Biannual Bookish Wrap Up

2018 has been a pretty great reading year for me so far. I started actively using Goodreads, which has been really useful in tracking my reading (despite me forgetting to update it for weeks on end), and actually made my first reading challenge goal. 2018 so far has been all about setting goals and figuring out what I can do to make those a reality, and my reading life has been no different.

Books I’ve read this year so far…

Total: 97

Goal: 200


Favourite reads of 2018 so far…

I’ve read so many incredible books this year, but these ones really stand out to me as being a step above the rest. I definitely recommend checking these out if you haven’t read them yet!

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Am I a Fussy Reader?

Unlike some readers, I consider myself to be pretty picky when it comes to buying books. Yes, even though I’m practically swimming in books at home because they’ve taken over my entire room and are scattered along the floor. But I’m a student and only work casually, so my funds are pretty limited, therefore I need to try and ensure the books I buy I’ll actually like. Well, not just like. More so… fall so deeply in love with them that I can’t help but feel like my money has been well-spent.

But in order for books to pass from the realm of being mildly interested in them to actually landing in my shopping cart, there’s six tests they have to pass first. It might seem a little excessive at first glance, but I really want to try and ensure the books I’m buying are ones that I’ll love. But I mean, in saying that… I still rarely read them within the first month of purchase. I know, I’m the worst. There’s still a lot of books that have passed these phases and are still sitting on my shelf, unread, because I haven’t had the chance to pick them up…

But anyway. Let’s get into it!

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The Cutest Contemporaries to Steal Your Heart

Sometimes you just feel like you need to read a cute contemporary, right? I don’t know about you, but I definitely like to cleanse my palate from high fantasy and the darker contemporaries with something light and fluffy. In my books, ‘fluffy’ is always a good thing. I love being entertained. I love losing myself in a narrative where the the apocalypse is not imminent, the government isn’t threatening to kill everyone, and no one’s fighting for survival in the wilderness. We all need a break sometime, right?

So here are some of my favourite cute contemporary novels of all time! The most recent of which is Morgan Matson’s Save the Date. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate her gorgeous novels.

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Bookish Highlights of 2018 So Far

We’re so lucky to have a plethora of bookish events in Melbourne, with everything from group movie viewings, to launches, to full-blown book festivals. It really is the place to be for Aussie booknerds. Even though we’re only halfway through 2018, there have been some absolutely incredible, unforgettable events that I’m so grateful to have been able to attend.

So today I’m going to share my top five bookish events of 2018 so far with you, and then tell you my five most anticipated events for the rest of 2018! It’s going to be hard to narrow it down to just five, because I think I’ve been to about ten book launches in the past six months alone, but I’ll give it my best shot. Let’s do this!

Top five bookish events of 2018 so far…

ya-day

YA Day

If you didn’t already know, my friend Alexandra and I co-created a Melbourne book club called The YA Room. We meet up once a month at Dymocks to discuss our Book of the Month, but occasionally we also do some special events—like YA Day! YA Day was a day of YA goodness in January, where we were joined by 13 guest panelists to discuss everything from the importance of teen voices in the community, to how to make a successful booktube channel, and even some tips about how to break into the publishing industry! We were joined by over 80 attendees for four panels, and we honestly couldn’t have wished for a more exciting day. We can’t wait to host another YA Day in early 2019!Read More »

Open Letters to My Favourite Authors

What authors have made the biggest impact on your life? Inspired by From Twinkle, With Love, I’ve written three open letters to three of the authors that have made the most impact on my life in recent years. Like Twinkle in Sandy Menon’s latest YA novel, I wanted to share how important the works of these writers are to me. I could pinpoint approximately 57 authors that have written books I love, but these three are particularly special to me. So I hope you enjoy!

Dear Victoria Schwab,

When I first picked up This Savage Song, the first book I ever read by you, I never expected to fall in love with your characters and your worlds as much as I did. But not only that, they affected me in ways that I never expected. Your books aren’t just escapism for me. This Savage Song reflected the struggles of relapse. A Darker Shade of Magic taught me the importance of being adventurous and taking risks. Vicious told me that surviving your struggles make you powerful. Your books mean the world to me, and I’m just so thankful I found your words when I did. You’ve honestly changed my life, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

Love, SarahRead More »

Books to Inspire Travel

There’s nothing I love more than travelling. I love exploring new places, learning about new cultures, and trying new things. As much as I love Melbourne and adore spending days in my favourite cafes around the city, there’s always that desire to hop in the TARDIS and go and see new sights. Which is why I’m about to head off on a tour of Eastern Europe!

I haven’t been to Europe before, and I’m really excited to go to places like Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. So to get in the mood, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite YA books that make me feel like jumping on a plane with nothing more than a backpack of clothes and my passport and heading off to see the world!

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A Thousand Perfect Notes | Review

A Thousand Perfect Notes

36389267An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

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?

I honestly can’t even begin to express how much I loved A Thousand Perfect Notes. I knew Cait was going to rip out my heart before I even turned the first page, but I severely underestimated just how painful that would be. This book had me sobbing, smiling through my tears, and then staring blankly at a wall for 43 minutes afterwards because the thought of having to go back to my life after reading something like that was too difficult to fathom. A Thousand Perfect Notes was one of my most anticipated books of 2018, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Cait has warned us many a time that she is planning for world domination, and she’s gotten there—evidenced by the fact that I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the next year waiting for her second release. She owns my soul now. I’m not even mad about that.Read More »

Being Lost in the Wilderness With Your Bookish Crush

If you were to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with only one person, who would you want to have with you? Would you want someone with wilderness survival knowledge? Someone who knows how to hunt, or use maps, or survive without having a mental breakdown when they go to tweet about being in this situation and find there’s no phone reception?

Would you want someone who’s going to entertain you, given you’re probably going to die anyway and might as well go down with a smile on your face? Or maybe someone who you’ve always had a crush on to be forced into close proximity with you, giving you the perfect opportunity to finally make a move, or for them to profess their undying love for you. Might as well get one last snog in before you kick the bucket, right?

But what many people don’t consider is who they would least like to be stranded in the wilderness with. I’m sure the person that pops into most of your heads first is some bookish villain or evil mastermind. However, I’m not entirely convinced they’d be all that bad to spend time with. Look at it this way—they probably want to get back to destroying the rest of the world and will find a way back to civilisation ASAP. Worst case scenario, they’ll kill you on the spot. Would that really be as bad as forcing yourself to eat leaves for the thirteenth day in a row? I’d argue not.

For me, the worst person to be stranded with would be someone who I had history with. Someone who had unresolved tension between us. So I think Jenn Bennett got it completely right with Starry Eyes—frenemies stranded in the wilderness together? That definitely sounds like my version of The Bad Place. Hard pass. But that’s exactly what makes Starry Eyes an unputdownable read.


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Is There Too Much Romance in YA?

As much as I love books with adorable, swoon-worthy romances in them, I’ve really come to appreciate reading YA that has little or no love included in the narrative. I feel like during my teen years, I was told that my experiences weren’t as valid unless I had a significant other. Like I needed to be in a relationship to feel validated, or like I deserved to be loved. And that’s a really dangerous mindset. I’m only 19, but I feel as though my opinions about romance in YA has dramatically shifted over the past couple of years—so much so that I actively look for books without romance in them.

Some of the books that got me into YA included Hush, Hush, City of Bones, The Hunger Games, and Shatter Me. To say those relationships were a little unrealistic and even toxic at times would be an understatement. And then I became obsessed with The Fault in Our Stars, which I’m sure will live on to be the “sick-lit” book of our generation. That book 100% gave me false expectations about weekends in Amsterdam and confessions of love over risotto. And Ansel Elgort… someone hold me.

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Which Stereotypical YA Character Are You?

YA can be so full of tropes, right? I could probably list more books that have love triangles in them or series with hate-to-love than the birthdays of my closest friends. Oops.

But have you ever wondered which stereotypical YA character you’d be? I’ve listed five of the most common YA character tropes below, and I’m sure you’ll be able to see a bit of yourself in at least one of them. It’s time for YA fiction to be #exposed.

There’s also a quiz to determine which type of character you really are!

 

Damsel in Distress

You’re a little helpless sometimes, but only in the Elizabeth Schuyler sense. While people might feel the need to save you from setting your house on fire when you attempt to cook pasta or when you’re putting your health at risk by buying another coffee, you’re an independent person who don’t need no man to protect you. You’re tougher than you look and while you’re not confrontational, you won’t hesitate to stand up for yourself and those closest to you. You might be underestimated, but you’ll go on to rule the world. Just you wait.Read More »