The Memory Thief
Published by: Blink
Publication date: October 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.
To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
Q&A with Lauren Mansy:
Incredible! It’s been such a wonderful journey filled with many sweet moments. I began writing over seven years ago, and it’s definitely surreal that The Memory Thief is now on shelves! As of late, there have been quite a few teary moments—and I’m totally not a crier! I’m truly overwhelmed by every kind word, the support, and the willingness to walk alongside me as The Memory Thief has gone from something imagined to a real book. I couldn’t be more excited to share this story with readers!
When I was a teenager, my mom was diagnosed with a heart condition, which led to an unexpected heart surgery. On the way to the operating room, her heart stopped six times, and the doctors warned my family that it was unlikely she’d survive. And if she did, she may not remember us due to the trauma she’d experienced throughout the entire ordeal.
I was sitting at her bedside when she first began to stir after her surgery, and I slipped my hand into hers and told her that it was me. Then she began to squeeze my hand three times, our signal for I love you! That’s my most favorite memory because I’d never felt such fear suddenly overcome by the most incredible joy. That collision of emotions was the moment which first sparked the idea for The Memory Thief.
Ever since then, I always struck by how memories make up so much of our identity and influence our relationships with others. It terrified me that my mom wouldn’t remember me, but I’m so thankful to say that she made a full-recovery. Though it was long and difficult process, she never gave up hope that things would one day get better. Her unwavering courage inspired me to want to share this story.
Writing TMT has had a huge impact on me. I first began writing after completing treatments for Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. It was a very difficult time in my life, and writing fiction helped me express myself in ways that I’d never done before. It helped me process through some of my most difficult memories.
When I first began drafting The Memory Thief, I realized there were still some emotions about being faced with the possibility of losing my mom that I’d yet to express out loud. Writing this book proved to be a source of healing, and a wonderful platform for exploring truth in my own life through a backdrop of fiction.
This story is very dear to my heart, and reflecting back on the process of writing this book is what made the moment of holding it in my hands so amazing.
I think my favorite part is the relationship that Etta has with her mother.
Gwendolyn was one of my favorite characters to write because she’s full of opposites. Because of her coma, she hasn’t spoken a word in four years yet that entire time, she’s been teaching Etta how important it is never to give up, even when all the odds are stacked against you.
On her journey to save her mother, Etta discovers that Gwendolyn’s story is intertwined with Etta’s in ways that she never imagined. Writing this aspect of the plot was so much fun, and definitely one of my favorite parts of the drafting process, as well!
The main thing I hope readers take away is that it isn’t the hardships of the past which define us but the strength we find in overcoming them. Etta has been through a lot of difficult things, and she struggles with trusting others because she has a hard time trusting herself. At the beginning of the story, Etta has spent four years hiding from both the people and events which haunt her, but to save her mother, she’ll have to come face-to-face with the past. I hope her journey will inspire readers to never lose hope, even in the midst of impossible odds.
Because this story is based on my own journey with my mother, many of Etta’s worries, doubts, and fears are things I also experienced when faced with the possibility of losing my mom. The questions that Etta asks about how to deal with a situation like this are questions that I often pondered myself.
So when I first began writing TMT, I thought, “What if I wasn’t the only one who faced this fear? What if there was an entire society that feared their loved ones no longer remembering them?” It was these kinds of thoughts which ultimately let me to want to explore a world where memories reign over everything. Then writing Etta’s emotional journey also helped me process through a lot of my own memories, as well.
That’s one reason that I love not only writing but reading fantasy novels. Even though these characters live in worlds that are vastly different than our own, what they love, hate, and fear can often be so relatable. That often sticks with me long after I read the last page, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share this journey with readers.
My favorite thing has been getting to know readers. I had the privilege of attending BEA and ALA this past summer, and I loved meeting librarians, educators, fellow writers, bloggers, and industry professionals. Writing can often be a solitary venture, but the publishing process has been filled with creating some wonderful relationships. I couldn’t be more grateful for this community!
The Memory Thief is a book full of secrets, lies, and betrayal. It’s set in a world where memories are currency, people are struggling to hold onto their true identity, and nothing is quite what it seems. And Etta is a very flawed character. She has a lot of regret and has made many mistakes, yet she never stops fighting to save her loved ones. If any these things appeal to you, I hope you’ll consider adding TMT to your TBR!
I think the biggest lesson being a writer has taught me is the importance of the “story behind the story”. Though the publication journey is filled with exciting moments (like seeing the cover for the first time and holding the final copy!), the journey of getting here has changed me for forever. There have been highs and lows, moments of uncertainty coupled with unexpected encouragement, and wonderful support from family, friends, and even strangers! Writing fiction gave me a voice when I was still struggling to find mine, and I’ll be forever grateful that even as the last page of The Memory Thief ends, my own life story is still being written
If you’re interested in learning more about The Memory Thief, I have more information of my website, and I also LOVE connecting with readers!
Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel. You can visit her online at http://www.laurenmansy.com.
#77saturday is a blog feature / meme the #AusYABloggers do every Saturday.
Whisper (Whisper #1) by Lynette Noni
Released: May 1st 2018 by Pantera Press
View on Goodreads
“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.
I believed them. That was my mistake.
There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.
I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.
For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.
As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.
The 77: “I’m amazed to be witnessing something so normal. Something I haven’t experienced in so long. My heart hurts as memories try to flood my mind, but I stay in the moment and enjoy the beauty of what is unfolding around me.”
I’m reading Whisper in preparation for it’s squeal, Weapon, coming out on the 4th November – Supper exciting! I have no other thoughts for now other than – Shhhhh i’m reading – bye for now.
The 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
Add to Goodreads
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.
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!
View on Goodreads
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.
View on Goodreads
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.
View on Goodreads
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.
Add to Goodreads
Conclusion: I managed to get three review books in during the month, and a few shorts and comics to boost those reading feels.
“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.
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.
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.
The Ritual (Tales of Mentara #2) by Ashley Uzzell
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: May 17th 2019
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
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.
The 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.