Favourites, Film review

5 TV Shows To Help You Procrastinate

So it has been a hot minute since anyone posted anything on here!

I blame life and uni

But since now I have tons of time I thought I would share some TV shows I’ve been catching up on to help pass the lonely hours without studying

Dear White People

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So season 2 dropped like a month ago and this show is literally everything you need in your life! All I can say is that this season was a lot more proactive than the first one and the series as a whole deliberates on some very important and relevant issues

13 Reasons Why

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I am sure you have all heard of this one but again season 2 has been out for a bit now and it’s time you get on it. My favourite season is still season 1 but this one was done brilliantly in the way that again it starts conversations

The Handmaid’s Tale

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Okay so apparently everyone is coming out with a second season because guess what? season 2 is currently airing! This season is way more intense and confronting and I love the direction it is taking. I reviewed the first two episodes and might do a little mid season review if you guys would like that

The Sinner

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So I’ve just started watching this one and heard some buzz here and there. It seems interesting so far and its only one season long with 8 episodes so can’t hurt hey?

Engrenages or Spiral

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If you’re looking for a healthy series with about 6 seasons this one is it. It’s in French and focuses on the judicial system and crime. It’s like law and order but way more gory

Let me know if you have any show recommendations!

Book news

The Things We Can’t Undo | Blog Tour

I had the chance to interview the lovely Gabrielle Reid whose new novel hits shelves really soon so go grab yourself a copy!


There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions.

Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other. 

Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?


What was your main motivation behind writing the novel?

I wanted to start conversations, and I wanted those conversations to really consider things from more than one side. Without going into too much detail, I’ve had some personal experiences that made me particularly passionate about the topic of consent and how inadequate “no means no” is for teaching it. Several years back, I think it was around the time of the Steubenville High School rape case, I was discussing sexual violence on a parenting forum. One comment stuck with me, along the lines of “ask a roomful of men if they’ll rape a woman and you won’t find many who will say yes. Ask them ‘would you have sex with a girl so drunk she can barely stand’ and suddenly you get a much uglier picture of what guys will admit to”. At the time, I had a baby son (and no daughters yet), so I found myself thinking very seriously about the perpetrators and whether better education could have prevented them from doing such a terrible thing to that girl.

It was hard for me to empathise with the perpetrator. Really, really hard. Before I sat down to write the book, I disliked my main character, Dylan, and was prepared to write a story where he got thoroughly smacked down for his actions, but in trying to keep it realistic, that’s not the story I ended up with. I think that’s a good sign, though, because I want this novel to be the catalyst for conversations – ones that go deeper than ‘he got what he deserved’ and right to ‘how did this happen? What did he fail to understand?’. I hope I don’t excuse Dylan’s behaviour or suggest that the consequences he faced were in any way comparable to the suffering Samantha (his girlfriend and victim) experienced, but at the same time, I want his story to be a warning to young men, their parents, teachers and girlfriends. Because it really is that easy to become a rapist.

If there is one key thing that you would like readers to take away from this book, what would it be?

That even if you think you’re a good person – even if you are a good person – your decisions can have devastating consequences, so take your choices seriously and don’t stop paying attention to how those around you feel. In my book it isn’t just Dylan who makes a decision that seriously hurts a number of other innocent people – Samantha, as well as her best friend, Tayla, respond to the crime in some drastic ways that cause a lot of pain to each other, family and friends etc

There are many budding authors out there who might be curious about the publication process so, tell us a bit about your experience getting published

The number 1 thing I guess is that it was long! There were years of writing before getting to a complete first draft, then years of editing and pitching before getting an agent. And in the end, that book isn’t the one I’ve now had published! I consider it my “apprenticeship novel” and I don’t regret the time I spent on it, because that’s where I learnt better writing, where I found an amazing writer’s group, and where I built the first positive connection with an agent. But if I hadn’t moved on to the next thing, I wouldn’t be here now. Since then I’ve continued with that same writer’s group and gleaned bits and pieces of knowledge about publishing short stories, writing query letters, how to spot a dodgy publisher… too much to share here in one go, but I’m more than happy to chat to anyone who has specific questions!

I’ve talked in a little more detail on my blog (link below) about what led me to Ford Street and what it’s been like working with my publisher, Paul. I think the process for me was a fair bit quicker than I’ve heard from other writers at major publishers, but I’m not really sure why, except that we didn’t have advance proof copies before a complete print run. There are a LOT of people involved, even with a very small publisher. I thought about it one day and it’s no wonder authors only earn a small portion of the RRP, as those books are also helping the publisher to recover the costs of a structural edit, copy edit, designer/formatter for print, cover design, printer, delivery, warehouse etc. Not to mention the retailer and all their staff! Each step was exciting for me though, as it took me one step closer to publication.

What made you drawn towards writing in the young adult genre?

I kind of fell into it, really. My first book I set out to write as adult fiction, but as one of the two protagonists was sixteen (the other was in his 70s) many people suggested it was at least a young adult crossover. When I started writing The Things We Can’t Undo, I found the words and voice came to me much more naturally, and I sought out a writer’s group of other YA authors. I’ve been writing seriously since I was a teenager, so some of my earlier stories were very YA in nature, including two novels I never finished. Then I worked as a high school teacher, and married another. I led youth group and mentored teen girls at my church; teenagers have always been a part of my life. I found those adolescent years were the ones that really defined who I am – that was when I developed my own faith, I settled into writing and creative pursuits as a real passion, my mental illness reared its ugly head, I established friendships that still last today etc.

Do you have any other projects underway that readers can look forward to?

I do, but none in the publication pipeline yet! I’m writing one that deals with eating disorders (another illness I unfortunately have firsthand experience with) and a social justice issue that is very important to me. I’m also thinking of reworking that “apprenticeship novel” into something different and more YA in nature. It’s about a young girl trying to connect with her biological father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.


FOLLOW THE AUTHOR

Website and blog: www.justkeepreiding.com

Twitter and Instagram: @reidwriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006986329392

Film review

The Handmaid’s Tale | Episodes 1 & 2

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Welcome to the most confronting show on the planet. For a woman anyway.

So I knew this season was going to be good but I had no idea it would be THIS GOOD

Episode One 

What a powerful opening to the season. I’m going to keep this as spoiler free as possible but forgive me if I freak out.

It’s like the producers researched medieval torture methods and went ‘okay let’s put them all in one episode. Couple that with an incredible soundtrack and some brilliant acting and we have some amazing cinematics.

I often found myself on the edge of my seat not knowing where the hell the episode was taking me. It went from feeling forlorn to hopeful to sad to empowered.

This episode was like a disclaimer that the rest of the season is going to be bloody good.

I especially love the very end where you’re just sitting there like YES bring on the rest of the season

Episode Two 

While the first episode was a powerful setup, this one slowed things down and explored emotions which I really appreciated

I am in awe of the fact that the story has progressed so far beyond the book

June is in an unpredictable position but she makes the most of it by paying homage to those who have lost their lives to this war. We see her finally take in the gravity of the crimes that the government has committed and we see her finally let herself cry.

Paired with that is her flashbacks of her family. What I’ve always gathered is that the memories of her daughter are what keep her going. I found it interesting how this episode explored what kind of a mother June was. We see her put her child’s health before her husband’s at some parts of the episode.

The next huge thing about this episode was the side story of Emily. Of course this was also our first exposure to the Colonies. I love how she’s getting her own cameo in the show and we learn about her past and her child as well.

There is yet another powerful ending and some connecting dots that are being put in place for the rest of the season

While this show is set so far into the future it manages to constantly address contemporary issues such as female empowerment and LGBTQ rights.

Book reviews

Book Review ! Amelia Westlake

 

33296203Two very different girls, and one giant hoax that could change – or ruin – everything.

Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating. 

But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?


This is THE social justice book of the year

Amelia Wetslake had me in her grips from the first line of the book. It’s witty, it’s emotional but most of all it is relevant.

In an over-saturated market, it is often difficult to come across a book that has something to tell you, something to leave you with. I came out of this book feeling like I had learned a thing or two. It teaches you to stand up for what is not right and it teaches you to be courageous but most of all it teaches you to be kind

The setting of a high school is so cliche but this book puts a twist on this by adding a bit of sleuthing and a bit of romance. What I enjoyed the most was how you could sometimes feel like you were having a conversation with the author herself. The book does an amazing job of portraying how today’s youth actually have opinions about some of the most important topics.

In terms of character development, the book puts across the message that no one is ever how they seem as in there is always more to a human being than what meets the eye.

The stand out point of the novel is definitely the dialogue within the novel itself and the dialogue it encourages. Readers such as yours truly are left with an urge to sit people down and just talk about capitalism or male privilege

I cannot recommend this book enough

Amelia Westlake released on 1 April 2018 and can be found across the book world!

Book news, Film review, life

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Trailer Reaction

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In anticipation for April 25 when the second season returns I thought it might be high time I make some predictions

The trailer starts off with everyone looking quite distraught and slowly transitions into scenes of rebellion.

It looks like we’re at the brink of a war. Unlike the last season which was all about the handmaid’s this time we’re seeing the ripple effect, the families that were torn apart, people who just want their home back.

We see people travelling on horseback, people being held at gun point and show cases of love. All pointing to a season filled with emotion and shock

The soundtrack is absolutely divine too! it sends goosebumps down your spine and the lyrics can be broken down to mean a million things

The Handmaid’s Tale returns April 25 which is only 22 days away woo!

Book news, Book reviews

Book Review | The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. In her Harlem neighbourhood, her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets. Her feelings for a boy in her bio class, the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed- and a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent. 

 


As soon as I heard that this book was written in all poetry format I wanted to get my hands on it.

The beginning of the novel absolutely grips you in, X has this prominent voice that travels beyond the pages and you’re immersed in this world where this girl is trying to find herself and break stereotypes and just be herself.

The author sets the scene beautifully by capturing the diversity of the neighbourhood, the history of X’s parents, her background and her standing on religion. This book is like a neat little package of diversity and I love it.  One of the things this book did really well is that it managed to put every character into the spotlight through X’s poems so no one felt like a sidekick

In terms of the writing itself, it is moving and creative and fresh. Yet, it’s still not the kind of book you wanna finish in one sitting because every page makes you think. X’s story makes readers reflect on their own experiences trying to find themselves and about how if you’re passionate about something you should just go for it.

The only criticism I have is that the plot could have been paced better. I mean there is the build up to the drama, then everything goes down and then bam everything is resolved. I would’ve loved if there was more focus on how relationships were reconciled because that’s often where readers find completion. Some issues were left unresolved, so I’m sensing a sequel?

The Poet X released on 6th March 2018. I would highly recommend grabbing a copy. Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for providing me with one!

life

Why I Went MIA

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So I moved for college in February and it was the most stressful month of my entire life

Even though this was my second time moving, I was still as lost as ever

The first few weeks flew by in unpacking in getting used to the fact that yet again I would have to start cooking my own food, doing my own washing and what not

The next thing you know, Uni hits.

It came with a wave of reading and getting used to sitting in an overstuffed hall full of 500 other bodies. Unbearable

It also came with a greater focus on independent learning and realising that I would have to put in twice as much effort as last year because this time no was holding my hand.

So I spent a few weeks drowning and now I’m back. Life is slowly settling into a routine however, there is always something unexpected happening

I hope I can blog more often but with all the crazy happenings I can’t make any promises

life

7 Study Hacks Every College Student Should Know

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So after a year at college I have discovered some apps and resources that have been literal life savers throughout my time. These can also help someone in day to day life or even people in high school

Google Drive

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From storing personal files to backing up my academic work, I highly recommend exploring some kind of cloud storage. Google Drive has always been my go to because it’s linked to my Gmail account and it’s easy and it also means my work is secure in the cloud up there

Pro tip for college: ALWAYS back up your work

Google Docx

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Following on from that is google docx. These come most handy when you’re doing group or partner work as multiple people can edit the same document at the same time while being miles apart! Not only that but my friend and I would take lecture notes on the same doc so we were getting double the knowledge and double the insight

OneNote

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Once you get to college handwritten notes become a scarcity which is why OneNote is the best platform I believe. Instead of having five hundred different word documents you have one space for all your subjects and all your week’s worth. It’s literally your one stop shop for note taking

StickyNotes

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On my Windows 10 the sticky notes application comes installed but nonetheless, just having something up on your screen to jot down important times and dates is always handy. It’s also great for list making

Cite for me

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I don’t know how I went almost 20 years without this in my life. It creates your bibliography for you! you just select whether you want Harvard or MLA etc and fill in all the fields and voila!

Lost on campus

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This app is a lifesaver in terms of finding rooms and lecture theatres and even coffee shops on campus. What I love about this app is that it shows pictures of the place you’re trying to find which just makes it so much easier

Those are all the hacks I have for now, let me know what works for you!

Book news, Cover to Cover

Cover to Cover | Anne of Green Gables

So I got hooked to the mini series which you should totally check out and started reading the books which are so filled with the joys of girlhood. I am thoroughly enjoying the writing!

The Original Cover

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Having green as the theme colour makes so much sense but the checkered pattern really captures the era it was set in. The illustration of Anne in her humble abode gives a nice homely film. Looking at this cover it’s the kind of book you wanna crack open on a Sunday morning

The special edition

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This is the one I own and I absolutely love it! It takes me back to my childhood when I’d read those old school short stories. I absolutely love how it’s a painting. However, I’ve never been a big fan of illustrating the main character as it doesn’t leave much to the imagination

The Puffin Classics

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Correct me if I’m wrong but Puffin have done a few classics in these types of covers where they’re hardcover collectiles and I love them! I love the font and the imagery and the colour scheme. It’s almost abstract in a sense

The Modern version

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So turns out Puffin reprinted these in 2008 with a modern twist. Most classics come in this format but the illustration is what makes it stand out. I’m kind of drawn towards the sketch and it gives the book a peculiar feel

Another modern version

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This is a bit different in that they’ve used a real model. It certainly does look very pretty with all the vibrant colours

which ones is your favourite?

Book news, Discussion

How Do You Read?

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So you know that voice inside your head that narrates the story as you read the text on the page?

I just realised that most authors that I have read up to this point in my life have been of either American or British descent and also almost all of the books I have read were published in western society.

This got me thinking

The voice the author had while writing say a set of dialogue is different to the voice I hear when I read the exact same dialogue.

For example, if I’m reading a novel where two American teenagers go to a burger joint I’m assuming the author gave them American accents and western mannerisms.

BUT

As reading is a subconscious endeavour, despite the characters being American I give them the Australian accent I grew up learning. This is simply because I haven’t been exposed to real world American accents as much

Doesn’t that strike you as the weirdest thing?

50 people in a room could be reading the exact same page but since they have different backgrounds, life experiences etc ultimately they’re never really reading the exact same page.

I guess this is a really good way of understanding diversity and how when we travel beyond surface level everybody has a completely different worldview from yours.