Monday, 24 July 2017

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble
Published May 2017 by Allen & Unwin
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony's mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony's grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe.

How to Bee is middle grade novel by debut author Bren MacDibble. The setting is a futuristic Australia where bees have become extinct - unless you believe the rumours that scientists still have some in laboratories. To counter this problem, farms are now staffed with children and the best, most agile and light-footed ones are chosen to be bees. These children climb trees and pollinate each and every flower so the trees produce fruit. Unfortunately for the farm-dwellers, most of the produce is carted away to the city where it is considered a luxury item. It's on a farm that we meet nine-year-old Peony. Peony lives with her grandfather and older sister Magnolia. Their mother lives and works in the city but returns for monthly visits. It's on one such visit that she announces she'll be taking Peony to the city with her, which derails Peony's dream to become a bee.

I fell in love with the cover of How to Bee the moment I saw it and the subject matter only further endeared this story to me. I worry about the state of the world often and, as a vegan, the future of the bee population is important to me. With the way our world is going, it's not hard to imagine Peony's version of the future, and it saddens me greatly.

I adored Peony from the moment she was introduced. She's determined, protective, and loyal. Her dream to become a bee was not only something she wanted for herself, it would provide more food for her family. Her kindness also extended to her best friend and his family.

The focus on friendship was also endearing, especially watching the relationship between Peony and Esmeralda unfold. It was admirable to see Peony help Esmeralda with her fears, even though the girls didn't get off to a great start.

How to Bee is a sad yet hopeful and heartwarming story, sure to provoke conversations between kids and parents.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for my copy.

Cover design: Jo Hunt.

As mentioned, I love this cheerful yellow cover and couldn't wait to paint it. It's eye catching and suits the story perfectly.

You can watch me paint my nails in a video tutorial on my YouTube channel, or view the photos below.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan
Published April 6, 2017 by Bloomsbury
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.
And Mum's disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She'll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …

Fifteen-year-old Megara Clark, Meg for short, finds herself abandoned by her mother and left in charge of her younger half sister, Elsa. Her mother, a nurse and volunteer, gets caught up in a new cause and flies off to Myanmar, leaving Meg in charge. Meg's grandad lives nearby, but he's often just as messy and unreliable as her mum, even though he's caring and supportive. Meg's plans to win a competition gets derailed by her mother's sudden absence, despite her attempts to stick to her plan.

I adore Jenny McLachlan's Ladybird series - four books about a group of friends, and I could not wait for her latest, Stargazing for Beginners. It did not disappoint. I immediately connected with Meg. It's clear her neatness, organisation, and love of planning is a direct response to the irresponsibility and unreliability of her mother. Meg's dream of becoming an astronaut was admirable, as was the fact that she knew exactly how she was going to achieve it. I loved that she was proud of her intelligence and that she was open about her love of science and space.

Unfortunately for Meg, her BFF moved to New Zealand, so she spends her lunch times alone in the library, and often sits alone in class. Though, she is in a friendly rivalry with classmate Ed, as he is also extremely smart. Through Ed, Meg has some interaction with other students like Bella and Raj. Meg also makes some new friends thanks to getting a detention, and they provide much needed support to her and Elsa.

Meg's home life left me feeling helpless and angry. Her mum's complete disregard was infuriating, especially as she left them without any money. Meg has anxiety about not letting anyone know they've been abandoned which is even more stressful for her. But, this more serious plot line was balanced perfectly by the romance and friendship in the story. Ed's obvious feelings for Meg made me so happy. Poor Meg doesn't realise that Ed returns her feelings, so watching them bumble around was sweet and heartwarming.

Ableist language: idiot, twit, insane, crazy, mental, lame.

Stargazing for Beginners is a funny, clever, heartwarming story of a girl who has a big dream. Meg's ambition, determination, and intelligence makes her a wonderfully relatable character, and she's sure to inspire teens to pursue their own dreams, no matter what!

Thank you to Bloomsbury for my copy.

Cover illustration: Levante Szabó.

This is such a gorgeous cover, it's so perfect for the story. I love the beautiful illustration, the shades of blue, and the matte finish with shiny accents. Stunning!

I filmed a tutorial for how I painted this set of nails, this one is fairly easy to do. Check it out below or on my YouTube channel, Cook Read Create.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A Cardboard Palace by Allayne L. Webster

A Cardboard Palace by Allayne L. Webster
Published June 1, 2017 by Midnight Sun
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Jorge lives in a shanty town on the outskirts of Paris. Bill, a controller, has an army of child thieves at his command - and Jorge is one of them.
But soon Jorge faces an even bigger threat. His home is to be bulldozed. Where will Jorge sleep? What will happen to his friends, Ada and Gino? Could a growing friendship with Australian chef Sticky Ricky help Jorge to stop Bill and save the army of child thieves?
And will he do it before he loses Ada forever?
Jorge can't keep fighting to live - now he must live to fight.

A Cardboard Palace by Allayne L. Webster is set in Paris, but it's not the Paris we see advertised to tourists. Jorge is eleven-years-old and he was taken from his family in Romania years ago and bought to France to work for a man named Bill. Bill collects children and uses them in all sorts of schemes around Paris. He teaches them to beg and steal and makes them live in a small community on the outskirts of Paris. The community is made up of immigrants and they have built houses out of metal and cardboard. The children have nothing of their own and are often left to go hungry as punishment.

Jorge's character was a testament to the human spirit. You'd think living such a hard life would make a child hard as well, but Jorge is loyal, caring, and inquisitive. He is obsessed with food and longs to be a chef one day - a dream Bill scoffs at. Jorge is also naive and slow to work out what's going on. He is fearful of Bill's threats and tries to follow orders, even when his conscience tells him otherwise.

There are brighter spots in this story; Jorge's love of food and Paris were a delight. He truly loves where he lives and longs to be a part of the city. He meets people who are kind to streets kids rather than shunning them, and he starts to dream about what his future might hold.

This is a heartbreaking story that highlights a lot of world issues in a way that is perfect for middle grade and teen readers. There are hints to more serious and disturbing issues (like child brides and human trafficking) that aren't too graphic for young readers, and I'm sure this story will spark conversations between children and parents.

Ableist language: crazy, insane.

A Cardboard Palace shines a light on the darker side of a major city we know and love, in a beautiful, sensitive and needed way. It's a touching story of survival and hope.

Thank you to Midnight Sun for my copy.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

#LoveOzYABloggers - Favourite high school books

The LoveOzYA and AusYABloggers teams have created a challenge to celebrate our favourite #LoveOzYA reads. Each fortnight will focus on a different theme, the first one is: High School. To participate you choose 3 books and talk about them via whatever social media platform you like (Instagram, Twitter, your blog, YouTube etc).

I've made a video on my 3 picks, you can view it here or on my YouTube channel, Cook Read Create.

The books I chose are: Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty, I'll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry, and Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil.

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature. Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

Upcoming Themes:

July 17th 2017: Fantasy

July 31st 2017: Feels

August 14th 2017: Sci-Fi

Monday, 10 July 2017

But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure

But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure
Published April 6, 2017 by Hachette Australia
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Eden has always let her head lead the way. It's why she excels at ballet, at school, and at life in general. But when she nearly drowns and then wakes from a month-long coma, everything is different. She's troubled by dreams that seem more real than waking life, and her neat cookie-cutter existence is no longer satisfying. Unable to stifle her passionate heart anymore, she finds herself drawn to a boy with melting-chocolate eyes, and to a future different to what she ever imagined. That's when Eden discovers that when it comes to love, first you fall, then you have to leap. 

But Then I Came Back, a companion novel to Estelle Laure's debut novel, This Raging Light, is told from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Eden Jones. Eden lives in Cherryville, New Jersey, with her parents and twin brother, Digby. She has been studying ballet since age eight, but recently gave it up. Lucille, Eden's best friend, has been seeing Digby and it's changed the dynamics of their friendship, to the point where Eden feels guilty agrees to meet Lucille one night, at their spot by the river. That night she falls, hits her head, and goes into a coma. Eden awakens a month later. She's experienced visions and dreams, but she can't be sure what she really saw, and now that she's awake, some of the visions have followed her back.

I enjoyed Laure's debut last year so was thrilled to see she had a new book coming out. What I didn't realise was that it would be a companion novel and I'd completely forgotten about the way A Raging Light ended. It was wonderful to get closure to that story by picking up Eden's story in But Then I Came Back. Eden's personality shone through, despite the fact that she no longer felt like herself. Before the accident, she had her life planned out. She loved lists, she loved quotes, she knew where she was going for college. After the accident she's haunted by visions of black flowers and feels disconnected from Digby and Lucille. She's no longer sure of her future.

The romance between Eden and Joe was sweet and intoxicating. Eden has never been in love and she finds herself falling for Joe quickly, finding him to be a welcome distraction and respite from the aftermath of her accident. Eden's dramatic flair really came back to life in describing their moments together. To complicate matters, Joe's best friend Jasmine is also in a coma. And Eden saw Jasmine while she was out, while she was In Between.

Laure's writing is poetic and carefully crafted, starting out in second person before moving into fisrt person for the remainder of the story. The introduction was intense because of this, it felt like I was going through it with Eden. The rest of the story was just as powerful, very character-driven.

Ableist language: idiot, psycho, crazy, moron, lame, dumb, insane, psychotic.

But Then I Came Back is a beautiful follow up to This Raging Light.  I found the writing enchanting, so much so that I didn't want to leave this intoxicating story.

Thank you to Hachette for my copy.

Cover illustration: Marion Deuchars

I love this simple cover design and the way the flowers are incorporated into the text. I took the flowers and turned them into a full design for this manicure. I love the result!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

June Wrap Up and Book Haul. Plus, July TBR!

June was a great month of reading for me. I feel like I've properly left my reading slump behind and I'm back to enjoying reading again. I read 8 books including a French audio book, one non-fiction/memoir from the library, and 6 YA novels.

Check out my wrap up here or on my YouTube channel.

I also acquired some fantastic new books that I'm really looking forward to reading, including a lot of AussieYA. I've added some of the books I didn't get to in June to my new stack of books to create a large TBR for July - wish me luck!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Night Swimming by Steph Bowe

Night Swimming by Steph Bowe
Published April 3, 2017 by Text Publishing
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Imagine being the only two seventeen-year-olds in a small town. That’s life for Kirby Arrow—named after the most dissenting judge in Australia’s history—and her best friend Clancy Lee, would-be musical star.
Clancy wants nothing more than to leave town and head for the big smoke, but Kirby is worried: her family has a history of leaving. She hasn’t heard from her father since he left when she was a baby. Shouldn’t she stay to help her mother with the goat’s-milk soap-making business, look after her grandfather who suffers from dementia, be an apprentice carpenter to old Mr Pool? And how could she leave her pet goat, Stanley, her dog Maude, and her cat Marianne?
But two things happen that change everything for Kirby. She finds an article in the newspaper about her father, and Iris arrives in town. Iris is beautiful, wears crazy clothes, plays the mandolin, and seems perfect, really, thinks Kirby. Clancy has his heart set on winning over Iris. Trouble is Kirby is also falling in love with Iris…

Night Swimming is Steph Bowe's third novel. Set in the fictional rural town of Alberton, the story revolves around seventeen-year-old Kirby Arrow. Kirby lives with her mum, grandad, cousin, and a menagerie of animals. Her mum runs the goat milk soap business her grandad started many years ago. Kirby is learning how to be an apprentice carpenter and plans to stay on in town, rather than leave, like most teens do. Her best friend, Clancy, is one of those who plans to leave as soon as possible. Then a new girl moves to town and both Kirby and Clancy fall for her.

It was fun getting to know Kirby. She has a pet goat, Stanley, who accompanies her on walks to and from town. She's a great best friend to Clancy. She's loyal to her family. But, Kirby struggles with the idea of leaving because abandonment is a theme in her family. Her grandmother left when her mum was a child, and Kirby's father left when she was only a few months old. On top of this, Kirby's grandad has dementia and it feels as though Kirby is losing him too. She is fiercely protective of him and resents her mum's plan to move him into a home. Kirby's relationship with her mother is also complicated. Her mother is quite distant, uncaring, and uninterested, probably due to her own maternal issues, but I liked how this was explored in the story. Kirby doesn't have the typical family that's often shown in YA, and I'm sure there'll be teens who appreciate this.

The book features diverse characters and doesn't rely on outdated stereotypes when it comes to small towns. Clancy is Chinese and his family run a popular restaurant in town, one that is well supported by the local community. When Iris comes out she too has the support of her family. Iris is biracial (her father is Indian) and they are also welcomed to town, though both she and Clancy have experienced racism in the past.

Kirby's crush on Iris and their developing romance was beautiful and so realistic. It was sweet to see Kirby overthink everything and worry about what to say whenever Iris was around. And for Kirby to discover she was desirable.

Ableist language: idiot, insane, crazy, fool, loon, lame, dumb.

Night Swimming is amusing, quirky, and all heart. The story tackles family, sexuality, racism, small town-life, and is the perfect read for high school teens.

Thank you to Text Publishing for my copy.

Illustration: Henn Kim
Cover design: Jessica Horrocks

The covers for Steph Bowe's previous two books were photograph-based, so this illustrated cover is something new and I really like it. The illustration is cute and I like the range of colours.

You can watch the video of my nail art here or on my YouTube channel, or view the photos below.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Writing my First Draft and Creating a Writing Habit

Earlier this year I began a series of posts on writing that fizzled out as soon as I finished the first draft of my first novel. Recently I've begun editing that draft and have swapped part of it with a critique partner for feedback. Receiving feedback has reignited my enthusiasm, as have a few recent author talks.

In my latest video I talk about how I started writing, what my process was, and the resources that inspired me, including:

I've mentioned all of these before, but I want to mention them again because they really have helped to inspire me, particularly the podcast. I don't think you can listen to 150+ episodes of a podcast about writing without feeling inspired to write. The info is relevant, the interviewees are entertaining and educational, and you just never know what trick or method you'll learn from an episode.

If you have any resources that have inspired you or helped you to write, let me know! I'd also love to know what you're working on.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
Published May 29, 2017 by Text Publishing
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has ‘done the art.’ She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia.
Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together ‘for the kids’ and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage.
As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.
Sarah, age sixteen, is having an existensial crisis. It starts at school, in art class. She's always loved art but one day she realises she can no longer draw, not even a pear. She realises that nothing is original. She quits school. She begins to ride the buss each day and wander around Philadelphia instead. It's on these solo adventures she starts meeting versons of herself; there's ten-year-old Sarah, twenty-three-year-old Sarah, and also forty-year-old Sarah. Slowly Sarah's memories of a family trip start to resurface and she has to face the problems her parents have been trying to hide for years.

A new book by A.S.King is always something I look forward to. Her writing is captivating, her topics compelling, her characters real and easy to relate to. These qualities are all present in her latest novel, Still Life with Tornado.

I was immediately drawn in by Sarah's dry, matter-of-fact manner. Her new attitude towards life; that nothing is original, that nothing really matters, is something I'm sure a lot of us think on a daily basis (it's not just me, right?) It's also clear there is a lot more going on in Sarah's life - some of it she's willfully ignoring, some of it she's forgotten, and some of it has been kept from her. I felt intrigued but also sympathetic and protective of her.

Helen, Sarah's mum, is an ER nurse who works night shifts. She's clever, sharp, and no-nonsense. The inclusion of Helen's perspective added a lot to the story, including an understanding of what had been hidden from Sarah. Her point of view balanced out Sarah's well, providing insight into their family history.

This is a book about a girl in crisis and a family living with domestic violence, but the violence itself is never the main focus of the story. It's a sensitive subject but I didn't feel as sickened or disturbed as I have done while reading books that includes graphic descriptions of violence. Sometimes that needs to be shown in detail, but this story managed to make the aftermath feel just as tense. The atmosphere of Sarah's home was palpable, and the volatility increased as the story went on.

Ableist language: crazy, insane, schizo, psycho, dumb.

Still Life with Tornado is the perfect blend of magic, mystery, and real life. It's clever, heartbreaking, and hopeful. And, despite what Sarah might think, it's most definitely original.

Thank you to Text Publishing for my copy.

Cover design: Samira Iravani

This is an eye-catching and memorable cover, and I love that the design carried through into the pages of the book.

I videoed a tutorial of me painting this manicure, you can watch it below or on my YouTube channel.

Friday, 23 June 2017

New to Booktube Tag/Booktube Newbie Tag

My latest video is an introduction to BookTube - I talk favourite authors (lots of Aussies!), books I remember reading when I was younger, my current TBR, and what I hope to get out of BookTube.

The original New to BookTube Tag was created by Trina of Between Chapters. The BookTube Newbie Tag was created by Brenda.

1. Where are you joining us from?
2. How old are you?
3. Why did you join booktube?
4. What is the meaning behind your channel name?
5. What types of books do you read / want to talk about here?
6. Who are some of your favourite authors?
7. What’s the last book you read?
8. What are you currently reading?
9. What do you use for bookmarks?
10. Show us your current TBR pile!
11. Which do you prefer: Hard cover or paperback? Ebooks or physical books? Owning or borrowing books?
12. What book or series got you into reading?
13. How did you discover booktube?
14. What challenges do you think you’ll face with your own channel?
15. Where else can we find you?

If you have a YouTube channel you'd like me to check out, leave me a comment below!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Published May 29, 2017 by Text Publishing
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe. That night she experiences something she can’t explain.
The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.
As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.
Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?

Ballad for a Mad Girl is Vikki Wakefield's fourth YA novel. Set in the small, rural town of Swanston (nicknamed Swamp Town), we meet seventeen-year-old Grace Foley. Grace grew up on the family farm but after the death of her mother, her father moved Grace and her older brother to a house in town. Since then they just coexist. Grace feels suffocated by her father's rules, and breaks free by entertaining her friends with pranks and stunts, many involving the local gorge.

Grace's personality is so clear, right from the first page. She's mad, she's hurt, she's fed up with the life her father is trying to make them live. She doesn't want to live in a small house, she wants her life to go back to the way it was. Back when her mother was alive. To take her mind off things, Grace spends as much time with her friends as possible, but even then, things are changing. Her best friend Kenzie is dating Mitch and Grace won't accept being third wheel. She feels rejected, left out, left behind.

There is a horror element to this story, but it's just the right amount for someone like me who doesn't really do horror (unless it's reading a Stephen King novel during daylight hours.) The opening scene gave a subtle nod to King's novel, Carrie, and from then Vikki Wakefield wove the atmosphere in a way only she can do. There was a growing sense of unease and suspicion. There was a touch of unreliability, mystery, and an ominous history. All of this building to a climax I could not predict. The story was so intriguing I found it easy to immerse myself in Grace's life, to go along on her journey for the truth.

Vikki Wakefield excels at writing about loneliness and small towns, two things that are a major component of this new book. She also tackles grief in a sensitive way, showing how much Grace hurts and the lengths she'll go to to avoid her feelings.

Beautifully written, chilling and atmospheric, Ballad for a Mad Girl is a story with heart, horror, and hope.

Thank you to Text Publishing for my copy.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Visit to Beachside Bookshop

One of my favourite places to visit is Beachside Bookshop in Avalon. Beachside Bookshop is a store dedicated to children's and YA literature, with a strong focus on promoting #LoveOzYA books! Libby and Dani are experienced and knowledgeable booksellers and they'll be able to help you pick out your next great read. I know I always leave with at least one book, as well as a list of a dozen more I want to go back for!

Here's a video tour of the beautiful shop, I hope if you're in Sydney, you'll make the trip to Avalon Beach to visit them!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published January 2015
Source: library
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. 

All the Bright Places is Jennifer Niven's debut novel and it's one I've known about since before it's release, yet it took me until this year to read it. Perhaps I knew how it would make me feel and had to wait until the right time.

Told via dual narrative, the story revolves around two teens: Finch and Violet. They are bought together by the idea of death, but become friends because they both want to protect the other. They bond during a school project and slowly get to know one another, even though there are secrets being kept.

All the Bright Places will tap straight into your emotions and leave you feeling overwhelmed. I was sure I knew what was coming and still I cried and felt heartbroken. It was beautifully told, sensitively explored, and all the more real knowing that Niven wrote it based on her own teenage years.

Hand-lettering and illustrations: Sarah Watts 
Jacket photographs: Neil Fletcher and Matthew Ward/Getty Images

This is such a lovely cover and one that is really memorable. I knew I wanted to paint a set as a gift for Jennifer and I was able to give them to her when she was in Australia for the Sydney Writer's Festival.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bookish Nail Art Tutorial - Begin End Begin

I've been wanting to film a nail art tutorial for a while now and I've finally done it! I get lots of comments on my work and I wanted to show how I do it because it's something others can do as well. All you need it some nail polish and/or paint, and some paint brushes.

In this tutorial I paint nails to match the new LoveOzYA Anthology: Begin End Begin, edited by Danielle Binks. I was able to meet Danielle yesterday at high tea at Better Read Than Dead. It was wonderful to meet her after knowing her as a book blogger for so many years.

Cover design: Kate Pullen, The Letterettes

Here's the video:

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

May Book Haul + new YouTube channel!

It's been a while since I did a book haul post and even longer since I filmed a vlog. If you followed me back on my first book blog, the Vegan YA Nerds, you might remember a time when I participated in Stacking the Shelves with weekly vlogs.

Recently I decided to start a new YouTube channel, a place to combine my three main interests: reading, vegan food, and nail art. It's called Cook Read Create. My first video is my May Book Haul - I received some amazing books, including lots of new AussieYA!

Are any of these books on your to be read list? What books have you received recently? If you're on YouTube let me know in the comments, I'd love to check out your channel!