Monday, 28 May 2012

The Books That Didn't Quite Make It

I'm certain that I will surprise no one by confessing that I read a lot. Obsessively. On my way to and from work. At lunchtime. Before bed. More or less any time that hasn't been dedicated to my work, social life, housework or writing. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that every book I read is good. And seeing as I usually blog about the books I have read and loved, today I thought that I would do something different and blog about the books I have read since I started this site and either did not enjoy or did not finish. And so, in no particular order, here are some of the books that didn't end up being reviewed.

Article 5 - Kirsten Simmons (Never finished)

This book gets top billing, simply because it was the one that inspired this post. It's difficult to say what I didn't like about this dystopian tale of post war America, apart from the fact that it failed to draw me in. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm part of the generation who grew up waiting for the next installment in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, but the characters and situations in this book seemed rather dull by comparison. 

Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult (Never finished) 

Jodi Picoult has written some fantastic novels in her time. My Sisters Keeper, The Pact and Nineteen Minutes are fine examples of her ability to show that there is more than one side to every story. Unfortunately, Sing You Home isn't one of those great novels. Maybe I'm just getting older and my tastes more discerning (this was actually the first Picoult novel I have read in many years,) but every character in this book felt more like an urban myth of what it is like to experience a stillbirth, be a lesbian, convert to a fundamentalist sect, or to conceive a child through IVF.

Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens

An absolutely brilliant idea for a thriller. Imagine being adopted by an abusive family and then, when you grow up deciding enough is enough and that you're going to search for your biological parents. Then you discover that your biological father is a serial killer. What could have been a brilliant story (or at least a decent page turner,) is let down by less than believable characters and an unnecessary twist at the end.

Into the Darkness - VC Andrews

Okay, I admit. I'm a huge fan of VC Andrews. Every time I tell someone that Flowers in the Attic isn't very literary and I wouldn't really recommend it, I'm actually secretly urging them to indulge in this awesome guilty pleasure read. The problem is that after the real VC Andrews died, her family hired a ghost writer to complete her unfinished work and then write additional novels in her name. In the past twenty years, more than sixty novels baring her name have been published, all of varying quality. Into the Darkness is easily one of the worst in what the ghostwriter calls the "VC franchise", telling the story of a young woman who falls in love with the boy next door, who only she can see. Oh, and he turns out to be a ghost and she ends up in therapy.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Trouble With Titles

As some of you may be aware, I am currently in the process of self-publishing a novella. The project is now in the late stages, meaning that I am busy designing potential covers and blurbs, checking the copy frantically for errors and perhaps the most heartbreaking element of all for this particular work--changing the title. The problem with that last one is this. Outside in the Rain and I have a great history. We date all the way back to 2010. It has a great story behind it--the novella was inspired by a question on Yahoo! Answers. And as much as I might like the title, I'm not sure that its the best one to market my novel. For one, rain is fairly incidental to the story, sure its raining when my heroine meets her beloved outside a pub one autumn night, but there are greater themes that really drive the story. Like the fact that my heroine may have murdered her nasty ex-boyfriend (she cannot remember the actual act, all she knows is that she panicked at the sight of his bloody and badly beaten body,) and there are a couple of other twists and turns. I am considering Best Forgotten as a potential title. I also feel this is going to give me the best tag line to market the novel, i.e. Sometimes the truth is ...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Big shout out and thanks to Tarran the team at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown for this signed copy of Isobelle Carmody's latest release Metro Winds. For those of you who don't know, Isobelle Carmody is the author of brilliant novels such as The Gathering and also the The Obernewtyn Chronicles. She's the kind of author that you read growing up and never really grow out of. 

When I learned that Isobelle Carmody would be having a signing at the store last Thursday evening, I was quite eager to attend. Unfortunately, the signing was rescheduled for Friday afternoon. As I work during the day, I was unable to attend. Fortunately, the store was kind enough to ask Isobelle to sign a copy for me and put it aside for me to collect over the weekend. Thanks.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering ... Metro Winds is a collection of stories set in the real world but with fantasy elements. Visit Isobelle Carmody's official site here.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Fifty Shades Sillier: A Fifty Shades Fanfiction

Greetings all. Kathryn's Inbox is proud to present this Fifty Shades Fanfiction, which has been written by a certain struggling author who would really rather remain anonymous. 

Fifty Shades Sillier, by Anonymous

Holy Cow! My inner Goddess begins to do somersaults as Christian takes a large, vibrating object in his hands. "Do you know what I am going to do with this Miss Steele?" He asks, whilst offering me a sexy smile. Wow, that smile is just so ... hot. 

"Miss Steele." Christian sounds quite annoyed, as he adjusts the overhead light. "Would you please behave yourself?"

"Really Christian?" I stare at him and bite my lip. "What would you do if I don't want to behave?"

"Nurse?" Christian sighs. Wow, he looks angry. That is so ... hot. 

"Yes Doctor Grey?" Nurse Elena appears in the doorway. She takes the electric toothbrush from Christian's hands. Her smile is sympathetic, the cow. Elena has always been jealous of my relationship with Christian.

"This isn't going to work." Christian sighs again. "Get someone down here and ask them to take Miss Steele back to her room in the psychiatric ward, preferably before I get molested. We'll look at her teeth another time, perhaps after she's taken her medication. 

"As you wish." 

Nurse Elena raises my chair. "Only woman I've ever known to have multiple orgasms while on a dentist's chair," she mutters. "Don't worry Miss Steele, your psychiatrist will be here shortly ..."

Psychiatrist? Wow, I wonder if he'll put me in a straightjacket again and that special padded cell again? Trips to the hospital are always so ... hot. My inner goddess begins to dance.

Feature Follow Friday

Yay! It's Friday once again, and we all know what that means. No, I'm not talking about my usual Friday night jaunt to the markets, but Feature and Follow Friday, a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkie's View designed to help book bloggers meet and connect. This week's all important question is:

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

You do know that it's almost winter in Adelaide right? But at this time of year, I'd love to head up north to the Gold Coast.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Judy Blume Files #1. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

About six months or so ago, a regular customer at my workplace and I got talking about Judy Blume. He  confessed that as a preteen one of his favourite novels was Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and that he had been somewhat fascinated by reading an account of puberty from the perspective of a girl. Unsurprisingly, he laughed quite a bit when I told him that when I was thirteen one of my favourite novels was Then Again, Maybe I Wont, another Judy Blume novel which is an account of puberty through the eyes of a boy. I wonder if this was, perhaps, deliberate on behalf of the author. Or if we both just simply have a morbid curiosity about the other gender. (I'm leaning toward the former.) Speculation aside, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret tells the story of a girl, eleven, going on twelve, who wants desperately to grow up (or at least wear a bra and get her first period,) be accepted by her peers and work out what her religious beliefs and affiliations are. Which is all much easier said than done.

The novel opens with eleven-year-old Margaret moving from New York to New Jersey. The purposes of this move, it would seem is to get Margaret away from her domineering and very Jewish paternal grandmother. Margaret has grown up in a multi-faith family, her mother is Christian and her father Jewish. Her parents have opted not to celebrate religious holidays or force either faith on their daughter. In New York, this was not a problem. In New Jersey, however, it seems that everyone Margaret knows has one kind of religious affiliation or another. She decides to do a study on religion for her year long project at school, so that she can decide which faith she belongs to. Meanwhile, she often prays to God, beginning her prayers with Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, suggesting that she is doubtful about the existence of God at all, or at the least, who or what God may be. Her prayers centre mainly around requests for things that she thinks will help her fit in with her peers.

Puberty is a constant theme throughout the book. Margaret desperately wants to wear a bra (wearing a bra means that she will be included in a secret girls only club run by her friend Nancy,) and to get her first period. Two of the four girls in her group have already began menstruating and Margaret does not want to be left behind. She is also jealous of another girl in her class, Laura, who already has a large bust. She readily believes the nasty stories that Nancy tells her about Laura. However, Margaret soon begins to realise that Nancy may not be entirely honest when she first discovers that her friend has lied about getting her first period and then when she teases Laura about the mean things that Nancy has said. The book also deals with the clumsy way that puberty is sometimes talked about at school--the girls are made to watch a film about menstruation that has been sponsored by a manufacturer of feminine hygiene products that appears to be little more than a long commercial. It's also amusing to note how much technology has changed since 1970 when the book was published--there is a section where Margaret practices attaching a sanitary pad to a belt (no adhesive, or ultra thin pads back then,) and tampons are deemed unsuitable for anyone in their teens. (No mini tampons, or warnings about Toxic Shock Syndrome.) Later editions of the book have been updated.

Along with the discovery that her friend Nancy is a liar, Margaret decides that she does not want to belong to any religion. She decides that she will never speak to God again. However, after she finishes the school year (having not completed her project on religion,) she thanks God when she gets her first period. The prayer is short and ends mid-sentence, suggesting that Margaret's thoughts on religion remain confused. If she continues to have a relationship with or belief in God, it will be without any kind of organised religion.

All in all, Are You There God? It's Me Margaret is an honest account of preteen friendships, puberty and religion. It probably doesn't offer a lot for adults, but it's one that should be read by all preteens, female or male.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Judy Blume Files

This next post is devoted to one of my all time favourite authors of books for children and young adults, Judy Blume. Like many kids of my generation, I more or less grew up reading Judy Blume. When I was nine, I giggled at Fudge and felt sorry for his poor, suffering older brother Peter. When I was eleven, I understood only too well the world of female bullying that was so accurately and honestly depicted in Blubber. When I was thirteen, I read Then Again Maybe I Won't from cover to cover several times and took comfort in the fact that boys had to go through puberty as well. When I was fifteen Forever offered me a far more honest and accurate account of teenage relationships than what sex education classes or the pages of Dolly magazine ever could. And that's not even mentioning the personal impact many of her other wonderful novels had on me--Iggy's House, Starring Sally J. Freeman as Herself, Are You There God? It's Me MargaretIt's Not the End of the World, Deenie, Here's to You Rachael Robinson and my personal favourite, Tiger Eyes. My mother encouraged me to read as many of these books as possible, as did Cathy, the children's librarian at my local library. 

The magic of Judy Blume's novels lies in the honest way the stories are told. Her characters are ordinary kids just trying to navigate their way through life. For example, I've never read a book that so honestly and simply depicted female bullying as Blubber. As a child, I understood perfectly how the main character, Jill, felt first when she witnessed a classmate being bullied and then, the consequences that she suffered after speaking up--I had similar experiences while I was at primary school. 

Blume has also written three novels for adults that I have yet to read, Wifey, Smart Women and Summer Sisters.

Over the next few weeks, among other posts and projects, I plan to re-read and review some of my favourite Judy Blume novels as well as reading her adult novels for the first time. I hope you'll join me as I give these books the reading and review that they deserve. (Along with a few personal anecdotes, naturally.)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Sweet Life by Francine Pascal

Justin case last years lackluster Sweet Valley comeback Sweet Valley Confidentialwas not enough to annoy legions of now adult Sweet Valley fans who all bought the book for nostalgic purposes (check out some snarky/damning reviews herehere and here,) it seems that another adult Sweet Valley spin offs is headed our way. No, I'm not talking about Sweet Valley Retirement Castle, where Elizabeth and Jessica share a room and spend their days fighting over who has stolen whose dentures and who used the last of the epson salts. The Sweet Life is to be a six part digital serial that picks up three years after Sweet Valley Confidential left off. Now, for those of you who missed it, Sweet Valley Confidential ended with Jessica marrying Todd, her sister's longtime boyfriend, while Elizabeth hooked up with bad boy Bruce Patman, the same guy who had threatened to rape her back in high school. Luckily, it turns out that Bruce is a reformed man and Todd had secretly loved Jessica all along. Anyway, according to the promotional copy on the official website, in The Sweet Life Jessica and Todd's marriage is hanging by a thread, while Elizabeth and Bruce are facing some kind of scandal that could tear them apart. (Does anyone else think this means that Bruce is having an affair with Jessica? Sigh.) Oh and Lila Fowler is an important part of the series and is starring in a reality TV show. Double sigh. Seems like all we need is a subplot with Enid Rollins convincing Steven that he isn't really gay after all and we're all set.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Rewiew: Room by Emma Donoghue

Every now and again, a wonderful book comes out and, somehow, I manage to miss it. When Room was released in 2010, I put it on my long-list of books to read and promptly forgot about it. Lucky for me, Picador rereleased this one a month or so ago as part of their 40th anniversary editions and a few copies happened to be very prominently displayed at the Dymocks store in Rundle Mall. (Speaking of, my brother visited the big Dymocks in Sydney on the weekend. I'm so jealous.) Anyway, when I purchased a copy of Room the sales staff could not praise the book highly enough. And when I read the book, it was not difficult to see why.

Room is narrated by Jack, a five-year-old whose entire world is a small confined space that he calls Room, which contains a bed, wardrobe, kitchen and television. The only people he knows is his mother, who he affectionately calls Ma and an white haired man he calls Old Nick. Old Nick comes and goes from Room, bringing Ma and Jack various supplies and to, as Jack puts it, creak the bed. Ma never allows Jack to get too close to Old Nick. Jack is to hide in the wardrobe whenever he hears Old Nick beep the door. Far from being unhappy with this situation, Jack believes that Room is all that exists. The images that he sees on television are not real. And then one day, Ma shares with him a terrible secret and the pair hatch a plot to escape ...

What makes this book so wonderful is the innocent way that the story is told. The story itself is horrific, with a number of parallels with the Fritzl case in Germany or the abductions of Sabine Dardenne in Belgium and Natasha Kampusch in Austria. (Ma was in her late teens when she was abducted.) Somehow, Ma has shielded Jack from the horrors that occurred inside Room, to the point that he has a lot of difficulty adjusting to the outside world when he is freed. Jack has grown up innocent from gender stereotypes (for example, he happily chooses a pink bag as a present from his uncle,) and commits numerous faux pas during his first trip to the mall and the playground, etc. With the exception of Ma, the adults in his life struggle to understand this boy, or why he would feel homesick for the only home he has ever known, Room. Fortunately, as his grandmother and step-grandfather (Steppa) help him to adjust to this new and frightening world. The story ends with Ma and Jack visiting Room one last time. Then and only then can Jack begin to let go of the past and accept his new world.

I thought that Room was a well-written book. It was difficult for me to put the book down, though the prose (written how a five year old might speak,) took some getting used to. Highly recommended. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Extract: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Just for fun today, I thought I would share a small extract from one of my favourite novels, Pride and Prejudice. I first read this novel one warm evening when I was eighteen and unable to sleep. At that time, it was the only book on my bookshelf that I had not read. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down ...

 Chapter 1  

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.  

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"  

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.  

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."  

Mr. Bennet made no answer.  

"Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.  

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."  

This was invitation enough.  

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."  

"What is his name?"  


"Is he married or single?"  

"Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"  

"How so? How can it affect them?"  

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."  

"Is that his design in settling here?"  

"Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."  

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party."  

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."  

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."  

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."  

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."  

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him if you do not."  

"You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."  

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."  

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."  

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves."  

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least."  

"Ah, you do not know what I suffer."  

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."  

"It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them."  

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all."  

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

Pride and Prejudice, source: Project Gutenburg

Friday, 11 May 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Well, well, look what I've got. JLT was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award, which you can see more about here. Part of the deal is that I'm supposed to nominate fifteen blogs, but I'm going to bend the rules a little on that one. I know that a lot of bloggers are busy and don't always have time to accept the award, so instead of nominating anyone, I'm going to strongly encourage you to check out my list of favourite blogs, which appears on the sidebar. I will, however participate in the other part of the exercise and tell you seven things about me:

1. I live in Adelaide, Australia. But you probably knew that. An addiction to Frog Cakes and Haigh's chocolate is always a dead giveaway. For those of you who don't know, a frog cake looks like this:

2. I have just completed a novella titled Outside in the Rain. It was inspired by a question on Yahoo! Answers.

3. I have some hearing loss in my left ear and some scarring on my eardrum.

4. According to the Myers-Briggs personality test I am an INTJ. Less than 1% of the female population have this personality type and it is the least common overall. I've either won or lost the great personality lottery, depending which way you look at it. 

5. My favourite Looney Tunes character is Daffy Duck.

6. When I was a kid, one of my big brothers convinced me that someone at the local milk factory was putting live goldfish in cartons of milk and that people were choking on them. Naturally, he told me that just as I was about to drink a glass of chocolate milk.

7. Despite being thirty years old, I still have one of my baby teeth.

Feature and Follow Friday

Wow, how fast has this week gone by? I've been a bit too busy formatting files and creating book covers to do much blogging this week, (plus you know, there are the usual dramas surrounding my life, a complete lack of sleep, extra hours at work ...) Anyway, the good news is I'm online now and it's time for Feature and Follow Friday, a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkie's View designed to help book bloggers meet and connect. This week's all important question is:

Q: This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's Day. In celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/child relationships?

Strangely enough, I was thinking about Little Women by Louisa May Alcott while I was on my way home from work this evening and the relationship that Marmee March has with her daughters. I like the way that she treats all four of her daughters as individuals and allows them to grow and blossom. In Australia, Little Women is published in two volumes - the first, leading up to where Mr March returns from the war is titled Little Women. The second volume titled Good Wives, where three of the daughters marry (Beth of course, dies young,) has a wonderful part in it, where Jo (my favourite of the March sisters) tries to reconcile with the fact that she will probably die a spinster. Marmee offers her these words of wisdom:
"There are plenty to love you, so try to be satisfied with father and mother, sisters and brothers, friends and babies, till the best lover of all comes forward to give you your reward."
Marmee is, of course, right. Jo eventually marries a German man and finds her niche, running a boarding school. It just takes her a little longer than her sisters. Now, I don't think that all woman should have to marry or that people who are married are automatically happier, but I love the suggestion here that in life, all things do eventually fall into place and that sometimes we just have to be patient and think of the good things we already have until then.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Editing Process Goes On

Phew! I've been hard at work this week. First of all, I sent the first three chapters of my manuscript, Behind the Scenes to a literary agent for consideration. After working on this manuscript for so long, it feels strange to be sending it away. In other news, I have been busy working on another indie publishing project. Outside in the Rain is a strange little novella, which is narrated by a very introverted young woman who may or may not have murdered her ex-boyfriend. At the moment, I'm at that tedious stage of formatting the text and creating the front cover on photoshop. In reading news, I've just finished Room wonderful novel by Emma Donaghue. I hope to have a review up very soon ...

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Vincent and the Doctor

Seeing as Doctor Who is a bit of a hot topic on my blog at the moment, I thought that I would talk about what is (in my opinion,) one of the finest episodes since Matt Smith stepped in to the role of the Eleventh Doctor and Steven Moffat became Executive Producer. In Vincent and the Doctor the Doctor and Amy travel back to 1890, where they meet Vincent Van Gogh. There is some fantastic interpretation and retelling of the life of the troubled artist (apparently his mind was the only one powerful enough to see the alien that was tormenting the town,) and followed by a wonderful ending. Amy and the Doctor take the poor and struggling artist for a ride in the Tardis to 2010, where they show him the impact that his art had on future generations. The concept is an incredible one. Showing a troubled artist, who lived in poverty and took his own life, just how great he truly was and how his work would live on. And naturally, after the episode went to air, YouTube was flooded with fan made tributes to the episode (like this wonderful one, above).

I think what is so wonderful about the last ten minutes or so of this episode is that it captures perfectly how many of us feel about our work sometimes, whether we be painters, writers, musicians or performers. It shows the worst part of being an artist--the many, many hours of hard work that go unnoticed and those heartbreaking moments when the rest of the world fails to understand what is being said. It also shows the ultimate dream. For ones work to be loved and appreciated well after their death.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Garfield Goes KaBOOM!

Before I start this next post, it's only fair that I should thank my brother for supplying the source material, which I probably never would have found if left to my own devices. So thanks, Damien. It seems that my favourite comic, Garfield, has now joined the ranks of Peanuts and is getting the KaBOOM! comics treatment. This is to be a monthly comic series, in which the lazy lasagne eating tabby, takes a starring role with his pals Odie, Nermal, Arlene and Squeak. And the poor, long-suffering Jon Arbuckle is along for the ride as well. 

I rather enjoyed the comic, which is fairly short and contains two stories. In Collectors Classic, Nermal discovers a rare first edition comic. (There are some very awesome and very clever jokes about first edition comics in this one.) In Big Mouse Meal a friend of Squeak tries to convince Garfield to eat him, with no success.

Given that the comic book is aimed at kids its unsurprising that the humour and characters are in keeping with many of the other Garfield related merchandise that is aimed at kids--children's books and the educational Professor Garfield comics. In this series, Nermal lives at Jon's house and loves comic books (as yet, there is no Willard around to steal them,) Garfield and Squeak are pals, and the reader is treated to Odie's thought bubbles. (His thoughts consist of, "Arf. Arf. Arf. Arf.") In a nod to the original series, there is a reference to Garfield trying to mail Nermal back to Abu Dhabi.

Written by Mark Evenier (who also wrote for the Garfield and Friends television series,) this is a solid entry into a long established franchise that will no doubt appeal to kids of all ages and diehard Garfield fans.

Postscript. About an hour after I published this article, this awesome interview with Jim Davis about the new comic format went live on CBR. Check it out here.

Follow & Feature Friday

It's Follow & Feature Friday once again, that awesome time of week where like-minded bloggers can meet and connect. Hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read, Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop. This week's all important question is:

Q: What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?

Hmm. You know, there is an episode of Doctor Who titled the Unquiet Dead where the Ninth Doctor and Rose go back in time and meet Charles Dickens. Being a Dickens fan myself, I rather enjoyed the episode and also the conversation that the Doctor told Dickens what he thought of his books. The look on Dickens' face when the Doctor told him what he thought of The Old Curiosity Shop, (arguably, Dickens' worst book,) was one of horror and disgust. I think if I were to meet the (real) Dickens', I'd probably end up accidentally doing the same thing, and just cause a whole lot of annoyance. So maybe its best if I didn't say anything to Dickens' at all about his books. Not that time travel is a possibility, anyway.

Other than that, I'd probably warn VC Andrews to burn, hide or somehow get rid of all of her notes, because after she died, a ghostwriter would come along and release about sixty crappy novels under her name.