Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

American author Colleen Hoover knows not only her strength as an author, but how to satisfy her readers and proves it yet again with Confess, another winning contemporary romance. As is often the case with Hoover's work, she cleverly incorporates another medium into her work, this time turning her attention to paintings that were inspired by real confessions that were sent to her from her readers and weaving in a beautiful romance.

Auburn Reed is trying to rebuild her life. Shortly after the death of her boyfriend when they were both fifteen she discovered that she was pregnant. Cruelly deceived by Lydia, her boyfriend's selfish mother, she is doing her best to win custody of her now four-year-old son, but that is not easy when she is living in a strange new city, has no money and a job that she does not like. Fate brings her one day to an art studio where she meets Owen, who has a past and secrets of his own and who lives out his day painting pictures of the things that people have confessed to him. While circumstance and some cruel manipulations by Lydia and her older son Trey, conspire to keep Auburn and Owen apart, the pair fight to stay together and prove that true love cannot be broken.

For a lightweight romance, this one is an absolute winner. There is a bit of melodrama, likeable characters and a couple that I just wanted to cheer for. Sure, parts of this novel were a bit over-the-top, supporting characters lacked depth and I read it in a single sitting, but as far as telling the story of how two likeable protagonists met, feel in love and managed to overcome a number of obstacles Confess is a wholly satisfying read. I also loved the way that artwork was incorporated into the story and the colour inserts that feature the paintings.

Highly recommended.

This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge 2015 

Category: Contemporary Romance

Progress 6/12

Monday, 4 May 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

H-Class Tram, Wigley Reserve
How is this for street art? (Or street car art, perhaps.) At Wigley reserve, Glenelg, a small section of the park is now home to one of Adelaide's famous H-class trams. The H-class trams were a stalwart of Adelaide's public transportation system, servicing the city-to-Glenelg (or city to the Bay if you're a local,) until 2006 when the newer Flexity classic trams were brought in and the tram line was extended to West Terrace. H-class trams were slowly phased out after the introduction of the newer trams, eventually narrowed down to weekend historic/tourist services until the tram line was extended to Hindmarsh in 2010. One of the trams, number 361, now sits proudly under a canopy, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Patawalonga River where the replica of the HMS Buffalo is moored.  

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Newsflash: Twins by Kathryn White Now Free From Smashwords

Twins an uncomfortable short story about sibling rivalry and betrayal and written by me is now available as a FREE download from Smashwords with other excellent online retailers to follow. 

The blurb reads:

Isla is the quiet, submissive twin but that all changes one day when she catches her boyfriend and twin sister in bed together. She flees the small Australian town that she calls home and makes a new life for herself in the city, until tragedy forces her to return home to Verona Beach where she confronts her sister and the ghosts of her past. 

Thoughtfully written and with a number of surprising twists, Twins is a short story from Australian author Kathryn White.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Would be Romeo Dismissed by Women as "Probable Scammer"

Mr Lennon in his facebook profile.
NOWHERESVILLE AUSTRALIA--When Lukas Lennon retired from an esteemed career with the military, he wanted nothing more than to find true love. His attempts at finding love, however, were soon shunned by Australian women, leaving him shattered. "I don't understand it," Mr Lennon says, as he sweeps a hand through his blonde hair. Wearing only a pair of tight-fitting budgie smugglers, he steps on to the balcony of his palatal family home and stares wistfully out at the beach. "I had everything planned so perfectly. I set up a facebook page, and posted a number of pictures of myself, my home and all of my cars and made it clear that I was looking for that special someone. I searched the profiles on facebook so carefully, looking for women who were over thirty-five and widowed, but none of them wanted to be my facebook friend. Some of them even blocked me and sent these really weird messages, telling me that I was an obvious scammer, that I was probably from Nigeria and that I was just after their money. That's not true at all. I thought that the shots were great, they were taking during my brief stint as a male model. Is it really so wrong that I am approaching widows on facebook?"

Mr Lennon seemed genuinely surprised when our reporter mentioned a number of singles events that were happening in his local area. "You mean there are agencies who organise this sort of thing?" He asked. "And that I don't have to keep approaching random strangers online? I never realised that women would find that so creepy ..."

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review: Before the Fire

Set in the lead up to the London riots of 2011, Before the Fire is an intelligent and believable coming of age story about an eighteen year old boy who is grieving for his best mate. Kieran, better known by his nickname, Stick, believes that his life is finally starting to take a turn for the better. He has suffered a few traumas during his childhood--the death of his sister and his parents divorcing soon after. Stick lives with his mum, who has OCD and who is reluctant to admit that there is a problem. His dad, meanwhile, has remarried and he and his new wife have two daughters. It is not difficult to see why Stick is resentful of his situation, though his parents are presented as being basically okay people (despite their failings,) and who most definitely care about their son. Anyway, Stick and his best mate Mac have organised a trip to Spain, where they are planning to live and work, and Stick is thoroughly looking forward to the change and to leaving Manchester behind. But on the evening of their going away party, Mac is murdered and Stick is left behind ...

Before the Fire is brutal in its honesty and in its portrayal of a troubled teenage boy. And this is exactly what makes it such a compelling read. Far from offering an idealised view of adolescence, the author tells things as they are, presents readers with real-life problems and writes situations that made me stop and think about human nature. I also liked the paring of Stick with J, a delinquent girl with a penchant for trouble. The whole thing is about as far away from a cliched YA romance as you can get and as a reader, I thoroughly appreciated the contrast. Stick, his family and his girlfriend are all far from perfect, but the situations felt real and easy to identify with. I may not necessarily condone everything that the character does, but I loved having the opportunity to try and understand why he did it.

The London riots themselves provide an interesting backdrop and parallel--just as Stick wants answers to the death of Mac and to avenge it--the riots were caused by a demand for answers and a way of avenging one person's murder. It is interesting what Stick does when he finally finds himself face to face with Owen Lee, the man responsible for Mac's murder--the scene shows a real test of character.

If you're looking for a hard-hitting, confronting read about what life can be like for some kids, then Before the Fire is an excellent choice. Recommended.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Writers on Wednesday: Lynette Washington

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am chatting with Adelaide author, Lynette Washington ...



Tell me a bit about yourself …

I’m a short story writer, teacher, editor, reviewer and mother.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

My latest book (as editor) is a short story collection called Breaking Beauty. It is a collection of 28 stories by 27 writers, all on the theme of beauty.

We asked the writers to write about beauty, but we didn’t expect that they would be so brutal with the idea! In the end, what I learnt was that beauty rarely exists without a dark side, a grubby underbelly. 

The stories are so diverse and tackle the theme from so many different angles that it’s a real insight into the complexity of the idea of beauty – which I think is one of the (sometimes dangerous) obsessions of our time.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

I got started late in life. My first (significant) publication was the short story ‘The Swarm’ which was published in an anthology called Stoned Crows and Other Australian Icons edited by Julie Chevalier and Linda Godfrey and published by Spineless Wonders in 2013. It’s a gorgeous collection of prose poems and microfiction poking fun at the idea of established Australian identity and culture.

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

Actually, my proudest moment was showing my kids ‘The Swarm’ in Stoned Crows and writing a little inscription in a copy of it for each of them to keep. They are well and truly too young to read the story, but I wanted them to know that I’d done something important. That was the moment I said to myself ‘you are a real writer, your dreams have officially come true’.
Another moment came at the book launch for Breaking Beauty. My kids were there, of course, and they got to see Mum being something other than mum. For me it’s vital that my kids know I’m doing work that is important to me and that I’m working hard to achieve my goals.
Those moments of celebration – writing the inscription, taking them to the book launch – make those things real and show them the results of my hard work.

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

At the moment I’m wearing far too many hats for my own good. I’m working on finishing my PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, writing reviews for The Clothesline (a digital arts website, also based in Adelaide), and doing odd editorial jobs around the place.
My main focus, that I tell myself over and over, is getting my manuscript ready to send off to agents and publishers. It’s a collection of connected short stories and I’m really excited about it. I’ve worked on it for more than three years and it’s time to cut the apron strings and see if it survives in the real world!

Which do you prefer? eBooks or Paper Books? Why?

I’ve tried eBooks and without a doubt I absolutely prefer paper books. I sit in front of a screen all day, most days, and when I read fiction that isn’t for work purposes, I want it to be in paper form. It’s easier on the eyes, it’s nicer to hold, and I like knowing where I am in relation to the whole story just from how the book feels in my hands. I also love looking at a large shelf full of books, and lending much-loved books to friends.

Recently I’ve read a couple of beautiful books that have been created, in print, with a bespoke aesthetic in mind that have reminded me that paper books can be beautiful artefacts as well as devices to transmit story. Angela Meyer’s Captives and Michele de Krester’s A Ghost Story both have gorgeous illustrations peppered throughout that are touch-worthy artworks in their own right. eBooks have yet to achieve this.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

I’m a fan of both.

I was published by a small, boutique publisher in South Australia, MidnightSun Publishing, and the experience was entirely wonderful. I developed a strong, personal relationship with my publisher. I was consulted every step of the way and given considerable freedom. I was encouraged to assist with all aspects of marketing and publicity (something I enjoy).

I feel like I learned an enormous amount about the industry, gained important contacts and was able to produce a book I was proud of and had a great investment in. It was a process I would repeat in a heartbeat.

Having said that, I know many writers who are achieving significant success and personal satisfaction publishing their own books independently and I salute them! The industry is big enough for both, and should accommodate both.

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

Wow, that is a tough question. Can I refer you to my blog, where I list a bunch of books that I love, along with the reasons I love them?


For those who can’t be bothered following a link…well…I’ve never been good at reducing anything to the ‘1 greatest thing’.

I will be annoyingly vague and say ‘the one book that speaks to you the loudest’. I’m not a believer in ‘the canon’ as such. I don’t think there is a single list of books that everyone should read. I’ve never read Moby Dick. I’ve only ever seen the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t consider myself a lesser reader or writer because of these facts. There are just too many great books in the world. Everyone’s ‘canon’ should be different. It should include whatever you want it to!
Just read what speaks to you the loudest.


Links

You can buy Breaking Beauty on the publisher’s website:
And Amazon:
And at all good bookshops!

Facebook
Twitter
 @LynneTashi
Blog

The Clothesline