Before the Beginning: #loveozya Review

The story of four friends, a mysterious stranger, and the week when everything changed. For fans of We Were Liars.

Schoolies week: that strange in-between time when teenagers move from school into the adult world. It’s a week when anything is possible, and everything can change.

Grace is questioning everything she thought about herself, and has opted not to join her clique of judgemental friends for schoolies, instead tagging along with her brother Casper and his friends. Casper, an artist, is trying to create the perfect artwork for his uni application folio. Overachieving, anxiety-ridden Noah is reeling from a catastrophe that might have ruined his ATAR result. And Elsie is just trying to figure out how to hold their friendship group together.

On the first night of the trip, they meet Sierra, a mysterious girl with silver-grey hair and a magnetic personality. All of them are drawn to her for different reasons, and she persuades them to abandon the cliched schoolies experience in favour of camping with her on a remote, uninhabited island. On that island, each of them will find answers to their questions. But what does Sierra want from them?

An empathetic and suspenseful coming-of-age story from the author of All That Impossible Space.


Before the Beginning by Anna Morgan, published September 29th, 2020. I received a review copy from Hachette via the #AusYABloggers – Thank You! 

Anna Morgan’s writing captured me from the first page. I loved this book way more than I was expecting to. I went into this book thinking it was a contemporary coming of age tale, it is that, but it is also so much more. My Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

This “schoolies” story is split up into five parts and is told through multiple points of view as the plot progresses.

The first narrator we meet is Grace. She is extremely endearing, and I was immediately drawn to her. Grace is at a point in her life where she is finding her church and her friend group does not fit her anymore (hence why she is spending schoolies with her brother’s mates). Nothing makes me happier than normalised sexual diversity, so Grace getting to have her first girl on girl kiss on the island and getting to journey with her as her entire world shifts, was bliss. While we are inside Grace’s head, we find out how lost and alone she is feeling. But also, how worried she is for her brother’s future too, even if for the most part he treats her dismissively and she always feels she has to compete with him and make up for his shortcomings.

The second narrator we meet is Noah. Oh, what a beautiful Bubba Boy. I just wanted to hug Noah and take him to therapy. This kid made the mother in me rear up, I wanted to help this kid. I wanted to nurture this kid. I saw a lot of my eldest son in Noah and it made my heartache. The poor bub has crippling anxiety and is way too hard on himself. He is super smart and a total sweetheart. While we are inside Noah’s head, we find out how pressure is on him to succeed and we see him crumble and break – thankfully he has good mates to help put him with some much-needed RNR and moral support.

The third narrator we meet is Casper at just around the halfway mark of the story. I really did not like Casper until I got to be in his head. He tends to get lost in his own head, losing track of the real world, and sometimes really struggles to get out and is left feeling a little out of sync. With the end of his chapters, we get to experience him realising what a dick he had been, but also the story really ramps up in suspense and action.

The fourth narrator we meet is Elsie. Oh Elsie, she is trying to get over her crush on her bestie, trying to figure out what she wants to do after school, who she wants to be, and trying to hold her group of friends together. Elsie and Grace were quite standoffish at first and I loved seeing their friendship grow.

For the fifth and final part of the story narration swaps back to Grace.

I have talked about the others, so now I must mention the last of all the main characters, the one who pushes the plot along to its flaring conclusion, but does not get to narrate the story. The one teen who was a stranger to the rest of them in the beginning. Oh, Sierra! Is she the ghost of a girl who died on Shearwater Island, or just a copycat using her name, or is she something else, perhaps a mythical creature from the sea? I do not want to tell you what I think about who or what Sierra is (I changed my mind a few times along the way). I want you to meet her and make up your own mind.

This book touches on faith, sexuality, sibling rivalry, growing up, the pressure put on kids relating to final exams, and picking the perfect careers. Each of the four friends’ journeys was beautiful, full of reflection and personal growth, their time on the island only strengthening their bonds of friendship.

BEFORE THE BEGINNING is a phenomenal read, a cut above the rest, and it will stay with you for quite some time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna was born in Sydney, but spent most of her childhood surrounded by mountains in Nepal and Tibet while her parents were part of an international community of health professionals. Navigating this cross-cultural life made her a curious observer of people, although most of her time was spent reading Enid Blyton and dreaming of going to boarding school. This did not cushion the shock of shifting from home-school in Tibet to an all-girls high school in Melbourne when her family returned to Australia. All That Impossible Space explores some of the intense and convoluted friendships that thrive in this setting. Anna completed a MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in 2015, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband. She works as a bookseller.
Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

The Year the Maps Changed: Review

The Year the Maps Changed by Rachel Hennessy
Genre: Contemporary #LoveOzMG
Publication: April 28th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Source: Review copy from publisher as part of #AusYABloggers tour – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

I was eleven when everything started and twelve by the end. But that’s another way maps lie, because it felt like the distance travelled was a whole lot further than that.

Sorrento, Victoria – 1999
Fred’s family is a mess. Fred’s mother died when she was six and she’s been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop is at the Rye Rehabilitation Centre recovering from a fall; Luca’s girlfriend, Anika, has moved in; and Fred’s just found out that Anika and Luca are having a baby of their own. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

But even as the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, a crisis from the other side of it comes crashing in. When 400 Kosovar-Albanian refugees arrive in the middle of the night to be housed at one of Australia’s ‘safe havens’ on an isolated headland not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family, as she navigates one extraordinary year that will change them all.


The Year The Maps Changed is a story of love and family, a story of grief and finding home.

Winifred (Fred, Freddo, Winnie) lost her mum when she was only Six and since then it is always just been Fred, Her Pop and her adoptive father Luca – Until Luca’s new girlfriend and her ten-year-old son Sam comes to live with them. Fred does not cope with the change very well but keeps all her emotions bottled inside. When Luca & Anika announce they are having a baby, it makes Fred feel left out and lost – it makes her feel that there is no room left for her.

The story follows POV character Fred as she comes to terms with her new family and learns about the refugees coming to her little part of the world and how unfair life can be. The story starts with Fred being 11 years old, but by the end she has turned 12, with the story being set out over the year of 1999. I was 12 in 1999! and have vague memories of the Kosovo Albanians being taken to Point Nepean and other places in Australia. It gave the story this extreme depth, the true events mixed in with Danielle Binks fantastic story telling.

The whole way through while Fred is coming to terms with her new family, there is the refugee storyline unfolding – which I do not want to talk too much about and spoil the story. BUT I will say that two people Fred knows very well end up in trouble for helping an escaped refugee that Fred develops a special friendship with.

POV Fred is a smart, kind and caring girl who gets a little lost but manages to emotionally find her way home to the people she loves and embrace her new bigger family life. It is impossible not to fall for Fred and her family. I loved seeing, or rather feeling, Fred mature and grow into a beautiful little lady throughout the course of this story. It was really touching watching Sam and Fred slowly growing closer and developing a real brother and sister bond. But my favourite part of the story had me crying! When Fred comes to the realisation that Anika loves her and that is okay to love Anika back, that loving Anika like a mum, was not going to mean she would forget her mum or love her mum any less. Oh how my heart exploded with love.

This was a truly touching story that will stay with me and one I intend to share with my boys when they are a little older. Bravo Binks!!!!!


About The Author: Danielle Binks is a Mornington Peninsula-based author and literary agent. Her debut book ‘The Year the Maps Changed’ is out with Hachette on April 28 – a historic-fiction novel for 10-14 year-olds, set in 1999 it deals with the events of ‘Operation Safe Haven’ and Australia’s biggest humanitarian exercise to-date.

Connect with Danielle: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Taking Down Evelyn Tait: #LoveOzYA Review

Taking Down Evelyn Tait by Poppy Nwosu
Genre: Contemporary #LoveOzYa
Publication: April 1st 2020
Publisher: Wakefield Press
Source: Review copy from Wakefield & the #AusYABloggers – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵

The door creaks open and standing in the entrance is my absolute worst nightmare.
Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect brain.
Perfect sneer.
Evelyn Tait.

Impulsive Lottie – heavy-metal fan, expert tomato-grower and frequent visitor to the principal’s office – is in even more trouble than usual.

Her best friend Grace has dropped an unlikely bombshell: she’s dating Lottie’s mortal enemy, good-girl Evelyn Tait.

Studious Jude, the boy next door, has the perfect war plan. Lottie will beat Evelyn at her own good-girl game, unveiling Miss Perfect’s sinister side in the process.

Taking life more seriously starts as fun, but soon offers its own rewards . . . so long as Lottie can manage gorgeous Sebastian’s sudden interest, Jude acting weird, and the discovery that she might actually be good at something.

Taking Down Evelyn Tait is a story about family, friends and embracing who you are. Even if that person is kind of weird.


Today is my tour stop on the #AusYABloggers and Wakefield Press Taking Down Evelyn Tait review tour.
I absolutely adored Poppy’s first book, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, so I went into this read with extremely high hopes and while I didn’t love Lottie as much as I loved Alice, it was still a fantastic read.

Why was it a fantastic Sarah? Well, I’m glad you asked, thank you bob goblin!
What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is that Evelyn Tait is Lottie’s stepsister, and she has it in for Lottie too. There are deep forced family issues dealt with in a humours and entertaining way.

Lottie, oh sweet yet mischievous Lottie. The POV character Lottie goes through a lot of emotional developing and maturing throughout the course of the story, shown in entertaining and heartfelt ways.

At its core, this is a story about getting revenge but finding something better in the process – teaching the younger reader a valuable lesson. The story, to different degrees, deals with everything from grief, divorce, second marriages, stepparents, absentee parents, and step-siblings, to friendship, first loves, revenge, learning empathy, discovering what your good at, the reward of hard work, being your most authentic and best self. Oh, and there are queer side characters, always a plus for me. – See that sounds like a lot squished in, but Poppy has managed to keep this a light, warm and entertaining story.

I highly recommend you get your hands on both of Poppy’s #loveozya novels, you won’t be disappointed.

 

About the Author:

Poppy Nwosu is an author of YA fiction. Her debut novel, Making Friends with Alice Dyson, was shortlisted for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award, and the 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prize, and will be published by Walker Books US in America in 2020. She was also awarded the 2019 Writers SA Varuna the Writers’ House Fellowship for Young Writers.

Growing up in central North Queensland, Poppy enjoyed a thoroughly wild childhood surrounded by rainforest and cane fields. After studying music at university, she moved overseas to Ireland, where she spent two years visiting stunning Europe. These days Poppy and her husband still love to travel, but they also like to come home again to their house in Adelaide near the sea.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Follow the tour HERE.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

It Sounded Better in My Head: #LoveOZYA Review

47324659. sy475 It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood
Genre: Contemporary #LoveOzYa
Publication: August 6th, 2019
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

When her parents announce their impending separation, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting or at least mildly upset. And now that Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, have fallen in love, she’s feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward.

Where does she fit in now? And what has happened to the version of her life that played out like a TV show—with just the right amount of banter, pining and meaningful looks?

Nothing is going according to plan.

But then an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a tender, funny and joyful novel about longing, confusion, feeling left out and finding out what really matters.


It Sounded Better in My Head is a new #LoveOzYA Contemporary YA Romance that is adorable, entertaining, relatable and warmed my heart. And while it may be a romance, there is also a heavy focus on friendship – which is always a winner for me.

The story begins: Natalie’s parents are getting divorced, her two best friends are hooking up, she’s just finished high school – Her whole world is changing at a rapid speed and she struggling to keep up.
Cue a kiss from a cute boy, who in her mind is way out of her league, and she is foundering all over the place. Natalie has no idea what the kiss meant. We the reader know right away. But it’s fun watching all the adorable awkwardness of Natalie trying to figure it out.

18-year-old Natalie is an easily likeable protagonist. Natalie spent her early teens with serious skin problems that needed a lot of heavy medication to get under control, thanks to those years she has zero self-esteem, endless anxieties and still sees herself as “gross”.

This is a story that deals with figuring out what to do once high school is over, a story of navigating first loves and how friendships change and grow. It also deals the fallout of parental divorce. The romance is soft and beautiful, and keeps the story feeling light while some heavier things are dealt with.

It sounded better in my head is an adorkable, fast flowing, easy to read, heart-warming story that I can see myself picking up again if I’m in need of a pick me up.

Who would like it: any #LoveOZYA aficionados. Fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jenn Bennett. Lovers of soft and sweet getting-to-know-myself-while-getting-to-know-you romance.

Five out of five.


Nina Kenwood is a writer, who lives in Melbourne. She won the 2018 Text Prize for her debut young adult novel, It Sounded Better in My Head. You can find Nina via Twitter | Instagram | her Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Booktopia.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

River Stone: #LoveOZYA Review

44296482River Stone by Rachel Hennessy
Genre: Dystopian #LoveOzYa
Publication: May 1st 2019
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

We are not special. We are just survivors.

Pandora wants so much more than what her village can provide. When disaster comes to the River People, Pan has the opportunity to become their saviour and escape her inevitable pairing with life-long friend Matthew. She wants to make her own choices. Deep in her soul, she believes there is something more out there, beyond the boundaries, especially since she encountered the hunter of the Mountain People.

A story of confused love, difficult friendships and clumsy attempts at heroism, Pan’s fight for her village’s survival will bring her into contact with a whole new world, where the truth about the past will have terrifying reverberations for her people’s future survival.


River Stone by Aussie author Rachel Hennessy is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy. River Stone has a fresh and unique feel that drew me in right from the start and kept me hooked until the last page.

The protagonist Pan grows up not really knowing anything of the past, as it is too painful for most of the village elders to talk about – her mother especially.

River Stone is set on our earth in what could be our not too distant future. In the years before Pan’s birth Earth has been nearly destroyed; mass animal extinction, land becoming barren and unfarmable, people with wealth turning their backs on the rest of the world and the collapse of modern civilization as we know it.

The story mostly follows Pan as she undertakes a journey. A journey that I can’t really say much about without giving away the plot of the book. Hmmmm. Just know the journey tests Pan’s abilities to adapt and learn fast. It teaches her a lot about the world outside her village and she sees things that she never even knew existed.

The other part of the story is told through letters that Pan’s mum writes to her while she is on her journey. In these letters Pan’s mum writes of all the things she could never bring herself to talk to her daughter about. The letters allow us to gain the backstory of the world Pan is living in. In the letters Zaana tells her daughter who she was before the burning days and how she came to be with the River People. I especially enjoyed the letters, they allowed us to get to know Pan’s mother and understand why the River People behaved the way the did – which is almost cult like at times.

River Stone never becomes preachy, but there is a real lesson in there – one of the dangers of greed and environmental complacency.

River Stone is a story of survival, of adapting, of friendship, of being human, and of being a teenager living in the shadow of expectation.

I really enjoyed River Stone and am excited to see how the River People’s story continues in the next book.


‘A fantastic story for our times. Thilling. Chilling.’ – Seann Williams

‘An intelligent dystopian drama that is as addictive as it is thought provoking.’ – Winnie Salamon

Rachel Hennessy Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website | MidnightSun Publishing

Booktopia | Amazon AU | Amazon US 

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

All Aces: YA Review

42324121

All Aces by Ellie Marney
Genre: YA Romance, #LoveOZYA
Publication: November 1st 2018
Publisher: Bearded Lady Press
Source: Review copy from Author – Thank You
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

A teenage contortionist and a young cardsharp risk danger to right a family legacy of injustice.…

Nineteen-year-old contortionist Ren Putri is committed to circus, study and self-discipline – in that order. But after being rescued from a carnival fire by cardsharp Zep Deal, she’s overwhelmed by some highly disorderly thoughts. Zep has a history of trouble, and now he’s been suspected of sabotaging the circus that’s become his whole life. Ren is already coping with family, and keeping secrets of her own – but she can’t resist a mystery. Will Ren’s penchant for solving puzzles bring the case against Zep to rights, or will digging further into the bad blood between rival carnivals only put them both in danger?

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist – Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.


All three books are set in Klatsch’s circus, with the times lines of the characters’ lives continuing from one book until the next. That being said, all books could stand alone, but I think you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t read them all and you may as well do that in order.

I was captivated with this series right from the start. In book one I adored the POV character, Sorsha.
With Fleur as the POV character in the second book it took me a little while longer get into the groove of the story, as I didn’t really like her in the first book, but I got there in the end.
Ren is the POV character of the third book and I liked Ren right from the moment Sorsha met her in book one, so I connected with her voice immediately.

Oh, adorkable Ren. Overthinking, overstressing, hardworking to the point of breaking, world on her shoulders and in desperate need of some good loving, Ren.

And I can’t forget the other star of this instalment – Zeb! Delicious Zep Deal, with his A****** of a father and his dark past. I love me a bad boy who is trying to break free of his past and make good for himself. Zep made a fantastic love interest for Ren.

A connection of sorts sparks up between Ren and Zep rather early in the story. One good dead is returned for another, that then turns into a tentative friendship, that then develops into the two of them partaking in some sneaky and very risking business together, which leads to them falling hard for each other.

Ren learns she has limits and how far she can push them. She learns how to stand up for herself and fight for the things she wants – she also learns what the things she really wants are.

Zep gets the break he deserves and a good woman to help him heal his heart – aww.

Damn, I’ve made this sound like its all mushy romance, but it not. There is plenty of action, punch ups with bad guys, revenge on the circus saboteur, and just more circus life in general!

Yes All Aces has a rather adorable first love romance for Ren, but it also has a you-gotta-fight-for-the-things-you-want vibe going on the whole way through. We also get a conclusion to the circus saboteur storyline that has ran through all three books.

I said this in my reviews for the previous books and I’ll say it again for book three as it still holds true – Fast paced action. Hot romance. Circus life. What more could you want people. Do yourself a favour and check the series out.

Who would like this series: Fans of swoon worthy romance. #LoveOzYA aficionados. Anyone after a captivating and fast paced read.

Ellie’s Links: Amazon AU | Amazon US Goodreads | Twitter | Website 

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

Kat: The Legend of Gnawbonia – REVIEW

In the great city of Catifornia, the Meofia are by far the most feared of all the felines. At home, their baby sister Kat is enslaved under lock and key.

Done with the constant abuse, she escapes, embarking on a perilous journey far beyond the land of cats.

Lost at sea, Kat is captured by a ruthless gang of notorious pirate dogs and forced to the depths of the ocean in search of treasure; where she discovers an ancient city, lost in time.

Here, Kat comes to terms with who she truly is – gaining the courage to fight for her life and freedom, to fulfil an ancient prophecy that she inevitably finds herself entwined with.

A new style of book, a fusion of various parts.
Adventure novel, graphic novel & picture book.

Written, Illustrated and Published by Nick White


I read KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA out loud with my five-year-old son Riley and was really impressed with how it held his attention. From start to finish he sat captivated. It took about an hour to read all fourteen chapters, but you could break it up into multiple reading sessions if need be.

The story follows Kat as she tries to escape her abusive brothers, running as far away as she can.

Cue a whirlwind adventure involving a bounty being put on Kat’s head, fearsome pirate dogs, a lost kingdom hidden underwater, unexpected allies and a monster of the deep.

The story finishes with Kat having taught some old dogs new tricks, gained new friends, a new home, and freedom from her brothers. Fantastic. I love a good underdog story, or in this case an undercat story.

I asked Riley if he liked the story and would like to read it again some time. He replied “yeah” with a big smile on his face.

I asked Riley what his favourite part of the story was and he replied “when the cat got into the ocean and caught the octopus”.  He then went on to ask me what was my favorite part was, to which I replied ”when Kat triumphed over the mean pirate dogs”.

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA reminded me a Dreamwork movie, but in print. The story and art had humour sprinkled throughout for the adults as well as the kids,  and then there’s the resounding message of never give up.

A top read and one I would recommend for ages 5+.

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA CAN BE FOUND @
Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Animated eBook

You can check you the interview I did with author Nick White HERE.

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

Nick White: Author Q&A

Kat: The Legend of Gnawbonia by Nick White
THE WORLD’S FIRST FULLY ILLUSTRATED NOVEL
168 pages & 14 chapters of action packed illustrated mastery

In the great city of Catifornia, the Meofia are by far the most feared of all the felines. At home, their baby sister Kat is enslaved under lock and key. Done with the constant abuse, she escapes, embarking on a perilous journey far beyond the land of cats.

Lost at sea, Kat is captured by a ruthless gang of notorious pirate dogs and forced to the depths of the ocean in search of treasure; where she discovers an ancient city, lost in time.

Here, Kat comes to terms with who she truly is – gaining the courage to fight for her life and freedom, to fulfil an ancient prophecy that she inevitably finds herself entwined with.

A new style of book, a fusion of various parts.
Adventure novel, graphic novel & picture book.


T h e    I n t e r v i e w

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA IS AVAILABLE AS A VISUALLY STUNNING HIGH-QUALITY HARD COVER (seriously it’s beautiful, congratulations on that) AND AS AN ANIMATED EBOOK. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR AND KAT’S PUBLISHING JOURNEY?

Thanks Sarah. I did actually get accepted into a few publishing houses, but turned them down as they wanted full creative control of the book and in the end they pay fractions to authors. Although there’s a few risky pages in there I like everything I’ve put into the book and didn’t want it butchered by any company scared of offending few individuals to protect their reputation. So I funded the first print run through Kickstarter, it’s a great way to do it – if you can convince people it’s a worthy investment that likely won’t be fulfilled for a long time due to shipping problems and international banking issues. Hahaha.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, OR HOW THE STORY CAME TO BE?

I’ve wanted to do an illustrated novel for about 17 years, and what sparked that was that there just aren’t many around (there were none back then). I guess I then had to work up the courage to spend 5 years of my life on one single project. I was never really sure what the story was going to be but in the end when I put pen to paper I wanted the end of it to have an epic fight between a seemingly helpless and small-for-her-age cat, and a bunch of hungry beastly dogs. And I wanted the cat to come out on top. From there it was a case of reverse engineering the story; Why are they fighting? The dogs could be pirates. Why is the cat there? She could be their prisoner? How did she get there? She was lost at sea etc etc. Every answer would inspire a further question until the story was plump enough.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND GIVE YOURSELF ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I’d tell myself to invest heavily on Netflix… then I could have spent the last few years working on my book fulltime and not through the nights in between my full time job.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

I am loosely working on the next volume of the book. It’s very exciting; it’s a straight continuation of the story.

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The last book I read was the Gruffalo. I have a 3 year old daughter. The last book I read for myself was James and the giant peach. I always wanted to read it when I was younger but never got around to it. Roald Dahl’s still got it!


THANK YOU SO MUCH TO NICK FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

Nick has chosen to give 10% of all profits from the book to three international animal charities, Mercy for Animals, The Humane League and Animal Equality, who are doing essential work around the globe to eradicate factory farming – a theme the book lightly touches on.
Nick is originally from Sydney, Australia, has spent the last 18 years as a commercial artist, lending a hand to some of the biggest ad and design agencies in the UK, NZ and Australia.

NICK CAN BE FOUND @ www.nickwhiteworks.com

KAT: THE LEGEND OF GNAWBONIA CAN BE FOUND @
Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Animated eBook

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

Beau Kondos: Author Q&A

38413033The Path of the Lost (The Path of the Lost, #1) by Beau Kondos

Published July 2nd 2018 by KoHR MEDIA

The first book in a timely fantasy series about discovering the power of representation and perception in a world without art.

Zynthia is a Delver of the Cosm, one of the last of her kind. She has the ability to unleash the power of art, melody and narrative in a world that has outlawed creative expression. After her grandmother’s death, she is left to Delve on her own in the hope of discovering a lost ‘key’ that could preserve the Cosm’s light and save her world from fading into oblivion.

A single painting leads her to James, a man who is caught between two worlds.

After forming a fragile alliance with a Guardian and a rebel, Zynthia and James embark on the Path of the Lost. This ever-changing trail is haunted by forgotten creatures and secrets of the Cosm’s past.

Is James really the key Zynthia has been searching for? Can he learn to harness the power of his art to help in the battle against the Lost? Or has Zynthia’s Delving initiated a chain of events that will plunge her world into darkness forever?

Capturing themes of imagination lost, sexual awakening and coming to terms with the psychological anxiety of becoming independent, The Path of the Lost explores how the power of creativity can be used to unlock the colour caged inside a seemingly grey world.

The Interview

THE PATH OF THE LOST HEART WAS PUBLISHED ON THE 2ND OF JULY, FIRSTLY CONGRATULATIONS! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, OR HOW THE STORY CAME TO BE?

Thanks so much, Sarah! Inspiration tends to always flow in from multiple directions but I guess the main one was witnessing the rapid evolution in technologies and the consumer habits that formed around them.

Back in high school mobile phones only sent texts and made phone calls, so I’d rarely see anyone enthralled by a screen on the train home after school. Now you see mobiles, iPads and Kindles everywhere on public transport. I’m all for technological advances, but it got me thinking of some of the consequences of the decrease in ‘dead time’ we once had so much of. If there’s always an app or a group chat that can easily distract us, where do we find the free time to really process the day’s events, and just tune out and experiment with our imagination?

My storyworld is based in the Cosm, and it was inspired by this dilemma. The Cosm is a world where creative expression has been outlawed where most people have the time to explore their imaginations, but they don’t want to. The story asks some pretty big questions about what could potentially happen when we don’t make the time to explore what’s going on in our heads and the world around us.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR PUBLISHING JOURNEY WITH THE PATH OF THE LOST?

It’s very hard to get picked up as a debut author. Usually the big Aussie publishers won’t look at your stuff unless you have an agent and unfortunately for Aussie writers, young adult fantasy has a bigger market abroad than at home. I couldn’t find an agent to take me on to sell the novel locally, so it felt like my hands were tied. Publishing locally was something that was very important to me, so I created a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to plead my case. Fortunately there was an overwhelming response to ensure The Path of the Lost was published on home turf first, so I was able to use the funds to have my manuscript professionally edited and printed in Australia. Now I’m currently working on finding a publisher abroad.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK PRE-PUBLICATION DAY AND GIVE YOURSELF ANY ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Learn to say no. I’m a social animal and I find it quite difficult to say no to invitations to social events. Self-publishing has been an enjoyable challenge, but it does eat up a lot of my free time. Sadly I’ve been using my writing time to work on things a publishing house would traditionally do, when I should’ve left my writing time as is, and said no to social events instead. Friends mean a lot to me, and I feel terrible saying no to them haha.

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT, BOOK TWO PERHAPS, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

The Path of the Lost was originally double the size. Book one was the first half of the novel, however during my six years of writing it evolved so much, that the second half needs to be re-written. I hadn’t planned for the characters to take control and end the first instalment the way that they did. I discovered that one of the rewards of writing was witnessing the characters grow organically. They revealed that there was a bigger story to tell, and a different path I needed to take to do so. I can tell you that the second novel will deal with heavier themes but it will introduce a few new characters and highlight the complexities of what makes a villain.

WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT OR WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

I just finished Circe, which had been sitting on my TBR pile for so long. I’m a huge mythology buff and from the first chapter I fell in love with Madeline Miller’s writing. It’s really poetic and lyrical and she’s done such an excellent job of tying together some of my favourite Greek myths into a single narrative with a powerful protagonist. It’s quite beautiful.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO BEAU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Sarah!


Beau Kondos

Beau Kondos grew up in Melbourne and was captivated by strong women kicking arse on TV. After realising he wasn’t cut out to save the world, he started training to be a geeky sidekick by soaking up the contents of Greek mythology and philosophy books.

He has a double bachelor’s degree in media and communications/commerce from the University of Melbourne and a graduate diploma in creative media from RMIT University.

One of the highlights of his career was working for a not-for-profit, where he met many undiscovered superheroes. When he’s not working at a publishing house, you’ll find him travelling the world on a food adventure or making big decisions at his local supermarket’s ice-cream freezer.

BEAU CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK & HIS WEBSITE.

 

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

Pagan Malcolm: Guest Post

The Inspiration Behind Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert

Written by Pagan Malcolm

Pagan is the author of Stuck on Vacation With Ryan Rupert (Ryan Rupert Series) and Lanterns in the Sky (Starlight Chronicles Series).

I was inspired to write Stuck On Vacation With Ryan Rupert—a YA contemporary suspense novel—while on vacation with my friend back in Grade 9 (so I was roughly 14 at the time).

Like many young teenagers exploring the new, exciting world of being a teenager, having relationships, and growing into maturity, I was really wrapped up in the concept of romance and getting my first boyfriend. It just so happened that at the time I really liked this one guy (I thought he was cute, and that was the basis of my crush), but nothing ever happened between us. We had separate classes, there was no force pushing us together at all. So I never acted on it, or really attempted to get to know him. I thought he was way out of my league and he would never date someone like me anyway. But the fantasy was still nice, and as a creative, fantasies are something I always hold onto.

So as I mentioned above, at the end of Grade 9, I was invited by my best friend (at the time) to join her family on their vacation to Daydream Island. I’d been there before, it was very nice there, but I’d never stayed for a week, and even to this day I really value my privacy when it comes to sharing rooms. If at all possible, I like to stay with close friends or just by myself, so it was already uncomfortable to me that I had to share the room with my friend, her dad, and his girlfriend.

But my mum had raised me to be grateful and the trip had been paid for me, so of course, I didn’t turn it down or complain.

Another fun fact about me is that I really dislike the ocean and swimming in general—I was never a strong swimmer growing up and I hate being cold, so the appeal of going for a dip in the sea wears off pretty quickly once my legs get tired and I start shivering. And while on this island, I found that there weren’t many activities to be doing that didn’t require going into water, so I was quite bored sitting around at the pools and such. It wasn’t exactly hellish or a nightmare, but it was far from ‘fun’, to my personal standards anyway.

While sitting there, daydreaming, I came up with this idea. Just a thought—a funny thought at the time, as I imagined how weird and amusing it would be if I ran into my crush while stuck on this island. In my teenage fantasy, it would give us an opportunity to get to know each other better (with the ideal outcome being a sometime romance).

Of course, that was never going to happen, but slowly, I started to piece this story idea together about a girl with a mortal enemy (based on my crush) who is forced to come to this island paradise. I gave her an exaggerated fear of the sea, which helped create the same kind of conflicts I’d been facing. The concept was perfect!

Two people who hate each other stuck in an island paradise with no choice but to get along (as they were forced to share a room), or tear each other apart.

Not to mention that one is a coward when it comes to the ocean, and the other is adventurous, egotistical prankster who torments the main character at every opportunity he has.

By the end of the trip, I was itching to get the story down on paper, and I spent an entire week straight just binge writing the book. I rocked up to school on Monday to start the new term and dumped a manuscript at my friend’s table.

While the inspiration is a little weird, looking back, I don’t regret it. Maybe one day that guy will find out Ryan Rupert is based off of him (or at least, how I’d imagined him to be), but to be honest, I think I prefer my fantasy as just a fantasy. I get to have a lot more fun with it that way—like adding random psychopaths with a mysterious past to the mix, and creating a completely unique and adorable couple who always seem to captivate my readers.

My fantasy was just a fantasy, but my story is for everyone to read and enjoy.


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Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert: There’s Trouble in Paradise by P S Malcolm

Aubany Winters’ life soon becomes a nightmare when her mum gets cancer and has to leave for California with her dad. Left with her neighbours, the Ruperts, and to her displeasure, their son Ryan, she finds herself forced to tag along on their family vacation to Nula Island. There’s just a few problems, like her fear of the ocean, her and Ryan’s mutual hatred for each other, and the psycho girl who is trying to kill them. Will Aubany overcome her fears? Will she and Ryan ever stop hating each other? Or will their flaws and disagreements lead them right into the enemy’s hands?


P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland— a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.

For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online— one specializing in children’s fiction and publishing. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.

In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom— which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.

Pagan is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic. She keeps a well-stocked tea collection, and one of her favourite past times is rocking up to a cozy teashop in a worn pair of jeans and writing a few pages of prose. If the ‘florals’ weren’t a dead giveaway, she’s a proud Hufflepuff and is crazy about the colour yellow.

Pagan also enjoys reading— particularly fantasy and paranormal— and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe.

Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.

Pagan’s Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website & Blog | Goodreads

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