Ocean Rules: #LoveOZYA Review

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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: Agatha + Cyanide + Ida + Mr. Stuffins

The Secret Of Chimneys & Murder In Mesopotamia by François Rivière (Adapter), Laurence Suhner (Illustrator), Agatha Christie (Author).

I haven’t read either of these Christie stories in their original form. But as a regular reader of a variety of graphic novels, I think they’ve done a fantastic job adapting these stories for the graphic genre. Both were entertaining murder mysteries. And both were quick reads that followed well. 

The Secret of Chimneys: A story of royal impersonation, jewel thievery and murder.
Murder in Mesopotamia: A story of torment, revenge and murder.
I am going to get my hands on more of these Christie adaptations, asap.

22885419Cyanide and Happiness: Punching Zoo by Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, Matt Melvin & Dave McElfatrick.

I found I had read a few of the comic strips before, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this quick and humours read. A bit dark and twisted at times, exactly how I like my Cyanide and Happiness comics.

The choose your own adventure at the end (The hot date, a chew your own adventure) was I highlight for me. I kept going back making different choices to get to read all the alternating versions of the ending. Despite the title and cover image thankfully no zoo animals are punched.


30720860Ida by Alison Evans.

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?

Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.

One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.

How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?

A #LoveOzYA book that’s got genderqueer and genderfluid characters, how could I not read this! The plot of the book is fantastic. I loved the whole parallel universe thing and the multiple Ida’s were creepy as hell. I would have loved to learn more about the characters Damaris and Adrastos. I think I could happily read a whole book based on Damaris early experiences delving into parallel universes and time travel. I will be keeping my eyes out for more books by Alison Evans.


6603435Mr. Stuffins by Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes (Authors) & Axel Medellin Machain (Illustrator).

“My teddy bear’s a secret agent!” When a scientist succeeds in creating Artificial Intelligence, he discovers to his horror that the government plans on making it a weapon. on the run, he hides the program inside a mechanical toy bear. When an unsuspecting family buys the toy bear their little boy discovers a new best friend-a cute, cuddly toy bear who’s got all the moves of James Bond!  Meet Mr. Stuffins, the best battery-operated, fur-covered action hero ever! Chaos, fun, and mayhem ensue!

Oh my god this comic was awesome. Loved it. Have you ever seen the movie Small Soldiers? It came out in 1998. A young Kirsten Dunst was in it. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you do. Anyway, I digress.
This story reminded me of Small Soldiers, but with a dash of Ted and the Terminator mixed in, then adapted for the graphic genre. You’re probably thinking WHAT! But trust me, it totally worked. I borrowed this from my local library and am now going to try and track down my own copy. I think Riley would love it just as much as I did when he’s a few years older and I can totally see myself re-reading it.

A teddy bear, an interactive kids toy that by a series of events ends up being powered by a secret government A.I. defence program. Cue ninja hijinks. Mr. Stuffins is a quick and humorous read. Lots of fun.

 

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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

#LoveOzYABloggers – Indigenous

#LoveOzYABloggers: 'Indigenous'

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

This Month theme is ‘Indigenous’.

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!


Three books! I could have just used all three books in The Tribe Series because they are brilliant. But I’m just going to use the first. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf will have you racing to get your hands on the second and third books. Ambelin Kwaymullina has managed to bring something extra to the dystopian genre and breathe new life into it.

I Could have just used only Jared Thomas books, I’ve got three of them on my TBR shelf. But I’m just going to use Songs That Sound Like Blood. How could I not. It is a coming-of-age story exploring cultural identity and sexuality with interracial F/F romance, dah enough said.

And for number three, a coming-of-age tale of personal and cultural discovery with the backdrop of 80’s Melbourne, bring on Becoming Kirrali Lewis.

13552764The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe #1) by Ambelin Kwaymullina

“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?

27803898Songs That Sound Like Blood by Jared Thomas

Roxy May Redding’s got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a hot dusty town and is dreaming big. She survives run-ins with the mean girls at high school, sings in her dad’s band and babysits for her wayward aunt. But Roxy wants a new start. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. Roxy’s new life, her new friends and her music collide in a way she could never have imagined. Being a poor student sucks… navigating her way through the pressure of a national music competition has knobs on it… singing for her dinner is soul destroying… but nothing prepares Roxy for her biggest challenge. Her crush on Ana, the local music journo, forces her to steer her way through a complex maze of emotions alien to this small town girl. Family and friends watch closely as Roxy takes a confronting journey to find out who the hell she is.

25580726Becoming Kirrali Lewis by Jane Harrison

For Kirrali, life in 1985 was pretty chill. Sure, she was an Aboriginal girl adopted into a white family, but she was cool with that. She knew where she was headed – to a law degree – even if she didn’t know ‘who she was’. But when Kirrali moves to the city to start university, a whole lot of life-changing events spark an awakening that no one sees coming, least of all herself.

Story flashbacks to the 1960s, where her birth mother is desperately trying to escape conservative parents, give meaning to Kirrali’s own search for identity nearly twenty years later. And then she meets her father…

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

The Undercurrent: #loveOzYa Review

35111722The Undercurrent by Paula Weston
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 31st July 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy
Thank You Text
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin that stings and surges like a live wire. She can use it—to spark a fire, maybe even end a life—but she doesn’t understand what it is. And she can barely control it, especially when she’s anxious.

Ryan Walsh was on track for a stellar football career when his knee blew out. Now he’s a soldier—part of an experimental privatised military unit that has identified Jules De Marchi as a threat. Is it because of the weird undercurrent she’s tried so hard to hide? Or because of her mother Angie’s history as an activist against bio-engineering and big business?

It’s no coincidence that Ryan and Jules are in the same place at the same time—he’s under orders to follow her, after all. But then an explosive attack on a city building by an unknown enemy throws them together in the most violent and unexpected way.


This #LoveOzYA Sci-Fi is sure to please with its sweet romantic subplot and poignant back drop of a not-so-distant future Australia.

This story has it all; big business bullying, blackmail, corporate corruption, attempted murder, unsanctioned secret military trials, genetic modification of crops and livestock, as well as the continued and worsened struggles of living and working on the land and potential nuclear disaster.

The way the world is going the plot seemed rather plausible and for the most part I didn’t feel like I was reading a Sci-Fi – more like a contemporary YA thriller written 20 years early.

The story rotates between four POV’s – Jules, Ryan, Jules’s mum Angie and Ryan’s boss Major Voss. I found that even though the rotating really amped up the pace, it was a little frustrating at times. I’d be really getting into the action, the chapter would end, and then I’d be somewhere else with someone else. It had me tearing through the pages at a ferocious pace to find out what was happening, everywhere with everyone – Frustrating, yes. But it made the book unputdownable, so I guess that’s actually a good thing. Right?

The ending was a bit of a letdown – as in – I wanted it to keep going. I wanted to see what ended up happening with the Paxton’s, and Angie and Voss. But mainly I just really wanted to keep hanging out with Jules, Ryan and Tommy for a while longer. And to see how Jules and Ryan’s lives together unfold. I already know that they are characters that will linger in my mind for a long time.

On the cover of the copy I read there is an orange star that proclaims “Guaranteed Great Read” and it’s speaks the truth people!

Undercurrent Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

Paula Weston Links: Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

The #AusYaBloggers 2018 Reading Challenge: January

It’s Back Baby! The challenge is based on four prompts each month, including one prompt that will be specifically for a #LoveOzYA title.

YA Graphic Novels can be counted, as can YA Novellas and MG novels, but only one can be used each month and a book may only be used once per prompt. There are three YA book price packs up for grabs and it’s not too late to join.

Disclaimer: to be eligible for the prices you must be either an Aussie or Kiwi, be a member of the #AusYaBloggers and signed up for the challenge.

> > Find out more here < <


My Pick #1: Shadows of the Realm, is a self-published #LoveOzYA fantasy novel that is the first in a trilogy. I’ve had this book on my shelf and TBR list since I met Dionne at a Hunter Writers Centre event in 2013. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to crack it open.

My Pick #2: The YA romance Every Day, is another one that has been on my TBR list for a while now and as above, this seemed like the perfect opportunity read it.

My Pick #3: The 2017 highly anticipated #LoveOzYA Contemporary Take Three Girls went on my TBR before it was even published and I got my hands on a copy as fast as I could. Bring it on Cath, Simmone and Fiona.

My Pick #4: And last but not least, Gemina. Ah Gemina, I pre-ordered you back in 2016 because I loved Illuminae so much, but *sigh* I haven’t had a chance to read you yet – this is the perfect excuse to push you forward on my TBR!

Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

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Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemp/Paranormal
Publication: May 29th, 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Thank you TEXT
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.

Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Damn, what can I say to get you to read this book without giving it all way. – The only thing that disappoints me about this book is that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time!

I felt a connection to the protagonist, Grace almost immediately. You only make it to the third page before she tells you of her mother’s death. Grace’s hides her grief and dark inner thoughts from everyone around her, behind the shield of being her school’s resident joker and daredevil.

An incident late one night, during one of her daredevil stunts, leaves Grace questioning her sanity. Grace struggles keep a grip on her normal day to day life resulting in her relationships with her friends and family becoming strained, this then pushes her to keep dangerous secrets and go off on her own. Grace is compelled, seemly to her by an outside force, to Investigate a twenty-year-old mystery. The disappearance of a local girl named Hannah. Investigating Hannah’s disappearance leads her to discover secrets about two other local’s deaths, one being her own mothers.

This is a brilliant bloody book. The tale Grace has to tell is deliciously dark and spine tingling. The story’s pace and flow are fantastic. A thrilling murder mystery with some seriously creepy scenes. The story explores grief, belief in the paranormal, family, friendship, mental illness and criminal redemption. 5/5 a #LoveOzYA must read.


Links: Vikki’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Mad girl on Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

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

Esme’s Wish: YA Review

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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

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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.

 

 

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