Spark by Casey Renee Kiser and Wren Verlaine

This collection of poetry contains 47 poems. 28 of these are poems and the books artwork are by Wren Verlaine, the final 19 poems are by Casey Renee Kiser.

This book is the third collection of Casey’s poems that I have been fortunate enough to read. Until this book Wren was unknown to me. 

This collection of dark and brutally honest poems are simply written yet extremely profound. Casey’s creativity and emotional allure always draws me in and leaves me wanting more. As I was new to Wren’s writing is did take a me a bit longer to relax into his style. 

Casey and Wren have different writing styles that seem to really compliment each other. They both seem to be able to walk the intriguing balance of darkness and humour. Both poets depth and emotional can be felt throughout this book.

Wren’s artwork was confronting at first but after reading the collection as it is set out, with the artwork placed in strategic places, I found it definitely added to the book.  

This book is for older readers as it does contain swearing and darker themes.

I am always excited to read Casey’s work. Now I can also say I really look forward to reading more from Wren. I really enjoyed this collection and I am sure I will be reading it many times in the future.


Swan Wreck by Casey Renee Kiser

Another amazing collection of poetry. This book contains 129 poems with the added bonus of illustrations by Casey’s then 10 year old daughter Jasmyn Taylor Givens.

Casey is a wonderful author whose writing is easily understood and whose authenticity radiates out of her poems. Her ability to delve into dark themes such as anxiety, depression, loss and self esteem issues makes these poems so relatable. Casey’s dark humour and quirky yet somehow perfect comparisons leaves you wanting more.

Swan Wreck contains less swearing than FADE OUT, smile. Making this collection more suitable for a wider age group. One poem in particular really spoke to me. Beauty Rarely is such a beautiful poem. Its message is so relevant and I think it should definitely be read to young women.

I know that poetry is subjective, but I don’t think anyone would be able to read this collection and not be able to apply it to a feeling or experience from their own lives.

Jasmyn’s beautiful yet somehow haunting drawings were a wonderful addition to this book and definitely added to the feel of the collection.

I can’t wait to get my hands on more of Casey’s work.

The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams

The fantastic David Walliams has done it again.

The World’s Worst Children is a fabulously funny collection of short stories. The ten stories about five naughty boys and five equally awful girls creates a very addictive book. A wonderful read for children and adults alike.

David Walliams is a wonderful author. The World’s Worst Children is proof of that. This book is filled with genuine laugh out loud moments. And quite a few eww gross moments. The stories are so captivating, you won’t want the book to end.

Each story contains the perfect combination of rudeness and seriousness to keep you wanting more. Each of the ten tales is as praise worthy as the one before. I started and finished this book with a massive smile on my face.

I truly love this collection. David’s wonderful use of imaginative wordplay combined with Tony Ross’s beautiful illustrations makes this book a pleasure to read.

I cannot wait to get my hands on volume two.

Career advice for the lost soul by Rebecca Hayman

I was unsure of what to expect when I first started this book, I was expecting to be overwhelmed by the religious aspects. I’m glad I was wrong. The book does have a religious base but it really works with the story being told. 

This book is really well written. Exploring not only religious understandings but social undercurrents many people have to deal with on a daily basis. While trying to find their way through this maze we call life many of the characters are exploring the Gospel of Luke. I believe this book would be well worth a second read while also reading the Gospel of Luke. To really get a feel into the revelations each character come to or his or her journey.

Rebecca doesn’t hand you the characters motivations on a plate, you have to keep turning the pages to find the out what is going on beneath the surface. The story continually changes perspective from character to character. Sometimes this writing choice can become confusing yet Rebecca manages to pull it off. By swapping between characters it keeps the story fresh and keeps you wanting to read. 

As each character has a revelation it makes you think about your own life and the lessons you have learned. I genuinely felt like a walked away from this book with a lot to think about in relation to my own life. 

Rebecca obviously cares a lot about her characters. They weren’t rushed. Learning about their lives and backstories felt very natural. The questions and blank spaces were filled in as the story progressed. As a reader you weren’t bombarded with a lot of information at the beginning of the book.

Rebecca Hayman is obviously a very good writer, I truely look forward to reading more from her in the future.

End or Beginning???

When one door closes, another opens – Alexander Graham Bell 

I wasnt sure of what to write in this post, so I have decided to do a few different things. Mr Bell’s quote fit this post perfectly.

When I started blogging I didn’t know how it would go. If I would like it, If I would be able to find the inspiration to write. Turns out I was worried about nothing. I love it.

Today is the last day of Blogging Universities writing course. I will admit im a little worried about how im going to do this without my daily prompt. I just hope I have taken enough on board that I can keep going. I know that I can always re visit the course if I need to. I am hoping to be able to use what I have learnt and the people I have met to make me a better writer.

When I started this blog I only wanted to review books. Now I want more. I love writing poetry and just random ramblings. I love reading other people posts and comments. And I love talking to people.

I know people say that you should pick your subject and stick to it. After the last few weeks I have come to the conclusion that my blog is just going to be a mixed bag of lollies. Some days you may get a red gummy bear, other days a green snake. I can’t change who I am and since I write about what I read, see, feel and know, people are just going to have to get use to wondering what my next blog will bring.

To start off my new limited rules way of thinking I have decided to finish this post with a poem. Start with a quote, ramble in the middle and end with a poem.

This is me, Gem. And this is gemsbooknook, in all its crazy glory. Enjoy.


Trembling fingers frozen above the keyboard

Have I made a mistake, can I actually write here

Anxious as I was, I blogged, my inner writer roared

No turning back now, your stuck with me blogosphere

Kind words and comments have really struck a chord

Safe to say I have found something I love, move over Shakespeare

The End Is Near…

Rows and rows of poetry and stories galore

Organised thoughts or jumbled ramblings at the core

Uncategorized posts finding readers each day

New friends and followers to connect with along the way

Doubt is no longer holding me back

Understanding this blogging life, I’m on the right track

Places to go, people to see, please feel free to start following me


My Nan has been telling me for years that I need to write a book about our family. She keeps saying that when she is gone all of the stories she has will go with her. I know most of these stories. They are the ones that come out a most family events. I always joke that we would have to classify the book as fiction, because no one is going to believe that all of these tales are actually true.

Even if people did believe these stories, would they really care? Would other people laugh at the fact that my Pop slept on a verandah because that was the only place left to sleep. Or that they had to close the verandah in with chicken wire because he was a sleep-walker and he kept trying to climb over the rail. I love that story, and I know its true. But does anyone else really care?

Most families have these stories. Funny injuries, strange events. Things that a funny to our family, may just be boring compared to other people’s tales. Is anyone else going to laugh at the image of my mum as a child running down the beach screaming because my aunty was washed out of the rock pool in her float ring? Or at the image of my pregnant Nan being carried across a main road with her bare bum swinging in the wind because the ambulance crashed on the way to the hospital?

When is a story no longer funny? How bad does the injury have to be before it’s a bad story? Who is to say that my family isn’t just crazy with a warped sense of humor. Some of the stories about me are funny now, but they weren’t funny at the time. Maybe when the person/people involved can look back and see the funny side it means its ok to joke about. Maybe you can laugh at part of a story while still being shocked at the other part.

When I was a child my Dad took my sister and I to the park. I wanted so badly to ride on the tire swing. My Dad put me in and left me to swing. I was in charge of watching my sister playing on the grass while he went to talk to his Pop. Now Tilly was well-behaved so I wasnt worried. Until I saw her talking to a magpie. I went to get out of the swing to get her away from the bird, but I couldn’t get out. I was stuck in the tire swing. The magpie took to the air and started swooping. I started to scream, Tilly who had now been pecked twice started to scream. The only problem was my Dad thought I was screaming because I was stuck so he didn’t hurry over. By the time He got to me, I was crying and bruised from trying to get out of the stupid swing. Tilly on the other hand was screaming, crying and bleeding.

When we look back at this day we laugh and cringe at the same time. The image of me as a chubby girl trying to get off a tire swing is funny. The image of Tilly getting attacked my the magpie makes us cringe. By now magpie has been added to Tilly’s nick name. Maggie Magpie. But does this story and the fact that we laugh at my struggle because I wasnt hurt make my family insane? Does adding magpie to Tilly’s name make us mean? Does anyone really care about a large, loud, crazy Australian family and it’s even crazier stories.

I guess the answer is you can’t know until you give it ago. I didn’t know I hated tire swings until that fateful day. And I guess we wont know if our stories are worth telling until we start telling them.