Friday, 30 September 2016

Wrapping Up September 2016 with Picnic Reads (Slumps, Crooked Kingdom and More)

I talk about being in a slump, going to events, meeting the bookish crew and all the CROOKED KINGDOM THINGS! Also can we talk about how I'm posting this on the last day of September. I MEAN THAT TIMING!

The Books I Have Purchased:
As much as I want the Crooked Kingdom hardback, I'm lurking and waiting for the deals! 

Books I have received from the wonderful humans called publishers:
I have tried to refrain from requesting too much at the moment, because I'm swamping in review books (no complaints though) 

(Thanks so much to Pan Macmillan for these two books)
Three Dark Crowns (Untitled, #1)

Images: Goodreads

The Books I've Read This Month:
So this is where I get to the part where I say I was in a slump. A most horrid book slump. Caused by an excessive amount of contemporary novels. I know. The slump turned one of my favourite genres against me. THE GENRE THAT HELPS ME OUT OF SLUMPS. So I was like, "Well great, this is just perfect, how will I get out of this?" Thank goodness for fantasy novels and a beta read that was actually one of the best things ever.So in the end I read 6 books including a beta read.
Nothing Tastes As Good by Claire HennessyStealing Snow by Danielle  PaigeOur Chemical Hearts by Krystal SutherlandSiege and Storm by Leigh BardugoHeartless by Marissa Meyer + Beta read
Images: Goodreads

Nothing Tastes As Good: 
Stealing Snow: ★.5
Our Chemical Hearts: ★.5
Siege and Storm: ★.5

Book of the Month:
Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
So pleasantly surprised with this book. If you read my review for Shadow and Bone which was way way way back here, I wasn't amazed. This book was a step up for me. Well more than a step up. I have to thank my friend Steph, for making me read this book, because I honestly wouldn't have read it and I loved it!

Also, this book has made me that much more excited for Crooked Kingdom. I did enjoy Six of Crows, but I read it during a slump (yes, I have had a lot of slumps at the moment!) and I just don't know if I can judge it? Because I loved the characters but not the plot? Anyway, I have high hopes for Crooked Kingdom, because I seem to not like the first books in Leigh's series but love the second. Also I now have so much more knowledge of the Grisha now and I love the world so much! One of the best fantasy worlds ever.

Currently Reading:

I'm currently beta reading for a friend of mine and her novel is incredible. I am absoloutley loving reading it! But I think next on my list to read will be either This Savage Song or Crooked Kingdom! 

What's happened this month:

+ I uploaded a post on my beta reading services and why if you have a novel you'd like read, you should think about sending it to me! Check out that post & all the guidelines here

+  I also got to meet Krystal Sutherland (@km_sutherland) at her Melbourne Our Chemical Hearts book launch! I had such an amazing time and she was such a lovely bubbly person! Meeting her was so awesome! The night also included hugs from Shivaun Plozza, another amazing author (@shivaunplozza) who did a great job as interviewer as well as getting to meet Amie Kaufman co-author of Illuminae and the Starbound Trilogy (@amiekaufmanauthor) which was so incredible!
I also loved meeting all of the Melbourne Bookish Crew in real life! It was so nice to see them and I will probably see them again at the Gemina Launch.

(Shivaun on the left, Krystal on the right. Both looking so gorgeous!)
This photo is taken by Sarah R Hatch

+ If you'd like to see my review of Our Chemical Hearts, I have posted one as well as a playlist here!

+ I also interviewed tactile typographer + cover designer of upcoming release The Sun Is Also A Star. It's a bit of a behind the scenes on the cover, so you can look at the post here!

+ I posted my 100th post this week, (this will be 101st) so thanks for sticking with me for 100 (or maybe a little less) posts! 

+ Also many thanks for 100+ followers on my bookstagram! That's crazy thankyou so much! I'm just @picnicreads on there aswell, if you like bookish photography!

+I also plan on FINALLY reading the Throne of Glass Series because a) everyone recommends it very highly b) THE FANART (and spoilers which I don't think I can avoid anymore and c) The next book comes out next year and I think I need to read them all before that.

I need to finish the Shadowhunter series aswell. I am almost halfway through that! AHHH SERIES

+ I am also SO ready for the Gemina Launch! SO excited! 

+ I also kind of talked to Leigh Bardugo & Simini Blocker. Two of the most amazing people ever! I congratulated Leigh on the Crooked Kingdom release and she replied! I also talked to Simini Blocker (an incredible artist who is known for drawing characters from books) I tweeted her about how much I loved Nina Zenik (a character from Six of Crows) and how much I love her drawings and we had a whole chat about NINA! It was so awesome. (Also how cool is Leigh's website? It has the whole Grisha map on it and YOU CAN CLICK ON THE PLACES!

What's On This Week (Posting Wise)
My review of The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson!

Julia x

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Interview with the Cover Designer of The Sun Is Also A Star, Dominique Falla

I am insanely excited about this post.
I got the chance to interview Dominique! An Australian typographer, who worked on the cover of 'The Sun Is Also A Star' Nicola Yoon's newest book! 

As soon as I knew that an Australian had designed this cover I knew I had to interview them! Thankyou so much to Dominique for coming on to my blog!

1. Welcome to Picnic Reads, Dominique! Firstly, would you like it introduce yourself, and talk about how you got in to cover design? 

My name is Dominique Falla and I am a tactile typographer, living and working in Australia. I have been creating tactile typography since 2011. I have worked on several book covers now made from string and nails because the visual texture really works well on a book cover. 

My first string and nails cover was for a book called The Color Master by Amy Bender and then I created one for the re-launch of the Memory Keeper's Daughter for the penguin by hand series. This cover for the sun is also a star is my third string and nails cover.

2. What do you like about being a typographer?

I find words and the written language very beautiful and it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways you can create an individual letter form and have people still recognise it. I studied as a graphic designer and I used to use type and image as separate things. Now I enjoy creating pieces of typographic art because it means I can combine both together.

3. When you are asked to design a cover, what do you need to know about a book to begin drafting a design? (Do you get a brief that you have to follow?)

Often when you work on a book cover, the creative team at the publishers has usually put together a brief and some ideas about what they would like. Believe it or not, you rarely get the book to read beforehand, the editorial team just tell you about the themes and the basic idea behind the book. I think this is to stop the cover artist getting bogged down with too many details.

4. Is there anything you like about designing YA book covers? Anything specific to YA?

I used to be a children's book illustrator and so I've created art work for very young children as well as young adults. I really love colour, so with young adult fiction you get to create something more beautiful than tends to appeal to an adult audience.

Sun is also a star5. So, I found your name in The Sun is Also A Star, a book that I ADORE the cover of and can't wait to read. What was your process in designing this cover? 

The cover process was handled by a book packaging company which usually involves a creative director or designer putting the whole look and feel together on behalf of the publisher. They contacted me with a brief to see if I was interested in creating the cover. 

The typestyle had to be fairly clean and simple to allow for all the complicated detail with the string and I had to use embroidery thread to allow for all the different blending and colour combinations. It was a very difficult cover to create because of all the different colours having to blend into each other but I really enjoyed it.

6. Your method of typography is very unique, I can see you used string and nails to design the cover of The Sun Is Also A Star. What do you like about designing projects with string?

I like it because I enjoy working with my hands. As a traditional graphic designer I spent every day in front of the computer, whereas now that I am a tactile typographer I get to spend every day in the workshop. I also enjoy the process because it is difficult to control, and the end result is often different to how I expect it to turn out. I have an idea in my head of how I want it to look, but the process of winding the string is very chaotic and it turns out how it wants to turn out. 

Thankyou so so much for coming and talking to me Dominique.  I absoloutley loved hearing from you.

I hope you guys enjoyed that! I absoloutley adored talking to Dominique! I find cover design and typography so interesting so it was great to be able to talk to someone who works in these two areas! 

Julia x

Monday, 26 September 2016

Fairytales Gone Wrong in Yellow Brick War (My favourite bits)

I am mini-reviewing Yellow Brick War today. Well basically I am telling you why I liked Yellow Brick War in a few points! 
I liked Yellow Brick War. I mean who doesn't like the bad guys going good and visa versa. 

Images: Harper Collins

Yellow Brick War (Book 3 in the Dorothy Must Die Series) by Danielle Paige
Published by Harper Collins Australia 
Imprint is Harper Collins-US
Published in April 2016
Aus RRP: $19.99
YA Retelling 

Once upon a time, there was a girl from Kansas named Dorothy.
You might know her as the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone. She ended up in Oz, where she became friends with the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. But the temptation of magic was too much for her. She let it change her. Her friends became twisted versions of their former selves.The magical land of Oz is now a dark and menacing place.
My name is Amy Gumm. Tornadoes must have a thing about girls from Kansas, because I got swept away on one too. I also landed in Oz, where Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good, and the Wicked Witches clued me in to my true calling: Assassin. The only way to stop Dorothy from destroying Oz—and Kansas—is to kill her. And I’m the only one who can do it. But I failed. Others died for my mistakes. Because of me, the portal between the worlds has been opened and Kansas and Oz are both in danger. And if I don’t find a way to close it? Dorothy will make sure I never get to go home again.

Thankyou SO much to Harper Collins Australia for sending me an ARC for review! This doesn't effect my opinion.

Let me start off by saying, I'm sorry I haven't reviewed the first two books. But if you want to know what I thought about those two books, I rated them:

Dorothy Must Die: 
The Wicked Will Rise: ★.5

On to Yellow Brick War:

I've seen millions of reviews on this book and so I thought I would review this book by telling you all my favourite bits.

1. The Monkeys are literally the best things ever.
Did I mention that the monkeys in this book TALK? Yes and they are so sassy. They also live in a massive treehouse which is one of the most awesome things I have ever read. Seriously one of the best settings EVER. Plus they have spas. PLUS they use banana bombs! LULU IS THE QUEEN and I mean I feel like I would be happy with her ruling this world.

2.  I love how naive the witches are to the actual world.
They are oblivious to GOOGLE and the internet. They even called BACON A DELICACY.  This was actually hilarious and made me laugh so hard! HOW CAN THEY NOT KNOW WHAT BACON IS??? *sighhhhh*

3. I love THE TENT 
There is a magical tent and it is amazing. It also includes a buffet which is probably why I like it so much. ALSO I imagined the tent with fairy lights, I know cliche but how cute.

4. All of the witches powers FEEL different
I like how each of the witches powers are different. THEY DON'T ALL HAVE THE EXACT SAME POWER. Each of them is described differently. Each power is sensed differently. I don't know why I am so happy about this, but I'm just happy that they each have something unique to them. Not the same power.

My rating: ★

Julia x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Picnic Playlist: Our Chemical Hearts

I finished Our Chemical Hearts today (today being Tuesday the day I drafted this post) And wow guys. Wow.

So this book was one of my most anticipated reads of this year. Why? Lot's of reasons. 1) Because it's a contemporary and has a UNIQUE plot 2) Because it's by an Australian author (#LoveOzYA) that I have internet chatted with and by the way is lovely 3) What more reason do I need? 

BUT, I ran in to a huge problem. Being a reviewer of course I wanted to get this book as an ARC and be one of the first to read it and review it. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a copy from the publisher, as they had handed out all their copies. Of course I was very disappointed. But I decided that I would email Krystal, and see if I could arrange to interview her. If I got an interview with her that would make it up for missing out on a review copy, I thought. Can I just tell you again how beautiful this author is? She not only says yes to an interview but also sends me a SIGNED copy of her book. If Krystal is reading this: Thankyou so much and I would love it if you read this reviewish playlisty thingo. 

Anyway, enough about how I got to this book. It took me a few days to work up the courage to read this book because I'd put so much hype on it. But when I did read it, it took me 3 days. It was also amazing. So great, that it made me want to make a playlist for it. 

So I now, thanks to this book, have a new segment on Picnic Reads. This segment is called *drum roll* The Picnic Playlist. Bascially, I will make a playlist for some books that I really really like, and also pick a few songs and tell you how they relate to the book in a non-spoilery way! How's that sound? Alright! Let's go! 

Here's the Playlist for Our Chemical Hearts:

If you don't want to be spoiled, don't look at the end song on the playlist. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED PEOPLE.

Proceed with caution.

The link if you want to add this to your music/follow me or such is here! Note: All of the songs are in random order, APART FROM the first and last songs which I put there to represent the start of the book and the end.

She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5:

I didn't just choose this song because it's one of the main characters favourite songs, but also because I think this song holds significance towards the overall story. I think the discussion is the book about loving the idea of someone or the true someone is very important. People change. Do you love them for their past selves, or their present selves? I feel like this song, connects to the plot in the way that Grace and Henry will both be loved for their true selves. Whether that's by each other or in seperate directions they need to figure that out themselves, but what's important is that they WILL be loved. It's also about noticing when someone doesn't love the real you and are in love with the idea of you. But, noticing that can be very difficult.

Fix You- Coldplay:

The idea of trying to 'Fix' someone is one that has been played around in the background of a few books, but is brought directly in to the storyline of this one. Can love fix you? Even when your broken? This is a very important theme in this book and it was so great to hear from the characters (and Krystal's) perspective of this. The idea that you can be perfect and broken is a beautiful one as well and is also brought up in this gorgeous novel. Let me just toss this idea at you people who have read this book, do you think this lyric from 'Fix You' kind of relates to this book in certain parts 'When you get what you want, but not what you need' In this book, as much as Henry says he doesn't, he wanted to "Fix" Grace but can you fix a person, who doesn't want to be fixed?

Demons- Imagine Dragons:

This book is all about personal demons. This song really connects to a character in particular. Try and tell me this lyric isn't Grace to Henry: 'I want to hide the truth, I want to shelter you' The topic of inner demons is a hard one to discuss and write about and Krystal handled it very, very well. The book talks about feeling indebted to people and punishing yourself for things often out of your control. These topics were so eyeopening and one of my favourite aspects about this book. It's something that isn't talked about much, but this book was amazing in that it talked about all these hard emotions in a way that wasn't light and fluffy, but wasn't hard and too heavy.  This was all cleverly in woven in to the storyline in a mind boggling way!
Breakeven- The Script:

So if you've read the blurb of this book, (which YOU ALL HAVE because it's a great book) you know that this is a book about first love. As mentioned above, there is a lot of talk about being able to 'fix' people. Gluing the broken pieces of someone together. In this song, we hear about love. And what it's like to lose someone who is almost a part of you. This book talks ALL about first love. What it's like to lose someone. How a loss of love physically hurts.  In this song we hear 'Still alive but I'm barely breathing' this song is all about losing someone you love, and feeling like you can't live anymore because they were such a vital piece of you. In this book, there is heartbreak and talk about what a perfect relationship is. The idea that no matter how long or how short a relationship is, there will have always been love in every single relationship. Just because you have moved on doesn't mean there isn't. I think that this is a very important message to learn, because it's easy to assume that because you date someone for a month and then you decide to go seperate ways, it means there wasn't love. As explained in this book, there is always love. No matter how many days you are together. 

Cake- Melanie Martinez:

This one kind of refers to the book and the writing! One of my favourite parts of this book was Krystal's writing. Her way of describing things was so intricate. I remember one of my favourites being, she described clouds and looking like 'buttercream' So this song came to mind (I do love  Melanie)  because the word 'buttercream' is used! It also has reference to the plot of the story though, but I will leave this one up to the people who have read this book to find out.

This book was so good and I very highly recommend you all read it. Congratulations Krystal on a wonderful debut novel. 

Click here to read a synopsis of this book & pre-order

I really hope you liked that! Let me know if you liked my playlist!

Tell me, what was your favourite song on this playlist? In the comments!

Julia x

Monday, 19 September 2016

The ships are real in This Fractured Light

Yes, I am once again reviewing a book that is the third book in a series without reviewing any of the other books and I apologise.

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Published by Allen and Unwin Australia 
Imprint is A & U Childrens
Published in December 2015
Aus RRP: $18.99
YA Fantasy 

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries' corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue.

Now, at the centre of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI.

Gideon Marchant is an underworld hacker known as the Knave of Hearts, ready to abseil his way past the best security measures on the planet to expose LRI's atrocities. Sofia Quinn, charming con artist, can work her way into any stronghold without missing a beat. When a foiled attempt to infiltrate LRI headquarters forces them into a fragile alliance, it's impossible to know who's playing whom - and whether they can ever learn to trust each other.

Thankyou SO much to Allen and Unwin Australia for sending me a copy of this book for review! This doesn't effect my opinion.

So you may've seen the title and been a little like 'I NEED ALL THE SHIPS IN MY LIFE' because, if you didn't I would be concerned. But I will get to that bit later.

Firstly let me tell you what I rated the first two books: 
These Broken Stars: 
This Shattered World: 

So basically I went from finding These Broken Stars a bit of an average read. I liked it but it didn't amaze me. But This Shattered World was fabulous. An incredible book as you can probably tell.

On to my thoughts on This Fractured Light:

I really liked this book.
It was kind of in the middle of the two books before it for me.

Sofia was a force to be reckoned with. Smart, strong and as many of Kaufman and Spooner's characters are sassy. I loved her. I don't want to get in to spoiler because I want you all to read this series but Sofia is a seriously intelligent. She's been from planet to planet and the hardships she has had to face in her previous lives have been absoloutley incomprehensible. What I really liked about Sofia was her ability to put things in the past and get what needs to be done, done. She doesn't fuss around and is a stubborn female which I loved. Sofia also has a great sense of humour and has incredible acting skills if I can add that there.

Gideon, ahhh Gideon
You see I could never see myself liking a hacker, for obvious reasons, but Amie and Meg have done it. They've actually made me want to hug a hacker. What has this book done to me? Gideon is one of the nicest hackers you will ever meet (in a book) Yes, I did just say that. His den is his everything, and to me it sounds pretty damn cosy! He also has a great taste in food so all of you foodies out there, Gideon would be the perfect book boyfriend for you, that is if you can steal him from Sofia (which I highly recommend never doing, because you may not come back) Willing to do anything for family, Gideon was a very interesting characters whose secrets blew me away and made for a very big plot twist (which I didn't see coming)

 Also YAY for the return of the other characters. I haven't said it before, but my favourite character throughout this whole series would without a doubt be Captain Chase (or Lee Chase) She is such a badass character and made in this book we get to see a different side of every character. We get to see a more vulnerable side to them. How War and loss and grief take their toll on people. I think it's very important to see how characters deal with grief and even more important that even the toughest characters are affected. 

This story brings out all of the emotions in me and the characters. You know what I love? That this plot provides, grief, it gives you love, trust, dishonesty and it's a fantasy. In this book FANTASY characters FEEL. I think this is so important, because in a lot of fantasy I read the characters don't feel. They have a power or live in a perfect world where they are just so happy with everything. Or on a different note they always get what they want and whine if they don't. This book breaks those barriers. I loved it. The plot twists and turns and takes unexpected ways. It astonishes you.

The ships in this book aren't perfect. I say that in the way that imperfect but perfect couples are. They fight, they hide things from each other, then these secrets spill out, they fight again and make up. All of the couples in these books are so far away from what any of them thought they would fall for. As described as 'star crossed' Throughout this book we see how relationships work, how they each depend on one another in times that are hard. How they can always fall on one another. We see this particularly in the couples from the pre existing books, and we also see Gideon and Sofia, trying to work out their love.

Amie and Meagan are a beautiful writing pair. Their writing styles blend so perfectly together, and thank goodness they came together to write this beautiful series (in particular the last two books) 

Bits & Bobs:
  • The food in this book ugh drool. Seriously, I mean it foodies, you will love Gideon soo much!
  • The setting is described perfectly. Futuristic and modern plus the world has three seperate layers (Rich, Moderate & Poor) I always struggle getting my head around settings in books, but this book's setting was so well described I got in first go.
Rating ★

Julia x

Sunday, 18 September 2016

I'm a Beta Reader? YES I will read your book!

Some of you may know, many of you not, but I'm a beta reader. 

A beta reader is a person who reads over a manuscript and makes comments on the story! Beta readers comment on the plot, characters, writing and the overall story. 

Considering getting a beta for your manuscript? Here's why you should

Beta's offer a unique view on your story. We can tell you what's so amazing about your novel that you can never cut it out EVER and we can also kindly (because we are not holding swords)  tell you what you can add to make it even better.

SO then what's to special about you?

Me? Oh ummmm now I have to say why you should choose me and I feel pressured. 

1. I'm a book reviewer so I know how to evaluate books.

2. I love to read (& write) I've been writing and reading from a very young age!
 I also understand the difficulties of starting and finishing a novel *clappy hands*

3. I'm addicted to my emails so if you want to email me anything go right ahead I will reply within 1 millisecond

4. I am always honest, but never BRUTALLY honest. I'm a big believer in constructive criticism and encouragement! I will always offer advice, and as I like to say you can 'take it or leave it' (Tell me if you remember where that's from because I can't seem to)

5. I also correct grammar, spelling & typos which leads me too the next question...

If I have a typo or spelling mistake in my novel, will you fix it up for me *cute face* 

Although beta readers are not editors, I will point out typos, spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes. I understand that a few mistakes are bound to slip through but please make sure that your piece had undergone at least one round of editing before it comes to me. Let me just say again editing novels are not in a betas description, however because I understand how hard writing for numerous hours and getting spelling and grammer and all the shizz is hard I will correct some mistakes.

What genres do you accept because I want to fling my book at you in my catapult?

At the moment I am only taking Young Adult novels in the following genres:

Contemporary, Any type of Fantasy, Romance, Retellings, Historical Fiction, Dystopian, Middle Grade & Steampunk

I am NOT accepting:
Memoirs, Spirituality, Religion, Non-Fiction

What do I get from your service?
You will get an email with all my comments on just about anything from the plot, to characters. I will usually write the page number of what I'm referring to is on, and make my comment. Unless of course this comment refers to the whole book in general, which then I will just write my comment and explain it without a page number. This is the same with typos, grammar mistakes and spelling errors except I will put the line that you have written, and then the correction next to it like this: (My comment it bold)

Page 178: "I went the store" I think you meant to add "to" after "went"

As much as I would love to accept every manuscript sent my way, it is almost impossible. I can't say yes to every email that is sent my way, but I will try to, for as many as possible. Please be aware that your manuscript may be declined.

So, If you think you want to send me your novel for beta reading drop me an email here, with the subject 'Can you beta read for me please I have chocolate pudding' or maybe just 'Beta Reading' and send me a synopsis of the book. I will get back to you as soon as possible with whether or not I will be reading your book! 

Sound good? I have beta read a few novels and they have been amazing! I mean get-them-a-publisher-asap amazing! 

SO hit send on that email. YOU KNOW YOU WANT YOUR STORY BETA READ. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Guest Post: Siobhan Curham talks about why she loves writing Contemporary

Today I have the amazing Siobhan Curham on my blog! 

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for setting this guest post up. Today Siobhan is going to be talking about what she loves about writing contemporary. Some of you probably know that contemporary is my favourite genre, so I really loved reading through this post and I hope you do too! Thanks so much for coming to Picnic Reads today Siobhan.

Onto Siobhan!

I love writing contemporary fiction because I love reading contemporary fiction. I love books with a cast of characters I can relate to, involved in situations I can relate to and take inspiration from. This love of contemporary fiction dates back to when I was a teen and I discovered a writer called Judy Blume. Judy Blume wrote about things like bullying and periods and parents divorcing and I took so much solace from her words. As my parents’ marriage crumbled I sought refuge in her books and reassured myself that I was not alone.

When I first became a published author I wrote for adults and off the back of that, I started running writing workshops in local high schools. Working with teenagers reminded me of what a turbulent time it can be and this – combined with my memories of how much books had helped me through my teen years – sparked a desire in me to write YA fiction. In my books for young adults I try to explore the different challenges facing teens in a realistic but ultimately uplifting way. My dream is that my books will help teens the way Judy Blume’s books helped me. And I constantly draw upon the experiences of the teens I meet or hear from for inspiration.

The Moonlight DreamersThe Moonlight Dreamers was inspired by a girl who started emailing me six years ago after reading my first YA novel. She told me all about her dream of one day becoming a writer and I offered her tips and advice. We emailed back and forth regularly for about four years then, sadly, she succumbed to an eating disorder and gave up on her writing dream. I was so shocked and saddened by this it fired me up to write a contemporary novel that encouraged people to dare to dream – even in the hardest of times. Especially in the hardest of times. Teen girls and women face so many pressures from society and the media and online but we have to hold tight to our dreams because they are what can get us through the darkest times. Our life goals can make great life rafts, carrying us into a brighter future.

Prior to the book coming out I received a lovely email from a bookseller in New Zealand saying that he’d picked up a copy of The Moonlight Dreamers when he was bored on his lunchbreak and it had gone on to inspire him to resurrect his own writing dream. Reading his words made me cry. It blew my mind that something I wrote could have had this kind of effect on someone on the other side of the world, exactly as Judy Blume’s writing had affected me all those years ago. It’s reactions like these that make writing contemporary fiction one of the most rewarding jobs ever.

Thanks so so much for writing this wonderful piece Siobhan! Thanks to Walker again! Make sure you check out her newest book, The Moonlight Dreamers!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Things my friends who don't read or blog say to me

Booklovers love being friends with other booklovers. Especially online bookish friends are the best. Because they understand what a TBR is and what a CR is + they get what blogging is. But I think we all have at least, at the absolute minimum one friend who doesn't read in the real world. So let's talk about them. 

I don't know about you other bloggers, but my friends know I have a book blog. Let's just say that wasn't really my decision. (You tell a couple of people and it spreads QUICKLY!) 

Here are some things people who find out that I blog say to me, as well as what non-readers say to me:

"Wait, you read more than one book a month?"Image result for wait what gif 
My average response to this: Yes, yes I do. This is usually followed up by the person with a: But why? And you probably won't believe it but I actually have to explain that reading isn't a chore for me. I actually have to take my time telling them why it's fun. Then they'll usually stare at me dazed and tell me something like 'My parents force me to read, your's don't and yet you WANT to read. Me: *internally crying because it's not that hard to understand, I LIKE READING*

 "You write a blog? How popular is it? Why would you want to write more than you have to?"
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This is generally how the above conversation goes:

Person: My friend said you have a blog, is it true?
Me: Ummm yeah *who told you?????*
Person: Ohhhh that's so awesome, what's it about?
Me: Books
Person: *thought it would be on something like style and is now really awkward* Oh yeah popular is it?
Me: Oh it's just newish
Person: Ohhh right, but why would you want to write more than you have to, like isn't it just more work?
Me: Na. I love writing and talking to the bookish community about BOOKS because there's nothing better! *VERY ENTHUSIASTIC* 
Person: *backs away and runs* 

Does that answer that?

"Do you get paid?"
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Me: No I don't get paid in money. BUT I DO IN BOOKS. Goes on to explain wonderfulness of publishers until person asking get's bored.People usually get bored after they learn you don't earn money.

"So you don't get paid to read or write but you find it fun so you do it. It's not a chore to you, you enjoy it?"Image result for what're you doing gif
Me: Pretty much exactly yeah.
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*Flakey friend steps away and runs away*
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*Real friend understands and get's excited about having a friend who reads*
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What's something your friend who doesn't read/blog say to you that you found absurd?

Julia x