Book Reviews to start off 2019…

granma reading charlie the cheeky spider to maria and heather

Book Review by Jill Smith©Jan19

Title: Charlie the Cheeky Spider

Author: Brian Dale

Illustrator: Jennifer Scicluna  

Publisher: Possumwood Publishing

brian daleCharlie was born with his many brothers and sisters on a quiet, still night, in the light of a full moon. His mother noticed he was different right away. He kept asking questions and was never still. He grinned a cheeky grin. So that’s why she called him Charlie. He was impish and liked to play tricks on his family. He was growing bigger and he realised it was time to leave home, so he wove threads into a parachute and jumped into the air. He was blown a long way from his country home to the suburbs and he landed on a window sill.charlie the cheeky spider back cover

charlie the cheeky spider coverHe was ready for more adventures, so he crawled inside. There he found a family to live with and he happily introduced himself, to Mr and Mrs Pan and Junior Pan. He was a talking spider and loved to hear Mrs Pan scream, and he was especially fond of her chocolate cake mix that was left all over the bench and floor when she’d run in fright. This is just the first of many adventures.

I can imagine Brian or any teacher reading this book to a group of school children and having them enjoy it when Charlie went – Creepy crawly, creepy, crawley, creepy, crawley … boing!

jennifer scicluna charlie cheeky spider illustratorThis is a charming chapter book for young readers about a very cheeky spider. The illustrations by Jennifer Scicluna are carefully matched to the story and I must say Charlie is a cute cheeky spider. I’m giving my signed copy to my granddaughters and I’m sure they’ll love it.

granma reading charlie to the girls

far away and further back patrick burns coverAnd now for something completely different – a memoir with a difference.

Book Review by Jill Smith©Jan19

Title: Far Away and Further Back 

Author: Patrick Burns

This is a collection of anecdotal short stories about one man’s working life and journey around many countries.

His life in business as Human Resources rep for a large company would seem innocuous at first, but, as in all aspects of living, the people around him and the journey he takes to become the person he is in each point in time, is the story.patrick burns current pic

The memoir is not in chronological order but that enhances the jigsaw frame as each story contributes to the whole picture of who Patrick Burns is and how he faces each stage of life. From being a small boy at a birthday party and being charmed by the host, to enduring family visits with his grandparents who are literally from another age. Having unpleasant interviews in China with a zealous Police Inspector, with a definite, will I get out of here feel. Then the recollections of his early expat days when he moved from England to live in America.

His stories are enchanting and I’m sure he relates his adventures with gusto to those he speaks to. This book is just like a conversation, and one I’m glad I had the opportunity to read.

There are more reviews to come! I’m reading more great books so stay tuned.

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‘WundeRSmith’ by Jessica Townsend, reviewed by Jill Smith

wundersmith coverBook Review by Jill Smith ©Jan19

Title: WundeRSmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermore, #2)

Author: Jessica Townsend

Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books

Morrigan Crow lives in the Deucalion Hotel in Nevermore, and her patron Jupiter North has taken her out for a surprise excursion for her twelfth birthday. She’s been in Nevermore a whole year but still is never sure what to expect. This outing was totally strange with her being led down an alley, to walk up the wall to enter a theatre – Old Delphian Music Hall with the star The Angel Israfel. But, of course, Morrigan couldn’t hear star sing or her life would forever be impossible to live without the perfection of hearing the Angel sing.

That’s where they hear about the first of several disappearances which take Jupiter North away often over the next few months. Leaving Morrigan to navigate her way through her first several months at school. This should have been marvellous, she had passed her trials and was now accepted into the Wundrous Society! She would go to the school where she would, at last, have friends who were her brothers and sisters, a bond that made Morrigan feel complete. The old fears returned when her unique knack became a curse again.jessica townsend pic with tree

When Jupiter does return, their reunion is one where Morrigan tells him lots of things about his life at school. Things like how she only has one class and the teacher Professor Onstald has written a book about how all Wundersmiths are evil and no good, and that that is all she studies. Her teacher never has a kind word for her or her kind. She tells him about her Homeroom decorated by their conductor Miss Cheery and how wonderful she is. She doesn’t tell him about how class 919 are being blackmailed to keep silent about her knack, and how this is making her very unpopular.

jessica townsendThere are so many strange things that happen in Nevermore that the reader feels dragged along by the strong current of an exciting imagination. Thanks, Jessica Townsend, I was unable to go to sleep until I’d finished turning the last page. I rated this and the first book Nevermore, Five Stars on Goodreads. I loved every twist and turn. I loved the feeling of comfort and homeliness of the Deucalion Hotel, Morrigan’s ever-changing bedroom and Jupiter’s cosy nook. I eagerly await the next instalment in Morrigan Crow’s journey.

Amazingly good, l read this in three days finishing in the wee hours.

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Happy New Years Eve…

This Christmas was a joy, celebrated with family. I hope yours was equally delightful.

maria pa heather and me christmas day 2018It’s New Year’s Eve and my hubby and I be joining some friends to see the New Year in.

For Christmas, I received The Storymatic – Six trillion stories in one little box. – Which one will you tell?

So no prizes for guessing that I’m looking forward to another creative year.

2019 – I’m reworking my next edition of Dual Visions and Vashla’s World with an Australian based company Ingram Spark to print up revised editions. Next on the agenda is editing the third book in the series and getting in out in the market as well. After that, I need to rework both Microworld and Microworld Undersea – Oceanville into one cohesive book and get it printed up. I may even try the established publishers for that as it’s a young adults story and one I think will tweak readers interest.

I hope every one of my family, friends and blog followers enjoy seeing in the New Year safely and that 2019 brings with it satisfaction with all you accomplish. Remember, life is short so make the most of every minute.


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Merry Christmas from this little elf…

Jill Santa Elf 2018It’s the 22nd December and Christmas is almost here. I’d like to wish all my family, friends and blog followers an especially happy Christmas and New Year celebration. May 2019 bring you all good news, work you enjoy and relish, time with family with hugs and laughter. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

 I’ve recently wrapped two books to give friends children and I’m sure they’ll love these.


Book Review by Jill Smith©Dec18

Title: A Snugglepot and Cuddlepie Christmas

Author: May Gibbs

A Snugglepot and Cuddlepie Christmas

This is a really cute May Gibbs book that I’ve given as a Christmas gift, it’s a delightful tale. Gumnut Babies are so adorable and these Australian classic images are a joy to share. Both Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are counting down the days to Christmas. Cuddlepie is the worker and gets everything organised. Snugglepot, on the other hand, is the dreamer, wondering what treasures will be delivered for Christmas.


Title: An Aussie Night Before ChristmasAn Aussie Night Before Christmas Yvonne Morrison cover

Author: Yvonne Morrison

I love this twist in the tale story. Of course, it’s based on a timeless classic but with an Aussie Santa. He has to have sunburnt cheeks, a broad rim hat, red shorts and his deliveries are all loaded into a rusty ute pulled through the sky by kangaroos. The illustrations by Kilmeny Niland are delightful. This is another Christmas gift that I’m certain will be enjoyed.

Jill FB Christmas pic

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My Year in Books via Goodreads…

Blank yyib header maxres

bio photo

This is my journey in books for 2018!


I read 9,278 pages across 41 books


24 pages

Tummy Rumble Quake: by

Heather L. Beal

LONGEST BOOKthe lost artist cover

530 pages


The Lost Artist: Love Passion War


Eric Hausman-Houston

Graffiti Moon coverMOST POPULAR


people also read

Graffiti Moon


pile of books

Cath Crowley




Rainforest Rescue


Karen Tyrrell

4.89 average


Sun Sword Trilogy - the Quest for the Sun Gem 1 Sun Sword Trilogy - The Voyage of the Owl  Rarity from the Hollow cover Sun Sword Trilogy - The Snowy Tower 3 Goodbye to Italia cover internet-scammed-it-happened-to-me-Cover Pale Highway cover Clemmie's War cover

cover_v4the meaning of life cover bradley trevor grieve Raven's Flight cover A-Corner-of-White cover

the lost artist cover The Dragon Throne cover all this could end by Steph Bowe Graffiti Moon cover

Friday Barnes Girl Detective cover Goodbye Mr Hitler by Jackie french cover  An Unbelieveable Life cover  girl saves boy steph bowe novel cover

the beekeeper's secret josephine moon  Flirting with the Moon cover NightSwimming StephBowe  fan-tas-tic-al-tales-cover  McAllister cover the-lion-in-our-living-room cover  book review Nose to Tail by Louise Harding FableLands Part One cover Kayla Briana Ciro

FableLands Part Two cover Sammy Jamila James 65 storey treehouse cover  From the Stars Above by Peter Watt cover  Jake in Space Moon Attack cover Candice Lemon-Scott

jake-in-space-rocket-battles cover lulu-bell-s-amazing-animal-adventures cover  ktyrell-song-bird-bug-world_cov.indd   ktyrrell-songbird-rainforest-cover

Our Song the evacuees cover by terry spring  Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by may gibbs cover  An Aussie Night Before Christmas Yvonne Morrison cover

Our Song An Air Mail affair by terry springAll of the above are my 40 books for the annual Goodreads reading challenge. Right now I’m almost finished the second part of Terry Springs OUR SONG books. I had already read these as a manuscript but am enjoying re-reading them as Kindle books.

I think I might stretch myself and go for 45 or 50 books next year.

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From the Stars Above by Peter Watt reviewed by Jill Smith


From the Stars Above by Peter Watt cover

A century-old curse comes full circle…

For a hundred years they have never forgiven, never forgotten. Now, the war between the Duffy and Macintosh dynasties will be brought to its stunning conclusion.

Patrick Duffy continues to go into the field of battle with his childhood friend from the Glen View property they’d grown up on. Terituba is a remaining survivor of the natives of the area. As Patrick is a natural leader he is enlisted to take out a surprise raid on guerrilla soldiers who had been working behind enemy lines. This leads him to battle a ghost from the past as he’d been left orphaned when his mother had died in a Changi prison. His opponent had been raised there by his mother.peter watt 2013 firefighter

Michael Macintosh is Sarah’s son and had been able to visit his Aunt Jessie and Uncle David at Glen View in his youth had realised his mother was manipulative and calculating. He follows his own path to avoid her obsessive control. Michael leaves first as a sailor, then soldier and mercenary, facing a battle in many arenas.

Sarah Macintosh continues to plan to crush her rival sister-in-law Jessica Duffy-Macintosh, who also controls a thriving business. Sarah ignores the century-old curse at her peril. Believing Michael would return from war and take over the business. After she caused Jessica to be financially ruined, the Macintosh dynasty would again rule.

Peter Watt goodreads bio picThe start book blurb above states this book is the conclusion of the Duffy and Macintosh family feud. This is a twelve book series and it is stunning from beginning to end. Returning to the rivalry behind the curse is like meeting up with an old friend, one that deals with horrific wartime battles, subterfuge and deceit within families and in the political arena. Again I heartily recommend Peter’s books as he is Australia’s, Wilbur Smith. These books continue to be page-turners that envelop the reader.

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NaNoWriMo Winner!! – Yay!

Congratulations, winner!50,296 words validated – and I’m done – Yay! I did manage to give it a satisfactory ending. Next, for the editing (but not right now!)

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