Q&A with Doug the Pug and Leslie Mosier

Today I am ridiculously excited to welcome Leslie Mosier to the blog along with my favourite internet pooch Doug the Pug. The pair recently toured the UK as part of the launch of their debut book, Doug the Pug: King of the Internet. This gorgeous little book is an instant mood-booster and would make the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves dogs.


Welcome, Leslie! 

Where did you get the idea for Doug the Pug?

I had always wanted a pug named Doug, so when I was in college and met Doug, I began posting photos of him on my personal account. The internet definitely took charge and decided they wanted to make him famous!

You quit your full time PR job to manage Doug. Did you ever doubt that decision?

It was a scary decision, but ultimately it was the best decision I ever made for the brand and for my personal goals.

What’s a typical day like for you and Doug?

There is no typical day, with so many things going on we might be traveling one day, or all cozy in our home office prepping the next. Doug gets lots of rest though, and sleeps over 10 hours everyday, not including the full 8+ hours at night!

1964833_10153917485810361_1978214604_nHow do you get the perfect photo? How much preparation goes on behind the scenes?

Our inspiration comes from the internet or what we see in our daily lives. Some videos take a lot of preparation, and same goes with a few more intricate photos. Sometimes we’ll have an idea that hits us and we can make it happen in less than 2 minutes.

Is Doug ever a bit of a diva now he’s one of the most famous dogs on the internet?

Never! Doug is one of the most chill and patient dogs ever. He loves people, ask anyone that has met him!

What’s been the highlight of this journey for you so far?

The highlight would definitely be the impact we’re able to make on millions of people by a simple photo or a video. It’s amazing to hear from fans just how important Doug has been in their daily lives.

What’s next for you and Doug?

2017 is bound to be one of the busiest, and best years so far! We’re so excited for a few different opportunities in the works already, and welcome more things as we transition into the new year!

Do you have any tips for people looking to build or improve their brand on social media?

Stay consistent and always try to be innovative!


And now, the little man himself. Welcome Doug! 

You’ve met a heap of celebrities Doug, who was your favourite? Anyone you’d particularly love to meet?

I can’t pick a favourite, because they all have been so good to me! But I would love to meet the President, Barack Obama.

When you’re not modelling, what are you doing in your spare time?
Sleeping, begging for treats or hanging out with my best friend Penelope Pearl.

It’s a given that your my favourite puppy on social media, but I’d love to know who’s your favourite?

Penelope Pearl! She’s my best friend, and there are lots of internet rumours that we’re dating now😉

Does fame ever get hard? What do you do to stay grounded?

Being cute isn’t easy, so when I get to come back to my Nashville home and relax and meditate in my backyard, it’s like a reality check!


Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for providing a copy of the book for review. 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


‘I don’t want that nurse touching my baby.’ Those are the instructions from the newborn child’s parents. However, when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth, a nurse of twenty years’ experience, sees no option but to assist. But the baby dies. And Ruth is charged with negligent homicide.

Ruth is shattered and bewildered as she tries to come to terms with her situation. She finds different kinds of support from her sister, a fiery radical, and her teenage son, but it is to Kennedy McQuarrie, a white middle-class lawyer, to whom she entrusts her case, and her future.

As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other’s lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. In order for the privileged to prosper, they come to realise, others have to suffer. Racism takes many forms, and is reinforced and underpinned by the structures of our society.


Jodi Picoult never fails to take me on an emotional roller coaster. Each of her novels, famous for their complex moral dilemmas, has forced me to question my beliefs and Small Great Things is no exception. I was immediately drawn into the story and completely absorbed by the characters.

I want to start with the difficult aspect of this book. There’s a slight catch-22 in the subject matter. Picoult is able to highlight racism in a book which will no doubt be read by millions because of the privilege afforded to her as a white woman in the publishing industry. Yet, not being a woman of colour herself, how can Picoult give an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to grow up black in America?

Picoult herself addresses this on her website, questioning what right she had to explore an experience she had not lived. But I think ultimately she’s done the right thing. After all, Picoult is quite clearly not a white supremacist either yet she delves into that experience in this novel too. On top of that, Picoult asks some very tough questions of her white and privileged readers especially those of the “I’m not racist, but…” variety. She’s done her research too, learning from women of colour about their experiences.

I’ve always found Picoult’s characters to be incredibly moving and her depth of understanding of them unbelievable. Small Great Things has this in spades, especially when it comes to white supremacist Turk. I was so incredibly disgusted by the absolutely vile explanations Turk gave for his behaviour and beliefs. Yet, I was in awe because it’s rare and powerful when a writer can make me feel such strong emotions. I admire Picoult’s ability to even research and write about this topic, because I find it so abhorrent.

An unflinching, raw and uncomfortable read, Small Great Things forces readers to question their own beliefs and the wider social injustice of a world set up to benefit a privileged few.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of the book for review. Small Great Things is available now, RRP $32.99.

Picoult gives a great explanation of why she felt the need to write Small Great Things on her website. 

Highly Recommended: Contemporary OzYA (part two)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for, oh, a good year or so. There’s so much fabulous Aussie YA out there that I simply can’t recommend highly enough and plenty more I still need to discover. Again, this is just a tiny taste of the contemporary goodness my favourite homegrown authors have to offer. For some more suggestions, check out part one.


P.S. For any international readers, The Book Depository is now selling a much wider range of OzYA so there’s no excuse not to read these brilliant books.

The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex by Gabrielle Williams

This is the perfect example of everything I love about contemporary novels; heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure with a nice big slice of humour and a dash of quirkiness thrown in. The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex was instantly absorbing, wonderfully written and packed with emotion || Full review

Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar

I absolutely adore Eagar’s writing and Night Beach is the perfect example of how beautifully she brings a setting and character to life. This is a strange, dream-like read, but one which was absolutely impossible to put down. Dark and haunting, Night Beach is a must-read || Full review

Inbetween Days by Vikki Wakefield

Vikki Wakefield is another author who writes with such a gorgeous and vivid sense of place. I adored Inbetween Days, yet I still can’t explain why. Not one word is wasted. Every emotion explored. Ever character a valuable addition to the story. Wakefield’s writing is something everyone should experience || Full review

When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Although it looks at the big political issues in Australia today, When Michael Met Mina is a discussion about religion and immigration which readers in the UK and US will no doubt also find very relevant. A novel which explores a clash between two worlds, When Michael Met Mina is a thoughtful and moving story of two people with very different beliefs || Full review

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane


Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.


This was the perfect sweet contemporary read I needed after some fairly emotional books. McFarlane’s work is so easy to sink into, with such enjoyable characters and storylines. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read more of her work after I fell in love with It’s Not Me, It’s You at the start of 2015. I am sure I won’t be waiting this long again.

Rachel was a fabulous character, not least because she was a journalist. It’s always hard reading fictional portrayals of your profession, but McFarlane gets it fairly spot on. Although I’m not in a newsroom that’s anywhere near as competitive as the one in You Had Me At Hello, I have heard things aren’t always so friendly at metro papers. No doubt, McFarlane’s own experience as a journalist was key to such a sincere portrayal of life as a reporter.

The thing I loved about You Had Me At Hello, and indeed It’s Not Me, It’s You, was that while romance and relationships were key to the story, there was so much more at play. Rachel faces career pressures, ethical decisions on the job and a national scandal, as well as trying to keep her personal life in check. Neither element overpowers the other, but both work together to create an engaging and very sweet read.

I absolutely adore McFarlane’s writing style. It’s so easy to get lost in her work and get caught up in  the lives of her characters. I loved the way past and present intertwined in You Had Me At Hello to tell the story of Rachel and Ben. It basically meant I barely put this down while I read it. There was also quite a lot of depth to this whole cast of characters, it felt almost like sitting down with a bunch of friends for lunch. There’s nothing better than finding a book which feels so incredibly comfortable.

This book really had me at hello, or from the first chapter anyway. McFarlane is without a doubt among my favourites now and I’m going to make sure I read more of her work in the very near future.

Sounds like: I Will || The Beatles

On Screen: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

There are few cinematic releases I have been quite so excited for, such is the extent of my enduring love for the Fab Four. I spent months counting down to this documentary’s release, bought my tickets a week out and dragged my two best friends along with me. Judging by their reactions, this isn’t just a movie for Beatlemaniacs (although they both don’t see the need to watch any other docos on the group again).

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr promote Eight Days a Week.  Photo: MPL Communications/Charlie Gray

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr promote Eight Days a Week.
Photo: MPL Communications/Charlie Gray

This Ron Howard directed masterpiece covers the height of Beatlemania from 1960 to 1966 when they performed their final stadium concert. The movie features home movie clips, alongside professionally filmed footage and plenty of live performances. Having watched countless hours of Beatles footage and interviews on YouTube, as well as the Anthology, I was prepared for the movie to cover everything I’d already seen. I’ve no doubt I still would have loved it. But I was blown away to learn some pretty major new information about the band, as well as seeing new photos and footage. No mean feat given my Beatles knowledge.

So what was this new information? The Beatles were very vocal on segregation in the US, refusing to play venues where it was enforced. This was a strong stance from four young men during a time when there were riots taking place in the south and people were being killed as they fought for basic human rights. As Ringo puts it in the film, the music of The Beatles was for everyone, not just one type of person. For some, it was the first time they shared the same space people white people, but when the music started any racial tensions were forgotten. That’s the way it should be.

Eight Days a Week reminded me why I loved The Beatles and why they were a phenomenon of the music world likely never to be repeated. I was once again amazed how four teens could come together (excuse the pun) out of the blue and perform so naturally, so beautifully as one. The film reminded me how extraordinary the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo was and how much they boys all meant to each other. Of course, I’ve never fallen out of love with The Beatles, but I’d forgotten these personal details in the years since I discovered them in high school. It was so beautiful to relive the hours I spent obsessing over this band, learning as much as I possibly could, watching every clip I could find online and committing every song to memory.

Eight Days a Week was a trip down memory lane in more ways than one for me. A powerful, energetic and thrilling documentary jam-packed with the songs everyone loves. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen on the Fab Four and a must-watch for every fan.

Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O’Toole

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 5.18.20 pmSynopsis:

Emer O’Toole once caused a media sensation by growing her body hair and singing ‘Get Your Pits Out For The Lads’ on national TV. You might think she’s crazy – but she has lessons for us all. Protesting against the ‘makey-uppy-bulls**t’ of gender conditioning, Emer takes us on a hilarious, honest and probing journey through her life – from cross-dressing and head shaving, to pube growing and full-body waxing – exploring the performance of femininity to which we are confined.

Funny, provocative and underpinned with rigorous academic intelligence, this book shows us why and how we should all begin gently to break out of gender stereotypes. Read this book, open up your mind and, hopefully, free your body. Girls Will Be Girls is a must-read wake-up call for all young women (and men).


I’ve always been ultra-feminine. I refused to wear anything but dresses or skirts until I was about eight because trousers were for boys. I hated my short, curly hair because I was terrified people would mistake me for a boy. I once threw a massive tantrum because my poor dad tried to (sensibly) make me wear track pants on a cold winter day. Looking back, it’s absolutely laughable. It’s also frightening how ingrained these ideas were in three-year-old me.

I never questioned the role of femininity. There was no doubt I’d conform as much as possible, if only to avoid the embarrassment of being ‘different’. I think that’s what O’Toole captures so perfectly in Girls Will Be Girls: gender roles are so entrenched in society any non-conformity is often ridiculed, debated and ultimately shocking.

Girls Will Be Girls was an incredible read. O’Toole’s engaging, conversational style flowed beautifully. It felt less like reading and more like sitting down having a chat over a cup of tea. Which, quite frankly, is how more non-fiction should be written. O’Toole seamlessly blended theory and memoir to create a fascinating book, one which I know I will return to in the future.

I took a lot away from reading Girls Will Be Girls. While I’m not necessarily going to stop shaving or give up my favourite floral dresses, understanding the reason why I feel so comfortable performing that role is massively eye-opening. Surely I can still be a feisty feminist with on-fleek brows, recognising the patriarchal structure underpinning the role of the female? My own ideas of gender are so ingrained, have gone unchecked and unquestioned for so long, it’s going to take a while for me to unravel my thinking.

One of the discussions I identified most with in Girls Will Be Girls was the idea that not conforming can be a lonely, emotional and sometimes heartbreaking experience. While I haven’t experienced this in quite the same way as O’Toole, I’ve certainly found it challenging to confront some of my dad’s beliefs about feminism and gender roles. (He’s slowly changing, or at least learning not to argue when I embark on a feminist mini-lecture). But even among friends, my feminist views can sometimes cause friction.

For most of Girls Will Be Girls, I found myself wondering why I’d never questioned gender roles. As O’Toole writes, it’s hard to imagine alternatives to these roles, but breaking free of this script is ultimately a more rewarding experience. I’ll be taking small steps, but I’ve got my red pen out and am starting the edits to my world view.

Q&A: Gracie Latter

IMG_2211I am delighted to welcome Gracie to my blog today. I’m a little starstruck as I adore Gracie’s blog and feel like her Twitter is just one constant stream of awesome. If you aren’t already familiar with her stellar blog, make sure you check it out with the links at the end of the post!

When did you start blogging and what made you want to join the bookish blogging community?

I started blogging when I was 16 and bored between lessons at college – bored/frustrated because I had no way to get my feelings out and I needed just that, an outlet.

I discovered the bookish blogging community I think when I’d started uni, and a lot of my Creative Writing course mates were writing reviews of books, films, theatre, TV shows, food, beauty, EVERYTHING. I never thought of doing it myself, as I was too anxious about being rubbish. I just felt my word, my reviews, wouldn’t and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

So when I properly started book blogging, it wasn’t an official review thing. It was what each book I mentioned meant to me and why I read them.

I bloody LOVE the bookish blogging community. It’s become a gorgeous home for me online.

What do you do when you’re not blogging? How do you juggle life with blogging?

I have said before how I will go days, weeks, without any inspiration for blog posts. Then suddenly, one or two nights a month, I go nuts and start 5 drafts. I also make notes on my phone constantly when I am without my laptop (which is hardly ever) to remind me what I want to write about.

When I’m not blogging, I am working as a bookseller or working on my own novel. Or drinking coffee. Or whisky.

IMG_0074You’ve recently started work as a bookseller (congratulations, by the way). What are your favourite parts of the job so far?

(Thank you, yay omg yay!) I find every day has a highlight, every day that one customer comes in and inspires me or just makes my heart melt. The little kids who are determined to get reading over the summer holidays and catch up on all the YA series; the older ladies who desperately need their fix of romance tales; the blokes who excitedly bring graphic novels to the till.

I love writing teeny reviews of my favourite books and slotting them in beneath where I stand them in pride of place on the shelves. I love running up and down the stairs searching for that one title that one customer can’t recall. I love ordering books in for customers and giving them the parcels when they arrive. I love geeking out over authors and stories with my colleagues.

Have you always been an avid reader or was there a time in your life when you discovered the joy of it? What was the first book you fell in love with?

100% always. My parents love telling people this. They loved it at the time, too, when I was a funny little kid who sat in the corner at parties with her head in a book or would read when we all went on a family day out.

onelineaday02You’re also a writer, what projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my first novel, and my lesson plans for the couple of seminars I’ll be teaching at Winchester University soon!

What books have left their mark on you as a reader and a writer?

Lisa Heathfield is my latest author obsession. Both her books left me rattled, in a good way.

I also recently read Emma Gannon’s ‘Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online’, and that was the most perfect non-fic; I could relate to it so much but it also blew my mind!

I read ‘One Day’ 3 years ago and it reminded me how badly I want to write my own novels.

How has blogging changed your reading life?

It’s opened so many doors! I now receive proof copies from various publishers, and the recommendations are endless from my fellow bloggers. I am never without a potential new read!

Quick fire book quiz:

Favourite book so far this year:

‘Milk & Honey’, by Rupi Kaur. Or ‘Songs About A Girl’, by Chris Russell.

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2016:

OH GOSH SO MANY. Possibly the new one from Rachel Cohr & David Levithan (’12 Days of Dash & Lily’). Or (cheating here) my lovely friend Katherine Webber’s ‘Wing Jones’, coming out early next year!

caitlin01Favourite author:

Caitlin Moran. Jandy Nelson. Louise O’Neill. Holly Bourne. Lauren James. Alice Oseman. Lisa Heathfield. Audrey Niffenegger. (I keep cheating but I CANNOT PICK ONE!)

Your top five must-read books:

Ughh ugh ughh this question is too tough! These are not all my absolute favourites, just the ones I feel everyone should read.

1. Harry Potter (the whole series!), by JK Rowling.
2. The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger.
3. Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig.
4. The Sky Is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson.
5. Every Day, by David Levithan.

More Gracie: Twitter || Blog || Instagram