This is going to sound strange, but I very rarely read book blurbs. Most of my recommendations come from fellow bloggers, friends or podcasts but even if I’m browsing through a bookstore, I’ll never base my decision solely on the blurb.
Here’s the thing: blurbs ruin books for me. Often they reveal way too much information which puts a dampener on the opening chapters. I also find they give me certain expectations for how the story will unfold and, when it doesn’t, I get disappointed in a book which I probably would have enjoyed otherwise. Read More
Tiny is homeless. Nola has everything she could ask for. They meet when Nola is forced into volunteer work for the writers’ group at the homeless shelter where Tiny is staying, and at first it seems impossible that two people who are so different could ever be friends. But despite her initial prejudice, Nola quickly learns that there isn’t much separating her from the people who live on the streets. And Tiny begins to see that falling down doesn’t mean you never get back up. Because of You is a story about homelessness, prejudice and the power of words to provide a little hope.
Most of us like to think we’re kind, caring people who want to help others out. But I’m sure most of us have also looked away from the person sleeping rough in the doorway of a business or selling The Big Issue from a milk crate on the corner of a busy city. I might be wrong, but I know I certainly have. It’s uncomfortable, unsettling. But the people we’re so busy avoiding are just that: people. People who had lives before finding shelter became their day-to-day, who have emotions and dreams. Because of You is a beautiful reminder that everyone has a story to tell and taking the time to listen, to ask how someone is coping, can make the world of difference. Read More
I’ve never been one for romantic reads, but even the grumpiest of us need a lift and sometimes a sweet comtemporary is the best way for me to boost my mood. For the most part, I tend to stick to the same authors when I’m in a funk or in need of emotional bookish support. So here’s a selection of my favourites guaranteed to make you smile. Read More
Other bloggers have been telling me to read Liane Moriarty for years. I bought a couple of her novels second hand in 2013 and, as is the way with most of my books, I haven’t actually read them yet. I couldn’t help but see the hype around her later releases Truly Madly Guilty and, of course, Big Little Lies. And yet, I still avoided the hype. Finally, I’ve given in and listened to the audiobook as well as watching the Emmy-award winning HBO mini-series. Read More
Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organising…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray. In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…
There is nothing I love more than a contemporary novel, especially when it’s as sweet and charming as Unconventional. It was the perfect holiday reading with the first romance I’ve swooned over in quite some time. From the palm trees in the first chapter, I was absolutely hooked and it was almost a shame to put it down and go back to exploring Brisbane during my getaway. Read More
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t too clever to plan a holiday in Brisbane less than two months from my trip to the UK, but it turned out to be exactly the break I needed. My partner and I flew down and caught up with friends and family, did some shopping and, most importantly, went to see My Favourite Murder performed live at The Tivoli. Grab a cuppa, I’m going to be rambling for a while here… Read More
It’s the summer after high school ends and everyone is moving on. Winning scholarships. Heading to uni. Travelling the world. Everyone except Milo Dark. Milo feels his life is stuck on pause. His girlfriend is 200km away, his mates have bailed for bigger things and he is convinced he’s missed the memo reminding him to plan the rest of his life. Then Layla Montgomery barrels back into his world after five years without so much as a text message. As kids, Milo and Layla were family friends who shared everything – hiding out in her tree house, secrets made at midnight, and sunny afternoons at the river. But they haven’t spoken since her mum’s funeral. Layla’s fallen apart since that day. She pushed away her dad, dropped out of school and recently followed her on-again-off-again boyfriend back to town because she has nowhere else to go. Not that she’s letting on how tough things have been. What begins as innocent banter between Milo and Layla soon draws them into a tangled mess with a guarantee that someone will get hurt. While it’s a summer they’ll never forget, is it one they want to remember?
High school graduation was something I dreaded. On paper, I should have been set. I had an early acceptance to the university of my choice, my accommodation was sorted and all the plans to move in place. Knowing my next step was comforting, I admit. But I was still leaving the school I’d spent my childhood at, saying goodbye to my best friends and would soon be living semi-alone at university. And I was an anxious, sobbing mess. Long story short? The flux between leaving high school and adulthood (whatever that is, let’s just say your 20s) is the perfect, very underutilised, fodder for a novel. I’ve read a couple of books which touch on this experience, but none which capture it as beautifully as Remind Me How This Ends.Read More
I was researching the first essay of my Masters when I had a moment of panic: how the hell do I actually write this? That’s where I fell back on a plan I’ve been implementing since my senior years in high school. I can’t guarantee you good grades, but it does limit the stress and make writing a brilliant essay just a little easier. The plan has changed a little over the years, but the basic structure has stayed the same and I’ve used it to tackle almost all my assignments.Read More
Today I am so pleased to welcome the gorgeous Gab Williams to The Unfinished Bookshelf to talk about her wonderful new novel My Life as a Hashtag.
My Life as a Hashtag explores what happens when something unexpectedly goes viral. It’s not hard to see where you got the inspiration – it happens so frequently online. But why did you feel it was important to explore this in a young adult novel?
Social media is a great way to feel connected, but of course, some aspects of it can be brutal, especially when everyone makes the ‘group think’ decision to hop online and condemn a person for their behavior. I wanted to explore how it feels to be the person being slammed, with the weight of the world coming down on you. Read More
What’s a girl to do when her parents have split up; her mum’s trawling Tinder; and one of her best friends has decided not to invite her to the biggest party of the year, which she then has to watch unfold on everyone else’s social media? If you’re a girl called MC, you get mad as hell, that’s what you do. But what begins as one girl’s private, no-holds-barred rant soon snowballs in the most public way possible.
Sometimes I think it’s time for a social media cleanse. I mean, giving up swiping seems to be as popular as sucking down a kale and spinach smoothie these days. But then I remember I’m a journalist, blogger and podcaster. It’s basically impossible to quit when scrolling and timelines are such a huge part of my work and personal lives. Yet, as invasive as social media is for me (and pretty much everyone I know) it’s not usually explored well, or at all, in the novels I read. There’ll be a text here or there, maybe a mention of generic social media or uploading a photo, but for the most part it takes a back seat. It can save books from being dated in years to come, but there is so much fodder for amazing stories in our behaviour online. It’s something Gabrielle Williams has tapped into perfectly in her latest YA novel, My Life as a Hashtag. Read More