YA Books By Authors of Colour (Part 2)

Some time ago, I wrote a recommendation list of YA books by authors of colour, and I’m back today with a follow up to that post! There’s not much else to say about this, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

(Just as a note, not all of these stories are technically Young Adult, but they’re all books that will appeal to the YA readership).

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a beautiful story about a teenaged mother, Emoni, who is trying to balance caring for her daughter and elderly grandmother, with school and her dream of becoming a chef. And also that cute boy that just turned up in her class.

Emoni is black and Puerto Rican, which I think might be the identity of the author as well (but I’m not certain). Her cultural heritage was so well woven into this story, particularly with all the food. I am 100% won over by food. It was just so well-written, so poignant and so refreshing.

Continue reading “YA Books By Authors of Colour (Part 2)”

Know The Novel: The Changeling and the Wolf

Can you believe that next month is NaNoWriMo? I’ve been doing Inktober all month so I’m not sure my brain is quite ready to kick into gear and think about a completely different challenge just yet.

But, nevertheless, I’m here to introduce (or…uh reintroduce ) my NaNoWriMo novel for 2022. I’m going to be participating in the Know The Novel linkup, which is now five years old. Absolutely wild, I remember doing it for the very first time, so that makes me feel very old now. Anyway, let’s move on!


If you’re a dedicated reader of my blog, you may recognise this novel as my project from NaNoWriMo 2020, known then as “The Darkest Night”. Because yes, for the first time I am actually working on an established novel rather than a brand new first draft!

However, I’ve obviously developed this draft quite a lot since I pantsed it back in 2020, with absolutely no outline or anything. So I’m taking a second crack at this story to work on it some more and hopefully get a complete second draft (that has a more coherent plot line, fingers crossed).

Anyway, if you want to check out my original Know The Novel post for The Darkest Night you can find that here, and if you want to check out Christine Smith, who created this link up, you can do it here.

Let’s get into it!

What first sparked the idea for this novel?

The first inkling (pun intended) of this story came from listening to a YouTuber (I can’t remember who it was, so sorry about that) talk about and read excerpts from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings sequel, which he called “The New Shadow”. Unfortunately, Tolkien found the story bitter and depressing (fair enough) and abandoned it 13 pages in.

The story revolves around the land of Gondor, over a 100 years after the downfall of Sauron. Aragorn is dead, and his son now rules. But men have forgotten the true evil of the time when the Lord of the Rings ruled and have grown complacent, which disturbs the main character, Borlas.

Essentially, Borlas and a much younger man, Saelon, get into an argument about the true nature of evil, and Saelon mentions that a cult dedicated to the worship of orcs (and I suppose Sauron or Morgoth by extension) is now rising. Borlas immediately concludes that Saelon is part of this cult, which offends Saelon. Saelon invites Borlas to come to a clandestine meeting that night. Borlas is one of the very last people left who can remember life before the Great Peace, as it’s known, and he believes he would be able to recognise the scent of evil, so he agrees to come.

When he arrives at his home after his argument with Saelon, Borlas steps into his house and is immediately greeted by a “dead silence”, and he smells the old Evil “and recognised it for what it was”.

And there it ends.

Obviously that was not good enough for me, so I decided to finish it.

Continue reading “Know The Novel: The Changeling and the Wolf”

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2022

Hello! It is, in fact, time for the annual Mid Year Freakout, because how is it already July???

Anyway, this tag hardly needs an introduction and I know you all want to hear about my fabulous reads, so lets get into it!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2022

I can never just choose one, so here’s a few of the great books I’ve read this far!

QAnon and On: Van Badham. This is a nonfiction book about the rise of internet-based conspiracies such as Pizzagate and Gamergate (which both sound stupid, but were actually quite serious) and how these small conspiracies finally snowballed into the damaging QAnon cult. It’s exceptionally well written and it really explains the psychology behind cults, conspiracies and how the internet makes these more accessible than ever. I personally think it should be required reading for anyone who uses the internet.

Behave: Robert Sapolsky. This fascinating book really delves into the behaviour and psychology of humans and animals, and I really enjoyed it. Despite it’s dense subject matter, the book was really well written and most parts were easy to understand for the layman like me. It helped a lot with my own dog training knowledge, but also a more general knowledge of people and how we work.

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The Stars Fill Infinity Character Playlists (but it’s just classic rock songs)

I finished my first semester of university, and also my Certificate IV in Auslan, which means that, for the first time all year, I actually have some spare time! I’m hoping this will mean a few blog posts for all you lovely people, before I go back to uni in July! I’ve got some great plans coming up, including the first instalment in my Disability in Fiction critique posts and also the ever faithful mid year freakout book tag, but today I wanted to ease back in with something a little bit quirky and fun.

I grew up listening to classic 80s and 90s rock and not much else. My mum loved the Christian rock bands, like Petra and Whiteheart, and rock operas like The War of the Worlds and Jesus Christ Superstar. My dad liked more mainstream rock, Bryan Adams, Midnight Oil and Bon Jovi.

Anyway, all this to say that recently I’ve been enjoying listening to all those 80s and 90s classics. And as I’ve been listening to them, I’ve been comparing them to some of my characters. So today, I’m here to present you with character playlists for my SFI characters but it’s all 80s and 90s music (and not all rock, contrary to the title).

(A few years ago I did a normal character playlist, which you can check out herehttps://anordinarypen.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/character-playlists/)

Let’s get into it!

Continue reading “The Stars Fill Infinity Character Playlists (but it’s just classic rock songs)”