New Aussie Releases That Should Be On Your TBR

Answer me this: when am I not screaming about Aussie YA?! Let’s be real… when am I not screaming about books in general? Or just screaming into the void. Ya know. Waiting for the void to start screaming back at me. BUT ANYWAY. I’m here to talk about books, not my impending existential crisis. SO LET’S DO THAT.

Today, I wanted to speak about some new Aussie releases that I’m excited for! One of them I’ve already read, but the others are on my TBR: three fantastic upcoming #LoveOzYA novels, and one middle grade one! There’s just something so comforting and warm to me about Aussie YA. About falling into a story in a landscape you know and love. It really feels like home, with all that Aussie slang and mentions of snags on the barbie and sangas.

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Promise Me Happy

We’re going to start off this recommendation post with a book I actually have read! Yes, I’m as shook as you are! After reading—and adoring—Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky, I was so excited to receive a copy of his latest novel, Promise Me Happy. Heartbreaking #LoveOzYA?! SIGN ME THE HECK UP. And wow, this book took my heart and slowly crushed it… but like, in the best way possible. I HAD FEEEEELINGS. I should have expected the pain this book would inflict upon my soul—it’s about a boy who’s just out of juvie and left with an uncle who doesn’t know or want him—but I was just all naive being like WELL IT SAYS “HAPPY” RIGHT THERE IN THE TITLE. I am but a smol mistaken child.Read More »

5 Body Positive YA Books You Should Read

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love books with great characters and even better representation – and that includes books with plus-size protagonists! WHICH WE NEED MORE OF, PLEASE. But I’ve been lucky enough to have read a few really amazing, body positive books recently, and I think these are all ones you should have on your TBR if you haven’t read them already!

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What I Like About Me

THIS WAS SUCH A CUTE, SUMMERY BOOK! Jenna is thoroughly awesome, so it only made sense her book would be the same, but gosh. It was perfect! What I Like About Me is a summer romance about the ups and downs of teenage friendships, the awkwardness of crushes, and the importance of learning to love yourself and your body. I absolutely loved the authenticity of Maisie’s voice and it felt like she was speaking through the pages and directly to me. She was such a fun, fierce character who I loved getting to know, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading this gorgeous novel countless more times. SO MUCH LOVE FOR MAISIE AND HER FRIENDS.Read More »

It’s Making a Comeback!

YA is often famous for particular tropes or subject matter taking over our shelves in a rotating fashion. When I first started reading YA, dystopia was all the rage – think The Hunger Games and Divergent and The Maze Runner. We also had a pretty good run of vampires for a while, with Twilight and Vampire Academy and House of Night. You get the idea. We love a good theme.

I don’t know about you, but 2018 definitely felt like the Year of the Water Creatures / Mermaids. We had Sea Witch and To Kill a Kingdom, and it felt like those books were everywhere. But today I want to talk about some particular things I think are making a comeback in 2019 / 2020 that I’m excited about! Ahh! Books!

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#LoveOzYA I’ve Read Recently

I’ve read some #LoveOzYA books recently – what a surprise! I’ve been so pleased with the amount of YA that’s been published by local Aussie authors this year and how many I’ve been able to get through so far this year. Not only have I read the most recent releases from some of my favourite #LoveOzYA authors, but I’ve also read some really unique ones and will definitely be picking up more books by these authors in future.

As usual, click on the book title for the Goodreads synopsis and to add it to your Want-To-Read list! And without further ado, let’s get into my thoughts on the six #LoveOzYA books I’ve read recently…

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Memorable Reads Around the World

“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” — Emily Dickinson

I didn’t realise it at first, but the title for one of the #LoveOzYA books I read recently—I Am Out With Lanterns—is in fact an Emily Dickinson quote which sums up the story (and teenage life) pretty accurately. I Am Out With Lanterns is a beautifully-written, honest portrayal of teenage life and the struggles and the triumphs of high schoolers. Being a teen is a time where so many of us are searching for who we really are and what meaning our lives hold. And so many of us are still out there with a lantern, looking for ourselves. Maybe that’s a lifelong process.

So in celebration of the release of I Am Out With Lanterns and the conversations about searching for yourself that have arisen, I thought I’d share five novels I’ve read that have tied me to different places and different times in my life. I think there’s something so magical about reading a book and having those feelings and the atmosphere in which you read the book stay with you long after you’ve read the final page. Here are my most memorable ones…

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ARC = Actually Reviewers Crying

ARCs are often referred to as “unicorns” – a title which conjures up images of magical things that are capable of solving all the world’s problems (yes, the world would 100% be fixed by the existence of these mythical creatures). But as much as unicorns seem like glorious creatures that could do no evil, sometimes they just can’t help it. What’s that horn used for, if it’s not for stabbing its enemies – and our feels? I don’t know where exactly I’m going with this metaphor but the point is – ARCS AREN’T ALWAYS ALL RAINBOWS AND SUNSHINE.

Don’t even get me started on the way some people are willing to sell their souls for ARCs of particular books (Exhibit A: a strange girl from Melbourne that relies too heavily on coffee and bad jokes). I’ve “sold my soul” so many times I’m not sure how I’m still alive and functioning. Wait… emotions are actual THINGS? Things that I should have? OOPS. Guess those got taken away along with my soul sometime in the past ten years.

So today I’m going to share all the reasons why ARCs don’t really stand for “Advance Reading Copy” – instead, it stands for “Actually Reviewers Crying”. AND HERE’S WHY…

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Why I Love Pop Culture References

Pop culture references in books has been something that’s been on my mind for quite a while now, and it’s something I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to than I used to. As contemporary is my favourite genre, most of the books I read have at least some references to things in popular culture, whether that be TV shows, music, or social media. What I love most about these references is that it so clearly ties a book to a time period, and I think that’s a good thing. However, some people don’t feel the same.

I was recently on Goodreads, looking at reviews for a book I can’t even remember now. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Goodreads is often regarded as the cesspool of bloggers and reviewers, where people are hated on for disliking books, liking books, and even just thinking they were average. You can’t have your own opinion on Goodreads, apparently.

But anyway, I saw that one reader disliked a book because it had pop culture references. And that reason for disliking something puzzled me. I can understand that sometimes these references aren’t seamlessly inserted into the narrative or they feel forced, like the author’s trying to appear ‘cool’ in the eyes of teens. But most of the references I’ve come across felt authentic and definitely improved the novel in my eyes, giving it a depth in ways that books devoid of any links to specific time periods don’t have.Read More »

Cafe Chat with Kate O’Donnell

Untidy TownsSeventeen-year-old Adelaide is sick of being expected to succeed on other people’s terms. She knows she just has to stick it out at school for one more year and then she’ll be free. Instead, she runs away from her fancy boarding school back to her sleepy hometown to read and dream.

But there are no free rides. When Addie’s grandad gets her a job at the local historical society, she soon finds out that it’s dusty and dull, just like her new life. Things change when she starts hanging out with Jarrod, a boy who seems full of possibilities. But it turns out he’s as stuck as she is. And Addie realises that when you want something in life, you’ve actually got to do something about it.

Wow. I’d been excited to read Untidy Towns for quite some time, mainly because it’s #LoveOzYA and it has a gorgeous cover. (Yes, I’m superficial. Deal with it.) But when I finally got the chance to read it, I loved it even more than I expected. So much so that I’d consider it to be in my top five #LoveOzYA books of the year. The characters were just so authentic and the story itself was beautifully written and one that I could connect to on such a personal level. Kate O’Donnell absolutely blew me away with her debut novel, and I’m so excited to read whatever she releases next.

Adelaide felt like such a genuine character, and I know that so many high school students will be able to relate to her. She posed some of the same questions as I did, and I’m sure so many other teens do when at high school. How does regurgitating everything the teacher says in an essay make you ‘smart’? Why do our scores at the end of high school have to define where we can go to university and what we can study? Does high school really prepare you for the real world? Like Adelaide, it was really in my last year of high school that I became more aware of the restricting nature of that kind of a learning environment, and realised that I had to just play the game.Read More »

The Obligation to Like Books

The obligation to like books is a very real thing in the blogging community: whether those books be written by authors you know personally, or novels by authors from your home country, or because they’ve been hyped up by other prominent readers in the bookish community. But you shouldn’t have to feel obliged to like a particular book.

If there’s one thing I dislike about the bookish community it’s the idea that if you like a certain book, you’re a terrible person, and if you dislike a certain book, you’re also a terrible person. I understand that there are some books that shouldn’t be supported because of their problematic elements, but it’s also not okay to attack those for what they choose to read or not read — like or dislike.

But one of the most challenging aspects of being a reviewer, for me, is writing a negative review for a book I’ve felt obliged to like. I always try to share my honest opinion, even when I feel judged or like writing my thoughts out on my laptop crushes my soul slowly, but that doesn’t mean writing a “bad” review for a book I disliked has gotten any easier over the few years I’ve been blogging.

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