Saturday, 6 February 2016

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Customer Outrage At Supermarket Opening Times

NOWHERESVILLE, AUSTRALIA--Sam Sharman, a local resident and former shopper at the Nowheresville Independent Supermarket was outraged when he was refused service one hour after the store had closed. "I knew that the doors were locked, but I could see that there were people inside," he told our reporter. "So I did what any normal person who required bread, milk and smokes at ten o'clock on a weekday evening would do, and started banging on the door. The staff very rudely ignored me. I thought that it was bloody disgusting! I mean don't they want my money?"

A spokesperson from the Nowheresville Independent Supermarket explained that the store was already open the maximum number of hours allowed for a store of their size in South Australia. "We are not allowed to continue trading after nine pm, it is as simple as that," the spokesperson explained. "State legislation requires us to close at nine pm and we are not permitted to open our doors again until midnight. Despite Mr Sharman's claims, we do not have some kind of a personal vendetta against him, or his money, however, we cannot lawfully serve him if he bangs on the doors an hour after closing time. And even if we had opened the doors, I doubt that it would have done much good, as the tills were all locked away at that point, and the only staff on hand were the cleaners."

"That's bullshit!" Mr Sharman told our reporters. "I'm a paying customer, so therefore I should get what I want, when I want it, no matter how absurd or illegal my request may be. If I go into a hardware shop and ask someone to make me a hotdog, then they can make me a fucking hotdog, none of this, 'we only sell nails here, Sir,' shit which is what I have to put up with every time I walk inside the Nowheresville Hardware Centre. And don't get me started on what happened when I walked inside the Nowheresville Library and asked if I could use some of the books and magazines from their history collection as toilet paper."

At this point, Mr Sharman stopped the interview to demand that our reporter make him a sandwich. He was promptly told to fuck off, and the interview was terminated. Mr Sharman is now seeking damages after suffering such a traumatic experience ...

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Friday, 5 February 2016

Friday Funnies: A Frog in my Throat

Okay. I'm not sure that any of us need to know what Miss Piggy and got up to last night. Actually, I have no idea what she got up to last night, but clearly it didn't involve going to the supermarket to buy a packet of butter menthols ...

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Review: Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

Newt's Emerald by Australian author, Garth Nix, is a clever tribute to those old Georgette Heyer regency romances ... with a very magical twist. Lady Truthful Newington has just come of age when tragedy strikes--the Newington Emerald has been stolen! To get it back, Truthful comes up with a clever ploy. Whilst in London for her first 'season' she will carry a disguise--that of a man, so that she can look search for the emerald. Lady Truthful soon finds herself balancing duel roles and in all sorts of dangerous situations. Can she rescue the emerald back from the clutches of an evil sorceress and save all of England? And more importantly, is there romance in the air?

Newt's Emerald can be summed up in a couple of words, terrific fun. There may not be a lot of depth to this story, but there does not need to be, instead it is better just to let the story carry you away. There are numerous convenient plot twists, dastardly villains, banter between the heroine and her love interest and a fitting end. And the whole thing works, simply because it never takes itself too seriously, nor makes fun of the genre. 

Highly recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2016

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Review: Suite Française by Irene Némirovsky

Written by a woman of Russain Jewish origin who was living (and later, hiding,) in France during German occupation, Suite Française remained undiscovered and unpublished until the early twentieth century--sixty years after Némirovsky suffered a terrible fate inside Auschwitz. The book comprises of two nearly-finished novels that were intended as part of a five part series. The first book, Storm in June tells the interwoven stories of four different groups as they flee Paris as German forces invade and some of the cruel realities of war and their situation--at one point Madame Péricand literally forgets her ill and ailing father-in-law and leaves him behind in her attempts to find a safe place for herself and her children. The main players in this feature are the Péricand family, Madame Péricand, her father-in-law and her children including seventeen year old Hector who is desperate to join the armed forces and fight for his country. A parallel story features oldest son, Father Péricand who is a priest and lands the job of transporting a group of orphan boys to safety, a task that has an ending that is as tragic as it is gruesome. Meanwhile, an older couple, the Michards travel through France not knowing whether their son, Jean-Marie is dead or alive, and suffer a gross betrayal at the hands of their employer. Charles Langlet tricks people as he fights to survive and arrogant author Gabriel Courte manages to get the best of everything. And most (not all) make it back to France and life goes on, though perhaps not so nicely or as happily as before.

The second part of the book Dolice is set in the French countryside and is a love story of sorts, with a young, married Frenchwoman falling in love (against her wishes,) with the German officer who is billeted to her home. Initially the pair would seem to have little in common, then, it seems they have everything in common until circumstance proves that they can never truly see eye to eye. The film version of the book is mostly concerned with this part of the novel, though the ending is slightly different, as the was intended to lead on to a third volume that never eventuated.

As is often the case books that are translated, I struggled in places and found the language to be a bit limited and boring. The first part of the book had some great moments, some gory moments and some dull moments, though I think that it truly captured the reality of war and what humans will sometimes do to one another in their desperation to find a safe place. The second part poses the question of whether enemies can ever really be friends, or even lovers, and it also examines the reality that love cannot always conquer all.

I enjoyed reading this one, though it took me a while to get through (the print in my copy was painfully small, leaving me to wish that I had bought it as an eBook instead.)

Filled with painful, and often deep, questions and observations.


Monday, 1 February 2016

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This is one of many murals that decorates Adelaide's Central Markets. 
This one is located at the Grote Street end of the markets.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review: Northern Heat by Helene Young

It's no surprise that Helene Young is one of the most popular Australian romantic suspense authors of our time when her books tick all the right boxes--likeable, but mysterious characters? Tick. Romance? Tick. Nail biting situations? Tick. A unique Australian setting? Tick. Northern Heat ticks every right box for its genre.

Although it can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, Northern Heat opens with Conor, the former accountant and amnesiac who played an important role in Young's previous novel Safe Harbour. This time around Conor takes centre stage. Using an assumed name, he has found safety and quiet in Cooktown, a small town in northern Queensland, where he spends his days working as a deckhand and volunteering at the local youth centre. He also feels, well, some affection for the lovely-but-mysterious single mother, Dr Kristy Dark who has some past secrets of her own. As a storm closes in on the small community, both Kristy and Conor are forced to confront their pasts and put their trust in one another if they want to survive ... and to rescue Kristy's daughter Abby who has found herself in terrible danger.

Domestic violence is discussed within the novel in a very relatable way and with real heart and understanding. 

I enjoyed reading this one, and found myself so caught up in the plot that I read the second half in a single sitting. Conor makes for an interesting hero and it was wonderful to see him take centre stage after his mysterious arrival in Safe Harbour. Kristy was a believable heroine who was quite easy to like and relate to--and she certainly had her hands full with her daughter Abby, a nice kid who is being led astray by another girl. 

Overall, well done. Recommended.

Note: I won this novel several months ago in a competition. Thank you to Helene Young, Penguin Books Australia and Book'd Out for my copy. Apologies for taking so long to post a review.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2016

Friday, 29 January 2016

Guest Post: Revealing the Attic Secrets by Lorraine Elgar

Lorraine Elgar is the co-creator and Admin for the Attic Secrets group on facebook, and the author of the fascinating Attic Secrets blog which delves deeper into the original novels by (the real) V.C. Andrews. Today she has written a guest post for us about her love of V.C. Andrews and the creation of Attic secrets ...

Revealing the Attic Secrets 
by Lorraine Elgar

Everyone has a story of how they discovered V C Andrews, my own is pretty standard – a bored nine year old digging through a cupboard and discovering a tattered book with the most amazing cover I’d ever seen.

A dark house with a bright red roof and a beautiful, if haunted, looking girl peeking out. The font, bright white called out to me Flowers in the Attic, Virginia Andrews. The back was a mixture of bright red text – It was a game of happy families – It was a game of hide and seek – It was a case of tender, loving murder – with the black font of synopsis. Ok I was sold, completely intrigued and within three days I’d devoured that book from front to back.

Over the years that book haunted me and I found myself compelled to reread over and over the story I could now probably recite in my sleep. I couldn’t explain why, but something enthralled me, had captured my soul at a young age and wasn’t giving it back. Every time I returned to the attic, I discovered something new, something I hadn’t thought of before and as I matured, through childhood, through adolescence, through motherhood I found new parts I could identify with.

No other book, nor author, has ever been able to achieve that for me.

In late 2013, I excitedly discovered they were to remake Flowers in the Attic into a movie and that there were fan sites on Facebook and fans on Twitter who felt exactly like I did. I also discovered there were many articles and people who tended to jump on the “V C Andrews bashing “ wagon, delighting in insinuating readers of V C A were into incest.

Thank God for Neisha Chetty, co-creator of Attic Secrets, who was the only person who actually stood up online and not only passionately but also intelligently pointed out the subtle genius that was Virginia Andrews. Here was a person that put into words exactly why I found V C Andrews works so compelling, who spoke out of things in the books I’d always suspected but been too embarrassed to say for fear of ridicule. She also expanded my mind and made me re-look at the books and again I felt that initial joy and wonder I did that first time.

After a year of discussing theories and debating, Neisha encouraged me to set up the Attic Secrets group for us to work on together, bringing together fans from all over the world who were fed up of being ridiculed and wanting to discuss the interacies of her works, the hidden symbolism within her text , the psychology of her characters and their complexities.

Attic Secrets main aim is to preserve V C Andrews Legacy, to strip away the incest fest tag, and look at the influences she herself used to create her work. Together with the fans we showcase the fandoms love through their creations , their opinions and discuss aspects of the book.

I’m delighted to say this month Attic Secrets turns one , and within that year we have been able to produce some fantastic exclusives for the fans including access to the cast and crew of FITA The Stage Play which premiered in New Orleans to rave reviews, we've created a successful blog which is followed worldwide, have a popular twitter account and tumblr blog.

Working with the other fan groups and pages we have bought our fans live chats with the ghost writer Andrew Neiderman, interaction with the lifetime movie stars and my own timelines of the Dollanganger Saga and My Sweet Audrina can be found on The CompleteVCA website. Most importantly, working across the fandom bought the most exciting and important thing to happen in the past thirty years when Jessica Zinder of The Lost Angels of VCA managed to find the unpublished works of VCA in the Boston Archives and entrusted myself and Attic Secrets to analyse these works.

Attic Secrets is definitely a labour of love, and its members have become like family.


Lorraine Elgar is co-creator of Attic Secrets, as well as running its successful blog, twitter and tumblr accounts, she analyses and researches all things VCA.

Lorraine lives in the UK with her partner and two children.