Showing posts from November, 2013

Review: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh can be a little bit (actually, she can be a lot,) petty. She's a bit immature, swears, does not like marketing gimmicks, but uses them quite jokingly on the blurb to her book, has great insight into human nature (and the behaviour of her dogs,) and she draws odd but fantastic pictures of herself and her loved ones using Microsoft Paint. (Or perhaps she uses a different similar programme. I don't know her and have not actually asked. So you know, I could be wrong about that last one.) Anyway, as many readers would already be aware Hyperbole and a Half started out as a blog a few years ago, featuring well, words and hilarious pictures that told stories about Brosh's life, which gained a lot of momentum after her brilliant posts about her personal struggles with depression. And there is a lot to like about the website. It's silly, it's insightful and you're kind of left with the feeling that the author is secretly irritated with you and/or lau

Off Topic: Opinions and How Not to Have Them

Hi. My name is Kathryn and I have an opinion. I wish there was a support group for people like me. (So far, the closest thing I have found is the INTJ discussion board on Personality Cafe.) If I have a failing, it is probably that I have an opinion about absolutely everything. And not only do I have an opinion about everything, but I am absolutely, unfailingly always right. And not only am I absolutely, always unfailingly right but I never speak up and offer my opinion unless: I think this is vital information that another person will need to know as this will somehow help them, no matter how trivial the issue is. This is an area where I genuinely believe myself to be an expert and I'm trying to offer an alternative viewpoint that will help the other person in their understanding of a particular topic. Consequently, I have this strange expectation that other people will feel this strange, overwhelming gratitude that I have taken the time to offer them my most sacred op

Friday Funnies: Calvin and Hobbes Dance

Found this awesome little clip on YouTube and thought that it would make a perfect post for Friday Funnies. It's fun, it's simple and more importantly, we see young Calvin and his buddy Hobbes move. As anyone who has some knowledge of the Calvin and Hobbes comics and their brilliant creator, Bill Watterson, would already be aware, Watterson was not a fan of merchandising. He refused to allow his beloved comic to sell out. No Calvin and Hobbes merchandise was ever allowed (you can occasionally find unofficial things, usually stickers or t-shirts depicting a defiant Calvin pissing on various logos,) as he felt it would cheapen his comic. Calvin and Hobbes has never been made into an animated television series or film. Some fans might argue, therefore, that this clip is an abomination of Watterson's vision. Personally, I'd like to think that if it was made by aspiring artists, distributed freely (and not for profit,) and did not offer any kind of political comment tha

Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

After reading Wintergirls , I was quite surprised by the nature of some of the debate about the book that has been bouncing around on Goodreads for the past three or so years, particularly some comments that admonish the main character for her behaviour. Now, while I believe that all book reviews are subjective and any one who has read a particular book is entitled to an opinion and they are entitled to react in any way they please to the story and the way it is told, I have to admit I was a little bit stunned that some readers did not seem to understand Lia or where she was coming from, or what the author's intentions were for the character. Is Lia a perfect character? No. Is Lia a good role model? No.  Was she supposed to be? Of course bloody not. The beauty in Lia's character and in the authors writing is its truth. Lia is not easy to like and her actions stem from the fact that she is in the midst of an episode of a quite serious illness. This is not a romance.

Writers on Wednesday: Aishah Macgill

This week for Writers on Wednesday the multi-talented author, publisher, indie book store owner and the co-ordinator of the brilliant Australian Writers Rock! website Aishah Macgill gives some brilliant and very unique answers to my questions ... Tell us a bit about yourself … This would be one of the hardest questions of all to answer. I was on an online dating site for a while and I wondered why I only got ninny’s contacting me. Then I realised my profile, that I wrote, made me sound like a twit, so... I try to live life with honesty, integrity and openness. I just love to write. It’s like an itch I have to scratch, a hunger I must feed. When I think, I am always writing a book in my head or making a movie. When I write a book, I have already written most of it- in my head, but without as much detail. Does anyone else think like that? If you do, my number is... Tell us about your most recently published, or about to be published, book? I have just completed

Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The second novel in Mead's Bloodlines series isn't a bad book. That said, I could not help but feel disappointed or feel that, somehow The Golden Lily failed to set the benchmark that was set by the first book in the series and it definitely strays a long way from the action packed Vampire Academy . The only thing that inspired me at all was the budding (and forbidden,) romance between Alchemist Sydney and bad boy Maroi Adrian. But perhaps I am being too harsh a critic? Anyway, in this instalment, Sydney is still based at a boarding school in Palm Springs where she is protecting fifteen year old vampire princess, Jill. There are a couple of subplots involving witchcraft and Sydney's budding romance with the boring, human and unmemorable Brayden who ditches her anyway, but in this instalment the major threat to the Vampires and Alchemists is the Warriors, a group who have broken away from the Alchemists and basically get off on murdering the most harmless members o

Review: Wifey by Judy Blume

Judy Blume is best known for writing honest and realistic fiction for children, so I was a little bit surprised when, a little while ago, I discovered that she has also written three books for adults. Her first adult novel, Wifey , was released in the 1970s and is precisely that ... adult.  In many ways, it is difficult to tell that Wifey is written by the same author who brought us Blubber , Deenie and Forever . While Blume's books for children and young adults talk openly and seriously about a range of serious topics, Wifey is a sexy satire about a boring-as-bat-shit middle-class American women named Sandy who is unhappy with her role as a wife and mother and unhappier still with her somewhat lacklustre sex life. As for the rest ... well it's all a bit predicable by modern standards, with the heroine longing to ditch her life for something less conventional in order to find sexual fulfilment.  Wifey really isn't Blume's best or most memorable novel and it

Writers on Wednesday: Dan Bosserman

Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday, where we get to meet a wide range of unique and talented authors. This weeks featured writer is Dan Bosserman, a journalist from Boring, Oregon. Dan's unique answers to my somewhat generic questions really put a smile on my face and I hope that you enjoy reading them too ... Dan Bosserman (in Maroon shirt) watches as the Governor of Oregon signs a proclamation declaring August 9 'Boring and Dull Day' which celebrates the pairing of Boring with a sister city, Dull in Scotland. Tell us a bit about yourself …              I’m 71 years old (born nine months to the day after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941). I was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, but left there before I was old enough to remember it. My grandfather was a minister in the Church of the Brethren, a pacifist congregation; therefore, my father was a conscientious objector during WWII. The neighbors called me “Weatherstripping,” because I protected my father from

Review: Jim Henson the Biography by Brian Ray Jones

Today, I am throwing convention to the wind and am going to review a book that I have not yet finished reading. I may never read this one totally from cover to cover. But that's okay with me. This one, I am enjoying more by reading it one bit at a time--a randomly selected chapter here, a randomly selected chapter here. Brian Ray Jones biography of Jim Henson is so detailed and comprehensive that, at times, it feels like I am reading an encyclopaedia. An encyclopaedia that flows well perhaps, but certainly a very detailed book. As a one-time puppeteer (a weird gig I volunteered for back in my uni days, which subsequently made me appreciate the complexity of some of Henson's puppets,) and a long time fan of Henson's work, particularly The Muppets  I was interested to read more about Jim Henson and the background story to a man who was absolutely passionate about his work. Henson was a hardworking man who believed passionately in what he did. It is as interesting to r

Best Forgotten Free From Amazon Kindle Store

Today and tomorrow only, I am offering my novella, Best Forgotten as a free download from the Amazon Kindle Store. Best Forgotten is a strange little tale about a young woman named Kellie-Sue who wakes in hospital, unable to remember the last eighteen months. But there's more. The last thing that she can remember is planning to kill her ex-boyfriend. Did she do it and get away with it? Or did something else happen at Morgan Stones house that night? Click here to download your copy and find out ...

Review: Jump by Sean Williams

There was quite a bit of pre-release debate about Jump (published as Twinmaker outside of Australia,) over on goodreads , during the past few months. Oddly, it was some of the more negative, or perhaps judgemental, comments that really make me sit up and think that Jump may be a book well worth reading. Why? Because people were slamming it? Hell no. Because this one obviously wasn't a strictly by-the-numbers piece of YA fiction. It seemed that at least one or two readers had been shaken out of their reading comfort zone. I liked the idea of that. I liked the idea that, quite possibly, Jump might have something different to offer readers. So, of course, I had to read it ... Jump is a YA Sci-fi novel set in the near future, in a world where people travel by D-Mat, a worldwide teleportation system. The novel opens with Clair and her friend Libby, a pair of likeable girls who live a fairly typical existence for teenagers of their era--in the first chapter we see them vying

Review: Forbidden Heart by Virginia Andrews

The Forbidden Heart is a short, eBook only sequel to Virginia Andrews Forbidden Sister and acts as a bridge between Forbidden Sister and the next full-length novel in the series, Roxy's Story. Set entirely in France (thus making it the only Virginia Andrews novel to be set entirely in Europe,) Fobidden Heart  picks up where Forbidden Sister ends, it tells us what happens to Emmie after she was abandoned by her sister in Paris. She is now living with her uncle and his partner, has made a new friend in Denise, a young woman who works at her uncle's restaurant and has found a possible new love interest in Denise's cousin, Vincent. All good, right? Well, not really. As a reader, I found myself struggling with the story quite a bit. I suppose some of this is my own fault, as I expected the story to be about how Emmie settled in to her new life in Paris. What I got was a slightly jumbled and unrealistic tale full of French stereotypes that ends quite abruptly. As scathin

Friday Funnies: Snoopy Dances

Found this cute little gif and felt that I would like to share it with you lovely folk. Schroeder is sharing a tune while Snoopy dances and Lucy listens. See, this is where gifs are quite lovely. It's a little picture shared from one person to another or perhaps shared with an audience, designed to tell a message or perhaps convey a certain feeling. This one has a message of fun and contentment with a dash of class added in.  

1990s Nostalgia: Lisa Vs. Malibu Stacey

Millions of girls will grow up thinking that this is the right way to act ... that they can never be more than vacuous ninnies whose only goal is to look pretty, land a rich husband, and spend all day on the phone with their equally vacuous friends talking about how damn terrific it is to look pretty and have a rich husband! ~ Lisa Simpson Today I am paying tribute to one of the most awesome episodes of the long-running animated series The Simpsons . I still remember the first time that I saw this one, though it was almost two years after the original US airdate. I was fourteen years old, had just started year nine at high school and was well, rather unhappy myself. I was the quiet, smart and unpopular kid of my grade. I was the girl who didn't quite fit in, the girl who simply could not see her potential, and who wished desperately that she could be anything other than what she was. And then I saw Lisa Vs. Malibu Stacey. To give you a quick recap, this is the

Writers on Wednesday: Di Bates

Welcome to Writers on Wednesday, where we meet a broad cross-section of talented writers. This week I am lucky enough to be talking to the very talented and very, very prolific writer, Di Bates ... Tell us a bit about yourself … I’m a full-time, prolific Australian writer who, with her author husband Bill Condon, makes a living from writing and have done so for the past 20 years. Between us we’ve published over 250 books. I’ve published with many different publishers both mainstream and small and written fiction and non-fiction ranging from picture books to adult novels. Many of my books were commissioned. I’ve a background in journalism, advertising and book-selling. Bill and I live in an outer suburb of Wollongong NSW. Tell us about your most recently published book? The Girl in the Basement (Morris Publishing Australia) is a cross-over novel based on the real-life discovery in 1987 of a Polaroid photograph picked up by a shopper in a Florida (US) car p

Review: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Sometimes it is good to think out of the square. Sometimes it is good to pick up a book that I would not normally read and give it a chance, anyway. And that was precisely the kind of mood I was in when I picked up a copy of Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend  by Louise Rozett. There were many (subjective) reasons why I would not pick up a book like this: 1. The publisher. I rarely, if ever read books published by Harlequin, let alone Harlequin Teen. Mostly, this is because they publish "throwaway" books, the kind of thing that is unlikely to ever be reprinted, remembered or to stand the test of time. It's entertainment for here and now but don't fool yourself into believing that you'll be sharing this book with your grandchildren one day. You won't. 2. The title. Really. What is it about America and starting book titles with the word, "Confessions". Usually "Confessions" books are tales about people who take on a journey of se