The Golden Slate: Review

36326764. sy475 Battledoors: The Golden Slate
by Brian Wilkinson
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publication: April 3rd 2018
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Source: Review copy from the publisher – Thank You
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Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵

Life constantly seems to be wavering between really good and really bad for Owen, a lonely sixteen-year-old still reeling from the unexpected death of his mother and a fresh move to Toronto. After ducking into an old bookstore to escape high school bullies, Owen discovers that he can travel to a parallel, twisted version of the city with a magical tablet called a Battledoor, where he encounters new allies, bizarre creatures, and the ultimate antagonist who will stop at nothing to procure the magical Golden Slate for himself.

Forced to work together with friends and enemies in order to return home, Owen is faced with a series of choices that will prompt him to find courage he never knew he had, explore the possibility of romance, and try to find a way to let go of his painful past and move on. But is Owen ready to finally take control, and become the protagonist of his own story?

Find Brian on his Website | Twitter | Instagram 


I first started reading this book in January 2018 when I received an eARC to read and review. I gave up reading it the first time around because I couldn’t stand the character of James. I really liked the sound of the book and the main character Owen was a sweetheart, so rather than just DNF the book, I put it back on my TBR to try again at a later time – In my head, I was thinking later in the year (2018). Oops, here we are over two years later. BUT It was worth the wait as I ended up enjoying the book enough to be tempted to purchase the second book to see how things turn out for Owen and his friends.

When we first meet 16-year-old Owen he is emotionally exhausted and lonely, fed up with the hustle and bustle of his new city and the bullying at his new school. Owen spends most of his days trying to blend in and be invisible, while morning the loss of his mother. More characters join the story quite early on, with love interest Emily and her friend Bea, and bullies James and Lucas. After only a few chapters the teens are all thrown into the chaos of another world together. Que giants wanting to boil them in brews, evil fairies wanting to eat their skins and helpful strangers who appear to straight out of the eighteen-hundreds.

This book gives off major Never-Ending Story and Jumanji vibes and that part I loved. For the most part, it read as an MG adventure book, but then there were moments (mainly surrounding James) that were darker and sat more in YA territory.
I will say that the character of James is a psychopath that needs medical intervention and I found that the moments focusing on him detracted from my enjoyment. I think the author was trying for a Draco Malfoy moment, but the thing with Malfoy is that he’s not truly evil. James just came off as a serial killer in the making.

Battledoors #1, The Golden Slate, for the most part is world-building and getting to know the characters, which I did find enjoyable to read. We don’t meet the antagonist, the big bad guy, until later in the story – Then the story ends on a cliffhanger. And you need to go out and grab Battledoors #2, The Black Spyre, just to see what the outcome is. Argh, Cliffhangers!!
I think this book is best suited to younger YA readers who are into adventure stories but be prepared that they might be requesting the second book immediately after finishing the first.

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

Enshrine: YA Review

35378501. sx318 Enshrine by Kay Bennson
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Publication: June 4th, 2017
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Source: Review copy from YA Bound Book Tours – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵

When Sage Wolfe is accidentally mistaken for a peace offering, her world turns upside down. Dayton, the young, handsome, and insane King of Rosementh whisks her away to his castle to be his bride with the promise that he can give her the world and anything she desires. These offers becoming tainted as Dayton’s true colors show themselves; he is cruel and violent and Sage vows to run away or die trying.

Just when Sage thinks she is hitting rock bottom, a hooded stranger named Jonathan Kreider comes to the castle. He doesn’t say much but his actions speak for themselves. Not only can he wield a sword or shoot an arrow better than most of Dayton’s men, but he always seems to be a step behind Sage, and though it should terrify her, for the first time Sage finds herself filling with hope.

Sage is faced with a choice. Should she run away from the wicked king who took her away from her family? Or should she stay to learn more about the man who lurks in the shadows, the man that makes her heart race and almost makes suffering Dayton’s wrath worthwhile? Sage is about to discover that nothing is as it seems and everyone has secrets; Dayton, the man that calls himself Jonathan Kreider, and even herself.

Kay Bennson Links: Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Instagram 


I love it when a book pleasantly surprises me. I signed up to read Enshrine when I saw it in YA Bound’s review call out email late last year. At the time I was in a bit of a mood and thought, I could go for a good old basic love triangle fantasy. That’s not what this ended up being, but back to that a little later. I received the ecopy and then realised it was a 2017 release. It didn’t fill me with hope that the author was still trying to build up reviews a few years down the track. In the end I went into reading this one a little apprehensive, but ended up really enjoying it!! Love it when a book not only beats my expectations, but blows them out of the water.

Firstly, there is no love triangle. Secondly, this book got me hooked and so much more invested in Sage’s life then I expected AND that epilogue! If Kay ever writes a sequel, i’ll be reading it. Thirdly, Sage’s true love interest. Not the piece of crap boy king, but the sexy man muffin warrior that was Jonty (Jonathan). Jonty was a good dude. Okay a little messed up thanks to his daddy and mummy, but a good dude, and fortunately an excellent fighter. He always treated Sage like she was his equal and taught her how to fight and survive on the run. In the end they both ended up saving each other a few times over and fell in love and lived happily ever after.

Now to the piece of crap boy king Dayton, that tried as hard as he could, and almost succeeded in ruining that happily ever after. Dayton was a Ramsay/Joffrey type, so umm… trigger warnings for domestic violence. Thankfully you never saw the darker stuff, it was just hinted at.

All in all this was an extremely enjoyable YA fantasy romance romp. Our heroine goes from being the lowly poor eldest daughter of a war widow, who’s prospects for the future are low and sad in the little village she calls home – to a well traveled sassy ass kicking adventure seeking young woman. And she picks up some arm candy along the way. Way to go Sage!!

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

The Choice: YA Review

47180395. sy475 Guardian, The Choice: Magical Beasts Book One by Geoffrey Saign
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publication: July 14th 2019
Source: Blog tour organized by YA Bound Book Tours
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Rating: ✵✵✵

A demon haunts Samantha Green’s dreams.
And she fears it’s coming for her…

When wildlife prodigy Sam and her crush—quirky handsome Jake—are attacked by a dragon assassin, Sam discovers her secret past. A past connected to a supernatural giant cat and a glowing faerie.

Sam is quickly pulled into a high stakes battle for the world. Everyone, including a creepy ancient villain, wants her supernatural staff, which she doesn’t know how to use. Sophisticated ninja dragons, a kong-sized gorilla, and mysterious beasts offer help—but are they friends or enemies? Sam has a big heart, but will her love for all creatures tear her life apart?

To survive the hardest choice she’s ever made, Sam will have to unlock the hidden power inside her.

Ready or not, Sam is about to find out if she has what it takes to be a guardian…

Guardian: The Choice is the new exciting start of a magic-filled fantasy four book series starring a powerful heroine, a tough brawny hero, and a slew of not-so-friendly magical beasts.

A fantasy thriller series loved by readers of all ages that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.


The Choice is the first book in the Magical Beasts series. The story follows 17-yr-old besties Sam and Jake, told through Sam’s POV.

Sam and Jake are both suffering from strange dreams and day visions, when they are attacked out in the wilderness on Sam’s family’s wildlife Sanctuary, by what appears to be an extremely oversized Komodo Dragon that can talk. Then a special military branch, a tactical squad called VIPER, turns up and things only get worse.

Sam and Jake struggle to grasp what is a happening as it becomes apparent someone, or something has modified their memories. VIPER has footage of them fighting alongside and with extremely and abnormally large animals, but they have no recollection of the event.

From one battle to the next, this story has the main characters in constant turmoil. Oh, these poor darn kids were so confused with who to trust the entire time. This story is a high speed roller-coaster.

With family and friends lives in danger, not to mention the fate of two whole worlds, Sam and Jake have no choice but to figure out what’s going on, who they should trust and who they should be helping – and fast.

I enjoyed the world Saign has created and really liked the animals and their way of controlling energy. POV Sam was easily likable, but Jake got on my nerves at bit. I think that the characters worked well as a friendship, but I didn’t feel any real romantic tension between them, not that that was a problem really, as there was so much else going on in the book. 


About the Author:
Award-winning author Geoffrey Saign has spent many years studying kung fu and sailed all over the South Pacific and Caribbean. He uses that experience and sense of adventure to write the Jack Steel and Alex Sight thriller action series.

Geoff’s love of wildlife led him to write the award-winning fantasy series, Magical Beasts. He is also the author of a stress reduction book, and Green Essentials which won national recognition. Geoff has a degree in biology and has assisted in field research on hummingbirds and humpback whales. For decades he has taught challenged adults and children everything from sailing to self-awareness and novel writing.

Geoff loves to sail big boats, hike, and cook—and he infuses all his writing with his passion for nature. As a swimmer, he considers himself blessed to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota.

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

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

Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

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Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemp/Paranormal
Publication: May 29th, 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Thank you TEXT
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.

Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Damn, what can I say to get you to read this book without giving it all way. – The only thing that disappoints me about this book is that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time!

I felt a connection to the protagonist, Grace almost immediately. You only make it to the third page before she tells you of her mother’s death. Grace’s hides her grief and dark inner thoughts from everyone around her, behind the shield of being her school’s resident joker and daredevil.

An incident late one night, during one of her daredevil stunts, leaves Grace questioning her sanity. Grace struggles keep a grip on her normal day to day life resulting in her relationships with her friends and family becoming strained, this then pushes her to keep dangerous secrets and go off on her own. Grace is compelled, seemly to her by an outside force, to Investigate a twenty-year-old mystery. The disappearance of a local girl named Hannah. Investigating Hannah’s disappearance leads her to discover secrets about two other local’s deaths, one being her own mothers.

This is a brilliant bloody book. The tale Grace has to tell is deliciously dark and spine tingling. The story’s pace and flow are fantastic. A thrilling murder mystery with some seriously creepy scenes. The story explores grief, belief in the paranormal, family, friendship, mental illness and criminal redemption. 5/5 a #LoveOzYA must read.


Links: Vikki’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Mad girl on Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

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

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.

When Dimple Met Rishi: YA Review

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Genre: YA Romance

Publication: May 30th 2017

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Source: Review Copy via NetGalley -Thank you-

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My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The arranged-marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed…

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a frothy, funny contemporary romance set at a coding convention in San Francisco over one exciting summer. Told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists, Dimple is fighting her family traditions while Rishi couldn’t be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents. Could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?


Oh, what awkward wonderfulness this story was. I’m still recovering from the warm and fuzzy overload.

Dimple is quite stubborn and has an intense desire to be free – free of other people’s expectations.

Rishi feels his purpose in life is to please his parents.

Dimple is super excited to be out on her own attending a six-week coding workshop and has no idea her parents have set her up.

Rishi is super excited that he may be potentially meeting his future wife and will be getting the chance to get to know her during the six-week coding workshop they will be attending.

Cue hilarious meet cute that involves Dimple assaulting Rishi with an iced coffee. Wait… I don’t think I can put the words meet cute and assault together in a sentence. Hmm… was it assault… Nar self-defence, she thought he was crazy at the time.

There are bits of humour sprinkled all through this love story about juggling parental expectations, standing up for yourself, following your dreams and arranged marriages. I actually loved the positive examples of arranged marriage, as on my side of the world they can tend to be portrayed in a negative light.

Dimple and Rishi click with each other early on, but Dimple tries and *spoiler* fails to fight it. Yeah so maybe your parents did know what they were doing, hey Dimple!

My inner teenager found Dimple fairly relatable and immediately fell for Rishi. Rishi he is kind, funny, brave, intelligent and talented – it’s impossible not to fall for him, duh.

All in all, it is a cute and quick read that I’d happily read again.


Menon’s Twitter | Website | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository 

New Release Q&A with Lauren James

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren James – Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. What is your favourite book?

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

  1. What authors have influenced your writing?

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

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

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

  1. What book do you wish you had written?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Would you go into space if you could?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stealing Liberty: Blog Tour

Title: Stealing Liberty

Author: Jennifer Froelich

Genre: Young Adult

A heist so monumental, it may cost them everything… When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him.

 But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, they begin to question what they are taught about the last days of America and the government that has risen in its place.   Then the government decides to sell the Liberty Bell and Reed and his friends risk everything to steal it – to take back their history and the liberty that has been stolen from them (Stealing Liberty/Clean Reads).

Excerpt
My escort pushes me. “Pick up the pace, kid.” I stumble on a sharp rock and cut my toe. It hurts more than it should and I pull up to face him, fists curled at my side. I’ve grown about a foot since my sixteenth birthday, which means I can stare him down, eye to eye. He just smirks.  How about I smash your nose?  For a minute the urge is so powerful, my pulse pounds against my throat and red spots blur my vision. Don’t do anything stupid, Reed. Pick your battles. The voice in my head is my dad’s, so I listen. We climb aboard a rusty hybrid bus parked in front of the bombed-out terminal. “Welcome,” says the autopilot. It’s one of the retro models, formed like a human, with LED eyes and everything. When magnetic tracks were first installed, citizens didn’t trust computers to maneuver vehicles safely along roadways. At least that’s what my grandmother told me. Humanoid pilots were designed to make them feel safer.  Pretty soon, people had more important things to worry about.  My escort takes a seat behind the pilot, but I keep going. Only one other passenger is on the bus — a girl with long blond hair who sits in the fifth row, pressed against the window. Bruises swell on her left cheekbone and along her jaw. Her lip is crusted with blood and her right eyelid is swollen shut. Nausea washes over me, along with fresh anger.  “Sit!” our escort barks.  The girl flinches. I take a seat across from her and shift toward the window. The door squeaks closed and the bus lurches forward. We travel on an old freeway so desolate, we don’t encounter a single other transport. I wish I was calm enough to sleep — so numb to the government’s strong-arm tactics, they no longer get to me. Instead I stare past the landscape and try not to shake. Try not to relive my nightmare or think about how it felt to wake up with a gun to my head. I imagine a different outcome. Fighting back — or breaking out of the state home before they showed up. If only.


About the Author

Jennifer Froelich published her debut novel, Dream of Me, in late 2011, which reviewers praised as “well-orchestrated with outstanding imagery.” Her second novel, A Place Between Breaths, published in 2014, was called “a roller-coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep everyone interested” and won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 23rd Annual Self Published Book competition. Jennifer is a frequent contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul.  A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jennifer worked for many years as a freelance editor and writer before publishing her own work. She lives in beautiful Idaho with her husband, two teenage kids, and a rescue cat named Katniss.

Links Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

Deathly Unloved: Blog Tour

Title: Deathly Unloved

Author: Annee Cooper

Genre: YA LGBT paranormal romance

Being raised as a nephilim has its drawbacks when you’re only quarter angel. Now it’s getting dangerous.

Rune’s always known about the angel blood that runs through her veins. A gift—or a curse—from her halfling mother. She thinks she knows who she is. She’s wrong. After a kiss with a stranger completes a sacred ritual, she’s forced to accept the other side of her heritage. And the lust for souls that comes with it. Now this gorgeous seductress is on a hunt to find others like her and discover the truth about her past. But with her hunger growing insatiable, does she have more to worry about than making friends?

 * *  *   Excerpt   *  * *

“If I leave, will you kiss him? Or any other humans?” the boy asked.

“I didn’t plan on kissing anything that wasn’t human, but if a cute angel comes along I might change my mind.” Rune gave him a cheeky smile.

He made a face and clenched his hands. With a loud sigh and a stomp of his boot, he reached for her hand. Rune glared at him, but her face softened when she saw how pained his expression was. She didn’t back off when he moved closer.

“We don’t even know each other,” he mumbled. His fingers brushed her cheek, then her lips as he searched her eyes. “Say it’s all right.”

Strangely, she wasn’t uncomfortable with the idea. This guy was possibly the first ethereal her age she’d come across. He might be a little curt, but he was also gorgeous, and his touch felt welcome on her skin.

Unable to keep herself from eyeing his mouth, the desire to kiss him turned to an ache.

“Yes.” She inhaled a ragged breath and her hands slithered around his neck, her fingers winding themselves in his hair. “I’m shaking,” she said, still fixated on his lips.

“Me too. It’s because we should have already done this at our age. It’ll be more intense be—”

“Shh.” She finished the sound by pressing her lips into his.

The gentle start became a heated wrestle of hot mouths. Rune drew him deeper and he pulled her tight against his body. Her nerves screamed at her.

More.

Rune lost all sense of being separate. Her spirit welcomed him, opening up to expose her essence. A sweet, icy fire burned through her mouth into her body, igniting her cells and quenching a fierce thirst. It felt like she was inhaling menthol and liquid sugar straight into her veins. The energy between them slowed to a stop and they broke apart, instantly back in reality. Rune fell against the wall, breathless and dazed with shock. Her back felt all tingly, a cold sort of tickle that raced across her skin. The boy didn’t look so harmless now. The whites of his eyes had been completely swallowed by black. All that was left of his irises was a thin ring.

“When they said intense I never thought…” He leaned heavily on the hall table.

“Your eyes,” Rune said in a fragile voice.

“They’ll change back.”

Still trembling, Rune slid down the wall to the floor. That was not what kissing was supposed to be like. She was obviously delirious. Someone must have spiked the vodka. That or this house had a serious hallucinogenic mould problem.

Counting to D: YA Review

18518158Counting to D by Kate Scott
Paperback, 227 pages
First published January 28th 2014 by Elliott Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Eliott
Add to Goodreads
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A contemporary young adult novel about a bright dyslexic teen struggling to find her place in a literate world. Counting to D is sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled with learning disabilities, young love, or just being a teen!

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

My Thoughts

 Counting to D is the uplifting tale of dyslexic teen Samantha Wilson. The story follows Sam as she moves interstate, meaning a new school and leaving behind the most important things to her in the whole world, her friends, Arden and Gabby. She makes new friends easily enough, but then battles her self-doubts as to how much of her true self she is willing to show them.

The author Kate Scott was diagnosed with Dyslexia as a young child and it shows in the depth of Sam’s character. She feels real. Her struggles feel real and her coping mechanisms are explained in detail. Sam is easily likeable and you can’t help but root for her.

While the story is rather light and fluffy it touches on a lot of extremely important topics beautifully; friendship, peer pressure, social norms, social acceptance, learning disabilities, self-worth, first times and first loves (just to name a few). It is a heart-warming, fun and fast read. I got to the end of the story and wished there was more. I would have happily kept on reading about Sam’s life.

Counting to D was Kate’s debut Novel, she has since gone on to write a second The Evolution of Emily, which set in the same high school and yes Sam is in it as a supporting character. I’m really looking forward to reading it as well.


Kate Scott: Goodreads | Twitter

Buy Links: Amazon AU | Amazon US | Bookdepository | Booktopia