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 :-).

Pagan Malcolm: Guest Post

The Inspiration Behind Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert

Written by Pagan Malcolm

Pagan is the author of Stuck on Vacation With Ryan Rupert (Ryan Rupert Series) and Lanterns in the Sky (Starlight Chronicles Series).

I was inspired to write Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert—a YA contemporary suspense novel—while on vacation with my friend back in Grade 9 (so I was roughly 14 at the time).

Like many young teenagers exploring the new, exciting world of being a teenager, having relationships, and growing into maturity, I was really wrapped up in the concept of romance and getting my first boyfriend. It just so happened that at the time I really liked this one guy (I thought he was cute, and that was the basis of my crush), but nothing ever happened between us. We had separate classes, there was no force pushing us together at all. So I never acted on it, or really attempted to get to know him. I thought he was way out of my league and he would never date someone like me anyway. But the fantasy was still nice, and as a creative, fantasies are something I always hold onto.

So as I mentioned above, at the end of Grade 9, I was invited by my best friend (at the time) to join her family on their vacation to Daydream Island. I’d been there before, it was very nice there, but I’d never stayed for a week, and even to this day I really value my privacy when it comes to sharing rooms. If at all possible, I like to stay with close friends or just by myself, so it was already uncomfortable to me that I had to share the room with my friend, her dad, and his girlfriend.

But my mum had raised me to be grateful and the trip had been paid for me, so of course, I didn’t turn it down or complain.

Another fun fact about me is that I really dislike the ocean and swimming in general—I was never a strong swimmer growing up and I hate being cold, so the appeal of going for a dip in the sea wears off pretty quickly once my legs get tired and I start shivering. And while on this island, I found that there weren’t many activities to be doing that didn’t require going into water, so I was quite bored sitting around at the pools and such. It wasn’t exactly hellish or a nightmare, but it was far from ‘fun’, to my personal standards anyway.

While sitting there, daydreaming, I came up with this idea. Just a thought—a funny thought at the time, as I imagined how weird and amusing it would be if I ran into my crush while stuck on this island. In my teenage fantasy, it would give us an opportunity to get to know each other better (with the ideal outcome being a sometime romance).

Of course, that was never going to happen, but slowly, I started to piece this story idea together about a girl with a mortal enemy (based on my crush) who is forced to come to this island paradise. I gave her an exaggerated fear of the sea, which helped create the same kind of conflicts I’d been facing. The concept was perfect!

Two people who hate each other stuck in an island paradise with no choice but to get along (as they were forced to share a room), or tear each other apart.

Not to mention that one is a coward when it comes to the ocean, and the other is adventurous, egotistical prankster who torments the main character at every opportunity he has.

By the end of the trip, I was itching to get the story down on paper, and I spent an entire week straight just binge writing the book. I rocked up to school on Monday to start the new term and dumped a manuscript at my friend’s table.

While the inspiration is a little weird, looking back, I don’t regret it. Maybe one day that guy will find out Ryan Rupert is based off of him (or at least, how I’d imagined him to be), but to be honest, I think I prefer my fantasy as just a fantasy. I get to have a lot more fun with it that way—like adding random psychopaths with a mysterious past to the mix, and creating a completely unique and adorable couple who always seem to captivate my readers.

My fantasy was just a fantasy, but my story is for everyone to read and enjoy.


32962682

Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert: There’s Trouble in Paradise by P S Malcolm

Aubany Winters’ life soon becomes a nightmare when her mum gets cancer and has to leave for California with her dad. Left with her neighbours, the Ruperts, and to her displeasure, their son Ryan, she finds herself forced to tag along on their family vacation to Nula Island. There’s just a few problems, like her fear of the ocean, her and Ryan’s mutual hatred for each other, and the psycho girl who is trying to kill them. Will Aubany overcome her fears? Will she and Ryan ever stop hating each other? Or will their flaws and disagreements lead them right into the enemy’s hands?


P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland— a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.

For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online— one specializing in children’s fiction and publishing. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.

In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom— which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.

Pagan is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic. She keeps a well-stocked tea collection, and one of her favourite past times is rocking up to a cozy teashop in a worn pair of jeans and writing a few pages of prose. If the ‘florals’ weren’t a dead giveaway, she’s a proud Hufflepuff and is crazy about the colour yellow.

Pagan also enjoys reading— particularly fantasy and paranormal— and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe.

Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.

Pagan’s Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website & Blog | Goodreads

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

Ocean Rules: #LoveOZYA Review

38403741

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

Three friends discover, surfing just got serious.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

LINKS: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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

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

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

Between the LivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
It you want to make my day, just Like this post, simples.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Wilder Country: #LoveOzYA Review

35424749Wilder Country (Winter #2) by Mark Smith

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.

Mark Smith on Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Text Publishing

The Road to Winter on Booktopia | Amazon | Bookdepository

Esme’s Wish: YA Review

33634667

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: 30th October 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Elizabeth
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world.” – Wendy Orr,author of Nim’s Island and Dragonfly Song.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.

Esme’s Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Elizabeth’s Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Odyssey Books


My Review: The story starts off with a wedding, but unfortunately for Esme it is not a happy one. Esme lost her mother when she was only eight years old and has never been able to move on. Esme never truly believed her mother had disappeared at sea and spurred on by her father moving on, she decides the time has come to go off on her own and discover the truth. What she soon discovers is another world full of magic, myth and secrets.

Back home Esme and her mother were always considered outsiders and as a child Esme struggled to find real friendship. On her journey Esme meets Daniel and Lillian, both offering friendship and whatever help they can. At first she finds it hard to believe that anyone would want to help her, let alone be her friend. She learns to trust in Daniel and Lillian as they join and help her on her journey.

The writing followed well, was easy to read and the story was steadily paced for the most part, kicking up with a action packed fast paced last few chapters. I raced through the last few chapters desperate to know how the story ends – and if that isn’t a sign of a good story, then I don’t know what is. 

The bad ‘guy’ was deplorable and the good ‘guys’ easily likeable. The setting for the story, a mythological wonderland. There were Dragons – always a plus. And they rode them – even more of a plus!

The ending gives us just enough resolution for it to be satisfying, but also leaves enough unanswered that it makes you really want to read the next book.

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

Marsh and Me: Aussie MG Review

33969738

Marsh and Me by Martine Murray
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publication: May 1st 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy from Text
Thank you Text, you awesome people
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There’s a hill out the back of Joey’s house. Hardly anyone goes there—it’s not a beautiful place, just a covered-over old rubbish tip. But Joey likes it up there. It’s his hill—somewhere he likes to go to wonder about life. He longs to be the best at something, to be a famous astronaut, or mountain climber, to stand out.

When Joey discovers a tree house in an old peppercorn tree on the hill, he is annoyed that someone has invaded his special place. But he is also curious about who the intruder could be. But making contact isn’t easy. The tree-house girl is wild and hostile and full of secrets—Joey needs to work out a way to win her over. And as he does, he finds a way to shine.

Marsh and Me is a story about friendship and trust and learning to believe in yourself and what makes you special. Martine Murray’s beautifully rounded characters, with all their self-doubts, yearnings and wise insights, will delight readers young and old.

Marsh and Me Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Text Publishing
Martine Murray Links: Website | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter


Marsh and Me is a story of friendship, family, social and self acceptance and the healing power of music.

The story is told from Joey’s point of view (the Me part of the title). Joey comes from what I take to be a middle class white australian family. He is a sensitive, thoughtful and caring boy. Joey begins the story full of self doubt, not knowing where he fits in the world or who he wants to be.

Joey has his hill. His oasis in a world where he doesn’t feel he fits. March turns up on his hill. His peace is shattered. His sanctuary invaded.

Marsh (or Ruzica) is stuck in the in-between, she is both Serbian and Australian. Born in Australia to migrant parents, she’s never felt she belonged in either place. As her father struggles to cope with the loss of her mother, March seeks shelter. She builds a fort on a hill to hide away from the world.

Marsh is stand-off-ish at first and scares Joey away, but he preservers and a friendship that they both benefit greatly from grows. As the story progresses we get to see Joey’s friendship help March and her father start to heal. And we see Marsh help Joey believe in himself and attempt things he always wanted to, but was too afraid to do alone.

We get a little taste of Serbian culture and music through Marsh and her father. And it was wonderful seeing Joey learn about Marsh’s family’s migrant experience and learn to understand and feel their pain – a fantastic lesson in empathy the MG audience won’t realise they are getting. Joey’s family are supportive of the friendship and completely accepting of Marsh and her father.

This book left me with feelings of love and hope and I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to go get my hands on more of Martine Murray’s work. 5/5 warm and fuzzy stars

Marsh and me is a beautiful and powerful story that I think is a must read for all Aussie primary schoolers and Aussie MG/ #LoveOzYA aficionados.

Edit: I read Marsh and Me in November and I am now just posting the review (life got in the way), I’ve now also finished reading Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars. It is a story about friendship, family, being your best self and having a connection to the world around you. 4/5 adorable stars.

 

 

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

Fence: Mini review, YA comic

36064768Fence (Fence #1)

by C.S. Pacat (Author) &
Johanna the Mad (Artist)

“Fence” follows the rise of 16-year-old Nicholas Cox in the world of competitive fencing at an elite boys school.
Nicholas is an outsider to the competitive fencing world.
Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut!
“It’s all about the world of fencing,” said Pacat. “The elegance, the danger, the high stakes of what’s essentially a combat sport.”
Published November 15th 2017 by Boom! Box
I was keen to read Fence from the moment I first heard about it – A YA comic by aussie author C.S. Pacat set in the competitive world of Fencing with M/M romance – YES! a thousand times yes!
I was jumping for joy when The YA Chronicles announced it would be included in their November “Make it Gay” Box. Winning! 
 The first issue did not disappoint. I absolutely loved it and can see myself reading it over again until the december issue comes out.
Nicholas is a lovable underdog who is instantly likable. You can’t help but want him to succeed.
The first issue perfectly set up the tension between Nicholas and Seiji. I even enjoyed the fencing, a sport I previously hadn’t given much thought to.
The artwork is beautiful! Clear, detailed and flows wonderfully.
I am so excited for the next instalment! Hurray for this new comic book series.
* * * * *
 * * * * *
Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
It you want to make my day, just Like this post, simples.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Esme’s Wish: Guest Post by Elizabeth Foster

33634667Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: October 30th 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Paperback: 252 pages


This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.


Thank you for inviting me to write a few words about the inspiration behind Esme’s Wish!

The idea first popped into my head many years ago, after I finished reading the final book of the Harry Potter series. There was something about HP that reminded me of books I’d read as a child, stories which made me feel like I was sitting by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate. I never wanted that feeling to end and was at a loss! Not knowing the extent of the task I was about to set myself, I decided to try and write a book of my own. My book, of course, is nothing like Harry Potter, apart from the fact that it explores magic and is set in a world not too dissimilar from our own.

Esme’s Wish is, for the most part, set in the canal city of Esperance, capital of the parallel realm of Aeolia. I set the story in a glittering canal city because I love Venice and the sea. There’s already something magical about winding canals and drifting gondolas, so to infuse such a setting with real magic was something I couldn’t pass up. Aeolia has its own unique mythology, but I was also inspired by Greco-Roman myth, especially one of the oldest stories in the world, Homer’s Odyssey. Keen-eyed readers will spot plenty of references to the Odyssey in Esme’s Wish.

But above all else, my inspiration was the sea. I’ve always lived near water and I suppose, like many Australians who reside along the coast, the sea is in my blood. The sea has been a muse for so many writers over the ages, but it has gotten a bad rap, in my eyes. It’s mostly been grist for stories about grief and tragedy. Yes, the sea is dangerous and mercurial, but it’s also a source of life and beauty. Esme’s Wish draws a little from both perceptions.

So if you like the ocean, magic, sea dragons, and a pinch of mythology sprinkled throughout, you might also enjoy Esme’s Wish.


Find out more about Esme’s Wish and where to buy it at Elizabeth’s website. You can also watch the book trailer on YouTube or read a free preview of the first chapter on Kobo (via the contents page).

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Kobo

The Sydney launch for Esme’s Wish is on November 25 from 3.30 – 5.30pm at North Spoon Café at McMahon’s Point.
The launch will be fully catered with canapes, wine, champagne, real coffee and cake!.

The North Spoon Café is a gorgeous café near the harbour, so it should be something special.

If you’re interested you need to RSVP’s by November 10. Click HERE to RSVP.

Night Swimming: YA Review

33128455

Night Swimming by Steph Bowe
Paperback, 311 pages
Publication: April 3rd 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Text
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Steph Bowe is back. Night Swimming is a love story with a twist, and a whole lot of heart.

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…


“In real life, there’s no such thing as happily ever after, there’s just life passing day by day. After you ride off into the sunset, then you’re just in the middle of nowhere on a horse at night, aren’t you?” – Oh Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, how I adored your Internal monologue.

The story follows 17-year-old Kirby Arrow, her bestie Clancy Lee and her pet goat Stanley as they navigate day to day life in the small town of Alberton. I read this book in one day! and that’s not the norm for me. It was delightful and easy to read. An adorable feel good romp about growing up, finding your inner strength and place in the world.

Kirby wants to stay in Alberton, much to her mother’s dismay. She is determined that nothing in her life will change. Kirby’s mother wants her to go off and explore the world, as she never had the opportunity to do so. Clancy wants to leave Alberton to pursue musical theatre, while his parents want him to work in the family restaurant. The besties may seem to be on different paths at first, but they are both just trying to balance their dreams with family expectations.

The arrival of Iris and her family, rising flood waters and the inevitability of growing up, all threaten Kirby and Clancy’s friendship. I really enjoyed the whole Kirby+Clancy+Iris dynamic. You know someone is going to get hurt, you know the ball is going to drop sooner or later, that the goat poo is going to hit the fan etc. etc.

There are plenty of high jinks between these pages but ultimately this is a heartwarming story about first love, true friendship and finding the courage to move forward.


Steph’s Links: Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Buy Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Night Swimming is a sweet story of coming of age, family and first requited love. There is a genuine-feeling desire in the story to see the good intentions in lightly sketched but complex characters, which gives the book a lot of heart. It will appeal to fans of realistic Australian YA and to readers searching for sweet and hopeful queer love stories.’ – Books + Publishing.

‘This bittersweet comedy of romantic misunderstanding, life management and family relations is poised at the emotional intersection between forgiveness and self-acceptance. Despite its whimsical tone, Night Swimming tackles serious themes of mental health, family upheaval and sexual coming-out with commendable delicacy and humanity.’ – Readings.

“The utterly charming story of two best friends, the small town they live in and the girl they both fall for. It is a tender and humorous tale of family ties, friendship and first love.” – Erin Gough.

“Night Swimming is a love-letter to outsiders, the kooky and complex – it’s an ode to first times and best friends…but above all else, it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have a writer like Steph Bowe in our midst” – Danielle Binks, Alpha Reader.