Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Review: Inheriting Fear by Sandy Vaile

Readers, meet Mya Jenson, the gorgeous, tough-speaking and arse kicking heroine of the romantic suspense novel Inheriting Fear. I was amazed by how quickly I feel in love with this character--and her love interest, the slightly more sensitive Luca. The plot is very clever as well.

Set in the western suburbs of Adelaide, in a street adjacent to the Grange railway line, the novel tells the story of Mya, a feisty young woman who has taken control of her life, and has overcome a difficult upbringing. Mya is one of the good ones--she's smart, she's loyal and she'll do anything for her mother who has a permanent disability. She also doesn't take shit from anyone and her methods are not always entirely legal. Anyway, when someone starts sending her threatening notes (and threatening messengers,) and steals her mother's jewellery, she knows that there is trouble afoot and she sets about getting to the bottom of things--her way. Meanwhile, her new neighbour, Luca, is not only a rather attractive man who seems a little too interested in her, he also just happens to be a plain clothes cop who is investigating a spate of jewellery thefts at the nursing home ...

This is a thoroughly enjoyable romantic suspense novel from an Adelaide writer. The novel has been reviewed well on Amazon and Goodreads and it is not difficult to see why. The author delivers a number of clever twists and turns and exciting characters.

Highly recommended. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This strange contraption appeared in Adelaide's Rundle Mall perhaps not so coincidentally at the same time as the Fringe Festival opened back last February. I'm not sure what it is, or does, or whether it lights up at night, but it was certainly a surprise addition to the Mall.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Off Topic: Compliments That Make Us Uncomfortable

I was listening to the Thinkergirls on Friday evening and a topic came up that gave me pause. One of the presenters commented on how she now hated a jumper, because someone who she did not like had complimented her on the jumper. For me, it was one of those moments, when it really touched a nerve. Suddenly I was thinking about all those times when I've given someone a compliment and that compliment has not been taken gracefully. It's always felt like a bit of a hit--suddenly, it's out there that someone I hold in high esteem does not like me, or considers me unworthy. Either way, it's a pretty good sign not to talk to that person again.

A part of human nature seems to be to divide people into two categories--people that we consider to be our equals, and people that we consider to be our inferiors. I don't think that we necessarily do this consciously, and I think it is different from divisions that people create between themselves and others through ignorance and upbringing, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. I think we seek approval from people who inspire us, and want to create some distance between ourselves and people who we fear may not be good for us. To some extent this is a good thing--a teenage girl would be right to immediately distance herself from an older, unrelated man for example. Unfortunately, there are times when the human brain over-reacts, and when someone we do not hold in high esteem compliments us on something that we are secretly feeling insecure about, it can dig up a score of unpleasant feelings, and a strange feeling of dislike toward the the person, and the thing that was complimented. 

As I said in the first paragraph, I've been on the receiving end of this (ie the person who gave the compliment,) and it is not a nice experience. That feeling, of realising that someone who I (previously) held in high esteem dislikes me is not a nice one. It can rattle around uselessly inside my brain as I wonder what I've possibly done to offend them, or why I'm just not good enough. It's a complete waste of my time, of course, as I'm not responsible for what other people think, and as long as I treat others with respect, I'm not responsible if they decide that they do not like me. That said, if you don't like a compliment from me, fear not. You're unlikely to get another one. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Friday Unfunnies: Elton John - Sad Songs (Say So Much)

This week, instead of my usual comic share, I thought that I would do something a bit different and share this clip from Elton John. Like much of John's work, Sad Songs is deceptively simple, a catchy hook, and a topic that anyone, regardless of age, gender or religion can relate to. Look a bit deeper and it's a work of pure genius. On one level, it's giving his listeners permission to be unhappy, and to feel and embrace those emotions, whilst he sings a catchy, pick-me-up tune. The clip itself goes from black and white to colour and in his trademark style, John's outfits get brighter and more outlandish the further we get into the song.

But, as always, the magic of Elton John isn't just that he can write a song about anything, the magic is in the fact that he can sing to absolutely anyone. His music is something to be savoured and enjoyed as art.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Smie, it's Wednesday

I saw this and I just couldn't resist sharing it here.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

We all remember the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that brought the beloved character back to platform nine and three quarters as he saw his two sons, James and Albus off to Hogwarts. It was a great ending to the series, but what lay in store for younger son, Albus Severus Potter? A new stage play, which recently opened in the UK, tells the story of Albus and his difficult relationship with his father, who is now nearing middle age. And luckily for fans across the globe, the script from the play has been published, meaning that we can all enjoy this story without having to wait for it to be performed locally.

The play works on two levels. On one level it is a coming-of-age story set in the wizarding world, where through a dangerous and gripping adventure involving time travel, Albus struggles to come into his own, and to be a wizard in his own right--one who separate from his father and the two important and famous wizards that he was named after, and who has his own strengths. Albus struggles with popularity, being placed in a different house from his siblings and having a best friend who no one else approves of. His lack of self-acceptance affects his growth and education, as well as his relationship with his father--which brings me to the second level to the story. It has a lot to say about father-son relationships, and how children can be very different from their parents. Albus is a different character from Harry, with his own set of strengths (even if he cannot see it until the end.) Likewise, we see the relationships between Draco Malfoy and his son Scorpious, who are also both quite different, and the story touches upon how Draco was quite different from his own father--just as how the later books in the Harry Potter series touched upon the fact that Harry himself was a very different person from his father. (James Potter was shown to be popular, over-confident and something of a bully where Severus Snape was concerned, though he grew out of his less desirable qualities, presumably his time at Hogwarts had a profound positive influence on him.)  

Of course, parts of the story belong to Harry and talk of his love for his son, and his struggle to be a father to three children when he grew up without his own father. And his own magical abilities, and part in Albus's adventure, of course.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, and would be keen to see the play on stage if it ever comes to Australia. 

Highly recommended.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

I snapped this cool and colourful cow at the eastern end of Jetty Road at Glenelg. I think she may have just bought herself a new pair of ugg boots ...