Thursday, 27 November 2014

1980s Nostalgia: Fabuland

The Fabuland House, as featured on Brikipedia

Like many kids born in the early 1980s, I had a Fabuland set (okay, I actually owned several,) and spent many happy hours building the sets and coming up with new creations. Made by Lego, Fabuland was first released in 1979 and was intended to be a kind of bridge between Duplo and the smaller and more complex regular Lego sets. Fabuland featured characters with animal heads and humanlike bodies and the instructions came in the form of an awesome booklet that included pictures of the figures putting the sets together. Fabuland proved to be quite popular and in 1986, a television series based on the sets Edward and Friends was produced. (This was later developed into a series of books.) Lego stopped making Fabuland 1989, though some Duplo sets have figures that look similar and many of the same pieces were included in the Mickey Mouse Lego sets in the early 2000s. Edward and Friends has never been released on DVD (despite the fact that Lego has become increasingly popular once again in recent years,) though many episodes are available to watch on YouTube, such as the one that I have included below ...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Shiriluna Nott and SaJa H

Welcome to another fine edition of Writers on Wednesday. This week I am talking with the brilliant writing duo, Shiriluna Nott and SaJa H, co-authors of The Arden Chronicles ...

Tell me a bit about yourself …

Shiriluna: I am an (almost) 30 year old girl living in the southwest US. I grew up in a (tiny) town in upstate New York, a skip away from the Canadian border. I live with my amazing, supportive boyfriend and our four “fur babies”, three dogs and a cat. I’ve always loved reading and writing—the fantasy genre in particular. There is something about being swept away to an entirely new world that enthralls me.

SaJa: I am an aspiring author who hopes to lend my voice to the many equal rights movements across the world. I live with my spouse and children and hope that one day the world will no longer need ‘heroes’ to fight battles for something as basic as human rights. We are all human and we should all be treated as such.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

“A Call to Arms” is told from the perspective of a thirteen year old boy named Gibben Nemesio. His story encompasses what it is to be a poor child in an unsympathetic world. When he’s drafted into the military, as is custom in his land, he’s taken away from his two younger brothers who depend on him, since their parents are dead. Gib is tossed into a world of highborns and politicians and he quickly learns that not everyone is who they seem. The book deals with many real world issues—poverty, war, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. It’s a coming of age story that we feel many people will be able to relate to.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

We just became published on October 15th. It has been a long road since we’ve been writing and planning these characters and plot lines for fifteen or more years now. It is exhilarating to finally have our voices out there and being heard!

As writer, what has been your proudest achievement so far?

Again, being that we are newly published for the first time, our proudest moment is simply getting our story out there. We began developing these characters and stories from about the age of thirteen, so they’re really very personal to us. We are grateful that we’ve been able to take this opportunity to share our story with the world.

What books or writing projects are you currently working on, if anything?

We are currently working on book two of this same series. Gib’s story is going to be five books long and we plan to take the reader along to experience what joys and hardships shape him into the man he will become. The world of Arden will also reflect some of the struggles in the real world and hopefully send out a beacon of hope to others who have found themselves oppressed. We want to be a support for these people and show them they are not alone.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

So far we’ve only experienced indie publishing. If that changes in the future we’ll let you know! But as of right now, self-publishing seems to be an excellent way to get your stories out there for the world to share.

Aside from your own books, of course, what is one book that you feel everybody should read?

SaJa: I am partial to too many series and books to list just one. I would encourage people to read as much and as often as they can. Reading keeps your mind fresh and full of ideas, whether you’re a writer yourself or a reading enthusiast.

Shiriluna: I’ve always been a huge fan of Mercedes Lackey. Her characters are so deep and I always become so invested in their story—she has inspired me to create my own memorable characters. I also love The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, and the Shannara Series by Terry Brooks.

Finally … is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?

Adelaide, Australia you are amazing. Thank you so much for all of your support and giving us this opportunity. We appreciate the interview and hope to keep on writing and touching the lives of people all over the world.


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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review: Fake by Beck Nicholas

How well do you really know the people that are closest to you? Your mum? Your dad? Your boyfriend? Your best friend? When seventeen-year-old Kath McKenny uses the internet to get sweet revenge on her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for the local mean girl Laura and who humiliated her in front of the whole school, she ends up uncovering a lot more than she intended to. It turns out that everyone she knows is keeping some surprising secrets ...

Fake is an absorbing YA novel that has a surprising amount of depth. Although marketed as a tale of sweet revenge, this one also has a lot to say about human nature and the ways that we sometimes, quite willingly, choose to deceive ourselves and others. It was also wonderful watching the relationship between Kath and Sebastian develop, despite some interference from Laura and the fact that both of them were keeping some pretty big secrets. There is also some subtle themes of forgiveness and redemption that I found quite lovely. And each of the characters and their secrets, though huge and sometimes surprising, were always believable.

I highly recommend this one--it's a great read for the intended YA audience and also has enough material to keep adult readers entertained and guessing. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

Do you remember to always validate your metrocard, or to buy a ticket when boarding a bus, train or tram? If so, Adelaide Metro like you and in this series of ads, which have been posted at various tram stops, train stations and bus stops around Adelaide, they want to call you a "fare player". (This poster pictured above hangs on a fence at Noarlunga Interchange, looking east toward the railway line.) Presumably, the thumbs up means that they think you are doing a good deed, but I would not be surprised if a tourist or two may have been a bit offended by that signal.

Apparently, the opposite of a fare player is a "fare bludger" and they too have their own poster, which comes completely with a small, white figure giving the thumbs down signal.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Charming the Outback by Leesa Bow

Charming the Outback is a lightweight romance, set against the backdrop of the Australian outback that will be sure to please fans of both new adult romance and rural romance. (I suppose you could call this one a crossover and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.) Maddy McIntyre is an Adelaide girl, who is tired of the city and limited employment opportunities for graduate primary teachers. To further her career, she takes up a post in Broken Hill. But is that the only reason why she has moved to the small, mining town? Or could Luke White, the man who broke her heart several months ago and left Adelaide for his hometown be the real reason that Maddy is so interested in moving to the outback ...

This one is a lightweight romance that works as a perfect companion novel to Bow's previous Destiny Romance title, Winning the Player. It is what it is and it is difficult to say too much about the novel without giving away the very elements that made me want to keep reading. So I'll say this. The author writes a mighty fine romance with characters who are human, believable and all the more enjoyable to read about because of their flaws--too many books have flawless heros and heroines whose issues are caused by unfair circumstance; the characters in this novel have a little bit of blemish, do annoying things and sometimes make bad decisions, and that makes them all the better to read about. 

Finally, a big shout out to Penguin Books and Netgalley for my review copy. Thanks!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Friday Funnies: Garfield Minus Garfield? Part Three

Source: Go Comics
Today's Friday Funny is another weird, Jon-themed Garfield comic. We are, of course, only led to assume that it is Garfield who is using that saw ...

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Peanuts Teaser Trailer

Well, it looks like another trailer for the upcoming Peanuts movie has arrived! I'm cautiously optimistic about this one, looks like it could be a lot of fun ...