Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review: True by Erin McCarthy

True is the first novel in New York Times best selling author Erin McCarthy's NA True Believers series, which has been available in Australia for a little while now. It is also a book that stayed on my to-read pile for a very long time and was almost culled without being read. The cull would have been for a good reason--the blurb simply did not appeal and I believe that life is too short to waste reading and reviewing books that I cannot feel some level of enthusiasm for.  A book where a naive young woman's best friends feel the urge to rescue her socially by paying a bad boy to take her virginity did not appeal to me and think the world will survive without hearing an emotional response from me on the topic, thinly disguised as an online book review. 

But for one reason or another, while I was recovering from a severe bout of the flu, I decided to pick my copy of the novel up. And, honestly, it really was not that bad. The novel itself is a sweet romance about a socially awkward (but kind) girl who meets an boy who may be from the wrong side of the tracks but still has a good heart. The pair overcome some obstacles and fall in love. The whole virginity thing plays out more like a misunderstanding from a poorly written sitcom and it plays out in a few pages and all it really does is detract from an otherwise sweet, simple and occasionally sexy plot. It is difficult for me to give this one much analysis, as there isn't much to work with, but if you want an escapist romance with young characters and lots of 'firsts' this one may be worth giving a chance. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday Funnies: Please Keep Off the Grass



Only the Beatles ...

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review: Golden Boys by Sonya Harnett

Sonya Harnett's latest release is a quietly menacing tale, telling the story of a group of working class kids and one very charismatic, but not-quite-nice adult. Set in an unnamed Australian suburb during the 1970s, we meet the Kiley's, a large, working class Catholic family and the Jenson's--a new family in town with a dad who comes across as slippery, but quite charismatic. Rounding out the Kiley and Jenson kids--Freya, Declan and Syd Kiley (and their younger siblings,) and Colt and Bastin Jenson is Garrick and Avery. Garrick is the bully among the kids, while Avery is a bit of a victim. A neglected child who has been sent to live with his grandparents, no one seems to look out for him. Until he is befriended by Rex Jenson.

Colt and Bastin 'Bas' Jenson are spoiled, 'golden boys' who are lavished with every kind of toy and trinket imaginable from their father, including a BMX bike. The novels opening, with Colt and Bas being presented with the next bike from their father, who teases them quite a bit with a game that is more for his amusement than theirs (making them guess the colour and telling them that they had it wrong on a technicality,) and thus subtly proving that Rex is not a man who should be trusted and who appears to enjoy, to some extent, the suffering of others. I found that the author nailed the character of Rex Jenson quite subtly, yet quite brilliantly in this chapter, as well as Colt's disappointment in his father and a gift that was more for Rex and his amusement than presenting his sons with a much wanted or needed gift. (The boys already each have an almost new bicycle.)

What becomes less subtle as the narrative wears on is that Rex Jenson is quite eager to appeal to the neighbourhood kids, particularly the boys, using gifts of ice creams and the promise of being allowed to share in the family pool and Colt and Bas' many toys, as well as offering a surprising amount of medical attention to Avery's injured knee. As a reader I knew what was probably going to happen, but the when and how, and the length that Rex would go to in order to cover his actions or to make them see okay, was what kept me reading. Harnett is never graphic in her descriptions, rather the story is about the charisma of a predatory adult, juxtaposed against those who feel that they have no right to speak back. I wonder if readers may struggle to come to terms with the novels ending, though it is realistic and there is a funny sense of retribution--or eye for an eye perhaps. The ones who suffer most after the kids caught in the crossfire and we get a real sense that life is not going to be easy for Colt, who knows that what his father is doing is wrong, but is powerless to stop it. 

It's difficult to say I enjoyed a novel with such a heart wrenching plot, but I did enjoy the writing which told the story from the perspective of the kids and never strayed into the adult world, and felt that Hartnett very cleverly developed her characters and the sense of unease. Highly recommended. 

Finally, a big shout out to The Reading Room and Penguin Books for my review copy. Thanks. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Ann Grech

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am chatting with Australian romance writer, Ann Grech ...

Tell us a bit about yourself …

Well, I’m an early-30’s (ok, ok let’s just pretend I’m in my early 30’s), a former solicitor (I know, don’t hold it against me!), a teacher, a mum of two beautiful, if slightly rambunctious, boys, a wife, an avid erotic romance reader and a new writer.  I’ve lived on the Gold Coast for over half my life and love it.  

Tell us about your most recently published book?

I have most recently self-published a box set of my trilogy, Adversaries’ Lust, Adversaries’ Pain and Adversaries’ Love.  The story is based on a slightly neurotic, beautiful and damaged but brilliant solicitor, Emma Wilson.  She has had her heart broken in the past so shied away from any relationships for years.  When she meets Nicholas Daniels, her opponent in a court case that she’s travelled to Brisbane, Queensland for, she thinks he’s gorgeous but arrogant.  When he kisses her she melts and yet, wants to punch him.  Their love affair is fast, passionate, erotic, filled with speed bumps and some not so small hurdles that they work their way though.   

Tell us about the first time you were published?

I may have some exciting news on that front so sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook to find out more.

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

Apart from my not so cryptic answer to the last question, it would have been when I had my first book reviewed for the first time by a blogger.  She loved it and left the most fantastic feedback.  It was a great feeling getting feedback that someone enjoyed all the hard work I’d put into writing the books.

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

I’m currently working on a four-book erotic romance series.  The first book is called “Delectable” and follows the story of Katy, Levi and Connor.   

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

I used to be one of those people who would troll book stores for hours and despised e-books.  And then I had a second baby and couldn’t juggle feeding him, helping his brother do whatever it is he needed help with, flipping pages and maintaining my sanity.  So now, I love my e-book reader and the ease of one-clicking any and all titles that grab my fancy (I intentionally don’t look at the breakdown of my credit card statements because I know I’d be horrified at how much I actually spend buying books each month!).

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

I’m all for a good book.  I don’t care whether its indie published or traditionally published.  The quality 
of some indie published work is so good now that unless you look for publisher’s names, you don’t realise they are indie published. 

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

I should probably say something deep and meaningful here but apart from one title I won’t!  To Kill a Mockingbird motivated me to become a lawyer.  It is and always will be one of my favourite books.  Anything by Matthew Riley always grabs my attention and I don’t even hesitate to buy anything by Jayne Rylon.  I’ve loved every one of her books so far.  Her co-authored books with Mari Carr are amazing too.

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

Save me a bottle of your amazing wine!  Your farmer’s markets rock and I just want to give those pandas of yours a squeeze.  Oh, and Haigh’s Chocolate: to die for.  I love Adelaide (unfortunately I haven’t seen much of SA apart from Adelaide) and I’d love to get down there again soon to look around.   

Links

Adversaries’ lust


Adversaries’ Pain


Adversaries’ love


Box set: Adversaries’ Lust, Adversaries’ Pain, Adversaries’ Love




Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review: One Kick by Chelsea Cain

The debut novel in Chelsea Cain's Kick Lannigan series is a face-paced, arse-kicking tale of a young woman who wants to avenge her dark past. Kathleen "Kick" Lannigan was abducted as a six year old, subjected to a horrific ring of paedophiles and was routinely exploited in a number of videos that are still circling the internet. Rescued by FBI agent Frank at age twelve, she has struggled to adjust to the real world and suffers a difficult family life--her father left, her mother used Kick's abduction as a means of becoming a media star and her sister hates her. She considers her real family to be James, a fellow abductee who she bailed from a mental institution. Together, Kick and James follow the investigations of missing children carefully and they make for a great team--she's a kick arse fighter, good with a gun, he's a reclusive software developer who can create all kinds of programmes to follow people. When two children go missing in circumstances close to their own, Kick and James try to create ways to find them. And then a mysterious and somewhat untrustworthy man named Bishop breaks inside Kick's home. He wants her help to find the children.

One Kick is not a novel for the faint hearted. From a personal perspective, I struggled a bit with some of the themes of paedophilia--though to the credit of the author, she sure knows how to create a disgusting villain. The novel is also loosely inspired by the real life abduction of American teenager, Elizabeth Smart. (Read more here.)

One Kick was a real page turner, that I read in a relatively short space of time. Bishop is an interesting contrast to Kick--while she is vulnerable and fights for justice, he is manipulative and untrustworthy and one cannot be entirely sure who or what he is fighting for. Cain's prose is short, fast and unsentimental, which will no doubt appeal to readers looking for an action packed read. The ending leaves some questions open, leading in to the as-yet untitled sequel, which will be available in August 2015.

I suspect this one will be a must for crime fans.

One Kick will be released in Australia on September 1. 

Finally, a big shout out to Simon and Schuster Australia for my review copy. Thanks!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Around Adelaide: Street Art


I snapped this one at Christies Beach. I'm not an expert on graffiti, though I like the fact that the fence makes it pretty obvious that what is depicted is art and a means of creative expression--which is what I feel good street art should be.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review: No Safe House by Linwood Barclay

No Safe House is a page-turning crime novel about an ordinary American family caught up in a web of dangerous people and dangerous situations. Several years ago, Terry Archer, his wife Cynthia and their daughter found themselves caught in a terrible situation, which is depicted in Barclay's previous novel, No Time For Goodbye. The trio were rescued by criminal mastermind Vince. And now, it seems that the family may need Vince's help again, after rebellious daughter Grace and her delinquent boyfriend Stuart find themselves in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. 

A big part of the story hinges on why Vince, and his stepdaughter Jane, are so willing to help the family and what they may possibly want in exchange. And do either know anything about a spate of robberies and murders that are occurring in the town?

Barclay's novel is a satisfying, face-paced page turner. Some parts of the story are a little gory (or perhaps just not for the feint-hearted,) there are a few interesting twists (the vase for example,) and the ending is a satisfying one. The writing itself is very straight to the point and there isn't a lot of description, detail or (dare I say depth,) though this made it easier for me to keep turning the pages. I do not read a lot of crime novels, so it is difficult for me to judge it against its peers, though I found it to be an enjoyable read. 

Finally a big shout out to the Reading Room and to Hachette for my review copy. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review: Educating Rita by Willy Russell

I have to admit, I had not thought of this play for a long time--not since early university in fact--and I was pleasantly surprised when I found a copy available for sale in the modern classic section at QBD. I snatched the copy up, brought it home and read it within a couple of hours. As an adult reading this for the second time around, I was quite charmed about the story of working class hairdresser Susan (who prefers to be called Rita,) and her initially reluctantly open university tutor, Frank. Over the course of the year, it becomes obvious that Susan/Rita's life and career prospects are improving, while Frank's own life and career is on the decline. The play examines what it means to be educated and the ending looks at what it means to have a choice--we know that Frank is on his way to Australia, but we do not know what will happen to Rita/Susan. Will she return to her husband, will she remain on her own and continue her education or (the least probably of all her choices,) will she accept Frank's invitation and go to Australia with him. 

Though short, the play is quite enjoyable and it is a reminder of how education can free us and allow greater room for choices, though as Frank's character shows success may not always equal happiness. A thought provoking quick read. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday Funnies: Na Na Na Na Na


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Nicole Suzanne Brown

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week, I'm chatting with the amazeballs Nicole Suzanne Brown, author of Pride and Passing Through Time and publisher of Spiritual Wisdom Magazine ...

Tell me a bit about yourself …

I lived in sunny Queensland all my life until moving to a very small cold country town of New South Wales, and I’m still confused by the choice to this day. Small in stature but big in personality, I have lived in New York, the United Kingdom, spent time in an Indian Ashram and get itchy feet every time I glance at my Passport.I am the publisher and editor of Spiritual Wisdom Magazine an online publishing resource for spiritual authors and bloggers and Spiritual Wisdom Publishing, my own publishing company.I am the Author of 5 novels: including the non-fiction novel Passing through Time – conversations with the other side, and ebooks The Creativity Workbook, The Wee Little Book of The Awesome, and the soon to be released The Meaning of Feathers. My fiction novel titles include Pride, and the soon to be released Outback Mistress and Phoenix.When not writing you can find me contemplating my navel, somewhere, in some part of the world.

Tell us about your most recently published book?

Pride is about Contemporary Romance set in the heart of Sydney, Australia.

When a shy and naive country girl stumbles into the lives of two brothers, she turns their worlds upside down. Brothers Matthew and Brett Hastings are the proverbial odd couple. The Ying and Yang of sexuality. Where Brett wants fame and fortune, Matthew just wants her. The one. Whoever she is. And when Rebecca Flowers, as shy and naive country girl stumbles into their lives and moves into the spare room of their lavish apartment, both Brothers have to face their fears. The fear of rejection from the ones they love and the fear of finding someone, then losing them forever. Through love, laughter, friendships, family, tears and heartbreak they share love, lost love and finally work out that love is certainly worth fighting for.

I wrote Pride originally as a full length movie script. And then, during my hiatus of writing, started to transcribe it into novel form. I am so in love with these characters and KNOW they have more to say, to share and a long way to grow, so there WILL be a sequel. I love how my readers cheer them on, want them to succeed and yes at times, want to shake the stupid out of them. Pride definitely is a journey for me, that I haven’t finished taking yet.

Tell us about the first time you were published?

I was first published by a vanity press publisher called Joshua Books in late 1998 with my first book Passing through Time, the true story of my brother Jay’s passing, and had relative success with it. I then took a hiatus off writing all together for just on ten years. Although, to be fair, the stories did keep coming, and the words did flow and I have over 12 books in various stages of work from needing to be edited to finding out what on earth I was writing about in the first place lol.
With the vanity press, I fought tooth and nail over what I wanted from the colour of my cover to the colour of the pages inside. At one stage they wanted to give my book to an editor who turned Jay’s words into some kind of soap opera and I was adamant that that would never happen.
I am happy to say that I myself have re-published the second updated edition of Passing through Time, Conversations with the other side under my own banner of Spiritual Wisdom Publishing and my sales are still growing steadily each month.

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

I actually found this to be a tough question, because every time I allow my writing muse to inspire me I feel it is a HUGE achievement. Huge in the way that I can shut out all the world and just be one with the words, allow them to flow without judgement. THAT is an achievement in itself!

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

I am currently finishing the first draft of my 4th nonfiction The Meaning of Feathers (available on paperback & kindle August 28th), and am madly working on my next two fiction novels “Outback Mistress” and “Phoenix”.

I have also been asked to do an online course on How to Rock Word press & Social Media for authors and others of awesomeness! so.. that’s happening lol

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

Publishing wise? Both. Why limit the energy and format to just one? But if you are talking reading, I definitely prefer paper books, for their feel, their smell. I am so tactile I need my words and those I read to be held together with binding not microchips lol. I have published a few works JUST on ebook and it still feels too surreal. So am putting them all into an anthology available on paper back in Dec, 2014.

Indie Publishing, or Traditional Publishing?

I’m definitely all for Indie Publishing. Unfortunately the Australian market of publishers and agents still haven’t made the plunge and taken the chance with that many ‘unknowns’. And for years the rule was to obtain an Agent you must be published, and to be published you must have an Agent. So the Indie publishing scene has grown strength to strength in Australia and the Indie Australian Authors are lapping up the profits!

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

Anything written by an Australian author. We are so diverse, yet so collective in our story telling. It would be a shame not to even dip your proverbial toe into the waters of their words.

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

I’d love to thank all those who took a chance on me from years before and have stuck with me, devouring my writing sometimes as quick as I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I’d love to come down and visit one day and will definitely make a point of getting together with as many of my readers as I can.

Links


Nicole’s Author Website: http://nicolesuzannebrown.com
Spiritual Wisdom Magazine http://spiritualwisdommagazine.com

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Review: Bound by Alan Baxter

I was lucky enough to meet Alan Baxter a couple of weeks ago when he appeared at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown and he was kind enough to sign a copy of Bound for me and chat for a moment or two. I was absolutely intrigued by the fact that he added a notation Beware a dangerous book to my copy and these words proved to be rather fitting. Bound is an action packed ride, telling the story of Alex, a martial arts cage fighter who finds himself caught up in a strange new world after a visit from a mysterious man. Alex, it seems, has some terrific magical abilities that he has never put to use--but thanks to Englishman Patrick Welby that it all about to change. Alex finds himself bonded to a very dangerous creature who has hidden himself within a book and solving the problem--even with the very knowledgable, well-connected and mysterious Silhouette by his side--is not easy. Rather, Alex's adventures are violent, non-stop and quite frankly, bloody exciting to read about. The author kept me guessing right until the end as to what was going to happen. 

This one is a brilliant Urban read, spanning countries and featuring a believable main character. Recommended. 




Monday, 11 August 2014

Around Adelaide: Street Art

Festival Coffee, anyone?
Not so much street art this week, but a picture of a coffee cup that I found well, impressive enough to photograph a few months ago. It seems that Adelaide based coffee chain CIBO was enjoying their position as an official sponsor of the Adelaide Festival enough to advertise it on the sides of their takeaway coffee cups. It's a novel, though ultimately disposable, way to advertise an event ...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockheart

I had never heard of this particular literary YA novel until a shopping trip at my local Big W. Idly, I picked a copy up from the shelves. And then, I found myself utterly intrigued. What was this book, with an endorsement from John Green on the front and a short blurb that ends with the haunting notation, If anyone asks you how it ends, just lie. I just had to read this one.

We Were Liars is a brilliant novel of grief, adolescence, family and the trappings of wealth. It is difficult to say too much about the novel without giving the ending away--something that truly deserves to be savoured by the reader at exactly the right time. The novel itself opens with Cady, a girl who is almost eighteen and hails from a wealthy family. We learn that she was in an accident a few years ago, while staying on an island owned by her Grandfather. She also has selective amnesia and details important life-changing events using a dramatic style and often speaks in metaphors--such as describing how she felt when her father left by saying, Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. This adds to the mystery of the novel.

Each summer, Cady and her family travel to the island owned by her grandfather. During the summertimes, Cady is close to her cousins Mirren and John, as well as John's friend Gat who spends the summers with them. Collectively the four are known as The Liars, though the reason for their nickname remains unclear. During the year, The Liars have nothing to do with one another and their relationship would seem to boarder on callous--it's obvious that the other three are not interested in Cady, particularly after her accident. Cady is acting rather strangely though and her memory is quite selective, so it's possible that something quite important is up. It's also painfully obvious that all of the parents are squabbling over money and inheritance, pitting the kids against one another, so that may have something to do with it. If only Cady could remember what happened ...

As I said, I really don't want to give away the ending. I can say, however, that I loved the way this novel was written--they mystery, the fairytale metaphors and the short, run-on sentences. This one is perfect for YA readers who would like to move on to something a little more challenging--a novel where the protagonist may not always be nice or moral, where there is more human drama than page-turning action and where the reader needs to slowly put the clues together to solve the mystery. Highly recommended.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Review: St Barts by Emme Cross

Much like the island in which the novel is set, St Barts moves at a gentle, leisurely pace to tell the story of a pair of unlikely lovers. Sunny is a young woman who though in her early twenties is a virgin and is unaccustomed to male company. She is also grieving the loss of her father and has returned to the island to sort out her family affairs. Sven is a Hollywood level actor who is never short of female admirers who finds himself on the island working on a film. Through chance, the pair meet Sven begins to act as a kind of mentor to the innocent Sunny and well ... The end result may be predicable enough, but it is the journey that makes this one a whole lot of fun and worth reading. My only real complaint is that the print job is a bit shoddy on the paperback version and had I have known this, I probably would have opted for the eBook instead.

 Overall St Barts is an entertaining afternoon read. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday Funnies: The Beatles Wrote a Song About This


Clever, isn't it?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Review: The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob's debut novel is a beautiful tale that spans continents and a timeframe of twenty years to tell a story of culture, family, grieving and loss. The novel opens with the Eapen family--father Thomas, mother Kamala, brother Akhil and the novel's protagonist Amina returning to India for a visit after an absence of some years. Their absence has been acutely felt by the somewhat frightening members of the India-based branch of the Eapen family and ends on a frightening note. Soon afterward, Thomas gains the ability to talk to ghosts and a terrible prophecy made by his brother comes true.

Mixing magic realism with themes of family, duty and immigration, the novel tells of the Eapen family's new life in America and the effect that the death of various family members--both in the United States and India--has on this fragile family unit. Although the novel is quite long, I found myself utterly absorbed by the story and keen to know more about what would become of the Eapen family, in particular Thomas. Were his visions caused by a brain tumour or were are other forces at play? (You'll have to read and find out.)

Well written and highly recommended.

Shout out to The Reading Room and Bloomsbury for my review copy. Thanks!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Writers on Wednesday: Carol Vorvain

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week I am chatting with debut author Carol Vorvain, about her delightful novel When Dreams are Calling ...

Tell me a bit about yourself …

I believe if you really want to know someone you should not look at what they have or who are surrounded by. You should find out what their dreams are.  So, I will answer this question by telling you about my dreams, all wrapped up in a poem I wrote for the last chapter of my book, When Dreams are Calling:


I dream of flowers yellow and blue
Surrounding a red house and a canoe,
With parrots that squawk be it sunny or rain,
With books in my hands picking my brain,

Making a soup from my own veggie patch,
Writing a tale about match and mismatch,
Travel the seas and the world in between,
Touching Antarctica and a croc’s skin.

Growing older with him by my side,
Laughing at my first Wonderland ride,
Listening to his jokes always funny and true,
While we keep philosophizing on what’s old and what’s new.


Tell us about your most recently published book?

We all need encouragement. We all need humor. The more the merrier. And a well-written book always does the trick.

Books have healing, magic powers. Books are our best friends, our mentors, our refuge.
I wanted to write a book that will make people smile with every turn of the page, while slowly restoring their faith in the power of their own dreams. And this is how When Dreams are Calling was born. Inspired by a true story, the novel follows the journey of Dora, the adorable, a witty young woman who chases her dreams across continents, from Europe to America, then to Asia, and finally, to the far away shores of Australia. 

The readers see the changes she goes through, the price she pays for following her dreams, but also the rewards she gets on the way. Her life is a roller coaster and her plan is nothing more than the confidence that everything will work out for the best. The story is filled with magical words of wisdom that I hope will inspire and delight the readers, while making them reflect on the beauty of friendship, lust, love and kindness.

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

Mustering the courage to write a book that will have all the elements I love: humor, inspirational themes, travel, adventure and lust, love and all there is in between.

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

My books will always have an element of travel in them. I am myself a bit of a nomad, changing countries every now and then and just after settling in, deciding to move again. So, each writing project starts with a journey. Next time it will be S America. So, I am getting ready to visit this wonderful part of the world again at the end of the year.

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

Who cares on what the book is written on if the book is great? Certainly not me. I would read it even if written on a napkin, most likely a few:)

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

I tend to stay away from broad generalities. But I do believe people should read books which make them laugh rather than making them cry. Of course, unless there are tears of joy.

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

We are in Australia, and Australia means a lot of footie. So, GO Crows, maybe?  

We're the pride of South Australia
We're the mighty Adelaide Crows
We're courageous, stronger, faster
And respected by our foes…

Links


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Review: Little Cuts by H.M.C.

Little Cuts is a delicious eBook only serving of four short horror stories--each one distinct from the others--told with a unique Australian voice. The stories are somewhat reminiscent of Paul Jennings and Roald Dahl, but with a little more horror and gore and pitched firmly at the YA market. Hilary's Shadow introduces us to an imaginative young women and the potential horror in the mundane; Ring Around the Rosie looks at the psychological effects of a traumatic event on the protagonist; Tech Death 2040 examines technology gone wrong (and gives us some great insight on why it isn't such a good idea to follow fads; and Catalina ends the series on a heartbreaking note. Also included is the first chapter of the author's upcoming YA novel, The Water Seer.

Short, scary and a whole lot of fun, I recommend this one to anyone who is looking for something to read that is genuinely a bit different to the usual YA romances and mortality tales that are currently saturating the market. Highly recommended. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Around Adelaide: Street Art

Lion, Chinatown
For the past ten years, this lion has proudly stood guard, along with its companion at the Gouger Street entrance to Chinatown and has become something of an Adelaide icon, or at least a popular meeting spot for those wanting to catch up with friends or relatives in the popular precinct. A second pair of lions keep guard at the Grote Street end of Chinatown.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Bank Employee Cleared of Stalking Charges

A brochure from the Heart Foundation
like the one Mr Hoarse found in
his letter box ...
ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA--A female employee at a local bank was cleared of stalking charges this week, after a complaint from one of the bank's regular customers was ruled to be a misunderstanding. Ms Bree Tanner, 25, an employee at the Rich Bastards Bank, was accused of stalking by a Mr Henry Hoarse, 57. "I don't quite know how it happened," Ms Tanner told our reporters. "In fact, I barely know the man and I have never even spoken to him outside of my workplace."

The misunderstanding began, after one day when Ms Tanner served Mr Hoarse at the bank. "As part of my duties, I am instructed to offer every customer a friendly verbal greeting, so that they may feel welcome at the bank," Ms Tanner explains. "It seems that Mr Hoarse took my greeting of, 'Good morning,' a little bit too literally and thought that I was genuinely excited by the prospect of speaking to him and wanted to engage in some kind of relationship outside of working hours." The misunderstanding was further fuelled by the fact that the Rich Bastard Bank has a policy of regularly updating their customer databases and on that morning, Ms Tanner was prompted by her computer system to ask if Mr Hoarse was still residing at the same address. "At that point, Mr Hoarse began to get a little anxious," Ms Tanner reflects. "I didn't think anything of it though; sometimes customers just don't like to give out their details or prefer to have something in writing from the bank before they do so. It never occurred to me that Mr Hoarse might think that I was asking for his address for personal reasons."

The misunderstanding was further complicated several weeks later when Ms Tanner moved to a new residence. "I was in the middle of a messy divorce," Ms Tanner explains. "The house had just been sold and I was looking for somewhere new to live. Anyway, I found this great flat that was just a couple of streets away from my work. I didn't realise that Mr Hoarse lived just around the corner, or that he would think that I had moved to the neighbourhood just to be closer to him. I saw him around a couple of times, yeah, in the supermarket and at the local take-away place, but I didn't really think anything of it. I mean, when you work with the public and live in the same area, you're bound to see some of your regular customers around the place from time to time."

The whole misunderstanding finally came to a head when Ms Tanner's vehicle broke down in the same street where Mr Hoarse lived. "I was on my way back from the pizza shop when the engine kicked out." Ms Tanner shrugged. "I rang the RAA and they asked me to wait in the car, so I did. Anyway, they were there in about ten minutes, which is pretty good service, I think. But Mr Hoarse seemed to think that I was sitting in my car watching him from down the street and he called the police." This, Ms Tanner adds, was despite the fact that her car was parked on the opposite side of the street, pointing in the other direction and parked at least one hundred and fifty metres away from Mr Hoarse's home. Mr Hoarse later admitted that he had only been able to see the car, and its driver, from the third floor balcony of his townhouse and even then, a pair of binoculars had to be used in order for him to confirm the identity of the driver. He also admitted that he lives on a busy road which acts as the main thoroughfare to the local shopping centre, where Tasty Pizzas is located.

The police investigation was quick to dismiss any charges against Ms Tanner. "The cops were pretty good, all things considered," Ms Tanner said. "They took the time to explain to Mr Hoarse what behaviour constitutes as stalking and what doesn't. They also took his binoculars away, after he admitted that he had been using them to watch the women who live in the house next door to him, which I am glad about. No one deserves to be watched like that."

When questioned by one of our reporters, Mr Hoarse was a little embarrassed, though unapologetic, about his behaviour. "Sometimes it's very hard to tell," he says, as he runs his chubby fingers through his thinning hair. "A man with my natural good looks and good standing in the community does have an awful lot of admirers. Just this morning, I had someone deliver a Valentine's day card in my letter box." Mr Hoarse then held up the Valentine's day card for our reporters to see and appeared to be quite embarrassed when informed that the card was not a Valentines Day card, but, in fact, a brochure from the Heart Foundation ...