre-Thrive. I struggled to get out of bed pre-Thrive, constantly felt I was dragging myself through wet concreate, now I hop out and head off to do my stretches, computer work or catch up on some reading before the boys wake up. I hardly drink coffee anymore, only as a treat, not a way to survive. I don’t feel like I need it. And I was drinking two large cups just to get my brain functioning each morning pre-Thrive. There are still some days where I’ve had a bad night apnoea wise and all my efforts are destroyed for the day until I can get some rest. But that’s on a ratio of like, one to eight, so I can deal with that.

The biggest rule on Thrive is to make sure you drink heaps of water. At first your body is detoxing and will NEED plenty of water – that’s what I was told, and that’s how it felt. I was smashing down five plus litres of water a day during my first ten days, but that super thirst has calmed down now. Most days now I drink around four litres total.

Cost: It seems super expensive when you pay for a month’s supply but boils down to about $8.00 a day with the American dollar change over, once you add it into the auto-ship set up. It’s not financially sustainable for most people unless you’re flush with cash or have friends you can sign up with and share around the credits you receive. Yes, it is a business, so of course they offer you benefits for signing people up, it’s just like what I’ve encountered with doTerra and YLEO etc.

I’m not sure for how long I’ll keep the program up for, but even in the short term it has given me a well needed boost and got me living again.

The THRIVE 8-Week Experience is the fastest-growing health & wellness movement in the world. THREE premium nutritional based products have changed the world and created millions of success stories!
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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 :-).

Bookish Babble: Quotes Collection Part Eight

I laughed out loud the first time I read the above two sentences. I’d never really thought about it. What does happen after they ride of into the sunset?

I read Steph Bowe’s Night Swimming back in May 2017. It is an LGBT friendly, adorable #LoveOzYA feel good romp about growing up, first love, true friendship, finding your inner strength and place in the world and finding the courage to move forward. It’s well worth a look.


33128455Night Swimming by Steph Bowe

Published April 3rd 2017
by Text Publishing

[Add to Goodreads]

Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.

Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?

But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…

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

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

Dreaming Big: Guest Post by Brian Wilkinson

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


Brian Wilkinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s more than good enough for me.


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Battledoors: The Golden Slate

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

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


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Paramnesia: The Deadish Chronicles

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

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


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

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

Beau Kondos: Author Q&A

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

Published July 2nd 2018 by KoHR MEDIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Sarah!


Beau Kondos

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Art of Taxidermy: YA Review

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find it @ Booktopia | Bookdepository | Goodreads | Text Publishing

 

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