Which Australian bookstores did I visit recently?

Name: Dymocks Melbourne

Location: Lower Ground Floor, 234 Collins St, Melbourne VIC

Size: BIG but not huge (would have loved to explore another level … but maybe there was and I didn’t notice – Melbourne locals please let me know in the comments)

Thoughts: This bookshops fiction section filled my soul 💖 There was such a variety to pick from and I loved the eclectic variety they stocked. I found their crime fiction section exuberant and fantastic! They had all Agatha Christies, all Lee Child, all Michael Robotham, all of my lovely friend Sulari Gentill in stock. There was no designated Literary section which I always gravitate to in a bookstore, however it was pretty clearly all was mixed in fiction and easy enough to find. The cooking section was extensive and gave me a few ideas for my own local. Their non-fiction section was also full and fresh. I found it helpful and effective just seeing a ‘service/enquiries’ desk. The practicality of that service was great in a space of such size. The one section I felt lacked was their Young Adult, there was almost only half a bays worth of books. YA is such a huge market in our bookstore, therefore I was stunned to see its smallness in a nationals capital. All in all, worth the trip! I came out with four books which you will see in my July Wrap Up very soon.

Happy 💖: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)


Name: Harry Hartog Bookseller

Location: Shop 111/112 South Point Shopping Centre, Anketell St & Reed St N., Greenway, ACT 

Size: Average, nice and open

Thoughts: The feeling in a Harry Hartog is moody, mysterious and comforting. I can easily say this chain is kicking goals with its interior design, decor and ascetic. Book wise, I didn’t find much out of the ordinary that our local store doesn’t have. I mostly enjoyed perusing the giftware and book associated items that wrap up and encourage a more calm, enjoyable and relaxed reading experience. For example, there were candles, heat packs, journals and different types of tea which were all available for purchase. I really liked this element of coming away from a bookstore kitted out for your next R&R session. One book was purchased in this visit to Harry Hartog and a lovely print that has made itself onto a wall in my home!

Happy 💖: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5)

(Note: This picture is not my own)


Name: Robinsons Bookshop

Location: Canberra Centre, Shop DF24, 148 Bunda St, Canberra ACT 

Size: Small in size, big in feeling

Thoughts: My heart felt immediately happy in this Robinsons Bookshop! I was greeted by the most lovely bookseller, her and I connecting over the usual bookseller things; books (obviously 🤣), unboxing books, enquiries, ordering books, etc. I also learnt that this Canberra Robinsons Bookshop is the only one outside of Victoria, where their brand and first stores originated. The experience was warm and homey. I proceeded to browse the bookstore’s fiction section, classics and cooking. I found a lot of cook books that have inspired a restock in my own local. The dark timber shelves create a moody space yet the store is lit with the most gorgeous periodic light fixtures. For me, it felt like stepping into another time that was generous and captivating. It proved to me even more that the size of a bookstore does not determine the quality of books, service and feeling – as a booksellers, bookstores are what you make them. I left with one new cookbook in hand!

Happy 💖: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5/5)

(Note: This picture is of a Melbourne Robinson Bookshop, so imagine Canberra on a smaller scale. This picture is not my own)

Did you enjoy this travelling bookstore blog post? Describe your favourite bookshop to me in the comments 💬🎙

💫 Mini Series Review 💫

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

The first volume of Heartstopper grabs you with two gentle hands and gives you a warm hug! Charlie is a quiet and introverted, openly gay teenager at an all boys high school. He knows who he is and his friends and family are true and supportive. He sees the best in people and trusts them to be as kind as himself, however his current ‘boyfriend’ Ben, is not that. Ben chooses to sneak around with Charlie and manipulate Charlie into not speaking openly about their relationship. This is because Ben isn’t ready to explore his sexuality openly. Charlie is struggling with the back and forward of Ben’s feelings and desires – when he meets Nick Nelson.

Nick is the high school rugby lad who is loved by everyone and is 100% straight … until he gets to know Charlie. The strong feelings of friendship grow into more than ‘just best friend’ level, and seemingly overtake Nick’s thoughts. Nick has never questioned his sexuality before, therefore this first book really has a focus on Nick exploring what romantically liking Charlie could be like in his world.

Volume 1 is introductory to Nick and Charlie, their friend groups, their schooling environments and the blooming first love. 💫 Butterfly feelings 💫 Exploration of self 💫 First kiss moment

Volume 2 explores the newness of Nick and Charlies feelings and relationship. 💫 Joining new friendship groups 💫 Bullying 💫 More butterfly feelings 💫 Cute cinema scene 💫 “Boyfriends” 💫 Coming out

Volume 3 looks at Nick and Charlie opening their relationship into the school environment and on their school excursion to Paris. 💫 Nick telling his extended family about Charlie 💫 Mental health and anorexia 💫 Second base romance 💫 More, more butterfly feelings 💫 Coming out to school friends 💫 Nick can speak fluent French?! (I’m excited to see this on the Netflix series) 💫 Tao and Elle accept their feelings for one another

Volume 4 gets deep people! So trigger warning for the content surrounding self-harm, mental health and anorexia. I really think Alice has brought light to these subjects to show the boys maturing and how their emotional intelligence grows as they move into a different stage of their life. Honestly, I didn’t see the series moving this way so I’m interested to see where she takes it in Volume 5. 💫 “I love you” 💫 Mental health unit admission 💫 Nick’s challenging relationship with his older brother comes to breaking point 💫 PDA at school 💫 More, More & more butterfly feelings 💫 Nick and Charlie’s first party attending as a couple 💫 Awkward family dinner 💫 A New Year’s kiss

Have you read the graphic novels of Heartstopper yet? Or tried the Netflix series? Let’s chat in the comments 💬

4 June book releases I’m ecstatic about

‘The Woman in The Library’ by Sulari Gentill

Crime Fiction. A murderous scream. One dead woman. Everyone in the reading room is a suspect.

Excitingly, Sulari is a close friend of ours at the bookstore, so we celebrated the book launch of ‘The Woman in the Library’ in style! She is adored by our local book community, our staff and our readers. For the month of June, ‘The Woman in the Library’ is the centre of our events, our discussions and our bookclubs. I am privileged enough to be organising an enlarged book club meeting with Sulari and three of our Collins Book Clubs. This will take place in a calm and relaxed setting, with myself and Sulari facilitating the conversations.

The Woman in The Library is about Hannah and Hannah is writing a crime fiction novel. The main character in Hannah’s crime fiction novel is Winifred, or Winnie. Winnie is also writing a novel, therefore the physical book in your hands has another book and ANOTHER BOOK inside of it. Trust me, it is harder to explain than it is to actually read this fantastic book 🤣 In Hannah’s world, there is a scream in the Boston Library Reading Room and of the people surrounding her in this Reading Room, one of them is the killer – but who is it …

I, for one, could not put this down! I will have a full review coming in the next few weeks as I re-read ‘The Woman in The Library’ ready for our book club event.

‘Paperbark Hill’ by Maya Linnell

Maya is such a kind, caring and honest soul and this comes through in her novels. She writes country romance with all the drama, love and addictiveness that we all need in our lives!

This series of Maya’s follows a family of sisters, with each individual novel showing each different sisters’ stories and perspectives. Paperbark Hill surrounds Diana and her four sons after a tough eighteen months. Diana is trying to get her family back into the routines of normal life when locum pharmacist, Ned Gardiner comes to town and creates a whole lot of change. Change in feelings, change in life plans, change in family structures. I am excited to feel all the feels and fall right into Maya’s comforting writing.

‘The Blood Traitor’ by Lynette Noni

AHHHHHHHH!!!!! This is a finale I have been waiting all YEAR FOR!!

You guys know from my reviews, suggestions and recommendations – how much I adore Lynette Noni’s ‘Prison Healer’ series. I first discussed them in my ‘5 Reasons to read YA Fantasy’. I have raved about them in the shop and also listed the second novel in the series, ‘The Gilded Cage’ as one of my top books of 2021! Big call folks, big call ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This story will be the end of Kiva’s story and reading her as our main character. Kiva has been a prisoner in Zalindov for more than half her life. She practices as the inmate prison healer and learnt all her skills from her Father. Life is dull, dangerous and blood thirsty in Zalindov, until the Rebel Queen enters the prison unconscious and Kiva is tasked with healing her. An additional secret message finds Kiva; “Don’t let her die”. Being the Rebel Queen, many want her dead, so when she is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal – a series of elemental trails and tasks that with the Queen being so sickly, she will surely die within the first minute of entering. Kiva bravely and cohesively takes her place – this is where her action packed story begins! This series is so fast-paced, full of heart dropping chapter endings and beautifully woven connections. The Blood Traitor is the third and final instalment. I am sure it will not disappoint!

‘You made a Fool of Death with your Beauty’ by Akwaeke Emezi

Now this book, I have to admit honestly – captured my eye with its bright cover 😍 How spectacular is it! Additionally, there were a number of limited independent bookstore copies brought out especially with the BookBar in London, UK. I LOVEEE following this bookstore online!! Luckily, this bookstore is set to host Akwaeke for a signing and special book event which will include a number of funky giveaways.

The brightness and eclectiveness of this cover represents a romance novel at its core. Described as a decadent and delightful new age novel, our main character Feyi is about to be given the opportunity of a lifetime. Feyi has the chance to escape the City’s blistering heat for a dream island holiday: poolside cocktails, beach sunsets, and elaborate meals. As Feyi opens her heart to new experiences, new friendships and new romance, there is only one problem – she’s falling for the one man she absolutely cannot have. dun dun daaaaa… not to be dramatic but doesn’t this sound like a nice, fun read! When I’m needing my next “get me out of a book slump read” this will be it!

Will you be adding any of these books to your TBR? Are there any other new releases you’re excited about this month? Share them with me in the comments 💬