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4/08/2019

5 Authors On My Auto Buy List

4/08/2019
There are some authors whose work I will always buy. It'd be easy to call them my favourite authors, with one caveat - some of them aren't my current favourite, but they were once upon a time and I still really enjoy their stories. So, here's five authors that are on my auto-buy list (three of who bought out books in the last week, inspiring this post), whatever they publish.

C.G Drews
Even though Cait only has two books out (her debut, 'A Thousand Perfect Notes' and her latest, 'The Boy Who Steals Houses'), she makes my auto-buy list because I'm always so excited by the projects she's working on and her writing is incredible. I read TBWSH in one sitting the day after it came out, so now I have to wait who knows how long until her next book is announced and released...

Nora Sakavic
An author I got onto thanks to C.G. Drews bookstagram, the All For The Game trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time. I binge read it once, and then again, and again... Thanks to Twitter, I found out she released a new book a few days ago and had to get it immediately because I've been impatiently awaiting more of her work. I love her writing style so much and I highlight so much of her work as I read. I aspire to this level of talent.

Josh Malerman
If you haven't heard of him, you've been living under a rock. Thanks to Netflix's' 'Bird Box', his name is getting out there. I discovered him a few years ago thanks to my local bookstores' managers recommendation and he's been an auto-buy author ever since. I'm slowly but surely working through his older published stuff, but everything I've read so far, I've loved. 'Bird Box' is definitely the stand out for me, though.

Becky Chambers
'A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet' is one of my favourite books. In fact, the entire series is incredible and her world-building is so detailed that it makes me open Scrivener, find my latest project and start making subfolders for every little thing. It's on another level and half of the things she brings into the story, I'd never even considered until reading her work. The Wayfarer world is amazing and anything Becky Chambers brings out, I'm 100% buying it immediately.

J.R Ward
She publishes anything between two to four books a year and I buy them all without hesitation. Me, my best friend and my mum have been reading her books for around a decade now, maybe more, so she's definitely a nostalgic favourite. Whereas my current favourites (C.G. Drew, Nora Sakavic, Maggie Stiefvater) have a very poetic writing style, J.R. Ward writes in a very 'cut the bullshit' way and it's perfect and hilarious and every time I read her latest release I remember why I love her work.

There you have it, the five authors on my auto-buy list. Let me know your auto-buy authors in the comments and if you're a fan of any of mine!

ASTRID

4/01/2019

Dyed Hair With Dare (Chilli Pop)

4/01/2019

My favourite thing about sticking around in one place for a while is, without a doubt, being able to dye my hair whenever I want. The blue that I did at the beginning of the year had faded into a lovely colour that had insane staying power, but when I used the same brand to dye over it a violet colour it faded really quickly and I decided it was time for a bigger change. In our local Hairhouse Warehouse, I was going to go with Manic Panic but I spotted a new to me brand, Dare, and decided to give it a shot instead.

Mostly because it worked out cheaper per ml, but whatever.

I didn't get any product shots, by the way. Or, rather, I did, but they were all too blurry because I've left glasses in the car for about three weeks. Oops. 



So after dying it with violet, it faded so much, but I feel like there was more blue in person than this dark blondish colour. 

I went for Chilli Pop, wanting something that would cover up the blue properly this time. While my intention was to work through the rainbow in an order that might've been easy to cover, I'm hoping that if this red fades it neutralises the blue, leaving me with a kinda blank canvas to work with. 


For the application of Dare, you start with clean, dry hair. I'll admit that I didn't wash my hair the same day as dying, but the day before, because I didn't want to have to use the hairdryer on it. I refrained from using my usual leave-in conditioner instead, so on Sunday morning we could dye my hair ASAP. 

Immediately, we were impressed with the product. The colour showed up so vibrant and covered all the remaining colour straight away. In particular, the ends have been refusing to take any colour (because of damage, I think) but this dye covered even that too. The only bad thing was that my hair felt very knotty once we started working the product through. I think it's because it's quite a dry product in comparison to other dyes I've used. 

As always, I opted to leave it in the maximum amount of time - 30 minutes. Then I washed it out in warm water (closer to cool than hot, as recommended), conditioned, and finished with ice cold water. 


In all the photos I've taken of my hair, it's shown up this lovely orange colour but in person it's a very true red (think Hayley Williams in Crush Crush Crush or Decode). For a temporary colour, the bottle says it will last between 10 to 30 washes which is a lot more than some others usually say (average is around 7, I believe). A week on, I can confirm the colour holds really well. At least until I went swimming in chlorinated water (but now it's a lovely orangey colour that I still have no complaints about). I wash my hair on average every other day, using dry shampoo in between and while I wash my hair in just above warm water, I always finish with cold to lock in the colour. 

I bought 2 bottles of this stuff at 150mls each based on how much we used of previous dye (just over 150mls, usually), but we didn't need to touch the 2nd bottle so I'll be saving that for touch ups when the colour really fades. After that, I really want to try more of the Dare shades because Chilli Pop has come out so well, so keep an eye on the blog and instagram to see what colour I go next. Give me a month or so.

Paramore fans, tell me you're favourite Hayley Williams hair in the comments. Mine is between Misery Business with that fringe and Still Into You's split pink and orange. And please let me know your favourite dye brands because although I want to stay loyal to Dare, I also want to try some other brands too!

ASTRID




3/25/2019

Recent Reads #3

3/25/2019
Last months reading update was a little insane compared to this months smaller update. In the last few weeks, we've paused our travels and found some work for the next three months, so I haven't been reading as much as I was in February. Hopefully, now that I've organized our room exactly how I want it, I'll be able to read a bit more in April. For now, though, here's what I read in March.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1) Noggin The Carrie Diaries (The Carrie Diaries, #1)
Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries, #2) My Life Next Door Mirror Mirror

Yeah, I'm real late to the party with this one. It's one I always meant to read and never got around to. Luckily, my guy remembered me mentioning the movie and pointed it out to me in an op shop. I really enjoyed it so much. Just... magical, other worlds where the children are all kinda like the lost boys? It was wonderful. The photos were seriously creepy though so once it got dark I had to put the book down for the night. Definitely keeping an eye out for the rest of the series now. 

I read this one in one sitting! It was really easy to read, the voice of the narrator and MC was so unique to this book and... it was just nice, okay? It explores a boy who has his head transplanted onto another body after five years of being cryogenically frozen and the emotional aftermath of all that. All in all, I think it handles it pretty well.

I actually really enjoyed the TV series of this and fondly recall working my way through my sisters Sex And The City box set, so of course I had to pick this up when  I saw it. I definitely prefer the show (sometimes you just need great outfits and drama, ya know?) and this was definitely different (I'm pretty sure the show combined two characters into one, for example, and changed the way she meets Samantha) but I wasn't expecting anything much. I just wanted an easy read. Box checked.

I actually read this one first and found the first one in an op shop literally a day later. Again, pretty much gonna say the same about this as the last one... It was a quick, easy read with nothing too shocking happening. Although, I definitely prefer this one in terms of seeing Carrie trying to do things to be a writer.

My boyfriend laughed at me for picking this one up and I had zero expectations for it but it was such a good book! So many big family feels, I loved Levi so much and a plot twist I didn't see coming at all. I could spend a lot more time with these characters and be happy, let me tell you.

As I write this up, I'm in the middle of this book and it's okay. I really enjoy the writing style, but it's not gripping me too much. Hopefully it'll pick up and get more tense soon. 

***

So, the theme was pretty much YA this month... Once we were almost to Queensland, suddenly the op shops were full of newer YA titles that I've been wanting to read. I had to leave a few behind, sadly, but once you both have 10 books each piled up behind the car seat, you've gotta say no to getting anymore. Still, my current book pile is looking pretty good and I can't wait to get into it.

What books have you been reading lately? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


ASTRID


3/11/2019

Butterfingers @ Miami Marketta (Gold Coast, QLD)

3/11/2019
 Aussie hip hop group, Butterfingers, celebrate the 15th anniversary of their 2004 debut, Breakfast At Fatboys by hitting the road and bringing their undeniably catchy beats and lyrical genius through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The location for tonights show: the Miami Marketta. It's a cool venue that draws one hell of a crowd and if you're seeing a gig here, I'd recommend arriving early to sample the food stalls (I can tell you first hand that the squid rings are amazing). And cash. Bring cash, because a lot of these stalls don't take card payments.

The stage is tucked away behind hanging cloth and paintings, just by the gin bar and cafeteria space. We arrive at 6pm and we're the first ones in (and the AC was so incredible that this is the only time I've wished for a jacket)... an announcement went out last night saying that the acts were going on earlier than expected, so the jury is still out on why it was so dead when it hit 6:30pm and Kobrakai jumped on stage. Did they not get the memo or were they only coming for the main event?

Kobrakai were unphased by the lack of patrons, however, and went straight into their set with plenty of enthusiasm. Unlike the rest of the line up, there's a distinct lack of hip hop influence in their set. But given Butterfingers' frontman Eddies' 'Evil Eddie' and 'Spit Fire Liar' side projects, it's easy to see why they took the stage tonight.

As they worked through their set, I couldn't decide how I felt about them. Maybe they just aren't my cup of tea, but the potential that I heard at the start of most songs quickly fell away by the chorus. I haven't listened to any of their recordings, though, and it's possible that between the small crowd and a new drummer, that it's only the live show lacking. For now.

Next up was Fresh Violet. By now more people have arrived and she storms the stage with plenty of energy. She opens with a song about breakfast. Nothing could've been a better introduction to her personality. For the next 45 minutes, she has a smile on her face, dances non stop and gives out boxes of cereal to the most active members of the crowd. Her offer to get someone else up to rap, though, is met with silence. She laughs it off, dances and fades out the track to move on to the next.

While I wasn't a big fan of the music, I loved Fresh Violets' lyrics. Though they all had a similar theme (namely, 'you can't keep me down cos I'm better than that') they were catchy, clever and even now, I've still got them stuck in my head.

By the time Butterfingers took the stage, the room was heaving. A quick call and response ("Butterfingers, butter-butterfingers!") gets everyone riled up and they waste no time jumping into the setlist (which, Eddie says, is the entire album, "unless you have any better ideas"). Looking around, the age ranges of the crowd vary. There's an old guy with a hearing aid in and there's us, in our early twenties, having only heard of Butterfingers six months ago. Breakfast at Fatboys has transcended time with it's ever amusing, ever relatable (and hilariously crude) lyricism.

Fresh Violet comes out to offer her voice of Hook Up and Piss On Ya, a song that rarely gets played since there's no regular female emcee in the band. To open the sorely missed crowd favourite, Eddie calls her on. "What are we doing?" she asks, after explaining why it took so long for her to come on stage (she'd taken her shoes off). "I'm pissin' on ya," Eddie says. The comment draws an expression of horror from Violet and laughter from the crowd, before he continues with, "actually, I was pissed on quite recently. I was camping, if that makes it any better."

He promises to tell us the full story later in favour of returning to the music, but we're still wondering.

It's hard to pin a fan favourite down. Every track was accompanied by the crowds vocals and non-stop movement from the fans. In particular, "Yo Mama" stands out as Eddie holds the mic out to the front row, handing over the job of vocalist to whoever's closest. Other personal favourites include "Everytime" and "I Love Work".

Before long, it was over and the band disappeared... but only behind the curtain, because someone had accidentally locked the stage door. Still, they make a show of disappearing and returning for an encore, where they play "Get Up Outta The Dirt", "FIGJAM", and Evil Eddie track, "Queensland". Miami Marketta have a strict 10pm cut-off and they play right until the very end, much to everyones' delight.

Between the musical talents of Butterfingers and the live show they put on, it's impossible to be disappointed by their performance. They represent some of the best of the Australian hip hop scene and if they're ever in your area, I urge you to see them live.

2/24/2019

Recent Reads #2

2/24/2019
My last reading update was just over a month ago and since I've been travelling since the beginning of February, I've been doing a lot more reading than I was while working in Dubbo. In fact, last week we spent three days camping out in Taylors Arm (opposite the famous Pub With No Beer which sadly has beer and is just named after a song), with no service and a pile of books to work out way through when we weren't playing pool (of which we played enough that I actually started getting good. I'm so proud of some of my shots and streaks). It was an excellent weekend and much needed relaxation after a morning of kayaking left us sore. Back to the real reason for this update, though... If you do follow me on Instagram, I regularly post what I'm reading to my stories, but for those who don't, here's what I've been reading lately.

***

Willa & the Extraordinary Internship 📖  | ✓ A Quick Bite (Argeneau #1) Prisoner of Night (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #16.5) Emergency Contact The Romeo Catchers (The Casquette Girls #2) The Cities of Dead (The Casquette Girls #3) Raven Cycle: #1 Raven Boys Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) The Descent The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Screw Loose Social Creature Prick with a Fork The Outsiders

Willa & The Extraordinary Internship by Lillie Vale (Wattpad)

This one was just a little short, fun read that I sped through in one sitting while I was off sick from work. I'm always wary of the 'MC wants to be a writer' kinda books, but this one worked pretty well and I partciularly enjoyed the ending.

A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands (Kindle)

This one was actually a reread, which I rarely do, but having failed to stay up to date on the latest from this series over the last few years, I've decided to reread the entire series before I get onto the newer releases. I'm trying to read in the chronological reading order rather than publication order, but it's going to be slow going as I don't want to purchase anymore Kindle books while I'm not working. (There's a few in this post, and they'll be one more in a future post that I'm going to read soon, but I got these all before I started travelling again and won't be getting any more for a while now). To actually review this book, I loved it so much. It's one of my favourites of the series and really made me remember why I love Lynsay Sands books.

Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward (Kindle)

Another vampy read so soon, but I'll confess! J.R. Ward is an auto-buy author (as Lynsay Sands used to be) and working on a vampy novel with my bestie got me hankering for my fave vampires. This definitely isn't my favourite from J.R. Ward, but given how many books have been written in this universe - especially the vampire side of it - now, it's a refreshing change of pace from the usual themes found in the main series. I just like my favourite characters to feature more heavily. I miss the Brothers.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi (Kindle)

I bought this one as soon as Cait of Paperfury posted about it on her IG stories and let me tell you, I did not regret it at all. Such a wonderfully written book! Much heartbreak and drama and pain. The only complaint I have about this book is that it finished.

The Romeo Catchers by Alys Arden (Kindle)

With the release of The Cities of the Dead all over IG, I finally realised I'd failed to stay up to date with this series (after reading the first and being determined to buy the next as soon as it was released, lol) so I was so happy to return to New Orleans with it's magic and vampires and witches. My favourite things, to be honest. Not as good as The Casquette Girls, in my opinion, but I still enjoyed it none the less. I particularly love how detailed the writing on the areas are. It gives me new levels to aspire to with my writing (I just need to find a place that I love and know that well).

The Cities of the Dead by Alys Arden (Kindle)

I actually enjoyed this one more than The Romeo Catchers, although my heart was definitely broken multiple times throughout. I just loved the more in depth mythology with different Gods and the astral plane aspects and the like. It made me wanna crack open books on Wicca once again and buy myself a new pack of tarot cards. And, really, what else could you ask for from a series like this?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Kindle)

Even though I loved The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and by extension, fell hopelessly in love with Maggie Stiefvaters' writing, I'm so late on TRBs train. And oh my God, I'm so sad for all the years I missed out on knowing these boys because they're my absolute favourites. It's so hard to determine which book in the series is my favourite, but I'm going to hesitantly say this one is.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (Kindle)

Or maybe this one? It's so hard to say, but Ronan getting more air time was wonderful. I'll confess, he wasn't my favourite of The Raven Boys until I got a little more background on him, but now I'm definitely hyped for Call Down The Hawk.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (Kindle)

Probably my least favourite of the series, but by all means I still enjoyed it. I'm not sure why I can easily point this one out as not my favourite. It's still wonderfully written and everything, but something was amiss here for me.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Kindle)

To be honest, I wasn't ready for this series to end. I'd be pretty happy to search for ley lines and magical places with The Raven Boys and Blue for 30 or more books. But I'm happy with the way it ended. I don't want to say anymore than that in case of spoilers but I was really worried about how it would be pulled off since... well, the first book. You'll get it if you've read it (or when you read it).

The Descent by Jeff Long (Secondhand)

I was so excited when I saw this because The Descent is one of my favourite horror films, but sadly I don't really think these too are completely connected. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of similarities, but it wasn't what I was expecting and the plot was... meandering with no real end, to say the least. There's more in the series but considering it took me a whole week to finish this book, I won't be reading the others. Luckily, the woman let me just exchange the books we'd donated for it so I didn't lose anything other than precious, precious time reading it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (Secondhand)

This is another book I've been meaning to read for ages and I think I read it in one sitting in the end. It's so simply written, but sad and funny at the same time. I would love a sequel to it, at some point, because I'd love to see how things are between Christopher and his parents a few years on from the events of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime.

Screw Loose by Chris Wheat (Secondhand)

Surprisingly hilarious and completely wacky. I bought this one of a whim because the cover was fun and had no idea what I was going into, but I really enjoyed it. Other than the fact that it was just funny, I loved the complete Aussie-ness of it. This is another one that I'd be interested in seeing where certain characters are in the future.

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton (Secondhand)

Not the edition I read pictured, which is a shame as the one I have is beautiful, but Goodreads wouldn't load the picture for me... I really, REALLY liked this. It was kinda like You but with friendship instead of a romantic relationship and kinda gave me Don't Trust The B in Apartment 23 vibes but darker (slash Gossip Girl slash Sex in the City slash anything about living it up in NYC). Honestly, it's so GOOD. I can't even begin to explain. It's written like it's just a conversation between you and the author and it works so well in keeping you from hating characters you would if it was written any other way. I can't stop gushing about it. Just read it ASAP, is my recomendation).

Prick With A Fork by Larissa Dubecki (Secondhand)

Technically, I'm still reading this but only because me and my partner are reading it together since he ran out of reading material with still a day of our 3-day no service holiday. But it's hilarious. Having worked longer than I care too in the hospitality industry, it's just like bitching with a collegue about all the shit that goes down. And since boyfriend is a chef, he also recognises the universal experience of hospitality shit. Seriously. If I had a restaurant, I'd leave it on every seat for all customers to read. Maybe then they'd think twice before being monsters. (That's all I've learnt from working as a waitress (or any public serving job, to be honest. People. Are. Monsters. And they will keep surprising you with how much worse it can get). Spoiler alert, we're going to be reading Kitchen Confidential and He Died with a Falafel in his Hand as soon as we can find them in a secondhand shop.

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton (Secondhand)

Once again, here's a book I've been meaning to read for years. I read it in almost one sitting. I had to take a second book to the pub with me for dinner and live music because I was so close to the end when we went over. Though it's quite hard for me to picture characters out of my own time period, it truely is a timeless classic that I think everyone can understand and enjoy throughout the decades and centuries. Also, I really wanna get 'stay gold, Ponyboy' tattooed somewhere on me now. Thanks for that, S.E. Hinton.

***

And that, my friends, is a wrap, finally. All in all, I've read some really great books over the last month and I'm really loving having so much time in the evenings to read. I haven't done this much reading since I was in school. Bless unemployment and generally bumming around living life easy like Luigi (kudos to anyone who knows where that line is from).

What books have you been reading lately? Tell me your favourites, so that if I see them in a secondhand shop I know they're worth picking up!

ASTRID




1/23/2019

#AQUAHAIR with L'oreal Paris Colorista Washout

1/23/2019


After growing my hair out for two and a half years, I was excited and apprehensive to dye my hair once again.

Apprehensive because I had to lighten it to get any colour to show up and didn’t want the same harsh, obvious re-growth that I’d just recently got rid of.

Excited because duh. I live for brightly coloured hair.

I didn’t want to do the bleaching myself, though, so I visited Studio 62 in Dubbo to get it professionally done for the first time in my life. They did it so that it would grow out a little more subtle, as you can see from the photos, and lifted it to a beautiful ashy blonde that I would love to have all over my head one day, when I could guarantee I’d get it professional done on a regular basis. The photos really don’t do the blonde colour justice.

Since I’d already bought the colour I was going to cover the blonde with (on the assumption the blonde would look terrible on me), I only waited a few days before dying it again, with the help of my boyfriend.

After washing and blow drying my hair, we lazily sectioned it into four at my insistence. If I’d had some clips at my disposal, I might have done smaller sections, but I couldn’t be bothered when I was using hairbands to keep it out of the way. Of course, I highly recommend doing so if you want an even coverage. There are parts of my hair where the blonde shows through and that looks more green than blue. I’m not particularly fussed by it, but might pick up some more dye to try and even it out a little more.

We used L’oreal Paris Colourista Washout in #AQUAHAIR. Each tube contains 80mls and we used three tubes. It was covered with two, but the third was to make sure my hair was thoroughly saturated.

One of my favourite things about dying my hair is that it always feels amazingly soft afterwards and this time it was no different. Until viewing the photos, I had no idea how damaged my hair looked after the bleaching. The dye didn’t call for any conditioner to be used afterwards since it contains it, so I wasn’t sure how it would feel in the end.

As you can tell from the photos, though, my hair was in much better condition afterwards. It was silky soft to the touch. Though my ends are probably still a little dry, my hair bounds back pretty fast from any damage done to it and I rarely blow dry and straighten my hair either, so until I dye it again that’s it for the damage I’ll purposely and knowingly inflict on it.

I left the dye on for 25 minutes because I wanted a vivid colour, but the shorter you leave it on the more pastel it’s supposed to appear. I’m pretty happy with the colour, although I think my dark roots make it not seem too bright, at least to me. I love seeing it in the sun, though. I’m hoping that the colour will last about a month between only washing it a few times a week and washing it in cold water. The only unknown factor is that I swim pretty regularly now, but it’s in a salt pool, not a chlorine one, so we’ll have to see how that affects the colour.

Assuming it lasts as well as I hope, I’ll be dying it again sometime in February. There are a few different colours I want to try from this brand so I’ll be able to give a few ago and eventually be able to comment on the brand and dye overall.

Let me know your favourite hair dye brands (mine is Schwarzkopf) in the comments. Heck, send me selfies of your brightly coloured manes. I wanna see!

ASTRID



1/15/2019

Recent Reads #1

1/15/2019
New year, new Goodreads goal, am I right? Fun fact: I've failed to reach my Goodreads challenge goal every single year. I go through phases where I read lots and then months where I barely pick up a book at all. Consistency is an issue for me, in all areas of life. So far, though, 2019 has been off to a good start.

I've set my sights low this year. 52 books. But here's the thing - I'm reading a lot on Wattpad lately. While some of those books are available to check off on Goodreads, not many are. So I'm using IG stories to track the real amount, and just adding everything I possibly can to Goodreads. (It's a lot of effort though, so let's see how long it lasts before I forget to update everything).

Either way, I've really been enjoying some of the stories I've discovered so far and I'll definitely be making this recent reads a regular (not necessarily monthly) thing.

Eve Z-Minus Marine World Story Fix: Transform Your Novel from Broken to Brilliant fair/unfair THE ART OF BURNING 


It's no secret that I love zombie related literature and TV shows (still got my fingers crossed for a Walking Dead/Z Nation cross over one day) so when I saw this I had to read it. Eve is a vegan zombie with coherent thoughts and can actually talk, at least to other zombies. I love it someone takes such a unique perspective on zombies to give it a new lease of life. Not only was the concept of this book brilliant, but the execution was too. It was really funny and unexpected and I finish it in one sitting. 100% recommend you checking it out.


Another one for the Z pile. This one I read on Wattpad too, but I believe you can buy it on Amazon, probably, and it's definitely available to add to your shelf on Goodreads! Z-Minus is the first book in the series, so I'll definitely be looking to read the rest of the series sometime this year. An alcoholic dad doesn't realise it's the zombie apocalypse till he comes home (quite probably still drunk) and has a close encounter. Thinking he only has, like, eight hours or something to live, he figures he's gonna make the most of those eight hours. It does not go the way he planned. Again, the writing is really funny and I just really enjoyed the story. Definitely give it a read if zombie fiction is your kinda thing.


Unfortunately this story is still being published, so I haven't technically read the whole thing yet but what I have, I've loved. A twist on mermaids with theme parks and dark secrets, how could I resist? I rarely add any stories to my library to keep reading if they're not finished, but this one I have to know how it ends. I'm so excited to see where the rest of the story goes!


For non ficiton, I pretty much exclusively read books on writing and editing. Especially as my bestie and I have started publishing our book on Wattpad, and we're doing lots of editing for that, plus my own work, I'm finding that I love to learn more about fixing stories. Nothing is more satisfying to me than to see a sheet marked up with a red pen, so new ways to find things wrong with the manuscript? Sign me up. I'm still reading this one, taking it slow,  but it encourages you to constantly grade your manuscript and work on an element at a time. I have to say, if you're looking for ways to improve your writing, I'd definitely give this a shot. Larry keeps it real.


Another ongoing story, but again, one I felt worthy of adding to my library to keep track off. Featuring off the rails boys, public and boarding school libraries, pranks, the need for secretive relationships, etc... I couldn't not read it. Kinda reminds me of The Foxhole Court but without any exy and the Japanese mafia. It disappoints me to learn not EVERY book can have exy and the Japanese mafia featured in them. So, basically, this mini review is a two for one. Read Fair/Unfair and read The Foxhole Court. Both will ruin your life, probably.


This is actually a sequel to the incredble 'The Domino Effect' so I have to recommend you read that first. As soon as the author told me to expect a sequel (and sent me the last chapter for beta-ing, eep!) I was so excited to read this and I've finally, finally got around to it. The Domino Effect is definitely my favourite but I still enjoyed this one. I felt like the focus was slightly on some different characters which is maybe what made me enjoy it less. I just get really attatched to fictional people! None the less, worth the read, especially for dysotopian, time travel fans.

And that's it so far! I've told myself I'm not allowed to buy another book till I've finished Story Fix, despite one of my favourite authors releasing a new title on the 7th this month, but I may have to let it slide since I'm using Story Fix a lot while editing and don't want to rush through it. Let me know any books you've been loving lately, because my reading list is never long enough, and let's be friends on Goodreads.

ASTRID

1/09/2019

Mungo National Park (New South Wales, Australia

1/09/2019


You’d be forgiven for thinking the arid landscape of Mungo National Park was worth passing over - given Australias’ size, I believe any trip around the country requires some sacrifices - but, as national parks go, this one is an easy favourite

At least some of your route into Mungo National Park will be over dirt roads, but it’s an easy grade that all 4WD should be capable of doing. Like most roads in Australia, keep an eye out for animals crossing the road. These roads were great for spotting kangaroos, emus and even a blue tongue lizard. Provided you have an excellent playlist (or pro DJ in the passenger seat), the bumpy ride in will be heaps of fun as you spot all the wildlife.




With two campsites available, including toilet facilities (there were rumours of a shower in our atlas, but we couldn’t find them)and fire pits, you can call this place home for a night or two and fully enjoy all Mungo National Park has to offer. We stayed at the main campsite, which - depending on which direction you come in from - is just outside the visitors' centre. We ended up staying our first night without realising we had to pay, but we quickly corrected that the next day.

At the visitors' centre, when you pay for camping ($8.50pp), you can also pay for a self-drive tour around Mungo National Park at $8 a vehicle. Be sure to grab a leaflet while you’re at the pay station. Along the route, you’ll find sign posted numbers that relate to the numbered bits of information in the leaflet, teaching you about the area as you go along. There’s plenty of stops along the route too, including some short walks to admire the flora (during a drought, this may not seem the most impressive) and perfect picnic areas.




Ultimately, Mungo National Park is perfect to add to a relaxed itinerary, especially if you’re an animal lover. The kangaroos here are very confident around people. While we were sitting by our tent, they came along and spent some time grazing on the plant life near us. One even came so close we thought he was going to run off with our camera. The highlight, though, was on the self-drive tour. There are restrooms near the dunes and as soon as we went close to them, the kangaroos started giving us pretty obvious hints to turn the outside tap on. We got some excellent pictures of them as they drunk, with us right beside them.

Provided you arrive early, a day stop at this park is plenty but if you don’t want to be on a time crunch, I’d recommend staying over at least one night. It’s a tranquil spot and if you don’t need to, there’s not much point rushing around.

Have you travelled around Australia? Tell me your favourite places in the comments!

ASTRID



1/02/2019

The Best Is Yet To Come

1/02/2019

2018 was a quiet year.

My partner and I left Melbourne to do the required farm work for our 2nd year visa; stayed in Mildura doing that for almost 6 months; travelled the New South Wales outback for 1 month; then found ourselves new jobs in Dubbo. 

This year, we’re hoping not to get sucked into working so much. Not because we’re lazy, but because we might not ever get to visit Australia again once we leave (or, at least, not for a long time) and we want to see as much of it as possible. With that in mind, we’re looking at leaving our jobs sometime in the next couple of months and hitting the road for 4 or 5 months.

Me being me also wants to work on a million projects that mostly require a regular, reliable internet connection.

For starters, there’s this blog.

I let it die at the end of January last year, unintentionally at first and then completely intentionally when I no longer had a constant internet connection. Blogging is so much easier when you live in a house, in a well-populated area – especially in Australia.

However, despite the fact that I’m probably not going to be able to post with the consistency that I’d like to, I really want to try to not completely abandon this little space.

There’s also the book that my best friend and I are publishing on Wattpad together; the music that I want to spend more time working on and sharing; the book series I’m planning and writing (this time alone, not with my bestie); and the photography I want to dive back into properly.

I could try to focus on one thing at a time, but I can never choose the thing that’s most important to me and I feel like I’m wasting too much time by not working on everything at once.

Either way, we’ll see where I end up at the end of 2019. You’ll probably be able to call me out on not doing many of the things I wanted to.

In the mean time, be sure to follow me across the social media sites you use.

ASTRID



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