Five Awesome Book-Bloggers, Instagramers and Websites.

I love to read and I love books, and recently I have been scouring the blissful abyss of the internet, hunting down blogs, Instagram feeds, and other websites about books. Of course there are the big sites, like Book Depository and Goodreads – but I was on the hunt for something more personal. I wanted to find some fellow book lovers with similar tastes where I can find some book recommendations, great images and some reviews too.

I tried to avoid google. I used social media, mostly, to guide me: Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr. I let one image lead me to others, which led me to blogs, and I have come up with a list of a few that really inspired me – that have even got me reading more lately. Here they are:


1. Blue Eyed Biblio (@blueeyedbiblio)

blueeyedbiblio-msmarvelEmily is a vivacious 18-year-old book addict. But don’t let her age fool you! She is an avid reader, and she has an stunning Instagram account with a few hundred beautiful photographs of her books and bookshelves, and a staggering 106,000 odd followers to date. She also recently started a blog over at blogspot, where she posts about books she is reading and reviews books she has read. She reads mostly YA fiction, like me, so I find most of her recommendations interesting and have enjoyed all the books I’ve read that I have seen in her feed.

blue eyed biblio


2. OwlCrate (@owlcrate)

owlcrate logoMuch like the successful Lootcrates‘ desire to share Funko pop vinyls and other such nerdy wares, OwlCrate aims to share YA fiction with avid readers around the world. It is a subscription service, that upon signing up, sends subscribers a new YA novel every month for the length of their subscription, along with a few extra goodies as well. The great thing about OwlCrate, is not only the surprise of a new book every month, delivered right i your door by owl (poastal worker), but also the community that comes with it, being able to connect with other readers who are reading the same thing as you! Just follow the hashtag #OwlCrate on Instagram.

owlcrate


3. Nook & Burrow (@Lillytales)

lillytalesYou can find some lovely images of books and bookmarks on Kate’s instagram, with lots of great book recommendations, predominantly by strong female authors. Her website, while not solely centred on books, has some amazing things that book lovers will also love! Like customisable and beautiful wooden bookmarks, prints, wall-hangings and wonderful soy scented candles with magical scents such as Dusty Bookshelves and Buttery-Beer.

nook&burrow


4.  Book Drunk In Love Reviews

bookdrunkinlove gravityKirsten presents a nice, clean and simple tumblr blog, that has both written and video reviews of a great range of titles. Worth checking out if you want to know a decent bit about books before you read them. A range of adult and YA novels, there are some great talks from her youtube channel – complete with her amazingly cool bangs (that make me want to listen to everything she says!). Brutally honest, and very sincere with recommendations, I can honestly recommend this page to anyone looking to branch out a little and try something new.

Book drunk in love


5. Half Blood Princess (@_halfbl00dprincess)

halfbl00dprincess aliceAndie has such a stunningly beautiful feed of book photography I couldn’t leave her out of this list. I just love sitting and looking at her photos. Just another place to have a browse, read another book lovers thoughts and get some seriously good book recommendations. The way she sometimes does little themes with each photo, like Harry Potter, or Alice in Wonderland, is also inspiring in itself, to take better pictures on instagram if nothing else.

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So there you have it, some of my favourite places to find book recommendations, reviews, accessories and just stunning pictures.

Of course, you can always check my book reviews and instagram out too!

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Edit: here is an article I just found on examiner.com boasting The top ten book accounts you should be following on Instagram. Check it out!

I’ll Give You the Sun, Book Review

Author: Jandy Nelson

Published: September 16, 2014 by Dial Books

It’s been a long time since I read a book in which I fell so in love with the characters that I wanted to live with them forever, so in love with the words that I just wanted to read them over and over and over again. For me, this is one of those books.

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tumblr_inline_naprj6V5zL1re4pvvThe way the stories in I’ll Give You the Sun unfold and intertwine is magically written, the characters are explosive, they are incredibly real and I fell in love with them so hard and fast it winded me. Noah and Jude, and even Oscar, are heartbreakingly true, and untrue, to themselves and to the world. The relationships between them are constantly changing, fluid and fluxing with the world around them as that changes, sometimes for the better, but often for the worst. They act as most teenagers would act, angry and lost and confused, there’s no out of place wisdom or uncharacteristic know-all. They are simply real teenagers, with wonderfully rich personalities.

And then there is the language – oh, the language! – such vivid images are created in your mind as you read the words that the colours start to lift from the page and fill the room you’re in. Such amazingly simple, but so very complex detail, such explosive descriptions that just make you want to keep reading and never stop. The language was my favourite thing about this book, as much as I loved Noah, and then Jude, or even Oscar and Brian, I loved the language. Jandy Nelson has such a sublime and inspiring way with words, the language begged me to become a better writer, just from reading it.

illgiveyouthesun - felixturtleYou aren’t supposed to, so I’m told, but you always have a favourite twin. I’ve known a few twins and there’s always one you’re a little closer to than the other, because as similar as they may be, they are always two very distinctly different people. At first I loved Noah, I just wanted to keep reading Noah’s story, and felt that I had nothing in common with Jude, but then as Jude began to tell her stories, I fell just as much in love with her struggles and her pain as I had Noah’s charisma. I love them both. Jude and Noah are so wonderfully different, relatably so. I’ve never been all that close with my sister, so I related to their strange, awkward communications as they got older, in Jude’s telling, and longed for the closeness we had as children while I read Noah’s stories. The two are so lost, so brilliantly, and life alteringly lost; the trials they face are terrible, and the world in which they live drags you in and begs you to helps them, only you’re as helpless as they are, flailing about in the sea that is life’s hardships. But of course, from hardship we grow, and change and it moulds us into who we are to become as we reach the peak of adulthood, and this book explores that so beautifully, so artfully, that it just makes you want more and more and more. Never have I read a coming of age story that has enveloped me so completely and driven me back to how it felt to be a teenager so terribly, particularly as I get further and further from my own. Don’t get me wrong, I have barely anything in common with Noah and Jude, besides struggling with finding myself at that age, yet I still feel so inexplicably connected to them. The story is just that good.

Jandy Nelson quotes

 This is now one of my favourite books ever. I don’t want to leave Noah and Jude behind. I will reread this many times in the future and I will likely love it just as much ever single time. It is mesmerising. It is superb.

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Buy it Here:

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A book that made me cry

Images: here, here, here, here,

Eleanor & Park, Book Review

Author: Rainbow Rowell 

Published: 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Yet again, I have found another Rainbow Rowell novel that resonated with me. This book is so wonderfully nice. I don’t mean that in a bad way, at all. I mean, I just enjoyed sitting and reading it, taking the journey with these two cool people, watching them fall in love and watching their world change and mould and crumble around them.

imageEleanor is so very much a younger version of myself in so many ways (despite my being born two years after the book is set), she is somewhat reserved, outwardly, doesn’t seem to care what people think, but inwardly is so hateful of herself it makes it hard for her to love anyone else. Also, she deals with being a little bit chubby – and I love that, cos its HARD. And Park, funnily enough, reminds me of my boyfriend in some ways too. But we didn’t meet when we were teenagers, regardless of how many times we have fantasised together about just that.

The process of their falling for each other is so awkward and clunky – it is exactly how two teenagers would behave. Rowell gets inside a teenagers head so well that it feels like a teenager has written it themselves. With all the unsurety and insecurity that teenagers hold close to their hearts the story has a real sense of truth about it. The book explores the emotions of the two protagonists in so much back and forth without all that much happening until the story comes to a head in the last few chapters and shit really hits the fan. It doesn’t even feel like that much of a build up, just subtle hints along the way at one point the penny dropped and I just thought ‘Oh, shit.’

Rainbow Rowell has once more written a world that both teens and adults alike can get lost with the characters in, and it’s really, really good.

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4outof5  

Buy it Here:

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

 
Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A book set in High School


Images: here, here, here,

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

jamieoliverYesterday, I was lucky enough to see Jamie Oliver give a live talk at the Sydney Opera House. He was charming and funny and cooked some amazing food (sadly we didn’t get to eat any), but we did get a live performance from the Wiggles! But cooking aside, Jamie was here for a reason – to promote the notion he refers to as ‘Food Revolution‘.

The idea is that kids should be taught about food as early as possible, to cook it and to work with it – to recognise what is good for us, and bad; to learn tastes, flavours, combinations, even how to grow it. This idea can lead to amazing change within our nation, and the world, and will lead to a healthier, more sustainable future, for everyone. Jamie believes that we each have the power to promote change, and that we can all band together to help make our governments see that this is a good move forward for the future generations, and will benefit our society as a whole.

“My wish is to create a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
Read more at Food Revolution day.

Jamie knows food, we all know that’s fact – he’s been a celerity chef for over 15 years and he has had numerous successful TV shows and cook books, dating right back to hid Naked Chef days. And Jamie is fighting for food education, for children’s rights to know food too, and to utilise it to make a better future. You can help Jamie make a difference at change.org, by signing the petition, and sharing it with your friends. Let’s make the new generation the best one yet.

 

And for fun, Jamie Oliver Wiggle’s Food Revolution dance:

Join Jamie in telling our government that our kids need food education. You can click on any of the links above, or visit Jamie on any of the following social media outlets:

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Images: herehere, here, here

Videos: youtube, and my own personal recordings

Ed Sheeran, Live in Concert

Ed Sheeran is Hands Down the Best Performer I Have Ever Seen Live.

I love his music, and I  love his image and his whole attitude. Ed is just a stand-up guy, a great person with the power to do good (and he does!), and the man delivers when it comes to a live performance. There is a huge difference between being a ‘singer’ and being a ‘performer’, and Ed is definitely the latter.

With a mix of current music, older music, mash-ups and covers, Ed definitely knows how to entertain a crowd. Honestly, I have never been to a concert (and I’ve been to my fair share) that is so much an interactive experience, rather than just some famous person standing up and singing at you. He knows how to get you excited, how to have you singing along, tapping along, bobbing along and even rapping along if you can keep up! At one point, Ed had the audience singing back-up, in unison, and in harmony! You feel that you are as much a part of the concert as Ed is, and that, for me, is a rare occurrence.

It amazed me (more than Ed himself and his musical talent) that Ed was the only person on the stage during the entire performance (okay, there were a few roadies here and there, but you know what I mean). Ed, his guitar, a couple of peddles at his feet and Ed has the whole band at his disposal: backing tracks, the chorus, riffs and beats and it’s all so natural, but also ALL LIVE. He is adding backing tracks as he needs them, playing guitar like a total fucking boss and singing – all at once. He performs covers, and makes them his own, including Blackstreet’s No Diggity, Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, and even Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. He even mashed these songs into medleys with his own songs, and he made it look really easy.  The man is brilliant. Period.

ed sheeran
Ed in 247. Magazine UK, 2012

He sang all the new songs, and some of the best old ones, opening with Lego House and closing with a huge rendition of Sing – complete with harmonised audience back-up – and an amazing light display. The screens behind him on stage show live video of Ed as he’s singing, but also show images, light displays, and tell stories through animated and pre-filmed footage – the final result: a completely seamless, stunning display and a thoroughly enjoyable concert.

Not to mention Ed is just such an awesome guy – check out what he did this week in Sydney for a couple’s wedding over at popsugar. He is truly a nice guy, the kind of dude I’d love to just hang out with. That, and he’s besties with my favourite – Taylor Swift. Couple the whole thing with Ed telling us that Australia is his favourite place to visit, and I can honestly say that this was the most enjoyable and exhilarating concert I have ever been to.

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5 out of 5

 

Images: here, herehere,

Playlist for the Dead, Book Review

Published: 2015 by HarperTeen

 

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

I’m going to admit something a little strange – I purchased this book based solely on the names of the main characters: Sam and Hayden. For those of you that know me, that may make sense, even though it isn’t all that significant. But for anyone else, a little clarification:

My name is Sam, and my first serious relationship was with a guy called Hayden. It’s a long way in the past now, and has no real significant bearing on my life, but it was funny, so I bought the book.

Looking past my reason for buying it, I did read the blurb and the premise of the story was promising, simply and clear. The story itself though is emotional and complicated, and that’s a good thing. The story centres around the suicide of Hayden, Sam’s best friend. Sam finds Hayden the morning after a party, withnote to sam PFTDno note, but instead, a USB stick, with a scrap of paper…

Each chapter is set to the melancholy tune of one of the songs from Hayden’s playlist, with tracks like Blink 182’s Adam’s Song and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. (You can find a playlist of all the songs oer on 8tracks, made by sydneyteresa). The songs are fitting, dreary, sad, hopeless, and the consequential chapters flow around each song, exploring Sam’s emotions and his struggle to figure out why. The novel is well written, but still very easy to read, without being over-the-top or obnoxious at all. The language is that a teenager would probably use in daily life, and that just makes the book all the more relatable. Reading the book, I fully believed I was in the mind of a 15-year-old boy. It was refreshingly simple.

The themes explored though, are contrastingly not. Suicide, primarily, but also Sam’s guilt for what he feels is his part of the blame, guilt for seemingly moving on, first love and the feelings associated with attraction to the opposite sex, depression and also the frustration he feels at wanting the others he believes are at fault to pay for their crimes.

playlist of the dead

Told from Sam’s perspective, we experience the journey through his eyes, and we see the characters as he wants to see them – the bullies as bullies without their own problems, and Astrid as a gorgeous, amazing person, and not the sneaky deviant that she actually is. As Sam learns that these people aren’t what they may have always seemed to him, he begins to realise that maybe Hayden wasn’t all he seemed either, and he begins, slowly, to somewhat understand why Hayden might have committed suicide. He also begins to unravel the stories that tie them all together regarding Hayden’s decision.

Having had a fight the night before at a party, which they wouldn’t normally have gone to, Sam blames himself for the whole thing. But the more people he opens up to, and finds out about, the more he startsimageto figure out what actually happened, and that there was more to it than just what he had experienced. Falkoff writes this in such a way, bit by bit, that you can’t help but want to keep reading just to find out what happened. It was this clever way of spreading out how Sam found out each piece of the story that kept me reading, and why mention that the story is more complicated than just Sam dealing with his grief over the death of his friend.

The book is a little similar to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, though not quite as isolated and intense (I preferred Thirteen Reasons Why), however it is a nice easy read and keeps you hooked long enough to finished it.

4outof5

 

Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A book published this year
 
 Images from: here, here, here, here

2015 Reading Challenge 

So I have decided to attempt the 2015 reading challenge set by popsugar.

The challenges has 50 characteristics for each book you tick off the list, and I’m already a fair way behind. While I know I won’t be able to tick every box without doubling up a little, I just want to try and get as many as I can and read as many books as I can – I think I managed to read about two last year, and I plan to totally smash that this year.

I actually have quite a large number of books sitting in my room, next to my bed and on my book shelf that I haven’t had the chance to read yet. So I’ll be tackling them through the months also. Here is a sneak preview:

As you might know, recently, I’ve read Fangirl, which actually ticks off a lot of the boxes for this competition, but I think I’m going to place it under A Book by a female Author. (Although that may change depending on the other books I read haha.)

It’s great to see so many other people out there doing this challenge and posting about it. It’s really inspiring seeing all the other posts and books people have chosen to read. I’m going to be ticking off each category as I read each book, so keep your eyes out for follow ups!

Here is the challenge if you wanted to take part:

My (Generations) Addiction to Technology

More often than not, you kind of get a weird look these days if you tell people you don’t have a smart phone, or a Facebook account, or an email address. These days we are hooked into the internet like it’s a permanent drip, feeding out bodies with information and ‘social interaction’.

 

The younger generation has been born into this life of modern technology, they have iPhones before they finish grade school and they have a Facebook before they’re even old enough to register (if they used their real birth dates). They live and breath technology, and they don’t know anything about life without it. My generation, however (that would be right on the cusp of X ad Y), DO remember a time before technology completely took over our lives.

That’s not to say my childhood was completely barren of technology, I mean, obviously we had TV, and I had quite a few video game consoles. We got a computer the year I started 6th grade, and internet when I was in grade 9. But I remember playing outdoors a lot with the kids in my street, and going out with my family to do things. If I needed to entertain myself for a few hours, I would curl up with a good book. I can remember writing notes to my friends during class and having to wait until I passed them in the halls to hand them over, then waiting another couple of hours for my return letter. We didn’t have texting, and we only had instant messaging on MSN after school (for an hour, before homework). But there was no Facebook (we had myspace), and we socialised by actually talking to each other and hanging out.

Tech-AddictionI must admit, things have changed with time, my social circle are very much connected by Facebook and text groups more than face-to-face interactions, but that’s because we are busy adults, and not snarky teenagers with time to spare. And even though my friends and I still strive to get together as often as we can, we still rely on technology to get us there. My generation remembers a time before we all had a phone, before we emailed o keep in touch, or organise events, before you had to choose a perfect profile picture and that ideal Facebook status. Heck, I can even remember a time before my family had a computer, let alone the internet (and no, I’m not that old – I’m only three months over 30!). Because we remember what it was like trying to organise a lunch date without texting, we value the ease with which we can communicate these days, and the wealth of information we have access to without having to go to a library or open an encyclopedia.

internet-wallpaper-hdSo how often is too often to check your phone? 10 times a day? 50? What constitutes an addiction to technology? To the internet? I know that I am addicted to technology, and I know this simply by looking at all the devices I have. MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone, Xbox. I have unlimited internet at home, and 5GB on my phone plan; and I almost always use it all up. I have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Xbox live, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, Gmail, iTunes, YouTube and, of course, WordPress. when I wake up each morning, I check my phone; before I go to sleep at night, I check my phone. It drives my boyfriend nuts. When I’m at work, I take bathroom breaks to go and check my phone (and pee of course). On my days off from work, I’m usually blogging and checking up with social media and reading any articles I’ve saved during the day. And it may even be true, that even when you’re not using it, you’re iPhone is distracting you.

For some, it completely takes over their life, a genuine, life-crumpling addiction. But there are some very real dangers with this kind of addiction, like checking your phone while driving, or loosing sleep, you can read about some more dangers of technology addiction here.

I must admit, unlike the generation below us, I am not entirely wrapped up in my online lifestyle. I like to get out and do other things, and I like to do them often. And I also quite like just ditching the phone to read a good old fashioned book. There should a balance between a full, unattached life, and a life tuned in to technology, however unhealthy that balance might be, I like to believe that we as a generation aren’t completely submerged yet.

n-IPHONE-large570I think that because my generation knows what it’s like to be without (modern) technology, they absolutely relish in it now. Especially now that we are old enough to afford it all, too. We use our phones for work, for pleasure, to socialise and plan and bank and catch up on news. But we like ti live a balanced life, plugged in when we need to be, but unplugged when we have to be. It is truly a luxury to live in a world where you can broadcast a thought to anyone who wishes to read it, or chat to a friend half way across the world in a single click. I believe that our obsession, rather than addiction, comes from a love of the technology, a real appreciation of it, rather than an undying need for it.

Images: here, here, here, here

Fangirl, Book Review

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published 2014 by Pan Macmillan, 461 Pages

A light-hearted frollick through the turbulence of teen fangirling.

It’s true, teen fangirling is a big deal. It is a life altering, game changing thing. Falling into a fandom, and becoming part of something amazing, bigger than you, always changing and so, SO inclusive is wonderful. It fills you up and takes you away. It is an escape. You can go anywhere you like, and share experiences with a multitude of different characters, whether they be from your favourite book, TV show, movie or game – there is a fandom for everything and we are not limited to one. Being a geek is the ultimate escape from reality, there is always a side window to sneak out of, a forest to run away to, a community waiting for you online to comfort, console and share in all the wonders that are created by artists all over the world – fiction.

It’s funny, how much I actually related to this book. It’s been a long time since I was at Uni, andFANGIRL book cover it’s so different to American college, but it’s been even longer since I was 18. But I still remember how it felt. The insecurity of it all. I studied English, and creative writing, like our main protagonist, Cath, and I used to write fanfiction too… In fact, I wrote fanfiction about Harry Potter falling in love with Draco Malfoy – much the way Cath write about the fictional world of Simon Snow, and how the protagonist of her fandom is falling for his nemesis. I saw so much of myself in Cath that this book dragged me in head first, very quickly.

I’m not judging my feelings, or my judgment of this book on my own connections to it. Fangirl is incredibly intuitive, it glides through the (short) storyline with ease, and the events draw out the perfect amount of empathy, sympathy and nostalgia. There is nothing obnoxious about this book, it is simple and pleasant and easy t0 read, and has a nice solid flow to it. Nothing really seems out of place and it feels quite natural, the way life generally flows, with ups and downs and busy and quiet. It has plenty to relate to, both for the introverts and extroverts of the world, perfectly represented in the twin protagonists Cath and Wren. The situations that unfold: partying, feeling alone, anxiety, teenage drinking, love, sex – all of these are made relatable through the eyes of the opposing views of the twins, and the other utterly believable characters around them, and that leads me to me next point…

FanGirlCOLOURWhat really makes this book is the characters. This is a bunch of characters a minimum of nine years younger than me, most of them closer to twelve years younger, and yet I can still relate to them all. (Perhaps it’s because I’m still so young at heart!) But there characters are real, and flawed and honest and not, and all of them human. They each make mistakes and sometimes deal with them poorly, they stumble and don’t always have exactly the right thing to say. The book does, indeed, read smoothly, but it has the expected jaggedness of a coming of age story, that stop/start kind of ebb that slowly pushes the protagonists to breaking point, to the point of change, where they learn something and grow up, just a little bit.

IamafangirlAt the end of it all, even though it was only a shirt journey with the characters as they transitioned from high school to college, and from freshmen to their second year, this was a delightful romp in a cute little world with some very likeable characters, the nerdy references made it all the more enjoyable for me, all the little in jokes that only a fellow nerd would get. Rainbow Rowell creates magic with the ease that this story, and even the Simon Snow stories within the story, read. I truly enjoyed this book, in fact, I devoured it in a day – and I haven’t done that with a book in a very, very long time.

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But it Here:

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A book by a female author

Images: here, here, here, here                              

Fitspiration

Sometimes you just need to little nudge in the right direction, like a new pair of workout tights, a super yummy salad or a cute little pug teasing you to do some yoga. 

It was this little pug that finally motivated me to get up early and do some yoga this morning, I haven’t done my yoga in a couple of weeks and I have to admit, I feel that much better for it. So just a little shout out to Lorna Jane for  this awesome little bit of fitspiration!