#LoveOzYaBloggers – Short Stories

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

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Short Stories’.

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


I have eleven short story anthologies, sadly only four have Aussie authors and out of those four only two are YA!

In this photo I have the only four authored by Aussie’s and the only four that are YA (not the same four), the rest of my collection are either adult or eBook short story anthologies.

Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions and Novascapes: A Speculative Fiction Anthology from the Hunter Region Australia are authored by Aussie’s from my neck of the woods :-). Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is a duo of Aussie and Indian YA authors. And last but not least Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology is, yep you guessed it, Aussie YA authors.

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean:

Be transported into dystopian cities and other-worldly societies. Be amazed and beguiled by a nursery story with a reverse twist, a futuristic take on TV cooking shows, a playscript with tentacles – and more, much more. Plunge in and enjoy!

A collection of sci-fi and fantasy writing, including six graphic stories, showcasing twenty stellar writers and artists from India and Australia: Isobelle Carmody, Penni Russon, Justine Larbalestier, Margo Lanagan, Lily Mae Martin, Kuzhali Manickavel, Prabha Mallya, Annie Zaidi, Kate Constable, Vandana Singh, Mandy Ord, Priya Kuriyan, Manjula Padmanabhan, Samhita Arni, Alyssa Brugman, Nicki Greenberg and Amruta Patil.

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology

The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.

Goodreads Links:

 Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean Begin, End, BeginSproutlings | Novascapes

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 :-).

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Maps

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

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Maps’.

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!

MAPS! I love it when a book includes a map!

These three #LoveOzYa masterpieces all have maps and are all sitting on my shelf waiting to be explored.


Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?


Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1) by Helen Scheuerer

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.


Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster 

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, 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.

 

 

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.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: YA Review

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker
Thank you, you wonderful people
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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 . . .


Wow, what a page turner. The dates across the tops of the pages really push the story along and create a heavy tension. You’ll want to read this in one sitting.

Romy was born on The Infinity, a star ship despatched with the mission to create a human colony on a new planet. Romy has never ever known any other life then that onboard The Infinity and after an incident takes both her parents away from her, she is alone. Romy is further away from earth than any human has ever been, hurtling towards the unknown. The weight of a new human colony, by default, resting on her teenage shoulders. Romy has to grow up fast! to have any hope of completing her parents mission.

Poor mental health due to the toll that guilt and grief cause is a big part of three integral characters storylines and there were some beautiful scenes, like the one where Romy makes peace with her Mother (I cried). But the highlights for me were the sections of the book where Romy is fast thinking and fighting for her life. I was ripping through the pages desperate to see what happened next.

There is so much more I could talk about; Romy’s parents, ‘pen-pals’ and psychological torture, Romy’s cute-as bits of fan-fiction (kind of Rainbow Rowell Fangirl-ish – but it enhanced rather than detracted from the main story). But it’s so much more fun If you find these things out for yourself. Off you go.


Lauren’s Twitter | Website | Goodreads

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe @
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository

No Limits: YA Review

35298151No Limits by Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author
Thanks Ellie, you wonderful woman
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.

His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…

Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…


Woah! What an action-packed adventure ride this book was. I loved it. It was fan-frigging-tastic!

Right from the start I was enjoying reading this book; Ellie’s writing, the characters and the prospect of romance and drama. The story reeled me in, fast, and I was happy to be hooked.

Harris’s dad is an evil arsehole. Had to be said! He has subjected Harris to emotional and physical abuse his whole life, making Harris an emotionally closed off hard arse. We meet Harris at an extreme low point. He has no self-worth and a bit of a death wish. Enter Amie.

Amie’s dad is a good man, a man of the law. And Amie has a loving extended family. After the death of her mother Amie can’t bear being separated from her remaining family. So, she plans on giving up her dreams of studying photography and visiting far off places to stay and be near them. Little help here please Harris (and Nani).

Harris and Amie are two extremely different people, but the chemistry between them is undeniable right from the start. Each helping the other heal, let go and move on to bigger and better things – oh and there is a whole lot of criminal activity, dangerous dudes and wrongs righted in between.

Meth, not even once mate! Methamphetamine, Crystal Meth, Crank, Speed, Ice, Poor Man’s Cocaine etc. whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s poisonous s**t. I really liked how Ellie went into detail with her characters drug use without glorifying it. The message of the damage it can do shines through the story, but she’s not preachy.  She shows the painful truths, the negative side effects and deadly consequences. She also bothers to show how it feels, and why they do it.

The last eight chapters were a full-on adrenalin rush. I was physically anxious, my stomach was churning as I flew through the words, racing to find out how it all ends. Totally worth it! The ending made my heart sing.

I can see myself reading this book again. I really enjoyed getting to know Harris and Amie intimately, and the rush of experiencing their world.

Harris does feature in the last book of Ellie’s Every series, but you in no way need to read it first. Do yourself a favour, go and buy No Limits and fall in love with Ellie’s story telling awesomeness .

Find Ellie and her books here: Amazon AU | Amazon US | BooktopiaAngus & Robertson Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Black Blade: Blog Tour

Black Blade by Alexander Charalambides
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 11th 2017

Summary

Lance is a hero.

With his friend Megan, he does his best to survive high school in a world that doesn’t always make sense, and is almost never fair.

When their school receives a donation from an anonymous millionaire, Lance and Megan find themselves on an international field trip to England, where the two receive an irresistible call to a supernatural adventure that could change their destinies, and the destiny of the country, forever.

Together with three mysterious adults who all claim to be wizards, Lance must safe-guard the legendary Excalibur. Traveling into a strange parallel world and keeping his friends, new and old, safe from harm at the hands of a malevolent army of magical soldiers, Lance discovers the truth about heroism and the content of his character.

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About the Author

Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire.

He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

In 2008 he moved to the United States, and now lives in New Hampshire.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

Alexander’s MUSIC PLAYLIST for Black Blade
Music is an extremely powerful tool for the imagination, it strengths atmosphere and preserves the author’s intent while still allowing the reader to freely imagine the details and texture the author chooses to leave blank. That said, Black Blade’s atmosphere, and therefore “imaginary” soundtrack is sort of set in stone. Since Black Blade is almost a comedy, you might expect me to have listened to all sorts of silly music (which is what I usually listen to), but this is where the “almost” is important. Black Blade’s characters are pretty over the top, sometimes absurd, but the plot and atmosphere are always serious and often sombre, so the comedy really comes from contrast rather than any specific action. I can’t score the whole thing, but plenty of musical pieces went into building the atmosphere, and since the atmosphere really grew from John Boorman’s Excalibur, we’ll start there.
If you watch Excalibur (and I highly recommend you do) the soundtrack will stand out immediately, the key player being Wagner’s Siegfried’s Funeral March. It’s the keystone of the film’s atmosphere and Black Blade’s as well. In fact, I’m listening to it right now and feeling really proud of myself. Obviously, though, playlists aren’t composed of a single song. I tried to diversify and ended up with a lot of classical stuff. Most people know Night On Bald Mountain, which I think comes in louder and louder towards Black Blade’s end, and I always imagined the crowded breathing and clattering equipment of the Mason’s Guild accompanied by Prokofiev’s Dance Of The Knights.
I know, you probably think I’m boring. All posturing about authorial intent and atmosphere aside, I found that writing with these really old, forbidding pieces added something that I couldn’t find in more modern music, and lyrics were right out.
Maybe I’m just ignorant of the music I really needed since all I usually listen to are nonsense mashups and songs made of sampled dog barks.

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About Last Summer: Blog Tour

Title: About Last Summer

Author: Patricia B. Tighe

Genre: YA Romance

Pretend to be from Spain? Act like she can barely speak English? Sure, why not? It wouldn’t be the first time Gabby Vega had agreed to a challenge from her best friend, Kenzie. Besides, it’s only for a week of vacation with Kenzie’s cousins. Gabby will prove to Kenzie she can keep up the fake identity for the whole trip—that she’s not a quitter.

There’s just one major surprise. Noah Jernigan is also staying with Kenzie’s cousins. Noah, the boy she fell in love with at drama camp last summer and the boy she had to dump when it was over. The boy who knows who she really is.

Noah can’t believe it when Gabby appears at the Bryson’s vacation home in the New Mexico mountains. He hasn’t seen her in a year. It practically took that long just to get over her. And now she’s Gabriela from Spain? All he wants is to get as far away as he can. Or maybe the exact opposite. Stick as close to her as possible and find out what the heck happened last summer. And definitely get some payback.

Now Gabby has to keep Noah at arm’s length as she pretends to be Gabriela. She doesn’t want to answer his questions or rehash last summer. Because one thing is clear—the more time she spends with Noah, the more she’s in danger of falling for him all over again.

Links

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Patricia B. TigheAuthor Bio

The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and dog. She eats way too much pizza, drinks way too much coffee, and watches way too much NFL football. On the bright side, she also reads and writes teen fiction. She promises to include as much romance, angst, and adventure as possible in her books.

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Excerpt

Noah

I was three measures into a different Celtic song when a sound broke my concentration. A footstep? Probably not. I frowned and kept playing. But somehow, the shades of darkness shifted. I squinted. Someone stood on the blacktop where we shot baskets, half hidden by the side of the deck.

My heart rate picked up. There was only one person it could be. The others were inside, and Amanda didn’t go anywhere without Haley. I kept playing, just more quietly. “You can come out,” I said. “I know you’re there.”

Gabby’s voice came from the blackness. “How?”

I waited until she reached the bottom of the steps. “A shadow moved or something.”

“Oh.” She stepped up and sat on the stair just below the deck’s floor. “That sounds familiar.”

Crap. I’d been playing her song again. I purposely plucked the wrong string, the flat note twanging out like a slap. “Haven’t played it in awhile.” Idiot, idiot. You played it a few minutes ago. If she was outside, she heard it.

She leaned back on her elbows and faced the backyard. “It’s still good.”

I could’ve switched songs. I so wanted to. But a perverse need to show her just how great the song could be filled me with determination. So I let myself fall completely into the music, each note ringing out with precision and aching sweetness.

Finally, when my chest was so tight I could barely breathe, I stopped. My body still rocked uncontrollably forward and back, the last notes reverberating into the night.

She said nothing. Just sat there as if she deserved the whole performance.

And I was caught. I wanted to jump up and go inside. But I also wanted to lean toward her. Remember how much you liked that last summer? Do you still? I had to be the biggest fool between here and whatever the hell river ran through Texas.

She sighed, and it broke through the Gabby-cloud in my mind. “What’re you doing out here, Gabby?”

She looked over her shoulder at me, but I couldn’t see her face in the darkness. Just her soft voice floated out. “Why didn’t you play games with everybody?”

I picked idly at the guitar strings. “I’m tired of games. Especially ones I can’t win.”

Dreamwalkers: Blog Tour

Title: Dreamwalkers

Author: Tiaan Lubbe

Genre: YA Fantasy / Adventure

“You walk the bridges between two worlds, between reality and dreams, Ciso.”

“You are a Dreamwalker”

Narciso di Angelo, a sixteen-year-old boy, living on the streets of Rome thinks he is the only one that can walk in other’s dreams.

He’s not.

When a mysterious and dark woman makes her appearance in one of his dreamwalks, he is rescued from her clutches by Project Somnus, a secret underground United Nations organisation, that recruits and trains children with his gifts, using them to fight against and prevent worldwide terrorist threats.

Here Narciso learns more of his abilities and where they come from as well as what it means to be part of a family and a home.

But, as the threat of the mysterious woman and the terrorist organisation Tantibus increases, he also learns what it is like to lose this.

“In dreams we live. In reality we dream.”

 Author Bio:

Tiaan Lubbe lives in Pretoria, South Africa where he spends his time teaching little monsters, directing
plays, doing what he calls writing and dreaming up the future. Mostly all at once.

Links:

eBook Pre-order | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads


Excerpt:

“Remember your training,” Agent Knight says when we’re all in our pods, our heads lifted from the water so we can hear her, game faces on. “Stick together. Work as a team,” she continues. “Captain Evans and his team are counting on you to keep the girl safe long enough for them to get to her and extract her to physical safety.”

We all nod our heads. “Yes, ma’am,” Jamie says. “Fifty Euros says I’ll take down more Tantibus freaks than you, Ciso.”

I laugh. “You’re on, muscle man!”

“It’s the muscles that’ll make sure I get fifty bucks,” he says and I hear him kissing his arms.

“Boys! Always competing,” Leah says letting out a chuckle. “Besides, there’s no use really. I’ll be taking down most of those goons for you. Might as well give me the fifty now, Jamie.”

“This just got more interesting, hey Ciso,” Jamie says. “Now me and a girl will beat you.”

“Ready to initiate Dreamwalk,” Agent Knight interrupts our antics. “In three…”

I ready myself. Take a breath. Try to calm the sudden burst of chill in my stomach. The pod closes. Darkness. Silence.

“Two..”

Trust in yourself Ciso.

“One,” Agent Knight’s voice says. “Good luck team.” There’s a pause. “Initiate.” And then I’m enveloped, drifting into nothingness, into a place where reality has no hold and even the unimagined runs wild.

It doesn’t take long for us to get through the mist and reach the first door. I take the lead this time and the others ready themselves for anything, because that’s exactly what could be on the other side of the door. Anything. The knob turns in my hand and the door eagerly clips open. At the last second, the suspense gets the best of me and I burst through it. A zinging sound whirs towards my face. I turn my head just in time. A knife is dug into the doorframe right in front of my nose, the merciless blade grazing its tip. I look to where the sound came from. A short girl stands ready with another knife in her hand. Jamie and the others push me forward to get into the room. They all freeze at the sight of the little girl.

Night Swimming: YA Review

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


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

Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.

Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?

But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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