TGIF // Choose Your Next Read

TGIF is a weekly feature organised by Ginger at Greads. This week's topic is "Choose Your Next Read: How do you go about choosing what you read next? Do you have a schedule you follow, or do you read whatever makes you happy at the moment?"
Does anyone else ever feel like the girl in the picture above? Books are hugely entertaining and are the perfect comfort on the less exciting days but it doesn't take much to become overwhelmed with a huge reading pile and the guilt that follows. 

In the past, I've tried picking roughly ten books at the start of each month and working my way through them but I always seem to come back to the same conclusion, pre-planned choices always end up in boredom/slumps and so I've completely written them off and now plan my reading choices based on a whim.

For now that means ignoring my tendency for list-making and basically picking my next book when the time comes, this will sometimes include a quick peek at the goodreads ratings but mostly based on what looks like it'll be a super entertaining read and it seems to be working wonders as I'm finally getting around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower!

It now seems completely clear that I'll never be able to predict which books will be a winner or fail but I  have learnt that things like reading a sappy romance after an awesome dystopian is never a good idea as you're destined to be bored.

Q: How do you decide which book to read next?

Top Five Films on my Watchlist

On My Watchlist is all about sharing your favourite upcoming films in a quick
blog post. If you'd like to participate, simply share your link below :)
On My Watchlist
1. This Is 40 
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann
Genre: Comedy
Released: Feb 2013

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton
Genre: Drama
Released: Nov 2012

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher
Genre: Comedy
Released: Sep 2012

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson
Genre: Drama
Released: Sep 2012

Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams
Genre: Fantasy
Released: March 2013

Why I Want To See These Films...
  1. This Is 40 - A whole heap of my favourite people all in one movie, this looks like another awesome comedy from Judd Apatow. I can't wait til it's released early next year!
  2. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - I only just got onboard with this film when Jennifer Garner popped up on The Ellen Degeneres Show a few days ago, it looks like it could be a winner although I have seen a rather similar film by the name of Foster. Toni Collette was in the starring role and it just didn't turn out that great so here's hoping for the best, Timothy Green!
  3. Bachelorette - I heart Rebel Wilson! It's amazing to see one of my favourite Aussie comedians making it in Hollywood. First, Bridesmaid and now Bachelorette. I hope I don't see a trend forming here but let's hope for the best.
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - After years of wanting to read Perks, I've finally made the plunge only to find myself struggling to complete it. Luckily, the movie looks like it might win me over a little more and hopefully help me finish this highly acclaimed book.
  5. Oz: The Great and Powerful - I'm not usually a fan of James Franco but I think my love for Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz are totally winning out. Oz looks like it'll be an amazing movie but does anyone else feel like Johnny Depp was made for the role?

Q: What movies are sitting at the top of your must-see list?
Q: Are you hoping to see any of the above mentioned films?

What's on my to-do list?

Earlier this year, a few book bloggers participated in Bloggiesta and I'm only just now getting around
 to working on my stuff. Well, truthfully I work through my to-do list every single day but here's a 
little peek into my overall list of stuff to get done...

Task Management Software: Wunderlist
Number of Items on List: Approx. 58

  1. Fave Blogs Sidebar // I've been meaning to incorporate a list of my favourite bloggers on my sidebar for a little while now but it's just the point of sitting down and picking out a few blogs I want to feature.
  2. Research P&O Cruises // We went on a cruise to Noumea in March 2011 and now we have to decide whether we want to go again in October 2012 or 2013 as two different sets of family members are planning to go and have asked us to go along, it's just a matter of choosing the best fit!
  3. Contact Quickflix // I haven't had any DVDs sent out to me since the 25th of July and I'm starting to wonder whats going on... Actually, I might go call them now!
  4. Complete the ABC Reading Challenge // I have about six books to read before I finish this challenge, it's just about the easiest one around and yet I can't manage to wrap it up. See my progress here.
  5. Watch Twilight // I've had Breaking Dawn - Part 1 on my coffee table for months now and I just can't seem to get around to watching it!
  6. Edit Old Book Reviews & Post Them on Goodreads, Amazon, etc // Really, when I look back at my early book reviews, I'm super embarrassed at the quality but the good thing is I've improved since then so my goal here is to fix those old reviews and share them around a bit!
  7. Buy a New Pair of Converse // My favourite pair of Converse are just about falling apart and Kristen Stewart / Aria from Pretty Little Liars are inspiring me to buy a pair of plain black lo-cut Chuck Taylors.
  8. List a Few Things on eBay // I have a box of stuff sitting in the corner of my room that all need to be sold on eBay or eventually donated, hopefully I can get through them all ASAP!
  9. Print Some Photos // It's so cheap right now to get photos printed at Big W or Kmart, I just need to get together a collection of photos that are worthy of printing. I've been saving them up on my computer for years and just haven't had the time to go through them yet.
  10. Clean Out Those Lists // I have piles and piles of lists building up on various websites, they are as follows: My Safari Reading List, Twitter Favourites, Email Inbox, Goodreads Wish List, Spotify Playlist & Youtube Watch List. Wish Me Luck!
Q: What's on your to-do list? 
Q: How do you keep motivated and get everything completed on time?

Max Bemis Song Shop & Me

Is anyone else a fan of Say Anything? I've been with this band for a couple years now, I think I caught on the bandwagon a little while after ...Is a Real Boy was released and it's safe to say, there hasn't been a band that has affected me more.

I just got back from seeing them live for a second time (13th July @ Billboards, Melbourne) which totally reignited my love and then the Song Shop magically appears open. In the past, I've thought about buying my very own personalised song for a fee of $75 but there are just a couple of tingly issues that are setting me back.

Mainly, the fact that I need to give a description of myself or what I'd like the song to be about. Who could put into words what they'd like to hear in a song that's going to be played on repeat for years on. Then there is the issue with the bonus phone call from Max, who could seriously talk to their favourite artist on the phone without becoming totally embarrassed and wasting the experience altogether.

There are only 313 places left and the following quote is making me really wanna do this:
"I found Song Shop unintentionally on the SA website. I signed up to be emailed when songs were available to be purchased and a few weeks later, I got a message that the shop was open. My fingers were shaking; I couldn't click that mouse or type my information in fast enough. By the time my song was purchased and I was directed to send an email explaining what I wanted my song to be about, I was on some weird adrenaline high and decided to just wing it. So, I wrote a super inarticulate email blabbering about my overabundance of insecurities and total lack of direction. I sent the email on its way with no concept of what the process of Song Shop would mean to me... My only concern was if Max would be able to extract anything of value from my rambling email that really wasn't about anything except how much my life sucked.

…Finally, I got the email with my song. It was the most surreal thing I've experienced to date. I listened to the song. I listened to the song again. I teared up a little. Then I listened to it ten more times. I kept trying to comprehend that this time the song really WAS just for me, from Max. Also, because I'm the luckiest girl in the world, there was the added bonus of talking to Max on the phone as part of that cycle of Song Shop.... Max Bemis is the totally gracious, funny, unassuming guy that I always imagined him to be.

And of course, because Max has this miraculous ability to understand so deeply and to communicate ideas, my song was beyond perfect. I've shared my song with a few close friends and they've all had the same reaction: it's amazing that someone who doesn't know me was able to write a song that is so clearly for me. Every time I listen to my song, I remind myself again that it's mine alone and that it's from Max Bemis, someone I respect and adore so much. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to know Max a little more and know myself a lot more through Song Shop. It was the best purchase I've ever made (and probably ever will make)."

And here's a song sample from a girl named Nadine:

Q: Which artist would you like to see write a personalized song for you? And what should I have my song written about?

Last Day of Freedom Giveaway

Co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
& The Elliott Review
a Rafflecopter giveaway
A few of the books you could win...
Every DayBurn for BurnBeta (Beta, #1)The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)Eve and AdamShades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

ABC Reading Challenge

I am absolutely terrible at challenges, I can barely recall ever actually completing a reading challenge so I decided to completely avoid them this year. That was, until I discovered the ABC Reading Challenge... not only did the pretty graphics pull me in but the idea that I'll be able to complete the challenge with books I already have on my reading pile. If you're also wanting to participate, check out Gripped Into Books!
28th Dec 2011 - 1st Jan 2013
A = Amazing Grace by Megan Shull
B = Bossypants by Tina Fey
D = Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham
E = Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson
F = The Future of Us by Jay Asher
G = Good Oil by Laura Buzo
H = Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
I = The Ivy by Lauren Kunze
J = Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
K = The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
L = Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson
N = Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2) by Sara Shepard
O = Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
P = Preloved by Shirley Marr
Q = Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff
R = Revived by Cat Patrick
S = Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
T = Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
U = The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
V = Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
W = Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Y = Young, Loaded & Fabulous by Kate Kingsley
Z = Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis

Wish Me Luck!

Book Review: Preloved by Shirley Marr

Title: Preloved
Author: Shirley Marr
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Source: Aussie Swap (Nomes)
Released: April 2012
Save the Book: Goodreads, AbeBooks
Review: If you were ever a fan of Ghost Whisperer or Gilmore Girls, you're going to be very fond of Preloved. It's a mash-up of 80's pop culture and Chinese superstition all rolled into one!

Poor Amy is a little bored with her high school routine. She simply cannot see how amazing her life is right now. Her days are filled with helping out at her mothers antique store while also suffering through the old wives tales she offers up as advice to almost any willing ear. Then there are the longing stares from Michael, the utmost perfect boyfriend waiting in the wings for Amy yet she still feels utterly lonely and totally oblivious.

That is, until Amy finds a locket on her way to school one day and as a result is stalked by a ghost named Logan. Logan becomes her love interest from afar and keeps her company when the days are a bore. Yet Logan has his own agenda for tagging along, he adores Amy's BFF, Rebecca as she is almost identical in looks to his 80's high school sweetheart.

It's obvious Shirley Marr adores the 80s era and at some point in her life has held or hopes to host an 80s themed dress-up party. Personally, I never experienced this time period but can totally relate to reminiscing about the years of your youth.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the major turning point in the novel, I felt I had been waiting and wishing for a great outcome for the most-part of the novel and for it all to come down to pure imagination and mental illness was not as fulfilling as I'd hoped. I would've liked to see the mystery evolve possibly with the assistance of Michael as he was an excellent character I feel we didn't see enough of.

In one word, I would describe Preloved as simply adorkable. I loved Amy's pop culture references and the many mentions of old wives tales, some I had never heard of before but loved trying to figure out the meaning behind them all. Overall, it was a light and enjoyable Aussie YA novel for those of us who have always questioned the possibility of reincarnation.

Music I Grew Up On // #90s

The first CD I ever remember buying belongs to Wheatus. Does anyone recall their huge hit Teenage Dirtbag? I was mid-way through primary school and had only just started to show an interest in music. I'm proud to say I've been a rock fan since way back... yeah!

It actually caused some controversy and embarrassment when my family realised their sweet little girl wasn't into bubblegum popstars but a quite aggresive pop-rock band. I think I still have this CD lying around somewhere...
Hanson //  Aw, sweet little Hanson! The first music artist I ever remember really being a fan of. I still have a warm place in my heart for these boys and their MmmBop tunes. They were definitely a One Direction for my generation with irresistible hooks and even more irresistible hairstyles. At the time, pretty much everyone my age seemed to either be a Spice Girls or Hanson fan and I was always the latter but somehow a Spice Girls tribute band were the first act I ever saw live on stage. With all boy-bands, it's a must to have a favourite member and Taylor was the obvious fan favourite but I went slightly left of center with an instant attraction to the youngest of the three, Zac who is actually married with kids now which totally messes with my head... 
Backstreet Boys // Again, I had a favourite member in Nick but this time he was the most loved of the "band". I remember being jealous of the grade six class at my school for getting to perform their hit Backstreet's Back at the end of year school concert. Again, at the time, their was a competing act in Nsync which I never seemed to take too seriously but who could forget Justin Timberlake with curly hair!!!
Avril Lavigne // I guess now that I look at it, Avril was the first step into the pop-punk/emo genre that I loved in my teenage years. I was just starting high school at the time and realising that my classmates were all into Rap and R&B when that was totally not my thing at all. I was just starting to take my interest in music seriously and being more confident with my choices. I actually managed to see Avril live at an instore performance through a local shopping centre. Sadly, she wasn't too peachy after meeting and greeting 400+ fans and that was when the sheen started to wear off for me.
Good Charlotte // Can you see the progression yet? I was learning, right :) While, I can now see Good Charlotte were the stereotypical mainstream punk rock choice, I have a lot to thank them for. At the time, they were often compared to Simple Plan which lead me to a whole world of discovery in music and beyond.

Simple Plan // Oh, SP ♥. I loved this band for such a long time and with the most passion which was helped along by a very strong Aussie following and many fan forums. I actually met some pretty cool people at the time and still call them friends today. This band even managed to tempt me along to my first real concert experience to which I owe many years of attending concerts and local shows. I owe quite a lot to this band for being fun and accessible and never taking themselves too seriously. Without this band, I would never have been lead on to the entire network of emo bands who pretty much shaped my teenage years. Je t'aime Simple Plan :)
From here onwards, I discovered brands like Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, Elliott Smith, Say Anything, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, The Ataris, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Tegan & Sara, Blink-182, Jack's Mannequin, Green Day, Saosin, Saves the Day, Motion City Soundtrack and so many more...

I really have no idea how I would've survived my teenager years without this collection of music. Those years were almost like being in a music appreciation class night and day. I've now come out the other end of those years with a strong music knowledge and what I'd like to think is a good taste in music yet I'm not afraid to admit I often find myself reminiscing my days of being a boy-band fan whenever What Makes You Beautiful pops up on the radio.

Q: Did you like any of these groups when you were growing up? What music did you first discover as a teenager?

Best Aussie Flicks & The Sapphires

Last night, I saw The Sapphires, an Aussie film about four Aboriginal girls who are discovered by a talent scout and taken on tour through the war in Vietnam. I'm usually pretty critical of Australian films but The Sapphires is just so entertaining and actually leaves you feeling rather uplifted and wanting more. It's pretty obvious Jess Mauboy is on her way to becoming an instant star as she shines in this 2012 film.

I hear The Sapphires already has worldwide distribution in the works so if hits a cinema near you, be sure to check it out! It also got me thinking about my favourite Aussie films...

Best Australian Films

Muriel's Wedding (1994) - A classic Aussie film, I don't think anyone can quote "You're terrible, Muriel!" without a grin on their face!

Looking for Alibrandi (2000) - | I still haven't read this book in it's entirety but I remember being extremely affected by the funeral scene in the film when I was at a young age.

Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010) - Another one for the bookish fans, I can't wait for the sequel in 2013!

Babe (1995) - Pretty much the cutest film ever, I can't believe I was only five years old when this came out.

The Castle (1997) - And, of course... the best Australian film of all time! It feels like watching a doco on the long lost cousins you never really see enough of.

Oh, and here's a trailer for The Sapphires...

Q: How many of these Aussie fan favourites have you seen? What are your favourite Australian films?

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