Blog Tour: Kindred: 12 Queer Stories #Loveozya - Guest Review and Interview from Amy


We are opening up our blog today from a Guest Review and Interview from Amy. Hope you enjoy her thoughts- Tash

Hey! I am super grateful to be a part of this tour with the release of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and I’d like to start off by saying a massive massive thank you to Walker Books Australia and AusYABloggers for sending me a copy of the book and allowing me to share my thoughts. I’ve also had the delightful privilege of interviewing Erin Gough, which you can find after my review. 


Abouthbook...

43197387What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.

This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.


Includes a foreword by anthology editor Michael Earp, resources for queer teens, contributor bios and information about the #LoveOzYA movement.


View Kindred on Goodreads | Walker Books Australia


PurchasLinks 

If you purchase Kindred from The Little Bookroom you can have it signed By Michael Earp. All You have to do is mention in the order notes that you followed the Kindred Tour and would like your copy signed by Michael.

For people looking to find a bookshop near them: Find A Bookshop.

Amy's Review

This is a book for queer youth to know that they are not alone in their experiences, that these incredible and diverse set of authors have lived these queer lives and understand themselves and their experiences so much so that they are able to articulate this understanding beautifully and capture it in stories such as the twelve wonderful short stories in this anthology. We read to know we are not alone, and to read a book like this instantly validates experiences outside of the usual cishet bubble. As lovely as this tour it, I really hope that this book finds itself in the hands of the kids who need it and for them to know that it’s okay.

This book was wonderfully diverse and not just with a variety of queer identities, but also featured disabled and First Nations authors and characters. In the same way I feel validated by reading about the gay stuff, I know that this extra level of inclusivity will mean worlds for the young people in those situations.

I enjoyed certain stories more than others, which I think is fair when reading an anthology like this with such a diverse set of very unique and really very quite different stories. From dystopian worlds to first interactions with crushes, relationships with family to magical quests, there is a story in here for everyone. I think my personal favourites would have to be Jen Wilde’s “Waiting”, Marlee Jane Ward’s “Rats”, Michael Earp’s “Bitter Draught” and of course, Erin Gough’s “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass”.

Please make sure to check out the other stops on this tour with plenty more in depth reviews and interviews by going here!



Interview with Erin Gough 

Without further ado, I’d like to share my interview with the every lovely Erin Gough. I am absolutely obsessed with her second novel, Amelia Westlake, and adore her works, so this interview was particularly exciting.

This interview was completed before I had received the book, however I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Erin at the Kindred launch in Melbourne to say hello. Even as I got stuck behind the tables and had to rush off quickly afterwards – heaven forbid we miss our train home (spoiler: we didn’t) – she was very kind and welcoming.


Before I get too into it, I thought I’d start off with some simpler easy questions first just to let you warm up a little.

Yes or no - Pineapple on pizza?

Yes. Bring it.

Do you have a favourite word?

‘Agile’ is my current favourite. I am definitely overusing it in my writing at the moment.

If you could only ever listen to one artist for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Nina Simone.

Alright too easy (I hope?). I think that's enough of a warm up, here's some questions that perhaps may require a bit more brainpower.

Exploring and defining your identity can be a difficult process on its own without the extra hurdles that can come along with being queer - such as potential mental and internal struggles, or challenges from the world around you. How did you navigate (or perhaps still are navigating) this process of exploring your queer identity?

It was hard. It’s still hard at times, but it’s a lot easier than it was when I was a teen. I was in denial for a long time about my sexuality. I didn’t know any lesbians. I grew up in a fairly religious community and being gay was not a legitimate identity in that community. Even though I suspected I was a lesbian, I told myself it was just that I hadn’t met the right boy yet. I decided I had to date a few boys to be sure, which I did. Then I kissed a girl. It changed everything. I was at university and living out of home by then, which made it a lot easier to explore who I was. I don’t think I could have done that had I been living with my parents.

And to follow on from that, how do you identify?

As a cis lesbian.

And of course, queer identities also generally have the extra element of them with regards to coming out. How was your coming out experience?

It was pretty hard. I was 24. I waited until I was living overseas to phone my parents. They were really upset and said some hurtful things. When I came home a few months later I had a hard time adjusting to being out. My friends were amazing, which helped. Some of them knew already. My girlfriend and her family were incredibly supportive. I also had some counselling, which was exactly what I needed. And I took up kickboxing, which was awesome! I pounded a lot of anger into those punching bags.

What (or who?) inspired the short story you contributed to Kindred?

The story is partly inspired by my own experience of dating boys when I was in my late teens and early twenties and trying to make it work. And then meeting someone who changed everything. That’s what my protagonist, Amy, experiences. She meets this girl – in a hall cupboard, of all places – and it is so life changing that the dead rise up, the world floods, and people start speaking in rhyme. These surreal elements of the story are a departure from my usual approach. I wanted to convey how incredible it is to finally be with someone you’re attracted to, after denying that part of yourself for so long.

Apart from your own story, which is your favourite story from Kindred and why?

Marlee Jane Ward’s ‘Rats’ is amazing. The voices of her characters are so strong, the language she uses to tell her story is poetry, and her narrative had me on the edge of my seat. 

And finally, do you have any words of wisdom for young queer Aussie teens?

Be proud of who you are, because you ought to be.


I’d like to thank Erin again for being a good sport and for her excellent words. I think those are nice words to finish on – be proud of who you are, because you ought to be.

Kindred Tour




Walker Books Australia, together with Michael Earp and the #AusYABloggers are celebrating the release of the Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories anthology. This is an #ownvoices tour featuring queer creators, bloggers, instagrammers, reviewers and youtubers from Australia and New Zealand, celebrating pride month with the release of Kindred. 
Follow The Tour Below

10th June
Nerd in The Library
Things Lucy Reads
Taryn and Her Books
Totally Bookss

11th June
Lost in Literature
Jay's Bookshelves
Raathi Chota
Little Miss Star

12th June
Wild Heart Reads
Elysian Words
Written Word Worlds
Noveltea Corner

13th June
Amy Zuell
Brooklyn the Bookworm
Reading Rah
Doddy About Books

14th June
Are There Lesbians
Books on Pointe
Pretty and Pretentious
Axie Jade Reads

15th June
Chrissy G Likes Books
Jessica's Bookworld
Book Frenzy
Sarah Says

16th June
Delicate Eternity
Flaming Serotonin
Romance and Dragons
Shay's Pages
17th June
Amy's Books and Brushes
Khaki Pants of Sex
Dusk Angel Reads
Read3rz Revu Blog



About the book...

43197387What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.

This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.


Includes a foreword by anthology editor Michael Earp, resources for queer teens, contributor bios and information about the #LoveOzYA movement.




PurchasLinks 

If you purchase Kindred from The Little Bookroom you can have it signed By Michael Earp. All You have to do is mention in the order notes that you followed the Kindred Tour and would like your copy signed by Michael.

For people looking to find a bookshop near them: Find A Bookshop.

Hashtags to check out and keep an eye on even after the tour is over:
 #KindredStories #AusYaBloggers #AusQueerYA #LoveOZYA #OwnVoices

Shauna's Great Expectations Instagram Tour!

Allen & Unwin, together with the #AusYABloggers are celebrating the release of Shauna's Great Expectations by Australian author Kathleen Loughnan. The Instagram only review tour begins on May 13th 2019 until May 19th 2019 and will visit twenty incredible accounts.
Follow the tour below

May 13th
Laura Bookish
Jouljet
Stef Galvin

May 14th
The Bookish Bree
Jessica's Bookworld
I Dream of all The Books

May 15th
A Reader
Brooklyn
Diva Booknerd

May 16th
Read3rz Revu
Lizz Reads
Raathi07

May 17th
Seventyeight Sundays
Shelle Reads Books
Thoughts By Tash

May 18th
Beczenbooks
Fotini Reads
Kit Cronk



May 19th
Bookish Universee
Little Miss Star


About the book
Shauna's Great Expectations
Written by Kathleen Loughnan
Published by Allen & Unwin
320 Pages
ISBN: 9781760631574
Add to Goodreads
AUD $19.99
A fresh and compelling novel about an Aboriginal scholarship student and her surprising final year of school.

Shauna is in her final year at an elite private school and has great expectations. She holds an Indigenous scholarship and is determined to be the first member of her family to go to university, no matter what. The year is off to an excellent start, and she and her friends are dreaming big about life after school and a trip to Paris.

But suddenly she's faced with a choice that threatens to throw all her plans into disarray. As pressure builds from every corner of her world, Shauna wonders what she'll have to sacrifice to keep hold of her dreams… Can she fulfil her own promise and still keep her promises to others? Will all her expectations be ripped away?

Author Interview with Ondine Sherman


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Sky (The Animal Allies Series #1) 
by Ondine Sherman 
Published April 15th 2019 by Pantera Press

After her mother’s death, Sky is forced to leave her city life behind and move in with her aunt and uncle in a small Australian town. But the city isn’t all that she leaves behind. Trying to fit in with her new friends means doing things she never dreamt she’d do. And falling for the School Queen’s crush is the least of her worries when she’s confronted by tightly guarded family secrets. 

Just as she thinks everything is starting to feel normal, Sky stumbles on a case of animal cruelty that forces her to make some tough decisions. Will Sky risk everything to stand up for what she believes in?

Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself.




As a part of the Pantera Press Australia and #AusYABloggers celebrative Sky Tour, Kait from elysian words interviewed Sky's Author, Ondine Sherman.

What inspired you to be a writer and write Sky?
When growing up did you ever dream of being an author? 
Did you enjoy reading and writing?


(I’ve combined these questions below, hope it’s okay)

I always loved to read and write and my diaries were full of poems and stories. When I was young I dreamed of working with animals and I considered many different professions, such as becoming a nature writer for National Geographic, veterinarian or wildlife documentary maker. In high school I did my work experience at the RSPCA and later worked in communication roles with several Australian wildlife and nature conservation organisations. I then founded Voiceless, the animal protection institute, with my father Brian and that became (and still is!) my passion. It wasn’t until ten years ago that I started writing seriously and I didn’t want to stop. I hope to continue writing for a long time, conveying a message about animal protection that is essential to my life and beliefs.

Are there any books or movies that had a particular influence on the story and characters you created?


Many books influenced and touched me when I was young – I particularly loved books written from the perspective of animals and brought their experiences, their voices, to life. When I was little, I wanted to transport myself into the British countryside and the world of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was a favourite because the foxes were the heroes of the story. Reading these books inspired me to write the character of Sky’s chicken, Chirp. I was also a big reader of Judy Bloom books because they summed up the teenage girl experience, with all the awkwardness and anxieties. I tried to reflect this experience in Sky and her insecurities and social pressures.

I’m a huge movie fan and there are countless animal-centric movies that have inspired me.  I dreamed of talking to animals like in the film Dr. Doolittle. Recently I saw a brilliant film, The Isle of Dogs which is super creative and thought-provoking about how we treat animals we consider unwanted or label as ‘pests’. I was also heavily influenced when I was younger by wildlife films like Gorilla’s in the Mist and Born Free which were true stories about people standing up for animals against huge challenges, just like Sky.

How is your love for animals reflected in Sky?


Like Sky, I have loved animals since I was a young child and believe strongly that they deserve to be respected and live a life free of industrialised cruelty and harm.


What was the process of getting Sky published like?


When I wrote Sky I had no idea if I would find a publisher. It was such a wonderful elated feeling, after a year of searching, to find someone who believed in the story. Publishing can be hard but the key is to not give up! I am very excited that Pantera Press is now my publisher and committed to the Animal Allies Series.


Are you planning on writing more books?


The second book in my series is called Snow and it is coming out this July. I hope readers will love the setting as much as I do – the stunning vast frozen landscapes of winter Alaska. Sky meets her father for the first time, gets to know Jaxon, a local musician, and discovers a spectacular world full of wildlife.  I am currently working on the third book, Star, for release next year.


What's your best advice on writing and the best advice you were given?

Ernest Heminway said that ‘the only kind of writing is re-writing’ and that is so true. One imagines from movie scenes that writers type out their book and, bingo, it’s finished. That’s not what really happens. The first draft is only the foundation for tens of re-writes and slowly the book is formed and refined. It’s a slow and patient process but one that I really enjoy. The other advice I would give is not to over-think. Just allow yourself to put words on paper, as much as possible, and mute the naysayers in your head that tell you it’s not good enough. If you are too self-critical at first, it makes creativity impossible. Just let yourself be free to write imperfectly. Later on, you can fix and refine the language and story.

What are some of your favourite animals?


Our house is full of rescue dogs, cats, chickens and rabbits. I love them all. But, like Sky, I am most obsessed with dogs and, if I had my way, I’d have an entire pack! I also love wildlife. If I was forced to choose, I would say wolves, whales, sea turtles, lions, leopards and elephants are my all time favourites. But it’s very hard to choose!


A BIG THANK YOU TO ONDINE FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER KAIT'S QUESTIONS.

Want to know more about Ondine, check out these links: 
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram

FOLLOW THE TOUR for reviews, giveaways and more HERE.

You can find Kait's beautiful bookish IG account HERE and other socials HERE.

Sky Blog Tour!


Pantera Press, together with the #AusYABloggers are celebrating the release of Sky by Australian author Ondine Sherman, cofounder and director of the animal welfare and protection agency Voiceless. On tour, you will find bloggers, reviewers, Instagrammers and Youtubers from Australia and New Zealand sharing their thoughts on Sky, beginning on April 29th until May 5th 2019.

Follow the tour below

29th April
Little Miss Star
Noveltea Corner
I Dream of all The Books

30th April
Bookish Universe
Jessica's Bookworld
Shelle Reads Books

1st May
Zany Bibliophile
Elysian Words
Belle of the Books

2nd May
Pretty Nerdy
Diva Booknerd
Seventyeight Sundays

3rd May
Brooklyn the Bookworm
Little Waller
Jessiehulk's Books

4th May
Flaming Serotonin
Life of Ink and Words
Thoughts by Tash


5th May
Read3rz Revu
Shannon Jade Dreams


About the book

Sky
Written by Ondine Sherman
Published by Pantera Press
252 Pages
Published 15th April 2019 
ISBN 9781925700275
Add to Goodreads
RRP $17.99AUD
A story about kindness, friendship and animal rights from Voiceless Co-founder Ondine Sherman.

After her mother’s death, Sky leaves her city life to move in with her aunt and uncle in a small Australian town. When her mum was alive, Sky knew who she was: she was kind-hearted and full of a passion for justice, especially the rights of animals. She was also a vegan whose hero was Jane Goodall. And until recently she preferred the company of dogs to boys.

But being a vegan and trying to fit in to her new home isn’t easy. Her aunt has forgotten she doesn’t eat meat, and Sky is desperately lonely without her mother and friends. It seems the only way to fit in and make friends is to pretend to be someone she’s not.

When Sky starts to investigate the local chicken farm for a school project, the cruelty she witnesses goes to the very heart of who she is. She knows she has to do something, but what? Can one single act really make a difference?

As she struggles between her desire to belong, and her desire to remain true to her values, can Sky find the true courage it takes to stand up for what she believes in and be true to herself?
About the author
Ondine is the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute. She is a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. Ondine grew up in Sydney and now lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children. Her mischievous street cats, loyal dogs and ex-battery chickens all keep her extraordinarily entertained.

You can find Ondine via her Website   Instagram   Twitter

Top Five: Kait's favourite #LoveOzYA thrillers












Hi, It's Kait from @elysian_words_ and here are my top 5 #LoveOzYA thrillers! These are definitely books to read if you've been sleeping too well at night.

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What The Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

How could I make this list without including What The Woods Keep?! It's a unique, intelligent and dark read that will leave you loving every word. From the setting, characters, and writing it will take you to strange places that are unexpected and exciting.

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Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein

Small Spaces is haunting and gripping, I needed to know what happened! My theory was wrong but that's what happens when a book has as many epic twists as this one.

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Black by Fleur Ferris

Spooky and filled with awesomeness! Fleur Ferris is the queen of creating a thrilling story! It's my favourite Fleur Ferris book!

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The Shadow Girl by John Larkin

The Shadow Girl is a story of truth and lies, of lost innocence, but shining with hope. It is definitely not a book to pass up.

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Whisper by Lynette Noni

Whisper follows a strong female character who never gives up. It has many twists and turns that will leave you needing more, a secret government facility, superhuman people, and well developed characters that you will love. It's a thriller/sci-fi that I can't recommend enough!


Hi there. Do you have a Top Five you want to share? 
We know we would love to read them! 
We are asking for our readers to share their bookish Top Five’s for the group blog.
We are hoping to get enough interest to make this a regular post – email your Top Five ideas to australianyabloggers@gmail.com to be featured.

#TBWSH Book Blitz!

Welcome to The Boy Who Steals Houses Book Blitz, to celebrate the second novel from blogger, author and our dear friend C. G. Drews or Paper Fury as she's widely known. Thank you for everyone who is taking part in the promotion and don't forget to pick up a copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses or enter to win a signed and annotated copy below plus an exclusive art print.
About the book
The Boy Who Steals Houses
Written by C. G. Drews
Publisher Orchard Books
Add to Goodreads
Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he's ever known. Now Sam's trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he's caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing - each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

Purchase now from

About The Author
C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her dog, a piano, and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novel after novel. She blogs at Paper Fury, never sleeps and believes in cake for breakfast.

You can find her at 

Amazing giveaway!

Top Five: Tash's Favourite Speculative Reads



Hi, it's Tash here.  For this week's Top Five post. I  thought I would share my top five speculative reads. This wasn't easy considering the amount of  books I read and love every year in this genre. Without further ado I give you my top five reads that I would never get tired of re-reading over and over again.


Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy 

There has been some awesome 2019 releases so far. However this book stole my heart. Not only it is a retelling of King Arthur. It's awesome queer retelling that isn't afraid to cross the galaxy in  the name of love . Bonus points goes for it's setting which is set in the future making this  Arthur retelling beautiful and unique. 

Zeroes  by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti 
 There is so much going on with this book . However at the heart of it, is a team of rag tag superheroes who deemed themselves as Zeroes They had a falling out but they come together once more to help a friend after a crazy day that spirals out of control. It's a refreshing reminder that everyone has a place and that you will find you place in the world.  And that not even superheroes are perfect
#LoveOZYA  [View on Goodreads]



Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Spensa had a one dream. To see the sky and become a elite pilot, However life had other ideas and now she lives with the stigma of her father's mistakes.  But she never gave up and now as she comes of age. Spensa's life become a tailspin as we follow her on an adventure of discoveries and much more. Spensa is determined to be brave and no fear but this book shows that it's alright to embrace the unknown and let life and love  surprise you. Whilst succeeding in the most unexpected way.


Lady Helen and Dark Day Club
You cannot want to  finish this series once you pick up the first book. As whilst it may be Jane Austen vibes  a galore with this book.  Lady Helen's story is very much a dark take and story of discoveries, love and much more. It's a coming of age tale that is dictated by choices and  in a era where this isn't supposed to happen. Lady Helen is refreshing and not afraid to get her hands dirty. Plus the whole dark mystery who are they are going to drive you mad as you join the endeavours to discover the mysterious bad guys.



Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman 
A space opera from two of my favourite local authors is a match made in heaven. The creativity use of mix media in this book , makes it an interesting reading experience. Given  that our leading characters have a mixed history and their planet just got blown up. There is a thousand things going on but the beautiful sci-fi is a book that  will have you engrossed  from start to finish. You will fall in love with this duo despite everything that possible going wrong has already.  Plus Adrian do I need to say anymore.








Hi there. Do you have a Top Five you want to share? 
We know we would love to read them! 
We are asking for our readers to share their bookish Top Five’s for the group blog.
We are hoping to get enough interest to make this a regular post – email your Top Five ideas to australianyabloggers@gmail.com to be featured.

You can find Tash via ThoughtsbyTash  Twitter  Instagram and Goodreads

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