Category Archives: blog tour

Blog Tour: Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: 2 February 2021
Australian RRP: $16.99

Humans are about to leave footprints on the moon, but what sort of mark can one girl make here on earth?

It’s 1969 and life is changing fast. Sharnie Burley is starting high school and finding it tough to make new friends. As the world waits to see if humans will land on the moon, the Vietnam War rages overseas. While her little cousin, Lewis, makes pretend moon boots, young men are being called up to fight, sometimes without having any choice in the matter. Sometimes without ever coming home.

Dad thinks serving your country in a war is honourable, but when Sharnie’s older sister, Cas, meets a returned soldier and starts getting involved in anti-war protests, a rift in their family begins to show. Sharnie would usually turn to her grandma for support, but lately Gran’s been forgetting things.

Can she find her own way in this brave new world?

Buy at:  booktopia  |  Dymocks  | A&R  | QBD

My Blurb (5/5 stars)

How can we look up

and touch the moon,

when we don’t know how

to look across to our neighbours

to listen and take note

of their opinions?

I had no idea that this book was in verse until I crack open to the first page. And I’m always surprised by just how much an author can get across with so little words. Well, if you’ve been reading my review, you know I cry a lot – that’s usually an indication of how much a book got to me. Did I cry in this one? Gosh, yes, I found it hard to hold my tears at bay for the last 20 pages. Oh, um, my 11 yo also predicted that I’d cry lol

Footprints on the Moon is set in 1969, in an Australian town. Sharnie Burley is finding that life is changing and moving in an unknown direction. As she struggles to find her own direction for life, she turns to her grandmother for advice. And later on, she finds wisdom in her sister and a friend. Meanwhile, the world at large did not stop. Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon and the Vietnam War is dividing friends & families.

A beautiful coming-of-age story where we not only see the protagonist finding her feet but also her unique voice. The author was woven world’s events quite seamlessly into the lives of these characters and while they are not a direct participants, that did not stop them from leaving their own marks in the world. A great discussion starter to get the young ones involved in current affairs and/or how to voice ones opinions.

Thanks to University of Queensland Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Lorraine Marwood was born and raised in rural Victoria and has lived for most of her married life on a dairy farm with her husband and their six children. Lorraine is an award-winning poet who has been widely published in literary magazines across Australia, as well as magazines in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada. She has also published several children’s novels and collections of poetry.

 

Find Lorraine on: goodreads  |  website  | facebook  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: 2 February 2021
Australian RRP: $24.99

A gifted student, Nia longs to attend high school so she can follow her dream and become a writer. She has notebooks filled with stories she’s created about the mythological Dewi Kadita, Princess of the Southern Sea. But her family has barely enough money for food, let alone an education, so Nia’s days are spent running their food cart and raising her younger brother.

Following a miraculous escape from a bus accident, Nia is gifted with good-luck magic. Or at least that’s what everyone’s saying. Soon their family business is booming and there might even be enough money to return to school. But how long can her good luck last?

When a secret promise threatens everything she’s hoped for, Nia must find a way to break the mould and write her own future.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  Dymocks  | A&R  | QBD

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

A beautiful eye-catching cover but the thing that the book called to me about is its setting. It is set in Jakarta (capital of Indonesia) which was where I was born. I also spent my first 15 years there so I am mostly excited in being able to reminisce about my childhood and maybe also to be able to share with my own children, what it was like.

I am embarrassed to admit that I’m not familiar with this particular mythology of Dewi Kadita. It is possible though that I’ve just forgotten a lot of the stories as I have spent more years living in Australia than Indonesia. However, the way these stories are told in the book sound just like they would be told except, of course, in a different language.

Nia is certainly a strong character and she grew to be even stronger, at the end. Her experiences are not to be envied but luckily, she has her own guardian angels. She is definitely a character I can empathise with, even when her naivety nearly brings her to ruins. Her passion for writing and education, her love for her brother, and her diligence are admirable and truly aspiring.

Not all her friends are like Nia, of course. In fact, all her best friend wanted is to buy a new mobile phone and that’s what she’s saving for. She may sound rather shallow from this one sentence but do not underestimate her resourcefulness! Nia’s father is a drunkard and basically useless but there is another older male character for which I’m still scratching my head over as I just don’t understand the different pictures portrayed of him. I’d really like him to be better developed.

My childhood is not at all like Nia’s, the protagonist of this novel, as I’ve been so very blessed in life but I have seen with my own eyes those slums she lives in. I’ve worn the red & white uniform her brother wears to school. I’ve bought & eaten my share of fried bananas and martabak (I’ve introduced my boys to this last delicious dessert and now they’d fight me for the last piece!). To me, this novel is a trip through memory lanes and such a wonderful journey as I read this all in a single sitting. I loved it but unfortunately, due to the serious note of this novel, I’ve not been able to get the boys interested. Maybe another time…

Girl of the Southern Sea is a delightful coming-of-age story of a young girl chasing after her dreams. It is a novel which helps you see a little bit of how the other half of the world live and one that encourages all to never never give up.

Thanks to University of Queensland Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Michelle Kadarusman is an Australian-Indonesian children’s author. She grew up in Melbourne and has lived many years throughout Indonesia, and in Canada. Her novels have been nominated for various awards, including the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature. They have also earned numerous honours, including USBBY Outstanding International Book, two Junior Library Guild Selections, and a nomination for the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Fiction Award.

Find Michelle on: goodreads  |  facebook  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Indigo Owl by Charline Archbold

 

Indigo Owl by Charlie Archbold

Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Australian RRP: $24.99

After Earth was destroyed by climate change and overpopulation, private corporations colonised new planets. On one such planet, Galbraith,the fertility of its citizens is tightly controlled. But at what cost?

When Scarlet Bergen leaves her childhood home to be trained at the Arcadia Institute, harnessing her psychic Solitaire talents, it feels like the beginning of her future. But on the Institute steps, her father whispers a life-changing secret about the past. Her mother, a geneticist who disappeared when Scarlet was ten, had enemies …

Scarlet vows to discover the truth about her mother – and is joined in her mission by fellow cadets with their own family secrets and special talents: tech-savvy Rumi, a tenacious truth-hunter, and Dylan, the aloof classmate who can literally read her mind.

Together, they’ll uncover a planet-wide conspiracy … and discover that there’s little the Galbraith Executives won’t do to get what they want.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | A&R  | Wakefield Press

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

Somehow, I have gotten into the habit of not reading the book blurb / description / synopsis before I started reading. I would have read it some time before I decided to get my hands on the book so at one point in time, I wanted to read it, so I’d just jumped in. Therefore, most times I’ve no idea what I got myself in for. And such is the case with Indigo Owl because I didn’t realise that it was set in a different planet and for a while, I was really confused! So that’s the first thing you should know… This book is set on a completely different and very very cold planet called Galbraith.

There are 3 perspectives but Scarlet’s the primary one while Rumi’s & Dylan’s felt like they revolve around her. I guess this is really Scarlet’s story but we do need Rumi’s & Dylan’s help to know what’s happening around Scarlet. This makes me feel that Scarlet is very focused on the one thing (her mother) and so quite blind in her peripheral vision. She could be likeable but I actually prefer Rumi with all her “unbalanced” angle. I must admit though that at the end, they both improved so much! Scarlet could be a good friend but again, I don’t feel that friendship any particularly well with anyone. And I also find the romance a little bit lacklustre.

Indigo Owl was a very easy read with a truly fascinating setting with a sort of low key creepy vibe in the way of The Handmaid’s Tale. With a fast pace and an engaging mystery, it is a captivating read.

Thanks to Wakefield Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Charlie has worked as a primary years educator for many years. She has a Master of Education Degree in Studies of Asia and has spent time teaching in the UK, Australia, and Indonesia. In addition to teaching she has a passion for creative writing. Her new young adult novel is Indigo Owl.

Charlie’s debut young adult novel, Mallee Boys, was the recipient of the 2016 Adelaide Literary Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and was a 2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour book. Her middle grade manuscript, Red Bottomed Boat, was shortlisted for the 2020 Text Prize.

Find Charlie on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson + Giveaway (INT)

Between Wild and Ruin
Jennifer G. Edelson
Publication date: September 28th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Truth, like love, isn’t always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin hidden in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, the town’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears in the forest, Ruby finds herself caught between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own powerful connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where ghosts and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

The novel opens with Ruby Brooks arriving in her new home in a little town in New Mexico. After losing her mother, she and her aunt, Libby, are wanting a change and/or a new start. Ruby doesn’t believe she’s beautiful and she’s built walls around her heart because of something in her past. There’s something in this place though and especially, with Ezra that she begins to hope things could be different here.

I don’t like love triangle or quadrangle or whatever and for some parts of the novel, it just felt like that’s what’s happening. This made it slightly harder for me to read this story. What was interesting though is the history of this place/setting; I don’t know how much of it is real or what inspired the author but it was certainly impressively detailed. In the end, I felt Between Wild & Ruin to be somewhat of a mix of Beauty & the Beast and certain conspiracy theory (I’m being vague because spoilers…). This is the first book of a series and it did feel like such; a lot of setting up which made it felt quite long to read.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $20 Amazon gift card (ends Sep-17)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law, and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people–if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

XBTBanner1

Review: A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier

A Dance With Fate (Warrior Bards #2) by Juliet Marillier

An accident. A forfeit of freedom. A descent into danger.

Liobhan, the young warrior and bard, has lost her brother to the Otherworld. Even more determined to gain a place as an elite fighter, she returns to Swan Island to continue her training. But Liobhan is devastated when her comrade Dau is injured and loses his sight in their final display bout. Blamed by Dau’s family for the accident, she agrees to go to his home, Oakhill, as a bond servant for one year.

But Oakhill is a place of dark secrets. The menacing and enigmatic Crow Folk still threaten both worlds and while Brocc battles them in the Otherworld, Dau must battle his own demon – despair.

When Liobhan and Dau begin to expose the evil at the core of Oakhill, they place themselves in mortal danger. For their enemy wields great power and will stop at nothing to get his way. It will take all the skills of a Swan Island warrior and a touch of the uncanny to give them any hope of survival . . .

Published 28 July 2020 |  Publisher: MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I feel like I’ve waited too long to get back into this world and yet, it was less than a year ago (just!). I re-read The Harp of Kings before I read this just because I wanted my stay in this world to be longer. I loved that Liobhan and Dau grew so much in the first book and was keen to find out where their next journey will take them to.

In The Harp of Kings, we found out that Dau’s childhood was a terribly scary time that nearly drove him to his death. In A Dance With Fate, we see Dau facing his fears and grew to become stronger and wiser but not alone. As always, his loyal friend, Liobhan, is there with him and for him.

A twist of fate saw Dau blinded and his future bleak. And yet that same twist of fate brought Liobhan to be with him to face his blackest fear. Liobhan’s keen sense of justice and deep friendship for Dau cannot see her standing by when she can see Dau will be alone and friendless where he’s going. Yet, at the same time, she would be brought lowest but because who and what she is, there are many who are pulled to her to render aid and support.

I love the deepening friendship between Dau & Liobhan in this book. However, this is Dau’s story more than anything and I loved it even more as he’s developed into such a magnificent man. Brocc is still around and there were a smattering of his POVs in this book. While I find those to be a bit of an annoyance (they broke the main storyline of this book), I do understand that his arc is an overall one for the trilogy and I hope the next book will see him finding what he is looking for.

As always, such a comfort to read Marillier’s and I never wanted to leave. In fact, the book is still sitting on my soon-to-read TBR because I’m contemplating a re-read already. Truly while she does not spare her characters from pain, they grow so beautifully that it’s a comforting to know that whatever it is you’re going through, you’ll be stronger at the end. Her words of wisdom is a balm in this (our) bleak time.

My thanks to MacMillan Australia for having me on this tour and  paperback copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of twenty historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet’s novels and short stories have won many awards. She is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

Find Juliet on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook

Blog Tour: GENES by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Genes (International Sensory Assassin Network #3) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Allegiances will be tested.
Identities will be revealed.
No one is safe.

While searching for the HelixB88 anti-serum on the black market, Ava uncovers valuable intel that may help the rebels in their fight to bring down ISAN—the location of a hidden facility. But first, the insurgents must find the female citizens unexpectedly displaying powers without use of the Helix serum before ISAN captures them.

As the rebels join forces with other sectors, ISAN plans their destruction by using someone they don’t suspect at the rebel home base. A traitor within.

Now, Ava must make a dangerous decision, one that could risk their capture—or worse.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 3 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there may be spoilers of books 1 & 2

GENES picked up right from the end of Helix and if you’re a follower of the series, you’d know that Ava had been impatiently waiting for a certain test result and we find out right at the beginning of this book with an immediate twist to the story. And this sets the tone of the book, many more twists, some kick-ass action, and lots of lovey doveys.

Ava & the rebels continued to find ways to thwart ISAN & Mr Novak but first they needed Brooke to wake up and Gene to cooperate. Gene has completely thrown them off by his very different attitude & personality. Even as he’s kept tightly in isolation and continuous watch, he does not appear to be worried and continue to threaten the safety of the rebels. Ava was a little worried but she’s also got other things to do. The mystery remains, however, just what can Gene do?

A fast paced read with loads of actions and plenty more romance. I love to see Rhett and Ava together though sometimes, I get frustrated because… hello, you’re in the middle of a situation here?! But, as their friends said it, it’s just how they are. The group of friends are just fabulous as ever and growing!! That last sentence-twist at the end of the book was mind boggling BUT *gosh* I’m getting frustrated with Ava too. I do want to find out what’s really going on though so… onto book 4 (hopefully)!

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Jul-09)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / News update

XBTBanner1

Blog Tour: Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey + Giveaway (INT)

Deadly Curious
Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 23rd 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried…

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks—and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case—with the help of a charming young policeman—she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Cindy Anstey is one of my favourite authors so, of course, I just have to read whatever she writes! Her books are usually young adult mystery set in regency period and this is a winner! I love Jane Austen and throw in a mix of YA mystery, it’s like candy to my brain.

Sophia Thompson is an easily likeable heroine. As her family’s social situation has altered, she does not think that she’s eligible for the marriage market anymore. Therefore, she must look to her own future welfare by finding a suitable job/career and she’s settled on becoming a Bow Street Runner because she loves solving puzzles. There isn’t a female Bow Street Runner but she’s sure she can be the first.

Her chance to prove herself comes when her cousin begs her to solve her brother’s murder. When Sophia arrives, she finds that there are sinister workings to hurt her cousin and family. She also finds that Bow Street has sent a young Runner of their own to look into this case. As she and Jeremy, the young detective, put their heads together, they find that they work very well as a team and maybe, also as partners in life.

I was hoping for a romp through the regency period and that’s exactly what I got. The mystery was okay and the romance was sort of cute but I really did enjoy the setting a lot. I just sat back and be entertained for a few hours; Deadly Curious was a candy-floss-fun read.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Book Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of Deadly Curious

(ends Jul-02)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

XBTBanner1

Blog Tour: The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib + Giveaway (INT)

The Dark In-Between
Elizabeth Hrib
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 5th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Action-packed and emotionally powerful like big- and small-screen hits such as The Sixth Sense and Supernatural, The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib is sure to stay with you long after the lights go out.

Something lurks in the shadows between life and death.

A terrible accident brings sixteen-year-old Casey Everett’s life to a halt—literally. Pulled from the water, Casey is rushed to the hospital and miraculously revived. But her sudden return to the living is shadowed by the drowning of her best friend, Liddy.

Overcome with grief, Casey returns home for the summer only to find the memories of the accident won’t let her go. Shadow-drenched nightmares. Whispers in the back of her mind. Her friend’s screams. Casey thinks she’s losing it… until she watches a boy fall from the sky.

Red—an angel fallen to earth to regain his wings—takes her to Limbo, a place that exists somewhere between the living and the dead. Now, in order to save her best friend, Casey must learn to walk these mysterious and dangerous paths or else risk losing Liddy’s trapped soul to something worse than death.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The Dark In-Between is a fast & easy read. It was easy to get into and time really did fly when I was reading this; did not realise it was past midnight by the time I was finished!

The opening scene is a beautiful summer’s day and 2 best friends were having the best of time on water until tragedy struck. Unfortunately, one of them dies and the other had to face life without her. Casey Everett lost her parents some time ago and now, she lost her BFF, Liddy; it feels like no one is safe around her. She also could not stop dreaming of Liddy but unbeknown to her, it is actually Liddy’s soul calling out to her for help. Then comes Red, the fallen angel, her guardian to point the way to the in-between.

Fallen angels. I’m not a fan of this trope but I didn’t particularly mind it too much here. Red provides much wisdom and the dynamics between him and Evan, Casey’s other best friend, is all hilarity. I loved the interaction between Evan an Casey too as they explore the possibility of going from best friend to maybe something more; it was very sweet.

Overall, I enjoyed The Dark In-Between more as a fluffy comfort read. It was just really easy to read and follow and that action at the end was just fantastic. I do have one question which makes me question that even as the book feels like it’s supposed to be a stand alone but that little ‘question’ was left in case of the possibility of a sequel. I’d like to see what that’d be.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Book Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of The Dark In-Between

(ends May-14)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Elizabeth Hrib was born and raised in London, Ontario where she studied nursing at Western University. She now calls the East Coast home, where she works as a nurse in Halifax. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found at the piano, planning her next Netflix binge, or attempting to keep her small, windowsill garden alive.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter

XBTBanner1

Blog Tour: The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

 

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 28 April 2019
Australian RRP: $17.99

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.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | QBD  | Hachette Australia

My Blurb (5/5 stars)

11 year old Winifred Owen-Ricci felt her world shifting once again. There was that big one when her mother died but this year, her 11th year, she felt her world to lose its smoothness and little bumps and lumps are emerging. Just as she has to adjust herself to her father’s new partner and her son moving in, a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees were brought in to a ‘safe haven’ not far from her town. As her life touches those of the refugees’ so begin some little ripples of change but what can an 11 year old girl do to help?

The Year the Maps Changed was such an easy and engaging book to read. I was quickly drawn into Winnie’s (aka Fred’s or Freddo’s) world and fell in love… with her parents. It is heartwarming to see a good parental models in MG fiction though not to say that they are perfect but they try and mostly, they do good. The novel primarily is about a child’s life in a small town as she struggles to fit in into her new blended family.

The novel also dealt with a contemporary issues of refugees. And while it refers specifically to the Kosovar-Albanian ones who came to Australia in 1999, the same issue and concern still exist today in regard to refugees. Even as Winnie is confused about her spot in the family, she and her friends are also curious about the refugees and the reason for the war. Her sympathy engaged, she dared to put out a helping hand.

I got my 10 year old boy to read this too but unfortunately, it failed to engage him. He does not think himself as a reader and when he does read, he prefers books with the typical boy humour (a very narrow preference). He thinks it is boring because it’s just about everyday life where nothing really happens. He has been very fortunate in having grown up in a rather traditional family structure, I think, that he lacks the appreciation how much a struggle ‘everyday life’ could be when your family structure & dynamics change. From my perspective (I grew up with older half siblings), this novel has dealt with this issue sensitively and provided a lovely broad perspective of just how it could all work.

Life, as we all know, is never a smooth ride. Just as you think to switch the cruise control on, there’s a turn or a bump coming up and you’ll have to navigate manually. In The Year the Maps Changed, Winnie’s world (aka map) was changing and expanding with additional turns, cracks, and bumps. Changes come in all forms and many different directions; from her life’s centre (her family) to her friends to worldwide concerns. She is learning to negotiate life inside out, growing and expanding herself to adjust to her new world. Beautifully set by Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, The Year the Maps Changed is a new & gorgeous landmark in all readers’ landscapes or it should be!

Thanks to Date a Book, Hachette Australia, & Hachette New Zealand for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer, agent, book blogger and Youth Literature Advocate. In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin, an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+) and was shortlisted in the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. The Year the Maps Changed is Danielle’s debut middle-grade novel coming out with Hachette Australia in 2020.

Find Danielle on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: An Outcast and An Ally by Caitlin Lochner + Giveaway (INT)

An Outcast and an Ally
Caitlin Lochner
(A Soldier and a Liar #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 21st 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Dark secrets and conflicting loyalties abound as four superpowered teens are torn apart by war in Caitlin Lochner’s An Outcast and an Ally, the epic YA sequel to A Soldier and a Liar.

Lai, Jay, Al, and Erik are on the run after the military accuses them of being traitors. Tensions between everyone are high, but they have to stick together if they want to survive. And somehow stop the war that’s now in full swing.

But when Erik returns to the rebels to find answers about his past, Lai, Al, and Jay have no choice but to go to the Order―a peace coalition bent on stopping the rebels and dissolving the enmity between gifted and ungifted. However, the longer the war drags on, the more Lai’s long-kept secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s ever worked for. Sparks fly as the team constantly questions whether they can trust one another and everyone tries to navigate a war that will change everything.

Filled with the same high-stakes superpowered action and complex relationships as A Soldier and A Liar, Caitlin’s first book, An Outcast and an Ally brings this story to a dramatic and satisfying close.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Some time has past since the end of A Soldier and a Liar and we find the four friends still together but fraught with tension. They must decide what to do even as each struggles internally with what they should do. In this book, we are given insights into all 4 friends as chapters alternate between all 4 POVs.

As was seen in the first book, Lai is a strong independent young woman, but she’s even stronger in this one as we see her break but only to surface stronger than before. Jay’s chapters were to me the weakest in this book as he seems only to serve as a little helper (even if his actual role in the Order wasn’t that little) and some sort of romantic interest (I found this even slightly lacking; yes, I wish there was a bit more spark).

Erik’s & Al’s struggles, however, were soul searching ones. All Erik wanted was to regain his memory yet finding out about his past self made him doubt whether that should be his priority in life. While Al’s purpose in life was to avenge her parents, she was derailed by what she actually found out and after all that she and the Order has been through, she begins to question what’s truly important in life?

An Outcast and An Ally is a novel about fighting for justice; it is filled with broken pasts, betrayals, but best of all, friendships and what that means. It is YA dystopian with characters who aren’t overwhelmed with anger and who aren’t afraid to think for themselves. It is a fascinating world despite the twists of betrayals for if one or two are willing to change, there is always hope.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of An Outcast and An Ally

(ends Apr-30)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

I’m a nerd, traveler, and architecture enthusiast who worked as an assistant English teacher in Tokyo for three years before pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida. I love reading and writing anything with magic, adventure, and complex found-family relationships. I can typically be found absorbed in books, games, or manga, or else obsessing over said books, games, and manga.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram

XBTBanner1