Sunday, 8 July 2018

Most Exciting Releases For The Last Half of 2018

We're now in the last half of 2018, which is insane, but also super exciting as we've already had some great releases in the first half and now we're making way for some more!

Wow I have a new video up? Is it too late to say new year new me? I list the top 5 books I'm anticipating the most for the rest of this year!




Other Releases In The Year






The Looking Glass - Janet McNally
August 14th
YA Contemporary
Julia Blake, Sylvia’s older sister, disappears leaving Sylvia to continue her legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy. But when Julia sends Sylvia a copy of their favourite childhood fairy tale book, renamed as Girls in Trouble by Julia, Sylvia begins to almost magically see Julia everywhere she looks. Sylvia decides to embark on a road trip with her best friends brother to find Julia.





The Towering sky (The Thousandth Floor #3) - Katharine McGee
August 28th
YA Sci-Fi
The third instalment to McGee's series that's been referred to as having futuristic Gossip Girl, set in a dystopian world within a thousand story tower in the middle of New York City.






Sadie - Courtney Summers
September 4th
YA Mystery
Sadie’s sister, Mattie is found dead. Determined, Sadie follows clues in an effort to discover how Mattie died, with the police being no help. Her investigation leads to a podcast being started by West McCray, tracking Sadie’s journey as she hopefully finds answers.






Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) - Kendare Blake
September 4th
YA Fantasy 
Third instalment to Three Dark Crowns series, following three sisters and their battle for the throne, each with different powers.








The Dark Descent of Elizabeth - Kirsten White
September 25th
YA Retelling
Retelling of Frankenstein through Elizabeth’s perspective, with a chilling twist to it - what if Elizabeth was never happy living with Victor and what if he posed as a danger to her? I am a huge fan of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley so am super intrigued to see what it was like.



What If It's Us - Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
October 9th
YA LGBTQ+
I told myself I'd read more diverse books, and I stumbled upon this one revolving around Ben and Arthur and their not so easy romance.








Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) - Sarah J. Maas
October 23rd
YA Fantasy 
I can't believe we've already reached the 7th instalment to Throne of Glass, and to be quite honest I'm still excited about this series and revisiting the world and its characters.






How She Died, How I Lived - Mary Crockett
November 13th
YA Contemporary
The story follows a girl, who is one of five girls Kyle texted. Only Jamie, a girl too nice to ignore him, responded and it got her killed. A year after the incident, the girl is angry and wants answers. She wants to know why Jamie died and she didn’t. Except she’s beginning to be drawn to Jamie’s boyfriend, Charlie, which makes it even harder to deal with.






The Reckoning of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #2) - Michelle Hodkin
November 13th
YA Paranormal
I'm still obsessed with the Mara Dyer series and anything to do with Noah Shaw so this was a must add to the list.






What Are You Excited For In The Last Half of 2018?


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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Travel Diary: A List Do's and Don'ts of Ibiza, As Experienced By Yours Truly

These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up! 

A List of Do's and Don'ts of Ibiza, As Experienced By Yours Truly



Do research a little on where you want to stay. Ibiza is actually quite big and there are two areas that you can look into staying at - San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa. San Antonio is on the side closer to Barcelona, accessible by ferry between the two. Playa d’en Bossa is a 25 minute drive on the other side of the island, closer to the Airport. Both places have very well-known venues/parties, so take a look and pick your place! 
Accomodation: Ryans Ibiza Apartment

Don't just limit yourself to the area you’re in! Ibiza has a lot more to offer than just partying. Formentera, one of Spain’s smaller islands, is a short ferry ride away. I’ve also heard the Old Town, Dalt Vila is beautiful to visit. Find a local Spanish restaurant for a taste of some authentic cuisine or hire a Quad Bike/Scooter and get around the island at your own pace. 

Do have cash. It makes it a lot easier, especially when you’ll most likely be catching Taxis rather than buses. Not all taxis are fitted with EFTPOS machines. Also means you’re not pulling out your card at multiple times throughout the night, increasing the chances of losing it.

Don't rely on getting wasted at clubs/events. Drinks are insanely expensive. At one point I paid 65 euros for a voucher of 5 cocktails - that’s basically $100AUD. Instead, there are heaps of supermarkets that sell alcohol or bars where drinks are a little cheaper. Pre-drink is all I say!

Do plan your day ahead. By this, I mean look up events you want to attend as most places will be selling tickets prior and is a lot cheaper when you purchase beforehand. I used the website Ibiza Spotilght, which breaks down months, venues and days for easier viewing. Also meant I could skip certain queues.

Don't, in any circumstance, leave your mobile phone in the bathroom and then proceed to lose the people you are with, in a club that is immensely big. For instance, Pacha. The experience is not fun, stumbling around flights of stairs trying to remember which bathroom you went to or where you might find your friends again, as Fat Boy Slim hypes up the crowd.

Do make sure you have Find my iPhone, or any other tracking service your device offers turned on, so that you can track to see where it has gone. Turn on lost mode to ensure no one can use your device. If and when you do find it, either give your phone a ring or have something identifiable that you can point out to let the cloak room ladies know it’s yours. For me, it was a Polaroid photo on the back. (Yes, I did get my phone back).

Don’t freak out if you lose it. Enjoy your day. Ibiza is THE place to distract yourself from real life. Find a day party to forget that you did something so stupid, such as hitting up Ushuaia. The venue is an incredible open club, seeing some pretty big names during the Summer. As soon as party season starts the you’ll see the likes of David Guetta, Robin Schulz and Hardwell headlining. Get ready to party all day long!

Do have an amazing time in general. Regardless of what happens during Ibiza I can guarantee it will be memorable and you’ll look back and have a good laugh. I do, at the very least, when I recount my weekend in Ibiza. Honestly though, how the hell did I get my phone back after misplacing it for 24 hours?!


What Was One Thing I Should've Done in Ibiza?

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

Why You'll Love "One Of Us Is Lying"

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. 
Browyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four them suspects in his murder.

Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review


Another 2017 read, guys please bear with me while I get through my last few reviews of 2017! 

This was a killer read - pardon the pun. I love a good mystery that’s well set out to lead to a shocking ending alongside having characters that I can invest in. One of Us Is Lying is exactly that. I was on edge for most of the story and knew that I couldn’t put it down until I finished. It’s a fairly short read that delivers an immense amount of impact, not only from the mystery itself but from McManus exploring diversity, acceptance and other social issues that crop up within high school as well.

McManus delivers a clever and surprising plot twist, which took the book from a 4 stars to 5.&nbspThere was no way I could’ve suspected that was the resolution to the novel, but it was well thought out and explained, that I wasn’t questioning how ludicrous it seemed to be. The plot was fast paced and suspenseful, being an absolute page turner.

I didn’t expect to see such strong character developments or feel attached to them either. The personalities introduced are somewhat cliches to novels set in high school however, they have a lot more depth to them that is revealed and explored as the plot progresses. Each character will come across as relatable, with issues that most of us have dealt with or are dealing with currently. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like them that much but they were pretty much all flawed characters and I am a sucker for that.

Throughout all the crime solving and character development is another aspect that made One of Us Is Lying an engaging read. McManus addresses social issues that have been and continue to be discussed amongst our social sphere. Trigger warnings for bullying, school shootings, suicide, abusive relationships, mental health, discrimination against LGBQT+ community. As much as I love a gripping read, nothing is more satisfying than reading a novel that engages me with real life concerns that gets me thinking and is challenging.

Bottom line. You should read it.


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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Travel Diary: Everything I Loved About Amsterdam

These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up!

Everything I Loved About Amsterdam


Amsterdam was without a doubt one of my favourite places I visited - such a highlight to my trip. The city has these chilled vibes and the weather was so nice that it was fun just ambling around in the streets. I am well aware that people visit Amsterdam because weed is legal there, but being someone who doesn’t dabble in that area, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time and will 110% go back. It was only one of 3 place I stayed at for more than 3 days.



Accomodation

Well worth the stay! The Flying Pig is a really homely hostel, and I felt so comfortable staying here. I met some awesome people as well, who were friendly and open to get to know one another. It’s a 5 minute walk from Central Station and is located within close proximity to majority of the tourist attractions including the IAmsterdam sign, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Museum and Vondelpark. 

Being A Tourist


Amsterdam is set out so you can knock out a lot of tourist attractions in a day or two. The rest of my days I spent enjoying the weather - I had a day in a park just reading and another pedal boating around the canals, or heading out at night with some friends to discover what Amsterdam's night life was like.


I ticked off the Anne Frank museum the first day I got there, and was one of the favourite things I did that week. It is such an intuitive experience, with each person having their own audio guide synced to the required language. When you’re walking through the house there are numbers to scan and the audio guide starts - everyone is listening to and experiencing the same things, but in different languages. 
Tip: Pre-book your ticket! This is very important!

Another thing I surprisingly loved was visiting Spa Zuiver - a spa and sauna centre 25 minutes away from Amsterdam. It’s actually attached to a hotel if you want to stay away from the city for a day or two! The place is decked out with an indoor and outdoor pool, multiple saunas, steam room, jacuzzis (both indoor and outdoor), aroma bath - the list goes on! There’s also a restaurant and bar. Do note though, that this place is usually a naked spa but Tuesdays and Thursdays are bathing suit days if you’re not super comfortable being in the nude. Highly recommend!

Surprise, surprise I did a walk through Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light district. I can definitely understand the fascination behind it amongst tourists, but didn’t feel like I wanted to revisit it every night. I also visited the I Amsterdam Sign, Moco Museum and Westerpark. The Moco Museum had two exhibitions on - Roy Lichtenstein and Banksy.

Places To Eat


I’m fairly sure I brunched at least once in every country I visited, and hey I’m not complaining. Bakers and Roasters are known for eggs. They have an abundance of different egg dishes you can choose from, and my choice was salmon and hollandaise sauce. You can sit outside right next to the canals, super cute!

If you love meat, and having a huge steak, hit up this place. It isn’t cheap though so do expect to be paying a bit, but well worth it. 

De 3 Graefjes
Yes, this is another brunch place. Don’t judge me.

Satellite Sports Cafe
Oh wow, I just realised my pattern in eating. Again, meat lovers, you want to eat all that you can in ribs go and find this place. We paid 12 euros, but after 10PM its 10 euros! 


Gartine is a really cute cafe that serves high tea, which is exactly what we ordered. We kind of splurged a little and went for the set that encompassed everything high tea could offer, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This restaurant was recommended by a local for authentic Dutch food. It’s semi fancy and there was a line when we got there, but I thought ahead and made a reservation. To be quite honest, we didn’t really know what to order so just chose somewhat randomly, including Dutch Hodgepodge. 

Quick Tips


You don’t really need to catch public transport in Amsterdam because everything is so easy to walk to. However, you will see, and fairly sure everyone knows this, a ton of bikes. Both locals and tourists fill the roads with bikes and is most likely the easiest way to see the entire city. 

If you’re trying to make your way to Amsterdam from London, Paris or somewhere nearby, definitely look at booking a train ticket because it makes it way easier to get right into the city. I booked a seat with Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam and it was only 3 hours.

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Sunday, 24 June 2018

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" Is A MUST Read

Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: June 18th, 2013

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Review


The Ocean at the End of the Lane will hold onto and drag you into the dark depths of its mysterious tale. There’s no other way to explain Gaiman’s novel other than being a modern day myth or fairytale of some sort. I didn’t expect it to be a short story, but as it unfolded I realised I was hooked on one single plot line that seemed so simple but kept taking turns and twists, I had no idea where it was heading. 

The story came to life through Gaiman’s writing - he is an absolute genius at creating an engrossing tale with vivid imagery and such real characters. It was a such a strange read that I couldn’t stop reading. I finished it within two hours. The story is suppose to be a mystery but Gaiman weaves magic and life lessons, leaving me quite emotionally drained from being so invested. It’s madness and creativity and ingenuity all in one, which is insane that it worked so well together. Be sure to pay close attention while reading, because there’s a complex layer underneath the plot and even now I want to go back and re-read to see if I’ve missed anything. 

Honestly, I read this at the end of last year, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane was such a unique and intense read it took me awhile to process how I felt about it in words. Such an impressionable read and has further made me love Gaiman’s works! One of my favourite reads last year.

That's the trouble with living things. Don't last very long, Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together.

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