Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Review: Finding Mr Darcy by Amanda Hooton

Considering that I am not currently searching for Mr Darcy, or in fact, any man at the moment (I'm quite happily single thank you, and yes I do own a cat and no I don't think there is anything wrong with that,) buying a book which claims to be Jane Austen's guide to dating for the modern girl was a bit of a surprise purchase. But in all honesty, I did find Amanda Hooton's Austen-inspired dating advice to be readable, amusing and quite truthful. Unlike dating guides that encourage women to play hard to get (The Rules) or accept that all men are idiotic alpha types but don't worry eventually one day a man who takes a shine to you will come along and he'll happily hit you over the head and drag you back to his cave (He's Just Not that Into You,) this book encourages its readers to do what Jane Austen's heroine's did. And that is, to behave with a little self-respect and to be an all-round good and interesting person, which to me is far more important than changing ones relationship status anyway. There are chapters devoted to identifying heros and bastards (Mr Darcy is, of course, a hero while Wickham and Mr Willoughby--oh how I hate him--are bastards,) and how to suffer rejection and a broken heart with dignity. (Jane Bennett is given as an example of doing just that ... she really is lovely, Miss Jane Bennett.) Oh, and there are a few references to pantaloons. 

A fun, Sunday afternoon read.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Announcing ... Behind the Scenes a new novel by Kathryn White

This April I will be launching a brand new novel. Behind the Scenes fits perfectly into the New Adult genre and tells the story of Catlin Ryan, a young aspiring actress from the outer suburbs of Adelaide who lands a role on her favourite television series. Starring in the show means moving to Melbourne, where she becomes reacquainted with her long-lost Dad and sister and the discovery of some dark family secrets ...

Behind the Scenes is one of my favourite stories, quite possibly because it is different from everything else that I have written so-far. As some of you may know, I've spent a good part of the last year pitching this one to various Australian based publishers and agents with varying degrees of success, but after a long talk with a good friend of mine, and taking note of M.M. Kin's self-publishing journey on facebook, I have decided to publish Behind the Scenes independently.  

P.S. In coming weeks I will be looking for bloggers to review Behind the Scenes. Contact me via inboxreviews@gmail.com if you are interested.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Feature and Follow Friday + Giveaway

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Wow, can it really be time for Feature and Follow Friday already? This has been a massive week for me, not only did I have a fantastic afternoon signing copies of Being Abigail at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown, but you can all expect a big, book related announcement from me soon. Anyway, as I'm sure most of you know, Feature and Follow Friday is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read designed to help like-minded bloggers connect. This week's all-important question is:

Q: We always talk about books that WE want. Let's turn it on its head. What books have you given other people lately?

Ooh, I love buying books for other people. I love thinking about what the other person might like to read and enjoy, and then there is always that bit of hope where I think that perhaps this book will end up being their favourite, or at least one of their favourites. The last book I bought for someone though was a Stephenie Alexander cookbook, which I gave to my friend Carolyn (who is a very talented chef,) for her birthday.

Anyway, while I've got you all here, I have a couple of copies of Being Abigail left over from my signing, and I'd love to share them with my followers. If you'd like a copy, please enter via the rafflecopter widget below and I'll mail to anywhere in the world for the lucky winner. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Think Out Loud

Time once again for Think Out Loud, a weekly meme hosted by the awesomeness that is Thinks Books. The purpose of Think Out Loud is for book bloggers to think outside the square and post about any topic they like. And so, this week, I am going to give the answer to a frequently asked question:

Question: Are you lost?

Answer: No, I am not. Despite the fact that people keep asking. The more insensitive the person, I have discovered, the more likely they are to ask. And then laugh, as though they have just said the funniest thing in the whole world. The thing is, I'm a bit of a deep thinker and a daydreamer. I'm quite happy to gaze into space for minutes on end while I contemplate anything from the meaning of life to whether or not grey is the most suitable colour for the carpet in the post office. (Personally, I think that navy blue would look quite spiffy against the backdrop of the red and white Australia Post logo. But then again, people who use words like spiffy aren't generally trusted with any kind of decisions regarding interior decorating.) Or the best kind of deep thinking, when I'm lost in thought about a new and complex plot twist for my next novel. 

Anyway, it seems that some others don't share my capacity for deep thought and assume that every time I start to think I've lost either my mind or my marbles (or perhaps my mind and my marbles,) or am suffering from some strange type of amnesia that can only be cured by ridicule. Then again, I shouldn't complain too much. Worse are the people who accuse me of staring--I'm at the point now where I don't even bother arguing or trying to explain myself to someone who accuses me of staring. (Nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, I'm not staring, but looking in the general direction of someone or something while I think about something far more interesting. But try telling that to say a customer who thinks that I've just watched them enter their PIN into a Eftpos machine because my eyes were turned in that vague direction--easier just to crack a joke about never being able to remember my own let alone anyone else's. Or someone who thinks I am staring because I'm secretly in love with them. Or because I'm insane. Or insane and in love with them, who knows?)

Sometimes, I wish I could just tune the deep thinking out and interact with others on a totally shallow level and pretend the most complex thought I've had is wondering what the weather may do, or if I should bake sausage rolls for dinner, but the thing is, I'm just too interested in thinking about things. Maybe I need to brush up on my social skills and I definitely should stop giving others the impression that I stare at them (I need to learn how to avert my eyes whilst daydreaming,) as it isn't right or fair to make someone feel uncomfortable, even unintentionally. But deep thinking isn't something that I can just turn off and I'm not even sure that I want to.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Review: Destined to Fly by Indigo Bloome

Several months ago I committed myself to reviewing the books in Indigo Bloome's Avalon trilogy and here it is ... time for the final installment. And how to sum it up?

Destined to Fly is by no means any less unbelievable than the first two books in the series, however, it is pleasing the see the author making use of her talent to write about something other than Dr Alex Blake's somewhat unusual (and that's putting it mildly,) sexual fetishes and adventures. In this installment, the plot veers off in an unexpected direction when Alex and her family go into hiding from the Xsade company who want more of her rare blood. While hiding in the Amazon, Alex finds herself on a spiritual journey that yields some surprising results. 

Bloome is a talented author whose ability to write a suspenseful page turner is commendable. I enjoyed this series and the fact that it was not at all predictable and certainly not the Fifty Shades of Grey rip-off that I had envisioned when I first heard about this series. (Yes, Anna from Harper Collins, you were entirely right on that score ...) I'm looking forward to see what Bloome comes up with next, should she continue to write.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review: Paper Chains by Nicola Moriaty

Well. This review is going to be rather short and sweet, I'm afraid. That isn't because I didn't love the book, but because it is going to be very difficult to give this one a glowing review without completely ruining a couple of plot twists. Which I really don't want to do, on account of the fact that at least some of the people who will be reading this book are more than likely contemplating reading it for themselves and it would be just rude to totally spoil it for them.

So ... Paper Chains is an interesting account of female friendship and two very unlikely friends who meet in London. Hannah and India are both Australians living in London. Both are running away from something, both have some pretty dark secrets that I don't want to ruin (but it's not what readers may be expecting,) and are a little bit on the lonely side. Their contrasting personalities compliment each other well--Hannah is quieter and in the process of punishing herself for what she believes are past wrongs, and India is lively and likes to live each day to the fullest. Together they help one another face the reality they are trying to escape and there is another lovely element to the story, in the form of some letters that India is mailing to the boy she left behind on the Greek Islands. (Instead of mailing them, she asks various tourists to pass them on, figuring that if he is meant to receive them, he will. And let's just say that doesn't turn out how one may expect, either.) The first part of the novel seems very much like a young adult or, new adult, novel, so I was surprised when Hannah was revealed to be approaching thirty and that some of her problems were definitely those of an adult and not that of a teenager on her gap year.

The book is rather touching, contains a couple of surprise twists and is easy to read. Highly recommended.

Source: Review copy provided by Random House/Netgalley

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Book Signing Collins Booksellers Edwardstown

Exciting news! Guess who will be appearing at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown on Friday 22 February to sign copies of her book?

Mark this date and place in your diary, Adelaide, folks:

Friday 22 February, 1pm
Collins Booksellers Edwardstown
Shop T54 Castle Plaza Shopping Centre, 
Edwardstown SA 5039

Because I'll be there signing copies of my absolutely awesome novel Being Abigail.

Seriously, I feel very honoured to have this opportunity to promote my work and even more so that the signing is taking place at one of my favourite bookstores. For those of you who don't know, I worked in the Castle Plaza Shopping Centre for almost four years--and used to visit the bookstore at least two or three times a week, either on my lunch break or after work. There were always some pretty awesome books to be found inside the store and they've hosted some very exciting author events as well. I never thought that I would be lucky enough to be one of those authors though.

So if you're in the area, please stop by and say hello. I'll look forward to seeing you.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Think Out Loud

Time again for Think Out Loud, an awesome weekly meme hosted by Thinks Books. The purpose of Think Out Loud is for book bloggers to think outside of the square and talk about things that they are interested in that may not necessarily be book related. And so this week I am going to be discussing something that I've wanted to write about for a long time. MBTI. 

According to Jungian personality types, everyone has a preference for either Introversion or Extroversion. Introverts are the quiet ones, who need time alone to recharge and a smaller circle of friends to whom they are very close. Extroverts, on the other hand, are stimulated by people and the outside world. They are likely to surround themselves with a large number of people and hate to be alone. But once your preference for one or the other has been established, there are other preferences that become important in establishing ones personality. This is known as the Myer-Briggs Type Indictor, or MBTI. According to MBTI there are sixteen personality types based around ones preferences for:

Introversion or Extroversion
iNtuition or Sensing
Feeling or Thinking
Perceiving or Judging

According to the MBTI I am an INTJ. This means I prefer Introversion, iNtuation, Thinking and Judging. The description of an INTJ is a mostly accurate portrayal of myself. Though what surprises me is that, apparently, INTJ is not only one of the rarest personality types of all, representing about 1.5% of the population, but very little of that 1.5% is represented by women. 

So what does it mean to be INTJ and female? Well, I cannot speak for all INTJ women, but it feels pretty damn isolating. We live in a world where women who use Extroversion and Sensing tend to be favoured. Those are the big personality types, the ones who speak first, think later and put more of a focus on how things appear as opposed to how they really are. An INTJ's world is internal. We're quieter, tend to think deeply about things and are interested in ideas and possibilities, rather than what is sitting in front of us. I think this mode of thinking is great, however the rest of the world seems to treat me as if those preferences make me some kind of weirdo. Sure, the mass female population would probably be more accepting of me if I were outgoing, drove a cute little hatchback and if my main topics of conversation never went further than my husband/gorgeous boyfriend and the gourmet meal I was planning to cook for dinner. But that would also mean sacrificing one very important person. Myself. So here forever I shall stay, weird and lonely.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Punches From Lucy

Sharing this Peanuts comic simply because I think that Lucy is as awesome as she is awful. I love the character for her ability to put herself first, but hate her for her cruelty to others.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Socialpunk Re-Release

Received an email this morning from Monica Leonelle, whose novel Socialpunk I reviewed on this blog mid-last year, informing me that she has rereleased her novel, with a better and extended ending. The novel, which is the first in a series, will be available free from the Amazon Kindle Store for the next little while. Check it out if you're interested in YA dystopian fiction.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Review: Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

I am ashamed to admit, I've had this one sitting on my iPad for almost a month now, begging to be read. Mindful that the book was released on January 30 and my review is now late (grr, grumble, stupid belated quarter life crisis getting in the way of my review writing,) I pick it up and ...

Well, there went the next few hours.

Rough Diamond is, to be polite about it, simply brilliant. Sure, it's a Stephanie Plum/Bubbles style crime novel with a female protagonist who becomes an unlikely fighter against crime, but don't let that mislead you into thinking that its all been done before. This one is a lot more intelligent than its American counterparts and it is set in Melbourne.

The novel itself tells the story of Erica, a divorcee in her early thirties who, though chance and circumstance, finds herself alined with a group who are bent on defeating a group of local terrorists who are planning some attacks. There are a few twists and turns and an unlikely love interest in the form of wealthy and handsome Jack Jones. (But, naturally, my favourite character was Axle the kitten.) Seriously though, I really did enjoy this one and loved the many Australian references--such as a thwarted terrorist attack on Melbourne Cup Day and Jack being persuaded to host an Australia Day barbecue. (Though I did notice the Prime Minister was referred to as a he, but hey, no one said the novel was set in 2013.) Anyway, this one definitely comes highly recommended by me.

Review Copy; Publisher via Netgalley.