Monday, 28 March 2016

Contemporary Character Perfection in The Yearbook Committee

Hi Bookish People!
 YOU LIKE THE NEW LOOK?! I MEAN I LIKE IT BUT I THINK I'M BIASED! As always comment your opinions!) It was made by the lovely Kelly (Diva Booknerd) SO tell her how much you LOVE it, because I am so happy with it and she put a lot of effort into it and I am so grateful!) Anyway, Today I am posting a Non-Spoiler Review of The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub! Hope you enjoy!
The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Contemporary YA

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.
The school captain: Ryan has it all ... or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie's just moved interstate and she's determined not to fit in. She's just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends ...

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He's been single-handedly holding things together since his mum's breakdown, and he's never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl's best friend ... cool by association. Tammi's always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician's daughter: Gillian's dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she's learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Thankyou SO much to Harper Collins for sending me an ARC for review!


****4.5 out of 5 Stars****

This book was really good! Sarah should be really proud! The plot was really interesting. I loved how this book was character based! Some of you might not know that character based plots are my favourite books to read. I find them 100% more interesting than plot based stories. This book is shown from five different point of views, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but more about point of views when I get into characters. I really enjoyed reading the scripts of what happened in each meeting and I was really happy that these were included in the novel. The ending of this book absoloutley hit me with feels and was SO unexpected! I don't feel ready to discuss it plus this is non-spoiler but maybe if you guys want one day I will write a discussion.

The characters in this book were quite literally superb! Hearing each main characters thoughts, opinions and back stories on themselves, their situations and one another was so great and added to my enjoyment! I would definitely say that Sarah based each character on a stereotype, and as much as this might sound as though it was a novel based around high school drama's it really wasn't. I will admit to thinking this book may come across too cliche for my liking but it was pretty much the opposite. Each character voiced their opinions and the novel took on a really quirky voice. I especially enjoyed hearing from some of the more popular kids. More specifically Tammi. It was so interesting to hear from Tammi who's stereotype was 'The popular girls best friend.' Her opinions were not what expected and often fought against what her best friend was doing. She disliked what her bff was doing yet felt powerless and like she didn't have a voice. Seeing all of the characters help one another out was absoloutley incredible. I really like Charlie, she was probably my favourite. Smooth and sarcastic Charlie was hilarious and someone who could be counted on. The conversations in this book were realistic and they didn't look like the author had stuffed words into their mouths, it was all very relatable. 


+The food references in this book were perfect! It may or may not have included Haigh's Chocolate. (I was really happy to finally see some good ol' Aussie chocolate instead of American!)
+The cover is stunning!
+The Australian setting is really relatable for Aussie's. It's set in Sydney and uses Aussie references which was great!
+ Sarah's writing went really well with the story and the way she could use her writing in different ways for each of the five characters p.o.v was great!
+As I have said before, I love character based stories and Sarah nailed it on this one!

Hope you enjoyed!

Julia x

Friday, 25 March 2016

Recapping YA Squad!

Hi Bookish People,

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am going to be sharing the experience I had at YA Squad 2016! This event was held across Australia by the wonderful Penguin Teen Australia and featured four immensely talented Australian YA Authors, Kylie Fornansier, Shivaun Plozza, Megan Jacobson and Will Kostakis.

The event started off with a great discussion with the four authors and our talented and gorgeous host, Floss! The discussion was amazing. It was really interesting what everyone said and how each author contributed to the conversation. I loved learning about character building and how each author got published! The stories were each so unique, and showed each author's determination and love in the field writing!

Shivaun talked about creating gritty and darker characters. I was so happy to see that I'm not the only one who is upset with the shallow main characters some YA books are producing! Frankie, (the main character in Shivaun's novel) sounds like a mysterious, and courageous character and I cannot wait to read her story and get to know her better. Her novel, Frankie, is full of angry characters and is based in Collingwood and I just can't wait to start her book because it looks incredible! 

Will talked about homosexuality in YA. It was a really thought provoking chat and I really enjoyed listening to his opinions. I agreed with what Will spoke about, especially about getting homosexual characters into the world of YA. His newest release, Sidekicks, is based around three boys who's best friend passes. The boy who passed connected all of these boys together, and now they try and find their way through life, without one friend to keep them close together. Will also talked about his experiences with homosexuality and discussed his absoloutley gorgeous blog posts which you should look at here

Megan talked about building up her characters and plots from dreams and things in her head! It was great to hear how Meg came up with her interesting characters and plots and to hear some of this was from a dream, was incredibly interesting! She explained how she turned the dream into a novel and developed the plot and it was so lovely to hear from her. Her book, Yellow, is about a girl who is going through a really rough time in her life, when a ghost contacts her from a broken phone booth. The story follows Kirra, as she tries to find out who killed the ghost in return for three requests.

Kylie discussed what she does for research when she writes a book. Her newest book, The Things I Didn't Say, is based around a girl named Piper who has Selective Mutism and follows her when her best friend passes away. I really loved listening to Kylie speak about Piper and all of the research into learning about selective mutism. Selective Mutism is a type of anxiety that restricts you from talking in selected social situations. I am so excited to read this book and learn about this condition, as I couldn't image how horrible it would be to want to talk, but not being able to due to an anxiety disorder. Learning about Kylie's research and how accurate she wanted to make the novel, showed how dedicated she is to perfecting her novel and was great to listen to.

We then started a quiz on YA!!! Each author chose one person from the audience to be on their team and they got to come up and sit down with their author. The wonderful Shivaun Plozza and I were together! I was so happy that Shivaun and I were together. I was so nervous about my knowledge and being up the front but Shivaun was so supportive and encouraging, my nerves quickly turned into excitement. After several rounds (in which Shivaun and I got REALLY competitive with Will Kostakis and his team mate) SHIVAUN AND I WON!!!! I couldn't believe it! Shivaun absoloutley nailed it! I was ecstatic. The quiz was super fun (although the questions were hard *cough cough Floss*) Thanks to our win, I received an advanced copy of A Glittering Court by Richelle Mead! I KNOW RIGHT?! *Praise Shivaun* Team Plozza for the win!
We then got to ask a range of questions and it was great to see everyone asking questions. There may've been a Floss book fairy involved as well.......

We then got to buy some books and get them signed! INCLUDING THE THINGS I DIDN'T SAY AND FRANKIE, RELEASED ESPECIALLY FOR THE EVENT! Meeting each author personally was amazing and I loved every single minute of meeting each one! Everyone was up for a chat and the messages in my books were incredible. I was also extremely lucky, after harassing Will, to receive a Yia-Ya signed copy of his book, The First Third, of which I was so grateful that he brought one for me!

I also got to meet the amazing Chami, from ReadLikeWildfire on Youtube! Chami's videos are great and I enjoy watching them SO much! It was great to be able to talk to someone who likes books as much as I do and we had a great chat, photo and I got to watch her vlogging!

Although I didn't get to talk to her one on one, it was sadly Floss's last event with Penguin Teen Australia. It was great to see her at the event, even though I'm so sad to see her go from Penguin! I wish you all the best Floss and will keep in touch with you!

Overall the event was amazing! Thanks to all of the authors and Penguin Teen Australia for organising this event, it was truly a spectacular tour!

Julia x

Monday, 21 March 2016

A Dot Point Review of What We Saw

Hi Bookish People,

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am reviewing What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler! Sorry I didn't post on my usual Monday and Friday last week, but I hope you guys enjoyed my post for the A Tangle of Gold Blog Tour! If not, I did a Q&A with the wonderful Jaclyn so go ahead and check that out if you wish! This is a completely non-spoiler review.

What We Saw

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler 
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Contemporary YA

Since the blurb for this book is really long, I will not be including it here, but please go here to search up the book and find the blurb if you want to!

Thanks so much to Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.


****3 out of 5 Stars****

Today I've decided to mix it up with a bit of a dot point and gif review! This review is also posted on -head there for all of the gifs!

Good things about the Plot & Characters:
+This book creates awareness of the types of insane and horrible things that can happen at out of control parties. It demonstrates who can be effected and how each and every person is.

+It shows that not only the person who is directly effected is hurt and how people can make mistakes when under the influence of peer pressure!

+ If you see something, SPEAK UP!!! Even if you think it's someone who is close friends with you, SPEAK! This book teaches us this valuable lesson in a direct and honest way.

+The lengths coaches and managers will go to hide or make a famous or star innocent, whether or not they are actually guilty, just so that they can help win a Grand Final etc.

+I enjoyed reading about the conflict between the Main Character's Friendship Group. One incident in the book is when some boys 'Rate' how Girl's look. Some girls stand up and say it is not alright for them to do this (AGREED AGREED AGREED) and some say it's just 'boys being boys' (WHICH IS NOT OK!)

+This book talks about social media and it's role and impact on victims! (e.g. rude comments, photos taken and used against people etc)

+Great advice is included in this book about doing the right thing by people!

+Talks about bystanders and their impact!

+The Main Character was excellent! She stood up for what was right, she liked to look from both people's perspectives not just one and she wasn't afraid of bully's. Her determination to find out more and investigate was genuinely appreciated by me as a reader.

So now you're thinking "WHY DID YOU ONLY GIVE THIS BOOK A THREE WITH ALL OF THOSE POSITIVES?" and now I'm going to tell are a few things that made me dislike this book....

+I found Ben (the second main character) really irritating!
+Some of the American terms were confusing! 
+The writing wasn't smooth and was hard to read/understand in some areas!

Those may not seem like much, but to me, they were little things that really downgraded this book!

So that's it for my dot point review! Let me know if you like these reviews! 

Julia x

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Hi Bookish People,
Welcome to the Picnic!
Today I am doing a Q&A with the wonderful Jaclyn Moriatry! I have received Jaclyn's books for review from the lovely Pan Macmillan Aus, but I am unable to put up a review today! I will be putting up a review of the full series when I can get around to reading it soon! Without further ado let's get on to the post! 

Use the hashtag #TangleofGoldTour to spread the love and chat to the bloggers involved!

Click for OptionsJaclyn Moriarty grew up in Sydney's north-west and studied Law and English on three continents - at Sydney University in Australia, Yale in the US and Cambridge in England. She spent four years working as a media and entertainment lawyer and now writes full time so that she can sleep in each day. She lives in Sydney with her son Charlie and is learning the cello.
A Tangle of Gold: The Colours of Madeleine 3 - Jaclyn MoriartyA Corner of White: The Colours of Madeleine 1 - Jaclyn MoriartyThe Cracks in the Kingdom: The Colours of Madeleine 2 - Jaclyn Moriarty

1.    When writing a novel do you start developing a plot, character or world first?

That seems to change between books.  With Feeling Sorry for Celia, my first book, it was just an idea: two girls meeting each other through a letter-writing exchange between two schools.  And then, with Finding Cassie Crazy, it was sort of the same idea: only this time, three girls meeting three boys through a letter-writing exchange between schools. 

With the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, I started with the idea of a world, and I thought about the world, and drew pictures and maps of the world for years before I started writing.

But with all of my books, a key step is always bringing a few characters to life inside my head.  Without them, there is no book.   The Kingdom of Cello only really became real to me when I believed in Elliot and Madeleine.

2. What do you think about when naming a character?

Naming a character is crazy important to me!  I cant tell whether this is because it actually is important or if this is a tactic to avoid starting writing.   It has to be a name I like, and a name that conjures up the person for me, and a name that does not belong to anybody I did not like in high school.  Also, it cant be the name of somebody too close to me or I will not be able to separate the real person from the character and I will never be able to make tough decisions like whether to get the character trapped down a mineshaft.

3. How'd you get to deciding the titles of your books?

Sometimes the title just unfurls right in front of me like an aeroplane flying a banner behind it.  Mostly it does not.  I spend hours looking for phrases and covering pages with ridiculous potential titles.  My publisher, Claire Craig, came up with A Corner of White as the title for the first book in the trilogy - it was a phrase she liked fro the book itself.   And my sister, Nicola Moriarty (who is also a writer) suggested The Cracks in the Kingdom for the second.  I just remembered that I thought of A Tangle of Gold!  So, thats something.

4. Around how long on average does it take you to write a book?

This trilogy took about ten years because I was playing around with the idea for so long, and then planning it for almost as long.  My aim is to write a book in a year.  That never seems to happen.

5. If all of your characters could go on a holiday together, where would they go?

Do you mean all the characters from all my different books?  But there are many of them, and Im not sure they would want to go on holiday together.  I think I should send my Ashbury/Brookfield characters on holiday to the Kingdom of Cello, and they could split off into groups and explore separate provinces.  The kids would want to be separate from the teachers, I think.  I think my characters in Colours of Madeleine trilogy would need a holiday somewhere quite relaxing after all the busy events of the third book, so maybe one of the quieter Fijian resort islands would work. 

6. Do you match characters personality with their appearance? If so how?

I dont really think about creating a characters appearance: when I think of a character I see them right away, and they look the way they look.  Theres nothing I can do about it.  So I guess they automatically match their personality?

7. If you could have all of your characters over for dinner, what would you serve?

Pizza.  I would order pizza because I am terrified of cooking for a large group of people.  But I would bake cakes and brownies for dessert, as I really like baking, and this would show that I cared enough to make something myself.  Id be worried about sharing my baking with the characters from the Farms though as they are experts.  I would probably apologise to them a lot and secretly hope that they loved it.  I might ask them for tips.

8. Do you celebrate your characters birthdays if they have them?

That is a brilliant idea and something I will initiate right away.  Ill have pizza and cake.

9. Do you seek qualities from yourself, friends or family for your characters?

All of my characters have slivers or fragments of myself in them.   Every time I try a new character I imagine myself into their position.  I think: I am a boy who has grown up in a farming district, and everybody loves me and Im great at sports and my dad has gone missing.  What do I think about this?  So its kind of part me and part the character.   If there is a character who is nothing like me, or a character who is becoming too unsympathetic, I will think about people I know and like, and imagine one or two of their more endearing attributes into my difficult character.  That helps to give them another dimension, I think.

10. Who's your favourite character you've written? Then can you pair them with another character from a different book?

You have to understand that I am terrible at making decisions.  I cant choose just one of my characters, I feel very fond and protective of them all.  I have a special place in my heart for Bindy Mackenzie, mainly because everybody hates her, I love Lydia from Finding Cassie Crazy, and I am currently really keen on Elliot.  I could definitely see Lydia and Elliot getting together but that would be such a betrayal of both Seb and Madeleine.  I guess it could only happen if both couples have decided to split up and see other people for a couple of years, which would make sense as theyre still young. 

Thanks so much to Jaclyn for taking time out of your day to answer these questions! Thanks also to Pan Macmillan for involving me in the tour! If you would like to check out more blogs with more great posts with Jaclyn I have a poster down below so make sure to check that out! 

Julia x