2019 July Curiositales Magazine with Breeana Shields and MG Hennessey

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Interview with Breeana Shields of The Bone Charmer

Recipes from The Bone Charmer and The Echo Park Castaways








SOCIETY’S INVISIBLE KIDS Interview with MG Hennessey of The Echo Park Castaways





A look at this sometimes confusing genre

Check out these three amazing Bookstagram creators

The Collector’s Treasury in South Africa



CONTENTS 09 Editor’s Letter

A note from the editor.

11 Contributors

Learn more about this month’s writers, photographers, and crafters. 12 Giving Back Learn more about this month’s charity. 14 Fate vs Free Will Breeana Shields of The Bone Charmer 24 Breeana Shields | Share Your Shelf Breeana shares her favorite bookish items.

28 Seeking Contributors

Like what you’re reading? Join our team! 30 Fiction Food Recipes inspired by The Bone Charmer and The Echo Park Castaways. 36 Society’s Invisible Kids MG Hennessey of The Echo Park Castaways. 44 MG Hennessy | Share Your Shelf MG’s tour of her favorite bookish things. 50 The New Adult Phenomenon by Mieke Göttsche 62 Bookstagram Creators Check out these awesome readers. 84 July New Releases

88 Around the World










Letter From The Editor

One year. Curiositales Magazine has been connecting readers, authors, and creators for one year and it has been amazing. On July 15th, 2018 we released our first issue. I am so proud of the way the magazine has grown and changed over the past 12 months. We could not have done it without you, the reader, sharing the magazine with your friends and fellow bookworms, so thank you. This month I talked to Breeana Shields about her tale that explores the idea of fate and to MG Hennessey about the kids all around us who are overlooked every single day. Thank you to everyone who took part in this month’s special issue. Please continue to share the magazine so that we can continue to publish for many more years to come. Happy Reading, Gillian St. Clair Founder CURIOSITALES



EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gillian St. Clair CONTRIBUTORS Kelsey Bjork, Mieke Gรถttsche Elle Jauffret, Nasirah Kathrada, Juliet White


ONLINE Curiositales is a digital monthly magazine. We also engage readers with a free newsletter. For your regular dose of all things bookish, subscribe at www.curiositales.com

COPYRIGHT Copyright 2019 by Curiositales Magazine. All rights reserved. This magazine or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in review.




Mieke Göttsche The New Adult Phenomenon

Mieke Göttsche is a 23 yoblogger from South Africa. She studied English literature for four years at the University of Pretoria and will be continuing her Masters in Children’s and Young Adult Literature in September at Dublin City University.

Nasirah Kathrada Around the World Nasirah Kathrada is the 15 year old author of Behind The Lens. She’s a young muslim girl from South Africa with a passion for writing and hopes to one day publish a best-selling novel of her own.

Elle Jauffret Food Writer Elle Jauffret writes from personal experience about the culinary arts, mysteries, and France.

You can find her at ellejauffret.com or @ElleJauffret on Twitter and Instagram.


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GIVING BACK July 2019 | Issue 13

Every month we feature an organization that’s working to make change within the reading community around the world. When we each commit to change, the growth is immeasurable. Check out this month’s feature, and, if their mission statement is in alignment with your own beliefs, follow them online and help out however you are able.




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What do we get to choose and what is meant to be?

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FATE VS. FREE WILL Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Kelsey Bjork

n a world where bones have magical powers and are able to tell secrets of the past, present, and future, things can get a little complicated. This is especially true for Saskia whose mother is a Bone Charmer. It’s her responsibility to tell seventeen year olds, including Saskia, what their futures hold. When Saskia is assigned to be a Bone Charmer herself and is paired with a partner she hates, she is infuriated that her mother chose this particular path when there were other options. As they argue over her future they cause a fracture in one of the bones. Now the bones, and Saskia’s future, are split. She will have to live two different timelines simultaneously until she can make things right again. But which path will she choose? CURIOSITALES

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“I was trying to explore the ideas of fate and free will and what roles those play. What do we get to choose and what is meant to be?” Breeana Shields said about her third novel, The Bone Charmer. “I hoped readers would think deeply about those things.” Having a story with two plots makes the writing process more complicated, but the idea behind it is something that Shields has been thinking about for a while. “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of little choices making really big changes. Ever since I was little, I’ve asked myself things like, what if I had gotten that teacher instead of this one? What would have changed?” Shields pondered. “There were definitely times when it was challenging to make sure I had everything straight and that I remembered what Saskia knew and when so the timelines would stay consistent. But it was also really fun to write two completely different stories where sometimes the things that happen are the same and sometimes not.”

story together and make everything work took a while until, finally, everything clicked and I felt like I had all of the pieces I needed to begin.” The idea phase is a special part of the writing process. It’s the time in which authors truly allow their imaginations to run wild because nothing has been set in stone – but it can’t last forever. Authors have to recognize when they are ready to finally start that first draft.

It’s always frustrating to feel like you have a good idea that you’re not good enough to execute yet, but it just makes it that much more fun when the pieces fall into place.

Writing a book isn’t an exact science – everyone has their own process. And that process often changes with each new book an author creates. For Shields, the tran“I was struggling for a long time with sition from the idea phase to the writing how to keep the timelines separate and phase was especially different this time not confusing. But the movie Sliding around. Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow helped me come up with a solution. The filmmakers “With my last series, I immediately startchanged her hair color so viewers could ed writing once I got the idea, whereas instantly differentiate the timelines, so I The Bone Charmer percolated for years,” tried to do something like that in writing,” Shields explained. Shields said. “But instead of a visual cue, I used two completely different settings “Trying to figure out how to weave the instead.” 16


“It’s always frustrating to feel like you have a good idea that you’re not good enough to execute yet, but it just makes it that much more fun when the pieces fall into place.” Another big element that Shields needed to figure out was the magic system. The idea started when her and her husband had a conversation about bones and the magical like qualities they possess. For example, the marrow they contain is able to fight off disease and they have the ability to mend themselves. “I went from there by asking myself: if bones were magical how would that affect everything else?” Shields said. “What

kind of food would the people in this world eat? What would the economy be like? So I kind of built from the ground up that way.” As Shields was creating her magic filled world she discovered a way to include some great imagery that ties in perfectly with the Saskia’s life splitting in two. “I was inspired by the landscape of the delta, so I wanted that symbolism of having branches go out in all different directions where there are multiple possible paths.” Nature is very important to Shields, so it’s no wonder that it plays an integral role in her story.

If bones were magical how would that affect everything else?


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“I think our environment affects our personalities a lot, actually. I grew up in the mountains and my husband grew up near beaches and, because of that, we gravitate toward different settings to relax,” she shared.

“I’m definitely more aware of the author now that I’ve written books. I’ll sometimes find myself wondering if I’m interpreting what the author is going for correctly and that’s something I used to never think about at all.”

“He finds the beach and the ocean a lot more calming than me and I find trees and green more calming. So I’m conscious of a character’s environment and how that might affect them, their personality, and how they see the world.”

So much love, time, and effort is put into the tiniest details of a book. Sometimes these details can go unnoticed, but that just makes the times that readers do manage to discover them all the more rewarding.

It can be easy for readers to be so immersed in a book that they basically forget that there’s an author behind the words they are reading, but that’s no longer the case once they become that person themselves.

“It’s really gratifying when readers pick up on symbolism that I intended. But it’s also funny how sometimes someone can just run with something you never even thought of,” Shields said.



“I’ll have the theme of my book in my mind at least a little bit from the beginning, I would say. But I think that, sometimes, symbolism and similar elements are the kinds of things that you can develop further in edits,” Shields explained. “During the beginning I’m thinking more about the story and how I can make it exciting. But that’s just because, sometimes, you have to wait until later on in the writing process to realize that you’ve kind of developed a theme subconsciously. But then you can go back and strengthen it.” Writing a book takes effort, time, and a ton of patience. Those three especially come in handy during the revision process, especially since authors tend to have to go through several rounds of edits. “I’ve always been pretty self-disciplined, and I’ve always been pretty driven and ready to do whatever it takes, so I would definitely consider myself to be a perfectionist. And while that can be a good thing sometimes it can actually make moving forward more difficult if I don’t think everything is perfect yet,” Shields said. “So because of that I’m kind of a slow writer. I have to fight back the desire to be too perfectionistic on the first draft and instead keep moving forward, so that can be a frustration.” In any case, Shields absolutely adores being an author. She has learned a lot since publishing her first novel, one of them being that with each book an author publishes, there are new highs and new lows.

I kind of write for the reader I was as a teenager. So I think that people who love fantasy, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of mystery in their books will like The Bone Charmer.

There tends to be an especially high level of excitement surrounding debut novels, but a perk to not being new to the publishing world is the possibility of having more say when it comes to things like the book cover. “Page Street publishing has been really great to work with. They had me create what was essentially a mood board on Pinterest of images of things that I liked and of things that remind me of the book,” she said. “The cover designer, Kylie Alexander, and the artist who did the illustrations, Mina Prince, did such a great job.” Not only is the cover of The Bone Charmer beautiful, it also includes some Easter eggs. “Other than creating the mood board, I had nothing to do with creating the cover, but I can definitely see the elements that I had on Pinterest in the design. They did CURIOSITALES

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such an amazing job of incorporating both timelines and including elements that you’ll be able to recognize as you read.” Shields is so ecstatic for this novel to become available to readers, many of whom she believes she would be able to relate to very well. “I kind of write for the reader I was as a teenager. So I think that people who love fantasy, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of mystery in their books will like The Bone Charmer.” YA fantasy is an incredibly popular genre, but unfortunately, that was not the case back when Shields was a teen. “I didn’t read much fantasy at all growing up, so I love how much it has taken off. Harry Potter didn’t come out until I was in my late teens, so I didn’t read the series as a child, but I would have adored those books,” Shields said. “I actually didn’t start reading fantasy until college, so it’s so funny that I ended up writing it,” she added with a giggle. “I definitely would have loved to discover that genre earlier.”



There’s something about taking ourselves out of a real world setting that can help us see the real world more clearly. We kind of lose some of the things we’re attached to in the real world and are able to see situations a little bit more clearly in a fantasy world.

No matter how long someone has been a There are so many books for readers to fan of the fantasy genre it’s safe to say that be excited about and The Bone Charmer, of they’d all agree that there is just somecourse, is one of them. thing special about it. Every reader has their own reason for finding themselves drawn to these particular types of stories, but Shields explained why she believes they are so fascinating, especially to teens. “There’s the magic of it, of course. But I also think that there’s something about taking ourselves out of a real world setting that can help us see the real world more clearly. We kind of lose some of the things we’re attached to in the real world and are able to see situations a little bit more clearly in a fantasy world. In other words, I think it just allows you to explore a lot of different things that would maybe be too loaded to take on in a real world setting,” Shields said. “So that, along with magic and visiting places you’ve never been to and places that don’t exist, is simply fun.” There are so many amazing novels that have been or will be published and Shields is excited for them, too. “I just read Holly Black’s The Wicked King and I’m super mad that I have to wait a whole other year for the next book to be released. But I love that series, and Holly is great, so I’m so excited to get that in January 2020. I haven’t read Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller, but I’m excited for that one. Then there’s also Kendare Blake’s final book in her Three Dark Crowns series that I’m looking forward to – so, yeah, I’m excited for everything,” she said laughing.

I just love books that spark something within me. So I hope readers take that away from my books.

“I hope people connect with Saskia, and I hope that they find it to be a thought provoking book. Because, to me, it’s always gratifying when I read something that makes me think about things in a different way or sticks with me for a few days. But to put it simply, I just love books that spark something within me. So I hope readers take that away from my books.” The Bone Charmer was released on May 21 so now is the perfect time to find out how you can get your own copy right now! Follow Breeana Online: Twitter Instagram Website CURIOSITALES

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Share Your Shelf 1. IDEA JOURNAL I love having a pretty place to jot down new ideas or bits of inspiration. My favorites are these journals from Paperblanks. They look like vintage books! 2. COZY SWEATER I run cold, so I’m always wrapped in a big oversized sweater while I write. The warmer, the better. 3. PENCIL CUP The pencil cup on my desk is a replica of Hemingway’s typewriter. Useful spot for all my #2 Ticonderoga pencils and inspiration all in one. 4. SCENTED CANDLE I love having a cozy work space to write, and nothing quite sets the mood like flickering candlelight. Especially if it smells amazing too.



with Breeana Shields

5. THE PERFECT ERASER Sometimes, if I’m feeling stuck, I like to step away from the computer and write by hand. But not having a delete key means I need a great eraser. Forget those pink ones from school days. Nothing works quite as well as these hi-polymer erasers from Pentel. They obliterate all evidence of mistakes, so you can feel like a writer who never needed editing. (Ha!) 6. COMPOSITION BOOK COMPUTER SKIN I love my composition book computer cover from Decalgirl. It adds lots of style, but no bulk. (And it has confused many a TSA employee at the airport who assured me I didn’t need to remove my notebook from my carry on.) 7. SHARPIE PENS I love Sharpie pens! I use them for everything— for editing, for jotting down ideas, even for signing books. I make sure to keep a supply on hand at all times. 8. LITERARY SCARF My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and what better way to feel inspired than literally wrapping yourself in the words of Jane Austen? 9. NOISE-CANCELING HEADPHONES Sometimes I need to block out all distractions, so I love to put on a good pair of headphones and listen to relaxing music. 10. WRITING CRAFT BOOKS I love reading books on writing. My current favorite is Story Genius by Lisa Cron. CURIOSITALES

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Curiositales Magazine is on the lookout for contributors. If you have an idea geared toward readers, send us an email: contribute@curiositales.com. Our readers are creative and talented and we want to feature you. Send us an email to be considered for an upcoming issue. Cosplayers: 10 Full Page Photos featuring characters from literature. Payment $50 within 30 days of publication. 28




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By Elle Jauffret

THE BONE CHARMER […] long skewers threaded with tender chunks of meat and crisp vegetables […]. […] bowls of sugared berries, and braided loaves of butter-glazed bread.”



GRILLED CHICKEN AND BELL PEPPER SKEWERS (2 SERVINGS) Slice 2 chicken breasts in cubes and marinate (1 tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp Mediterranean rotisserie seasoning) for 1 hour. Slice 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green) in cubes. Thread chicken and bell pepper onto the skewers. Cook on a grill, set on medium-high heat, until cooked through (they should be brown on both sides—about 3 minutes per side). BOWL OF SUGAR BERRIES (2 SERVINGS) In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of fresh blueberries + 1 cup of strawberries (sliced in halves or quarters) + juice of ½ lemon. Gently mix. Divide in 2 small bowls and sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar each. BRAIDED BRIOCHE (MAKES 2) In a bowl, combine 1 cup water +7 tbsp butter (melted and cooled), 2 large eggs + 1 1/4 tsp salt + 3 tbsp sugar + 3 3/4 cups bread flour, 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast. Knead well (about 8 minutes). Shape into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise for about 90 minutes (the dough should double in size). Punch dough down and cut in 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a “snake” and braid the dough. Place on cookie sheet and let rise for about 30 minutes. Brush with eggwash and bake for about 25 minutes in a 350-degree-oven. CURIOSITALES

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THE ECHO PARK CASTAWAYS “But so far the kid hadn’t said a word, not even to ask for salt, even though it was tough to get through Mrs. K’s “meat loaf surprise” without it. […]. […] and she’d shower me with kisses and then we’d have chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.”



MRS. K’S MEATLOAF In a medium bowl, combine 1lb ground turkey +1/2 cup shredded parmesan +1 ¼ tsp salt + ½ tsp ground black pepper + ½ cup chopped onion +1/2 cup fresh parsley + 1 egg (beaten) + 8 oz canned diced and roasted tomatoes with juice + 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Mix well and place in a baking dish. Cook in a 375-degree-oven for 75 minutes. (until turkey fully cooked). Let cool 10 minutes before serving. BEST BOY VIC’S CHOCOLATE CAKE Whisk together ½ cup cocoa powder + (1/4 cup +2 tbsp) boiling water until smooth. Add ¾ cup milk and whisk until incorporated. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together: 2 ¼ cups flour + ¾ tsp baking soda +1/4 tsp salt. In bowl of a mixer, cream 18 tbsp unsalted butter (softened) until fluffy. Add 1 ½ cup sugar + 3 tsp vanilla. Mix until blended. Add 3 eggs. Mix well. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture. Mix well. Divide equally among small cake or cupcake molds. Bake in a 350-degree-oven until done (about 25 minutes-the point of a knife should come out clean when inserted into cake). Top with frosting of your choice. CURIOSITALES

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French-born, Californian lawyer by day, writer/home chef by night, Elle Jauffret writes from personal experience about the culinary arts, mysteries, and France. She received the 2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference Choice award and loves creating “fiction food” based on the books she enjoys. You can find her at ellejauffret.com or @ElleJauffret on Twitter and Instagram




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All too often these kids are moved from one placement to another, or they end up in a group home—particularly the older kids.

SOCIETY’S INVISIBLE KIDS Interview by Gillian St. Clair Written by Juliet White

When kids in foster care turn 18

years old, 20 percent of them instantly become homeless—they’ve aged out of the system. It makes sense, then, that one out of every four kids who age out neither graduate from high school, nor get their GED. These startling statistics reveal how our society lets down a lot of children. Author M.G. Hennessey took her firsthand knowledge of the foster care system and used it as the inspiration for her latest middle grade novel, The Echo Park Castaways. The book, which will be released this month, provides readers with a window into experiences that may be far removed from their own. CURIOSITALES

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“I actually work with foster kids, so the subject is near and dear to me,” Hennessey explained. “You don’t see that many accurate representations of what they go through every day. My initial idea for this was Stand By Me meets The Boxcar Children. My kids love those books and it’s a little sad that there’s no modern version of that, even though the foster care system has exploded over the last decade—especially here in Los Angeles.” The Echo Park Castaways centers around three foster kids—Neveah, Vic, and Mara—whose precarious home life is destabilized when Quentin, a child on the autism spectrum, comes to live with them. “Neveah has had it the worst, because she’s cycled through a lot of pretty awful foster homes,” said Hennessey. “None of the ones she talks about are torn directly from the headlines, but they’re all completely plausible situations. I had to keep in mind the audience I was writing for, and show the downsides of the system without including some of the more frightening realities that would be too much for a nine year old.” “All too often these kids are moved from one placement to another, or they end up in a group home—particularly the older kids.” This led Hennessey to create characters in that age range. In the novel, “Mara’s the youngest one, but the others are aged 11 to 13. Those kids are already considered unadoptable by the system. The best they can hope for is long-term legal guardianship. So the story itself is entirely fictional, but the circumstances that these kids are in are very real.” 38


“It was really important for me to avoid stereotypes. Neveah has mapped out a very clear life path for herself. She wants to go to medical school. She works really hard. She’s determined. One of the reasons she’s not making emotional connections with her foster siblings is because she’s been in and out of a bunch of foster homes and feels like it’s a waste of time, and she’s got her eye on the prize. For Vic, his coping mechanism is creating this fantasy world that he exists in, which is something done by a lot of kids who have been through trauma.”

Mara’s the youngest one, but the others are aged 11 to 13. Those kids are already considered unadoptable by the system. The best they can hope for is long-term legal guardianship. So the story itself is entirely fictional, but the circumstances that these kids are in are very real.

“The purpose of the book is to show that there are all different kinds of families, and that love and support doesn’t have to come from traditional sources—you can create it yourself,” Hennessey continued. “When the story opens Nevaeh, Vic, and Mara eat together, go to school together and live together, but they don’t confide in each other, don’t rely on each other, don’t support each other. But after a new child joins the house, they undertake a quest to reunite him with his mother. The adventures and misadventures they undergo on that journey bring them closer together.” As a member of the LGBTQ community, Hennessey has long been involved with vulnerable teens through the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “A lot of the kids there are homeless teenagers whose families rejected them when they came out. So that’s a group that I’m passionate about helping, and it segued into volunteering for the foster care system as well. The idea of a found family is something that’s really important to us in the LGBT community.” That concept can obviously be valuable to kids in the system, too.

There are all different kinds of families... love and support doesn’t have to come from traditional sources—you can create it yourself.

writing [The Echo Park Castaways], I kept getting back editorial notes saying, ‘Well, this doesn’t feel very realistic. Why would they put a boy with Asperger’s in a home without someone trained to deal with a child with Asperger’s? Why doesn’t he have a classroom aide right away?’ And all I could think was, it took 6 months just to get an eye exam for one of the kids I’ve worked with! There’s a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. You have to go through three different departments to get approval. Even after a judge orders something—every time we go in for a hearing the judge issues orders—making those orders actually manifest into reality, that’s a whole other thing.”

Hennessey admitted to a certain level of idealism when she started her work. She thought, “If they can’t be reunified with their families, we’re going to find every kid this perfect home, and it’ll all be unicorns and rainbows. What I learned very Hennessey serves as a Court Appointed quickly was that my job was to find the Special Advocate (CASA). Her role is to best out of a lot of less than ideal options.” represent the best interests of children in the foster care system. Typically, these She’s far from the only one to battle the advocates remain attached to a case until a contrast between what we, as a society, child is settled in a permanent home. “My want for our kids and the resources avail- job as a CASA is to be a stabilizing force,” able within the system. “When I was CURIOSITALES

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Hennessey explained. “There are so many people in and out of [these kids’] lives, and so many of them have been unable to rely on adults. To have an adult who’s just there for them as they go through the system, and who’s going to help them with things that their social worker might not have time for, makes a huge difference.”

“The child I’m working with now was out of school for years. The public school system decided that to catch her up, they’d have her do two grades at the same time. That included Saturday school, which sounded to me like The Breakfast Club detention! But no, there’s Saturday school, there’s winter school, there’s summer school. To her credit, initially she was game for it. But doing two math subjects at the same time, when one is supposed to be the foundation for the next one, was impossible. Her grades kept slipping, and she was on the verge of dropping out.” “So we transferred her to a charter school where she had a more flexible schedule, the school had a full-time social worker and therapist on staff, and they really focused on emotional support as well as academics. It’s amazing the change that wrought in this kid’s life. She almost caught up to grade level in six months; it was a complete 180. These kids are so 40


resilient and resourceful—they’ve had to be—so if you can give them something to hang onto, it can be life changing.” “Sometimes [you see] generations of family members going through foster care and perpetuating this cycle, or they have older siblings who are already incarcerated or homeless or drug dependent,” Hennessey added. “The risks of that future are very clear to them, but they can’t envision an alternative. So 90 percent of the job is trying to convince them that they have value, and that there is another path. No one wants to be homeless or in jail by the time they’re 24.”

These kids are so resilient and resourceful—they’ve had to be—so if you can give them something to hang onto, it can be life changing.

The foster care system is another place where our society’s problem with institutionalized bias is laid bare. “There are so many people of color in [the system],” Hennessey said. “And that’s not because people of color are more likely to abuse

or neglect their children; it’s because they’re more likely to have their kids taken away in situations where a white family would be given multiple chances to keep their kids. The judges, the lawyers, the social workers, everyone I’ve met is really devoted to helping these kids, but they’re also—like me—almost entirely white.”

assigned at birth with anyone, not even their closest friends.”

“Coming out as a trans person is different from coming out as a gay person. When you’re coming out as a gay person, you’re coming out as your true self. By coming out as a trans person, you run the risk of people seeing you as someone you’re not. The conflict for my character is that if Hennessey’s work within the community he told his closest friends that he’d been and as an author have long overlapped. assigned female at birth, they wouldn’t Her first middle grade novel sparked from have seen him for who he truly was. But the realization that many books depictit also meant having to keep part of himing trans characters focused on trans girls self secret, which is tough. A big thing for and on the transition process. “Trans boys any LGBTQ person is the conflict between weren’t getting as much attention,” she something being secret and something noted. “I run a family camp—a weekend being private.” retreat in the mountains where families with kids who identify as transgender or Hennessey values her own privacy—a nonbinary come with their entire families. dilemma in a career that requires a certain The youngest kids we have are 4, and the level of self-promotion. “I’m not part of oldest kids are 18. And I mentor a transthe generation that grew up with social gender boy here in L.A., who I’ve worked media. I don’t like posting photos of mywith since he was 13. That provided a lot self; I have an avatar for my book cover,” of the motivation for me to write The Other she revealed. “As a writer, you have to Boy.” lock yourself into a space where you can create worlds and delve into characters, “One of the kids I worked with at the and I find it hard to switch gears between center said, ‘Everyone seems to think that that and tweeting about things. When I once you transition, BOOM, you’re all do tweet, it’s usually about political issues set and everything’s fine.’ And that’s not that I’m passionate about, related to the actually the case. It’s a constant series of books. Instagram is still a bit of a mystery challenges, and I wanted to show that in for me.” The Other Boy. Shane, the main character in my book, is living stealth, which is “I feel we are too confessional a society something that a lot of the kids at camp now,” Hennessey said. “Everyone is exdo. They come out, and their parents pected to report everything from what support them through the transition, and they had for breakfast to what their politithey end up moving or switching schools. cal views are, and I’m not totally comfortWhen they restart this way, with an opable with that. [Publishers] feel it’s anothportunity to live as their true selves, they er marketing avenue and a way to reach usually don’t share the gender they were people. I agree, but we’ve been selling CURIOSITALES

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The world would be a better place if people devoted just a few hours per year to some sort of cause. It’s up to all of us to make our communities better, and to help the most vulnerable among us. This is the time to step up. Try and lend whatever help you can.

books for a long time. We managed to do it for decades before we had these tools, so I feel like [social media] is just another tool, and maybe shouldn’t be considered the most important one.” When Hennessey meets readers, she hears the same question again and again: ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ However, “the advice I prefer to give is more about how to write a book; that’s something that feels really daunting. Some people write 400 pages in a month, and then don’t write another word for the rest of the year. Some people write a page every few weeks, and it takes them ten years to finish a book. Everyone has their own process. But I always say that if you write just 42


a page a day, by the end of the year you’ll have a book. I don’t think anyone should ever feel like they’re not a writer or not entitled to that, for any reason.” “As a writer, I hope that people like Echo Park Castaways, and that they understand it comes from a really sincere place. I want it to be hopeful and show that these kids have created a brighter future, without it being completely implausible—because that’s annoying too, when it feels fake and constrained. Keep an open mind, and enjoy it for what it is. At its heart, [The Echo Park Castaways] is a story about hope and found families, and about how kids are capable of more than we give them credit for.” “My main focus is always some sort of community service,” Hennessey concluded. “The world would be a better place if people devoted just a few hours per year to some sort of cause. It’s up to all of us to make our communities better, and to help the most vulnerable among us. This is the time to step up. Try and lend whatever help you can.” If you’re interested in learning more about CASA/GAL, or in becoming a community advocate, visit the organization’s website. The Echo Park Castaways is available on July 2nd, 2019. Pick up your copy of this novel, or The Other Boy here. Follow M.G. Hennessey Online: Twitter Instagram Website


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Share Your Shelf

with M.G. Hennessey 1. MY GO-TO COFFEE MUG This was my Mothers’ Day present a few years ago, and it’s my all-time favorite mug. Because aside from the actual coffee IN the mug, there’s nothing more inspiring than skimming some of the best lines ever written. 2. MY TRUSTY HRC HAT Whenever I get stuck on a plot point, I’ve found that getting up and going for a walk usually helps sort things out. And since I live in sunny LA, a hat is always a must! This “Love Conquers Hate” hat from the Human Rights Coalition comes in 4 colors, has a great message, and buying it benefits an amazing organization 3. BOOK LETTERS I have these in “M” and “G” and they’re the coolest bookends ever. They’re my goto gift for friends who are readers and/or writers (really, they’re great for anyone!) 4. JANE EYRE CLUTCH PURSE I’m a bit of a homebody, but when I do go out I’ve found that this purse not only holds everything I need, it’s a great conversation piece to break the ice. And how gorgeous is it?





This is the most amazingly soft and comPowell’s is not only one of my favorite fortable t-shirt I’ve ever owned, and the bookstores (among many) but they sell company that makes it, “The Do Good this super cool water bottle that I picked Shop,” not only hires 30% of their workup when I was touring there. After all, it’s force from people who have spent time in important to stay hydrated when you’re foster care, but 10% of their profits support trying to figure out your ending (plus, it organizations that also help foster kids counters all the coffee :)!) (they sell lots of other cool clothing, too). 6. MORTIFICATION BOOK I’ve had some…let’s call them “unique” experiences on tour. But nothing compared to these famous writers. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated, sitting down to read one of these tales of writerly woe always makes me laugh.


7. NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES I know a lot of writers need music to work; I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I need absolute silence. And since I live in a city filled with construction noise, helicopters swooping overhead, and sirens, I rely on these to provide the necessary zen environment. Attractive, I know.

Sometimes my “office” is actually my bed…or my couch, or my floor…it just depends on my mood. This amazing lap desk holds everything I need (and a few things I don’t) and the ergonomics are great. 10. STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the one thing I’m a sucker for is strawberry ice cream; specifically Haagen Dazs! So when it’s time to treat myself, I reach for a spoon and a pint of this. CURIOSITALES

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It Matters

The New Adult Phenomenon Is the New Adult phenomenon so new after all? - a look into a relatively unknown genre Harry Potter has defeated Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen has overthrown the government, Simon Spier has graduated from high school. Now what? There is a definite gap in the market when it comes to books for post-adolescents who crave something more than the average coming of age story found in your usual young adult novel. Many readers between the ages of 18 and 29 find it difficult to obtain reading material that reflects the struggles in their brand new adult lives. They have passed the stage of puberty and high school and now have been thrust into the adult world. This change in the lives of newly appointed adults is a shock to most and they cannot relate to the trivial challenges of teens in books anymore. The ‘new adult’ genre has been talked 50


by Mieke Göttsche

about a lot recently, but little to nothing is known about this genre as it is overlooked by many publishers and booksellers. A lot of these books have been categorised incorrectly as many see the ‘new adult’ genre as a hoax or a money-making scheme. I asked a few of my fellow bookstagrammers and book bloggers if they had ever heard of the genre called ‘new adult’ before.

“I actually had to Google what would be considered new adult. [I was] surprised that I have read books that I would consider YA (young adult) that actually fall into the NA (new adult) category”(1). Another blogger revealed that she knew very little about it but she had “heard the term a few times lately” (2). Shockingly, the term ‘new adult’ has been around for the last 10 years. The new adult genre is very similar to the young adult genre but is aimed at an audience aged 18-25. A lot of the topics dealt with in such books are more appropriate for an older reading audience. As such, these books contain more explicit sex and violence. 1. quote from Samantha Paterson (@magic.between.pages_za) 2. quote from An-Mari Fouché (@mon_ami95)

The main difference is the age of the protagonist. In young adult novels we see characters from the age of 15 upwards. They are still developing into the person they want to become and usually have to face a series of trials to realise their potential and reveal their true selves.

But, of course, this genre has been met with a lot of criticism. Many label it as young adult fiction but with sex. A lot of authors have used the new adult genre to market books for people who look for a mixture between young adult fiction and romance.

In 2008, when Breaking Dawn by Stephanie These books play out during important Meyer was released, a lot of people were times in their lives such as high school, disappointed by the quick fade to black in all it’s different forms. Harry Potter scene between Edward and Bella on their goes to Hogwarts, Percy Jackson goes wedding night. Many turned to FanFiction to fill in the blanks, so to speak. Nowadays, to Camp Half-Blood, Alina Starkov books, such as Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of attends the Little Palace. Thorns and Roses trilogy, bridge the gap between young adult fantasy and romance New adult books take on a whole new but also give new adult its bad reputation. playing field: what happens after your definitive years. New adult books cover Talking about bridging the gap, many feel topics such as finding a job, loss of innothat the new adult genre is an unnecessary cence, going to university or moving out filler between young adult fiction and adult for the very first time. fiction. CURIOSITALES

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feel that the new adult genre is an unnecessary filler between young adult fiction and adult fiction.

Why create a whole new genre if you can just read adult fiction? An article written by the Huffington Post (3) in 2013 criticises the new adult genre for being training wheels for fiction and thus insulting the authors of all the genres involved. It is hard for a new genre to emerge in the reading community. Not so long ago people looked at young adult fiction with the same scorn. ‘Why do you need young adult books if you’ve got children’s books?’, they asked. It is important, however, to embrace changes within the reading community. A lot people I have spoken to in the last few weeks have shown me the importance of this new genre. Many young adult novels are written by people older than the target audience. This causes them to write characters that seem much older than what they really are which makes their behaviour seem out of place and unnatural for someone of that age group. A fellow blogger, who also works as a publisher of children’s and young adult literature in South Africa, said that she did not expect the characters of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology to be so young. She had always envisioned them to be more her age. She said “the whole time [she] was relating to these characters on [her] own level because that’s how they act” (4). This made me think back to my own reading experience with a lot of 52


young adult books and I noticed that I was doing the same. It seemed easier for me to envision characters older than they really were because of their behaviour. This shows how important it would be to develop a genre for those who have either outgrown the young adult genre or those who would like to see an enhanced version of their favourite young adult books that reflect the characters’ age as well as the readers’ age. NetGalley, an online review platform, does have ‘new adult’ as a separate genre but only 34 books fall into that category compared to the whopping 305 books available under the ‘Teens & YA’ section. Hopefully, in future, the value of adding this new genre will become clear to those who oppose it so strongly. By making authors, publishers and readers aware of this gap that needs to be bridged, we might have access to a diverse selection of books that we can relate to at such a pivotal time in our lives.

My name is Mieke Göttsche and I am a 23 year old blogger from South Africa. I studied English literature for four years at the University of Pretoria and I will be continuing my Masters in Children’s and Young Adult Literature in September at Dublin City University. You can find my blog at mousethatreads. wordpress.com

3. The Problem with New Adult Books https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-problem-with-new-adul_b_3755165?guccounter=1 4. quote from An-Mari Fouché (@mon_ami95)


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upcoming news




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s r o t a e cr CURIOSITALES

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Alexa Dudley




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Name a character who does a “boring” job so well that you wish you could do it, too. I honestly can’t think of one! The first thing that comes to mind is Lucy Hutton’s job as an office assistant to the CEO in The Hating Game by Sally Thorne! But I wouldn’t even necessarily call it “boring”. So that’s a tough one! What’s your favorite way to spend a Friday night? My favorite way to spend a Friday night is definitely curled up in bed with either a good book or Netflix! I’m a very introverted person so I prefer a casual Friday night at home, just lounging in my pajamas. What two fictional worlds would you like to combine? If I had to choose, I think it’d go with the Harry Potter Wizarding World and Neverland. But I also don’t read a lot of fantasy, so I have no idea why! Who is your favorite character who isn’t a human? I went through a huge Twilight phase in middle school, so I’m gonna have to go with Edward Cullen. I haven’t read the books since they first released so it’s more of a sentimental thing. He was my first fictional character crush!



What movie or tv show do you think is better than the book? Practical Magic is one of my all-time favorite movies and probably the only film adaptation that I prefer over the book. I mean Sandra Bullock & Nicole Kidman? Midnight margaritas? Amazing. The movie is so completely different from the book that it’s hard to even compare the two, but the movie version just focuses more on the magic and romance storyline, and less on the lives of Sally and Gillian, which I prefered. I’d still recommend both though! What popular book have you not read? This is kind of embarrassing, but I’ve barely read any of the classics. I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, 1984, Wuthering Heights, Brave New World. The list goes on and on. They’re really all on my TBR list and I feel like I should read them eventually, but classics have just never been my thing so I have a hard time. What is your top book rec? Why should we read it? Right now, my go-to book rec is A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. I read it earlier in the year and it’s just one of those books that sticks with you. The book is about an Indian-American Muslim family that is reuniting for the first time after a falling out years prior. The book centers around themes of family, religion, and belonging, and just really makes you think about the way that seemingly insignificant moments can really shape a person (or a family). It really is just an absolutely beautiful and thought-provoking read. CURIOSITALES

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Which world has the best magic? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Tell us about yourself and why you bookstagram.

My name is Alexa and I’m a 22-year-old Ever since I read the book series back in bookstagrammer from Connecticut. I middle school, I’ve been completely fasbookstagram because I love being able to cinated with the Wizarding World and connect with other readers and discover just the Harry Potter series in general. I just new-to-me books and authors! I’ve loved love how this imaginary world that J.K. to read every since I can remember, but Rowling designed is both incredibly engrowing up, I never really had anyone to chanting, but also so intricately designed discuss books with. So when I came across and well thought-out. From Hogwarts and the bookstagram community and saw the the Ministry of Magic, to the magical crea- way that other readers were connecting tures, and even how deep Rowling goes over their shared love of reading, I knew into the history of the Wizarding World. I wanted to be a part of it. By starting my There’s no other way to describe it than bookstagram, I completely rediscovered just truly magical. my love for reading and I’ve been here ever since!



“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out-teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” ~Roald Dahl CURIOSITALES

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Which world has the best magic? I’ll be cute and I won’t say Harry Potter. Instead, I’m going to go with Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab - as you see my love for this woman knows no limits. In my opinion, this series redifined magic as we knew it. When I first picked up A Darker Shade of Magic, the universe that Schwab had crafted not only impressed me as no other book had in years, but it knocked off my socks permanently. All the elements in this book, from story telling to characters and writing style and specially the magic, pull you in like very few books are capable of. Schwab presents in this series is all kinds of distinctive, fresh, and new; she does rewrite magic. Forget about wands, potions and spells, this magic is different. From blood and within blood, manifested in the most exceptional way. CURIOSITALES

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What book or tv show do you think is better than the book? A lot of people is going to disagree with me but I am going to say it anyway: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. In the last couple of years, I have been drifting away from contemporary YA. For some reason, TATBILB was a train I missed when it first came out. I have been seeing the fandom rave about this series instalment after instalment, but it wasn’t until Netflix announced the movie adaptation of the first book that I decided to pick it up. In all booknerd fashion, I had to read the book before watching the movie. And I’ll be honest, I was ready to fall head over heels with it. Specially after hearing so many people profess their love for this series. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I wasn’t disappointed, though, I was rather underwhelmed. When the movie came out some weeks after I finished the book, I decided to watch it either way. How could I not when the whole world was so uber excited about it? And frankly, even I was anticipating it after the cuteness overload that the trailers and promos were. To my surprise, the movie was everything I found lacking in the book. Somehow, I couldn’t really believe it because it doesn’t happen often, but in this case the movie was far better than the book. It excelled at everything the book didn’t quite reach despite the potential of its premise. And now that Netflix has announced the sequel, I will certainly watch that too even if I will not continue reading the series. What two fictional worlds would you like to combine? At first glance, this question seems easy. But the more I think about it, the more complex it turns. After some serious and intense debate, I am going to try to bend the rules a little bit. I would love to see Victoria Schwab write about vampires and werewolves, basically because after years of waiting, they do seem to be making a come back. I believe she would do such an amazing job at twisting that universe that has been recycled far too much into something truly unique and special. In the same way, I would also love to see a blend of magical realism and romance, which is something that I feel has been rarely explored and has the potential to make the world swoon. Or at least, make me swoon. 72


Who is your favorite character who isn’t a human? Asking a bookworm about a favourite character should be considered a lowkey way of torture. I am going to try my best and not give you a list of bookboyfriends but I can’t make any promises. Cue to heavy breathing. Okay, I could go with many, but I feel the obligation to go with one of the characters that made me fall in love with Young Adult. That is the one, the only, the snarkiest alien boy Daemon Black from the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I must confess, not only he is the reason why I haven’t been able to stop craving paranormal and fantasy YA literature for years, but this series is also how I came to discover one of my auto-buy and fave authors. There is nothing I don’t love about Daemon Black or the Lux series, and there is literally not a book that Armentrout writes that I won’t devour and consequently love. So there, I did it. I picked ONE favourite character. I hope you are happy. What popular book have you not read? Where should I start? Ok, so I want everyone to take a deep breath and remember that there are way too many books in the world and not enough time to read them all. Much to my dismay, I haven’t come around to reading the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. In addition to that one, The Shadow and Bone trilogy suffered the same luck and it’s also sitting unread on my TBR shelf. In my defence, I’ll say that I have indeed read the ACOTAR series and the Six of Crows duology... and I absolutely adored both! As a matter of fact, both Maas and Bardugo are authors I admire and follow. And yes, I anticipate their upcoming releases. But somehow, I can’t bring myself to start reading and committing to finish those two series even if I am certain they will be amazing. What kind of bookblogger am I, right? I ask you to bear with me, after all we are not talking one or two books, and rather SEVEN - yes, I’m looking at you, ToG.


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What is your top book rec? Why should we read it? I genuinely start shaking when I am asked to give favourites or a top rec but I am going to be brave and try to give you only one. Last year I would have been sure to mention The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, which I absolutely devoured and fell in love with and shoved in everybody’s faces. But given that I have done enough raving, I am going to go with Taylor Jenkins Reid. Yes, my top rec is an author and not a book. As you see I am a rule breaker, but I couldn’t pick only one of her books. My recommendation is to at least give this wonderful author a try, because I am certain she will wow your reading glasses off. Her latest release, Daisy Jones and The Six, was absolutely amazing and it’s everything I have been able to talk ever since. Taylor Jenkins Reid does a brilliant job delivering strong female characters that are meant to be heard, respected and admired so I can only encourage you to pick up one of her books and hope you will adore her as much as I do. What’s your favorite way to spend a Friday night? For me, one of the greatest pleasures in life is leaving work on a Friday afternoon knowing that the following day doesn’t hold any responsibilities and being able to submerge myself in a book. Yes, and probably pulling a one nighter. Name a character who does a “boring” job so well that you wish you could do it, too. Not so much as boring, but I do think that Diana Wrayburn from The Dark Artifices series by Cassie Clare doesn’t get enough credit. She volunteers to be stationed in the Los Angeles institute and become the tutor of the Blackthorns, and while many overlook this character because she is not considered a super badass, I can’t help but appreciate her role in the Blackthorn family. And at the same time, I also relate and I know that being in the same position as her, I would have done the same. After all, the Blackthorns must be protected at all costs, am I right? Tell us about yourself and why you bookstagram. When I first opened my bookstagram account, not in a million years I would have expected to get where I am today. Many will assume I am talking about my following, and to a certain extent I sort of am. But to me, bookstagram is much more than just having people liking my photos and following me. Bookstagram allows me to escape the real world and get lost in one of my passions. Books. Literature. The love of the written word. I am extremely grateful for every person that is willing to connect with me over a book or a fandom, and I will enjoy and juice every single moment I get as long as I can. 74


“I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for.” – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman CURIOSITALES

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Kimberly Anne



photo by @zilerium


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Name a character who does a “boring” job so well that you wish you could do it, too. I don’t really think I read a lot of books that are boring or that have characters doing boring things. I guess all the books that have young adults going to school. That’s their job and I’d love to go back lol. What is your top book rec? Why should we read it? My top book rec? That’s so hard! I am juggling between three. I loved THUG by Angie Thomas. I just read it and the way it was written and the message behind it is so powerful that I think everyone should read it. I also loved the Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. The Romeo & Juliet-esque story of a whirlwind romance was so cute to me and Nicola Yoon’s writing style and pop match-ups in this book was amazing. It was so much more than a romance to me (the mental health tidbit). Last, but not least, my alltime favorite The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I just freaking love that book. What two fictional worlds would you like to combine? I would love to combine the fictional worlds of Children of Blood and Bone and Twilight just because lol. Those are two of my favorite fantasy books and I think it would be cool to see how Zelie would fair against vampires.



Who is your favorite character who isn’t a human? My favorite character who isn’t a human is Wanderer, from the book The Host. I absolutely fell in love with her character when I read the book back in high school. I think it was amazing that it took a ’soul’ (alien) to show the true meaning of compassion and what it means to have humanity. Also the Ian and Wanda love story had me swooning! What book or tv show do you think is better than the book? I usually feel that books are wayyyyy better than the movie or tv adaptations, but the book The Girl on the Train was so annoying because of the narrator that I felt the movie just was so much better because we weren’t stuck in her head most of the time. What popular book have you not read? Well the whole think about my YouTube channel and bookstagram is that I have been gone from the book world for a while, so I’m just catching up. I haven’t read huge ones like the Harry Potter series and An Ember in the Ashes. A lot of popular books basically!


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What’s your favorite way to spend a Friday night? My favorite way to spend a Friday night would be catching up on my lengthy queue of Netflix shows or finishing a great book form my TBR. What popular book have you not read? I know people aren’t going to agree with this, but I haven’t read the Harry Potter series so, the world that is super fresh on my memory right now is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I love that magical world. Tell us about yourself and why you bookstagram. My name is Kimberly Anne and I was a total Twihard! No LOL. Let me start over. Hi, I’m Kimberly Anne and I just graduated from university with a Bachelor’s in public relations and minor in marketing. Since being back home from school, I’ve reconnected with my love of reading. I used to read constantly when I was little, up until high school. I jumped back into reading with CoBaB by Tomi Adeyemi and was so anxious that it was over that I served Youtube to find reactions or reviews of the book. That’s how I stumbled unto booktube, which lead me to bookstagram (and the rest is history, as they say). I love bookstagraming! It’s another fantastic way for me to connect with the book community and also discover new and interesting books I otherwise wouldn’t hear about.



“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with lacquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.� - Mackenzi Lee CURIOSITALES

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Around the World


by Nasirah Kathrada @nnaskatz

he Collectors Treasury is a South African bookstore. It’s known to be the biggest second-hand bookstore in the Southern hemisphere; but rest assured, the Klass brothers, who have been running the store for over 40 years, will be able to guide you through the 8 story emporium and locate any book you desire. The building houses over 2,000,000 items, including books, vinyl and antiques. It’s a wonder no one has gotten lost in there before! Upon entering the store I immediately found myself in a labyrinth of books that spread across every available surface in the shop. The store has several rooms for their books- including an elevator filled with everything from Shakespeare to Rowling! Stacks of books towered above my head and even covered the staircases! The Collectors Treasury is a must visit for bookworms and non-bookworms alike!



“Imagine if ‘Mission: Impossible’ were run by young, ultra-skilled female operatives who undertook rogue operations to save the women and girls of the world from traffickers.” – PATRICK NESS, New York Times bestselling author of THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE and A MONSTER CALLS


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