Friday, 29 March 2019

Friday Funnies

Just a little humour courtesy of Snoopy and Woodstock :-)

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Review: The Big Necessity by Rose George

Non-fiction reads are few and far between on this blog, and I'm really not quite sure what inspired me to read a popular study on sanitation, but the whole thing was tastefully written and utterly fascinating. How to best dispose of human waste is a problem faced by every society in every part of the globe. The way that waste is disposed of is also done quite differently depending on population, environmental factors and how much money individual nations have to spend addressing the problem. It can also be an indicator of wealth, class and even religion. 

It is also something that is rarely talked about, to the point that I'm pretty sure that at least someone will be offended or grossed out that I even dared mention this book on my blog.

Anyway, George's account of human waste disposal well written and interesting, whether she is discussing high tech toilets from Japan, those in India who made toilets environmentally sustainable and accessible to everyone, not just the rich, and the people in the United States who have genuine health concerns about the use of biosolids. And perhaps the nicest thing of all is that the author takes her job seriously, and doesn't cheapen the whole thing with poo jokes.

Some readers would probably rather skip this one, others will find it a fascinating glimpse into a taboo subject.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Review: Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers--The Ms Marvel Years

Before she was Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers was Ms Marvel, a superhero who was determined to be the best of the best. Carol Danvers--The Ms Marvel Years features Volumes 1-17 of the comic, along with a couple of specials. Originally published in 2006-2007 a number of the comics cover Ms Marvel's role in the Civil War event.

Just a little bit different from the recent Captain Marvel movie, this selection of comics is a little bit cynical and occasionally sexist (seriously, did we really need to see her undies from that angle on page two of Giant Size Ms Marvel?) On on the other hand, it is kind of amusing to see a superhero hiring a consultant because she thinks it will be a good PR move. (And what a disaster that turns out to be.) I wasn't really a fan of the Civil War storyline, but I get the historical context. However, what really makes this one shine is Ms Marvel's friendship with young Anya--the two make an unusual but great team. There is also action aplenty as Ms Marvel battles many enemies--including a nasty version of herself from another dimension!

Fans of the character will probably love the nostalgia trip and historical context of these comics.


Friday, 22 March 2019

Friday Funnies

This one is so cute that I couldn't resist sharing it. Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Review: The Haven by Simon Lelic

The streets of London are tough, but under the ground there is a secret organisation made up of kids, who help other kids who would otherwise be in danger. The secret organisation is called The Haven and they fight for justice. When eleven year old Ollie finds himself in grave danger after the murder of his guardian, the Haven is quick to take him in. Here Ollie finds himself on an adrenaline fuelled adventure, one that is as unpredictable as it is frightening. But it might just prove who Ollie has the potential to read.

This was an enjoyable read, one that works equally well for the middle grade market as it does for the YA market. Lelic's storytelling is fast and furious, yet sympathetic enough that I found myself cheering for Ollie as he tried to make sense of his new world, and do the right thing by the other kids. In some ways this one reminded me of John Marden's Tomorrow When the War Began. Ollie is an appealing character and readers will warm to him immediately.

Fans of Dickens' Oliver Twist should see some interesting parallels. 


Thank you to Dymocks Gold Booklover Rewards and Hachette Australia for my copy of The Haven. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Review: Let Sleeping Dragons Lie by Garth Nix & Sean Williams

Sir Odo and Sir Eleanor, the youngest knights in the realm, and their talking swords are back and ready for another fun and action packed adventure. Or more to the point Sir Eleanor is ready for another fun and action packed adventure. Sir Odo would rather be at home in the mill. Still, duty calls as the pair find themselves on a dangerous quest to stop an evil impostor from stealing the crown. Rest assured, there are dragons, fights and bats aplenty as the duo team up with Edga and Hundred to complete their quest.

The second novel in the Have Sword, Will Travel series lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor. I found myself thoroughly entertained as Sir Odo and Sir Eleanor went about their quest in the way that only the bravest of children can. The adventures they have along the way are fun and unpredictable, just as a good middle grade fantasy novel should be. With its rich world building and quirky humour, this one is almost certain to appeal to readers of all ages.

Highly recommended. 

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Review: Rocky Road by Robert Wainwright

Growing up, it was impossible not to have heard of Darrell Lea and their lovely range of sweets. There was a Darrell Lea store in my local shopping centre that for many years did a roaring trade. There was an even bigger--and better--Darrell Lea store in Rundle Mall that sold every type of sweet imaginable, or so it seemed. It was always such a treat deciding what to buy--whether you wanted Rocklea Road, BBs or one of the delicious but less famous treats like their own version of coconut ice. What I had never heard, until now was the story of one of the branches of the family behind the empire, a large and eccentric Melbourne based family headed by Monty and Valarie Lea, who during the 1940s and 1950s adopted three children to be playmates for their four biological children. Rocky Road is the story of those three adopted children and their relationship with their adoptive mother. 

Biographies are a terribly tricky thing to write as different people will often remember different things and events differently. For the three children adopted by the eccentric family behind the famous Darrell Lea empire, they did not recall the same happy childhood as the four biological children of Monty and Valarie Lea, and all three went on to have turbulent adult lives, which are recounted in this volume. It's a heartbreaking read, after all these are people who are struggling to understand their circumstances and who must surely have felt second best whether their adoptive parents intended it that way or not.  

Meanwhile, the family confectionary empire would eventually end up in serious trouble as the one thing that united it--family--soon became the biggest thing that divided the business. 

I cannot say that I enjoyed this book, though it was an interesting insight into a little piece of Australian history and to a brand that is so very well known to me. It is also an insight into the lives and experiences of the Baby Boomer generation who found themselves adopted into wealthy households. While it wasn't for me, I do believe that this one was a well researched biography that told the story it intended to and that there are many readers out there who will find it fascinating. 

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019

Monday, 11 March 2019

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Review: Zac & Mia by AJ Betts


I'll confess.

Zac & Mia broke my heart, but in the nicest way. It's impossible not to be moved by this story of two eighteen year old cancer patients who meet in hospital, via a tap on the wall. Zac is a leukaemia patient who has just undergone a bone marrow transplant after several rounds of chemotherapy did not work. The odds of survival aren't terrible, but they're not great either. Still, Zac's an upbeat and happy kid from the country who knows how to make the best of things. Meanwhile, in the room next door, Mia is a tough city kid who is coming to pieces after discovering that she has cancer--and what happens next to maximise her odds of survival is something that anyone would struggle with. Anyway, over the course of the book, the pair learn that despite coming from different worlds, that they have more in common. After all, both have an illness that does not discriminate and one that many people do not understand from shallow boyfriends to cricket teams whose need to 'do something' comes off as a meaningless gesture. And as the odds slowly get worse for Zac, Mia begins to learn just how lucky she is to have a second chance at all ...

This is well written, heartbreaking read, one that is entertaining yet unflinchingly honest. It really gets to the heart of what life is like for young people with cancer. This book made me cry in places, but it also made me smile, and it made me cheer for the pair at times.

Highly recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Review: Secret Supervillain vs Lightning Girl by Alesha Dixon

Aurora Beam, schoolgirl and superhero is back in this hilarious and action packed adventure. Aurora may be desperate to track down the valuable stone that holds the key to her family's superpowers, but her parents think that she should leave the hard work to the adults. Meanwhile, there is a very, very dangerous supervillain on the loose who wants the stone for his own ends--and when Aurora decides to investigate she finds herself in a lot more danger than what she and the Bright Sparks count on.

Secret Supervillain vs Lightning Girl is a rollicking read for kids with plenty of laugh out loud moments, one that makes up part of the bigger (and fun) Lightning Girl series. The characters are all relatable and pleasingly diverse. (Well, actually, I had a little trouble relating to Alfred the Ostrich, but he's still a lot of fun to read about.) The illustrations are fun and friendly. 

Overall, a great read. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Scholastic UK for my reading copy.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Love Story Volume 1

I'm a little late mentioning this one, seeing as it was released just in time for Valentine's Day, but I'm thrilled to report that I've had a short story included in Love Story Volume 1, an anthology of short stories, poetry, illustrations and photographs that was published by Elephant House Press, a new Adelaide Based independent publisher. Unsurprisingly, the anthology features a whole lot of love stories, from funny, to tragic to the ones that downright make readers feel warm and gooey inside.I've read all of the story and poems, and enjoyed all of the photography and artwork, and I think that you'll enjoy them too.

Love Story Volume 1 is out now from Elephant House Press