For 5 years running, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles has been a bestselling YA Fantasy Adventure series on Amazon, BN.com, iTunes and more. In those 5 years, the series has reached #1 in Kindle Fantasy 10 times and ranked #9 on the Amazon Top 100! It was recently picked up by Tantor, one of the largest audiobook producers in the world, and will be released as Audiobooks during 2017.
In celebration, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles is getting a brand new look, envisioned straight from author T. L. Shreffler! T. L. Shreffler creates all of the concept art and covers for the series. She imagined Epic Fantasy illustrations featuring the main characters in environments from the Cat’s Eye world. Enjoy!
Synopsis: Sora’s Quest (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles Book 1) by T. L. Shreffler
Sora Fallcrest always dreamed of adventure, but as a member of the nobility, she learned the ways of a Lady instead. Now seventeen, she is expected to choose a husband and marry. She plots to run away, but just as she is stepping out the door, she runs into a mysterious man–and is kidnapped.
Abducted from her manor, Sora is plunged into a world of magical races, arcane jewellery and forgotten lore. She finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won’t let her go–not when her Cat’s Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.
But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long-forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power–or will the power wield her?
*Sora’s Quest is a YA Fantasy adventure written in the spirit of Tamora Pierce, Sarah J. Maas and Maria V. Snyder. Enjoy this first book in the series for free!
“An Epic Fantasy quest-lover’s dream come true. 5 stars!” ~Book Briefs
Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell
I know what you’re thinking; Woman what are you doing the year ain’t over yet. But come on! I’ve got a baby due and I’m still not ready for its arrival. If I do manage to do any reading from now until after new-years it will be a miracle.
Here is a few of my favourite reads of 2016:Lynette Noni’s The Medoran Chronicles. I am super keen for the April 2017 release of the third book (3rd out of 5) Draekora. This series has it all; a fantastic parallel fantasy world, show downs between good and evil, tested friendships, a strong female lead, great supporting cast and MAGIC! It follows teen Alex as she discovers this parallel world and the strength to be the hero that it needs. Oh yeah and It’s written by an Aussie, #LoveOzYA what more could you want. Goodreads.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s SAGA. If you haven’t heard of SAGA you must have been living under a rock for the past three years. This epic sci-fi/fantasy (for mature readers) follows new parents Marko and Alana (narrated by Hazel, their daughter) as they dodge those who don’t approve of their inter species family and seek to destroy them. Marko and Alana strive to create a loving family and figure out how parenthood works all while avoiding the battles going on around the universe due to a long running galactic war between their peoples. Goodreads.
Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda. I finished this book with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. I actually just sat on the couch and hugged the book. Read it! It’s heartwarming and beautiful and you can’t help but fall in love with Simon as you experience him grow and learn to accept himself. Goodreads.
Will Kostakis! Far out I love this fella’s writing. The Sidekicks & The First Third are two brilliant stand alone #LoveOzYA masterpieces. Both touch on family, friendship, sexually and growing up Aussie style – Ok, ok, Greek/Australian style when it comes to The First Third, but both are set in Sydney. Goodreads.
The Mother in me fell in love with Simon (Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda) Bill (The First Third) and Thommo (The Sidekicks) I wanted hug them and make them feel better. Harley, bloody Harley (The Sidekicks) Harley is the boy I loved, the one that no matter how old I grow a part of me will always fall for. There of course were other wonderful characters in these books, but I am trying to keep this post brief LOL)
Christopher Currie’s Clancy of the Undertow. I saw so much of my teenage self in Clancy. Clancy is a beautiful, truly connectable character. The story touches on family, friendship and sexually, as you get to experience Clancy grow and discover who she is meant to be. It is a powerful and heartwarming read. Beautiful #LoveOzYA all the way! Goodreads.
Jessica Shirvington’s Disruption duology. This duology is brilliant. I read both books back to back in a few days. We get blackmail, bad guy bullshit and sassy bitch brilliance in 833 pages of utterly enthralling action. Lead character Maggie is a strong young woman that is not to be messed with and who you can’t help but fall for. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.
Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. I’ve still to read the last book in this series, I purchased it earlier in the year, but i’m too scared! I don’t want it to be over. This is a dystopian like no other I’ve read; for one thing it’s better then most other books I’ve read labeled dystopian. The series is fresh and exciting with strong leading female characters, a focus on friendship, connecting with the natural world around us, doing what you believe is right and protecting the ones you love. #LoveOzYA Goodreads.
Katherine Hurley’s Griever’s Mark series. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the first two books in this series that captivated me so. I’m still to read the third, fear of endings and all. But from the moment I finished reading the first book I haven’t been able to get the two main characters Astarti and Logan out of my head. So that’s got to count for something. I also really loved the earth magic that Hurley created. Goodreads.
I really should hurry up and read Georgie Spider and Unbound, as there are way too many fictional characters with unfinished story lines running around in my head at the moment.
Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars. The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4/5 Stars. Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2/5 Stars. Sick Pleasure for A and U by Francesca Lia Block – 2/5 Stars. In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 4/5 Stars. Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 3/5 Stars. Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5 Stars. Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5 Stars. Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 5/5 Stars. Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 3/5 Stars. A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5 Stars. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 3/5 Stars.
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. Goodreads View.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? Goodreads View.
My Thoughts: Oh how cute this was! Falling in love with Levi was a lovely distraction 😛 I was absorbed by Cath’s world and got to take a break from my life for a day. Reading this was like getting a soul warming hug. FOUR I really liked it STARS. Nawww book hugs!
Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?
As this is labelled as a young adult fantasy I was expecting a light-hearted humorous fantastical romp with William Shakespeare and Jane Austin riding off into the sunset on unicorns. Ok well not actually Shakespeare and Austen, but you catch my drift.
The story started strong and I was super excited, but as I got further into the book that excitement started to dwindle.
I found the lead character Liz’s serious and tortured back story detracted from what could have been a ridiculous light-hearted simple and fun read. And I mean ridiculous in a good way! Because the story was never going to be believable with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Austen, Plath, Hemingway, Twain, Poe and Wells hanging about a castle that’s being attacked by dragons in modern day America.
I found myself rolling my eyes at the romance. I mean it was so frigging cheesy at some points I could have used it to make a grilled sandwich. Yet Liz had this dark and abusive back story, which would be perfect for a modern contemporary, but was sending up red flags and contradicting everything in my mind. Liz the writer and Curtis the hero of her story get all loved up. She hooks up with her fictional creation. This isn’t sane or healthy. Hence why I think the story needed to stay light and funny so that it could pull it off. But that dark and abusive back story! Why Jill Bowers, why?
I don’t think the issue’s I had with this story would affect a younger audience, say 13-15. I think it would go over their heads and they would just see a young woman coming to terms with her past, standing up for herself and winning the battle over her inner and outer demons, while picking up a dragon battling hottie/spunk/fine-male-specimen along the way – which is what I think Bowers was going for.
All things considered the story ended quite strong with an action packed final showdown with the bad guy.
Conclusion: There were parts of the story I enjoyed but over all I’m feeling disappointed. As for a star rating, hmm somewhere between Two and Three stars.
A DEVASTATING SETBACK
Enemy tribesmen attacked during the Initiation. Dindi used the magic of the corn cob doll to protect herself and others but at a terrible price. Now her dreams are in shambles. In despair, she decides to step into the forbidden faery ring, and dance herself to death with the fae. Then she discovers another choice that saves her life…but breaks the ultimate taboo.
A DESPERATE OUTREACH
After being unfairly exiled from his own people, Kavio may have found a new home, but only if he can protect it from another attack by the enemy. He gathers a small group to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory in search of the ultimate prize…peace.
But by the harsh laws of their land, they cannot both break taboos and keep the peace. They will each have to choose, what, or whom, to betray. GOODREADS VIEW.
MY THOUGHTS: Considering it was two years ago that I read the first book, Initiate, I was quite pleased at how quickly the characters and the previous story lines came back to me. I actually think I enjoyed Taboo more than the first and I debated whether to give it a four or five star rating. While this book wasn’t mind blowing it was still immensely absorbing and I tore through it captivated. It was full of action and adventure, betrayal and revenge, with further back story and character development. I was tempted to go straight into reading the third book, Sacrifice. “FOUR oh so almost five STARS”.
Evie doesn’t have a choice.
One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.
The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.
And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits. GOODREADS VIEW.
MY THOUGHTS: So I’m a little late to the #SparkArmy as the final installment of this series has just come out, but better late then never hey :-). I loved the idea of the DNA modifications and the agency responsible for the experiment gone wrong. For some reason I didn’t connect much with some of the characters, but I’m sure I’ll grow to love them more as I read the next book and the connected short stories. “FOUR I really enjoyed it, but needed more time to grow to love some of the characters STARS”
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it.
Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.
An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.
A lyrical new YA novel from the award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Duskin and the Gracie Faltrain series. GOODREADS VIEW.
MY THOUGHTS: Why, oh why has it taken me so long to read something written by Cath Crowley, cause I’m an idiot that’s why. This was a super duper cute and fun read, ending with the two main characters finding solace in each other and their art. It is the sort of story I could see myself reading again when I need a mental hug. FOUR “awwwwww artistic young love” STARS.
Doctor Who: Choose the Future: Night of the Kraken by Jonathan Green
When one choice can lead to triumph or failure, life or death, glory or destruction . . . which will you choose? With Choose the Future, YOU decide how, when, where and with whom the Doctor will fight to save the world!
In this brand new adventure, Night of the Kraken, the Twelfth Doctor meets a roguish time-smuggler and faces a terrifying creature from the deep with a plan to destroy the Earth.
The fate of the Doctor and the universe he protects are in your hands… GOODREADS VIEW.
MY THOUGHTS: I read this through once than turned around and read it again picking different answers, took about an hour. Published this year and listed as a young reader choose your own adventure, it is a super quick yet enjoyable read. I don’t think I’d go out and buy the book, but If I come across more of the series at the library as they come out I will definitely borrow them. FOUR “a quick really enjoyable doctor who fix” STARS.
Oh f*** they’re all Four Stars. Oh dear. Hahaha I only just realised that. Oh well.
Under the Graffiti Moon during the Night of the Kraken a Spark broke the ultimate Taboo – see what I did there with all the titles, huh huh.
Until next time 🙂 enjoy your shelves :-).
“Life is full of crossroads, Alex. Full of choices.”
Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.
Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.
To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.
Not sure who—or perhaps what—she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?
THE MEDORAN CHRONICLES is a five-part series that offers a new slant on magical parallel worlds – with authority figures who aren’t quite what they seem, jostling friends and rivals and unconvential magic influenced by futuristic technology. Goodreads View.
MY THOUGHTS: The Medoran Chronicles summed up in three words; captivating, endearing and fun. I went from reading the first book straight into the second and now I’ve got an extreme book hangover happening. Bring on Draekora NOW (Book #3) I can’t wait until 2017!
The whole book was fantastic, but the last 20% was a frenzied whirlwind of action and emotion. I was bouncing on the edge of my seat as I flipped through the pages. I was enjoying it so much, that I didn’t want the story to end.
Alex is a fantastic female character. We see her grow throughout the first two books into a force to be reckoned with. She is spunky and full of life. She is loving and loyal. She is both mentally and physically strong. She is brave and determined to do the right thing. We need more YA heroines like Alex.
Her Friends: Bear comes off as a total sweetheart. Dix (D.C.) is another fantastic female character and was a nice to see her become Alex’s close friend, rather than just the background character she was in the first book. Jordan is a cheeky and adorable doofus. Kaiden has total heart throb appeal. Why hello there you slow burning love interest you, how you doin’ cutie pie. When we first met Kaiden in book one I was like “I’m keeping my eye on you, I have a feeling about you” and now I’m really looking forward to seeing (hopefully) Alex and Kaiden’s bond growing further in the next book.
The Medoran Chronicles has been Labeled as mixture of Harry Potter, X-Men and Narnia and I’ve actually seen it compared to Harry Potter on multiple occasions. There are definitely similarities and this is a good thing in my mind, as they are good similarities (if that makes sense). And hell yes I hope The Medoran Chronicles ends up with the same sort of fan base / fame as Harry, cause its an awesome Aussie YA. I think the Medoran Chronicles is the sort off story that people will want to return to and re-read again and again as the years go by. Lynette Noni I applauded your imagination and please keep letting us into the fantasy worlds in your head.
WARNING: the ending if full of Heartbreaking betrayal. Ahhhhhh Lynette Noni why you hurt me so.
Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni
With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.
While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora? Goodreads View.
My Thoughts: What a fast and fun read this book was! A really strong start to what I’m sure will be a entertaining and captivating series. I’ve already got book number two lined up ready to read :-). The main characters we easily likable and I fell for them immediately. The story was easy to read and flowed really well. FIVE “I loved it and would happily re-read it” STARS.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. Goodreads View.
My Thoughts: I had the biggest smile on my face when I finished this book. I had flip flopped over reading it because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. Believe the hype! Seriously it has topped my favorite reads of the year so far. I got lost in Simon’s world and would happily go back and get lost again. Simon is freaking adorable and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him struggle, fumble and come out on top. FIVE STARS for this must read adorable feel good story. Headless Simon even made it onto my Instagram >>
Invader Zim #11 by Sarah Andersen
“A special one-shot written and illustrated by Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles)! When GIR brings home a flea-ridden stray cat, ZIM is furious—until he finds out what the cat does to Dib. Dib’s sneezing and covered in hives—could the magical powers of this “”cat”” be harnessed and turned against all of mankind? Could the earth FINALLY be ZIM’s?” Goodreads View.
My Thoughts: Invader Zim, the Invader Zim from my childhood in a comic written by Sarah Anderson. How could I not read this! I love Sarah’s Scribbles.
The comic was a quick and fun read. I think Sarah’s humor came shining through in Zim’s use of kitty cats and puppy dogs to turn his arch nemesis Dib into an allergy ridden puss ball. THREE ‘I liked it’ STARS.
Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species, saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure. Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into cities that floated above the spore’s reach.
Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices, voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers, bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.
Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City. Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.
* * * * * * * My Thoughts * * * * * * *
How would you feel if you had been told lies your whole life and forced to take medication when you knew you weren’t sick?
How would you feel if you found out you were a human hybrid and that your whole life had been some sort of long running science experiment?
Would you strive to live up to some higher purpose or turn on those around you?
Hero is the first book in The Hero Rebellion and it introduces us to Hero Regan. We see Hero battle normal teenager issues; school bullies and finding out who her true friends are, as well as dealing with the consequences of who and what she truly is. Hero is an extremely intelligent young woman and it feels as if she has an epic life in-front of her, one I’m looking forward to continuing to follow.
It took me little while to get used to all the new names of things, the animals and construction materials etc, but I can see that the purpose of this was to set the scene of a new futuristic world and it was all good once I got the rhythm of it.
Hero was published on the 21st of September 2015. I came across it on NetGalley just days before it was archived on the 31st of May 2016 *throws hands up to the sky* Thank you Odyssey Books for still authorising me a review copy at such late notice! #LoveOzYA
Did I get your attention with those opening lines? And while yes, I’ve just given away a few of the major reveals in the book, I haven’t given away them all! Hero was a Five Star YA Sci-Fi for me and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
* * * * * * * Author Links * * * * * * *
Sneak peek available on Wattpad