Monday, December 31, 2012

Hiatus

Well, this has been niggling at the back of my mind for a litle while now - to officially go on what may be a permanent hiatus.
Even though in my head I think I've been on hiatus since October, I wanted to say something to any of the lovely readers who still have my blog in their feeds.

First and foremost, thank you for reading and for making the last 2.5 years so much fun for me.
I have really loved writing this blog, reading some pretty amazing books, discovering new authors and making some great friends.

A lot has changed since I first started blogging here: I began working in the publishing industry (which has made reviewing and commentary harder and harder over time), I've started studying part-time (which I'm loving) and I'm finding slowly more and more of my blog friends are closing up shop.

In 2013, I've decided to officially give My Girl Friday a break (even though I haven't posted for a while, I still spend a lot of time feeling guilty for not writing and reviewing). I have a couple of other (non-publishing, non-YA related) projects I'd like to work on after thinking/talking about them for a while, I want to finally try to put them into action.

In the meantime, I'm often on twitter (my_girlfriday) or you can follow me on instagram (my_girlfriday)

xo

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Swords, Starks and Sagas: Why George R. R. Martin is rocking my world

I feel like I'm getting into a bit of a pattern: I'll post for a bit, then vanish for a while, then post again with apologies and promises to post again soon, before disappearing again. Aside from the usual issues of work and school, something else has been taking over my life this past month:


 


I have become somewhat addicted to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice saga. To the extent that in the last month, I have read nothing else.Basically I attempted to read A Game of Thrones at the end of last eyar, struggled through six pages and gave up. My manager at work recommended watching the first few episodes of the HBO series to 'get a taste' of the world, and I managed to get through the entire first season with my mum over a weekend. While the fantasy elements were not my favourite thing, I was really interested in the family drama aspect and decided to start reading the books. That was about four weeks ago. Since then (thanks for my 2 hour daily commute!) I've worked my through the series pretty quickly, and have just started A Feast for Crows (so no spoilers please!).

Wow.
Seriously, wow.

This series has really pushed me out of my 'reading comfort zone'. I've written about this before, but over the last few years I've really only been reading young adult and childrens fiction, autobiographies and a touch of crime fiction. I genuinely cannot remember the last piece of historical fiction I read, and I don't think I've ever read anything in the adult fantasy genre. I'm also not really one for series, and never, ever thought I'd be so emotionally invested in a saga like this.
I am loving the characters, the power struggles, and the incredible detail and history George R. R. Martin has shaped into this complex, intriguing world.

Mmm Jon Snow!

Anyway, as A Song of Fire and Ice is taking over most of my free time (as is studying), I have been really slack with blogging. I'm really excited about going to the Melbourne Writers Festival next week, and hopefully that will mean a bit of a return to usual programming here!

Have you read this series? Are other people as obsessed as me?
If you've read it, which point-of-views do you enjoy the most?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Polyvore Profile - Willow Cartwright (Dead, Actually)

I actually drafted this Polyvore Profile back in March (!!!) wasn't quite happy with a few details, then kind of forgot about it under a wave of uni work. Oh well, better late than never!

This was a really fun character to play with. Gold Coast D-lister (by choice), Willow is on the fringe of the local glitterati. She cares about social justice and working hard, but still appreciates a good pair of heels.


Willow Cartwright


♥ Watch the book trailer for Dead, Actually
♥ Add Dead, Actually to your Goodreads wishlist
My review of Dead, Actually

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Snack Size: Funny Women

If I'm not reading YA, chances are I'm probably reading a crime novel (my love of crime fiction has surely been mentioned on here a few times) or an autobiography. Lately I've been on a bit bio-kick and have picked out three of my favourite, recent books by lovely, funny women. Each review is an easily-digestible 100 words.

Bossypants - Tina Fey
Published by Little, Brown, April 2011

Tina Fey needs no introduction. Alumni of The Second City and Saturday Night Live (where she was the first female head writer!). Emmy winning comedy writer and actress. Mother. Sarah Palin impersonator. Bossypants captures all of these moments and many more, as we are given insight into Fey’s childhood in Pennyslvania, background in summer stock theatre and later career success as a comedy writer and performer. As a huge 30 Rock fan, the sections covering this part of Fey’s life were of the most personal interest to me, though on the whole, Bossypants is a smart, (sometimes surprising) and seriously funny book and a candid look at comedy writing.

 
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling
Published by Crown Archetype, November 2011

Mindy Kaling is freaking adorable. Prior to reading this, I had a pretty limited knowledge about her (that she was an actress and comedy writer who is a staff writer for the US version of The Office. I am now quite a Mindy fan! The book is a mix of memoir and comedy essays, as Mindy talks about being a ‘fat kid’ growing up and her love of fad diets, and writes about her progression from an ivy league graduate, a nanny in NYC to writing comedy full-time. Kaling’s writing is personable, funny and really enjoyable.

Bonus: Here’s a cute video of Mindy sharing what’s inside her closet



A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith in Stages - Kristin Chenoweth
Published by Touchstone, April 2009
Kristin Chenowith talks faith, theatre and singing through your ‘hoo-hoo’. This is a fun read, and clearly written as a (mostly) humorous look at Chenowith’s  journey from Oklahoma to NYC and insight into her fascinating life. The story includes vignettes from Chenowith’s childhood (where she does speak quite candily about her adoption), her pageant days, her relationships (notably Marc Kudisch and Aaron Sorkin), her career (Chenowith is a Tony & Emmy winning actress) and her failed sitcom.  Some readers may not enjoy the non-linear narrative of the book (I do wish it was more chronological) but overall, it’s a charming read.


If you've read a good autobiography/memoir lately, let me know in the comments!
I love recommendations.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Friday Brown

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme (which I occasionally participate in) hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine to "spotlight upcoming releases".

I adored Vikki Wakefield's gritty debut All I Ever Wanted last year, so of course, I was thrilled to find out her second novel is due out in August!


Friday Brown - Vikki Wakefield
Text Publishing
August 22, 2012

From Text: Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid. Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden.

When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Vikki will be appearing at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year - check out their website for more information.

What books are you looking forward to?

Monday, July 2, 2012

MWF 2012 Schools Program

I can't believe it's July already! Seriously, this year is flying by! On the plus side, there are a lot of amazing things to look forward to in the second half of 2012. One of these, is of course the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Though the main program is not announced until July 20, tickets for the schools' program is now available. Once again, the line-up is impressive and chocked full of local talent, and I'm so excited to be attending a number of the sessions - here are my picks so far (but I'm sure I'll add a few more to my schedule). The descriptions are from the mwf website.


Monday 27 August

10am: Love-Shy - Lili Wilkinson
High school journalist Penny Drummond has uncovered the story to make her career. But what happens when Penny gets too close to her love-shy subject? Lili Wilkinson has the inside story on writing realistic and funny fiction.

1.45pm: Read Any Good Books Lately? - Lili Wilkinson & Adele Walsh
Here's a chance for students to share the highlights of their recent reading with our panel of professionals. You are sure to leave with a new list of must-reads.


Tuesday 28 August

10am: Friday Brown - Vikki Wakefield
Vikki Wakefield shares the tough, realistic story of the 17-year-old Friday Brown. Friday is on the run - running to escape the memories of her mother, of the family curse, and a grandfather who'd like her to stay. She's lost, alone and afraid: what can her future hold?

11.15am: Hard Lines - Julia Lawrinson & Vikki Wakefield
The teenage characters in novels by Julia Lawrinson and Vikki Wakefield often face hard, sometimes life-changing, decisions. See how two authors find hope in a world that is all too real and where there are no easy answers.

12.30pm: Losing It - Julia Lawrinson
Losing It is the hilarious, thought-provoking story of Abby, Mala, Bree and Zoe, each trying to find Mr Right, or at least lose their virginity, preferably in a way that they won't regret. Author Julia Lawrinson explains.

 

Thursday 30 August

1.45pm: Getting Started and Write Across Australia - H.J Harper, Lili Wilkinson & Michael Pryor
Want to get started as a writer? Three success stories reveal their first steps to getting published, in this special free event, hosted by Express Media. Prizes for this year's Write Across Victoria competition will also be presented. New writing starts here!

Are you going to any sessions at MWF this year?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Greetings from the flipside

image source: we ♥ it


Why hello there!

I am back from my mini blogging-break, feeling (mostly) refreshed and excited about writing again.

I have to confess, I've been feeling really burnt out this year. I think working full-time, plus uni twice a week (plus homework and assessments) has taken a bigger toll on me than I'd expected. And then my laptop died (which was why I didn't return to blogging in June) and had to be revived, which I hope will get me through until the end of the year.

Anyway, I'm quite happy to be back in blog-land, and am looking forward to reviewing again and sharing some new bits and pieces over the coming months. Though I haven't been blogging, I sure have been reading (and by reading, I mean getting obsessed with Game of Thrones, which I will be the first to admit is a really unusual choice from my usual tastes but wow - amazing!) and I can't wait to share my thoughts on some recent reads.

So let's get things started - tell me about what you're reading at the moment?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A little break


image source: we ♥ it


Hi guys,

You have probably noticed that my blogging has significantly slowed down this year. I have to finally admit that I'm struggling a bit with balancing full-time work, part-time study, blogging and remembering to eat/sleep/brush teeth.

I currently have 36 draft posts in my draft folder. I keep coming here and staring at half-written posts and quietly freaking out a little. Instead of feeling guilty every time I log in to Blogger, I've decided to take the rest of May off from blogging. This way, I can finish up my school semester, catch up on sleep and hopefully spend some time finishing off some of those drafts and come back with worthwhile content.

I still check Twitter quite regularly, so feel free to tweet @my_girlfriday in the meantime

Steph xo 



Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post: Shirley Marr's 80's Favourite Things Funtanza

Hey Cool Dudes & Dudettes, welcome to Miss Friday's little corner of the web! Today is going to be a bit of an 80's flavoured easter Egg hunt. As you can see, I've even dressed for the occasion!


Today on My Girl Friday, Shirley wears an 80's pleated geometric dress ($25) from Vinnie's Retro Boutique in Northbridge. Thanks to cute Emo Manager Guy for choosing the dress for me.

When I wrote Preloved it was always envisioned as a love story (well, with a title like that!) but I also took the time to think about and explore the overall concept of "love". Central to the story is also the love story between a girl and her mother. And strands of it are based on my relationship with my own mum, so I felt a lot of love while writing the novel. It also represents to me a love letter to my heritage (as Amy is Chinese like me), to my childhood (as I was a baby of the 80s) and to the Aussie contemporary YA genre as a whole (as I am proud to help fly the flag).

So it was only natural that things I love ended up as symbols in the novel, whether consciously or sub-consciously. We'll go hunting for them right now in my garden.


Labyrinth (the movie): This was the very first movie I ever saw at the cinema! So I guess the ritual of getting Fantails at the candy bar and going on a real outing is a coming of age experience that no other subsequent movie-going experience has lived to since. And David Bowie as the Goblin King was my first crush ever. The Goblin King was also to become a babysitter through my primary school years. I was always one of those kids that were never allowed to go on camping trips. Possibly because my strict Asian parents thought I would die. That meant I was always stuck behind with the other odd kids and because the teachers felt sorry for us, schoolwork was very lax and we always ended up being allowed to watch one movie. Labyrinth was always that movie. And we would be allowed to make popcorn as well and put them into little paper bags and pretend we were at the movies. Those are among my fondest memories. Labyrinth to this day is my favourite movie. I have it on DVD. And VHS!

Princess Diana's Dress: Her 1987 Cannes Festival dress is my favourite dress of all time. I'm not sure what it is that makes one love a particular dress. i could say I just love the cut, the fabric and the way it falls, but then I could also say the same of a billion other dresses so let's put it down to secret women's brain business. It also brings back memories of when I was shopping with my close friends for their Year 12 ball dresses. I wasn't going (I didn't go to my schoolies either. Because I was on both occasions, staying home to write my novel), but I was there as a judge of good taste. We went to one store and in the window was an almost exact replica of that dress! I tried it on. It was perfect. But I still didn't go to the ball. And in hindsight Diana's dress also represents to me a "what could have been" - a theme also prevalent in Preloved.


Rubik's Clock: I recently reclaimed my 80's toys. A Keeper, My Little Ponies and an Alf plush (ask your parents). Maybe there comes a time in a parent's life when you move out that they come to terms with you being gone and decide to relinquish whatever still remains in their their closets. And then present them to you. Or in my husband's case, give them to me! Which got me curious about what exactly these "little boys things were". It turns out they consisted of Transformers (one which fittingly enough, changed into a boom box - double 80s bang for your buck) and a Rubik's Clock. I had no idea what this was. I Googled it.
Then I spent ages trying to figure out how to play with it. In the end I just gave up and put it into Preloved as a symbol of one enigmatic boy's secret business.

The Baby-Sitters Club: my favourite 80's book series! I think I read them until it kinda jumped the shark when the recaps at the beginning got so long they eclipsed the actual stories. Did they grow up and have a college spinoff or am I thinking of that other 80s cheesy stalwart - Sweet Valley High? I always wanted to be Claudia Kishi not only because she was the hottest (in my head) and most fashionable and artistic, she also ate a seemingly endless stream of junk food. Who wouldn't want all those things? In my head I always shipped Claudia and Logan Bruno 'cos Maryanne was so lame. That's where I got the name Logan from. And oh, Stacey! Stacey was also cool.


The Smiths: Every second Hipster name checks The Smiths these days don't they? It kinda makes me cringe. I discovered The Smiths when I was in High School and their 1985 album Meat is Murder became something I listened to frequently. Looking back, I guess I was like every single teenager trying to grapple with identity. I was pro-vegetarian and I flirted with the idea of being a Socialist and anti-authority. I think The Smiths helped fill an ideological hole in me. I don't regret who I was (actually, I am still some of these things) and what the music helped bring out in me. Even though I haven't listened to The Smiths for at least the past 10 years - if I had to name check a band from the 80s that is both nostalgic and musically solid for me, then The Smiths it is!

I hope you've had a fun insightful time in my garden. If you look closely there's actually more Easter Eggs hidden in the five (shhh). Thank you to the beautiful Miss Steph Friday for having me on her beautiful blog.

We're breaking for the weekend now, but come Monday hop over with me over to Wear The Old Coat, where I tell a really scary ghost story (trust me, it's really scary) and other Preloved Blog Touring goodness!

Thank so much for stopping by Shirley and sharing in some 80's nostaglia! If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out Shirley's guest post on Literary Life talking about being a child of the 80's. Thank you to Shirley and Walker Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Check back here soon for my review of Preloved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Preloved Blog Tour



Hello pretty people,

Did you know that the lovely Shirley Marr will be touring the blogosphere over the next two weeks?
She will be visiting some of my favourite blogs talking about her sophmore YA novel, Preloved (which I read and loved).

What is super exciting, is that Shirley will be visiting here on Friday for an 80s Funtanza!!! So please stop by and say hello!

You can also read my review of Shirley's debut novel, Fury, here.


Monday, April 9, 2012

March: My Month in Books

I swear every time I write these posts, it baffles me to think where the month has gone. Once again, March sped by and I'm still trying to catch my breath!

Total books read: 4
Queen of the Night – Leanne Hall
The Secret Lives of Dresses – Erin McKean
By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead – Julie Anne Peters
Preloved – Shirley Marr
What?! Pretty sure this is my all-time lowest monthly book count in the past couple of years. I feel sure I read at least another book, but didn't record it/cannot remember at all. Eeep!!

Queen of the Night - love, love, loved! I hope to review this soon because I adored revisiting Nia, Jethro and the beautifully weird world of Shyness.
The Secret Lives of Dresses - Borrowed from a friend, it was the kind of adult fiction I enjoy reading.
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead - I received this a month or so ago after a swap with Braiden. It was an emotionally intense read which addressed some pretty confronting issues. A difficult by worth-while read.
Preloved - thank you Walker Books for sending me a copy! Again, I really enjoyed this and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you all soon.

Books I attempted to read (but didn't finish): 0
At least as far as I can remember ...

What I'm looking forward to reading in April:
Love-shy - Lili Wilkinson (reading this at the moment)
I've also got Paige Harbinson's New Girl on my desk to start shortly.

Mostly, I'm hoping to get back into a routine of going to the library regularly and get out of the funk I feel like I'm falling into! So I know it's a week late, but I'd still like to know:


What did you read in March? What are you looking forward to in April?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mixed Bag: March 30th

Good morning friends. Here's a collection of bits and pieces online that have interested or amused me (I hope you enjoy them too!)
 
 
Side note: Again, I'm sorry for the lack of activity around here - I recently gone back to uni, whilst still working full-time and it's taken a while to get used to.
 
 
image source: we ♥ it
Between the Lines has unveiled their new name and look: Penguin Teen Australia! I think they have the strongest online presence in Australian YA and am really looking forward to seeing more great things from the Penguin team.

Marchetta Madness at Chachic's Booknook is all kinds of awesome. There's a  guest post from Melina herself, and plenty of other fab bloggers, including one of my faves, Nomes from inkcrush.

♥ I love Chronicle Press and think their business cards are amazing - they print cards with the book cover on one side (and their covers are seriously beautiful), with the author and title info on the back, so authors are able to promote their own work more easily.
 
 
 
 
Call My Agent! is one of my favourite agent blogs (and is a must read for aspiring authors in Australia). Be sure to check out her Greatest hits: the fiction submission rant

♥ Is anyone else on Pinterest? I'm finding it rather addictive!

♥ I've extended both of my Dead, Actually giveaways until April 10th. Up for grabs is a handbag and a copy of the book so hop to it!
 
 
Happy Friday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dead, Actually Giveaway #2

I'm so excited to share a second giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney. You  can read my review of the book here and I think a lot of you will love it as it's such a fun read!




This prize contains:
♥ A copy of Dead, Actually
♥ Super cute heart-shaped sunglasses

Now because footwear plays an important role in Dead, Actually to enter this giveaway, leave me a comment telling me about your favourite pair of shoes (feel free to include a picture) and please include your email address!

This giveaway is open internationally and you don't have to be a follower (though of course, that's always nice!).
Entries are open until April 10th and Kaz Delaney will be picking the winner!

Thanks to Kaz for donating this generous prize for My Girl Friday readers!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dead, Actually Giveaway

I feel like it's been forever since I've had a giveaway, so this one is way overdue!

To celebrate the release of Kaz Delaney's young adult debut Dead, Actually, I am thrilled to be giving my Australian readers the chance to win a gorgeous handbag.

If you have read Dead, Actually you will know that the bag below plays a big part in an important scene in the novel. For a chance to win this great prize, all you have to do is answer one teensy-weensy question:

Which character in Dead, Actually is accused of carrying a designer knock-off bag?

To win, please email me your answer before April 10th. This giveaway is only open to Australian residents (sorry!) but for international readers, please stay tuned as I have another global giveaway coming very soon.


Please note:
♥ This is an imitation handbag (fitting with the plot of  Dead, Actually)
♥ The winner will be announced on April 2nd

Thanks to Kaz for donating this generous prize for My Girl Friday readers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Preloved: Shirley Marr

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine to "spotlight upcoming releases".

I am a huge fan of the delightful Shirley Marr, and was lucky enough to hear her speak at the 2010 Melbourne Writers Festival (and get my copy of Fury signed). Now I can't wait to get my hands on Shirley's sophmore novel, Preloved.


Preloved - Shirley Marr
Walker Books - April 1st, 2012

From Walker Books: Amy is always the support act to the beautiful and glamorous Rebecca. When they find a locket during an 80s dress-up day, Rebecca does not want anything to do with it as she thinks it is ugly. Using wisdom borrowed from Tolkien, Amy is able to open the locket and when she does she releases the ghost inside. Logan, the handsome teenager - obviously meant to haunt Rebecca, but stuck with Amy.

Quick, add to to your Goodreads wishlist!
If you don't already, start reading Shirley's blog Life on Marrs.

What books are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Kaz Delaney

Today I'm thrilled to bits to share my recent interview with Kaz Delaney, author of Dead, Actually and bling-queen. Below, Kaz shares her experiences about writing and publishing a young adult novel.


Firstly, what was your inspiration for Dead, Actually?
I’d been writing sweeter YA, and I wanted to write something kind of heavier, but still fun.  We were holidaying on the Gold Coast when the idea hit. We visit there as much as we can, and always stay at the same place in Surfers, right on the Esplanade and that has fabulous views. Views not only of the ocean but of all the people who parade past along that beach strip. I am soooo  a people watcher; this is just nirvana to me.  Anyway, I was watching this group of girls one day. They were obviously used to a lux life and were dripping in ‘designer’.  It was huge fun because it was all kissy kissy and ‘you’re the best! / ‘No you are!’ you could just tell that behind all that surface love was this huge rivalry to be the best, most gorgeous, most ah-dored... And so I start thinking, ‘What if...’.


What made you choose to set Dead, Actually on the Gold Coast?
I ah-dore the GC! It totally rocks!  I know, I know... It gets a bad rep sometimes but I often think that comes from people who have forgotten how to let loose and have fun! It’s vibrant and gorgeous and has fabulous energy. The weather’s great, the light is just magic, the restaurants are great and the people are great.  And actually, choosing that setting should have been a no-brainer given that the idea was born there, but initially, I was going to set it in San Francisco. I was just back from the States and my books were being pubbed over there at that time. So, I started writing it set in SF. Fast forward a year or so,  and we’re back on the GC for a conference and I found myself re-living those first moments of the story’s birth.  And I was seeing those girls: Gold Coast girls... Cue the first doubts. Added to that, throughout the following days, everywhere we went, I could ‘see ‘another scene.  So, I ditched months of work and set the story where it had always belonged: on the GC. And hoped someone would agree with me. Thankfully they did!

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing Dead, Actually? What was the most enjoyable part?
Oh wow... Biggest challenge? Initially, Willow I think. Willow is the moral centre of the story; everyone around her has been, or is, living on the edge. They’ve all got secrets they’d like to keep buried – as most of us do. But while The Angels will do anything to keep their own secrets deep –sixed,  they’d throw their  friends under the bus at the slightest provocation. Although, I have to clarify that they’re not so-much amoral as they are self-absorbed. Except for JoJo of course... That’s a whole other thing...  

But back to Willow – who is kind of the light to their dark. Note I didn’t say white to their black because it’s not that straightforward.  So, the challenge for me was keeping Willow real. I wanted/needed her to be different to the others – but then if she was a saint, who’d want to read about her? She needed to have her own issues and her own flaws.
The fun part? Without doubt, creating JoJo. JoJo has no moral filter. Creating JoJo was like letting my inner mean-girl off the chain for a while. Not that I would ever think, say or do those things... Ne-vah! 

Creating JoJo was outrageous fun.  She’s ruthless and has no sense of accountability. She says what she thinks; does what she wants.  It’s awful! Really?  You wouldn’t want her as a friend – especially if you have any juicy secrets! LOL.
Although... if we’re honest there are times in life when we’d secretly all like to be JoJo or like her, just for a moment. Hasn’t there been a time – even one – in your life when you’d  love to have that freedom to just let fly and not be hampered by what’s socially acceptable and what’s not?  But then again look what happens of you do let go? Obviously JoJo  didn’t believe in karma. Maybe she should have... 

Click below for the rest of my interview with Kaz!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: Dead, Actually - Kaz Delaney


The Facts
Author: Kaz Delaney
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: March 2012
Length: 259 pages

The Fiction
From Allen & Unwin: Willow's having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she's being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson.
Being dead hasn't made JoJo any nicer. She's still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened. But the mystery keeps multiplying. There's a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won't stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow. The only good thing? The gorgeous Seth Pentecost. He's got his own agenda but it looks like he's going to help Willow out. Could solving this death be what it takes to finally bring him into her life?


Watch the book trailer

As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky enough to get a sneaky-peek at Dead, Actually a while ago, so I was really excited to get the completed version (and was thrilled that it is snarkier and more fun than I remembered). 

So let's start with our heroine Willow Cartwright. Despite coming from family money and having ex-druggie-turned-religious-zealot parents, Willow has somehow managed to keep a fairly level head (thanks in large part to her grandparents). She's independent, thoughtful and into social justice (without coming across as preachy) and has a major crush on best-friend’s brother. I found Willow to be quite a relatable character with a quick, sharp sense of humour and distinctive voice.

I have to confess that I definitely have a soft spot for Willow’s best friend, Macey. She’s this dynamic combo of beauty, brains and balls – all wrapped in a gorgeously presented package. She’s the girl you normally would hate, but as she’s so fiercely loyal and sassy, you kind of love her (just quietly, I think she's a bit of a scene-stealer, in the best kind of way).

While I don’t normally read supernatural YA, I have to admit I’m kind of partial to the odd ghost story, and Dead, Actually worked for me as the paranormal aspect is really played for comedic purposes. I also liked the way that social media is utilised (Jojo’s Facebook page is the cause of much drama following her death). The Gold Coast setting is perfectly suited to the flavour of the story (for non-Aussies, it’s a popular tourist destination with lots of high-rises, nightlife and beach access). There are also some really laugh-out-loud moments, like a candid discussion about whether or not it's appropriate to hook-up at a funeral.

Surprisingly, Dead, Actually is Kaz’s first YA novel, but she comes from a background in romance-writing – which I think certainly shows in this book (there is plenty of swooning!). Kaz writes with a real flair for dramatics, but also does well with capturing catty teenspeak, spiky one-liners and wry observations.

Dead, Actually will definitely be a big hit with fans of the Gossip Girl, It Girl and Pretty Little Liars series. It's a really fun read (perfect for by the pool or a lazy afternoon) and Kaz has certainly hit upon the right balance of snark and supernatural.

You can also buy Dead, Actually for your kindle here and your Apple or Android device here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Second Blog Birthday


image source: we ♥ it

I can't believe it - last weekend was the second birthday of My Girl Friday and in between work, university and a lack of internet, I completely forgot!

So this is a belated birthday message to my friends and readers - I'm still a bit shaken to realise it's been two whole years since I first started writing here!! Thanks for reading what I have to say (when I do get around to posting), for making me smile and sharing your thoughts (and reading recommendations) me me. I love having a place in the blogosphere where I talk about my love of reading, share screencaps from my favourite films and freak you out with my musical theatre obsession.

I know two is pretty small in book-blogging years, but I'm rather chuffed that I've stuck with this for as long as I have. Here's hoping you will all stick around and we can keep on sharing the bookish love!

xo

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February: My Month in Books

Guys, a question – where did February go? Seriously. Between working and starting uni, I feel like it just completely flew by. I’m still getting a lot of reading done on my daily commute, so here’s a little run-down of what I’ve read this month and my reading plans for March.

Total books read: 6
Bittersweet – Sarah Ockler
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson
The Reluctant Hallelujah – Gabrielle Williams
Dead, Actually – Kaz Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Bittersweet left me with mixed feelings. There were elements I really liked (ice hockey and cupcakes) but just wasn’t really emotionally invested in the story and it’s characters (except for Bug). I kind of feel I’m one of the last people to read Stieg Larrson’s Millenium trilogy (though I’m saving the last book until next week). I’ve been really enjoying the books and feel like they are living up to the hype (so far).

The Reluctant Hallelujah was one of my most eagerly anticipated 2012 reads and wowsers it was worth it (I adored Gab Williams’ Beatle Meets Destiny). Hopefully I’ll review it soon. I had also been really looking forward to reading Dead, Actually (after getting a sneaky peek at it a while back). It’s a really fun read and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you all.

And then there was The Fault in Our Stars. A word of warning: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK WHILE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. You will cry and it will be embarrassing. Learn from my mistakes. You all know I’m a total JG fangirl, and yes, I loved TFioS. It’s a really beautiful book and I definitely recommend reading it (with tissues nearby.)

Books I attempted to read (but didn’t finish): 1
Everything’s Eventual – Stephen King. I got through about 75% of it and enjoyed some of the short stories more than others. This was borrowed from the library and I kind of just ran out of time!

What I’m looking forward to reading in March:
I’m currently re-reading This is Shyness before I dive into Queen of the Night (which is currently sitting on my bedside table and oh my goodness, it’s so hard not to just devour it). I’m also looking forward to finishing the Millenium trilogy with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

What did you read in February?


(I just really wanted to excuse to post this gif!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Polyvore Profile - Cyd Charisse

I made this set a while back, after I first read the three Gingerbread books back-to-back. Cyd Charisse (or CC) is such a fun character, so I had a great time putting this profile together.

Cyd Charisse


♥ Heather Taylor of Hello Giggles rates Gingerbread as one her 'Now  Read This' picks
♥ Rachel Cohn's Facebook page and twitter
♥ Lenore interviews Rachel Cohn about her upcoming dystopian novel, Beta.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snack Size #19 - Rachel Cohn

Another trio of mini reviews (at one hundred words each) - this time I read the Gingerbread series by Rachel Cohn (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist).

Gingerbread
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2002
Length: 176 pages

Cyd Charisse (yes that’s her real name!) is a reputed ‘bad girl’ with a heart of gold and a sweet tooth. When she’s not hanging with her surfer boyfriend Shrimp, she’s serving coffee (also her drug of choice) and raising hell for her tightly wound mother and step-father. After being kicked out of boarding school (for extracurriculars of the bedroom variety), Cyd heads to NYC to reconnect with her distant father and his other two children. Gingerbread is a fast-paced and funny read and Cyd is a strong female lead with an attitude and distinct vocab (which may take some getting used to!)

Shrimp
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2005
Length: 288 pages

Ok, confession time:  when it comes down to it Shrimp (the character) is where my love for Cyd Charisse falters. For an awesome, kick-arse, independent chick, she spends a lot of time dilly-dallying over Shrimp (who in his defence, does seem like a cool guy but not worth the amount of time and energy devoted by the books to him). Anyway, this book sees Cyd return to San Francisco, make some girlfriends (yay, finally!) and attempt to make some (half-hearted) decisions about her future but ultimately concentrates on Cyd and Shrimp’s relationship. Plenty of sass, sadly not so much substance.

Cupcake
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2007
Length: 256 pages
Cyd Charisse is back in New York with big plans. Culinary school (for her parents peace of mind), living in New York with her lovely baking half-brother and has said the big goodbye to Shrimp. But of course, as per Cyd’s history, things do not go according to plan. Again, there is plenty of crazy, chain-of-thought inner dialogue, delicious baked goods, eccentric characters and yes more Shrimp/Cyd drama. This is the final book in the Cyd Charisse series and even though I’ve come to love most of the characters, I feel like the story finishes at the right time and place.

Have you read this series? What did you think?
Did you want to eat a sweet treat afterwards?

Monday, February 20, 2012

30 Day Challenge February: Days 7 - 18

Excuse me while I blow the dust away from my blog! I promise I've still been keeping up with my 'photo a day' challenge, I've just been really struggling to find the time and motivation to blog. I think I need to take my own advice and try to get out of this funk!

In the meantime, here are some of my daily photos!


I've mentioned my love of trashy TV on here before and my current obsession is Extreme Couponing. We seriously have nothing like this in Australia and very few places even do coupons here. I'm torn between thinking these people cheat the system and in awe of the crazy savings.


Early morning at the train station. I'm now used to getting up super early and now appreciate having that extra bit of time in the day.


Ugh!!! I'm a very reluctant exerciser and every time I get on the treadmill is one part struggle, one part triumph.

Because there are so many photos, I've put photos 10 - 18 under the cut.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Love-shy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine to "spotlight upcoming releases". I am super excited for the release of Lili Wilkinson's new book!


Love-shy - Lili Wilkinson
Publisher - Allen & Unwin
Date of Publication - April 2012

From A&U: Penny is a schoolgirl investigative journalist in search of a story. And she finds one: a boy at her school who is painfully love-shy. Surely he's the perfect subject for a feature article. What could possibly go wrong?

I've been really looking forward to reading Love-shy since I first heard Lili talking about it at the Melbourne Writers Festival. I am a huge Lili-fan and I love that she writes smart, funny teen girls. And seriously, how cool is the cover (I love the terrarium).

Add it to your Goodreads and mark it on your April wishlists!

Monday, February 6, 2012

30 Day Challenge February: Days 3 - 6

I swear I have not been slacking on my first 30 day challenge - I just didn't want to clog up your readers and inboxes with my challenge posts.

Day 3: Shoes!


At not quite 5'1, I need all the help I can get. I saw these shoes on Friday and oh my goodness, I would very much like a pair come pay-day. Black is obviously more practical, but the aqua is so pretty!

Day 4


I spent my Saturday in this beautiful pool and my aunt and uncle's. Swimming followed by a barbeque dinner = suburban bliss!

Day 5


I've mentioned it on here before but I'll say it again - I love going out for breakfast. I'd put in my top five favourite things after reading and before stationary shopping. I often get poached eggs when I go out because I never make them for myself.

Day 6

The view from our back deck (how's the serenity?)


How was your weekend? What did you do?
Also, which colour shoes should I buy?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

30 Day Challenge February: Day 2

Both yesterday morning and this afternoon, there has been a mini army of green people encouraging people not to jay-walk and cross on the green light! Here they are in full force today!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

30 Day Challenge February: Day 1

Woohoo first day of my photo-a-day challenge! One of my favourite things about summer is finishing work when it's still light out! Look at that beautiful sky!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January: My Month in Books


image source: we ♥ it

So I thought I'd share what I've been reading this month. My reading-to-blogging ratio is pretty unbalanaced (I think I worked out I'll review 2 books for every 10 I read) and as you may have noticed, it's been a bit quiet around here. I promise I'm still reading! Here's a little wrap-up of what I read this month and what I'm planning for February.

Total books read: 10
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Legend – Marie Lu
Horns – Joe Hill
Black Painted Fingernails – Steven Herrick
Don’t Breathe a Word – Holly Cupola
The Future of Us – Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Abandon – Meg Cabot
Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
The Purity Myth – Jessica Valenti

I had a pretty varied (and slow for me) month of reading. I have to tell you though - when reading Divergent, I was so enthralled that I ended up getting on the wrong train and not realising until I was on the other side of town! I enjoyed Horns a lot (but preferred Heart Shaped Box, which gave me full-on chills) and found Wintergirls to be really scary in another way.

Books I attempted (but didn't finish): 2
Skinny Bitch - Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin (I actually wrote a seperate post about my feelings towards this book and then deleted it  - just writing it was therapeutic enough and I decided I didn't really want to rant about it here).
A Game of Thrones - George R.R King - I really want to read this. I'm not much of a fantasy reader but I think I'll give it another attempt when I'm less distracted.

Books I'm currently reading: 2
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green - I know, I'm a bit slack. I raced out and got a copy the day it was released here and expected to devour it in a few hours. Instead I've decided to savour the experience and I'm only reading two chapters a night. It's actually really nice and I've found myself reflecting more on what I'm reading than just trying to get to the end.

Everything's Eventual - Stephen King.


Trying something new for 30 days
So in my last Mixed Bag post, I shared this video and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I feel like I'm in a bit of a blogging rut lately (hence lack of action around here) and I've thinking about how a project like this could be beneficial in a number of ways (both in a blogging and personal sense). 30 days is a good amount of time to committ to breaking an old habit, or trying something different like Matt Cutts suggests in the video.

I'd like to try something new (for me) for the next 30 days. In February, I want to take a photo every day, and share them on here. Hopefully this will be a fun way to share a little glimpse of my day or my life with you all. If I can successfully stick to this, I'd like to try test-driving a new habit (or breaking an old one) and share my results on here.

What books did you read in January? What were your favourites?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aussie YA Week at BTL

Are you guys all reading between the lines? If not, you should be! This week they are celebrating all things Aussie YA (as for those of you who are not Australian, January 26 is Australia Day).

source: we ♥ it

Today they take us on a little trip down memory lane, with a reading flashback to Melina Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi. I first read this book in 2000 and it was then a set text for my year 9 English class and it couldn't have been more perfect for that time in my life. Every time I re-read Alibrandi (which is probably once a year), I think about that year (2002) - my school, my friends at the time, that English class and how that English teacher really made me love reading during a time when a lot of other things in my life were not going so well. Oops - sorry for the little waddle down memory lane.

Now seriously, go bask in the Aussie goodness!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Is anyone else as excited as I am about the Moonrise Kingdom trailer?



!!!

I can't wait to see this. Also, I would love Suzy's entire wardrobe - actually I would just like to live in a Wes Anderson film.

What 2012 releases are you most looking forward to?

I'm also really excited for The Hunger Games, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Magic Mike (seriously) and Warm Bodies.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Dance!!! TFioS

Even though I pre-ordered a copy of The Fault in Our Stars online about four months ago, I still raced out to get a copy locally (the book is published in paperback by Penguin in Australia) to keep me going until my hardback arrives!


It's really hard, but I'm saving it to read tonight, uninterupted. Feel free to share your thoughts about the book or all thing John Green in the comments (and I'll read them when I've finished, as I've managed to keep spoiler-free so far!).

Seriously though, I am so excited to read this!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Dead, Actually

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine to "spotlight upcoming releases".

One of the books I've been looking forward to for some time now is this fabulous new Australian title:

Dead, Actually - Kaz Delaney
Publisher - Allen & Unwin
Date of Publication - March 2012

From A&U: Willow's having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she's being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson. Being dead hasn't made JoJo any nicer. She's still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened. But the mysteries keep multiplying. There's a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won't stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow.

I have to admit that I've had a teensy sneaky peek at this one and it is well worth the wait!
Dead, Actually manages to combine elements of paranormal YA with a contemporary setting, a fast-paced mystery and fresh characters. If you're a fan of the Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl or Private series, make sure you add Dead, Actually to your calendars!

What upcoming releases are you eagerly anticipating?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mixed Bag #43

Good morning friends! Here is my first Mixed Bag post for 2012, featuring some of my favourite things online. I hope you enjoy them.


source: we ♥ it

♥ I am pretty much in love with this 2011 post from the lovely Steph Bowe: Luck versus Hard Work and Recognising Your Awesome.
♥ The Ryan Gosling Young Adult tumblr
♥ The lovely Danielle at Alpha Reader is hosting an amazing giveaway to kick off 2012,  featuring Australian Women Writers. If you're an Australian resident, go enter!
♥ Look guys, Shirley Marr has announced the title of her upcoming novel and given us a little teaser (cannot wait til April - add this to your calendars!!)
♥ I found this video on Stephanie Perkins' blog about trying something new for 30 days. I'm sure you've all heard of this before, but I think it's a great idea and I'd love to try it (and hopefully share the results on here!). If you're also a fan of this concept, check out Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days series.


Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Girl Friday gets a Makeover


image source: we ♥ it

I decided that My Girl Friday was way, way overdue for a new look (I have had the previous blue design since September 2010). I wanted a clean design, that felt fresh and feminine and so I purchased this lovely template from Yellow & Savvy on etsy, and would highly recommend Steph-Anne's service for Blogger and self-hosted Wordpress templates.

Hopefully this new design is showing correctly on your internet browser, but please let me know if you're having issues and I'll do my best to resolve these (I have noticed a few teeny things in Internet Explorer, which I hope to get ironed out asap).

I've also made a few admin changes around here, which I hope you'll find useful!
Review Archive - instead of having to try and find my reviews from my old Books Read lists, I know have all of my reviews in one handy-dandy location. I also have a seperate review list for Australian YA titles.
Review Policy - I have updated my review policy to reflect the future direction of the blog.
Blogroll - I've updated and tidied my blogroll on the right, under What She's Reading with a list of Australian YA bloggers.

I hope you like my new look, and I'm really looking forward to sharing lots of Aussie YA goodness with you this year!