4 Years + 1 Month: A Blogoversary sorta?

Hey ya’ll! Happy February, I hope this month is kind to you.
Today I’m excited to let you know that as of the 3rd of January 2016, A Sunny Spot turned four years old! Now you may be looking at your calendars and thinking “WTF Sunny that was a month ago”, and you’d be absolutely correct. However, it occurred to me that on the first day of my 4th year as a blogger, I was unable to celebrate it with you guys due to being away and a heap of other issues I won’t bore you with.

Anyhow, I feel like it would be such a shame to let this occasion pass without word so I’ve decided to celebrate this tiny but cool milestone with a 4 years and one month blogoversary giveaway. Your blog only turns four once, haha! Unfortunately my giveaway is for Australians only, but have no fear international readers because I’m working on someday hosting a giveaway that you guys can enter as well. It’s a goal of mine.

Before I leave you guys to enter away, I wanted to thank some people. Firstly, I’d like to direct a massive massive thank you to Bloomsbury and Allen and Unwin Australia for providing the wonderful books I’m giving away today. It wouldn’t have been possible without you so thank you x10. Secondly, I want to thank to the awesome book loving community in Australia. That includes authors, publishers and fellow bloggers, ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and ones I have not.

We really are an awesome group and I can’t thank you enough for not yet ruling me out every time I pull one of my infamous disappearing acts! Thank you! Especially thank you to the Sydney bloggers who I’ve seen throughout the past few years at various events, who still wave to me and have a chat, even if I’m being awkward and can only stay for a short period of time. Also Francoise, I don’t think I really need to tell you this but.. you’re my home girl, thank you for all your support.

Lastly, despite being bias to the wonderful Australian community, how could I not thank all of the bloggers and readers who comment on my posts and chat with me, from other countries? I've got to interact with some ridiculously cool and lovely people because of this blog and I appreciate you all! Fi, even though we almost talk about everything except for blogging (unless we're discussing our internal guilt), we met through blogging and I'm so glad we did. Ambivalently Yours, we also got to meet online and I've really appreciate all of our thoughtful conversations and all thats come of them.

PS. Also because I really just gotta, thank you Mom because at the end of the day this blog wouldn’t have been in creation without you, and nor would I.

I hope you guys enjoy this giveaway, there’s a tone of great books up for grab! May the odds be ever in your favour.

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Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, every Tuesday there is a different bookish theme for bloggers to participate in.
Happy New Year! Notice anything different? You guessed it, I've finally set up my shiny new blog url *launches confetti*. It's been a long time coming but I'm excited to say that this blog can now be found at this dashing new address -> www.asunnyspot.com.au

Anyhow exciting news aside, today I'm writing to share with you the "Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR". If any of you have read some of the books listed below, I'd love to hear your thoughts on said novels! I especially need some help deciding which one to read first. 
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

2. Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes... 

3. My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Winter Romances edited by Stephanie Perkins
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

4. Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
5. This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Can the best thing happen at the worst time?
Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. 

6. Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame
When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden's parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she's about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler's group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can't understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn't – her step-brother.
Throw in Tyler's clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there's secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler? 
7. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
- find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
- need a liver transplant
- drive his car into a house
Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
- well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.
For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.
And Alice is caught in the middle.  
8. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O'Neill's world of Only Every Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called "eves") are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. Freida and Isabel are best friends. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions--wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives--life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls)--are too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty--her only asset--in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future--even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. 
9. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um...
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?
10. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can't bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back...

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king - for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

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Hello, It's Me.


Hey guys! It’s me Sunny, the one who used to write on this blog until she abandoned it yet again. I know, I know. I promised many a time that I wouldn’t resort to old habits but I did, so I guess this is the blogging equivalent to the walk of shame. The guilt is real.

I guess I should probably start by saying that it wasn’t my intention to go totally M.I.A. these past few months, however I realise that’s what’s happened. My blog is basically covered in cobwebs and I reckon its definitely time to dust then off – oh and update my blog link, that too! Do I have an excuse for my inactiveness in the blogging community other than busyness? Not entirely. I just think truthfully, I haven’t had it in me. I don’t have much energy to do anything other than eat chocolate and re-watch Supernatural episodes these days.

I haven’t read much either (much to the disappointment of my bookworm heart) or should I say anything. It’s horrible, I literally look at my bookshelf and am plagued with guilt. It’s not because I don’t want to because my heart is aching for an incredible YA contemporary right about now, but there’s just something blocking me. And if you’ve been reading the few posts I’ve published this past year, you’ll know that there has been for a long time.

I feel disappointed but mostly guilty, because this is not the first time I’ve left only to briefly return with promises of change that I did not deliver. I feel like I owe it to myself and other bloggers to be a proper blogger again (whatever the definition of that may be). I want to be able to call myself a book blogger without thinking “oh well you used to be, not so much anymore”.

I haven’t quite figured out what it is that’s been blocking my creative juices, but I’ve realised that blogging and reading aren’t the only thing that’s been affected by “whatever” this is. *insert mystery music here*. So while I’m working on getting back to my old self, I just thought I’d just be truthful instead of making promises that I can’t keep. They do say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

So while I am here, I wanted to share with you some things that I have been doing. You know, gotta balance the bad out with the good. Make myself feel less guilty.

  • Starting, catching up on and re-watching Supernatural; Why did it take me so long to jump on the SPN train? That show is my new religion, I could write essays on why Sam and Dean Winchester deserve all the happiness in the world and not just because they're unbelievably attractive.
  • Completing my final exams for the year; All I can say is good riddance. 
  • Working; *plays "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays*
  • Becoming grape friends (grape was intentional) with Fi from Books for Birds; You get weird when I compliment you so I'm not gonna but ily.
  • Occasionally reading awesome and amusing as hell celeb autobiographies; Yes I’m looking at you, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)” and “Why Not Me?”. Sidenote: Read these books, they were seriously great. Felicia Day & Mindy Kaling need to befriend me stat. 
  • Screaming my lungs out with 76,00 other Taylor Swift fans at the 1989 World Tour; I was reborn that night.
  • Becoming a frequent Ice Coffee Frappé buyer at MacDonald’s; Shout out to the peeps at Maccas who make my Frappé's so delicious every time.
  • Meeting Little Mix in October; Long story short, I died.
  • Becoming even more Feminist AF (did I just say that?); I have a lot to say about the topic and if you’re bored enough to wanna hear some of it, click here
  • Loving The Walking Dead Season 6; I told you suckers that _ _ _ _ _ was alive.

Before I go back to wasting time on netflix, I wanted to apologise again but also to say thank you for all of the bloggers and authors who still interact with me on twitter and the publishers who still send me books. You guys rule and inspire me to crawl out of hole and try again. Without promising anything, I'm gonna hopefully kick this slump in the behind and I'll see you next when I see you next. 

PS. Anyone have any books that are so awesome even book slump me will swallow it whole?

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Bookish Spinsters: What is Feminism?


Hiya guys! Long time no speak. I realise I've been MIA lately but I'm super pumped to be back with the first Bookish Spinsters post all about Feminism. Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase contacted me and asked me if I'd like to be a part of a bookish and feminist feature which I of course said yes to. Thank you Jo for creating this and letting me take part!

My name is Sunny and I am a Feminist.
Why? Because I believe Feminism is a movement that benefits people of all genders, ethnicities, sexualities and religions and allows us to be equal.

Firstly, let me clarify that this post isn’t intended to be some form of propaganda, I’m not looking to recruit. I’m merely sharing my personal views on Feminism and why its important to me. I’m not saying these beliefs are universal or should be believed by everyone. Also shocker: I do not hate men. Nor do most Feminists. Because in my belief those are extremists and extremists are a minority who are representing something different all together. 

As an individual, I believe Feminism is about gender equality and although we’ve made a great advancement in society and I acknowledge my privilege as a white female in Australia, we live in a society where males and females aren’t equal. I mean when we live in a world where a female earns less than her male co-worker for the same job, how can we be? That’s just never made sense to me. Why should I be paid less for putting in the same hard work because I was born a female? Why should the biology of a person define the way they are treated or the opportunities they have in life? Every woman is just as capable as a male and should be treated with that same respect. I was raised to believe that every human is capable of greatness, so why should I be underestimated and disadvantaged because of my down under?

A awesome illustration by one of my favourite artists ‘Ambivalently Yours’ that I feel sums up everything.

 Feminism is such an important movement because it allows us to feel empowered and beautiful in our own bodies. It gives us the chance to express our differences and many uniqueness’ when society tells us we shouldn’t. Every day the media is telling us we have to be this big, this small, this tan, this whatever but there is more than one way to be beautiful. Everyone looks different and that’s awesome! Beauty doesn’t have a size requirement.

One of my wonderful friends Louis, decided to share why he labels himself a proud Feminist; “I’m a Feminist because I believe that woman should be paid and treated the same as men. Woman are independent and are no way inferior to men. I’m a feminist because I believe in equality no matter your age, sex, race, and sexual orientation. We are all equal”.

Feminism means there’s more than one choice and that we get to make that choice ourselves. It means recognising that not everyone will make the same choices as us and respecting that. Some of the choices will be about our bodies and Feminism allows us to have control over our own body and the choices we make. E.g. the choice to shave or not.

As a female I’m more than a sexual object, and I shouldn’t have to accept objectification (nor should dudes). I mean lets be real, in what world is catcalling flattering? Thanks creepy guy, I totally wanted to hear what you thought of my ass. Real talk though; You don’t owe your body to anyone, its entirely your own.

I believe in Feminism because it gives me the chance to be whatever I want to be. It means at the end of the day I’m the one calling the shots. I can be a CEO if I want to or I can be a stay at home mother instead.

I’m a feminist because as a pdhpe student I’m tired of not being passed the ball. I’m tired of living in a society where a girls value is often tied down to her cup size. Because we are all so much more than that!

Feminism also allows us to defy our gender stereotypes. Who made up that stupid rule that banned guys from crying? We’re only human and having a penis (excuse my French) doesn’t suddenly mean life isn’t gonna suck from time to time!

When boys and girls are little, they’re divided by the girls and boys toy section. Pinks vs the Blues. But why can’t girls build things and drive cool trucks too? When a girl plays with a so called “boys toy”, she’s being unlady like and when a boy plays with a “girls toy”, he’s seen as weak. But I say that's plenty normal. Instead of labelling others, we all need to learn a bit about acceptance.

Also just think, its fantastic that there are boys and girls sport teams, but do you ever see the girls teams air on TV? No. That’s because they don’t get the same funding or attention. Girls can play sports just as well, Viola Hastings in She’s the Man proved this. So why are our wide variety of skills underestimated?

But girls aren’t always taught to kick the ball around in the yard, instead we are taught to bake and play dress up (there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do those things or wanting to do both). Basically they’re saying we all have to be Cinderella.

My lovely friend Avalon on why she's a Feminist; "I am a feminist because I believe in the equal rights for women. My mother has raised me to believe not only am I an equal to any man, but I can be better and that my sex has no persuasion on how I should be treated or how I live my life. All the sacrifices men and women have made towards the near equality we have today should not be for naught, and I should not only be grateful for my privileges as a woman in the 21st century but also continue on the work until we live in a world were being female is only affiliated with power and equality."

On a more serious note, I believe in Feminism because a girls choice in clothing does not give you permission violate her. But hey you know, don’t go out by yourself after dark, it’s not safe for a young lady. *Eye roll. Woman are often held responsible for rape and sexual harassment but there is never an excuse, and a victim is never to blame. Her consent matters! Feminism is a movement that spreads awareness of this. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the potential to be a wrestler who could kick some serious butt, so don’t come at me. That’s right, fighting like a girl is a good thing!

To end this post I wanted to say that you are awesome. Yes you!! The one reading this. No matter what gender, age, sexuality, religion or race you are awesome, I believe it and so does Feminism. Hopefully I haven’t left you feeling like you’ve just been lectured by your mother. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I’d love to hear your opinion on what I’ve had to say.

Sidenote: I’m totally not going to be offended if you open the door for me or pay for my meal (not that you should feel entitled to) but I actually think its really lovely when someone lets me go first and I’ll also show that same respect to others.

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Interview with Feminist Artist Ambivalently Yours

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I’m thrilled to be featuring my favourite online artist, Ambivalently Yours, in a special interview between two people who believe badassery also comes in shades of pink! In case you haven’t heard of Ambivalently Yours, she’s a anonymous artist who illustrates feminist art throughout various social media platforms such as tumblr and instagram. I’m a big fan of her work and was thrilled when she accepted my request to interview her on my blog. I’m hoping this post is the start of many discussing Feminism on A Sunny Spot as it’s a topic I feel passionately about. Enjoy!

1. Hi Ambivalently Yours, How are you?
I’m good, thank you!

2. Could you tell us a bit about what you do and the art you create?
I first started Ambivalently Yours when I was studying feminist art and working in the fashion industry, which seemed like a huge contradiction. At work, I was the feminist killjoy every time I raised a concern about the sexist undertones in our campaigns, and in art school I was the fashion girl who many assumed was duped by the patriarchy just because I liked cute clothes and girly colours. I felt caught somewhere in-between two worlds that I both loved and hated at times, in other words I felt ambivalent. Eventually, I decided to stop worrying about what others thought of me and embrace my contradictions. Ambivalently Yours became my fierce alter ego, giving me a way of exploring my feminist questions from this in-between place where things are undefined and pink can be powerful. 

3. How is your current project, #91daysofdrawing going?
It’s going really well. The project is part of an artistic residency I’m doing at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. I’m actually in the final week of my 91 day residency. My goal was to answer as many online messages as I could for three months and post drawings as responses to the messages. I had 310 pending messages in my inbox when I arrived here, and even though I’ve answered over 200 messages since I’ve been here, I now have 695 pending messages in my inbox. So obviously the work has grown a lot since I got here. This residency has also given me the opportunity to reflect upon the work I do and think about how I can expand my practice when the residency ends. (For more info visit: http://91daysofdrawing.tumblr.com/)

4. What is the meaning behind your name, Ambivalently Yours?
Ambivalence means loving and hating simultaneously, which is often confused for an inability to make up one’s mind, or not having a strong opinion.  Embracing ambivalence has given me the freedom to resist defining myself too narrowly. Part of being a feminist is about advocating for a woman’s right to choose. This right, however, does not imply there is only one choice. For example, my commitment to feminism could only occur once I gave myself permission to also embrace my love of fashion and the colour pink, two things often associated with the patriarchal domination of women. This refusal to choose between traditional femininity and radical feminism allowed for another space to exist: not a space of indecision but rather a space of undeciding. I call this space: Ambivalently Yours. My commitment to ambivalence is about learning to ask more questions rather than get stuck with incomplete answers. 

5. You proudly label yourself a Feminist, but for those who are a little confused about what the term really means, would you mind telling us what  “Feminism” mean to you?
In an article for the Glasgow-based zine TYCI  Kate Bailey wrote:  
“Feminism is the tool by which we achieve equality, Feminism is not a result nor tangible goal.” 
Feminism is often misunderstood as a desire for female dominance or dismissed as man hating. Feminism actual advocates for equal rights for men and women. By equal rights, I don't just mean take the rights that men already have and give them to women too, but also acknowledge that people are different and may have different needs. People of all genders deserve to be valued equally, even if they are different.  The same goes for people of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. 

6. Do you think it’s important that young woman call themselves Feminists? Why?
I know that a lot of people have a problem with the word “Feminist”. Feminism has a complicated history, and the word itself can be somewhat problematic for some. I don’t think the word itself matters so much, as long as you are fighting for your rights and those of others. There is this great quote by Isabel Allende that sort of sums it up well:
“For most western young women today, being called a feminist is an insult.  Feminism has never been sexy, but let me assure you that it has never stopped me from flirting and I have seldom suffered from a lack of men.  Feminism is not dead, by no means.  If you don’t like the term, change it for God’s sake.  Call it Aphrodite or Venus or bimbo or whatever you want.  The name doesn’t matter as long as we understand what it’s all about and support it.”
- Isabel Allende: Tales of passion, TED conference, March 2007 
7. In what ways does your artwork engage directly with the idea of feminism/do you consider them feminist works?
There is a huge support system for women and by women that exists online, especially on Tumblr, so this is not a format that I invented, but rather something that my work sort of mutated into as it adapted to it’s online environment. What it really boils down to is empathy. The act of reblogging is in itself an act of empathy. It is a way of saying: “Yes I get this” or “I feel this way too.” People began writing to me because they could empathise with my drawings, by responding to their messages with drawings I am acknowledging that I can empathise with them too. The drawings become an expression of that empathy, often illustrating things that words alone can’t. To me, this collaboration and support system that has grown out of my work is definitely a feminist statement. I also try to include a lot of quotes and links on my blog to the work of other feminists, to inspire people to learn more about feminism and to give people more tools to help them think critically about world issues. 

8. Are your aesthetic choices (colour, line, subject matter) chosen in relation to this feminist line of thought or are they just pleasing?
I’ve always loved pink and I do think it is a pretty badass colour, but many people strongly disagree with me. I decided to make all my drawings light pink because people kept telling me not to. The use of pink is actually my rebellion against everyone who told me that pink was not a powerful colour, or that my work was too feminine and not confident or strong enough, or that I should use darker pink or black because they are somehow perceived as stronger colours. I know that girls are brainwashed from a young age to like pink, and maybe part of my affection for it is rooted in that, but I disagree that everything associated with girlhood should be automatically be seen as weak.

9. What materials or programs do you use to produce your art?
All of my drawings start out the old fashioned way, on paper. I usually use cheap ballpoint pens, colour pencils, markers and watercolours.  Then I scan my drawings and clean them up and make them all the same shade of pink using Adobe Photoshop.  I also use Photoshop to create the animated GIFs.

10. As an artist, did it take you a while to find your own voice/style and way of expressing it?
I’ve always liked drawing girls and using girly colours, but it took me a long time before I developed a cohesive visual language or artistic style and it took me even longer to figure out what my drive to make art was all about. I studied art in university, then pursued a masters degree in art, and also worked in fashion in-between; my work experience and my education have all inspired and shape my artistic voice.

11. If you could go back to the past and tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Everything you think you want, will look very different when you actually get it. So pay attention, and be prepared to change your mind a lot.

12. If you could ensure your viewers took one message away from your art, what would that message be? You’re not alone.

13. When you initially started up Ambivalently Yours, did you imagine you’d receive such a following and the recent recognition that you’ve achieved?
No, not at all. I never thought so many people would be able to relate to what I’m doing. It’s really encouraging, and it makes me feel like I’m not so alone.  

Ambivalently Yours
Tumblr: ambivalentlyyours.tumblr.com
Twitter: twitter.com/AmbivalentlyYou
Facebook: facebook.com/ambivalentlyyours
Instagram: instagram.com/ambivalentlyyours

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REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Edition: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Hardback
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Pages: 337
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #2
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han is a charming and adorable young adult contemporary that won’t disappoint fans of book one, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I had a lot of fun reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before earlier this year, however I finished the book feeling extremely conflicted. I then felt even more argh, once I read the synopsis for P.S. I Still Love You which hinted at another possible love triangle.

So to start my review I'd like to quickly assure readers who had similar anxious thoughts when the synopsis screamed *love triangle alert* , that there is no need to stress.
Lara Jean was a lot more likable in P.S. I Still Love You. It was quite noticeable that she matured greatly, which came in handy throughout the novel. In book one I felt as though Lara Jean was a little too naive and that she acted much younger than her age, but her character definitely grew and developed throughout the story and I believe that’s probably because she started listening to her head and not just her heart.

I wrote in my review for book one that I thought Lara Jean wasn’t always 100% true to herself and I’m happy to say I feel as though she finally found her feet and I’m so proud! Gosh, damn Jenny Han and her lovable characters to whom I grow so attached to.

In To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before I enjoyed the scenes between Peter and Lara Jean, however they didn't excite me. But that totally changed in P.S. I Still Love You. I read a majority of the book at school and my friends can tell you that I squealed multiple times. The cuteness was too much for me to handle and I gotta say, they were pretty much goals.

Yet, at the same time Peter and Lara Jean certainly didn't have the picture perfect relationship that is all too common in Young Adult fiction these days. It was realistically flawed as were Peter and Lara Jean as characters. They had their fair share of high and lows which only contributed to the honesty and realism of their romance.

These highs and lows were often quite big, Lara Jean has some fairly stressful complications thrown at her. I wanted to give her a good old hug but I couldn’t cos you know… she’s sadly fictional and all (there goes my dreams of scrapbooking with Lara Jean). But I think Lara Jean and co handled those situations really well. P.S. I Still Love You also discusses some of the double standards between girls and boys and included some feminist talk, which I think is really important so I’m glad Jenny Han went there.
“Society is far too caught up in shaming a woman for enjoying sex and applauding a man.”

—  P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I really admired that Lara Jean didn’t change herself once she was in a relationship, nor did she abandon her family or friends. She kept her curious and sweet nature and never compromised her values. Go girl! I also love that Peter never made her do anything she was uncomfortable with, he was a much better guy than I thought and I think even I am fell in love with him just a bit (well a lot in a particular Kitty and Peter scene).

Lara Jean's family were majorly present throughout the whole book. This was a relief as parents often go missing in YA. Also, Lara Jean's bond was one of my favourite focuses in book one so I was glad Jenny Han continued to write in some sweet family moments rather than making her grow distant once she got a boyfriend.

As I mentioned earlier, the synopsis of P.S. I Still Love You, hinted at a love triangle which made me very nervous. Yes, there is another potential love interest introduced but I wouldn’t call it a love triangle. I’m so glad it didn’t play a bigger part in the plot. I wanted to dislike John Ambrose but he was super sweet so it was almost impossible, but Team Peter for the win.

While I really enjoyed the storyline of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I think I liked P.S. I Still Love You even better! I adore this series and I'm predicting a re-read in the very near future. It's a light and fun read but that certainly doesn't mean it wasn't emotional or hooking, it left a lasting impression. The ending was very satisfying, yet it also left some things to the imagination which makes this series being a duology very bittersweet. I miss it already.

If you haven’t jumped on the Jenny Han wagon, I recommend you jump on it right this moment! I mean if the glowing reviews don't convince you, just take a second to admire those gorgeous covers! They literally make beautiful hardcovers, I am in love.
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VIDEO: Little Girl LOVES Books

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This young girl was asked to talk about her new library and the magic of books in general, and what she had to say was pretty brilliant so I thought I'd share it with you! This kid is seriously awesome, I say we vote her as president. Enjoy!

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REVIEW: The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Edition: Harper Collins Paperback
Release Date: April 1st 2015
Pages: 293
Series: Dorothy Must Die #2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Received as an ARC from Harper Collins Australia (Thank you)
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book
To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die.... But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

Much to my delight, The Wicked Will Rise starts exactly where Dorothy Must Die finishes. The moment this goodie arrived in my mailbox I was jumping for joy. How could I not when I'd named Dorothy Must Die my favourite 2014 release?
You can read my review of book one here.  
I should start by commending Danielle Paige for delivering yet again such fabulous imagery. Paige describes Oz in a way that will have readers picturing the 'not so sunny' land down to the very last detail. She certainly gains points for world building, and while at times chilling, it's an exciting world to be in.

In comparison to Dorothy Must Die the themes are noticeably darker. Amy faces a constant battle between the wicked and the good, which we saw in book one has such a thin line. Personally, I always presume that when a protagonist dallies with magic, the author is always going to tempt them with the dark side. It always happens so it wasn't much of a shock to me when Amy started growing fonder and fonder of the dark magic that gave her so much power.
"Meet the new Witch, same as the old bitch" - The Wicked Will Rise
I like Amy as a protagonist. She's got gut and determination and has a lot put on her shoulders in this novel. So no wonder she got a little out of hand at times. But, she kept picking herself up and that's got to count for something. Plus she has pink hair and that's never going to not be awesome.

Thankfully characters I knew and loved from book one made appearances in book 2 and we were introduced to some new ones as well. Much to my delight, Nox and Amy were reunited. Which was great because I liked Nox and the sound of a potential relationship with Amy. I just had to see that explored.

Saying that, is it wrong that part of me missed the cocky and somewhat jerk version of Nox that was in book one? Not that being an ass is appealing, but I liked that awkward tension between Amy and Nox in Dorothy Must Die. The lack of banter was unusual.

The picky reader inside of me thinks the storyline would have benefited had they left the romance for the next volume or maybe just not in the middle of a war. Because I couldn't help but feel as though the romance didn't really add anything. Like a war doesn't really leave much screen time for movie dates and home cooked meals? Am I right? But then again this is the same girl who probably would have complained if there was zero romance.

With a world like Oz as your canvas, it leaves room for some pretty crazy, cool and exaggerated characters. Queen Lulu of the wingless monkeys was a quirky new addition to the series, as was Polychrome. Polychrome was basically a rainbow fairy princess who lives on a rainbow kingdom, which is incredibly cool. There was literally a scene where Amy and co, cannonballed into a rainbow. I was very jealous.

The Wicked Will Rise is funny. It's certainly not a boring fairytale you tell you're kids before they sleep, it's much too amusing for bedtime. I loved the pop culture references and I loved the dialogue, it was great.
"Witches get Stitches" - The Wicked Will Rise
My only disappointment was that I expected more. I thoroughly enjoyed The Wicked Will Rise but it was shorter than the first book, and noticeably less action packed. Over half of the book is Amy figuring out what to do or finding people who might know better. I kept waiting for it to reach that "holy crap this is exciting" part of the plot. The few battles were cool, but anti-climatic.

Without a doubt though, I was kept entertained. The overall plot thickened and despite it leaving me confused, The Wicked Will Rise ended on a interesting cliffhanger. I'm curious to see where that complication will lead Amy and the people of Oz in the next instalment, which I'll definitely be highly anticipating. If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for?

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A Sunny Spot 2.0

Hello lovely people who’ve stuck with me despite the drought over here on my blog. Thanks for staying around while I figured things out.

As the hopes of a new and exciting year sounded promising, I really did believe that the start of 2015 would begin a new chapter of blogging for me. Sadly, that hasn’t happened or at least it hasn’t happened quite yet, but I’m really hoping it still can despite the year starting off not as spectacularly as imagined.

I started questioning how I was managing my blog and if I was effectively doing so, I felt like all I was doing was making promises only to break them. So while Kelly from Diva Booknerd (a really fab book blog if you haven’t heard of it) so generously took up re-designing my blog, I decided it was time to re-evaluate why I blogged at all. And I decided to make some changes.

Very soon this blog will fit under the url, www.asunnyspot.com.au. That’s right I’m coming at ya with a whole new blog domain, no more is it A Super Sunny Spot or is it A Sunny Spot? Blog name confusion be gone!

I waited for a long time in hopes of publishing this post once the new url had been installed, however there have been some technological difficulties. I own the name so I just need to wrap my head around linking it to this current blog, so expect www.asunnyspot.com.au to be in action very soon!

While I’m a book nerd at heart, one who will always read and write and then proceed to write about reading and writing, I also have other interests that I’d like to write about. A Sunny Spot will definitely predominantly remain a Young Adult book blog. However, I’m not going to reject any potential inspiration that may come knocking on my door.

I think my writing will be a lot more frequent if I’m not limiting myself on what I write about and after reading this inspiring post, I discovered something. I realised that I'm also guilty of writing content that I wouldn't necessarily be excited to read if it was on another blog, and I wanna change that.  

I blog because I have a series of sometimes intangible thoughts (usually about books) and when I write them out and share them with you guys, they aren’t so intangible. Usually I’m not the only one obsessing over the likes of a fictional character and hearing so, is awesome.
“Reading brings us unknown friends.” — Honoré de Balzac
Lately I’ve been really overwhelmed by the constant stress to post all the time. I work and I’m in a pretty important year of high school so my free time, isn’t very free. But when I have to think about making time to read and write among everything and then beat challenges while doing so, it really blocks my creative juices.

I’ve never done well under pressure and I think that’s what's killing any sort of reading pattern I have. And then add on to that, hearing about fabulous bloggers who read like 10 books a month and blog almost every day, it’s really intimidating.

While I used to be a total reading machine and was doing pretty well with my blog before, reading 4 books a week etc. just isn’t realistic for me anymore. I am going to have months where I read some and months where I read none. That sucks but I think the sooner I realise that, the sooner I can find some sort of normalcy again because at this current time in my life that’s my reality.

I even have a gorgeous new blog button up for grabs on the sidebar.
But I’m going to continue to keep at it because I love blogging and reading is a part of me, so that won’t ever stop. However I’m going to stop promising posts all the time and just aim for quality posts whenever I can. Which means sometimes it will be quite here but hopefully other times it will be more alive than ever. And I’m excited to start that off with a new design and new url. How amazing is Kelly? I’m in love with my new look (thank you x1000).
How do you guys blog and why? Have a great day!
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Letter to Jennifer Niven

Dear Jennifer Niven,
As a blogger, every year I witness a few young adult novels come and throw the whole book blogging community into pandemonium. I was told before your novel was even released, that All the Bright Places would  be one of them.

The hype surrounding your debut is pretty big, which is always somewhat daunting. I hate comparisons but All the Bright Places has been compared to the likes of The Fault In Our Stars (my favourite novel), so of course I was interested by that. I was promised tears, emotion, feels and heartache, and I went on that journey hook line and sinker.

The two main characters you’d created, Violet Markey and Theodore Finch, stood out. They’re both total opposites, yet are united that day on the school bell tower, where they both contemplated suicide. Their lives about to be changed forever, little did they know. Being in dual perspective it gave me the perfect chance to get to know both of your protagonists and it was a pleasure.
“You know what I like about you, Finch? You’re interesting. You’re different. And I can talk to you. Don’t let that go to your head.”
… “You know what I like about you, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able? Everything.” 
Finch is perhaps one of the most memorable characters in Young Adult fiction. He’s lived life a misfit, constantly misunderstood, and getting in trouble. For the first half of the book, the only adjective I could think of for Finch was interesting. But as the book went on so many more were added to the list.

See, while Finch is constantly haunted by inner demons and dark periods in his life, he also has one of the most exciting and refreshing perspectives on living. A perspective that changed mine, he impacted not only Violet but me. I wondered how it was possible someone so bright and wise, whose attitude was so infectious, could be so unhappy? Finch was complex and had much going on underneath the surface, yet he was lovable.
“You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.…” 
Violet and her love of writing, resonated with me. I loved watching her transformation from a lonely, guilty and afraid girl who didn’t want to live a life without her sister, into someone who embraced life and what it mean to live. I felt so proud of her, you must have to.

I have many sisters (one who's called Violet as well) and the thought of losing any of them, breaks my heart. So the pain and self inflicted guilt Violet was going through was unimaginable.

The thing is, when I picked up your book, I had no idea i’d be picking up a book so powerful and raw. I felt all the goddamn feelings, I felt all the feels times ten. I finished the book with a lump in my throat, hands shaky and tears threatening to escape.

Literally as I turned the last page, I had family come over. I couldn’t greet them at the door without apologising, “Hey, how are you? Sorry but I just read the best book but it was so sad and I can’t deal and..”, really I could have gone on forever but they’d just come through the front door and I’d lost my chill.

I could barely eat dinner because my mind was too busy trying to comprehend the words I’d just read that past day. All I could think was, “These people I’m eating with have no idea who Violet and Finch are. They have to know, they have to know their story. THEY HAVE TO READ THIS”.

Your book matters, the characters matter, the story matters and it taught me what matters. All the Bright Places is important and breathtaking, amazing in it’s own accord and for so many reasons. It discusses things that needed to be discussed, the important issues such as mental illness, depression and suicide weren’t shied away from. Because of it’s brutal honesty it draws focus to the seriousness of these issues and the people who deal with them daily. All the Bright Places raises much needed awareness.
“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet - give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.” 
I think this is one of the only books I’ve read that has had me re-evaluate my view on life. It impacted me mentally and left me feeling bittersweet, both happy and totally heartbroken at the same time. I wanted to end this letter by saying thank you, because your book over the past few days, has become very special to me. As have the characters and the lessons I’ve learnt from it. I will definitely read anything you publish next, your writing is beautiful and you are very talented. But I ask you kindly for the sake of my own fragile heart, to make it less painful. I am not a girl who likes to cry.

Sunny xx
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January Round Up

Hello February!
Can't believe that the first month of 2015 has well and truly passed us. For me, it was a pretty good month. Aside from having to return to school after spending the vast majority of the month lounging around being lazy and loving every moment. Gee, holidays were good!

I did get a good start on my reading challenge and celebrated my third blogoversary! I would have loved to say I read more and posted more, but at least all 4 of the books I read were really epic reads. A great way to start the year!
This month I read the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin and I wasn't disappointed. As promised to me, I devoured every bit of the series and loved pretty much everything about it - solid recommendation there Indigo! It's definitely one for the favourites/must recommend at any chance shelf. You can catch my review of the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, here.

I also read To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, a cute young adult contemporary (my review here). I admittedly had a few problems with it but enjoyed it a hell of a lot. It's a book begging to be re-read, it was just that good! I took it on holiday with me which was a great decision. I'm literally dying for book two which speaking of, finally has a cover! It's gorgeous and will match the first book perfectly.
During the last week of holidays I took a trip to the coast for a week and had the best time. My family and I visit every year and it's always so relaxing. It's located extremely close to a number of lovely beaches which I most definitely took advantage of.

My week vacay consisted of: Diving/bellyflopping off rocks into a shallow rock pool only to regret it later on, collecting jelly blobber, climbing on weird rock formations and grazing myself multiple times, visiting cousins whom I discovered wrote fanfic (we had heaps to talk about once I discovered this) and marathoning season one of Heroes because you know... save the cheerleader, save the world.

Earlier on in the month before my coastal getaway (say getaway and it sounds ten times fancier) I worked, got a new iPhone 5, spent way to much money on Boost smoothies and reduced christmas candy stockings, caught up with some friends including the fabulous Francoise, and also watched and throughly enjoyed Into the Woods. But of course, a school holiday is not a school holiday without visiting Ikea. You wouldn't believe the mischief and weird adventuring that goes down when my family (more like tribe) visits Ikea.

This month I'm focusing on getting my blog into shape and also getting settled into Year 10. But mostly I'll be counting down the days until February 7th (2 DAYS EXCLUDING TODAY). Which by the way is not just any normal day. It's the day I'll finally get to see One Direction live after four years of being way too obsessed with them. Gosh I'm not looking forward to dealing with that bout of post concert depression! Twitter followers, I apologise in advance.

I'm hoping to read these lovely titles and more this month. SUPER THRILLED TO OWN THEM ALL!
How was your January? Any exciting things popping up this month?
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