Showing posts from August, 2013

Low Self-Esteem Magazine

I knocked this one up in photoshop after reading a popular woman's magazine for the first time in a couple of years. What amazed me was the way the particular magazine went after their target readership, selling them a series of thinly disguised lies which were intended to first inspire fear and low self-esteem and then the idea that this good and kindly magazine could help them fix it all. I figured that if the editors of Cleo and Cosmopolitan ever decided to start telling the truth, the cover would look something like this ...

Friday Funnies: Bart vs. Australia

Okay, I confess. This isn't actually a part of the iconic episode of The Simpsons Bart vs. Australia. In actual fact, it's some additional footage that was created in 1999 to act as part of a Simpsons themed attraction at Fox Studios in Sydney. But it's still funny. Even if Homer does blow the whole of Australia to bits and then laugh about it. Bart vs. Australia is, of course, one of the most controversial episodes of The Simpsons to air to date. As an Australian, I've never quite known how to take it. It is as inaccurate and insulting as it is funny. Or maybe it is funny because it is so inaccurate and insulting. 

Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Originally conceived as a Phd thesis, Burial Rites  is a well-researched and highly readable novel about the final days of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman in Iceland to be executed . Author Hannah Kent uses a vast amount of historical records and legends to examine and explore what may have happened leading up to the murders of Natan Ketilsson and his houseguest Petur Jonsson, and the months that followed until Agnes's execution, to create an absorbing tale set against a backdrop of poverty and a cold, unforgiving climate. Despite the depressing ending (after all, the reader knows from the outset that this novel is going to end with the beheading of the protagonist,) I thoroughly enjoyed reading Burial Rites . Agnes is presented as a well-rounded character. Who Agnes really is, and who those near her believe her to be, are shown to be two very separate things. It was interesting to watch her friendships with Margret and Toti develop over the course of the story.  Hig

Review: Into My Arms by Kylie Ladd

Well.  Well. Well.  Yeah, okay, that's enough wells. I have mixed feelings about Into My Arms,  the third novel by Australian author Kylie Ladd. I don't quite agree with the read it and love it sticker that's on the front of the novel--the issues raised within made me feel a little uncomfortable. But then again, I suspect that was the purpose of the novel. It's not intended to be a rosy, happily ever after romance.  Into My Arms tells the story of Skye, a young woman from Melbourne. She has a good life. She has a devoted partner, is close to her twin brother (the pair were conceived via IVF,) and a good relationship with her hippy, widowed mother. And then she meets a man called Ben, very quickly becomes infatuated and a string of events, each one more dramatic than the last, occurs. I'm not going to offer any plot spoilers here, but this certainly isn't your typical romance. It also studies a number of issues that are very relevant to modern

Review: Eighty Days Yellow by Vina Jackson

Shout out to the Reading Room for my review copy of this novel. Tea comes in a variety of flavours and to some extent, colours. There is Peppermint, Camomile or Green Tea for example. Even the humble black tea comes in a number of varieties--English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Ceylon. All tea is different and tea drinkers will usually favour one variety over another. This is where the expression, "Not my cup of tea," originates from. It's a way of explaining that the same thing can come in many varieties and some varieties are going to be preferable to others. You can use the expression on a number of things which are by means bad or terrible, but just not for you. And so, consequently, I will start my review by saying this. Eighty Days Yellow was not my cup of tea. It is not technically a bad book--it was written by a pair of English authors, one of them quite established. The characters are well rounded and interesting. The writing isn't bad. It is certainly d

Friday Funnies: Snoopy and Theology


Review: Janie Face to Face by Caroline B. Cooney

Following on from yesterday's post on The Face on the Milk Carton  today I am reviewing the fifth and final novel in the Caroline B. Cooney's intriguing Janie Johnson series. I found this novel totally by chance a little over a week ago, when I was walking through Dymocks. As anyone who has read my previous post would be aware, as a teen I was quite a fan of The Face on the Milk Carton  and it's sequel What Happened to Janie . I was unaware that two more sequels, plus an eBook, had been written about the poor, tortured Janie Johnson, who was suffering quite an identity crisis, having discovered that she was abducted as a toddler and that the people who had lovingly raised her as their own were in fact the parents of the woman who kidnapped her. This is all explained as Janie abductor, Hannah, was a member of a religious cult and fooled her parents into believing that Janie was her daughter and that she was trying to escape from the cult and the husband that the cult lea

1990s Nostalgia: The Face on the Milk Carton

There are some books that stay with you practically forever. Another memorable book from my youth is The Face on the Milk Carton .  Like Judy Blume, Caroline B. Cooney was an American author who wrote realistic teen fiction. Unlike Blume, Caroline B. Cooney dabbled in a variety of genres and was a regular among the point horror authors in the early 1990s, a line up that included other greats such as RL Stine. She is still actively writing suspense novels for young adults. Surprising then that during the Point Horror era, she would release the one book that would become her best selling and her most memorable. The Face on the Milk Carton tells the story of fifteen year old Janie Johnson. Janie is a well adjusted, although slightly spoiled only child of ageing parents Frank and Miranda Johnson. She has never had to want for anything. And then one day, she spots a picture of herself, as a three-year-old on the back of a milk carton. The child on the milk carton is Jennie

Review: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine

Another big shout out to the Reading Room, this time for my review copy of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine . I have to admit, this is another title that intrigued me. This novel is about a week in the life of the latest pop sensation. Who also just happens to be an eleven year old boy whose dream is to become the next Michael Jackson and seems to know more about music than what his mother, managers and the general public give him credit for. Johnny would also like to be reunited with his long-lost dad. The Love Song of Johnny Valentine is an interesting and richly detailed book that spans out over the course of about a week (or was it a week and a bit,) detailing what life is like behind the scenes for the newest tween pop sensation. We know most tween stars in real life are a little older than Johnny, but the concept of this one and the darkly comical element, is brilliant. (His 'romance' and 'date' with another tween star is a highlight.) It showcases ex

Review: Pretty Girl Thirteen Liz Coley

Okay, what if one day, you forgot the past three years of your life? What if, suddenly, you found yourself with the body of a seventeen year old? What happened? Where have you been? And why do your parents keep saying that you have been missing for the past three years? That is the premise of Pretty Girl Thirteen , a heart wrenching YA novel by Liz Coley. As anyone who has read my novella, Best Forgotten knows, partial or selective amnesia is a topic that I find quite interesting. Consequently, I was quite interested to see how this one pans out. It could have been better, it could have been worse. There is some really gut wrenching stuff in here that was quite hard for me to read. As I found out more and more of what happened to Angie and how her amnesia took place, as well as some of the events in her life that preceded it, I felt quite sad. Multiple personality disorder is a subject that isn't often discussed YA fiction and some of the experimental treatments (i.e.

Review: Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Big shout out where shout outs are due, thank you to the Reading Room for my review copy of this book.  Dance of Shadows is a YA paranormal romance set in the world of a New York based ballet school and tells the story of Vanessa Alder who wants to solve the mystery why her older sister, Margaret disappeared from the same school three years earlier. Other strange and sinister things are going on at the school, students are disappearing and Vanessa isn't sure who she should trust, her loving older boyfriend Zep, or the mysterious and nasty Justin. I found Dance of Shadows to be quite an intriguing mystery and found myself turning the pages as I wanted to know more about what happened to Margaret and what sinister forces were at work at the school. Justin makes for quite an interesting hero/anti-hero. Zep, or Zepplin Grey was less interesting, but boys who have little more than good looks and the ability to spin out the odd insincere compliment rarely are. I guess who th

National Bookshop Day

This afternoon I was lucky enough to take part in National Bookshop Day. For those of you who are unaware, National Bookseller Day is an annual event in Australia that celebrates the place of independent bookstores in the community. I was one of the authors who appeared at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown and was lucky enough to sit on a panel with Aprille Legacy, author of the Soul Trilogy and Hannah Kent whose debut novel Burial Rites caused quite a stir, both locally an overseas. And I also met Peppa Pig who turned out to be the real star of the day, but that is another story ... Bonus question: Did you celebrate National Bookshop Day today? If so, how and what events were there in your local area?

Kathryn's Word of the Day

Unctuous 1. Oily. 2. Excessily smug, smarmy or self serving. Kathryn was repulsed by the unctuous bastard and his lack of manners toward her, but found it difficult to describe the specific or exact offence caused.

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Child Welfare Experts Shocked by Dodgy Cyborg Parenting

CARTOONLAND--Child Welfare experts are calling for an immediate end to laws allowing cyborgs to adopt children. "Frankly, the situation here in Cartoonland is out of hand and the problems are only getting worse," child welfare expert, S Claw, PhD, told our reporters. "We've had one shocking instance of an eight-year-old girl who was adopted by a particularly hapless Cyborg Detective who appears to have left the important parts of parenting up to the family dog. There is also the question of the child's physical safety. Since her adoption by her cyborg 'Uncle' this child has been placed in numerous dangerous situations and has been abducted by various crooks and enemies of the state practically every week. The physical and psychological scars must be enormous." The child, dog and her 'Uncle' were reluctant to speak with our reporters outside court. While the child spent most of her time staring at what appeared to be an oversize iPad,