Defensive Play: Release Blitz & Giveaway

DefensivePlay_OutNow

DefensivePlay

Title: Defensive Play
Series: A Boys on the Brink Novella
Author: Jamie Deacon
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Genre: Gay YA Sports Romance
Length: 21,500 words

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One glance is all it takes to bring his defences crashing down…

Seventeen-year-old Davey has never made friends easily. Shy, geeky, crippled with social anxiety, he feels isolated from his peers, and only his position as defender for the school football team fills the void of loneliness. On the pitch, his deft footwork has earned him the respect and acceptance of his squad, though at a price. Desperate to hold onto this camaraderie, Davey conceals the truth from everyone, even his own family.

Then, during the annual Brookshire football tournament, his eyes meet those of a rival player across the field and a spark flares between them, one neither boy can deny. Adam is everything Davey longs to be—confident, popular, comfortable with his sexuality. Davey aches to explore their connection, to discover where it might lead, but how can he follow his heart and risk rejection by his teammates, the closest thing to friends he has ever known?


⇒  E X C E R P T  ⇐

The rain has stopped. A soft mist hangs in the air, turning the distant streetlights a hazy orange. After the stuffiness of the clubhouse, the night is bitterly cold and I pull on my sweatshirt against the chill. I sit on the steps overlooking the car park, heedless of the damp that seeps through my jeans. Elbows on knees, I rest my chin in my hands and close my eyes, attempting to clear my mind. I don’t want to think anymore. I just want to sit with nothing but the dark and the quiet for company.

I haven’t been hunched there long when the door opens, ejecting a stream of warmth and thumping bass. I glance behind me, although I know who it will be. My body goes still. Adam lets the door swing shut and, just like that, we’re alone.

He doesn’t seem surprised to find me on the steps. Perhaps he saw me leave. Has he followed me? My insides clench. What if Adam thinks I did it deliberately, that I meant to lure him out here. Maybe I had. Maybe, deep down, a part of me hoped Adam might come, even while the rest of me prayed he wouldn’t.

This time, when our gazes connect, there’s no one to see, no football match to act as a buffer. I drink him in. Even in the faint glow filtering through the frosted pane in the door, his eyes are a vivid blue.

“Hey,” Adam says. Such a simple word that expresses so much. There’s recognition there, like we’re childhood friends meeting after years apart, but uncertainty, too. He has a nice voice, I register through my turbulent thoughts—warm and slightly husky.

“Hey.” My reply emerges somewhere between a croak and a squeak. Cringing, I stare down at my feet.

“It’s Davey, right?”

I fling him a startled look. Had this boy—this confident, gorgeous boy—actually gone to the trouble of finding out my name?

One side of Adam’s mouth lifts in a crooked smile. “Well, I had to know who the lunatic was who almost took my leg off.”

“God.” I bury my face in my hands. Of course Adam was going to ask about me after what happened on the pitch. “I’m so sorry.”

He laughs and nudges my thigh with the toe of his trainer. “I’m kidding. Seriously, you did us a favour.”

I dare a peep at him, unable to rid myself of the thought that he has pursued me out here to take the piss. That wouldn’t be anything new, after all.

“It’s true.” Adam crouches on the step beside me, his expression amused but without malice. “Rob warned me about you. He said the rest of your defence was pretty solid, but probably weren’t quick enough to catch me. You were the real threat.”

I grimace. “I’m guessing he wasn’t expecting me to take you out quite so spectacularly, though.”

“Funnily enough, that wasn’t included in the pep talk. Still, I should be thanking you. You made our job a whole lot easier.”

“Don’t remind me. You should’ve heard the guys after the match. I’ll never hear the end of it.”

Adam laughs again, and I can’t hold back a smile. Here I am, having an actual conversation with an amazing-looking boy—a boy who’d caught me checking him out, no less—and I’m not making an ass of myself.

The door behind us bursts open and several guys spill out. I tense, guard raised. Will they think it odd us sitting out here alone? I scan their faces, but none are from Farnstead. A moment later, they barrel down the steps without giving either of us a second look and head for one of the cars parked nearby.

As they pile in and the engine growls to life, I exhale, shoulders slumping. I can feel Adam studying me and keep my gaze lowered.

“You’re not out,” he says, “are you?”

“What?” My entire body goes rigid. He knows. I’d already guessed as much, but suspecting it is one thing; being confronted with the indisputable truth sends me spiralling back into panic mode. Why had he really followed me out here? I’d thought…been sure I’d read something in his eyes when they locked with mine, but what if I’m wrong? Do I truly believe someone like Adam, someone popular and self-assured, would have sought me out? Unless…

I see again the Brookminster players in their huddle, sniggering, moments after Adam caught me staring. I’d reassured myself they weren’t laughing about me, but perhaps my fears had been well founded. The cold certainty settles like a snowball in my gut. I’d given myself away, and now the other lads have sent Adam out here to chat me up, trick me into an admission I won’t be able to take back. For all I know, his mates are somewhere close by as we speak, listening in.

“Hey.” Adam extends his palms in what is probably supposed to be a calming gesture. “It’s all right. I know and it’s all right.”

“You don’t know anything,” I snap. The instinct for self-preservation, to keep my protective wall intact at any cost, propels me to my feet. “You hear me? You don’t know anything about me.”

Before he can respond, I’m down the steps and sprinting into the darkness, phone already out to call my parents. All I want is to go home, crawl into bed, and forget today ever happened.


⇒  Purchase Your Copy!  ⇐

Kindle UK | Kindle US | Nook | Apple Books | Kobo
Smashwords | Beaten Track Publishing

Rainbow Books

⇒  About Jamie Deacon  ⇐

Jamie lives in a tranquil spot close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and has always been just a little out of place—the only redhead in a family of brunettes; an introvert far more at ease with dogs than with people; a connoisseur of simple pleasures in a society intent on the quest for wealth and fame. Despite an outward cynicism, Jamie is a romantic at heart, and, when not immersed in a book, can mostly be found writing emotional stories where young men from all walks of life are forced to navigate the sometimes painful reality of growing up, coming out, and falling in love.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

⇒  G I V E A W A Y  ⇐

To celebrate the release of Defensive Play, Jamie Deacon is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open to entrants world wide, and closes at midnight EST on Friday December 7, 2018.

Good luck! [ENTER HERE]

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

The Girl Who Fell: #LoveOzYA Review

36985967The Girl Who Fell (The Chess Raven Chronicles #1) by Violet Grace
Publication: September 3rd 2018
Publisher: Nero (an imprint of Black Inc.)
Source: Review copy from Publisher
Thank you Nero
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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The first book in a thrilling fantasy series about a girl who learns to embrace her inner power.

Chess Raven is a hacker who has grown up with nothing and no one. Her parents died when she was three and her foster care situation turned out badly – very badly. But on her sixteenth birthday, her life is turned upside down.

Chess learns her mother was Queen of the Fae and her father was a brilliant physicist. The unique blend of her mother’s fairy blood and her father’s humanity gives Chess – and Chess alone – the ability to unlock a mysterious vessel that will unleash unimagined powers – with devastating consequences. Thrown into a new world where nothing is at it seems, Chess must work out who to trust as vying forces race to control her. Or kill her.

Reunited with her childhood friend Tom Williams, an enigmatic shape-shifting unicorn, Chess discovers love for the first time and is prepared to risk her life for it. But first she must learn to overcome a fear of her own power and stop waiting for other people to save her. She is the one she’s been waiting for.


Chess is an orphan with no real knowledge of her parents. She spends her childhood a victim of a set of foul foster parents. The daughter of a brilliant human physicist and a rebellious Fae queen, Chess grows up not knowing of the royal Fae blood hiding in her veins or her ability to tap into it.

On Chess’s sixteen birthday she is attacked by what I can only describe as Zombie Fairies and that is when the story really begins. What comes next is a whirlwind adventure of Chess finding out about who she is, who she can and can’t trust, learning to harness her Fae abilities and getting to know a spunky unicorn shifter.

The world building is detailed and really had that whole Urban Fantasy thing going for it.

I got a mutant marvel x-man meets disney princess vibe from Chess (which i liked) and I did find myself connecting with, and liking her chararter.

For the most part this book feels like it’s aimed at the younger side of the YA market, but that in no way means that older readers won’t enjoy it.

Conclusion: It is a simple, fast and fun read. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the second book, in which the blurb intrigues me even more than the first.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Fae, Parallel Realms, Rags to Riches fairy tales and Unicorn soldiers.

Violet GraceAbout the author

Violet Grace is the pen name of wife-and-husband writing team Kasey Edwards and Christopher Scanlon. Kasey is an author and columnist and Christopher is an academic and social commentator. They live in Melbourne with their two daughters.

Chess Raven Links: Nero | Instagram | Website | Goodreads |

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

Bloodspell: Adult Review

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Bloodspell by Lily Luchesi
Genre: M/M erotic fantasy/romance
Publication: August 10th 2018
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Source: Review copy from Author
– Thank you Lily
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Bound by an ancient prophecy, freed by love.

Mages have lived by a prophecy that states that once there are two mage houses left, one must kill the other to maintain a magical balance. But the prophecy is disrupted when a new mage is revealed and begins killing everyone in his path.

Simon Moonspell and Tobias Bloodworth, the last two mages of the ancient houses, must put their animosity aside in order to stop this new mage and fulfill the prophecy. However, when their hatred slowly turns to love, can they remain impartial or will they be forced to battle to the death?


In 73 pages Bloodspell give us; high action magical battle scenes, a prophecy foretold and solved, an evil villain defeated, and some fiery M/M BDSM sex scenes.

Two school yard enemies, mages Tobias and Simon, put aside their “ish” to work together to defeat a common foe, an evil villain by the name of Thornhill, who means corrupt and consume all the worlds magic.

There is a lot of story in so few pages. I would have loved more pages so that the characters relationship could have been more fleshed out. And I would have happily read a full-length book about Tobias and Simon falling in love and defeating baddies together.

This is an ADULTS ONLY tale and one not for the faint hearted or small minded. BUT if you’re brave enough BLOODSPELL will give you a hot and steamy roller-coaster ride that’s sure to entertain.


BUY NOW for #99c or read #FREE on #KindleUnlimited HERE

Join the release party and win prizes HERE

Add the book on Goodreads HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Facebook | Website | Amazon | Twittter | Instagram | Goodreads

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

Never Again: Paranormal Review

36543599Never Again by Lily Luchesi
Genre: blended fiction; paranormal-historical-horror (MA15+)
Publication: December 2nd 2017
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank You Lily
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My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign.

In World War Two, not all monsters were human.

Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.

Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.

But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?


I finished reading Never Again and pondered the book producing powerhouse that is Lily Luchesi. I think Never Again is my favourite book of hers to date and i’ve read quite a few since coming across her looking for reviewers for Stake-Out (PDS#1) in a goodreads request group. It feels like forever but when I looked it up it was actually early 2015. Damn Girl, you have bled out a phenomenal amount of words in the last three years. I’ve enjoyed Lily’s writing from the beginning, but it feels as if she’s found her rhythm, her knack and she’s grown confident and is owning her style now.

Lily has really outdone herself this time with Never Again. The writing is strong and confident, the story compelling, a blend of paranormal and real world historical events.

There is swearing. There are some extremely deplorable and violent bad guys (obviously as a large chunk of the book features war). As well as post-traumatic stress disorder being explored in detail. But there is also love and hope to balance out the hate and despair.

The story’s sole protagonist is Sean, a 526-year-old male siren who originated in Israel. Thanks to his slowed siren aging process for the most part of the story he only looks like he’s aged between 20 to 40.

526 years – does he have a story to tell? You bet he does. His life story. 526 years, experiencing ancient Israel, the Ottoman Empire, the Tudors, the Nazis and modern rock and roll. Sean is, despite his species and the fact he regularly refers to himself as an asshole, a good guy and a war hero.

So yes this is a Paranormal Detectives Series Spin-off and if you’ve read any of the PSD books you’ll recognise a fair few characters and locations. But if you haven’t that’s okay, this this is a stand alone and a great way to get a feel for Lily’s writing style.

Lily’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Eight Days on Planet Earth: YA Review

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Eight Days on Planet Earth
by Cat Jordan
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release date: November 7th 2017
HarperTeen

How long does it take to travel 13 light-years to Earth?
How long does it take to fall in love?

To the universe, eight days is a mere blip—but to Matty Jones, it may be just enough time to change his life.

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to return to pick her up.

Of course she is.

Matty has heard all the impossible UFO stories for all of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. As a kid, he searched the skies with his dad and studied the constellations. But all that is behind him now. Dad’s gone and Matty’s stuck.

But now there is Priya. The self-proclaimed alien girl. She must be crazy or high, right?

As Matty unravels the mystery of Priya, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined.
And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

A heart-wrenching romance full of twists that are sure to bring tears to readers’ eyes, from Cat Jordan, author of The Leaving Season.


The story is set over the course of eight days, but you probably guessed that from the title. It focuses around 17-year-old Matty, with the back drop his small rural home town. At the start of the story Matty’s dad runs off, leaving Matty and his mum to pick up the pieces.

Matty feels lost and unsatisfied with his life. We see him drag his feet all through day one, perking up when he spots a strange girl in the field next to his house late that night. The same field that a space ship supposedly crashed in back in the 60’s.

The girl says she’s an alien. Matty thinks she’s nuts, but humours her, worried about her welfare. Matty feels an intense connection to her early on. And takes it upon himself to keep an eye on her, as she is determined to stay in the field all night by herself, waiting for a spaceship to pick her up.

It is summer holidays and with nothing much to do Matty keeps finding himself drawn back to the field and the strange girl. They spend the next five days together hanging out in the field and around town, the whole while Matty is trying to figure out what the strange girl’s deal really is, where she really comes from and why she was really camping out in the field next to his house – this takes up most of the book.

Matty notices that the girl’s health is deteriorating and presses her to tell him the truth about who she is, she of course does a runner. AND I can’t say much more without giving everything away. I will just say that “somehow” Matty manages to track her down and that the book’s ending is both heart-warming and heart-breaking.

At first, I was torn as to whether the girl (Priya) was an alien or not. I want to believe. I always want to believe. At one point I almost expected a spaceship to come and pick Priya up. I even went and checked if the book was actually listed as YA contemporary and not YA sci-fi. Either way, alien or not, I enjoyed the story. The writing was easy to read, and the story followed well. The chapter headings were split into days and times which helped propelled the story and add tension. All in all, it was a Quick and enjoyable read.

Thank you for the review copy, Cat and YA Bound Book Tours.


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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.

New Release Q&A with Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: TODAY
Publisher: Walker Books
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Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Lauren James – Q&A

  1. Where did the inspiration for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe come from?

Funnily enough, it started with a question from some Physics coursework at university! The question was about special relativity, and went something like this:

An astronaut travels in a spaceship to a new planet. After a few years, a newer faster ship is developed and launched, which overtakes the first ship. How old are the two astronauts when they each arrive on the planet?

I started thinking about what it would be like to be that first astronaut, and dedicate years to travelling alone in space, only for your ship to be overtaken by a faster one before you even arrive! What would that feel like? What kind of relationship would you have with the person on the faster ship? From that, the story of Romy Silvers was born.

I’ve always loved stories of isolation – it’s a great way to really get to know a character. I knew that if I was writing a whole book where there was only really one person, I would need to create a character who would keep the reader’s attention and loyalty. It was a big challenge, but I fell totally in love with Romy while I was writing about her, and I hope everyone reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe does too.

  1. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?

I started writing The Next Together when I was sixteen, and finished the first draft when I was nineteen. I never intended to get the story published – I was writing just for myself, for fun! The first draft was very self-indulgent, and included cameos from some of my professors, and lots of in-jokes. There was no pressure to write something good. I was just writing for myself, telling myself a bedtime story after classes. I never saw it as doing something scary or difficult.

I always loved the idea of being a writer, but I absolutely didn’t think it was possible. I thought people who became authors must have spent their whole life writing, and I was too interested in doing other things for that.

My second novel The Last Beginning, which I wrote after I’d got a book deal, was about twenty times harder because suddenly there was all of this pressure. I had to push past a lot of fear which had never been there before.

Being an author is quite similar to how I imagined it, though – spending a lot of time alone, staying up late at night to write, summoning the devil in exchange for book ideas..….wait, what?

  1. How did you feel when secured your first publishing deal at 21?

It was very exciting and scary, and I still feel very lucky! When The Next Together was finished I left it for a few months, and when I came back to it, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as terrible as I remembered. It even made me laugh a few times. I decided to send it off to some literary agents, just to see if they could give me some useful feedback.

I had absolutely no idea how the publishing industry worked, and I think I read one How To article on query letters before writing one and blithely sending it off into the aether. I found an A to Z list of agents and started emailing with the Z’s, because I thought they’d have the least submissions. In the end, I found an agent on W, after I’d emailed only six agencies. It was a very naive way to apply, but I got very lucky – my agent is incredible, and last year she was shortlisted for the Bookseller’s Agent of the Year award.

We then submitted to publishers after a whole year of revisions (I was still at university so could only really work on it during the holidays) and within two weeks, two publishers had offered. Saying it now, that seems so easy and fast, but at the time it was the most stressful, delirious fortnight of my life. I’ve been through the submission process several times since then, and it does not get any easier.

  1. What is your favourite book?

I love Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Lirael by Garth Nix, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke and Far From You by Tess Sharpe.

  1. What authors have influenced your writing?

Neil Gaiman, Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Waters, P. G. Wodehouse, Audrey Niffeneger.…..I could go on all day, I think! In particular I’m always making notes when I read books by Douglas Adams – he’s the master of humorous sci fi. I’ve adored his work since I was young.

I read a wide range of genres, and because of that I try to make my books a little bit of every genre – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a bit fandom, a bit thriller, a bit romance and a bit sci fi.

I think if I didn’t write a variety of different genres, I’d probably get bored. My next books are a mix of different genres again – my latest book, which I’m still writing, is a paranormal supervillain origin story. So something completely different, again!

  1. What book do you wish you had written?

I love The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. She has an incredible way of really making her characters seem like real people, and I learn so much about writing different perspectives from her work. The set up of that series is just absolutely my favourite thing, and I’m forever jealous I didn’t invent the character Gansey.

I also read Laura Ruby’s writing with a huge amount of jealousy. Her latest, YORK, is so so so good.

  1. What issues do you like to explore in your writing?

I always try to include LGBT+ characters in my books. I was so frustrated as a teenager because, as a huge sci fi fan, I could never find diverse characters in the worlds I loved. Recently there’s been some amazing progress in this direction (like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet) but at the time, it felt a completely barren wasteland. I wanted to write about a character who was gay, but the book wasn’t a coming out story. I wanted them to get to do things, while being gay.

  1. How has your interest in science influenced your writing?

I studied Chemistry and Physics at university, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be a research scientist focusing on physical chemistry. I would love to go back to science one day – I really miss it!

I always try to make the science in my books as accurate as possible, and I did a lot of research into space travel and the theory of space travel behind NASA’s equipment when writing The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

The time machine in The Last Beginning is also based on real life research into sub-atomic particles at CERN, like the Large Hadron Collider. Based on the predictions physicists have made about the possibilities of time travel, I thought that was a logical starting point to progress from. I wanted to feel very real and possible – it’s simplified a lot in the book from how these things might actually work, but the grounding of the science is very plausible. I hope! [crosses fingers no physicists immediately call me on my mistakes]

  1. What was it like to see your books translated into another language?

It’s huge. Seeing my words in another language is something I’ve always wanted to have – so it’s incredible that it’s actually happened! I can’t quite believe it still.

I’m especially proud of the Brazilian edition, as I studied in America for a year, and spent most of my time hanging out with Brazilian students who were also studying abroad for a year. So there was a LOT of excitement amongst my friends when the translated edition came out in Brazil. They keep sending me pictures of it, and trying to persuade everyone to buy it!

  1. Would you go into space if you could?

I’m not sure. I think I’m probably not as brave as Romy. I might go after tourism space travel has been running for a few decades and it has been proven its safe, but definitely not yet!

Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics.

She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

The Next Together described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’ and Kirkus as ‘An ambitious, promising premise . . . James is one to watch’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first-time writer.

Her other novels include The Last Beginning, the epic conclusion to The Next Together which was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for kids and young adults by the Independent. Two short stories set in the world of The Next Together series, Another Together and Another Beginning, are also available.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature scientists in prominent roles.

Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books, in the US by HarperCollins and in translation in five other countries around the world. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk, where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content.

Guest Post: Top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy by Helen Scheuerer

Title: Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1)
Author: Helen Scheuerer

Published: NEW RELEASE
Publisher: Talem Press

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

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Top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy

When I was a teen, I was a massive fangirl. From life-sized posters of Aragorn (that I may or may not still have) to arguing with my bestie over which of us would marry Harry Potter… However, somewhere along the way, I forgot how much fun it was to ship a certain couple or gush with my friends about the latest development in our favourite TV show… Thankfully, in recent years I’ve definitely rediscovered my inner fangirl.

And so to celebrate this glorious occurrence, I wanted to share my top 7 Fangirl Moments in Fantasy with The Adventures of Sacakat!

Here goes nothing…

7. If you want him, come and claim him.

Arwen defending Frodo against the Servants of Sauron is a pretty epic moment in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s how we’re introduced to Arwen and we realise that beautiful, feminine women elves can be just as badass as any warrior.

6. Kestrel’s cunning.

I’m of course talking about Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. All too often we see protagonists who are epic warriors from the start, with these larger than life reputations… Kestrel breaks that mold. She’s completely and utterly cunning and clever, she knows where her strengths lie, and how best to use them to her advantage. There are so many fist-pumping moments in this series where Kestrel outsmarts and outmaneuvers those who oppose her.

5. I am Celaena Sardothien and I am not afraid.

Speaking of larger than life reputations… No matter how arrogant she is, I’ll always have a soft spot for Celaena from Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. While it’s certainly not perfect, this series helped get me out of a serious reading slump – there’s so much girl power, sass and action that it’s utterly addictive.

My favourite moment? When Celaena/Aelin rescues Aedion from the king in a whirl of dancers and exploding roses.

4. “Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive.”

Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes starts off with Laia making a choice she regrets. To me, her choice reflects one that the majority of us would make were we in her shoes. We’re not presented with the story of an immediate hero, but one of a young girl who seeks to right her wrong. Laia’s character development is one of my favourite moments in recent fantasy – we get to see her grow into herself, make mistakes, and live with the consequences…

“Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don’t let it control you. Don’t let it sew doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”

3. “I’ll thank ye to take your hands off my wife.”

While I don’t usually buy into the whole man-saves-woman nonsense, there’s nothing quite like Jamie Fraser rescuing his One-True-Love Claire from Black Jack Randall in Outlander. I mean, how can you not fangirl over a gorgeous, loyal Scottish warrior bursting in at the right moment?

In fact, I’ve only read the first four Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, but I can safely say that pretty much anything involving Jamie and Claire is a top fangirl moment…

2. Not my daughter, you bitch

Ummm… Is there anything more badass than when Molly Weasley takes on Bellatrix Lestrange??? Both in the Harry Potter book and film, this scene always has a double effect on me: tears and goosebumps.

I love that J.K. Rowling gave us this fantastic scene where we’re shown just how absolutely fierce Molly is.

1. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

An adventure is certainly how I’d describe V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. Arguably my favourite series in the last few years, there are wayyyyy too many fangirl moments to pick just one… But here are two of my favourite scenes…

“You look more ready to storm a city than seduce a man…” – sounds like an awesome dress-code to me!

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. “Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” – Delilah Bard is basically a walking fangirl moment, in my humble opinion.

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I’m curious, what are YOUR top fangirl moments in fantasy fiction? Why not share them in the comments below!


Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Heart of Mist is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. It explores themes of identity, belonging, loyalty, addiction, loss, and responsibility.

After writing literary fiction for a number of years, novels like Throne of Glass, Elantris, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling inspired Helen to return to her childhood love of fantasy.

Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.

Helen’s love of writing and books led her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong and a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.

Helen now works as a freelance writer and editor, while she works on the second book in The Oremere Chronicles.

Purchase Links:
Amazon AU | Amazon US 

Author Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Helen will be featured in the Australian YA Bloggers September author spotlight, so keep your eyes open for that.

Review: To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan

34109142To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan

Genre: YA Romance/Fantasy

Release Date: May 1st 2017

Summary:

Would you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?

Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.

A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.

I enjoyed stepping into Ms Lavan’s medieval world of Sol and meeting the magic weavers she has filled it with. I struggled a little with the male leads at first. While I really enjoyed the playful banter and friendship between Prince Roland and his bodyguard/best friend, Conrad, it took me a while to warm up to either of them as love interests for Princess Arianna. Princess Arianna was easily likeable. She was kind hearted and always looking to improve herself, be it mentally or physically (e.g. learning to sword fight).

The story starts off following Roland, Conrad and Arianna. Their day to day lives, before, during and after the arranged royal marriage. But when Roland goes off to war we are left behind with Conrad and Arianna. I wish we could have followed Roland into War!!!

The whole time I was reading it felt as if Ms Lavan was preparing Arianna for something big. We kept being given tastes of Arianna’s archery skills and magical status/abilities and it felt like this was building to something bigger. Well, she did get to kick some butt in the end.

This felt like the first in a series, if that makes sense. A lot of set up with a dramatic actioned packed ending propelling you on to read the next book. There even is a Twist at the end that I didn’t see coming and the ‘betrayal’ goes down not as you expect.

Even with his man-whore start to the story, Prince Roland ended up being my favourite character and I am looking forward to reading more from Ms Lavan and finding out how he handled becoming King.


About the Author

I’ve been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being “Fun ‘N’ Games at Ouran”. A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself “I think I would like to get paid for this now” and then ‘To Betray My King’ was born. It seems so simple as I’m sitting here, typing this foryou to read, but it’s the truth. ‘Betray’ is my first book, but it won’t be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.

The Betrayal Legacy

#1 To Betray My King (Available Now)

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Buy Link: Amazon

#2 To Betray My Kingdom (Coming Soon)

#3 To Betray Myself (Coming Soon)

Author Links:

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Review: I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox

34396859I’m Australian! How about you? Many people from many places have come across the seas, to make Australia their home. How Australian is that?

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Scholastic Australia.

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Mem Fox my dear, I didn’t think it was possible to love you anymore than I did after Possum Magic and Time for Bed, but now I do!

I was so excited when I saw this beautiful book by Mem Fox and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh. It celebrates Australia’s multiculturalism, promotes racial equality and shines a spotlight on refugees. All this is wrapped up as a fun and colourful sing-song story to be adored and absorbed by the minds of our young children. Mem Fox you are a wonderful, wonderful woman. I will be repeatedly reading this to my boys.

I’m writing this review after just reading I’m Australian Too for the first time with my 3.5-year-old son. He was fresh out of the bath and about to get into bed, perfect mummy and son book reading time.

This book is absolutely beautiful.  On our first read through when I got to the page that starts with “Sadly, I’m a refugee – I’m not Australian yet.” My spine tingled and a wicked smile crept on my face. I was thinking: You go Mem Fox! Stick it to the haters.

By the end of the second read through I had tears in my eyes and was getting choked up trying to finish the last page. My heart is humming and I need to tell the world about this book. READ IT TO YOUR KIDS. Refugees are mentioned. Aboriginals, Italians, Greeks, Somalians – the list goes on and on – are mentioned. It is truly beautiful.

The last page ends with the line “Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star.” Oh Mem, how I wish that was so and I hope for a tomorrow when it is!I’m Australian! How about you?