Sunday, 25 January 2015

Off Topic: Ugly? Who Cares?

Image courtesy of stockimages at

I read this article on Cosmopolitan recently and it really pissed me off. (So much so that I have decided to write a blog about it.) The story is about a young woman who has a negative self belief that she is ugly and about a bad experience at a nightclub. On the surface, this article looks like a sad story about a woman who has been discriminated against. Look a bit closer and you'll see that it is intended to inspire fear of rejection and of "being ugly" among the target readership, as well as the idea that a woman's self-worth comes from the validation of men.  

Here's a better idea. How about writing an article encouraging women to empower themselves, and how to have a good night out without giving a fuck about what other people think? In fact, here are some tips on how to be an empowered, independent woman at a nightclub:

1. Pay your own bloody entrance fee, and buy your own bloody drinks. That's called being an adult. If someone offers to buy you a drink, consider it a gift, not your right. Same as you are not obligated to kiss, dance or sleep with anyone who buys you a drink. 

2. Go out to clubs with the objective of dancing and making new friends. You are not obligated to hook up with anyone and nor are they obligated to hook up with you.

3. No one actually gives a flying fuck if you leave alone. You shouldn't care either.

4. Don't base your entire social life around clubbing. Having a range of hobbies, interests and friends and an ability to communicate with others without the aid of alcohol is what will help shape you as a person.

And, finally ...

5. The bad news is that opinions of other people are totally subjective and you cannot control their actions. You cannot force anyone to talk to you, dance with you or find you attractive. The good news is that it doesn't matter.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop!

For the third year running, I am participating the the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop. Hosted by Book'd Out this blog hop is a great initiative and an awesome way to connect bloggers with some great Australian fiction. (And once you've finished here, don't forget to head to Book'd Out to see the full list of participants.)

This year, I will be giving away three prizes, all of which are books written by yours truly, mostly because I am into blatant self-promotion like that. The books are:

  • An autographed copy of Everybody Hates Abigail, my latest book which about a girl growing up in a small, South Australian town in the mid 1990s.
  • An autographed copy of Cats, Scarves and Liars, an unlikely tale that features murders, a red scarf and a talking cat.
  • An autographed copy of Behind the Scenes, which is about a young woman who scores a role on her favourite TV soap but soon discovers that the real dramas are the ones that occur behind the scenes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, and feel free to tell me in the comments section how all you awesome folk are planning to spend the Australia Day weekend. This competition is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

An action packed tale, The Mime Order is sure to please fans of Samantha Shannon's debut novel The Bone Season. Picking up where The Bone Season left off, we find Paige taking part in a daring escape back to London. But life in the criminal underworld of London is not easy for Paige, particularly when she has an employer that she cannot trust, someone is committing some gruesome murders and the government have named her as a most wanted criminal ...

The Mime Order has plenty of action with a strong fantasy element, coupled with more than the occasional nod to Victorian Literature. As was the case with The Bone Season, the most remarkable element to this book is the author's imagination and the fact that she can make many complex ideas work into an interesting and readable story. At times, the story felt as though it flowed together a bit too easily (Paige's quest to become underqueen for example,) and the meeting at the end could have been a bit meatier. I do wonder how this story can possibly extend for seven volumes, but I suppose that there may be many more twists along the way yet. But all that said, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the story as it is. 

This one was an enjoyable read and I dare say that it will be enjoyed by fans of the series, young and old. 

Finally, a big shout out to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for my review copy. Thank you very much. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

The debut novel by Brisbane based writer Leisa Rayven is an amusing sexy, tale that teases readers as it moves between the past and the present to tell a story of two actors whose relationship seems every bit as doomed as the characters they play. Six years ago, Cassie Taylor and Ethan Holt met and were cast opposite one another in a student production of Romeo and Juliet. The sexual tension was obvious, but it was not long before bad boy Ethan broke Cassie's heart. Now both professional actors, Ethan and Cassie have been cast opposite one another in a Broadway production. Ethan wants Cassie to give him another chance, but Cassie is not so keen. Will she take a chance and risk Ethan breaking her heart ... again?

I enjoyed reading Bad Romeo. Though the novel was a little slow, and the time slips could be confusing at times, I found myself intrigued and wanting to know more about how Cassie and Ethan got together, and what had caused their eventual, bitter break up. (Though in this volume, the author teases us with snippets of information about what happened.) Some of the young Cassie's diary entries were quite amusing--certainly not things that I would never have dared to write or admit to (even secretly,) at that age. The Romeo and Juliet references were quite apt, considering that Cassie and Ethan were also in love and their relationship doomed to fail. 

Although some readers may disagree with me on this one, I enjoyed the way that the author portrayed Ethan. Although he may be a bit of an arsehole, he at least knows he is an arsehole. I never got the sense that he intended to lead Cassie on, or that he was eager to control, corrupt or introduce her to anything that she was not ready for, which is rare for a bad boy in contemporary romance. (Think Fifty Shades, or After by Anna Todd, both of which contain stereotypical bad and damaged male leads.) Cassie, though a virgin, has control of her sexuality. She knows what she wants, is not afraid to ask for it or to talk about it, which I find is far too rare in this genre. Although she suffers infatuations and disappointments (as we all do,) there is no sense of her being controlled by her sexual partner. My only real criticism is that a number of secondary characters (ie Zoe, Ruby and Conner,) fall a bit flat.

The sequel, Broken Juliet will be published later this year. 

I also love the shiny foil cover on the Australian edition. 

Recommended. An enjoyable contemporary romance that avoids stereotypes. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015

Note: D'oh! I wrote the following post in late December 2014 and somehow I saved it to my draft file instead of publishing it. This is what happens when you try to hold down a job, write books, update your blog daily and drink far too much coffee in between. 

I am pleased to announce that in 2015 that I will be participating with the Eclectic Reader Challenge which is being hosted by Book'd Out, one of my favourite book blogs. The aim of the challenge is to push readers out of their comfort zone by reading 12 different books in 12 different categories. This year, the categories are:

  • Retellings
  • A book set in a country starting with the letter 'S'
  • PI Crime
  • A novel published before you were born.
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Fiction for foodies
  • Microhistory
  • Science Fiction set in space
  • Featuring Diversity
  • Epistolary fiction
  • Middle Grade/YA Adventure
I am having a lot of fun coming up with some ideas about what to read. I can't wait to see what other participants come up with. 

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

North Terrace is the part of Adelaide where we pay tribute to many great South Australians. A number of beautifully crafted statues are dotted along the northern side of North Terrace, including this one of Dame Roma Mitchell. Apologies for the poor picture quality, Dame Roma proved very difficult to capture in the afternoon sun. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Restaurant Critic Admits Review May Have Been a Bit Harsh

NOWHERESVILLE, AUSTRALIA--TweetyTuff, a self-appointed food critic who posts semi-anonymous restaurants online had admitted to one of our reporters that her one-star review of Bob's Takeaway Restaurant may have been, 'a bit harsh.' In her review, which was shared on Whelp, a site where any member of the public is invited to review local businesses, TweetyTuff gave a scathing rundown of the food and service, that allegedly left 'a bad taste in my mouth.' 

"I didn't realise that the restaurant concerned was actually a local take-away joint," TweetyTuff explained. "I was expecting a sit down meal and I thought that the people who worked there were just being rude when they wrapped my fish and chips in newspaper and then expected me to walk to the counter to collect them. And when I asked for cutlery, they just pointed at a tray that was loaded with plastic knives and forks. So, naturally, I felt that I had no choice but to write four thousand words telling them that their chips tasted like they had been soaked in garbage and make insulting comments about the physical characteristics of the people who worked there. I admit, the girl who served me did not weight two hundred thousand kilograms and nor was she covered in some unknown rash. I didn't see her pick any scabs from her arms, either." 

When questioned further, TweetyTuff admitted that she was, in fact, aware that Emily Arnold, 14, the daughter of the business owners, was a fashion model who has appeared in Aphrodite magazine and that Emily was, in fact, one of her classmates. "I guess I am a bit jealous," TweetyTuff sighs. "But she's still a bitch and deserves at least some of what I said."

When probed further, TweetyTuff admitted that the chips tasted quite pleasant and that she had not seen anyone throw any rats, shoes or a live and frightened kelpie puppy into the deep fryer and that those comments may have been, "a bit harsh." Her parents, meanwhile, told a very different version of what happened during the family trip to the local takeaway joint. "I don't understand where all this criticism came from," her mother states. "Our daughter knows that it wasn't a sit down restaurant. And she spent most of the visit sitting on a plastic chair, fiddling with her mobile phone and sighing loudly every time that my husband tried to sing along to the song that was playing on the radio." TweetyTuff's father adds that his daughter was not even the one to collect the newspaper wrapped package from the counter and that she had complained bitterly when she was asked to balance it on her lap for the trip home. "Then again," he adds with a sigh, "She can be a bit of a brat sometimes ..."