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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in orangedale's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
9:53 am
Glimpses of Light
ACRBA Tour Glimpses of Light

2 - 6 May

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

Glimpses of Light
(By the Light Books, 15 December 2015)

Edited by Jeanette O'Hagan and Nola L Passmore

About the Book:
Be challenged, captivated and moved by these imaginative reflections on faith, help in time of need, joy in the midst of tragedy, and surprising encounters with God.

During 2015, the International Year of Light, twenty-one authors from Australia and the United States have come together to explore the theme of 'glimpses of light'—finding light in dark places—through short stories, poems, flash fiction and creative non-fiction.

Glimpses of Light includes contributions from respected and award-winning authors and poets Jo-Anne Berthelsen, Paula Vince, Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones, Jo Wanmer, Jeanette Grant-Thomson and Ellen Carr, as well as exciting new talent.

Profits from this anthology go to CBM Australia, giving sight to the blind.

About the Authors

Jeanette O’Hagan enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy Series—a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. Her short stories and poems are published in Tied in Pink romance anthology, Another Time Another Place, Poetica Christi’s Inner Child, Let the Sea Roar, Like a Girl.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and, more recently, a Master’s in writing. She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life and communicating God’s great love. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Website: jeanetteohagan.com


Nola Passmore’s poetry, devotions, inspirational articles, and short fiction have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas. Although she’s a former academic with qualifications in creative writing, psychology, and Christian ministry; she’s found that you can never underestimate the power of friends and mentors in the writing journey.

With ringleader roles in Quirky Quills and the Toowoomba chapter of Omega Writers, she’ll be nagging (oops, encouraging) other writers for some time. She and her husband Tim have a freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.

Website: www.thewriteflourish.com.au

my review
From the stunning cover this book is a great and varied collection of stories, poems, prayers and non-fiction from real life experience. There are fantasy and science fiction stories, one told from the point of view of a horse and heartfelt poems. This book contains stories to inspire and to entertain. One story gives to those of us who are readers, an unthinkable picture of a people who were unable to read. They had been told, ‘it was evil to read.’ Who would tell them that? ‘People who didn’t want the truth to be known,’ comes the answer.

Thanks to the editors, I received a copy of this book free of charge as part of blog tour.
Not being one who usually reads short stories, rather than read this book cover to cover as I would a novel, I dipped into it from time to time. A story here, a poem or two there. Written by 21 Christian writers this book is a joy to read and should delight many readers with its variety of topics and approaches all written around the theme glimpses of light. Some of the authors were familiar to me. Other names were not but the standard of contributions to this anthology was consistently good. I found it hard to pick a favourite. However I did think the end piece which includes words and a story about one of my favourites hymns seemed a fitting place to finish. That hymn echoed in my head as I typed this review.
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
11:00 am
Twice stolen blog tour and review

4 - 8 April

is introducing

(Armour Books, 14 February 2016)

Susanne Timpani

About the Book:

After the death of his grandmother, Dimitri finds he's been lied to most of his life. His journey into the Outback to unravel the mystery of his identity leads to an encounter with Leah, a nurse with a tragic secret.

About the Author

Susanne is married, has four beautiful children and works as a community nurse with children and families. Themes of her work and her faith appear in her writing.

Susanne is the author of the blog, 10 Minute Daily Retreat. These twice weekly reflections on scripture can be read via:



Her first novel, Twice Stolen, was released in February 2016. It fits the genre of Inspirational Fiction, has Australian Aboriginal themes and is flavoured with a sprinkling of Medical Romance.

Twice stolen won the CALEB prize for an unpublished manuscript. The book is published by Armour Books

My review

This is an extremely interesting read. Twice stolen was the winner of the Caleb award for faith-inspired writing. It is easy to see why. There has been a lot of research has gone into the story, the characters are interesting and there is a wealth of information about Indigenous customs that threads its way through the story. I loved the characters of Dimitri, Leah and Aunty Paula and Lucy who feature predominately. The story is told from two perspectives, that of Dimitri and Leah. Like all of us, they sometimes get it wrong and make assumptions about others and about situations that are not always correct.
This is primarily a book about people and the secrets they keep and the situations they find themselves in. In the course of this story the reader learns more about the Stolen Generation, a sad fact of Australia’s past. It is a novel to stir the emotions with compassion, anger, sorrow and I’d be surprised if readers manage to get through it without a few teary eyes. But is also a book about love, forgiveness and hope. Packed with lots of interesting information and insights, I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the descriptions of the outback and its people.
Lovely to see a new voice in the realm of Australian fiction. The novel is set off by a beautiful cover. This book will be launched in Adelaide on February 14. I was privileged to have my copy given to me from the publisher to read and review. An absorbing read, this is a bright start for Armour books, a new publisher on the Australian scene.
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
1:27 pm
Learning about New Zealand among other things

7 - 11 March

is introducing

(Rhiza Press, 1 October 2015)

About the Book:

Since she watched her village burn to the ground, Mere’s life has been anything but dull. Now as an older woman she has come to stay with Helene and James to finish writing her life story – a tale of injustice, revenge and

But Helene and James have their own problems. After five years together, their marriage has become dull, predictable, boring … and it starts to unravel.

Weaving fiction with the traumatic history of the Ngati Whatua tribe of Auckland, The Pounamu Prophecy sweeps from the sultry heat of Australia to the verdant shores of New Zealand.

About the Author

Cindy Williams lives in Sydney with her husband and teenage son.

As a child growing up in a culturally rich part of New Zealand she enjoyed writing, not copious screeds, but short intense pieces that brought tears to her eyes and made people think. She marvelled at the power of words to inspire far beyond the intentions of the author.

Then she became a dietitian – all science and seriously researched facts. She completed a Master of Public Health and a Graduate Diploma in Communication and spent many years encouraging and inspiring people to live a healthy life.

She writes a nutrition blog – www.nutritionchic.com – and is working on her second novel, set in first century Israel. She teaches scripture in schools, and swim and cycles. She is also studying for a Diploma of Theology and trying to improve her abysmal French!

my review

Despite the fact that New Zealand is our near neighbour I admit to knowing nothing, before I read this book, about the Bastion Point protests. So that was a learning experience for me. I liked reading Mere’s story which starts back In Okahu Bay, Auckland in 1951. I found much of the time I was more interested in Mere and her New Zealand story that I was in the modern day story of James and Helene. I found them largely aggravating with their outlook of life and how little their marriage meant to them that they could contemplate endangering it so easily. That I wanted to knock their heads together and tell them to ‘wake up’ to themselves, shows that they came across as believable and indicative of some people in today’s world.

The story gathered momentum after the lives of James and Helene interact more with Mere, after she comes to stay in the guest house on their property. Mere is lovely and it is very easy to warm to her. She is full of hard won wisdom. So is her friend Liz who says about the past and her father’s attitude to the hurt done to their family, ’I eventually realised Dad’s way was right. If I held onto my anger it would paralyse my life. He always said that we can’t control what happens but we can control how we react to it.’ They sound like wise words to me.

I was given this book free of charge by the publishers in return for an honest review. This is a book that shows how the past and dreams can shape lives, but that ultimately each of us has a choice about what is important to us and how we deal with those. It evoked anger in me and tears at times. But overall I enjoyed reading this book, learning more about New Zealand history, the Maori people and their customs and how one or two people can impact many lives.
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
2:25 pm
Winner chosen
Thanks to all who entered my giveaway. The winner of a copy of has been chosen by Goodreads.
Congratulations to Kerry Green. The book will be winging its way over to Western Australia tomorrow.
Meanwhile anyone interested can read a few poems on the poetry pages of my website http://www.daleharcombe.com. If you want to purchase a copy of Kaleidoscope you can also do that on the books page of my website. http://www.daleharcombe.com
Monday, February 8th, 2016
2:04 pm
Next of Kin - blog tour and book review

7 - 11 February

is introducing

Next of Kin

(Rhiza Press, May 2015)

Carol Preston

About the Book:

Fanny Franks was raised to believe in honesty, equality and acceptance, regardless of background or circumstances. When she meets brothers Jack and Jim, she is drawm to them by the alienation and injustice which seems to pervade their lives. She is determined to intervene and help them find happiness, until a trauma in her own life brings discrimination and shame for which she is ill prepared. While she deals with her own struggle she comes to understand what Jim and Jack are going through - and they find where they truly belong.

About the Author

Carol lives in Wollongong with her husband, Neil. She is a psychologist and has a part time private counselling practice, as well as being an author and speaker. Carol enjoys spending time with her children and four grandchildren, as well as bushwalking, gardening and holidaying overseas with her husband. One of her hobbies over many years has been family history research.

It was this research which started Carol on the journey of writing novels. Her first trilogy is about the Oakes Family; Suzannah’s Gold, Rebecca’s Dream and The Price of Peace, which takes the reader from 1838 when her great great grandmother, Suzannah Casey was transported from Ireland, through to the end of the First World War. Carol’s fourth novel, The Face of Forgiveness, is about two young women who are transported to Australia in 1839.

Carol has also written the Turning the Tide Series, based on her mother’s family, which begins with the First Fleet of convicts to Australia in 1788. These include Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets, and Truly Free. Next of Kin is her ninth novel. For more information about Carol’s books and her other interests she can be contacted on her website: www.carolpreston.com.au, on her Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/writingtoreach
or her Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/carolpreston

My review

This is an interesting, Australian historical read. It took me a little while to get into it but then the further into this story I moved, the more I enjoyed it. It tells the story of Fanny Franks who is accepting of others regardless of where they are from. She works for Hans and Marlena Giese. It is at their European Hotel where she meets their nephews, Jim and Jack. Jim and Jack, after a troubled childhood thanks to their mother’s second marriage, have virtually cut off all dealing with their mother. This is a book about relationships and the things that can affect them either directly or indirectly. It also deals with issues like forgiveness, the differences between cultures and prejudice both racial and religious.

I really liked the strong, determined and, at times, outspoken character of Fanny, although I struggled from beginning to end with the name. Somehow to me it just didn’t suit the character. But that could be because I have an aversion to the name. Marlena Giese is a lovely warm character and I liked the contrast in personality, behaviour and approach of the two nephews. There is a violent incident in the story, but it is not graphically described. I found this an enjoyable read that gives good glimpses into Australia’s landscape, attitudes, history and heritage.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
11:05 am
Kaleidoscope Giveaway
Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I have created a giveaway for poetry lovers. Head on over to Goodreads if you would like to be in the running to win a copy of this book. Details are below. You can read a few poems from this collection on the poetry page of my website. http://www.daleharcombe.com. Winner will be chosen at random on February 14. Sadly due to postage costs this giveaway is only available to those residing in Australia. Good luck all.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Kaleidoscope Poems by Dale Harcombe

Kaleidoscope Poems

by Dale Harcombe

Giveaway ends February 14, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
2:34 pm
Poems Times Two

This is the beautiful picture that accompanies my poem Illawarra Flame Trees
published in The Australia Times. To read the rest of the poem go to http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/poetry/issue/326/#30

You will find another of my poems titled At Narooma here http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/magazine/poetry/issue/326/#34
This picture didn't quite capture the colours of Narooma which were stunning blue, turquoise and green. But this one is still an interesting picture with the way the light is shining on the water.

Any magazine can only survive if it has people who are interested enough to read it, submit work and subscribe. Membership/Subscription to The Australia Times is at present free. But from 22nd of January 2016 a paywall will be introduced. However, "The Australia Times will remain free for life to all who subscribe before the 22nd of January. Please encourage your friends and relatives to subscribe now, before this offer ends. The paywall will go up in
readiness for the introduction of paid subscription."

Member Subscribers will not receive SPAM but will receive "a fortnightly
newsletter explaining what’s new in the magazines. Member Subscribers will receive a password and log-in to their email.
Should they have cookies on their computer they should be required to
log in once to read TAT. If they are not logged in, only the first nine
pages of each magazine will be accessible."

Member subscriber benefits include;
- "Free life-time access to all magazines
- Ability to ‘comment’ on articles and images, and read others’ comments
- Ability to enjoy Reader Mode on all magazines (the text stripped of
images to make for clearer reading on mobile devices).
- Emailed offers and discounts within our fortnightly newsletter."

So why don't you do as I am doing and subscribe to keep this Australian resource for poetry and short stories viable. Australia needs magazines and newspapers that showcase its writers.
Friday, December 11th, 2015
10:00 am
A Picture adds to the Words.
For various reasons, it's been a while since I updated this blog, but I just had to share this presentation of my poem. Isn't is beautifully presented!

Needless to say I was thrilled with it. It appeared on The Australia Times Facebook page.
You might like to check out some other poems and stories in The Australia Times http://www.theaustraliatimes.com/
If you write, you might even want to send them some of your own work.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
3:18 pm

2 - 6 November

is introducing


(New Hope Publishers September 2015)


Jennifer Slattery

About the Book:

Abandoned by her husband, an organ procurement coordinator fighting to keep her job and her sanity encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy.

For Tammy Kuhn, being an organ procurement coordinator is more than a job. It’s a ministry. But when her husband of sixteen years leaves her for another woman, struggles with childcare, her absentee ex-husband, and an altercation with a doctor threaten her job. Embittered and overwhelmed, she fights to maintain her sanity when a late night encounter with an old flame stirs emotions long since buried but the ICU is no place for romance.

About the Author

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, "Beyond I Do", releases in August. She also writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless.

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.

My review
This was a new author to me and I enjoyed the read. The story concerns Tammy who is heavily involved in organ procurement. At times this conflicts with her responsibility as a single parent and she struggles to maintain adequate care for the kids while she is on call and still satisfy her boss. The ex-husband Brody is less than useless and manages to rarely turn up when he should.

The other main character is Nick, who Tammy knew and loved at high school. He is also divorced and his wife for much of the novel comes across as manipulative and without any redeeming qualities. That was one of my problems with the book - the Non-Christians all seemed to be portrayed as so unlikeable. In the real world I have met any number of people who may not be Christian but are loving, generous adults, so I struggled a bit with the stereotype. I also found it a bit hard to believe that the teenage daughter’s favourite book that inspired her a lot was Hinds Feet in High Places. Just a little thing perhaps, but it troubled me as it didn’t seem in keeping what what was revealed of Becky’s character.

This is an overtly Christian book, and there are a lot of bible verses, church meetings and talking to God passages scattered liberally throughout. I felt it was a bit overdone, but again that might be my own viewpoint. Others might like it. I admit I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction.

This book could appeal to those who want a light read from a Christian viewpoint. It does raise some issues about organ donation and so the fact that Tammy was involved in such a job interested me. I was happy to spend the time reading it, even though I though the characters lacked complexity and sufficient motivation for some behaviour at times.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel to read and review as part of a blog tour. I have to say I didn’t like the cover and would never have picked it up with that cover. But maybe that’s me. A lot of people will no doubt enjoy this book.
Friday, August 7th, 2015
2:15 pm
One for the very young and one for the young adult

This book puts a twist on the topic of getting children into bed at night. In this fun picture book it is the child trying to get Daddy into bed and Daddy making the excuses. No doubt nearly all parents have heard, at some stage or another, the excuses Daddy comes out with for not wanting to go to bed. Excuses like ‘But I’m not tired’ or ‘I’m still playing’ through to the bath and cleaning teeth exercises, before we get anywhere near the bedroom. Then come the excuses in the bedroom for not being ready to go to sleep.

Author and illustrator Dave Hackett says the story eventuated from one made up for his daughter when she was four or five and embellished over time. The cartoon like illustrations are colourful and suit the mood of the text. You feel the exasperation but mostly feel the love underpinning the rituals in this bedtime exchange. I think this is one that parents and children will find humorous. An enjoyable read.

Now one for YA readers. Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship. It starts initially because Summer is living in Will’s home town of Kettering in Tasmania. Summer has not told Will she is deaf, figuring it will not matter as they are not likely to ever meet. But then Will and his Dad move back to Kettering. How will and Summer be able to talk to each other and will he still like her when he knows the truth?

I liked both the characters of Summer and Will and also Summer’s mother and Will’s dad. Tim’s friend Cully is an idiot, or maybe just a typical teenage boy who doesn’t know how to handle someone who is a bit different or the fact that Will has a new friend. Cully causes more than his share of trouble in the novel, endangering Will and Summer.

This story has obviously involved a lot of research. Not only is there a great deal about sign language and being deaf but it is also filled with interesting titbits like the information about Truganini and her people and this shameful story in history.

Though the circumstances are different for Will and Summer, the story showed how two teenagers deal with loss of family members. The majority of the story was handled really well. There were just a couple of examples of the F word and other things that I thought the story could have easily done without and they would not have been missed. It’s a shame those couple of things spoilt was is otherwise a really good read that raises lots of issues about friendship, bullying, disabilities, jealousy and boy/girl relationships.
Monday, July 20th, 2015
11:47 am
Book review



Recognise them? Met them just as the door opened into your calling? Found that not only were events conspiring against you but you were self-sabotaging? Lost your faith and felt betrayed when your dreams fell in on you?

A critical loss of knowledge about the existence and nature of threshold covenants has occurred in the last century. We now longer have any idea how perilous or complex spiritual doorways are. Many of us keep putting ourselves in harm's way and abandoning hope we'll ever step into our destinies.

God's Pageantry is about the obstacles we encounter, the covenants we face and the armour we need to pass over the threshold.

My Review

Being familiar with Anne’s other books I knew I was in for a treat and would end up having my thinking expanded. To start with I liked the way Anne emphasised that the question, ’who are you?’ is not reliant on our profession or our relationship with another. Neither is it about our spiritual gifts. I’ve always felt Thomas gets a hard time by a lot of people and so I loved the way the author brought out not just his doubts but his strong faith. I also liked the parallel drawn between the women at Mount Sinai in the Old Testament and the steadfast faithfulness of women at the foot of the cross. I agree with the lines. ’ Faith is an active verb. Like love.’ I loved the personal stories interspersed throughout and especially that of Toby and the author’s mother and the way she leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions about Toby.

Throughout Anne introduces us to some of her favourite authors with references from biblical as well as other sources and then proceeds to expand her treatise about threshold guardians and the covenant defender. It also helps if as I have, you have read this author’s earlier books, God’s Poetry and God’s Panoply, so you have a better understanding of the author’s thinking and way of investigating a topic. I laughed and could relate to the conversation between Anne and God in relation to the conference she was organising and the outcome.

There is a lot to ponder in this book. It is not a book to read quickly or lightly. It requires an open mind, thought and prayer to fully understand all that is being said. In the end I was left feeling a bit unsettled. That is not a bad thing. It means I will go back and re-read this book. I know when I do, I will come away with a better understanding of all that is being said and what I may need to do to effect change in my life. Thanks to the author I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
10:11 am

8 - 12 June 2015

is introducing


(Ark House Press)

Jeanette Grant-Thomson

About the Book:

Miraim is desperate. Her mind is a fog of drug-induced forgetfulness. She has forgotten her past, her family, even who she is. But who is the disturbingly familiar girl in the shopping centre?

Enmeshed in Soleternity, a cult in the Queensland outback, Miriam is pregnant. She believes her future - and that of her baby - lies with the cult.

Bronwyn is determined to rescue Miriam. She has not bargained on falling in love with the journalist helping her.

Away from Soleternity, Miriam faces conflicts. Sol . . .Soleternity . . .and now Anna and Christianity. How can she know the truth? Who is to be trusted?

About the Author

Jeanette Grant-Thomson has been writing since she was a child, having short pieces published. Her first book was Jodie's Story (Anzea 1991 and two later editions), followed by two more biographies and two novels. She is a teacher and a writer, living in Redlands.

My Thoughts

The striking cover sets the scene for this interesting novel about a woman who is absorbed into Soleternity, a cult set up in the Queensland outback. Using drugs and hypnosis the cult leaders have managed to make Miriam forget her family and her past.

Greta, another who has gone into the cult, is now questioning much that occurs. Bronwyn, Miriam’s long time friend from her past life, seeks to rescue Miriam and expose the cult. Will she be able to without endangering Miriam? Or will Miriam, who is pregnant, refuse to leave or even become absorbed further into the cult? Miriam needs to find the truth but how can she know what is true and what is not? Who can she trust? This sets up interesting scenarios.

This novel is a bit outside my normal reading but I found it to be an enjoyable read, although at times I get a bit frustrated with Miriam and her willingness to believe all she is told and let people manipulate her. Still that shows that I was interested in her as a character. I also liked Bronwyn, Anna and Steve. Steve is the journalist Bronwyn meets, who seeks to help expose the cult for what it is. The characters are well drawn. I wasn’t convinced the epilogue was necessary, but maybe that’s just me.

Those who enjoy Christian fiction should enjoy this novel. It gives plenty of things to think about.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
10:14 am
On Track

On Track

by Kathryn Apel

Published by UQP

paperback RRP AUD $ 16.95

I really enjoy verse novels particularly when well done, as this one is. I enjoyed some of the images, like this of the two brothers who are told by their mum to stay together as they walk the 2 kilometres to school.
‘We do,
but sometimes the road stretches
between us,
wrapped in
our own silent thoughts.

Other times we walk
shoulder to shoulder
throwing words
like footballs:

This verse novel is told in the voices of the two brothers, Shaun who is ‘good at everything’ and Toby who is awkward and who struggles at school and at home. The prospect of Sports Day is for Toby, the worst day of the year. I’m sure there are plenty of kids not good at sports who share that view. But things change for Toby when someone believes in him and shows him what he can do.
The image at Athletics Camp Day One as children from different schools gather, is very telling
mostly, we’re all strangers;
we don’t mix,
stand aloof,
apart –
each in our own bubble
of solitude
waiting for
the ice to
Another image I liked was where Toby says his hands, ’feel like they’re made of marshmallow.’
There is a lot to like in this novel, from its bright cover to the clever use of language as it reveals the two boys and the situation. However, while I liked the idea of the story being told from two voices I thought it was sad to see the relationship or lack thereof between the brothers. It is sibling rivalry portrayed as each boy thinks the other is favoured by their parents. I have never had a brother and I am not the target audience for this book so maybe it is an accurate portrayal of siblings. Plus I was one of those kids who hated sports days, so that made this harder for me to read. That said, this is a great example of a verse novel, the two voices work well and it ends up being a book with a positive uplifting message woven into the story and that has to be a good thing .
Thursday, May 7th, 2015
11:21 am
Using the Imagination

Any Questions?
by Marie-Louise Gay
published by Allen&Unwin
Hardcover picture book
RRP $19.95

The premise of this picture book is interesting. It is taken from the questions asked of the author by children. The author remembers how curious she was as a child and tries to finds a way to answer the children’s questions in an entertaining way. In the process she shares a little about herself but also about the writing process.

The book gives a number of ideas of how a story could start, what might happen and how things might change if another dimension, even to a change of colour, was added. This book lends itself to using the imagination. It even leads into a story about a shy giant.

The water colour illustrations suit the whimsical character of the text. However while I thought this book had lots of positive aspects, the pages at times seemed too busy and the text tending to veer off at too many tangents. In my view, it is not a picture book for parents or teachers to read aloud to children. Rather, this book is designed to help teachers encourage children explore their own creativity and so from that purpose would be a very useful tool. It would be very constructive in a classroom situation where the teacher could take a page or two at a time and use it to spark ideas with their class. Any book that helps children learn to use their imaginations has to be a good thing. It can be used for creative writing and art lessons or learning about jobs as at the back of the book the author answers some of the questions about being a writer.
Monday, May 4th, 2015
9:02 am
The Too Pretty Burden

is introducing

Too Pretty

((Rhiza Press), August 2014)


Andrea Grigg

About the Book:

Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.

Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep.

Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.

As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are …

Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?

About the Author

Andrea Grigg grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia.

Andrea lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children – two daughters and a son.

Recently retired from teaching ten-year-olds, if she isn’t being a domestic executive or socialising, Andrea can be found in her cave, writing stories.

My review

In today’s world where looks is often seen as the answer to everything, I thought it was an interesting premise to see that being beautiful is maybe not all it is cracked up to be . It can come with decided disadvantages as others judge you because of your looks. Gabrielle or Ellie as she is more commonly known except by her fierce and judgemental Aunt Rita knows what it is to come under that judgement. Her missionary parents are overseas and so are mostly off the scene except for in a minor way.

Having found she was too easily getting involved in romantic relationships where someone ends up getting hurt, Ellie vows to have a six month hiatus from dating to work on her relationship with God. But then along comes Nathaniel. Nathaniel has his own issues and secrets he wants to keep hidden, which complicates matters at times.

As you will have probably gathered from this much, this is a Christian romance, something that is not often my usual reading fare. On the whole I liked the two main characters even though at times they needed a good talking to for their childish behaviour. But who among us hasn’t at times? And I liked the setting which varied between rural Australia and Sydney. The dialogue is mostly clever, witty and revealing.

Those who enjoy a light romance but one that encompasses some deeper issues should enjoy this novel. I did. Thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
9:49 am
A Curry for Murray
by Kate Hunter
Lucia Masciullo
hardcover picture book
RRP: AUD $ 24.95

This is a charming picture book about food, generosity and being a good neighbour. When young Molly finds out her next door neighbour Maureen has been taken to hospital, she worries about Murray being on his own and left to fend for him. She decides to make him a curry. One page gives the list of ingredients she used. From then on, Molly becomes known as the one to help others in the neighbourhood out with a special dish. As word spreads, Molly ends up making meals for people from further away. Each dish gives the easy to follow ingredients, so budding cooks might see what is needed to make it.

The book shows a variety of different people, some from other countries and a variety of foods. All are simply and colourfully illustrated. Even the local police are recipients of Molly’s cooking skills. The rhymes make this a fun story to read. But it is more than just a fun story with great illustrations. It is a story with heart. I could see this being useful in schools and preschools opening up discussion about foods from other countries certainly, but also about being good neighbours and helping others.

Then comes the day Molly cannot cook, because she has hurt herself. What will happen? While the ending is cute, I would have liked to see a little different ending and a bit more effort from the neighbours rather than the obvious, but maybe that is just me. That small quibble aside this is a fun book with a great message that is not preachy but simply part of the story. I really liked the interaction between young and old and people from different backgrounds. This book deserves to find a home in many libraries and schools.
Thursday, March 19th, 2015
2:19 pm
Place and writing
Just recently I started to read a novel by a Scandinavian writer. I got so far and then gave up because it was so bleak and making me feel depressed. It is something I have noticed before when reading Scandinavian writers. Talking to someone else about it, they found the same thing and they have given up reading books by Scandinavian writers. Their view was ‘I don’t need to be depressed.’ As we talked over this subject it made me wonder if there is something in the landscape that produces such bleak and cheerless writing.

Now I have never been to any Scandinavian countries but I wonder whether these places like Norway that have dark winters and periods where ‘the sun doesn’t make it over the horizon,’ can affect your psyche and therefore the way a person writes. What do others think? Surely place affects our mood and of our mood is affected it will affect the way we used language and the topics we tend to write about.

Years ago the poet Martin Harrison made a comment about the ‘wide blue sky high above in Australia.’ At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. After all isn’t the sky the same everywhere, I thought. Then I went to England and France in autumn and I understood what he meant. The sky, which was always colourless, our photos show me, seemed to sit just above our heads.

So given that we have this wide open sky above, Micah 023 trees that are often more pewter coloured than green, grass that ends up looking like browned hay in summer, cities which though crowded have nowhere near the population of other places, a country renowned for its harbour, its beachesPhoto0730

and its amazing colours Photo0854
how should that affect our writing?

Should colour be an integral part of our writing and should the freedom we have in this country be expressed in literature that brings light and hope? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thursday, March 12th, 2015
2:33 pm
Open House - poetry review
open house

As in any poetry collection, there will always be some poems that strike a chord more than others. Sometimes it is the sheer simplicity of a poem that grabs you. Into this category I would put ‘Autumn Twilight’ which was probably one of the poems that I liked best. ‘August’ is another. Only five succinct lines it is near to perfect. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other good poems in this collection, as they are.

David Brooks manages to capture small, seemingly insignificant moments well. I often found these and nature poems were the poems I enjoyed best. Another favourite was ‘Mist,’ which is a series of small moments recounted. The rhythm of the poems flow easily. In ‘Indian Mynahs’ I liked the link between birds building a nest and poetry. Others particularly liked included, ‘Driving Home’, ‘Mushroom Season’, ‘Mountain Night’, ‘Wild Ducks’, ‘White Cockatoos’, ‘Windmill’, ‘Apricots’, ‘Eight Miles’, ‘The Landing’, and ‘Swallows’. David Brooks even manages to write poems about cockroaches, stick insects and spiders. Not being a fan of creepy crawlies, I didn’t enjoy those as much, even though I could appreciate the skill in crafting the poems. Having read the one about ‘Spiders About the House’ before and finding it too creepy a subject, I skipped over that one. ‘Tinnitus’ is one that resonated with me and is cleverly done.

On the whole, I tended to prefer the nature poems rather than those with a more cynical or sardonic approach, but that’s just a personal preference. Whatever your preferred type of poetry, you should find something to please in this collection. I have no doubt I will come back and read some of these poems, if not all, again. I was very happy to receive this book of poetry from UQP to read and review.

As in any poetry collection, there will always be some poems that strike a chord more than others. Sometimes it is the sheer simplicity of a poem that grabs you. Into this category I would put ‘Autumn Twilight’ which was probably one of the poems that I liked best. ‘August’ is another. Only five succinct lines it is near to perfect. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other good poems in this collection, as they are.

David Brooks manages to capture small, seemingly insignificant moments well. I often found these and nature poems were the poems I enjoyed best. Another favourite was ‘Mist,’ which is a series of small moments recounted. The rhythm of the poems flow easily. In ‘Indian Mynahs’ I liked the link between birds building a nest and poetry. Others particularly liked included, ‘Driving Home’, ‘Mushroom Season’, ‘Mountain Night’, ‘Wild Ducks’, ‘White Cockatoos’, ‘Windmill’, ‘Apricots’, ‘Eight Miles’, ‘The Landing’, and ‘Swallows’. David Brooks even manages to write poems about cockroaches, stick insects and spiders. Not being a fan of creepy crawlies, I didn’t enjoy those as much, even though I could appreciate the skill in crafting the poems. Having read the one about ‘Spiders About the House’ before and finding it too creepy a subject, I skipped over that one. ‘Tinnitus’ is one that resonated with me and is cleverly done.

On the whole, I tended to prefer the nature poems rather than those with a more cynical or sardonic approach, but that’s just a personal preference. Whatever your preferred type of poetry, you should find something to please in this collection. I have no doubt I will come back and read some of these poems, if not all, again. I was very happy to receive this book of poetry from UQP to read and review.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
11:16 am
Pirate Fun
My Pop is a Pirate

Written and illustrated by the same team that did My Nanna is a Ninja; this is a companion volume with Grandfathers as the focus. It has the same sense of inclusiveness, showing grandfathers or Pops, as they are called, of different types. It has the same light-hearted sense of fun as it looks at how people are different. The cover is colourful and eye catching and the illustrations are clever and fun. I particularly like the pop in green gloves chopping wood but there were plenty of other fun illustrations that perfectly match the playful rhyming text. Another favourite was the pirate pop steering his ship on ‘sharky seas’ and I like the pop racing rally cars.

While it’s good to see grandfathers featured, for me this book didn’t have quite the same attraction of the first book. Even though I enjoyed it, like so many sequels or follow on books it lost a bit of that novelty appeal and felt a little bit flat, but that might be just me. However this will be a good book for pre-schools or schools to talk about families and how people are different and so it should provide plenty of room for discussion. Added to that, the topic of prates is always popular and this should find a ready audience, who will appreciate the humour of the text and illustrations.
Monday, February 2nd, 2015
10:17 am
The Land Unchartered

is introducing

The Land Uncharted

Edenbrooke Press
October 2015


Keely Brooke Keith

About the Book:

Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land, a landmass in the South Atlantic Ocean undetectable to the outside world. When injured fighter pilot Connor Bradshaw’s parachute carries him from the war engulfing the 2025 world to her hidden land, his presence threatens her plans, her family, and the survival of her preindustrial society.

As Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland, and Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated. Written like a historical, set like a scifi, and filled with romance, The Land Uncharted weaves adventure and love in this suspenseful story of a hidden land.

About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith, author of the Uncharted series, is a bass guitarist and frequently performs and tours with her husband, singer/songwriter John Martin Keith. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores. Keely resides on a hilltop south of Nashville with her husband and their daughter, Rachel.

my review
When you start reading it seems that you have gone back in time to an earlier civilisation. While that is true that the society acts like an earlier civilisation in that it does not have computers and electronic devices etc, the story is actually set in the future in a country simply know as The Land. The time is 2025 but life is very simple. It is largely a place where people help each other and most of the trade is by bartering. Then into this land a man falls from the sky. Lydia Colburn, a young physician see him a fall and goes to help the unconscious man.

She encounters Naval Aviator, Conner Bradshaw who parachuted to the beach when his aircraft malfunctioned. His first thought when he recovers is how to get back to his squadron but will he be able to find a way? What will it mean for the people of this land if he does? Initially I was hesitant as to how I would respond to this book as I am not a fan of science fiction. But I was quickly drawn in by the character of Lydia. She is a strong and likeable young woman. John, Lydia’s father is likeable too and so is Levi, Lydia’s brother, in his own way. Conner is interesting and Frank is a suitably creepy presence. The writing flows easily. It always helps when characters are portrayed well and The Land itself is a character too.

I loved the cover. It reminded me of a place near where I live. But then anything with sea on it is bound to appeal to me. I enjoyed this book although I thought there were a couple of things left unclear. Maybe they will come out in the next book? I thought one aspect of the ending was a little convenient. I received this book from the author to read and review as part of this blog tour and can honestly say, all in all, this is a good book that maintained my interest. I will look forward to the next one in the series.
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