Waiting on Wednesday: Heather, The Totality

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner.

The explosive debut novel - about family, power and privilege - from the creator of the award-winning Mad Men.

The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows - and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest - their perfect existence starts to fracture.

Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty and in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather.

Matthew Weiner - the creator of Mad Men - has crafted an extraordinary first novel of incredible pull and menace. Heather, The Totality demonstrates perfectly his forensic eye for the human qualities that hold modern society together, and pull it apart.

The blurb of this book had me from the words 'from the creator of Mad Men'. There's not too much information on the plot being given away just from the description, so I'm definitely intrigued - what is so special about Heather?

Releasing 1st November 2017 from Allen and Unwin

#LoveOzYABloggers - Sci-fi

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


The YA sci-fi novels by Australian authors represent some of the best I've ever read. They present characters who are pushed to their very limits - at the end of the tether holding them to earth, as well as into the dark reaches of the universe beyond. 

Disruption Duology by Jessica Shirvington

In a future where technology has evolved to the point where big businesses drive how people live their lives, and 'M-Bands' are all the rage, Jessica Shirvington's high-octane duology doesn't miss a beat. Maggie the protagonist is the perfect combination of snarky and whip-smart, and her personal quest to find out what happened to her father and bring down the bad guys is full of edge-of-your-seat action. Read Disruption and as soon as you finish the last page you'll *need* to get right onto the next book Corruption - it's that good.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

ALL THE HYPE is probably one of the best ways to describe this book, and I'm sure it's going to feature on many lists for this week's prompt...but why shouldn't it? It is mind-blowingly amazing after all. Unconventional, heart-stopping and oh-so-addictive...if you haven't read this yet, finish reading this sentence and then get yourself a copy!

Genesis by Lara Morgan

There will always be a special place on my all-time favourites shelf for The Rosie Black Chronicles by Lara Morgan. The first book in the trilogy, Genesis, was published back in 2010, but even with all the shiny new releases in the genre since then ,it has stood the test of time as a memorable and truly gripping saga. From the very first page the thrill begins, and the momentum never wavers. 

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature. Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

Waiting on Wednesday: Genuine Fraud

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. 

How far would you go to become someone else?

A masterful young adult thriller from the author of blockbuster bestseller We Were Liars.

 Imogen is an heiress, a runaway, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a chameleon, and a liar. Imogen is done pretending to be perfect, and Jule refuses to go back to the person she once was.

Somewhere between the mansions of Martha's Vineyard and the shores of Cabo San Lucas, their intense friendship takes a dark turn.

A masterful thriller from the author of the unforgettable We Were Liars.

Not going to lie - my hopes are high for this one. There have been some brilliant YA thrillers I've read (We Were Liars definitely being one of them), alongside others like Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. The blurb for this one doesn't give too much away, so I'm definitely curious to see just what trouble these characters get into...

Releasing 6th September 2017 from Allen and Unwin

Waiting on Wednesday: Freya

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Freya by Anthony Quinn. 

Freya Wyley meets Nancy Holdaway amid the wild celebrations of VE Day, the prelude to a devoted and competitive friendship…

Freya, ambitious and outspoken, pursues a career on Fleet Street while Nancy, less self-confident, struggles to get her first novel published.
Both friends become entangled with Robert Cosway, a charismatic young man whose own ambition will have a momentous bearing on their lives.

Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman’s life and loves in extraordinary times.

Technically the hardcover of this book was released last year, but when I first heard about it from a customer at a bookstore just recently I thought that this new edition deserved a mention. Stories about friendships and writing are ones I'm immediately drawn to, and with the historical slant I can see this being something I'd really enjoy.

Releasing 14th August 2017 from Penguin

#LoveOzYABloggers - I'm not crying, *you're* crying

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


For this edition's prompt, I've chosen three books which may not be as well known, but deserve recognition for their emotional storylines and twists that do trigger those '#allthefeels' moments. From the repercussions of a tragedy on a whole community, to the sense of kinship and camaraderie in the depths of the Australian wilderness, and the glimmer of hope in a family crisis, these novels all left an impact on me in the years since I've read them.

The Accident by Kate Hendrick

Set in Sydney's north shore, in The Accident Kate Hendrick has written a nuanced portrayal of the aftermath of a fatal car crash on the lives of the teens involved. Following three teens whose lives already had their own hurdles before this shattering event, the story takes on more depth and meaning as you come to know the characters better with each chapter. As a debut, this was definitely impressive. It may have been four years since I read this, but I still remember the sense of realism it brought to these sorts of accidents which we hear about on the news every night, but may feel detached from otherwise.

Into that Forest by Louis Nowra

One of my favourite things about #LoveOzYA is that there are so many truly unique stories with premises that stand out from the crowd. Into that Forest may be slightly eerie and unnerving at times as it details the lives of two young girls stranded in the Tasmanian wilderness, but what really stood out was how Hannah and Rebecca survived. Interestingly the point of them being raised by Tasmanian tigers (before they became extinct) alludes to supposedly true events.

Flyaway by Lucy Christopher

Flyaway is beautifully written and lyrical, portraying the line between life and death with a sensitivity for the characters which touches your heart. Lucy Christopher's other novel Stolen is similarly emotional, though in this one there is a tenderness of a different kind which brought me to tears when I first read it. The bird imagery is appropriate without feeling cliche, and delivers on the type of read you expect something like this to be. 

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature. Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

Saturday, 15 July 2017

It's been ages since I've done a book tag post so I'm so glad to have the opportunity to do this one (*especially* since the prompts are Harry Potter themed!). Thanks to the lovely Cass @ Words on Paper for tagging me - I'll be passing it on to any other bloggers who want to participate.

1. Expecto Patronum
A childhood book connected to good memories

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This was the first 'classic' book I read as a child, and watching the recent Netflix series 'Anne with an E' brought back all those fond memories. 

2. Expelliarmus
A book that took you by surprise

In The Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker

I still think that In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker is one of, if not the most original YA novel I've read. It completely surprised me and was nothing like what I had expected...but left me awestruck. 

3. Prior Incantato
The last book you read

A Shadow's Breath by Nicole Hayes
As I said in my review, this book took my breath away - it is split between the then and now surrounding a car accident, and delves deep into the relationships teens have with their families, survival and snatching at a faint glimmer of hope. 

4. Alohamora
A book that introduced you to a genre that you had not considered before

Formaldehyde by Jane Rawson

It's not exactly a genre, but I've been finding a new appreciation for novellas which pack a punch. I discovered Formaldehyde at the library - a tiny book wedged between a couple of bulky hardcovers, and thought I'd give it a chance. Sometimes it's the stories you don't have any expectations for which impress you the most. This clever gem is short and full of wit - don't let the creepy cover put you off!

5. Riddikulus
A funny book you've read

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Any of the Chuck Palahniuk books I've read (Fight Club, Survivor, Pygmy) would fill this space, but I've decided to go with the one I was introduced to first. His work is bizarre, satirical, and darkly comedic. Half the time you might not know what to think, but I will admit that there are always some phrases thrown in you can't help but have a laugh at. 

6. Sonorus
A book you think everybody should know about

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of the most moving coming-of-age novels I've read. It's a modern classic for good reason, and I'm hoping to revisit it soon.

7. Obliviate
A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Don't get me wrong - Nick Cutter can write...and I did find the last parts of this book very addictive. When it comes down to it though, The Troop was so disturbing it is not something I will every be re-reading again *shudders*. 

8. Imperio
A book you had to read for school

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I ended up really enjoying most of the prescribed reading we had to do at school, and this was one of those. It definitely made me see the world in a different light, and for that I'l always remember it. 

9. Crucio
A book that was painful to read

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

I've got nothing against existentialism, but this absurdist play was one I just could not get into. I crawled through it, but it just wasn't for me. 

10. Avada Kedavra
A book that could kill

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Outlander series is pretty hefty, weighing it at almost a thousand pages each...you definitely wouldn't die from boredom with them though. 

11. Accio
A book you'd always like to have with you

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
Whenever you need some magic to make a dull day better, Harry Potter is always a perfect choice!

Over to you - what do you think of my picks? What books would you have chosen for the prompts?

I tag:

Bec/Alise @ Reader's Wonderland
Zoe @ Zoe Reads
Kelly @ Diva Booknerd

Waiting on Wednesday: Force of Nature

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Force of Nature by Jane Harper.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side. The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

The Dry was the thriller of the year in 2016, and I have to say - it lived up to the hype. The stakes are high for Jane Harper in this follow-up, but I have no doubt it's going to be on the bestseller lists as soon as it hits the shelves.

Releasing 26th September 2017 from Pan Macmillan

{Blog Tour} Mini Review: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

Thursday, 6 July 2017

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Released: 1st July 2017
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 344
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she's scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it's a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back - and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he's only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

 As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro's disappearance - and return - their planets start to collide. Linny's life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

If Birds Fly Back is a sweet and heartfelt YA contemporary romance where two teens who are missing important people in their lives find unexpected support in each other. While it did take a little while for me to warm up to the story and connect to the characters, once I did I could see why this book has been getting so much positive feedback - the characters are authentic and this blossoming summer romance is full of adorable moments. 

The title of this book and its meaning definitely comes into the spotlight within the plot, through continuing symbolism which borders on being poetic while retaining a playful voice through Linny and Sebastian's narration. The writing style reflects how these young people feel about their situations in terms of how they think and speak, but I also liked the inclusion of Linny's budding screenplay based on Grace's disappearance and Sebastian's quotations on 'A Brief Compendium of Astrophysical Curiosities'. It's these quirks and unique interests of the characters which made them seem more realistic. Their relationship as it developed may not have been on a total swoon-worthy level, but it was undeniably cute in the best possible nerdy way.  


In all, If Birds Fly Back is a cute, feel-good story about coming into your own place on life's stage and finding someone to share that with. While there may be some missing pieces in what was meant to be the script, this novel shows that with a fresh outlook and new experiences, there is always hope that the next page will bring better days. 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Grip of It

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked The Grip of It by Jac Jemc.

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house.

Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It tells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings.

The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink.

Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James. Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.

A psychological novel with a haunted house - now that's a concept which sounds like it has the potential to make a really fascinating read. I stumbled across this book on goodreads when I was looking for short story collections and saw that Jac Jemc's A Different Bed Every Time had received positive reviews. I'm hoping I get to read both of these books soon!

Releasing 1st August 2017 from FSG Originals

#LoveOzYABloggers - High School

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

High School

Whether it was a time where you made your closest friends, became the teacher's favourite and got straight-A's, or floated through the years until you could finally escape and begin adulthood, high school is sure to be a memorable experience for most of us. These examples of Aussie YA present some varied perspectives of the school yard, and how teens have coped with its highs and lows. 

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

It's one of the most prominent and iconic coming-of-age novels on the Aussie YA scene, and for good reason. Looking for Alibrandi is not only a story which covers the ups and downs of high school life in the 'all-important' final year, but an insightful take on relationships and balancing the ideals of your cultural identity with your own values.

The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

Sarah Ayoub's latest release (see also her first novel Hate is Such a Strong Word) is also set in the tumultuous time of year twelve, where five very different teens are forced to work together to create the yearbook. This book captures both the angst which comes with attempting to find your place in the world, and the unlikely friendships we make along the way.

My Best Friend is a Goddess by Tara Eglington

Tara Eglington always impresses with reads that are both light enough to put a smile on your face, and balanced by an exploration of the real experiences that many teenage girls can identify with. In My Best Friend is a Goddess, friendships are put to the test and social media creates the gossip which impacts the girls' self-esteem and status on the social ladder. Overall it's an adorable read with an important message. 

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature. Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

Review & Author Interview: A Shadow's Breath by Nicole Hayes + GIVEAWAY

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A Shadow's Breath by Nicole Hayes
Released: 30th January 2017
Published by: Penguin Random House Australia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 316
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Then, things were looking up for Tessa. Her mum was finally getting her life back on track. Tessa had started seeing Nick. She was making new friends. She'd even begun to paint again.

Now, Tessa and Nick are trapped in the car after a corner taken too fast. Injured, stranded in the wilderness, at the mercy of the elements, the question becomes one of survival. But Tessa isn't sure she wants to be found.

Not after what she saw. Not after what she remembered.
A Shadow's Breath actually took my breath away. In this poignant and emotional gem of a read, Nicole Hayes has struck the perfect balance between the gripping suspense of a survival situation and a sensitivity in perceiving her protagonist's life in the past and present. Effortlessly woven between 'then' in the events leading to the car accident and 'now' in the harsh wilderness of the Australian bush, this is the type of book that delves deeper than expected into the broad impact of an unstable life at home, the social strains within a friendship group and the volatility of a first love. This is a book you will remember.

She closes her eyes, lets the lull and pull of the water buoy her before she slips under again. She opens her eyes and peers into the black. Light filters through the ripples, dust flecks suspended like a thousand tiny stars. 

The beauty and brutality of the Australian wilderness is captured in equal measure within A Shadow's Breath. Following the accident, for Tess and Nick survival is the name of the game, and yet there is an underlying allure to the ruggedness of the landscape in the writing style. You are instantly transported into the disorienting mess of greenery, and feel the same sense of urgency as the characters attempting to find their way out of a situation where the cards are stacked well and truly against them. However, there are moments where you are reading a paragraph which so eloquently describes the vastness of a cerulean blue sky, and with it the possibility of escape. Tess and Nick were both fleshed out as very realistic characters in a demanding, high-pressure situation. It is here where their fears were brought to the surface, tensions reached an all-time high and the story held some of its deepest moments which left me reeling.

But that feeling has never left her - the rush of letting go - and it's the same feeling that she has now. But she knows that if she truly lets go this time, lets her body stop moving and her limbs go limp, they won't rise again. She'll be stuck there, in the middle of nowhere, so far from the things that matter that she might as well have lived an entire life alone.

Tessa's life before is brought into focus in the 'then' sections, where the repercussions of a traumatic event in her past and the impact of her mother's drinking are explored. It is not often that a YA novel will enter this territory, so it was interesting to see an author take it on in this context. The mother-daughter relationship at its most unpredictable, delicate and tender is written with a clarity here that is well executed and moving. Not only that, but the friendships Tessa has, especially with Yuki her best friend and how that is challenged when Tessa feels herself becoming socially isolated, was something which I think some readers could definitely relate to. Throughout the plot she is questioning the type of person she wants to be, perhaps whether she could pursue her passion for art as a career, and how Nick's dreams could fit into her life as well. The need to make big life decisions and a glimpse at moving forward into a more positive space are once again challenges which readers may find reflected in their own experiences.


What is special about A Shadow's Breath is the tender exploration of a perilous situation. There is more than one shocking twist to be found within these pages for sure, but the real triumph here is where Hayes has demonstrated our capacity to mend relationships with those who are closest to us.

Author Interview with Nicole Hayes

How did you find your writing process and style differed in A Shadows Breath in comparison to The Whole of My World and One True Thing?

So different! Structurally, A Shadow’s Breath is far more complicated from the writer’s point of view. It’s fairly straightforward for the reader – alternating past and present narratives that feed into and from each other until they converge near the end. So it’s easy to follow for the reader. At least, I hope it is! But to write this structure – to ensure both narratives are engaging and compelling -- that each storyline earns its own space -- is actually tricky to pull off. While The Whole of My World flew out of me every time I rewrote it – and that was many, many times over the years ­– and One True Thing – eventually – followed a straightforward chronology, A Shadow’s Breath was more difficult from start to finish. And, perhaps not surprisingly, it was incredibly satisfying when I got there. I had no idea if the book would be popular or well received, but I knew, from a writing perspective, I’d managed to do something I’d worried I couldn’t. And that felt fantastic!

Since then I’ve garnered more objectivity about the story, and can see how it works together. Yet, oddly, I feel a deeper connection with these characters now than I did while I was actually writing it. Now, when I read back, I can see Tessa and her mum, Nick and Yuki, Lara and Zane, and Yuki’s family. They feel so real and close to me. It’s crazy! It’s not usually how it works – the writing is when the connection is deepest, ordinarily. But I think because the material is so challenging and difficult that I had to protect myself, in some ways, so they didn’t hurt me too much!

What is your favourite aspect of the Australian landscape?

The colours. The light. The vastness. The disparity. Wait. You wanted one thing? Okay, so how it all works together to create this sense of endlessness. Timelessness. Space. It’s such a simple thing, really. Survival in the bush is all about food and water and shade and shelter, and yet beneath the simplicity of that, there are so many contradictions and complexities. There’s the psychology of being so far from everything, the fear of what might be lurking ahead, and all of those dangers, small and large, waiting around every corner, under every rock. All of it hidden behind such extraordinary beauty. Even the desert, which can feel and seem lifeless, dead even, is actually teeming with life.

But most of all, it’s the isolation. When you’re alone in the Australian bush, it feels like you’re the only person left on Earth. And there’s something almost spiritual about that.

Without giving too much away, is there a particular moment in A Shadow’s Breath which really made an impact on you while writing it?

There were many, and it’s really hard to write about this novel without spoilers, but seeing Tessa and her mum take those first tentative steps towards trusting each other again stand out to me. Watching Ellen try to make amends, the careful, subtle investment of her love and herself into the house, for example – buying cushions from the op shop, taking the time to clean windows, mow the lawn, cook meals from scratch – all the stuff that had been neglected for so long. I think it’s particularly poignant in the scene when Tessa takes all of this in: her mum’s asleep on the couch, the colour and warmth of the living room embrace her, and then that sleepy ease between them when Ellen wakes up… It makes me cry every single time. Every. Single. Time.

Through Tessa’s experience and home life we were given glimpses into how the issues of alcoholism and domestic violence have flow-on effects which often reach wider than we may think. How important was it for you to include these elements in the storyline?

The ripple effect and the repercussions of adult choices and parental problems on their teen children drives much of my writing. It’s such a tough spot to be in when you’re a teen. You’re at the coalface of life, with all the access, all the blowback, all the fallout, but very little control over the course your family takes. Particularly in dysfunctional families where issues like alcohol and drug abuse – any kind of abuse – are so damaging and dangerous. It’s worse for the innocent bystanders – the kids, the spouse, the extended family members -- than for the perpetrators themselves. This is multiplied tenfold when you’re an only child, or you are somewhat isolated from other family support. And the damage continues long after the family falls apart or the perpetrator is removed. Saddest of all, it can transcend distance and time, even generations.

For Tessa, the only model she has of a functional family are her best friend Yuki’s family, and some vague memories of her own life before her father fell ill – memories that we can’t entirely trust, given how far back they go. Her compass is all messed up. She doesn’t know how or who she can trust. For a time, she trusts no one.

But there is a way out – that was the most important thing for me to express through A Shadow’s Breath. The way out is not obvious and it’s not easy, and sometimes it requires enormous courage from those least equipped to find it. But it’s there. There’s hope. Always, always, there’s hope.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as an author which you could pass on?

Rather than write what you know, as we’re so often told, write what you love. Or care passionately about. You can always research something that isn’t familiar, or is new or foreign to you, but it has to be something that matters deeply or else you’ll run out of steam, either in the process of writing the story or in the revision or publicity stages. Plus, readers see through you when you’re faking it on the page. Every time. On a practical level, when you write a book, you live with the subject matter for many, many years, even after publication. You want to really care about the subject if you’re going to have to keep talking about it for years after. That, or be an excellent actor!

Are you working on anything new at the moment you could tell us about?

I’m some way into a new YA novel, but I’m still not sure entirely what it’s about! Or I suspect I know, but I’m too superstitious to say it out loud before I’ve completed the first draft. But it’s exciting and I can’t wait to get back into it. So… Watch this space!
When Nicole Hayes isn't yelling at the Hawks on TV or sharing hosting duties on the all-female AFL podcast, The Outer Sanctum, she teaches writing and writes fiction, essays and scripts. Her debut novel, The Whole of My World, was published in 2013 and was shortlisted for a Young Australians Best Book Award and longlisted for the Gold Inky Award.

One True Thing, Nicole's second novel, won the Children's Peace Literature Award, is a CBCA Notable Book and was shortlisted for the WA Premier's Book Awards. She has also co-edited an anthology of footy stories, From the Outer: Footy Like You've Never Heard It, with Alicia Sometimes. Nicole lives in Melbourne with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Brody.

Say hi at nicolehayesauthor.com or tweet @nichmelbourne.
For more about Nicole's writing process for A Shadow's Breath, you can check out her guest post over at the Aussie YA Bloggers and Readers site. 



Entries are closing soon so get in quick for a chance to win a $20 voucher for an Australian bookstore AND two Nicole Hayes novels!
Giveaway alert! 'A Shadow's Breath' is an amazing #LoveOzYA novel by Nicole Hayes and now Aussie readers can have the opportunity to win more of her books *PLUS* a bookish gift voucher through our photo comp... . . 📒Main Rule: Include in your photo the cover of A Shadow's Breath - it can be through your own copy, one from the library or a digital image. Feel free to get creative with a theme that takes inspiration from the title - the most creative photo wins! . . 📒The Prize: Any 2 novels by Nicole Hayes (choose from A Shadow's Breath ● One True Thing ● The Whole of My World) AND: - A $20 voucher for an Australian bookstore . . 📒Open to entries here or on twitter, just make sure to use the #ashadowsbreathcontest hashtag in your posts so Nicole can see them! . . 📒Open to Australian residents only, competition closes on 10th July . . [ Stay tuned for some blog posts happening soon and more opportunities to win a copy of 'A Shadow's Breath' over at @divabooknerd @ausyabloggers and my blog! ]
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Cover Reveal: No Limits

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

When I found out Aussie YA crime writer extraordinaire Ellie Marney had a new book coming out, it went straight onto my must-read list! No Limits is a stand-alone novel, but if you've read the Every series you'll find that Harris played a part in the third book.

New Australian YA romantic crime from the author of the award-winning Every series… Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy. His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital.

Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc… Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…

 “A novel of bruising empathy and excitable romance…This is modern Australia for so many growing up on the periphery right now, picked apart with exquisite and smart insight from one of Australia's best crime and YA writers.” – Danielle Binks, Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology

For more of Ellie Marney's work, you should definitely check out the Every series, and for updates check out her newsletter.

No Limits will be released on 14th August, with pre-orders available on Amazon from 1st August

Waiting on Wednesday: Wreck

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Wreck by Fleur Ferris.

Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper.

O-weeks awaits, which means parties, cute boys and settling into student res with her best friend Relle.

Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life in danger.

What is this mysterious note? And why does it mean so much to one of Australia’s most powerful media moguls?

Caught between a bitter rivalry and dangerous family secret, who can Tamara trust? Or should she trust herself?

Fleur Ferris definitely knows how to write a #LoveOzYA thriller with suspense and unexpected twists if Risk and Black are anything to go by. The blurb for this latest release definitely has me intrigued, and I can't wait to read it as soon as it's released!

Releasing 3rd July 2017 from Random House Children's Australia

Genie's Weekly News (58) - May Events Recap ft. Sarah Crossan, Jennifer Niven and Roxane Gay

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

1) Bloomsbury Institute Event

Wednesday saw the first of Australia's 'Bloomsbury Institute' events; small sessions with authors designed so that readers really get a sense of meeting some of their favourite writers. In conversation with Mia Freedman, Sarah Crossan provided such inspiring insight into her process and how it differs when writing in verse as opposed to prose. It was interesting to hear how she collaborated with Brian Conaghan on their latest work We Come Apart - which featured lots of conversations over Whatsapp and many frenzied emails. 

Following your passion and using the inherent creativity within us were other ideas which she spoke about, as well as tackling real issues in her books that can be appreciated at different levels by both adults and those on the cusp of being teens. What I love about her books that I've read so far (One and Apple and Rain) is that they prove books in YA don't have to have a romance to be meaningful or compelling. Friendship comes through as a strong theme, which form some of the strongest relationships of all. I'm definitely looking forward to her latest book Moonrise coming in September, and seeing who Bloomsbury will feature next!

2) Lunch with Jennifer Niven

There's no denying that Jennifer Niven is one of the biggest YA authors right now, especially with her heartbreaking (but amazing) novel All the Bright Places currently being made into a film. Thanks to the team at Penguin Teen Australia I was lucky enough to be invited to a lunch with her and other bloggers Alison and Rebecca from the YA Chronicles, The Bookish Manicurist and Joy Lawn who also writes reviews for the Weekend Australian. As well as talking about how she writes with playlists for each of her characters in her work and what she'd been up to in Australia, Jennifer Niven also shared her experience writing the screenplay for the movie. She is genuinely lovely in person, and I'm so excited to see what other books she'll be hopefully bringing out in future. 

3) Roxane Gay at the Sydney Writer's Festival

Difficult Women is one of my top reads of this year as a brilliantly raw and unflinching portrayal of women in a variety of complex situations. Roxane Gay did not disappoint in her last appearance at the Sydney Writer's Festival, speaking frankly about how she brings feminism into her work, women being perceived as being 'too much', the obsession with 'dead girls' and how she can watch crime series on TV while writing. She definitely kept the conversation real, making the audience laugh with a few jokes on how men can be 'delicate flowers', while retaining an emphasis on gender equality. Since reading this fictional work with stories that are all so different and hard-hitting in their own right, I just know I'm going to have to pick up Bad Feminist to see what her essays are like. 

What bookish events have you been to lately?

{Blog Tour} Girl in Between by Anna Daniels - "A coming of age book in your thirties!"

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Girl in Between by Anna Daniels
Released: 26th April 2017
Published by: Allen and Unwin
Genre: Popular Fiction
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
RRP:  $29.99
Amazon | iBooks | Booktopia
Life can be tricky when you're a girl in between relationships, careers and cities… and sometimes you have to face some uncomfortable truths. The sparkling debut from comic TV and radio presenter, Anna Daniels.

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise… who are her parents. She's also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old… kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents' new next-door neighbour… well, maybe just a little.

When you're the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths… like your Mum's obsession with Cher, your father's unsolicited advice, and the fact there's probably more cash on the floor of your parents' car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy's crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London. But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Anna Daniels is a natural-born comedian. She originally set out to write a screenplay that was part Muriel’s Wedding, part The Castle. Instead, she wrote Girl In Between, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Vogel’s Award. She says ‘I’ve always loved comedy which not only makes you laugh but also pulls at your heartstrings. I think a lot of people may be able to relate to Lucy’s story!’

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

Book Trailer

Guest Post from Anna Daniels

Girl in Between…A Coming of Age Book in your Thirties!

Recently, I was asked to compile a list of my favourite Aussie authors, and once I got started, I realised how many Aussie books I just adored!

This is the list I came up with…

-My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin – that classic ferocious and fiery coming of age story.

-Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta – even picking that book up now, in my thirties, I still feel like it hasn’t dated.

-Between a Wolf and a Dog – such a beautifully written and evocative novel by the late Georgia Blain.

-The Sound of One Hand Clapping and Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

-Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

-The Solid Mandala by Patrick White

-Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy – a beautiful coming of age story.

-The gritty Praise and 1988 by Andrew McGahan

-And the comedy classics, Zigzag Street by Nick Earls, The Girl Most Likely by Rebecca Sparrow and The Family Law by Benjamin Law.

It was only when I’d reflected back on my list, that I realised a major theme was coming through…that of the ‘coming of age!’

And then, it occurred to me with a start that I’d actually written a ‘coming of age’ book of sorts, with Girl in Between!

Girl in Between captures life at the crossroads in your thirties, and even though we generally associate the coming of age genre with YA, I believe perhaps at different stages of our lives we’re always coming of age!

The protagonists, Lucy Crighton, and her best friend, Rosie, are on a quest to sort out and make sense of their lives in their early thirties. They’ve landed squarely in their third decade and aren’t quite sure how they got there!

We, as readers, follow their journey, with all their tumbles and triumphs! And do they come of age?

Well, permit me to be coy and say you’ll have to find out!

Best wishes,
Anna x 

Check out the other stops on the tour!