Review: Tell It to the Moon by Siobhan Curham.

Title – Tell It to the Moon
Series – The Moonlight Dreamers #2
Author – Siobhan Curham
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 304 pages
Publication Date – August 3rd 2017 by Walker Books
ISBN – 9781406366150
My Rating – ★★★★/5

“What happens when a dream is impossible to achieve?”

Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose are members of the Moonlight Dreamers. They’re an unlikely group of friends who give each other the courage to be themselves and go after their dreams.

The Moonlight Dreamers discover life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. But sometimes the things that are unexpected can be even better.

I received a copy of Tell It to the Moon from Walker Books Australia to review. This is the sequel to The Moonlight Dreamers which I reviewed a couple of months ago. You can DHi274BUAAIOPUIclick the link if you want to check it out.

I love how diverse these books are and how accepting and understanding the Moonlight Dreamers are of each other. Maali’s family are very religious and in Tell It to the Moon, Maali has a crisis of faith (is that the right saying? I’m not really sure…) while her family is going through something difficult. Amber is having a hard time with her writing and figuring out who she is. Sky is juggling high school for the first time and a new relationship and Rose is dealing with new feelings and being open about who she is.

Like all friends, Sky, Rose, Maali and Amber don’t always agree and have arguments or fall out, whatever you want to call it, but at the end of the day these girls are there for each other, no matter what they’re going through. I do wish some of them (or one in particular) were just honest at the start with how they were feeling about something because there would have been less drama. I mean, I thought it was kind of obvious what was going on with Sky before it all came out so it was kind of annoying to me how long Sky dragged it out instead of just telling her friends the truth. I know people handle things differently, some people are open and others choose avoidance, but they were her friends.

Anyway, both The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell It to the Moon have great messages for young women/teens. I’m sure people will take different things from them. They’re diverse and have strong young women too and always comes back to the friendships between Rose, Maali, Sky and Amber. So I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who loves diverse books with great characters and friendship.

Now, I’ve been talking about a giveaway that I’m doing with Walker Books Australia. They will be sending out the books to the winner so if you’re okay with that and live in either New Zealand or Australia head over to my Instagram for the giveaway.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.


Siobhan Curham – Q&A


Where did the inspiration for Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon come from?
I feel really passionately about encouraging other people to dare to believe in themselves9781406365825 and their dreams – especially young people. I know all too well how hard it can be to pursue a dream and how easy it can be to give up. I gave up on my writing dream when I was twenty and dropped out of university. Coming from a poor background, I didn’t think I had what it took to make it in the middle class world of writing and publishing. I ended up in the worst job ever, working for the complaints department of a frozen food company – where all I got to write were grovelling letters of apology! Thankfully, I managed to overcome my self-doubt and fear and make it as a writer in the end. I wrote The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon to try and encourage the reader to chase their own dreams and not give up, like I did. It’s so lovely when I receive emails from readers telling me that it’s worked and reading about the Moonlight Dreamers and their adventures has given them the confidence to dare to dream.

Did you always dream of becoming a writer?
Pretty much – and it’s all down to my evil parents! When I was little my mum and dad had the crazy notion that TV was bad for a kid’s imagination so my siblings and I weren’t allowed to watch any TV – we didn’t even have a television in the house, and this was back in the day before the internet and mobile phones. So I had a choice – I could either learn to love to read, or die of boredom. So, I learned to love to read and out of that came a love for writing. I dreamed of one day having a shelf full of books that I had written. I’m grateful every day that that dream finally came true.

What were the first steps you took to pursue becoming a writer?
Well, first I went to university to study English Literature and Script-writing but sadly I dropped out after my second year. When I started pursuing my dream again a few years later, I decided to approach it like any other business and start small. So I started writing short stories and articles, which felt a lot less intimidating than writing an entire novel. Once I’d had a few of them published it gave me the confidence to go after the bigger dream of writing a book.

What was it like working with Zoe Sugg?
It was great. I love helping other people with their books – celebrities and non-celebrities.

How has working as a motivational speaker and life coach influenced your writing?
It’s influenced it greatly as pretty much every book I write has the same theme as the 9781406366150work I do as a speaker and coach ie; overcoming fear or adversity and creating a life based around the pursuit of your dreams. I feel very lucky to do this work as it’s so rewarding to help other people achieve their goals.

What do you think are the main challenges that teenage girls face?
Oh, where to begin? I think there are so many challenges facing teenage girls today, way more than when I was a teenager. I think a lot of this is down to the internet – there’s a pressure for teens to attain perfection, both in their lives and physically that’s far greater today. And I think this is combined with the current obsession with celebrity – and their perfectly edited lives. The saddest thing about it is that most of the time the ‘perfection’ teen girls are encouraged to achieve isn’t even possible. The images and celebrity lifestyles are all airbrushed, photo-shopped and highly edited, as are most people’s social media accounts. I think there’s way too much pressure at school too – a topic that I highlight in Tell it to the Moon and Sky’s poem Free to Be. Young adults just aren’t free to be their true selves and I think this is a tragedy.

How important are strong friendships in help over these issues?
I think strong friendships are very important as they can help to counteract the pressure. There’s nothing better than having a friend who loves and accepts you for who you are; someone you can be completely authentic with. This is what I try to celebrate in The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon – the empowering nature of female friendship and creating a sisterhood of your own.

Do you think social media is making things like bullying and body image issues worse?
Yes, most definitely, because there’s no escape from it. Bullying has always happened and people have always had body image issues but it’s magnified by social media and this can be so toxic. What is encouraging is that there seems to be a growing trend towards going on an internet detox – taking yourself offline for certain days of the week or hours of the day. I think this can really help, mental health wise. It’s so healthy to take a break from it all.

Did you have a friendship group like the Moonlight Dreamer when you were growing up?
I didn’t have such a close-knit group when I was growing up but I did have a very best friend, who I met when I was eight and we’re still best friends to this day. We’ve been through thick and thin together – growing up on a council estate, dating trials and tribulations, career hiccups, marriages, divorces and single-parenthood – and she’s like a sister to me. I’m lucky to have many very close female friends now. I call them my soul sisters, and they mean everything to me.

Tell us about your best friends.
My life-long best friend is called Tina. She’s the person I can tell anything to and she gives the best advice – even if I don’t always want to hear it! Another amazing friend of mine is called Sara – I also think of her as my writing guardian angel. She was my editor for my very first book deal and she’s been my main cheer-leader ever since. Writing can be a tough business with a lot of ups and downs and she’s always been there for me. My other best friend is my dad. He’s been my rock throughout my life, always encouraging me to chase my dreams and providing me with his own unique brand of gruff, Irish wisdom.

What is your favourite book?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. She writes so beautifully. It’s like one long poem in novel form and the characters are so colourful and likeable too. She made me want to live in the world of the book.

What authors have influenced your writing?
When I was starting out, and basically teaching myself to write, I was inspired by a writer called Lisa Jewell. I loved the way she made her characters so real – and the settings for her books. They were so rich it was almost as if the location was a character in its own right. This is definitely something I’ve tried to emulate, especially with the settings for The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon. I really wanted the reader to feel as if they were in London or Paris.

Which Moonlight Dreamer is most similar to you?
I think I’m probably a mash-up of Sky and Maali. I’m a writer and a bit of a hippy like Sky, and a hopeless romantic just like Maali! Writing some of her tongue-tied scenes with Ash was like therapy!

Are any of your characters based on real people?
Not really. It’s more like I take interesting elements of real people and mix them up with some fictional traits to create a unique character.

Will there be more books in The Moonlight Dreamers series?
I hope so. I’d love to do one more. But before that, I have another book coming out with Walker next year called Friends Like Us, which tells the story of music-loving teenage carer, Grace, and talented footballer and Syrian refugee, Hafiz. The refugee crisis is something I feel passionately about, ditto the number of young people who are having to care for members of their family. It felt great writing a book which throws a spotlight on these issues – and celebrates the power of friendship, this time between a teen boy and girl.

If you haven’t read The Moonlight Dreamers and like books about friendship, going after your dreams and diverse families then I recommend picking up a copy.

I’ll be reading the sequel, Tell It to the Moon in August and will be holding a giveaway after I’ve read it. So if you live in New Zealand or Australia and are interested in reading these books then keep an eye out for my review of Tell It to the Moon! 🙂

– Aimee.

WWW Wednesday [June 28th 2017] –


This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading – 19
Technically I haven’t started Beyond the Wall yet but I’ll be starting it later today. 

I don’t know much about the Roman Empire. Or anything really. Other than some things about the Roman gods. Beyond the wall is set in the Roman Empire and follows a slave, Cassia, as she flees from her master after injuring him in some way.

That’s pretty much all I know about it so far but I’m looking forward to reading it. It sounds good and I’m interested to read about a time I’ve never read before.

Recently Finished – DDH7x1cV0AAMoXt
I finished Flame in the Mist last night and I really enjoyed it. I have enjoyed Renee’s previous two books so I was hoping to like this one too. I’m really glad I did.

I saw this being promoted (not sure that’s the right word??) as a Mulan retelling. I haven’t seen Mulan but from what I do know of it I wouldn’t say Flame in the Mist is a retelling. I think the only things they have in common is the main characters dressing up as boys.

But that’s not the reason I wanted to read this book so I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll be reviewing Flame in the Mist soon so I don’t want to say too much here. I will say that I really enjoyed it and I cannot wait for the next book. That ending!!! 11

I also finished Defy the Stars this week. I’ve wanted to read a good sci-fi for a while now. This didn’t really live up to my expectations but it wasn’t bad. I did like the story and the characters, Noemi and Abel. It just took me awhile to get used to the ‘romance’ or whatever it was between them. Because Abel is a machine… But I’ll get into that more in my review. When I can get my thoughts together.

I did like this and I might check out the next book. I’m not sure yet. The ending of Defy the Stars didn’t leave me in a place where I was like “I need the next book now!” but I do kind of want to know what’ll happen to Genesis


Reading Next –
I recently received a copy of Midnight Jewel from Penguin Random House New Zealand to review. Which is the sequel to The Glittering Court. I haven’t actually read this yet so I’m planning on reading it next.

I can’t remember what this is about. Something about the main character running away for a marriage or something like that… I guess I’ll find out when I pick it up.

So my reading this week was kind of crap. And by crap I mean I didn’t read much. Not that the books were crap because they weren’t. How was yours?

– Aimee.


Q&A with Nevo Zisin – author of Finding Nevo.

Nevo Zisin head shot

I’m posting a Q&A by transgender writer and activist, Nevo Zisin, whose memoir Finding Nevo, is out now through Black Dog Books.

Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and all that comes with it. It is Zisin’s powerful and brave account of their journey to transgender, and all the stumbles, victories and life-changing moments along the way.

Finding Nevo touches on themes of family, acceptance, transgender, self-discovery, bullying, weight issues and change. This is an important book that Zisin hopes will not only affect social change.

What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Nevo?
 I hope they will not only take away my story but also their own. I hope people will find similarities or moments they can relate to and connect it to their own narrative and what the implications of that may be. I hope fellow trans people will feel less alone, heard and seen. I hope they realize that there is a future for them and that they are strong and resilient. I hope cis people read this book and feel a responsibility to create safer spaces and a safer world at large for trans people. While also questioning ways they may uphold oppressive standards of gender binaries onto those around them. Though in general I hope this book will inspire people to create change, both within themselves and in society.

 What made you write your autobiography at such a young age?
I was lucky enough to be commissioned to write my autobiography so that was certainly a huge influence. But outside of that I think it’s really vital to be prioritizing young voices. I often hear the phrase, “children are the future”, and I feel like this is so dismissive. What about now? Do we just ignore them until they grow up? I think it’s crucial that young people have young role models, people they can relate to and understand. So even though my life hasn’t been as long as others who write autobiographies, I think I have a lot to say and the demographic I am aiming at aren’t always the most spoken to.

How did you feel writing Finding Nevo? Did you find it liberating, or was it painful Cover Image - Finding Nevoon some parts of the journey?
At the beginning it felt like an impossible task. There was so much to cover and I felt like such an imposter pretending to be an “author”. I had never written a book before, so many people commented on how young I was and so I felt like I wasn’t capable. I wrote out big lists of what I wanted and needed to write. I spent a really long time considering the ethics of writing a memoir: how it would affect me, my family, the trans community and how I could best be representative of all those people. My motivation came in waves and so did the pain. Sometimes it was too hard to look back upon things I wished to forget, sometimes it was crucial in my own personal healing process.

 What role do you think Finding Nevo will have in terms of challenging social norms?
I think that it will make people question the application of such strict gender expectations. I honestly believe that these rigid societal standards are oppressive to everyone. I do not think it is comfortable for anyone to be forced into those boxes. So I hope this will allow people to consider wider worlds of gender aside from the “woman” and “man” categories we have accepted. I am also hoping it will help the friends and families of trans people get into their minds a little bit deeper and begin to try and understand what they might be going through.

Your book is incredibly honest and brave. When so many people struggle to be so vulnerable, where did this honesty come from?
I have always been an open book (pardon the pun). For me, my own truth is the only truth I can be sure of. I have always loved storytelling and have been writing since I was very young. I also began questioning my identity at such a young age that finding my truth became a very important part of my life and I was happy to share that with others along the way. I also think when you’re a member of an oppressed minority, you don’t often have the choice to be honest or not because so many people are asking you questions all the time.

In the book, you write about how those close to you struggled on the two occasions you came out. How has their reaction been to the book release?
Mostly overwhelmingly positive. I was expecting quite a harsh reaction particular from family members who struggled with my transition. I had no intention of slandering them, I understand why they reacted in the ways they did, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult for me and I needed to express my truth. I was really surprised at how most of them took on board what I had said and really understood. It was quite healing for a lot of my relationships within my family.

The book covers themes of family, self-discovery, bullying, and acceptance, and has touched many people who aren’t from the queer community. Are you surprised the book is having such an effect on a broader audience?
Not really to be honest. I think there are a lot of relatable experiences in the book that simply reflect the human condition. I think when looking upon someone whose identity is different from our own we like to create an “us” and “them” narrative but when it truly comes down to it, chances are we have far more in common than not. So I am not surprised that the book has had an effect on a broader audience, though I’m sure that there are people that may be surprised at just how much they connected, even if they weren’t expecting to.

Did you learn anything about yourself when you were writing the book?
Oh yes. I learnt a lot. I learnt a lot about my past, my present and who my future self might be. I learnt about my trauma, my relationships and my family. I learnt how to believe more in myself and my writing and how to begin to call myself an author (that one took a lot longer). I think as much as I was “Finding Nevo”, I was also learning Nevo.

As a youth leader and activist, do you feel Finding Nevo will be a source of comfort for people going through a similar journey?
I really like to think so. I believe if a book like this had been available in the early stages of my transition I would have felt far less alone and distraught. My only goal has only ever been to try to be the kind of person I really needed while I was growing up, and I hope this book can do that for young people.

With the Safe Schools program losing funding in all schools except those in Victoria, what is the best piece of advice you would give to help someone who may be outside the gender binary that society still largely considers to be the “norm”?
I think the Internet is a really great place to start. There are so many resources out there nowadays for young gender diverse folk that weren’t available not that long ago. I think there’s a lot on Tumblr and Instagram. I also think my best advice would be a quote from one of my favourite Melbourne bands, Two Steps on the Water, “If the world don’t love you, then the world is wrong”. If you feel outside of the “norm” perhaps there is something fundamentally flawed with the norm and not who you happen to be.

Finding Nevo will be my next read and I cannot wait to finally start it. After reading this Q&A I hope you go out and find a copy to read as well 🙂

– Aimee

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

Title – The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author – Emily Barr
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 303 pages
Publication Date – January 12th 2017 by Penguin
ISBN – 9780141368511
My Rating – ★★★/5

“How do you know who to trust when you can’t even trust yourself?”

Flora has amnesia. She can’t remember her day-to-day life – the jokes her friends make, instructions her parents give her or how old she is.

Then one night she kisses someone she shouldn’t and remembers. It’s the first thing she’s remembered since she was ten. But now the boy is gone.

I received a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks from Penguin Random House New Zealand to review.c2pnt-rwgaapowu

I thought this sounded really interesting when I first read the synopsis. When the book arrived it came with a letter, which is from the book, and it made me want to read it even more. I did enjoy the book but there was one thing that annoyed me. Flora was very repetitive and I get why but reading the same things over and over drove me crazy. I know Flora has amnesia so she has to read notes more than once. The thing that annoyed me the most was her memory of the kiss and how many times it was brought up. I felt like I read about it 100 times.

If you can get past that, or if it doesn’t annoy you like it did me, the story is pretty good and has some horrible twists. I did think it was a bit immature of Flora to think this guy she kissed was her “Prince Charming” and if she could find him then he’d fix her brain. But then again, her amnesia had something to do with that as well. In her head she’s not always seventeen. I just kept forgetting and that’s on me.

And don’t get me started on her parents. That’s one of the horrible twists to the book. In the letter that was sent from the publisher with the book it has something like ‘can I trust mum?’ at the bottom of the letter so it had me wanting to know why Flora wouldn’t be able to trust her own mother. I can see why her mother feels the way she does but her actions are so horrible I just couldn’t like her after that. And her father was just as bad. He may not have agreed with what his wife was doing but he didn’t do anything to stop it. Okay, that’s all I’m going to say about Flora’s parents because they make me so angry and I don’t want to spoil anything.

I thought Flora was kind of brave but also a little stupid. Taking off to find this guy she kissed when she knew her memory wasn’t exactly the best was so reckless and she could have ended up anywhere. But at the same time, Flora was really smart about how she did it.

As much as Flora’s habit of repeating herself annoyed me, I did like The One Memory of Flora Banks. I loved all the twists, some of which I didn’t see coming at all, and the ending was really good. I liked that it wasn’t a happily ever after but ended with hope. Sometimes I like when stories don’t end wrapped in a pretty bow. It feels unrealistic. This ending felt real and that’s what I loved about it.

I do recommend The One Memory of Flora Banks. Even though one part annoyed me I still loved the book and Flora. I really felt for her and what she was going through.

*Thank you Pengiun Random House New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: Dear Charlie by N.D. Gomes.

Title – Dear Charlie
Author – N.D. Gomes
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 222 pages
Publication Date – October 20th 2016 by Harlequin Mira Ink HarperCollins
ISBN – 9780008181161
My Rating – ★★★★/5

“Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie”

Sixteen year old Sam Macmillan should be thinking about school, girls and applying to college. Not picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a school shooting. One his brother is responsible for. As Sam tries to hold onto the Charlie he knew, the media frenzy surrounding his family is threatening to destroy everything. And Sam finds himself questioning the things he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

I received a copy of Dear Charlie from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. This is N.D. c2unf5kucaqjjzsGomes’ debut novel and is endorsed by Amnesty International UK.

Dear Charlie picks up after Sam’s brother, Charlie, took a gun to school one day and killed fourteen people and then himself. This follows Charlie and his family as they deal with the fallout of what he did while also grieving their brother and son.

I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve never even considered what the family of a shooter goes through. And that makes me feel horrible. I mean, I’ve never blamed them or anything but still. Now I’ve read what a family of someone that’s gone and killed so many innocent people, like a school shooting or shooting up a cinema, might go through. I think the story Gomes told in Dear Charlie is more than likely to happen.

Sam and his parents are trying to understand why Charlie would do the things he did while also grieving someone they love. Not to mention all the judgement and blame and hearing all the things the media will be saying about Charlie like they know him. It must be so confusing and painful. Which is why I can’t believe I’d never even considered what they might be going through. I’ve only ever thought of the victim’s families and what they might be going through. But, Dear Charlie has mae me see things very differently.

I really felt for Sam and his parents. I’m sure a lot of the things they went through in Dear Charlie is what the shooter’s family will go through in real life. One of the biggest things Sam had to deal with was what the media was saying about his brother and realising he may not have known his brother at all. It must be a horrible thing to go through.

I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that I am really glad I read Dear Charlie. I actually passed this onto my mother to read as soon as I’d finished it. I cannot recommend finding a copy of this book enough. It’s definitely a must read.

And if you do read it then you should also read why Amnesty International UK endorsed this book. It’s a really good addition to the book.

*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: The Last Beginning by Lauren James.

Title – The Last Beginning
Series – The Next Together #2
Author – Lauren James
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 352 pages
Publication Date – October 6th 2016 by Walker Books
ISBN – 9781406358063
My Rating – ★★★/5

“Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long-lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.”

I received a copy of The Last Beginning from Walker Books Australia to review. You canc1xrkvvukaeamhx read my review of the first book in the duology, The Next Together, here.

I had a lot of questions after I finished the first book that I hoped would be answered in this. I’ll admit that I was a little bored with the first half of the book and I wasn’t really interested in Clove’s life. She came across really immature at times. I wanted to know what had happened to Kate and Matt and why they kept appearing throughout time.

But as the story started to pick up and Clove found a way to look into Kate and Matt’s past, I found myself getting drawn back into the story. I think I was more interested in the mystery surrounding Kate and Matt and not so interested in Clove and her weird love life.

Speaking of Clove’s love life, I found her relationship with Ella a little weird. Especially because Ella seemed to know everything that happened before it happened. Or, most of what happened anyway. Not the small details. And I was also a little confused too. I mean, did Ella even get to choose her future? Time travel can get really confusing.

But, I did get the answers I was looking for. I could see some of it coming as I got further into this book but I’m glad I finally know what was going on. I think I might do a re-read of them both one day so I can see all the connections that I may have missed. But that won’t be any time soon.

Even though I wasn’t really into the first half of the The Last Beginning, I did end up liking it. I’m not sure about some things that happened but I did enjoy both books.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.