Lifelike Book One
Written by Jay Kristoff
Dystopian, Science Fiction, #LoveOzYA
416 Pages
Published May 2018
Thank you to Allen and Unwin Australia
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On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Seventeen year old Eve isn't looking for trouble, she's too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she's on the local gangster's wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she's discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she's ever had a worse day, Eve can't remember it.

The problem is, Eve has had a worse day, one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel, called a 'Lifelike' because they resemble humans, will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie.

With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves... And learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.
Once known as Kalifornya, now a desolate wasteland of recycled technology and radiation, decimated by conflict. Scavenging among the ruins, Eve Carpenter continues to endure the loss of her family, incarcerated by the authorities and slain while the seventeen year old was extradited by her grandfather. In an emerging world evolved by technology, human life is a commodity within the dystopic environment inciting syndicate violence. Eve is an intelligent and tenacious young woman, now caring for her elderly grandfather amongst the destruction, a cancer patient exposed to radiation.

The Three Laws of Robotics once constrained artificially intelligent automations to perpetuate human lives, now rogue and resolute in achieving freedom from human oppression and servitude. Among the fragments lies a fractured Lifelike, a young male android and harbinger of truth. Accompanying Eve on her journey of identity and discovery is a multifarious contingent of reinforcements.

Stronger together. Together forever.

Fifteen year old Lemon Fresh is a valiant and tenacious orphan, abandoned as an infant, now colleagues within the gladiatorial amphitheatre creating an enduring friendship and familial alliance. Created with recycled fragments, Cricket is perceptive and conscious of his physical environment. Accompanied by blitzhund Kaiser, they make a formidable contingent and compelling aspect of the narrative. Eve is an anomaly accused of deactivating technology through technokenesis. Lifelike android Ezekiel is attractive but importantly, appreciates the gravity of their challenge. To evade the syndicate and a bounty hunter on behalf of The Brotherhood, idealists who demand the surrender of genetic deviates for purification

Atmospherically breathtaking, Kalifornya is a desolate frontier. The collapse of Gnosis and the Monrova family have preceded the rise of technology corporations Bio Maas and Daedalus,  corporations elevated to authority and dominance. The post apocalyptic world is vividly and cinematically imagined, an oppressive and contaminated environment, radiation continuing to diminish the populous as the Gnosis tower erupted.

The essence of Lifelike is humanity and creation, capitalism and environment interlaced with an atmospheric and compelling narrative. Captivating characters and breathtaking revelations. Compulsive reading. 


Written by Sue McPherson
Contemporary, Indigenous, #LoveOzYA
132 Pages
Published June 2018
Thank you to Magabala Books
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Brontide is a coming of age story about four boys and their lot in life. Recounted through storytelling sessions at their school over a period of five days, these boys chronicle their lives.

They are at times demanding, occasionally rude, always funny and unexpectedly profound. The boys like to challenge themselves and the rules, and soon realise that not everything goes to plan...
In the small town of Taralune on the Sunshine Coast, four adolescent young men reluctantly commence their stories. Acclaimed author Sue McPherson was invited to Taralune Secondary College and St Nicholas Lutheran College to participate in a storytelling workshop with adolescents. Emerging were four young men, interrelated narratives sharing their ambition, unease and lives within the small coastal town.

Taralune is atmospheric and wonderfully illustrated through the perspective of each young man. The Bower brothers are characters of contrasts. A sensitive and compassionate young man, respected by adults and peers while the other is perceived as ignorant, intimidating  the young men of Taralune and promoting toxic masculinity.

The thunder you hear miles away, that's the brontide. 

Seventeen year old Jack Trainer is a interesting young man in particular, his narrative captivating and characteristic of the wonderful diversity of Taralune. Unable to care for her biological son, Jack was adopted by a wonderful Indigenous extended family. I enjoyed the discussion of societal influences, Black Lives Matter and racial stereotypes.

The narrative structure is captivating, guided with gentle questioning and allowing each young man to determine the boundaries within their discussion without coercion. A confrontational, authentic  and mesmeric narrative.

Magabala books is a non for profit arts organisation and independent Aboriginal Corporation with the objective of restoring, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the rights of traditional storytellers and artists. To read more about Magabala Books and to donate, visit their website.

A Thousand Perfect Notes, an interview with C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes
Written by C. G. Drews
Contemporary, Music, Realistic Fiction, #LoveOzYA
282 Pages
Publishing June 12th 2018
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music, because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
She's an Instagram, blog and social media aficionado, her tweets achieving thousands of dedicated followers. Her lengthy list of achievements include the championing of her fellow bloggers and authors, reaching fifty thousand words in three days during National Novel Writing Month, reading hundreds of books per year and writing almost as many. 

C. G Drews debut novel A Thousand Perfect Notes, is a breathtaking and confronting narrative of family violence and gentle optimism, harmonised with delicate moments of sincerity and compassion.

She's a creator of terrible puns and cake advocate. Meet my friend, the incredibly fabulous and inspirational C. G. Drews, debut author of A Thousand Perfect Notes

The Interview

Your debut novel, A Thousand Perfect Notes is absolutely beautiful. Being an author and practically writing straight from the womb, can you share with us the day that you found out you were being published?

Aww thank you! You're making me blush! So I found out I had a book deal at about 4:00am because insomnia is a beast and I thought, 'Hey! Why not check my email and see if my agent has sent anything?' Well, wow, I only got the best email of my life. I also did not go back to sleep. And I want to take a moment to tell my family that they should be grateful I didn't wake them up screaming right then and there.

A Thousand Perfect Notes is quite emotional and explores social issues such as physical, emotional an mental abuse, child neglect and poverty. How difficult is it as an author to write confronting scenes where characters are the victims of abuse?

I definitely spent a lot of time on those scenes, with plenty of revisions to get the intensity and thought process right. I wanted to talk really candidly about these things, but also keep some hope and light in the room.

The Maestro is a horrible, infuriating woman. Personally I found the abuse not only confronting but also incredibly realistic. Isolating Beck, using Joey to threaten Beck and the barrage of abuse of being worthless. All symptoms of an abusive relationship. Is that something you needed to research to create the toxic and abusive environment?

I definitely did plenty of research and also lot of just thinking of what it'd be like to be in Beck's shoes. I think most people in the world have felt worthless at some point... Or unable to control their environment or worried about someone they loved. Obviously this is a more extreme circumstance than most would face, but writing it was about escalating those feelings.

Let's talk about darling Beck, such a well written and in depth character. He seems like a typical male character, grumpy and weary of anyone taking an interest in him but beneath the surface, he's such a complex young man. What was the inspiration behind his character?

My biggest inspiration for Beck is actually a bit of a spoiler, but you'll know it when you read the book! But his character has several nods to a famous classical composer of the past! Apart from that, he sort of tumbled around the page and then grew his personality the more I wrote and explored his story.

Beck's relationship with his little sister Joey was a delight and another of my favourite aspects. He sees her as a puddle splashing, glitter wearing free spirit and endures his mother's abuse to protect her. What angered me is how the adults in both their lives let them down, a harsh reality for so many kids isn't it.

It is... And not as uncommon as it should be. One thing Beck did his best to do was to shelter Joey as much as he could and make sure she didn't suffer alone. While Beck only had an abusive and manipulative mother, Joey at least also had Beck to look up to. Their relationship was one of my favourites to write!

The barefoot, animal loving, dog rescuing August, if ever there was a character most you like, August wins. Hands down. She's absolutely delightful. I loved how she was just there, never pushing Beck out of his comfort zone but to let him know he wasn't alone. Is that something you were mindful of, the friendship and support foremost rather than creating a romance between Beck and August?

Ha! August is the actual definition of puppies and rainbows, isn't she?! And yes I absolutely wanted their relationship to first focus on friendship, since Beck has literally never had a friend before August busts into his life. I also wanted August to show she wanted to be there for Beck. She wasn't about to force him to take action or pretend she knew what his life was like. She wasn't there to save him: she was there to tell him he was worth saving so he could take those steps himself.

Readers know you from your wildly successful blog, Paper Fury where you talk about books and cake with a fondness for stabby characters. Do you think readers will be surprised by the darker themes in A Thousand Perfect Notes?

My blog is definitely a collision of rainbows but also stabbiness, so I can see how some readers might be surprised that A Thousand Perfect Notes isn't a fluffy book! But knowing I always review and flail about the 'dark books' and have been warning people I'm writing books to make them cry... Hopefully it's not too much of a shock.

What do you hope readers take away from reading A Thousand Perfect Notes?

Just that little whisper that you are absolutely worthwhile, no matter what you do or don't achieve in life.

Where to find her

C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her dog, a piano, and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novel after novel. She blogs at, never sleeps, and believes in cake for breakfast.

Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes
Written by Jenn Bennett
Contemporary, Romance
432 Pages
Published June 2018
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia and Netgalley
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Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends turned worst enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it's not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
To placate her concerned mother, Zorie reluctantly concedes to accompany friend Reagan on a camping vacation throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, before attending the Perseid meteor observation with the astronomy society. Neighbours Lennon Mackenzie and Zorie Everhart haven't spoken since the fateful homecoming dance that ended their friendship and their official relationship debut. Zorie has endured the heartbreak of their separation only to discover Lennon has also been invited.

The intensity between Zorie and Lennon is palpable as they discover they've been abandoned and with inadequate alternatives, decide to journey towards the national park where Zorie is due to meet her astronomy club, the two adolescents reconnecting along their journey.

Zorie Everhart is a meticulous young woman, anxious and fastidious. Her parents operate a small acupuncture and remedial massage surgery, the once successful business heading towards receivership and blamed on their neighbours, an adult store coincidentally operated by the Mackenzie family. Lennon is  wonderfully contrasting character. Zorie recognises her limitations while Lennon is a pioneer, confident in his abilities. Two accomplished individuals who compliment one another. The tentative friendship was lovely and although Zorie and Lennon have lived on the periphery of one another's lives during their separation, both adolescents longed for the intimacy of their former friendship.

The parental relationships were wonderful. Zorie has a wonderful relationship with her Korean American step mother, her mother passed away during her infancy and rendering her father emotionally absent. Lennon's parents are magnificent and an instrumental influence on Lennon, maintaining a wonderful relationship with Lennon's biological father, an Egyptian American musician. Although Lennon is unable to see his father as often growing up, it was beautiful to see a diverse, blended family who co parented to raise such a wonderful young man. Sexually positive women who own and manage an adult store with the focus on female pleasure. Their discussions on sex and sexuality are a positive influence on Lennon and his upbringing, creating a respectful and courteous young man.

While Zorie's mother is wonderful, her father is incredibly offensive. To conceal his own impropriety, he is incredibly aggressive towards the Mackenzie parents, his lesphobic comments of the same sex, long term, loving relationship are offensive and ignorant.

Jenn Bennett is a phenomenal author, creating resonating characters with charisma and compassion.  Starry Eyes is a beautiful journey of discovery, captivating until the final page.

Click here to see the Starry Eyes Tour schedule.
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