#LoveOzYaBloggers – Fantasy

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Fantasy’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


Today I’ve posted my entry for the Fantasy theme on the #AusYABloggers site. So if you want to find out a little bit more about the books I picked, just click HERE.

Or if you want to check out my entry to the last prompt, High School, click HERE.

#LoveOzYaBloggers – High School

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘High School’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

I’ve picked three Aussie young adult books that I absolutely adored where large chunks of the story take place in or around school.

25574212The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis 

Published February 29th 2016 [Goodreads]

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.

I’ve decided if Will Kostakis’s name is on it, you can bet it’s going to be good. The Sidekicks is a story of love, loss, friendship, sexuality, homophobia and just wanting to fit in. It is so much more than just good. 

SliceSlice by Steven Herrick

Published: June 1st 2010 [Goodreads]

A funny, refreshing look at the most awkward time in any young boy’s life from school, girls, and parties to parents, friends, and the dreaded “sex talk”.

Darcy Walker is a normal 16-year-old boy but he can handle that. He can even cope with parents, deal with parties, and soldier through the occasional fight. He’s certainly got his infatuation with the beautiful Audrey under control, is clearly the best at spending quality chess-time with his nerdy best friend, Noah, and doesn’t blink an eye at the misadventures that can occur when kayaking on a school excursion. He’s a teenage boy – he can handle anything. That is, if only he’d learn to keep his mouth closed first.

I have been devouring everything I can get my hands on by Steven Herrick lately and loving it. I found Slice to be a relatable story of life’s ups and downs, of being a good friend and being true to yourself.

25808675Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson

Published August 1st 2015 [Goodreads]

When Astrid and Hiro meet they give each other superhero names. She’s Lobster Girl and he’s Shopping Trolley Boy. Not an auspicious beginning. But it gets better. Then it gets worse. Much worse. Classic romantic comedy: girl-meets-boy, love blossoms, and is derailed. Incredibly engaging, upbeat, funny and smart.

Astrid Katy Smythe is beautiful, smart and popular. She’s a straight-A student and a committed environmental activist. She’s basically perfect.

Hiro is the opposite of perfect. He’s slouchy, rude and resentful. Despite his brains, he doesn’t see the point of school.

But when Astrid meets Hiro at the shopping centre where he’s wrangling shopping trolleys, he doesn’t recognise her because she’s in disguise – as a lobster. And she doesn’t set him straight.

Astrid wants to change the world, Hiro wants to survive it. But ultimately both believe that the world needs to be saved from itself. Can they find enough in common to right all the wrongs between them?

A romantic comedy about life and love and trying to make the planet a better place, with a little heartbreak, and a whole lot of hilarity.

This is the only book i’ve read by Lili Wilkinson, so far! I’ve got more by her on my TBR don’t you worry. This was a super cute romance, with humor, heart and tomatoes. Oh what adorable awkward little eco-warrior darlings the main characters were.

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.

Bookish Babble: 2017 Challenges

aww2017-badgeI’m only setting myself a total goal of 60 books to be read for my Goodreads challenge in 2017, which will be half of what I’ve read this year, but with baby number two just arrived it is probably as much or more than I’ll be capable of.

The Australian Women Writers Challenge is all about promoting the wonderful works of our female Aussie authors.

I was going to set myself the goal of 12 AWW books for 2017, as that’s only one a month. But early in the year I think I might struggle to get even one book read a month. I really don’t know how I’m going to handle the two kiddlets and I’ll be returning to work earlier with Ethan than I did with Riley (we were renting the first time around, but we’re home ”owners” now and that costs quite a bit more per month – and there’ll be one more month to feed). So I decided to sign up to read 6 and any I read and review over that amount will be a bonus.

I have purchased a fair few #LoveOzYA books this year most of which are by lovely ladies I’ve seen speak, personally met or connected with online. #AWW2017 is an awesome reason to move them higher up my never-ending To Be Read list.

The Goodreads Book Tag

I came across this version of The Goodreads Book Tag over on The Reader Dragon and I thought I’d give it ago since it’s been quite a while since I did a book tag.

1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?30423330Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers. I finished reading this Friday night and I still haven’t gotten my head around what i’m going to write in a review 😦 Why does it feel like it’s my fault when I don’t “Click” with a book. I had such high hopes for this one.

2. What book are you currently reading?16068905Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I figured it was about time I got into another Rowell romp 🙂 and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far.

3. What was the last book you marked as ‘to-read’?32218427The newly released Riven (The Hero Rebellion #2) by Belinda Crawford. I read the first book Hero back in July and loved it. #LoveOzYA

4. What do you plan to read next? 26795352My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows.

5. Do you use the star rating system?

stars6. Are you doing a 2016 reading challenge?image7. Do you have a wishlist?

At the moment not really, not other than adding books to my Goodreads To Read shelf. I want to spend the next 12 months reading the books I already own. Ha until that next super hyped LoveOzYA release comes along that is.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?

See above = “next super hyped LoveOzYA release”.  Nar but seriously, whatever pretty little thing catches my eye when I next enter any shop that sells books or I mysteriously end up on Booktopia.com.au or Amazon.com.au. I have no self control when it comes to books. Collecting them has become an addiction in the last few years. I am trying to curb this though, as I’ve already got plenty of books to read. At least it’s better than the smoking habit I had in my late teens to early twenties. Luckily my parents did raise me to be responsible so I’ve never let my son/dogs/husband go unfed/unclothed etc. I’m finding the library is a good substitute when I need a fix – yep that’s what i’ll keep telling myself.

9. Who are your favourite authors?

That’s a hard one, so i’ll try to limit myself to five.

J.K. Rowling, because I will re-read the seven original Harry Potter books every now and then until the day I die.

Rick Riordan, because Percy Jackson, Leo Valdez and Magnus Chase are f’íng adorable and I can’t wait for my son to meet them (Harry and the Hogwarts gang as well).

Lucy Maud Montgomery, because Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe were my world as a child and they still are today.

C.S. Lewis, because I still want to find a wardrobe to take me to Narnia and if my husband had let me our son Riley’s name would have been Edmund!

Brian K. Vaughan, because SAGA. Seriously the comic book series SAGA is brilliant. I love this mans brain and the world he has created with artist Fiona Staples.

I foresee that if Lynette Noni’s Medoran Chronicles series keeps up the standard of the early books that it will end up like Harry and be on my periodical re-read list. #LoveOzYA

10. Do you have any favourite quotes? Would you like to share a few?

“Albert knew that one could never be sure about magic, but a lack of certainty is not a good reason to do nothing.” Howard L. Anderson, Albert of Adelaide

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice

 “Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”
11. Have you joined any groups?

Yep, even though I have been rather inactive in them over the past year, oops.

Eight. The standard ReadCurrently Reading and Want to Read as well as my own adds; owned-ebook-to-readowned-treebook-to-readreview-copy-to-readseries-in-progress, and want-to-re-read.


I nominate anyone who wants to give this tag a go.

Until next time 🙂 Enjoy your shelves :-).

Review: Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie

26802671We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.

In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Amazon

fullsizerenderMy Thoughts: Where do I start with Clancy? The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it ended! I would have happily kept on reading and reading.

I loved following Clancy discover who she is and how she fits into the world. I loved the supporting characters of Nancy, Reeves and Angus. Actually all the characters, I saw bits of people I know in all of them. It was a believable and beautiful coming of age while coming out story.

I love that Clancy’s dad named her after Banjo Paterson’s Clancy of the Overflow. Banjo’s Clancy is one of my all-time favourite characters and I quite often find myself quoting lines of the poem in my head, like while writing this review – In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy, Gone a-droving ‘down the Cooper’ where the Western drovers go – Banjo’s 1889 Drover and Christopher Currie’s 2015 lovable self-loathing teen have nothing in common, other than my eternal love and a semi-unusual name.

I highly commend Mr Currie for managing to capture the pure hell and internal conflict of being a teen. The abusive conversations Clancy has with herself were so familiar – as in I had them with myself repeatedly when I was Clancy’s age. I don’t think there is anyone that hasn’t at some stage felt about themselves the way Clancy feels. She is relate-able, even if you don’t identify as homosexual or even admit to ever having desires for the same sex, we’ve all been teens AND being a teenager sucks. Teenage-suck-ism transcends generational and racial gaps. I think Clancy of the Undertow will go down in history as a teen classic along with the time capsule likes of Puberty Blues and The Outsiders.

FIVE another brilliant #LoveOzYA story STARS.
Five Stars

#SaveOzStories

The Australian government is about to make significant changes to copyright, threatening the future of our Australian stories.

31435501#SaveOzStories by Geraldine Brooks, Isobelle Carmody, Peter FitzSimons, Richard Flanagan, Jackie French, Anna Funder, Nikki Gemmell, Morris Gleitzman , Kate Grenville, Andy Griffiths, Jane Harper, Chloe Hooper, Toni Jordan, Thomas Keneally,David Malouf, Monica McInerney, Alex Miller, Frank Moorhouse, Matthew Reilly, Michael Robotham,Magda Szubanski, Christos Tsiolkas, Tim Winton

#SaveOzStories is a gift to book lovers from Australia’s finest writers and the industry that supports them. Jackie French, David Malouf, Tim Winton and many more of our best writers have come together to issue a clarion call to all Australian citizens to defend writers and writing. If politicians have their way we will be the only nation to give away our right to tell our own stories. If you think a world without the next Richard Flanagan, Andy Griffiths or Monica McInerney will be a poorer one, then read this collection of impassioned arguments from our most esteemed wordsmiths.

‘Australians deserve that their lives, experiences, country and culture be reflected in the literature that they read.’ Thomas Keneally

image
 More Info on Books Create Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
* * *
My Thoughts: I managed to grab a copy of #SaveOzStories when I went shopping last weekend. It was an interesting and infuriating read. Interesting reading input from all the different awesome aussie authors and infuriating because, f*** me what a horrid mess this government is making -but I won’t go into that or I’ll be ranting for days. All I will say is; If you at all care about Aussie stories go to http://www.bookscreateaustralia.com.au and get on board with #SaveOzStories
* * *

Review: Hero by Belinda Crawford

Review: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

13552764“There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below. . . . And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.”

Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. A man who is intent on destroying Ashala’s Tribe — the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood. Injured and vulnerable and with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind.And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move.

Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

 * * * * *   MY  THOUGHTS   * * * * *

The last few Dystopian novels I’ve read have been let downs, so I was holding off starting this series as it is labelled a Dystopian. I saw it at my local library when I was there last and my interest in the Author’s Bio caused me to borrow it and boy am I glad I did.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the first book in The Tribe series by Australian author Ambelin Kwaymullina. Within the first few pages on a coffee fueled Sunday morning this story had reeled me. I didn’t put it down until I finished it later that night! Devouring a book in one sitting doesn’t happen to me very often.

This story felt fresh and exciting. The story is action packed, high danger with just the right about of young romance. Ashala is amazing, in fact so are all the Tribe members and Ashala’s connection to natural world is truly beautiful.

I think the dystopian world, set 300+ years into our future, that Ambelin Kwaymullina has created is brilliant and enthralling. I love the terrifyingly possible way the earth was destroyed by our toxic behaviors and the way humans have evolved because of it. In this future earth there isn’t enough humans left to be concerned with the colour of someone skin, but as we humans are horrible creatures who fear anything different from ourselves, the future government hunts down anyone showing any signs of extraordinary abilities; Ashala and her tribe all have these extraordinary abilities.

Thought-out this story we see the world as Ashala sees it. We meet allies and enemies and experience some vivid dreaming scenes and painful memories as she does.

While I was really enjoying the first half of the book, there was a twist half way though that I didn’t see coming that for me turned the second half of the book into a frenzy. I was running a mad race with myself to find out how the book ended.

Ambelin Kwaymullina writing flows beautifully and is filled with powerful energy. This book was a real pleasure to read. I’m off to get my hands on book number two!star.5

the tribe

Ambelin KwaymullinaAmbelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she teaches law, illustrates picture books, and hangs out with her dogs.  Links: Website | Goodreads | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Book Depository