7th Blogiversary Celebrations + Int Giveaway!

As slow as 2019 was, the year seems to have come around quickly again as January means I get to celebrate my blogiversary, the day I took the plunge and started my blog all those years ago. There’s no seven year itch in sight as I make this blog into something which has taken up a lot of my life and something I genuinely enjoy doing and sharing with you all. I have found myself thinking about my ten year anniversary already which I really must not do because that is a ridiculous time, not to mention three years away. But while it has been a somewhat chaotic and often rewarding time, the past seven years seems to have gone by in a flash and those early years seem a lifetime ago.

Now that I‘ve become settled in my blogging routine it has become a stable, everyday party of my life that honestly I couldn’t see myself not doing. It’s a great habit to have though, sharing amazing books, sharing my favourite reads and spreading the book love, and maybe even introducing someone to their new favourite read.

Last year was my big reflection year, this year I am only here to be grateful for the amazing opportunities I have had since I started this blog and for the amazing people who read it. Not to mention the books I have had the chance to read, the new authors I’ve discovered which I never would have found if I hadn’t agreed to review their books, and the wonderful community I’ve become a part of.

To celebrate I’m running my giveaway featuring eight of my favourite books. I haven’t actually released my Top 5 of 2019 yet but I’ve added them into my giveaway, I’ll let you guess which ones are which. I’ve also added in a few of my favourites reads which I thoroughly enjoyed and think everyone should read.

The Selection

His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman*

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson*

The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by The McElroys*

The Wicked Prince by Holly Black*

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

What If? by Randall Munroe

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

 

*These items are sequels to other books that possibly won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the first one. Keep that in mind when picking your book.

 

To enter: For a chance to win one of the pictured books simply enter here and complete the Rafflecopter form.

Please note: This giveaway is international on the basis the Book Depository ships to your country. To see if you are eligible you can check their website.

Thank you for helping me celebrate and if you entered the draw I wish you the best of luck!

Giveaway runs until midnight AEDT on Thursday 20th February 2020

Clancy the Quokka by Lili Wilkinson

Published: 1st October 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Allen & Unwin
Illustrator: Alison Mutton
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Here’s Clancy the quokka. So friendly and charming.
His innocent face is truly disarming.

Clancy the Quokka is super cute, but also has a super cheeky habit of raiding picnic food, so when he spots a magnificent birthday cake, how can he resist? After the mayhem he creates, will Clancy learn his lesson?

Clancy is a tiny adorable quokka and his thieving proclivities are the main focus on this book but Wilkinson also manages to highlight his charming and adorable nature. I liked the direction this story took, we’re introduced to Clancy and his world initially but as the story goes on we see the wider world and the bigger picture and his role within it. There’s humour and laughs from both story and illustrations, not to mention a recognition about many traditional Australian party pastimes that Clancy inadvertently takes part in.

I enjoyed this story because it makes Clancy a little villain which is hilarious and so enjoyable to read about. The rhymes are lovely and flow really well as you read them, plus the devilishly adorable illustrations show exactly what is going on alongside the words.

Mutton’s illustrations take up the entire page and are realistic but have a fun cartoonish quality as well. The colours are natural and depict the real world, the Australian bush as well as people and other surroundings. They are beautiful addition and they help bring our Clancy’s personality and his expressions show us how he’s feeling.

This is an absolutely adorable story that is filled with fun and cheekiness, with a few lessons learnt along the way. It is simple but fun and it’s a great celebration of one of amazing native animals.

You can purchase Clancy the Quokka via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

 

Book Bingo 2020

Making my bingo cards are a real joy because I get to think about my reading habits, genres I want to read and stories I want to read about. It is always a hard decision with what to include because when you start thinking about it there is a very deep rabbit hole you fall into. Based on others I have seen around I tried to do a tropes or a theme approach but I have never been good at those so I’ll stick with these for now. Maybe I’ll try for next year, or maybe do a much smaller side bingo of them.

With the goals and other reading challenges I have set myself this year I have tried to adapt my bingo accordingly. I also mixed it up based on some things I read last year in other challenges because I got to experience some great stories and want to actively try and read some more. I know there are a few ones on there that I keep adding each year because I am determined to do them. Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite things but I have had such a bad run reading any these last couple years so it’s back on so I can try once more. I think I need to get it out of my mind which ones I want to read and find a new, fresh story that I can break my drought with instead do thinking of all the ones I have been wanting to read and never do. As for reading a play, I am giving it one more chance before I stop putting it on there and admit I am not going to read any plays, even the ones I do want to actually read. I need to not make it a bingo option and maybe then, ironically, I will have more success. Aside from those two I am super keen to dive into this. I hope over the next 12 months I can find 25 wonderful and exciting books that I can tick off this list and expand my reading circle a lot more.

Are you going to participate in a Book Bingo this year? As in previous years, you are more than welcome to use my card for your own Book Bingo, click the download link to grab a copy and remember to link to my page and attribute me properly if you post it somewhere. If you don’t want to use this one, follow my Book Bingo tag to find previous cards to use.

Meerkat Choir by Nicki Greenberg

Published: 27th September 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Allen and Unwin
Illustrator: Nicki Greenberg
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

The meerkats are excited. They’re ready for their very first rehearsal with their meerkat choirmaster. But just as they’re about to sing their very first note, they’re interrupted by a steady stream of other animals who want to join in.

The meerkat choirmaster insists his choir is only for meerkats. And he gets grumpier and grumpier at each interruption.

There is a lot of humour throughout this story which is a marvellous feat considering how few words there are. There is a lot of enjoyment to be gotten from the illustrations and the reactions of those involved too.

The story starts as the meerkat conductor is about to begin rehearsals only to be interrupted by others who wish to join. After rejecting a few animals who ask, the conductor starts sending away animals that come and start singing unprompted. I thought this was incredibly clever because it breaks up the monotony of “Can I join” “No” through the whole book, and demonstrates how different animals make sound.

Seeing the conductor get crankier with each interruption is delightful. Greenburg’s illustrations add a lot of emotion and frustration when there are few words to the story. The traumatised faces of the meerkats as each animal joins in is funny, especially when they are of the more dangerous kind.

There is a wonderful message to be learnt too that excluding others is not only mean and discriminatory but may also be detrimental to your ambitions.

You can purchase Meerkat Choir via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon

The Sidewalk’s Regrets by Kate Larkindale

Published: 1st February 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Evernight Teen
Pages: 304
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Sacha McLeod isn’t looking for someone to rock her world. But when she hears the boy in the music store play the guitar, the music thrills her and she falls hard for Dylan and his sound.

Sacha finds herself spending less time with her violin and more time with this guy. Her plans for her violin-virtuoso future—and her self-confidence—are shattered when she screws up the audition for a summer music program. Failure isn’t something she’s had to face before, so when Dylan asks her to spend her vacation with him in the city, she lies to her parents, pretends she won a place in the summer school, and secretly moves in with Dylan.

She’s expecting romance, music, and passion, but when she finds herself playing second fiddle to Dylan’s newly acquired drug habit, she realizes despite what the songs say, sometimes love isn’t all you need. 

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author for review

CW: Drug use

I was pleasantly surprised by the direction this story took. It wasn’t the rock and roll summer story I was expecting, though there were a few tropes like instant love which was convenient, but from a “first love at seventeen” approach the infatuation and impulsiveness makes sense. The narrative starts off slow as we are introduced to Sacha and her world of classical music. Her sheltered music life gets a jolt when she hears the music of Dylan for the first time and she is thrown into this rock and roll world. From there the story starts rolling and soon it has a nice flow which is maintained through the rest of the story. It was quite fascinating because the story doesn’t follow the typical route I was expecting, but there are still great moments of tension and drama you come to expect from this kind of story. It’s a story of a band trying to hit the big time, a girl whose dream might not happen, and the lure of fame and the rock and roll life. The three of those things together sound like a story already told but Larkindale adds a new approach and it makes for an engaging story.

Sacha’s mindset and her goals are explored quite well through this and you see how her reasoning and her justifications change with each new experience. It’s one way to see it as her constantly changing her mind, but it makes more sense that she justifies things to herself, especially given her situation and her desire to stay with Dylan. The depiction of drug use is well done and a very apt description from what I have read elsewhere. It is a key part of the story and there are moments where using drugs is described in action and character reaction. Larkindale also shows the gradual descent of usage, the way it starts off small and soon grows into something bigger. It also shows how easy it is to actually fall and how you can go from top to bottom fairly fast.

Even though the perspective is always through Sacha, the rest of the characters felt real. Larkindale has given them a lot of depth into their passions and desires and you understand their motives and actions, even if they seem foolhardy at the time. This is a story revolving around one summer, but Larkindale takes it beyond that as well and you see the characters grow and find out who they are. I loved how the story ends up, the experiences of the characters makes this story and seeing how the story ends is satisfying once you have gone on this journey with them.

You can purchase The Sidewalk’s Regrets via the following

Book DepositoryDymocks

 Wordery | Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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