Monday, November 29, 2010

What's in your bag?

Right before I started this blog, Simmone Howell did one of these posts and I got glimpses into the bags of some really awesome people (I know, I'm totally nosey). Anyway, I thought it might be a fun way to start the week by giving you a glimpse of what I carry in my bag on a daily basis (you're lucky you've caught me at the start of the week when my bag is relatively crap-free - normally I haul a lot of junk around with me). Feel free to post pictures of what's in your bag too!

The Bag: Purchased from Kate Hill a couple of months ago. Holds loads of stuff, which is great because I'm usually kind of a pack-rat. Scarf is from Alannah Hill and is to hide the bits of hardware (screws?) that are missing from the handle of the bag - and to look pretty haha.

The Contents:
Top Row - purse with ID and $, coin purse and pretty enviro bag from Steph Bowe
Middle - cheap sunglasses, USB, real glasses (I have terrible eyesight!)
Bottom Row - phone (HTC Desire in pink case, because I am very clumsy), Sony e-reader in case, lipglosses (Rose Mint, Snow Fairy and Paul Frank), keys (for house and Dad's car), pen and pink iPod Nano.
What's Missing - Bottle of water, 2010 diary (now that the year's almost over I don't use it so much - which is bad because I always make plans then forget about them ... whoops), current read, my lunch.

What's in your bag?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mixed Bag #24

Good morning friends! I missed it last week (sorry!), but here is my weekly collection of links to keep you entertained:
image source: we ♥ it

♥ The film rights for Dash and Lily's Book of Dares have already been sold! This excites me to no end!
♥ A real Quidditch World Cup!
♥ Nawww, this video with the mini-versions of the Glee club is totally freaking adorable!
There's life after Twilight - and it's bloody
♥ Are you participating in The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge?
♥ Nomes of Inkcrush looks at the different covers of Looking for Alaska
♥ Lauren from I Was A Teenage Book Geek goes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - jealous!
I Want To Be A Travel Writer from Gala Darling - I love this series of interviews
♥ Because there really isn't a show that is prettier or lovelier to look at - Pushing Daisies screencaps

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Polyvore Profile - Lydia Deetz

Beetlejuice is one of the first films I remember watching on VHS (God, does that make me feel old or what?). I'm pretty sure I wore my aunt's copy out from constant rewinding haha. Of course, I wanted to be Lydia as I got older (pretty sure she was responsible for my interest in all things creepy and the occult from ages 8 -13).


♥ This was always my favourite scene!
A Beetlejuice sequel?
Beetlejuice entry on the the Tim Burton Collective

I also want to announce the winner of my Six Impossible Things giveaway: Brave Chickens! Congrats and I've emailed you about posting your prize. Thanks so much for everyone for entering (there were some fantastic answers! The thing I find impossible is reading maps. I just can't do it, and don't even think about trying to make me look at a map whilst driving....) I have a couple of giveaways coming up in December, so hope to see you all entering them!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Byron Journals - Daniel Ducrou

The Facts
Author: Daniel Ducrou
Publisher: Text Publishing
Date of Publication: June 2010
Length: 304 pages

The Fiction
From the Publisher: Andrew and his mate Benny have finished school and are heading for the holiday of their lives in Byron Bay. They are not sure what they’re looking forward to most: the surf, the girls, the music, the partying or just being away from Adelaide. Things don’t go to plan, and Andrew loses his mates. But he finds Heidi. Heidi is not like anyone he’s ever met before, and she takes him into her world, which feels a million miles away from his past. But is Andrew really prepared for the ride he’s about to take?

I’m not quite sure how to begin – I’ll be honest and say I’ve had mixed feelings about this title – I can’t necessarily say I enjoyed reading it, but I’m glad I did (if that makes sense? Probably not.)

Firstly, from early on I had a feeling that the story of young Andrew was not going to end well. Pretty quickly after his arrival in Byron Bay, Andrew starts doing some dumb (albeit mostly normal teenage schoolie things). And then things get worse – and I kept screaming (in my head – not at the actual book because that would be weird, though not altogether abnormal for me) ‘DON’T DO IT’ and though I knew that this could only end badly, I couldn’t help but want to read on. Andrew is a realistic and well-written character, and I did find it hard at times, to see him stuff things up so badly and get involved in with people and things that I knew were trouble.

Dan Ducrou’s writing though, is excellent. He keeps upping the stakes and whilst you know deep down it can only go badly, you can’t help but watch in amazement as it all starts to fall apart. The other aspect which I found made reading The Byron Journals a bit of a struggle at times for me, was that all of the female characters were quite unlikeable and I couldn’t relate (or even really sympathise) with them at all – but that’s just me.

Ducrou’s writing is incredibly emotive and he does a brilliant job at capturing a place – as you read, you can really feel the humidity, sticky, sweatiness of Byron Bay. He allows you to get lost in the endless warm summer days and the frenetic, hedonistic nightlife. All of the scenes involving music and drumming are really fantastic and full of life.

Due to the drug references and the (erm) detailed sex scenes, I would recommend The Byron Journals for 16+ (older YA I suppose? Young-at-heart adult? For people who aren’t bothered by sex and drugs? For people who enjoy sex and drugs?). The Byron Journals, for me, was a challenging, and at times, confronting read. Dan Ducrou has written an in-your-face honest portrayal of life post-high school and the freedom and possibility it holds for young adults. Whilst I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have other titles from Text this year, I’m glad to have read something that did put me a little out of my comfort zone. I’d love to hear what others have thought of it, so if you’ve read The Byron Journals, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Also, as a side-note, I saw The Byron Journals pitched as a film concept at Books at MIFF this year and whilst I didn't connect so much with the novel, I could completely visualise it as a film and could see how well it would work on-screen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

By My Beside #19

By My Beside is part of In My Mailbox, the weekly book blog meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

(sorry for the pink-ness - the lighting in my bedroom is kind of crap)

♥ Ex-Mas - Kate Brian
♥ Let It Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
♥ Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (which I technically received/read late last week)

What are you reading this week?

PS. Don't forget to enter my Six Impossible Things giveaway if you are an Aussie or a Kiwi - the contest closes at the end of the day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Things #46 - 50

Hello friends! Here's another five things that make me happy, as part of my 43 things list (which is in need of an update - whoops). As always, feel free to tell me what makes you happy in the comments, or post your own list on your blog:

46. New (and eagerly awaited) books
I love that moment, when after months of anticipating and reading reviews and teasers, that the book you've been waiting for finally arrives! I raced to pick-up my copy of Dash and Lily's Book of Dares after work, and had finished it by the next day. Adored it and look forward to reviewing it soon. Yay for new books!

47. No more retail!
I worked my last shift at my retail position yesterday! It feels a bit strange to know that I won't be working there anymore but more so, I'm excited to have a Christmas which doesn't involve me working at a shopping centre (first time since 2004). No more smiling all the time, answering silly questions or being nice to rude people!

48. Harry Potter
Whilst I'm not a super hardcore Harry Potter fan, I still get very excited leading up to the release of the latest movie. I went and saw Deathly Hallows Part One late on Friday night and not only was the film fantastic, the excitement of the audience was really nice.

49. Babies
We had four births in my extended family within the past twelve months, so I'm very lucky to be around babies quite a bit. It's kind of an amazing thing to have them in your life, and watch as they start to grow and develop personalities and be all snuggly and cute. I wouldn't necessarily call myself 'clucky' (realistically, I know I'm a way off from wanting to have babies of my own), but it's nice to be around them.

50. Hints of the Holiday season
I know it's probably still too early for most people, but I'm loving the hints of Christmas being round the corner! I've almost finished my Christmas shopping, so am looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy December.
image source: we ♥ it

What makes you happy?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Polyvore Profile - Eloise

I must admit, I rawther fond of Eloise - who wouldn't want to live in one of the fanciest hotels in New York City? This is my take on a (slightly more grown up) Eloise. I think my favourite part is the phone, which I had to include for ordering room service - "charge it please"


"She knows everything about The Plaza.
She is interested in people when they are not boring."
♥ Eloise's website
♥ Betsey Johnson's Eloise inspired suite here and here (oh my goodness, I want to stay here!)
♥ The Eloise shop at the Plaza hotel looks like little girl heaven!
♥ Thank you person who uploaded these!!
♥ A beautiful photo post with text from the Eloise books

Six Impossible Things Giveaway!

Because I loved Six Impossible Things so much, I'm thrilled to be able to give away a signed copy of the book for one of my lovely readers!

As Fiona and Pan Macmillan were nice enough to offer me a signed copy of Six Impossible Things to give away, I thought I'd contribute a couple of pretty things to go with it (an apple magnetic bookmark and apple post-its).

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with your name, email address and one thing you find impossible. Entrie close November 22nd and unfortunately this giveaway is limited to Australian residents only (sorry international friends - but never fear, I do have some December giveaways coming up that will be open to all).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Six Impossible Things - Fiona Wood

The Facts
Author: Fiona Wood
Published: Pan Macmillan Australia
Date of Publication: September 2010
Length: 244 pages

The Fiction
From the Publisher: Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

Oh my goodness, I can’t say enough how much I adored this book (seriously, prepare for some major gushing ahead). Six Impossible Things is such a charming and quirky Australian young-adult novel and I’m going to give you six reasons why you all should read it!

1. Dan Cereill is such a lovely character – he’s this wonderful mix of awkward, gawky boy-ness and at the same time, I feel like he’s a bit of an old soul. He comes out with some absolute gems and you feel every moment of his embarrassment, awkwardness and triumph throughout the book. Fiona Wood has created such an authentic, likeable voice in Dan and honestly, you can’t help but love him.

2. Six Impossible Things also boasts an incredible cast of supporting characters – from the girl next door Estelle (who could have fallen into cliché, but doesn’t and is so awesome and even if you want to dislike her, you can’t. Also, I’d like to think that she would be friends with from Beatle Meets Destiny), to aspiring filmmaker and Estelle’s BFF, Janie Bacon. There’s also Hipster/trend predictor Oliver and his effortlessly cool girlfriend DJ Pony. I even loved Jayzo, because he was so much like a boy I used to know (I think everyone knows a Jayzo). Even really minor characters, like the Transposable girls were captured perfectly is such a short space.

3. It’s set in my beautiful city, Melbourne! There are lots of great references to places I know (which always makes me squee with excitement. I’m also now thinking that this would be something awesome to write further about, but I’ll hold this thought for now).

4. It is funny! This book made me laugh at loud (which is always slightly embarrassing on a packed train during peak hour) but so nice too. Fiona clearly has a brilliant sense of humour as this novel is effortlessly funny (sometimes in the oh-it’s-so-sad-all-we-can-do-is-laugh way). I guarantee you will have cracked a smile within the first ten pages.

5. As well as being charming and funny, Six Impossible Things deals with very real teen experiences and does so in a sensitive way. I also enjoyed the way Fiona plays incorporates aspects of fairy tales into a very contemporary story (I wish I had been clever enough to pick up on it earlier, but Dan Cereill is an anagram of Cinderella , though alas I had to read about it elsewhere first).

6. This is Fiona’s debut novel (amazing! 2010 has been such a great year for Australian YA fiction) and I am now eagerly awaiting her next project. Now go forth and read Six Impossible Things!

Monday, November 15, 2010

By My Bedside #18

Good morning! I haven't done one of these for a while, mostly because I haven't been buying or borrowing any books lately (I've been catching up on titles I've had lying around for a while instead).
By My Bedside is part of In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

The Keys to the Golden Firebird - Maureen Johnson
Raw Blue - Kirsty Eagar
Careful What You Wish For - Maureen McCarthy
The Byron Journals - Daniel Ducrou
Mommywood - Tori Spelling

What are you reading this week?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mixed Bag #23

Good morning friends! Here is some linky-goodness to hopefully kick-start your morning, or make you smile.

image source: we ♥ it

♥ The Hunger Games film adaptation apparently has a director attached.

Why do e-books cost so much? A publisher's perspective.

♥ Can December hurry up already? Levithan and Cohn on Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

♥ Kathy Charles' Hollywood Ending (published in the US as John Belushi is Dead) may be coming to the big screen after being optioned by American producers! How exciting - it's one of my favourite books and I'm a total Kathy fan-girl.

♥ Alien Onion asks What is YA?

♥ How awesome was Darren Criss on Glee?

♥ Speaking of Glee, good Lord, a Glee Christmas card - I'm sorry, it's kind of hideous

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nano - Ten Days In

So I have a confession to make. My naNOwrimo (emphasis on the NO) experience isn't going so great.

I was so excited leading up to November, having been thinking about my story since last year's failed Nano. I had a playlist, I had characters and I knew where I wanted to start and how I wanted to end. But can I write? It's just not happening! I don't if it's because I'm good at visualising and maybe not so good at translating that vision to paper, but ouch, it's driving me nuts. I won't even say my word count because it's pretty embarrassing (and the counter on my profile hasn't been updated), but I'm nowhere near the target of 50,000. Argh!!!

Anyway, I'm still hopeful and determined to not throw in the towel yet - I still have a few free weekends and I think if I get my srs bsns writing face on and keep creeping along (I'm currently writing a lot of filler stuff for the story - like emails and IM conversations), maybe it will come along?

How is everyone else going? Is your writing moving along as you hoped it would, or are you well and truly stuck?  I'd love to hear how other people are progressing (please let me live vicariously through your successful writerly pursuits). Alternatively, do you have any tips or tricks for strugglers like me? Help a gal out!

Polyvore Profile - Looking for Alaska

So if you've been reading this blog for more than five minutes, you probably know I am a huge John Green fangirl. I thought it was only fair I dedicate yet another bit of webspace to his awesomeness (yes, JG even has his own tag on here) with this Polyvore Profile of Alaska Young, from his debut novel Looking for Alaska. If you haven't read this book, please do!


Alaska swallowed a mouthful of French fries, took a drag on her cigarette and blew smoke across the table at Hank. "I may die young," she said, "but as least I'll die smart. Now back to tangets"

JG answers questions on Alaska (please note, it does contain spoilers)
♥ Jess of startnarrativehere's review of Looking for Alaska

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hostage - Karen Tayleur

The Facts
Author: Karen Tayleur
Publisher: black dog books
Date of Publication: 2009
Length: 191 pages

The Fiction
From black dog books: What if you could have your life over again. Would it be different? Tully becomes a hostage when she is abducted from a chemist on Christmas Eve. Her ordeal lasts 24 hours. Or so she says.

I think I mentioned earlier this year that a trend was emerging in my reading – I’ve been drawn to books about missing and lost girls, girls who are kidnapped or who mysteriously vanish. It’s a bit scary that my reading list in this subject now falls into double-digits for the year. I think that’s why I was pleasantly surprised when Hostage didn’t follow the format and style I had anticipated (I thought it was going to be a sort of YA Eleven Hours).
I really liked the character of Tully and the fact that she’s not necessarily your typical teen girl protagonist. She’s this great mix of toughness, bravado and a bit of a smart-mouth, and yet still vulnerable and sympathetic. I also really enjoyed the flashback and memory sequences, which were insightful and well-executed. Despite Tully’s unreliable narration, there is such a strong (and at times, painful) sense of realness to these memories, that it really helps endear her.

The other aspect I especially enjoyed whilst reading Hostage is the way that Karen Tayleur plays with the roles of captor and accomplice, and the malleable nature of truth. Whilst I was left with unanswered questions at the end of the novel, the sense of uncertainty works and I liked that Tayleur kept me wanting to read on (I read the novel pretty much in one sitting – I found it hard to tear myself away).

Hostage isn’t exactly an easy read (I mean this in the best possible way), but I appreciated the fact that it didn’t necessarily follow trend or genre expectations. Whilst the slightly unconventional format may put some readers off, I feel that Hostage is a fresh and touching road story for fans of contemporary young adult fiction, who like a challenge.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Things #41 - 45

Hello friends! Time for another dose of Happy Things - as part of my 43 Things List, I write weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) lists of things that make me happy. As always, feel free to post your own Happy Things list on your blog or in the comments:

41. Laughing
Ok, this might be totally corny, but I do love to laugh. One of my favourite things is sitting around our kitchen table as a family, and laughing about silly things that have happened during the day (my dad's weird dreams, my brother's imitations of people on job sites). I feel like a good laugh can change your day.

42. Online Shopping
I used to really enjoy the experience of shopping, though unfortunately 7+ years of working at retail has slowly made me dislike shopping centres, crowds and obnoxious shoppers. I like being able to pick and click things and then the excitement of waiting for them to arrive in the mail!

43. Ice Cream
I have a huge sweet-tooth, and now that the weather is (slowly) heating up here in Melbourne, I can start eating more ice-cream! I love having ice-cream for dessert, especially when eaten outside on warm evening mmmmmm

44. Making Plans
It's a bit scary that this year is nearly over, but at the same time, it's also kind of exciting to make plans for next year. I've already bought concert tickets, planned trips to the Moonlight Cinema and have purchased a 2011 calendar - it feels a bit strange (but good).

45. Sweet emails and lovely comments
I've been so lucky to receive some really lovely emails and comments since starting this blog in March. Honestly, I'm so touched and thrilled every time I read them, I feel so lucky - so thank you to everyone!

all images are from we♥ it

What makes you happy?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mixed Bag #22

So I know I'm late (Mixed Bag has always been a Friday thing) but I forgot to schedule this post and I figured, better late than never! Here's some linky goodness for you to enjoy!

♥ I'm kind of in love with the Bedroom Philosopher.

♥ Another book series moves to the small screen with 'Sweep'.

♥ I love both posts on book-sharing and borrowing by Megan and Kate. I think I fall somewhere between the two - I'm happy to love my books to death/bend them/muck them up, but I don't want anyone else to!

♥ I find the controversy over risque GQ photoshoot featuring the cast of Glee to be really interesting (I kind of understand the hate, but does it remind anyone else of basically every single American Apparel ad campaign?)

Jason Schwartzman introducing the New York app for the iPad. Love him so frigging much (this seriously almost makes me want one).

John Green on NaNoWriMo (thanks for the link Aimee!)

Evolution of the Geek!

♥ Overthinkingit's amazing Female Character Flowchart. Wow, just wow.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Polyvore Profile - Pee Wee Herman

So I went a slightly different route this week - I wanted to pick something fun and a bit silly! I must admit I didn't have the childhood affinity I know a lot of others had with Pee Wee, but I adored Pee Wee's Big Adventure and based this profile around the 1985 film.

Pee Wee

Pee Wee at the biker bar - I love his dancing!
Pee Wee gets an iPad!
♥ An excellent piece on Pee Wee by W magazine

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nano Playlist

So today is officially the first day of Nanowrimo 2010! I've decided I'm going to do a weekly Nano post to inform you all of my progress (because I'm hoping by having to tell people how I've been going, it will encourage me to write more). I thought a fun way to kick-off my Nano would be to share my writing playlist - songs which reflect the characters, themes and overall feel of the story I'm going to try and write.

Fellow Nano-ers, did you start writing at 12AM on the dot? Did you do something to celebrate the kick-off? I won't start writing until I get home from work. Don't forget if you want to add me on Nano, my profile is here.

Good luck!