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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
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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
The man yanked Harley up from her seat, still keeping the gun on her, and pulled her across the hall, kicking open the door where Caelum was being held.
He was being held still by two men, while the one woman held a silver blade to his throat. The third man had a gun pulled on him from the corner of the room. His wrists were bright red, as was the area of his neck where the blade touched. The silver was burning him. They had figured out he was a shapeshifter.
“What are you waiting for? Kill him!” the man holding her commanded.
Everything after seemed to happen in slow motion. The woman dug the tip of the blade into his throat and moved it downward, obviously to stab his heart and kill him. Caelum gasped and closed his eyes, absolutely helpless. He looked ready to swoon from the pain.
Harley’s body began to tingle from head to toe as her magic blossomed within her, hot and angry and ready to strike as though it was a living thing.
The man holding her let go abruptly, as her magic burnt him, eyes wide as he stared at her.
She paid him no mind, however. Her eyes, and her heart, were on Caelum.
“No!” she cried, and at her word, as though it was a command, her magic seemed to break free, uncontrolled and harsh. The cuffs holding her snapped apart and fell to the ground with multiple clinks while her green magic flew out, attacking every single human in the room. As if it were a wave, it dispersed, knocking all six humans into the walls. Now not held up by anyone, Caelum fell in a heap to the ground, blood slowly dripping from his wounds.
No longer shaking and filled with brimming magic, Harley rushed forward, not checking on a single human. She kicked the knife out of the way and felt for a pulse on Caelum. It was there, they hadn’t reached his heart yet when her magic had stopped them.
“Caelum,” she whispered, feeling her hand tremble as she held her palm over his wounds. “Plaga reparo,” she cast over and over, until he was no longer leaking blood. Without saying a word, her magic went out on its own once more and shattered the handcuffs so that he was no longer burning. Gingerly, she took his hands in hers and healed the round burn marks on his wrists.
People clattered behind her and she leapt up, ready to defend them both if need be. But to her surprise, she saw Director Mancini and three other agents from the PID. Judging by the Dark energy, two of those agents were vampires.
“What happened here?” Mancini asked, looking around.
“We found the hunters’ lair,” Harley replied. “I will fill you in later; Caelum needs help. He fainted as they were trying to stab him with a silver blade.”
Mancini went down by Caelum and said, “I believe he’s simply unconscious now, but we will take him back to the PID and get a Medic to look at him. Are you all right?”
“Yes, sir,” Harley said.
“How the Hell did you knock them all out?” one of the other agents asked, nudging one of the hunters with her boot.
“I–” She wasn’t sure what to say. To admit that she didn’t have full control of her magic to the paranormal police was a bad idea.
“Never mind. Are they all alive?” Mancini asked.
“Not this one.” The other vampire agent pointed to the woman who had held the knife to Caelum’s throat. “Her skull’s been shattered.”
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
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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.
Title: Defensive Play
Series: A Boys on the Brink Novella
Author: Jamie Deacon
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Genre: Gay YA Sports Romance
Length: 21,500 words
One glance is all it takes to bring his defences crashing down…
Seventeen-year-old Davey has never made friends easily. Shy, geeky, crippled with social anxiety, he feels isolated from his peers, and only his position as defender for the school football team fills the void of loneliness. On the pitch, his deft footwork has earned him the respect and acceptance of his squad, though at a price. Desperate to hold onto this camaraderie, Davey conceals the truth from everyone, even his own family.
Then, during the annual Brookshire football tournament, his eyes meet those of a rival player across the field and a spark flares between them, one neither boy can deny. Adam is everything Davey longs to be—confident, popular, comfortable with his sexuality. Davey aches to explore their connection, to discover where it might lead, but how can he follow his heart and risk rejection by his teammates, the closest thing to friends he has ever known?
⇒ E X C E R P T ⇐
The rain has stopped. A soft mist hangs in the air, turning the distant streetlights a hazy orange. After the stuffiness of the clubhouse, the night is bitterly cold and I pull on my sweatshirt against the chill. I sit on the steps overlooking the car park, heedless of the damp that seeps through my jeans. Elbows on knees, I rest my chin in my hands and close my eyes, attempting to clear my mind. I don’t want to think anymore. I just want to sit with nothing but the dark and the quiet for company.
I haven’t been hunched there long when the door opens, ejecting a stream of warmth and thumping bass. I glance behind me, although I know who it will be. My body goes still. Adam lets the door swing shut and, just like that, we’re alone.
He doesn’t seem surprised to find me on the steps. Perhaps he saw me leave. Has he followed me? My insides clench. What if Adam thinks I did it deliberately, that I meant to lure him out here. Maybe I had. Maybe, deep down, a part of me hoped Adam might come, even while the rest of me prayed he wouldn’t.
This time, when our gazes connect, there’s no one to see, no football match to act as a buffer. I drink him in. Even in the faint glow filtering through the frosted pane in the door, his eyes are a vivid blue.
“Hey,” Adam says. Such a simple word that expresses so much. There’s recognition there, like we’re childhood friends meeting after years apart, but uncertainty, too. He has a nice voice, I register through my turbulent thoughts—warm and slightly husky.
“Hey.” My reply emerges somewhere between a croak and a squeak. Cringing, I stare down at my feet.
“It’s Davey, right?”
I fling him a startled look. Had this boy—this confident, gorgeous boy—actually gone to the trouble of finding out my name?
One side of Adam’s mouth lifts in a crooked smile. “Well, I had to know who the lunatic was who almost took my leg off.”
“God.” I bury my face in my hands. Of course Adam was going to ask about me after what happened on the pitch. “I’m so sorry.”
He laughs and nudges my thigh with the toe of his trainer. “I’m kidding. Seriously, you did us a favour.”
I dare a peep at him, unable to rid myself of the thought that he has pursued me out here to take the piss. That wouldn’t be anything new, after all.
“It’s true.” Adam crouches on the step beside me, his expression amused but without malice. “Rob warned me about you. He said the rest of your defence was pretty solid, but probably weren’t quick enough to catch me. You were the real threat.”
I grimace. “I’m guessing he wasn’t expecting me to take you out quite so spectacularly, though.”
“Funnily enough, that wasn’t included in the pep talk. Still, I should be thanking you. You made our job a whole lot easier.”
“Don’t remind me. You should’ve heard the guys after the match. I’ll never hear the end of it.”
Adam laughs again, and I can’t hold back a smile. Here I am, having an actual conversation with an amazing-looking boy—a boy who’d caught me checking him out, no less—and I’m not making an ass of myself.
The door behind us bursts open and several guys spill out. I tense, guard raised. Will they think it odd us sitting out here alone? I scan their faces, but none are from Farnstead. A moment later, they barrel down the steps without giving either of us a second look and head for one of the cars parked nearby.
As they pile in and the engine growls to life, I exhale, shoulders slumping. I can feel Adam studying me and keep my gaze lowered.
“You’re not out,” he says, “are you?”
“What?” My entire body goes rigid. He knows. I’d already guessed as much, but suspecting it is one thing; being confronted with the indisputable truth sends me spiralling back into panic mode. Why had he really followed me out here? I’d thought…been sure I’d read something in his eyes when they locked with mine, but what if I’m wrong? Do I truly believe someone like Adam, someone popular and self-assured, would have sought me out? Unless…
I see again the Brookminster players in their huddle, sniggering, moments after Adam caught me staring. I’d reassured myself they weren’t laughing about me, but perhaps my fears had been well founded. The cold certainty settles like a snowball in my gut. I’d given myself away, and now the other lads have sent Adam out here to chat me up, trick me into an admission I won’t be able to take back. For all I know, his mates are somewhere close by as we speak, listening in.
“Hey.” Adam extends his palms in what is probably supposed to be a calming gesture. “It’s all right. I know and it’s all right.”
“You don’t know anything,” I snap. The instinct for self-preservation, to keep my protective wall intact at any cost, propels me to my feet. “You hear me? You don’t know anything about me.”
Before he can respond, I’m down the steps and sprinting into the darkness, phone already out to call my parents. All I want is to go home, crawl into bed, and forget today ever happened.
⇒ Purchase Your Copy! ⇐
Kindle UK | Kindle US | Nook | Apple Books | Kobo
Smashwords | Beaten Track Publishing
⇒ About Jamie Deacon ⇐
Jamie lives in a tranquil spot close to the River Thames in Berkshire, England, and has always been just a little out of place—the only redhead in a family of brunettes; an introvert far more at ease with dogs than with people; a connoisseur of simple pleasures in a society intent on the quest for wealth and fame. Despite an outward cynicism, Jamie is a romantic at heart, and, when not immersed in a book, can mostly be found writing emotional stories where young men from all walks of life are forced to navigate the sometimes painful reality of growing up, coming out, and falling in love.
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
⇒ G I V E A W A Y ⇐
To celebrate the release of Defensive Play, Jamie Deacon is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open to entrants world wide, and closes at midnight EST on Friday December 7, 2018.
Good luck! [ENTER HERE]
The Girl Who Fell (The Chess Raven Chronicles #1) by Violet Grace
Publication: September 3rd 2018
Publisher: Nero (an imprint of Black Inc.)
Source: Review copy from Publisher
– Thank you Nero
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The first book in a thrilling fantasy series about a girl who learns to embrace her inner power.
Chess Raven is a hacker who has grown up with nothing and no one. Her parents died when she was three and her foster care situation turned out badly – very badly. But on her sixteenth birthday, her life is turned upside down.
Chess learns her mother was Queen of the Fae and her father was a brilliant physicist. The unique blend of her mother’s fairy blood and her father’s humanity gives Chess – and Chess alone – the ability to unlock a mysterious vessel that will unleash unimagined powers – with devastating consequences. Thrown into a new world where nothing is at it seems, Chess must work out who to trust as vying forces race to control her. Or kill her.
Reunited with her childhood friend Tom Williams, an enigmatic shape-shifting unicorn, Chess discovers love for the first time and is prepared to risk her life for it. But first she must learn to overcome a fear of her own power and stop waiting for other people to save her. She is the one she’s been waiting for.
Chess is an orphan with no real knowledge of her parents. She spends her childhood a victim of a set of foul foster parents. The daughter of a brilliant human physicist and a rebellious Fae queen, Chess grows up not knowing of the royal Fae blood hiding in her veins or her ability to tap into it.
On Chess’s sixteen birthday she is attacked by what I can only describe as Zombie Fairies and that is when the story really begins. What comes next is a whirlwind adventure of Chess finding out about who she is, who she can and can’t trust, learning to harness her Fae abilities and getting to know a spunky unicorn shifter.
The world building is detailed and really had that whole Urban Fantasy thing going for it.
I got a mutant marvel x-man meets disney princess vibe from Chess (which i liked) and I did find myself connecting with, and liking her chararter.
For the most part this book feels like it’s aimed at the younger side of the YA market, but that in no way means that older readers won’t enjoy it.
Conclusion: It is a simple, fast and fun read. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the second book, in which the blurb intrigues me even more than the first.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Fae, Parallel Realms, Rags to Riches fairy tales and Unicorn soldiers.
Bound by an ancient prophecy, freed by love.
Mages have lived by a prophecy that states that once there are two mage houses left, one must kill the other to maintain a magical balance. But the prophecy is disrupted when a new mage is revealed and begins killing everyone in his path.
Simon Moonspell and Tobias Bloodworth, the last two mages of the ancient houses, must put their animosity aside in order to stop this new mage and fulfill the prophecy. However, when their hatred slowly turns to love, can they remain impartial or will they be forced to battle to the death?
In 73 pages Bloodspell give us; high action magical battle scenes, a prophecy foretold and solved, an evil villain defeated, and some fiery M/M BDSM sex scenes.
Two school yard enemies, mages Tobias and Simon, put aside their “ish” to work together to defeat a common foe, an evil villain by the name of Thornhill, who means corrupt and consume all the worlds magic.
There is a lot of story in so few pages. I would have loved more pages so that the characters relationship could have been more fleshed out. And I would have happily read a full-length book about Tobias and Simon falling in love and defeating baddies together.
This is an ADULTS ONLY tale and one not for the faint hearted or small minded. BUT if you’re brave enough BLOODSPELL will give you a hot and steamy roller-coaster ride that’s sure to entertain.
BUY NOW for #99c or read #FREE on #KindleUnlimited HERE
Join the release party and win prizes HERE
Add the book on Goodreads HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula. She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.
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Never Again by Lily Luchesi
Genre: blended fiction; paranormal-historical-horror (MA15+)
Publication: December 2nd 2017
Publisher: Vamptasy Publishing
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank You Lily
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My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign.
In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracized from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.
But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?
I finished reading Never Again and pondered the book producing powerhouse that is Lily Luchesi. I think Never Again is my favourite book of hers to date and i’ve read quite a few since coming across her looking for reviewers for Stake-Out (PDS#1) in a goodreads request group. It feels like forever but when I looked it up it was actually early 2015. Damn Girl, you have bled out a phenomenal amount of words in the last three years. I’ve enjoyed Lily’s writing from the beginning, but it feels as if she’s found her rhythm, her knack and she’s grown confident and is owning her style now.
Lily has really outdone herself this time with Never Again. The writing is strong and confident, the story compelling, a blend of paranormal and real world historical events.
There is swearing. There are some extremely deplorable and violent bad guys (obviously as a large chunk of the book features war). As well as post-traumatic stress disorder being explored in detail. But there is also love and hope to balance out the hate and despair.
The story’s sole protagonist is Sean, a 526-year-old male siren who originated in Israel. Thanks to his slowed siren aging process for the most part of the story he only looks like he’s aged between 20 to 40.
526 years – does he have a story to tell? You bet he does. His life story. 526 years, experiencing ancient Israel, the Ottoman Empire, the Tudors, the Nazis and modern rock and roll. Sean is, despite his species and the fact he regularly refers to himself as an asshole, a good guy and a war hero.
So yes this is a Paranormal Detectives Series Spin-off and if you’ve read any of the PSD books you’ll recognise a fair few characters and locations. But if you haven’t that’s okay, this this is a stand alone and a great way to get a feel for Lily’s writing style.
Lily’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Eight Days on Planet Earth
by Cat Jordan
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release date: November 7th 2017
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 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 – 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.