Picture book The Weekend Cash Call reviewed

30 Apr 2015

The Weekend Cash Call_CoverFind out about some of the things that dad has won from radio competitions in the latest book from the ‘Words from Daddy’s mouth’ series – The Weekend Cash Call.

The story provides a modern take on the proverb that ‘fortune favours the brave’.

Here’s the feedback from the writers’ web reviewers about this memoir for 5-7 year olds:

“An entertaining read which takes a trip down memory lane as Dad explains to his children how he used to make money when he was growing up in the 1980′s. Lots of bright coloured pictures and explanations of things such as boom boxes, records and cassette players. An interesting read with the ability to access podcasts, puzzles and free audiobooks via the author’s website. This book’s back cover advises that the story provides a modern take on the proverb “Fortune favours the brave” – this book is a fun read for ages 5 years and up.” Diana and Elizabeth Harley

 It took me back to my childhood of listening to the radio with the cassette player on pause, so I could tape the best songs of the Top 40 as quickly as my reflexes would allow. The story is a lovely time capsule of growing up in the 1980s and how being outside was the place all children would be sent between meals. I wonder why Matthew’s parents didn’t call him to account on the hundreds of telephone calls he must have made in his quest for freebies.

The pictures are quite delightful and engaging with their humour and bright colours. The writing style is easily read and creates vivid pictures in the mind. I found the story easy to read and would recommend it for proficient readers of all ages. It is a great modern history lesson for upper primary and high school students. Well done to the author for an engaging tale. I look forward to reading more of Dad’s adventures.” Kasper Beaumont

“The Weekend Cash Call was interesting because it taught me about different competitions that radio stations have. Also it taught me a bit about old technology. This book is about a man telling a story to his family about the different things he won by calling into radio competitions. But one day his mother spoilt the show because she wanted him to go play outside just at the wrong moment. This is a good book for parents to read to their children, or confident younger readers. The expressions on the faces in the illustrations are good.” Laura Russell

Mattnew-BurgessA lawyer, after giving away the family television in 2006, author Matthew Burgess (right) found time to write law books and children’s books (talk about contrasts!).

Matthew says: “There was always a strong undertone in my stories to deliver life lessons, while keeping the children engaged with humour and expression. From that day on, my stories became known as “Words from Daddy’s mouth”. I had so many stories that I had to create a list to remember them all (at last count the list was over 400). So over time a game developed where the children would choose a number from this list. Whatever story related to the number chosen would be the story I would tell. Stories were usually told as the last part of the wind down of an evening, sitting together in a bedroom or on a lounge chair.”

The Weekend Cash Call  is now available in the bookstore as a hardcopy and PDF eBook.

Matthew’s other books for children include The Big Rusty Nail reviewed here , The Terrible Red Racer reviewed here and The Brandings Game reviewed here.

Fantasy reviewed: The Valkyr

30 Mar 2015

The Valkyr by David Cox CHans Brokk secures a place within the court of Rupius Grimm, in a bid to re-capture the once terrible and yet great glory of the everlasting ever-dark brotherhood, the Valkyr.

Here’s what reviewer, Kasper Beaumont (also a writers’ web fantasy writer) thought about this fantasy short story….

“I really enjoyed this short story by David Cox and am hoping he will continue with it. It’s a great beginning for a novel, with darkness and intrigue setting the scene for an epic fantasy adventure.

The story begins with a wonderful descriptive paragraph of a lightning storm, which is the perfect setting for a clandestine meeting of lords searching for a dark magic secret. The characters are well-written and have great potential for development over a longer tale. There is a mention of a great battle between good and bad wizards which would make for a great story too.

The story ends just as the twist is revealed and I so want to continue reading it. Well done to the author. Great cover and great writing. I look forward to the next installment. I would recommend publishing it on Amazon.com.  I recommend this story to fantasy fans from young adult to adult.” Kasper Beaumont

DaveCoxAuthor David Cox (right) has been writing since primary school, inspired by Tolkein who “sparked my love of reading and I have been in love with his universe since I read The Hobbit and later, The Lord of the Rings.”

About his writing process, David wittily says, “As George Martin once said, there are two types of writers. There is the gardener, who goes out and plants the seed, waters it, and see what it grows into. The second is the architect, who has all these grand plans and schemes, and will know every inch of the building and what is going to happen before it is finished (just paraphrasing there). I think that I have a mix of both. Most of the time, when I’m writing a short story, I am the gardener, I start off and see what it shapes into. When I’ve got an idea for a hundred thousand word monster, I turn into a bit of an architect. I highlight key points and plot twists and turns that I want to see in the book, and I just let the plant grow into shape.

When not writing, Davis manages to squeeze in time for university, doing assignments, studying and working at a hardware store. “Living as much as I can,” he says.

The Valkyr is now available as a PDF eBook in the writers’ web bookstore.

Other epic fantasy novels also by David Cox include and The Magister reviewed here and  A King, A Queen and a Magician  reviewed here.

Fantasy reviewed: Magic The Dark Ones Wraith

23 Mar 2015

Magic the dark ones wraith coverRyan. A normal 15 Year old American living in Denver. His parents are dead. He is brought into the world of shape shifting. He is meant to be the chosen one, the saviour of millions of people.

He must train to defeat the Dark One, the slaughterer of his parents, the one who wants to rule the world, magic and normal. If he doesn’t the world may be a ruin. He is going to have to learn the best of each element, Fire, Death, Ice and water, Earth and Light.

Yet Ryan will need more than his powers, he will need his guardian pet, Jake, a golden retriever guardian who is able to shape shift, sonic bark, breathe fire and fly. He will have to be the chosen one. In the world where you must change shape to fit in and save your loved ones only one may win the final battle.

What did our reviewer, Abbey English say about this fantasy novel for teenagers?

“Ryan is a young boy wishing for some excitement in his life. When he meets Destiny everything changes when he is pulled into a magical world of Shape Shifters, who claim he is the saviour in a prophecy.

Magic The Dark Ones Wraith is an interesting book about an ordinary boy who has to overcome his fears to save the world.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to young readers who like reading fantasy books. As the storyline is a little complex, I would recommend this book for young readers aged between 11 and 14 years old.” Abbey English

Dion Warren HeadshotAuthor, Dion Warren (right) has been inspired to write for the past few year by being ”able to make characters and have fun by using my imagination to make readers happy, emotional and shocked.”

Dion writes mainly fantasy, but also action and as well as short stories of games/fandoms.

His favourite authors such as Derek Landy, James Patterson, Suzanne Collins and Pittacus Lore, have  inspired him to write his own stories: “They use humour, action and twists to make the perfect novels for young adults.”

Dion’s  idea of a perfect book is “a book with a twist, or something original. You don’t want readers reading your books and thinking this is similar to something they have read before, every book must have a good original story and a cliff hanging ending. Killing of characters creates a great effect (Evil laugh).”

When not writing, Dion likes gaming or blogging at:  shapeshiftingandmysticalmagic101.

Magic The Dark Ones Wraith is now available as a PDF eBook or a hardcopy book from the writers’ web bookstore.

 

Historical Fiction A Tambo Girl reviewed

09 Mar 2015

A Tambo Girl by Terry Spring Cover“I simply loved the story”, “captivating” and ”well-written is how this “easy to read” work of historical fiction is  described by the writers’ web review panel.

A Tambo Girl – Hester’s Story is based on a real family residing in a remote town in Queensland’s outback at the turn of the 19th century. It tells the tale of a woman who, living in a time when men made every decision, never really had her shot at life until her husband died and she was forced to take command of it. Survival in Tambo was a constant struggle with the primitive conditions, extreme weather and the attitudes of the men in her family.

With a head for business, Hester grew up in a different Australia to today. Unable to do the heavy butchering in the family’s business, she had no alternative but to wait upon the menfolk’s decisions which affected her living standards, eventually pushing through the misogyny of the time to run her own life and business in the city bustle.

Here’s what the writers’ web reviewers had to say:

“Terry Springs’ story is captivating, it takes us back to an almost forgotten era reminding us how tough it was for Hesta in every aspect of her life and how far women have come in the struggle for equality. Outback Australia was- and still is the school of self sufficiency, imagination and fortitude, we need to be reminded. Well done Terry. It is a very good read and should be enjoyed by all gendres and generations.” Doreen Slinkard

“Marrying a hard-working local boy, Matthias McDonough, they raised their 4 children enduring droughts, floods, disease, family tragedy and WWl. When Mathias died at the age of 33 years, Hester struggled to make ends meet. Her determination to provide your young children with a better future than Tambo could offer, bravely moved her family to Queensland’s bustling capital city, Brisbane. This easy to read story would satisfy a wide range of readers from youth to adult as the author shows us the hard truths of life in the remote Australian Outback.” Jane Farmer

“In this male-dominated era, Hester’s hard working resilient spirit triumphs. I appreciated the educational aspects of this book, describing, for example, the differences between living in a small town and all the hardships involved there compared with the luxury and modernity of Brisbane. I also enjoyed how Terry incorporated the valuable contribution of Aboriginal and Chinese people through the characters Grace and Lilly.

While the book is, on the whole, well-written, with the use of crisp, clear description.  This book would appeal to anyone interested in Queensland history or simply a good yarn about living in the outback.” Jeni Lewington

“Hester, I simply loved the story; your delightful country characters had it tough in those early days, that’s for sure! As a matter of fact, your ‘Tambo Girl’ could easily have been my own grandmother (my heritage is pretty much the same; going back as far as Ireland, emigrating to Australia and settling in North Queensland where, primarily, they bred horses). Indeed, what an enduring life they led… A Tambo Girl’s characters are portrayed earnestly and I consider that absolutely anyone would enjoy reading this wonderful story. Thank you; it was a pleasure.” Moya Healey

Terry signingAuthor Terry Spring (right) started writing in music newspapers in London in the 60s, and continued writing as a Sydney corporate trainer. Since retirement she has written three books and ghost-written three.

Terry’s passion is history and she loves the research needed to write about times past. Consequently her books are mostly about people who have lived in the past…”knowing what happened to them, it’s not difficult to write how they would have felt”.

About her writing process she says: “I come up with an idea, write characters around it and formulate a plot but if I’m writing about a real person I research the time in which they lived to find what they ate, they wore, their gossip, what was impacting on their times – like war or pandemics.”

Other people’s books inspire her writing where “the reader is taken away to another plateau.”

When not writing Terry avoids anything that causes her to have a doctor’s appointment.

A Tambo Girl is now available in the bookstore as a hardcopy book, as is Terry’s other work of historical fiction,  Transported which is reviewed here.

 

Rave review for fantasy Australian Magic

27 Feb 2015

Front Cover Australian Magic by Gabrielle Monego“I thoroughly enjoyed the book – the best story of this genre that I have read for a long time,” says reviewer Sharyn Macdonald of fantasy Australian Magic by Gabrielle Monego. So what’s it about?

Australian Magic is the first part of an epic fantasy series about The Mediator. The world has changed. When it started they called it climate change. Mother Nature was getting her own back and in the process released all the magic that had been popping up in legends throughout history.

The world has settled in a new rhythm. Now, in a world that is populated by a variety of different races, humans are a lot lower on the food chain and the one man any race could all turn to has disappeared. Some said it was time for him to go. To them he was just the Mediator but to M he was Dad. Her mother had died when she was young. When her father disappeared he left only a letter that created more questions than answers. One thing is clear, nobody that had been a part of her life when she was growing up want to get in touch with her now. She’s on her own.

While M is trying to find her place in life some humans want to rule the world again, tired of being prey. Willing to risk hell on earth to get what they want, they are possessed and on a mission. The races of Australia don’t get along anymore while the magic of Australia is now the biggest uncorrupted source of magic left in the world. A source that is like a beacon to demons, a sure way to bring hell to earth. So far demons have only been able to get possession of their human summoners in Australia. What can one young woman do to help her country? Her dad, The Mediator, had magic and she can only feel the use of others magic. The Mediator knew everyone and she’s no-one.

But is she really on her own? Trouble seems to want her company, demons want her country and nobody wants to get along.

The writers’ web review panel reviewers has lots of praise for Australian Magic – here’s what they said:

“The story is mostly well written with an easy style to read and natural flow. The banter and dialogue between volatile and mischievous characters makes for an amusing read. M is full of Australian expletives and phrases, making her a feisty and easily lovable key character. With a little work on grammar, punctuation and structure, this book could easily become a best seller. The world created is well rounded and many of its aspects unique in its originality.

M begins her journey as a naive 18 year old setting off to look for her father who disappeared during a business trip, leaving her with nothing except a note written for her seven year old self. Through aspects of her own nature, M is adopted by the sentient forest now inhabiting 40% of central Australia. This lands her in the middle of a war between humans and supernaturals with untold political power as the newly appointed Mediator.

I loved the number of magical races represented in this story. It holds aspects to please any reader of supernatural books including everything from all types of fairies imaginable through to dragons and vampires. M’s ‘take no crap’ attitude and her strong sense of right and wrong amongst beings who are as ancient as they are arrogant lead to some very entertaining interactions. The Australian setting, with mention of many known places and towns gives the story an extra special touch to an Australian audience, while it would educate those not from here. I certainly googled what male Tasmanian Tigers’ pouches were for!

This book is definitely written for an adult audience. Any fan of chick lit supernatural fiction, as well as those of epic fantasies will find something they love about this book. Those new to the genre will be in for a special treat with the elaborate magical world constructed in this story.” Holly Murphy

“The story is written in past tense with dialogue used extensively in some sections to convey a sense of the present. The skilful use of humour, understatement and sarcasm bring an Australian flavour to the text and engage the reader in the story. There are some errors of grammar and spelling which a good editing would resolve. Use is made of ‘flashbacks’ which gives the reader necessary history and insight into the storyline and the characters. This is done in sizable chunks of text, usually a chapter, so the reader doesn’t get lost in the narrative.

M is the main character and is developed well as the story progresses. The reader is made aware of her feels and thoughts in all situations which gives cohesion to her sometimes cryptic utterances and actions. Other characters are introduced and developed as necessary. The number of characters and species’ characteristics had the potential to cause confusion for the reader but the way they are introduced avoids this.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book – the best story of this genre that I have read for a long time. The storyline was unique and intriguing which kept me reading in anticipation of what would happen next. For me, it had a good mixture of fantasy, mystery, humour and action. On one hand the setting was unique – nature wasn’t operating as usual and the people weren’t always what they seemed but every now and then there would be a familiar name of a town or native animal that was just a little different. Anyone who enjoys these characteristics in a book would thoroughly enjoy this story as I have. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of M’s story.” Sharyn Macdonald.

Profile photo of Gabrielle MonegoAuthor Gabrielle Monego (right) is one busy lady! We at writers’ web don’t know how she manages to have time to write! As a cattle grazier living in Outback Australia Gabrielle writes in between teaching school, working on the land and taking care of her family

Gabrielle has been writing and telling stories all her life but Australian Magic is her first non-private book with a sequel soon to be released and a third book already in the works.

Born in The Netherlands Gabrielle is widely travelled and has enjoyed adventures in many countries as well as  journeys through  Australia,  now home.

Of what inspires her writing, Gabrielle says,”Everything and anything. My imagination is rather vivid. I don’t really have a process, I sit down when I have a free moment and just let my writing happen.

When not writing, Gabrielle plays with her children and does “things that need to be done.”

Romance reviewed – Secrets in Paradise

16 Feb 2015

Secrets In Paradise by Pauline Saull Front Cover ”If you love LOVE, this is the book for you” so says Angeline Beikhoff, a writers’ web reviewer.

When thirty-one year old Katie Walker wins the lottery, she meets and is taken in by charming Rick Maudsley. He plans their initial meeting after reading of her win.

When Katie discovers the true reason for his interest in her, she changes her life and buys a run down shack in the Caribbean. In bad need of renovation, Katie is introduced to a builder who  due to start work on a luxury complex further up the beach, by the entrepreneur, Brent Mahon.

When Katie first meets Brent the attraction is instant and mutual, but Brent, wary of commitment to any woman is determined to hold back, something he finds increasingly difficult as he falls under Katie’s beguiling spell.

He offers her accommodation on his luxurious yacht while renovations are carried out on her shack, and it is as she is throwing out the old bed and rug it stands on, Katie sees the break in the floorboards. Beneath is an old locked metal box.

It contains an explosive secret, one which will affect Katie’s budding relationship with the rich, handsome, sexy, Brent.

The details of the shack’s past are decidedly fuzzy, though Katie knows some of it. But it’s when Brent starts to confide in her about his past and she finally manages to get the box open, that the idyllic life she hoped to live on the island comes under threat, for the faded papers in the box reveal the true history of the shack. It belongs to a Mahon.

Katie is devastated. Does she reveal the secret and maybe lose the home she now loves? Or is the man now more important to her?

The writers’ web review panel got into the mood reading this romance Secrets in Paradise?

Secrets In Paradise is an easy read and perfect for a rainy day. Sit back, relax, and let the Author do all the work. This is a love story set in the Caribbean. Everyone has a secret and the main characters, Katie and Brent are no exception.

The Author writes simplistically and seems to enjoy writing dialogue. There was a little confusion in the character’s names, but that was forgotten in the course of reading.

Katie is the main character and she is strong, capable, independent, and wary. Brent is every woman’s dream…and he’s single.”  Angeline Beikhoff

“I really enjoyed this book, and did not want to put it down until I finished it. I liked the concept of the rich girl escaping to an island to avoid the leeches that were after her money and the irony of the events that followed.

Pauline created lovely word pictures which had me wanting to be on the island with her protagonist.

The characters were well constructed and easy to relate to, as was the dialogue as it flowed smoothly and was natural.

I would love to read more of this writers work and would recommend it to anyone to read.” Coral Nichols

“Pauline, your “Secrets in Paradise” is a page turner from page one. I am absolutely astounded that ‘Mills and Boon’, or another romance publishing company has not picked you up as one of their authors.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one as I did your first novella, “A Tropical Affair”. Katie, the heroine has bought an old beach shack in an exotic location. The shack holds a mystery that finally unravels as the story progresses. She never expected to find love at Allis Cove on the island of St.Lucia in the Caribbean; but she does.

The novella is pure escapism in an exotic setting amongst the wealthy. You certainly threw lots of erotic thoughts and eroticism into your story. Katie’s love interest is Brent Mahon, who exhibits all the qualities of a romantic hero. He is caring and continually reveals his deepening affection for Katie. He is definitely ‘easy on the eye’, has a wonderful smile and is held in high regard by his family.

You tick all the boxes here Pauline. Now, where do you find such a man?

The only suggestion I can offer is it is too short for the ‘Mills and Boon’ people as their stories seem to span two hundred pages or so. Hope you find your market soon. You certainly deserve a place in the romance writers of this world.” Judith Flitcroft

Pauline Saull HeadshotAuthor, Pauline Saull (right) has been writing for six years, inspired by a love of words. She writes everyday for a few hours producing short stories, novellas and erotic romance. When she’s not writing, Pauline reads and walks.

Secrets in Paradise is now available in the bookstore as a PDF eBook, as is Pauline’s other book,  A Tropical Affair which is reviewed here.

 

Crime tale The Illusion of Al Shamah reviewed

09 Feb 2015

The illusion of Al-Shamah CoverIn the 21st century the Middle East is ravaged by civil war. Ivy Rousseau has just received an offer she can’t refuse: The Scroll of the Ancients. A divine law decreed by the Ancients that whoever shall read from the Scroll is sole master to his universe.

Agence France Press journalist Sophie Bouvier has just returned to Paris from the frontline in Syria. In her possession is a mysterious four hundred year old Journal the contents of which allude to the existence of the Scroll, a supernatural force that could resolve the conflict in Syria. Upon her return to Paris, Sophie arranges a meeting with her good friends at the ARU and requests their help to locate the mysterious Scroll. After Ivy accepts the mission she travels to Istanbul where she learns she has become inadvertently caught up in a high risk operation being planned between a secret underground organization and the rebel army to topple the Syrian Government.

The action culminates in a duel between the ARU agents battling Syrian Regime soldiers alongside a supernatural force that is neither real nor an illusion.

The Illusion of Al-Shamah is the third installment chronicling the adventures of hero Ivy Rousseau from The Jebusite Enigma  and Tomb of the Third Eye Let’s see what the reviewers thought about it:

“A good, topical tale depicting a new insight into the recent troubles in the middle east. The plot is thoughtfully built to give the reader plenty to think about and the conclusion, satisfactory but also open to the readers imagination. Whilst I found the book a little difficult to get into, possibly because so many things were happening at once, after the first 100 or so pages, I was hooked. The plot moved along at pace and the build up of suspense was very good.

.However, the plot was clear and whilst some readers may find this in-attention to detail annoying, the story rolled along very well, and me along with it.

The author has done her research into the background of the region thoroughly and I found this aspect of the book very interesting. If some attention could be given to the introduction of the characters and how they fit in the scheme of things, it would go a long way to making this a much more readable book.” Linda Subritzky

“The Illusion of Al-Shamah is a story of espionage, an effort to avoid war and the quest for the ‘Scroll of the Ancients’. The possession of this scroll is felt to guarantee victory in war torn Syria. The story is set in France and in Syria and surrounding countries and starts in 1714 in Damascus with an account of the execution of Nadia who had discovered the scroll. Before she dies, she prophesises that a woman will rise to lead the Sunni people to victory over the Alawites. The remainder of the story is set in modern times and follows the various powers who have a stake in this conflict including France and Russia.

The story line proceeds at quite a fast pace with a lot of dialogue between a variety of characters. The main background information is given in the initial part of the book. The characters are developed well although there are a lot of major characters which made things a little confusing at times as I would forget which characters belonged to which faction. The story was well written although it does need some editing as there were a few spelling and grammar errors.

Two of the main characters, Fifi Sauvage and Ivy Rousseau were introduced as competitive friends and colleagues as well as French spies/operatives. These characters were developed in depth as the reader was given an understanding of their histories, training and future aspirations as well as each having a tangential ‘love interest’.

The story line of this book was complex. The author obviously has a thorough knowledge of Middle Eastern politics and culture. There was also the added mystique of the scroll and the spirit of Nadia ‘inhabiting’ various women and giving them visions and power.

This book would appeal to someone who enjoys getting into a complex story of espionage with a little mystery and humour.” Sharyn Macdonald

Catherine LilaiAuthor, Catherine Lilai (right) has been writing almost all her life. She says: “Being the victim of bullying defined my life as a writer. I’m not a threatening person and I learn’t a long time ago that the most potent form of defence is a woman armed with a pen and conviction not an attack of the hysterics. Naturally, Ivy my female protagonist is my alter-ego, anti-institution and very unorthodox both of which help get to the truth.

When writing, Catherine withdraws into isolation, immersing herself into political journals and National Geographic to create the atmosphere and background of stolen French artefacts on the black market. I created a body of intelligence operatives, trained anthropologists searching for more out of their career than digging and cataloguing. The organisation is funded by the French Ministry of Culture and their headquarters is the basement of the Louvre Museum.

When you not writing, Catherine says: “Like any other 50 year old woman. I look through the yellow pages for a cut price plastic surgeon.” Clearly she has a sense of humour.

 The Illusion of Al-Shamah is now available in the writers’ web  bookstore as an eBook along with her other books The Jebusite Enigma, Tomb of the Third Eye reviewed here, and, Fortune: Thief of Bagdad reviewed here.

Historical Fiction Transported reviewed

30 Jan 2015

Terry Spring Transported Front Cover

“This is a story that all young Australians should read,” says reviewer Lorraine Cobcroft.

Step back in time to the early 1800′s and the story of a real life convict, George Smith, convicted of stealing a watch in London in 1824. Rich in day-to-day detail, a mixture of fact and fiction, Transported tells of his death sentence, reprieve and his years in the unexplored NSW colony, on the other side of the world. This remarkable man raised himself from poverty to become the wealthiest man in Dubbo, the first white man to survive in the unexplored countryside and make contact with Aborigines. Enter a world where Sydney Cove is beginning to expand and the territory is opening up. Known locally as ‘Dusty Bob’, George had a family and worked hard and he assisted the police and government in his time. A street is named after him in Dubbo even though this rogue is not really part of the town’s ‘smart’ image.

The writers’ web review panel appreciated the research that went into Transported recommending it for those with an interest in colonial history. Here’s what they said:

“A well rounded and interesting retelling of one of Australia’s early pioneer stories. Terry Spring’s recreation of George Smith’s life from starving orphan convicted of stealing a fob watch to wealthy land owner in colonial Australia is fascinating. She does well with limited original documents and no letters or diaries from Smith, who was illiterate.

Smith, subject to the most desperate of early lives was sentenced at 17, by a contrary English judicial system to transportation to Australia for the term of his natural life. Spring’s historical fiction documents George Smith’s arrival and pioneering of lands over the Blue Mountains. The canny businessman’s fortunes mirrors those of the young colonial Australia and after receiving his ticket of leave Smith becomes one of the wealthiest land owners in the Dubbo district.

Spring weaves the exploration of outback Australia, the brutal demise of hundreds of aboriginal tribes, gold rushes and the establishment of country towns like Bathurst and Dubbo with buildings ‘fit to rival any in Sydney town” into Smith’s story with deftness. A great read for anyone interested in Australian colonial history.” Melissa Barnett

“… a work of historical fiction, chronicles the life of a real-life Australian pioneer, George Smith. George was transported to Australia as a convict in on the ship Minstrel in 1825 and became known as ”Dusty Bob” in the Dubbo area, where he settled, acquired extensive land holdings, and raised a family.

This book is a great read for anyone interested in Australia and its history, and particularly for anyone interested in the history of Dubbo. Clearly based on careful research, it is both an entertaining and an informative read that has been sufficiently fictionalized to create a great story. It provides a factual account of history and an educational insight into the lifestyle of Australians who settled in remote rural areas in the early 1800′s.

Terry Springer’s writing style is crisp and clear. Descriptive, without being overdone or verbose, it is well-paced, and Terry brings the characters to life nicely and presents scenes with an authentic feel.

The book would benefit from much more careful editing and proofing. I would hope a second edition might be produced, because this is a story that all young Australians should read. Stories like this are both culturally-enriching ― contributing to preserving the proud heritage about which all Australians of future generations should be educated―and personally inspiring, demonstrating the strength and courage of our pioneering forefathers.”  Lorraine Cobcroft

Terry signingAuthor Terry Spring (right) started writing in music newspapers in London in the 60s, and continued writing as a Sydney corporate trainer. Since retirement she has written three books and ghost-written three.

Terry’s passion is history and she loves the research needed to write about times past. Consequently her books are mostly about people who have lived in the past…”knowing what happened to them, it’s not difficult to write how they would have felt”.

About her writing process she says:  ”I come up with an idea, write characters around it and formulate a plot but if I’m writing about a real person I research the time in which they lived to find what they ate, they wore, their gossip, what was impacting on their times – like war or pandemics.”

Other people’s books inspire her writing where “the reader is taken away to another plateau.”

When not writing Terry avoids anything that causes her to have a doctor’s appointment.

Transported is now available in the bookstore as a hardcopy book, as is Terry’s other work of historical fiction,  A Tambo Girl.

Alien Wizardy adventure for 10-12 year olds reviewed

21 Jan 2015

Alien-Wizardry-by-Antionette-Conolly ”For those who like a little bit of magic, fantasy and adventure, this is a book for you” so says one of the writers’ web review panel.

Zachary travels again to the magical world of Cauchemar at the request of his friend Mactavish. The boy has made three previous journeys there, but on the last occasion, the ginger cat did not return with him to Earth.

Cauchemar is threatened by extinction if an ancient prophesy is not satisfied. Alien assistance is required to complete the task and many difficulties have to be overcome. Zachary and his companion, Taffy, have may friends who help – Magenta the witch, Bijour the dragon and Ulysses the unicorn (to name a few).

Can they succeed in defeating the black magic of Malfactorius and save Cauchemar?

For ten to 12 year old readers, here’s what the writers’ web review panel thought about this magical adventure, Alien Wizardy, the first book in the sequel trilogy to the Cauchemar books.

“Alien Wizardry is a book about an eleven year old boy Zachary and his adventures in a magical world called Cauchemar. He has visited the world three times before and is now asked by his old companion, a sometimes cantankerous cat called Mactavish to return. Mactavish is a fully trained wizard now who has found a reference to the possible end of Cauchemar, and he has asked Zachary to return to the magical world with his new cat, Taffy, who happens to be the son of Mactavish. With an ancient prophecy threatening Cauchemar, Zachary of Earth is the only other ‘alien’ Mactavish can contact to help save the magical world.

I enjoyed this book because of all the twists in the storyline. Because of the many characters and sometimes difficult language I would recommend this book for young readers aged 12 years old and up.”Abbey English

“If you enjoyed the earlier adventures of Mactavish, then you will certainly enjoy this book. We get to meet the wizened cat three years on, and again he is joined with Zachary and Taffy (Macavish’s son) on an adventure to save Cauchemar from near certain doom.

There are plenty of hiccups along the way, however this trio continues to keep on with their quest without giving up hope. They are constantly in strange lands with strange circumstances, and constantly being challenged by the lack of understanding of the people that they meet along the way.

This does not stop them in their quest to save Cauchemar, even though the “beings” in the lands are on many occasions determined to stop the trio from achieving their goals. For those who like a little bit of magic, fantasy and adventure, this is a book for you.

My 11-year-old daughter also read the book and her review is as follows: I like Alien Wizardry because of the suspenseful plot, exciting characters and many pleasant surprises. I found the new lands riveting, especially Antiquaria.” Dyan Burgess

Antoinette-ConollyAuthor Antoinette Conolly (right) is a writer of science fiction/fantasy novels for children. She lives in Sydney and spends a lot of time visiting primary schools and libraries to speak to students about reading/writing and her books. A former high school teacher, Antoinette taught foreign languages (French, German, Italian) and was also a consultant in Training and Development for the Education Department of New South Wales. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Newcastle University and a Master of Educational Administration from New South Wales University. Her novels are suitable for 7 – 13 year old readers.

Antoinette’s writing is inspired by a love of reading (she still reads three books a week). She wrote as a child and teenager when at Uni and had some poems published when in high school. Antoinette always wanted to write fantasy for children, but did not have time until she retired from high school teaching.

Alien Wizardry is now available in the writers’ web bookstore.

Also available in the Cauchemar trilogy are:

Antoinette’s other book involving time travel, A Key to Time, is reviewed here.

 

The Brandings Game for 7-9 year olds reviewed

15 Jan 2015

The Brandings Game_CoverA modern take on the proverb ‘Look Before You Leap’. For Dad, there was something even worse than The Terrible Red Racer, and this was The Brandings Game — the latest book in the ‘Words From Daddy’s Mouth’ series which helps younger readers understand the world.

The writers’ web review panel understood the message behind the humour in this story – here’s what they had to say:

“What’s that?” asked Tommy of the title. By the end of the story, not only had he learnt a new game, but how not to play it!, although he commented that he wanted to fall down and break not one, but both arms…ouch!

Tommy (6) was very engaged with the story, listening hard. He was not so enamoured of the illustrations: “They’re weird” was the comment. This book prompted Tommy to explain clearly the rules of a school yard game, Red Rover. A nifty book to teach a lesson in what not to do.” Tommy Edwards

“The Brandings Game is a part of a series of books about a father telling stories to his children. They all have a deeper meaning to teach the reader. The Brandings Game is a great story, it has easy to read words, a picture on every page to make it more entertaining for younger listeners and it has a funny side to it. The father is telling his daughters a story about his school life where he played rough games. He is reminding them to always stop, plan and think about what you are going before you do it but, I would have liked to see the moral of the story printed more clearly on the front cover. Children aged 8 to 12 would enjoy this book. The part where he broke his arm did scare me a little so it may not be suitable for real young children. But it is a good educational story with exciting pictures, I enjoyed it a lot. Laura Russell

“ I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very exciting to go through the story and discover all that happens. It was very realistic. This book really interested me because I liked how I could feel what the story-teller felt.” Caitlin Shore

Mattnew-BurgessA lawyer, after giving away the family television in 2006, author Matthew Burgess (right) found time to write law books and children’s books (talk about contrasts!).

Matthew says: “There was always a strong undertone in my stories to deliver life lessons, while keeping the children engaged with humour and expression. From that day on, my stories became known as “Words from Daddy’s mouth”. I had so many stories that I had to create a list to remember them all (at last count the list was over 400). So over time a game developed where the children would choose a number from this list. Whatever story related to the number chosen would be the story I would tell. Stories were usually told as the last part of the wind down of an evening, sitting together in a bedroom or on a lounge chair.”

 The Brandings Game  is now available in the bookstore as a PDF eBook.

Matthew’s other books for children include The Big Rusty Nail reviewed here The Terrible Red Racer reviewed here and  The Weekend Cash Call. He has also written a book about asset protection, structuring, business and personal succession planning, Inside Stories 2010 – 2012,  available as a hardcopy book.

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