Tag Archives: books

My First Book Box


Recently I had seen a few places advertised online that were selling book box subscriptions, but they were not available in my area, or the postage costs were prohibitive. Then I ran across The YA Chronicles, an Australian based book box subscription service specialising in young adult literature. I could hardly have been more excited! I love YA and read it as much as I can, so this was just perfect.

Each month, a new release YA book is chosen to develop a book box. It is then accompanied by several themed goodies, which make it a truly fun experience. A subscription would make an excellent gift for a lover of YA.

Book box

Book box

My first box arrived during the week, yay! I got an email from Australia Post early in the morning to say it was on board with the driver for delivery that day. I waited impatiently all day for it to arrive, but it didn’t show up until after four, by which time all the kids were home from school, so I had to sneak off to my room to open it in peace!

I was tingling with anticipation as I opened the box to find black tissue paper surrounding the wonderful contents. Inside was the book, Valentine by Jodi McAlister, along with a lovely smelly and glittery soy candle, a pin, some tea and a bookmark. And I love it all!












Already looking forward to the next box! Thanks to The YA Chronicles for giving me such joy!


New Library Additions May ’16


Added some books to my home library this month!

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Physical Books:


What new books did you get in May?

CBCA Shortlist for 2016


The Children’s Book Council of Australia announced their Book of the Year shortlist for 2016 on Friday. I get so excited waiting for this every year!

Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators of these wonderful books!

I am looking forward to reading as many as I can. Unfortunately there never seems enough time to get through all of them.


In the early childhood category;

  • Piranha’s Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey
  • The Cow Tripped Over the Moon by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood
  • My Dog Bigsy by Alison Lester
  • Mr Huff by Anna Walker
  • Perfect by Danny Parker and illustrated by Freya Blackwood
  • Ollie and the Wind by Ghosh Ronojoy


In the picture book category;

  • My Dead Bunny by James Foley with text by Sigi Cohen


In the younger readers category;

  • The Cleo Stories: A Friend and a Pet by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood


In the older readers category;


Information books;


I am quite keen to read The Flywheel, it sounds interesting. I’m also looking forward to sharing the early childhood and picture books with my kids, they are always worth a read. We already love The Cow Tripped Over the Moon and Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas, so now I am excited to discover the others.

Which of these books have you read? Which ones do you think will be Book of the Year?


“New Books” Space


On Mother’s Day my lovely children and their lovely dad set up a “New Books” area for me. It is a small space within our play-room, which also houses a wall of books. Each of my girls made signs for the space, indicating what it is for, and then they laid out the new books I got for Mother’s Day, and added my e-readers and book-seat. I was quite surprised, but also delighted. It was very sweet of them.



If you’re an avid reader, you will know the pull of every bookstore that you have ever come across. It is virtually impossible for me to pass a bookstore without going in. I love browsing the shelves of my local Dymocks, seeing what’s new and picking up books I’ve heard good things about but not yet read. I love the crispness of the covers, the unblemished pages and unmarked spines of new books. With four rugrats I rarely get to experience the pleasure of going to a bookstore on my own, which kind of shatters the leisurely perusal of the shelves that I would like. So in recent years I have started buying more and more books online, from places like Book Depository and Dymocks Online. It’s a somewhat more sterile way to buy, but I still love searching through the various categories and booklists, and I can shop at any time of the day or night, such as when all my kids are asleep!

As nice as new books are, I have always loved secondhand or pre-loved bookstores the most. Books stacked haphazardly from floor to ceiling, piles of books everywhere, the wonderful smell that only used books have, and the delight of finding a real gem among the stacks or grabbing a bargain on a book I’ve wanted for ages. I love that I’m giving these books a new life, another reading, a new home, and a chance to share them with my family. I could spend hours wandering the aisles and perusing the shelves…. except I have children. Children who knock stacks over, pull books from shelves, and run through the narrow aisles disturbing the peace.

So I had a conundrum, wanting to buy used books, but having the inability to get to a used bookstore during daylight hours by myself. Then a couple of years ago I discovered the most amazing online store, a store that allows me to shop at all hours, any day of the week without the “help” of my kids, but still allows me to buy secondhand and used books. As a bonus it has a search function for when I’m looking for something in particular, not as much fun as physically searching stacks and shelves of books, but it does save time!

This wonderful store is called Better World Books. A truly unique online book store, they not only have thousands and thousands of used books in a searchable database, they have free shipping to most parts of the world, and they have plenty of sales and deals throughout the year. A browse in the bargain bin is an absolute must! Each book is listed with a description, including the condition, such as used good or used acceptable. And the best bit? I know, it’s hard to imagine it getting any better, but it does! For every book that they sell they donate a book to a person in need, and each sale supports literacy and libraries around the world. Any books they can’t use are recycled. How totally awesome is that!

Make a difference when you buy books in the year ahead, and give Better World Books a go.

Best Pre-loved Bookstore Ever

Book Advent Calendar


Each December as we count down to Christmas, the kids like to have an advent calendar to mark the days. There are many types of advent calendars available for purchase, but this year I was vaguely thinking about making one. Before I had decided on what I was going to make, I saw a picture of an advent calendar that someone had made up with books (I don’t know where the photo originated). I thought this was brilliant, as L and A love books. The picture I’d seen was using Christmas themed books, but I ended up just using books that I thought the kids would like.

Some of the books ready to be wrapped.

Some of the books ready to be wrapped.

A lot of the books came from my favourite secondhand bookshop (Canty’s Bookshop in Canberra), and some I bought from the Scholastic Book Club at the kids’ school. A few of the books were mine when I was a child, and I am now giving them to my kids. There is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, with a couple of Christmas themed books. I think L and A will enjoy these books, and they will form part of their Christmas presents.


All wrapped up.

All wrapped up.

I took 24 books and wrapped them in Christmas wrapping paper. Then I randomly sorted them and numbered them from one to twenty-four. I placed them all into a cardboard box with the numbers facing forwards. On the first of December, L will open the parcel numbered ‘1’, with one parcel for each day leading up to Christmas.

This is an advent calendar that you can really customise to your own child, by choosing books to their reading level and interests. It would be a lovely present for an adult too. Library books could be a good alternative to buying the books, especially if you want to use picture books or Christmas books, but don’t forget to return them!

Ready to be opened.

Ready to be opened.

Book Review Index


IMG_0436I was staring at the pile of books I’ve read but haven’t had a chance to review yet, and realised that I have written quite a few book reviews for Today We Did now. Going to the book review category I also realised how difficult it was to navigate them, so I decided to compile a Book Review Index.

I split the books into novels, chapter books, pictures books and non-fiction to make it easier to look at reviews from these categories. Within each section I have listed the books in alphabetical order based on the authour’s last name. I will try to add each new book to the index as I publish its review, if I miss one, please point it out to me!

I’d also love to hear what you thought about these books too 🙂 And if you have a suggestion for a book you think I might like, let me know, if I can find it, I will read it!